Monday, August 26, 2013

all quiet on the laboring front

I wish I had other news than that. I hadn't been feeling particularly antsy throughout this pregnant journey...until the last few days. I've employed quite a few of Ana's natural labor inducing tricks and am working up the courage to try the castor oil one. I think I just watched too many Shirley Temple flicks growing up and have a highly immature fear of the taste, as Shirley and all the other orphans forced to partake in this natural remedy do.

Friday morning found my sister Audrey and I observing Jordan in the throes of toddler indoor parkplay. We chased that premium rush with an aggressive mall jaunt, with hopes (on my part anyway) of getting some labor started. I had a gnarly contraction hit, in which I stopped to suck wind as Audrey's eyes bugged 10 centimeters instantaneously. She cautiously asked in hushed undertones "Jess, are you going to give birth in this Anthropologie?" For the splittingest of seconds, this sounded vastly appealing. There could be no more beautiful, soothing bedding options for the birthing process than those found in Anthro, and those exquisite pajama sets would be infinities better than a fugly hospital gown. But I feel like I could be blacklisted or something if I gave that a shot. And where would I go when I'm jonesing for imaginery home d├ęcor inspiration? Besides, it was a fluke contraction. Jordan and I proceeded to give Auds our 4 cents on some gawgeous skirts and dresses.

Sean, Jordan and I ambled down to the Starbucks around the corner from us on Saturday. Round trip it was probably 1 1/2 miles (#hardcore #wowdontoverdoitjess)...still to no avail. I really thought this trip would help too, considering the way back was all uphill. No dice. I even participated in Sean and Jordan's swim session - something I usually sit out since one of the prerequisites is swimming attire - and floated up and down the pool on my back with my belly a full 6 inches out of water. Jordan kept wondering if I was "seeping, mama?" which is actually a fairly genius idea, thanks girlfriend. I might sneak down there after hours and partake in my nightly not-rest in a state of complete weightlessness. Far more relaxing than a right-to-left flip-flop in 15 minute intervals, can I get an amen?

And then there was Sunday. My aunt gave Sean and I movie passes, and we took our opportunity for a last date before we're reconciled to hermitage for the next few weeks. We saw a matinee of

which rang true to all elements of a Pegg/Frost collab, and was really freaking funny. Sean and I laughed audibly throughout, which is pretty uncommon for us stodgies. (Awful language, some innuendo, no sex scenes, FYI. If you like Shaun of the Dead and/or Hot Fuzz - which I do - you're absolutely certain to like this one.)
Throughout our weekend peppered with light errands and lighter exercise, I received sporadic sock-to-the-gut contractions, and several very sweet texts from various friends and family members inquiring about progress and well-being. Gosh, I'm surrounded by the nicest people. Allll my concentration is on starting labor today, because I'm kinda running out of time. Oh, and because Sean told me yesterday that he was "very disappointed" in me for not having this baby yet, since he consequently had to go to work this morning. Well. There's that. After a "YOU'RE disappointed?! You're disappointed?!" or seven on my part, he assuaged the offense with a back and shoulder rub. Forgiven.
Unless this baby is planning a career in professional camping, I'd venture a guess this is my last post as a mother of one (one ex-utero, that is). Any spare prayer will be greatly appreciated, and let's all commence internal chant: VBAC, VBAC, VBAC. It's catchy.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

i need a bullseye and i suck at darts

you never realize how much toothpaste your toddler has splattered across your mirror until you take a selfie

Here's the skinny. (<--- irony is my favorite.) My due date is tomorrow and I had a doctor's appointment yesterday. In answer to her query, I'm feeling fine really, but with a healthy dose of pressure at the base of that prodigious belly. I've been interpreting this to mean the baby is dropping, but my doctor tells me I'm not at all dilated. Fine, okay.

...and then she tells me: she's going out of town beginning tonight and through Sunday. Wait, there's more. My parents are leaving for a cruise for their 30 year anniversary (30! Aren't they amazing?) starting a week from tomorrow. Hold on, I'm not done. My sister Mary departed for a wedding in France a couple of days ago and won't be back from her Tour de Europe until October. I've got a couple more kickers: Sister Right-Hand Audrey leaves for college a week from today,(what are the chances of my talking her out of pursuing higher education? It's for the birds, says I. I need her.) while Sister Left-Hand Anna will be dropping her off via road trip, accompanied by my brother Luke - the last remaining sibling eligible to take care of Jordan for extended periods of time. They'll be back Sunday the 2nd-ish. I'm pulling a Dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding right now:

Why you want to leeeave me??

This all wouldn't feel like such a big deal, were I not attempting a VBAC with this baby. That's [Birth via who-ha] After Cesarean. (I have an unhealthy fear of the clinical names for all parts private. My siblings and I have an extended list of euphemisms that honestly are probably much more disturbing than the true words but, comfort levels, friends.) Jordan was an emergency c-section, if you'll remember. And it took a good deal of research, switching of insurance plans, and pros v. cons weighing over the last seven, eightish months to find a doctor who was willing to let me even attempt a VBAC, (insurance and liability and hospital policies for those are a b, as I found out) let alone a doctor who I really really really like, and have put up with a terrible commute and office disorganization from hell to see and build a rapport with. If I go in to labor this weekend when she's not here I shall crumple into a heap of contractions and emotions. She assures me "our plan" will still be in place with the doctor on call, but I haven't met her and I'm not big on strangers all up in my lady regions.

So, don't come this weekend baby. But please come before Tuesday afternoonish, because I'll still have helping hands to take care of your sister during our hospital stay. Do you see the dilemma? I'm priming my uterus for labor commencement late Sunday evening, with a skip on over to the hospital perhaps in the wee hours of Monday morning, and a son in my arms by Monday afternoon, if you please. 

Snort, cackle, chortle. Anyone who's given birth knows that birth plans are basically useless. A curve ball will be thrown, that's a promise, and when you're toting a belly like the above you can't expect your dodgeball skills to be particularly Vince Vaughn-esque. 

I don't know. I haven't been particularly nervous up to this point. I leave all that to Sean. 
"So you're sure they'll have crash c-section team on site?" "Why don't you just let them slice & dice? Then you won't even have to labor!" "The hospital's 45 minutes away, what if we don't get there in time?" 
a) Yes. b) I am not recovering from a c-section again, if I can help it. It really sucks. And don't say slice & dice. c) Well, sometimes you just gotta get down with a car birth.
But now I'm weaving a timeline from some tenuous scheduling conflict threads and as my mind wanders to all the different scenarios I start to freak out a lotta bit when all I really want to do is lay on our uncomfortable couch and hug a pillow and browse Pinterest and wait for labor. But what if we have to bring Jordan with us and she witnesses the birth of her brother? That's scarring. Or what if the on-call doctor isn't really amenable to VBACs and forces the c-section issue? That's frustrating. Or we have Jordan in the hospital and she's being a nightmare and Sean is wrangling her in the waiting room and I give birth alone and he misses the birth of his son? That's... unlikely. What if A, B, C, X, Y, Z, gamma, epsilon, omega? The possibilities are boundless in the overactive imagination of a pregnant.

I guess what I'm saying is: if you have a moment to offer a very specific time-stamped prayer in the vein of my proposed timeline above, I'd be grateful. Thank you. I'm focusing all my chi on it, but I'm not quite sure what chi is so my efforts are likely fairly fruitless. Anyway, I'll be here (here being: papasan chair with narrow pillow wedged at the base of my back and cushy pillow behind my head and attractively swollen ankles parked on the ottoman) since I'm not mustering much more energy these days than to simply keep Jordan fed and watered and freshly-mmmm-maybe-semi-freshly diapered, so I'll just go ahead and keep you guys posted k?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

how i wish

how I wish you were here.
you're just one small soul swimmin' in a fish bowl
month after month

Ok, not one of the better interpretative lyrical riffs on the best Floyd song that there is, but this tune has been in my head everyday for the last few simply because...I kinda wish this baby were here already. And my belly does a dead-on impression of a large fish bowl so - you can see how my mind arrived at this juncture. No? Go with it. It's a good song.

Tell me if this is a common SAHM problem: I feel like I'm kinda slammed all day long. I feel like there's always something that needs to be done. I'm going and going, and find myself hitting the mattress at the end of it all in a state of mental and physical collapse. But also, I feel a little bit like I have nothing to do? I'm thinking it's because I associate having "something to do" with having interaction with articulate humans, whereas most of the last couple of weeks have seen me milling around the apartment or attending the odd soiree at Target for the sole purpose of a change in venue and a toilet paper run. And while Jordan's vernac is increasing by leaps and bounds, to qualify her as "articulate" may be an overstepping.

All that said, Jordan and I have been casting around the county, coming up with sundry errands that are mostly inventive excuses to hit up a more hipster coffee shop than Starbucks and to frolic seaside in only a diaper:

^ the original purpose of this errand was to donate some duplicates I've accrued of baby clothes and blankies and things to our local Life Center, buuuut we might have detoured ten miles or so for a spicy mocha latte and a pier jaunt. ^

^ and here we have "seek out a competitively priced pair of Grecians which are hopefully swank enough for a black tie wedding, because a Haagen Dazs ice cream bar has better survival odds in Jessie's hands than those of her donning heels for 2+ minutes" with a slight deviation down the LMFAO aisle ^

Yes, yes. We've been wearing many hats these last couple weeks.

Not figuratively.

The news of my life is that I instagrammed that bottom photo and shouted out to Natalie... and she answered me. Would you like a sound effect from that moment? "Eeeeep!!"

actual caption recap - 
jessiemariepope: J-Liz with an adventurous hat a la @natthefatrat
natthefatrat: she's working it!

So that happened.

Other than that, our lives have been uneventful with a side of sister thrifting

(try and tell me you don't want that two dolla turkey on your bounteous table of thanks this year)

and a hint of fountain park shenans

for the life of her she couldn't pick up on the fact that the water was shooting out of those metal discs, 
and therefore she kept stepping directly on to the geysers and getting waterboarded

I'm pretty positive you weren't looking for a photo dump but regrettably, that's all I have. It's either that or a crap ton of Pinterest recipes. I am making an effort to gather as many as f-i-v-e favorites for Hallie's tomorrow because it's been awhile, and so far I've come up with...none favorites. Stay tuned for that riveter. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

ok i'm ready now

I had my (now weekly) check-up yesterday. As with Jordan, my doctor essentially told me to "get comfortable." I'm not technically due until next week so I wasn't expecting to be shuttled to the hospital or anything, but it's still not the most fun thing to hear at this particularly progressed point.

Especially because - I'm done! My projects are complete. Commence proverbial thumb twiddling. Half the apartment has been Goodwilled, furniture has been completely shifted from original setting, the patio is blossoming in it's glorious revamp, my "bedside nursery" is fully operational with side-table-turned-changing-table and nightlights et al, and lo, my hospital bag is packed. Jordan and I fill our mornings with menial errands and then while she naps I'm given to fits of running the dishwasher twice in a row and vacuuming our freshly steam-cleaned carpet. Also, I cook meals now apparently. Who Am I.

Really though, I feel okay about waiting this last little bit. I'm antsy to meet this guy, (and since my belly is frequently taking the form of shark-riddled waters with a rogue foot or arm sliding its way up and down the entire area, I'd say he's feeling out an escape route as well) but it's been pretty nice having this time with Jordo. Her budding conversational skills have me chortling hourly (upon The Prince of Egypt's frequent outbursts into song, I'm firmly instructed to "nance" with her allll around the living room; her new pronunciation of "truck" is especially disconcerting on the freeway where there seem to be "big **cks mommy!!!" just about everywhere) and I really feel like we've had a good little stretch to examine each other more closely as mother and daughter. When I was working it was go! go! breakfast, play-clothes, car, bye!! then, ok here's your dinner and off to bed with you! Now we take it slow, the day unfolds organically and little errands crop up to keep us busy. It's kinda great.

I guess what I mean is: ok baby, show yourself. But also, thanks for giving me a little time to spend with your sister...and to exorcise the nesting demons. I'm done, and you're welcome anytime.

The following is proof of all my projecting. Snore, I know. I neglected to take "before" pics so here are old ones I dug up in an attempt to show the previous layout:

couch nemesis
what Sean sent me when he was in the middle of disposing of the sectional from hell

And now, with the layout flipped (couch where TV and bookshelves were, and vice versa)

 pregnant toes cameo
gallery wall (I'm so OCD about that blank spot on the left. Still have a couple frames left to get) and new black couch outfitted with ugly, already-owned-these pillows. 

Full disclosure, that couch is super uncomfortable. It'll be better once I get proper, not-hideous pillows, but I guess you just get what you pay for with furniture. And this was cheeeaaap. I do like its lines and the clean, sleek black, but dang, I wish it didn't feel like a bench in a prison yard.

Miscellaneous enterprises

 I created a coffee nook for Sean next to the oven, instead of sprawled in the middle of the main counter as it was before.
 Child, you shall sleep in that rocker, and you shall be changed 87+ times a night on that side table, 
then you shall feast beside me as I attempt to return to slumber, and finally you shall be returned to that rocker.
Hey there hospital bag. You and I have a date. It's coming soon.

So, apologies for all the "projects" posts but they've been dominating my life. Now I'm done and I'll try to dig up something marginally more thought provoking. Or maybe I'll just have a baby and post 1200 newborn photos. Which do you prefer?

Monday, August 12, 2013

a biscuit, a basket

Good morning, happy Monday. Reporting to you live from my papasan chair, where our living room is still bare of the couch we ordered on eBay almost 2 weeks ago and was due last Tuesday. Hmmm... should I be scared? Sean's been watching TV from a bed of pillows on the floor while I kick up my pregnant feet on the ottoman, and he's scared. He insists it's just not coming, and we were robbed. I can't seem to get the tracking number I was given to actually track so...1 star for you eBay seller. Unless our couch never shows, in which case, I'm reporting you eBay seller.

What I really checked in to say was...biscuits. Not in a faux cussing homeschooly type of way, like in a "hey, I've made this biscuit recipe 4 times in the last 3 weeks" type of way. And now I want to share it with you because they're flipping delicious.

Jordan started rejecting our smoothie ritual recently, which makes me very sad. I love smoothies, and I think what I do is I get on a kick and do repeat breakfasts until Jordan recoils in disgust at the very whir of the blender or scramble of an egg yolk. (Scrambled eggs had to be retired too, a little while ago. We've recovered from it though and it's back in limited rotation and with a heaping serving of ketchup. Ew.)

And have I learned that Jordan's increasingly spoiled palette needs variation and excitement? Yes, I've learned in theory. In practice, I still attach myself to recipes for weeks at a time until Jordan puts her stubby foot down and I spend an hour coaxing her to finish a banana berry smoothie that has turned gray. So on to the next, and the next is biscuits.

Because, BISCUITS. Oh my gosh, they're so easy. The ingredients come together in 5 minutes, and they bake in ten. They are so so good, and highly adaptable.

I'm going to impart this AllRecipes recipe almost to the letter, but I've been playing around with variations that I'll tell you a little about too. It says it takes 1/2 hour to make these but ppssh, if you're oven's preheated this baby takes half that. So do that first: preheat your oven to 450.

The needs:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup milk

*the recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar - which I hear is essential for a true Southern biiiskit - but I didn't have any and a ton of the reviews said they preferred it without, so I have never!! used it. gasp.

The deeds:

You should have preheated your oven by now. 450, like I told you. And now things get super difficult: combine the dry ingredients. Whisk the melted butter and milk separately, then add them to the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until combined. No need to overwork it.

Take a break, you're going to need it after all of that. Then take that tablespoon you used for the baking powder, and scoop generous heaps of dough on to a greased baking sheet. You will have 12 biscuits pretty much perfectly.

pre-baked goods

The recipe says "8-12 minutes" and 10 minutes has worked fabulously for me every time. They're just golden brown on the bottoms, while moist and slightly cakey inside.

baked and risen to delectability

I slap on butter while they're still warm (the best!!) and take mine with strawberry preserves. I give Jordan the choice between that and Trader Joe's fig butter and it's never not been fig butter for her.

The only variances I've performed upon these perfect biscuits is to swap out one teaspoon of white sugar for one teaspoon of brown sugar, so it's half and half. I then somewhat generously sprinkled cinnamon into the mix without measuring it, resulting in a more muffiny flavor that boded well with jams. Methinks the original recipe is still better. But I'd like to health these up a bit (considering our frequent visitation to the Land of Biscuit) and have been considering swapping in almond flour for all purpose. Anyone have a good conversion rate on those two?

I can't wait for things to turn slightly autumnal in a month, when I shall gleefully sprinkle a considerable handful of cheddar and perhaps a dab of onion powder in and serve with a spicy crockpot chili. Tell me that doesn't send some autumn tingles up your spine. No? How about if I whisper "...pumpkin spice latte..." and get your brain chewing on that prospect? Now you can't wait. 

Onnnly problem with these is I can't not get Jason Aldean's danged Dirt Road Anthem in my head when making them. Not because I like country, because I'm sorry... I do not. But Sean does - really does - and I've heard that song A THOUSAND TIMES. And apparently, Jason Aldean

likes cornbread and biiiscuits,
and if it's broke 'round here [he] fiiiiix it.

He also kinda looks like a d.b. in that music video, and he squints a lot, and I'm 110% sure he's wearing eyeliner. I'm sorry if I've offended any Aldeaniacs. 

Despite that unfortunate connection my brain tends to make, it cannot deter from the delish of the biscuit, so they are in rotation until Jordan chucks fig butter in my face. I'm going to make some right now, because Jason is already in my head so might as well not waste the occasion.

Friday, August 9, 2013

drumroll 3+ months in the making

Remember I said this half past forever ago? And then I made these (ok fine, mostly my Aunt Mary made them) in a zealous fit of stick-to-it-tiveness? Well, it's only taken me over three months to follow through, but I do have a patio reveal for you. You can chalk it up to nap time productivity of a newly freed stay-at-home mom and/or 37 weeks of pregnant crazy, but I finally have my sanctuary.

This is what "sanctuary" looks like when it's in death's throttle:

 nothing says "homey" like a pine needle ridden burlap runner
 Sean's & my attempt at keeping plant life: a "living" Christmas tree. that's dead.

 if you plant succulents, people can't see the squalor

So basically you'd probably contract a disease from stepping out on to our "patio," or as I affectionately think of it, the stoop of agony. Perhaps you can sympathize with what took so long to clean this crap up. 

Projects along the way:

after three trips to the dumpster

 before of free swing-arm eyesore
 during of armless swing-arm eyesore
new grayish BBQ station

Our kickass landlady, with whom I have a special rapport (we're always pregnant together) had our patio repainted at no cost, presumably because she understands the frantic desperation of nesting. So the pine needle stains, rain and tree sap residue, and overall yuck of the patio floor was stricken from our record.

Then I repainted our table frame the same color as that swing-arm table above, threw out the chairs which I'm preeeetty sure were purchased before I was born (the set is a hand-me-down from my grandparents), nailed up the bike (which Sean insists! he'll ride again one day...I tried twice or twelve times to throw it out or Craigslist it), and yesterday finished up the several miscellaneous projects that were keeping me from posting my after photos. I potted succulents; hung the AMAZING portable Ball jar display which my friend Kimmy made - made! - by hand, and will eventually host my herb garden; and jerry-rigged some hangers out of rubber bands and thumb tacks from which the broom and mop are suspended.

I think that was proper ado, so without any further:

 view from the sliding door
 newly spray painted IKEA lamp with my hard-to-kill succulent choices
 the man station
 the man station extended (oh hey, I sewed that curtain by myself!)
jealous of my herb vessels? you should be. Jordan's outfit choices?...
...I told her not to go "ow-yide" without her shoes on, so naturally...

 stage left, and
stage right