a fresh start

April 5, 2009

I have decided to start a new blog. The old one has been dormant for so long that I feel like I have to start fresh if I am ever going to make a commitment to becoming a regular blogger. I started the other blog at the beginning of 2008, before I was a mom – before becoming a mother was even on my radar. At the time, I did not know what I wanted to the blog to be about. I started off thinking I would use the blog as a way to record the progress of my goals for 2008. When I found out I was pregnant in January, the possibilities for what the year would bring changed dramatically. All of a sudden, I had a whole new set of hopes, priorities, and, let’s face it, worries. Initially, I tried to stick with the blog as it was, but my focus had shifted and the things I wanted to talk about didn’t seem to fit with the original purpose of the blog. Eventually, in all of the hurly burly of pregnancy and motherhood, I stopped writing. At that point, catching up with the blog became one more thing on my to do list – one more thing I could not find the time or the motivation to tackle. My life is dramatically different from what it was a year ago. We have a son. We live in a new state. Dan has a new job. I am a stay at home mom trying to finish a never-ending dissertation. Many of the goals I set in January 2008 were put on hold or had to be reconsidered because of the pregnancy, financial concerns, and the move. Let’s review:

Academic Goals:
2008 – finish dissertation, attend to conferences, send out article for publications, go on job market. For reasons mostly associated with the timing and complications of my pregnancy, none of these things happened.
2009 – finish dissertation, go on job market.

Legal/Financial Goals:
2008 – Legally change name, get immigration papers in order, reduce consumption, pay off credit cards. I never got around to changing my name. We had to put immigration on hold because of financial loopholes. we succeeded in reducing our consumption. Carter’s arrival obviously required some new purchases but we are doing a great job keeping it to a minimum without depriving him. WE managed to pay off the credit cards and then ring them back up again because of the move.
2009 – Change name, immigration papers, pay off credit cards (again). Immigration paperwork is going out next week. We are making good progress towards paying off our credit cards. They are about 1/4 paid off.

Household Goals:
2008 – simplify and organize, green living. We have made good moves here but we can do better to practice the Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Repair, Return, Recycle. This has become less of a goal and more of a way of life for us. We make changes where we can and based on what we can afford (turns out green living can be pretty expensive).
2009: establish routines, decorate new apartment starting with Carter’s room.

Creative Goals
2008 – use up the craft stash, complete one craft project per month, create a life scrapbook , keep a one sentence journal, blog. Nope, nope, nope, nope. Lack of time and the need to focus on more pressing issues seriously hampered my ability to accomplish these goals. I did complete some craft projects, but not 12. My craft stash has grown (a little). the life scrapbook is a giant project. I managed to pair down and contain the mementos, but they remain in boxes. I started a one sentence journal but misplaced it and then forgot about it. I recently found it and have started it again this year. The blog – see above.
2009 – finish craft WIPs, blog.

So what’s the new blog about?  I have decided to keep it pretty simple.  I am not going to restrict myself to a particular topic or category of my life.  Rather, I plan on documenting my days and featuring pictures and projects that amuse or inspire me in some way. Basically, I am keeping it loose.  I want to start appreciating what I have and taking a closer look at the world around  me.  The time with Carter is passing so quickly I want to try and capture it before it is gone.  I also want to record the changes in myself as I grow into motherhood, begin my career, and continue to build a life with Dan.  

I am also thinking about experimenting with the style of writing on the blog.  I found that I put a lot of pressure on myself with this blog.  Updating became a chore and a task.  I was terrified that people would read it and pick apart the writing or comment on the depth of my insights etc.  I am an academic so I put a lot of stock in these things as well.  Still, I have no desire to drag my academic hang-ups into this forum.  I never wanted it to be that way.  I think a less formal style, like the martha ballardesque diary I keep, is more suitable for what I am trying to do.  Who knows, maybe I’ll hate that and just go back to writing.   I really would like to be less long-winded.  Ultimately, I guess I just thought that many of these posts have been boring.  Too long and too detailed (except for the baby posts:)   So the motto for the new blog is:  simplicity.  If you are interested, you can find me here

i’m back

February 15, 2009

Wow, it has been a loong time since i posted last. It was never my intention to give up the blog but the last 8 months (has it really been that long) have been super crazy.  Here’s what we’ve been up to:

moved to a new (and cheaper) apartment in lansing

found out madelyn was actually going to be a boy

taught an online history course

helped plan my baby shower with LG (so sweet of her)

went on home bed rest in July (one month)

cancelled baby shower because of bed rest : ( 

watched a lot of TLC and fretted about my stagnant dissertation

went on hospital bed rest in August (one month)

taught myself to knit socks

had a beautiful baby boy  – Carter James  6 lbs 7oz  Sept 9, 2009 – 3 weeks early, induction that ended in a semi-emergency c-section 

mom visited for two weeks to help out while i recovered

two weeks after carter was born I went back into the hospital for about a week with mastoiditis 

struggled with breastfeeding (kept going but I have to supplement)

canoodled Carter

read the twilight series

tried, unsuccessfully, to get some dissertation work done

spent a whole lot of money to fix our car 

went to Canada for a few days at Christmas

moved to Tennessee a few days after Christmas

went to Chicago  a few days after moving to Tennessee 

been working on my dissertation at a steady pace  – hoping to finish by May.

Well, there it is in a nutshell.  it has been really busy at the Dalrymple household and I have not had much time, and frankly little motivation, to blog.  But, I am back.  I will be updating sporadically until the dissertation is done.  After May I hope to do it more regularly.  When I am finished writing my dissertation I am going to be decorating Carter’s room (which is currently serving a dissertation central) like this:

Carter's Room Plans

 

catching up

June 21, 2008

Wow, it has been a month since my last update. I am a bad blogger. A lot has changed since I last updated. Where to begin?

Dan has accepted a tenure track job at a small college in western Tennessee. We will be moving there in January. He was supposed to start in the Fall but Dan asked if it would be possible to come in the Spring/Winter because of the baby. Surprisingly,they said yes to the plan. We are a bit disappointed that we are going to miss football season in our new town, but it was going to be a huge pain to try and switch doctors and insurance and move during my last trimester. The big compromise we are making is MONEY. I will not be employed in the Fall and Dan will be working 40 at a hourly job on campus. We thought he might have a shot at teaching a class, but it looks like that is not going to work out. So we will have to make due with his wage.

Due to this reduction in our income, we can no longer afford to stay at our current apartment, especially since the greedy money hogs who run the place want to charge us an extra $100 a month to switch to a month to month lease. The place isn’t even worth what we pay for it now. So for the last three weeks we have been looking for something more affordable. We are trying to stay upbeat despite the fact that our best and cheapest lead was a tiny house inhabited by a hoarder. I had heard of people like this but see it up close was frightening. Our second best lead is in process and we should know by Monday or Tuesday if we are getting the place. Downsizing to a one bedroom is going to be tight. It does help that we are pretty serious about clearing out some of the old stuff we no longer need or want before we move (especially after seeing the above mentioned house). Still, it seems like even our essentials take up quite a bit of space. I’m blocking it out right now and we will just deal with the storage nightmare later.

Surprisingly, the storage issues we are having are not being caused by the new addition to our family. With the exception of a crib and swing, baby Mady is not causing too many space issues for us. We decided early on to keep the baby accumulation to a minimum. Everyone always says, “baby’s come with so much stuff.” That is somewhat true but I am also inclined to think that parents buy way too much stuff for their babies. I did a lot of research and looked at lot of lists and advice on line that helped me to keep the baby wishlist to a minimum. Currently, we have all the essentials, including a nearly complete 0-3 mo. baby wardrobe and it all fits in a single (but admittedly large) tupperware bin.

We still have a few large items to get (stroller/carseat, highchair (booster), baby mobile) and we still need diapers and wipes, but overall we are good to go with ll of the little stuff. And we ended up saving quite a bit of money because of our pared down list. When I priced my original wishlist, which was based on the registry suggestions from Babies R US, the cost was approaching $2000; and that was without the cost of a crib!! My first thought was no f*ing way! My second thought was, “There has to be a way to cut this down.” So I called and consulted everyone I knew with babies and I combed the internet for advice and came up with a much smaller list. I have to admit that I did get a few very helpful donations of some very expensive items. Still, when I totalled up my second list it was less than $1000. This is still a lot of money and I it could probably be reduced by half again if I went to yard sales and consignment shops and hunted down some more donations. Unfortunately all of these things would take quite a bit of time, time that I do not really have at the moment. So, I opted for new.

My mom and sister came to visit last weekend and I picked up most of the necessities during that visit. When we got to Babies R US, I asked the clerks working a the regitry booth to print up my list. When the printer stopped after one page, they looked at me curiously and said, Do you need us to go over our booklet with you?” This can probably be translated as, “Maybe you need us to help you cram you registry full of useless items. Afterall, you don’t want people to think you don’t love your baby.” What got me was the look on their faces. It was mixture of pity and disappointment. As if the absence of every BRU approved baby “essential” meant that I was ill-prepared for motherhood. If ell for that trap with the wedding registry and I was not going to let it happen again. I politely refused both their first and second offer to help beef up my list and started down the aisles. I started off strong in the baby bottle aisle and did not really break until I got to the clothes. Oh those sweet baby clothes. There, among all of the onesies and sleepers, I must admit I lost my resolve. I had not planned to buy any baby clothes but I could not resist. Even when I realized two of the items were not on sale as I had thought, I still went ahead and got them because they were just too cute.

After our shopping spree we came back to the apartment to find that Dan had contacted his boss who brought over the crib he donated to us. I was so excited I squealed. I did not have a description of the crib so I had been dreading it would be some giant engraved monstrosity. But it was exactly what I wanted, a simple white crib. It will look great in the baby room when we set it up in Tennessee. Since we are moving to one bedroom, baby Mady will not have her own room or the firs few months, this is not really a big deal since we were planning on keeping her in our room for the first little bit anyway.

The fact that Mady will not have her own room when she is born has not deterred me from envisioning it and trying to pull together something cute that will last through the baby and toddler years. I posted my initial ideas here, but that was before I knew I was having a baby girl. After buying this artwork for the room, I started to pull together some inspiration pictures I found online. Nothing was really exciting me, until yesterday when I found the cutest little girls room on flickr. At least I think it was on flickr, I did a screenshot so fast and started working on the inspiration board so quickly that I lost track of where the original picture came from. But the end result looks something like this:

Others may disagree but to me this is perfect, colorful but calm and oh so ADORABLE. Of course the pic is missing a crib, a rocking chair and the actual furniture we own but I idea of this room is what I am excited about. We have some furniture that we are going to paint and I think the purple, yellow, blue combo is bright and cheery. The curtain on the bed is going to be reinterpreted as a dust ruffle for the crib and maybe some curtains. The throw pillow (or some DIY interpretation of it) will sit on the freshly painted rocking chair (being donated by my mom), the baby mobile is being ordered from Amazon, the artwork is already on site waiting to be hung, and the blankets and afghan in this picture are my DIY baby projects for the next few months. I am really excited about this baby room and I think it will be really fun to make the projects. My only regret is that I have to wait until I get to Tennessee to see how it all turns out. But I’m sure that move will come soon enough.

Yesterday was Memorial Day here in the United States and to celebrate I came up with the brilliant plan to rearrange/spring clean the apartment.  Of course I concocted this plan over breakfast and just sort of sprung it on Dan as he was enjoying his morning coffee.  As I predicted, he was incredibly reluctant.  He came up with about 20 reasons why it should not/could not go down on that day.  I trumped all of his attempts to dodge the activity with a single statement – “but I’m pregnant and I may not be able to do it later on.”  Yep, I shamelessly pulled the “I’m pregnant/we have to prepare for the baby” card, which I intend to use again in the future.  After a few more grumbles, complaints and sighs, he agreed to the plan. He pouted for another half  hour before eventually agreeing that it needed to be done.  Although he was not entirely pleased with the length of the list.  

The house needed a good cleaning.  As many of you know, we have 2 cats and they have been shedding like crazy.  The fur had found it’s way under many surfaces.  Even though we couldn’t really see it, I knew it was there so it had to go. Dan disagreed, arguing that what we can’t see, doesn’t need to be cleaned. This is a classic Danism that has never really changed my mind about a cleaning project.  He could’t use the same “logic” against the next reason I came up with.  One of our cats also has a nasty habit of puking all over the carpet, which has created several sick stains that need a serious cleaning  – like with a shampooer.  The shampooing will have to wait, but the fur has been eradicated (mostly).  

We also rearranged the apartment yesterday.  Actually, we put everything back to how we originally had it when we moved in four years ago (minus one couch that was ruined by Willow aka “the pisser”).  For about eight months now, ever since we had to say goodbye to our comfy couch, the apartment has been incomplete  disarray.  When the incident with Willow happened we didn’t have the heart (or the time) to rearrange the house properly so we just rigged everything the best we could.  The apartment had been rearranged at least three times prior to this. Prior to all the rearranging, I repainted the main living area and the kitchen of the apartment from blue and green to white and aqua.    

All of the painting and rearranging I did (and now feel the need to fix) was fueled by a serious need for change and a desire to escape a lot of the shit that was happening a few years back.  With the exception of getting married, 2005-2006 sucked. It sucked really hard.  A miscarriage, a mystery illness that set in motion a battery of weekly (sometimes twice weekly) tests, several serious family illnesses, two deaths, and the stress all of this put on my new marriage, sunk me into a pretty serious depression.  

I did not recognize how serious the problem was until I ended up in the emergency room with a panic attack and was later told by one of the doctors at the school clinic  that the symptoms of the my mystery illness were probably being caused by the stress of everything that was going on in my life.  She gave me a prescription for Prozac and told me to see a therapist.  Prozac — really?  I filled the prescription but after I read that one of the side effects could be thoughts of suicide, I decided not to take them.  I did not need to throw thoughts of suicide into the mix – that was the only scary thought I had managed to avoid in the preceding months.    But I did go see a therapist.  This therapist did an intake with me and listened to me go on about everything that was and had happened in my life.  After about an hour he told me he thought I could really benefit from therapy but unfortunately my student insurance would not cover it and I could not use the school services because I was not enrolled in a course – OUCH!!  Since I did not have $1000+ for a credit, and I was not too keen on hunting down another therapist, I just decided to suck it up and try to get over it myself.  

In retrospect, that was probably not the best idea.  Despite this rather poor decision, eventually, many months later, I managed to get over the worst of it.  In order to do this, I had to stop seeing all of the specialists I had been sent to in the previous months.  One after another they were coming up with nothing but still sending  me for more and more tests.  I  realized that going to all of these appointments was a major source of the anxiety  I was having.  After all, you can only be told you may have this, that and the other type of cancer so many times before it starts fucking with your head.  So I decided to stop going to the specialist appointments.  Within a a few months things started to get better.  I stopped crying all of the time and started to enjoy life again.  Funny how that can happen when you are not waiting to find out if you have a life altering/threatening illness.   I do have some lingering anxiety, but I have learned to manage it.  I still get freaked out about health issues (and probably always will) but I am no longer gripped with fear everyday.   

I say that I pulled myself out of it but I could not have done it without the patience and support of my family and friends  – especially Dan.  Dan was my rock and it is mostly because of him that I made it through all of that.  He put up with a lot our first year of marriage and on most days he did it without letting me know what a huge strain it was on him.  When I married him, I thought it was impossible to love him more than I did at that moment.  I know now that the love I felt for him before and on our wedding day was only a fraction of what was possible.  I still don’t think I have reached the depths.  As we wait for the arrival of our little girl, my love for him grows even more.  

Because of all of this I almost  feel bad about forcing Dan into an impromptu spring cleaning/house rearranging project – almost.  It is also because he is such a great husband that I let him off the hook a third of the way through the project to go and hang out with some old friends he had not seen in ages.  So in the end we did not finish the project.  Even though our apartment may be in a temporary state of chaos right now, my mind is calm and my heart is full.   

 

ps – this post really took a turn. I originally planned a punchy little post about the ongoing cleaning debate in our home.  Funny how things change.  

baby registry

May 24, 2008

Okay , so I realize that some of my friends and family are intimidated by the prospect of buying things online and would much rather purchase items in the stores.  Most of the items on the super duper baby checklist can be found at Babies R US or other retail stores.  On the other hand, some of you have no problem buying items online and would rather purchase items in this manner. 

Some of my friends and family have expressed concern about repeat gifts.  I have found a solution to the “how will we know if someone already bought you the item” problem that arises when you are working from the super duper baby checklist.  I created a multi-store registry (with pictures) on Wishpot.   If the link does not bring you to my lists, do a search under Jaime Dalrymple.  I have made two lists – Baby D Registry has the must have items and Baby D Wishlist, which is basically the “if money was no object” list – basically things I think are cute but a bit overpriced for our budget.   If you sign up (it only takes a few seconds) you can see what has been purchased or reserved by others.  This is great because you do not have to actually purchase the item online in order to check it off the list.  You just click a button and it will alert others that the item has already been purchased. In the case of the clothes, please feel free to check an item off if you bought something similar but not the exact brand specified on the list.  

I hope this helps!!

it’s a…

May 23, 2008

Guest post: Dan

Today we had another fabulous appointment with the doctor. Jaime had all of her vitals taken and measured and she was doing fine, which was a relief. Next, a medical student pretended to be a doctor and nodded blankly at all of our questions before bringing in the real doctor. She (the real doctor) assured us that everything that was happening was normal and that things were progressing well. The doctor said because everything measured up so well that we were free from appointments for another 4 weeks, which made us very happy.

As the appointment was reaching its conclusion, the doctor was telling us how the remainder of the pregnancy will go and I became irritated and asked when the next time we would see the baby would be. The doctor said that we should be able to see the baby through Jaime’s belly very soon. Unsatisfied with this, I blurted out “no, no when will we see the crotch!” Upon hearing this, the doctor remembered that we still did not know the sex of the baby and ran us down to the ultrasound room for an awesome free ultrasound which she refers to as “playing”.

It was immediately clear that the baby was once again being uncooperative. The doctor poked around with the wand for about 15 minutes before finally declaring that the fetus was a girl. Because the cord was over the crotch, however, this was only an 80% estimate. Despite this, we are taking this as hard and fast news that we have a girl! We have always been excited about the prospect of having a girl, so this was super news for us! We immediately went out and bought the baby one pink outfit prominently featuring strawberries. We are absolutely thrilled that we can stop calling the baby “it” and are very very excited.

I am ready for the baby to come out. This is such a long process and I want to meet the baby and tell her that she loves the Steelers, video games, and McDonald’s just like her dad. In the near future, we need to buy the baby clothes that (a) proclaim her love for the Steelers and (b) proclaim her love for her father.

In conclusion, this is the greatest baby ever. She is so surly and she hid from the doctor (gamely ducking behind the placenta) trying to find her heart rate for about 30 minutes. I am so happy about the baby and am very proud of Jaime for enduring the pain of being stuck with various medical instruments for over an hour. At the risk of sounding like one of those obnoxious people who is always ubiquitously affirming their love for their mate at the most inappropriate of times I must publish on this blog that Jaime is my favorite person and that I admire her strength every day.

The baby and I thank you (you in this case being Jaime and not the throngs of loyal readers) for everything and we love you! (the baby told me that last night)

omg

May 20, 2008

Dan and I went to see Baby Mama on Sunday.  I have been begging to go see it for weeks and he finally relented.  Frankly, I think he just ran out of excuses.  After the Prince Caspian disappointment on Friday I guess he figured it could not be worse.  Yep. that’s right, we hated Prince Caspian!  Baby Mama was a different story.  It wasn’t perfect but there was just enough humor, charm, and honesty to make it worth the ticket.  The movie manages to both mock the absurdities of conceiving, being pregnant, dealing with professionals, and finally childbirth, while still honoring the process as a whole.  Still, there was one or two scenes that caused me to cringe and whisper to Dan, “I don’t want to do this.”  One scene has stayed with me and I think will likely stay with me up until I give birth and beyond because it was both hilarious and horrifying.   SPOILER AHEAD  After Angie’s (Amy Poehler) water breaks she is rushed to the hospital and as they are wheeling her in she is screaming, flailing about, and demanding drugs.  Among all of the chaos in the scene one line stands out In desperation she exclaims: “It feels like I am shitting a knife!” OMG!!! After listening to countless women tell me stories and watching endless  episodes of  A Baby Story, I do not doubt this statement.  And let me tell you dear readers,  I will be taking the drugs!!!