Dec 22, 2010

Fragile

I’m packing things up today. For the first time ever we’ve hired movers. As I pack for the third time in eighteen months and realize how tired of schlepping things from place to place I am, broken things I meant to glue or sew are getting tossed, little slips of paper that remind me of something that normally would get hoarded away into a nook or the bottom of a desk are going away. I am tallying the last eighteen months as I put it all into boxes again and I keep just marking FRAGILE on everything.

Dec 18, 2010

The Bombadee Report

We are moving again. This time from the coast, inland and my address will officially be Houston, TX instead of a the little town next to Houston, TX. We found a house we like and so we're packing up for Christmas and moving the week of the 27th. We'll miss the kids at the apartments, but we've had over 25 days (not in a row) with either no water or no hot water and just after Thanksgiving I hit my limit of broken pipes in the complex and called a realtor. It was when I just changed a particularly messy baby and turned to wash hands to find the water just off, with no warning. At that moment I decided that even camping would be better because at least I would have water.

The new house has 4 bedrooms (so ya'll can come visit) hard wood floors, a two car garage, and is about five houses down from the neighborhood pool and toddler splash pad. It's twenty minutes from Dan's job and the skate rink and forty-ish minutes to downtown Houston. It's an hour and twenty to the beach. We'll have big trees and bike paths and I'm sure all new kids to play with and best of all, we'll be closer to everyone we know in Houston. Somehow, every friend we've made through work, gaming or derby have all been Northsiders. So yay for being able to visit people without the hour drive.

I don't think I have enough furniture to fill the new space. We really paired down for apartment living so 2011 will bring with it furniture shopping and auctions. I need a couch, bar stools, some patio furniture, a grill (is that furniture?), a chair, a china hutch and maybe a few rugs. Oh, and a washer and dryer but that's really less exciting than couch shopping (Craig's list.) Then when we get there I have to get the Kid registered for school, plan a birthday party, find an exterminator, and a lawn guy and get ready for my first away game since 2009.

The Extra Special Super Duper Seventh Birthday Sleepover Extravaganza will take place all at the new house. We're going with traditional cake, ice cream, balloons and party games and then her best pal will sleep over. My first baby is turning seven. There will be more on this later.

I've joined the Houston Roller Derby Knockouts, we're a travel team but not THE travel team (The HaRD Knocks.) At the beginning of January we're going to Baton Rogue to play against Red Stick Roller Derby. I'm pretty excited about it. We decided instead of schlepping the whole family out for one night, just I am going to to with my team mates. On top of moving to the new place, it's the best Christmas present ever. Yes, sometimes a woman, a mom, and full-time housewife who loves her family dearly, enjoys time off. Thank you Husband.



Dec 12, 2010

Texas Skies

When we drove into Texas in the moving truck I said "Everything really is bigger here." I was so inspired I started a series of paintings revolving around Texas Skies (I haven't finished the first one yet*.) Well, I'm not the only one who is in love with the skies around here, my pal over at I Still Hate Pickles is starting a wonderful project called Texas 365. She's posting 365 Texas Skies, and is asking for participants from wherever you are in the world. You just post a sky on Friday and link up & put a comment on her blog. Ok, ok as usual I'm late.

On the way to practice Saturday morning, taken with my phone.
























*Promises to post the painting when it's done.

Dec 9, 2010

Recruiting First Graders

The Kid: Nathan's dad came to school today, he's in the army and he told us all about it. I want to be in the army.

Me: What does Nathan's dad do in the army.

The Kid: He fights, but there are army people who don't do fighting, that's what I'm going to do.

Me: Oh, what will you do?

The Kid: I will be a messenger and give the fighters information.

Me: Or you could also be in the Air Force and fly planes or the Navy and be on a ship.

The Kid: Doesn't the Navy just handle odd and weird things?

Me: What do you mean?

The Kid: In a movie, when odd and weird things start to happen, or monsters show up, they always call in the Navy. I'm not so sure that's for me.

Nov 12, 2010

Mighty Jack, Big in Texas

As surprised* as I was when Ella seemed to be born loving pink and sparkly, I still wasn't prepared for a four month old son who loves football. Back in August, a good friend found himself alone with and confronted by our dear screaming infant, he picked him up and let him watch the Saints vs Texans on the big screen and discovered it had a powerful calming effect. Skeptical, I've tested it several times; changing the channel and watching my young nose tackle get upset, kicking his feet and seemingly yelling at me "I was watching that! There's four minutes left!"

I say nose tackle because despite Jack's few weeks in the hospital and his minor digestive issues, this boy is huge. After the obligatory "How old?", strangers always exclaim "Wow! That's a big boy!" I'm lucky to have a stash of baby clothes that span to 24 months because otherwise this baby would have to go naked until I can shop every week. I had to knit baby booties for him because his legs are like hams.

And now I'll give you the official numbers: at four months, Jack is weighing in at 18 ½ lbs (92% for his age), is 26 ½ inches tall (87% for his age) and loves a little rice cereal which he tried it for the first time yesterday.







































*I don't care if my either of my children play football or barbies or both, or even barbie ball.

Nov 7, 2010

A New Do

Why hasn't someone invented a cream rinse that will get gum out of a kid's hair easier than scissors will?


Nov 4, 2010

New Diet

The baby was having digestion problems and as a result I gave up milk last Friday. Today the doc said it's not enough and I have to give up all dairy and anything with whey in it. Then she offered up that most people can't do it and that if I wanted to move to formula she could give me some samples. (Wow! Way to encourage breast feeding Mz. Pediatrician!)

I will admit is was hard last Friday when I opened the refrigerator and found the gourmet Wisconsin cheeses mom just sent me, fruit on the bottom yogurt, cream cheese, french onion dip, ranch dressing, sour cream and milk all off limits, but going to the grocery and looking for things that don't contain whey was even harder. I opted for shopping the parameter of the store and buying fresh fruits, vegetables and meats, knowing the further challenge would be preparing these things. Who has time to peel, chop, mix, cook, steam and concoct while also holding a four month old? It's a difficult thing especially when you're low on sleep, nursing on demand and hungry for sweets most of the time. So, I took it as the best excuse to buy sushi and beef jerky and a few other junky non dairy things for quick eats.

Finally a poem to commemorate the day:

Dear sweet milk,
I miss you the most.
I bought almond milk to replace you,
And it was really gross.


Nov 3, 2010

What Autumn Sounds Like

The weather has cooled and just in time for me to open all the windows and clean. The baby is napping on the couch and the Kid is outside playing. I've just finished the floors and the house smells like the lemon oil my mom always used. I'm having a coffee and the afternoon is winding down. Sounds from the courtyard are wafting in:

Children shouting NOT IT!
An occasional puppy bark
Someone practicing Twinkle Twinkle on the clarinet
The squeak of the swing set
A boy laugh and girl's delighted shriek followed by giggling
Our coconut chimes
The pit pat pit pat of tennis shoes running on the sidewalk
Very faint wind in the trees

Nov 1, 2010

Bear Hunt 2010

We've been in Texas long enough for me to learn most of the poisonous spiders, snakes and plants and feel comfortable taking the kids on a bear hunt. So, this afternoon when Jack was restless and bored with all of his toys and I looked out the window and saw Ella climbing that old climbing wall for the quadrillionth time I declared a bear hunt and got the stroller and the camera. We barely made it to the border of the parking lot when we were chased down and detained by the ice cream truck and after paying the driver a handsome bounty we embarked on our expedition with ample supplies; a blue raspberry Two Ball Screwball in Ella's hand and a cherry one in mine.

Upon stepping foot out into the wild we quickly found a trail to follow, something we believed the local wildlife to use often and only after 1/16th of a mile did we realize how treacherous the path could be.

We barely made it around this banana peel.
















Next we encountered what I thought may have been a crude native ceremonial facade over the opening to a volcano, but upon closer inspection, Ella reported it to be either an abandoned jewel mine shaft or possibly a storm drain covered with an old broken pallet. Either way we were sure there were snakes and spiders down there.










Shortly after we encountered this new species of flora we could not identify.
















I noticed it was the same color as the blue raspberry Two Ball Screwball which lead me to believe the cuisine sold at the border of the parking lot may be grown locally.
















Another specimen, in bloom.
















We continued our search for bears who obviously were keeping cunningly concealed, and despite the many interesting specimens gathered on the expedition we are disappointed to announce we failed to get a bear, however we did capture a small wild panther.











Upon our return trip also spotted what we are sure is an alligator foot and tail print. Ella placed her hand beside the footprint for comparison. We estimate this alligator to be about 100 inches.
















Back at the lab we spread out all our finds and set to work labeling and cataloging. Pictured below: (2) Fairy lanterns, (1) Lizard lick, (1) Sign of fall, (1) Shell, (1) Lucky fuzz ball, (1) Spherical seed pod, (1) Flower, (1) Golden spiky ball, (1) Lizard hat, (1) Bunch of poison berries, (1) Wild panther, (1) Horton hears a who flower and (2) Brave bear hunters.


















Our last expedition was in July 2007, before Adventurer Jack joined the troupe. We hope to be able to embark on them more often in the future.

Halloween 2010


Oct 25, 2010

Is Being a Grown-up Fun?

I think we no longer make being grown up something young people look forward to.

We (as a society) let our children’s activities dictate how our free time is spent, we let our teenagers epitomize cool, we think a body in it’s young twenties is ideal and we spend hours recapturing toys we had as a child or forwarding lists confirming we grew up in the 70s/80s when in fact our birthdates provide adequate evidence for which decades we lived through just fine. There’s an entire industry of clothing companies thriving on shirts with Oscar the Grouch/Smurfs/Transformers/Rainbow Bright on them for adults.

I am guilty of all of these things. I’ve shopped in the junior’s department, held my ideal body as the one that fits my prom dress, let my children’s activities run my day, coveted those Hello Kitty diamond earrings and watched every I heart the 80s show on VH1. That novelty Snoopy Joe Cool t-shirt has become daily wear for a lot of us. It really has me thinking. Can you picture your grandmother in a t-shirt with Snoopy on it? How about Michelle Obama? There’s a certain amount of sophistication lacking when constantly reminiscing and simultaneously worshiping youth.

I’ve been wondering if the grown up culture is shrinking and our cultural intellect with it. Are we loosing some of the rights of passage or mores I expected to embrace and instead increasingly believing being old stinks? Ok so, I’m not exactly sure what those “grown up” things are. As a child I was sure they’d have something to do with the nightly news, coffee, voting, cigarettes and slinky dresses. Now that I’m in my thirties, those things don’t seem as fun as I thought they’d be, nor do you need to be a grown up to do them.

So I’m still trying to define what “grown-up” things are and aren’t for both myself and my daughter who cornered me on the subject by asking me if being a grown up is fun. Having not really been ready for such a question, like all questions children have, I quickly replied “Yes! You get to vote and drive, get married, push important buttons, have a job, drink wine, spend money, stay up late and do whatever you want with your life AND be the boss of your kids.” But it haunted me that my list wasn’t longer or better or perhaps more that she had asked at all. Did I not appear to be enjoying adulthood?

I wished I had a better answer and after much thought this is what I know. Being a grown up is fun because it means having informed ideas, conversations and interactions that only people who have experienced life can have even if those conversations revolve around novel or childish things. It means having a mature palate and an appetite for things based on experience. It’s having character, convictions, talents and relationships that are solid and strong because they’ve formed slowly over a long time.

This isn't exactly the Justin Bieber squashing answer that makes forty the new seventeen, but having fun being a grown up includes not having to know who Justin Bieber is.
















Photo stolen from: www.squareamerica.com

Oct 19, 2010

Can of Worms at the Fall Festival

"We encourage kids to wear Halloween costumes to the fall festival (nothing scary & no masks please.)" - note home from the grade school

Who gets to decide what's scary?


Oct 16, 2010

Crazy Hour

Most days at about six pm, imps raid my apartment for easy afternoon marauding. They tell the dog if she feels barfy that she should lie down on the couch next to the sleeping baby and that will certainly help expel the grass she ate. The rest of the gang topples delicately stacked clean laundry from the top of the dryer directly into the garbage and a third faction makes sure to incite riots on the play ground insuring the kid will be outraged and in tears when she bursts in the door. The imps make a hasty exit as the dominoes of chaos clack into each other and I grasp desperately both simultaneously trying to stop the progression and knocking down completely new sequences. Sometimes I burn dinner, overflow a bath tub or shatter a glass and assuredly this is the time slot teachers, doctors, my husband and publisher's clearing house choose to call. I stopped being upset and surprised and even ceased bracing for it. Sometimes the imps come on Saturday at ten am or Thursday mid-day just before parent teacher conferences. So if you happen to call me and on the other end of the line you hear a crash and I say “Let me call you back, crazy hour just started,” now you know.

Oct 7, 2010

We Went to the Zoo

We went to the Houston Zoo last weekend. The animals were... well they were zoo animals, just like any other zoo. Elephants and monkeys and otters all that, which is indeed exciting to look at but by far the favorite exhibit of The Kid was the new animatronic dinosaurs. For an extra two bucks we wandered through a little side exhibit and stared down the nose of a T-Rex that moved (it made the hair on my neck stand up a little.)
























Jack's favorite was the little salt water aquarium (I think a trip to the big aquarium is in order soon)

























And I liked the landscaping. Seriously, there are bamboo and palms and other amazing tropical looking plants that most Houstanites grew up with in their back yard, that still make me feel as if I'm on vacation, planted all over the zoo. I may never get over how beautiful a palm tree is.
















In the afternoon, we all got crabby...



































So, we decided to get some eats. Please note, the food at the zoo is overpriced and gross, imagine my surprise <- sarcasm. Next time we'll bring sandwiches from home. Despite the floppy greasy pizza, we had a great time.


Oct 3, 2010

Fredrick's of Hollyween Store

I brought my six year old out to look for a tooth fairy costume. In essence it requires a white tutu a pair of wings and a wand. I figured we could get all these things in one package of Angel stuff and add some toothy things to it. She liked the idea of a bag with "Teeth" written on it but got very sad when I mentioned a set of bloody pliers on a tool belt. So, I took this child of extreme delicate sensibilities to The Halloween store next to the mall, where the percentage of items actually meant for children were almost nil. I drew a diagram



Sep 25, 2010

Pie!

"The Banquet brand began in 1953 with the introduction of frozen meat pies and frozen dinners first hit store shelves in 1955." I've been eating them since I can remember and today while at the grocery store a light shone down from the heavens and directed my attention to Banquet's new Apple Pot Pies for $1.00. I bought one apple and a cherry. While it doesn't look like what's is on the cover (ok, I burned it a little) it was delicious. Banquet should have been doing these long ago. I recommend them.

Sep 23, 2010

The Internet Told Me

"WHY I CAN'T MAKE MOM FRIENDS" by-AGGAL02

Sep 20, 2010

Teaching Common Sense?

Last November, a seven year old boy mistakenly brought a toy gun to school. His teacher went into his back pack and saw it. He was suspended for the rest of the school year. When his parents tried to send him back to school this year the school board says he may still be suspended.

Come on people! When will we stop hiding behind rules and use some reasoning? Do we really value bureaucracy over our own humanity? I am fed up with hearing people say "Sorry, that's our policy" in turn wasting time, money and any last shred of common sense this society has. Do we really all have such poor self esteem that we need to beat each other down while hiding behind regulatory red tape instead of showing wisdom and caring for each other?

Let's start calling each other out on this foolishness.

Read the whole story here.
Drop the entire Broward County School Board a message at schoolboard@browardschools.com

The toy Samuel Burgos was suspended for pictured below

Sep 9, 2010

Back on all Eight

Last night was my first night back on skates. It was exhilarating, scary, totally fun and painful. I fell in the first five minutes while executing a turn around toe stop but my body remembered how to fall and fairly quickly started to remember how to stay up. Later, I scrimmaged and crunched my own fingers pretty good by falling on them. Besides the familiar old aches and pains, I feel pretty good today.














Sat. from 2-8pm is the Bayou City Boss Fundraiser
at
Cecil's Tavern
600 West Gray
Houston, TX

There will be Boss merch, food, silent auction items, sno cones, shot block, Boss skaters, AND MORE!

Scavenger Hunt Details:
*1st, 2nd and 3rd prize trophies, winner splits the pot with the Bosse$.
*$15 pre-register up to Sept. 10 at 7 pm. Buy tickets form any Boss skater or at hrdbosslove@yahoo.com.
*$20 day-of at the door.
*Arrive @ 2 to register and gather teams.
*Teams are released @ 3pm sharp.

I have tickets and even if you live far away and can't make it, donations to the team are welcomed. :)

Sep 4, 2010

One Less


Dear Kroeger,

When you put my whipped cream and M&Ms in one plastic bag, my apple pie in another, my frozen pizza in a third and my apples and cheese in a fourth, followed by asking me if I wanted my milk in a bag and after I told you "no" putting a sticker commending me for using one less plastic bag on the top of the milk, it was funny, but not really.

Try Harder,
Jenny

Aug 30, 2010

Happy Monday - 6 New Things

Jack gets to go home today. Sunday morning his IV fell out and the doctor opted to give him once a day shots instead of restarting an IV (very difficult when the patient has tiny veins.) Since the shot is good for 36 hours his last dose is today and after that I can bust Jack outta this joint. That gets me home in time to get Ella off the school bus. I wasn't sure what I was going to do today, Dan couldn't leave work early because it's his first day at his new job. Yes, amidst the chaos of Jack being sick Dan switched jobs and bought a car. On the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale we are off the charts this week, I'm sure.

Dan accepted the new job a little more than a week ago and Friday he had to turn in his work truck. We thought about managing with just one car, but this week posed a problem and we suspected every week would pose a problem. We bought a used car and because it's just for me to run to the grocery or whatever place we tool around during the day we had the luxury of getting something totally unreasonable. We looked at convertibles, we thought about a Mustang but in the end we decided it needed to fit car seats so we went all out and got the luxury ride - 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis with leather bench seats, tinted windows, automatic everything and a trunk I could fit a gangster in. I named it Marquis Mark, and sure - I think we will be the funky bunch riding around in there. I get to drive it the first time today home from the hospital.

So this few months is a plethora of new things:
New Baby for us
New Health for Jack
New School for Ella
New Job for Dan
New Car for us
New Roller Derby Regime for me

Dear Universe, Thank You.

Aug 28, 2010

Accepting

The fat, lazy triage nurse moved really fast.
His doctor dodged the questions because she didn't know.
I traded tight smiles in the elevator after we both pushed #6.
I heard the finale for another mother in the hallway that night,
Among cribs that looked like cages so the toddlers couldn't escape.
And I didn't mind anymore that people prayed for us.

Aug 25, 2010

Getting Well Soon

Jack is doing so well, they may move us to a regular room today. This is good news, it means 4 less cords three feet long that chain us to a tiny invisible cell surrounding the machinery. We are on day 4/10 today, they started day one later than I thought, (it's day one from the first negative blood culture.) Next Wednesday we hope to bring our baby home from the hospital for the second time.



Aug 24, 2010

Aug 22, 2010

3:12 Update

It's late onset Group B Strep. We'll be here for at least ten more days getting antibiotics. We caught it early and dodged a bullet. I was tested for it during my pregnancy but must've got it after they tested, I passed it to Jack and it sat around in his body for 30 days building up an army. Penicillin would kick it's ass but Jack is going to get some good stuff just to make sure. We are limiting new germs so Ella will get to wear a mask when she comes up. We are hoping for a very boring ten days.

Getting Better

They are done trying to pinpoint a cause or a specific infection and ruled out some serious things (meningitis, blood infection,) they are treating it like a staph infection that could have some from a mosquito, a scratch, anywhere. He's getting broad band super antibiotics still and will continue to get that for a few more days. His body is doing what it needs to do. He's also getting something for the nausea as well as regular blood test to make sure his kidneys can handle the super antibiotics.

He is happier and fussier and more alert today. Still nursing great. The hard red swelling on his neck is almost gone and some of the rash is back but this time it's different, smaller, more like little milk pimples. We may be able to go home and take oral antibiotics in a few days instead of the projected two weeks we originally thought. We are relieved and still tense waiting to make sure his body and the antibiotics keep doing what they should.

Thank you everyone for the well wishes, prayers, thoughts, rosaries, offers to babysit and or bring food, and in general all the good juju. We feel blessed to have such a great community surrounding us both online and in three states.

Ella went to her BFFs last night and the first day of school is tomorrow. Dan will go to work late and get her on the bus, I'll leave here and get her off the bus and bring her up here until Dan gets off work. We can do that for this next week if needed and hopefully we'll all be home after that.

My cousin Kelly said a nurse once told her when her son was ill "little babies get sick very quickly but they also bounce back very quickly." Luckily that seems to be the case for us. And yes Kelly, I think I have three years of grey hairs in these three days.


Aug 21, 2010

Jack is Sick

We took the big trip back to IL and while we were there Jack developed an acne like rash all over his head and shoulders. After a call to the pediatrician we thought is was just baby acne. Two days after our return home he wouldn't eat and wouldn't stop whimpering with every breath. After about 40 minutes of listening to him whimper on my shoulder and waiting for a burp I called Dan and then the doctor. I took his temp it was 99.2 by the time we got to the doctor's office an hour later it was 102. They sent us straight to the emergency room.

After a blood culture, a urinalysis, a spinal tap, and an x-ray they called it sepsis and started pumping him full of antibiotics. His neck swelled up, they did two ultrasounds to make sure it wasn't closing off any airway or blood flow then they could decide if he needed to go to the bigger hospital and have surgery. They didn't find anything, just swollen tissue, so no surgery. We are on hour 30 in the intensive care unit and his fever is down, he's nursing well, his color is no longer a waxy yellow. He's still clearly in pain, and occasionally throwing up. We don't know where the infection is coming from , though the doctor asked if he'd been bitten by any mosquitoes. It's a possibility. We have the best nurse in the world. That's all I know.


Aug 2, 2010

On Parenting - Part II

More events for the Parentolypics, in the newborn category:
  • The pee dodge
  • Marathon infant holding - extra points for eating with one hand
  • Speed showering
  • 20 Sit-up burping at 2am & 5am
  • Sleep deprivation vocabulary use - extra points for knowing what that thingamajig is
###

I am taking the kids to Illinois on Wednesday for two weeks. I am planning to fly up, bringing only one suitcase, a diaper bag, a car seat and a stroller. Yes, one suitcase for the three of us, for two weeks. It will contain;

For me:
  • One dress
  • One pair of jeans
  • Two skirts
  • Four shirts
  • One long sleeve sweater (it gets down in the low 70s up there!)
  • Sandals
  • Tennis shoes & socks
For Ella:
  • Two dresses
  • Two shorts
  • One skirt
  • Four shirts
  • One pair of pants
  • One sweatshirt
  • Flip Flops
  • Tennis shoes & socks
  • Swimming suit
  • Crayons and a coloring book
For Jack:
  • Three blankets
  • Four t-shirts
  • Four pants
  • Two sleepers
  • Sun hat
  • Booties
General junk:
  • Bathroom stuff
  • Baby monitor
  • Mosquito net
  • Two slings
  • Chargers for phone, camera etc.
I plan to do laundry often and buy what I don't bring. I'll let you know if it's a total debacle or if I finally didn't over-pack.

###

My son is outgrowing everything. He's wearing an outfit marked 3 months today. He's 26 days old. I think the next pack of diapers I buy will have to be size 2, to prevent leaking right out the side where his chubby little thigh sticks out. I guess they do make everything bigger in Texas.

Jul 27, 2010

Ideal Breasts

I flipped on the 9pm news and one of the teaser stories at Houston's Fox 26 was about a man who was "Engineering the 'Ideal Breast'" without implants by Reporter Kristine Galvin.

The story is actually about having a reduction which I understand, being the recipient of a new milk supply. Having the extra weight on your front isn't always comfortable, however I was terribly disappointed the story overlooked the health and function of the body and instead presented a titillating tail of aesthetics. Fox News 26 ran teasers of the story before and after every commercial reporting a newsworthy engineer turned surgeon "figured out a way to give women what they've always wanted." To which I have to ask "really?!"

I'd say most women who get a reduction really just would like their backs, necks and chests to stop hurting and still look normal after the fact, not an "internal push up bra." I resent the presentation of a story about 'ideal breasts' with an emphasis on how they look and not if they are still functional nor how the health of the women attached to them has improved beyond (she) "met and married the man of her dreams." I bet if you ask a few other woman what they think the ideal breast is you may get more than just I'd like them to be up high, scar free and cone shaped.

Here are some things this lactating woman would like to put on the ideal breast wish list:


1. Add a milk gauge so I know how much I have left, how much this baby has drunk and how much I should pump the next time I want to go out.

2. Make them extendable, like go-go-gadget breast so that I can nurse my baby in my lap and still use my hands to eat a bowl of Lucky Charms.

3. For that matter, let's just make one of them detachable so that I can leave one with the baby and or shoot a bow with ease.

4. Make them filter out alcohol so that I can have a drink or two and not worry about what will reach the baby.

5. Give them an endless supply.

6. Make them cancer resistant.

Any additions?


Nerdy Mom

When I slide down in the blue chair to get comfy for bebe who is laying on my chest waiting to recline so he can sleep, my underwear roll up, then he falls asleep and am stuck under a sleeping baby with a giant self impossed wedgie.

Jul 21, 2010

Mother Mayhem

A friend asked me how my day was going and I replied "I live in a sort of quiet crazy these days, one in which I crave coffee and a shower, nonstop." I wake up each morning with such optimism and verve, by mid afternoon my optimism has churned into a plea to the universe for quiet and a sandwich and by late evening I am reduced to an animal clothed in ill fitting maternity and/or pre-maternity clothes covered in sticky, dried milk and other fluids that aren't my own and hoping for enough time with two hands free to make a bowl of cereal. This is fret-filled life with a newborn. In between coos, gorgeous little hiccups, the sleepy smiles of a new person, and the adoring cuteness of siblings, are all the uncertain maintenance life with two children and a dog require.

I keep wondering what would make the first month easier; a magic swing of endless entertainment? an accurate prediction of sleep pattern? a third arm? I just can't find a solution to the chaotic breakdown of one's life after adding a brand new person to the household. It must be necessary to completely destroy any hope of order and fully embrace the bedlam before deciding how to rebuild schedules, relationships and goals.

Then, moments like this make everything totally easy.



Jul 16, 2010

Stark

The things you think you need when you have your first baby fill a book and the things you know you need with the second baby you can count on one hand.

Jack's favorite nap time laundry basket

Jul 13, 2010

A Labor Story

Preface: It's long. I want to get it all written so I remember and so other pregnant ladies can read a story that isn't so awful. There is not much gore.

















Jack was late. 5 days late and the doctor wanted to induce labor. I read everything I could get my eyes on about induction and found an extreme amount of scary information on the internet. Horrible stories about Pitocin and c-sections, epidurals that didn't work, the whole schlemiel. So when I was sufficiently spooked I decided that the very minimal amount of induction was going to have to work. The doc said I'd go in on Wednesday night for the very minimum, Cervidil (a cervix softener) and if nothing happened by Thursday morning she'd start a tiny tiny bit of Pitocin to see if it would kick start labor and if that didn't work, we'd go from there.

This made me angry. When receiving any medication for labor, hospital policy is to keep you hooked up to every monitor ever invented to make sure you or the baby aren't stressing/palpitating/tensing/breathing/bloodpressuring too much or too little. These monitors are the instruments used to indicate when to start major abdominal surgery and pull that child out the front of you instead. So of course I placed all blame for c-sections squarely on the monitors (not the condition they report - silly really.) I have spent the last 9 months avoiding tight elastic around my circumference, so the last thing I wanted was two itchy straps around me tethering me to a beeping scribbling machine during what I was really hoping to be a magical hippy earth mother experience.

In short, I hated this plan, but the alternative was to wait until the contractions I had been feeling over the last two days could throw a party in which all of them showed up on time (within three minutes of each other) and did their worst. I sent out the invitations to the contractions after walking all day and night and lifting heavy things and eating spicy food and drinking raspberry teas with pineapple and every other thing you've read but the contractions popped in fashionably late to say hello and left for another better party somewhere else. We almost got a dance party going one morning when a bunch of them showed up all at once squeezing my insides to bits, but when I got tired and laid down, they got bored and left. So, I boarded the induction ship that I was certain would dock last at C-sectionville.

I went in on Tuesday to do a "pre-op" appointment. It had two parts. In the first part Billing makes sure they have all the information they need to stalk you for the next fifty years yelling "I want my two dollars!" in addition to asking you for $900.00 out of your pocket right then and there. I told them when they deliver the services I need, then I will have a look at the bill and give them some money but until I knew I would even make it to the hospital for labor I wasn't paying anything. Billing didn't want to be my BFF after that. I wasn't sad.

The second part consisted of me leaving some blood and me signing off on every procedure they could possibly need to do to a woman. I didn't sign everything. I just couldn't. Next to hysterectomy, cesarean, removal of all lady parts, lobotomy and a few others, I wrote "will have to discuss at the time of procedure" and initialed it. The nurse said "What if you're unconscious?" and I said "Then you'll have to talk to my husband" and she said "Does he have power of attorney?" and I said "He's... my husband." really slowly so that she could understand and she said "Oh - yeah" and left me alone after that. I also had to sign a piece of paper stating I would NOT like the doctor to take pictures of my abnormal/unusual/amazing/superb anatomy for later use in a text book/teaching hospital/ laughing at in the doctors lounge/sharing on Face book.

At this point I called my doctor and said I was having second thoughts about inducing and that all the preparation for the worst case scenario was not generating any confident in the success of these procedures. I said I didn't want to hear any more anecdotal stories about what happens during an induction or what can happen if you didn't do it and I needed cold hard statistics. She quoted some percentages and I said I'd have to think about it some more, but secretly I was whispering inward to the boy telling him that it was time and he'd better get a move on or he'd be in big trouble mister.

Wednesday night loomed. At 7:30pm, during the beginning of what was almost called tropical storm Bonnie (except the storm couldn't seem to get itself together anymore than my contractions) the hospital called. They said "Women are in labor everywhere and we're out of rooms tonight you can't come in, but we'll call you back when you can." The whole world was out in the streets partying it up, birthing babies left and right and I wasn't invited. I was disappointed but then relieved for the reprieve, a scant few more hours for things to get started on their own. I paced. I barely slept. They called back at 4:30am. They had room for me.

Dan got up for a shower, I told him to take his time. I lay in bed. I stood up to get ready and there was a contraction. I brushed my teeth, another. I double checked what I'd packed and another. I hoped for the best and we went to the hospital. Upon arrival the nurse said "Let's get you hooked up for Pitocin" I almost fainted just before I said "No, we're supposed to do other things first, less drastic things!" She explained it was too late for that and if I wanted to reschedule for Saturday night we could. This time Dan almost fainted. There was a great deal of preparation that went into what to do with the dog and Ella and my mom's flight and time off work, but he looked at me and said "Whatever you want to do." Then the nurse left and came back with the news that they already had 4 inductions scheduled for Saturday night and maybe they could fit me in on Sunday, oh wait Sunday is full too, how did Monday look? Then I got panicky thinking about waiting. I had prepared, I left the canoe on the bank hours ago and was ready to roll on down the river. I was ready to float or drown or scream while going over the falls. My head was spinning and the nurse said "Let's do an ultra sound first and see if that narrows our choices at all." I let the current float me to ultrasound room.

Our amniotic fluids were low, just 4 centimeters. This changed things and suddenly we needed to figure out a new plan today, that morning, right now. The options were a bit of Pitocin or having my water broken. At 7:30am I opted for the later, immediately sending me into productive and painful contractions. I was off the monitors. I walked. I sat on a birthing ball. I listened to soothing music. I got annoyed at the world. I found my happy place. I hummed. I rocked. I prayed.






























I labored like that until I threw up during a big hard contraction and said "I can do this for another hour, how long do you think it's going to be?" The nurse said "maybe two or three" and I said "Get The guy." (The anesthesiologist aka the holy bringer of numbness.) My amazing
nurse asked me if I really wanted The guy. And we had a brief but very important discussion about my end goals. My end goals were a healthy baby and a stitch free labor. I explained that I wanted to labor under no anesthetic because I wanted to be able to change positions thus encouraging everything remain in tact at the end. This magnificent nurse told me the exact thing I needed to hear. If I had an epidural then I would probably have better control when pushing and when a woman has better control over her pushing she can give the doctor the time to do ice packs and mineral oils and the no stitch plan. I almost cried I loved her so much at that moment.

When The guy arrived I was moving through the contractions counting and breathing and humming. I greeted him with a smile of relief. He tried to do his part, inserting a tiny tube into my back and taping it all in place. Unbeknownst to anyone the thing fell out and I laid flat on my back through another forty-five minutes and at least dozen hard contractions waiting for the numbing to start. Those waves hurt more when the hit me because I couldn't move with them and I was on my back. I worked at controlled breaths with the instructions of the nurse and wailed and gripped the sides of the bed. This scared the hell out of my husband who could only stand by with words of encouragement. Next they called in the head of anesthesiology who came and redid the procedure. I had numbness within the minute.

Dan was as relieved as I and we calmly talked through the next hour and waited until my body did all the things it was supposed to do. When I was almost ready to push I learned my doctor had an emergency she was tending to. If I could wait another hour not only would my body finish moving the last little bit aside to make way for Jack but she could finish up and make it to my room. I agreed to hang on for as long as I could. My nurse reminded me of the surf scene in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and said "Do less." I used it as my mantra until my doc showed up and said "Let's go, he's right there." The rest was simple, three strategic, long hard pushes, no stitches, healthy baby, healthy me.



Jul 9, 2010

Meet Jack

Born on 7/8/10 at 3:20pm a healthy and content 7lbs 10oz and 20inches. We are all happy and healthy and tired. I will have more to say when I can get enough sleep to think beyond how joyous I am.