Author Archives: Speck

Charlottesville

I’ve been having a difficult time grappling with what happened last weekend not because it happened – we knew this would happen, it was a when, not an if – but because our president failed the single easiest moral test: condemning Nazis.

Instead, I keep stumbling over the fact that there are human beings in this country who can look at a sea of white men carrying tiki torches and chanting white supremacist slogans, can hear those same white supremacists calling for ethnic cleansing, and still say “both sides are bad.”

I’m not surprised that there are Nazis in our country. They’ve always been here, a stain allowed by our facade of tolerance – a tolerance that only seems to be touted for white people, btw. I am surprised by the sympathizers. The people who say “but both sides…”

This is going to get worse. I don’t know what to do aside from stand up and shout. Vote, obviously. But I’ve been doing that for a long time. But talking needs to happen, too.

I skyped with my mom last Monday and although every thought I had was surrounded by Charlottesville, we didn’t touch on it until the end. And that was when my mom asked, “where did these people come from?” And I was flabbergasted. Because they’ve been here, they’ve always been here. They shoot up theaters and mosques and night clubs. They murder trans people and stab women who turn them down. They shoot black children holding skittles.

I keep reading people saying “this is not US.” But it IS US. These people are us. These people are American. This hate is woven deep within our society. We can’t let it be buried again. We have to confront it. We have to drag it out and have these conversations that hurt. Because yes, there are Nazis and yes, there are white supremacists, but they are an extreme. What leads to that extreme is everywhere around us – our words, our biases, our system.

It’s fun to punch Nazis. It’s a whole lot more difficult to talk to your uncle about racism. But it’s a conversation we all need to have.

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10 Months

10 Months (Clap clap)

New things!!

– As you can tell from the photo, clapping. She’s also figured out she can make adults clap. It’s the best game.

– Her sitting is stronger than ever. We’re to the point where I can plop her sitting on the floor and not feel like I have to be right there in case she topples over. She’s started doing controlled topplings herself, although they’re less than graceful.

– Her mobility game in general is so strong, they’re moving her on to Infants 2 at daycare. She still doesn’t crawl efficiently, but she can get wherever she wants to go and she is strong enough to stand without support, even if she never wants to. Diaper changing has become increasingly difficult, though, as have the monthly photos. I haven’t decided just yet when we’re going to stop doing floor photos and start doing sitting ones, but it’ll be by 12 months definitely.

SLEEP IS AWESOME. I’m going to regret writing that I know, but she reliably wakes only once a night and we’ve even hit two all-nighters this past week. So that’s what it’s like to feel well-rested. Holy wow. One night I even got to stay up until 10 and then get up at 5.30 and I still got enough sleep. I’ve been looking forward to this day because it means I’ll be able to have a more routine wake-up time and be able to get my writing in and maybe (gasp!) a little lifting before she gets up for the day. We’re so close. So close!

– She has gotten so big. She had another appointment 2 weeks after her 9 months to check her ear infection and she’d gained 1 pound. She has a follow up tomorrow (the fluid wasn’t completely drained) and I suspect she might have gained another. She’s quickly outgrowing all of her 9 month clothes and a few are even too tight on her arms. o.o

– Stranger danger has arrived. Our friend came to stay with us this week and arrived after Lady Jr had already gone to bed. While Lady Jr was eating breakfast the next morning, friend came in and she started crying. It only took about a day for her to get used to our friend, but daycare did mention the week before that new/unfamiliar people scare her. I’ve also noticed more hesitance in public, although as long as she’s in one mommy’s arms, she’s usually fine.

– Do we have the beginning of tantrums? Sometimes Lady Jr will just arc her back and start screaming for no discernible reason. It doesn’t appear to be pain because we can often distract her out of it, but she did it when I interrupted her playing once and another time when Dr Lady was taking her to the car to leave for daycare. She’s done it when I’ve taken my keys from her (she loves the keys) and she’s done it when we put her down to change her diaper. Her face scrunches up and her back goes rigid and she lets out this long, keening wail. She’s going to the dr tomorrow for the ear follow up, so I’ll ask about it there, but I have my suspicions…

– Favorite foods include chicken (a perennial), cantaloupe, cauliflower tots, anything mama-Kai is eating, and whole fried eggs (yes, even the whites now *fistpump*). She still won’t touch avocado and has started to eschew sweet potatoes.

– As soon as she’s comfortable/feeling safe somewhere, she gets so chatty. It’s da-ba-da this or mwa-mwa-mwa that or one long, concentrating aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. It’s so good.

– She has favorite books! Basically anything with something to touch, but she also loves Max’s Bath which is… not something I expected. That and Baby Loves Quarks, which is def one of my faves.

 

As for Speck… things are going fine. Chipping away at Book 3. Trying to fit everything in. Enjoying (almost) every moment with Lady Jr. Letting the chaos just… be sometimes, which if anyone else is Type A and/or a virgo, you understand is a big deal.

I turn 31 in just about two weeks and I’m trying to grapple with that and all the changes of the past year, but that’s more than enough for it’s own post.

And now…

The pictures.

First, a blast from the past (well, around this time last year):

 

Then our first time visiting the Lake Michigan shoreline:

 

And now some random life photos:

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Diary of a Strong Mom: August

What!

Why yes, that is a sub 20min 2 miles. The first time I’ve done that in, well, ever. At least that I’ve been tracking. I am well on track to run my 3.1 miles in sub 31 minutes. Hell, I could have slowly jogged the rest of the last mile and still hit my goal.

So of course, the competitive side of me wants to try to hit sub 30min. My fastest 5k ever was 30min and change, so that would be an epic PR for me. And even more empowering because I weigh the most now (outside of pregnancy) that I’ve weighed in well over 15 years. So to be able to PR my 5k time right now? Yeah, that’ll be the best birthday present to myself.

Aside from running, I’ve also taken up a MMA (Mixed Martial Arts aka Fighting 101) class three times a week. It was largely in response to all the anger and frustration that I’ve felt with the news and a certain president lately, but it was also a present to myself to help me Get the Fuck Out of the House. I work at home and, while this is absolutely amazing and gives me time to work out and write, it’s also incredibly isolating.

So now three times a week, I help get the baby into bed, pull on some shorts, and head 2min down the road to a studio where I’ve been learning how to kick, block, grapple, and punch. It’s a lot of fun, except I somehow pinched a nerve the first week and so had to ditch the last two classes. But I’ll be back tonight. Just, maybe, I’ll take it a little easier.

And for reading all that you get ONE BABY PHOTO because tomorrow she will be 10 months and then you will get ALL THE BABY PHOTOS.

August DITL

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Strong Mom & Blueberries

july-88

First, blueberries.

Ever since I knew we’d be moving to Michigan, I was excited about picking berries. AZ is great for a lot of things – hiking, sunsets, bat watching – but its produce is abysmal. Still, we made the 2 hour trek out to the orchards every fall just to pick apples and pretend it wasn’t 90+ degrees.

July hit and with it the realization that, well hot beans, summer ain’t gonna be around much longer. Last year the warm weather stretched well into October, but I know the north is fickle and there’s no guarantee we won’t get an early frost this year. Plus, berries are only in season for a few short weeks (see: weekends). So we’d better hop on it.

We hit up a patch that was supposed to be an hour away, but due to random construction, ended up being two hours. By the time we got there, the clear day the weather forecasters had promised had become cloudy and misty. We pulled into a muddy parking lot still speckled with other cars and figured we wouldn’t melt and, well, it was better than a hot, humid day.

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Aside from my shoes getting drenched, it was perfect. We took turns holding Lady Jr & an umbrella and picking blueberries. It misted and rained and misted again. There were a few mosquitoes, but far fewer than there could have been.

The blueberries were perfect. Lady Jr kept stretching for the leaves, so I guided her to a clump of blueberries and she pulled one off and ate it. Then she ate another one. And another. She just kept plucking blueberries and eating them and I was so amazed I didn’t stop her. In hindsight, I should have, because she ended up puking blueberries all over my shirt. Whoops.

Chubby baby arm

Oh well. I bundled her back to the car, cleaned us both off, then put her in the carrier. Together we walked up and down the rows of blueberries and she fell asleep with her head back and her arms crossed under her chin.

Two hours later we were home again and I was rinsing off the blueberries (nine pounds!!). I offered one to her, but apparently it wasn’t fresh enough. Fair.

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And now, a strong mom update, because finding time to update in general has been tough, y’all. Mostly I just wanted to say

I ran a 9:13 mile! Aaah!

I haven’t run a sub 10min mile in easily 2 years. I am not a speedy person. I am a lifter and I am tall and I am big. So getting that close to 9min is a big achievement. Now to hit my goal of 3.1 miles in 31min, I just have to do that twice over. Considering I had to warm up with a 10.50min pace and then had to walk for a bit after, I’m still a ways off, but…

That’s what goals are all about, right? Pushing your limits and being surprised at what happens.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to stuff my face with blueberries.

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Diary of a Strong Mom: June Recap

Omg Speck, where have you been?? I’m still doing my thing, I swear, just blogging got a whole lot harder to fit into my days. Now I understand how people can disappear for months at a time.

ANYWAY

I’m still doing strong mom stuff. I won’t recap every run/lift, but there were definitely a lot more runs than lifts. Last month I managed to run every week 2-3 times. I lifted a total of 3 times. ^^() So far this month, I’ve run twice a week and finally lifted again for the first time today. That has got to change! But June was stressful as heck and running helps relieve stress as well as helps me untangle plot problems, so I just went with running when I didn’t feel like lifting.

But even though I’m beating myself up for missing out on lifting, I really am doing better overall with fitness. Running 2.5+ miles is a breeze. 3 miles is becoming more comfortable, although I’m not quite there yet. In general, I’m feeling more confident about my body.

So much so, that I decided to set myself a new challenge. My 31st birthday is coming up next month on the 31st – what do they call that, a golden birthday? I don’t know, but I’m not letting my birthday pass me by as easily as it did last year. To stop it from getting away so fast, I’ve set myself a pretty big goal (for me):

Run a 5k in 31 minutes. For those keeping track, that’s 3.1 miles in 31 minutes.

I’m currently around 33min for my 5k time, but that’s at a casual, comfortable pace. Can I shave 2min off in the next 5 weeks? I don’t know! But I’m going to try. That’s pretty much a 10min mile. I’m currently riding comfortable at 10:30.

I’ll be happy just to run the 5k and have fun, but it’s also fun to have a goal to reach for. I’ve been running more and faster, now I just need to put those two together. And also hope that Lady Jr doesn’t go through another sleep regression any time soon.

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Nine Months, Wot Wot

New Things !!:

TWO TEETH! They’ve broken through and if you peer closely, you can even see them in our gaping smile. It’s so good. She’s starting to figure out how to use them to tear chunks of food apart, which is great. Today peaches, tomorrow – the world.

Crawling is happening. She’s got arm-over-arm army crawl and can progress in a straight line when she’s sufficiently motivated (see: mommy has her laptop open!). Occasionally she gets her butt up in the air, but hasn’t coordinated that with her front yet.

Standing is not so much. At her 9 month appt, the dr encouraged us to hold her and help her stand more, but she just isn’t interested. I have to hold her by the armpits, even though I can tell she’s clearly strong enough. Every baby in their own time, I guess.

Favorite foods still include eggs and sweet potatos, fish and chicken and pork. But now: watermelon! She friggin loves watermelon. It’s so pure.

Sitting?! Sitting!! Finally!! I don’t know if it’s from practicing in my lap or what but this weekend I just propped her up on the floor and she managed to stay that way for several minutes, correcting herself without over-correcting. She still gets super excited and topples backwards sometimes, but she doesn’t tripod or really need to hold herself up with her hands any more. She also can’t get to a sitting position on her own, but one thing at a time.

Sleep regressed for a while between the teething and the traveling and then an ear infection. But she’s getting back to two easy wake-ups again and is no longer waking up at 5am for the day, so I’ll take it.

– Her 9 month appt went really well. She’s up from the 3% for weight to 15%. Which, you know, we guessed once she seemed to gain a pound in a week and now that her ribs no longer show. They had us fill out a little questionnaire to see where she was and that was actually really helpful, because I’d been worried about her being behind, but mostly she’s only behind on gross motor. Her fine motor skills, her social, everything else she’s doing really well. And now, of course, she mastered sitting since that appointment, so she must be working on gross motor finally.

– I don’t know what’s happened (hint: solids), but she went from little to no change for three months to chugging along towards toddlerhood like a friggin freight train. Is that normal? I knew there’d be some leaps and bounds, but this feel like one huge month-long bound.

– She’s eating so much and progressing so fast that I can’t help but wonder if she was getting enough calories before she figured out solids. I’m trying not to feel guilty, but should we have been supplementing? :/ Oh well. What’s past is past and I won’t be breastfeeding again.

– Speaking of, my supply is dropping like a rock. We started supplementing a bottle of formula at daycare a month ago because I was having difficulty keeping up with 3 bottles a day by pumping, and now I’m barely able to get a bottle a day. My original goal was to make it 6 months, then 9, and stop by 1 year, but I suspect I may stop pumping pretty soon now. It’s pretty demoralizing to only get 4oz over 3 sessions, especially when each one takes 15-20min. That’s an hour out of my day for a single bottle and change. Granted, continuing to pump means I can still feed her on weekends etc, but actually… even then it doesn’t seem like she’s getting enough. :/

– Anyway.

– As far as my non-baby-related life goes, things are slightly less hectic after turning my book in. I have another book to write, but I’ve got till April, so easy peasy, right? 😛 Before things get crazy again (and my editor drops edits on me), we’re going to take a few weekends and actually, you know, try to see some of Michigan. Maybe even go berry picking, since Lady Jr can sit up now. I’d love to plop her on a blanket in a blueberry field.

Now that you’ve survived all of that, have some pics:

9 Months

Great Omaha Weekend 2017

Great Omaha Weekend 2017
(Lady Jr with her cousin, who’s only 9 months older)

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Leaps & Bounds

Quick & dirty because I am supposed to be at work:

1) Somebody has TEETH. No, not me. Lady Jr’s naps were shittier than usual last week and Sunday morning Dr Lady noticed that what she’d thought were those little white cysts had grown and were unusually sharp. As of the last time I was able to peer into Lady Jr’s mouth, two bottom teeth had broken through her gums, forming a little ridge like mountains. And she is NOT happy.

Thank goodness she can have ibuprofen now, because the tylenol is no longer cutting it. Of course, teething coupled with several days of very late night and very loud fireworks (wtf is wrong with you, Michigan??) have made us all crotchety as fuck. Poor baby was up for 2 hours sobbing and pulling at her ear last night, and after we finally got her down it was just loud booming firework after firework until 12.30. I officially hate this holiday.

2) But in less cranky news: Lady Jr has consonants! As of Saturday she’s started going “mwa mwa mwa” and “dadada” and, occasionally and to Dr Lady’s absolute delight, “BWAH!” It’s kind of really freaking adorable.

3) Lady Jr is very haphazardly army crawling. She would reach with one arm and push herself up on her toes and kind of topple forward, but now she’s coordinating that into two, even three topples and is making movement forward. She fixates on computers and phones, probably because, aside from her, that’s what her mommies pay the most attention to. ^^()

4) We’re up to three meals a day and she demolishes pretty much anything and everything. She’s now eating a meal at daycare and I am pleased as punch at how impressed the daycare ladies are with her and her eating. She may be behind on everything else (or at least it feels like it sometimes), but at least she eats. One daycare worker tried to cut up her chicken for her, but Lady Jr grabbed it and shoved it into her mouth before she could and then it was gone.

5) Probably because of all the solid food, she has chunked up and definitely gone through a growth spurt. Yet she’s still the runt at daycare. Her 9 month appt is next week and I am super curious to see how big she is now.

Have some baby pics:

july-9

june-46

I cut & dyed my hair last week, so figured it was time for some updated author photos. Of course, what do you do with a baby during pics? I held her through all of them, although not always as prominently as here. This was just one of my favorites:
july-18

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