Friday, November 22, 2013

Perfect timing.

I'm trying to potty-train D, sort of.  We all know I can be incredibly lazy, so the effort is kind of off and on.  When I remember, I ask him if he has to go potty.  He always says yes.  He'll answer almost any question with yes.  I couldn't find my keys earlier, and I asked D if he knew where they were.  He said yes.  I was like: sweet, the kid comes through.  I asked him where they were.  His answer: he threw them.  Excellent.  And completely not true because he was strapped into his car seat with no access to the keys.  My point being that he loves saying yes to people.  So when I ask him if he has to go potty, he always says yes, and he has yet to actually use the potty.  As a result, I'm a bit lazier than I probably should be in following through.  Tonight, I remembered to ask him shortly after dinner figuring that he'd just had an entire cup of milk, so he must have to go soon.  Of course he said yes.  Then he wanted to get naked for his time on the potty.  Fine with me.  Thirty minutes passed with us sitting in the bathroom.  We talked silly, and he spent a disturbing amount of time licking my palm, but he didn't use the potty.  I figured thirty minutes was a really good attempt, so I got him down and went to get a clean diaper.  He followed me naked into the living room and started digging through his toy bin.  When I turned around from the diaper stash, he was staring at the floor as he peed on it.  It was amazing timing.  I couldn't help but laugh and be glad he didn't pee on the rug.  I praised him for peeing and encouraged him to go on the potty next time.  I'm not sure if it's a step in the right direction or if I'm just truly terrible at potty-training.  There had to be something I was terrible at, right?  At least Eli is coming home soon, so he can take over evening potty duty.  About that...

Eli is planning to be home the first week of December.  He has to get his visa changed before the movers can come for our stuff, and he has to be there while they pack because only about half of the things in the India apartment are ours.  Once he gets his visa and an appointment with the movers, he can buy his ticket home.  For those tuning in late, Eli got the new position at his work that he'd been pushing for.  It comes with a raise and the need to come back to Milwaukee early, so the contract is ending in early December instead of mid-February.  He's still planning to fly back to India for his big 40th birthday trek, and the apartment will still be available and furnished for everyone.  He's also going to leave his 50 pounds of meat there in the freezer for that trip.  I can't help but be grateful because we'd need to buy a second freezer to store his meat.  Not something you say every day about your husband. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Oh, those were blueberries...

Seriously guys, I'm not feeding D blueberries again until he's potty-trained.  We had blueberries with dinner last night, and when I went to change his diaper this morning, I thought for a second that he'd eaten moldy black crayons or something.  That's all I'm going to say on that topic because it was horrifying and I want to stop thinking about it now. 

In other news, we're trying to get a good Christmas pic of D for cards this year.  Eli still has the good camera in India, so I'm left with few options.  We haven't found a winner yet, but I'm going to keep trying with my crappy camera phone.  I've included a little preview below.

He's so sassy.

I asked him to smile.  This is what he did.

He really liked the bells.

This is his pouty face when I asked for the little stocking back.

This is my favorite, but it's blurry thanks to my awesome phone camera.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Option number 2 is duct tape.

I've had a very trying morning.  Let me start by saying that I'm not a morning person to begin with unless there's the promise of tasty foods I don't normally get.  That will put me in a good mood pretty quickly, but under normal circumstances, I'd rather just lay in bed for a while.  D does not lay in bed.  He gets up and messes with stuff in his room.  Since the tea tree oil fiasco, henceforth known at The Incident, I've put some quiet toys in his room for when he gets up before me.  Which is every day.  Instead of playing with them, he dumps them on the floor then rearranges his drawers.  Honestly, I'm happy to put things back where they go in the morning since it's fairly harmless.  He must have been bored with the drawers today.  Let's go back a little further.  Before D was born, my parents shipped me a box full of old Disney puzzles.  They thought, rightly so it seems, that D would like to play with them some day.  Being a Dizgeek myself, I also enjoyed the thought of the puzzles.  I stacked them in the drawer under the crib.  About the time that I lowered the crib to the bottom setting, the drawer gave up it's last attempt at clinging to usefulness.  It wouldn't move and kept falling apart, so I just took it off the track and left it on the floor pushed against the back wall under the crib.  The puzzles were still there.  Today, D got up before dawn and yelled until I came to change his poopy diaper (I can't wait until we get him fully potty-trained).  I put him back in bed because in this house we sleep until the sun comes up.  About an hour later, I checked the camera to find that something had apparently exploded in D's room.  I rushed upstairs to see bits of broken drawer buried under thousands of puzzle pieces and eight boxes.  D was standing by the gate grinning at me.  Then he threw a puzzle piece at my head.  It was at this point that I gave up on good parenting and gave in to the pregnancy rage.  I admit it: I yelled at my two-year-old son.  There was a huge mix of emotions churning inside of me, and for a minute, I had to stay outside the gate while D continued to grin at me to stop myself from yelling more.  Deep breaths.  At least I'd only yelled one short comment to the tune of "What the hell, crazy man?!"  I entered the disaster zone and began cleanup.  At first, D tried to help, but after dropping a piece of drawer on my foot for a second time, I banished him to sitting on his bed.  Nicely.  I said it nicely.  With clenched teeth.  It took a while to get the floor cleaned, and I think I can salvage the puzzles after a bit of concentrated effort separating the pieces, but my real concern was that I'm having trouble controlling my anger.  I'm not afraid that I'm going to do anything physically, but I find myself yelling in the angry mom voice too often for my peace of mind.  D doesn't understand that those puzzles were important to me too or that I'm going to spend a lot of time trying to put them back to rights.  All he gets is that he had a hell of a time scattering them all over his room.  Yelling at him serves no purpose and teaches him that it's okay to yell at people.  I started examining my behavior a few days ago when D screamed at me for not getting off the couch fast enough for his tastes.  It wasn't just high-pitched shrieking; he was yelling at me.  I'm trying to curb my tendency to yell, but it's proving very difficult when I can go from completely calm to pregnant psycho in less than a second.  I got to test my new patience a few minutes later when we went into my room so I could change.  I was still in my pajamas, and D followed me into my room while I grabbed clothes.  As my back was turned, he grabbed a Lakefront Brewery token from Eli's bedside table and dropped it into the vent on the humidifier.  I turned back just in time to see it disappear.  I spent the next fifteen minutes alternating between actively trying not to yell and prying up the vent to retrieve the token.  I managed to get it out without breaking anything, and I did it without raising my voice.  I spoke very quietly, and D seemed unsure what to make of it.  That's going to be my new plan.  When I'm angry, I will speak quietly and remove myself from the situation (after locking D on the other side of the living room gate).  I hope that I remember my new plan of action because I have no intention of raising a hellion who screams at people.  There's nothing like your child repeating your bad habits to spur you into action changing them.

I finally uploaded a bunch of pictures, so enjoy.

Playing with the new ball he scammed me out of at the park.

That's a lion riding a bear just before going to the zoo.

Soft dragon.
"Helping" me cook by stealing my potholders.

D's first D&D campaign.  He does not look convinced that the plan was well thought-through.

Oh look, something shiny!  Also, fabulous heels.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy First of November!

I love Halloween.  If you ask me in October what my favorite holiday is, I'll say Halloween.  If you ask me November first, I'll say Christmas.  I read that one of the Milwaukee AM stations is already playing holiday music.  I haven't checked yet, but just the possibility got me all excited.  I love everything about the holidays, and hell yes, I lump Thanksgiving and Christmas into one huge holiday season.  That's why I'd love the holiday music to start on November first.  Not the round the clock stuff yet, I can wait for the day after Thanksgiving for that, but the occasional song to whet our holiday appetites.  I realize this is not a popular opinion, but I don't care.  It makes me happy, and today I need a little happy. 

I woke up this morning to find D standing amidst a pile of stuff from the little bins on top of his dresser.  This is not a new occurrence.  Once he was confident that he was allowed to leave his toddler bed, he likes to get up in the mornings and turn off his sound machine, his humidifier, and hit the buttons on his Twilight Turtle a couple hundred times.  The last few mornings, he's also managed to reach the two smaller bins on his dresser and has helpfully emptied them out on the other side of his door gate (his door is at the top of the stairs, so we close the door and put a gate up when he's sleeping).  He's known how to open the door for a while, so it's really only the gate keeping him in his room.  He also likes to sit and chat with the cat who will roll around on the other side of the gate taunting him.  I only made it halfway up the stairs this morning before I realized something was terribly wrong.  The stairs reeked.  There was the usual pile of stuff at the landing outside D's door, but he was rubbing his face and saying "uh oh."  I quickly realized that I'd left a small bottle of tea tree oil in the bottom of the larger bin that had gotten covered with papers and baby junk.  I tried it when we were still cloth diapering in an attempt to minimize the poop smell in his room.  I preferred the smell of the poop over the smell of the oil, so it was forgotten.  Until today.  D had gotten the bottle open and dumped the entire thing on his carpet just inside the door.  Then he covered it up with the papers and baby junk.  I was most concerned by the fact that he also reeked of tea tree oil, and he kept rubbing his face by his mouth.  I immediately rinsed his mouth out and washed his hands.  His pjs went directly into the washing machine along with his blankies and the shirt I was wearing that he managed to smear with oil.  I Googled tea tree oil to find out that it's apparently poisonous.  Here's where I win the mom of the year award.  Instead of taking him to the hospital or calling poison control, I gave him a cup of milk and asked him if he drank any of the smelly stuff.  He didn't answer the question, but I wasn't really expecting an answer.  He was showing no symptoms of ingesting the oil, and I couldn't smell it on his breath. Also, the stain on the carpet was pretty big, and there was oil all over the other stuff he'd thrown around with it.  I had no idea when he'd actually started playing with it, so I decided to wait and see.  I got him changed, gave him breakfast, and scrubbed the carpet with OxyClean for an hour and a half.  Nothing.  He was his normal self.  He didn't seem to like the smell of it, so it's really unlikely he would have tried to taste it since he's picky about the way stuff smells.  Thank goodness.  It scared the crap out of me though, and in between scrubbings, I made sure to go through everything in his room for more hazardous materials.  So much for baby-proofing.  On the plus side, he hasn't fallen down the stairs since we switched to a toddler bed, so we did something right.  I got the smell out of his blankies and surprisingly out of most of the carpet, but his pjs are still soaking in preparation for their third washing.  I may have to just throw those out.  As a reward, I got to spend the morning with a crazy bad headache and nausea from the intense smell.  I opened all the windows upstairs to air out the house too, so it feels like a crisp fall day here in my living room.  We're going grocery shopping when D gets up from his nap, and after this morning, I may clean them out of discounted candy.  There's nothing like eating away stress and anxiety to make you feel sick later when the hyper-active baby is practicing karate on your insides.  Fun times, bring on the holiday music.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I have something to say.

Several somethings actually.  First, we are indeed having another boy.  There is a rousing debate about possible names on my Facebook page if anyone would like to contribute.  I believe the winning name at the moment is Sherlock Danger.  Second, if you haven't read Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth, go buy them now.  We'll wait. 

Third, if you haven't finished Allegiant, skip this next paragraph because there will be major, MAJOR spoilers.  Now that we're alone...what the crap, Veronica Roth!  I have some questions for you.  I very much love your writing, and despite my questions, I still think the ending of your trilogy was beautiful and had a  lot of beautiful things to say.  Did you plan the entire time to kill Tris, or did that come as a surprise to you as well?  Why did you choose to kill her permanently instead of giving her a gunshot wound that she could heal from?  It was certainly an option.  A lot of people have gotten shot during the series, and a lot of them have survived.  I'm tempted to email her and ask because as an author, and one particularly interested in YA novels, I'm curious about her intentions.  Let's be clear: I'm grieving, not upset that she dared to kill off a main character that I truly enjoyed.  I was so proud of Tris for surviving the death serum.  Honestly, I didn't doubt that she would, and I felt it was a triumph that her will to live was so freaking strong.  Then she does what she has to (I think even at the end she was hoping she would survive the encounter, and I think she did the right thing in her actions), and she is finally taken down by a bullet.  After everything she's been through and the hope she embodied, I wanted her to be alive to spread it.  It seems so sad for the entire society that one of the people who was trying so hard to raise herself and those around her up to a be better people would die.  Also, I just wanted Four and Tris to have the chance to be happy together.  They never really knew a time when they weren't in some kind of conflict, and it just makes me really sad.  I'm going to quote a paragraph here that is the main reason it makes me sad:  "I fell in love with him.  But I don't just stay with him by default as if there's no one else available to me.  I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other.  I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me."  I really like that definition of love, and I would have liked it to have the chance to blossom. 

Okay, rant over.  Next blog post will return to our regularly scheduled anecdotes of my daily life.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Expect the unexpected.

It finally happened.  Just like during my last pregnancy, I've had some serious nasal issues this time.  Every morning and at least one other time during the day, I get into this sneezing marathon.  My nose starts running, and I get all stuffy.  There are tissue boxes in every room of my house.  Including the basement.  Just in case.  There exists a pregnancy phenomenon that I had heard of but never experienced prior to this week.  There's even a word for it, at least on the Bump forums, namely: snissing.  This is a combination of sneezing and peeing (or more likely, pissing).  It's when you leak a little when you sneeze.  Luckily, it only happened to me on the way to the bathroom with a very full bladder.  It didn't change my reaction though.  It was a kind of horrified wonder, like: so, that's what that's like.  To be completely honest, it happened twice.  Both on the way to the bathroom.  I'm hoping it doesn't happen again, but I've learned to expect the unexpected and prepare accordingly.  I don't have picture evidence of any of this, since I know you weirdos are hoping for some blackmail material (not very effective blackmail material considering I just shared the story with the entire internet).

In other messy news, I took D with me to the grocery store today (as per usual), and he really wanted to hold the kiwis we were buying.  I figured they were three for a dollar so even if he makes them all squishy I won't be out much money.  Also, he was crying loudly.  Decision made: I let him hold the bag of kiwis.  He made short work of pulling three of the four kiwis out of the bag and lining them up on the metal tray thing in the front of the cart.  I hid the last kiwi because I wanted at least one to eat.  This turned out to be a wise decision.  We made it maybe five minutes before he started banging the kiwi on the metal bars.  He listened the first time I told him not to do it, but his obedience lasted less than a minute.  As soon as we entered the meat section, he started banging away again.  This time, he used the metal bars and his head.  I picked up some ground beef, and when I turned back to face him, the kiwi was flattened on one side.  I immediately took it away (he didn't care, he had two more to play with), but he'd already smashed it into pulp on the bottom.  I turned away to throw the ruined kiwi into a conveniently placed trash can, and when I turned back, he'd done it to another kiwi.  Clearly, I needed a better solution.  I took away both the newly smashed kiwi and the remaining fairly-whole kiwi this time.  After tossing his second victim, I realized that he'd used the metal bars as a sort of very blunt blender.  There were flecks of kiwi all over the bottom of the tray, his pants, his shoes, my pants, the cart, and finally, my purse, which I had mistakenly thought was safe under the cart and out of his reach.  Luckily (I've been pretty lucky this week if you look at it all squinty-eyed), we were still standing in the meat section next to a trash can and a roll of paper towels for people who couldn't collect their bloody meat in a civilized manner.  I cleaned all the smooshed kiwi off of us and the cart, and moved on.  D thought the whole situation was hilarious.  Since he was laughing instead of throwing a tantrum because I took away his squishy fruit toys, I considered it a win for the side of good.  I didn't realize until I tried to drive home facing the setting sun that my sunglasses had taken the brunt of the kiwi splatter.  It was a good thing I was already looking at the situation squinty-eyed because I couldn't see through the glop.  Squinting made it possible to drive home. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Squiggles!

I felt the baby move last night.  It was just a little wiggle, but it was definitely not gas.  I'm getting more and more excited about having a new baby, which is awesome because I wasn't feeling particularly pregnant before now.  At least not the glowing, happy pregnant I was last time.  I want to hit some rummage sales to get some new baby clothes, but D is not one for rummaging.  Every time we've tried to stop somewhere with kid stuff, he freaks out when we leave because he wants ALL THE TOYS.  Luckily, Eli is coming home next week, so maybe he'll be willing to hang with D for a while so I can go shopping.  I've been really enjoying spending time with D again.  We went to the park the other day, and he played for a full two hours before we had to head home for dinner.  I took a lot of pics for Eli, but somehow when I moved my SD card to my new phone, those pics disappeared.  I'm really sad about that because there were some great pics in there, including a couple of smiling mommy/baby pictures.  Oh well, I guess we'll have to go back tomorrow and try again.  I did get a picture of him wearing his sunglasses like me.  It's been really sunny and nice here, so I've spent a lot of time with sunglasses on top of my head.  D seems to have noticed.  He's started mimicking everything he sees and hears.  It seems like he's growing so much faster now that I'm spending all my time with him.  I can't tell if he's really moving that fast, or if I'm just around to notice now.  Either way, I feel like Eli is missing a lot.  

We're working on D using a straw without dousing himself with whatever liquid is in the cup.  He's used to a sippy cup that he can tip upside down without it spilling.  We went to Outback Steakhouse the other day and he spilled milk on himself (and the booster chair, and the booth, and me, and the floor...) three separate times.  I decided that he's old enough to learn, so I bought him some of the same kind of sippy cup he already uses but with straws through the lids instead.  He was really excited about the straws, but I didn't realize when I gave him the cup that I hadn't snapped the lid on all the way.  I noticed before he could tip it on himself and tried to fix it.  He was holding the cup with the straw pointing right at his face.  When the lid snapped down, milk shot through the straw and sprayed him.  He looked so surprised with milk dripping down his face, but he wasn't upset.  I couldn't stop laughing.  I was trying to be calm and reassuring because he generally doesn't like to be "dirty," but it was really hard while I was shaking from silently laughing.  After that fiasco, I got him a Halloween cup from Target with a lid that twists on and a spirally crazy straw that he can't pull out.  So far, that's been the cup that's worked the best.  D still pulls the original sippy cup straws out of the drawer and chases the cat around with them, but he's forgiven me for squirting him. 

Here's D looking fabulous with his green sunglasses on crooked:
So fabulous.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sometimes you just need a hot towel.

We're home and happy.  D and I have been back about a week, and the jetlag has finally eased.  We both slept well last night and got up refreshed.  I supposed I should start at the beginning and say that my baby is a champion flyer.  Our flight left India at 2am (as it always does), which is problematic for a tired two-year-old.  To compound the difficulty, the airport doesn't let anyone enter after 11pm, even if your flight isn't until 2am.  So to actually make our flight, we had to leave our house at 9:30pm, just three and a half short hours after D went to bed.  How much sleep did I get you ask?  Well on the day of our flight, I got up at 6am with D, then took a 2 hour nap in the afternoon, and that was it.  We got the car loaded and set off for the airport.  I needed Eli's credit card to pay for the extra baggage, but he wasn't allowed into the airport since he wasn't flying (another awesome rule).  The guards with large guns outside were not sympathetic.  Eli had to wait while I ran in and got our tickets, then we had to meet at the doorway to exchange credit cards and phones.  He wasn't allowed in, and I wasn't allowed back out.  It made for a quick and tense goodbye.  Despite that, the situation was going pretty smoothly at that point.  We were escorted to the executive lounge where we always wait, and D got all excited for the little rolls they had set out along with the rest of the food.  We snacked and sat for a while, but that only took us about a half hour of the 3 hour wait we had before us.  Of course, being 2, D didn't think he was at all tired and wanted to run around playing with the outlets and lamps.  I was tired, nauseated from dinner, and uncomfortable in an upright position.  So of course I chased him around for close to two hours.  At that point, nothing was good enough for him and he threw tantrum after tantrum because he just wanted to lay down somewhere dark and quiet.  There was nowhere that met those requirements in the area where we were waiting.  It was a long wait.  The escort finally came back and collected us for boarding.  We passed through the second security check point and cut in front of the long line of people waiting to board the plane.  This is nothing new.  It happens every time we fly out of India.  I'm not sure if it's because I had D, we had business class tickets, or we were white.  It honestly could have been any of those.  Once on the plane, D settled down. The attendants handed out warm towels to people, but I declined.  Once D saw that the people around him had towels to play with, he wanted one.  He started asking loudly for a hot towel (it sounded like "hot toe" and was very confusing for the people around us).  When I told him no, he insisted on pulling out his tray and patting it several times while giving me a look that clearly stated he would like his hot towel now please.  I tried telling him that they said "hot towel" not "hot dog," but he just looked at me like I was an idiot.  Shortly after that, we had to buckle in so they could get ready to take off.  D passed out before we even started to taxi.  To my great surprise, nothing woke him up.  He slept for several hours (I got a few hours in too once the attendants stopped trying to give me stuff).  When he woke up, he was hungry, but I had stashed a couple of packages of peanuts because I am psychic like that.  He was very happy eating them and tossing them all over the floor.  They served breakfast not long after that, and he ate like a champ.  He didn't spill food.  He told me what he wanted and cleaned up neatly when he was done.  After that, we walked the aisles for a while and then it was time to sleep again.  He slept all the way to lunch, which was served about three hours before we landed.  This time, they gave us both our trays at the same time, and D was still on his best behavior.  No mess, no stress.  He did not like the chicken parmesan.  I ate both pieces of chicken and regretted it later. Overall, it was the most he's ever slept on a plane, and he was so well behaved that the guy across the aisle complimented him when we landed.  Once home, we both napped until Eli's parents arrived to help out. 

The last week has been both extremely tiring and totally awesome.  I've adjusted to being D's primary caregiver again with no problems.  Now that we're both sleeping normally again, I'm even happier.  There are so many things about the States that I missed besides the food, and every day I find something new.  Eli is getting by okay without us in India, but he's lonely.  I, on the other hand, have plans with people I've missed.  The company is planning to send Eli back to Milwaukee for a few weeks in October, so we'll see each other soon.  I'm sure he'll appreciate being able to fly business class without a toddler for once. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

To sum up

Just a quick post to keep everyone up to date.  D and I are heading home in one week.  I have everything except half a suitcase packed, so we're all set on that front.  I just got a new blood test done, and my TSH levels (the thyroid stuff I'm having a problem with) are still a little high.  They're much closer to normal now, but I think the doctor is going to adjust my medication again.  We had a second ultrasound as well (this is how they do exams in India), and everything is normal and right on track.  That was a huge relief because I've been extremely worried about the hypothyroidism and my inability to eat very much.  Most of the general nausea is gone at this point, but if I try to eat something my body doesn't want, it immediately kicks back into high gear.  I have plenty of cravings and I'm hungry a lot, but the things I want aren't available here.  The same problem I've been having.  I'm really looking forward to eating like a normal pregnant woman in another week.  I've lost more weight.  I'm now down 10 pounds from when we found out we were pregnant.  Despite that, my belly has popped out a little, and since it's firm, I'm assuming it's baby rather than very tenacious fat.  I start my second trimester on Monday. 

D seems to have no idea that things are changing, but he did freak out when he opened the suitcase in his room and found his pillow in there.  He's listening pretty well now for a change, so I hope corralling him for the flight won't be too hard.  I desperately need him to sleep for a while on the plane, but I recognize that he doesn't care what I desperately need.  He's slept longer and longer for each international flight we've taken, so I hope we'll get more than 6 hours this time.  Weirdly enough, I'm really looking forward to the cheese wedges they always have on the plane.  Eli claims that if I want some, all I have to do is ask.  In business class, they'll go out of their way to provide me with cheese wedges even if they aren't serving food.  I hope he's right.  In the mean time, we're going to order yet another pizza from Pizza Hut, and hope that our grocery store has restocked their ginger ale. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I'm not dead yet.

The secret for me to lose the last of the baby/cupcake weight is, apparently, for me to get pregnant again.  Through no effort on my part, I've managed to finally hit my weight goal at 9 weeks pregnant by losing 7 pounds.  It doesn't sound like a lot, but I'd been working on those 7 pounds for a while.  Just to be clear, I am not really happy about the weight loss.  I've been really sick the last few weeks and unable to eat most anything.  This is not the healthiest way to be pregnant or lose weight, though I'm told it's somewhat normal during the first trimester.  That's not to say I'm not hungry.  What's really happening is that I'm craving glorious, preservative-filled American food, and anything else is turning my stomach.  I've tried to make myself eat what we've established as normal food here, but I get a few bites in then have to rush to the bathroom.  I actually woke up last night from a dream where I was eating Velveeta Shells and Cheese and my stomach was cramping so bad from wanting some that I had to get up and take some medicine.  To exacerbate the problem, I have hypothyroidism.  One of the symptoms being extreme fatigue.  I have to take a pill every morning to counter it, no biggie, but for the two weeks before we figured it out, I didn't have the energy to get out of bed at all.  I don't mean I was feeling lazy.  I mean I tried to get out of bed and as soon as I stood up I got shaky and my heart started pounding until I laid down again.  It was scary.  I'm feeling a lot stronger now thanks to the medication, and I may have found some solutions to my American food cravings (besides ordering Pizza Hut every night).  As soon as it stops raining (yay monsoon), I'm heading to the store to get some expensive American ingredients. 

Some of you may have noticed I did a guest post over at the fabulous Rants from Mommyland.  I was really happy to contribute, and the responses from people just blew me away.  There was so much support and love from complete strangers.  Here's a link if you missed it: Domestic Enemies of the Grad School Mom

In other great news, my amazing sister-in-law had her baby this past weekend.  I now have another niece to totally spoil.  I'm not sure how they managed a girl baby in this family, but respect.  I can't wait to see her, so I'm selfishly hoping they'll bring their new baby to Wisconsin for Christmas since I'll be there for it.  I'm still going back and forth as to when D and I will be returning to the States.  Some time between September 15th and  December 15th for sure, but I'm suffering from a miserable case of homesickness.  I'm also feeling the pull of not breaking the Thanksgiving tradition we have of spending that time in Florida with the usual suspects.  It will be the first time in a lot of years that we don't celebrate with Rocket et al.  If only plane tickets weren't so expensive. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

I hear it's hard to get puke out of keyboards.

Morning (read: all the time) sickness is kicking my butt.  The best part is I haven't actually thrown up, but I constantly feel like I'm going to hurl.  I figure that will make it hard to get to the bathroom if I ever do actually throw up because it'll come with no new warning.  This (and the fact that I'm dizzy and feel like crap) are the reasons I've been away from the blog so long.  Don't worry.  I felt the exact same way with D, so this is normal for me.  The real downside is that the few foods that sound appetizing aren't available in this country.  As an example, I have half a chocolate birthday cake in the fridge, but every time I think about eating some my nausea bubbles up.  Chocolate cake, guys.  Mostly I've just been eating peanut butter toast, apples, and rainbow rotini pasta.  Our first prenatal appointment is next Saturday, and I'm both hesitant and excited.  I really need this appointment to just be a normal prenatal visit like my ones in America, but I'm anxious because I'm pretty sure it won't be.  Through sheer willpower, I've managed to keep doing the 30DS every day except yesterday.  I didn't even get out of bed until the nanny left at 5 yesterday, and I went straight back to bed after we put D down at 7.  I think D will forgive me for not playing with him as much as usual for one day.  I'm pretty sure the hormones are going strong because I'm getting increasingly frustrated at our help.  They let D play with the electronics and DVDs even though I've told them not to let him (he cries and they just give in because they think I'll get upset if D's crying), but they won't let him play dress-up with Eli's shoes.  I just don't understand that.  Then again, I got VERY territorial the last time I was pregnant, and I was easily annoyed anytime things didn't go the way I wanted them to.  I could maybe solve the annoyance by spending the day with D, but that makes paying the nanny redundant and I'm just really glad to be able to lay in bed all day when I feel like crap.  First world problems in a third world country.  It's only for a few more months anyway (less than 5), and I'll be home alone with a two-year-old and complaining about a whole different set of problems. 

In less negative news, I have a couple of new projects I'm about to start, so hopefully I'll have pics of those soon.  Also, I really am very happy that I'm pregnant.  Eli and I joke about how lucky we are a couple of times a week.  D is an amazing little dude, and he gets smarter every day.  And when the nanny pulls his hair back into a ponytail (because he needs a haircut) he looks just like me.  It's uncanny.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Surprise.

We've already announced it on Facebook, so that makes it official.  We're pregnant with baby #2 and due March 17th.  I'm so excited that I still can't believe it's real.  Then I switch over to freaked out because all my happy pregnancy memories involved being in the States.  Then I'm back to excited because we get a new baby!  That incessant back and forth was enough to convince me that I'm pregnant even if I wasn't sleeping 20 hours a day and constantly snacking for the other 4.  I decided to make a post addressing a lot of the questions I'm getting.  I've made an appointment with a doctor here for pre-natal care.  The plan is to have her coordinate with my doctor at home until I get back.  Right now, I'm not changing my dates for coming home.  I still intend to be back around Christmas, and Eli will follow around the first of February.  The Everest trip is scrapped for me because of the low oxygen at that altitude.  I maintain that I could handle the hiking, but Eli's is right about the oxygen problem.  That means there's a free spot if anyone wants to fly out and go with Eli.  Otherwise, he's just going to try to get a refund for my spot.  He's still planning to go.  We want to find out the sex, but we're not sure if we'll be able to.  Technically, it's illegal to find out the sex of the baby during an ultrasound here, but we're going to try to bribe someone to "accidentally" let it slip.  I feel great with very little nausea, but I'm only a little over 4 weeks pregnant, so there's plenty of time for the throwing up later.  I'm still doing the 30DS, and I plan to keep doing it until the second trimester or until I don't have the energy, whichever comes first.  I did switch back to doing the easier moves though, and I'm paying a lot of attention to how I feel so I don't overdo it.  We've already started a list of names, so if you have a suggestion, please let us know (despite Eli's assurance, I am not considering Danger as a middle name).  We're still planning to sell the house and move when we get home, and we still don't know which city we'll be moving to until contract renegotiations.  Ideally, we'll sell the house quickly, and the company will love the idea of Eli telecommuting.  Then it's goodbye Wisconsin winters and hello Florida sunshine.  D already loves babies, so we hope that will translate to the new one.  We were in the pool this morning and he walked over to me, pull my tank-style bathing suit up to expose my belly and started pointing at it and saying baby.  He also gives my belly kisses when we're cuddling on the couch.  Such an awesome big brother already.

Since I've been spending so much time in bed, I've gotten a lot of crocheting done.  I have some pics of two projects I just finished, one for sale and one for my soon-to-be new little niece out in Cali.  I've also started yet another project for a pregnant friend (it seems to be going around).  :)

My little ninja buddy, complete with throwing star.

An Amish puzzle ball for Zeke and Jenny.



Monday, July 8, 2013

Natural 20.

Stupid Blogger deleted all the blogs I was following.  Eli asked if I had a list somewhere.  I said yes, the list was on Blogger. 

So Eli had his second vasectomy on July 4th.  Just a word of advice: do not use the hospital we went to.  We had an appointment for Wednesday, July 3rd for the surgery, but it turns out that after waiting several hours that appointment was just to see the doctor for five minutes.  He then told us to come back the next day at 11am.  We shrugged it off and went to the pool.  The next morning, we arrived at 10:40 and were asked to wait again.  We spent an hour in the main waiting area, then were escorted upstairs to the "daycare," the area where outpatients are brought after (and apparently before) surgery.  They had Eli dress up in this fabulous salmon-colored shirt and pants combo, then we waited for another 45 minutes.  I was starving because I hadn't eaten yet, so when they kicked me out to do a little trimming on Eli's entire bottom half, I went to the hospital food court.  Before I left, they told me to stay in the waiting room, and they'd come get me when Eli was out of surgery.  I assumed that meant he was going into surgery.  I was wrong.  I got back to the waiting room around 1pm.  I sat there crocheting and playing games on my tablet until 6:15.  I joined him in the daycare, and we were told we had to wait for the doctor to come do some final check.  About fifteen minutes passed, then the nurse told me I had to go downstairs and pay the remainder of our fee before Eli will get the okay to leave.  I spent another 30 minutes waiting for the one guy in the billing office to take our money.  When I got back, the doctor hadn't been in yet, but the nurse said we were free to go.  It was very confusing for both of us because we hadn't gotten any instructions on what to do once we got home, medications, changing dressings, physical limitations, nothing.  They only told us we had to come back in three days (on Sunday, more on that later) to get the dressings removed.  We never saw the doctor again.  I was not impressed at that point, and I told Eli that if I needed medical care to take me to the other hospital with the nice children's doctor.  Eli says the actual surgery was very quick and professional, but I beg to differ.  Here's what I wasn't present for. He decided on local anesthetic, so when he was finally wheeled into the OR, they stuck him several times in his manly bits with needles.  I was already cringing when he was telling me this after, but it got a lot worse.  The doctor waited maybe 5 or 10 seconds then started cutting.  Just to be clear: Eli was not numb.  He said he was screaming that it hurt, but doctor just ignored him and kept going.  Let's all take a moment to think about that experience.  


The entire surgery was something like 48 minutes, and Eli could feel everything for the first 10 minutes.  Not cool.  I told him we should demand our money back for the anesthetic if they weren't going to let it take effect.  I was only half kidding.  So Eli proceeds to call the driver on Sunday and head back over to the hospital in the morning (since appointment times are apparently useless).  He gets there and finds out that the hospital is closed on Sundays and there are no doctors available.  This just added to the idea that the hospital was crap.  He came home and removed the bandages himself, then emailed our contact at the hospital (on Sunday night).  She emailed him back at 10:30am Monday morning to tell him he had an appointment at 11:30am and ignored all his questions.  He didn't get the email until 5:30pm when he sat down at his computer.  Useless system.  We still don't know if the stitches need to be removed by a doctor or if they'll dissolve on their own. 

I don't know how Eli isn't traumatized by this experience.  To offer some kind of balm to your shattered nerves, here is a picture of D after he found Eli's stash of gaming dice.

Roll for initiative.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Everything can be procrastination if you try hard enough.

How long is it supposed to take before major life changes feel normal?  I spent the last 11 years working toward a specific goal, and in May, I reached it.  I've worked out a couple more goals, and I've started working toward them, but I still feel like I'm procrastinating.  It's strange.  Add to that, I'm essentially in a waiting pattern until October/November when Eli's company starts contract renegotiations.   I know I'm moving forward, but it feels like I'm running in place.  So it goes.

Here are some pics of D being the cutest baby model ever and showing off the blanket I made for Rocket:


Happy squinty baby.
 
Doing his Vanna White impression.

And my latest creation, Squishy the Jellyfish:

D loves "helping" me with photo shoots.  And by "helping" I mean running away with the subject.


Happy jellyfish is happy.

I shall call him Squishy, and he shall be mine.

Squishy is the first thing I've made entirely from my own pattern.  It took some trial and error, but I have it down now (and I wrote it down so I won't lose it).  Maybe I'll actually have some products to put in my Etsy store soon.  I'll write about it when the time comes for that.

Friday, June 21, 2013

It's a vicious cycle.

According to Eli's work people, it's not monsoon season yet, but my wet sneakers beg to differ. I wanted to take Eli out to lunch for Father's Day, so we had the driver take us to TGI Fridays at one of the malls.  It had been raining all day, but we didn't think anything of it because it was just a steady rain, no crazy meteorological events happening.  As we're driving to the mall, we notice that the closer we get to MG Road (the main street with most of the malls on it) the deeper the water in the road gets.  There's an elevated train that runs parallel to MG Road, so all the water that was falling on the tracks was draining right onto the road beneath.  There were drainage pipes that were obviously meant to corral the water, but every single one of them was broken apart near the top.  Still, it didn't seem like that big of a deal.  Cars were still swerving around each other, people on motorcycles and bikes were zipping right through the puddles, no big.  After a longer trip than usual thanks to all the people who decided to just stop in the road and park under the elevated train, we came to the mall with the Fridays in it.  There was a long blob of cars (people don't do lines here) being somewhat controlled by a couple of uniformed guys.  I was pretty sure they were police, but there were just as many people ignoring them as there were following orders.  We pulled around the mass of the blob and swerved in near the front, Indian-style.  The cop told us that we couldn't pull into the mall because the underground parking was flooded.  That explained the mass of cars exiting the area.  The Fridays wasn't actually in the mall, more adjacent to it, and we didn't actually need to park since our driver could go on his merry way and come pick us up when we were done, so we told him to pull up to the corner and we'd walk the short distance to the restaurant.  I wish we'd been able to take some pictures once we exited the car, but Eli flat out refused to get his phone out when there was that much water around.  So the car pulls up surprisingly close to the curb considering the depth of the water, and we prepare to hop out.  Eli jumps down and immediately curses.  I'm unbuckling D from his carseat, so I'm not particularly concerned with how wet his feet just got.  Eli slogs around to my side and takes D because there's no way in hell he's walking through that typhoid water.  I follow Eli out of the car and immediately curse myself.  One of my shoes got dunked in the brown gutter water.  I was still holding out hope at that point that I'd have one dry foot, so I tiptoed toward the curb, trying to find the highest ground, and stopped about a foot away.  The water was noticeably deeper the closer I got.  Let me just explain that the curbs in India are somewhere between one and two feet high.  Up until that moment, I had no idea why.  The water was sloshing just over the top of the curb, and I thought maybe I understood.  It was still raining, and I was trying to hold my umbrella over my purse at least (my electronic goodies were in there, I do have priorities).  I decided to try the leap.  I've gone farther before, but I wasn't sure I'd make the upward angle.  I stepped into the shallow water with my wet foot and pushed off.  My body stretched and for one glorious moment I was on the curb, then my foot slipped off the edge and all my weight came down with a splash.  On the plus side, the only part I got wet was the foot that had already been soaked, on the negative side, Eli was standing in the rain with D laughing at me from the other side of the curb.  I chalked it up to a good try, and went to join Eli.  Then I realized the real reason he was laughing.  The parking lot area from the curb to the steps leading up to the Fridays was also underwater.  Eli was almost knee-deep and getting wetter by the second.  I shooed him forward and sighed.  At least I was wearing capris.  Here's a little diagram for you visual learners out there:
I measured the water on my leg when we got home.  13 inches.

We made it inside to join the other dripping patrons for lunch.  It rained the whole time we were eating, and when we left, the water was only deeper. The driver stopped in the same place to pick us up, again surprising me at how deep he was willing to take the car.  At some point during lunch, my umbrella decided it was done with this mess and refused to close, so when we got to the car, I had to hold it closed or risk death by umbrella spine.  Eli finally unclenched enough on the drive home to take a few pictures.

That's the road that we were driving on.
We had to turn around at one point because there were cars stuck in the water on the road.  Luckily, once we turned into the more affluent area where we live the roads were easier to navigate.  That just meant that they were built at a steeper angle, so the width of one lane was only slightly underwater. It was the only time I've seen Indians driving in one lane.  Even then, there were people who didn't feel like waiting so they sped through the water next to us.  Even without the wakes from the cars and motorcycles (that's right a couple of brave guys revved past us on motorcycles), the water was up to the tops of the wheel wells on the car in front of us.  When we were being passed, the water arched over the top of the car.  It was an experience.
That tuk tuk is fearless.
 Eli got a picture of a tuk tuk (the green and yellow tricycle thing) braving the deep end.  Those things are completely open, so anyone inside of it was swimming.  The rest of the pictures didn't really turn out since our driver decided it was his time to show off his Nascar skills and also we were constantly being doused with water from other vehicles.  We got home just fine, if somewhat squelchy.  The area around our complex wasn't too bad, and we live on the 11th floor, so I wasn't worried about our stuff in particular.  Needless to say, D did not get to go to the pool that day.  He wanted to hit the playground two days later, but it was still one giant puddle, much to his delight and my dismay.  Cue toddler meltdown.

Speaking of toddler funness.  We've managed to teach D that if he hurts someone, he should kiss the ouchie to make it better.  Unfortunately, he thinks that makes it okay to hit people as long as he kisses it better after.  He was in the bath the other night smashing the crap out of his toy frogs and other bath paraphernalia on the edge of the empty tub.  After a minute, he goes "uh oh" and starts kissing them all better.  I ran for the camera.
That's right, we have a jacuzzi tub.
And one for all the ladies at home.
We're now working on teaching him it's not good to hurt people even if you have the power to kiss it better.  It's a work in progress.

Now I know some of you have seen the pictures of Eli on Facebook, so I thought I'd address it here.  Yes, he cut his hair.  We've been talking about it for a while because of the heat here.  He keeps getting this ridiculous rash along his back where his hair sits.  I think it might also have something to do with him finally making the push into management.  I keep telling him it's his version of a mid-life crisis.  He sold his Harley and his Mustang, had a kid, and cut his long hair.  What's next, polo shirts and Dockers?  Despite my incessant teasing, he's really happy with the shorter hair.  The other day he was putting product in it and actually said "playing with hair is fun."  He was smiling, but he wasn't sarcastic.  I'm glad he's happy and I think he looks just as good with short hair as he did with long hair (I'd also like it noted that I in no way influenced his decision other than to provide feedback on possible short hairstyles for him and some questions to ask at the salon).  Everyone so far, me included, thinks the new short hair makes him look a lot younger.  Check it out:


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

You could see how he got it confused.

Just a quick post today since I'm suffering from jet lag and want to take a nap.  D was great on the plane and we had very few problems getting back to our apartment.  I realized I left food in the microwave back home, but that's easy enough to fix.  It was crazy hot in our apartment when we arrived, but we cranked all the ACs to 21 (that's degrees in Celsius) and it quickly cooled down.  Well, every room except our bedroom.  That AC is just blowing warm air, which is not really helping me to not sweat.  There's a guy coming to fix it today, but sleeping in there last night sucked.

I got an early start this morning  and was feeling all proud of myself for getting to the store first thing (since we had no food in the kitchen).  We got to the mall that has my usual grocery store for when I need to buy a lot of stuff, and I went in.  Only to realize that it was 10am and nothing opened until at least 11.  So I called the driver and we went to the store by my house where I bought half of my groceries.  We'll have to get the other half tonight.  Welcome back to India.

On the plane, shortly after takeoff, Eli, D, and I were snacking on peanuts while the attendants got food ready.  D dropped some peanuts on his tray, so Eli told him to "grab your peanuts."  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw D's hand move, but not toward the tray.  Eli started snorting and laughing.  He could barely say, "No, I said peanuts, not penis."  I started laughing, so Eli looked at me and explained: "he immediately grabbed his junk."  I couldn't speak so I just nodded.  D thought it was awesome that he made both his parents crack up by grabbing himself.  So awesome that he tried it again, but it must not have been as good with us already laughing because he stopped at that point.  That was the highlight of my trip. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I'm only interesting in India.

I've come to the terrible conclusion that I only have things to say while in another country.  I actually have two blog posts that I've been working on, but I'm finding it really hard to work on them now that I'm in the States.  Partly, that's the fault of the jet lag, but some little bit is because I don't have any big insights.  Except I did.  Today on the way home from the gym.

I heard Carrie Underwood's "Blown Away" for the first time this morning.  Normally, I listen to all kinds of music, but I've been on a country kick since coming back.  I've also had the totally normal urge to leave the radio on all day long because I've missed American music so much.  Even the commercials.  So it turns out this song came out last summer, but I live under a rock.  It's been raining all morning, and I guess Oklahoma was in the back of my mind.  As I pulled into the driveway, the chorus started.  I turned the radio up because the music was catchy, but the lyrics made me give the radio the side-eye.  Here's a snippet:

There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma
To wash the sins out of that house
There’s not enough wind in Oklahoma
To rip the nails out of the past
[Chorus]
Shatter every window till it’s all blown away,
Every brick, every board, every slamming door blown away
Till there’s nothing left standing,

You can see why I'd think it was weird.  I wondered if this was one of those benefit songs, but it seemed way too angry for that.  I Googled it when I came inside and discovered further proof that yes indeed, I still live under a rock.  So in the end, I suppose it was just strange timing, or a poor sense of humor on the radio host's part.  It did make me wonder two things though.  Why are so many of Carrie Underwood's songs about revenge, and why do I enjoy songs about revenge so much?  

In other news, I finished the second round of the 30DS with more results than last time.  I lost a few inches over all and another couple of pounds.  I'm up to a total of 10 pounds lost and my pants are loose again.  So yay for that.  I decided to switch back to straight cardio for the couple of weeks that we're here, then reevaluate.  I'll probably start a third round of the Shred because I love the muscle tone I'm starting to see.  Also, I sort of have abs for the first time ever.  While I've been trying to lose weight, Eli has been trying to gain it.  He lost so much weight in India from the lack of his kind of fast food that none of his pants fit.  We would have fried chicken for dinner, then Eli would want to go to KFC for dessert.  I went along because it was the only place in the country, as far as I could tell, that sold fountain Diet Coke.  Since coming back, I've gained about a pound, but that's because I haven't been paying much attention to what I'm eating.  For instance, I had like half a danish yesterday.  I don't mean one of those little circle danishes you get at Starbucks.  I mean the rectangular pound of danish you buy at the grocery store.  As most of you know, those things are my nemesis.  I don't know what went through my mind when I bought it, but I'm clearly sabotaging myself.  I need someone to come over and take away the rest of the danish.  Wait... be right back.  Okay, I got rid of the danish in a way that didn't involve me eating it.  There's nothing like sharing your fitness journey with all your friends and family to create a sense of accountability.  And, I guess I was wrong about having nothing to say.

Here's a picture from Sunday for those of you who couldn't make it to my graduation. 
I don't understand the hat either.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Why I Can't Write from the Silence

Something has been irking me since my dissertation defense.  My committee accused me of silencing one of my characters, and they were right.  I did it on purpose.  Her role in the novel was to be a catalyst for later action.  She neither appears nor speaks in the entire 214 pages.  The book is about a privileged white girl in India who tries to find justice for a girl who was raped, and the problem is that the character I silenced is the Indian girl who was raped.  My committee kept circling back to one question: why didn't I tell her story? The answer I gave them still rings true: the story they were given wasn't about her.  I wanted to tell the story of the white girl in India.  Since then, I've put a lot of thought into answering that question for myself. Why don't I tell her story?  I have time now.  I'm deciding on my next project.  A lot of the background work on the character and setting is already done.  Tonight in the shower, I finally came to a conclusion (because all my good conclusions come in the shower).  Her character is silenced because I can't imagine her.  She gets raped, then shipped off to live on a friend's farm to avoid scandal.  She's happy enough at the end that she's provided for and better off than some of her siblings in the slums, but I could never see myself enough in that place to write about it.  I tried imagining a scene with her as the main character, and she wouldn't stay that compliant, complacent girl.  She morphs into a stoic hunter in a village on the Steppes, facing drought and famine and encroachment by another tribe.  She becomes a fighter.  She becomes strong.  She becomes self-sufficient.  And after being raped, she leaves her village for a better place of her own volition.  She takes her experiences, good and bad, and forges a life of adventure.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't expand on that original girl on the farm.  And I realized while washing my face, that I wouldn't want to read a story about that girl on the farm either.  I want to read about the second girl.  Silence is an unfortunate side-effect of rape (I suppose they're all unfortunate side-effects, aren't they?).  It does bother me that I chose to silence my character, but that was part of the point.  The readers are supposed to be bothered.  They're supposed to shout in support of her.  They're supposed to rise up and demand that she not be punished for actions beyond her control.  To protest for her when she wouldn't protest for herself.  My main character did.  But it doesn't change the fact that I can't make the girl on the farm the center of one of my stories in her current incarnation.  To break free of the silence I gave her, she needs to become someone else.  Which was kind of the point of the novel in the first place.  I wish I'd thought to say that in my dissertation defense. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

One week left.

I'm so excited to be coming home in a week.  We've been in India for three months, and it seems like the time has gone a lot faster than the last time.  We'll be in the US for three weeks, and I imagine that time will be gone before I know it.  I'm enjoying my time here now that I don't have grad school pressures to deal with, but I'm ready for this experience to be over so we can move on to the next one.

I'm thinking I'll start my next book after we get back.  It'll be fun to finally write just for me again without having to take into account the sensibilities of my committee.  I'm going back and forth about what I want to work on though.  I have a series of sci-fi short stories that I'd always planned to turn into a novel, but I also have the beginnings of a paranormal YA swimming around in my head.  Ideally, I'll finish both of them by December when D and I head home.  It would be really nice to finally start sending out novels I love to publishers that pay rather than short stories I like to journals that can't even offer me print copies as reimbursement.  I've been saying since I was 14 that I wanted to make writing my career.  I feel like I've made a lot of good headway toward that goal.  I've learned so much through school and practice, but I've reached the point where I just need to write.  I'm at the bottleneck where I have to trust in luck and fate as well as skill and research that my manuscript will reach an editor that it appeals to.  Well, you know, after I write it.

I'm so glad I have this opportunity to do what I love.  I'd always imagined that I would be a stay-at-home mom to my kids and write in my spare time.  I admit, that's a crazy goal with a child under 2, but eventually, D will start preschool, then real school.  I'll have time to spend with D, time to spend with Eli, and time to myself to write (or do whatever needs to get done) while they're both gone.  I wanted to finish my degree before we got to that point, and I have.  I wanted to have a couple of novels under my belt as well, and I do.  None of this would have been possible without Eli.  He's taken on a lot of my responsibilities so that I can pursue my passions, and I'm grateful every day for him.  Our third wedding anniversary is coming up, and it still feels like we just got back from Mexico.  I've read that the second year of marriage is the hardest, so I guess we're doing something right.

We decided that we'd like to go to Giggles for our anniversary, and naturally, we're inviting everyone we know because we just can't resist sharing fun times with our friends.  We'll organize it when we get home, but it'll probably be Friday, May 24th or Saturday, May 25th (Memorial Day weekend).  Should be fun.

UPDATE: After some research, it appears that Giggles may be closed?  Can we get a confirm or deny here?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The "After" Phase

Most of you probably already know, but I passed my dissertation defense.  I will be graduating in May with a PhD in English.  So that's one thing marked off on my life to-do list.  Next on the list is Everest, so this is going to be a fruitful year.  I've spent the past almost two weeks in what I've come to think of as the "after" phase.  My shoulders are slowly relaxing, and I've stopped having random mini-panic attacks that I'm not working on my dissertation non-stop.  I knew school was a source of pressure and stress, but I hadn't realized the sheer amount of it that I'd built up.  I'm happier every day because my brain lets me really enjoy the things I do for fun.  Now they're important in their own right rather than as procrastination tools.  I also enjoy playing with D more because now I'm fully engaged and not waiting until someone comes to relieve me so that I can get back to work.  I'm very proud that I've accomplished as much as I have in my studies, but I'm ready to not define myself as "an English major" anymore.

After much concentrated effort, Eli and I have come to the realization that we're not going to have any more kids.  We'd given ourselves until May to get pregnant, and May is here with no pregnancy.  I'm torn on the issue because originally we were only going to have one baby.  That changed during my pregnancy, so I got used to the idea of having two kids.  Now we're back to one, and I can't help but feel sad for everything we're going to miss.  The phase will pass because I don't like being sad.  I'll focus on the happy aspects of the decision until I've forgotten the sad parts, but for now it's a little hard seeing many of my friends pregnant or with new babies.

Something else I realized.  My intention to have another baby was sabotaging my weight loss efforts.  I spoke a good game, but when it came down to it, I wasn't as dedicated as I have been in the past.  The thought of gaining weight with another pregnancy just to have to start losing it all over again made my willpower less effective.  Now that I know I won't be gaining weight for a pregnancy, it's gotten a lot easier to focus on eating right and exercising.  Today was day 18 of 30DS round two, and I've noticed a nice improvement in the ease of the moves.  I'm 6 pounds from my WW goal weight, and 16 pounds from my personal goal weight (I like to leave a little wiggle room for the weeks where I just have to have a cupcake every day).  On top of that, I feel like I've toned some muscle where before I just did cardio to keep the jiggly parts a little less jiggly.  I'm really excited to fit into my extensive wardrobe of clothes that have been in storage for over two years now.  It'll be like shopping except I love everything and it's all free.  I keep a couple of pics in my workout space as motivation.  One is of me and Rocket in Mexico, and I love the way I look.  Clearly, I've gotten to that point once before, so I'll get there again.  I intend to be a fit, healthy, 30-something mom living the beach lifestyle with her best buds.  There's a lot to look forward to.

Some pics I've accumulated in the last two weeks:


This is my workout calendar.  One sticker for every day I did 30DS.

D likes to take all the milk boxes out of the big box and carry them around.  He leaves them all over the house.

This is how he watches his DVDs.

D holding a friend's turtle for the first time.

He loves this motorcycle.

D's Rules #6: We can have no pillows on the couch.  They are allowed on the arms or the floor only.

What up.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

No one will believe me.

I have few things to hit on today.  30DS.  Bras.  Everest.  Earthquake.  We'll even go in that order.  I'm on day 9 of the 30DS round 2.  It's still kicking my butt, but yesterday, I was able to get through the entire push-up section without doing any moderations.  That's right.  I did boy push-ups the entire time.  Even better, when Eli walked into the office/gym while I was in the middle of my work-out, he stopped, looked at me for a second, then told me that I looked skinnier.  He sounded surprised.  I restrained myself from smacking him for the surprise, and the compliment was nice.  I've found that I just don't have the energy to do 30DS on Sundays (even though it's only 25 minutes) after chasing D around all day.  Instead, I've started doing yoga on Sundays instead.  My yoga DVD is 30 minutes long and the stretching feels amazeballs after all the strain on my muscles during the week.  Also after the strain of a toddler treating me like a bouncy castle. 

Bras are not something I normally talk about a lot.  I have a philosophy that I love VS, and if I go into their store, I will come out broke.  Before the boob job, I thought I was a 32B.  After the boob job, once the swelling went away, I stayed consistent at a 32C (with the occasional D thrown in for good measure) until my pregnancy.  I was frustrated that most other stores didn't sell 32s in a C or D, but that was okay because I had VS.  Since D weaned himself, I haven't really been able to wear my VS bras because they aren't as comfortable as they used to be.  I blamed my weight gain, and I've been working to get back to my "normal" size.  This is just backstory so you understand my thought process.  Today, I read a blog post that made me do a bunch of research.  You find that post here at Epbot.  She writes about how she learned that her bra size was terribly, terribly wrong.  I was aware of the oft repeated idea that most women in America were wearing the wrong bra size, but since I'd had a doctor create my bra size specifically, I was pretty sure I was wearing the correct one.  On a whim, I followed her links.  After some research, I measured myself (several times) and found that I'm supposed to be wearing a 32G in American sizing.  I'm not convinced that this is accurate, but from what I read, I'm wearing my bras wrong anyway.  There's a British lingerie store/website that comes highly recommended (Brastop), so I might order a 32G bra and see what all the fuss is about.  Another option is a British department store at one of the malls here might have that sizing.  I'll check it out.  I'm posting this here because I want all my female friends to educate themselves about proper bra fit.  I'll do a follow-up post when I can confirm/deny the sizing difference. 

EDIT: I just checked the Marks and Spencer website.  They do offer the sizes I need, but the bras are plain.  The Brastop bras are cute like VS, so I may still order one.  Still need to go try one on though.

So, Eli and I are going on a trip to Everest Base Camp in late October.  We're hiking from a village in Nepal to Base Camp and back.  It's supposed to take 10-12 days, and it will probably result in the death of at least one of us.  Maybe not from the very challenging physical aspect, but you know Eli is going to be attacked by a yak or something.  This means I need to pick up my snowboarding gear from WI in May so that I don't have to spend an insane amount of money on stuff I already have.  Now I just need to remember where I packed it away.  Eli considers this great practice for his frozen river trek that the guys are doing for his 40th birthday in January.  I'm excited because we'll get to add "went to Everest" on our list of cool things we've done.  Bragging rights, check.

Eli experienced his first earthquake on Tuesday.  It was a serious one too.  I noticed right away because, hello, 8 years in southern Cali trains you for several very specific things.  Earthquakes and tan lines are two of them.  Also, how to not get shot in the ghetto.  Eli didn't believe me at first, but when I pointed out the tinkling coming from our living room chandelier shaking, he jumped up from the table pretty quickly.  He gathered D, the housekeeper, the nanny, and the Hindi teacher (we were in the middle of class) and insisted that we all tromp down 12 flights of stairs to wait in the lobby with the rest of the building.  I told him that if he was trying to get to a safe place, the lobby wasn't it.  He refused to listen to my logic.  The shaking went on for about 20 seconds, then stopped.  We didn't feel any aftershocks.  Nothing even fell off of any shelves.  I again tried to tell Eli that we weren't really in any danger, but he wanted to stay downstairs for a bit.  On the plus side, it was a convenient way to meet some of our neighbors.  Especially since I was in my penguin PJ pants.  It made for a good ice breaker.  After 15 minutes or so, Eli got hot or tired or something and allowed us to take the elevator back up to our apartment.  We finished class and that was that.  Later that night, I checked a couple of earthquake sites and found out that our little quake wasn't so little.  Apparently, it was centered on the Iran/Pakistan border, and it was a 7.8 that caused destruction and loss of life.  At least 35 people were killed.  What I find most interesting is that there appears to be little media coverage of a major natural disaster in comparison to the Boston Marathon bombings.  I'm not critiquing this, I'm just drawing attention to what the news outlets consider more important.  It made me examine my outlook on world events as reported to me.  The earthquake had a more upfront effect on me than the bombings, but I'm living on the other side of the world, so that makes sense.  If I were still living in WI, would I have even noticed a blurb about a major earthquake in Iran/Pakistan?




Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Full-blown, Rocky-style sit-ups.

I've finished the 30 Day Shred, and I am here to report results.  I want to start by saying that I feel better, stronger.  I'm proud of myself for finishing the full 30 days no matter the results.  With that said, the results weren't what I was expecting.  From the research I'd done before, I expected to lose inches but not pounds.  Turns out I work backward because I lost pounds but not inches.  In total, I lost 7 pounds over the last 30 days, but the only change in my measurements was in my waist and belly.  I lost an inch in each place.  Everything else stayed the same.  We did take before and after pics, but there isn't much of a visual change so I'll spare you all the view of me in a sport bra and shorts.  I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed in these results, but I'm really happy with the 7 pounds.  My end goal has always been to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes again, not to have better numbers.  By the end of the 30 days, I could do the moves noticeably easier.  Because I'm not the type of person to give up after one try, I decided to do the program a second time, without breaks.  Today was the first day of round two.  In revisiting level 1, I confirmed that I was stronger because the moves I couldn't do the first time around were possible on the first day this time.  Even if the only change I see is a bit more weight loss, I'll be happy with that after another 30 days. 

This in no way means that the program doesn't work.  It just means that it works differently for me than it might for other people.  There is nothing about exercising every day that is bad for you; it can only help. 

I wanted to hit on another subject that's related to this one.  Weight Watchers.  I've been a member of WW since October of 2004.  I've been a Lifetime member since June of 2005, meaning that I hit my goal weight and maintained that weight for six weeks.  In all the time between then and my pregnancy in 2011, I've stayed at my goal weight.  Technically, I'm still a Lifetime member, but I'm sort of cheating because they have my account on hold at the moment due to me being in India.  WW doesn't have a presence here, so they can't require me to weigh-in once a month.  As long as I'm still within my goal weight range when I get back, I stay a Lifetime member.  There are two problems with this.  One, I'm not at my goal weight.  I was 13 pounds above my upper limit when I started 30DS, and I still have 5 pounds to lose to get to that point.  Two, India isn't exactly WW-friendly.  There isn't a lot here that is low- or non-fat.  All the foods that I depend on to keep my points down aren't available here.  You know what is available?  Butter.  Oil.  Chips.  Cookies.  Cheese.  Regular fountain soda (Diet is extra because it's always from a can).  We have a cook who now understands that I'm trying to lose weight, but she thinks I'm too skinny already and constantly pushes food on me.  Veggies and fruits are good, but the ones I normally buy are super expensive.  I've had to adjust to the higher points meals by not snacking during the day or eating after dinner, no matter how hungry I am.  Let me be clear, our grocery store is also a bakery.  I am within easy walking distance of bakery-fresh pastries at all times.  Every time I go shopping, I have to resist the urge to buy things that I shouldn't be eating.  To make matters more difficult, Eli insisted on bringing several huge, 3-pound cans of nacho cheese, chips, mac and cheese, etc.  The things he likes to eat, but I have to limit.  I have a hard time not having nacho cheese and chips for dinner every time I have a day off.  Trying to lose weight in India has been incredibly difficult for me, but I think I'm making some good changes in my life.  I doubt those changes will transfer to the States though.  We'll be back in Wisconsin for three weeks, and Eli and I are already having the "I can't wait to eat..." conversations.  If I gorge myself for three weeks, I'll erase all the hard work I've done here.  Hopefully, the memory of Jillian kicking my arse every day will be enough to convince me that eating at Sonic for three days in a row is a bad idea.  Also, I only need one cupcake at a time.  One.  I wonder if I can work something out with Gigi's so that they'll only sell me one per day.  I'll have to think on that more later.  There's something I keep repeating to myself when I find it particularly hard, or like today, when I'm faced with less progress than I thought I'd made.  Dani from the latest season of The Biggest Loser said it early on in the season.  "I'm not here to get skinny; I'm here to get strong." 

Since I'm not leaving you with pictures of my flab, I thought I'd give you something else to enjoy:

You're welcome.