Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lucky's Last Swim

This little sweetie is almost as cute as Mary Grace. Anyone who has kids or fish will smile, but it's especially sweet if you have kids and fish like we do. Maybe next time one of them dies, we need to have a funeral, instead of just saying, "Oh look, the fish is swimming upside down! Let's go read a book!" and distracting while Daddy quietly disposes of the remains. I mean, maybe we're missing a teachable moment, here. What do you think?

Also, are there any gardeners in the house? Can I prune our overgrown burning bush this spring, or do I need to wait until fall. I'd hate to kill it, but the thing's huge. Is there any particular method, or do I just cut it back until it's a more manageable size? Our tree management system around here has been more of a "slash and burn" philosophy, so thanks!!

Probably An Early April Fools Joke

The conversations that happen when I'm at work (see below) are a lot different from the conversations that happen when I am at home all day (see most other days that I've blogged...)

Amy: D'ya wanna to move to Saskatchewan?

BJ: Why?

Amy: I guess they'll give us $20,000. (clicks) I wonder if we have to be Canadian...

BJ: Nah, we'd probably have to give back some of the grant money we* just got from the state if we moved to Canada.

Amy: Good point.

BJ: ...

Amy: $20,000 in nice Canadian money, so it really spends...

BJ: I can think of a lot of people I would recommend to move to Canada...

Amy: Heh...

* "We" as in "our company."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Being Moral is Expensive

So last night I was unable to find a buyer for those two tickets to the Steven Curtis Chapman/Michael W. Smith double header that I'd planned to attend with my Bonus Mom, Susan. (Someone on FB said, "What's a bonus mom?" and I replied, "A step-mom, but without all the negative Brothers Grimm connotations.")

I headed over to campus at about 5:30 to pick the tickets up from Will Call. Then I became a scalper.

According to Jenny, scalping is legal in Indiana, as long as you don't sell the tickets at a profit.

I paid $88.15, including all the Ticketbastard fees. I figured I'd just sell them for $85, because I didn't have any change.

I held up my tickets, smiled charmingly, and said, "Need tickets? I'm friendlier than Ticketmaster!" to everyone who walked by. I was only there about 20 minutes before a girl approached me. "How much?" she said.

"$85," I replied.

"They're for my mom, I need to call and check..." So she whips out a cell phone, calls her mom, has a brief conversation in which Mom approved the price, and hangs up.

"OK, so $85 each?" she says.

"NO!" I sputtered, "Just $85 for the pair." After all, they were still selling tickets at the box office, only 50 feet away, at face value.

So she hands me $105. And like an idiot, I handed her back the extra $20, saying, "Oh no, if I make a profit off of a Christian concert, I will surely go straight to hell."

I guess I must hate money or something.

But seriously, we are in the wrong business. I'm thinking of becoming a part time scalper. I could make a fortune. Especially if I take the kids with me.... I can teach them to be buskers. MG could tap dance, Claire could just stand around and be cute. It could be VERY lucrative.

But I'm only going to scalp tickets for secular concerts.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Aunt Kathryn and the Diaper Rash Grand Slam

After catching up on the blog, my aunt Kathryn called me and gave me the recipe for her favorite diaper rash cream. Her son had a milk allergy, and had the worst diaper rash known to mankind while they were figuring out what the problem was. Her doctor told her to:
Mix a tube of zinc oxide (make sure it's plain zinc oxide), a tube of Neosporin + pain relief (I used the generic brand), a tube of athlete's foot cream (Lotrimin or the generic called clortrimazole), and a couple of tablespoons of Maalox (to make it a spreadable consistency) in a toss-away plastic container. Use it like any other diaper cream.
I can't say that it worked completely in a single application, but her butt was significantly better after one application. It's almost all gone now, after three days. This stuff rocks.

The acidophillus/Vaseline experiment worked fairly well, too. But not as well as the above, which shall now be called Kathryn's Butt Magic. Maybe next time I'll add acidophillus.

Thanks for all the help and suggestions.

We went to the Children's Museum yesterday, along with everyone else in Indiana. It was a zoo. I told BJ that he's just going to have to take a Monday off and come with us every once in a while, because going on the weekend is for the birds. We had to wait in line for 15 minutes to ride the carousel. Normally it's so un-busy that we can just stay on and ride three or four times if we want to.

We also stopped at Garden Ridge and got another rug like the one in the living room, only larger, for under the dining room table. It was only $70, so I won't kill the kids if they stain it, but at the same time I really like it (certainly more than the carpet that it covers!!). Win/win. It's 7'6" by 9'6". I'm trying to decide if I should put the large one in the living room and the small one in the dining room, or vice versa. Right now the large one is in the dining room, and I'm tempted to leave it that way because I don't want to move the furniture again to move it.

Gramma Susan was supposed to come down tonight to go see Michael W. Smith and Stephen Curtis Chapman with me, but it's snowing (totally random - whatever happened to "out like a lamb"??) and she's concerned about the driving. BJ's cousin Eric should be calling us back any minute about whether or not he wants the tickets (according to BJ's cousin Carrie, Eric's daughter is in a play, and it ran until 4 pm). We'll watch their kids for them, too, so it's really an offer they can't refuse. But if they don't want the tickets, I'm going to have two tickets for the 7 pm (Sunday) concert, and no one to use them, so e-mail me if you are local and you want them. If Eric and Angie can't use them, I'll give them to the first interested person, so go ahead and e-mail now.

Ha, as if you're just sitting there at your computer, waiting for me to post. Snort.

Friday, March 27, 2009

TV - In the Motherhood and ER

If you watched In the Motherhood last night, and you've seen the online version, you were probably disappointed. Megan Mullalley and Horatio Sanz (who we didn't recognize from SNL - he's lost a lot of weight!) were great, but the rest of it fell totally flat for me. Of course, I was comparing it to this:

OMG, the Chap'stuff', the hardware store. I'm dying. If you haven't seen the series, all of it is on YouTube, and I highly recommend that you waste half the day watching it.

There were some funny moments on the ABC show last night, even a laugh out loud moment or two, but it wasn't half as funny as the online series. The online series was consistently crying-laughing get out the Depends funny. The TV show wasn't half as edgy, and was twice as predictable. And what happened to Leah Remini and Jenny McCarthy??

I'm no prude, but I also thought that the Santa part of the plot and that the whole third date = sex thing were inappropriate for a family show on at 7/8 pm. I'm not the only one, judging from the boards at ABC.com (but I have a blog, so I'm not going to register so that I can discuss it with them... They can find me here if they care what I think). I also missed the device that the online show used, where the moms spoke directly to the viewer. I thought that was cute, and I most related to those parts, where they said what they were thinking.

Kind of a historic moment, really, when the "real" TV show paled in comparison to its online counterpart. That's where media is headed - not just newspapers. All of it. And I'm excited to see the change, because I think it will greatly improve entertainment across the board - from music to TV to movies to news. Instead of having mega-stars (Michael Jackson, Madonna, etc.) who we are spoon fed for decades past the point of their relevance by record labels who can't let go of their cash cows, there will be thousands of "grass roots" type stars with smaller followings... Like Esmee, the girl on YouTube who toured with Justin Timberlake after her YouTube videos were discovered. News will be back in the hands of the people, instead of in the hands of corporations. Even movies, to a lesser extent. (Some of you who've known me a very long time might recognize someone in that trailer). They'll remain expensive, but dedicated fans and creative types will make them.

Oh well. I'll give In the Motherhood a couple more weeks, since ER is almost over and there's about to be free space on my DVR. I have watched ER for 15 years, since the first episode, and I'm going to miss it. Of course the quality, recently, isn't as good as the first years, but that's why God invented basic cable. I was really afraid they were going to kill Carter - he's been on dialysis in the past few episodes, and it would make sense in terms of the arc of the story. The series began with him starting med school. But from the preview scenes last night, it doesn't look like he's going to get killed off. I guess they're leaving it open for a reunion show, instead.

The funny thing about DVR is that I don't see commercials, and so I never know what new shows are coming on unless someone mentions something to me, or I read a blog about it (which is what happened with In the Motherhood, otherwise I would've missed it completely). Eventually all the shows I've watched since pre-DVR days are going to end, and I'll run out of TV entirely. Not that I think that's a bad thing at all. I could easily give up TV entirely. I'd rather read or talk to you all here. Certain other members of my household disagree.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Science Experiments

I tried sprinkling the contents of the acidophillus tablets on Claire's rash, and I wasn't getting very good results. I decided, while she was down for nap, to try mixing the contents of the tablets (18 of them, to be specific) with a couple of tablespoons of Vaseline in a ziplock bag, then smushing it all together and cutting the corner of the bag to apply it to Claire's bum. Bonus - the dryer has been on all day, so setting it on top of the dryer (in the baggie, of course), where we do diaper changes, made it nice and warm. I just tried it for the first time, and haven't had a chance to visualize the results, yet, but I'll keep you posted. I could invent a new diaper rash solution and make millions!

If I don't do that, I'm going to make millions translating Governmentese to American English for concerned citizens who are reading bills and trying to make sense of them. In the last week, I've gotten alarmed e-mails/Facebook notifications about two different bills* which really weren't alarming if you know how to read Government. Somebody help me think of a way to market this skill.

It annoys me that my most marketable skills are 1) can understand gibberish written by politicians, and 2) is not afraid to do chemistry on childrens' rear ends. *sigh*

Oh well, at least the ability to translate Governmentese comes in handy at work.

* HR 1388 - the GIVE Act, which alarmed Christians thought might prohibit their children from going to church (it won't). and HB 875 - the Food Safety Modernization Act, which concerned foodies thought might subject backyard farmers to Government Inspections (it won't, any more than hosting a dinner party makes you subject to inspections by your local Board of Health). But the people who were concerned, in both cases, are intelligent, reasonable people. It's just that the wording on these things is so dense and so impossible to read, that their concerns made sense... unless you speak Government, like I do. Maybe I should run for office.

New Guidelines for Stomach "Flu"

I'm starting to fear that this will never end.

I've sent Bumpa to get Megan and Trey at the airport today. Claire woke up puking (AGAIN) and even though BJ arranged to be able to stay home with her, I didn't feel like I could leave knowing she's feeling so poorly. I just want to hold her. It's all I can do to help, at this point, so I'm gonna do it. I've barely put her down today, except to shower and eat.

Did you know that the guidelines for treating vomiting and diarrhea have changed since we were kids? Yeah, I didn't either until I started googling things like "MAKE MY BABY BETTER NOW, DAMNIT, DR. GOOGLE, OR I WILL NEVER SPEAK TO YOU AGAIN."

According to About.com:
The biggest mistake that parents make when their kids have diarrhea and vomiting, next to giving the wrong fluids, is being too aggressive and giving their children too much to drink at one time. Especially if your child is vomiting frequently, instead of letting them drink whatever they want, you should limit them to just a teaspoon at a time, using a syringe, medicine dropper, or an actual teaspoon. Your can then gradually increase the amount you give at each time as your child begins to keep it down.

A good starting point is a teaspoon or tablespoon of fluid every five or ten minutes for the first hour or two, increasing to a few tablespoons at a time once the vomiting decreases and your child is keeping the fluids down well.

Which is completely different from the advice when we were kids, which was, "Nothing to eat or drink for at least four hours, if not longer, or until you can't stand the crying and begging for food and fluid any longer."

About.com also says not to give soda (there goes Sprite and Ginger Ale, which I still can't drink unless I'm sick because they remind me too much of being sick), Jello (again, something I can only eat when ill), and fruit juice. They recommend Oral Rehydration Solution, like Pedialyte, but it's NASTY. Even the doctor on call the other night said, "Well, Pedialyte's fine if you can get her to drink it, but it tastes awful. Try Gatorade." (Check with your doctor, because I know that very young babies really ought not have Gatorade... Claire's two now. Your mileage may vary.) According to About.com, you don't have to restrict dairy anymore, either, and they even go so far as to recommend yogurt, saying that it may help your child get over diarrhea (that came from the BRAT diet page).

So here's what we've been doing for the last half hour (since I read that) and Claire is already perking up. She last vomited at 9 am, and had had nothing to eat or drink since. At 11 am I gave her two teaspoons of Gatorade, using the medicine syringe. I set the timer for 10 minutes and told her that she could have more when the timer went off (which she accepted much more easily than, "You have to wait"). After 10 minutes, I gave her 3 teaspoons. After 10 minutes more, I'll give her 4 teaspoons. When she gets to an ounce (6 teaspoons), if she keeps that down for 10 minutes, I'm going to let her have a couple of bites of banana. If she keeps that down, I'm going to try some dry crackers.

If I'd known about the guideline change before, I would've started giving her fluid after an hour instead of two.

I guess you're supposed to get them back onto their regular diet as soon as they're keeping down the ORS. Not starve them for days, which is what our parents (lovingly, and using the best information they had at the time, after all, they didn't have Google in the 1970s and 1980s) did when we were sick as kids. The BRAT diet has also fallen out of favor. Even so, I'm going to stick with bland, easily digested foods like toast and bananas as opposed to more complicated foods to digest (not to mention clean up if they come back up!) like spaghetti and meatballs. But it's nice to know that if she starts begging for soup, I can give her some chicken noodle without breaking the "rules."

She's still fighting the diarrhea and the diaper rash. Bumpa picked up some acidophilus tablets at CVS that I broke open and sprinkled directly on her rash. It did look better this morning, after the oatmeal bath and Vaseline treatment we tried last night, but it's still pretty red and there are a couple open sores. We'll see how she's responding to the topical acidophillus at the next diaper change (I'm leaving her diaper area alone as much as I can, and since everything has been coming up instead of going through her, her diapers haven't been plentiful this morning).

Since I've been writing, we've passed the "four teaspoon" mark, and she's still keeping it down. That means she's had eight teaspoons, or over an ounce, with no vomiting. HOORAY FOR SCIENCE!!!

I'll keep y'all posted on how this all works out.

Meanwhile, perspective. I'm anxious for an update on little Stellan.

And now for something completely different...

Seriously, this cracked me up. I don't even care if it's 'shopped. It was hilarious!

Ending on a high note tonight...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

No Tubes!

There will be TMI in this post. You've been warned.

At some point between Monday morning when we saw Dr. H and today when we saw Dr. ENT, Claire's ears magically healed.

I'm really relieved that I didn't go with Dr. H's first answer, when she saw fluid on Claire's ears, which was to do a third course of antibiotics. "I don't love that idea," I said. "She was throwing up all day Sunday, and she has horrible diaper rash and diarrhea. I think her little body has had enough antibiotics, what else can we do?" That's when she wrote the referral to the ENT.

36 hours passed, and the ENT looked at her ears and stuck some thing in them to test the movement of her eardrums, and pronounced her ears "perfect." Hooray for avoiding unnecessary antibiotics! Boo for paying $50 to be told that everything's fine.

She's no longer throwing up, thank goodness, but she has a horrible case of the runs, and the worst diaper rash I think I've ever seen. This is a cruel combination, because she's having tons of dirty diapers, and yet it hurts her terribly to be cleaned. We gave her a bath in the oatmeal bath I make (1/3 oatmeal, ground to dust in the blender, 1/3 powdered milk, 1/3 baking soda, add 1/4 - 1/3 cup to running bath water), then dried her bottom carefully and put a thick coating of Vaseline on it for the night. I'm hoping to see improvement by morning.

Shannyn (who is the crunchiest granola mom I know) suggested feeding her lots of garlic and lots of acidophillus powder, as well as applying the acidophillus topically, and cutting out sugar, fruit, and juice completely. I've been rinsing out the baby wipes so they don't sting. Any other suggestions welcome. We've tried Balmex, clortrimazole, yogurt, using washcloths instead of wipes (yuck), etc. I don't want to let her go around without a diaper because 1) it's not warm enough here for her to do that outside yet, and 2) I don't want diarrhea all over my house.

Claire was SUCH a big girl at the doctor. She climbed right up in the chair and let him look in her ears without protest. She let the assistant do the eardrum test thing, and didn't move a muscle. She was a complete doll the entire time. I was so proud of her.

It is so hard when you can't make them better, isn't it? It's the most helpless, terrible feeling. I would give anything to take the hurt away. But I do have perspective - look to the right for the picture of little Stellan. Click the picture to be taken to his mommy's blog, to read his story. He's struggling terribly right now, and our problems feel very small. I know there are children all over the world who are ill or in pain, and who would gratefully trade places with Claire and her crummy tummy and her diaper rash. I know. But knowing this doesn't change the fact that she's my baby, and my job is to make her better, and to hurt when she hurts.

Oh, it's late. And I have to pick Mimi and Trey up at the airport in the morning (although not half as early as I had to drop them off!) so I'd better go to bed. I hope your bottoms are healthy and your tummies are not crummy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I spent the entire evening, after the kids went to bed, surfing the free Kindle content from my laptop and sending it via whispernet (hello, stupid name) to my Kindle. Other than Dooce's book, (even though she won't friend me on Facebook) I am not going to buy any content until I have sucked the marrow out of the free content available for the Kindle. I figure, I'm never going to buy the Great Works of Literature (that are available on Project Gutenberg for free) but I'm also never going to sit down and read, oh, Pride and Prejudice at my laptop, either. But I should read the GWs. Enter the Kindle.

Anyway, I spent the whole evening surfing and sending... Finally pick up the Kindle to go to bed. Dead battery. Charger? At the office.


Claire: Status Update

Claire feels better today and is acting normally. Actually, she felt better almost immediately after I made the "same day sick" appointment for her yesterday. Amazing how that works, isn't it? If I hadn't made the appointment, I'm sure she would've spent the entire day throwing up.

The doctor (not Dr. MWMH but his partner, Dr. H, who I've seen before at least twice) said that the vomiting and diarrhea was likely due to a virus that she picked up somewhere (probably their waiting room, in my opinion, we've been there four or five times in less than a month) and not a result of the antibiotics or the ear infection. Since she still has fluid on her ears, though, she referred us to an ENT. I've already gotten positive feedback about him from a friend on Facebook. Hooray for social networking.

My friends have assured me that tubes ain't no big thang. I'm trying really hard to chant this in my head when I start worrying about her being under anesthesia. It only takes 15 minutes, after all. It's exactly like when I was induced with Claire - I literally spent more time crying over having to be induced than I spent in labor. My friend Karen (who had been induced) and a host of other people tried to tell me that I'd be fine, but I just wasn't listening. Well, lo and behold we were both fine, and now I'm planning to just schedule an induction if there's ever a #3 PB because the hospital is so far away, I'd never make it. Karen's boys have both had tubes, too, so this time I'm doing my very best to listen to her and not freak out.

It's almost working.

Other things that I'm trying not to freak out about today include:

1) My baby sister and her new husband and my step-dad jumping out of an airplane later today, on purpose. (My mom's so funny... "How do you know someone's been skydiving?" she says. Answer: "Oh, they'll tell you.")

2) I received a death threat in my comments. It was not a credible threat. If they'd said, "Amy Lastname, I know you live on XXXXXX Road in XXXXX, and I know you drive a XXX minivan, and I know that you're going to be at XXX at noon tomorrow, and I'm a-gonna kill you dead!" I'd worry. This was more like a chain letter (if you don't send this to 5 people, you're going to be killed in your sleep) combined with an urban legend (say "Bloody Mary" in the mirror 3 times...). Needless to say, it's already been deleted, and I did not get killed in my sleep last night, so this one is fairly easy to not worry about.

3) Politics - everything I hear about politics lately scares me. Ditto for the economy. I'm sticking my fingers in my ears and saying "LA LA LA, I can't hear you!"

4) Mary Grace - her behavior has been awful. Probably because she's jealous that Claire, as the sick kid, has been getting lots of extra attention and snuggles. But oh my goodness, I'm ready to sell MG to the nearest gypsy. Three is not my favorite age so far. Annoying aspects of age 3 include a) bodily fluid fascination - lately it's spit and snot. I'm ready to tape her nose and mouth shut. b) baby voice - probably because Claire is talking more and more, and gets attention, so MG feels the need to talk like a baby to get the same attention, except saying "bwa-co-wee" isn't as cute when you're three and a half as it is when you're just two. c) not freaking listening. I guess I should just get used to this one, though, because I still don't listen to my parents.

Someone please tell me that four is better than three.

So that's the scoop here. What's going on with you?

Picture from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Myringotomy+and+Ear+Tubes

Monday, March 23, 2009

Urgent Care is Trying to Kill Me

So Claire's sick, and was really sick all day yesterday. She got a cold in late February, and it turned into an ear infection. She did a course of amoxicillin and still had an ear infection, so the doctor (who messes with my head) put her on Omnicef and said, ominously, "If this doesn't work, we're going to have to refer you to an ENT and talk about tubes."

I freaked out when my dog had to be anesthetized for her leg surgery. I'm taking donations of Valium, if anyone has a spare or two for me, just in case Claire needs tubes.

Anyway, yesterday (Sunday, of course - no kid of mine will get sick on a weekday when it's convenient), Claire woke up vomiting and spent most of the day vomiting, having diarrhea, and having the worst diaper rash I have ever seen.

But I didn't take her to urgent care*.

Because they are trying to kill me.

I blogged before about how they gave me a medicine incompatible with breastfeeding when I was breastfeeding, and how I wrote a strongly worded letter about it to the HMO. Well. When I hurt my back a couple weeks ago, and went to the chrio in the morning, but by 4 pm I realized that I wasn't going to make it without some serious Western medicine. I went to the local urgent care.

"Who's the doc today?" I asked the receptionist.

"Dr. MF," she said (I swear, those are his initials, appropriate, no?)

"Ok, bye!" I said, as I ran out the door. I drove myself over to the other side of town's urgent care.

Ah, the false sense of security I felt as I limped to the exam room. Surely Dr. MF is an anomaly. Surely THIS doctor can't also be incompetent.

The nurse and doctor were very nice, and very fast. They prescribed Ultracet and some kind of muscle relaxer. I took them, was fine, and was back to normal in a couple days.

Then I stopped at the pharmacy Saturday to refill my Zoloft prescription. The Zoloft I've been on, with brief exceptions, since May of 2006...

"Are you still on Ultracet?" the pharmacist asked.

"Well, I still have it. It was for a back injury a few days ago, but I'm fine now."

"Don't take it with this, ok?" she said, handing me the Zoloft.

"Um.... What if I already did?"

Apparently Ultracet + Zoloft can = something called seratonin syndrome. And apparently it's bad. As in, potentially life-threatening bad.


The pharmacist said, and I quote, "Well, you're not dead, so don't worry about it."

Cue head explosion.

I guess Walgreen's tried to call my regular doctor (who was out with a sick kid of his own) and the prescribing doctor (whose shift was over) before filling the prescription. But no one said anything to me when I picked it up, nor did they try to call me at home (I know they have my number - it's printed right on my medicine bottles!!!). And I know the Urgent Care doctor knew I was on Zoloft, because it was right there on my chart.

I had a first cousin who died of a drug interaction when he was 24 years old. I normally take such things very seriously and read all the product information and so on when I get a new medication... But I thought I was safe. I went to a doctor who had access* to my full medical records. I went to the pharmacy that I've used for years. I was in pain. I didn't take the time to read the product literature.

I'm really, really lucky.

So, as you can probably understand, I was unwilling to subject my baby to urgent "care" yesterday when she was sick. After 12 hours of vomiting, I called the on-call doctor. (It took two calls and over 90 minutes for him to call me back!) I wasn't, and am still not sure if she is experiencing side effects due to the Omnicef and the ear infection, or if she picked up a virus. He suggested that we take Claire to the ER (he pretty much has to say that, or be liable for the consequences), but instead I had Bumpa come over to take a look at her. He said that he thought she was ok, for now, but to take her in if she threw up again before midnight. She did, actually, but it was just a little, and she fell asleep right after, and I didn't have the heart to pack her in the car and drive her 25 minutes to the hospital for an inevitable IV that would've been traumatic for both of us. By the time Bumpa could've gotten here to stay with MG, Claire was fast asleep. (Yes, BJ was home and could've stayed with MG while I took Claire, but there was NO WAY I was going alone if I didn't have to).

She's keeping a little food and juice down this morning, and is currently sleeping. We have an appointment with a real doctor (not Dr. MWMH, he's on Spring Break, but his partner who I've seen before and who is competent) at 10:45.

I guess the lesson to take away from this is to ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS read the product information, no matter what, and if something new is prescribed to you, ALWAYS ask if it will interact with any medication you're currently taking. And Google it when you get home, just to be safe. You really must be your own advocate (and your family's advocate).

I once took BJ's grandmother to the ER for shortness of breath and being altered, only to be told, "She's 86, what do you expect?" Well, I followed that doctor out of the curtain and said, "Look, I understand that you're looking at a chart and seeing '86' and assuming that this is normal, but I assure you it's not. This woman made a five course dinner for 6 people two weeks ago, and this morning she couldn't manage toast and coffee. Something is WRONG, and we're not leaving until you call her regular doctor and ask her what she wants you to do!" (BOO-YA!) Turned out, Grandmother needed a pacemaker. She had it installed a couple days later, and is still kicking at 96 years old.

Anyway, be your own advocate. NEVER take anything unless you've checked it out for yourself.

And stay the hell away from Urgent "Care."

I'm going to write a letter to the Urgent Care folks and Walgreen's, and I'm going to cc my doctor's office, the management of the group, and the Deparment of Health. I love writing strongly worded letters. It's a shame that I have to do it so often.

* Our doctor is part of the A. Clinic, which employs a ton of doctors at various clinics throughout the area, has a brand new hospital that's way too far away from our house, and also runs several Urgent Care clinics in the area. The Urgent Care doctor had access to my full computerized chart, because he's an employee of the exact same clinic that manages my doctor's office.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

1000th Post

This is my 1000th post. Not that I'm going to earn any blogging merit badges this week - posting has been sporadic at best - but this is a momentous post.

I wish I had 1000 pearls or 1000 bucks or, heck, even 1000 pennies to give away. But the fat corporate sponsorships I've been waiting for have not yet materialized.

Instead, Claire has a sick stomach (vomiting x 3), and I've finally shaken the headache I woke up with (yay naps!) and I haven't really got it in me to do a detailed retrospective of the last 999 posts.

Instead, I'm going to ask a favor. I'm getting between 100 and 150 hits a day, and I have no idea who most of you are. Kindly take this wee little quiz, please, just for curiosity's sake.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Julie's Youtube Debut

I'm out of the will after this one.

Another Facebook Meme

This is a cute idea. Copy this note, ask your child the questions and write down exactly how they respond. Tag me back if you haven't done this,I'd love to hear your answers.

This scares me, but here goes... According to Mary Grace:

1. What is something mom always says to you? "Don't break things," and "Princesses like math and science."

2. What makes mom happy? "Not breaking things."

3. What makes mom sad? "Breaking things."

4. What does your mom do that makes you laugh? "Make a silly face."

5. What was your mom like as a child? "Um.... Butterflies!" (?!?)

6. How old is your mom? "Eleven."

7. How tall is your mom? "This big" (stretches hands out)

8. What is her favorite thing to do? "Work."

9. What does your mom do when you're sleeping? "Sit in the chair."

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for? "The couch..." (uh, ok. I don't think she understands "famous".)

11. What is your mom really good at? "Working."

12. What is your mom not very good at? "Playing."

13. What does your mom do for her job? "Working and working and also making things like gigantic holes."

14. What is your mom's favorite food? "China food."

15. Why do you love mom? "Because you're so special." (Awwww...)

16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be? "A girl."

17. What do you and your mom do together? "Um... Uh... I don't know. Um... You and I clean." (Jeez, I'm like the evil stepmother in Cinderella... I am bad at playing and when we do things together we clean.)

18. How are you and your mom the same? "Because we love each other."

19. How are you and your mom different? "Because you don't have any A's in your name," (um... kid, my name is Amy A*****. I think I've got the A's covered).

20. How do you know your mom loves you? "Cause we have the same hair, see?" (I WISH!)

21. Where is your mom's favorite place to go? "Work."

11, 12, and 21 make me sad. :( Clearly I need to have more fun with these kids.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A funny thing happened...

Yesterday was atrocious. It doesn't even bear discussion. The kids were awful all day. Mary Grace threw a technicolor hissy fit after ballet. I was so embarrassed. After a craptacular afternoon of misbehavior, Bumpa took us out for dinner, and the kids were mortifyingly bad. Bedtime took months. It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day (except for the going-out-for-dinner-part - thanks again Bumpa!)

Ironically, yesterday morning started off fairly well, but there was a rapid downhill curve. Every single time that BJ and I discuss adding another pretty (or handsome) baby to our brood, the kids take it upon themselves to remind me that I am barely holding on to my sanity, here, and another kid (an infant, no less!) would send me, screaming, right over the edge.

Today has been better, so far (knock wood). Mary Grace completed her language study at the university today, and earned $40. We talked about it, and I told her that she could spend half now, and that we'd put the other half in her piggy bank. She agreed, so we went shopping. I got her a few new outfits at Kohl's (school clothes for spring are limited around here), then we went to lunch at Chick Fil A (they had free kids' meals from gymnastics), then we went to Target and got the new Tinkerbell movie, which is currently failing to hold the kids' attention.

The funniest thing happened though. On the way from the mall to the Chick Fil A, I was sitting at a stoplight when I heard someone rev their engine. I was first in line for the light, so I looked toward the other lane and these two young guys were waving at me and gesturing that they wanted to race. I laughed, since I was in my minivan, then revved my engine and blew their doors off when the light changed. It was really funny, and for a moment I felt like a hot young thing again.

I've still got it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where we've been

Sorry for the blog silence. We were up in Grammaland visiting my mom, who is finally back from Florida for more than 10 minutes. We left Sunday afternoon for the visit. We got to have dinner with Grandma, Aunt Mimi, and Uncle Chuck on Sunday, which is rare. Claire is totally over the moon for Uncle Chuck. After he went home, she stood at the door and cried, "Chuck, Chuck! I want Chuck!" Too cute. He thinks it's because they're both second children. I fell asleep while putting the girls to bed, so unfortunately I didn't get to enjoy any adult time with my siblings and my mom... but it was probably just as well since we got pretty silly on Monday night when we did have kid-free time.

On Monday I took the girlies to the public library, which has changed a lot since I was a kid. I hardly recognized anything. After that we had lunch at Noodles. Then we went over to Jenny's to play Rock Band. She and I are awesome. We gave MG a couple wooden spoons and let her "play drums" on a quilt. That lasted for a while, but she eventually got bored. She totally didn't believe us when we tried to tell her that the Wiggles guitar that Jade had would "play" the game too. She is too smart.

After that, we went back to The Compound and hung out with Mimi, Uncle Trey, and Gramma. Uncle Chuck stopped by after the girls had gone to bed. What happens on the deck stays on the deck, so that's all I have to say about that.

Today we got up early, and we got ready in record time. We met Jenny to go to a nearby town for the "body safety" class that she teaches for area schools. MG was so good. She sat and listened the entire time. Claire wasn't bad either. I hate it that we have to start teaching kids about their private parts and good touch/bad touch so young, but I'd rather teach them and empower them than have something unthinkable happen. Jen did an amazing job of being professional and forthright, without talking over the kids' heads. I was very impressed with her. She does so much good for the communities she serves.

After that, we went to Mimi's school to have lunch. My kids were instant celebrities, and all the kids were clammoring to spend time with them.

We stayed for a story, lunch (nachos!), and recess. It was a lot of fun. The first graders in Mimi's class were so sweet, and they asked us to come back and see them again. MG cried when we left. She really wants to go to school like a big girl. Two days a week of preschool just isn't enough for her. I think she'd stay at school 24/7 if she could. Fortunately next year she'll be able to do 3 days a week. I'm reasonably certain that the following year I'm going to enroll her in Kindergarten (so, a year and a half from now). She'll be young, but today showed me that she's more than ready to go.

So, that's what we've been doing. What about you?
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Gramma Diana's Pics

Daddy and Claire working on the rings.

Gramma Diana with Mary Grace on the balance beam.

Mary Grace, Claire, Daddy, and Mommy, who is making faces at the big knife.

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Claire's Party Pics

The Wall-E cake that the checker at Target deemed "totally awesome."

Casey, Ken, and a whole mess of kids playing parachute during the party.

Claire is extremely attached to her Uncle Chuck. When he left Grandma's the other night, Claire cried and called, "Chuck! Chuck!!"

Uh oh... Our birthday girl is sleepy!

More to come...
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Friday, March 13, 2009

Claire Bear Turns Two

Dear Claire,

It's hard to believe that you're already two years old, or anyway you will be at 11:09 pm tonight. You're growing and changing so quickly these days that Dad and I feel like if we blink we'll miss something. You're very serious sometimes, when you are working on something new you get this very cute, heavily eyebrowed expression on your face, but you can also be so silly and funny. You have a wonderful sense of humor, and you keep us laughing all the time.

Your big accomplishments this year include learning to walk, talk, feed yourself, sing, dance and do gymnastics. It's fair to say you've been a bit busy. Don't worry, there's not half as much to do between 2 and 3 as there is between 1 and 2.

You have silly hair. I'm sorry. You just won't tolerate having it messed with. I'm lucky if I can get a comb through it, and if I try to put a ponytail into it, it comes out in moments. So, most of the time you have this crazy mop of miscellaneous hair. When I do manage to get you to sit still long enough to have it fixed, it makes you look so different. I kind of like the silly hair, to be honest. It suits you.

You love to sing. You know your ABCs, although I suspect that you think "LMNO" is one letter. You know about a third of the words to the Wicked soundtrack. I love to hear you sing along with the CD, and at the end of a particularly difficult piece, you always say, "WHEW!" which never ceases to crack me up.

You love cats. At least a dozen times a day you will bring me a magna doodle or a piece of paper and say, "Kitty? Please? Kitty!" until I draw a quick kitty for you. Then you'll talk to it, or scribble on it. Today your kitty had a party hat on it. You weren't impressed.

When you want to be held, you say, "Hold you." When you want to sit with someone, you say, "SLAP!" You like to play inside the lower cabinets in the kitchen. Yesterday you sat in the little plastic grocery cart we have and yelled, "Ride! Please!!" until Mary Grace came and pushed you around. When she did, you said, "Wheeeee!"

You love baths. You like to play with bubbles and boats. You like the Little Einsteins and "Mick Mou." You say "Goofy" in a really cute way that I can't spell. It's something with the "o's." You're eating a lot more now that we've realized that if we leave your plate out for a couple of hours you'll come back to it to graze. You love fruits and veggies. And beef-a-roni in a can, you weirdo.

Your favorite books are Olivia, Bear Wants More, and Bear Snores On. You really like bears. I think it's probably because we call you "Claire Bear" so often. Mary Grace thinks "Bear" is your middle name.

Daddy's favorite time of day is when he gets home from work, because you always shriek, "Dadddeeeee!" and do a little happy dance for him. And you and your sister are the best of friends. Sure, you fight over toys and stuff sometimes, but you also sit together in a chair and watch shows, and sometimes I catch you guys hugging each other, just because. I love watching the relationship develop between you two. I always knew you'd be bestest friends.

I'm not even mad at you for spraining my back, but I'm sorry it's interfering with your birthday today, honey. Rest assured, I will send Daddy to the store for a little cake and we'll have a little family party tonight, regardless.

I love you so much, you're such a big girl.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Karma Bit My Back

Background - BJ has a herniated disk in his back. It's his L5, I think. There were a lot of times, especially with the kids, when the fact that his back hurt has been really, really irritating to me. I've wanted him to hold one of the girls and he has said, "I really can't, my back..." and I have been really annoyed. Like, how dare he have a sore back when I need his help taking care of these kids? What the heck? It was so inconvenient of him.

I wasn't always a shrew about his back... I gave him a massage so good that he fell asleep, with lotion and everything, when MG was just a couple days old. I can't even tell you how much time I've logged rubbing his back.

But sometimes the whole back thing just ticked me off. It seemed like an excuse.

I had no idea.

I woke up fine this morning, but somewhere around the time we came downstairs I did something to my back. And it hurts. A lot. It's radiating down my right leg, all the way to my knee. I can barely walk.

I took the kids to campus today for MG's language study, and getting from the car to the building and back was torture. Claire wanted to be carried, and I had to grit my teeth and do labor breathing.

I have a pretty high pain tolerance, especially after giving birth twice. This is so, so bad. It hurts less if I lay on my left side with a pillow between my legs. It hurts less if I sit on the left side of my rear end and try not to move. But with two little kids, I can't just sit all day...

And BJ has been a saint - he came home for lunch, cooked, brought me a plate, told me not to mess with the dishes, then came home and right now he's making dinner and I can hear him cleaning up the plates from lunch. All I have to do is sit here and try not to hurt, and enjoy my guilt.

I'm sorry, Honey, for all the times I rolled my eyes at you about your back behind your back. I honestly don't know why you continue to put up with me. This is just one more example.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cavity Emptor

This story is a little embarrassing to post, but I'm going to post it anyway, because it's important. I am going to name names, too.

I was blessed with perfect teeth. I have never had a cavity filled. I have never had braces. My teeth have been trouble-free my entire life. In fact, they're pretty much the only piece of me that's trouble-free, but I digress...

Several years ago, BJ and I found a deal in the paper that said (name and location redacted) would do an initial cleaning and x-rays for $99. Neither of us had dental insurance, and it had been a while since we'd had our teeth cleaned, so we went together.

I went first. They took x-rays, then told me I had twelve cavities. I asked them to show me the cavities on the x-ray, but they said that I wouldn't be able to see them. When I asked them how someone who had never had a cavity could possibly now have twelve, they said that it was from drinking soda.

BJ gloated (he says he didn't but he totally did) when I came back into the waiting room. I cried.

Then it was his turn. They said he had 13 cavities. He had never had a cavity in his life, either.

It was going to be over $1000 each to get our teeth fixed. That was $2000+ that we didn't have.

So, (this is the embarrassing part), since we weren't in any pain, and we didn't have the money anyway, we did.... nothing.

Ever since then I've had dreams where all my teeth are falling out, and I can feel myself spitting them out.

After MG was born I decided to try a different dentist - (name and location redacted) (even though we still didn't have insurance). I went for a cleaning and x-rays. They said I had three cavities.

What happened to the other nine? They were bullshit.

Another $300 on top of a new baby, and the stress... I had postpartum depression and that whole year was a mess. I had planned to get them fixed, then I got pregnant with Claire. Then I was really busy. Long story short, I didn't get around to going back to the dentist until today. And now we have insurance. Another new dentist. I didn't tell them my history. Guess how many cavities I had this time?


Total number of bullshit cavities - TWENTY-EIGHT.

Either I have miraculous self-healing teeth, or there's a lot of bullshit in dentistry.

What really makes me livid, though, is that if I had believed the first dentist, and if I had had any money back then, they would've drilled twelve holes in my perfectly healthy teeth!!!

I wonder how often they pull this scam. I'll tell you what, if they hadn't been greedy - if they'd just told me I had a cavity or two - I would've had them filled. But there were never any cavities there.

I was telling this story to MG's ballet teacher today, and she said that she has an appointment next week with Aspen. I told her to be VERY careful. Since others of you might find yourselves in a similar situation, I'm sharing this story. If your dental bill is going to be over a reasonable threshold, get a second opinion - or a third!

I am so furious I could spit nails. I am trying to decide the best course of action. Do I write to the dentists? To the newspaper? The BBB? All of the above? I'm mad enough that I'd like to stand outside their offices and picket.

The way this new place (redacted) does business is strange. I walked in and the receptionist handed me the new patient paperwork. Then she flipped to a second page that looked like a credit card application. She said something like, "This is for our office manager, so he knows that you're able to pay..." Hold it right there, Toots. I had seen the name of the company before (of course, I can't remember it right now or find it on google). "That's a credit card application," I said. "No," she said, "It's not a credit card, you can only use it for medical expenses..."

Um... That doesn't mean it's not a credit card. It's just a limited credit card.

"Yes it is," I said. "I was offered one of those when my dog had surgery. I don't need a credit card. I can pay for this. I have insurance. I am not filling that out, and I don't want you to run my credit."

"Ok," she said, but what she meant was, "Just shut up and fill out the papers like I told you to, bee-yatch."

So, I filled out the paperwork, but not the credit application, and returned the paperwork. Then they took me back to the exam area (which was a big room, sort of like a hair salon, with areas that were divided by cabinets but not doors). They took the x-rays and the dentist looked at my mouth, briefly.

Then she took me out to talk to the office manager about my "treatment plan" and payment options.

After it was agreed that I could afford the $24 (after insurance), they cleaned my teeth.

I'm not sure if I had to have the little meeting with the office manager because I refused to fill out the paperwork or what, but it seemed routine. I was pretty annoyed that they wanted to run my credit before treating me... Every time your credit is pulled, your credit score goes down (which is idiotic).

Is this how everybody does business now? What have your experiences with dentists been like?

(Edited to remove names and locations of dentists, and to add parenthetical comment about BJ gloating, which he totally did.)

Used Tooth Lot

Am at dentist posting from phone. Is very much like having teeth cleaned by used car salesman. Brief exam, then talk to office manager about cost, then cleaning. Must schedule filling for chipped tooth at later time. Expect long rant about the racket of dentistry this afternoon. Outlook - mostly snarky with chance of bitching.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Things I Can Get Fired Up About: Postpartum Edition

A link dropped out of the sky this evening so that I'd have something to write about.

You might remember that I had a wee little case of postpartum depression after Mary Grace was born... if by "wee little" you mean "vaguely the same size and shape as Hurricane Katrina." Hey, it was 2005. You couldn't talk about anything after August without mentioning Katrina.

Anyway, I guess there's legislation right now that would fund postpartum research and screening. Here's the text from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance's form letter I could've e-mailed to you if I didn't have a blog:
Many women have mood swings after birth. While they may have looked forward to the birth of their child, they can be happy one minute and extremely sad the next.

Almost 80 percent of women who have recently given birth experience symptoms of postpartum blues.

Postpartum depression, which is more serious can often lead to suicide.

Legislation has been introduced in the both the House and the Senate that will educate the public about postpartum depression. This legislation will ensure that new mothers and their families are educated about postpartum depression, screened for symptoms, and provided with essential services.

Won't you join me in writing a letter to your legislators about this important legislation?

It is quick and easy and will only take a few minutes of your time. Thank you for your consideration.
As long as we're throwing money that we don't have to throw around at every darn thing on the planet, we might as well throw some at something that matters to me, and thousands of other mothers and babies every year.

So, if you care too, please click here to send a note to your own representative. It only takes a minute.



I have nothing to report.

We're getting ready for Claire's birthday on Friday and party on Saturday. We're back on the diet wagon (Sparkpeople again, new user name, avoiding the message boards and Coach Dean, the stupid jerk). BJ's doing it with me this time, which should help with my motivation and stamina. We're cleaning - we got a bunch of plastic totes and really organized the toy room over the weekend. BJ also repaired the water damage to the paint in the toy room. After all the rain this weekend, we're really, really glad that we invested in a new roof last fall.

Love the warmer weather, hate the mud. We have three seasons in Indiana - Winter, Mud, and Construction.

BJ got a Kindle 2 yesterday. He reads a lot, and I do mean a LOT of reports as PDFs and we figure that at 10 cents to transfer a PDF, versus 10 cents a page to print at the office, it won't be long at all before it saves us money... Not to mention that it's easier to carry around a Kindle than a briefcase full of papers, and therefore he's more likely to have the papers with him when he has a moment to read, and therefore he's more likely to actually read them. And it's "green." Plus there's the obvious geek factor. I'm a little disappointed that it works so well for PDFs, though. If it hadn't worked, it was going to be my birthday present.

Oh well. I don't actually need any more electronics in my purse! I need to design a tech purse - something with padded pockets that are just the right size for cell phones, iPods, Kindles, etc. - that you can special order with pockets that are the size you need for the devices you own. You know, in all my free time...

If such a thing already exists, I need to know about it, so leave a comment.

Tev, are you still reading? Maybe the Tech Purse can be your rocket to the top of the fashion industry. I'll buy two! One brown, one black.

Claire finished up her antibiotics yesterday, and today is back to saying, "I hurt," with her ears, so I have a call in to the doctor's office. He warned me last Thursday when he saw MG and checked Claire's ears that she may not get over this infection before she finished the antibiotics - I guess it's pretty bad. She's probably got MRSA in her ears or something - or if she didn't, she does now that it's survived the antibiotic course! It's also an Allison day, so life will be complicated if Dr. MWMH wants to take a look at Claire before writing her another prescription. Let's all hope that he'll just call something in that I can pick up on the way home. We're already about $100 into this ear infection. Sheesh.

I'm worried about the economy. I don't want to talk about it.

That nightmare I told you about is still bugging me.

The "Cuties" at the grocery store are awesome - they're Mandarin oranges, and my goodness they're awesome. They're also the perfect size for kids. And there was a coupon for them in Sunday's paper (when are there ever PRODUCE coupons?). You should get some. Thank me later.

Also, I am thrilled that my grocery store (Payless, for you locals) is now carrying Honeycrisp apples year round. They are so freaking good. My sister didn't even think that she liked apples until I turned her on to Honeycrisps. They're that good. As long as you're in the produce section buying "Cuties," you should grab a bag of Honeycrisps.

Do you think if I live exclusively on Honeycrisps and Cuties until July, I'll be thin in time for BlogHer?

See what I mean? None of this makes for fascinating blog fodder. YAWN. What's new with you? Maybe you'll comment about something that'll get me riled up, and I'll rant for a while for your amusement.

Your hair looks great today, by the way.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

One Way to Deal With Daylight Savings

It's technically 7:15, but my body thinks it's 6:15. Let me assure you that it's rare for me to see two 6:15s in a day... I'm not a morning person.

But I just had the worst dream. It was so bad that afterward I got up to use the bathroom, then I left the light on and sat and looked at Claire for a while. Finally I realized that there's no way I'm going back to sleep, came downstairs, and started the coffee.

I won't go into it, because it was graphic and horrible and there's no point in putting the images that I can't get out of my head into yours. But wow, this is a hell of a way to deal with Daylight Saving Time.

I've always had vivid dreams, and they were 100 times more vivid when I was pregnant. BJ doesn't generally remember his dreams. Neither does my dad. I wonder if it's a guy thing. I am cursed with dreams. They're extremely vivid, often disturbing, and I remember them in detail. They're also so real that sometimes I wake up and I'm not sure whether or not they happened. When I wake up, my dreams are as real, in my mind, as yesterday. It generally takes me a few minutes to sort out what really happened and what I dreamed. I've actually been mad at BJ for stuff that, it turns out, he did in my dreams.

Do you dream? Tell me a nice story to help me get this awful one out of my head.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Another First

Mary Grace has her first drop-off birthday party today. In the past, we've always expected to stay at the party with her, but I e-mailed the mom (from preschool, not one I know very well) to check, and she said to drop MG off at 3 and pick her up at 5.

She's such a big girl!!


Yesterday we were coming home from dropping Allison off, and Mary Grace said, "Is Grandpa coming over tonight?"

"He sure is!" I said, knowing the kids were excited because they hadn't seen him in a couple weeks.

"Is he going to put us to bed tonight?" she asked.

"Probably, honey. Mommy and Daddy will be out until after your bedtime."

"YIPPEE!" she said.

Curious about what could possibly make my little anti-sleeper say "yippee" about bedtime, I asked why that was such good news.

"I just LOVE his stories!" she said. Awwwww....

But apparently last night while Bumpa was putting them to bed, MG said, "Grandpa, why is this story so long?" Hahaha!


Have I told you that I've had to clean out an entire lower cabinet in my kitchen because Claire has decided that it's her "office." Yeah, it's cute. She'll get inside, shut the door, and peek out at us. "Hi Mommy!" "Hi Daddy!"


Just now, Mary Grace said to us, "What are you talkin' about?"

Daddy said, "Oh..."

MG: "Are you talkin' about solar power?"

Daddy: "Do you know about solar power?"

MG: "Are you talkin' about the sun?"

Jeez... Wow.



Amy's status, 10:48 am Amy knows it's going to be a bad diaper when I can smell it from the next room. "BJ, the baby wants you!!"
Amy's comment,
10:57 am Oh awesome, I just heard BJ say,
"Claire, do you have pants?" Lazy parenting wins again!

He is going to be thoroughly annoyed when he sees that!

Friday, March 6, 2009

At Work

I'm at work right now, and I'm not supposed to be blogging, but BJ just made me do math, so I need to rest my brain cells for a minute.

I used to be good at math.

Today has been extremely pleasant, and has almost made up for our weeks and weeks of confinement due to random viruses. MG had school today, and Claire and I hung out. She was really funny - she gave Elmo a time out (don't know what he did, but it must've been bad!). She put him on the lowest step and shook her index finger at him, babbling, for a good minute. Too cute. Anyway, it was warm enough to turn off the furnace and open the front door, which always feels good!

We went and picked up "'Ister," then we stopped at the grocery store for milk, which we seem to be going through a little more quickly lately. Then we went and got Allison, and I dropped everyone off at home before heading to lunch with my friend Karen. I ate way too much. I knew BJ had a teleconference this afternoon, so instead of coming straight to the office I went to Tuesday Morning and browsed. Any ideas for Claire's birthday gift? We're kind of stuck.

Maybe a puppy...

Anyway, we're going to see The Watchmen tonight. I don't really have any burning desire to see it, but BJ was going with friends and Dad was available to watch the PBs, so why not? If it sucks I can always leave and go get a coffee! And no matter how bad it is, I know there will be popcorn, and I LOVE popcorn. It's my favorite vegetable.

Hope you have a fun weekend planned!!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dr. Messeswithmyhead

I love our doctor. I've been seeing him for, jeez, going on 5 years now. He really listens. He's approximately our age. He has young children too. He treats all four of us, so he knows us and our family well. Yes, in spite of the fact that he could show me a little more pharmaceutical love (seriously, what's it gonna take to get Mommy a little Valium, a nervous breakdown??), he's honestly the best doctor I've ever had. By far, my favorite medical professional that I'm not related to by blood or marriage.

But he totally screws with my head.

When we saw him this afternoon I told him that MG had been complaining about her ears, but that I suspected that it was just because she wanted a hit of the sweet, sweet elixir of amoxicillin that her sister was knocking back b.i.d. (that's "twice a day" in doctorese). And I told him that I figured if I didn't bring her in, after three consecutive days of "Mommy, my ears hurt..." she was sure to have the worst ear infection that medical science had ever seen. However, by bringing her in I guaranteed that she would not, in fact, have an ear infection, and that her ear would not, in fact, explode at about 2:00 am Saturday (which is precisely what Murphy's Law would've made happen if I'd ignored her).

Dr. Messes-with-my-head (or Dr. MWMH for short) asked what other symptoms she'd been having. I described the cold that we've had since about 2/15 - MG had it, and an intermittently high fever, a runny nose, and a bad cough, then Claire got it, then I got it, then the ear infection that we're treating Claire for, etc.

"Did she have any rash?" he asked.

"No, not particularly. She's always a little bumply," I said, describing the dry skin on her back that he was pointing out.

"Well, the reason I ask is that the symptoms you've described could be caused by Scarlet Fever."

"Jesus Christ," I groaned. Immediate face palm. I thought about shaking my fist at the ceiling and yelling, "MURPHY!!!" but he already thinks I'm weird enough. The doctor, not Murphy. I don't care what Murphy thinks of me. Anyway...

"It's no big deal," he said, realizing that I was about to have a breakdown (see above: Valium), "It's just a variant of strep..."

"No big deal??" I sputtered, "No big deal???? That's what the little boy had in The Velveteen Rabbit*!"

I'm sorry, but I am not prepared to deal with childhood diseases featured in great works of literature. That's why God invented vaccines. Or Salk. Whoever. What is this, Little Women? I do not think so.

(Mary Grace doesn't have Scarlet Fever, of if she does, he didn't say so. Mary Grace has, however, been unusually attached to her little white bunny lately. And it's March, and the girls in Little Women were Amy, Beth, Meg, and Jo March. And I'm Amy Elizabeth, and my sister's name is Megan. Coincidence?? No, my mother liked the book. Where was I? Oh, Dr. MWMH said that it looked like she was getting over an ear infection, which can happen all on its own, and called in an antibiotic to the pharmacy just in case she gets worse over the weekend. See, he's a great doctor. Love him. But he totally messes with my head. Oh, and my brother's name is Chuck, not Joe.)

* Yes, I really said that.

The Trouble with Ears

I drove all over town on Tuesday evening looking for an otoscope. You see, Mary Grace has been telling me for a couple of days that her ears hurt, and of course Claire has an ear infection. While ear infections are not contagious, if they both had the same cold, there's a chance that they both could've developed ear infections. She hasn't had a fever since she started complaining about her ears, but neither did Claire.

The trouble is that Mary Grace loves medicine. The good news is that this makes it very easy to give her medicine when necessary, and it always has been. The bad news is that she's unreliable when it comes to telling me she hurts, because she could just be wanting more Children's Tylenol. Especially when her sister is getting all that sweet, yummy medicine for her ears.

So, I figure if I have my own otoscope, I can look at her ears for myself and decide if they look infected and need to see a doctor, or if someone just wants a little shot of Tylenol. It's pretty easy to do a google image search for "ear infection" and compare the pictures, right? And if I save myself time, a $25 copay, and picking up every other virus on the planet at the doctor's office, so much the better.

Of course, the medical supply store was closed, and neither of the pharmacies had one. So she has an appointment to see the doctor this afternoon. I'm sure, since she's been complaining for a few days, that he's going to tell me that he's never seen a worse ear infection, so that I can live with that guilt for a while.

How do you decide whether your children are really sick, or just faking for attention/medicine/so they can stay home?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Good Dog

When the kids don't finish their food, Max almost always gets it. I know, dogs aren't supposed to have table food. Whatever. She's a good dog. She's not fat, in spite of being fed a steady supply of human food. Surely it's healthier than her food.

Claire, who doesn't understand that Max outweighs her by about 60 pounds, just walked over and took a piece of toast out of Max's bowl as Max was standing there eating it.

Did Max bark? Growl? Try to take it back?


Max just stood there and looked at her sadly for a minute, then went back to eating what was left in the bowl.

Of course I made Claire give back the toast.

Good dog. That's why Good Dog gets eggs and toast for breakfast. That's why Good Dog has her own La-Z-Boy chair.

Best. Dog. Ever.

Bedtime Shenanigans

We've been having trouble putting Claire to bed for a while. Ever since I weaned her, we've been searching for a new routine that works for everyone. This recent illness, with the stuffiness and the ear infections and whatnot, has made it all worse.

Tonight, Mary Grace fell asleep while BJ was reading her bedtime stories. Claire was still bouncing off the walls, at this point, in spite of the fact that she'd had Tylenol, Amoxicillin, and Benadryl (which the doctor told me to give her, by the way, for her ears).

At some point or another, we decided to go with the smushing approach, and the three of us - Daddy, Claire, and Mommy, all squished onto her twin-sized bed.

She was quiet for several minutes.

"Do you think she's asleep?" I asked BJ in a whisper.

"I think so," he replied.

"Should we try to get up?"

"Ok, do you need a hand?"

"No, you go first, then I'll get up," I said.

Just as BJ was starting to roll off the bed, Claire yells, "BOO!"

I can't tell you how hilariously annoying this was. It was a great night of TV! We recorded enough tonight to last us until Friday, at least... The shows that were on that we love were:

The Big Bang Theory
24 (2 hours! A Keifer Two-fer!)
Saving Grace

That's five and a half hours of television, and I've got this little joker playing possum and yelling "Boo!"

At least she didn't wake up her sister.

Monday, March 2, 2009

It's hard to follow those angsty posts

I never quite know what tone to take when I've posted an angsty post. I think the last one can be chalked up to entirely too many days at home using ridiculous amounts of Kleenex. Seriously, we've gone through 2/3 of a large box of decaf tea bags and at least 5 boxes of Kleenex in 2 weeks. We've been miserable with this stupid, stupid virus, and I can only pray that it is almost over.

Dad's coming over for dinner tonight. I forgot to tell you, a few days ago I was making dinner and the dog started barking. Claire yelled, "BUMPA!" and headed for the door. Because if someone's coming to the door at dinner time, you can bet it's Bumpa. Too cute. She has his number.

The girlies will be glad to see him. It's been a while.

We had gymnastics this morning. We skipped Claire's class, because I knew she wouldn't participate with her ears still bothering her and having missed an hour and a half of sleep during the night (we were all up from about 4 am - 5:30 am yelling at each other, don't ask). We did stay for MG's class and most of open gym, though. I just wish it weren't so cold in there on Monday mornings! The furnace has been off all weekend, and BRRRR!

After that we came home. BJ came home for lunch. Then the girls and I took a nap. And here we are. I'm not sure what I'm making for dinner. Probably should figure that out, since it's 5:30.

So, today was fairly typical, pretty boring, and less angsty. Sorry about the naval gazing yesterday. I'm feeling better. Hope things are happier where you are, too. What's going on out there in the world?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bad for my Self-Esteem

Stupid Facebook. I have become addicted to Word Challenge, and in spite of my best efforts, my friend from college, Deanna, has a score that's more than twice mine.

I switched games. Can't beat anyone at Geography or "How Big is Your Brain" either. Not even close.

So, I thought, "Hell with it, I'll do the crossword in the paper!" I have exactly six answers. Out of about 200. I've been sitting here looking at it for 20 minutes.

For crying out loud.

I used to think I was smart. Then I started hanging out with a bunch of rocket scientists. Literally. Most of the people I know have advanced degrees. Even those who don't are smarter than I am. In fact, some of those who don't are smarter than those who have the degrees.

Growing up, I always got good grades without really working at it. I was the smart one. When I got to the point where I had to work at it (college, version 1.0) I quit. I had to go back to school as an adult, twice, to succeed at it (and college, version 3.0 - I was on the Dean's List).

I recently read Outliers, and it talked about people who are really, really good at things, and how much work it takes to get there. It's not that people are necessarily born smarter (although we're all born with certain advantages and disadvantages). Those who rise to the top of their field, or their sport, or their hobby work at it. 10,000 hours is what it takes to transform a person from a beginner to an expert - whether you're talking about sports or playing an instrument. Becoming outstanding at something takes 10,000 hours.

That number makes me want to take a nap.

I am a quitter. If it doesn't come easily to me, I find another game, put down the paper, quit playing the instrument, drop the class, quit the school.... I can't tell you how many hobbies I've gotten into, bought all the stuff for, had a hard time with, and quit. Sewing, scrapbooking, painting, guitar, ballet and gymnastics (as a kid)...... I can't tell you how many times I've lost the first 10 or 15 pounds.

My mom tried - she put me in activities and lessons when I was a kid, she tried to convince me that it would be fun once I'd practiced enough to achieve some minimum level of competency at any given thing.

The only things that I end up doing successfully are the things that I can't get out of, like cooking. I'm a good cook because I have to do it three times a day, just about every day. I don't have a choice. I enjoy it, too, now. But I'm not, and I never will be, a master chef. I can't even make a pretty layer cake - they all end up catty wampus. I guess I'm an average cook, really. It's not like I'm inventing my own recipes here. I'll never write a cookbook.

I absolutely suck at my job. I just make it up as I go along. The only reason I've been doing it this long without getting fired is because I'm sleeping with my boss.

I don't even feel like I'm a very good parent right now. We haven't felt good for so long - it feels like forever. I don't feel well enough to do anything today. BJ keeps asking me, "What do you want to do?" and I can't think of a single thing. It's 1:15, the kids are still in their jammies and watching movies.

The tree is down, but the rest of our Christmas decorations are still up (the wreath, the "Who's" that used to go around the train under the tree) so that's pretty good evidence that I can't claim to be a good housekeeper - for God's sake it's March 1!

I can't sew, I can't knit, I can't play an instrument anymore, I can't do a cartwheel, I can't make anything, I can't understand half of what is going on in the world, I have a very limited grasp of history/geography/political science.

Sometimes I think that I want to be really good at just one thing - but honestly, I don't have the persistence to get there. I am not going to invest 10,000 hours in anything. For whatever reason, I am not at all persistent. It's something I want to teach my kids to be. How do you think you can teach persistence? Preferably in a way that I won't have to work too hard at it. Ha ha.

Facebook's stupid games really shouldn't make me think this hard.

(You don't need to comment and tell me how great I am. I'm fine. I'm just sick. It'll be ok. Where's my Zoloft??)