Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Cast of Characters

As promised. Because even I get confused with my code names.

Heather - me
Bucket - my husband
Llama - our daughter
Hawaiian Punch - Bucket's sister
iHusband - her husband
Tuna Roll - their daughter, Llama's cousin
The Army Guy - my brother
Frenchy - his wife
Z-man - their son, Llama's cousin
Wolfman - my brother

Those are the ones that exist presently. There are at least four people in the immediate family who don't have appropriate code names yet. I'll edit and add as needed.

A gratuitous Llama picture for the morning:

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Late with the Christmas pictures...

Here they are, nonetheless.

Llama tried to escape from Santa Claus, but she didn't cry.

My big crawling girl, Christmas morning.

I managed to dress her, but not myself. You don't get to see my face, either, as I was not really prepared for the day. In classic Heather fashion, I woke up late and scrambled around. This is Llama and her cousin Z-man playing with her new ball popper, a gift from Uncle Wolfman (he has wolves... hence his code name).
Christmas Eve, Llama and Tuna Roll with their great-grandparents. Coordinating dresses, of course!
These pictures are all out of order because Blogger and I are having a disagreement. This was the Saturday before Christmas, when she saw Santa. He brought her the very first Christmas present. Look at that concentration!

More photos will come after New Year's Day, when we see the other side of the family. Llama and Tuna Roll have matching dresses again! Hawaiian Punch and I are going to keep this up (the matching) until they tell us to stop.

I think I need to create a "Cast of Characters" post so everyone's code names/relationship to Llama and me is available. That's tomorrow's gig.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas comes but once a year...

Tonight, Llama, Bucket and I went to Bucket's grandparents' house for dinner. I drank a good bit of wine, and then we came home to let Santa Claus in. He visited with us and ate some cookies, helped me start tomorrow's breakfast, and then was on his way. We meant to go to Mass, but Llama was tired and we're pretty sure we can take a mulligan on this one. We hope, anyway.

Although Llama doesn't get it at all, she liked opening her presents from Bucket's grandparents and great-aunt. I can't wait for my brothers to get here in the morning so we can open all the stuff Santa left under the tree and gorge ourselves on fattening breakfast.

I'm going to sit here with Bucket and look at the lights on our tree... and think of this very night, five years ago, when Bucket asked me to marry him. It's a very good night.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I cried while I wrote this.

Through an MSN board, I was introduced to the blogs of two people who are living through my worst nightmare. One is Matt Logelin, whose wife died of a pulmonary embolism without ever holding their child, and he blogs about his life with their daughter. The other is Emilie. She is dying of an uncurable cancer that was diagnosed while she was pregnant with her second child, who is only 2 weeks older than Llama.

If you're a parent, you can understand the icy trickle of fear that happens when the thought of life without your child crosses your mind. The thought of Llama growing up without me leaves me breathless.

Last night, as I sat in the rocking chair in Llama's room, holding her and rocking her back to sleep, I thanked God for the opportunity to be her mother. And I asked Him to allow me to continue to be her mother until she doesn't need me anymore. And I apologized to Llama for the times when I asked (even silently) for her to just please go to sleep, please, please, please, or the times when I resented Bucket for leaving us alone to muddle through. Thank God I have the chance to do it.

Ah, sorry to have laid that out there on Christmas Eve-Eve. And now I have to work on my own particular brand of crazy and get the house cleaned so I can host Christmas morning. I hope you're ready for whatever brand of crazy you're selling this week!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Mumbling Wives Club

Established December 21, 2008. Consists of Hawaiian Punch (Tuna Roll's mama now has an appropriate code name), Llama-grandmama (who does not yet have an appropriate code name and is also Tuna Roll's grandma), and me. Apparently none of our husbands can understand us, ever, and this became the topic of conversation at last night's dinner.

We all understand each other just fine. I think it's the husbands who have a problem, not us.

As an aside, my Google Analytics is working. I used a free online tool called SiteScanGA, by EpikOne to figure it out. I'm pretty proud of myself.

Posting will be light this week, until Friday - when I hope to put up one meeelion pictures of Llama's first Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm adding something new.

I've added Google Analytics to my blog. Not because I'm a creepy stalker, but because I'm nebby like that. It'll tell me where people are reading from - just city/state or country (not that I'm conceited enough to believe I have foreign readers... my brother goes back to Iraq shortly and I'm curious to see if the military will let him see this).

You don't have to do anything. Nothing changes on your end. I'm not even sure what changes on mine, to be honest, because I am not the computer guru of this house. Bucket thinks my blog is silly and he is not interested in helping me figure anything out, so I guess we'll see if I can do it alone or not.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Breakfast with Llama

Llama eats three meals a day, and she does not like to be fed anymore. She is a big girl, and she wants to do it herself. To some extent, I agree with her. On the other hand, I like for some food to get inside her instead of on her or the floor, or in the dog.

A couple weeks ago, I made her some scrambled eggs and cheese. She likes it a lot, it's probably the most frequent breakfast choice around here. I was feeding her when the doorbell rang.

I didn't think about it, I just got up and went to answer the door. I left the bowl and spoon on her tray.

This is what I came back to:

See? She is a big girl. She has this all figured out. No assistance needed from me.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hello, Pittsburgh Poison Control?

Llama plays with cooking utensils, spices, and pots and pans while I cook dinner every night. She makes a bunch of noise, throws stuff around, and has a great time. Every single night. It seemed like such a great idea because she was right under my feet (constantly under my feet...) and not able to get into anything bad.

Who knew Llama had the motor skills to open the vanilla? Who knew she would drink and keep drinking the vanilla?

Not I.

Who smelled fresh-baked cookies and looked around for them before realizing her daughter was drinking the vanilla?

That'd be me.

I realized that what had been a brand-new, unopened bottle of vanilla on Sunday (when I used one tablespoon to make cookies) was now half empty, and there was none on the floor and none on Llama's shirt. She smelled like a really nice boozehound. I called my mother-in-law, but she didn't answer because she has a class on Thursday nights. I called Bucket, but he didn't answer his phone. I started to freak out as I read the bottle and realized that my vanilla was 35% alcohol. I did the calculation in my head and further realized that 35% equals 70 proof. And she drank half the bottle.

I did the only other thing I could think of. I called Poison Control. I couldn't remember the national number, but I could remember the local one. (If you didn't know, Poison Control started in Pittsburgh and the national center may still be located here, I don't even know.)

A very nice nurse there advised me that I should watch Llama for signs of drunkenness, feed her something sugary that she would eat for sure (a popsicle was suggested), and keep her awake for an hour to an hour and a half. Signs of drunkenness. Are you laughing yet? I wasn't last night, but I am now. So I stripped Llama to her diaper and gave her a nice green popsicle. Finally Bucket called me back, and I gently advised him to come home immediately before my head exploded.

He got home and found everything to be hilarious. I was not yet in a frame of mind for hilarity. So while I finished cooking dinner (of course I did not finish dinner while I was thinking my child was poisoned), he and Llama played on the living room floor. She was dancing. She was laughing. She is my child! She got drunk and danced around. College, here we come!

And then she ate most of Bucket's dinner and half of his dessert because he was holding her while he ate (she would not be contained any other way...) and she kept opening her mouth when he brought the fork to his face, so he gave it to her. Nice daddy. She finally crashed (and I do mean crashed) about 9:15, which is far later than her usual 8 pm bedtime.

And slept through the night for about the third time in her life.

Is it wrong that I have pondered whether vanilla would be okay on a regular basis? I'm so kidding. Have a great day, and don't poison yourself!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Adventures of Llama and Tuna Roll, Number 1

That's a great title, isn't it? Llama's cousin has an appropriate code name for me to use on the internet, supplied by her mother (who does not yet have an appropriate code name).

Yesterday, my two sisters-in-law (called SILs for the purposes of this post) and I took Llama (8 months) and Tuna Roll (1 week) to the mall to have Christmas pictures taken. You may ask why we waited until 8 days before Christmas to do this, and the answer is that we are insane. No, really, the answer is that Tuna Roll wasn't even born until a week ago!

The day started when I picked up the younger SIL (seriously, I need to figure out appropriate code names for them) and accidentally beeped the horn. I am not a beeping-the-horn kind of girl, I think it's rude. But I was trying to move Llama's dresses and diaper bag to the backseat of my little car that is mostly taken up by Llama's giant seat. Seriously, I think the seat is bigger than the car and it's a miracle that I'm able to get it in and out. So I was already flustered, but I got that under control. I don't like when things don't go according to plan. We didn't even have a plan!

We arrived at Tuna Roll's house and Tuna Roll's mama (other SIL) needed to get dressed, because everything that happens with an infant seems to take ten times as long as it should. (Believe me, I know, I can't seem to do anything in a timely manner anymore.)

Then we went to go move Llama's seat into Tuna Roll's mama's Jeep, because there was no way three adults and two babies would fit in my car. Should I have been doing this while younger SIL played with both babies and Tuna Roll's mama got dressed? Yes, in retrospect. But who knew that Bucket would have jammed Llama's seat into my car so tightly that it would take a YEAR to get it unLATCHed? LATCH is such a nice idea, when it works easily, like in Tuna Roll's mama's Jeep. In the Subaru, the bars are buried deeply, and you have to reach your hand into the seat all the way back to Japan to grab them. Really. There is a rip in the time-space continuum and you can reach Japan from my car.

Finally, I got the seat loose from my car. Yay! And then it was time to put it in the Jeep, because I wasn't tired enough yet! That was surprisingly easy. The only snag was that in order to get a good install, I have to get in the seat and pull the LATCH strap. So younger SIL took a photo (because an adult in a baby seat is irresistable), and she claims it is flattering. I'm not sure because I haven't seen it.

And off we went, only 90 minutes after we had intended to leave.

So we arrived at the mall (South Hills Village, for you Pittsburghers) and went to Picture People. I had called on Tuesday and they told me to just take our chances with walking in, because they didn't have any more appointment slots available but they did keep walk-in appointments available. Whatever, that doesn't make sense to me, but I rolled with it. It was a madhouse. Of course it was! It was 8 days before Christmas! We got a time, went to eat, and returned at the appointed hour (that part is very boring).

And then we wrestled Llama into her dress. She was not a fan. Tuna Roll is much easier to wrestle, since she doesn't have much of an opinion yet. Keep in mind that we were doing this picture session during Llama's naptime! Good planning on my part. Everything was relatively uneventful until Llama fell and bonked her head. Get my Mother of the Year award ready, because we continued the photo session with just Tuna Roll as I calmed Llama. Then we changed their outfits and went with both of them. Bruises and red marks can be photoshopped out, but Christmas pictures are forever!

The photos are beautiful and will be going out in my (late) Christmas cards this week.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oh, Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

How lovely are your branches! (And now that's stuck in your head, too.)

Today, Bucket, Llama, and I put up the Christmas tree. Llama mostly interfered. And it's slightly depressing, but heartwarming at the same time, to see that there are about 10 ornaments total on the tree. Depressing because we have so many beautiful ornaments not on there, and heartwarming because the reason they aren't up is Llama. All the most beautiful ornaments are blown glass or cut crystal, and for obvious reasons, we can't hang them from the most sparkly, colorful, exciting, brand NEW thing in the living room.

I've never talked about this on here before, but we tried for a long, long time to have a baby. Maybe not long in the infertility world, but it was 13 months, which felt like an eternity. I watched people get pregnant who didn't want their babies, I continued to work with kids whose parents didn't want them, and I cried a lot. For the past two Christmases, we didn't put the tree up. Last year, it was because I was already having problems with the pregnancy and I just could not do it. The year before that, though, it was because I was so sad, and putting the tree up would have been a reminder of all the things I used to do with my family as a child.

And yet, this year, it is a reminder of all the things I used to do with my family. I'm already very excited to make cookies with Llama. Can she really do anything besides slobber over some dough and stick her fingers in the icing? No, and that's what going to be so fun for us.

In other news, Llama has a new cousin. She was born 12/10/08, and she is beautiful. She is the first person we know who Llama is older than! I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that Llama has someone to grow up with.

Merry Christmas. I know it's not here yet and I'm jumping the gun... Christmas is Bucket's favorite holiday, and it is my mother's, too. What a juxtaposition that is for me, for reasons best left for another (more depressing) post. Anyway, I hope your days are merry and bright!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Llama's Birth Story

Since MSN is closing their boards in February, and I have Llama's birth story typed out and bookmarked there, I'm moving it here. For my own purposes, I want to save it forevah. :) Although the original has all our names in it, I'll obviously be changing hers to Llama and my husband's to Bucket.

Short version: Baby Llama was born at 2:55 pm on 4/17/08. She was 21 1/4 inches long and weighed 7 lbs, 13 oz. We could not be happier.

Long version: My doctor's office had told me to stop eating 12 hours before and stop all fluid intake 6 hours before my induction. Turns out that was wrong and I was starving for no reason. We arrived for the induction on time, but there was a "situation" at the hospital, so all the doors were locked and we were stuck in the ER's waiting room (after hours entrance) for a while, and then finally we were admitted an hour later, and the pitocin drip was started about 2:00 am. It was not as bad as I thought. I really had this mental picture of my contractions going from not so bad to unbearable in a few minutes, and that's not what happened. In fact, I was just starting to use the controlled breathing techniques that we'd learned in my childbirth class when my doctor broke my water and said I had to get the epidural in order to lower my blood pressure. By the way, Bucket was watching when they broke my water. If you were wondering what it looks like, it's a "great big nasty mess" and it "comes shooting right out of you." I really liked my epidural, but it lowered my blood pressure tooooo much and I was really light-headed and nauseous once it was in full effect. Apparently I told Bucket that if I had met an epidural before I met him, I would have married it instead. I don't remember and therefore I deny that.

At 10 am, I got the epidural, and I was at 3cm. At noon, I was at 5cm and told Bucket to go call the family to come to the hospital. He thought I was out of my mind and that I had a lot longer to go, so he didn't. At 1:30, I was at 8cm, and Bucket finally went to go call people. When he came back in the room, I begged him to take me to the bathroom to poop. Because he is intelligent, he did not do that. I told him that I was either pooping or pushing out a baby and I was doing it damn fast, so he better go get the nurse. He did, and when she came back after what felt like eternity (but was really 5 minutes), I was all the way to 10cm, so they turned down my epidural to let me get started pushing. I got three good pushes, and the nurse made me stop, slapped an oxygen mask on me, and went for the doctor. She told Bucket to keep me calm and to just have me breathe through contractions rather than push. I thought they were all out of their damn minds, to tell me to start and then tell me to stop. But then the doctor came in - I pushed once and Llama's head came out, I pushed again and the rest of her was born.

I'll spare you the picture of me with oxygen mask holding slimy baby and crying. Here's cleaned up Llama:

I did the whole thing with 5 pushes in 20 minutes. If you think that's a good idea, to push a baby out that fast, you are wrong. I don't know how many stitches, because I told my doctor not to tell me. I know I am very messed up, though, and that when we have another baby, I'll definitely be induced again because they will not let me go into labor on my own. Once I started progressing, man, did I ever progress. The family did not make it on time, by the way, and then they had to wait while my undercarriage was sewn back together before they could see the baby, because I wasn't letting her go and the doctor wasn't letting other people in.

Words can't explain how much I love this little girl. She is sweet, happy, laid-back, and adorable. Breastfeeding is going well after a rocky start, and she's sleeping right now which is why I have time to post this. Bucket is the best husband and the best father, and I can't believe how much different my love for him is now that I see him taking care of his daughter (and me, to be honest). I feel like the luckiest girl in the universe.

Edited to add: Reading this again makes me teary. Llama is still my sweet little baby, of course, but she's not my tiny, cuddly baby. I thought people were full of crap when they told me time would go too fast, but they were right.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Don't read unless you want a Grey's Anatomy spoiler.

Yeah, I still watch Grey's Anatomy. All the cool kids say it's jumped the shark and that they are done watching. I've never been that cool.

So Izzie sees dead Denny and she's doing him. I read a spoiler that although she doesn't have a brain tumor, she has some kind of organic brain issue (I already forgot...) that when it "acts up," causes her to see Denny. And when it's "really bad," she bangs him. Well, whatever. At least she's getting some, even if it's all in her mind. I just want them to hurry up and get to dealing with the organic brain issue, because I'm having a real problem suspending my disbelief.

That's all. I'm kind of annoyed with it. And there are lots of other things happening in the Llama arena, but I'll have to get to that some other day. She's a very busy Llama.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Not sure what I expected...

I hate Wal-Mart and I'm not ashamed to say it. It's a frustrating, disorganized store with bad customer service. I should know, I worked at one for a few years in college. But they're the only brick-and-mortar store that claims to have the Incrediblock in stock, and I just noticed while creating that link that Fisher Price says it's out of stock, too. What. the. hell.

Anyway, I checked Wal-Mart's website and it said they had them. I called my local store and they said they had them. I drove to my local store, which is 30 minutes and 18 miles away. There were no Incrediblocks on the shelf. I went to customer service and asked if they had them. The lovely (please note sarcasm) customer service associate advised me that there were three on the shelf. I advised her, gently, that there were none on the shelf. She asked me if I "looked real hard." I said that yes, I had. She had one of her compatriots check "the back," where no Incrediblocks were found. I left empty-handed and annoyed.

Now I'm doubly annoyed because my backup plan was to buy it from Fisher Price, and it's out of stock. This was going to be Llama's big gift for Christmas. And I know she doesn't get it and that it doesn't matter, but it matters to me because I get it.

For some reason, this toy has become the symbol of everything I'm failing at right now, and I seem to think that if I can just get this one toy, I'll be the best.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hugh Hefner didn't lose his virginity until he was married.

This message brought to you by boredom and "The Girls Next Door." Who knew I was more of a 'ho than Hef?

Llama's pulling up to her feet and cruising. She's on the move and I am astonished. I'm not quite sure what to make of her, but she's my little sunshine.

Seems wrong to follow up a thought about Hef with a thought about Llama, right? So I'll follow that with a thought about my potential mom-ride. We're seriously investigating the GMC Acadia because my little Subaru is too little, too much of a hassle, and is really annoying with the recurring mechanical problems. I have bounced back and forth between little spiffy cars and big SUVs for the past 10 years, and I think I'm ready to settle into this thing. It's not little. It's not an SUV. It's a crossover, and I am the target market. Bucket is into it, too. If we can get a deal (and we should be able to, with the state of GM and the economy in general), I'll be driving it by Christmas. Cross your fingers.

Speaking of Christmas, I am not in the spirit yet. I think once I get the tree up, I'll be doing a lot better. I'm trying to figure out how to decorate without making anything dangerous available to my newly mobile and curious Llama. Pictures will follow once I figure it out. Have a happy day!