Monday, August 31, 2009

Jill's Shower Pictures

I finally got the battery recharged in my camera, and here are my favorite photos from Jill's shower on Saturday.

Doesn't she have that serene maternal glow?

I may get in trouble for this one, but it's the best shot of Jill's belly from the side. She's due on October 17. Alexander is going to be a big, healthy boy! Poor Jill has to really watch what she eats due to gestational diabetes. I know some of you readers have had GD, too, so leave your best tips and sympathy in the comments.

Mimi and Susan.

The giant gift that Megan and I brought. It's as wide as it is tall. I had to carry that enormous box up the stairs to Mary Beth's apartment. That's exactly what I get for being overly competitive. We also got her one of those high chairs that hangs off of the table, a couple books for the baby, and "Taking Care of Your Child from Birth to Age 5." Since Jill lives in Missouri, that's as close as we can get to babysitting, most of the time. Although, she could totally drop him off here on the way to Grammaland when he's a bit older!
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Notes from the Compound

I am in Grammaland, completely without children! I came up for my Bonus Sister Jill's baby shower. She's due in October with a little boy - Alexander Eyi - who will be the first Korean baby in the family. Ha ha.

The shower was delightful. I got to tell Allison's mom, "Thanks for the car!" in person. Seriously, Allison having wheels has shaved a good 40 minutes off of my day, and never before has someone been so grateful that someone gave someone else a car. I can't even tell you.

We laughed, we cried, we ate chicken salad. I think there's a law that chicken salad must be served at all shower related events. Is it just me, or is chicken salad a staple where you live, too?

The best part of the food was the walking taco - you get a fun sized bag of Fritos, open it up and smash the chips, then you add taco meat, cheese, sour cream, salsa, lettuce, and onions (if you're feeling tootsy - I wasn't) and then you eat it with a fork. HILARIOUS! And it isn't messy so long as you remember to crunch up your chips. Mimi didn't, and she's still wearing walking taco.

Showers always make me feel competitive. I have to show up with the biggest present! (Julie in Detroit - I'm looking at you). So Mimi and I went in on the Super Jumbo Baby Entertainment Machine thing that Jill registered for. It was ENORMOUS. Little did we know that Mary Beth lives in the upstairs condo. The joke was on me. Should've gone with the gift card.

I'm also competitive when it comes to shower games. Mimi kicked my butt at the one where you can't say "baby" or you have to give up your clothespin. I came back, though, by dominating the unscramble-the-baby-related-word game. All those hours of playing online games finally pay off! I won a cute basket with hand soap and a couple of hand towels. Mimi and I tied the nursery rhyme completion competition, but we did not come in first. That glory went to three other gals (they totally cheated - hee!).

Now Mimi and I are sitting on her porch, blogging and enjoying the quiet and wondering what debauchery wholesome activities we should get ourselves into tonight. Trey has gone to an Indy car race in Illinois, and BJ is at home with the pretty babies. What to do, what to do? Sit here and blog, or go out and find some trouble to get into?

E-mail me if you know of any Grammaland events taking place this evening! I've also got my phone, Facebook friends. Hook a girl up!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

...And Now FedEx Hates Me

Remember at BlogHer when I won a full set of Michelin tires? It was fortuitous, because I needed new tires. I didn't really know how badly I needed new tires until the following weekend, when I drove up to Grammaland. Any time I went over 70 mph my car shook like it was trying to rattle itself in half. It was so worrisome that I called a tire company in Valpo from the road and said, "HALP! I CAN HAZ ALIGNMENT?" and they said, "Well, crazy LOLCats lady, our aligner is gone for the day, but come in anyway and we'll see what we can do for you..."

It turned out that my tires looked like shredded wheat. Steel belted radials are great, but you don't want to be able to see them - trust me. They said, "We can't let you drive out of here on these tires - they're not safe." This is not something you want to hear when you've just spent two hours on the freeway with your two kids in the car with the unsafe tires. I said, "Well, I'm not going to buy a new set of tires, I just won a new set of tires! Let's call Michelin and see if they can help..."

So the manager spent 20 minutes on the phone with Michelin, but they'd never heard of me or BlogHer or any promotion. In retrospect, it was probably a PR company that handled the giveaway, not Michelin itself.

I tried to talk them into giving me the new Michelin tires on credit. "I know I don't live here, but I know everyone in town..." and I proceeded to name drop like a Hollywood gossip columnist, telling them who I was related to, and how, and how surely they knew my father-in-law, I'm sure he gets all his tires here... and my uncle is ... and my mom is ... and they're all prominent community members. I swear I'm not trying to scam you out of tires! They didn't buy it (and thank goodness...).

The Grammaland Tire Company sold me a couple of temporary tires for the front ones (which were the worst) and admonished me to get myself some real tires ASAP. They said if I brought the temporary tires back, they'd give me some of my $60 back, which was super nice of them. Ever since I've been eagerly checking the mail waiting for a gift certificate for new tires to arrive.

This morning Max started barking like a crazy person. I went to the door (in my jammies) and saw a Fed Ex truck and a delivery person with something large and round in his grip. "What weirdness did BJ order from Amazon, now?" I thought. I opened the door and saw a stack of new Michelin tires on my front porch.

I started cracking up, and told the delivery driver that I was expecting a gift certificate, not a full set of tires! He very kindly offered to put them in the car for me, so that I could take them somewhere to have them put on. I ran back in to get shoes and keys, and went back into the front yard in my jammies to open up the van. "I'll bet you see all kinds of interesting stuff in your job," I laughed, while thanking goodness that I had worn shorts and a t-shirt to bed instead of some naughty nightie.

And that's why FedEx hates me. Because not only do I get ridiculous heavy things sent to me, but I don't even have the decency to get dressed before I open the door!

My neighbors probably aren't thrilled, either.

It worked out really well that they arrived today, though, because I'm headed to Grammaland on Saturday for my bonus sister's baby shower, and I can drop the car off at the tire company before the shower, have them install the new tires and credit me for the temporary tires, and then just pick the car up after the shower. Hooray!

Thanks Michelin! Thanks Grammaland Tire Company! Thanks FedEx, for having drivers who are good sports about stay-at-home-moms who aren't yet dressed at 10 am!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

She's Back!

Here's another video featuring the shiniest-headed mom in the blogosphere, thanks to 5 Minutes for Mom.

I am totally carrying powder in my purse next year.

In other less-shiny news, Mary Grace has a fever and a terrible cough. Her fever was 103.5 yesterday, an hour AFTER a dose of Tylenol that I gave her because at that time it was 102.2, so I spazzed, thinking, "Pneumonia!" and rushed her to the doctor's office where it was pronounced "Just a virus," and we were sent on our way with instructions to keep up with Tylenol and Ibuprofen and Robitussin and to please not spaz anymore.

But wait - isn't pneumonia also a virus?

I don't understand how a kid can be so sick at home, and be so much better at the doctor's office. Seriously, walking through the door is like a magical cure. That's the main reason, aside from Swine Flu, that I think we need to bring back house calls - I don't think doctors see how kids are actually behaving when we take the kids to them. She was lethargic at home, she was at about 85% function at the doctor's office. So, they see her playing and talking and they're like, "This is not a sick kid," and I'm all, "But if you'd seen her half an hour ago..."

I'm going to start making my doctor watch videos of how my kids are actually behaving at home.

I also think I need to get a stethoscope and an otoscope. Surely there are pictures online of what infected ears look like, and maybe even .wav files of what infected lungs sound like. I could save myself a LOT of money.

I really should've gone to medical school.

Dr. Shiny

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Living in a college town is amazing. There is always something interesting going on. We've gone to plays, concerts, comedy shows, lectures, outdoor festivals, sporting events... The students bring such great energy to the community. Our hometown is vibrant and alive with youth and optimism.

Of course, like everything, it's a mixed blessing. Thousands of freshmen and dozens of one-way streets lead to a lot of car accidents. Walmart is a complete zoo and will be for a couple of weeks (so we do our best every year to stock up before the kids come back!).

Heather, over at Little Fiddly Bits, said:
Not only have several thousand freshmen arrived who've never driven in this city before, there are a few hundred students from abroad who have likely never driven in this country before. Campus will be an interesting place to GO NOWHERE NEAR for a few weeks, until things settle down a bit.
The population of our town doubles every year in August, and then halves every year in May. Summer is just long enough to get used to the quiet, the lack of traffic, the not having to worry about when the football game is starting... and then fall arrives and we're surprised all over again with the business of it all.

You'd think we'd be used to it - BJ's been here for 15 years, and I'm going on 11!

But the very best part - better than Homecoming, better than football season, better than a new schedule at the auditorium, better than the bustle, MUCH better than all the wrecks that will inevitably happen on our once sleepy streets....


Allison has been watching our kids since her freshman year. She started college when Mary Grace turned one, and started watching her a few hours a week while I worked. Then Claire came along, and once she got too big to go to the office with me, Allison kept her too.

It has been a long summer without her. A long summer of juggling and constantly feeling like I'm behind at work and imposing on my friends and relatives for babysitting.

I have to tell you about Allison, because in all the time I've been blogging, I don't think I've ever embarrassed her by writing about her sung her praises. Allison grew up next door to my aunt (my mom's sister) and watched my cousins when they were little. Her mom is great friends with my bonus mom - they owned a business together for a long time. So, even though I didn't know her when she arrived as a freshman, I knew enough people who trusted her that I felt like I could trust her, too.

I was right. In the three years that Allison has been watching the kids, she has not ONCE said one negative word about them or their behavior. Not once. She hasn't ever said, "They were rotten today!" or "They fought like cats and dogs!" or "They drove me nuts!" even though I know my kids are perfectly capable of all three. She has the kindest heart and the gentlest spirit. We have been SO blessed to have someone we trust to take care of our kids. She has arranged her schedule, semester after semester, so that she could be here. She has watched the kids grow. The kids absolutely love her - almost as much as I do!

I almost cried with relief when she arrived yesterday. And as I drove away, I didn't have one single twinge of guilt, because I knew she would take excellent care of them, as she always has. I knew they'd have a great day, like they always do.

I can't tell you how lucky we are to have a caregiver we trust.

Now it's her senior year, and I'm not sure what we're going to do if she graduates and leaves. Is it selfish of me to hope that she attends grad school here? Just get my kids into Kindergarten, Allison, before you leave. None of this would work without you.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Typical Weekend Morning

What wouldn't this guy do to make his girls happy?

Claire's got a terrible cough, but seems to be feeling better. I still feel pretty crummy, but I'll be fine after I've showered, I think. So far (knock wood) MG and BJ don't seem to have whatever Claire and I have.

And, for those who asked (Mimi), you can see what was painted in the kitchen in this picture. That backsplash used to be the salmon-that-was-supposed-to-be-terracotta color, and now it is off-white again (as it should be).

It would be cool to tile the whole thing - we have tile for behind the stove, we just haven't gotten around to installing it yet. But, for now, the off-white works.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Under the Weather

Claire and I have colds. BJ is just tired. MG is just bored. Poor us!

The Big Reveal

It was just like walking onto the set of an HGTV show when I got home Thursday. Even though it wasn't completely done, it was such an enormous change. It looks SO much better! If you want to know what it looked like before, just picture everything in off white (or go find old pictures - I can't even stand to look at them anymore).

That large painting might have to move. I'm not sure if the blue mat goes with the "Silvermist" walls. It doesn't look that bad in this picture, but it kind of looks odd in real life.

The weird thing about the paint color is that it looks greener over by the green chair, and bluer over by the blue-matted picture.

It's really hard to get a good picture that shows you what it actually looks like. The only thing that matters is that it looks SO MUCH BETTER. And all of the gawdawful orange (that was supposed to be terracotta) is gone. Hallelujah!
The white trim really pops! I need to repaint the front door and the door to the garage. Maybe I'll do that today while BJ and the kids are at a party. I have a cold so I'm skipping it - sorry Jane!

What do you think?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Soapy Explanation? And the Winner!

In the comments, Zoe said:
Do you think maybe the migraines and the soap taste you've been getting are related. I know I sometimes get smells that aren't really there stuck in nose before I get a migraine. It's something to consider.
Which got me to thinking, and this may be TMI for all you dads, brothers, and uncles in the audience, so hit "next" or that little red X now... My migraines have always been at the beginning and the end of my period, and darned if that soapy taste didn't start and end (yes, it's gone - and I didn't even have to eat the jalapenos my neighbor, Chelle, brought down to "cleanse my palate," thank goodness!) at the same time as my "monthly visitor."

Weird. I've had migraines my whole life (since I was 5 - prior to the hormonal ones, I got them due to hypoglycemia - I still do, but rarely), and I've never detected any soapiness. Although the change may have to do with having my IUD removed or something. I will definitely pay more attention next month.

And now we all know that I'm not pregnant.

The water company is coming out to test the water today, and I'm not inclined to cancel it because a) it took a whole week to get them out here and b) who knows - there could still be a problem, but I really think Zoe may have solved the mystery. After they test the water, I'm planning on getting a replacement filter for our kitchen sink, too. It's about time to change it, anyway, and that could also have been the cause. I doubt it, though, because it was just me. I'll probably also switch to a more natural dishwasher soap, just because.

They did tell me that they test the water daily, weekly, and monthly for various things, so I feel pretty confident in our local water supply - especially now that I know they're filtering out the rust. We had very rusty water. They just installed new filters a couple of months ago. I wonder if we'll notice a difference.

In other news, the paint looks FABULOUS, and if you're local to me I'd be happy to share my painter's e-mail address - just e-mail me. He's finishing up today, and I'll definitely be posting pictures soon.

My lovely mother-in-law came down yesterday to take care of the kids, and she cleaned! She even had the kids washing windows - ha ha! So with all this free time, I've got dinner started (a free-range "happy" chicken from my friend Angie is thawing in the sink - yes I'm changing the water every 30 minutes, and yeast rolls are thawing and rising in the oven). I think once the water guy has been here, the girls and I are going to go find a corn truck. It's nearly the end of sweet corn season, and I really don't feel like I've taken full advantage of our location this year.

Using I picked a number between one and ten, for the ten comments you left on my giveaway post, and I got 7 - which is what I would have picked without because I always pick 7, so our winner is Liz, who said I smell like cheese. Hahah!

Liz - I left a comment on your blog. Email me!

We can all be winners, though! I just ordered a gift for a friend from Little Alouette. Their prices are so reasonable, and the toys are so cute. I promise, they won't give you or your kid splinters, Jenny, any more than you get splinters from your kitchen table!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Big Day!!

Don't you hate those random, disjointed posts full of bullet points? Yeah, me too.
  • The girlies and I went to the state fair today with Bumpa and Gramma Susan. We ate lots of fried things. It was hot, then it rained and we were cool for about 11 seconds, then the sun came out again and I was literally steaming while waiting in line for a lemonade.
  • When you put "literally" in italics, it means that you actually mean literally. People abuse that word.
  • Ditto for "actually."
  • Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the guy I found on Craigslist (did I even tell you this story? How I've wanted to repaint my living room for SIX AND A HALF YEARS but we never have the time and we suck at drywall and the nails were coming out of the wall, so I decided to hire someone to do it for us, and I found someone on Craigslist and was pretty sure he was a serial killer until he showed up and he was really cute and professional and friendly and did I mention cute and about 20 years old? And I arranged for my dad come over and my neighbor come check on me to make sure he didn't stab me, but it turns out that of the two of us, I was actually the creepier person in the transaction, and yet he's painting a significant percentage of our house for $400? Yeah. So if you're local and you need painting, I've got your hook up) was painting my house in Sherwin Williams' "Silvermist" - which BJ hates.
  • I always get a lot of hits when I mention Sherwin Williams' Silvermist. I don't understand why.
  • It could be because dorks like me would rather Google paint colors than actually paint.
  • Yes, I'll post pictures when it's done.
  • Yes, if BJ hates it, he is welcome to re-paint.
  • By himself.
  • If he had his way, everything would be white.
  • That came out wrong. He's not racist, he just likes his paint to lack tint.
  • ANYWAY, I had a migraine this morning, and I had deja vu about seventeen times today, which now has me wondering if migraines and deja vu are somehow related, and so I have to Google that.
  • I kind of feel like I already have.
  • I'm really excited because I just found two really old friends from College 1.0 on Facebook - one of whom might as well be named "John Smith" so it was lucky that I found him through the first guy.
  • It's the guy I wrote the dirty limericks with in my Endangered Languages class.
  • Did you enter my contest? I'm going to get around to drawing a winner eventually.
  • I kind of feel like I already have.
  • The girls were SUPER good at the fair. I didn't lose anyone. Not even a little. It wasn't crowded at all, either, which was really nice.
  • It took many hours to catch up on all my social media today.
  • It wasn't worth it. Bloggers? You were totally boring today.
  • Except Cate, go read Cate's post about how she's changing the world, one cabinet member at a time.
  • OH! And except for the Olive Garden in Michigan City, Indiana which treated a woman like crap for breastfeeding. They are now on My List.
  • There is no getting off of my list.
  • Just ask US Airways.
  • The Olive Garden, and I say this as a former employee, needs to stop pretending that it's a nice restaurant, and by nice I mean "snooty." Seriously, Olive Garden, you're Applebee's without the shit on the walls. Get over yourself.
  • Actually, there is shit on the walls, but it's Italian shit instead of "Americana" shit. Big diff.
  • Italian != classy.
  • That sounds racist, too. But I swear I'm not. I just like my pasta without pretension.
  • Italians are every bit as capable of being classy as everyone else, but they're not automatically classier just because they happen to be Italian.
  • And besides that, a woman should feel as free to breastfeed in a classy restaurant as she does at Applebee's. After all, it's a right protected by law in the state of Indiana.
  • Trust me, I checked.
  • Really, we should all be eating at home, haven't you heard there's a recession on?
  • And that fair food will screw up your digestion, and give you insomnia. Trust me.
  • I kind of feel like you already did.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'm Not Here - Little Allouette Giveaway!

Since I'm off having fun, I thought we'd do a little giveaway today.

My friend Amy and her husband hand-make wooden teethers for babies, and they're adorable. If you have a baby in your life, your baby needs a teether.

And let's face it - all the stuff in the news the last year or two about plastics and BPA and how it causes everything from obesity to cancer? Scary. Very scary.

Amy's toys are 100% safe and natural. They use flax seed oil from Whole Foods that is certified organic to finish the wood. They shape and sand each piece by hand.

Her website is here and her Etsy store is here. Go poke around. Then come back and leave a comment - say something in French (or tell me what your favorite design is) and be sure to include an e-mail address. Amy will send one winner a hand-made, 100% natural teether. It's that easy!

I'll draw a winner in a couple of days! Good luck!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Soapiness, Continued

The water quality guy from the water company called today, so I didn't have to go all Erin Brokovich on them, and he is coming out Friday to take a water sample.

Apparently a new filtration system just went online 2 months ago, which is filtering out some of the rust in our water. It had considerable rust before... Some customers have apparently reported a change in the flavor of the water since - not necessarily to soapy, but they've noticed a difference. Perhaps what I'm detecting isn't soapiness, but an absence of rust.

My favorite suggestion so far is to swear a lot to counteract the fact that God must be washing my mouth out with soap. Also, changing to a phosphate-free dishwasher soap (our current soap does, in fact, contain phosphates - what are phosphates, anyway?).

Big outing tomorrow, so I may not post until Thursday. I'll try to do a few mobile pictures if I can.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Dead fish floating in Palmolive Aquarium bottleImage by renaissancechambara via Flickr

Well, the doctor is officially flummoxed. The Chem 7 came back completely normal (hahah - I'm completely normal, and now I have proof) so his nurse left a message saying, "Um, yeah, if you want to make an appointment you can, but we have no idea. The doctor is interested in knowing if you figure anything out... definitely have the water company test your water."

I had told them that I'd called the water company and strongly suggested that someone needs to come out and take samples of our water and make sure it's not killing me. They asked me if my neighbors had noticed anything. As if anyone talks to their neighbors anymore! I told them, and I quote, "Well, my neighbors read my blog, and no one has said anything." I'll bet that's the first time they've heard that.

Neighbors? Are you soapy?

The water company has about 24 hours before I start getting irritating. The customer service rep referred my complaint to the water quality people and is having them call me. Like I have time to sit around, tasting soapy, waiting for them to call. I don't think so. I know where their office is - it's not at all far from here. I may just show up and threaten to French kiss people (so they can taste the soap too - get your minds out of the gutters!) until my water gets tested.

BJ probably won't love that plan.

In other news, my whites have never been whiter!

I'm trying this new thing called Zemanta that helps you "enrich" your blog content with helpful pictures and links to articles about what you're writing about. Many of the suggested pictures don't make much sense. The one of the French kiss is particularly unhelpful.

French KissImage via Wikipedia

I'll bet you a buck they bumped noses and that's why he's smiling.

I'm also getting a lot of pictures of dead animals washed up on beaches. Scary that dead animals are triggered by key words like "water quality." What does that say about our confidence in our environment?

Nothing good, that's for sure.

I'm not sure why this picture of Water Street in Chicago is showing up, but it's a cool picture:

General view of part of the South Water Street...Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

Perhaps Zemanta thinks that the reason my mouth tastes soapy is because I drink cheap beer?

Oh internet, is there any problem you can't solve?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Look at me and my shiny forehead:

(um... I'd had a few drinks - not bad for a drunk chick, huh? I'm going to go find some powder).
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Nobody Loves Me

So last week I posted that I was pretty sure the soap in my mouth was going to kill me, and I didn't post all weekend, and NO ONE wrote to make sure I'm still alive. Slackers.

My doctor ordered a Chem 7, which I guess checks various (seven?) different things in your blood. None of those things are fluoride, though, so I'm not sure what he thinks we're going to accomplish. I think he just likes to punish me for calling up with random problems by making me go get stuck with a needle. "What, it's Amy again? Seriously? She thinks she has prostate cancer? Well, send her for another blood test - that'll make her stop calling."

I was finally able to go get the blood drawn this morning. He ordered the test on Thursday. I knew that the kids wouldn't do well in the lab, so I didn't bother trying with them.

Yes, the soap taste is still there. It's gone from Palmolive to a lighter bouquet, somewhere in the Dove family, but it's still there, driving me nuts.

I've tried to kill it with ice cream, but that didn't work.

The thing is, if I weren't a mom, I wouldn't care. But if suddenly there's too much sodium fluoride in our water for me, there's certainly too much for the pretty babies, so I'd better take it seriously. (Sodium fluoride poisoning is the only explanation I've been able to find via Google).

Anyway, after BJ got home (finally!) last night, I went and saw The Time Traveler's Wife. The movie was very good, but I was a little annoyed that it deviated from the book at the end. If you haven't read the book, you really should - it's fantastic.

The kids and I went up to see my sister in Valpo. I had KILLER PMS, which explains all the screaming last week (the kids were behaving less well than normal, but my reaction was influenced by my hormones, and BJ's absence created a perfect storm of suck). I'm feeling much better now, after the liberal application of wine and Mexican food.

Mary Grace's teacher is coming in 1 hour and 45 minutes to meet her, and my house is a disaster, and the kids aren't dressed.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Guest Post: Don't Be Mean To New Moms

This is a (heavily edited) version of an e-mail I recently received. I've removed all the specifics, but this new mama needs to get something off her chest, and as always, I am here to help. She says:
Don’t be mean to new moms…they’ve got enough to try and adjust to!

You wouldn’t believe what I’ve been through. It started with one female relative telling me that I need to dress nice and care about my appearance so that my husband wouldn’t get a "wandering eye." She said that I needed to start caring again, wear make up everyday and buy some high heels and some cuter clothes. Next, a completely different female relative basically walked in the door and started her tirade, it followed a similar vein. However she started by giving me a workout video. And then she gave me a dress in a too-small size. She’s like, “Just save it, after you do the video, it’ll be perfect!!” Then she tells me that she and other female relatives have been talking about how I really need to go on a shopping spree and she said the same damn thing, “You don’t want your husband to start getting a wandering eye!”
(Amy here - this is the part that broke my heart, because this reader is a BEAUTIFUL person, whose body has just done an amazing thing - it created LIFE - and she doesn't deserve to have people making her feel this way...)
Do I look that bad? I mean, you’ve seen me, I know I like to wear jeans and I frequently put my hair up in a messy pony tail, but am I so ugly and fat that my entire family, on both sides are intervening to try and help me?

I was crying a lot and then I realized that I had a baby a scant 5 ½ months ago, I’ve gotten NO sleep, and even less “me” time. If my husband leaves me right now because I’m not as beautiful as I used to be then HE’S a bastard and I deserve better.
(Amy again, butting in to say AMEN, SISTER!)
I know that fitness and looking nice are important, but I am one of those weird people that think that love shouldn’t care what you look like, and should understand that I’m adjusting to being a new mom and that my body is a milk factory. That I’m not a movie star and I have to work and I don’t have time to pay a personal trainer to make me pretty while the baby is with a nanny. I live in the real world, and in this world I believe people should be nice to new moms. I would NEVER tell someone who had a baby recently that they look like shit. It’s just adding on to their already mounting anxiety of a million and one things. It’s not like I don’t see my stretch marks, my frizzy ponytail, etc. I see them, but leave me be! At least for the first year. It’s just too much.

It’s the kind of thing that will push women from PPD to PP Psychosis. I mean, I need a little break from my female relatives' criticism, and especially from the criticism of my husband's female relatives!

I haven’t told my husband about this, mostly because part of me is afraid that he would say, “Well, sweetie, it might be time to hit the gym.” And then with no champion, no white knight that loves me if I’m thick or thin, I might just really hit my ultimate breaking point.

Anyway, I know it’s a little dramatic, but it’s true. I thought if you haven’t done a blog like that it might be a good topic.
Ok, seriously. Don't you just want to hug the stuffing out of this poor girl? She's trying to adjust to motherhood, raise her first child, work a full time job, recover from PPD, and deal with an overbearing family, meanwhile the people who should be building her up and telling her YOU CAN DO IT are tearing her down.

You know who is in charge of the fitness industry? The food industry. I promise that if we looked hard at where the fitness industry came from, we would find food industry executives who said things like, "Gee, we can't make any money off of this ice cream... Let's sell exercise videos with women who have genetically perfect bodies (or surgically modified bodies - whole NEW industry!) so that people who eat our ice cream will hate themselves and buy our videos. Then, because they're SOUL CRUSHINGLY BORING and HIDEOUS they won't do the videos, which will cause them to hate themselves and eat more ice cream.

People, that's smart marketing.

My guest blogger needs to learn a phrase, and it rhymes with "Fut the huck sup!" Barring that, she needs to grab a page out of Miss Manners' book, the one about how to respond to rude and/or annoying and/or hurtful comments. I think a well-placed, "Why would you say such a thing to me?" would go a long way toward correcting the appalling behavior of her well-meaning but cruel (and thin) female relatives.

In a similar situation, I think I would've said, "Well, my husband and I are planning to be together until we die, so getting him used to these 20 or 30 extra pounds is just practice for when I'm 112 and wrinkled and he has to change my adult diapers."

That mental image would've shut them up.

So, the take away, folks, is that everyone needs to be nice to new moms. Or else I will assault you with mental imagery.

Let's all leave loving, supportive comments for today's brave guest blogger, ok? I'll start:


Your turn...

Not Yet Dead

The soapy taste in my mouth persists. I finally called my doctor's office and asked them if I was going to die, because that would be really inconvenient right now (not for me, I'd be dead, it would be inconvenient for BJ, and for the business, and for the kids, and for my house which is currently a disaster area) and they ordered a blood test which shot my "OMG" meter right off the charts. Unfortunately, I can't figure out a way to go to the lab with my kids and get the blood test without them 1) wreaking havoc or 2) spazzing or c) all of the above, so it's going to have to wait until I have a little parenting back up.

Meanwhile, something hysterical happened and the other party involved said those four little words that I can't stand to hear, "You can't blog this."

But ... But... BUT I WANT TO BLOG THIS! *stomping feet* Because it was SO funny. But the other party said, "People won't take this seriously if we make it a joke, and it's important that they take it seriously, so even though it's really funny, you can't blog this." And she's right. But damn, it's funny.

My blogging life will be completely over when my kids learn those words. I can see myself getting a t-shirt that says, "I'm blogging this!" and them getting competing t-shirts that say, "You can't blog this!" I will cry.

MC Hammer needs to do a song... "You Can't Blog This." How funny would that be? With the giant pants and people dancing on keyboards in the video - I can see it now.

From now on, anything you do or say in my presence is fair game for the blog, unless you're wearing giant pants.

...'Cause this is a blogguh you can't touch!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Need a Do-Over

Wow, did we have a rough day yesterday. In fact, most of the days since MG's birthday have been of the rough variety... So much that I woke up at 2:30 and kicked the kids out of my bed, and then was completely unable to sleep until like 5:30 am. Hideous. I was still furious with the kids, though, and with myself for the way I handled them, and my mind just would not stop racing.

Let's just say that there was some yelling, and that it wasn't all on the part of the kids.

I have learned that you want birthdays to be special, but not too special, or you create little tyrants.

The one bright spot in an otherwise very dark day...

(I'm sorry, I just have to interject that right now Claire is pulling on her tongue and saying, "Please pull it out!" to me. She's crying because I won't take her tongue out of her mouth. This is what I'm dealing with. It's like having the most insane boss in the universe, and a job that lasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.)

Anyway, the one bright spot was that my friend Casey invited us over for fireworks (they had a box in the garage that was burning a hole in their pockets!) and the kids were really good while we were there. They listened, sat where I asked them, and most importantly, they didn't get burned.

But this one guy! He's one of Casey's neighbors... I said something about BJ being a rocket scientist (I think I said, "I know about explosives, I'm married to a rocket scientist,") and he muttered, "I'll be he really gives her a ride!" I was stunned into silence, which is something that NEVER happens to me! I couldn't believe that someone I hadn't even been introduced to would make such an inappropriate comment in front of 18 kids! What a creeper. I've e-mailed Casey, suggesting that she and I teepee his house, because I'm mature.

In completely unrelated news, my mouth has tasted like soap for about 24 hours, and it is getting really annoying. Brushing my teeth, drinking coffee, chewing on really strong mints - NOTHING is fixing it. I googled, but I didn't come up with anything solid. I've considered calling the doctor's office, but they already think I'm crazy. I'm pretty sure this is a symptom of something hideous, and that I'll be dead by Monday as a result of soap poisoning or something.

Goodbye forever,

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Amazing Article!!

What are you doing here? You should be reading this incredible article about Trustful Parenting at Psychology Today.

Can we get a discussion about the article going here? I'm anxious to hear what you have to say.

(I get my BEST parenting advice from Psychology Today, per Dr. Dave's recommendation - and if you've read this blog for more than 10 minutes you know that I LOVE Dr. Dave. I highly recommend that you sign up for their RSS feed).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Note to Claire

Dear Claire,

I know you won't be able to read this for many years, but I want to tell you how proud I am of you. The last couple days have been all about your sister, with her party on Sunday and her birthday yesterday, and you have been SO good.

You made it through the entire party on Sunday with a smile on your face, in spite of the fact that you didn't have a nap. We went out for dinner with Uncle Doug, Aunt Kathy, and cousin Jill, and you were cheerful and charming and so very, very well-behaved.

When Mary Grace opened her presents, you didn't try to take them away to play with them. You sat and watched her like a big girl. Your little two-and-a-half-year-old heart honestly seemed happy for her. I've seen younger siblings much, much older than you who didn't do half as well at their older siblings' birthday parties.

You were happy to play with the kids and the balloons, to hang out with Uncle Chuck, to play second fiddle. You were so good it broke my heart a little. Does it mean that you're just so used to not being the center of attention that it comes naturally? I hope that's not true. I hope it's just a manifestation of your daddy's gentle heart and kind soul, which you have obviously inherited from him.

Daddy and I decided last night that we'd get you a special gift, to open when MG opened her gift from us, to say "Atta girl!" for all your excellent behavior. He got you a little tool set like Handy Manny's. And you love it.

And the first thing MG did was try to take it from you, even though she got her Alexa and Liana Barbies at the same moment that you opened your tools.

This morning, I let you see one of MG's Barbies (when she wasn't playing with it) and your sister spazzed. She and I just had a long talk, about how good you've been these last couple of days, and how you deserve a chance to check out her new dolls - particularly when MG wants to check out your tools! And while I was in the living room talking to her, you came in and gave her back the Barbie.

You break my heart, you're so gentle and good. You hate to see your sister cry, and so you'll do whatever is in your little power to make her happy - even though I know sometimes it hurts you.

I promise, my sweet girl, that I will do everything I can to protect your gentle heart. I promise that I will always make sure that I reward your good behavior - whether it's with toys (like yesterday) or with extra hugs and kisses and praise (like every day).

And you can bet your favorite stuffed kitty that when it's your birthday, if Mary Grace's behavior isn't every bit as good as yours was over the last two days, she is going to be in deep trouble.

I am so proud of you, today and always.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Fourth Birthday Mary Grace!

Dear Mary Grace,

Happy Birthday! I can't believe you're four. Dad and I have a bachelor's degree in parenting now, which is weird.

You've grown and changed a lot in the last year, but a lot of things about you have stayed the same. Parts of you are already the way they're going to be for your whole life. For example, I think you'll always love blueberries, and when I wrote your birthday letter last year they were your favorite.

I think the most striking change over the past year is that you've turned into such a social creature. Of course, you've always liked to be around people, and you've always been friends with Owen, but this year you made so many new friends. Watching you play with Esther this summer, I realized that something had changed. You talk to other kids differently now. You'll walk up to a new kid at the park and say, "Hi, my name is Mary Grace, do you like princesses?" and before I know it you're off playing and laughing together.

This is the last year that you'll really belong only to Daddy and me. Next year you'll start school, and your friends will begin to take our places as the most important people in your life. Sure, it'll happen slowly, and I know that you'll come back to us when you're grown, just like I've come back to my parents (even though I was a terrible teenager), but Kindergarten marks the beginning of the time when you'll care more about what your friends think about your clothes or your hair than what Daddy and I think. You'll listen to the music they like. You'll use the slang they use. And it won't be long before Daddy and I seem old and boring compared to your young, fun friends.

I can only hope that those years go as quickly as these past four years have.

Here's the checklist I started doing when you were a baby:

Your favorite toy for playing is: anything with a princess on it, or in it - particularly dress-up clothes

Your favorite toy for snuggling is: Widgie (a stuffed dachshund Beanie Baby)

Your favorite food is: blueberries

Your favorite book is: Si Yo Tuviera Un Dragon - but it could be because Mommy is silly reading it

Your favorite activity is: school

Your favorite place to go is: Grammaland and the Children's Museum - it's a tie

Your best friend is: Claire

Something new that you're doing: telling jokes - your favorite is "How do ducks learn to fly? ... They just wing it!" and knock knock jokes, which you don't quite understand, yet. So you'll say "Knock knock," and we'll say, "Who's there?" You'll say, "Elephant." "Elephant who?" And the punch line is, "Elephant, stop sign, GO!"

Something you've mastered: Manipulation. For example, when you're in trouble you'll cross your eyes at me to make me laugh and forget why I'm mad.

Something people say about you: "She is so smart!"

Something that you're saying is: you're singing songs. I love to hear you sing. You know lots and lots of songs all the way through.

Something Dad and I are proud of you for: you work so hard at your "homework" (your Tag books) and you're learning so much!

Something surprising about you: you have an amazing memory. You remember things we did and places we went a long time ago.

I love you, Cuppycake!

Happy Birthday!

Love always,

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Party Photos - Round 3

Uncle Chuck (our photographer for the day) and Claire (who didn't wear the hot hot lion costume long).

Monty, posing.

Claire, Lucy, Mary Grace, Jane.

Playing with the balloons in the living room.

The kids are finally asleep, and the house is mostly dug out,
and we're sitting down to watch Lost - we're still catching up.
We're in the middle of season 3.

Guess what tonight's episode is called?
"The Man Behind The Curtain."


I need a beer.
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Party Photos - Round 2

Grandpa Bob as The Man Behind the Curtain
(as in, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain...")

Me as Auntie Em - I found this perfectly HIDEOUS dress for $5 at Goodwill.

Aunt Mimi as The Rainbow.

The chaos - you can see our neighbor Gwen as Glinda on the left.
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Party Photos - Round 1

Dorothy and Toto.

Dorothy and the Wicked Witch (Grandma Denna).

Claire with The Wizard.

Grandma Nancy with The Cowardly Lion.
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Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Out of Control Party

I don't know how she does it.

Not only are people coming all the way to our town for MG's birthday party, they're doing it in costume.

Our little diva decided that she wanted a Wizard of Oz birthday costume party, and all of a sudden it has turned into an EVENT. My mom is coming as the Wicked Witch. My sister is coming as the rainbow (haha). I found a hideously and appropriately old-ladyish yellow gingham dress at Goodwill for $5, so I will be Aunt Em (complete with powdered hair to make it look white!). BJ has a morning coat, maroon vest, and top hat to be the Wizard. Claire is going to be the Cowardly Lion. My cousin Jill is going to be Glinda.

Mary Grace will, of course, be Dorothy, because she is, after all, the main character.

I've got rainbow colored treats (suckers and Skittles) for the kids. I ordered a cupcake-cake in the shape of a hot air balloon, with a rainbow-striped balloon. I got lots of green cups and plates and whatnot.

We're going to put a Yellow Brick Road up the driveway, with chalk.

I seriously wish that I posessed the ability to manipulate people that my oldest daughter has. She is a force to be reckoned with.

So I didn't want to get the Dorothy dress out ahead of time, because you know she's never going to take it off. I went to look for it Friday - guess what? NO DOROTHY DRESS! I panicked and called the costume store here, strike one. Called the costume store near Grammaland and had them hold one for my mom to pick up - she did, and the only one they had is too small. Unless we're going for the Hooker-Dorothy look (which is sort of in, as I've learned) that isn't going to work. I spazzed, but never fear, because the power of Mary Grace's will is limitless - my mom is making Mary Grace's Dorothy dress. Out of fabric. With pins and stuff.

This child is going to take over the world, mark my words.

So stay tuned, because I should have some pretty awesome party pictures tomorrow night.

(The funniest part is that she's never even seen the movie all the way through!)

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Friday, August 7, 2009

Frantically Cleaning

I don't have time to post - I need to get the house ready for MG's birthday party.

And I'm sick to my stomach. Kill me now. This is my punishment for not doing things earlier in the week, when I could have. Now, I want to lay on the couch and feel sorry for myself, and I can't. *pout*

I'm hoping to get all the indoor stuff done today, so that BJ and I can do the outdoor stuff (mowing, pressure washing the patio, cleaning up the outdoor toys, etc.) together tomorrow. We'll see. We may just bar the back door and not allow anyone to see our yard.

Mary Grace wants me to paint the entire house green - inside and out - so it can be the Emerald City. This kid is completely out of control.

What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lab Rats

I received a call yesterday from a grad student at the university who is doing some kind of study on children. We've participated in a bunch of language studies at the university where we go there, but for this one, she wanted to come to the house.

Since I've told the university (and told them, and told them, and told them quarterly when they call) that they're not getting any donations from us until my student loans are paid off, and since we still live in the town where we went to college, I feel like doing these studies is a good way to "give back" to the university without writing a check. The kids enjoy doing the studies, and they usually get a book or a small toy as a thank you for their participation. Occasionally we get paid. I see it as a win-win for everyone that gives us something new and fun to do, and doesn't take up much of my time.

But I just couldn't agree to this study. The home visit, frankly, freaked me out.

The researcher assured me that she'd done 50 other studies in the community. That had the opposite result, though, from what she intended. When she said that I thought, "GOOD, that means you're not having any trouble finding participants and I don't have to feel guilty about saying no!"

I don't generally have any trouble letting people in my house. I like people. I like our house. So that's not the issue. And obviously I don't have any trouble making my children into lab rats, because we've done that many times. The researcher sounded perfectly nice. I'm sure she wouldn't have found anything bad to write about us. But there was just something that felt creepy about someone we don't know coming into our home and taking notes about our behavior - notes that I wouldn't be able to read - for 45 minutes.

Is that weird? Would you allow your kids to be studied? In your home? Do you think I'm being paranoid? Do you think that having someone come observe your family in your home violates your privacy?

(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Special Useless Gift

A friend of mine is in school to be a teacher, and she's working on a lesson with the "ch" sound and needed a poem. My sister suggested that she ask me for help. I thought I would share what I came up with, so that you, dear readers, can see just exactly how warped I am...

Here's the first one:
Chelsea and Charlie had planned a hot date
Chelsea just knew that she couldn't be late
So she tossed on a pair of her chunkiest shoes
And ran to a salon called Charlene Magoo's.

She chilled while she waited, for nearly an hour
Checking her temper took a great deal of power,
But finally Charlene Magoo said, "You there!"
And Chelsea jumped eagerly onto the chair.

"No time for a chop, I need to get on,
But could you create a classy chignon?"
Over and over Charlene chewed this request
"I know that they say the customer knows best..."

"But you see, Chelsea dear, I don't think I can
Make a chignon for your date with your man,
'Cause hon, it's the wrong style of 'do that you're pickin'
To go with your feathers. Girl, you are a chicken!"
My friend, Michelle, correctly thought that "chignon" was too hard a word for first graders, so she asked me (after much flattery) to try again, and I came up with this:
Chuck the Chubby Chimpanzee was yearning for a treat,
He dreamed of cheesy pizza, or a hunk of chewy meat.
A chocolate covered ice cream cone, a cheddar chicken stew,
His tummy started rumbling but his dreaming wasn't through.

He dreamed of cherry ice cream cones a dozen scoops or more
He ached for corny chowder or an artichoke or four.
He'd settle for some Cheerios or Frosted Lucky Charms,
For a pork chop and some applesauce our Chuck would take up arms.

If only he could be a bird, he'd fly across the seas,
To choose a moo goo gai pan from the wonderful Chinese.
If he could chug a milkshake or could chomp upon hot chili
This poem would be much shorter, and only half as silly.

But Chuck was a cheap chimpanzee, he had no food at home,
No money in his bank account, no charge cards of his own.
So Chuck cheated his pal Chelsea at a simple game of chance,
He took all of her money, bought imported chips from France.

Chelsea hollered, Chelsea cried, she beat upon his chest,
She choked and sputtered, "Sakes alive! I thought you were the best!"
Chelsea chided Chuck, he asked if he could make amends.
She said, "No Chuck, it isn't nice, to cheat your childhood friends!"

"Your heart is black as midnight, and your soul is in the lurch!
I think you'd better get yourself right down to First Chimp Church!"
Chuck chuckled, "I don't think I need to go to any chimpy chapel,
I'd rather stay here, eat these chips, and possibly an apple."

"I mean it, Chuck," cried Chelsea, "You can't just sit and chill,
When your soul is so in peril - you really make me ill!"
Chuck said, "Do you think I'm a chump? I beat you fair and square,
I won't choose to change just 'cause you make me go and say a prayer!"

So Chuck the Chubby Chimpanzee sat stoic in his chair
And refused to go to church with her so he could clear the air.
And Chelsea never gambled after that most fateful day,
And when Chuck came to talk to her, she told him "Go away!"

The moral of this story, I think is plain to see.
Never play for money against a crooked chimpanzee.
Everyone tells me I should write a book but seriously, seriously, who would read a book about chickens and chimps getting hairdos and playing cards?? If anyone knows of a publisher looking for seriously ridiculous poems (which heavily use the "ch" sound), please let me know.

Seuss already did it all. I probably picked it up from the thousands and thousands of times I made my mom read his books to me, actually.

I am most strange. You have been warned.


Since I've already confessed that BJ's not home (have you met my dog?) I feel like I can share this:

Claire has been repeating for the last couple hours, "Why my daddy take away?"

She makes me so sad. Poor sick baby wants her Daddy.

When You're Sliding Into First...

Both the kids are sick. We'll just call it a "lower GI" issue and be done with the details. THANK GOD for Dad - I just called him and asked him to grab a few things (including diapers - crucial!) for us at the store on his way out of town. BJ's gone until Wednesday (don't forget, would-be robbers and murderers, about the gigantic guard dog at my house. She will eat you).

The kids have taken all the couch cushions off and made themselves little beds on the floor of the TV room. They're watching Netflix on-demand (HOORAY for technology!). I was just going to find a book to read and join them, but Dad said, "When are you gonna update your blog?" and we aim to please, so here you go, Dad.

I'm not sure what's up with the dishtowel on MG's head. I guess it helps. She's funny. Maybe she was an old Russian woman in a former life.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Me At BlogHer

This is not a poem.

There are three videos that I appear in at MotherProof - video 1, video 2, and video 3.

I'm actually pretty funny, rather than just a complete dork, so yay!

So far, three things have been said about me. One fellow blogger said I'm "awesome," another called me bubbly, and a third said I snore and snuggle without invitation. Hahaha! I guess that's not too shabby, considering some of the things that could've been said!

Old Friends, New Friends

We played as children,
Now we watch our children play,
They whisper their secrets,
As we did so long ago.

We sing the old songs
Of our youth, our parents' youth,
While our kids sing old songs
Made new by their sweet voices.

Watching them feels strange
And yet right, at the same time.
I feel old. I feel young.
Twenty years passed in a wink.

Our lives, intertwined,
Our children create a stitch,
A new knot of friendship
Again binds us together.


I don't know of any other blogging-poet-mommybloggers - I think I'm going to stick with it for a while, at least until I get bored. We spent Thursday in Grammaland at Emily's concert Thursday night. I've known Emily so long that I don't remember not knowing her. And Cate from Alaska. Jen. Sunny. Erin. Sunny's mom. Cate's mom. It was a reunion of the best kind. Erin and Sunny brought their boyfriends. Cate, Jen, and I brought our kids. It was so much fun, so beautiful to see how we've changed and how we, at the core, have stayed the same. The kids and I spent the night with Mimi and had pancakes with Gramma before we headed to Cate's mom's for lunch and playing and singing. It made me feel like me again.

Then after the kids (FINALLY) went to bed last night, my new friend Casey and I went out for a drink. Gosh, Casey and I have been friends for a year now! She still has that "new friend" smell, though! It was the fourth anniversary of the death of her 8-1/2 week old son Richard. I told her I wished I'd known her then, so I could've done more to support her than take her out for a drink long after the fact. Sitting there with Casey, it struck me that she would probably love my childhood friends. I can see so many similarities between my friends from middle school, high school, college, and adulthood. I guess I haven't changed as much as I think I have.

My friends are creative. They're strong. They're smart. They're opinionated. They laugh loudly and give good, hard hugs. They aren't afraid to be themselves, no matter what "everyone else" says. They are so interesting, and I'm so lucky.