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We are no longer Baltimore City residents. It pains me to write that. I have lived in Baltimore City for 9 1/2 years. It is weird to be back in the ‘burbs. My commute to work sucks. There are no delightful and different places to eat nearby (most stuff is a massive chain restaurant). I will no longer run alongside the stinky Baltimore harbor.
Okay, my woe is me moment is over.
Moving was a collosal pain in the ass. It took ALL DAY and was $1k over the moving estimate. I feel like we’re living in an episode of Hoarders (although we’ve done a decent job in getting through boxes and setting things up). There are 2 kitchen tables in the kitchen. There are 2 large living room sofas in the living room. There are mattresses in the basement shoved behind a myriad of boxes. There is SHIT EVERYWHERE and it is making me crazy. New baby’s room is currently a holding ground for furniture we had no other place to store it (since the basement is either half water damaged (so we’re not storing anything over there) or packed to the gills with boxes and 26 years of crap my parents held onto.
I’ve been meaning to post updated pictures of the house (new floors, new paint, etc.) but since the house is not set up the way that I want it to be, I don’t want to share it with other people.
But I hate a post without pictures so here are some from the move (and I apologize to people that look at my Instagram or Facebook… these are just repeats. I’m so lazy these days):
As much as I fought against it, we ended up having the movers help pack. Jeremy apparently knows me better than I know myself sometimes. If they hadn’t helped pack (they spent 3 hours packing some stuff), we would probably STILL be packing.
We needed to pack some stuff the morning of and Annmarie just wanted to play in the boxes. Later, this box would hold a ball pump, a snack trap, a sippy cup and a toy. She was a real helper.
I really thought I’d cry seeing my empty house…
I didn’t cry. I got a little teary eyed in AM’s empty room but that was it. I guess I was ready to let go of this house (or perhaps I don’t feel like I’m really letting it go since we’re leaving some furniture behind and are renting to a very good friend of ours who told us he won’t be repainting anything).
Last update – I am 32 weeks pregnant. I had my first bi-weekly check up yesterday and had to schedule my final ultrasound. Holy balls – we’re nearing the end of this pregnancy! I haven’t really wrapped my head around that since I have been fighting off extreme exhaustion and sciatica the best that I can.
I’m going to warn you – I’ve been told that losing a parent can leave you on an emotional rollercoaster. I seem to have been stuck in “angry” for quite some time now. I mean this blog post with all due respect and to truly offer some insight on how to navigate the waters of a friend in mourning.
What NOT to do:
- Compare the loss to that of a grandparent (unless the grandparent acted as a parent to you). I recognize that it still hurts to lose a grandparent (I’ve lost them all) but it is SO MUCH different to lose a parent. Trust me. The pain is much different and if you’re an adult, you will also be dealing with the closing of an estate. IT IS SO MUCH DIFFERENT.
- Say “you are in my thoughts and prayers“. I’m totally guilty of saying this myself (although I usually just say “thoughts” since I’m not the praying kind) but nearly 80% of the correspondence you will receive from well meaning people will be that very statement. You will come to hate it. When one of my friends loses a parent, I will say (or write) to them: “Damn. That really sucks. Let’s go drink.” I also welcomed messages with some comic relief.
- Avoid them. I know it is hard to reach out to someone when you know they’re in pain. You don’t know what to say (especially if you’ve never been in that position before) and you’re just sort of concerned about bothering them. Bother them. Call them. While I didn’t necessarily want to talk to EVERYONE after my dad died, I was truly touched by the people that called me. If I didn’t want to talk, I’d let it go to voicemail. But just the act of calling was truly touching. While texts, emails and cards are also acceptable, I will tell you that a phone call meant so much more to me. And depending on the level of your relationship, Tweets and Facebook messages are also nice (but reserved for internet friends and not so close acquaintances).
- Say “let me know if there is anything I can do“. Don’t put the onus on ther mourner. Just say, “hey – when are you around this week? I’m bringing dinner over.” or “I’d like to watch your child this week so you can [do whatever]. What day is good for you?” Offer something. In my case, I needed people to visit my mom and I’ve had some very good friends do so. I’ve also had some nice offers for lunch and a movie. These are all things appreciated! Don’t make the mourner reach out to you – reach out to them!
And this is something that won’t necessarily happen to everyone, but if your friend is feeling extreme guilt or sadness for not being around when their parent died? Don’t…
5. Say they waited until you left to die. Maybe this brings comfort to some but it just made me angry. My dad died of a ruptured aneurism. He didn’t will himself to live long enough for me to leave the hospital. It was just coincidental that it ruptured after I left. Please stop saying it.
What you SHOULD do:
- Go to the funeral service. Again, the days leading up to my dad’s service were a bit tough for me. I didn’t really want to see or talk to anyone the day of and sort of dreaded it. But when I was at the service? I was really appreciative of the people that came. I had friends that I hadn’t seen in a VERY long time show up. Friends that I don’t keep in regular contact with showed up. Friends that drove over an hour (in some cases 2 hours) showed up. Granted, there are situations where you can’t come (like you’re away on vacation or live in another country – I totally understand) but if you’re in the area, make an effort to go.
- Take them out. I’ve gone out with a few friends since my dad died and the outings, no matter how small, have offered me a great relief.
- Check in with them post-funeral. I had a friend point this out when she called… she said she knew that a lot of people will offer support the days following a death and up until the funeral but then will drop off afterwards. Don’t do that. Stick around! You don’t have to call all the time but it is still nice to hear from friends.
So this is just my list. I’m sure lists vary by person. I had a good friend tell me that she wasn’t sure how to approach me during this time. I admit that I can be a bit standoffish when it comes to feelings. I tend to close myself off from people when I’m upset. So with that said, I am trying to be understanding of friends that didn’t really reach out. Right now I am so incredibly disappointed in them and have written them off – but is that just my roller coaster parked in anger talking?
These posts will be more upbeat going forward. I’m not mopey all the time (although I still tend to cry when I look at photos of my dad). I may also post some helpful tips on closing an estate because it is an awful process.
Another post about Annmarie! You’ve been warned.
Lately she’s been doing a lot of what I am assuming is dancing. She does this weird sumo stance and slowly bobs up and down. This video doesn’t do it justice but take my word when I say it is the cutest thing ever.
She’s also started to sit on the stairs. While I realize that it doesn’t sound very amazing or interesting, Jeremy and I think it is incredibly adorable (since just about everything she does is adorable in our eyes… not that we’re biased or anything).
Our plan to move Annmarie from her bottles of milk to sippy cups of milk fell apart when she was sick on Friday. It seemed she wanted a lot of comfort this weekend and as much as I hate typing this (and saying it out loud is even worse), she finds “sucking” to be very soothing.
Off topic of Annmarie but still in the realm of parenting, I read this article today and it really struck a nerve with me. I was SO guilty of this (not wanting a daughter) but now cannot imagine my life without a little girl.
Now I’m feeling a little empowered with my baby girl. I’ve encountered a 2nd surge of pregnant friends and coworkers (seriously, I know of 7 people currently pregnant) and am all wishing them happy and healthy baby girls (although I already know that 2 of them are having boys so I’m wishing them a happy and healthy baby boy!).
And lastly, I’m moving the topic towards vegetarianism and parenting. If you know me, you know that I’m a vegetarian. I’m not a vegan although I don’t eat a lot of dairy. Jeremy is a vegetarian. We feed Annmarie a vegetarian diet.
People used to give me a hard time about it but, surprisingly, nobody has said anything since Annmarie has been born. Regardless, this comment (on a blog I frequent) regarding their decision to feed their child a vegetarian diet was so spot on. I want to print this out and carry it around with me in case anyone questions my decision. I also love appreciate the commenter’s stance on her child’s potential to “experience” with foods outside of the household norm because I completely share her perspective.
I recently got a request to blog more about mom things (Hi, Traci!). While I feel like I talk a lot about mom stuff, maybe I don’t? Maybe I hold back?
I really need to get some focus on this blog. I was thinking about that this morning. I need to get back to the 3 a week habit. But my problem is that I think about so much crap that I often am left with no idea of what to blog about for a particular day. I’ve toyed with the idea of dedicating specific days to specific topics (to help me focus) but I tried that in the past and didn’t stick with it. I need some structure but not too much structure. Oy! My current ideas are:
Mommy Monday / Movie Monday
I’m a mom and I’m going to blog about mom stuff. So there.
As for movies, I am a Netflix junky. I watch a lot of movies and tv shows (when Annmarie is asleep!) so maybe I could write about a particular movie that I loved/hated. As I mentioned before, I’m currently obsessed with Mad Men. I just started season 2. So good!
Whimsy Wednesday / Working Wednesday
I really struggled with the W’s. Whimsy could be dedicated to any of my sort-of hobbies (photography and I swear I’m going to learn to sew!). Working Wednesday would actually be the same damn thing. I’m never going to blog about my actual job (because that’s just stupid) – but in an effort to start pursuing my hobbies, I need to put myself on the hook for creating projects.
I have a feeling that I’ll never blog on Wednesdays. Just sayin’.
Fashion Friday / Fitness Friday / Foodie Friday
I think this one is obvious. Although my fitness is really just running and p90x. But maybe I’ll blog about my running adventures one day. And I like clothes (although you wouldn’t know it sometimes). Maybe I’ll blog about some super awesome outfit I’m wearing that day.
As for the food – this could just be about any interesting place I’ve eaten or anything I’ve made (well, that Jeremy made).
I’m not sure why my designated days HAVE to begin with the same letter. But it has to or I won’t like it. I’m open to suggestions though.
Since this is Tuesday and I didn’t suggest any potential topics for Tuesdays (this is an off day) – I’m just rambling. I’ll call today “Turd Tuesday“.
Speaking of turds (here’s a mom thing for you, Traci) – AM’s got some serious constipation going on. And while I know I should be more concerned (I am concerned, I swear), I can’t help but laugh at her poop face. I’m still laughing about it. Her face gets red, she purses her lips and holds her breath like she’s delivering a baby. I’d take a picture of it but that’s just cruel (although it would make for some great blackmail). But I know she’s constipated lately because all of that hard work is not producing much (if anything).
Today is day 1 of prunes. Fingers crossed that it works. I can’t imagine not pooping for a few days. I would die.
I didn’t intend to be all secretive about my breast biopsy the other day. I appreciate everyone’s nice comments of concern and support! My boob is still pretty sore and the bruise looks worse every day (because, according to Jeremy, the blood is surfacing).
So here’s the story of my poor boob.
I mentioned awhile ago that I noticed a small lump in my breast. It was located just behind my nipple so it was difficult to “massage” during nursing and pumping sessions (as many people recommended I do to get rid of it). I know that breastfeeding women often get weird lumps in their breasts but this one was persistent. I didn’t mention the persistence to anything. But it stayed the same shape and firmness for 3 months.
At my annual OB/GYN appointment, I asked my doc about it. She told me the same thing about lumpy boobs being common in breastfeeding women but said that if it hasn’t changed shape, position or firmness for awhile that I should get it checked out. So I did.
Because I’m still breastfeeding, I could only get an ultrasound on my breast and it isn’t exactly the most clear or accurate view of the lump.
The report that came back was that it was a “suspicious abnormality” and that I should have further testing done.
I called my OB/GYN’s office since I had NO idea what to do. My normal doc was on vacation (how dare she take a vacation!) so I spoke to another one of the docs in the office. She said they typically work with a “breast center” in the hospital and passed along their info.
I made the appointment and was told to bring my ultrasound images. I was surprised that they had an available appointment the very next day.
I was impressed by the breast center. There is something about these types of facilities (women-oriented, breast-care) that really ups the fancy (is that even a phrase? I think I’m going to make it one). Everything was so comforting. The staff was AH-MAZING. I would have spent all day with them. They were so sweet and nice and awesome and… I could go on and on.
The nurse pulled up my image on the screen and I was taken aback by the rather large breast I was looking at. I laughed and said, “while I am flattered that you think that’s my boob, it is MUCH larger than what I’ve got.” She sweetly replied, “well these images are blown up so sometimes things look larger.” Um… the boob on the screen was probably a D-cup. While I know I’m a little bustier these days, I’m no where NEAR that.
She realized she clicked the wrong “Charm City Kim” (there is someone else out there with my name!) and pulled up my image.
The doc came in and he was as nice as could be. I wanted to hug him. He looked at the image and then felt the lump.
“It feels like you’ve got an M&M in there.”
He said it felt benign and that it is common for breastfeeding women to develop these “nodules”. He couldn’t tell if it was a cyst or not. He suggested that if I wanted peace of mind, I should get a biopsy and I agreed (totally thinking that would come at a later date).
The nurse then said, “well let me check if they can take you now. Would you be able to go now?”
That really took me off guard but I figured it was more convenient to get everything done at once. And yes, they had an opening.
The staff at this office was also really nice. The radiologist that took the biopsy actually apologized for the stinging pain from the numbing needle.
I spent the whole procedure staring at the ceiling because I knew that I’d FAH-REAK out if I saw a giant needle sticking into my boob.
The actual biopsy sounded like a staple gun. It is a bit jarring but the doc warned me about it. They took 5 samples and then inserted a titanium clip so that they’d have a marker of where they’d taken a sample.
I was warned that once the numbing meds wore off that I’d be pretty sore. I was told that I’d notice blood in my breastmilk. And OHMYGOD – it was SO gross. And yes, Annmarie still ate it and I don’t feel bad about it. We shared the same circulatory system for 9 months, dammit! I only dealt with the blood in breastmilk for that evening and then it cleared up.
The breast doc called me yesterday and said everything was a-okay. He said it was most likely just a cyst from breastfeeding and recommended that I come back in a few months (after I’ve finished nursing).
So there’s my story. But my boob still feels like someone punched me really hard in the same spot.
Seriously – that hand coming at the camera is like, “I will grab on and never let go.”
Since this was my first week back to work, Jeremy and I needed to figure out the ideal time to wake up in the morning so that we could both work out, get Annie ready for daycare and get ready for work. Monday was a little shaky and we realized that we needed to wake up at least a half hour earlier just to get things done in a timely manner.
We participated in the Race to Donate Life 5k on Saturday with team Love Luca. I walked the 5k with Annie in her stroller alongside Kt and Luca. Luca was a happy baby. Annie? Not so much. And to sum up how she was during at least half of the event, check out the team picture (I blacked out the faces of the other team members because I don’t think they necessarily want to be all up on my blog. But look at sweet little Luca and then look at Annie):
Now that I’m back at work, I’m able to access the gym in my office building. Before baby (bb), I used to wake up early and head straight to the gym for a work out where I would then just get ready for the day. I was doing at least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week (and kept this up until the day before I went into labor!).
During maternity leave (4 weeks postpartum), I was doing a P90x strength workout Monday, Wednesday and Friday. At 6 weeks postpartum, I introduced cardio but was only doing it on Tuesdays, Thursday and either Saturday or Sunday (running).
I thought that I’d maybe be able to return to my 5 days a week cardio routine once I returned to work but it looks like that is not happening. Why? Getting a baby ready for daycare is a lot of work!
Also, since I am now lugging a pump to work on top of my purse (that is currently the diaper bag because I just don’t feel like switching things back and forth between bags), also lugging a gym bag isn’t really that ideal unless that is the only workout of the day.
Basically what I’m saying is – my maternity leave fitness routine hasn’t changed. I’m happy that I managed to get to the gym twice this week (on Tuesday and Thursday) but don’t see me ever being able to do both the strength workout at home and then go the gym and then get to work on time. It makes me tired just thinking about it.
I also need to determine when I’ll use up the remaining Stroller Strides classes I paid for. I can only do the 5:30pm ones (Monday and Wednesday) and the 9am Saturday class. While the 9am class wouldn’t be difficult, I wouldn’t be able to use up my pass before it expires. But after picking up Annie from daycare – the idea of hauling ass to the park at 5:30pm seems exhausting too. Oy, what to do. I think I just need to get back into this routine.
But that leads me to…
Now that I’m back at work and we’re using a daycare provider (who is AWESOME. I love this woman. She is so incredibly sweet with Annie and you can tell that Annie just loves her already) – we have to prep a lot of stuff the night before and the morning of. Jeremy has a break between his Spring semester and Summer semester of classes so it has been fantastic to have him home and helping – but I think I might die once he starts his summer semester.
Here is our new routine:
- pull out frozen breastmilk from freezer and place in fridge to defrost (we’ve determined we always need to be a day ahead to make things easy. So on Sunday we pulled out enough frozen breastmilk for 2 days – Monday and Tuesday because on Monday night, we pulled out the frozen breastmilk for Wednesday. I hope that makes sense.)
- place the defrosted breastmilk into bottles (ideally we’d already have defrosted milk)
- place bottle cooler pack in freezer
- place pump bag freezer pack in freezer
- wash and dry cloth diapers
- wash and dry any soiled clothes (in case we don’t have enough for the next day)
- wash all pump bottles and parts
- (this isn’t an actual image of our bottles but we do have this drying rack and we do use Dr. Brown’s bottles so this is a pretty close representation of what our kitchen has going on during the week)
- wash previously used bottles (although our amazing daycare lady actually washes all of the bottles before we come to pick up Annie. But in my cleaning craze, I still sterilize the bottles and this isn’t because I don’t trust her – I’d still sterilize the bottles we wash.)
- pack our lunches (and in my case, I pack a breakfast as well)
- grab dry cloth diapers and assemble them then pack them in Annie’s daycare bag
- grab all pump bottles and parts and place in pump bag
- grab several outfits for Annie (in case of diaper leaks at daycare) and pack in daycare bag
- wake Annie (or sometimes she just wakes up on her own) and change her diaper
- nurse Annie
- depending on the day, we workout and sometimes it is before Annie wakes up (and that is ideal) but this morning she was up so I nursed her and then she hung out with us in the basement and played on her floor gym while we worked out)
- shower and get ready for work
- tummy time with Annie (if time permits)
- change Annie’s diaper and get her dressed
- make sure the dogs have been fed and have gone to the bathroom several times outside
and I’m sure I’m still forgetting something. Needless to say, we’re now waking up at 5am to accomplish all of this. As for the night before routine? I pick Annie up around 4:30pm, get home around 4:45pm and then nurse her then try to squeeze in some quality time.
Because the weather has been so nice and we feel bad leaving the dogs kenneled all day, we’ve been squeezing in some quick walks around the park (30-40 minutes). When we get home, the bedtime routine begins for Annie and then we start the entire night before routine. Basically we’re not getting much time to wind down.
I’m sure we just need to get into the routine and things will feel like second nature at some point but right now – it is exhausting. I am thrilled that the weekend is here although we won’t really get to sleep very late but we get a break from our night before routine and even the morning of routine and the idea of that seems magical.