The more you know…

I am taking a break from moving (which, can I just say, IS THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE EXCEPT THIS NEXT THING I’M GOING TO TALK ABOUT) to bring you a very important PSA for everyone who doesn’t watch Downton Abbey and isn’t already freaked out about it.

A year ago today Buddy was six days old, and I was pretty sure I was dying. Or at least, I was pretty certain I wanted to die, because I couldn’t imagine living one more night like I had been feeling. Since the baby was born, I’d been feeling pretty awful. But it was my first pregnancy, so I figured I was supposed to be feeling like that. It was also historically the hardest annual day in our marriage, so I figured that had something to do with it. And the whole newborn baby thing- that’s stressful, right?

Then the nausea started. So much nausea. I literally could not sleep for even five minutes for two nights because of the nausea, and I threw up all night so violently that I introduced a lot of other complications that I won’t write about here because blood and ickniness but, hey, it made me call the doctor. My head felt like it was in a vice. It was horrible.

This morning, a year ago, I got scared by the actually innocuous bloody and ickiness stuff, and called my doctor. She was remarkably blase about the whole hemorrhaging thing, but asked, “Do you have a headache?”

Uh. Yeah.

“Okay, you should probably get the emergency room as soon as possible.”

Oh. OKay then.

Turns out I had undiagnosed postpartum preeclampsia- yes, the same thing that killed Lady Sybil on Downton Abbey (the crowning achievement of my life- being diagnosed with the same disease as Lady Sybil. And my master’s degree.)

(Oh, and what I thought was a pinched nerve in my back from holding the baby weirdly was actually the beginning of seizures of my heart muscle. Oh. Good.)

I’m not trying to be dramatic, really. I was fine after a course of magnesium and rest, and I know enough now to be proactive in any possible future pregnancies (which will most likely demand bedrest in the case of any hypertension because I don’t produce the protein that they usually use to diagnose you.)

But my doctors (and I’m guessing a lot of doctors out there) didn’t mention ANYTHING about this. I was discharged from the hospital and told not to use tampons for six weeks. Okay. Awesome. Nothing about swelling (my EYELIDS were swollen) nausea, headache, all the minor problems that Buddy had that probably were related to the preeclampsia- nothing. Just no sex and no tampons.

Not. Helpful.

So. Pregnant women or women who are thinking about becoming pregnant- STAND UP FOR YOURSELVES. If you’re nauseated, or sick, or HAVE A HEADACHE tell somebody. Or if you’re stupidly discharged with incredibly high blood pressure (for you) MAKE THEM KEEP YOU.

And seriously- swelling. I know labor is hard, but you are not supposed to look like this:


When you normally look like this:



(Also, no tampons for six weeks.)

(That’s apparently the most important part.)


I have been so, so blessed to have many wonderful fathers in my life. So many people don’t have even one, and I have had three.

The first, of course, is my daddy. He loves us so much- more than anything in the world except for my mom and my kids probably. He’s super into them.


He would do and has done anything in the world for us, whether sitting by my bedside in the NICU for a month, being there for us throughout our childhood, working so hard to support us so that my mom could homeschool us, or watching my newborn son for me so I could get some sleep.



Oh, and driving to Rockford to buy tickets to a Josh Groban concert from some guy we met on the internet. (Yup. No way that could go wrong.)

We danced to You Raise Me Up at my wedding, because it reminded me of all of our best times together.

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The second is my grandpa. He loved us and taught us so much in the time we had with him, and we will never ever forget any of it.


Well. We could forget the atrocious “halloween costume” that really was just me wearing a unitard and jelly shoes.

(Bonus shot of my almost new house!)

The third is my husband. I was exceptionally lucky, I got to fall in love with my husband as a father. Not everyone gets that experience, and I highly recommend it. Well. I mean, I don’t recommend the whole tragedy thing. That’s just awful. But, I mean, it’s kind of cool to see what kind of person your life partner will be when charged with the care and soul of a tiny little person.


From the minute I saw him cross Squeaks on Holy Thursday, I knew he was a good daddy. And I knew he’d be a good daddy to our children. Whom I wasn’t sure would exist,but still.



And he is. He has continued to be such a wonderful comfort and gift to Squeaks and to me. And to Buddy, our newest baby.


From the day Buddy was born, he knew Buzz’s voice. I remember being kind of mad, because I was the one that pushed him out and was almost dead from the effort. But everytime Daddy talked, his little head would whip around. Eventually I stopped being bitter and started thinking it was cute.


I can’t wait for the rest of our childrens’ lives with him. I know he’ll be amazing.


I hope all the fathers had a wonderful day yesterday, and to the fathers in my life, thank you.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


11 Months

Dear Buddy,

You’re 11 months old today. As in, almost a year. As in, you’ve been here and a part of our family for ALMOST A YEAR. I cannot believe that.


You, for one, seem to enjoy this whole almost-toddler thing. You aren’t walking quite yet, but you’re, like, thisclose. You can get yourself up on your walkie toy and get all over the house, even turning around, which is relatively new.

You may notice something about the pictures this month. None of them are of the front of your face. BECAUSE YOU DON’T STOP MOVING. And CLIMBING. And OOH WHAT IS OVER THERE THAT I CAN HURT MYSELF ON?


Today you knocked over your sister’s yogurt bowl (spilling it ALL over the house. Like, under furniture.) Then you upended the table, and started chewing on one of the legs. When I took it away from you (you know, in case you impaled yourself and I’m a good mother like that) you scooted over to the folding chair and climbed up ON it, and tried to stand up. ON A FOLDING CHAIR.

Seriously, Buddy. I know I drank during pregnancy, but only a little. You shouldn’t be that stupid.


But you’re not stupid, you’re so smart. You’ve figured out so much about the world, and you have so many likes and dislikes. You’re just a boy and those likes all involve MOVING SO FAST AND SO HARD and the dislikes are all safe, soft, quiet things. And peaches. You really hate peaches.


You love pears and applesauce (as long as it’s not homemade, that made your face break out) and you’re getting better with textures. You love Cheerios, like, so much. And you’re okay with cheese. It’s okay. We’ll work on that. You can drink water from a straw now which, can I just say, PRAISE JESUS. I had to fight so freaking hard to get every single drop of liquid in you that you’ve consumed over the past eleven months and I really thought I’d have to come along on your honeymoon and spoon-feed you soupy oatmeal so you didn’t die of dehydration on your poor new wife.

But now! You can drink on your own! And I can stay home from your honeymoon.


That’s silly, though. Because I’m not going to let you get married. You’re growing up way too fast, and Grandma Susan is totally right- I miss each and every stage with you, even though I love the new one so much.

I’m not really a baby person. I love you more than life itself, but the whole bottle, diaper, scream, wash, rinse, repeat thing isn’t really my idea of a good time. So I totally thought I’d prove her wrong and be all, “Bye, babyhood! See ya, pregnant suckas! I’ll be over here getting a good night’s sleep!”

But I’m not. I find myself wanting to stop pregnant women and tell them, “No, seriously, it will go so fast. You might not enjoy it. You might think it’s awful. You might wish you were dead.  Your hormones might make you think awful, dark things that you will never, ever speak about, not even to your husband. But when your little boy stops cuddling you during naptime because there are so many, many more things for him to do? You will miss it.”

And no one will ever, ever love you as much as I do. So you’re never getting married. That’s where I was going with that. Anyway.


Let’s see. What else do you do? Well, today you pooped in the sink during your bath. That was fun for the whole family. Mostly because it required the whole family to clean it up. You love tubby time, though. I’ve put you back in the sink, even though you’re big enough for the bathtub. I can’t get the water deep enough in the bathtub for you to have fun without it being dangerous, but in the sink you can splash and play and have a gay old time for as long as you want.

Which is good, because you’ve also taken to playing with your food and then smearing it in your hair. And my hair. And all over the table. And anything else you can reach. So you get pretty frequent baths.

You have a few tricks all worked out. You do high fives, and can almost clap, and when I say, “How big is Buddy?” you put your hands up. That’s pretty adorable.


You’re not crazy about a few things. Being held isn’t great for you anymore. If you’re tired, you’ll still cuddle. But I can’t get you to sleep by holding you anymore. Which means I’ve had to start putting you in your crib for naps. You’re doing okay with it, but it’s not great. I think the problem is that you still need a short morning nap, but you refuse to settle down for one. So you’re overtired and cranky by the afternoon and won’t settle down for that one. But as you REFUSE TO SIT STILL, I think we’ll just have to white knuckle this one for the next few weeks until your body catches up with your unbelievably active brain.


You’re, in short, you, buddy. Just you. Just a little twenty-pound bundle of curious energy that I love more than anything else in the world.

I love you, honey.




Reasonably Priced Listing: Midwestern Suburb Edition

You guys. I’ve discovered a new show- Million Dollar Listing. It is glorious. It’s hilariously earnest about things that absolutely don’t matter just like the Real Housewives shows, and features a series of fabulous gentlemen brokers with shellacked hair, tans that don’t quit, and wardrobes that definitely cost more than my car.

They have little hissy fits, and make more money than I’ve ever seen on single commissions, and generally exist in a Bravo-created world that in my fairly inexperienced opinion, doesn’t exactly exist in the real world of buying and selling homes.

The open houses are amazing- people are always fabulously dressed, and there are drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and people pretend to be not at all interested and oh, yes, that’s a lovely sky vault you have there, I don’t know, we saw one in Soho we liked…

I’m fairly certain when we sell our house, it will involve something a little bit more like this.

*opens door*

Oh! Hi! Are you here to see the house? Awesome. Yeah, we really need to sell it. Like, fast. I am sick of driving.

Champagne? No, we don’t have any champagne. Uh, I might be able to find some apple juice the kids didn’t drink…wine? Nope. That’s mine. Don’t touch.

Here, let’s go into the dining room. Uh, just ignore the baby in the corner eating coffee grounds out the K-cup he found somewhere.*

As you can see, there are lots of windows that haven’t been cleaned since my mother-in-law stayed here. But, uh, they’re pretty! And it’s an open concept which- Buddy! No! No no! That’s not for you!- uh, I hear that a lot on HGTV. It’s good. Definitely.

Um. Three bedrooms. Perfect for separating children who were SUPER excited to be a big sister when you were pregnant and then once the screaming, wriggly, red thing came home quickly changed their minds- Squeaks! Get Buddy away from there!- anyway, lots of room.

The closet, as you can see, is quite spacious. Big enough to hold a wedding dress you haven’t had cleaned yet because you got pregnant so fast you didn’t have the energy to do so…also all the baby stuff that you demanded your husband re-purchase because pregnancy made you crazy and you had to do everything for yourself even though the kid outgrew everything within, like, minutes, and you didn’t really have any idea what having a baby would be like anyway (Bumbo? Really? I needed a separate one of that. Really?)

Attic? Yeah, there is one. I don’t know, I’ve never been up there- Squeaks! Get off of there! Uh, basement. You can hardly hear the kids from down there. I used to take naps down there when I was pregnant. If you open the vent it’s not dangerous- you can hear screaming, I mean, just not like the normal everyday, “I see imaginary monsters and I’m scared come get me” stuff…uh, room for a lot of exercise equipment we don’t use! And an elliptical that gets ooh, gosh, maybe 20 minutes of use a day four or five days a week. I know. I’m in pretty good shape- BUDDY. NO. THAT’S A NO NO.

Diploma frames? Oh yeah, those are ours. Yeah, I used to be accomplished. Empty? Oh, yeah, I know. Well, see, I have the degree I just need to call and clear up some clerical oversight- BUDDY SERIOUSLY STOP IT- um. Bar! We have a bar! It’s awesome. I love it.

Um. Bathrooms…yeah, I don’t know, they’re nice? Lots of room for you to puke when you have morning sickness or pre-eclampsia? I don’t know if that’s a concern for you…are you married? Does your wife have a history of high blood pressure in her family? Anyway. New plumbing.

Teeth marks? On the door frame? Nope. Uh, don’t see them. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Our son does not chew at woodwork like a rabbit. Absolutely not.

So as you can see, it’s a great house. Are you interested? You know what? Let’s open that  wine now. It’s afternoonish.

Ooh, I almost forgot! The hallway that your kid can crawl up and down for hours! Perfect! It’s like a baby racetrack!


*Yeah. That happened.

Five on Friday

Five things which didn’t warrant their own posts this week.

1.) Dude. Spritzers. Wine spritzers. I’ve gotten totally into them. I used to be able to drink almost anyone under the table, but since having Buddy I’ve become a total lightweight. Like, one glass of wine and I am definitely tipsy. Two and I am no use to anyone.

But I love wine. So I figured cutting it with soda was a good way to cut down on the alcohol and the calories and oh my gosh you guys, it totally is. I’ve done it with white wine, red wine, blushes, pretty much everything that I don’t like drinking on its own. (Another useful point- it uses up wine you’re not crazy about.) Lemon-lime soda (diet, because the calories are more immediately worrisome than the aspartame…I’m going to get cancer anyway, really.) is tastier than club soda, but hey, I guess whatever blows your skirt up.

I’ve added bitters and berries and seriously. Changed. My. Life.

Yes. My transition to sexually frustrated soccer mom is almost complete.


2.) Buddy climbs up stairs now. Oh. Good. Because I was feeling like I almost had it under control with him just scooting around flat surfaces. And we’re moving to a house with several floors in a shockingly small number of weeks.


3.) He also does high fives and “How big is Buddy? Sooo big!” and dances when I tell him to do “happy feet.”

It almost makes up for the fact that he’s constantly searching for new and exciting ways to maim or kill himself.

4.) We went to the zoo yesterday because it was 9:02 and I had already almost lost my temper and figured we all needed to get out of the house. I even figured out how to work the two-kid stroller, which has eluded me for the past 11 months, despite the fact that I’m relatively intelligent and possessing of several degrees.

None of which taught me about strollers.

Or how to control two children at the zoo.

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5.) Buzz is off today after two awful weeks at work. Like, he left so early and got home so late he didn’t see Buddy (literally) until last night. We have a very exciting day of grass-cutting, house cleaning, and hair-washing planned. And then hibachi. Lest we forget that we’re still relatively young.

(And then the grocery store, lest we think we’re young enough to not have responsibilities.)

(It’s all about balance, really.)


I like to think Pinterest changed my life.  I love Pinterest! It’s amazing! It combines my new imperative to cook, organize, raise a child, and make a home,1 with the fact that it’s been long enough since the whole Grandpa’s house…experience that I can look at some home improvement projects without bile rising in my throat.2

Some goals are a tad lofty. I mean, according to Pinterest, I have a floor-to-ceiling build-in-bookcase in my attic alcove, make an incredible array of healthy, well-balanced meals and delightfully sinful and GORGEOUS treats like perfectly frosted Bailey’s Irish creme cake, am pretty bitchin’ at making and hanging canvas-wrapped prints, make keep-sake books of all the important cards I’ve ever received, have all sorts of adorable first-day-of-school photo ops planned for every year of Squeaks’ life, take part in every single monthly photo challenge (which I’m sure my friends and family all appreciate),and will have mason jars at my wedding as a cost-effective and whimsical alternative to wine glasses.

Ah. Well, kind of.

I mean, I am TOTALLY all about the canvas-wrapped prints. I think that would be awesome. I have BIG plans for a set of three wedding pictures hung from ribbons. But instead of making them myself, I had Buzz buy a LivingSocial deal where someone else would do it for me. (I still have to figure out the ribbon. Which means…there probably won’t be any ribbon.) And I have a drawer full of the lovely wedding cards we’ve received because I’m TOTALLY going to turn them into a book but I can’t really…how do they…how do you get the punches to match up…I don’t know, it probably won’t be that pretty.

I would love to do a thing where I take Squeaks’ picture on the first day of school holding a chalkboard with the date and “When I grow up I want to be…” right up through grad school (Oh, she’s going to grad school.) But, I realize that I probably will forget to write it before the first day of school. Or buy a chalkboard. So she’ll be standing at the end of the driveway holding a piece of construction paper that’s used on the back. If that. A more realistic possibility is that we’ll be running late and I’ll be swearing (quietly, I’m a good mother) and probably crying because MY BABY DON’T LEAVE ME SO HELP ME GOD IF YOU LISTEN TO YOUR FATHER AND GO TO MADISON I WILL COME WITH YOU.

Probably a better chance of that.

I don’t really cook the things I pin with the exception of the easy casseroles…like the pizza casserole. I knock that one out of the park. It’s hard to screw up putting ground beef on top of noodles and dumping a bag of cheese on top.

I set out every month with the intention of doing the photo challenge…but then inevitably forget about it or get hopelessly uncreative. “How can you take a creative picture of ‘nine o’clock’? That’s ridiculous. You suck pinterest.”

I’m not really a mason-jar-at-the-wedding kind of girl. And it’s an Italian restaurant. I’m thinking they’ll have wine glasses.

And I don’t even know if Buzz has an attic and if he does I’m guessing he’s not interested in funding my ill-advised attempt to turn it into a reading sanctuary.3

So. In general. Pinterest is fun, but unrealistic. Except this one thing. This one thing I could totally do. Mostly because it involved absolutely no craftiness at all. Behold- the wine-rack-as-towel-holder thing.


This, this I could do. I mean, I’m sure the blog post it originally came from involved days of antiquing and finding the wine rack at some vintage store where it came with a card saying it was haunted or something, I don’t know, whatever. I don’t like antiquing because it’s very rarely air-conditioned and the stuff makes me sneeze and then it makes me cry because it belonged to people who obviously don’t have anyone who loves them because they sold their stuff and don’t ask me about the boxes from my grandparents’ in my basement, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

No, I wasn’t going antiquing. I was just going to buy a wine rack off of and hang it up and call it a day. Oh, yes, look! I found that on Pinterest! I know, right? So amazing the things these people think of!

So I did a search for wine rack. And it popped up with a lot of standing wine racks. Which, okay, awesome, but not exactly what I needed. So I searched for hanging wine racks.

And…it came back with a lot of “wine/towel racks.”

Wait. What?

Amazon figured out my trick? And took all the barely-there-creativity out of it? Well, that ruined it for me.

Whatever, I didn’t really want a wine rack in the bathroom anyway. Fine.

1 This is related to my new imperative for STUFF. HOUSEY STUFF. This from the girl who, when asked by her mother if she wanted dishes or something for her birthday said, uh, well, the seventh season of CSI:NY was just released. Now it’s ALL about the electric can-opener.
2 Not paint or wallpaper. Not yet. Dear God, not yet.

3 Although it would mean he could return all those bookcases I made him buy last night because SERIOUSLY DUDE. I DON’T THINK YOU REALIZED THE NUMBER OF BOXES OF BOOKS I COME WITH WHEN YOU PROPOSED TO ME.