Once More, With Feeling

My brother and his girlfriend have come to visit from Milwaukee. I haven’t seen my brother since he came down to meet Nellie back in March, when she was just 8 weeks old! It’s really exciting to have them in town and to have the company, considering we’ve been snowed in for almost a week now. I haven’t worked this entire week because the conditions on the roads have just been too damned icy. I had already planned weeks ago to take today off to visit with my brother since I see him so rarely.

Anyway, tonight I get to have a night out with my brother and his girlfriend and I could not be more excited! We’re planning on going downtown to a karaoke bar I’ve been wanting to check out for a while. I haven’t gone to karaoke in over a year. The last time I went was on my birthday in 2010. I was 11 days away from giving birth and I had a blast! If you know me, you know I absolutely love karaoke and will not hesitate to hop on stage and belt out a song. My favorite song to sing is “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” by KT Tunstall. Some of my other staple songs are “Me and Bobby McGee”, “Landslide” (Dixie Chicks style), “Criminal”, “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” and if I’m feeling bold and my voice is in good shape that night I will sometimes sing “Fancy”.

Tonight I hope to try a new song. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the bar has it in its’ song book. I want to attempt “Glitter in the Air” by P!nk because I think it’s a beautiful song and I have been dying to sing it at karaoke for months. I hope they have it because who knows when I’m going to have another karaoke outing?

There are also songs that make me grit my teeth, roll my eyes, and wish for death when I hear them. “Picture” by Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock is one of those songs. I’d rather stab myself in the webbing between my forefinger and thumb than have to listen to that song again. “Redneck Woman” makes me want to punch a bunny. In contrast, I’m a sucker for “Don’t Stop Believin”, anything by Bon Jovi, and “You Never Even Called Me By My Name”. When I’ve had some drinks, I like to loudly sing along to those songs with the rest of the crowd.

I’m excited, but at the same time I’m nervous. I’ve found that I have more anxiety since having Nellie, especially when it comes to going out. I crave it, I love having nights out but since I’m heavier now I feel anxious and self-conscious. My hair is more difficult since having a child than it used to be. Then there are just general feelings of anxiety that I can’t quite pinpoint. It’s not that I’m anxious about being away from Nellie, I just feel.. anxious. I know once we get out I’ll have a blast and I am really looking forward to it. I just need to take a chill pill.

So that’s what I’ll be doing tonight! Singing my heart out, drinking some beers, and living it up!

What about you? Do you love karaoke? What are some of your favorite songs to sing, and are there some that you groan every time you hear?

Wordless Wednesday: Snowpocalypse 2011

Music credit: Scotch & Chocolate by Nickel Creek

Mommy Boots Vs. Hill

If you live in the South, or have been watching the news you know that the sky shat a bunch of snow upon us. Like, way more than we’re used to down here. It accumulated anywhere between 5-8″. THAT’S A LOT FOR CHATTANOOGA. I grew up in Chicago, so 5-8″ is NOT a lot for up North but in a city full of hills, mountains and twisty roads, that much snow is enough to cripple the city. I’ve been off work for two days now and Josh, Nellie and I were starting to get a little stir crazy.

So we decided to dismantle a cardboard box, and I decided to slide down a hill on it.

Here are the results of said idea. Enjoy!

Stay tuned for pictures of our family snowman, Philippe.

Birthday Facts

January 9th

Birthstone: Garnet
Flower: Carnation
Zodiac sign: Capricorn

Historical Events

475 – Byzantine Emperor Zeno is forced to flee his capital at Constantinople
1788 – Connecticut becomes 5th state
1984 – John Lennon releases “Nobody Told Me”

Famous Birthdays

1913 – Richard Milhous Nixon
1941 – Joan Baez
1955 – J.K. Simmons
1967 – Dave Matthews
1960 – Severus Snape (this one’s the best)

Not So Famous Birthdays

1984 – YOURS TRULY!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is the 27th anniversary of my escape from the womb!

Photo credit

My birthday is a pretty big deal to me. After all, it’s the only day of the year where I can celebrate myself. It’s the only day the whole year where it’s a celebration of me and nothing else. No Easter bunny, no Christmas trees, no Jack-O-Lanterns… It’s all about me!

You know you feel the same way about your birthday, too. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with relishing in a day where it’s all about you. It is, after all, just one day.

There’s nothing grand or exciting planned for today. Josh is working, so it’s just me & Nellie. I’m planning on going out, maybe spending a gift card I got for Christmas, buying some brake pads, coming home and getting dinner ready.. Not terribly exciting. But that’s okay. My brother & his girlfriend are coming in to town this week and I’m excited for that!

So that’s it. This blog post is really just to make you aware that it’s my birthday. You may carry on with your day. Someone please eat a cupcake or something for me? Thanks!

Wiggle Room

One of the worst things about losing weight is the tracking. The constant documentation of what I’m putting in my mouth. I have found this to be the most effective way to drop pounds, as it makes me accountable. When I see at the end of the evening that I’m already at 1,500 calories and my goal range is 1,460 – 1,800 I know that I don’t need that beer. I don’t need to eat a small bowl of ice cream. And while technically, at 1,500 calories a small bowl of ice cream wouldn’t put me over my goal range, I like to stay at the low end of the spectrum.

I’ve been effectively and diligently tracking my calories for about 5 days now and each day, I’ve been on the low end of my goal range. I hate keeping track of my food. It’s a pain in the ass. But at the end of the day when I look at those numbers, I feel satisfied and proud of myself.

The other thing I hate about losing weight this time around is that since I’m not getting any exercise and am relying solely on eating healthier to help me jumpstart my weight loss, I feel little to no place for wiggle room in my diet. Three years ago when I dropped 20 pounds, I was tracking my diet and exercising 4-6 days a week. I allowed myself one cheat day per week to eat whatever I wanted without tracking or feeling bad. It helped keep me sane and gave me something to look forward to. However, without that exercise I feel like a cheat day would be counterproductive. I’m thinking of allowing myself one cheat day every two weeks, or maybe even just one cheat day a month.

It’s the pits, because I love food. I love to eat. I don’t like watching what goes in my mouth but I guess I’m paying the price of being so complacent & lazy during my pregnancy. I looked fantastic pregnant but now that the shiny hair, glowing skin and adorable belly have been gone for almost a year I just look squishy. I do feel a certain sense of pride when I see that calorie tracker within my goal range. It does remind me, however, just how far I have to go. I am hoping that I can find some time somewhere to start exercising. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, even a 30 minute walk a few times a week would be an improvement from what I’m getting now.

Blah. All of you women who dropped the baby weight once your child was born & don’t really have to work at having a flat stomach suck. I say it affectionately, but you suck. My stretch marks and cellulite hate you just a little. Working at being fit & at a healthy weight BLOWS, especially when you have such a passionate love affair for food like I do. And beer. I like beer but I can’t justify drinking ANY with all this excess weight on me. I have had the occasional glass of white wine while I’m cooking dinner, but a glass of white wine is only about 70 calories.

Okay, bitchfest over. To sum up: I’m fat, I hate it, but I also hate tracking my calories. P.S., it just started snowing. Unrelated.

The end.

12 in 11

I love to read. In high school, I was that weird girl who was always hunkered over a book in study hall. Pretty much my entire sophomore year, I had a copy of one of the books in the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice tucked under my arm (Edward can GTFO, Lestat 4 Eva). I’ve let my reading habits fall to the wayside, partly because I have less time than I used to and partly because I find myself engrossed in other things when I do get free time: blogging, Facebook, video games, etc. I want to rekindle my love affair for books, so I set a goal for myself this year.

I will read one book per month in 2011. That’s 12 books in 2011, for those of you who may be using their fingers to count right now. It’s cool, I count on my fingers too.
I have also decided to make one of my books non-fiction. I don’t enjoy reading non-fiction, so this will be a challenge for me.

I’m opening my comments to suggestions. Here are some of my favorite books, or books I have read recently:

  • The Lovely Bones
  • Anything by Stephen King
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife
  • The Help
  • The Catcher in the Rye
  • Matilda

I don’t do romance novels.

January’s book (which is already in progress) is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

So, suggest away, readers! What book(s) do you adore that you think I should read?

Nut Up or Shut Up

After reading two separate stories of birds spontaneously falling dead from the sky IN TWO DIFFERENT STATES (Arkansas – which had the added bonus of dead fish in the river – and Louisiana) , I decided that it can only mean one thing:

The Zombie Apocalypse is nigh.

Upon hearing the news I decided it was time to prepare. Collect supplies. Build my Zombie Apocalypse Team. I sought help from my Twitter friends and also from my Facebook friends. We had a very important discussion and if you want to survive the Apocalypse, you need to read our conversation. It could save your life. In the spirit of zombie-fighting, I will substitute their first names for the capitols of the states in which the live. I’m Nashville.

Nashville: Necessities for the impending Zombie Apocalypse:
-Sawed off shotgun
-Chainsaw
-Gasoline for chainsaw
-Reinforced truck with one of those things you see on the front of trains to move dead cows off the railroad. It also needs to be bulletproof
-Grenades
-Cigarettes because once most of the population is dead, they will be currency

Am I missing anything?

Concord: Boyfriend said “yes, OMG, you’re missing so much.”
Nashville: WELL TELL HIM TO ADD IT TO THE EFFING LIST, WE NEED TO BE PREPARED GODDAMNIT.
Concord: We own the zombie survival guide book. You need a machete, 2 handguns preferably in different calibers, a long range weapon like an ar15 or bolt action rifle..
Nashville: *furiously scribbling*
Springfield: You need food? Or are we only talking about zombie-killing supplies?
Nashville: NO FOOD. FOOD WEIGHS YOU DOWN. WE FORAGE FOR FOOD. AHHHH!
Concord: Boyfriend also says you need his number on speed-dial because he is an expert. Oh, and you also need night vision goggles.
Nashville: Tell him he can be on my Zombie Apocalypse team. I need all the help I can get. MATCHES. ASK HIM IF WE NEED MATCHES.
Concord: Yes matches. No food. Hunting.
Nashville: Yesssss food slows you down. HUNT FOR FOOD. Twinkies & canned beans. WE WILL WIN THE ZOMBIE WAR
Concord: And matches for cigarettes to smoke them because after fighting zombies EVERYONE wants to smoke.
Nashville: WHAT ABOUT INGREDIENTS FOR HOMEMADE BOMBS.
Springfield: Don’t look that shit up go to a library and read it from a book. If you’re ever in trouble with the law before hand they use that shit.
Springfield 2 (there are 2 Springfields): Yes Nashville, go to the library and report back so we can all make some homemade bombs! Wait I have the entire Macguyver series on DVD! I’ll watch and get back to you.
Nashville: MACGUYVER KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT ZOMBIES. AHHHH.
Springfield 2: But he knows everything about making bombs!
Montpelier: You guys are ridiculous. If you do the dance from Thriller they leave you alone. Amateurs.

OMG, Montpelier. THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE IS SERIOUS BUSINESS. I think I’ll use her as bait.

For a Minute, There

For a minute there, I lost myself. I lost myself.. — Karma Police, Radiohead

When I was pregnant, I knew everything. I believe I’ve mentioned this before. One of the things that I just knew was that I wasn’t going to lose my identity when I became a mother. I’m a firm believer that a woman’s identity doesn’t lie solely within the boots she wears. Wife boots. Work boots. Mommy boots (shout out to myself! Is that lame?). Too often when a woman becomes a mother, that becomes her life. Her identity. She identifies as “Jack’s mom” or “Sophie’s mom”. While I am very much “Nellie’s mom”, that’s not all that I am.

…….. But it is kind of all I’ve become.

Most of my dialogue is about my child, because my life revolves around her. I am not saying there is anything wrong with this but it does make it difficult to relate to people who don’t have children. One of my best friends (and coworkers), R, has a baby who is two weeks – TO THE DAY – younger than Nellie. She and I talk all the time. We talk about our relationships with our respective partners, about the frustrations of trying to keep our places clean, about the funny shit our kids are doing right now. Conversation between the two of us comes very, very easily. I have noticed that when I’m around friends of mine who don’t have kids, I struggle to find something interesting to say where I used to be able to talk the ear off of anyone whether they liked it or not. Now? It’s “Nellie does this” and “Nellie is so funny when she…”

Again, nothing wrong with it but it makes me feel uncomfortable. Awkward. Like one of those parents I used to roll my eyes at. You know the ones. The ones that can’t shut up about their child. YEAH. THAT’S ME NOW.

So how do I find myself again? Where did I go? I feel like I’ve lost myself in a mixture of sippy cups and Cheerios. Of weight gain and frumpy clothes. With my new “mom exterior” (frizzy hair, no makeup, body fat) I find myself so much more self-conscious, wondering if people are talking about me and commenting that I shouldn’t be wearing my pants tucked into my boots because I’m too fat. And honestly, I probably am too fat but it’s fucking cold and the boots keep my feet warm.

Even the chorus I used to be so passionate about singing with has taken a backseat to Life. I cannot dedicate even half of the time I used to and it’s got me feeling sad. When I do make it to rehearsal, I find myself feeling detached. Like an outsider. Don’t get me wrong the ladies are wonderful and still welcome me but I’ve missed so much, I feel like I’m an imposter. Like I don’t deserve to be there because I haven’t worked hard enough. Chorus has always been my thing. My hobby. And now it’s just another pile of work on top of my already-busy life… I just can’t find the time to work on my music and it sucks.

So where do I find Natalie? Where has she gone? I know that I’ve changed. I have become less interesting, less funny, more judgmental and stressed out. Maybe it’s a little bit of residual PPD, maybe it’s just typical of being a new (ish) mom.. I really don’t know. But I feel isolated and anxious a lot. I struggle to find things to say. I feel annoying.

Maybe I’m just crazy. But for several minutes, here, I have lost myself and I’m not sure where to find me. I’m trying to be kinder to myself; washing my face twice a day so I don’t break out. Eating better. Taking a multivitamin. Stretching in the morning. Treating myself to something that’s just for me once a month.

But it’s hard. I still feel off. I still feel lost a lot of the time.

Oh hai there, 2011!

Is it going to take anyone else at least four months to get used to writing 2011? No? Just me? Okay then.

On Thursday my best friend from Chicago, Megan, flew in to town. We rang in the New Year with her and our friends Dave & Deborah and later their friend Patti. We played Apples to Apples, and a board game called Quelf (bet when you first read that you thought it said ‘Queef’. I thought the board game said ‘Queef’ and I figured we were in for an interesting night) which was ridiculous amounts of fun. After a 3-store hunt I tracked down some Pinnacle whipped cream-flavored vodka and drank it with root beer & orange soda. Not together of course, those were two separate drinks. It was delicious. We had a blast and despite our raucous laughter during Quelf, Nellie did not make a peep.

Last night my husband stayed home with the baby while Megan and I went out for a little girl’s night. We hopped two different bars, and just hung out enjoying each others’ company. It’s been two years since we’ve seen each other so the visit was very much welcome! Nellie had a blast with her and I will post pictures of their playtime soon.

The holidays are officially over for another year. 2011 brings about a lot of exciting things… Our first full year as a family of three, our daughter’s first birthday…. I turn 27 a week from today. I’m looking forward to seeing what the New Year will bring. I’m sure that 2011 will be just as amazing as 2010 was. 2011 brings in a whole new stage of parenthood……. The start of the toddler years. Nellie’s not walking yet but she is close. I don’t think she’ll walk before her first birthday but I don’t think it’ll be long after.

Megan left a little while ago to fly back to Chicago. I’m sad that she has to go back, but I know that we’ll get to see one another again soon. Tonight, I’ll relax with my family and enjoy the last bit of our long weekend together. There’s a pot roast cooking in the Crock Pot and the Big Lebowski playing on our XBox right now.

Life is good.

Bring it, 2011.