Monday, December 28, 2009

Me and Bret Michaels

When I was pregnant, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and part of that diagnosis meant that I had to get tested again after having the baby to determine if I'm actually diabetic. So a few weeks ago, I took a follow-up glucose test, and my numbers came back high. So, I made an appointment with my doctor, and in the days between receiving my results and my doctor's appointment, I freaked out a bit. But eventually, I came around to the idea that although I was diabetic, it was something I could control and live with. I even decided that whenever I would blog about diabetes, I'd use the label "Me and Bret Michaels" because on Rock of Love, Bret Michaels often mentions that he has diabetes and he pronounces it weird ("dia-bettis").

So I went to my doctor's appointment last week fully expecting to get educated about my condition, get prescriptions for more lancets and testing strips, and be on my merry, little low-carb way. Instead, the doctor gave me a quick A1C test, took a look at my results, and determined that there was no way I'm diabetic.

Although I'm very relieved that I'm not diabetic, the news was a bit jarring. Since July, I've been counting my carbs and trying to eat a healthy, balanced diet. And now I don't have to anymore. Which, believe me, is welcome news. But at the same time, I sort of enjoyed having to follow a diet. So despite this diagnosis, I'm going to try to continue eating the same way. (Although if my eating habits of the past four days are any indication, this will be short-lived.) Having gestational diabetes means I'll always be at an increased risk of forming diabetes later in life, so hopefully, I can always keep that "later" part 20 years away.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Live-Action Christmas Card

We wanted to get a picture of Rosie and Maya together for our Christmas card this year, but figured that the chance of getting the two of them to hold still long enough to get a good shot were pretty much nil. So instead, we shot them together on our Flip cam, which allows you to turn video into stills.

Here's the video...


Live-Action Christmas Card from Sarah Wunder on Vimeo.


...and the resulting pic.




Although Chris really, really wanted to send this one out instead.



Happy holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On leave

First of all, here are the results to the "3 Reasons" post:

1. To hear how Maya vocalizes her love for left thumb.
2. As Highnumber correctly guessed, to hear Chris get very impressed with a midget's weight.
3. To hear the thumb-sucking stop long enough to let out a nice fart.

You missed that last one, didn't you? I think you should go back and watch it again.

Second, I've returned to the working world, and honestly? I couldn't be happier. I struggled with, and am continuing to struggle with, the fact that I did not enjoy maternity leave. It was hard. Really hard. Harder than my job by a long shot.

In the first few weeks, I was physically limited. I couldn't sit for very long, or stand for very long, or walk for very long. I wasn't sleeping and barely had time to eat or go to the bathroom.

As my strength returned, Maya also starting sleeping at night (or perhaps my strength returned because she started sleeping at night), which made things a bit easier. But sleeping at night meant she was awake most of the day. And most days, she spent a good deal of her awake hours crying. If she'd been changed, fed and burped and still cried, pretty much the only thing that made her stop was being carried around while I paced the halls for hours. We'd walk from the living room to the kitchen and back. Over and over again. Then up and down the stairs. Again and again.

Sometimes we'd go for a walk outside, but this was more difficult than it sounds. Going outside meant I'd have to change out of my pajamas and into real clothes and shoes. And that process was not fun because it was usually accompanied by a screaming baby. Once I'd put her in her crib to go change, she'd start screaming. The kind of screams where her whole head turns red and no sound comes out and tears roll down her cheeks, and I'd feel so terrible that most days, I'd choose to pace the house for hours rather than put her through 5 minutes of this type of screaming.

There were a lot of days that I wanted nothing more than an hour to do the dishes and tidy up. The house got so unorganized. We had tons of gift boxes and bags from friends and family on the coffee table, in her room and on the floor. Newspapers piled up on the front porch. Dishes overflowed the sink. Dog hair covered everything. We went weeks without changing the sheets. In my old age, I've become more and more obsessive about a clean house. When the house is full of clutter, I get stressed out. And many days during leave, I'd sit in the rocking chair nursing Maya, staring at all that clutter, about to have a nervous breakdown.

And some days, I did break down. She'd cry all day, and so would I. It wasn't until she was about 8 weeks old that her crying slowed down. She's take regular naps and I've have a chance to eat, clean and relax. And when she was awake, she was in a good mood and we'd play. That's when maternity leave started to get fun. But it's also when I went back to work.

Currently, I'm working from home a few days a week and going into the office on the other days. Chris is doing the same, and my parents babysit once a week. Next month, Maya starts daycare. And although I'm a little sad about her spending the majority of her waking hours with non-family members, I know that it has to be this way. I like going to work everyday. I enjoy eating lunch at a leisurely pace without the fear that the baby will begin crying any minute. I like have the option of going to the bathroom when nature calls rather than getting trapped on the rocking chair holding a nursing or sleeping baby. I enjoy working with people, helping clients, solving problems, and most of all, not watching TV all day.

And I like missing Maya. It sounds terrible, but it's true. I'm so happy to see her when I get home from work everyday. But when I was on leave, I can't say I was always happy to see her. When Maya was about 5 or 6 weeks old, I went to the grocery store by myself, and Chris stayed home with her. It was the first time in her life that we were apart for more than a few minutes. I was only gone for about an hour, but honestly, I wanted to stay at the grocery store all day.

Part of me feels terrible for feeling this way. As a mom, I'm supposed to cherish every moment I spend with my daughter. I'm supposed to wish I could stay home with her. I'm supposed be the only person who knows how to make her happy or stop her crying. But I'm not that mom. I'm the mom who loves her daughter, but also loves her job. And I'm the mom who sometimes — a lot of times — has no clue how to make her daughter happy.

I'd like to conclude right now with something like "but I'm OK with that." But I'm not yet. On one hand, I'm glad that I value both my career and my family, and that I can admit that I don't have all the answers when it comes to being a successful mom. But on the other hand, I can't help but beat myself up over the fact that perhaps I wasn't born with that mom instinct.

So instead, I'll conclude this way. I still don't know how to feel about any of this, but I think it's important to be honest about it in a public way. There were many days that I'd think about and reread this post from my bloggy-friend Melinda, and this post from my co-worker Michelle to remind myself that yes, I'm miserable, and yes, that's OK.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

My little turkey

For Thanksgiving this year, Chris, Maya and I went to Pennsylvania, which is where most of Chris' relatives live. His parents and sister also came up from North Carolina. Chris' dad is a professional photographer, which means that with little more than Grandma's couch, a camera, a fancy light, and a blue Snuggie as a backdrop, we got some awesome pics that look like they were shot in a studio. Jealous? You should be.




Saturday, November 28, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fortunate Girl

I'm once again making up for my lack of posts with Maya-themed multimedia. Here, she auditions to be John Fogerty's newest and cutest drummer:

Fortunate Girl from Sarah Wunder on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

October in pictures

I haven't had much time to post lately. So to make up for my neglect, here are some baby pics:

My two girls


Can I interest you in some partially digested breast milk?


Baby bath time


Maya visits Daddy at work...


...then she takes over the place.


Happy Halloween!
(Chris is holding her up here even though you can't see him in the pic. Although Maya is obviously very advanced for her age, we didn't want y'all to think she could sit up on her own at one month.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

On Oprah

Since going on maternity leave, I must admit that I've become a fan of Oprah. It all started as a study. I watched her show to try to figure out why people worshiped her. I used to work at a book store back in high school, and her effect on book sales was unbelievable. She puts something in her book club, and it's an instant best seller. Why is that? How can she have that kind of power?

So, nearly four weeks ago, I started watching Oprah. And now, I'm one of them. I watch her and I'm mesmerized. She mentioned a certain brand of jeans yesterday, and all I wanted to do afterward was go out and buy those jeans. She had Chris Rock on recently promoting Good Hair, and since then, I've been dying to see that movie. Everything she does, everything she loves, I can't help but want to do and love also.

But the weird thing is, I still don't know why she has that affect on me, an otherwise independently minded, non-trend following person. Perhaps my removal from the working and social worlds has somehow shut down the part of my brain that can think for itself. Or maybe she really is that amazing. I have no idea.

The summer after I had meningitis was sort of similar to being on maternity leave, except for the caring for another human being part. I was mentally active, but physically unable to do much of anything. So I spent most days on the couch watching bad daytime television. That summer, I got hooked on the Rosie O'Donnell show. I loved her and watched her show religiously. She was part best friend, part therapist, part entertainer. When I was finally able to return to school, I never had a chance to watch her show during the day. It wasn't until about a year later that I happened to be home during the day and decided to revisit my old friend, the Rosie O'Donnell show — and I distinctly remember hating it. I remember thinking to myself, how on Earth did you get hooked on this show? It's mind numbing and insincere and in general, just plain stupid. But for whatever reason, when I was laid up and an emotional wreck after being sick, none of those things bothered me.

So maybe after I go back to work and my post-pregnancy hormones aren't raging quite as much as they are now, I'll catch Oprah again one day and wonder the same thing. Or maybe she'll feature some new product, and no amount of willpower will be able to keep me from going out and buying it.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Restless

It's flu season, and I have an infant, so we haven't left the house much. Which has been fine by me, because I've been resting, relaxing, healing and nursing and all that good stuff. Also, it's been really, really crummy outside for days. So, staying cooped up with a newborn, having soup for lunch everyday and not doing much day after day hasn't really bothered me.

Until now. I'm ready to get out of the house now. I'm kind of surprised it took 3 weeks for me to get restless. Guess I needed the relaxation.

So it's official. The Wunder girls are ready to come visit you. Just tell me when and where, and we'll be there. Assuming you don't have the flu.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

When the baby sleeps

Oh my. It turns out finding time to blog when you have an infant is more difficult than I first thought.

You see, there's this magical time known as "when the baby sleeps." When I was pregnant, lots of people gave me the advice to "sleep when the baby sleeps." And back then, I was all gung ho about following that advice. Take naps everyday? Yes please. But it turns out that when that magical time arrives, it's my first chance to do other important things, like eating, drinking and going to the bathroom. Occasionally, I take a shower, do the dishes or change my clothes. And then if I'm really lucky, I'll do laundry or read. And sadly, blogging has sort of fallen to the end of the list. Which stinks, because I feel like I have so much to blog about. I write them in my head while nursing. Blogs about how Rosie's adjusting to her new sister, about Maya's well-developed sense of comedic timing, and about my bellybutton's refusal to return from outie to innie.

But those will have to wait for now because 1). Although I'm upstairs in the office, and Maya's sleeping downstairs in her pack n play, I clearly just heard some explosive poop action, and 2). Price is Right starts in 15 minutes.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The gory details

First of all, today was my due date. I can’t even remember what being pregnant and not being a mommy feels like right now. Crazy.

So, everything started two weeks ago today. That day was like any other Wednesday. Went to work, came home and went to the church to pick up our CSA food. We ate dinner, watched the greatest night of television ever (SYTYCD, followed by Glee, followed by Top Chef. God, I LOVE Wednesdays), and went to bed. But, I didn’t sleep too long. Around 3 a.m., I started having what I thought were Braxton-Hicks contractions. They weren’t too regular or extremely painful, but they were enough to keep me up. I went down to the couch so I wouldn’t wake up Chris, watched some TV and tried to get some rest.

The contractions continued through Thursday morning, and I wasn’t sure if they were the real deal, so I decided to stay home from work that morning to see what happened. The more I moved around, the less intense they got, so I went into work around 11 a.m.

At this point, even though I was pretty sure my contractions weren’t yet the real deal, I kind of knew labor wasn’t far off. So, I tried to tie up as many loose ends at work as possible. While there, the contractions continued about every half hour. Again, not terrible, but enough to take my concentration for a minute. I was also moving really slowly. So, just about everyone I saw at work could tell baby time was close, too.

That night, I just tried to relax and get some rest to see if the contractions slowed down, got more intense, etc. I was supposed to have a prenatal appointment Friday morning, so I thought I’d wait until then to see what was going on. We called my good friend and doula, Holly, to let her know what’s up.

The contractions were pretty steady through the night and started developing a pattern by Friday morning. Realizing this was finally happening, we called the midwife on call at our hospital to let her know what was going on. From the beginning, our plan was to labor at home as much as possible. I didn’t see any point in going to our prenatal appointment, and the midwife agreed, so we skipped it and stayed home. Holly came over and the three of us tried to get me to relax through contractions.

There were a few things that weren’t textbook early on. For one, the baby all on the left side of my belly. And second, although my contractions were getting closer together, they lasted between 60 seconds and 2 to 3 minutes each. (Normally, they should regulate to 60 seconds each.) To address to lopsided belly, Holly suggested a few different positions to try to get the baby to line up. Friday is kind of a blur now, but I remember walking around the backyard while Holly applied counter pressure on my lower back. It was a little show for the neighbors.

I also remember laboring with my yoga ball, laboring in the shower, and mostly, laboring in the rocking chair. That was the most comfortable position. Looking back on it now, I probably wasn’t helping myself my sitting in that rocking chair. I was so focused on getting comfortable, but if I had embraced the pain a little more, I probably would have moved things along faster.

Eventually, my contractions got to about 3 to 4 minutes apart (although their length still hadn’t regulated, nor would they ever regulate for another two days, but I’m getting ahead of myself), so we went to the hospital around 6 p.m. on Friday. Once there, we found out that I had fully effaced but only dilated to about 3 or 4 cm, which in natural childbirth terms, is pretty much nothing. I wanted to get to the hospital dilated to at least 6 cm or further. However, now I’m not sure that ever would have happened on its own.

So, we labored some more at the hospital. Again, Friday is kind of a blur, but I remember laboring in the tub, laboring in the bed, walking around and vigorously tapping my right foot to get through contractions. Chris would tap along with me to help. He and Holly took turns holding me, massaging me, applying counter pressure. My mom and sister came around 7 or 8 p.m. and joined in, too. I had an awesome support team.

At some point, I think after midnight but I don’t remember, the midwife checked me and I had only dilated to 4 or 5 cm. Frustrated, we kept laboring. My mom and sister left around 4 a.m. to get some rest, and my mom and dad went to my house to get Rosie and take her home with them for the night.

We kept laboring through the night and Saturday morning into the next midwife’s shift. (I feel like I shouldn’t name which midwives I had, but both were absolutely amazing.) Saturday’s a bit of blur now, too, but I remember trying out all kinds of different positions and techniques. I also remember starting to ask for drugs. I warned Chris months ago that even though I was totally set on a natural childbirth, when things got really bad, I knew I’d ask for drugs. And his job was to ignore me and change the subject and get me to work through it. So, he and Holly both got me to focus on each contraction and tried to distract me from insisting on drugs. It worked for the most part.

By Saturday afternoon, I still hadn’t dilated much more. We tried everything. The breast pump, showering, bathing, everything. But not only was I not progressing, I was starting to regress. The midwife said my cervix started to get swollen (sort of the opposite of effacement). We decided to break my bag of waters to see if we could get things moving forward. So I kept laboring. At this point, I was tired and weak and frustrated and scared. We were starting down a path toward a c-section, which was the last thing I wanted. (Later on, I would beg for one just to be done with everything. Luckily, my midwife rocks and talked me out of it).

Unfortunately, breaking the bag of waters did little to dilate me more. I think I got to about 6 or 7 cm, although Chris says I was further along. I don't remember. So, around 10 p.m. or so Saturday night, we had to move on to pitocin, a drug that makes you contract, and something I never wanted to have to use. But I pretty much had no choice at this point. This was the last option before a c-section. Pitocin makes contractions extremely strong, and I was physically kaput. I hadn’t slept in days. I hadn’t eaten much. I had been in active labor for close to 48 hours. I was done. So I begged for drugs again, and this time, my team didn’t fight me. So I got an epidural. I have to admit, it was pretty great. I passed out and slept for a few hours. Looking back, I wish I had been stronger. I’m disappointed because not taking drugs was extremely important to me. But I also know that I might not have gotten through pushing had I not gotten those few hours of sleep.

Which brings me to the happiest part of this whole experience. The pitocin worked, I fully dilated, and I was able to deliver my baby without having a c-section. (I’d should note here that I know a lot of women who have had c-sections and I don’t mean to suggest that it’s a horrible thing. Personally, I just wanted to avoid surgery at all costs. I’ve had enough surgeries in my lifetime.) We had to wait a bit for the epidural to wear off because I couldn’t feel a thing, which made pushing really difficult. According to Chris, I pushed for 2.5 hours. It didn’t seem like that long to me, but I hear it’s common for women not to realize how much time passes during labor.

Eventually, after three days of hard work, I had beautiful baby girl on Sunday morning. She came out slightly at an angle, with the umbilical cord around her neck (this is super common, and her heartbeat never dropped), and with her elbow up near her face, which explains why the labor was so long and complicated. But she’s perfectly healthy, and beautiful, and well, perfect. I’m a proud mommy.

So that’s my birth story. I’m sure I’m forgetting stuff, like how pushing hard made me dry heave, and the weird show about donkeys we watched on Saturday in between contractions, but this little post is nearing 1,500 words, so it’s time to wrap it up. I promise to post more often, especially because like other mommy bloggers, I’m getting good at this typing with one hand thing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Meet Maya!

Baby TK is now Maya Adeline Wunder. She came two weeks early, but took 3 days to come out. It was rough, but totally worth it. I'll write out the gory details later this week, but for now, here are some pics of our little Wunder Baby:

Maya, born Sept. 27, 2009. 6:51 a.m. 7 pounds, 11 ounces.

Maya's glamour shot.

Me and Maya

Chris making faces.

The new Wunder family (minus Rosie, of course).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Stick a fork in me

I've been trying to write a recap post of the past month and a half, but things like lack of time and motivation keep getting in the way. So instead, here's a little story and a picture.

My sister and I both have very fine, naturally curly hair, which, in our youth, lead to knots and tangles that far surpassed those of the average kid. My mom likes to tell this story about how when she tried to comb my sister's hair — which, as you might imagine, was an involved process — after a few minutes my sister would run away, comb still stuck in her hair, repeating, "I'm done, Mom. I'm done, Mom. I'm done, Mom."

That mantra has been repeating in my head for about the past week. I'm due in three weeks, and I'm so, so done. Everything is starting to hurt, I can't get comfortable, I have to get up to pee at least four times a night, and I have cankles.

Typically, complaining is my pet peeve — especially when the act of doing so has no effect on the situation. But right now, I want to complain incessantly even though there's nothing I can do except wait. (Well, I suppose I could demand to be induced early, but that's definitely not happening.) So, I'm just going to keep waiting it out. And complaining. Sorry.

In the meantime, here's a pic of my very pregnant self and the hubby from this weekend. We celebrated our third wedding anniversary at Wildfire, which is where we had our rehearsal dinner. It's a steak and seafood place, so for someone who's supposed to curb carbs and pack on the protein, it was pretty much heaven.


I promise to post more soon detailing things what I've been up to for the past 6 weeks, which doesn't include anything too exciting, actually. Well, maybe there were a few exciting moments. But for the most part? Blah.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Will blog again

I promise. I'm just insanely busy these days. Real life is getting in the way of my social media life right now. Stupid un-digitized reality.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Not so grown-up, either

So, despite all my apprehensions, my nutrition appointment wasn't too bad. Basically, she said that I'm already doing everything right and that I just have to make a few, small adjustments. Then we went over the whole blood testing process, and it seemed easy enough. I tried it out once at the office, got my result quickly, and went on my merry way.

Unfortunately, that testing ease significantly diminished as soon as I left the nutritionist's office. I'm supposed to test my blood sugar four time a day: once right when I get up, and then one hour after eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, after lunch yesterday, I went to the bathroom at work to test myself. But this time, I couldn't seem to get enough blood out of my finger and onto the strip. After two finger pricks and two "error" messages on my monitor, I finally got a reading on the third try. But the number was really low, so I'm guessing I did something wrong.

Then, last night after dinner, I tried to test my blood sugar again. This time, I pricked myself three times, tried to squeeze out enough blood, and ultimately received three "error" messages.

And that's when I had a total meltdown. A meltdown of the order that would make my 3-year-old nephew look mature. And then, for some reason, all this crying and tantrum throwing gave me a bloody nose. (And no, I didn't test my blood sugar using my snotty nose blood. And yes, I briefly considered it.)

I next spent the better part of an hour crying in the bathroom, trying to get my nose to stop bleeding, all the while making the blood run faster by my continual crying. I kept wondering how I'd become such a failure at something as simple as getting a drop of blood onto a test strip, and then realizing that this is nothing, nothing, compared to how hard raising a child is going to be. And holy crap, what am I going to do?

Poor Chris, who has been my rock through this whole pregnancy, was exhausted after a long day and kept trying to get me to calm down and come to bed.

This morning, I tried to do a reading again and again got an "error" message. Then Chris tried on himself and succeeded the first time. He showed me his technique for getting more blood to come out — in his words, milking your finger like an udder. Since trying out this technique, I've gotten two good reads, so hopefully we've finally figured this whole thing out. At least I hope so, because I can't spend any more nights crying in the bathroom. The Wunder household would really like to enjoy these last 10 weeks of blissful, baby-free sleep.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Not so healthy

Remind me never to write things like "I've been blessed with a healthy pregnancy" on my blog. Because, of course, I jinxed myself. It turns out I have gestational diabetes.

I just found out on Tuesday. I gotta admit, when I found out, I was shocked, and pissed. My initial glucose screen came back on the high side, but that screen has a high rate of false positives. My sister actually had a false positive on her screen, but after further tests, was determined to be just fine. So naturally, I assumed I'd be OK, too.

I had my second round of tests on Saturday. It involved fasting for 12 hours, then drinking this nasty sugar water and having my blood taken four times over a three-hour period. (Yeah, worst way to spend a Saturday ever.) On the bright side, as a reward for having to go through this, Chris and I went to Kuma's Corner after the test and ate mac n' cheese and giant burgers until we were literally sick to our stomachs. Unfortunately, that little indulgence turned out to be a last hurrah for me. No more pasta, fries and pretzel rolls. At least, not for the next 10 weeks.

The reason I'm pissed is because I already eat healthy. Other than the occasional indulgence like the one mentioned above, I don't eat simple carbs like pasta, white bread and white rice. We don't even have any in the house. And I rarely eat sweets. My diet pretty much consists of fish and lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts and whole grains. And I exercise. And I'm not overweight. And with this new food co-op we joined, I've been eating tons of fresh kale, greens, arugula and cabbage for the past month. WTF?

I suppose this means adopting a new "diet" won't be difficult. I have an appointment tomorrow to learn about all this stuff. I'm trying to be positive, but the idea of sitting through a lecture on how I shouldn't eat ice cream, fried chicken and pizza for every meal is infuriating.

Argh. I need to stop and remember that this is temporary. Lots of people have much worse conditions, none of which were deserved. And they don't get to say goodbye to those problems 10 weeks from now. So yeah, I'm just being a brat.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Countdown

I've been blessed with a very easy pregnancy so far. Never had morning sickness. No health problems (at least, not yet). No mood swings or insane fears. But I have to admit, I'm kinda looking forward to NOT being pregnant anymore.

There's the obvious reason: I can't wait to meet this baby that already seems to have a personality and sense of humor. For example, when Chris tries to listen to the baby's heartbeat, Baby TK has taken to kicking him in the ear. I'm so proud.

But then there are the day-to-day things I miss, like being able to bend over to tie my shoes, or walking up a flight of stairs without getting winded. This morning, it took me 30 minutes to walk from our house to the train. Usually, it only takes 10.

Part of me feels selfish and weak for mentally being done with this whole pregnancy thing only 70% of the way through. I'm not a C- kind of gal. But then again, this week, three people told me I'm starting to waddle. What's up with that?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Further proof that I am an adult

As of yesterday, I am now the proud owner of a home with central air, as well as a fancy, new furnace that, unlike our previous one, was actually constructed after the McKinley administration.

Add the A/C and furnace to the new windows we recently had installed throughout our home, and you'll get the next sure sign of our adulthood: a home equity line of credit.

And if those four things weren't enough, we now have a fully assembled baby crib, rocking chair and stroller/car seat combo. We are, undeniably, grown-ups.

Part of becoming an adult must involve turning into your parents. Less than 12 hours after the A/C was installed, I became my father and started scolding Chris for running the A/C too much. Our electricity bill's going to skyrocket. It's nice outside. We don't even need to run the A/C. Just open the windows.

But Chris wanted to play with our new household toy, so I caved. But after the novelty's worn off, I'll put my foot down because it really is too nice outside to run the A/C at night, and our electricity bill really is going to skyrocket.

Politically, I might be pretty liberal, but in MY house, I'm a fiscal conservative, dammit.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I am huge...

... and not in the Paris Hilton "that's hot" kind of way*, but rather in the "are you sure you're not having twins?" kind of way.

Seriously, one of my co-workers asked me that this morning. When I said no, she suggested that perhaps I'm carrying both a baby and a puppy. Which is kind of gross (birthing a puppy? ewww), but also pretty funny. Chris and I have often said that the baby should get its own dog, because Rosie's our dog and we don't want to share, not even with our first born.

To date, I've gained 16 pounds since getting pregnant, which is actually a smidgen on the low end — so much for gaining weight too rapidly in the beginning. The main reason I've slowed down is because eating has become quite difficult. My stomach must now be the size of a grape, because I get full extremely fast. As a result, I have to graze all day, eating little bits here and there. Which is actually really good for maintaining a regular blood sugar level for the baby. But it's also really good for your metabolism, meaning I probably burn a crazy amount of calories schlepping my massive self to the bathroom 50 times a day.

So, even though I haven't gained that much so far, currently it's ALL BELLY. This has also led every woman who sees me to say that, without a doubt, I'm having a boy. The fetal heart rate would suggest otherwise, but you know what? Both of these things are old wives tales.

All I know is this: I'm having a baby. Just one. And possibly a puppy.

* I just learned this term from a recent episode of "Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List," which, other than SYTYCD, is quickly becoming my favorite thing on television.

Monday, July 06, 2009

How I spent my 4th of July vacation

For the 4th of July this year, we spent the weekend at my sister's friend's annual multi-day party. We've been to this bash before, but this was the first year we stayed most of the weekend.

It was pretty much the perfect 4th weekend: there was swimming, fireworks of legal and illegal varieties, mass quantities of grilled meats and foods served in salad form, and hours of backyard whiffleball.

Here are a few highlights from the weekend:

Me and my new niece, Lucy. Also featured in this photo is my rapidly expanding belly. Thankfully, Lucy is obscuring most of that (because really, nobody wants to see a pregnant chick in a bikini). Next to Lucy's teeny right foot, you can make out my bellybutton, which is mere millimeters from becoming a full-blown outie.

At night Chris, Rosie and I camped out in the backyard, and Jack joined us as well. It was his first time sleeping in a tent, and I think he's a fan. Also a fan? The hosts' dog, Chewy (above), who wanted to hang out in the tent all the time, even when we weren't around.

Chris, demonstrating how with the use of baby sling, your hands are free for important tasks, like drinking a margarita and eating a burger. He is so ready for fatherhood.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Green in the city

Chris and I recently joined a farmer' cooperative food share program. Every two weeks, we get a box filled with organic produce from southern Wisconsin farms. We got our first allotment on June 17, and we're finally using up the rest of the bounty. We got:

  • Asparagus
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries
  • Mushrooms
  • Mint
  • Green Onions
  • and three types of leafy greens, which we think are romaine, lettuce and arugula, but we could be wrong. For a while, I argued that one of these greens was actually swiss chard. So yeah, we have no idea what we're eating.

Having this stuff around the house has given us an excuse to try out all kinds of new recipes, like this cake I just made yesterday, and this potato salad I'm planning to make tonight, as well as old standbys, like the strawberry asparagus salad I insisted* Chris bring for Father's Day dinner at my parents' house.

We get our next allotment tomorrow. I can't wait to find out what's in there. The program also offers a cheese share, but most of their cheese is raw, which sadly, I'm not supposed to have while pregnant. But next summer? That cheese share will be mine.

In other veggie news, we also recently planted our first garden in our backyard. It features tomatoes, three types of peppers, cucumbers, basil, oregano, cilantro and thyme. Chris' ultimate goal was to grow everything necessary to make Greek salad. Now we just need to buy a goat.

* as you might recall, I hate asparagus, to the point that I can't even handle the smell of it cooking in our house. I know. I'm weird.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I want to hug this reviewer

I had no plans whatsoever to see Transformers 2 anyway, but the first paragraph of Roger Ebert's review is a thing of beauty:

"'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination."

Read the rest of the review here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

9 Links, June 17

There's just too much good stuff floating around the internets today.

1. So cute. Rottweilers get a bad reputation, but check out this male rottie that adopted an abandoned wolf cub. Adorable.

2. More cute stuff. They're called "mini-schwein." I want one.

3. Kinda cute. I've watched this video of The Count Censored so many times, but it still makes me laugh every time.

4. Not cute. The 1968 Chicago riot cops are holding a reunion. And if that weren't enough, check out this gem from the article: "Former Police Supt. Philip Cline is scheduled to be a keynote speaker." Unbelievable.

5. I can't stand Joe Buck, so for this week at least, I'm in love with Artie Lange.

6. I'm sure a lot of people have already seen this video of Obama going Mr. Miyagi on a fly, but if not, enjoy.

7. I'm not sure how I feel about the film adaptation of The Time Traveler's Wife. I love Eric Bana. I'm undecided on Rachel McAdams. And Ron Livingston as Gomez? But who am I kidding? I almost started crying during the trailer.

8. It only took two years, but I've finally started redesigning my Web site. It still needs some work, but it's infinitely better than my old one.

9. And finally, a BIG congrats to my boss, who just won the American Business Media 2009 Custom Media Innovator of the Year Award. Yay Jim!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Still here...

...just kind of busy at work and home. Chris and I went to New Buffalo, Mich. this weekend for a little getaway. It was lovely and quaint and the perfect little getaway, although I wish that going once meant no longer having to hear or see those Tim Allen "Pure Michigan" ads.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Birth and birthdays

About five months ago, I wrote this nice little post about how I planned to celebrate Chris' 30th year for all of 2009. I still have a list in my desk at work with all my ideas for the 30 things I'll get/make/surprise Chris with over the next year. And that list has sat mostly untouched since Jan. 31, the day we found out I was pregnant.

Suddenly, all those lovely weekend trips I had planned and big-ticket purchases I thought we could afford have disappeared as I sink every extra penny into the "maternity leave/day care/holy shit, we're having a kid" fund.

In my the last post on this topic, I wrote about gifts 1 - 6. Since then, I did manage to check off a few more items:

7. New York trip - We went the weekend of Jan. 23
8. Carbomb cupcakes - Made a bunch for Chris to bring into work for St. Patrick's Day
9. Massage in Arizona - I got one, too. Week of March 23.
10. Another weekend in New York, but this time with his guy friends, sans wifey - weekend of May 22

And that's it. My average so far ain't too good, unless I manage to pull off five more gifts in the next four weeks. Unfortunately, most of the ideas on my list are no longer doable, due to the aforementioned lack of funds, or my own lack of ability (like that ski trip I was going to plan for last February, until I remembered that pregnancy and downhill skiing don't mix. Although, now I can add "carrying your first born child for nine months in my womb" and "childbirth" to the list.)

Pretty much, the only things left of the list that are affordable and doable are food related, which are fine, but I need more variety. I've got some brainstorming to do.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A new niece and a belly

Sorry this took a few days, but here are some pics of my new niece, Lucinda Joy. She was born on Sunday at 7:33 am. 6 pounds, 15 ounces, and 19 inches long.


From My pictures
She looks a lot like her big brother Jack. Check out his birthday pics here.

From My picture
The happy family

From My pictures
Lucy, doing her best Mr. Burns impression. Excellent.


And because a few folks have asked, here's me showing off the bump.

From My pictures
It's sort of a weird pic. I think I was moving or something.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I want to ride my bicycle

I miss running. And riding my bike to work. And working out so hard that I'm drenched in sweat and totally energized.

My rapidly expanding butt misses those things, too.

Walking and the elliptical machine aren't cutting it for me. Technically, I could still jog and bike. But I worry too much about falling or hurting myself or the baby. And don't suggest swimming, because the pools at the gym I attend and the park district buildings are usually too packed to even get a good stride going ... not that I've tried. I've just watched from afar, and that seems to be the case. That, and I don't feel like buying a maternity swimsuit. And the feet don't really like being barefoot.

OK, I'm done complaining now.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Baby TK pics

Every time I've looked at someone else's ultrasound pics, I've tried to decipher what I'm looking at, but pretty much thought to myself that they looked like a bunch of white blobs.

Now that I've had my own ultrasound, I gotta say, the pics still look like a bunch of white blobs. The ultrasound itself was pretty awesome. You get to see the baby moving around, sucking its thumb, beating its little heart. But then the tech tries to capture one of these moments on screen, and you end up with a fuzzy photo that requires lots of "you kind of had to be there" explanations. But I've received a few requests to see these pics, so here goes:

The standard ultrasound shot

Here, Baby TK gives us a side view. And see that white blob to the right of its mouth area? That's Baby TK's little hand, going in for some thumb-sucking action.

The Bird's Eye View
This shot is looking straight down at the top of Baby TK's head. To the left, you can see the forehead, left eye, nose and chin. And that might be an ear toward the bottom center area, but I'm not sure.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Does not play well with others

I had my monthly baby appointment this morning, and since my last appointment, I've gained 6 pounds. So since getting pregnant, I've gained a total of 12 pounds, which I guess is pretty much normal.

But, it bothers me a bit, mostly because I know the weight gain has less to do with the 8 ounces of baby in my belly, and a whole lot more to do with the past few weeks' steady diet of Mexican leftovers, all-you-can-eat conference buffets, regularly dining out and tres leche cake. Add that to the zero times I've worked out recently, and well, 12 pounds adds up fast.

I really don't have body issues, at least, not about my weight. But I do like being, and feeling, healthy. Usually, if I pig out for a day or two, I'm pretty good about balancing that out over the next few days. But lately, I've had no willpower, and more importantly, absolutely no interest in sharing. If I have leftovers, there's no way Chris is even getting a bite. The other day I went out with a few co-workers, one of whom got an order of tater tots. I pretty much ate half the order, leaving the my 6 co-workers to split the other half. Then today, we had pizza at work, and I was the first person in line, grabbing up as much as I could.

It's like some weird hoarding/famine instinct has kicked in. I do not recognize, nor like, this part of me. In fact, it's one of my pet peeves. It reminds of times I've been to weddings that serve buffet style and you have to wait until it's your table's turn to go through the buffet line. It seems like I always hear someone complain, "When do we get to go up to eat? Why did that table get to go before us? There's not even going to be food left by the time we go!" And I always roll my eyes and think, "Good grief, it's just food. As long as the bar's open, I'm happy."

I have a feeling if I were to go to one of those weddings right now, I'd waltz right up and get in line with the bride and groom.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Mayhem

It's been a whirlwind few days, and it's going to continue like that for the rest of the month. On Saturday, we had our annual Cinco de Mayo party, which, I think, was quite a success, especially considering this is the first time we've done this party without a dishwasher or microwave. The day after our party, I flew to Philadelphia for a work conference, and I got home last night around 10.

This weekend, my college roommate is coming to town, and we're throwing a little birthday party for him Saturday night. This is followed by three days of appointments: my monthly preggo appointment, Rosie's annual (and insanely expensive) vet appointment, then my first ultrasound. THEN comes Laura's due date — I'm going to be there for her delivery this time. She thought it would be a great learning experience for me. I sort of think she just wants to scare the crap out of me. Her due date also coincides with Chris going to New York for a few days. Somewhere in all of this, we're also having all our windows replaced, we're visiting some relatives for Mother's Day, and at some point, I really need to get a haircut.

Right now, it looks like all the May madness ends on Memorial Day, right around the halfway point of my pregnancy. Whew.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

We've gone preggo-blog

Last week, I finally reached the point where I can no longer wear my fat jeans. It was time to stock up on maternity clothes. On Friday, I went to the Old Navy on State Street (one of the few in the city that carries maternity clothing), and for less than $100, I got a pair of jeans, two pairs of pants, two shirts and a dress.

My love for Old Navy has never been stronger. Neither has my love for elastic waist bands. Now that I've gone elastic, I'm not going back. Seriously, maternity or not, all pants should have elastic waist bands.

In other preggo news, I have my 20-week ultrasound coming up in a few weeks. This is the one where we could find out the gender, if we wanted. Right now, we're leaning toward not finding out. We've also decided not to tell people our planned baby names. Basically, I know that no matter what names we pick, someone will say something like, "Oh, I knew a girl with that name. She was a total bitch." Or, "that name makes me think of (blank). You should try (insert some horrible suggestion) instead." So, we're just going to make everyone wait until the name's a done deal, and then they'll just have to live with it and talk about how horrible our choices are behind our backs.

My secrecy led one of my co-workers to name the baby "Baby TK," which is really only funny if you're in publishing. But, the name's stuck, so I think that's how I'll refer to it on this here blog.

At work, it's now pretty common to hear people say, "I think Baby TK wants you to eat some of those leftover brownies in the kitchen," or "Baby TK wants you to get ice cream on your lunch break."

Like most offices, ours is filled with all kinds of baked goods and leftover sweets. It's amazing we all still have our teeth. Resisting these treats was difficult pre-pregnancy. Now, it's next to impossible. It's so easy to convince myself that because I'm pregnant, it's OK to eat junk food. But in reality, I'm only supposed to have 300 extra calories a day, and those 300 are supposed to be healthy choices. I'm doing OK in the eating-well department, but I also snack on junk food more than I should. In fact, between my six-week and 12-week appointments, I gained five pounds. I'm only supposed to gain between five and 10 pounds by 20 weeks. And at 12 weeks, I wasn't showing yet at all, at least not in my belly. Instead, those extra 5 pounds went straight to my butt.

Although I do have a good excuse for gaining so much weight. I was fortunate enough to not get morning sickness during the first trimester. Everything I read said the best way to combat morning sickness is to eat every two to three hours, so that's exactly what I did. And although I tried to make healthy choices, sometimes when I felt that icky feeling coming on, I just grabbed what was closest, whether it was those brownies in the kitchen or Doritos from the vending machine.

Luckily, now that I'm through th first trimester, I'm feeling pretty good, and I'm back to eating five or six times a day, instead of eight to 10 times a day. And, as of my last appointment, I had only gained one additional pound. Also, I'm now officially "showing," so I think some of that extra weight has moved from my butt to my belly. It's probably not obvious to people who don't know me, but for those who see me regularly, I have a definite bump. One of these days I need to get around to taking weekly pictures of my belly. Chris and I did this for about two weeks right at the beginning, then forgot about it. Hopefully, we're not so forgetful about stuff related to that bump when it emerges in five months.

Damn. Five months.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

10 Years Ago

Yesterday was my 10-years-toeless anniversary.

I meant to write some reflective post about how much my life has changed in those 10 years, or how grateful I am to be alive, or a self-congratulatory "I rock" kind of thing. But my current life—the one I'm living in 2009, not 1999—got in the way. Chris and I had to get up early for the delivery of our new fridge yesterday morning; then we both needed to get to the office early; I was super busy at work and didn't have a chance to even think about my blog; I worked late; got home; let out the dog; made dinner; almost forgot to take my prenatal vitamin; organized the new fridge; and then before I knew it, I was snoozing in front of the Cubs game on the couch.

Yesterday pretty much sums up my 2009 life: I'm married, I have a great job, I own a house, I have a dog, I'm pregnant, I'm still a Cubs fan, and most nights, I fall asleep on the couch by 9:30.

In other words, I'm normal. And although once upon a time, that would have been the most repulsive thing I could have said about myself, these days, I'm OK with normal.

So that's my big, reflective 10-year-anniversary post. I've written enough posts about meningitis and its affect on my inner psyche, what I've learned about myself, how I've become a better person, blah, blah, blah.

Today, all I want to say is this: My life is normal and boring, and surprisingly, that doesn't make me want to vomit.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Dry Lie

So, I have a little confession to make about a previous post. The truth is, I didn't really give up alcohol for Lent. Granted, I haven't had a drink since Ash Wednesday. But I actually quit drinking on Jan. 31 — the day I found out I was pregnant. I'm due Oct. 7!

As you can see, when I'm sober, I really can keep a secret. But keeping a secret in the age of Facebook and Twitter ain't easy. Especially if you choose to share the news early on with family, but not others. Women usually wait until they're 12 weeks along before telling people about their pregnancy because the rate of miscarriage is higher during the first 12 weeks. And although I don't mind if my relatives and close friends know about such things, I'd rather not broadcast it to all my co-workers, high school friends I haven't talked to in 10 years, or random online peeps from Facebook and Twitter that I've never actually met.

Making matters a bit more complicated was the way I chose to tell my co-workers. You might remember the little video and Web site I made last year for a video contest at work. With a big assist from my co-spy Tegan, we made another little video (embedded below) announcing my impending mommyhood. Finding a good time to shoot and edit the video took some time. So by the time I sent it out to my office, I had already started telling lots of friends and family the news. Worried that they might spill the beans online before I told work—and not wanting to email all of them to keep things under wraps for another two weeks—I ultimately resorted to turning off comments on my Facebook page and not using Twitter for a week. Not easy for someone who tweets about 10 times a day.

Thankfully, all that sneakiness is done now. I'm just glad that I don't have to lie to anyone anymore (at least, not about this. I still might lie to you about whether or not you look cute in those jeans, or your offensive body odor.)

But seriously, like I would give up drinking for Lent?


There's Something in the Water... from Sarah Wunder on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The thrills of home ownership

Working on the house kind of went into hibernation mode over the past few months. Other than a few small projects, the only renovating we did this winter involved rekindling our relationships with Joel McHale, Don Draper, Liz Lemon, and Tom Colicchio.

But spring has sprung, and it's time for us to get off the couch and start fixing up our fixer upper. We're starting with the electrical because it's both the most annoying aspect of our house, and potentially hazardous. Half the outlets in our house are two-prong, most of the light switches on the second floor don't work properly—or at all, and a few outlets in the kitchen aren't actually up to code.

The electrician worked on the house yesterday, and when Chris and got home from work, we excitedly ran around the house turning lights on and off, and gasping at our new, modern amenities.

"We have 3-prong outlets!"
"Look! This light switch actually turns the light on!"
"OMG! A dimmer switch!"

And then, as if we weren't already stereotypical new homeowners, we promptly went out to Home Depot and bought ceiling fans and a lawn mower.

The electrician came back today to install our ceiling fans and put in a new outlet and water line in the kitchen for the new refrigerator we hope to buy in the near future. Although buying that fridge might be delayed due to some more thrills of home ownership. When we booked the electrician a few weeks ago, one of our front windows cracked in half for no reason. And then a few days later, we saw part of our roofing peeling back toward the back of the house.

But that's OK, because you know what? I can dim the lights in the dining room.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

9 Links, April 2

1. Hazardous hairballs. No matter where we are, Rosie has an amazing ability to figure out the exact spot in her immediate surroundings that will draw the most foot traffic, and then lie there. At home, for example, it's the spot between the living room and the hallway leading to the kitchen. If you're watching TV, and you might like a beverage, you'll have to step over Rosie twice to get it. I've yet to have a serious Rosie-related fall, but my mom tripped over her once while dog-sitting, and her shoulder was messed up for more than a year. Whoops.

2. One more reason I want my own sheep farm. Like most videos I see online these days, I'm never really sure what's real and what's not. But it's entertaining nonetheless.

3. Their fries suck. But I do love Steak 'n Shake's burgers. Although until I read this, I had no idea there weren't any in the city.

4. The Wallflowers? Chris and I recently heard a Wallflowers song on the radio and asked, "What ever happened to that band? They weren't so bad, but they just disappeared." Or so we thought. Looks like they're playing the Taste this year.

5. We're #1! Speaking of the Taste, and live music, and the all-around awesomeness of Chicago in general, according to some male-centered Web site, Chicago's the #1 city for men due to its abundance of good food, sports and cultural attractions. Because, apparently, only men like those things.

6. Plant a tree. Our yard has zero trees. (Although you'd never know it from the the 40 pounds of leaves I raked up a few weeks ago.) We do have a tree ring in our parkway that's currently home to a bunch of ugly branches that may have at one time been a bush. I'm not sure. Anyway, the master plan is to plant a tree there this year. But which type of tree to plant is still unknown. Chris wants a good climbing tree or a fruit tree. I'm fine with anything that'll fit in a city parkway, other than evergreens. (Although I had apple trees growing up, and they were really messy and attracted lots of bees that liked to attack my dog, so I don't know how I feel about a fruit trees.) I've been searching through this handy Web site lately for trees that grow in Zone 5 or 6—Chicago's right on the cusp of those zones. Did you know we could grow pear trees here? I had no idea.

7. Tamale Guy. I love this guy. I hope he starts Tweeting so I can follow him and ask him to come to my new 'hood more often.

8. No fooling. Some of these newspaper pranks were kinda funny. Some were just meh. I did enjoy the Twitter recap of Lindburgh's first flight from New York to Paris.

9. My love-hate relationship with Emeril. I really don't want to like Emeril. I find his shows really annoying, and he's very Flay-like in that he adds the same ingredient—Essence of Emeril, which sounds like it's his own personal musk. Ew.—to every dish. (For Bobby Flay, it's chipotle pepper. Seriously, every time I watch Throwdown, Bobby Flay just makes the other person's dish, but adds chipotle. Real creative, dude.) But as much as I don't want to like Emeril, for some reason, his Mexican recipes rock. For the past two Cinco de Mayo parties, I ended up using his recipes for fish tacos, salsa fresca, ancho chile flourless-chocolate cake and tres leches cake. Yesterday I found this poblano-cilantro rice recipe online that I might have to try out this weekend. So, maybe Emeril's not all that bad. Especially because using his recipes only involves reading them online and never having to hear him yell, "Bam!"

Monday, March 30, 2009

Back in Chicago

I just got back from vacation in Arizona last night. The trip was pretty awesome — highlights include getting a massage, going to a Cubs spring training game, seeing Mizzou beat Memphis in the Sweet 16, seeing the Chihuly exhibits at the Desert Botanical Garden, hiking at Cave Creek National Park, and hanging out with my childhood best friend for two days.

The only downside was the trip home — I forgot to pack my brain.

First, I left my cell phone in our rental car, but I didn't realize I had left it behind until after we had returned the car and were on the shuttle bus to the airport. Luckily, we arrived early enough that Chris had time to take the shuttle back to the rental place, and actually tracked down my phone, while I checked in our bags at the airport.

Then, on our first flight, I spilled my Southwest-supplied soda all over myself, Chris and the guy sitting on my right. Spilling something on yourself while sitting in the middle seat on a packed plane is one of the worst feelings ever. There's nothing you can do. You can't get up. You can't clean it up. You just have to sit there in a puddle waiting for the flight attendant to bring you napkins. Fortunately, we were in the last row, so the napkins were close at hand. Our attendant took some pity on me and brought me another soda, but she put a lid and straw on it because she said, "you can't be trusted with a normal cup." I laughed and Chris was all, "Oh look honey, a sippee cup."

At the end of that flight, I forgot my book and pen in the seat pocket. Luckily, I realized it before leaving the plane. But after that, Chris wouldn't let me carry anything on my own.

Beyond that, the rest of the journey wasn't too bad. Our second flight was delayed, but only a half hour. And when we got home, we were greeted by the happiest, most snuggly Rosie ever. She wouldn't leave our sides the whole night, and she literally sat on me while I sat on the couch. That puppy can turn around even my worst days.

Today, I'm happy to be back at work, back to my normal routine and back in Chicago. This city might be cold and congested, but I sure do miss it when I'm gone.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Dry Life

I gave up alcohol this year for Lent. Last year, I gave up meat, and really, it wasn't all that hard. In fact, after Lent last year, I never really went back to eating a lot of meat. I do eat meat from time to time, but I'm still partial to fish and seafood. So this year, I didn't think giving up meat again would any sort of sacrifice. Alcohol, on the other hand, that's a sacrifice.

So far, it hasn't been too bad, although there are times when I want red wine so much I have to smell some just to get a fix. Other than that, there have been some surprising benefits and drawbacks to going booze-free.

Pros:

  • Saving money: Since Ash Wednesday, when Chris and I go out to dinner, we actually spend more money on food than booze. Pre-Lent, I can't remember the last time our bill wasn't at least 50% alcohol.
  • Motor mouth: When I drink, I talk. A lot. And I often say things I shouldn't. Nowadays, I am much more trustworthy with your deepest secrets.
  • St. Patrick's Day: This might seem like a con, because St. Patrick's Day always falls during Lent, making it difficult to enjoy one of the hundreds of days throughout the year Chicagoans find an excuse to get blitzed and stumble through the streets. (Other excuses Chi-towners have been known to use include New Year's Eve, Memorial Day, the 4th of July, Labor Day, Easter, Fat Tuesday, the entire week of the Taste, any day there's a parade somewhere in the city, and every time the Cubs win.) This year, Chris and I returned to the Abbey Pub, where we spent St. Pat's last year. While there, we witnessed a very drunk couple in an argument that involved lots of teetering, pointing, confusion, and incoherent ramblings. I smiled and remembered that last year, we were that couple.
  • Better sleep: Drunk sleep is the worst. And waking on up Saturdays and Sundays having slept well the previous night leads to...
  • More productive weekends: I actually wake up refreshed on the weekends, ready to accomplish all kinds of to-dos. I've even had time to make all kind of yummy breakfasts, like whole-wheat blueberry pancakes. Despite this new-found productivity, I still manage to fit in a disgusting amount of TV on the weekends, but at least I'm not watching TV simply because I'm too hungover to get off the couch.
Cons:
  • Non-Motor Mouth: When hanging out in social situations like bars, parties, etc., I feel like most uninteresting person in the room. Although being sober means I'm not saying things I shouldn't, it also means I'm not saying much at all.
  • Food compensation: I thought I'd lose weight when I gave up drinking. Instead, I've been compensating with snacks. My skinny jeans still don't fit.
  • I now find drunk people extremely annoying and/or boring: Ever get into a conversation with a long-winded drunk who keeps repeating himself and talking about things that don't really follow what he just said two seconds before? Ever tried to get through that conversation sober? I don't recommend it.
  • The realization that I used to be, and probably will be again, that guy/girl.

Friday, March 13, 2009

9 Links, March 13

1. Yum. Just try to read this without craving black beans by the end. It's impossible, unless you don't like beans for some reason. And if that's the case, what's wrong with you? Weirdo.

2. If you're not a weirdo, then you probably think this recipe looks amazing. I have to try this out. If it's as good as it looks, it just might be this year's vegetarian enchilada dish at Cinco de Mayo.

3. The Phoenix forecast. In 8 days, I'll be on vacation Arizona. I tend not to rely on long-range forecasts like this, but I can't help checking it at least once a day.

4. Speaking of Arizona, I'm going to Spring Training! I am so, so ready for baseball season to start again. Bring on the hot dogs, peanuts and...water. No frosty beers for me :( I gave up alcohol for Lent.

5. Fearing change. My dad worked in the Sears Tower when I was a kid. It was pretty much the coolest thing ever to a 10-year-old. "My dad works in the Sears Tower!" Then, in 1992, Sears sold their space and moved out to suburbs, which was kind of a let down. "My dad works in Hoffman Estates!" didn't pack quite the same punch. I'm still mad that Sears left the tower 15 years ago, but I'm also a little sad to see the tower's name change. Willis Tower? I dunno about that.

6. Dance machine. My nephew, at a recent wedding, tearing it up.

7. He takes after his father. My brother-in-law, at a wedding this summer, tearing it up with his "faux-hawk."

8. Our Lady of the Underpass. I used to live a few blocks from this Mary, who always had tons of flowers and candles by her side, while 90/94 roared overhead. I just might have to go see this play.

9. Loo with a View. Hilarious.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Saturday, on my couch

What I planned to do today:

  • Go to Target
  • Clean out filing cabinet
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Organize hall closet
  • Go through clothes, finally admit that some things will never fit me again, put in a box for Goodwill
What I actually did today:
  • Went to Target
  • Watched the Cubs game
  • Fell asleep on the couch while listening to my old friends Len and Bob
  • Ate my weight in pita chips and hummus
  • Played tug of war with Rosie while sitting on the couch until we broke the tug-of-war "toy" (old sweat pants I cut up and tied into knots)
  • Watched Food Network
  • Watched TLC
  • Watched Animal Planet
  • Watched "Millionaire Matchmaker"
  • Ate my weight in Taco Bell

Friday, March 06, 2009

This is why I watch WGN in the morning

On the Channel 9 morning news yesterday during a segment on the possible legalization of medical marijuana in Illinois, they showed a clip of an old lady smoking a massive joint. I tried to find a clip to include in my 9 links yesterday, but I couldn't track one down.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who found this hilarious, so they replayed it this morning, with a little embellishment. Hilarious.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

9 Links, March 5

1. IL Senate race begins. I thought Alexi might be more interested in becoming Illinois Governor. But now that Blago's out and Quinn seems to be doing well enough (so far) to possibly secure the Democratic primary, Alexi's off to the Senate.

2. Hot property. The folks at the Tribune think this is a bad time for the CTA to sell off its property, given the state of the real estate market. I dunno. If I hadn't just bought a house, I'd be interested in buying something closer to the train and cutting my daily round trip commute by 20 to 40 minutes.

3. In case you're not already in love with Jon Stewart. Jon sticks it to that Santelli fella, along with the rest of CNBC. Watch the full 8 minutes. You will not be disappointed.

4. And some more videos. My co-worker lent me this awesome DVD recently of really strange and hilarious TV clips. You kind of have to watch it to get it. Or you can just check out this Web site to get a taste.

5. Puff puff. Medical marijuana might be coming to Illinois. Here's my favorite quote from this story:

"David Jocson, statewide drug enforcement coordinator with the Illinois State Police, opposed the bill because he said marijuana is not an FDA-approved medication and because allowing people using cannabis for medicinal purposes would make it easier for others to obtain."


Right. Because it's really hard to get now.

6. Twitter Peraica. We might be on opposite sides of the political spectrum, but I kinda love this guy.

7. This is kind of ridiculous. There's a huge difference between police brutality and a citizen complaint against a cop. I can't figure out why this list is even needed in this case. A woman is suing the city because a cop supposedly used excessive force while arresting her kids. So, how does this list relate? If the cop's name is on the list, that proves he beat up her kids? I'm no lawyer, but I can't imagine how this would hold up in court. Fortunately, my hubby is a lawyer: Honey, help me out here. Am I missing something?

8. Missouri munchies. Sure, Mizzou may have lost horribly to KU last week, but you know what? One of our future alums invented beer-flavored popcorn. So there.

9. Oh yeah, and we beat the crap out of No. 5 Oklahoma last night.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Funhouse, Part 2

I've been meaning to upload an "after" video of the Funhouse since October.

I didn't actually get around to shooting the video until December. We've done more upgrading since then, but considering it took me three months just to upload and edit the video, I thought it was best to go with what I've got.

So here's a little before and after video of our house. You might notice many resemblances between before and after shots. Pretty much, we sank most of our time and money into refinishing the floors, painting, deodorizing, and scrubbing away cat and bird feces. There are still many, many things on our to-do list, like the brown kitchen cabinets that don't close, replacing the drafty, impossible-to-clean windows, and of course, the funhouse stairs, which are still oh-so-fun (i.e. not level). I also didn't bother to clean the house before shooting the video, so you'll see us in our natural, messy habitat.

Another thing to note: In the last video, I found my own voice so horribly irritating that I took out all the audio and replaced it with music.

No worries, Axl and Amy describe the Funhouse much better than I ever could.


The Funhouse, before and after from Sarah Wunder on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

9 Links

I'm going to start compiling interesting links I find online everyday, or maybe less often. Mostly, this is so I don't clog up Chris' inbox with interesting articles and pictures of Rottweiler puppies all day. And I went with "9" because it's my favorite number.

Anyway, here's my first go at this:

1. This is Twitter. Yes, Twitter is ridiculous. But everyone from celebrities, to congressmen, to yours truly is addicted.

2. Chicago rules. Speaking of Twitter, Chicago ranks third worldwide as the most tweeted-from city. And it's second in the U.S.

3. Unfortunate Topiary. Not sure how real this is, but it's pretty darn funny.

4. The Daily Plate. This is my new obsession. Up until last week, I tracked everything I ate each day on Bally's nutrition site. But that site suddenly disappeared this week, and a bunch of other weird stuff seems to be going on with Bally's. (They've filed for bankruptcy twice in the past two years, so I dunno.) Anyway, The Daily Plate is my new place to keep a food journal. After using it for two days, I can say that it totally kicks Bally's ass. EVERYTHING is in there. Every Trader Joe's product. Every type of cheese imaginable. Even Oberweis. The only drawback is it doesn't track vitamin intake, like calcium and vitamin C, which I like to track. But whatev. It's free.

5. The Obligatory Cute Dog Picture. I want one.

6. Car Bomb Cupcakes. I've been meaning to surprise Chris with these for weeks, but I haven't had the time, or a few necessary ingredients and tools, to make them. And then I consumed the largest cupcake ever on Tuesday, so the thought of cupcakes now is sort of revolting. Anyway, one of these days, Chris, I'll make you these.

7. Soccer Blog. I once again cheated on this blog with my work blog. It's a little two-game recap of the losingiest soccer team in history.

8. Vintage Cereal. Not sure what I love more: the vintage cereal boxes, or the name of this site. Hilarious.

9. The Godfather Wars. Interesting Vanity Fair article about the making of the Godfather. Apparently, the mob tried to shut it down, Corleone-style.