Saturday, December 21, 2013

Dear Gracie: Part 2

Little lady, you are pure drama. From when I was 6 weeks pregnant and afraid I was miscarrying, to the 50+ hours I was in very painful "early labor" with you before you were born to this very day. You are the epitome of a drama queen.

You were born on a Monday morning by scheduled csection, but I had regular contractions for several hours starting the Saturday morning before. I was excited by the prospect that you might be making your entrance into the world all on your own. Grandma and Grandpa drove all the way from Syracuse only for the contractions to all but stop.

I tried not to be too disappointed, but the contractions picked back up early Sunday morning with a vengeance. This was the pain I imagined labor would be like. The contraction started at the top of my belly and spread down like a wild fire. Like hands wrapping around me from back to front. Sitting here now, I find it hard to describe the pain, although I know it was acute. I think I've already blocked it out. I found that standing and bracing myself on a piece of furniture made them more bearable, so every 5-10 minutes I was hopping out of bed, breathing deeply and feeling like we would be meeting you in a few hours.

Around 3:30 that morning I took a shower which felt amazing, then around 5 I decided to call the on call doctor. She told me since I was so overdue (8 days at that point) that you needed to come out, so I thought for sure this would be your birthday. We called a neighbor to come stay with Mia and drove through the quiet early morning streets to the hospital. I told the woman at the front desk I wasn't leaving without a baby (which makes me cringe in hindsight), but when the doctor checked me a few minutes later and told me I was only half centimeter dilated, I nearly had a nervous breakdown. You can be in this much pain and not progressing? They kept me there for an hour, hoping I would progress, but I knew I wouldn't. The thought of having to endure those contractions for the next 24 hours until my csection made me weep. Because I had had a csection with Mia no one thought it would be a good idea to induce me. There was no one available to perform a csection that day since it wasn't emergent. So my options were to get admitted, get something for the pain and sleep for a while hoping I either progressed on my own or that someone might be able to perform a csection later, or leave with a prescription for Percocet to take the edge off the pain. I hadn't slept in nearly 2 days. I almost let them admit me, but I imagined that I ultimately wanted a drug free birth, women get to 10 centimeters without medical intervention, and I can't make it past .5! I felt like such a wimp.

I left with the prescription, went home and slept. I felt like I was on a boat in the ocean, riding the waves of contractions, but too tired and out of it to care.

At my last doctor's appointment at 41 weeks I had discussed my options with my doctor and we'd decided that since it didn't look like I would go in to labor on my own, a repeat csection was the best option. I left confident that you'd be born the 21st, and I felt satisfied that I'd waited as long as I was comfortable waiting. I'd given my body the chance to expel you on its own.

And then my last weekend with Mia as an only child was hosed by this "early labor." I was mad. I went to bed at 7 Sunday night, weeping because I was too tired to put Mia to bed, but happy we had spoiled her so in the weeks before.

I woke up around 4:30 Monday morning and got up to watch TV in the living room. Your dad came out to check on me at around 5 at which point I ran to the bathroom to throw up what was left in my empty stomach. I laid in bed until my parents came to watch Mia, too sick and exhausted to even take one last pregnant picture before going to the hospital, but glad I'd shaved my legs the day before. The thought of walking all the way to the maternity ward from the car exhausted me, but somehow we made it. I was given a bed in triage and something to help with my nausea. Our nurse tried to make me laugh, but every time I had a contraction I got increasingly angry like "come on, baby! We're trying to get you out of there, can't you just give me a break!" There was a hold up with the OR and we waited what felt like an eternity.

Finally they brought me in. I remembered how nervous I had been going into surgery with Mia, this time I was giddy with excitement that it was almost over, that I wouldn't feel the pain of contractions anymore. It took forever for the resident to get the spinal tap in. Everyone asked what your name would be. The anesthesiologist also had a daughter named Grace. Once I was numb they asked if I wanted them to wait to start until your dad got there and I told them to start cutting, so your poor dad had to walk in to the sight of my innards. I just laid there holding your dad's hand, so excited to finally see you, to finally move into the next phase of our lives. I felt the doctor bear her whole weight on my rib cage, and just like that you were being held up in front of us, and I was telling your dad to take a picture and trying to memorize your face and saying "She doesn't look like Mia!" You didn't cry, just let out a little mew. You had a full head of dark hair and your forehead and nose were squished from being so low in the birth canal. I kept asking how much you weighed, sure you'd be a big fat baby from all that extra gestation, but you weighed the same amount as your sister at birth. You did however, have over an inch on her. You also had long fingernails. I joke that you were growing hair and fingernails in there for the last 9 days.

We were wheeled into a recovery area where your sister and grandparents came to meet you for the first time.

The first few days in the hospital were actually quite lovely. Nothing like the stress and fear I felt with Mia. You and I were alone a lot while your dad was with Mia. We studied each other. You would  (and still do) just look up at me and stare as if thinking, "so that's who you are!" and I looked at you the same way. You nursed well right away, slept for long stretches, and fussed all day. We can't have it all, I suppose. But you seemed to expect the least from me in terms of bouncing and rocking as if you knew I was recovering. The recovery was so much easier this time. I took you for walks around the maternity unit several times a day.

Now here we are 2 months later, and I couldn't really care less at this point how you came into the world. You are beautiful and alert and healthy and I feel like you've always been here.

You are still a little drama queen. Your emotions vacillate wildly without any warning. One moment you are cooing and smiling at me, the next you are shrieking in discontent with no rhyme or reason. We labeled you as colicky when you were a few days old, but really I think you're just dramatic. Luckily the fussiness seems to get marginally better every day.

You require exhausting levels of bouncing, walking and butt-patting when you are fussy or over-tired.   To get you back to sleep in the middle of the night I am up doing deep-knee bends and smacking your bottom so hard your dad can hear me in the next room over the white noise. I cannot wait until you are old enough to sleep train, because here's what I do not want to be doing at 2am: cardio. As I've been writing this, I've got you strapped to my chest, sleeping, and I've had to stand up and bounce you half a dozen times as you rouse and fuss.

You've been a decent sleeper from the get-go. Even in the hospital you were sleeping long stretches. You wake up once or twice a night. The only problem is, there has been no improvement. You're sleeping the same now as you were the day you were born, so I'm convinced I'll be waking once or twice a night FOR. EVER. And, it's not SO bad, but really, I'd love just the glimmer of hope that one day I might not have to leave my bed for 8 hours at a time.

As much as you fuss, you are also a very smiley baby. You giggle while you're falling asleep. You smiling wildly at curtain rods and the underside of the shelves over your changing table and occasionally at your mom and dad. You give me your best smiles at 2am, and it is hard for me to turn out the light and try to put you back to sleep when that is often the only alone time I have with you all day. You love the changing table. You love being naked and taking baths. You love white noise and really like to stare at anything red. You love staring at the shower curtain and the zebra toy that hangs from your bouncy seat.

You hate the carseat and riding in the car. If I put you in the stroller I had better be ready to keep you moving at all times. You do not like to stand still.

You are already stretching your 3 month sleepers. You still seem so tiny, but you are so much bigger than you were.

I hold you up on my shoulder and you lay your little head down and I inhale your little baby scent which is every bit as good as everyone raves about and I am intoxicated by you. I cannot wait to see how your personality develops. You are more alert and interactive every day. I forgot how fast the milestones happen at this age, and it makes every day so exciting. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dear Gracie: In Utero

6 weeks
Two weeks ago yesterday I took a pregnancy test while your dad was at work. I just couldn't wait any longer.

The worst symptom right now is that I constantly feel like my last meal is sitting in my throat. I'm burping and tasting my last meal until the next meal at which point I'm starving so I stuff myself and then regret it for hours afterward. And the cycle continues. I don't feel as nauseous as I was with Mia. It really is morning sickness this time that dissipates as the day goes on, not the all day nausea of last time, and I have yet to throw up, so that's a win. I don't have the food aversions I had with Mia, instead I want eat EVERYTHING in sight. I am starving all the time and everything sounds delicious.

I have a feeling a lot of this will be comparing this pregnancy to Mia's, I think because I'm so amazed that they are already so different. I know I'd heard that, but I guess I didn't really believe it.

Your sister is a high maintenance, spirited little thing, so I thought surely my second kid would be more laid back, but so far it is the complete opposite. You will not sit back and be ignored, not even now when you are barely the size of a sesame seed. I have been bleeding on and off for a week and terrified that I am losing you. I have had blood drawn, saw your tiny flickering heartbeat on a sonogram, then back to the doctor yesterday. We'll have another ultrasound in a few days, but I am worried about you every minute of every day. Already. You and your sister are trying to kill me.

10 weeks
I've had 2 more ultrasounds since 6 weeks and you are growing on track and seeing your heart beating away gives me peace for a few days. But the worry is constant. It's sad because it's made it hard to get excited, and I haven't told very many people yet. I just didnt want any sympathy or to have to update a million people in the state of my uterus after every doctor's appointment. It turned out I had something called a subchorionic hematoma which means the placenta tore away from the side of my uterus and created a pocket of blood, but the doctor said it appears to be shrinking and is not concerned.

I feel like we need to start telling more people in our families because we're going to be seeing them all over the next few weeks and my stomach is already starting to pop out and I don't want anyone gossiping behind my back!

The morning sickness has been much less this time around. I haven't thrown up except for the stomach bug we all got a few weeks ago which also made me worried for you. But the indigestion and gas pains are almost as bad, and I'm constantly starving, but also exhausted. So all I do is eat and sleep and by the end of this I'll be the size of a house.

Before I even took the pregnancy test I had this feeling that I was pregnant and that you are a boy. I had neither of those intuitions with Mia. In my head I refer to you as "him," and "he." It's weird because before I got pregnant I always pictured us having 2 girls, but now I'm doing a 180 and will be bowled over if you don't have a penis. Especially since this pregnancy is so totally different than with Mia.

I wouldn't say I have cravings, but I mostly want salty foods. The sushi (cooked, of course) with soy sauce I ate yesterday was nearly transcendent. Cold cereal and chicken pot pies are becoming my staples.

And there's nothing that really grosses me out like with Mia (raw chicken and olives), but I'm not very interested in cheese, Mexican food or fried foods.

16 weeks
I am now roughly the size of a house and I'm already uncomfortable. I try not to think about it too much or I want to cry because it is going to get so much worse and I have more than 5 months and a lot of hot, humid days ahead of me. Oof. I also feel a bit like a fraud because I'm not even sure I've felt you move yet, and at this size shouldn't I at least be feeling you move? I'm probably about the same size now as I was at about 24 weeks with Mia, and by that point I think even your dad could feel her move.

I have started to get my energy back, at least, but yesterday a sinus headache knocked me back on my ass again. I rarely got headaches when I was pregnant with your sister, something that made me rave about pregnancy. With you I am getting bad headaches once every few weeks and all I can do is drink my single cup of coffee, take some Tylenol and wish for death.

Wow, I am a bag of fun right now!

It's just that I had this vision of how I would be pregnant in the summer and be all beautiful and glowing in a tank top and a skirt. Instead I am lumbering around like a whale. I have fat arms and acne and the maternity pants I bought won't stay up nor will the shirts stay down. It's attractive, I tell ya.

I am also just so much more paranoid this time around. I know what's at stake here. I know the joy and love that comes at the end of this and I can't stand the thought of anything going wrong on the way there. With Mia I took for granted that she would be healthy. Now I am anxiously awaiting the anatomy scan in 3 weeks. With Mia I looked forward to it to find out her sex, with you, I just want to know that you are healthy. That's all. I said before that I have a feeling you are a boy, and I worried that feeling that way I might end up being sad if you turned out to be a girl, but honestly, I don't care. I really mean that. I will be so thrilled either way. The idea of Mia having a sister is thrilling, as is the idea of raising a boy. I am excited for either outcome. In a way it's almost more exciting this time because I think it will have more of an effect on our family, if that makes any sense.

We have been talking about names. We have a few boys names that we like, but cannot seem to find any girls names we like.

20 Weeks
When I was a kid I liked to imagine I would grow up to have twin girls and then a boy. Later on it evolved to just have two daughters, then a son. When I played house, that's how my family looked. I even had a dream once when I was a teenager that someone told me they could show me my future and it involved a husband and a young son playing in a pool in the yard and two older daughters inside the house. I've never forgotten that.

I always wanted 3 children, but then after Mia was born I started imagining only having 2 children, but still it was those 2 girls. 

Then when I actually got pregnant I really just FELT like you were a boy. Something TOLD me you were a boy. I subconsciously referred to you as "he." So I started trying to imagine our family differently, but I also kept myself open to the idea that I could be wrong.

All of this is a very long-winded way of saying I WAS wrong, but my past premonitions are coming true, because you are a girl. I am going to have those 2 girls I always imagined, and I am just so excited for it. 

I always wanted a sister (still do). So I just can't wait to watch you and Mia grow up together. You will both be daddy's little girls. There has never been a dad better at being a girl's dad than yours. And you will both be my little side-kicks, my little partners-in-crime. Oh, I just can't wait. Sisters!

And the anatomy scan put my mind so much at ease this time. All of your parts are there. You're growing. It's so much more real now.

I feel you rolling around and kicking away now. Last night your dad was even able to feel you for the first time. 

This second trimester has not been the cake walk it was with Mia. Being pregnant in the spring is hard because I get sinus headaches with the weather changing so much, and the gas and heartburn/indigestion I had early in the first trimester has come back with a vengeance this past week. And the restless legs that only really bothered me when I was tired when I was pregnant with Mia are now keeping me up at night.

24 weeks
I'm finally feeling the second trimester honeymoon stage I remember. I have energy, I feel you kicking away in there all day long, and I'm not TOO uncomfortable yet. 

We are still discussing what to name you. As with Mia, I feel like there's a perfect name out there, we just haven't hit on it yet. Right now it's between Grace, Elise, and Tess/a. 

26 weeks
I've been so paranoid and superstitious to admit it, but I think it's important to write in this manifesto of misery, that I am also totally in love with you, little girl. I have been trying to imagine what you will be like. Will you be a spitfire like your sister? Or more sensitive and quiet? Will you have blond hair and blue eyes or dark hair, like me?

I worry that all of my anxieties about this pregnancy are seeping into as you grow inside me. It's the last thing I want for you. I want you to be carefree and fearless like Mia. I don't want you to be a jumble of nerves like me. 

I get more and more uncomfortable by the day. Rolling over at night is a Herculean effort already. I don't sleep very well. The heat of summer is making my feet and hands swell. And my boobs are like something out of National Geographic.

But there you are kicking away throughout the day. And I couldn't be happier, truly.

It's so different this time. With Mia I couldn't wait to get to the finish line, but this time I'm taking my time. I know what's at the end and I am excited, but also terrified, and I feel like I need to savor this time with Mia alone as much as possible. Soon you will be here looking up at me expectantly, and I hope I'm enough for the both of you. I hope I have enough love to envelope the two of you so no one ever feels left out or excluded. I hope you love each other beyond all reason and words. With you, I believe now that our little family will be complete and I simply cannot wait. 

30 weeks
Up until the last few weeks I've felt the opposite of ready for your arrival. I've felt like maybe I'd need longer than 9 months to prepare. I've been scared, excited, but very apprehensive. In the last few weeks I've turned a corner and I am READY. If I knew you'd be healthy I'd wish for you to be born tomorrow. I am so done with being pregnant. I am more excited than scared now. I've checked off most of the items on my to-do list and now 9 months seems way too long. 

I am pretty uncomfortable. It's so much harder this time trying to wrangle a little person while pregnant. Bending over to put on Mia's shoes sometimes makes me feel like I might puke. If I drop something on the floor lately I stand around considering for far longer than is appropriate whether it's worth it to bend over and pick it up or not. 

You seem to never stop moving around. I remember Mia being active, but there are days where I feel like you are literally moving every minute. And it feels different this time because a lot of you'd movements are really low, like you've found my c-section scar and are trying to make an exit. 

At my last doctor's appointment he said you are head up. If I had to guess, I think you have your feet down and your hands under my right ribs. The doctor is not yet concerned that you're not head down, and I'm not stressing it either. The plan has been to try for a VBAC this time, but at this point it doesn't really matter how you get here. I just can't wait to meet you. 

35 weeks
If I thought I was ready before, oh man am I ready now. Come on out whenever little girl! 

The doctor says you are definitely head down right now. He says you are low so he'd be surprised if you flip around, but we're going to have another ultrasound in a few weeks just to calm my fears and I can't wait to see you again! 

The doctor also told me he'd let me go up to 2 weeks past my due date to go into labor on my own which scares the crap out of me. I feel like I've been pregnant forever! The idea of being pregnant for 6 more weeks seems like an eternity. I'm just so ready to get this show on the road, to meet you, to be sleep deprived, to watch your big sister get to know you, everything. So, any time now. Early is fine with me. 

Lately I've been feeling nauseous with an upset stomach in the mornings and then have pretty bad heartburn in the evenings. You must have a full head of hair in there! Your feet are up under my right ribs and sometimes it feels like you're pushing with your feet and your head presses on my cervix, which I'm sure you can imagine is pleasant. I often feel like I've got an octopus in there. 

Your uncle Ben, Aunt Sarah and cousins moved nearby a few months ago, and all of our neighbors have pledged to help out whenever we need, and it feels so good to have a little community around us that already loves you.

37 weeks
Full term now, baby girl, and I am soooo ready to meet you. Any time. Come on out! It feels SO different this time than with Mia, so much less surreal. I could not imagine meeting my baby last time, could not really grasp an actual human swimming around in my belly. This time I picture you in there, head near my left hip, feet tucked under my right ribs. You are RIGHT there, whole and perfect. I can actually imagine seeing your face for the first time. I don't know how you will get here, I try to imagine it both ways; csection or naturally. It just feels so REAL this time, like I am a ticking time bomb and it could literally happen at any moment. With Mia I don't think I really believed it was going to ever happen.

I am so tired right now. I don't sleep well. I wake up every time I roll over but am only really comfortable sleeping on my right side. I get up a few times to pee and have trouble getting into a deep sleep. I need a nap almost every day now. Making it through a day without a nap feels like a huge achievement. 

I gained a lot of weight, but I'm just too tired to worry about it. I think I'll go for a walk to make up for it, but my hips ache, my pelvis hurts and I just want to lay down.

Poor Mia just wants me to run and play with her and I feel terrible always telling her I can't physically do so many things right now.

Your dad has been working long hours lately and is looking forward to your arrival to take time off from work. I know it won't be a vacation, but I can't wait to have you here and to have him home and just have our little family caccooned in our house together. 

37.5 weeks
We got to see you on an ultrasound yesterday, and now I can't stop looking at the 3D pictures we got and staring at your sweet face. I am already so in love with that little face. I cannot wait to see it in person. 

You are head down, now all you have to do is come on out! You had your hands in front if your face. It looked like you were sucking your thumb. 

The pressure I feel on my hips, my tailbone, and pelvis is pretty unbearable right now. I never had this with Mia I guess because she was breech and I think you are lower. It literally feels like it could happen at any moment. I never anticipated labor with Mia, partly because we had a csection date and partly because I never had any sort of signs of labor other than a few Braxton Hicks contractions. This time I really feel like it might happen any time and the thought if going on like this for weeks makes me depressed. Come soon!

38.5 weeks
A few days ago I reached a point where I'm utterly and thoroughly DONE. I'm so emotional and hormonal I want to cry every day. I have Braxton Hicks contractions all day and they come even more frequently in the evenings. I thought that meant progress, but today the doctor says I'm not dilated at all. I know that doesn't necessarily mean much, but I just wish I knew that my body knew what it needed to do. I am so desperate to see your face. So we made a tentative plan to schedule a csection for October 21st. I got into the car after the appointment and cried at the thought of being pregnant for nearly 3 more weeks. I KNOW this is the right thing to do. I KNOW I should give you and my body a chance to come out on your own, but I also know the risks and this really is the best plan. But now I just want to hibernate for the next 19 days and not have to see anyone I know who might comment on my still-pregnant state.

I'm just so ready to move on, to get this show on the road.

39.5 weeks
12 days or less, that's my mantra right now. 

I think I can't possibly get more uncomfortable, then I wake up the next day more swollen, more crampy, more hormonal than the day before. My hips ache constantly. The skin on the underside of my stomach feels severely sunburned because it's just stretched to the limit. I waddle, feeling like I'm carrying a bowling ball in my private parts.

I barely sleep anymore. Restless legs wake me up just as I'm drifting off to sleep. I'm only comfortable sleeping on my right side. When I turn over I immediately burp and get raging heartburn. I'd so rather be up feeding a newborn than this crappy sleep. But if the Old Wives Tales are right you'll come out with a full head of hair. 

I'm still not dilated, but the doctor says you are really low, as low as you can get without SOMETHING happening, he says. This feels like some sort of progress at least. It feels like you know where the exit is and YOU'RE doing all you can to get out, but my body has not gotten the memo yet, which is extremely frustrating. If there was ANYTHING I could do at this point to start labor I'd do it. 

I daydream constantly of the moment I'll first see your face. I imagine Mia meeting you for the first time and my heart nearly bursts. Your sister lifts my shirt and sings you lullabies. She talks about how she will feed you and rock you. 

I know we have a csection date - an end date, and I was really believing that I didn't care how you came into this world but the farther I go the more I WANT to do this naturally. I so want to know the excitement of realizing I'm in labor and rushing to the hospital. I want you to choose your own birthday... Just don't wait too long.

My excitement has completely eclipsed my fear now. I think about how my dad is notorious for peeking at his Christmas presents before Chriatmas morning and I've been known to snoop too. I'm not good with waiting and anticipation. It's not that I don't like surprises, I love them when I'm not expecting them. But being pregnant is like being forced to carry the most awesome Christmas present around for 9 months attached to your body. Except you only have a vague idea of when Christmas actually is. 

To be continued...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Day in the Life, Before Gracie

We have a new family member, Grace Louise was born October 21st. I'm still trying to write about it and her, and of course there are a lot of emotions there. I wrote this Day in the Life post back in September and never posted it. I thought it would be interesting to see how my day changes once the baby is here, and good God, this day seems downright leisurely to me now.

6:45 - Mia wakes up screaming for Daddy. She must have had a bad dream. Jeff gets her, changes her diaper and brings her to our bed to snuggle.

7:00 - Jeff gets up to take a shower. I get up to empty the dishwasher and make coffee. Mia goes to the living room to look at her books. 

7:20 - Jeff is making eggs and toast for everyone. I am discussing with Mia how we don't talk about butts and poop in public. 

7:30 - We all eat. Mia eats an egg, 2 pieces of cinnamon raisin toast and a banana. Breakfast is generally the only meal we don't have to bribe/coax her into eating.

7:50 - Jeff leaves for work after many hugs and kisses from Mia. I clean up the kitchen and sweep under the dining room table while Mia sweeps behind me with her little broom. 

8:00 - Mia watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on our bed with a cup of milk while I take a shower, put on makeup and dry my hair.

8:30 - I turn off the TV to protests of "but something else is coming on!" I take the sheets of my bed and throw them with all the towels in the wash. Mia goes into the nursery and reads all the books on the bookshelf.

8:45 - I get Mia dressed then fix my hair and get myself dressed.

9:05 - Brush my teeth and get our shoes on and we're out the door to Mia's toddler gym class. On the way we discuss how Mia will share the purple rug during circle time with a little boy named Jack who also loves purple.

9:15 - We're at gym class where Mia mostly wants to rock on a seesaw-type-thing while all the other mothers comment that I'm "still pregnant!" There's circle time and then the kids play with a parachute.

10:15 - We stop at a grocery store near our house to pick up a few things I couldn't find at the "fancier" grocery store yesterday. We see another mom and boy from gym class. 

10:45 - We're back home. I call to make Mia an appointment to get her haircut this afternoon. Then I go downstairs to put laundry in the dryer and another load in the wash. Mia sits on the couch with a stack of books. 

11:00 - I sit down to play on my phone for a minute and Mia sees that as an opportunity to climb on me.

11:10 - I make lunch - dinosaur chicken nuggets for both of us because I can't think of anything else for myself.  We eat early, mostly because I'm starving by 11am. It used to be because Mia woke up so early in the mornings, but now I've just gotten used to the schedule.

11:15 - I coax Mia into eating 1 nugget and a few chunks of pineapple. 

11:30 - I clean up the kitchen and wipe down all the appliances. 

11:45 - Mia is bouncing around inventing games involving balloons and a princess book and pushing Minnie Mouse around in a doll stroller. Finally she settles on coloring at the dining room table. I ask her to color a face, and for the first time ever she draws something that resembles a face! 

12:05 - Mia gets an alphabet puzzle out but starts throwing a fit over it after a few minutes. I think it's time to read books and wind down before nap time but Mia disagrees. Loudly. I tell her maybe she'll go straight to bed without stories. There is much crying. I realize most of this tantrum is due to the fact that she didn't eat much lunch, so I convince her to eat 2 more nuggets and then tell her we will read 1 book (instead of the usual 2) before naptime.

12:25 - After a book and a diaper change Mia is in bed for a nap. She doesn't normally go to sleep this early, but she was being such a pain, I figure it can't hurt. She seems to go right to sleep. I watch TV on the couch. It's the first day in a while I don't desperately need a nap while she naps.

1:15 - I go downstairs to pay some bills on the computer.

1:45 - I take care of half a dozen other little tasks - activating a new credit card, taking sheets out of the dryer, portioning a big package of ground beef I bought yesterday, etc.

2:00 - I decide to sit down and read my book for a few minutes, something I rarely do.

2:20 - I hear Mia grunting and waking up.

2:25 - I go in to get Mia. She's still in a cranky mood so I leave her in her room to put clothes in the dryer. When I come back upstairs she requests that I make her a paper airplane and get her a cup of milk. Then we sit and look at books for a few minutes.

2:45 - I put the clean sheets on my bed and put the clean towels away. Mia likes to help me make the bed. Then she rolls around on the bed wrestling with the pillows.

3:10 - I get Mia some crackers and we're out the door to get her haircut.

3:25 - Haircut time. Mia gets a braid, spray that smells like cotton candy and sparkles in her hair.

3:45 - Back in the car en route to the playground near our house. Mia makes friends with a 17 month old boy and exclaims over a 2 week old baby in a stroller. 

4:45 - Back home I start the grill and start making dinner - cheeseburgers.

5:00 - Mia is watching The Cat in the Hat while I prepare dinner

5:25 - Mia and I eat. I coax her into eating almost half a cheeseburger, some pickle slices and a clementine.

5:50 - We go outside to play and immediately our 5 year old neighbor rides over on her big wheels to see if Mia can play. We go over to play on her swing set.

6:05 - Jeff comes home and goes in to eat quickly while Mia and the neighbor kick some balls around in the yard and I chat with the neighbor's dad.

6:20 - Jeff comes over and I go home to fold laundry.

6:45 - Jeff and Mia come inside. I start Mia's bath while Jeff cleans up the kitchen. Jeff comes in when he's done to wash her off because it's hard for me to bend over for very long. 

7:15 - Mia runs naked in to the living room, clean and teeth brushed. She stops short and gives me a look that I take to mean she is about to pee on my rug so I rush her into the bathroom where she pees in the potty. We make a big deal and give her M&Ms. 

7:20 - We get Mia's night diaper and pajamas on and brush her hair

7:30 - Mia and Jeff are playing a game called "Bear," where one of them goes under the dining room table pretending to be a bear in a cave, the other pretends to be going on a walk near the bear cave at which point the bear jumps out and chases the other person around the house.

7:40 - Time to read stories. Mia picks out 3, one for her to "read," and one each for Jeff and me. It's the same 3 Clifford books we've been reading for the past 3 nights.

7:55 - Jeff tucks Mia in. 

8:00 - Mia yelling that Jeff forgot to turn on her fan (he didn't).

8:02 - Mia yelling that she has to go pee. I tell her that's what her diaper is for. Probably not the best way to get a potty trained kid, but eh, I'm tired.

8:05 - Jeff goes downstairs to work out and ride on his bike trainer. I plant my butt in the couch to watch TV and play on my phone.

That's all I wrote, but I assume the day ended with me getting in bed at about 9:30 and reading until about 10... and sleeping for 8 hours. Sigh, that sounds lovely right about now. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Guest Room: Part 4, Now Mia's Big Girl Room

We moved Mia into the guest room almost 2 months ago. We're keeping the nursery essentially the same (with the addition of a new rug), and I went a little wild decorating Mia's Big Girl Room (which is how she still refers to it, herself).

Her favorite color is purple, but finding a purple paint that doesn't look either too bright and crazy or too gray and mature was a battle I didn't have the energy for. Plus, who knows how long she'll love purple for. So I was inspired by this room I saw on Pinterest. I fell in love with the Pottery Barn Brooklyn quilt. It's girly, but not immature, and I loved the aqua and purple combination.

The funny thing was, when I went to pick a paint color, I ended up picking almost the same color that was already on the walls, so Jeff only had to paint over the stripes (Sherwin Williams Gray Screen, 2 coats of paint and primer in one).

I knew I wanted a white daybed with a trundle. Since we no longer have a guest room I wanted a place for guests if we absolutely needed one. And I wanted a daybed because the bed can't be pushed into the corner due to the placement of the heating vent. We found this bed at a local kid's furniture store, and instead of a daybed we ordered a regular bed with two footboards so that the ends are equal heights.

I found a dresser on Craigslist that I painted (Sherwin Williams Jet Stream) and added acrylic knobs to (the knobs cost more than the dresser!). I found a mirror at Home Goods that I painted (Behr Purple Mauve) and hung with a million of those command velcro strips. My mother made curtains from a Waverly damask/ikat print fabric.

All it really needs is something hanging over the dresser, but other than that I absolutely love this room. It is soft and pretty, and Mia loves it too.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dear Mia: Part 13

Mia, you are almost 29 months old now, and I have been writing, rewriting and editing this post for probably the past 3 months. Things change so fast lately. You are so BIG all of a sudden. You are a person with complex emotions and long legs and complete thoughts.

 I wrote this 2 or 3 months ago (I was feeling like we were careening into a possibly dark place):
"This age is so hard for me, so so hard. I'm just going to go ahead and admit that I am not a patient person (but you already knew that), and every waking moment you are testing what tiny shred of patience I have. You scream at me, talk back, and throw fits at the drop of a hat. Your mood is volatile at best. I'm sure most if this is completely normal toddler behavior, but some nights I go to bed certain that I have completely screwed up as a mom.

Naps are hit or miss these days. I'm terrified of what this means when the baby comes and I need to rest, but so many things can change in the next 2 months, I'm trying not to feel too in despair."

But just a few months later and I feel like things are so EASY right now. You play independently so that I can get things done around the house. You follow directions pretty well. You are funny and sweet and brilliant. We are in a groove with eating and sleeping (not that either of those things are in an ideal place, but I am accepting where we are). And in just a few months your baby sister will be here to throw us all into a tailspin again. I try not to be to scared about that, I am trying to just revel in how every day lately has it's own rhythm that we manage to ride out without too much catastrophe. Yes, you are difficult and strong willed and throw tantrums (you are 2 after all, it's not all rainbows and sunshine over here), but you are my little side kick right now, and I just want to cherish every moment alone with you cuddled up to my giant belly sucking your thumb and stroking my arm.

Sometimes (okay, about a hundred times a day) I am completely caught off guard and left breathless by how beautiful you are. And I say this knowing that I love you more than anyone in the world, but hoping that you know I'm trying to be subjective. You are just gorgeous in such a pure, round-faced, rosy-cheeked way. I notice it and attempt to capture it in a picture and it simply does not translate, so I stare harder trying to burn the image of you at this very moment into my brain, because you are walking, breathing beauty.

We went to West Virginia for a wedding a few months ago where you got to meet a lot of my extended family you had never seen before. You charmed the pants off of everyone there. My aunt sent me an email a few weeks later going on and on about how smart and sweet you are.

You still love pretend games. You also make up imaginary friends often to play with. Usually it's a friend named Goofy playing chase with you, sometimes it's an imaginary monkey you push in the swing in the backyard. Sometimes you pick up rocks or wood chips on the playground and then push them in the swing or down the slide like they are playmates. You talk to your food and sometimes make your hands fight over a toy or a snack.

You seem to be getting excited about the idea of your baby sister. You lift my shirt and command me to "open up baby sister." You give me/her check ups with your doctor kit and bend over my belly button shouting, "Hello baby sistah!" You tell me how when she comes out you will hold her and feed her and her first word will be "Mia." I just can't wait to see the two of you grow up together. I can't wait for us to be a complete family.

You have begun to exhibit fears about a lot of things. Sometimes you are scared of the bathtub, sometimes it is a character on a TV show. You are often scared of strange men or boys. Whenever we talk about having a new experience or going to a new place you have to talk yourself into by saying, "It will not be scary. Mommy will be right here." Of course a healthy fear in life is necessary to not get yourself into dangerous situations, but I attempt to walk a fine line of not encouraging it too much. You are still quite fearless when it comes to climbing and playgrounds and water.

We moved you into your new big girl room with a real twin bed a few nights ago. You were (and still are) so very excited about your new room and new bed. You tell me several times a day, "I love my new room!" And your room makes me so happy now too because you love it so much. The transition was painless. I'm always so nervous to change any of your sleeping habits, but you've proven to be far more flexible than I ever expected.

At the moment I am attempting you potty train you. You seem to do best with just being thrown into things. You're not so good with slow transitions, so I thought that was the way to go. I didn't think about how hard it would be on ME though. It's frustrating to have someone peeing all over your house for days with no end in sight, but I'm trying not to show you my frustration and to be encouraging when you go on the potty. I think you are ready, it's just taking longer than I had hoped. 

Almost everything that comes out if your mouth lately makes me laugh. You try to skirt around being told no by answering, sweetly with "But we will see," or "But you can try!" You say "yessiree!" and "Aw, shucks" when I kiss you. On the flip side you snap at me "Don't talk to me that way," and "Stop bossing me!"

You call lemonade "lemomade" (which is made from "lemomens"). You call toilet paper simply "toe-let," and I've begged your dad not to correct you. Flowers are "flah-lers," and color is "clah-ler." You pronounce triangle "twi-ninnal." You still don't pronounce Ks, Rs or hard Gs.

You were such a healthy baby, but since February you have had a stomach bug (which you very kindly shared with your parents), bronchitis, ringworm, and most recently a urinary tract infection. You had a high fever for nearly a week, and your dad and I did not sleep due to our worry about you. I can't even imagine what it must be like for parents with children with life threatening illnesses. I want nothing else in this life than for my loved ones to be healthy and for my babies to outlive me.

Oh Mia Jane, every day you exceed my wildest expectations of what it would be to be a mom and to love a little one. I still look at you and can't believe you're mine, that you came from me. I am so beyond excited about what the next few months holds for our family. 

Favorite TV show: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Favorite movie: The Tigger Movie
Favorite books: Mo Willems Elephant & Piggie books and Anna Dewdney Llama Llama books
Favorite color: Purple
Favorite food: Fruit, granola, ice cream

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dear Mia: Part 12

Oh Mia, you turned 2 three weeks ago, and I just now have a moment to sit and write to you. Life is moving so so fast right now, and I don't know if I can do the past several months justice during one single naptime, but I'll try! You are a handful right now. You are funny and whip-smart and stubborn and willful and testing me at every turn. 

Your birthday was so much fun. You celebrated first in Buffalo with dad's family (and it was also AJ's first birthday), then came your real birthday, then we had a party at our house with my side of the family and some friends. You were must excited about CAKE. You did not care about anything else (well, you were also insistent that we wear party hats). You shouted to anyone within distance that it was your birthday and you would have CAKE! Once you caught on to the present aspect of the holiday you were pretty excited about that too.

Your birthday overshadowed Easter, but you also enjoyed hunting for eggs and eating the treats inside. 

About a month ago our neighbor Angie cut your hair. It was beginning to resemble a mullet, and I'm a little upset with myself that I let it get as bad as it did, because it looks so cute now. It is thicker and the color of a wheat field, and now you look like such a little KID.

Some other highlights of recent months:
Whenever you are freed from the confines of your clothing you run through the house shouting, "Nakey booty on the loose!"

You still call the hood of your coat a "neighborhood." You pronounce "orange" "or-shan" Call the cats "Lessa" (Tesla, although you've been pronouncing it correctly recently) and "Tonrad" (Conrad). Paper towels are "wiper towels." Piano is "pinano." You pronounce "nine," like "noin."

You call inanimate objects "fella." You'll pick up your cup of milk and carry if off with you saying, "Come on, fella."

Lately when I tell you that you can't do something you replay with, "No, but I can try." I like your can-do attitude, but no, there are some things I just won't let you do.

You love to pretend. One of your favorite things to do is play with you little kitchen and all of your stuffed animals. You pretend to cook for them and feed them. You also love to put diapers on them and dress them up. You frequently pretend we're having a birthday party at which we wear pretend hats and blow out pretend candles on a pretend cake. Or you pretend we are at the beach looking for sea shells and building sand castles.

You are so so sweet, giving hugs at any moment. When I cry you pat me and say "it's okay, mommy, it's okay" (or in one heartbreaking instance you burst into tears yourself). You declare your love for things loudly and passionately. You declare your love for anything and everything without hesitation... except your parents. You chase Conrad around the house and then sigh longingly and say, "I love him." (Sometimes you add "He is my best friend.") You randomly declare your love for Uncle Timmy or Uncle Brian. But rarely do you tell me you love me without prompting. When you do I stop whatever I'm doing to take it in.

You like to rhyme, often singing The Name Game Song ("Mia fia bo bia, etc.) or just rhyming silly things, like calling me "Mommy Dommy."

We have actual conversations now. You have thoughts completely independent from me or whatever is going on immediately around you. You tell stories. You recall events that happened months ago or explain to me what happened on an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. The other day you were drawing with sidewalk chalk and you told me you were drawing a heart. Then you said, "This heart fell down and got hurt. I will draw another one to make him feel better." I was blown away at that exchange on so many levels. The compassion, the creativity, the fact that POOF, you invented this story out of thin air!

I always hesitate to say it, because I know every parent thinks their child is a brilliant, unique snowflake, but Mia you are SMART. You just are. I don't know if I can take credit for any of it, or if it's just atoms colliding, but you blow my mind a million times a day.

We are also dealing with how to discipline you at the moment. You are a tantrum-throwing, boundary-pushing 2 year-old. It is so frustrating in the moment, but in quieter moments (like now), I can barely remember what had me so mad, so I'll just leave it here for posterity's sake, so that if I go back and read this one day I'll know you weren't the perfect angel I've conjured you up to be in my memories.

You are so very enthusiastic about life, just like your dad. And you have a big personality like him. You charm strangers and fill up a room without even realizing it. Your intent is not to capture everyone's attention, you just DO. You talk and sing and shout your excitement to anyone in earshot. You exclaim, "Mommy, I am so excited to (fill in the blank)!" often. I prefer to fly under the radar, but you don't allow it. I should probably start washing my hair more often if I'm going to be your wing woman.

When I imagine you having a sibling I always imagine you as a younger sibling. Which is next to impossible, clearly. It's probably because you are around older kids a lot with your cousins and neighbors, but its also because you are enamored with older kids in general and have next to zero interest in babies. You rarely play with your dolls. Babies basically do not exist to you unless we command you to "kiss the baby!" And you will before running off to something more important.

Hopefully this will change when you have a baby sibling of your own in just a few short months. Yes, life is about to change in a big way, my love, and I will readily admit that I am terrified. You are so perfect and fill my heart to capacity that I cannot imagine anyone taking my attention from you or my heart getting any fuller. But, I've always known that I wanted you to have a sibling. I want another child, of course, but I also think it's a great gift to be able to give you a brother or a sister, someone who will always know where you come from and (hopefully) where you are going. I can't wait to see how you change and grow with this experience.

You don't seem to have absorbed it much, although you will sometimes randomly point to my belly and say, "There's a baby in there." You have requested a brother, and wish to name him Santa, in case anyone is granting wishes. You like to give me check-ups with your pretend doctor kit and you always put the stethoscope on my belly to listen for the baby's heartbeat.

And now I'm at a total loss as to a closing here, but if I don't stop now I'll write a novel. You are amazing, that's really all there is to say. Your dad and I look at each other every day and laugh and say, "Seriously? This is our kid? How awesome is she?"

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 in Review

Here's last year's Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? Felt real labor contractions... other than that I'm drawing a blank... potty trained a toddler? 

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Last year I said "For 2013 I'd like to try to find a moms group to join. I want to save more money and be a more positive person. And I want to be more creative, however that manifests itself." Um, I'm pretty sure I did none of those things. Way to go, Hope! As for 2014, I want to lose weight and be more frugal and save more money. I also want to be nicer to my husband.   

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Me! And a good friend had a baby about 3 weeks before me.

4. Did anyone close to you die? I'm always too superstitious to answer this question before the year ends, but no - thankfully, gratefully - no.

5. Where did you travel? We went to West Virginia for a wedding in June, and Mia and I road tripped to Saratoga Springs to visit a friend in August.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? Last year I said "Another baby, or the prospect of having one." I'm so happy I got what I wished for! In 2014 I want to find our Forever House, specifically one where the floors don't creak and sound doesn't carry like a sonofabitch. Where I can get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night or put in a load of laundry during nap time without worrying I'll wake everyone up. 

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? February 7 - the day I got a positive pregnancy test. October 12 - my due date. October 21 - Gracie's birthday.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Making it to 9 days past my due date without murdering anyone. Oh, and carrying and birthing a healthy baby.

9. What was your biggest failure? Unfortunately the same thing I said last year, any time I lost my temper with Mia. And anytime I was not very kind to Jeff.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? The whole family got a horrendous stomach bug in February when I was 8 weeks pregnant. And recovering from another csection.

11. What was the best thing you bought? I went a little wild decorating Mia's big girl room, and she loves it so much I'm glad I did.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Seriously all of my family and friends were so very helpful in my last few weeks of pregnancy and after Gracie was born, making us food, watching Mia, etc. It made my heart so full.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? I'm drawing a blank, so I'll leave it, no need thinking up appalling, depressing things for nothing. 

14. Where did most of your money go? The mortgage.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Meeting Gracie and not being pregnant anymore! And my brother and his family moving about 10 minutes away from us. 

16. What song will always remind you of 2013? Probably Katy Perry's Roar because Mia loves it and asks me to play it constantly.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier, I suppose, not that I was at all unhappy last year.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, ugh
c) richer or poorer?

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?  I wish I'd been more frugal and saved more money. 

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? I wish I'd lost my temper less.

20. How did you spend Christmas? We spent Christmas Eve at my brother's house. My parents stayed with us Christmas Eve night and we all had Christmas morning at our house. Then we went to Buffalo to visit the inlaws Christmas afternoon. It was a little too chaotic for me, and Mia did not sleep well or nap and was falling apart by 5pm Christmas, but the whole Christmas season was so fun this year with a toddler beginning to understand what it's all about.

21. Did you fall in love in 2013? Oh yes, with my new little girl.

22. What was your favorite TV program? The Good Wife, Top Chef, Homeland. Jeff and I have just started watching Breaking Bad from the beginning and we're loving it. 

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nope.

24. What was the best book you read? Waiting for Birdy by Catherine Newman and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

25. What was your favorite music? I spent most of the year listening to The Black Keys station on Pandora.

26. What did you want and get? A healthy baby!

27. What did you want and not get? A new living room rug. 

28. What was your favorite film of this year? The only movies I saw in the theater this year were The Heat and Monsters University. The movies I enjoyed most this year were Zero Dark Thirty and The Way, Way Back.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 31. I was 35 weeks pregnant at the time, so no hard partying this year. We went out to breakfast and then my family came over for pizza and cupcakes. My Greek neighbor brought over homemade spanakopita and another neighbor brought a homemade coconut cream pie. They knew the way to a pregnant lady's heart.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and a baby that didn't require exhausting amounts of bouncing and shushing to fall asleep. 

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? I started out trying to find cute maternity clothes, then I just wanted shirts that covered my belly and pants that didn't fall down. Now I'm just trying desperately to not look like the frazzled, lumpy mom I feel like inside when I leave the house.

32. What kept you sane? Sunshine.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Joseph Gordon-Levitt

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Healthcare

35. Who did you miss? Anyone I don't see every day. 

36. Who was the best new person you met? Gracie

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.  I'm 99% sure this is my last baby.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 in Review

This year felt much quieter than last, so this survey was harder and may seem a little boring, (not that I felt bored for all of 2012) but I still appreciate the reflection. 

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before? I got a tattoo... and many firsts with Mia: Her first birthday, first time on an airplane, first time at the beach, first haircut, first ER visit, first night away from her. 

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Last year I said, "I don't really think I made any last year. For 2012 I think I'll go on record to say I'd like to be a better friend. I don't think it always comes naturally to me, so I need to try harder. I'd also like to make more friends. Maybe more mommy friends for play dates. And losing this baby belly pooch would be pretty awesome too, but I'm not going to aim too high." I do think I worked on becoming a better friend. I didn't really make any new friends though, maybe some acquaintances to chat with on the playground, but not really friends. And I definitely didn't lose the baby pooch. For 2013 I'd like to try to find a moms group to join. I want to save more money and be a more positive person. And I want to be more creative, however that manifests itself.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Everyone I know. We got a new nephew on March 22nd and a new niece on October 22nd. And two good friends had babies in the spring.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No. Phew.

5. Where did you travel? We went to Sanibel Island, FL in July with my parents. It was an awesome vacation. Other than that we made lots of trips to Buffalo and Syracuse to see family.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? Another baby, or the prospect of having one. 

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? March 22 and October 22 (see #3)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I don't think I had one crowning achievement, I just think I'm realizing more and more that I am good at being a stay at home mom, and for now this is the right path for me. I'm also pretty proud of how much I exercised this year. I might be in a rut right now, and I didn't lose a lot of weight, but overall I found some bliss in running in the summer and I found a group exercise class I enjoy. 

9. What was your biggest failure? Anytime I forgot Mia was just a little girl and lost my temper. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nope. 

11. What was the best thing you bought? A new dishwasher. It has changed my life, no joke.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? I'll just be sappy and say Mia. She's just so smart and funny and sweet. I'm so proud to be her mom. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Mass shooters, I'll just leave it at that. 

14. Where did most of your money go? The mortgage.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Mia's birthday, our vacation to Florida, my 30th birthday

16. What song will always remind you of 2012? Call Me Maybe or Gangam Style, just because they were so prevalent. Or maybe Kenny Chesney's El Cerrito Place because we listened to it a lot and for some reason I feel like it speaks to me.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? About the same.
b) thinner or fatter? 
About the same.
c) richer or poorer? 
About the same.
 That's kind of depressing - Ending up in the same place I started!

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?  I wish I'd been more frugal and saved more money.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? I wish I'd lost my temper with Mia less. I'm not proud of it, but there it is.

20. How did you spend Christmas? We had our own little Christmas Eve and Christmas morning at our house for the first time which was so simple and relaxing. Then we went to my parents house for Christmas which was not relaxing, but so so wonderful in its own way. 

21. Did you fall in love in 2012? Every year I say, "More and more with my husband and my girl," and that will hold up until the end of time.

22. What was your favorite TV program? The Good Wife, New Girl, Top Chef, Nashville, and Jeff and I are entrenched in the first season of Homeland right now. Can't get enough.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No.

24. What was the best book you read? Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? I am not on the cutting edge when it comes to music at all, and did not really diversify my listening any this year.

26. What did you want and get? An awesome 30th birthday. A DSLR camera.

27. What did you want and not get? Pregnant. Oh well, there's always next year. 

28. What was your favorite film of this year? I think I saw even less movies this year than I did last year. Hmm, I enjoyed The Hunger Games.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 30! Jeff surprised me with dinner with family and friends at a fondue restaurant and then had a limo take our friends out so we could pretend we were 21 again. It was so much fun, even if I felt all of my 30 years the next day. 

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If Mia slept past 6 am.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?  I basically just gave up on ever being any kind of clothes horse and decided to create a uniform for myself of jeans and black tops or jeans and cardigans.

32. What kept you sane? Nothing. My anxiety is at an all time high.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I know I'll think of a better answer later, because I'm always exclaiming, "oh, I love him/her!" but for now I'll say Obama, because I heart him as a person. 

34. What political issue stirred you the most? Gun control. Without a doubt.

35. Who did you miss? Every year at Christmastime I miss my Grandfather so so much. And I still miss my family even though they are not that far, I daydream of all of us living down the street from one another. 

36. Who was the best new person you met? My new little neice and nephew. 

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012. That I need 8 hours of sleep a night to be anything resembling my best self. And maybe sometimes I will have to carry on on less than that, but at least I KNOW that about myself.