Time for an Encore?

November 11, 2013 at 10:31 am | Posted in Family, Married Life, Pregnancy Fun Time | 2 Comments
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The other day, my hubs got this in the mail:

Does that cardigan come in men's sizes?

Does that cardigan come in men’s sizes?

And he was totally baffled…. Why would he, a MAN, have received a coupon for a maternity clothing store?  I, of course, have NO idea.

(wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

Now that our dear daughter is eight months old (when did that happen?!?), my husband has started his campaign for a second child.  Well, I say “started,” but he actually brought this up for the first time when she was just six days old, and again when she was three months and six months old.  And I feel lucky to have a partner who loves our little one so much he wants another one.

BUT…

(you knew there was going to be a but!)

I’m not ready!  I want more time for just us three (and our sweet pup, too, of course), my first pregnancy was so hard I’m not sure I’m ready to face doing that again, and geez louise man!  No! 

Like in any disagreement, we’re going to have to find a compromise.  Anyone know how close they are to having men carry children?  Because I’m sure he’d look great in that cardigan. 

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Confessions of a New Mom: What They Don’t Tell You

June 7, 2013 at 8:56 am | Posted in Family, Pregnancy Fun Time | Leave a comment
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Nearly three months ago (or, as I recently counted the passage of time, one trimester ago), I became a first time mommy!  Since then, I have experienced the most profound love and happiness in the world.  I’ve also changed approximately 1,100 diapers.  I’ve laughed, cried, panicked, smiled, screamed, worried… I’ve done pretty much everything except sleep (and write blog posts, as you already know).  And one of the things I’ve done most often is ask: why didn’t they tell me that?!

Sometimes it’s a happy surprise; why didn’t anyone tell me how drastically my world view would change once I “became” a mom?  Why didn’t anyone tell me how even a gas smile (as opposed to an emotion-based smile) on my baby’s beautiful (if I do say so myself) face feels like I’ve won some sort of cosmic lottery?  Probably because no one could tell me; no one could possibly find the right words or depth of meaning to convey this to me.  Just as I can’t properly explain it to you (suffice it to say: being a mom is, quite literally, awesome).

But there are some things that could have been shared, some things that would have been useful to know before I took the parenting plunge.  I can remember the day we left the hospital – the hubs and I were excited but slightly panicked as we got in our car, looking over our shoulders like we were making some sort of get-away with our baby.

Note to self...

Note to self…

Why compare going home to a get-away?  Confession number one (of which there will be many to follow in future blog posts): we felt like we were absconding with our baby.  You see, we had made this beautiful, perfect, amazing, little human, and after five days of excellent care in the hospital, we three were set loose upon the world with nary a pamphlet, let alone a handbook – we walked out the doors (okay, I was wheeled out the door but you get the idea) and I thought to myself: What now?  How can I possibly care for this beautiful little baby?  What do I do??

Yes, I am fully aware that babies don’t come with instruction manuals, but come on, people!  A head’s up about common occurrences couldn’t hurt.  And so, my dear reader(s), to save you from a similar panic, I will share some of the things I wish someone had shared with me, and hope that, should fate smile upon you with a magnificent child of your own (because your child will be magnificent – they all are), you’ll find this information helpful (and not write your own missive about how ill prepared you were, too).

Umbilical Cord Stumps & Bloody Tummies

Pediatricians will tell you to expect your baby’s umbilical stump to fall off somewhere between a week and three after birth, and if you have a very thorough medical team, someone might tell you that there could be a little blood when it does fall off.  Okay, sounds reasonable.  What no one told me, however, is that there could be blood in the days preceding its detachment, too, and if you open your baby’s cute little outfits and find blood on her clothes and skin, DO NOT PANIC (unless it is a lot of blood, of course).  Imagine me, a gal prone to worries already, who is completely sleep-deprived and out of her league, finding blood on my little one even though the stump was still attached!  Needless to say, I put my pediatrician on speed-dial…

Maybe I just need Alka-Seltzer!!

Maybe I just need Alka-Seltzer!!

Attachment Parenting?  Try Exhausted Parenting

Have you seen that video of Alicia Silverstone pre-chewing her kid’s food?  Yeah.  I thought that was weird before I had a child, and guess what?  Now that I have a baby of my own, I still think it’s weird.  But it brings up an important point I want to share: you may feel like you are flawed if you aren’t immediately all-consumed with this spiritual connection to your baby.  And THAT’S OKAY!  Trust me.  DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT DOUBT YOURSELF AS A PARENT!  It takes time for a bond to grow and, while you may love your little bundle from the moment you see her, no one expects you to have established the strongest bond known to man immediately.  Get to know your baby, give yourself the grace to heal and adjust to your new life, and don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t ready to regurgitate like a momma bird on day two (or ever… but you get the idea).

You Will Fight With Your Significant Other.  A lot.

Whether it’s the temperature of the bath water or the frequency (or lack thereof) that s/he washes the bottles or the way s/he tries to comfort your mini-miracle (which will, inevitably, differ from how you do it), or something you can’t even put your finger on (but you know it’s there), you and your significant other will feud.  H-E-double-hockey-sticks, you may even want to kill each other some days.  And guess what?  That’s normal, too.  Your lives have changed so dramatically and so quickly, and that, combined with exhaustion (not to mention physically healing), leads to natural feelings of frustration (to put it nicely).  Don’t immediately run to Judge Toler.  Take a deep breath (or a nap), give each other some slack, and if all else fails, remind yourself that new parents around the globe are probably feeling exactly the same way you are (the word mariticide exists for a reason, I assume).  And then throw something (soft… and preferably not directly at your sig. o.).  Or, even better, put him/her in charge of the little one for a few hours and go do something nice for yourself.

But do not, under any circumstances, wake the baby!

Pregnancy Moodiness Was (Pre) Child’s Play

If you think the emotional roller coaster of pregnancy ends immediately after your little one enters the world, you’re in for a rude awakening (and with a newborn, it’s just one of many awakenings).  Your hormones are wackadoo, you’re exhausted and adjusting, and maybe a little anxious, and you’re going to have extreme highs and lows.  Take heart, new mommies: this is NORMAL (and knowing that should help reassure you when you feel off-kilter and out-of-control).  Of course, if things don’t even out for you emotionally after a few weeks, I urge you to seek the advice of a trusted medical/psychological professional.  But if, on day seven, you can’t figure out why you’ve gone from laughing to sobbing faster than you can put a new diaper under your baby before s/he pees again, trust me, it happens to us all.  Sometimes big girls do cry, and there’s no shame in that.  (N.B. This section and the one above are related – your moodiness will contribute to the feuding and vice versa.  Gotta love it!)

Sleeping Through the Night?  Ha!

One of the kookiest phrases I hear from parents relates to kids’ sleeping habits.  Not long after your beautiful little angel is born, people will start asking if s/he sleeps through the night.  Haha!, you think, I wish!  But alas, your child may technically be already doing so!  Let’s say you put your bundle of joy down to bed at 7:30 p.m. and s/he is up again at 1:30 a.m., and then 4:15 a.m., and again at 6:45 a.m., technically your little angel has slept through the night.  Yeah.  I’m not kidding.  While there’s conflicting views about this, sleeping through the night is generally considered a good five-to-six hour stretch.  So congratulations, exhausted mommies and daddies, your kid has achieved the holy grail of slumber.  <yawn>

Mommy readers, what do you wish someone had shared with you before your parenthood adventure began?  Any sage wisdom for future parents? 

And stay tuned, dear reader(s), for my thoughts about advice like “breast is best,” and “colic is a myth.” 

Parenthood & Gratitude: Musings from Week 39

March 6, 2013 at 5:05 pm | Posted in Pregnancy Fun Time | 4 Comments
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In just a two short days Andrew and I will be parents (g-d willing).  It’s exciting, amazing, staggering, nerve-wracking and takes my breath away (in a good way) every time I think about it.  And although my pregnancy has had its ups and downs, I’ve been trying to focus on the good stuff and be open and appreciative of all the amazing people and blessings in my life.

I know I’m getting sappy, but bear with me on this one!  I’m gonna be a mom – I have to set a good example here.  My regular snark will be back soon, I’m sure.  Anyway…

Preparing to bring a child into the world can be intense.  At one point in my pregnancy, I literally had to stop watching the news (which is tough for me – I’m such a news junkie) because it was too much, too sad, too depressing, too awful.  I wondered how I could, in good conscience, expose a child to all that.  As my colleagues will tell you, that week was weird – I didn’t even know Neil Armstrong had passed away until a month later (and it was an awkward discovery when, during the middle of a lunch break, I exclaimed: “Oh my gosh, Neil Armstrong is dead?!” and they all looked at me like I was delusional and then burst into laughter).

But I realized that I needed to change my perspective.  Yes, bad things happen and there are some bad seeds out there, but the good things and the good people are what matter, and I will do everything in my power to ensure my child appreciates both.

This past weekend my parents worked their butts off at my house because I needed the help.  They did our grocery shopping, they cleaned our house, they fed us, they set up the nursery, they assembled the Pack ‘N Play, they gave me a new-to-me cell phone (mine was unreliable, at best, not good for a mom-to-be).  In short, they showed me what it means to be a good parent, as they have been demonstrating my entire life.  But it was a particularly poignant reminder the weekend before I take on that role myself.

My friends, my family and my colleagues (and my husband, of course!) have made the past 39 weeks joyful, no matter how I was feeling physically.  Care packages and visits, baby showers and treats, encouragement and laughter, and support and love.  They have all cared for me and helped me arrive at this point, and I am forever grateful for that, and for being able to bring my baby into a world like this one, with so much to be thankful for.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Apparently I’m Not a New Englander…

February 8, 2013 at 11:31 am | Posted in Around Boston, Pregnancy Fun Time | 4 Comments
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As I sit here watching the weather report (Read: emotionally preparing for impending doom), seeing the first signs of Blizzard Nemo (Bugging Andrew to come home early – pretty please – this is a dangerous fish!) and reading friends’ Facebook statuses about the joy of snowstorms (Bring it on?  No thank you – please keep it away!), I’ve come to realize something: I can’t be a New Englander! 

Despite our reputation for a chilly demeanor, I think there’s also a certain degree of machismo around winter weather in the Northeast, something like “stormchismo.”  We buy out the region’s supply of bread, milk, bottled water and, for some reason, Pop Tarts (ick); we stock up on flashlights and batteries (why did I buy 24 AAA batteries at Home Depot?  When will I ever use 24 AAA batteries???); we watch the weather reports and poke fun at those folks who worry with choruses of “We live in New England – get used to it!” and “Finally, a little snow!”

I'd probably be at home worrying...

I’d probably be at home worrying…

But not me.  I’m angsty about this storm, I’m fearful that we will lose power, and I’m already dreading the cleanup and dealing with the 24”+ inches of snow that will surely remain with us for days or weeks to come.  What gives? 

Sure, I could blame this on my pregnancy-induced proclivity to worry, but we all know I was a worrier before getting preggers and I’ll be a worrier after, too (less than 30 days left until we meet Baby L-ski!  Huzzah!).  That said, I used to love being home watching the snow, snuggled up with a cocoa and blanket.  And even though I’ve been in New England for most of my life, I was born and raised in Colorado – weather like this is something I’ve always known – no excuse there.  And it’s not like I have to commute in this – my boss is delightfully flexible about letting me WFH (that’s “work from home,” for those not in the know) during inclement weather. 

So what’s my excuse?  What’s the problem?  Is there hope for me or am I doomed to be a lesser Masshole?

And is it time to panic yet? 

Practical Pregnancy Advice

December 19, 2012 at 10:20 am | Posted in Family, Pregnancy Fun Time | 4 Comments
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There’s a LOT of advice out there for those “in the family way” – from the best position to sleep in (on your left side, apparently) to what not to eat (while still eating almost everything in sight) – you could Google your every move and still not find all the info available.  But even with the overwhelming amount of advice out there, there are some very practical things I wish someone had shared with me before I found out the hard way.  For example:

The Wet Badge of Pregnancy: When leaning over to wash your hands, reach for something, etc., be sure to wipe off the counter area that your belly will touch before you reach out (because your belly will touch it!).  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a wet line across my midsection and had to walk around with water (or tomato sauce…) cutting across my protruding belly.  Not attractive, especially at work when you’re trying to appear professional.  (And yes, “trying” is the operative word here).

Pregnancy Weight Gain

Strangers Know Best!  Or so they think.  And they’re not afraid to tell you.  Everything.  Last week I was in line at the grocery and a TOTAL STRANGER approached me to let me know that “claims” that cocoa butter lotion like Palmer’s helps with stretch marks is a BALD-FACED LIE perpetuated by corporate America.  True story.  I didn’t even have any lotion in my cart!  Her recommendation?  Gotu Kola supplements.

Ohhh-kay.  First of all, lady, I certainly don’t want to discuss anything about my pregnancy or the evils of corporate America in the middle of a grocery store with some strange gal who lacks boundaries.  And Gotu Kola supplements?  We’re in Stop & Shop!  I’m exhausted, my back is killing me, my feet hurt, and even grocery shopping feels like a herculean effort.  The last thing I’m going to do is follow a random stranger’s advice, hunt all over the greater Boston area to find a supplement that my doctor hasn’t approved that may or may not help with stretch marks.

So ladies, when some wackadoo approaches you in the grocery or any other public place – and trust me, a stranger will approach you – do what I do and pretend you don’t speak English, or you’re about to yak.  Works (almost) every time.

And speaking of stretch marks…

Stretch Marks are Horrifying!  No one, NO ONE, tells you this, but it’s true, and it’s also true that it is okay to think that.  Yes, they’re natural.  Yes, they’re unavoidable for those who are susceptible to them.  And yes, in the grand scheme of things, they’re NO BIG DEAL.  But this blog is about being honest, and honestly, my stretch marks startle me every time I catch a glimpse of them.  It looks like my baby is trying to claw her way out – like she’s either auditioning for the next Alien film or she’s so miserable in there she’ll do anything to get out!

Clearly this is not the case.  Obviously the red gashes have nothing to do with Baby L-ski’s state, other than to indicate that she’s growing (thankfully) and I need to make more room for her!  But I’m super self-conscious about them, even when I’m alone.  And it’s okay to feel that way, dagnabbit!

Worrying About How Much I Worry… Should I be Worried?  Around the middle of my second trimester, I started thinking.  Okay, okay, it was more than just thinking; I started worrying, particularly about silly things.  For example, a few weeks ago I was up all night worrying that both our cars were too small to have a baby and a dog, and that there was no way we would be able to fit everything for both of them in our little sedans should we need to travel for a weekend.  I was up all night long considering what our next vehicle should be, when we could swing getting a new one financially, and if it should be Andrew’s or mine that we replace.

In the morning I was exhausted and cranky, and shared my concerns with the hubs.  His response?  “It’s going to be okay.  We will figure it out, and if we have to travel before we get a new car, we can always just rent one.  And next time you think you’re going to worry all night long, just wake me up and we’ll talk it through together.”  He was absolutely right and totally logical, and that made me worry.  Why was I worrying so much?  Was something wrong with me?  Should I worry about how much I worry?

The short answer is: Sarah, don’t worry about it.  Worrying (to a certain extent) is, apparently, totally normal.  So as long as your worries don’t interfere with your life or become debilitating, you probably don’t need to worry about them – even though it’s natural to worry.

And those, my friends, are some of the nuggets of truth I wish someone had shared with me early on in my pregnancy.  I may be taking my factinis virgin these days, but I’m still serving ‘em up!

Baby L-ski is a…

October 26, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Posted in Family, Pregnancy Fun Time | 6 Comments
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Is it tacky to announce our little one’s gender on my blog?  Maybe.  But it’s also the fastest way to disseminate this information, so you’ll have to excuse this uncouth post if you want the dish.

It’s a mystery no longer!

Predictions have been pretty even – at last tally, 45 percent of our friends and family (well, those who are involved enough to want to make the prediction, that is) said boy (the blue faction), 50 percent said girl (the pink faction), and 5 percent refused to make a prediction (the party pooper faction).

It is with great joy that Andrew and I announce that we are having a GIRL!!!

All those who voted PINK, go buy a lottery ticket.  Seriously.  Go.  And we won’t say no if you throw a portion of your winnings Baby L-ski’s way for instilling in you the confidence to play a game with such lousy odds.

Pregnancy, Part One

September 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Posted in Around Boston, Office Humor, Pregnancy Fun Time | 8 Comments
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As you know, I’m fairly open about sharing news and life milestones, but for some reason, I felt REALLY awkward telling people about my pregnancy when it was time to share it.  Has any other mom-to-be felt this way?  Am I the only who couldn’t quite figure out a way to let people know?  Or who was content with people eventually figuring out that my belly was more baby than brownies (for a change) without my having to say it out loud?

Let’s just say I wasn’t quick to post ultrasound photos to Facebook… (“Not that there’s anything wrong with that!”)

But now that my pregnancy is “Facebook official” (thanks, mom!), I can blog about it freely and share my experiences thus far with a bun in my oven (icky expression).  Andrew and I are SO excited to be parents (g-d willing), but as you can imagine, there’s been a fair amount of awkwardness over these past 16 weeks, too.  Here’s a slice of the silly aspects of pregnancy thus far…

In the Dark with Morning Sickness

Because I work at a software company, the ratio of men to women is pretty skewed, so, despite the four stalls, the ladies room often feels like a private potty.  The plus side of that is, mid-first trimester when I spent a fair amount of time hovering over the porcelain throne, I could bank on being alone in there and easily hiding whenever I had to toss my cookies in the office bathroom.

However, this privacy also had a downside.  In an effort to save energy, the bathroom lights are on sensors, and after a few minutes without detecting movement, the lights shut off.  No windows, no night lights – it is pitch black in there when the overheads are off.  I can’t even begin to tell you how awkward it is to be locked in a bathroom stall in absolute darkness, on the verge of ralphing, praying you don’t miss the toilet while trying not to touch anything!

It should have been an event in London – I’d have won Olympic gold!


The Journey is Less Important than the Destination

April 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Posted in Around Boston | 2 Comments
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I’m finally taking a trip to visit my gal pal Rhymes-With-Tzarina in San Diego (N.B. The jury is still out on what that name means – agree to disagree).  I was supposed to visit weeks ago, but had to postpone my trip until I was at least mostly over “the plague,” as I like to call the pneumonia/bronchitis/sinus infection I’ve been so graciously hosting for the past two months.

I packed last night, worked remotely this morning, took a cab to the Logan Express Shuttle and then things started to go wrong… You knew this was going to happen, both because something inevitably goes awry whenever I travel and because I probably wouldn’t be blogging about a totally normal journey.

So here I am, sitting at Logan International Airport, attempting to hide from/avoid acknowledging a woman waiting in the same lounge I’m in.  She was on the same shuttle I was on – or, should I say, the same shuttle I started on.  You see, not five minutes after the shuttle left a wave of violent nausea overtook me (and NO, I’m not pregnant and this is not morning sickness).  I let out the loudest, rudest burp I’ve ever heard, and said fellow passenger literally turned around and glared at me.  I started to apologize to her and then it happened.  I couldn’t hold it in.  I vomited.  And it was completely mortifying.  Not to mention really uncomfortable.

The shuttle driver was very sweet about having to turn the shuttle around and hightail it straight back to the lot, and didn’t make me feel like the biggest rhymes-with-glass-bowl on the planet.  But this lady was less than kind.

I get it.  It was a disgusting thing to do.  But lady, if I could have avoided it, don’t you think I would have?  I mean, come on!

As the driver did a little cleaning, I got off the shuttle, called my mom in a panic, and asked what I should do.  Was I pushing it?  Was “the plague” sending me a message and ordering me to stay in Beantown?  What should I do???

As the shuttle pulled away, “Mo” calmly walked me through my day… when did the nausea start?  Did it feel like a tummy bug or food poisoning or something else?  What had I eaten?  And then we figured it out.  I hadn’t eaten.  I’d been so busy trying to cram work in and get to the airport on time that I neglected to eat when I took my prescriptions, which very clearly state: “Take with food.”

D’oh!

Here’s hoping that’s the worst (and only) ridiculous and icky thing that happens this trip.  But I’m issuing a warning to all San Diegans: don’t be surprised if I accidentally mess something up in your fair city.

~Sarah

Stay Classy, San Diego... If you can!

The Pregnancy Inquisition, Part Deux

March 29, 2012 at 9:28 am | Posted in Married Life, Pregnancy Fun Time | 2 Comments
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In my last post regarding procreation pressure (like that alliteration?), I lamented the awkwardness of having my friends, colleagues and loved ones harass me about my reproductive status, and received some great tips and feedback from you, dear reader(s).  Well, today I’d like to expand upon this topic and bring every retail establishment that sells anything related to children into the mix.

Mind Your Own Bees wax

Mind your own... (Photo from Beyond The Hive)

Have you seen the story in the New York Times by Charles Duhigg about how Target knew a teenager was pregnant before her own father did?  It’s both fascinating and creepy, and, apparently, happening every day, much to my annoyance.  The gist of the article is that, based on just a smidge of demographic information and the things you buy, even things that don’t seem like obvious signs at first glance (fragrance-free lotion, cotton balls and hand sanitizer, for example, indicate you’re about to pop out a tiny human), retailers can virtually predict major life events like pregnancy.

Lucky for me (ha!), it seems I’ve found myself on the list of “probably preggers, so shamelessly market baby-related products to her” distribution list.  From emails (cough cough Target cough cough) to catalogs (Pottery Barn Kids, I’m talking to you!), coupons (Babies “R” Us, back off!) to advice (no, I don’t need to purchase X, Y or Z to prepare for my inevitable parental cluelessness), I’m being bombarded on a daily basis with baby-related information and savings (but at least it’s helping the post office stay afloat).

I’ll say it again: I’m NOT pregnant.  Yes, I’ve been happily married for over a year, am in my thirties and recently bought a home, but I am not “with child.”

I am, however, thinking about how this must feel to women experiencing fertility struggles.  These retailers don’t know what our reproductive status is – they don’t have a clue about whether we find these communications exciting or a difficult reminder of a very sensitive, very personal issue.  I understand the need to make money, to attract customers at this time in their lives; I even respect the power of the statistics nerd!  (Seriously, all hail the nerds of the world!)  But for goodness sake, please back off.  Or at least hide your intentions a little better so we can assume it’s just a coincidence that diapers are on sale… again…

I’ll procreate when I’m good and ready,
Sarah

The Pregnancy Inquisition

January 16, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Posted in Married Life, Pregnancy Fun Time | 11 Comments
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Thought things would change in 2012?  Sorry, folks!  I’m going to continue my habit of complaining about something fairly insignificant and then soliciting your advice.  Because that’s how to start the year on the right foot.

What’s got my knickers in a twist lately?  Pregnancy!

Or rather, the overzealous, overwhelming, overabundant questions regarding my hypothetical (and at this point, purely fictional!) pregnancy. Friends, family, colleagues, frenemies, even random baristas, stylists, salespeople and hobos (true story) are prying into my obstetric beeswax!

I know I’m not alone in this. It seems like the questions start the second you get hitched. But now that the hubs and I have been married for over a year, the frequency and intensity of questions has become more like an Inquisition.

My question is: how do you deflect these questions?

While I usually answer: “I’m birthing a house!” because, as you know, dealing with our little fixer-upper has been akin to creating new life (and going through a really, really, really long labor), there must be a better way to do it.

Most people ask out of love (or what I assume is love).  People seem to think an Andrew + Sarah combination is just what the world needs, so I don’t want to be insulting – because that is actually very flattering.

But at the same time, it’s a LOT of pressure and, quite frankly, nobody’s business!  So how, dear reader(s), do I handle this?

P.S. I am also aware that some folks are assuming that my “winter padding” is actually a bun in the oven.  Frankly, I’ve been so stressed over the past eight months, that if there was an actual bun in my actual stainless steel oven in my actual kitchen, it wouldn’t last long.  Eating one’s feelings isn’t the same as eating for two.  But here we are.

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