06 September 2014

eight weeks later...

He is here, and life is wonderful.

Yes, it's a HE and he turned four weeks today! 

Meet William, born on one day after his due date.  He is perfect, and we are thrilled.
one day old

26 days old

I have been slowly but surely emerging into the real world again these past two weeks, and life is starting to feel somewhat normalized again.  

A new normal, of course, one that revolves completely around a new soul.  A new soul whom I love so much it hurts sometimes.  But that pain could just be lack of sleep catching up with me.

I'll be putting words to my amazing birth experience very soon - when I take advantage of a nap in coming days - and there will be lots of stories of small adventures that I am eager to capture as I begin my 4.5 week long stint of being a stay at home mom alone.  I've been lucky enough to have Chris or my mom around for the past four weeks (except for one day, which was fantastic!) and I am eager to begin this time just with the little guy and me. 

Becoming a mother is, in a word, transcendent.  Kind of painful, exhilarating, life-altering and full of extreme emotions at every turn.  So much joy and so much wondering how to do this thing.

I'm off to nurse and enjoy this stupid wonderful new reality.

13 July 2014

with child, at 36 weeks

Chris and I have this great Indian restaurant nearby that we've been frequenting since last fall.  They do this glorious buffet on the weekends, and I get the most magical belly-full of paneer and masala and such.  We have the best conversations when we go for lunch at this Indian Palace, starting from when we first found out we were going to have a kid and would spend the whole time just imagining it all, until now, when we spent our last trip there a few weeks ago nailing down all the final ideas for the babe's room.  We sketched where each piece of furniture would go, and the artwork we'd hang and where, and finalized all the little details.

And then I tried to eat the same amount I ate before I grew this big belly (see below) and regretted it when I had to essentially lean back just to walk comfortably.  So of course, it was the perfect time to check out the new Asian grocery market that opened a few doors down from our Indian food mecca.

We spent a solid forty minutes enraptured by all of the treats and fruits and veggies we hadn't seen for nearly a year.  There was a lot of fast-walking/waddling to the different parts of the store as we squealed with joy. (I did the waddling, Topher the walking.)

We bought some rambutan and generally just walked around marveling like tourists.  Because that's apparently who this kid's parents are- two weirdos who get really excited by finding the same soy sauce we used while living in Cambodia and take pictures with durian to show our host family.

At this point, I feel like we should pause here and have a short discussion about how strip malls have the best ethnic food.  I mean, its an unequivocal fact.  The little strip mall where I took said picture above houses this amazing food market, a frequently busy Korean BBQ place, a pho restaurant and our Indian place.  There must be something about the space you can find in these long stretches of retail space that attract amazing people who want to share the amazingness that is food from their homeland.  I've cracked the code!


So, this baby reached a gestational age of 36 weeks Friday.  I celebrated by falling as I left for work, and promptly sprained (minor!) my left ankle and mayhaps broke something in my right.  I may be writing this from the couch with my righty in some fiberglass cast/splint thing, awaiting confirmation at the orthopedist tomorrow.  Can we just talk about how fun it is to be massively pregnant and trying to use crutches?  I'll admit I'm horrible at crutches anyway, both because I've never had to use them but twice now as an adult, and because my impatience doesn't like to stand for the slow movement required to use them properly.

I'm basically my husband's worst nightmare right now.   As helpless as I was before my klutzy self fell, I'm now even more so.  Sitting on a couch all day, getting up to pee every hour, hobbling on one crutch because I basically refuse the other, wanting to do more and just getting in the way- and then, of course, being frustrated by it all, and having a the worst little mood rear it's ugly head every once in while.  I'm going to owe this husband of mine big time in a few months.

So, it's not that I'm wanting this little babe to come early… I mean, keep cooking kid, as long as you need… but, well, I'm ready to be able to bend in half again, and sleep on my stomach, and pee only when my bladder is actually full.  Typical 36 week feelings, I'd guess.

Thank goodness for a full marathon of Harry Potter movies on this weekend.  It's the small things!

01 June 2014

goings on

There has been no lack of silence 'round this little sphere of the internet for a good while, no?  Thank you for those you who kindly wished me well after my last post, and cheers to those who are on this growing a baby journey right alongside me! I hit 30 weeks pregnant (10 weeks left!) this past Friday, and took this little photo to commemorate the gorgeous sun and my genuine happiness to be reveling in said sunshine while waiting for Topher to pick me up from the metro.

So. The last six months.  So much. So much! Let's skip past the holidays, because those were fun but really, no one needs a recap of that.  Family was excited by the arrival of the first grandbaby/niece/nephew on both sides and I ate a great deal of delicious food.

Boomer wore a sweater most of this past winter.  She spent the last two years in the tropics too, you know - down in North Carolina with my 'rents.

I've been so lucky that so many wonderful friends have visited.  When it became clear a very short time after arriving home in the U.S. that I wouldn't be flying anywhere soon - firstly, because babies are expensive? As are flights? and secondly, because now I actually can't - others came to me.  It has been so wonderful, and I am so grateful!

Chris and I have been hanging out his grandmother's house each week while she makes us a delicious meal.  It has been fun to spend time with his grandparents and our favorite Uncle Johnny each week - and it has perks like desserts like these - "car bomb" cupcakes John made us for St. Patrick's day!

Though a lot has begun to change with this growing belly and impending little person in our lives, a few things remain the same: Boomer still loves her cuddles and Starbucks still makes yummy, creamy espresso drinks whenever I want them - which has been about once week.

'Cravings' haven't really been a thing for me as a pregnant lady, but I have deeply enjoyed tangy fruits, water and cheeseburgers.  Seriously, I could go for a cheeseburger anytime.  I don't really think that's all that different from before I was pregnant, though?

I have been incredibly lucky, and have had a pretty enjoyable 30 weeks growing this babe in my insides.  The hardest part now is that I get full super fast- so I want to keep eating all of the delicious food Topher makes me but I can't get it all down.  And then I get hungry not too long afterward, all over again! Le sigh, life is so hard. ;)

It's also been fantastic as I've been pregnant at the same time as my friend Ann Marie.  She just had her baby girl, in fact, whom I was able to meet today.  A few months ago, she had the sweetest shower, and we jokingly took a picture in a dress we both happen to have.

 In all our glory, with me at about 21 weeks and Ann Marie at about 32 (oh heavens, my belly is now ever so much bigger and lower than this! eek!)

 And then there's these two kids.  Every weekend since we moved (mid-March) up until a few weeks ago, they spent every weekend working their butts off at our old house so we could list it and sell it.  I was pretty much unable to do anything of value besides thank them and paint the tiniest amount of baseboards.  I pretty much owe them everything, as our old house is set to close this week and was on the market 12 hours before we got an offer.

How did Chris and John celebrate the return of their weekends? By running through mud and climbing over walls at the Warrior Dash.  I happily sat and read while waiting for them, and then we celebrated their triumphs with, what else, cheeseburgers!

This past weekend, dear Paige (with Ann Marie's and Topher's help) threw me a shower! That party deserves it's own post, so that'll happen later this week.

Cheers to those of you still enjoying the random life happenings from this gal, and thanks again for the kind thoughts on the little person set to make its debut in about two months!

11 May 2014

eight months

I can scarcely believe that I have officially been returned to the United States for eight months.
Neither can I believe that I'm approaching six months at my job, and that in these eight months, we've bought a new house, put our old one up for sale, and forgotten to eat rice every single day.

I also can't believe that I've been pregnant for six of those eight months.

Growing a baby whilst working at a new organization in a new position in the coldest winter ever (or so it felt) was pretty great, and time-consuming.  Sometimes rough. Mostly awesome. And cold.

Now that May has arrived, I feel like I've been able to do nothing except enjoy some amazing spring weather. And get bigger and bigger, in the tummy area.

The past few months have been full of fun, though, too!  We shared the news of welcoming a little person gradually with those closest to us, beginning with when we found out at Thanksgiving.  In early February, we gave in and posted a big social media announcement on the 'book.  It's been incredible to see all of the joy from around the world about this little babe.

Eight months back in the U.S. and life already looks and feels drastically different from before we moved to Cambodia.  Pretty soon, in fact, I'll have to stop thinking of time as 'before Cambodia', 'during Cambodia' and 'after Cambodia.'  It will all simply melt back into 'life.'

01 February 2014

time warp

And then it was February and somehow three months since I last sat down to write about this little life of mine.

I recently received the nicest, kindest email from a friend and reader who told me about a fun little recipe that I posted her a few years ago that has become a big part of her world.  It was quite possibly the best email that one could receive.  Even Topher 'awww'-ed.

I have no really good reason for abandoning this little space of interwebs I call my own.  I just did.  And now I'm back. Let's settle at that, yes?

In my absence, I have gotten a job, fell into a great routine with it, returned to my natural hair roots (phew!), and made some other crazy monumental life changes that we're waiting to hear from the bank about (new house, here we come?!?!).  That's quite a bit for one gal to handle as she is also adjusting to eating buckets of cheese again, and I've kind of been in ...stasis mode.  Not quite facing all the swirling changes happening and just putting one foot in front of the other.  But happily plodding along, if that counts!

I've reached that point in culture re-adjusting where I miss Cambodia.  I miss pork and rice for breakfast and our host family and even sampots (those culturally-appropriate, long, drape-like skirts I wore every day for two years).  I am so happy to be 'home' but I am so eager to continue this life of exploration.  (That sentence there has been written on a few thousand blogs, I just know it.)

I've been so tired lately after settling into working an actually work week again, and that's left me little time for the things I enjoy- like baking!  But I've recently begun testing the butter and sugar waters again, and even made some shortbread with lemon curd the other day for work.  The lemon curd lost its tanginess while cooking, but other than that, they were pretty good.  I'll fine-tune the recipe and then be back to share with you all!

Finally, Google+ makes fun collages of my iPhone pictures and I shamelessly love them.  Below is one it compiled from pics from 2013…so here's a tiny summarization of what life, this-gal style, looks like.


31 October 2013

happy halloween AND throwback thursday!

happy halloween!

the night when we give our dog half a benadryl to keep her calm, along with a special halloween cookie, purchased just for her a few weeks back.


Boomer the turtle, 2009

Boomer the banana split, 2010

Boomer the dinosaur, 2013!

30 October 2013

This is twenty eight.

I really like to write about my birthday.  I rarely seem to do so ON my actual day of birth?  Here's to a first.

Five minutes ago, I made Topher take twenty pictures with me.


"To capture twenty-eight, of course! Who I am, right now, today!"

Here are the best of the bunch, of my little family, on this little birthday:

Yes, it is sad and hilarious that the best photos include one with Boomer not looking at the camera (let's be real, computer. I didn't bust out the DSLR here, folks), and the final goofy one.  That pretty much sums up me, and us, at the nice round age of twenty-eight.

Today I ate SUSHI! for the first time since returning the U.S. No words.

Today I visited my heart's favorite place (Bmore!), my former office and co-workers.  Actually, kind of the best birthday gift ever.

Today I will finally cut into the caramel apple that has been staring at me for the past two days. Yes, the marshmallows have hardened a bit but I don't care! (I love it!)

Today I will make a wish on two scrumptious cupcakes Topher picked up from my favorite cupcakery last night, and those wishes will be nothing about employment or otherwise.

Today I will wish for peace and happiness.  For myself and those around me.  And allow myself to have both, in this moment, on this day, exactly where I am and who I am and who I am with.

And so: peace and happiness unto you friends, from me to you, on this birthday of mine! Let's all celebrate!

And one more, for posterity.

29 October 2013

Emotion, et al vs Logic, Reason, and Rational Thought

Over dinner last night (my official birthday-dinner-out!*), Chris and I did some Kate-navel-gazing.  (Can it be navel gazing if it is someone else also getting overly introspective about someone else?)

a picture of me, because, well, this post is the blog equivalent of a selfie.

To put it mildly, the past ten days have not been my jam.  I had some weird job-related decisions to make because of the government shutdown this month, and so, once the shutdown ended, I ended up with a few more.  I made what felt like a logical decision at the time - though, not an emotionally great decision, which is so crucial, as we'll see - and not forty eight hours later I was kicking myself.  Do we call it hubris? Over confidence? Insanity to think that three very amazing opportunities could ever boil down into 'thanks, but we've gone with candidates who we believe are better'? But they did, and so, since then, I have been overanalyzing every.single.detail of those interviews.  And in that thinking, I've come to conclusions that I answered a few questions in particular in one interview completely terribly, and I probably embarrassed myself with another email, and I've come to conclusions that I am probably over concluding.

If you ask Chris, that is.  His rational thinking?  Things didn't pan out, other things will come, I must not have been the best fit in the end.  It's not something to have emotions about - it's something with which to think through the logical next steps.

a picture of boomer and her own ear that doesn't ever lay flat.  because she has been the best little lovah as i over feel.

And yet.  A recent solidification of a thought is that I am constantly at battle.  My natural, overriding tendency? To have several distinct emotions, particularly at something like 'failing.'  Disappointment (most especially, in myself), anger (again, mostly at myself), frustration (at the world), sadness (at it all.)  But there exists still a knowledge that I am being completely illogical and irrational.  It is pretty unreasonable to have such strong melancholy over a few 'rejections' and I know that any organization, company, agency would be incredibly impressed if they could see me work.  Sometimes that doesn't get translated as clearly as I'd like, because of me, because of the person on the other end of the interaction, because of other factors that I'll never know.

But that doesn't prevent me from wearing my heart on my sleeve.  From suffering a resounding 'ding' to my confidence and self esteem.  From questioning all the decisions I've made and feeling horrible about the opportunities I gave up.  From re-running every interaction that led to 'thanks, but no thanks'  in my head as I can't fall asleep at night.

So, last night, over seafood and birthday key lime pie, as we discussed the range of emotion I've been feeling this past week or so, Chris came to the realization that we are so innately different in how we handle feelings.  He is and will always be the internalizer- that elusive (to me) person who can experience an emotion, categorize it, put it in a box in his head and move on.  I am and always will be someone who shows it, physically, tremors of emotions across my face whenever they hit me.  I over externalize, and then even more so over internalize and question and ponder and ask myself "How do I feel? Why do I feel that way? Do I want to feel this way? What I can do to change how I feel?"  I action plan my own feelings.  And those close to me are lucky enough to hear me verbalize these steps, frequently.

I don't think I'll ever change the fact that I'm someone whose passion and emotion exist for the world to see and experience and share and judge.  That's essentially what this blog is, no?

As I reach another birthday and have the inevitable 'who am I now?' conversation, I realize that as much as I love my husband and value and, at times, envy his ability to internalize and use rational thinking to move forward, I could and would never change the reality that emotions, feelings, beliefs drive me. Motivate me.  Push me.  Cause me to be overly critical of myself, for sure (that's a whole 'nother post).  But are also the reason why I do the work that I do, professionally, and the reason that, I think, those who love me, also value me and know they are seeing the real me, all the time.

What a self-serving post, for sure.  But also where I am and where I want to pull myself out of soon.  Come on, logic, win out! WIN OUT!

a caramel apple for my birthday! because i can. admiring it in its glory before i devour it. probably later tonight.

*in my family, we always got a birthday dinner at our restaurant of choice and then a dinner of our choice at home.  i kind of love birthdays.  ergo, chris is forced to love birthdays.*

22 October 2013

Ye olde festival de renaissance

It is a truth universally acknowledged that, at least once a year, one should attend an event wherein the people who didn't get dates in high school throw off all the shackles of inhibition, dress up and cart their children around for a day of frivolity.

For me, this event is known as the renaissance festival. And an event of great joy it is, too.

People play musical instruments that went out of fashion 200 years ago whilst dressed like characters out of Robin Hood: Men in Tights (great movie, btw) and sporting terrible attempts at using the King's olde English.

Tradesmen who toil year round making inane items oft broken or forgotten in a years time make a smashing livelihood off of schmucks like me who totally want to pay sixty bucks for that beautiful though useless hanging glass thing.

Food, all of the groups, on a stick. And mass produced and not actually too overpriced. (Ren fests beat out comic cons for this reason, I hear.)

You can be yourself at the Ren Fest. Or a horse. You can be a horse too.

You can walk around with others not in costume and marvel and trip over tree stumps because..."did you see that person's outfit?"

You can try your luck at a strongman competition and realize it's more of a strong-and-coordinated man's competition and laugh gracefully at yourself when you inevitably, year after year, fail to ring the bell.

You SHOULD take in the local flavor with selfies whilst listening to bagpipes. Yes, yes, and yes.

You can try your hand at archery and get advice from a six year old whose brother is shooting arrows next to you, in all his hat, feather and green tights glory. And still never manage to hit the white of the target, let alone one of the colors, despite said advice.

You can see silly boys who have been friends since their birth and grew up to be so, so different and yet are still the best of friends. And then you can wonder: why can't girls be more like boys, friendship wise? Yes, gender assumption statement here but still: I have no friends from birth. I had a new best friend every year, it seemed, growing up. I can count one amazing friend who was a bestie before my teen years with whom I coin as a bestie still today (hi Katie!)

But most important of all, I dare say, is that it is a truth universally acknowledged that if a hot turkey leg be available, it must be in want of teeth. Good teeth, ripe for devouring said turkey leg.

And that's what we did this past Sunday. You?

15 October 2013

an adult at the two-eight

Lately, I am semi-sure that I am mostly becoming an adult.

This month is the one in which I will turn twenty-eight.

I am feeling good about 28.

28 feels like growth and knowledge and learning and possibilities and putting down roots and spreading of wings.  It feels like a lot of good things on the horizon, and sometimes it even feels like gurgly babies, maybe, perhaps, possibly, uterus and maturity willing, of course.

Twenty eight is feeling like falling in love with my husband all over again.  Falling in love with how young we are, how young we aren't, how grown we've become, how much growing we get to do together still.

Twenty eight is also like falling into comfort with some things I don't want to be anymore.  A people pleaser, to the detriment of my own joy.  A worst-case-scenario-thinker.  A non-coffee drinker.  

(Oh coffee, I really like you now.  You make me want to wake up early.  Which is something that has never been accomplished before.  For almost-serious.)

28 is finally getting a bra fitting. Getting my ta-tas measured and scooped and finding some feminine swagger in my chest, a newfound thing for me.  Oh, and new bras.  New bras are pretty much as good as it gets sometimes, no?  Soft, creamy cotton and spandex with little bits of lace against your skin?  Nothing makes me feel giddier than a new bra, with some new underoos to match, hidden underneath regular old Saturday jeans and a tee shirt.

Being an adult, in particular one who lived off of two suitcases worth of items and still had more personal possessions that every Cambodian she met, has also meant purging and donating and throwing things away.  Throwing. Things. Away.

I am getting good at discerning priceless memories separate from things.  Which might be one of the biggest lessons of becoming twenty eight.  Things are things are things.  Memories are feelings are joys.  And the latter don't disappear or collect dust or take up space.  They exist, alongside your soul, inform your decisions and compound every single day's happiness.

Twenty eight is also knowing that Dumbo will still make me cry, Belle is still the best heroine, and that some other child may get joy from my unneeded VHS tapes, which is more than enough reason to part with them.

Yes, the bend toward adulthood is imminent, but I bid a fair welcome to it.