Almost-April Showers

Almost exactly three years ago, a lovely sister-in-law and an awesome friend threw me a baby shower at my home. Some people flew in. Others drove long distances. Still others barely knew me but came anyway because they were wives of men my husband works with and that's how they hang. It was a lovely day full of old connections and possible future connections.

We had just moved here to Pasadena and still my house was filled with people celebrating our little unborn babe. We were so lucky.

Yesterday, a friend threw me a baby shower in her home. And though smaller than the first (and mostly sans gifts because a. we have no room, b. we've got most of what we need, c. I worried gifts were tacky for a second baby shower, and d. WE HAVE NO ROOM.) it was also lovely.
The women drinking tea and eating cupcakes with me yesterday were almost all women I've come to know and love in the last three years. A co-worker. Clients. A neighbor. Spouses of my husband's coworkers. A mom from playgroup. All tried and true friendships that have grown and blossomed in the last three years. All women I know I will keep in touch with as our paths no longer cross in the easy, geographic way.

All women I am so grateful to have in my life and so sad to say goodbye to.

I am so very lucky.
(and also: quite large.)


Home is where the For Sale sign is

It was a sad, sad day to return home from our relaxing, beautiful, energizing trip to La Jolla last weekend. (Fun Fact! When I was growing up in my NO SPANISH SPEAKERS New Jersey suburb, I noticed the ads for weight loss camps at the back of the New York Times Magazine which all seemed to be in La Jolla. And since I pronounced Jose Cruz's name "Joze Cruzz" in my head, I think it was years before I figured out that there weren't actually hard "j" and "l" sounds in La Jolla. I don't think I learned how to actually pronounce it until college. Or possibly after. I still have "taking an intensive Spanish class" on my list of things to do before I die, even though I SUCK at learning languages. [OBV!])

While we were packing to come home, Zoe kept saying "I don't WANT to go to Pasadena! I want to stay here!" and "When we move to Virginia, can we live here?"

Um. Yeah. You and me both, kid.

Though I like to think she was appreciating having two relaxed parents around, the glorious beach close by, and the complete lack of CHORES and WORK for her parents to do, I'm pretty sure she was mostly sad to part with the carpeted staircase complete with railing and reachable light switches.

The term "simple pleasures" sometimes mean different things for kids and adults, doesn't it?

But now it's back to reality here. We've had no offers on the house in the first week and already our agent is asking us if we'd consider moving into temporary housing if we were to get an offer that had a firm 30 day escrow. To which I say: "WTF? Didn't I initially say this was weird, to list our house long before we're capable of moving? Do I really have to rehash why it is impossible to move into temporary housing a week before my baby's due? With a toddler and a dog? Are you crazy?".

Well, okay, what I actually said was: "Um, no."

We're trying to keep our home constantly clean and organized and it's surprisingly hard and surprisingly NICE. I am shocked at how many horizontal surfaces are currently completely uncovered right now. I do NOT normally live like this. I think I'm constitutionally incapable of doing this without the gun to my head of trying to sell the house.

Normally, I'm the one with piles of laundry in constant circulation. Now I must try to schedule all my laundry on one day and PUT IT AWAY RIGHT AWAY. What a concept! It's hard! But FREEING. It gets done for the week!

Normally, I'm the one who "tidies" by shoving things in drawers and closets and drawers and freezers and hoping and praying that they close. Now that we've organized all our closets and built in drawers and kitchen pantries and freezer and THEY ALL OPEN AND CLOSE EASILY AND EVEN HAVE SOME SPACE IN THEM, I find it a pleasure to put things away. (Though I often have to remind myself to put things in there properly and not just shove.)

I hope that I can learn from this and make my next home a little more organized from the get go. (Hahaha. After moving across the country with a newborn and a toddler and a dog and... oh well, a girl can dream, right?)


Disappearing act.

I think I may disappear for a little while.

Maybe just a week or so. There's.... a LOT going on.

Our house goes on the market this weekend and we all barely survived the past week spent preparing for our first round of open houses. By next weekend, my house will have people - STRANGERS!- tromping through it, sizing up closets and opening the cabinets and, knowing the quality of a few of my neighbors, casing the joint for future "activities".

My dad starts chemo this week. F-ing chemo. F-ing cancer.

Zoe has decided that daylight savings is complete bullshit (or is it the impending baby? the change in her home environment? the state of our global economy?) and has decided to scream her way through naptime, throw daily fits in public places, and spend the last three hours of her day acting like I am a total bitch for suggesting things like WASHING HANDS BEFORE DINNER and TOOTHBRUSHING and following basic rules of human interaction like NOT BARKING ORDERS and ACTING AS IF YOU HEARD ME WHEN I'M SPEAKING TO YOU.

My husband has the flu and is passed out in bed (oh, maybe not anymore, seeing as there is currently a screaming "naptime" going on.... Sorry honey.).

My husband is also supposed to get on a plane tomorrow for three days in Virginia, while I hold down the (tantrummy, non-napping) fort and make the house presentable for the realtor "caravan" (doesn't that sound almost FUN?) on Thursday.

This is my second to last week of work. And I'm feeling relieved and sad and weirded out to realize that I don't know when or where or HOW I will work again. When I do, it will undoubtably be in Virginia. With two kids. I just can't seem to wrap my brain around it.

My sciatic nerve is totally inflamed by the ever-growing Lima Bean which makes me hobble around like a lame horse ready for the glue factory while periodically grabbing my own ass and grimacing in a very lady-like manner. Oh and it especially likes to throb AT NIGHT when I should be sleeping.

We thought it might be a good idea to get out of town for our first weekend of open houses and made arrangements to head to San Diego for the weekend. It's close, it's pretty, it's free (to stay with CG's uncle). It also means packing and driving and DEALING in a locale other than home which should sound lovely but right now sounds like even more WORK.

So yeah, maybe a week or so till I write again. Unless the naps start happening again for real.

Hopefully by next week I'll be able to write that we already sold our house! and the chemo is a cake-walk! and we had a lovely, illness-free weekend in San Diego!

Or, at least, that there was a nap or two in there somewhere.


Our house, in the middle of the street.

The professional house photographer came by today to take the official photos for our house listing. Just when you thought your house was clean and uncluttered enough, you learn, alas, there is more and more and MORE to declutter.

Anyway, here are MY shots. Of the house we love. These are the things I will remember. Anyone need a lovely house in Pasadena??

(ps. Golden Retriever not included.)


Where we are, now.

(Just in case I don't remember some of these things.)

Dear Zoe,

In the morning, I almost always wake to you calling for me. No more babbling or cooing or just general fussing noises like when you were younger. There is silence and then a loud and ferocious: "Mommy! I'm ready to get up!". If I don't get in there quickly it is followed by "MOM-MEEEEEEEE! Where ARE you? I'm READY FOR BREAKFAST!". When I waddle my way in, you immediately hide your face and giggle. I say "good morning" and "how did you sleep?" and you always reply in a chipper, slightly surprised voice "pretty well!" which for some reason never fails to crack me up. You often want to read a book right away or sit on what's left of my lap and cuddle for a minute or two. We start to talk about what the day will bring and make our way to breakfast, both of us wrapped in bathrobes and stumbling on the cold floors over the hungry, ever-under-foot Sweet Dog.


At some point in the day, often several times a day, you always request a visit from the Tickle Monster. I'm not sure when or how this elaborate game evolved but it's one of your current favorites. When I'm the Tickle Monster, Daddy is the Safety Monster and he picks you up and you two run away from me as I stomp around and grumble "Where's. My. TICKLE BUNNY?!?!??!". The chase begins and only ends with the magic words: "Just hugs and kisses". Daddy and I take turns being the Tickle Monster and lately, you've even bravely requested that we both be the Tickle Monster at once. Sometimes we hide in your ghetto "playhouse", a large box we found when buying moving boxes at Box City, though it often takes many minutes and several helping hands to extricate me and my belly.

It's been a few months now that we've been stuck on the Tickle Monster and it would be getting as old as your battered "playhouse" but I must say that your giggles and squeals and pure unadulterated DELIGHT every time we play makes it totally worth it. That, and the recent development of YOU becoming the Tickle Monster and mimicking our grumpy old man impressions. THAT is priceless.


When I pull you out of the bath, you are always "so COLD, Mommy" and I quickly wrap you in your doggy towel, the one with the ears on the sides and the nose sprouting from hood that we pull over your forehead. I rub your back to warm it up and we watch "the spiral" of water going down the drain. We are so still, so quiet, and I lean into your impossibly soft cheek for a few reverent moments, inhaling your clean scent and agreeing "yes, Boo, that's a LONG spiral." and we both salute it with a "Bye bye spiral."

I lay you down and begin the Aquaphor rub-down, singing "the foot bone's connected to the ankle bone" until I get to "bum bone" which makes us both laugh and I remember you as a little baby, lying on this floor, without funny words to chatter or strong legs to stand on and how you would giggle at peekaboo with the shower curtain.

After months of you wanting to lie in bed while I read you your bedtime stories, you now want to sit on my lap. Between my already short legs and my ever expanding belly, there is seriously no room for you, but you happily perch on the edge of my knees. I can't see over the top of your head to the book in front of us- where did this BIG GIRL come from?- so we hold the book off to the side and I kiss the back of your head in between the pages.


We don't talk too much about your baby sister these days. Your obsession with all the new baby books that we got you has died down and you've even left some of your dolly obsession by the wayside in favor of Legos (especially now that your Daddy let you dismantle and play with the tiny pieces from his intricate firetruck and train saved from his childhood). But whenever we do talk about her, you smile and seem calm and matter of fact, as if you are truly on board with the whole thing. You insist on being helpful so often, I regularly calm my nerves by imagining you handing me diapers or helping chose an outfit for her or bringing me a root beer float while I nurse her (oh wait. That might be awhile yet....).

I know that you will rock this whole big sister gig. And I will do my best to rock alongside you.


your Clueless But Hopeful Mama


Mama bird and her two babies

The funny thing about having a non-anonymous blog is that when people that know and love you read it, they can sometimes get upset or confused. Confused by what you've said (or not said) about them, about how you are choosing to express yourself. Upset because you are sharing feelings and thoughts with the interwebs that you haven't fully shared with them.

My last post (which some of you may have seen, or can still see if you read this blog through a Reader, but I took down after rereading it and talking with CG about it) was a little.... sad and bitter and sarcastic. Unfortunately, it included phrases like "impending doom" when referring to Lima Bean (and our upcoming move to Virginia) and upon reflection, I realized that kind of post wasn't something I really wanted to put out there for eternity.

I struggle with how, and how much, to share my current feelings, which are  a potent mix of apprehension, fear, and excitement. I'm exhausted, feeling sick again, stressed out about putting our house on the market in a few short weeks and all of these things add up to me wishing I could put the brakes on this whole second baby thing, to space out all this change a bit more. I desperately want to be simply excited, THRILLED about Lima Bean joining our family. Unfortunately, any excitement that's there is often hidden behind the stress and fear of how this will all work out.

If Maya Angelou were to see me now, she'd see Hope and Fear on my porch, with me entertaining both of them. Neither has been invited to stay.

I want to reveal my excitement, to revel in HOPE and dispel my fears. For someone who lives so much in the future, in planning and worrying about what will be, this is a challenge for me. I must be present, even when "being here now" is as overwhelming as imagining what will be in the future.

I'm working on it. One day at a time.

Every day I gaze at this new print (by Joom) on my bureau and smile at the image of a mama bird and her TWO baby birds. That will be me. Very soon. And I have to have faith in myself, in the ever patient and loving CG, in joyful Zoe, in my supportive family and friends, that, together, we can do this. That even though I don't know how it'll all work out, it will.

It will all work out.


Before Leaving California #3: day trip to Death Valley (or similar)

Who knows when I'll next be up for a flight in a small plane? So we thought we better explore SoCal a bit as a last hurrah. As it was, my belly made entering the pod* a little difficult. (*: not the technical name for it.)

About to board the plane.

Zoe wasn't so sure about her fancy headsets.
And then REALLY not so sure about them.
But looky! We made it to Death Valley (it was way prettier in person, like most things.)

And then I heard the words all pregnant ladies love: BRUNCH BUFFET.

Zoe was surprisingly well behaved, though she kept exclaiming "TWO FORKS?!?!?!", thereby ruining any impressions of us as people who ever take her to fine dining establishments.
We hung out in the "date palm oasis".

And then we got back on the plane.
This time we tried lawn mower-type headsets.

When they failed to be satisfactory, we resorted to the usual: lollipops and stickers, stickers everywhere.
The view of the beautiful mountains. I suppose all that white stuff is, like, DANDRUFF?? 'Cause it's so hot and dry here??

Lesson of the day: my man is a STUD.
And our friend G, the other passenger, is a saint, holding Zoe's sticky hands and not once saying "please don't put any more stickers on my hairy arms".
As Zoe exclaimed after our last landing: "we had a LOVELY trip!".

Blog Designed by: NW Designs