holy shit, the chins on me
perhaps bella greased the wheels?
first halloween costume
that chili pepper costume, we purchased it in like early september. I was fully confident in the fact that bella would arrive way before halloween. when we had her, we decided that we'd put her in her costume partly because we thought it was cute and appropriate for her birth date, and partly because I WANTED TO SEE HER IN THE DAMN THING.
whipped up at 2:38 PM
let's travel back in time to october 31, 2004...actually, let's go back a little further.
my due date was october 23. everyone, including the nurses, thought I'd go early due to my enormous size. but my 3 obstetricians all told me that my cervix hadn't really changed much and that I wasn't dilated at all. october 23 shined like a beacon to me because, as I have mentioned, I had a rough time of it toward the end of my pregnancy. suddenly, it was october 22. and I knew that I would be going into labor momentarily. so I waited.
by the time october 24 rolled around, I was beside myself. I had read all kinds of tricks to make labor happen, but I was so afraid of what messing with nature would do that I didn't do most of them. except try to have sex, which was also something that the obstetrician advised. while it was not the worst sex I have ever had, it was probably the most awkward...well, not really that either. let's just say it was difficult. and weird.
october 29 came, and I had a doctor's appointment. the doctor told me they don't normally induce labor until 2 weeks after the due date, and I just lost it. I figured that was my last defense, and surely he would take pity on a very pregnant sobbing woman. no dice. I'm sure he's seen hundreds of sobbing pregnant women and is totally immune to them. and for that, he will rot in hell.
he did, however, finally acquiesce to an induction on november 1, a monday. while it wasn't immediate, it was helpful to know that by hell or high water, this baby was going to be delivered at some point. it was comforting.
on october 30, sean's friend little jimmy came to visit. he brought music and merriment and was planning on staying until halloween. trent was home, and we were all having fun. I was feeling a little weird, and then FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY, I lost my mucous plug. that was the beginning of my labor with trent, no water breaking or anything, so I figured it was probably time. I had been crampy for days but just the day before at the doctor's, they said my cervix was virtually undilated, so I thought nothing of it.
we told little jimmy that it might be best for him to hit the road early. trent and I then played a game of monopoly before I decided that, just in case, he better go stay with his grandparents, as brett wasn't home. while sean took him there, I started having more regular cramping, but still didn't believe that it was happening. mostly because I had had many MANY false starts.
at about midnight, I woke up with REAL contractions. ones that were more or less unmistakeable. I really wanted to take a shower, because I had rushed to the hospital when I had trent and had felt gross, and all the videos that I saw showed laboring women eating food and getting comfortable and that's what I wanted to do, too. so I got in the shower and sean put his hand in to steady me. he had called the doctor already and the doula (and someday other than today, I will tell you that story, but today is about goodness and babies) and they were ready for us. it was about 2 or 3am, I guess, by the time I got out of the shower, got dressed, and we made our way to the hospital, which was only about 5 minutes away.
I had been in the hospital on our anniversary, october 7, with what I thought were labor pains, and it was so embarrassing to have to walk out of there without a baby on the outside of my body instead of the inside, so I felt a little sheepish when we saw the emergency intake person and they got us a wheelchair. I'm positive they weren't the same people, and even if they were I'm sure they wouldn't care, but I felt like I had been waiting so long that I just felt off about everything.
by this time, when the contractions came, they were enough to make me have to stop what I was doing and concentrate on getting through them. they were intensely strong right from the beginning. or maybe I had slept through the easier ones.
by the time we got set up in our room, it was probably around 3:30 or so. sean would know better about the timing. it was a sunday, halloween. my favorite holiday. I remember most vividly getting to the hospital and getting dressed, and then actually delivering bella. the time in between is a blur, but I will tell you what I remember.
I really wanted to go without drugs, but since our doula never showed up, I didn't really have the right tools to keep my mind off the pain. they offered me some stupid drug that I think I had 2 doses of, but it didn't do anything for the pain and just left me confused and slightly panicked. I don't do well on drugs to begin with (as anyone who has seen me smoke pot can attest) and certainly not when I'm in labor. so we stopped that, and I finally asked for an epidural, even though I really didn't plan to have one. my contractions were really intense, but I wasn't really dilating very well. they did say I could have the epidural but as it was sunday, the anesthesiologist wasn't in the hospital. she was at home, and it would be another hour or so before she got herself ready and got into the hospital. telling a laboring woman who has told herself she wouldn't have an epidural and thus has gone way beyond what she would have normally allowed, pain-wise, because she was hoping that she could do it without drugs...telling her to wait another HOUR is like asking her to not think of an elephant. as soon as I found that out, of course my mind allowed the pain to really affect me.
oddly, and if you know me, this is weird - I didn't curse. not once. in fact, when I did say something mildly angry, I said "heck" instead of "hell". I did alot of conversing with the lord - asking god to please, please help me. that was my refrain: please help me. as if someone else had put me in this position. funny.
so the anesthesiologist finally decided to roll in, and I got the epidural. and after a few minutes (agonizingly long, drawn out minutes) she let us know, sort of nonchalantly, if I remember correctly, that we had a "window". which is short for "it didn't fucking work."
the upside in waiting for the epidural for so long is that in a very short amount of time (comparatively - hours went by) I dilated to 9 centimeters. so by the time we figured out that I had a window, there was no time to have another epidural. so I had my wish after all, to have a baby more or less without one, even though the apparatus was in there.
finally, around 10:45am I think, it was time to push. they went through all the instructions on how to push, and maybe because this was my second child, and maybe because I was in so much pain, and maybe because IBS had made my pelvic floor incredibly strong...I started before they even told me to. and 3 pushes later - seriously, 3 pushes - bella was all the way out. no tearing, no episiotomy.
I had had my eyes closed for hours, in pain. I opened them and saw the silhouette of a skinny baby's arm, fingers splayed, against the backdrop of a flourescent light. that was the first vision I had of the baby - reaching out to the world.
sean said, incredulously, IT'S A GIRL! we didn't know what we were having, so this was a big moment. I think sean really thought it was a boy. I asked immediately if she looked okay. I was worried that she'd have clubbed feet like trent did, but they told me she looked great. pink and screamy just like normal.
those first few minutes with her were not as dramatic as some people say...she pooped on me, for one, and I was exhausted...but I always picture my first glimpse of her on the outside as the defining moment of her birth.
all told, it was probably about 10 hours of "real" labor, which I guess is pretty good. as is the case, mother nature wipes the slate a little cleaner each year (I hardly remember the pain with trent) and I'm sure next year the memory of the pain will be even fuzzier than it is this year, and so on and so on.
after things settled down, sean and I named the baby bella. I knew that her middle name would be my maiden name, colancecco, which made my father happy. we called everyone and told them the news. I don't think I slept at all that day. I remember looking out at the darkening sky and the oak tree outside my hospital window, holding my halloween treat, thinking of all the years that we'll be thinking back to this day.
happy birthday, bella colancecco milligan. I love you so much.
whipped up at 1:42 PM
...13 facts about Patrice! This is tough to do because you already know so much about her, and what you don’t know, maybe she doesn’t want you to know. Otherwise, why wouldn’t she have told you already? Hopefully, what I’m about to reveal is not too personal or secret.
Patrice’s favorite food is Indian food. In fact, I hated Indian food the first time I had it, but when I met her, she reintroduced me to it, and I’ve been a Patrice-bias-free fan ever since.
Patrice drives a 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser Touring Edition. When she bought the car in 2003, it was the first time she ever purchased a brand new car. She says it will be the last time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens again. She’s also fond of the Hyundai Tiberon and the Chrysler 300. She doesn’t like the PT Cruiser convertible, though, because it takes away from the car’s retro look.
Patrice has 7 tattoos, and most of them are visible. Not that it’s a big secret, but I’ll let Patrice tell you where they are, that is, if she decides it is okay.
Patrice’s favorite male music artist is Stevie Wonder, and her favorite female music artist is Ella Fitzgerald.
Speaking of music, Patrice owns a jazz setup drum kit. She hasn’t used it in quite a while, but before I met her, she played quite a bit of jazz drums. They are currently in our shed, but damned if Trent doesn’t want to get them out and pound away on them like Animal from the Muppets.
The only celebrity that Patrice ever met was Scott Baio. She has the picture to prove it, but of course, someone is in the way of Scott, and he can’t be seen. The sign says so, though. Unless, Patrice went through the intricate process of staging a Scott Baio meeting by creating the sign herself. I doubt it. Then again, there was a time when Scott Baio was huge!
Patrice has meat issues. She’s not a vegetarian, but she seems like she is headed in that direction. All of the signs point to it. She shows much compassion for imprisoned animals who are about to become food, and she cannot eat meat from the bone, and she can’t eat it if it even resembles what it once was when it was alive. She’s also freaked out by possible bacteria contained within. Most of all, she has shown great talent in the realm of vegetarian cooking. I’m a huge fan of her vegetarian dishes, so if she ever wanted to convert, I’d be on board. I sure do likes me some meat, though.
Patrice is afraid of looking into a telescope. I think the large scale intricacy of the universe overwhelms her. The same may be true for microscopes, but I’m not sure. I do know that small scale intricacies also overwhelm her. That’s as basic as I can put it, but I’m sure she can expand on this condition, which I find endearing in a good way.
Patrice is a student of Eastern religion. Forgive my ignorance, but it’s either Hinduism or Hare Krishna. No disrespect, but I get the two of them confused. As far as I know, she hasn’t practiced in a while. I kind of have the feeling that I may have steered her away from these practices inadvertently. Before we moved in together, she had an altar set up in her closet. She still has the materials i.e. a bowl with a mysterious (to me) red dust, pictures of deities, medals, etc. They just aren’t set up for praying. Then again, do you need a setup to pray? This might be the most personal thing that I am divulging, so I hope I’m not out of line. What matters the most about this fact is that, unlike myself, Patrice is still very spiritual and believes in a higher power, and she never likes when I say J.F.C.
Before Patrice and I started dating, she was a master rock climber. She would climb walls like she was Spiderman. I think she used to go to a rock gym regularly in Oaks, PA, and she wanted to get me into it, but at the time, I was having major ingrown toenail issues, so it wasn’t happening. Along with rock climbing, Patrice is a big fan of outdoor activity in general. She likes white water rafting, bike riding, hiking, and camping.
Patrice’s favorite color is red. I find that appropriate considering how red her hair can get sometimes. Although now, the hair is brown and looking fantastic.
You probably know this already by looking at the pictures she posts, but did you know that Patrice is an aspiring photographer? Maybe so, but did you know that her trademark picture is when she takes a picture of her feet? Now you know.
This one is obvious. Patrice is a very intelligent, caring, and beautiful person. Okay, that’s three things. She has a wealth of knowledge and can probably help you to the next level as a life line if you are a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. She always tries to do the right thing no matter what. Even if someone crosses her, she will not sink to their level and perform the same low act. She will not compromise who she is to get back at someone. She proves her point by sticking to her guns. She gets even by being herself and representing an example of how well people should treat each other. And, call me biased, but you’ve seen the pictures. She’s HOT!!! But seriously, Patrice doesn’t have fake magazine type beauty. Who wants that anyway? That’s shallow beauty!!! Patrice is a unique being with her own quirks and individuality. She’s also strong, and all of that adds to the physical attributes that I find so attractive. I got a good one, and not just in the sense of a wife. For those of you who know, how about how she interacts with her children? You can’t ask for much more than that. Love you, babe.
whipped up at 1:54 PM
last night, sean ditched me to go see the melvins, so it was me and the kids on a solo run. I picked bella up at daycare and she promptly decided she hated the carseat. the "bing!" of the gas light in my car had just gone on and I seriously considered pumping gas while holding bella, which probably is bad because of the fumes. so I left her crying in the car instead. ever notice how goddamn slow the pumps are? then, because we had used the last of the pediacare decongestant drops the night before, and knowing that the night would be even longer if I had to wipe her nose every 5 seconds and sleep with her sitting up, we stopped at the drugstore to get more. we got both the regular decongestant drops and the ones with the cough suppressant, as she had coughed only a few times - but I still wanted it on hand.
after wrestling bella back into the carseat and enduring the screams, we got home. I expected trent to be lounging on the couch watching TV (brett had picked him up from soccer and dropped him at our house) which he's totally not supposed to do before 7pm on a weeknight, but he was downstairs diligently working on his spanish project. I couldn't believe it. he came up and fed the pets while I wrangled a very cranky bella and made "dinner". I had figured I'd just make spaghetti because that's easy, but after I started cooking the wheat pasta, I noticed we had no gravy. we did have half a jar of cheddar sauce and a small jar of ragu pizza quick. so we had cheezy pizza macaroni. it was actually pretty good. I may make it again on purpose.
at dinner, which bella loved too by the way, trent informed me that a few days before, when he had his friend matt over (!!!), they installed AIM on trent's profile. let me explain. I make my living from the internet and at one point fairly recently, I was working exclusively from home using our computer. I am very acutely aware of spyware and adware and how they can ruin a computer. therefore, to keep my work things in order and since we only have one computer, I had sectored areas for me, sean, and trent. I was the only administrator. for my work, I was required to use AIM (yeah, believe it?) and the computer already had it installed, though it was not viewable on trent's profile. so as soon as he told me he installed AIM with his friend matt, I was like, how? he said he made himself an administrator. wha??? the thing with trent is, he is extremely permissive with his friends. he knows better, but doesn't say anything in part because I think he's just so thrilled that he's being socially accepted that he doesn't want to ruin it. which makes me so sad I can't even explain it. but still. he can't be fucking around with the computer.
so then it hit me why he'd been so diligently working on the computer for this long - he's been instant messaging people this whole time. and immediately after dinner, he was back down there again, working on his project and doing his homework. theoretically. he was down there for more than 4 hours, right up until bedtime. at least he got his homework and project done.
so while my almost-teenager was downstairs IMing friends and girls, my little baby was playing with me in the tent. she started playing this game where she goes in the tent, and sticks out her little hand. I have to grab her hand and then reach in and tickle her. we played this for seriously a half hour. we took a break to have crackers (which she picked out by pointing to the box, and then did the sign for more when she wanted more) but we went right back to the tent game afterwards. she was laughing so hard.
I had one child who was testing my boundaries and opening his fledgling wings out of my eyesight, and one child who wanted all of my attention for a silly game of grab-my-hand. I am blessed to have these kids, who by their very differences make me appreciate each stage of their development.
whipped up at 9:41 AM
Sean here. First, I want to say how flattered and touched I am to read all of your nice compliments about me. I mean, I never even met some of you, and for those I have met and see frequently…well, let’s just say that it’s always nice to hear positive feedback about ME!!!! Getting such compliments makes me want to continue being the best person that I can be. So, thanks again to Patrice for such a detailed post about me, and thank you for your great comments. You made my day. In a later post, I intend to reveal 13 facts about Patrice that you may not know.
It’s so funny because right now, as I type, that song “It’s Been A While” by Staind is on the radio, and that’s all I can think about since I haven’t posted in a while (that and snuffing it because of how bad this song/band is). In the blogosphere, this will be the second time I referenced this dreadful song to describe my absence. Sorry I’ve been away so long. I mean, I’ve been here all along, but I just haven’t said anything. I’ve been reading what everyone says, and it makes me value who I am, who I’m with, where I am, and what I have. Furthermore, it makes me want to meet those of you who I haven’t met yet. Maybe someday. For those of you who I see frequently, I’ll be on your doorstep very soon, and I will be menacing!
My latest is that October has me in the best of moods. We’re getting ready for Bellaween, which is nowhere near as stressful as wedding planning. In the meantime, hockey is back, and Bella is a fan of the black and orange in more than once sense. Trent and I took Bella to her first Flyers game a few Saturday s ago. We watched a 5-1 pounding of the NY Islanders which included some suddenly impressive goals and a brutal Donald Brashear fight. She was startled a few times by the sudden noise of the crowd, but overall, she was happy and excited to be there. As normal as it felt to have her there, we got many weird looks by people, who I guess weren’t used to seeing a child that young at a hockey game so soon. As it turns out, she wasn’t the youngest in attendance. In the parking lot, we met a family with a 10 month old boy sporting the orange and black. And coincidentally, we ran into my dad’s girlfriend’s daughters (or, my almost stepsisters), who picked Bella out of a crowd of people and were screaming her name. It was unexpected and strange, but it was good to see them. It was even stranger to see Erin from Season 3 of The Apprentice working for the arena as an emcee. When we saw her, I recognized her immediately. Trent didn’t think it was her, but I was positive. When we took our intermission walk, I saw her on the concourse, and I said “Hello Erin.” She said “hello” back, but she had this weird look on her face like she was trying to remember if I went to high school with her. Either that, or she was wondering, “What is a baby doing here?”
About the game, Bella loved the contrast of the players against the ice and their fast-paced action. We were in prime view of that 2nd level LED border that shows all of the cool graphics to get the crowd excited and informed, so she was fixated on that pretty often. She wasn’t too impressed with the fan-o-vision, but she loved the loud music. I heard a few people behind us laughing while she danced to Pantera’s “Walk”. I put her down a few times, which wasn’t the cleanest scenario, but that’s what wipes are for. Being in the front row of the 2nd level, there was a half concrete/half glass barrier that she could lean against. This proved to be a better balancing medium than, say, another hockey spectator, so we took advantage of the fact that nobody sat in front of us. She liked to dance to the music and bang on the glass and scream when things got rowdy. Trent and I remarked about how convenient it was for someone with a baby to sit where we were. Trent thinks that those sections should be reserved for babies. At the very least, he thinks that certain sections should be closed off for babies sort of like those glass boxes in the back of churches where people can corral their babies and get their God on while not having their child noises interfere with the praising of the lord. Anyway, parking was $10, cheesteaks, fries, 1 soda and 1 beer was $26, but the memory was priceless! When are they going to do away with that MasterCard advertising campaign anyway?
I was going to write more in this post, but because it is already too long, then it’s time for…dud dud dud dah!!! Multiple posts! Stay tuned for facts about Patrice! I know you can’t wait!
whipped up at 9:32 AM
whipped up at 8:33 AM
since I did everyone else but the pets, I thought I would tell you some things about sean. I am going to keep it clean and not reveal all secrets, though.
1. he has a gap-toothed smile. (this is for cyber blog interweb buddies who haven't seen him in person.) he also always has some form of beard.
2. he played baseball as a kid and still relives the glory. I think he said he was the fastest pitcher in all of northeast philly or the world or something.
3. he LOVES beer. like coors light and bud. just kidding. he's a total beer snob. he likes fruity beers, and loves hoppy beers. his favorite breweries include magic hat, dogfish head, and victory. although I think victory is falling out of favor for him as his tastes broaden due to consumption of copious amounts of micro brews lately. I'm fairly sure IPAs are his favorite style of beer, though he likes porters and stouts, and cask-conditioned beers. I think his least favorite is pilsner. he likes a darker beer better than a lighter one. unless we're talking about that chocolate beer he had that one time at sugar mom's during vinnie's 21st birthday. anyways, the point is that he loves beer and drinks some every day - in an "I love the taste" way, not in a "get patrice to al-anon" way.
4. his favorite food is mexican.
5. he loves to travel. in fact, that was a worry of his before we had bella - whether or not we'd still be able to travel. he's been to canada, mexico, france, germany, ireland, and a bunch of other european countries, but there are still lots of places he wants to go. me too.
6. he stinks in his sleep. somehow his pores just open up and ooze out whatever he ate that day. god forbid it was laden with garlic. I love him dearly but he does stink.
7. he loves metal. not as in metal, as in metal. he has really diverse taste in music on the whole (he won't listen to country or gospel - I think everything else is a go. INCLUDING KELLY CLARKSON.) he is very passionate about the music he likes. I think you may remember his annual pilgrimage to the new england metal and hardcore fest each april. he also has an "impressive" collection of band T-shirts that he wears proudly. most of the bands he has shirts for are pretty tame (between the buried and me, cryptopsy, coalesce - except that pesky skull) but some are a little more risque (pig destroyer, the one that I bought him that says "swedish as fuck" on the back). I want him to wear his witchery shirt the next time the jehovah's witnesses come.
8. he feels pretty good about himself when he is wearing a new shirt.
9. he loves the eagles, flyers, and phillies. he's definitely a philly sports fan. (sixers, not so much. not that he doesn't like them, he's just not that interested in the nba.)
10. he cries at sad movies. openly. tears all over his metal t shirts.
11. his legs are disproportionately larger than his body. I often remark that if he were as tall as what his legs are proportioned to, he'd be about 7.5' tall.
12. he has weird toenails. he gets ingrown toenails probably just as often if not more than I do. we bonded over this early in dating.
13. he seems a little menacing (or can, if he wants to be - or acts, if he's at a show) but he's a total sweetheart. he's a loyal, caring man who always does his job to the best of his ability, whether it's at work or at home. he's a good step dad and dad and a great husband. and I bet you $5 he's tearing up right now.
whipped up at 2:52 PM
oktoberfest and pumpkin stuff. as usual, a click makes em bigger.
sean's work friends chillin.
steve holds bella.
connor throws westside gang signs.
"the floor was littered with babies."
party people in the kitchen.
bella scoots the mall.
bella with her stalk.
bella on pumpkins, nonchalant.
bella on pumpkins.
the kids at the shoe store fish tank.
whipped up at 1:16 PM
yesterday I took a mental health day from work. on tuesday, I had a cyber-scuffle with a colleague in my field, and she felt compelled to confront my boss about me instead of contacting me, but that was just the icing on the cake. my day had already begun badly, with me forgetting key things that I always bring to work with me and being late and whatnot.
I am pretty good with dealing with big, bad things. I usually just roll my sleeves up and get shit done and then afterwards, I fall apart, when everything is already resolved and taken care of. sort of like a floodgate opening after the flood has passed. but it's the little things that really seem to take their toll on me.
so. I've been doing alot of soul searching (including a trip to longwood gardens yesterday) and what I've come up with is ugly and embarrassing and difficult for me to admit to.
I'm jealous. I'm jealous and I have a deep, deep need to be needed and for people to think I'm important.
I'm jealous of my boss, who is only a year older than me but in a completely different station in life. buying big houses, having a wife who doesn't have to work, buying cars and taking trips and having an office and not a cubicle. I entered the workforce early, having only gotten an associate degree, and was ahead of the game with many of my peers for a little while. the tide has turned and while other people have moved forward, I have not. my field is a very niche field and there's not alot of room to move up, so I've sort of backed myself into a corner.
and I guess I've been trying really hard to make that corner really seem like it's a great place to be. by getting way too involved with the politics of my field and trying way too hard to sound important and smart. and coming off sounding naive and silly. (though not as silly as the bitch that tried to sell me out.)
the fact that I report to someone my own age gives me pain. physical pain in my chest. I think I might die on the spot if I ever have to report to someone younger than me. I think it's pride, and it's ugly.
but the work issue is just one facet of my life that is giving me trouble. this might make some of my friends who read this blog mad, but understand that I am just getting out my feelings and not trying to pin blame on anyone. this is blog-as-therapy. I am constantly disappointed at not being more important to my friends and family. it's gotten to the point where I don't even want to host parties anymore because I always get so much anxiety over it. over who is coming, who seems excited, who sounds like they're going to bail. today is bella's rsvp date for her birthday party and there were alot of people I hadn't heard from and I just felt like - unimportant. mostly in the face of my own reaction when I get invited to something - I always feel grateful. grateful that someone invited ME, little old me, to their party. I want someone to feel grateful that I thought enough of them to invite them to something.
it's a big pity party in my head right now. which is why I'm ashamed. why is it so important to me to be more successful, more important, more sought out, more right than I am now? than other people?
remember when this happened before? I took the counter off my blog because I couldn't handle it. seeing if my numbers were growing as fast, faster, whatever than other people's. why this incessant need to keep comparing myself to others? and is it selfishness or ego that makes me think that I ought to be the center of attention of my friends and family?
when the going gets tough, I usually get going. I've been known to take off for a few days (to other towns, other states, or other countries) when I feel like I'm coming apart. alone. (and thank god that not only does sean understand me, but he doesn't get upset when I need alone time and is always more than willing to accommodate me.)
while that wasn't an option yesterday, at least getting out of work, out of the role of mommy, and out of the house was good. as I walked through longwood's vast meadow, watching all the crickets jump out of my way, feeling like "at least the crickets notice that I'm around" and feeling totally sorry for myself, I realized that the only thing I have control of in this situation is me.
I can't make my boss be older or less financially stable. I can't make other people think the way I do. I can't demand that I become a higher priority to people. the only thing I can do is to stop comparing, stop worrying about other people, and focus on improving myself. focus on my own happiness, independent of other people. realize that other people have lives that have nothing to do with me and that I shouldn't be the most important thing to them.
and yet...even though I know I will work on this and it will get better, as it always does, and I won't be upset and I won't worry as much...I wish that for a minute, I could feel like I was on top.
if you've even decided to read this far, I'm sorry for all the self-indulgence.
whipped up at 12:35 PM
everyone's doing it.
okay. 10 years ago, I was...uh....let's see. trent was 2 going on 3, so I guess I was giving his father, brett, the ultimatums. I think we then got engaged in june of the following year, when trent was 3...or maybe the year before...and about 3 weeks after we got engaged, I broke up with him. I had warned him that he'd wait too long and that I'd no longer want to get married, and that's exactly what happened. it was a very difficult, sometimes violent, breakup. very bad.
5 years ago, I was...god, this is hard to remember...um....oh wait. 5 years ago was 2000, and that's when I started dating sean. I was working at cdnow. at the end of 2000, on dec 28, I was officially laid off. sean had already been laid off and had started working at....Big Company He Currently Works For.
one year ago, I was just beginning my spiral into depression over not having given birth yet. seriously, the day after my due date, which was the 23rd, I was in the obstetrician's office bawling my eyes out. you have to understand that I was HUGE. I had this awful rash on my feet and I couldn't wear shoes. even if I didn't have the rash (which actually was blisters, big painful blisters that oozed) I couldn't wear shoes because my feet and ankles were so huge and swollen. if you think I'm exaggerating, ask nicole or jen. or sean, who had to bear the brunt of my frustration. my hip joint kept popping out of place and I had to see a chiropractor 3 times a week. it was awful. I was on blog hiatus at that point because I didn't want to journal just how awful it was. there's a big gap between my 2nd trimester posts and when I started up full time again. at the very end, I wasn't taking phone calls or seeing anyone, and I was working from home. if I had to go out, I'd make sean check to make sure none of our neighbors were out because I didn't want them to ask me any questions about why the baby wasn't here yet.
5 snacks: fruit roll ups, hot chocolate, candy bars, soda, granola bars
5 songs I know all the words to: oddly, and I don't know why, there are quite a few phil collins/genesis songs I know all the words to. when they come on the radio, I always am amazed that I am singing along. I don't even particularly like them. like "billy don't you lose my number". REM's it's the end of the world as we know it, TMBG women and men, many bee gee's songs, pour some sugar on me.
5 things I would do with $100mill: ha. jarrett and I were just talking about this today. about what order we'd do stuff. safety deposit box, lawyer, accountant, new car, then fly somewhere far away and take no luggage. but what I'd do with the money - pay off all my friends' mortgages, invest, travel, start a fund for single mothers trying to get off welfare and go to school, get really good porcelain veneers.
5 things I would never wear: depending on if I got any plastic surgery with that $100 mill, a bikini. also, nude pantyhose, real fur, a wimple (unless it's halloween), granny panties.
5 favorite tv shows. only 5? america's next top model, lost, project runway, murder she wrote, the office. and I am aware that I am a dork.
5 biggest joys: family, a silent house, petting pets, relaxing in a clean house, fall days.
5 favorite toys or games: clue, phase 10, trivial pursuit, quizzo, yahtzee.
sean, want to?
whipped up at 3:58 PM
we, along with 95% of the residents of the areas around merrymead farms, went to the fall festival yesterday. after 8 days of rain and one day of sunny, which we spent antique shopping with brett in skippack (I know, seriously, can you believe it? for stuff for his house), it was the "it" thing to do for all the families in the land.
we wanted to get a head start on the crowd, so I made sean and trent get up early and we all left the house before 10am. of course, a drive past the (barren) parking lot at merrymead showed us that doing that was really quite dumb, as of course all the churchy people would have been at mass at that time, and the festival didn't start until 12.
because we are getting bella's one year old picture done today at jcpenney's, courtesy of bella's daycare, who fucked up our "school" picture of bella by NOT TAKING ANY and therefore giving us a free pass for jacques, we had to scramble around this weekend to find something that she could be respectfully wearing. something befitting a 1 year old picture. so we were headed to the mall after the festival, but because of god, we figured we'd go to the mall first.
the mall doesn't open till 11. it's 10:25. but the doors are open. so you can actually get into the mall, just not into any stores. presumably it's for the mall-walkers, but I didn't see any of those. I just saw other impatient people milling around waiting for the stores to open. bella loved crawling around on the floors that I rationalized to myself were recently cleaned, and stood up next to the railing looking down on the first floor. she danced around and acted like she was in prison.
finally, after lollygagging around for over a half hour (to the starbucks, which was open, and to the coin-operated ride thingies which oddly didn't impress bella) we were able to get into the stores. we found a stupid dress after going to 3 stores, and we bought it out of desperation. it was one of those velvet dresses for christmas that normally we'd never put bella in. we kept the receipt.
I went into gap kids thinking that even if I found something, it would be 5 billion dollars, but I found a $30 dress (seriously. $30? for an INFANT? amazing that looking at $60 infant dresses makes $30 dresses seem reasonable) that was much better suited to the occasion, as it's fall colors and actually cute.
a stop to the shoe store for bella's first real shoe fitting told us that the boots she was wearing (and sweating in - I thought we'd be outside all day) are too small. she's a 4 1/2. who knew? we bought her black dress shoes (not patent leather, much to my mother's chagrin, I'm sure - that would be assuming I ever talked to my mother and/or saw her) and hightailed it out of there. I still wanted to be early for the festival.
we got to merrymead at like 12:06. PACKED. fucking packed. bella was sleeping, and she hadn't napped yet, so I stayed in the car with her while she slept and sean and trent scoped out the fest. they came back talking about chicken fries and cider donuts and I was like....GO GET ME SOME, NOW. of course, bells woke up before they got back and we almost missed each other in the field/parking lot.
we went through the corn maze, finding and answering all 8 questions, one of which was "name 5 foods with corn in them". you have to find all 8 questions and answer them on your map so you can be entered to win a free christmas tree, and if you've ever bought a christmas tree you know they're like $60. however, it just now occurred to me that we have an artificial tree since last year. oh well. maybe we can ebay it. so anyways, the MUD in the corn maze was astounding. sean lost his shoe once. it was gross. bella loved the corn, though. she somehow grabbed onto a stalk and pulled off a piece that was probably 2 foot long, and carried that all through the maze. she waved it around and even gnawed on it for a minute, until sean stopped her and took away the stalk and she bawled. I said "sean, let her have the stalk. LET HER BE A DAMN STALKER. I just don't want to hear her cry."
so we got all 8 questions, blah blah blah, and when we got out, they didn't even look at our sheet. just gave us the entry. am I surprised? should I have even been incensed over this? I doubt it.
we then got pumpkins, and stood in line with about 30 other people to purchase them, then bought some pumpkin paint and fresh ice cream and fresh whole milk minus that recombinated human growth hormone stuff they have in commercial milk. (for bella - even if it were the best milk on earth, I would still never ever drink milk. it is breast milk for calfs.) and then finally called it a day. it was only 4pm when we got home, but it felt like we were out for days.
I made dinner of chicken that I could not eat and pasta, we watched some of vh1's one hit wonders countdown for some reason, we all watched a movie together, and then we went to bed. the most validating part of the weekend was when sean looked at me in the car on the way from the mall to the festival and said, "now I know why you're glad I'm home weekends. I can't imagine trying to do this by myself."
we even took pictures, but you know the drill. maybe I'll download them tonight.
whipped up at 9:30 AM
here's some stuff you might not have known about trent.
1. he once ate dog poop and liked it.
2. he's extremely ticklish under his chin.
3. his right foot really does look like a club, which is so sad.
4. he once only answered to the name "frosty". it lasted about a month or so.
5. he also went through a period where he insisted on wearing a cape at all times. this was not during halloween.
6. he has an excellent sense of humor.
7. he is still afraid of the dark.
8. he's the shortest kid in his grade.
9. he can lift more weight than I can.
10. last night we were talking about a woman that sean works with having been in the same position at work for 7 years. trent was amazed at this fact. we found out that he was amazed because he thought she was literally in the same physical position for 7 years, like the tin man.
11. he's got tiny blackheads on his nose and is beginning to get pimples. and his pits REEK.
12. he likes to play nancy drew mysteries on the computer, even though they are for girls.
13. he still likes to snuggle with his mom.
whipped up at 9:24 AM
here are some things you might not know about baby bella:
1. she loves bathtime. in fact, she cries when we try to take her out of the bath. we have to slowly drain the water out so that she becomes disenchanted with it and will not freak out when we pick her up. sean has much more experience with this than I do.
2. like dermot, she likes to have stuff in her hands most of the time. yesterday, it was 2 unopened bottles of avon roll-on soap. today it was plastic forks and spoons. sometimes it's plastic letters from her fisher-price house, sometimes it's my socks. she'll keep them in her hands even while sleeping, and won't let go to put on clothing or jackets.
3. she enjoys a bottle of warm milk at night. whole milk. not mine. this gets us ever closer to that elusive weaning.
4. she now eats more table food than baby food. she especially likes the soup that katy gave us the recipe for, pasta, and green beans. though she really enjoys just eating whatever we're eating.
5. she farts alot and head-butts things often.
6. she acts like she's having a conversation, with timbre and cadence changes. like she thinks she's human or something.
7. she stands by herself until she realizes she's standing by herself, and then she quick sits down, like "oh shit! I was just standing there for a second!"
8. she often needs her butt patted when she's trying to fall asleep.
9. sean is better at bathing her and putting her to bed than I am, unless I'm whipping out the draft milk.
10. she loves baby dolls and loves to dance.
11. she is both drawn to and afraid of the dog.
12. she loves booping fingers - putting out her index finger and touching it to your index finger while you say "boop!" to get her to do this, you just ask her, "wanna boop?"
13. she examines her clothing after it is put on her. especially long sleeved shirts. she looks at her arms and then turns them all around, looking at the sleeve.
since 13 is my lucky number, I'll stop there. there will be a quiz later.
whipped up at 1:08 PM
well, our oktoberfest was pretty successful. I took the day off last friday to prepare our back yard. a little before and after on that: before, it was a jungle of weeds and this insidious vine mass that had seemed pretty nice at first, since it grew on our fence and hid the fact that it's hideous chain link. it then started covering the entire yard, including the patio and furniture and grill. we were afraid to leave our dog maggie out there for too long lest she be covered, too. after, sean had pulled out all those vines, and my dad came over and rototilled the entire thing. we had decided to start from scratch.
2 weeks ago, I reseeded the yard (after raking it and spreading fertilizer, what a pain in the goddamn ass) and though I thought I waited too long, I did it at exactly the right time, because it's been raining nonstop this whole week. and the little tiny grass is poking up through the weird matting stuff I had to lay down in order to keep the birds from eating the seed. success!
so anyway, friday, I excavated our backyard flowerbeds, which haven't been dug up in probably years, and mulched. I mulched my little heart out. I swept and I cleaned outside, for hours. and then it began to rain. and it didn't stop until sunday. all that work, and the only people who saw it were the dog and sean.
so oktoberfest was moved indoors. we had brats and burgers on the grill, nicole's famous german potato salad, sauerkraut, and soft pretzels. to keep the german thing going, I had bought pierogies. then sean said they were polish, not german...so after making a racially inappropriate joke, I made them anyway. there was pumpkin dip, tastykakes, pie...it was alot of food. and then the beer, of course. god knows I can't forget the beer. sam adams' oktoberfest and dogfish head pumpkin ale. I have mentioned that sean is a beer snob, have I not?
sean grilled outside in the cold rain. the grill was hot from all the, well, grilling. he was inside, and we all heard a "POP" and cracking. the glass front of the grill had shattered, I guess due to the cold and the hot. so...that does it for us for grilling for a while.
the babies had fun - noah was there, bella was there of course, and sean's coworker kevin's son connor was there. connor is just a little older than noah and bella, but he was like towering over the two of them. it's amazing what 2 months' difference looks like at that age. he was really sweet and cute and all the babies played well together.
all the grownups played well together, too. I have pictures to prove it. and I will post them "soon".
one last thing - bella had new socks on last night and for some reason, seeing her with socks on made her legs look bigger than I had remembered. older. she looked older. it could be because this is the first time she's had socks on since the winter, when she was a tiny little peanut who couldn't do anything but lay there and cry. but it made me sort of sad to think that she's growing up and out of babyhood and into toddlerhood. this is most likely going to be my last child, and each day that passes is a small chapter being closed. I'm never going to have a baby who is 11 months and 12 days old, never again. when she's weaned, I'll never breastfeed again. (which oddly doesn't make me feel as good as I thought it would.) when she talks, it'll be the last first words I hear as a mother. it's sad, but I guess in a way it's liberating too. because I was thrust into motherhood uninvited, I guess I've always longed for the days where I live my life solely for myself, and moving past this age for bella means that I get closer to those days. but when I saw her little chubby legs that looked more toddler than baby, I got emotional.
and then I wanted to take a big bite out of them. mmmm, baby legs.
whipped up at 10:17 AM
remember way back when, when we all went to the zoo?
I downloaded the pictures. finally. want to see?
edited to add:
here's my favorite of the bunch.
whipped up at 1:50 PM
Hello. Sean here, and no. Our wedding didn't last for 48 hours, although that would probably be very fun (and tiresome with all the drinking and the dancing). 48 Hour Wedding is the name of the reality TV show that Patrice and I were almost on. The show was supposed to air on the PAX network (home of Billy Ray Cyrus's doctor show and other family oriented programming), and we went through the auditions and screenings, and we made the cut. It was all in place as we were set to appear on television with a $10,000 budget to plan and execute our wedding over a 48 hour span. It was the chance of a lifetime even though it seemed impossible, but we thought, "Why the hell not?"
The story goes like this. I have an old college friend who I'm still in touch with. Her name is Rena, and back then and currently, Rena works for Banyan Productions. This is the production company responsible for bringing many popular television shows to your cozy home. Trading Spaces is one of them, and I'm sure that there are many others, but what most of them have in common is that they are reality TV shows that involve regular people performing tasks in a short amount of time. 48 Hour Wedding fits this criteria. For these shows, it is very typical of Banyan employees to get people who they know to appear on their shows, so employees didn't think twice about getting their friends, family and associates involved when the casting took place for 48HW. The difference between a show like 48HW and a show like Trading Spaces is that Trading Spaces doesn't involve a direct competition with other contestants for prizes at stake the way 48HW was going to. You see, before the planning and executing of the wedding in a two-day span, you had to go head to head with two other teams in a Dating Game-esque game show to see how well you know (or think you know) your fiance. The winner of this competition was to be awarded the $10,000 for the sole purpose of the wedding in 48 hours. Because this prize was at stake, it was unethical and illegal for any contestants to be in cahoots with anyone working for Banyan for fear of nepotism or favoritism or fixing the competition. Of course, the employees overlooked this rule when recruiting people because none of their other shows ever walked the line that this legality represented. Rena never thought twice about it because she was always getting people she knew to appear on shows that Banyan produced. So, it went like this.
We hear the casting request on the radio one day...the same day Rena sent us an email asking us if we were interested. I had just proposed to Patrice at the Washington Monument a few weeks prior, so the timing was perfect for such a challenge. So, we filled out an application thinking that it would never materialize. We went away on vacation to Montreal and Ottawa. While we were in Ottawa, Patrice called home and checked messages. There was one from the producer of the show asking us to come in for an on-screen audition, which means they ask you a bunch of questions to see how you will answer them on camera. They also have the footage as a reference while they are conducting their decision process on who to pick. So, we got another call saying that we were 1 of 9 couples selected to appear on the show. They divided the 9 couples into 3 groups of 3, so they had three shows planned where the 3 couples would go head to head for a chance...you know already. In the fast-paced business of reality TV, there were many factors involved in getting this together, and in rapid fashion, things were getting crazy. We were excited about the opportunity, but suddenly we realized how stressful everything was going to be. We just got back from Canadian holiday, so I had to beg my supervisor and manager for more time off so that this could happen. Our friends and family all had to be notified because there was a good chance that they would appear on the show. I had to try to get my brother Billy, who was going to be my best man, home for the occasion. Most importantly, we had to play Dating Game boardgames at home to practice knowledge of each other so that we could win the gameshow portion of the show. No victory = no money = no chance. Then, we started learning about the rules of the game in the event we won the $10,000 (besides the time frame). We could only select from certain vendors. The production crew will be with us for the entire 48 hours (a la Truman Show). You can imagine the stress we were beginning to feel over all this, but we went ahead.
On September 11, 2002, we walked into the Montgomery County courthouse in Norristown, PA (after I set the metal detectors off with my steel-tipped boots and box cutter...I know it was September 11 and the security level was raised to purple, but I did work in a warehouse at the time!) to pay $40 for a marriage license. It was either that day or the day after, Banyan called Patrice while I was at work and put her in tears. They called the whole thing off due to the relation technicality. I'll never forget the call she made to me at work. She sounded so sad and upset In a way, it was a relief that we weren't going to go through all of that hell to be reality TV sellouts, but part of us was really looking forward to it. We also felt like idiots because everyone we knew knew about it. I mean, it was a done deal. Banyan even called all of our family members on the phone as part of pre-production planning. This thing was legit, and we never saw the possibility of it falling through. Rena was very apologetic, but it wasn't her fault, so no forgiveness was necessary. We talked about going to Vegas since we already planned to be off from work, but it would have cost too much money. And, we didn't want to waste the $40 marriage license that would have expired 30 days after we got it.
So, we did the economical thing: We had the Mayor of Souderton (who's last name was Allebach...same as Trent...it was a sign that it was where we needed to be) officially marry us. It was a small ceremony with immediate family and close friends. That was October 7, 2002. Not that that day wasn't enough for us, but we felt like we needed to have another since not everyone had the chance to celebrate our marriage. So, we had two and a half months to plan our "wedding ceremony", which was on December 22, 2002. It was a Philadelphia theme chock full of Tastykakes, soft pretzels, cheesesteaks, and hot roast pork sandwiches. We even wrote our own vows and said them in front of everyone, and we re-enacted the kiss the bride routine and the "here comes the bride" walk, except to the tune of Radiohead's "Everything In Its Right Place". I thought that it was SO appropriate that Patrice walked down the aisle to that song considering all we went through leading up to that point.
whipped up at 8:40 AM
tomorrow is my...um...3? yes, I think it's 3. 3 year anniversary of being married to sean. want to hear about how we met and how we got married? too bad, I am going to tell you anyways.
sean and I both worked at cdnow. though we didn't know it. sean worked in customer service 3rd shift, and I worked in marketing during regular business hours. I never heard of him.
I had a friend named erika who used to work custserv 3rd shift and who still had alot of friends who worked that shift. it was one of the third shifter's birthdays, and they were getting together at a bar in a very out of the way town called trappe for her birthday celebration. erika hated going places by herself and would ask just about anyone to go with her somewhere just so she wouldn't have to go alone. she and I weren't really even that close, but she asked me if I wanted to go, and because I was feeling sort of lonely and had nothing better to do, I went. it was quite boring, and I only knew one or two people there - and even at that, I didn't know them very well. other cdnow employees were playing in a cover band that night called bigg romeo, and I just sat there and watched them, waiting for erika to be ready to leave so I could get the fuck out of there.
sidenote: I don't drink. not even socially. I just don't like it. I totally don't mind when other people do, it's just not my thing. I go to bars and hang out and ACT drunk, I just don't GET drunk. another interesting fact - I don't drink coffee either. or smoke. my lone addiction is soda. that's "pop" for all you midwesterners.
so anyway. I'm sitting there just waiting to leave, and this guy comes up to me. or something. I don't remember exactly how it went down. I just remember the guy looking really quite scary. he was really hairy and big and was wearing giant olive drab cargo pants and a big gray hooded sweatshirt. he asked me if I wanted to try his drink - a red death. perhaps I was drinking a shirley temple (my "drink" of choice) and he thought I would enjoy this other red thing. anyways, I said no thank you, and gave him my line that I always use to get men to leave me alone. I told him that I had to get up early the next day because my son had a baseball tournament. scares 'em away every time. he still talked to me though but we didn't really converse all that much. though we caught each other's eyes during the rest of the night.
at the end of the night (we stayed until closing, goddamn erika) we all were in the parking lot saying our goodbyes. I still didn't really know anyone, but then the scary guy came out and I realized he worked at cdnow. it was his last day on 3rd shift, he was taking a new position that was during regular business hours.
that scary guy with all the hair...it was sean. and I didn't think much about the whole thing afterwards, to tell the truth.
so the following week, I'm at work and I find someone's keys left in the women's bathroom. I sent out an email to everyone in the building that I found keys, blah blah blah, I took them to the front desk. sean saw my email, recognized my name, and replied, asking me....wait for it....HOW MY SON'S BASEBALL TOURNAMENT WENT THE WEEKEND PRIOR. a) he remembered me, b) he remembered that I said I had a son, c) he remembered that said son had a game, and d) he wasn't freaked out by it. I had no idea what he was talking about because trent didn't really have a baseball tournament, but I recovered quickly and said he scored 87 runs. or something equally braggy.
we got to talking over email, which I highly recommend when you're getting to know someone as it's a shitload of info that winds up being shared, and then I invited him to lunch at a local mexican restaurant. imagine his surprise when I paid the bill...and his surprise surprised me. after all, I invited him. so to repay me, he asked if I wanted to have lunch with him the next week. I said sure. in true sean fashion, instead of taking me somewhere, he made me a lunch. he brought his lunch every day, so he just made an extra lunch and brought it. he asked me if I liked american or provolone cheese better, as he had 2 cheese sandwiches and would give me whichever one I wanted. and we even had tastykakes.
it took me a little while to realize what a great guy sean was. he was scary looking, made me a cheese sandwich for our second lunch date, and seemed to only have 2 pairs of pants. and he lived with his mother. but I quickly learned that he was a loving, loyal, sweet man. and that I had to get him more pants.
okay, I was going to tell the story of our wedding, but this is already really long, so maybe sean will tell that story tomorrow? I have the day off. if not, I'll tell you all on monday.
happy anniversary, seansylvania.
whipped up at 12:20 PM
whipped up at 3:31 PM
well, I forgot to bring my camera to baby disco, so I have to rely on nicole's pictures to remind me of what a kickass time we had. (to catch some of you up - the nightclub "fluid" opens the club on the first sunday of the month to parents and children for baby disco, with food and beverage and bubble machines and lights.)
bella loved the chill-out room's tent filled with pillows, so last night, instead of doing what I was supposed to do, which is clean the house top to bottom and fix up the back yard because we're having a party on saturday night, I rearranged our furniture to accommodate our beach tent (which we used exactly one time). I filled the tent with pillows and bella immediately loved it. loved it so much that she made the whole thing tip over. the stakes they provide for putting into the sand or ground don't work well on our carpet. she learned pretty quickly not to throw herself around in there, lest she bump her head on the wall or the radiator.
in order to accommodate the tent, I had to move around some of the chairs. since the acquisition of grandma and grandpa's chairs, we now have 3 chairs and a couch in the family room and 3 chairs and a couch in the living room. I didn't want to move my yellow wingback from the family room to the living room because it looks so perfect where it is, so I did what I had vowed I wouldn't do: I split up grandma and grandpa. it was equal parts fear of grandma's vengence and wanting to keep the two of them together because it's sweet. but it just wasn't working out, having two recliners right next to each other near bella's play area. and everyone's afraid to sit on grandma anyway. so into the living room she went. we'll see how that goes.
as I mentioned, we are having a party - more like a get together with a few friends - on saturday. an oktoberfest. and we asked our friends when they were free and we came up with the date october 8. la la la, october 8, blah blah blah. OH YEAH. it's the day after our anniversary. we're just happy we remembered this year, as last year it totally slipped our minds.
our anniversary is kind of weird. there's a whole story behind why we did this, which I'll tell later, but we were legally married on october 7, 200...3? 2? I don't know. anyway, we didn't have our big ole wedding until december 22 of the same year, because that's when sean's brother billy would be able to get leave from his air force post in california. so everyone is always telling us that we've confused them (?) over our anniversary date. I always wanted to be married in october, and for a few other reasons, that's our anniversary. though when we forget, we always say we'll just use the other date. (which we also forgot last year.)
the thing is, we always forget it. this year, we're both cognizant of it only because of the party the next day. I guess we'll go to dinner. we are planning to do this murder mystery thingie in november, though - I can't wait. I'm a total mystery fanatic.
I don't have a great way to conclude this post, so I'll leave you with something I heard on the radio yesterday. as I may have mentioned, I am a news freak in the car, only listening to news radio. I got a hankering for talk radio, though, so I cruised the AM dial for some lively banter. I accidentally landed on the sean hannity show, and after I righted my car from where it flipped over in the ditch, I landed on a pretty clear channel with a man who spoke in a very smooth voice. but then he said, "I have a secret. I eat God. I have him in me." I know the point he was trying to make, but...I eat god?
whipped up at 8:39 AM