Twilight Baby

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Okay, so I think I'm probably one of maybe two women left on the planet who have not read the Twilight series. Nothing against vampires...or Mormons...or books...or all things popular, but I just haven't got around to it till now. (I've been a little preoccupied over the last few months!)
But, since Josh had to do some of his pursuing-his-masters-in-apologetics-high-brow-homework reading tonight, I thought I would take the read Matilda.
This is another beautiful thing about newborns - they don't really care what you are doing as long as you are within sight and talking in a soothing voice. Matilda is often happy and calm (yes, I am counting my blessings) so I snuggled up with her on the glider in her nursery and propped up the bestseller for our entertainment.
I read to her with great inflection, my voice illuminating the world of Bella and the mysterious Edward. We're only one chapter in (my vocal chords can only take so much reading out loud) but I think she's a fan. I'm curious to see what emotional turmoil and drama Bella will get herself into. Yes, I saw the movie - but I've been hearing all about the teenage angst the book offers and I'm wondering if I will have difficulty keeping my reading voice at an entertaining baby-level if the book turns too after-school-special-with-vampires-ish. We'll see.
I think this is a wonderful vocal warm-up for many books to come. I don't know if we'll make it all the way through the Twilight series, but I certainly love reading to my baby girl. I can almost see her brain waves expanding as she listens intently to my voice. I hope the beauty of storytelling is seeping into her ears and making their way into her imagination one word at a time.
I can still remember my mother reading the Little House on the Prairie books to me when I was a child. I was obsessed. I loved hearing about Laura Ingalls and her adventures in the Big Woods or in Walnut Grove or wherever they were pioneering at the time. It wasn't until junior high that I discovered there was a tv show based on the books, and watched it every day after school on PBS. If there was a Little House equivalent to today's Lord-of-the-Rings-World-of-Warcraft-Battlestar-Gallactica-geekazoids...I was it. Cute, right?
I wonder what obsessions Matilda will fall into...what characters will she get sucked into the lives of....what books will she sneak a flashlight under the covers to stay up late and finish reading long after bedtime?
Of course, one of the books I know I will have to read to her is "Matilda" by Roald Dahl, one of my very favorite authors of all time. If you've never read the book, it is a Dahl classic (and later made into a movie). While I'm a fan, no, Matilda was not named after the book. Afterall, on the back cover of the novel it is described as "a story about a clever girl with stupid parents".
Hmm, we're hopefully not stupid...but I'm not counting on winning any awards for reading Twilight to my four-month-old. Still, she'll be way ahead on her knowledge of pop-culture.

Gold Medal Memories

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tonight is the night women around the globe look forward to every four years - a night their husbands loath - tonight is the final round of the women's Olympic figure skating! Why do we love this sport so much? The rest of the year I honestly never watch, never keep up with, and never even think about figure skating...until the Winter Olympics arrive. Just like the "gymnastics fever" we get when the Summer Olympics come around - there is just something about figure skating that women love.
Is it the grace and beauty of the skater gliding across the ice? Is it the terrifying-yet-amazing feat of a human pointing her toe over her head while spinning? Or is it just the fact that deep down inside each female, there is a secret and quiet voice saying "I could've done that if..."?
Maybe a little of everything.
For me there is just something totally nostalgic about watching it. One of my earliest memories is visiting my grandparents in Texas and watching the 1984 Winter Olympics. I remember eating Rocky Road ice cream in my jammies and being totally captivated by the skaters. Scott Hamilton was shocking us with each back flip he would make. It was also the "year of the Brians" as Brian Orser and Brian Boitano competed. And, who could forget Katarina Witt? I can still picture her bright red lips and red and black outfit she wore when she took gold - back when there was an "East" Germany to be represented. I remember that the commentators would criticize her size - that she wasn't as lithe and tiny as the usual ice princesses that skated - but I didn't care. She was like a Barbie doll to me (well, a very brunette, German-speaking Barbie doll).
Through the years we have watched with amazement - cheering on the world's best - and for one week every four years, everyone you talk to knows who your talking about when you say names like "Oksana" or bring up the long-forgotten drama of "Nancy and Tonya". Remember that?
So - who do you think will get the gold tonight? Will America keep a spot on the medal platform - or will we have to bow to another country and wait four more years?
I honestly don't even have a favorite. I think that's one of the more beautiful things about the sport. As a spectator, it is lovely and entertaining just to watch. We wait for the scores and hope for the best - but it is easy to forget it is a competition when you're untrained eye can't tell the difference between a triple axle and a triple flip. And really, unless they fall flat on their rears I can hardly ever tell if one of them makes a mistake. Of course - Scott Hamilton's overbearing and enthusiastic commentary will be sure you don't miss a beat ("OH! She settled for the double instead of the triple! That'll cost her!")
Either way - it will be an enjoyable night.
I might even have to get out the Rocky Road just for the occasion.

Early Bird

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

This morning I had to be at work at 6:30am for a very atypical morning film shoot (I work in the video department of marketing at a university). I had planned ahead as best I could - lunch packed, clothes laid out, and most importantly...went to bed early. Josh had class till late and Tilda fell asleep at 9pm, so I decided to take a page out of her book and try to catch some early zz's myself.
It wasn't a great night, she was up at 12, 3, and 5am for quick night feedings. Then, after 5am she decided she'd had her fill of sleep and food and just wanted to be awake...talking...loudly. So, poor Josh had to also get up at that ungodly hour and snuggle the cute talkamaniac until she drifted off back to sleep - by which time I was long gone, on my way to work and trying to trick my brain into wakefulness with each sip of my decaf.
As I made it through the day, I seriously started doubting the benefit of my go-to-bed-early logic. Turns out, you just can't displace sleep no matter how hard you try. I mean, I don't even want to know what state I would have been in if I hadn't gone to bed early - but even so, nothing can make up for those lost hours.
Why is that?
It works in any other part of life! Calories in - calories out. Money in - money out. Gasoline in - gasoline out. You put in extra, you take out extra and so on and so forth...tit for tat if you will. Then it dawned on me: sleep is dependent upon TIME...and that, you just can't make up for.
Food, money, gas...any thing you can replace in life. You can get more of it, lose it, give it away, but time, just like sleep, can't be stored up for later. Use it or lose it, so they say. Or better yet - you snooze you lose...literally!
I always tried "sleep displacement" in college too. It seemed to work at the time, but my schedule was inundated with naps and highly caffeinated breaks. When I was finishing my degree in Tennessee I would even sleep on the grass or in the back of my car whenever I had the chance. If I didn't think it would get me fired (or at the very least some strange looks) I might be tempted to try that even today! Some days I will walk by students basking in the Southern California sunshine and look longingly at the freedom they take for granted now.
But alas, now I am a grown up. I've exchanged my lawn naps for meetings and my caffeinated lunches for a bagged lunch in the women's nursing lounge. But, you know - even if I could hold on to time, I wouldn't go back to those days. I wouldn't even store up sleep if I had the chance (don't ask me this at three in the morning!) I think I would just like to have a time-slower-downer-dial instead - slowing down the moments I know are most fleeting. The quick little smirks in the morning from Miss Talky Pants, for example. Now that - that I would store up and slip in my pocket and carry with me to relive again and again the rest of my life.
Some things are worth getting up early for - work just ain't one of em.

No Place Like Home

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Today I went to a meeting to discuss our university's study abroad programs. We were getting excited about the opportunities that are being offered and throwing around all kinds of jargon like "cross-cultural experience" and "global impact" etc. One of the Professors mentioned how he recently met a visiting family from the midwest who kept commenting on our warm weather and how shocked they were to meet such nice people in California.
"Oh, I'm not surprised," I said. "I first came here from the middle of Kansas and had the same reaction upon my first visit."
"Where in Kansas?" he asked.
Now, I don't know how many zillion times I've been asked this in my life. It always plays out the same way...
I say, "Um, south of Salina?" and they shake their head and mention how they once knew someone who knew someone from Kansas City or Wichita maybe. Then they ask "What town?" and I say "Yeah, no, really no town. Maybe Lyons?" and they still shake their head and shrug. Oh well.
Not today.
He says, "Sure, Salina...where exactly?"
"Like, Lyons?"
"'ve probably never heard of Lorraine though, have you?"
"Um...yes. You are kidding? I grew up 5 miles from Lorraine! It was my bus stop!"
Now, this might not mean a lot to you people from Suburbia, America or Metropolis, USA...but, this has never happened to me, ever. Just to give you perspective - here is an aerial google image of the farm I grew up on.
As you can see...there ain't nothin around it.
Several people claim to "be from Kansas" when they really mean "I spent part of 7th grade in Kansas City" (which is ironically mostly in Missouri). But, this guy not only knew the area - he knew the people! Turns out his dad was the pastor of a local church back in the sixties and seventies and he spent a better part of his childhood hanging out with many of the future parents of my friends.
**Cue Twilight Zone Music Now**
He started rattling off names of local farmers and listing the locations of homesteads even I hadn't heard of in years. We bewildered my co-workers as we referred to the area in "sections of land", "east and west" and according to "county lines".
He mentioned that his elementary class consisted of 2 people and I ensured him that the population boom of the eighties and nineties bolstered my graduating high school class to a whopping total of 16.
And yet, here we are. Both working at the same university thousands of miles from a spot on a map seemingly untouched by time in our memories. What's more...we're talking about student's opportunities to get out and see the world and explore other cultures.
**Cue It's a Small World Music Now**
I've always been a proud Kansan, a proud farmer's daughter, a proud mid-western all-American kid...but, I've always told the stories of Kansas to people who just nod and picture a smaller version of their own childhood town. I don't get to go back home as often as I would like to. I'm looking forward to bringing Matilda to the farm someday soon and introducing her to terms such as "combine" and "oil well quarter". I didn't always appreciate the details of my childhood while I was living them (Lord knows there was a time I would've sold my left arm to have a neighbor) but I'm so glad to have had that experience.
I certainly love living in California and taking advantage of all it has to offer. But, sometimes it is fun to reminisce and remember...there's no place like home.

Aw Snap!

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's not rocket science. It's not brain surgery. But, in the middle of the night, when you have to get up to change the baby only to discover your child is wearing the fabric equivalent of Fort Knox - you might as well be asking me to difuse a nuclear bomb blindfolded. Snaps.
Oh those little, round, ridiculous buttons that mock you with every clickity clack of their closure! Why in the world are SO many baby clothes made with these? And, we're not talking one, two, three snaps that might keep the basic onesie in, we're talking full baby body armor here.
It seems simple enough - pinch together, close, pinch together, close. You start at the top, snap snap are on your way to success! Then, you reach the legs only to discover a minefield of confusion. You start down the right legged maze - snap snap... "What's this? A gap?"
So you proceed down the left side - snap snap - "What have we here? An extra button?"
Nothing is matching up. Surely the manufacturer made a mistake here. But - it fit her before, surely there must be an answer! You start again, and again, and eventually you find the perfect solution...
"I've done it!" you announce to your spouse as you proudly present your fullly clothed baby back to them, only to see the look of shock on their face when they discover you've now duct-taped your baby's pants back into place.
What's so wrong with a zipper? Whatever happened to velcro?
I don't know about you, but I haven't met that many babies who are in such a rush to be changed that they need breakaway jammies. Is there an underground operation of baby superheroes out there that need to quick-change into their baby superhero uniforms
Getting babies clothed is hard enough as it is.
Step 1: Giant head through onesie top.
Step 2: Wiggling arm through straw-sized sleeve.
Step 3: Repeat step two, other side.
Step 4: Snap at crotch over hopefully-not-yet-filled-newly-changed diaper

And that's just for the "under shirt". By the time you get the arm/arm, leg/leg combo done on the outer layer, the last thing your baby wants to do is wait patiently while you fasten them into their fuzzy flannel deathtrap we call jammies. Let's just say it is a good thing they make baby clothes so gosh darn cute these days to make it worth the effort. Otherwise Matilda might find herself stuffed into a snuggie or rolled up in one of the million flannel receiving blankets, burrito-baby-style.

I'm Just a Girl

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Well, I knew it would happen at some point. My baby girl got mistaken to be a boy. "Simple mistake," you might say. "A lot of babies look the same."
Except, why is it that on the day she is wearing red and blue I'm afraid it might happen it doesn't, and then you get her all fru-fru'd up and that's the day someone calls her a boy?
She was wearing a flowery shirt with pink pants and had a hot pink blanket over her legs. I mean - you could not miss the pink! And did I mention the pink pacifier with the pink and red ribbon holder? (She's quite coordinated). She was all girl this day. And, what happens?
A nice, sweet grandmother comes up to say hello and says "Aw, what a sweet baby boy. What's his name?"
And then when I say "Oh, her name is Matilda" the woman actually looks at me surprised!
"Oh, it's a girl? I couldn't tell."
Really? What kind of torture did you put your son through?
I mean, when I was growing up, my sister and I heard many stories of how we got mistaken for boys.
"You didn't have a wisp of hair on your head for a whole year!" Thanks, mom.
But, that was then. They didn't have the fashionista, toddlers-in-tiara, my-baby-is-making-up-for-my-self-esteem kind of wardrobe consumerism that they offer today. There weren't entire stores dedicated to babies-as-adults clothing. And besides, it was the eighties. Being androgynous was semi-cool.
So, what can you do? Of course I shrug and thank the sweet lady for her nice (albeit inaccurate) compliments. But, why do I feel slightly offended? I mean, I would have been equally thrilled had I had a baby boy...but I don't. I have a baby girl. And it made me think - do many baby boys get mistaken to be girls?? Are their mothers offended?? Why do we care so much?
Society today would point us to a place of even deeper consideration. Oprah recently interviewed a transgendered man who decided to become a woman. He was the star quarterback in high school, and when he returned to his high school reunion 20 years later, he brought with him more than just memories. He had made the full transformation from Paul to "Kimberly". Oprah kept saying how courageous Kimberly was - that she had searched herself and found "her own truth".
Sorry, Kimberly. The truth is that you are a man. You found implants and hormones and a resolution to be happy - but you didn't create new truth. And I'm sure it was scary to walk in your shoes and face unbelievable challenges - but I wonder how much more courageous you would have been if you searched for the real truth instead of reinventing lie after lie.
It is scary to me that we're headed into a world that doesn't acknowledge the beauty that once was "normal". Mommies have babies and stay home and cook and clean. Daddies work and provide and drive the family to church on Sundays. Now you tell someone that old-fashioned "ideal" and they cringe and moan about inequality and prejudice. Words like "provider" and "submission" are suddenly a language of defeat that someone has manipulated you into.
I wonder if there will be a day where a grandmother will call a baby girl a boy and then say to you "Oh well, maybe she'll be a boy someday" and we will accept the comment with a shrug because she didn't really make a "mistake", she just "suggested a new future truth"...or some crap like that.
I'm not saying all steps towards "gender equality" are all bad. (I'm not looking to start any debates here). I'm happy for opportunities. I'm looking forward to Matilda learning everything from art to baking to throwing around a football with her dad or whatever. Sports, theatre, reading...we all want our kids to be exposed to all kinds of opportunities - to find what they're good at and use the gifts God has given them. This, along with being kind to others and loving the world. Oh yeah, and be a good steward of money...and the earth. And feed the cat and clean your room. Ok, we're pretty much wanting superhero kids. Which means we have to be superhero parents. Hm.
With all those standards hanging above us, is it too much to ask that we all be okay with just getting through the day wearing the same clean clothes and getting take-out on the dinner table by six o'clock?
I like having a girl. I like dressing her in pink. I like being a mom. And, in the world we live in today - that takes all the courage I have to offer.
And that's the truth.

Baby Nails

Saturday, February 20, 2010

So I just trimmed Matilda's tiny little baby nails...again. I think I have to clip them at least once a week, an event we all look forward to (shaking my head). Trimming baby nails is like playing a game of Jenga with dynamite. You are soooo careful - but one tiny little wrong move and kablammo! your child is now bleeding.
It's only happened once - a little too close on that elusive little pinkie nail - and a teensy polka dot of red deems you a terrible mother. It is so nerve wracking! And what can you do about it? The thing is, the trimming of the baby nails is such a catch 22. You are going about your day with your fair-skinned baby looking chipper and cute when all of a sudden you notice a fine, pink streak across her cheek or nose. Dang those nails - too long! She's scratched herself again.
So, you tackle her down, distracting her with songs you don't know the lyrics to and have to replace every other word with new vocabulary that has seeped it's way into your everyday language such as "doody" or "binky" and you blind her with the glare of lights that could be used for mining coal and you ever so gently go about the impossible task of taking a tiny, sharp object to remove the slightest millimeter of dead skin while your baby squirms and jerks like a slippery fish out of water. Voila! You've done it! Then, half an hour later, once you've had your fifth cup of coffee for the day and are now one whole third of the way through the same Oprah you've been trying to watch all day, you notice your baby child has yet another scratch on her beautiful little face. "But I just trimmed her nails!" you say. Indeed - only to sharpen one corner here or there into a baby size ginzu knife...and the process repeats itself.
When I bought my baby nail trimmers, it also came with a set of baby emery boards. The imagery it brought to mind was ridiculous. I could see little baby girls standing in line for the changing table at the mall, paci's in mouth and wearing their latest osh kosh b'gosh jean jackets and filing their little baby nails while crying little baby girl cries with little baby valley girl accents. Priceless. If only these little baby nail files weren't a joke - but they are. You totally can't file a baby's nails. Not only will they not sit their long enough for it to be feasible, but turns out baby nails are made of tissue paper. They are way too flimsy to, trim trimmery we must.
Don't even get me started on the toes.

Right on, Target

Thursday, February 18, 2010

In case you were wondering how it is that Target is flourishing amidst the economic crisis, I'll tell you - it's because of the Pardys. I think we are singlehandedly sustaining this corporation, and all I have to do is glance at my checkbook registry to find proof. Are you with me on this? I absolutely can not get out of Target without spending at least $70. I don't know why that's the magic number, but somehow it all adds up to at least that much (or more) every trip. I go in, list in hand: toilet paper, hand soap, card for Grandma's birthday, diapers...and come out with eighteen red and white plastic bags with a receipt a mile long. How did that happen?
What's worse is that our "new Target" has a Starbucks (cha) and a grocery store (ching). It also has covered parking, an elevator, and a separate escalator just for the carts (I'm not joking). I could absolutely live there if I had to (don't think I haven't considered it) and I'm starting to prefer it over the mall as my "shopping-as-exercise" strollerizing course.
Not only has Target become my market, coffee shop, and's also become my calendar. Afterall, if it weren't for the overstuffed $1 bins at the front of the store, how else would I know that St. Patrick's Day is coming up (I know I don't need green, glittery hat that says "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" but...) or that Easter is around the corner (bunny shaped playing cards for a buck!)? As long as I'm shopping at Target, I can count on a good holiday warning well in advance of even remotely needing to be prepared for the event (back-to-school in July! Christmas lights in September!)
And it doesn't stop there! Target is also a pharmacy, optometrist, and full photo center. Not to mention...Target's got style. You ask any girl you know. ANY. And at some point during her week, at least once, someone has said something looked cute on her and she raised her bargain-loving-eyebrows in response with "Thanks, I got it at Target!" which actually means "I may look like a snob, but I don't shop like one!"
We love it. We love Target and there's no stopping the addiction. Walmart has taken such a backseat that it's become like that long-forgotten extra seatbelt buckle that always gets crammed way down in between the seats - you don't even think about it till you really really need it. And even then you wonder if it's even worth the effort.
While I love (am addicted to, whatever) Target, I have to question my needs nearly every time I go. The so-familiar-it-feels-like-home, palace of consumerism that it is, I find myself wandering around (straying further and further from my list) talking myself into trying a new shade of blush, or might-as-well-isms (cute purse! might as well...). Target! You've got me again! I've fallen into the Target-trap once more when I look at my overflowing cart and realize that it's high time Target and I have a DTR where I hold back the tears and realize, dearest's not you, it's me. You have the red tag deal, health and beauty steal, the home furnishing ideal, the style appeal...but you can't heal or make me feel what's real, so...really...what's the deal? Put. The. Cute. Purse. Back.
I won't be giving up Target any time soon, don't get me wrong. But the next time I'm making a list of the things I really need: toilet paper, mascara, socks, wet wipes... Maybe I'll be adding Self-control at the very top. I mean, I might as well.

Growing Pains

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Last night was a little crazy. Matilda had been a little fidgety all day, but played and ate fine, so I figured she was just a little under-rested (join the crowd, sister). Then, out of nowhere she just started screaming bloody murder. What's a mother to do? I did all the usual things - check the diaper, rock her, try to nurse her - nothing seemed to work. I was really starting to worry, so we stripped her down to be sure we weren't missing anything. It hadn't been that long since she ate or slept, so I slipped my finger into her mouth to feel around for any emerging teeth. Nope (whew) not yet, thank goodness.
I knew this moment would come. The moment of pure and utter helplessness as a parent. I could see her looking at me like I was a huge idiot - a look I'm sure I will come to dread as she ages and grows to truly mean it.
"DO SOMETHING!" her sad little eyes would say to me as she gasped in between belts of terror.
I would've given a million dollars right then for someone to have invented a device to turn baby cries into coherent and polite words. Instead of "AAAAAAAAAHHHH" it would just come out "Pardon me, mother, might I have another helping of milkies?" and maybe even with a little British accent just to make it all the more cute.
But, there is no device. Only a screaming child.
The side rock. The football hold. The swaying and singing move.
Finally, finally after umpthteen attempts at getting her calm, she pacified at the "nursing while standing, swaying, and shushing" combo. Whew. Victory! (whispered, of course)
Once she started eating you'd think no one had ever fed that child before! She'd fed well throughout the day, but this was getting ridiculous. Throughout the rest of the night she continued to feed nearly every 2-3 hours...quite the digression from the miraculous 4-5 hour stretch we had reached (appreciatively) in the weeks before. I guess she's hit a growth spurt!
I don't think I'll ever forget that desperate look on her face though. I'm sure there will be many more looks to come, but there is nothing like not having any idea how to help such a poor little thing. The frustrating thing was - I knew I held the answer all along. I knew that if anyone could help her - it was me, and she was counting on that! Once I figured out that it had to be her hunger striking, it was all I could do to sooth her and get her to just trust me, feel secure, and then feed.
I can't help but see the relation to how we view God sometimes. We know He has the answer. We want that answer. We kick and scream and fight Him to get that answer out of Him. "Give it to me! I want it now!" Even if we don't know what we're asking for!
Fortunately, (unlike I did last night) God already knows ahead of time exactly what we need at exactly the right time. If only we could trust Him completely, then we would feel the security of His protection and guidance at all times. Next time you've given up hope, next time you're exhausted from trying to figure it all out on your own...Rest. Pray. Be comforted. God is standing, swaying, shushing...and feeding us all we need to know at the moment.


Monday, February 15, 2010

When we were hoping to get pregnant last year, it seemed like everyone else in the world was pregnant. When I finally was pregnant, it seemed like everyone else in the world was pregnant. But, when I had the baby, I guess I just assumed my pregnancy goggles would turn into stroller radar (which it has) thinking that everyone must've had their babies when I had mine. Nope, turns out everyone in the world is still pregnant!
Okay, not everyone, that would be lifetime-movie-meets-sci-fi weird. But, seriously, I still have a lot of friends who are pregnant right now! I think it's official - we are in the breeding season of life.
A few years ago, it was all about weddings. Josh was a groomsman in too many weddings to count, and it seemed like every weekend in the summer I was checking out someone else's Target registry for wedding gifts. Talk was all about bridal colors and silk versus real flowers, etc. We exchanged names of photographers and caterers and tips on saving money on the honeymoon.
We still have friends tying the knot, but it is sounding more and more like a foreign language to me. In fact, when I recount our wedding details to our newly-to-be-nuptialed friends I think in the back of my head "Is this even cool anymore?" and our wedding was only a few years ago!
Now, we are full-fledged in parenthood talk. And there are two different degrees to it; there is the "pregnancy" talk, then there is the "baby" talk.
When I was expecting, I was the expert on labor, delivery, and everything leading up to that glorious point. I knew exactly what was happening in my belly at every moment and was reminded with every punch or kick that this was a magical, short-lived season. Pregnancy is probably one of the strangest and loveliest times in a woman's life (some more lovely than others, perhaps), and not even lasting a year and maybe only a few times in her lifetime. Keeping that in mind helped me cherish every second.
Then, once the baby has arrived, you automatically graduate up to "baby talk". No, not the "goo goo ga ga" kind...the adult "what the heck do we do with this thing now?" kind.
You don't think it will happen to you - but, if you ever bring home a baby, I guarantee it will. "Poopy" is now completely acceptable dinnertime discussion. How outrageously priced diapers are will continue to surprise you week after week as you balance your checkbook. And the microwave will become your new best friend as you grow to appreciate the gourmet of reheating every meal.
The wonderful thing about parenthood talk - different than the fleeting seasons of weddings and pregnancy - is that it never ends. Sometimes you will groan this to yourself, under your breath after a long day "It NEVER ends!" but most of the time you will sigh it with contentment as you gaze at the amazing creature you helped bring into the world as you make it through, day after day. You'll realize that already the days are passing to quickly to keep up with how fast she is changing. Take it in. Take a deep breath. Remember this moment. And it will never end.
I'm excited to see how this parenthood talk will change through the years. From diapers to daycare now and onto dating and driver's licenses later. Scary. I'm just glad God gives us friends and family who've survived the chore before us to help us along the way.
And to all my pregnant friends out there - welcome aboard! It's a marvelous adventure to transition from contractions to changing tables, from naming to nursing (sorry, couldn't help myself) and (last one, I promise) from stirrups to strollers. Maybe if we all stick together we might just make it to "retirement talk". We'll see.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!
Believe it or not, my beloved has to work today. Still, it beats last year's Valentine's Day which we spent in urgent care! Last year I was having excruciating back pain and ended up going to the doctor on Valentine's night, only to end up on the couch that night with a chipotle burrito and a bottle of vicodin...I'm sure this is still better than many others' Valentine's, but not exactly the picture of romance I had hoped for. Last year I would've given anything to have two things: a baby, and good cake.
What I didn't know last year is that my back pain wasn't just my sciatica acting up. It wasn't just that I woke up wrong one morning or didn't "lift with my legs" properly. What I didn't know last Valentine's is that my bones and ligaments were shifting to make room for my wish come true - a baby! (Don't worry, it wasn't many vicodin later that we found out - so the baby was safe and sound the whole time.)
Nine months later, Matilda was born, and now I have a new funny little Valentine to spoil all my own. Since Josh has to work today, we decided to celebrate yesterday by bringing Matilda to see the ocean for the first time. It was a glorious day, the sun was shining brightly and we went to our favorite spot for brunch in Laguna Beach. Apart from Josh getting a mimosa spilled in his lap (and, not like the "oh good catch" kind of spill - no, the like "Sorry I've ruined your pants sir, the mimosas are on the house" kind of spill. Luckily Josh had some swim trunks in the car, so he awkward-outfitted-it the rest of the day) we couldn't have asked for a more perfect Valentine's.
But, there still was that wish for cake.
Now, I know that a lot of people might say that the best cake they ever tasted was their wedding cake. Well, they are probably lying. I've been to a lot of weddings, and while the cake might be the most beautiful cake they've ever seen, it is rarely the best cake they've ever tasted - unless it was our wedding cake. No kidding, I mean, our cake was lovely and everything - but it was absolutely the BEST tasting cake I've ever had. Ever. (And I love cake, I should know.)
So, Josh called Angelo's & Vinci's where we held our wedding reception and asked the events coordinator if we could order some sample cakes that were the same as our wedding cake (chocolate with raspberry and white with buttercream, both topped in white chocolate ganache) and VOILA! Best. Cake. Ever.
The cake is from this little bakery in Duarte, Federico's. So, now I'm pretty much looking for any excuse I can to order a giant cake from this place. Lucky for me, this is a big cake-filled 30th is in Sept, Matilda's 1st birthday next, maybe I won't have to even wait another year to devour my next Federico's concoction.
Sweet. Baby. Cakes. What a grand, if only my Valentine could come home early. At least I know what to wish for next year. :)

The Olympics, eh?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics are here! Josh and I took a short day-trip to Vancouver about a year and a half ago, and were blown away at how the "city of glass" was already prepared for hosting the games. Now, the games are here and underway, giving excuse to every American to sport their red, white, and blue proudly for the next several days.
The Opening Ceremonies were watched on Friday night with much anticipation. After the awe and wonder of the Beijing Opening Ceremonies, the show-stopping bar was raised to new heights. What did you think? Did Canada pull it off?
It was an amazing show. But, in my opinion, I don't know how it could compete. The Vancouver ceremonies cost nearly $30 million while the Beijing ceremonies rang up a bill of over $300 million. Good grief. When I heard that stat during the Vancouver commentary, I wondered if James Cameron is already planning the 2020 Olympic Ceremonies, no doubt featuring our own personal avatars on another planet by then (I mean, won't human flying to other planets be a sport by then?)
Still, there were many beautiful moments and the Canucks left us anything but disappointed. Good job, eh? :)
Not only did the Canadians usher in the new Olympic Games, but as hosts they offer something much greater - something incredible that I believe could truly unite the globe: Canadian jokes.

Therefore, I give you...

The Top Five Reasons Canada Wanted to Host the Olympic Games
5. They've molded the medals into the shape of a Maple Leaf
4. They're hoping EH will catch on as the next big text craze, like LOL or OMG
3. They're making all the judges dress up like Mounties
2. Bryan Adams asked them to
1. Just another excuse to wear the Canadian Tuxedo

Parenting According to Cosby

Friday, February 12, 2010

Every night, Josh and I choose a half-hour long "stand by" tv show to watch before bed. It's just a show to close the night - something in reruns that is lighthearted that we can always count on to bring us a few laughs and see us off to bed with happy thoughts. When we were first married we would end the night with "Friends", then we got hooked on "Frasier" (what I would still deem as my all time favorite sitcom). Then, since both of us were too young to be allowed to see it when it aired, we backed up the Frasier train and watched "Cheers". We loved Cheers so much that, when we found a station that played the episodes consecutively, we watched the entire series twice in a row, back-to-back. Let me tell you, that Sam "May Day" Malone really won us over.
After the second round of Cheers, we were back to Frasier, since so much of Frasier makes so much more sense after having watched all of Cheers. However, no station plays Frasier consecutively, so it wasn't quite as exciting when the only timeline you have is Kelsey Grammar's waning mullet.
Now, we have recently settled on "The Cosby Show" as our latest stand by. We both watched it growing up, but I particularly have fond memories of watching "Cosby" each week with my family. To me, I was Rudy, my sister was stupid Vanessa, and my brother was the non-chalant Theo (remember, I was like 7 - I don't think my sister is stupid now, though I still think Vanessa is kind of stupid). :)
I didn't have the older two sisters, Denise and Sandra, but I did have the wise and doting-all-over-each-other parents just like Claire and Cliff were.
What's amazing to me now is how much I relate to the parents. I suppose that's what happens as you age. No longer am I the stubborn rugrat trying to make jam out of grapes in the blender or sneaking in the neighborhood dog as my secret pet. Rudy is all growed up.
Now I watch "Cosby" and I see how loving and healthy-marriage-centric Claire and Cliff are as parents. There are so many romantic quips and winks throughout each episode, you'd truly believe they are married (and love and respect each other) in real life. Through all of their children's ups and downs, Claire and Cliff never let the stress or strife come between them. Cliff is never made out to look (entirely) useless or stupid and Claire isn't an overbearing nag with the punchline. Their children respect them and get in trouble because they break rules - rules that exist out of boundaries their loving parents set for them.
Remember what it was like to watch shows like this? Remember when you watched an entertaining show that still had a moral to the story and a lesson for the family? Oh yeah, not to mention, is actually funny?
What shows do you remember as a child? I used to think that TV Land or Nick at Nite was for old people - that they only played "I Love Lucy" or something our grandparents would watch. Turns out the "classics" are hitting much closer to home these days. Next time you are feeling a bit nostalgic, or just need a pick-me-up before bed...try a break from Jersey Shore (I kid) and flip over to a blast from the past. I'm guessing you will re-watch it in a whole new, grown-up light...and might even learn a little something along the way.

Look Ma, BOTH Hands!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Parenthood can bring out the best in you (I can sustain life on zero sleep!) and the worst in you (I haven't showered in three days!) but it can also bring out new talents you never knew you had! For instance - turns out I (along with most mothers, I'd imagine) am now ambidextrous!
That's right. To think this whole time I thought my left hand was there for shear decoration, a mere wedding ring holder. No more!
With baby in tow, I've mastered the art of left-handed-tasks. Sure, I could wait for the baby to be napping. I could wrap the Moby around me and use both hands. But, sometimes you just have to make that peanut butter and jelly sandwich right then! Sometimes one arm has gone completely numb from holding your gigantababy too long and you have to fold that laundry before daddy gets home.
Now, maybe I won't be writing any novels by long(left)hand any time soon...but, still, it is yet another discovery of how wondrous God has made the mother's body. Sure, you always hear about the superstars of motherhood: the freakishly expanding and contracting belly, the marvel of the breasts to nourish another human...but no one ever told me my left hand would become the useful wonderclaw that parenthood has evolved it into. This must be the power source behind the multi-tasking machine that is "mommy". Now, with both hands, I can take on the world one diaper change at a time...that is, at least until daddy gets home. Afterall, four hands are better than two.

Driving under the influence [of my child]

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oprah recently did a show about texting while driving. To be honest, I didn't watch it. It looked depressing and I'm more of an "ambush makeover of a grandma" or "George Clooney cooks us meatloaf" or "Twins separated at birth who lost a thousand pounds and are reuniting" kind of Oprah-show-watcher...but, the preview was pretty straight forward: texting while driving kills people. (I don't know why Oprah doesn't hire me to do her marketing for her?)
I've heard the stats and the stories and I totally get it - it's bad, so we don't do it in our house. Honest to goodness, we no longer text while driving (Go Oprah!)
But, it made me think about how MUCH we still do while driving. It is just crazy! And, it seems to only be getting worse since having a baby. The latest trick-while-driving is the pacifier competition I hold with Matilda. Argh. She is usually very happy in her carseat. She travels well and I'm so thankful for that. But, darn if she doesn't lose it when that pacifier falls out of her mouth.
The trick is to get it back IN her mouth from the front seat. Even if you can find the pacifier in the first place, you then begin the game we like to call "where the heck is your mouth?" I'm driving along, arm reached back over the carseat, stabbing my poor child's face with this stupid pacifier and yelling "Where is your mouth? Take it! Where is your mouth?" while she is like a barracuda chomping at the bit and dodging my hand every which way.
No wonder women are such terrible drivers. Sorry ladies, it's not even a stereotype any more. It's just the truth.
And that's not a bad thing - I'd rather be a good mom than a good driver...BUT, if I'm taking my eyes off the road to help my child, doesn't that defeat the purpose???
Maybe in addition to a no-phone-zone we need to make the car a no-paci-zone. I don't know if this will be as easy a habit to break...but I'm going to have a "use it or lose it" talk with Matilda and see if she will understand (ha). Let's keep our kiddos safe and watch out for those other cars with the "baby on board" sign in the back window. Afterall, we don't want to end up in a world where the car becomes a no-kid-zone.

Night Pardy

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I used to not be a "morning person" at all. Then I had a baby. Now, I'm not really a "daytime person". I'm doing better. Matilda is up to one 4 hour, sometimes 5 hour stretch in the night and then another 3 hour stretch after that. Yes, if you do the math, that is the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a real live working adult human being should be getting every night. Turns out though, if you break up that 8 hours in to two (or three or four) segments a night, then it doesn't quite count the same. I fear Matilda is taking after me, though. I don't even know the last time I slept entirely through the night. And I take after my mother who has the same problem. It's not like we don't want to sleep - trust me - but our brains just won't turn off.
I know what you're thinking - caffiene. Nope, I'm caffiene free. Exercise? Take Valerian root? I've tried it all, I think I'm just born that way. And that's fine, I'm not really out to find a remedy. And really Matilda is a good sleeper, she just wakes up to eat once (or twice) and then goes back down. I mean, if someone had a meal prepared for me in the middle of the night and I knew it was readily accessible if I would just wake up - I would probably wake up too.
"Here's your blueberry waffles and fresh squeezed orange juice, madam, prepared bedside as you like it."
"Ah, thank you."
"Now, back to sleep."
Yes, I would probably get up for that. (Not that I'm preparing waffles for Matilda, but I imagine she doesn't know the difference at this point.)
What's bewildering about the mid-night feeding is that I totally don't mind it. Sure, occasionally I would like to take an ambien with a shot of nyquil and crash for about three days straight...but, I actually have been cherishing these little moments of (usually) quiet when my baby girl strictly needs me all to herself. She is usually in a bit of a daze, not sure of what comfort she seeks. She'll cling to me like a snuggly koala baby and fill her belly, then roll back, drunk on total contentment. I know that it won't last forever. Soon she will be sleeping through the night, and one day she'll be a little sleepaholic like her father and I'll have to drag her out of bed even if it's Christmas morning.
So, to all those bragging parents who flaunt their child's amazing narcoleptic schedule, "Oh, she's not sleeping through the night? Huh, yeah, my baby sleeps like 10 hours straight and then has three naps and I usually get so much done that I end up cooking and freezing extra meals for the week while I'm knitting sweaters for the homeless"...yeah, you know who you are - well, I see your extra time and raise you a snuggly moment. I wouldn't trade it for a wink.

Go Fleur de Lis!

Monday, February 8, 2010

I'm all for a good football game, but wasn't especially stoked for the Superbowl this year. No offense to the fans out there, but NFL football just isn't my game. College football is a little better, but I tend to be one of those sports fans that would love a live game, but not turn on the tv to keep up with it. Of course, the game would've been a little bit more enjoyable if I didn't have to stop and explain the game of football to Matilda at every down. (She just can't get it. I fear she will follow in her mother's cheerleading footsteps.)
In general, the Pardys are just not big on sports...that is, unless it is the Olympics (yay, just a few days away!) or college basketball (Rock Chalk Jayhawk, go KU).
So, it was simple logic that led me to root for the Saints yesterday: Fleur de Lis are prettier than Horseshoes. C'mon, I wasn't the only one out there with this logic! I'll admit, my family has always tended to root for the underdog whenever there were no previously defined loyalties to one of the teams.
So, yay for the Saints - congrats! Now we can all say "who dat" for one whole day without people being offended or feeling made fun of. Then, there is the most important reason people watch the Superbowl (no, not the halftime show) THE COMMERCIALS!
I watched some of them live, and looked up many more online. To be honest, we had a party yesterday, but it wasn't a Superbowl party - it was a belated LOST party. Still, we caught the game before we jumped into the time-warping, mind-bombing chaos that is LOST.
So, here's my take on the commercials...
Shout out of congrats to some fellow alumni and friends who won one of the Dorito's commercial spots. It's a pretty funny commercial and I hope it brings them much success in the future!
I totally admit I enjoyed the fiddling Beaver for the commercial. Cute, original, funny - that's pretty much all I want out of a commercial.
The Tim Tebow commercial for Focus on the Family was cute - but, unfortunately it followed the much funnier Betty White commercial that pulled off the same punchline (pun intended) with a bit more gusto. (Though I had to make myself remember it was for Snickers and not Bud Light).
The Late Night ad was also a clever and a very timely little piece. It definitely got our attention with the latest controversy surrounding the Leno/Conan fiasco.
And, as I twittered - the funniest commercial of the night had to be the Prince of Persia trailer. Ouch. Sorry, Jake Gyllenhaal - but, seriously? Who told him that hair looked good? Who told him that hair would magically turn him into a Persian Prince? Let's get the whitest, blue-eyed American boy and beef him up and slap some hair and eyeliner on him...insta-Persian!

Not a total surprise, most of the commercials were for men. Ironically enough, most of the commercials made men look stupid and irresponsible. Oh, America. I hope we can represent ourselves a little better to the rest of the world when the Olympics are here!

Jack Bauering Motherhood One Day at a Time

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Anyone else watching 24? We've been championing Jack Bauer for years now, and still he holds our attention every Monday night. It's motivating to approach life the way Jack does - with that Nike-just-do-it energy and that no-holds-barred passion for justice. If only I could harness that amount of gusto and channel it into the small everyday tasks like dishwashing and laundry. Still, it made me think. Maybe there ARE some things I can tackle better than Jack. Thus, I present to you:

The Top Ten Reasons You Are Glad Jack Bauer Is Not Your Mother
10. He would know where you are at all times.
And not just like "Oh, my kid is probably at Susie's after school". No, he would have you microchipped, have your cell phone traced and could know your lat/long stats at all times.
9. You would never eat.
Jack never stops for a meal, not even drive-thru. You'd better learn to cook for yourself or attempt to lie, cheat, or steal your way through a supermarket while Jack's not looking (see number 10)
8. He could ALWAYS tell you "I told you so".
Jack always knows better. No matter what you know, Jack knows more. Even if you are inventing something brand new for the first time and you are the actual source of information from which the news originates - Jack knew before you.
7. He would background check your friends - and potentially cut their hands off.
Boyfriends, girlfriends, pretty much anyone you hang around with, you can be guaranteed Jack will know their backgrounds and use what he knows to convince them to either pledge their sole allegiance to the greater good or be scared out of their minds to even attempt a facebook friend request.
6. He would never make it to your recital.
As much as he would like to put it on the calendar and be there to show his full support, Jack can never ever promise to keep a schedule. Forget school plays, parent-teacher conferences, and you'd better plan to carpool with Susie home from that football game too.
5. Everything has a password or lock on it.
Since Jack can break into any building, car, or electronic device, he keeps everything on complete lockdown at all times. And we don't just mean motion detector spotlights on the lawn - we're talking fingerprint-sensor-on-the-cookie-jar, or retina-scan-for-the-remote-control kind of lockdown. Your house might be the most secure place on the block - if only you could get into it.
4. Better do the laundry yourself.
Jack doesn't seem to mind not changing clothes or showering (no matter how much blood he sheds), so you can't count on him to have the home stocked with soap, softener, or even quarters for the local coin mat. It might not be a bad idea to keep a Tide pen on hand either. You'd hate for those new jeans to be ruined by a simple shank in the thigh.
3. You can never get sick.
Jack will never have time to take you to the doctor and even if he did, he wouldn't. Jack is more about efficient care than long-term healing. But, he can fashion a sling or tournaquette out of just about anything and cyphen electricity into a homemade defribulator when necessary. Jack = Dr. MacGyver
2. No family vacations.
Between Chinese prisons or African refugee camps, Jack doesn't have any interest to go out and see the world. Don't count on Jack booking any Disney vacations or European adventures either...where there's tourism, there's terrorism - and that's no vacation when your mother is Jack Bauer.
1. He will never trust you.
Nina, Tony, and a slew before you have ruined Jack's ability to trust completely. It's not that he doesn't want to trust you, but he can't. The man's been burned just too many times. Be on guard and always, always tell him the truth. Remember, he already knows it anyway (see #8).

Decaf Soy Latte with an Extra Shot of Crazy, Please

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Today was my first day back in the office. I'm blessed to be able to have a new baby-mam-friendly schedule, so I'm only in the office three days a week. Still, I was not looking forward to leaving my new baby. Josh's sister, Katie, and her 20-month-old, Sofia, come to our place to care for Matilda - so, the situation is super ideal, and I'm so thankful for it - but, let's face it, it's hard not to feel guilty when you look into those big baby eyes and bid farewell.
The morning went smoothly and Josh and I picked up donuts for the staff on our way to work. It was a little surreal. I'd been gone for 3 months, yet if it weren't for the fine layer of dust coating my desk I could've believed I had never really left.
I propped up the nearly life-size Matilda photo on my desk and started up the ole computer - "Howdy Dwight, (my computer is named Dwight, a-la-The-Office) it's been a while."
Getting coffee with Josh later that morning, a co-worker of ours overheard me ordering decaf. He elbowed Josh, "Does that decaf mean anything?"
What? This is my first day back from a three month maternity leave! Is this fellow seriously implying I might possibly be pregnant again? I was struck with a few options:
1. Tell him I was on the Biggest Loser.
Maybe he never knew I was pregnant. This would be virtually impossible since everyone on campus saw me expand into the goodyear blimp before their eyes - but, hey, maybe he just thought I was at fat camp for the last few months and his elbowing Josh is more of a congratulatory gesture for finally getting his wife to stop letting herself go. Hm, unlikely.
2. Spit-take.
Who out there hasn't wanted to spit liquid through their face out of exacerbation to a shocking response? Seriously, this would be such a great time to spew that decaf and laugh uproariously at the notion I could so-soon be knocked up again.
3. Tell him exactly what it means.
Um, it means that you should probably stick to your regular coffee because you need to wake up and realize I just had a baby three months ago! Um, it means that you have an extra shot of crazy in your latte if you think we're gearing up for another year of human-growing already! Um, it means that you should probably help my husband up off the floor since you took him so off guard that the thought of my being pregnant is about to give him a heart attack.

"It means I'm breastfeeding and I like sleep."

(In the real world, if you ever want to put the kibosh on any topic - just some how bring up breastfeeding and it will be so awkward that people will instantly forget how the topic came up and therefore the direction of the conversation will be forever-changed. Yet another lifelong benefit of breastfeeding - but that's for another blog, another day.)

That decaf helped trick my brain into no-you-haven't-been-up-since-5am mode and get me through the rest of the day. Katie was alive and standing with both children injury-free by the time I got home (three cheers for Katie!)

Now, if I can just do this all again tomorrow.

Allow me to introduce myself...

Monday, February 1, 2010

First blog post. Here we go!
Well, this is awkward. It's like meeing your in-laws for the first time. You want to give a terrific first impression but your not sure what they already know about you and how they may already feel towards you. You want to give them just the right amount of information - not too much so they don't think you are completely full of yourself, but not too little to where they are suspicious of you hiding something.
Not that you are like my in-laws. Not that there would be anything wrong with that if you were! Oh man, awkward.
So, allow me to nail down a few facts for you to determine your dedication to this blog. Basically, I'm a new mom. Yep, I'm many things, but this is the most recent addition to my identity, so it's pretty much what I prefer to be called at this point. I've been called many things in my life, but this is currently the most favorable so I figure I should stick with it. Little Matilda is just 3 months old and the joy of my world.
I'm completely in love with my husband, Josh, and we actually have a fantastically friendly and fun marriage which I adore and protect and appreciate every day. And by "in love with my husband" I mean I actually love and respect him, not in the TV "everybody loves Josh" sort of way where I say I'm in love with him and then stomp around and call him stupid and can't believe he acted like a man again - I mean I actually, truly like this guy! :)
We live in Southern California and both work at a local Christian University. I'm lucky to only have to be in the office 3 days a week, so I get to be a part-time stay-at-home mom for now. This journey into momhood has been extraordinary. It is a totally surreal experience to create and care for this little human who is growing and changing every day!
I've wanted to start a blog for some time now. I've been writing for years and trying to follow the old addage of "write what you know". Well - I wouldn't say that I "know" motherhood - so, I'm writing what I'm learning and what I'm finding out I don't know!
Also, it's imperitive you know that we are also avid TV watchers. We don't limit ourselves to TV, but we do pride ourselves in it. There's not too many hit shows we don't watch - and if we aren't watching it and you are, then I urge you to convince me why we should start watching it and perhaps we will give it a whirl.
So - that's me. Baby mama and TV watcher. Wife and writer. I'll also try to sprinkle this blog with some foodie tips as well. I'm certainly a sucker for a good merlot and a fine cheese pairing. Just don't judge me if we're eating off paper plates.
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