Wednesday, October 28, 2009

a blog of randomness...try to keep up

I think that it will be fun to write a stream of consciousness-esque, word association blog. Here's my go at it.

I have coffee breath from just drinking coffee. I now drink coffee basically every day, but only a couple of very specific ways--never black, never with milk, never with straight up white sugar, never the way that my mom does so I don't drink it much when I'm at her house. This all adds up to my ever nauseating compulsions. Frighteningly, this reminds me of my dad.

I also want to comment on Disney, Strawberry Shortcake and princess shtuff that just permeates every imaginable product in every store everywhere. I just picked up the Strawberry Shortcake blanket that Abby had been rolling around on today. It came from my niece/sister-in-law, both of whom are mega huge Strawberry Shortcake fans. It's okay to have an item or two sprinkled around haphazardly, but I forsee this as being a great challenge in my immediate future to clothe and toy my child without falling too much under the spell of Disney and all things popular. It's just not me. That being said, I saw the cuuuutest little 11-month old Minny Mouse this morning.

The World Series is on right now. a) What else is on? b) I love baseball. c) Even I, who adores all things except the Yankees and usually the Mets baseball, am tired of the baseball season being dragged out. It shouldn't take over a month to complete the playoffs. Seriously. Down with the Yankees, too.

Ben is reading a Scientific American that is all about the origin of things and is thus also telling me about these fun little facts--bones, chocolate, the uterus, and my favorite one so far--vibrators. After you get that mental picture out of your head, hear me out. The origin of the vibrator was as a medical device to cure hysteria because the "by hand" method was time consuming and tiring for doctors. No kidding. And, hysteria, in case you weren't aware already, is from the Greek word, "hyster," which basically means the female organs. And, hysteria was long thought until the 1950s even (which I didn't know it was THAT long until Ben read the article to me) to be a purely feminine disorder dealing with a malfunction of a female's reproductive organs. Dumb men who call themselves scientists.

I don't know why but I looked at that last sentence that I just typed and thought, "Shakespeare." Don't know why and have nowhere to go with this.

Toby is sprawled across me right now. It's too bad we don't have video blogging. Even if you're not a cat person because they like to sleep on your face and cuddle in your unruly hair, even you would agree that she is cute. I'm just that good that I can type ad naseum while providing cushion and support for a sleeping feline. Or maybe she is that good...

I'm tired of typing journal responses for the class that I'm taking right now. But I'm done with presentations. But I still have a big old paper to write. But I'm almost done with my Masters. But, I still have three classes (technically). Shoot.

My back hurts. I have nothing left. I lost a bet with Ben and have to rub his head. Peace out.

(Sidenote...this style of writing really reminds me of all of my other blogs. I'm thinking specifically of two entries ago, "Mom-ness," when I never wrote about what I had intended to write about and still can't remember what that was supposed to be.)

Okay, one more thing. Random Abby update--15 lb. 8 oz. and seriously adorable when she was laughing and giggling during today's partaking of pureed squash and oatmeal. You wish you had one...and Abby, that is. Too bad she's mine and I'm not very good at sharing.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Here's something I don't say enough and undoubtedly should say more

I heart my mom-in-law tonight, my MIL. Mother-in-law just sounds a bit dowdy and old fashioned and you-play-by-my-rules-or-else-you-can't-marry-my-son-a la-Edith-Wharton-era-esque to me. So I shall call her my mom-in-law, at least here.

Her real name is Jane. Jane Cox. Nothing fancy, nothing flashy. Pretty much a plain Jane in appearance but not so much in personality. No one is quite like Jane, and if you know her, you would likely agree.

I've had and continue to have my (large) share of frustrations with her. Mostly this comes from me being really super duper resistant to being parented by anyone other than my own lovely mum and dad. (No, I don't call Linda Eager "mum"...she would not so much appreciate that. There was one day in my life when I decided to mimic Nellie Olson on "Little House on the Prairie" and call her "mother." That one didn't last long in no uncertain terms.) It has taken me and continues to take me time to figure out how to be an adult and still parented in a special way by John and Linda. Heaven help Dave and Jane for all of the times that they have most likely unconsciously tried to gently parent me, via the extension of my spouse in particular. That's a unique challenge for a parent. You don't just stop being a parent to your child, but their spouse is by definition so attached to and a part of your child that you kinda have to parent them by default. Poor Dave and Jane. Did they know what they were getting into? Did they???

Jane loves people. People intimidate me. Jane loves to talk with people. I pretend like I don't see people whom I know in public so that I don't have to strike up an awkward conversation. Jane likes to share all sorts of details about her life, which means her children's lives as well, with everyone whom she is acquainted with. I have difficulty bumping into someone whom I vaguely know or recognize via Jane/Dave/Ben and having them know so many details about me. I'm a pretty private person, and I'll let you know what I want you to know about me. To have that filter removed because someone else shares details that I would not necessarily share is super uber uncomfortable for me. Ben and I struggle a bit with this. I try to be less anal about it. Ben tries to be more sensitive. But Jane, bless her young at heart mommy heart, just wants to share in the joys of her children. And she has just accepted me from day one. The first time that Ben took me out to dinner at East of Chicago Pizza to meet the judge and the mom (no kidding...try meeting your boyfriend's parents for the first time and his dad is a judge. I dated rarely before Ben, so this was a challenge anyway!), Jane has been as warm and gracious and accepting of me that she is today. That's saying a lot! I have some weird idiosyncrasies that my mom knows about and doesn't question, but seriously, I get them from her... It's a lot to ask another, sane (ish) individual to accept my quirks and love me anyway!

At this point, I realize that I sound really me me me...accept me and I'm not going to try to change. Oh not so. I have tried and tried and tried some more. I have changed. I have adapted. I have attempted to become more normal and less anal about many an issue. I have succeeded and I have failed. I still try, though. Honestly. But I also stink at it a lot. Yeah, I have 2 older brothers, but seriously...I'm pretty good at not sharing too well.

Jane frustrates me to no end sometimes, but without a doubt, 100% of the time, if I just have the chance to talk with her, I always feel better about "x" issue; it may not be perfectly resolved, but we really communicate pretty well. And you know what, I enjoy just hanging out with her. She drives me crazy sometimes, but she also teaches me much and dare I say, parents me time and time again. Really, it's not such a bad deal.

"There is...nothing to suggest that mother cannot be shared by several people." H. R. Schaffer

(Am I going to share this with her...?)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


When I was waaay preggo back at the beginning of May, I said something to the effect that staying home with Abby would feel a lot like a vacation for me and how I was really looking forward to it. My sister-in-law's mom heard me say it and just laughed at me with something of a deprecatory manner and just went, "Yeah, right..." I so hate that "You're just stupid for thinking that" attitude. It made me feel immature and foolish. Well, I stand by my earlier statement. It does feel like something of a vacation. It was everything in it that I love most--sunny mornings, mugs of hazelnut coffee enjoyed in solitude, productive morning time, and my fav little girl, ever. full time with 100+ snotty, apathetic teenagers and then go to school at night while trying to manage a full load of grading and my own homework OR what I just mentioned as some of the things that I love most. Yes! It's vacation-ish!! I love it.

Surprisingly, I might add. I never saw myself as all that stay-at-home mom-ish. But then again, I told several people in college that if I ever teach for more than 10 years, to please shoot me. I'm going into year 5 and don't see an end in sight. Partly because I'm still 2 classes and a big ol' paper away in the 2-year degree that is taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Maybe I enjoy the at-home mom role so much because it really might be my only go at it. Something else that I have never seen myself as--the mom of lots of kids. I've had kind of a 2 kid limit type of mindset for a long time, but really, I'm not even sure that I'm going to make it. It's up for debate in the distant future. I can't fathom more children at this point. I had to pop in at school a few days after Abby was born because it just so happened to be finals week and I had to verify grades. Another (female) teacher was all like, "So, you ready to have another kid yet??" implying from the general context of the conversation that childbirth was horrible. Me answering seriously--"I don't know if I'll have another." Her answering from her "lofty"-because-she-has-2-kids perch just scoffed at me with a "Yeah, right..." This was the same teacher that assured me that I would be miserable at the end of it all. Guess what you-think-that-you're-being-funny-and-helpful teacher, I wasn't miserable! I really don't know if I want more children not because labor was horrible (it wasn't!) but because I'm just so darn happy with us as we are now. There really is something to be said for just feeling complete.

This has turned into a sappy digression. Thanks for staying with me.

So I just really love having Abby. I'm sure that I've said or implied this before, but I just can't get over how good this feels. This is the coolest thing ever. And if I had to choose today whether to have another child sometime in the future or just stay as is, I really think that I'd choose Abby. But, wierdly enough, I just know that if we try to have another one, it will be a boy. And I don't want a boy personally, though they are quite lovely, I'm sure. I'm not sure why, but they just kinda freak me out a bit to be responsible for one.

I'm part of a corner group (we all sit at a specific corner) who all have babies within a month or so of each other at my weekly Mom's meeting group (really, a highlight of my week!). I have friends there! It's shocking, I know. Me, the person who is intimidated by strangers, actually has made friends with people all by myself. Half of us have girls and half have boys. Those little guys just seem so foreign to me. They're cute and all that, but ... they're not girls. I don't know how else to articulate it than that. Color me odd. Case in point--I really dig my 2 nieces. They rock and we have a blast playing together. I also have a nephew, but I just don't get him. He's not all that into me, either. I love him, but we've not really bonded yet. Maybe the timing is just wrong with him. I'm all wrapped up in Abby now and don't have as much time to learn about his little 1 1/2 year old person. So all in all, I guess God knows what he's doing and gave me a gift in more ways than one.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Things I'm Into Right Now

Every Tuesday and Thursday when I drive back from Ball State, I ponder many a point. Lately, my ponderous thoughts have vacillated anywhere from my dream house to deciding who should be Abby's legal guardian in the circumstance that both Ben and I die. Funny how I always settle on the same things to think about; maybe it's like how I always listen to the same 3 cds, but that's really because I keep forgetting to bring different ones to the car. Here's what I am rather fixated on right now, just in case you wanted to know.

I am totally totally to-ta-lly into the Emerald's Nuts Cocoa Roasted Almonds. So delish. So easy to keep in the car for my lunch break/commute.

I really dig "Mr. Pitiful" by Matt Costa. Check him out if you haven't.

I have my dream house half way blueprinted in my mind. Gorgeous kitchen WITH an island. Separate dining room. Breakfast nook attached to aforementioned gorgeous kitchen (WITH an island). Three bedrooms. Extra room for Ben's office so that we can have a guest bedroom. Library with built in bookshelves spanning two walls. Sunroom. Greenhouse. Windows windows windows everywhere. Neighbors within shouting distance but far enough away that I can walk around the house with in my underwear and no one would notice. And, it wouldn't be in Kokomo.

Coldplay makes me happy. Dave Matthews Band makes me very happy. These cds seem to always be a part of the rotation that just languish in my car's cd player. A 6-cd player really really rocks. I'm not so much into changing cds all of the time and I listen to them most of the time, so it just makes sense.

Apples. We're almost out of our 1/2 bushel that I picked on September 25th. We've never gone through that many apples so quickly before though both of us just really enjoy them. Are they particularly good this year?

Abby. I think about her a lot. I think about her clothes and what she needs.

The old model red Volvo that a professor in my building drives. It is perhaps the coolest car second only to Mini Coopers. It has eeny teeny windshield wipers attached to its headlights. So rockin' cool. And I can't trump the tiny headlight wipers, so...that' it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I remembered something else

Ball State wants to kick me out it seems. If I don't turn in records of vaccines that I undoubtedly suffered through 26 years ago, it's kaputz on the degree. Did it really take them 2 1/2 years to figure out that they have no record of my baby immunizations?

This is really nothing more than an annoyance until I realized this point. I'm going to have to get a new Tetanus shot seeing as how my last one was in May 1999, which now exceeds the 10-year booster. Big bummer. Those smart a bit if I remember correctly (facetious...they really hurt!).

Is this the only time in the history of mankind when someone had to get a Tetanus shot just to complete their Masters degree??? I'm willing to wager a penny on it.

I just wanted to post something

Ben may be able to teach our daughter all that she wants to know and more about the periodic table and momentum, but I think that I still hold the upper hand on vocabulary.

Ben: They're the only team that is without wins. Unwinning. Not winning?

Amy: Winless?

Ben: Stop being such a teacher.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The first time ever

We've lived in our house since July 2006, so 38+ months now. We have never ever ever seen a squirrel at our house in that amount of time. How bizarre! Squirrels are as numerous as cows in Indiana. When is the last time you've ever thought to yourself after a drive pretty much anywhere in Indiana outside of a city, hmm...I didn't see a cow today. Probably never since they're everywhere. As are squirrels. Everywhere! My parents even have mean little black squirrels. I'm not really all that upset that I don't have squirrels because then I have more birds. I even have a hawk who comes by and visits once in a while.

We've had bunnies.We've had other little birds who tap on the glass and just hang out in our bushes.

But we've never had a squirrel until today. And then he stole the entire head of one of my sunflowers, which he's hiding behind the fence & eventually dropped. The bugger.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

My fantastic (with a capital FAN) husband

For any and all of the times when Ben and I get frustrated with each other, or we're not on the same page, Ben really rocked yesterday. Here's how it went down...

Ben coaches middle school boys & girls cross country, and this is getting on toward the end of that season. This keeps him away a lot of nights and Saturdays, like yesterday. I rely on Ben to help with the Abby-girl on those times though too so that I can get homework for my grad class done. Never once has he complained about taking care of Abby after coming home from school/cross country when I know that he's tired and just wants to sit down. I know how draining teaching all day is, and then to come home to a fussy infant...not easy! But that's not why I'm putting the FAN in Ben's fantast-cism.

Abby came down with a cold on Friday that turned into a full blown snot dripping, don't-lay-me-down-just-hold-me, sad little Saturday. We were supposed to go to a wedding in Indy Saturday afternoon/evening, which was going to be a long and probably grumpy trip for Abby anyway since we wouldn't be getting home until at least an hour after her bedtime. But we've also been putting her to bed a bit earlier than her bedtime, so even her bedtime is kinda past her bedtime. But anyway...neither here nor there.

This was a Manchester wedding, which means that anyone (you know, so to speak) who wasn't at Homecoming yesterday was going to be at this wedding...lots of friends from college. And these are all wonderful, funny, smiley people who we never see and Ben especially loves to talk to old friends. I am the very epitome of awkwardness, so I enjoy it less, but I still reallllly wanted to go, too. I also just love weddings; they're so optimistic!!

Sidenote...I was so looking forward to going that I even scheduled my haircut for Saturday morning and arranged for Ben's mom to come over to watch Abby (Ben had a cross country meet) so that I could at least have decently styled hair. For me, a haircut is really a 4-times-a-year luxury.

So Abby has a cold and it became very obvious yesterday morning that we wouldn't both be able to go to the wedding because that would have been nothing short of child abuse to take her with us and make her sit through all of that and be accosted by bright noises and lots of people and have all of her routine thrown off. She's been to 2 weddings so far and hasn't been a huge fan of either of them. Throw her beleaguered immune system on top of it and it wasn't going to be a fun times for all event. Like the adults that we are, we had a parental discussion about what to do.

Amy: We're not both going to be able to go to the wedding, and I'm going to be selfish and suggest that you stay home with Abby since it would give me the chance to get out of the house. (totally childish)

Ben: I agree. (no hesitation...totally selfless)

Not only was Ben giving up the chance to see good college friends again (and seriously, we've never felt more a part of a community than we did at Manchester) and take care of a cranky 4-month old by doing so. That's testing your parental chops and totally being the wonderful wonderful FANtastic person that I love and married. He did it for me. He wanted me to have the chance to be able to see other people and have a mental break. He knows that I love staying home with my little one, but he also knows that I needed this and that he alone could give it to me. I think that he loves me. I think that I definitely don't deserve it but glory in it anyway. I think that I picked a good one. I'm his FAN, and I hope that I can remember this the next time a grumpy moment pops up.

"Perhaps the feelings that we experience when we are in love represent a normal state. Being in love shows a person who he [or she!!] should be." Anton Chekov

Friday, October 2, 2009

How to make apple dumplings with a 4 month old, a step by step tutorial

1. Put baby down for an afternoon nap. Figure that she'll sleep for at least 2 hours since she had a rough morning where her napping was thrown off because of her 4 month well baby check-up and subsequent vaccines. Ouch.
2. Poke around on the internet for at least the first 20 minutes of her nap figuring that you have all the time you need and more. While poking, do pretty much absolutely nothing but check email for about the third time of the day and then look at the Atlanta Braves website again.
3. Strain ears to hear even the slightest peep from sleeping baby. Nothing? Proceed to step 4.
4. Pull out recipe. Since you only make these once a year, refresh your memory about how these all go together. Note that apple dumplings really consist of three basic parts--making the syrup, making the dough, cutting up the apples and assembling the dumplings.
5. Make the syrup. Easy.
6. Begin to make the dough (aka the no-turning-back-now part). Hark! A peep.
7. Try to ignore the increasing peepage coming from the other part of the house in hopes that baby will put herself back to sleep as she's only been asleep for about 35 minutes now, a bit short even by her standards. (Sidenote...this is completely wishful thinking as baby neeeever puts herself back to sleep after waking up from her afternoon nap.)
8. Lament the 20 minutes that you wasted poking around mindlessly on the internet at the beginning of baby's nap.
9. Put wooden spoon down in semi-frustration. Go check on the loud protestations and gnashing of gums issuing from the crib.
10. Try to calm irate baby. Change diaper. Feed baby. Mentally rue the oven that was started to pre-heat about 20 minutes ago. It's ready.
11. Sigh at unhappy baby, who was not mollified by fresh diaper and mid-afternoon meal. Baby demands to be held. Clingy baby will not tolerate being set down.
12. Go rummage out carrier that sister-in-law made for you as a baby shower present. Frustratedly mess with carrier, trying to figure out how to put it on and secure it and having poor success. Baby cries.
13. Attempt to work on cutting up apples with crying baby in carrier. Baby cries some more. This is not working for her but you give it a go anyway. Remove baby. This is just as well.
14. Put baby in exersaucer. Baby is satisfied just long enough only so long as you are within her sight at all times. Baby does not play, but just kind of props her head up. You sing songs to her about what you are doing. 15. Construction of dumplings complete and pans in oven.
16. Sigh.
17. Hug and soothe baby while wishing that your spouse would just come home to give you a break for a few minutes.
18. Enjoy delicious dumpling knowing that you're a multi-tasking expert.