Monday, July 29, 2013


Look at this dump. Can you believe we were forced to spend our weekend here? The horror and injustice.

We just came back from our annual family gathering up in Lake Arrowhead, in which we celebrate the July and August birthdays in the family. Sean, Jordan and I slept at my parents' homey cabin nestled among pines and redwoods, which is heavy on rustic cabin charm, but rather light on space. Therefore the majority of activities and hang time occurs at my aunt's sprawling cabinmansion (the two top photos) that too, has mountainy appeal (*see mounted albino buffalo and antelope heads), but also comes with lake view, extraordinary deck space and - best of all - dock privileges and boat rides!

lakeside bathing beaut - unstaged
a most feminine little lifejacket. you should see the shark on the front.
fun for days with the aunts on the island. Jordan loved this thing.

The kid kept trying to plunge herself over the side of the raft because apparently she's attempting to will herself into buoyancy. (Ask me how swim lessons are going sometime.) Although, I'm not totally sure her non-swimfriendly diaper wouldn't just keep her afloat with how much that puppy expanded when submerged. Between her aunts, uncles, great-aunts and grandparents, and all the spoiling and attention that accompanies that crowd, Jordan's weekend was lakeside luxury with a side of boating bliss:

Jordan as Captain - a mistake of titanic proportions
her dock kicks echo sweet Justin Timberlake-esque loafers. in neon pink.

Aunt Mary and Jordan are boating partners for life. Check this one from last year:
(with boyfriend James who was in Norway this year so couldn't make the trip)

My lovely longtime friend Christina, who has come with us to Arrowhead most years since I was in high school, was able to come up with her charming new English husband. Christina's been living in New Zealand the last year and a half (where she met and married said husband) so it was so great to catch up and carry on old traditions - like the sisters + Christina late-late-night lake plunge. (or in my much-too-pregnant case, lake wade via dock ladder as opposed to dramatic cannonball. Jessie's belly: making waves on the east, west and southernmost shores.) 

Plus, I forgot how many compulsions Christina and I share:

Christina and I spent an hour and a half after Jordan went to bed putting away her crayons in color gradient order. It was a project that drew concerned glances and murmurs from uneasy family members, along with more than a few "you know Jordan is just going to dump all those out tomorrow morning"s, but...worth it. My nesting proclivities were satiated and my OCD reveled in its like company. Shhhhh.

I always have the best time on these weekends. My sisters are so wonderful about stealing Jordan away for novel activities or little swimming sessions so I can finish a conversation and a Mike's Hard Lemonade in peace. And experiencing the enjoyment and beauty of the lake through Jordan's newer eyes is something else. Every splash is accompanied by a shriek and every dunk by a giggle. She just goes, goes, goes, goes and goes in a seemingly tireless fashion until that face hits the portacrib mattress, and I realize that maybe the Energizer bunny was running on delirium for the last couple hours. 

And so it was homeward bound last night but not without a forty minute put-the-car-in-park traffic delay due to a semi being sprawled across the only two lanes of the mountain highway. No worries though: we just pumped the Fleetwood Mac with my sisters, while my dad and remaining siblings in the van a couple cars back from us just walked back and forth exchanging anecdotes and traffic updates:

the faces of sane, well-rested individs

Have a good Monday. Let the "last week of work before Jessie's maternity leave" countdown begin in your minds and hearts, as it has in mine. Friday is lightyears away.

Friday, July 26, 2013

both sweet and bitter

A week from today is my last day of work before maternity leave. 7 days. But with the way the last couple weeks have been going it's gonna feel more on par with 7 millennia. And I only exaggerate .0000000023% of the time so you can trust my similes absolutely.

It's not that I haven't been busy enough at work to solicit my rapt attention, or that my work is especially painful in any way. It's that - and I may be/probably will be eating these words in 8 days or so - I can't wait to have nothing to do but to spend the very last of the Jordan-only days with Jordan, only. (Ok fine, I also have to pick up and purify this pit of an apartment and do countless things in preparation for baby and set up a bedside nursery that will suffice as this kid's sleeping arrangement for the next few months and finish 763 started-and-neglected projects and pack a hospital bag and purge the last of unneeded and unwanted crap so there's room to breath around here but, potato potato.)

It's the end of an era. Never again will Jordan be the only. Which is so, so grand by the way. I'm thrilled to the core to see her become a big sister and to expand this little family. To see Sean become a dad all over again, and to have a newborn just melt into body in the way only snuggly and helpless newborns can. But I have this overly keen sense of nostalgia about pretty much all things, and to be so sharply aware that a pivotal period in my life is coming to an end gets me a little weepy. I wish I meant figuratively but, so it goes with the hormones and the mood swings and the pregnant not-sanity.

Just look

That's Sean accentuating the importance to "cheeewww" the saltwater taffy as Jordan piledrives hand over pudgy fist

I mean, what buds these guys are. And what a treat to add to their exclusive posse another little deviant that will jump on the bed while Mom is obliviously washing the dishes; hide behind doors and scare said unsuspecting, long-suffering Mom; splash about in the pool nightly; watch '80s music videos on YouTube. But these two years of just he and she: they will be treasured and preserved in my memory and in the massive photo folders as that time Sean and I learned about a whole new type of love and bond. It's crazy different from anything that came before it and it is a mother of a ride.

So yes, 300 months pregnant as I may look and feel, I have ambitious plans to make the last two, three-ish weeks before this buddy makes his entrance stage-birth canal the ultimate for the Jo. Zoo trips, cookie baking, marathon coloring sessions, playdates et al. I know she knows something's up, she senses change, and she's reacting accordingly.

But she can cling all she wants for now, because the concept of "share" that she's been struggling with is about to get a lllllot harder. Cling on, Captain. Cling on.

Monday, July 22, 2013

the girlfriend

Two weeks from today, Jordan will begin her journey into the glorious age that is two. While her temperament is already occasionally flavored with the stereotypes that accompany this age bracket

she really is mostly so much fun, and I wanted to commemorate a few of the things that she's been saying (saying!! woot!) that have had me and Sean roffling. 

Jordan has a hilarious and actually kind of selective speech impediment. As of right now, she can't really say her k's and ck's. This is most amusingly manifested when she's pointing out "truts" on the freeway, when she wants to "rea boots" to me, and when she sees my brother smoking and thinks it's "yutty, ew, yutty." But then she has no problem saying "ok mom" or "okie dokie dad." So...?? She also may have a slight English accent. She always wants to hold Hans in the car, and it took me a moment to realize that she wasn't looking to embrace some blond German dude straight out of Die Hard, but to endearingly interlace fingers with me.

Jordan is not a woman of much tact.

The other day Sean brought her in to bed to cuddle with us in the morning, and she went straight for my shirt, lifted it up, pointed at the belly button that is now flesh with the rest of my prodigious stomach, and said frankly "ew Mommy." Then when playing affectionately with my hair a few days ago, while my dad looked on, she decided her grandpa needed some special scalp treatment too. She reached and pulled his hat off, explored his head and turned it in different directions looking and failing to find enough hair to gather into a handful, and promptly informed him: "uh oh Papa." 

If you're a mother, then I think you're probably familiar with the sense of utter triumph that comes with successfully deciphering what your toddler is trying to convey, when the word doesn't sound really remotely like the real deal. Jordan is very intuitive about knowing that she's babbling her own speak that I won't be able to understand, and knowing when she's trying her hand at a real human word that I say on the daily. Meaning: she repeats and repeats and repeats with never-changing inflection until I successfully translate. I recently put a plate of barbecued chicken in front of her and she machine gunned "yoss! yoss! yoss! yoss!" while pointing emphatically at the fridge. Guys, I was at a loss. What the flip is yoss? So I gumshoed my way through the indicators: bbq chicken, fridge, Jordan's affinity for...bbq sauce. I was so proud of myself for figuring this one out. The kid wanted sauce. Just like she really likes playing "yide" which is outside, so apparently y's pass for s's around these parts.

Jordan's first full sentence was "I don't want to" (which sounded more like eyeohawnto but the meaning was clear) which was kind of a bummer, yet characteristically toddler, of a first sentence to have spoken to me. But I find that Jordan wants a lot more than she doesn't want (also characteristically toddleresque). "I wah rea." "I wah my shoesies." "I wah yoss." "I wah beats (beach)." "I wah beenty (binky - still haven't successfully weaned. Don't judge me.)" The sentences are coming along just that she knows what "want" means.

on a "wot" (walk) with dad in new "shoesies" and leftover ketchup "yoss" on her face from her scrambled eggs breakfast

I think what cracks me up most about this stage is the calculation and frustration that accompanies the endeavors to pronounce things correctly. There are some words that Jordan just flat out can't wrap her tongue around, simple as they seem. L's are insurmountable. My brother Luke and sister Liv are greeted with a diplomatic and trailed off "hi!...." where everyone else gets their names (botched renditions though they may be) attached to the salutation.

There is also a very deliberate spacing of words at this particular point in her speech development. Jordan pauses for effect between each term, maybe to make sure we're comprehending? Beer is "daddy...shewsh (juice)"; when we go on family wots together she needs to hold both "mommy...hahn" and "daddy...hahn"; and I am given fair warning upon diaper change commencement that she has "yutty...poops, mom." How considerate.

But without a doubt, the winner is a newly acquired phrase that flies in the face of her prejudice against the letter L. Guess what Jordan just told me the other day. "Luhlu, Mom."

I luhlu too Jordan.
I really do.

Thursday, July 18, 2013


Today I'm here to debunk and to validate some long-standing, traditional myths. Some of these may seem more obvious than others, but people are gullible. I'm just here to help clear things up.


It's a nice story, but I'm pretty sure the Loch Ness monster is the product of some Scottish guys stumbling out of a pub, glancing over to the Loch, and witnessing a peacock taking an evening dip. Maybe it was chomping savagely on a catfish. They agreed it had to be a prehistoric monster, rumor got around, and all the sudden anonymous tips and sightings were being wired in to the local paper. Classic snowball syndrome. The facts and evidence are shaky, but the fan base is hardcore and pretty much awesome. Plus, they've got Napoleon in their camp


Honestly I think my dad and uncle may have started this legend when they went on their surfing trip around the world in the '70s. They grew out their beards and luscious 'fros, didn't apply sunscreen, looked positively wild, and were tramping through jungles and forests looking for undiscovered surf spots. They looked eerily similar to the above. Some poor Chilean probably spotted them and freaked out and BAM. Sasquatch is born.


If Jordan can understand complex sentences like "As soon as you finish your carrots, you can have a popsicle." or "If you bring me your shoes, we can go see Aunt Anna." without any gesticulations or helpful indicators, she can certainly comprehend "Jordan, pick up your books." The whole cocking the head to the side in feigned confusion is not working.


This is NO MYTH. I have hardcore pregnancy brain. A cop-out, you say? Then let me offer evidence:

a) I've been married nearly three years. The other day while filling out a form I signed my maiden name. I haven't done that since my second week of marriage.

b) I've been making smoothies for Jordan and I almost every morning. I wash and assemble the blender each evening for easy smoothie composition the next day. The other day I started the blender and lovely hues of blackberry-Greek yogurt-purples started spilling out the bottom. Because I didn't twist the parts together.

c) Sean reminded me to call my dad on his birthday. (I promise I would've remembered eventually, Dad.)

d) I couldn't remember if I'd paid Jordan's babysitter, started freaking out, and almost double paid them. Good thing they're honest.

e) I forgot my last doctor's appointment and had to reschedule. But seriously, what doctor's office doesn't call the day before to confirm the appointment? ESPECIALLY a pre-natal appointment? They have to know these women are losing it.

f) I walked up to the front of my office after having just hung up with my mom moments before. The receptionist, who is friendly with all of the staff's spouses and families since she often takes their calls, says "Jess, your mom was cracking me up when I was talking to her just now." and I said "Oh, you talked to my mom?" Uh yeah Jess, she transfers the calls. The receptionist's eyes bugged out of her head. We're talking this was two minutes after I got off the phone and I already forgot I talked to my mom.

g) My good friend had a baby yesterday morning. When I went to drop off something at my parents', I told my brother about it. I met my brother for lunch two hours later and asked, "Oh did you hear Katie had her baby?"

h) I'm operating on muscle memory at work. I go to deliver files to wherever, and find myself in the kitchen without having dropped anything off. Gives you a good idea as to how often I visit the kitchen.

SO. I think I've made my case. I mean, I really hope this is pregnancy brain. I'm done here in about a month, and would really like my sense of I-kinda-know-what-the-flip-I'm-doing back. Conversations are fuzzy and actions are forgotten within minutes and it's more than a little disconcerting. I rely on my work calendar for absolutely everything, because even if I were to put things in my phone, I'd just clear the alarm and forget about it 17 seconds later. At least with my work calendar I have to physically stare at a reminder all day.

Tell me this too shall pass? Please?

Monday, July 15, 2013

home stretch

I've been having a hard time getting myself to sit still long enough to write. Or write something of any substance anyway. Not that I really write substantial posts...I can't honestly say that the workings featured here are prone to the philosophical, can you?

It's this whole being pregnant thing. I'm not due until August 23, so I'm definitely not in the "waiting game" stage, but it's starting to feel like it. I'm restless and antsy and always want to do something without quite knowing what that something is. As far as blogging is concerned, it used to be something I set my alarm for a little earlier so that I could think in peace before Sean and Jordan arose. Now, due to nightly bathroom trips and the toss-toss-toss from side to side all night, I let my body wake me up when it's ready. Therefore, I'm currently holed up in the corner of the couch trying to make myself as inconspicuous as possible (a feat of epic proportions) while Jordan is cozying up asking me to "rea" to her, and Sean coaxes her from the kitchen to help him make "eddies" (eggies) so Mom can finish her bloggy stuff. (I really need to pen an updated word list. Some of the things coming from Jordan's mouth these days are pretty awesome.)

Not much of a point to this post. I do have a couple sitting in my drafts that have something similar to a direction to them, but like I said with the antsy and restless, I can't sit down long enough to finish them. Or start them, really. Instead here's some just-woke-up, still-in-my-jams, haven't-bothered-with-the-make-up-things, please-ignore-the-toddler-handprints-to-the-bottom-left, if-I-make-this-black-and-white-will-it-pass-for-artistic?, I'm-the-worst-blogger/photographer-ever evidence of 33 weeks along.

Philosophical workings, indeed.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

fave five

I'm linking up with Hallie today, because that's how I, er, roll. (If only I were speaking figuratively but have you seen me lately?)

1// Blanqi??

Ok here's my scoop with the Blanqi Bodystyler for pregnants. The only thing I asked Sean for on my birthday a couple weeks ago was this Bodystyler. I sent him the link, the size, the color, everything. I was determined to have one. I had heard rave reviews, particularly from Anna (who BY the way, is one of the models on Blanqi's homepage and looks drop.dead.gorgeous.) and was dying to try it out. I wanted it to smooth out those extra squiggles in my increasingly hulking frame while aiding my posture - which reallyreally wants to droop with the extra weight - and supporting my back. All touted perks of the Blanqi.

So. I like the Blanqi - I do! It definitely shapes and kinda just glosses over those coughcoughlovehandlescoughcough that I've acquired. It makes me feel slightly more secure about clothing choices. It holds me in without stifling or suffocating. But. I don't love the Blanqi like I thought I would. I probably would love it if it was $30, but it was $73 after shipping, and I haven't felt that back support I was yearning after.

Just in case you're in the market, that's my own personal view. I am glad I have the Bodystyler, so it gets a spot in my faves this week. And there are tonnnnnns of women who are very lovestruck by the Blanqi, so take my sixpence, but you may be none the richer.

2// Monogrammed Rings

In which camp do you pitch your tent? Are you one of those that thinks jewelry (or tattoos or what have you) sporting your kids' names is super lame? I - obviously - kinda like it. Nothing extravagant or showy, mind you. Sean bought me these from this Etsy shop that have Jordan's and the boy's name on them. (You don't get to know that one yet, snickersnicker.) I adore the craftsmanship of the rings, but it's a leetle bit hard to recommend the shop itself, which has a turnaround time of 6 weeks posted on their site (they do tell you that upfront, full disclosure and all that) but an actual turnaround time of nearly 9. These were supposed to have been a Mother's Day gift from Sean....

3// New Politics: Harlem

I gotta say, this song gives me a two and half minute jolt of life unparalleled by any caramel macchiato or chai latte side effects. These crazies are from Denmark or someplace and they are CHOCK full of the energies. I feel a little like I could go all Donald O'Connor and backflip off the side of a wall

but I'm pretty sure my belly would impede the success of that endeavor. (Oddly enough, the New Politics lead singer totally pulls a Donald O'Connor on a subway pillar in the music video.)

4// DEX

He's back. 

This show is gritty, yes. Yes it is. I am the definition of the faint of heart so I have to close my eyes through some of the gorier scenes. But Dexter is gripping, gripping I tell you! Sean and I started them from the beginning together, so we've seen Dex through it all. This is the last season, and two episodes in tells me it's gonna be killer. Pun intended? You decide.

Oh hey, remember this? Me too. The day after my (pretty much literal) meltdown, I determined we would get an AC unit for our window. Sean did some Amazon digging and found this box fan with good reviews, then I found it for like half the price at our local Home Depot. (Amazon has it for $34.99, I got it for $17.) It isn't just good you guys. It is..amazing. There's actually a CHILL in the room! I forgot what those felt like. We have it resting in the window frame, pulling in the outside air, and it turns it into chilly delicious goodness. I mean, I even have to put the blanket on the top half of my body. (Never ever the feet. They're constantly ablaze.) Go get one! It be burnin' out there.

That's what I got for you today. Late in the day, per uush. (<--- is that a legit way to shorten "usual"?) Hopefully there are those that scan link-ups from the bottom up, because I'm always bringing up the rear over at Hallie's. Be gone with you, she's got better ones over there.

Monday, July 8, 2013

synopsis of our 4th (and 5th, 6th, 7th)

Show of hands: who noticed I took a little blog break?, thanks for checking in Mom. The truth is, we've been gallivanting about the state and visiting our related ones. We went up north to pop in on Sean's family, beginning Wednesday evening. The gritties are many and the photos prolific so let's begin.

A good 7 hour road trip gives me a chance to commune with my people: the Mack trucks. Those things look like I feel. Huge; lumbering; slow; carrying heavy stuff around in the cargo pit. Plus people really don't want to get stuck behind us on the hallways and byways at our leisurely pace. And because between my weeks 31 and 32, my face and fingers decided they wanted to be pregnant too, my visage echoes every Friends flashback to FatMonica and my wedding rings have the attractive look of being welded to my flesh. The Yaris, while it is our gas mileage warrior, is diminutive, and not. All this to say: a fatface Mack truck squeezing into a Tinyota should plan ahead and bring a little something to knock her out on the drive (would a road soda be ill-received?), especially if the estimated time of arrival is 1 in the morning.

Yet arrive we did, and we had a great time catching up. Jordan halfway participated in the annual parade that goes right through the neighborhood

there's Kate Middleton now, in the white sunhat atop her noble steed

but she threw a Royal Tantrum when she saw me cheering her on from a mere spectator's seat, and insisted on joining the commoners. She made it about 1/12 a mile though.

The in-laws hosted a fab Fourth party, and, while it was a tepid 106 (really), the belly and I wised up and volleyed between their pool and the air-conditioned indoors. (Does anyone else just love being totally buoyant when they're pregnant? The weightlessness achieved by hopping in the pool is almost almost worth the embarrassment of a swimsuit at this juncture.) One of Sean's cousins is due TODAY (yay Lauren! hurry up Baby Kiera!) so, while a significantly smaller and cuter pregnant she makes, I'm sure my mild discomfort over heat and swelling was nothing on hers.

Fireworks were far and away more successful than last year, where the foolish newb parents let the not-quite-one-year-old hold a sparkler. (We were able to convince her at the time that the grayish black mark across middle and forefinger was something of a badass tattoo.) This year, Jordan participated by being utterly and unabashedly naked, exclaiming WHOA after every snap, crackle or pop of the tiniest Piccolo Pete, and dramatically pointing at her peepers declaring "EYES" at the particularly brightworks.

Because Sacramento was nice enough to cool it in the high 80s for the rest of the long weekend, we were able to venture outdoors and explore a bit. We hit up the nearby lake on Friday and "Fairytale Town" on Saturday. In between, we had superb meals, quality visiting, and positively no spoiling of the child at all:

Haagen Dazs 'staches are the most hipster kinds
last year is but a charred memory

first manicure received with all the ambivalence of a Beverly Hills debutante. pro status
sailing the treacherous chlorinated waters with but a personalized umbrella to protect the swarthiest of them all

At my urging, Sean and I hit up 7:30 a.m. Mass that we might trek home early and avoid what I knew was going to be horrifically hellish traffic. Well yeah we did Mass early...but then left at 11:45. Epic fail. That drive is pretty Gnarls Barkley to begin with, but we couldn't be prepared for what the I-5 had in store for us. We rolled up to ye olde apartment just shy of 10 hours later, at 9:30 p.m., after battling stop-n-go, stop, stop, stop, and then literally deadstop in park for half hour on the freeway (due to an accident). Jordan was...a champion. A veritable angel. A champion cherub. She didn't. cry. once. Or even whine! She slept for 2 hours total, and the rest of the time she spent chatting our ears off about her books, the passing trucks, all the "Boo's" (my parents' dog's name is Boo - she thinks all dogs are actually called Boo - she thinks cows looks like dogs - someone alert Mensa...)

Anyway, I take back every bad thing I've ever said about the child. Had she decided to wax Veruca Salt for even just a portion of the trip, things would have been exponentially more miserable. But! We're home and our adventures are over. For now. That is the last big trip we'll take before a certain debut is made in a month and a half and closing. 

That will be an awfully big adventure...

Monday, July 1, 2013

catching fire

Let's start with saying: Yes, I'm a wimp. But now can I commence complainfest? I covered my bases.

Let your visual aid for my physical state be this

but I also feel that my thighs are accurately portrayed here

so I could really just be all of the villains in Disney's Hercules including that dragon that, once you chop of it's head, three more grow in its place - if we let one head be equal to one complaint quelled, followed by three new complaints cropping up out of nowhere.

Alright, so my neck of the woods is no Death Valley, and I'm certainly no crazy local running in a Darth Vader costume in 129 degree heat in order to break the Guinness Book of World Records. But hot damn, if this heat wave we've been experiencing isn't just about to break me. Sean, of Sacramento/might-as-well-be-hottest-place-in-America origin, claims it's "not that bad." (For my reaction, please refer to picture #1.) We do, after all, have an AC unit in our living room. Which is helpful, you know, if you're willing to staunchly hold your post by the front door, which is the extent of the air flow trajectory. Circulation, thy name is not cheap apartment AC unit.

Pool time is usually Sean and Jordan's jam, and I just go about my business of cleaning the kitchen, concocting the tallest glasses of chocolate milk, trying to straighten that one kink out of my hair, and occasionally lurking on my precious' from my balcony perch

but the unbearability of it all has set me and the bump poolworthy. This found me, yesterday, deep in a conversation with a five-year-old from which it was hard to extricate myself . After taking stock of our impending arrival (via starestareandstaresomemore at the belly, then finally come out with "are you gonna have a baby?!") and inquiring after the sex, he insisted that we should name the boy Jordan, when he's born, and change the girl's name (with a nod in current Jordan's direction) to Kendra. I then asked him if he didn't think it would be confusing to [current] Jordan if we all of the sudden changed her name, and he insisted no: she looks like a Kendra because of her hair color. We're taking it under advisement.

Bedtime has been the real clincher though, because the fan that we haven't turned off since mid-May (really) is not cutting through the true heat of summer (read 92 degrees). I repurposed the freezable gel breastfeeding pads - that were included in that congrats!-you-had-a-baby! hospital bag of free samples and crap from a couple years ago - as frozen slippers, and have been sleeping with them atop my ember-toes. The problem is, they melt within a couple of hours, and my body has been making the unfortunate decision to wake up to pee circa 1:30 or so. It is then that I realize how sweaty I am; how Sean's idea of beating the heat is to be completely spread-eagle across the bed so that each limb pretty much reaches each corner and I'm kinda like under an armpit; how much this in utero lovebug adores a good sesh of early morning kickboxing; how I'm never never never going to get back to sleep. Hence: posting in the wee hours of 4 a.m. 'neath the protection of living room AC.

And here's where I implore your assistance. There's zero percent chance of my survival even one more week under such conditions. (What do you mean, melodramatic?) I welcome any and all recommendations for an affordable yet EFFECTIVE! box fax/window AC unit/rentable igloo/I-don't-care-just-please-help-me-to-stop-sweating. And thank you from the bottom of my sweltering soles. 

We're coming for you, Amazon Prime, and your 2-day shipping. Until then, I'm holing up at my parents' well-ventilated place while they're out of town on vacation. Like a grown-up.