when birth control isn’t for birth control

WARNING: This post is long and rambly, and there is discussion of lady parts and sex and birth control ahead. Dad, you should just go ahead and click that little red X in the top-right corner now.

(I’m kidding. My dad knows my blog exists, but he’s read it a grand total of once, when I wrote Catie’s birth story. He said, “That was more than I wanted to know.” And he hasn’t read it since. Fair enough, Pop.)

I don’t normally talk about politics here, but my blog is my place where I sort of dump out the stuff that’s rattling around in my brain, and I admit that this whole Supreme Court Hobby Lobby thing has been taking up a lot of my brain space lately.

So, here’s my take on it, and I’m sorry this includes personal anecdotes and backstory.

After Lucy was born, my cycles were a mess. My understanding is that this is common after you have a baby, especially a second (or third or fourth) baby. I had debilitating cramps, my mood swings were crazy to the point of borderline-psychotic, and my period lasted for well over a week. It was awful.

I went to my OB/GYN to talk about my options. She said the best solution for the problems I was experiencing would be to get on one of the hormonal methods of birth control, because that generally alleviates all of these symptoms. It didn’t matter that my marriage had just broken up a couple months prior, and I was in no way even remotely sexually active, nor did I have any need whatsoever for contraceptives. Birth control was the best solution.

After going through the list, she suggested the Mirena IUD. There’s a long list of reasons why (I have digestive issues that rule out taking an oral birth control pill, I’m allergic to the adhesive in the patch, etc.), and honestly, I had a Mirena IUD between Catie and Lucy, and I liked it. So that seemed like an easy pick.

Three years later, I still don’t need my IUD as a method of contraception. I’m in a committed relationship with a man who’s had a vasectomy. I have no need for birth control, per se. And yet, I love my Mirena IUD. My cycles are super-light (I spot for a couple of days, that’s it), I have no cramps, and I might be slightly more irritable, but it’s miles better than it used to be.

And this is where the Hobby Lobby thing gets me. They don’t want to cover the IUD because they say it’s an abortifacent. And I say bullshit. Yes, in theory, it can keep a fertilized egg from implanting. But there are also women who use it for the same reason that I do, for their basic general health. Either way, it’s not my employer’s business why I have an IUD. My doctor shouldn’t need to clear it with my boss to treat me.

And really, we can argue all day whether or not “keeping a fertilized egg from implanting” counts as abortion, since that’s also the same thing that Plan B does (aka the morning-after pill, the OTHER thing Hobby Lobby now won’t cover for their employees). Personally, I say that until it has a heartbeat, it’s just a cluster of cells, not a human life. A cluster of cells with potential, sure, but it’s not the same as an actual fetus. (Also, people who confuse Plan B with RU-486/the “abortion pill” – please do your research, those are two very different things.)

Aside on Plan B: back in the 90s, a friend of mine was raped, and the next day we went to a clinic and got Plan B for her. Maybe there was a fertilized egg there, maybe there wasn’t, but in the wake of a really horrific trauma, it was reassuring for her to know that at least she didn’t have to worry about an unwanted pregnancy on top of all of the other emotional repercussions she had been dealt. I’m really glad that it exists for situations like that.

Back to the point about “birth control when it’s not a contraceptive” (man, I have a lot of thoughts on this one), my situation isn’t unique. There are a couple of million women in the U.S. who use hormonal birth control for reasons completely unrelated to contraception.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve heard a few recurring statements from the people who support the Hobby Lobby decision.

1. The female employees can pay for their birth control themselves.

The average IUD costs $900-1000. For most people who work in retail – even at a company like Hobby Lobby, which tends to pay their employees higher than minimum wage – that’s still a pretty sizable chunk of change. I’m not sure many people can afford that.

2. Small businesses should be able to do what they want without government interference.

To a point, I agree. But if government never interfered in private businesses, lunch counters in my home state of Mississippi would still be segregated. Government regulation is sometimes necessary in our society. It’s just a fact of life.

(If you happen to be one of the people who think the Civil Rights Act was a mistake, just… look, we’re never going to see eye to eye on anything, so don’t bother.)

3. If the employees don’t like it, they can just go work somewhere else.

Well, ok, I guess that’s legit. But this case sets a precedent for the 50 or so other pending lawsuits from corporations who don’t want to provide contraceptives to their female employees. What if you work in a specialized field, and the only place you can find employment is with a company that’s run by Catholics who object to covering all contraceptives? The Supreme Court basically just made that scenario possible.

It’s interesting to me that the people who see this as a victory for freedom of religion are the same people who would decry this decision if it went in favor of any religion other than Christianity. Say, for example, there was a company run by Muslims and they say that all of their female employees must wear a hijab. I mean, they’re just exercising their freedom of religion and if the female employees don’t like it, they’re free to go work somewhere else, right?

But if that were the case, do you think Sean Hannity and those people would be cheering this as a win for freedom of religion in this country? I find that pretty doubtful.

And look, I know I’m pretty far left politically, so this decision was bound to piss me off. And I’ve been talking about this issue with some of my friends who agree with the decision, and I’m proud of us for staying polite in our discussion on this, even when we completely disagree.

I guess what it comes down to, for me, is that I’m more pro-choice now than I was before I had kids. I’ve experienced firsthand how hard being a parent is, and I realize that not everyone might be cut out for it. It’s extraordinarily hard to be a good parent, and it’s all too easy to be a shitty one.

But rather than abortions – which, honestly, nobody wants, even the most pro-choice among us – what would be ideal is if all women had access to all of the family planning tools that they needed. The easier we as a society make it for women to get contraception, the lower the abortion rate gets. And wouldn’t it be nice to live in a world where every pregnancy was wanted?

As for Hobby Lobby, here, go watch John Oliver sum this up. He’s a lot funnier than I am.

snow days

So, the snow day thing.

Ok, let me say this: I understand that there was an incident here in NC in 2005 that was similar to what’s going on in Atlanta now, where basically nobody was prepared for the snow and there was gridlock and people were stranded on freeways for hours and hours and it was a huge mess. (I asked Chris about it and he said, “yeah, that was the day my commute took over 8 hours.” Which: WHOA.) I get it. Better to err on the side of caution and all that, right?

They canceled school on Tuesday “in anticipation” of snow. Only it turned out that the snowstorm was moving much more slowly than anyone expected. So it didn’t actually start snowing until sometime after 6 p.m. Which means the kids could have gone to school and gotten safely home LONG before the snow started. But whatever, they made a judgment call.

Then school was closed on Wednesday and Thursday (today), due to legitimate, real snow and ice on the ground. And hey, that’s fine. It sucks for my work productivity because it’s really hard to focus when the kids are here, but I get it and I’m fortunate to have a job that allows me to have the flexibility to work from home when I need to be here with the girls.

And yesterday had its moments of being fun. The girls wanted to go play outside and they were both singing, “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” from Frozen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1lDcPm-KRw
(That last verse always makes me cry, btw.)

It all sounded very fun and exciting… until we got outside. My kids are delicate Southern flowers, so they were game to play in the snow for about, oh, 20 minutes maybe. Then they wanted to head back inside and drink hot chocolate. Which is sort of how I feel too, so I understand that.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

After we came back in, I turned on a movie for the girls (Beauty & the Beast), and Lucy promptly passed out on the couch in her long johns.

I cleared off the end of my desk for Catie, and I set her up to do some of her homework from school, so she wouldn’t get too far behind. I had this nice mental image of working away while she quietly did her math problems, which… hahaha. Yeah. No. There was whining, and “I don’t wanna do homework,” or “You have to help me with this part,” whatever. There was no concentrating on my work happening at all.

When she finished, she asked if she could do an art project, and this is why I’m grateful I stash away this stuff whenever I can. I got out some little plaster figurines that come with a set of paints to decorate them, gave her one of my old paint-stained t-shirts to keep her clothes safe, and let her go to town.

She had a blast. She’s way better at art-type stuff than I ever was.

The problem is, I kind of used up all of my “creative ways to keep the kids entertained at home” ideas. I admit, I’m more of a “let’s go out and do stuff” mom. We go to the playground, we go to one of the museums, we go walk around the mall, whatever. But when the roads are icy and it isn’t safe to drive, all of my normal “let’s go out” options are gone.

Today, thankfully, even though the schools are closed, the girls’ daycare is open, so I was able to drop them both off there, and they were so happy to get a chance to play with other kids. And I’ve been able to catch up on some work, which has been great.

My main complaint about the snow days? Apparently I didn’t read the fine print when I opted to put Catie in a year-round school. Because I just learned that year-round school doesn’t have “emergency days” built into its calendar, so when the kids have a snow day? It means they make it up on a Saturday. And after this week, it means they’ll have 3 different Saturday make-up days.

The first make-up day is supposed to be this Saturday (as in the day after tomorrow), when my sister is flying in from Texas for the weekend. And you know what? No. I’m sorry, but I am not sending my kid to school on a Saturday. Not this Saturday, not any Saturday.

I understand that scheduling is difficult, and it’s hard to manage the calendar for a year-round curriculum, but no. Nope, no way, not gonna happen, nuh-uh. And I’m not even going to make up an excuse and say that she’s sick. If I have to send in a note, I’ll write, “It’s Saturday. We have plans.” That’s it.

Because, when it comes down to it? I work full-time all week, and that weekend time that I get with my girls is precious. And it’s FIRST GRADE, so I’m pretty sure that if she misses a few days here and there, it’s not going to prevent her from getting into a good college later.

SorryNotSorry

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately, it looks like most of the ice has melted today, so we should be back to normal tomorrow. Fingers crossed, anyway.

(For the record, I still mostly love the year-round calendar and I really like Catie’s school in particular. This is just one beef that I have with the county school system’s administration.)

First Night

Last New Year’s Eve, I was still recovering from the flu, but I had this idea that I wanted to take the kids to downtown Raleigh for First Night, which is when they have a countdown and fireworks at both 7 p.m. (for the little kids) and another one at midnight (for the regular people, I guess – I predict I’ll never be there for the midnight event). My brother came with me, and we had a good time, despite me still feeling pretty terrible.

This year, we decided to do it again, but my brother is back in Charlotte, so it was just me and Chris and the kids. Since Chris had to work on New Year’s Eve, we were a little late getting downtown, but we made it.

We got there around 6:40 p.m., and somehow managed to navigate through the crowd and find my cousin Cat – which was no easy feat, since she’s only 5’1″, so she’s fairly easy to lose in a crowd. Fortunately, her husband Tony is taller, and I spotted him first. My girls visited with their cousins (well, Catie did, anyway – Lucy was overwhelmed by the crowd and wanted someone to carry her the whole time), and Tony’s sister was there with her dog, who was UNBELIEVABLY well-behaved (the dog, I mean, not Diana), given the crowd and the noise and all the little kids pestering him.


Note the giant acorn suspended from a crane in the background. Raleigh is the “City of Oaks,” so they drop an acorn instead of a ball. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s weird. Whatever.

It was a little chaotic, but fortunately it wasn’t long until the countdown and fireworks show. Catie has seen fireworks lots of times, but Lucy is usually asleep by the time they happen, and she obviously didn’t remember them from a full year ago, so she was mesmerized.

After the fireworks show ended, we navigated through the mobs of people and somehow managed to track down my aunt and uncle (Cat’s parents), who had gone off to wander around on their own. We basically said hi, gave hugs & kisses, then made our way back to the car.

I had been planning to spend more time downtown to let the kids run around and explore (First Night is set up a little like a carnival with food stands and games and things), but it just didn’t work out that way, since we got there so late. Which was fine with me, since most of the stuff there is kind of expensive (last year, I ended up dropping $15 on a New Year’s bell for Lucy and a light-saber type toy for Catie), and this way, we basically were able to go for free.

But the girls didn’t want to go home so soon, and Chris pointed out that we were awfully close to the flagship Krispy Kreme store (oh, that magical place where the “Hot Donuts Now” light is always on), so maybe a little side trip might be fun.

Safe to say, we were not the only people in the world who had that same idea. The crowd at Krispy Kreme was pretty big. And while we were waiting in line, we saw… my cousin and her family. No pre-planning, just happened that we both decided on our way home to stop for donuts. Great minds, clearly.

Later, we got home, got the kids bathed and in bed, watched a little TV, snuggled up in bed, and watched Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin do the countdown on CNN.

So, basically: fireworks, warm fresh donuts, and snuggled up in my bed with my favorite guy.


(One of the very rare occasions you’ll see a picture of me with no make-up on. Thank you, Instagram filters.)

I could not have asked for a better New Year’s Eve.

Happy 2014, everybody.

New Year’s Meme for 2013

Since I seem to do these every year, let’s sum up 2013!

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
* Became the mom of a first grader.
* Got new boobs.
* Said the f-word in front of my dad. (I was quoting something, so it was appropriate in that context, but it was one of those, “Whoa, I guess I’m really an adult now because I didn’t get in trouble for saying that” moments.)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
No, I generally don’t make new year’s resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A few friends had babies. My college roommate had her second little girl, and another friend just recently adopted a baby after years of infertility problems, and I am so happy for her.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Well, the world lost Dawn, and that sucked. Nobody in my immediate family passed away this year, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
No other countries. I did go to Texas twice, though. (Once in May for my sister’s bridal shower/bachelorette party, and again in November for her wedding.)

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
This has been my answer since 2011…

Stability. Calmness. Serenity. Less drama. Two kids who sleep through the night in their own damn beds. Little things.

Yeah. That. I would still like that, please and thank you.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
* May 1st – Chris and I got back together. It’s notable because it’s turned out to be the best risk I’ve ever taken.
* July 18th – boob job day.
* November 9th – my sister’s wedding.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I worked really hard on a lot of things – fitness, mental health, communication skills, being better at my job – and I made a lot more progress with all of them than I ever had before.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Sinking to someone else’s level and reacting when they were obviously only trying to antagonize me.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Normal stuff. Sinus infections, tweaked muscles, nothing major.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
There’s a few gadgets I could list here (upgraded phone, second iPad to make the kids stop fighting over the one, etc.), but I was trying to think of something a little more creative.

Actually, one of the best things I got was the armoire that I bought off craigslist and put in my office. So much storage space! So much easier to tidy things up!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My sister. She pulled off planning a wedding for over 200 guests and never once turned into a Bridezilla about any of it. And it was gorgeous, and everything was perfect.

I mean, COME ON.

wedding_party1

Let’s face it, she wins the whole year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Without naming names or being specific at all: people who spend their lives so consumed in anger and bitterness that they try to take down everyone else around them. I suppose I knew these people existed prior to the past year, but I had never had firsthand exposure to just how horribly some grown-ass adults actually behave. And it is pathetic and sad to see, let me tell you.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Daycare, rent, bills, same ol’.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I got stuck on this question because there are just so many things.
* Seeing my sister get married.
* Watching my kids as they grow and evolve into their own personalities, and just reveling in each of them.
* Getting back together with Chris.
* Seeing how much my kids love Chris, and getting to know his kids, who are delightful and fantastic.
* Introducing Chris to my family and having them completely embrace him and love him, because they see how happy I am with him. And that makes me realize how much they love me, because they all want me to be happy, and oh man, it’s just a big ball of ooey gooey love over here and sorry I’ll shut up now.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
I was going to say “Blurred Lines,” because that song was everywhere this year, but I’m not particularly a fan of it. I mean, it’s a catchy tune, I’m just tired of it now. Same with that “Royals” song by Lorde. Or “What Does the Fox Say,” because Catie has played that one approximately 10 bajillion times.

So I’ll pick “I Love It” by Icona Pop, because it’s Lucy’s favorite song (well, I guess it’s toss-up between this and anything by Katy Perry), and we listened to her sing “I don’t care, I love it” more times than I can possibly count.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier x 10000% x infinity.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner by about 35 pounds (yay!).
c) richer or poorer? About the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Sleeping.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Losing my temper with the kids over stupid, trivial things. Some days I’m too short-tempered and yell too much. Happens to the best of us.

(I also say I’m sorry and give hugs & kisses afterward. And I’m pretty sure nobody’s going to therapy because they were fighting over a toy and Mommy yelled, “KNOCK IT OFF OR EVERYONE IS GOING TO BED RIGHT NOW!!” But I still feel bad when I’m irritable with them.)

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Surrounded by my favorite people, as well as some really fantastic food. I am very lucky and I have zero complaints.

21. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Technically I fell in love with Chris last year, but I fell in love with him again – and so much harder – this year. So I guess he’s my answer. And hopefully he’ll keep being my answer every year.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Breaking Bad.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Hmmmm…. define “hate”? There are a couple of people who I genuinely dislike now, but I try not to waste my energy on hate.

24. What was the best book you read?
This is terrible, but I cannot think of a single book that I started and finished this year. I started a lot of books and didn’t finish a single one. I apparently have literary ADD.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Lots of stuff on the radio that I liked this year. Imagine Dragons, One Republic, that “Cups” song, pretty much most of the stuff that my kids sing because I think it’s adorable.

26. What did you want and get by year’s end?
An upgraded iPhone. (Finally retired my 3 1/2 year-old iPhone 4 and got the 5S. Or rather, it was given to me as a Christmas gift. Best gift ever, too, since I use it daily.)

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end?
For Lucy to sleep in her own bed at night. Seriously, we’re up to 31 months now, and she’s still crawling up in my bed every single night. WHEN DOES IT STOP?

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I think it came out last year, but we watched Super 8 on Netflix, and I thought it was fantastic.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37, and I had dinner with my kids at my parents’ house. Not that exciting, but it was nice.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’ve got nothing. I am incredibly fortunate.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
I’d call it “still trying to figure out what works on my differently-shaped body now that I’ve lost weight and gotten boobs.” It’s pretty hit-or-miss.

32. What kept you sane?
Not a “what” as much as a “who,” and it was undoubtedly Chris.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I admit, I developed a little bit of a crush on Aaron Paul/Jesse Pinkman. I know he’s too young and I could probably snap him like a twig, but… yeah. Go figure.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Oh, gun control, abortion rights, marriage equality, all the typical things us hardcore liberals get amped up about.

35. Who did you miss?
The first 4-5-ish months of the year, I missed Chris a lot. Now I just miss all of my friends and family who live far away.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I met lots of people this year, not sure if I can single out one as the “best.”

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
See #9. I’m learning that if someone comes after you and their only intent is to provoke a reaction or make you angry, the worst thing you can do is let them.

As one of my very dear friends back in Mississippi says, “You just gotta be like a duck, darlin’. Just let it roll right off you.”

So there’s my life lesson: be more duck-like.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Not my favorite song of the year, but it always reminds me of Chris:

“It’s not a walk in the park
To love each other.
But when our fingers interlock,
Can’t deny, can’t deny you’re worth it
Cause after all this time.
I’m still into you.”

Yep, that about sums it up.

Happy new year, y’all!

Four more years

So. We had this election here, in case you hadn’t heard. Back in 2008, I was overjoyed that Barack Obama was elected. I had even volunteered for his campaign.

And I still think he’s a good president. Has he accomplished every single thing I ever wanted? Well, clearly not, of course. That would be impossible. But I at least feel like things are moving in the right direction.

But, rather than go into what I think this means for the future of our country and all of that (which I’m sure has been discussed thoroughly on a million other blogs and far more eloquently than I could state it), let me say this on the topic of kids and the election:

This is the first time that Catie has been interested in any type of news or current events. During the last campaign, she was so little – she wasn’t even 2 years old yet – that she really had no clue what was going on. Now she’s in kindergarten where they have mock elections and she wants to ask me questions about why I like Obama more than Romney. (Believe me, trying to explain foreign policy and healthcare and equal rights to a 5 year-old is no easy feat.)

I also realized that I have to be so careful of how I phrase things to her. She asked what a President is and why we have elections, and I explained that while some countries have kings and queens, we have a President who’s in charge, but only for a little while, and then we choose a new one (or we can vote to have the same one twice in a row). Somehow she conflated the idea of royalty being a life sentence with the presidency, and she said, “Why do the people voting for Romney want President Obama to die?” Wait, WHAT?? No, baby, they don’t want him to die. (Well, a few fringe extremists might, but I’m not telling her that.) I tried to explain that NO NO NO, that’s not it at all, it’s just that some people think that Romney would do a better job, but that even if Romney wins, Obama would still be alive, and his wife and their 2 little girls would be fine too.

This morning when she woke up, she asked me who won after she went to sleep, and I told her that Obama won, and she said, “YAY! Because we wanted him to stay our President, right?” That’s right, Bug.

My little tomboy is wearing a dress. This is such a rare occurrence that I felt like I should document it.

She blows my mind, that kid.

I suppose by the time the next election rolls around, I’ll be explaining all of these concepts to Lucy for the first time, and Catie (as an almost-10 year-old) will understand it on a completely different level than she does now.

A little leaf crunching before daycare.

Hard to imagine. But then, looking back at my archives from 2008, I could never imagine Catie as the big kid she is now. I guess that’s just how it works.

Random aside, but since I’m talking about politics, and since 4 states voted for marriage equality last night, it reminded me of this:

Catie used to love to go to Chick-Fil-A. It used to be one of our weekly things that she and I did. I liked that their chicken was actually identifiable as chicken (instead of the chicken mush you get at McD’s and places like that), I loved their diet lemonade, and Catie loved their indoor play areas.

Then there was that whole thing this past summer about how they contribute to several anti-gay causes, and I just couldn’t bring myself to give them more of my money. Catie asked me about it, and I said, “The man who is in charge of Chick-Fil-A thinks that everybody doesn’t deserve to be treated equally, and I don’t believe that. He says that only some people should be allowed to get married, and I think that anyone should be allowed to get married if they love each other. So we aren’t going to go there anymore, or give them anymore of our money, until they stop being mean to people.”

And you know? She totally accepted that, without question. A few weeks later, my dad offered to take her to Chick-Fil-A for lunch, and she said, “No, Pop-Pop, we don’t go to Chick-Fil-A anymore.” And she basically parroted back exactly what I said.

My dad got annoyed, and glared at me and said, “You’re indoctrinating your kids already?”

And you know what? Yes. Yes, I am. And I’m proud of it too. If both of my girls grow up with empathy for others, and feeling passionately that everyone deserves to be treated equally? Then I think I will have done a damn fine job of raising them.

on the plus side, at least I'm not crazy

Last night, I woke up sometime around 1 a.m., and our power was out. That struck me as weird, since we weren’t having any bad weather or anything like that.

Then I noticed strobe lights reflecting all over our bedroom. I wondered if I was still dreaming? Or maybe I was hallucinating? Is this a common pregnancy symptom that I somehow missed? Was I about to be abducted by aliens? WHAT was going on?

I got out of bed and stumbled over to the window. At first it looked like a police car’s blue lights were inside my neighbor’s house. That made no sense, so I rubbed my eyes and looked again, and realized that I was looking at a reflection in their windows. I looked to the right, to our nearest intersection (we live in the second house in our subdivision, so the intersection is close) and I saw police cars, fire trucks, and rescue vehicles all over the street.

Of course, because pregnant ladies are known for being completely sane and rational, my first thought was, “hey, what if it’s that urban myth about the axe murderer who knocks out the power to the whole street before he goes on a killing spree? And maybe the cops are here to catch him? Should I go downstairs and make sure that all of our doors are locked? Or wake up Dave and send him outside to investigate?”

Then I decided that was the Unisom talking and I needed to go back to bed.

I woke up again around 3-something, because that’s the hour Baby 2.0 has designated as her In Utero Dance Party (seriously, EVERY. NIGHT.), and our power was back on, but the cop cars were still outside. Weird.

I asked Dave this morning if he had noticed all that, and he said that he heard a loud bang and assumed that a transformer blew. He didn’t notice anything with the police cars and lights because he was asleep.

I checked the news this morning and found out that apparently some drunk idiot hit a utility pole. Based on the pictures of that truck, I can’t believe that his injuries were “non-life threatening.” Crazy.

And I have to say, it is really weird to see your street on the map of a local news story.

But hey, at least I’m not hallucinating, so there’s that.

The New Year's Meme

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Bought a house. (Technically, our house in Washington, Dave already owned when we met. So this was our first house purchase together.) Flew to the UK.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I try not to make New Year’s Resolutions as a rule.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! My cousin Cat had baby Austin.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My aunt – technically she’s my dad’s first cousin, but she was like an aunt to me. I wouldn’t say we were super-close, but she was a very sweet lady, an all-around good person, and she’ll be greatly missed.

5. What countries did you visit?
England & Scotland.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
Financial stability.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
January 20th – Obama was inaugurated, and we got our first snow day since we moved to North Carolina. That was a great day.
January 27th – my baby girl turned 2 years old.
April 7th – the world lost Maddie Spohr.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I decided to start a freelance writing business, and I actually made a little bit of money doing so.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not losing weight. I tried a few different diets and seemed to go off the rails with each one. Going to be working on that again in 2010.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major. A few bad colds. We’ve been lucky this year.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
This house. My Canon Rebel XSi DSLR camera.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
There are seriously no less than 20 names that immediately popped into my head when I read this question. So I’ll just say: you. All of you. And yes, you too.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Sigh. I can think of a couple of people in my real life that I could list here, but I don’t really want to name names.
So how about I remove my personal life from the equation and say Glenn Beck. Does that work?

14. Where did most of your money go?
This house.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
BlogHer! And Type-A Mom Conference! And getting to meet so! many! awesome! people! whose work I’ve read and adored for ages. And of course I was really excited to watch my baby girl grow up this year, and also about buying a house.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Um, this song. (Can’t stand the guy, but I like the song. Can’t help it.) And oddly, “Do Re Mi” from the Sound of Music, because of this video.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? About the same, I think.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter. Sigh. Working on that.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer (see: house purchase).

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing. Working out. Being a more actively engaged mother/wife. The usual.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying. Moping. Goofing off. Eating junk food.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At my mother-in-law’s house in Carlisle, England. It was lovely.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009?
With a house, yes.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
LOST. Big Love. Project Runway. Um… trying to think if I watch anything else. The Daily Show?

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I try not to waste my energy on hating people. There are people I cared about who I no longer care about, we could put it that way. But overall, I’m ending the year with far more friends than I started with, so I think we can call that a win.

24. What was the best book you read?
I haven’t finished it yet, I’m in the last few chapters, but I’m going to say “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I don’t think I really discovered anything this year. I’ve developed a little bit of an obsession with both Keane and Muse. Neither of those are exactly “new,” though.

26. What did you want and get by year’s end?
A home.

27. What did you want and not get by year’s end?
Well, I’m not pregnant yet, but I’m also not entirely sure that I want to be. (I keep wavering on that one, it kind of depends on the day of the week.) Hmm. You know what would’ve been nice that I didn’t get? If this house had a hidden secret passageway that was filled with unmarked $100 bills. That would be awesome. Sigh. Oh well.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Since I rarely get to see any movies that aren’t animated, I’ll go for the best of that bunch and say “Up.”

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 33. It was pretty low-key. My brother & his then-girlfriend drove over from Charlotte for the weekend. And Dave bought me a Wii, which was awesome.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Huh. Oddly, I can’t really think of anything.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?
Jeans and sneakers. Lazy suburban mom chic.

32. What kept you sane?
My family. And Diet Coke.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
George Clooney, always. Josh Holloway on “Lost.”

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Probably healthcare reform.

35. Who did you miss?
It’s odd, I found myself missing my grandmother a few times this year, even though she passed away in 1996. There were several occasions that I found myself thinking of her, wishing she was there. She was such a baby nut, I know she would’ve adored Catie. I’m sad that they’ll never get a chance to meet.

I also miss a lot of my friends back in Seattle. I miss Patsy, our previous baby-sitter.

And of course, I miss all of the fantastic ladies that I had a chance to spend time with at BlogHer and Type-A Mom. I wish I lived closer to them so I could see them all the time.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I cannot possibly pick one.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.
The same rules you use for online dating also apply to Twitter and blogs: don’t invite people from the Internet to your house. Meet them in public first to decide if they’re crazy. THEN, you can decide whether or not you want to invite them over to spend the night.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
“There is no home like the one you’ve got,
Cuz that home belongs to you.”
— Jenny Lewis, “Barking at the Moon”

Yes, that song is from “Bolt.” I’m sorry. It’s all I’ve got.