Wednesday, February 27, 2013

sympathy for the pregnant

A strange phenomenon has descended upon the Popepartment these last few days. It's a serious mystery that I'm going to put to you, Scoob & the Gang.

I have always always been a lady of the sweet teeth. In a perfect Jessie world where empty calories burn fat and exercise is but pish posh, I would live my life eating cinnamon rolls for breakfast, Thin Mints for lunch, and I would sup upon key lime pie with graham cracker crust. This is the Jessie I have always been.

In a perfect Sean world where eating as much red meat as you want in fact goes straight to the biceps and does not affect your cholesterol in the slightest, Sean would break his fast with 3 cheeseburgers, have elevensies consisting of cheeseburgers, lunch upon a 16 ounce rib eye, sneak an afternoon snack of cheeseburgers, and come home to a supper of filet mignon with a side of porterhouse and cheeseburgers. This is the Sean he's always been.

have you seen this Veggie Tales skit? Great. You've met Sean.

Lo, the last few weeks have seen a change-up. A veritable switcheroo. This baby I'm housing does not hanker for the sweets but rather the spicy, savory or salty. Also, he/she would just about kill for a classic margarita, rocks, easy salt. Aside from chocolate milk, I have nearly no cravings for the sugar. It's great! It's like kicking a drug habit - no dependency. There were times when Old Jessie literally felt addicted to chocolate and its companions, and ripped our pantry top to bottom looking for a Nestle chip that may have slipped out before that last bag was tidily devoured by yours truly.

And then there's New Sean. There we were Sunday, having an innocent Trader Joe's date, trolling the frozen aisle for peaches and blueberries for Jordan's and my morning smoothies, when Sean appears silently by my side holding a blue cardboard box labeled NEW YORK STYLE CHEESECAKE.
"We're getting this."
"I need it."
"I just need it don't ask questions."

cheesecake: the new red meat.

Here's what going on: Sean is pregnant. Sean is sympathy pregnant. I've heard this happens to guys sometimes. Then I reflected further, and remembered Sean was raging sick for like two weeks after we first found out I was with child. In the meantime, I feel great and am eating really healthily. Sean is taking the brunt of this pregnancy. Which I think is moderately considerate of him, when you take into account I'm going to be doing the hard part in less than six months.

Let's not forget Jordan. She's also eating for two. Hold on, she's been doing that since pretty much birth.

 Chocolate Birthday Cupcake? Oui s'il vous plait.

Banana? Don't mind if I do.

Pea-Green Bean mashup with a side of swollen blocked tear duct? Perfect.

Does my belly make my rash guard look fat?

I think I ate all of Houston, Texas. That last armadillo is not settling too well.

Anyway, if you're wondering how it's going over here, I'm great. Apologies to any Insta-followers but I'm just gonna #regram our progress real quick:

Here we are at 13 weeks, but now I'm 14.

The baby was flailing his/her arms and legs all about during my ultrasound and the doctor proclaimed I had a "dancer" in there. Ah, so it's Jordan round 2. They'll be best of buds, and I really can't wait.

Monday, February 25, 2013

the liebs

The other day I was checking my email for the 63rd time in a two-hour time frame for the sole purpose of seeing if I'd received any blog comments. They totally excite me, which is why I get a super sadface when I see yet another spam comment taking up space in my inbox. Talk about anticlimax.

Imagine my delight when Chalayn popped over a comment, firstly commiserating about a surge of spam on her blog too (seriously, what the deal) and secondly to nominate me for a "Liebster Award." Do I know what this means? No, not really. But it's good news for three reasons:

1) I didn't win stuff in....any period of my life. I have the athleticism of Andre the Giant, so sports awards are foreign to me. When I was ten I did a year long stint on a swim team. Six months in, my eight-year-old sister joined the team and quickly got promoted over me (out of beginners) to intermediate and consequently to golds. When I was eight, I took ballet, and at our recital that we train the whole year for, I tripped and ripped my tutu moments before I went on stage, and performed the whole dance with two feet of tulle hanging off my costume, down to my knees. 
Being nominated for a cyber, and I imagine virtual, award is like getting accepted to Harvard. Right?

2) The invitation to participate in this award launched me into an introduction to Chalayn's blog. I am thoroughly entertained.

3) I was fresh out of blog fodder for this week.

Apparently how this works is I tell you guys 11 things about me, presumably that you don't already know. A challenge, as I've been oversharing for nearly four months now. I then answer Chalayn's questions and pose 11 of my own to bloggers that I tag. Apparently they're supposed to be underappreciated blogs too, less than 200 followers? (which is crazy to me, because I see 50 followers on a blog and assume I'm visiting the domain of a blogging titan.)

Ok, 11 things about me:

1. The bottom layers of my hair are kinked-out curly and the top layers are pin straight. It's been this way for years, but pregnancy aggravated the situation. My fix-it is to straighten the bottom, because if I were to match the curliness on top I'd end up looking like this

2. At 5'4, I'm the confirmed runt of my family. Only the ten year old has yet to surpass me, but given her long long legs and already big feet, check back with me when she's twelve. All the other siblings have me by at least three inches, and one of my sisters by nearly 8:

literally stooping to my level, while I'm on my tippies.

3. I was among the last two standing in my middle school spelling bee. The word that ended me was "isolate," which I spelled "icilate" (seriously the only phonetic word they give me and I have to complicate it) and I lost to Scott Bandler.

I'm over it.

4. I went to three concerts when I was pregnant with Jordan, all accompanied by my sister Audrey, who is a live music junkie. We saw 

Chuck Prophet 

 Bright Eyes

My Morning Jacket

(not my images. Google's images.) My favorite was My Morning Jacket when I was eight months along. The lead singer is like a great big teddy bear and sounds just like he does on record. I'm pretty sure Jordan's love of music and inclination to dance comes from her in utero exposure to jams.

5. When I was a senior, I was school president and also co-president of Yearbook and Drama Club. I must've been sooo popular right? I graduated with eight other people; no one ran against me for school president; my bestie and I split yearbook and dramasponsibilites because no one else stepped up. Necessity is the mother of taking too much on to your plate.

6. Ok I'm floundering favorite cartoon is probably Fantasia. I remember seeing it for the first time on Christmas at my grandparents' house when I was probably four and thinking these guys

were thuh greatest.

7. I've only dyed my hair once in my life: two months after I had Jordan. I dyed it darkish reddish brown and Sean didn't notice.

8. I can bodysurf with the heavyweights but put me on a surfboard and I've got about 4 seconds before my epic flailing wipeout. 

9. My favorite outfits for babies are no outfits. They're bodies are the cutest, I just don't want to clothe them.

10. But then, my favorite shoes for myself are no shoes. I loooove being barefoot. I take off my shoes whenever and wherever it is socially acceptable and sometimes when and where it's not. (I'm usually barefoot at my desk....)

11. I read Gatsby in high school and that was the first time I'd ever heard of the name Jordan as a girl's name. I loved it. But if I remember correctly, Jordan Baker is not an exemplary woman, so my Jordan is not named in honor of her, but I guess because of her.

Chalayn's Questions:

1. Does the incorrect spelling of "brain" in my blog title bother you? Not at all. I totally get it.

2. Enough about me! What kind of deodorant do you use? I would get this question...I use Sean's Old Spice. It smells nice! And spicy! Girls' deodorants are too pungent. 

3. What is the strangest food you've ever eaten? Gotta be when Sean and I went on our "babymoon" to France when I was preg with Jordo. We were in Nice at this cute cafe in Ville Vielle, and it was a Friday during Lent. I decided to branch out and get a fish called John Dory that I'd never heard of. It came to me head and all: eyeballs bugged out and staring at me accusingly. Sean just chuckled into his fettucine alfredo as I tried to negotiate the corpse with my fork and knife.

4. N'Sync or Backstreet Boys? Psh, Backstreet Boys.

5. If you could have any superpower, what would you choose? That's too easy. Mary Poppins' power to snap and clean an entire room. Who needs a spoonful of sugar if you can do that crap?

6. What is your guilty pleasure? Chocolate milk made with Hershey's syrup. Every time.

7. If money didn't matter, what would you do with your life? You're going to be underwhelmed by the simplicity of this but I would stay at home with my babies. Sean and I would get a ranch-style house with a huge yard, and I would try and cure my blackthumb and learn to garden. It'd be great to have enough money to travel with our kids too. Some cool Europe trips, and a tropic vacation or two or five?

8. What do you like about yourself most? I don't know if you mean physically or personally. I'm going to go with personally: I think I'm a semi-good mom. I could be much better, and I strive to be, but Jordan seems to like me pretty well, and she's not a total brat all the time. Yet?

9. What is one article of clothing or accessory that you wish you had right now? A Blanqi. I'm gonna need it in t minus two weeks when this baby starts really popping out.

10. Have you ever given money, food or an item to a homeless person? I've given food in that I've worked at homeless shelters before, but I think that's more giving my time, since it's not my food.

11. What is something you thought you wanted, but then when you got it you realized it wasn't so desirable after all? Our papasan chair. I thought I would nurse in it all the time, which is why it's in Jordan's room, but I don't think I did that once.

My Questions:

1. What's your favorite TV show ever?

2. Who do you think is the most attractive actor from the classic era of film? I'm thinking 1960's and before? (I'm not supposed to answer my own questions but PAUL NEWMAN.)

3. When you were a kid planning your life out, is there something you always thought you'd have done by now that you haven't done yet? 

4. What's your favorite holiday and why?

5. Do you have a go-to meal that you make allll the time? What is it?

6. Playing of Chalayn's question: Beach Boys or Beatles?

7. Do you have a book you've read more than once or twice? Which book?

8. If the rain or snow has you stuck inside, what's one way you try and beat the cabin fever?

9. If you have a garden: what do you grow? If you had a garden: what would you grow?

10. In your opinion, which is the best Disney/Pixar collaboration? (Monster, Inc., definitely.)

11. Are you a Kindle fan or an advocate for hard copies of books? Or both?

Deeeeep questions here guys. Real thinkers. So I choose YOU:

Kate @ Rhodes Log
Kimmy @ Heels and Robots

and I so will not hold it against you if you don't want to. Promise. It's just for funsies.

Thanks Chalayn!! Hope you all learned too much about me.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

where's the beef

In this post, there is none. Stop looking you won't find it. That's because I'm linking up with Beth Ann via Dwija for meatless meal ideas for Fridays during Lent. I looked at some of the other links already....and mine are super unimpressive, especially in the food photog region. I'll tell you straight up: one of the images is stolen from AllRecipes.

However, I am nothing if not a bandwagon enthusiast so here goes.

Break of the Fast:

Whatcha need:

an indeterminate amount of butter
a cup of milk (I use whole)
a half cup rolled oats
a snippet of cinnamon

pure maple syrup
frozen peaches

Whatcha do:

Super easy. I operate both a small skillet and small saucepan simultaneously while doing the signature mom hip-hold with Jordan because...have we talked about how clingy she is lately? I'm not permitted to make her breakfast without her supervision.

1. Throw a pad of butter down on both a small skillet and a small saucepan. This will prevent the milk from adhering to the bottom of the saucepan and the syrup to the skillet, thus preventing a slew of curses when cleaning of said kitchen utilities commences.

2. Put your cup of milk into the saucepan. Put your maple syrup in the skillet (I do 1-2 tablespoons but it's up to you.) While the milk comes to a gentle boil, go ahead and start sauteing your frozen peaches in the syrup. Again, the amount is up to you, but for a healthy sized bowl that Jordan and I split for breakfast, I put about 6 peach slices in there.

3. Once the milk starts to boil (gently! not vigorously!) throw the oats in a give 'em a stir. At this point I add just a dash of cinnamon. Cinnamon speaks to me. All the while you're still manning the peaches. In my case that's pushing them from one side of the skillet to the other and trying to seem like I know what's up. Let the oatmeal cook for five minutes with an occasional stir.

4. The oatmeal should be thickish, but easy to stir about. I plop it in a bowl and let it cool while I cut up the peaches. Then I throw those on top and Jordan is the world's happiest toddler.

ok fine, she's at the park here. but this is about the face she makes for this oatmeal.


I don't have any pics of this, but if you're an avocadophile such as myself then you MUST do the following: get two pieces of whole wheat toast or, who cares? sourdough, potato bread, ciabatta. YOU choose your own fate. It's a free-ish country. Put a bit of mayo - or garlic mayo! it's better! - on each slice, cut up a whole avocado and shlop it right on there, put a handful of rinsed beansprouts (this part is essential to me, they don't have a lot of flavor but I love the crunch) and if you want, a couple slice of tomato. I don't want. No tomatoes on sandwiches. But I'll take 'em as a salad.

Din Din:

not my bowl, not my soup.

You'll think me ridiculous: I'm using this chicken noodle soup recipe chicken! Trust me, I've tried it. The broth is so flavorful you won't know the chicken went all Ferris Bueller and skipped out. This is now Vegetable Noodle soup, and it's m'm m'm goooood. Oh, and it takes like 20 minutes. Let's stick it to Rachel Ray shall we?:


1 tablespoon butter
1 cup onion
1 cup celery
4 - 14.5 oz cans chicken broth (don't worry, I checked to see if it's ok)
1 - 14.5 oz can vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups whatever noodle you want, I have those ones that look like turtle shells
1 1/2 cups carrot
1/2 teaspoon each dried basil and dried oregano
salt n' pepa however you like

1. In a large pot over medium, melt the butter and saute the onion and celery until tender. Add all other ingredients EXCEPT noodles and I'll tell you why: this soup refrigerates/freezes up real nice, but if you put the noodles in with everything else instead of housing them separately, they'll get all gelatinous and goopy. So, let the soup cook and simmer about fifteen to twenty minutes with an occasional stir while you:

2. Boil a pot of salted water and cook noodles al dente. Spoon however many noodles you want into bowls and pour the soup over. Then store soup separately.

3. Enjoy with some delish bread and butter. I know I do.

There you have it. And these are all easy, or else I wouldn't make them, trust.

PS - totally unrelated: anyone else (with a blog) having a serious uptick in spam comments? I'm getting them all over the place. I'm new here: what do I do? Is there somewhere I can report that crap? I don't want to turn on comment verification. That's obnoxious.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Favorites, Vol. II

It's that time again: a Jordan round-up. (Here's the first one.) Bear with me.

1. Belly Fascination

Since we found out about the new Bean, Sean has been making it a point to tell Jordan to "kiss Mom's belly" or "kiss your sibling." By now Jordan has gotten the hang of marching over to me and unceremoniously lifting up my shirt, and laying a big smack right on the bell. Somehow this has led to an overall fascination with bellies. She frequently lifts up her own shirt, stares at it for a sec to confirm it's still there, pats it gratefully a couple of times, and covers it up again. I don't know. It's a little hard to tell what's turning those cogs she's got up in there.

2. Follow the Leader

Jordan has been loving hand-holding. She is getting distinctly more affectionate, but I don't know if I should credit the leading around to that, or her insistence that I don't know where I'm going. She is constantly trying to redirect me:
"Well Jordan I actually was going to visit the bathroom for the 27th time this morning." (bladder's first to go in my pregnancies btw).
"No Mom, you're ig'nant. We're going to the kitchen. My water cup is in there and I need you to fetch it for me. It's better if you stoop for it; your back is old and tired. Let's not wear mine out."

Anyway it's all very endearing and I'm actually enjoying it quite a lot, except for when we're in public and we disagree on routes. Jordan gets fiery when my will diverges from her own.

3. Potty Police

Speaking of bathroom trips, Jordan is convinced that I need supervision whenever I venture in that direction, and she is bewildered as to how I've survived 26 years without her help. If she so much as hears an unzip or a lift of the toilet seat, she heaves herself from her play and waddles as fast as her diapered buns will take her  straight to the bathroom. She watches me intently (not awkward at all), retrieves about 5 squares of toilet paper from the roll and hands it to me proudly, then does some jazzy sidesteps between me and the bathtub to reach the flusher. As she flushes she shouts jubilantly "bbbbbyyye!!!!!" to the toilet water. So, potty training: thoughts?

4. Of the Cheesiest Variety

This pretty much says it all. Jordan has always been smiley but lately it's like: it's not a smile unless allll my teeth are showing and my eyes are mere slits. It's just about the best ever.

5. Mirror, Mirror

Sean and I might be in trouble with this one. Jordan's taken to climbing on the table and positioning herself in front of the mirror, smiling intently (see #4) and proclaiming: "oh wowww." This one's my fault. The only time she keeps barrettes or headbands on is when I make a big deal and say things like "oh wow, Jordan, that looks pretty on you." She's 18 months, what did I think was going to happen? So now we just have a little case of narcissism on our big deal right?

6. Madam Librarian

This child has all the markings of a world class editor, for serious. I've found that bringing several books in the car with us is the tantrum-whisperer, and wherever Jordan is, there is definitely a book within reach. Funny thing: she won't let me read to her. She has no interest in my voicing the story, she prefers to dump all her books all over her room, sit in the midst, and flip through the pages of one, toss it aside disgustedly (when she does this I totally imagine the editor in the Tobey Maguire Spiderman's, perfectly played by J. K. Simmons, barking "crap, Crap, MEGA CRAP") and grab the next disappointment, to be tossed aside after a quick page-flip.

Beatrix Potter: MEGA CRAP
7. Holier than Thou

The other day, too-eager-Sean sat down to eat next to Jordan and started in on his meal immediately. Jordan, her own meal ready to be eaten right in front of her, stared at him bewilderingly with her hands clasped for prayers until Sean noticed her. Sean definitely felt like a heathen.

8. Chatty Catherine

Ok we are having a word explosion up in here, but here's the thing: they're not English. Jordan is always  telling me something, in complete earnest. So I keep up my end of the conversation and see where things go. She is still not saying a whole bunch of real words, but her concept of context seems to be sharpening.

Examples: she can't even begin to pronounce the words, but if Jordan is concerned about something, she puts up her hands, cocks her head, and stammers "nguh-gah?" Pretty sure she's trying to ask "what's wrong??" because this is about what I look like when I ask her the same question:

Another example of her grasp on context happened a couple days ago. I asked her, casually, if she wanted to put her shoes on. She responded, casually, "uh-uh." Ok, the girl doesn't want to wear shoes, but she's not adamant about it. However, when I came at her with the Arch-Enemy Toothbrush, she cowered in the corner and whimpered "oh no no no!" This did nothing for her case. Her teeth collect crap in the gaps like no other.

Other words added since last time: not a whole lot...
go!! (in response to "ready...set...") * eigh (this one's weird: when we count to ten with her, the only time she chimes in is for the number eight, and she does it at the right time - ??) * uh-huh & uh-uh * oh! * wowwww
She properly identifies: eyes, ears, nose, hair, head, belly (her fave, natch), toes, cheeks, lips, tongue, teeth, throat (<----Sean teaches her obscure ones. I expect she'll be identifying her mandible and tibia and lateral incisors shortly.) 

You're up to date on Jordan and I'm positive your day is better for it. I'll let you know if she learns how cluck her tongue or cross her legs at the ankles or anything else of paramount importance. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

otherwise engaged

Yesterday was Sean's & my engagementversary. It's a thing. Sean's gonna be so  mad that I divulged that and I'll tell you why...

We got engaged three years ago, a Sunday and St. Valentine's Day. We met in college when we were but babes and started dating at 19. By the time we seemed of marrying age, we had been dating over four years. Therefore, Sean was sure I would see engagement coming from a mile away and was desperate to surprise me. As he puts it, he wanted to do the "least cliche thing possible." Then he proposed on Valentine's day. But let me explain! It's a good story.

He had asked my dad for my hand, all Jane Austen-like, the Friday before. He told me later he anticipated carrying the ring around in his pocket for a couple weeks, waiting for the right moment. waiting to spring it on me out of nowhere. waiting in the shadows like a liger. (my embellishments.) As a dating couple, we never got all that in to Valentine's Day because, c'mon, it's kinda a Hallmark holiday right? They just wanted people to buy out their Stover's chocolates and crap. (Now, as a married couple and as parents, you're dangstraight we use it as an excuse for a date. A DATE. Like, what are those anyway?)

This particular Valentine's Day was Sunday though, followed by a Monday off of work to honor Presidents' Day. So we decided to be spontaneous, and after Mass took a day trip about two hours up the coast to Pismo Beach. However impromptu our decision to road trip, once we got started, the destination had to be Pismo Beach. And that's because Mo's BBQ. 'Nuff said. Pismo was just crawling with fellow humans though, so after eating the best - really, THE best - BBQ in all of America, we decided to move on and try to find someplace less claustrophobic.

Sean and I have always liked to hike. Some of our earliest hang times (when we were just friends) included hiking together to the off-campus drinking spot in college, dubbed "The Rocks." That sounds indie and kickass right? I'll tell you a secret: it's called The Rocks because it is a pile of rocks. That college kids bring their 12-packs to, sit on, and philosophize. (Perhaps you've gathered we attended a dry campus?) Anyway, we drove as far as Morro Bay and scouted a great looking spot for a hike. By this time Sean was all kinds of fidgety and I asked him if he was ok. He blamed heartburn. Heartburn, and nothing seemed suspicious to me. Dunce.

After hiking just a short bit, we found a simply gorgeous lookout with a view of that humongous rock in the middle of Morro Bay.

Sean sent me this a couple days afterwards and oh my gosh, I just about died. We have noooo idea who this guy is but Sean found this on Google Images and drew that yellow arrow to point out exactly where we got engaged. Then he sent this to my work email, where I opened it at work and could only marvel at what a nerd I was about to marry.

There I was, having found a nice rock shaped like a seat, basking in the gloriously beautiful day we were enjoying, looking at the gloriously blue bay, and Sean would NOT sit still. He was like, pacing. Apparently he had decided: this was it. He would not find a more perfect setting or time. So Valentine's Day or not, it was D-Day. D-Day on V-Day.

At this point I was concerned for his well-being and still still not onto him, because I am dense, people. Pret-ty thick. As we got up to leave and I started descending from our little perch, Sean grabbed my hand, wheeled me around, and dropped to his knee in one fluid motion. Ohhhhhhhh. Now I get it. He gave a cute speech that I'm not sharing and produced a perfect ring from his pocket, and asked me to marry him. 

Here's where I dropped to my knees with him, hugged him like a panda bear, kissed him, laughed a lot, and fumbled to put the ring on. Only when we were nearly to the car did Sean think to cover his bases: "That was a yes, right?" Sometimes I should answer questions, especially important ones. Elizabeth Bennett would never have pulled that crap. Anne Shirley neither.

My incredibly talented friend Christina shot our engagement photos. This girl has skills. She's not even a pro-tographer and I can't believe how much I love how they turned out. Here's one of my faves in honor of engagementversary. She shot them at the place we met: Thomas Aquinas College.

Someday I'll share more, because I really love them, but Blogger doesn't like .tif format and it took fifteen minutes just to upload this puppy. I'll put Sean on it, he's the Hermione Granger of technical difficulties.

So there you have it: the story of us. <----- ...I'll never say that again, promise.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


^^ please note my brilliant play on words - as this post will be about Lent. (courtesy chuckle? courtesy cracked-smile? courtesy death stare it is.)

To you Catholic readers: happy Ash Wednesday to you. I ate an appropriate amount of chocolate and cookies yesterday eve - Mardi Gras, of course - in preparation for today. To you non-Catholic readers: well sometimes you guys like to give things up for Lent too right? I have non-Catholic friends who do; it's a good challenge. So hopefully this isn't totally unrelatable?

I've been thinking the past couple days, about Lent you know. The devious side of me was bargaining: "I'll just give up alcohol and most sweets for Lent." Well, ha. I'm pregnant. I'm doing that for the most part anyway. No alcohol since Christmas, and trying to eat as cleanly as possible - and not quite 100%, or frankly even 80% succeeding, but trying nonetheless.

Since I was old enough to participate in Lent, it's always been about giving up sweets for me. It was my go-to. Don't get me wrong - it's really hard for me to do that! But I've been pondering lately that maybe it's time for me to grow up. Up to this point, Lent for Jessie means taking something away. Not  doing something. Don't  eat sweets; don't  bite your nails; don't  drink soda. It's easy to gauge whether I've been successful in my Lenten endeavors, because the sacrifice was always something of a tangible, physical nature. Nope, I haven't eaten that cookie that's been staring me in the face.

I've been thinking that perhaps it'd be more beneficial, spiritually I mean (since physically, Lent has always been a great time for weight loss) to do  something. Especially now, with the recent news of Pope Benedict XVI, and in what promises to be a challenging period for our Church. Like: maybe invest more in my prayer life? maybe think twice or seven times before giving in to impatience and frustration? maybe STOP letting these pregnancy hormones dictate my mood in 14-minute revolutions? Noooo, seriously. I of Stone Cold Heart need to tighten up on the reins, because the fact that THIS Carter's commercial made my eyes well up

means sh-'s goin' down. And it can't go down like that.

Anyway, I don't want to get too heavy on you. I'm just hoping that Lent ushers in a new and improved Jessie, that's all. A Jessie 2.0, if you will. In other news, Jordan will be giving up throwing tantrums, throwing toys and otherwise being the resident renegade in Mass every Sunday. When I informed her of her resolution, she took it like this:


But we got a practice run in last Sunday: her only offense was to dance much too enthusiastically to the Responsorial Psalm (complete with head-banging to an imaginary guitar solo?), thus distracting other church-goers and making my shoulders shake convulsively with glee.

Anyway, a happy Lent kickoff to you. This one's gonna be a doozy right?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

first date

Guess what we did this weekend:

If you read me then you pretty much for suresies read Kate at Rhodes Log, and guess what? We all got together for a family date. We talked and laughed and had great food; the men bonded over the BBQ, the babes bonded over toys and trikes, the women bonded over a slew of topics.

It was great fun seeing Jordan and Little Jake play. I had to call Jordan on some hoarding-toys-that-aren't-mine issues but overall they got along swimmingly, and at one point Jake was giving Jordan a foot massage. If that doesn't holler "excellent future husband material" tell me, just what does?

By the way, this was not staged:

A Match Made in Wooden Crate., save the date: a beautiful May evening in 2036.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

my critic cap

I'm waxing Roger Ebert/Pauline Kael/some other uppity, wordy film critic today.
But FIRST: thank you  for the fun feedback on my first ever birth story in two parts. It was particularly gratifying to get compliments on my infant daughter's appearance in her first hours of life. Way shallow, right? Yes, but let me briefly explain: Sean and I thought Jordan was the most shockingly beautiful baby to ever grace any delivery room anywhere in all of time. Upon retrospective reflection, we were likely suffering from the common newparentitis. Then one of my sisters - she shall remain unnamed(anna) - on her first meet and greet with Jordan in the hospital, hedged "um, she looks kinda scary Jess..." WHAT. This child is insanely gorgeous. No child has ever touched the perfection embodied in this perfect five pound casing of perfection. Anyway, it was nice to have just a little affirmation. I don't expect you to agree with my overall assessment, but you'd just be wrong and I can't fault you for that. Nobody's perfect. Except Infant Jordan.

Alright, now what I'm here to talk to you about this handsome Thursday:
It's been a long-standing tradition of mine to gift my two youngest sisters with "sister dates" on their birthdays. We have dinner together and view a movie of their choice in theaters. It only took my second-to-the-youngest sister, Liv (15 years old), nearly five months to choose, but last week I got this in my email inbox:

Okay Jessie, I have finally figured out what I want to see for my birthday! It's a movie called "warm bodies." It's rated PG-13 for violence and language. It's supposed to be actiony, comedy, and romantic! So I would love to see it with you! when ever you are free, we should see it! 

Look at her, doing her research. No sexual content - what a pro. I remembered somewhere in the nearly abandoned recesses of my mind that I had seen a preview for this one...oh shoot. Another zombie movie. Man, those are on trend. Sigh. But this is what she wants to see, so of course there shall be no complaints from this end.

Here's the deal: it was actually pretty good! I was very pleasantly surprised. And remember this kid?

yeah, he looks like this now:

Well alright, probably not usually, but in zombie makeup he does. Anyway, the About a Boy theme song was running through my head nearly the whole movie. 

The briefest of synopses for you so you can halfway understand the obnoxious psychoanalysis that follows (I'm sorry, this is what I do. I'm completely overly analytical, particularly with all things cinema.): There has been some type of apocalyptic event that has divided the Earth between zombies and humans. The human survivors have holed themselves up behind this massive wall to protect themselves as best they can. Groups are sent out on intelligence detail to gather supplies, as well as intel on the zombies so as to figure out how best they can be defeated. One such detail meets a group of zombies, and hence their fate, with the exception of Julie (Teresa Palmer, who looks juuuhuuuhuust like Kristen Stewart), the human heroine of the story, who is saved by "R", the zombie hero. R forms an immediate attachment to Julie and protects her from the other zombies by smearing blood on her face so as to pass off as one of them. They're kind of dumb, the zombies. As the story progresses and R and Julie form a friendship, R becomes less zombie-esque and increasingly human-like.

I really couldn't tell you if it was intentional on the part of the writers and producers of this movie - especially given that the target audience, I assume, is teenage and young adult girls who are dragging their sorry bf's out on Valentine's Day - but this movie is actually laden with some great intertextuality. The message of the movie is pretty obvious, even just from watching the preview: love makes us "more human"; love makes the world a better place. Cheesy when put like that - but still true.

Then Livy pointed something out and she's right on: "R" and Julie.... Romeo and Juliet. If ever there were star-crossed lovers, it's gotta be the human girl and the zombie dude. There's even a balcony scene wherein Julie is leaning over the edge only to find R gazing up at her in the moonlight. Rest assured though, this is much more a rom-com than a Shakespearean tragedy. But the connection is assuredly there.

Lastly, there was a strong reference, I thought, to the Berlin Wall. The humongous wall in the movie separated the humans from zombies (understandable. safety first.) but it built up prejudice as well, since the Head Honcho zombie killer man guy (John Malkovich - classic) simply would not listen to Julie when she tries to convince him that the zombies are changing for the better - even when she presents R as proof. He is convinced that they could never change, and they all must be destroyed on sight. There's a further Berlin Wall connection but I'll save it in case you ever decide to see the movie.

Oh, and also, this movie had a pretty killer soundtrack. I had all but forgotten about Bob Dylan's gem Shelter from the Storm  (could NOT find a not-cover on YouTube. It doesn't exist.) but it is truly beautiful and I downloaded it to my phone right away. It reminded me that, as quintessential as Bob Dylan was to his own era, he was also ahead of his time. Which, to me, makes him timeless. He's also the most covered artist in history (literally) so...he's obviously got something people want. Anyway, the soundtrack had a great mix of some golden oldies and new stuff. Approve.

So our sister date was a great success, and Livy proclaimed it "top three movies. maybe even top two." Of course having nothing to do with the fact that she leaned over at least four times throughout the movie and whispered "Nicholas Hoult is really attractive." That's right people: my 15 year old sister does not say things like "hot" or "oh-my-gawd-sah-hawt" or "sexy," she says "attractive." Like a lady. But I'm still not ok with her thinking anyone is attractive. I changed this kid's diapers.

 There were never such devoted sisters.

We're pretty. 
(No really, isn't Livy a babe? The first pic is a better reference for that question, as we're making our stupid faces in this one...)

So, Warm Bodies: witty, comical, fresh, light - but unexpectedly layered. I give it an 85%, that's pretty solid. But just in case you don't trust me: Tomatometer = 77% critics (don't listen to them, they're only looking for Oscar material. Although 77% is still pretty good.) and 83% audience (that's us little people. We know what's up.)

Susan's sister date is up next. She's ten, so I'm thinking something along the lines of Diary of a Wimpy Kid 5.  We're all out of Harry Potters :(

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

birth: novella 2 of 2

Part 1 is's from yesterday so you could also just do a sideswipe on your phone with the same result.

I left off at about 2 on Friday afternoon. Doctor freaking us out, nurse freaking us out, contractions on top of one another and registering 10's and 11's on that contractionmeter thing, no progress. At this point the doctor started talking c-section. I had said when we first arrived that I wanted to go as naturally as possible, but my mind was wide open to the idea of epidural. My mom said they're a miracle and I believe in miracles and also in my mom. But now a c-section was on the table.

I'm not one of those women who had a hard-and-fast birth plan. I had read too many stories about how those get dashed to pieces. I didn't want a c-section, but if it was between the safety of my baby and my resistance to go under the knife, the choice was blatantly obvious. The doctor said she'd let me try and labor a little longer and I accepted the challenge, but by 4 I went all Elizabeth Banks in What to Expect When You're Expecting

 give me the juice

and I pansied out and got the epidural. The anesthesiologist was super nice, and distracted me with conversation while shanking me with the magical needle of painlessness. I was in the middle of a huge contraction and didn't even feel it. About ten minutes later, I was sitting up and chatting with my mom and Sean while Sean was monitoring my contractions on the meter, and he stared at me and said, "You didn't feel that?" and I bewilderingly asked "Feel what?" I had just had a 13. Welp, epidurals work, people.

By 5, the doctor called it. C-section is was. My baby's heartbeat was reaching alarming rates every time I had a contraction, which was really often. The heart monitor read like the Swiss Alps, and I still wasn't progressing even a little bit in the nether regions.

They didn't have to anesthetize me all over again, they just "extended" the epidural. I was fully conscious with just a curtain resting on my chest to shield me from the gore of my insides, and with Sean holding my hand right next to me. Sean decided against peering over the curtain - if you'll remember, he's squeamish - but when they lifted our baby, exclaimed "it's a girl", and rushed her over to get her cleaned, Sean followed them and accidentally caught sight of all my exposed organs. Fortunately he was too distracted by his fresh and tiny daughter but he admits "it was scarring."

The nurses put my angry child on the scale. From where I was I could read it myself: 5.0. What the heck? How was I so huge with preg weight and there was only 5 pounds of human in me? They brought my itsy bitsy daughter over and placed her next to my face, as my chest was otherwise occupied by my organs. I remember saying "Hi Jordan" and succumbing to salty tears for the briefest of moments, and then they whisked her away. I told Sean to go with her, and they kept me another hour while I was sewn back up. It was the longest hour.

Here's what Sean got to do while I was still in surgery. Luckyyy.

In the end it was the cord that was the culprit. It had made it's way around Jordan's neck twice and was squeezing my poor girl's windpipes every time a contraction hit. Always better to be safe than sorry, I think. I hate that I had to have a c-section, and undergo the recovery that they involve, but if having her naturally would have endangered her safety I never would have forgiven myself. As to her size, we don't know! Her umbilical cord was really skinny so the only operating theory was that she wasn't getting a ton of nutrition in utero. But she was a strong and healthy baby from the get-go, just itty bitty.

Jordan Elizabeth
August 5, 2011 * 5:35 p.m. * 5 lbs, 0 oz * 18.5 inches
affectionately nicknamed by all the nurses: "Peanut"

Monday, February 4, 2013

birth: novella 1 of 2

I've been feeling so festive lately, what with a child taking up space within me apparently equal to the size of a prune (why can't those books come up with cuter analogies? a prune, really?), that I've been giving some serious thought to...a birth story. They seem to be the thing to do, but I have never shared Jordan's here. There are a couple of reasons for that, which have led me to tack on some stipulations in the relation of the tale. You should know:

A. Sean reads this blog. And if you even say the word "cervix" (sorry Sean) to Sean his eyelids flutter with the threat of a faint. Sturdy stock this one.
Sturdy. Stock.

B. My dad reads this blog. My dad had to aid and abet in the processes of the 8 labors and births of his own children. I think the man's seen/heard/been through enough gore.

So if A:B as B:A then let C be:
This is not going to be a graphic story the stuff of which heroes are made. These facts will be accurate, but pared down for the sakes of certainly the only two males who read the philosophical workings featured herein.

Q. E. D. (quod erat demonstrandum: that which had to be demonstrated)
^one of the few things retained from my 2 years at a liberal arts college.^
that and my flawless and irrefutable logic. (right Sean?)


On a stifling Wednesday afternoon in early August of 2011, my OB performed a routine checkup of my "progress" (inference, people) and cheerfully suggested: "Oh, get comfortable! You've got a couple of weeks yet."

First of all "get comfortable at 39 1/2 weeks" is an oxymoron. And she should know that. Furthermore, what?? I was 5 days shy of my due date, and haven't they honed in on some exact science of due datery so as not to inspire false hope in a full term pregnant woman? No. They'd not.

Fast forward approximately 36 hours to Friday morning, August 5. Back in 2011, Sean had a job at which he worked 40 hours between Monday and Thursday, and then had a three day weekend. So he was still sawing logs when I woke up around 8 to - what else do you do at nearly 40 weeks? but - go to the bathroom. Only something was a bit off about the color of my pee... I called my mom and described it and she didn't sound worried but thought I should call my doctor just in case. I started whipping up some scrambled eggs as I phoned the office and spoke with a nurse. After a brief description, she said gingerly, "You know, that sounds like meconium. You should probably come in to the hospital."

It's not really in my nature to panic too much, but it is slightly(strongly) in Sean's, so when I went in to wake him up, I sat on the bed, rubbed his back and whispered, "Hey, good morning. I'm making scrambled eggs. It's a three day weekend! Oh, we should probably go to the hospital. Do you want some coffee?" Sean had kept his eyelids firmly and stubbornly shut for the first three sentences and they FLEW open at the fourth. Like a cartoon.

We never got around to the scrambled eggs, (which later we found out you should ALWAYS eat before the hospital because they.don' and the half-whipped batch sat on the counter and made for a pleasant smell on our arrival home. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We got to the hospital in twenty minutes, found our way up to labor & delivery, and they got me a super flattering gown.

 the great white whale

The nurses confirmed that there had been a meconium leak (to which we were like, "huh?" and nurse was like "the baby pooped in there" and Sean was like "ew.") and that I'd be staying until a baby materialized. The thing was, I hadn't even had so much as a Braxton-Hicks contraction, like, ever. Nothing had started at all. By this time it was 9:30 or so.

The nurses started me on Pitocin and by 11 I was in serrrrious labor. And by that I mean pain. Because ouch, why didn't someone tell me? Labor sucks. By about 1 or 1:30 I was being hit with contractions one on top of the other on top of the other yet SOMEHOW, I was not progressing at all. The doctor on call was new to the OB practice I'd been going to throughout my pregnancy, so I'd never met her. Sean and I both agreed: cold and calculated. She was professional and all, but she made us so so anxious. Which you probably shouldn't do to a laboring woman? She would check that little graph thingy that charts the baby's heartbeat and would mutter "hm. I do not like this heartbeat. This heartbeat... hm." AND THAT WAS IT. She didn't elaborate. Of course we were asking all types of questions and wondering if our baby was ok, and she'd just fumble something about the heartbeat shooting way up past 200 when a contraction started, then plummet down to the 80s when it ended. Um ok. Now I'm panicked.

Somewhere in the midst of this a nurse had felt up my belly and proclaimed out of the blue: "oh you've got a little peanut in there! This one's going to be tiny." In no previous doctor's appointments had anyone said the baby was undersized. So now I really felt great. Labor room = panic room.

Are you on the edge? Great. Cuz I'm gonna break here.
Until tomorrow then! Mwa ha ha.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Side Effects

So, I'm pregnant. What does this mean for me? Aside from the promise of  horribly intense pain quelled by the miracle of epidural  in about 7 months? I'll tell you of my journey, which has thus far mirrored my previous amble down Gestation Way exactly. (Including the part where I didn't know I was pregnant when I went to a holiday party, drank more than was prudent for one who is carrying a child, and found out I was pregnant two days later. Uncanny.)

I am one of the fortunate few(?) who do not suffer from morning/afternoon/evening/dark hours of the night sickness. Don't hate me please, for I really do realize how lucky I am. I've had friends who are just completely laid out by their first trimester. Perhaps my anti-vom disposition is genetic though: I inherited my distaste-verging-on-fear of nausea from my father (who has a running bet with a friend about how long they can go without tossing cookies - the record, I believe, is 15 years), and my constitution to stand strong against it from my mother. Eight kids, and nary a day of throw up in that six collective years of being pregnant. Her battle was extreme fatigue though: she once fell asleep in the drive-thru at El Pollo Loco, and I, the ten-year-old nerdfest that I was at that age (and ages prior and hence), was reading some book or another in the front seat. So who knows how long that employee was hanging halfway out of the drive-thru window dangling our food and waiting for us to pull up?

However. I am hungry- nay, starving- nay, voracious- nay, Jordan give me that animal cracker or I'll eat it and a couple pudge fingies right off of your hand.

That's me on the left out to lunch with my transvestite friends David and Adam.

Seriously, it feels like a tiny little something is floating through my body and methodically eating me from the inside out. That's more or less what's happening yes? (I clearly have a good read on what the incubation process is all about.)

The other day, Sean had fortuitously timed his getting home from work with my getting home from the store, and as he handed Jordan to me and walked toward the front seat to retrieve our groceries, he inquired amiably, "How are you feeling?" My reply of "RAVENOUS" was timed perfectly with his opening the car door and viewing the box of Annie's Homegrown Organic Bunny Classics (that I had purchased for Jordan) torn completely asunder, with a good 25% missing. I hadn't quite bothered with conventional channels of opening snack boxes, but instead had ripped apart the bottom, which not only does not have a re-closing tab (but who needs those anyway?), but also makes it difficult to read how many calories there were per 6 servings that I had consumed.

For whatever reason, I've actually shed 4 pounds since being pregnant. This happened with Jordan as well in my first trimester. I guess my spanking new in-utero babies have an innate survival mode switch, compelling them to seek out and annihilate my stranded-on-a-desert island reserve that I've always kept on hand belly. It also might be due to the fact that I really try and eat healthier when pregnant. I make good attempt to do that anyways, but when I'm channeling my every bite directly into another human being, it gives me an extra sense of responsibility.

What has been saving me (and what I've been making on repeat for the last few weeks) is my good ol' Caprese. It's only one of my favorite things in the entire world, which is odd because it's so very healthy. The added bonus is it would be all but impossible for me to screw it up since it is a ridiculously easy and speedy process.

A tomato (of any variety you like), a wedge of mozzarella, and a handful of fresh basil leaves play the starring roles in this award-winning presentation. Basil, will you marry me? You're so fresh and so fine.

Olive oil, balsamic vinegar and ground black pepper are critical to the supporting cast.

Here's the finished product because I really don't you need instructions past: cube, slice, drizzle, grind, enjoy. In whatever tomato to mozzarella to basil to oil/vinegar/pepper proportions you desire. And BY THE WAY, I'm so glad I thought of this smashed avocado on whole wheat toast thing. No, not like I invented it, but thought to do it. With just the stingiest layer of butter and a healthy slather of ripe avocado, topped with a hint of kosher salt, my baby is basking in the sunshine of Omega 3's. And loving life.

This is what happens five minutes after you make this meal:

 that last bit there, he didn't make it.

and isn't it a good thing your husband HATEShates both avocado and tomato so you don't have to share? And that your 18-monther likes her tomatoes plain Jane, if you please? It's a good thing for me. I made Sean scrambled eggs, he was fine.

Between that and keeping fruit on hand at all times, I'm hoping to not blow up like a bouncy house like I did with Jordan. Seriously. My fingers were like Polish sausages. Jordan's babyweight and this baby's babyweight are overlapping as it is, so let's keep the good thought shall we?