Dear Kid: Month 2

Dear Kid,

As I write this you’re fast asleep on the couch wrapped up like a burrito…a wrap I’ve become quite adept at creating because basically IT SAVES OUR LIVES you really like it. Your dad is leaned up against the couch watching you sleep because as of late, the two of us find that everything else is uninteresting compared to you.

You’re TWO MONTHS TODAY! That means that we’ve managed to keep you alive for 62 days, but who’s counting, really? You’ve gotten so BIG! Like, even your lineman of a father was all “my shoulder’s all jacked up from holding him” big. THAT big. 12.5 lbs big.

Speaking of him, can I just say that you’ve given me the best gift by being able to give HIM the best gift? Honestly, Semisi, these past two months I’ve never seen your father exude such happiness, and I can confidently attribute all of it directly to you. He’s not much of a gift exchanger…hates receiving gifts as a matter of fact (I KNOW...Christmas time at our house is TORTURE for him)…but giving him you? I know this year I NAILED it. I’ll never be able to top this.

Your dad changes more diapers than I do, as a matter of fact. You continually thank him for taking on this duty by giving him a run for his money every third change or so. I can always tell when you’ve been able to “get him good” by waiting to finish the job when the cold air hits you, because I can hear your dad say, “Ohhhhh, you little bugger…” because he CANNOT call you a little shit. He just can’t. Because he likes you that much. I would challenge any other person on the planet to shit on your father and have him respond in that way. (That one night when you got him THREE times? That was epic. Well done, Son, WELL. DONE.)

I think I could even go as far as to say that your presence in our lives has brought the two of us even closer together. We rarely bicker anymore because you’ve given us a perspective that basically reminds us that little shit that we used to worry about really doesn’t matter a whole lot anymore. The only thing we fight about is the proper way to give you a bath. (For the record, I do it right.) (Please remember to tell him that when you can speak.) (Don’t tell him I told you to say that, obvs.)  (This will not be the last time I put you up to something like this.)

These past few months with you have been the most challenging and most memorably happy months of my life. Very difficult to describe that dichotomy, but I can say that it’s been 100% worth it. You’re such a sweet little guy. Today you got your first shots and it absolutely killed me that they interrupted your cooing and smiles with shots in your chunky thigh that made you scream bloody murder. But then…THEN!...after it was all done and I picked you up you immediately quit crying and gave me the biggest open mouthed grin I’ve seen as of late (and you smile A LOT). That was about all I could take, because that’s when my heart melted to the point that it actually seeped out of my skin, leaped down to squeeze your cheeks, and buried itself in between your chin and neck, WHERE IT WILL LIVE FOREVER AND EVER AMEN.

Because really, you’re the best gift I’ve ever given myself…and all you do right now is smile and poop and sleep and eat (and occasionally throw out a drama bomb…but hey, you are MY KID after all). We know what you look like…what your smile looks like…your hair (you already have enough hair to give yourself a good case of bed head). But other than that, your life is a blank canvas waiting for your touch...and frankly, I can’t wait to see how you’ll paint the world around you.

I had a friend once who told me that the day her son was born, she felt more loved than she’d ever felt in her life. I didn’t understand that before I had you. Now I do. Thank you for that.



Basically I'm famous again.

Happy Holidays! I've got quite a few posts in the works (two men simulating birthing techniques, Semisi turns two months, and much more!), but in the meantime, I've got big news up in here, y'all!  Well, big to me. 

Remember that one time when I was famous for like, 20 minutes?  Well, the lady who runs that website decided to publish a book called A Practical Wedding: Creative Ideas for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration.  Here it is for real proof:


THEN...drum roll please....she contacted me a short time after to see if she could feature the piece I wrote in her book!  And guess what?  She did!  I'm on page 19-20 (that's MULTIPLE pages, but who needs specifics?) and I even have a mini bio in the book.  Meg Keene (the author) just sent me a signed copy today!  Squeeeee!  So basically I'm famous again.  No big deal.

To celebrate this, we'll (I say "we'll" like there is more than one person running this blog.  There isn't, but it makes it sounds more big time) be doing something REALLY exciting on January 1st, which is a significant date for two reasons:  1) it's anniversary of the time I decided to really start blogging and 2) it's my ACTUAL anniversary to my husband.  (Double win!)  What will we be doing, you ask?  It rhymes with Biv-a-day...and this isn't your mother's biv-a-day, y'all...this is a nearly $200 value something or other... 

Stay tuned! 


Welcome to the 2011 Nursery Reveal Extravaganza!!!

Okay, I had to give the post quite the name because A) people usually "reveal" their nurseries BEFORE they have their baby and B) I took the nursery pictures with my iphone, so I need to really build it up or else you might look at the crappy pictures and be like, "Wow. I clicked the link on facebook for THIS?"

Well, you might still be let down, but at least the post has a hell of a name.

ANYWAY, I'm not too domestic, but I got down and dirty with this nursery people. Obvs I didn't know what I was having prior to birth, and the trouble with gender neutral nurseries is that unless you like pale green and yellow, you're shit out of luck.

Then I discovered pinterest. So between that and etsy, I was able to scrounge up enough plagiarized ideas inspiration to put something together.

A while back I did a post about my ailments (BIG surprise!) but at the end I put pictures up of a nursery that I wanted to try to somewhat replicate for about $15 dollars.

So, maybe I didn't do it in $15 bucks, but I will say I had a lot of help and I'm definitely pleased with how it came together. So, without further ado...

A few things:

I made the AK, MT, and Hawaii framed art. (The words in between the big text are names of towns within each state.) I found the Alaska one on etsy, loved it, decided to take that idea and role with it. I made one for HI and MT, as Paul and I met in AK, married in HI, and live in MT. Get it??? Since we don't really know much about our son yet (other than that he's the coolest kid EVER) we decided to make a nursery about US. I mean WHY NOT. The cool Alaska state wood carving was an anniversary gift from my friend Lauren. Love it!

My bff Angie screen printed the "Very Sleepy" art. Thanks again, Ang!

My MOM bought the awesome rug for me on Ebay, and the curtains at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Jackie, my step-mom, got the the cute chenille chair...from...get this...WALMART online. I may or may not have led her DIRECTLY to the chair that I wanted. I was bummed that it came from Wally world but it was the one I like best out of ALL OF THE CHAIRS ON THE INTERNETS and I felt a little bit better when it arrived with a huge MADE IN AMERICA sticker on it. So there you go.

I bought the crib linens on etsy, with the exception of the cute monogrammed pillow cover that Godmother #1's mom made for me (thanks Cathy!). I need to get a better pic of that to show it off more.

The decal of the birch trees came from etsy too...and since I was an English teacher, and I hale from English majors (my Dad was even an English Prof.), I went with the Robert Frost quote. My Dad would be all having a fit because it's actually "So was I once" rather than "So I was once"...yes, I screwed that up when ordering it, but hey, I could have kept in the "IT IS" at the beginning of the quote that the vendor so kindly included in the decal (as I said in the email, "Can we change the quote? I'd like a quote from Robert Frost. It is: 'So I was once...'"...yeah, thanks vendor...that was fun to cut out of the quote because they aren't hard enough to put AS IT IS.) A HUGE thanks to Amy for helping me put up that bad boy.

The quilt on the chair was a gift to Paul from one of the parents of his wrestling kids when he coached wrestling up in AK. Paul wanted to hang it on our living room wall when we first moved in. Dodged a HUGE bullet there, and it looks perfect draped over the chair. (What IS IT with dudes and wanting to hang blankets on walls???)

Other details in the room were pretty much all gifted (like the Semisi sign on the children's wardrobe...thanks Erin!). Ohhhh, and the crib I bought second hand (thanks for the awesome deal Shane!), the children's wardrobe was my late Grandmother's, and the changing table I bought at a garage sale for $12...it was an ugly blond wood and my mom and I stripped it and painted it one afternoon this last summer.

We're so blessed. What I actually spent probably came to around $350. What do y'all think?

Actually, if you don't like it, don't tell me. Just shower it with compliments please. My ego cannot take it.

And please quit proofreading my posts (SHELLEY E., I know you're doing this without even meaning to). My ego can't take that either.


Fairy Godmothers

In telling Godmother #1:

Soon to be GM1: So, how's the nursing going? How's my little sweety!?!
Me: Well, you're never going to believe this, but I have mastitis...AGAIN.
Soon to be GM1: You're kidding me! How do you keep getting that?
Me: Well, they say I get it from Semisi.
Soon to be GM1: That. little. bastard.
Me: I know! I don't think he means to though.
Soon to be GM1: Sure. Sure.
Me: In other news, we're wondering if you'd do us the honor of being one of the little bastard's Godmothers?
(Obvs she said YES.)

In telling Godmother #2:

Me: Paul and I were wondering if you'd do us the honor of being one of Semisi's Godmothers!
Soon to be GM2: Really! That's AWESOME! OF COURSE I WOULD! Who's the Godfather?
Me: There is no Godfather. He's just having two Godmothers. You and GM1.
Soon to be GM2: Awesome! I'm going to call her. We'll be like the ambiguously gay Godmothers!
Me: Perfect!
Soon to be GM2: I'm so HONORED! Wait. What do I have to do? Do I need to like, read the bible or something?
Me: Nah. Just be like, nice and stuff.
Soon to be GM2: Well I have good morals. After all, I'll be like, 48 by the time I even offer him a beer.
Me: He'll only be 18 then.
Soon to be GM2: Correct.


MRSA, Mastitis and Motherhood...Oh my!

Someday I'll quit writing about my ailments. I promise. Today is not that day.

So I've been MIA for a while. Sorry about that. It was getting hard.

Where do I begin? Well remember that time I was all, "Tomorrow is my first day alone with Semisi!" Well, that didn't happy for another week and a half because I ALMOST DIED.

Okay, maybe not. But ALMOST. I'll spare you many (not all, of course) of the details, but to make a long story not quite as long, I got this thing called mastitis, and my nipple turned to something so disgusting (what? You didn't want to hear about my nipple?) that I am actually going to SPARE you by NOT posting the picture that I took of my nipple with my cell phone. The same picture that I may or may not have sent via text message to my doctor. OH YES I DID.

Yeah, that was an awkward text message. It was like, "Hi, Dr. It's Megan. This is awkward, but I'm going to send you a picture of my messed up nipple because my husband actually starts to gag every time I go to use the breast pump. We're concerned. Please send help."

My doctor called me and was all OH MY GOD GET TO THE ER RIGHT NOW. Yeah, that's how nasty it was.

So off I went. But the cute ER doctor (awkward moment number 874 of becoming a mother) simply confirmed I had mastitis and told me to keep taking the (second)antibiotic that I'd been prescribed. He also gave me pain meds, because I could tell even HE was a little...well, "put off" by the state of the nipple. Also I told him that pumping and/or breastfeeding elicited a pain comparable, if not worse, than giving birth. Wheeeee!

Three days later, mastitis is not gone, fever is back with a vengence, and I'm back in the doctor's office. And then I'm being told I have MRSA! Do you know what that is? Me either, but I think it stands for Must Really Suck Ass, because it did. And then I had to get a different antibiotic that cost a million gazillion dollars. So many dollars that I can't even say it out loud on the internets because I work in healthcare and part of my job is minimizing health care dollar expenditures and OH MY GOD the price of this prescription made me blush and cuss in front of the little pharmacy assistant. Oops.

And remember all my breast feeding drama? Well, this antibiotic that cost me a gazillion dollars hasn't been proven to be safe for my baby while breastfeeding, so to keep up my supply I had to pump and dump. To be honest, I was ready to throw in the towel at this point. But the Internet told me that only devil worshippers feed their children baby formula, and the crazy Le Leche people were like, MUST BREASTFEED EVEN IF YOU ARE ON YOUR DEATH BED and so I found myself succumbing to this peer pressure and sticking with it. So for the past the past 10 days I have been pumping and dumping what little I am producing. For those of you who have ever pumped breast milk, you know that dumping it out is like dumping LIQUID GOLD down the drain. LIQUID GOLD I tell you.

But now I'm back! And I'm better! And I'm alive! And thanks to my husband, our son is still here too!

And these past four days that I've (finally!) been alone with him have not been quite as terrifying as I thought they would be.

So onward an upward! For now, my days consist of smooching my baby, watching reruns of Mad Men, and pumping liquid gold from my body. Now that the babes and I are getting into the swing of things, I hope to blog more than every few years or so.

Maybe someday I'll even blog about something other than my crazy nipple. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here is proof that my baby boy has, in fact, continued to thrive despite my attempting to poison him with formula. Happy 1 month b-day son! You're seriously worth it. I promise you that.

P.S. Shout out to my fab hubs, my Mom and Ang for taking care of me and my sweet little baby cakes while I was down and out.


What's in a name? Everything.

[My mom, with Semisi, the day we took him home from the hospital.]

Tonight my mom went home after having been here since Semisi's birth, and it's difficult for me even now to think of the words I could use to thank her for her presense during the transition of bringing out little man home. Tonight, for the first time, it's just Paul, Semisi, and Me, and tomorrow, it will just be my son and I.

Wow. My son.

My mom told me once that having a kid is like losing a parent in terms of the depth with which it impacts your life...only in reverse, because it's a joyous occasion and obviously you're bringing someone in to the world rather than saying good-bye. I could relate to this, because when I lost my father over two and a half years ago (good God...it's been that long?), I remember feeling like my friends who hadn't lost a parent - though AMAZINGLY supportive in every way possible, simply couldn't understand the way it changes your life. Someday they will, but after my Dad passed away, I had a deep connection with those friends of mine who'd lost parents. It was a sort of "knowing"...an unspoken understanding...particularly with the friends of mine who'd lost a parent to cancer, as that's a cruel disease and a terrifying way to watch someone pass from this life to the next.

Now that I'm a parent, I feel as though I have an understanding among my friends who are also parents. Let me be clear: many are probably like, "FINALLY! She GETS it." Certainly I'm no WISER than I was before, but I am already beginning to see the world they way they've seen it since their children entered their lives. I'll continue to learn, they'll continue to suppress their "I told you so's", but from here on out I understand that nothing will be the same.

There will now always be three where there was once two.

At least until he's 18.

Right Semisi? You will be 18, and not 32...RIGHT?

Because of what my mom said to me that day, when my husband suggested, were we to have a son, we name him SEMISI, Tongan for James, after my father, I couldn't think of anything more fitting. His middle name, Michael, is my step-father's first name.

So welcome little man. You've got a lot to live up to. Either way, we still love you...because after all, that's what parenthood is about. I've already learned this much.

[Me, with my Dad...30 years ago.]


Parenthood 101: Keeping Your Baby Alive Without Having a Nervous Breakdown

Warning: I'm too tired to proof read this. Don't judge me for typos.

Dudes. This shit is hard. And I have it easy, because Semisi? The kid never cries. I shit you not. He sleeps, eats, poops, and lets out an occasional grunt, and that's. about. it. So you're all probably like, "Cry me a river!" and "Where's my violin?!?!" and "I suppose your diamond shoes don't fit either, you lucky bastard!??!" You would be right to say all of those things on the baby front. He's rad. But it's not him. It's ME!

This sounds like a bad break up story. NO I AM NOT BREAKING UP WITH MY BABY. Come ON. It hasn't even been two weeks yet. I have to at least let him take me out for Thai food first. DUH.

Okay, but in all seriousness, trying to keep this kid alive is tough work. I almost had a mental breakdown the first week. There are a few reasons for this.

After having the little man home for a few days (two...TWO days) we were scheduled to go in for a quick follow up appointment with our doc to get him weighed...and we did not get good news at this appointment. We discovered that he's lost almost a whole pound since his birth, and that he was getting little to no nourishment from the boob. Basically the little guy was just a sucking away and was getting NADA from me...much to my surprise.

Of course, because he'd only been born a few days earlier, I was a damn basket case, so this, along with the tumbleweed blowing across the doctor's parking lot, made me break in to tears. We were sent home and forced to feed him formula, which we've been doing right along side some serious attempts on my part to pump some milk out of these gigantic boobs of mine.

For a few days, I got nothing...NOTH.ING. Then I'd get an ounce a pumping session, which is basically enough to keep a knat alive for an hour. However, slowly but surely, I'm getting a little more at a time and we're able to give him what little I can pump while supplementing with formula.

Why am I telling you all this? Well I don't know!??! Why are you reading? I guess I expected breast feeding to be some damned hippie ass experience where I would casually lift of my shirt and my son would nuzzle in and drink to his heart's content, giving me a slight hand signal when he'd have enough...upon which he would roll away and begin hiccuping and rubbing his belly in satisfaction...maybe saying something like, "That's some good shit."

But instead, I was basically starving my kid. NOT exactly how I pictured all of that playing out.

Partner this with my uncontrollable urge to cry every five seconds and my constant fear that every thing ELSE I was doing was putting my baby's life in GRAVE danger too, and well, the "experts say breast milk is best" warning on the side of the formula can label can just go F*@& itself.

My psychotic fit of hormone induced wailing has been a damn joy ride for Paul, let me tell you.

Because everything I do feels like it's putting my kid in danger. It's like, if I hold him this way, or burp him that way, HE COULD DIE. AND OTHER BABIES MIGHT DIE JUST BECAUSE I DID IT WRONG. JUST BECAUSE.

But it's getting better. I wake up each morning with a huge sense of relief that we've managed to keep our child alive for yet another day - this brings me a great feeling of accomplishment. And our kid seems happy.

Yet, I'm still a total basket case, and I'm looking forward to the day when I can just enjoy motherhood without being scared to death of it. But the good news is Paul is leading me through this adventure - and he stays as calm and collected as always, which is precisely why I married him. And my mom, who just retired after 35 years of doing day care, is here helping. So really, I have nothing to worry about, right? RIGHT???


So...tell me something good! Tell me you thought you were going to accidentally kill your baby every five minutes too! Tell me it gets better! Tell me it will all be okay! Tell me that not breastfeeding my kid every ounce he takes in will not result in a major arrested development!

Or tell me to shut the hell up and go eat the cheeks off of my sweet baby boy.

Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

Ohhh...and here's our week, in photos. As you can see, Paul is doing everything...likely because I'm off crying in a corner shouting "I'm killing him!"

In between those fits of hysteria, I managed to get these pictures:

Yes. That's a maxi pad. That's the shit they give you at the hospital. Scared yet, mom-to-be-who-have-never-been?

It's not the baby that's exhausting him. Trust me.

Pure bliss. OH YEAH. THIS is why I had a kid with this man.


The...ehem...birth story.

WARNING: NOT for the faint of heart.

Dear Kid,

Welcome! We're so glad you're here. Mostly, my troll feet thank you for finally evicting yourself so that my ankle bone might once again make an appearance. Seriously, I think my colleagues at work were sick of me saying, "GET A LOAD OF THIS!" every time they walked into my office as I lifted up my pant leg to show off my club foot of an ankle. Apparently the side effects of pregnancy just aren't that interesting to everyone.

So, you're a dude. BIG SURPRISE there. I'm not even being sarcastic there. That was a big. effing. surprise...to everyone except your grandmother, and she'll be the first to tell you that because no one loves being right more than she does. Except for me. So, although I'm just tickled pink (sorry, bad choice of words) that you're a HE, I hated saying I was wrong about something.

Here's how we found out you were a boy:

About 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, the 26th of October, I was getting some serious signals from you that you might be making your grand appearance. (Actually, that's kind of a lie. One of my colleagues was like, "Girl! You're in LABOR! GO HOME!" (Hi Shelley!)

So I headed home from work, called your Dad, and then called the hospital. Of course, at that point, the hospital was all, "Dude, quit calling. Your contractions are like, 10 minutes apart, fool! Call back when they're two to five minutes apart."


That seemed like a damn eternity. But WHATEVER. I was determined not to be that girl that gets sent home mostly because I couldn't handle that type of discouragement.

But then around 2:00 a.m. it was clear that you weren't messing around, so I stuck it out for a few more hours then I made this dramatic phone call to nurse and really hammed it up so she would believe me, and so she was like, "FINE, you can come in." And off your dad and I went to the hospital.

When we got to the hospital, the nurse checked me, and I was dilated to a 4. You don't get what that means. Some day I'll explain it to you, but anyway, it basically meant I could stay. But THEN the nurse was all, "You need to go walk the hall for 15 minutes" and I was all, "Bitch PLEASE!"...because walking at that point seemed like, SUPER hard. But I did it, and had contractions the whole time, and you made it very clear that you were ready to GO!

Then I was dilated to a 6, and the nurses were all, "Epidural?" and I was all, "Yes, please!" and HOLY SHIT SWEET NECTAR OF THE GODS OF ALL THINGS THAT ARE FUZZY AND WARM THAT'S SOME GOOD SHIT.

Except you like, can't feel the bottom half of your body with one of those things. Did you know that? Could you feel the bottom half of YOUR body? Because I could not.

Checking on the dilation progress after that point was interesting, because remember when I said I couldn't feel the bottom half of my body? Well your 300 lb lineman of a father had to help move my legs so they could check out the progress DOWN THERE, and I swear to you that my legs felt so heavy I was all, "HONEY YOUR ASS IS GONNA NEED SOME HELP LIFTING THESE THINGS."

But he was able, apparently, and low and behold! I was dilated to a seven and shit was getting SERIOUS! Your grams and gramps drove on over (from three hours away) and were there by our sides by 7:30 a.m. and I was encouraged that you and I were going to meet one another REAL soon.

Then, ummm, things just stopped.

Fast forward to 6:00 pm THAT NIGHT and I was STILL at a seven. Dude. WORK WITH ME. You were not. By this point I had conceded to a bit of pitocin, but you were annoyed with that so we had to stop. Then I was annoyed enough to go ahead and give myself a 102 degree fever, then you were annoyed and raised your heart rate, and things were getting out of control. Then the physician (bless her sweet lil' heart!) was all, "We're not messing around anymore. We're-a-gonna-go-ahead and get shit moving." And she, well, "checked" me again and did some handy work up there and we finally got things going.

Then just before 10:00 p.m., I started to push (for those of you who aren't keeping track, this means I have been in labor for 30 hours...but nbd. Whatevs). At this point, I'd lost ALL sense of modesty, and although I had originally wanted it to just be Paul and I in the room, I was totally fine with two of your grandmas setting up shop, too. Then your dad had to hold up my 300 lb leg and a way we went!

For another 2 hours.

And then finally (FINALLY) the nurses and doc were all, "I CAN SEE HAIR!" And between you and me I knew they were talking about YOUR hair, so I really gave it the good ole' college try. And I'm sorry, but when they offered to use the vacuum, even though I knew it would give you a cone head, I was all, "HELL YEAH I WANT YOU TO USE THE VACUUM!"

(Your father would want me to mention that he was trying to encourage me NOT to use the vacuum. There are a variety of reasons why his opinion, at this point, did not matter. When you have a wife and kid of your own, I'll be sure to remind you that your opinion won't matter either.)

And then BOOM! Out you came! Of my vagina, I mean. And you were screaming your ass off. And aside from the epidural, that's the best thing I felt all day. And people were all, "It's a BOY!" and I was all, "Nu-uh it ISN'T!" But you were. You were a boy. You are a boy.

And I am so, so, so, so, so OKAY with that.

Because I didn't think I could love another boy like I love your Dad, but here you go proving me wrong already.

So welcome, little man. Thanks for being cute, and thanks for...you know...changing my life...and stuff.


P.S. Shannon - this one's for you. I totally pooped. Cheers!


Meet Semisi Michael

Semisi (James, in Tongan...phonetically pronounced Say-me-see) Michael was born just shy of midnight on October 27th.

Believe it or not, he was born exactly 7 lbs. (not 15), 20.5 inches, with a full head of hair (that part is probably NOT surprising...)

We really, really like him.

We, like, LOVE him.

A lot.

Here are some quick photos to tide y'all over:

More to come (i.e. gory birth story details), but for now you'll have to excuse me while I go eat some baby cheeks.

Much love to you all.



Gus and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

So my dog.

Yes. He’s a 12 pound Pomeranian. We think. Or something. Here is a picture of him:

He enjoys sitting (like that) in the sun room.

He also enjoys driving in the car with the window rolled down:

And rolling in dead things in the grass:

I think if my dog could be compared to any one in real life, it would be David Sedaris. Or maybe Frasier’s brother. You know, this guy:

Anyway, he’s a bit eccentric. He only likes food that is the color red. He prefers to hang out in his little house during the day, even though we don’t put him in there. He will lick my ankles for hours at a time. He’s a weirdo, but we love him.

We adopted Gus a few years ago. I caught Paul off guard and in a weak moment he agreed to let me adopt him. When we got him, his hair/fur/whatever it is was pretty shaved down, and we didn’t know what he was or what he was going to look like. He was neither cute, nor uncute. At the time, he looked like this:

You see, because Paul didn't grow up with dogs, he didn't like dogs. I, myself? I’m a BIG dog person, but I grew up with labs, and if I had my druthers, we would have a big dog. Sometimes I treat Gus like a big dog and not a little furball. But our condo association won’t let us have a big dog, so I had to compromise and just get what was available and under 30 pounds.

As time passed, Paul began to love him even more than I did. He even considered entering the two of them into a contest called Big Guy, Small Dog. We never did, and I think Paul still regrets having not done this, as he’s fairly convinced they would have won. Basically, Paul has become the equivalent of a stage mom. If there were a show called “Tiaras and Pomeranians,” I think Paul and Gus would be on it.

Because Paul is a much more responsible human being than I am, he has typically always come home at lunch to let Gus out to take a whiz. Paul did that every day for two years, even though I worked closer to our home than Paul did. However, Paul’s job location has recently changed, and now he works so far from our house that it would be impossible for him to drive all the way home to let Gus out at lunch. But of course, Gus is now USED to being let out every four hours or so. So now I have to do it. Ugggh. Fine.

Bear with me…I getting to the good part.

Anyway, Paul leaves the house at 6:30 a.m., I leave the house at 8:45ish, so I usually let Gus out ONE MORE TIME before I head to work so I can push coming back to let him out until later in the day. Last Friday, I did just that, because I knew my parents were coming to stay with us for the weekend and that they would be in around 1:30 p.m. and head straight to my house. So, I asked my mom if she would let out Gus out when she got to my house so that I wouldn't have to go home for lunch that day.

Only, when she got to my house, she didn't have to let him out.

Because he was already outside.

Where I left him earlier that morning.

Chained to his little tether.

Oops! Pregnancy brain!

Thank GOD it wasn’t like, negative 20 degrees outside!

I confessed that I’d done this to Paul. He was not pleased. He was tempted to turn me in to dog protective services.

Later that day (TO MAKE UP FOR MY NEGLIGENCE) Paul made an appointment for Gus to get his hair cut the next morning at 8:00 a.m. (MY DOG LOVES GETTING GROOMED. SEE ABOVE COMPARISON.) Obvs I was NOT about to get up that early on a Saturday morning to take my dog to the beauty parlor, but Paul, being the stage mom that he is, was happy to do it.

When they came home, THIS is what walked through my door:

Holy. Shit.

The Pomeranian Stage Mom has De-RAILED.

That's Paul's hands in the first two pics, holding him into submission so that I can take a photo. I'm sure you're surprised. Paul said he ASKED the dog groomer to give him this cut for Halloween. But he also said that with a flashy hair cut like that, maybe I wouldn't forget to let him back in the house in the morning.

Well play, Paul. Well. Played.


Meet the Parents

Dear kid,

Because we’re about three and a half weeks away from your arrival, I thought I’d take the time over the next few weeks to give you the low-down of what you can expect when you get here, since you are unable to prepare me at all for what I might expect upon your arrival. If you’re anything like your dad, you won’t need to be prepared. If you’re like me, you’ll want to know the name of the nurse in the delivery room well before you’ve met her. I’ve requested an Ethel. No promises.

I thought I’d begin with how I met your father. His name is Paul. His actual name is Paula – pronounced Pah-ooo-la…three syllables. When he moved to the United States from Tonga, his teachers pronounced his name “Paula” (as in a female customer service lady who might work at a Herberger’s). Because of that likely traumatic experience, he now goes by Paul to everyone except a select few – including both your grandmothers and a handful of his buddies who have taken the time to understand how to say it the right way. You can just call him Dad if you want, though.

Here is a picture of him. He will be embarrassed that I picked this picture because it’s from the olden days, but I can’t help it.

You’ll come to discover that Tonga is an island in the South Pacific. Not many people from Montana know this. I was one of them. Despite having hailed from a tropical island, I managed to meet him in the Alaskan tundra.

Explain that to me.

Anyway, the best way to describe your dad is to say that he is the exact opposite of me in every way possible. Needless to say, we’re curious as to how you might come to blend the two of us into one little package. When we met, I was a lowly second year Drama and English teacher who was getting her emotional ass kicked by her students. Your father was a wrestling and football coach for the high school, and he had total control in every way I did not – especially with students who acted like assholes. At that time, this was about the hottest and most attractive quality anyone could possess.

Despite that – and despite the fact that your father is probably the nicest man I’ve ever met - I actually didn’t like him all that much in the beginning. He’d be the first to tell you this. He was just SOOOO NICE. If you're a girl, you'll understand that someday.

So one day, I broke up with him and told him to quit calling me because I “just wasn’t feeling it.” He took these instructions literally, because he's a boy...and because he was very, very smart.

Of course, not calling me like I'd asked him to was just unacceptable. So I called him...because I had to see him THAT DAY...and he said that if I wanted to see him I had to come to a WRESTLING MEET.

UGGGGGH. He was pushing it. But I did it. I went.

The only thing I understood about what was happening on the mats was that your father had a personalized handshake with each one of his wrestlers, which he promptly administered upon the completion of each of their matches – win or lose. Because of another man you’ll soon meet, you’ll learn that individualized handshakes are very important to me. Your dad doesn’t know this, but that was the day I decided to fall in love with him, marry him and reproduce with him.

Luckily your dad has always been quick to forgive utter stupidity (this will come in handy when you’re in Junior High), so he took me back.

THEN I made him move back home to Montana with me, which he did because he really likes me. When we got here, shit got crazy, and we survived two of the most difficult years we’ve ever had (more on that another day). At the end of all that, we came out alive and married. Things started to look up.

Enter: you.

Little people actually terrify me, but your dad is much braver than I am, and so he convinced me to give the kid thing the good ole’ college try shortly after we got hitched. When I wasn’t pregnant that first month I was convinced it wouldn’t happen. Then, just a day or two after returning from a little getaway weekend of hot-tubbing and drinking a lot of booze, I discovered that I was 8 weeks pregnant with you. Oops. Sorry about that. If you end up with nine knuckles, you can blame that weekend.

When I showed your dad those two little pink lines on that thing I had to pee on, the first words out of his mouth were, “It’s going to be okay.”

And, other than having made 7 (seven!) trips to the bathroom between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7 a.m. last night; other than my new face, which now looks like a soccer mom version of Chucky; other than my troll feet and sausage fingers; other than the nausea, and the panic attacks in the diaper aisle at Target, and the frozen yogurt cravings, and the lack of vodka, things have, indeed, been okay.

Because yesterday, when I was reading a book that I had propped up on my belly, you kicked so hard that the book actually rolled off of my stomach and dropped to the floor. I understood this to be your first attempt at establishing a hand shake with me.

As a result of this nice gesture, I’ve made the decision to fall in love with you, too. And I didn't even have to tell you not to call first. So already, you're one step ahead of your father.

We’re all excited to meet you, so please don’t overstay your welcome in my cervix, stomach, ovary, belly, uterus? Whatever. You know where you are. See you soon.




Here's the recipe, a la Megan (I found is on pinterest, my new favorite thing...are you pinning? You should be. Follow me and I shall follow you. Amen.):

1. Get your favorite brownie mix.
2. Mix the shit up, then divide evenly into muffin tins.
3. Bake for 15 mins. or so. You know. just...watch it. Or whatever.
4. Heat up 3/4 cup peanut butter. When the "cups" of brownie collapse, poor some of that melted goodness into the center of each cup.
5. Top with peanut butter chips, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and angels.
6. Enjoy. Say, "Oh gawds, it's just so rich. I think I can only have one." Then have 3.
7. Wash down with ice cold milk.

Oh God. I see what's happened here. I've replaced alcohol with baked goods. This is not good.

Or isn't it?


It's like a party in my uterus.

The good news about having a tumor? You get to have one of those sweet ultrasounds so they can get a real good look at it. Of course this also meant that I got a look at the kiddo chillin in the ole' uterus, too!

And no shit, these ultrasounds are something else! I kind of feel like we cheated a little. Like we got to see the baby ahead of time. Like when it comes out we'll be all, "Nice to meet you. You look just like your photo."

At first we couldn't get a good look at the face because the babe's foot was in the way. Of it's face. That is correct. And yes I did make them clarify that the foot appeared to be an extension of the leg, showing an unparalleled act of flexibility instead of a foot in place of a hand.

Once the foot moved over a bit, we got some sweet shots of him/her throwing us some gang signs. But then he/she shot us a smile, and that was pretty rad, not gonna lie:

In the above pic the babes is actually holding its foot. I told Paul that's a total cheerleader move.

He just smiled and said, "She has my nose."

And then I was thinking that it'd be sweet if we had a lineman sized boy who wanted to be a cheerleader. Can you image how solid the base of that pyramid would be?

And then I had my first "HOLY SHIT I'M PRETTY EXCITED TO MEET THIS KID" moment.


So any bets? Based on the pic...boy or girl?


You're so ANAL about your BABY.

Megan Mooney - Irish = Mexican
Megan MooneyComediansStand-Up

First of all, if Megan Mooney were to ask me to marry her I just might say yes, because she’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a comedienne and more. Too bad she's married (with children now, as a matter of fact). (Shout out to Ang for introducing us.)

This particular bit really spoke to me though – on a very deep level. I remember having these very same feelings the first time a friend of mine told me she was pregnant. She was a college friend and needless to say, we’d had some seriously good times - times we'd never be able to continue with a baby on board. After she broke the happy news I remember thinking “WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS TO ME!?!”

It felt like she was breaking up with me for her reproductive rights. The NERVE.

As I’ve matured (i.e. ever since I've had to deliver the same personal development to my friends), I'm happy to report that I've embraced this news from others with a tad more class...even genuine happiness. However, as of late, I’ve begun to think long and hard about how I’ll continue to navigate my friendships, my marriage, and my work, and my drinking habits with a kid. There are definitely friends who have, in my opinion, been more successful in this endeavor than others, but I’m still unsure about what’s made them so successful. Timing? Good babysitters? A complete disregard for child protective services?

I don’t want to be the type of parent who makes everyone else have kids right along with me. Having a child is a decision Paul and I made on our own…we didn’t consult with our friends and ask them for permission to bring a third wheel into our group. And though I’m confident my friends will not only make accommodations to our new family circle AND go home and talk to one another about how amazing our mad parenting skills are and how they just can’t get enough of our incredibly smart, talented, athletic, and well mannered child, I think it’s equally important that Paul and I demonstrate that we’re willing to make accommodations to maintain our friendships on a kid-free level, too.

I don’t have kids yet, so I’m not sure what that looks like exactly, but I do know that for starters it means getting babysitters (or a small cage with some food) and dedicating childless conversations to each other and to our friends…even with our friends who already have kids (that is, if we can get them to simultaneously cage their kids, too). Because, well, sometimes I think I’m going to need conversation that doesn’t involve lactation and poop. I think they’ll need this too. Especially my friends who don’t have kids.

And when I do need to talk about that? Well, that’s what this blog is for! (Get ready to live, readers!)

Perhaps this is a na├»ve position to take. Perhaps all of you who currently have children are reading this while making all sorts of guttural noises and saying, with bated breath, “She has NO idea what she’s asking of herself!” Maybe you’d be right. But at the end of the day, when the smiles and sunshine and unicorn fantasy of children begins to dissipate and it starts raining poop and puke, I want to know that I can get by with a little help from my friends. And Jose Cuervo.

And I think in order to make that phone call with dignity, they need to know long before that day comes that I have not abandoned them. Or Jose.


Passing on an evolutionary step in human development.

Like most mothers-to-be, my dreams have been bat shit crazy. To keep you thinking less of me I’ll spare you some of the real doozies, but I will tell you that more than once a week I have that dream where I give birth to something resembling a gremlin. That, or I birth a child with T-Rex arms. I kid you not. That one comes up quite a bit.

These dreams happen so often that during my last ultra sound, I kept asking the radiology tech (in a very suspicious “YOU KNOW SOMETHING I DON’T KNOW” voice) “So everything [insert a checklist of items including, but not limited to, a finger, toe, limb, eye, nose, and mouth count] looks fine then, right?”

Interestingly enough, though, I’ve yet to ask the tech if she’s been able to get a good close-up of the kid’s knuckle count.

That’s right. If you don’t already know (by that I mean if I haven’t already shown you this while exuding a great deal of pomp and circumstance), I’m missing a knuckle. I actually think that the human race does not NEED that particular knuckle (I'm right handed and it doesn't impede on any day to day function of hand use...with the exception of maybe picking my nose...but who picks their nose with THAT finger anyway? We've got THUMBS for that.) However, DON’T TELL MY MOM THIS, because I’ve been milking this little gem for all it’s worth for the past 25 years.

You see, my mom beats herself up over the fact that I have this small hand deformity because she (unknowingly) smoked while pregnant with me. That, and she didn't actually KNOW I was missing a knuckle until I pointed it out to her one day while we were painting our nails together at the kitchen table. I think the conversation went something like this -

Me: Mom, why doesn't my knuckle pop up like yours?
Mom: WTF???

We know, Mom, “NO ONE KNEW YOU WEREN'T SUPPOSED TO SMOKE BACK THEN!!!!” (Side note: my mother has not smoked for over 25 years. I'm guessing she quit about the time we had the above conversation.)

That said, let me be clear: I do not think her smoking had anything to do with this deformity, but when I’m trying to get under her skin about something – I mean REALLY give her a hard time - I’ll sometimes mime the action of smoking by taking a fake drag of a cigarette and setting the imaginary cigarette in the slot where the knuckle should sit…like it’s an ashtray.

Opportunities to pull out this crowd pleaser usually present themselves when my mom is giving me a hard time about something domestic, but lately these situations have been few and far between. I think because I’m giving her the grandchild she’s always wanted, she’s decided she’s got bigger fish to fry when it comes to worrying herself over my lack of domestic capabilities – like HOW WILL I KEEP SAID GRANDCHILD ALIVE?

Suddenly my inability to wash bath towels properly has taken a back burner.

I know, Mom. I KNOW. But don’t worry, Paul’s around to make sure the baby only drinks wine on weekends.

Ehem…anyway, secretly I’m kind of hoping that my kid is missing a knuckle. That way, when my child looks at me with his/her dark curly hair, brown skin and dark eyes and asks me if I’m REALLY his/her mother, I can say “Of course I am. I've given you my lack of knuckle. YOU’RE WELCOME.”

Because when my kid whips out that mime scene for her grandma? Well, that’s going to be proud moment for me, as I’ll know right then and there that I was able to throw a little something special my kid’s way…something I received from my own mother…something even more important than a four knuckle fist. After all, it’s not what you can or cannot physically do with 9 knuckles…it’s how you use it.


My muse...

Today I created a new Pandora station. Can you guess what it was called?

Nothing like a little New Kids, Debbie Gibson and Whitney Houston to get you through the afternoon! All I needed was my walkman.

It was great until our intern came in my office and I told her how much I missed Tiffany, as her version of "I Think We're Alone Now" reigns supreme against all others. She was all, "Who's Tiffany?"


Now I know how Paul feels when I ask him about music from the olden days.


I made a thing!!!

Look! I made this for a friend's baby shower card:

When Paul walked in and saw me getting all crafty he was all, "UMMMM, who are you and what have you done with my wife?"

I was so proud of myself. Now it is over. It was a fleeting moment. I'm confident it will never happen again. SO ENJOY THAT CARD, KELSEY.


28 Week and Counting...

After much anticipation (okay, okay, so maybe it was only like, ONE person who asked[hi Traci!]), I bring you my first belly picture:

I guess I'm just not big on like, sharing pictures of myself when I look like a beached whale. But hey, y'all asked for it, so GIVE THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY WANT!

I'm really looking forward to that moment when I can have a baby and be like, "I lost 15 pounds today!"

(For those of you who have had kids and know that it's completely unrealistic of me to think that I will actually lose 15 lbs the day I give birth: please just let me be blindly led in this department. After all, I thought the baby was in my cervix that one time and you set me straight on that already, so consider your job complete. Don't even get me STARTED on how I think this thing is actually going to move OUT of my cer...errr...uterus?)

Paul has yet to feel the baby move. He has no patience, and the baby appears to get stage fright the minute he lays his giant hand on my belly. It's like when it's dancing around in there like a white girl, and Paul puts it's hand on my belly, it immediately feels judged and just quits dancing altogether.

Wait...are we still talking about the baby? Cause my baby's got MOVES, y'all. MOVES.


Bumps in the road.

Warning: this is that one post where I talk at nauseam about my medical problems. This is the type of thing that my husband refers to as "over sharing"...so grab a drink and get ready to live!

Yeah, so being pregnant is getting hard. And by hard I actually mean slightly annoying. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m creating life as we speak, and that’s awesome and awe-inspiring and stuff, but for the most part, I think that at this point if I could just have a pregnancy on like, a layaway option, wherein after rendering 9 months worth of payments I could just go pick up the kid? Well, I think I’d go with that option.

For example, the drinking thing. Yes (MOM), I know it’s immature to keep talking about how much I miss vodka sodas. It IS. Because at the end of this whole thing I’ll get a baby and not having drinks for 9 months will seem like a worthy sacrifice. It is a worthy sacrifice. But I’m always surprised when women who have been pregnant are all, “Oh my gosh! You MISS it? It just did NOT sound good to me.” My response to that?

“Then lady, you didn’t like it like I like it. Period.”

Another reason that this pregnancy thing has been slightly annoying is that I’ve had weird things happen. For example, I learned that my umbilical cord (apparently that’s the thing that connects me to the baby!?! Every day I learn something new…) only has two vessels flowing between me and the baby. Most umbilical cords have three vessels. My doctor said this isn’t a big deal, but when I asked her if it was like having my baby on slim fast she didn’t really disagree. She was quick to point out, however, that despite this new development the baby has still managed to grow at an alarming rate, weighing in the 90th percentile. I WONDER WHY, PAUL.

Also, my right ovary has developed a little side kick. Well not totally little. It’s more like a baseball sized tumor side kick. I envision my right ovary as the “black sheep” ovary of the family that has like, a Hispanic accent, a few tattoos and who keeps bringing carnies home for dinner. It’s that ovary that says “Say hello to my little friend” (I can’t say that without it sounding Hispanic, so that’s why I think it’s of Hispanic ethnicity) to the radiologist every time she covers my stomach with goop to say hi.

This specialist doctor who specializes in ovary side kicks is not concerned with this thing…other than that it could twist, burst, or result in an early c-section where he’d remove my ovary, its little friend, and the baby all at once. I’m thinking if I’m really going to have a 16 lb baby this might not be so bad. So I got that going for me, which is nice.

Oh! And I’m suddenly getting morning sickness. So that’s a new development too. I’m enjoying it. Paul is enjoying hearing about it.

And yes, I totally owe you guys some baby bump pics. Why you are all fascinated with seeing me grow into a pregasaurus I’m not sure, but I’m willing to oblige, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, I’m actually starting to get excited about where this little babes will be setting up shop for the next few years after he/she makes its grand appearance. Check out this nursery that I plan on trying to copy in under $15 dollars:

Think I can pull it off?

Right now this room is the bane of my existence, so I’ve got my work cut out for me, for sure. Buttttttt, maybe it will be cool? No? What do you all think? (By that I mean only tell me if you like it.)



(whisper: look who’s 40.)

Oh my gosh you guys. Oh. My. Gosh. Someone in our household has turned 40. And I’m 30…and he weighs more than 12 pounds. So...I'll let you use a little deductive reasoning on this one:

Not that ANYONE would believe it. Seriously. Paul looks younger than I do and CERTAINLY has not been utilizing sunblock until very recently.

This monumental occasion took place on July 21st.

Here’s how the day went:

7:00 a.m. – Paul leaves for work while I proceed to move into a DIAGONAL position across the bed and fall back asleep.

1:00 p.m. – I call Paul to see if he’s gone home to let the dogs out yet. Paul asks what I'm up to. Not until I verbally say the words, “Oh, Mom and Mike just bought me a fabulous lunch” do I realize what an asshole I am. (Like, why would he want to join us for lunch on his birthday?)

8:30 p.m. – A group of 15 people sing Paul happy birthday in the middle of a restaurant as we all watch him fight off the equivalent of a grand mal seizure in the world of being uncomfortable. It. Was. Awesome.

So here I am, about to make him go into minor convulsions again, but you guys! YOU GUYS! I can’t help it. Look!!!!! Look at him as a baby!!!!!!

(he’s probably like, 3 days old here).

And look look look!

And look at this one where he’s carrying his little books!!!!

I can’t help it. If I could squeeze these pictures and call them my fluffy, I would.

Every day, as I re-adjust my position in the bed when he leaves it to make myself MORE comfortable...just after I give his crisp, scope cleaned mouth a kiss good-bye with the ass breath that I’ve developed as a result of a full night of open-mouthed breathing, I realize how damn lucky I am.

Because in the 4th grade, when I was wiping boogers on the bottom of my desk and using my chapstick to wax the cork of my alto saxophone, this guy was the captain of the football team.

(Actually when I put our age difference in those terms, it’s kind creepy. But you get my point.)

But hey, it's too late for him to back out now. Remember when you did this, honey?

(see how I look really happy and he has this look like WTF did I just do???)

But hey, it's too late. And now a baby makes three. This shit’s in the bag. You’re stuck with me, honey.


Happy birthday, baby.

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