two fries short of a happy meal

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I remember talking to a friend last year at the end of her pregnancy. There were some issues going on at work, and she confessed to me that she was working at 50% and just didn’t have the mental capacity to deal with the issues. (So, she wasn’t worrying about them until after her maternity leave.)

Now I completely understand. I feel as if I’m at 50% now. I am not used to this feeling, and I don’t really care for it! I forget everything and I feel unreliable. And I struggle to make sense of things that before I would have easily understood. Like, can you explain one more time how to use these cloth diapers? Why are such simple concepts beyond my grasp?

Tomorrow marks 36 weeks, which to be honest terrifies me. I do *not* feel ready at all. I panic because I feel that I have so much to do before the baby comes. Like find a pediatrician. And figure out where we’re going to live. And figure out how much money I want to spend to get my cat to feel better from this unknown illness he seems to have. And figure out where in my apartment to put all this wonderful baby stuff I have, because we keep tripping over it and injuring ourselves. And reply to emails as people are bugging me that I haven’t responded to emails in so long. And I need to find a hotel for family to stay. And there are a few more things I need to buy for the baby. Oh! And it would be really good to finally decide on a name for her; I just can’t decide and I’m tired of thinking about it. And I still haven’t really decided anything about labor, but I need to be doing the exercises that I’ve been taught in my birth class and mostly I am so so so scared of the pain and I feel like I’m looking into a torture chamber and I’d rather just skip this altogether. And a teeny part of me wishes none of this happened, that everything would go just back to how they used to be, when my body was still mine and it was just me and Paul, because I know I’ll love this kid but right now I just can’t grasp how that love will make the torture chamber worth it.

Ack! I am panicking just thinking about everything.

Sorry there. The firstborn in me – the planner, the organizer, the type-A perfectionist, is coming out loud and clear. And the very emotional side of me is also coming through equally as much. NOT liking 3rd trimester Ashley. (Didn’t like 1st trimester Ashley either.)

I’ll be okay. I just kinda let my thoughts get carried away. I’m scared to admit these things online because people have pat answers sometimes, and in general I like to appear as if I have everything thought out.

I am going to stop now as I see that this blog post is not turning out how I originally intended. Besides I have a long to-do list I need to tackle.

and today marks three

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Bride and groom

Three years!

Three years ago today I got dressed up in a pretty white dress that barely fit me. Paul dressed in a handsome black tux. :-) Friends and family descended, helped us get ready, then watched and celebrated with us as we spoke our vows and exchanged rings.

Three years! Three years ago we started our family. A month exactly from now is the due date for the first (human) addition to our family.

Now a question for you married folk with kids out there… how do you continue to keep the marriage alive after kids? Any advice for us new parents as we embark on this journey?

Digging through my archives:
Obligatory last post – written the day before our wedding
Reader, I married him – reflections about the wedding
Time flies when you’re having fun – the vows we said to each other at our wedding
365 days – one year later
Two years – last year’s anniversary post, including video clips from our wedding!
Flickr photo album – highlights from our wedding
YouTube playlist – three video clips from our wedding and reception

I love you, Paul! :-)

Feliz Dia Peru!

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Today is Peru’s independence day!

It’s a big holiday in Peru, as in the United States. We would dress in red and white and go watch parades. One time we got to see the President of Peru drive by in one of the parades! That was exciting.

This month marked 8 years since I moved back to the States from Peru. I can’t believe it’s been that long. Pretty soon (next summer) I will have been back longer than I was living there. I miss living there a lot of times; I wish we could go back to visit more often. I want to take Paul places, see more of Peru than just Lima. I like reconnecting with all my MK friends from Peru on Facebook… Those friendships, those people I grew up with, a country that we all share. There’s a comfortable “home” feeling there.

So how does one celebrate Peruvian Independence Day? (Also known as “el 28 de julio“.) For dinner you should make a typical Peruvian dish, like Lomo Saltado (Look! Here’s the recipe!). To drink you could open up the soft drink, Inca Kola. It’s a Peruvian soda that is bright yellow and tastes like bubble gum. (I hated it until I came back to the States, and now it reminds me of home.) If you’re looking for a less bubbly drink, I recommend getting some chicha morada. It’s made from purple corn and is sweet. Sometimes it also has bits of apples and cinnamon in it too! Mmmm. Be careful though – in a lot of areas in Peru it’s a fermented drink!

If you’re not up for cooking a Peruvian meal, you could always check out a local Peruvian restaurant!

A few years ago I wrote up a post about 10 things you probably didn’t know about Peru. (Check out #5!)

I also wrote this short story about one of my last few days living in Peru, before I left and went to college in Indiana.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Peruvian day!

what's new around here

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I apologize… Try as I might it is SO hard not to post about “baby”! It truly is the biggest thing on my mind right now. And I am VERY aware of her presence pretty much all the time.

* Last night I was laying in bed and I had my hand on my tummy, as I often lay. I suddenly felt a movement go up my abdomen, and it was very definitely a little hand or a little foot! I usually can’t feel it that clearly, so it made me happy.

* This past week seemed to be a lot of firsts for me. I feel like it’s the first week I truly felt uncomfortable all day with the extra weight and pressure.

* My fingers and feet have started to swell. I had to take off my wedding rings and that made me terribly sad. I want to get another cheapie band to wear in the meantime, but I’m having a hard time finding one (thanks to my sensitive skin that doesn’t tolerate metal). Fortunately, it is summer so I’m still able to wear most of my sandals.

* Heartburn has gotten worse. Milk is my friend. I try to avoid taking Tums, opting for a glass of milk and some yogurt first. If I need to I sleep on two pillows, but that gives me a headache so I try to avoid it.

* I’m starting to get some stretch marks. Dang! I was getting too cocky and thinking I was going to completely avoid them. Actually, I can’t see them as they are on the underside of my tummy – I just see them in the mirror.

* I’m hot all the time. Even when it’s not hot outside, I still feel hot. I also have been getting these weird things like “hot flashes” where I suddenly get very very warm in my face and neck, and I feel like I’m burning up as if the sun is beating straight down on my body. My relief is a cool washcloth and laying down in bed with the fan pointed directly at me. I downloaded some free games to my iPod Touch and I spend a lot of time in bed.

* I’m sure I will have more to say later. I’m going to bed for now.

how far is too far?

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When it comes to children, our country is extremely paranoid.

I mean, how many laws and rules do we have because kids *might* be injured? I think I notice it more because I grew up in a country without most of those kinds of laws. I’m not saying that they’re all bad, but sometimes I wonder if we’ve gone too far.

Now that I’m researching stuff for our own kid, I’m seeing “warnings” out there that make me wonder. Obviously warnings are good and parents need to take heed. But when is it necessary to sacrifice comfort/convenience?

I’m going to get myself in trouble here and I’m going to get frantic parents emailing me and calling me an evil mother. So hopefully I explain myself okay.

Take climbing trees for example. Trees are fun for kids! I used to love to climb trees, and it was always my goal to climb higher than the power lines. But think about it – so unsafe! Kids that high in the tree, who knows what branches can support the weight – oh no! They might fall! The neighbor boy once fell out of the tree we used to climb when we were in Waxhaw. I remember he got a bloody nose, but he was okay, and it wasn’t too long before we were all back up in that tree hanging around like monkeys. But he could have broken his arm or even worse. So should we as parents not allow our children to climb trees? Where do we draw the line?

I was reading about infant clothing. They said not to let babies wear clothes that have drawstrings on them because of the danger factor. Okay, I get that, makes sense to me. But they went on to point out the “horrible” statistics – drawstrings have led to 22 deaths since 1985! Oh my gosh! Okay I’m not going to joke about children dying. But in the grand scheme of things, that’s a really low number. When is the risk great enough for a blanket avoidance of a particular thing?

My parents have my crib from when I was a baby. It’s still in good shape; all it needs is a fresh coat of paint and a new mattress. I was reading a book today that says you should always buy new cribs because the parts on old ones might be worn out. This made me think. Should I go buy a new crib? (Let’s assume I want a crib regardless – I can see all the mommies right now typing comments about cosleeping, Pack N Plays, etc.) Am I a horrible mother for putting my child in a crib that I used as a baby 26 years ago? And, does the cost savings of not buying a new crib worth the “risk” I take?

And now where I’m going to get the most heat from parents – what about car seats? The more I read, the more I wonder. I should not skimp in this category, I’m told. It’s worth the money for a good seat and I should never buy a used one. I need to buy a new carseat every five years because safety standards change and old carseats wear out. I should put my child rear-facing until she’s 2 years old. She should be in a booster until she’s 12.

Obviously, I agree safety is important. That’s why I put my seatbelt on every time I ride in a car. I don’t want to just toss my newborn in the backseat and just hope that she doesn’t get hurt. But, when is too much? Every time we ride in a car we are subject to possible death from a crash. There is absolutely no way to remove all danger. With each precaution we take, we remove freedom, comfort, and convenience.

I rode in a carseat until age 1. I hated it, my mom says. I screamed the whole time. My mom’s nerves would be so aggravated – she finally put me in a booster seat around age 1. I know, how horrible! But I did much better and everyone was happier, and my mom was a much better driver. I was moved to a normal seat when my brother finished with his carseat, so probably around age 4 or 5. We moved overseas when my younger sister was 3. We didn’t even have seatbelts in those cars, much less carseats and booster seats! We somehow managed to make it out of childhood alive. :-) And let me tell you, by the time I left Peru nine years later I was VERY good at balancing myself in the car without a seatbelt – I could take the worst turns and stops while still remaining fairly still in my seat. It’s quite a talent.

So now where do we draw the line? I am going to buy a carseat for my child – it’s the law, and I would do it even if it wasn’t. And I’ll probably buy a new carseat, though I’m hoping if I like this I’ll be able to use it for all my children even if I end up having it for more than 5 years. I’ll go ahead and put it rear-facing right now, and cross the bridge later of when to move it to forward facing. (Probably will depend on how the kid reacts to being backwards. I get bad motion sickness anytime I ride backwards, so I wonder how my kids will be. Also will depend on when we get a bigger car – our backseat is pretty small right now.)

I want my kids to grow up in a safe, healthy environment, but I also don’t want to freak out either. Kids need to play, and one side effect to playing is bumps and bruises. I don’t want to be the mother who doesn’t allow her kids to live. But I don’t want to sit back and watch them play with matches either. And to be honest, I don’t want to be judged as an evil mother because I let my kids climb trees. Sigh, so much to think about, so many lines to wonder about.