Tuesday, August 30, 2011


As you can see, we had quite the excitement-packed weekend. I first heard of Zoey taking more than 2 steps from Jacob, who heard it from Rachael because that's where she did it. I'll admit, I was a little peeved that I didn't get to see the first journey from coffee table to entertainment center. And since she is still building up her leg muscles, she least feels like walking in the evenings; you know, around the time I come home and want to share these experiences with her. But I resign myself to the fact that these things happen, then convince myself that the first time I saw her do something was the first time she did it ever.

Like I said, Zoey isn't a walking machine. But I've heard it only takes about a week for them to be running everywhere and I'll never sit down again (another reason those child leashes sound so appealing). Otherwise, we had a weekend stocked full of playing and family. It was the perfect way to end last week to remind Jacob and I just how lucky we are to have the family and friends that we do.

Mom said she wanted to go shopping on Saturday to pick up a few things she wanted to make for her last few days with us. She has expressed on more than one occasion that her time at our house is hers to give me Mommy-time, so I think she cleverly disguised this trip to the grocery store with "I just need a few things," to helping us stock our cabinets. And she wanted me to make the tuna casserole I like to whip up in the fall. I discovered last night that a Cheleda is the perfect thing to wash it down. The downside to Saturday was that it had to be one of the hottest days of the year. And as you may or may not recall, our air conditioner took a crap around the same time as the other hottest day of the year. So we didn't really do much besides sit around, sweat, be silly, and drink glass after glass of water.

 Hanging out in Zoey's room, reading about how Minnie Gets Pretty.

 It is quite the interesting story.

 The dogs tried their best to stay cool, too, but they suffered from the disadvantage of having to be locked in the lower room that leads to the backdoor; a room with little to no insulation so it's like our own personal sauna. However, this picture is a prime example of why. Goal spotted: dog tail.

 But I made Louis' day by bringing his basket of toys out from hiding (aka from behind the couch). They then spent their time independently playing with their toys, Louis the stuffed animals he humped then destroyed, and Durbin with his undestroyable ball.

I also turned on Blues Clues, mainly for Zoey but she wasn't the only one entertained, apparently (he doesn't actually have blue eyes, that is just what happens with the flash).

 With her tea and crumpet (aka formula and wheat teething biscuit).

 Grandma took this picture while babysitting last Friday. Apparently, Zoey likes to help with dishes, and pick fuzz-balls off the couch.

And, of course, grin at every possible moment.

 Grandpa Donahue got this for us. :-)

 It wasn't particularly cooler in the kitchen, actually hotter despite the super-fantastic linoleum floor. Regardless, Durbin found it a perfect spot to do snacking. And he knew just how to play the rules, too, standing on the carpet - so technically out of the kitchen - until he heard something hit the floor.

Even though they are big, black, and covered in fur, we had to give them their fair share of loves.

Durbin has no shame.

 With all of her new chompers, we thought we'd give her more solid foods a try, starting with the banana. Her face says otherwise but she really liked it. I think when it comes to learning new things with food, she just has zero patience. I want my food and I want it NOW!

 It was a perfect day to show Grandma Skydiving Baby. She thought it was hilarious, as did Zoey.

 Then, to further keep cool, it was time to convert the bathtub into a swimming pool. Of course I did take the opportunity to scrub her down with baby soap. She had so much fun, thus I learned we are officially over our baby bathtub. :-( *sniff*

 With the heat and all of the excitement, Zoey hit the sheets shortly after her tub playtime/bath. Then, apparently, it was time for Durbin to have some play time of his own.

 This picture is funny (and slightly true on most mornings when my mom isn't staying with us) but in all honesty, it has been doctored. This was as I was getting ready to leave for the store and Zoey wasn't coming along, and Jacob happened to be sitting right next to me ready to take over feeding Zoey, but my mom thought it would make a cute picture entitled, Morning with the McIntyres.

 On Sunday we went to Columbus to visit Jacob's parents. Just like when we visit mine, if you ever find yourself at Jacob's parent's house, you will have one of the greatest meals of your life. I don't know what it is about Grandmothers and excellent cooking.

 Getting situated in our respective seats before dinner. There is a Cheerio on the bottom of my dress.

On our way home on Sunday, we weren't even out of the driveway before Zoey was asleep. She woke up just before we got home and was not pleased to still be in her seat. The only trouble was that my mom, Jacob, and I all wished we could have fallen asleep and magically gotten home.

Sunday night I went to bed early and nothing short of a nuclear war could have woken me; and it's a good thing too since this week has busy written all over it.

For starters, I'm actively trying to make this week the last full-time work-week of my present existence. So far it seems to be going ok but having to take off most of Thursday for Louis' restitution hearing doesn't help matters (just an FYI, it costs $488.50 for your dog to attack your neighbor's cat to the brink of death. That is the vet bill; I won't touch on the 5 citations, vet bills to get our dogs vaccinated, and the court-ordered behavioral evaluation). On Friday, and in large part thanks to my dad, Jacob, Zoey, and I will be off to Wisconsin for the Donahue/Matthies (or Matthies/Donahue if you want to nit-pick) family reunion. I had such fun last time even though most everyone didn't recognize me and Jacob was looked over by wary eyes. They all love him more than me now and I can't wait for them to meet Zoey. I'm looking forward to getting away and remembering that life isn't about all of the obligations you have at any given moment, but about the people you chose to spend your time with, mainly family. And a change of scenery couldn't hurt either.

The professional change I referenced in a previous post was, indeed, me starting to work part-time instead of full. It was a decision Jacob and I came to - with the help of Zoey, of course - and my office was extremely supportive. My work has slowed considerably and as Zoey gets older it is increasingly more difficult to be away from her. But our main motive behind the decision was financial. 

It sounds ridiculous to think that by cutting your pay in half you'd be able to afford more, but that is what we're hoping. Between paying Rachael to babysit, keeping her stocked with baby supplies, keeping our own house stocked with baby supplies, and the gas for running all over town every day, what I would have brought home in terms of income is gone before I've even seen it. We'll start this part-time thing, see how it works and see if we're able to loosen the purse-strings a little. In brainstorming, Jacob and I have tried to come up with a way we can both stay home but still earn money; so far we've come up with porn stars and farmers.

Family is the most important thing and I'm trying my best to give it everything I've got. If that means I have to do porn, well, then, so be it!

"Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts." - Unknown

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Countdown

Yesterday, Zoey turned 11 months old. That means that in just 29 short days she will be one year old. To say that time flew by astonishingly fast would be the understatement of the century. Not helping matters, Zoey decided to hastily breeze through every stage as if she can't wait to get to the next. She started pulling herself up on furniture when the doctor was asking us if she had yet to sit upright unsupported. She has more teeth than I can count or keep track of as they sprout up. She has been taking a couple of steps, saying more words, and recently discovered the art of throwing tantrums. Zoey has been the most absolutely perfect baby, I wouldn't mind having a million of her, or just having her stay a baby forever. I love her more every day and can't wait to spend time with her. Like I've told her every month she gets closer to her birthday, if I knew her then like I know her now, I wouldn't mind being pregnant with her forever.

But, I have to say, I'm glad I wasn't. For one, that would have meant I would never get to know her. But let's be real, I hated being pregnant. I wouldn't have minded it so much if it hadn't come with a toilet strapped to my arms at all times, or the horrifying way the baby must come into the world. They say every pregnancy is different, as is every baby. So, really, I'm screwed either way. At any rate, here is [a slightly edited version of] what was happening at this time last year, with some notations/corrections/outcomes......

Today I am exactly one week out from being 9 months pregnant. It’s been quite the ride, hasn’t it? Yes, I really feel for you, reader.
Although I spend most of my waking hours day-nightmare-ing about birthing an 11-pound baby, there is a small portion of my brain that has started the countdown and is extremely ecstatic to have this whole pregnancy bullshit over and behind me. The “safe” delivery zone can’t come fast enough and as well all know patience is something I’m stellar at. In this regard, I’ve begun thinking/listing everything I can’t wait to do/won’t miss when I’m not pregnant because I like to make things as miserable as possible for myself.
So here goes.
I can’t wait to:
Put my wedding rings back on. Brilliant me put them back on too soon and wasn't able to get them off. After about a week, and legitimate concerns that I could lose the finger, I sobbed while Jacob cut them off. They have since been fixed and re-sized but since I lost so much weight they are now too big.
Eat chocolate. I'll eat it and crave it, but I still have low tolerance; after one or two handfuls of M&Ms I'm done.
Eat cake. See above.
Drink the Applebee’s Red Apple Sangria that is served in a fishbowl. It really wasn't that great.
Drink coffee with creamer.
Have a venti pumpkin spice latte.
Have a venti vanilla latte. Maybe in the same day. YUM-tastic! But I've since given up caffeine.
Wave good-by to the intense back pain. Instantly gone post birth, thank you God!
Only have heartburn on rare occasions.
Have sex more than once a month.
Be awake after the sun has gone down. Since I've given up caffeine I still have to work on this.
Be able to read again without the pregnancy ADHD kicking in. Well, now, I just have limited time to read - an hour a day on my lunch break.
Have good dreams, instead of just the awful, horrifying pregnancy dreams. Gone, thank God!
Not have to hawk my lungs up every 5 minutes. I get it. My mucus plug is strong.
Be relieved of the carpel tunnel syndrome. Thank you, swelling.
Wear high heels.
Wear the rest of my wardrobe. Welp, since I lost so much weight, I can't do that.
Take a hot shower without inducing a major hot flash.
Have strangers not talk to me like they know me.
Not have to guard my belly against people who think its public domain.
Not be big and uncomfortable.
Wear pajamas. I still don't do this, and, in fact, have developed an intolerance to clothing.
Not have to change my underwear twice a day. I still do this. I guess it is habit now. I sure do laundry like crazy, though!
Have my old body back. I haven’t been one to freak out over my ever-changing body over the last few months (although stepping on the scale has become a tad frightening). But I can feel my bikini body underneath all of the baby insulation and I’m looking forward to having it back. As frustrated as I am that gaining weight has proven to be such an uphill battle, I am still liking my body at this point. Who am I kidding, I always like my body (even though I say I don't but anyone who knows me knows I'm just fishing for compliments). Now, I'm all muscle and bone.

(Ok, this picture was taken when I was 3 months pregnant, but thanks to throwing up every 20 minutes, I had a slammin' body.)

To not have to see the doctor ever month/two weeks/week.
To not waddle.
To step into the elevator and it not go BOOM!
To not get winded from walking 10 paces.

I will say that there will be some aspects of pregnancy that I will miss.

First and foremost, I will miss getting out of doing things. Mom said it wasn’t good for me to vacuum. Shame. This goes hand-in-hand with carrying things. I’m not allowed to and I think I can only stretch this one for at least a week or two after I give birth. Ohhhh yeahhh! After I gave birth and healed, the chivalry train came to a grinding halt. BUT! I will say that I have the most caring, attentive, and sensitive husband ever so I barely notice. Sometimes.... ;-) Additionally, I will miss:

Being able to say, “Fuck you, you don’t have to do it.”
Being able to finish an entire meal at IHOP. And then some.
Not having to be subjected to second-hand smoke.
The sleep/comas.
Being able to wear whatever I want simply because it makes me slightly more comfortable, and to those that don’t like it I can say, “Fuck you, you don’t have to do it.”
How fabulous my nails have become.
The baby movements. Perhaps it’s because I haven’t reached the end yet, but I prefer to think that I am just one of the lucky ones that didn’t feel pain when the baby moved or kicked. She gave me a swift one once but otherwise she just uses her feet to push out in a slow, fluid motion. I will not miss, however, her slamming into my cervix.
I will miss my boobs. I know they’ll get considerably larger in the next few weeks, especially after popping out the little booger, but it’s really no fun if they’re leaking stuff, and I know they’ll go away after I’m done breastfeeding and all I’ll be left with are saggy bags of sand. Sorry, saggy, stretch-marked bags of sand. After trying for a couple of days, breastfeeding wasn't working out. I wasn't one of those that was super-attached to the idea, I just wanted to do it for the monetary benefit. In the end, I am so glad I didn't continue with breastfeeding. Zoey didn't seem to mind when I stopped since she got pretty frustrated with the whole ordeal also.
I will miss my puppies being careful around me. As anyone who has met them knows, they like to come at you at the same time, making for 140 total pounds of big, black dog; filled with nothing but love, of course. But especially if you happen to be on their level (i.e. the ground) they love to climb all over you. But they’ve been especially gentle with me lately. Last night Louis brought me his toy to tug with him but he was very gentle and didn’t tug nearly as hard as what is fun for him. So he then moved on and tried to get Durbin to tug with him. He gave up until Jacob came home.
I will miss being selfish with my money. Yes, this sounds horrible but, yeah, Fuck you, you don’t have do it.

Pregnancy is quite the roller coaster. Just when you’re starting to get comfortable, you’re thrown for one of those upside-down loopy-loop things. And then vomit. Child-raising is the exact same thing.

I suppose it’s all just to get you semi-ready for parenthood. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I couldn’t have gotten through it without my husband.

I won’t miss being pregnant and I can’t wait for the baby. Our baby. 

 Yup! I was a biggun!

Think of stretch marks as pregnancy service stripes.
- Joyce Armor

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Life As it Continues to Happen

Life has been trucking along, we're thankful there hasn't been anything outside of the normal day-to-day stress and issues that we've had to deal with. *knock on wood*

Mom left to visit Aaron in New York last Wednesday, and will be back tomorrow for another week before shipping off to the family reunion in Wisconsin. It's always interesting when she relays her visits with my brother to me. After getting off the phone with her yesterday afternoon, I pondered the very large gap between her activities with him and her activities with me. I would gather she gets the best of both worlds: with me she is the mother I always had, giving me advice (even when I don't ask for it ;-)), cooking my favorite meals, being a grandmother to Zoey when I shuttle off to work, and constantly telling me she wants to help alleviate any stress I might be dealing with (and, of course, telling me it's the world that has the problem because I am perfect :-D). With Aaron, she is the fun-loving, jet-setting adult she deserves to be after raising a family. She still gets to be a mother with him, but not in the usual sense; she gets to meet his friends, visit his hang-outs, meet people he works with, and generally be associated with his movin'-'n-shakin' lifestyle. My brother and I keep her pretty busy and worn out during the summer but she enjoys every minute of it.

So Jacob and I spent the weekend with each other at home. We ran the usual errands, even scoring a free candy bar when I picked up my birth control pills (are they indirectly thanking me for not continuing to reproduce?). Jacob's dad came by the house to help him with one small - but major - detail with the Honda so now it really is just thisclose to running; he was able to lower it and put the wheels back on. Once it's finished, I'll have to get in there and give it a good anal-retentive, OCD cleaning (if he'll even let me and/or make me surrender that task to him). Meanwhile, I managed to get the laundry done by 9am and was dead-set on putting every effort into having each room of the house be clean at the same time. It almost worked: I finished the dinner dishes close to 10pm, just didn't feel like dusting our bedroom, and I couldn't dust Zoey's since she was sleeping.

So now that I've explained the minutia of one of our less-activity-ridden weekends, here are some pictures (but not necessarily from the weekend).

 Zoey loves doors. But she loves them the most when she can open and shut them. Obviously, though, she can't get the door open again once it's been closed given her serious lack of height in relation to the doorknob. I showed her that the doorknob opens the door and Daddy showed her how, exactly, it works.

Clearly, she was beyond fascinated. Eventually, Daddy had to put her down because his arms got tired.

 The last of the Pictures-of-Zoey-Watching-Television series. I love this one because she is watching one of my favorite shows growing up, Clarissa Explains it All. Sadly, though, in an effort to save some money as we go through a bit of transition, we cut the cable down to channels 1-20 (but kept the internet). Truthfully, though, Jacob and I don't really miss it, and neither does Zoey. She is much more interested in her toys and endlessly plays with them. Her naps were better over the weekend, and Jacob and I even found ourselves engrossed in Antiques Roadshow. To cure a bout of television cravings - both for us and Zoey - we have the Xbox hooked up to the television in our bedroom for Netflix and Hulu. Much to Zoey's joy and my chagrin, we can still watch Go Diego Go.

Like any warm-blooded child, Zoey has loved to play with boxes since she was first introduced to the suitcase we buy her diapers in. For the most part, she would just bang on them, push them around the floor, or scrutinize every detail on the inside. Recently, though, she figured out how to use them as tools so Mommy quickly snapped this picture then put the box in the garage to be taken out with the trash. Maybe ignorance really is bliss... :-)

 After one of her other favorite activities - pulling Mommy's books from the bookshelf - Daddy decided to show her one of his many guitars. The others reside in the bonus, baby-free room.

She's really jammin' now!

One of Zoey and Daddy's favorite things to do while I get her stuff ready for bedtime is play Skydiving Baby. She just lays flat in Daddy's arms - only reaching for the fan a few times - smiles and giggles the entire time.

Whew! Tough day!

By Sunday night, I was still project-oriented and in the frame of mind to get things done. So instead of dusting the bedroom, I worked on Zoey's baby book, putting her very first picture in as the first thing I did.

I know it's only Wednesday, but this week has been as close to the normal as I was hoping for. As I struggle to accept the fact that I've truly entered adult-hood, I'm more susceptible to being able to accept that there will be ups and downs every week. I am also more accepting of the fact that I just need to learn how to roll with it, and not let those down moments keep me from enjoying the small blessings we receive (i.e. free candy bars, the Target bill being less than usual, etc.).

I am very much looking forward to the next few weeks, although more stress will be thrown into the mix. Tomorrow night means wine on my friend, Mer's, patio and picking mom up from the airport (yes, in that order). Next week will start a new chapter in my professional life, both as legal personality and mom, that I am very much looking forward to (I don't want to discuss it further at this time as I am a firm believer in jinxing), then we leave to visit the rest of my crazy, cooky, love-packed family at the reunion. Late September will bring me the last year of being in my 20's (thank GOD!) and, of course, Zoey's first birthday. Which reminds me, I better get to planning... :-)

I'll never have a "normal" week again, but at least I'm lucky enough to live the life I want.

"You only life once, and no one gets out alive." - Sally Donahue

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Fair Day

I share in half of Garfield's plight. On the one hand, I completely understand why he hated Mondays, especially after last night when every bone in my body was absolutely sure we still had another day of the weekend. On the other hand, I've accepted that it's a once-a-week occurrence, and the least I can do is spend it reliving the weekend.

Like I had wanted, I took Zoey to the fair. Last year, Jacob was able to score tickets to the Montana Fair but refused since I was as big as a house and not really up to feeling tortured by walking around in the heat and humidity. Plus, this year I was able to have a beer.

My mom, Zoey, and I made a girls' day of it while Jacob did manly stuff in the garage, getting that much closer to having his beloved Honda ready. He'll most likely have it done just in time for the snow to come and it sit in the garage for another 6 months. Just kidding; Jacob is a more motivated individual than most. At this point, it's so close to being done, Jacob can almost taste it, and that is what is frustrating. But I have complete faith he'll get it done, and get it done immaculately.

We left early to avoid most of the heat, not realizing we also avoided most of the crowds. Either way, the fair is fun for nothing more than the crappy food, people watching, beer, and walking around in the sunshine.

 Getting ready for the sort-of long walk from the parking lot to the fair. Side note: Zoey currently has 5 teeth poking through, and working on 2 more. Maybe that is why she just loves to grin. :-D

 Thanks to last year's Father's Day tornado, there is still a lot to be done at the Metra, but everything they do now is just an improvement from before.

People watching with Grandma and Mommy.

 She spent a lot of Saturday - whether at the fair or at home - wanting to be held by me. How could I possibly refuse?! :-) She is the best baby to be a mommy to.

She wanted to be held unless, of course, I was bouncing her.

 One of the many rides we walked passed and watched. Surprisingly, they were quite empty, their operators often just sitting there waiting for more than 1 person to line up (if I understand correctly, a ride can't be ridden by only one person).

 I've never been one for fair games. The saying, "I've never one anything in my life!" applicably describes my experience with everything contest-related. I guess I wasn't the only one who felt this way because they have since been re-vamped for the courtesy of my children: guaranteed winning! (Normally, I wouldn't be a big proponent of this but fair games should never be so complicated that kids walk away empty-handed)

 Just like the rubber duckies she has at home, only in a much larger tub. After Grandma paid for us to play the game, I snatched her from her stroller and let her grab for the ducks.

 After she grabbed the first one, she got a bit distracted and just stared at the game lady for awhile.

 Then she picked up some more ducks and claimed her prize......

 .....Another stuffed dog!! Coincidentally, she surpassed the guaranteed winner level of a medium stuffed animal and won herself a large stuffed animal!

 (Ok, given the ups and down lately, I just have to share because it made me feel so good. After Zoey had won her stuffed animal and I was putting her back in her stroller, my mom offered a heart-felt thanks to the game lady for letting Zoey play. The game lady responded, "No problem. She is a wonderful mother.") *grin!*

 Zoey loved on her new dog for awhile until it got too warm. Now she snuggles him in her crib.

 Grandma and Zoey watching the cow beauty pageant.

Mommy and baby beauty pageant.

 After Mom and I finished eating our delectable fair food (her a cheeseburger with fries, me a corn dog and corn on the cob, both with Chiladas), Zoey needed to be changed. And wouldn't you know, there was a booth for that.

 Checkin' out the goats.

It was a fair day, indeed! :-)

We spent Sunday recuperating from our day in the sun by spending it in the heat of our house. Our AC took a crapper awhile ago and Jacob got - as my Southern friends would day - a wild hair to fix it on Sunday. Naturally, he got it working, but as soon as he put it in the window, it would take another crap. He concluded the motor was bad so that's the end of that. Otherwise, him and my mother put together a pork loin in the crock pot and we had pulled BBQ pork sandwiches for dinner, and I used what little energy I had for cleaning on the kitchen and Jacob and I's bedroom; and Zoey did her usual eat, play, nap, laugh, and crawl around.

She is able to stand on her own now and it's as easy as pie. When we applaud her, she just looks confused, starts clapping, then inevitably loses her balance. But it's like second-nature to her, even to the point of her taking one step forward. She has a very determined look about her when it comes to walking, she just needs to be more self-assured. Next year, we'll all be walking around the fair! (Although, for her, it may be on a leash. I always made fun of people who did that with their children, but now I totally get it.)

"If you ever start feeling like you have the goofiest, craziest, most dysfunctional family in the world, all you have to do is go to a state fair. Because five minutes at the fair, you'll be going, 'you know, we're alright. We are dang near royalty'." - Jeff Foxworthy