Monday, January 31, 2011

Too Quiet!

Caution: There is a mild gross out factor in this one!

Today started like a dream.  The baby woke up at 7:30, and had slept through the entire night.  When it was his morning nap time, he fussed a little after about 15 minutes, so I went in and rocked him with his silky blanket.  He was clutching it when I put him back into his crib asleep, so I let him have it.  (I checked on him frequently since you shouldn't give them blankets in their crib.)  He was so content with his blanket, that he slept for 3 hours.  My oldest son was behaving like an angel, and was playing quietly by himself as I worked on tax prep, grocery list with coupon clipping and sale surfing, got letters ready to mail, did Valentine's Day prep, and did laundry.  I called my mom, and I admitted to her that it was too good here.  I was becoming paranoid.  I knew something was about to happen. 

When I got off the phone with my mom, I helped my oldest son get a snack.  The baby was happily bouncing in his jumperoo (best investment of my life, btw), and I could see him and hear him jumping.  I had to help my son with the last few bits of cereal, and then I headed over to the baby, who was still happy as a clam, jumping away.  Then I saw it.  Poop.  Everywhere, poop.  There was a puddle of poop under the jumperoo, and the baby was happily jumping in it.  He was jumping so much, that he jumped one of his socks all the way off.  There were little poop baby footprints all over the carpet.  My husband was working from home, so I ran down to his office to ask for help, but he was on a conference call (of course!).  This poor kid needed scrubbed up in the tub, his clothes needed washed immediately, his jumperoo needed to have the seat taken out and washed, and then I had to scrub the carpet.  My older son offered to help, and he really wanted to feel useful in this situation.  He got me some toilet paper, and was trying to find a moment to use it. 

As a parent, when things are going too smooth, when things are too quiet, you KNOW trouble is lurking.  You just have to sit there, and keep your eye open for the cream pie that's about to hit you in the face.  It's there somewhere!  (And can someone tell me why it so often involves poop?!) 

But still, our day went well overall.  We got half of the grocery shopping done, and thanks to my boys behaving so well, we have already saved $50 on groceries this week thanks to the coupons and sale surfing I was able to do between 2 stores.  We have the other half to finish up at the other store, and then I'll have a grand total for the week, but even $50 isn't bad, and I appreciate my sons giving me the time to save it.  It helps them, too.  More money for Thomas trains!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

So Little Time

This weekend has been a blur!  There has been so much to do, and so little time to do it.  We had about an hour and a half drive to a birthday party today, and I brought a tote bag full of coupons to go through along the way.  I asked my husband how short on time one must be to clip coupons in a car, but that is exactly what I did.  I would ask where all my time goes, but I know exactly where it goes as soon as I look at my children.  But, it's time well spent! 

We had a busy day yesterday with projects and cleaning the house.  My husband and my sister's boyfriend repaired my mother's car.  It's very handy to have people in the family who know how to work on cars.  What would've been over $200 to put in a $6 part, cost just the $6.  My mother also treated everyone to dinner.  It was nice to visit, and be productive.  My son was thrilled to see his Nana and his Auntie. 

Today we went to see my husband's side of the family.  My mother-in-law wanted pictures of my son in the sweater that she made him that I mentioned in a previous post.  I brought it with us, and when she saw it her reaction was "Oh that's all wrong!"  So, now I don't have to feel guilty for thinking it was bad.  She even took it from us and kept it to try to fix it.  The entire thing had baffled me from the start, because I know she can knit (and she can knit very well).  Here's hoping it's okay after the fix.  We did have a great time watching our oldest son play with our niece.  She loved the American Girl Doll (Kanani) that we gave her.  We all had a nice time, but the baby does not like to get too far from Momma!  He would cry if he couldn't see me for too long.  My oldest son always seemed happy to get rid of me!  The two boys look alike, but it is funny to see how different their personalities are. 

On the way home my oldest son woke up.  When he wakes up in the car, he always cries.  I think he gets confused, and he is still half asleep which doesn't help the situation.  When we got home he started losing it over pulling into the garage.  He was screaming for us to not pull in the garage, and when we got him out of the car he tried to high-tail it out of the house.  He said he was going to go to another house.  The entire time he was crying.  He had been crying for forty minutes by this time.  Then he blurted out that he was so tired. (No, really?  We didn't notice!)  So, I offered to take him upstairs and put him to bed, and he started crying that he was "so hungry".  So we told him we had chicken nuggets for him, and he said he wanted them.  So we got them out, and that's when he got bossy on top of his irrational crying and freaking out.  "I don't want THOSE chicken nuggets!  Make me different chicken nuggets!"  And he was yelling these things at us in this loud, monster voice.  Then it was "Get out of here!  I want to eat them BY-MY-SELF!"  Then he was refusing to eat them again, and so my husband took one and ate it and that set him off even more.  "Give me that chicken nugget!  I want that chicken nugget!  You give that back to me RIGHT NOW!"  We felt so bad for him, because in between he'd be sobbing and gasping for breath, so I knew he was so upset he just didn't know what to do with himself.  He would shout "I'm SO angry!"  He asked for a hug, and I gave him one, and he sobbed "But I'm still angry, so you know."  Finally we got him calmed down, and he ate his chicken nuggets, and he took his bath without incident.  Then he went to bed.  He's been out cold for awhile now.  The poor kiddo.  Even though him screaming at us like we were bad children, and that was comical, it always breaks my heart to see him become so unraveled like that.  I speak the language of hysterics.  I used to have hysterical fits as a child, and I remember them vividly.  I remember suddenly feeling like I wasn't even myself anymore, and like I was watching myself melt down from outside of my own body.  I know that must be what he's going through, and I know how terrible and exhausting it makes you feel.  I try to think of ways to help him get past it when it happens (luckily it doesn't happen very often), but it mostly seems to just have to run it's course.  I just remind him that I love him, and I'm there as soon as he needs that hug.  Just being present, calm, and reminding him that he's loved even during the ugly moments seems to help, and it's all you really can do in these situations.  I can't really punish him for it (the fit is punishment to him enough, trust me), because he's not trying to be bad.  He has just lost control of his emotions, and doesn't know how to regain it.  It's the struggle to regain his composure that is almost painful to watch.  But he gets through it, gets that hug, and tells me he loves me, too.  I don't want him to think he's alone when he's trying to figure out what to do with big emotions like anger.  (Babies obviously aren't born knowing what anger is, what it feels like, and how to deal with it, so when kiddos are little they can be overwhelmed quickly by their own feelings.)

I'm happy to be heading to bed, myself.  For the weekend was so exhausting, and I hope my son gets the rest he needs to recharge after that draining episode.  Tomorrow will be a nice, relaxing day at home I think!  Let's cross our fingers!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Going going...

It's a busy weekend!  We are headed to a birthday party out of town tomorrow, and today was full of cleaning and projects.  So, I'm going to take the day off.  Be back tomorrow!  :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

In the Blink of an Eye

Who is going around teaching folks that animals evolve overnight?  Over the past few months I have heard several right wing politicians publicly denounce evolution.  Why?  Because they haven't seen an animal morph into something else before their eyes.  This is not a joke, and I saw the examples with my own eyes.  It's not just what someone told me to be funny.

The most recent example was tonight on Real Time With Bill Maher.  A republican politician said he does not believe in evolution because he does not believe that "something crawled out of the ocean and turned into man one day."  Well, genius, of course not!  When people say they don't believe in evolution, I'm beginning to suspect that it's because they were not properly taught about it.  Or perhaps they misunderstood what they were told or were reading about it.

Of course a monkey doesn't start out the beginning of the week as a monkey and by quittin time Friday it's some dude walking out of a board meeting.  Who is even implying this?  I mean if stuff like this were possible, I'd like to start as myself right now, but in oh five or six days from now I'd like to be Madonna. 

This same politician, (I keep omitting his name because if I were him I'd be embarrassed about it but really it can be found online), was talking about global warming.  The other panelists on the show were debating with him on the subject, noting the scientific research on the subject.  The man actually stated that the scientific research shouldn't even be included in the debate on whether or not global warming exists.  Say what?!  Seriously?  Then what should we base it on?  Fortune cookies, faerie tales, and make believe?  How do people come up with this? 

This brings me to another point.  President Obama was absolutely correct in the SOTUA when he said we should care about the winner of the science fair just as much as we care about the winner of the Super Bowl.  Maybe then we'd have people paying attention during science class, and they'd actually learn about and understand the theory of evolution, and how you really can't deny it once you understand it.  Maybe they'd also learn if you're going to debate matters of science, then you really need to include the research to back up your theories or to disprove them.  If the guy doesn't understand science, then he should just not say anything.  Don't feel you need to disagree with something because that's mostly what all those terrible "elite" smartie pants people agree on and they're on the "other" side, and go opening your mouth without fully grasping what you're trying to disprove.  Do your homework, construct a solid argument, or go home.  Some of us were awake during science class, and we can smell your (apparently not very evolved) brain smoking as it works so hard to come up with a reason to disagree with the physical proof of these theories.  Stick to politics.  Leave the scientific explanations and theorizing to actual scientists.  It's like watching Grover explain string theory.  Just stick to near & far!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

That's Enough!

Enough with the snow!  I am writing this post from the comfort of my couch, complete with a heating pad on my back.  I have shoveled so much lately, and it's now killing my back.  I shoveled a bit with the baby strapped to me today, and that makes the back issues worse.  Oh if only I could safely type this from a nice hot bubble bath! 

We had a total of 3 neighbors help us this week with snow, plus my sister's boyfriend.  My list of people I owe cookies to keeps growing, and we're supposed to get more snow tomorrow!  This afternoon I shoveled what fell after the snow blower came through yesterday, and now the driveway is a sheet of ice!  Fabulous.  We thought about throwing down salt, but with that snow expected tomorrow, it seems like a waste.  I'm just glad I figured this out BEFORE I ordered Chinese tonight.  All I need is for a delivery person to slip and fall on my property.  It would be a HUGE waste of egg rolls, hunan chicken, and other deliciously ethnic foodstuffs.  Oh, and the possible lawsuit would also suck. 

We did get some time to play in the snow, too.  My 3 year old got his first sledding injury today.  He kept wandering into the path of the other kids, and he took a sled in the face.  So he has a cut on his chin now.  He burst into laughter on impact, so it couldn't have been too bad.  Anytime he gets injured, he instantly cries.  He's a brave little kiddo, but he still needs his Momma to kiss his boo boos sometimes. 

At one point, the baby had fallen asleep, and as my friend was telling me he was asleep I saw my older son sitting on a sled, head bobbing and eyes drooping.  I told her he was gonna fall asleep right there on the sled in the snow.  So she went to check on him, and he started nonsensical jabbering and stuttering.  Then he finally said "And I'm gonna get awake.  I'm waking up.  I'll wake up, and you can talk to me."  That leads me to believe he actually was asleep on that sled.  haha.  He passed out the second he hit the pillow tonight.  That's when you know it was a good day.

So, snow is fun for kids, and for those of us who get to play with the kids in the snow, but the adult responsibility associated with snow BLOWS.  I need a big break.  I'd love the opportunity to recover before any more fluffy white stuff lands upon us. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

'Snow Way To Get Home!

We knew some snow was coming.  It started out with 2-5 inches possible, or the storm could possibly miss us.  Then it was a winter mix in the morning, with up to 5 inches overnight.  Then quickly the numbers started to change.  When we woke up snow was on the ground, and quickly piling up.  We had a very short period of sleet (some folks had thundersleet!  They were calling for thundersnow here.).  Then the snow picked back up, and was relentless.  All the while this was going on, my husband was an hour and a half away for a meeting.  We checked in the morning to see if it would be postponed, because by that time we knew the roads would be bad and only getting worse.  The meeting was still going on, and so he went.

I bundled up my 3 year old, and watched him play in the snow with his friends, who had off school.  The baby and I hung out at the door, and the baby giggled at the kids outside.  When the baby went down for a nap, I went out and shoveled to reduce the amount we'd have to shovel later.  I also thought it would be nice for my husband to have a place to park when he got home.  WISHFUL THINKING!

My son and I came back in, each with bright red cheeks, and cold fingers.  I hoped my husband was already on his way home.  He was!  That was around 3PM.

At 6PM I got a call from my husband, he was STILL in a different state.  He didn't think he'd be home by 8.  He was pretty much in a stand still in traffic.  Finally some farmers arrived with their tractors and started digging people out of the HIGHWAY!  What up VA?!  Can't take care of your roads?!  So we were trying to find a different way for him that was more clear and moving along a little faster.  Nope. 

Around 9PM I heard a neighbor with a snow blower out front.  He was clearing our driveway and walkway, which had at least another 8 inches now on top of it, and I threw open the front door to thank him.  This immediately set off the house alarm I had already set.  So now I had to shut that off, and by the time I got back to the door the neighbor was away from the door.  So I had to call another neighbor to see if she knew who it was so I could properly thank them.  I knew her husband sometimes did it.  (He did it last week, and I owe him cookies for that!)  Now my list of people I owe cookies to is growing!  I am so thankful, and half an hour later, my husband had a place to park in the driveway!  Thank goodness for great neighbors.

So it took 6 1/2 hours for him to get home from an hour and a half away.  Insane.  He didn't even get to enjoy the wild thundersnow or thundersleet.  His hair was all matted down from helping people push their cars when they got stuck, and his dress shoes are not in great shape either. 

I asked him why they still held the meeting.  It wasn't a guessing game, we KNEW we were getting  a boatload of snow and we KNEW sleet would be involved too, adding ice to the mix.  At least tell the people who don't live close to stay home.  It's so not worth the risk! 

I hope everyone is home and safe and sound, and no one else is stuck in this nasty weather out on the street somewhere.  Let this serve as a reminder to put some supplies in your car in case you do get stuck in bad weather.  Things to keep you warm, hydrated, and something like granola bars for energy.  A flashlight, plastic bag, and paper towels are also handy to have.  You never know what you might need.  Maybe a paperclip and a match in case you need to be MacGyver.  It could happen!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tales from Health Care...

I'm watching The State of The Union Address, and health care has come up several times.  Health care is close to my heart, as I am a nurse. Since it is on my mind, I'm going to use this space today to post some journal entries of mine from the past about my experiences.  If you are snacking while reading this, you may want to put your food down...

*It has officially begun... my dinner conversation tonite was all about the massive leg ulcers I dealt with today on my patient... every gangrenous, ozzing, flesh eating detail all over pizza. It was nice to have a receptive listener with a strong stomach. This is the first time he hasn't abruptly stopped me and reminded me he was trying to eat. :) We're making progress. There's something about packing leg ulcers that look more like infected moon craters all day that really urges you to share the details with the ones you love. Not to make light of my patients horrific condition. I did almost cry for her when I removed the bandages to find what was beneath them. I know my hands were a bit shakey as the wounds were becoming exposed... I suppose I was waiting for a scream or a cry... the thing is... these wounds occur when feeling is lost in the extremities and patients cannot feel things rubbing against their legs, creating the ulcers... so there are no screams, no crying. The only thing I heard was what must've been the sound of my own heart sinking. I wonder if I'll ever lose that extra sense... the feeling I get when I see someone who must or should be in pain due to some awful disease or wound. A part of me hopes I don't lose that because that is what makes my hands steady and strong in the face of illness, but soft and present in my patient's hand..

*Today I had a patient that was a lot like a firecracker in church. (or really any place serious and quiet). She's complaining about her medication... of course she is doing so even though she doesn't really TAKE her medicine. But for some reason just it's simple existance pisses her off. Anyway... She decides to ask me if I'm taking any medication. Well I am honest and tell her I do not take anything except for multivitamins and calcium. Well in her apparent shock she decides to be more specific ( I guess in case she thought I omitted something...) She asks if I take birth control pills. I tell her I do not, thinking the conversation will end there. But oh no... she decides she's intrigued. "Oh you leave it up to your husband!" she hollers and laughs this evil little laugh. So she starts talking about how some women just leave it up to their men and how you can abstain and that will help. "That's what the catholics do you know. They abstain. Well some don't. That must be why they have all those kids. Buckets of 'em. Buckets of kids. Maybe you'll have a bucket load too." Fabulous (I'm thinking).... now about your blood sugar....

*I had a little 4 year old boy for a patient who every time it was time to take his meds would say "I'm gonna fro up!" Yep, fro up, and at which point he would then heave enough times that he'd gag himself until he spit something up in hopes that I wouldn't make him take his medicine. And I always made him take it anyway. (He surprisingly wouldn't throw the medicine back up or throw up at any other time... just do this little performance every time I told him it was time to take his medicine). This week , week two there was another charming little fellow down the hall from one of my patients who asked in the loudest fashion "Who farted?!?!?!?" approximately every 2-4 minutes. So I looked down at my imaginary puppy Toto and said "I don't think we're in cardiology anymore".

 Okay, so there are 3 goodies.  A little bit gross, a little bit crazy, and a little bit funny.  :)  Typical nursing.  And, in honor of flu season being in full swing I'll end with one line from a journal entry of mine from 2006....
"Wash your damn hands!"

Monday, January 24, 2011


Overheard in my house today: "You better shape up, or you won't get any tofu after dinner."  Yes, for real.

Book Reviews, Kind of...

For Christmas I received a few books.  I added a few of the books off of my wish list to the small stack, and I'm working my way through them currently.  They are all easy, quick, and funny reads.  I am sure I'll return to my heavier reading once the baby requires less attention, but my brain and body are zapped and exhausted.  You need to be very well rested and alert to tackle a book on Wall St. or the economy.  (Trust me, I've done it many times.  I've also fallen asleep while reading some of these books.  As good as these books may be, the material can sometimes be a little dry.)  So for right now, I'm in "guilty pleasure mode" when it comes to my reading choices. 

I read the little gem "Shit My Dad Says".  It cracked me up, but I follow Justin Halpern on Twitter so I was already a fan.  Everyone has at least one family member who says things they just have to write down, and that most people would not believe someone would actually say.  It was a fun read, and can make your crazy, outspoken relatives seem like pussy cats. 

The next book up was "Are You There Vodka, It's Me Chelsea" by Chelsea Handler.  Another author with outrageous family members.  It was very funny, too.  I enjoyed it, related to the occasional situation here and there, and laughed out loud.  Chelsea is fun to watch, and fun to read.  I have stored one of her moments in my mind to pull out and use later.  She gets a picture of her friend's pet in the mail.  Obviously, she doesn't really care about that, so she comes up with the idea to send a picture of her cleaning lady standing in front of the toilet.  Brilliant, I love it.  Now my mother-in-law, who keeps sending my pictures of her two pit bulls that HATE us and our child and growl and bark viciously at us each time we are there, will be receiving random shots of stuff I know she could care less about.  Obviously her pictures are sent to us without regard to the audience and their feelings on her dogs.  Not to mention, they are dogs.  Dogs that do not belong to us, and we do not have any emotional bond with.  Chelsea knows what I'm talking about!

After briefly flipping through the "Pets Who Want To Kill Themselves" picture book, I'm onto another funny read.  (Not that looking at pictures of poor, miserable animals dressed up against their will isn't funny because it IS!)  I'm quickly approaching the middle of "Stuff White People Like: The Definitive Guide To The Unique Taste of Millions"  HILARIOUS!  There are several snippits in there about things I personally like, and for many of the reasons it claims I would like them for.  Since I love making fun of things and other people, I can take being poked fun at myself.  So I have laughed at myself, and how unique I sometimes think I'm being thanks to this book.  There are several sections that I instantly picture one of my friends in.  The description of the thing they like, why they like it, and how they want you to react to them liking it just hits the nail on the head.  It's almost like my picture, or pictures of some of my white friends, should be right beside some of the topics.  I recommend this book to any white person who doesn't want to take themselves too seriously, and to any person of any other race who wants to make fun of white people.  Go on, we have it coming to us! 

Next up: "Whiter Shades of Pale: The Stuff White People Like, Coast to Coast, From Seattle's Sweaters to Maine's Microbrews".  This book is written by the same author (obviously) as "Stuff White People Like", Christian Lander.  I have high hopes that it will be just as funny. 

Well now it's time for me to hop into my comfy bed and get to reading!  I have several heavy reads awaiting me after I get through this fluffy stuff.  Gotta keep moving.  :)

Laughter is the best...

There is always something going on in our house to make us laugh.  I have noticed, over the past few years, how my husband and I have these little jokes that we string along through our life together.  They keep us laughing, and we always have the challenge of keeping them fresh, fun, and working them into our everyday conversation.  It does keep things from getting boring.  Sometimes I notice a new little joke has sprung up as it keeps reappearing in conversation.  I think this is possibly a secret to a long relationship.  We've been together for nearly 11 years now, so I'm thinking there is something to this theory.

I couldn't be happy with someone who didn't make me laugh.  My husband, and now both of my sons, make me laugh so hard that my sides feel like they will split.  My children both learned very early on that there is value to getting people to laugh.  My 16 week old son discovered that he can make people laugh by blowing raspberries.  He now does it to get attention, and he will laugh at whoever is laughing at him so eventually everyone in the room is laughing to the point of him squealing with delight.  So, if a baby realizes this is a valuable tool, then you know it must be true! 

Our jokes come from everything, from conversations, things we see that are absurd, from our kids, anything.  We see humor in so much, and that helps combat sadness, anger, or anything else that can get you down.  Laughter really is the best medicine, or the best glue that binds a couple together. 

Our separate senses of humor have merged into a shared sense of humor.  We can just look at each other in a crowd, and know exactly what the other one is smiling at.  Then the second we get in our car we are hysterically laughing at whatever it was we had mutually seen and flagged as "must laugh at with spouse as soon as we get somewhere private". 

I know this is common in relationships, and I'm not telling anyone anything new.  But I just really appreciate this trait in our relationship, and today we had several of those inside joke moments.  I know it is easy to complain about something that upsets you in your relationship here and there, and to vent to your friends about how someone didn't close the milk properly.  However, I like to remember to appreciate the things we love about the special people in our lives, and to point those things out, too.  It's easy for things to turn sour when you only point out when things go wrong.  So, my advice is to remember to point out when things go right, or the little things that you love or appreciate in one another. 

So today, I appreciate how my husband makes me laugh.  He is very good at knowing the exact thing that I need to hear to make me smile or laugh when I need it the most.  Thanks for the giggles, Yogurt Boy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bragging Rechte

My husband is fluent in German.  What started as an interest in his family's history turned into a language learning hobby.  When our first son came along, we knew we'd aim to teach him German as well.  We have a mini library of children's books, DVDs, and music, all in German, for him.  Also, my husband incorporates German into our daily activities.  Our son recites his German bedtimes stories, sings songs in German, and is learning to count in German.  He also uses German words here and there.  He can identify both English and German vocabulary words in vocabulary books.  He even has played with the children of one of our German friends, and has used his German speaking skills with them.  (Mostly he just sang to them in German, or would randomly say German words, such as the word for "sock puppet" in conversation.)  He's been doing this for awhile, but we weren't always sure how much of the songs or stories he was understanding.  We only translate when he asks us to.  (It is recommended that you just use the language without translating, unless they ask you to, when teaching a language to a child.)  Well today we got some insight into what he was understanding with these stories.

My husband was reading a story to our son about sheep who are playing together.  One sheep is black, the other is white.  A group of white sheep come up and see them playing.  They tell the white sheep to stop playing with the black one and play with them. She asks the sheep why, and they tell her "Because we don't play with black sheep."  Her reply? "Wir spielen nicht mit dummen schaffen."  (We don't play with dumb sheep.)  When we got to that part, our son said "That's a mean word."  So now we know, he is understanding at least the tone and the general idea of the stories and some of the words.  He picked up on dummen being mean, even though we always laugh at that part because we think it's brilliant. 

So, I encourage parents who want to teach their kids a different language to get out there and do it!  Read stories, throw in sentences here and there.  Choose some children's music in that language for your kids play list.  It pays off, they do get it, and they do think it's fun.  My son knows my husband is the German speaker, and he will take his German stories to him to read.  On occasion I try to fill in and read one to him, and he'll say "No, Mommy.  This is a German story."  Sometimes he will even correct my pronunciation.  Kids really are sponges.  Go for it.  You can do eeeet! 

It has also been fun for me to learn the language.  I understand way more than I can speak, and that helps when we are visiting with German speaking friends, and my husband is speaking to them in German.  I have laughed at jokes, and that has surprised my husband (and his friends).  I have relayed, in English, entire conversations he's had with German speaking folks.  Sometimes my husband will ask me a question in German, and I don't even notice.  I just answer him in English.  So now, he often will say something to me in German if he doesn't want our son to understand.  I guess he will have to change that now that we know our son is understanding more.  One day he'll ask, in German, if we can get some ice cream, and our son will answer "Ya!" 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Looking Toward The Weekend...

Since yesterday's post actually went up 10 minutes into today, I am going to get a jump start on today's post.  Well, mostly because my beloved "Real Time with Bill Maher" is on tonight, and I can't write and watch that show properly at the same time!  I adore "comedy" that you need to use your brain for.  I like to be entertained while keeping up with current events.  Does this make me some kind of a geek?  I don't know.  I don't care.  I love it!  :)

Fridays are usually pretty busy for me.  With my husband traveling, I've been trying to clean the entire house on Friday so I have the weekend to relax, and spend together with my family.  I also like to get a little time to myself right after he's been away for awhile, and cleaning by myself does not count!  I have to think about what I would like to do this weekend to re-charge my batteries for a little while.  Maybe a trip to Starbucks for a PSL, and then some quality time with the New York Times.  Speaking of, I should run out and grab my paper off the driveway.  My carrier tends to just not drop it off on Fridays.  Either that, or we have someone in the neighborhood who really likes Friday's edition and keeps taking it.  Somehow I think that is not the case.

Speaking of home delivery... I adore my mailman.  I appreciate good customer service, and he goes above and beyond.  If I have a delivery, he rings my bell and hands me my package and the mail for the day.  No other mailman has done that for me.  He used to wait in his truck and wave when he saw me pick it up, but he saw me with the baby, and now he makes sure I get my package and helps me get it inside if it's large.  I gave him my homemade cookies at Christmas, and this, perhaps, has encouraged this excellent customer service to continue.  I noticed he had off the other day because my mail service was not nearly as awesome.  I got a package, left on my stoop, no knock or bell ring, and the mail was left in the cluster box at the end of the street instead of with my package.  I hope he's back today!  He is so appreciated!  See, it pays to be great to your customers.  It also pays for the customer to let someone know when they are happy with their service.  Everyone wins.

I also want to mention a new online retailer I used yesterday. has all sorts of vitamins, beauty products, soap, natural and organic products, etc...  I was out of one of my difficult to find vitamins, so I gave it a shot.  They  have free OVERNIGHT shipping on orders of $25 or more.  I placed my order in late afternoon, and it was on my doorstep this morning!  Again, it pays to be great to your customers, because here I am singing their praises.  I got a few more things I needed to meet that $25, and so my shipping was free.  This is awesome for busy Mommas, busy Daddies, or busy anybodies!  They have good selection, too.  Give them a shot. 

I guess it is time for me to start cleaning this place so I can get most or all of it done before tonight.  I have to take frequent breaks to feed baby and tend to his needs, though most of the time I just wear him in his front carrier and he comes along for the ride while I clean.  It still takes 5 hours to clean when I have the boys by myself, even with the carrier.  So, here's another plug... front carriers are awesome.  I don't want to know how long it would take me to do the things I need to do without one! 

So, lots of recommendations in today's blog.  Hope some of them were useful! 

Pink Bunny Footie Pajamas

Everyone, at least once in their lifetime, ends up with a pair of "pink bunny footie pajamas", figuratively speaking, as a gift from someone else.  That article of clothing you'd never pick for yourself, has the potential to even be embarrassing, and yet you feel obligated to wear it at least once for the person who gave it to you.  My poor 3 year old son was the lucky recipient of such this year.

My son is about average for his age, body size speaking.  He is a little small, but he is very proportionate.  We have no problem with clothes fitting him properly, and I have, of course, never complained that they fit him less than perfectly in the proper size.  I would say that the family members who see him most often would know that there is nothing unusual about his appearance or how his clothes fit him.  Cut to Christmas Eve, when he received a handmade sweater...

There is a knitter in the family, who likes to knit sweaters for newborn babies when they are born.  It took my kiddo 3 and 1/2 years to get his, though all the distant relatives' kiddos got theirs before they were even born.  Well, turns out, it could've waited forever.  My opinion was asked before the sweater was made, and I helped choose a sweater vest.  The sweater my son opened, however, was a knit hoodie sweater.  At first it looked okay, but when we pulled it out of the box and the arms hung down way past the hem of the body, I could tell something was up.  (Arms that wouldn't even be an issue if the sweater vest was made.  It wouldn't even have arms, in that case.)  The woman explained that my husband had a long torso, but his brother had long arms (they come from 2 different Dads too, so it's important to note that my son doesn't share all that much DNA with his uncle, and does not have this strange arm issue).  So, she said she had to guess at what my son's affliction might be when it came to body proportions.  So instead of following the pattern for a 3T child, she opted to make a shorter torso (remember, my husband had a LONGER than normal torso she said), and pair that up with longer than normal arms.  And boy is it obvious.  I have no idea why she strayed from the pattern, or why she didn't call me and ask his measurements, or why she chose to not go with just making a longer torso in case he shared that trait with his father.  But, we put this sweater on my son, and it looked like one of those shirts cut up real high in the front so the midriff would show, but is longer in the back, and then has ape arms to complete the look. 

I have seen this woman's work before.  I know she knows how to knit.  So, I just have no idea what she was thinking here.  It's not a case of "she's just learning how to knit and it's the effort that counts."  No, she made all normal sweaters for everyone else.  She just got goofy with this one, almost as if she's never seen my kid!  So, after my husband saw the sweater and told me to take it off of my son because he looked ridiculous and uncomfortable, I hung it in the closet and decided I'd only make him wear it once to her house, and that was going to be it.  Well the time has come.

I got an email today asking if we had any pictures of him in the sweater yet, and the answer is "no."  I mean I have no reason to take pictures that can only be intended for blackmail later in his life.  Nothing fits right with this thing.  Hell, it throws itself off it's own hanger on nearly a daily basis.  Even it knows!  But later this month, when we go to her house, I will take it with us and make him wear it into her house so she can see it.  I'm not sure what she'll have to say about it, but if she's going to gush I'll let her get that out of her system, and then when we return home we'll pack it away.  The poor kid can't even roll the sleeves up, because rolling up sweater sleeves is like putting mini inner tubes around your wrists.  It's way too bulky and impractical.  I just can't think of any way to make this work out reasonably for him.  Plus, what good is a sweater when it doesn't really cover your tummy properly?  So there you have it, his pink bunny footie pajamas.

Interestingly enough, my pink bunny footie pajamas came from the same person about 9-10 years ago.  This was back when I had a weight problem, and boy this woman never let me forget that I was overweight any time that she was around.  One lucky day she had a "gift" for me.  She had been shopping at BJ's and saw a pair of pants she thought I just had to have.  (Pants from BJ's?!  Really?!)  They were this amazing (barf) pair of khaki, elastic waist, shapeless pants that were several sizes larger than what I actually wore.  They could have had another job moonlighting as a parachute or boring circus tent.  Message received, thank you.  I'm fat, you're not.  I apparently was too fat to even have a normal button and zipper on my pants.  And I was too fat for her to reasonably guess my approximate size.  When I lost all my weight and became smaller than her, though, that was the sweetest "revenge".  I wish I had kept those pants.  I would totally regift them to her.  "Here, I don't need these anymore.  Maybe you could use them."  Oh how fantastic the absurdity would be.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Ghosts of Handbags Past

Every year, around this time when things start getting good and messy outside, I remember a particular handbag of mine that has passed on.  It really was a tragic ending for such a beloved and necessary accessory...

I had this beautiful, red Kenneth Cole purse.  It was soft, smooth, and the perfect splash of color next to my black wool pea coat.  We were living in our apartment when we got hit with a blizzard that left our cars completely buried under snow.  The apartment complex always cleared the snow, so we didn't have a shovel.  With this amount of snow, though, it was really necessary to dig out our own cars.  So, after helping a neighbor clear her SUV, we ventured out in the insane snow to purchase shovels and salt.  We pulled into home depot, got out of the car, and that's when it happened.  My beautiful bag slipped out of my gloved hand and fell into the dirty slush of the parking lot.  The leather immediately soaked it up, and slush even got into the inside, soaking everything I was carrying in there.  It was a goner.  It was especially bad because it was so young!  Tragic, as I said. 

It took me 3 years to find a new handbag that I loved as much as the red one.  My sapphire blue handbag, that I always carry with me when I don't have to lug around the diaper bag, came to me in Paris.  We were shopping on the Champs Elysees, and I ducked into Lancel.  There she was.  She was beautiful, and we've been together ever since.  She has her own little protective bag, and a special shampoo to keep her looking so lovely.  I hope this relationship doesn't have a similar fate as the first, as I feel this purse is irreplaceable.  Not only is it from Paris (and I don't get there all that often!), not only is it beautiful & unique, but it comes with all the memories of our delayed European honeymoon.  Irreplaceable. 

I remember bags and purses from as far back as my early childhood.  I remember this little, colorful, art deco (kind of an abstract floral) number that had lots of red, blue, green, pink and white on it.  I used to carry around my strawberry chapstick in it.  I had to be about 4-5 years old.  I also fondly remember my first denim purse.  Hey, don't judge.  They were all the rage!  And, of course, I remember my fanny pack from that strange little craze.  I also remember many of the shoes I had as a child, where they were purchased, and what was going on at the time.  Like my first pair of velcro shoes from Hills, when I had to get stitches in my noggin.  Or the gray mary jane type shoes with soles that would glow in the dark.  I got them from a shoe store where they gave me a piggy shaped eraser.  Or what about my ballet slippers we'd get from the mall?  I remember how that store was set up, and the arches in the back where the ballet slippers were.  I remember my first pair of heels.  They were tiny heels, but they made me feel all grown up.  I wore them for Miss M's wedding.  They were black. 

I guess I've always loved shoes and bags.  If I was making these vivid memories so young, I'd have to say it must just be something I've always liked.  It wasn't fashion magazines or fashion programming that made me that way at that age.  I don't think shoes and purses were featured in "Highlights" magazine, and I certainly wasn't a "Vogue" subscriber at age four.  I also noticed my son really loves shoes.  Ever since he started wearing them, he's loved them.  I'm suspecting this must be genetic somehow, but I'm not sure who passed it down to me.  No one in my family ever seemed too caught up in their accessories. 

Anyone else have a favorite pair of shoes or purse that they fondly remember?  Is there anything that sticks out from your childhood that maybe you wouldn't expect to remember now as an adult?  Is that memory something related to you now as an adult?  I'm just curious!  :)

Bonus: Hair tip!
I have naturally wavy/curly hair. Not nice little tight curls, but big wavy curls that go straight to frizz if I just let my hair dry naturally.  So, for years, I've tried out different products to see if I can ever just wash and wear my hair on days I'm pressed for time.  I do not like how mousse leaves my hair so crunchy and stiff.  I've used Biolage curl creme off and on for a few years.  I'd put it on my wet hair, and still the curls would be undefined, messy, and frizzy, though just a tad less than if I used nothing.  Today, I washed & conditioned my hair with Pantene's Beautiful Lengths frizz control, and was lucky to even do that so I just let my hair dry on it's own.  Well, this shampoo was helping somewhat, so I could tell I had curls going on (though still undefined & a little frizzy), and I tried the biolage on my DRY hair.  Voila!  Success!  It always said wet or dry hair on the bottle, but I never tried it on dry hair.  So, that worked so well I figured I'd share it with everyone in case someone else has been trying for years to get their waves or curls under control, yet soft and movable so they could wear their hair naturally.  I know I've had a few conversations with other curly haired ladies in the past about this problem, so I'm putting it out there!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

On Social Release....

I am not trying to equate staying at home with my children as prison.  It is necessary to point that out before I continue here.  Anyone who stays home every day with their kids knows how it can be isolating at times, and you can become all Mom and no Self.  With a new baby in the winter season, this has become especially true for me. 

I was lucky to get out with my sister for mani/pedis this weekend, and I did get my hair cut.  (Although, my children attended my hair cut session, and my oldest also got his hair cut.)  Those two outings are very rare events for me, so when I get out it feels like a "social release" program instead of a "work release" program.  When my front door opens, and I get to head out into the world for some socializing, look out!  It is such a special treat to speak face to face with another adult, that the time flies for me and I can't get enough of the chit chat.  I almost lost my mind at the nail salon when everyone in the place was just kind of loosely chatting with each other.  Total strangers, but turning a little self care into a social event.  It was flat out thrilling for me.  I was so engrossed in the event that I did not notice the "massaging" chair was actually leaving bruises all up and down my back.

Okay, quick little tangent here... Doesn't this happen to anyone else?!  These shiatsu massage chairs or chair pads leave me wounded every single time I use them!  I thought maybe I was leaning against it too much when my sister's first left me bruised and hurting.  This time, in the fancy pedicure massage chair, I thought back to my previous "massage", and I made sure to not lean all the way back.  Still the thing left me feeling worse than the sore back I had before the massage was making me feel.  I even tried to steer clear of the "beat" option, as that just plain sounded violent.  I cannot be the only one this happens to.  How can you do "getting a massage" wrong?!

So back to the topic at hand, socializing.  I was lucky enough to get out of my house today, and visit with the neighbor.  I skipped out the door, so excited to hang out with another adult.  My oldest son was more than happy to play with her children, and the baby got passed around and the chance to look at someone who wasn't his Momma.  When the baby had his fill of socializing, I brought him home for a nap and my other son stayed to play.  I got the rare opportunity to nap while the baby napped.  I was feeling so good after my little outing, though, that I used the quiet time to get some work done around the house.

I am such a better mother when I get a little time here and there to see other adults, have alone time, and take care of my own needs.  I don't always get to do these things, so it feels like such a treat for me.  When I get a little self time, then my batteries are recharged and I'm ready to go back to full-time Momma. 

Update: My 3 year old is still going strong when it comes to his new found table manners.  He has even turned down the volume quite considerably in other activities.  I guess he's figuring out the difference between his indoor and outdoor voice.  It's great to have a breakthrough!

And a huge thank you to my neighbors featured in this post.  Not only did I get to get out and socialize, get some quiet time, and know my kiddo was getting some fun play time in, the husband came over and took care of snow and ice removal for me so I didn't have to take the baby out in the frigid weather.  (Last week I took him out so I could shovel, and he had drooled so much I was shocked he didn't have icicles coming off his little chin!)  So thanks, guys!  We are so grateful.  :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lessons Learned: Raspberries, coupons, and table manners

Today was a learning day for everyone in our little family!

The baby learned that blowing raspberries and bubbles was fun.  He knew how to do it for awhile, but today he discovered he could amuse himself with it and make others laugh.  He spent most of the day trying to get a laugh out of everyone with his raspberry skills. 

My 3 year old has volume control issues.  (I'm sure some of you other mommas out there know exactly what I mean.)  He has a bad habit of yelling over people who are speaking to get attention, especially at the dinner table.  We have, probably for the good part of a year now, been trying to end this trend with him.  We've tried straight up explaining to him that it's rude, correcting him verbally, sending him to time out, and we've lost our cool and yelled at him about it, oh and we've done the ignoring trick.  Honestly, the ignoring worked the best, because he wants attention when he does it.  That includes negative attention.  So giving him no attention sends him the message that his yelling will not work the way he wants it to.  But I have trouble getting everyone who eats with him, including my husband, to be on board with that and follow it religiously, and you cannot mess up with this method.  If you break and even so much as look at him, that is a breech.  It is hard to ignore a shouting child, but it works very well when I'm alone and I strictly follow that method.  Well, today we had a breakthrough.  He was just sitting there, eating dinner, and I came over with my plate to join the family.  (I could not eat what they were having because it contained dairy, and the baby has a dairy sensitivity/allergy.  That is another story for another post, but long story short it made me late to the table.)  When I sat down, my 3 year old said "Oh, now we are all eating together at the table.  I am being quiet at the dinner table because other people are trying to eat."  I honestly teared up.  I thought this child would never get this.  This lesson would be lost on him forever.  He'd be 46 years old, and screaming over people talking in a boardroom one day.  I was sure of this.  I hope that he remembers what he said tonight, and the new trend of being respectful of the other people trying to eat a peaceful dinner continues.  I reinforced his good behavior by immediately giving him a treat at the conclusion of our dinner.  I also told him when his Aunt and Grandmother mentioned how proud they were of him.  That got a big smile and a high five from him.

My husband and I learned about the power of coupons.  We have always used coupons here and there, but they mostly get forgotten at home until they are expired.  Well, after one episode of TLC's "Extreme Couponing" show, coupons were at the forefront of our mind.  Mommas, listen up... Pampers has a killer pack of coupons in their diaper boxes right now, at least the ones that we got.  With their manufacturer's coupons, plus coupons from the booklet target just mailed out last week, we saved about $60, plus with in store deals we got a $5 for purchasing one of our items that we had 2 coupons for!  Target will take one of their coupons and one manufacturer's coupon per item.  $65 in savings!  You and your partner could get out for a nice little date with $65. 

So today had a little something for everyone going on.  Now there is a wintry mix going on outside, so we shall see what tomorrow's fate will be in the AM.  Hopefully it is as good as today was. 

Sunday, January 16, 2011


A member of my husband's family is turning 100 years old this summer.  That's big time stuff!  Her town is planning a celebration for her.  She has been a very active member in her community for all her years, and continues to live in a historic home now with her daughter and son-in-law.  Naturally, the family is planning their own reunion/celebration a couple months after her big day.  We love Rhode Island, and spending time with the family up there.  Neither of our children have been there, or met any of our RI family members.  We are excited to make the trip.  What we are not excited about is sharing one house with a large number of those family members with an energetic and loud 3 year old and a baby.

We were informed today by my mother-in-law that she has secured a rental property that sleeps 14 folks for an entire week this summer.  We had not confirmed our attendance, or agreed to a location or budget or anything to do with any of this.  So right up front, one of my biggest concerns, that she would run the show and our vacation would be out of our hands, was already occurring.  We want to go spend time with everyone, but we want to be able to be on our own schedule, and doing things we want to do without being told where we need to stay, how to spend our time, and we also want some privacy.

Our son is full of energy, and as he gets excited he gets loud.  The last reunion we attended, my toddler niece was there, and everyone was getting angry while she babbled during a slide show.  I don't want to have to hole up in a tiny room with my husband and two kids if people don't want a loud, rambunctious child around.  I want to be able to give them time away from him, and him time away from the crowd.  I want to be able to peacefully retire to our own private space when we need to relax and rest. 

Also, after 11 years around her, and 9 years of seeing how she is in public with a grandchild, I know to expect my mother-in-law to be showboating with her grandchildren in front of her relatives who have not seen them.  After all, this is the woman who replaced a large amount of her furniture with brand new, very expensive pieces, added a wet bar to her home, and hired a caterer for dinner at her house when some of her out of town family came in for our wedding.  She complained about attending our rehearsal (even though she had a small candle lighting part in the ceremony), and skipped our rehearsal dinner to go back to her catered dinner at her house.  "I don't even know why I'm here."  Those were her exact words.  (Yeah, they came back to me when she talked endlessly this summer about preparing for her boyfriend's daughter's wedding and sent pictures of her rehearsal dinner and wedding and gushed about the dinner and such to us.  That's nice.  You couldn't even be bothered to attend your own son's, but tell me all about this girl's rehearsal dinner.  I've met her twice, so obviously I want to know every intimate detail.)  She wanted to know what to wear as the "step-mother" (although she is not, they are unmarried and his children are adults), to the rehearsal.  It nearly killed me not to say "Oh, just wear what you wore to your son's rehearsal dinner.  Oh wait, you didn't go to that!"  But everything is all about her image to everyone else.  So I know my kids will be paraded around, and have to perform for her and her family as and when she pleases. I will need a place for us to escape, and to just be us.

It is also hard for people who don't have young kids anymore to spend time around little ones.  They aren't used to it, and a week away from home can lend itself to tantrums that people may not want to be subjected to.  I totally understand that.  They are on vacation, too.  They should have a break from us, as well.  After all, this is supposed to be everyone's vacation!

None of my friends will shoot me, and I'll still be nursing the baby so I can't take a big ol' bottle of Xanax or cheap, strong liquor.  So it looks like we have to find a way to get out of the not-so-youth hostel and get our own lodging, or I'll have to start begging for jury duty that week.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ah, The Weekend

We made it through the week, the kids and I, by ourselves.  It went rather smoothly, but we were happy to have Daddy back, of course!  Yesterday I busted my tail cleaning our entire house, while taking care of an infant and a 3 year old.  It took me 5 hours to get it all done.  I can get it done in about 2 hours if I have someone else looking after the kids.  I did it so that I could enjoy the weekend, and not worry about the cleaning.  We just wanted to have fun as a family.  I had to do a large majority of the cleaning with the baby in his front carrier, so my back is still hurting me.  After falling down the stairs while carrying a 52 inch television with my husband last week, shoveling the snow with the baby strapped to the front of me in his carrier on Wednesday, and then cleaning with him in that carrier today I cannot believe I'm not in worse pain than I am!  It was worth it, though.  So far our weekend has been productive, and fun.

I started the day off by cooking a big breakfast.  I discovered the turkey bacon was expired since December, though we bought it last week.  It was gooey and didn't look right so I checked the date.  So breakfast was off to a not so good start.  Then I broke my spatula.  This had me convinced that our football team, the Ravens, was going to win since I was apparently hoarding the bad luck for the state of Maryland. 

After breakfast, my sister and her boyfriend came over so he could work with my husband to fix the plumbing leaks we have going on.  My sis and I snuck out to do a little home decor shopping, and to bring back lunch for our fellas.  While out we saw a truck with a cardboard, handwritten license plate from North Carolina.  As my sister said "Looks like the budget cuts have hit the DMV in North Carolina."  I wasn't sure how he was driving around like that, but we did find out it's not all that uncommon (though I've never personally seen anything like that before.)

Then, when the guys were done with the plumbing, my sister and I went out for sister mani/pedis.  Since it was the big Ravens v Steelers game today, we thought for sure the salon would be dead.  It was hoppin'!  We had to wait forever, but it was worth it.  Everyone had jerseys on, and rivals were teasing each other.  All in good fun.  When the game started, someone was streaming it on their smart phone.  It was, by far, the strangest mani/pedi experience I had ever had.  It ended with my sister telling me about her foot massage... "And I was thinking 'He's gonna start punching my foot!'" (She would want me to point out that she has pins in her foot, so she was worried about the massage technique he was using.  It wasn't like violent punching... but like a thumping or karate chop style.)  But the foot punching comment had me in stitches.  (She always says things that turn out just slightly off and hilarious, but those are stories for a different day.)

So we had a nice long, fun time out without my kiddos.  I had no responsibility, and, in fact, I almost fell asleep in the pedi chair!  It is amazing how a little "me time" can recharge your batteries, and can help you get back to taking care of everyone else. 

When I got home, everything was in one piece, and everyone was happy.  Then the Ravens lost the game, boo hiss.  Guess my "bad luck hoarding" theory was a bust.  But we still had a nice, relaxing evening.  Now we get to enjoy the next two days off.  So this was a strange, but good day.  :) 

Friday, January 14, 2011


Let's get some things straight:

- Your zodiac is not changing.  You can stop freaking out now.  It was a slow news day, and someone dug up some old info about the two different zodiac systems and passed it off as news.  Next!

- You're right, you did not cause the violence in Arizona, Mrs. Palin.  The point is, these things do happen, so we try not to put crosshairs over things we don't actually plan on shooting up because it's not a joke.  Ask any of the victim's families how clever or funny or interesting your little map was.  Insinuating violence to solve problems is just inappropriate.  Yes, you have freedom of speech, but that doesn't mean you should say everything that pops into your little mind. 

- When I subscribe to the NYTs weekender, I expect a paper on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  After all, that is what the bill is asking me (or my sister, it was a gift) to pay for.  Let's see if all 3 can be delivered this weekend.

- To the dude on Bill Maher who was arguing against tougher gun laws by saying "If someone drives a Chrysler into a crowed of people to kill them, we're not going to outlaw Chryslers.":  I have one small problem with that.  Cars are used for many things, and their primary use is transportation.  A gun's primary use is killing things.  It can only be used to shoot things.  Try again.

- Apparently, my husband was just informed, that there are tons of technology jobs in Alabama.  They pay well, and they are great jobs.  The catch?  You have to live in Alabama.

-I want my dryer to send a signal to a little pager I wear that it is finished drying my clothes.  The pager will be like one of those things they use at restaurants that light up and vibrate when your table is ready.  That way, when I have finally gotten the baby to go down for a nap, I can silently be alerted to the end of the dryer cycle, rather than the loud buzzer going off and waking the baby.  The other option of turning off the buzzer tends to create wrinkled laundry, as I forget it's in the dryer.  So, let's get on the pager thing.

-Pandora, I love you.  I could not live without you.  BUT what is it about me that says "Pussycat Dolls" to you?  Could we work on this?  I'm open to counseling. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Earning Your Sleep...

This week has been day after day of earning my sleep.  I am in dire need of some quality sleep, a long bubble bath with some warm tea and my favorite DVD playing, and a mani/pedi.  Heck, getting my hair trimmed (which I've been trying to do for months now) would be nice!  But when you're a busy momma, what you want or need often comes last.  Am I right, ladies?  Even when I ask for help, which is rarely, it often ends up exhausting me even more than had I done everything myself.  So here is a classic little story to illustrate this for you:

I was hosting our annual Thanksgiving Part Deux, although that year it was before part one.  (I always have a repeat holiday dinner, because we go to one side of the family or the other for Thanksgiving and Easter.  The sequel is for the family we didn't see, and since we're cooking anyway, usually the Mom we did see also gets to come for dinner.)  We have a large family, and we sometimes extend the invitation to friends.  Every family invited usually brings a dish to the dinner.  Of course, we have that couple that always wants to bring a bag of chips to a sit down dinner with wine.  This particular year, though, the female half of that couple asked me to let her know what I'd like her to bring.  This is the story of that conversation....

Me- So I'm having Thanksgiving dinner at the house on the 11th. Can you bring a hot vegetable with you?
Her- Oh that sounds fun. I'll bring a veggie tray with dip and cut up vegetables.
Me- Oh, don't do all that. Just a hot vegetable would be great. Like corn or greenie beanies, you like greenie beanies.
Her- Oh okay! That's great then, I'll bring cheese and crackers.
Me- It's thanksgiving, we have a turkey, sweet potatoes, and pies but no veggies. How about a hot vegetable.
Her- When you decide what you want me to do just let me know then.
Me- How about a hot vegetable.
Her - Okay then, so just give me a call when you know what I should bring.
Me- *sigh* I'll call you when I've talked to everyone else.

Two days later...
Phone message from Her- So I'm here at the grocery store and I decided cutting up vegetables is too much with work and all (bloggers note... dinner is on a saturday evening a day Her doesn't work at all) and since I didn't know what you were tryin to do or what you wanted me to do or what I should do or what you wanted (bloggers note HOW ABOUT A HOT F*&KIN' VEGETABLE!) I decided to order a shrimp tray. That'll be nice.

Short version
-Bring a hot vegetable
-Okay I'll bring cold cut up veggies and dip
-Bring a hot vegetable
-Okay, I'll bring cheese and crackers
-Bring a hot vegetable
-Okay, when you know what I should bring tell me later
-I give up for the moment, call you later.
-Okay, I have no idea what is going on. I'll bring a shrimp tray.

I asked my mother her opinion and wondered if shrimp tray ever meant cranberry sauce or stuffing and gravy or if shrimp tray actually meant just shrimp on a tray. My mother informed me that it is not actually shrimp on a tray, (woo hoo! there is hope!) it's shrimp and cocktail sauce on a tray! (sonofabitch!) How does someone get an idea for shrimp on thanksgiving anyway? Who ever heard of a shimpucopia, or who is gonna stuff the little shrimp butts with stovetop stuffing? Mom says just stick the shrimp in a casserole dish and put those crunchy onion things on top. *Sigh* I just somehow don't think the pilgrims and indians ate shrimp together. Maybe they did and sat at that big long table and watched the head of the household carve the mighty shrimp. Is there a choice between light and dark shrimp? Would it be horrible of me to call her and tell her to forget it just bring soda and if that's too hard just don't bring anything? Or would it be too impolite to tell her we'll wait until after our thanksgiving meal to put the shrimp out? I know that if I've stood over the hot oven for hours and hours basting a turkey and cooking my casserole that makes me peel and cut a million huge, rock hard sweet potatoes for hours that if my guests are piggin out on shrimp and pass on the turkey I'm gonna shrivel up and die. 

So there is a perfect example of how asking for help tends to give me a bigger headache than I have doing things myself!  So that being said, I have done everything myself today, and with that little 13 lb angel clinging to me while refusing to nap, so off to bed to pass out I go! 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day!

A measurable amount of snow fell last night into this morning, for the first time of the season.  To my son and the neighborhood children this meant one thing - sledding!  To me it meant having to shovel our sidewalks, driveway, walkway and stoop.  My husband was away today, so I had to take care of it.  (There is some law around here about taking care of your snow in a timely fashion.)  I first called a neighbor, but she was at work so it was up to me to go it alone (without a babysitter!).  So, I did the only thing I could do, and strapped the baby into the front carrier and onto me.  I had him bundled up in many layers, and then I zipped him into my coat with me.  I bundled up my 3 year old, and out we went.  I shoveled about 75% of what I needed to clear with that 13 pound, wiggly meatloaf strapped to me.  The entire time I was shoveling, my preschooler was running around the circle we live in, eating snow, and trying to help me shovel.  I say trying because he only actually used his shovel when he was in the neighbors driveway. 

It was interesting to me, though, that my son kept asking me to make snow ice cream, and told me we could put sprinkles on it.  I had not mentioned this to him, but we did it last year when he was 2 years old.  He especially loved the sprinkles we put on it.  Sometimes it amazes me how good their memory is at such a young age. 

Lucky for the both of us, a mommy neighbor was outside and we made plans for her to bring her two kiddos over to sled in our backyard after her kiddos had nap time.  I did get the chance to take a few pictures, but I didn't want to take the baby outside again.  The poor thing was drooling like crazy the first time we were out, and I didn't know because he was facing away from me.  We're lucky he didn't have drool-cicles coming off his little baby chin!  So we stayed holed up inside while big brother played with the kids and their mom in our backyard.  They had a blast!  I wish I had gotten the chance to do it with them. 

When it was time to come in and warm up, I asked them to bring the sleds up on the deck.  My son promptly sat down on one of them and told his friend to pull him to the deck!  I don't know who this kid thinks he is.  haha  He made sure to tell Daddy all about the snow day he missed.  He also quickly passed out when I put him to bed.  That might very well be the best part of a snow day. 

I hope everyone is staying warm and safe.  If you get the chance, remember to play in the snow.  Why should we only get to shovel?!  At least make a snow angel.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What does it mean to be a liberal? Some think they know.

I received the following email today:
A young woman was about to finish her first year of college.  Like so
many others her age, she considered herself to be very liberal, and among
other liberal ideals, was very much in favor of higher taxes to support more
government programs, in other words redistribution of wealth.

She was deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch conservative,
a  feeling she openly expressed.  Based on the lectures that she had
participated in, and the occasional chat with a professor, she felt that
her father had for years harbored an evil, selfish desire to keep what he
thought should be his.

One day she was challenging her father on his opposition to higher taxes
on  the rich and the need for more government programs.

The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the
truth and she indicated so to her father.  He responded by asking how she
was doing in school.

Taken aback, she answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and
let  him know that it was tough to maintain, insisting that she was taking a
very  difficult course load and was constantly studying, which left her no time
to go out and party like other people she knew.  She didn't even have time
for a boyfriend, and didn't really have many college friends because she
spent all her time studying.

Her father listened and then asked, "How is your friend Audrey doing?"
She replied, "Audrey is barely getting by.  All she takes are easy
classes,  she never studies and she barely has a 2.0 GPA.  She is so popular on
campus; college for ! her is a blast.  She's always invited to all the  parties
and lots of times she doesn't even show up for classes because she's too
hung over."

Her wise father asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's
office  and ask him to deduct 1.0 off your GPA and give it to your friend who
only  has a 2.0.  That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that
would  be a fair and equal distribution of GPA."

The daughter, visibly shocked by her father's suggestion, angrily fired
back, "That's a crazy idea, how would that be fair!  I've worked really
hard  for my grades!  I've invested a lot of time, and a lot of hard work!
Audrey  has done next to nothing toward her degree.  She played while I worked my
tail off!"

The father slowly smiled, winked and said gently, "Welcome to the
conservative side of the fence."

If you ever wondered what side of the fence you sit on, this is a great

If a conservative doesn't like guns, he doesn't buy one.
If a liberal doesn't like guns, he wants all guns outlawed.

If a conservative is a vegetarian, he doesn't eat meat.
If a liberal is a vegetarian, he wants all meat products banned for

If a conservative is down-and-out, he thinks about how to better his
A liberal wonders who is going to take care of him.

If a conservative doesn't like a talk show host, he switches channels.
Liberals demand that those they don't like be shut down.

If a conservative is a non-believer, he doesn't go to church.
A liberal non-believer wants any mention of God and religion silenced.
(Unless it's a foreign religion, of course!)

If a conservative decides he needs health care, he goes about shopping! 
for  it, or may choose a job that provides it.
A liberal demands that the rest of us pay for his.

If a conservative reads this, he'll forward it so his friends can have a
good laugh.
A liberal will delete it because he's "offended."

*Well, I forwarded it to you.*

Now, this was my response:
I'm so glad you sent this!  And I'm a liberal!  (Thought I had to point that out since it said if I was a liberal I'd delete this.  Though the person who wrote this obviously doesn't know who a liberal actually is or believes.)
First things first:  "If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it." - Stephen Colbert (thanks Jennifer for this one!)
(My husband) and I have worked our butts off with years of college, internships, job hunting, working our way up, and now sacrificing time together to get all that we have.  We've never expected anyone else to help us get here, or thought anyone should support us or pay our way.   We've not once taken money from any family member or anyone else for that matter.  We've always supplied our own health insurance, and never have expected anyone to pay for ours.
Now onto the other points in this story:  So if the the people who use the programs for  those who need help that are supported by taxpayer money are ones who do nothing and party their lives away, then you must agree on the following issues:
   The mother of 4 who's husband was killed by a drunk driver and now works two jobs to support her family, feed them, put shelter over their heads, and pay for child care, but has trouble making ends meet and cannot afford the premium for the insurance her employer provides, well she is just partying her life away and a do-nothing.  We should let her struggle and fail, and her kids live in poverty without any assistance.  There should be no chance for her to climb out of the hole.  Also, if she gets a terminal illness, she just has to die because the man in this story you sent is sailing the seas on one of his five yachts and just couldn't give up any of his money to help her and her family.  So now there are 4 motherless kids, and God forbid any of them get sick, because it's wrong to help them with health insurance.  
   You can apply the above issues to a woman who's husband cheated on her and divorced her and left her with nothing but their children to support, and does not pay his child support.  She should be left to suffer?  Or the man with a mental illness like schizophrenia, who cannot hold a job, and is homeless on the street, hungry and cold.  He can't help his illness.  We should let him die out in the cold?  He is less of a person than us?  His life is worth less?  I hardly believe that! 
   Also forget the health department, public schools, public hospitals, Medicare for the elderly, social security, and libraries.  All of them are supported by the government.  (I for one don't believe that only do-nothings use these programs.  But then again I have a very disabled *from a birth defect* family member on social security and Medicare who would be unable to support himself without any help.  He is completely unable to work, so forget health insurance from an employer.) 
On the gun thing... sure, it's great to let everyone buy guns.  20 people were not just shot in Arizona, 6 killed including a 9 year old little girl.  Oh wait, they totally were because a crazy nut was allowed to buy a gun that isn't a gun used for hunting anything other than other human beings.
I know a large number of liberal vegetarians, and none of them tell me meat should be banned.  They all go about it as their own personal lifestyle choice.  Not one has every criticized me for serving meat at any of my parties, either.
Oh, and as for the conservative talk show hosts.  They can keep their jobs.  We don't care.  But we are going to point out that they incite hatred and violence when they do.  We are also going to point out when their logic doesn't make sense like the content of this email from this father who maybe should've gone to his daughter's college and taken a class in how to set up an argument, because all of his point are invalid. 
But most importantly, I'll repeat this little nugget of wisdom:
"If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn't help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus was just as selfish as we are, or we've got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve the needy without condition and then admit that we just don't want to do it." - Stephen Colbert
Oh, and BTW, we make enough money, and we are proud to share that with those who are struggling, and to know we have reached our hand out to help someone up.  That is not only what being a Christian is about, but is what being a human being helping out their fellow man is about.
A liberal thinks beyond themselves.  They think of everyone, and all of their personal stories.  After all, we are all better off if our country is healthy, safe, and not brimming with people suffering in poverty.  Sometimes you have to measure things beyond money to know your true wealth.  I'm sorry this man couldn't see past his bank account.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sleep like a baby?!

My littlest cherub, my 3 month old son, gave us the gift of sleep by sleeping through the night on Christmas Eve, and for several days after that.  After he became ill with a stomach bug, he abruptly stopped sleeping through the night.  Now that he is feeling much better, I expected he'd get back to regular sleep.  No chance.  This little kiddo should be sleeping 14-15 hours a day, but he's lucky to get a total of 10.  He should sleep 10 of the 15 hours during the night (not expected to be all at once), and 4-5 during the day in naps.  Well naps are almost totally non-existent at this point, and last night, for example, he slept less than 6 hours.  He's had approximately 7 1/2 hours of sleep today, about half of what he needs.  He's crabby, we're crabby, it's impossible to get anything done around here all of a sudden.  You know he can't be feeling good on such little sleep.

I did not want to be overlooking something, and possibly ignoring symptoms that were from some medical issue, so I took him in to see the pediatrician.  Her diagnosis was, basically, that he's a momma's boy.  She said the stomach bug probably threw him off, but now it's sleep habits causing this.  I'm not sure how since these were not his sleep habits 2 weeks ago.  But she said maybe he's used to me rocking him or holding him until he falls asleep, and he's just naturally waking up when I put him down and doesn't have the ability to get himself back to sleep.  She tells me he's too young to cry it out, so that's that.  I got no other advice.  (I certainly can't hold this baby for 14-15 hours while he sleeps, plus all the times he wants me to hold him while he's awake.  Not that it's much different now, since he's up most hours of the day and I have to hold him or be right with him anyway.) 

I have been scouring the internet for advice, and I've seen a lot about crying it out.  Again, she doesn't even recommend that until 6-9 months, although she admits some peds say 4 months is okay.  Either way, she says I'm not supposed to let him cry it out yet.  So I'm stumped.  Tonight I'll try my hardest to go to sleep the second he does, so I can try to get as much sleep as possible so I can keep up with this.  The lack of sleep is dragging me down.  He slept better as a newborn! 

If you have a secret remedy to this issue, please share!  =)

One more kid quote for the day:
-My sister's rat passed away today, and I was explaining that to my son.  I told him that the "ratty" (as he called him) died, and so his Auntie was sad.  This is what he had to say about it:

"I will see (Auntie), and give her a hug.  I will tell her that it's okay because we bought her a NEW ratty!!"

Side note: We did not buy her a new ratty.  Guess he'll be raiding the piggy bank and driving the power wheels to the nearest rat dealer (or whatever you'd call someone who sells rats).


Kid Quote of the Day:

"If you take peanut butter and jelly and stick them together, they will taste like a fun hat with a red bow!" - My 3 year old son.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sister of invention

I am the proud owner of 1 sister, who is 5 years younger than me.  We have a lot of fun, sometimes at each other's expense, but it's always in the nicest way possible.  (Right, Chickenbutt?)  Like most siblings, we get stuck on something and once we get going it's very hard to stop.  This has become more interesting and fun since we've had facebook pages, and on occasion someone else jumps in on one of our threads and adds another dynamic to the insanity.  (Smoking planets, anyone?)  Making jokes out of nothing, inventing ridiculous things or words or phrases, and fooling ourselves into thinking we are professional critics of all things from fashion to music are all things I cherish.

Most recently, my sister and I invented the "Fuggie".  Well she invented it, and I named it.  She was at a party, and realized she had an idea to help all the women wearing fashionable heels, that are cute but cold in this weather.  She came up with a blanket that zips over the shoe, and up above the ankle.  There would be a hole for the heel and the ball of the shoe for traction, but any exposed toes, parts of the foot that are bare, and the ankle would be well snuggled in this foot blanket.  "You've heard of the Snuggie, now here's the Fuggie!"  We do acknowledge it would be tough to market with that name, so you could also call it the "Flanket"  (Foot blanket).  We also chose to ignore my Mom pointing out that they make these things called "boots" which also work nicely in cold weather.  Touche, Ma.

Happy Birthday, Sis!  I'm sure this time next year we'll be swimming in our millions thanks to the Fuggie!  =)

This is not a toy...

I do not allow my 3 year old child to play with toy guns, or even pretend to have a gun.  If I notice someone trying to engage in some play with him involving pretend violence of any kind, I shut it down.  I always explain that my child is only 3, and he cannot tell me the difference between a real gun and a toy gun.  He also does not understand the permanence of death, or how severe bodily injury can actually be.  My fear of him picking up a real gun and mistaking it for a toy (since he does not know the difference) is what motivates me to stick to my no toy gun policy.  But what also motivates me is that GUNS ARE NOT TOYS.  They are not funny.  They are certainly not a joke.  They are not interesting.  They are not entertainment.  They are not for anything but wounding or killing people or animals.  You may excuse it away, but any other target practice is called practice because it's just practicing for killing people or animals.  There is no other reason to have them.  They don't make good home decor.  You can't use them to clean your house.  You can't cook with them.... there is just no excuse. 

When I see adults so proudly bragging about their guns, it makes me sick.  What are you trying to say?  "I can really kill someone with this thing!  They will be way more dead then they would be if I shot them with that old, crappy thing I used to carry around."  So you can imagine my disgust with "Don't retreat, reload.", and especially when these ignorant comments are aimed at specific people.  Those folks who ran their negative campaigns with the target over Congresswoman Giffords, and encouraged folks to get rid of her and come shoot an M16, are simple and ridiculous.  Obviously they have nothing interesting, and nothing of substance to say if they are resorting to using gimmicks like encouraging violence or making light of harming others with a firearm.  I'm sure their intentions were not to have someone actually attempt to kill her, but as public figures, these people have a responsibility to monitor the things they say and do so they cannot be taken the wrong way with tragic results.  I'm not talking about little things here, I'm talking about not trying to act like shooting someone is a joke. 

About a year ago now, my family was traveling down the highway when we saw an SUV with a sign taped to the rear window.  It was homemade, and it said "Save America.  Shoot a Liberal."  What a despicable human being.  I'm liberal.  You'd take my children's mother from them?  We are human beings.  These people they are targeting are human beings.  It is not funny or even acceptable to try to make a joke about killing someone because you have different politics.  If you're a public figure, you have a responsibility to behave in a respectable manner, and to refrain from instigating violence.

It's sad and sickening that these people who claim to be the ultimate Americans allude to killing other Americans.  Listen to yourselves!  That is horrible to suggest.  These conservative folks claim to love America.  Well, in case it is not clear, liberals also love America.  We just disagree with each other on how we should express that love to nurture our country.  It's not about threatening each other, instigating violence, or acting like the other half aren't "real Americans".  I'm sick of it.  I've been sick of it for a long time, but maybe now some more folks will be sick of it as well.  Dare to stand up and reject violent rhetoric.  If you can't handle having a conversation without mentioning guns and using them to oust your adversaries, perhaps you need not be in public office.  I'd like someone with a stronger moral fabric, and actual solutions to problems than with some catchy, violence laced tune they sing about locking & loading to blow away the people instead of solving any of the actual issues.

Alright, 2 rants in a row.  I'll try to be more upbeat tomorrow.  No one screw that up for me, please.  Try to control your violent urges.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Part time sons and daughters

So there is an emerging trend (or perhaps it's always been there, but I hadn't noticed) among parents of young children.  It seems to be the norm, lately, to send your kids off to the grandparents' house for the weekends (as in every weekend).  There are variations on this, such as every other weekend, or for a week or so at a time, or to send them to someone else other than a grandparent, but it's still shipping the kids off to be somebody's responsibility other than the parents (and frequently).  The best part is I still hear these parents complain that no one ever helps them!  I have also seen one of our family member's get extremely angry at a grandparent of her child for not taking the girl for a weekend because they actually had plans of their own.  How dare they not be available for her to dump her child off to them so she can enjoy her weekend child-free.  When did this become the way to raise your kids?

I had my children because I wanted to have children.  I never simply expect someone to take them off my hands.  I do not ask someone to babysit my kids unless I really need them to (as in not just so I can lounge around all weekend doing nothing).  I stick to that policy because I don't want to be using everyone so much that when I really need them they are sick of me and my kids.  I also want to raise my own kids.  My parents did not get a night to themselves for 3 years after having me.  I have been lucky enough to have an annual weekend away for my husband's work party.  We started going after my son was a year and a half old.  We also took a 2 night trip to NYC to see The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  So clearly I'm not opposed to having babysitters, or time to ourselves.  I just do not understand the weekly need to send your kids away for overnight trips to Grandma's house.  Our niece even spends most holidays away from home and away from her parents.  Why wouldn't you want your children to be with you for the holiday?

Today I received an email from my mother in law inviting us to my niece's birthday.  Even that can't be done by her parents.  Between these close to home examples, and the women I sometimes see online talking about how they just HAD to send their child away week after week after week, I have started to wonder if this is the new modern way of parenting.  Maybe I'm old fashioned.  Maybe I'm the one with the problem.

The icing on the cake for me is when I hear these ladies complain about how they get no help.  My husband travels for a week or so at a time.  Until 8 months ago, I lived over an hour away from my family (the most helpful and reliable relatives we have). There have been many times I had no help, and there was something hard to deal with alone going on.  For example, two weeks after I gave birth to our second son and was recovering from the extensive repair I had to have due to a precipitous and rather violent delivery while caring for a newborn and very active (who doesn't take naps) 3 year old, my husband had to travel for 2 weeks away from home.  The baby was also not doing well, as he had an undiagnosed dairy sensitivity which caused him much discomfort.  One night I called my husband at 4:45AM, sobbing.  It took me several minutes to calm down enough to even say hi.  The baby had been up all night, screaming except when I was feeding him, and I knew I had to be up with my first son in a few hours.  That is what "no help" is.  I always wonder who these women are married to.  It took me a week without my husband, very little sleep, and then a night of no sleep, while still in pain with stitches pulling and hurting every time I tried to sit or stand so no position was comfy, to breakdown.  After my breakdown I sucked it up, and got back to my work as a mother.  I did have help a few nights both weeks from my family, and my mother in law came to visit and helped.  But most of the time it was just me, and it was only me until after work on the days when folks could come to help.  (And thank goodness for those ladies *you know who you are*, and our neighbor provided two meals for which I was very thankful!)   

So who are these ladies who cry "no help", when everyone is bending over backwards to help them, married to?  If I was that kind of person, my husband could not even be married to me.  He'd never be able to hold his current job, and he'd lose his mind if I acted so helpless and unappreciative of the abundance of help everyone gave me.  Did these women not understand the work involved in having children?  Maybe they should've set themselves up as volunteers at a preschool or respite program for families with disabled children if they just wanted to visit with kids, but not have the full time responsibility 24/7 most weeks of the year. 

Hats off to the mothers (and most of my friends do fall into this category) who raise their own kids!  Those of us who include our kids in our weekend plans, and celebrate the holidays with our children.  Hooray for the moms who plan their own kids' birthday parties, and don't turn down birthday party invites because we just don't feel like taking our kids to play with their friends.

Thank you to my mother and my sister, whom help me when I ask them to.  I would never claim to never have any help, because I know that would be disrespectful to those who do, in fact, help me.  I also wouldn't abuse those in my life, and expect them to drop everything to help me.  I also try very hard to take care of nearly everything myself.  There is a sense of accomplishment when you overcome your obstacles with your own hard work, creativity, and strength.  I want my kids to know I wanted them, and want them around.  One day they will leave, and I will never be able to go back and get time I lost out on with them.  I can't help but wonder if this new type of part time parent will regret the time they've lost once their little kiddos have flown the coop.

Okay, so this was a rant.  Next up on my "rant list" (for those days I just gotta let it out): The lost art of the "Thank You" note!  Send them, people!!