On Her Flying Trapeze

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

January 2006 Tip Archives

  • 01.31.06 Valentine's Day - Romantic Surprises
  • 01.24.06 What's For Lunch?
  • 01.17.06 Eating out With Kids
  • 01.10.06 To the Happy Couple
  • 01.03.06 Name My Van - A Tip Day Contest!
  • It's All About the Flow

    Why did no one tell me this 3 years ago?

    At age 4 months, Laylee suddenly quit taking a bottle. Period. End of story.

    Magoo at age 3 months. Same story. In fact, I wrote about this cold-turkey experience in my second blog post.

    I love nursing but it is so frustrating to feel like you can never go anywhere for more than 2 hours because your child is completely dependant on your appendages for their nourishment.

    Now Magoo has 4 small, sharp, pointy, jagged, fangoreous, razor-sharp, pincer-grasping (did I mention sharp?) teeth. He's chewing the heck out of me right now and I'm in a ton of pain. It hurts way worse now than when I started nursing him.

    I wanted to go a full year, but yesterday I was right on the edge of giving it up. The problem, folks, is that he will not take liquid by any other means, besides my tattered and extremely painful breasts. I felt that if I "weaned him," he would shrivel up like a raisin and die.

    All of a sudden I got this thought, "Hey, maybe he doesn't like the bottle because the letdown from the breast is so much faster. Maybe I could punch a bigger hole in the nipple." So I did. He drank it. I've been pumping and bottle-feeding since yesterday afternoon with great success and I'm starting to heal.

    Maybe I'm the only dumb kid on this slow bus, but it didn't occur to me until yesterday that they sell nipples with different flow rates for an actual reason and that my kids might be "out-growing" their flow level.

    So I thought I'd make a public service announcement.

    When the lactation consultant says, "Have you tried all the different bottles and nipples?" she also means, "Have you tried all the different flow rates of each individual nipple? Do this and you may be able to get out once every few months or so."

    Tip Tuesday - It's Raining Romance

    Happy getting ready for Valentine's Day! You are, aren't you? Getting ready?

    I can see all of you now, individually wrapping each of your beloved's toothpicks and socks in heart-print paper, spraying perfume on be-jeweled handkerchiefs so he can carry your sent with him always, melting down hundreds of Dove bars to make a perfect chocolate likeness of your most treasured loved one. Yeah, me too.

    But this year, I want to go beyond the basics. What are some great ways to surprise that special someone for Valentine's Day?

    I'm talking good surprises, surprises that bring tears of joy and belovedness, surprises that cost very little money and can be prepared in…um….14 days or less, surprises that please and delight, surprises that can be talked about on a G-rated weblog where I don't really care about the most private details of your intimate relationship and will delete you if you decide you MUST share?

    I will give you a couple of examples.

    1. Last year for Valentine's Day I made Dan a "Book of Love". It contained all of the pictures we've had taken of the two of us (wedding not included) and cards listing the things I love most about him. It cost a total of about $20 and maybe 10 hours of work (I told you I'm not a great scrap-booker) but he LOVED it and now it's a family treasure we will keep adding to. I was actually surprised how few pictures we have of just the two of us. It seems we're mostly taking pictures of each other or the kids.


    2. Dan THINKS about me. When he finds ways to let me know he's thinking about me, it drives me wild. These include things like shining my shoes without being asked because he knew they were scuffed, making the bed while I'm in the shower, taking me out on surprise dates, buying me a fairly expensive but awesome book on HTML programming just because he knows I want to learn, giving me his Palm today because mine has died and my life would spiral out of control into an endless abyss of disorganization without it. Good surprises, all.


    I can't do the "Book of Love" again this year. It just wouldn't have the same je ne sais quoi. I need ideas, stat. What are you gonna do for the shmoop? What have you done in the past that's been a smashing success?

    As an added bonus, if you would like the shmoop to do something specific for you, send me your requests and I will provide a service this year where I send anonymous cupid-email to him/her, strongly "hinting" at what you would like done.

    Important Bulletin - Please visit Beth's site today. She has a new game and I believe she mentioned something about free advertising as an incentive for the winner.

    Sunday, January 29, 2006

    Hymnals are Hilarious

    hymnsSo says Magoo.

    Not in so many words.

    He hinted at it by gasping and squealing loudly every time we opened the green book of joy throughout church today.

    Close the book. Silence. Open the book. Shaking, flailing, laughing and gasping for breath. He then proceeded to zerb the book......repeatedly.

    If the people in front of us weren't feeling the Holy Spirit, at least they were feelin' something. It was my son's spit. Sorry.

    We are pretty much always late for church, but lately we've had this goal to go to bed early and get up early, even on weekends, so our body clocks will become more regular. I'm not exactly sure where they're kept but after 10pm, my stomach starts to tick if I don't eat some ice cream or nachos, so.......

    This morning we got up at 7 and church doesn't start until 11:30. (Okay! Dan got up at seven and I pretended to cuddle him the way my second dead fish is currently cuddling the plant at the bottom of his bowl. I curled limply around his arm and fell back asleep for 20 minutes.)

    That's 4 hours to get ready, people, and even with the de-mulletization I feel is necessary on the Sabbath, that still leaves at least 30 minutes to get the rest of the family decked out. We were SO going to be on time this morning.

    My fatal flaw is this - I always forget to allow extra time for the weird last minute things that come up, right as it's time to get in the car. This morning they included:

    -I had to reassemble Laylee's car seat from the laundry, due to a big-girl sized accident she had in it last night
    -I have a second child
    -I'm supposed to wear clothes to church. A slip and knee-highs (yes I said knee-highs) just don't fit the "dress code."

    With things like this coming up at the last minute, I don't know how I'm expected to be on time, especially since DYD was driving and let's just say that HIS special powers are of no use to us when it comes to getting somewhere in a hurry.

    For our secret plan today, we decided we HAD TO LEAVE by 11:00, even though it only takes 10 minutes to get there. So when we left at 11:17, fully car-seated, dressed, and dos-childed, we arrived on time, even though we left "late". Ha HA!

    I had second thoughts today about giving out my web address to people I know in real life when I walked in and was greeted with, "Hey. Nice Mullet!" (that is, assuming the person who said that reads my blog and didn't just see my hair and think it looked like a mullet….)

    Friday, January 27, 2006

    If I Were an X-Man

    Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.

    Somehow it came up in conversation the other day that Dan can eat more Whoppers than any of his fellow GEEKS (Genius Extraordinary Engineering Kick-butt Superstars) at MegaCorp.


    This became the topic of much conversation and it was decided that if he were an X-Man, that would be his special power.

    It's raining malted milk balls in your town. Men, women and children are running for their lives. Who do you call? Why, Daring Young Dad, of course.

    I too have a special power which I have mentioned previously on this weblog. Call it a gift, a talent, or a freakish genetic mutation. Lately I have an absolutely uncanny ability to get the best possible parking spot at all times.

    Today at Tar-zhay:


    Hate me, if you will. I only intend to use these powers for good, striving for a world where humans and brilliant-mutant-parking-spot-goddesses can peacefully co-exist.

    I have decided that from now on, parking spots will be the theme of this blog.

    Thursday, January 26, 2006

    Tuppence a Bag

    alki16Some girlfriends and I took our kids out to a slightly too fancy restaurant for lunch. It was a restaurant where, if you're lucky, a large sea lion will squash your car while you eat.

    Picture a classy restaurant overlooking the Puget Sound, full of business women and men and one table that had been accidentally transported in from Chuck-E-Cheese.

    3 moms, six kids aged 3 and under, a combined bill of over $70. The kids were boiling over onto the other tables, asking why they couldn't have sippy cups and why the napkins weren't made of paper. Crackers and grapes were strewn everywhere and they just wanted to get out and touch the water. I think everyone in the restaurant wanted to grant them that wish.

    alki1After the meal, we took a short drive and a little walk out onto the cement boardwalk. One friend had spent a dollar on a bag of bread so we could feed the seagulls. Not only was this the highlight of our day, but possibly the highlight of Laylee's life (she has a very short memory).

    The greatest things in life truly are free, or at least cost less than $70.

    They gather.


    Out comes the bread.


    Hold on to your hats and let the good times begin.


    Mine...mine....mine. Those Nemo filmmakers really did their seagull research. Holy crazy-attack-birds batman!

    alki5 mine

    Laylee seems unfazed, an angel with wings.

    alki6 angel

    Jumping for joy.

    aiki8 jump

    Birds, shmirds. Dude, where's my nap?


    10 points if you can see the Space Needle. Go Seahawks!


    She feeds them in a strange bowling motion...


    .....then laughs uncontrollably.


    And the kick is GOOD!


    All gone bread. It's okay. The seagulls are about to explode and we really don't want to witness that....


    ...so let's turn our attention to the..... monolith. This is apparently the birthplace of Seattle. From what I hear, it was a messy experience, no epidural, and no indoor plumbing.


    Real estate along the water is sold at a premium. Several brand new condo and apartment complexes rise into the sky. Amazingly, in between them are sprinkled smallish houses, some much more rundown and tinier than this one. I wonder who held out to keep their property when I'm sure the offers ran in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions.


    If this were my grandma's house, would I keep it for the memories after her passing or sell it to the highest bidder? I'm really not sure.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    To Live is to Learn is to Kill Your Fish

    Things I've Learned Today:

    1. When the sun is shining in The Seattle - in winter - after it's been raining for 30 days, you'd better run outside and enjoy it.
    It ain't gonna last.

    2. I was born to achieve grocery store parking spot super-stardom.
    It is my DEN-SITY.

    parking again

    3. I believe in euthanasia for fish…..if Karli performs it.
    Karli was over today when I noticed the mamma guppie all a-float. Her lifeless body was freaking me out so I asked Karli to flush it. She performed a tasteful funeral followed by the flushing.

    I then surprised myself by begging her to flush the other one too. He's still alive but he just lost his true love, who was probably bearing his love-children, he hasn't eaten in days and I don't want to watch him suffer. (Besides, what if he dies when Karli isn't over? I am not strong enough to flush another one. I'm definitely not strong enough to save the corpse and take it in for a rebate. That is just too sick.)

    Hennison will be sorely missed. Please keep Jack in your prayers. Karli refused to grant his pathetic plea for help.

    4. It is patently hilarious when I hold my laptop over my head, whilst screaming like a girl, to keep fat-boy Magoo from smashing it to pieces.

    5. If the power lines are on fire, call 9-1-1.
    My first instinct was to call Dan and ask him who to call. His first instinct was to say, "Hang up now and dial 9-1-1." Their first instinct was to say that I had made the right decision, especially considering the power lines were running through a forest… next to a residential neighborhood.

    6. Snow White's princess powers and identity crumble when the gown is in the wash.
    My mom called today and said, "Hello Snow White."

    Laylee hung her head and admitted sadly, "No. I'm just a girl." She was wearing a super-lame t-shirt and pants ensemble at the time. Preschoolers everywhere, ring out your derision.

    By meal-time the Snow was back on and she remembered to thank the Giver of all good gifts in her dinner prayer:

    Dear Heavenly Father,
    Thank you for our chili beans and table and paper towels and books and Daddy and Mommy and Magoo and a girl, um…. I mean SNOW WHITE, and our chili beans and mashed potatoes and white sauce and cheese. Jesus Christ Amen.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006

    And a Meme from Caryn

    Four jobs I’ve had:
    1. Selling things made of horse-shoes…in a booth…at "the mall"
    2. Piano Teacher
    3. Associate Librarian over a massive media department at a public library
    4. Marketing and Sales Coordinator for a digital library company

    Four movies I would watch over and over (today's choices):
    1. Not One Less
    2. Anne of Green Gables
    3. Singin' in the Rain
    4. Gates of Heaven - a doc about a pet cemetary

    Four places I’ve lived:
    1. Calgary, Alberta
    2. Florida Keys
    3. Provo, Utah - Go Cougs!
    4. Houston, TX

    Four websites I visit daily:
    1. Les Blogs - probably yours
    2. Frugal Reader
    3. Gmail
    4. IMDB

    Four of my favorite fattening foods:
    1. Spinach/Artichoke dip
    2. Two cheeseburgers at McD's (yes, I've seen Super-Size Me and yes, I always order 2)
    3. Nachos & Guac
    4. Breast milk - but not for me. This is for fattening up other people.

    Four places I would rather be right now:
    1. In bed.
    2. Cape May, NJ
    3. With my mom in her time of need, you heartless rodent hater!
    4. On a boat.

    Four bloggers I’m tagging (optional, but more fun if you do it!):
    Most all of my old-time blogging friends have done this, I think…….

    Anyone who has been reading my blog for less than a month, please do the meme thing, tell me you've done it and I'll come check out your site.

    Sophomoric Poetry

    Literally. Today I post a poem I wrote as a sophomore in college.

    I was always "one of the guys." Periodically I got sick of "the guys" confiding in me, taking me out on non-dates when actual "girls" had ditched them. Sometimes I developed feelings for these "guys" and then I got dramatic and went through stages of moping.

    Stage1: Write a poem.
    Stage2: Write a song (actually a line, sometimes only a couple of mournful words, strung together by a chord).
    Stage3. Paint an abstract depiction of my feelings.
    Stage4. (this stage equals total heartbreak and only happened once) Burn abstract painting in kitchen sink, asphyxiating roomates and leaving black marks on the cabinets.

    So the DYM has a whiney, self-pitying, destructive side? Umm...ye-ah!

    The touch of a Fool

    I know
    A fool in love
    With a woman
    I know

    Apologetic, whispering fingers
    To brush my shoulder
    A quivering knee creeps to meet mine

    He craves the touch,
    The truth of me
    To remind him of

    The woman
    I know
    He loves

    Tip Tuesday - What's for Lunch?

    Lunches are tricky for me.

    There are a few staple breakfast foods that I feel can be recycled every day - cereal, waffles, pancakes, Raisin Bran, French toast, eggs, cereal with milk, oatmeal, cheerios, grits, shredded wheat, cereal, muffins, and oh - did I mention cereal?

    Dinner is wide open, with choices ranging from family favorites to international cuisine (although we all know Indian food is best).

    Lunch eludes me. Lunch I cannot get a handle on.

    What makes a good sack lunch besides leftovers or a sandwich with carrot sticks?

    If you're dining in, what do you make for kids of all ages and for yourself? How do you present it?

    Right now Laylee will only eat one food per day willingly. This item is decided at breakfast time and will be requested for all snacks and meals throughout the day. Even as she is "eating" her actual meal, she continues to ask for the chosen item. I usually give her what she wants once per day. What she wants are waffles, cereal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and pizza. All fruits and vegetables must be forced or concealed.

    I have a dream that one day she will eat like a normal person, Dan and I will actually start packing him a lunch, and I will gain the willpower to stop eating large amounts of pasta every single day for lunch. When that day comes, I will go back to this post and use your suggestions.

    Just yesterday morning, a friend told me she was making soup to eat for the rest of the week every day for lunch. She said she was fed up and unable to come up with creative things to make for the mid-day meal.

    I figure that if each of us gives at least one original suggestion, we'll all have a lot to work with.

    I like my mom's idea of choosing a color for the entire meal. I remember orange days where we ate Mac&Cheese, carrots, oranges, and drank OJ. Very fun.

    For sack lunches, it's fun to do a bunch of snack foods - cheese cubes, hummus, veggies, crackers, ham cubes and a cup of yogurt.

    For me, I may steal the soup idea, making one of my favorite low-fat soups and eating some each day for the week.

    What have you got for me? What's for lunch at your place?

    Sunday, January 22, 2006

    In My Hood, They Call Me Snow

    White, that is.

    Who knew that with advanced age, your kids would also advance in funniness? And, okay, maybe weirdness.
    with pantsLaylee has been bedecked in Snow White attire for the past 2 weeks. All day, every day. Nighttimes too. I see no problem with this as long as she's willing to wear pants under her gown when it's cold and as long as I can launder it from time to time.

    When the shell of her alter-ego is spinning in the evil torture chamber of cleanly death, she frequently checks on it and asks me if it's done yet.

    Me: Go put your hand on the washer and see if it's still going "Rrrrrrrrrrr." If it is, Snow White isn't done yet.
    Laylee (leaving and returning a minute later): I think it's done.
    Me: I can hear it going from here. It's not done.

    Laylee then flops to the ground, pretending to sob. I flip the page of my magazine and eat another bon-bon.

    snow white

    Friday night, DYD comes home from work.

    DYD: Laylee! Can I have a big hug?
    Laylee (turning away with a snooty expression): NO!
    DYD: Oh, that's too bad.
    Laylee (turning back with a sly grin): My NAME is Snow White!
    DYD: Can I have a big squeezy hug, Snow White?
    Laylee: YES!

    At the dentist yesterday, we enter the office and the dentist says, "Hello Snow White."

    Laylee turns back to me with her mouth and eyes open HUGE and gives me an astonished look that says, "He knows my NAME!"


    We then go out for burgers and stop by the "mini-zoo" (read this - PETCO). Here we pick out new fish, guppies this time. We pick a boy and a girl, thinking it will be a riot to watch them reproduce and have little fishy babies.

    new fishLaylee names the daddy fish Jack (of course!) and the mommy fish Hennison (Don't ask. I have no idea.). She keeps asking when the baby fish will come out. When we get home, she watches a movie with the fishies in close proximity.

    We see no action. In fact, they aren't even eating their food so we may end up taking PETCO up on their Tropical Fish Guarantee. That's right—if your new pet bites the big one in it's first 15 days with your family, you can bring the corpse in for a new, live one.

    Dan wonders aloud if this guarantee works with the other pets they sell. You walk in, carrying your cat by the tail. "Our new kitty Buster Aloisius McFrick became roadkill last night. Can we please have a replacement?"

    Snow White has been cracking jokes left and right. My current favorite is her use of a quote from the movie Cinderella this afternoon.

    I was leaving for choir when she came up and asked, "Is that your dress?" flicking my wrap-around skirt open.

    Me: Yes it is.
    Laylee (with a twinkle in her eye): It looks like a blanket! Would you please hold my BROOM?! (breaking into hysterical laugher) That's what the stepsister says. It's so mean! (more laughter)

    I don't mind taking this kind of derision from Snow Laylee because:

    A. She's just experimenting with her sense of humor and comic timing.
    B. She is hilarious.
    C. She is barely 3.
    D. Earlier today we had this conversation:

    Laylee: You're doing a good job coloring Mommy!
    Me: Thanks. I like Care Bears.
    Laylee: I said 'You're doing a good job' and that was really nice. That's called encourgent!
    Me: Do you mean 'encouragement'?
    Laylee: Yes. I said something nice to you and you're doing a good job. That's called encouragement.

    One last random bit of dialogue:

    Laylee and I are coloring on the floor, concentrating hard on our masterpieces. A Raffi CD is playing quietly in the background.

    Swing low, sweet chariot
    Comin' for to carry me home
    Swing low, sweet chariot
    Comin' for to carry me home

    Laylee (laughing but not looking up): He's TOO BIG!
    Me: Who?
    Laylee: Raffi. He's TOO BIG!
    Me: Too big for what?
    Laylee: He says, "carry me home," but THEY CAN'T! He's TOO BIG! I'm little. You can carry me home. SOMEtimes. (shakes her head and laughs, never looking up from her coloring book)

    And, finally - Here it is, unstyled and un-product-ed:

    the shag

    Let's call a truce and dub it a "shag."

    Saturday, January 21, 2006

    Step Away from the Mullet

    May I direct your attention to - the new girl.

    "Why?" you ask.

    Okay. I will tell you.

    I'm not sure how she found my site but she emailed me with Blogger questions.

    When I asked her to send me her URL, she responded that it was www.shutupnoway.blogspot.com .

    That was not a joke.

    She calls her kids "Thing 1" and "Thing 2."

    She frequently wears a mountian climber's light, mounted to her forehead.

    She has been blogging for approximately 10 minutes.

    Check her out.

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    Chronicles of Hairnia

    Enough of the serious stuff. Let's get down to what you really come here to read about - my hair.

    Karen and my hair dresser and a bunch of other people have suggested using a blow dryer and round brush to transform the mullet-ness of the layers. I cackle.

    Me wielding a round brush and blow dryer to shape my hair would be as effectual as someone handing me a sword and asking me to defend my family from the invading Visigoths. My hairs, like my family members, would all lie down in a pathetic, defeated lump. Dead. All dead. No life remaining.

    However, thanks to the help of Karli (a real, outfit-wearing, hair-fixing, girl-type person), loads of styling 'product' and a lady I don't know who works at the local self-storage/shipping place, I think we have the mullet under control. It doesn't even look that bad.

    Walking into her little store, I asked the lady, "You are a stranger so you don't have to be nice. Tell me honestly, does my hair look like a mullet to you?" She laughed and said, "No."

    "Seriously," I said. "I know it's not a full-blown mullet, but don't you think it's a little bit over the edge towards the mullet side of the hair spectrum? I promise I won't get mad."

    She examined my hair and concluded that all I needed to do was to curl it with a big-barreled curling iron. Sounded easy enough.

    Karli was more ambitious. She came over with root lifter, spray gel, a round brush and blow dryer. When she was done, it looked pretty good.

    I did not wash said hair for fully 48 hours, afraid that it would combust into an incendiary display of mulletude upon air-drying.

    Yesterday morning I got brave and decided to try it myself, take an actual shower, and do a cross between Karli's wizardry and shop-lady's suggestion. I applied the product to my roots. I blew it dry with my head hanging upside down.

    Then came the part where I was going to curl it. This was easier said than done since every piece of hair on my head is now a different length than the ones next to it.

    Laylee: What are you doing?
    Me: Curling my hair.
    Laylee: Are you curling your hair?
    Me: Yep. Not very well.
    Laylee: You're curling your hair?
    Me: Yep.
    Laylee: You're not doing a very good job.
    Me: Thanks.

    But it ended up looking good and now I'm embarrassed to post the pictures because they don't look like a mullet at all.

    The front view:


    The back:


    The side:


    The highlights:


    The good news for you mullet-hungry readers out there is that I will not be willing to spend 40 MINUTES EVERY DAY to achieve this look, so next time I get out of the shower and let it air dry, I will take a picture for you too.

    After a windy trip to the park, the giant natural blow-dryer had transformed it a bit and I liked it even more. I'm now considering installing a wind-tunnel in the master bathroom.


    If I pulled it up, I looked a bit like that weird hair lady from Cold Case (never seen the show due to irrational fear of weird hair).
    cold hair2hair8
    So what is my point exactly, besides none whatsoever?

    There is a Mullet-O-Spectral Scale against which all hair can be judged. My hair cannot truly be defined as a mullet but it definitely falls closer to the Mullatial end of the spectrum than I am comfortable with. Here's a rough sketch of the scale as I see it:

    Mullet Scale

    I hope that clears things up for you. Basically, as my hair gets shorter or less uniform in length, I freak.

    And, if all else fails, I wear a hat!

    I promise never to post that many pictures of myself ever ever again.

    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    Trusted Advisors

    Someone recently told me that I'm not as funny via email as I am in my blog. Well, sometimes I'm not as funny in my blog as I am in my blog. So here goes one of "those" posts.

    Very Mom's post yesterday got me thinking about trusted advisors.

    A while back we were refinancing our home. A few days before we signed, I had some questions but I couldn't get ahold of our mortgage guy. The day of the signing I started to freak out. None of the documentation made sense to me. I didn't have a degree in finances or legalese. What if our mortgage advisor was taking advantage of us and trying to rip us off? He called me back in the nick of time, explained everything to me in a way that made sense and has proven accurate and above board. Then he gave me the "trusted advisor" talk.

    It goes something like this:

    We can't go to medical school, law school, accounting school, investment banking school and all the other schools out there. So sometimes we need to research and find a trusted advisor (I'll add here, pray about who you pick) and then trust them to guide us in making some pretty major decisions. By all means, do your research but in the end if it seems inconclusive, listen to the person you hired to guide you.

    I was a bit miffed when he gave me this talk because I didn't particularly trust him but I'd researched as much as I could, took a leap of faith and followed his guidance. It turned out very well for us financially.

    When I was going around and around in circles, reading everything I could find, trying to decide whether or not to immunize my kids, I finally came to my pediatrician whom I love and trust and said, "I'm scared to do this. There are so many books and articles against immunizing. It doesn't seem necessary and there are so many risks. Is there mercury in these shots? (answer - no) I know the medical community pushes immunizations. What I want to hear from you, is - do you immunize your kids?"

    She said she did so I did. I do. I'm not sold either way, but in the end I had to trust someone and so I picked her.

    Very Mom's post was about IUDs and the fact that some people say they are an abortive method of birth control. I had always heard that too.

    A week after the birth of my second child, with no history of mental or emotional illness, I had a dramatic and terrifying dive into the world of Post Partum Mood Disorder. I became terrified, unable to sleep, eat, or keep food down. I lost weight rapidly and experienced hot and cold flashes, panic and anxiety attacks. I almost completely lost my breast milk, though I pumped every two hours in hopes of keeping some supply for when I got better.

    My days and nights were filled with waking terrors and for several weeks the thought of death seemed like a welcome release. I was almost totally unable to function and needed to be babysat around the clock. Everyone said I was the last person they expected this to happen to and I agreed. I think I scared a lot of people.

    It was the closest thing to hell I have ever experienced and I pray to God never to go through something like that again, though we do plan to have more children.

    In the end, after a visit to the ER, afraid my body systems were going to completely shut down, I was referred to a well-known post partum specialist who I believe saved my life. You can't go on for long if you never sleep and throw up everything you put in your mouth.

    I have never prayed or devoted myself to God as I did during those weeks. In fact, many of the religious practices I started out of desperation during that time still linger on and have had a positive influence on my family. I was reminded that sometimes God heals people through an instant miracle and sometimes he heals them by inspiring good people to come up with amazing medical treatments.

    The specialist put me on medication and within 3 days I felt completely like myself again, not drugged, just like Kathryn. I had always said I would never use "mind altering" drugs. I had always harshly judged people who did.

    Dan convinced me by saying, "Your mind has already BEEN altered. What we need to do is alter it back. If you were diabetic, you would take insulin. Your body has a chemical deficiency. Replace what's missing.

    If you had lost a leg, you'd use a prosthetic limb. Sure, it wouldn't be as good as your own leg, but at least you wouldn't be hopping around on one foot, saying, 'I'm too proud to use a crutch.'"

    I was humbled, scared, and right before taking the medicine for the first time, I called my doctor's emergency line, bawling and begging him to call me. "Please tell me about the studies again. Tell me how the medicine won't affect my baby through the breast milk. Tell me I won't be on this forever. I'm so, so scared to take it and I'm so so terrified not to."

    My new-found trusted advisor quoted the studies. He told me of his past experiences with women over 20 years, dealing solely with post partum issues. He calmed me and I trusted him.

    Then it was time for birth control. I needed to be on the above medication for my family to function. I refused to be on it while pregnant. Also - Magoo, weighing in at 10lbs 8oz, had caused significant damage to my body and I was unable to walk normally or even lay down in any position but flat on my back. I had to use a special lifter to get my legs in and out of bed.

    I could not be pregnant. I could not trust the rhythm method, or the fact that I was nursing (yes, my milk came back) to keep me from becoming pregnant. I was told that going on the pill would only worsen my PPMD symptoms and so we explored our options.

    An IUD was suggested by my Obstetrician, someone I have trusted with my life and one of my most trusted advisors. He brought up the fact that outdated literature suggests that IUDs cause a woman's body to abort the fetus and, knowing my religious background, he wanted to address that. I am a firm pro-lifer.

    He said that the device has been shown by more updated research to act basically as a spermicide, disabling the sperm so they are unable to fertilize an egg. I haven't read all the studies. Religious websites say one thing, choosing to believe studies done in the 70s for their information. Planned Parenthood says another. I don't really trust either.

    My doctor is my trusted advisor. He's read the most recent stuff. He knows my concerns. I feel strongly that he shares my beliefs. I believe him. I don't have access to all of the studies and if I did, would I understand them?

    He is my trusted advisor.

    (And don't think I blindly follow any doctor's advice. I used a midwife the first time around in another state and loved her. I couldn't find one that I felt great about here so I went the MD route, which turned out to be a majorly great decision considering Magoo's size and the complications. I even switched OBs 5 months into the pregnancy when I realized that I didn't really trust my advisor, no matter how many people had recommended him to me.)

    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    Pumpkin Face and the Philosopher

    jack-oMagoo now has two teeth. The first one sprouted on the bottom and the other is kitty-corner on the top. He has been accused in the past of being a "punkin head" but now I think he looks more like a jack-o-lantern.

    Yesterday we were driving along and out of nowhere:

    Laylee: My fish named Jack swam out of his spirits and now he's with Nemo.
    Me: Oh, really?
    Laylee: And he said, "Hey Nemo! I'm dead!"


    I've taught her so well.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    Tip Tuesday - Crayons, HA!

    We love the Mexican restaurant in our hood. The food is decent, the service is good and it is ridiculously kid-friendly. (I can't use the word ridiculous anymore without thinking of my brother who suddenly started saying, "It was so diculous, it was RI-diculous." Cracks me up in an I-must-have-been-a-14-year-old-boy-in-another-life sort of way)

    We often leave our table with a 3-foot blast radius of red rice and pinto beans and they still act like we're their best friends (and this doesn't include the mess Dan and I make, although most of mine usually lands on my convenient nursing shelf).

    "Niña!" they shout as Laylee walks through the door. Throughout the meal she is repeatedly rubbed on the head, grinned at and called Niña. (That is not her name, but we don't want to make them feel bad.)

    Some restaurants are not so good on the kid-friendliness. I love it when an 11-year-old heavily pierced waitress hands Magoo a box of crayons (for food?) and brings Laylee one of those tiny wooden highchairs. Technically, I'm sure I could squeeze her patoot into the 10 inch opening but then "technically" she would go mental and clear out the joint. So, we graciously decline the offer. She's a BIGIRL! Do you hear me?

    My main tip for maintaining sanity while dining out with kids is - SPOONS.

    spoons1 Yes, mi amigos. We ask for a large order of spoons with our drink order. We hand one to Magoo. He sucks on it until he gags himself and then throws it overboard. 2 seconds later, we hand him a clean one. The sucking, the gagging, the tossing. Periodically, he bangs it charmingly on the table. Everyone at the surrounding tables loves that trick. It is a fabulous game that has gotten us through many meals without baby mind-lossage.

    spoons2 I'm sure you all have good suggestions, maybe even as good as SPOONS (although I'm skeptical) that will work to occupy a baby during dinner. But how about older kids? What's your plan? How is it executed? I want to see blueprints.

    This Tip Tuesday suggestion is brought to you by Karen.

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    Who Cares?

    parkingToday I got the sweetest parking spot in the history of ever at the grocery store. (No, I did not park in the handicapped parking. How rude of you to ask! Bad hair is not considered a mobility impairment.)

    It was the uber-dy bestest parking spot in all the land and there we were, me, Vinny and the munchkins. I didn't want to get out of the car. In fact, with a spot like that, I pretty much decided to make the Grocery Mart parking lot my home.

    You may be asking yourself, "Why do I care that you got the best ever-living should-be-reserved-for-the-mobility-impaired parking space EVER?"

    I'm asking myself the same thing, "Why do these people care about my parking spot? Or how many blankets it takes to suffocate Magoo? My kids' poop? My post partum drama? What my husband and I talk about when it's WAY too late at night? How we got the train? My fish?"

    Blogs are weird.

    Why do I care that Shannon needs to get out more? That Blackbird's kid just got his braces off? That Beth has a mom you wish you lived next door to? Or that Mel had the best Christmas Card photo ever?

    Is it ridiculous that I really want to know how Angela or Jessica met their husbands? If Regina really looks bad in hats? How old Katy actually is? What kind of scary MacDonald's Lou attends? (can you say "attends" when you're talking about a fast food joint?)

    And yet, I can't stop. Heck, they wouldn't post it if they didn't want me to read it, right?

    Blogging keeps me connected with friends old and friends new. It lets me think I can write, giving me confidence to carry on with other projects. It gives me a void to send my thoughts out into and sometimes I get a response that affirms me or encourages me to do a 360.

    It's a show-and-tell, a therapy, a vice, an art-form, a documentary, a support group and a venting session all rolled into one.


    Blog on, my friends.

    Sunday, January 15, 2006

    All of the Whatever

    First of all, I have been FORBODDEN by my husband to post a picture of the mullet, which he says is not truly a mullet. He thinks it looks okay, it will grow out, and posting an image that I think is unflattering, to last forever and ever in cyberspace is just a bad idea.

    This is sad because I think that picture may have been my last possible chance of upping my ranking in the BOB awards. There are rumors that the voting trends have to do with chest size (I know this is not true because I am only in 5th place right now), self-deprecating post titles (got em), or number of children (We're just getting started baby. We've got nowhere to go but up).

    I think if mullet pictures were thrown into the mix, we could really turn this whole competition on its head.

    Alas, maybe Dan is right. It's just not meant to be. I will be doing something to take the "long" out of my "short-long" but I haven't decided what yet. My friend's baby showed up at church today with the best hair I have ever seen.

    baby b hair

    Hmmmm...... How would it look on me?

    baby b hair mom1

    Van news - Our new license plate just arrived and it says IOU and then a number. If you see me driving around, don't get your hopes up. I don't owe you nuthin'!

    Laylee news - She wears her Snow White dress at all times, and in all things and in all places. She has informed me that the bar soap in the bathroom is for princesses only. I am welcome to use the clear liquid soap. That is for mommies.

    Magoo news - He's now a crawler, a creeper, a stander, and a cruiser - resulting in MFBHT.

    Massive Fat-Boy Head Trauma:
    Pull self up to stand.
    Laugh so hard that breathing ceases.
    Fling head backwards or forwards.
    Fall and slam head into hard surface.
    Look stunned or cry (if someone makes eye contact with you).

    Saturday, January 14, 2006

    Sometimes You Feel Like a Mullet

    If you wake up on a Saturday morning and your hair has been cut in a mullet, you just know. You don't have to look in the mirror. You may not even need to run your fingers through your hair. You just feel different.

    You may feel the need to play a couple of periods of hockey to get your blood circulating or maybe you just want to consume large amounts of pork rinds before scavenging for spare headlights in your front yard. Either way, you'll know.

    Because of my New Year's resolution to spice up my hair-do, I excitedly accepted the offer to join Karli's hosted haircutting hullabaloo with my favorite stylist. Katie periodically comes out to the home of a local mom and cuts/colors everyone's hair while we watch each other's kids. She's awesome and charges a pittance when we get a group together.

    My last cut was a damage control chop-job to cut down on the mental anguish caused by seeing large chunks of my hair fall to the shower floor each morning….that I showered.

    So this time, I wanted to do something really fun. I decided I wanted my hair highlighted and cut to look something like this. What I really meant was that I wanted a team of stylists to come live at my house and make my hair look like this every morning.

    As Katie was cutting away, she said, "I know you're sort of a low maintenance hair person (understatement of the year) so I'm not cutting your hair exactly like that picture. If I did that, it would end up looking sort of like a mullet. I'll make the layers a bit longer and give you fewer bangs."

    Ack! Bangs! Were those bangs in that picture? This was all too scary. Although there was no mirror in the kitchen, I closed my eyes for the remainder of the cut.

    When she finished blow drying and styling, it actually looked pretty great, despite the fact that I was repeatedly blowing the sexy messy bang chunk out of my eyes, my lower lip extended.

    Driving home, I had the thought, "I may never be able to make it look like this again. I should drive to all my friends' houses to show them that it was a cute cut once." I resisted the urge and I regret that decision.

    As soon as I woke up this morning, scratching my hairy pot gut, I knew it. I now have a highlighted mullet.

    I don't blame the stylist. She tried to warn me and fix my mistake. I know she will see me through this. I think I mainly blame Liz for suggesting that I come up with resolutions this year.

    It actually may be a very nice cut. I'm just not good at hair. I'm not good at doing it or having it, really, in anything but the most basic style.

    At least the highlights don't look like zebra stripes. They are my first and I will always be able to look back on them fondly.

    DavidBowieThe first time I got layers was not nearly so fortunate. My sister was using me as an experiment to learn how to cut layers and when she finished, I distinctly remember crying and bawling, "I look like David BOWIE… in Labyrinth!"

    But that grew out. I suppose this will too. Until then, I've got me some monster-truck-rally tickets to buy.

    Update: Karli has just promised to instruct me in the feminine art of hair care and styling. We shall see what kind of pupil I make.

    Friday, January 13, 2006

    To Save this Message, Press 9

    I have an aunt who's fighting hard to kick Cancer's butt and send it home crying to its mother. She became my aunt when I married Dan 4 years ago and I instantly loved her. She just felt like my family. She is an encourager, a finder-outer, someone who wants to know everything that's going on in your life and make you feel special - minus the sugar shock often associated with such people. Her killer sense of humor also helps.

    Tonight I checked my cell phone messages while grocery shopping and there was a message from Aunt J, congratulating me on the success of my blog and telling me how proud she is that I am part of the family. She told me how much she loves me and how proud she has always been of me. To have a woman like her leave me that kind of a message brought tears to my eyes, in the grocery store. I guess she's trying to send me home crying to my mother too.

    I will never delete that message.

    I have a few messages that have touched me in that way and I have saved them until a move or job-change has forced me to erase my entire inbox.

    It got me thinking about all the talking, emailing and instant messaging I do every day. I send letters and thank-you notes by snail-mail as well. Words, words and more words are constantly spewing forth from the DYM.

    I want to leave more messages that won't ever be erased.

    Losing in the Dark is Fun

    Correct that to read more fun.

    I have some practice under my belt.

    Elections for Grade 5 student body president. We write names on pieces of paper. The teacher counts them in her head (Jeff Probst could learn a thing or two about counting from Mrs. Rung) and then lets us know that I lose. So the boys didn't like the pink frosting on my campaign cupcakes. Big dealy-o! The defeat is quick and nearly painless. Like a lip wax, just rip it off.

    Senior Year of College. I'm up for a College of Fine Arts Award. We finalists embarrass ourselves in front of a panel of professors. They talk behind closed doors. A week later I get a runner-up thingy at an awards ceremony and proceed to take my date out for ice cream. We have no second date. I think he ran off with the winner.

    Last night JT and his posse of BoB Award death marchers (a moment of silence to weep for their lost sleep and possibly lost minds) put up the official voting system on the site.

    "Sweet," says I. I will vote for my favorite blog.

    I proceed to do so.

    Up pops a results/body-count vote tally mechanism of death.

    The silent scream.

    The not-so-silent scream.

    I say a quiet prayer that they will close the voting tomorrow. Watching these votes come in will be like watching my own demise.... in slow-motion.... on the internet.... in front of thousands of people.

    Now, I'm not asking you to make me the Seabiscuit of the BoBs, but for the love of string cheese, please don't leave little Katie out on the school ground getting her butt whipped with cupcake frosting smeared all over her hair, while thousands of 5th graders look on.

    Basically, what I'm asking is that you don't leave me hanging with one vote….cast by someone living in the greater Seattle area…..who shall not be named.

    As my husband and Mr. Trump repeatedly remind us, "losing" in a contest of this
    nature is not a loss, but a tenth-place finish in a large group of amazing contenders.


    And still I beg for mercy.

    Thursday, January 12, 2006

    Quick! I Need to Puree this Concrete Block!

    No problem, you can borrow my Ultimate Chopper. You may also borrow it to make babyfood, but it just doesn't have the kahones to do spinach. Sorry.

    cheftonyThis offer brought to you by late night feedings with Laylee, hours of infomercials, and a chef, yes, a chef - named Tony.

    It was late. There was lactation, yawning, flickering blue light and a chef's hat. I distinctly remember the chef's hat. A small person was eating me and Dan sat stoically by my side.

    The knives, the glorious knives.

    Shining, chopping, slicing tomatoes, meat, steel pipes, sweater-vests, various pieces of metallic currency.

    All for the low payment of $3.86 every fortnight for the next 13 years. The amazing deal that would only last for 10 more minutes. 9…..8……

    I switched the channel.

    Me: Those are lame.
    Dan: (staring straight ahead) Yeah.
    Me: But they make them look kind of great.
    Dan: Yeah.
    Me: So manipulative.
    Dan: (casually) I have the 800-number memorized.

    This started a chain of events, now beyond our control. Chef Tony knives and other kitchen apparati grace the kitchens of several family members and friends.

    I can now puree a brick….but again, not so much with the spinach.

    Rumors Confirmed

    Congratulations, interrogations, this, this, and now "The Twinge" is back.

    But, I like you all. I'm just skeered, and I don't have much info yet. Peace, yo!

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    Doctor Holmes

    docIt's elementary, my dear Daring One, but you will need to wait 90 minutes to be seen.

    Rumor has it that a new Peds office is going up 3 inches from my front door sometime in the next 3 days to 10 years (the grapevine is amazingly inaccurate, I find). So I wanted to check out the doctor who is rumored to be moving here.

    Magoo's had a cough for 2 months, so I thought, "That's a good excuse to see this guy. What the heidi-hay? Why not spend an hour in a germ-infested flu chamber?"


    In the waiting room, a poor lady loses her marbles. She's pulled her kid out of school, gotten a babysitter for the others and she's been waiting forever. It turns out they double-booked the doctor and we are scheduled to go in at the same time.

    She calls someone on her cell phone and freaks out.
    She talks to the receptionist.
    I try to lighten the mood. I guess I'm not that funny.
    She calls someone on her cell phone and freaks out.
    She talks to the receptionist - LOUDLY.
    We all feel bad for her but….WOW!
    She calls someone on her cell phone and refers to me, saying something like, "Of course SHE'S not freaking out. Back in the days when I just had little kids at home, I could spend all day in the doctor's office and it would be no big deal."

    (This is funny. I guess now SHE has a life or something. Phew! I'm sure glad I don't.)

    I'm actually not freaking out because it won't change anything, people are giving the marble-less one crazy cukoo-eyed looks, my kids are enjoying the fish tank, and I feel strangely that I'm getting my comeuppance for my tardy laster-time at the doctor's office.

    This is a different doctor, a different office, and a different practice, but aren't they all somehow in cahoots? If they put a big fat red flag on my file in one office, I bet alarms are going off in doctors' offices all over the state when they see my number on the caller ID. This woman is a late-ish person who must be punished. And so I wait.

    After an hour and a half, they call me back first, even though babysitter-can't-keep-the-kids-anymore-her-daughter-is-missing-phonics-cell-phone lady arrived before me. Her mouth flops open and she makes a sound like, "Gahgk!" and shakes her head. I beg for mercy. I beg them to take her back first.

    She softens, her face returns to normalish and she tells me it's one of the nicest things anyone's ever done for her. That is sad.

    The reception staff and the entire lobby (seriously, the fish and furniture included) breathe a collective sigh of relief.

    I think the doctor, who turned out to be a freaky-genius mastermind of medicine, apologized approximately 43 times for the wait and proceeded to pace back and forth asking questions about my family and the state of our health.

    The interview ended with a pause, a clasping of hands and then, "I have a theory, and if you'll permit me to look in your daughter's ears, I predict that her round of antibiotics has not worked, that her ear infection is still there and that your son and husband (not present) have sinus infections."

    doc2By Jove, he was right!

    As I left, the nurse thanked me for my patient's patience and laughed that they would put a gold star on my chart. I stopped dead in my tracks. "No. Seriously. Please put a gold star on my chart. It would mean a great deal to me."

    She could tell I meant it.

    She said she would.

    I will be checking.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    The Mighty Muffin is Reborn

    Just came back from a totally fun and wild baby shower where it was discovered that nearly all of us are afraid of mirrors in the dark, I was deemed the most likely to be a fun drinking buddy (if I were ever to try alcohol), and we were THIS close to playing stiff as a feather, light as a board…..er, light as a feather, stiff as a board.

    But that's not what this post is about. That is for another day. That is for the day when I post about Karli taking me on a fun girl's getaway and then letting me sleep alone in a dark room with a wall made entirely of mirrors and a "wicker bed" (read this - tinder box with a mattress on top) pushed up against an electric heater…..Ah, memories.

    Back to the van. This was probably the most fun we've had with comments. There was much of laughter and much of "discussion" as we "narrowed it down" to 20 and then we were stuck and couldn't go on.

    This was when I stopped the awards process to ask you all for ways to save our marriage. I kid. I kid. It's all in jest.

    And the name is………… dun dun dun…….Vincent Van Gogh (Vinny for everyday use).

    van award small

    Thanks to GINGER for coming up with the winning name!!! Go by and check out her site Joyful Woman. She's a real "upbeat lady" (to quote Groundhog Day) and she rocks.

    We picked the name for its artistic and historical significance, for the fact that the van's ear…er…side mirror was gimpy when we purchased it, for its Rah-Rah-bility (go-Van-Gogh!) and because it's just a flippin' cool name all around.

    For the memories and for those of you who want to pick over the table scraps, here is a list of all the names. The first paragraph contains our VERY favorites but we liked pretty much all of them. Thanks for playing.

    Sparky, Art Vandelay, Ichivan (Ichiban means #1 in Japanese), Jean Claude van Damn, OyTota, Vandemonium, Ralph, Van Go, Van Winkle, DYVA (Daring Young Van is Awesome), LAMAR (Laylee and Magoo's Awesome Ride), La Chaussure (Chaussy)

    Lucy (in the sky with diamonds), The Golden Ticket, Toddler Tanker, Miss Shirley Van de Haulin', Hugo, Solid Gold, Gold Rocket, Kid Rocket, van Kong, Van Helsing, Murphy (murph), Vincent van Gold, Golda MyVan, Van Halen, Goldie, Bob, Vantastic, Vanna Gold, VanDanner, Henrietta Sugarcookie, Miss Piggy, Double Dog Dare, ad-Van-tage, Van-dal, Fiesty Sheila, Biff, Scriganesh, Kiki, Vanessa, Goldie Van Der Van, Marvin the movin' Mormon Van, The Rocket Sled, MidasMobile, Yellow Dart, Quick Nick, The Sube, Flying Flobbit, Cultured Cruiser, Ralph, Vanna Gold, Mortimer the Minivan, Vantasy, Frank, Skiffington (skiff), Sandy, Marmaduke, The Silver Bullet, Petunia


    Laylee: What's this?
    Me: It's something special.
    Laylee: What IS it? Is it an envelope?
    Me: It's a special paper for your baby.
    Laylee: What IS it?
    Me: It's your Cabbage Patch Kid's birth certificate.
    Laylee: Is it in an envelope?
    Me: Yes.
    Laylee: OH! (pulling it from the envelope) What IS it?
    Me: It's your baby's birth certificate.
    Laylee: Iiiiiii think it's a big napkin.
    Me: That's why you don't have access to the family records.

    Dan: That's bloggable.

    Tip Tuesday - Where's the Love?

    the lookWe've all done it. Sitting around a table at a wedding luncheon, engagement party or reception, we've given advice to the happy couple. I for one have next to no recollection of the advice that was given to me and my husband around that table.

    Do you? The wedding was a joy and a blur and listening to Great Aunt Ida tell me about what carried her marriage through The Depression got lost in the moment.

    weddingI'd like the advice back now. So, Aunt Ida and anyone else who'd like to participate, if you had to give one piece of advice to a newly married couple, what would it be?

    The one that really sticks with me and that has served us very well in our marriage is - Never put each other down, even in jest.

    I hear too many people calling their spouse lame, lazy, uncoordinated, chunky, a terrible cook, ha ha ha just kidding. Wasn't that funny? I just said my wife was stupid and unattractive in front of other people, but I didn't really mean it, get it? Get it? It was a joke.


    What advice do you have that could save all of our marriages and put Dr. Phil out of business?

    *I did not choose this Tip topic because Dan is lame. He is not lame, even in jest.