Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What I'm Into (February 2013)

Was it Woody Allen who had the quip about avoiding Februaries whenever possible? Usually I wholeheartedly agree, but this February was actually pretty great. The weather was lovely most of the month, but we also saw T-Rex's first snow! We had a nice Valentine's Day, and T-Rex and I got to visit with my brother, which was fun. All around a good month!

T-Rex and I in Norman with my brother.

Read and Reading

I've made the goal for the year to read at least one non-fiction and one fiction book each month, because it's too easy to just get sucked in to blog-hopping on my smartphone and never actually read anything of substance (not that blogs can't be substantive, but the brain reacts differently to words on a page versus a screen). Sadly, I really only met the fiction half of the goal this month.

For fiction, I read all of the Nikki Heat books by "Richard Castle." They actually improved substantially as the series continued, and the most recent one ended on a serious cliffhanger. I'll be watching for the next to come out!

In keeping with a tv-related book theme, I also read Devil Bones, by Kathy Reichs. The Bones tv series is based off the character in this book, who is based off of Reichs herself. I've read some of the other books, and they're okay. Interesting murder-mystery-type fare. But Devil Bones was really preachy and not that great.

For non-fiction, I have technically read the prologue and half the first chapter of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. The topic sounded interesting, and it's fascinating so far, but clearly I'm not that far into it. It's a long one, though, so surely it's okay to count it for both February and March?


Once Upon a Time, of course, continues to enthrall. The latest episode on Gold/Rumpelstiltskin? AMAZING. He's my favorite.

Castle had a great two-parter involving the kidnapping of Castle's daughter. So full of feels, as the internet says.

So on everyone-in-the-world's recommendation, we watched the BBC Sherlock. Oh. Em. Gee. I think I might die from how purely awesome that show is. It's only fault is that there's not a whole lot more of it. My mother claims they're scheduled to start filming the next season next month. I really, really hope so, because unfortunately I can see how the last season could have ended the series entirely--it was tied up very nicely in the open-ended way characteristic of the best books and movies.


The MIL watched T-Rex so the DDH and I could go on a linner-and-a-movie date on Presidents' Day. We say the new Die Hard. It was pretty much exactly what you would expect. Lots of shiny explosions and car chases; very little plot or substance.


This. (Major language warning.)

You're welcome.

The Internet

This Wall Street Journal article sparked some interesting discussion with a Facebook friend.

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer's decision to end telecommuting for Yahoo! employees depresses me, because working at home is saving my life right now.

I've jumped on The Lizzie Bennett Diaries bandwagon and wondering why it took me so long.

Have you met the spouses at Kathleen's Meet the Spouse linkup? This was fun! I introduced the DDH here.

An Australian billionaire is building a replica of the Titanic which will travel the original's ill-fated route. What.

Everyone who owns a dog already knew this was true.


The DDH declared my condensed cream of mushroom soup-free beef stroganoff a success.

Look at this big guy.

I think that's all for now, folks.

Linking up with the lovely HopefulLeigh!

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh

What are you into these days?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I am happy.

Do you remember the Roald Dahl novel Matilda, about the smart little girl whose abusive, neglected family situation led her to have magical powers?

Spoiler alert if you've never read it, but at the end, when she's been adopted and skips ahead five grades in school and is happy and loved and challenged--her powers fade away. They served her well when she was in distress, but she no longer needed them once everything was going well in her life.

Well, sometimes I feel like writing is that way for me. When I'm anxious and overwhelmed and depressed, I write a lot. All the time. The words come pouring out, processing all those Big Emotions.

But when I'm happy and content with my life...nothing.

And I'm happier now than I have been since I was a kid, I think.

It's not that I have nothing to say, but the impetus to put words on paper (or the screen) just isn't there.

But let me tell you how happy I am. For the last several years, I've doubted myself. See, I never had a plan for What I Want To Be When I Grow Up. Because I knew, I just knew, that I would stay home with my children like my mom did (in retrospect it was quite naive of me to assume that I was guaranteed a husband and children at all, but that's youth).

So I majored in English and German (with a history minor because why not?), which I enjoy greatly but which don't necessarily prepare you for any particular career.

I never expected to get married so early. I intended to go on to graduate school, maybe work at something (I had vague notions of a career in academia, I think). But I never put much thought into a future career, because there was nothing I was passionate about, nothing I really wanted to do despite being good at many things.

So, when the reality of finding work and working jobs hit, I was lost. I hadn't had a plan or a destination, and so I just sort of wandered aimlessly from job to job, all of which I was grateful to have at the time I had them, but none of which I ever enjoyed. And the longer I saw that future stretching in front of me, the more lost I felt. Apparently I had been wrong in thinking I would be a stay-at-home mom and everything would work out. Apparently I should have trained for something, because now I did nothing.

Eventually I ended up in the job I had been working. It was a very good job, making a reasonable amount of money, intellectually challenging, different and interesting and with a good title. But the boss is emotionally abusive. And it still wasn't really what I wanted to do.

I was downright depressed during my pregnancy thinking I would have to go back to that job (or any job, but especially that one), abandoning poor little T-Rex and, so far as I could see, ramping up my stress levels to eleven to no purpose except a financial one. \

(I still can't imagine how working moms do it, how they get up and get themselves and one or more kids ready and drop them off and go to work and are on on on all day and then go and get the kids again and come home and feed them all and somehow in there also do at least a minimum of laundry and cooking and housecleaning and quality time. I don't understand how they do it. I get burned out just thinking about it, and was spiraling deeper and deeper into a burnt-out depression contemplating that future while pregnant.)

Maybe if I enjoyed my job, if I had some sort of career ambitions or passion for my work or believed I was making a difference in the world, maybe then it would be different. But I didn't and don't.

Then somehow, miraculously, my boss agreed to let me work from home. I assist with some paperwork and record maintenance and other things I can do from my computer at home without being in the office. It's just a few hours here and there, but it pays our car insurance and some groceries and that's enough.

And so now I'm happy, truly happy, relaxed and content with my life, for the first time since college. I can keep on top of laundry and house cleaning. I get to nurse and play and watch my little guy all day. I go to exercise classes and funerals and all sorts of things I could never do before. I truck T-Rex around to grocery stores shopping the sales. I cook dinner. I pet the dogs.

It is still work--T-Rex is not really always a happy baby, and I still have a short temper. I'm taking seriously the responsibilities of having hot food on the table for us in the evening, of doing the various household chores that I used to split with the DDH.

But this, finally, is work I'm passionate about. Work I enjoy as well as excel at. The worst part of the day is the time I spend working for money, though at least I get to do it from home, when convenient for me.

Not everyone would be happy here. But I am. I don't know how long it will last; at some point my old boss is likely to get irritated and demand I either come in to the office or quit completely. At that point, if nothing has changed with the DDH's salary, I'm not sure what we'll do.

But for now, I'm treasuring this time, and I'm happy, and I'm sorry if I'm not on here much. I always wanted Matilda to be happy and have magical powers. Maybe I'll manage to make that happen in my own life.

This was a strange and rambly and not entirely coherent post, so here's a cute picture of T-Rex so it's not a total waste of your time ;-):

In a funny snow sack.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Three Months

I can't believe T-Rex is three months old already. Is it possible?

Baby burrito at four days old.

At the same time, it seems like it's been much longer. It's been an action-packed three months: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Houston. Crazy.

Dressed for church at five days old.

I look back at the newborn pictures of him and it's amazing how much he's already changed. Where did my little newborn burrito go? Now he's this big old baby trying to sit up.

Baby hugs, almost two weeks old.
I drove him out to Norman yesterday to see my brother, who was auditioning at OU for their doctoral music program. Uncle Misha last saw T-Rex at his baptism in early January. He said, "He's starting to look like a little person now, and not just a baby."

With Kaylee, one month + two days.
And he is a little person, or starting to seem like one, with his own personalities and preferences.

Santa Baby.
 He's mellow and happy almost always but gets grumpy in the evenings--I guess he's a morning person.

He likes to talk to his parents and his toys but clams up around other people. Still, he has a smile for everyone.

In his christening gown for his baptism.
He always has to be able to see everything; he loves observing and watching the world go by.

Almost two months old.
He's so much happier now that he's big enough to be carried facing out in the Moby wrap.

Happy traveler on his way to Houston.
He loves to travel. Usually he falls asleep, but sometimes I'll look back in the mirror and he's sitting there with eyes wide open, quietly watching the world go by.

Dr. Pepper baby at Pops.
I'm excited to meet the little person he's becoming. I miss his little newborn self. Sometimes I want to stop time, to grab him and say, "Freeze! I need time to soak in who you are right now before you get to move on to being someone else!"

Little man.
But I can't. And he doesn't. He goes right on growing (he weighed in at fifteen pounds today!) and changing--changing himself, and changing me. Because I'm not the same person I was three months ago, either.

With Uncle Misha at OU.

 I think, on balance, that's a good thing.

A snow day for his birthday.

Linking up with the Tuesday Baby Link Up at Every Breath I Take.

Sorry this kind of turned into a photo dump. I figured out how to get photos into Blogger again. Apparently it just doesn't like the ones from my real camera.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Meet the Spouse: The DDH

Kathleen at Becoming Peculiar had the genius idea to share posts about our spouses. Because we write about our lives, our children, even our pets, but often our spouses make only cameo appearances on our blogs.

So without further ado...the DDH!

At Pops in Arcadia, OK last spring.

The DDH and I met in college (Blow, 'Cane!). He was the Assistant Resident Director (the student staff member in charge of all the other student staff members) for the Honors House (where we lived) and another dorm. I was a freshman. There was probably a rule against that, oops.

His first memory of me is of a dorky freshman wearing a straw cowboy hat. Admittedly, that is precisely what I was. My first impression of him is probably lost somewhere in a blur of new faces and panic, but I came to know a man who was funny, intelligent, interesting, and a firm Christian (though he tricked me into thinking he was Lutheran, which he wasn't).

After only a few weeks hanging out with him, I said to myself, "This is the man I'm going to marry." And I did.

Ironically, at the time I decided that, I was oh-so-generously helping him woo a girl at a different college. Because I'm tricksy like that.

Oktoberfest 2011.

We began dating steadily October 1 (having just met in August*). We continued dating all through my freshman/his junior year and my sophomore/his senior year.

During this time, we managed to take a couple of courses together (one block level psych class (his major) and one block level history class (my minor)). We were both very active in Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed community service fraternity, and traveled together to Denver, St. Louis, Louisville, and other less exotic places for fraternity conventions, as well as logging countless service hours together. During this time, his parents went through a very messy divorce and his little brother's life spiraled out of control. I considered dumping him because he would answer his mom's phone calls and spend dozens of minutes talking to her while out on dates with me. In retrospect, this demonstrates his emotional stability and empathy, or something, but at the time it was really annoying.

Finally, during my junior year of undergrad and his first year of law school, in a paddleboat on the Schluchsee in the Black Forest, he asked me to marry him (I was studying abroad in Freiburg, Germany at the time). A week later, after spending six days traveling around Italy with my parents and siblings in an SUV that only nominally seated six people, he still wanted to marry me. So, we went ahead with planning a wedding and were married in the November after my graduation from college, in 2008.

He graduated law school and passed the bar in 2011, and has been working as an assistant district attorney in the juvenile bureau for the last year and a half. (That's one reason I call him the DDH on the blog, though many of you know his real names. There are people out there who don't care much for prosecuting attorneys, turns out.)

At the Oklahoma State Capital for his swearing in ceremony.

In some ways, I think we're too similar. We're both painfully shy as well as introverted, and incredibly indecisive. We have had more than one argument about not being able to choose a place to have dinner or a way to spend an afternoon, and somehow we each resent being the one who "always" has to make these decisions.

Over the Main River in Frankfurt.

But in other ways, he complements me beautifully. He is very handy, willing and able to fiddle with everything from electronic gadgets to Christmas lights to furniture to fix, build, or otherwise make it work properly. I, on the other hand, am something of a technophobe who has difficulty following the instructions in beginner Lego kits.

In the paddleboat where he proposed.
He loves and supports me unconditionally, never complaining about the strange dishes I cook (though he does give his honest opinion) or my various other experiments, and always egging me on to write more.

He loves the things that I love, like food and travel and cheesy action movies. He's a gift-giver and a romantic and general all-around thoughtful guy.

At the hospital, waiting for T-Rex to be born.
I mean, he has his faults, and we disagree on lots of things big and small, from televisions in bedrooms to fine details regarding the doctrine of Original Sin. I suppose life would be pretty boring if we agreed on everything. And anyway, the important thing is, he always takes my side against his mother, even when I am, ah, less than delicate about expressing my opinion about her opinions (heh).

In particular, I have always envied him his certainty about his calling. He has known he wanted to be a lawyer since high school. He worked steadily through high school, college, and law school with that goal in mind, and now here he is. He loves his job. He loves the law. He loves being a lawyer, and he loves the kind of law he practices right now. I have never known what I want to do and have never loved a job. I envy him that certainty and sense of vocation, and I am so glad at least one of us has it.

Price Tower Artz Center in Bartlesville, July 2011.
 And he loves T-Rex. Watching him with our son the past three months has been a joy. He plays with him and shows him off and rocks him when he cries. He not only never once questioned my decision to go with cloth diapers, he volunteers to change them. He is a wonderful father, and I can't wait to see them together as T-Rex grows and as (hopefully, eventually) other children join our family.

Cool dudes.

Basically, he's the best. I am blessed far beyond what I deserve.

Linking up at Becoming Peculiar for the Meet the Spouse! carnival.

*Few people, however, can beat my parents, who were introduced on a blind date the day after Christmas and were married the next March, about eleven weeks after they met. And they're still married, almost 31 years later.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I am resolved.

I'm a month late with the annual resolutions and goals post, but the DDH sort of permanently took over the computer for most of his January leave. What can you do?

While I'm trying to take things as they come, stay relaxed, and generally not expect too much so that I can enjoy this first year of motherhood, I do have a few things I'd like to commit to this year. So, in no particular order:

Fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes by the end of the year. I can evaluate this as the year goes on, but let's just say that thanks to the coinciding of the holidays with the ravenous early breastfeeding days, I actually weigh more now than I did the week after T-Rex was born. And clearly that needs to stop. I debated whether my goal was a number (goal weight) or just being able to fit back into my clothes and went with the clothes for now (muscle weighs more than fat, so sometimes clothes are a better measure). But I know pregnancy can wreak some permanent havoc on bellies, so we'll see.

Regardless of how I define it, I know when I'm fit: when I feel strong and have energy. Both of those will be important as T-Rex gets heavier and then mobile!

Anyway, toward this end the DDH and I signed up for a YMCA membership, since it includes childcare. We've scheduled ourselves to go and workout together (weights and swimming) at least two nights a week, and I've already tried a few yoga and zumba classes that hopefully I can attend during the day. After three months doing nothing more than an (almost daily) afternoon walk, this feels amazing.

Make at least four dinners per week at home. This kind of goes with the above goal and kind of fits in because we have no money now. I am picking up some part-time hours at my old job from home, but it's still obviously not the same as pre-baby. We were awful about this in January with the DDH home all day, but I did pretty well in December and am back on the meal-planning wagon starting this week!

I've had to switch up how I cook, and to a certain extent what I cook, thanks to T-Rex. More on this another time.

Read at least one non-fiction and one fiction book per month. I tend to get sucked into all the blogs and Facebooks and etc. because it's easy to operate my smartphone with one hand. But reading longer format works on the page and not on the screen is entirely different for my brain, and I want to make sure I'm intentional about this. I did great with this in January and need to pick out books for February ASAP.

Spend quality time with the DDH. Clearly we were together 24/7 this past month, which was nice. Now, with our new schedules and baby responsibilities, I want to be intentional about making time for each other. It's been great working out at the gym together twice a week, and I'm thinking monthly date nights (Grandma is more than happy to babysit) might be in order, too.

Make friends. This is my vaguest goal. Frankly, the reason I don't really have any (real life, close) friends these days is because I don't know how to make them. I had a group of ladies I thought of as friends that I worked out with pre-T-Rex, but that gym closed and I realized I don't have any other way to contact them. Most of our college friends have moved away, and we just don't meet other people.

I'm hoping at some point to maybe find a mom playgroup, maybe through one of the other churches in town (ours doesn't have one, mostly because there aren't that many young couples there). Regular attendance at fitness classes may yield a new set of fitness buddies. And the DDH and I are discussing ways to reach out and see some of our semi-friends from church or work (mostly older than we are, but nobody ever said you can only be friends with people in your age bracket!) outside of those settings.

Find a new job. While I'm quite happy to work for the old firm from home indefinitely, the volatile nature of the CEO means this is not guaranteed forever. If I have to go to work somewhere at some point, I don't want to go back there.

I'm trying, at 26, to finally figure out what I want to do when I'm grown up. One answer clearly is that what I want, and what I'm good at, is taking care of a house and family. Unfortunately, no one's offering me money for that, so I would like to figure out either what I enjoy that I could get paid for, or find a work situation that leaves me plenty of time and energy (especially mental energy) to do the mom thing. Let's just say that I envy people like the DDH with a clear passion and vocation for a profession.


I have some other areas I want to work on, like cleaning and organizing the house (and keeping it that way), making the garden actually work this year (being home during the day should help this), that sort of thing.

We need to sit down and re-order our finances with my changed work situation. Luckily, between everything we received from others before and since T-Rex's birth, and since we're using cloth diapers and he's still just breastfeeding, T-Rex doesn't actually cost us anything extra at the moment. That will change eventually, of course.

But a lot of the items on that short list are pretty intense and time-consuming, so I don't want to clutter the list with too much. My main focus for the year is T-Rex. Watching him grow and learn has been such a pleasure so far, and I can't wait to see how he changes in the next year. My friend Sarah said that every age is her new favorite age, and I think I know exactly what she means.

I've already read most of y'all's annual goal lists. So how's it going? Any advice for me?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Houston, We Have a T-Rex

It turns out that T-Rex is a spectacular traveler. We stopped twice on the way there but actually only once on the way back. He slept the whole way and didn't cry at all.

I'm beginning to think I shouldn't have any more kids, because I will probably get The Worst Baby Ever to make up for what a mellow and happy guy T-Rex is.

Houston, grieving family stuff aside, was awesome. T-Rex got to meet his great-grandmother, his grandfather, and his great aunt, all of whom (of course) adored him, and we actually got to do a few touristy things. The weather was phenomenal, sunny and seventy the whole time. It really felt like a vacation, and I've missed those.

We hit up an outlet mall on Saturday. I resigned myself to reality and stocked up on some Old Navy clothes in larger sizes. Meh. Speaking of needing larger clothes, we had dinner at one of those Brazilian steakhouse places with the all-you-can-eat meat. Yum.

On Sunday, we visited a lovely old Lutheran church downtown, where I was invited to join the choir (visiting churches is such an ego boost for me; that might not be a good thing). We had lunch at a place that served Indian food pizza (delicious) and hit up Ikea! The DDH had never been to one, and I had only been to the one in Freiburg, Germany, so it was a fun time. We also hit up another store that Tulsa lacks, The Container Store. Which, let me tell you, heaven. Immediately upon walking in the door I found something I had been searching for at stores in Tulsa for MONTHS. Perhaps more daytrips to Dallas are in order.

I'm really irritated by the fact that Blogger is refusing to let me upload any pictures, but if you follow me on Instagram (ktindeed) I did upload several from the trip. Mostly of T-Rex, obviously.

What I'm Into January 2013

The DDH had all of January off for FMLA and it was wonderful. It's so much fun watching him with T-Rex and seeing him bond with the little guy.

This month, T-Rex's behavior has stabilized a bit, and we're starting to get into a good rhythm (or we will, now that we're back to normal life sans Daddy). Hopefully this means I'll be able to get work done (my employer agreed to let me pick up hours working at home instead of coming back into the office, yay!) as well as hang out with him.

Ok, onward to the meme!

Read and Reading

I've made the goal for the year to read at least one non-fiction and one fiction book each month, because it's too easy to just get sucked in to blog-hopping on my smartphone and never actually read anything of substance (not that blogs can't be substantive, but the brain reacts differently to words on a page versus a screen). Anyway, I did well on that goal this month!

For non-fiction, I read The Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells Us About the Mind. Highly readable cognitive science for babies. I loved it and am looking for something similar published more recently (this was 1999). I also enjoyed Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting. Also fascinating, though mostly what I got out of it is that apparently Druckerman's American mother friends just don't have a lot of common sense.

For fiction, I read A River in the Sky, a decent, relatively new Amelia Peabody mystery by Elizabeth Peters. I've also been blowing through the Nikki Heat books by "Richard Castle" that ABC publishes as a tie-in to the show Castle. They are surprisingly (and increasingly, as the series progresses) not awful.


Once Upon a Time, of course, continues to enthrall (did you see I did Megan's weekly post on the series a couple weeks ago?).

Bones, Castle, Being Human, the usual. Oh! We started watching Go On because of the ads for it during the Olympics, and guess what? It's actually really good.

We've also been working our way through Weeds on Netflix, and it's...I don't know. I'm tiring of the shocking suburban criminal trope, I guess. My mom has recommended the BBC Sherlock and also Netflix's House of Cards (starring the Princess Bride!). Anyone else care to weigh in?


The MIL watched T-Rex for us one afternoon so we could see The Hobbit. Love. Though the DDH didn't realize it was only Part I and he was mad when it ended halfway through the story. Oops.

Clearly it's harder to go see movies in the theater now, and if we rented any this month I don't remember them. Oh wait, I think we rented Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and it was as expected, that is, campy and awesome both.


I'm not a music person and never will be. Meaning, I love music, but I don't have Taste and I don't follow artists or find them. Oh well.


Given that I'm still trying to settle into a new normal life, I think that's all for now, folks.

Linking up with the lovely HopefulLeigh!

What I'm Into at HopefulLeigh

What are you into these days?