Wednesday, January 28, 2015

"What dreams may come, both dark and deep"

I've been waiting for the forewarned "pregnancy dreams" to show up and they have made their debut. And they suck.

I am not a stranger to bad dreams. It's been a lifelong thing, and I'm as used to it as you can be. I'm actually kind of an apocalyptic Bruce-Willis-esque badass sometimes. (Obviously positive thinking is my selected, forerunning combatant against night terrors.) So I had my fears and my expectations and my pep talks prepped for when/if these awful pregnancy dreams turned up.
They are so much worse than I ever even imagined.
Mostly because I used very little imagination and just thought they would be perhaps a more vivid or, shall we say, saturated version of the dreams I was already having. Zombies, apocalypse, family deaths, disasters and chaos. The usual.
Instead, these blessed pregnancy hormones went after something much more personal and soul-wrecking: my actual real life anxieties.
It hasn't even been bad per se until a couple weeks ago. I first noticed a change in my dreams far back in the beginning of pregnancy, when people I hadn't seen or spoken to in years, often even people that I probably never talked to, just went to school with (like, elementary and middle school), started showing up. The dreams also lacked the usual quality of the bizarre. It was just normal stuff. Normal people doing normal stuff in normal ways. I even thought to myself, "maybe my 'pregnancy dreams' are backward. This is boring! I'm okay with boring!"
But recently the normal people doing normal things has morphed into people I love and admire doing horrifically manipulative things and acting out every heartbreaking scenario my anxiety-ridden imagination could muster. My sleep has starkly degraded as a result and I find myself stuck in the mood of the dream as if a barrel of molasses has been poured over my head and I'm walking around the rest of the day with the sticky residue layered over me. So even when I wake up and rethink everything, I don't really feel better...just sick at heart and not well rested.
I woke up around 3:30am having a dream in which some people very close to me say awful, mean things and basically insist that my company is no longer desired, because I'm "awful and a bad person". Mark and I left the hangout only to discover that he agrees with them and has me move into the attic. During our argument he shouts at me, "I rely on you to be perfect at everything you do!" I eventually just It's a Wonderful Life the situation and leave, picked up by some trucker on Bush Highway who takes me to a combine where I have my baby and send him in a basket with a messenger to Mark to ask whether he wants to keep the baby or should I. But unlike It's a Wonderful Life nothing has changed and Mark's just mad that I inconvenienced him and it was at this point that I woke up with tears in my eyes and felt the overwhelming depression cloud smothering my very ability to breathe.
For a compulsive people-pleaser and perfectionist like me, this was the absolute worst dream I could imagine having.
The real Mark lying next to me sniffed and shifted around in bed and I shakily whispered, "honey, are you awake?" He replied with a soft yes and my voice broke as I asked, "could we snuggle please?"
He immediately shifted in my direction and opened up his blankets and arms to me. Then of course the tears spilled over (as they're doing again now just talking about it) and I sobbed quietly for a minute or two, Mark's fingers gently stroking my hair, his warm, solid body against my back making me feel comfortable for the first time in weeks. I had my moment of comfort and knew I needed to let the poor guy get back to sleep so that his early alarm wasn't too awful. But my mind wasn't ready to give up this ghost of anxiety and depression.
So now I'm here trying to write it out of me and I think it's working. Not sure I'll post it though. Quite unentertaining and a smidge personal, ya know?

I am so, so grateful for that man that loves me and lets me huddle up close to him when I'm feeling vulnerable and attacked by my own brain even at 4 in the morning. Who lets me cry it out and asks if I'm feeling better when the shaking subsides. Who gives me a tight hug and a tender kiss on the cheek when I can vocalize again and assures me "anytime" as I thank him. He is going to be my rock going into this baby venture and I don't know how I would manage it without him.
Head to a combine, I suppose.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

[Honest] Diary of a Pregnant Woman

It's important in this age of filters and photoshop and cropping out the piles of laundry and lugging our salads to remote rooms in the house because it has the best lighting and backdrop options...

A photo posted by Hope Douglass (@hopelid) on

....even in that world it's important to be real about what life is actually like. Because it's not all "Aden" filters that obscure perceived imperfections. It's never all tidy kitchens and vacuumed floors. Life is messy. And imperfect. And it's supposed to be that way.

Today I had a brilliant, shiny, pretty picture in my head of how it was gonna go. I was gonna make some cute signs and walk my angelic dogs to the park and get some cute shots that would fit perfectly into an instagram photo and have my beautiful, wonderful baby gender announcement and life would be grand. Now, I'm not a moron, I had my inhibitions about walking the dogs by myself and how I would handle setting up the shots while we were there and maintaining awareness of any pedestrians or other animals wandering by the park. I packed a backpack with our stake and leash extenders and some doggie treats so I could anchor the dogs where I planned to have the shoot. The park in the middle of our neighborhood is so pretty right now with this beautiful weather and all the nice rain, a cute and lush clover patch has sprung up beneath a large, old tree that hangs over the grass and filters the sun gorgeously.
The walking part proved difficult, as was expected. Mor'du is awful about heeling and constantly lunging while on the leash. We have him in a self-tightening collar but after two minutes he's wheezing and choking himself and it takes a million years to get anywhere because we're stopping and starting over and over. So I was already frustrated by the time we were just arriving at the park...
To find the landscapers there trimming EVERY TREE AND BUSH. There was hardly any lawn left for all the piles of branches scattered. And with so many unsuspecting humans waiting to be barreled over and befriended, I knew there was not a single hope of getting any pictures taken there. So we just turned around and began our stunted march back home again.
I tripped over Mor'du multiple times on the way home and the leashes got tangled every five steps it seemed. By the time we tumbled through the side gate I was ready to put them both up for adoption. We went around to the back porch and I pulled out the signs from the backpack and promptly began sobbing because #hormones
So Mor'du chased his shadow in the fountain and Odin gawked awkwardly next to my chair waiting for me to pet him as I tried to cry as quietly as I could so as to not weird out the poor neighbors trying to enjoy their overcast afternoon.
Once I worked up the courage to start attempting our own home photo shoot, Mor'du was completely soaked and muddy, had apparently erased all memory of "sit" and "stay" from his memory, and insisted on kamikaze karate chopping me in the backside incessantly. Before I had even had a chance to snap a single shot he had already trampled over Odin's sign, wrinkling it and swiping muddy pawprints all over it, and given me a nice stinging scratch along my leg. And Odin kept up with his typical "if I just stand a little closer and get my head right in her face she'll pet me, I know it" moves.
Obviously, as evidenced in my instagram photo, we got the shots we needed, and I jimmy rigged a super fancy stack of lawn chairs and tables to get the shot of me with the last sign.

#shootmeintheface was the look I was going for.

Then I cried some more and ate some food and went over all the pretty things I finally got on our registry (thanks to the blessed help of Allie and Ali). And then I found a good deal on a swing+bouncer on craigslist, and then Mark got home and he took me for Taco Bell as a reward for not strangling our furbabes, so the day got markedly better. Plus I showed him the salad instagram and he asked, "where did you get that??" Like I went somewhere and just bought a salad. I MAED DIS.

What an adventure this life is, eh?

Diary of a Pregnant Woman

Creating registries is tough business, yo. First world problems waddup but I'm still struggling majorly. (Also amongst the pregnancy struggles, I spelled it "struglling" first and my nerdy english pride is blushing furiously.)
But literally, I know nothing about what I want. This is why we're having the shower in the first place so I can get all the helpful insight and tips from all the rockin' moms who've already tested everything out and know all the goodies. Like, bottles? Diapers? Pacifiers? 

I'm also drawing a blank as to other things to even list in the ever growing "I'm an idiot" pile. 
So why in the world am I going on Amazon and trying to pick something that I think I may possibly want and/or like when really all I need is someone to say, "here, I got these ones and they worked great. You're welcome." And then I grovel at their feet and, realistically, probably cry a little bit because I'm so grateful.
I just don't want to throw something on the list because I'm supposed to have it listed but I picked a dumb one and somebody goes on later and is like, "wut? She picked that one? Okay, whatever, it's what she wants..."
Can I just include a caveat with the registry as a whole? "Disregard all of my opinions completely. Thank you."

Me trying to create the baby registry right now: "Oh I suppose I need this [type type type] ohh nooooo they're all so cuuuuuute ughhhhh." How do I even begin to choose I don't even know.

I also have next to zero desire to buy any baby clothes. But I've already bought a boatload of children's books and toys and crib bedding even though we don't have a crib yet. The risk you run I suppose when shopping at Goodwill. You either get it then, or it's gone. I'm a monster when it comes to Goodwill, we went there this past weekend because it was half-off saturday (aka Holy day of Holies) (#sacrilegemuch?) and I didn't even look through the baby clothes but I got a little locking suitcase trunk thing that has ginormous puzzle pieces inside of it because it's adorable and completely clean and looks like a child has never handled it. And I found three pristine classic Golden Books that I actually remember reading myself--

And one of my personal favorites...

And then I got sucked into buying a little cardboard book about a mole with a pet bird but at the end he sets the bird free because "birds are meant to fly" and he cries about it and I maybe got a little emotionally attached. 
There were a zillion Little Golden Books hiding on the shelves and every time I saw that shiny spine I got excited but as it turns out they came out with a line of Disney ones recently and all I was looking for are the classic ones that I remember reading and loving. I had no idea how old these books really are but I found one about a cat in a christmas tree that I didn't particularly remember but it was published in 1992. So then I looked inside the Pokey Little Puppy and that sucker is from the 40's! Mark had to actually, physically drag me away from the book section.
I feel so pretentious when editing our library spreadsheet with little baby books like this but there are SO MANY and I know I'll never remember all the ones we have and it would be even more ridiculous to end up with five copies of Green Eggs and Ham so /shrug, what can ya do. 
Oh, and I found a boppy pillow that ended up being $3.50 and it was completely stain-free, a print that I liked, and the zipper was in fine working order and the pillow insert was clean and intact. Praise, hallelujah. 
We got plenty of other books as well, but they were adult-ish ones (including a complete Jack London series that I'm intrigued with), and a replacement backpack for "my" 72-hour kit. Mark has the legit hiking pack but mine was just an old blue Jansport that I used in middle school and junior high so it was kinda sad and small. Hopefully the apocalypse holds off for a little while longer because our kits are not very complete. Especially considering now we're gonna have a kid so I gotta work in those essentials somehow. 

On the pregnancy note however, my belly (and boobs) have absolutely sprung out of nowhere. The first traces of stretch marks have begun appearing and I'm not too sad about it. They feel rather like a badge of honor at this point, there's no telling how I'll feel once the baby's here and I'm left with a shipping rig of overwrought hormones. I'm slathering lotion all over my torso after every shower and it has saved my sanity from the itching. 
I get terrible headaches every now and again, and once they've set in it's usually too late for the rest of the evening and there's nothing I can do but just ride it out. I pretend the tylenol helps and sometimes can fake myself out. 
If we're running around and busy throughout the day I feel really poorly later on and get obnoxiously and irrationally cranky. But if I'm mindful of my activity and give myself ample opportunity to sit down and just chill for a minute I feel great. And of course monitor my water consumption, and by 'monitor' I really mean chug it constantly. Eating has to happen every two hours, or else. Not just in a cutsie "oh, I'm eating for two, teehee" way but like I feel sick and shaky and I may just lay down and fall asleep right here need food. 

SO anyway. I guess that's just my mind as of right now. Pregnancy is treating me pretty well and I can't wait to hold our little boy in my arms and snuggle him close and kiss his little head and pat his tiny bum. Thankfully I have our ultrasound photos and videos to tide me over.

Dat arm definition, doe. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Peeking out of the cobwebs...

In an effort to reconstitute myself as an actual blogger, I am going to now fudge my way through a sludge-fest of random and hope that somewhere along the way a point pokes through.
The next AZ Blogger meetup is coming up in February and I have been so incredibly abysmal with posting regularly. Not even regularly, because I'm pretty sure there's at least one a month since last august when I really wrote a lot (not that it was even particularly brilliant, but perhaps that's the point) but just finding my blogger voice again. Fistpump for 2015!

Apparently gif involvement is still a staple.

Immediately my thought process of "what to post? what to post?!" screeches to a halt at New Year's Resolutions but I haven't even really defined what exactly it is that I am resolved to do this year. A couple things randomly popped up at the beginning of the year that I was very determined to be better at and I have done a decent job of doing so. Perhaps those count as my goals for the new year.
A few weeks ago I committed to at least one round of freezer meals and suddenly my grocery planning has become exponentially more efficient and incredibly we have so many options for meals now. Which feels great. And I haven't even blown through the budget yet. So huzzah for that.
My downstairs looks. fabulouuuuuus. I don't even know how it happened. Last friday I whizzed about all day cleaning and tidying up off of a nice compartmentalized To-Do List and it really worked. I came up with my own rule of putting on an album of music on my phone and until that album has finished I am working on chores. Once it's over I can lounge on the couch for a bit and then start another album and so on until I've been sufficiently productive for the day.
And I've actually been doing the whole "keeping up on it" curse thing. Like my kitchen hasn't been dirty this week and our sitting room has stayed tidy. Okay yeah it's Tuesday night but this feels like a win and I'm taking it!
Oh and my eating habits have basically made a drastic turnaround. Getting pregnant is pretty much the best thing that could have happened to my 2015 body. I am so much more conscious of what I put in my mouth. And water all the time. ALL THE TIME. I was always a bedside-cup-of-water gal but now it is a need beyond need.

^Me at least three times a night if I go to bed without my water bottle.

Okay fine, this is getting nowhere, I'm turning to pinterest and writing prompts.

Reading: I'm listening to Alloy of Law (Brandon Sanderson) with Mark, I've read it before, he hasn't, and Sanderson is one of our favorite "fun" authors. We're falling apart waiting for the Stormlight Archive to be continued in 2016 and that's just book three out of TEN. #bookwormproblems
I'm also nibbling out of the Douglas Adams set I bought Mark for his birthday while we were dating. I already sprinted through Hitchhiker's Guide and muddled my way through The Restaurant at the End of the Universe and now I'm into Life, the Universe, and Everything and really I'm only continuing with it because Adams' writing style is just....bizarrely accurate. Like I don't think he even cared about the plot at all. I just want to continue soaking in the weird and cruelly chuckling every time Arthur has a meltdown.

Playing: Well there are an incredible amount of connotations to this: I played up to I think level 11 in WoW, don't even remember what type of character it was I was that invested. They started giving me quests to actually go like, defeat a bad guy and I lost interest almost immediately. I was super pro at gathering herbs and like, feathers and claws off of the animals I hunted though #whateven
I'm also practicing quite a bit on piano, mainly working on sharpening them sight-reading skills again. I'm in desperate need of new material however, considering most of the classical books I own and use for practicing purposes have been around for probably 10 years or so. I'm also geeking out over new stuff for choir. (thank you Lorri!!)

Watching: Pretty much the only thing I care about is Grey's Anatomy. But I also watch my dogs. And my weight [skyrocket] [not really though] [not yet anyway].

Trying: Patience. Responsibility. Kindness to myself.

Cooking: ALL the things!! Freezer meals, corn on the cob, quesadillas, soups, fancy sammiches, all kinds of not entirely impressive things that I haven't really done before.

Eating: Also ALL the things. I actually end up having little hypoglycemic episodes if I don't eat basically every two hours so I snack a lot. Hardboiled eggs and cheese are my favorite at the moment.

Drinking: Dr. Pepper. Always and forever. And water, as previously mentioned.

Calling: Mordu's name over and over to try and grab his attention. Little nutjob.

Texting: Normally?

Pinning: Regularly?

Tweeting: Tried twice, never stuck.

Crafting: Nothing, though I keep trying to convince myself to pull out those crochet needles again.

Scrapping: the Unnecessary.

Doing: The Necessary.

Going: along for the ride.

Loving: My family, my life, my love, my weird, tight, itchy belly.

Hating: The headaches. Makes productivity nearly impossible.

Discovering: the joys of pregnancy/pre(?)-motherhood. I mean technically I guess I'm already a parent, but I feel kind of like that sophomore art student that identifies as an "art student" rather than an "artist" because they feel like they haven't earned their stripes yet.

Enjoying: the joys of pregnancy/motherhood. It's difficult and I struggle often, but it's incredible already the sense of accomplishment and worth there is in the struggle.

Thinking: "I wish my water were just a tad closer so I didn't have to stretch so far..." and also, "I wish my water were accompanied with a Route 44 Dr. P with vanilla and lots of delicious crunchy ice" (it's been a couple weeks since my last soda, I pine)

Feeling: Like this is getting dangerously long, I am so sorry. (Abort! Abort!)

Hoping (for): Safe answer; a healthy baby. Honest answer that I try to avoid thinking about because I don't want to be that parent; a girl.

Listening (to): my dog snuffle around the office because he was lonely and barking outside.

Celebrating: Erm, the new year?

Smelling: Nothing. Dis stuffed node man.

Thanking: Anyone who made it this far and is still reading. You win.

Considering: Erasing this entire thing.

Finishing: the rest of this quesadilla from tonight's dinner, omnomnom late snacking.

Starting: Nothing remotely deep or existential enough to sufficiently tie off this weird post.

If you are like me and struggling to find things to talk about that seem worthwhile, please pretend that I tagged you in some bloggy trendy thing and fill this out yourself, I'll feel much less silly if someone else does it too.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I Think I Might Have Been Successful!

Today is certainly, as they say, "one for the books". So naturally I gotta add the details to this 'book', so to speak.
I've been bombarding social media the past few days with my curious endeavor to try making freezer meals for the crock pot. I say curious because as a kitchen noob, it's interesting that I suddenly found myself motivated and determined to take on the monumental task. On top of a long, long list of "To-Do's". But one of our New Year's Resolutions/Goals is to be better about our budgeting and for starters, our grocery bill. I'm blessed with a goddess for a mother and so pulling random tidbits together from the fridge and pantry is not a foreign concept, but keeping the fridge and pantry well stocked is another matter altogether. Dunno if I'll ever have that down.
But in any case, earlier this week I sat down to try and hash out the How of meal planning. I knew I wanted to go to Winco and Fry's for the bulk of stuff, Farmer's Market for the produce (never turn back) and so it was a simple matter of deciding what exactly to make.
Hours later I was frustrated, anxiety-ridden, and completely worn out with still not a clue as to how I was going to do this. Mark told me to perhaps start with just taking on a couple recipes, find what's on sale and go with that.
So the next day I went shopping, my dear mum coming with me and falling in love with the charm of Winco as we sauntered through the store, lamenting the lack of chicken feed. It was a bizarre experience and an awakening moment when we wheeled both our carts from the store, and then parted ways with "Bye! Love you!" Costco trips were a common occurrence between my mother and I and for a pathetic minute I stood in the parking lot thinking, "Wait a minute...Mommy! MAHM HALP." And then she drove by as I was putting the bags into my truck and gave me a mini donut and all was well.
That night however, we had dinner plans with friends and so the food would just have to wait.
And now finally today! Today I started the actual meal prep and bagging and chopping and discovering to my consternation and simultaneous delight that I had not just purchased chicken breasts, I had hoarded a large quantity of effing GODZILLA breasts. Trust me, dey huge. So we have an actual butt-ton of chicken now, which is great, but also more work for me to figure out. Currently the plan is chicken salad because all I'll hafta buy is celery and green onion and I want more fruit anyways. My morning oatmeal needs berries!
Anyway, so I pulled everything out.

My caption on Instagram was much more detailed, but for some reason the app decided I needed a bit of censoring and didn't include everything. Rude. But basically my trip to Winco was a total of $40 and some change thanks to the six or so coupons I had printed out. But many of those things went to storage or were in large amounts and so could be divided into many different meals so really it was less than that. Honestly, if these recipes turn out as tasty as I hope they will, this very well may be happening a lot more often. Not to mention I got so many tips and suggestions from my various posts, now I have lots to try! Thank you everyone who was kind enough to comment :)

But before any of this happened today, I had my 16 week appointment with my OB and asked a couple timid questions and got totally comforting answers in response. And then I got to hear the wooshwoosh of the doppler and that was all the comfort I needed. I just wanna feel the kicks, goshdangit!
While I was out and about, I stopped by autozone to have Mark's car battery tested and my fem pride hurt a little to ask the guy inside to help me carry the hunk of dirty car life juice. The urge was so strong to babble on about how "I would normally totally carry this because I can I'm not weak but I'm just pregnant and my doctor JUST recommended that I don't lift or push much more than ten pounds like literally I was JUST there and omg the heartbeat was so cute..." but thankfully I kept my tongue in check. Plus I know it's silly to think that way.
During the meal process I had a new load of dishes whirring in the washer and two loads of Mark's shirts thrumming in the laundry room. If only I could keep this up all the time.
Don't for a second think I did all this without a glorious nap on the couch, though.

So all in all, I have decently high hopes that this freezer meal endeavor will not be in vain and that we will be able to eat semi-cheaply as well as mostly healthily.

And now I need a nap.