Ways in which my week is going better already

1. I'm leaving today to go to a conference (which, yuck), but it's in one of my very favorite places in the whole wide world - Traverse City. Add to that the fact that I'm taking Gabbie and my mom with me to share in the fun, and this is going to be a great trip!

2. I have a GPS to play with. I've always wanted one because I am horrible with directions, so I checked one out from work and get to use it during my trip. I'm thinking if we have extra time I might have to go find a geocache!

3. I did everything on my to-do list last night. Since I typically prefer to be a big ol' slacker, this is quite the accomplishment.

4. I made an apple pie last night and it turned out wonderfully. Let's hope this is the beginning of the end to my cooking slump.

5. I bought new shoes last night, and I love them.

To steal a sub-title: It sucked, and then I cried

So, last Thursday I was grumpy. Then it got worse.

I got to Gabbie's daycare and was informed that there was 1 confirmed case of H1N1 in a child that attends, and several other possible cases, including, most likely, Gabbie's teacher that I haven't seen since that day. Gabbie had spent the entire day in the baby room since they were short on teachers, and even though she was in a good mood, this also meant she was a little out of sorts. This child loves a routine, and if she's deined her routine it gets a little dicey. So we got home, and I decided to try to get dinner on the table by the time Aaron got home, so I got to cooking. I was to the last step - putting the broccoli on to steam - when Gabbie started whining to be picked up. Then she started sobbing to be picked up. So, I threw the broccoli in the pan, threw the pan on the stove, and cranked the heat up to medium high. And walked away.

The key thing I'm missing here is putting the water in the bottom of the pot.

So, long story short, I melted the glass on my less-than-2-months-old stovetop. We're one burner down. I think I can handle one burner down, but I'm also PMSing in a major way and throw a huge fit when Aaron is also (understandably) upset.

Friday morning arrives finding me with horribly swollen eyes from all the crying the night before (related: I hate PMS), and still cranky. I declare that I am done cooking for a while, and Aaron thinks that okay. He brings home Chinese for dinner that night and we're all in a better mood.

Saturday morning I decide to make that pepper jelly I've been wanting to make for weeks now. I start it up, get it going, and when it comes to a boil I reduce the heat to let it simmer for a little bit. Then it decides to not play nicely and boils over. The house fills with smoke as the sugar burns on my stovetop. We finally get it cleaned up a little while later, completely following manufacturer instructions for cleaning up spilled sugar on the glass cooktop, and we discover it totally pitted that burner - it's now unusable too.

I'm discovering that glass stovetops may not be the right fit for someone who cooks as much as I do, and has a tendency towards being a klutz/unlucky.

I really have sworn off cooking for the week (with the exception of the soup I put in the crockpot this morning, although I'm not even going to think of how that can go wrong because if I consider it, it probably will with my luck) which works well since I'll be at a conference the rest of the week. Gabbie (and my mom) are coming with me, so Aaron can rely on microwave meals or eating out until we get back on Friday, which is when the stove repair person comes.

So, to recap, last week sucked in a major, huge way. I'm really, really hoping this week is better. It really has to be or else I'm going to completely lose my mind. I promise.

Post-script: we're getting the stove top repaired, and then we're selling it and buying a gas range. If I'd have known this whole process was going to cost me around two grand, I would have chosen much differently in the first place.

Battling Away the Blahs

The other day I emailed Aaron to ask him why it was gain that we couldn't just drop everything and run away together (with Gabbie too, of course). He said something about responsibilities, blah, blah, blah, but seemed disappointed too.

So, to counteract this overhwelmed, tired, crabby state we seem to be in lately (me especially), here are five things I'm really grateful for lately, since it always seems to cause a vast improvement in my mood and general outlook, on life:

1. Gabbie learning to talk - it's adorable! Last night she lifted up her shirt, smacked her stomach, and delcared, "BEWWY!" (aka belly). She also makes saying goodbye a three-sylable word - "Buh-buh-bye!" See? Adorable!

2. Aaron and I have been watching lots of shows about ghosts lately, and I have to say, it's a lot of fun. Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures (that one had us up late with the lights on the other night), Destination Truth, and Ghost Lab. I also watched Paranormal State the other day and loved it too. I love it when we both get on a kick for the same thing; it's a great bonding experience.

3. A plethora of pears. We have a pear tree in our back yard, and apparently had a larger-than-normal crop this year (so sayeth our neighbor). I don't usually like pears, but these are excellent, and I've been having fun with them. Gabbie loves the pear sauce, Aaron loves the pear butter I've made, and I've enjoyed cooking with them quite a bit. I need to find some sort of baking recipe for the remaining pears so I don't waste them. Pears FTW!

4. Coffee/caffiene. When it comes to this point in the year - it gets dark earlier, cold weather starts to set in, it's rainy and grey all the time - my body goes into hibernation mode. Thankfully I have delicious, fresh roasted goodness to get me through. It really makes a huge difference.

5. Good friends. Tomorrow I'm having lunch with a former co-worker who I haven't seen in a long time (she was doing research in Africa!) and who I miss so, so much. Another co-worker is taking me out to lunch today. I also get to see my best friend on Sunday, and my other best friend is turning 30 next week and I have some fun up my sleeves that she doesn't know about yet. These ladies are so much fun, and I'm incredibly glad to have them in my life.


Just a quick note: I have a question featured today at Bodies in Motivation. This is a great site, so you should check it out regardless!

Cuddle. Snuggle. Whatever you call it. I love it.

I still rock Gabbie to sleep almost every night.

That isn't to say that she can't fall asleep on her own. She totally can, and does, every day at nap time. Then there are some nights when I know she's really tired, but she just can't seem to settle down in my arms. She twists and turns, flip-flops between sides, and starts to get cranky. On those nights, we take her upstairs, give her a goodnight kiss, and tuck her into her crib. She usually flips over and falls right to sleep. And even though that's kind of nice some nights, I still find myself missing the cuddle time, since it's hard to pin her down when she's not falling asleep most days.

The other nights, though, we have a routine of sorts. When she's ready to go to sleep, she walks up to me and lifts her arms. Then, with her head nestled in the crook of my arm she pulls the hand of that arm down around her back and grabs my other arm and pulls it around her. She wants, it seems, for me to hold her tight, and I, of course, have no problem with this. Once she has me in position, she usually drifts off within a minute or two. If I dare move my arm to do something ridiculous like move my hair out of my face, she looks at me and waits patiently until I'm done. Then she puts my arm back to where she wants it.

Sometimes she rubs my arm while she falls asleep, which is adorable, but also tickles a lot. I take it for as long as I can, but some nights it tickles too much. Then she can't fall asleep because she's not being held right, and those are the nights when she usually either falls asleep on her dad or in her crib.

Lately she's been waking up at around 5:30 in the morning, and we've been bringing her into bed with us for extra cuddles until it's really time to wake up. And just like at night, she snuggles up to me (or to her dad some days) and pulls my arms around her until they're arranged just right. And then we both drift back off to sleep, cuddled up tight.

Even though it's time consuming and sleep interupting to get her to sleep, and back to sleep, this way, I wouldn't trade it for the world. Soon enough she's going to be to big to rock to sleep, or not want to crawl into bed with me for a cuddle. She's only a baby for such a small portion of her life, and I'm determined to get as much of this in as I can. And I'm also glad I have this space in which to write about this, so that after she is too big for all of this, I can look back and remember more clearly how things are these days. Things are wonderful.

Bad Advice

Last night, after making a delicious, but very involved corn chowder for dinner, I retired to my recliner to put my foot up and ice my ankle. Shortly thereafter, the twitching started. I got a twitch in the middle of my calf that went on for about an hour or so. I really didn't think anything much of it, other than the fact it was pretty freaking annoying.

Then this morning at work, the twitching started again. It went on for hours. I, as I am prone to sometimes do, came up with some unlikely medical condition causing it (a blood clot) and freaked the heck right out. Then I called my doctor, and left a message to have her call me back about. She had her assistant call later, and the advice they gave me is what this post is all about.

First, she said, it's probably nothing, and just apply some moist heat if it really starts to bother you. However, if it becomes painful and red, or if you start to have trouble breating(!!!) call and make an appointment to come in.

Yeah. Right. I'm having trouble breathing, do you have any appointments open?

Sure. How does next Friday work?

Seriously, that's about how it goes. I think, I hope, that I would be smart enough to head my ass into the ER if I were having trouble breathing.

And I was really starting to like this doctor too!

What we've decided is that she's advanced for her age

Yesterday afternoon on the ride home from daycare, Gabbie was being silly. Making noises, clapping her hands, and dancing in her seat. She kept making herself laugh really hard, and it was one of the greatest things ever. I love that kid so much it amazes me sometimes!

We got home and I was ready for the silly to continue. It gets dark here pretty early these days, so at 4:30, the sun was already pretty low in the sky. The front of our house faces west, so the sun was to our backs when we headed to the front porch. The sun was even out for once, a rare occasion these days. Of course, you know what happens on a sunny day right? You can see your shadow.

That's right, as soon as we got on the front porch, she saw her shadow, and absolutely lost it. I managed to get her in the house (no small feat since I can't pick her up and walk at the same time due to my bum ankle), where she saw even more shadows, and lost her cool even more.

The whole night was full of shadows and Gabbie losing her shit. She even saw the shadow of her arm on her high chair tray during dinner and started screaming. It may have been cute the first couple of times, but it was getting old, fast.

We tried everything we could think of to get her to be okay with her shadow. She would touch it, ever so gingerly, on the wall, but the floor shadows really got to her.

Finally, apparently more thirsty than scared of shadows, she got off my lap (where she had been perched all night - it's a nice, shadow free zone) and went to the kitchen. She was still moving slow for Gabbie and obviously watching her shadow, but she made it without stopping and crying big, fat tears. She ended the night more at peace with her shadow, but this morning had some problems again.

We googled the problem of course, and came up with, well, not much. Almost all the posts were about children who were older. Most people suggested reasoning with your child, but, seriously, you can't reason with a child who's not even a year and a half old yet. Someone else suggested past life regression. Yeah, I'll get right on that. Thanks.

Even though she seems so big and smart these days, she's still so little and just starting to learn about the world around her. It's hard to see her so upset when I can't do anything about it. I know this is just the first of many, many times I'll have this problem throughout her life. I just want to fix it, make it all better, see her happy and carefree again, but I can't. There are always shadows around, always something beyond my control, and that's a hard thing to have to learn how to deal with.

Toddlers are adorable. And funny.

Yesterday morning, just before we left the house for the day, Gabbie went into our living room to get her shoes. Just inside the room, she stopped, started crying loudly, and turned around, running into my arms. We couldn't figure out what happened. Did she hurt herself? Was she stuck somehow? She hates having her clothes over her hands and her jacket is a little big. Maybe that was it.

After making sure she was okay, we chalked it up to being a toddler, dried her tears, applied hugs and kisses, and left the house.

Around dinner time last night, Aaron tried to get her to go into the living room to do their pre-dinner playing like usual. Just inside the room, she stopped in the same spot, and started crying. Aaron flipped on the light, and she started crying even more.


Aaron was starting to get spooked. Gabbie was definitely spooked. I thought there must be some logical explanation.

Turns out I was right.

This morning we came downstairs, and Aaron set her down on her feet at the bottom of the staircase. Immediately she looked down and started crying and grabbing at me to pick her up. I looked down to see what she saw, and discovered what had her so upset.

Her shadow.

The way the lights and windows are in this room she has at least two to four shadows as soon as she walks in, and their sudden appearance was making her lose her shit.

We spent a few minutes trying to get her to be okay with her shadow, but nothing doing. She's freaked out. Our plan for tonight is shadow puppets. It will either make her laugh, or we'll have a guest in our bed for a few more nights.

Also, how horrible are we as parents, laughing at our daughter's fear? It's adorable! We give her hugs and kisses through the laughter, so at least we're not totally cold-hearted.

What is normal anyway?

As evidence of how off I am these days, I accidentally just posted this on my cooking website. I think I need another nap.

This weekend was a fairly quiet one. We only left the house twice - once to Target for a winter coat for the Gabbster and once to go out to dinner - and spent the entirety of yesterday in our pajamas. While it sounds nice, this was all because we were each feeling under the weather in some way or another. I've got the ankle thing going on (still hurts a lot, probably because I keep doing stuff I shouldn't), Aaron's had a bad cold for over a week now (and won't go to the doctor like I keep asking him to), and Gabbie got two molars. Since we were all pretty crabby due to not feeling good, we didn't talk much either. Mostly just napped and watched movies on TV.

In other news, it seems as if Gabbie is trying to edge Aaron out of our bed, and she's the only one that's particularly happy about it. Don't get me wrong, I love the cuddles, but I don't love being kicked in the face, having someone's rear end in my face, or waking up at 5 a.m. to someone (cutely, yes) saying, "HI MAMA" loudly in my ear. I also miss Aaron. He hasn't had more than a couple of hours in our bed since Thursday night.

This is going to have to stop soon, although I think it might be related to the teeth, so hopefully it will stop when the teeth are in. She sleeps in her own bed until about 3 a.m., but after that she's done sleeping unless one of us is cuddling with her.

So, yes. It's been a long week or so. I'm ready for things to go back to normal, but I have a feeling that "normal" is still a ways off.

Two days in a row I've forgotten a title. What's wrong with me?

I am pleased to report that my ankle is feeling much, much better today. However, I'm still taking it easy in order to heal as quickly as possible so I can get to Project One Sexy Mama as soon as possible. I do have to admit that being unable to get into the kitchen to get snacks is great for my diet, and using crutches is a pretty good exercise for my arms.

Since I'm under doctor's orders to keep my foot up and iced as much as possible, I'm working from home today, and I actually get a lot more done at home because there's no one to socialize with. However, I still find plenty of ways to procrastinate. I'm in the middle of a solo Halloween fest - watching scary movies nad shows, wishing I had some miniature candy bars to put me more in the mood.

This inevitably gets me in the mood to start crafting Christmas presents - I usually spend the weekend before Halloween making presents while watching scary movies and eating caramel corn and caramel apples. (I love caramel, just in case you couldn't guess). This year I'm trying to do mostly homemade gifts - everyone in my life pretty much has enough stuff, and we're all pretty tired of stuff, so I think I'm mostly going to do consumables. I'm thinking limoncello, green pepper jelly, apple butter, and of course cookies and other sweets. The main reason I like doing homemade gifts is because not only do I get my gift-giving ready to go, but I'm also entertained in teh process. You can't get much more win-win than that!

Well, now. This post is definitely all over the place! Kind of like my brain, which I think is mostly going into overdrive because I can't actually do anything and I really want to. This sitting around is really, incredibly boring.
This weekend my sister and I were playing with her new iPhone (I'm hella jealous), and she was showing me all the fun apps she had downloaded. One such app was the FML app. FML stands for F*&# My Life, a website she regularly reads. We read a few, laughed, and felt better about our own lives for a few minutes.

So, yesterday I posted about my plan to get fit again. I spent the day coming up with plans for workouts, diet adjustments, and so on. I was really excited about it, and packed my gym bag so that I could attend the "butts & guts" class offered at our office gym today. I was feeling pumped up and ready to go.

Then, on my way out to my car this morning I tripped and rolled my ankle. Immediately, I was in a huge amount of pain and knew that I had done some serious damage. I quickly set Gabbie in her car seat (she was wide-eyed and looked a little scared - I think I yelled out in pain and it scared her), as the edges of my vision went black. I took off my high heel so that I could assess the injury, and found I couldn't put weight on it. I got Gabbie back out of her seat and told her to go inside as I fought back waves of nausea and the black starting to creep in. I hobbled back into the house, grabbed the phone, and called Aaron to come home.

One look at my ankle told both of us that we had to go get some medical attention, so we dropped Gabbie off at daycare and headed into the emergency room to see if I broke anything. After a few hours I finally got the results of my x-rays - no break, but I do have a nasty sprain. I have to stay off of it for 48 hours, use crutches for about a week, wear a brace for a few weeks, and it will take about 4 to 6 weeks to recover.

So much for intense workouts! At least I can still work with my diet, I guess. Ab and arm exercises don't use my ankle, so I can do a little of that, and then, hopefully, I'll be ready to start the real work in 3 to 4 weeks.

I'm mad at myself. I have too much to do to sit here with my leg up and rest. And, to end this like posts from my sister's favorite site: FML.

One Sexy Mama (at least that's the goal)

If you asked me how I've felt since Gabbie was born, I could give you several words to encompass my feelings: joyful, thankful, grateful, awed, amazed, humored, tired... The list goes on and on. One word that you won't find on that list, though, is sexy. I haven't felt sexy since about the middle of my pregnancy, and counting back, that means I really haven't felt sexy for nearly two years.

I need to get my groove back, in the worst way.

I'm still overweight; I lost 20 pounds in the first couple of weeks after she was born and the scale hasn't moved much since. I have a saggy stomach still. My boobs, well, let's just say they'll never be the same. My stretch marks have mostly faded, but the texture of my skin down there is a nightmare. Don't get me wrong, I never expected to bounce back and look exactly the same as I did pre-baby. I've seen what I looked like at 41 weeks pregnant. You can't come back from that.

But, I can make some progress. It's going to take some work, but I'm at the point I'm willing to put in that work. I need to eat better. I've already cut out fast food and am weaning myself of soda. I'm going to add physical activity to my routine, because I know that's the only way I can really get in a better shape; plus it helps with my seasonal depression, so now is the best time for me to start a routine again.

As of this evening, I've been felled by some sort of stomach bug, but when I'm feeling better I'm taking a picture of how I look now. I might even post it (with much apology before and after for subjecting you all to the sight). I just know that now is my time to do this, because I have 20 pounds to lose to be at a good starting point for getting pregnant again, which we expect to start on early next year. That gives me about 4 months to lose that 20 pounds, which I think is totally doable. If I do the work, that is.

It's just a list-making sort of week

Things I'd like to eat right now:
1. Pumpkin spice muffins with whipped icing
2. Sloppy Joes
3. Steak fries
4. Buffalo Wings

Even with what's listed above, I'm pleased to let you know that, with the exception of some time o' the month eating yesterday, my diet has been going quite well. I'm seeing much less muffin top today, and in my book? That's an accomplishment.

Things I'm excited about that are happening this weekend:
1. Going up to my parents' house to celebrate my dad's birthday
2. With my parents, sister, and most especially my brother and his wife, who we convinced to come last week and it's a surprise for my parents! This is going to be so much fun! It has also been a great test of my ability to keep a secret; something I'm not normally so great at.
3. The ensuing board game marathon that is sure to happen. Note to self: don't forget to bring Apples to Apples and Catan Expansion Pack (There I am, showing off my nerdiness once again)
4. MSU vs. U of M. All I have to say is GO GREEN!
5. Wine. We always drink lots of it up there, and I love it so.

(Stupid) Things I still have to do before heading out of town:
1. Work for several more hours.
2. Pack
3. Run errands (I'm going bra shopping, and I hate bra shopping)
4. Find something that will entertain Gabbie in the car
5. Avoid lunch-time temptation in the form of a potluck lunch celebrating this weekend's big game.
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