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.

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