Monday, June 28, 2010


If you could hear my inner monologue these days, that's pretty much what it would sound like-- just a lot of stressed-out, crazy screaming. We are down to about 10 more days here in Texas and I feel happy and weirded out and exhausted and pretty sure I am forgetting something really important, all at the same time.

We have good news when it comes to selling our house here, for which we are very, very thankful. We had our inspections last week; I was so relieved when they called to schedule them because it seemed like a sign that our buyers were not, in fact, changing their mind about the house. Anyway, the inspections went pretty well with no big, terrible surprises and this past weekend we got the repair list from the buyers and negotiated with them about what we would do and how much money we would give them for the cracked skylights and roof repair and so forth. Houses sure can have a lot of things wrong with them, can't they? Even houses in relatively decent shape like ours. Anyway, if all continues to go well, we should close on this house in a couple of weeks. Hooray, hooray, HOORAY.

What happens NEXT WEEK is that we will pack up our whole house and drive away to our new home in Salt Lake City. Next Tuesday the movers will pack up our house, Wednesday they will load the truck, and then Thursday we will get in our car and drive away from Dallas. I'm feeling kind of excited about our drive to Utah. This is a bit of a surprise, given how I've felt about travel with my children in tow in recent months (i.e. mortal dread), but for some reason I am looking forward to driving through so many states and being on the road. We've decided to take this route. The shortest route goes through Albuquerque but supposedly it is only 20 minutes longer to go this way and we feel like we haven't seen much of this part of the country. I'm sure both routes would be scenic and pretty at different points in different ways, but going through more northern climes appeals to us more. We've decided to do the drive in 4 days (those points on the map are where we're going to spend the nights) which is a little slower than I think we'd go if we didn't have tiny children; we'll drive 5-6 hours each day.

And then there is dear sweet Abbey. Oh, it makes my heart ache to see how she goes through life these days... Last week we had the 7th anniversary of her coming to live with us and she is really not doing well these days. The timing of all this just sucks but we are trying to think through how she is going to handle the long drive and a new house and, at a more fundamental level, how much quality of life she has. She is such a good dog and we want so much to make the right decision for her.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

18 Months

Today Violet is 18 months old; as the year turns the corner and the days start to get shorter, she has turned a corner and is closer to being a 2-year-old than to her first birthday.


She has started using spoons and forks all by herself, with truly surprising dexterity. I'm not likely to give her a bowl of soup anytime soon, but really, she is amazingly good at stabbing morsels and conveying them into her mouth. She can even get more yogurt into her mouth than on to her shirt, armed with her spoon and her self-assurance. She likes melon and blueberries and bread and cheese, but can sometime be hoodwinked into eating less desirable food with the offer of a fork. Forks! They are super fun!

Playing with shapes

Our fun new game in recent weeks is identifying body parts. "Where is your nose? Where are your toes? Where is your tongue?" It sometimes shocks me how much language she understands. It is so fun to realize that she knows more than I think she does (who taught her what her feet were called? me?) and it is so SO fun to see her delighted and proud of herself for knowing the answers. Complacently self-satisfied babies are so adorable.

A little chair for a little person

And as far as speaking, she is at a stage right now where she seems to be adding a new word nearly every day. It boggles the mind to contemplate the rate at which she is learning new things and new concepts and new words. And oh, the adorable baby talk-- her funny mispronunciations of diaper and nurse and spoon and cheese that probably no one but us would understand. Her versions of water and hello and night-night are intelligible to pretty much everyone, I think, and there is no mistaking her beaming, triumphant "TA-DAH!" at accomplishing some feat.

Way up in the sky

I feel just the same, sweet brown-eyed girl.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I have gained almost 10 pounds since our house went on the market. That's right, GAINED. Almost 10 of the 40 pounds I had lost since Violet was born, 10 pounds that puts me that much further from what I would consider a happy weight for 30-something post-baby me.

Having our house on the market has eaten up quite a bit of my time and energy and all semblance of working out has fallen by the wayside. And then there is the emotional eating-- oh, the emotional stress-eating! I wish I had a more detached, objective relationship with food, but I DO NOT. I get riddled with cravings and binge-y in my behavior when I am stressed and anxious and not having a lot of other ways to say "yes" to myself. I have been thinking about that, actually; I say "no" to myself a lot in my current life stage and food sometimes feels like an easy, quick way to say "yes" to myself and then I find myself trying to self-soothe with food. I absolutely cannot have sweets around the house as a matter of habit or I will gobble them all up so the last 3 months of stress-eating have been eating almond butter out of the jar with a spoon and more leftover pasta for lunch than I really need. Three straight months of that, it turns out, will not only halt weight loss but turn it around the other way. Not good, not good at all. I know it's not the worst response possible to stress, but it's a problem. Do I really think food is somehow going to fix whatever is bothering me? And it makes me feel kind of sick that I am modeling this in front of two girls who are going to grow up in a society that has messed-up enough messages about female bodies and food and all that. I've got to get this turned around. The first step is recognizing you have a problem, right?

We do actually have some good news on the real estate front. We have accepted an offer on our house! Unfortunately, this good news feels a bit muddled because during our negotiations with the buyers, we got the impression they were considering backing out and I think we are still wary of them changing their minds about the house. I expected to feel more untroubled when we accepted an offer but this does not quite feel like a reason to shout in triumph. It is good news, though, albeit with a pinch of uncertainty.

When is life ever really certain, though? If that's what I'm expecting, I am sure to be disappointed. I've had ample evidence of this in the lives of friends and family in recent memory, from my dad losing his supposedly secure job back last year to complications of Rob's dad's surgery sending him back to the hospital for a while (he's home and recovering now, thank goodness) to a friend from Yale finding out he had a brain tumor. Life is full of surprises, and although my list right there is full of what I think we'd agree is bad stuff, the surprises of life are certainly not all bad. And anyway, control is an illusion, right? I'm not sure if I'm quoting The Matrix or a Buddhist monk or what there but it's definitely true, and the more I am able to actually believe that and LET GO for pity's sake, the better I will cope with life. And the more I will be able to trust in something more dependable than myself.

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
Psalm 46:1-3

Thursday, June 10, 2010

2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2

I am 32 today! Such a nice factorable number. I don't have any super fun plans, unfortunately, not even the laid-back plans I had last year when my parents watched the girls and I went out by myself for a bit. This is largely my own fault because I did not plan ahead of time to get a babysitter or something (and my parents moved out of town, for anybody who hasn't been paying minute attention to the details of my life). And it is also partly the fault of our life circumstances right now, with all the insanity of our imminent move and the travel we've been doing and how behind on stuff at work Rob has gotten because of aforementioned move and travel. This is a definite downside to having a summer birthday that falls right in the middle of moving season (well, moving season for medical families, anyhow, with the medical academic year that starts in July every year); such a birthday often gets lost in the shuffle of other, more pressing concerns. I think I barely noticed turning 30 the year we moved from Connecticut to Texas, or turning 27 when we moved the opposite direction 3 years before. Anyway, I am a grown-up now and if I want to do something special on my birthday, despite the life circumstances around me, I should probably buckle down and make it happen. I shall remember this for next year.

Rob has promised to make it home in time for dinner tonight, though, so we will have a nice evening together. I plan to grill pizzas, unless it rains, which it is looking like it might do, and we have a big watermelon I plant to cut up and there is a bottle of bubbly wine in the refrigerator. This afternoon I'm going to take the girls to get a birthday cake for me from a cheesecake place that is on of our regular routes around town and has tempted me, oh, since we first moved to this side of town. Mmmmmmm, birthday cheesecake...

As to the tumultuous life circumstances that are interfering with a full celebration of my birthday, I feel overwhelmed and a bit like we're staggering blindly around trying to keep on top of things. I think we do have a house to move to now, which is a very nice development. We originally were thinking apartments, because we thought it would be easier to get a short-term lease, but it didn't work out that way because of pet policies and whatnot. I feel very happy about the house we did end up getting, after the owner hemmed and hawed for a while about whether he was willing to do a shorter lease with us. It is a 50s era house that's been taken care of very, very well and is in nice shape. It has its original metal cabinets in the kitchen and original pink and turquoise tile in the bathroom, so I shall feel like a bona fide 50s housewife or something. After living there for a while baking and vacuuming while wearing pearls, I shall read The Feminine Mystique and then throw my bras and girdles in a trashcan. Wait, I don't own a girdle. Anyway, the house is big enough that we won't have to put any of our stuff in storage but can just move everything there, and then from there, hopefully, to a house of our own in not too many months. We are signing a 7-month lease, so we will see where December finds us living!

Oh, and have I yet exclaimed over the wonder that is a paid-for move? I am so, so, deeply, wonderfully happy about this. Rob's new employer is paying for our move, up to an amount that is A LOT, so we are having movers both pack us up and do the loading and moving and EVERYTHING. This will be the first time we've ever done this and I am so excited about it.

Friday, June 4, 2010

We Are Moving To...

...Salt Lake City!

It is more or less official today as Rob has agreed to his contract with Intermountain Healthcare. (It can't technically be signed until one more committee meets later this month, but I think it's close enough now to go public and call it decided.) Rob feels really enthusiastic about this job; working for a big nonprofit like IHC is going to be a good match for Rob's interests and professional preferences. When we were visiting Salt Lake earlier this spring, he came out of his interviews with some of the IHC people saying that the doctors who work there seem to spend their time doing what everyone says they go to med school for, which is high praise indeed. If you've been reading along this spring, you know that initially we had some reservations about Utah because of the dominant religious culture, but after several visits there and lots of research and talking with people who live there, we think it is going to be a really good fit for us and a fun, interesting place to live. We are excited about the amazing natural beauty and the fun vibe of the close-in neighborhoods and all the possibilities of starting a new life for ourselves there.

Rob is actually there right now, as I type this very sentence, on a house-hunting trip. He met in person with some IHC people today, which is when the last details of the contract got hammered out, and then he spent time going around with the realtor looking at apartments and houses and whatnot. We are renting to start with, mostly because our house here hasn't sold, although taking some time to look for a house at a more leisurely rate also plays into that choice. We have bought two houses so far in our marriage, both of which we chose in whirlwind 4-day trips where we saw 20+ houses all at once and then picked one. I would not mind doing things in a bit less slapdash manner. Anyway, we are hoping to get a 6-month lease somewhere and then think about buying once Rob gets settled into his job and HOPEFULLY HOPEFULLY HOPEFULLY our house here sells. We have been giving lots of thought (and realtor discussions) as to whether I stay behind Rob to keep the house furnished for showings but I think we've decided that we are going to stick together and just all move at once. When, you ask? When are we going to all pick up and move? IN. A. MONTH.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

And Nothing Came Up

Violet is fixated, nay OBSESSED with this book right now. We read it over and over and over, and she will sit on her own paging through it and making funny little vocalizations that mimic the sound of us reading it. Not that I mind too much, as it is one of those sweet old classic children's books that are full of charm and gentleness and adorable illustrations. There are some very vacuous, annoying children's books out there, but this is not one of them. I don't remember Grace perseverating on a single book like this, but I do remember this being the age (~18 months or so) when she finally got interested in books and wanted to sit in somebody's lap and read and read and read. There are few things more adorable than a toddler backing herself up to plop in your lap, book clutched firmly in her chubby hands.

The book itself is about perseverance and confidence in the future, which seems an apt message for us right now. We had an offer on our house this past weekend, which was such good news after the weeks and weeks of our house being on the market with no offers. It was a low-ish offer, but if we had been able to meet somewhere in the middle, it would have been OK. Unfortunately, the buyer wasn't interested in negotiating up any significant amount, so we told them no. There's the issue of how much money we will be losing on the house (which with his offer was a LOT) but also looking around at everything else in our neighborhood we feel feel pretty sure that our house is worth more than that, that our price is not that far off, which is also what our realtor says. So sadly our metaphorical carrot seed did not sprout this weekend and apparently we are still in the gloomy middle part of the book. Here's hoping that we get to the happy ending soon...

It is going to be a quiet day around our house because I am just not up to anything taxing today. We are still dealing with sickness and illness (yes, almost 2 weeks since my last post, we are still not better) and last night was just awful. We are all on the mend and our noses and throats and fevers are mostly fine, but Violet and I have these lingering coughs that are keeping both of us up at night. My albuterol (that I share with Violet via this tiny mask contraption) is just not cutting it anymore and I could seriously go for some codeine or whiskey or some other cough-suppressant big guns. The sleep deprivation has found me rather wan and fuzzy-brained and listless today, I am afraid, and the day looks rather long and daunting ahead of me. I predict that a) I will read Violet's favorite book about a dozen times and b) there will be a fair amount of children's TV involved.