Airing Dirty Laundry

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The Past Month February 28, 2010

Filed under: baby!,family,friends — airingdirtylaundry @ 1:43 pm

One of these days maybe I’ll write a post on the postpartum depression thing, but just to sum things up, I’m getting the help I need.  While I was once vehemently against the whole idea of drugs or seeing a professional to talk about anything, I’m now taking anti-depressants and have both a therapist and a psychiatrist.  And I’m OK with that. 

But for now, here’s a photo recap of what our past month has been like:

WATCHING PITT BASKETBALL

BLIZZARD! (And record snowfall for the month of February–close to 50 inches when we normally get about 8 inches)

FIVE MONTHS OLD!

FIRST VALENTINE’S DAY!

VISITS FROM FRIENDS

SIPPY CUPS

(and crazy mustaches)

SQUASH!

AND TUMMY TIME

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Crafty! October 20, 2009

Filed under: blogging,friends — airingdirtylaundry @ 9:50 pm

I have some really awesome friends.  Online and in real life.

(Thanks, by the way, for all of your encouraging words and support after my last post!)

Maggie has gotten so many awesome gifts from our family and friends . . .books, clothes, toys, and so much more!  And it means a lot to Mike and I that people take the time out of their busy lives to pick out or make something special for our little girl.

I’ve always admired people who are crafty.  I think it’s because my mother was one of those people . . .she could crochet, quilt, and paint (folk art and tole painting).  It seemed like any craft she would try, she would excel at.  I’ve always wished that I would have inherited that from her.

My craft of choice has always been counted cross-stitch.  The picture of baskets on the wall behind Michele and I in my last post is actually a cross-stitch that I was working on for my mother; she passed away before I finished it and was able to give it to her.  I’ve always loved cross-stitch; it was therapeutic for me and gave me something to do while watching TV.  But to me, it’s not much of a craft.  It doesn’t take much talent or creativity . . .all you have to do is know how to count and make sure the right color gets to the right place.

Other crafts are different.  Like crochet and knitting.  You start with nothing but yarn and needles, and viola . . you have a blanket, or a sweater, or whatever.  You’re making something out of nothing.  Now that is awesome.

My Aunt Margie and my grandmother both made blankets for Maggie (and if I wasn’t so lazy I’d go take pictures of them, but they’re both upstairs and I’m downstairs . . .and tired). 

And yesterday Maggie got a beautiful blanket in the mail from Therese!  She tried it out last night when she was sleeping in her Daddy’s arms, and I think she likes it!

How sweet!  It’s so soft and so cozy!

And TheAngelForever had sent Maggie a box of goodies and had included washcloths that she made–I took a picture of them this morning before Maggie got her bath.

I’ve used these washcloths every time I’ve given Maggie a bath since they arrived–they’re so incredibly soft!

I know Mike has never understood how I’ve connected with people online that I’ve “met” through blogging.  He doesn’t quite understand how you can form any kind of connection with someone that you haven’t met in person, or (in some cases) have never even talked to on the phone.  But as cards and gifts for Maggie came in the mail, he would ask who they were from when he didn’t recognize the name.  And each time, I’d explain that the person was a blogging friend.  I think he’s starting to undertand that you can create relationships with people through blogging.  That others care enough about us and were so happy for us that they took the time to send us a card, or go to a store and buy something for Maggie, or order something online and have it sent to us, or–like my craftier friends–take the time to make something for her.

So thank you . . . those of you that are friends in real life, and those of you that I’ve never met and yet I feel like I know so well.  You’ve showered us with all kinds of well wishes, and gifts, and love . .  and we’re forever grateful!

 

It’s not all good all of the time October 19, 2009

Filed under: friends,secrets — airingdirtylaundry @ 7:48 pm

I think it’s time to get back to being a “real” blogger.  I spent the past 10 or 11 months writing almost exclusively about being pregnant, and then, since her birth, Maggie. Everything was happyhappyjoyjoy.

I loved being pregnant.  I loved every minute of it.  During the times early on when I felt sick to the last few days when I started to get uncomfortable, I really couldn’t complain.  I had difficulty getting pregnant and staying pregnant, so every moment of my pregnancy with Maggie was cherished and never taken for granted.  Throughout that time, I learned that it’s not all about ME anymore.  I was carrying a life, a precious life, inside of me, and my discomfort ceased to matter.   I would have done whatever it would have taken to carry her to term and make sure she was healthy, regardless of how it affected me.

And now that she’s here, it’s easy to write about the wonders and joys of having a beautiful, healthy baby.  It’s easy to post pictures of her, to document her milestones, to capture the essence of her NOW, before she changes and grows with the passage of time.

It’s not as easy to write about everything else. It’s not as easy to admit to the changes in my life since Maggie’s birth that aren’t positive, or that I haven’t reacted positively to.

It’s easier to post a picture of a happy baby.

(Even one who is losing her hair in weird patches.  Why can’t it ALL just fall out at once and be done with it?  It didn’t start falling out until the day I made an appointment to have her pictures taken . . .c’mon kiddo, we’ve got a deadline on the hair loss situation here!)

Anyhow, the bottom line is that I’ve struggled a lot in the past six weeks.  More than I expected to.  More than I’ve let on to ANYONE, except Mike, because, well, he has to deal with me on a daily basis.  It hasn’t had anything to do with being capable as a parent; it’s not that kind of struggle.  It’s more of me being an emotional, mental, and physical wreck.

It’s never been so severe that I thought it was post-partum depression.  I’m still healing–in a lot of ways–and I expected a certain amount of recovery.  And I know that a lot of what I’ve experienced over the past month and a half can be attributed to hormones.  I guess I just never realized that hormones can be so . . .powerful.

There have been days that I basically curled up in a ball on the couch with Maggie in the bouncy on the floor next to me for hours at a time.  There have been other days where I’ve been a whirlwind of accomplishment–successfully juggling taking care of Maggie with everything else that needs to get done and feeling on top of the world about how capable I am of doing it ALL.

I never thought that the highs would be so high, or that the lows would be so . . .low. 

A friend of mine said to me once that she went through what she called a “mourning period” after the birth of her first child.  She mourned for the way her life used to be.  Independence. Spontaneity.  Freedom.  They were all gone.  She was responsible for another life.  Would always think about someone else first.  When she said that to me, I first thought “how selfish”.  Now I think I have a better understanding of what she meant.  And it’s not about being selfish, it’s more about adjusting to the changes that come along with having a baby.

I am not “just myself” anymore.  Mike and I aren’t “just a couple” anymore.  We’re a package deal.  And that package is now high maintenance.  Is always at the forefront of our thoughts.  Is always our number one priority.  Our “go with the flow” lifestyle is a lot more structured than it ever was before.  And that’s not a bad thing; it’s just an adjustment.

I’ve always been one to make a decisions quickly and to move on, confident in my choice.  But now some of the decisions I have to make don’t affect just me, or just Mike and I.  I can’t just adopt  my “devil may care” attitude and laugh it off if the decision is the wrong one, shrug my shoulders, and carry on.  Because now Maggie factors in, and my decisions will affect her too, and us as a family unit.

[Sorry to be so vague, but I have reasons for not being more specific.]

To complicate things, I’ve never been one to readily admit to a struggle.  It’s always been easier for me to play it up that everything’s rosy and that I have everything under control.  It’s rare that I would go to someone, even a close friend, and admit that I need any kind of help.

But today, I called a friend.  One that I’ve been meaning to call for weeks.  One that I haven’t talked to in a few months.

And, somehow, without me asking, and–I think–without her knowing, she helped me.

After talking to her, just having a conversation catching up on each other’s lives and hearing about her experiences after having her son, I feel so much better about some of the things that have been bothering me.  I feel . . .refreshed, for lack of a better word.  I feel like I can cope a little better, and make some decisions that need to be made with a little more confidence.

Michele has always had that effect . . .she gives me perspective.  Always at a time when I need it most. 

And she makes me laugh.  Always at a time when I need it most.

Michele and I posing as iguanas (inside joke!) 2 years ago when she came to visit for a weekend.

 

#84 Have Reunion With Grade School Friends I Recently Reconnected With . . .DONE! February 14, 2009

Filed under: 101 in 1001,friends — airingdirtylaundry @ 10:38 am

Thanks to Facebook, I recently got back in touch with some classmates that I lost track of after graduation.  Last fall, we started talking about the possibility of meeting up and catching up.  I was actually the one to push the issue (me? timid little me?), and we agreed to get together in Harrisburg in early February for dinner and a few drinks.

I’ve kept in touch with 2 of the girls since we graduated from high school–Lori was my roommate in college for 3 years, Amy has been one of my very best friends since third grade, and both were in our wedding.  But none of the 3 of us kept in contact with the other 3, and none of the other 3 kept in contact with each other.  Make sense?

We met at the Appalachian Brewing Company, and by the time the waitress came back to the table with our drinks, it was like it was the late 80’s/early 90’s all over again.  We’ve all changed with time, but inside we’re all the same.  The connections were still there.  I was interested and fascinated with what they’ve done with their lives.  We gabbed and gabbed and yelled and laughed loudly and long (thankfully the place was huge and noisy), interrupted each other mid-story, and re-lived the good ol’ days.  We sat there for over 3 hours and not ever was there a moment of awkwardness or silence or uncomfortableness.

It has been SEVENTEEN years since we’ve all been in the same room together, but we didn’t miss a beat.  We’re already planning our next get-together, and since we’re all still in the PA/MD area, there’s really not an excuse for us to NOT see each other every few months or so.

 

2008 in review December 29, 2008

Filed under: family,friends,holidaze,projects,travel,Vegas — airingdirtylaundry @ 4:02 pm

What a whirlwind year!  As it comes to a close, I can’t help but think of all that happened this year.  My first thought was “Whew!  Glad it’s over.  Let’s move on to the next.”  Then I realized that that’s not fair.  It’s not like 2008 was incredibly terrible.  I have a lot to be thankful for, a lot of good things going on.  But as always, the bad stuff sneaks right in there.  So I’ll start with the bad, end with the good, and hope that the good stuff continues and multiplies in the upcoming year.  So, in no particular order:

The bad:

1. Aunt Joyce’s death

2. Grandma’s death

3. Losing a baby

4. Losing Giz

5. Aunt Mary’s death

6. Sickness–mono, 2 bouts of stomach flu, The Great Cold of January thru February, various other colds, earaches, and ailments.  I haven’t been this sick in one year since I was a wee little one. Mike also had a gout flare-up.

 

The good:

1. Going to Vegas over the Fourth of July with Mike

2. Vegas in August with the girls

3. Vegas over Thanksgiving with Mike (can anyone guess where my favorite vacation spot is?)

4. Forrest.  There’s nothing like having a kitten in the house.  He’s now healthy and growing, and YES! declawed He’s a constant source of entertainment, amusement, and frustration.

5. Making headway on home improvement projects.

6. Our benefit for the American Cancer Society

7. Good times with friends and family–near and far.  A spa trip with Michele and the girls in January in Phoenix; Becky’s bachelorette party in Pittsburgh and wedding in New York City; trips to The Sticks; visit from Lori and Paul and their kids; going to see Amy and Jeff and their baby; book club every month; 3 trips to Vegas (oh, I already mentioned those?); trip to Indianapolis for the Indy Mini; vists to and from Mike’s brother, our sister-in-law, and my adorable niece and nephew; and more that I can’t think of off the top of my head . . .

8. Random dates with Mike

9. JLo’s and ACT’s engagement

10. Connecting with so many cool people on Goodreads and through blogging.  I never thought that I would have so many friends that I never met.

11. My brother’s engagement to Abby

12. Making progress on the baby-making front.  Support from our family and friends, a great doctor, and DRUGS–gimme the drugs!

 

Weekend in review November 11, 2008

Filed under: family,friends,travel — airingdirtylaundry @ 8:22 pm

Friday night we drove to The Sticks to have a quick visit with my family en route to Harrisburg to see a friend.  At 9:30 that night we pulled into the driveway of the new place that my brother and his girlfriend and her little boy just moved into a month or so ago.  My Dad and his girlfriend were there, too, so it was nice to be able to visit with all of them in one fell swoop.  Alas, I took no pictures.  Oh well.

We only got to spend about an hour with them before going to my grandparent’s house to spend the night.  It was already 10:30 and although they typically stay up until 11:00 or so, I didn’t want to force them to stay up to wait for us.  Grandma can’t have company walk in the door without feeding them, so Mike and I had homemade chicken soup and chicken salad sandwiches for “dinner”.  I’m not sure if it was that we ate so late that kept me awake most of the night, or if it was Mike’s snoring, or the fear of rolling over and making the ancient bed squeak.  Maybe “all of the above” on that one.

We had a huge breakfast the next morning and spend time just talking and looking at old pictures.  I always feel like my trips home are rushed because of attempting to see everyone in such a short amount of time, so it was nice to have a relaxing morning with nowhere to go.

Mike and I left their house early Saturday afternoon to go to Harrisburg to see my friend Amy.  I’ve known Amy since third grade and she’s truly one of my best friends.  She and her husband moved to Harrisburg a little over a year ago, and this is the first time Mike and I made it out there to visit.  Plus, Amy had a baby this summer, an adorable little girl named Phoebe who we finally got to meet.  Amy is what I call a “natural-born mother”–she’s always been a nurturer, a “mother hen”.  Especially when I’d visit her in college and we’d go to some kickin’ parties and she would end up holding my hair back as I threw up after drinking too much (good times, those).  And it’s not like it happened just once.  Now THAT’S a true friend.  But despite always knowing that she’d make a good mother, and despite her parents running an after-school daycare while we were growing up, and despite seeing her work at other daycares over the years and eventually becoming a teacher, it blew my mind to see her with her own child.  Even though she’s always been surrounded by children, it was such a different experience to see her with HERS!  She and her husband are such good parents.  I have a feeling that it won’t be too long before I hear from her that baby #2 is in the works.

Feast your eyes on this precious little girl:

We took a tour of a local brewery that afternoon, which was mind-boggling (and got Mike interested in brewing his own beer again. Blech.) .  I was so interested in the tour part that I almost forgot that we could buy samplers of the different beers afterwards.  Almost.  I highly recommend the Dreamweaver Wheat, by the way, although if you don’t live in PA or a nearby state, don’t bother to look for it

Phoebe had a great time, even though this was her second trip to Troeg’s.

 

Beer-tasting is exhausting work, so we went out to dinner and chowed down on wings and cheeseburgers while Phoebe conked out in her carrier.  i was too busy stuffing my face to take any pictures.

We had a great time that night talking and catching up in what’s been going on in everyone’s lives,discussing politics, and being silly.

Sunday morning Jeff and Amy made bacon and pancakes (from scratch–no Bisquick for them). I was sad to have to leave them to head back to Pittsburgh, but Jeff had some studying to do (for his very last Master’s class!) and we needed to get back to watch the Steeler game.

Sometimes I dread going away for the weekend.  After working and running around all week, sometimes the last thing I want to go is spend a large portion of my time off in the car and/or away from home. But I looked forward to this particular trip for weeks and it seems like it just flew by too quickly.  I’m already looking forward to my next visit with them!

 

Internet Contagion and the Fearlessness of a Certain Kitten September 19, 2008

Filed under: friends,meow! — airingdirtylaundry @ 6:08 pm

First of all, one of my blogging friends has mono.  Oy, do I feel her pain.  So go over to Keeping the Dream Alive and give her your wishes for a speedy recovery. 

She and I were going back and forth via email about her having mono and not knowing where she got it from, and we came to the conclusion that I gave it to her via the internet.  You know, a cyber-virus.  It only makes sense.  Other than the fact that I would have had to kiss her or use her toothbrush or something to actually pass it on to her, but humor me.  This is going somewhere.  Kinda.

ANYHOW, since I gave her a cyber-virus, I sent her some cyber-chicken soup and a cyber-blanket for her to cuddle up in.  She also requested a kitty, since her mean mean (just kidding!) husband won’t let her have one.

I offered to put this little guy in a box, duct tape it real tight (because he’s very resourceful and very sneaky), and send him right off to her.

Which led me to give her a list of his antics that she would have to endure.  I rattled off about seven things without pause.  I then realized that those were only the tip of the iceberg.  This cat has such a personality that I thought I’d share some of his little quirks with all of you.  They certainly make my life a living hell more interesting.

  • He loves the hair dryer.  My loud 10-year-old hair dryer that sometimes startles me when I turn it on?  He comes running when he hears me fire it up and sits on the bathroom counter, waiting for me to aim it his way.
  • Also loves the Swiffer sweeper.  Really, I can’t blame him–I do too.  But it makes it hard to swiff (please just tell me I made up a new verb) when there’s a kitten pouncing on the thing.  And because we have mounds of cat hair everywhere, my Swiffer tends to make a high whining noise after sucking up little furballs–a noise that is akin to fingernails on a chalkboard.  But he keeps right on pouncing.  It’s like sweeping with the Energizer Bunny around.
  • “What’s in the toaster?  Hmm, let me stick my head in and see.”  This is what I imagine Forrest saying to himself before he checks out a hot appliance.  YES, I KNOW THE CAT SHOULD NOT BE UP ON THE COUNTER AND WE’RE GROSS GROSS GROSS.  So don’t ever eat at our house.  And I’m buying a spray bottle today to squirt him with to hopefully train him to stay off of the counters.  Why do I feel that I’ll have gallons of water to wipe up?
  • In addition to toasters, Forrest has also taken a liking to other appliances.  He enjoys walking across the hot stove to see what’s cookin’.  Last week, I got so pissed at him that I put him in the laundry room and shut the door.  Perfect.  He had food, water, and a litter box, and I had some peace and quiet so that I could cook.  He cried for about 10 minutes and then was quiet.  I thought all was well.  Except . . .
  • when I opened the door to let him out, a blast of hot air hit me and I noticed there was condensation everywhere.  He had managed to disconnect the dryer’s exhaust from the wall WHILE IT WAS ON.  At least the laundry room smelled like Bounce instead of cat shit for once.
  • Speaking of letting him up on the counter . . .he typically gets up on a chair, gets up on the island, and then jumps across to explore further.  He also tends to leap before he looks.  Earlier this week, he made the jump, slid on whatever pool of wetness was on the counter at the time, made contact with a glass bottle, and smashed it against the wall, shattering it.  Thankfully, he wasn’t cut.  Oh, did I mention?  This was 5:00 IN THE FREAKING MORNING!
  • He loves people food.  Doesn’t matter if it’s drowning in hot sauce, a vegetable, or hard candy, he’ll try to swipe it from you.  Makes for interesting meal times in our household.
  • Way back when he was a little harmless thing–a few weeks ago–we kept him in the master bathroom.  He had ringworm and we were trying to keep him somewhat quarantined.  Our bathroom is fairly large and he was a tiny little thing, weighing in at 1 1/2 lbs.  At first he was OK with his new living arrangements.  But then he started to revolt.  One morning I went into the bathroom to find the stopper to the sink drain uprooted (for lack of a better word).  He must have decided that the 14 toys we had put in there with him weren’t enough and he needed something else to play with.  We have dual sinks in the bathroom. As a testament to his strength, I tried to remove the stopper on the other sink.  And couldn’t.
  • Somewhere between 4AM and 5AM each morning (weekends included because Forrest’s skilz with the calendar are just as good as they are at telling time), I am awakened by the sound of a cat gagging.  A hairball? No, or not yet anyway.  Forrest likes to chew on my hair while I sleep to the point that he gags on it.  I then have to extract the (still-intact!) strands from his gullet.  Add this one to the list of reasons why my hair will never be long.  I think I need to switch shampoos, because apparently the one I’m using has trace amounts of catnip in it.  I now sleep with a T shirt wrapped around my head to fend him off, but he’s catching on.  By next week, he’ll be chewing through the T shirt to get at my hair.
  • Chewing?  I think he’s part tiger or something.  HE has some strong teeth for a 3 month old kitten.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Mike, whose toes Forrest sharpens his teeth on daily.
  • Let’s talk about the 2 cats getting along.  They don’t.  Simple as that.  And even though Guinness outweighs Forrest by at least 12 pounds and packs a mean wallop with her paw when she swats at him, Forrest just keeps coming back for more.  Immediately.  Hissing, screeching, and rolling around ensues.  All of you country folk that used to hear cats mating outside your bedroom window at night . . .you know that sound?  (Am I being too much of a hick here?  Do you have NO CLUE what I’m talking about?) Anyhow, that sound is a symphony compared to the noise that these two make.  It drives me INSANE.
  • I love animals.  I truly do.  Seeing an animal in pain, or hungry, or stranded makes my heart melt.  But if one more person tells me that having him fixed will calm him down, I just may get out the pruning shears and do a little snip snip on him myself.  We have TWO MORE MONTHS until we can get him de-masculinized (another new word, what do you think?).  Anybody know a black market vet that will do it a little sooner than the recommended 5 months?  If so, we need to talk. 

But when he’s sleeping, he’s the most precious little kitten on God’s green earth.