Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Julie, Julia and Me- Part 2

Messes was right. Today was a day of messes. Ay yay yay.

I have never prided myself in being a great cook. I am an okay cook and I can make a few things really well, but as far as being known as a good cook is not really a way that someone would describe me. I would describe myself as a haphazard cook. I make messes. I don't clean up as I go along. I get easily frustrated. So I guess you could say that my cooking life matches my personality :).

However today I proved to myself not that I can cook, but that I can be in control of my emotions...for the first time in a very long time. I have LOVED that I have had the excuse of either being pregnant or having new mom hormones to excuse my emotional outbursts and overall weirdness, but the truth is, more of it has to do with me just being me then the fact that there may or may not be hormonal imbalances going on. Since my son was born, I have found that I am less and less able to keep my composure- thus resulting in public embarrassement of myself from yelling at people who didn't see me coming. It's probably a good thing that today I didn't leave my house whatsoever.

I did start with my first of three items to make for Thanksgiving. The Chocolate Cake Roll which is basically a giant Little Debbie swiss cake roll. The picture looks so pretty and perfect and chocolatey. Well screw the dang picture because that's not what mine looks like.

To make the "roll" portion of this dessert, you have to place the baked cake onto a towell, role it up and let it cool. On my FIRST attempt to place the baked cake onto the towell, I missed the towell and the entire thing landed and broke on my stove top. Nice. The normal me- pregnant or not- would have done something awesome like throw the pan on the ground (which was not an option as I had a sleeping child about 15 feet from where I was) or cry while I put the entire cake down the disposal. For some reason I had the composure to take things in stride and very calmly see if I could correct the broken cake...which I could not. I carefully put the broken cake in the trash and started to make another one.

One would think that the lovely moral to this story would be that as a tribute to my calmness and collectedness that the second cake turned out lovely. That's not the story of my life. It never has been and it wasn't today. I made my second Chocolate Cake Roll attempt and happily made it a few steps further than I did with my first one- however as I unrolled the roll to put in it's filling, the entire cake fell into five peices. The story of my life.

Other messes that occurred today- the new "usual" being spit up on, being pooped on..and my new favorite...being pee'd on mid-diaper change. And who says being a mother isn't glamorous.

So as item one of my three Thanksgiving items comes to a close, I can only thank God that I was able to keep in control of my emotions a little more than usual...and hope that my next two items are a little more successful. And I also vow that I will never make any other food item that has the word "roll" in the title. Oy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Julie, Julia and Me- Part 1

My favorite movie of almost all time is Julie and Julia. For those of you who haven't seen it, you probably won't like it. I don't think that it got great reviews and everyone that I've ever talked to about it said that it was slow and anticlimactic. I can see all of those points, which some might say is a betrayal to say about ones favorite movie. It really is an odd choice for me as I usually like very whimsical movies- like White Christmas- or very suspenseful, thriller type movies. The reason that I think that I have fallen in love with Julie and Julia is that I feel like I am watching myself on on the silver screen- the Julie parts- not the Julia parts.

The movie of Julie and Julia-for those of you who haven't seen it- follows Julia Child and Julie Powell as they find themselves in their passions for life- cooking and writing. Julia was a stay at home wife who loved cooking and wanted to learn to master French cooking and write her own cookbook. Julie was a 29-year-old, never-finished-anything-she-started, aspiring writer who felt that life was passing her by. Julie decided to give herself a project which was to cook her way through Julia Child's French cookbook and blog about it. During the process, her blog aquired many followers, she became a "writer" and eventually wrote a book about the experience...and here we are talking about her today because of the experience.

Some say the movie is a love story about food. While there are some beautiful looking meals in the movies and some things that I wouldn't mind eating myself, I missed the whole food love story. To me, it was a movie about pursuing your passion and finding a sense of accomplishment in it.

I have lots of similarities with Julie- first and foremost being that I am a spaz. Completely. I am one of the most emotionally volatile people that I know- as evidenced by the many people that I have yelled at since my baby was born because they either weren't doing their jobs fast enough, weren't aware that I was a mommy to a 2-week old, or told me that I still looked pregnant. Nice. There is a scene in Julie and Julia in which Julie is stuffing a chicken, it falls on the floor and she has the emotional meltdown of a 2-year-old laying flat on her back on the floor crying about how she can't do anything right. Now, I have never stuffed a chicken, but I have done all of those other thing. The second similarity that I have with Julie is that she has an uber supportive husband, that (most of the time) instead of being annoyed by Julie's lack of self control, he finds it endearing and loves her through it. The third similarity is Julie's love of writing; however I've never remained committed enough to the idea or art of it to actually do anything worth merit.

So in honor of my favorite movie, I am going to pay tribute through the Julie, Julia and Jorda project. My son was born 4 weeks ago tomorrow and I have yet to cook since his birth. In my romanticizing of what a maternity leave would look like before he was born, I vowed that I was going to be Suzie HomeMaker- complete with making heaping dishes that I have never made before and bringing culinary masterpieces to Thanksgiving and Christmas. As Thanksgiving approaches and my baby still doesn't go down for his regularly scheduled naps, I am skeptical; however I will TRY.

So I will cook and blog about the making of my three Thanksgiving masterpieces: Potatoes and Mushroom Au Gratin, Stuffing and Spinach ball, and a Chocolate Swirl cake- all dishes that I have never made before. Stay tuned and we will see what messes I can make.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Today on Regis and Kelly...

I am into my fourth week of being on maternity leave. It has been completely fabulous and I words can't even describe how much I love spending time with my little boy. I have never stayed home in my life except for two weeks when I was unemployed. I got my first job when I was 16 and have worked ever since unless I was on a mission trip- I am not even joking. So being home is a weird, but wonderful feeling. Too bad it can't last forever...

I will say the one DOWNSIDE to being at home is day time television. FOR REAL. I am terribly unimpressed with what is offered as well as what is covered. As previously stated, we do not have cable television in our home. It wasn't until about two months ago that this family even had the internet, so we aren't going any where (technologically speaking) fast. Now, I love a good "Today show"- in fact that used to be my life's ambition- to be the next "Katie Couric" back in her Today show days. But the rest of it is just depressing. Here are a few thoughts on how non-exciting day time television is:

• America's Funniest Home Videos- This show is on ALL THE TIME. And while you think that seeing someone get hit on the crotch while trying to break a pinata will never get old- it actually will. Why is this show on at all hours of the day? And why are all of the videos from the 90's? Probably because everyone is posting their videos now to YouTube, so I am seeing an economic breakdown where home movies are concerned. Hopefully the YouTube generation will shut this show down. I really just can't take it any more.

• There are 100,000 Dr shows on day time television. It's a wonder that people that are able to stay at home all day aren't hypochondriacs. Between Dr. Oz, the Doctor's and all of the herbal supplement informercials, I have discovered that I can use alcaseltzer as a remedy for canker sores, I will probably die of heart disease becuase I have a stressful job, my bra doesn't fit me correctly and if I don't take my entire antibiotic as prescribed, my liver might explode..or something like that.

• What the heck are we paying loads of money for? I saw a news story on a chimpanzee at a zoo that was addicted to cigarettes. Well, apparently the story doesn't stop there. Someone out there felt the need to send that chimp to REHAB! Yes, somewhere out there, someone has the superfluous dollars to send a monkey to a rehabilitation center. Why that generous donor can't write me a big fat check so that I can stay at home with my little boy is beyond me. Clearly, helping a primate kick the habit of tobacco is a far loftier charity. Come on, people. There are hungry people in our own backyards, there are children that are dying of child abuse because we don't have the resources to take them out of their homes, the rent in New York is to dang high and yet we are paying for MONKEYS TO GO TO REHAB. Do I need to say it one more time? Spare me- my heart rate is getting higher, which Dr. Oz would tell you will kill me in time..and stress is bad for weightloss.

• Do we need any more gameshows in America? And where are they getting all of these studio audience people? I have never heard someone tell me that they are going on vacation and they get to sit in the audience to watch a taping of "Let's Make a Deal." I don't even think I would go if someone offered me free tickets. I think my favorite was watching a Muslim family wearing burka's compete on "Family Feud". Now I'm all about diversity...and there is nothing wrong with wearing a burka if you so choose; however it just seems like a complete paradox to be on a game show listing off jobs in which men can go shirtless and still be wearing a burka. Odd combination...but whatever.

• How does one get to be labled an "expert" in America? I want to be one. I could tell you the same things these "experts" are telling people and probably save you a ton of money on the research end of it. Here is an example- "Experts say that men and women really ARE different." or "Experts say that kids who text more than 200 times a day are more likely to be involved in activities there parents don't know about." WHAT? Why did we need to do a study on this? I could have told you that. It's called boundaries people!! Set them. Ay yay yay. Again, with the heart rate. Maybe this falls under the chimps with smoking habits category, but do we really need to so studies on things that are just common sense? And what does it pay to be an expert anyways? Are there are any part time expert jobs available out there? I think I would make a darn good expert.

Don't even get me started on all of the courtroom television shows. I haven't let myself watch even one becuase I think I would become too depressed. Maybe an "expert" should do a study on how smart it is to let your unemployed boyfriend come live with you and borrow your money to "fix his car." 9 out of 10 experts agree that he will probably use your car money to buy presents for the girl that he's cheating on you with, move out, take your furniture and leave a stain on the carpet... and you will wind up on Judge Judy trying to get back your security deposit. Classy stuff, folks.

Therefore I am opting to shut off the day time television and watch old episodes of "I love Lucy." Much more realistic than the society that we live in today...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Today my thoughts are random and varied...probably because I am a new mommy and sleep is low on my list of items of things I get to do lately. Really everything is low on my list of things that I get to do besides feed the cutest baby in the world. I added it up yesterday- each feeding takes around one hour and he has about eight feedings per day...which means, I have a full time job JUST feeding this kid. Now if this job paid as much as my other (less important) full time job, then we would be in business...but this one compensates only in love and poopy diapers.

The most profound thought in my mind today is the fact that I am officially boycotting BabiesRUS. That's right. I know it should be a staple in my life for the next 6-12 months; however I have decided that Babies R Us is the devil. Particularly the Store Manager, Steve, at the 71st and Memorial store in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Oh yeah, I'm naming names. Don't mess with hormonal mommies. Here is the story behind this revelation:
You would THINK that if you are going to place your livelihood in managing a store that is targeted at providing goods and services for new and expectant mothers, you would exhibit some type of new mother couth. Maybe they have classes like this for men-I'm not sure, but you would think that Babies R Us in particular might have some type of sensivity training for how to treat new mothers...because as we all know- hell hath no fury like a hormonal pregnant woman and even LESS fury like a hormonal new mother that has been sleep deprived. I have always been underimpressed with the cleanliness of BabiesRUs and their poor customer service- why would I ask a 16-year-old how to pick the most safety efficient stroller for the health and wellbeing of my baby? And that's if you can find the 16-year-old that works there. They all happen to be on break when I'm there. I have actually gotten behind there customer service counter myself, gotten on their computer and looked up the availability of an item since I could not find someone. Yeah, now where's my $7.25 an hour?! So, clearly, the impressiveness bar is set very low for me.
But my trip 5 days post partum happened to be the straw that broke the camels back. My husband and I made our way to the front of the longest line ever to be waited on by a- you guessed it- 16-year-old. Unfortunately, our coupon was one day past it's expiration date. We kindly asked the perturbed looking manager, Steve, if we could use the coupon anyways. He, looking at my husband and I pushing our 5 day old baby in our stroller, said yes. How nice of Steve. However when I got out to the car, I realized that he gave us 20% off of a $4.00 container of ointment as opposed a a $40.00 box of diapers, so I proceeded back into the store to collect my $7.20.
Now good old Steve recognized me...as I had only been in there WITH MY BABY 25 seconds prior; however he decided to get huffy...which is the worst mistake he ever made.
As he processed my reimbursement, Mr. Steve decided to utter these words out of his mouth- Are you ready for this? "So, how much longer do you have?" Feeling quite certain I had misunderstood him, I stated back "Excuse me?" To which he proceeded "How much longer...of your pregnancy." Oh Steve. Steve, Steve, Steve. Now I realize he might have the short term memory of Dori from Finding Nemo, but really? All of the hormones in my body started to swirl around, my eyes bulged out, my voice got shrill, and the earth stood still for just one moment...the only thing I could muster was "You JUST saw me in here with my baby." Good ole Steve decided to banter back with his best argument, which will go down in the record books as the dumbest thing ever said by a male at Babies R Us- "Well when my wife had her babies, she always looked pregnant afterwards."
I'm guessing Steve's wife is a blessed woman with lots of patience; however if my husband portrayed me in such a flattering light to women that he was insulting, I don't know how entact my husband's head would still be.
So to finish out our conversation, I graciously told Steve to keep his mouth shut and give me my money...and then went out to the car and cried becuase the Babies R Us man still thought I looked pregnant...to which my very sensitive and appropriate husband consoled me and told me how amazing he thought I was.
So, the moral of this story- BOYCOTT BABIES R US- at least the one in Tulsa, Oklahoma! Will you continue to throw your money at an organization that insults women and provides less than acceptable bathrooms for mothers carrying new life? I say NO! These are the people that are ruining consumerism in this country!!! Don't let Steve steal your dignity and your civil liberty. Vote no with your dollars and take them elsewhere.

So other than that, I have been thinking about how the tip of my middle finger has yet to regain feeling since I was in labor over two weeks ago, how nipple creme is now a regular staple carry-along item in my purse along with my phone, keys and wallet, and finally how someone needs to invent a nursing bra that actually has SUPPORT as I don't care to add "saggy" to the list of words that currently describes how I feel about myself.

And they say becoming a mother makes one scatter brained...what are they talking about?!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Welcome to Life

Baby Gus's pep talk worked...it might have been a few days late, but Baby Gus finally decided to make his appearance into the world and into our lives. October 24, 2010 will forever be remembered by me as the most beautiful day of my entire life. That does not mean that I looked beautiful by any means, but the day changed my life and exceeded every expectation of the moment I would get to lay eyes on my son. It's a crazy thing, really. To get to meet someone that you know is going to change your life. I mean, I remember meeting my husband, but I didn't know that he was going to be my husband at the time, so meeting him, while memorable, was inconsequential at the time.

For all of those who bet against me being able to complete a natural child birth- you LOSE. I know, I know- I lost money on that bet too :). I NEVER really thought I'd be able to do it. My goal was to just make it far enough so that all the people that I'd told I was going to try to do it naturally would not laugh at me for caving too early. God is good though and at every mile marker I set mentally to quit at, I progressed a little further. Plus, I call my husband my epidural because he massaged my back with tennis balls for at least 12 hours without stopping. So after 19 hours of labor, two hard working tennis balls, 2 1/2 hours of pushing, at least 5 repeats of the same Hillsong CD and about 1200 contractions later, a tiny miracle entered the world.

I don't know that my life has ever felt so full. With my mom on one side of me and my husband on the other, I watched a child that God has been creating and perfecting for over nine months make his first appearance into the world. It was exactly what I hoped it would be- even though every moment wasn't everything we had planned. The whole reason I was drawn to a natural experience was so that my husband and I could be an active part of the process. It's one of the most poignant pictures of a marriage- one member going through something so dramatic, but the other one right by their side going through it with them. My husband was 100% present 100% of the time.

And the climax of the whole story: seeing my baby for the first time. Ironically enough, the first thing I saw of him was his little feet- and no, he wasn't breach. My husband handed him to me and I saw his big blue eyes staring up at me. Words can't describe how full my heart felt..and still feels just thinking of it.

I had several thoughts that powered me through the 19 hours that it took to get my little boy here. Early on in my pregnancy, my husband asked me what he would be "allowed" to say in the event that I started to cave and ask for pain medicine. Since he knows me and knows how irrational I can be at times, he knew that he would have to choose his words very carefully- especially at a time when my emotions might be the most volatile. I accomodated by making him a list of 10 to 15 motivating factors that he would be allowed to read to me in the event that I started to lose heart. During the actual labor, I never asked him to read me my list...the only "reason" that I remember contemplating during my labor was the fact that I will probably never get to compete in the "Escape from Alcatraz". I remember picturing a runner and thinking- This is my marathon. Odd choice as I had several far more motivating factors, but apparently effective. I also remember during the peak of each contraction thinking "It's a choice" over and over again in my head.

I hope you'll forgive an entire post of sappiness and fluff, but you're dealing with the hormones of a new and sleep deprived mommy, so humor me. At the end of this chapter of my life, I feel like I met a hero and a miracle. My little boy is the sweetest gift I have ever been given in my life and I can't believe each day that I get to be a mommy to such an amazing little boy. And my hero- I have never been more in love with my husband than at this stage our lives together. Watching my husband become a daddy has been an incredible gift to see. And my life at this moment: full. Absolutely full.