Friday, April 27, 2012

MacArthur Park

One of the most embarassing (and hilarious) memories of my childhood took place in 7th grade during Spring Break.  My parents took my older brother and me on a special trip to England for the week, leaving the younger two at home with my grandmother.  I was outfitted with a brand new wardrobe for the occassion, which left me feeling incredibly grown-up.  We flew into Heathrow, rented a car, and drove through the English countryside taking tea at every opportunity.

But we were also in a rented car for most of a week.  My dad drove, with my mom sitting in front and my brother and I sharing the backseat.  It was a fantastic way to take in the breathtaking views of the country.  It was also a great way to experience English radio.  Which left much to be desired. 

One particular afternoon, my dad played around with the stations for a few minutes when suddenly the car was filled with... I guess it was music.  MacArthur Park.  With my parents belting out the song in their "best" operatic voices. 

Please keep in mind that I don't think I'd ever heard this song in my life, and here my two parents were singing as loudly and terribly as they could.  My brother and I started pounding on the windows of the car, in hopes that some passerby on the lonely British road would take pity and save us from our crazy parents.  Seemingly 2 hours later (maybe 7 minutes? It's a looooong song), MacArthur Park finally came to its dramatic finish, with my parents' operatic warbling at its loudest. 

I swore right then and there in that car that I would never be as weird or embarassing as my parents.  Ahem.

Last weekend, Laura left a donut-filled paper bag in the "trunk" of her Cozy Coupe at Grandma's the other day.  Laura remembered the donut a few hours later and wanted to eat it.  However, in the hours between forgetting and remembering the donut, there had been a torrential downpour.  The bag had disintegrated around the melted donut.  It was disgusting.  Laura was devastated.  I burst into song:

Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again!!! OH NO!!!!

Laura wasn't amused.  But I was!  Isn't it awesome, becoming the very parent you swore you'd never be?  I love it.

In Comparison

I had my first internal exam today.  Yay.  Just as horribly uncomfortable as I recalled from those with Laura.  But very unlike my pregnancy with Laura, I am already 1cm dilated at 36 weeks.  Not effaced or anything, but still.  The day before my water broke and I delivered Laura, I was 1/2cm dilated and 50% effaced.

However, the day my water broke and I delivered Laura was a full moon.  And you know what they say about a full moon.  (It's that women go into labor and delivery rooms are insanely busy).

So I looked up the dates for upcoming full moons:

May 6th and June 4th.

One of those dates is next week.  NEXT WEEK.  I think I'll spend a little time this weekend gathering a few hospital necessities.  I just have to remember where I hid my nursing bras...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

36 Weeks

Remember a couple of months ago, when I kept getting really emotional and touchy about my hugeness?  I seem to have turned a corner.  Now I'm the one making jokes about my size.  I AM THAT ENORMOUS.

I shared an elevator with a very tall couple this morning.  We got on, did the head nod acknowledgement, and moved on.  The wife randomly pointed out the elevator's specs to the husband, focusing on the 2500 pound capacity.  The husband thought we'd be ok.  I looked up from the ground where I was politely staring and said, "I dunno!  I might be pushing it!"  I got off the elevator with a smile on my face, and a hand on my tummy.

So here I am, at 36 weeks pregnant with my second.  I'm a hot mess of nesting emotions.  Sunday night, I was perched on the edge of the tub, cleaning the shower head.  Because that's obviously really important to clean once every five years.  Monday night, I couldn't finish the grocery shopping because of some fierce waves of tightening and pain that had me panicked that I needed to rush off to L&D.  I'm convinced he's coming early.  I'm also convinced he's coming late.

The pros to an early baby: He'd be that much older for this summer, with a jam-packed schedule of weekend trips, flights to Seattle, and me needing to leave him overnight for various reasons.

The cons to an early baby: My mom wouldn't be able to fly down in the middle of the night to join me at the hospital.  I didn't realize how much I wanted my mom with me during Laura's birth until I saw her walk in the room just after my epidural was placed.  I'm pretty emotionally set on having her there again.  I would like to skip the part where my father-in-law was also in the room.

The pros to a late baby: Um... I'd have more time at work...?  Laura might be closer to being potty-trained...?

The cons to a late baby: He'd be that much younger for this summer, with a jam-packed schedule of weekend trips, flights to Seattle, and me needing to leave him overnight for various reasons.

So in actuality, I hope he's right on time.  Just like his big sister.  I have my first internal exam tomorrow morning, so I'll be sure to update if I'm holy-moly-4cm-dilated or something crazy.  I'm probably high and tight, and just making up contractions in my head.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Feeling like the worst

I made it five minutes attempting to sleep in the same bed as my husband last night.  Five minutes, before the "loud breathing" (that he insists is not snoring, because he "would know" if he snored) drove me to the couch downstairs.  The couch because my visiting mother was in the guest bed.

Five minutes before I chose the cold leather of the recliner couch that I hate, over the hard but lumpy and unsupportive mattress (that I also hate) that I'm supposed to share with my husband.  I can't remember the last time we stayed in the same room. 

Laura is getting super confused.  Where is Mommy sleeping today?  It's like a really bad version of I Love Lucy, but instead of a cute nightstand separating me from my husband, we have walls. 

I woke up this morning barely able to move.  My hips were so achy from trying to stay on the couch without rolling onto the floor all night.  My ego hurt even more.  Why is it so hard for me to sleep in the same room as Nate?  Why can't I just get over the "loud breathing" long enough to fall asleep?  Why do I feel like such a terrible wife?

It all leads back to the "I Wants" that I struggle with so much.  I want a new mattress, one that doesn't force me to roll right into the middle of the bed.  I want a fresh coat of paint in our room, one that isn't dreary and depressing.  I want a new bedframe, one that doesn't creak and groan with every breath.  I want... I want... I want...

I think I'm actually looking forward to the sleep deprivation that will come with Gavin's birth.  At least I'll have a few weeks where I know, without a shadow of a doubt, I'll be able to fall asleep at the drop of a hat.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Cubicle Nesting

Before I even got to the National Mall on Tuesday to thoroughly exhaust myself, I was already feeling crampy and uncomfortable.  I was clearly dehydrated, but was facing a morning without a bathroom.  I kept myself dehydrated and ignored the discomfort.  By the time I got back to my desk, I was miserable.  I just couldn't recover from the combination of dehydration and two hours of walking and standing on the Mall.

So I did what any logical pregnant woman in her third trimester would do.  I panicked.  Not in the OMG rush me to the ER sort of way, but almost.  I texted Nate to let him know I was feeling really, really awful, with semi-regular crampy squeezy contractions, complete with head butts to the cervix.  I mentioned the same to a few close co-workers, just in case, and I started packing up my desk.

I printed on-going projects.  I moved files to my personal external hard drive.  I 409'ed the heck out of my desk.  Everything that could stay at work was tidy.  Everything I could take home to work on was in a tote bag.  I left at 3:00, letting my boss know I needed a nap and wasn't sure I'd be in the next day.

Clearly my biggest problem on Tuesday was too little water and too much exertion.  However, I can't shake the feeling that Gavin is antsy to make his arrival.  I haven't quite gotten the nesting bug at home, but only in part because I'm too tired after work and I haven't been home on a weekend in a long time.  However, I can rest easy knowing my cubible is squared away.  I have a stash of work at home, and a little cache in a tote bag I've been taking back and forth each day.  In the event of pre-term labor, at least I know my work-self is nested and ready.

My first internal exam is a week from today.  I'm very curious.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I really didn't want to make my weekly trek to the grocery store on Monday.  My meal plan for the week was nonexistent, and I knew I would just wander the aisles aimlessly with an antsy toddler in tow.  Wouldn't it be lovely if someone could do my shopping for me and deliver it to my home?

Wait.  That service exists.  It's called Peapod.  I did a quick survey of friends to see if anyone had used and liked the service.  All votes point to yes.  So I started to create some semblance of a shopping list to fill my online cart. 

I just couldn't do it.  I had maybe five things in the cart, nothing of any substance for any dinner, and I still needed to pick out some ice cream.  I don't buy ice cream all that often, and I really wanted to stand in front of the freezer to make my selection.  So after work, I hauled Laura to the grocery store for our weekly ritual of sweet conversation, mild tantrums, and bribery.

IT WAS AWFUL.  One of the worst grocery trips of my life.  I was completely lost without my shopping list, and Laura was a two-year-old at her worst.  We started the trip by opening our unneeded purchase #1: a package of "Monkey Ogurt" (Dannon smoothies), which Laura promised to sip carefully as we didn't have a straw.  By the time we got to the milk fridge, she had dumped most of the smoothie down her shirt.  She was beyond distressed by the cold, wet, sticky feeling.  We high-tailed it to the baby aisle for unneeded purchase #2: baby wipes, so I could strip my child in the grocery store, wipe of her stomach, and clean her shirt to the best of my abilities.

While we were there, I grabbed unneeded purchase #3: a package of take 'n' toss cups with straws, so Laura could use a straw for a second attempt at Monkey Ogurt.  Meanwhile, I still only have bananas, grapes, yogurt and milk in my cart.  I had promised Laura some "marshamallows" as potty training bribery on our way to the store, so we backtracked to the nuts and candy aisle for a bag, which I let Laura hold as we trudged back across the store to grab something - anything -  for dinner.  Just as we're nearing the end of this abysmal trip, just as I'm starting to see the light, Laura scolds me for not opening the marshamallows.  Cue tantrum.  So now I have a yogurt-covered toddler screaming in the bread aisle over an unopened bag of marshamallows.  Obviously, I cave and open increasingly unneeded purchase #4: the damn marshamallows.  I still haven't bought anything useful to make for dinner.  We obviously need quick and dirty tonight.  I head to the Stouffers section, and pick up a veggie lasagna and a chicken with broccoli rice casserole.  I let Laura choose, but she says chicken and broccoli while she points to the lasagna.  I put mostly unneeded purchases #5 & 6: two frozen dinners, in the cart. 

We make it to the ice cream aisle, where I am silently cursing myself for not ordering our groceries through Peapod.  Why, I ask myself, why do we really need ice cream?  I put normally unneeded purchases #7 & 8: two pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, in the cart. Laura is back in a good mood, and somehow overlooks this source of more unneeded treats - thank GOD.  We make it to the line for the register, where I am joking with Laura about how silly she is.  Apparently, I strike a nerve. 


Ouch.  Really, really ouch.  I know she'll say that to me and about me hundreds (thousands) more times throughout her life.  When she becomes a frustrated big sister in a few weeks.  When she's a tween and wants to do so much more than I'm ready for.  When she's an angsty teen.  When she heads off to college.  We she's planning her wedding... but ouch did it hurt hearing those words from my daughter so young.

We wound up spending $86 on absolute crap - half of which we wouldn't have needed at all if I hadn't attempted the groceries that night.  I used to love my weekly shopping ritual with Laura.  I'd bribe her with a snack, as we meandered through the aisles adding the items on our list to our cart.  Laura would babble and chatter, I would laugh.  Lately, there has been less laughter and more tears.  I think maybe we need to put our mother-daughter shopping trips on hold for a little while.  I'll be trying Peapod next week.

I can't begin to imagine what it will be like prom dress shopping in a few years.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Space Shuttle Discovery

Yesterday was such an amazing day to be in Washington, DC.  Amidst sunny blue skies, Space Shuttle Discovery circled the city three times atop a 747 in a farewell flight, before joining the Smithsonian Family.  I am so glad I was able to join the thousands on the Mall to pay homage to our nation's history.

I couldn't believe how incredibly low the shuttle was flown.  The plane (and the accompanying fighter jet bodyguard) was so low, you could feel the rumbling of the jets.  And my fears of just seeing the underside of a 747 were completely unfounded - the shuttle was so easy to see. 

What a sight it was.  We would hear shrieks from crowds in various spots around the city, as the shuttle came into view.  We would look towards the noise - and sure enough, a small blip at first getting closer and closer.  At times, the shuttle looked like it was about to hit the Washington Monument - it was that close in such otherwise restricted air space.  The shuttle would disappear behind trees, only to pop out again for another viewing.  Spectacular. 

It was especially poignant for me to see such an important part of American history fly by the Washington Monument, the Smithsonian Castle, and the Capitol.  I'm sure people along streets and rooftops all over the city saw similarly spectacular sights of the shuttle passing the White House, National Archives, Treasury Department and so many other government icons.

I devote every day to protecting and preserving our nation's cultural history.  What an amazing experience to actually watch history fly over my head.  It was a great day.

Photos taken by a friend, perched atop the Department of Justice building for the occasion.  My camera appears to be missing, and my iPhone shots were... not great.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Remember last year when I joined the Ultimate Blog Party?  It was fun!  I loved reading so many new blogs!  So I'm joining again.  Party time!  Excellent!

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

Hi!  I'm Caitlin.  I've been blogging as Mrs. MidAtlantic for three years on April 30th.  What started as a way for me to vent my baby fever without driving my husband nuts has become my own little journal.  I mostly use this space document sweet memories of my family of almost four (baby boy is due late May!), and sometimes to whine about some of the crazy people in  my life. 

I've lately been blogging about how adorable Laura is at two years and three months.  How different it is being pregnant a second time.  My opinion of toddlers.  There's a lot of talk about pregnancy and toddlers... a lot.  But, that's my life right now, and my blogging certainly mirrors my life! 

I hope you enjoy my little blog.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 16, 2012


My husband's family threw a baby shower for my sister-in-law this weekend.  Liz is due with her first baby, a little girl, at the end of June - just a month after Gavin is due!   The shower was wodnerful.  So many people showed up to shower Liz & Vin and their happily anticipated daughter.  The room was packed with people and love.  I was so happy to watch Liz receive the same love and attention for Nico as I did just two and a half years ago for Laura. 

It's a really funny experience, to be the "other" pregnant woman at a shower.  There were many guests who were surprised to see my huge belly and to learn I was a month ahead of the guest of honor.  Many asked why I wasn't also being showered that day.  Well, because this is my second pregnancy.  I already have all the big things I need for Gavin's arrival.  We have the swing, cradle, crib, carseat, high chair, bouncer, and tub.  Anything else we need for him isn't anything particularly exciting for friends to purchase and gift wrap.  I didn't want to be asking for presents, when we didn't need anything.   I did receive a few little gifts for Gavin, that mean so much to me.  Not necessarily for what they were, but for the thought given to my second child.

Maybe it was silly of me to deny Gavin any baby showers for being the second child.  I never want him to feel less loved or appreciated, just because he wasn't the first.  He might not be my first crack at motherhood, but he is my first son.  He will always be my only Gavin.  He will never come second in my heart.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Train to Catch

My life has been ruled by a train schedule since September of 2004.  That's nearly eight years of riding the rails to and from DC every week day.  The train can be a little frustrating sometimes, but for the most part I have loved my train ride into work each day.

It's a forty-minute ride each way, during which I completely surrender control.  I am not driving the train, manning the switches, or deciding which train can pull into which platform at the station.  I am simply sitting; I am one single passenger among the many.  I abandon control the minute I step into the vestibule in search of a seat. 

But first, I have to catch that train.

Crap!  I slept in!  Must shower!  What should I wear?  Someone wake the baby!  Make-up or none?  Ponytail it is!  Did I pack Laura's lunch last night?  Laura - get your shoes on now!  Waffles or french toast.  LAURA - waffles or french toast!  PICK ONE!  Get in the car!  Mommy's late!  Walk a little faster sweetheart!  Mommy has a train to catch!

That's where I stopped myself this morning.  Yes, I did have a train to catch.  I also had a little girl whose mother had snuck into her room after a late night at work for one sleepy hug.  I had a little girl who just wanted to wear leggings like mommy, instead of the jeans she already had on.  I had a little girl who just wanted some milk, even though all her sippy cups needed to be washed.  I had a little girl who needed a few more hugs, a few more assurances that mommy would be back after nap.

So I took a minute to switch Laura into leggings.  I took another minute to wash a sippy cup and fill it with milk.  I took a third minute for some huggies.  A fourth minute for assurances.  A fifth for still more huggies.  I missed a train.

But there was another train along in 15 minutes.  I had plenty of time to catch that one.  And had I needed more minutes for more huggies, there would have been another train along 20 minutes later still.

There are never enough huggies in the world.  There is always another train.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


It's funny how life works.  This afternoon, I was contemplating a post on Gavin's "nursery" and how getting ready for a second baby is so different than getting ready for the first.  As the words for that post floated around my head, a coworker asked the question:

Are you ready?

I chuckled a little before I answered.  Yeah, I guess so.  I have a crib and a carseat.  It's not like I'll ever be "ready" for Gavin to arrive.  His arrival is going to knock me off my ever loving feet.  I'll never be ready to meet my son.

Am I ready to be not pregnant?  I've been ready for that for not-quite 34 weeks.  I might be good at getting and staying pregnant.  But I am definitely not good at being pregnant.

Is our house ready for another baby?  As much as it was ready for the first.  Meaning, our house is a dusty disaster with tumbleweeds of dog fur wafting at will.  I always have big plans for cleaning and preparing... and then never quite get around to it.

Is Gavin's room ready?  Well, yeah!  Check that one off the list!  Funny thing, I decorated that room over two years ago for his big sister.  We've rearranged a few things, but since they're sharing the room not much has changed.

There are a few things I'd still like to do:

  • Dig out the infant swing, bouncer and cradle;

  • Find a home for Gavin's tiny little clothes;

  • Which means going through our linens and donating much of them to Planet Aid and our vet;

  • Wash the tiny little clothes before getting them set up in their new home;

  • Wash the carseat liner;

  • Install the carseat bases in our cars;

  • Possibly even buy a "mom" car, since my beloved Civic isn't big enough for two carseats and a 50-pound dog

Nothing on that list HAS to happen before Gavin arrives, which I guess means we are ready.  I did switch out the pink sheet on the crib mattress for a blue sheet, should Gavin decide he's ready to meet the world.  Ready?  Sure.

Monday, April 9, 2012

I just need more sugar

At one point yesterday, between Mass and Easter Dinner, my MIL asked if Laura could have some marshmallows.  Sure, since I was a little peckish myself and MARSHMALLOWS.  Yum.  Laura had a few, and continued her painting. 

She finished painting, and asked for "potato."  I spent a good five minutes trying to figure out what the heck she wanted to do with a potato, since I'm pretty sure they haven't started carving potato stamps at school yet.  Turns out, she wanted to play with her PLAY-DOH.  Duh to me.

Another hour later, we're now finished with painting and Play-Doh and a few minutes out from Easter dinner.  I look over and find my MIL pouring a veritable mountain of marshmallows out for Laura to eat.  Um, lady?  I'd like Laura to eat some dinner of actual food.

After all that sugar, she did not eat any dinner of any actual food.

So let's fast forward to a few hours later.  Laura has missed her nap.  She has eaten marshmallows and jelly beans for dinner.  She has been completely 100% wound up by her adoring fans aunts and uncles.  She's exhausted, crashing from the sugar, and weepy.  Fun, yes?

As I get my poor, exhausted toddler strapped into her carseat for the ride home, she looks up at me and wails, "I JUST NEED MORE SUGAR!"  She fell asleep 5 seconds later.  Today, as I wallow through the Mondays, I keep thinking to myself that just a little more sugar is all I need.  Just one more sip of sugary sweet goodness.  One more bite of chocolate will get me through the morning.  I just need more sugar.  Don't we all!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Eggs

I debated for a long time this week whether or not to dye eggs with Laura.  I envisioned a happy domestic scene with white eggs, crayons, and cups of dye.  I also envisioned spilled dye all over my dining room, broken eggs, and tears.  Was dying eggs worth the mess?  Would Laura care at all?  Did I even know how to blow out the eggs once they were dyed?!??

I bought white eggs and dye on Tuesday, with the intention of dying eggs on Wednesday.  Wednesday, I decided maybe on Thursday when I'd have my MIL at the house as back-up.  Thursday I waffled a lot.  I wanted to dye the eggs, but I was also so tired and the couch was so couch-like!

In the end, I got out the eggs, gathered the crayons, found the dye and plunked Laura in her booster.  We were going to dye some eggs. 

Laura and I first decorated our eggs with crayon.  I added Laura's name and the year, and we picked colors of dye.  Laura wanted teal, I wanted pink.  Two colors seemed like plenty for our three little eggs.  They came out alright, and I figured out how to blow them with success! 

Laura didn't press quite hard enough with her crayons on the eggs, so her little scribbles are a bit hard to see on the colored eggs.  The eggs were also too cold at first to take the crayon with much success (which didn't help Laura's cause either).  Our decorations showed up much better after the eggs warmed up a bit.  I'll have to remember that for next year.

Because we will certainly dye eggs together next year.  Laura really enjoyed the process.  She loved holding the egg carefully in her hand while she colored all over.  She loved stirring the egg in the dye.  She wanted immediately to hold her wet, vinegary creation, even though I made her wait so they could dry.  Everything about the craft was worth getting up off the couch.  I am so glad we made the time for a little Easter craft!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Front Page News

How awesome is that?  My kid made the front page of the local newspaper!  Nevermind that I doubt anyone actually reads this tiny little newspaper... that doesn't matter in the least.  My kid made the front page above the fold at age two!  She's pretty much that adorable.

Don't worry.  I've already contacted the newspaper to get extra copies for my mom, mother-in-law, grandmother, scrapbook that I'll have to start so I have a place to put it, wall frames, random passersby...

Also, am I the only mother on the planet that thinks little girls should wear party dresses to Easter Egg Hunts??  Apparently I am, because Laura was definitely the only child there in a pretty dress and white patent leather shoes.  Dressed the way she should be.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Birth Plan 2.0

I had a birth plan with Laura.  It involved laboring at home for a while, avoiding all drugs, holding my screaming baby on my chest the second she was born, and having my husband cut the umbilical cord.

None of that happened.

My work broke so forcefully and so... clammy... we went straight to L&D without a blink of an eye.  I immediately accepted Stadol, waffled for a bit and then accepted Pitocin, tried to labor through the devil drug, and then begged for the epidural.  Laura wasn't screaming when she was born, as she wasn't even breathing.  I didn't hold her for a lifetime.  Nate didn't cut her umbilical cord.  I didn't cry happy, overwhelmed by love tears.  I suffered for months after, unable to bond with my daughter until I finally gave up the guilt I felt over my "botched" birth plan.

At my 32 week check-up last Thursday, the doctor casually asked if I'd thought about a birth plan for Gavin.  I laughed.  What an easy question to answer!  Of course I have a plan:

Give birth to a breathing, screaming baby.  Preferably pink in color, rather than blue.

The doctor was taken aback by my response.  I guess most moms don't have such a flippant response about their birth plans.  But truly, I don't care how Gavin arrives in this world.  I just want to hold him, all covered in gooey mess.  That's all I want from this birth.

Yes, I would like to labor without drugs at home for a while.  But since I'm Strep-B positive, I know I'll have to get to the hospital sooner, where I'll be immediately stuck with an IV.

Yes, I would love to avoid Pitocin at all costs.  But since I'll already have the IV in place, I know the doctors will encourage it.

No, I will NOT attempt even one second of labor with Pitocin without first getting the epidural.  I learned that lesson.  That agonizing pain is not something I want to revisit.

Maybe my birth plan isn't "ideal" to some moms out there.  I don't care.  All I really want is to hold my baby and cry and sob and laugh while my husband cuts the umbilical cord.  I just want to feel my heart surge with love as I hold my baby for the first time.  That's my birth plan.

I am linking up with Pour Your Heart Out.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Laura is so delightfully two.  I can't begin to describe how much fun she is right now.  Yes, we have our tantrums.  But actually... I might have more tantrums than Laura!  She's just so silly and cute and so very strawberry-huggable.

Here are a few pictures we took together at Sherwood Gardens in downtown Baltimore.  Laura ran wild while I tried to bribe her to sit still a moment.  I mostly got pictures of her backm gleefully running in the opposite direction.  It was a wonderful morning.

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I'm so glad we were able to find a few hours for this photoshoot, even if the skies were threatening rain and the flowers weren't quite in full bloom.  Two year olds are a precious variety, almost as fleeting in season as tulips.