Thursday, June 28, 2007

Reality

My mom loves American Idol. So much so, that when she and my dad came to visit Daniel and I in the hospital on day 2 of my induction, she searched and searched on our television for the channel with her beloved show on it. There I was having contractions (and trying to smile through it) as my mom clicked the remote over and over again. The hospital TV remote was lame and didn’t allow you to input numbers, so those arrows just kept getting pushed. At one point she said, “I just want to hear the song!” And by “the song”, I’m pretty sure she meant the opening music or theme music… and that’s what I call obsession, people.

I, on the other hand, could care less about that show or any reality TV for that matter. I’ve never jumped on that bandwagon. All of those shows annoy the heck out of me and I cannot understand people’s fascination with the genre. I’ve seen tidbits and I’m unimpressed. And no, Mom… I do not want to be a contestant on the show – EVER!

All that said, I discovered The Next Best Thing* on abc.com yesterday. I was sitting on the couch with Zoe while she ate and I couldn’t get up to put a DVD in or grab a book, so I went to their website to see if there was a new episode of Traveler (I really like that show). Since there wasn’t a new episode, I decided to see what this shows spiel was. Three shows later, and I was hooked. I mean, not really hooked. Entertained. I was somewhat entertained watching all those people impersonate stars. Some of them are REALLY good! Ahem.

So I watched last night’s episode this afternoon. They’re in the process of choosing the finalists now and I’ve got to say I don’t know who to root for. Zoe seemed to like the Tina Turner impersonator, but I was sort of partial to Lucy... and the George Bush guy was funny. Um. Yeah. We’ll have to check it out in two weeks. Gah! This is so embarrassing! When I told Daniel about this last night, I could see the disappointment on his face. (Not really. Well, maybe just a little)

*(Mom, I think this show is right up your alley. It might get you through American Idol-less nights.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Numbers

Eleven years ago today, I made a mistake – a big one. I paid for it with nearly six years of my life. I was not a happy person then. It was a struggle. I became jaded and guarded and lost hope, but I do not regret it. I learned from my mistake and the trials that stemmed from it and became who I am now.

Five years ago today*, I started over in a new town. I’d been away from my “big mistake” for six months, but not far enough away. I was still hurting and I was still afraid. Bakersfield gave me a sense of security. It was two girls I considered sisters. It was change and possibility, and opportunity. Bakersfield was finding theatre and myself again. It became living at The Spotlight. It was my second chance at my life and the place where I found hope and (after six months of struggle and growth) my heart’s mate.

Fifteen minutes ago, I kissed Daniel goodbye and told him to have a great day and to be careful. I am blessed.

Today is a strange day.

There is sadness over the mistake, but not regret. It’s remembering how na├»ve I was at nineteen (2 months shy of 20). It’s wishing I hadn’t had to go though all that crap to get to this point, but knowing I would do every single bit of it over again if it put me right here in this house I’ve made a home with my husband and daughter.

There is gratitude for my second chance. It’s hard to believe it has been five years. So much has changed, so many great (and sad) things have happened. I've learned so much.

One minute ago, I bent my head down and kissed the little one on the forehead. She sleeps so peacefully and is so beautiful. I can’t wait to see who she becomes, but hope the time doesn’t move too quickly. I find myself hoping that she doesn’t make the mistakes I did, but know she’ll be strong and get through whatever life brings her way. She’s got that look of determination and stubbornness about her, even when she is doing little things like eating and sleeping.

In about six hours I’m going to get my haircut and some color. I’m a little nervous and really excited. Hopefully we won’t eventually remember today as the day of “The Great Hair Fiasco of 2007”.

Happy 22nd, everybody. Here's to change and growth...

* A complete coincidence; sort of strange.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Long Beautiful Hair OR Oh, Vanity!

I've been going back and forth on what to do with my hair as of late. Well, actually... I've been going back and forth on that since my second trimester with Zoe. Before I got pregnant with the little one, I went to "my lady" every six weeks. I've been seeing Brigette for five years; Daniel's been seeing her for four years... we invited her to our wedding for goodness sakes. Who does that?

With Brigette I get color, a trim, and some laughs. I always ask her to make my hair really, really dark and she always makes it just a little less dark than I had wanted because she's worried too dark would be too severe. She might be right. She's made me more blonde, blonde with black underneath, dark, dark with bright red streaks and then dark again. She's cut my hair shoulder length and given me bangs for the first time since I was 13. I go to her and am always confident that I'll look good when I leave her chair two and a half hours later. I trust Brigette.

I haven't been in Brigette's chair since I was 4 weeks pregnant when she touched up my color (my doc said it was fine for the baby) and gave me a trim. I told her the good news about the baby being on the way. We had a great time. But the color didn't take; it dulled after less than a week. I'd look in the mirror and see my natural color peeking through at the roots and it got worse as the weeks went on. Apparently this happens sometimes, what with the change in hormones. So I decided not to get my hair colored anymore. And then I decided to just not get my haircut either. I figured with the impending birth, there was no harm in saving us that money I’d been spending every six weeks.

The thing is, I've missed Brigette. I've missed my dark hair. I've missed not seeing a single gray hair... which seems so obvious to me! I've missed feeling "put together". For about seven months I have been dreaming about doing something fun with my hair again. I entertained the idea of doing the red streaks again, but decided against it since we're in our friends' wedding in August. Red doesn't go with my bridesmaid dress. Lately, what with all the hair pulling Zoe has been doing... I've been considering getting it cut to my shoulders or above.

I'm just a little chicken. I like my long hair, it's me. I had long hair in 1994 when I was voted "Best Hair" of my senior class. I had long hair when I met Daniel. He likes my long hair. I'm sort of worried that if I cut my hair, I'll lose my youth. People will stop being (acting?) surprised when I tell them I'm almost 31. Daniel says he'll always think I look good... but he doesn't know. It's sort of embarrassing, but I'm attached to my hair. Once it's cut, it's gone... and then what?

But, it's hot here. And I'm sort of bored with my long hair. And Zoe has this really tight grip that is hard to loosen. My hair gets in the way sometimes... and it does grow back. I've got an appointment with Brigette this Friday. I'm not sure I'll get the guts to do it, but I just might try something different.

What do you think I should do?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Daniel's 1st Father's Day

We started the festivities early. I gave Daniel presents from me and Zoe on Friday: some video games, a couple cool t-shirts and a pair of shorts because it's so darn hot here. Figured giving him his presents early made sense so that he could enjoy them all weekend long. We did things at a slow pace: lots of relaxing, diaper changing, feedings, coffee, nap-taking. Daniel got to play Wii.

Father's Day 2007

On Sunday, we ventured out and I took some pictures of Daniel and our little one (and a few of me, too). We dressed her in a sundress, special for the occasion. Zoe didn't fuss the entire time, but she also didn't open her eyes for a single photo. Oh, well. She did stay sleeping so her dad and I could have a little date night and that was nice. We made taco salads (with my homemade guac, yum!) and watched "Catch & Release" from our Netflix queue.

I'd say our first Father's Day with Zoe was a success.

Friday, June 08, 2007

If you were a fly on our wall....

you would hear me saying this at around 2AM:

"No, Zoe. This isn't eating time. We did that already. This is the sleeping time. First we eat, then we sleep. That's how we do it here. You want to do things the right way don't you?

"WAAAAA!"

"Well, OK then."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Belly Gone

It’s been two weeks since Zoe was born and I miss my preggo belly. Well, sort of.

I’ll be the first to tell you that the last month or so of pregnancy is not easy. I mean, duh. The weight of Zoe in my belly was taxing on my back and legs. I waddled like a duck with a limp. I could not put my feet up on the couch without grabbing on to my pant leg and pulling my leg up or having Daniel assist. Speaking of pants: it was difficult for me to pull mine up on my own and I was always grateful to get help from the husband in doing so. Since Zoe never dropped, my belly stayed high and made it difficult for me to breathe and to sit up straight. It took energy I didn’t have to be able to turn over in bed. My belly threw my entire body off balance. Sometimes I’d compare my pregnant self to Humpty Dumpty or a member of the Lollipop Guild (a munchkin). I’d put my hands on either side of my belly and do a little shuffle dance similar to what the munchkins did and sing “We welcome you to munchkin land.” While doing so, I'd squint one eye and I even had the voice down. Seriously.

5 - Photography by Mel


In those last few weeks I wanted my body back, but I loved being pregnant. I loved feeling Zoe’s kicks, nudges, somersaults and hiccups. I loved the sudden jabs where my skin would bounce and it looked like Zoe was trying to bust out. I loved getting to share those moments with Daniel – his hands on my belly. I think I kept at least one of my own hands on my belly the entire 40 weeks, surveying her movements and letting her know I was there for her. Daniel and I would go hear our friends Near Miss Mallet play live and I would move my belly to the music and tap my hand lightly like a drum. I loved feeling her dance around with me. I loved being Zoe’s shelter. I loved being photographed so that we could chronicle our progress. I wanted my belly to be huge. I wanted the belly button to pop (mine never did). All the changes to my body were things I’d dreamed about. I embraced it all even if I did complain every once in a while. I felt beautiful and found joy even in my most uncomfortable moments. I miss that feeling sometimes.

My body is healing now. The gestational diabetes is gone and so is the belly for the most part. The hard round belly has been replaced with soft skin, slightly swollen and almost pillow-like. The water weight is almost gone and I have full movement of my legs back. The waddle has disappeared, but I do still limp a bit because of the C-Section (I’ll blog about that later). I still get tired easily and I feel tender, but I am almost back to the old me again. My favorite part of not having the preggo belly (besides finally having our daughter) is hugging Daniel. Now, when we hug I feel like my entire body is being embraced again. I didn’t realize how much I missed that feeling of having him hold all of me close to him. Now, in order to make a “Zoe Sandwich” one of us will have to hold her in our arms.

I will always look back at this pregnancy with fondness. Even when I was complaining about how huge or miserable I felt I always followed up my words with how worth it the entire experience was. Even during Braxton Hicks and labor contractions I was telling Daniel I would do this all over again… in a couple years, maybe. For now, I'll give my body some more time to heal and then I'm going to work on getting my body in better shape than it was pre-pregnancy. I learned a lot while managing the diabetes, so I think I'm already off to a good start.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Anniversary

Five years ago (well, almost - June 7, 2002) I was driving down to Bakersfield from San Diego to visit Ashley and Jenna for the weekend. After 2 short days, I’d decided I was going to move here and live with the girls. It was spur of the moment, (it was crazy actually) but I knew I needed to be in a new environment. I had been living with my parents for six months after leaving my ex-husband. I needed a new start and I figured living in Bakersfield for a year or so would be a good transition into a bigger city and a new life. I moved into apartment 32 just two weeks later.

Two years ago today, Daniel and I were in San Antonio getting married in front of our friends and family. We’d been together since January 2003 and life had gradually led us to me walking down the aisle to him. We were partners embarking on a new chapter in our lives and I was filled with excitement, pride and gratitude that I got to be married to this beautiful person. On that day, I was the happiest I’d ever been in my life.


Daniel & Keely


I imagine if someone had told me five years ago that I would meet my best friend and future husband in Bakersfield, I would have laughed. This city was supposed to be just a resting spot. I was going to be single for the rest of my days. Marriage wasn’t for me. And then Daniel… well, we were just going to be friends. Within weeks he was so much more than that. Quickly, my preconceptions for what the future would be crumbled away. When I looked at Daniel I saw limitless possibilities and the life I didn’t think I wanted and/or never thought I’d have.

One year ago today, Daniel and I were in Ashland, Oregon celebrating our first year of marriage. We had honeymooned there and had promised each other we would try to come back every year. We were both a little sick that weekend, but we had an amazing time. We saw three shows, ate great food, watched a Benson marathon, walked a lot, and took tons of pictures.

The day before we left for Ashland, we’d met with a nurse practitioner in Bakersfield to discuss trying to conceive. I wasn’t ovulating so she scheduled some tests for me and talked to us at length about what our options were. Two weeks later we were talking to a specialist in Thousand Oaks (that the NP had referred us to) who had no doubt I would be pregnant soon. Three months later, Zoe was on the way.


So here we are. Today is our two-year anniversary. Time has flown by! It feels like we’ve lived a lifetime in the past two years. The wedding. The honeymoon. My health problems. Bringing Max into the family. Nana’s cancer. Losing Nana. Fertility specialists. Theatre. Vacations. Pregnancy. Losing Grandpa. Welcoming Zoe into our family. There are days when I cannot believe that such a short or long time has gone by.

Daniel went back to work today after being out for almost 2 weeks. Obviously, we didn’t get to Oregon this year – instead, we got a new addition to our family. Zoe is our present to each other. She is the sum of both of us and nearly 5 years (in January) together. She is our hopes and our future and already she has changed our lives immensely.

So far today, Daniel and I have sent e-cards and messages back and forth wishing each other happy anniversary. He came home for a bit and I made turkey sandwiches for us. We sat and had a quiet lunch, (almost whispering) as Zoe slept in her playpen. He brought me home a gorgeous vase full of red roses that remind me of the Antique Rose Emporium (where we got married). He’ll be home again in just a few hours and I can’t wait to see him walk through our front door. We’ll have a nice dinner at home, relax, hold our little one and each other and hope for more sleep than the night before.

If someone had told me five years ago that I would be living in Bakersfield, married to my best friend and a mother to a precious little baby all before my 31st birthday… I probably would have told them they were crazy. And I would have been wrong.

Silly Daddy


No. I would have been right. This is all crazy. Crazy, wonderful.

Happy Anniversary, Daniel. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Bring On the Cuteness

Someday I'll actually type some words again, but for now this will have to do:

Zoe Mania!