Thursday, July 29, 2010

Name-calling

I recently heard my daughter's name on the playground.

Obviously, I don't have a daughter. But I have the feeling she's waiting in the realm of "out there somewhere," and when she gets here (if she ever does) she has a first name. And about a zillion middle names, because, well, I love names.

It was sort of jarring to hear this name that I'd been keeping in mind since before Westley was born suddenly out in the open. And from another mother, talking about some other little girl. Not that I get to call "dibs" on a name just because I like it. But I'm always on the lookout for names that I don't hear called out across playgrounds or read on stick-on, library-story-time name-tags.

I mean, it's a little odd, when I'm out in public somewhere without my husband, and someone mentions or calls to "Rob." I know they're probably not talking about my Rob, but my head still swivels around, checking. I'm briefly distracted, shaken off my own train-of-thought by this familiar name.

The thing about naming babies is that there will always be someone out there with the same name. Maybe not many someones, but someone will have that name. Because if I've thought of it, some other mother or father has also thought of it. Then again, knowing that doesn't keep me from feeling a little bit like someone has stolen my intellectual property when I hear "my" name out in the world.

One of the reasons I chose Westley's name was that I didn't know a Westley. (Though interestingly, I've run into lots of Olivers lately.) And in two and a half years, I never heard another mother calling my child's name. It seemed like I had somehow managed to come up with a name that no one else was using. Then, finally, last week, I was having a "coffee date" with Westley, and the women at the table across from me were having one of those conversations that I can't help but listen in on, both because of the volume and the subject. One of the women was very pregnant, and the two women were discussing baby names. I could've sworn one of them said something about a new baby named Westley (or maybe it was Wesley. Unless someone has Martha Stewart-like articulation, it's often hard to hear the T).

I desperately wanted to say something to them. Something along the lines of, "Excuse me, but did you say 'Westley'? 'Cause that's his name, and I never hear it around, and..." Yeah. There's not a lot to say, without sounding like a weirdo.

Just like it would've been totally creepy if I'd said to that woman on the playground, "Wow, awesome name. I was actually going to name my daughter that!" That's creepy, right? I mean, I suspect that every parent has some version of the my-child's-name-as-IP thing, to one degree or another. Because, in the end, it doesn't really matter how many other people share that name. It will always be, to the parents, their child's name first and foremost.

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekended

Sandal weather
It happens every Friday. I think, "Sweet! It's Friday. Tomorrow's the weekend. It's going to be awesome!"

And I'm almost always wrong.

I find weekends extremely challenging. Rob is home which, in theory, should make things easier. But often, the opposite is true.

Not that Rob sits on his ass and does nothing. He plays with Westley more or less nonstop. But one more person at home means more variables. Getting everyone fed, showered, dressed, and out the door takes more time when "everyone" is three instead of two. And while Rob and Westley are playing some tag/hide-and-seek hybrid game in the back yard, I feel pressured to do everything around the house that I feel I can't do with a two-year-old shadow.
Houselife

Mostly though, the challenge comes from my own longing for a "real" weekend. A two-day period where my job more or less stops, and I'm free to do something cool. I look at my husband and feel envious: he's off work right now; he's the Fun Parent; am I really loading the dishwasher for the third time today?

And then there are the emotional aches and pains of nostalgia for our old, child-free weekends. If only we'd known how good we had it!

Not that it was ever that great, looking back. You know what Rob and I used to do on the weekends? Just guess.

Nothing.
Weekend
Kind of like this, except me instead of the kitty, Rob instead of Westley, and a styrofoam container of Ho Fun instead of Bert.

That's right. Not one damned thing. We would sit around all day, maybe order Chinese food, and watch movies or TV shows on DVD. If we were feeling particularly adventurous, we might put on "real clothes" and head out to the Union St Caffe Ladro for late-night lattes and pie (this was pre-veganism, pre-gluten-freedom), and then catch Theatresports or some other improv show with comp tickets at Unexpected Productions. Wild times!

The thing is, those weekend days weren't all that great. Sure, we actually got to sleep in. Lying around and doing nothing, while not exciting, was a valid option. But we were fatter and unhappier then. There were no trips to the park to enjoy the sunshine.
Picnic

And no impromptu picnics.
Picnic

And not a single slide.
Slide

Yeah, I'd still like a break. I still fantasize about the world that leaves work at 5 or 6 PM on Friday evening and doesn't go back until Monday morning. I miss the pie and the improv shows. But the "those were the days" nostalgia over my old weekends has got to stop.

Because while I may cook more and rest less these days, my life now beats the crap out of my life then. Any day of the week.

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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Feelin'

I get asked, at least once a day, "Mommy, how're you feelin'?"

Westley still speaks with a slight Elmer Fudd accent, so it often comes out, "how're you feewin'?" but there's such a weighty sincerity - a genuine interest - behind the words that it doesn't strike me as funny. He really wants to know.

I answer him as honestly as possible, trying to avoid any big, scary (to me) words. Always "a little tired," never "depressed." "Okay," not "overwhelmed." Sometimes even "fine" or "pretty good, buddy."

(I always make a point of asking Westley how he's "feelin'." His response is almost always, "Weegood!" - really good.)

Park
Anyone important to Westley gets asked the question. When my parents come over, he always wants to know: "How're you feelin', MaMay? How're you feelin', Grandad?" I think Rob gets asked how he's feelin' almost as often as I do. It's very dear, actually.

It's also a bit mysterious. I'm not really sure where it came from. Not that "how are you feeling?" is an uncommon question, but it's not one that I use all that often. Additionally, I wonder whether this is something Westley latched onto as part of being in-tune with other people's feelings, or if it's a product of living in such an emotionally-flooded environment.

Is he into feelings because he has a depressed mother? I wonder.

Does Westley know I struggle with depression? He must. Not that he knows what that means, really, but on some level, he must understand...Something. Is. Up. It seems noteworthy that when I have a bad day, Westley does, too. We're connected, whether I like it or not. And while it's very sweet and dear to have a two-and-a-half-year-old pat your knee and say, lovingly, "Don't worry, Mommy," it's also heartbreaking.

I don't want my feelings to be a source of anxiety for my child. I don't want him to be concerned about me. That's so not his role. He's two! His job is to get bigger and learn things. He should not be riding Mommy's emotional roller coaster.

Park
Westley deserves better than a depressed mother. And I'm working on it (every day). It's definitely not a quick-fix situation, though. I'm left worrying that while I'm moving towards "better," the ups and downs along the way are even more challenging to Westley than they are to me. Because while he might "know," he doesn't have the words or the ideas to really understand what's going on.

"How're you feelin'?"

I think he asks not because he wants to know, but because he wants to help...and talking to me about it is the best he can do.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Me, Myself, and IUD: The Aftershocks

Here's what happened while I was getting all thrift-store fashion on you:

I got my period. (I hope you weren't waiting around, holding your breath, wondering if my lateness meant anything.) And? It was the most amazingly awesome fantastic period experience of my menstruating life. I felt incredible!

I couldn't believe it. I still can't really believe it. I have not felt good during my period since, um...ever?

As you may remember, I had the Paragard IUD: no hormones, all uterine irritation. I don't know why I thought something that works partly by stimulating "an inflammatory response in the uterus" (to quote Babycenter's article on IUDs) wouldn't make my periods into a completely miserable experience, but it didn't really cross my mind. Never mind not knowing about the whole bicornuate uterus thing. Yikes and double yikes.

Anyway! My period showed up, and I had no cramping. None. Not in my back, not in my abdomen, nowhere. I was a little tired for a couple of days - nothing a few cups of green tea couldn't help along. And instead of 10-14 days of bleeding (yes, as in two weeks), I had six. Six if you count the three days of barely-there spotting.

On top of having a fantastically easy-to-deal-with period, I suddenly have crazy amounts of energy. Okay, maybe not crazy amounts, but certainly noteworthy compared to how I was feeling just a month or two ago. It's totally awesome, but remained completely mysterious...until I sat down to write this post and saw the phrase "inflammatory response." One of the reasons to manage inflammation in the body is that inflammation causes fatigue. And fatigue and chronic pain go together like cat pictures and Impact font!

So it seems that there's s a distinct possibility that having my IUD removed will actually result in my not having lower back pain any more. Which - after two-plus years of having my back hurt Every. Single. Day. - makes me want to cry tears of happy-happy-joy-joy.

My next period is due in about two-and-a-half weeks, and I'm completely shocked to realize I'm looking forward to it. I can't wait to find out if this ridiculously easy, remarkably pain-free cycle is the new "normal" 'round these ladyparts.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer Fashion - Sunday

I'm making a sad face. A sad-that-Summer-Fashion-Week-is-over face.
Sunday

Fashion week has been beyond fantastic. I've had a blast putting together ensembles that go beyond my usual tunic-y top/skinny jeans/black ballet flats uniform. And - more importantly - I feel like I've "met" a bunch of wonderful bloggers!

I started the week off in basic black, so I'm ending in not-so-basic white.
Sunday

I stinkin' love this dress. I find reasons to wear it. If I were getting married tomorrow, I would wear this dress. It's my go-to piece for the theater, even though theater air conditioning tends to feel like arctic wind when you're wearing a linen minidress.
Sunday
Why am I standing like this?

The headband was inspired by Rachael inspired by Emery inspired by Paige. Unfortunately, it wasn't quite right to wear across the forehead.
Sunday
Dress - BB Dakota, thrifted
Boots - Nine West
Headband - Goody, some drugstore
(Mirror smudge - Westley)

However, while I do find reasons to haul this dress out of my closet, it's not exactly the right thing to wear while bread-baking and house-tidying.

This is what I actually wore today.
Sunday II

Sunday II Sunday II
Tank - J. Crew, thrifted
Bra (since it's showing - classy!) - Gilligan & O'Malley, Target (currently on sale!)
Jeans - Same as Saturday
Shoes - Blowfish

* * *
We'll be back to our regularly scheduled, fashion-lite blogging 'round these parts shortly. Until then, check out the final outfits here. You might even find yourself inspired to get a little extra dressed up tomorrow morning!

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Fashion - Saturday

Saturday
Me: What do you think of my jeans?

Rob [furrowing his brow]: Turn around? [thinks for a minute] There's something about the waistband...
Saturday

Me: They give me an ass that I don't really have.

Rob: It's kind of...elongated. It's almost too much ass. They definitely change your shape.

Me [turning back around]: Well, they're high-waisted, wide-leg jeans. They're gonna to do that.

Rob [tentatively]: It actually makes it look like you've gained a little weight.

Me: Huh. But...in an attractive way?

Rob [apologetic]: Not really.
Saturday Saturday

Me: That's so funny. I really like these. I bought them because I thought they were kind of cool - I mean, I love the zipper in the pocket - and they were super-tight when I got them, and look! [does the quintessential weight-loss pants pose]

Rob: Wow.

Saturday II
Me: Yeah, so I've been walking around, feeling pretty sexy in them. But they're not sexy?

Rob: Not really.

Saturday II

Me [shrugging]: Okay, so I won't wear them when I'm trying to look sexy...for you.
Saturday II Saturday II

So my husband doesn't care for them, but I still think the jeans rock. And not just because they're my "skinny jeans" (as in, "those jeans women keep around, hoping to fit into," not style-wise, obviously). I like them so much, I styled them two ways.

And the kitty approves.
"What do YOU think, kitty?" Husband-tested, cat-approved
Striped top* - MICHAEL by Michael Kors, thrifted
(not sexy) Jeans - Old Navy, thrifted
Pearl bracelet - Actually a necklace, formerly my mom's
Necklace - Phi Beta Kappa key, mine (Aww yeah, baby!),
Floral top - Tulle, thrifted
Black flats - Target, circa 2004
Brown heels - Dr. Scholl's

*I have no business owning this top. It's a Petite size, and there is nothing petite about me. I'm just shy of 5'9", with a looong torso. Oh, and the tie on the shoulder needs to be ironed, and I don't iron. (I don't even know where my iron is.)

* * *
Your turn, fashionistas: do you have something in your closet that makes you feel fabulous, but that your life-companion-person is all "hmm, not so much" about?

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Summer Fashion - Friday

It's Casual Friday 'round these parts.
Friday

Or should I say, "cat-sual Friday"?
Friday
Hello, kitty!

I rarely go sleeveless. Insecurities about my upper arms and the ever-changing Seattle-area weather make sleeves pretty much non-optional. However! I really prefer this outfit without the cardigan.
Friday

The necklace was a Valentine's Day gift from Rob...except that I bought it. The February after Westley was born, we were still getting the hang of new parenthood and didn't have much time to shop for each other. So we bought our own presents, wrapped them, and the gift-giving "surprise" element was seeing what we'd "given" to the other person. (I'm ashamed to say I don't actually remember what I "got" Rob.)

In any case, the necklace came from one of my favorite shops in Seattle. The owner told me that it belonged to a woman who had collected owls, and that it was one of literally hundreds of different owl necklaces the woman had acquired by the time she died.
Friday
Cardigan - Ann Taylor Loft, thrifted
Striped top - Gap, thrifted
Jeans - Forever 21, thrifted
Shoes - Same as Wednesday
Necklace - Vintage, gifted-ish
Kitty (Fiona) - She's a rescue!

* * *
What about you? Did you dress up or down for Friday? (Can stay-at-home moms even have Casual Friday?)

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer Fashion - Thursday

Okay, clearly I need to post pictures of myself wearing my thrift-store finds more often! Everyone's comments just keep making my day. You're all so lovely...and stylish!

And I can't believe it's Thursday already!
Thursday
My "I can't believe it's Thursday already!" face.

I'm in love with the color of this dress. It's kind of an off-orange, if such a color exists. I've recently discovered a love I didn't know I had for oranges and yellows. (Maybe it's the hair?) Hence the yellow sandals.
Thursday

This is a lunch-date-with-Rob-on-a-hot-day outfit (though it also works for running errands). A sweetheart neckline for my sweetheart, if you will.
Thursday
The bracelet was a "no-reason" gift from Rob years ago, because I'd been having a rough time at work. I put it on immediately and didn't take it off for a year. (I even wore it in labor.)

Now, what am I missing? Ah, yes, my bag.
Thursday

And sunglasses. Purple sunglasses. (Purple loves yellow.)
Thursday
Dress - Thrifted (no idea about the brand - there were no tags on it whatsoever)
Shoes - Cynthia Vincent for Target
Bag - Kooba
Sunglasses - Isaac Mizrahi for Target, thrifted
Silver bracelet (also seen - out of focus - here) - Gifted (thanks, honey!)

* * *
I can't wait to see what everyone is wearing today. I'm getting so much inspiration from your Summer Fashion Week looks! I'm taking notes. Honestly.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer Fashion - Wednesday

I tend to avoid florals when clothes-shopping. I don't know whether this is a hold-over from my heavier days (when I was really afraid of looking like upholstery), or if I'm just a little pattern-shy in general.

In any case, this dress was too cute to pass up.
Wednesday
I tired to do the "no make-up" make-up look, here, and I think I failed. I look a little anemic.
Wednesday
I especially love the buttons on this dress.
More things should have cool buttons.

I forgot to get a shot of the dress without the cardigan. It's sleeveless, and the neckline can't seem to make up it's mind about whether it's a high tank-style or a subtle boatneck. Regardless, I almost always wear this dress with some sort of cardigan or shrug, so there you go.

Wednesday
Charm bracelets charm me.

Wednesday
Yellow (is my favorite color) floral dress - GNW, thrifted
Cardigan - Target, a hojillian-skillion years ago
Charm bracelet - Vintage, gifted (thanks, Mom!)
Flats - Payless, thrifted

* * *
There is some serious style going on for Summer Fashion Week - including some great floral pieces that I would snatch up in a heartbeat! Check out the other entries at Moms are for Everyone, and leave these fashionable broads some comment-love.

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Fashion - Tuesday

As much as I love wearing heels, I thought I'd give you a taste of what I look like when I have some hardcore toddler-wrangling to do.
Tuesday

These jeans are seriously beat up. They were one of my first full-price purchases after Westley was born. After months in maternity jeans - one lousy pair of maternity jeans, in fact - I was dying for something with a real waistband. And a zipper. And maybe even a button!

When I got (most of) the baby weight off, I walked right past the clearance racks and bought myself some brand-spankin'-new black skinnies. And wore them practically every day for a year and a half.
Let's go!
Ponytail? Check. Flat shoes? Check. About-to-burst diaper bag? Check.
I think I'm ready for the fruit market...and the park...and the library...and...

I picked up these sunglasses on a recent trip to Miami, when I realized that I didn't have any sunglasses with me. And I was in Miami. That's what I get for poor planning and packing in a hurry: new sunglasses!
Sunglasses
Shirt - Old Navy, a long time ago
Sandals - Target
Glasses - ICU Eyewear
"Chirp" Trucker Bag - Queen Bee Creations, Gifted (thanks, honey!)

* * *
And just in case you were wondering what Westley wears when he has some hardcore Mommy-exhausting to do...
Mmm, Coconut!

Coconut Stance
Shirt - Old Navy, thrifted
Shorts - Target
Socks - Target
Shoes - Tsukihoshi

* * *
Head over to Moms are for Everyone for more fabulous Summer Fashion Week fun! And if you're not playing along (or even if you are), describe your mom-on-the-go outfit in the comments. I know I'm not the only one who wears the same pair of jeans practically every day!

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Fashion - Monday

It's Summer Fashion Week! I thought I'd get dressed up for the occasion.

Monday
This is a favorite piece from my mostly-thrifted wardrobe. I get compliments every time I wear it (mostly from my husband, who has a thing for belted dresses and women in button-front anything).

Monday
It's hard to show off the dress and the shoes at the same time.
(With some luck, I'll master taking pictures of myself by the end of the week.)

Monday
Pinky-toe cleavage: side boob of the foot.

The only "problem" with this dress is the color. Tiny grey polka dots on black aren't especially summery. So here's a bit of red silk to brighten things up:

Monday

Silk and sterling silver necklace - Gifted (thanks, Mom!)
Dress - Mexx, thrifted
Shoes - Fioni (Payless), thrifted

* * *
Check out more fabulous Summer Fashion Week entries at Moms are for Everyone. And I hope some of you will play along! It's not too late to join in!

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer! Fashion?

On July first, I found myself indoors, wearing a sweater, cozying up to my heating pad, and drinking a cup of hot tea while Westley watched a Christmas movie. I thought summer would never get here.

But whoa, momma, is it here now!

The sunlight still streaming through the windows at 10:00 PM is one thing - that I can deal with. But I am someone who is almost always cold, and over the past few days I've been fantasizing about wearing a bikini and only a bikini, despite not possessing the body or the nerve to do so. Anything more than a few triangles of fabric and some string sounds too painfully hot to wear. (A bra and a shirt? I'm gonna die!)

My unwillingness to go around mostly nekkid means that I'm having to get creative-ish with my fashion. ("-ish" because I don't own that much with which to get creative.) I'm enjoying hauling out my sandals, though, and giving my boots and coats and knit hats a well-deserved break. As much as I'm loving my newfound uniform of dresses with leggings and knee-high, puddle-ready boots, it's nice to switch things up a bit. By, say, wearing a dress without leggings. Crazy, right?

This coming week, Emery Jo is putting on Summer Fashion Week!

The "rules" are as follows:
  1. Starting Monday, July 12, post pictures of yourself on your blog showing off your summertime fabulousness.
  2. Report to Emery's blog, Moms Are For Everyone, and plug your post information into a link list.
  3. Repeat.
Now, I have to admit that fashion is usually a spectator sport for me. I tend to think of fashion - and, more importantly, being fashionable - as something for other people. Because I'm totally awkward, I don't know what looks good, and I have no clothing budget. But! I'm not going to let any of that stop me from throwing around the F-word all next week.

Preview
Doing my best impression of "fierce."

If nothing else, it will be a fun and interesting challenge to take my fall-/winter-/(rainy) spring-friendly wardrobe and attempt to turn out something summery...without resorting to a week of swimwear.

Not that I'd do that.

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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Mid-Year Resolutions and Half-Birthday Lunch (with Bonus Food Porn!)

It's time for mid-year resolutions again, and I'm excited. Pumped, actually! Are you ready to set some personal goals? Let's go!

I've been following Joanna's progress on her 32 Before 32 list, and creating my own list of things to accomplish seemed like might be a fun challenge. Usually, my resolutions are sort of free-form: work on my posture - exercise more often - make time to read. Nothing really measurable or "to do listy" and check-off-able. But that's the great thing about lists: watching them shrink. Seeing your progress as you cross out or check off. There. Done.

Since today is my half-birthday - which I celebrate, even though I'm not in elementary school anymore and that "and-a-half" part of someone's age doesn't totally matter - it seems kind of appropriate that my mid-year resolutions should take the form of a "28 by 28" list.

I have six months in which to do all of the following things:
  1. Do 10 real push-ups - without collapsing into a heap afterwards.
  2. Pack up the baby stuff and store it in the attic.
  3. Donate all the clothes I never wear to Goodwill.
  4. Organize my closet.
  5. Make tasty gluten-free bread at home, without a bread machine.
  6. Put the books in bookcases.
  7. Assemble a "No Suicide File" - essentially a scrapbook to remind me of all the wonderful things in my life when I feel especially depressed.
  8. Knit a hat.
  9. Stop biting, picking, and otherwise mangling my fingernails.
  10. Get dressed to the nines and go out with Rob.
  11. Spend some quality time with my brother.
  12. Help my brother with a writing project.
  13. Get some matching dishes.
  14. Throw a party!
  15. Figure out what to do with the playroom closet.
  16. Stay under budget on groceries for at least a month.
  17. Find a preschool for Westley.
  18. Reorganize the pantry.
  19. Buy some gardening tools - and actually use them.
  20. Change my name.
  21. Do the 30-Day Shred for a full 30 days.
  22. Revamp this blog! (Two columns? Three? New header? New blog title, even? Decisions!)
  23. Read Martha Stewart's Homekeeping Handbook cover to cover (all 752 pages).
  24. Make a mix CD especially for Westley.
  25. Eat raw for a week.
  26. Pray the Rosary.
  27. Get my hair cut.
  28. Ride the bus with Westley.
And now, because blog posts are more fun with photos, I give you...my half-birthday lunch!

I was inspired by Rebecca's "Quinuevos Rancheros," and decided to veganize it with scrambled tofu, and Parmezano Sprinkles from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook.

Scrambled Tofu
(After months and months of living soy-free - and then soy-light - I seem to be getting back together with my old friend, tofu. So far, so good. But we've got a honeymoon thing going on right now. Or should it be an "agavemoon," since we eat a vegan diet 'round these parts?)

Quinoa Fluffing
Fluffing the quinoa. (Food porn needs fluffers, too!)

Lunch in progress
Quinoa, scrambled tofu, hempseed Parmezano Sprinkles. Needs more color!

Tofuvous Quinuevos Rancheros
Aww, yeah.
There's a half-birthday party in my tummy.

Your turn! Any mid-year resolutions you're making? Care to share? (If you tell me, I promise I'll cheer you on.)

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