Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Milk machine

My breast pump failed last week. It has had a good run. More than a year for Q and almost nine months for R. I boiled parts of it because I was noticing some mildew forming. After that, it just wasn't working. Such a bummer, since that top-of-the-line sucker from Medela was about $300. I did without it for a few days, but was running out of milk for the baby and getting uncomfortably full of milk at work.

I got a $50 model from Evenflo. It is not as good. It is hard to put together and a little unwieldy, but the worst part is the noise. It is so loud. I feel especially like a cow when I use this one.

I pump milk every afternoon around 4:15. I have a little chair and stool set up in the roomy handicap bathroom stall. Conveniently and oddly, there is an outlet in there. I was so nervous about the prospect of pumping when I first began when Q was 10 weeks old, and I went back to work. I was embarrassed and hoped no one would come in the bathroom. After several months, everyone got used to the familiar swooshing sound, and I would shout conversations over the stall walls to other girls doing their makeup at the mirror.

Now I am kind of embarrassed again. It is just so loud and mechanical sounding. I feel very conspicuous. I am such a supporter of breastfeeding and am so pleased I am able to pump milk for when I can't breastfeed, but it will always be an odd thing to me. Having a child and then breastfeeding him reminds you that you are really just a mammal. Pumping makes you feel distinctly bovine.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas in Wine Country

We are back home tonight, unpacking and washing clothes after a great Christmas. We drove down to Napa Tuesday night around 12:30 a.m. It was very snowy and a little unnerving, but we made it by morning. My parents and sister Sally had already been at the resort for a day.

We had a great time visiting wineries and eating nice dinners. Q had a blast opening his presents and playing with all his new toys. It was a great idea to all meet in the Napa Valley. It is just an incredible place with vineyards absolutely everywhere you look. That said, I would love to go again with just adults. Having a 2 and a half year old and an eight month old is stressful. I barely tasted some of my food, and we spent a lot of time handing off babies as we hurriedly tasted the wine and tried to avoid spilling anything or shattering any glasses. All in all though, the trip went very smoothly, and it was one to remember. (Especially the visit to the Mumm Champagne winery!)

This was designed as a trip for T and I to explore our new home and look for a place to live. It was odd now knowing we will not be going there. We were sad in a way because it is a beautiful and interesting place, but are more excited with the place we will actually be going. We were glad we knew about the change before we went, so we didn't fall in love with the Napa Valley, pick out a home, and then find out it was not to be.

It was actually nice to not have to worry about doing any work and just play instead.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Rude Awakening

Q maced himself this weekend. Well not exactly but pretty close.

First some background. Most mornings when I am getting ready, Q is my little shadow. He pulls his stool in the bathroom and splashes in the other sink. He puts water in his hair and washes his face. When I put mousse in my hair, he demands some as well and rubs it on his head. While I blow dry my hair with a round brush, he awkwardly handles my straightener (unplugged of course) and another brush. I'm sure some day he will be mortified by this, but it's pretty cute now.

Now back to the macing. I woke up Saturday to him crying and calling "Mama!!" In a hazy, half-awake state I stumbled into his bedroom to find him frantically rubbing his eyes, his face red and tear-streaked, and his hair white. In his hand, he clutched an empty can of spray sunblock from the bottom of an old diaper bag. I realized what happened right away and had to chuckle a little even as I stripped off his clothes and carried him down to the bath. The poor little guy's eyes were red and teary for most of the day. I swear most of being a mother is just preventing your children from killing themselves.


Our move has just taken a dramatic turn. We are still figuring out the details, but ours plans are totally different now. I am pretty excited about the change, but am hesitant to make any solid decisions until everything is confirmed.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Pickin' up poo-poo

Thursday is a big day in the Modern Mama household. It's when the beloved garbage man comes. It starts around 8:00 a.m. or so. We can hear the motor a few streets away and the excitement quickly builds. Q with his ears like a bat picks up the sound of the truck and shouts, "Gobbage twuck! I wanna see it!" He hops up on my laundry hamper, and I pull up the blinds. After a few anxious moments, we see it. The green truck slowly moving down the alley, pausing at each driveway to extend its pinchers, clasp a trash barrel, heave it up high over the truck, and dump the rubbish into the back. It is a thing of great beauty. Q squeals in delight and asks, "Gobbage twuck! Do you see it??"

The wonder doesn't end there. The truck still has to hit the houses across the street. An hour or so later when we are downstairs we hear the familiar motor again. Yesterday, I heard it first and told Q, "Here it comes! Hurry!" as I went to open the front door. Q started sprinting over, took a tumble over the dog who started whimpering, and fell flat on the floor. Though he was crying, he jumped up and bounded to the front door to witness the trash collection. If only that garbage man knew how he was lighting up the morning of a little toddler.

Several months ago when Q was just learning about garbage trucks, T explained to him that he puts all the poo-poo out in the trash for the garbage truck to come retrieve. We do have a lot of poo-poo in our house from two babies, two cats, and one dog. It makes up a large portion of our weekly waste. So, Q is now under the impression the garbage truck goes from house to house picking up crap. He has his very own orange garbage truck, complete with a barrel that you can move up the side to dump at the top. Q happily plays with it singing, "There it goes! Gettin' more poo-poo!" Only six days until the poo-poo truck comes again.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Home woes

Our house is stressing me out. It has been on the market two weeks now and this week we had two tours. This entire process is incredibly challenging with two children, two cats, and a bark-happy dog. Every time I try to pick up the mess, Q follows behind me getting out more toys. When some agents came through, I was just sitting there feeding R baby food. I'm sure that's not ideal, but what can I do? We do still live there.

We had to list our home for less than we bought it for, and our real estate agent is now suggesting we go even lower. We just can't do that, so it looks like we might have to hang on to it and rent it. It makes you wish you had been renting all along so you don't end up stuck. Then once we move, do we buy? Do we rent? How do we afford any of it? What if our renters don't pay or trash the place? It is all very stressful and overwhelming.


In happier news, I got my hair done today. Don't you just feel great after that? It looks so shiny and healthy now. My highlight roots were approaching an inch.

Also, we got back R's six-month pictures this week. They are wonderful.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Tinsel and tantrums

I am feeling in control this Christmas. I like all the things that go along with it from the cards to the decorations to the wrapping, but they all tend to stress me out. I think of the list of things I need to do and wonder how I will get it all done. I go over and over my list in my mind stressing about each item. Thankfully, T helps me quite a bit, and this year we are ahead of schedule.

One of my least favorite things to do is address all those envelopes. We had 100 cards to send out from our large families, different hometowns, and many moves. T put all the names and addresses in the computer this year, so the labeling was as easy as putting on a sticker. We took our family picture in the front yard with the camera on a timer and printed 100 wallet pictures at Costco that night. The cards are out and arriving at their destinations. I spent a few hours today wrapping and those boxes are about to be shipped.

I miscalculated the allure of the gifts, however. I put them in the living room near the tree for us to admire until Christmas day. Q is a bit more impatient. After his nap, he slid down the stairs and made a beeline for a silver package with a pink bow. "Want to open it!" T had to pry his tightly-clenched fingers off the ribbon. T hustled the gifts out to the trunk of the car while I took a bawling and practically hyperventilating Q upstairs. I learned my lesson.

We are spending Christmas in Napa with my parents and sister. We will have to cart all our gifts down there. Q will be thrilled when he finally gets to rip into them.


Thursday, December 11, 2008


I will miss many things when I move from my current home and relocate to the Napa Valley, but one thing I won't miss is my work nemesis. Don't we all have them? It's not like I love everyone I work with, but I do have a nemesis. Today this person was particularly painful to me. I enjoyed thinking, '25 more work days until I never have to speak to you again.'


One of my favorite things about this time of year is cranberry bliss bars from Starbucks. They are luscious little cookie bars with white chocolate chunks, cranberries, and cream cheese icing. Heaven. Now they have added the salted caramel hot chocolate (with one shot of espresso) to their repertoire. Heaven improved.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kissimus Tee!

It was an interesting morning. I woke up to Q holding up the giant plane Santa got for him and then Mama foolishly hid under her bed. "Plane, Mama! Open it!" he said. I looked around the room to see all his and his brother's presents scattered. There was quite a scene as I scooped up all the presents and re-hid them in the trunk of my car.


Things were looking up after the gift debacle subsided. T and I had put up the tree and other decorations Sunday night and couldn't wait for Q to feast his eyes on them. I had T on the phone and was shooting a video as Q made his way down the stairs. He stopped to exclaim, "Flowers! On the stairs!" (the greenery on the banister). Then he caught a glimpse of the glimmering tree. "Kissimus tee!" he squealed in delight and pushed over his child's gate at the base of the stairs to get a closer look. I told him it was just for looking not for touching. "My Kissimus tee?" he asked pointing to himself. He was pretty pleased when I told him it was.

He then checked out the "socks" hanging over the fireplace was confused when I explained one of the big stockings was his. He said, "Socks on," pointing to his little feet. He pointed out more "flowers" on the mantel and kitchen table.

The whole thing is quite exciting to him, and I'm sure he will be elated when he really receives his gifts. Preparing for this Christmas is stressing me out from the cards to the decorations to the list of gifts. The little ones make it worth it though, don't they?


Friday, December 5, 2008

Everyone's doing it

I have spent far too much time in the last 24 hours on Facebook. It is quite addicting, I must admit. I was quite surprised to see even my two OLDER (hee, hee) sisters are on. I am trying to get my husband to join, but he thinks it is lame. I keep updating him on how many friends I have now and how popular I am.


Our house is now on the market. It is listed for less than we bought it for. It's an unnerving situation. How exactly do you show a house when you have small, messy people hanging around all the time?


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Joining the masses

Wow. I have become sucked into the Facebook frenzy. I have never partaken until now, but I got an email from a friend I knew 15 years ago referencing someone he had found on Facebook, and I decided to dive in. It is like quicksand! It keeps pulling you in deeper! Who do I know from high school? What about my hometown? The town I used to live in? Now I understand what all the fuss is about. However, I refuse to join the MySpace trend. I just feel too old for that one.


Baby R and I had a movie moment this morning. I was tossing him up in the air happily listening to his can probably guess what happened next. He barfed all over me in mid-air. It was on my face and in my hair and all over my robe. Ick. Thankfully I hadn't showered yet. AND my mouth was closed.


Monday, December 1, 2008

College flashbacks

I wrote a 20-page paper this weekend. I have not done that in many years. Probably since the early college years. It is the final paper for my Media Management and Leadership class. I wrote about managing different generations in the workplace. I made T read it when I was finished. He was riveted. I have always been good at writing papers, and it took me just two days to slap it together. I have always been able to write about what I know rather than answer questions about what I don't know. Now I just have to remember how to put together a bibliography.

Last time I wrote a long paper, I did not have to stop to breastfeed a baby or answer questions of curious toddlers. I did however have to take breaks to go to the bars, so I guess every age has its distractions.


I think I was healthy for about one day before I got sick again. I am coughing and sneezing and drowsy and achy. This is really starting to piss me off.