Tuesday, November 29, 2022

From the Archives: Looking forward to a time in the not so distant future when my thighs no longer rub together

 Hello, friends. We are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday and then catching up from traveling, so I am posting a favorite post from the first 8 years of Harry Times in my absence.

This post was originally published on Friday, February 8, 2013

As I type this, the elastic sleeves of the summer dress I have stretched across my body and paired with maternity skinny jeans that have just about lost their will to stay up over my belly mound are cutting into my massive upper arms, reminding me that I should rummage through my closet for a sweater that looks like it might still button over me to hide my arms before I leave the house.

 If I leave the house.

(Not that I will button the sweater, but it has to look like I can if I wanted to.)

Yesterday, the chafe marks from my tights lasted for hours after I changed into yoga pants and a nursing tank (looked as dreamy as it sounds).

On the up side, my chocolate chip cookie craving has subsided, and I cannot stop eating salad-- two big tubs of Earthbound Farms organic spring mix this week by myself.

This morning, we blew up the bouncy house before school


Ben spent a refreshing 45 minutes shoveling the driveway AGAIN after shoveling it last night because it won't! stop! snowing! here.

Cooper was unsupervised long enough to go into the boys' room, get this stool, bring it back to the family room, set it up, and climb.  But the joke's on you, baby, because that dimmer switch doesn't do ANYTHING.  I seriously don't know why we have it on the wall, and I met with the electrician about switches, that I do remember.

Harry did 100 jumping jacks and then some sit ups.

There was much wrestling




They really wanted to sit on it while I unplugged it, just like they do with the air track at Little Gym.  Whatever.


The other day in my rhetoric of reproductive rights class, we were reading about the Voluntary Motherhood movement at the end of the 19th century, and a lot of the rhetoric of that time exalting motherhood (for middle class white women) sounded to me like the mommy wars rhetoric of today, so I asked my class about it.  This turned into a fascinating discussion about childcare situations/SAH parents from their own lives.  Right after a student talked about always being the last kid picked up at daycare and having all of her earliest memories set in a child care center-- which she loved and credited for her own outgoing personality-- another student made a comment about having a SAH wife because he didn't want to drop his kid off at daycare for someone else to raise where they would probably only change the baby's diaper five minutes before he got picked up to look like he was being taken care of all day.  To ease the tension, I said that my own baby would probably be changed MORE OFTEN at a daycare center than he is by me and and Ben.  He'd probably be learning stuff there, too.  

At home with us (Ben 2.5 days and me 2.5 days), he hangs out in his PJs, is rarely changed if he's not poopy, and plays by himself an impressive amount of time.  Today he read himself a pile of books-- "This?" he asked himself on each page and answered "This!"-- and sang along to his Sesame Street alphabet bus, for example.

He also drinks coffee.



And about 10:45 every morning, he passes out wherever he is.  On the couch enjoying chips and salsa with Ben, sitting up against my ginormous belly while we both lay on the floor and read, or in a pile of chaos of his own making.  We can only let him sleep for a few minutes because we'd rather eat our own arms than screw up his one and only nap (i.e. the only chance I ever have to work out and take a shower), but it's one of my favorite parts of the morning.


I also love when I tell him it's time to go get Jack right before lunch, and he drops what he's doing and runs up the stairs.  Today, I had to wear him the Ergo because the city didn't plow the crosswalks and curbs going to school (WTF, city?  Our snow removal has been so bad this year that I am going to VOTE REPUBLICAN rather than re-elect this mayor).  He liked it, but it killed my back.

Now Jack is back in the bouncy house, and Cooper is still wearing his pajamas, and I might not even change him when he gets up from his nap.

Monday, November 28, 2022

From the Archives: Legendary

Hello, friends. We are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday and then catching up from traveling, so I am posting a favorite post from the first 8 years of Harry Times in my absence.

This post was originally published on Tuesday, July 24, 2012.

Still dieting.  Still kind of pissy about it.  I have lost 4 pounds, which means I am 10 pounds out from my pre-Cooper weight.  Almost a year later.  Ben is dieting with me, and he has lost 14 pounds to my 4.  He eats 2000 calories a day.  I eat 1400.  And exercise 5 days a week.  And breastfeed round the clock (because Cooper is turning out to be my best ever breast feeder-- not a supplemental drop because he will only! drink! breast milk!, but I won't have to pack a thermos of BM in his kindergarten lunch because  I can just  go across the street and nurse him.  Kidding.  Hopefully.).

But this is not about me and my baby weight.  Thankfully.


We went to Des Moines last weekend to see my grandma (who comments faithfully here as Bomma) be honored as a Playhouse Legend by the Des Moines Community Playhouse.  You can read all about it here.  It was so cool!  I have been watching Bomma in plays for years, and it was great to see her get recognition for being a wonderful actress.  Her old next door neighbor Peter Hedges wrote a beautiful letter (my favorite part was when he said he still didn't feel comfortable using her first name and called her Mrs. Silverstein), and she got a tremendous standing ovation. Then we went to Noah's, a favorite restaurant since my mom was a little kid.  We had a lovely time.


Usually when we stay in hotels, we put all the kids to bed in the bedroom, meaning Harry and Jack get a king-size bed, and Ben and I huddle on the fold-out couch in the living room.  This time, we took the bed, and the kids got the couch, and they complained that the hotel had small suites.  Ha!  They did love room service and the pool.  It is so tough to be them.

We had a terrible ride home, culminating in a horrific potty accident that required us to do unspeakable things with baby wipes and plastic bags in the parking lot of Menards.  Makes me really happy to be embarking on an 18-hour drive pretty soon.  Yum.

I had tons more pictures, but my computer sucks and is so, so painfully slow that I can't upload them, which is why my family picture blog is bunk.  New computer soon, but I can't decide MacBook Pro or Air?

Sunday, November 27, 2022

From the Archives: Oh, totally forgot to mention WE BOUGHT A HOUSE LAST MONTH

 Hello, friends. We are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday and then catching up from traveling, so I am posting a favorite post from the first 8 years of Harry Times in my absence.

This post was originally published on Tuesday, May 10, 2011.

I have been silent about it because we have been waiting on a million things-- blueprints for the basement we are finishing, the appraisal, our loan paperwork to process, a thousand trips to meet with the realtor and our designer to pick out finishes-- you get the idea. We bought the house already built, so we didn't get to pick the cabinets, countertops, light fixtures, bathroom floors, or wood floors on the main level. BUT with the exception of the counters and the bathroom floors, it's all stuff we would have picked anyway! We took our long-suffering realtor on trips to view about 64 (no joke) existing homes before we fell in love with a brand new neighborhood. We almost built a 2-story house in the neighborhood, but one day, Ben and I drove through and noticed an adorable already-built ranch with a walk-out basement. We looked in the windows for awhile then called the realtor. She happened to be driving home that way, stopped to show us the house, and bam! We bought it and designed a basement build the next week then took the kids on a hellish trip to pick out appliances, then took the kids on a hellish trip to pick out paint and carpet. Then stopped taking the kids on house errands, except for buying furniture, which is so far the shittiest thing I have ever done with kids. Today we walked through with the electrician to add 7,000 extra outlets because Ben never wants to be more than a finger-length away from a plug and a cable jack, and we took some terrible pictures. Terrible because the painters haven't come through, so everything is beige, and there is no floor in most of the house, and the basement is all 2 by 4s right now. That's me where our kitchen table will go.That's the electrician in our kitchen.Some of the great roomBen in the future playroom (I think)95% sure that's gonna be the downstairs bathroom because of that circle where I think the toilet goes?That's the guest room for sure-- I can tell because of the electrical box on the wallPart of the family roomLaundry room shelves? I took some seriously random picturesMasterMaster bathClosetMe looking out our bedroom window. The guy who lives behind us has lived there for a long time, which is good because there won't be any building right behind us and bad because he has a van and a propane tank in his yard.Randomly, here's some more kitchenDeckThis wall in the kitchen/great room will be a bookcaseKid bathroomBaby's roomH and J's roomTheir closetCute little front doorSo. Yeah. We are so excited and can't wait to close and move. Except, you know, moving sucks. Also, no. No we haven't sold our condo. Yes, that also sucks. Hopefully we do.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

From the Archives: I Don't Want to Freak You Out, But...

 Hello, friends. We are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday and then catching up from traveling, so I am posting a favorite post from the first 8 years of Harry Times in my absence.

This post was originally published on Tuesday, June 15, 2010.


Yesterday morning, I was driving to campus congratulating myself on leaving the house for my first day of my summer class before 8 am and looking pretty darn cute. I should call Ben and tell him how together I am, I thought, taking a swill of Diet Coke. At that exact second, my phone rang, and I looked down to see that Ben was calling me. Perfect timing, I thought, and answered with a cheery "Hola!". "I don't want to freak you out," he said. "But I am in an ambulance on my way to the ER." "What what WHAT?" I screamed. "I told you not to freak out," he admonished. He explained that his heart wouldn't top racing and had been racing for 20 minutes when he called 9-1-1. The paramedics clocked his pulse at 150, which is pretty freaking scary. I spoke to one of the EMTs who told me he thought Ben was probably fine but that they were taking him in to be monitored. Ben came back on the line and told me to go ahead and go to class. So I did, long enough to pass out my syllabus to a group of students who didn't look too bummed to get out of class early and freak out our department secretary when I told her I was going to the ER to be with my husband who thought he was having a heart attack (note: the ER doctor, who was both an MD and a PhD, said a fast heartbeat is NOT a sign of a heart attack. Good to know, Dr.Dr.). I started to mince toward the hospital, which is half a mile from my office, because thought it would be faster than retrieving my car from the garage, driving through campus road construction, and parking at the hospital. Mid sashay, I realized that Ben came in an ambulance, so I needed my car to take him home. OMFG. By the time I got to the hospital (which totally has valet parking, so it was a cinch), Ben's room was empty, and I freaked out for a minute, thinking he was dead. Luckily, he was just upstairs getting a chest X-ray. Which was fine. As were both of his EKGs. As was his blood work, except that his electrolytes were a little off, and his blood sugar was a little high. "Why is my blood sugar high?" he asked a nurse. "Well," she considered. "It's not THAT high. What did you eat for breakfast?" "Peanut butter silk pie," he admitted. Dr.Dr. said she thought he was probably dehydrated and that he didn't help anything by stopping for an espresso to calm down when he first felt his heart rate accelerate. He followed up with his primary care provider today, and everything was normal. Except for his cholesterol, which was a tiny bit high. This elevated number, which has nothing to do with his heart incident (which is completely unexplained) coupled with my own gain of 3-5 pounds made us reconsider our eating habits.Every night after the kids go to bed, we sit on our couch and eat soft cheese and pretzels.We go through 14 ounces of this shit EVERY WEEK. Not to mention at least one-- but usually 2-- bags of pretzels. No more, I tell you. We have purged the cheese. Starting now. (Because there is still birthday pie in the fridge). But enough about the scariest thing that's happened to us in forever. Back to Harry's birthday. He started with presentshand-delivered by his faithful servantwho got a couple of bears as a consolation prize for it not being his birthday.The infamous birthday pieMy grandparents sent Harry and Jack gift cards to Build-a-Bear for Harry's birthday, and they had the best time ever making their bears. Jack (who was totally the trendsetter--he picked his bear skin first, and Harry copied him) refused clothes for his bear but demanded a stroller. Harry decked his bear out in Star Wars gear and named him Darthy. Darthy Vader.We ended Harry's birthday with dinner at a new chain restaurant that opened down the street. Harry has been wanting to eat at this pace since it opened, but we usually avoid chains. We said he could eat anywhere on his birthday, so that's how we ended up at a "thteak" house, where Jack fed his bear and Harry had a "thteak."This morning when my alarm went off and Ben didn't move, I put my hand on his chest to make sure it was rising and falling. It was. He's okay.

Friday, November 25, 2022

From the Archives: So You're 38 Weeks Pregnant, and You've Gone and Peed Your Pants A Modern Girl's Guide to Embarrassing the Eff Out of Yourself, Now With Pictures!

 Hello, friends. We are traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday and then catching up from traveling, so I am posting a favorite post from the first 8 years of Harry Times in my absence.

This post was originally published on Sunday, April 13, 2008

First, as soon as you feel that gush trickle down your legs, open the bedroom window and call out to your husband, who is playing on the driveway with your toddler, "Oh my god! My water just broke!" This adds a classy touch to what will shape up to be a simply fabulous evening.

Next, call your mother, who lives 4 hours away, and tell her to hurry her ass up-- the baby is coming! The baby is coming! This is an especially good thing to do if your mother plans on bringing lots of frozen food with her.

Then, email all your colleagues short, panicky emails. Make sure your husband does the same.

Fourth, spend forty-five minutes wondering why you haven't felt anymore "water" beyond that first initial gush-- also use this time to re-do your make up and flat iron your hair while plunking your increasingly agitated toddler in front of a Caillou DVD because your priorities? Always in perfect order.

Fifth-- and this step is crucial if you really want to be the effing jackass you're destined to be-- pee your pants AGAIN and say "That must be my water. I'm going to call the hospital and the baby sitter."

Sixth, laugh when your husband says, "Yeah-- I mean it's not like you peed your pants twice in a row. But that would be awesome, too."

Next, take your freaked out kid with you to Labor and Delivery because your mom is en route but still coming from quite a distance, and his beloved babysitter is rushing back from her weekend at home celebrating her belated birthday with extended family. Note, it is absolutely crucial that you inconvenience AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE, you goddamn idiot.

At labor an delivery, a nice nurse will want to spare you any invasive tests because she says from what you've described, it must be your water breaking; I mean otherwise you'd need a bladder lift, right? She will send you into the bathroom with a glass slide and a strip of paper that should turn blue in the presence of amniotic fluid.

Break the slide.

Lose the paper.

Later, when another nurse suggests you get out of bed to encourage gravity to help get more fluid out, make sure the back of your hospital gown is tucked into the elastic of the monitor you're wearing around your belly, so that you can flash your bare ass around as much as possible.

Be glad your husband left to take your freaked out kid home and missed seeing that, since he would so mock you.

Do not believe the nice nurse when she tells you that this happens all the time. Most people are not as dumb as you.

Finally, let many strangers stick their fingers, cotton swabs, and sterile specula inside you to see what's going on.

What's going on is this: You peed your effing pants. Twice.

And then you told the internet, you goddamn incontinent idiot.

And oh yeah? You're still pregnant.


A little teary at the thought of your little baby becoming a big brother? Don't be, you jackass. Be teary because you're such an IDIOT


At least you can still blush about it.


Oh look, the bed you won't be staying in because you aren't in labor-- note to self: Pick up Poise pads on the way home.