April 29, 2009

Sink or Swim

I went swimsuit shopping the other day. Did I just hear a collective, pain-laced groan? I know, I know, but during pool days, I want to get Tessa deeper into the water than just a toe-dip. That requires more of me getting wet than just my hands, feet, and my butt on the side of the pool.

So, as if swimsuit shopping weren't bad enough, I have now realized through experience what makes it worse: nursing. Here's my story.

My sister-in-law told me about a particular store that carries tankinis that have longer tops to cover my striped tummy but that also contain the most important element in any swimsuit I must purchase from here on out: underwire for my floppy boobies. Those of you who have a modest (read: so small it's hard to tell if you're a girl or a boy) rack and want a larger one, be careful what you wish for. I've been "highly developed" since I was about 12, and never did a perk grace their growth. It was like they just came in downward. Strapping them in and lifting them up and keeping the underside from sweating has been the bane of my existence ever since.

Anyhoo, so now that I'm nursing, Sag Bags is my name, and containment is my game. Hence the underwire and Spanx-inspired fit. If I could get a water-friendly corset, I would. There were only two tops in this store (I'm not telling the name for reasons you'll read about later) that fit the bill, and there was so much fabric it couldn't just be balled up in my hand like swimsuits of yore. That's what I'm talking about. I took one to the fitting room, only to discover a quandary I had not yet had to face. How do I do this when the only time I take off my nursing pads is to take a shower? Should I attempt to try on this swimsuit bare-breasted and chance that they would stay dry for one minute? That idea got thrown out real fast when I remembered what these things are capable of, so the pads went into the swimsuit, much to the relief of any future customers, I'm sure.

The top looked as good as it could when there's such a sad mess to work with in the first place. I ended up buying it, but I wasn't going to wear it out of the store, so off it came. I was tying the halter neckline back onto the hanger (I always hang up clothes I try on the same way I found them, which is why I hate bra shopping, too) when I felt the all-too-familiar tingle of milk "coming in." I only had one more pull to make on the strap - did I have time to finish it before I had to cover up my hanging pendulums? Answer: no.

I dropped the top and the hanger as the walls of this particular fitting room got a nice little milk bath. In turning to grab my pads and bra, the stream marked everything along the way, including the bottoms of the suit I had just tried on and the mirror that made me realize how suddenly grateful I am for the option of plastic surgery. I quickly got my bra on while holding those bad boys to my chest, and giggled the entire time. Poor fitting room. Thank goodness I wasn't trying on anything made of silk - that would have made for an embarrassing encounter with the manager. "I don't want this, but I have to buy it because...this piece of clothing just got soaked with my boob juice." As it was, all I had to do was a quick swipe of my shirt sleeve across those swim bottoms and no one could tell what had just transpired. To my knowledge, the store doesn't have a "You Spray, You Pay" policy, but they might want to look into it.

April 21, 2009

Hangin' with the g-'rents

My mom and dad are fabulous. I like to think that most people feel that way about their parents, so I won't go into reasons why, mostly because my mom would get embarrassed. My dad, on the other hand, likes to soak up as much praise as he can get, all the while claiming the utmost humility, which only adds to his grandfatherly charm.

I brought Tessa over to their house recently and she was in top form for the first meeting with Grandpa S. She just laid in his arms and stared at him for a good half hour, making all her cooing and gurgling noises that all adults attribute to one supremely happy baby. I, the proud mother, beamed the entire time.

My sister got in the way in this picture. hehehehe
I borrowed my mom's Christmas present to take these next photos. We'll be investing in Proactiv for this little munchkin. Mama can't have a pretty baby with nasty skin, because all I want to do is pick at it. Awful, I know. So sue me.

She didn't like that I was making fun of her acne.

As all babies do, Tess started to squirm and fuss when she needed a change of scenery, so into Grandma D's arms she went. Now, Grandma D birthed 10 babies of her own, tended countless others in her home, and ensures she travels anywhere she needs to go to meet and greet any latest editions of grandbabies (she's up to 19). To be brief, she has a knack with children. She has come over so many times when Tessa is fussing (always when Jeopardy is on - grrr!) and has taken her in her arms, whispered something in her ear, and voila. All is quiet again. I don't know how she does it. Maybe she promises to slip her some chocolate later, I dunno. In any case, it's such a blessing. Here she is working her magic. These are the first recorded smiles of TKR. She was about 5 weeks old.

I apologize for the plethora of pictures, but come on, I'm a new mom, and that's what we do. It might wear off, but I make no promises - I'm totally in love with my child.

April 10, 2009


Our Stake Relief Society puts on an annual Celebration of Sisterhood to celebrate being sistaz in da hood. And that is the end of my ghetto-ness, I promise. Well, for this post at least.

This get-together is quite an ordeal every year, and these incredible women put on a fabulous program and lunch for all the RS sisters in the stake. I've really got to hand it to them, because there is a lot of planning and time spent in order to make it wonderful for us all.

This year, the theme was "A Heart Like His". It was based on a recently published book by Virginia Hinckley Pearce, one of GBH's daughters. There were parts chosen for narration, and then our Stake RSP asked many of the music-minded people to prepare numbers for the occasion that were interspersed between the narrations. All of the music was such a treat, and I felt honored that I knew them all! Those I knew most intimately were four women who prepared 3 pieces to be played as a piano quartet. Four women on two pianos - it was glorious. One of these women was my own mom, and I kept hearing reports of how wonderful it was to practice with the other three. They were totally in cahoots with each other. Two of the other women helped raise me, and the fourth moved in recently and took up post as a wonderful friend and fellow troublemaker. Thank you to all the women (and a few dudes) who shared such incredible talent with us and made a particular Saturday in March something special.

Part of the day is a fabulous lunch and a humanitarian project. The project was to put together "Birthdays in a Bag" where we donated and then assembled the makings of a frosted and decorated cake in a large Ziploc for nearby women's shelters. Since there was a birthday theme, any volunteers were asked to make a cake of their choosing to put on the tables as centerpieces for the lunch. What a great idea! I volunteered to do one, as did my friend Sachia, and we decided to make them together at my place the Thursday before the event.

These pictures show the fun!

Tessa hung out in her sling while we mixed and baked, and Sienna was only slightly needy. So we got it all done, and laughed the whole time!

The progression of the cakes: batter

Just baked:

Final product #1: Vanilla bean cake with lemon curd and berries.

Final product #2: Lemon cake with white chocolate and toasted coconut.

Both of the results of our efforts turned out yumariffic, but I got so much more out of our time together. Thanks so much, Sachia, for making the effort to come to my house and to bake despite the crazy! You lifted my spirits that day and you do every time I see you.

Here were some other excellent-looking cakes that I wanted to devour. They were aesthetically pleasing, so I hope they tasted great as well. That's the rule: if it looks good, it HAS to taste good. The converse is also true, so kudos to the makers of these:

This one was my favorite. Don't be surprised if you see some version of this on my table in the future. I've been known to steal (ahem, borrow) good ideas.

I loved the day! Thanks to all who helped make it happen!

April 4, 2009

Friends and Family

New babies tend to get passed around like a - well, you know. These wonderful visits from friends and family have provided some much-needed respite for the weary parents.

My mom and sister were in the hospital every day, and Valerie came the day before we went home. The night I got home, Susie, my VT, came to drop off some bomb-dot-com Baked Potato Soup and hold the newborn. I was too out of it to take a picture.

The first out-of-towners came from Idaho (Ted's brother's family), and their two kids were enamored with the baby. It was so sweet to see.

Dan had been awake for about two days when I took these pictures, so forgive how awful he looks (kidding! He always looks like that. KIDDING!). But you're not looking at him anyway, are you?

We had so many people from our ward come to see and hold our little girl. I felt honored that this tiny thing was so loved, even before she had abilities to give love back. I recall a wonderful night last Christmas season at Cari B's house. The kids were in bed, I was 7 months pregnant, and we were throwing around ideas about what could and should be said for our ward's Christmas program the upcoming Sunday. We were both in awe about how Christ came into mortal existence - not as a full-grown man threatening to take over Herod's kingship, but as a tiny, helpless baby. I think there are so many reasons for that, one of which is that everyone loves a baby. As a baby, He didn't have to convince anyone to follow Him. Others were drawn to Him first, and felt an outpouring of love. I had a glimpse of that during my pregnancy, where individuals expressed their concern over my well-being just so that I'd be able to produce as healthy a baby as possible. As my due date approached, the excitement mounted and people came out of the woodwork (even some strangers) to express their excitement and let me know they couldn't wait to see me as a mom. I loved all the well wishes, and I just couldn't get over how much everyone loves a baby. Thank you to all who have shared in our bliss!

Sienna and her mom came over to bring us some incredible lemon chicken and couscous with peas. For dessert, they brought us Laura W as a surprise!

And I think her new nickname shall be "Bright Eyes." I didn't do a thing to this photo - she's seriously this good-looking. Which is why I used to hate her.

Ted's parents came into town a couple weeks after she was born. They couldn't wait to see her, and they were absolutely darling with her. They would take her on LONG walks in the morning, which meant I got to sleep, and when they left, I wanted them to come back. Tessa started hating her baths after her grandma left, and it's taken me a good 5 weeks to get her back to liking them (seriously, she's been screaming bloody murder every time). So I don't know what kind of magic they've got going on, but my own mom has the same brand, so they've got to figure out a way to bottle that stuff and pass it on.

How many grandparents does it take to snap in a newborn?

Two, but they probably could have used another. hehehehe

The two grandmothers with the latest edition:

Suzy and I had a lovely visit - we always do when we get together. Tess was in top form - pooping and crying for food the whole time. But Suzy fell for her anyway.

My brother flew in from Arizona for work and we had a raucous good time at our place. When I handed over the baby for him to hold and cuddle (he's got three girls of his own), the first words out of his mouth were "Who's your favorite uncle?....[in a high-pitched voice] Christian!"

This was a fun visit - Bruce and Elizabeth came on Oscar night because we're heathens and we watch that sort of thing. When they first moved into the area 20 years ago, I was their go-to babysitter for their two girls. They're still here, and thankfully not going anywhere. It looks like their younger daughter will be one of my babysitters before long, and thus the circle continues. Tessa, wake up! These babies who sleep for hours...

And when Kat and Jane set their eyes on her, they were in love as well. They gave her two very cute books. We've been reading to her, but she kinda stares at us at this point. Not a whole lot of cognition quite yet. But we're working on that. By letting her eat, sleep, and poop.
The visits and new friends continue, and future blog entries will document that. Again, I just wanted to give a shout-out to all our wonderful friends and family who have called, visited, IM'd, brought food, sent messages via others. It makes me want another one. Someday.

The Cooling Rack

Baked goods are only half the story...