Memorial Day 2018

Whew! We made it! We took our first road trip with the dumpling and we all survived. We had to break a few rules and we did deal with one round of puke, but yay! WE DID IT!

In all seriousness though, I am very grateful Luffy agreed to make the trip down to hill country Texas for my mini family reunion. In the end, my grandparents really only got to say hi to the dumpling, but it made their day. They hadn’t had the opportunity to meet him. Plus I got to catch up with my cousins and their children, so that was a lot of fun. We compared notes Sunday morning on how our respective children handled the night in the hotel room and our parents marveled over how it felt for their kids to have kids now. Weren’t we just in diapers and swim floaties like last summer?

We were there for less than 24 hours, but it was so wonderful to see everyone. We introduced the dumpling to the swimming pool and taught him how to kick his little legs (from his perch on the pool steps) and splash people (mainly my brother [his target] and my mom [an innocent bystander since he didn’t quite understand how to aim his splashing]). We also found a nearby neighborhood playground that he got to romp through. He also took full advantage of the VAY-CAY-TION!!! rules around food and had snacks on snacks on snacks.

To round out our holiday weekend, we spent yesterday afternoon in the backyard with his kiddy pool and bubbles. I managed to distract him enough to get him to wear a pair of sandals for the occasion (have I told you guys that I bought a couple of new pairs of shoes for him at Target that he has flat out refused to wear? because if anyone has ideas on how to convince a toddler that new shoes are not the devil, I’m all ears) and I laughed over his enormous swim trunks. He definitely had a little booty showing at the end, that poor, skinny dumpling.

I’m looking into water activity tables now because I discovered a great solution for all of those little ow-si??? inquiries when it’s 1,000 degrees outside and I don’t want to take his wagon for a walk around the block. A shady backyard and water activities are where it’s at!

Speaking of ow-si? I have to say that my favorite story from the road trip itself is sitting in the back with the dumpling and having to field the ow-si?? question as he’s forlornly pointing out the car window. No, my sweet baby, we can’t go outside. We’re driving. Ow-si?? I know it’s right there, but we’re driving, we can’t go outside. Ow-si?? We can’t go outside; I know you’re bored. All dun. I know you’re all done baby, but we’re not there yet. All dun. We’re still driving my sweet boy. All dun. If it makes you feel any better, mama and dada are all dun too.

Advertisements

Polishing up the home, pt 4

So we’re getting a new chimney. Um, yay?

It all started last Tuesday when the pest control guy came by. He was new (and therefore thorough) and noted that he found what might be rodent activity up on an eave. He said he’d be happy to set up an appointment for a (free!) inspection the next day. Why not? I said. Famous last words, I know.

So the inspection guy comes out and he does indeed find evidence of squirrels and mice in the attic and a hole! A hole in the chimney! We can patch that, they said. And here’s where I had to pause my little story and take a dive back through the archives in search of another story. Except I realized that I actually didn’t tell you guys this story, back in late summer 2016. I was a little preoccupied with other things, I guess. So buckle in folks!

Back in 2016, August-ish (because I’m not exactly sure how quickly I handled this issue, given I was very pregnant at the time), we looked out our back windows one day and realized that an eave had completely collapsed. To my horror, there was also a squirrel chilling there. In my memory, the furry little rodent is also giving me the finger while he ever-so-casually reclines on my roof, but that’s probably an exaggeration. I wasn’t even sure how to go about repairing this, but I distinctly remember calling my dad for advice and he brought up the possibility that there could also be raccoons and other assorted wildlife up there. He suggested a wildlife removal business and the Googles gave me a phone number. So a very pregnant me ends up outside in the August heat, going over a list of up-sells from the wildlife removal guys. They could, of course, solve me problem for X dollars, but they, of course, offered to completely wildlife-proof my house for XXX dollars. Suffice to say, we just wanted our damn eaves fixed (there ended up being a couple that had fallen).

Their work has held up over the years, though looking back on it, I do remember two problems. First, they forgot to install a new turbine they charged us for. I called them about it as soon as I got home and discovered it (the old one was damaged and thus it was very apparent they hadn’t done it). If memory serves, I actually had to call a few times to get them to come back. Ultimately, all work we had agreed upon was completed. And secondly, though they inspected and said nothing was in our attic, something had to have been because shortly after they patched the eave, a vent was busted open from the inside. Shudder. My dad ended up fixing that when he came down for the dumpling’s birth. (So nice of him!)

Anyway, when our talk turned to rodents in the attic, yet again, I called on them to give us a quote. Their inspector came out and went the extra mile by actually climbing onto our roof to inspect the squirrel’s hole in the chimney. And that’s when he discovered that the entire thing is rotting. Apparently it’s plywood, circa 1992, and it literally caves in with the barest touch. He said they could definitely patch it, but that it was only a matter of time (and honestly, probably days or even hours) before the squirrels made a new hole. And I completely believed him because even two freaking years later, squirrels still try to get through the eave that we repaired. They come up to it and paw furiously at it until I bang on the window.

And that’s the tale of how we’re getting a new chimney this week! Yay! I guess? I mean, I’d probably prefer to spend a few grand on other, dare I say it, funner things, but eh. A squirrel-free attic is probably nice too.

Well then

Five days… that’s how long a viral stomach bug could last. Five days. Well then.

So this story starts way back on Friday. Ahhh, Friday morning, when we were blissfully unaware of what lay ahead of us. The dumpling woke up around 5:30, which is a little unusual for him (as of late anyway). I wanted to lay in bed, but Luffy prompted me to go try to nurse him back to sleep. After all, we were already a wake. So I got up and went to the dumpling, immediately smelling something foul when I opened his door. Oh, he pooped, I thought to myself, that’s why he woke up. This upped our odds of successfully returning him to his crib, so yay! I changed him and sat down to nurse. He was at it for about five minutes when he sat back from me and – urp – all the milk. All over us. Well then.

I called to Luffy and officially got everyone up for the day. We changed, I stripped my nursing pillow (and would later clean the chair and the carpet). The dumpling and I nursed again and then took a shower to clean off completely. Luffy and I watched him closely but he was just as happy as ever. He ate breakfast with us. I took him to daycare because he seemed perfectly content. Of course, you know where this is headed, so you already know I got a call at 11:30. The dumpling had vomited there again.

I merrily went off to pick him up. (I’m not a monster – I say merrily because I was procrastinating all work related matters and having a sick baby was the perfect excuse to chill with the dumpling all day instead of work – score!) He took a nice long nap when he got home and nursed plenty. He, again, seemed perfectly fine. Whew! The worst is behind us, I thought to myself, as I reviewed our pediatrician’s website which cited 24 hours of vomiting for a stomach bug. Saturday passed, as we did our best to care for our little recovering dumpling. Small, frequent meals. Easy on the solids. Lots of nursing. But also lots of playing and snuggles and books. Sunday morning, the dumpling got up like normal, starting nursing for breakfast and, in a moment of deja vu, – urp – all the milk. All over us. Well then.

I won’t regal you with each and every incident. Let’s just say that I think our high chair is cleaner now than on the day we bought it and that all of our clean-up towels have been washed at least twice this weekend. Every time we thought he was doing better, he’d turn around and get sick. When he vomited yet again yesterday morning, I finally called the pediatrician. I just wanted to know if I should bring him in. He had been vomiting twice a day, every other day, for five days. Halp?

And that’s when she told me that, unfortunately, some viral cases can be more stubborn than others and that five days would be expected. Well shit.

So yeah, that was fun. I mean, I say “was” very carefully because he could still vomit more. Oh god no, please don’t. If that happens, the pediatrician wants to see him immediately, but I’m really hoping it doesn’t come to that. I really, really want him to feel better.

He’s been a dream, of course. That was probably the oddest thing through all of this – he was perfectly happy pretty much the whole time. Talkative. Figuring out how to crawl. Playing with toys. Perhaps a little more cranky than usual, but that can be attributed to the disruption in his routine (he’s been home with me since Friday). He was so happy to go back to daycare today. Couldn’t wait to get down, out of my arms, so that he could play with his toys.

Yesterday was a stark reminder of why I would never be able to cut it as a stay at home mom. (And if you say I should cut myself some slack because I was dealing with a sick baby, I’d like to read the paragraph preceding this one again. The dumpling was acting perfectly normal.) Yesterday morning was fun and good as we played and read books. But then, he didn’t nap well. By 3:00, he’d napped a total of 50 minutes since he’d gotten up that morning at 5:30. So he was a little cranky and a touch dramatic and prone to bursting into tears for no discernible reason. (Seriously! He’d be playing with a toy and just burst into tears… maybe the toy wasn’t the right color suddenly?? The sun* and moon out of alignment? The ambient temperature wrong? Who knows!) He took a bit better nap, late in the day, but I must say that I was MORE than ready for bedtime. The entire day was just exhausting and I was so ready for some me time.

Anyway, the dumpling is back at daycare today, as previously mentioned and I keep freaking out every time my phone beeps or vibrates or lights up because I so badly want him to do well today. My poor baby.

*We did see the eclipse Monday! We watched it on TV since our area didn’t have totality. It did get darker here, which was pretty cool and also hella disorienting.

Office Perks

It has been an exciting week around here. And I mean that in a sarcastic sense. Luffy’s been ridiculously busy at work, the dumpling has been working on mobility, and I… well I’ve just been trying to make sure we all the leave the house with pants on*.

One of my coworkers (the only other female professional at our firm) is leaving. There are no hard feelings, just life and opportunities and little things like seeing her husband everyday are taking her away from the DFW area. Apparently, I paved the way for her as our partners actually entertained talks of her telecommuting. It’s been going well with me, so they were willing to give it a shot for her. That’s not going to happen (for a few reasons), but I was a little proud to have laid the groundwork.

Now that I’ve been working from home part time for over six months now, I can tell you that there are a few perks to working from an office that get overlooked:

  • Regularly interacting with humans who don’t require you to change their diaper. 10/10 would recommend. The dumpling’s not at home with me during the day, but then again, neither is anyone else. I highly recommend getting out of the house on occasion to go talk to other adults.
  • Free air conditioning. I know that we all complain that our offices are meat lockers (because I could have started an icicle farm there yesterday), but in the midst of a warm and muggy summer, free air conditioning ain’t a bad deal. If I want my home office cooler, I have to pay for it. One other perk of ridiculously cold offices: mosquito bites and poison ivy rashes get numbed by the cold. Things are much itchier at home.
  • Free snacks and drinks. The snacks part is really not that great because it just further delays me from my weight loss goals. However, the drinks part! My office stocks Le Croix in four flavors, diet Coke and Dr. Pepper, and assorted sodas, coffee, and teas. My home office stocks none of this and I blame the lazy office admin around here. Getting her to do anything is like pulling teeth.
  • Killing time with coworkers. Re: number one up there. Working from home has made me realize just how much time is wasted each day by simply talking with coworkers. There’s no idle chitchat at my home office. At my other office though, stopping by to ask a question could veer off into a thirty minute conversation about driving pet peeves. True story.
  • Seriously, getting to know your coworkers. I know half of these involve them, but it’s so true. There really is not idle chitchat between myself and my coworkers when I’m not there. So all of those little tidbits you pick up (John is thinking about backpacking through Europe next year) and life story arcs (Joe is buying a house), you don’t get any of that when you don’t physically work in the same place. The female coworker I mentioned above, she started a week or so before I went on maternity leave, so I really haven’t physically worked next to her for long. I realized yesterday that I have no idea what her husband does for a living – not even remotely (like I know Will’s wife is a teacher). No clue.
  • Getting ready in the morning. Now I admit that part of this is just a given now that I have a child (and will always and forever at-least-for-the-next-18-years be actively trying to get another person ready in the morning as well). I don’t take time to get ready anymore, and part of “getting ready” is self-care. For instance, I don’t put on my moisturizer very much any more. It has SPF 30 in it and means that I go without sunblock on my face for a good portion of the week now. Tsk tsk. I don’t put on nice clothes very much anymore – it’s all shorts and t-shirts. Which is great! Comfortable! Easy! Except that most people take me a lot more seriously in my work attire. In shorts and a tee, I look like a college student (at best).
  • Diet control. I know! I know. You’re thinking, Belle, what does working in an office have to do with your diet??? Peer pressure, my friends. Peer pressure and planned meals. You see, at the office, the only food I have available to me is the food I brought (which means I thought about it and purposefully packed so totes healthy) and the aforementioned office snacks. I have set myself up at the office as being the healthy eater. If anyone wants to lose weight, I 100% recommend doing this because now I feel like EVERYONE watches what I eat. Someone is always bound to mention it if I’m not eating broccoli that day (because I always eat broccoli). If we are celebrating a birthday with cake, someone will always make a joke that they’re gonna have cake while I eat my yogurt (which then means I feel soooo guilty even thinking about taking a piece of cake). Seriously – coworker expectations plus my own guilt equals the best diet around. At my home office though, not only is there no one around to watch me eat a second or third handful of chips, I am also in close proximity to my fridge and pantry and all the delicious things in them.

In looking back over my list here, the biggest thing is my coworkers. It all boils down to being very isolated while working from home. It’s something you don’t really think about when drooling over the prospect of working from home, but there it is. I think the half and half deal I have going on right now is pretty perfect, the best of both worlds, if I may bust out the cliches on you. Just enough time at the office to interact and connect with my peers and just enough time away to actually enjoy my life.

* Ok, confession time. The dumpling doesn’t ever leave the house in pants, that poor baby. In my defense, this is the one time in his life where it’s perfectly acceptable for him to appear in public sans pants and I want him to enjoy it to the fullest.

The Game

Before I had a child, I remember wondering what the allure of all of those baby games was. You know: peekaboo, nursery rhymes, so big – all of those. I mean, sure babies laughed and smiled, I suppose that’s cute. But what’s the fun in them? How could parents repeat them over and over and over and seemingly be just as delighted as their babies?

And then I had a child. And now I know.

To be fair, I’ve always just assumed it would be different with your own child and that’s exactly right. The dumpling looooooooves for us to sing to him. His favorites are Itsy-bitsy Spider and Open, Shut Them, but he’ll also take Disney songs or any other song you happen to be singing. If he’s in a good mood, he positively lights up when you start singing. If he’s in a bad mood, he’ll give you a teary little smile and put a pause on his cries (until the moment you stop singing, of course). He also loves to play peekaboo and he’s recently leveled up his abilities: he can now pull the cloth we’re playing with off of his own head. Score one for the dumpling! His little laughs and big smiles are infectious and Luffy and I will endlessly repeat whatever currently has him giggling in pursuit of MOAR giggles.

However, he’s got a new game now that he’s positively thrilled over and Luffy and I…. well we can’t get enough of it either:

So the dumpling has figured out that when either of us are holding him, he can throw his arms out to the other parent and be passed off. I’m not really sure why he’s so enchanted with this – perhaps it’s his first realization that he can communicate what he wants and get it*. Luffy and I love the little game though because the dumpling gives the best hugs and when he’s passed, he’ll sometimes turn around to you and give this little look like omg mom YOU’RE here too, that’s just amazing! i am so excited to see you!! and then throw his little arms towards you. Sigh. It’s the sweetest.

Last night, something threw the dumpling for a loop in the bath (we’re thinking maybe the water was too warm for his liking???) and he started crying. Big tears, long sobs. He did it the night before too and we were at a loss as to what to do. Nursing didn’t help. His zippy didn’t help. Pats and hugs and bedtime stories didn’t help. Eventually, he settled down, but it took him a while. Last night though, we brought him back to his room and played our little game again. Soon, he was giggling and smiling and all was right with the world.

Luffy and I would happily play that game with him for hours, especially with the knowledge that it won’t be long before he’ll have no patience for being held – he’ll want to GO and DO and RUN and SEE! So yes, right now we’ll pass him back and forth and back and forth and be delighted each time he throws his arms out to us.

*We’re working on some simple signs right now, mainly for milk and more. He hasn’t yet signed anything yet, but he definitely knows the one for milk. All I have to do is ask him if he wants milk (with the sign), and he goes ballistic with the hammy grins and the arm flapping. Yes! Milk! I love milk! I am so excited for the milk!!

Post-weekend sigh of relief

It’s not that I’m psyched that the weekend is over (cause that’s crazy talk right there – who is ever happy to have the weekend over???). It’s just that Luffy and I both succumbed to a mild case of food poisoning over the weekend and we finally feel better.

For the record, poor Luffy’s been sick since last, last weekend and was just starting to feel better from that when we got food poisoning. Which is probably why his manifested first, poor guy. We think it was from Potbelly’s, which we had for lunch Saturday. His kicked in by that night and was in fully force by Sunday morning. Mine was ramping up Sunday afternoon and peaked in the overnight hours. We never actually vomited, but I don’t know if I’d actually call that a win since I, at least, felt like I was on the verge of vomiting most of that time. The rest of the time, I just felt like I had a lead weight in my stomach. Seriously, last night I tried to eat a bite of Luffy’s grilled cheese since I thought I was feeling a bit better. I swear I could feel it settle in my stomach. Gross.

But today! Today I was actually hungry when I woke up, so yay! Feeling much better.


So yeah, our weekend was a wee bit boring. We did see some friends. They came over to play with the baby and scope out our neighborhood. They’re looking into buying a house this Fall because they just adopted an adorable, though very energetic puppy.

I also taught my class Saturday morning in the pouring rain (I mean, not actually in it, but I did have to drive through it).

And, uh, we played with the baby. Totally a weekend well spent.

Thoughts on a Friday

I’ve been battling a tension headache all week. It comes and goes and it’s only on my right side. It stretches from my temple, down across my ear and into my neck and shoulder. It’s made this week a little colored in fatigue and aches.

think it’s related to how I carry the dumpling. Or really, how I do everything else while I carry him. I’m right-handed, so I carry him with my left and do everything with my right. I’m guessing that I compensate for his weight or something with my right side.

ANYWAY – this is all truly fascinating talk, but I can’t help it. It’s flaring up again and makes it hard to focus.


Anyone else out there feel the need to purge their house of clutter right now? Spring Summer cleaning anyone? No? Just me then? Ok.

Figures. I spent all winter cooped up with a newborn and then all spring trying to figure out how to juggle work/baby/fitness/life/etc. I was a little busy, is what I’m saying. Now, though, it feels like I find a new, random project to tackle every day.

For instance, there’s a storage box full of old T-shirts of mine. Once upon a time, I deemed these shirts memorabilia worthy and refused to donate them. Ten years though does a lot to what I’d label as memorable now. So I want to go through it again – pare down what I’m keeping and donate the rest. Get rid of the storage box (which is in the office, by the way) and find a different place to store the rest. Now ask me how long that storage box has been sitting in my office? A couple of years maybe? A long time, is my point and I’ve never felt inclined to even open it and now, suddenly, it must be sorted!

So yeah, I’ve got that going on right now.


Did I ever tell you guys that we put a deposit down on a Tesla Model 3? Like two years ago? Because we did. I’m still not quite sure how I convinced Luffy to go for it. (Actually, that was a lie, it was the tax deductions. That’s how I got him to agree, that adorable nerd. He’s mine ladies, back off.)

Anyway, my gearhead of a coworker has been all excited this week because they are finally moving the first units into production. He wanted to know if I’d heard about my place in line yet. What about options? Timeline? Delivery date? ANYTHING WOMAN, give me some tidbit of info.

Alas, I couldn’t do anything for him; he’s more informed than I am. I’ve been deleting most emails from Tesla (most of them are trying to sell me on their much more expensive models and I laugh because, oh boy Tesla, you clearly overestimate my bank account). I was happy to hear that they’ve started production though. Perhaps I’ll get my car late this year or early next. Which is sort of amazing, given Late 2017 seemed ages away when we originally put down the deposit.


I officially ran out of time, sorry guys. It’s time to pick my dumpling up! Have a good weekend!