Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Am I Crazy or Lazy?

Being a mom to an infant is hard.  Prior to having kids, I thought having a night nurse was pathetic - for the faint of heart.  Now, I'm googling one as I simultaneously type this post.  I can't tell if I'm crazy or lazy but I sit around, day after day, thinking about ways to make my life easier.  Truth is, getting up 3 times a night when you can take a catnap is more doable than getting up 3 times a night when you have to feign awakeness at a job all day.  I don't mean to insinuate that being a work from home mom is an easy job.  Quite the opposite - I couldn't cut it.  I love to pee without eyes peering over me or questions being yelled to me from across the house.  However, I do miss those catnaps.

I was an awful work from home mom.  In 18 months, I managed to watch the entire SERIES (not seasons) of both Frasier and Friends.  I became obsessed with Cash Cab and Judge Judy and never did more than 1 load of laundry a week.  Oh, and I still had a housekeeper.  I did manage to go to the grocery every day and cook dinner....oh and keep my kid alive.  For that, I think I deserve a medal.

But I digress....

I'm not sure whether I'm crazy or lazy but here are the things I wish I could invent:

1.  A hand that rocks the cradle (literally...not the psychotic Rebecca De Mornay version).  It needs to be portable - rock the cradle, shake the crib, rock the carseat (when it's out of the car) and even do butt pats for when my hand falls asleep.
2.  A monitor that only sounds when the cry reaches a certain decibel level.  Let me be honest, if you're just a little fussy, I don't want to know about.  If you're talking to yourself, it's cute but I don't need to hear.  Really only notify me if we're about to have a breakdown.
3.  Tape that keeps a paci or a thumb in the a mouth without such tape becoming a choking hazard.
4.  NyQuil for babies.  No, I do not advocate drugging your infants.  However, you show me a baby with RSV or even a bad cold and it's heartbreaking.  A little decongestant would go a long way toward my sanity and their snot production....

I close with my biggest pet peeve of the moment.  I love facebook.  I love seeing pictures of people's children, their vacations, and their stupid e-cards.  However, I cannot STAND it when married friends, who do not yet have children, post about their "date nights."  EVERY FREAKING TIME YOU GO ANYWHERE WITH YOUR HUSBAND IT'S A DATE!!!  Run to Target for toilet paper = date.  Get your car washed = date.  Get McDonald's = date.  Go to the post office for stamps = date.  Please stop posting about our date night at Carabba's when all I want is one 20 minutes shower where my boobs don't explode from the faint crying of a baby I hear in the background.

And goodnight :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Trio Became a Quartet

Well, it's been awhile since I blogged and since it's really just a cathartic public journal for me, I'm sure no one is too dismayed.  Needless to say, the past 3 months I haven't really had the time to blog.  Now that I'm back at work, however, time is on my side...

Barrett Caroline Taylor arrived to much fanfare on September 8, 2012 at 11:55 a.m.  She weighed in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces and 19.25 inches tall.  After catching the stomach flu on September 7th (her original delivery date), my c-section was postponed and my perfect hair and makeup photo opportunity ruined.  The recovery was horrific and not something I hope to remember.  Barrett, however, is incredible.  Happy, sweet, cute, giggly.....  we really are too blessed!

Friday, June 8, 2012

You're Not That Special.....

Perhaps I'm a glass half-empty kind of gal but I always feel like the best is behind me.  In college, I missed high school.  In my early 20's, I DESPERATELY missed college.  Now, in my 30's, I miss them both.  Perhaps I miss them because, back then, I thought (okay I knew) I was special.  Let's be honest:  I've been in the Herald-Dispatch multiple times.  I've won trophies.  Heck, I've even been voted Most Likely To Succeed.  How much more special can one person be?

I came across a high school graduation speech given by a high school English teacher named David McCullough, Jr. (his father, David McCullough, is a famous author).  The speech was considered controversial.  However, since I've always viewed my blog as more of a momento for Spence (and now Barrett), I wanted to post it here for them.  Perhaps high school is a little young to burst their bubble.  Maybe, as was the case with me, the world will bust it for them.  Regardless, it's an interesting read (even if I don't agree with every single word).

           So here we are… commencement… life’s great forward-looking ceremony.  (And don’t say, “What about weddings?”  Weddings are one-sided and insufficiently effective.  Weddings are bride-centric pageantry.  Other than conceding to a list of unreasonable demands, the groom just stands there.  No stately, hey-everybody-look-at-me procession.  No being given away.  No identity-changing pronouncement.  And can you imagine a television show dedicated to watching guys try on tuxedos?  Their fathers sitting there misty-eyed with joy and disbelief, their brothers lurking in the corner muttering with envy.  Left to men, weddings would be, after limits-testing procrastination, spontaneous, almost inadvertent… during halftime… on the way to the refrigerator.  And then there’s the frequency of failure: statistics tell us half of you will get divorced.  A winning percentage like that’ll get you last place in the American League East.  The Baltimore Orioles do better than weddings.)
            But this ceremony… commencement… a commencement works every time.  From this day forward… truly… in sickness and in health, through financial fiascos, through midlife crises and passably attractive sales reps at trade shows in Cincinnati, through diminishing tolerance for annoyingness, through every difference, irreconcilable and otherwise, you will stay forever graduated from high school, you and your diploma as one, ‘til death do you part.
            No, commencement is life’s great ceremonial beginning, with its own attendant and highly appropriate symbolism.  Fitting, for example, for this auspicious rite of passage, is where we find ourselves this afternoon, the venue.  Normally, I avoid clich├ęs like the plague, wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole, but here we are on a literal level playing field.  That matters.  That says something.  And your ceremonial costume… shapeless, uniform, one-size-fits-all.  Whether male or female, tall or short, scholar or slacker, spray-tanned prom queen or intergalactic X-Box assassin, each of you is dressed, you’ll notice, exactly the same.  And your diploma… but for your name, exactly the same.
            All of this is as it should be, because none of you is special.
            You are not special.  You are not exceptional.
            Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you… you’re nothing special. 
            Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped.  Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again.  You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored.  You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie.  Yes, you have.  And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs.  Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet.  Why, maybe you’ve even had your picture in the Townsman! And now you’ve conquered high school… and, indisputably, here we all have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community, the first to emerge from that magnificent new building…
            But do not get the idea you’re anything special.  Because you’re not.
            The empirical evidence is everywhere, numbers even an English teacher can’t ignore.  Newton, Natick, Nee… I am allowed to say Needham, yes? …that has to be two thousand high school graduates right there, give or take, and that’s just the neighborhood Ns.  Across the country no fewer than 3.2 million seniors are graduating about now from more than 37,000 high schools.  That’s 37,000 valedictorians… 37,000 class presidents… 92,000 harmonizing altos… 340,000 swaggering jocks… 2,185,967 pairs of Uggs.  But why limit ourselves to high school?  After all, you’re leaving it.  So think about this: even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you.  Imagine standing somewhere over there on Washington Street on Marathon Monday and watching sixty-eight hundred yous go running by.  And consider for a moment the bigger picture: your planet, I’ll remind you, is not the center of its solar system, your solar system is not the center of its galaxy, your galaxy is not the center of the universe.  In fact, astrophysicists assure us the universe has no center; therefore, you cannot be it.  Neither can Donald Trump… which someone should tell him… although that hair is quite a phenomenon.
            “But, Dave,” you cry, “Walt Whitman tells me I’m my own version of perfection!  Epictetus tells me I have the spark of Zeus!”  And I don’t disagree.  So that makes 6.8 billion examples of perfection, 6.8 billion sparks of Zeus.  You see, if everyone is special, then no one is.  If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless.  In our unspoken but not so subtle Darwinian competition with one another–which springs, I think, from our fear of our own insignificance, a subset of our dread of mortality — we have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement.  We have come to see them as the point — and we’re happy to compromise standards, or ignore reality, if we suspect that’s the quickest way, or only way, to have something to put on the mantelpiece, something to pose with, crow about, something with which to leverage ourselves into a better spot on the social totem pole.  No longer is it how you play the game, no longer is it even whether you win or lose, or learn or grow, or enjoy yourself doing it…  Now it’s “So what does this get me?”  As a consequence, we cheapen worthy endeavors, and building a Guatemalan medical clinic becomes more about the application to Bowdoin than the well-being of Guatemalans.  It’s an epidemic — and in its way, not even dear old Wellesley High is immune… one of the best of the 37,000 nationwide, Wellesley High School… where good is no longer good enough, where a B is the new C, and the midlevel curriculum is called Advanced College Placement.  And I hope you caught me when I said “one of the best.”  I said “one of the best” so we can feel better about ourselves, so we can bask in a little easy distinction, however vague and unverifiable, and count ourselves among the elite, whoever they might be, and enjoy a perceived leg up on the perceived competition.  But the phrase defies logic.  By definition there can be only one best.  You’re it or you’re not.
            If you’ve learned anything in your years here I hope it’s that education should be for, rather than material advantage, the exhilaration of learning.  You’ve learned, too, I hope, as Sophocles assured us, that wisdom is the chief element of happiness.  (Second is ice cream…  just an fyi)  I also hope you’ve learned enough to recognize how little you know… how little you know now… at the moment… for today is just the beginning.  It’s where you go from here that matters.
            As you commence, then, and before you scatter to the winds, I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance.  Don’t bother with work you don’t believe in any more than you would a spouse you’re not crazy about, lest you too find yourself on the wrong side of a Baltimore Orioles comparison.  Resist the easy comforts of complacency, the specious glitter of materialism, the narcotic paralysis of self-satisfaction.  Be worthy of your advantages.  And read… read all the time… read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect.  Read as a nourishing staple of life.  Develop and protect a moral sensibility and demonstrate the character to apply it.  Dream big.  Work hard.  Think for yourself.  Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might.  And do so, please, with a sense of urgency, for every tick of the clock subtracts from fewer and fewer; and as surely as there are commencements there are cessations, and you’ll be in no condition to enjoy the ceremony attendant to that eventuality no matter how delightful the afternoon.
            The fulfilling life, the distinctive life, the relevant life, is an achievement, not something that will fall into your lap because you’re a nice person or mommy ordered it from the caterer.  You’ll note the founding fathers took pains to secure your inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness–quite an active verb, “pursuit”–which leaves, I should think, little time for lying around watching parrots rollerskate on Youtube.  The first President Roosevelt, the old rough rider, advocated the strenuous life.  Mr. Thoreau wanted to drive life into a corner, to live deep and suck out all the marrow.  The poet Mary Oliver tells us to row, row into the swirl and roil.  Locally, someone… I forget who… from time to time encourages young scholars to carpe the heck out of the diem.  The point is the same: get busy, have at it.  Don’t wait for inspiration or passion to find you.  Get up, get out, explore, find it yourself, and grab hold with both hands.  (Now, before you dash off and get your YOLO tattoo, let me point out the illogic of that trendy little expression–because you can and should live not merely once, but every day of your life.  Rather than You Only Live Once, it should be You Live Only Once… but because YLOO doesn’t have the same ring, we shrug and decide it doesn’t matter.)
            None of this day-seizing, though, this YLOOing, should be interpreted as license for self-indulgence.  Like accolades ought to be, the fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct.  It’s what happens when you’re thinking about more important things.  Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view.  Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.  Go to Paris to be in Paris, not to cross it off your list and congratulate yourself for being worldly.  Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others, the rest of the 6.8 billion–and those who will follow them.  And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself.  The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special.
            Because everyone is.
            Congratulations.  Good luck.  Make for yourselves, please, for your sake and for ours, extraordinary lives.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Girls Just Want to Have Fun

After 20 long weeks, we confirmed what I had suspected:  

It could have been the horrific nausea, the consistent headaches, or perhaps just my intuition but something told me this baby was a girl.  Yesterday, that was confirmed.  While Jarrod panics about how to prepare for the arrival of a girl, Spence and I are thrilled.  Don't get me wrong - Jarrod will be thrilled but first the panic has to subside.  He fears changing a girl diaper ("It just feels wrong"), my likely increased spending habits, and the fact that we will one day likely have to pay for a wedding.

Spence and I, on the other hand, are excited.  I can confirm Jarrod's fears that I am excited for dresses, pink crib bedding, and bows.  Spence is excited because Captain America will now have a girlfriend and he won't have to fight a brother over the use of his Thomas bed.

The day we found out it was a girl, I came home with a horrific headache, spent the majority of the night puking my guts out over a toilet, and realized this little girl was already a trouble maker.  We have picked a name:  Barrett Caroline Taylor.  I can't wait to tell my grandfather.  Barrett was his grandfather's last name and he hated him.  Even with severe Altzheimer's, you mention the name Barrett and you are greeted with his thoughts that that was "one mean son-of-a-bitch."  Based on my sickness, I think he might be onto something with this one (just kidding!) but, nonetheless, I secretly can't wait to see his reaction every time he's reminder that's her name.  It's the little things that now give me pleasure.

Regardless of the drama this little one is already causing, we are thrilled, thankful, and anxiously awaiting her arrival.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Losing it......

I feel like Steve Martin in Father of the Bride when he's at the grocery store, flipping out about why they sell hot dogs in packs of 12 and buns in packs of 8. EVERYTHING right now seems to be getting on my nerves. While I'd love nothing more than a Xanex, that clearly isn't possible in my condition. So, instead, I'm left to try to ignore , forget, or simply explode. Then, I remembered...I have a blog. What do non-parents do on blogs? While I have very few friends who blog about things other than their children, I can only imagine that they must just complain. So, here (in no particular order) are my George Banks complaints of the day:

1. Finding a cute shirt on the sales rack, only to discover they have 20 size XS and nothing else.
2. Pollen, mold, dust, St. Louis, and anything else I'm allergic to.
3. Taco Bell: why can't one Taco Bell in the U.S. get a drive-thru order right? How hard is it to remember my mexican pizza?
4. People saying "We're pregnant." No, I'm pregnant - he will one day have a baby but currently, I'm doing 100% of the work.
5. People that say they've done laundry when, in fact, the hardest part of laundry (folding it) isn't done. (Okay, that one is specifically directed toward Jarrod who doesn't read my blog). :)
6. Parents who don't make their children say thank you.
7. Short toilets. Okay, this one is petty and no one's fault but the toilet maker. But, what is it with toilets that are practically on the ground, causing me back pain to pull my fat self off of them?
8. Old people. Again, horrible and uncalled for, I know. My grandma asks me during every conversation if I've gained weight. When I say no (because I puked 15 times a day for 8 weeks), she seems shocked. Then, when I confirm I have a growing baby bump, she follows with "so you're probably actually looking thinner in other areas."

I hope my George Banks moments don't turn into Fried Green Tomatoes Towanda moments or we might have problems. For now, I'm going to take a Zyrtec, double check my Taco Bell order, and go to bed for experience more horrible nightmares that leave me exhausted. I really should be a professional pregnant person...after all, I'm so enjoyable to be around! :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What's a Trio + One?

As 100% of you who read my blog (mom and dad) already know, the Taylor Trio is adding a member! Although I would prefer it not be facebook-official (dad), I am almost 12 weeks pregnant. We've been spoiled with two ultrasounds and a doppler confirmation of a strong, fast heartbeat. It's been a rough 6 weeks (with all-day sickness) but I think we're finally ready to celebrate! The new bundle should arrive the first week of September...just in time for my ankles to swell to the size of a bowling ball in the 100 degree St. Louis summer!

Since my last blog, we've obviously had lots going on. Christmas came (and I do hope to post some pics soon) and the all-day sickness began. It was bad! Two weeks ago, I had the flu, a UTI (TMI), and horrific nausea all day long. It was so horrible that my wonderful mamma (and her housekeeper) came all the way to St. Louis to take care of us. We were pampered with a clean house, food in the freezer, and lots of drugs to help with my sickness. Finally, after 6 weeks of constant puking/nausea, last Friday I gave up phenergren! I am praying this feeling lasts because I can do this kind of pregnancy. Two weeks ago, I would've told you that, from here on out, we're adopting.

Spence is thrilled about the announcement and is (against his better judgement) rooting for a girl. We have 8 more weeks to wonder.....

I haven't downloaded any pictures from my camera so, for now, I leave you with this:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Land Down Under

AUSTRALIA (said in my best Oprah impersonation)! As everyone knows, Jarrod and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday in the land down under. We had an amazing time. The first few and last few days were spent in Sydney with our good friends, Alan and Danelle Bronowicz, while the middle of the trip was spent in Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula.

The flight was L - O - N - G. No matter how many free cranberry and vodkas I consumed or bad movies I watched, there was no getting around the fact that 15 hours in a 30 inch seat is miserable. We did somehow manage to get some sleep and, according to Alan, looked better than most weary travellers upon our arrival in AUSTRALIA at 8:00 a.m.

The next few days were spent in Sydney. Some highlights included Manly Beach, fish and chips on the beach, and snorkeling (Jarrod saw incredible fish and a huge octopus).

We then flew to Melbourne on Tiger Air (their slogan should be "the ghetto airline of the land down under"), rented a car, and drove to our B&B in St. Andrews Beach on the Mornington Peninsula.

The B&B was incredible. Gourmet food, comfy beds, outdoor bathtub, on and on. While on the peninsula, we went to a hot springs resort, ate, visited vineyards, ate, shopped, ate, went kangaroo spotting, ate, explored Melbourne, ate, got couples massages, and ate.

Jarrod also got breathalyzed. Yes, breathalyzed. We were driving along the coast, headed home from a day of shopping, when we noticed all the cars forming a line to stop and speak with a policeman. We followed suit, rolled down our window, and waited for (what I assumed) was a wreck or construction. Suddenly, the police was at our window, sticking out a tube and telling Jarrod to "blow." He did - and I guess passed, because off we went. Apparently, it's common practice to avoid civil rights in Australia and require breathalyzers without any cause. Fun fact for those travelling abroad!

After four solid days exploring, we said five hail Mary's and boarded Tiger Air back to Sydney. On our return trip, we climbed the Sydney Harbor Bridge, explored the Rocks, ate at Cafe Sydney, and attended the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Sydney Philharmonic Choir's performance at the Opera House. We also cooked and enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast with our hosts and their friends. Overall, it was an incredible time. We dearly missed Spence but are so thankful for such an amazing opportunity. We're already planning our next couples vacation!

Thanks to all who watched/loved Spence while we were gone. Although we're going through Papa and Kiki detox (i.e. telling him "no" and watching him throw fits), we appreciate them more than they know. Love to all!