Monday, January 21, 2013

Oh, what a day.

Since I've had a child, I've realized something of the utmost importance:
What used to take me 15 minutes, now takes an hour and a half.

Allow me to elaborate. This morning my husband called. He's on a business trip in Las Vegas and needs me to overnight him a few things that he left behind. No big deal, normally. I decide to make an event out of it. Pack the baby up; head to the grocery store; grab a card and some valentine's candy to include in the package; oh, and walk to the store and the post office in an effort to increase my cardio. Clearly, I've thought of everything and am the world's greatest, most thoughtful partner. Check.

We arrive at the Post Office, proud and smiling.

Except, today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The Post Office is, in fact, closed. Excellent.

Trying to make the best of it, Kate and I head home for a quick lunch--and to investigate UPS and Fed Ex locations that are open nearby. We gobble up our food, gather up our gear, shlep our stuff to the Fed Ex place, and bring along a stuffed animal for Kate. As now it's 12:45 pm (15 minutes away from Kate's nap).

Against all odds, we get to the Fed Ex store and the child has not fallen asleep in the car. A victory! We pack up our supplies for Daddy. We make friends with the store clerk. I'm about to pat myself on the back for being the best mother (and wife) on the planet and I realize I've forgotten my phone... which has Chris' address at the hotel, among other important information that's necessary for mailing the package. Sigh.

We settle down, hold back tears, and manage to get back to the car to begin our journey home--knowing that we'll immediately turn around to go back to the store. This wouldn't be so annoying, except for the fact that we live in a condo complex with underground parking... meaning I cannot just leave Kate in the carseat while I run in and grab the phone. I have to unbuckle her, put her on my hip, run up two flights of stairs, unlock the door, find the phone, fill out the Fed Ex label, run down two flights of stairs, buckle Kate back up, and drive back to the Fed Ex store... only to unbuckle her and start the process over again.

But, long story short, we did it. My child was exhausted, shoeless, and meowing at the other customers in the store. And yet, the package got mailed (even though the clerk forgot to put the card in the box... but that was the least of our concerns).

Package mailed. Baby asleep at 2 pm. I've just decided we're eating out tonight.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Something incredibly awkward

Last night we had our hospital tour. In all honesty, it was awesome. I'm so happy with our hospital choice; the tour actually got me really excited for the big day. I had such a great time that I think some of the other people in our class were a little annoyed by me, because I had--easily--the best experience of anyone else. Allow me to explain.

The same woman who taught the breastfeeding class (who I mentioned in yesterday's post) was giving the tour. She recognized me and Chris right away and even had me answer questions/act as her assistant as the tour wore on. Clearly, I was established as the teacher's pet--which, normally doesn't bother me. But I'm so intimidated in mom circles, that I couldn't help but feel like all the other moms were shooting daggers my way.

Eventually, we got off the elevator at the Labor & Delivery floor, and the entire class was in the waiting area. Our tour guide was sharing some logistics and explaining what we were about to see. Well, who should walk through the door but MY obstetrician! It was awesome. She came right over, said hello to me and Chris, rubbed my belly... I mean, the woman all but gave me a hug. Chris and I looked at each other, and immediately, we were put at ease.

Shortly thereafter, we walked through the hallway and into the waiting room. We were about to enter one of the delivery rooms (all of which are private, by the way) and therefore, we passed by the nurse's station. Well, who should we see at the desk but my friend Julie--a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital. Neither of us thought to check her schedule, confirm when/if she'd be there, or even alert each other to the possibility that we could run into one another. This time, there was more squealing, more hugging, and more hushed conversation as the tour guide said, "Well, you just know everyone, don't you?"

But all of this is not the reason why I'm writing today.
Here you be: As part of the tour, our guide mentioned the possibility of listening to soothing music while you're laboring and delivering as a means of relaxation. Both Chris and I had heard of this, but we never really considered it until being in the room, looking at the bed, and imagining ourselves going through the miracle of birth.

So, onto the awkward. I'm assuming that labor will take me a while. And I'm assuming that if I bring CDs, I'm probably going to get annoyed with one person's voice for all that time. Make a playlist on your iPod, you say? Well, yes. We thought of that. But how long do you plan for? What if it runs out? Do you just repeat? Will I get annoyed with the fact that I might not be surprised at what comes next? For these reasons, I'm thinking Pandora might be a nice option. But here's where it gets uncomfortable. I'm listening to one of my created stations right now. It's easily my favorite--lots of airy female vocalists and even-tempo songs. I listen to this at work regularly, as it relaxes me and helps me focus. HOWEVER (and this is a big however), many--if not all--of the songs feel or sound like break up songs. Like sad bastard break up songs.

It's weird to listen to sad bastard music while you're giving birth, right? I mean, I've never done this before. I don't know. But I'm assuming that's not the "dream" introduction to the world that you'd like to give your daughter: "Hello, little one! Welcome to the world. This place is pain-filled--sometimes horribly so--and hard to navigate. But some bitchin' art usually comes out of it." Or the memory you'd like to share with her when she's old enough to hear the story of her birth: "So, lovely. You were born. And I'll never forget it. Sara Bareilles was singing 'Gravity,' and the words--
'You're neither friend nor foe,
though I can't seem to let you go,
the one thing that I still know,
is that you're keeping me down...'
have very special meaning for me."

Don't think I'll be winning any "Mother of Year" trophies with that one.

So, I find myself at a loss. Music? No music? Different music? Length of music? Medium of music?
Whatever advice you'd like to share is appreciated. I promise. No judgements.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


As in, sometimes I feel like a mom and sometimes I feel really dumb. Most of the time, these two categories are directly linked. Take today for example. I'll be 34 weeks pregnant tomorrow (oh, by the way, I'm pregnant. Like, really pregnant) and for some reason, I got it into my brain that my baby isn't moving enough. Why? Well, I'll tell you why. The internet. As much as I love this highway of information, it's also littered with mis-information or VERY BAD information. Which leaves mothers-to-be anxious, worried, and overwrought. Or maybe that's just me.

All this to say, I kind of freaked out. To which my husband said, "Um, Jessie? The baby's kind of running out of room in there. She's probably just hanging out."
Common sense is so amazing!
Why don't I have any of it?

Not long after that, my dad's voice came rushing to my mind: "Jessie, when things start to go wrong in pregnancy, they start to go really wrong. There's blood. There's pain. It's not pretty. Don't spin yourself out of control."

But like a dradel on 'roids, that's exactly what I did. I scoured the internet, looking for other people who were suffering the same trauma. It turns out, there are some *really* stupid people out there. And to be honest, stupid people frighten me. Which then makes the terror worse... because then I start to fear that I'm actually one of the stupid ones. (Are you getting tired of reading this? I'm sort of getting tired of writing like this. I hope I mellow out soon. But what can you expect from a girl who hasn't had a drink in 8 months!?!?)

Which brings me to my next point: birthing class. We went to a class last night and talked mostly about breastfeeding. The teacher was cute, and asked us who was craving sushi? Beer? Any kind of hard liquor?

Literally, I was the only person in the entire room that raised her hand. And I raised it each time. Sushi? Hell yeah. Beer? Definitely. Hard liquor? Yes, my 4th of July was sorely lacking--thank you very much. But I mean, come on. Seriously? The judgement from other moms is *insane*. The teacher even commented: "I love this woman. At least she's honest."

So, to all of the other moms in that damn breastfeeding class--I'm calling you out. In fact, I'm willing to put money on the fact that our husbands will run into each other at the same sushi place when I force mine to get me a spicy tuna roll and eel hand roll the SECOND the doctor clears me. Oh, and a saki. For the road.

But there are also moms (and women in general) who make life easier to bear; who help shoulder burdens; who free you from needless anxiety and worry; who encourage you to write because they know you love it, even though you think you don't have anything to say. They call you when they know you're overwhelmed. They email you back RIGHT away when you're nervous. They never make you feel stupid. They remind you that you've never done this before and it's going to be ok. It's going to be gnarly. But totally awesome and ok. Thank God for them.

Monday, October 18, 2010


It's funny. Good writing makes me want to write.

I've stumbled on a few blogs recently that I really enjoy. Both of them are written by women who have such compelling and different voices... yet, there's something similar that I can't quite nail down. Perhaps the fact that they're both extremely talented is enough of a connection. But it's more than that. Neither of them are pretentious or self-glorifying, which I think people in the "blogosphere" can so easily be. For lack of a better phrase, they're so clearly them. Which, truth be told, is a bit awkward for me to say--considering I don't actually know either of them.

But. Here they are: Kelle Hampton and Sarah Markley.

Check them out. Enjoy their voices. Be inspired.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

2 out of 3 ain't bad... right?

I guess it depends on what you're talking about. In this post, I happen to be talking about what I casually refer to as "The Morning Trifecta."
  1. Taking a shower
  2. Doing my hair
  3. Putting on make-up

I almost NEVER accomplish all 3 on any given morning. In fact, if I'm honest, my hair is sorely mistreated. But, I will say, I've gotten quite clever at messy buns and half completed braids. This makes is appear as though I've tried to get my hair to do something... but really, I've spent the extra 15 minutes snoozing. Because apparently, I'd rather sleep than look cute.

Dear Lord.

I don't even have kids and I'm already sacrificing appearance for comfort. The writing on the wall is clear: I will not be one of those moms that's well put together and adorable.

But, I'll be comfortable. The kids will be comfortable. And hopefully, that'll be enough.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Vitamin D-ficient

I have new insurance, so I thought it'd be a good idea to go and have my annual physical. I went to my new doctor in my new HMO and was having quite a pleasant visit. I mean, how pleasant are annual exams usually?

I really liked my doctor and we had some unexpected things in common. I was surprised by how much she was willing to share about herself, and how warmly I responded to her candor.

All was going well.
That is, until she began to leave the room:
"We're going to have the lab check all your levels, and we're going to keep an eye on your Vitamin D. It looks like you don't get a lot of sun."

I was taken aback. Surprised, even. I felt the need to explain myself.
"I know. I'm white. And I do try to stay out of the sun. But I exercise a lot... I just use a hat and sunglasses to shade myself. Because I burn so easy. Because I'm so fair." I said everything so fast, even I knew I sounded desperate. And a little bit dorky.

She looked at her clipboard, flipped a few pages, wrote something down. Then said:
"Oh, well sure. I just think you might be deficient. If you are, it's no big deal. You just have to add a vitamin supplement to your diet."

Well, here I am 7 days later with the lab results in hand: All labs are fine except vitamin d level is low. Recommend 2000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.

Maybe I should be a vampire for Halloween.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Spiritual Discipline of the Latte

I've been meeting with a spiritual director once a month for the last 6 months or so, and I can safely say, it's been pretty fantastic for me. She helps me recognize God in unexpected ways... and I love that. Sometimes I talk myself into semi-neurotic circles of doubt and confusion, and she has a way of helping me recognize God in the midst of chaos and paradox. I think the biggest discovery we've recently made is the idea of God being paradox: Powerful and merciful. Strong and gentle. All knowing and outside of time and personal and intimate.

The thing I struggle with most in my relationship with God is trying to make sense of all the suffering and evil that takes place in the world--and knowing that God could stop and prevent all of it. But doesn't. Why not? I mean, really. AIDS. Darfur. Haiti. Cancer. Rape. Sometimes I'm simply overwhelmed by it.

There's this one scene from Blood Diamond (with Jennifer Connolley and Leonardo DiCaprio) where they're talking about the monstrosities that took place in Africa during Apartheid. And Leo's character says, "I wonder. Will God ever forgive us for what we've done to each other? And then I remember, God left this place a long time ago."

Or maybe you remember that "Dear God" song by XTC. I just heard Sarah McLauchlan do a cover of it on the radio the other day. And the last verse is still ringing in my ears:
You're always letting us humans down
The wars you bring, the babes you drown.
Those lost at sea and never found,
And it's the same the whole world 'round.
The hurt I see helps to compound
That Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
Is just somebody's unholy hoax,
And if you're up there you'd perceive,
That my heart's here upon my sleeve.
If there's one thing I don't believe in...
It's you...
Dear God.

I mean. This stuff breaks my heart. And not because these people don't know Jesus. It kills me because I can see and understand why people believe in this. For me, sometimes the only thing that keeps my faith alive is the vain hope that there has to be something better. There just has to be. This can't be it.

So anyway. The latte.

After meeting with my director this week, she suggested I do a spiritual discipline with my favorite treat: the latte I treat myself with once a week (usually on Fridays). She advised me to take some time and really experience it with all my senses. To let this be my "devotional" or "God time." So, today I decided to do just that. Here's an excerpt from my journal about the experience:

I love feeling the drink roll down my throat and feeling it settle in my stomach. I love the lingering taste it leaves on the back of my throat. It's almost like I taste more of the flavor after it's been swallowed. Maybe God is like that, too. He's in our midst and always present--but it's not until after we think He's already left that we feel his presence more strongly. I still have the taste of coffee on my breath, my tongue, even though it's been a while since I took a sip.