Thursday, December 27, 2007

merry (belated) christmas!



Christmas has come and gone and I have to say that I'm both relieved and impressed that I made it through without crying. I did cuss a few times but I didn't shed a tear. The tree will be coming down shortly so I can finally put the holiday season behind me. There's not much to take down this year, as you can see in the photo above. Lets be honest, your tree was nowhere as awesome as mine was. Not every tree has a piece of (clean!) Kleenex as it's central ornament. I guess the piece of Kleenex, which was put on the tree about 2 weeks ago, is much better than the balls of socks that W was throwing on the tree before he put the Kleenex on there. And not every tree only has 6 ornaments on it. That is how we baby proof around here. We just make it so they can't get into anything and let me tell you how much easier that made my life.

I think I will keep our awesome Little People manger up for awhile though. W seems to really love baby Jesus and we can get him to eat a meal if we tell him he can sit next to baby Jesus and feed him. One morning a few days ago I asked W where baby Jesus was and he told me he was in his car seat. And then I realized that W thought baby Jesus was in a car seat because the manger filled with hay looked like an infant seat. I hate that he is smarter than me.

W had a great time this year. This is the first time he was aware of Christmas. He thought every present was for him and helped everyone open their gifts. I ended up getting him a tricycle and a race track for his cars and he got more things with wheels from everyone else that he won't need another set of wheels until he's 16 and forced to drive his siblings around because I'm too lazy to do it. One of the funniest moments of the day was when he got on his tricycle for the first time and said "on! on!" because he wanted me to flip the on switch to make the darn thing go. I guess that is what happens when everything he's ever played with is battery powered and has speakers.

CB also had a good time but was quickly overwhelmed and tired out by the festivities. She didn't understand what was going on but she did enjoy all of the paper that was accessible for her to eat. I got her a learning table and she really likes it, especially because she's now strong enough to pull herself up to play whenever she wants! (YAY!!)

We had really good time and I am so thankful to our friends and family who spoiled my kids rotten and made our THREE days of celebrating very special. Daddy was greatly missed but we kept him in our hearts and thought of him often.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

moron

So a few days ago I was Christmas shopping (blah) and I encountered a first rate moron. This chick was a sales person at one of those stores that encourages their employees to accost you as soon as you walk in the door and continue to follow you around asking you if you need anything? are you finding everything ok? can I help you find something? are you sure you don't need anything? are you shopping for yourself? do you need ideas for a gift for someone? are you sure I can't find something for you? and on and on and on until you either politely tell them to back the heck off or deck them... whatever comes first. Dude, I know your job sucks and you have to make your sales but if you were less annoying, I'd be more likely to buy something.

So she's following me around and I was holding the baby and the baby was sucking on my key chain which says the field my husband works in all over it. Because she was genuinely interested, scratch that, because she wanted to kiss my butt so I bought something from her, she asked me about the key chain and I told her my husband was in the Army. And she says something like Oh, I had no idea that there was an Army base around here and I was like, well, there isn't an Army POST around here and we don't even live here. And she was like, what are you doing here and I was all, I'm here because my husband is deployed right now and I don't want to spend the friggin holidays alone.

So she gets this sad look on her face but not because she feels sad for me, more because I have pulled the trump card and she knows that she can't top that one and she's totally confused about what to say next. So she goes, Oh! I TOTALLY know how you feel and I was like, really? Your husband served in the war? And she was all, well, no. This one time, like 2 years ago, he went on a 3 day camping trip with his buddies and it was HORRIBLE for me. I couldn't stand being away from him for those three days and I cried the whole time.

Riiiiiiiiiiight. That is TOTALLY the same as my husband being in danger every second of every day and only getting to talk to him once a week. Three days is just like being gone for FIFTEEN MONTHS and having your husband miss 2 of your son's 3 birthdays, your daughter's first Christmas, her first birthday and all of her "firsts" milestones. In those three days, did you have to make life changing decisions that will determine the course of the rest of your life over email? Did you have to explain to your son that daddy can't hold him through the phone? Did you have to deal people being stupid and telling you they know exactly what you are going through, even if they CLEARLY do not have any kind of clue what you are going trough? I didn't think so, so sit down and SHUT UP!

Unless your husband, the father of your children, the love of your life and your best friend has put on that uniform and said goodbye to his 2 screaming children and crying wife and watched them drive away knowing full well he might not ever see them again and knowing that if he did get to see them again, it wouldn't be for at least 8 months, you cannot say you understand how I feel. Unless your heart jumps every time there is an unexpected knock at the door or you get that sinking feeling every time you see a strange car driving down the road towards your house or you freak out when you see a strange number on the caller ID because any one of these things could be delivering the worst news possible, you couldn't possibly know what I'm going through or feeling.

And, by the way, you thinking you know JUST what I am going through is incredibly insulting to the sacrifice we are making for YOU and makes YOU look like the world's biggest moron so do yourself a favor and keep quiet. MORON!

Friday, December 14, 2007

you're a mean one, mr. grinch...

I've decided that the older you get, the less fun Christmas time becomes. Last year was the first year I've actually dreaded the Christmas season. I think that had something to do with the fact that I had just moved to Germany and I was very pregnant with CB. We had decided we weren't going to do anything for Christmas, which would save us a lot of money and W would never know the difference. But on Dec 23, I realized that it was cruel to deny W the joy of tearing open presents and subsequently spending hours playing with the remnants, so we went and bought W a wooden puzzle and a toy truck. But then we got home and I realized that I didn't have any kind of wrapping paper in the house, so I gave myself an A for effort and called it good. At least I put up a tree... too bad I got sick of dealing with it and took it down the day after Christmas.

This year, I'm just not feeling it, even more so than last year. Could be because I'm so swamped with everything else or it could be because part of my family is missing. I don't think it's very fair for us to be celebrating and having a good time while he's so far away and not able to celebrate at all. Plus it's just not the same without him being around. Honestly though, I'm not sure how I know it's not the same, because I have no basis of comparison to know what a normal Christmas would be. He's been gone for 2 of the 4 Christmas seasons we've been together and I don't count last year as a real Christmas because it was such a bust. It's good to know that he's being fair to the kids and missing both of their first Christmases.

I'm happy to say that I no longer get nauseous when I hear a Christmas song like I did earlier this month. Either I'm getting desensitized or my frigid heart is thawing. I haven't had the urge to hurt people while shopping, which is always a plus. I don't dare go out during peak hours though. Someone would end up in jail.

I'll do Christmas for the kids. W is at the age where he totally digs Baby Jesus, presents, trees with lights on them and Santa, as long as Santa is on the first floor of the mall and W is on the second floor of the mall. CB doesn't care about Christmas, I don't think. As long as she has paper to eat, she's good to go. She certainly doesn't like Santa either. Her picture with Santa includes a pouty lip and tears, and me flying by as I threw her in Santa's lap and ran while screaming "TAKE THE PICTURE!!"

I think I know what I'm going to get W this year but have no clue what to get for CB. She doesn't really show a preference for anything. Like I told my friend T tonight, she judges everything equally. People keep asking me what I want for Christmas and I don't know the answer. I haven't even had a chance to think about it. I should probably sit down and do that sometime soon considering there are only 11 shopping days left... I guess the only really great thing about this Christmas season is that I'm not going to have to worry about losing those pesky holiday pounds!! Rock on for me!

Monday, December 3, 2007

progress report

I know I probably shouldn't feel that bad about not updating this, as all of my friends who have blogs have been serious slackers when it comes to updating theirs, but I do feel bad. They probably have great excuses like being busy with important things such as Christmas shopping and spreading holiday cheer, two things I have absolutely no interest in doing this year, but I don't have any excuse, really. I don't even know what I do all day anymore. It's pretty much just one big blur from 6 am to midnight.

I know I've been busy running around the metropolitan areas trying to get supplies for my budding business venture. I also know that I've managed to spend a lot of money on gas these past few weeks with all the driving I've done. Not that it's that hard to spend money on gas these days. I know I've been reading a lot and researching tons so I can be good at what I do. I thought I had been doing a good job of keeping in contact with my friends, but then I got an email from my best friend T "gently" reminding me that she had sent me an email like 4 days ago and I still hadn't replied. I'm pretty sure her exact words were "U Butt! oh my gaw! you are the worst person to get a hold of. has anyone ever told you that?". Man, I miss that chick more than words can say. She is the only person on this earth who can say that to me without me waving my finger and going all "FIRST OF ALL" on her. I was sure I had emailed her back, because deep down I really am a good friend, but then I looked at my inbox and realized that I had about 14 emails from the past week that I had read, but never responded to. That could have something to do with the fact that the only time I am getting online these days to do "fun" stuff is when I'm feeding the baby and I can't really type well with 1 hand. Goodness, I need my Boppy. Too bad I'm too cheap to go buy another one.

It's not just the personal stuff that's keeping me busy. The kids are pretty much out of control these days. W has decided that I must hold him at all times all day and CB has decided that she is going to get her fiber intake from eating little invisible specks of something in the carpet and paper. Lots of paper. I try to keep it away from her but her brother thinks it's funny when he gives it to her and I start to yell. Then I get mad at him for him thinking it's funny and then he throws things. Because that is what you do when you are angry. You throw whatever you can, even if you have to rip the pacifier from your own mouth, just to launch it to prove your point. He's such an activist. Actually I should give him some credit because today, he got angry at me and went to toss his little IKEA chair that's part of his table set across the room, but he realized he would get in big fat trouble if he did that. So he stopped himself and proceeded to gently put the chair down and turn it on its side. Then he did the same with the other one, turned to look at me, smiled, and walked away. I'm doomed.

Retrospectively (is that even a word?), I guess I have been busy and will probably stay this busy until I manage to pull my head out of my butt and get things clear and organized. Who knows when, and if, that will ever happen. I keep saying things will get better. They were supposed to get better when we moved back to CA, then they were supposed to get better once we got settled, then it was Halloween, then it was Thanksgiving and now it's going to get better once Christmas (that I don't even want to do) is over. Maybe there is a light at the end of this crazy spiraling vortex.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

"hu hu hoo-ked on pa pa pawn-icks wurk-ed for meh"

Have you guys seen the commercial for the new Hooked on Phonics product that's supposed to make preschoolers learn read? If you haven't, here it is. Watch closely and then we will discuss. (Honestly, I have no idea why someone took the time to put this commercial on youtube, but I'm glad they did so I could show you exactly what I'm talking about.)


First of all, what is with the mom?! Could she be any more smug? What's with the "I'm better than all ya all" attitude she has? Just because her "just turned 4" year old can read makes her think she's mother of the year? Did you see how they portrayed her? And how all the other mothers in the commercial were told to act like they felt inadequate because their little morons weren't even close to reading? What ever happened to preschool just being about finger painting and learning to play nice with other kids? Now our kids have to learn to read by the time they are 4 too?!

Seriously, it's products and commercials like this that irritate the bad words out of me. It's great if your kid is interested in reading and learning but what on earth is the rush? If they are truly ready to learn to read, they won't need some $129 product to help them out. And what is going to happen to your hooked on phonics prodigy when they are in 1st grade and bored out of their skull because they aren't learning with the rest of the class? They are going to learn to hate school and then start to get into trouble because they aren't being challenged. Sure, they might be able to go to a different class for reading, but that isn't always the best option, either. Besides that, for every 4 year old that can read, that is one more expectation on a 4 year old who can't read, and one more label for the "stupid" kid, who is really learning right where he should be, but no one will see that because he isn't on the same level as the "smart" kid.

Plus, that's one more expectation on parents who are already overwhelmed and stressed out with all of the burdens of everyday life. The last thing they have time or patience for is to try to force their THREE YEAR OLD to learn to read. I can see it now... W is going to get to kindergarten and I'm going to be standing next to a couple of moms as we are waiting to pick our kids up and the conversation is going to go like this:

"Aw, look at my sweet little Ava. Isn't she perfect? You know, she's been reading since she was 18 months old and she speaks 4 languages."

"Yeah, well my little Jack has been doing long division since he was 2 and he can recite the Periodic Table of the Elements."

((Heads turn and look at me))
"Oh. See that kid over there eating mud? Yeah, he's mine."

I'm sorry but there's no way in heck that I'm going to deprive my kid the joys of being a kid and doing kid stuff just so I can feel better about myself as a mother. I have never understood this "my kids have to be the first and best at everything" mentality. It just makes me nuts and I feel bad for the kids involved.

Part of me is really curious to see how this product really works though. I'm wondering if it actually teaches the kids to read, or if they just end up memorizing the exercises from all of the repetition so it looks like the can read.

BTW, for those of you wondering what is up with the title of this entry, do yourselves a favor and ask Santa to put Brian Regan Live in your stocking this year. You will laugh until you have to change your pants.

Monday, November 12, 2007

owie.

A few days ago, I went shopping with CB while W was taking a nap. I got a spa pedicure, went to Target, and then I had to stop at Bed Bath and Beyond. As I was walking out of BB&B, I wasn't paying much attention. I tend to do this a lot while walking. I guess it is one of the consequences of being blond. It's hard to do 2 things at once. Walking and thinking is just too much for me. I relearned this the hard way as I was jerked out of my day dream and back to reality from this excruciating pain in my foot. The pain started small and then quickly grew until I was almost crying. It was a weird pain that I had never felt before.

I immediately thought that I must have stepped on a hypodermic needle so I looked down to make sure there wasn't one sticking out of my foot and then I saw it. A bee. I had been stung by a bee. First of all, what is a bee doing on the asphalt? This is why I don't do nature. Nature hurts you. A parking lot is not nature. The bee shouldn't have been there! I don't invade its territory and hit its hive with sticks, so it should stay out of my territory and leave me alone! Fair is fair! Common courtesy is so lost these days.

Anyway, I'm 25 years old and had never been stung before. Because I had never been stung before, I didn't know if I was allergic or not and proceeded to freak out and overreact accordingly because bee allergies run in both side of my family.

Of course, because I was freaking out, my heart started to race and I started having trouble breathing. I tried to rationalize and figure out what to do because I was sure I only had 60 seconds to live. Don't ask me where I got this number from. I'm sure it's something I thought I learned in 7th grade biology. Since in my mind I only had 60 seconds to live, I needed to think fast and figure out what to do with the baby. I limped as fast as possible to the car and tried to put her in her carseat. I didn't want her to fall out so I had to buckle her in, which caused a huge screaming fit, but that was good. At least she would draw attention if I became unconscious.

Then I called my sister, who was supposed to be nearby, to come and help me out, but she was too cool to answer my call so I called my parents. Since I had only 30 seconds to live now, I was trying to talk fast, which made it so no one could understand me. I wasted 15 seconds repeating myself and then my dad finally told me what to do. I had to go get a knife and flick the stinger out of my foot. Ok, sure. Where in the heck was I going to get a knife? Unfortunately, I had forgotten to put my switch blade back in diaper bag after I had cleaned it in a fit of boredom the night before. Then as the world started to spin from me hyperventilating, I saw the 25 foot sign and remembered that I had just come out of Bed Bath and Beyond. Duh! That place sells knives. Awesome. But, there was no way I was going to hobble my dumb butt in there. My foot hurt too much and I couldn't leave the baby. I didn't want to walk with her in my arms because if I fell, she was coming with me. She's too pretty to have road rash.

So I flagged down some unfortunate woman who made the bad decision of parking next to me. She must have thought I was downright insane because I yelled at her to come to me and when she did, I handed her a wad of cash and asked her to go buy me a knife, just like I was some 17 year old kid standing outside a liquor store asking someone to buy me cigs and booze. Then, before she went inside and called the cops, I realized it was probably a good idea to explain that I wasn't a crazed, red faced and nearly hysterical woman who was going to go stab her ex's new lover but I had been stung by a bee and needed to remove the stinger.

A few minutes later, I was still breathing and had calmed down a bit after finding that my death wasn't imminent. The girl still wasn't back and I figured she had decided that stealing my $6 was more fun than helping a stranger in need. But she finally came out of the store with an accomplished look on her face. Apparently, people don't need single knives these days. They only need $300 sets of knives. This poor girl couldn't find a knife that wasn't in a set except for a knife for spreading cheese and a grapefruit knife. So she bought both. I chose to use the grapefruit knife because it looked more menacing. I was going to get that stinger even if I had to ruin my nice smooth feet and gouge the thing out. Thankfully, the 3mm stinger was removed with a slight flick of the wrist and it didn't even hurt.

By then, my sister, who happened to be in the store next to me the entire time, showed up just to delight in my misery and laugh at me. I still maintain it hurt second only to getting a cavity filled before the novocaine has taken effect. I did get my revenge, though. My sister gleefully stomped out the bee that had caused me so much pain. Before you call PETA to report us, consider the fact that we did the bee a favor, as it was already on its way to the big bee hive in the sky. We just hastened the process.

I now know that I could have used a credit card to get the thing out, but that would have been easy and everyone knows that I don't do things the easy way. Funny thing, though... I could have spared humbling myself and asking for help if I had just opened my eyes and saw the plastic knife that was sitting on the passenger seat that came with the grilled chicken breast I had ordered 20 minutes earlier.

Friday, November 9, 2007

pimp my ride, much?

Today I had to take CB to get x-rays done on her hips. Since she isn't mobile and often looks like a frog, they want to be sure her hip joints are in the sockets. Anyway, when we were walking out of the hospital, this car was behind me and the music was really loud. I hate that. I find it totally disrespectful and REALLY annoying.

I don't want to hear about how you smack your hos or how you kill your bros. I don't want to hear about your milkshake or how you spend your g's. I really don't like the sound of an electric guitar and I don't like my children being exposed to death metal. I don't want my inner ear bones to rattle to the point that my vision blurs and I do like hearing clearly out of both ears.

I don't care about free speech, blah blah blah. This has nothing to do with free speech. It's my right not to have to listen to things that I find to be garbage. It's your right to listen to things that I find to be garbage in the comfort of your own home or car in a manner that doesn't pollute the earth with more useless and unnecessary noise. Blast your ears out if you want to, just don't make me take part.

So when this particular car was behind me, blasting this obscene music as loud as possible, in a hospital parking lot no less, I naturally turned to give the driver a death glare, and quite possibly the bird if I felt so inclined, and it was then that I became confused. The windows of the truck were all rolled up. So how on earth could the music be coming out so clear? External speakers. WHAT THE HECK?! Is that really necessary? Is this what the world is coming to? This is just out of control.

Monday, November 5, 2007

who needs saturday morning cartoons...

...when you can go help your grandfather wash the truck and then play in the puddles? Seriously, every mom should be as cool as me. Not every kid gets to play in mud in their pajamas. I'm not sure he's ever had this much fun before. And, please take note of the awesome habla boots. :D



Thursday, November 1, 2007

well on my way

I'm sorry for the lack of posting lately. The truth is, I've been working on this post for the past few days. It's one that is important to me and I want to get it just right.

This weekend, I began my quest in becoming a doula. For those of you who don't know what a doula is and are thinking that this means I'm going to become someone who raises 3 legged mythical creatures with wings or makes concoctions to heal the sick, I will explain what a doula is.

A doula is a woman who provides labor support to an expectant mother and her partner. She supports the mother during labor by suggesting various coping techniques and by providing constant emotional support. She also provides the expectant parents with resources and information so they can make informed decisions about their birth. The goal is to have a positive birth experience. There have been 15 studies done about the benefits of having a doula and all of them have concluded that having a doula present at a birth is very beneficial and helps ensure a healthy mom and a healthy baby. You can read more about the benefits of a doula here.

I've been studying about birth since I was pregnant with W. It quickly became a passion and while I was pregnant with CB, it almost became an obsession. After my birth experience with W, I was determined to have a better experience with CB and I read every book and went to every website possible to get every word of knowledge to make it happen for me.

With the help of a doula, the overall outcome of W's birth was what I wanted: a natural, unmedicated birth. However, his labor and delivery were filled with a lot of stress, a lot of intervention, and a lot of fear and rightfully so, as my little acrobat had managed to tie a true knot in his cord and had then managed to wrap the cord around his neck 3 times and his ankle once. He ended up being fine after he was born, but I was not. I was extremely upset by what had happened and I felt like no one listened to me or even cared about what I had just gone through. When I would tell his birth story, everyone would immediately say, "Well, he's fine and that's all that matters." But, that isn't all that mattered. I mattered too. It was my birth. My experience. My emotions. My reality. It happened to me.

In the days following his birth, after being bullied and treated poorly by people who are supposed to love and care for you, I shut down. The week after he was born was literally the worst week of my life. I couldn't enjoy my child and I didn't trust anyone. I felt so alone and so scared because here I had this little 5 pound baby who could have died and I was the person who was responsible for him. But I couldn't even take care of myself. How was I supposed to take care of him? Throughout all of this, the only person who I felt could truly empathize and understood how I felt was the doula who had attended W's birth. She was my saving grace and the person who kept me from going off the deep end.

Thankfully, CB's birth was amazing and what I needed to help heal from W's birth. With her birth, I was able to realize how sacred and special giving birth really is. After CB was born, I felt like I was in a place where I could stop being sad about W's birth experience and angry about how it had been robbed from me. I also realized how strongly I felt about my belief that every woman is entitled to a good birth experience and that I wanted to be someone to help facilitate this. That is when I started looking into becoming a doula.

This weekend of training was the most challenging and emotional process I have gone through in a long time. As we were listening to so many birth stories and watching so many birth videos, I started to realize how much trouble I really have with the American way of birthing babies. It has become such a medical procedure and women are treated like a sick person and a product and not the beautiful, powerful and strong beings that they are. Giving birth shouldn't be scary or feared. Instead, it should be celebrated and embraced.

I'm not saying that everyone needs to have a birthing candle and give birth in the middle of the forest. But I do believe that women need to have a calm environment to labor in. I believe that women should be supported and cared for by the people they love. However, I have a problem with the "spectator sport" that giving birth has become. Even if the mother isn't in pain and is feeling good, all of the attention should be on the her and the job she is doing. Giving birth, in any way, is hard work work. It bothers me when the mother's needs and desires aren't put first.

I also think it has become the standard to have a bad birth experience. The majority of women you talk to when you get pregnant are eager to share their horror stories. It's almost like they think that if they had a bad or hard or scary experience then you will or should have one too. This makes me sad for so many reasons but the main one being most of these experiences could have been turned out a lot better had the mother been educated about all her options and had the doctors let nature take it's course.

We are taught to trust our doctors, but sometimes they can do more harm than good. In 95% of uncomplicated births, the body knows what to do and, if allowed, can do its job without intervention. However, with a 30% and rising c-section rate, this is clearly not reflected in the States. The innate, instinctual aspect of giving birth has been taken away and replaced by a time clock. Women are no longer in control of their births. Their power has been taken away and this is what has made giving birth become such a scary and feared experience. If women were given their power back and allowed to feel that strength that so many women have felt before us, I firmly believe the state of giving birth in America would be so much better than it is. Please take note that I am not bashing doctors and I am not trying to say that doctors are stupid and don't know anything. They serve their purpose and it's a very meaningful and important purpose, especially when there is a real complication. What I am bothered by is the impression that all women are emergencies waiting to happen and that every woman needs to be monitored and "under control" at all times because there is going to be something wrong.

As hard as this training was to do, it is also the best thing I have ever done. I feel like I was born to do this. I now feel like there is a reason that I had to go through the hell of W's birth and that I can turn the negative energy I had into something positive to help others.

I could go on and on about this because it's such a passion of mine, but I will shut up. As I have said all of this, know that I am not judging any one's birth choices. Different people want different things and there is nothing wrong with that. I'm not trying to be a cause or a politician. It is just my desire that everyone have resources to educate themselves and to be supported during this poignant time in their lives.

If anyone has any questions about this, please email me. Also, if you live in my area and are pregnant or know someone who is and wants a doula at their birth, please PLEASE get my info. I need to attend at least 3 births to get certified. You would be helping me out so much and I would love to be able to return the favor by helping you or them have a meaningful and joyous birth experience.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

well, that was fun

And by fun, I mean completely pointless. Today I had to take CB to the allergist. I didn't really want to go in the first place because I already knew exactly what was going to happen, and I knew it was going to be a waste of time. But we made the 45 minute trip anyway. When we got in the office, we went through the requisite badgering from the receptionist about how my referral wasn't complete and how my insurance wasn't going to cover any testing and --sigh-- she was going to have to actually get on the phone and talk to an insurance representative to get this figured out. I offered to call myself but --sigh-- she said she would do it. It was her job, after all. Blah blah blah. Kiss mine.

Then we got called back into the room and the nurse was walking so fast in front of us that I lost sight of her and didn't know where to go. After peeking into at least 12 doors, I finally found her and she had the nerve to ask me what took me so long. Well, I don't know, perhaps my choice of shoes (3 inch wedges) and the fact that I was carrying a 20 pound diaper bag and a 14 pound baby had something to do with it? Sorry I couldn't keep up with your caffeine and diet pill filled body.

After the normal, "sit here and the doctor will be in shortly" speech, I got to wait. And wait. And wait. All while the doctor was right outside my door talking to his colleague about the cocktail party he was going to attend tonight and how he was only going to have one glass of wine and a few appetizers. And then the colleague asked if the doctor was going to bring his wife... and the doctor quickly replied, "no, she thinks I'm working late". So he either hates her or he's doing the hipity dipity with someone on the side. Perhaps the fen-phen addicted nurse?

Finally he comes in and sits down. He was clearly in a hurry because while I was answering every question he asked, he would interrupt me and ask another question that didn't even have to do with what I was saying. After getting to month 5 of CB's history, he completely cut me off. I knew we were boring, but I didn't realize just how uninteresting we really were. As he was walking out of the room, I quickly spat out the history from month 5 to month 8, which I thought he should know because they were the most crucial. But apparently, it doesn't matter that she can't keep down any solid foods and that if I eat anything with any kind of dairy, she screams and cries for 3 straight days because, "that sounds like a GI problem".

After he left, Miss Fen-phen USA came back in the room with a tray of 40 pins and magic potions to stick in my daughter's back. Apparently, the receptionist found the energy to get up and call the insurance company to be sure the testing was approved. After poking CB in the back 40 times, the nurse left the room, as CB was hysterical, and said "be sure you keep her on her stomach for the next 20 minutes and don't touch her back". Um, that's information that would have been useful before you turned her into a dart board. Thanks, though.

So for 15 minutes, I tried to keep my irate child on her stomach while trying to console her without touching her back. Let me explain something: my daughter HATES to be on her stomach. She flat our refuses it. This is the reason why she doesn't roll and why she doesn't even attempt to crawl. She finally got so tired from screaming so hard that she fell asleep. It broke my heart to see her so upset and I seriously regretted even going.

When the nurse came back in to check her back for any reactions, which there weren't any, which I knew there wouldn't be, she wiped her back down with alcohol. Wouldn't you think that putting rubbing alcohol into an open wound would hurt? Yeah, it did. And the screaming began again.

Then the doctor came back in to tell me the obvious, which was that she doesn't have any of the type of allergies that can be diagnosed with tests, but she might have allergies that can't be diagnosed with testing. So I either needed to put her on the $2.10 per every 5 ounce bottle of formula or keep up with the elimination diet. He didn't seem very optimistic about me continuing on the elimination diet because it apparently makes my life too difficult. I guess no one believes me that it doesn't bother me too much now because I'm used to it and the results are pretty awesome. Baby is less fussy and actually sleeping, I haven't had a headache or a stomach ache in almost a month and I'm well on my way to looking like a Justin Timberlake era Britney Spears. Although, admittedly, there are times that I would just like a bite of chocolate or something with red dye #2 in it. Those are the times that I nibble on my rice crackers and imagine they are something delectable.

Anyway, we left with no more information than we came with and 40 pen marks and pin pricks on the baby's back. It was a pretty pointless day that will cost the insurance more than it should. I knew it was going to happen this way but went because I feel like we need to cover all our bases, just to be sure. I guess I will just have to take my traveling circus elsewhere to get some answers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

it's finally happening

And, I'm sad. My bald headed baby boy is getting hair. Enough hair, in fact, to have some stick straight up from the static when we were jumping on the trampoline today. Sigh. I think it's time I take him to get his first hair cut. It's SO long!! You think I'm kidding?


See that stuff sticking up? That's hair. (If you can't make out the picture, let me explain it to you: His forehead is resting on the trampoline and I took the picture from behind him. So you are looking down at his back and the back of his head.)

Honestly, I wonder what they would do if I took him in to get a trim. It would make me laugh to watch them try to come up with a polite way to tell me I was a nut case. Compared to how much hair he's had for the past 2 years, this is a HUGE deal and it makes me sad. I like my bald baby and I can't imagine how he's going to look with hair. Although, I am really curious to see what color it will be... Maybe this will help us figure out who is daddy is, once and for all. JUST KIDDING!!

Friday, October 19, 2007

mr. habla

I'm getting some feedback that the giraffe is missed. I love that giraffe, as does W. So much so that he too asks for him whenever I am sitting at the computer. For some reason, he named him "Habla" and this is what he now calls every giraffe he sees. No matter how many times we tell him it's a giraffe and not an "habla", he still says "habla". I have no idea... but this is coming from the kid who runs around the house saying "hola" non stop. He's never even watched Dora, but seems to be obsessed with Spanish. Maybe it's the California in him? Not too sure.

Unfortunately, I don't have Mr. Halba saved on this computer. He's on M's computer, alone in Germany. Poor guy. Sorry!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

things i didn't miss about the states

Tract Homes. Infomercials. Drivers driving while talking on their cell phones. Drivers driving while putting on makeup. People smacking their kids in public. People screaming at their kids in public."Lawyers" who advertise on TV. Lifetime Television. KFC. Annoying radio advertisement jingles. The obsession with beverages bottled in plastic. Speed limits. People who want you to hear the conversation they are having with other people (or maybe people in Germany do this too, but I could never understand them so I never noticed??) Shopping mall parking lots. Over sized SUVs taking up the entire road when there is only one person in the darn thing that seats 8. Stop signs EVERYWHERE! The Germans do it right with the yield signs. Added one more: People who return stuff to Babies R Us that they have CLEARLY used for a long time and expect Babies R Us to resell it and people to actually buy their drool infested, booger ridden stuff because they figure "We only used it for 3 months, I want my money back!" NASTY!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

because you asked...

I haven't had enough time with this new stroller to know if I truly love it, but I do like it a lot better than my Graco Duo Glider. The Duo Glider is the stretch limo of double strollers. I often find myself wishing I had an "extra long load" sign on my butt when I'm out with that thing because I can hear people cussing me out under their breath as they get stuck behind my slow self. Since it's so long, it's hard to steer, especially because I put my heavy child in the front. I do that so he can't kick his sister in the head like I'm sure he would if I put him in the back and her in the front. The Duo Glider does have some features that I really like, though, including a HUGE basket and large sun canopies to cover the kids in the rain and bright sun.

But I was tired of the Duo Glider, and Graco, and knew I wanted something different once I got to CA. You may be wondering why I needed stroller #6 in the first place. Well, that's because I packed so much junk to come to CA, that there wasn't any more room in the car for me to take an everyday stroller. I was barely able to fit my double jogger in the car without the back door exploding. As much as I love the double jogger, it's definitely not a stroller to use in the mall or the doctor's office, nor is it a stroller to use in the airport... lesson learned. But there was no way I was going to leave the jogger in Germany for 6+ months. I paid way too much for it to just sit there and collect dust.

So when I got to America, the second thing I did was go to Babies R Us to get a stroller because I needed one right away. I knew I wouldn't have a lot of choices but I was kind of surprised to find that my choices would be between something really flimsy, something really ugly, another Duo Glider, something totally unpractical and this stroller: the Quattro Tour Duo


I chose the Quattro Tour Duo. Even though I didn't want another Graco, it was, by far, the best stroller there that didn't cost $399. I LOVE my Quattro Tour LXI that I used before I had CB so I figured I would like this stroller too, and I do. It's easy to maneuver, has a lot of storage, lots of cup holders, is comfortable for the kids, folds decently small for a double stroller and is pretty. The only draw back is that the front sun shade canopy thing is much too small and that the stroller is heavy, but really, what full size double stroller isn't 28+ pounds? W likes the his seat so much better than the seat in the Duo Glider. He thinks the cup holders are joy sticks or steering sticks and acts like he is driving the stroller when I'm pushing it. (With his big white bald head, he looks like some Star Wars character steering a space ship through a meteor field.) I think he really likes the fact that there isn't a bar in front of him and isn't "confined". He hasn't thrown one fit while in it. He was always throwing fits in the Duo Glider. That alone makes this stroller so much nicer than the Duo Glider.

I think it was a good investment. At least I hope it was. I'm pretty sure I'll be happy with it for awhile... at least until the next new and improved thing comes out...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

we made it

We are now back in the United States. It's so weird to be back. I have never been away from "home" for that long before. In all of my travels and moving, the longest I'd ever been away from California was only a few months. I have to admit, I'm suffering from a bit of culture shock. I had to go to Babies R Us today and I just about passed out from all of the choices. I should have brought a snack with me because I didn't realize it would take me so long to pick out a stroller (yes, another one! This makes stroller #6) and a bottle brush. There must have been 8 different bottle brushes to choose from. Apparently, a bottle brush is not just a bottle brush. I felt like I was buying a car. It was ridiculous.

The other thing that is hard to get used to is the stupid speed limit. I often found myself going 85-90 mph on the freeway because that's what I'm used to. Here, not so much. Y'all are slow!! At one point, I saw a CHP officer hiding on the other side of an overpass and had just enough time to slow down. While I was slowing down, though, I was deciding what card I was going to pull if I got pulled over. Would it be the dumb/ flirty blond card? No, that one doesn't work when you have babies in the back seat. Would it be the pitty card? No, I can't cry on demand anymore. Or, would it be the "I'm used to driving in Germany and haven't even been in America for 24 hours. My foot doesn't understand what a speed limit is anymore" card? That one was sadly the best excuse I could come up with. Thankfully, I didn't need to use it. He found someone much more exciting to pull over instead.

I've hardly had a second to sit down in the past 3 days. The 11 hours of flying doesn't count as sitting. It's exhausting. Both babies did really well and I am proud of them. Now I'm tired but not really jet lagged. I guess the way to prevent jet lag is to be so sleep deprived that your body is used to sleeping 3 hours every 24 hours. I don't feel any different than I did before we left. I don't recommend that jet lag prevention, though. It's brutal.

Now I get to catch up on everything here. The next few days will be just as busy as the past 2-3 days have been and then things will hopefully calm down so I can get back to doing fun things like taking pictures of my kids and pouring my cold soul out to all of you.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

liberation

As I was standing in front of my 3 closets trying to figure out what to pack for CA a few mornings ago, I realized I hate my clothes. 1/3 of my wardrobe is "work" clothes. That third I actually like but can never wear these days and haven't worn in almost 4 years. I keep them because they are beautiful Ann Taylor suits and pants, Ralph Lauren skirts and perfectly tailored shirts and one day, I might have to go to a funeral or back to work, and then I will wear them again. Another 1/3 of my wardrobe is my "uniform" which consists of my every day clothes. These are the most boring clothes known to man: 8 long sleeved T-shirts, 12 "Old Navy Standard" tank tops that the color is quickly fading from, a few stretched out sweaters, 8 pairs of jeans that are either too small or too big and 4 pairs of capris... the only thing good about those things is that you only have to shave your legs to your calf. The other 1/3 of my wardrobe is from high school. These things were in style 8-10 years ago. And what an unfortunate style it was.

I'm not sure you could even classify them in a "style". 10 years ago was the pre-Britney/ Christina era, when baby-doll tees were hot and you wore them with flared (yuck!) jeans. But then, 2 years later, shirts were super short and pants were super low and that was HOT! It didn't matter if your stomach was too big and stuck out showing some nasty skin. If you wanted to be like the cool girls, that is what you wore. Even if you didn't want to wear this type of clothing, you didn't have a choice because that is all that was sold, unless you shopped in your mom's clothing section, and we all know that's just not an option for a 17 year old.

I don't know why I never got rid of these clothes. I never liked wearing them but I boxed them up and moved with them at least 12 times over the past 8 years. All of the movers have always laughed about the amount of clothing I have. I tried justifying it by telling them that everything I owned was always hung up because I was too poor to own a dresser so it just looked like I had a bunch of clothes.

So a few days ago, after my revelation that I hate my wardrobe, I decided to try on some of my old clothes, just to see if I would ever wear them again. After putting on 4 shirts, and laughing so hard I almost fell over, I decided it was time to pitch em. I would donate them and let someone who actually might look good in these things wear them. Honestly, though, I'm not sure anyone could look good in these.

Five garbage bags full later... my closet and my mind have been liberated. Gone are the things I don't wear and I'm ready to welcome some clothes from this century into my life. Shopping spree, here I come! Maybe I'll even branch out and get something different than my uniform of long sleeved shirts and tank tops. The angels may sing if I do that. Now that I have room for new clothes, I won't feel bad because I won't have to move my husband's clothes to the third floor closets each time I bring home something new and maybe I can even bring some of his stuff back to our closet. Funny thing is that I'm not sure he's ever noticed that I moved some of his stuff upstairs.

Edited to add my cousin's hilarious response via email:

"...Personally, I think that you should have kept some of those clothes so you could put them on and pretend you still live in a Federline-free world."

And I couldn't agree with her more. Those were the good days. Poor Brit Brit. K-fed sucks and ruined everything! But I will save that for another blog post. Thanks for making me laugh, Em.

Monday, October 1, 2007

funny how that happens

Isn't it amazing how you can be in a good mood and then you get a phone call or an email that just ruins it? I'm frustrated with myself for letting people get under my skin, but sometimes I just can't help it. And when it happens 2 times in 3 days, then it's just a party. I'm so irritated with people who can't see past their own nose and people who don't realize that in trying to make everyone happy, they are actually hurting more people in the process. I would like to scream, but I can't. I just have to paint my stupid smile on my stupid face because if I crack, I fear my whole world is going to crumble.

AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Needless to say, I don't have anything fun to talk about right now. I wish I did, but I don't. It would just be more complaining about how tired, hungry and stressed out I am and how I have way to much to do, but not nearly enough time to do it and that's not fun. I don't even have a funny link or picture to leave you with. I must be in a bad mood! Maybe if I get some sleep, or watch Dr. Phil to see how much worse off people are than I am, I will feel better.

Friday, September 28, 2007

the sands of time

Four years ago today, I was in a pizza parlor/ pub in Alexandria, Va, having my first drink in a bar. It wasn't by choice. My friends were ordering me shots and drinks for my 21st birthday, in hopes of getting me good and drunk. The guys thought it would be hilarious to make me do a shot of 151. They all thought I would gag and throw up, but I took it like a pro and didn't even have a chaser. I find it funny that I can down a shot of 151 with no problem, but cough syrup makes me gag and throw up. Their plan to get me drunk, failed however. I remember everything about that day and wasn't even slightly hung over the next morning as I started my new job in Washington DC.

Three years ago today, I was in Oklahoma, waiting in our tiny, smelly, temporary housing for my husband to come home from work. It was pouring down rain and we were poor. He gave me 2 CDs and a Barrel of Monkeys.

Two years ago today, I was in California. W was almost 3 weeks old and I was exhausted. I had just said goodbye to my husband, again, for 3 more months and I went out to lunch with my mom and my friend.

One year ago today, I was pregnant with CB and W and I were on a plane to Georgia to see my husband, who I hadn't seen or even talked to in two months. After W and I landed and picked up our rental car, I stopped at Cracker Barrel and filled up on some of their delicious food and amazing sweet tea. Then I drove to Ft. Benning, Ga, and got to see my husband. Four days later, W and I got back on a plane to CA and M got on a plane to Germany. We didn't see each other for 2 months after that.

Today, well, I'm in Germany with my two kids and my mom and a husband in Iraq. Today is nothing special to me. It just means I'm officially in my mid twenties. I'm not depressed about it but I'm not overjoyed, either. I've done a lot in my 25 years that I'm really proud of and I'm excited to see what the next 25 years bring. Who knows where I will be or what I will be doing on my next birthday.

My mom thinks we should be out celebrating but I don't really want to. So she says we need to at least celebrate the anniversary of the 36 hours of hard back labor she went through to bring me into this world. So, Happy Anniversary! Honestly, if I had gone through 36 hours of hard back labor and pushed this out,



I'd probably be asking for a refund. Thank goodness I've gotten better looking with age.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

cold turkey

So the whole coffee filter fiasco from a few days ago was really a sign from God telling me to wean myself from the habit. Too bad that sign didn't have enough flashing lights and blinking arrows for me to see it and follow it.

Today is day 1 of quitting coffee cold turkey and I hate it. It's day 1.5 of not eating anything that contains soy, wheat, trace dairy (because I don't regularly eat dairy to begin with), eggs, corn, nuts, seafood, caffeine, strong spices, beef or chocolate. I haven't started some new detox, quick fix lose weight program. It may appear that I have become a vegan who eats chicken but doesn't eat soy or wheat, but this is not the case, either. I don't even know what you would call a vegan who eats chicken... Oxymoron, maybe? Not sure.

No, I'm doing all of this because I'm too cheap and too stubborn to put my daughter on hypoallergenic formula. Since her pH probe came back negative, meaning she doesn't have reflux like we all thought she did for the past 6 months, her digestive issues have to be due to something I'm eating that is passing through the breast milk. That means I get to eliminate all "fuss" foods from my diet for 2 weeks and then slowly add one category back in, a week at a time, until we figure out what is bothering her. If it means getting my happy baby back, I'll eat nothing but chicken and rice and veggies for the next 2 years if I have to.

I'm assuming this diet will get easier with time. It's probably my karma for once upon a time making fun of people who eat like rabbits. As I sit here typing this, I'm eating my lunch of plain grilled chicken and eggplant with a side of plain cucumber. I don't think I've ever purposely eaten eggplant before. It's not as bad as I thought it would be but it's not on my favorites list. What I wouldn't give for a big piece of bread covered in Nutella right now...

The hardest part is giving up the coffee, for sure. I'm starting to get that glorious caffeine headache and there isn't anything I can do about it. It will be worth it in the long run, I'm sure. But if I'm really cranky for the next few months, know it's because I'm hungry and in need of a grande soy half caff toffee nut latte.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

well, ok then.

Last night I was playing with CB on the floor and W was messing around at the computer desk. He's figured out that he can open 99 internet windows by pressing buttons and that is too much fun not to do at least 6 times a day. Even better is the reaction he gets from his mother as she spends a total of 5 minutes trying to close all of the windows out. Really, the only thing more fun is when he manages to open Outlook Express and send emails. I don't even know how to do that! It just reminds me of the time that he typed in some super secret code and made my Mac type in all Greek letters. He's smarter than the Mac Geniuses, I'm sure.

Anyway, he was up to no good, but at least he wasn't stealing his sister's toys or crashing his trucks into her head. But he got quiet and then took off running. That's the number one indicator that he's being naughty. I started to chase him down when he stopped and slowly turned his head to look at me. He keeps his eyes focused in one place when he does this, so he looks freaky like the kid that always colors in a scary movie (have you ever noticed that the freaky kids are always coloring?) but I can't help but laugh. Then he took off running again and that's when I noticed that he had ganked the fork I used for dinner and so lazily left out. So he was running around with a fork, and that, people, is why I am Mother of the Year.

I asked him to stop running with the fork and that TOTALLY worked. NOT! So then I told him to go put the fork away, meaning, put it on the counter. But no, he's so smart and so literal that putting it away means putting it back where it came from. But instead of putting it back on the desk, he went straight to the silverware drawer, knowing exactly which drawer the silverware magically appears from, which surprises me because he's not tall enough to actually see what is in the drawer, opened it, and put the fork "away".

This scares the bad words out of me for 2 reasons: 1) He is way too smart for my own good and knows way too many things I don't think he knows and 2) I don't know how many times he's done this before so I don't know if we've been eating off of clean forks and spoons or dirty ones. Now I will have to check each and every utensil before we use it so I'm not eating off the dirty fork he launched behind the radiator one day after I told him he could not dip his chicken nuggets into his juice. Who knows if he found it and put it "away" because goodness knows I haven't retrieved it from behind the radiator. I guess I should go check to see if it's still there... If you're ever invited to my house for dinner, you might want to bring your own silverware. Don't worry, I won't be offended.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

the first step is admitting you have a problem

Two nights ago I went to prepare my morning coffee and I realized we had a crisis on our hands. I was out of coffee filters! How had I let this happen?! How could I have been so darn irresponsible to let myself stoop to this new low? What was I going to do? Last year I had bought a pack of coffee filters at Costco that I was sure would last me until at least 2010. I was sure there were at least 1500 filters in the pack. I was delusional, apparently, because the pack only contained 400 filters. But I still searched the entire kitchen 3 times to see if I had just 1 left somewhere. I didn't.

Instead of crying about it, I googled "coffee filter substitutes" and there were a few sites that said you could use a paper towel instead. But that was too much work and being my luck, I know the paper towel would have been too thick and would have caused an overflowing mess in my kitchen. So then I would have been without my coffee and with a huge mess to clean up. That's just not a good way to start the day. I searched the kitchen one last time and then compromised and decided I would drink a Coke in the morning instead so I wouldn't get that insane caffeine headache at 3 in the afternoon.

The next morning I woke up and did my habitual practice of walking to the coffee maker to press the button. And then I remembered; there was no coffee to be made this morning. It made me sad and the compromise of drinking Coke just wasn't sounding good. Then I remembered that my much loved Cuisinart Brew Central that I bought a couple of years ago might have come with a few sample coffee filters. I haven't used this coffee maker since we left Washington over a year ago because it won't fit into the outlets here without blowing the house up so it's been in it's box in the attic. I climbed up to the attic and opened the box and there, like a light from heaven, was a single coffee filter. Hallelujah!

In the literal hour I was searching for a stupid filter, I didn't realize how desperate and obsessive I was. But as I was drinking my delicious coffee, I realized that I had a problem. Hi. My name is JoAnna and I have an addiction.

(here come the justifications and excuses)

It's not the caffeine that I love, although that's a nice perk. When I make the coffee, I make 6 cups and drink 4 or 5 of them. I make it with 5 scoops of decaf and 2 scoops of regular coffee. So it really isn't the caffeine rush that I get which makes me so addicted but it's the routine of the coffee that I need. There's something really comforting about starting your day with a warm cup of hazelnut flavored creamer with a bit of coffee. I don't drink it after noon. I just drink it in the morning so it's not like I need an IV drip of it daily so it's not that bad. But the fact that it can make or break my day is what makes this a problem.

It can't be that bad of an addiction, though. There are some out there that are much worse. There are at least health benefits associated with mine, as coffee is filled with antioxidants and does great things for your body and mind. There's even an entire website devoted to the benefits of coffee. Granted, it's sponsored by the National Coffee Association and the people who run all of these studies are probably addicted to coffee too and are just looking for some justification for drinking so much...

But if my 4-5 cups of decaf a day helps cut my risk for liver cancer and Parkinson's, then I'm going to keep drinking up. Heck, if I drink enough coffee and red wine and eat enough canned tomatoes, then maybe, just maybe I can undo some of the damage I've done from drinking out of hard plastic bottles, living under high voltage power lines, eating so much high fructose corn syrup, standing in front of the microwave, living on or near farms that use pesticides, talking on a cell phone for more than a hour at a time, drinking too much soda, eating non organic produce and meat, being in the sun without sun block, driving a diesel engine car, having too many x-rays done, swallowing fluoride tooth paste as a kid, eating paste as a kid, painting tons of rooms, cleaning with harsh chemicals, etc... I better get a ton of coffee filters.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

jump! jump!

W had taken a particular liking to jumping all over my furniture in the past months and it was driving me crazy because our floors are cement with a thin layer of "carpet" over them and I was scared he was going to bounce off the couch and onto his head. A friend of mine suggested I get him a trampoline with handles for him to use in the living room instead. Genius!

After searching high and low for the perfect one (and for one that could actually be shipped to us for less than the actual product cost) I decided to go with this one. I called my parents and told them they had just bought W his birthday present, with their credit card, of course. I even got free shipping!

The thing finally got here last week and I made my friend J put it together. After about an hour, she had the frame put together with lots of "help" from W. Then she got to the part where you are supposed to weave the bungee through the mat and secure it to the frame. We were both baffled by the instruction sheet because it didn't make any sense. So we took a dinner break and decided to get back to it later. I pondered the instructions for awhile and figured out how to do it so I got to work. 2 hours later, I was still trying to thread the stupid bungee. This was not weak woman's work. This was scary body building woman or man's work. I have zero upper body strength. I can't even do a push up and forget a pull up. I would die.

To thread this thing around the frame, I had to literally sit against the couch, put my feet on the frame and pull with all my body weight. I finally got the thing threaded and then I had to secure the 2 ends together and even the bungee out so the mat was in the center of the frame. That turned out to be a 2, sometimes 3, person job. Meanwhile, W was trying so desperately to Jump! Jump! but he couldn't because he surely would have gotten his entire leg caught up in the bungee and we would have ended up in the ER. So we bribed him with candy and cookies and cars while we ever so slowly evened the dumb butt thing out. Finally, we got it. He was so excited to Jump! Jump! and he got on and bounced with all his might. That kid can get some air! Who says white men can't jump?

But there was a problem. There was too much tension from the bungee on one side of the frame, so the frame was uneven, making it come off the ground when he jumped. Real safe. So I made him go to bed (mean mommy) so I could fix the thing. I had visions of him jumping and being thrown into the TV if I didn't fix it. After pulling the entire bungee out, I re-threaded the dumb butt thing. Thankfully it went faster this time because I knew what I was doing... or so I thought. We all got the bungee ends connected again and stood back to admire the work that had made my hands raw and almost bleeding. And I'm not being overly dramatic here. They were really raw and almost bleeding from pulling on the bungee so much. It was all for nothing though because the trampoline was exactly how it was before.

So now I have to re-thread the thing again, before he catapults himself into a wall. This time, I think I need to draw flow charts and diagrams before I get to work to figure out the exact formula to making this thing look like it does in the picture; actually even and all 4 legs touching the ground at once. I have never taken physics, so I'm not entirely sure as to what I'm doing. Honestly, a stupid toy for kids should not require a physics degree to put together, but maybe my expectations are too high? I don't have much hope for this. I should just buy him a football helmet and call it good.

Monday, September 17, 2007

currently loving (09-17-07)

My friend J was visiting us for the past week and we went out into our itty bitty teeny tiny village to explore what it has to offer. I've gone into town numerous times, but have never really paid attention to the surroundings, as I'm always trying to deter a fit or catch a pacifier or sippy cup before it hits the dirt. Instead of just running to the market for a forgotten ingredient, we actually sat down in a little cafe and enjoyed some European ice cream and a cappuccino like real Europeans do. It was nice and I realized how much I do really like it here, even though there isn't a Target or Taco Bell or a mall. I should have done this 8 months ago...

PS, thanks J for taking these pictures! :)









Friday, September 14, 2007

my little conundrum

Before my husband left, we noticed that CB was getting floppy. She never wanted to stand up or try to sit. Just just wanted to chill out in our arms or on our chests. She did this all the time and she still wasn't rolling over at almost 6 months so that was causing me to worry. Plus, her good natured spirit had gone away and she had turned into a screaming, non sleeping mess. We went to her doctor and the doctor said her muscle tone was fine, but she hadn't gained any weight and had in fact lost weight since she was 4 months old so that could be why she seemed so "lazy". She decided to change the baby's reflux meds and have her closely monitored by another doctor until she got back from vacation.

For two weeks, we went to the health clinic three times a week for weight checks and for the nurses to watch her eat to see if the new meds were helping her eat better. Each time we went, we ended up spending 2-3 hours there. She was eating fine and always taking in enough milk, but still wasn't gaining weight, so the other doctor told us to start adding cereal into her diet. Big fat mistake. She spent the next week throwing up everything she ate all day and all night long. She was miserable and would scream for literally hours on end. She hadn't been sleeping well before and was usually up for 2-3 total hours a night, but now she was up 3-4 hours at a time, sometimes twice a night, and was sleeping maybe 6 or 7 total hours and, if I was lucky, was taking 2 hours worth of naps each day.

Finally I broke down in the doctors office and told the doctor that she had to fix my child, or I was going to go crazy. No baby should be that fussy without there being something going on. The doctor had us go home and write down every little thing we did for 24 hours and take the list back to her the next day. After she had looked at the list and watched CB for over 2 hours, she decided to do a chest x-ray to see if she had pneumonia from aspirating reflux into her lungs. So we did the x-ray and she said the baby did have pneumonia and probably had it for at least a month and that a dose of meds and a baby meth (albuterol) inhaler would fix her right up.

At 8:30 that night, the doctor called me at home and said she didn't like some of the things she saw in the belly area on CB's x-ray. There was a ton of air in her belly and coupling that with the fact that CB was throwing up all solid foods made her worry there was an abdominal abnormality that hadn't been found before. She said she was going to make us an appointment with the German GI doctors to find out for sure. A week later, we still didn't have an appointment so we went in for a follow up with the regular doctor. CB had lost more weight, so the doctor put in a call to the GI doc and the GI doc said to hospitalize her. I'm sorry, what?!?

Within 3 hours, we were on our way for a 2 day hospital stay. Thankfully, I have a good friend who was able to take off of work to care for the bigger monster because otherwise, I would have had to take him with us. When we got to the hospital, I didn't know where to go so we wandered aimlessly for about 20 minutes until I stumbled upon the room we were supposed to report to. Then we waited for about 45 minutes until they could finally see the baby.

We went into this little triage room and they weighed her, measured her, tipped her upside down, looked up her nose and mouth, and made her pee in a bag. Then I heard "german german german german german ketones german german german infusion german." And then they said "Ok, Mrs. B, we need to put an IV in her arm and take some blood, do you want to stay in the room?" And being the supermom I am, I said of course I was going to stay. But little CB didn't have any veins in her arm, so they decided to put it in her head. And being the supermom I am, I knew it wouldn't bother me... it didn't bother me until she started screaming uncontrollably and the cap to cover the IV thingamajig popped off and blood started pouring from her head. Then the room started to get small and very very hot... I ran out of the room as fast as I could before I hit the floor. After they had stopped the bleeding, the doctor came to get me and told me she was afraid I had passed out. Apparently, I was still drunk or extremely hung over the day they went over "what happens when we stick a needle in your child's head" in parenting class because I was NOT prepared for that.

After we all had calmed down, we were transfered to our room and I spent the next day and a half feeding CB non stop and waiting for her to throw up. Since she was being pumped full of fluids, we were tethered to the wall and couldn't walk more than 10 feet without unplugging CB from the monitors and the IV stand from the wall. She didn't sleep so I couldn't leave to go to the bathroom without her screaming like I was torturing her and pulling her gauze cap over her face, which made her scream even more. They did an ultrasound of her abdominal cavity and everything looked normal, except for the insane amount of gas she had in her belly. There was so much that they couldn't get a clear picture of her stomach.

On Saturday morning, the doctor came in and informed me that we weren't going home, but we were going to be staying for the rest of the week. That posed a logistical nightmare beyond belief. I had to call for reinforcements and make plans for my mom to fly to Germany on the first flight out. My friend was coming in to visit so she was going to be on W duty until my mom got there. And I had to leave CB for the first time in her life to go get clothes and groceries for my mom and friend. There was no food in the house because I was supposed to go grocery shopping on Thursday, but never made it. While I was gone, the nurses said they were going to try to get her to take a bottle and feed her some solids. CB actually did take a bottle, for the first time in her life, but promptly threw it up, as she did with the baby food they gave her and the other bottle they gave her. I came back to find 3 dirty outfits on the changing table in the room. The formula and solids made her so sick and she was up literally all night screaming.

Sunday was more of the same. They tried giving her more formula and baby food and she kept the formula down but not the baby food. The girl who was taking care of W and my friend came to bring W to see us in the evening and I realized how much both CB and I had been missing W. The poor kid threw a huge fit when it came time to leave. I walked them out to the car and as they drove past me, I saw W through the back window crying, holding out his arms and saying "no more, no more, no more!" It broke my heart to see him leaving like that. Apparently, he got so mad on the way home that he managed to take his entire shoelace out of his shoe.

By Sunday night, both CB and I had had enough. We were staying in a room that was in the middle of the ward, so we had babies on each side of us who would cry every time CB was sleeping. The door to our room was the loudest door in the history of the world and every time it would open, CB would wake up if she was sleeping. I was wearing the loudest shoes in the history of the world so every time I would walk across the room, CB would wake up if she was sleeping. The bed I was sleeping on was the loudest bed in the history of the world so if I sat or laid down when CB was sleeping, she would wake up. It was so frustrating.

She wasn't sleeping, I wasn't sleeping, we were both crying and I was hungry, having not been able to eat a good meal for the previous 3 days. At around 2, CB woke up for the 3rd time that night and stayed awake until 6, screaming almost the entire time. Nothing we tried worked to calm her down and eventually she fell asleep from exhaustion. I passed out too and we both slept until 8:30, when the doctor came by during his rounds. I didn't realize until after he left that I had a drool streak down my chin and one side of my hair was matted against my face. Oh well, right?

A few hours later, I had gotten CB down for her nap and the other doctor came in and said he needed to take CB for a brain scan right away, so I had to wake her up. He said they were worried because her head is so much bigger and growing so much faster than the rest of her body. I told them not to worry because I just have large headed babies. She's always had a big head; 37 centimeters when she was born (and she was born with her hand by her face, too! Um, ouch!) Of course they said her brain looked normal and fine so I was relieved, although I wasn't worried in the first place.

A few hours after that, the doctor came back and told us we could go home for the rest of the week, until the meds got out of her system so they could do more testing later. So we are home now, for the time being. We're trying to rest and relax and it's so nice to have 2 extra sets of hands to help me out. Of course, CB is perfect for everyone else. She will fall asleep for anyone but me with no problem, eat well if I'm not feeding her and she's happy as long as I'm not holding her. She also learned how to sit up on her own, which makes me very happy and confuses me at the same time. She won't roll over to save her life, but she will sit. She makes such a liar out of me. I don't get it. She's my little conundrum.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

update, kinda

So I know I've been really bad about updating this, but life is way out of control right now and I'm desperately trying to play catch up. Once I have a clear head, I will update everyone on all of the craziness that has gone on in the past few weeks. Sorry!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

ocd, much?

W has become borderline obsessive about things lately. He's always thrived on routine but these new habits are getting a bit out of control.

For instance, if we're putting his mega blocks together, we can't stop until each and every block has been used. If we're doing a puzzle, he won't stop until all of the pieces are put back, which really stinks when there's a piece missing. He won't even stop to accept my praise or to give me high 5's until the puzzle is done. If he's eating, he eats everything in a certain order, and one item at a time.

If we are going into another room, he will "clear" the room we are leaving by putting everything that is near the doorway onto the other side of the doorway. Then he will walk through the doorway and put everything that he just moved back into the room he just left. We can't go anywhere quickly.

He's also obsessed with lining everything up. Everything HAS to be lined up, or he's not happy. If he doesn't line things up, he will stack them on top of each other, or try to. If those things don't stack to his liking, he will make me stack them and God forbid I not be able to stack a toy boat with a curved hull onto a car that has a flat top. What is wrong with me that I can't do that properly?!





On the one hand, it's kind of cute, but on the other, it's baffling. I've never seen a toddler so organized. He knows exactly where everything is and even if he hasn't played with something for 2 weeks, if I ask him where it is, he will be able to go straight to it. However, the price I pay is that at any given moment my house looks like a used toy car lot, and if I happen to mess up the rows, I won't hear the end of it for at least 10 minutes. He's a funny one, that boy of mine...

Monday, September 3, 2007

i'm checking into rehab

Why? Because it's the thing to do right now and everybody is doing it. Plus, it sounds a lot nicer than checking into a nut-house or loony bin or funny farm and I'm about 2 more sleepless nights shy of being committed to one of those.

You can go to rehab for anything these days and honestly, the thought of having all my meals cooked for me and having access to outdoor activities and a professional to listen to all my problems sounds really appealing right now. Another plus is that I would have a good chance of meeting a celebrity (and then selling their crazy story for hundreds of thousands of dollars to a shady magazine). And, I'm pretty sure that I could get 8+ hours of sleep a night, which is even better than rubbing elbows with a celebrity.

Last night was another torturous night like the one we had last month. We had gone to my neighbor's house for a get together and W had played really hard and was really wound up. The baby screamed most of the time (big surprise) so I wasn't able to pay much attention to W. I'm pretty sure he ate something that makes him sick or drank from another kid's sippy cup because about an hour after I put him to bed, he was up screaming. We went through the normal motions of me picking him up and holding him and then putting him back down a few times and he still wasn't going to sleep. I climbed into bed with him and tried to get him to sleep that way, which worked, until I tried to leave the room. He kept pointing to his stomach and saying "owie" so I gave him some gripe water but 2 hours after he first woke up, we were still doing the screaming thing and then CB woke up.

Like before, I brought W into my room, which I knew wasn't going to work, but I did it anyway because I didn't want him screaming in his room. I laid him down and laid next to the baby to feed her, which made W mad because that meant I couldn't hold him. So he climbed all over me while I was trying to feed the baby. Then both of them were wide awake, screaming. These are the times that I literally have no idea what to do. Both of them wanted to be held and rocked, but we couldn't all fit in the glider. So I took the 5 pillows that are in our room and made a little nest in the bed. I sat cross legged, with W laying against my right leg and with CB in my arm, across my left side. And we swayed back and forth for about 20 minutes, until W thought it was irresistibly hilarious that his sister's feet were touching his stomach. uuuuggggggggghhhhhhhhhh.

Plan B. I laid W down on the bed next to me, laid CB on the bed in front of me and rubbed both of their bellies at the same time while bouncing the entire bed with my legs. That worked for about 7 minutes, until CB had a wicked reflux episode and started screaming. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Plan C. Laid W down on the bed next to me, held CB in my arms, against my chest and bounced while loudly saying SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I realized, after about 5 minutes, that I was practically hyperventilating and feeling dizzy from the lack of oxygen because I wasn't breathing properly, so I had to tone the shushing down, which meant there had to be more bouncing. I guess the good thing about that was that I was burning off all the food I had eaten earlier. After about 10 minutes, both appeared to be asleep (Ahhh! Great Success!). So I quietly laid CB down and laid down between the kids. And out of nowhere, W sits straight up and says "KA CHOW!!" Which, of course, woke the baby right up. I just laid there, as still as possible, because if I closed my eyes tight enough and didn't move, they would both magically go back to sleep, right? Wrong.

Plan D. Put W back in his bed, to which he went willingly, and rock the baby to sleep. After about 20 minutes of rocking, the baby fell asleep so I put her into her swing because she was still refluxing pretty bad. The second I put her down, she woke right up and started screaming, again.

Plan E. (banging my head against the wall at this point) Try to nurse her back to sleep, again. Nope.

Plan F. Try to rock her back to sleep again. 30 minutes later, I had almost rocked my glider off the rockers and she was finally asleep. I put her down in her swing and climbed into bed. She started to fuss and I prayed like I never have before that she was just crying in her sleep, which she was.

Sweet silence, for an hour, until W woke up screaming and saying "Uh- Oh!". So I rushed into his room expecting to have to clean up throw up, but he had just lost his binkie so I gave it back to him and climbed back into bed. An hour later (2:35am) he was up again screaming and the baby was still fussing in her sleep. An hour after that, the baby was up screaming for food. And an hour after that, W was up screaming again. At 5:45, the baby woke up again so I fed her and we got to sleep until about 7:30. Then she was up for the day and then W woke up at 9.

Now do you see why I want to check into rehab? Just to get some sleep. That's all I want. Normally the baby is the only one who is up all night and that is borderline intolerable. Having both of then up all night pretty much pushed me over the edge.

We were supposed to run some errands today but I don't think that's going to happen. I hope we will all be taking naps instead. But that's probably not going to happen either because every time I plan on taking a nap when the babies sleep, they only sleep for an hour. But if I don't plan on napping with them, they will sleep for 3-4 hours. It's not fair.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

on my list (09-01-07)

I've always disliked Applebee's for no other reason than I think their menu sucks and their food is always soggy and flavorless. But in recent months, my dislike turned to disdain, after reading about how a toddler was given a margarita in a sippy cup and has now turned to total boycott status after reading this story. (For an excellent commentary on this incident, go here)

I often hear about women being confronted (read: bullied) about nursing in public. I've even read stories about women being asked to leave doctors offices and hospitals for refusing to move to a "private area" to breastfeed their child. I've been approached by a Frontier Airlines flight attendant who suggested I "cover up" while I was breastfeeding a six month old W on a flight. Cover up, why? I keep "covered up" plenty! I don't want to flash people and I don't want people to see anything. You couldn't see anything if you were a sicko trying to see something. Besides that, I was sitting in a window seat and there wasn't anyone next to me. And besides that, it's nearly impossible to put a blanket over the head of a six month old and expect it to stay there. Believe me. I should have told her to put a blanket over her head because I was offended by the sight of it...

What boils my blood about this latest incident at Applebee's is the fact that the company had such an idiotic and poor response to the situation. Seriously, they think that keeping blankets on hand to give nursing mothers to use is a solution?! Um, gross! Airline blankets are nasty enough and they supposedly wash them frequently. I don't even want to think about what would be growing on the blankets they would provide (lice, small pox, STD's...) and I certainly don't trust people who mistake triple sec and tequila for apple juice to wash them after each use.

What else is infuriating is the fact that the president of the company that operates these stupid restaurants in KY accused the mother of having an "agenda" because she carries a copy of the law with her. I think it's pretty darn smart that she carries a copy of the law with her, as do others. I'd do the same thing if I had thought of it before and probably will make one of the CA laws to carry with me when we go back to CA. That's one of the reasons why having a baby in Germany is so nice. You don't have to worry about this BS and no one even blinks if they happen to see you breastfeeding in public.

I just can't believe that I could go into Applebee's, or anywhere in public, wearing a "skirt" that barely covers my bum and a "top" that barely covers my chest, while exposing my stomach, legs, shoulders and arms (goodness, that would be a SCARY sight to see...) and no one would say a word to me. But if I were to discretely feed my child at a secluded table, then I could be badgered and bullied. What is wrong with people?! The ignorance surrounding breastfeeding never ceases to amaze me.

For the record: I'm not a "breastfeeding nazi". I had to start giving W formula at 8 months and he still takes it to this day. I believe each woman has the right to choose what is best for her and her child. However, I do not agree with or tolerate people who make mothers who breastfeed feel like freaks and outcasts because of their decision. Likewise, I do not agree with or tolerate people who make mothers who formula feed feel like freaks and outcasts because of their decision.

It is my wish, though, that mothers be educated about breastfeeding and have resources available to them to make breastfeeding through those difficult first 6-8 weeks a little bit easier so they feel comfortable and confident enough to continue their breastfeeding relationship well into the future. It's also my wish that doctors and nurses (especially those on the maternity ward) not take the bribes and bait of formula companies to push formula but to be educated about breastfeeding, instead. I really wish they wouldn't tell mothers that their child is going to starve to death if they don't give them formula in the first few days and that they aren't producing enough milk, when in reality, the moms have plenty of milk to sustain the baby, but are being given horrible information and being pressured so they give up even though they don't want to. Misinformation is dangerous.

For fantastic information on breastfeeding go here: http://kellymom.com/ (seriously, this site is the first bookmark on my computer and has given me so much great information and saved me more times than I can count over the last 2 years. Hands down, it is one of the best and most useful sites on the net.)

For a great article about breastfeeding in the first few weeks, go here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

if your toddler is being quiet, part 2

Today we spent 3 hours at the health clinic. By the time we were done, both W and I were really hungry so I went to the Burger King drive through to get us some chicken nuggets and fries. It was either that or wait until we got home but I was so hungry my stomach was starting to eat itself, so I figured nasty fried food was a better choice.

I was driving and passing chicken and fries back to W (dangerous, yes, I know) and he kept asking for more very quickly, but wasn't making any other noise or saying anything else, which is really rare for him. I just figured he was hungry like I was. I had managed to polish off an 8 piece box before we had even driven 3 blocks. Soon I didn't have anything left to give him but he didn't argue, so I figured he was full.

20 minutes later we got home and I got CB out of the car and then went to retrieve W. As I was pulling him out, my neighbor was talking to me so I wasn't paying much attention to W. We got inside and I went about my usual business of ridding the baby's butt from her dirty diaper and then feeding her so she could make another dirty diaper. After we were done with that, I chased W down to change his diaper and it was then that I realized how he had eaten his food so fast and why he was so quiet. I know what you are thinking... no, there was not poop everywhere. Pretty sure I would have noticed that... at least I think I would have. I pray I never have to find that out!

No, he had done this:





Because why the heck not? I mean, doesn't it make sense? There are slots in the shoes so, clearly, something should go in them and what fits better than french fries? There's no reason to eat them when you can have so much fun squishing them between your toes.

You may be wondering what happened to the chicken nuggets... He put them down his onesie. I didn't find them until I was changing his diaper so he had been walking around with chicken nuggets in his pants for about an hour. He got a bath before bed for sure.