State of the Momma: August 2013

This weekend, I ran the America’s Finest City 5k and set a personal record. On four hours of sleep. On a course with The Hill That Never Ends. By myself.

I'm kind of a big deal.

I’m kind of a big deal. (Photo credit: kind stranger)

In the wee hours of the morning of this year’s race, Suzianne simply would not sleep. Around 3:30 a.m., I was laying on the rug next to her crib plotting my Ninja escape from her nursery when my mind drifted and started processing the new and improved, Margie, The Momma, Aug. 2013 Edition.

What a difference a year makes.

In August 2012, Dave and I moved to from D.C. to San Diego to start a public relations firm. Suzianne was five months old. Krissi and Reese helped me finish packing up:

My expert logistics team.

My expert logistics team.

(Dave left on August 10 to drive West with his soulmate)

Just a man, his poodle, and the open road.

Just a man, his poodle, and the open road.

On August 11, Suzianne and I made our move across the country. On an airplane. No way I’m driving cross-country with an infant.

Ubering to the airport.

Ubering to the airport, while Suzianne makes a weird air-nursing face.

This picture sums up my life for the first few weeks of SoCal living; I could barely function:

A type-A momma's worst nightmare.

A Type-A momma’s worst nightmare.

Mom’s place flooded the night we arrived (water heater), so we were hotel-hopping for awhile. During this time, a dear friend in Nashville passed away, and one of my father figures in Knoxville was given weeks to live. But I was too fogged up by pregnancy hormones, financial strains and moving logistics to travel home to Tennessee. Writing that sentence is a nausea-inducing. WTF? Where were my priorities? Guest question. Honestly, I have no idea how to explain the way my brain processed things at that time.

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Things you’ll discover once you have children

There are many things you may not fully understand until you have a baby. Here are three recent discoveries of mine:

Dumbo is trippy and racist. Don’t get me wrong, scenes like this are positively lovely and make me weep. And I love this one about how babies arrive. The problem comes when you’re all snuggled up with your toddler and the crows start talking:

Dave and I had already furrow-browed, squinted and head-tilted our way through the horrifically trippy “Elephant’s on Parade” scene. But this black crows business made us downright uncomfortable; we just kept glancing to the TV, at each other, and back again with wide eyes and WTF faces.

How did I go my whole life without knowing Dumbo’s crows are racist? How does a movie with such hurtful content win an Oscar? (Well, it was 1941, sigh) To tell you the truth, I’m sort of traumatized by the whole thing. Next time Suzianne needs a Disney fix, we’ll be peeping out Cinderella.

Everyone poops, but not everyone talks about poop.Poop is a totally acceptable adult conversation topic. When you’re preggers, folks warn you that you’ll be talking about poop a lot. They don’t explain that you’ll be talking about–and comparing–poop color, smell, frequency, texture, hardness, and velocity with your friends, neighbors and complete strangers, and that none of that will seem odd to you.

And when you and your spouse talk about how the baby’s morning is going, you will hear something like:

Spouse: She’s good. But her poop was a little dark. At first, I thought it was black (panic- inducing) and so I was going to wake you up and have you look at it. But once I held it up to the light, I saw that it was only dark green (not-panic-inducing).

You: Must have been all those blueberries she ate yesterday.

You’ll also discover that if your child is regular, that is to be celebrated because you’re one of the lucky ones. Some babies are constipated, or simply refuse to poop. This means that when you invite their parents over for drink, they’re often forced to say no because their baby is “in mid-poop.”

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I’ll have what it’s having

Twenty days ago, we took Suzianne to Disneyland. We live about two hours from there, so it’s not as heavy of a lift as it sounds. Turns out, The Happiest Place on Earth, though small, is pretty fun. I’m a Disneyworld girl, so I had my doubts. 

We’ll likely wait a couple of years before we take our toddler back, but if you do take your yours, seek out Goofy’s Playhouse in Toontown. Here, blessedly, your spouse replica can  frolic in a foam-floored, caged environment, free from momma spit face washes and runaway tour buses. They also may climb through a watermelon cave, on a small-child-appropriate slide and atop a giant pumpkin:


As you’re strolling through, you’ll notice Disney “cast members” carrying around The World’s Most Massive Bunch of The World’s Largest Mickey Balloons:

Photo credit: Flickr user Tours Departing Daily

Photo credit: Flickr user Tours Departing Daily

…which every child MUST be given or OMG MY PARENTS HATE ME YA’LL.


Lest you think we’re crazy for buying our baby a $8.95 balloon, know this: It’s been 20 days and this balloon is just as plump and perky as the day it was created. 

Day 4:


Day 18:


Day 19, when Dave put the Immortal Balloon on permanent display as a part of Suzianne’s bathroom decor:


It’s a miracle of science. And I would like to know what is causing it, and if it is injectable.


Side Note: Did you know DisneyParks have a “moms panel” where you can ask frequent Disney-ers questions about rides, food, diaper stations, etc? I’m not sure why they don’t have a Dad’s forum, but that’s another post for another time.

Baby’s first hooky

The sequence of emotions that follows seeing the daycare provider’s number on your caller ID in the middle of the day, like I did yesterday, really sucks.

First ring: you get that pit in your stomach and your hands tingle (not in the good way, like when you’ve had a bit too much wine, but the holy crap something horrible just happened way.)

Second ring: you are certain your child has lost an eye, has broken something or has simply stopped breathing altogether. The situation is gruesome and life-threatening, and you haven’t even Googled it yet.

Third ring: you finally answer the phone and the caregiver tells you your child is inconsolable. She doesn’t have a fever, she just won’t stop crying and is so tired and miserable and can you come get her?

The good thing about incorrectly assuming your child is ER-bound is that hearing “your child is crying and miserable” is fabulous news!

Clearly, your child at this moment has needs only her momma parents can fulfill.

About 30 minutes after the call came, Dave pulls up to the house with my poor, miserable baby. From the two giant pair of crossed eyes I see peeking out from the backseat, I see that he’d enlisted Suzianne’s life-size Cookie Monster for back up. That Dave is always thinking ahead.

As I approach the car, I am wringing my hands and mentally preparing for the worst. Then, I hear it…

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It’s a human after all.

About a six weeks ago, Suzianne and I were leaving for daycare and I said, “Now, let’s have a seat and we’ll put your shoes on.”

And then, she sat down, ya’ll.

On her own. Like a real person. 

I stood there wide-eyed and motionless, so she grabbed her feet and looked at me like, “why’d you ask me to sit down if you’re just going to stand there?”

It was one of the most rewarding moments of my life. For more than a year you say things over and over and over, but your child doesn’t respond. It’s not like you even expect them to; you’re just narrating like a good parent.

In fact, you’ll do it so often you will find yourself narrating stuff when no baby is there.

You: Okay! Momma’s gonna take off her make up, pour herself a glass of pinot grigio, and watch Season Two of Mad Men!

Your spouse: Who are you talking to?

You: I have no idea.

Then, one day, you’re “talking to your baby” about something “we are going to do” and before you can pick her up to make her do that thing, she’s already doing it.

It is going to blow your mind. 

Like a few weeks back, Dave and Suzianne were outside swinging. I was in the kitchen and Suzianne comes toddler stomping in. I turn around, she walks up to me with brows furrowed, looking like a tiny woman on mission who also has eaten a lemon:

Me: what’s wrong, baby?

Dave: did she do it?!

Me: do what? what’s wrong with her face?

Dave: I was trying to get to come inside, so I told her it was time to go inside and give her momma a kiss. I think she’s doing it!

Us: {hearts exploding; high fives; shoulder dusting} oh, yeah. We made that!

SO! When the day comes and you say, “Alright! Let’s go back to your room and change that diaper” for the 897th time, only to find your child IS WALKING BACK TO HER ROOM, your mouth will drop and your heart will burst and then it will hit you:

If she knows what you just said, then…SHE KNOWS WHAT YOU ARE SAYING.

This “I understand your words, I just can’t repeat them yet” is God’s way of easing us into the reality that our every word and action is about to be mimicked ad nauseum. Usually at inopportune moments in front of judgmental people.

As Dave says, we’re going to have to tone the sarcasm down a bit now that she is hyper-tuned into our words AND their meaning.

Easier said than done, my friends.

So, yeah. Stuff’s about to get real. And we can’t hardly wait.


Language implosion.

Ya’ll, this week, words are totally happening. They aren’t the full words, mind you. They are the toddler versions, which means only the most essential sounds are used when conveying the message. Is your baby cussing? Or is she a genius? Only time will tell. 

These partial words are cropping up constantly now. With the exception of “owl,” which she puts like 47 syllables in because her momma is from the South. Words this week include:

Momma: Hey, Suzianne, what’s this?

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 8.07.28 PM


Suzianne: Ahhh-wa-aaall.


Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 8.09.18 PM


Suzianne: Owse.


Georgia, our poodle.

Georgia, our poodle.

Suzianne: Ja-ja.




Suzianne: At.


Elmo. Duh.


Suzianne: Elmo.

Wait. What?


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Type-A Tips for Pumping at Work

Reader Tina wanted advice on how to manage pumping at work. You know how I love to dole out advice. So, here are a few tips for the business lady lactator:

1. Invest in button down shirts.  If you are a lady wearing an untucked button down shirt and carrying a black boxy shoulder bag, you’re a certified Type-A pumper.  Not only can you get to the girls quickly, you don’t have to worry about messing up your hair or getting lipstick on your collar.

I know, I know. You love dresses. But if you are wearing a dress, each time you pump you get to sit in a cold room naked as coworkers and strangers loiter just beyond the door that you pray to all things holy you actually remembered to lock. When you wear a collared shirt, your boobs may be exposed and hooked to a machine, but at least you’ve got sleeves on.

The downside is that about 80% of the time, you’ll leave at least one button on the shirt unbuttoned. You’ll usually discover this right after you make some really smart and savvy comment in a meeting. You’ll cross your arms and sit back in your chair, basking in the  business lady rockstar moment, when a colleague will turn to you and not-at-all whisper, “missed one!”

2. Pump in a room with a lock on the door. If you don’t feel relaxed and comfortable, your production could suffer. Or the anxiety of being walked in on may make you stop pumping all together.  I don’t care if it is a closet, find a locked door. There’s really nothing worse than hearing approaching co-worker voices/footsteps when you are wearing this:

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 4.49.13 PM

Although, it is a great pumping bra

Just promise me you’ll never do this unless your are 100% positive there is no way some random guy from finance can accidentally walk in. The party cardi does you no favors here:

Screen Shot 2013-07-31 at 4.48.44 PM

3. Block out time to pump on your office calendar. Create a re-occuring calendar appointment for how ever many times a day you need to pump. And don’t be discrete because no one respects a calendar block labeled “Hold.” Nothing says “unavailable for your pointless meeting about a meeting” like a one hour, color-coded block of time labeled “PUMPING.” Ain’t no body messin’ with that.

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Welcoming Flo back in style

While we are sharing lady experiences: This week, I got to hang out with Aunt Flo for the first time in 2.5 years. Sure missed her. Mostly because when she comes ’round, I crave and indulge in this:


Mushroom ravioli with meat sauce! Nom, Nom, Nom


There were out of peanut M&M’s. I about cried.

The food almost makes the headaches tolerable. Almost. I also had to make an emergency run to stock up on supplies I had forgotten to keep on hand. Apparently, I am the target audience for this product.