Great! Full!

50 Days of Gratitude

Days 31-40

Phew!  I’m getting there.  I’m trying to avoid repetition, but have been tempted to recycle some items.  For instance, I would like to find 8 ways to be thankful for coffee. Lattes, coffee, iced coffee, cafe con leche, Dunkin Donuts, Irish coffee.  That’s seven.  What am I up to now? 180-something list items?  You try to make a gratitude list that long and not put coffee on it at least twice.

140. Plum’s cutest little woodchuck teeth

141. A good steak

142. A husband who loves yard work

143. Warm, clean laundry – When I was small… wait, I was never small… when I was young, I used to lie on the couch and have my father put all of the fresh-and-hot-from-the-dryer laundry right on top of me.  Weird, but comforting, too.  

144. Elections

145. Dishwashers

146. Sticky buns

147. Jeans – I mistyped this so for a second I wondered which “Jean” I was thankful for.  There is a woman named Jean in my office, and I suppose I am thankful for her, but I didn’t remember putting her on my list. If I can’t wear yoga pants every day, I would like to wear jeans (not Jean).  A girl can dream, and I dream of jeannies.  (Ouch, that was terrible.)

148. The smell of wood smoke – It means November is here, the days are short, the leaves are down, the wood is stacked and the slippers are on.

149. Meatloaf – With a ketchup and brown sugar glaze, and mashed potatoes on the side.  Mmmmm.  You took the words right out of my mouth! (Okay, someone stop me, this is getting ridiculous!)

150. Alpacas

151. Ohio – Blue state in 2012.  I am thankful for that. 

152. Microwaves

153. Kind words

154. Anniversaries – Happy #4 to me and my first husband.*

Photo by Hinkley Photo

155. Q-tips

156. Coffee milk – I think this is a New England thing.  Coffee syrup + milk = delicious.  Add a salami sandwich (#177) on white bread with mustard and you have a delicious and nutritionally lacking lunch of champions. 

157. Thoughtfulness

158. Dinner dates

159. Boots – When you are 2.5 and you have big feet, your boots go up to your knees. But you don’t care much and insist on wearing them everywhere.  Even with shorts. 

160. Parenthood – I may spend a lot of time whining that it is hard, but it is also so very very good.

161. Those jelly candy fruit slice things

162. Working garbage disposals – I am mostly thankful for these because currently we do not have one.

163. In-laws – No really, I’m not joking.  Mine are great.

164. Butter – REAL butter. What is up with people eating all sorts of food that isn’t actually food? I had breakfast at a friend’s house a few weeks ago and we had coffee and breakfast sandwiches. Seems simple enough, right?  But no. Bacon? Not real bacon. Cheese? Not real cheese, soy cheese. Butter? Not real butter – some sort of butter-ish spread. Cream for the coffee? Not real cream, flavored Coffeemate. I am no health nut, and my diet is passable at best, but I do have one thing going for me. I try very hard to make sure the food I eat is ACTUAL FOOD.  Bring on the butter. (And please disregard all of the items on this list made with high fructose corn syrup.) 

165. Grandparents

166. Hopefulness

167. Facetime

168. Gifts

169. Lobster – See also #164.

170. Modern medicine – My dear Plum, we are working hard to get those ears fixed, my dear.  Here’s hoping the 5th time is the charm. 

171. Peacocks

172. This day

173. My own special blend of slightly jaded optimism – Sarky Tartlet, Jaded Pollyanna, I’ve been called both.  And while I’m content to whinge and whine about the current state of affairs, deep down I still, and will always believe in people, in community, in love and in kindness.  I may not say that out loud – cynicism is easier – but it’s true. 

174. The swirl of sweet Plum’s hair – She used to have a perfect swirl of a belly button – alas, no longer. But it appears the swirl has migrated to her head. Her hair falls naturally into a perfect little vortex on the top of her little strawberry-blonde head.  

175. Roast chicken

176. A purring cat – The other night, Mr. Pickle discovered that cats purr. He was confused and then amazed. It took him 2.5 years to discover this, because he finally figured out the best way to pet our sweet Lula cat is from head-to-tail, and not vice versa.  Pickle thinks purring is a fabulous cat trick.  I suspect his amazement will subside in a few weeks when he gets his big boy bed and the purring cat tries to sleep on his head.

177. Salami

178. Many happy memories

179. Curiosity

180. Spellcheck

181. Plumbers – See #162.

182. Music

183. Live theater – I miss it.  Seeing it. Doing it. All of it. 

184. Wild salmon

185. Calm evenings

186. Wednesdays

187. Shoes that are comfortable AND cute – Right now I am crushing on Cole Haan flats and wedges with Nike Air technology.  Perhaps Santa will bring these?  I’ve always wanted my own pair of blue suede shoes! 

Cole Haan Milly Wedge in Cobalt


* He is my only husband, but that joke never gets old.

Exile in Momville

“Just go.  Go home and sleep,” my well-intentioned husband told me.  He and the in-laws would watch the kids.  I could get a very-much-needed 40 winks.  Or even 60 winks.  Or check my e-mail.  Or eat something.  Or just be.

I drove away crying.

Mommyhood is hard.  And – something friends and baby books don’t tell you – it can be isolating too.  I went from socializing, working full-time, living an engaged life on a Tuesday, to sitting up at night, under newborn house arrest on a Thursday.

New moms spend a lot of time alone with a teeny, needy new human being.  They spend lonely nights, creeping around the house, sitting, nursing, trying to soothe a little one, and make sure the rest of the household can stay sleeping.  People don’t want to call in fear of waking the baby.  People don’t want to stop by, for fear of imposing, or butting in on the special new baby/mama time. People are, like my husband, well-intentioned.  They are trying to make a new mom’s life easier.

But this new mom’s life didn’t feel easier.  It felt harder.  It felt entirely disconnected.  The sleeplessness added to the isolation made me feel like I was living in some strange sort of twilight zone.

I didn’t want to leave my kids at my in-laws house to go sit by myself or take a nap.  I knew the day would come when I did want those things, but in the week after Plum Bee’s birth, I wanted to be with other people.  Sure, I’d love it if someone else was doing the baby-holding, baby-feeding, toddler-chasing, etc.  But I wanted to be in the company of others, the company of adults.  I wanted to have a two-way conversation.  40 winks ranked a distant second in my needs.

So I turned the car around, and went back to the in-laws.  I let them do the wrangling/rocking and I sat, sipped an iced tea, and enjoyed their company.  It was much more restorative than 40 minutes of sleep.  I felt calmer, more supported, and more connected.  And when mama’s happy… well, you know the story…


Hubby and I agree that this little Plum Baby is likely a boy.  Of course, we’re just guessing.  But I feel so similar to last time around it is hard for me to think this is anything but another baby boy.  However, last time around we only had a boy name picked out.  This time, we’ve only got a girl name picked out, so…

Stephanie over at The Life of a Husband and Wife did a stellar job of compiling a list of BOY v. GIRL Old Wives’ Tales to help her readers guess which she is having (I think she’s having a boy).  So I’m going to pick a few of those tales, list them here, and let you guess whether I’m having a boy or a girl…

1. Heartbeat – 140+ is a girl, under 140 is a boy. Plum Baby has been comfortably in the 140-150 range.  Of course, so was Plum’s brother. But the heartbeat tale would indicate a girl.

2. Mayan Legend – If the mother’s age at conception and the year of conception are both odd or both even, then it is a girl.  If one is even and the other is odd, it is a boy.  2011 and 33, so the Mayans would have guessed girl for me.  Of course, they’ve also predicted the world will end this year…

3. Pimples – Break outs mean girl, clear skin means boy.  I’ve had exactly 1 pimple.  Otherwise my skin has really been good.  Boy!

4. Morning Sickness – Bad morning sickness means girl, and nausea-free livin’ means boy.  I did a lot of gagging, but I never felt ill.  So lucky!  Boy!

5. Math – Age of at conception + my birth month + month of conception. If the total is odd, it’s a boy.  If the total is even, it is a girl. (Honestly, who comes up with this stuff???) My formula is 33+12+6 = 51, which means boy.

6. Sleep Position – If you prefer sleeping on your left side, it’s a boy. Right side means it is a girl. I’m preferring my right actually. I’ve never preferred that side before!  Girl?

7. Soft or Dry Hands – If your hands are dry, you are having a boy; if they’re soft, expect a girl. It IS winter in New England, so I’m not sure how accurate this one is, but if you read one of my old posts where I was complaining about dry hands, we’re looking at a boy.

8. Food Cravings – Citrus cravings can mean girl.  Considering the amount of Newman’s Own Limeade I’ve sucked down in the last 7 months I have to be carrying a girl.  However, this craving could be less about citrus and more about my insatiable need for cold beverages.

9. Face Weight Gain – If your face gets fuller, it means you’re having a girl. My face is actually thinner.  In fact, my kind, and oh-so-tactful mother said, “You look great when you’re pregnant – you look all bloated usually.”  Gee, thanks, Mom.

10. Baby Weight – If you’re carrying baby in front, its a boy. Is the baby weight spaced all around your middle, it is a girl.  Definitely boy here.

11. Hairy Legs – If the hair on your legs is growing faster than before you were pregnant, it’s a boy. If it isn’t growing quicker, it’s a girl. Definitely girl.

12. Chest Development – Bigger boobs?  Girl.  If not, boy.  I haven’t seen any major growth, so boy.

Grand tally?

BOY: 7


What do you think?