Sunday, August 28, 2016


I've kind of lost track of time, but it appears that Baby Andrew will be 5 months old in a week or so! You are WELL OVERDUE for some new pictures, so here you go!

Hard to believe I've spent nearly 5 months wearing a hole in this couch, or doing my circuit between kitchen and living room, to lull him to sleep in the front carrier. We are doing well. I must say I don't feel older or more tired than I did 17 years ago, but maybe I just felt pretty old and tired back then.

A lot of friends are on the cusp of becoming empty-nesters right now, as I thought I would be in three years, so I think the biggest adjustment has been getting used to the idea that next 18 however many years I have left will look different than what I'd imagined. You might think I'd already grasped that, having lost Jack, but a new baby is just another re-imagining or recalibration of my expectations.

Speaking of changes: Andrew starts daycare in about 2 weeks! Yeah, you can start praying now, because we chose the FARTHER AWAY ONE since they could do part-time, whereas the close one (2 minutes away) could only do full-time. For a car-hating baby and his mom, this could be interesting. Oh, and have I told you we live in the traffic capital of the universe so every trip takes twice as long as it should?

I am looking forward to getting back to work. Some immediate goals are:

  • hiring a speaker's agent 
  • speaking engagements
  • pitching and writing articles for magazines 
  • deciding what sort of book to write next

I admit that the first few days of childcare may look a little more like:

  • taking a nap
  • meeting up with a friend
  • scheduling some "alone time" with Tim 
These waning days of summer are usually difficult for me. 

They remind me of the last few days/weeks before Jack's accident. The first week of school is rough, too. This year the crapiversary of Jack's accident, September 8, falls on the 3rd day of school, which is also Back to School night, and Andrew's first day in childcare.  Gah.

Oh, have I mentioned this would be Jack's senior year? That feels like a lot.  

Surrender. Embrace. Live. Love.

Love you guys!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Groundhog Day

Do you ever feel like you are buying the same things over and over?

I've been doing some major culling around here, and am appalled at the volume of STUFF we have compared to the rest of the world. Having a teenage daughter and a new baby doesn't help, because both of those stages seem to be rather, um, acquisitive. Large plastic items litter the surfaces in my house, and my barely 5 ft tall girl has shown me just how expensive per square inch, little shorts can be.

I 'm proud of my reputation for being frugal. I order water at restaurants. My towels are the ones that went to college with me in 1987. Most of our furniture is from the thrift store. My Grandpa Harris would be happy, a bit more so if I could just up my twine game.

But there are some things I seem to buy again and again and again. Here are my top offenders:

1) Eyelash curlers:
I've been using eyelash curlers since 7th grade. They are made of metal, and should probably last a lifetime. Yet my teens, 20's and 30's are paved with discarded eyelash curlers. I'll buy one, carefully tuck away the extra rubber pads for safekeeping, and use it for a year or so. Then, it will start acting wonky, I won't be able to find the pads, and I'm off to buy a new one. It's only when we move, about every 5 years or so, that I find stashes of useless rubber crescents from the eyelash curlers of the past.

2) Door mats:
I buy too many of these because they hold so much promise. "Welcome to our house!" they say in their juicy summer colors, chevron patterns, or realistic fall leaves. They are like a mini-facelift for the home. A big monogrammed one makes me feel super-classy.  Until they get shmutzy, and moldy, and their message starts to say, "Stay away." I have yet to find a welcome mat that holds up to the weather, but as my many trips down the housewares aisle will attest, I won't give up trying. Oooh! Does that one have HYDRANGEAS on it?

3) Thermometers:
Nothing like been stressed about a sick child to make you go out and buy a new thermometer. "Where the hell is the thermometer? " we'll growl, stress levels rising. We even have a plastic basket in our linen closed that says THERMOMETERS on it, but at 2 in the morning, it's more like the failed thermometer graveyard. There's one that needs replacement batteries in a size I can never remember, and the Sponge Bob one that never seemed very accurate. I did find out from Tim recently that he thought when Sponge Bob played music, to indicate it was finished taking a temp, he thought "the happy music" meant you had no fever. So, I guess some of those mis-reads were human factor issues. Why do we keep the failed thermometers in the basket? I don't know. With the new baby we have a cool app-based thermometer that plugs into our cell phones! We'll see how that goes.

4) Throw pillows:
Never mind.  Throw pillows are life. You can never have too many. Kind of like buying a little bit of hope in the Target aisle.

5) Nail clippers:
I buy extra, even though I've never heard of clippers ever wearing out or being thrown away. I place them all around the house like the glasses of water in the movie M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, so that when Tim has an urgent nail clipping EMERGENCY, he doesn't freak out too much.

6)Fish Oil:
Yeah, I buy a lot of fish oil, knowing that it will lead to silky hair, a better brain, and God knows what else. Then I leave it in the cupboard until it expires, and do it all again. See also: Calcium Supplements.

I could go on. Shower Caddies, miracle eye creams, makeup brushes anyone?

So, I'm wondering if I'm the only one with wasteful habits in need of reformation!  What are you top offenders when it comes to re-buying?

Friday, August 5, 2016

Get 'er Done?

One thing about being home with a new baby is thinking about all of the things I'd like to be getting done, but that I'm thwarted from doing. I remember this well-- where the walls start closing in, and every one of them looks like it could use a new coat of paint. I know this stage won't last forever, but nothing highlights an inability to check something off a checklist than being inside the constant need cycle of an infant.

It's not as if I'm trying to do anything earth shattering. I just want to keep our house in decent shape, mail a few letters, and maybe poop alone.

Take Monday, for instance. After an epically scream-y day for Andrew, I was exhausted, but I had one goal: to rotate the area rug in our living room.

You see, last weekend, our dog Shadow peed on the one exposed spot where I play on the floor with Andrew. We cleaned it, but after 2 days in which the baby and I went to bed smelling like a mixture of Resolve, urine, wool, and despair, I couldn't take it any more.

I waited until Tim got home, and hoped that he, my visiting brother, and I could rotate the rug so that the stinky part was under the couch.

Then I saw Tim drag in after a long day at work, complaining of muscle or nerve pain in his rear. My brother limped in next, his long drive from WV having exacerbated his back and sciatic pain. I had thought of moving the couch myself during the day, while wearing the baby in a carrier, but my bum shoulders cried out in protest. We were falling apart. Once again, I realized this late-in-life parenting thing is no joke, and will probably require a whole lot of Advil and humility.

I decided to wait on the rug rotation. Instead we stood around talking about our ailments. I lent my brother my Tens machine, just like the ones used in physical therapy. And if letting your brother stick your personal sensor pads on his bare 50 year old ass isn't love, I don't know what is. His 5 year old step daughter kept trying to turn up the shock level. Too funny!

The rest of the week was much happier for Andrew, and Tim and I took care of the rug last night.

The to-do list is still long, but just look at this face: