Monday, June 30, 2008


Why does my husband like to watch shows called "The Verminator" about a multi-species infestation of cockroaches? Is he trying to drive me to the looney bin? There is my random thought of the day. Ugh, now I am all itchy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Its starting already...

Bill comes home for lunch almost every day. Today he and Lana had an interesting conversation.

Lana: Baba, go upstairs. Take off shirt and tie. Put on comfies.

Bill: I can't sweetie, I need to go back to work. Do you know why Baba needs to work?

Lana: Make money.

Bill: What do we need money for?

Lana: Buy stuff!

Bill: For who?

Lana: LANA RU!!!!!!!!!!

Uh oh, we better start saving our nickels.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Visit with great-grandparents

I have been a bad blogger lately. This past week my grandparents, who live in Florida, came to visit us. It was so nice to see them and have the company. It was so special to see them interact with Lana. I wish we could do it more often. I am close with my grandparents because when I was growing up they lived 10 min away and I saw them all the time. I am using my experiences and memories of spending time with them toward Lana developing the same type of relationship with my inlaws who also live close by (and in the future with my mom, who is planning on moving here in a few months). I am feeling a little down right now--a bit of a funk perhaps. I always feel this way when I say goodbye to loved ones, but this time I wonder if its the last time I see my grandfather. His health is tenuous and I don't have any plans to see them again in the near future. At this age, you just never know. It was just great to see him smiling and happy. Plus, they have awesome stories--both from long ago and from their senior community that is straight out of Seinfeld.

I was surprised at how much they enjoyed the pacific northwest--I thought they would hate it. We had decent weather--around 70 most days, but man--they were bundled up like it was snowing! Here I am in a t-shirt and jeans, in the car with the windows closed and no air conditioning on and I am sweating buckets. I look over at my grandfather and he is wearing a long-sleeved dress shirt and Bill's fleece zipped all the way up to the neck! Holy crap--if I was wearing that, I would have fainted from heat stroke! I suppose if you are used to 97 and humid, 70 feels like a frigid tundra.

Oh, how Lana loved "grampa and gramma"! It took her all of 10 min to get over any shyness. She loved to show them her toys and color with them. She loved to bring gramma her "walkin stick cane" every chance she got. And of course she kept wanting grampa and gramma to "take a look at Lana" for every little thing. I know that they enjoyed her and she sure did enjoy them too.

Here are some pics from our adventures:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

How I know I have made progress

I am a little squeamish. You probably know that if you read my puke a phobia post. Tonight Lana was eating spaghetti with meatsauce and she shoved her finger up her nose and sniffed. I thought a little piece of ground meat got up there. She was complaining about her nose all evening. Then at bedtime, she sneezed. No meat came out--a 2 inch long piece of linguine did though! Nice work, kiddo. In my pre-kid days, just listening to this story would make me gag. Tonight, I laughed and laughed and so did Lana. Progress, I think.

That woke me up!

What a day we had yesterday! Lana and I went to our friend's house for a playdate--seems like a typical day for us. Well, we decided to go into their hot tub (which is more like a warm tub), which I knew Lana would be totally into since she loves the water so much. It was freezing yesterday--yes, I am aware that the entire rest of the country is sweltering right now, but here in the NW it was like 54 degrees, cloudy and windy with drizzle. Sounds summery, no? Anyway, we get our bathing suits on and I put a zip up hoodie on Lana, and one for myself, over our suits so we don't freeze on the way to the hot tub. As I am helping my friend take the cover off the tub, guess who decides to jump in? I hear a SPLASH and in goes my 2 year old, sweatshirt, shoes and all--completely submerged, eyes wide open, arms flailing, obviously scared shitless (as was I, to say the least). I jumped in and grabbed her as fast as I could, which of course seemed like not fast enough. She was okay. She just swallowed some water and was crying, but after 5 min or so, she was ready to play and I had trouble convincing her to come out of the water. Meanwhile, I was shaking like a bowl of jello for like 2 hours. I suppose its good that she wasn't afraid of the water after falling in, but its bad b/c I don't think there was a lesson learned.

On the other hand, I learned a lot from this experience:
  • I need a refresher course for CPR
  • We are super duper lucky she didn't hit her head and crack it open
  • I should have kept her in the house until we got the lid off
  • My electronic keys to my new minivan and my cell phone can take being submerged in water (they were in my pocket), but my watch from Target cannot
  • I am lucky lucky lucky I was standing right there

There is something very disturbing about seeing your 2 year old completely under water and struggling to come to the surface. When I asked her today if she fell or if she jumped, she promptly replied, "Lana JUMP!" Terrific. Regardless, it was a wake up call and my PSA to all of you readers with little ones is that it can happen so fast even if you are standing right there, so please be careful.

Friday, June 6, 2008

How did I get here?

When I was a little girl, I don't recall ever saying I am going to be a mommy when I grow up. I loved dolls, Barbies though, not necessarily baby dolls. When I was in college, I never thought I would have kids--I was so focused on my career and I just couldn't see myself as a mom. So how did I get here you ask? Well, I got a degree in biology although I had many interests like religion and art history. I started out pre-med, but then I figured out that I don't like to touch people, plus the whole vomit phobia thing, so that was out. I got an internship in a research lab studying schizophrenia and I was HOOKED! I loved it, I felt like it was my passion, I couldn't wait to learn more and understand so much that was so far over my head. I got into Northwestern's PhD program in biomedical science and it was the best thing that ever happened to me, both professionally and personally.

Living in Chicago was fun, really fun (except for the weather, right Laura?) and it was where I met my best friend who is like the sister I never had and it was where I met my dear Bill at a time when the last thing I needed or wanted was a new boyfriend. My best friend and I worked in the same lab studying osteoporosis (me) and prostate cancer metastasis to bone (my BFF) and we struggled and laughed our way through school. It was such a special time, we both knew it and we appreciated the bond we had (and still have). I still miss our Friday night ritual of sushi and shopping and going to her mom's house for relaxation and the best homemade Indian food in the whole fricken world.

I met Bill also through school--he was a med student who did some research in our lab. He was my first date after I ended a long relationship and I was still in that sad place. We went on one date and it was instant and intense. We were together every day ever since and I have been in a happy place ever since. It was only at this time when I could actually envision having kids. But just 6 months after we started dating, Bill graduated med school and matched for his residency in San Diego. I still had about 2 years left in my program, so we did the long distance thing. Once I graduated, I moved to San Diego and did a postdoctoral fellowship at UCSD.

We loved living in San Diego, but professionally I was becoming a bit disillusioned. My work was interesting, but not fascinating. The reality of a career in science was becoming more disappointing. When I started my PhD program, biotech was booming--there were jobs everywhere. But when I finished, things had changed. The field was becoming more saturated and it was hard to get a job at a biotech company or pharmaceutical company. If you wanted to stay in academics, it was even more bleak. Possible, yes, but you have to work your ass off and the stress level is nuts. I just felt like the reality of this career did not match my expectations. This, coupled with our desire to start a family and that I knew that even if I continued being a postdoc (which is a pretty crappy position, I might add), there would always be grant deadlines and papers to write at home, after hours. There would always be experiments that would require me to work weekends or come in at 9pm. I just could not see having kids and maintaining this lifestyle. People do it--moms do it and they do it well and I admire the hell out of them. One of my dear friends had her first baby when she was just a PhD student and she went on to have another and she did this all while being a great scientist. I just knew I didn't want to. Luckily we were in a financial position that allowed me to stop working once Lana came. I know that some of my fellow scientists probably feel disappointed in me, but I just feel that this is the right decision for me at this point.

So I guess that is the short version of how I became a stay at home mom. Kind of depressing, huh? Well, the way I see it is that I had a dream to be a scientist--I accomplished it successfully. I published a bunch of papers, made my contribution, however tiny in the grand scheme of things. But still. I see myself going back to work at some point, but not as a scientist. I haven't figured out that part yet. The funny thing is, I really love staying home with Lana. I never thought I had it in me, but I feel like I have a great life. I am not sure what the future holds and I am totally totally okay with that.

In a fantasy world, I would love to do something food related. Like write a cookbook, be a food critic (but only if I lived in a big city--being a food critic in suburbia would be torture). I saw that show Ace of Cakes the other night and it looked super cool and I don't even bake!

Well, that was a novel, but thanks to my mommy blogger friends who posed a great question of the week...this is my story of what I want to be when I grow up. Who would have ever thought that I grow up to be a mommy? Not me! Who knows what's coming next...

Well, that was humbling!

Call the media! Newsflash! You will never believe what I did on Wednesday...I worked out. Yes, for the first time in oh 2 years or so. I hate exercise, mostly because I am totally uncoordinated and untalented at sports. But also b/c I hate sweating. I can't join a gym b/c I don't have protected time to go. I can't run--well I suppose I can, but I don't want to. Running hurts. So I decided to swim at the local swim center. Swimming is good b/c A) I can do it B) if I sweat, I don't notice and C) its a full body workout. They have lap swimming and I can just go whenever I can, rather than signing up for a class or whatever. Every Wednesday Bill's parents take Lana for the day and the idea was I could have some "me" time. I always end up cleaning my house. So I decided I will drop her off and swim before heading home to clean the whole house.

So I get in the water and off I go, swimming at a decent pace. I make it to the other side and continue a second lap. Halfway through the second lap, I am huffing and puffing! I decide I should take a break after each lap to catch my breath since I am SO out of shape. Then this older man (like maybe 70) comes along to share my lane b/c it was busy. He is clearly retired and does this regularly. He swam circles around me! He would swim 10 laps in a row before he would take a breather and then do another 10. Wow! He was fast too! He swam 2.5 laps in the time it took me to make one! Have I mentioned that I am out of shape? I made it about 20 min of lap swimming (including breaks) and then I went to the hot tub for 5 min and I nearly fainted when I stood up! Okay, so its a start, but I have a long way to go...

I am soooo sore.....

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I have always had very vivid and strange dreams. Looks like Lana inherited that one! The other morning she woke up and said, "Lana hair all gone!" She wasn't upset, just matter of fact. She kept saying it over and over. I said, "Baby, your hair isn't all gone, its right there, on your head--touch it". She touched it and seemed perplexed. Then a few mornings ago, she woke up and said, "Baba take away ALL of Lana socks!" She kept repeating it. This time, I knew what was up, so I said, "Did you have a dream that Baba took your socks?" "Yes!--ALL of Lana socks!" Too funny! Strange--just like me! I sometimes feel a little bad when I figure out she has inherited some of my oddities, b/c I can be pretty odd.

Speaking of dreams, I have been having some WEIRD ones lately. Like I had one recently where I was walking in a city that looked like Washington DC in these super high heels with pointy toes and I had to get back home so I could study for my math final exam in a class that I always skipped. And I was in so much pain from these darn shoes, but I thought it was too gross to go barefoot in the city. I have so many dreams about math class final exams. Its weird--I have been out of grad school since 2002 and that didn't even involve math. I haven't taken a math class since 1997! What is the deal??? Get over it Julie!! My other weird dream was last night and it was that I was in a science lab and I was doing PCR (sorry, this one is for my science readers, yes I am a dork), but I had no protocol and I was trying to remember it from when I was working, but I couldn't. I combined all the samples by mistake and had to start over and it was like 3pm and I was thinking--oh crap, I am never getting out of here b/c I am never going to remember how to do this darn experiment! Its strange that I still have work dreams when I haven't worked in 2 years. Maybe Bridget's post got me thinking about working and my former life. I don't often think about work and what I have given up b/c I feel like what I have gained by staying home far outweighs what I have lost by not working right now. Plus, I really love my life right now! But the other night we went to go purchase our new minivan and I was filling out the application and it felt weird in a bad way to write down that I had no employment and zero income. I suppose the truth hurts for an overachiever. I feel like all women struggle with these issues and no matter what our choices or circumstances are, it is so hard to feel 100% okay with it 100% of the time.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Lana's Photo Shoot

When Lana was 6 months old, we went to JCPenneys for Xmas photos. In true Lana-form, she screamed bloody hell the entire time and we only got one photo without tears and she looked pissed. That pretty much characterized my first 6 months with her in a nutshell. , so I wasn't really surprised. We haven't been brave enough to try "professional shots" again till last month. We went to Picture People and had some family shots done too. It went really well and I think really captured her personality. You can see in this first shot why we call her roundface. Don't you just want to pinch her cheeks?

with my inlaws (who look so serious) and Lana looking really ticked off...

Lana's Birthday Party

We had Lana's party yesterday (Sunday) at the Little Gym and it was fun! The Little Gym makes it so easy on you--they will set up everything--even the food--for you. When its done, they clean up and load up your car! WOW! The first hour we spent in the gym and Bill took lots of video. If I was smart, I would be able to post some of it here, but I guess I need to figure that out still. I was freaked out at the beginning of the party b/c Lana CLUNG to me and wouldn't let go. This is so out of character. I don't remember her ever clinging to me--this is a kid who doesn't like to hug. For the first 10 min of the party, I carried her and she buried her face in my shoulder and wrapped her legs around me like an octopus. I was thinking this was a disaster! But then she warmed up and totally got into it. They did the air track--the big jumpy thing and the parachute, which is her ultimate favorite! All the kids--there were 9 including her--seemed to be having a good time. It was nice for kids this age to be able to run around and play b/c I have no idea where I would put all these kids at our house--they would be so bored!

After the running, jumping and singing, we went to the party room for cake and snacks. I made deviled eggs, a fruit salad and some dips and crackers from Trader Joes. I also had fizzy drinks and coffee for grownups and juice boxes for the kiddos. Lana was SO into her apple juice! She could have cared less about the cupcakes!
Here are her friends enjoying some frosting...
Still enjoying the juice box--what about the cake mommy made? Totally untouched!

She got this awesome tutu --purple and fluffy! SO cute! You can see by her shirt that this was after the juice!Here are my cupcakes. I was so proud of myself for making them especially b/c I don't bake. I found pics of these online and went with it!

And yes, she is still talking about the apple juice!