Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Secret, Secret, I've Got a Secret

Well I'll be damned...

About six weeks ago, Aaron and I got some shocking news. News that has shaken us to our cores, news that has swept us off our feet, news that prompted my hubby to say, "You've got to be fucking kidding me," news that has led us on a wild emotional roller coaster ride and has left me craving spoons full of peanut butter and gallons of ice cold milk...

I'm pregnant. I am 10 weeks and 2 days pregnant today.
Completely contrary to my nature, I have managed to (mostly) keep this little secret a secret since we found out. Sure, our immediate families heard the news right away, and thanks to an overzealous waiter who blew my cover at a Mexican restaurant at which I attempted to sneakily order a virgin sangria, a couple of close friends know. And, thanks to thin cubicle walls at my place of employment, a few coworkers know as well. But naturally, given the fact that our lives were touched with the tragedy of miscarriage a few short months ago, we wanted to keep these cards as close to our chests as possible until we were able to be reasonably certain that things wouldn't end up badly this time.

And the waiting has been extremely difficult. Every single ache and pain and twinge and cramp that I have experienced has sent me Googling like a mad woman. Ever since we got the surprise that I am pregnant again, there have been moments of crippling fear and anxiety. I have lain awake many nights, my hands over my belly, praying that we would get to meet this baby, our baby. But, something (perhaps the nausea and ceaseless fatigue and ACHING boobs) has told me that this time would be different.

Last Friday, we had our first prenatal appointment. I was so nervous--the appointment was with a new doctor (we fired my last OB) at a new clinic, and I was so afraid of what would happen that I could barely stand up. Aaron and I met the doctor (who is FABULOUS), she examined me, and after not being able to find the baby's heartbeat due to my uterus being stubbornly tipped toward the back (and due to the fact that I was only 9w4d), the doctor rolled in the ultrasound machine, hooked it up, and as my doctor caught the first glimpse of the inside of my uterus, she said the words that I had been longing to hear:

"Hi, sweetie."

She was talking to our baby.

And there was our baby, and there was the strong heartbeat, and there were the teeny tiny limbs that kicked and flailed as soon as my doctor said, "C'mon, move for your parents."

And I cried and cried, but this time, they were tears of joy.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thank You, Sesame Street

Part of the nightly pre-bedtime ritual in our house involves watching a bit of Sesame Street while Grace cuddles on my lap on the couch. Tonight while we were watching, I was treated to cameos by my two favorite news hotties:

Brian Williams (this is actually a photo from tonight's episode, in which the word of the day was "squid".), and my all-time favorite news hottie, Anderson Cooper.

Thank you, Sesame Street. Educational yet eye candy-licious. My evening is complete.

P.S. Congrats to Al and l.w.w.b. on their new addition!! So happy for you guys!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Back to School Shopping

Tonight, we took Grace back to school shopping. We received her school supply list a couple of weeks back, and I managed to put the shopping trip off long enough for the really good sales to start, so thankfully we didn't have to spend an arm and a leg getting everything. And, I have to credit Grace's school with keeping the list relatively short--they even mentioned on the supply list that they don't want the kids to have too much stuff because there's not a lot of room in their desks. Behold, the list:

-1 standard sized backpack
-oversized adult shirt for painting
-$5 for film development
-1 package low odor dry erase markers
-1 box kleenex
-1 roll paper towels
-1 24-count box of crayons
-1 packet of napkins
-2 plastic folders
-1 packet AA batteries
-1 bottle of hand sanitizer
-1 package paper plates or paper bags
-1 box gallon size Ziploc bags
-1 box of washable markers
-2 pink rectangular pencil erasers
-1 bottle of hand soap
-1 packet of dry erasers

My first reaction to the list was, "1 package paper plates OR paper bags? That seems pretty random. They seem to be related somehow, but I can't figure out exactly what the connection is." My other reaction was that the teachers must have each kid bring things to share with the rest of the class--the things like paper towels, napkins, Ziploc bags, AA batteries--so that the classroom will have enough to last the whole year. Sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

Anyway, the trip to the store started off with one minor disappointment. Aaron and I promised Grace a new Disney Princess backpack and matching lunch box for the new school year, and unfortunately Target only had the Princess lunch box and not the backpack. I thought about talking Grace into a plain pink backpack (not as cool as a Princess backpack, but hey, it was PINK), but she totally wasn't having it. Then she spotted the Hannah Montana backpacks, despite my efforts to divert her attention as far away from the Hannah Montana stuff as possible, she decided that she would forgo the Princess backpack for Hannah. I totally wasn't having that (I'm sorry--I just can't deal with my four-year-old caving in to the Hannah Montana craze), so I managed to convince her that we could head to a different store some time this weekend to find a Princess backpack. Whew. Crisis averted.

I was very pleased with the back to school deals found in the hallowed aisles of Target. We snagged the 24-pack of crayons for only 17 cents, and the markers were only a couple of bucks. Even the dry erase markers were cheap. We decided to give Grace one of Aaron's old shirts to use as her painting shirt, and thanks to the fact that Aaron hordes batteries (because he's a ninja), we didn't need to purchase any. In total, we spent less than $35 on school supplies, but $12 of that was her Princess lunch box, so I feel like we did pretty well.

Of course, this whole experience has been surreal for me. What happened to my little tree frog baby that I could hold with one hand as she curled up on my shoulder? How can it be that her day care years are just about behind her, when at one point they seemed to stretch interminably ahead of us? My baby is growing up.

Monday, August 11, 2008

He's Got a Green Thumb!

Behold, the first fruit (or veggie) of our very first garden:

When we planted our zucchini seeds, we were hoping for a couple of small zucchinis to make some zucchini bread or to sautée with some soy sauce. We never dreamed we'd be able to grow a behemoth like this guy!! So exciting! And, our tomato plants are starting to produce, as are our peas, beans, corn, and even our jalapeño plant. I had my first fresh pea out of our garden tonight, picked right off the plant, and it was as delicious as the peas I used to pick in my parents' garden when I was a kid. Good stuff!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Oh, and OMG, John Edwards

Chalk up another win for the Slimy Men of the Universe:

I am so, so disappointed in John Edwards. During the primaries, I was a big supporter of his. He seemed like the only true Populist candidate out there. He stood by his wife and supported her throughout her battles with cancer. He seemed squeaky clean through and through, despite the fact that he's a politician. Now, we see him for the slimy bastard he is. And it makes me so sad.

My heart goes out to his poor wife. I don't know how she could stand by him after this.

Am I Getting Old?

Yesterday, I made my annual trip to Alpine Valley Music Theater to see my all-time favorite band, Dave Matthews Band. I have seen Dave at least once a year since my sophomore year of college, so this concert has become something of a tradition for me. Although the show was fantastic--DMB played a kick-ass cover of "Burning Down the House" by the Talking Heads along with several other awesome DMB tunes--I can honestly type something that I never thought my fingers would allow me to type: I think that I just attended my last DMB concert at Alpine Valley.

The main reason for this major revelation is the fact that the crowd attending DMB concerts has seemed to change drastically in the past few years. When I first started seeing DMB live, before the band was mainstream, there was a large hippie contingent in the crowd, and although hippies can be annoying in their own right, at least they are generally courteous and give a crap about those around them. Now that DMB is a hugely popular band, the crowd includes what Aaron refers to as the "frat boy contingent". Yes, there are some of us older fans who go because we truly enjoy Dave's music, and then there is the large group of 18-22 year olds who go because they have heard one or two of Dave's songs on the radio and need an excuse to take Dad's car out and drink copious amounts of liquor and make out with their stick insect girlfriends.

The problem with these kids (I can say kids...I'm 30) is that, besides just generally annoying the crap out of me, they seem to have this sense of entitlement that I don't remember having at their age. They don't care about others around them...all that they care about is that THEY are having a good time, and screw everyone else. Three examples from yesterday:

-My mom, my sister, and I headed over to the Port-a-Johns and found that there were several well-formed lines in front of each stall, but there was one stall that didn't have a line. Seeing this, we took it upon ourselves to form our own line, and were promptly chastised by one particularly Abercrombie and Fitched-out young man for cutting in front of him in line and not having any class. We took a moment to explain the concept of each stall having its own line and that since he was the leader of the line for the stall directly next to ours, we weren't cutting in front of him in line since we were in a DIFFERENT line. He explained, using rather colorful language, that his girlfriend needed to pee, and when the stall in front of us became available, pushed said girlfriend in front of my mother and into the stall. Egged on by another young man behind us in our line who clearly thought we were in the right, I told the A&F boy that I was very sorry, but that due to some medical issues, my bladder isn't the strongest and that I had to use the facilities. He replied, "You can wait your fucking turn like everyone else." Oh, it was ooooooooon. The best thing ever was when my mom gritted her teeth and said to him, "You watch your language," and he backed down. Score one for Grandma!

-During the concert, Aaron and I were minding our own business, enjoying the music, when a younger girl behind us (who we had never spoked to) started beating Aaron over the head with her long plastic margarita yard for no particular reason. She was hitting him so hard that Aaron thought someone was hitting him over the head with a bat. We turned around and both asked the girl just what the hell she thought she was doing and she replied, "I was just kidding." After Aaron and I each gave her a piece of our minds, we turned back around to try to enjoy the show, and we heard the girl say to her boyfriend, "They are, like, the crankiest people ever." Again, it was ooooon. I turned around and, with my most obnoxiously sarcastic voice possible said, "I'm so sorry that we're so, like, cranky. You just need to learn how to act in public." They left.

-Towards the end of the show, I was getting tired and needed to walk around a bit, so Aaron and I took a stroll and I decided to purchase a tasty smoothie. While Aaron and I were standing in line, a young woman and her fat boyfriend decided that the rules of lines didn't apply to them and proceeded to step directly in front of me (and everyone behind me) to order, because clearly her needs were far more important than anyone else's. They ordered their food and when they turned to leave, instead of walking around me and the rest of the line like a normal person would do, the girl bumped into me full on and almost spilled her beer on me. I didn't even say anything this time, and soon after, Aaron and I decided to head back to the car.

I don't know...I hate to think that I am getting too old for DMB concerts, but all signs are pointing that way. I just can't stand people that don't seem to care about anyone but themselves, and unfortunately, that seems to be a common trait among the age group that attends DMB concerts these days. What happened to the good ol' days when the worst thing about attending a DMB concert was the contact high?

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Brett, Please Make it Stop

I had to weigh in...

Anyone living in Wisconsin or anyone who follows the Packers even casually knows about the ongoing Brett Favre saga. He tearfully retires in March. Packers commit to new QB, Aaron Rodgers. Rumors soon start to spread that Brett's contemplating a return to the Pack. He asks to be reinstated. Brett's in talks to be traded to the Vikings (oh the horror!). Brett threatens to report to training camp. Brett reports to camp, but doesn't practice. Pack decides to let Brett compete with Aaron Rodgers for the starting QB spot. Brett doesn't want to compete. It's been a circus.

Well, after coach Mike McCarthy's press conference today, it appears that Brett has a future in the NFL, but not with the Packers, an idea which is both sad and scary. If Brett is playing in the NFL, I would think it would be best for the Packers if he was playing for the Packers, because even though he's an older QB, he's still arguably one of the best and I certainly don't think the Pack would fare well playing against a team that he would be leading. That's the scary thing.

The sad thing is that this whole debacle has tarnished Brett's image. At the end of last season, he was riding high--the Pack had a great year, Brett performed very well, and he was a highly respected player. When he retired, it was sad, but at least he could walk away with his head held high, knowing that he went out on top. Now, after all of this, there is all of this bad blood and all of these nasty feelings swirling around. Things have gotten bad enough that the first thing people might think of when they think of Brett Favre from now on is this whole ugly scenario instead of his years and years of success in the NFL.

Part of me is mad at the Packers. I mean, you have one of the all-time best QB's at your doorstep, wanting to play, and you're not letting him in. You're choosing instead a mediocre QB who is prone to injury. But, at the same time, I respect the Pack because they committed to Aaron Rodgers, and they are following through on that commitment. That's admirable. They're damned if they do let Brett play and they're damned if they don't.

The other part of me is mad at Brett. Dude, you should have stayed in retirement. Even though I truly enjoy watching him play and I'd love to see him playing for the Pack again, it's so sad that things had to end this way. It's like an ugly, painful divorce, and both Brett and the Pack are fighting for full custody of the fans. It'll be very difficult for me, and I think for many Packer fans, to watch Brett play for another team.

Brett, go back into retirement, maybe start up a career as a sports commentator beside Howie Long (yum) on Fox Sports, and keep your legacy intact. Please make it stop.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Back From the Weekend, Back to School

This past weekend, Aaron, Grace, and I piled in the car and headed away from the city and the God forsaken State Fair/Brewer Game traffic to the Northwoods to participate in my mother's family's biannual family reunion. Our reunion is hosted in different locations across the country every two years, and since my saintly mother volunteered to host this year's event, she decided that Northern Wisconsin would be a great location to celebrate family and relax with loved ones. She was right. We spent the weekend lounging at our hotel's pool, basking in the sunshine on the shores of Legend Lake, and eating copious amounts of tasty homemade food.

One of the high points for me was our family auction. Everyone from the family is asked to either make or purchase one item to donate to the auction, and the proceeds help the reunion organizers defray some of the costs of hosting the reunion. Since many members of my extended family are very talented at handiwork, the auction boasted several beautiful (and, in my mind, priceless) handmade items. My favorite thing that I purchased was a hat, scarf, and purse set that my grandmother crocheted. As soon as I saw it, I fell in love with it, and I wasn't about to let anyone outbid me.

But, my most favorite thing about the weekend was having the opportunity to introduce my new hubby and my daughter to my extended family and watching them all get to know each other. It's such a cool thing when the people that have known you all your life and are so dear to you have the opportunity to meet the new loves of your life. It's bringing the two most important parts of your life together, and I was so glad to have the chance to do that this weekend.

When we came home today, there was a letter in the mailbox from the elementary school Grace will be attending in less than a month (GASP!). Inside was an introductory letter from her teacher, inviting parents to a getting-to-know-you meeting later this month, a letter to Grace from the teacher, telling her about all of the fun stuff that she will be doing in the upcoming year, and finally, a school supply list.


I was always one of those weird and dorky kids that actually looked forward to the end of Summer, because I LOVED going to school, and when the school supply list came in the mail each August, my heart would always be a flutter with excitement and anticipation. Not surprisingly, that same feeling swept over me today when I read through Grace's list. I had to use all the self restraint that I could muster not to jump off the couch, grab Grace, and drive to the nearest Target so we could start stocking up.

Grace, however, wasn't as excited. I showed her the list and told her we'd have to make a trip to The Red Store to buy her school supplies, and she asked if she was going to school tomorrow. When I told her no, she wasn't going for another few weeks, she shrugged and went back to what she was doing.

Oh, you'll see, kiddo. This time next year, you won't be able to wait to run out and buy your Number 2 pencils and glue sticks.