Time Flies

We took Sean to the Clayton Valley Pumpkin Farm a couple of weeks ago, and it was such a cool experience. He turned 18 months old this month (that would be a year and a half), and he was interested in practically everything.

Mom! Dad! Have you SEEN these pumpkins? Can I climb on them?

Above, he is marveling at some of the massive pumpkins at the farm. We took some pictures of him sitting on them too, but he refused to look at the camera. He was too interested in figuring out out he was going to slide off the pumpkins to pose. Not that he ever poses. Everything with this kid is an action shot. But note in the above picture: He’s standing amongst giant pumpkins. He was looking at me the entire time saying “woah!” Later in the day, he was picking up pumpkins by himself and putting them in our wheelbarrow to take home. He picked out two pumpkins: One for him and one for his sister. Not that he really understands the sister part. He probably thinks he just got two pumpkins.

Just for contrast, I give you one year ago:

What are these big things? Hello? Somebody help!

Say it with me: Awwww! Sean was 6 months old here. He was still struggling on staying upright when sitting by himself. For this picture, we had to prop him against the pumpkins — which, I might add, were regular-sized. Not giant ones like the first picture. We did minimal stuff at the pumpkin farm that year: We mostly just walked around and pointed stuff out to the kid until he got tired and we left.

Not so this year: After taking a picture with the farm’s mascot — who we missed last year — we got a couple of random pictures before riding the train. That was a huge hit, I might add. For the rest of our visit, every time it went by, Sean would point and say “oooh”.

He did NOT trust that Pumpkin Head Dude. Not one bit. Also? Baby bump!

The farm also had a petting zoo area with llamas, goats, and chickens, as well as a play area with hay bale mazes, rubber duck races, and three “pools” of lima beans for kids to play in. We stayed in the lima bean pools for an hour.

Why? Because it was obviously fascinating:

It was kind of like playing in sand … but less messy.

Very entertaining:

Action shot!

And rather relaxing:

Mother? More beans, please.

I can’t wait for next year.


The Final Countdown!

I am officially 32 weeks pregnant. Which means I only have 8 weeks (or if my Pregnancy Calendar Web site is correct, 53 days) left in this pregnancy. And according to the Parents.com Web site, this is an important week:

Almost all babies born at this stage or later survive and go on to have very healthy, normal lives. By this time all of his major organs are fully functioning except the lungs, which need just a bit more time to mature completely. This week your baby will also start to shed that downy hair (lanugo) that’s covered his body for the past few months. He’ll lose most of this fuzzy coating by the time he’s born, but you may spot some errant hairs on his back or shoulders.

So … yeah … everything’s fully functional “except the lungs” … not that those are important. I’m thinking I’ll keep her in the oven awhile longer. (Not that I have a choice, but still — I’ve got goals for this kid. Fully-functioning lungs just happen to be one of them.)

Only two months left. Where did the time go? How the heck am I going to juggle two kids that are younger than 2 at the same time?

And what is this only two months thinking? It feels like it will take FOREVER for December to get here. Except that in my brain, its still early October, when we’re actually more than halfway through it. I say again: Where did the time go?

I’ve come to the conclusion that even if you’ve done everything to prepare (nursery done and stocked? Yup!), and even if this isn’t your first rodeo, you are never fully ready/prepared. Its impossible. You may think that you’re prepared, like I thought the first time around. I look back on that confident, take on the world demeanor and say: HAH. I’m calling bullshit.

Reality is always different than theory. Often in surprising ways. I thought I was prepared for the complete upheaval caused by a small child. While I may have had all the gear and supplies I needed, I wasn’t prepared for the post-partum roller coaster. I totally wasn’t ready for a baby with health issues. (Nobody is, and it sucks. I’ll leave it at that.)

I wasn’t ready for my boobs to turn into torpedoes once my milk came in. (Warning: Boob tangent!) I wasn’t ready to be worried about said boobs popping from the pressure within. Nobody had warned me about that. Saying that the milk coming in can be “uncomfortable”? Yeah, thanks for that. I went from a mid-B cup to a C+ cup overnight. The skin was stretched taught. You could push down on my skin, and there was no give. I had bush-woman nipples that were so huge they scared me. They weren’t boobs anymore — they were milk jugs. Literally.

I remember looking in the mirror and saying: Dude, those are NOT my boobs. WTF. I remember Hubbs looking at them and saying: DAMN, baby! Woohoo! And then I slapped his hand and threatened to kill him if he even looked at them like he wanted to touch. And nearly a year later, said boobie awesomeness went away. Well, that’s not technically correct. All that big boobie awesomeness DEFLATED. Yeah, I said it. Before I got knocked up again they were smaller than when I started. Not exactly a good thing for the self-esteem when you were small-chested to begin with. (Note to self: Get some chicken cutlets or new Wonderbras after Peanut weans.)

Another thing I wasn’t ready for: The tidal wave of love you feel when you see your baby. When you hold them. When you hear them. When they look at you. There is absolutely nothing in this world like it. And once they’re bigger? Ask Hubbs how he feels when he walks into a room and hears “Da-Da!!” and sees a small child running across the room laughing and smiling with his arms spread wide, wanting hugs. Ask me how I feel when Sean snuggles close to me in the chair, puts his hands against my face, and presses his cheek to mine while he whispers “Mama.”

It turns your day around in a heartbeat. It cures what ails you. It fills your soul to the brim.

So while I know I won’t be prepared for looking after two young kids at once, there is one thing I am positive about: I’ve got enough love for the both of them. What else do you really need

Improvisation 101

The pacifier is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that it helps him calm down when he’s upset or in stressful situations. A blessing in that it helps him fall asleep. A curse in that it helps him fall asleep. A curse in that if he tosses a binkie out of reach while in the crib at night, he won’t settle back down until he finds one or I get out of bed and give/find him one.

So while driving to San Mateo for a family visit this weekend, he tossed the pacifier somewhere in the car where I couldn’t reach it. (Jason found it wedged between the car seat and the door when we arrived at our destination.) He was complaining about it, so I handed him a couple of toys that we keep in the car for him that I thought could soothe his need for the binkie: A teething toy, some nubby rings, and a chip clip.

Yes, my kid likes to play with chip clips. I know it makes no sense. And I have no idea if its BPA free. He usually will just work on closing it, then hand it to me to open again. He likes this game. So imagine my surprise when I suddenly heard snoring from the backseat, and turned around to see this:

For the record: He opened the chip clip by himself — something he’s never done before, at least to my knowledge. But I have to admit, I’m impressed. The little guy wanted to suck on something and he improvised. He slept for 40 minutes with that silly chip clip hanging out of his mouth. I took several pictures, and I still laugh every time I see it.

Even more impressive? The chip clip never closed or bopped him on the nose the entire ride.

This is so going in the album of quasi-embarrassing but mostly cute photos I plan to show his future dates/spouse. Everyone has a file like that, right?


Four years ago, I married my best friend.

Has it really been four years? Has it really only been four years?! Hubbs and I have this ongoing joke where one of us will say how long we’ve been together (7 years) or married (4 years), and the other will say: Really? That’s it? Because it feels like 30 years… 

But there’s truth to that joke as well: We’ve packed a lot into those four years. Sometimes it feels like we’ve lived a lifetime in the seven years we’ve been together.

Did I ever tell you how we met? Probably not, but Hubbs and I are sappy and sentimental — so we like to tell each other about it: He was the main sports designer for a newspaper. I was the fresh-out-of-college intern for said paper. That’s right, Hubbs dated the 23-year-old intern. (And for a little bit, he was 30 while I was still 23. Scandalous!) But I was infatuated way before that: I noticed him the day I interviewed for the job.

He was hanging out at his desk, which was covered — and I mean covered — in goofy knick-knacks, bobbleheads, and talking toys. He and the other sports guys were shooting the breeze, doing the pre-budget thing. And this I distinctly remember: Someone said something and he threw back his head and roared with laughter. There was just something so … free and confident about him. I actually had trouble concentrating during my next interview.

Once I was hired as the intern, I focused on proving myself to the desk. And he focused on ignoring me. Apparently, the last intern was a total flake and almost everyone hated her. It was something my new bosses weren’t afraid to tell me during the interview process. And something my new co-workers shared with me once I earned their trust. (And probably to make me feel better about constantly getting the cold shoulder from him.)

But little by little, the Hubbs started to thaw to me. We’d go out to dinner in group settings, which only made me like him more. I was doing the typical intern thing, and volunteered for practically everything — including typing in the agate on the sports page one night. (Torture. Pure torture. But it earned me the nickname Agate Girl from the guys and after that I was officially “in the club” for saving their collective butts on deadline.)

And as he thawed, I dropped some atom-bomb worthy hints — but he didn’t get it. For some reason, me saying: we should go see a movie sometime — just the two of us, wasn’t straightforward enough. Me finding excuses to hang out around the sports area wasn’t obvious enough either. Although I’m positive everyone else got it. (When the 50-year-old dudes in sports wink at you conspiratorially and make up excuses for you to come over and hang out? Yeah, they know.) I had given up on him — and of making a fool out of myself — when he finally asked me out.

Cute story, no? How about the fact that we were found out by my boss, when walking around the downtown area holding hands before work one day? (Or that my boss suddenly warmed to Hubbs after that day?) Good times. That wasn’t awkward at all.

So in honor of Hubbs and our four years of wedded, shackled bliss (hee!), here’s a list of things that have changed since we got married:

  1. We don’t work at newspapers anymore;
  2. We have “normal” jobs, where we get to work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday;
  3. We’re homeowners;
  4. We’re owned by one Princess Fuzzybutt, aka Ripley;
  5. We have two new (for us) cars;
  6. We have the time/ability to visit with friends and family on weekends and holidays;
  7. You have a new smile, which you only give to Sean. And it melts my heart every time I see it;
  8. We have an amazing son; and
  9. Coming in December, we’ll have a daughter — who I’m sure will also be amazing.

 And here are some things that haven’t changed:

  1. You still make me laugh every day;
  2. You still randomly surprise me with your sweetness (often at the oddest moments);
  3. You still make my heart flutter when you smile mischeviously at me; 
  4. You’re still my rock;
  5. I love you a little bit more every day.

 Happy anniversary, honey!

What The EFF?!

I thought I was skating through this pregnancy. It seemed so easy compared to the first time. Mayhaps because I knew what to expect? Nonetheless, it felt easier. Less stressful.

I was duped. My body was playing a trick on me. It pulled out its trump card: sciatica. Biology lesson: The bigger the baby gets (ie. the longer you’re pregnant), the more the uterus expands. This expansion means more pressure is put on your body: Your legs have to carry more weight, etc. It also puts more pressure on your muscles and can push on nerves, such as the sciatic nerve that goes from about mid-butt cheek all the way down your legs.

At first, it was just lower back pain. Then I started to have problems getting up from playing with Sean on the floor. Hubbs would laugh at me when I would by stumped as to how to haul my cookies upright. Then the pain really started: I’d sit down for awhile, only to have searing pain shoot from ze butt cheek all the way down the back of my knees. It was paralyzing. The only way I can describe it is that lightning hit that nerve and it reverberated all the way down my leg and back up again in a never-ending circuit of torturous pain.

I’ve been going to physical therapy for it, which seems to be helping in the preventative sense: The stretching exercises seem to lengthen the time between painful episodes. But when the pain starts? Stretches aren’t so helpful.

For example, I was jolted awake around 4 a.m. Sunday morning by blinding pain. I had that paralyzing tingling feeling going up and down both my legs and I couldn’t move them. My lower body was paralyzed. And on fire. I managed to slowly wiggle my right foot until the pain eased up, even though it was still tingling (Think charlie horse-type pain). It took me five minutes. I timed it. Five gasping, desperate, sheet-clenching, near-panicked minutes. But for the life of me, I couldn’t move my left foot. The pain was bordering on unbearable when Hubbs woke up and heard my near hyperventilation. He rubbed my leg, gently massaging the tense muscle until I could move my foot again and the pain subsided to a bearable throb.  Then he woke up with Sean and let me sleep in an extra hour later that morning.

The man is a saint.

Part of my physical therapy sessions include stretching, learning new stretches, and massages with heating pads applied afterward. I usually look forward to the massage the most. It helps loosen the muscle. So far, I had always worked with a woman, who was great and never pushed too hard. Well, tonight, I got a guy. And after evaluating my muscles, he decided I needed a deep-tissue massage. Check that. He decided my ass needed a deep-tissue massage, because that’s where the muscles were the tightest.

Apparently, I have a tight ass. (har-har)

Disclaimer: Maybe it wasn’t a deep-tissue massage. Maybe he was just massaging the area around the sciatic nerve really hard. Whatever the hell he did, it hurt. A lot. I was sucking in big gasps of air, and nearly jumped off the table several times. He’d dig a knuckle into the flesh and I’d be squirming and tensing and resisting the urge to clock him. I lost count how many times I said “ouch/ow/gaaa!”

But do I feel better now? Hours later? Yes, I do — although I can already feel my muscles starting to tighten again. Do I want that kind of massage again? I’m not sure. That kind of pain should come with a complimentary drink.