Thursday, December 30, 2010

100.5 and Holding

Today I was up briefly to help BJ get the baby ready for the day and to call my office and tell them I was running a fever...still. Then I went back to bed and slept hard until BJ called me from work at 12:40. Can I take a moment here to give a shout-out to Sus, my splendid mother-in-law, who generously gave the Christmas gift of a dual-control electric blanket to me? Thanks Sus. I cranked that thing up to '17' this morning and was still shivering, but soon fell into that deep sleep of which I just spoke. It was a slow-moving day because of the 100.5 degree fever that I seemed to be holding steady at, but it subsided just after 3:00 this afternoon and I have felt pretty normal since then. Thank goodness!

I was pretty determined to get down the knit stitch this afternoon, so after Silas went down for his nap and I regained some of my health, I got onto youtube and found a demonstration of the garter stitch, which is the stitch that I really needed to learn for this chapter's two projects. Besides, I hear that it is the most basic stitch of all and the one that all others build upon, so learning it was essential. Admittedly, I did have to watch the video about five times, but I got it! I'm using a bit of a thinner yarn so this is going kind of slow, but so far I have about three inches going, and I'm happy with that. Tomorrow I'll make it to Hobby Lobby to spend some Christmas money on the yarns that the project actually calls for, which are much thicker and require a larger size needle (who knew?). When I was selecting some beginner supplies I had no idea what I was looking for, and I chose yarns based on their colors and designs rather than important things like size. I was at least intelligent enough to buy the necessary corresponding needles though. Now I just need a more complete collection, including some fabric scissors and a finishing needle.

As 2010 winds to a close, I hope that everyone is doing okay out there. My friends, I hope that life is awesome, and I encourage you all to start blogs so that I can keep up with your daily lives (this means you Emily! Don't let others stop you!!!). Good night. =)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Pig-Out Stage

I'd like to propose a change to the widely-accepted grief cycle. As it stands, the acknowledged stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Shouldn't there be room for the 'emotional eating' stage of the grief cycle too? I mean, I go through it every time I grieve, and today was no exception. Somewhere between depression and acceptance there is most definitely 'pig-out' stage, which consisted of me going to Rusty's Frozen Custard and consuming a pumpkin custard with chocolate chips, solely in an attempt to make myself feel better today. Indeed, it did help a little bit, but only a little bit. Although I could go on about how today was a terrible day, the truth is that this business is someone else's, and the extreme sadness that I feel for some close friends of mine is not material for a blog. Suffice it to say, people that I love are truly hurting, so I am hurting with them.

I have been inspired by one of my friend's sisters to begin knitting. It seems like every time I get on FB, she has an enviable status that says something like, "A whole day of knitting ahead of me, with a warm fire and hot chocolate!" Now, that simply sounded irresistible to me, so I asked for knitting supplies for Christmas and I am on my way. Sort of. I have learned the casting on part of it all, but am still working on the knit stitch, which of course is the most basic stitch of all. It's hard to teach yourself because I don't know anyone in my area that knits. If you're reading this, live in the OKC area, know how to knit, and are interested in giving a lesson to a beginner, please let me know! I received the book The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting: Learn to Knit with More Than 30 Cool, Easy Patterns for Christmas and am going by that so far.  Will keep you updated. Right now my free time is divided between so many things like writing work reports, reading, blogging, and now learning to knit, so I'm not sure how long it will take me to make progress...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Counting My Blessings (Instead of Sheep)



I love the movie 'White Christmas.' I especially am fond of the couple played by Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby, and my favorite part of the movie is when they sing "Count Your Blessings" by the fire. I was fortunate to watch this movie on Christmas night with BJ after the Thunder game ended. BJ was gracious enough to let us skip the home Thunder game on Christmas night so that we could spend time as a family in our home, doing Christmas-y things like watching a movie. I like the Thunder games, but believe me, I was grateful!

We had an awesome first Christmas with Silas. He was semi-interested in opening gifts and majorly interested in playing with gifts once they were opened. As was expected, he scored quite the loot, so mommy and daddy are going to have to chisel down what is available at any given time to him; otherwise, the living room will look like a jungle gym! We had some good time together on the morning of Christmas Eve. Silas got us up early, but then went down for a super long nap, during which time BJ and I ate breakfast, then sat at the table talking and wrapping Christmas gifts for HOURS. It was lots of fun though. I'm a lucky girl.

I was reading on a friend's blog about a family whose son was born a couple of weeks ago with some substantial health problems, and he passed away on the morning of Christmas Eve after being taken off life support, as it was determined that doctors could no longer do anything for the poor boy. What a way to spend Christmas Eve. My heart ached profoundly for that family as I read about their hardship, and I was once again humbled by the circumstances that I enjoy... This family just lost their son because he could not breathe on his own, and what was my biggest problem of the day? That Silas woke us up too early? That my beautiful son was announcing in a happy voice at the top of his very healthy lungs that he was ready to get up from his crib and play at 6:15 in the morning on Christmas Eve? Geez, what a sacrifice (sarcasm...this is hard to read). I bet that family would have gladly gotten up every day for the rest of their lives at 6:15 if it meant that they could spend more time with their son. I ended up loving every minute of that early morning anyway, because Silas smelled so good and was in a cuddly mood, and I just couldn't stop whispering "Merry Christmas Eve!" into his soft little hair.

So I am counting my blessings. In the pics above you will see my greatest two blessings, BJ and Silas. Silas likes to stand at the edge of the tub watching while his bath is drawn. The other picture was taken on Christmas Eve while opening oodles of presents. I hope that yours was as merry as mine.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Friends

One thing I always love about the holiday season is meeting up with friends that I don't always get to see. An advantage of being home means that, when loved ones that live far away flock home for the holidays, you get to see them.  BJ and I used to be members of this flocker-homer group, and I am so enjoying NOT belonging in this category anymore. Instead, I'll let the loved ones get home, and then there is no escape for them from me! Ha ha.

Last night was spent with dear friends at a Christmas party, a get-together that has become quite an annual reunion it seems. Today I spent most of the day with my mom, getting things done for the holidays and trying to catch up on everything that I'm behind on (which, indeed, happens to be everything). Tonight we met with Brian, Emily, Aaron, and Laura for sushi at Go-go, which was delish as ever. Then more dear out-of-town friends made it to our home tonight, and we're waiting on more to arrive as I type.

As we were driving away from sushi tonight, I remarked to BJ that he and I are quite lucky. We have an amazing friend-base, and our friends are genuinely wonderful people. Every one of them builds me up and reminds me that I am loved and respected. This Christmas season, I am happy to see so many kick-ass friends. For those of you who are celebrating far away, you are also missed. May God bless you this holiday season. Cheers!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My Second Favorite Day

As the hubbub closed in on December 18, 2010, I was reminded of my life exactly one year ago. Things were busy at work, the holidays were gearing up, life was great, and I was pregnant with Silas. I have often reflected with smiles and extremely fond memories for Friday, December 18, 2009, which I have dubbed as my second favorite day of all time. And since I was once again reminded of this esteemed day this afternoon by a memento that was ironically floating around inside my purse (along with way too much other shiz), I thought I would share my thoughts on December 18 for today's entry.

It didn't start out like any other day. BJ and I had that Friday off (it was one of those glorious RDO's ), and we woke up that morning laughing in bed and quoting an SNL sketch where Kristen Wiig plays Aunt Sue ("I'm so FREAKING excited!"). We got out of bed, nervously ate breakfast, and then were off to the hospital for the ultrasound that would tell us the news of a lifetime: is it a boy or a girl? I honestly didn't care, but I felt certain that Silas was a girl. BJ was leaning toward wanting a boy for the first child, simply so that he has a partner-in-crime to scare off potential suitors for our younger daughter-to-be.  We arrived at the hospital with both of my parents and BJ's mom in tow, and the ultrasound tech was a real champ for letting us all crowd into the room. Well, Silas had no qualms with letting it all hang out, so our tech was able to tell us right off the bat the grand news that Silas was a boy. After the shock of this announcement set in, it seemed so fitting (I don't know why) and grand. Now, I can't even imagine having a girl because I am so tickled with having a baby boy. Silas even humored me later in the ultrasound process by distinctly waving an OSU 'Pistols firing!' sign, and for all you doubters out there, the proof can be had by visiting his nursery, where the picture continues to be displayed.

After this greatest news ever, we went to a delicious lunch at San Marcos, then went with our moms for my first-ever trip to Babies R' Us, where BJ and I each bought a celebratory baby outfit of our choosing. Then he and I headed on to see "A Christmas Carol" at a nearby matinee. Finally, we met cousins Julie and Michael for a late dinner at the Melting Pot, where we spent hours catching up and having a delicious dinner and dessert.

A year later, as I said before, I look back and smile when I think about that day. The movie ticket stub was found stuck to a bunch of receipts in my purse, as it must have escaped from my wallet, where I keep it for sentimental safekeeping.  From start to finish, the day was really the best ever. Okay, it was the second-best ever. =)

Here is a picture of Silas a year later...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Back Into It

I haven't run in a few weeks, which is really unfortunate. For a while I lost the will to motivate myself, and certainly no one else was helping with this, until my sister Christa gave me the what-for and reminded me of my goals the other day. Thanks Christa. So, this morning, before I could talk myself out of it, Tex and I went for a jog around the park.

Let me just say that I could immediately feel the weight that I have put back on in three weeks' time. Since we left for Los Angeles, I have put five pounds back on and am no longer below my pre-pregnancy weight. What a grand five pounds it was though! I ate whatever I wanted in LA, and this Christmas season has also been generally filled with Gluttonous eating (I did mean to put a capital G there too). So I set off and immediately I'm thinking, 'Oh no, I can feel that extra five pounds already.' Tex and I made it 16 minutes though, mos def over a mile and a quarter, so that's good. To me, this means that to some degree I still 'have it,' since when I initially began this venture there was an iceberg's chance in hell that I could go a whole mile.

I know that I was successful with my jogging during this entire fall season because I set myself a wonderful goal, which was the Turkey Trot. Okay, if that's what it takes, I'll do it again. So here's my next goal, and it really has become a family goal: we're signing up for the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon Relay on May 1, 2011. I was surprised when reading about this relay to learn the rules, as I had assumed that a five-person team basically entailed each person running a little over five miles. Not so, though. The marathon relay follows what it calls the Eikeden format, which is set up as follows:

Runner #1 = 10K
Runner #2 = 5K
Runner #3 = 12K
Runner #4 = 5K
Runner #5 = 10K

I have personally opted for a 10K distance, which is going to mean really pushing myself. I think I can do it though. So here is the team....Only runner #4 is tentative at this time I believe, but I do have a back-up for him should he choose to not run.

Runner #1 = me
Runner #2 = my mom (what what, way to rock it Mom!)
Runner #3 = Christa (way to go sis! pulling the long one!)
Runner #4 = Billy
Runner #5 = BJ

Time to get to it! I can't let my team down!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Christmas Blur

Wow, it has been for-eevvv-eerrr since I have blogged. I think I have been so busy that I even forgot to miss it, which is crazy. I never expected to get hooked onto blogging, but I definitely have. Well, since I last wrote, we have returned from Los Angeles, attempted to get caught up at home a bit, worked a full week (which for me is three days), and attended (in my opinion) entirely too many things that take me away from home. Friends who know me well know that I'm a serious homebody, and spending too many nights in a row away from home can be painful for me. In this case, the number of nights away from home was two in a row, and it was indeed painful. Tonight, however, BJ and are at home together in front of the fire, baby man is sleeping soundly in his crib, and I'm contemplating a piece of pumpkin pie and reveling in the glory of my living room.

Like nearly everyone else in this country, I am entirely too busy this Christmas season, which is unfortunate. It seems to have been a red and green blur since the day before Thanksgiving, and once you throw parenthood into the works, it gets even crazier! I say this and I only have one child, and he's still young enough that I can shop for his Christmas presents right in front of him and he has no idea. This will only get crazier, I know.

BJ and I were laughing the other night about how parenthood really does change everything, and I can't help but be entertained by the changes that I see in myself. Absolutely everything takes longer to accomplish now. I no longer can think of Christmas presents that I want for myself because instead I'm thinking of presents I want for Silas.  I wear only two rings, and all other jewelry has been cast aside for functionality purposes. I can do anything I want one-armed now.  I know how to make a formula bottle in the dark. I know the difference in meaning between the made-up words "boppy," "bumbo," bjorn," and "booga," and I actually use the words on a fairly frequent basis.  And when a friend who was over for dinner, games, and drinks jokingly asked for a 'sex on the beach,' I told him that the only makings I had to prepare one besides the vodka were grape Pedialyte and apple juice. Ah, such is my life now. Ain't it grand though. =)

Also, I really need some accountability when it comes to my jogging. Will someone please get on my butt about this?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

CG

Today was a great day in LA. BJ was finished working this week, so we set off early this morning, as sleeping in has become a thing of the past. Breakfast was had at the Original Pancake House. BJ ordered the German pancake, which was quite comical-looking and I took a picture of it... however, it should be noted that I stupidly forgot to pack my camera battery charger, so I was forced to buy a disposable camera for this vacation. That blew my plan of chronicling our adventures via blogging and posting pics to smithereens. Anyway, his breakfast was funny looking. After that, we headed to REI to buy a child-carrying backpack, checked into our next hotel, happily ate cheeseburgers at In-N-Out, and then spent the afternoon at the Huntington Library, which was absolutely amazing and well worth the 15 bucks a head. This place had about a thousand gardens, and all three of us had a great time.

Now, to the title of this entry. In a previous entry I referred to my poor mother as CG, abbreviated for "Crazy Grandma," and I promised readers the story to accompany this unfortunate dubbing. Since that time I have received a request to tell that tale, and I have decided that today is that day. I feel like telling the story with the mannerisms of George Costanza, whose ridiculous theatrics would serve this action well. On that note, the story shall begin... "The sea was angry that day, my friends..." Just kidding.

But really.  BJ and I had just gotten Tex the week before, and he was an 11-week-old puppy.  I'd say that he was small, but for those of you who know Tex, he was large even then. Within the first week of having Tex as ours, we had to drive home from Minneapolis to Oklahoma City for weddings that were on back-to-back weekends, so BJ and I just decided to take the week in-between off from school and spend it with our families in Oklahoma. One night during this week, my mom, Tex, her puppy Sam, and I were all in the backyard relaxing. The dogs were running around on the back porch and, for some reason that I cannot remember, my mom went over to one side of their porch (which is quite large), and I think she stooped to pick something up. As she was coming back to a standing position, she began losing her balance and took a small step backward to regain it. Unfortunately, puppy Tex was immediately behind her and had chosen that exact moment to put his front paws up on my mom's leg, begging to be picked up.  Tex got kicked by this small step that my mother made. This sent him somersaulting backward over the side of the porch, which was probably one foot off the ground. It happened in such a way that he actually landed on his back on the edge of the porch, so that his momentum kept him going and he performed a complete back flip off the porch and onto the grass, landing on his feet and coming away from the incident relatively unscathed. My mom watched these proceedings in horror, and I with amusement. Once I realized that Tex was absolutely fine, I burst into laughter, and my mom, who remained horrified for another five seconds, soon followed my cue and began laughing as well. When we recounted this adventure to my dad later in the evening, he scooped up Tex and said to him, "Well, what was your momma thinking, bringing you to a crazy lady's house? Don't mind that lady...she's just your crazy grandma."  Over the years BJ and I never let that name slide and we eventually shortened it to "CG." I had aspirations of Silas following suit and also calling my mom CG, but my four-year-old nephew has already decided to call her "Nana," so I guess that wins out by default of Sebastian being older than Silas.

There you have it folks. CG. And she's the best-ever grandma to that dog. In fact, I have no doubts that he has had late night walks with his best buddy Sam, lots of food and treats, and a big dog bed to snore on in my parents' bedroom while BJ, Silas, and I have been gone this week. Three cheers to CG!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Old Friends

The primary reason that I originally stated for beginning this blog was my desire to keep up with old and dear friends who are all over the country. I wish that all of my long-distance friends kept blogs so that I could join in their daily lives, as I used to when each of them was near me. I have reached a point in my life where I am no longer terribly saddened by missing friends, if and only if these friends are happy in their respective places. I remember how sad I felt when I initially parted with my best friend Andi, when I moved to Minnesota and she headed to south Florida a year afterward. Andi was having such a blast in school, and I knew that she was well taken care of by her new friends in Florida. Since I didn't need to worry about her emotional or physical state, I wasn't so sad about Andi not being in my daily life anymore. Instead, I was happy each time I thought of her, imagining her kayaking, eating at Pizza Girls, or spending time with her new friends at the beach. It's the same with Andi now as she lives in Maine and seems to be having the time of her life. Of course I get emotional as I type this blog now, but typically I only smile and think happy thoughts when I think of Andi, because I know that she is happy where she is.

I was reminded of this emotional state last night as I was blessed to spend time with my wonderful friend Jenn, whom I met in Minnesota but who now lives in Los Angeles. Last time I saw Jenn here, I sobbed after we said goodbye because I knew that she was new to the area and was still somewhat lonely. Although I had every confidence in Jenn that she was going to carve herself a beautiful path here, I was worried and unhappy about leaving her at the time. Now, a totally different story has emerged. I was sad to leave Jenn's home last night after spending time with her and meeting an awesome friend of hers, but I will only think positive thoughts when I think of Jenn from now on, having seen her settled and blessed by her new life.  Each time I get to see her in the future I will be ecstatic, but during the in-between times, I will also feel happy even though she is not near me.

To all of my wonderful long-distance friends, you know who you are, and I am missing you...but I am mostly just happy for you, because I know that the vast majority of you are thrilled to be in the places that you are. I love this for each of you...even though you are not with me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Trying New Things

One thing that our friends Aaron and Laura have been good for (among many other good things) is expanding our culinary horizons. BJ and I really love food, and we both like trying new things. This makes dinner with Aaron and Laura always an excellent adventure, because they'll try pretty much anything (as long as it's not a restaurant chain), and with them, the motto is 'the more authentic, the better!' Last time we were in LA we ate dinner with them at an El Salvadoran restaurant that served us up papusas, and thus began our quest to find papusas in Oklahoma City. This was accomplished when we came across Cocina Guatelinda, which I have blogged about before. Delicious!

Last night we were fortunate to meet our wonderful friends Aaron and Laura for dinner once again while visiting in LA, and they took us to a kickin' Vietnamese restaurant. I've tried Vietnamese only once and didn't like it, but I wasn't sure if it was because the food was Vietnamese or if it was because every meal I was forced to taste at this particular restaurant had tofu in it. It must have been the tofu, because this place was remarkably delicious! I knew that Aaron and Laura were not going to disappoint us when we walked into an absolutely packed restaurant and we were the ONLY non-Asian folks in the room. I was particularly fond of this drink that Aaron convinced me to try. Basically it was a mixture of a very strong, smooth coffee combined with sweetened condensed milk and poured over ice. It was among the better drinks I have had in my life, and I consider my pocketbook lucky that this restaurant is so many hundreds of miles away from home, or else I would probably get one every day.

So I loved the Vietnamese food. After that we went and got boba tea, which was also a new thing for me. For those of you unfamiliar with this treat, it is basically a tea mixed with milk and it has soft, cooked tapioca balls in the bottom of it. You drink it through a wide straw and those boba just come up through your straw. No one prepared me for this so when it happened the first time, I thought there was a worm in my drink. BJ said, "It's like a drink and a snack all in one," and he really is right because the boba have the consistency of soft gummy bears. I had to get used to this one, so BJ and I found another boba tea place tonight and I got another.

Today poor BJ had to work, but Silas and I lived it up by eating lunch at In-N-Out (don't worry, Silas ate green beans and mangoes) and then spending the afternoon at the Santa Ana Zoo. My life is good. I hope that yours is too!

Monday, December 6, 2010

It's Good To Be the King

If you've never seen "History of the World: Part One," then you might not be familiar with the oft-used quote "It's good to be the king." Good ole Mel Brooks...I just can't get enough of that guy. Well, Silas may as well be thinking this quote in his silly little head, because I'll tell you what: It's good to be the baby around here. Today BJ, Silas, and I were all aboard a California-bound airplane. All three of us were tired, a little cranky (well, some more than others), and in general, just ready to be in Los Angeles. However, while the adults in the party took care of adult-type responsibilities, the baby in the crowd was living it up. I thought, you know, life is good when you're a baby. You get to wear a one-piece fleece suit that zips from toe to head and no one laughs at you, you get to lay across two people's laps so that you can sleep on the plane, your mom strokes your head softly until you fall asleep with a smile behind your pacifier, and your belly is full from the giant meal that you just ate. When you're the momma, you're sitting in the middle of the three-seat configuration, you're waiting on crappy airplane coffee so that you can finally start feeling awake even though your alarm went off at 4:50 AM, your restless leg syndrome is starting to kick in, and your legs are falling asleep because there is a baby on them. Now, being a mom is nice, and I really do love it, but it's good to be the king (AKA the baby).

Right now I'm looking out of our hotel window toward the mountains east of Los Angeles and eagerly awaiting dinner with good friends that live out here. Vacation stretches before me, the weather is 70 degrees and sunny (which makes the Christmas tunes on the radio seem ironic), and I can't wait to see much-loved faces out here. Maybe it's not just good to be the baby... it's good to be the momma too. Bring it on!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Turkey Boy and Picking Up the Pace

First things first, here. Below you will find a picture of Silas and me celebrating his first Thanksgiving. Please note that I bought product and styled my son's hair into a kickin' faux-hawk, which made him all the more irresistible. He was adorned in a quite adorable Thanksgiving outfit, replete with a turkey bib that was promptly covered with a variety of foods that his eager mother stuffed into his mouth. Such foods included mashed potatoes (which were repeatedly gagged and spat back out onto the turkey bib), sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, cool whip, and gravy. The boy seems to love his pumpkin pie, so he's a chip off the old block in that regard.



All this talk of food makes me feel the need to jog. One might think that because I met my goal at the Turkey Trot my running days are over, to which I emphatically reply, "Hell-to-the-no."  I have several vague goals in mind for my running future, and they include both (probably at different times) a faster pace and a longer distance. I want to be on the next Claire's Crew in Minneapolis, and if that means running a 10K then so be it. It will just have to be done. But in the meantime, I said to myself, let's try to pick up the pace a bit. I discussed with BJ what might be an acceptable time to cut down to, knowing that I wouldn't be able to run the 3.1 mile distance if the pace goes too far up. We put our heads together and decided that I would run from our house to the park and then around it one complete time, which should equal roughly 1.1 miles, and that I would complete this time in 13 minutes. Now, I'm not all gadget-y like some people I know, so I have no iPhone or what have you to keep my pace for me. What this means, my friends, is that I was stuck blindly guessing. Of course I took off way too fast and was already having difficulty by the time I reached the park (.2 miles people, really). So then I slowed down a bit, and Tex (my ever-faithful running partner) stopped to take a poopie in the park (let me be clear here that Tex is a dog). As I finished with picking up this mess, I noticed a lady going by in the same direction, and she was jogging at a nice clip. I thought to myself, stay behind her and try to keep up with her...that can be your steady pace. Of course, one thing I know about this lady but neglected to fully realize in that over-zealous moment is that I know this lady is in the armed forces. Well, needless to say, she promptly left my ass high and dry, even though I was running faster than I was when I had originally set off. Soon my goal was just to be able to see her in the distance, and this was abandoned and later reclaimed as she came jogging around and passed me on the other side of the park, going the opposite direction. I sarcastically consoled myself that at least I could still see her.  Anyway, though my pace was inconsistent, I logged that 1.1 miles in 12 minutes, 10 seconds. I plan to try this again this weekend, and I will again resist the urge to use a gadget...

Happy weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Cereals

I have no idea what the name of this band is, but have you ever heard the song that says, "Milk and cereal, milk and cereal, cereal and milk! Cereal and milk!" I love cereal. My favorite cereals when I was a child were, indeed, the Christmas cereals, and by these I particularly mean Christmas Pebbles and Cap'n Crunch Christmas. I still have the Christmas Pebbles commercial memorized because I loved it so much and watched it every time I saw it on the television during the Christmas season throughout my childhood. I can picture it now:

Fred Flintstone is singing about his fruity pebbles, and Santa joins in the chorus: Yabba-dabba fruit, delicious too!
Barney (dressed up as Santa): Ho, ho, ho, I'm hu-hu-hungry! Santa, my pebbles!

and so the wonderful commercial goes on. In its beautiful entirety, it can be seen here.

So, I implore you, why are there no more Christmas cereals? Christmas Pebbles eventually morphed into Winter Pebbles, and now even those no longer exist (at least, I can never seem to find them). Yes, I understand the reasoning of being friendly to all cultures and holiday-celebraters, but come on! I want my Christmas cereals, and I'm going to keep throwing tantrums until I get them! If any of you out there come across the Christmas cereals that I so miss, please tell me where I can find them. In the meantime, I'll keep eating my plain old cereal made by the Ebenezer Scrooges of the world, who think that cereal-eating during the Christmas season should be like any other cereal-eating time of the year. Grr.

On a more serious note, this is the second of two entries that I have written today. The first can be found immediately below this one and is quite personal in nature. I have not advertised it on facebook because it is about breastfeeding, which is a topic that I'm sure many do not want to read about. If you are interested, however, read on about my experience...

Pump It

I have debated long and hard before deciding to write this entry, simply because it's quite personal and I'm not confident about how it will be received. So, for those of you who are squeamish, here is a spoiler: this entry topic is about breastfeeding and pumping. Now, the last thing that I really want to do is gross anyone out, so here is your opportunity to click away. However, if you are a mother, plan to be a mother, or plan to be a father even, you might as well get used to the idea of talking about breasts, baby-feedings, formula, and pumping.

My motivation for writing this entry is that I have had an experience that apparently is somewhat unique, so I thought I might share this experience in order to encourage any other women who may possibly go through a similar experience. Basically, I had decided in the beginning of the pregnancy to not breastfeed Silas, but changed my mind after a friend who is a lactation consultant provided me with a lot of helpful information. I knew that BJ was in support of breastfeeding, and eventually I came to believe that this was something that I wanted to do. I was lucky to have the help (albeit long-distance help) of my LC friend, plus the infinite support of BJ, as well as my mother-in-law, who was able to draw from some of her own experiences and encourage me along the way. This part of the story is not unique, however. The unique part came about two months after Silas was born, when I decided that it was far preferable to stop breastfeeding Silas and use my breast pump exclusively. In this way, I was able to draw my own milk for the nutritional benefits for Silas, but he was bottle-fed all of this milk rather than drinking it from me. The reasons that I decided to do this were several fold, and briefly they are as follows: 1. I was uncomfortable with breast-feeding in public. 2. Silas seemed to be becoming increasingly unhappy while feeding at the breast, and would withdraw numerous times during a feeding and then re-latch. 3. When we were with other people whom I was not comfortable baring in front of, we required a cover, and Silas got over-heated underneath it (it was the middle of summer after all). 4. I wanted others to be able to feed Silas. 5. I was a major milk producer and I wanted as much excess supply as possible, so that we could freeze milk for later usage, and this could only be accomplished through a breast-pump. 6. The ease of bottle-feeding Silas was too great. and finally 7. Silas and I didn't seem to have that 'magical' connection during breastfeeding that most mothers say they experience. This was really the biggie for me that most mothers could not seem to swallow when I told them; the truth was, I felt a stronger connection with Silas when I was bottle-feeding him because I could get closer to him and look into his eyes. So, for all of these reasons, going the way of the pump only seemed like the best thing to do for US. Unfortunately, though, I seemed to run across no other mother like me, who actually preferred the mechanical pump to her own child at the breast, and thus I felt isolated and wrong. This was a slightly painful time for me as I recall how odd other mothers seemed to think that I was. I eagerly read books, such as The Milk Memos: How Real Moms Learned to Mix Business with Babies-and How You Can, Too and The Breastfeeding Cafe: Mothers Share the Joys, Challenges, and Secrets of Nursing, thinking that, in all of these women's stories, surely SOMEONE has my experience as well. However, reading these books only made me feel like more of an oddball, as the vast majority of these mothers extolled the wonders of this magical breastfeeding connection that I never actually felt.

For those who guessed that it could not be done, I continued to pump exclusively, from the beginning of July until just two weeks ago. Silas never tasted formula until two weeks ago. My milk supply only ran out as I spaced out feedings and intended it to run dry, and Silas is now on a half-breastmilk, half-formula diet as we try to extend our supply for as long as possible. After all is said and done, I think his supply will last between six weeks and two months via this method. Heck yeah!

As I said earlier, this entry is very personal, but I wanted to share it in case you are, or will someday be, a mother like I was, who wants to breastfeed but doesn't find it fulfilling, and thus chooses the route that I did for other reasons. You are not alone.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Oh what a beautiful mornin', oh what a beautiful day! I've got a beautiful feeling, everything's goin' my way."  Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends! I wish you all wonderful days spent with family, friends, and good food.

Last night a cold front swept through Oklahoma, making for a (literally) freezing day with a biting north wind. Beautiful weather for running, I say. Above you will find an extremely photogenic image of me crossing the finish line of the Edmond Turkey Trot 5K run, my long-awaited goal! My official time was 41 minutes, but that was never important to me in the first place. I told BJ, "I'm dedicating this race to my children, but the whole 'not-stopping' thing is for me."  I was hell-bent on never walking in this race, and it actually seemed easy not to. I think I had so much adrenaline pumping! I knew before I ever even hit the halfway mark that I was going to be absolutely fine in accomplishing this goal. In the beginning of the race it was funny because hundreds of people were rushing past me. I refused to let myself feel demoralized by this, however, because I had expected it, and I told myself I wasn't running for time. After the initial wave of people had finished passing me, I turned to the other turtle runners around me and said, "Good! Now all the fast people are out of the way!" and got a good laugh. I think they helped block the wind for me. In the end though, it was me passing others, people who likely originally passed me and then were not able to maintain the pace and eventually had to resort to walking. In all humility, however, I will certainly note that the finisher that crossed just in front of me appeared to be about four years old (I'm hopeful for my own reputation that this little boy did not actually run the entire race, but perhaps he did). =)

BJ finished the race in 32 minutes, then ran to the car to get the camera so that he could capture my finishing moment. Thank you to BJ. You're the best. Also, I'm sorry that I yelled at you this morning, although the yelling was mutual... it all began when we got to the race and I realized that I forgot to bring our race numbers with us, and then like most couples on the Amazing Race, we simply fell apart and began pointing fingers instead of uniting as a team. In the end, all was fine and the Turkey Trot people didn't give a flying flip that we didn't bring our numbers.

After the race I cried. It's true. I am so emotional. It's just so appropriate that this race was on Thanksgiving Day. I am so thankful for Silas, for BJ, for our families, and for our health. Thank you, thank you, thank you. =)

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Loving Life

Last night was a great night. First, it signaled the start of a long weekend, so who doesn't feel good driving home from work after that? Then, I got to see my two boys, who were up to mischief at home all day together since Silas has a cold. Later, I set off on a jog, pushed myself beyond what I thought I could do, and subsequently went 42 minutes without stopping. Sigh of relief. Finally, we headed to the Barons hockey game, where I got to see my entire immediate family and some terrific friends who I haven't seen in a while. It was truly a spectacular evening.

At this point today, Silas and I have already been to Target for our Thanksgiving shopping trip, and he is now conked out in his crib. Time to begin the kitchen works. My contributions for this year's Thanksgiving meal include a homemade cheddar cheese ball, cranberries (the same recipe I made earlier this fall, which is fab), mashed potatoes, and blackberry bliss cookies, which surprisingly have various other delicious goods in them such as chocolate chips, Heath toffee bits, coconut, and oats. I'm winging the Thanksgiving cookie this year since I didn't like the one that I made last week very much, so I hope this turns out good. The mashed potatoes I will make tomorrow, but everything else I'm going to try to tackle today.

Happy early Thanksgiving to you all. I mostly have no idea who reads this blog, but I bet you're wonderful and I wish you an excellent start to this year's holiday season! Will keep you updated on the race tomorrow!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Goals

Things are getting better in our household. Thank goodness. We had a relatively healthy day today, minus Silas having a cold. BJ and I even ate regular food tonight for dinner (shepherd's pie, in case you're interested)! A sure sign that things are on the mend. Tonight I decided to test the waters and go for a jog, and I set no expectations for myself so that I would not be disappointed. No need for such pessimism though, as I ran for half an hour and felt absolutely great! I only ended up stopping because I had made it to the house decked out with Christmas lights, and Tex and I decided to check it out without hurrying by. I feel so encouraged by this (the run I meant, not the Christmas lights....well I guess a little by the Christmas lights too). My plan is to run my last pre-Turkey Trot jog tomorrow and I'm going to give it my all, no holding back. I want to see how much I'm going to have to rely on race-day adrenaline alone, and the only way is to see how far I can push myself tomorrow.

One factor that I have recently become aware of is the coming change in weather. Colder temperatures are coming in on Wednesday, and by Thanksgiving morning the temperature is optimistically supposed to be in the high 20's. Now, please don't laugh, my dear Minnesota (and Maine and Massachusetts) friends! I know this is something to be scoffed at! However, please take into account that today's high was 77, and these warm temperatures have been with us for at least a week I think. I don't know, I've been holed up, but it's been a while. Regardless, it hasn't been in the 20's here yet this year. So we're going to have chilly buns the morning of the race! Now, I have some experience with this, thanks once again to my years in Minnesota. In 2006 my friend Lisa and I ran the Reindeer Run 5K in Minneapolis (well, more like Lisa ran it and dragged me along). The temperature on that December morning was a crisp 5 degrees, too cold even to snow, as the precipitation didn't start until BJ and I were walking back to the car after the race was over. Please note that during the last 2.5 miles of this race, I could not feel my legs beneath me. I expect a similar fate on Thursday morning.

Let me blab just a little more about another topic related to my jog tonight. The park that I jog in next to our home is a park dedicated to United States veterans, and there are monuments dedicated throughout to soldiers, including a recently-placed monument to a local soldier killed not long ago in this war. I ran in the dark tonight, and only a handful of people were there in the park with me, so you kind of notice them when you pass them. There was one fellow who I am guessing is perhaps training for the military. He looked to be in his late teens, by my estimation, and he was carrying a backpack that I was guessing had a weight in it by the way it was handling (I know it wasn't a camelbak). This guy began his workout by kneeling in silence at the monument dedicated to the fallen soldier, and then he proceeded to alternate sprints with crunches and push-ups. We see-sawed each other a few times since I was jogging constantly and he was sprinting and stopping, and I paid notice to what he was doing as I was winding my way around the trail. As I was running I was thinking that everyone training at this park tonight is doing it with something in mind, training for some goal. Our goals may all be different, but we're not there for nothing. I was humbly reminded tonight, though, as I'm gearing up for my fun race, that some people's goals are more noble than others. And to these people, I give my salute.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

We HATE you, germs!

First off, a shout out to Erik for completing the marathon in Tulsa this morning! We knew you could do it, man! Congrats!

AND....that's about the only good news of the day. The GI bug that dominated me has, since my last entry yesterday morning, dominated BJ as well. He was so sick yesterday, and he kept sweetly saying to me, "I feel like I'm dying. I'm sorry that you felt this way."  Thinking of me and my past misery during his own agony....aww. But it gets worse. BJ's mom came down with it this morning, and my dad also came down with it this afternoon. I have been bracing myself for poor Silas to get it, and lo and behold, we think he has. Poor guy has a pretty upset stomach, although he's not acting like he is completing miserable (yet). We're just hopeful that everyone gets this out of their systems before the holiday on Thursday.

As far as the Turkey Trot, this has been more in the back of my mind than in the fore these past few days. I do feel nearly 100% today, so I plan to jog tomorrow and Tuesday, rest on Wednesday, and then just give it my best on Thursday morning (that is, if Silas is better by then). BJ isn't sure what his plan is yet, but he is behind me in recovery and is not looking ahead to such things yet.

Although it's a little late to worry about infecting each other, I'm worried now about RE-infection in our family. Thus, this morning Silas and I went to Walmart and bought a cart-full of what was obviously goods for a sicky house: chicken noodle soup, Powerade, Jello, Pedialyte, bananas, applesauce, toothbrushes, Lysol spray, a double box of Clorox wipes, and a squirt bottle of hand sanitizer. When I was shopping I was thinking, "I'll be damned if I get it again," but of course I failed to recognize that if Silas gets it, I will still be loving on him, which is probably the best means of germ transport.

Germs, germs, go away.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bit By the Bug

Illness has descended upon the Potter household, particularly on me (and thankfully not on my boys). I've neglected my blog because since Wednesday night I've barely been able to see straight from the nausea! A nasty GI bug got the best of me and I've been out of commission.  I am now seven pounds lighter and feeling like a featherweight in terms of endurance too. I'm pretty thrilled that this bug chose to come this Thursday rather than next Thursday, as that would have made for the poorest Thanksgiving I've ever had. Plus it would have meant that the Turkey Trot was a no-go. As it is now though, I'm wondering how the Turkey Trot will pan out. I really feel too exhausted to even take a walk today, which had been the goal I had set for myself. I really think even a walk around the park is asking too much of myself today.  How sad is that? Will I really be able to gut out 3.1 miles in five days? Only time will tell, I suppose, but I'm no longer thinking "yes."

Let me end this blog entry on a great note, however. I'm watching the Oklahoma State football game on TV and just heard a great line from the announcer... "That's what it's going to take to beat Oklahoma State this year: 12 men on the field." What what.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gearing Up

I love, love, love the holidays! Fall is simply the best season, and once Halloween turns into Thanksgiving, there is just no better time in my opinion. I'm pretty excited about next week for so many reasons, and this year Thanksgiving means even more to me because of the Turkey Trot. I've worked hard toward this goal, and I think it's appropriate that my challenge is on the morning of a holiday in which we are given the opportunity to be thankful. I'm running this 5K because I had baby fat to lose, and what a good reason to put on weight! I'm jogging this race for Silas and myself, as well as the hopeful future children that BJ and I will have. I want to be able to run throughout my next pregnancy, so I'm running for my children and me. What a blessing! Meanwhile, I totally need to step it up. My longest distance run so far without stopping is 2.5 miles. Now don't get me wrong: this is great, especially for me. My goal is the entire distance on Thanksgiving morning, though, and I don't want to stop short. I'll only adopt the "everyone is a winner" mentality if desperate times call for desperate measures during the actual race. (What I mean by this is certainly not any kind of hope that I will win this race! It's more like "Don't be a loser by not running the whole thing.")

In the spirit of gearing up for next week food-wise, I'm also running a pre-holiday batch of the cookies that I was considering making for Thankgiving. Each year for the past three years I have worked hard on baking an extra-tasty cookie, with each year being a different cookie. This year I thought I might try chocolate-peppermint sandwiches. I can't just make a mediocre cookie though, so we're doing a trial run now. Those are in the oven and Silas is sleeping away after an eventful day thus far. He had his six-month appointment this morning, complete with six shots (boo!). After his morning nap he played hard for an hour and a half with his friend DJ, so he's pretty much pooped again.  I am washing up some of his laundry as part of my afternoon as well. When we were at Target yesterday I bought him a navy blue hoodie that was on sale for $3.50. At the store I thought it was fleece, but as I pulled it out of the sack today it seemed oddly velvety. Hmm. The tag says 100% polyester, but I'm pretty sure this is velvet, people. Now if I dress my son in this, he will be just like George Costanza, all draped in velvet. Perish the thought! Every mother's nightmare, a George Costanza son! If this doesn't feel significantly less velvety post-wash, it may go straight to the "too small to wear" pile.... For those of you interested in such things, Silas is still in the 90-percentiles for length. The doctor said that if he is still this high when he is 18 months old, we can expect at least a 6 foot man out of him!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Implications of Growing

We have reached a new realm in Silas' development, one which seemed so excellent in the beginning but has apparently come with some tiring implications. The best news is that Silas is healthy and is growing like crazy! He's crawling all over the place in a commando-style belly scoot, and typically it's across the room, AWAY from his toys to various excitements such as electrical outlets, computer cords, or a forgotten cell phone. I hear it gets even crazier when they start walking.  Even for now, gone are the days when I laid him in one place and he was still there when I returned ten minutes later.

Along with his ability to crawl has come his ability to push himself into a sitting position. I have waited for this ability for months, hoping each morning for the day that I would go in to get him and actually find him sitting in his crib playing with a stuffed animal. Well, he does this marvelously now, numerous times each day...and night. What I never considered with this feat, however, is the necessary ability to get himself FROM the sitting position BACK down to his tummy or side, a move that he has not yet mastered.  What this means is that several times in the middle of the night he cries out because he has gotten himself to sitting and is not able to get himself back to lying down so that he can sleep. It's the very antithesis of "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"  Each night at 2:30, 3:00, 3:45, 5:30, 6:15, and 7:00 Silas cries, and if you listen close enough, what you can hear is "Help! I've gotten up and I can't get back down!"  We used to enjoy most nights of the week as he slept through the night without so much as a peep, and now one of us is trudging from our bedroom to the nursery to lay him back down and pull his blanket over him, so that he can immediately fall back to sleep (which he does).

Man, oh man, what a stinker. =)

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Grand RDO

Today was a great RDO. What RDO means technically, I have no idea, but what it means to me is every other Friday, the Friday that BJ has off work. The FAA has termed that day "RDO."  We are just about the luckiest people in the world, as I'm off work every Friday and BJ has his RDO every other week. Those days are hard to beat. Today was chilly and rainy all day, but the boys and I got out and about on the town and made a great day of it. After Silas' morning nap, we started with a delicious lunch at Cocina Guatelinda. This place is a wonderful little Guatemalan restaurant right in the 'hood, and they were serving up some mighty fine dishes today, including my favorite queso pupusas and a delicious appetizer that we like to get made of mashed plantains, chocolate, and black beans. Hell to the yes, people. We ran several errands after this and had a cheery Silas with us all the way, which only serves to make the day even more grand.

Upon arriving at home, I thought, 'Gee, what could make this cozy day even better?' Knowing my propensity toward delicious food, as I know you all do, it seemed high time to me to work on a batch of chocolate chip cookies, the kind that are so big the recipe actually calls for them to be scooped with a 1/4 cup disher. Thirty minutes later, it smells like heavenly chocolate chip cookies in this house. The recipe made 17 cookies this time, as I refrained from eating too much of the batter, so our neighbors got a few in an attempt to save my waistline, and simultaneously keep them sweet on us since we have a 120-pound dog (albeit a friendly dog) and no fence. So here's to a night at home... and hoping that everyone else had a good day too!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Kick-Ass Jog

Okay, I'll admit it. Much to my displeasure, I went an entire week without jogging. At times I can honestly say that I chose to watch a football game or spend time with family instead of putting on those running shoes and hitting the pavement. However, there were 3 days last week when I planned to and even wanted to jog, and there was no time at all to do it. On those days, I got home just in time to complete tasks like feeding Silas, realizing I need to grocery shop, you know how it goes, until it was too late to actually go running at the end of the day. And speaking of the end of the day, whose big idea is this anyway to turn the clocks back? Now I'm guaranteed to be running in the pitch-black every time I go. Grr.

So, needless to say, my expectations of my jog yesterday were incredibly low, as I had not run in a solid week. I thought it would be a great mental battle, which it often is, and I told myself to start small and be pleased with myself if I could accomplish five minutes (okay, so I was REALLY going small). Well, the first time I looked at my watch, 6:15  had passed and I still felt marvelous, so I set my next goal to be running around the park one time, which would put me at one mile. Well, I made it around the park and had really hit my second wind at that point, so on I kept. At about a mile and a half, BJ started getting snarky with me about my pace (boo, BJ!) so I barked at him to run ahead of me and leave me alone, as obviously I could use encouragement rather than criticism. So on he went, and Tex and I proceeded to complete our run at 2.5 miles, which took me 31 minutes. Yes, I'm a slow runner, I know this. But may I also please add that one minute of this time was spent jogging in place as Tex pooped, peed, and sniffed about on multiple occasions. I am way ahead of training on the Couch to 5K plan, which only expects you to be able to run for 30 minutes the day before the race. However, clearly my pace is not on target, so I am figuring that I will really need to run about 40 minutes to accomplish the 3.1 miles of the Turkey Trot. BJ mentioned last night that apparently he doesn't like the way that I set goals for myself WHILE running, rather than saying before I begin jogging, "Well, I expect to run precisely 2.55 miles this eve."  Instead, as I mentioned above, my goals for last night's jog started at 5 minutes, then went to once around the park, then went to 20 minutes, then 26 minutes, and finally I just went into what I will call "Penny Mode," where I "run until I get hungry, and then I eat a bearclaw," only there was a Dove chocolate at my house rather than a bearclaw. I ended the jog with the additional benefit of feeling tired but good, and certainly not at death's door. Will keep you posted on my progress! And, although this was a month ago, congratulations again to Claire's Crew for your excellent job done at the Minneapolis 10K. Someday I may be able to run that far too!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

8-1....and Worried

Well, some sports analysts predicted Oklahoma State's football team to finish dead last in the Big 12 South this year. One look at the standings, however, and you'll realize that those people were fools. After losing Dez Bryant and Zac Robinson to the NFL, as well as large amounts of our defense and O-line, OSU is leading the Big 12 South and is poised to control its own destiny. So why am I shakin' in my shorts? Because next week, folks, we play Texas. Dum-da-dum-dum.

I hate playing Texas. In the spirit of good ole Pedro Martinez, who once tipped his hat and called the Yankees his "daddy," I can readily admit that Texas has been OSU's daddy for the past many years.  OSU has a harder time with Texas in recent history than they do even with OU, as recent history will show that OSU has beaten OU twice in the past nine years, including a win at Owen Field, which is one of Stoops' two home field losses since taking over the Sooners. I dread the game with Texas each year because they always find a way to win. About five years ago we had a 35-7 lead on them at half, and guess who won the game. Texas, that's who. And a couple of years after that we were leading with three minutes left before the showers, and guess who won that game. Texas, that's who. And two years ago we were ready to win in Austin, but Kendall Hunter fumbled the ball as he was running into the endzone and it was recovered by Texas for a 14-point turnaround, and guess who won that game. Texas, that's who, and by less than a touchdown. I'm sick to death of it.

This has got to be the year though, even though we play in Austin. Part of me feels nauseated watching Texas this year, as they have stumbled and lost badly to the likes of UCLA, OU, Kansas State, Baylor, and Iowa State. Holy heck, people, Iowa State! And yet, here we are, and I KNOW that we will lose in Austin...because we always lose to Texas.

May something turn around for us this year, please! A new uniform, a new something, please! All I know is this: If OSU plays in Austin the way they played at home yesterday, they will beat Texas this year. So which OSU team will show up in Austin next Saturday? Let's hope it's the OSU team that's ready to open up a can... a serious can of whoop-ass.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Say Cheese!

Today we were up early because it was picture day for our little family of three. We came in contact with a photographer named Katie Christy, who does mini-sessions for a reasonable price. The mini-session lasts for 15 minutes or less and is at a specified outdoor location that she dresses up with cute furniture, etc., while getting in a nice outdoorsy background. Apparently it's enough to get some good shots, and she gives you a CD of the edited photos. Our appointment was at 8:15 this morning in Yukon, and boy was it chilly (for us in Oklahoma anyway)! Silas was a super trooper though, and he hammed it up pretty good for the entire 15-minute session. So, yeah, poor BJ was up at 5:30 and I was up at 6:00 as usual. Hopefully the pics turn out great... I'll be sure to let you know!

Tonight is fall-back, so don't forget to set your clocks back! For me, this will probably mean that I'm up not at 6:45, but rather 5:45, with a baby who is done sleeping but too adorable to get rid of. Just kidding. Honestly, I have never, and I mean NEVER, been a morning person before. In fact, my nickname in the family has been Jenny Bear ever since I was a toddler, and I was named this after my grandma (whose name was also Jenny) and who always woke up in a grumpy mood. She and I were two peas in a pod, apparently. However, 29 years into my life, Silas pulled the unthinkable and made a morning person out of me. There is no time that I love better now than the early mornings, especially the weekend mornings, up with the baby and BJ bright and early (or sometimes dark and early), fixing coffee and muffins, with College Gameday on in the background. So tomorrow if my prediction is correct and Silas and I are up at an ungodly time, I won't be too upset. In fact, I might be secretly happy about it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Yawn and a Prayer

Well, I don't know if it's teething or what, but Silas has not been sleeping well. And you know how the saying goes... 'When Silas ain't sleepin, ain't nobody sleepin'.' I feel as though I've been a bit of a zombie the past couple of days. Typically I would shake it off, as I did a whole lot of during maternity leave. Unfortunately, I am no longer on maternity leave, and when Silas is awake for hours in the middle of the night, it simply means I go to work tired (or just don't go to work, as was the case on Wednesday). Thank goodness my weekend is here!

Tonight I am sitting here, zombie-like on the couch while BJ watches the Thunder game on TV, and I'm thinking of others who are hurting. Friends in California with bad news, friends in Oklahoma just returning from a difficult trip, and friends who have lost loved ones. Even as I sit here trying to think of words to type, my heart just hurts and my word-bank is empty. I lift a general prayer for all of this hurt, and friends may know that somewhere in Oklahoma a tired girl is sitting on a gray couch in a quiet living room thinking of you and praying.

Tomorrow's entry is guaranteed to be happier.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Election Day

Well, tomorrow is election day. Or is it Election Day? I don't know. I do know that I will be going to vote, and I know that it will be happening late in the day. Two years ago I stood in line for an hour and a half to vote for the Presidential election and was subsequently late to work. Imagine my surprise when I drove past the same polling place about ten hours later that day, 6:30PM or so, and there were exactly two cars in the parking lot (both of which probably belonged to lonely and bored poll attendants). So, yes, I shall not make that mistake again. I will be an evening voter from now on.  Silas will accompany me to voting, just like he accompanies me into the liquor store, although he is obviously under-age. And to the few fools who have ever commented to me about the age of my son in such locations, I simply ask, "Would you prefer that I illegally leave him in the car?"  I didn't think so, so now shut your traps.

Well, there are many things about Oklahoma of which a citizen should not be proud, but tomorrow is not one of them. No siree, and why? Because no matter what happens by the end of the day tomorrow, Oklahomans will have voted in their first female governor in history. While I certainly have a preference between Democrat Jari Askins and Republican Mary Fallin, I will be happy regardless of which one is chosen for the simple fact that we are now progressing onward to a more equivalent society.

On other notes, happy six-month birthday to Silas tomorrow. Sometimes I think that six months has flown by, and other times I think, yes, it has indeed been six long but good months.  Also, I have run twice since my last entry, once to the tune of 2.3 miles, and once to some major suckage of only one mile. To this day when I totally sucked (I believe it was Saturday), I kept telling myself afterward the great Vince Lombardi quote, "Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit." I did not quit today and ran on, my friends. And on and on.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Picture Day

Today I thought I would talk about some recent fun adventures and post a few pics of Silas. For those of you concerned about this blog becoming a daily brag book of my son, you need not worry. But for today, he can have the spotlight. My apologies for not keeping up with the blog over the past week.... work was crazy as usual and I was in bed as early as possible.

Sunday night was the season opener for the Oklahoma City Thunder, which is our local NBA team. Perhaps quite foolishly, BJ and I have spent hard-earned bucks on season tickets in the upper level, and we intend to take Silas to the vast majority of these 44 games (this being the possibly foolish part). He has done so well at sporting events like baseball, hockey, and football games in the past that we thought, what the heck? Let's give it a whirl. We bought Silas some rockin' Baby Banz Hearing Protector Earmuffs, Camo Green (although his are actually Camo Blue) and off we headed. Silas was mesmerized by the crowd and the brightly-lit court until he drifted off to sleep in the second quarter. He stayed sleeping in BJ's lap until well into the fourth quarter. Thunder won, by the way. Next game is Sunday night.
 Yesterday we headed to the Oklahoma City Zoo. Silas seems to really love dogs, and he laughs frequently at Tex and my parents' dog Sam. Tex is pretty great with Silas. Here is a picture of Silas and Tex conspiring together:
We thought that since Silas now seems old enough to enjoy experiencing animals, perhaps the zoo is the place to be. Silas seemed to have a pretty good time, although admittedly he took only a mild interest in most of the animals. He was particularly interested in the nocturnal exhibit where he watched fruit bats flying all over the place. He also seemed fairly interested in the gorillas and orangutans. A couple of times we had a neat experience, such as the time that the sea lion swam right in front of our window or when the black bear paused only inches away on the other side of the glass and made eye contact with us. I thought with excitement, "Silas has got to be loving this!" only to look down and see that he was enthralled with wrestling a beast in his own hands...his pacifier. Ah well. We'll take him again in about another six months.  Here are some pictures from the zoo:
Last night was also a Halloween festival at BJ's parents' church, so we dressed him up in his lion costume, courtesy of Aunt Pat's marvelous garage-sale-ing. He got some ooh's and ahh's from friends and family (as well as a few from polite strangers), but no candy this year! We'll save that for when he has teeth.
I don't have pictures of OSU's Walkaround from last Friday, but Silas was a real trooper and joined us in Stillwater for that as well. I'm telling you, there are schools that celebrate homecoming, and then there are schools like OSU that CELEBRATE HOMECOMING. Everyone around here knows that homecoming in Stillwater is tops because of the hard work done by the sororities and fraternities in making the incredible house decs (as they are called there). When we lived in Minnesota, I was depressed each year on Walkaround night that we couldn't be there, so it's so great to be close again. We had a blast!

In other news, I am running for considerably longer distances. On Monday I ran 2.2 miles with no stops, albeit at the tortoise pace of 26:45. That last lap of the park was abysmally slow, but I never stopped moving my feet or else I knew I couldn't get going again. But the distance is what I need to focus on here, the DISTANCE. 2.2 miles! I am going to be able to do this on Thanksgiving morning. Then I followed it up by running a mile and a half, check it, a mile and a half, with a jogging stroller on Thursday. And Silas was in the stroller, so add nearly 20 pounds on to that workout! No wonder my arms are still sore.

Have a good weekend everyone. Shazam.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Signing up!

Today it looks cold and gray outside, which puts me in an excellent fall-ish mood. Thus, I have the first batch of fresh cranberry sauce bubbling on the stove. This is one of my favorite fall desserts, and this time I'm using a recipe from the magazine Real Simple, which calls for a bag of cranberries, apple juice, sugar, and bourbon. Yum. Cranberry sauce is much easier to make than is typically presumed to be, and it's one of those things that tastes a bazillion times better than its canned counterpart. So here's to the new cranberry recipe... I'll let you know how it turns out.

Tonight I am officially signing up for the Edmond Turkey Trot. I had previously set the goal for myself that I would not let myself sign up (even though I wanted to) until I was at least halfway to my time and/or distance goal. The trail that I run on is about .9 miles, so it's not perfectly easy to figure out what 1.6 miles is on that trail. However, I know that I pretty consistently run an 11-1/2 minute mile (don't laugh...well, okay, you can laugh). Thus, I figured about 18 minutes would do the trick time-wise. Just to be a smart-ass, I ran 19 minutes yesterday and nearly killed poor Tex, my somewhat heavyset yellow Lab who ran with me. He laid down on the front lawn as I was coming in the door, but pulled a quick recovery when he learned he was about to make a fun trip to his crazy grandma's house. I'll save the story of why we call my mom CG (crazy grandma) for another day, but she does not actually have mental health problems, as one might assume from this name. So last month at this time I was just a chump, and now I'm a chump that can run a mile and a half. My treat for myself in accomplishing this goal is to sign for this 5K already. Yes! And in doing so, I learned yesterday that I have three running partners signing up with me. A shout-out to BJ, Christa, and David for doing me a solid.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Statement I Thought I'd Never Make

I have long been a Chicago Cubs fan. Sadly, it runs in my lineage, much like an unfortunate bow-leggedness or propensity to snort when laughing. My Papa was born in 1919 and died in 2000, and he was a Cubs fan from birth to death. I cringe when I realize that during his span of 81 years, he never did see the Cubs win the World Series.

Honestly, some of the youngest pictures of me reveal a smiling child with an over-sized Cubs hat on my head. To my obvious delight, BJ is also a Cubs fan and always has been. I knew in college that he was the man for me when he was super cute, smart, treated me well, and told me that Ryne Sandberg was his favorite player of all-time (of course, Ryne Sandberg is also MY favorite all-time player as well). This July BJ and I had the exhilarating opportunity to meet Ryne Sandberg as he was managing the Iowa Cubs, who were in town playing the Oklahoma City Redhawks. We got to the game four hours early and were able to nab his attention in the empty stadium, and he graciously gave us about five whole minutes of his time. My heart still thumps in my chest when I remember being in the close proximity of such greatness.

All this to say that I have decided that for at least the next one year of my life, I am no longer a Chicago Cubs fan. I feel like a zombie as I type these words, as though some other strange person is typing them, but it's true. Those stupid, stupid men who are the higher-ups in the Cubs organization have once again demonstrated their extensive incompetence by choosing to NOT hire a qualified Ryne Sandberg as the new manager of a badly ailing team. What could spur team spirit more than a young Hall-of-Famer who can inject infectious energy throughout the dugout? What more do Cubs fans wish to see but their beloved Ryno taking his shot at trying to restore the Cubs reputation as a force to be reckoned with? Don't even get me started on past mistakes (cough, cough, spending a fortune on the ever-foolish Alfonso Soriano...cough, cough trading Hall-of-Famer-to-be Greg Maddux PLUS a million bucks for back-up shortstop Cesar Izturis). Don't EVEN get me started. All I know is, I have grown up knowing that those Cubs need all the help they can get every season. And next year, they'll be doing it without my support. Thanks a lot Jim Hendry, you giant moron.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Veggie Tale

With Texas having a big lead and pumpkin pie on my plate, I feel as though I can turn my attention to blogging now. I am enjoying the Texas Ranger dominance that's happening this post-season, especially since the Twins bit the dust early on once again. Go Texas go.

Well, 5-1/2 months ago BJ and I were blessed with an awesome, laid-back, adorable, happy baby Silas. I'm telling you, he's tops in my world. This is something that continually amazes me, especially because for about 28 years of my life I thought I probably didn't want children. We really like Silas' pediatrician. She had us spoon-feeding rice cereal at four months, and at five months we began vegetables. So far Silas has successfully tackled green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes with corn (livin' the big life!), and squash, and with nearly every bite of each of these he has made loud "What About Bob" mmm-mmm noises. What a guy.

So, I am now buying vegetables at the grocery store for Silas (Gerber brand, as I am no Julia Child). The other day BJ and I were perusing our Gerber options at the local grocery store and we were next to a very talkative lady who was eager to share that the particular market we were at has the best baby food prices in town. She then proceeds to tell us that it's so cheap, she has her 3-year-old child eating this stuff, just to get him away from some other options. Now, I'm no mother of a 3-year-old, I'll readily admit. But doesn't 3 years seem kind of old to be eating the pureed Gerber food? I mean, the introduction of teeth should automatically mean an upgrade in texture. She then proceeds on with how awful the stuff tastes. I am trying not to be oppositional with her, so I just keep nodding and smiling and thinking privately in my head, "WTH woman?" I, however, disagree with her. I have tried each of these vegetables (and rice cereal) personally before giving them to my baby, because why in the world would I want to feed my baby something that is disgusting? Guess what, people. Pureed green beans taste exactly like canned green beans, only in pureed texture. The same thing for peas and sweet potatoes! Nothing gross here. You can even look at the ingredients, and they say only the specified vegetable and water. So BJ and I are each thinking, this woman must not eat many veggies, canned or fresh, for her to keep babbling nonsense like this. Of course, she goes on to mention how lucky we are that we all have McDonalds. Of course. (I like a two-cheeseburger meal more often than I should, but is this the extent of our culinary aspirations?)

At age six months we get to add fruit onto the daily menu for Silas, and I'm excited. If only he could know about the delicious foods in store for him as he gets older and older.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Run Jen-nay, Run!

In my recent jogging experiences, I have noticed that I have adopted several mental strategies that make up my style (if I say I have a style, it makes me sound like a first-class runner!). First of all, I find it best to focus on everything that's going on around me, rather than keeping my mind on my breathing and my pain (yes, pain...running is hard). When I notice myself complaining to myself too much, I start trying to notice the people around me on the jogging path. Luckily, we live right next to a park and can easily get on the park's jogging path, which is nearly one mile around. Another thing I have noticed is that I become my own trainer in my head and I refuse to let myself re-negotiate distances. For instance, once we make it to the playground, I tell myself that I won't let myself stop short until the covered bridge which is a couple of minutes past it. Herein lies the trick, though, reader, because my #1 hard and fast rule is that I will NEVER allow myself to get to the bridge and then NOT finish a complete loop around the park. The completion of the loop is probably two or three minutes past the covered bridge, so if I can make it to the playground, essentially I'm golden. Of course, my training is about to get to the point where I must go past the one-loop mark and continue on around back to the playground again, which necessitates struggling on to the bridge, and then by force going all the way back to the loop, and then eventually doing that yet again. And all of this for a body that, hopefully, will not stay slim for long as we are hoping to have more children before long. Is there a point to this? Finally, the new strategy I adopted is the nonchalant attitude toward running demonstrated by Penny on the Big Bang Theory. She recently stated something along the lines of, "I run until I get hungry, and then I stop and buy a bearclaw."

I jogged for 14.5 minutes the other day, which BJ (who was patiently jogging behind me) stated was equivalent to 1.2 miles. I complained on the walk home, "I can't imagine that I'll ever be able to continue my jog by another two miles!" He helpfully said that I don't have to. I only have to extend it by 1.9 miles. The difference in that tenth of a mile is huge to me though, folks, because it takes it from the 2's to the eetsy beetsy 1's. And that I know I can do.

Also, I just have to shout out, Go Pokes! We were supposed to suck this year, and now people are actually predicting that we'll beat Nebraska at home next week. I can't believe it. 6-0 in a season where some predicted we wouldn't even have six total wins. To all the nay-sayers, I say "Suck it Trebek!"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturdays

I love Saturdays. I mean seriously, how lucky am I that I have several weekly days, but particularly Saturday, where I can be with my family and not have to work? I remember in 2001 I was in New York City and was chatting it up with an Asian lady who sold some goods in China Town (legitimate goods, that is). She told me that she works seven days a week, never a day off. I thought, "How can this be?" And yet, there are people in this world who have to do it. But I was a lucky one today. I watched college football (OSU is now 6-0, coming off a great win in Lubbock thank you very much), jogged with friends (see below), had BJ's parents over for dinner, and baked my first pumpkin pie of the fall. Canned pumpkin has once again been pretty hard to find this year, but I'm hoping for the best as the season wears on. Pumpkin bread needs to be baked soon!

In other news, I am now able to run a mile without stopping. I run an 11-minute mile, but I just can't chide myself about the pace because at least I'm getting it done. Props to my running buddies, BJ, Chanda, and Landon today. Like a bunch of juveniles (and against the wishes of Chanda and BJ, I must admit), we ran all the way to the house about a mile away where the girl was murdered earlier this week. I don't know if we expected the house to look spooky or what, but everything seemed completely normal despite the gruesome scene only a few days ago. Both of the babies also did well in their strollers during the run. Also in other news, Silas is sitting up pretty independently at this point, which is pretty cute. His longest stretch is about two minutes I think.

Hope everyone sleeps well tonight. =)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Earthquake!

Well today an interested thing happened, and you can probably guess by the title of this entry that that interesting thing was an earthquake. In Oklahoma. Earthquake in Oklahoma. How crazy is that? It happened at 9:00 this morning, was a 5.1 on the Richter scale, and was felt from Texas to Kansas, although the epicenter was a few miles from our house. I was at the office, which is 30 minutes northeast of our house, and the rumble still lasted probably 12-15 seconds. Enough time for me to argue with my co-worker while it was happening that it wasn't actually an earthquake, but was construction going on next door (in my defense, there was construction going on next door AND I was short on sleep, although clearly I was in the wrong here). What can I say? I guess Oklahoma just has it all.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Recurring Dreams

May 3, 1999 was a day that changed my life and the lives of so many people in my community. On that day our town was struck by an F5 tornado that devastated the city and destroyed the homes of many of my friends. My mom knew someone who was killed in this tornado as well. The F5 was over a mile wide and sounded like a freight train from our cellar, even though it was over a mile to our north. We even had debris like shingles in our front yard. I remember that night after it was over, and I was a senior in high school but was still too afraid to sleep alone. My brother, sister, and I crowded into my mom's room and slept that night with the windows up, so that we could hear for sure if the warning sirens went off again. Obviously there was no power, so no TV to warn us. All we heard all night was the sound of ambulance sirens wailing over and over again. I remember that the sky was brown with dirt for days afterward. Four days later, my brother, sister, and I were lucky enough to volunteer in the hardest-hit area of town, passing out water and food to people as they cleaned up the ruins that were their homes. I didn't even know where I was in this town that I had grown up in, it was that demolished. A family of five was rescued from their cellar across the street from where we were giving out water... four days after the tornado.

Ever since this day, I have had the recurring dream of tornadoes coming to get me. I have these dreams at least once a week, and it's nearly always the same: I am with my family, although the members vary from dream to dream, and I see a tornado in the gray sky in the distance. I know that it is headed toward us and we must take some course of action. In reality, I feel so uncomfortable not having a storm cellar, and there are no basements in Oklahoma for the most part, so if something huge was to come like it did on that day, you better believe I am loading up the family and driving. What's funny is that in the past three years, two small tornadoes have passed within a quarter mile of our house when we didn't even know it, and we were home. I'm not sure how to get rid of these dreams, and I'm a psychologist, so it seems like I should know. Instead, I feel stuck, so I figure I'm resigned to keep having them.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Good things to know

First off, let me add something to yesterday's post:
The person who handed down the copy of Eat, Pray, Love to me requested that after I finish it I hand it off to someone else who might enjoy it. So, if you're interested in reading the book then leave a comment here and I'll touch base with you about where I can send it.

I love sharing books and book ideas with people. You would think that I would be a member of a book club, but actually I'm not. When I'm reading a book, I often read and re-read particular parts that I enjoy, sometimes even whole chapters, before I feel ready to move on. It slows down the process, but that's really alright with me. A couple of suggestions for others who enjoy reading...

1. Nancy Pearl is a librarian from the Tulsa area who has published a couple of books about books. That's right, books about books. She is an avid reader beyond anyone I have ever heard of previously, and she has written two books entitled Book Lust and More Book Lust that give tons of ideas for great books to read on numerous topics. They have truly been great references for me and led me to authors and books that I otherwise might never have heard of. To think of my literary life without Van Reid or A Far Cry from Kensington evokes feelings of sadness. Also, she's super-receptive to emails from readers.

2. Shelfari! Shelfari Shelfari! I great website for organizing your personal virtual bookshelf, complete with covers. You can keep visual shelves of books you've read, books you own, books you want to own, and (most importantly) books you want to read. This way, when you're at the library and don't know what to get and are overwhelmed with choices, you can pull up your shelfari page and Voila! Your desires are at your fingertips. I am just the sort of person who has a hundred books I want to read or movies I want to see, and then when I'm put on the spot I blank. If you end up creating your own shelfari page, add me as a friend please! This completes the full circle of this entry, in which I love to read books and share book ideas with others.

Well, these posts won't all be about books, I promise. Have a great evening, friends.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Balancing Act

I'm currently finishing the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Typically I don't get into popular books like this, but this one was recommended to me by someone whose opinion I value, and she gave me her tattered copy that she had taken to the beach to read. I wanted to be able to discuss this book with her, and I figured that any book that has been to the beach must have some good energy vibes in it. So, I've been reading it, and I honestly have loved it so far. If you're not familiar with the premise of the book, Ms. Gilbert chose to spend one year in self-exploration, beginning with four months of gustatory indulgence in Italy. She then spent four months in an Ashram in India where she devoted herself to prayer and meditation, a journey which she describes as quite difficult but rewarding for her, as she (like most people) found herself struggling with her mind and thoughts when trying to focus more on God. Finally, she spent the last four months of the year in Bali, where she attempted to learn and practice a balance between love, pleasure, and spiritual health.

Unless I am reading a book purely for the entertainment, such as I might do with a Rex Stout mystery, I always try to apply a book to my own personal life, as I'm sure most people do. Ms. Gilbert has got me thinking quite a bit about the balance of my own life, or rather perhaps, the imbalance of it. What are the different components of my life, and how can I improve upon living a more fulfilling existence? What can I bring more of into my life, and what should have less importance than it currently does? What I have particularly been practicing in the past month, and quite successfully I might add, is eliminating the self-judgment that often comes with an evaluation. It has been quite a new thing for me to decide to exercise, for instance, without the accompanying disparaging thoughts of “Why haven't you been exercising all along?” and “Stop eating that, it only negates your jog!” and “You have such a long way to go!” Instead, I have finally made the decision to stop the tomfoolery (yes, I said the word tomfoolery) of thoughts that need have no place in my life. So I want and need to exercise more? Do it, and with no self-blame. Should I be praying more? Yes, I should be, so I'll do it, without berating myself for wasted opportunities gone by. My life can slowly be shaped this way into more of what I would like for it to be: pleasure and fun, physical health, spiritual well-being, and responsibilities. My interpersonal roles as a mother, wife, daughter, and sister depend on a healthy me. No place in this wheel of health includes judgment toward self or others. So thanks to Ms. Gilbert for sharing her journey, as she has inspired me to seek my own balance.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bragging

Well, I know that the Lord especially appreciates a humble soul, but I have to admit that I was fairly proud of myself yesterday. While on my vacation, I decided that it would be best for my body and mind to attempt a jog. I had been forewarned by Susan, my mother-in-law, that the place is hilly so good luck, and I therefore decided to only require four minutes of continuous jogging from myself. I set off walking and found a nearby trail. I thought to myself, “Self, this seems like as good a place as any to jog.” Then and there, reader, I began my 12-minute cotinuous (yes, 12 whole minute) cross-country jog! Some of it was uphill, some of it was rocky, some of it was uphill AND rocky, but I kept my feet a-movin' for 12 minutes. Then I came back and ate a couple of cookies in sweet, sweet celebration, but we shall not digress...I am ahead of myself in the Couch to 5K plan, so I'm particularly hopeful that this Thanksgiving-time goal can be accomplished.

In other news, I saw a tarantula yesterday, which was kind of exciting. The last several that I had seen were on the highway, in which I was a good, safe distance away since I was driving in my car on those occasions. This tarantula was at a picnic site, and he was a quizzical, crawling fellow. I had the heeby-jeebies afterward, but I suppose that's to be expected. Also, I am more than delighted with OSU's 5-0 start, which is more than many people expected of us.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

BJ is Coming Home

Yes, that's right, he's on a jet plane right now. I believe that I can safely say that he has been out of town without fear of some crazy person coming into my house, because here and now I will tell you that I am the proud owner of a 38-special that I affectionately refer to as "Old Blue," and I'm not afraid to shoot it. In the words of Scarlett O'Hara, "I can shoot straight if I don't have to shoot too far." This has officially taken a forbidding turn. What I meant to say was, BJ is coming home! And to make things even better, we are already officially on our weekend, which extends all the way until next Tuesday. We may not have internet access on these days, so don't think this blog has died if you don't hear from me for a few days, reader.

While I'm glad that BJ is coming home to us, the anticipation of traveling is always great for me. This year BJ and I have been on trips to Chicago, Indianapolis, Dallas (a few times), Kansas City, Minneapolis, and a couple of in-state trips. BJ has also traveled a few other places for work, but I didn't get to join so those don't count in my book. We're also planning two trips in early winter, one to L.A. and one to the Big Apple, since it's on my bucket list to see the Rockefeller center Christmas tree. I have become somewhat panicky lately that this particular wish may never be fulfilled, thinking for some reason that having children makes this dream much more difficult, which I suppose it does. I thought, better to tackle this goal now when we have only Silas, versus next year when I hope to be delivering my second child at that time, and versus the few years after that when I hope to have little ones swarming at my feet. God willing, I would have time to see this Christmas tree after the kids grow up and are eventually adults, but for some reason I keep envisioning this time as some sort of invalid or nursing home resident. Clearly, this is likely not to be the case, as my parents seem to be in the prime of THEIR lives right now. Still, I'd like to take the trip now instead. And maybe then too. Poor Silas tolerates us well. He's taken four trips and we plan to have the little guy in tow for both the NYC and LA trips too. This boy will have seen coast to coast by the time he's 8 months old, and probably all he really wanted was to be at home in his own crib. Good thing he is a laid-back kind of guy.