September 30, 2010

better living through blogging

not to mention the $13.24 I made from advertising
The best part of blogging? Having a journal of my life. Oh, that's so not true. The best part of blogging is when you people tell me I'm funny. It's good for my ego. But the journal thing comes in at a not-too-distant second.

Why does she always push me to be a better person?
Last month, when the girls made the 5-hour drive to Indy with me, we did a lot of talking to pass the time. When the conversation lagged, we would look to Sara D. for new topics. She suggested we each come up with a list of 30 things to accomplish in the next 12 months. Jessica served as our secretary and wrote them all down, but in the excitement that was "becoming a grandmother", I forgot about the list. Jess gave it to me this week. I won't post the list, but I will say, that in the 30 days since making it, the only thing I have been successful at is "Choose a Grandmother Name". Call me an overachiever.

Long-distance cooking
My son just texted to say he has arrived in Indianapolis safe and sound (he made the drive all by his big-boy self). His sister just texted to say she is feeding him the Baked Ziti I made and froze while I was there. Hahaha. Gotta love the irony that Kevin had to drive 5 hours to get a homecooked meal from his mother.

September 26, 2010

not exactly wonder woman

I have two superpowers: the ability to almost always know, without looking at a clock, what time it is, and the ability to remember trivia, specifically from the 60's, 70's and 80's.

The first superpower can be quite useful, at least personally. For other people, not so much . . . mostly because of a lack of trust. "Do you know what time it is?" they ask. "Yep. About 4:20!" is my response. They will inevitably dismiss my answer when they realize I don't have a clock and go in search of someone with a cell phone or watch or other timepiece, only to find the actual time is 4:21. So, the superpower remains useful only to me. I mean, if nobody else is willing to hold onto my cape when I take off, then it's not my fault they don't get to fly.

The second superpower is more a skill than an innate gift. I can tell, almost always, the exact year of a song, movie, political event, fashion trend, or pop culture fad. Even skill is the wrong word. It's more a by-product of a mobile life and a brain for details.

This morning in church, Wayne asked about the song, "Celebrate" and I responded with "Kool and the Gang, 1980". I know, because the first time I heard that song, it was a fall morning, and I was listening to WKYX as I was getting ready for school. I liked the song instantly, ("it had a good beat and you could dance to it). I remember thinking it was going to be a big hit . . . it became our prom theme that next spring.

St. Elmo's Fire? 1985. I know, because I had a suit almost identical to the one Ally Sheedy wore, but I couldn't wear it the next year, because I had been pregnant and it no longer fit.

Los Angeles Riots? 1992. It happened just days before I found out I was expecting Kevin.

9 to 5? Christmas 1980. I know, because I saw it with my best friend on New Year's Day and it was the first thing I recorded in the 1981 "Miss Piggy" Calendar he gave me for Christmas. Oh, yeah.

Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody"? 1987. I know, because MTV was about the only channel worth watching in Anchorage, Alaska in the middle of the night when I was awake with my firstborn for 2 a.m. feedings. It was a very different MTV then.

Jessi Colter's "I'm Not Lisa, My Name is Julie"? 1975. Barry Manilow's "I Write the Songs"? 1975. "Rock and Roll All Night" by Kiss? 1975. I know, because for my 12th birthday, my parents let me have their stereo (complete with a totally awesome turntable) and, because they didn't have a clue what kind of music I would like, they bought me the #1 record in all three genres: country, rock, and pop. (This was in the pre-8-track and really pre-rap days.)

Ronald Reagan's shooting? Spring 1981. I was in Mr. Wilson's English class.

Toe Socks? (Originally) 1975. I gave them as Christmas gifts to all my best friends in the 7th grade. They were so cool, and so ridiculously uncomfortable.

The last time the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl? 1986. I know, because I recorded it as a major event in Kacey's baby book.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? 1969. Easy. That one was released on my 6th birthday. I watched it from the back of our station wagon at the drive-in while wearing footie pajamas.

Nixon defeats McGovern. 1972. It was the only thing on tv the night my sister and I had a boy for a babysitter at our apartment in Texas. He was boring. So was the election. At least to a 4th grader.

Okay, I've probably made my point. Yeah, my memory is pretty good. At least with the long-term stuff. But mostly, because I moved 24 times in the first 24 years of my life, I have a frame of reference for everything. If I can remember WHERE I was, then I automatically know WHEN it was. It's not exactly rocket science, but sometimes it makes me look smart. And I can use all the help I can get.

September 24, 2010

my side of the story

She was completely in denial from the beginning. Contractions had been 8 minutes apart for a good four hours, she had cleaned the bedroom, taken a shower, asked Nathan to vacuum, had me lay out the birth supplies and still she kept saying she wasn't in labor. I finally convinced her, mid-afternoon, to let me give the midwife a "warning call". She reluctantly agreed, still fearing this was a false alarm. Contractions continued, the time between decreasing to 5 minutes, the discomfort increasing until she could no longer walk and talk through them. She had been in labor for over seven hours when we finally called the dogsitters and the midwife.

Only a couple of short years ago, my daughter informed me of two things: 1) she would not be having children this side of 2013, (if she had them AT ALL) and 2) she was NOT like me when it came to the whole "crazy natural childbirth" stuff.

Now I found myself massaging my daughter's lower back, watching her handle early labor like a pro, with her very supportive husband labor-coaching like a producer for "The Business of Being Born", and awaiting the midwife's arrival for my granddaughter's grand entrance via a non-invasive, non-medicated homebirth.

The midwife arrived at 8:30 and asked if we wanted to know how far she was dilated. We debated for a minute, preparing for the distinct possibility of only being at 2 centimeters. When the midwife announced "7 centimeters!", Kacey was forced to admit, for the first time all day, that she was, in fact, in labor.

She compliantly continued to breathe and squat and kneel and rock and walk and do all the right things to keep labor progressing. Even at the height of transition, after one of her most difficult contractions, she stated, "I can do this. This is not so hard." Then her water broke and the pushing phase began.

Because the names in my blog have not been changed to protect the innocent, we shall suffice it to say that my beautiful grandchild was trying to exit eyebrows first, but with a conehead Jane Curtin would have envied. Needless to say, pushing was NOT a relief. It was nothing short of excruciating . . . for Kacey and for me. Nathan and I held her and encouraged her, and when she cried and said she couldn't do it anymore, Nathan whispered sweet things into her ear . . . and Mom left the room and sobbed. As I said in a previous blog, parents are not wired to watch their children in pain.

I pulled myself together and went back into the bedroom in time to see the baby crown, in time to see Kacey's relief at the realization that her daughter's birth was close, in time to photograph things I can never share with you, or anybody else, without fear of serious retribution . . .

and in time to witness two parents fall instantly in love with their child.

September 16, 2010

"I feel pretty, oh so pretty . . . " or why you should insert your tongue into your cheek before reading this post

Last week I had the combined privilege of going through 14 hours of labor with my daughter, experiencing my third homebirth as a doula, and witnessing my grandchild take her first breath.

Only a few minutes after my granddaughter made her amphibious move from water to land, we had our picture taken together. I immediately uploaded it and posted it on my blog and on facebook, even before the midwife left. Once posted, I received shocked comments like:

"I want to know how you got all dolled up with lipstick and earrings for this picture at 1:51am?!"
"You don't look like the grannies I remember!"
"You are both beautiful"
"She is lovely to look at, just like you!"
"You are one HOT granny!"
"Two beautiful dolls."
"Stephanie, you look so beautiful!"
"She is GORGEOUS, and so is granny."
"Yeah, I am joining others in asking how you look so BEAUTIFUL at 2 am after helping birth someone?!?!? It's just wrong, you know?!?!?!!?"

In response to these comments, I have developed my:
Top Ten Reasons I Looked Gorgeous at 2 a.m.

10. I went to Indy under the guise of helping my daughter "get some work done", when in reality I was the one "getting some work done".
9. I just had my eyebrows waxed. Everybody knows arched eyebrows make you look amazing.
8. I wasn't the one squeezing an oversized eggplant out of my, well, you know. I was merely a sideline coach. Besides, Kacey pushed with her eyes closed, so I had 48 opportunities to sneak out of the room and touch up my lipstick.
7. I have on black clothing, which is slimming . . . and has the added benefit of not showing the blood and amniotic fluid I was covered with.
6. I'm wearing Revlon's Photo-Ready Foundation, in Porcelain Ivory. Clearly, it works.
5. This is my clone. I'm actually downtown sleeping at the Hyatt.
4. My nail polish and earrings were coordinated with the polka-dots on the receiving blanket. It's the "matchy-matchy" thing that tricks you into thinking I look great.
3. I'm like a fine wine . . . I get better as the day wears on, be thankful you don't have to see me first thing in the morning.
2. I'm COMPLETELY in love, which, as you know, makes you glow.

And the Number One Reason I Looked Gorgeous at 2 a.m.
1. Do you KNOW me??? Why WOULDN'T I look gorgeous at 2 a.m.???

September 11, 2010

I'm busy, busy, shockingly busy . . . much much too busy for you!

Yes, I will blog about the birth once Kacey has had a chance to tell the story herself. After all, it is her story to tell. Besides, I am WAY too busy being the mother of the mother and enjoying my daughter's new daughter to have time to write this week.

I spent 10 days here in Indianapolis before the baby was born. We cleaned house, we stocked up on groceries, we cooked several meals and froze them for later, we did laundry, we organized the nursery, we made a trip to visit the midwife, we went to an Indians baseball game, we went to the Children's Museum, we went to the Art Theater, we ate at Buca di Beppo's (Italian) and On the Border (Mexican) and Machu Picchu (Peruvian) and Abyssinia (Ethiopian) and Hirosaki (Japanese) and we all three still managed to get work done as well.

But that was NOTHING compared to the grind of the last four days. Since the baby has been born we have:

Stared at the Baby.

I am SO not kidding.

It's amazing how much time you can spend just looking at the baby. See the baby. Oh, the baby is lifting her head! Oh, the baby is sucking her thumb! Oh, the baby smiled! Did you see her smile? The baby is hungry. Oh, wouldn't the baby look cute in the polka-dot outfit? Oh, the baby opened her eyes! Doesn't she have pretty eyes? The baby needs her diaper changed. Oh, the baby is squeaking . . . listen! Oh, isn't that just the most precious noise you have ever heard? Oh, I think she must be the MOST beautiful baby EVER (next to her mom, of course, who actually WAS the Most Beautiful Baby Ever). Okay, maybe it's a tie.

Anyway, you can see why I haven't gotten any blogging done. It's been quite strenuous.

Next blog post: I will address the shock and awe over my incredible beauty that is plaguing so many after assisting with a 14-hour labor and delivery. . . stay tuned. Oh, I think I may have dangled a participle in that previous sentence, but I don't have time to deal with it now . . . the baby needs me to look at her.

September 07, 2010

Yes, she knew

It has been a long day. My daughter is one amazing chick. My son-in-law is precious. And my, uh, daughter's beautiful daughter was born at 1:51 a.m. (Eastern time) on September 7. She weighs 8#12 ounces (so did her mom) and was 20" long (so was her mom) and has a head full of hair (so did her mom). She also has an adorable little dimple in her chin (so does her dad).

Her name is Mayah Taylor. Mayah is Hebrew for "Close to God". Taylor was a last-minute surprise. It is her uncle Kevin's middle name.

As you know, I have stressed and wrestled with a name for myself. I'm not in favor of the name change. I just want to be me. ME. So, I'm just going to be M.E. (Pronounce the initials, like "Emmy"). I think it suits me.

Midwives are getting ready to leave, Mayah and her parents are bonding, and being a doula for my daughter was 100x more difficult than I anticipated. Parents are not wired to watch their children in pain, as some of my dearest friends know all too well.

It has been a very memorable LABOR Day.

The best part is . . . Kevin was WRONG, and I was (what?) RIGHT!

Well, okay, maybe that was the second best part.

September 05, 2010

does she KNOW what tomorrow IS?

Why is it when we name a couple together, we usually say his name first then hers ? Paul and Nancy, Philip and Sara, Glen and Vicki . . . BUT when we name them as parents or grandparents, HER name always comes first? Mom and Dad, Nana and Papa, Aunt and Uncle, Grandma and Grandpa? This perplexes me.

Nathan & Kacey's puppies lay in the floor and lick each other's tongues. For a long time. Not gonna lie, kinda grosses me out. It's like a doggie make-out session.

The last time my son came up here to Indy to visit, he talked about how many burgundy vans he saw. We have church friends who drive a full-size burgundy van, and one of them is from Indianapolis. Kevin thought somehow there must be a connection. I laughed at him. I shouldn't have laughed. In the 9 days I have been here, I have seen about 75 full-size burgundy vans. Not mini-vans. Not white vans. Full-size burgundy vans. It's like the birthplace of "If this van's a rockin', don't come a knockin'." Makes me laugh. Then again, I'm easily entertained.

Nathan did a fantasy football draft with the guys tonight, so while he is debating between the "Underhanded Assassins" and the "Baby Daddies" for his fantasy team name, Kacey and I went to dinner, bought some doggie treats (not in the same location), made a pre-breakfast stop for Cinnamon Crunch bagels (THIS WILL BE MY FIRST ONE SINCE I GOT HERE, DON'T JUDGE ME!!!), then went by a friend's house to water plants and feed her cat. Her power was out, so we did this chore in the dark. When we got back, the power was out here too. Apparently 23,000 homes on the west side of Indy are without power. Plus, my phone is dead. Kacey and I lit a couple of candles and discussed giving birth in the dark. Turns out, power or no, with a home birth nothing really changes . . . well, except that the view of the Holy of Holies will be more obscure. (When Kacey reads this later, she will roll her eyes and give me a, "Thanks for THAT, Mom!" So, daughter-face, there is no need to say it now. Though, if you DON'T say it, it won't be true, so go ahead and say it. You know you want to.)

Now, I came prepared to stay here until the baby is born or until New Year's (whichever comes first), but it's already been 9 days plus the week I plan to stay following the birth, and she's not even here yet. So, if somebody will kindly notify my granddaughter that tomorrow is LABOR DAY, her mother and I will be happy campers.

But until then, the countdown continues . . .

September 04, 2010

move over, Alexander

I went to sleep at 3 a.m. and woke up at 7 a.m. and when I got out of bed this morning, I tripped over my laptop cord, and by mistake, I dropped my cell phone in the sink, and I could tell it was going to be a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

At breakfast, nobody else was out of bed, so I ate a frosted blueberry muffin pop-tart all by myself. And, I'm not in my own house, so I have to wear my pajamas, and I HATE my pajamas, and the dogs keep licking my toes.

I think I'll move to Australia.

At noon, Kacey and I took the car with no air-conditioning across town to the zoo. When we got there, the zoo was full, and they had closed the entrance gate, so not only was I glistening, I also didn't get to see the dolphins.

At Target, they were out of my St. Ives apricot scrub, and we tried to get command strips, but for the longest time, all we could find were sticky strips. I don't want plain 'ol sticky strips. They can put them on sale, but they can't make me buy them.

I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I could tell because nobody texted me, and nobody sent me an inbox, and nobody commented on my blog. I don't even know where my boy is today. I hope he's not in Australia.

There was a piece of Chocolate Cheesecake leftover in the fridge last night. It wasn't there this morning.

Kacey won at Slug Bug 12 to 1. I said the sun was in my eyes. I said the sun in my eyes was making me sneeze. I said, "If you slug me one more time, I'm going to punch you dead in the face!" She just laughed at me.

I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

My debit card expired. I spilled queso on my shirt. I found a new patch of gray hairs, and I had to ride the "down" escalator and I HATE riding the "down" escalator.

Nathan and Kacey left me all alone for the night, and I was going to relax for awhile in the giant bathtub. But the bath wasn't hot, I got soap in my eyes, and I cut myself shaving.

My computer froze up. I couldn't check email, the hairdryer overheated and I broke my favorite fingernail.

It WAS a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day.

The dogs kept treating me like the Indy 500 finish line, I couldn't find Rocco's collar to let him outside, and he peed in the floor.

The tv wouldn't turn on because there are 3 separate remotes and even with my glasses on, I couldn't read the tiny letters, so I stared at a 46" black screen and felt sorry for myself.

The baby doesn't seem to want to come out, not even to see her M.E. ("Emmy"), so the countdown continues . . .

It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Some days are like that . . . even in Australia.

September 03, 2010

someday I'm going home . . . but not yet

Got a haircut. Fixed beef stroganoff. Worked. Some. Not enough. Folded towels. Nathan worked tonight, so Kacey and I shared a piece of chocolate cake cheesecake and went to see a great little Independent movie called "Flipped". Came back to the house and played Scene It. Back at the homeplace, the boy went to hang with his grandparents, and the Cowboy is bringing back two (2) quarterhorses, because, you know, we don't have three.

Not really in a blogging mood, so I'm going to pray and go to bed. Goodnight.

The countdown continues . . .

September 02, 2010

SuperGator and last year's cow

I could get used to the schedule I'm keeping here. Staying up late, working from bed in the mornings, chatting and texting, then heading out in the afternoon to do fun things, all while waiting for the baby to decide she's ready to make her entrance. Or, exit. Whatever.

The original plan was to go to the zoo this morning, but it was still nearly 90 today, and tomorrow it's supposed to cool down considerably, so we just decided to do nothing . . . until I looked at my "Indy To Do" list and realized that tonight was Family Free Night at the Children's Museum. SOOOO off we went!

Seriously, isn't she the cutest pregnant girl?
My son-in-law is goofy, and a LOT of fun!

This is the blown-glass ceiling in the lower level.

Nathan & Kacey crocodile rocking.
Yep. That says B. B. King. Lucille is pretty.
I drew this to show you there is a big difference between CREATIVE and ARTISTIC. I am creative. Sometimes.

We had a wee bit o' trouble getting the camera to behave in the
Jurassic thunderstorm, but you get the idea.

And I have to admit, I was a bit starstruck to see the star of my favorite Saturday morning SyFy movie, SuperGator.
We had a GREAT time. Even more so, since it cost us NOTHING, as opposed to the $45 it would have cost us on any other day. Yea! After we finished the museum, we took in a planetarium show, then grabbed JalApeno Burgers and seasoned Fries. Amazing.

Meanwhile, back at the homeplace, my son got a "tardy" for being late to class because a teacher stopped him in the hallway to talk, made him miss the bell, then wrote him up. HAHAHA.

The cowboy has gone to Missouri. As you may recall, he went last year to get a quarterhorse because, you know, we didn't have one, and while he was gone the cow got out. Well, he has gone back to get ANOTHER quarterhorse, because, you know, we don't have two. Hope the cow stays put.

Hope your day was as wonderful as mine.