Friday, May 30, 2008

My Favourite Jeans

I'm going to celebrate in this post. And be happy for myself, just a little bit. This picture shows me how far I have come. It was taken the day I checked into the hospital to be induced. I think I was weighing in at about 165 pounds at this point. If I was a boxer in the Summer Olympics, this would make me a Middleweight. This picture makes me cry, and not the elated, what-a-sweet-memory kind of cry. More like, dear-Lord-I-look-like-I-ingested-a-beach-ball kind of cry.

Fast forward to about three weeks later, I step on the scale and am elated to see that I've lost all the weight I gained save about 5 pounds. I run into my closet to get my favourite pair of jeans to do a litmus test. All the while I'm thinking to myself, "Wow, only 5 pounds to go, these jeans will look fabulous!"

Every women has a pair of these jeans. They are so comfortable, they fit you like a glove. Yet at the same time are cute and sassy and make you feel all sorts of cool while you're wearing them. Mine are a pair I bought at Kohl's in their junior department. From their clearance rack. They cost $8.00 and I love them.

So as I pull them on, dreaming of days gone by, the happy music in my head comes to a screeching halt when the jeans get stuck around my thighs. I pull and tug, but to no avail. So I take them off, delicately fold them up, and whisper a promise to my best, most favourite jeans. "I will wear you one day."

Over the last seven months, I have returned to my favourite jeans time after time. Although the last few visits have been out of duty and not because I have any hopes of them fitting. The last time I tried them on, my rather generous bum impeded me from pulling them all they way up.

I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that they were never going to fit. Pregnancy had warped my body in such a way that about 75% of my wardrobe was useless to me. Today I decided to give one last shot. Go all in, to use a poker reference. If I tried them on this time and they didn't fit, I would add them to the donation box.

I took them off the shelf. Left leg first, then right leg... cringing as I pulled them up. Whispering a silent prayer as we inched closer to the hazard of my bum. Amazement as they cruised up and over to my waist. One last obstacle. I sucked in and buttoned up.

They fit! They fit! The jeans fit! Ladies and gentleman, this truly is a wonderful day!

Okay, maybe I'm being a bit overly dramatic. But as any former preggo can attest, getting your body back is a bit of a victory. With pregnancy, birth, and nursing, we put our bodies through so much that it's nice to get back to the familiar.

So I will savour this victory. Probably by getting a nice, big piece of dessert with my dinner tonight.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Now THAT'S Love

I just got a call from Fred who is in Austin. He gave up his first class seat, just so he can come home on an earlier flight. There were no first class seats available on the earlier flight, so that means he will have to fraternize with the common folk in economy...

The things we do for love!

Maybe She'll be a Doctor

I had to go see my doctor today because I've been having a lot of sleeping problems lately (mainly, I can't). Normally I would not take Elise with me to a place where "sickies" run amok, but since Fred had to go to Austin at the last minute for work, I took her with me. I was a little bit nervous. People aren't used to children being loud at the Big People's Doctor. It's not like at the pediatrician where you expect to hear children screaming. I was hoping she would do okay.

Turns out I didn't need to be worried at all. She did great, even entertaining patients in the waiting room by waving and smiling at them. And when it came time to have my blood drawn, she just sat there and watched the whole thing. I'm really hoping that this means medical school is in her future.

And that she's smart or athletic enough to get a full scholarship.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Daily Picture Reject #2

Everybody was Kung Fu fighting...

When Good Babies Go Bad

The book Babywise is very polarizing. I'm not sure why this is, because to me, the premise is simple. Put your baby on a schedule, adhere to it, and for the most part all will be well. Fred and I read this book when Elise was 2 weeks old, mostly because we felt like we had entered one of Dante's circles of hell. There was lots of screaming, and it was very, very hot (it was September in Dallas, after all). Seriously, we were all frustrated and cranky because we tried to let Elise dictate the schedule, and it turns out that babies really aren't so good at this. So one Saturday after I had posted a sign on our front door that said "Abandon all hope ye who enter here", Fred decided to read Baby Wise. We had heard a lot about it, mostly as a form of child abuse. But those who had good things to say about it, swore by it. What did we have to lose, more sleep? I don't actually think it's possible to get negative hours of sleep.

I know what you are saying. "But Joanne, not all babies are the same!" This is true. But I also know that Elise is proof that it works. I've had many friends (interestingly enough, most of them don't have kids), tell me that you can't live your life around your child's schedule. And I think to some extent this can be true, but I still think it's important to do what's best for your baby. When I became a Mom, I gave up the life of doing what I want, when I want to. I can't be selfish anymore and tell my child, "You'll sleep when it works best for me."

Here's an analogy (My husband says I'm terrible at these, but hear me out). You're snoozing away, all nice and comfy in your bed, when your husband wakes you up because he wants to go hang out with friends at 3 a.m. Or he makes you stay up until 1 a.m. so you can watch the Rangers game that went into extra innings. Wouldn't you be a tad bit crabby? I've read that babies should get 14-16 hours a sleep per day (compared to our 8). If you were only getting 4 hours a night because you either were being woken up early or going to bed late (or not getting to sleep at all), you too would be a bit hard to deal with. When I am out with Elise, I cannot tell you the number of times people have asked me if she is always so good. She is. Seriously, she is just so happy to hang and do whatever you're doing. The exception always comes when she hasn't napped well.

I'm not trying to start a debate on what kind of parenting works best. And I'm not saying I have all the answers. I just know what worked for me and kept me sane during the 6 weeks before she started sleeping though the night.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I have a question. What is proper bletiquette (blog etiquette) for responding to people's comments on your blog?

Do you reply via email?

Do you reply to their comment with a comment on your own blog?

Or do you reply with a comment on their blog?

I'm just wondering, I don't want to commit bad bletiquette.
And did you know that "bletiquette" is actually a word that has been used before? Man... I thought I had just made up a brand new word.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Like My Blog? T'was My Hog

Just wanted to say a BIG thank you to cutestblogontheblock for the nice, new, and most importantly FREE template for my blog.

And to my sweet husband who did all the customizing for me. Because I'm just too lazy to do it myself.

And if you don't get the title of this post, then you're not a true Simpsons fan.

Daily Picture Reject #1

Fred and I take a daily picture of Elise. Rather, I do. This is not because we are prepping our daughter for a life as a super model. It is simply a way to hold onto memories as time slips by at ultra-sonic speed. It's also pretty cool to see how much she has changed in 260 days. After I take the picture, I email it to Fred, who then posts it on his website.

It usually takes about 10 to 15 shots to get just the right picture. I am not what you would call a stellar photographer, so about 25% of those are completely unusable. Then there are always one or two that crack me up, but aren't suitable for the daily picture. The picture above was one of those.


Random Gripe

I love mangos. I haven't tried every exotic fruit out there, but I'm quite sure that nothing beats a mango. So why does it have to be so hard to get to all that yummy goodness inside? And isn't it just a big old crap sandwich when you go through so much hard work to skin and cut up the mango, just to find out it's sour or mealy?

On a completely unrelated note, did you know that the plural of mango can be written mangos or mangoes?

I prefer the former.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Elise Rian

You are the sweetest angel,
You are the highest flyer
I know it's true
There'll never be another quite as beautiful
Quite like you
-Dance to the Storm
Hothouse Flowers

Let's focus

I think focus groups are awesome. Not that I've ever been in one. It's the IDEA of focus groups that make me happy. You want to pay me for my opinion and feed me salty snacks at the same time? Bring it on! I have opinions... lots of 'em. I don't like your new haircut! Hockey is the best sport ever! It's too hot today! Now give me my $50 and pretzels.

Which leads me to my question. Do they focus group TV shows? Because I could have told you without even SEEING the show Cavemen that it was going to suck. Really ABC? You want to do a 30 minute sitcom based off a car insurance commercial? And you were surprised when it tanked? I will admit, the commercials were funny. But some things are better in 15 and 30 second doses. Like listening to Michael Bolton (actually, some things are better to have never existed at all).
And if they did have a focus group for that show... well then, those people LIED to the producers. And we all know that lying is wrong. Salty snacks notwithstanding.

Just a random thought that I decided to chase down with a butterfly net and post here.
Because I can.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

Seeing how it's only May and it's already almost 100 degrees here in Texas, yesterday I decided to go out and buy Elise an inflatible pool. My logic was flawless, she loves her bath, so she will also love playing in the pool. Not so much.

It could have been the fact that the pool was a ginormous inflatable frog, complete with crazy, scary eyes. And your child sits in the mouth of said frog. I can see how it could be a little overwhelming for her.

So we took baby steps. The first thing we did was just hang out in front of the frog. She didn't even want to look at that thing. Everytime I turned her toward it, she would whimper and cling to me like Fred does to his Treo. After that, we would go look at it every hour or so... hoping it would get less scary the more she saw it (which didn't work for me with the childbirth vidoes... weird).

This morning I went and sat in it (sans water). She sat it my lap and seemed okay with it. So a few hours later, I sat her down in it (again, sans water), and she discovered that the giant frog was not going to eat her. So I filled it up, stripped her down, and sat her in the mouth of the frog.

Do you think she likes it?

I think so!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Before I was a Mom

Not sure who wrote this, but nothing I could say will capture how I feel about being Elise's Mom more eloquantly.

Before I was a Mom

Before I was a Mom, I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby. I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous. I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom, I had never been puked on. Pooped on. Chewed on. Peed on. I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts. I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom, I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests. Or give shots. I never looked into teary eyes and cried. I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom, I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put her down. I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt. I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much. I never knew that I could love someone so much. I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom, I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body. I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child. I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom, I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.

I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom.

8 Years... who would have thunk it?

It took me about 5 minutes to walk down the aisle at my wedding. No, I didn't panic with a case of cold feet. Nor did I trip and fall flat on my face (the more likely of the two scenarios). Fred and I got married on the beach in Carmel, CA, and the aisle was seriously that long. It was a beautiful, temperate day on the California coast, and I had a lot to contemplate as I tromped towards the beach in my two inch heels. Did I look every bit the part of a blushing bride? Do I have enough SPF's to get me through the ceremony? Can they see my underwear through this dress? Hey, look... bugs having sex!

Sometimes I can be as deep as a puddle.

You'll notice nowhere in there were there thoughts about the huge journey I was about to embark on. I think I was a pretty naive 23 year old who looked at marriage as something you did. Did you love the guy? Sure! So why not get married. There were no thoughts of, "what kind of father will he be? What do I want out of marriage? What is my role as a wife?" Amazingly enough, I gave no thoughts about any expectations I had about married life.

Eight years later, what could have been a disastrous decision, turned out to be one of the best things I've ever done. I believe that there isn't anyone out there better suited for me, and I cannot imagine a better, more fun man to travel life's roads with.

He loves me despite my many quirks. Even better, he embraces them and doesn't try to change me. He is one of the hardest workers I've ever met, and has never complained once over the last 8 years that our family relies on him, and him only as our income source. Although our senses of humour are very different, he still cracks me up on a daily basis.

If you are lucky enough to call him your friend, you know how he goes the extra mile for the people he loves. If you asked for the shirt off of his back, he would give it to you. And his pants. And, if it wasn't so gross, probably his underwear too.

He doesn't get my love for Lost, but will watch it with me... mainly because it's in HD. He will sometimes show up at lunchtime during a weekday and bring me Chick-fil-a. On Sunday, he mopped the floors for me. I know he loves me and will do almost anything to make me happy. We're talking about a guy who has flown to 4 different states to see my favourite band 7 different times. Love? I think so!

Above all else, he is a wonderful, Godly man. He knows he isn't perfect, but tries his best to live his life according to God's word. He is an amazing example to our little girl of what a husband should be.

Over the past twelve years (4 years dating, eight married), we have gone hot air ballooning, driven through Europe, rafted 10 rivers, bought a house, hiked in Hawaii, been extras on an X-Files episode, racked up over $75,000 worth of debt, paid off over $75,000 worth of debt, skied Jackson Hole, jumped off a 30 foot cliff and made a beautiful daughter together.

I am so thankful for our marriage. I feel blessed beyond all measure to call Fred Cunha my best friend, father of our daughter and best of all... my husband.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Best... book... EVER!

"Dude, these triangles... they totally crack me up! And the one girl is EATING a triangle. Who writes this stuff? Oh man, I think I just peed my pants."

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pretty Pink Balloons & Things that make me Scream

Today Elise and I went to the Main Street Days Festival in Grapevine. It's free on Friday before 5:00, and that is enough of a reason for me to throw Elise into her car seat, load up the Excursion of a stroller and head on over to look for free parking. With the time constraints, we couldn't stay long, but we were able to take in the petting zoo, some clowns, and some nice lady gave Elise the pink balloon you see pictured here. Elise was quite taken with the balloon and started to whimper as I tried to take it from her hands so I could tie it to the stroller. That really should have been the first sign of impending doom.

When it came time to leave, she again hyperventilated when I took the ribbon from her hands so I could buckle her into her seat, but was appeased when I gave it back to her to enjoy during the ride home.

When we got home, it was quite evident that the baby girl was tired and it was time for her nap, so as I layed her down to change her diaper, I gently took the balloon away. Well, you would have thought I had started poking her with red hot needles according to her reaction. Not one to try and reason with an 8 month old, I took the balloon out of her room, put her in her crib, gave her a kiss and walked out. One hour and 15 minutes later, she finally stopped screaming and crashed into sleep. And yes, I did go in a few times to make sure she wasn't spontaneously combusting or something. I might take balloons away from small children, but I'm not a monster.

Sometimes when something I really want is taken away from me, I tend to react like Elise did when I took away her balloon. Granted, it might not be as visceral a reaction as hers was. More like the adult version of a temper tantrum. It usually involves some wailing and gnashing of teeth. But what I don't realize is that sometimes it's good to have things taken away. In Elise's case, the balloon would have distracted her from her nap, and it would have been dangerous for me to leave it in there. What if she had gotten hold of the ribbon and wrapped it around her neck? Or the balloon popped and she choked on the remnants. Or it turned into a balloon monster and ate her (okay, you get the idea).

I wonder how many times have I thrown myself on the ground in front of God, kicking and screaming because I deemed something unfair, only to find out in the long run that He was in fact looking out for me.

I'll take that over a pink balloon every time.

Sleepy Time

I think baby naps are like endorphins to a Mommy's brain. The longer Elise sleeps, the happier I feel. It's not because I don't want to spend time with her... it's just, well... I need a break, is all.

She has never really been a terrific napper, but from time to time she will pull a three hour nap out of her butt and I will practically swoon from the sheer joy of it. Although to be quite honest, after hour two I start wandering around the house looking for the dog so I can burp her or something.

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one. ~Leo J. Burke

Friday, May 9, 2008

Welcome, please take off your shoes

To blog or not to blog, that has been the question for the last few months. Not that I have anything overly interesting to write about. I'm not even sure I'm going to tell anyone about said blog. I just have a lot of words roaming about my brain and I think to purge them would feel good. Maybe it will help get rid of the "mommy fog" I've had for the last 8 months.

So this is blogging... feels kinda weird. Sort of like the first time I put on make-up. It looked strange, and I'm not sure I did it quite right. Plus there's an echo in here right now. Hopefully that will go away soon. I think this post is long enough, so I will end it how I used to end all of my journal entries. With a quote (sometimes by someone famous, sometimes by lil ol' me) that captures my mood at the time.

Until the next time,
"Be not simply good, be good for something"
- Henry David Thoreau