I best not commit any crimes.

I think it's a sure sign you've watched too many CSI/Law & Order/Dateline shows when you're losing some ungodly number of hairs every day thanks to crazy post-pregnancy hormones, and the one thing you think every time you pull stray hairs off your body (or your child's or husband's body) is that you'd best not commit any crimes, because your DNA will surely be ALL OVER THE DAMN PLACE and they will catch your ass in a flash.

And that is, like, the longest sentence ever. But I don't care.

And also, it reminds me of this excellent song that I *still* cannot get out of my head:

Besides losing the hell out of my hair, mommyhood is good. On my 32nd birthday, Bryan had to work and Jon and I were home alone. My little Jon D. decided that 5:20am was a good time for Mama to start celebrating her birthday (and Bryan was already gone to work). I rather disagreed with him on that one, but we all know that Jon rules the roost, so I had to go along with this early morning party. I was a little miffed about this, but I brought him into our bed and propped him up on my lap to give him a good what's-what about when it's okay to wake up, and that kid gave me the biggest, goofiest grin you ever did see. And that, my friends, was the most awesome birthday present EVAH. I mean, wow.

I remembered that a year ago on my birthday I was in a foul, foul mood for most of the day. Around lunchtime I realized why: when I turned 30, I had been certain that I'd either have a baby or at least be pregnant by my 31st birthday, and the day had arrived and I was still without child. I had a good cry that day, and a lot of reassurance by my husband that we WOULD be parents one day, and I was alright. (Okay, Brandon Boyd helped me be alright, too.) I am so grateful that this birthday wasn't the same story. So, so grateful...


Jon & the Remote Control

Jon, apparently, has a thing for our remote control. I discovered this yesterday evening as I attempted to entertain him while I caught up on So You Think You Can Dance. (Just in case you want to yell at me about TV and little babies: Yes, I watch TV all the time when my kid is awake. But we don't let him actually WATCH the TV.)

Here he is having an intense conversation with the remote. You will hear me make a funky noise--that's me chuckling. Also, at the end, I make the remote "kiss" him. Oh, come on, he likes kisses! This went on for about 5 minutes, but this is the tail end of the conversation, thus his tending toward being Mr. Crankypants at the end.


This is what it's like in my head.

The following is a conversation I had with myself in my head while riding the bus to my car after work today. It occurred to me that this is a prime example of why people always said I was weird when they signed my yearbooks.

(After noticing the bus driver's name plate. His first initial was Q.)

It would be cool to have a kid with a first name that starts with Q.

I wonder what his name is. Quentin? Quinton?
It could be Quincy.

Quincy's not a bad name. I wonder what people would think if I named my next son Quincy.

Jon and Quincy. Those don't really go together. Jenn said her pediatrician said people should pick a theme for their kids' names so they go together.

Well, I guess I'd just have to have a third son and name him Adam.

Jon, Quincy, Adam.
It goes together if they all come together to be a president's name, right?

Yeah, I think weird things. :)

Image of our seventh president courtesy of www.visitingdc.com.


Gettin' 'er dun.

Tomorrow, I become a working mother. I have had almost three months now to realize that being a stay at home mom is TOTALLY not as easy as I thought it would be.

When I was pregnant, I had this glamorous idea of what it would be like to have a baby and be home every day. I would have a spotless house, since I would be home most of the time. I would finally peruse the many cookbooks I own and love, and come up with fabulous meals to make and have ready every night when Bryan got home from work. I would finally go through all those Real Simple and Cooking Light magazines I have been saving, tearing out articles and recipes I wanted to incorporate in my life, then I'd actually use them. I would finish the quilt I started when my Grandma and I took that class. I would finally decorate my house the way I have wanted to for years, but have never gotten around to. I would exercise regularly. And of course, all of that would be in addition to spending quality time with my child and tending to all of his needs, and my own.


Well, that's not exactly how it's gone.

I think there *are* women who do all of those things, but for the life of me I don't know how. Maybe if I had longer, I'd figure it out. Lately I've been wondering if I'd have figured it out better if I knew this was going to be my reality, if maybe I have subconsciously been operating as though this time with my son is just an extended vacation. I don't know.

For the past two weeks, I have wanted to make spaghetti for dinner. I actually thawed out two different packages of hamburger and had to throw them out, because something or other got in the way of making it. Granted, part of the problem is that we like our sauce to cook for a while before we eat it, so there were nights where I could have thrown it together, but we were too hungry to wait. Most days, I found myself with Jon asleep on my chest on the couch, or he was awake but cranky or bored and wanted Mommy's attention. Finally, yesterday, with precious little time before the *third* pack of hamburger went bad in the fridge, I decided I was going to make it happen. Jon was not interested in any of his usual docking stations (pack 'n' play, swing, play yard...), so into the Baby Bjorn he went. He's big enough now that he can face forward, so I think he rather enjoyed cooking with Mommy. Of course, I was terrified I was going to burn his little tootsies, so I had to do this sort of behind-the-back stirring of the sauce to keep him away from the stove. But we FINALLY had spaghetti for dinner! :)

What I've learned in these three months is that you do what you gotta do to get 'er dun. And most days, that involves some sort of acrobatics.


These Guys.

These guys, they are pretty much my everything these days.

Bryan's on vacation this week and today he took Jon out on a little field trip. It was the first time I've been alone in our house since before Jon was born. It was weird as hell, but nice, too. I spent a few minutes cleaning, a few minutes on the computer, a few minutes reading a book and stuffing my face with junk food... and most of the time wondering how my boys were doing. :) Technology is awesome, though, because I got updates from Bryan occasionally, including this photo and the caption that Jon likes shopping at Target:

Me, I'm the luckiest girl in the world.


The Breastfeeding Battle

**I started writing this post weeks ago it seems. For some reason I feel like I can't get on with posting regular, lighthearted stuff until I get this out of my system. So here goes.

Before Jon was born, I had it in my head that I wanted to be one of those mothers who follows her instincts. I acquired a parenting book or two, but I didn't even open them. When people asked if I had read any of them, I replied that I know each child is different, and I planned to just get to know my kid and go with the flow.

I did have a few things I intended to succeed at when it came to becoming a mother. I planned for a natural, drug-free birth, although I knew that things happen that could thwart that plan. I planned to breastfeed--what is more natural or beautiful than providing your child's nourishment and bonding at the same time?

I didn't realize how much I was holding on to these things until Jon actually came into our lives and... what's that they say about the best laid plans? A series of events out of my control took away that natural birth I wanted. And then my milk didn't come in right away, and that's where the battle began.

Breastfeeding was supposed to be easy, as far as I knew. I watched my mom do it with my brother and sister with no problems, I know tons of moms who do it or have done it, it's what nature intended, so why wouldn't it be easy? When it wasn't, I started talking to more and more people and realized that, okay, it's not always without struggles, but if you're determined, you make it work. And also, they have these great folks called lactation consultants who help you through it. Excellent.

So since Jon wasn't getting enough nourishment from me in the first days, we began supplementing with bottles. He'd nurse, then he'd get a couple ounces in a bottle. And thus began the battle.

My milk finally came in, but I had to get my supply up to have Jon exculsively breastfeed.

We met with a lactation consultant, Linda.

We rented a hospital grade pump at her suggestion.

Jon got diagnosed with a milk protein allergy--I was instructed to cut dairy out of my diet completely. Of course I would. Anything for my son.

Time passed and Jon began to refuse the breast after just a couple of minutes--he was only satisfied by the faster flow of the supplement bottle.

We met with the lactation consulant again.

I was steady losing weight, now weighing less than I had in 6 years--I lost about 35 lbs in the first week after he was born, and another 10 by the time he was 5 weeks old.

We decided to get rid of the bottles and use a supplementer--basically a canteen strapped around your neck with tubes coming out that you tape to your nipple. Jon nursed well with it, even though it was a royal pain in the ass.

And then he began refusing the breast unless the supplementer was on it.

Feedings took at least an hour, between the supplementing and the pumping and the struggling to get Jon to actually eat.

Linda kept telling me that eventually he would take less of the supplement and eventually would exclusively breastfeed. I saw no progress toward this, and I was becoming more and more depressed and anxious at every feeding.

When I started to feel resentful towards my son that he wouldn't JUST breastfeed, even though I knew I had the supply he needed, I knew something needed to change. Feeding my son was supposed to be our special time to bond, to look into each others eyes and just be together, the two of us, mother and son. And instead, I watched the clock and dreaded each feeding, having no idea how it was going to go, feeling like I was failing as a mother because I couldn't make it work the way it was supposed to.

There was one Monday when Jon was just over 6 weeks old that I think I talked to 5 or 6 different people, each with a different perspective that helped me realize what I needed to do. And so I decided to stop breastfeeding when Jon was 7 weeks old.

I can't explain how hard it was. What may have been the most frustrating part is that I have never looked down on any mother I know who fed her child formula, yet I just could not make the decision to do that myself. I cried a lot over the next several weeks--I still get sad about it, truth be told. While I have realized that it was the right choice for us, I still wish something had been different. And yet, I don't fret too much over it anymore, because I see how much better I feel, how much better Jon is, how we actually are able to both enjoy feeding time.

I also stopped fretting over it because I have learned that, as a mother, I could beat myself up over a million decisions I have made and will make as a mother, but all I can do is my best.


Welcoming Baby Jon

One month ago today, Bryan and I welcomed Jon David Klinger into our lives.

Jon was born on April 25 at 10:43am and weighed 7lbs2oz, he was 21 inches long. Seems like I should have blogged about his arrival before now, but, well, this being a mommy business is kind of time consuming, and since Bryan and I both now have 200% more to do every day, blogging just wasn't a priority!

Labor was 43.5 hours. A fair amount of that was pretty easy, because I planned to have Jon naturally, and even though I had to be induced for preeclampsia (a high blood pressure condition in pregnancy), the team at MCV was willing to induce me slowly to try to achieve that. 30.5 hours in, even though Bryan was the absolute most amazing husband and labor partner a girl could ask for, Jon was facing forward and my back labor was so intense and I was so tired that I decided to get an epidural. Of course, that slowed my labor way down, and it took pitocin to get things rolling again. Another 9 hours later, it was finally time to push. By this time, though, I was exhausted, and couldn't seem to find the right power to push Jon out. I pushed for four hours before the doctors finally used forceps to get our son past that final hurdle and out into the world.

We have loved Jon since before he was born, and each day with him we love him more and more. Being parents has proven to be exactly what everyone always says before you actually earn that title: the hardest but most rewarding job in the world. Of course, what that really means and entails can't be expressed to someone who hasn't lived it. We learned that fast. At times it has been incredibly challenging and exhausting, but then Jon is in your arms, and your heart melts and you understand that it's so worth it...

I can't believe he's already a month old. It seems like forever ago that he was born, and yet it seems like no time has passed at all. And here I thought the past 10 years since I graduated college have flown by. A couple of weeks ago we went and visited my dad, and as we left his neighborhood, school buses were dropping off elementary school kids. I thought about what I was doing 5 years ago, and how recent that seems, and how in 5 years, Jon will be toting his little backpack to kindergarten... wow.

I intend to do my best to enjoy every moment of his life that I can. I am so grateful to call myself his mother, and I can't wait to watch him grow into a toddler, a boy, a man...

My son.

If you'd like to see more pictures of dear Baby Jon, you can visit our Picasaweb album by clicking here.


LDB Week 38: Oh, wow, there's a person coming out of me soon.

I just realized I haven't updated about our dear LDB since week 33! So much has happened in the past 5 weeks!

At week 34, we had 2 baby showers--one with my family, one with my friends. The family shower was at my Grandma's house:

The next day, my friend Leslie gave me a shower at my house, complete with a henna artist who painted my big ol' belly! :)

Both showers were lots of fun, although I have to admit I was exhausted and probably not the most exciting guest of honor. :)

Since then, we have been working diligently to get everything ready for LDB's arrival. Primarily, we had a lot of work to do on the nursery! We've finally got it painted, furniture in, clothes hung in the closet, and I'm working on organizing all of the many, many tiny things that come with babies. So we're not done 100%, but we are at least at a place where if he comes, we're generally ready for him. I'm also fooling myself into thinking that if there's still stuff to do after he gets here, I have 12 weeks of maternity leave to get it done. Am I hilarious or what? :)

Yesterday a friend at work reminded me that both of her children were born before she ever got as far along in pregnancy as I am now. I don't know if it was her saying that, or if something just clicked, but all of the sudden I just felt like he really might come at any minute. Technically, as I write this, I am 2.5 weeks from my due date, and I don't really think he's coming today or tomorrow, but the fact is that he COULD! And ain't that somethin'.

And for those tracking the belly progress, here's me at 36 weeks, so about a week and a half ago. And that is the nursery I'm standing in. I'll take more pics of that once it's done to my liking. :)

Guess I'm becoming a Kroger customer.

Our fabulous family-owned supermarket chain in the Richmond area, Ukrop's, was purchased by Giant/Martin's last year. Everyone knew change was a'comin', but I wasn't really sure what to expect. My experience with Giant has mainly been in PA, and I have never really been impressed. Word on the street was that the Ukrop's stores were turning into Martin's, not Giants, but still, same company.

So last week, the change happened. My Ukrop's closed down for a week and a day and reopened this past Monday as a Martin's. Or, excuse me, MARTIN'S. Because it's in all caps everywhere. Which is annoying to start with. (Only LOST can get away with that in my world.)

Today I ventured into Martin's for the first time. Immediate impression: TACKY. Big plastic signs everywhere? Excusable, I suppose, since they need to announce the changeover. Workers wearing lime green shirts, and lime green accents on the shopping carts? Too bright, need sunglasses! That bright green faux grass being used as dividers between the meat? What is this, the 80's? And the price tags stuck to the shelves. Jeez louise, I guess those suckers were on serious sale from their print company, because you almost couldn't see the damn food past them!

And then there's the lighting. And people, I'm gonna be honest. I'm kind of--no, I'm DEFINITELY--weird about lighting in stores. If it's the wrong color, I don't like to shop there. Stores that meet my approval are Walgreen's (not CVS or Rite Aid) and Target (not Wal-Mart or K-Mart), and Ukrop's, Harris Teeter and Kroger (not Food Lion and, now, not Martin's). I don't know what it is exactly... it's yellow-y flourescent lights I don't like in particular (although Wal-Mart doesn't usually have that problem... Wal-Mart is just Wal-Mart). Not that I never go to places of whose lighting I disapprove, I just strongly prefer other places. And my new Martin's has that damn offensive yellow-y flourescent lighting.

Oh, and the kicker, as I was checking out, fully aware that this store was not going to be my weekly go-to grocery spot, I hear the kid working the register next to mine say "I think I need a beer." WHAT?! You can't say that when you work at a store that used to not even SELL alcohol and used to have signs that told everybody to go to church on Sunday! Blasphemy!

All of this means that my Kroger Plus Card is going to be getting a lot more mileage from now on. Unless I need a cake or cupcakes, because, thank GOD, Martin's is still selling Ukrop's baked goods. If they weren't, I'd totally be in mourning.

Farewell, dear Ukrop's, you will be missed.


The end of an era.

Bryan performs his last bit of maintenance before letting the TurboTalon go.

When I met my husband, he had this car that he loved. A 1993 Eagle Talon tsi. I don't know what the tsi stands for, but it has something to do with it being a turbo. He had put thousands of dollars into souping it up, and liked to take it to the race track to drag race it on occasion. Every online identity he had (email addresses, instant messenger names) had something to do with a TurboTalon. Not long after we met, he rebuilt the transmission for the first time. Then he did it again a couple years later, I forget why. It was super fast when it actually worked, and he was definitely like a little kid when he was driving it. As a matter of fact, the only time I ever saw the man sing along with the radio was in that car.

A couple of years ago, after another transmission rebuild, we took it out for a spin and he laid into it a little too hard in first gear while making a turn, and the engine started knocking. Somehow, he never got around to fixing it, and for several years now, it has been sitting in our garage, waiting for some attention.

Well, tonight, the TurboTalon has gone on to a new life. Bryan finally admitted to himself that with the baby coming and with the amount of time that has passed since he actually did anything to it and lack of space we have to keep it around, it was time to let her go. Luckily he found a guy (one of eight who responded to his Craigslist ad within the first 24 hours) who has an extra Talon engine hanging around and who wants to give the TurboTalon a new life. I think that's a little better than if it had been someone who just wanted to tear it apart for the parts. At least now he knows she'll be hitting the drag strip again someday.

Bye bye, TurboTalon!

I know he was sad to see her go, but he's pretty happy to actually be able to open his toolbox in the garage now. Of course, it took less than 5 minutes for him to fill the empty space of the garage with the 3 motorcycles and dirt bike that are still housed there. :)