6:42 p.m.

So, parenthood? No one warns you.

At the moment, I’m sitting in total darkness in the nursery with a sleeping baby in my arms. She’s finally asleep, after hours of coaxing. It’s been a long, long, long day of crying and spit up and refusal to nap. I’m going on three hours of sleep and my arms are aching and shaky from endless hours of rocking and swinging. My eyes are swollen from crying and a bottle of wine is my salvation, propped ironically next to the baby bottle by my side.

I’d love to get up from this chair to shower, eat, ANYTHING…but I’ve learned from the past six hours that putting baby down means ear-piercing cries and another half hour of rocking. And repeat. I’m resigned to this uncomfortable yet peaceful solitude, and so appreciative of the silence.

In these tough hours I spend alone with Lila, I struggle to recognize that this will ever get easier. I live for the quiet snuggles and sweet baby coos that occasionally intersect with the wails. I’m completely aware of the miracle resting in my arms, and the blessing of a healthy baby. I am giddy when I think about the future with her and everything I want to teach her and show her. But right now? This is just one of many moments of learning, patience, struggling and growing.

I can get through this, and I will get through this. But it’s really hard. I’m thankful and in awe of every mom I know, especially my own, for walking this path before me.

I’m feeling somewhat defeated, but I know tomorrow is a new day, and that colic doesn’t last forever. (Please, PLEASE tell me it will end one day soon.)

Until that day, there is wine.

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3:04 a.m.

The baby is sleeping but I can’t.

Partially because my circadian rhythms are in total upheaval, but also because I can’t quiet my thoughts. So I’m sitting on the floor of the nursery, listening to baby snores and appreciating the fleeting solitude and quiet.

This day. This fateful day. 2001 was the year things changed for everyone, and 10 years later I got that reminder more personally.

Years go by and still, we can never understand why certain events transpire. How so much can change in a mere moment.

The indirect blessing in what happened is a steadfast awareness that each day is a blessing, however hard it may be, and that the most important thing we have is each other.

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Lila!

This is my 700th blog post. Nuts.

Not sure how that happened, but thanks for reading this (and/or any of the previous 699 miscellaneous ramblings I’ve amassed here over the past seven years).

A post this significant should be something momentous, which is fitting since we had a baby since my last update.

Lila Jordyn joined us a week early on August 12 at 6:55 p.m. She is perfect and wonderful and constantly giving her dad and me a run for our money. She’s named after my great aunt and Jim’s great grandma (both Lilas).

Becoming a parent is hard to put into words, and in a lot of ways it still hasn’t fully sunk in. I stare at my baby some days and simply can’t fathom that we created her and I delivered her. It’s astounding and magical.

If asked how I’m feeling, it’s a mixture of awe, love, fear, fatigue, gratitude and confusion. And then more love. And then more fatigue. Everyday I go between extremes of euphoria and complete despair. I’m told this is normal. And that it never goes away…

We have been SO incredibly blessed since Lila’s arrival. Friends brought meals every night for two weeks. Coworkers sent lovely gifts. Family called and visited. My mom spent an entire week taking turns with night feedings to let us get some sleep, cooking for us, and sending me to get a pedicure (the list goes on…). Mom-friends sent encouragement and answered all my frantic (and sometimes disgusting) text and facebook questions. Friends let me cry and babble out my hormones. In short, my cup completely runneth over, and then some. I have never felt so loved and surrounded by my village, and am consciously remembering this with gratitude everyday.

Arrival details (for my own recollection and your overshared enjoyment): My first day of maternity leave was August 11. Jim was off and we spent the day at the DMV. Sadly, I’m serious. First we went to emissions testing and then Jim needed a new license photo, but there was a computer glitch while we were there which resulted in us waiting there for three-plus hours. Not exactly a crazy first day off of work, but we made up for it with a sushi dinner. After which we I consumed a massive bowl of fried ice cream appropriately named The Ninja.

When we got home, I started having contractions about an hour later. They weren’t too painful but were coming regularly which my doctor had told us was reason to call her. It was about 10 p.m. so we called the office’s answering service and paged the on-call doctor. He didn’t call back right away and the pain started to increase. We decided it made sense to go to the hospital and began packing the car. Baby time! On the ride there I held Jim’s hand and squeezed during each contraction; it was getting very uncomfortable by the time we arrived.

We were admitted and after an exam we were promptly discharged at 2 a.m. and told it wasn’t yet active labor. My response: WHAT?! But yeah, apparently there’s a science to this baby arrival process and we weren’t yet a go. Disappointed sighs.

I was in a ton of pain by then and feeling completely discouraged. We returned home and I spent a sleepless night sitting on a stability ball, face on the couch holding back tears as my body started to endure more pain than I ever imagined. I counted down the hours until my doctor’s office opened and called them immediately at 8:30. They told me to come in right away, so I woke Jim and off we went.

The doctor took one look at me and exclaimed, “You’re going to have a baby today!” She hugged me, praised the power of epidurals and told us to go back to the hospital soon — and that if we had the baby by 7 that evening — she’d be on call to deliver.

We went back home and showered, repacked and drove back to the hospital and were re-admitted around 12:30 p.m. My labor progressed very quickly and I was soon desperate for the epidural. Desperate is putting it mildly. Apparently (I cannot confirm or deny this…) I kept badgering the nurse to re-page the anesthesiologist. Who does that?? I didn’t receive this magical creation until about 4 p.m. at which point I professed my love for all things anesthesia and took my first deep breath in hours. Jim was a complete rock star during this process; he was encouraging, supportive and calm, holding me the entire time. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to watch someone else in that much pain, but I know it can’t be easy.

My mom graciously drove up to watch our house and take care of our dogs. She didn’t bank on the fact that our AC would go out while it was 110 degrees out, but was a total trooper and toughed it out. A very kind AC vendor took pity on us and got it fixed right away. But still. Brutal.

After the epidural we watched TV in the delivery room and just relaxed until I was ready to push around 6:30. The nurses paged my doctor and thankfully she was able to arrive in 15 minutes. Baby Lila was ready to enter the world after just a few pushes. I know that Seinfeld was on the TV when she was born and can’t remember which episode, but this seemed perfectly fitting.

The moment we laid eyes on her was surreal. I didn’t feel like I was crying but the tears started pouring out and I just stared at her in awe. Time stood still and the rest of the room became a blur. Life was forever changed. Jim cut the cord and then Lila grabbed onto his finger. It was amazing. And here we are.

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neighbors without borders

When this happens in your backyard you might consider a few things. Like, how good is my homeowners insurance? Or, how did I not hear this thing fall? Or, how lucky am I that gravity had the tree fall away from the house and not onto it?

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We had a macroburst two weekends ago that involved 100 mile-per-hour winds and torrential rain. The neighborhood looks like a hurricane passed through–I’ve never experienced anything like it.

This is an inconvenience largely because we have dogs and our neighbors have dogs, and because it’s a giant mess. (And it’s a million degrees out, and I’m super pregnant, those conditions heighten any disturbance). But this is a joke compared to problems that exist in other parts of the world–or hell–in other parts of Phoenix. But while incredibly annoying, knocking down walls makes for a great social experiment.

It dawned on me today how different life would be without so many walls. What would it be like if we didn’t live in such modular, segmented ways that separate us–literally and figuratively–from those around us? How exactly did we become so reliant on the idea of privacy?

Chances are it would be weird if things were different. I mean, I’d definitely have to dress more appropriately when I let the dogs out in the morning, and there’s always the off chance your neighbors are creepers, or have ugly yards you don’t want to stare at, or run a frat house. But it also might be kind of cool to have a more open sense of community. Lots of cultures live more communally than Americans, and I think that’s neat. Although in these cases it’s often families that live interchangeably, not strangers who happened to prefer the same zip code as you.

At any rate, in the week since our wall was demolished, we’ve gotten to know more neighbors than we did over the past year, and it feels nice to get better acquainted with the people that reside 15 feet from you.

All day at work I sit in an enclosed office. My house is (well, was) surrounded by a six-foot wall. I’m an introvert, so this doesn’t displease me, but I also thrive in social settings and often wish I sat in an open bullpen with coworkers instead of in my own stall. And that I had neighbors dropping by to say hello rather than just waving from behind closed car windows.

The wall should be resurrected by the end of the week, but it’s temporary hiatus has had unexpected perks.

Ok, ok, a pregnancy update.

I’m not that into pregnancy blogging, or photos, or obsessing. Lots of friends have been all stars about documenting their experiences, and while I’ve journaled a bit, I’ve preferred processing and learning in my own, more personal ways. It’s funny to see all the ways different people mark the journey though – so now that the clock is ticking I figure I can temporarily jump on the bandwagon with a template I’ve seen online.

How far along: 36 weeks, 1 day

Total weight gain: 22 lbs

Maternity clothes: Yeah, these have been necessary for a while. Although a fair amount of strategically stretchy normal clothes still fit (workout clothes, maxi skirts, dresses).

Sleep: I’ve never been a great sleeper so not much has changed. really hoping the baby inherits Jim’s ability to sleep any time, any place. I’d say I’m averaging about 7.5 hours per night and rarely feel well-rested.

Best moment of this week: Getting a great report after an ultrasound at the doctor’s office, and being told to eat more.

Miss anything: Besides balanced hormones? Being able to decompress through exercise and go for more than three minutes without sweating.

Movement: Mine’s becoming limited, but the baby is an acrobat.

Food cravings: Fruit, baked goods (pie, pastries), cereal.

Anything making you queasy or sick: The thought of having to deliver the baby.

Have you started to show yet: Yes, it looks like I swallowed a watermelon.

Gender: It’s a girl. I have disproven every old wives tale based on symptoms and lack of symptoms.

Labor signs: Mild cramps/contractions.

Belly button in or out: Out. Thank you for asking. All things considered, how would a belly button stay in at this point?

Wedding rings on or off: On. Still look like an honest woman.

Happy or moody most of the time: I don’t know that either seems fully accurate, I think I’m somewhere in the middle. However, moodiness is more likely linked to it being 114 degrees than any part of pregnancy.

Looking forward to: Meeting this baby.

Words of wisdom: I’ve gotten a lot of advice over the past few months, and have grown to appreciate the overflowing and wonderful network of moms in my life. There are, of course, people who overshare, incite panic and retell your their own birth stories 40 times over, BUT — the majority are caring, thoughtful and totally honest when you need it. Some of my favorite advice came when I asked a few friends for advice on packing a hospital bag. I loved the answers I got and learned a lot.

Other news: I’m on a social media cleanse. One week sans Facebook or Instagram. It was needed.

Here are grainy photos (with Bruno photobombs) from 35 and 36 weeks:

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on forgiveness

Hate her or love her, support her or berate her, this is a powerful message:

“Forgiveness is a choice. And I fully respect those who don’t make that choice, for whatever reason, in their personal or their professional lives but for me it was absolutely the right choice,” Clinton responded. “For me, it is something that is incredibly difficult but I am grateful everyday that that’s the choice that I made and I’ve counseled others to see if in their own hearts they can also do that.”

“But it’s not by accident the great religions, the great writers talk about how the person who forgives is liberated, maybe even more than the person who is forgiven,” she continued.

Taken from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/11/hillary-clinton-_n_5578654.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

things that make me happy

1. Nesting. Jim put the entire nursery together as a surprise. And by that I mean he stayed up til 5 a.m. one night painting, hanging art and curtains and assembling furniture. I had everything ready but didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, and love that his input and thinking created the layout.

2. Endorphins. The guy who scans me in at the gym and always says encouraging things about working out while pregnant. And working out while pregnant makes me feel less round.

3. Cleanliness. Just got our carpets cleaned. It’s the next best thing to new floors and it feels like the whole house had a spa day.

4. Poop. When I called a friend in a crabby mood this week she told me a story about poop to completely distract and entertain me.

5. Thinking in new ways. This article was captivating and made me reevaluate some of the ways I think.

6. Smartphones. For all the bad things we attribute to an addiction to technology, I love how it allows me to stay connected with so many people that are important to me.

7. Take out. Tonight it’s Oregano’s. All the joy of eating out and I can wear pajamas.

8. Anniversaries. Jim proposed four years ago today.

9. Decluttering. I’ve sold a ton of stuff through craigslist and Swip Swap lately and have had surprisingly pleasant experiences. I’m always fascinated by the people who want my stuff and the process feels like community recycling.

10. Drunk History. Watch it. Trust me.