It's on

I've been thinking a lot about starting up the ol' blog again lately.  The gift of time has been bestowed upon me once again, in the form of yet another layoff this past January.  I had been hunting for a job for the first few months of unemployment, however since I was 3 months pregnant at the time of layoff it soon became very difficult to hide the bump.  That's right, the VonD's have managed to procreate a second time!  Well, almost.  Baby boy is due at the end of July and right now I'm as big as a house so I've given up on finding a job until after he's born.

How did this miracle happen, you wonder?  It wasn't without it's difficulties, but didn't take nearly as long as it did for the first one, so that was a nice change!  We tried for a year, with another miscarriage last April, and juuuust when I was ready to give up, BAM.  It happened.  (By the way, fate has an interesting sense of humor - I always said I didn't want to have a baby after age 35, well this one is due the day before I turn 36.)  It was another rough start, though.  I had spotting on and off until about 13 weeks, plus my HCG rose VERY, VERY slowly (like less than 30% in 48 hours around 6 weeks) so I was positive it would end in another miscarriage.  It was a very stressful first trimester.  But, turns out I was wrong.  We're very lucky, he's been growing right on track, I had all the AMA testing done and he's apparently healthy, so now we just wait around another 8 weeks for him to arrive.  Amazing, right?  I'm still amazed anyway.

So in addition to having that news to share, I've just been in need of some kind of creative outlet.  Cadence (3 now) is in school a few mornings a week so I do get a little time to myself.  I may just be back here from time to time!

Otherwise things are good and busy here.  Hubs finished a 2 year degree completion program this month and finally has his college diploma, so that is exciting and a relief.  We finished a total backyard renovation so our tiny house has more "living space" with a big pergola-covered patio, a sizable playground for the tykes, small grassy area, drought-tolerant garden (gotta love living in California), and lots of room for my busy girl to run around and blow off steam.  I have a feeling we'll be spending lots of time out there this summer!  It's perfect for entertaining too; we had Cady's birthday party out there a few weeks ago and Hubs's graduation party will be this weekend.  Then next month he and I will be taking a very short babymoon (just 1 night) to Solvang where I can eat my weight in pastries and float in the pool, and after that a few of my friends are throwing me a little shower so I can stock on baby boy goodies.  When that's done I'm not planning anything until Hubs's family leave is up - FOUR MONTHS after the baby is born!  Yep, he'll be home with us that whole time, and then I plan on finding some temp work quickly until something full time and promising arises.  Preferably somewhere I won't get laid off after 3 years.  I swear I must be cursed.

And that's it, that's all I got for now.  I apologize for the hodgepodge of news and updates.  I'm more than a little out of practice with blogging and writing in general.  Maybe I'll get better!


These days

Thank you for the condolences; Grandma’s funeral was as nice as a funeral could be.  It was good seeing my family and spending one last gathering at my grandparents’ house, which will unfortunately be sold shortly.   We were all able to go through the house and take anything we wanted to inherit, the best of which was my grandma’s artwork.  She had a big cabinet chock full of her paintings, sketches, and art class projects which we sort of auctioned off to everyone.  There was so much!  I got my hands on several – a couple of watercolors, a BIG framed landscape oil painting, and my favorite – a charcoal sketch of my mom when she was in her teens or early twenties.  It was the first time any of us had gone through her work and it was pretty amazing to see the variety and volume she produced!  There was definitely more than one something for everyone, and having some of her creations helps to soften the good-bye a bit.
So now, moving forward as we all must...
I can’t believe it’s already the end of October and the holidays are nearly upon us once again.  The Grinch side of me is like, “Shiz, it’s seriously gonna suck carting a cranky baby all over town on Thanksgiving and Christmas, cuz Lord knows she won’t nap with all that activity...” But my inner Grinch is being overridden by my excitement to see Cady’s reaction to the lights and trees and decorations and presents for the first time. So, I’m actually looking forward to the holidays this year.  A Christmas miracle indeed!  My baby girl has made my heart grow three times its size.
Well of course she has; Cady is pretty perfect I must say.  She’ll be six months old tomorrow and is growing way too quickly.  It really is going by so fast.  She sprung her first tooth a few weeks ago and its next-door neighbor just started peeking through yesterday, so teething has been a ton of fun.  She’s been sampling a few different foods, mostly fruit, and mostly frozen out of her mesh feeder since I never seem to have time to make the mushy food like I planned to.  Oh well.  She’ll learn how to eat out of a spoon eventually!
Besides her eating habits and teeth, Cady is doing great.  She is just dying to crawl, but in the meantime gets around wherever she wants by army-crawling and rolling, and only once has that meant crawling right off the bed.  Uhhh... oops.  At least it was a soft landing on the wadded up comforter!  She loves the cats and they mostly love her back.  Scout lets her grab her hair and ears over and over without getting annoyed.  Atticus has always been skittish around kids, but he’s been very good and is starting to warm up to Cady too.  She is a ridiculously happy baby who has never met a stranger and smiles at everyone and everything.  Not sure where she got that, it certainly doesn’t come from me.
I myself am still enjoying my job, although I keep toying with the idea of getting back on the hunt for something with benefits that pays a little more.  It is just so easy to stay where I am, with a great team and a simple but enjoyable workload.  But I would like to feel a little more challenged and get paid time off, or at least be closer to home.  Hubs’s job seems to be improving and he’s actually up for a promotion!  Keep your fingers crossed that it goes through like it should; I’m always wary when they make promises to him, but this time I’m pretty hopeful.  The accompanying raise will really help us get in a better position to move to a bigger house in the next year or so and the bungalow is feeling a tad crowded these days!
Speaking of which, work has stalled on our front yard makeover, but should be picking up again now that we have our finances in order.  That reminds me I need to take a “before” picture so I can WOW everyone with the improvements once it’s done!  I’m still hoping it will at least be close to finished by Thanksgiving, but at this point I’ll settle for Christmas.  It will be a very nice Christmas present for the whole fam. J
Okay I should probably at least pretend to be working.  I’m honing my excel skills by creating a game for my coworkers.  That’s like work, right?



Stuff is hitting me hard right now.  I’m incredibly grateful for all the good in my life – Cady, Hubs, my family, my friends, my job and coworkers, my home... There is so much to be grateful for.  And I don’t know if it’s still hormones or just parenthood itself, but everything, the good and the bad, feels so much more vivid now.  It’s a good thing, but it is hard to keep it together sometimes, and to let things go other times.
The biggest thing on my mind is that I lost my maternal grandmother this week.  It was expected, she was pretty old and had been on hospice for a few weeks, and before that she’d been bedridden for months.  Of course it’s still hard to lose a loved one regardless of how “prepared” you are. 
She’s my namesake and I look more like her than any of my siblings or cousins do.  I sometimes catch glimpses of myself in the mirror or see one of us in a photograph and notice how similar our gestures and body types are.  I love that.  I hope I’m like her in other ways.  She was so real, down to earth, funny, witty, genuine, strong... It also took her five years to get pregnant, but once she did she went on to have 9 children.  She used to call my grandpa Babe, “because,” she told me, “when he was younger, he really was a babe.”  She told me how marriage was hard and that there were times she wanted to throw in the towel, but she stuck with my grandpa because she told the preacher she would.  She was a gifted painter, a woman of faith, independent and loving, and always had the good gossip on everyone in the family.  I know my grandpa is excited to have her with him again, and I’m sure she is so happy to see him as well after the last few years of being apart.  It’s comforting to think that he was there waiting for her when she passed away.
She met Cady a couple of times, and I am so glad for that.  We went to visit her a couple of weeks ago and she was still lucid, and clearly happy to see the baby.  I was also able to see her one last time the day she passed.  Unfortunately she wasn’t conscious, and her labored breathing made it pretty clear she didn’t have much time left.  Her caretaker told me she hadn’t been really awake (her eyes would open occasionally but it was more of a “blank slate” she said) in 6 days.  But I believe she heard me when I told her I loved her and that I would miss her.  I felt much better having gone, and then that night when we were all in bed, I woke up feeling very strongly that there was a female ‘presence’ in my room.  I frequently think I feel spirits and have never really been sure I believed they were real or that I’m just paranoid, but the next morning I saw that I missed a call from my mom at 11:30 p.m. with a message saying my grandmother had passed away.  And now I believe it wasn’t a coincidence, she was stopping by to check on us.
I decided a few years ago that when my grandma passed away I was going to change the spelling of my name to match hers.  I was named after her, but for some reason my parents gave me the traditional spelling of Mary, and hers is spelled Mari.  I talked to my parents a few months ago to make sure they were okay with it, and my mom said, “I don’t know why I didn’t spell it that way to begin with!” So now it’s time.  I am pretty excited, and hopefully it’s not too much of a pain to do.  The funeral is next Thursday.  Is it wrong to look forward to it?  I just want to be near her one more time I guess, and to talk to my family members about her, hear their memories of her, be in her house...
Lately I’ve been philosophizing a bit about immortality... We’re each made up of all of the people who came before us, so we’re a little piece of immortality and timelessness as we carry that DNA (if we’re related by blood) and/or memories and knowledge (if we’re not).  So I guess, my grandma isn’t really gone, because I carry part of her with me.  I like that.