Reply hazy, try again.

My daughter has my feet. I know this because she likes me to rub her feet so I do it a lot and recently whilst studying them I realized that they are my exact feet (minus some scars and the hairy toes) miniaturized. Today while rubbing her little feet and marveling at how they really are SO EXACTLY LIKE MINE I… burst into tears. Hardly unusual around here lately. I mean… it’s no picnic being a mom to a toddler and an unreasonable 9-month-old baby (who has lately stopped sleeping omgwhy). Add to that the side dish of depression with which I often times struggle (see for example: previous gagillion posts about it shutupAnjeanettealreadygeez) and the fact that the toddler is now most likely probably autistic and… lots of tears. And being angry. And wondering if this is truly my life now. And then feeling guilty for being angry and sad and not positive and upbeat and READY TO ATTACK! GO TEAM GO! LET’S FIGURE THIS OUT! which I probably should be and… I don’t even know. Somehow, today, seeing her feet and realizing that I don’t know what the hell the future holds, for her or for us as a family, is just making me have a hard time right now. I mean, nobody can ever predict the future (hazy, ethereal, card-reading/crystal ball-consulting psychics aside) but with kids there’s a general path which you can assume they’ll follow: walking, talking, potty training, kindergarten, The Horrible Teenage Years of Doom, etc. But with this, with her, what is the future? Hopefully there’s talking and sweet fancy Moses there’d better be potty training and there’s definitely kindergarten because of laws in this country etc, etc, et al, but after that… what? And I can’t help feeling that I have miserably failed her in some fundamental way. I mean, I shouldn’t blame myself but… how can I not? What if this is all the result of me being gone to the hospital and/or me having Simon too soon and/or abruptly moving to Utah, or all of those things within the span of 7 months… or maybe even just My Terrible Parenting?  What then? How do I fix it?

This is the conversation I have with myself, basically on a constant loop – day after day, hour after hour – even at night when I should be sleeping. I have no answers. We’re working on answers. And possibly solutions. But still. The future is… anybody’s guess.

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In case you’re wondering how the rest of us are…

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So I sort of just realized that I posted about an exciting interstate move, disappeared for five months (give or take) and then dropped the autism bomb. Sorry about that. Sometimes I’m a little too stream of consciousness, methinks. But here I am, updating you on everyone and everything else! So exciting! Not really. Mostly boring. But here goes anyway.

We moved. We’re here. In Utah. My homeland. The mothership. The mecca of the Mormons. And… we love it! And by we I actually mean we, not just me. I knew I would love it but I worried that Jason wouldn’t. But he does. It’s so beautiful. We live in a community called Cottonwood Heights which is just a stone’s throw from Big Cottonwood Canyon which means that the Wasatch mountains are basically in our backyard. Which is basically true for much of Utah because daaaaamn they huge, but still. It’s lovely. If ever we have the means and the wherewithal to buy a house I would like to find one in this same area. Also, his music scene is much more happenin’ here. He has managed to find and jam with more than one like-minded person so that’s good. He may have to put things on hold what with all the… stuff… happening lately but at least there are options available.

We were really looking forward to a snowy winter which so far… hasn’t really happened. I think the weather is weird all over this year, but it’s just odd for me. I grew up here, playing in feet of snow and then later driving in feet of snow and so far… not so much. We’ve had one lame ass storm and then one actual Utah snowstorm. Luckily the second one was on Christmas. I really wanted a white Christmas because I haven’t had one in ages. The last white Christmas I experienced was actually a nightmare. It was in Portland and Portland handles the snow like a 19-year-old co-ed at her first frat party holds her liquor, which is to say NOT VERY WELL. Me and my brother, who was my roommate at the time, were trapped in our apartment. We watched Saturday Night Fever on Christmas Eve. It is now a funny and fond memory but at the time was pretty lame. This year I wished and wished and Mother Nature delivered. Louisa had never seen snow before and was enchanted.

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We had a great Christmas – the best I’ve had in years. It was so nice to be here with my folks. Plus, my kids are still young enough to not really get into the whole gimme gimme PRESENTS thing and are really happy to just see and open the brightly colored packages without really noticing what’s on the inside. So that was fun. I cooked a big ass dinner and my mom and stepdad came over. We played in the snow and ate too much food – a perfect day.

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As for me, I have been working full time since we got here. You may remember that I was ready for a break from the SAHM gig? Yes. So I took one. And Jason got to spend some time with the kids. Lots of time with the kids. It was nice. We’re broke as a bad joke but that’s okay. It was worth it. By the time the Christmas period rolled around and my work started to disappear (as happens that time every year) I was ready to go back to full-time momming and he was ready to go back to work so he scooted down to the local temp agency and BAM got a job. Really. I was surprised how quickly it happened. And it’s a pretty good job too. The place kicks ass – great building with a great view, fridge stocked with free drinks, candy dispensers stocked with free candy (obviously), catered lunches every Wednesday, movie outings once a month… and on and on. Plus he is making more money than he was in Vegas so it’s a win win. We’re really hoping that they hire him for real.

I’ve also managed to hang out with friends. Twice! Once with my BFFs from junior high whom I hadn’t seen in 20 years. It was… surreal, honestly. But also great. I love seeing people from the past. We tried to do it again but it was during the holidays and then the craziness with Louisa so things got canceled but we’ll do it again. And then last weekend I went to breakfast with my cousin and that was awesome too. Once of the things I have missed out on being elsewhere for 13 years is my family. They are some good folks and I am glad to have them back in my life. Look at me, being all social!

And then there’s Simon. You know, Simon, my second kid? The one I sat in a hospital bed for two months for? (which, by the way, was a frickin’ YEAR ago!! how does time just keep flying by?!) Simon is 9 months old now. NINE. Which means he is both delightful and infuriating. Delightful because he’s so cute and cuddly and smiley. Infuriating because he refuses to eat anything other than breast milk and thus is on the lowish end of the percentile charts for height and weight. He will not eat, you guys. And yes, I remember that Louisa wouldn’t either and that she eventually did but at least she was fat and healthy! Geez! Also, his hematocrit is low so I have to force-feed him nasty vitamins which, as you can imagine, is fantastic. But he’s awesome otherwise. He was a little reluctant to sit up on his own but once he did, he decided to meet all of the other milestones immediately. For real. Two days later he was crawling, a week after that he was pulling to stand and within another couple of weeks he was cruising. Which means walking is imminent, Lord help us.

So that’s that. The Carters in a nutshell. Cheers.

Destination Diagnosis

In the next three weeks Louisa has a series of evaluations to determine exactly what is going on with her. As I’ve mentioned before, we’re fairly convinced that she falls somewhere on The Spectrum but we don’t know exactly what she has or how bad it is. Next week she has the second part of an evaluation by Early Intervention where they will check her vision and her hearing, after which we can get started with speech therapy and probably some other stuff. A couple of weeks after that she has two appointments, one which is another speech/hearing evaluation (since it’s a different organization we apparently have to do it again) and one which involves a psychological evaluation and some other stuff, and which will give us an actual diagnosis.

When we first started thinking “hmm… something’s going on here… and it might be Ye Olde Autism” I did what I always do which is go into Extreme Research Mode whereupon I checked out every book the library has (I’ve read books about autism, books about Asperger’s, books about the guy who first coined the term “autism”, books about Temple Grandin, books BY Temple Grandin, books about autism and diet, books about autism and gut bugs, etc etc ET FRICKIN’ CETERA), scoured all of the websites out there and watched all of the documentaries/movies (Sounding the Alarm = helpful, Rain Man = not so helpful) to try to figure out what exactly is going on and what exactly we can do about it. In the midst of all of this, I came across a group of people who are loud and proud about their or their kids’ autism (and really, good for them) and neurodiversity and how we should all accept autism as just a normal variant. I am not sure, right now, how I feel about all of this. While I understand what these people are trying to say and where they are coming from, I want to do everything I can for my sweet daughter and therapy (be it speech therapy, behavioral therapy, occupational therapy or any combination thereof) could mean the difference between her talking and her being completely nonverbal for the rest of her life, the difference between her going to a mainstream school and her being shoved into special education, the difference between her learning to be an independently functioning adult who can take care of herself and her either living with me until I die and then me being panicked about what will happen to her when I’m gone or, worse, her ending up in some gross institution.

So while I get the movement that is all about not giving your kids a label or letting them be defined by a diagnosis, I can’t get any help without that diagnosis. Until we know if Louisa has autism or PDD or anything else spectrumy, and whether she is mild or severe, we can’t really get the services that we need. And that, my friends, is why she has all of these appointments and that is why I’m looking for a label – not so we can throw it around for special treatment or use it as a crutch, but so my baby can learn how to communicate and be the best she can be.

It Ain’t Just a River in Egypt

About two and a half weeks ago there was a culmination of a few months of wondering/questioning/worrying on both my and Jason’s parts about Louisa. Trust me, we are both playing the “why didn’t we notice/speak up SOONER?” game but that doesn’t do anybody any good. Sure, maybe we should have figured things out a bit earlier but… we’re first-time parents. And nobody wants to believe that there is anything wrong with their kid.

Louisa has always been a little behind with her speech. Had we realized how actually behind she was (which, by the way, those queries at the pediatric well visits don’t really assess that well) we may have had the oh-my-fuck moment months earlier. She started saying single words a little beyond the latest part of the normal range. She progressed at pretty much that same level. Until around age two. She sort of started saying two-word phrases, but what I didn’t realize until just recently is that even those two-word phrases were not what a normal 30-month-old kid should be saying. Like, those two words (and at this point three and four words) should be tiny sentences like “drink water” or “me hungry”, not “be careful” repeated over and over obsessively as she was running up and down the hall. And then she started losing words until she basically wasn’t talking really at all. And then she started doing other concerning things like lining up her toys and spinning around in circles.

The weekend after Christmas the planets aligned or something and both Jason and I were like “are we worried about her? Yes, we’re worried about her”. And so we decided that the next morning I would contact the pediatrician’s office first thing Monday morning. And then that night as I laid in bed with Simon and Jason hung out on the couch, separately but probably at the very same moment, each of us googled something about autism and felt that giant slap in the face that some folks like to call an epiphany.

Good lord. This all fits. How did we not notice THIS and THIS and THAT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD?!

You know what they say about hind sight.

The pediatrician was just as concerned as us. We didn’t even say “autism”. She did. With as practiced a nonchalance as she could muster, but alas her eyes belied the truth of her urgency, she advised us to contact these people but they will take a while to get you in so in the meantime contact these people who can come to your house next week and get started with Early Intervention. If necessary. Ahem.

And so then I entered a phase of anger. And then one of depression. And then I firmly set up camp in everybody’s favorite, denial. Maybe she is just regressing because of Simon and everything that has happened in the last year? Maybe she has PTSD? Maybe she just has anxiety and/or depression? Maybe something is wrong with her hearing? There was much googling. There was much a lot of other stupid, desperate things. There was a lot of things that I don’t need to go into.

And then yesterday the Early Intervention lady came. Annnnd… Louisa’s problem(s) are so much deeper than even we could fathom. She scored below the first percentile (let me repeat that, BELOW THE FIRST PERCENTILE HOLY CRAP) in both expressive and receptive language (we had been under the impression that her receptive language was fine. She understands us! That’s good! Yeah. No she doesn’t), her social/emotional skills and even her cognitive skills. Essentially the only things that are okay are her motor skills. She can run and jump and climb and fuck shit up with the best of them even though she only has one hand, but what she can’t do is respond to her name (because she doesn’t know that she is Louisa, apparently) or call me Mom or understand that she can’t touch a hot stove or run out in the street. What she can’t do is communicate in any way at all. She does’t even point. When she wants something she grabs your hand and pulls you into the general vicinity of said thing and then hopes that you’ll figure it out.

No wonder she is frustrated and throws fits. Fits that we played off as The Terrible Twos. Sigh.

In the span of 15 minutes I went from thinking that everything was fine, it was a tiny hiccup, nothing that couldn’t be fixed to realizing that we can’t FIX Louisa. We don’t need to fix her. She is fine the way she is and is not broken. What we do need to do, however, and what we can do is help her.

Yesterday was just the first step in the process but luckily our pediatrician is smart and sent us to the right people first. Those other folks, the ones who can give us an actual diagnosis, they will take another four to six weeks before they can even get us in. And then once they give us that diagnosis, they would have sent us to Early Intervention anyway. This way, instead of waiting around for a diagnosis, we will already be helping my sweet little daughter navigate this world with her unique set of tools by the time someone says “autism” or “pervasive developmental disorder” or “scary-sounding disability that I hadn’t even thought of”. Because yeah. She qualified for Early Intervention. She is officially a Special Needs Kid. She has a disability.

I feel like everything suddenly makes sense and that the only thing to do now is to go forward. Whatever her shiny new label will be I love her so much. And so does everybody else in her life.

An Open Letter to the New Year

Dear 2015,

I was really looking forward to you. I was. See, 2014 was one of my least favorite years thus far. Yep. Your buddy, 2014, really knocked the wind out of me. I was so thankful that it was going to end better than it started what with the birth of a healthy, wonderful boy and moving back to my hometown (and away from everything I hated about seedy Las Vegas). I mean, this was the last week! We, as a family, had a wonderful Christmas and had made it all the way to the end. The bad was over. I was ready to bid adieu the two-month hospital stay, the four-month terror of a complicated pregnancy, the threat of a premature delivery and what that could mean for the future, the relentless medical bills, the abject poverty, the stress of yet another interstate move. I was going to toast, if not at midnight (I haven’t made it to the actual dawn of the New Year since I had babies) then as close as I could get, to auld lang syne along with everyone else celebrating the annual out with the old and in with the new.

But old 2014. He’s a wily one. This last grenade, the one he saved to lob at us so close to the very end, it’s a doozy. I’ve gotta hand it to him, the sly devil. I didn’t see it coming. I mean, I guess I wondered and deep down inside I had inklings but showing up at the pediatrician on Monday and having her, before we had even gotten the questions finished, say “we should have your daughter evaluated for autism”, that was quite a thing.

So I guess, 2015, what I’m asking, nay, begging for, is please be nice to me. I’m this close to my breaking point. I’m okay putting all of my get-skinny, start-exercising, get-back-in-touch-with-old-friends, go-to-the-doctor-and-find-out-if-it-really-is ankylosing-spondylitis-and/or-what-the-hell-that-heart-palpitation-is plans on hold. I’m okay, as a matter of fact, with fitting this new piece into the puzzle of my life. But I’m not sure I can take anything else. So please remember, when you’re dealing the cards this year, that 2014 gave me kind of a crap hand. Thanks in advance.

Yours etc,
Anjeanette

Two

So Louisa’s second birthday was on Saturday. Two. She’s two. I’m sorry but how the hell did that happen? Why does time speed up every year? You’d think that this year would seem long and drawn out what with everything that has happened since her last birthday but no – it still feels like I blinked and then it was over. But anyway, we had a smallish get together, not a big to-do like it was last year since I’m busy packing and getting ready to move panicking that nothing is done yet, working extra hours, looking after two kids, doing laundry and dishes etc etc etc. Here are some photos of the madness.

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Due to her habit of eating, hiding and/or throwing away letters, we had to improvise.

She loves balloons.

She loves balloons.

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Exhibit B.

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And C.

The Elmo cupcakes. Please note the demon eyes. I told you he was evil.

The Elmo cupcakes. Please note the demon eyes. I told you he was evil.

Pre-party nap. Playing with balloons is tiring.

Pre-party nap. Playing with balloons is tiring.

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Presents!

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She loves books. Not sure where she gets that from…

Stop singing and give me the cupcakes.

Stop singing and give me the cupcakes.

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Post-cupcake party dress. Ain't she a beauty?

Post-cupcake party dress. Ain’t she a beauty?

Oh yeah. Simon was there too. I'm sorry, but is he not the cutest?

Oh yeah. Simon was there too. I’m sorry, but is he not the cutest?

Hanging with Gramps. Parties are tiring.

Hanging with Gramps. Parties are tiring.

Are We There Yet?

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So you know when you were a little kid and the last week of school was the longest of all eternities and it would NEVER END? Or, even worse, the countdown to Christmas that went ONANDONANDONNNNNN, each day dragging and every morning waking up and realizing it still wasn’t here yet and how was that even possible? Yeah. That’s what’s going on around here right now with the whole we’re-moving-to-Utah-but-not-yet thing. I can’t even express how much I just want to be the hell out of here now that the cat is out of the bag. Each day is like a tiny little forever that I am forced to get through and I’m so tired and anxious that it’s just… well… I’m super glad my kids won’t remember these few weeks. It’s so HOT that we can’t really go outside and sometimes I’m just too tired to try to keep Louisa out of all of the things she wants to be into because I’m carrying Simon around because he is so tired that he’ll cry if I put him down but he’s not tired enough to sleep and OMG just watch Elmo for the love of all that is holy! So yeah. Lots of Elmo going on around here. And there is so much to do before we go, and so much to do after we get there, that I have worked myself into an anxious froth about it but at the same time I can’t really do anything about it yet because there is no time. My day begins at 6 am, I take care of two kids for 9 hours then bolt down dinner when my husband gets home at 5:20 so that I can start work at 5:30. I finish work at 9:30 or 10:00 and sure, I guess I could get something done then but are you kidding me? I’m a zombie by then. Sooo… tiredddd… must… sleeeeep. Oh wait. The baby is hungry. And awake. Sigh. And every Saturday for the past six weeks I have either been working or we have had people here (or BOTH for cripes) so by Sunday I can barely muster the strength to sit on the couch, you know? And this Saturday is no exception because it’s Louisa’s birthday so again, people will be here. Which, whatever. That’s cool. It’s her birthday (by the way, how the hell is she two years old? I could waste an entire other post about how fast THAT time went by) so of course I gotta make Elmo cupcakes and blow up a bunch of balloons because birthdays are special. And because despite the fact that I can see the deep end, that I’m about to go off, right over there (picture me pointing a shaking, exhausted finger), I love her cute little voice when she says “Elbmow” and I want to see her face when she opens all her little presents.

A couple of days ago I texted my husband “maybe when we get there you should just be a full-time dad for a while and I can work full time”. At the time I thought it was just a really good idea. We could all have breakfast together, people could work out, we could take the kids to the park or to do other fun things and then after lunch when the kids are napping I could start work. I could break for dinner and bedtime and then finish my shift. Brilliant! Perfect! We agreed to try it out while he looks for work and if it works out…cool. Yesterday while Louisa was sleeping I was begging Simon to go to sleep. As if reasoning with a three-month-old that “pleeeease… Mommy is soooo tired” is logical. Then I caught Louisa digging in the cat box again (with the scooper, people, not like with her hands but still, I know, so disgusting) and I could barely keep myself from losing my shit. She takes the thirty-second opportunities when I am up to my elbows in baby poop or baby spit-up or baby crying to do all the things that she knows we don’t want her to do. Two-year-olds! And then today while I was feeding Simon he pooped. So I went to change him. And he did his famous projectile-spit-up-all-over-the-bed trick. This kid. I don’t even know. Does he have a pyloric stenosis? Gastroesophageal reflux? The hell? Louisa spit up way more often than him but it was just a tiny amount at a time. This dude only spits up like every two weeks but when he does it’s as if he is rejecting everything he has eaten for 72 hours. So gross. As I was putting the sheets in the dryer, him crying in the background and Louisa whining for a cracker I realized – the text to my husband? A thinly-veiled cry for help. I pretty much can’t handle this anymore. The children have won and I am at my breaking point. I love these kids like nothing else but I need a king-sized break. We are leaving three weeks today. Hopefully I can make it that long.

Leaving Las Vegas

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Nearly 13 years ago I moved from Salt Lake City, Utah to Portland, Oregon. I peeled out of town at 5:30 in the morning blasting “Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks (oh what a late-90s cliche was I) and thinking “SO LONG SUCKAZ”. In my mind’s eye I was giving the whole place the finger and if I could have mooned the joint I would have but dropping trou while driving is ill advised, to say the least. I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there and thought that aside from the obligatory parent visits I’d never be back.

After a decade in Portland (minus a couple of months where I moved home suffering from, to use the celebrity parlance, “exhaustion” (mine was of the nervous-breakdown variety, however, and not the secret-trip-to-rehab variety)) I still never felt like it was home. I chose Portland not because I was in love with the place or had always wanted to live there but because it was convenient. My sister was already living there so we could be roommates and I was able to transfer with my job so why not? Why not get away from the place I had lived all my life? Away from my parents, my friends, and everything else familiar. I didn’t want to spend my entire life within 15 miles of where I was born and raised, never go anywhere, never see anything new, never live anywhere else. You can learn a lot about yourself after uprooting and getting the hell out of your comfort zone.

Sadly, Portland was never the right fit for me. I wasn’t weird enough, I wasn’t hipster enough, I wasn’t liberal enough (which believe you me is sayin’ something), I didn’t have a unicycle or a neck beard (and thank God for that, really) and I didn’t smoke weed. Plus, and this is the most annoying part, I was always lost due to a crazy road/bridges/rivers/freeway system that totally baffled me. I will freely admit that I have no sense of direction but still. After learning to drive in Salt Lake’s beautifully laid out grid system (props to Brigham!) I was always driving around in circles wondering where the hell I was EVEN AFTER A DECADE. Portland can baffle even Google Maps and iPhones as I discovered at my own peril. I got so lost one time that a friend had to find me on his map (like, an actual map, printed on PAPER), drive to where I was and guide me home. For the love, Portland.

When I (finally FINALLY) graduated from college in 2006 I seriously considered moving back to SLC. I had also just ended a long-term relationship and was thus unfettered enough that I could have made it happen. But I was also offered a great job opportunity. It was a dilemma but I ultimately chose to stay in Portland, obviously. And I’m glad I did because I met Jason at that job.

Fast forward a few years. My husband, a fellow transplant (and a gypsy at heart), and I, both tired of the weather and missing our families decided we should just up and leave. We picked Vegas for the same reason we had chosen it for our wedding – it was smack dab in the middle of all of our people – he’s got folks in SoCal and Arizona and I’ve got kin in both St George and Salt Lake. It was perfect! It was sunny! Jason could possibly get work playing his guitar! We loaded up and headed out.

If you have followed my blog for any period of time you will know that things didn’t work out as planned. I’ll spare you the details since they’re all around here somewhere but basically… we don’t love it here. I never have. My husband did okay for the first two years but sometime after having our daughter he began to see how raising children here is not ideal. There’s just so much… smut, for lack of a better word – in your face, easily-accessible, 24/7/365 smut. And it’s not like he/we didn’t notice it before it’s just that having children changes your perspective on a lot of things, for example, living in a place founded on and celebrated for gambling. Not to mention all the drinking, stripping and whoring. And just to digress for a minute, I want to make it known that I am not exactly anti-gambling. Or anti-stripper, porn, alcohol and hookers, for that matter. This is America, Land Of The Free, and If that’s your thang then by all means, do whatcha wanna do. I’m just saying the ease with which you can find pretty much anything in this town is disconcerting. And it’s not exactly confined to the strip, you know. There are mini-casinos in all of the grocery stores. And those newspaper holsters (what the hell are those things called?) on the street corner that in most cities would contain the local paper and a USA Today are here reserved for various “girls direct-to-you” ads featuring scantily clad teenagers. There’s no escape! And I know folks will tell me it’s all in how you raise your kids but listen, dude, I was a teenager once who managed to find pretty much any trouble I wanted – alcohol, drugs, sex – even whilst living behind the Zion Curtain. And while I am not naive enough to think that I can shield my children from these things merely by moving them out of Sin City I do know that I will feel better if it’s just a liiiiittle harder for them to find such things.

I think what I’m feeling is more a desire that this not be the version of reality my children grow up with. On our daily walks around the sprawling apartment grounds I see people in various states of undress accomplishing regular, everyday tasks – like, c’mon lady, do you need to put on hot pants and a bikini top to walk your dog? And you, sir, shirtless to check your tires? For real? And maybe that’s just a sign of the times and not the place but I don’t want my daughter to ask for new boobs for her birthday because everyone else is getting them. And I want people to wonder what preschool my daughter is attending not does she have an agent (actual question I have gotten in the grocery store. More than once!). I just want something better for her. And my son, for that matter. Let us not underestimate the amount of trouble males can get into around here as well.

So we had been feeling these feelings and discussing such topics as “um, do we actually want to buy a house here and stay forever?” and “where would we go if we didn’t stay?” and “man our neighbors are trashy” when we we decided to take a vacation to SLC to visit my folks. And Jason sort of fell in love with the place. In the mere five days that we were there he managed to find a gypsy jazz show, something that has never happened here in Vegas (okay there was ONE but it didn’t really count because it was loungeified and just plain weird), and a truckload of other music that interests him. Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world, has no jazz scene. Essentially, if you like Cirque de Soleil, magicians, stand-up comedians, strippers or various has-beens from days gone by (Donny and Marie, I’m looking at you), Vegas is the place for you. If you want to play your guitar in a jazz quartet (or go see someone else do something similar), Vegas ain’t for you.

And then there’s me. Aside from the fact that I have two children under the age of two and would love a little help in the form of my own excellent mother, there’s the undeniable fact that I love Utah – its looming mountain backdrop, greatest snow on earth, various national parks, and even its quirky accent and notorious liquor laws. Plus which, generations of my family have been born and raised in the place. I can’t prove it but I’m pretty sure I had people on the wagon train with Brigham. It’s just a part of me I can’t let go (did I just quote a Chicago song?). It’s home to me and I feel like I’ve been trying to get back there since I moved away but for some reason or another it just never happened. So when, after our trip, Jason mentioned something about maybe moving there (yes! It was HIS idea!) I may or may not have burst into happy tears.

So why are we still here? Why didn’t we move a year ago when the lease was up on our apartment and it was the perfect time to git? Because on that very same vacation I found out I was pregnant again and we kind of suspected we might need to keep our health insurance. Obviously that was the right decision (see as proof: all of my previous posts about my incompetent cervix, my two-month hospital stay and my freak-ass labor and delivery).

But NOW. Now the decision is made. Yes, made. Done. We are moving. In four weeks. I have known and been looking forward to this for nearly a year and now it is finally happening. We have an apartment in Salt Lake City. My husband has given notice at work. So let it be written, so let it be done. We’re packing up and leaving. Again. Heading back to that place where I swore I’d never live again. An apartment fifteen minutes from the Barnes and Noble where I worked right after high school. Twenty minutes from my mom. Sixty minutes north of the scene of all of my pre-teen angst.

SO LONG SUCKAZ!

Sum sum summertime

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I’m still mostly out of words (mostly because I still can’t write about the thing… you know, the thing! the bigggg huge thing! The exciting thing! ThethingthatIactuallywanttowriteabout! (party bonus side note: the spill-the-beans date may have been moved up to later this week (word) instead of next week)), I’m still incredibly anxious and I’m so bloody tired I’m not even sure what day it is anymore but I thought I’d drop by and say a few things. And by “say a few things” I mean post a bunch of pics. Here’s what me and the fam have been up to the past couple o’ weeks (note how many are of inside my apartment? yeah – it’s STILLTOOEFFINGHOT, VEGAS!!!). Some of them are instagrammed. Sorry about it. I ❤ Instagram. We bought iPads (that we absolutely cannot afford right now (they're on sale! let's use a credit card!) what is wrong with us?) merely so I could use instagram.

Deciding if she likes the pool this year (hint: we can't get her out).

Deciding if she likes the pool this year (hint: we can’t get her out).

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Pretty much the cutest baby ever.

Pretty much the cutest baby ever.

Elmo! Always Elmo!

Elmo! Always Elmo!

I like the padding pool better. NO DROWNING.

I like the padding pool better. NO DROWNING.

Me and my true love.

Me and my true love.

She's way too big for this but she can climb into it. Climbing! The worst milestone!

She’s way too big for this but she can climb into it. Climbing! The worst milestone!

She likes to put my slippers on and shuffle around the house. Hilarious.

She likes to put my slippers on and shuffle around the house. Hilarious.

<3 <3 <3

❤ ❤ ❤

Look at that face.
The fourth.

The fourth.

Cuteness overloaddddzzzz.

Cuteness overloaddddzzzz.

Guess what she's watching? GUESS.

Guess what she’s watching? GUESS.

Daddy and his mini me.

Daddy and his mini me.

Fat baby in a little chair.

Fat baby in a little chair.


Hope y’all are having lots of summer fun too. Tune in later this week (Thursday night? Friday morning?) for the big announcement. And follow me on Instagram! 😉

My new pets

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In an attempt to earn a bunch of money to do some things (okay, one thing really (three weeks to announcement time!)) that we, me and my little family, are planning to do in the next six weeks (huzzah!) I have been working as many extra hours as possible. Wait, let me rephrase that. I, as a medical transcriptionist, don’t get paid by the hour, I get paid by the line. A line is defined differently depending upon who you work for but translates roughly to 65 characters of typing. So while I have been working extra hours what I’ve really been doing is typing extra lines. Whenever they are available and my boss gives the go ahead to do more than I’ve rostered myself for, I’m on the computer typing. In between toddler antics and baby breastfeeding I’m typing. Both kids asleep for a 15-minute stretch? Typing. Shift over at 9 but lots of extra work available? Typing until 10. Type. Type. TYPE.

My job is not physical. It involves me sitting on my butt, typing. Typing. Typingtypingtyping. I type fast – 100 words per minute last time I tested – and I type… hard, I guess, is the word to describe it. I don’t mean to and I still don’t think it’s true but my husband is always like “why does it make so much noise when you type?” – I blamed my keyboard but then I got a new one and… well whatever. I get paid to type, don’t criticize how I do it. That loud typing puts food on your table! Or something.

Anyway, my point in all of this is that I understand that my job isn’t backbreaking like bricklaying or pipefitting (is pipefitting even physical? what the hell is pipefitting?), trash collecting or construction work. But apparently I need to get in on the whole ergonomics thing because y’all, the knots in my shoulders? Should have names they are so large. They are huge! And painful! Also, my wrists! Are killing me! They’re curling up into claws! Seriously. I look like quasimodo. Only fatter.  And yet, here I am! TYPING! For your reading pleasure!  You’re welcome, all seven of you. Two of whom are family members (hi Mom and Davey!). Only not really, because this post isn’t a post but just me complaining about typing.

photo poached from CinemaBlend.com

photo poached from CinemaBlend.com