Sunday, June 30, 2013

Goodbye, Little P

I had a strange sense of deja vu sitting in the ER. I knew it wouldn't end well and it didn't.

I started cramping with light bleeding on Friday evening. I was getting ready to go out with a group of friends and I wanted to just ignore it. I was so tired of being scared. So tired of being afraid to move the wrong way or eat the wrong thing.

In the end I went to the ER and El Hubster drove like a madman home and met me there. We sat on that hospital bed, looked at the ultrasound screen and knew. That little blur in the upper left hand corner was not our baby. Our baby was gone. The doctor started to explain that the ultrasound machine wasn't as sophisticated in the ER but we knew.  I felt like she was a character in one of this old Charlie Brown cartoons...all that came out was bwah, bwah, bwah, bwah, bwah. She set us up to get an ultrasound from the radiology department, they drew blood, hooked me up to an IV and all along we knew.

We left AMA at 11:30pm, feeling like refugees in a foreign land. I sat like a zombie on the couch while El Hubster got rid of every physical sign of babyness in the apt. I was so completely out of it and in so much emotional pain.

I'm grateful for him. So grateful. We cried holding each other on the couch yesterday, then watched a marathon of one of our favorite shows, ate whatever we wanted, doctored our McDonalds fruit coolatas with rum, laughed and cried some more. We check in with each other.

How are you doing? Meh......
How are you doing?I feel numb.
I love you...
I love you too...

I cry at everything and nothing. At odd times. Out of the blue. I woke up with tears in my eyes wondering if the past three months have all been a dream. I have lost a baby every year since we've been married. I felt like such a failure. My rational mind says there's nothing I could have done; my heart and soul are not trying to hear that. They need something to blame and I can't provide anything. I feel robbed of future joy if that makes any sense. I will never be this excited about a pregnancy again. I know that. I will always be steeling myself, waiting for the other shoe to drop and I have to come to terms with that reality too.

I'm so glad I never left the message boards, so glad I started this blog, so glad to have met such a good man who knows what to do when I want nothing to do with anything. It makes it easier to cope.

I'm grateful to God. I'm angry with God. I think He can handle it.

So, I'm gonna keep writing, keep moving, because if I don't I fear I will never recover.

I believe in the promise. I believe in miracles.

12/11/11, 9/5/12, 6/28/13 We love you and we miss you!

Friday, June 28, 2013

What's Cooking: Chickpeas, Sweet Potatoes, Plantain

It looks like I'm going to have to migrate my "What's Cooking" tab to just a regular post on the blog. I didn't realize that I couldn't refresh the tab without a) deleting the previous post b) having overlong streams of recipe info. So, each recipe will be a post. Live and Learn!

In my quest to cook healthier meals for El Hubster and I, while saving money on groceries, I came up with this quick and super easy recipe.

Here are my ingredients. They're pretty basic. 

1 large sweet potato 
1 large plantain
Can of chickpeas
Olive oil
Black pepper
Cut up your onions and tomatoes and garlic.

I peeled and halved my sweet potato.

I ended up not using the whole potato, so I only diced half.
I cut the remaining half into strips and froze it for use in some other recipe.

I sauteed the diced sweet potatoes using about 2/3 cup of water for about 20 minutes. It was way too long. By the time I got back to them they were pretty mushy. Give it 10 minutes instead.
I added my can of chickpeas, onion, garlic tomato, a little olive oil and two cubes of tomato paste.Cook over medium heat until most of water evaporates...about 15 minutes.

Did you know you can freeze leftover tomato paste in an ice cube tray for later use?? Before I discovered the joys of freezing things, I would just leave leftover tomato sauce in the fridge, where it would inevitably spoil because I forgot about it. This tip changed my cooking life! Now, I have tomato sauce/paste in a convenient size and I can add it to anything.

While my chickpeas mixture was doing its thing, I fried up some plantains and tried not to eat them before dinner.
Here's what it looks like after 20 minutes...I added salt and pepper to taste and let it cook a little more to get rid of the water.
Here's the finished meal! I devoured it and it was very filling. I went back for seconds because I'm a greedy pregnant woman.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

New Thoughts on Parenting

I woke up one morning this week on one of my myriad trips to the bathroom only to find our cat Josh laid out on the bathroom floor. No, he wasn't having a nervous breakdown. The poor little thing figured out that the bathroom floor was the coolest place in the house. I went back to bed feeling convicted. Can you tell the baby hormones are kicking in?

I started wondering if I was doing the best I could for him. I knew I would be cleaning out my drawers today and I seized upon the thought of using one of them to construct a makeshift cooling station complete with a hidden ice pack to keep him cool.

This is a new thought for me because we haven't been the best of friends over the years. El Hubster and I adopted Josh from a shelter back in 2009. I had been bugging him for a cat for years and he was adamantly against it because he knew I was very fickle. But I pressed on and finally I received all 7 lbs of gray and white fur as an engagement present. He was skittish at first, not knowing whether or not he could trust us. He hid in the bathroom behind the toilet for a few days before he would venture out. He's been a big part of our family ever since but my relationship with him has been rocky. You see, Josh loves my husband but he mostly just tolerates me.... or so I thought.

Slowly over the years I've watched him get so excited when El Hubster gets home from work. He literally smells him before he even opens the door and waits with rapt expectation of seeing him. When I come home, he just raises his head to make sure I'm not a murderer and then goes back to whatever he was doing, which is usually laying around under some piece of furniture.

But there are other times when we're alone in the house together when my perspective is changed and I wonder if I ever really knew anything about him at all. I've noticed that he'll come over to me just to get some affection; a little pat on the head or a rub on the back and then happily retreat. I've noticed that he won't go into the kitchen during the day to eat unless I go in with him. It almost seems like he wants to share meal times with me even though sometime I think if it were up to him, he'd eat around the clock regardless of my schedule. When I fall asleep on the couch, he's nearby sleeping too. If I get up, he knows. He's keeping track of me.

I wonder if he knows I'm not that good at this affection thing. I never really got much of it as a child. No affirmations. No words of encouragement. Just expectation. Expectation that I would be a good student. Expectation that I would raise my brothers. Expectation that I would always be happy when clearly I wasn't.

I didn't jump right into loving Josh as I thought I would. I was timid. I didn't really know how and I was pissed that he seemed to love my husband more than me when I was the one who really wanted him.  I expected that I would be a good caretaker for him but it didn't work out that way. His stand-offishness with me mimicked my stand-offishness with him. I kept him at arms length and he did the same. He gave me a wide berth and introduced me to affection slowly. Thankfully, he's still working with me and we're learning together.

When I was in therapy, I remember bringing up my fear of being exactly like my mother; cold, manipulative, withholding. I know now that she was only doing what she knew. You know that old saying: Those that know better, do better. Well, she didn't know better and I'm coming to terms with the fact that she did the best she could at the time. My father was no better. I only just started hearing I love you from him when I hit my 30s! All that strife has made me realize I don't want to just provide meals and a roof over our children's heads. I want them to flourish. I want them to feel like there's nothing in the world they can't do.

There are huge class and race differences in parenting styles. At least that's what I observe in New York. El Hubster and I have walked by Central Park  several times (and gone in several times) and noticed lots of Caucasian children happily playing in its playgrounds. We were surprised to not see many Black or Latino faces. Walking out of the park ,though, we noticed that there were a group of projects that abut the park where the Black and Latino kids were playing in the courtyard of their building. Why would they play in the courtyard if they've got the whole glory of Central Park steps away??? We don't know the answer. We can only guess. Do their parents think they don't deserve to play there? Are their parents too tired to take them?

It's a small snapshot of life here but it may hint at some deeper parenting philosophy. There seems to be a hands-off approach. Let the kids do what they will as long as they're provided for. There are exceptions, of course. Not every Black and Latino parent has this approach, in fact I know of a few families that don't, and the dynamic is probably different in other parts of the country.

Whatever the reason, I knew I didn't want that life for my children. I knew I would take advantage of every opportunity given to me. I want to love on them with loads of affection and encouragement. I want to take trips to the park for as long as I can do so. I want to give them the spiritual and emotional guidance I badly needed growing up. I want to read them stories at bedtime. I never want to make them feel as if they have to raise each other. I know there will come a day when I'll have to take my butt back to work so I want to do as much as I can for as long as I can.

I'm truly learning and growing so much as I go...starting with a 7lb gray and white tabby.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Yearning for Simplicity
I don't know what it is lately but a huge part of me is yearning for the simple life. Maybe it's the show about people living off the grid in Alaska that El Hubster gets so much joy out of watching; Maybe it's the anxiety I feel when I think of how much I have to do; Maybe it's my fear of being overscheduled. Now I am by no means saying that I want to go live in a shack in the mountains, making my own syrup and hunting for my protein. What I'm advocating is a simpler way of life that connects you more to the things and people that matter most. I want to be more selective and conscious of what I do with my time, energy and money.

I'm discovering that El Hubster and I spend more time with our computers and phones than we do with each other. I'm convinced that I would be happier, more fulfilled and possibly improve my spiritual life just by going back to basics.

Today I searched for a place to start. I came across a book by Lorilee Lippincott called Simple Living: 30 Days to Less Stuff and More Life. It's only $2.99 on Kindle so I'll probably take the plunge and get it. After my Amazon trip, I decided to search the web for a blog or site that would help me start immediately. What can I say? I love instant gratification. I came across a great one called Becoming Minimalist. You can check it out here:

El Hubster and I are gearing up to get a new apartment in the next few months (I can't believe a year has gone by so quickly!) and I thought this would be the perfect time to purge myself of the things I no longer need and think about the benefits of living with less.

The key word there is living. I started wondering if I was really living or just going through the motions of a life.

Would El Hubster and I spend more valuable time together if we didn't use the internet after a certain time?

Would we be healthier if we could walk after dinner instead of feeling compelled to watch television for three or four hours before bed?

Would I take more joy in cooking if my kitchen were less of a mess?

Would I write in my prayer journal or read my Bible a little more?

Would I enrich my life by having friends over and being less isolated?

The answer to all of these questions was a resounding YES!

So, I'm making small steps starting today to make life simpler and I'm going to blog about it along the way. Here are the areas I'm going to get started on...

1. Twitter. I love social media, especially twitter. I love that I can get information in short bursts and I don't have to read any more than those 140 characters. I rarely post because (a) I can't be that clever and (b) I truly am a voyeur when it comes to social media.

I looked at my twitter feed today and realized I was following 60+ people, some of whom never posted anything that even remotely improved my life. I cut that number down to 30 and I already feel better. I'm making a commitment to check twitter once in the morning and once at night before bed. I may get rid of it altogether in the coming months.

2. Facebook. I admit it. I've been afraid to get rid of Facebook. El Hubster did away with it two years ago because he was convinced the government was using it to monitor the public. That may or may not be true, lol! Nevertheless, I was impressed with his courage. How would you know what's going on in your friends' lives? How would you know about family events? 

His reply? If I need to know about it, they'll call me.

Mind blown.

I've largely stopped posting anything to Facebook but I do keep my account open so that I can get an idea of what's going on with my extended family. But get this? The only people I regularly hear from in my family are my dad and one of my brothers. Why do I feel the need to be tethered to an extended family that his largely disconnected from me and I from them? I'm still working on that one.

Nowadays, I use Facebook to keep a pulse on two group Boards I joined during our struggle to conceive. They kept me sane on the journey and I dutifully check in just once a day to give encouragement and help others. That's all I need to do on Facebook really.

3. Kitchen. Today, I cleaned off my kitchen counter. All that's left is a large wooden bowl where I keep onions, garlic and fruit on occasion and a basket filled with our vitamins. You will not believe how much of a difference this made. The kitchen instantly became a more inviting place. I've had the same set of pots and utensils for several years so I don't need anything new in that department. I've added a large cast iron pot in the last few years. I'd like to get a grill top for the stove and then I'll probably be done. 

More recently, I've cut down on the amount of utensils I keep out. I found that the more silverware/dishes we kept out, the more likely we were to use it and not clean it; which leads to more dishes piled in the sink. I don't know about you but dishes in the sink are a real pain in the ass to me. There are days I won't even cook dinner because the sink is piled high with dishes that El Hubster hasn't washed (we split the chores in our home; I cook, he washes the dishes). This causes a lot of strife between us. 

Now we're down to two large plates, four forks, four spoons, two butter knives, two coffee mugs and one sharp knife. We still have way too many glasses out. I'll be doing more kitchen decluttering in the coming weeks. 

4. Bedroom. Last week, I got rid of most of the useless beauty products I keep on my bedroom dresser. I use to be a lotion addict. I'm that girl who walks the lotion aisle of Duane Reade/CVS/Target/Rite Aid just looking for some new lotion to try. It was a sickness. Yes, I was a lotionaholic! 

About six months ago, I found a recipe for DIY deodorant that used extra virgin coconut oil and baking soda. I bought the oil to use in the recipe and I haven't had store bought deodorant in our house since then. We mix up a batch and keep it in a glass container. It lasts us about 4-6 months every time. As a bonus, I also found that the coconut oil did double duty as a lotion and a hair styling aid so I started using it to re-twist my locs as well. As a result, coconut oil is one of the only beauty products I own. 

The rest are: four bottles of nail polish(which I'll probably throw out after I publish this post. If I'm honest with myself, I haven't worn nail polish in months and months), a dwindling bottle of nail polish remover that I've had for about two years (shows how much I polish my nails!), small bottle of liquid foundation(which is still pretty full as I only wear makeup on special occasions; not because I'm above makeup but because I'm lazy and don't want to spend the time to apply it), two shades of lip stick (one neutral, one red) and a bottle of Gucci Flora, the perfume I wore on my wedding day. That's it! 

5. Linen Closet. In reading these simplicity blogs, I was surprised to find that linen closet decluttering was such a big deal! Then I checked out my linen closet! Currently I have three large winter comforters and two summer comforters.  Two of these are in my bedroom just laying around. The others are in the living room for when I can't stand El Hubster's snoring and he's banished to the living room. I really don't need all these comforters. We clearly don't have the space to store them. So, I'll be donating at least one of them. I'll keep two comforters for winter and two for summer, that's it. 

A few months ago I got rid of all my flat sheets. I found that it was easier for me to make my bed everyday if It wasn't an ordeal of fitted sheet, flat sheet, comforter...each time. Now, I have 2-3 basic fitted sheets and my bed is complete with a fitted sheet and whatever we're covering with at the moment. It has made life much simpler. I'd like to graduate to just buying some duvet covers eventually but I'm in no rush. Duvet covers are expensive!! I may just buy myself a sewing machine and sew some myself. 

My pillow situation is manageable...four pillows--two for El Hubster, two for me--and one body pillow. My pillowcase situation, however, is critical. I need to downsize. If we do laundry every two weeks, there's no need for me to have 10 sets of pillowcases.

6. Bathroom. We keep one large storage box in the bathroom as our medical catchall. This needs to be purged. There's some medication in there that I know is years old. We don't have much storage in this apartment so we were forced to downsize but there's still more that can go. I've got one blow dryer (for when I need to dry my locs quickly). We keep one large bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a first aid kit. I'll be purging the medicine cabinet soon.

My bathroom linens are a problem. I have a weakness for bath mats and towels that must be controlled. 

Less laundry = less money spent on laundry.

Stay tuned for more on my quest to Simplify!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Knitting for Fear and Anxiety

I've taken a very small step toward affirming Little P today. I went to church this past Sunday after not being able to go for the past few weeks. I love going to church because it totally reaffirms my Faith every Sunday.

Reaffirming Faith is important because Faith and Trust are not easy concepts for me. I battle my anxiety over this pregnancy every day, every hour, every minute. I vacillate between knowing Little P is OK and wondering if Little P is OK. It's maddening. So that's why I need church. It resets my mind and tunes it back toward positive feelings.

I'm one of those naturally suspicious types. The kind of person who meets someone for the first time and is already sizing up their motives for good or ill. I don't really like this about myself. I'm working on it but it's slow-going.

I grew up in a very unorthodox way. I was born three months premature and my mother, as time would show, wasn't really cut out for the whole motherhood thing. When you're a baby, it's hard to understand not seeing your mother for very extended periods of time. All I remember is being cared for by folks that were not my mother, being shuffled from house to house...a few months here...a few months there. These were good folks and I am blessed that I was molded and shaped by various aunts, babysitters and caretakers. One thing all that moving around did, however, was turn me into a pretty untrustworthy, independent child and adult. I learned early on that there was no permanency in life, that things always changed. So, when I came to Faith a few years ago it wasn't through a cool Bible study class or a dear friend who shared the gospel with me.

I came to Faith on my own, alone, in the woods.

It happened about five months into my first and only stint of unemployment. I left a pretty stable job where I was respected and thriving because I thought I needed to make more money. My vagabond spirit was being activated because I thought my good fortune was too good to be true. Anyway, three months into the job, I was fired. To say I wasn't pleased was an understatement and to this day I still don't know why. I may never know why and I'm okay with that now. But at the time it was the worst thing that could have ever happened to me. I dove into my second bout with depression and became a very unlikeable, angry, sad person.

One day I got up the energy to go for a walk. There was a wild forest near my house and I gravitated toward it. Walking through that mess of trees and fallen leaves cleared my head somehow. I leaned against a tree that was twice my size and heard a voice. Yes, I know it sounds nuts but I swear I heard an inner voice. The voice asked me a very simple question: "Do you believe me when I tell you everything is going to be alright?" So, I was like, "Yes, I believe you." Because what else do you say to a voice inside your head...

In that moment, a peace came over me and I knew that everything would be alright even though I couldn't see a way out of the dark.

I was suddenly aware of all my blessings. I wasn't alone. El Hubster and I were about two years into being my boyfriend and he stepped up and took care of me. I was getting an unemployment check every week, for goodness sake! We didn't want for anything. I was being provided for. Someone was looking out for me.

Coming to Faith couldn't have happened any other way for me. I was too skeptical, too pessimistic, too logical for my own good.

The next week I got a call to interview for a job that I applied for months before. I got that job, which was just a few blocks from my house! Nuts, just nuts! I stayed at that job for a year and applied to graduate school at the end of my time there.

Everything happens for a reason and sometimes it takes hardships and trials to reveal the path you should be on. I needed a course correction and God provided one.

Anywho, this post wasn't even supposed to be about me coming to faith! What I really wanted to say is that during that really horrible time in my life, I learned to knit! Knitting is perfect for me because it channels my anxiety. If you suffer from anxiety then you know what I'm talking about. I'm the type of person that benefits from distraction and knitting was perfect for that. It helps me zone out completely.

In an effort to calm my anxiety over Little P, I went to Michael's today, that den of wanton arts and crafts, and bought some yarn to knit a baby blanket. I needed to stop my mind from thinking the worst so I am manifesting a tangible symbol of Little P being here in 9 months---happy and healthy.

This was my inspiration:
But then I realized I wasn't that good! So, I'm going to just do a basic knit stitch the whole way through. It's not like Little P is gonna care that it isn't perfect. He/she won't even be able to see properly for the first week of its life.

I found a yarn that already had a mix of colors...yellow, white, and a minty turquoise. I had no idea that sort of thing existed so color me overjoyed :-) This is the beginning of my masterpiece.

And this is the mess I made of a perfectly good ball of yarn...which could also apply to this post.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Birthday Celebration and LOLs

So, I wasn't even gonna post anything today because I still have a lobster hangover from my birthday dinner. I tore into that lobster so hard that other diners were staring at me with their mouths open. Standing between a pregnant woman with a food craving is like standing between a lion and its prey...NOT A GOOD IDEA!

This is me getting ready for my lobster...notice my bloated face..that is all

El Hubster has this sad look on his face because the food is taking too long! He barely touched his salad!
My Lobster!! I wish I had an after picture of my hands and face...
All in all my birthday celebration was pretty low key. El Hubster got me a beautiful card and we got to spend some quality time together without being on our phones the entire time.

But seriously though, this is what I actually wanted to post about....

Source: Good Morning America

You can read the article that goes along with this photo here:

But the crux of this is that these folks got married at IKEA!!! Now before we discuss the sheer ratchetness of this, you should know that they met at Ikea so I guess their affinity for the store is warranted. I just would never do something like this!! Maybe I'm boring and I don't think outside the box but I think it was lame, lame, lame. Two positive things came out of this for me (1) Black folk got married....which is rare and (2) they got tons of free stuff from Ikea!! SIGH.....

I should've got married at Pottery Barn.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Reflections on 32

I'm having an Adele moment today. I loved that she named her albums after her age at the time of their conception. What a way to document the moments, triumphs and tragedies of a year.

It has me thinking about the images that have made up my year:

1. Becoming a Board Member for a non-profit, finding my voice and realizing that I was totally ok with making hard decisions.

2. My excitement at finding out we were pregnant for the second time.

3. The image of an empty womb at our 9 week ultrasound and how broken I felt.

4. Feeling literally like the walking dead for about three months afterward.

5. Meeting our RE and getting on the treatment horse....again.

6. Sitting and staring into space for hours at a time.

7. Getting off my ass and becoming interested in life again.

8. Running, running, running...sometimes running while crying.

9. Making the scary decision to leave the church we had gotten married in.

10. Waking up next to El Hubster every morning,  being both grateful for him and resentful because I felt he wasn't hurting enough.

11. Sharing margaritas and laughs with my best girlfriend.

12. Missing my mom, wishing she were capable of missing me.

13. Rekindling a relationship with my now adult "little brother."

14. Dancing like crazy in the kitchen to 80s music.

15. Finding the courage to go back to therapy.

16. Finding the courage to quit therapy when it wasn't working.

17. Sitting in the auditorium at the review for my licensing exam and feeling like a professional.

18. Dancing bachata with El Hubster in my in-laws' living room.

19. Sitting in our RE's office as she told me I would have to have surgery.

20. Staring out the window of the train on the way to the hospital thinking about my mortality.

21. Waking up groggy, relieved and happy 3 hours later.

22. Impatience during my recovery.

23. Starting a blog!

24. Discovering an artistic side I never knew existed.

25. Pills, pills pills!

26. Frustration and anger during TTC.

27. Hiking 10 miles and feeling triumphant afterward.

28. Blurry eyed, 5AM positive pregnancy test.

29. El Hubster trying to brush his teeth with the test because he thought it was a toothbrush.

30. Walking the cobblestone streets of Old Montreal on what seemed like a perfect night.

31. The first ride we took in our Ford Crown Victoria.

32. Hearing the beautiful lub dub of a heartbeat and seeing Little P for the first time.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

What's Cooking!

There's a new section on the blog called, "What's Cooking". Why, you ask? Because I need to keep myself accountable to cooking meals for my family instead of eating out. It's basically a way to encourage and pat myself on the back so that I'll feel good about cooking. Yay!

I had a sort of epiphany last night...I realized that I was making dinners based on whether or not El Hubster would eat it. Which led to lots of things covered with cheese, lots of meat, very little fish, very little vegetables.

This was wrong thinking!! Wrong, wrong, wrong!!

The only way we're gonna survive, and spend less money, is if I make healthy meals. El Hubster doesn't find his way in the kitchen to cook anything. So away with what El Hubster likes. I'm running things up in here! :-)

Anyway, check out the tab from time to time for my attempts at making real food. I'm hoping this will inspire
,ahem, a blogger that shall remain nameless to give me some recipes!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ob/Gyn Inc.

El Hubster and I have graduated from the RE's office and had our first visit at our new Ob/Gyn office last week. It was quite an experience....a very, very long experience. I wanna say we were there for like three and a half hours!!

First of all, El Hubster wasn't feeling the office. He thought it was very 1984....bright lights, LCD tv's with soothing windows in the waiting area. I, on the other hand, loved it! And whether or not I like it is the most important thing, which I promptly told him. We've been so spoiled by the small, homey RE's office that he got his mind blown by such a big operation.

We started off with an ultrasound where we got to see our Little P again...I think I can see a little face at the top...maybe.

I'm broken up that I have to wait until 12 weeks to see another picture of our little angel. Is this legal?! I am shocked that I can't see he/she every month :-( LOL

Then we met with the practice's midwife for an exam and a convo about how the practice works. Really, it was all a blur to me. I already know I'm having a scheduled c-section so I only paid attention for those parts of the convo. Can you tell I'm still a little sore about my mandatory c-section?? I'm really trying to get over it. So then we get to the nutrition part of the convo and midwife tells me, "You're already a little overweight so we don't want you to gain too much weight.." I really have mixed thoughts about this advice. I feel like pregnant women who are curvy to begin with are totally discriminated against. I mean it does take something away from an otherwise beautiful experience to have to worry about your weight on top of it.

Yes, I'm a curvy girl. Yes, I got me some thick thighs. Yes, my ass is big. Yes, my chest is ample. Yes, I got a little pot in my belly. But I am not inherently unhealthy. Like any other woman, I exercise...when I remember.

So basically I was advised to only gain 15-20 lbs for my entire pregnancy. My breasts and butt are like already 10 of those lbs and the baby will take up the rest. Pray for me ya'll cause it looks like I won't be having anything but water and air for the duration. Since the appointment I've been walking 30 minutes a day to try and keep my weight steady and I must admit I've been scrutinizing everything that I put in my mouth. I hope this doesn't turn into an issue.

After that, we scheduled my first trimester screen appointment where we find out if Little P has any genetic abnormalities. I'm not looking forward to that. My girlfriend recently had one and the results were way, way off and she lived in a state of fear for like a week until they figured it out. Then we scheduled our first appointment with the actual Ob/Gyn. Then we went downstairs for a marathon lab appointment where I gave like six gallons of blood!

I've gotten significantly more tired and am finding it really hard to sleep at night due to my crazy bladder. No lie...I get up like six times a night to pee. I'm grateful though. Truly, truly grateful that I get to get up and pee six times a night.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Money, Money, Money, Money....MUHNAY!!!

I feel like I should be doing the wop or the cabbage patch or something....

Anyway....this post is about something very near and dear to my heart.

Money....or maybe I should say lack of money.

A couple of years ago as I was entering my last year of graduate school. I realized that there was NO WAY I could do my mandatory internship AND work full time as a case manager. So, I quit my job (very happily). I would be able to completely devote myself to my degree and my internship would morph into my job. It worked out very well during that last year because I was busy, busy, busy...overworked and underpaid and
I'll admit it was a great distraction until our world fell in with our first miscarriage. Then the internship became my own personal hell. Getting up at 5AM three times a week, traveling on the 6 least favorite train and heading into NYPres to work under a supervisor that could have been the devil himself. Needless to say, when that year ended I was beyond joy.

We have been blessed for many years now that El Hubster has a job that can support us pretty well. And thanks to his awesome grant writing skills, his salary has only increased over the years which means more money but much longer hours at the office.

After graduation, we agreed that I should focus on starting our family. At least for a little while. A little while turned into two years!! Fertility quests are expensive. I estimate that we've spent about $500 just in co-pays (which is probably a drop in the bucket). Paying for and refilling fertility meds...this Crinone is running us $35 every two weeks. Thank God I don't have to take it for much longer.

Me not having a job is expensive. Here are some secrets I'm willing to share....I'm not very good at being a stay-at-home wife. I just can't seem to get my head around it. I've pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom but not so much a stay-at-home wife. I have a tremendous amount of guilt about not contributing money to the household. I want to do more. I want to be able to use my paycheck to pay my own bills. I miss having my own paycheck. I hate asking my husband for money. So much so that I have learned to go without something I might really want or need just to avoid it.

We can't get the quality of food we need by shopping at our local supermarket so we food shop online. Let's not even go there...we do live in the Bronx. Organic is a foreign word in the neighborhood I live in and my myriad medical issues require that I not put extra chemicals into my body. No matter how much I buy I never seem to buy enough food to feed us for a whole two weeks. I need to get better at this.

We live in the cheapest borough so that keeps our rent expenses pretty low. I'm proud to say we only pay about $975 a month in rent...which is unheard of in other parts of  NYC.

But our debts....are killing us!!

Let's list them:
  • El Hubster and I both have 4 credit cards between us...all of which have been paid off at some point but always seem to creep back up to maxed!! He's paying ALL the credit card bills.
  • Student loan payments totaling about $90,000 each!! And we're about to add more school debt as El Hubster begins his doctorate next month. I don't even want to think about how that's gonna get paid for. He is solely responsible for paying ALL the student loan bills.
  • We've added life insurance and car insurance to our monthly debt. Who knew a car would be so expensive!!?? Yep, he's paying for ALL that too.
  • Internet, cell phones (Virgin prepaid), Direct TV, Netflix . This TOO
  • We've got unpaid hospital bills from one malaise or another...$150 worth from the hospital and $400 in fertility related expenses. I realize that it's not that much, especially compared to how expensive fertility treatments can be, but it feels like a boulder when you've got other expenses.
  • Our Electricity bill is through the roof because we NEVER get our meter read and the amount of money we've spent heating and cooling our apartment because it's just inadequate. We have no intercom system in our building. So, Con Ed takes it upon themselves to charge us whatever the hell they want. All the more reason why we have to move.
  • Speaking of moving...we have no idea how we're going to come up with the money to do that...if it happens at all it will be by God's grace.
  • We eat out and go to the movies ENTIRELY too much. It was cool in the past because we felt like we deserved it...We've been through so much this week...we're not pregnant again this month....I've got to have surgery...let's go out to eat and see a movie!!
We are feeling crushed and under the gun...and this requires drastic measures..
  • My husband won't admit that handling the finances can be overwhelming. He likes to believe that he can handle it all. He doesn't need any help because he's the MAN. But, he's not as on top of the bills as I would like so every pay period we've started to sit down together and go through the bills one by one. I think it makes him feel less alone (which he'll never admit), makes me feel more involved and gives me some peace of mind. I may not have a job but I can be CFO of this family.
  • We're putting a stop to our relentless eating out/movie cycle and shaved it down to once a month, or not at all, depending on what's due.
  • I've got to be smarter with shopping for food. I've started investing in buying family packs of meat/chicken/fish so that our food can last a little longer and cooking in bulk as much as I can. This is very difficult because I can eat the same thing for dinner all week...El Hubster cannot and sometimes will not...I blame his mother for this because she loves, loves, loves, to make whatever you want for dinner...a different dinner...every night!

I wish there was more we could do...I wish we could win the lottery (even though we don't play)...I wish money would fall from the sky like manna from heaven....but it's unlikely. I recently started making my list of things for baby on Amazon and I am blown away at how much Little P is gonna cost us just to get the basics.

So like much of Europe....we're adopting austerity measures and hoping we come out debt free (and able to move) on the other side...and I really wanna have my STUFF together before Little P gets here.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Why It's Fun to Watch the Bachelorette with Your Husband

Last week, El Hubster and I sat down to have what I thought was gonna be a fairly boring night. All of our good shows are on hiatus so we've been pretty bored. I flipped through the channels for a while and then finally settled on watching the Bachelorette....I know, I know...why? I have very mixed feelings about this show. 

1. There has never been a Black or Latino Bachelor or Bachelorette despite the fact that, well...we exist in the world, are successful and want to find love (or fleeting fame) too.

2. Whenever there's a Black or Latino dating candidate they get eliminated in short order...but definitely NOT on the first night because who wants to be accused of being racist. Eventually they get around to it.

3. The sheer desperation of these dating candidates is astounding and hilarious. They will do/say ANYTHING to get that rose!

4. I think it minimizes/trivializes the very real problem of not being able to find a good man/woman to settle down with...but maybe that's the point. To take a very real fear, exaggerate it and render it innocuous.We live in such an antisocial social networking society (me included) that it's difficult to find love offline like folks used to do.

But all of my qualms about this show were set aside temporarily due to El Hubster's hilarious commentary while watching this show. I mean seriously, I should tape him and put it up as a post but unfortunately you can take the boy out of Washington Heights but you can't take Washington Heights out of the boy so I'm afraid that tape would be rated NC-17.

Anywho, here are some choice cuts I gathered while we watched the premiere episode:

"Is that her?  For real?"

"Look at that dude, tell me that dude ain't lame!"

"Why she wearing that dress? That's the wrong dress. She gon' fall and bust her ass."

"Awww..this dude is already asking to sleep with this chick...what a dirty ass *****"

"Look at that dude, he tried to dip her and she fell over the dress. That's a burger move. He out!"

"Oh, here come the Black dude....he gon' be out soon."

"This dude done brought his kid to meet this chick...that's a low blow."

"Look at this Army dude...she ain't gon pick you in the end. That dude is owned by the U S of A for the next few years. They gon get together and that dude gon get shipped to Libya."

"Oh look, she finally put that nasty dude out...shoulda done that from jump."

"Don't that dude look strange to you? His eyes are too close together. That facial hair ain't working fo ya pawtna."

While watching the recap for the upcoming season....

"Why they crying so much? That's not normal. Ain't no real man be crying all the time like that."

"I wonder what episode they kick off the Black guy."

"They really crying over THIS chick?? She ain't even all that! She ain't even got no ASS!"

"So, she be kissing ALL these dudes....that's nasty.."

P.S. Coming up this week a fun post about how much debt we're in!!

P.P.S. Are you SEEING all these tornadoes in OK!!?? Crazy