Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ten Minute Tribute

I've got 10 minutes before I need to leave for work, my hair is still wet and my dinner isn't packed, but I had to take a moment to thank God for Michael.

(Wait, I just remembered it's taco salad day at work...WOOT.  Taco salad, Taco salad, Taco Salad DAY.)

It's the little things, I'm telling you.

Four years ago I married the best person on the face of the planet.  I know everyone thinks their spouse is the best person on the face of the planet, which is good.  They are the best person on the planet to YOU and YOU alone. 

They wouldn't be the best person on the face of the planet for someone else.  But they are to you.

Everyone has a person.  Michael is my person.

He is amazing and puts up with my shit, which is like crazy.

He knows when I'm starting to spin and he helps me find my way out.

He knows the words to every Raffi song ever recorded.

He loves me even though I have a super odd appreciation for Justin Timberlake (I'm sorry, but no one expected him to be anything.  And he's only AMAZING and totally legit.  Rant over.) and any power ballad on the radio.

Sometimes he helps me 'set fire to the rain' and it's freaking amazing.

He knows when I help him pick out clothes that I'm scheming to somehow make him look like Sherlock.

Michael:  I don't wear scarves, why do you want me to get this scarf?  You just want me to look like Benedict Cumberbatch?

Me:  That is false.  I want you to look like you.  But dressed like Benedict Sherlock Holmes.  There is a big difference.

I love that he doesn't mind.

The guy is pretty unflappable.

And he is graceful like a gazelle.  And handsome.

I just love him. 

And if you ever wanted to know what my blog posts would look like if I only spent 10 minutes on them.

This is it. 

Happy Anniversary Michael.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Panic at the Disco

Two days in a row!

Get a grip, Emily!

I don't even have anything good to say, but the kids are both sleeping at the same time.  So I figured I better not shut my eyes or the world may end. 

I thought I'd just write some nonsense on here instead of packing and having a panic attack. 

And seriously, yesterday got super weepy. And we just can't have that.

1.  We went to Target today. (What day don't we go to Target?) And I got a new planner!!!

(Yes, I am three exclamation points excited!!!)
It's the best day of the year!
Except I'll be really anal about writing in it at first, and I'll have to use white out if I mess up because I don't want to spoil my brand new pretty planner. 
While pulling out of Target we have to pass by Michael's...
Damn it all
And I saw these beauts on the sidewalk outside the store.  (Does anyone else ever wonder how they make sure people don't steal that stuff?)
These memory boxes were on sale...on the sidewalk.  Which would leave some to believe that they were crap (my husband), BUT I've been looking for just the thing! 
I needed something to put all of the kids' stuff in.  Things that I couldn't put in their baby book, but I can't throw away, like all of their birthday cards, candles and special things like that.  Hoarder stuff.
I picked out Addie's, obviously, it's adorable. 
And I let Henry pick out his. 
I was really pushing for a handsome navy stripe, with a herringbone lid, but let's be serious.  Giant Octopus is the trump card.
2.  I've been having a terrible time lately.  (duh.)
But it's not what you think. 
Addie is still a crawler.  (I didn't really have the highest hopes knowing our children's track record with walking.  I'll start to worry in nine months.) 
Having a crawler and going to the park sucks.  It really sucks. 
It's hot so you want to put them in shorts, but then their little knees get all scraped up by the cement and wood chips.  And then they eat the wood chips. 
It's a disaster.
But, mostly because I'm a cheapskate, I was trying to shoehorn Adeline into an old pair of pants, when I discovered something amazing.
All of her nine month pants will fit, except now they are adorable capri pants!!!  (Again, note my excitement!!!) 
(I know the high capri pant is a little dated, but we're going to cut her a break because she's one.  I have hopes that her twelve month stuff will be ankle length by the end of the summer.  Very chic and on trend.)
I got distracted.  My point is that the capris are cooler, but also protect her knees.  Sold.
3.  When we were at Target (see #1) I decided I really want a label maker.  I've wanted one for some time now, but it's always been something I never bought because well, who buys label makers. 
But now I need one.  I want one.  I must have one.
So when we move, and I have died from anxiety, everything will be exquisitely labeled for Michael.
4.  Addie is cutting her two front teeth and she's mean.  She whines.  She's not very fun to be around.  Even medicated.  But there is one thing that makes her happy.

This old, nasty ass washcloth. It is actually clean.  It's just that disgusting looking.
I can't pry it out of her hands.  I don't want to pry it out of her hands because if there's nothing in her mouth she's crying. 
So it travels. 
And I look like a negligent mother.  Letting my daughter chew on garbage. 
But, it makes her happy.  So what can you do.
5.  Trying to sell our house is making me an angry person.  (Angrier than normal.)
A very clean, angry person.
I have prayed.  I have buried statues.  I have sacrificed animals.
Not really.
Seriously.  Don't tell me how great my house is and then not buy it.  
You're like that dick in college, 
"I think you're really great, let's go out sometime!" 
"Just kidding, you're gross." 
I feel like I'm going to cut somebody.
6.  Addie's first birthday was last week!  Wheeee :)
She's one year closer to making her own sandwiches and hating six o'clock in the morning.
We ate cupcakes and opened presents.  And mommy took pictures.
And then mommy realized she took everything with the camera set on black and white.
And then mommy cried.  And we had to restage the birthday a few days later and get new pictures.
(Don't get me wrong, I love a black and white photo as much as the next guy.  But the best part was the pink frosting all over her face.  Total mom fuck up.)
So now her brother thinks she has two birthdays.
Birthday #1

Birthday #2
And mommy's nervous breakdown was postponed another week.
(She's totally cute enough to deserve two birthdays.)
7.  We bathe Henry and Addie at the same time. 
We used to bathe them separately but Henry always went first and then Addie had his left over bath water and it all felt a little, "poor Cinderella in her brother's dirty bathwater." So now we dump them in all at once and let them stew in each other's filth.
Addie is a curious one year old.  The other night she lunged over and grabbed Henry's wiener.
Henry:  NO SISSY!!  Mommy, Sissy Addie just grabbed my wiener!
Me:  I'm sorry Henry.  Addie didn't know what she was doing.  It's not okay for her to touch your wiener.  You are the only person that is supposed to touch your wiener. 
And then it felt like an after school special. 
When do you start bathing your boy and girl separately?
8.  Someone asked me if I'm nervous about what people think about me because of how I write.  Especially how I write about motherhood.
You know, sometimes I see someone with their new baby and I think to myself, "Now, there is a natural.  A born mommy." 
She doesn't mind being up at 11 pm, and then 1:30 am, and then 4 am.  And then up for good at 6.  You can tell it doesn't even phase her.  It's just more time to snuggle.

Well.  I hated being up at 11 pm, 1:30 am, and 4 am.  And I especially hated, and still do really, really hate 6:00 am.
But I still love being a mother. 
My kids are everything to me. 
I started this blog because I was spending inordinate amounts of time at home staring at a two month old and a breast pump.  And it sucked.  I would look around and think, "Is this supposed to get awesome soon?"  Because this isn't awesome.  I loved Henry more than anything in the world, but it was a gigantic change.  Life was suddenly completely different, and it was hard for me. 
I just felt like somehow I was missing something that other moms had.  I couldn't relate to these other perfect 'natural born mommies.'
I just wanted to talk about being a parent in a real way.  And I wouldn't have ever dreamed that people would respond the way they have.  When I get a comment and someone I don't even know says, "Wow, that is exactly how I feel.  Thank you so much!"  It makes me happy, not because I wrote it, but because someone read exactly what they needed to hear at exactly the right time, and hopefully it made them feel less alone.
I feel like there are plenty of people out there for whom parenthood was an...adjustment.  That doesn't mean they are bad parents.  It doesn't mean they love their babies less.  They are great parents. 
I'm sure there are tons, TONS of people that can't stand me.  And that is totally finePerfectly understandable.  There are some people I don't really like.  But that is what is so great about adulthood; I don't care anymore what people think about me. 
The people that matter to me know who I am. 
I write what I write because it's how I feel, and I hope that there is some mother out there in her sweatpants with a two week old that finds my blog just in time.  Just when she starts to feel really bad about herself because she is miserable and she thinks that makes her a bad mother.
You are a fantastic mother.  You are not the only person that has ever felt this way.  It will get better.  Being up in the middle of the night is terrible.  Cut yourself some slack.
So no, long story short, I don't feel nervous.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Thanks and love.

There are just some things that are hard to tell people.

Like, it's hard to complimentarily (look I made up a word) ask someone if they've lost weight, because no matter how you do it somehow it always sounds like you thought they looked like an obese freak before.  And sometimes that sucks, because you're really trying to say, "You look really awesome, great job!" 

But I feel like it must sound like, "You look great, thank looked hideous before."

I find you just can't win with that one.

(Maybe it's just in my mind.  I never over think things.)

Similarly, it is extremely difficult to tell people that you love, people that you are close to that you're moving.  No matter how you do it somehow it seems to sound like, "We're getting the hell outta Dodge!  It sucks ass here and your friendship wasn't enough to make us stay.  Deuces." 

When what you really want to say is, "We've made a really difficult decision to relocate so that we can be closer to our families, and so that the kids can grow up close to their grandparents and aunts and uncles."

And your friends are really supportive, but what you think they're really thinking is:

It's terrible.

It's been twelve years since I've lived in the city I grew up in.  All of my memories of that place are in the context of a completely different time in my life:  High School.  So, obviously I'm feeling a small bit of trepidation as to how it will feel living there again. 

In full-on adult mode.

This time I won't be trying to sneak downtown and scoop the loop with my friends.  I'll be taking my kids to preschool and racing to find a bathroom at the zoo while my son poops in his Cars undies. 

There are people I really didn't know when I did live at home, but now feel as though I do know them because I've seen pictures of their weddings and the births of their children.  Are we really friends?

If I see them in the grocery store do I say hi, ask about the kids I've never met and seem like a total creeper?

(Speaking of grocery stores, I'm sad to leave a state in which the grocery store chain is called Harris Teeter.  "The Teet"  "Harry Teets" "The Tit".  Telling Michael I'm running to the store will never be as much fun again.  Sad face.)

And then, unfortunately. there are those very, very few people that you did know like 1000 years ago, but since 2004 and the advent of the 'status update' you are totally comfortable being 1600 miles away from.

I can't be the only one that has suffered these feelings at the hands of Facebook. 

Tell me I'm not the only one.

And in the inevitable event that I run into them it'll be like:

This is new territory for me, and embarrassingly, these are the things that keep me up at night.  That and a host of other terrible made up scenarios. 

In all seriousness, making these decisions has been awful.  We are elated.  And we are devastated.

It would be so easy if we hated it here.  But we don't hate it here. 

We chose to start a life together in North Carolina.  We became a family in North Carolina. We were amazingly blessed to have been welcomed by people that made us Yankees feel like we belonged here.  People that made us feel like family.  Michael was incredibly lucky to have been united with a group here that is beyond wonderful; they too have shared in all of our joy from day one.  Deciding to leave his practice here was the most agonizing decision of our married life.  Not for one moment have we ever taken for granted the love and support everyone here has shown us.   We will miss everyone so much.  So much.

And here's where it gets hard for me.

Sometimes in life the trees seem really dense and it is tough to see the path God wants you on, 

And you feel a little lost. 

Thankfully I found my way here, and I am truly sad to leave the community of people that made me feel like I wasn't lost anymore. 

My nurses.

I wish I could explain just what they mean to me.  But I can't.  I can't come up with the words that do my heart justice. 

When I go to work I am surrounded by women that inspire me.  They are fearless.  They are so brave.  I watch them work and I feel like I will never be what they are.  They are the smartest, most compassionate, most incredible people.  Their hands are skilled and gentle, and in the face of what seems like chaos they come together as a team in the most beautiful way.  It looks choreographed; you wouldn't ever know they were struggling to save a life.  They make it look effortless and easy.  They aren't scared, and I'm terrified nearly every day.  They always have the answers, and I always have the questions. 

Instinct would have anyone do this job with a closed heart.  With armor, to protect themselves from the things they see.  But everyday their hearts are open.  More days than not they are called to do a job that requires a level of focus, concentration and composure that is exhausting.  I have seen them come in on their days off to say goodbye.  And I have seen them come in on their days off to celebrate tiny victories.  When I feel like I would have crumbled under the immense pressure a thousand times, their courage never fails.  They have hope when a situation feels hopeless, and they have humor when days feel really, really dark.  They have comforted me when I've cried and shared wisdom when my heart was hurting.  They are my mentors, they are my teachers, and I feel so incredibly lucky to call them friends.  They are my heroes.

I'm ecstatic to have been welcomed by another great children's hospital; I don't doubt I will make new friends, but I will never forget the old. One is silver and the other's gold. :) 

Flannery O'Connor wrote, "I write because I don't know what I think until I read what I say."

I'm nervous to move.  I'm scared to start over in a place that should feel like home, but may not feel like home for a while.  I'm sad to move the kids from the only home they've ever known.

But.  I don't feel like we could ever make the wrong decision by choosing family.  So we chose our families. 

My dad can teach Henry and Addie about cars and Michael's dad can teach them how to fish.  Adeline's aunts can teach her how to accessorize, and that no matter what anyone says you can never have too many pairs of boots.

And in the midst of all this family.  I'll be able to do something amazing.


Just kidding.  Kind of.

Soon we will say goodbye to North Carolina and hello to Iowa to start a new chapter in our lives.  We just wanted everyone here to know how much they have meant to us. 

I'll leave it at that before I start quoting the lyrics to Jason Aldean's 'Fly Over States'.


Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone for making it so easy to fall in love with North Carolina.  

And to our friends and family at home, we can't wait.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Our Genetically Modified Catastrophe.

Well, Henry said 'shit' yesterday.

It was bound to happen.  With a mother like me.

Although I am very good about not swearing in front of my children, I was forced to do battle with a giant, mutant killer bee that was trying to sting me in my jugular in the middle of my kitchen.

I dare you to not say 'shit' when you are doing this.

I had tried to kill the bee/wasp/vampire yellow jacket (I'm not sure what it was, but I guarantee you, it was not natural) ten minutes prior.  But all I did was piss it off. 

I presume I unknowingly bred this beast-insect myself, by accident. 

Stupid me, trying to be a good mother (I always get myself in trouble when I try and do that) I buy fruits and vegetables for my children to snack on.

Come to find out, you're not actually a good mother unless you take label reading classes, (which I'm sure are offered at your local Whole Foods!) and do extensive research to make sure none of your produce is genetically modified and has never been touched by an errant chemical molecule other than pure spring-fed water and liquid love.

I guess that's a great lesson to learn early on;  Motherhood is a tricky bitch.  Just when you think you're really on a roll, someone is going to tell you you're killing your children by not buying organic apples or by giving your child a baby carrot.  I guess baby carrots are a big chemically leaden no-no.  Color me surprised to find out that if I feed Henry carrots in that form, I may as well just dump chlorine all over him and light him on fire. 

I suppose my only option is to hire live-in help so I can fly down to Guatemala and source my own produce, fresh from the jungle.  I'm sure I'll have to be quarantined for an unspecified amount of time and when I get back Addie will be starting Kindergarten, but it will still be cheaper than buying an organic orange at Fresh Market.

Sorry, I got side-tracked.  It's probably a mental defect because I just ate a strawberry from Walmart. 

Very likely the same strawberry that the mutant bee-wasp snacked on before he grew fangs, breathed fire and decided to try and kill me.

The mutant was seen and heard buzzing in the kitchen light fixture (As Henry reminded me on repeat for 10 solid minutes.)

Henry: "Mommy, there's a bee in the light.  Bzzzzzzz. Mommy there's a bee in the light. Bzzzzzzzzz. Mommy, there's a bee in the light. Bzzzzzzzzzzz.  Mommy, there's a bee in the light. Bzzzzzzz. Mommy there's a bee in the light. Bzzzzzz........x 5000."

Me:  "Okay, go stand over there, love.  I'm going to get it so it doesn't kill us all."  (I guarantee if he grows up with an irrational fear of bees, I had nothing to do with it.)

I had already managed to show it my cards by trying to beat it with a JC Penny coupon catalogue. (Which I think just angered it even more.  In retrospect, the mutant bee-wasp just wanted to die with some dignity;  at the hands of the J. Crew Spring Catalogue.  It's the way I would want to go.)

In flashbacks, I remember seeing a glimpse of the wasp-bat as it emerged from the fixture and flew straight at my head. 

I screamed and danced around swinging blindly.

I vaguely remember noticing that there was no more incessant buzzing.  Which I slowly realized meant that the wasp-bat-snake was no longer airborne. 

However, I circled slowly and couldn't see it anywhere...

And then in a very "the call is coming from inside the house" moment, I realized I couldn't find it because it was on me.

And then I blacked out.

Me:  "Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit, Shit."

Finally, after an undetermined amount of time, I bested the bee-spider and it lay twitching on the kitchen floor.

Staring down at it, Henry said the same thing we all do when we've witnessed something so horrific and or awesome that our brain is having trouble processing it:

Henry:  "Shit, mommy."

It was hard to argue with that assessment.

I guess the real irony is, I'm told the world will end when all the bees are gone.

Maybe the upside is, by that time the evil (but, conveniently inexpensive) genetically modified food we've been ingesting will have given us superpowers.  Like wings. 

Probaby wings and gills. 

So we will be able to escape into the sea and survive the beeless catastrophe that I, once again unknowingly, and with the best of intentions, created for myself.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Formula = Not Unicorn Tears

Brace yourselves.  Or as Samuel L. Jackson would say,

"Hold on to your butts."

(Sorry, am I the only one who quotes Jurassic Park!?)

I have a fan.

Now wipe that shocked look off your face and let's all give a round of applause to my one fan, "J."

She is a new mom, living in Florida.  And she looks like a freaking super model or really, really classy porn star. (By the way you should take that as a compliment.  Because that is totally how I meant it.)

Super, super beautiful. 

Her long blond locks are always styled to perfection and she has a gorg baby boy. 

Sounds like Ms. "J" has been having a rough time lately.

Because being a new mom can be hard on a gal.  And that's just the truth. 

This shit ain't for the weak.  (I apologize, I'm kind of stuck in Samuel L. Jackson mode now.  I'm trying to turn it off.)

SO, I have had a request to write a little something about formula. 

And, if there's anything I can do to help out a fellow mom in need, well I'm damn well gonna do it.

So if you don't give a toot about hearing about formula, then go on your merry way and we'll see ya when we see ya. 

I am going to preface this whole discussion with this:

If you find yourself looking for formula because you tried breastfeeding and it didn't work out, or you breastfed as long as you could and now you are weaning baby, or you breastfed and now baby is weaning him or herself, or you're going back to work, or you just don't want to breastfeed, etc;

First of all, STOP CRYING.

That is step one.

(Cause, Lawwd knows, it can be hard.)

Put the baby down.  Wipe your tears and have a cocktail, girl.

We are celebrating.  No matter what you did, you tried.  And now you're moving onwards and upwards and your baby is going to be fine.

Better than fine, in fact.

Your baby will be fat and happy and smart and healthy. 

So, relax. 

Now, I'll tell you what I know (which might not really be more than the average Joe, but I will open up the floor to comments at the end; so hopefully if we pool our brains (?) we can all get something out of this!)

There are many, many brands of formula.  This can be extremely overwhelming for the formula newbie.  Because as a new mom, you want to make sure you are buying "the best."  And you will find that no one is going to be able to tell you what is "the best."  Because they are all good, and they will all nourish your baby.  The government has regulated baby formula, so each kind has to meet specific standards.  We began using Enfamil with my son, solely because those were the samples they sent us home with from the hospital. 

It could have just as easily been Similac. 

People have asked me in the past what kind of formula we use in the intensive care nursery, so for what it's worth, we mostly use Enfamil products in my nursery.  But we do stock Similac.  So don't take that as one being better than the other.  We are also sending many babies home now on the Gerber Good Start formula.  This is the formula that WICC is now using, so that's one I'm seeing more and more of.  There are also specialized (read, very expensive) formulas out there for infants with milk allergies, etc.

Now that you've chosen which brand you prefer, there are ten different options within that brand... 


As always, first consult with your pediatrician and see if he or she has any specific recommendations that would be particularly good for your baby. 

(And if you have a premature infant, or received special dietary instructions for your infant when it was discharged from the hospital, ALWAYS follow those directions.)

Adeline uses the Target brand Gentlease.

She was a farty little thing in the beginning, so we opted to try out the Gentlease formula which claims to help with gas and be easier to digest.  Just like "Gripe water" or Mylicon drops whether it actually makes that much of a difference is debatable. 

But, you will find, as a new parent you will cling to any shred of hope.  And then you will convince yourself that it is getting better. 

It's a survival technique.

And no, you did not read that wrong.  I did say we used the Target brand. 

Many new parents find it economically easier to buy generic formula.  I know people that have used Costco's generic formula as well.


(Geez, I feel like I'm yelling at you guys a lot in this post.  Sorry, I guess I'm just super impassioned by this discussion.)

You may find that you are not in charge of what your little Duke or Duchess drinks, anyhow.  The little tots can be picky!  You may be forced to give them whatever they will deign to drink.  For this reason I do not recommend buying a specific kind in bulk until you are sure that your baby will drink it.

(Same goes for baby bottles and pacifiers.  But that's a whole different post.)

If you are really struggling to find a formula that your baby finds agreeable, because baby is used to your breastmilk, you may try mixing them together to ease them into the new menu.

Ex.  If you're making a four ounce bottle, mix three ounces breastmilk and one ounce formula.  Keep decreasing the amount of breastmilk and increasing the ratio of formula.  They just may need a little time to adjust.

(We had to do the same thing with Henry when it was time to switch from formula to whole milk.  And it did work.)

I would not use this mixing strategy if, by doctor's orders, you need to have your baby on higher calorie formula.  Breastmilk and standard formula are both 20 calories/ounce, so mixing them will not change the net caloric intake.  If you are mixing plain breastmilk with a higher calorie formula it will dilute the caloric value.  And for little teeny-weenies that is not what we want.

We want fat babies!

Many new parents also find that their baby's poop-a-dupe changes drastically with the switch to or addition of formula.

And this is not uncommon.

Addie's poops turned army green.  A little off-putting, but completely normal. 

You will find there is a vast, vast range of what is considered normal in baby poop.  The color or consistency may change, and the frequency may definitely change. 

As always, if you have any concern, call your pediatrician. 

Lord knows.  I make our pediatrician work.

(Bloody stools, or stool that looks like coffee grounds = never normal.  Get your ass to el doctor.)

Since babies don't just chew on the powder, we have to mix it with water.

(God, babies.  So high maintenance.)

We use the jugs of baby water from the store. 

Much of this depends on the water in your area and the age of your home.  There can be varying levels of different elements in tap water that you may not want your baby to have.

We used tap water with Henry. 

We use bottled water for the princess.

Both children are perfect.  (In my ever-so-humble opinion.)

If you do decide to use tap water, let the faucet run a bit before you fill up your bottle, just to flush out the water that was sitting in your pipes. 

(Be a good person and save it to water your plants or something.)

It is not advised to use warm tap water for bottle mixing.  Use cold water and then a bottle warmer if you must.

Sorry this is getting long and boring.  But you have a baby now.  So, I'm guessing your days of fast-living are over, anyhow. 

So I'll just go on.

Breastmilk, like unicorn tears, has special properties. 

Freshly pumped breastmilk can sit out unrefrigerated for a period of time.

Mixed formula can not.

The directions say to mix what is needed for the feeding and discard unused after feeding or within one hour.

You guys be good and read the directions. 

Sometimes.  When God has his back turned because he's busy dealing with Lindsey Lohan or comforting a brokenhearted Taylor Swift; I will put a full fresh four ounce bottle back in the refrigerator after Addie takes two pulls off it and then decides she's not interested. 

This is against the rules.  I'm probably going to Hell.  But I do not let it sit out and I do not keep it in the refrigerator for more than three hours.  I will rewarm it for her next feed.  (I would not do this for a premature infant, newborn or other baby that may be more sensitive.)

Addie's a hoss.

Someone can write me a comment telling me about how I'm going to give her dysentery or make her explode or something and I promise I'll stop.

I just die a little inside when I have to poor that much formula down the sink.  I just see the money slidin' down the drain.

[Goodbye nice things See ya never.]

So I've written you a book.  About formula.

And still not addressed many things. 

But that's life.

Please feel free to leave additional questions, or PLEASE leave comments if you feel you have further wisdom to share.  Or tell me that I'm a fucking wing-nut and I'm completely wrong.  I adore those comments. 

Thanks "J" for reading and making me feel like a celebrity.

Just keep on keepin' on.  You got this, girl.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Delightful DIYs

For the non-SAHMs and unPinterest addicted (I think those two are probaby synonymous), I thought I'd share what you've been missing on Pinterest, while you're off doing fabulous things, having a fabulous time.

I'm somewhat of a serial-crafter.  I love me a good DIY.

These are some of the beauts I've stumbled across lately:

1.  Your hallway looking a little drab?  Need a little lift?

Just break out the glue gun and some old Kenny G CDs.

Seriously y'all.

When you have people over you may need to break out the acid wash jeans and your banana clips to complete the trip back to 1990 though. 

(I don't even know the rules about reposting pictures from Pinterest on here and for some reason can't get the source of this.  But since this blog is not a money making venture and no one really cares, I don't think there's much to worry about.   If you are looking for it on Pinterest, just search "broken cd mirror".   And then automatically unfriend me.  I don't think we're right for eachother.)

2.  I think it needs to be said that a white flip flop is a white flip flop. 

There is no dressing up a white flip flop. 

Or is there!?

Make a 99 cent shoe...look like a $2.50 shoe.

(If you're going to do this please follow the directions and 'just add a pedicure'.  I'm hoping that the pedicure will distract from the greasy black foot stains on your bedazzled flops.)
3.   Don't throw away your old paper towel rolls.

Please make these:

And then send me some pictures.

(Again, trouble finding a source. I did manage to find one link that wouldn't fully load.  It looked like it was in Swedish.  Those crazy Sweds.  Just search 'cardboard tube cats.'  And then message me and I'll give you my phone number and we can be best friends.)


People will put anything in a mason jar.

Here's a turd in a mason jar.

Put it on your mantle.  Or possibily hang it from a tree in your yard.  Which I guess is something else people do with mason jars.

I'm baffled, but I'm pretty sure if I wrapped a burlap bow around the top, heads would be heard exploding 'round the world. Or maybe just around the contiguous United States... below the Mason-Dixon line... east of the Mississippi.  Add a monogram and you could take over the South.

(If you need directions for this:  it's lights...stuffed in a mason jar.)


The funny thing is, I'm sure I know plenty of actual people in my life that would do this.

Unfortunately, I am not one of them. 

Legos are expensive, yo.

(Damn, I thought I had that Mom of the Year award on lockdown.  For all of you still in the running, just search 'lego invitation'.  And don't worry about it; I'll just assume ours got lost in the mail.)


DIY drawstring pants

There has got to be someone in this girl's life that said, I think straight leg may be a better look.

I feel sure of it.

Coming next week:  The DIY Magic Carpet. 

7.  Your dog will hate you forever.

Unless your whole family was going as the Fruit of the Loom characters, and you needed the dog to finish it out.

Then I'm pretty sure the dog would just be happy to be a part of something so amazing.

9.  I had no idea that college freshman everywhere were so eager to figure out how to make a projector for their dorm room.

Of course there are days when I think I can still smell the Long Island Iced Tea coming out of my pores and I graduated in 2005. 

I bet if I would've went to more projector parties I wouldn't have changed my major five times.

10.  Formula-feeding moms get dogged on sometimes.

But I'd just like to point out that I can repurpose my formula containers.

You can't mod podge scrapbook paper on your boobs and store colored pencils in them, can you?

Can you?

That's what I thought. 

Point to the bottle feeders.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

It's Two Lines, Toaster!


This post will contain the word 'fuck.'

Probably multiple times.

But it's only because it's part of the story I'm trying to tell.  I'm really not trying to be mommy gangster and scare you away with my sailor-mouth.

The story I'm about to tell is actually supposed to be inspirational.  Well, inspirational probably isn't the right word...

Supportive ?

Motivational ?

I can't quite pin down the right word.  I'll go with motivational. 

Personally, I think the word 'fuck' can be used to convey all of those things; I would buy ten Hallmark cards right now that said,

"You are a fucking great person."

And send them to all my friends.

But that's probably just me.

If it offends you, but you still somehow want to read this post then try substituting a different word whenever I use 'fuck.'

Like toast.

Or beehive.

I'll leave it up to you.

If you have not had children yet and think you are above the word 'fuck', just wait until the first time you spill eight ounces of pumped breast milk.

Beehive just doesn't cut it.

Back to my point.

These days we are bombarded with pictures of how things are supposed to be.  Movies, television...Facebook.  They work together to plant little seeds of expectation in mothers' and and soon-to-be-mothers' minds.

But it is hardly ever reality.

As someone I respect once said,

Facebook is just a highlight reel of someone's life.  It's not the whole story.

It can lead us to think we're doing things wrong when the real story doesn't play out like a scene from a Saturday afternoon Hallmark movie.

(Side note:  Hallmark Channel was killing it last Saturday with the movies.  I don't even care that they are all different versions of the same story.  Awesome.)

On a cold December morning 36 months ago it was that adorable seed of expectation fluttering in my belly as I prepared to tell Michael that I was pregnant.

(In my mind it was going to involve lots of laughter and joyful tears and possibly some lovely instrumental music.)

Me:  Well I'm not pregnant.

Michael:  It's okay, we'll just keep trying.

Me:  Psych.  I am pregnant.

(None of my fantasies of this moment involved using the word psych.  It's like I was suddenly in 5th grade again.  I blame it on the excitement.  Maybe the hormones.  I definitely blame the hormones for what happened next.)

Michael:  Wow! That's great let me see!!

Me:  {Excitedly showing off the pee stick.}

Michael:  I don't know.  The second line is awfully faint.  I can hardly see it...


  It's two lines, fucker!

Michael:  What just happened.  Shake it off.

Me:  Wow.

Just as my fantasies didn't include using the word 'psych', they also did not include calling my husband 'fucker'.

(Incidentally, the moment did also include laughter and joy.  Sadly, no lovely instrumental music though.)

This actually couldn't have been a more perfect beginning to our journey into parenthood. 

It is parenthood in a nutshell.

Impossible to plan, and almost never what you thought it was going to be.

(Mostly it's vastly better, occasionally far, far worse.)

Parenthood just happens.  It unfolds in front of you with no way of planning for the dips and dives.  But it's the dips and dives that you have to embrace.  They will be the highlights of your memories with your children.  I'm sure my parents don't remember every 'perfect' moment we ever shared, but they sure do remember the time I pooped all over the conveyor belt at the grocery store.

My lovely co-worker probably won't remember every 'precious' anecdote from her son's childhood, but when he's all grown up I'm sure she'll tell him that when he was two he liked to sit on the air vent and feel the breeze in his hair while he took a dump. (Who can blame the kid, really?)

These ugly beautiful, unexpected and crazy moments.

(Ugly beautiful is a thing. I made it up, or someone made it up.  It's something so hideous that it's sort of beautiful.  Like hairless cats.  Or most of the contestants on America's Next Top Model.  Or penises.)

So I guess my motivational message is:

Don't get caught up in expectation. 

Just let it unfold, and like we do when something totally unexpected, but nonetheless memorable, and oftentimes hysterical happens;

Just think to yourself, "It's two lines, fucker!"

Or, "It's two lines, toaster!"

(If that makes you more comfortable.)

P.S.  If any of my poor, poor in-laws end up reading this... hopefully not; this is not the story you heard. 

This is what actually happened.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fancy Nancy

Okay, I'm not proud of it, but I used to be a judgey-wudgey bear.

Okay, I'm not proud of it, but I probably still am a bit of a judgey-wudgey bear.


Now, I have shat out two children and have earned the right.

Under no circumstances do I want "Parenting Advice" (i.e. random facts someone heard once about babies, veiled in judgement) from someone that doesn't have children.

But, But, But, But:

I have lots of cousins.

But, But, But, But:

I used to babysit all the time.

But, But, But, But: 

My neighbor has kids and I watch them every third Saturday for an hour and a half.


Wrong answer, but good try.

Come back when you have stretch marks.

Things uttered by the bad childless friend (also goes by the aliases  "Fun and Fancy Free" (FFF), "Fancy Nancy" (who does that bitch think she is, always in real pants.) and "Judge Judy."

1.  "Wow, little Horatio is still waking up in the night to eat.  Geez, babies are supposed to be able to go twelve hours with out eating by this time!"

2.  "Goodness, little Henrietta still has a pacifier when she goes to bed.  Man, she's creeping up on three.  You better get rid of that or her teeth are going to be really messed up."

3.  "You give Franklin M&Ms if he behaves at the grocery store and stays in the cart.   Well, I guess bribery is one way to do it..."

4.  "Fart blossom isn't pooping in the potty yet!  Wow, she's four!"

Really, you don't say!

5.  "Just let them cry it out."

Sure thing, FFF.  That always sounds like such a great plan at 9:00 pm.

Oh how the picture looks different at 1:00 am. 

Do you want to come over at 3:20 am and listen to two hours of screaming, all the while knowing your other child will be up at 5:45 am come hell or high water. Or do you want to pop that paci back in???

6.  "Just turn the monitor off!" 

Another one of my favorites!

The joys of the "Starter House."

You don't even need a baby monitor.  You can hear a mouse fart when your bedrooms are two inches apart.

7.  "Why are you always late!?"

Hmmm.  That's a tough one.  Coming from a neurotically punctual person, who could never even grasp the concept of lateness:

"I mean, why don't they just get up earlier and give themselves more time... or leave earlier...there's really no excuse."

I'm pretty sure Jesus heard those words come out of my mouth at some point, as he has spent every day of the last two years making me regret them.

Children don't have organs, they have accidents.

They are chalk-full of accidents.  In every conceivable way possible they will slow down the process of whatever you are trying to do.

If Jesus had a toddler with him, it would have taken four days and nights to rise.

Count on it.

Preschool start time is 9:00 am.

I start getting them ready to leave at 7:00 am, yet somehow we are still always running through the parking lot at 8:59, with me yelling,

"Henry, show Mommy how fast you can run!!"

Things spill, people poop (ALWAYS two minutes before you walk out the door) and keys get "hidden."

And your toddler will not remember, ever, ever, ever, what happened to anything.

That is the only fact of parenting you can truly count on. 

8.  "I just can't stand to not wash my hair every day!"


9.  "You must enjoy napping while they nap!"

You know what, damn it, I do enjoy it!

It doesn't happen often, and on the occasions it does, I earned it.

So yes, I do enjoy it.

Keep telling yourself that because I get to nap for an hour during the day every two months my job is way easier than whatever it is you do.

10.  "When I have kids..."

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Sorry I tuned out because whatever you're saying is not going to happen.

I'm just going to save every mom, everywhere the time and energy: 


Unless, you have stared down the barrel of 2:15 am, a screaming toddler, a baby with croup and a double ear infection and a wake up time that even the devil can't conceive, I don't want to hear about how bad a pacifier is for my toddler's teeth.

We all know Judge Judy.  We all love Judge Judy.  She is a great person.  She just doesn't have kids.  Yet.

But we will rest comfortably (and slightly smugly) in the fact that she will someday.

And that fact alone, is enough to keep us going.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Check-Out Hood

I find myself a little scatterbrained as of late.  That being said, I'm having terrible trouble forming coherent paragraphs with a clear message. 

So lists it is for now, ladies and gents.

We are in the thick of toddlerism here.  Sometimes it's funny.  Oftentimes maddening, with a fair bit of completely embarrassing thrown in for good measure. 

Toddler Survival Tips/Unexpected Nightmares/Fooling the Toddler/ Why Didn't Anyone Ever Warn Me About This?

1.  They have been watching.  Yes, this whole time.

If we learned anything from Jurassic Park it's that we should all be scared of the Velociraptors.

Because they learn

Toddlers are tiny velociraptors.  Everyday they kick metaphorical pebbles at the electrified fence that is your mental and emotional stability.    

They are searching for weaknesses.  Flaws in the system.

They will find and exploit the weaknesses. 

2.  Toddlers are master manipulators. 

See #1.

The first time you realize that, "I wub bu momma" is not just a sweet sentiment whispered by your sensitive and adorable toddler, but actually the first step in an intricate dance to acquire Teddy Grahams. 

3.  Toddlers learn new words at an alarming rate.  While you may struggle with understanding their quickly growing vocabulary, no clearer words will ever be uttered than in the presence of judgemental outsiders. 

i.e.  grocery store clerks, preschool/daycare teachers, other moms.   

So when you pick your son up from preschool and the teacher pulls you aside and says, with an extremely concerned look on her face, that your child has said,

"Mama, divorce.  Mama divorce." several times.

You will then be forced to explain that it's because as you were flipping through US Weekly, you mentioned that you couldn't believe Bethany and Jason were getting a divorce. 

And then you have to face the questioning/disapproving look as the teacher tries to decide what is worse: 

That she thinks you're trying to cover up your own divorce; or that you read US Weekly to your toddler like other moms read bedtime stories. 

Telling her, "It's no big deal, he also knows the words 'faux hawk' and 'rehab'," will not help the situation.

Trust me.

4.  Toddlers are like little shadows. 

I have become so accustomed to this that I stopped giving it a second thought, long ago.

This results in your now very verbal toddler making descriptive proclamations to all who will listen.

In the check out line at Target,

"Mama poops."

"Mama poops brown."

When Henry's vocabulary includes the words 'mangled', 'saggy' and 'varicose veins'.  I know I'm going to have to be more careful of his whereabouts when I get out of the shower. 

5.  Television is not the enemy.  I don't know how many times I've heard that television is bad for my kid. 

Well, sure, if I plop him in front of it all day. 

But in doses, my friends, the television is your ally. 

It can buy you a few minutes to vacuum a room, scrub a poop stain out of your couch, sit down for five minutes to hook a baby to the old boob, or talk on the phone with your therapist....

I mean friend. 

Henry knows all of his letters and most of the accompanying sounds. 

And I can guarantee that is about 80% Super Why and 20% me/preschool.

Maybe 95/5.

6.  Another benefit of television occurs when your child adopts a favorite show.  You can use fictional television characters to get your toddler to do whatever you want.


Henry, Caillou loves to brush his teeth.

Henry, Caillou doesn't sit on his sissy's head.

Henry, Caillou loves to go to bed, it's his favorite.

Done and done.

7.  Check-out lines are toddler minefields.

I am in the process of devising some sort of hood that I can put on Henry's head while we wait to check out.

The presence of candy bars, match box cars and any number of other trinkets is just too much for him. 

I know the "Check-out Hood" sounds drastic, but I'm quite sure if I make it out of burlap, twine and decorative felt flowers it will become an overnight Pinterest sensation.

I never realized how much women love burlap (?)

8.  Don't fall for "kid's salons."

They woo you with their bright colors, fancy chairs and prizes, but I'm concerned that the employees have never actually learned to cut hair.

They have, however, watched Dumb and Dumber.

Capturing Henry's stunned attention was easy, I just said, "Hey look, there's Caillou."

Works every time. 

9.  Toddlers poop like adults.  

It's terrible and hideous and it'll give you nightmares.

As my husband so eloquently stated, "There's meat in that diaper."

10.  A toddler would eat a turd if it had Parmesan cheese sprinkled on it. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Different Viewpoint

If you're looking for something funny to read, you might want to keep moving. 

Cause mama's 'bout to vent.  And it probably won't be funny.  (It will probably be full of run-on sentences.  And it will contain no actual data that required research and reading articles...who's got time for that?  Just me, getting pretty damn fed up.)

I had to stop watching A Baby Story.  This used to be one of my staple shows.  I loved it.  I didn't even mind the birthing bathtubs and chanting peace mantras.  Whatever floats your boat. 

(From personal experience I can say some prettttty creepy mess comes out of the business-end before, during and after labor; the thought of soaking in those juices made me heave. So we opted out of the birthing tub.  But no judgement.  You work that tub girlfriend.)

I had to stop watching it because I just got so tired of hearing mothers talk about the "birth experience" that they wanted. 

Nay, expected. 

I got tired of hearing, "Women have given birth for centuries with no medical intervention.  Our bodies know what to do." 

While this may be true, please consider how many infants died throughout the centuries in these unassisted, squatting-in-a-barley-field births.  Probably upwards of 50%.  (Just throwing that out there.  There is NO factual data that supports that statement.  Just logic.)

Then the other day I had the misfortune of stumbling upon some "article" someone had posted on Pinterest that EVERY FUTURE MOTHER MUST READ!

Ahh, just the stuff I love (If you couldn't tell from my blog.)  Please enlighten me Pinterest!  (I am the most willing and avid student of Pinterest that has ever lived.)



That's a bold statement.  Now I'm really interested. 

I love the Internet.  I love google.  I love having information at my fingertips. 

I do not love that anyone can post things on the Internet (irony?)  I do not love that people can post data, possibly out of context that can affect many peoples' important decisions.

If you are a mother doing research on giving birth, I congratulate you.  You are being proactive and trying to gain all the information possible to have a healthy birthing experience.  And most importantly, a healthy baby.

(I fear, in this day and age, the "Birth Experience" of mom has come to lie in front of "Healthy Baby" in the grand order of importance of things...) 

Oh, you want to give birth on the beach, listening to the waves and have a sea turtle lick the cheesy mess off your baby so it can become one with nature right out of the womb?  GREAT!  Go right ahead!

I'm afraid a well meaning mother may come across articles that villainize western medicine and medical intervention. They may see the statistics that tell them they are 95% (a complete shot-in-the-dark percentage, totally made up) likely to have a completely normal, uncomplicated birth with out going to the hospital and enduring the wrath of all those evil nurses and doctors. 

How dare those evil nurses stick you with a needle and start an IV!  How completely unnecessary!

Unless, of course, an emergency arises and they need to do an emergency c-section to save your baby's life.  Actually it's life and it's brain function.  Or your life. 

Your life with your new baby...who now may or may not live because they had to take two extra minutes to start an IV.  Two minutes is a long time to a fetus that isn't getting enough oxygen to its brain.  Or God forbid, you start to hemorrhage.  Two minutes is a long time when you're losing blood at an alarming rate.

How dare those bitchy nurses make you wear fetal heart rate monitors!   How dare they expect you to be tethered to a machine while you're in labor. Don't they know you need to walk and chant and bounce on your exercise ball and go to the cafeteria for frozen yogurt?  After all, intermittent monitoring is proven to be just as effective!  Yes, how dare those nurses tether you to a monitor.  It really is useless

Unless, of course, your baby isn't tolerating the contractions as well as you think he/she is.  Unless your baby has a knot in its umbilical cord, and that knot starts to tighten as it reaches zero station.  Unless your placenta abrupts. Unless any other number of things happen that affect the blood flow to your baby.

When the blood flow to your baby is affected or the baby is not tolerating labor it drops its heart rate.  It drops its heart rate and hopefully it rebounds back up.  Hopefully, your intermittent monitor catches one of those episodes.  Hopefully, that umbilical cord knot you had no way of knowing was there doesn't start to tighten right after they get done with that intermittent heart rate check.  It'll be another 30 minutes until they check again.   I wonder what that would do to your baby?

I'll tell you what that would do to your baby.

Your baby's brain would slowly be suffocated.  It would not receive enough oxygen to maintain its metabolism and it would start to die.  When they did check your baby's heart rate again, it may be 30.  It may be 56.  It may be 85.  There might not be a heart rate.

A sustained heart rate of 60 beats per minute is when we start doing chest compressions in the neonatal intensive care unit.  That is when your baby would be ventilated with a bag and mask or other resuscitator. 

That is when your baby starts to turn blue.

When your birthing team realizes that an emergency is taking place you will need a c-section.  They will get your baby out as fast as humanly possible. 

And it won't be fast enough.

His Apgar scores will be zero at one minute, zero at five minutes. 

And, just maybe, they manage to revive your baby after five minutes.  Maybe his ten minute Apgar is two. 

That means your baby was dead...dead...and then barely alive.

The baby will mostly likely go on a cooling blanket to lower its core body temperature and try to save some brain function. 

He will most likely be diagnosed with Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy (HIE).   This means that the baby's brain degenerated drastically because it suffered a prolonged period of inadequate blood supply or oxygenation. 

Your baby most likely will have lost his reflexes.  He won't suck a pacifier.  He won't suck a bottle.  He will get fed through a tube that goes directly into his stomach.  He will be sort of floppy because he doesn't have the brain function to maintain adequate muscle tone.  That means his airway will be floppy too.  He won't be able to manage his secretions by swallowing and coughing, so a nurse will have to suction his airway when they start to build up.  Or about every 15 minutes.  If he doesn't get suctioned he will go into respiratory arrest and he will die. 

This is just a snapshot. A horrifying picture.  But I paint it because it's important.  I had a completely healthy pregnancy with my son.  I was not overweight, I was not diabetic. I followed all of my prenatal instructions explicitly. 

After my son was born we saw that he had a knot the size of a nectarine in his umbilical cord. 

Thankfully, it never tightened.  It never affected him.  At least that we saw on the monitor. 

But I rest comfortably in the fact that I was monitored.  Had something gone wrong, we would have known immediately. 

He would have been out immediately.  And that still may not have been fast enough.

But I would know that he didn't suffer because I wanted to labor on the beach.

The point of this post is not to scare pregnant women or expectant parents.  Quite the opposite.  It is meant to paint a picture of reality.  While there may be a 98% chance that everything will go perfectly, I challenge you to think of the other 2%. 

What they wouldn't give to change their situation.  To have made a different decision.  To decide that maybe the ability to jaunt around freely during labor wasn't so vitally important.

I don't understand why parents make every change expected of them to keep their baby safe during pregnancy and then question every single safety measure when it comes time for the birth.  When it comes time for the birth everyone wants to hand out their laminated birthing plan, detailing which interventions are acceptable and which are not. 

Everything that happens in the hospital is designed to get your baby out as safely as possible. 

Hospital protocols are not arbitrary.  They are not designed to make you feel trapped and unnatural.  They are not designed to lessen your birth experience;

Hospital protocols are put in place because of extensive research and past experiences.  Past tragedies.

Hospital protocols exist so that the terrible thing that happened to a bunch of people before you, doesn't happen to you. 

Doesn't happen to your baby.

I am a nurse.  I am a neonatal intermediate and intensive care nurse.  I have a job because things go wrong.

I wish things always went smoothly.  I wish I wasn't needed.  I would pay good money to unsee some of the things I have seen at work.

But I can't.

If you are pregnant, congratulations!!  You have wonderful things in store for you.  The odds are in your favor that everything will go perfectly :)  I want you to have the best birth experience possible.  I just felt I had to share the view from the NICU. 

It is a place I don't want to meet you. 

(I just know this post is inviting a whole bunch of people to chew my ass out and thow statistics and midwifery text books at my head.  Have at it.  This was just one person's opinion.  One side of the story I've never seen shared, and I thought it was just high time.)