Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday.

Patrick, King, and I spent the Christmas holiday at my parents' house in Northern California. Patrick's back at work now but I'm staying here for a bit longer to get some extra help with King. Whew!

Some photos from the weekend (I don't have my usual gear with me so pardon the quality):

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Getting ready for Christmas dinner.

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The tree this year. I see some presents!

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Margarita.

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Lobster for Patrick.

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Yum.

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Ice wine after dinner.

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Almost bedtime.

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Grass jelly for dessert.

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Plenty of friends visiting King each day.

Happy holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The party that almost never was.

A true story about throwing a gingerbread house-making event no one shows up for. No, really.

The weather in Los Angeles has taken a drastic turn for the worst as a torrential rainstorm has replaced our once famously arid and sunny climate. It’s quite comical watching Californians dramatically dodge the bullet-like downpour as we dash outside for last-minute holiday shopping, shielding our precious Brazilian blowouts with nothing more than two copies of yesterday’s newspapers. Owning an umbrella is such a faux pas around these parts. Like, toh-tally.

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Two weeks ago, however, we were basking in our usual December sun when it was spontaneously decided by my young entrepreneur club that a last-minute gingerbread house-making party HAD to be on our social calendar before year-end. “Sure, why not?” I seconded the proposal. “And Patrick and I can host it!”

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We’ve done similar parties in the past and have had plenty of people show up for the candy-studded festivities. Putting together this particular fete seemed it would be a slam-dunk of a success as friends old and new gather around our non-existent fireplace to sip artificially flavored eggnog and reminisce about the good old times had in college. A guaranteed success. Yep.

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I should have known better when out of the 40 or so Evites sent out, we received only a handful of “maybe’s” and not much more. No, that can’t be right, I tried to justify in my head. Hot cider, mulled wine, and spiced cake galore—I mean, who WOULDN’T want to come? I began to obsessively refresh my browser in the weeks leading up to the event but it didn’t make much of a difference. The numbers never budged. Except that one time a “maybe” changed his response to a “no.”

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Like waking up on your birthday and seeing only one friend had remembered to wish you a “Happy Birthday” on your Facebook wall, I then started to make excuses for all the people that hadn’t responded yet. The Internet MUST be down in a lot of places, I told myself. “Or people just aren’t coming,” Patrick, ever my voice of reason, interrupted my thoughts.

This morning, the day of our fated soiree, Patrick reminded me again we probably wouldn’t have much of a party if no one has confirmed they were coming. “No, you don’t understand,” I explained. “People in L.A. just don’t RSVP for anything anymore. But they will still come,” I was all too sure. So graham crackers and candy were bought, sangria and hors d’oeuvres were made, and we even whipped up a big batch of edible cement to glue the gingerbread houses together.

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And then…drum roll please…NO. ONE. SHOWED. UP. Like that miserable scene from Valentine’s Day, waiting for your own party to start is worse than having your teeth pulled at the dentist. I’ve had it done so trust me, I know.

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I tawt we were having fwends over.

Almost an hour and a half later, we had two brave soldiers come to our door and we welcomed them like an over-zealous puppy left alone at home too long. Oh how we fussed and fussed over our two sole guests as if they were kings and queens. I was so thankful they came if I’d not had a baby yet, I would have promised my first-born child to their tender souls.

So this year is really turning out to be a year of first’s for me: First time I’ve had a baby, first time I’ve been laid off from a job, and first time I threw a party (almost) no one showed up for. But, I keep telling myself, it’s all that nasty rain we’ve been getting.

It MUST have been the darned weather. It must be. It...

Dagummit.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I miss photography.

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One of the sweetest bloggers I know (Becky from Life With Kaishon!!) just posted an interview we did together about my not-so-secret past life as a wedding and portrait photographer before I stumbled into mommyhood. Ahh I do miss those days.

Check it out HERE and happy Wednesday! :)

And PART 2.

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Failure

It’s beginning to look a lot like…summer in Los Angeles. The balmy breeze and high sunshine make it hard for me to don my pointy green felt hat and showcase my elf prowess in an assortment of delicately painted sugar cookies. All I want to do is jump into a bikini—stretch marks and all—and tan on the makeshift rooftop of my apartment complex. Or not.

I so desperately wanted to make things feel like Christmas I’ve been bundling King up in his reindeer jumpsuits only to discover his excessive sweating makes his feet smell all grown up…like vinegar.  And then I hear stories about peanut butter thumbprint cookies, molasses bread, chocolate haystacks, and…wait, did I miss something? Did you want me to bake something for you, too?

But I don’t bake, much to Patrick’s disappointment, and I unabashedly slept in for Black Friday shopping so I’m starting to resemble someone who rhymes with “finch” because although my list of people I’d like to get things for this year is pages long, I’ve crossed off precisely none.

This holiday season is rapidly going down the path of EPIC FAIL but that green scowling face is not a good look for me—it’s really not—so I wake up this morning with steadfast vengeance to finally get in the spirit of paper snowflakes. And a certain Mr. Claus.

“But I’m not sure King will grow up thinking there is a Santa Claus,” I matter-of-factly inform Patrick. “I don’t want to play make believe with my child when he’s inevitably going to find out one day we lied to him.”

“Yes, but having cookies and milk out for Santa Claus is still one of my favorite memories of Christmas,” Patrick tells me as he rolls out of bed. “Even though it’s not real anymore, for a good five years it was the most magical and exciting time of the year for me.”

So for King’s first Christmas, will there be presents under the tree from Santa Claus? Yes, no, yes…I think I’m choosing to believe so YES.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Making of King Ch. 15 (2 of 2)

But I was really pregnant, and definitely more than just a little bit by October. My wedding date was fast approaching and I dreaded thinking about it. I was still working fulltime at my corporate job and it was already a disastrous struggle to keep my mind and body sane everyday confined within the four walls of my small office. Add to that the zoo that is planning a full wedding and I quickly became a walking blob of misplaced emotions and morning sickness.

“I’m going to jump in the shower,” I yelled to Patrick so I could get some more time alone to think about my conversation with Sherry. I turned on the water, waited for it to get piping hot, and let the heavy beating of water drown the incessant thoughts—baby, work, Patrick, wedding, family, baby—racing through my mind. I couldn’t believe Sherry risked telling me about her secret in hopes of guiding me towards a better plan of action as I was beyond itching with temptation to spill the beans to my parents. And there was still so much I wanted to ask Sherry: What was going through her head while she was getting the abortion? Did it hurt? What did her boyfriend at the time think? Does she ever think about her unborn children now?

I lathered up my stomach and obsessively rubbed soap into my skin. Don’t worry, I will never get rid of you, I almost said out loud to my baby. Just like how Patrick wanted the baby deep down, I wanted our baby, too. I heard everything Sherry was trying to get through to me but despite some of the external day-to-day problems Patrick and I had, I truly wanted to believe we were meant to be together in the end and the baby was all part of a greater plan for us. And at this very moment, everything seemed to be okay.

“Hey, you okay in there?” Patrick asked as he lightly knocked on the bathroom door. “You’ve been in there for quite some time.”

“Yep, just finishing up,” I let him know even though I had been finished for a while. I was just standing in the downpour of water, hypnotized by the methodic sprinkle running down my body, and I went from thinking about Sherry to my baby to…my wedding day.

Patrick agreed to marry me before the birth of our child so we were moving fast to get our plans underway. After some back and forth with dates, we finally settled on Saturday, January 9, 2010 for our wedding ceremony—just enough time to put together a whole wedding but not so far along in my pregnancy that I would be comically waddling down the aisle instead of a pacing an elegant march.

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I was so exhausted after a long day at work I didn’t have even an ounce of energy to cook myself dinner each night let alone begin thinking about location, theme, menu, cake, and all the fun details brides usually relish in handpicking out. Carly did her best to support me and tried to get me excited about the wedding-planning process. Even after thumbing through countless bridal magazines, visiting all the craft stores in my area, and scouring the Internet together for whimsical reception ideas, by the end of my first trimester, there was only one thing about my wedding I knew for sure: My maid of honor will be Carly.

The water was beginning to run cold when I stepped out of the shower. I grabbed for a towel and dried myself off as quickly as I could before goose bumps started to appear on my damp skin. Still wrapped in my towel, I opened the bathroom door and found Patrick behind it, as if he were standing there the whole time waiting for me.

“There is a chance that the rest of the world thinks something different than us,” I told him in a huff. “But we are keeping this baby.”

“Of course we are,” he said as he wrapped his arms around me. Tightly. “I was beginning to think you fell in the toilet.” I laughed softly at his comment and breathed in the faint smell of his cologne leftover from earlier that day.

“So while you were showering, I looked at some rings online,” Patrick continued as he pulled up a page on his laptop. “What do you think about some of these options?”

“You mean, like, an engagement ring? For me?” We had talked briefly before about buying me a proper diamond ring but because we already were scrambling to plan our wedding, I didn’t think having an engagement ring was a priority. Looking at the shimmering rings online, however, brought out a schoolgirl flush in my cheeks and I smiled when I imagined a sparkly band studded with little diamonds wrapped around my ring finger.

“Yes, I know you were saying rings weren’t important right now but what kind of a ring would you want if you were getting engaged for real?” Patrick asked as he studied different kinds of settings for engagement rings. “Like look, you can choose the number of prongs you want, the shape of the diamond…you can practically build your perfect ring!” Patrick showed me in delight.

On that particular website, “Find the perfect ring for the perfect girl” flashed on the screen in big and bold letters. Perfect ring, perfect girl, perfect ring, perfect girl danced in circles around all the dazzling white gold and platinum bands, each ring preciously showcased and sacred like the human heart. Perfect girl I repeated once more in silence.

Me, the perfect girl.


To be continued...

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Making of King Ch. 15 (1 of 2)

Missed the last chapter? Read it HERE.

He could be everything I've ever wanted.

“Sherry, wait. Hold on,” I said into the receiver as I jumped out of bed and rushed into the bathroom and shut the door behind me. “What are you talking about?”

“Your mom told me everything about the baby and your wedding. And you really can’t have the baby. It’s a huge mistake,” she relayed with great urgency. My stomach dropped again, twisted in tight knots of baby hormones and now more drama. Patrick called for me from the other room to make sure I was okay and I didn’t know what to tell him. No, I’m not okay. The hurdles seemingly never end. If it’s not one thing, it’s always another…

“Yeah, just on the phone with a friend. I’ll need a minute,” I told him through the walls. “Sherry, everything is fine with me and I am happy with my decision. Everything is fine,” I tried to convince her. And myself.

“Missy, I’m a lot older than you and have more experience in life. Just hear me out and please reconsider what you are doing,” she explained. Even though I’d always considered Sherry a part of my generation, she was in fact on the teetering edge of it since she is more than ten years my senior. Living on the other side of the country, I didn’t get to see her in person much anymore but we had the type of chemistry where months could pass before we spoke to each other again and it would still seem like we talked everyday.

“I’ve never told anyone this before,” Sherry continued, “but I got pregnant with a boyfriend of mine when I was 17 and then another time in my 20s. I got an abortion both times and I am so glad I did. The guys weren’t right for me and I was in no position to have a baby. I was a child myself!”

“Really? Wow, I had no idea. So why don’t you have kids now?” I asked her.

“Money. Sean and I need to make sure we are financially stable first before we can support a family. But what I am saying is a lot of people get abortions but never tell anyone about it if they get pregnant at the wrong time with the wrong guy. I think you must reconsider what kind of a life you are setting yourself up for. We all worry about you and I know you want to keep your baby. But from what I’ve heard, you and Patrick had a lot of issues in the past and they won’t just go away with a baby. They will get worse with the stress of a child. Really think if Patrick is the right guy for you, if he is who you want your husband to be. Make sure you are not selling yourself short,” Sherry went on to say.

“Trust me, I’ve thought about it all and I will never get an abortion. Patrick and I are committed to working things out and he could be everything I’ve ever wanted,” I rebutted.

“COULD BE, Missy! But is he now?? Just because you get pregnant doesn’t mean you have to have the child, and it doesn’t mean you have to marry the father.”

Is Patrick everything I’ve ever wanted? Is he all of that…NOW?

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“Sherry, I hear what you’re saying but I am sure this is what I want,” I assured her of my decision.

“Okay, it’s your life but I just wanted to remind you that you have options and you are not stuck in any situation you don’t want to be in. I support you and everyone will love your baby no matter what. I’ll see you at your wedding and until then, please call me if you need anything,” Sherry said before hanging up. I sat down by the bathroom sink, my head echoing with the revelations I just found out about my dear friend, and I needed a minute to myself before I could go back into Patrick’s room to hang out for the rest of the night.

A part of me felt so bad for Sherry that she had to carry around her abortion secret with her for so many years and a part of me felt angry that yet again, another person wanted me to just get rid of my baby as if it were that simple. I looked down at my stomach and from the outside, I was still not showing and I myself had a hard time believing I was growing a life inside of me. That something so small could have such a huge impact on my life.


Part 2 coming tomorrow...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just a piece of paper.

Patrick and I had a baby out of wedlock. Scandalous, I know.

So scandalous that when I first found out about my unexpected pregnancy last year, I immeditately threw myself in a wedding-planning frenzy. It didn’t matter I really hadn’t known Patrick well enough at that juncture to embark on “forever” with him; if getting married meant quelling all the looming gossip and speculation from my friends and family over the surprise baby, then sign me up. I’m all in.

Plus, I guess there was that giddy and na├»ve side to me that couldn’t believe my good fortune in being able to “have it all” in one go. Seemingly overnight, I was on the verge of being a wife AND a mother in a single year. Isn’t this what schoolgirl dreams are made of? A fairytale fantasy of bagging the bad boy and his baby in one fell swoop?

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Except I should have known better. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Always. Halfway through planning my shotgun wedding, things all sort of blew up in my face in an embarrassingly ugly debacle. Patrick and I tried to but ultimately couldn’t get married before King was born and months later I’m still trying to heal and figure out what truly happened in the midst of such pivotal life changes. If stories about forbidden love spiked with a couple extra shots of baby hormones are your thing, I’m writing it all down in The Making Of King.

So after the wedding was called off, I all but gave up on ever having that one day where I will be the ultimate princess decked out in my stunning lace gown and offwhite Louboutin shoes. My hair, meticulously shaped into a side-swept chignon, is magazine-ready as I march gracefully down the rose-petaled aisle. And my parents, one in each arm, walk me down proudly as they swallow bittersweet tears from finally having to let their little girl go. The string quartet plays a funky rendition of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” until I reach the alter where my dad gives Mr. Amazing my hand and reminds him, “Be good to her.”

Funny thing is after we called off the wedding and had our baby, Patrick is becoming my "Mr. Amazing." GASP I know, but better late than never. And I usually don't openly acknowledge my fondness of him on the days he wants to be sweet (since I pretend to be a cynical pessimist anyway. It's the writer in me) but maybe...maybe he will be the one for me. Maybe we are very good together in that forever sort of way. Maybe this is it.

But I had my chance at having a real wedding—you know, with bridesmaids, limos, and an open bar—and I am okay with never going back there again. Heck, I might even be okay with never marrying Patrick. After all, marriage is just a piece of paper, right?

“I really think Patrick and I have a shot at truly making things work,” I told a family friend last week. “I want a house, a future, and…more babies with him?”

“Do you think you will get married then?” she asked.

“No. Yes. I mean, we are practically an old married couple now so it wouldn’t really matter. Marriage is just a piece of paper. A wedding is just an expensive piece of paper.”

“But I think deep down, you would want a wedding still,” she prods.

“No, almost been there and done that. It won’t—it can’t—happen again,” I try to explain.

“You want a wedding and being married does mean something,” she says with a wink in her eye.

No, no you’re wrong. Everything with Patrick and me is finally almost all okay. We are happy and being married is not important to me anymore. Proclaiming our love and commitment to one another in a wedding ceremony is not necessary. Being married won't magically guarantee he will not let me down again or I will never hurt him. Because I will, and he will, and being married doesn’t change what we will do to each other anyway. It won’t and I don’t want it, I don’t, I...I do.

I do.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Parenting advice from Kate Gosselin.

She’s one hot mess if I’ve ever seen one.

In a weird, twisty, deep-down-in-my-soul kind of way, I’m newly fond of Kate Gosselin.

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Deer hunting and bountiful puppies is how they do!

Ugh, I know. De-friend, unfollow, blacklist me. After all the crap in her life that’s been publically and humiliatingly fleshed out for the world to judge and snicker at, there’s not much left to like about her, right? Sure, it was the asymmetric and obnoxiously trendy haircut first. Mostly harmless but throw in the nasty divorce, bodyguard scandal, overly botoxed eyes, unruly kids, AND Dancing With The Stars? She’s one hot mess if I’ve ever seen one.

And definitely not someone you'd ever take parenting advice from, huh?

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King meets one of his great grandmothers in NY.

Patrick, King, and I just got back from a luxuriously long visit to upstate New York last night and upon my return to our Los Angeles apartment, I just lost it. Like hyperventilating, hiccupping, blubbering with mascara-dripping-down-my-face LOST IT. Like Charlotte from Sex and the City 2 locking herself in her kitchen pantry to escape her relentless crying kids variety of LOST IT.

I can’t pinpoint specifically what had me jumping off the deep end but I suspect it had something to do with coming back to the daily grind of my reality as a stay-at-home mom. I love King more than I love myself but with very little family and community support in bustling L.A., raising a bitty baby is a far cry from the cozy dollhouse make-believe shiz I grew up playing with. So leaving New York where we had a lot of help from Patrick’s family to come back to L.A. was hard for me.

Somewhere between the “I can’t do this anymore”s and the “I feel so trapped in all of this” spewing out of my mouth last night, I found myself escaping to my bathroom to try to find some semblance of sanity and calm lest I completely and irreversibly scar my dear child’s life forever with my manic episode. I sat on the edge of my bathtub doing the hee-hee breathing I learned from labor and saw the image of a flawless blonde on the cover of a People magazine I’d stashed away as bathroom reading material a few weeks ago.

It was Kate Gosselin, clad in none other than a barely-there white bikini, and try as I might just stay out of her life and how she got that perfect beach body, I still proceeded to aggressively flip through the magazine to find her feature article as if my life depended on it. And considering last night, it probably did.

Back to Kate, her velvety tanned body and those abs—THOSE abs!—sent a twinge of envy as I felt the extra folds of skin on my stomach I now carry from having one child. And she had eight. Ugh. Yes, there is so much to dislike about Kate and then, nestled somewhere between her dieting advice and beauty tips, she threw in three simple words that sang like divination from the angels above: “Just keep going.”

Really, Kate? Is it that simple? Just keep going? I looked at her cover picture again, her proud smile and glittering eyes beaming with inner satisfaction, and maybe this mama DOES know a thing or two about parenthood. About life. So just keep going she says. Okay, I guess I have no other choice, I whispered to myself as I wiped my tears dry with toilet paper.

I came out of hiding and walked back to the bedroom where Patrick and King cuddled up in, my boys holding each other close while waiting for me to enter my life again as Mommy and just keep going. Just keep going, one foot in front of the other.

Just keep going.

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Cousins!

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King on Thanksgiving day.

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So many presents you'd think it were Christmas.

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Other great Grandma!

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On our flight back to sunny Cali, King celebrated the welcome warmth of the west by shedding his clothes on the plane.

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View of Los Angeles from our plane.
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