(If you don't like the music, scroll down and you can control it on the right side. But I like it, so there! )

Monday, October 3, 2011

I moved. A while ago, actually, because Blogger wouldn't let me post a single thing.

You can find me here.

I've missed a lot of you. Hope to see you soon.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

From the "Oh My God" Files

I didn't get this. I ruined my proposal because A) I knew what ring I was getting and I wanted it, and B) the jeweler made the mistake of letting me know it had come in. Poor John wanted to surprise me, and I really tried to be patient, but I couldn't take it anymore. I wanted my princess-cut solitaire. (Incidentally, princess-cut because John used to call me his princess.) I'm not one for flash and show. I'm more understated than that. And when the wait became too much for me, I finally asked for my ring. John's reaction? To take the little black velvet ring box out of his pocket, toss it in my lap, and say, "Here, then! Marry me. Put this on your finger." As he was getting out of his Explorer to go into a convenience store. For real. That's my proposal. But John's a romantic, so I would've gotten much better, had it not been for me being, well....me.

But this guy? This guy went to some effort. Impressive.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My World Right Now

I'm just busy. Busy Busy Busy. Again. Still. Always.
So here are some bullet points for you. A brief synopsis of my life, and this style seems appropriate right now, considering how I am spending most of my time.



  • Work fricken sucks. For some reason it has gotten busy, and I'm not sure what is going on because it isn't flu season. No new obscure respiratory epidemic has surfaced. People are just...sick. And I make a living taking care of them, and so I am busy.

  • School fricken sucks. This program I am in is accelerated, so the classes are only five weeks long. The last session I took was one class, and it was still busy because it was so condensed. This time I am in 2 classes: Legal/ Ethical Environment of Business, and Management Accounting. And if one was busy, two is insanity. I have 3 2,000-word papers due for each class this coming week. That's 12K words, y'all. With 60 hours of work. And 2 kids. I want to take up drinking. But if I do that, there is no way I will comprehend the hundreds of pages of reading they have given me to do. The mind-numbing reading.

  • I got an A in my marketing class. Let me rephrase that: I rocked that shit out.

  • Jesus didn't show up on a cloud or with a clap of thunder and take anybody away. I never thought he was going to and realized that Camping douchebag was a nutcase, but the agnostic/ borderline-atheist in me was secretly thinking, on a very small scale, that it would suck if I was wrong.

  • I paid off the last of my pregnancy bills this past week. Zach has been paid for. It only took a year of crazy work schedules and living as if we were below poverty guidelines. Now I can try to regenerate my savings and since I know I am not going to med school anymore, we can work on buying a house after I have a little bit of cushion. Or maybe I should wait until the MBA is done. Hell, who knows?

  • Evan is having some major psychological problems. I can only hope it is not what I think it is. I can say that I have been doing some research and when I read this one article, my heart sank because it was like I was reading about him.

  • John enrolled in classes. Just a little vocational program for HVAC, but their median starting salary is comparable to my starting base salarywas as an RT when I first graduated. It would be nice to have the extra. I would say that I would slack off at work, but that isn't true. The extra would just facilitate us reaching our goals a little quicker. (See above.)

I think that's all. Sorry. I need to spend time writing academic papers now. And ptting my brain to sleep with Business Law. Peace out, homies.

On Fixing What You Can




Zach has started this new thing where he wakes up in the middle of the night. We can't tell what is going on, because he usually falls back to sleep after a short snuggle. I mentioned it to a coworker, who is a first-time mom, and her response was to ask how we handle it.


Honestly, I never thought about it.


It just comes naturally. What do I do when my baby cries? I go and get him. Simple. I think that was her way of asking if I make him cry it out. No. Never. And I never really thought of it until now because Zach has never been a challenge in this respect.


Don't get me wrong: I was the same when Evan was a baby. It just makes sense. Babies cry because they need something, even if that "something" is just to see your face and know you are still there. And this is really easy with Zachary because he has never been a crier. And I'm not sure why this is happening now. It could be that he is about to get new teeth, or that he is eating more and more foods and is getting a bellyache. It could be that he has decided recently that he is going to boycott naps and thus his sleep/wake schedule is all jacked up. Who knows? I just know that he cries and we respond. When Evan was a baby, this was particularly hard. I can still hear the shrill, colicky screams that went on for about eight hours per day for what seemed like a parade of months. John worked nights then, and so it was just me. There was no escape. And there were moments where I knew I loved him, I knew I would never hurt him, but as terrible as it sounds, I could understand how in a split-second a loving parent could lose their cool and cross that line into abuse territory. But still, the response to his cries never dulled. My desire to fix the unknown problem never faded.


This all has got me thinking about the different schools of thought on this topic. A lot of people will tell you that a baby needs to learn to self-soothe, or that you will be spoiling a baby by responding to their cries. Yeah, whaatevs. As if sweet little Zach is secretly planning how he is going to manipulate my entire life and control me. See how ridiculous that sounds? He cries because he doesn't have the verbal abilities to say, "Yo, Mom, I'm cold/hungry/ lonely/ in pain/ bored...." Seriously.


So we go to him. We will always go to him. Just like the sound of Evan crying causes the knee-jerk reaction of me going to see what is wrong. Still. And Evan is almost a decade old.


Because whatever it is, it is my job as his mother to go and fix it. One day, there will be things I cannot fix. But for now, I will relish the ones I can fix. And I don't believe for a second that I am feeding into Zach's plot for total world domination if I do.


Of course this is all coming at a very trying time for our family. Something is not quite right with Evan. I'm still trying to get him some treatment, but if it is what I think it is, I want the best therapists, the best doctors, that money can buy. And those people come with waiting lists. This is one of those times where I cannot fix it. I'm trying, Evan. I'm trying like hell. (When I find out more, expect some venting and heart-pouring action here, folks. It's bad and John is completely in denial.)


So I respond. When my babies are hurt or sad or scared. When they're lonley or angry or have just had enough.


When something is not right, I will be there. For both boys. For as long as I am living.

I Love Technology

Yep, I said it. As in: how in the blue hell did I live without a cell all of this time? The other day, I had both kids at a birthday party and John was out riding his Harley, and we were able to text and meet up for lunch. I was such an idiot before. This has made my life so much easier. And it all reminded me of this stupid clip from Napolean Dynamite.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Caving In

If I have said it once, I've said it a million times: No, I do not have a cell phone. I do not want a cell. I have 5 fricken e-mail addresses, a laptop that stays with me all of the time because of school. I have Facebook and Twitter accounts. I have instant messaging. I have an old-school landline, and I carry a pager and phone at work. If one wanted to find me and didn't, they were doing something seriously wrong. Why have a cell glued to my hand at all times? Why be one of those obnoxious diners at a restaurant, chatting loudly and annoyingly, ruining the meal of all around? Why be one of the tons of drivers out there making the roads unsafe for us all? Why add another bill to the heap I already have?
The kiddos at work (early 20's, y'all) have told me time and again that I need to get a cell. Pronto. Of course I laughed at this--Just another way for them to track me down and get me to work on my off days? No, thanks.
John is currently pursuing options for some sort of vocational program that will allow him to enter the workforce again after all of these years of being a stay-at-home-dad. And we all know I work more hours than God. And then there is school. Just the other day, I was pulling my hair out while trying to read the most dull crap I have ever read in my life while the boys were rough-housing. I couldn't concentrate, and so I was about to head to Starbucks and use their wifi to get some school work done in peace. But I was waiting on a phone call and needed to stay home And then there is the fact that it is the middle of May (yeah, it is, even though the weather makes it feel more like October or November). This means John will be taking out his Harley more and more, and I am plagued with dread that he will end up smeared on the concrete and nobody will know to where or whom he belongs.

So I stopped at Sprint. Just to look. And price. And they said the magic words: I get a 25% hospital employee discount. Damn.

I told the guy that I was cell-phone-retarded, that because of my busy lifestyle, I wanted something with some features that would help me manage, but I didn't want something so fancy that I wouldn't be able to use it.
His solution? Android smart phones for everybody. I didn't even know how to turn the damned thing on. I had to go back and get a little tutorial to even be able to perform basic functions. And text? Pffft. We don't need text. My plan has unlimited text and data so I wouldn't get any surprises at bill time, but I never dreamed we would use it. Boy, was I wrong. John texted me 62 times last night while I was at work. That isn't a number I pulled out of the air. That is really the number it has on my call log. Really. 62. Plus 4 missed calls.

So I have gone and done it this time. I joined the 21st century. The Sprint dude made it up to me though. We have the same phones, so I told him to make them stand apart from each other so there is no "oops, I grabbed the wrong phone". And boy, did he ever. John's is gray with a black clip. Mine? Ha! Metallic purple with the most obnoxiously pink hard case ever. And I showed up at work. And my boss seemed really excited to see me with a phone in my hand. (Gee, wonder why?) And my coworkers were amazed. As in, "Is that ANDREA with a CELLPHONE????"
I never dreamed I would fall. That's it now. I was the last one. Now everybody has them.

PS- I figured more of the phone out and am now a tweeting, status-updating, e-mail checking, texting, Angry-Birds-playing Professional.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Birthday Pics






Long after the party with family, the four of us settled in to celebrate Zach's big day together. Just like it was a year ago when he came into the world. Without the stress of party planning and associated to-do lists, we were able to just focus on soending time together. And we had a ball, though when we sang "Happy Birthday" to my precious baby boy, I was crying too much to get all the way through the song. Zach enjoyed cake and ice cream for the third time (the first for the cake smash photos with the photographer and the second being the party with my in-laws). This time, I made chocolate-butterscotch cupcakes with vanilla frosting. An it seems with each occasion, Zach has gotten even more into it. This time, he even had sprinkles in his eyelashes before it was all said and done. The chocolate ice cream made an even bigger, hilarious mess, and we all dissolved into laughter when he tried to even lick the plate.




Overall it was a great day.

Winner-Winner-Chicken-Dinner and How Legos are Taking Over My Life

Just a good cup of coffee and a quick blog post before I get back to the fascinating reading of business law and management accounting...
(Yes, that should be read in a tone that is dripping with sarcasm.)
So yesterday, we had somewere around five bucks between the two of us and John was on his way to get money from an ATM. I was awake with the boys despite the fact that I was called into work last night and had to sleep. I was a little more than perturbed that John was making me stay awake so he could do this when there really was no need. So I'm counting down until he comes home and I can go to bed when he comes barrelling into the house.
"I haven't even been to the ATM yet," he said.
Excuse me, what? I've been waiting for you and you haven't even done what you set out to do yet???
"I didn't have to. I used the two dollars that was left in my wallet and bought a scratch-off lottery ticket..."
This is where I was gearing up to let him have it! I hate the lottery. We do not have that kind of luck. It is a waste of money and time, etc.
"....AND I WON FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!!!"
What? Really? The only thing we have ever won was a t-shirt as a door prize at a PTO meeting. Really.
But yes, he did. And I made him use it to pay the electric bill. One less bill for me. Yay. He used the rest to take the boys shopping. He is all extra-proud because, despite my stressing that my money is really our money, it has always been a secret blow to his male ego that a woman supports him. He isn't as progressive as he sounds in print. And so he bought some toys for the boys and is all about emphasizing that Daddy bought them. Whatevs. I won't rain on his parade.
Evan wanted a new Lego set. Which brings me to the second part of this post.
I effing hate Legos. First of all, the damned things are too expensive. And Evan is too smart. We can buy him the huge, most expensive and complex sets and he will retreat to his bedroom, closing the door to the rest of the world like a mad scientist, and will emerge with the whole set constructed within an hour or two. So they don't even buy him that much entertainment. And then they get taken apart and put together with all of the other deconstructed sets until there are what seems like a million pieces that are indistinguishable from each other. In other words, if you wanted to rebuild one of the sets, you can't because the pieces to the plane are jumbled in with the pieces to the fire station or space shuttle or whatever else is down there because I cannot keep track anymore.

And these are just the pieces that do not end up in my Kirby. Because the Kirby eats everything. I hate that damned vacuum.

And then there are the product lines Lego has: Lego City and Pharoah's Quest and Star Wars...On and on it goes. And we have meltdowns all of the time because something new came out and we no longer have the complete collection and OH-MY-GOD-HOW-CAN-I-LET-MY-KID'S-LEGO-CITY-NOT-HAVE-A-FLORIST?????? I am the worst mother of all time if I do not rush out and spend $100 on the set he lacks that he will put together in 1.5 hours and then feed to the damned vacuum.

Yes, I hate Legos.

So tomorrow, I am going to work on my idea. I am going to buy a bunch of those clear plastic shoe storage boxes and each time I buy a lego set, the directions and picture are going to be put into the bin along with the Legos that go to that set. And he will adhere to it or Mommy is going on a Lego Strike. I am declaring Lego Law in my house. Right. Now.

Friday, May 13, 2011

One

"I was six months old and full of fun.
With the blink of an eye, I was suddenly one..."



videoI started out with what seemed like endless photos of Zach and the intention was to make a video so poignant and moving that you would cry as you watched. And then I really thought about it. A) I'm no Spielberg, and B) why would you cry anyway? Instead you get this: poor transition timing, perhaps too long, and even one photo that repeats (Gold star for whoever can tell me which one it is!). What I did manage to do was make myself cry. A lot. From the photos. From the music. Because I was there.
I was there the day we discovered there was even going to be a baby. The day I took five separate home pregnancy tests, unable to believe that I was really pregnant. That after all of that time of me wanting another baby and never having one, and suddenly, at the point where I had given up and moved on with my life, there he was. His name was selected because I read online that Zachary means God has remembered.

I was there, in my bedroom, day after day, watching YouTube videos of preemies each and every day. A 26-weeker, a 28-weeker. And as the contractions got worse and my resolve got weaker and weaker, the searches got more specific: 30 weeks, 1 day; 31 weeks; 5 days. This is what my baby will look like. Will he be intubated? Have an IV in his head? Be swollen, yet tiny? have transparent skin that looks almost alien? And people generally don't put the horror stories on YouTube So I watched and cried and drew every single shred of hope from the success stories I could find at ever stage of gestation. And the first song in my video was in just about all of them.



I was there on the day he came into this world. And I felt that fear. And guilt. Fear that I had somehow caused this, that although his lungs were deemed mature, there was more to it than that. The 35-week brain is vastly smaller than the 40-week brain. And though we thought I was 35 weeks, there actually was a miscalculation of my due date that wasn't discovered until 5 weeks postpartum. Should I have lied about the contractions? And what if something happened to me in the process? Could John raise them both alone, armed with only my life insurance?



I was there when the doctors held him over the drape and I saw the scrunched up face. And the hair! I will never forget that hair. Enough hair that it had shown up on an ultrasound. Only this was no ultrasound. This was him. In front of my face. And he was half-whimpering, half-crying. No hearty, robust cry. And I cried. A day shift anesthesiologist I do not know, and never have met at work since, was the one to wipe my tears. Because as a respiratory therapist, I knew what that meant.



I was there in my room and I couldn't see him. And I didn't know if he was warm or cold. Breathing or not. Was he confused that he wasn't hearing my voice anymore? My heartbeat? was he rooting for me and I was nowhere to be found? My heart and my arms ached for him, this child for whom I went through so much.



I was there when they put him into my hands. Yes, hands. He was that small in stature that, with my hands under his head and back, his little butt aligned with my wrist. Which is so bizarre considering his birth weight. But he was swollen. From fluids. From drugs. I look back at his newborn photos and see that now. This is why he lost over a full pound in a little over a day. Which they mistook as a nutrition issue, and is thus why we were made to give him formula from day one. I'm so sorry for that because that isn't how it is supposed to be. But not really sorry because he is here. The drugs, the fluids, the hormones, and yes, the formula...they all worked.



I was there in those first nights. When I would just cuddle with him and breathe in the smells of newborn breath. With the downy top of his tiny head tucked under my chin, I realized I could've lived my entire life just like that. And suddenly, I didn't give a damn about medical school or whether they would hold my job open long enough for me to come back to work. I would find another job, do something else for school.



I was there when that smile first flashed at me. That bright, amazing smile. All gums and innocence and joy. As if a million stars were harnessed and placed right here for me. And those first baby giggles. My heart melted. And soared.



I was there. For each day in the life of this baby boy. For an entire year. Me. I was that lucky, that blessed to wake up (or return from work) each day and witness a new miracle unfold in this boy's life. To feel the sheer joy this baby has brought to the world. The love. The patience. And the best part is that I get to continue to be there, that this is not the end but the beginning.



I was there when God (or Allah or Yahweh or Jehovah or whomever you place your faith with) decided that this world was good enough for Zachary. That my life was good enough for Zachary. That I am good enough for Zachary. I'll never understand how that is possible.



I was there for the first minute, day, week, month....The first year in the life of a living miracle.




Happy First Birthday, Zachy.











(Photo Credits: The Eleven-month photos from the video, the cake-smash photos from the video, and the photo in this post were all taken by Katie Woodring (http://www.katiewoodring.com/). Though I purchased the copyrights to these photos and am in no way infringing legally on her rights as an artist, I am giving credit where credit is due. Thank you, Katie.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Why We Don't Cosleep

This is why right here.

Because tonight we unsuccessfully attempted to resuscitate an eleven-month-old baby girl. Who got trapped in her mother's nightgown. In a nice neighborhood. With educated and doting parents. And she suffocated. And died.

I farking hate my job.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Well, You Can Teach Them...





First, read this. I did. And I agree with it, just like I do Fulgham's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. Basic principles on how to live and be polite and respectful and all of that jazz. Okay, great. And I have taught my son. (The big one, that is, as the little one is too small for these lessons.) But where the author of this left off is what in the hell a mother (or father) is to do when the child has learned these lessons, and can show through example on how he has retained the lessons, yet still has times when he refuses to exhibit the behaviors.
Evan was sent home with a behavior notice today. For spitting on someone. Gross. Grossest of gross. I could have killed him. Seriously, y'all. In fact, I am really glad I have to work tonight because I still want to kill him and work will get me out of the house and away from the temptation to follow through.


(No, I'm not really going to kill him, so put down the phone.)


But once I read this, on today of all days, I started to think about it. We assume that when we see a child acting up, it is all about the parents. The parents must be horrible people without enough self-discipline and self-respect to be examples for their children. I've done it before. I'm sure that if you think about it, you have too. You see the horrible kid out in public who acts crazy or rude and you immediately think, "oh that brat...", immediately followed by a sort of pity that he or she probably has parents who couldn't give two shits about how the kid behaves or whether they grow to be respectable adults or whether they will grow up to shoot their classmates.


Some of us parents of those brats really do care. And worry incessantly. And repeat unspoken rules of ettiquette, as seen on this list, until we think it is the only convo we are even capable of having.


I studied quantum physics. I can list all of the carbon-ring conformations of organic chemistry. I can quote Shakespeare and churn out an 18-page graduate-level paper in a few hours and get an A. But what comes out of my mouth more than anything?



"Evan, quit raising your voice inside."



"Don't stare. It's rude."



"Why would you call your classmate a name, Evan? That's mean."



"Evan! Quit picking your nose!"



"What do say? Please? Thank you!"



And now the new one on the list: "Don't SPIT on PEOPLE!!!!!"



If raising Evan has taught me anything at all, it is that appearances are not always what they seem. That kid misbehaving in the grocery store could have a horrible mother who refuses to teach him anything. She could leave him to fend for himself while she is out turning tricks for crack. Who knows? Or she could be the nice, hard-working, quasi-educated and degree-holding healthcare professional next door who is at the end of her rope and out of options, short of beating the living crap out of the kid, which is far from legal. The kid could be adorable and loveable and gifted and be using bad behavior to get the tired, educated, healthcare-professional mother to buy a toy he wants because she is too tired to stick to her guns this time and wants more than anything to avoid causing a bigger scene than the one being caused by the rude kid. (And the tired mother could be so tired that she couldn't give a damn about run-on sentences in her blog, either.)


Just because kids don't show that they have manners does not mean that the parents haven't taught them. Or that the kid doesn't know them. Just sayin'.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Teaching the Art of Mess-Making: A Pictorial

If there is one thing our Evan is good at, one area in which he is truly gifted, it is in the art of making the biggest mess you have ever seen. This afternoon, he and Zachy were playing in the baby's room, and I, completely oblivious, was doing other things while periodically peeking in on the boys. Of course a large tote of Zach's outgrown clothes (which I had been organizing and packing away) was obscuring my view. Lo and behold, when I was able, I went into the room to play with the boys. What follows is a glimpse of what I saw: Evan has taught Zach to make a mess, unbeknownst to me. And we couldn't be happy unless all of the toys were on the floor...


It starts with a few....

And just when Zach has found something he would like to play with, Evan shows him something else, to which Zach immediately crawls over to get a look...


Hmmm, there are even more toys to scatter on the floor....


I love this one. The boys playing together. And you can really get a shot of Zach's big-boy haircut. Turns out he has the same hairline in the back as Evan and I do.




This one kind of freaks me out a little bit. The flash was off on the camera. The light wasn't on in the room. It's cloudy outside. Where did this light come from? And it isn't the first time light has surrounded Zach in pictures in his room. And it doesn't happen when we photograph any other subjects.

He is really interested in this little drum. And that little elephant: that's been his favorite since he was old enough to bat at toys.


And with this one, I suddenly don't mind the mess. Zachy, looking less like a baby and more like a toddler with his new haircut, reels me in everytime with those baby blues. Suddenly it was less about the mess and more about brothers playing. Despite the huge age difference. Together.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Obligatory Mother's Day Post or I Should Have Known Better

It was a sunny day in a sea of rainy ones. Literally, I have had 3 days off in the past 10 days or so, and yesterday was the only one where it did not rain. We were itching to get out of the house. So we loaded into the car, first stopping to get both of the boys much-needed haircuts. Yes, I said both. Zachary got his first haircut yesterday and yes, I took photos and yes, I cried. He looks so much older now with his big-boy haircut that it breaks my heart. As soon as I figure out the great camera debaucle and techno difficulties, I will post them. But anyhow, after that, we headed to dinner. And then to an outdoor mall, which was wonderful in the gorgeous weather. Of course the first stop did me in in a way for which I was not prepared.
We went to Hallmark because I wanted to look at Vera Bradley bags. Lately I carry either a backpack that can fit my textbooks, work essentials, and laptop, or I carry a diaper bag. I wanted to find some sort of big handbag that can be a hybrid for me.
But it was Hallmark. 2 days before Mother's Day. And they had their Mother's Day wares on full display, so I ended up browsing. First at the recordable storybooks they sell now, where a version of On the Night You Were Born got me feeling more than a little emotional at the thought of Zachy's first birthday this week. And then a recordable version of Guess How Much I Love You, which was the go-to book with Evan, who is almost a full decade old. Which made me tear up. And then the display of trinkets and miscellaneous crap designed to be Mother's Day gifts, with their poetry and quotes, which led me to full-blown tears and had me fleeing the store in embarrassment while John and the kids followed behind me, asking a little too loudly, "Are you really CRYING????" (Of course I ran into a coworker on the way out the door who asked the same thing.)
I mean, really, how stupid was I to think I could handle that store this weekend? I thought having Zachary at this time of year was going to make it all better.
Turns out there are some things that neither time nor Zachary and Evan can heal.
I miss my mother.
I have missed her for the 13 years she has been gone. I mourn that she never got to meet my husband and see us marry, that she never got to hold any of my babies. The only reason for me to celebrate this day compared to last year is that last year, I was having unbelievable contractions, as it was just days before they finally took Zachary. And this year, Zach is here. And Evan. And John. I love life and I love my boys. But I miss my mother.
I ended up drowning my tears in some shopping that day: a couple of outfits and literally a huge shoppping bag full of bath and body products from Victoria's Secret. This was my Mother's Day gift, since John is funny about buying me gifts when I am the breadwinner and he has no income from an outside source. But I brought my purchases home and expected to feel a little better once removed from the situation. And I do. I feel a little better, but the whole episode brought on a sort of melancholy that has settled over me for the weekend.

So for all of the mothers out there, I hope you all enjoy your day. I know some tremendous, amazing moms out there, some of whom are celebrting their very first Mother's Day. I would normally post something sappy about motherhood here, but I am thinking you will excuse me of this. There isn't much celebrating going on here. I just miss my mom.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Houston, We Have a Problem (Maybe...Probably)

I'm sorry if this is you. So, so sorry. But this is my little piece of the Blogosphere and therefore I must be honest here: There is very little on this earth that irritates me quite as much as a walkie-talkie kid...with a pacifier in his mouth or a bottle in his hand. In my mind, if you are big enough to walk and talk, it is time to surrender the binky. Again, I'm really sorry if this applies to you. I'm now having flashbacks to the distant relatives who arrived at a family function with twin 4-year-old boys with both pacifiers and diapers. If your kid can not only tell you, "Hey mom, I shit my pants," and then follow that up by going and getting the wipes and a clean diaper and bringing them to you, then I think it may be close to time to start some sort of toilet learning with them. Call me crazy.
I remember going through this with Evan. Just like with Zach, he had a brand of pacifier he preferred. We discovered this and bought in bulk. Well, because anyone knows that pacifiers are disposable: you could buy 1 or 1,000 and no matter what, when you need one you will not be able to find it to save your life. But Evan preferred Mam pacifiers. And we loved them. He had one to match every outfit. And then one day, somewhere around 6 or 7 months, he just stopped needing one or wanting one. No problem, no worries. The same happened with his bottle. I offered him cups around 8 months or so, once he started drinking small amounts of juice. We had the nothing-but-formula-in-a-bottle rule. And he took to the cup right away with no problems. And when he was about 10 or eleven months, I just decided one day to stop the bottles. We never looked back. Diapers were another story. The kid was in Pull-Ups forever, and one day I will tell you all of my gut-splitting attempts to con Ev to use a toilet.

Zach's first birthday is less than a week away, and the kid not only will not let go of the pacifiers, but he refuses (and I mean refuses) to use anything to drink other than a Tommee Tippee bottle. We have tried every cup out there, I think. Soft spouts, hard spouts, no spouts. Spill-proof or not. Bright colors. Handles to help him hold them. It really doesn't matter. The Tommee Tippee line even gives us the ability to change the nipples in the bottles with soft, nipple-like silicone spouts. I thought this would work, since the spout would be the only thing different. The bottle will look the same and feel the same in his hand. But no. The milk/water/ juice comes out too quickly for him and he spits it out.
They tell you not to worry about it, that nobody ever goes off to college still on a bottle. But in my mind, we should be maing this transition.
Any ideas?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

BRU is Causing My Breakdown and Tweet Tweet

John brought in the mail. And in it is our little BRU ad we get. Which I usually love because I can peruse the sales and see what latest invention is that I must have for Zach. So I get the ad and I look at the damned thing and come to some painful realizations.


We don't need crib bedding. Or infant carseats. Or strollers. I don't need breastpump parts or supplies because my breastfeeding days are over. And look at that cute Boppy pattern! Wait! Zach's too old for that now.


OMG it's over. It came and went so fast. And I am so sad. And I would want another baby, but I know that one will grow up, too. Maybe I can be like that 19 Kids and Counting lady. And as soon as one is done nursing, the next one will be cooking. Except that I am not insane. Or crazy-religious. And I wear jeans. Skirts are for job interviews and funerals. So that plan is out the window. Plus there's the whole my-uterus-does-king-fu-tricks-when-there's-a-baby-in-it thing.


Okay, whatevs. I'll be okay. Just hold me back from the ledge.


So on another note, last night I was bored and wanted to stay awake so I could sleep today before work. And I got on Twitter. Yep, Twitter. I had an account from where, years ago when Twitter first came out, a friend made me sign up. Nobody else was using it then, and so I still have the same pitifully low number of friends on there. But since all of my passwords are variations of the same thing, I was able to log on. And--OMG--I heart Twitter. Seriously. Facebook is full of my work contacts and family, so I am limited to what I can say on there. But Twitter??? The world is my oyster there. So if you tweet or twit or whatever it is called, look at the little badge thingy on the sidebar and hit me up.

No She Didn't

So I was taking care of a patient the other day, and what she said to me just came back to me for some random reason. Let me set the scene first:

It's hot in the hospital. Hot because, well, it's hot. We've had some unseasonably colder days here, so the a/c isn't rocking full time yet, even though it is supposed to be May/ Spring. And these frail little old ladies I go to see have the heat in their rooms cranked up. And I run from room to room to room. Up and working. And yes, it is hot.

So I'm in this room, giving this old bag her breathing treatment. And her room is sweltering. Her nurse is also in there to give her pain meds, and she and I were making small talk. I mentioned I was burning up, and she agreed that it was hot on their unit of the hospital. And the patient looked up at me with a sympathetic smile and said words that had me reeling:

"Ahhhh, menopause. Hot flashes."

"STFU, you old bag!", is what I really wanted to say. But that would get me fired or at least "talked to", and I try to avoid that. But her nurse? God, I am loving this nurse right about now, because she honestly looked at the patient and told her she was crazy, that I just had a baby last year.

Take that, Old Bag.

Menopause, my ass. You're just old. And jealous because I can breathe without torturing some poor, overworked RT.

When Mommy Has Homework

And of course Mommy waits for the last possible minute because I am busy saving lives, one set of lungs at a time, for a gazillion hours a week. And if there is one thing I have learned, it is that this program I am in is definitely not for the faint of heart. As in a paper due every two days. Really, y'all, I'm not kidding. In APA format, please. Usually I manage to spit them out like crazy since I am the master of the last minute paper. When John was in school, this enabled me to be his enabler. He would wait until the last minute and I would feel bad for him and crank out a paper for him in addition to my 24 credit hours' worth of classes. And he would always get A's on my papers, and thus the bad behavior on his part was reinforced.

But these are my papers and no one is going to rescue me like I did John. And I most decidedly waited until the last minute this time. I had until 11:59 PM Colorado time to complete the paper, and I submitted it at 11:43. Well, the paper and the 2 ads I had to design for some unknown telecommunications company in North Carolina. Ask me what I know about telecomm and I will tell you I can log my ass onto the internet and hit "talk" on the cordless phone. Seriously. And I had to market a telecomm company that manages the telecomm expenses of multi-location national companies. Seriously. It is like a sick joke. And so I had to come up with this marketing plan.

Excuse me, what? A marketing plan? WTF is that?

And so I was perched at the kitchen table for hours, looking haggard in an old pair of scrubs and some reading glasses, main-lining coffee and muttering expletives under my breath in the hope that Evan, who was awake and in the adjacent room, would not hear me. And he kept coming into the room to show me something or other, or tell me some random fact he learned in school a week ago that just came to his 9-year-old brain. And I am trying to be Good Mom and act interested. I sincerely hope the "MMMM-Hmmmmm"s I kept offering up sounded like they came from the heart. I really do. But what I really wanted to say was, "Evan, Mommy has this insanely difficult farking marketing plan to write. Do you know what a marketing plan is????" But I didn't because I love him and cannot afford the extra therapy. But I must have had APA on the brain because one of the random facts he spewed in my direction was, "Mom, palm oil is killing the rainforests!" Or some shit like that. And I responded with, "That's interesting, Evan, can you cite your sources on that information?" To which John busted out laughing, asking me if I really asked that of our 9-year-old kid. And--surprise, surprise--my little smartass came back in the room and thrust his Time for Kids issue at me, exclaiming, "Here's my source, Mother." Ugh. What was supposed to happen was Evan was supposed to be stumped and try to figure out what in the hell I was asking of him. It was supposed to buy more silence, less interruptions, and at least get me through the SWOT analysis of the paper. This is what one gets when they raise a smart kid. Because then not only was he back at the kitchen table with me, but he had the magazine and he actually wanted me to read the oh-so-interesting article of how palm oil is going to kill off all of the rainforests. Seriously. So when I looked at him and said, "Yes, Evan, but how is TeleSource going to reach a bigger market segment to compete for a bigger piece of the telecommunication dollars pie???", his eyes glazed over and he finally left me alone.

And now I realized I never got a goodnight hug. But the damned paper was in on time.

This is what I get when I say I want it all. I get just that. And something or someone always suffers just a bit.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Nuh-Unh, No Way, Not on Your Life



Kids are so funny. And it amazes me to see their little personalities come out in a big way. And Zach's has come out.



What happened to my cuddly chubster? I don't know where he went. Instead, he has been replaced by this short little person with quite the temper. And he throws these little fits when something isn't going the way he would like. I could say it is aggravating. I could say it is annoying.
Mostly, it's just really cute. Zach, the infinitely happy, easy-going baby, can cry, can be unhappy. And just like the goofy amusement I had that he could pee and poop and all of his stuff worked upon his birth, I am eqully amused at this.



So when you are about 2 inches tall and someone feeds and clothes you, wipes your butt for you, and basically spends their days and nights trying to amuse you, what is it that makes you mad?



Holding him. Oh my God, don't do that. He must be free. To roam. and explore. To investigate the workings of anything from the remote control, to my laptop, to a table leg. It really doesn't matter. He wants to be down. And going. Even though he can't walk. (Wait, scratch that! He can walk. He took two steps the other day and I thought I could've fainted, but I remember my squeals of delight shocked Evan into falling, so I was sure to be really quiet this time around. And Zach stopped and must've realized he was on his own, because he lowered himself to the floor and crawled to wherever he was going.) And he is fast. Very fast. And when he knows you are coming to get him, he giggles and goes even faster. But picking him up??? He'll cry and thrash and squirm until you give in and put him down again.




Do not try to change the diaper. He will get pissed. I even took the mobile out of his crib (because he was getting tall enough to pull on it) and mounted it on the changing table to give him something to play with and look at during the process. Nope. He had none of it. He screams and cries and carries on like you would not believe. And turns over. And tries to escape your grasp. And let me tell you that I am no novice. I can put a diaper on upside down, sideways, blindfolded and more. But our Houdini is a challenge even for me.



Put clothes on him. Don't get me wrong. We aren't hillbillies. Zach always has clothes on. Cute clothes. Coordinated little outfits. Designer labels. He even has cute "loungewear" as I call it--not really pajamas and not really clothes I would take him out in now that he is older. But he absolutely hates the process of getting dressed. I think it is the same issue as with diaper changes. And being down on the floor. He wants to go go go go.



Feed him. Don't even think about spoon-feeding him. He will clench his little mouth shut and shake his head. He's all about the finger foods these days. And other than peanut butter and shellfish (because, face it, food allergies are crazy on my side of the fam), he eats what we eat. Anything. Anywhere. I even picked up this product at BRU called the Tiny Tot Diner made by Summer Infant: a soft silicone placemat with suction cups all around it that attaches to a table at a restaurant, and even has a tray to catch dropped food. And after, it folds into itself to be brought home and tossed into the dishwasher. And he does great. I've been giving him chunky-handled utensils to practice, but things like yogurt and applesauce still come from us and the spoon are still our territory. And he hates it. His favorites are Gerber Graduates Lil' Crunchers in just about any variety of flavor they come in. And puffs. He loves the organic puffs. And arrowroot cookies. And those fruit and yogurt snacks. And any kind of fruit you want to give him. Just don't try to to spoon-feed him, no matter what you do.



Don't confine him at all. In a carseat, a pack & play, a high chair (unless the food is there and ready for him to get down to business). He must be free. As mentioned above, the same rules apply.



He's becoming more independent. He's growing up just a little bit. He's moving away from being my cuddle bug and into being his own little person a little more every single day. And I have 12 days left of his first year. It almost feels like a deadline, like his baby days are wrapping up and I have to hurry and get all of the baby things done now while I still can. It has gone so fast.










Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mama Bear



If you look at the mothers of all sorts of species, you will have no trouble finding the stories that are out there of extraordinary measures a mother animal will go to in order to rescue her young. She will become ferocious, brave, unbelievably strong. It is biology. A Mama Bear is hard-wired to protect her cub.



We humans are no different. I am included.




I can be level-headed. Rational. Intelligent when needed. I can be wise. I can be weak. I can be any array of any aspect of what it is to be human. Until you mess with one of my cubs. Then? Well, then biology takes over. I can be viscious. Mean. Ferocious. I revisited this concept today in an experience that still has me reeling.




We have had an ongoing problem with Evan and our neighbors. No, not the children. The adults, if you can believe that. I have posted before of Evan's behavioral difficulties. He has a temper. And he loses it. A lot. He will raise his voice and carry on like you would not believe. We have sought, and are undergoing, treatment for these issues. We, as parents, are trying everything we know to help him because we love him. He is still our baby, our firstborn together, the glue that held us together in the lean years. He's our Evan. And we are working on this issue he has each and everyday not only for the sake of harmony in the house, but for the sake of Evan and his need to learn to effectively navigate the world in which he lives. What we do not need is advice to beat him from old ladies in grocery stores or negative comments from people who are uninvolved. I believe that it sometimes takes a village, and so I am open to suggestions from people who have dealt with the same. I'm not speaking on that. But anyhow...




Our neighbors (trashy, nasty, ghetto, uneducated, rotted-teeth-having, dirty, house-stinking-of-dirty-dog-everytime-they-open-the-door-having, skanks that they are---yeah, I said that here because I will never, ever say it in front of Ev because as an adult I woud not want him to torment their kids when they can't help any of it. But I can say it here You won't judge me.)....Anyhow, our neighbors decided a while back that because of Evan's tendency to yell and be disrespectful to us, they do not want their (dirty, skanky, trashy) children to play with him. It really isn't their business, so long as Evan does not act that way in front of them, which I assure you he does not. He doesn't lose his temper or raise his voice to them. He isn't aggressive toward them. But Lesson Number One in the world of getting along with your neighbors is that not eveyone is going to like you, no matter what you do or do not do. And so I let it slide. It is, after all, their prerogative. I just explained to Evan that they do not like the way he treats us and therefore he should just ignore them when he is outside playing. And John and I have continued to be civil to them. We share a duplex, for crying out loud. Evan does as he is told. For the most part, they spread their backwoods dysfunction across the backyard and we pretty much keep to the front lawn other than to park the vehicles, which is to the rear of the house. Until today.




Evan was riding his bike when I woke to eat a quick lunch. I had the full intention of going back to bed before work tonight. Until Evan came in with tears streaming down his little cheeks. He had gone to the back end of the driveway to turn around on his bike when their (dirty, toothless) children decided to talk to him. Evan said he ignored them like I told him to do since the parents didn't want their kids to play with him. The (white trash, likely inbred) father was out back whittling yet another tacky lawn ornament to litter the backyard and heard the boys talk to Evan. And he shouted at them in a way that Evan was sure to hear (and yes, I verified with other adults who were outside and heard it), "Don't talk to It. IT doesn't know how to speak. IT is a monster. Stay away from IT."




IT is my nine-year-old son. My oldest baby. The kid who almost didn't make it into the world. The kid who is gifted and bright. The little boy who has given away his toys to neighbors in need without being asked. The kid who once witnessed a metally-disabled little boy on the playground as he was being tormented by other children, and subsequently took the little boy by the hand and played with him away from the mean kids. The kid who cries at the sight of a homeless man and insists we stop to offer help. The kid who is so gentle and loving to the little brother he never asked for but got anyway. The kid who smiled when his world turned upside down on him.




He is my cub. And he gets a little taller each year, but no amount of time or height can change that.




I know I should be rational and go and speak to the neighbors. I also know I should do so with a level head and steady voice. But I am the type who cries when I get angry enough to go into a rage. And quite honestly, this rage will not stop. I have tried everything. I could handle it if the children said something to Evan. But this was a grown man. Older than either John or I. And if I start a confrontation right now, I swear I will go to jail today.




I cannot help it. I am a Mama Bear. I am hard-wired for it. And biology is a powerful thing.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Swept Away



I have a confession to make: I am enthralled in this whole Royal Wedding thing. Why? I can only speculate. I'm not usually one to care about this type of thing. I do remember waking up one morning as a little girl and finding my mother clutching her coffee mug while staring raptly at the television screen as Charles and Diana wed. Some of the details of that are a blur, except that I seem to remember that it was God-awful early in the morning, and Mom had been awake for hours. Watching the commentaries, the images of the processional route in her cloud of Vantage ultralight 100's carcinogens at a time when the idea of second-hand smoke being as harmful as active smoking was almost laughable. And so clad in my Strawberry Shortcake pajamas, I watched with her over my Pop-Tarts.


The history, the symbolism. The romanticism as a commoner became a princess in a sea of ivory dress that was so beautiful then. Now it looks like a monstrosity of a dress, but then? Then it was all about that dress and whether she would mess up Chuck's name during the vows. And I watched with the dream all little girls have of their fairytale wedding and what it would be like to be a princess.

So now I'm a grown woman with a career. And a husband. And 2 kids. I never had the fairytale wedding. I wore a pencil skirt and a white silk blouse when John and I wed ten years ago. I never became a princess. Things are so different for me now than they were in my childhood fantasies. But I am still watching the fairytales. That part never changed. But instead of dreaming of what can be, I'm reflecting on how things are. I married the love of my life. I have a career that, while not what I planned, is rewarding and fulfilling. And I have my boys. Would my life have been different if those dreams would have been fulfilled? Absolutely. Would it have been better? Nobody knows, but all I'm saying is that Diana died being chased by paparazzi.


So I will watch the wedding. I'll wish I had the roses and the dress and the carriages. But this time around, I will be grateful for this life I have right now.

Goosebumps

I just found this old picture of my mother. There aren't many of them because she was like me and refused to be in pictures as an adult. But this is her. She was around 50 years old in this photo, about 7 years before I lost her. She was already battling lung disease and has raised 6 kids, leaving only me in the house. I was in the fifth grade the year this photo was taken, and it was the day my oldest sister got married. But what gave me chills is the place in my files that the computer saved it. Right next to the other picture in this post. I swear she is here with us in Zachary. I just know it.


Mom, born May 12.


Zach, born May 13th.







Easter for the Heathen

Okay, so I do not get into the religious stuff. Never really have. And despite the plastering of bunnies and eggs all over everything, I want to remind you that Easter is a religious holiday. And I didn't feel the slightest bit guilty about not going to church. But nevermind that. Chocolate for everybody!

I spent the day being very lazy until about 9 PM tonight, which is when I had the realization that I have yet another of the seemingly endless stream of marketing papers due tomorrow while I am scheduled to work. So I did get that finished. Other than that, I got nuthin'.

Zachy got his first ever Easter basket, which involved a tiny taste of chocolate and a couple of the requisite Peeps. I hate those damned things, but love 'em or hate 'em, they are a part of Easter and Zach got a row of them. And just like Mama, the kid hated them. He took one lick and threw the offending neon-pink chick on the living room floor. Other than that, his basket was filled with small-ish toys, like he needed any more. Evan's basket was another story altogether. I am awaiting the appearance of CPS workers since there is no way in hell that a kid with the dental issues he has had needs that much candy. But he is a kid and it is Easter. I can just make him brush his teeth after Every. Little. Bite.
So after basket fun, my boys and I headed out for a leisurely lunch a local Italian joint. And came back to play video games together on a very rainy afternoon. (Yeah, turns out I am a hardcore bitch and enjoy blowing brains out via Call of Duty: Black Ops. And before you say a word, that one only comes out when Evan isn't around--and he was off watching a movie or plannning his planetary takeover, either one, while we played it!)

So now here I am. The house is quiet, the paper is done, and I am speaking to you through the blog I rarely have time to write on these days. And I am so very grateful for the fact that we had such a relaxing day. And I am reflecting on the past two Easters. 2009: I was so busy working like crazy that the shopping for candy and basket and other supplies slipped through my fingers. And I had to call John from work the night before and tell him to take my debit card and go to the store and get Evan stuff for a basket and that I would put it together when I got home in the morning. He bought a package of Reese's eggs. That's it. No basket, no grass, no jelly beans or Peeps. No solid chocolate bunny or stuffed chick or spring-themed book. A package of Reese eggs. I cried and cried because when I tried to fix his error by stopping and getting the stuff on the way home, they were all out of everything. That was the year Ev got his Easter basket in a large wicker laundry basket. There were no complaints from him, though. And 2010: Ahhhh, that one. The pregnant one. I won't even go there since it was in the last month I was pregnant, and therefore probably the darkest of all of them. I just remembering John coming through well enough that I was pleased with the way Ev's Easter turned out. And I remember trying not to grimace through the contractions so Evan wouldn't feel bad as we played board games and colored in my bed, all while muching on Easter candy.

I'll never be sure why Easter-time is always so blah for me. The only theory I have is that the period between mid-April and mid-May was always Mom's time. Mothers' Day and her birthday. And since her death, it has been the hardest time of year. This year is so different, though. May 12th will forever more be the day I heard the phrase "mature lungs", got the call to tell me to be at the hospital the next day so they could end my misery. Mom's birthday. And then we have the 13th. Zach's. Suddenly the April-to-May transition isn't a sad time to think about the anniversaryh of Mom's death or how I miss her on Mothers' Day. Suddenly this is a time of gratitude and peace and happiness. Once again, thank you, Zachary.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Zach's Latest Toy



I'll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with any of the vast array of toys he received or will receive as birthday gifts. Though on a side note, ask and ye shall receive! I made a desperate cry on Facebook about how the numerous electronic sing-songy toys he has are driving me to the brink of insanity and our relatives and family friends responded with piles of non-electronic toys that are actually educational: bead mazes, wooden block sets, wooden puzzles, books, shape sorters, stacking and nesting toys, and more. Love it!






So anyway, back to the story at hand...






I was sort of sleeping, sort of awake, and Zach was playing in his Pack & Play in the living room while John ran an errand with Evan. I kept hearing this gagging, retching sound. Zach has never vomited and I can count the number of times he has even spit up on one hand, so I was more than a little perplexed by the sound. I would immediately check on him, and he would be fine. And I would hear it again. Again, I would check and see nothing out of the ordinary. After a few times of the same, I finally caught him with a single finger thrust deep into his mouth. A-Ha! So he was gagging himself with his finger. Baby Bulimia? Hmmm...






About that time, John arrived home from his errand and I told him what I had been witnessing. He didn't act surprised in the slightest. "Oh, he's been doing that," John said. I had been working for the few days before. Translation: work, sleep, get ready for work, go back to work, and repeat for three days. So I missed it.






What did I miss? Well, Zach has this new love of his uvula. I mean, it dangles there in the back of his throat. Dangly. Fun, I guess, if you are a baby dicovering such things as your belly button or toes or ears. But his uvula? John has caught him on more than one occasion with his finget thrust deep into his mouth, wagging it back and forth as if playing with something. And Evan is hilarious about it. As in: "Da-aaaad, Zach's playing with his uvula again!"






My children may be more than just a little off. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sorry, Nothing To See Here...

My life is a sea of endless reading and written assignments, baby and older child, husband, and work. Wait, scratch work from that list because my slacker butt has been off since last Thursday morning. I have absolutely nothing to tell you. Other than to bore you with details about my trip to John's mother's house this past weekend, which highlights some of my Mommy-of-the-Year contender moments.

Let's start with the trip down there. It couldn't possibly have gone smoothly, because this is me we're talking about. It started with me trying to sleep just a couple of hours, having worked the night before and not being too keen on falling asleep behind the wheel with my children in the car. My dearest hubster decided that, hey, it's nice outside, so he is going to ride his Harley down there while I follow him in the car. Of course gas is ridiculously expensive right now, so that in itself is grounds for divorce in my book. But he did it, leaving me in the car with the two kiddos for the four-hour drive. Thanks, John. We stopped at the midpoint for him to fill up, being that Harleys hold about 2 ounces of gas at a time. Evan was starving anyway, and Zach needed a diaper change. I just wanted coffee. And I took the opportunity to brag about my angelic children. I should've known better, considering we were only halfway there.

Because as soon as we got back on the interstate, Zachy started to scream like he has never screamed before. He screamed like the devil himself had posessed my baby. And he did it all the way from Elizabethtown (yep, as in the Kirsten Dunst movie) to Central City, Kentucky (Mayberry in my book). That's a lot of screaming. I even, in sheer desperation, told Evan to let Zach have a sip of his drink (Diet SPRITE!!!!!) thinking it may calm him down a bit until we get somewhere where I can fill his bottle with milk and help him go to sleep. But no, he kept screaming. To the point that, once there, I opened the door and got out with the car still running, the headlights on, the kids buckled in, and all, telling John, "Get YOUR CHILDREN. I'm DONE!" Hey, at least I managed to put the car into park first.

Yep, it was that bad.
But we had a nice relaxing visit. Until we came home.

No screaming this time, unless you count the obscenities coming from my mouth as I watched my husband, who was supposed to be careful, darting in and out of traffic next to massive semis which made him look like a pissant. I could just see him getting squashed like a bug before our very eyes. Could sense the therapy bills it would take to get Evan over watching his dad die on the interstate. Really. As a matter of fact, when we stopped for gas this time, I asked John if he was enjoying his ride, explaining that it would be the last one because I was putting the m-effer on Ebay as soon as I got home. He tamed himself after that. I think everyone could sense that I had reached my limit, because the boys were angels for the whole ride home. Evan finished his homework as Zachy snoozed. Once Zach was awake, Evan played with him quietly, keeping him entertained and quiet while I fiddled with the radio and counted down the miles.

Oh and one more thing: this fricken song. played. at least. a million times. And got stuck in my head. I never would have known it was Katy Perry. And it's admittedly weird as hell, but I think I have to buy the cd now. Or mp3 or whatever the hell I mean right now. Definitely not what I usually listen to...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Finally!

My favorite book of all time. Somebody did it. Someone needed to. Amazing that it is so old, yet seemingly written about the day in which we live right now. I have to find a sitter! It is only playing in 300 theaters, and there is one in Cincinnati. Who is John Galt????

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Early Birthday

Today, we celebrated Zach's first birthday with John's side of the family. John's stepfather, a man of faith, said the blessing before the meal, and I started to cry when he thanked God for our ability to celebrate his birth. It all could've gone so differently. He racked up on toys and loved it when we sang "Happy Birthday". The flicker of the flame on the one little candle caught his attention and he kept trying to grab at it, prompting us to pull it further away, over and over. Then he had a ball digging into Grandma's homemade red velvet cake while everyone else was entertained with the sight of him with the bright red cake in his hair, his eyelashes, up his nose... I keep trying to console myself with the idea that he isn't one just yet. But it is right around the corner...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

11 Months


Here we are. The last month of Zach's first year. It's hard to imagine that in just a year, we went from the wrinkly preemie who would occasionally forget to breathe to the chubby, robust baby who cruises and babbles. Mama. Dada. Bababa. I love hearing him "talk" in his lilting little voice. It truly is music to my ears. And the teeth have finally come, as well. He has 2 now, both on the bottom. They aren't even all the way in, but two tiny little buds of teeth that show only when he gives us the biggest of Zachy smiles. This week, we are going to be making the trip to see John's parents, and Zach is going to celebrate his first birthday with family. We'll come home and celebrate his actual birthday here, with just the four of us. The way it all started a year ago. It seems appropriate. Fitting. After all, when we were going through the hell of his pregnancy, it was just John, Evan, and I, clinging to each other, just trying to get through. And after all of it, it will be Zachary with the 3 of us, celebrating his presence here in our lives.


I still swear he is an angel.


As far as Zach this month goes, he loves being outside. He loves the sun and the trees. It really is his first spring, and he is starting to absorb all that is around him. The chirp of a bird. The breeze on his cheek. 2 days ago, he went outside and we actually let him go in the yard, with close supervision of course. It was so fun to see him explore and learn. I didn't even care about the dirty knees. I even sat down in the grass with him, watching him go.

He's really starting to enjoy toys as well, and it is hilarious to hear him giggle at a noise one makes. His favorite is the baby laptop we bought him when he insisted on trying to get at mine everytime I would attempt homework.

On the food front: we went ahead and, after the last drop of my milk was gone, made the switch to cow's milk this past week. He is doing great with it. No problems whatsoever. He feeds himself more and more. I only spoon-feed him the really messy stuff: yogurt, applesauce. He handles the rest. Most of the time, he eats in the buff because he has decided he hates all bibs except for the Bebe auLait reversible bib. If they have a velcro closure, they are coming off, and that is that as far as he is concerned.

He laughs and coos at Evan to no end.

He steals our hearts again every day.

He's everything.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Just What Mama Wanted











On a sunny day, we met the photographer at a park in Covington, Kentucky. I immediately froze when I saw the park she chose, because it immediately conjured up ghosts from a tortured past. But this day wasn't about any of that. This day was intended to capture this moment as it flies past us: the end of Zach's first year, the end of Evan's first decade. And she did. She gave me everything I wanted within a few minutes' and a couple of emails' worth of talking to me. I bought the copyrights to the photos, but I still feel like I need to give her credit for the awesome work. So here they are. My angels. My miracle 34-weeker who started out at 6 pounds and my miracle 33.5 weeker who started out at 7.24 pounds. The one who was supposed to be a miscarriage and the one who, I swear, was going to take the life right out of me. There is no way I can show the complete collection of photos, so instead I am showing 3 each of Evan, of Zach, and of the two together. These boys are my life.



Is this How English Teachers Feel?

The totally online learning experience has been an interesting one, for sure. I've taken online classes before, but totally online? Where the lecture halls are replaced with chatrooms? Nah. The classroom discussion has been replaced with discussion boards. I am required several times a week to post in these discussion boards on the supplied topic. As a part of my assignment, I also have to post several replies to my classmates' posts. Shouldn't be a problem, right? I can usually write. This little blog is not the place to judge, where I type how I talk: run-on sentences, fragments, and more interjections than one ever should put in any piece of writing. But for academic purposes? I am the Queen of the Paper. So I can do this. I get my cup of coffee, which has become a staple of my diet, and I sit down to do the deed. I had posted my original post early on, and had to wait until my classmates got it together before I could finish my requisite responses, so by the time I get to it, virtually the entire class has posted their posts. So I just plan on picking a couple to go with..... Wrong. Very, very wrong. There were only 2 classmates to which I could submit a valid and well-thought-out response. Only two. Because the rest were so jam-packed with grammatical errors, mispellings, comma splices, and more, that I couldn't even make sense of what the writer was actually trying to say in the post. Seriously, I have never seen anything like it in my life, especially in a senior-level college course. For a business degree. One girl even typed in ebonics. This is an actual sentence from a post: "I be thinking they is going to go out of business cause they is shady people." This was in a reaction to the business ethics of some well-known national companies. She be thinking....Really, people? How does one get through life when they are unable to string a couple of sentences together in a manner that can be understood? How do they type resumes and write letters? And if they cannot write properly, I would hate to hear them speak. I'm having nightmares about prospective job interviews, parent-teacher conferences, and more, with these people. Scratch that. I'm even more concerned with how I am going to finish this class, when I have several of this same assignment type due weekly. I was complaining to John about it, and to illustrate my point, I read my post aloud to him. Then I followed up with some classmates' posts. John was weak with laughter by the time I finished the second one. I was honestly starting to question the caliber of courses in which I enrolled and if my BSBA is going to be a complete joke. John pointed out to me that, for all I know, all of my classmates to date have had similar writing. I would never know: I simply turn in my assignment to be graded and never read what my classmates write. Is this why I always get A's on papers? But then I started thinking about all of the teachers out there forced to read piles upon piles of writing from students. To make sense of the drivel people write, the seemingly nonsense words that people string together. And I suddenly had newfound appreciation.

Dental Woes


Evan. Evan Evan Evan.


So I am working the busy ER when my husband calls me to tell me that my beloved eldest child is complaining of a toothache and bracing the right side of his face in agony. I immediately feel horrible because I realize that in the blur of the year of pregnancy and bedrest and new Zach, we have neglected to take the big one to the dentist for his annual cleaning. In this busy house, the squeakiest wheel gets the oil. And so Evan's teeth decided it was their turn to squeak. So I told John to give him some ibuprofen and send him to bed, that we would get him in with a dentist the following morning. John responded with a call back to the ER to tell me that in my shining example of motherhood, I managed to stock adult ibuprofen and infants' ibuprofen, but nothing in between. In steps my trusty ER Nurse friends to save the day: Evan is old enough, give him 2 adult ones with a small meal to avoid stomach upset.


So it takes 2 days to get Ev in with a dentist. We chose one that does orthodontics as well, since we already know we are heading there. And John takes him while I sleep off 5 12's in a row and a couple of marketing papers. And he comes home, frantically waking me to tell me the verdict: Evan has 8 cavities. Eight!

I immediately blame the pig stage we are in. I mean, I make the kid brush his teeth. He emerges from the bathroom with toothpaste breath. I assume he has brushed. And he may have been all along. But apparently not well. One tooth is so bad that it is all the way down to the nerve and needs a pulpotomy. Seriously, Evan?

So yesterday, we got our care plan for the dentist. Pulpotomy first. If he handles that well, they will do the rest of the work in the office. If not, it is off to Cincinnati Children's, where they will do all of the remaining work under general anesthesia. And the ballpark figure of my expense for all of this after insurance? Only the bargain price of $1600. I mean, it isn't like it matters, right? The kiddo needs it and the kiddo will get it. But this whole experience requires some research on my part.


As in how in the blue hell did my 9-year-old son come up with 8 cavities?


So I declare it a new day. No more sugar. No soft drinks (not like he drank a lot to begin with...). No more brushing twice a day. Nope, not for Evan. He brushes after he eats anything from now on. But still...8????


And then I find it out. That John has been giving in while I am at work and allowing Evan to take snacks to bed. Cookies. Ice cream. Candy. Ahhhh, we are such great parents. Turns out it was easier for John to do this than to deal with Ev's meltdowns. So $1600 it is.


Hey John! Remember that backrest you wanted for the Harley? The backseat? The saddle bags? The stuff we were planning to do to the motorcycle this summer? I know exactly where you can find them. They'll all be in Evan's mouth.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Patient-isms and the Almighty ED

thumbnailCAQ9TC2EI am a compassionate person, for the most part. I swear it. If you are my patient, you can bank on the fact that I will do my best to take care of you. Without judgment, without fail. If you, in your lack of medical knowledge, say something that is utterly stupid in the strongest sense of the word, you can rest assured that I am not going to laugh at you in your face.


I’ll wait until I leave the room.


Recently heard by my patients:


“ I need my BEEEEPAP!”


All I know is that when she was a baby, they had to put her in a plastic bag.” From a mom when asked for the history of her young infant’s delivery. My response? “ You mean they had to BAG her. As in a way for us to give manual breaths. I assure you that they did not put her in a plastic bag.”


“He said I have an internal fart. Something is blocking it from coming out.” Upon hearing that they have a myocardial infarction caused by a blockage of one of the coronary arteries.


“You have to SHUT UP! I have anxiety and the voices in my head said you’re being too loud!” This wouldn’t be funny if the patient were really mentally ill and wasn’t just trying to get some benzos for the weekend.


Of course these are just a few. And they all occured in the ER. This doesn’t include the funny crap we see. Like the stripper who fell off of her pole. Or the arrests. And the drunken people. My job is always, always interesting.


Case in point: just a few short minutes ago, I held in my hot little hands a real-life FBI badge. You know, like the one they flash on tv. Turns out they are just as badass as they seem.

A Woman After Evan’s Heart

(L-R) Fergie, will.i.am and Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas perform

Seriously, Fergie? Legos? Which makes me wonder: Could I make one in a triple-extra-fat if I use those big Duplo ones made for the little kids?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

What Have I Done?


Busy busy busy. Still.


Aside from working 60 hours this past week, I also started the journey that is to be my business degree. The online program is supposed to be easy, right? Since I have all of the pre- and co-requisites completed from my other degree, all I have to do is take my business courses and the degree will be awarded and I can move onto the masters. Okay. And this is an accelerated online program, so each class is approximately 5 to 6 weeks long. 2 courses at a time. No breaks for summer, which has me finishing early next fall.


Oh. Crap.

Because I started. I got my glossy new texts and I delved into the world of marketing. And my professor has us completing a paper or presentation literally every 48 hours. Because, in a degree program designed for adults with other obligations like job and family, there couldn't possibly be anything else for me to do other than prepare fictional marketing plans and writing papers to critique the business practices of the establishments I frequent. Along with 10 chapters of reading each week.


Maybe, just maybe, I will lose the little bit of sanity I have left.

Maybe all of my hair will turn gray.

What is more likely is that I will pull myself up by the bootstraps and get it done just like I always do.


And for an extra dose of fun? I submitted my application and resume for a PRN therapist position at a local rehab hospital. And they bit. Hard. As a matter of fact, I simply emailed about the position before I submitted anything and had the interview already scheduled before I had even updated my resume and started the app. A second job. For when I don't get as much overtime as I like. Like that ever happens.


Such is my life as a workaholic student wife mommy. Sometimes when you want it all, that is exactly what you get.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Freezing Time


Over the course of last evening and today, I have managed to book the photographer for the boys for next week. We were originally going to do this for the whole family, but I know I am going to be crying, so I don't want to be in pictures that are supposed to be happy.


Zachary's birthday photos.


I cannot believe it is just right around the corner. In 2 weeks, we are making the trip to John's mom's to celebrate with them, and I need the proofs of the photos for them to select the ones they want. I'm a little nervous because I did this completely differently than I normally do. Instead of taking them to a cheesy portrait studio, I booked a private photographer to meet us on location at a local park to capture what it is that I want to have for years to come. And I am thinking of the expense. I remember when Evan was a baby, and he was so photogenic. We lived in a small town, and the only place to get photos done was Wal-Mart. Home of the $5 Portrait Package. Even then, I managed to spend $600, and John was aghast that I could do that at such a cheap place. So you can imagine how a professional, private photography session could spin us into the spiral of bankruptcy. Whatever, I don't care. I need this.


Of course the photographer is going to think I'm crazy and weird and anything else you can think of, but I want her to know. I want her to understand when I cry. To know that this baby is a true miracle. That for someone who never should have made it into the world, he has brought so much joy to all he has touched. That watching him grow has been the most amazing journey this past year. Is a photograph truly worth a thousand words? And if so, will these be the words spoken? When she snaps photos of Zach and Evan together, will she get it? Will Evan's resilience he has shown as he has adapted from being an only-child to being a big brother after 9 years show through the photos? Can she capture that, frozen in time, for me to hold onto as the years pass in a blur of firsts: first days of school, first dates, first cars...?Because as the years pass, I will still be clutching these photos to my chest, remembering. The contractions, the baby giggles. Evan's innocence and his adoration for his baby brother. This. I will always remember this.


Of course I have some fun ideas up my sleeve. As in the Great First Birthday Cake Smash. I had this idea for a while now, and did some online searching to find out I am not as original as I thought and this is appparently all the rage in children's photography. Just a happy, chubby, diapered baby and a brightly-colored birthday cake. With a single candle. The first of many, yet so very precious. Because we experienced parents know how quickly those candles multiply. Just like parenthood, this is sure to be messy, unscripted, and completely joyous.


And so now I have done it: I have made myself cry in anticipation of roughly one month from now, when Zach's first year will be over. When Evan will enjoy the last summer of his first decade of life. It is like we are standing on a cliff, with all we have survived behind us. The joys, the struggles, the celebrations, the milestones. The experiences.


And we are just about to leap into the unknown.


I hope she can capture this time before we do.