Notes from Life is Turning a Year Older

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Started my morning early, because I can’t seem to sleep past 7:30 anymore, not even on my birthday. Made blueberry crumble bars, then woke up the rest of the house and we all trundled off to Fabulous Hillcrest for the farmers market.

Market-wise, it’s not all that different from Vista, there’s just more of it; I don’t feel like I’m missing much. The food stalls are where the variety is at.

So we wandered, and ate things, and watched our daughter flirt with strangers, which is merely adorable and instantly endearing at this age. I bought a floppy hat, because I need one for gardening, and it looked good on me. I cried a little when I saw they had fresh sardines for sale. So tempting…but no way they would have survived the trip. Okay, so that might be worth driving down to Hillcrest for. Or asking the fishmonger at Vista if they ever have some. Something to think about.

We rode the trolley to and from the market, then went down to Azúcar and had sweets, though I was pretty full from octopus balls, saag paneer, and a perfectly briny-sweet oyster. I wish now I’d bought a mojito cookie.

Back home, I puttered in the garden, putting down sesame oil to ward off bugs now that we have produce growing, and read “Are You a Cow?” to Zo at least five times in a row. I do silly voices. She loves it.

Later Mike, Zo, and I went for a walk to our little grocery store and bought fixings for nachos. Zo surprised us on the return trip from the market by refusing to walk with us. Like, pitched a fit and screamed bloody murder refusal. We joke about it, and I am trying to keep my mind open on the subject, but I suspect based on her parentage that she may indeed be a willful child.

I gave Zo her bath and later we cuddled in her bedroom. I sang her a few songs, and that was the perfect end of my perfect day with my husband and daughter.  I feel like I walked around all day with their arms hugging me.  Pretty great, no complaints, would do it again in a heartbeat.

waiting for waiting

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We’re still planning on #2 in 2015, despite Mike’s layoff. We’re optimistic he’ll be employed by then.  And hey, if not — free daycare!

Buuuut seriously.

It’s on my mind because of articles like this, which support the theory that what a mother eats well in advance of getting pregnant has an impact on the pregnancy, which means I kind of need to get on it.  Certainly being deficient in folate and Vit-D is a concern; I’ll be upping both in the coming weeks.

Aaaand…I’m old.  I need all the edge I can get.  That means getting back to the best I’ve felt.  And the best I’ve felt was when I was eating paleo.

Oh, the paleos.  Vegetarians hate it, normal people wonder what’s so bad about bread/pasta/donuts, waiters roll their eyes when yet another person asks if there’s gluten in their iced tea*.  I want to grab my walker and remind people I was doing the paleos before Tim McGraw was, and maybe to get off my lawn (seriously, I just got that thing to grow back), but what’s the point?  I don’t need to prove to anyone what makes me feel right.  It works for me, I’m not surprised when it works for other people.

The biggest problem, of course, is that meat ain’t cheap, and I’m off one of the cheapest sources (eggs), and we kind of are on a restricted budget right now (see: layoff).  I’ve been cutting our meat portions in half and supplementing with rice, potatoes, and corn, but it’s not — strictly — paleo.  And I don’t have that buzz I got when I was doing the very strict, very meaty, full-of-fibrous-vegetables paleos.

Historically, I tend to use the day after my birthday to “reset” my diet clock, and this year’s no exception.  From my birthday, I have 6 months before we start “trying”, and if Zoe is any indication, “trying” will take a few months, possibly less.  When mom asked me what I wanted for my birthday dinner, I said, “Steak, please.”  What better way to go back to what works for you, then at the hands of your own mom?

And of course, there are two other matters: I want to lose the last of the Zoe-weight before I pack on another kid, and I want to get some exercise in, too.  We were actually doing a really good job of going for walks, Mike and I, during the first pregnancy.  Then I miscarried, and we cut back because of the anemia, and then I whammo got pregnant again, and between moving and adjusting to the current wee one, it’s been a yo-yo.

But I think — knock on all the wood — things are settling.  My physical therapist seems to think I need to get my back strong, and I agree.  So I’m going to start focusing on strength training again, and getting in my 7500 steps a day, and not go too crazy.

I’m a planner.  I like to plan.  For all its pain and tribulations, pregnancy is an exciting time.  Unique, surprising, promising, and sometimes rife with pain and fear and constantly needing to pee…but also great potential.  I hope we’re successful again.  I’d like Zoe to know the joys (and eye-rolling tests of patience) (but mostly joys) of being a sibling.



* You laugh, but boricha is made with barley, so technically, it’s possible!

On Large Families

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Large families. Speaking as someone who was lucky number four of four, I clearly benefited from one. Mom had a girl followed by a boy, and by all rights could have said, “Welp, got my set, I am DONEZO.” But she didn’t, and thus, you are reading this post.

As for myself, we’re probably going to have two and call it good unless there’s some sort of freak accident or immaculate conception. I’m no spring chicken, as my dad likes to say, and on top of that with #2 we’ll need to be considering the expense of day care.  Which I have been considering.  Often.

Which brings me to the aforementioned large families.  A Facebook friend commented on this blog, which asks “When did we start hating large families?”  In my case, when I see a large family I don’t think “oh, that’s terrible, what freaks, don’t they know about birth control?”, but instead “holy crap how can they afford that?” It’s genuine curiosity on my part. Does one spouse have a really, really good job? Do they have a live-in family member who watches the kids while mom and dad work? Are they living mortgage-free (did they inherit a house, do they live with family)? How do they manage this? How?

I am the chief number cruncher for the Paddock compound, and I can tell you right now that if Mike’s unemployment income evaporated, we’d be making some drastic changes in record time. Yes, we have savings, but I’m cautious of breaking that glass.  Basically, the worst thing* that could happen would be for us to foreclose on our home. To stop that and live only on my income, we’d need to sell at least one of the cars (possibly both), stop 401(k) and college contributions, and a whole list of other micro adjustments.  We would have to question visits to doctors.  Vacations would be few and far between.  Eating out would be maybe a monthly event.

I run through these scenarios constantly, and all we have is one kid.  If we had four, I’d probably be investigating EBT and other government assistance.

This is not unusual, especially not in California, where rent is laughably expensive and food isn’t much better, and having a large family means either being well paid or constantly checking the couch for spare change. And though the norm used to be very large families (especially in pre-reliable birth control days), it isn’t anymore.  We tend, as a society, to react poorly when we see something that doesn’t match the patterns we’re accustomed to.

There are people who will rant about “the breeders” and how the planet is overpopulated and why don’t you just adopt?  Those people have their opinions, and as one of the breeders they rant about I obviously think they’re wrong and can take a short walk off a long pier while wearing concrete boots.  But hey!  I have my biases and I know it.  Also, adoption in America is a) expensive and b) difficult.  Making a baby — if you are able — is comparatively easier and a lot cheaper, providing you don’t have complications.  Not to mention that US birthrates are actually on a decline, so congratulations, ranters!  Mission accomplished!  And while it may not seem that way, the truth is that a society that doesn’t replenish itself is a society in crisis. Just ask Japan.

In conclusion, I don’t think most of us hate or disdain large families. I think most of us see an anomaly and freak out a little about it, and a few of us (like me) are wondering how they do it. Because in this day and age, in this economy, it’s the only question I don’t yet have a good answer to.


* “The worst thing” in the sense of our personal finances.  Obviously, death, injury, disease, locust, and cats puking on the duvet are infinitely worse.