Sunday, August 5, 2012

snapshots. it's been awhile!

life has been busier than busy lately.  it's been filled with doctor's appointments (trying to get everything checked out before my insurance expires), family trips (pictures soon!), auditions (even Lua's getting in on it) and, just yesterday, andrew started rehearsals for a show called NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT on broadway :)  that's b-way show number 2! yay!

as you can see, Lua has been a trooper through it all.  she turned 10 months old (i know, i have to do a 10 month post) and has been teething through much of this month.  she also discovered that she is funny.  watch out, world.

Monday, July 16, 2012

nursing tops, anyone?

not that i really mind if a little boob gets exposed now and then, but when riding on a crowded subway squashed between Newt Gingrich (i swear it was him) and a 6'5"biker dude, i'd really rather to keep my shit covered.

also, i know what breast-feeding moms everywhere are going to advise:  just wear a tanktop or bella band underneath a looser top, pull the top up and the tank down.  ya, i know.  but that can get SO HOT and sticky.  what i'm looking for - and i'm kind of on an ongoing mission to find - are simple nursing shirts/dresses.  one piece, not flashy or drapey or $200.  i figure i can spend a little on these because I will be nursing for a few years between lu and the next one and the one after that ;)

the first brand of nursing tops i found second hand from a company called BOOB.  I mean, c'mon!  however, they are a bit pricey for my budget.  maybe just this one :)

the second I found from an online source is called MAMAWAY.  the shirts are a bit closer to my price range, but take a bit of sorting through to find the really great, staple pieces.  here are a few i found.

p.s. don't you just love the attempt at making breast-feeding "way cool";) love it!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

reality check

ok.  so the other day I read this sad fact:  of all the things that depress women/mothers most - Magazines, Celebrities, Reality TV - it is the blog.  The Blog.  Other women writing about their perfect little lives, with their perfect husbands and babies that sleep through the night.  Hah.

well, the last thing I want to do is fit into that category.

i plan to combat this idea that everything in life is hunky-dory all the time and I'm a Suzie-Creamcheese of a mommy by regularly posting reality checks.  these posts are meant to be funny, not to complain or whine or compete with "how bad and busy and crappy my life can be".  only to let you in on a little secret:  not-a-one of us bloggers(ladies) have the perfect, put together life.

so, without further day in pictures.


lu dumps puffs on kitchen floor - i curse and wish that we owned a high-chair.  feeding lu on the floor/counter is just not working.


this picture really doesn't do it any justice.  i stupidly decide to attempt a shower while lu is quietly playing on the bathroom floor.  with one of my legs shaved and the other lathered up, lua's hand slips as she is pulling herself up on the wet tub and she bangs her head as she falls.  on the tub. ouch. i jump out of the shower, soaking wet and in doing so, hit my funny bone on the towel rack.  curse again.


getting into something she's not supposed to be touching.

clapping at the mess she's made.  yes, that's an icepack, hand towel, slipper....


 end of day messes.
i do my best to pick up all things "lua" at the end of the day, so andrew and i can enjoy an 'adult' evening.  i do my best, but sometimes it stays like this for days.

somewhere between 5pm and 8pm

 i get the grrrreat idea to set up a simple photo-shoot with lu and i.  i slap on some makeup (but, you'll notice, forget to don the bra) only to spend the majority of the time wrangling the crying beast.  needless to say, I won't be framing any of these (well, maybe that last one :)).

and that is far from it.

in general, it takes about 20 minutes to get lua to sleep.  right now, she's waking up a half hour after she goes down (between 8:30 and 9).  then again at 10:30.  then again at 1am.  then i'm too tired to notice when she wakes up after that, i just nurse her - half asleep - in our bed. 

i should also mention that when i have days like this one, i get a little (read: very) irritable with andrew.  i've tried for ten minutes now to write down some examples of my irritation, but there were just too many and as i typed them out i just felt worse and worse about getting mad about such stupid, nonsensical things.  so, i'm sure you can imagine.  imagine an irritable, sweaty mom with one leg unshaved and no bra getting all pissed off about the fact that the bath toys were not scooped up with the special-bath-scooper-thingy.  ya, that is me some days. 

but, i'm working on it.

here's to hoping the good days out number the not-so-good :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

for Apollo.

when i was in college, i got a dog.  a totally inappropriate response to my loneliness, low self-esteem and my totally crappy now-seems-insignificant-but-at-the-time-was-wild-and-universal-and-deep - relationship.  i had procured a key to my hometown "pound"in high school, when I volunteered to clean the kennels on the weekends and in the summer time.  I kept it, knowing that it would make a great hiding/hangout spot if I ever wanted somewhere to go try cigarettes or impress drummers.

now, i was absurdly dark and poetic in college and believed that i would just KNOW my dog when I saw him.  Some universal force would bring our eyes to meet, I would rescue him and he would save me.  It only had to be a him and he had to be BIG.  I wanted to intimidate people.  I wanted him to make me feel significant.

I probably visited (*read: broke in to) the shelter every weekend in 2003.  And then, at the end of the summer, I found him.  Sitting in the very back run, taking up almost the entire space with his massive paws outstretched, he looked like something out of a movie (think "Dances With Wolves", "Iron Will" and, lest we forget, "Eight Below" with Paul Walker) but BIGGER.  "Rocky" was the name on his cage and clipped to his card was a note, written on a dismantled box of marlboro lights.  It said something to the effect of, "this is an awesome dog.  he's about 6.  he knows sit, stay, shake and lie down.  He pees on my boyfriend's stuff, so we had to leave him here."  Pee's on boyfriends stuff, huh?  Sounds like this dog knows what-is-what.  I took him out for a quick walk and, when I could finally get ahold of the person in charge of adoptions - the town's optometrist - I wrote a check for 56 bucks and loaded him into the back of my Saturn.  Done and done.

Most of you know I work at an animal shelter.  When a dog comes in, it is given an extensive behavioral and medical exam to determine what it's individual needs are for treatment both here and in its new home.  I would say that 1 in 10 dogs that we see are great, no fuss, no issues dogs.  The other 9 will have issues ranging from resource guarding (snapping or biting when someone gets too close to food or other objects) to needing a special diet for allergies.  Man, am I lucky that this dog was that 1 in 10.  When I took him, I had zero idea what his medical history was.  Zero idea if he was going to be a barker, guarder or just plain eat me in my sleep.  I named him Apollo, after the space mission, not the God - and maybe subconsciously because I wanted him to have the most opposing name from his given one, Rocky. 

It was the smartest, dumbest thing I've ever done.  Apollo came into my life at a time when I needed a confidant, a companion.  And was he ever.  Looking back, the behaviors I'm about to describe are not the most desirable in a well-trained dog, but, gosh, do they tug at my heart-strings.  Here are just a few:

-he came to my college classes with me.  every day.  almost every class.  thanks NE Wesleyan for turning a blind eye to the gargantuan wolf-dog running loose on campus.

-the director of the theatre loved him and wanted to take him for a ride in the back of his pickup.  at a stoplight about a mile away, Apollo jumped out and came back to find me.

-during a rehearsal of A Streetcar Named Desire, we were rehearsing one of the end scenes where Blanche and Stanley finally have it out - Apollo wouldn't let Stanley near me.  He would not let anyone take him out of the building.  We had to postpone the rehearsal.

-the one and only place he would stay put if I had to leave him was the back seat of my car.  Anywhere else, he would bust out and find me.  no joke.  Privacy fences, dog kennels and storm doors could not keep this dog away from my side.

When I came to NYC six years ago, I had to leave him with my family.  I vowed that I would bring him out here when I could and I still regret that I didn't make more of an effort.  My husband can attest to the amount of times Apollo coming out here has been discussed.  In the end, I forced myself to believe he had it better in the green and trees than on the busy streets of NYC.  He enjoyed running free on the farm.  My parents took him for long runs and he had our family dog for a buddy.  Even now, though, I can't shake the guilt that I somehow abandoned him.

On Lua's due date, Apollo was hit by a car that broke one of his legs.  It healed nicely, but he began to get arthritis and went on medication to help him walk.  He started looking like the 14 year old dog he'd become.  Lua got to meet him twice.  The second time, just a few weeks ago, she was in total awe of him and he, so patient with her.

Apollo died this Friday, quite suddenly, from what we think was a hemorrhaged tumor.  My parents said they found him curled up, like a fawn, in his doghouse.  How I wish I was able to spend those final hours by his side - anything to repay him for the years he spent by mine.  I suppose that's why I'm writing this.  I wasn't able to be with him in the end, but somehow, letting you all know how much he meant to me feels like I'm doing something. 

Please hug the animals in your life.  Treat them well.  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

nine months already!

how about that?!  she's been out just as long as she was in :)

happy nine months to lua "del-ants-in-her-pants-y" cao!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

wild and precious.

I came upon this quote while stumbling around the internet, waiting for beetle to wake up and hoping against hope that tonight will be the night that she sleeps longer than two or three hours at a time.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

This sentence solidified the big and scary decision Andrew and I just made:  to quit my job.  Gosh, even as I type it out, it seems like a mistake.  Why would I leave a stable job (with health benefits) for the unknown, for being a full-time mom (and trying my hand at photography again and maybe childbirth education)?  This quote is the reason.  I have been struggling for seven months now with feelings ranging from melancholy to all out annoyance with my life.  When I returned to work after having beetle, I ended up compromising my needs and taking on too much.  Andrew became the primary care-giver and I became a miserable, stressed and unhappy person.  And it was just not worth it.  I have this one (wild and precious) life, ya know?  

I'm so lucky to have a husband who supports me, to be in a place where we can actually afford to take this leap and am so excited (and terrified) to start this new adventure.  I want to start taking photos, cooking meals, clipping coupons, smooshing my baby for more than an hour in the morning and an hour at night and taking some of the everyday burden off of Andrew.  Wish us luck!

just a couple photos from central park the other day :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


sleeping, smiling
new headband, loves apollo
porch swing with an orange, reading the menu
testing the grass, testing the bathwater
apollo waiting patiently, fresh spinach
my old books, playing with daddy at the airport
sleeping, waiting for the bus back home


usually, upon returning from any amount of time spent with my family in nebraska, i go through a bit of a slump.  i see the city lights for what they really are: wasted energy.  i smell the pee in every subway station and somehow manage to run into each and every nasty new yorker - convincing me that i need to get the hell out of this place and move to somewhere green and clean and calm.  this usually passes in one or two days; i'm swept into the bustling current of life here, the lights get prettier, the stink is less pungent and someone will eventually smile in my direction.  i'm proud to be a new yorker.  for six years i've managed to stay afloat in a city where many folks get eaten alive.  i like that i know which subway to take to coney island, where the nearest public bathroom is located and which way to raise/tilt my umbrella when walking through a crowd (it's called umbrella traffic and, i swear, someone should write a book).

this time has been much more difficult.  with lua getting older and turning into such a curious, fast-paced babe, you would think new york would suit her - it actually does just the opposite.  we can't afford "mommy and me" classes, we don't have a big enough apartment that she can run wild and i have yet to find a patch of grass, or even open space, without one of the following icky-ickies tucked somewhere:

a condom (unused and used, people), a needle, a piece of poop (pretty sure it was dog, but..) or a loogie (is that how you spell loogie?).

anyway, if new york city is one end of the spectrum, aurora, nebraska is the other.  i will admit that i would probably go insane if we actually picked up and moved to aurora (illustrated by our antics last night, when andrew ran to our corner deli and bought a whole pineapple at midnight, just because we felt like it.  compare this to jim's foodmart, in aurora, that closes at nine) but it really is a beautiful little town.  clean and bright - small enough that you can let your kids ride bikes until long after sundown, but big enough to have a thriving art scene, coffee shop and a chinese restaurant.  i know.

i think what really has me feeling melancholy is my family and the way they smooshed and smothered and loved on all of us.  i have a pretty large family when you include cousins, second-cousins, aunts, uncles and, of course, being from a small town there are many folks that have become family through the years.  during our visit, these people would stop by the house and bring pie, or just chat or invite us over for supper.  you may think this was all because we were visiting, but no - it is a daily occurrence at my childhood home to have a friend or family member just stop by to say hi.  there are soup and pie nights, jam sessions, early morning hikes.  my brother easily took off work the morning to see us off, telling me that his boss thinks family should come first - imagine that.

i keep imagining a life where every week lu spends a day with my parents, just for fun, so andrew and i can go out on a date.  where my brothers come over for waffles on sunday and throw a ball around the yard and we eat my parents' garden fresh food and there is always someone to hug the baby.  lu was so busy and happy for most of our trip (save a two hour car ride from hell) and slept like, well, like a baby.  tonight it took me over an hour to get her to sleep because she didn't want to be put down.  she would feel my weight shift forward and her sleepy eyes would shoot open.  now, i'm not deluded enough to think that she actually misses nebraska and is giving me problems because she hates new york.  she was probably just happily exhausted enough from all the excitement that she didn't fight sleep when we were in aurora (it also could've been the five pounds of potatoes my mom fed her :))  but it still enables me to keep this hum-drum, drippy attitude:  this city sucks.

i promise to try and pull myself to a more positive outlook sometime soon.  hopefully uploading these pictures will help - wish me luck!

ps - some of you have asked what the heck those funny beads can find them here.  they are called "chewbeads" --made of silicone and are great for teething babes!