As long as you asked

What was that?  A crying out of the masses to share my opinions on maternity clothes.  Well, then, I feel obliged to share.  I’ll use yesterday’s outfit to illustrate my point.

Let’s start with the prints.

Why is it that maternity tops have loud, bright prints?  As if being twice your normal size doesn’t draw enough attention to you, the prints ensure that no one can miss your midsection.  Sure, this print is cute.  But would you wear a top like this if not pregnant?  I wouldn’t.  And I don’t know why because there is simply so much more of it.

This particular shirt had a lot of ties.  Including on the sleeves, which resulted in a pirate/Shakespearean character look about it.  Again, I’m not sure why the designers of maternity clothes want to add more fabric and frill to a top that already attracts enough attention.  After wearing them for a little while, they did grow on me and no longer felt quite so pirate-y, but i still didn’t quite get the design feature that one would rarely find on non-maternity tops.

This flattering shot is to show how my pants should fit.  Full panel, over my belly, pants starting at my hips.  The shirt covers the panel, and the pants fit well.

So first, B-Cat photo bomb.  Second, I’m sort of happy about how not huge I look in this head on photo.  It suggests to me, at least, that I don’t look that pregnant head on.  Meaning I’m all belly, which for some reason is comforting.  But back to the pants.  This is the same pants as above, but after having walked around the bedroom.  While it is hard to tell in this photo, the pants have begun to slouch.  See this next photo for perhaps a better point of view.

After walking around the bedroom, the pants are slouched, you can see where the panel ends is way below my belly.  The jean part of the pants is no longer on my hips.  After taking say, 40 steps (approximately how far it is from my office to the bathroom), these pants are dangerously close to completely falling off my hips.  This past week I’ve run the gambit of pants and have yet to find one that fits appropriately, though this was one of the worst pairs.

So there it is in a nutshell, some of my issues with maternity clothes.  Sure, I have some favorite pieces, but they are few and far between lately.  Maybe it’s just frustration at getting bigger, or that I am growing tired of the limited wardrobe.  With 10 more weeks to go, I think I may need to hit the mall for some more inspiration.

Not Exactly a Fashion Plate

This past week has been fantastically warm in Seattle.  Not just nice, but like actual summer weather in the 90s even.  We have been enjoying all it has to offer, but it has shined a light on the hole in my wardrobe.

Moving to Seattle, I was coming from a job with the federal government.  And not just any federal government agency, but the Department of Justice.  So my work clothing was pretty conservative.  When I took my current job, I soon realized that work place fashion on a Pacific NW college campus was different than that in a conservative DC work place. 

My wardrobe has adapted some to the Emerald City – not just in style but in practicality too.  With summer temperatures arriving at random intervals, I don’t have much in the way of warm weather clothing.  On our recent trip back East, I discovered I didn’t even have a decent pair of flip flops because when would I ever wear them here?  (this resulted in my old, crappy pair of flip flops completely tearing up my feet the first day I wore them in the Other Washington.) Throw in the number of months I’ve been pregnant and/or nursing while living out here, and well, my wardrobe starts to get a bit spotty.

Today while standing in line for a caramel macchiato at what is supposed to be the good Starbucks (but they gave me a caramel latte instead with 2 caffeinated shots and one decaf instead of 2 decaf/1 caffeinated), I noticed all the cute little 20-somethings in line.  They had their adorable sundresses or colored jean skinny capris with their gladiator sandals.  Standing my large, shapeless maternity dress and Target knock off Tom shoes, I felt pretty dowdy. It definitely made me stop and think, exactly where had my fashion sense gone so wrong?    (Not that I’d every been “fashionable” but at least less schlubby than my current state.)

Things will improve when the heat breaks (though I am enjoying the temps of summer for a few days, so I’ll let my fashion suffer) and the season becomes more compatible with my maternity clothes.  But I’ll also take any suggestions you may have as to how to be a fashionable, pregnant, working mom.  Most days I’m lucky to brush my hair before I get out the door, let alone put on make up, so we’re talking pretty low maintenance these days.  With other pieces of my appearance suffering, I think I probably need to pay more attention to my clothing before I end up trying to pass off yoga pants as acceptable office wear.

Progression, or perhaps regression

I pump approximately three times a day.  Once before work and twice at work.  When I first returned to work after maternity leave, I was going to be productive during those two pumping sessions.  I would bring in items to approve, review contracts – no one would even know I was missing from my office.  This was hard at the start because I was really, really tired.  Forget writing contracts.  I was lucky to not sleep through the entire time I was in the lactation room.  (Or the Lactation Station as I like to refer to it.) 

Shortly after that, I decided that working while pumping was not necessary – I should just get in, pump and then get out.  At the time my supply was enough that I could get in and out in fifteen minutes with at least 5 ounces.  As my supply dwindled, so did my motivation to be too in and out.  After all, if I were a smoker, I’d be allowed to take breaks to smoke.  So why not use my full time to relax.

So I started reading books.  Watching shows on Hulu+ (Up All Night.  Watch it, it is hilarious.) and HBOGo (Hung.  Amusing.  I can watch a full episode in a pumping session.)  As I tweeted, our Lactation Station was moved to another building and our office now has a phone.  I try to use the time to make phone calls or catch up on personal to dos (including online Christmas shopping). 

As the holidays get closer, I realize my Christmas knitting list is not getting shorter and I need to find more time in the day to knit and cross things off my list.  And so today, I started using my pumping breaks to knit Christmas presents. I don’t know if I have progressed in my use of this time, or simply regressed into taking 2 half hour breaks a day in my work day.  I do know, however, that my holiday knit list just became a lot more manageable.

Perhaps I am still 14

I enjoy reading, but somewhere along the way I decided that reading so that I don’t have to think very hard is a much more enjoyable way of doing things.  Young adult fiction seems just the thing for this type of reading.  You may be familiar with my Twilight phase.  But perhaps not my more recent Hunger Games phase.  Oh yes, I know all about the Fire Starter and the Arena and the odds ever being in your favor.  Which is why I may have been caught watching this at work today.

I may not be 14 anymore but that doesn’t mean I can’t read (and watch movies) like I still am.

It’s Great Being a Girl

When we found out that the CCBOJ was a girl, I was more than a little concerned.  It’s not easy being a girl, especially growing up now.  Body image, sexting, mean girls, lack of pay equity (ok maybe it will be a while before LC has to worry about that), but it’s not always sunshine and roses bring a girl.  Don’t even get me started on the princess trend.  My worries were compounded with every piece of pink clothing we received, concerned we were painting LC into a pink fairy and butterfly filled corner.

I’ve talked about princesses with friends who are also raising girls and they’ve given some great suggestions as to counteracting the princess trend and other advice.  They recommended this book, which may still be a little old for LC but I love it already: Not All Princesses Dress in Pink.  But books and creative back stories about the Disney princesses can only go so far.

Tomorrow the US Women’s Soccer team will play in the World Cup final.  While I am no soccer fan, I am caught up in the excitement because of LC.  She may not understand what is going on yet (or be able to focus and determine what exactly is moving across the screen), I love that the team shows how strong, capable women can be successful and wonderful role models.  What I don’t like is the way the team is talked about – no matter how incredible the finishes to their games may have been or how the team works together, questions are still raised about whether the team is “attractive” or what the sexuality of the team members are – not to mention the inevitable discussion of this team being pretty good “for a girls’ team.”  I cringe every time I hear this.  I’m not one of those out there claiming that the women’s team could beat the men’s soccer team.  They are different sports.  I also don’t claim that the Boston Celtics would beat the Washington Nationals at baseball.  Different sports, different levels of competition.  It doesn’t make one team less skilled at their chosen game.

We plan on watching the game at Norm’s again (with Cal) and we will be cheering for a US win.  And while I’m all for the home team winning, I’ll be cheering for the win so that one day I can remind LC of the time she “watched” a team of strong, capable women win a game – and it won’t matter what they wore or whether you got to see their sports bra – it will matter that “even girls” can play sports and wear colors other than pink and be watched and adored by millions.  And that is lesson I hope to impart to LC everyday of her life – whether it is her dream to be a ballerina or a construction worked or a placekicker (please LC, please be a placekicker for your mom) – it doesn’t matter that you are a girl, you can do it.

Let’s Talk About Me

Because a blog is nothing if not an excuse to talk about yourself and because I thought this was fun when I read it on Katie’s blog, I thought I would give it a whirl. I’m sure you were all wondering what my favorite zoo animal was anyway.

A – Age – 31. Which is boring. Turning 30 is the last great birthday I think. Something about it makes you want to relive being 21. Shots all around! Then you turn 31 and you think practically about these things and say things like, no no, we should go to Lamaze class instead of celebrating my 31st and save the money for the baby. (OK, we did go to Lamaze class but we also went out to dinner. With a gift certificate so money was still saved for the CCBOJ.) Still, I’m pretty sure anything after 30 barely rates a glass of champagne, let alone shots.

B – Bed size – A queen. A cozy queen with a beagle, orange kitty and husband. Sometimes a baby. Who for being premature takes up a surprising amount of space.

C – Chore I dislike. I am an awful housewife. I am not good at chores, but the house being messy or untidy makes me FREAK OUT. A is really good at cracking down and just getting the house cleaned. I am good at sitting on the couch watching Shark Men and exclaiming “THIS HOUSE IS A DISASTER!” I will choose putting away the laundry as my least favorite chore.

D – Dogs. You know him, you love him, it’s Cal.

E – Essential start to my day. Coffee. Especially post baby. Pre baby I drank one cup a day. That was it. Now, I mainline lattes all day long – explaining I need extra calcium because I am nursing.

F – Favorite color. I love blues and greens. I think I look good in blues.

G – Gold or silver. Silver for me. Or white gold like my wedding bands.

H – Height. 5’6″ I used to try to claim 5’7″ but I think when I turned 31 I realized I just had to give up that dream.

I – Instruments I played. I played the viola through high school. I wish I had practiced more (or at all). I might actually have been decent.

J – Job title. Director of Regulatory Guidance. (Yeah, it’s a real thing.)

K – Kids. B-Cat, Cal and LC.

L – Live for _____ – American Idol? No? Family and friends, making them happy.

M – Most embarrassing moment – Not sure what one I would choose. I have a tendency to put my foot in my mouth so I am sure there are more than a few of those moments that would qualify.

N – Nicknames. A calls me “babe”, as I do to him. My nickname growing up was/still is with my family “Lala” because my younger brother couldn’t say my name when he was little.

O – Overnight hospital stays. Well, there was the whole three weeks in the hospital on bedrest/postpartum. Before that I had my tonsils and my appendix out, two separate stays.

P – Pet peeves. I have a lot of pet peeves because I am set in my ways (to put it nicely). My pre-baby pet peeve is people who don’t respond to emails. I’ve become bad at this since becoming a parent, but I feel bad about it if it is any consolation. My post-baby pet peeve is my child being referred to as “our baby” or “my baby” by anyone who is not actually her parent. If you didn’t qualify to wear one of those hospital wrist bands that identified you as someone who was not trying to steal LC from the hospital, I don’t think you get to say “my baby”.

Q – Quote from a movie. Hard to say, there are many. Top Gun (A and I enjoy reliving the Dock of the Bay dialog – “This song, it’s like an old friend.”) As a JAG, a Few Good Men has some winners. This weekend I made A watch a favorite movie from my single days and recalled that I enjoyed a great many of those lines as well.

R – Road trip necessity. A and I have done a few road trips in our day and I think topics of conversation are the most important. I don’t think we had a single fight driving from VA to WA but lots and lots of awesome conversation.

S – Siblings. Two little brothers.

T – Time I wake up. 6-ish, depending on who goes off first, LC or my alarm.

U – University attended. I think this post explained that all pretty clearly.

V – Vegetables. Anything roasted (because who doesn’t love an excuse to smother something with olive oil and then put salt on it.) Zucchini has always been a favorite.

W – What makes me run late. Having a baby. My iPhone, in the mornings I’ll start reading the news or a blog or whatever and realize I’ve taken 15 minutes to eat breakfast and still haven’t packed a lunch.

X – Xrays I’ve had. A bunch, especially in the Army. Mostly to my elbow, back and hip. I had so many ultrasounds (which aren’t technically X-rays) when I was pregnant that we joked LC would glow when she was born.

Y – Yummy food I make. Hmm, when I take the time to do it, I’m pretty good at cooking. I make a mean Carolina BBQ for Duke/UNC every year. I make a good dessert trifle. Oh and I am really good at break and bake chocolate chip cookies.

Z – Zoo animals. Big cats. Pandas. Otters.