Wednesday, December 28, 2005

And this shall be known as the holiday of stuffed, dead animals. Part Two.

Okay, back to the WI trip . . .

On Thursday my mom and I went shopping, which was really fun and then mom, dad, Matt, Iris and I went to Culver's for egg nog milk shakes. Yum! One wonderful thing about WI is Culver's, who are known for their frozen custard. That night an old friend, Brian, came by to visit. We hadn't seen each other since last time I was in WI, and his life has changed considerably since I last saw him. He's been to China and fallen in love and I couldn't be more excited for him! He kicked mine and Matt's asses in Scrabble, as well.

Friday morning Matt, Iris and I went to visit another friend, Beth, at the home she recently purchased with her fiancee. We only had about an hour to catch up, but it was wonderful to see her and explore her new home. She and her fiancee, Dave, are getting married this summer. We stopped by my dad's work to say hi and meet his co-workers, and of course show off our lovely daughter! It took the rest of the afternoon to get all of our crap together and pile in to the van for the drive to Milwaukee. That night we ate some fantastic nachos and drank some REALLY fantastic margaritas, and caught up with my sister's family and visited with her kids. Iris has a terribly hideous night of sleep that evening. We were stuck inside most of the time in hot, dry air and our noses and throats were getting pretty fry. Iris had a hard time breathing most of the night and I was trying to sleep on a couch next to her pack-n-play. When she got too fussy I tried to sleep with her on the couch, but needless to say, that was quite uncomfortable.

The next morning we had to get up and get going early to head up to the Fox Valley for the huge family gathering. This gathering was the main reason we scheduled our trip for when we did, as most of my extended family has never even met Iris. The drive is long, just over two hours, but I managed to keep Iris and the boys entertained in the back of the minivan while Matt drove and my sister navigated. So, the Christmas gathering was held at a nature center. A nature center filled with, you guessed it!, stuffed, dead animals. It was incredibly creepy and disgusting but of course non of the children seemed to care. There was every animal you could imagine, from polar bears to owls to fish to wolves, just sitting there. My sister told us that my youngest nephew, who is 2 1/2, was standing in front of the case of birds saying "dead. all dead.". Creepy! We caught up with my grandma, grandpa, all of my aunts, uncles, cousins and cousin's children and it was so much fun! We ate, played, opened gifts and played our ornament exchange game. Each year everyone brings an ornament and wraps it up. We all draw a number out of a hat and the person with number one gets to pick the first package, and they get that ornament. The person with number two gets to pick a package and either keep that ornament or exchange with the first person. The third person picks an ornament and gets to keep it or exchange with the first or second, and so on and so forth. Matt ended up with an old school glass ornament of a Santa sitting on a toilet, and I have a hula monkey :)

Monday, December 26, 2005

I am interupting the regularily scheduled holiday news for a special announcement!

Yes, before we even officially began trying, it turns out Matt and I are about as fertile a couple as you can find, and I'm pregnant!

We found out the morning after we got back from Wisconsin, and I spent a good couple days in a fog before the news even began to sink in. This past weekend we spread the news to our immediate family (what better time than Christmas?!?!) so now I'm safe to post the news on my blog :) According to Babycenter, my due date is August 30th, so I'm very, very early. Every twinge, cramp or ache sends me in to panic mode that something is going wrong, of course, but that's pretty much to be expected, huh?

It was so much fun to tell my side of the family, because my sister and mom were SOOOO excited and screaming and just beyond happy for us. I told my sister "I have some exciting news for you!" and she immediately said "you're pregnant!" and I said "yeah!" and she was just like "no way!" it was so nice to get such a fun reaction! I am glad I got to tell them first, because it got a little more disappointing to spread the news to other family members. I had this brilliant and clever idea of how to tell Matt's family on Christmas day. I bought a little ornament that said "Baby's 1st Christmas" and wrote a really cute poem and attached it to the ornament. At the end of present opening on Christmas morning Matt gave it to his mom, and we asked her to read it aloud. Well, I'll put it this way, she looked like she had just opened a toaster oven (as a side note, my mom laughed when I gave her that analogy because she actually had gotten a toaster oven for Christmas, and really liked it! LOL) this first words out his dad's mouth were "you better win the lottery!" and I don't remember anything else, but I pretty sure not a single "congratulations" or "oh my god we're so happy for you!" were uttered. My feelings were deeply hurt, to say the least. I walked in the other room and started crying. Sigh. It's so hard for me to come to terms with the fact that Matt's family exists on a purely logical level, and even if something is good news, it is still looked at with worry and criticism if I doesn't meet all their criteria for being the "right" choice.

So, I've learned my lesson there, and there will be no more clever announcements for that side of the family!

We've luckily had a wonderful, relaxing weekend and I am just feeling mildly tired. Matt has given me alot of help for a few weeks now, actually, so the future of this pregnancy is looking pretty bright after all!

Okay, so hopefully later I will get to finish my story about our trip back to WI and finally have a chance to exaplin the dead, stuffed animal reference.

Stay Tuned!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

And this shall be known as the holiday of stuffed, dead animals. Part One.

We survived! Yippeee!!!!!!! No, of course we survived, but our trip was fantastic and tiring and now we need a vacation from our vacation. Our flight to Milwaukee on the 13th was amazingly uneventful, luckily. Iris was not exactly thrilled about being strapped in to her car seat for hours and hours on end (we bought a seat for her on the plane) but she was a trooper, to say the least! My mom and Jennifer picked us up at the airport and, like promised, we went straight back to Jen's for home made pizza. Over dinner she and my mom made a strong case for my family to move back to WI. They put together an impress list of promises if we were to make such a move, including many pizzas, shoulder rubs and jobs. Hmmmm, that sounds pretty good! After dinner we drove out to Fort Atkinson with my mom and had a good night's sleep without incident. That night a huge snow storm hit, we were so glad that we got there in time to miss it on our travels! We all put on our warmest winter gear and trudged outside in the afternoon so Iris could get her first glimpse of snow. I couldn't really tell if she was thrilled or freaked out, maybe a little of both? My mom got her some adorable snow boots, that unfortunately she will probably never wear again! That night we all settled in to watch "March of the Penguins". It was such a beautiful, moving film. I thought it would be pretty boring, but it was actually really, really interesting.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Okay, it gets better!

Okay . . .exhale . . . things are better. Thursday night we decided to implement the Great Bedtime Routine (GBR), and most likely Iris was just beyond exhausted, but she went to bed fairly easily and slept in Matt’s room in the play yard, so I got a little sleep. Of course, I still woke up every couple hours (damn it!) but I got more rest over all. Friday night, GBR again and she woke up for the first time at 6:30 am! Yay! Saturday night and Sunday night were both about the same. Maybe there is a light at the end of the sleepless tunnel? Our GBR starts at 8:00 pm and consists of a bath, then jammies, tooth brushing, and a few books before a little nursing and then off to bed. She says “night night bed” (more like “nigh nigh bed”) and we sit next to her and keep a hand on her back lest she think we’re dumping her off in the black hole of her bedroom. So, it’s working.

Of course, in the morning we are leaving for Milwaukee, which very well may shoot the GBR all to hell. We’ll see. It’s the first time I will have been back to WI in almost a year and half, when Iris was 9 weeks old. No one in my family has seen her since then, and most of my extended family on my mother’s side has never even met her. It’s going to be so incredible to watch her interact with my family and especially my nephews. Not terribly excited about the plane trip tomorrow, but I’m about as planned for it as a person could possibly get. The past week has consisted of list making, laundry, packing and cleaning. Our carry-ons have carefully organized Ziploc bags of every amenity we could possible need for Iris while she’s en route. Extra wipes? Check. Sippy cup? Check. Small plastic moon men and lemurs to keep her entertained? Check and check. There is a hilarious store in Seattle called Archie McPhee's and I got most of the toys for Iris’s entertainment there. It is so much to fun shop there, because they don’t sell a single thing that a person could actually need but lots of things you can’t bear to live without!

So, anyways, our trip starts tomorrow at 8:30 am (sharp!) and a layover in Denver then arriving in Milwaukee in time for a dinner of homemade pizza at my sister’s house. If you’ve ever eaten my sister’s homemade pizza, you know that that alone is worth a trip to Milwaukee for. Yum! I am secretly hoping for her delicious margaritas, but that might be stretching my luck a bit. Later that night we drive the hour back to my parents house where Iris will, no doubt, refuse to go to sleep and instead rampage through their house breaking everything that I’ve already warned my mother should be put away. We will see!

More tales of the Milwaukee 2005 Trip to come . . . .

Thursday, December 08, 2005

My daughter's secret plan for domination . . .

is to slowly drive me insane by refusing to sleep. She's in her room right now, talking, playing, a little crying, not at all taking her nap. We've been battling it out for two hours-- yes, you read that right, TWO HOURS, to get her to fall asleep. I'm a little more crazed than I was, well, just over two hours ago, and Iris, much to my dismay, is no more tired than she was. You'd think, after fighting for two hours to not go to sleep last night, finally falling asleep just after 10:00 pm, then waking up hourly most of the night and eventually for the day at just after 7:00 am-- you'd think she'd be sleepy, right? At least over-tired, for sure. Nope. Not even a little. But me, I'm ready for a quaalude, or I would possibly settle for a strong gin and tonic. Or maybe it's Iris who needs the quaalude?

So Iris's sleep is my big parenting failure. She has never, ever, in her life slept as much as she is "supposed" to and has only once, ever slept all the way through the entire night. I suspect she only did it to further add to my never-ending frustration "see mom, I CAN sleep through the night, I just WON'T. Phhhhttttt!"

I can't even begin to fathom the depths the sleep-deprivation and frustration has reached in my life. I maintain a special psychotic jealousy for friend's whose children fall asleep easily and stay asleep for 12 hours a night. My friend Melissa is an example. She nannies for 50 hours a week and has more enthusiasm and energy than any human being really should, considering how unbelievably stressful her days can be. I secretly seethe with resenment over her forsight to create a going to sleep routine coupled with a naturally sleep-loving baby. Why didn't I get one of those? Is there still time to trade mine in?

At any rate, my beautiful, amazing, smart and delightful daughter turns in to the bain of my existence at night-night time, and I see no end in sight. At least not this afternoon. We're now creeping up on 2 1/2 hours of napping protest and after a great deal of screaming, Iris has won. Doesn't look like there will be a nap today. Should make bedtime extra fun!

Now where did I hide those 'ludes?

Monday, December 05, 2005

What a crazy week!

What a crazy week, indeed! Let’s see what the highlights were . . . . Iris got her first haircut today! Courtesy of me and my obsession with her hair. It has been growing in all skewampus since she was a baby and I always told myself it would work itself out. Well, I finally got the scissors out and evened things up a bit. She doesn’t look that different, her hair wasn’t that long to begin with, but she does look a little older!

Our weekend was fun, we saw Melissa, Andy and Jake last night because we drove down to Georgetown and treated them to dinner. It is so nice to go to their house because they have this gigantic home filled with eclectic d├ęcor and it’s just fantastic. On Saturday night we went to a holiday party at a friends. There were a few children there for Iris to play with. It was so weird, I have never in my life as a parent been one to notice how little or how much Iris is advancing compared to other children, but it really is becoming apparent to me that she’s advancing like a crazy person! She looks (and acts!) a good 4-6 months older than most children her age. It’s so weird. I don’t know whether to be proud or a little worried . . . . at any rate, it doesn’t really matter.

I’ve been a bit miffed this week over people flaking out on me. Two weekends ago it was the photographer, a gal I know from Iris’s pre-school, and then this week it was our regular babysitter (who happens to be the same woman I nannied for her for several months and still babysit for once a week). Every week, the exact same time, Iris goes over to her house for two hours so Matt and I can do our own thing. So we get there this week and they are no where to be found. Poor Iris had a complete breakdown when I tried to wrangle her back in to the car and we didn’t get to go inside their house. I felt really, really sad, like I was completely letting her down and there was nothing I could do about it. I was so mad, actually. I don’t take well to being flaked out on. Iris was pissed, I had to cancel an appointment, it was a mess. I hold grudges really easily but I just had to let it go because I certainly don’t need to burn any bridges with any more people. So I took Iris home and gave her a bath and proceeded to drop my cell phone in the bath tub and promptly ruined it. Luckily Matt has some hook ups at work and got me a new one! Hooray!

Now we’re going to get ready for our big trip to WI next week. It’s going to be so much fun to see everyone for the first time in almost 18 months! The last time my family saw Iris she was 9 weeks old, and not terribly interactive. This time she’ll get to play and hang out with her cousins, it’s going to be really, really cool. We are all really excited.