Thursday, January 31, 2008

Deja Vu all over again

A hallucinating lawyer with relationship trouble and a sassy administrative assistant. No, it's not Ally McBeal, it's a dude! It must be Eli Stone.

The intertubes have been all abuzz about this premiere because of the whole autism/mercury plot line.

Apparently some organizations were even calling for ABC to pull the premiere because they were afraid that parents would decide not to vaccinate their children based on this single, fictional television show.

I understand that the general public is stupid. Like the saying goes, think of how dumb the average person is... Now, realize that statistically, half the people in the world are even dumber than that! But I'm really getting tired of people treating parents (and particularly women) like we're idiots.

And anyone who would make any major life decision based on a single fictional television show is, by definition, an idiot.

See, here's the thing... They took away my kids' cold medicines because a bunch of really dumb parents couldn't be bothered to read the labels and dose their kids correctly, so now my kids have to suffer. And They want to take away TV shows with a brain (after all, you never see them getting all ticked off over trash like Flava of Love) because some people without brains don't get that fiction means "made up" or "based on reality." They think that women go around making major life decisions based on other peoples' bumper stickers. It's starting to drive me insane.

I hope that parents will have frank discussions with their doctors about vaccines, after having seen this show. ALL parents should be discussing ALL medical treatments with their doctors. To not do so is just irresponsible. Personally, we chose to vaccinate our kids. We decided that the risks of polio, measles and so on were greater than the risks of the vaccines. That said, I have not gotten them flu shots (BJ got Claire one this year, when he took her for her 9 month appointment - guess we should've talked about that one!), or shots for things that aren't a big risk (flu, rotavirus - although I regretted that one with MG this time last year, so Claire did get it!!). I got the chicken pox one because it was bundled with a bunch of others, and separating it out would've meant more needle sticks for the kids. We have tried to weigh the benefits against the risks, and to take into account our own social responsibility (in other words, we don't think it's right to rely on the immunizations of the other 22 kids in their kindergarten class to keep our kids safe). It wasn't a decision that we took lightly.

It shouldn't be a decision that any parent takes lightly. Taking Eli Stone off the air wouldn't have changed the fact that vaccination is a big decision for most thinking parents. I applaud television shows that raise these issues and bring them to people who might not spend every waking moment on the 'net like myself (hey, we're sick and we can't go out, damn that social responsibility! What else am I going to do??). There may be people who didn't realize that there was a controversy with vaccines and thiomersal, and now they're aware of it and awareness is good.

I wish They would quit treating parents (women) like we're morons. I could get all loud about the patriarchy and stuff, but BJ just gets all irritated when I talk about Vast Patriarchal Conspiracies, so I won't. Besides, someone's awake upstairs, so I have to go.

I'll watch Eli Stone, though. Cute show. I liked it when it was Ally McBeal, too.

I am such a dork

So, everything is closing in anticipation of The Big Storm. You'd think this state had never seen snow before. Sheesh. So, I've been keeping an eye on the local news channel (the one whose offices are located right behind our old office, for those of you keeping score at home), and I noticed that they had an online submission form for closings and delays...

BJ's upstairs putting MG to bed. So, I added our company to the local channel's list of closings. I can't wait for BJ to come back down and see it go by on the crawl! Ha!!

"Sorry, Honey, you can't go to work today, we're closed!"

I have too much free time. Shouldn't I be cleaning or something?

Helpful advice from the internets

So, recently They decided that you can't give babies cold medicine anymore. Clearly this decision was made by people without babies.

What's a mom to do? Well, MG can have warm tea with honey, but Claire can't because honey can have botulism so you can't give them honey until they're one. I've been giving them suckers (because cough drops don't come on sticks) for their throats. Orange juice, of course, as well as other vitamin C sources (MG ate a whole package of tomatoes last night, the little weirdo), and chicken noodle soup become diet staples. Lots of fluids, lots of rest, etc. etc. and when Mommy has had it, there's always the leftover reserves of infant Benedryl. WHAT? They NEED it. Don't hassle me.

While surfing, I found another helpful suggestion:

...on a Russian website. It makes me wonder, how stupid do they think we are? Bill, can you translate the text on the main page?

6? Ha! 6 is for wussies!

Now they're calling for 8 - 12 inches of snow! WOO HOO!

Thursday - cancer, snow, laryngitis, and colds

I have excellent news to report. Susan, AKA Whymommy, my friend in the computer who has been battling Inflammatory Breast Cancer for the last year, had a double mastectomy recently, and the pathology report showed that they got all the cancer out of her! Read all about it here.

We're getting ready for a snowstorm here. We're supposed to get 6 inches by tomorrow. So, it's probably a good thing that Jenny called me yesterday to cancel our playdate. I thought she was an obscene caller at first, because she has laryngitis. We decided it would be a bad idea to swap germs, and postponed. It's that time of year.

Grandma Denna asked if this cold meant I'd lost faith in Vicks Early Defense. Not at all! The reason we have this cold is because I forgot to use the Early Defense when we went to the mall playplace last Friday. OOPS! You can bet I won't make that mistake again.

You'll notice that I'm not at all complaining about having colds. I'd feel really stupid complaining about stuffy noses after talking about breast cancer. Although, to be honest, I could do without Claire wiping her nose on me. I have all these shiny snail trails on my shirt. Maybe I need to staple Kleenex to my shoulders... That would be a good look.

Hope you're warm, dry, and healthy where you are!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hi again, I'm still here...

Wow, sorry. I've been so excited about the New Kids that I haven't had time for anything else.


Seriously, we're all sick. Well, BJ's fine, but someone's got to work for a living, so he's off slaying dragons and I'm here wiping butts and noses. Luckily Grandpa Bob is here to help, and I was able to nap today and feel mostly coherent when it came time to negotiate for BJ's new (used) car.

The sticker price was X. My offer was X - $4000. The salesman comes back with a piece of paper that says "X-0.01." I wrote back, "Ok, (X - $4000)+0.01. I have time." *

Seeing as it was 6 pm and they didn't want to be there all night, he came in and said, "Are we really going to do this a penny at a time?" and I said, "Why not?" and he said, "Ok, do you want to know my lowest walk out of here price?" and I said, "Sure," and he wrote down $88,000 - which we're pretty sure was a typo.

Long story short, I got the car for BJ for X - $1,900, which isn't bad considering that it's a used car and you usually don't have that much room to wiggle. Our neighbor, Morris, who is EXACTLY like Wilson on Home Improvement (in other words, he likes to have conversations over the privacy fence where you can only see his eyebrows and the top of his head), looked at it. Unlike Wilson, Morris is a mechanic, and he found a couple things but said that overall it was a really good car.

Our salesman may have just been sucking up, but he told me that the final price I negotiated was the lowest price the finance guy said he'd take for the car, so I felt pretty good about that.

Anyway, BJ will be the proud owner of a 2001 Jeep Cherokee tomorrow, which will be much easier on the budget than his old car. It is also a much pretty-baby-friendlier car, which will also be happy.

Mary Grace is working hard on her new career as a game show host. She asks random questions all the time. "Grandpa Bob, do you like dogs?" "Grandpa Bob, do you like ice cream?" "Mama, do you like Grandpa Bob?" and so on. It's very much like being quizzed constantly. Do you think it will warp her for life if I start answering in the form of a question?

* and you thought you'd never use all that algebra!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

WTMonday: Official proof that "they" have run out of ideas

It's a special Monday edition of WTFriday... I just couldn't wait to tell you that The New Kids on the Block are reuniting!

SeeqPod - Playable Search

No, I wish I were kidding. According to other blogs, which directed me to this website which I don't actually read, the NKOTB are reuniting (the video is especially moving, don't miss it!).

Well, I guess if the Spice Girls can do it...

I will admit that I luuuuvvved the New Kids when I was in middle school. I even went to the concert. I know. I think it's brave of me to put this out there as a matter of public record, too. But unlike their other millions (?) of fans, I haven't been awaiting their return. In fact, of all the music I listen to, NKOTB are one of the few bands that I used to like but refuse to listen to now (Michael Jackson, the Nelson Brothers, and those kids that sang MMMbop are also in this category). I mean, I'll rock out to a little "Ice, Ice Baby" now and then, and even a little Milli Vanilli, but I do not get all nostalgic for the New Kids. I. Just. Don't. The fact that I used to like them is still embarrassing, and it's been, what, 20 years?

And let's talk about names, while we're discussing reunions... When naming one's band, it's probably best to avoid names that include references to your age - New Kids, Spice Girls, Backstreet Boys. These things work when you're a teenager, but they just don't have the staying power of, say, Aerosmith or the Rolling Stones. It's cool to go see Aerosmith in concert. It's just kind of sad to see the Beach Boys. They're all eligible to be AARP members, they're no longer boys. The Spice Girls should reform as Old Spice. And New Kids? Well, let's just say that New Soccer Dads in the Minivan* would be more accurate, now. They're all pushing 40. And while the Rolling Stones may hear the occasional Kidney Stone joke, it's not nearly as pathetic as a bunch of grown men calling themselves Kids. For that matter, 20 years later they are no longer New, either.

Recycled Old Guys on the Block? Retooled Middle-Aged Men in the Minivan? Eek.

In other news, a whole bunch of people are pregnant and I'm not, and I'm kind of getting baby envy. I can think of 5 expectant moms right off the top of my head. Meanwhile, I'm going through the kids clothes today, pulling out the stuff that Claire has outgrown, and looking at the little bitty outfits and stuff, and I'm starting to think about #3. I'm out of my mind. We don't have room in this house for another baby, much less room in the budget. It would just be silly. Still, matters of the heart (and the ovaries) seldom have anything to do with logic. Maybe I just want to have the new kid on the block. *Snort* I'd better keep Hangin' Tough. You know, take this motherhood thing Step by Step. Even though I know I'll Be Loving You Forever, kids, I don't necessarily need another one of you at present. Oh, I know, I have The Right Stuff. Maybe next year we could have a Valentine Girl? What do you say, BJ, Let's Try It Again? Tonight? Baby, I Believe In You! Don't Give Up On Me! Treat Me Right!**

* I say this as a Mom who drives a minivan, but I'm not trying to be cool, or a sex symbol, or to sell you anything, either, so I'm not nearly as silly.

**Hold On! I'm totally kidding! Don't Give Up On Me! Hahaha! Ok, I have to stop. Stop It, Girl! Heeee...

*** Picture courtesy of my bedroom wall, circa 1988. I used to have this whole theory about how you could tell a lot about a girl by which New Kid she was in love with. Take the poll!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Our Poor Claire

Our poor Claire got sick twice last night around midnight. I'm fairly certain that it didn't have anything to do with dog food, since I took that video a couple of weeks ago. So, BJ and Dad went to the new church without the girls and me, lest we infect the entire nursery with some stomach bug. That is not the way to make a good first impression.

The church is called St. Andrew's. BJ wondered what Andrew was the saint of. I suggested that perhaps he's the patron saint of not calling (and only a few of our friends will get that... Hi Matt!). I didn't even realize that Methodists had saints, but there you go. (According to wikipedia he was a disciple. I guess even protestants agree that the original disciples get to be saints... He's also the patron saint of Scotland. Huh.)

They liked it. Dad said that it wasn't the best sermon on first Corinthians that he'd ever heard, and I said, "Hey, after 2000 years, I'll bet it's not easy to come up with new material."

Why is it that the traditional service is always at zero dark thirty, and the contemporary (aka. disco) service is always at 10:30 or 11 am? Can't those of us who like traditional music sleep in once in a while? I do not want to go to church and sing songs that I've seen on infomercials. It's. Just. Wrong. It seems to me that, to be fair, they should rotate it weekly, so that the disco people have to get up early every other week.

Now you know why we're still looking for a church, even though I've lived here for 10 years (and BJ's been here 14).

Anyway, I had to get a book out of Dad's room this morning, and I came out and said, "It's going to be a real 'circle of life' moment when I have to tell you to clean your room, isn't it?" He laughed. He's grounded. :)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Good news!

I forgot to mention that the gluten intolerance/Celiac's blood test came back negative. So, the good news is that I can still eat what I like. The bad news is that I'm a hypochondriac. Oh well.

Jenny asked, in the comments, when I intervene with Claire's enjoyment of the dog's food. Rest assured that I do not let her eat dog food (even though it's tempting, because she seems to enjoy it more than the people food that I try to feed her). Most of the time it is kept on the counter, out of her reach. When we forget and she gets into it, it gets scooped right out of her mouth, before she has a chance to choke on it. But sometimes you need to take a little video, first, you know? She also has been known to chew on Max's bones. This grosses me out even more than the food, probably because of the dog spit that is on the bones and presumably not on the dog food. But let me tell you, few things are funnier than coming around the corner and seeing your 10 month old gnawing on a rawhide.

At least neither of them have discovered the "chocolates" in the litter box, yet.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Well, ok, so I didn't get dinner made... But I finally uploaded this video, which I've been meaning to show you for days! Enjoy!!

Is it Friday already?

Another week has flown by. BJ's been a little sick since he got back from his business trip (do NOT try to "eat local" when you're that close to Mexico, kids!), so I've been extra busy. There have been no further developments with my Chinese guy (although Mom heard on NPR that there are 40,000 Chinese spies in the U.S., so we only have 39,999 left to find...). The girlies are growing and keeping me quite busy. Grandpa Bob is hanging out with us for a while, and it is really nice to have a third pair of adult hands in the house.

I didn't used to understand casserole - why cook everything once, put it together, and then cook it again? Seems like double the effort to me. Then I had kids and realized that casseroles allow you to make dinner during nap, and still have it done at dinner time (instead of 3 hours early). So, that's what I'm going to go do now... If anything interesting happens, you'll read it here first.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

This is not a political blog...

...but I had to share this. Thanks to Gramma Susan for the link!

I can't WAIT!

I was dying laughing at this trailer. I can not wait to see this movie! Talk about a girls' night out!!!

I have totally done the "Is this chocolate or poop?" thing. Karen was there. I stopped at smelling, though, because it was actually poop. HAHAHA!

This is the first movie I've been excited about in a long time.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


My little miser has gotten interested in money all of a sudden, probably due to Mickey Mouse needing coins to buy something from Pete on the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (ugh), and so she mooched all my change, and all my dad's change, and has been obsessively putting the coins into her piggy bank. Then she asks me to take them out for her, so she can put them back in again.

Too bad I already took the huge jars of loose change that my dad saved up for her over the last few years in the bank. She would've been busy for weeks.

Claire is getting a new tooth. I am trying, with limited success, to prevent her from teething on coins (and dog food).

Sometimes, especially on days like today when I hit the ground running and don't stop until, oh, now... and this is only a 10 minute break before bath time... Sometimes I wonder what I ever did to keep busy before I had kids. My friend Karen agreed with me when I ran into her on the way out of the office at 6 pm today - there just aren't enough hours in the day anymore. Where do they all go?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Think globally, eat locally

I can't wait for spring, and not because it's been below zero with the wind chill for the last couple of days. No, the reason I'm dreaming of warmer weather is much more gastronomical. We are (hopefully, if they aren't already full) going to buy an agricultural share this year for produce.

Last year the people who bought shares in the farm I'm buying into got lettuces, melons, veggies, and roots for 20 weeks, beginning in May. For the (extremely reasonable) price of around $200 - $250, we'll have locally grown organic produce, picked within hours of arriving at our table, all summer and fall. I'm absolutely drooling with the thought of having REAL tomatoes this year!

Additionally, I will get a chance to visit with the farmers (two women) who grow our food every week. In fact, if I want to I can take the kids to the farm just east of town, and we can help grow our own food. What a great way to teach them about food, farming, and the planet when they're a little older!

And when we get beets, radishes, or eggplants I'm going to find a way to cook them. This will increase the diversity of foods (and therefore nutrients) in our diets. It's easy to fall into the lettuce, carrot, celery, potato, onion, apple, banana, orange rut, you know? (It occurs to me that just buying those 8 things is likely more than most American families buy, in terms of fresh produce. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a grocery cart full of packaged, processed foods at the store, and wondered if they just skipped the produce section!)

I'm supporting the local economy. I'm not paying the middle man to truck our food 1000 miles from where it's grown to here. I'm feeding my family the best possible food I can find for us, short of growing it myself (which I am singularly unqualified to do - I can't even grow a house plant!). And I'm getting a hell of a deal - I spend WAY more than $10 a week on produce.

Now is the time to find amazing programs like this in your area. Here are some resources:

Local Harvest
10 Reasons to Eat Local Food
Food Routs - Buy Local
Slow Food USA

And make sure you mooch at least one meal from me this summer. I guarantee, it's going to be worth it!

Team WhyMommy - Surgery Day

Susan over at Toddler Planet, aka WhyMommy, is having surgery tomorrow. She'll be having a double mastectomy to rid her body of Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

Throughout her illness, she has written with honesty and candor, and most of all, with courage. She is so strong, such a fighter. I have followed her progress with tears and prayers and hope and occasionally even laughter.

So, Whymommy, as you go into surgery tomorrow, know that I'm there with you in my heart. I can't wait to read all about your full recovery!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Syrup of Ipecac?

Mom and I are sitting here having a discussion about the 50 Best Parenting Tips, and one of them is to keep ipecac in your glove box, in case you have a poisoning situation on the road. I read that and said, "Uh oh, I'm going to have to write a letter. They don't want people to use ipecac anymore." Mom was horrified* (see also: car seats, driving into the river, etc.) and said, "But what are you supposed to do if they eat a bottle of Tylenol? That will kill you!" I looked up the current guidelines for use (VERY useful website there, folks, and not just for ipecac!) and as I thought, they only seem to want you to use it if you're more than 60 minutes away from an emergency room. Mom says that you'd have to wait at least that long in any ER, so you should give them ipecac even if the hospital is just across town, like it is here. I say that if I walk in with a kid and say, "This child ate a bottle of Tylenol 10 minutes ago!" they're going to hop to and skip all the time-wasting preliminary stuff.

What say you, internets? Ipecac - yay or nay? And be sure to list your age (or, at least, your generation) with your answer, because I have a feeling that makes a difference.

* Edited to add: Mom insists that she was not "horrified." She was calmly and moderately concerned. Duly noted.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Details emerge...

Ok, I guess I can tell you.

BJ works in aerospace, so there are people in countries that aren't this one who would want to know what he knows. When I got home Tuesday night, there was a suspicious car in front of the house. When I opened my door he drove away, but he did it stupidly - driving into two dead ends before I lost sight of him. We've been told by a certain federal agency which shall remain nameless but its initials are F. B. and I. that if anything hinky ever happens (like we feel like someone might be trying to take some of what we know and do nefarious things with it) we need to call them. If BJ ever loses his laptop, for example, the first call we make is to the nameless agency. So, when I saw this guy in this car, acting squirrelly, I asked my friend who is a cop to run his plate.

It turned out that he's from a non-US-friendly nation with 1 billion citizens, and that he has a background in aerospace (she googled him and found his resume), and that his house is exactly 200 feet from our old office. Too many coincidences there for me, so I called the feds and they said, "We'll be right over."

(My theory is that he was trying to hack into our wireless network to see if he could find anything good. After all, if you were going to hack into someone's wireless, wouldn't you send someone who would know what he was looking for?)

They really meant it - they were at my office in 15 minutes and I told them the whole story (complete with 8 x 10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back describing each one). They said that I was "very observant" and that it was a "good catch" and that they "like my style" (my dad was there, and he can vouch for it that I'm not making any of that up). It was just like a movie - they called me "ma'am" and showed me their credentials and the whole bit. Very cloak and dagger.

They're going to put the guy on a list and keep an eye on him. They'll tell me if we're in any danger. They're not going to go to his house and say, "Hey, Amy said you were acting weird..." That would be way too obvious.

It was just a really odd thing to do on a Thursday. How often does my to-do list read:
  1. pick up sitter
  2. talk to FBI
  3. go to lunch meeting
you know?

So now I feel very important - or at least like I'm married to someone very important. And if something shows up in that other country with our name on it, at least I'm on record as having reported it to the proper authorities, so they know we didn't give it to them!

OH! I was telling this story to our friends at the office down the hall and one lady said, "Isn't your wireless network encrypted?" and I said, "Well, yeah, but that's sort of like wearing a condom. It works most of the time, but when it doesn't..." and everyone cracked up.

Maybe you had to be there...

But really, don't worry about it. We're safe. Max won't let anything bad happen.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Things are happening...

Stuff is going on here. It's like an episode of 24, or Mission Impossible. What sucks is that I can't tell you anything about it. *sigh*

Maybe, once it's all over, I will be able to... For now, though, it's very interesting. And it makes me wish (not for the first time, mind you) that I had an anonymous blog!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wouldn't my babies look pretty in this?

Ok, how sweet is this:

The nice girls at 5 Minutes for Mom said that they'd enter me in a drawing for one if I'd share this link with you. And this one.

That fire truck is too cute. You can enter even if you don't have a blog. Just leave a comment here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

WFMW: Let them eat soup!

Claire (10 months old) is on table food now, which is great except that it's winter and I like to make soup for dinner. And trying to feed a baby soup is like trying to paint with a turkey baster. So, last night I made Tuscan White Bean soup (Alessi - MMMMM!) and instead of pouring off all the broth and feeding her just the beans and noodles, or making her something else, I just tore up pieces of bread, tossed them into the soup, and fed her chunks of soupy bread. It was much neater.

This is totally not rocket science, but anyone who has seen all the stains on our dining room carpet will know that it was news to me! I can't wait to try it with chili.

So, let them eat bread.

Are you here for WFMW? Check out my other tips:

How to prevent disease with a handy new product (update, it worked - we never got sick!)
How to easily feed a crowd.
How to pack a smaller diaper bag.
How to make Mush McPuna.
How to organize your Christmas list.
How to breathe new life into your lamps with spray paint.
How to use calling cards to give the illusion that you have it all together.
How to use GCal (again) for menu planning.
How to save yourself time in the kitchen with a hot water tap.
How to tie your shoes if you have lollypop thumbs like me.
How to feel good about spending insane money at Christmas.
How to prevent dryer fires.
How to use Google Calendar to organize your family.
How to save a zillion dollars with the Magic Bullet.
How to quickly cool Mac & Cheese.
How to soothe a teething baby without whiskey - oops! I mean Tylenol.
How to do Time Outs correctly.
How to improvise a changing table.
How to get a baby and a toddler into the car.
How to keep your house decluttered with an old waitressing mantra.
How to find a great baby sling.
How to manage your grocery list online.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you again soon!

Visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for more WFMW tips!

It's just Tuesday again...

Tuesday must be the most boring day of the week, because I'm sure I've posted "It's just Tuesday" once or twice before.

I think I have Celiac disease. Either that, or I'm a hypochondriac. I'll keep you posted. I should be having the blood test sometime this week. It would be the end of the world, or thereabouts, because if I have it, I have to stop eating all things with gluten. Foods that contain gluten can be summed up in the following, easy to remember, phrase:

"Everything good."

Cup cakes, cookies, pancakes, waffles, bread, anything with oats (or wheat or rye or barley), anything with flour, BEER, donuts, cream of everything soups, casseroles, pasta.....

In other words, I may live longer, or it may just seem longer.

So, I did what any grown up would do - I made chocolate chip cookies. Because, you know, I may not be able to eat chocolate chip cookies much longer. And they're fantastic. Crunchy outside, chewy inside... They're honestly the best cookies I've ever made.

I am very sad about this. I hope I'm just being a hypochondriac.

I have like 14/16 symptoms - and you don't want to hear about most of them, but let's just say that they're digestive symptoms, and they're unpleasant. But the major ones that I've already been treated for separately, which can be indicators of Celiac's are asthma, depression, infertility, blood sugar problems, headaches, itchy skin, heartburn, fatigue.... Of course I DON'T get the one symptom I want - WEIGHT LOSS! And that weird tingly hands and feet thing I went to the doctor for last month? Yeah, that can be a symptom too. And my mom has Celiac disease. I'm hosed. I'm going to go get another cookie.

The kids are fine, but someone else is going to have to teach them how to bake. *sob*

Monday, January 14, 2008


Well, we finally got the Christmas tree down, so I felt like it was time to take down the blog's Christmas lights, too, and get a new header up. What do you think? I'm getting very artsy fartsy with FotoFlexer, aren't I?

Barbie, I'm loving your comments, and I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog!

MG drove me absolutely insane from the time BJ got home until she went to bed tonight. It was like someone fed her 6 cups of Cap'n Crunch for snack. She didn't stop talking the entire time, and she couldn't stand for me to pay attention to anyone else (mostly BJ, but Claire, too) for more than an nanosecond before she was crawling up my legs.

I think she gets jealous of the attention I pay BJ when he gets home, because her behavior generally takes a nosedive right around dinner time. Any suggestions on how to deal with this lovely new development?

She really had no excuse to act up, we went to the mall and played in the play area for more than two hours this morning. There were a bunch of hilarious kids. It's always interesting to watch the different parenting styles at the mall. One mom about ran MG down when her 15 month old escaped the play area. I was thinking, "Lady, it's the mall, where do you think he's going to go? You don't have to sprint..." but, well, whatever. Maybe he was faster than he looked. Maybe that's how she stays so thin...

The kids all had a great time running in circles and acting silly. One would've thought that she would have run off all the Cap'n Crunch, but I guess not. Claire is getting really quick on her feet, er... knees? MG never crawled like this - she army crawled forever, then really crawled for a couple days, and then she walked, so it's a little weird. MG was never fast. Claire is fast. Maybe I'll get thin.

So, which Mom was I at the mall? I was the one down on the floor reading to all the kids (not just mine). I was the one throwing Claire up in the air and making her giggle, and then giving her sloppy kisses. I was the one yelling, "Hitch up your britches!" at MG every eleven seconds. I was having fun, too. It was certainly better than sitting at home snapping at each other. It's hard to get around when it's cold, but that's no excuse for staying inside driving each other nuts.

It was just a matter of time...

It really was just a matter of time before someone from my hometown was nominated for a Darwin Award.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I can be taught!

There's a big brou ha ha going on here about Dr. Sears and attachment parenting and MomGuilt and so on. Because I have learned from previous experience, I am NOT going to comment over there.

But since y'all keep coming back, I guess you must have at least a moderate interest in what I might think, and so... Here's what I think about Attachment Parenting, Dr. Sears, etc.


I have two very different babies. Mary Grace Needs. She Needs attention, affection, love, touch, everything with a capital N. From the moment she was born, she was completely addicted to "the nurse." She would wake up whenever I tried to put her in the cradle or the crib. She needs almost constant stimulation and interaction, unless she's watching Mickey Mouse, in which case she's like, "Shut up and get out of my way, Mom, the Mouse is on." She is intense. She is demanding. She is (dare I say it?) difficult. Ok, not every day. Some days she's not difficult at all, but she is always challenging.

When Mary Grace was my only child, I thought that every baby Needed as much as she does. So, it made sense that the parenting method I used to survive (attachment parenting, in which you nurse on demand, co-sleep, and baby wear, among other things, but those are the holy trinity of AP) was the method I thought everyone should use. If I wasn't nursing her, sleeping in the same bed as her, or wearing her, she was screaming, for like the first 8 months of her life. Clearly, I thought, if all babies needed as much as MG, then any parent who didn't AP wasn't giving their child what s/he truly needed, and therefore sucked.


Then I met Claire. Claire sleeps. Claire sleeps so much that when she was new and sleeping in the bassinet, BJ and I would walk by and check, often, to make sure she was still breathing, because we couldn't believe that a baby would sleep that much. Claire entertains herself. She's perfectly happy to sit and watch the world (especially her fascinating big sister). Claire likes her father. MG didn't really warm up to BJ until she was bigger, mainly because he was not in possession of The Nurse. Claire, on the other hand, will get hurt and reach for him (which, to be honest, blows my mind after dealing with MG, but once I get over my initial, "HEY! I'm the mom! You want ME!" reaction, I'm glad to encourage). Claire will crawl away from someone to play with a toy by herself. Claire would bite me, then crawl away to play with something by herself if I tried to nurse her 24/7, whereas MG would still happily lie in bed and nurse all day if I'd let her (which I won't - it's safe to say, now, that she is officially weaned. Hallelujah!).

In other words, I would drive Claire insane if I tried to parent her the way I parented MG. We still co-sleep because I'm lazy and I don't want to get up in the night, but she starts the night in the crib - something MG didn't do until she was 12 months old, maybe older, it's hard to remember through the sleep deprivation. Claire will wean much earlier than MG did, because she's not a nurse addict. I wear her in the sling because I need my hands to wrangle MG, but she's just as happy in the cart or the stroller. I wear her because I want to, because I enjoy it, not because I have to.

In other words, different kids have different needs, and smart parents (am I flattering myself too much if I say good parents?) adapt their parenting style/philosophy to the kid they have.

You parent the kid you have. You give your kid what he or she needs to be happy and successful, insofar as you are able to do so. What works for my kid may or may not work for your kid. What works for your first kid may or may not work for your subsequent kids. So can we all stop judging each other and just get on with the business of doing what's best for our kids, ourselves, and our families?

And as for the "experts," I think it's a good idea to follow my rule - I only accept parenting advice from people whose kids I would want to live with. I might use other people (even people without kids) for ideas, or solutions I hadn't thought of on my own, but if someone whose kids are holy terrors (not that any of YOUR kids are holy terrors, I'm talking about foolish people who don't read my blog!) tells me that I'm wrongity wrong wrong, well, let's just say that I don't spend a lot of angst on their opinion. I don't know Dr. Sears' kids, or Dr. Ferber's kids, or Dr. Seuss' kids for that matter, and they don't know mine, so I reserve the right to completely ignore everything they say if it goes against my instincts, and you should too.

Bad News Bears

Well, it occurred to me this morning that something must have happened by now with those polar bears in Nuremberg, Germany's zoo that I told you about a few days ago... So, I looked it up.

There were two mothers. One had twins, and it appears that she ate them. There's just no gentle way to put that. Having been a new mother, I can tell you that I probably would have eaten Mary Grace, too, if I hadn't had so much help. Poor Mama Bear, whose life was turned upside down by these twins, their father nowhere to be found, the zookeepers totally absent, far from home, no other mothers around to teach her... I totally feel her.

The second mother, who had one cub, showed signs of rejecting her cub, too. Presumably realizing that they had a PR nightmare on their hands if three cubs were eaten at one zoo, the zoo officials intervened and took the cub from the second mother. Now she is depressed.

I hope that this stupid zoo loses their license. I hope that whatever regulatory body exists in Europe or Germany for the oversight of zoos steps in, shuts them down, and that the zoo keepers responsible for the deaths of the cubs are tried for animal cruelty.

You can read the rest of the details here.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


You might have noticed the new label - it's NATB - Not About The Babies. This post qualifies.

BJ's car lease runs out in a couple weeks. We need another car. I tried to talk him into getting a Segway, since the office is only a couple miles from here and that's really the only place he ever goes (except for Brandon's house and, occasionally, the lab) but he got really annoyed and rolled his eyes a lot.

I have a Honda Odyssey minivan. It is more than capable of hauling kids, dog, and crap around town.

We could, occasionally, use a pickup truck, but perhaps not often enough to own one. Especially when we have two good friends who have pickup trucks and are likely willing to let us use them for short excursions. Barring that, we can always rent one in a pinch. It's not like we're doing so much home improvement around here that we need it every weekend. Hell, the siding still isn't done from 3 summmers ago, the kitchen remains undone, the family room undid itself (it's leaking again)... and it's not because we lack a truck. We're just not spending every weekend at Lowe's, right?

Plus, if he gets a truck, he's not going to be able to take the babies with him anywhere without me and/or my van, unless he gets an extended cab, and those get pricey.

He was looking at the Toyota Highlander online, but then we realized that its a station wagon and not an SUV. Heh. Actually, they call it a "car based SUV." Yeah, that's a station wagon.

Part of the problem is that he really likes his car that he's driving right now (a Cadillac CTS), and doesn't want to give it up. But, it's going to be prohibitively expensive to keep it.

We've done fine with a van and a car, but for some reason he's looking at huge cars/SUVs to replace the car he has. I want him to get a Honda, but he doesn't listen. Mom's 5 year old Honda is paid off and is still worth $16,000. That's freaking awesome. I would love to have $16,000 worth of value in a used car 5 years from now. That's like money in the bank. Alas, too many of my relatives drive Hondas, and have told him to get a Honda, and now he's rebelling.

What kind of car should BJ get? What kind do you have? Do you love it?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Confidential to Mimi: YOU HAVE TO DO THIS!!!

Original story at Thanks to List of the Day for the link!

I'm a mean one...

"Whatchoo doin' Mommy?"

"I'm taking the ornaments off of the Christmas tree."

"Then you can stuff the tree up!"


She actually helped me take down the ornaments! She was really good, and gentle, and she didn't break anything. She did pull the little metal tops and hooks off of some of the balls, but that's no big deal. She thought she was helping.

They finally went down for nap around 4:45 pm. It's going to be a long night.

Week in Review

Thanks for all of your great suggestions about Disney World. Duly noted.

I also appreciate your tips and tricks for the plugged duct. I think it was the lecithin that did it, because I was unaware of the problem resolving. It must have just dissolved. Anyway, yay, and my boobs are back to normal. That officially makes them the ONLY normal part of me!

I'm fighting with MG right now over nap. I've had her asleep 3 times in the past hour and 45 minutes, and each time when I've put her down (time 1) or left the room (time 2 and 3) she's come down the stairs screaming at me. She never did sleep before I finally just gave up. I do not know what to do with this child. She is getting about 2/3 of the recommended amount of sleep for her age group, and NOTHING we do seems to have any effect. It makes me insane, because I store up my list of the 10,000 things I want to do while she's asleep (hello, our Christmas tree is still up). So I'll get Claire to sleep (usually a 10 minute process) and start the process with MG, and it's a 2 hour fight, and Claire wakes up and there goes my time to get stuff done, and MG's still effing awake and I just can't take it anymore. We've tried skipping nap altogether, to see if it makes her easier to put to bed at night, but then she just ends up being a little asshole for about 50% of the day, AND going to sleep at 10:30 AND getting up at 6:30 am. Letting her cry for hours and hours doesn't do any good. She doesn't ever give up. Removing privileges (today it was "If you take your nap we'll go to the library when you wake up, but if you don't we can't go,") doesn't help. That's way above her comprehension level. Now she's all, "You can be happy," and I'm saying, "You know what? If you want me to be happy you can march your little butt upstairs and take your nap!" and I do not like being that kind of person/mother.

She wants me to rock her in the rocking chair for the entire 90 minute duration of her nap. Failing that, she wants me to sit there and hold her hand (actually, she holds my index finger) until she wakes up. She uses the finger thing as a trip wire - if I let go, she feels it and rouses herself enough to scream at me, "YOU NEED TO HOLD MY HAND, MOMMY!" and then usually she'll demand a few rounds of "Twinkle Star" as punishment for trying to leave the room.

I probably am to blame for all this. In fact, I know I am. When I was pregnant I'd lay down with her and nurse her to sleep, then nap myself, so she got used to taking her naps with me. Bad Mommy. Bad habit. Co-sleeping is EVIL! (Of course, the only people who think that are the ones who don't have a vested interest in whether or not I ever sleep again, because if it were up to MG I would remain awake, holding and rocking her in the chair, for the rest of her life). But for God's sake, she's 2 and a half. Isn't it about time that she learned to sleep alone?

She just came over with a bunch of silk flowers and said, "Here Mama, flowers to make you feel better. Take a deep sniff. Thanks, Mama." It's so hard not to give in to that. I want to just take them both upstairs and lay down in the bed with them so we all can feel better. In fact, that's probably what I'm going to do, since I can't think of anything else. So, if the tree's still up in June, you will know why.

Sock it to me, Gentle Reader, what do I do?

Laugh of the Day

If you don't laugh at these, you need to check your pulse. My stomach still hurts...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

There's still time...

Nominations end tomorrow at 10:00 pm EST.

Opposites attract...

me: We need to move!
The farm where Woodstock was held in
1969 is for sale for 8 mil
BJ: eh
me: "Where do you live?"
"No, really."
BJ: eh
me: You're such a nerd.
If it was the Starship Enterprise you'd be all over it.
or Kirk's childhood home...
BJ: So would you - beam anywhere you need to be, threaten to vaporize anyone that pissed you off, food/clothes/toys right out of the replicator. yeah, Baby
me: 103 bucolic acres!
BJ: is that hippie acres?
me: Yes. Think of all the money we'll save on soap.
BJ: Kirk really doesn't hold much appeal for me
me: I'm so going to blog this...
Sent at 9:15 AM on Thursday

B.J. Austin

me: We need to move!
The farm where Woodstock was held in
1969 is for sale for 8 mil
Austin: eh
me: "Where do you live?"
"No, really."
Austin: eh
me: You're such a nerd.
If it was the Starship Enterprise you'd be all over it.
or Kirk's childhood home...
Sent at 9:13 AM on Thursday
Austin: you'd you - beam anywhere you need to be, threaten to vaporize anyone that pissed you off, food/clothes/toys right out of the replicator. yeah, Baby
me: 103 bucolic acres!
Austin: is that hippie acres?
me: Yes. Think of all the money we'll save on soap.
Austin: Kirk really doesn't hold much appeal for me
me: I'm so going to blog this...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

WFMW: Backwards Oh My Achin' Boob Day

In keeping with my recent new theme, I ask you, oh wise and powerful WFMWers...

How do you fix a plugged duct?

(I'm pretty sure I've wrung all the tips and tricks out of my friends, family, local health food store, and the internet, but you never know when that one random comment is going to be The Thing that fixes it, so I ask. Actually, I beg... But I'm trying to retain a little dignity here (hah!) ).

While you're here, please vote in my Disneyworld poll. ------>

Are you here for WFMW? Check out my other tips:

How to prevent disease with a handy new product (update, it worked - we never got sick!)
How to easily feed a crowd.
How to pack a smaller diaper bag.
How to make Mush McPuna.
How to organize your Christmas list.
How to breathe new life into your lamps with spray paint.
How to use calling cards to give the illusion that you have it all together.
How to use GCal (again) for menu planning.
How to save yourself time in the kitchen with a hot water tap.
How to tie your shoes if you have lollypop thumbs like me.
How to feel good about spending insane money at Christmas.
How to prevent dryer fires.
How to use Google Calendar to organize your family.
How to save a zillion dollars with the Magic Bullet.
How to quickly cool Mac & Cheese.
How to soothe a teething baby without whiskey - oops! I mean Tylenol.
How to do Time Outs correctly.
How to improvise a changing table.
How to get a baby and a toddler into the car.
How to keep your house decluttered with an old waitressing mantra.
How to find a great baby sling.
How to manage your grocery list online.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you again soon!

Visit Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer for more WFMW tips!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tee hee...

All our TVs are computers. It's a BJ thing. Anyway, just now we were sitting here watching Mickey Mouse's Once Upon a Christmas (distracting the kids, so we can get some work done), and something odd popped up on the screen. BJ noticed it and said, "Huh. Is the mouse on the floor?" Without missing a beat, MG said, "Yes!" and picked her Mickey Mouse doll up by the ear.

Technically correct, but not quite what he meant. She's so funny...

Finger lickin' good

I'm not even kidding - we had KFC for dinner. HAHA!

With a side of slaw...

At the moment, I have cabbage in my bra...

Does that make the pretty babies Cabbage Patch Kids? Hahahah... Do you think that's where that brand name came from?

The lady at the health food store (she's awesome) recommended a warm "drawing poultice" like potato or cabbage. I said, "Oh, well I can just run over to KFC..."

"You are not taking this at all seriously!" she said.

Oh, but I am. It is very serious. But like I told her, it's either laugh or cry.

The State of the Boobion

Holy God, this hurts. I can't even hold Claire on my left side, it hurts so badly.

The warm shower/hand compression combo didn't work, so I called the OB/GYN, and his nurse said to pump (and to call if it gets red or I get a fever). So, I borrowed my friend Karen's pump (you know you're good friends when you're sharing breast pumps), and continued with the heat and the pump.

No luck.

I'm going to try lecithin (1200 mg, 3 - 4 times/day, in case you're googling "my duct is plugged and I'm about to get out the melon baller and take care of it my damn self if it doesn't stop hurting now now now!" and you've come across this, is what Kellymom recommends, or was it Dr. Sears? Who cares, as long as I can do something...). I'm also going to try soaking it in warm water with epsom salts (isn't that what old people use on their feet? I hope I don't start smelling like old feet...) And next time she needs to eat, I'm going to put Claire on her back, hang over her, and nurse her, to see if a little gravity assist will help. I sincerely hope that she doesn't need to eat while we're out to lunch with Karen, because nursing in public is one thing, but putting the baby on her back on the table at the restaurant while hanging over her and nursing is a little indiscreet for my tastes.

The only other recommendations were lots of fluids (check), good diet (check), and rest (HAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!).

Thank GOD it's just BJ and I in our office, because if I worked for someone else I would have had to call off. (And remember, I have given birth naturally twice, and I was back at work 3 days after Claire was born. I have a high pain tolerance). Yes, it's that bad. This is ridiculous.

Stay tuned for further updates. And if you have any advice/suggestions/sympathy/stories about how you lived through this, please leave a comment!

Today lacks potential

This post is all about boobs. Bye, Dad!

For the first time in 2.5 years of nursing, I have a plugged duct. Well, that's not true, I've had them before, but I've been able to get rid of them easily. This one, not so much. So, what I mean is, for the first time in 2.5 years I have a *really* plugged duct.

So far using the rice bag, massage, and nursing haven't helped. Ack. What do I do??? Tylenol? Then what?? I do not need mastitis. That would be BAD.

I also got like no sleep. Claire is teething - she woke up twice before we even went to bed last night (she went to bed at 8, we went to bed at 11:15, so she's sleeping like an hour and a half at a time). There is no reason for you to think that this situation was corrected by us going to bed, it only got quieter because I was right there to nurse her all freakin' night, rather than having to go all the way upstairs to do it. Yuck.

And as if that wasn't enough, with the advent of a more reasonable bedtime, MG has decided to start getting up at zero dark thirty. I think it was 5:30 this morning, and that's just B.S. If she doesn't stop, we're going to make her bedtime 10:30 or 11 pm, just so I can get some sleep.

And she doesn't just wake up and lay there, oh no. She wakes up, comes in our room, and feels me up. She takes my nipple and rolls it between her fingers (just the very end of it) to wake me up. It makes me want to throw her out the window. It feels SO bad that it continues to feel bad for about 5 minutes after I scream at her "Stopitstopitstopit or I will beat you!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and she stops. It's HORRIBLE. Then she says, "I can pat the nurse," and just puts her hand on the non-nippular part of my boob. While this is better, it's still a boundary that I'm not real cool with (especially now that she's weaned, she really needs to just get over them already). So then I say, "Nonononono, leave my nurse ALONE!" and then she cries. Then she wants to lay on my arm in such a way that it would probably feel better if my shoulder went ahead and broke, already. Then she wants me to rub her back. Then she wants me to rub her feet.

Remember, this is the child that I spent two years crying over, I wanted her so bad. I could've spent all that time sleeping. I am such a moron.

I am going to hog tie her tonight, put her in bed, and listen to my iPod while she screams. I'm going to leave her there until 10 am tomorrow.

*sigh* No, I'm not, but I'm going to want to. And the best part? Allison's back today (YAY!) so I get no nap (BOO!). Maybe I'll go to a hotel and sleep for a few hours. Hell, who needs a hotel, I could totally sleep in the back of the van.

You know, I just might.

(Seriously, plugged duct advice will be greatly appreciated!!)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Lighten UP already!

Wow, I've been a downer. Sorry. The neighbor kids are over right now playing with my kids while their mom is at a meeting, and I'm practicing benign neglect, so I have a minute to lighten things up. I realized that I forgot to tell you this funny thing I read.

So, my mom (who amends that she's a fishitarian, because you can't cuddle a fish, not a vegetarian as I stated before) is a bit of a hippie, and after having a profoundly bad hospital experience when she gave birth to me, decided to have my brother and sister at home with a midwife.

You can't just put your afterbirth in the weekly trash, so instead she buried the placentas under apple trees in the back yard.

I read just recently, here, that the Navajo believe that if you bury the baby's placenta near your home, the baby will always return to you, and further, if you bury it near an object that symbolizes a certain profession, the child will grow up and do that.

Megan and Chuck live right next door to Mom - Megan lives in the house where the two of them were born, next door to where Mom lives now, and Chuck lives in the apartment in Mom's garage. And they're both teachers.

Ve have vays to make ze bears...

It's a bad time to be a polar bear.

First the whole global warming thing, and now this.

A zoo in Germany is letting three polar bear cubs starve because the mama bear doesn't have any interest in raising them.

(Sounds like Mama Bear needs a little Zoloft...)

I found very annoying (and probably poorly translated and taken out of context, but I'm still mad) quotes here.... including:
'We expect to be branded as being cruel to animals. The fact is in nature, if something goes wrong, it goes wrong,' he said. 'If you don't let the mothers practise, they'll never learn how to bring up their cubs.
Um, hello? A zoo is not "nature." It is about as far from a natural environment as polar bears can get. It really sounds like they're saying, "We don't want to go to all the trouble of raising these cubs by hand, so we're just going to blame 'nature' and move on." I mean, if they were truly worried about these cubs having a "natural" experience, wouldn't they have left them in the arctic???
Vera does come out of her cave occasionally but the cubs are crying loudly, and she walks back in when they do. If we were to keep checking, we would disturb them and make it more likely that something goes wrong.'
You've already disturbed them by moving them out of the arctic and putting them in a cage. Jeez, no wonder she needs Zoloft! I would, too, if you took me out of my natural environment and put me in a cage. Therefore, it is your responsibility to make sure they don't starve to death. They're "crying loudly." My heart breaks...
'Berlin Zoo did a terrific job hand-rearing Knut from day one. But we want to avoid Knutmania at all costs. If people spend hours queuing up to see a polar bear cub, there's something wrong. We've got a baby giraffe too, that's just as cute.'
Oh my God, are you kidding me? You're not going to feed the polar bears because you don't want the giraffes to feel like they're second rate? Seriously?? Everyone knows that polar bears and otters are the cutest things in the zoo. No one would line up to see a baby giraffe because they're boring. They just stand there and lick the trees.

Furthermore, Knut is probably the best thing that ever happened to the Berlin zoo. How much money have they made on admissions, souvenirs, etc. because people have gone to the zoo simply to see baby Knut? Anyone who wants to avoid "Knutmania" totally flunked marketing.
And on a larger scale, what's going to get people fired up about global warming more than showing them video of cute baby polar bears who will surely die if we don't start using reusable grocery bags and driving less? (My 2008 resolution is to stop using plastic bags - so far so good, I've only used 3 plastic bags, and that's because I didn't have enough reusable bags to hold all my stuff - more are on the way and should be here this week. Once the weather stops being hateful, I'm going to attach the trailer to the bike and the girls and I are going to bike around town instead of driving, too. I have big plans...). I'm telling you, polar bears are a powerful force. My mom has become a vegetarian because the best thing you can do on a micro level to help the environment is to stop eating meat. The amount of land and fuel that goes in to raising a cow so that it can become a cheeseburger is staggering. She did it for the polar bears and the penguins.

The lesson: Never underestimate the power of cute.

Now, somebody send me to Germany so I can feed those poor bears. I can nurse them. At least until they get teeth and claws.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

This is not a political blog...

This is not a political blog. If politics isn't your bag, you might want to hit "next" or that big X up in the corner or whatever, because I've been polishing up my soapbox, and I'm about to get suds all over the place.

Chances are that this is going to happen more than once or twice before November's election. Sorry. I'll try to restrain myself as much as I can, but for the love of Pete...

I need to vent about health insurance.

We're in a unique position, being self-employed. We probably know more about health insurance than the average consumer, because not only do we buy into our own plan, we had to go out and find the plan and research the options and do the leg work and all that jazz to begin with. Most people, when they are dealing with health insurance, have a binary choice - they either do or do not buy into their employer's plan. On the other hand, with the exception of the fact that very few insurance companies will write a policy for a two person group (for the purposes of our insurance BJ and I are separate families), we were able to shop the entire free market of health insurance... and let me tell you, there is NOTHING "free" about the health insurance market.

Here are my main complaints, which come from watching part of the republican debate:

1) Health savings accounts are NOT a panacea. (Bonus points if you get the pun!)

We have an HMO. Our insurance, for the family, costs roughly $15,000 a year. (It was $300 a month when BJ and I started with this company in December of 2004. Turning thirty and having two kids really screwed us over, cost wise. We caused the biggest yearly increase our agent had seen in 25 years of working for the insurance company we go through...). We priced health insurance again last fall, including HSAs, because we knew we were being hit with another big increase (the increase was from $1000 to $1350 a month, but we increased our deductible to make it more affordable, so that brought it back down to about $1200 a month). It turned out that it would've cost us MORE to get the High Deductible Health Insurance (HDHI) that you must have in order to qualify for an HSA (in other words, you can't just start an HSA because it's Tuesday and you feel like it, and then self-fund your health care, which would probably be cheaper and most cost effective for us if it weren't like playing roulette... you have to have this HDHI as well), and it would cover LESS than our HMO covers. A lot less. We would've been paying out of pocket (or out of the HSA, which works exactly like a bank account with a debit card and everything, except the money goes in pre-tax) for office visits, well baby care, everything except like cancer and stuff, and we would've been paying more for the privilege. Um, sorry, but anyone touting HSAs as an answer either A) hasn't done the math, B) is as stupid as our president, or C) is full of shit.

And kids, HMOs, in general, aren't even "great" insurance. We've been happy with ours, but it's not like we can just go in and get all the elective everything we want for nothing. And it doesn't cover dental or vision, either. It's not Blue Cross/Blue Shield. We don't qualify for BC/BS because they won't do a two person group! We'd have to hire another full time employee in order to qualify, and then we'd have to give them insurance, too.

2) Politicians are COMPLETELY out of touch with how much health care costs.

One guy (and I couldn't tell you which because all old white republican men look alike to me) was giving an example of a scenario and said, "So let's say that you have to go to the hospital and have a $1000 procedure done." I'm paraphrasing. BJ thinks it was Mitt Romney. Anyway, the next guy to speak (BJ says it was Mike Huckabee) very correctly said to him, "You can't even get a Kleenex in a hospital for $1000 these days!" and that is SO true. The fact that the first dude said $1000 and not $10000 just proves that he has no freaking clue what it's really like out here in the real world.

3) The myth that people without health insurance could have it if they wanted it, but they have "opted out."

This is fresh out of the bull. I can't imagine anyone who was making enough money to keep food on the table and a roof over the head saying, "You know, I could take this money and put it toward keeping myself and my family safe in the event of injury or illness, but instead I'm going to 'opt out' and trust that the government will take care of me if something bad happens." Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. First of all, it's not easy to get the government to take care of you - you have to be really poor, and you have to jump through a lot of hoops. It's not something that is just magically do-able for anyone making $100,000 a year (which is the level that the various old white republicans kept throwing around)

It's really like saying, "Well, we don't need to run power lines to those folks over there, because they've opted out of having electricity..." I only know of one person who has done that, and she's batshiat crazy. And here's the irony - crazy people qualify for Medicaid. Everyone else wants health insurance.

Remember, it costs $15,000 a year for our little family of 4, and we get a break because we're a "group." Private insurance (not through an employer, not a "group") costs a fortune and covers squat. Ask me some time about the $500 a month BJ and I spent on MEGA and what we got for it. The answer rhymes with pack spit.

(See, this is why this is not a political blog. I really can't talk politics without swearing a blue streak...)

For us normal people (read: not politicians) $15,000 falls well over the threshold of "discretionary income." $15,000 is the difference between being able to, oh, I don't know, EAT or not. We don't just throw around $25,000 an hour to go to Jerusalem like some people do. Aside from my car and my house, I don't have a single thing that cost $15,000. I'll bet you don't, either. $15,000 is a damn lot of money. It's not like we (those of us in or around the $100K bracket that they were talking about) sit around and say, "Gee, you know, I was going to buy health insurance this year, but instead I'm going to go out and buy a Segway so I can chase the mailman..." It's 15% of our income. If you put it on the scale they're used to, that's like $2,500,000 for Giuliani (and I really hope he doesn't win, because A) I don't want to learn to spell Giuliani, and 2) I don't want to hear "9/11" every day for the next 4 years). It's like $5,640,000 if you're Mitt Romney (and I do not want a president named Mitt, either, that is not a respectable-guy name. It's a piece of baseball equipment). In other words, $15,000 is Real Money to us, guys. Not discretionary money. Not something that you'd just spend on Cheetoes and Pay Per View in a year, if it were a choice between that and health insurance. Dur.

And remember, that $15,000 a year we pay is a lot LESS than we'd pay if we had "private" insurance (the big "Free Market" answer that Republicans love). It's a steal, really, even though it's a small fortune, even though it's more than we made the first year we were married (and we've only been married 6 and a half years).

4) Self-employed people are hosed.

When they talk about the 43 million people in this country who don't have health insurance, they aren't talking about poor people (they have Medicaid). They aren't talking about retired people (they have Medicare). They aren't talking about working people (they, mostly, have health insurance through their employers). They are talking about self-employed people. You know, all of those innovative, dedicated, brave, determined people upon whose blood, sweat, and tears this great nation of ours was built. They're talking about us, and the people who work for us. Because it's damn near impossible for a lot, and I do mean a LOT of small business owners to obtain and afford health insurance for themselves and their employees. I am convinced that it was actually a minor miracle that we found the coverage we did. I didn't think it could be done, and I was actually bitching to my accountant about it, and she referred me to her friend Deb, who was able to find us that Holy Grail - the Two Person Group.

Oh, and we pay more in taxes than un-self-employed people do, too. And BJ works 80 hour weeks, routinely. Why do we do this again? Oh, yeah, we did it so we could stay close to home. You really should feel guiltier about not coming down here more often, considering all that we go through to stay close to you, and you know who you are!! I digress. The fact is that the American economy really, really needs self-employed people, and it's about time we started feeling the love.

I really like what Mitt Romney did in his state (even though he has a stupid name) with making all the uninsured people into a "group" of their own, and allowing them to reap the benefits of being a "group," which lowered their cost and insured them. I think he said that they insured 300,000 people for $200 per person per month or something. Sign me up. (If you don't start visiting more, we're going to move to Massachusetts or New Hampshire or wherever the hell that happened! So there!!) That's smart. That would work. That may just win him my vote, unless Barack gets the democratic nomination because I'm an Obama girl.

Anyway, dragging this post back on topic, here's a picture of my cute kids.

We're doing it for the chillllldddreeennn... The really really expensive children.