Sunday, November 23, 2014



So much programming!  And with that comes a certain amount of marketing.  My goal for 2015 is to learn how to do some basic quilting, and I decided English paper piecing would be a good place to start.  And what better way to force yourself to learn how to do something than to plan a teen library program about that thing?  Behold, both my first attempt at paper piecing, and my marketing-to-teens effort, all in one fell swoop!  I'm kind of proud of it.  BEHOLD MY CREATION!  


(The larger original HD version looked prettier, but still!  Also, it's been edited to remove my personal library's information.) 

I've had several people ask me about my organizational skills at work lately, which leaves me quietly chuckling and shaking my head because I am running on so little sleep these days that to do anything less than color-code every aspect of my work would leave me with a messy mess of messiness.  This is not a humble-brag.  At least, I don't think it is.  I don't think I've done anything exceptional!  Color coded documents and Wunderlist are how I survive.  Also coffee.  Now I know why offices have those terrible coffee pods: because when you're legit tired all the time, you don't care how bad the coffee is.


We tried taking family photos for Christmas cards.  I think there's a law that says babies will only smile when it's sure to be out of focus.  Behold, outtakes! 

Hah!  Out of focus or not, we have a good time, we three.

Freddie had her 4-month appointment and I've started supplementing formula.  It's been emotionally tough (whole lotta guilt, however unnecessary it is) but I also want an alive baby, so if I can't give her as much as she needs from me, this is how it has to be.  I tried my best.  As the pediatrician pointed out, trying anything more than what I was doing was going to stress me out further and pretty much negate the whole point.  On the bright side, it means Patrick can take over a night feed now, so maybe I will get just a little more sleep.  




Topic change.

It has warmed the cockles of my cold cold heart to see the way people react to Patrick in public when he's carrying her.  He's always elicited raised eyebrows, side-eyes, and general weirded-out shifty-eyed looks because he's this grungy beardy scruffy guy who may have a smokes hookup (answer: no, he doesn't).  But put a red-haired charming baby in his hands and POOF, old people are smiling at him and people see him in this whole other light.  It is a palpable change.  I've gone grocery shopping with this guy who gets the stink-eye for his appearance often enough to notice when it suddenly disappears!  The suspicious "is this guy high?" (answer: no) side-eyes are entirely gone when he's with her.  He's told me plenty of times he loves taking Freddie out with him because of the different attention.  It's kind of adorable.  Plus, I think they're both in love:


Parenthood is exhausting.  But my heart feels so full.  Like the feeling of cooking a big meal, and then being sated by it (gee, timely simile?).  I snatch the quiet moments when I can.  I'm slowly reading adult books between the board books.  It's funny and probably telling that I don't have a lot to say in this third section of this hodgepodge entry.  Am I disappearing into parenthood?  I don't think so.  But I am awfully tired.  I think the tiredness is what makes me not want to do as much, not any newfound lack of caring.  If anything, I feel really comfortable in this parental role.  I feel like this is a skin I can live in, this mama skin.  But sure, sometimes my greatest joy is taking a hot shower with some rose jam.  My interests and thoughts about complicated things have been put on hiatus.  Patrick and I went out to the Magpie two weeks ago and at first I was like, dude, I can't even think of things to say besides "I AM SO TIRED."  But real thoughts...they will come back eventually, when this heady newborn time has passed.  Oh god, she's 4.5 months, is it gone already?!  Anyway.  Until someday a little later when I'm less immediately tired, I'll take pleasure in the little things: hot rose-scented showers, a new coat, those Trader Joe's sweet potato biscuits.  Small pleasures to tide me over until I can get my brain working regularly and can articulate things better, and can in general be a full human again.  I'm still getting my sea-legs.  

Oh yeah and sometimes I almost get eaten by pilgrim chipmunks.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Good things

That last entry was kind of a bummer, right?  Let's talk about good things.
  • Got about 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep from 2-8am today.  Oh weekend, glorious weekend.
  • I'm transferring to a slightly closer, larger library branch within my system, and assuming slightly more responsibility -- my talent in life is apparently changing things up as soon as I get any sort of routine going, right?
  • Patrick just brought me a plate of crackers & cheese
  • I think we're going to solve our "dogs are driving me insane" problem by baby-gating the living-room and getting a new loveseat.  I will end their reign of terror!  By which I mean, their reign of sleeping on and ruining the couch once we started hanging out in bed all day upstairs with the baby in July.  The one drawback to taking the TV out of the living room is that in cutting down our TV-time in there, the dogs sort of took it to mean that HAY THIS IS OUR ROOM NOW K.
  • I think I'm going to take up quilting.  I want to learn and I'm going to do it.  English paper piecing seems to be the easiest place to start.  
  • I pitched a story about finding the best cocoa in town!  And it's totally happening!  I get the best freelance gigs.  PAY ME TO DRINK COCOA!  I will always say yes!
  • There is still a lot of cheese on this plate -- om nom nom

Monday, November 10, 2014

Four months // we're all mad here

We've hit the dreaded four-month sleep regression.  We are up every two hours, like clockwork.  Cute clockwork, but also sad clockwork.  And both of our cars have been in the shop a total number of three times this past week (and it will soon be five since there are TWO issues that have cropped up).  This is mostly due to sheer bad luck/timing and people not getting it fixed right the first (or second, apparently) time.  It's a bummer since we want to trade in Patrick's car, but we want to do that in about four months when it's all paid off, not now.  So, it's better to bide our time and plop more money down on the dumb thing.  It's just irritating, and it's --surprise -- really hard to finagle two jobs and a baby with only one car when my commute is 45 minutes away and it's my six-day work week.  

Somewhere in the past week I went to the dentist and got my usual scolding, and also found out that I suck more than normal -- yay pregnancy dental side-effects.  :(  I hate everything about my mouth -- my smile is awful these days.  I'm going back to see if I can get some stuff solved, but it just sucks to feel this self-conscious about something that's been this constant problem my whole damn life.  I had braces/retainer for something like 6 years for goddsakes.  It just kind of sucks because it's not like I'm particularly pretty (not trolling for comments here, I'm weird looking and I accept my quirkiness) and having a botched up front tooth really makes me feel horrid.  Deep breath.  It just sucks to try and try to take care of your teeth and still have your mouth rebel.  Also it's winter so I'm all chapped and feel gross.

On Monday nights Patrick has a grad class that runs from (lord save us all) 9-11pm because his professor is a CRUEL CRUEL INSANE PERSON -- granted, it's online, so it's not like he's elsewhere, and it does mean once I get the baby down that he can keep the dogs in the office with him to shut them up:

i will keep them quiet with doritos

and the promise of more doritos to come
you are the god of doritos

It is known

Anyway, we're all mad here.  I bought a $45 baby coat at Baby Gap, so that's how you can tell we've rolled into crazy town.  In my defense, I bought a $8 used baby coat at a consignment place but it ended up being too big, and then my Target apparently doesn't think babies under the 6-12 month size need coats because I struck out there, and then I decided I didn't have time to go a trillion places because my car was going in and out of the shop (see also: four month sleep regression = TIRED), and baby sizing is apparently as wacky as women's sizing so Baby Gap had something and Baby Gap won by that technicality.  And now my baby has two coats.  So there's that.  


Lots of eating pizza/mozzarella/peppers in bed, and just trying to survive this round of babyhood until we can advance to the next level.  I think the next level of insanity is actually buying this merino wool blanket I came across in Franklin Goose and wanted to mash my face into forever.  If counting those sheep would buy some real sleep, I'd totally buy it.  They could name a price and I wouldn't even blink.

What was the craziest thing you've spent money on and didn't even caaaaare?

Friday, October 31, 2014


A month ago on Halloween, I picked out my lucky bunny shirt and went with Patrick to the IVF clinic in Brno, and a year later...

Okay, so these pictures were actually taken prior to Halloween, but when you have a lobster costume and a baby in a good mood (mostly...) it's best to do a lobster test run.  Anyway, we are having a very happy Halloween (minus a slightly sad crustacean for a minute there).  What a difference a year makes.  

Now, Halloween is a really special holiday for us.  How wonderful that a year later we're able to spend it not hoping beyond hope, but instead zipping that hoped-beyond-hoped-for baby into a lobster costume.  Halloween should really be our family Thanksgiving.  Halloweensgiving.

I've been thinking a lot about how our IVF story really is our story, too -- mine, Patrick's, and our daughter's too.  It's this messy tangled up thing, and writing about it so openly now (like in this post with references to it, photos, etc) is definitely something I think about in the conversation about online presences of kids before they're old enough to decide what they want their online presences to be.  I've been thinking so much that I interviewed Mel of Stirrup Queens for my column for her wisdom, so if you're interested in more about that, I'd like to point you to my work over there today.

For now, I'll probably post baby photos, and taper off from there.  It's my story, and it's her story, and I'm trying to find the best way to tell it as it continues to unfold (and to know when it doesn't need to be told at all).  It's the Wild West out here in Internet land, and growing up having an online identity is such a new thing, that this is in no way a judgement based on what others have decided is right for their families and little ones.  Lord knows I waffle constantly.  I kind of want to be like Sweet Fine Day, with the kids just gracefully fading from the content over time as they aged.  

But for today, I want to practically shout from the rooftops how thankful I am that this Halloweensgiving we can celebrate.  It's not a birthday or anything, but it feels like a special little addition to the day.  I'll never forget walking through the streets of Brno, chilly autumn wind whirling around us, holding this secret hope and not knowing at all what lay ahead.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Breastfeeding goals, writ small

I've been experiencing a low supply problem with breastfeeding, and this past week Freddie has been going through a growth spurt, making that harder.  But rather than bore you with the details, I'm just going to share my approach.  We've been trying out YNAB for our finances this month, and while it's similar to the Google spreadsheet we'd been forever tinkering with before, this is way better, and keeps us more focused.  I like the CONSTANT VIGILANCE but also hey man it's cool you overspent in the lunch budget, let's just move stuff around and remember you're not a failure, just work with what you have two-pronged approach.  It's all about breaking up long-term goals into manageable chunks rather than going at it government-style and trying to forecast and budget money you don't physically have at the moment.

I'm taking the YNAB approach to breastfeeding, in that from here on out, I'm going to simply concern myself with the amount of milk I have, rather than try to worry about the amount of milk I'm going to have.  This week I have an amount of milk in the freezer and fridge which will cover, say, 4 days.  Anything I pump is a bonus, but I'm not factoring it into my long-term breastfeeding goals.  I am no longer trying to breastfeed for a year, for six months, or a week.  I have enough breastmilk for four days, so I'm trying to breastfeed for four days.  If I get to the end of those four days and I have more breastmilk saved up, great!  I'm going to try to breastfeed for however many days that will cover.  No more long-term visionary plan.  That's simply too big and stressful to think about.  I need smaller chunks of the pie to work towards.  And when the supply issue makes it clear that hey, I don't have enough to cover that goal, then to the store for formula (already researched and picked out) we go to supplement.

This feels way more mentally manageable, and somehow makes me feel slightly more in control and less of a failure.  I have a plan.  It's kind of a shitty plan, since it's not ideal.  But life isn't ideal, maaaan.  I'm doing everything I reasonably can to breastfeed my daughter as long as I can, and right now "as long as I can" looks like 4 days, according to my "budget".  So, if I make it that long, I'm successful and have reached that goal.  And we'll go from there.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Library rule #1: The way to a kid's heart = stickers

Hello Kitty

Some days involve craziness, but then other days, I come into work and get reminded why it's all worth it.  I put together a Hello Kitty Reading Day event for this past Saturday, and the pictures the librarian who ran it took made me so happy.  These little kids had a blasty-blast with their Hello Kitty craft and library scavenger hunt (I threw down some rhymes and made them learn about where different types of books are in the library that Hello Kitty likes best -- did you know one of her favorite subjects is music?) and my only regret is that we had but 20 sheets or so of stickers to give away instead of 200.  Apparently the phrase "I WILL CHERISH THESE" was uttered regarding the cherry-scented stickers.

I feel ya kid.  I hoarded stickers like dragon's gold as a kid.  You don't use stickers.  They're for hoarding away until some inevitable someday when the sticker MUST be used, and one must wait for that perfect moment.  Sometimes for years.

So yeah.  It's been really hard to not feel completely exhausted all the time, and it sometimes helps to go into work and see photographic evidence of your awesomeness* according to 13 little girls.  Hooray.

*Okay, so Hello Kitty's awesomeness.  But I put the darn program together so I feel somewhat responsible for the grins, too.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I don't photoshop baby photos aside from adjusting exposure.  THIS IS REAL.  *melt*

Anyway, October so far:
  • Read all of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point in 48 hours in order to lead the library's book discussion.  Holding it together score: 100, A+, totally.
  • Went to the Hardywood brewery/food truck court TWICE.  That place is people-with-babies-and-beer mecca.
  • Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar about 800 times.  As you do.
It's so crazy to think that a year ago, Patrick and I were getting ready to embark to Brno in the Czech Republic for the biggest gamble in our lives to date.  And now I'm listening to Vashti Bunyan and trying to drink my coffee and type this while holding my baby -- MY BABY -- before it's time to run out the door to take her to her Grammy's.  

And boom, time.  This is so very hard -- there are a lot of Hard Things, like breastfeeding and working -- but the good things are so very good.