Friday, July 29, 2016

Small Joys

This summer has been the worst.

I mean, summer generally isn't my favorite season, especially not here in Houston. My friend Sarah jokes that she gets reverse Seasonal Affective Disorder, and gets depressed in the summers here because you just can't go outside for months on end, and it's miserable and terrible and no good. Air conditioning depresses me (even if it is also absolutely necessary for survival).

But beyond that, this summer has been particularly terrible, with this interminable case of morning sickness (this has been my sickest pregnancy yet) and the utter and complete lack of structure we've had since school ended. There have been entire weeks on end that we haven't left the house once, not even to get the mail. I may be the introvert mother of two home-body boys, but everyone has their limits. I may be too sick to leave the couch, but we can all still go crazy.

Anyway, in an effort to focus less on the doom and gloom (things really are getting better, if we could just all get over this latest bout of cold-turned-croup viral infection that has hit me and the boys, and honestly, why? Isn't morning sickness enough? Do I really need to experience the hacking cough before dry-heaving over the toilet?), I've decided to post on the few small things that have brought me joy this summer. Think of this as a "Things I've Been Into Lately," or "Things that Have Been Saving My Life" kind of post, summer pregnancy edition.

-Diclegis. Seriously, why didn't my doctor give me this during my last pregnancy? Zofran does nothing for me, but this stuff, while not solving everything, at least takes the worst edge off the pain of the nausea. At my last appointment my doctor suggested trying to wean myself off it, since I'm starting to feel better, so I tried for one super miserable day and went right back on. I hate being reliant on medication, but I'm enjoying being able to cook dinner again too much to lose that right now.

-Subway sandwiches. White bread, turkey, cheese, tomato, pickle, mayonnaise and mustard. My husband called this the lamest sandwich in the world, but it is far more complex in flavor, variety, and nutritional components than basically anything else I could stomach through the month of June, and yet for some reason I ate one of these every single day. Pregnancy cravings are weird. Could I eat pickles alone? No. But the sandwich had to have them. (P.S. I know, I know, I shouldn't be eating lunch meats, whatever, when you are this sick current caloric benefits outweigh potential listeria risks.)

-Chocolate Milk. I'm generally not much of a milk drinker (something my husband nags me about, because my risk of developing osteoporosis is about 100%), but when I'm pregnant I can't do water, so dehydration is a real problem. In previous pregnancies I've been on the juice and soda bandwagons, but this pregnancy has been all about the chocolate milk. I'm especially fond of Carnation Instant Breakfast chocolate flavored drink mix. It's a good chocolately flavor, plus all that other stuff they pack in there is a good way for me to boost nutrition (not sponsored, trust me!). But they are kind of pricey, so I limit myself to two of those a day and the rest of the time it's just regular chocolate syrup (homemade!). I will never drink chocolate milk again after this pregnancy, but right now it is the only keeping me from needing hospital IVs.

-The Time In Between on Netflix. Okay, enough about food, let's talk about entertaining distractions. Do you have a thing for good period costume drama? What about foreign films? World war two spy drama? High quality production value television series? Then have I got a show for you! My sister introduced me to this show, and I was hooked from the beginning. Yes, it's got drama and thrilling action and just the right amount of romance, but honestly? I watched this for the costumes (and the sets). This series is a love letter to the fashion and glamour of the 1930s and 40s. It is beautiful! In fact, sometimes the plot sags or comes to a halt entirely just so they can do long panning shots of the costumes and locations. If you can handle reading subtitles (or want to brush up on your European Spanish), I recommend this one. (Content: not suitable for children, but not graphic at all.)

-Invisibilia. I love podcasts and follow a bunch, but they compete with my available audio book listening time, so I rarely listen to every episode of a podcast. Invisibilia would be the exception. This latest summer season of Invisibilia has really been tickling all my pop psychology itches. It's a good blend of scientific research, thought-provoking questions, and good story-telling, and I haven't missed an episode. Special favorites include "Frame of Reference" and "Flip the Script."

-My skin! Okay, this one may be shallow, but during my first two pregnancies, my skin was terrible. I mean, pregnancy can do weird stuff to skin, and I had major breakouts on top of all sorts of other issues. But this pregnancy? I'm super clear. Like, unusually, unnaturally clear. I have no idea why, but when everything else about this pregnancy has been worse, I'll take what small positives I can (of course, there's still plenty of time for my skin to do weird stuff, and just because I wrote this today I'm sure I'll wake up with some major breakout tomorrow).

-Our new van! Yes folks, with baby number three on the way, it was inevitable, and I can't say I mind at all. I've always accepted that van ownership was in my future, and now it just sort of feels like we've arrived. We hadn't intended to actually get the van until closer to the due date, but when my current car ended up in the shop for the second time in a month, I told my husband enough was enough. Driving in Houston freeway traffic is a miserable experience in it's own right, but driving in it when you're pregnant? In the summer? And your car breaks down? So you sit there on the side of the six-lane freeway with no air-conditioning and two sweaty babies in the back until your husband can come rescue you and call the tow-truck? No bueno. We've been saving for this purchase for a while, so I said, let's go for it now. It was one miserable Saturday of driving to a few different dealerships, negotiating trade-in, signing paperwork, and whatnot but we found a good deal and voila! This little beauty of a Toyota Sienna is all mine (see photo at top). Still haven't come up with a name for her (it's definitely a girl), but we're working on it. I'm thinking Anne-girl (cause she's red), or maybe just Scarlet. Any other suggestions?

I've had other bigger joys this summer (seeing friends and family, my wonderful mother taking care of us for so long, witnessing miracles, etc.), but these have been some of my small joys getting me through each day. Well, there are other obvious things, like reading and blogging, but these are the ones I don't usually talk about here. It's just good for me to remember these small happy things in a season that I'd otherwise love to be done with already. But I also try to remind myself that in a month or two I'll be feeling better, and by that time, the weather will be perfect for swimming and camping and beach days and park-going. My summer will just have to start in September. :)

What are your small joys these days?


  1. Intrigued, how hot does Houston get?
    Name for your van, well rather obvious, you could go Sienna ;-) We have a daughter, Siena. but I do like Scarlett too

    1. So, it mostly stays in the high 90s, but it's the humidity that's the real killer. It's generally 70%+ humidity, which means the "Feels Like" temperature is always 100+, and you just feel like you're wrapped in a hot wet blanket. I grew up in the desert, so I can handle heat, but the humidity just kills me.

      And Sienna is a lovely name :) I just feel like that would be a bit too cliche, I am leaning toward Scarlet right now.

  2. When it comes to pregnancy, it's about survival. I drank a Dr. Pepper every morning for 3 weeks so I wouldn't throw up at work. I know soda is no good for me, but when it comes to pregnancy my bar is low.

    I can't believe you got a van! Nathan is ready to take the plunge but I am holdiny strong. I will stuff those 3 car seats in the back seat.

    Glad to hear you are feeling better! Hang in there!

    1. Oh yeah, whatever works to get you through. I was on the soda wagon with Henry, although it was mostly Sprite and Ginger Ale that got me through my classes.

      And come on, vans are totally hip! Just give in, you'll love it once you do (the automatic doors! the space! the automatic doors!).

  3. Congrats on the swagger wagon!

  4. Hang in there, friend! I'm glad you have a few bright spots to get you through!