Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pajama Day Interrupted

Since Claire's sick and it's cold, wet, and rainy here, I had planned a pajama day where we sit around and watch movies and maybe get out the Play-doh later if I felt like I could deal with the mess, but MG and C had other ideas. They demanded to wear their flower girl dresses from Mimi's wedding, and they are "booful" - running around in their Easter shoes and their tulle and satin dresses.

Who do these kids belong to, honestly? Because I am the opposite of a girlie girl. I am a jeans and t-shirt girl. I would no sooner wear a dress for fun than I'd go shopping for fun. Yuck. My kids, though, are clothes horses. They start developing their own ideas about what they're going to wear around 18 months (THAT guessing game is fun) and at 3.5, MG shows no signs of stopping and stepping into her jeans and t-shirt birthright.

On the other hand, if I could look this cute this effortlessly, I probably would, too.


It's like the Midget Prom around here.

They'll be precious at the pharmacy later... when I get out of my jammies.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Dream House

When I sleep, I dream about this house. Check out the floor plan. Isn't it amazing? Someday... Someday...

All the storage in those bonus rooms makes my toes curl. Three garages - one for all the tools and junk, one for each car. I wouldn't know what to do with myself with all this space. Each bedroom has its own bath (so of course it would be a bad house for toddlers - it'll be better that we wait to build it until they're older and can clean their own bathrooms!) It looks so cozy and homey. I love the master bedroom. I love the home office. I love the kitchen.

*****sigh*****

Fun with Medicine

Ok, so I quit drinking the Raspberry Leaf tea at noonish yesterday, and the symptoms I described before had returned by this morning. So I had a cup of tea for breakfast, and they're gone again. I think we're on to something. I'll quit the tea again today at noon and keep you posted. I'm anxious to hear back from those of you who are trying it for other reasons (generally heavy periods, etc.). I'll post your results, anonymously, here too.

In other news, Claire doesn't have the Mexican flu. After several days of symptoms like a fever (up to 103), runny nose, wet cough, saying "ears hurt" and "tummy hurt," and talking like Kathleen Turner, I put the kids in the car to take MG to preschool and every last channel on the radio was freaking over the Mexican flu, and how a kid (23 months) in Texas died of it yesterday.

I called the doctor's office in tears. (Hey, I'm a little hormonal right now...) "I know she doesn't have the Mexican flu," I said, "but she's sick and I want to hear it from the doctor that she's fine, even though we had Mexican food last week..." It was kind of embarrassing. But while she doesn't have the Mexican flu, she does have another ear infection. The doctor and I decided to wait and monitor the situation through Friday, and to see if she can fight it off on her own before we give her more antibiotics. After all the shenanigans in March, I'm just not going to go down the antibiotics/side effects/back to the doctor/pick up another bug/more antibiotics/more side effects/etc. road again, at least not willingly.

My dad, who is a nurse and generally well read and knows stuff, when asked if I need to freak out about the Mexican flu, said, "Yes and no."

He says that "Yes, an awful lot of people are going to get the flu, but no, not a lot of people are going to die of it."

I am doing my best not to freak. After all, if it were the end of the world, we would've been informed by REM. Besides, it starts with an earthquake, right? Oh shit.


(too obscure?)

I gotta go get MG from school.



(It's Leonard Bernstein.)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

And now for something completely different...

Pictures of my cute kids, to erase all of the other mental images my last post may have conjured.

Sometimes when you feel crummy, the best solution is formal wear.



Nerderella. She must get it from her daddy. Haha...

The Thing About The Mirena

I've debated a lot about whether or not to post this, because, well, it's icky. So there are going to be multiple disclaimers. Here's the first one:

This post is icky. Don't read it if you are easily grossed out.

I'll warn you again before I get to the really icky parts. The thing is, I made a couple of important discoveries that NEED to be shared (you'll see why), so I'm going to post it. With lots of disclaiming.

I do not want to get comments about how gross I am, because seriously, if you can see yourself commenting something like that, don't read this post.

Ok, so I had a Mirena IUD for two years. I'd link to Mirena's website at this point, but it's been down for maintenance for a while. What's the point?

While the Mirena was in place, I loved it. I found the insertion to be completely painless (perhaps because my cervix had just been dilated to 10 cm 6 weeks before the insertion, so what's a little stretch the size of like a hairpin, at that point, really? I'll tell you - it's nothing). I did not get periods. I spotted a little here and there, particularly when I weaned Claire. We (icky part here, don't read it) had a little trouble with the strings, if you know what I mean, initially, but they literally soften up over time, and after a short while neither of us had any trouble with them again.

I loved not having to think about it. I loved that the hormone, while present, is an extremely small and localized dose. I loved not getting periods. I loved not getting pregnant. Love love love. I was all over other peoples' blogs' comments singing its praises to the skies.

So, then we decided to think about another baby, and figured I'd get it removed and we'd use other methods (like business travel) until we decide that we're really ready for another baby. Cause every time we'd say, "Ok, let's go for it," the kids would have a REALLY bad day before I could even make the appointment, and I figured if I had to have a run of good days between the conversation, making the appointment, keeping the appointment, and not chickening out - it would never happen. Besides, I was due for a check up.

I got it removed on 4/16. The removal didn't hurt at all. I'd read horror stories that insertion and removal hurt other people really badly, so I was feeling very smug and lucky... Until Sunday.

All right, if you've read up to this point, and you're easily grossed out or offended or you don't want to know way too much about my very angry uterus, this is your last chance to turn back. This is where things take a turn for the seriously yucky. I am not even kidding. It's only going to go downhill from here. You have been warned.


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I mean it.


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I really mean it. I am going to make fun of you and call you names if you post comments saying things like "EEEEEW!" after this, because you have been more than sufficiently warned.


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Seriously.


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Ok. So Thursday, Friday, Saturday, I was fine. Then I started to bleed on Sunday. Profusely. If you have ever had a kid (and really, the only people who should still be reading at this point should be people with a vested interest in IUDs - maybe you're deciding whether or not to get one, maybe you're deciding whether to have yours taken out... Maybe you just want to know what to expect, but the "OMG THE MIRENA TRIED TO KILL ME!!!" forums are pissing you off, and you want someone a little... calmer... to tell you what to expect. Otherwise, why are you still reading, seriously?) you probably remember how much you bled after childbirth. A lot, right? Like, worst period ever? Maybe even clots?

This was worse than that. I am not kidding or exaggerating or forgetting (Claire is only two, and both of their births feel like yesterday). There was a great deal of blood and clots. Big clots. Golf ball sized.

Hey, I warned you that this was gross.

So, I called the on-call doctor on Monday night, after about 48 hours of feeling like I was bleeding to death, and she told me to watch for signs of infection (foul smell, fever over 100.4, tenderness just above my pubic bone, etc.) and to call back if I saturated a pad in an hour. She recommended I take ibuprofen.

What. Ever. Ibuprofen? Seriously? That doesn't have any anti-bleeding properties that I'm aware of.

I figured, "Ok, surely they wouldn't just let me bleed out..." and got online. I read all the scary forums (I refuse to link - google Mirena and OMG and you'll find them). I got on Mirena's (not functioning) website and tried to find out what is expected when you have it removed.

Nothing.

I read both the patient info and the prescriber info sheets - figuring that it had been 2 years, maybe I had forgotten something I'd read back then.

Nada.

So, I start doing science. I read about clots (because really, that was the scariest part). I read that clots are formed when you're bleeding too fast for your body's natural anticoagulants (natural things that prevent clots) to keep up. Ok, so what are some natural anticoagulants? I googled. Vitamin E. I can do that.

I took Vitamin E, and an iron supplement because I was feeling a little woozy.

That made it worse.

I ended that little experiment after about 12 hours, and called my regular doctor's office. I was told to watch for signs of infection, again. I was told that if I soak a pad in an hour that's "too much." I was not told what would happen if I met that little milestone. After I got a little pushier, the triage nurse set me up for a CBC test at the nearby lab.

It came back normal (12.6 - apparently a CBC measures how much blood is in your blood). However, on Sunday night I was so weak that I literally could not get out of the chair to check my e-mail. When Amy can't get online, you know there's a real issue.

The next morning I called the doctor's office again, got the runaround again. I was told to take ibuprofen again. By this point, I was more than a little pissed. I decided to call Bayer Pharmaceuticals, the maker of the Mirena, to see if they could shed any light - or at least say, "Yep, golf balls? Totally normal."

I finally got through the voicemaze to a person, and when I explained what I wanted to know, she said, "We really haven't studied that at all, that's why it's not in the patient info."

"WHAT? Don't you think that's a little negligent???" I said.

"Well, if you'll give me your name and the name of your doctor, I'll give it to our research department for follow up."

I sputtered, gave her what she wanted, and hung up.

"Ok, I thought, I'm smarter than this... I just need to think."

So, I started thinking again, and I thought about birth and how they stop bleeding afterwards with Pitocin. Well, I didn't think I could talk anyone into giving me a shot of it just for the sake of science. I needed something that acts LIKE pitocin, something that causes contractions...

Then I remembered that when I was pregnant, and particularly when I was trying to go into labor on my own to avoid being induced, I took Red Raspberry Leaf Tea, in huge quantities, and that when I took it I could feel the Braxton Hicks contractions kick up a notch or two.

Bingo.

After labor, they want your uterus to continue to contract (squeeze) down to a more average size, right? To stop the bleeding? Right?

So, I went to the grocery store (they carry it at Kroger!!) because the Health Food Store was already closed, last night, and I got myself some Red Raspberry Leaf tea. And girls, I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that it helped immediately.

I have had no clots today.

It only took two cups. I drank a third this afternoon, just to be sure.

I am still bleeding, but it's a much more manageable, average amount, and the clots are gone.

That's why I'm telling you all this. Because you may be bleeding heavily too, whether it's with your period or whether you just had an IUD removed. You may have been patted on the head and told "take an ibuprofen," by your triage nurse, too. Maybe you have endometriosis. Maybe you're pregnant and you want to tone your uterus. I don't know, but I know one thing. In my small, unscientific study of one - Red Raspberry Leaf tea HELPED. Between it and the iron supplements, I'm feeling like myself again. There's a chance, of course, that I would've felt better today anyway - after all, I was bleeding heavily for 8, nearly 9 days, but I doubt it. While I couldn't feel my uterus doing anything - contracting, cramping, etc. - it was too immediate a change to not have been the tea.

I promise that if I have another wonky period next month, I'll post further results. Also, I'm going to quit drinking the tea and see if the scary bleeding and clots come back. If that happens, and the tea works again, I think we'll have ourselves a solid theory.

So, thanks for all the comments and emails. Your concern for me was honestly touching. I hope that putting this information out there helps someone else who may be going through the same thing.

And Bayer Pharma, if you're reading this, GET ON THE BALL and DO YOUR FRIGGING HOMEWORK, already.

Edited to add: A couple of you have asked me for more details about the tea - It's Traditional Medicinals Raspberry Leaf Tea. Click through for more details and to order online (although as I said, it's available in the Health Food section of my Kroger).

Monday, April 27, 2009

Modest Improvement

Claire is still sick, but is well enough to be refusing her nap and driving me insane, so I guess that's something.

Dad is being released from the hospital. His stress test was great. I even talked him into staying with us for a few days so I can keep an eye on him. I told him we'd get something "heart-healthy" for dinner... Like pizza.

Maybe we'll get Chinese food. I hear Chinese people have excellently healthy hearts.

I called Bayer Pharmaceuticals to complain about the lack of information regarding normal vs. abnormal post-Mirena recovery. They basically said, "Yeah, we haven't really studied that," and I said, "Well, that's sort of negligent, don't you think?" so they took my name and my doctor's name and they're going to do... research or something, I don't know, but I feel better having complained.

I think I'm going to go to the health food store and get some Red Raspberry Leaf extract or tea. It helped cause Braxton-Hicks contractions when I was pregnant (to "tone" the uterus in preparation for birth), maybe it would help soothe my current symptoms?? Vitamin E made it worse. Iron had no effect. I'm on my own here. The manufacturer of the Mirena doesn't even know what I should do. We'll call it Pioneering Research, which will Certainly Help Millions of Women at Some Undertermined Future Point. Yeah.

I need a drink. It's 5:00 somewhere, right?

Today is turning into one of those days

Claire is sick - she had a fever of 103 yesterday. I think it's probably just a cold, but she's got a heck of a cough and a runny nose.

My dad is in the hospital. He is fine, but thought he'd had a heart attack. He had a quadruple bypass 3 years ago, and he's a cardiac nurse, so he isn't kidding when he thinks things like that. The cardiologist thinks it was just that his blood pressure was too high, and it caused his heart to go, "Um, Bob? KNOCK IT OFF," for a while. He said he feels fine now. He's having a stress test later today. If you know my dad, don't bother trying to call him because he left his cell phone at home and he needs to sleep - he'd been awake for 30 hours when he called me about an hour ago. Call me if you want details (although I won't have any until this evening).

Edited to add: I don't know any more than this right now. 1:45 pm

I'm probably going to get in trouble for blogging that - he only wanted me to tell my brother and sister. Oh well.

And finally, something's wrong with me. Not to get into too much detail, but having my Mirena removed is causing some side effects that are troubling. I was so weak last night, I couldn't even write the blog post I'd planned about the 10 tons of dirt we had delivered and how we were like the Willy Wonkas of the neighborhood - attracting the children to our river of chocolate, except it was mud, and how none of the parents in the neighborhood probably like me anymore after I sent their kids back to them covered (literally covered) with mud. So, anyway, I'm going to go have some blood drawn at lunch time, when BJ can stay home with the kids, and figure out what is up with my angry, angry uterus. You KNOW I feel like hell when I can't check my e-mail. Very few things keep me from my e-mail. That was a red flag, right there.

Edited to add: My CBC came back normal. If this is what normal feels like, then I don't want to know how I'd feel if I felt crummy, because seriously - bleurrrgh! I think I'm going to call Shannyn's mom - she's a midwife and may have more helpful advice for me than I'm getting from the Medical Establishment. They haven't given me a single suggestion for how to make myself feel better - I've tried vitamins (multi, E), minerals (Iron), hydration... The best they can offer is "take some ibuprofen." I think the next person to say "take some ibuprofen" is going to have a bottle of it flung at their head. Seriously.

Maybe I'll call the Mirena people directly, because I think it's negligent that they don't have any "what to expect when you get this bad boy taken out" information in their literature (and I have read both the physician's and the patient's info, it's NOWHERE). The best I can find is anecdotal evidence in online forums on websites like www.MIRENA_IS_EVIL.com (ok, I made that one up, but I'm not going to link to the scary forums lest some other poor woman happen to find my blog by searching for "Mirena evil side effects" and then click through and scare the crap out of herself too), which is neither fair nor balanced, nor good for the ol' crazy train. I mean, I start reading stuff like that and I've mentally got myself admitted to the imaginary hospital and having an imaginary emergency hysterectomy, right? And it would be really, really nice if the people who make the damn thing would just say, "Hey, love, that's normal, don't sweat it," SOMEWHERE in writing so I don't have to read the online scary freakin' forums. Honestly, is that too much to ask?

And BJ's going on a last-minute business trip. Tomorrow. He'll be back Thursday. Creepy stalker types who take advantage of his absence to show up here will be cheerfully fed to the dog. (I normally don't post that he's going to be gone until he's back home).

I finally broke down and called my mom this morning and said, "I NEED HELP." She'll be here this afternoon.

Edited to add: After I stopped panicking, I cancelled Mom. I can handle it. I'll just keep repeating, "I think I can, I think I can..." After all, according to my bloodwork, I'm fine. So there's no reason why I should feel weak and crummy and like I'm going to pass out, and there's no reason why I should see spots in the shower, and there's no reason why I could barely move off the chair last night, why getting the kids to bed exhausted me, and why I woke up tired even after 10 hours of (frequently interrupted - I do have a sick kid here) sleep.

By 10:30 am my entire day was a disaster. Not cool. Not cool at all.

At least the weather's nice. *sigh*

(This is going to be the last post I put on this blog - I'm just going to keep updating this one and putting updates in different fonts and typefaces to differentiate the updates, because that won't be confusing at all!)

((Not))

Friday, April 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Kathryn!

It's my aunt Kathryn's birthday today! She's one of my most loyal readers, and I hope she has a super-de-dooper-de-booper-de-day (I've been reading too much Seuss).

The past couple of days have been kind of a whirlwind. My dad took me (just me) out for supper on Wednesday night. We had a great time, and somehow ended up at the bookstore, I can't imagine how that happened. Dad got a book about World War II that I'm going to borrow when he finishes it. I was very good and didn't buy anything, although I did get a couple ideas for books to get on my Kindle.

Cathie came down from Grammaland for a FB playdate - hadn't seen her in 13 years, and we reconnected on FB. Of course she came for open gym, then we went to lunch with our kids, then we came back to my disaster area - uh, I mean - my house. The kids played really nicely together (she has a four year old boy), and we got to really talk. It was great.

BJ came home to get the kids for gymnastics, and Brandon arrived at 6:30 for our "date" - ha ha, am I the only person on the planet dating her husband's best friend? We just happen to be a lot alike, which doesn't surprise me considering that BJ is close with both of us, and we always have interesting conversations. I needed to pick his brain about the book I'm writing (SQUEEEE! I actually have real words written down on actual paper, and in the computer, and a real idea that I think is unique enough to pursue, and interesting enough to keep me interested beyond the fourth page - which is where I usually run out of steam. Oddly, it has nothing to do with kids). Then we went to see the live satellite broadcast of This American Life at the movie theater, which was excellent. I laughed, I cried. It was lots of fun.

Today BJ let me sleep late (seriously, do I have the best husband on the planet or what??), which made getting MG ready for school kind of a crunch. Claire was funny this morning. She wanted Doritos for a snack (why not?) and I gave her a small measuring cup full. She finished it and wanted more, and she said, "More Mommy!" put her cup on the floor, pointed to the bag, and said, "Dump it!"

Needless to say, my house is still a disaster, although I did get enough done that Allison can come today and I won't feel like a total pig. I think I'm going to offer her a bonus if she gets the toy room under control. We have a truckload of dirt (10 TONS of dirt) coming this afternoon, so I'm going to have plenty to do this weekend. I can't do it all, right?

Of course, she has finals to study for.... Maybe the toyroom can just be a disaster for the next, oh, who am I kidding - 18 years!

I've been tagged for a meme by Priya, but I'll have to save that for later. I'm also working on a follow up to my religion and morality question from a while ago - I've gotten lots of interesting comments both here and on FB, as well as private e-mails (which I have totally read, but not responded to, yet... Sorry, I'm lame.). It's cooking in the back of my head somewhere.

In the meantime, be awesome to each other. Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Letter to the Future

Dear Educators:

I know my children are only 3.5 and 2 years old, respectively, but we need to get something straight right now, before they even enter school.

If you EVER lay hands on my child in anger, if you EVER paddle her, if you EVER violate her bodily privacy, if you EVER strip search her, you will feel my wrath.

Oh, you think that this 5 foot 4 inch body is incapable of wrath? Guess again.

I do not give a shit about your "zero tolerance" policy. I happen to have a zero tolerance policy against child abuse, which is precisely what this is.

If you honestly believe that she has violated your school policies by bringing pills (ibuprofen!!!!!) into your school, you should call the police and then call my husband and me. You will NOT touch her. Do you hear me? You will NOT make her take off her clothes. You will NOT pull her underwear away from her body and check to be sure she hasn't stashed anything inside of them. You will NOT treat her like she has no rights, because my child, my daughter, has RIGHTS. She has the right to go to school without becoming a piece of property that you can do whatever you want to. I have several suggestions as to where you can shove your "in loco parentis." I do not consent. She does not consent. She may be in your buildings 8 hours a day, 180 days a year, but she is MY child, and more importantly, she is her own person who has the right to be treated with dignity and respect, even before she's 18 - ESPECIALLY before she's 18. And I swear to God I will get the best lawyers on this planet, and we will destroy you (assuming that my husband and I can stop each other from killing you with our bare hands, because I so would want to do just that).

I am shaking with anger over what happened to this child. The girl whose rights were violated was a 13 year old honors student with no history of discipline problems. I hope the Supreme Court throws the book - literally take an actual extremely large and heavy book and throw it - at the parties that are responsible for this. Better yet, they should be made to strip to their skivvies, and the Supremes should take a look at their private parts. Cruel and unusual?? Perhaps, but maybe they should have thought of that before they did it to a kid.

Jeez, it's Morality 101 - DO UNTO OTHERS. My head is going to explode.

Disgustedly yours,
Amy

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Plagiarized by One of the Funniest Moms on the 'Net

....or just a coincidence? You be the judge:

http://thebloggess.com/?p=2355

vs

http://prettybabies.blogspot.com/2009/03/dr-messeswithmyhead.html

(I think it's just a happy coincidence, actually, but I LOVE that my mind works like the mind of The Bloggess!!!)

And you may ask yourself, how did I get here?

One of the most popular posts on many blogs is a round up of search terms that led searchers to said blog. I just found a couple doozies in my stats:

Anal Leakage & Cat - wow, dude. Sorry. I know I was no help, but, yikes.

Cleaning Up Confetti Out of a Lawn - I'm pretty sure you don't want to use a vacuum. Beyond that, my only advice is to make the kids do it.

and finally

Nadia Suleman vs. Dr. Phil - this was within the past 24 hours. Seriously, kids, aren't we over it yet?

Toddlers and Lying

A friend of mine posted to Facebook that her 4 year old son had lied to her. She was understandably upset, but I thought I'd share my response with all of you. Because really? Lying is an important developmental step for toddlers and preschoolers. It's almost inevitable, and the way you react to the early, small lies will build the foundation for their future of honesty (or not).
Actually, the early lies that children tell are developmentally appropriate - and a sign of high intelligence! Not only did he put it together that 1) if I tell the truth then 2) I'll get in trouble (so his ability to predict consequences is AWESOME - particularly for his age), but he also was able to invent a story to hide the truth (CREATIVITY). The trick is to nip the early lies in the bud, but to praise him (oh yes I said it) for predicting the consequences and to tell him, "Honey, the trick is to predict the consequences ***before*** you do the stupid thing that's going to get you in trouble, and NOT do the stupid thing in the first place!"

If you look at it that way, he's halfway (at least) to learning self-control!!

He WILL lie to you, he MUST, so that he learns that it's socially unacceptable, well, at least under certain circumstances - that's a whole 'nother conversation - and that he can't lie, later, to his teachers, bosses, wife, etc....

Hope that helps it hurt less.
What do you think?

Jeez, Claire is obsessed with clothes today. She's on her third outfit. Gotta run. *sigh*

Monday, April 20, 2009

Politically Incorrect

Picture this: I'm at Walmart returning some of the plumbing parts that we didn't need, because BJ's strategy seems to be something along the lines of "buy one of each thing that looks remotely related to plumbing, just in case..." And there's this guy. He's really black. In the words of Ralphie May, he's "Go outside at night, close his eyes and disappear - black." And he has an African sounding accent.

And he's wiring money. Actually, he's having a heck of a time wiring a large amount of money (over a grand), because the woman at the Walmarts doesn't know what she's doing.

Amy-The-Smartass-With-Foot-In-Mouth-Disease starts trying to think of some cute remark to make, like, "Dude, I got that e-mail too - you don't want to send any money to Nigeria!" or something. But the kids were distracting me, and I couldn't quite formulate the right smart-alecked comment. I didn't want to offend him, of course, I was just trying to come up with a joke. I couldn't. And it's a good thing, too, because after the lady processed my return he comes back and says, "You did this in Nigerian dollars, not American dollars..."

He WAS wiring money to Nigeria!

And I started to laugh and walk away, because really, the punch lines write themselves.

Hot Blooded

We first suspected that Claire was a little weird when her Daddy had a bag of "Buffalo Ranch" flavored Doritos, and she kept crying, "Chip! Chip!!" This must have been 6 months ago, she was about 18 months old. Finally, after trying to explain that she wouldn't like them, we gave her one.

She ate it, then said, "Chip! Chip!!" again.

Yesterday we had chicken nuggets. BJ got out the buffalo sauce. "Dip! Dip!!" she cried. We said no. She got more insistent. I pointed out that since she likes - no, loves - the Buffalo chips, maybe she'd like the sauce.

Not only did she like it, she was dipping the chicken and then licking the sauce, straight, off of the nuggets.

I'm pretty sure that I have the only spicy food loving 2 year old in the world. Are we just the only ones brave (dumb?) enough to try feeding this stuff to our toddler? We've always been that way - MG teethed on pickles, when she was really small, maybe 6 months old.

What's the weirdest thing your kid loves to eat?

In other news, our kitchen is a disaster area. I got a new faucet and garbage disposal, and a filtration system that goes under the counter, which will be nice. Well, when we got everything open we realized that the channel that holds the screws so that your sink doesn't rise out of the cabinetry was broken, so we couldn't just replace the clips - we had to replace the entire sink. We're five, maybe six trips to the hardware store into this project right now. BJ skipped work today to finish it (hooray for self-employment!). I have learned that I have mad plumber's putty skillz. I also have the sense of humor of your average 12 year old boy, and should not be allowed around "caulk," like, ever.

It's going to be really fabulous when BJ gets it done, though. It's one of those faucets that has a built in sprayer, which will make just about everything easier, cleaning wise. It also has two different spray patterns - one like a regular faucet and one more like a shower head, only smaller of course. We made sure we still had a tap hole for our hot water tap, because I couldn't live without that. The disposal will be much quieter, which will be terrific. I think the clips/channel on the old sink failed because the old disposal shook the cabinets like crazy when I ran it. And it vomited on me. That was charming.

We've had pizza, donuts, and Noodles, I guess we'll get Chinese for dinner. What's going on with you this Monday?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Practical Theology

Proposed: That it may take more courage, more moral conviction, and more goodness to be a good person who believes in nothing - that this is it, that there is no god, that we are an accident of nature and physics that just happened to occur, not the end-game of some divine "plan" - than it takes to be a good person who believes in something (assuming that your something is spiritual/religious in nature).

Discuss.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Daylight Saving, Sanity Not Saving Time

Dear Governor Daniels,

It's time for my annual letter in which I request that you come explain to my children, now 3.5 and 2 years old, why they have to go to bed when it's broad daylight outside. I am writing this at 8:30 pm, and the sky is light. My kids (should) go to bed at 8 pm. They are quite annoyed, and so am I.

I can only guess how difficult things will be in late June, when it stays light until 10 or 10:30 pm.

Whenever they ask me, "Mommy, why do we have to go to bed? It's daytime!" I say, "Ask your governor." This makes their father snort, but is unfortunately an unsatisfactory response from their youthful perspective, as they do not often get the opportunity to directly address elected officials such as yourself. Therefore, please come at your earliest convenience and explain it to them for me.

Sincerely,
Amy Prettybaby

Hey blog readers - follow me on Twitter - @prettybabies

John Paul's Movie

I'm going to go on the assumption that everyone who cares either 1) reads the blog or 2) will see this on Facebook.

I just ordered a copy of the movie, Dead at the Box Office, that our friend JP was in before he died. We have a 109" projector, ample popcorn, and lots of tissues. Would anyone be interested in coming to a screening party at our house?

From what I understand it's a terrible movie! It only has one star on IMDB. I guess it's a campy horror thing. I don't care, I'm just looking forward to seeing his face and hearing his voice again. It took me three years to get to the point where I thought I could do so without it hurting too much.

So, let's make it a party! Let's celebrate our friend! It's what he'd want, I think. Who's in? E-mail me.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Baby!!!!!

My friend Karen FINALLY had her baby this morning. She was due on my birthday (4/13 - Monday) but he was hanging in there.

Last night I took her some lentil soup, saying, "If we can't get you to start labor, we'll give you gas and blow the baby out!!" and her mom gave her a foot massage, and one or both of those things did the trick. She was only in labor about 4 hours, too. "Ooohh..." I said, "You did it Amy Style!"

So here's the recipe for:

Labor Inducing Lentil Soup
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (16 ounce) package of dried lentils, rinsed, sorted, and drained
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 package of fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  1. In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery; cook and stir until onion is tender. Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil; cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve stir in spinach, and cook until it wilts. Stir in vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired.
(adapted from a recipe at All Recipes)

Congratulations to Karen, Jim, Owen, and Cameron!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's Like The Messiest Confetti Ever

I let the kids get the Play-Doh out today. They LOVE the Play-Doh because I never let them get it out. I never let them get it out because 1) it's a bitch to clean up, and 2) I'm anal which means I go nuts when they inevitably 3) mix all the damn colors together so that everything is brownish beige, and then 4) smear it on every available surface, including my new rug.

Have you ever had one of those days when you are honestly entertaining the thought of burning down your house, because dealing with insurance and rebuilding would be easier than cleaning it, at this point? That's kind of how this day was. I should be downstairs vacuuming. Instead...

I saw my OB/GYN this morning. He walked in, and I said, with all the indignance that I could muster while wearing a hospital gown and a thin white sheet, "I am SO MAD AT YOU!" before he even said hi.

We talked about it, and the whole problem is that he signed a covenant not to compete, so he can't practice in this area for two years after he leaves the group that he's with now. Seems to me that that's b.s. and he could totally sue (after all, didn't I learn something in business law to the tune of "you can't legally sign your rights away" and wouldn't a covenant like that be essentially signing away his right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of catching babies? But I digress...). I guess he's not even moving from his house. I happen to know where he lives, because he lives in the same neighborhood as one of our business partners, so I told him, "Look, we don't need to break up, I'll just show up on your lawn when I'm in labor with my next kid... It's not like it'll take long - I figure 23 minutes if the trend continues - and you can just deliver me at your house and we'll bring you a Scrabble board like my mom did when she had my brother at home," (he actually remembered that story, so it didn't sound half as crazy to him as it does to you). His house is actually closer to our house than the hospital by about 15 minutes. He never actually said, "Amy, don't show up at my house in labor," so I figure I just will, and since he took an oath he'll have to deliver my next baby, and we can work out the whole, "OH! You thought I was kidding!" thing later.

I'm not currently pregnant. I just like to plan ahead.

We actually had a very nice visit, and he oohed and aahed appropriately over the pictures of the kids that I had on my iPod. It was very friendly and chatty and seriously who knew that I could like a gyno this much? I think the thing I like best about him is that he totally gets my whacky nervous humor, and laughs at my jokes and doesn't let things get all awkward. Some gynos let things get awkward - I once said to the 70 year old woman at Planned Parenthood, when she described what she was about to do, "But you haven't even taken me out for dinner yet!" I was just trying to lighten the mood, deflect a little of my own tension. She didn't laugh. It was awkward. It made everything more tense and uncomfortable.

BJ does the nervous awkward humor too, like when I was 8 weeks along with MG and in the middle of the transvaginal ultrasound BJ says, "Do you think we could get better reception if I moved her arms?" Can you imagine if our OB/GYN couldn't handle our brand of awkward nervous humor? How awful would that be?

So, yeah, I'll be seeing you Dr. Scott. In your front yard. It'll be a party. And this time, I won't forget the coffee.

(Ok, I just saw the title I put up there when I was talking about the Play-Doh, and realized that I just totally double entendre-d myself without even noticing, but I'm going to leave it because it's funny...)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What I Say In A Day

It's not morning yet, go back to sleep.

Shhhh.

Shhhh!

SHHHH!

Here, let's turn on Disney.

Daddy will get your milk.

No, it's too cold to wear that, do you want this or this?

Claire, put your clothes back on.

Stop that.

No.

What do you want for breakfast?

Eat your breakfast.

You asked for eggs and toast, now eat it.

Eat your breakfast.

We don't eat suckers for breakfast.

We don't eat chocolate for breakfast.

Fine, you can have cheese.

Eat your cheese.

Why did you ask for it if you weren't going to eat it?

Don't speak to your sister that way.

Max is going to eat your cheese, Claire.

Take a time out, Mary Grace.

Claire, leave Sister alone while she's in time out.

Why did you get a time out?

Max can't have that, Claire.

That's right, let's use gentle hands and gentle voices today.

Are you finished going potty?

Claire, do you have dirty pants?

There's no reason to scream about it.

If you don't want me to change your pants, then you need to go on the potty.

Are you done going potty?

Are you done?

Are you finished?

I don't control what's on TV, if you don't want to watch this, we'll turn it off.

Leave that alone.

Put the batteries back in the remote.

Give me the remote.

Give it to me.

Give it to me right now.

Thank you.

Say, "please."

No, you can't have a sucker.

I'm on the phone.

No talking when I'm on the phone.

Be QUIET when I'm on the phone.

What is this on my head? It's a phone. Shhhh.

SHHHH.

Take a time out.

Claire, leave Sister alone when she's in time out.

Why did you get a time out?

That's right, it's important to listen.

We need to go, where are your shoes?

Where are your shoes?

Why aren't your shoes in the shoe cubby?

No, you can't wear plastic princess shoes.

Get in the car.

Get in the car.

Get in the car.

Let's get in the car.

Get out of the puddle. Get in the car.

Am I speaking Spanish? Get in the car!

You need to be quiet while Mommy's driving.

I can't reach that while I'm driving.

I'll give it to you when we get there.

You can't take that inside, it needs to stay in the car.

It needs to stay here.

It stays. Here.

In the car.

Inside voices.

Don't hit.

Shhhh.

No running.

Quiet.

It's not time to go yet.

What do you want for lunch today?

Okay.

Let's go home.

It's time to go home.

We're going home now.

I'M going home now, if you want to come with me, it's time to straighten up and come with me.

It's a long walk home from here.

If you pick your nose again, I'm going to tape your fingers into lobster claws.

You heard me.

Don't drink that, it's old.

Drink your milk.

NO, not the old milk.

Give it to me.

You asked for that, why won't you eat it?

Eat.

Eat your lunch.

It's time to eat.

Sit down.

Stay here.

Don't stand on the chair.

Sit down.

Eat your lunch.

If you don't eat lunch, you're not getting anything else until snack.

Don't take her lunch.

Inside voices.

Sit down.

Daddy's at work.

Daddy would tell you the same thing.

Daddy will be home at supper time.

It's nap time.

Yes you do.

Yes you do.

I need you to take a nap.

That's because you didn't eat your lunch. If you'd eaten when I told you to, you wouldn't be hungry now. Now, go to sleep.

Shhhh...

Yes, I'll read your story.

Fine, go potty, then come right back here and go to sleep.

Now go to sleep.

Shhh...

Sleep.

It's nap time.

Be quiet, your sister is sleeping.

Pick that up, please.

Quiet.

Shhhh...

Sleep.

Why won't you sleep?

Thank God, they're asleep.

Did you have a nice nap?

Don't wake your sister up.

Yes, you can have some cocoa.

What do you want for snack?

I don't think that's a good idea, how about Goldfish?

How about cheese?

How about crackers?

How about grapes?

Hi, Claire, how was your nap?

The grapes are nasty, let's have a banana.

Ok. Eat your banana.

Why did you ask for it if you weren't going to eat it?

Eat it.

Don't feed the banana to the dog.

You guys are going to make Max sick.

Daddy will be home in a little while.

No, we can't go to Disneyworld today.

Who told you about Disneyworld, anyway?

Stop that.

That's an outside toy.

Be nice.

If you guys can't be nice to each other, I'm going to take that toy away.

I mean it.

Ok, it's mine.

Stop crying.

Well, you should've thought of that before you threw it.

Who wants to color?

Very nice.

No, I don't want to draw cats.

Claire, don't eat the crayons.

Claire, don't.

Crayons are not food.

You won't eat your banana, but you'll eat yellow crayons.

Seriously?

Daddy's home!

Who colored on the fireplace?

I'm making dinner.

I'll get it for you when I'm done making dinner.

I'm still making dinner.

I'm still making dinner.

Ok, what do you need?

No, you can't have that before dinner.

It's time for supper.

Eat your supper.

Eat it.

Eat this.

No, you can't have a hot dog.

No, you can't have peanut butter and jelly.

How do you know it's yucky, you haven't even tried it!

Two more bites.

Two more bites.

Two more bites.

Two more real bites.

Yes, you may be excused.

Take your plate to the sink, please.

It's almost bath time.

It's almost bath time.

It's time for bath.

Let's go take a bath.

Don't play with the bath water, it's too hot, still.

Ok, it's fine now, get in.

No, it's not to hot, I checked.

It's not hot.

It's fine.

Don't dump that on her head.

Don't take that from her.

Don't take that.

Stop it.

Be nice.

If you can't be nice we're going to get out.

Don't.

It's time to wash your hair.

Yes, it is.

Yes it is.

If you don't want me to comb out the tangles, maybe we should just get it all cut off.

That's better.

Good job.

Ok, let's get out.

Go potty.

Brush your teeth.

Let me help you brush your teeth.

Let me help you, too.

Ok, what story do you want?

No, we're not reading that, it's 300 pages long.

Ok, we'll read that.

Yes, you can have one more story.

No, it's sister's turn to turn off the lights.

Give me a kiss.

I love you.

Come snuggle.

Daddy and I are going into our room in 5 minutes.

Daddy and I are going into our room in 3 minutes.

Daddy and I are going into our room in 1 minute, you'd better come lay down.

Lay down.

No, you can't have that, it's too hard to sleep with.

Ok, good night, I love you.

Good night.

Get back in bed.

You need to stay in your bed.

Good night.

I'm not kidding, if you can't stay in your bed I'm going to shut the door.

Get in bed.

Get in your bed.

Get in your own bed.

Good night.

No, get in bed.

Get in your bed.

Get in your own bed.

Good night.

Good night.

I love you too.

Good night.

(fin)

And then tomorrow, we'll do it all again.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oh Boy/Going You're NOT!

I made an appointment for my "yearly" today with the OB/GYN who delivered MG and C (well, I did all the work, he caught them...), and the woman on the phone said, "You know that Dr. Scott is leaving, right?"

"NO!" I sobbed into the phone.

"Yes, he's leaving in July."

I am not speaking with the slightest bit of hyperbole when I say that I would have gotten pregnant last fall if I had known that he was leaving. I am NOT prepared to break in another OB. Not at all.

There are only going to be two OBs left within the "A Clinic" (locals will know what group I'm referring to). One of them put me on bedrest when I was pregnant with MG, is extremely conservative (in other words, just LOVES to interfere with the normal birth process), has a terrible bedside manner. I wouldn't let him deliver Max's puppies, much less my baby. The other one, a woman, I don't know anything about.

"Well, neither of them are taking new patients anyway," said the woman on the phone.

"So what am I supposed to do if I get pregnant?" I asked.

"New patients will be seeing the nurse practitioners..."

"That is unacceptable," I said. "I have had two high risk pregnancies. I need a doctor... I'm not going to just take potluck, either..." I started to sputter. "Can my family doctor, Dr. MWMH, catch my babies? We've talked about it. He used to do obstetrics up north, but came down here and focused on family practice..."

She put me on hold so she could ask, came back, and said, "No."

I am NOT amused. How is this health care?

Well, I e-mailed our insurance agent, and it turns out that the local women's clinic is covered by our insurance company. However, they don't have privileges at the new hospital. NARG! I guess it's ok. Karen (who STILL hasn't had her baby!) has been happy with the doctors there.

I'm still going to see Dr. Scott on Thursday and give him a piece of my mind, though. What is he thinking? He can't just leave! I feel like I've been dumped. It's the stupidest thing, because I know that he's not basing this decision on whether or not BJ and I may want to have a third child in the future. He has to do what's best for his family... But still, gosh, I really don't want to have a baby with any other doctor.

And I was really looking forward to having a baby in a brand new, state of the art hospital. *sigh* Oh well, the old one is closer to our house.

Aside from that, today was a very happy birthday to me! Unka' Chuck and Bumpa came over to go to gymnastics with the girls and me. Then we all met BJ for lunch. It was a fun day, with lots of unexpected and amazing gifts. After BJ got home, we went to spend my Barnes & Noble gift card (it was burning a hole in my pocket!!), then out for dinner at Red Lobster.

"The kids" got me a CD and an emergency charger for all my gadgets. BJ is the most thoughtful gift buyer. I really need to try to be more like him.

I hope your April 13 was happy, too.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hoppy Easter

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging, after a weekend of being spoiled by relatives. We are fat and happy, and so lucky to have so many wonderful relatives in "Grammaland."

I bought these outfits almost a year ago, remember? They were a steal, and well worth waiting for. They fit perfectly today, and made the older people sitting behind us in church today say "Awwww..." a little too audibly when we snuck in 10 minutes into the service (Amy does not do early, and 8:15 on a Sunday is way early - it's honestly a wonder we made it at all!).

My girlies even kept them clean. They're so good.

Note the shoes. They're about two sizes too big, but shoe shopping with kids is nearly impossible, so I traced their feet onto a piece of paper, left them for their usual time with Allison on Friday, and did the best I could at the store without actual feet. Fortunately, months and months of walking in oversized plastic high heeled "princess" shoes has finally paid off, and they were able to keep the "tulip shoes" on, for the most part.

Too much candy, too much fun, too little rest. I can haz nap?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hunting Wabbits

I may be vewwy vewwy quiet the next few days. We've got one heck of a busy weekend ahead of us.

Friday - birthday party for my cousin in Grammaland.
Saturday - lunch with Gramma Denna, dinner with Gramma Susan.
Sunday - morning Easter festivities with Grandpa Ben, afternoon visit with Gramma Diana.
Monday - Uncle Chuck and Grandpa Bob coming to our house, then to go to gym with girlies.
Tuesday - pass out!

Random Amy Trivia: I experienced two Easters between my birth and my first birthday.

So, my birthday is Monday. I think that doing "the circuit" as we call it when we hit Grammaland and try to see everyone, moving through town like a whirling-minivan-shaped-dervish, on the weekend before my birthday is what I get for putting my foot down and refusing to leave my house on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day last year. It'll be fun, though, in an exhausting sort of way. It's been too long since we've seen everyone, and I'm glad that we'll have the chance to visit with all our parents (and I'm sorry if you're not on the itinerary, but we probably won't see you this trip. I miss you and love you and we'll try it again soon). I just hope the girls can handle it and don't get overloaded and strung out on sugar and being spoiled by grandparents. My luck - they'll hit maximum fun capacity just as we walk into church on Easter morning, whereupon they will completely flip their tiny lids and embarrass the crap out of me, most likely in front of some important person from my distant past who is not aware of the fact that I am a Perfect Mother (no, really, I am - a quiz on Facebook told me so).

More Random Amy Trivia: My cousin Ian was born on April 12. I was born on April 13. My niece and nephew were born on the 14th and 15th.

I am quite certain that my friend Karen, who is pregnant with her third child, is going to go into labor the moment I leave town tomorrow night, because that's how my luck tends to work. Karen is due on my birthday. I'm surprised that she didn't try to talk me into leaving early when I explained that she'd surely go into labor while I'm in Grammaland. She's looking for names, so leave suggestions in the comments. Her boys are Owen and Cameron, so it kind of has to match. This baby is also a boy. I suggested Trey (Mimi's husband, Trey, was also the third boy in his family).

If I don't get back to blogging before then, have a happy Easter, and a happy my-birthday!

(Had to switch pics - that other one was copyrighted, even though it's clipart. Huh? I thought the whole point of clipart was that you could reproduce it without worrying about licensing. Anyway, this one is from www.cranium.net, and is cuter anyway.)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Internet Has Spoken

Or rather, the Internet has been Completely Silent. Fine, I get it. You do not come here for product reviews. Consider that idea trashed. (I got one comment on that post while writing this one, yay! I'll revise that to almost completely silent.)

Why do you come here? Why do any of us "mommybloggers" do this? Why do we expose (exploit?) our families online? For fun? For profit? For our egos?

One of the things that people always say is that it's "all about the community." But it's hard to understand, if you've never been touched by that community, how it functions.

I'm sad to report that today I have a perfect example. Another "mommyblogger" - one I didn't read before, actually, has experienced the most horrible loss I can imagine. Her daughter Maddie died, completely unexpectedly. I'm not going to write the details because it's not my story. Her site is slammed, so if you want to know what happened, and you click through and you don't get anywhere, it's because thousands of people all over the world are wanting to know, too, and are reaching out to her, and are caring about her, and her husband, and their family. Try Googling "the Sphors are multiplying" and looking at the cached result, if the links I've provided don't work.

The "Momosphere" or the "mommyblogging community" has raised over $13,000 for the March of Dimes, in less than a day, in Madeline's memory. (You can click the link if you wish to donate in Maddie's memory too). On Facebook and Twitter people are brainstorming other ways to help and show support. It's hard when someone lives far away to "be there" for them, but the "mommybloggers" are trying. Just like we're trying with Stellan (see sidebar).

That, my friends, is part of the reason why we do this. Because when another member of this weird, vast, universal sisterhood of mothers is in a crisis we can open our hearts and our wallets, and we can do something REAL and TANGIBLE to try to ease the unspeakable pain that any of us could find ourselves unexpectedly facing. We may argue about breast vs. bottle, about staying home vs. working, and so on, but when it really comes down to it, we care about each other. We care about each others' families. We recognize the universality of our experiences. We are really a part of each others' lives, just as much as we would be if we went to the same church or joined the same MOMS Club.

I hope that Madeline's parents can sleep a little easier tonight, knowing that they matter to so many people. I hope that they are comforted, knowing that so many people are grieving with them, people who never had a chance to meet their baby girl. I hope they know that we're all holding our kids a little tighter tonight and thinking of them, with tears in our eyes.

Rest in peace, little Maddie.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Good Stuff: Aveeno Postively Ageless SPF 70 Lotion

Important: NO ONE asked me to write this post, NO ONE gave me anything to write this post.

I don't do product recommendations too often, because 1) there are plenty of other blogs who do product recommendations better, and 2) the one time I tried, I got the sample of the stuff and hated it, and was in a moral dilemma as to what to do (I ended up writing back and saying, "Dude, your lotion broke me out, big time, I'm not going to tell my readers to use it, and OH BY THE WAY I find your video advertising deceptive," because I am all about integrity, folks, and not about making a buck. Have you clicked any ads lately?)

Anyway, this is breaking out of my usual thing, but I have to tell you about a product I've been using because I love it and if I were single and it were a person I'd marry it.

It all started with this photo:


This was taken at a wedding in January. After several months of no-sun-exposure. I posted it to my Facebook profile and several of my friends said, "GIRL! Look at your SKIN!"

And I looked at my skin and I thought, "Wow, not bad!"

And then I thought, "Maybe I should do something to, you know, keep that skin."

So I went to my local pharmacy (that's trying to kill me) and bought two tubes of sunscreen for the face. The first was Neutrogena - haven't tried that yet. The second was Aveeno Positively Ageless SPF 70 Sunscreen.

People, I look like an "after" picture without make up on. It does not break me out (and believe me when I tell you that virtually everything breaks me out - whoever thought that I'd have zits, gray hair, and wrinkles all at the same time. Jeez!) It doesn't feel heavy or yucky at all. I apply it after the shower and by the time I've brushed my teeth, it has absorbed and is no longer visible or feel-able on my face and "decolletage" (because I wear a lot of V-neck shirts, no one wants wrinkly cleavage!!).

We all know that we should be wearing sunscreen every day, but who wants to feel (or smell) like a greasy beach bum, or a pina colada, every day?? This stuff smells and feels great. I promise.

Granted, I was doing pretty well, skin wise, to start with. But this stuff, it's making good even better.

So now that it's warming up (ha ha, there was snow yesterday, I want a refund on this "spring" thing...) you really should think about protecting your skin. If you're looking for a product, you might think of your favorite-dewy-skinned-blogger and give this stuff a try.

And seriously, Aveeno? If you could come up with something that, say, melts fat? I would drink it by the gallon. Let's start working on that next, mmmkay?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Nothing to Report

The kids and I are home, while BJ's on a business trip in Wisconsin. He'll be home after they go to bed tonight, assuming the traffic in Chicago isn't too horrendous. Of course, I'm on Twitter and get a "Breaking News Alert" about a Cessna that's been stolen in Canada and is being intercepted by F-16s over Central Wisconsin. Where BJ is. Right now. With our friend "Pierre," who is French and likely to surrender to the Cessna (he doesn't read or want to be mentioned on the blog - that'll teach him!!). Fortunately I'm pretty sure they're a couple hours south of where the action is, and I'm just hoping that the F-16s have the situation well in hand and won't allow the plane to get too close to a populated area like Milwaukee or Chicago.

Crazy.

Our social calendar is really starting to fill up for April, so since our only planned activity today was Open Gym, we decided to stay home and chill and watch movies. It's 7:30 pm and the girls are still in their jammies. Not already, still. I've been reading, watching Oprah (all the Mommybloggers were on today - it was very odd, like watching a bunch of my friends on TV, even though none of them have the faintest clue who I am. But once you've heard someone's kid's potty training horror stories, it makes you close, you know? Even if it's a one-way close), and dorking around on the 'net all day, while also doing laundry and waiting hand and foot on my kids (seriously, the next person to ask for something, whether it be popcorn or PB&J or cocoa is going to get it).

Claire was fun today...

Claire: I want drink!
Me: Do you want milk?
Claire: I WANT drink!
Me: Do you want juice?
Claire: I want DRINK!
Me: Do you want water?
Claire: I WANT DRINK!
Me: Do you want tea?
Claire: I WANT DRINK!
Me: Do you want whiskey?
Claire: I WANT DRIIINK!!
Me, opens fridge: Show me what you want.
Claire: I want milk.

Was all of that strictly necessary?

In other, completely unrelated news, my friend Amy Turn Sharp Stumbled my April Fools Post and I had almost 2000 hits on 4/2. I looked at my stats and thought I had clicked on the wrong blog. I felt famous. I liked it. I can't wait to go to BlogHer and figure out how to have more 2000 hit days!

(For those of you who aren't big geeks like myself, that means that Amy hit a button that's basically a thumbs up that she has installed on her web browser, which added me to a database, and other people hit their, "So, what's cool today?" buttons and came to my blog. 2000 people, to be exact. That's a lot of people. And BlogHer is the conference I'm going to in July, where I'm going to learn how to be an even better geek.)

I can't figure out why April is shaping up to be so busy. Is it because of my birthday, or is everyone just coming out of hibernation? Either way, I like it. It's hard to believe that it's April when we wake up to a covering of snow on the ground. On the other hand, my friend Cate in Alaska had like 6 feet of snow on the ground the other day, so I feel silly worrying about such a little bit.

I think I'm going to get the girlies to bed early tonight, then work on a new blog design. I hate the way the blog looks. I liked that header before, but now it does nothing for me. Time to move on. I'm thinking polka dots...

What did you do on this chilly, wet Monday?

Updated to add: Just now, while on the phone with BJ I checked for updates on the Cessna situation. He remains unimpressed. He says, "Well, we're not in Wisconsin anymore," and I swear, I hit refresh on Twitter at that exact moment and saw this:
FAA officials tell BNO News that the stolen Cessna aircraft has flown into Illinois and is still being chased by F16s. Details to come.
They're following him.

And BJ, my calm, calm husband, says, "I don't think I've made any enemies in Canada recently."

Do you think they're safe at Giordano's? 'Cause I'm not loving this.

Rebe - look out the window and let me know if you see any F-16s. This is getting too close to home. I have about a zillion friends and relatives in the Greater Chicago Area. Yuck. BJ insists that a Cessna 172 is teeny and couldn't do much damage. I say, it can do enough that it has a couple of F-16s on its tail! Shoot it down over the lake!

Hopefully it'll get south of BJ and "Pierre" while they're eating. Sheesh. Never a dull moment at Chez Prettybabies.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Eight Easy Steps to being a More Patient Parent

Kids. They'll drive you nuts. Here are Eight Easy Steps for being a little less nuts-driven.

1) See the innocence in their behavior.

If they were born knowing everything, every action's reaction, every consequence, they wouldn't need us for 18-22 years. Before you blow up over spilled milk, ask yourself if the child was being deliberately bad, or if it was just an innocent accident or an innocent mistake. I'd say that at least seven times out of ten, it was innocent, especially with young kids. And seeing that innocence makes it a lot easier to forgive.

2) Wait and see what they're trying to do before you get angry.

The best example of this, from our lives, was this one time that I took the girls out for ice cream. Claire was just over one, and MG was about 2 and a half. MG took Claire's spoon right out of her hand. I was just about to dress her down for it, when she scooped up a bite of Claire's ice cream, fed it to her, and said, "I help."

I was SO glad that my mouth was full and I didn't jump right down her throat for taking the spoon, because it was one of the sweetest moments. How often do our kids have good, but misunderstood, intentions? If I had yelled at her for taking the spoon, without knowing her intentions, she would've learned NOT to try to help Claire - the exact opposite of what I want her to learn.

3) See the humor in the things your kids do.

Sometimes kids are just being dorks. It's really funny, when you're three, to make a volcano out of mashed potatoes, or to make letters out of French fries. Rather than snapping, "Don't play with your food!!" try just chilling out. After all, it's not like you're dining with the Queen, right?

4) Give your kids the opportunity to do the right thing without being told to do it.

You don't want to be a drill sergeant. Your kids don't want to live with one either. Sometimes if you just let them do their thing, rather than barking constant orders and redirections, they'll do what you want them to do all on their own.

We're learning this with bedtime. Bedtime has been a struggle in this house since the day Mary Grace was born. But we've started changing the routine - we now do bath, potty, jammies, teeth, drinks, two stories, a quick snuggle, then Daddy and I leave the room, and damned if they aren't going to sleep by themselves. Who knew? We've probably been keeping them awake, and preventing them from falling asleep quickly, by lying there and saying, "Be still!" and "Go to sleep!!!" over and over.

5) Give choices.

We've all read this in the parenting magazines a thousand times, but it's true. Think of how frustrating it would be to live with someone who told you what to do all day - when to get up, what to wear, what to eat, where to go, when to sleep - without giving you any say in the matter. Does it really matter if your kid wants to wear a princess costume to the grocery store? Save the battles for the big things. Ask them, "Do you want the blue shirt or the pink shirt today?" "Do you want toast or a bagel?" "Do you want milk or juice?" "Do you want to go to bed now or in 5 minutes?" Giving little choices throughout the day will give kids more of a sense of control over their lives, and will cause you to engage in fewer battles of the wills. And never forget that if you're up against a toddler, you are outmatched in a battle of wills.

6) Give warnings.

Imagine that you're at work, and you're in the middle of a big project, and your boss says, "Stop that right NOW and go to the meeting!" How annoyed would you be? Wouldn't it be better if the boss came by and said, "Hey, the big meeting is in 5 minutes, see you there!" You can do the same thing for your kids, if you simply give a 3 or 5 minute warning, it'll make transitions a LOT easier.

7) Allow down time.

There's a lot of pressure on parents to fill their kids' entire schedule. Don't fall into this trap. Kids learn a lot simply by playing on their own and entertaining themselves. They need a break from their hectic schedules once in a while, just like we grown ups do.

8) Give them tools to deal with their emotions.

This one works for me when my kids fight. When you feel yourself really getting ready to blow, say to your kids, "I am really angry right now." Take a few deep breaths and let them learn how to calm themselves down by watching you calm yourself down. If you need to stall for more time to get perspective, try saying, "Why do you think I'm angry?" If you need even more, walk away for a few minutes. Give yourself a time out (and sit wherever your kids sit for their time outs!). Explain that just like they get angry, sometimes you do too, and sometimes you need to take a minute to settle down, just like they do. Show empathy for them, and at the same time demonstrate the appropriate way to deal with your anger.

And the bonus - if you turn their attention onto you and how you're managing your emotions, they'll probably stop fighting with each other to pay attention.

Mary Grace is high strung, and very emotional. She comes by it naturally. I hold up a finger when she starts spiraling out of control, and tell her to "blow out the candle." In this way, I'm reminding her to take deep breaths, and giving her a tool she can eventually use on her own to manage her emotionality. Right now she's little, and she still needs help. Generally, after the two of us blow out a few "candles" we're calm enough to deal with each other without screaming and yelling.

So begins my new series, Eight Easy Steps. Yes, I stole the title from Alanis, but I mean it less sarcastically. And I needed to read this today, because I have been a total wench lately. We're all works in progress.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Loose Ends

I've got 10,000 random thoughts rattling around in my tiny mind, so this is going to be one of those annoying, disjointed posts. However, I promise a healthy mix of funny kid stuff with random rattling stuff.

***

I am funnier when I'm not on Zoloft.

Yes, I'm off the Zoloft. It tried to kill me. This does NOT mean that you are exempt from taking me seriously. It does mean that you should be a little bit nicer to me, and more cautious around me, for a couple of weeks until I even back out. And maybe send chocolate or wine, just to be safe.

If we're going to have a third baby, I need to get clean. The data has changed since I became pregnant with Claire, and although she's fabulous (so far) I'm not willing to take the risk, again, of taking Zoloft while pregnant (your mileage may vary, talk to your doctor, this blog is not meant to be taken as medical advice. In fact, it would probably be safer to refrain from taking any advice you read in this blog, just on general principle. Void where prohibited).

***

Tonight before bed, Claire wanted to use the potty (she's ready to potty train, I'm not) before bed. "Potty! Please, potty!" she said. However, her diaper was poopy. So, I cleaned her up in the hallway, then left her, naked, in the bathroom while I went in her room to throw away the diaper. I could hear her saying, "Potty! POTTY!" kind of urgently, but I figured she was just excited (Casey, who is having a hard time potty training her kids, is not going to love that comment - yes, she's excited to use the potty. Yes, I'm discouraging her. Looking gift horse in mouth. I know. Sorry). Well, I get in there and she's standing in a puddle. "Oh no, Mommy," she says, "I spilled."

***

I had a really nice day today. Claire went to "school" with MG (Mommy's Time Out program), and Casey and I had coffee and chatted for two and a half hours!!!! It was lovely!

I also got a lot done at work. Woo hoo!

***

"When are you going to learn that you need to listen to me the FIRST time, not the SEVENTH??" I yelled*.

"Thursday," Mary Grace said, with complete sincerity and repentance. I had to walk away so I could laugh.

***

I'm finding it very difficult to consume all the media that I'm interested in. I have piles of books that I intend to read, eventually, and it seems like for every one I finish there are three more that I want to start. I'm following an embarrassing number of blogs, Twits, and Facebookians. We've been getting the newspaper (for the coupons) and it gets tossed without a glance most nights (I'm going to cut it back to weekends only as soon as I finish this post, actually). I'm so far behind on movies and television shows, not to mention Podcasts, that I will never, ever catch up. I wonder if it's part of being the parent of young kids, that I just don't have hours and hours to sit and read like I did B.C. (Before Children), or is it because the amount of media that's available is growing exponentially, and it's really impossible to keep up with it all?

I'm going to have to go through and cull my blogroll again. Generally this means that I read through it, and if I don't immediately recognize the blog name as one of my friends, I'll read the last couple posts... If nothing sounds familiar, it means that I've been skimming, and it's time for that subscription to go. I hate to do it, because there must have been some reason why I started following that person to begin with... Some gem of a post where I said, "Who is this person? I must read more!" It makes me feel judgmental and snobby to cut them off... but there are just only so many hours in a day.

I've already culled the Podcasts. And I've gotten much better about stopping reading a book when it starts to feel like work instead of pleasure. There have been several that I've started, thought, "Why am I wasting time on this??" and quit midway through. I used to be sort of obsessive about such things, and if I started it I had to finish any given book. I've gotten much more protective of my time.

***

An article came out today and got buzzed through the blogosphere, which said that they've found "rocket fuel" in baby formula, and OMG won't someone think of the BaBiEz!!!11!!

Um... Yeah. A couple of months ago everyone was having the vapors (pun!) because they found the same "rocket fuel" (ammonium perchlorate) in breast milk.

Do not panic. This is just another way to incite panic in our woefully science-illiterate and innumerate culture. Now, I'm not saying you should go feed your baby a whole bottle full of perchlorate, but it's everywhere, for crying out loud, and we can't get away from it no matter how we choose to feed our kids, so let's quit with the fearmongering.

Should we be concerned about industrial pollution? Sure. Should we buy the ultra-expensive organic soy formula that's pre-digested and pre-screened and pure as the driven snow (if such a thing actually existed) to avoid this chemical? Probably not.

Fear makes us buy stuff. When someone tries to make you afraid, particularly of something that's difficult to understand, or difficult to avoid, always ask yourself what they are trying to sell you.

***

Ok, thinking about toxicity totally reminds me of the time a friend of ours, John, was presenting a paper at a conference and he called a substance "non-toxic." Someone asked him how he knew that it was non-toxic, and he joked, "If you cut it 100 to 1 with water, and you can drink it and not die, it's non-toxic."

Cue: Crickets.

Friends don't let friends joke during professional conferences. I laughed, though, when I heard about it later.

***

BJ just shared this video with me:



This was a factory that made ammonium perchlorate for the Space Shuttle, and some genius decided that they should put it on top of a 16" high pressure natural gas pipeline.

Whoops.

When the Shuttles stopped flying after the Challenger tragedy, the factory kept cranking out AP, so they had it all over the place. 4000 tons of it all over the place, to be specific, and it was stored in containers that helped it blow up, once a spark from a welding torch started the whole thing going. Two people were killed. You can read more about it (and everything else on the planet) on Wikipedia.

I think we know how the ammonium perchlorate got into everything. Check out how long it takes for the sound of the blast that you see at 0:19 to get to the camera at 0:29. That's how far away the camera was from the fire. It takes sound about 5 seconds to travel one mile, so the camera is about two miles away from the source. Now when he pans out, look at the ginormous plume of smoke. All that went somewhere, kids.

It went into the clouds, it got into the rain, it got into the ground water, it got into the cows when they drank the water and ate the grass that had been rained on, and that's how it got into the formula (which is made of milk). It also got into the crops, animals, and milk that grown people eat, and that's how it got into the mommies. It washed downstream, got into the oceans, and into the fish we eat. Women all over the U.S. have tested positive for perchlorate in their breast milk (and I'm not saying it was this SINGLE incident that caused it, although that would make a really interesting class action lawsuit if you could prove damages - how about the increased incidence of autism? Hmmmm...

***

See what I mean about there just being too much interesting stuff on the planet? I could surf Wikipedia for days. I could go from one Youtube video to the next, or get caught up in looking up information about ammonium perchlorate, and what was meant to be a 10 second, "Hey, isn't this dumb?" in a blog post becomes a 20 minute research project.

I don't have time to research, I need to go to bed!

Seriously, I need a media manager or something to filter out all the junk and send me only the most awesome stuff, or something, because this is getting silly.

***

Claire calls everyone Jane. Especially people who are not named Jane. She calls Allison, someone she has known her entire life, Jane. We think she gets her ability to remember names from Bumpa.

***

Is it hard for you to find my links because of the color or the formatting? Do you have to hunt for them? Is there anyone out there who wants to help me move this blog to a new domain (as in "newdomain.com" instead of .blogspot.com) and wants to help me with a new blog design? I'm completely sick of this one and want something more interesting and professional (and .com) before BlogHer. Besides, my pretty babies aren't babies anymore. I have a name in mind... I just have no idea where to begin. I can haz halp??

***

Allison reports that Mary Grace asked Claire, "Claire, do you think I'm a loser?" the other day.

***

Ok, folks, that's enough for tonight. I'm going to go to bed, read a book, listen to a Podcast, and watch a TV show all at once. Relaxing is suddenly a lot of work!!

*Yes, I yelled. I am not perfect.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

OMG Pupiez!!1!!

If I were thinking with my heart, instead of my head and my wallet, this little gorgeous girl would be on her way to me right now. However, I have to be a grown up (BOO, HISS!) and realize that we can't afford to take proper care of the dog we already have (remember that surgery Max needs? Yeah, we can't afford to spend $3000 on the dog right now...), much less a new one.

But YOU could. You want her, don't you? You know you do. And if you click the title of this post you can meet all her brothers and sisters, and you can get in touch with their mama and find out how you can adopt one of your very own...

Like this one!


Ok, seriously, the cute! It's blinding!!!

I love mutts. I've waxed poetic about Max enough times that you know that about me already. Mutts are the bestest dogs. These little loves came into the world by surprise - the owner adopted the Mama dog not realizing that she was already pregnant. She has a LOT of puppies, and all the no-kill shelters in her area (Nashville) are full. Transportation arrangements can be made to save these babies, courtesy of the fabulous Ivy.

Wouldn't one of these babies be a wonderful surprise in an Easter basket? Puppies are the new bunnies! Please e-mail Trace at Newscoma for further details on these gorgeous boys and girls. Or just do what I just did and add her to your feed reader, so that you can make sure that they all get homes. Because seriously, if it comes down to Tootsie up there going to a non-no-kill shelter or coming here, my heart might tell my head to go jump, and we might just end up with a dog we can't afford...

(Maria, I'm looking right at you... You need a puppy. If your Claire could talk she would be begging you for a puppy right now. You're within the limits of where Ivy will bring a pup, too. Or how about you, Shannyn. Rebe? If Ivy gets the dog to me, I'll get her to you. I'm willing to drive into Chicago, most of northern Illinois, or lower Michigan, in order to deliver. BJ has a thing coming up in Wisconsin in a couple weeks, if you're up there, Reader, we could make arrangements. Barb? Jake is lonely. Julie, not all dogs are as dumb as Nimbus was... Once you go mutt, you'll never go back!)

I feel like Oprah - YOU get a dog, YOU get a dog, YOU get a dog! Hahhaa...

I Got Got

Well, I thought I was the master of the April Fools, but I got pranked by BJ. I got pranked hard.

I went out shopping last night without BJ and the kids, and when I came home I opened up the computer to check my e-mail. I was greeted by several scary error messages, in pop ups on my screen that looked exactly like the real thing...

The first one said: Warning! AVG_8531.exe could not be found!

AVG is my virus checker.

The next said: Warning: conficker.wj32 detected.

My head exploded.

The third said: Delete all files on c:\?

At this point, I spazzed and powered my laptop off, and then I swore, a lot, right in front of the kids.

Then BJ starts laughing. If I hadn't spazzed, the rest of the error messages would've said:

Error reading c:\
and
Warning: Hard disc drive failure - c:\ missing or unreadable.
and
Warning: Abandon all hope.
and
I bet you think your pretty funny don't you?

Of course, I would've been screaming and crying by that point, so the humor would've been lost on me.

Jeez. I make him a Cheerio necklace, a "grilled cheese" out of pound cake and frosting, and a "hot fudge sundae" out of mashed potatoes, and he gives me heart failure. NOW I remember why I don't do April Fools Day!!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Heh heh heh

Aw... Mommy's so nice to make our favorite, grilled cheese, for dinner...


...or is she?


And WOW, hot fudge sundaes!!! What a treat!


...or is it a trick?




(The sandwiches are pound cake with orange frosting inside. The sundaes are mashed potatoes with brown gravy - the "cherry" is a grape tomato. I think BJ's going to catch on pretty quickly, but the kids are going to freak out.)