Thursday, January 29, 2009

Spin Cycle: These are the Songs of Our Lives

I kind of have a head start on this week's Spin. Not too long ago I did a post about the songs that remind me of guys I used to date. You can find it here and can consider it the majority of this spin. I did make an iPod playlist based on that post, by the way, and naturally I think it's awesome. But then I would. Many things amuse and delight me after all. Heck, a pile of paper clips can amuse and delight me. So take that into consideration.

Anyway, there are a few other songs that haunt my days.

Best Song for Getting Your Mind Back on Track After it Has Been Wandering While You're Supposed to be Working: Pump It by the Black Eyed Peas.

Best Song for Belting Out in the Shower, But Usually Whispering Because Your Husband is Sleeping, Even Though it's Not Fair and You Should Probably Wake Him Up Out of Spite: Somebody to Love by either Queen or Anne Hathaway as seen in Ella Enchanted.

Best Song for Halloween or Any Time the Creepy Guy at the Office Gets Too Close to You in the Elevator: Chick Habit by April March.

Best Song of The Entire High School Musical Franchise Which, Even Though You Tried to Avoid It, Sucked You In a Little Bit: What I've Been Looking For, the Sharpay and Ryan version, natch.

Best Song for Zumba or Any Occasion That Calls for Some Rump Shaking: La Vaca by Mala Fe

Best Song for Cool Toddlers Who Want to Pretend That Their Mom Also Doesn't Force Them to Listen to the Best of Shirley Temple: 7 8 9 by the Barenaked Ladies.

Best Song for Singing to Elizabeth at Bed Time: Daddy's Little Girl by various artists.

Best Song for Singing to Lilli at Bed Time: True Love from the De-lovely soundtrack

Best Song for Representing the Book "New Moon" From the Twilight Series, If You're Into That Like I Am: Near to You by A Fine Frenzy

Best Song for Reminding You That Britney Spears Really Doesn't Have it Made in the Shade Despite Her Recent Nervous Breakdown, Therefore You Have No Reason to Be Unreasonably Jealous: Lucky by...Britney Spears.

Best Song for Contemplating How Cool it Would Be to Be From Louisiana: Femme L'a Dit by Fuefollet

Best Song for Fond Thoughts of Viking Kittens: Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin.

Ahhhhhh. That was lovely. Now the big decision. Go listen to these or go to bed? Hmmmm. Which one do you think I'm going to pick?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Other Priorities...

Tonight I'm pooped and uninspired and don't really have much to say. Of course instead of just not posting like I did for a week or so the last time I had a slump, I've stopped by to tell you that. I've got some stuff in the hopper though, so my lack of oomph shouldn't last for long.

Oh. I'll tell you one funny thing before I wander off into the Great Distraction that is the Internet. The other day Elizabeth put on her sunglasses. Then she pulled them way down onto the tip of her nose and peered over them at us. "Look! Look!", she said, "I'm Grandma!" If you've seen my mom recently you find that funny too. If not, you'll just have to trust me that she was mimicked well.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Yes, once again I'm up later than I should be. Wanna make something of it?

So, I was at a thing tonight. A belated goal making for the new year kind of thing. We did all this brainstorming of baby step goals. So like, you don't say something lofty like "I'm going to exercise 7 days a week this year!" You say, "I'm going to exercise 2 days a week". Or not, "I'm going to cook healthy meals from scratch for my family every night", you say "I'm going to cook healthy meals from scratch 3 nights a week and the rest will be the easy stuff". You know what I'm saying? Small steps on the way to the big goals. So possibly it will be a good approach for me. To life and stuff.

Anyway, what's my point?

Oh yeah. I'm all talked out.

Monday, January 26, 2009

As I heave a sigh of relief...and then just a sigh...

I still don't know what was up with Lilli for that two week period, but I'm happy to report that for the last three nights she's been angelically laying down as requested and saying Night Night.

No more freak outs.

At least not for three nights. That's the magic number as far as I'm concerned. But you know what's weird? She's switched direction. Her whole little life she slept with her head away from the door and now she wants to sleep with it on the end of her crib that is closer to the door. So maybe it was a fear thing after all? I just don't know.

But the continuing mystery does not stop me from being delighted. Woohoo!

Oh, and I forgot to give the stats from Friday's checkup. 26 lbs, 12 ounces, that's 75th percentile for an 18 month old baby, and 34 inches tall. Which the chart. Still. In fact, its the height of a slightly above average 2 year old, so they tell me (Elizabeth, who is also up at the 95th percent as a rule, is only 38 inches, if that gives you perspective). I would say I had hopes for a career in basketball, but I was a 95+ percenter myself up until kindergarten. And if you saw me now you would find that hysterical. I've been 5'4" since 6th grade.

At any rate, it was a good visit (she got a gold star), she's gotten through her polio booster, which only leaves us one Hepatitis booster to get through and then we're clear on the vaccines until Kindergarten. But get this! Her pediatrician recommended that we start potty training. He said that he usually doesn't recommend that parents even consider it until the child is two, but due to her "maturity and ability to follow directions and communicate her wishes in sentences (a phenomenon he witnessed, so someone with an MD thinks I'm not crazy!)", not to mention the older sister example, he thinks we should start now. But I just got THROUGH potty training someone, and quite frankly I don't think I can take it. In Elizabeth's case, it was a mistake to start putting her on the potty at 18 months. She thought it was fun, but had no concept of when she was about to go, or much interest in telling us that she had gone, and while she was talking on the wordy end of the spectrum at that age, she didn't communicate as well as Lilli. So she got burnt out quick, and as the blogging world knows, didn't get potty trained until after she was three. Lilli has both signs and a substantial amount of speech to get her point across with, and has demonstrated that she knows she's about to go and that she's gone, AND is extremely interested in the whole process and keeps trying to use the various facilities. It's just that I AM NOT READY.

So if you're ever out and about in a restroom somewhere and hear a baby say "me potty! I poo!" and a mama saying "go in your diaper!", that will probably be me. At least for another 6 months. *sigh*

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Close Call...

Yeeeeeah. I'm not sure if I've had my faith in humanity confirmed or we just got really lucky.

Somehow neither David or I locked our front door on the way to a birthday party today. In fact, we left it wide open. For a good four hours.

Brilliant, right?

Actually, I know exactly how it happened, I had my arms full so high I couldn't see over the stuff I was carrying, shouted "I can't lock the door!" and he...didn't hear me. And I didn't notice that he never headed that direction. So yeah. It was a miracle that the pig sty was still intact when we returned. Down to cash I had carelessly tossed on the dining room table in plain sight from the open front door.

As I said, brilliant, right?

We do have a small screened in enclosure outside the front door, so conceivably it could have looked like someone was home and was just taking advantage of the beautiful day if anyone had wandered why, but sheesh. I had four or five small heart attacks from the moment I heard Bailey meowing (realizing that there were only two ways he could have been inside the front entrance and one could possibly be bad. Very bad.) until everything had been accounted for. We wouldn't be very lucrative from a burglary point of view, no thousands of dollars of cash or stray diamonds lying around, but we do have the odd electronic gizmo or two, and what would we have done if our precious computers had been taken? Besides cried a lot that is. *sigh* We are internet junkies.

Anyway, all is well, but it has completely distracted me from my plan of posting cute pictures of the girls enjoying the birthday party in coordinated outfits. So, just so you know, they were cute, and they had a good time. And you'll just have to take my word for it.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wii are the Champion, my friends!

It needs to be stated that I am the Queen of the Hula Hoop. At least the virtual one.

That's all, I have nothing else to say, I just wanted that on record.

Please have a lovely night.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Spin Cycle: Say it in Rhyme

This week's spin made me melancholy (a five dollar word, that one!) for English class. We were instructed to write a poem!
The last time I tried to write one was several years ago during of a random phase of "I'm a poet (I'm so not)! I can write poetry (I so can't. *sigh*)!" However, Jen just said to write a poem about anything we want to, she didn't say it had to be good.
And since the only thing I can rhapsodize on effectively is my children, I give you:

Ode to Elizabeth’s Eyelashes

Oh, what feathery lengths of lace
Adorn the eyes on my child's face.
Their dark and fluttery expanse
Creates a mystical blinking dance.
Oh, that luscious silky frill
That delights me now, and always will.
Often, they make her cry,
"Mama! I have an eyelash in my eye!"
Still, I look at that glorious ruffle,
And my sighs of jealousy I do muffle.
She inherited them from her dad,
And about that I can only be glad.

P.S. Lilli has them too! I love genetics!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"This is my horse, Mama"

You know, I was really anxious for motherhood. I've actually wanted to be a mom since I was 4. Possibly earlier, but that's as early as I specifically remember planning what I would do when I had kids.

During none of that planning did I ever imagine myself crawling around the living room floor (tile!) whinnying and snorting. Not once.

I'm just saying.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


As far as historical occasions go, today was pretty awesome.

That inaugural speech? Normally I'm a happy a-political heathen and don't even listen to the things, but I was in the car for part of it (due to Customer Appreciation Day at Taco Bell- what can I say? 20 cent tacos can also be a force for change) and was mesmerized. So much so that I listened to it again ON PURPOSE later. And boy was it inspiring. I'm ready to batten down, buckle down, man the hatches, live within my means, make my own bio fuel out in the garage, and perhaps even plant a Victory Garden. Oooooh, I could use the veggie scraps from the garden to MAKE the bio fuel!

I realize it was just a speech, and we've yet to see how the presidency goes, but me? I'm pleased to be cautiously optimistic.

And if you're at Home Depot? I'm the one in the garden department buying tomato plants.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I could use some advice...

I USED to have the world's easiest baby to put to sleep. Or at least I thought so. Sing Lilli a few songs, put her in her crib, cover her with her special blanket, cuddle her up with her stuffed dog, say "night night", and waltz out of her room in a pleased-with-myself fashion. Completely confident in the fact that she would shortly fall asleep and that was the last I'd hear of her until morning.

I'm still getting to sleep through the night (thank heavens!), but for the last week or so I've been having an ordeal getting out of her room. She keeps saying "Mama! Mama! No night night! Up! Up!" and clinging to me or trying to climb up me, and sobbing like her heart is broken when I leave. Don't worry, I'm not the kind of sucker who goes back in just because she's crying a little, I know that sets evil precedents, but what the heck is up? Once she had a wet diaper that she'd snuck out on me, and that's why she freaked when I started to leave, but the other times she hasn't been either wet or full of poo. As far as I know she's not sick or anything. It seems like she might be teething (especially tonight), but would that cause this? Is she just trying to play me? Is she scared of something? Is she having a weird 18 month growth spurt that means she needs an extra snack before bed?

Yes, this is my second child, but this is a new one for me.

It's rare that I'm actually seeking opinions, normally I just want to vent and I greet all fix-it solutions with a pleasant nod and a vacant smile, but this time, I'm asking.


Saturday, January 17, 2009

Prithee, Good Sir...Wither is the Privy?

I love this time of year in Florida because it makes me actually want to leave the house. Makes me want to be A Family That Does Things. And since this is our "season" there are actually things to do. Like Medieval Faires to go to for example.

We dressed up the girls and off we went. We got to recycle Elizabeth's Halloween costume, much to her joy:

There was much saying of "Arrrrrrrrrr"

We found attire for Queen Lillian in the girls' dress up box. She was darn cute. She didn't know what to do with all the gentleman bowing to her though.

Elizabeth found a fellow Captain to hang out with:

And I unsuccessfully tried to take Lilli's picture. This was the best face I got out of her:

That poor child desperately needs a hair cut.

Really though, beautiful weather, the turkey legs were in fine form, what's not to love about a Faire?

Look! Ye Olde ATM!

Heh heh heh. That cracks me up.

We finished up with a trip to the playground at the park where the Faire was being held.

Queen Lillian approved of the swings.
Happy Long Weekend to everyone!

Friday, January 16, 2009

When Blogs Collide....or Slide...

I am a lucky duck. Want to know why?

Tonight the girls and I had a play date with the Famous Sprite and her Keeper! We met them at one of the local outlet malls, got a bite to eat and hit the playground. Yes, the same infamous playground where Elizabeth had her Halloween "Incident". It appears to have recovered since then. Considering that this bench that the Milk and Cookie Club is sitting on: the one said events took place in front of. Yes, I do realize that the above pictures do not represent the fact that my girls thought Sprite was wonderful and had a blast pretty much every second of the whole evening, but my camera was even more horrible then usual and every other picture I took turned out a bit blurry. What can I say? Stupid camera, that's what. I'm crossing my fingers that Jen decides to blog about this because from what I could see she seemed to be taking perfectly beautiful pictures.

Stupid camera.

My hands might have also been shaking a little due to the fact that, for Florida, it's COLD tonight! We're talking low 40s, high 50s here, people! Brrrrrrrrr. It didn't stop the girls from running around like crazy children though. Lilli went on her biggest slide yet, a frighteningly tall (to her mother at least) spiral, and went down it twice, even though the first time she managed to get turned around inside it and came out head first. No, I don't have a picture of it. *sigh*

Seriously though, we had a great time and we loved Sprite. Elizabeth actually requested a kiss from her when we were saying goodbye which is the mark of her highest favor. If she WANTS to kiss you? Well, you are in a very elite club. So we are all hoping for some sort of repeat.

Hint, hint....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Spin Cycle: What If?

I don't think this is what Jen had in mind, BUT....

What if we could flip our houses upside down and walk around on the ceiling?

This was one of my favorite things to wonder when I was little. I'm sure I'm not the only one. Seriously, what if?

I'm in my bedroom. If I was standing on the ceiling I wouldn't be standing on a flat surface, because the roof in here is vaulted. I'd have a window sill around knee high, one heck of a wall to scramble over to get into my closet or the bathroom (we won't go into all the amusing things that would happen if I turned on the sink or tried to flush the toilet), a ceiling fan whirring around to play some sort of game of chicken with.

Taking a large step over the sill of my bedroom door into the rest of the house I would have vents and smoke alarms to play with, a plant ledge to duck under, more ceiling fans, a steeper roof vault to slide down, suddenly much better access to the cabinets above my refrigerator.

Now flip your house upside down in your head and think about wandering around on YOUR ceiling. It would be fun, right?

So here's my spin. What if changing our perspective on other things in our lives, ones that we always see the same way over and over, was as mentally easy?

What if it turned out to be as much fun?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In which I get sentimental and gross you out in the same post...

Tonight Lilli snuck my phone out of my purse (we lovingly call her our little Klepto for a reason) and managed to both add a new number to my phone book, AND create a draft for a text message. She's getting to be a big girl. 18 months today big, in fact.

Some people might celebrate this by having a half birthday party. Or listing all of their darling baby's accomplishments so far. Or perhaps by doing...nothing.

I, however, have decided to celebrate by sharing Lilli's birth story. I could wait until she turns two, that is very true, but if you know me you know I have a need for instant gratification and now that I've decided to share her story, waiting will just not work for me.

So! I've kept the blood and guts to a minimum, but if you'd like to not know me that well, this might be the post to skip. I'll give you a minute.



Still with me? Awesome!

July 13th, 2007: The day before my due date, (also the first day of my scheduled maternity leave) with Lilli I went to the OB and I was 0cm dilated and not at all effaced. To the un-initiated, that means nothing was going on down there. He told me that since it was almost my due date and no progress was being made and Lilli was practically up in my neck instead of down around my knees where she should be, that they would just go ahead and schedule an induction for the next week. So I went to his assistant to schedule it, and she told me that if for a second baby (when they tend to practically fall out according to her, hah!) I wasn't dilated at this far along in the process, that chances were the induction wouldn't work and I would need a c-section.

Well, I panicked. Because even though some people really love their c-sections I have a friend who has had unpleasant recovery experiences with both of her children and I am deathly afraid of the thought of a scalpel anyway. So I was all crying and freaking out and calling my husband and C and my mom to say noooooo, I don't want a c-section . *sob* *sob* My mom, who has not experienced childbirth herself, and couldn't give me any suggestions (although she held my right leg during Elizabeth's birth and was so interested in the proceedings that she kept wandering away with my leg while I was trying to push), asked around at her work and one lady was excited to tell her about how well Castor oil had worked for her sister. The miracle potion or something like that. So, I said "I'LL TRY ANYTHING LEGAL!!" and went right to Publix to get me some.

I took it at 9:30 at night after the girls were in bed and I'd cleaned the kitchen and the usual stuff. It is not pleasant stuff let me tell you, even with an OJ chaser. Or half a carton of OJ as the case may be. Instead of going to bed like a smart extremely pregnant person, I started surfing on the web. Then I realized it was getting close to 11. So I got in bed with my book to fall asleep. I don't remember what I was reading, but I remember that I got sucked in. Next thing I knew, it was 12:30am on the dot and I started to feel that the castor oil was working. And boy did it work. It worked so well and so intensely that I did not realize at first that the continued cramping sensations I was experiencing could be anything other then the effects of the castor oil. Around 1:15 I started to get the hint. "Honey?" I said, "I think it might have worked" Well, he was playing World of Warcraft and was finding that much more interesting then the possible impending birth of our child.

So, I quickly skimmed the "How to know you're in Labor" sections of all the pregnancy books I had lined up on the night stand. I was induced with Elizabeth, so this was my first experience going into labor. Everyone says "You'll know! You'll know!" Like the going into labor would be so obvious that you couldn't miss it. Well, I must be the exception.

All the books agreed that if I thought I was in labor I should get into the bathtub. And if the contractions went away it was false labor and if I really was in labor they would get more intense. They got more intense. And I was like Whooooooa. I told David that I was most definitely in labor. And he said that he was in the middle of his First Heroic Instance and this wasn't really a good time for labor and that it would probably go away. I actually was too involved in the contractions to yell at him. Since I was having to time them myself.

I realized they were happening every 2 or 3 minutes. Which, as it happens, is a sign I should already have been at the hospital. So, around 1:50am or so I called the "labor number" I had been given, and got called back by a poor woman I had obviously woken up. I had a contraction while I was on the phone with her, and she asked me how far away I was from the hospital I'd chosen. About 45 minutes. She told me to leave 5 minutes ago. So I called my dad and said "NOW!!!" He made it to my house in record time.

In the meantime I was busy showering and packing my bag (yes, I know, but they had told me I wasn't having a baby for another week so I unpacked) between contractions, and the official go word had spurred David into action, so he was sprinting around plastering the backseat of his work Jeep (with the nice big backseat) in trashbags just in case. Good thing as it turned out.

My dad arrived, I contracted my way into the back seat and off we went. At a good clip. Right up until I was informed that we didn't have enough gas to make it to the hospital. So we stopped. And I contracted. And it Was Not Cool. Off we went again at somewhere between 2 and 2:30 in the morning and definitely faster than the limit. Somewhere on the way I felt an unusual sensation and said "Either I just peed myself or my water broke". At which point my contractions were like, "hey, just kidding, THIS is a contraction."

So we got to the hospital. Instead of pulling up in the loading zone and nicely escorting me up to the maternity entrance, like you see on TV, David practically threw me out of the Jeep shouting, "GO! GO! I'LL BRING THE STUFF!" I had a contraction in the elevator so intense that when the doors opened I couldn't get out of the elevator and had to ride it down and back up. I had another contraction in the lobby and couldn't open the door the first time they buzzed me in. I made it in to hear the nurse talking to labor triage telling them that they had a patient.

From this point I'll skip some of the details except to say that while it seems that I am focusing too much on each contraction each one was a significant event in my opinion. And I remember where I was when each one of these initial hospital contractions took place.

Triage got me into a gown, asked if my water had broken, determined that it had and sent me to a room. After much, much ado I was hooked up in bed and "settled. It was now somewhere between 3 and 3:30am. They kept wanting me to sign papers, but were explaining them during the contractions and having me sign them between so I have no idea what I signed. They wanted to hook me up to an IV because I said I was interested in an epidural, but I wouldn't let them stick me while I was contracting and they moved too slow in between and the contractions were coming faster and faster. So that was a struggle, although they did manage to get me on the IV eventually.

At some point as all this was going on they checked me, and after all this misery I had been going through, I was only 3 cm dilated. 15 minutes later I started to feel like I needed to push and, even though they didn't believe me, they checked me again and I was a good 7. The nurse who was checking me didn't believe it, so she got a more senior nurse to check me. Checking is not pleasant. My body was trying to push out their hands.

At this point my contractions started to "couple" which means they were so close together it didn't feel like they let up between. That's not a pleasant thing. I didn't realize it at the time, but I was "transitioning". Good times. I had said I didn't want any pain medication (because it had made me very out of it with Elizabeth), I just wanted the epidural, but they had only just gotten my IV hooked up and my blood sent down to the lab, which has to be tested for something or another before they will send the blessed anesthesiologist guy to you. So this random nurse (who I had not seen previously and never saw again, she must have come by to hang out on her break or something) convinced me that the drug would take the edge off and it would happen RIGHT NOW because it could go in the IV so I said ok. Well, it certainly didn't kill any pain, which is what I recollect of the last time I had it, but it did put a tiny space between the contractions again so I could sort of cope. Ok, that's a lie. I did not cope. At least not well.

My body was freaking out a little bit because things were moving so fast and there was some shaking and some major bloody show happening. What seemed like forever later, but was really around 4:15, a nurse suddenly appeared in my field of vision (which was like one eye partially cracked) with the glorious news that my blood work was ok, and they would call the epidural guy as soon as they checked me one more time. So Junior Nurse checks me, pauses, looks at me, feels around in there some more and asks Senior Nurse to have a go. Senior Nurse says. "Well, looks like its time to push". I said "WHAT? I WANT AN EPIDURAL!!!" Yeaaaah. They don't give you one of those when its time to push.

So, this pushing urge. You can't resist it. Your body pushes even if the rest of you doesn't want to. Doesn't mean its effective, but it sure means you feel it. The best way to describe it is that it feels like you are throwing up. From your behind. It's not a pretty description, but I imagine you've got a pretty good idea now, right?

Now, when I had Elizabeth, she was facing the wrong way and they didn't know it. So most of my labor with her was in my back. However, I have scoliosis, so I'm used to back pain, and the places she was applying pressure on were fairly tolerable. But little miss Lilli was facing the correct way and was somehow putting all her force on my tail bone. There definitely was also some sciatic involvement. Which meant that when a contraction hit I would try and lift off my tail bone to relieve the pressure from the other side. My nurses did not understand that when I said (or mooed, or moaned or whatever) "It hurts in my butt", that I didn't mean normal sensations of a baby getting ready to exit, I meant "My tail bone is going to explode". I kept asking them to help me get up onto my legs and they kept telling me no. Which meant I reeeeeally was not having a good time with this.

At 10 centimeters, the nurses have you do "practice pushes". This is so most of the work is done before the doctor comes in to make his triumphant catch of the baby. For first time moms pushing can take 2 or 3 hours. For a second time mom it can vary a lot, but they still don't want the doctor to waste his time on you counting to 10. So these unsympathetic nurses had me practice push. So from 4:15 to 4:30 I only pretended to push. I was NOT a happy camper with this whole process. Finally one of them said "We aren't calling the doctor in until you give us a real push". At which point I realized that they were never going to let me get up and the only way to stop the tail bone pressure was to get Lilli out. I had pretty much been panicking and not thinking this through until I realized that i might be practice pushing forever.

So I PUSHED. And they said "STOP!!!!!!!"

They called the doctor, he set up, the team of baby handlers arrived, the nurses hovered. David held my leg, I PUSHED, Lilli's head popped out, I PUSHED, and out came the rest of her. At 4:44am.

And 18 months later I still think it was worth it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

They're probably right...

It has been suggested to me several times today that I might have an easier time keeping my New Year's Resolution if I had set my new bedtime for 11 instead of 10.


Of course there wouldn't be much point to having made a resolution that was easy to keep, right?


Monday, January 12, 2009

Someday a mist creature is going to eat me...

I hate fog. It's creepy, and clammy, and things can hide in it and jump out at you when you're not expecting it. And we all know I hate that. I actually should have mentioned it in my Fear post, because it's right up there with 8 legged critters. This morning there was an extremely pea soupy fog out and I actually woke poor David up and made him come to the door and watch me get into the car. He was mostly asleep so he really wouldn't have been much good if something had tried to get me, but I felt better knowing he was standing there.

I blame Stephen King for this.

During 8th grade I was going through a "Stephen King is the best writer EVER!" phase. What can I say? We had briefly moved to Lebanon, Ohio, I was in a brand new (although wonderful... *sigh*...the memories...) school, it was a time of upheaval in my life, I turned to horror fiction. Better that than drugs I say. Blood and Gore! My Anti-Drug! Anyway, I read his short story called "The Mist".

Now, just so you know, I can't stand horror movies. Not even mildly suspenseful dramas in fact. I'm really traumatized by anything visual honestly. But books? Not a problem. I have pretty good recall of the printed word, I can find any paragraph you want to read in any book that I've ever read remarkably quickly, but the emotions or whatever of what I'm reading just kind of roll off me. Or at least that's the explanation I'm giving for the fact that I read every book Stephen King had published to that point, at the tender age of 13, and didn't bat at eye at any of them.

Except "The Mist". You really should read the Wiki page that I linked above if you want a synopsis, but basically, a dense fog rolls in bringing scary creatures with it, death and destruction ensue. And apparently that book tied right into my fear of things popping out at me and made a little home in my not-so-subconscious.

So now, every time it's the least bit foggy? Yeah, I start looking around for the mist creatures. And boy do I get freaked out.

So, honey? If it's foggy tomorrow morning, don't be surprised if you get an early wake up call...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Nobody puts [my] Baby in a corner...yeah...

Here now Internet people, I've been forced to defend my child's honor. No sooner did I put up that last post, than I got an e-mail from a certain person who shall remain NAMELESS (but you know who you are!) saying "Oh, how cute that your baby can go down that little slide by herself". So let me just show you that it's not just the little slides...

See that open mouthed beam of utter joy? She would actually prefer it if you didn't catch her, but since she makes no attempt to slow herself down like her big sister does, and just sails on down (no matter the size of the slide) like she's unbreakable, we don't let her have her way. So it's not just the baby slides she can handle.

There, Lilli. Mama's got your back.

Survival of the fittest...

I needed an easy blog topic today. We have been struck down by illness my friends, STRUCK DOWN! The only reason you're even getting a post is because I can breathe a lot better sitting up. Anything to delay the misery that going to bed will bring, even though I desperately need to sleep. I ended soloing with the girls today, which is a joy and delight when it doesn't hurt to move. Or breathe. Or swallow. Not so much delight today. But solo I did, since David spent the day in the emergency room. Yes, you heard me right. Turns out Bronchitis and untreated Asthma (so much for playing fast and loose with your lungs) don't make good friends. So he had steroids, breathing treatments, etc., and had to be rehydrated. Due to the fact that the vast amounts of mucous had made him throw up and he was spending more time wheezing and hacking then drinking fluids. Yummy, eh?

Oh, and guess what! We are taking are germy little selves to work tomorrow! Hoohah! Don't you wish you could be there to breathe in the plague for yourselves? This is what happens when you're given limited sick and personal days each year that you'd like to hoard for next December. We can't be taking them the third week of January. Gotta save the emergency ones for when the kiddos are sick.

So, bearing all this in mind, an easy post was definitely called for. I give you:

Why We Should Probably Not Have Any More Children:

We already knew she doesn't like competition.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I Heart Monkey Playhouse

So! No sooner did I bemoan the loss of one kid's play place, I got introduced to another. And we love it. The only problem is that its about a 45 minute drive from my house. Not so fun. So this is only going to be a once in a while thing. But we had a blast. They've got everything there, slides, bounce house, play house, dress up stuff, climbing stuff, even a:

Ball pit!

Also, a baby corner which would have been handy when this one was little, to keep her out of the path of maniac 4 year-olds.

Also this horse thing, which I would never buy for my children because I have no space for a horse shaped chair in my house. Now, maybe if they could actually ride it around I might reconsider...

Elizabeth had monkeys on the brain since we spent 45 minutes saying "Yes, we're almost to the monkey play place. Yes, we're almost there. Really. We will be at the monkey play place any minute." So yes, that's a monkey on it's back:

See? Monkey.

We'll definitely go back.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Yes, yes, I'm a copycat and a self tagger, and yes, it's after 10. Moving on...

It was a lengthy sidebar trail that led me to this list, but I am shamelessly copying it and not giving credit to the blog I found it on. Since she had linked it back to the person she got it from, who had linked it back to someone else, who get the idea.

The basic idea of it is that you have this lengthy list of fun things here that someone or another has created, and you put the ones that you have done in bold. And in my case do a running commentary on it. It may be my new list of things I should maybe try to do though. I'm a sad, sad, experience-less case it seems. But I've been BUSY! Just not with much on this list apparently. I will have to figure out what the heck I've been doing instead.

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band (I married a drummer though)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/World
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis (um...eewwwwwww. I've taken a picture of one though, and I had to get close to do it...)
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightening at sea (I'm counting watching it from the beach, which is slightly safer)
14. Taught myself an art from scratch (I consider crochet and art. Don't mock me.)
15. Adopted a child (Not yet, but I feel I should get partial credit for having been adopted)
16. Had food poisoning (ohhhhhhh, the MISERY)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables (not since I was little, but I have plans)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked (Dangerous! Shame on you if you have!)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (sadly no. someday I will have to discuss my inability to prevaricate when it would be useful)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping (No! I have not! What is wrong with me? This must be changed at once. If the canal out back wasn't so filthy...)
27. Run a Marathon (Not on your life. If God wanted us to run, He would have given us....something other than my legs. Wheels maybe. Yes, wheels.)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (I really need to get out of the continental United States)
29. Seen a total eclipse (hmmmm. I was told it was a total eclipse. It just wasn't one from my vantage point)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run (Hah! I can barely hit a ball!)
32. Been on a cruise (*grumble* something else that I must remedy)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community (AND eaten their cheese! Cheeeeese....mmmmmmm)
36. Learned a new language (yes, but not very well)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied (HAH!)
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing (only rappelling. And that only under duress. I don't have a fear of heights, or even of falling, but I definitely have a fear of hitting the ground)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke (not nearly often enough)
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa (only the one at Disney World's Animal Kingdom)
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (I was all of 7)
47. Had my portrait painted (only sketched)
48. Gone deep sea fishing (not on your life. I don't kill things. Or purposely cause them pain. I happily eat things that other people have killed, but I don't do the dirty work myself)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (nope, only the top of the mini Eiffel Tower at King's Island in Ohio
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (Nope, I'm a wee bit claustrophobic)
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (no, I could have been in Little Man Tate as an extra, but, as it was rated PG, my Very Sheltering Mother did not go for it)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (yes, when I was seven I harvested morning glory seeds and sold them to my neighbors. I even decorated the seed packets. And that was the last time I was ever that motivated)
58. Taken a martial arts class (Akido. And let me tell you, I am no good at it. Apparently I don't like to fall down. Also Tai Chi, but FYI you might offend your Tai Chi-loving husband if you tell him that it's easy because it's like a dance)
59. Visited Russia (no, but I know how to say "I love you too" in Russian, although I do not know how to spell it. And how I know that is a long story. I also know "goodbye" thanks to the movie Anastasia)
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (no, I was a Campfire Girl, but we sold cookies too)
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (all the time, baby! I'm O negative. It's nice to be wanted)
65. Gone sky diving (once again, NOT ON YOUR LIFE!)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (saved a few hundred childhood toys?)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar (not really, although technically those little poppy eggs that start with M on the outside of sushi are caviar)
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades (I do live in Florida after all)
75. Been fired from a job (no, but I'm young yet)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone (I brilliantly slammed a car door into myself, cracking a rib. Lesson? Don't get mad at your mother, no matter how Very Sheltering she is. It doesn't pay)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (What is with all the questions involving certain death?)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book (not yet...)
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (SOMEDAY, my friends, SOME DAY)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House (no, but I drove by it once)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (See number 48)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life (my mother keeps popping up in this. And amazingly, yes. Twice)
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (Had two! 6! 9! Stop! Tangent! Bonus points if you know what that's from)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (didn't have to do much besides sign things though. Thank you oh, Insurance Company of Mine. Although you never did let me know if you got back my deductible. Is it possible that you didn't Prevail against the drunk/high insurance-less, license-less gentleman from Orlando?)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee (and may it never happen. Frantically knocking on wood over here)
100. Rode an elephant

There. As usual I am extremely content now that I've done this. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Spin Cycle: Guilt

You know, I had another topic completely planned for this spin courtesy Sprite's Keeper. It was going to be all about how I feel guilty for being a titchy bit judgey when I meet someone for the first time. Sometimes I just assume that someone is a little too weird for my taste (although you ought to know by now that they must seem pretty wacky if I think it’s too much) or that they’re snobby, or mean, or whatever. I’m sure that I’m not the only person who does that, and I never let my initial impression stop me from getting to know someone, at which point I almost always change my mind, BUT I still have guilt, because that is just not a good way to be.

Instead though, I am going to state the source of my current guilt for the “world” to see: I have not kept my New Year’s Resolution ONE TIME since I made it. It is true that I also have not gone to bed after 1 in the morning in the last week, which is an improvement, but WHAT IS SO HARD ABOUT 10? So I fail. And I have guilt. And now you know that.

So, what am I going to do about it? Keep trying of course. Guilt and I are old friends and I don’t let it bog me down. And a little big of guilt is healthy; it shows you have a conscious and perhaps even some empathy. But don’t let it bog you down either.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I actually got tagged!

Well, technically I told Jen I wanted to be. But we can pretend, right?

This meme is a brief interview. Which means the questions are deeper than usual. And you know how I love that!

1. If you could invent an easy fix (just one) for anything in your life, what would it be and how would it change things?

If I could invent a money tree I so would. They say money can’t buy happiness and all that, but I’m already happy. I just need some help with some bills. It seems that I will need to take up botany to learn to create trees that sprout little printing presses.

2. You have been given a large sum of money, $500,000.00. Here's the catch: you can't keep it and you can't donate it. You must buy something with it, but for someone else in your family. Who would you buy for and what would you buy?

Despite the fact that I’m a little cranky with my dad today for letting Elizabeth do a back flip off my bed, hitting her face on a nightstand and hurting her neck in the process, I would still buy my parents a house. My parents have never owned a house since they have been poor as church mice my entire life and I think they should have one. I would also have to worry less about them after my mom retires, so it ends up being something for me anyway.

3. You have the opportunity to erase one embarrassing moment from your memory. What would you erase? (Why is optional.)

Hmmmm. I think I would like to erase the time when I was 17 and was at a church youth camp on a college campus, and the girls I was with and I were all ogling and giggling over 3 of the most gorgeous college boys you can imagine, and we had to go to dinner, so we turned to walk up some steps. Which of course, is when we finally caught their attention due to the fact that I tripped, fell UP the steps and then slid down. Ow. AND embarrassing. Let’s erase that.

4. Imagine that you had your dream job. What are you doing? What hours are you working? How much do you think your salary SHOULD be?

Well, I’ve recently had the epiphany that I should be a baby planner, so if anyone wants to hook me up that would be awesome. Otherwise my dream job would be staying home with my girls so I guess my hours should be 24-7, which I’m ok with, and I think my salary should be a million dollars. A day. Muhahahahahaha!

5. What is the one luxury you can absolutely not live without and why not?

I cannot live without the Internet. Some people would argue that it is fast becoming a necessity and not a luxury, but I still disagree on the technical basis that I don’t work from home and I just use the Internet for the fun stuffs at this point. I already live without cable (I really need to tell the story of why I hate Comcast at some point), so really I think I’ve done my part for conservation. I’m also keeping my cell phone. With babies, that really IS a necessity.

Thanks Jen! You're awesome!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Name That Boyfriend...

You know how you associate songs with certain old boyfriends (or girlfriends, of course)? I know some of you do. “Fields of Gold” anyone? Nudge, nudge. Yep, you know who you are... It doesn’t matter how you feel about a person now, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, the right song can whisk you back into the past so fast your head spins.

So today I thought I’d give you my list.

Partly because I've been with David for more than 10 years which is more than one third of my life, which is weird all on its own, but also weird because if it weren't for the songs (and also my journals) I would have a hard time remembering what it felt like to be interested in anyone else.

And partly because my list is entertainingly eclectic. Except for all the songs by Cake, that's just a freakish coincidence. Hmmm. Perhaps this will be my next iPod play list.

Bear in mind that I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16 so I’ll pretty much skip the soundtrack from before official dating (both the angst and the triumph), and I started dating my hubby when I was 19 so it was apparently a jam packed three years. But I assure you that, to a teenager, dating someone for 3 months feels like being married for 30 years, and there was only a wee bit of overlap in some of the cases, so um…yeah. I’m giving you a list of 10 guys and their songs, plus David. I’m skipping the crushes and the guys I dated that had very little impact on me either while or after we dated so they never got songs associated with them. Hmmm. I suspect my iPod playlist is going to be called "Top Ten Soundtrack".

So here they are starting with B…..

Ha ha! Just kidding. I’m not that stupid. I’m actually going to mix them way out of order. These are either songs that describe the relationship or had some sort of significance to it. Oh, and ummmm, if you happen to be ON the list and figure that out? Let’s never talk about this.

Behind Door Number One: "Till You Love Me" by Reba McIntyre, "You Don’t See Me" by Josie and the Pussycats, and "Dreams" by the Cranberries: This is my one exception to the dating thing. These are the songs that remind me of the great, unrequited love of my teenage years from the time I was around 14 and on. So of course “On My Own” from Les Miserables is on that list. Just like it's on the list of every girl who has been a teenager since the musical was written. I didn’t actually get over this guy until I was pretty darn sure that I was going to marry David which was about 3 weeks after we started dating. For those of you who know who this was (And you do, you may have forgotten, but if you think about it for two seconds you totally do), you may recall that while all other crushes and boyfriends came, distracted me for a while, and went, he was always in the background. Completely hopelessly backgroundy. Or at least so I assume. The most ironic part of the unrequited love thing is that generally you never get up the nerve to inquire if they know you’re alive. Of course, in this case we were friends, actually all the way through college. At least he was friends, I was not feeling the friend thing. *sigh* The bad thing about keeping journals through the most angsty period of any girl’s life is that you have a complete record of your stupidity. "Day 1: I love X, I love X. He’s so wonderful, blah blah blah, how is it that he is oblivious to the fact that I AM MADLY IN LOVE WITH HIM? Day 2: So I’m dating Y who is the best boyfriend EVER! He’s so cute and sweet and blah, blah, blah. Day 3: X SPOKE TO ME! (Heart, Heart, Heart) I love him!…." Yep, I’m an idiot. But at least I'm a recovered one.

*whew* let’s reel this back into a list instead of a novel.

"Peaches" by The Presidents of the United States. A very sweet guy, his extremely annoying favorite song that WOULDN'T GET OUT OF MY HEAD.

"Staring at the Sun" by U2. Because isn’t there at least one U2 song that reminds you of somebody? And also “She'll Come Back to Me” by Cake: An overheard quote. I did not. Go back that is.

"Stick Shifts and Safety Belts", also by Cake: For the cute-as-a-button guy that introduced me to the band. I reeeeeally like the band. I reeeeally liked the guy.

"A Little Less Conversation" by Elvis Presley. Totally fits this one guy, but ratchet your mind out of the gutter. I was a sweet and innocent 16 year old at the time. I still couldn’t figure out what all the chatter was about though. The proportions of discussing kissing to actual kissing were way out of wack in my opinion.

"Let's End it on This" by No Doubt. Appropriate for one of the three major players (one of the two that are not my husband) on this list. In fact, I’m going to listen to it right now and nod emphatically at the right moments….

ok, I'm back.

Additionally for Major Player #1, "Unseen" by Katie Armiger, "One and Only" by Teiture, "Can’t Behave" by Courtney Jaye, and "You're Driving Me Crazy" by the Squirrel Nut Zippers. In retrospect that last song will give me away to that person, so to you I say: Yeah, you DID drive me crazy. You also get "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps", either the Doris Day or Cake versions. Want to turn me into a crazy person fast? Keep me guessing. I’ll both love you and really, really want to hit you. Also, thank you for zestily stirring up every insecurity I had. I eventually got over them and I still manage to be shockingly fond of you. So you’re welcome.

For Major Player#2, "Eternal Flame" either by Atomic Kitten or the Bangles. Because for about 30 seconds I thought that (well, slightly longer than that). Then I woke up. But it sticks with you. Also "Marry the Man Today" from the Broadway version of Guys and Dolls. Because it's all about how you think "Oh sure, he'd be different if we got married." And I'm sure that's a lie.

A song I can’t tell you the title of because half of it is his name. Dagnabbit! And it is so fitting too. Grumble. He was super sweet and should be at the top of any DESERVES GOOD THINGS list.

"Baby's Got Sauce" by G. Love and Special Sauce: It was on his computer. I listened to it a lot. I have no idea why I loved it so much. It’s a pretty silly song, but it makes me happy to hear it. Another super sweet guy. Somehow I managed to not date any jerks. And I pat myself on the back for that.

"Pretend to be Nice" by Josie and the Pussycats and "What's the Name of the Game" by Abba. Another guy who kept me guessing. It only rose above crush/eh?/wait, so do we like each other or not/huh? status briefly but went on for quite a while. The maybe, maybe not part that is. And I mean QUITE A WHILE. There’s also another song that should go in his list that it so appropriate that I just cannot express it, but actually I’m not going to because it’s another song that would give too much away.

Just about every love song ever written, including ridiculous ones like Shania Twain’s "You’re Still the One" and respectable ones like Leona Naess’ "Chosen Family", "Lucky" by Jason Mraz, and "Paradise" by Ana Serrano van der Laan" . These are David songs of course. And also "It's Your Life" by Lenny Kravitz. It was our Rebel Yell to several eyebrow-raising people about our impending nuptials.

So how did you like that? It’s really just a self-inflicted meme, but you know I like those. TMI? Fascinating insight? Do let me know…

Monday, January 5, 2009

My baby can sing!

She's been humming along to her lullabies since she was 7 or 8 months old.

First that tuneless thing they do when they like what you're singing, then more and more purposeful as time as gone on. Lately she's been mmmmming and oooh-ing along with pauses at the appropriate moments, but this is the third night in a row that she's added words. Words! The RIGHT words! And she's slightly anticipating me (although naturally she's still nice and off-key), so I know that she actually knows the songs. Of course I am her mother, but it's the cutest thing EVER. She's only singing the words she can easily say though, so the songs go something like this: Oh wait, I should probably say that I corrupt other people's songs for my children, so you may notice that the following example has a lot of similarities to a really well-known song in some circles. So, with apologies to whoever necessary, I give you:

Rachel: Mama loves me, this I know
Lilli: Mama mmmm ME, mmmmm KNOW

Rachel: 'Cause she always tells me so
Lilli: mmmmm see mmmmmeeee SO

Rachel: When I'm happy, when I'm sad
Lilli: mmmmmm HAPPY, mmmmm SAD

Rachel: When I'm good, and when I'm bad
Lilli: mmmmm GOO, mmmmmm BAD

Rachel: Yes, mama loves me, Yes, mama loves me
Lilli: Es, Mama wuv ME, Es, Mama wuv ME

Rachel: Yes, mama loves me, She always tells me so
Lilli: Es, Mama wuv ME, See mmmmmeee SOOOOOOOOOO.

Seriously. Cutest thing EVER!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

TMI...and not even my idea.

I have a good idea that some of you will shrivel up in horror at this post, and even I think it puts us a little too much "out there" for my comfort. Nevertheless, David thinks this was heeelarious and wants me to tell you about yesterday morning.

Back story, as always. After 10 years and counting of togetherness, we are pretty comfortable around each other. He cured me of my fear of peeing with the bathroom door open early on, and really, after you've had a front row seat at the births of two of your children, what mystery is left? Ok, we aren't "pretty" comfortable, we are extreeeeeeemely comfortable.

So much so that yesterday morning when he experienced the fascinating neon blue-green results of too much Trix consumption (we think, we are not actually sure), he wanted me to come check things out. I was eating breakfast at the moment and politely declined, but Elizabeth, who was also downing Cheerios, got BIG eyes at the shouted description of what was happening in the bathroom. And hastily got down out of her booster seat to go see this phenomenon for herself. Bear in mind, she was fairly recently potty-trained, she finds poop especially fascinating at the moment.

Not realizing she was heading his way, he flushed (while I belatedly shouted out to not), and when she met him halfway and realized she was "too late", her face crumpled. And she sobbed inconsolably for 20 minutes. About poop.

I can only shake my head.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Farewell to Kidz Zone. *sniff*

Due to the boiling heat that is here in South Florida you would think that there would be an indoor children's playground on every corner. Not so, my friends, not so. And we have just lost another. I can't remember when Kidz Zone opened, but since it did we have gone fairly regularly on Saturday. Ok, by regularly I mean once a month or so, but still! Elizabeth actually got to go quite a bit while I was on maternity leave.

See? Here she is in August of 2007. She was nearing two and was getting to be quite the big girl on the slides.

Here she is in the "rubber box" as she calls it. It was a sandbox filled with shredded rubber instead of sand. Not as messy, but let me tell you that rubber stuff sticks to every surface. Especially the required socks or perhaps an exposed diaper.

Here's Lilli getting in on the action on one of her first trips. I was on maternity leave still so she has to be less than 6 weeks old in the picture and I apparently brought my father along with us.

Skipping ahead a few months, here's Elizabeth enjoying one of her friend's birthday parties. *sigh* It was a great place for parties. Nice, cool, non-outdoors parties.

Now, for some reason I did not take any pictures of Kidz Zone trips for 6 months. But guess where we brought new-walker Lilli to celebrate her birthday in July of last year?
If you look close enough you'll see shredded rubber clinging to her behind. See? Sticks to everything.

I think this was a proud face, although I'm not 100% on that. She'd climbed to the top of the jungle gym for the first time.

We also celebrated Elizabeth's birthday there in September. Why I took no pictures of her, I have no idea.

And we had our final trips last month. *sniff*

Remember that other "rubber box" picture? Boy, she's grown up a lot.

Another child who has massively grown up while I wasn't paying attention:

Oddly, we have that exact dress in our dress-up box at home. It must not be nearly as good without the fire hat.

So, Kidz Zone, even though I can never remember whether you are, in fact spelled as "Kidz" Zone or "Kids" Zone, we loved you a lot and we have some great memories.
We'll miss you!

Friday, January 2, 2009


This is my 100th post! Yay me!

I thought that maybe in honor of the post I should pick a deeper topic than usual for my ramble. So I thought I’d address a subject that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately- Autism.

Before I start, here are my disclaimers: I do not, at least at this point, have a child with autism, so I have no personal experience with the combination of joys and worries that have to be felt while raising such a child, so if I am accidentally insensitive, I’m extremely sorry. I read a blog written by the mom of several children on the Autism spectrum, and I think she’s fantastic and would never want to offend her or anyone like her. Also, I don’t think that having a child with autism reflects poorly on the parents (as I have read that some people think) either from a genetic or parenting basis, as I think all little ones are perfect and some just need a boost to keep them healthy and happy. The only problem with autism that I can see is a parent who doesn’t try to get help for their child because they can't accept that kind of diagnosis. I fear autism for my children, not because it would shame or embarrass me, but because I worry that I might not be good enough at this parenting business to help them reach their full potential. Even though others might consider their full potential less then desirable, I never would. I also recognize that parts of this topic (causes, vaccines, etc.) have supporters that completely oppose each other. And ferociously so. If I happen to disagree with you, please realize that I totally respect your opinion and your research and your understanding of the facts. It’s just like abortion or religion, or political views, or any other controversial topic; you aren’t going to change anyone’s mind by shouting at them. So let me have my view of this, misinformed as you may find it. And please don’t flood my inbox (or the comments section, for the few of you who leave those, and thank you again by the way, I love them) with the hate. You can flood it with websites to check out and books to read, I like that, but not with the anger.

Wow. I think my disclaimers were actually longer than my ramble is going to be. Ok, maybe not, but what a way to start!

The story of how I became obsessed by this topic is long and complicated, and shockingly I won’t go into it, but one of the contributing factors that keeps me working at getting my doctorate in Google is that Lilli is going through the typical childhood vaccine series. Even before Elizabeth was born we were asking the pediatrician about mercury in vaccines (although now I hear that it may be the aluminum we have to watch out for), but we still chose to vaccinate (more on that later). I had a moment of nervousness when Elizabeth had her MMR vaccine (which is one of the ones that tend to freak us moms out), but overall took it pretty much in stride. She never had a reaction to a vaccine (maybe a fever once), we never even gave her any Tylenol before or after and she sailed right through the whole process.

However, as Lilli (who has also never had a reaction of any kind to any of her shots) has been getting older, I have been getting more educated. And ignorance really is bliss. You read enough stories from parents who had children on or ahead of the milestone tracks right up until the day of their MMR vaccine and were never the same again, and you’ll be freaked out on shot day too. This time I actually had to have David sign the paper giving our permission for the MMR. I couldn’t do it because I felt that my signing it would automatically consign Lilli to a life of struggling to achieve things that come easily to other children. You can bet that I watched her like a hawk for a week looking for any signs of a reaction or any change in her behavior, and I never saw “a light switch turn off” as one mom described it. And she continues to seem to be just fine.

Well, on January 23, Lilli is due to have her 18 month shots, which, according to the way our practice does things, should be the last ones she has until she goes to Kindergarten. And I am as nervous as all get out about them.

See here’s my theory on the whole thing (once again- opinion! Just my opinion!). And since this isn’t a research paper I’m not required to link my sources, but you can find all this through Google and the library too, and pick and choose for yourself. I think that Autism is genetic. Now whether the gene malfunction is caused by family history, an environmental mutation to the mom either before she conceives or while the baby is still in womb, or something else all together, I don’t know, and I don’t have an opinion. But I think the tendency is there before the baby is born. One reason I think that is due to a study Yale did (you can hear them present the paper on iTunes, you may have to dig, it was a while ago), that showed that Autistic children have both more folds in their brains and in their placentas than non-autistic children. It seems like such a phenomenon would have to be genetic, or at least due to some kind of environmental factor that happened before birth. But while I think the tendency is always there, I think there can be things that trigger the actual disorder and if there is no trigger, you may never know that the child has the tendency.

So I think that vaccines may be the trigger for some children. Whether that’s due to heavy metals or the child’s body not being able to process the dead or partial viruses, I don’t know if we’ll ever know, but for every study that shows that vaccines don’t cause autism, there are hundreds of broken hearted and angry parents whose child either was dramatically different after a certain shot, or went progressively down hill with every one. So I am worried every time, and as Lilli nears 18 months, which is around the time the disorder starts to be diagnosed I watch her more and more closely. There is a website,, that lists the Red Flags of Autism. You only need to have a few of them present in your child before you really should discuss them with your doctor. It also has lists of milestones that a child should be achieving at what times (really, the entire website is fantastic) and I am understating when I say that I monitor these closely and I am poised for action at any moment. Because...

I STRONGLY believe in early intervention. I’m a social work major, who is happily not using her degree, but we spent a lot of time learning about childhood development. Among other things, in pursuit of my B.S., I went to several early intervention sessions and talked to teachers, the kids and even some of the parents (this was for a paper, I don’t normally pop into places and start interviewing random people trying to go about their day). From everything I heard, the earlier this intervention starts the easier a child’s life will be for them. There are plenty of struggles associated with it, it may not work as well as you'd hope, the red tape can be immense, the cost can drag you under (read Jenny McCarthy’s books on her son Evan’s journey through Autism-you’d think a celebrity would have it easy. Not so.). However, I would do it in a second.

So, if I’m so nervous about vaccines and have done all these mental exercises with what ifs, why, do you ask, am I still vaccinating? Simple. Because I would rather have a special needs child than a dead child. And I believe in the vaccines. I don’t think the schedule is right for every child, it’s a lot of stuff going into a little body over a short period of time. I think it’s easy to say, in an era when polio has been eradicated and epidemics are rare, that vaccines are evil and unnecessary. But babies used to die regularly from measles and mumps and whooping cough, and they don’t anymore. Except vaccines only work when the majority of the population is inoculated, and as more and more people opt out of them things are going to get iffy.

As I’ve mentioned a few hundred times on here, I listen to a lot of podcasts. A few weeks ago there was a segment on This American Life (the radio show) that discussed a family that had opted out of vaccines for their children, had gone abroad and picked up the measles unaware and brought it back, accidentally exposed most of the town they lived in and caused a huge number of people to be quarantined and a couple of babies to die and several more to get very ill, all of whom were either too young to be vaccinated or had parents who had opted out of the shots. That kind of thing makes me worried and a little angry. Heck, there was a chicken pox case at work and I was a bit panicky until I had determined that Lilli had already had the varicella vaccine, and that's usually just a pretty minor disease. If a person lived on an island and never saw anyone but their family, their decision to vaccinate or not would be completely personal and based on the needs of their child. And I would support it 100% But that's not the way it is. Measles, for instance, lingers in the air for hours after you leave a place. It's ridiculously contagious. Nobody lives in a bubble. So if your decision to protect your child in one way affects the health of my child in another way, then we are going to have words.

BUT, it is easy for me to say that despite any risks and my flirting with panic attacks as the needles approach, that we will vaccinate. As I said, neither of my girls have ever had a reaction to a shot, and have barely even had a fever. But my friend's little girl, who I love like my own, had a pretty scary possible-seizure-or-at-least-we're-calling-it-a-neurological-event reaction to her 12 month vaccines. And as a result of this, and quite possibly as a result of reading too much about Autism (which is also the case for me), my friend (who used to be in the worth-the-risks camp with me) has decided not give her daughter any more vaccines. Possibly she will later if forced, possibly never. And even though I think it's risky and it freaks me out that this little girl could either start or be the victim of some kind of epidemic, I can't say that I wouldn't make the same decision if I would have gone through that event with my child. But for right now? I will take a chill pill and we go get those shots


There. *whew!* I’ve said my piece. Heavy stuff for a ramble, I know, but a big number of posts deserves a big topic, right?

Happy 100 to me!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Beautiful Day

We had a really good day today. The weather was amazing so we went to one of the local parks. Among other things, we rented a little "surrey", which is basically a fancy roofed cart that you pedal, and "drove" all around. We had a blast.

But all I really want to share in this post is this:

Say it with me now: "Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww"

Spin Cycle: A New Year, A New Me?

Heh heh heh. This week Jen over at Sprite's Keeper has us putting our resolutions out for the Internet world (ok, the 40 or so people that I know for sure read this blog on a semi-regular basis- Hi there!- and maybe a few wanderers by, I'm not in the big leagues) to see. No doubt she has also read or heard, as I have multiple times, that if you tell a lot of people about your resolution you are more likely to keep it. Because they will all SHAME you into it. Even knowing this I have chosen to participate although I don't, as a rule, make resolutions. Mostly because I am fantastic at procrastination. Given any situation I can probably give you several reasons to avoid immediate action. So what's the point of saying I'm going to do something that I'm probably not? But this year I'm going into this full force. I'm telling everyone I meet about this resolution, here I am posting about it, and I even wrote it down on an index card. That is some serious intent. We'll see how it goes. Ironically I expect to break this resolution for the first time tonight.

Of course there are tons of things I would like to do differently, but baby steps, friends, baby steps. There is only one thing I do that has an immediate effect on my health and is more likely to kill me than anything else.

I don't sleep.

Well, let me clarify that. I LOVE to sleep, and I can fall asleep 5 seconds after my head touches the pillow. I have lost out on a lot of back and foot rubs due to passing out before the husband can get to me. I just don't go to bed. Until really really late. My girls go to bed at 8, and since we both work full time, David and I spend every second with them right from when we get home until they go to bed. So from 8 until whenever is my chore time. And my free time. My precious meeeeeeeeeeeee time! And I get up between 4:30 and 5 for work. I have been surviving on 4 hours of sleep (sometimes less, once in a great while more) a night for a very long time. So the most likely reason that if I don't change my behavior I am going to die is the fact that I fight falling asleep all the way to work. I'm actually surprised that I haven't been squished yet. And if that doesn't happen, I'm sure the slow deterioration of my health will be what does me in.

So I'm going to go to sleep. Quite possibly at 10 pm every night. Which means I won't get a thing done. Which will drive me crazy. But it's gotta be done right?

That's my plan, I am good and resolved. Except for tonight 'cause stuff came up, but every other night. Really!

Happy New Year!