Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Time Flies - When You Feel Like Crap

Every year.  I'm serious - just about every year that I can remember, I get sick for the holidays.  Usually right at Christmas but sometimes it comes on around New Years.  Such is the case this year.  I squeaked by CMas for the most part, but am sitting here in my fuzzy robe and socks, hair stringy and flat, nose red as Rudolph's with a mountain of Kleenex next to my keyboard and one stuffed up each nostril.  My husband is such a lucky man.

And on top of everything we decided this year would be a great year to start a new holiday tradition - hosting our "first annual" NYE party.  It sounded like a great idea at the time - and would be still - if I could breathe.  Or swallow.  But at this point, since my symptoms didn't come on in full force until yesterday there is no turning back.  You can't cancel NYE for 20 of your friends.  I just wish I felt tremendously better.  I wish I had the energy to be the hostess with the mostest.  Instead I'll probably greet everyone, make sure all the food is out and drinks are filled, and then I imagine around 10:00 I will leave hubby to entertain the masses and excuse myself off to bed.   Neato.  

You know, I cannot really remember a NYE that has lived up to the hype.  Last year, due to the caucus (and hubby's lack of understanding of advance reservations) we had no where to go eat.  When we did find someplace that could still fit us in, our little one decided not to cooperate and got very sick.  We spent the evening with my parents at our house eating pizza and playing Sequence.  It was fun, but not exactly the stuff movie scripts are made of.  

So on top of an already crappy holiday season (I'll probably explain more at some point - maybe not...) I now get to spend my NYE sick with 20 drunk people in my house.  I'm just cranky I don't get to be one of them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


From time to time (ok most of the time) I feel guilty about the things I don't get done in a day... in a week... in a month. Near the top of that list (kinda near blogging) is keeping in close contact with friends.  The sad truth is that unless I work with or near them, it just doesn't happen on a regular basis.  Luckily a lot of my friends are mommies so they "get it".  They live it.  But some of them aren't and I always wonder if they feel like I've abandoned them.  I think some non-mommy folks tend to feel that once a friend has kids, that friend decides nothing exists in life other than their new bundle of joy.  Its not exactly true - but the result ends up being the same.  So many of the moms I know tell me how they wish they could live a double life - have the child they ardore but still have plenty of free time to get in spa trips, shopping, and time with girlfriends.  But the bottom line is that you don't.  And since you are responsible for the life you brought into the world - you happily accept that fact.  But it hurts when your friends don't.

One of my best mommy friends sent me this article, and while perhaps a little harsh on the questioner, still makes a very valid point.  I'm posting it here for all to see.  If its too small in the frame below, just click on it and it will open up an enlarged view.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Yeah I Get It

Ok ok ok I haven't blogged in a while.  Like a long while.  Like forever.  But things here have been nuts.  With holiday prep, shopping and baking, and fitting in that work thingie there has not been much room for the ol blog.

And tonight is no exception.  I write for no other reason than to tell those who still check in (all 2 of you ... thanks mom) that I will be back soon.  But just not tonight.  And I haven't forgotten about you!!

I just have to get some of that free time stuff everyone keeps talking about....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Letter to Santa

This was too god not to steal from my cousin and post here!

Dear Santa,

I've been a pretty good mom this year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than the doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground. Sold enough popcorn and cookies to send a small town to scout camp this summer. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, (I've had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles,) who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years to write again.

Here are my Christmas wishes:

I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze; but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy/toy aisle in the grocery store.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint-resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that won't broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide a few candy bars.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes, Mommy" to boost my parental confidence, along with kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools. A nice hiding place to talk on the phone would be a real "plus"!

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the living room" and "Take your hands off your brother/sister," because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog or the neighbors.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to shower, brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container. Here's a novel idea...I get to go to the restroom uninterrupted...and alone!

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and I think my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. (I suspect he wants his crayon back.) Have a safe trip, remember to leave your wet boots by the door, then come in and dry off so you don't catch cold.

Help yourself to the cookies on the table but please don't eat too many (you'll make yourself sick!) or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,


P.S. One more can cancel all my requests if you can just keep my children young enough to continue believing in you.

Monday, December 8, 2008

How Do They Do It?

My husband is off deer hunting this week so since Saturday morning at 4:00 a.m. I’ve been a “single mom”. Ever since I had a child, I’ve had a new-found respect or awe for single mothers. This week has only reinforced that feeling.

While certainly realizing how much my husband helps in the parenting of our daughter, conversely I realize how taxing it is to do it on your own! Take Saturday for example. After getting to bed around 11:00 the night before after celebrating my birthday, hubby was up and out the door by 4:00 a.m. Although I tried to go back to sleep, somehow my body knew that I was now the only responsible person in the house –and thus, I slept with one ear open toward the baby monitor. When 6:00 a.m. rolled around I figured I had better get up even though my body wanted nothing more than to sleep in (I knew I should have turned down the 3rd glass of Chardonnay). I knew that if I wanted to be able to so much as brush my teeth and use the restroom without a committee I’d better do it before my little one woke up.

By 7:00 Coco was up and ready to go. I had managed to at least get up, get my hair back in a pony tail and get my teeth brushed. I was however still in my PJs. The morning was a long blur of trying to get stuff done around the house while simultaneously trying to entertain and keep an eye on Coco. It seemed no matter what I had in mind, she was going a different direction. She wanted to play in the kitchen until I started to do the dishes – then she decided it was time to go pull ornaments off the Christmas tree. We played around the tree for a few minutes until she decided it was time to go pull all her books out of shelves in the living room. We hung out in the living room until she decided it would be fun to chase the cat through the house. And so on and so forth.

Finally, I decided that I had to balance the guilt of not getting anything done around the house with the guilt of needing to spend quality time with my daughter. I sat down and played “blocks” with Coco for 20 minutes. Then, I left her quietly playing with her toys to go do the dishes. Thinking back on it, I did see her come into the kitchen with me. I just figured she was pulling everything out of the utensil drawer as is her fav hobby whilst in the kitchen. That was until I heard the sound of a hundred Cheerios hitting the floor. I turned and this is what I saw:

But even as tired and frustrated as I was, you just cannot get mad at that face. And to her credit at least she was eating the Cheerios – not just being naughty by dumping them out. Soooo I got down on the floor and we both had some Cheerios (from the top of the pile thank you). After that, we scooped them up by handfuls (such fun) and put them back in the bag. We then walked the bag and box to the trash and threw them in. And on to the next thing... and the next thing… and the next.

All I know is that by 1:30 I was so glad it was naptime I could have sung hallelujah – but very quietly so as not to risk waking her!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Ok so the only point to today's blog is to point out that HAPPYTIME(tm) has officially begun!!!

I love this time of the year. It is by far and away my favorite. I love the snow (only for a bit!), I love the lights, I love the hustle and bustle, I love giving presents, I love getting presents, I love the food, I love the clothes, I love the fact that everyone is nicer to each other - if even only for a day.

And now this year I'll have even more to love - Christmas with a little Coco by my side. She's finally old enough this year to be able to get in on the excitement. I doubt she'll be toooo thrilled about all the presents just yet, but she'll sense that something cool is happening and get in on the family excitement.

I can't wait to let her have her first hot chocolate, her first Christmas dinner, her first Christmas candy... the list goes on and on. And to kick it all into high gear, today she will the get the chocolate out of the very first day of her very first advent calendar! For a little girl who almost never gets sweets, unless its an apple or an orange, this should be good! The bad part will come when she wants "mo pees" (more please) and then where will I be? Defile the advent calendar or hurt some very small feelers. I'll probably buckle like an old ladder. But you know what - that is exactly what HappyTime is all about --- doing more, staying up later, eating too much, being happy and full and decadent. And I love it!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What Do I Know?

As most of you know, Coco went in for tubes a few weeks back. As I mentioned, Coco took it better than Mommy did. But what I discovered during the whole process was a bit disconcerting.

After they took Cora away for the procedure, I was told I could wait in the area outside of the recovery rooms until a nurse came to get me. I was told that it would only be about 5 or 10 minutes for the entire procedure. So, I paced, tried leafing through a magazine, tried to think of some conversation to have with Hubby, and when all else failed, stalked the recovery room door. It had a small rectangular pane of glass in the door, but I couldn't see much.

Hubby, knowing better than to try and get me to sit down, just came and stood quietly next to me. As we were waiting I heard that familiar wail. I heard Cora crying. To say it about broke my heart would be an understatement. It was all I could do to keep from ripping open the door I was pressed against and rushing in to hold her. Don't get me wrong, I can handle my child crying. As a mother of a colicky baby I learned it early just so I could survive. But I found that I couldn't handle it when I wasn't there with her. It was one thing if she was upset but at least knew her Mommy was there. It was quite another for her to be groggy, scared and alone in a strange place.

Just as I had about reached my limit (which is apparently about 10 seconds) a nurse's face popped into the glass. She warily opened the door and said "are you Cora's parents". I quickly confirmed we were and about pushed her over getting in the door. "She's just coming out of the surgery suite now" said the nurse. Just then a door at the other end of the room opened and a lady came in holding my little Coco - who was too groggy yet to realize she was upset and so was silent.

Oh. Hmmmm. So it had not been Cora after all who had been crying. Looking around I saw a little tow-headed boy sitting with his mother. He was the source of the tears. At the time I was so relieved that Cora wasn't upset that I didn't give it much thought. But in the days after it has been nagging at the back of my brain. Isn't it supposed to be mammalian? Darwinian? Aren't we supposed to instinctively know the cry of our offspring? What does that say about me as a mother if I didn't?

I don't dwell on it for hours, or devote time to thinking about it everyday. I haven't even Googled it (and for those of you who know me you realize that is something - I have many medical and psychiatric degrees from Google U). But I do wonder about it from time to time. Does this make me a bad mom? I guess when I meet Darwin someday, I'll have to ask him.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

She Said It, Not Me!

For those of you with kids you know what its like trying to teach little ones new words. For those of you who don’t, it’s a tedious process. It seems like the words they latch on to immediately are the ones you had nothing to do with (like the time my little one came home from daycare showing me her “ehbow”). The converse of that, of course, is that the words you try to teach them end up getting glossed over and forgotten quickly if ever picked up at all.

I’ve basically given up trying to teach Coco specific words and have begun just letting her pick up vocab at her own speed. I still throw a word at her now and again just to see what she does with it. I usually just ask her “Can you say _____”. She understands that means I want her to try and repeat the last word I said. It works well and for the most part and she at least gives it a go.

The issue comes when whatever word I am asking her to repeat sounds like another word she already knows. If they are too similar she simply reverts to the known word. Using “elbow” for example: she has a stuffed Hippo which she was carrying around one day. I asked Coco “Can you say ‘hippo’?” She looked at me and immediately said “ehbow?” We went through this a few times but really got no closer to hippo so I let it drop.

That bring us to this weekend. It was just Coco and I – Daddy was out running an errand. As she was running amok playing with her toys, I was sitting out the couch polishing off what remained of a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Cora decided she needed some of whatever mommy was having. Not really wanting her to have Doritos, I realized that they weren’t all that great for me either. I told Cora, “Mommy shouldn’t be eating these – these are yuck. Mommy will turn into a fatty if she keeps eating them. Can you say “fatty”?” (Yes I know, it was terribly PC but such is life) Those little eyes looked and me and without skipping a beat she said “Daddy!”

It’s a good thing I was already sitting down because I laughed so hard it brought tears to my eyes. Soon thereafter, Hubby got home from his errands. As he was in the foyer removing his scarf and coat, I brought Coco in to meet him. I couldn’t help myself – I asked Coco “Can you tell Daddy’s how you say fatty?” To which she dutifully and proudly stated “Daddy!!” Hubby did not share my enthusiasm for her new found humor. He simply stared at me, scarf in hand, and said “Nice.” Then with a little gleam in his eye said, “Just wait until I have some alone time with her.”

Humph. Poor sport. Let me go on record as saying Daddy is anything BUT a “fatty”. Therein lies most of the humor. But I suppose being called one by your 17 month-old isn’t exactly charming. For him. I mean I thought it was hilarious. Hmmm. Whatever. Funny is funny. If you can’t warp your young child to your own ends, what’s the point of having children for Pete’s sake?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Letting Go Is The Hardest Part

Our moment came this weekend. The one every parent tells you that you will have – and the one you summarily dismiss and think you never will. Our little Coco fell down a full flight of stairs Sunday morning. Thank the Lord she is fine – no major injuries and in fact not even any bumps and bruises – the baby gate we had gently pushed to one side at the bottom of the staircase acted like a net and caught her before she hit the tile floor waiting below as if God himself had reached out his hand to break her fall. But even with the blessing of her not getting hurt, her mother’s pain wasn’t that much lessened.

Cora is currently learning to go down the stairs forward (she used to have to turn around and climb down them backwards). I had her hand at the top of the stairs and she was just beginning to take a step down whilst reaching for the railing when our 85lbs Lab decided he wanted to be part of the group and pushed past her to race down the stairs.

Once he pushed past her she lost her grip on my hand, slipped and spun around tummy-first onto the stairs. Just like a little one hanging on the edge of a cliff she grabbed briefly for the top step but couldn’t hold on – her hands slipped off and she started falling. In horror I watched her tumble and slide down the stairs. Luckily she never went end-over end – she just slid and rolled sideways (like a child rolling down a hill). Her head never hit either wall or banister and she came to rest with her back against the waiting baby-gate.

Its amazing that while your body feels like things are going in slow motion your mind is whirring at a million miles an hour. I knew I would never reach her before she landed – wherever that was going to be. So many things were going through my head. I was looking for any sign of blood or serious injury; I was watching each millisecond where her body went and how she fell; I somehow knew I had to be careful because if I got myself into a hurry I would slip and fall on top of her, exponentially worsening things. All of this was going through my head however the only thing that came out of my mouth was a scream for my husband that sounded horrible and scary even in my own ears. I didn’t even know my voice could make those noises.

Ryan came running from the master bath but by the time he got to us, she was already done with her fall wailing at the bottom of the stairs and I was just scooping her up into my arms. At first I held her, softly swayed and tried to calm her. Ryan met me at the base of the stairs but there was no way I was giving her over to him – I clung to her. But then the tears came, and the shaking took over, and I realized I wouldn’t be able to hold her for much longer so I kissed her and handed her over to her waiting daddy (who thankfully stayed unbelievably calm).

Daddy had the presence of mind to take Coco into the next room to her toys so she wouldn’t see Mommy upset. Once they got settled the crying stopped and she began to play with her Dad. I sank down onto our couch and, unseen by little eyes, sobbed my heart out. I had a million feelings. On one hand I knew she appeared to be physically alright, and so I questioned my reaction – scolding myself for being a drama queen. On the other hand I felt immense guilt, shame, relief, fear, love, and the remnants of sheer terror. When I was through, and able to get up, my husband was waiting with a deep hug and words of comfort – assuring me it was not my fault and that “these things are bound to happen”. The same things I would have told him – and meant them – if he had been the one who watched the fall happen. But for some reason I had a tough time forgiving myself. I am supposed to be the mom who protects her child from all harm, and here I had let go of her hand and let her fall down an entire flight of stairs.

To make matters worse, falling down stairs is a bit of a touchy subject at my house. My sister fell down an entire flight of wooden, unfinished basement stairs onto a cement floor as a child. She suffered a serious concussion (including unconsciousness) and a terrible black eye. My mother has talked about that day since I have been old enough to understand. When Cora was born my mother was the first to prompt me to get baby gates and to remind me to always keep an eye on Cora because “things can happen so quickly”. In addition, my beloved uncle fell down a flight of stairs some years back. Unfortunately it caused irreparable damage and while he stayed with us (albeit in a coma) for a couple of years, we lost him after that. To have to call my mother and tell her what had happened was almost as bad as the event itself. I just knew how disappointed she would be. (But of course she was a mother first – and calmed her own upset and hurting child when we spoke.)

About 30 minutes after everything had settled and we were sure Coco was ok, my body just gave out. I could not function. I would have willingly gone and taken a nap at that point, but I felt like I didn’t deserve one, and therefore wouldn’t allow myself that luxury. So I tried to do things around the house in an exhausted fog. I had to pay my penance for what had happened.

As of this morning I am happy to report Coco seems none the worse for wear. She has no scrapes or bruises. She is happy as a little clam and in fact within about 20 minutes after the accident yesterday she was back to her normal self. She also appears to have no residual fear of the stairs – she was back at the gate, wanting to go up and down, yesterday afternoon.

So while it appears Cora has no lasting effects from the ordeal, I’m sure Mommy will have. I’ll probably hold little hands tighter, give a little less leeway, curtail a little more freedom and generally be a wet blanket for a few days – a few weeks – who knows. I realize at some point I’ll have to relax the mental grip I have on her a little, but just don’t ask that of me anytime soon.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Holy Stick!

Today a co-worker sent around an adorable video of a young girl being filmed by her mom. The little one was running around the garage pulling out what I believe ended up being about 5 frogs from her hiding place – her underpants. Hey, who needs pockets? As we were all cracking up about it, my father emailed to let me know my “time was coming”.

I have news for him … my time is here and going strong. Maybe not frogs in panties, but our recent events may have inspired even stronger reactions.

Here is the background: my daughter loved to be outside – as most little ones do – this summer. When she was out, we would always let our lab, Summit (see photo due right), out with us to enjoy the sunny days. When outside, Summit’s second order of business (you can guess the first) is to find a tasty twig or branch to chew up. Fascinated, Cora always wanted to grab the “stick crumbs” on the ground. We would always tell her “No honey, yucky! Sticks are yucky! Let mommy have it.” And she would hand it over and go find something else (usually equally as disgusting) to play with.

Because of this little routine, anytime she finds bits of something on the ground or floor (lint, leaves, food, etc) she comes running holding it up for me yelling “Stick! Stick Mommy!” And then we throw it away together. The only problem here is that she can’t quite say the word “stick” … it comes out much like another S-word I really shouldn’t say here. It’s a four-letter word. I’m betting you can work it out. Yeah. Holy stick.

Cute right? Yeah cute and funny around friends and family. But fast forward to this past weekend when we went to the local kiddie photo studio in the mall for her Christmas pictures. As I’m in front paying at the counter, she comes running from the back of the store (where there was a movie area to keep the kiddos entertained), clutching something in her tiny little hand, weaving in and out of other parents, children and employees, yelling … you guessed it: “S—t!! S—T Mommy! S—T!

How do you even begin to explain that. And how do you explain it without looking even more guilty and pathetic as you go? I believe I laughingly mumbled something about “she’s trying to say ‘stick’ I swear!”. I paid in a New York minute, gave Daddy the “you were supposed to be watching her” glare and hightailed it out of there.

We have to go in tonight to pick up the prints. All I can hope is that no one else there this weekend will be doing the same thing. And I can hope they’ve recently vacuumed in there tonight.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Changing of the Guard

Ok, so normally I refrain from political rantings but today I believe it is appropriate to diverge from my normal path. Its my time to talk about our new President. I know that for a select few he can be polarizing. There are those that disagree with his policy or his background. Those folks I can respect even as I disagree with them. Then there are the fringe few who insist on believing email chain letters about Muslim agendas and terroristic threats rather than learn the truth. Those folks I can’t help.

Apart from the above-mentioned few, I can’t help but believe that Barack Obama may be the closest thing we’ve had to a “people’s president” in a long time. I say that for many reasons.

First, oftentimes we see presidents elected by regions. Either we get someone “bi-coastal” (i.e. they get the northeast and California plus a few other states but leave behind a good part of the in-between), or we get the “hometown” presidents who get the heartland and a some others pulled in but alienate the coastal states. In Obama’s case he got it all. While he did capture both coasts, he also got Florida. And Iowa. And Virginia. And Ohio. And Nevada. And New Mexico. Basically Obama captured states from every region in this great nation. He cannot be said to have alienated the South, the Northwest, the Midwest or the Southwest.

Second, as one pundit pointed out, Obama seems to be a bit of a people’s mirror. By that I mean that people see in him what they want to see. He is black, but he is equally white. He is wealthy but has come from little. He lives in one of our largest cities but has been a small town kid. He is educated but talks to his kids about puppies in front of an entire country. He attracts movie stars and small town teens. He invigorates an entire arena or a small dinner party.

The hard part now is living up to his duplicity. Can he continue to be all things to all people once he stops talking about policy and begins making it? Will he continue to inspire all walks of life when he is making decisions that they may not agree with? Will he be able to live the Lincoln line of not pleasing all of the people all of the time and yet still being respected and revered? Will his polish fade and tarnish under the pressure of a difficult war?

All these things remain to be seen in the next four years, but for one girl from the Midwest, the future looks more hopeful than she’s seen it in quite sometime - as I believe it does for many, many others.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Abandonment Issues: What's Wrong - Or Right - With Nebraska's Safe Harbor Law?

We’re all familiar lately with the ongoing saga of the State of Nebraska. Effective July 1st of this year, they passed what is commonly knows as a Safe Harbor law. Like most similar states’ laws, it allows a parent or guardian of a child to drop the child off unharmed at an approved location (in this case a hospital) without fear of prosecution, thus terminating their parental rights. Unlike most states, the Nebraska law did not contain an age limit. Therefore, children up to the age of majority (18 years old) could be brought in and left by their parents. Most states limit the age to newborn status – 10 days old or less. In addition to the age oversight, the Nebraska law did not require the person dropping off a child to be a Nebraska resident.

What has ensued over the past four months has been a series of unintended consequences. Over 20 children have now been left at Nebraska hospitals from families hundreds of miles away. One mother flew her child in from Arizona. One mother drove 12 hours from Wisconsin with her child. One father turned over eight (yes eight) of his children. This leads to the other, perhaps larger issue. Many of these children – most in fact – are well over 10 days old. Most are pre-teen or teenagers.

Hearing nurses at these hospitals describe how an 11 year old boy wept and begged for his mother not to leave him as she walked out the door, or how the mother of 14-year old simply drove up and made her child walk in without her and then drove away, how can one not be affected; not want to demand action? So, the Nebraska governor has called an emergency session of the legislature to fix the problem and most believe the age limit will be reset to accommodate only those children up to three days old.

While I commend the state’s desire to do something, I have to question if this is a merely a band-aid to cloak the underlying injury? As one state legislator so astutely observed, perhaps there is something bigger at play here if within four months more than 20 children have been turned over by their parents to a governmental body? Maybe in fact this has saved children’s lives or least saved them from abuse by parents unwilling or unable to care for them. I just cannot help but think that this law served as an unintentional pilot program for an unknown but needed solution. If people are driving twelve hours or paying to fly across country, something larger is in play here.

Now don’t get me wrong – I am not advocating that people should be free to give children up just because they don’t feel like being parents any longer. I am not. But what I am saying is that right or wrong, people are out there in droves willing to do so. And maybe that is the best solution for that child. It seems that in America we are quick to say that everyone is responsible for their own actions – especially in the realm of child rearing – but we’re not willing to address what to do when people who are ill-equipped to make those decisions do so anyway. Yet everyone shakes their head and clucks their tongues when the next big story of child abuse or murder appears in local papers.

For some reason I cannot turn away from the story of poor little Caylee Anthony. It has gripped me (and many others) more than most anything I've seen since the days of Susan Smith. I've heard the evidence of her mother referring to her a "little snot head" just days before her disappearance; I've seen the photos of her mother, in the days after Caylee disappeared, partying in clubs, throwing up in toilets, and participating in "hot body" contests. I don't think there are many left who don't think Casey Anthony had something to do with her daughter's disappearance and feared death. Maybe if there were more Nebraska-like Safe Harbor laws, Caylee would be alive and well today?

Does it make it “right” or “ok” to give up your child when they are 13 years old? No. But does it make it ok for someone with no job, no stable income, no place to live and an abusive relationship to have a child? No. The child should not have to suffer for that. Maybe what we’re seeing here is an unintended sociological experiment and perhaps instead of crying “foul” we should more closely examine the variables behind the data.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lactagen User Trial Diary: Two Months Out

Ok, so its been a little under two months after completing the Lactagen regimen. I'm still a fan, but maybe with some slight reservations. While I have not used Lactaid once these past many weeks, I have had a few incidents where I encountered problems. Most of them were mild to moderate and there was one I'm not sure I can link up cause and effect.

Basically the times I've had issues were as follows:

Travelling home on a flight - had no breakfast and had a cheese/cracker tray for lunch. I focused mainly on the brie. I got sick on the plane and unfortunately that was one of the bad ones. However, I don't always travel well and am infamous for getting "travel tummy" so I can't say for sure what the cause was.

Days later, I had some ice cream cake at work and about 20 mins later didn't feel well. The symptoms were moderate - bloating, a little gas and one trip to the restroom.

Finally, today I had some cheese soup for lunch. It was another doozy. I was very ill for about 30 minutes. Had I been in a meeting, travelling or out and about it would have been a disaster. As it was getting that kind of sick at work was still no fun. However... I did follow that up later in the day with a hot chocolate made with milk - no issues.

I've had a few other times where I've had a little bloating and pressure but nothing worth really worrying about at all. And I have had plenty of dairy including whole glasses of milk with no issues. My guess is the times I've had issues were times I went for a while without dairy and my body was readjusting. But that's an uneducated guess on my part.

In addition, my co-worker who's husband was severely LI has completed the program and is doing great! So, my bottom line is that I do think it works. I do think its a "use it or lose it" deal. And I do think you'll still have issues. It is not a "cure" per se - more like a conditioning process. So take my info for what it gives ya and best of luck to all you LI readers!

Ears the Problem....

Two Fridays ago we had a feeling Coco wasn’t quite feeling up to snuff. This usually means a double ear infection. However since we had, just the prior Tuesday, finished up her antibiotics for that very condition we were doubtful. Out of an abundance of caution Hubby took her in to see her doctor. Sure enough – her right ear was “very infected”. I was shocked. I was even more shocked when her doctor prescribed the exact same antibiotic she had just completed. I may not have a medical degree but if you finish a 10-day antibiotic on Tuesday and have a raging ear infection by Friday, I’m thinkin’ the medicine didn’t work so well.

Apart from that little quandary, we heard the words we were dreading. Tubes. I had read an article pre-delivery which stated that tubes were the root of all evil and way over prescribed. I had made up my mind at that point that my child was never to have tubes. Under any circumstance. Period.

However, over the past 9 ear infections (if you count double infections as 2), I have begun to dig a little deeper. Oddly enough every mother I’ve asked is a big fan. I’ve heard stories about it changing kids’ personalities, lives, and play habits – all for the better. One mom told me her son, who was a bit wobbly in the walking department (as is Coco), immediately went to walking straight as an arrow and soon to running. One mom told me that the afternoon they got home from the procedure, her little one brought her every book and toy that made noise and piled them in her lap, fascinated that he could hear them clearly. One mom (our daycare provider) said that a little boy she watched went from being a fussy toddler before his tubes to being a happy bright little star the day after.

Needless to say, Coco goes in for her pre-op consult tomorrow. I’m in. I’m all in. Screw whoever wrote the “tubes are the root of all evil” article. I don’t know them. I do know my mom-friends and I know my daughter. If tubes will help her stop toppling over, and if tubes will stop a little voice from saying “owie” while pointing to her ear, and if tubes will prevent a 10th round of antibiotics in 17 short months of life – that’s all I need to know.

Am I nervous? Yes. Mostly about the anesthetic since I know ANY dose of general anesthesia comes with risks. But I also know the type used and the duration (about 5 minutes) greatly, greatly reduce those risks. I’m a little nervous about what precautions we’ll have to take once they’re in. I always loved swimming and want Cora to enjoy that also. In addition she loves bath time and splashes around like a little fish. I’ve had some mom’s tell me they had to use earplugs while some said they never did and had no problems. We’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it.

Tomorrow will be day one on what I’m hoping is a journey to a happier little one.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Tagged and Bagged

I was tagged...

Here are the rules:
1. Link your tagger and list the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog-some random, some wierd.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of the post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
I was tagged by: Amy at

So let's see, 7 random facts:
1. I've been to a wedding and a funeral officiated by the late Jerry Fallwell.
2. I was voted most likely to be a rock star (groupie) in high school.
3. I'm on a cross-stitching binge.
4. I met my husband at Motorcycle Safety Class.
5. In my adult life I've only lived away from Iowa for 11 months (in Memphis, TN).
6. At one point prior to meeting my husband I was planning to move to Paris.
7. I love playing video games (XBox 360 and Playstation 2).

And I'm not going to tag..... (ok I don't know that many bloggers...)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh No!

I had heard about the terrible twos. In fact I was told the terrible threes are worse. I was not then prepared for the terrible 16 monthses. Our dear sweet little one has discovered the power of the word “No.”

She now says “no” approximately a four billion times a day: in the car, out shopping, having breakfast, having dinner, playing with her dolls or her cell phone, getting dressed, changing her diaper, getting up in the morning, or just when the mood strikes her. And the mood strikes her quite often.

Now I realize that even at this tender age children begin to assert their independence and test boundaries. What I hadn’t realized was how crazy this makes mommy. It seems no matter what I do my little angel has turned into a mule. (I’m being polite here). In the morning: “Its time to get up honey”. “No!” (while she rolls away out of my reach). At home getting a snack out of the cupboard: “No!” In the evening feeding her dinner “Nonononononono!” At night getting in our jammies “Nooooooo!” *sigh* Is it wrong to want to gently throttle your little one on occasion?

The problem is that sometimes the “no’s” are so stinking cute you can’t help but want to laugh. As with many things in a child’s life I think this is God’s plan – make them cute so you won’t hurt them. So, for now I do one of three things… 1) take a “hard line” stance such as “Cora, this is what we’re having for dinner – this is not up for discussion”, 2) turn my head so she won’t see me laughing, or 3) throw up my hands, give up and go get Daddy to let him work on it for a while.

God give me strength for the twos and threes to come…

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Battle Wounds

I knew yesterday would come at some point. I knew I’d have to face the day that every parent dreads. Yesterday was the day I went to pick Coco up from day care and found that at some point during the day she had been hurt. I walked in to find a little face scabbed and red with scratches.

While, by that time, Coco was fine and in good spirits, it took my breath away to see her like that. These are the first scrapes and scratches she’s ever had, so that made it all the harder. Her daycare provider came over and explained that Coco had been playing with a toy phone when one of the older girls (2 and a half) decided she wanted the phone. Coco was disinclined to give it up, and so the other little girl grabbed for the phone, which Cora was holding up by her face, and they fought for it. Apparently the other little girl had very long fingernails and so by the time our daycare provider could reach the skirmish the damage had been done.

And the damage is hard to look at. One large crescent shaped owie on her cheek, one on her nose, two on her lips, one on her forehead, and another (smaller) one on her cheek.

While I realize that these things can happen at daycare, it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. Thankfully, our provider cleaned Coco up, and put some Neosporin on all of the owies. But now I have to deal with all of my conflicting emotions: guilt for not being there, fear that the scratches will scar or become infected, anger that it happened at all, frustration in not knowing what to say to our provider in a situation like this, and understanding that kids are not bullet-proof.

For now all I can do is tend to the owies with the utmost loving care, keep them clean and well salved, and kiss as many boo-boos as I’m asked to. I know this is the first of many scabs, scrapes and scars to come, but – as my mother told me many times – the first one is never easy to get over.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

I went out of state last week for a while - Sunday through Wednesday to be precise – on a business trip. While I did fine being away (no major tears shed) I was very excited to come home and see my family. I even took delight in buying Coco her first “mommy’s trip away” present. (My dad traveled often and for years always brought us something home – until we got older and started getting things like hotel soap…)

As the plane touched down, I was anxiously awaiting seeing Cora’s face as I came down the escalators to the waiting area. While pulling up to the gate (about 15 minutes early even!) I texted hubby to let him know I had landed. A minute or two later as I was jetting down the jet bridge I got a somewhat frantic call from hubby: “What do you mean you’re there? Where are you?” Me: “On the jet bridge, why?” Hubby: “Well we’re not even there yet – we’re about 5 minutes away! You’re really early!” Crap. Seriously? There went my little fantasy about running into my baby’s chubby, waiting arms.

I sadly plodded down to the baggage carousel and plucked my bag from the black and silver river of luggage. Then, I sat down and waited. After about 5-10 minutes I was the only person left in the baggage area save for the airport personnel and the rental car counter clerks. I sat and looked out the door expectantly. Finally I saw them coming up the walkway. Excitement flashed over me again.

I ran to the door and waited just inside. Hubby activated the automatic doors, put Cora down and said “who’s that?” As she studied me for a split second I held my breath. Then she came running pell mell toward me and I was thrilled. I scooped her up and hugged her and smooched her and told her I loved her and that I was happy to see her. By that time hubby had caught up. Cora patted my face and smiled … and then promptly turned around and said “Dah-yee” while reaching for my husband. That was SO not cool.

Since then, she has been a “Dah-yee’s girl”. Totally and completely. Mommy is fine and all, but we want Dah-yee whenever possible. The night I got home, I put her down for the night, just as I always do when I’m home. She looked up at me from her crib and said “Dah-yee?” Then when I left she cried until hubby went up to give her a hug. This whole weekend if hubby went upstairs to get something Coco would run to the base of the stairs and yell “Dahhhhh-yeeeeee”. The final straw was driving home from the store. It was just she and I – no Dah-yees around. But of course she kept saying “Dah-yee” in the backseat. I said “Do you love Daddy?” To which I got an immediate “Uh Huh.” And I replied “I do too. Do you love Mommy?” To which I got an immediate “Noooo.” No joke.

I know everyone says these things go in waves – they ebb and flow – that next week I’ll be in high favor. But there is a little part of me that keeps whispering “but what if doesn’t … what if you’re not … what if she’s never close to you again?” I know its silly, but *I* am the Mommy. *I* am supposed to be the superhero. *I* am supposed to be the One above all others. The one she goes to when she realllly needs comfort. So far I’m just the one who helps out when Daddy isn’t available.

For now I’m just doing the only reasonable thing I can. Keeping a positive attitude. (And giving her whatever she wants, whenever she wants it.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cool Site of the Week: My Food Diary

You would think with fall approaching, I wouldn't be as worried about those few pounds that seem to be way too attached to me. I mean its not bikini season. But alas, even hiding under sweaters and corduroy I can't escape the annoying knowledge that those pounds are there.

Enter My Food Diary! Endorsed by the Wall Street Journal and Martha Stewart (just to name a few), for those of you who have used Weight Watcher's online and loved the food tracking ability - this place is for you. Less expensive to join and maintain than WW, but still a lot of the goodies you want. It has a large database of both generic food items (i.e. "steamed rice") along with name brand and restaurant fare.

While it obviously won't track "points" for you - it will tell you daily how much you've consumed in the way of calories, fats, sodium, cholesterol, etc etc. It simply helps raise your consciousness around your daily eating which is where so many of us go astray.

So sign up, log in, track and lose! Or at least here's hopin!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cool Site of the Week: Wallcandy Arts

Ok, so we'd like our pads to look like something out of a hip design magazine. Unfortunately for many of us that means going horribly wrong trying to hand paint a design on a wall in the kids' room, the rec room or, God forbid, the bathroom. These usually end up looking more like a 4th grade art project than a layout for MoCo Loco.

Well never fear - wallcandy arts is here! These great surface graphics and wall stickers are hip, trendy and even into the fun land of kitsch. And don't worry about morning after regret. As the company says:
All of our stickers are reusable and won't damage walls. Ready for a change? Peel it off and reconfigure it, put it in a different room, or adhere it to the backing to store it away for when the mood strikes!
They have a ton of celeb followers (my bff, Heidi Klum being one) so you know you're in good company.

Feeling super artsy or wanting to bring out the inner artist in your little one? Use their Chalkboard Graphics! This is one of my personal faves - fun yet classy!

So go on and get stickering. You haven't had this much fun with stickers since scratch and sniff pizza stickers in 5th grade. (Ok we won't mention that weird phase you and whatshisname went through).

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Yesterday afternoon I began to feel it. That little tingly feeling in the glands around your throat and that slightly scratchy feeling when you swallow. When I got home from work I grabbed my trusty Maglite flashlight (handcrafted from a single sheet of aircraft aluminum with a patented self cleaning switch and adjustable beam… but I digress) and peeked in the mirror. Lots of lovely red with white spots. Argh.

This morning was none better. After a sleepless night of not getting comfortable and of drifting in and out of weird sicky-inducted dreams I got up. Same dealio only now the white patches were more plentiful. But I knew I had to go in to work. Not because I had some big project due, but because I had a long-anticipated hair appointment at 10:00. That could not be missed. I was going red for fall and that was a big deal. (Oh don’t act like you didn’t always try to go school sick if it was a field trip or party-day.)

So I continued my Zicam bender I started the night before and headed off to work. I made it through my first couple hours without too much strain and then headed off to my hair appointment. As the time wore on the more worn I felt. By the time she was rinsing out my new red, I mentioned how crappy I felt.

First, she told me that strep was going around. Wonderful. But then, Shelley said something that caught me off guard: “You’re sick a lot aren’t you?” What? “How do you mean?” I asked. She told me that every time I come to see her I’m either sick, or getting over being sick. She reminded me that this time last year Ryan had to take Coco trick-or-treating solo (much to my horrid disappointment) because I was sick. She was right about that.

Then she mentioned how I was sick so often while I was preggers with Cora and how miserable I was since I couldn’t take any cold medicine. To be fair, part of that was actually allergies. But still it got me thinking. She asked if I was taking a multi-vitamin and I said “no” – but I never have save for my prenatal vitamins.

I remember when I started at the company I’m with now, I didn’t take a sick day for almost two years. What has happened? Have I become that much more prone to sickness? Or am I just a bigger weenie now then I was then about feeling under the weather? Is it the months of lack of sleep that are taking their toll? Now that Coco is sleeping through the night regularly that should no longer be an issue. Am I just more lax about missing work now that I’m no longer “new” here?

So as I sit here at my desk and try not to swallow, I ponder the bigger question of mommyhood, getting older, and the changing workplace. What is simply correlation and what is cause and effect? Will I be able to track down a specific reason or will I just have to accept my sniffles as they come. Will it get better or am I doomed to live as a fragile flower one virus away from life in a bubble? Or is Shelley just over-generalizing things? These are all things I plan to ponder tonight while dosing myself with chicken noodle soup and constant infusions of Zicam. I’ll let you know if I find something worthy of disclosure to the CDC.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Around the World and Back Again

Ok, so finally the blog about the trip to VA and back (I’ll save the reunion blog for later). I must admit – it will be a pretty boring entry and that is a very good thing. Bottom line is that Cora wasn’t too bad on the trip and we had NO meltdowns – so at least we weren’t “those people” on the flight.

We knew it was going to be a long day of travel. Basically we had to be at the airport by 9:30 for our 10:30 flight. We then had a two hour flight (ish) to Detroit, followed by a 45 minute lay-over and another 2 hour flight into Roanoake. After getting to Roanoake we would have to get our luggage and then pick up our rental car and then drive two hours to get to Nellysford. Oy vey. Lets just say I did not have very high hopes and imagined an very angry screaming, fed up baby on the drive if not before.

Well I am happy to report that both on the way there and on the way back Coco slept on the 2 hour drive, and the first flight. She was awake both times on the final flight but was still a good girl – we just had to keep her entertained. In fact on the flight back into Des Moines it was another mother’s little one who threw the 40 minute screaming fit. I felt terrible for her (she was traveling alone with her little one) but so relieved that it wasn’t us!

We had a few grump-ifying experiences. One, none of the airline gate attendants would allow us to use Cora’s carseat even when there was an empty seat (or on some flights, many seats) available. Sooo poor Ryan had to lug the carseat carrier around for two days for no good reason. Two, we had a rude family in the row in front of us on the flight back into Des Moines (allowed the kids to listen to DVD’s without headsets thus blaring the movie Garfield to the whole cabin, refused to spend anytime interacting with their own kids – too busy reading books, and once when Coco dropped her paci and it rolled up the aisle in between the husband and wife, they just looked at the paci and turned away causing Ryan to unbelt himself and try to grope up the aisle for it.) Nothing horrible – just bad manners (which are, unfortunately, so prevalent these days).

So all in all a good trip and a huge relief. I don’t think we’ll be making our trip to Paris anytime soon unless we somehow spring for First Class, but at least I wouldn’t be daunted in the slightest to make a short trip to Chicago or Denver with the munchkin now!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yes, Please

Every time I think that I'm getting a little on the hefty side I start my usual diet-o-the-week. In order to have motivation (and visualization - which my holistic sister will tell you is very important) to stay on task I usually take a picture of what I want to end up like and put it up in prominent places (bathroom mirror, refrigerator door, etc). I've used everything from the Victoria's Secret Swimsuit catalog to a Target Ad. Just whatever I find that motivates me.

A few months ago I was flipping through some magazine or other in some waiting room (can't even remember where!) and I came across an amazing Rolex Ad. I realized that I was going about this all wrong. I had been pulling out ads of airbrushed L.A. beauties half my age and then, when in two weeks I wasn't their mirror image I got discouraged. The ad was of the most amazing silver-haired woman I'd ever seen. I realized that instead of thinking about how I
wanted to look 15 years ago, perhaps it was better to imagine what I want to aspire to years down the road - realizing that if I didn't act now, I'd never get there.

I wanted to pull out the ad, but since it was not my magazine (and since there were witnesses around) I didn't. I tried later to Google it, but not knowing the model's name it was hopeless. There are a bajillion hits for "Rolex watch magazine ad". Bummer. But then, as I sat in my tiny cabin this past weekend with my sister, I was leafing through her Town & Country and there she was! It was a Taryn Rose shoe ad and not only was I free to rip that baby right out, it actually talked about the model so I also had her name.

I've since done some research and found out the woman who, for me, holds the key to beauty in aging is named Carmen Dell'Orefice. She is an American model who holds the title of the longest continually working model in history. While that unfortunately makes her sound like an ancient John Deere, she is far from. As I Googled and Wiki'ed her for more info I was amazed at how beautiful she was (and always had been). So, ladies and gentlemen, THIS is my new aspiration. Not to look like an 18 year old now, but to aspire to look something like this as I age. Now I am quite aware that I don't have ice blue eyes, or cheekbones like knives. That's not the point. The point is that it is not impossible to say trim, fashionable, and beautiful as you age. Oh, and in case you're curious, Ms. Dell'Orefice is currently 77 years old.

The Ad that Inspired me

The Ad I Rediscovered

Some other beautiful photos

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Ok so I realize the expected first blog after vacation would be about the dreaded plane ride and the eclectic family reunion.  Normally you would be right, BUT today we hit a major milestone in our household.  It was met with singing, yelling, dancing and laughter.  Was it another pregnancy?  Heck no.  Was it a new pet?  Nope.  Was it potty training?  Yeah right.  No, it was a magical moment I've been waiting for since Cora was born...

Let me just back up for a moment by saying Cora has been going through a major cranky spell.  She got a cold and is getting all 4 canine teeth at one time.  That can make for a pretty cranky baby.  I mean really cranky.  A lot.  A lot a lot. More than you think a lot.  For instance if you so much as look in her direction and she doesn't like it that is major cause for what is commonly known as a hissy fit.  Anytime she wanted anything she would simply point and/or scream.  A co-worker and I were discussing this phenomenon and he said that his son, at this age, went through a six-month phase where he would get himself worked up into a tantrum every time they went to McDonald's.  His son wanted ... something.  But they had no idea what.  Not until, after extended trial and error, did they figure out that what he had wanted for so long that had until then remained nameless, was orange soda.

Today however her cough has lessened significantly, and all but one of the four teeth has broken through her gums and is well on its way to being a contributing member of her mouth.  I came home to find a pretty funny, happy baby who was content to play with us and on her own some.  She's also been on a word bender - we've been learning at least one new word a day.  We now have added words like:  bunny, football, pretty and jewelry to our repertoire.  (We're still working on Love You.  Right now it comes out with the right inflection but sounds more like Daaaa Dooooo).  

So today at dinner, after she had finished with her chicken and was playing "lets see how much fruit juice I can get everywhere by trying to trill my r's with cantaloupe in my mouth", mommy decided I needed dessert.  I grabbed an english toffee Weight Watchers ice cream bar and sat back down next to the little one.  She instantly signaled her desire to try it - which consists of her grabbing for it, opening her mouth like a baby bird, and saying "ah ah ah".  I gave her a lick and once chocolate and vanilla hit her tongue, her eyes lit up.  She reached again repeating her prior behavior.  More out of habit than any expectation I told her "can you say Please".  To my complete and utter shock I heard a little voice say "Peeeeese".  I was stunned.  Perhaps that was a fluke.  We tried again on the next lick - she grabbed for the ice cream and I asked "what do we say".  I got a very distinct "Peeeeease".  HALLELUJAH!  

Needless to say she ended up consuming almost the entire ice cream bar because who am I to refuse such ladylike and appropriate requests??   It was actually a win/win for everyone - she got her ice cream, I got a great diet plan, and we all got something we've been trying to get for many many months.  Of course this has huge potential for abuse, and I'm sure the first time we don't get our way with a Peeeease it will be set aside for a while, but for tonight I choose to bask in the glow of success.  And in the knowledge that after she goes to bed I have another ice cream bar in the freezer....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Leavin on a Jet Plane

Tomorrow is a momentous day for many reasons. First, tomorrow is the day we leave for my annual family reunion in Virginia (we are the only “Yankees” in my family). We didn’t go last year because I was just not ready to travel cross country with a 3 month-old. So not only will I get to be with all my family, eat horribly wonderful food, and talk long into the night – but Cora will get to meet everyone for the first time. She has no idea what’s comin! Our reunions are almost always well over 100 people and have been known on certain years to push 250. And yes, we are almost all related somehow. Cora has more second cousins, great aunts, and other relatives then she could have imagined! Plus, all of this takes place at my uncle’s house down a gravel road nestled in-between two little mountain ranges. All of this will be foreign to Coco so we’ll see how she reacts to it all.

The second reason tomorrow will be a big day is that it is Coco’s first plane ride. This actually has me a bit concerned. I do NOT want to be the family with the screaming baby! I know it can’t be helped and if its going to happen its going to happen. As one mommy told me: if all else fails just remember you’ll most likely never see those people again in your life.

In order to prepare for said trip I actually made a checklist. Seriously. It has categories for “pre flight purchases”, “carry-on”, “checked luggage”, “to do day prior to departure”, “to do day of departure”, etc. You get the idea. Yes, I am neurotic. But to an admirable end I think! I just want to make sure that we have everything we need to try and keep a little one satisfied during 8 hours of travel (1.5 hr flight, 1 hr layover, 2 hr flight, 2 hr car trip). Here is what we’ve figured out so far to take on the flight:

  • Lots of snacks including “special occasion” ones she wouldn’t normally get
  • 2 “old” toys that she knows and loves
  • 4 “new” toys to bring out one at a time that will keep her occupied longer
  • 4 books for her to look at and play with
  • Multiple pacis to keep her happy and to help on take-off and landing with her ears
  • Her favorite blankie
  • “Earplanes” earplugs for little ones to relive pressure during flights
  • Portable DVD player with movies (although this only works for about 10 minutes at a time for her)
  • Lots of diapers/wipes
  • Sippy cups with bottled water
  • 2 extra outfits “in case”

We also plan to gate check her carseat so we can get to it if we’re lucky enough to get the option.

So – any other suggestions out there, or are we lookin as good as can be expected??

Friday, September 5, 2008

Cool Site of the Week: Threadless T and Print Sale

Anyone who knows me knows my penchant for funny Tees. My most recent addition is my pink one that reads "Part Time Lawyer - Full Time Ninja". My passion for clever shirtwear is so strong that every Christmas everyone in my family gets a funny tee to fit their personality. Where would I find so many choices and styles?? Threadless!! If you haven't been out there you HAVE to go, and if you haven't been lately .. brush up!

This week is their semi-annual Tee and print sale. All Tees are now either $9 or $12 and all prints (basically the same art on the Tees just made to be framed!) are $19! But get em while you can.. they only make a limited number of each design and when they're out, they're out. Unless of course the public as a whole votes for a reprint! Oh and did I mention all designs are submitted by folks just like you?

They even have some limited designs available as wall art - not prints - but actual vinyl wall art! Super cool.

Check out a few of my Fav's:
My Daily Struggle
My Thoughts Exactly
Great For The Kiddos
This One May Take You A While (stand waaaay back to read it)
I Like to Think I'm This Cool
Just Plain Odd

And now go check out all your own!! You can search the whole catalog, search by size/gender, or just check out what's new. And the best thing - they have kids and infant sizes too!!! Go get yourself covered!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


Ok folks - I added a link to the right over there (see it, huh huh, do ya?) called "Followers". Its a pretty cool little do-dad that shows those peeps who want to "follow" or keep up with my blog.

You will note it is currently empty and the counter is at zero. That is sad. :( Please fix it. :)

Also, for those of you who liked the series I did (the Lactagen Blog, my WW days or my CSOTW - which I totally need to ramp up again) I put the labels at the bottom of the righthand link list so that you can jump to certain ones you lurve. Memories.... light the corners of my mind...

Lactagen User Trial Diary: Week One With Dairy

Ok folks. I will admit it here and in print ... Lactagen works. Even for a cynical midwestern lawyer. It has been a week since I introduced dairy again and days since I was free to eat what I wanted and I've had NOT ONE symptom. Nothing. Nada. Not even a twinge. As if to realllly test it the other day this was my intake:

12 Oz Skim Milk
Eggs with cheese

Turkey sandwich with Brie Cheese

3 slices deep dish cheese pizza
Chocolate Peanut Butter Malt from DQ

Folks, a month and a half ago I would have been in a coma. I would have been in so much pain, I would have been laying in the bathtub praying to die. Instead: nothing. Nothing nothing nothing. It works. Who woulda thunk it? It works. Of course the down side is that I gained a pound that one day alone. :)

Now, the cynic in me wonders how long this bliss will last, but we'll just have to wait and see. I can't tell you how wonderful it is in the meantime to be able to go to a restaurant or even just to have dinner in my own home and not have to either curb what I eat or pull out the Lactaid.

To be fair, I was not what I would call "severely" lactose intolerant. I could have sour cream on a taco or cheese on a burger and have no issues most of the time. But have a glass of milk or some pudding and boy look out. However, a friend's husband IS severely (and I mean severely) LI and he has been inspired to order and try the Lactagen. I'll let you know how it turns out for him.

I'm probably about done posting on this topic. I may do a one month follow up but for the most part, unless you hear about it - consider it all good. :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A Morning Without Coffee

This morning was a morning without coffee. Metaphorically and actually. The morning started at about 2:00am when, for the second night in a row Coco decided to wake up crying. She's been 'off kilter' for a few days. We're never sure if she's sick or just going through a spell since, luckily, she's a super happy "sick" baby. She doesn't show a lot of symptoms ever. So recently we've been trying to decide if the cranky spells and runny nose are due to the emergence of her upper eye-teeth, or something more sinister. Luckily at 2:00am all she wanted was her paci so getting back to sleep wasn't too tough. However we repeated the episode again at 5:00.

Once we were up and running for the day, I decided it was best to just take her in to the doc. We have her first plane ride coming up next Thursday and on the off chance she had an ear infection a checkup was better now than later. Of course when I say off chance, I suppose it isn't off at all. Since she's been born Cora has had 5 ear infections (if you count each ear). Again, since she doesn't get outwardly sick, we can't ever tell until its severe. By then the doctor at the clinic looks at us like he's debating calling DHS. He usually asks something like "didn't she seem upset when you laid her down?" To which we would say "Ah no... she went to sleep." I'm not sure he believed us.

Back to the story... our walk in clinic doesn't open until 8:00am and Daddy leaves at 7:00 so for about 45 minutes I was trying to entertain Coco in a suit and heels. Once we finally got out the door and to the clinic, I realized that carrying a 25lbs doll along with a large handbag all the while in aforementioned heels is not as fun as it should be. Once we got in to the waiting room Coco wanted to roam. And of course she made a bee-line for the sniffliest, runny-nosed-ness, most hacky coughing little one in the room. I didn't need her getting something else on top of whatever she may or may not have already but didn't want to hurt the other mom's feelings so I mumbled something about "Come on Cora, I don't think this little guy wants your germs" and carted her off.

Once we finally got in to see the doc my suspicions were confirmed... ear infection. *Le sigh* So it was off to Walgreen's to fill her prescription. Now I had a sick(ish) baby who had missed snack time and was nearing nap time. Not a good combo for life on the go. But having no choice (after I carted said baby and handbag all the way back through the building and out to the car) I headed to Walgreen's and drug Coco in with me.

Out of desperation, while they were filling the scrip, I went to the baby aisle and bought some Gerber cookies and cheesy poofs. Cora had never had the cheesy poofs but I figured I'd give it a go. We sat in the waiting area and I opened the canister for her. You would think that child had never eaten a day in her life. She was literally grabbing poofs with both hands and shoving them in her mouth. After a short period of that, I tried to put the lid back on the poofs. Bad idea. I suddenly had a screaming pile of snot covered angriness in my lap. I tried to be the strong mom and tell her "Cora, you've had enough of those. Now that is enough." After about 2 minutes of that along with the ear piercing shrieking I simply opened the canister back up. Oddly enough it was met with joyful silence as Coco once again blissfully stuffed her mouth.

Once they called our name, I realized that I had to somehow get 25lbs baby, handbag and now 2 containers of treats up to the counter, extract my wallet, pay for my items, and get all of this back out to the car. Riiiight. Somehow I didn't end up dropping any of them (baby included) and got out to the car (with screaming child in tow since I had, for real this time, taken away the cheesy poofs).

My plan was to give Coco her medicine in the car, and then head on to day-care. After getting her into her car seat (no small feat in her state) I was too wiped. I decided we would run home, get her medicine, give her a cookie, leave the treats at home, mommy could change the itchy sweater she had been silently swearing at all morning, and then we could go to day-care. Once I turned into my driveway and looked back to tell Cora we were home I realized why things had been so peaceful on the ride.. Cora was out like a light. Knowing my child as i do, I realized that if I had woken her at that point, she would not go back down for a morning nap and she would be an evil little imp at day-care. I pulled into the garage and said, as if she could hear me, "Mommy is going to just run inside very quickly. I'll be right back... right back!" Feeling some level of bad parenting for leaving my child unattended I bolted inside, threw the treats on the floor of the foyer, took the steps two at a time shedding the horrid sweater along the way, threw the sweater on the floor of the bedroom, grabbed another (non-itchy) one out of the closet and bolted back down the stairs and out the door to the waiting car praying I would not hear wailing. Phew - all was well - she was still asleep.

I drove to day-care with a sleeping baby all the way. Once I pried her out of the car seat she woke as I knew she would but at least she had gotten in a good 25 minutes. I took her inside along with the medicine while also clutching two cookies to help her tummy. I explained to Linda (her day care provider) and begged her indulgence to let me give Coco her cookies and meds, store the meds in her fridge and then get the heck to work.

Once baby was medcined and cookied, hugged and kissed, I headed out. I got to the parking ramp as quickly as I could and realized that I would have to circle upward for an eternity to find a spot. Then I remembered overhearing that one of the reserved spots (given to associates who help a local charity) was unspoken-for this month. Mind you it is the one and same charity whose annual kick-off meeting I was chair of - and that I was currently missing due to taking Cora to the doctor. Nice. I had no shame as I pulled right into the main floor, reserved spot. I grabbed my briefcase and purse, and picked cookie off of cashmere as I headed past security and on to the elevators.

Once I was safely in my office, booting up my computer, flipping through files and walking around while listening to waiting voicemails I realized that it was almost 10:00 am and I had not had breakfast. Then more importantly I realized I had not had coffee! How had I survived? No wonder things had been so chaotic! I actually found myself wondering if the Starbucks Baristas were concerned when I hadn't been in. Sad isn't it? You know its bad when the baristas see you standing in line and just start your drink for you - before you ever open your mouth or get anywhere near the counter. As I sat down at my desk and began to go through the 35 waiting emails I wondered if it was kosher to have coffee with lunch. And I wondered if it was kosher to have lunch at 10:00am....

Friday, August 29, 2008

Lactagen User Trial Diary: MILK AGAIN!

Ok, so if I wasn't singing from the rooftops before - I am now. Yesterday I had 8oz of milk twice a day. And then - because patience has never been a virtue I adhere to - I had a bowl full (two scoops) of ice cream. Not one symptom. Nothing. Even on my best day that would have put well over the edge of very bad things.

Today I've had my 2 servings of 10oz of milk plus pasta with cream sauce and cheese. Lovely.

I'll report back from time to time to just confirm that over the weeks I'm still hangin in there but I will say that my cynical nature has been dispelled (on this topic at least). I'm not silly enough to think this is a forever cure - I'm sure if I stop having dairy for an extended period I'll be back where I started. But hopefully a glass of milk a day keeps the ickies away!! We shall see...

Vote Early, Vote Often! - UPDATED

For all you who participated in the WFN contest on behalf of our family friend, Shane (see original blog post HERE...) You'll be happy to you know your efforts made a huge difference!! Shane came in SECOND! Here is the email from his father:

Just wanted to tell you all that Shane took second place in the WFN fishing contest you all worked so hard at. They just got a call this morning. He came in second out of everyone that was voted for. He gets a $500 on line gift certificate at any national store that he chooses.

Without all of your help it wouldn't have happened. He and my sister thanks each and everyone of you for the thrill he got for coming in second. This is a great lift for him and he can't come close to expressing his thanks to all you you. Your the greatest. And thank everyone else who helped as well. I don't have Kristi's email or I'd have her included as well. She did a great write up on her Blog. Please pass the word to everyone who worked on this.

And a great big hand of applause for John who said up all night the last day and voted till the last minute.

Good things do come from hard work and great friends.

Thanks again from all of us. Your the greatest people.

Shane is walking on clouds and very proud to be a part of such a great network of friends.
So thank you to everyone who voted - and thanks for making a difference in one guy's life!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lactagen User Trial Diary: Day 34!

Ok - so here we are... my first "controlled dairy" day. The plan says to have 8oz of milk at breakfast and another 8 at dinner. I can't tell you how nervous I was about this since I'm at work today! I did have a big breakfast to try and coat my tummy (3 pcs bacon, scrambled eggs and part of a sausage patty). I drank my 8oz (give or take - our caf only has 12oz bottles so I had to guestimate) at about 9:00am today. Its currently 10:52am and not one symptom. Not even a little discomfort or bloating, not even so much as a belch.

I'm not singing from the moutaintops just yet. Even "back in the day" I could get away with a latte every once in a while... so we'll see. But I'm cautiously excited. Tomorrow will be 10oz 2x day and then Saturday will be 12oz. Sunday I plan on having a big ole chocolate peanut-butter malt so I'll report back!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Lactagen User Trial Diary: Day 31

Wooo hooo I am in the home stretch. So far no big issues to report. I am up to 3L/1s with breakfast and 4L scoops with dinner. I even had cheese pizza last night for dinner WITH the Lactagen and no issues. One thing I did notice is that my diet was not so successful recently. I think it may be that the diet calls for very strict food intake from day to day, and two large glasses of dairy sugar are NOT part of that diet. I'm not saying its totally that, but I followed the diet to the "t" for 4 days and only lost 1lbs. Not a good sign.

Also, again maybe totally unrelated but (for those squeamish stop here and move on to the next paragraph) I have gotten two yeast infections (told ya!) in the past month. Yeast, obviously, feeds on sugar not to mention this is getting all the internal flora in my system reworked, so I wonder if this has something to do with that. Who knows.

But at any rate, I have only 3 more days of "powder" left and then we start back into dairy for a 3-day build up to freedom. I have noticed the grit in the powder lately since I'm taking it in such large amounts in such a small amount of water. It contains silica (aka sand!) so its a little gross. Not disgusting - just a little chalky and doesn't stay stirred up well.

I'll post back on day 35 when I start dairy again. I'm a little nervous - its a workday and you start with 8oz of milk at breakfast... but we'll just have to see!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

On The Market

The longer my house is on the market the more I realize that selling your home is like dating. Allow me to explain with a narrative...

When you become "available", you market yourself as best you can - trying to seem upscale while still desirable. You make sure to play up your best assets while playing down those that you're not as proud of. Sometimes you even enlist the help of professionals (in the way of a stylist or sometimes even those who can preform major work) to prepare to hit the market. You put yourself out there as open and available via all the traditional ways and maybe even some newer more innovative means.

Then, finally you get a phone call or an email from someone who is interested! You get all excited wondering if this one could be "the one" even though you know its too early to speculate. You and the potential schedule a time to meet. You spend all your free-time thinking about the upcoming meeting and getting ready. Sometimes you find your mind anxiously drifting back to it while doing other things. You tell your friends and family that you have a potential match - how exciting!

The big day comes and you rush home from work to primp and preen. Maybe you even take off from work a little early to really make sure you have time to put your best foot forward. You rush about making sure every little detail is perfect - you want to look magazine glamorous! The time comes and you sit and wait anxiously thinking about what you want to say. Sometimes, the worst happens and you get stood up. You feel disappointed, then angry. Then you start to wonder why? Why did they even call if they really weren't interested in following through? You know you'll likely never get an answer to your question.

But most of the time, the person shows. The doorbell rings and your heart jumps just a little, but you want to seem cool and collected so you take a breath and head to the door. Sometimes you know right off the bat that its just not going to be a good fit. But on those times where you have potential, you try and show off all your good points during the meeting. You want to seem desirable and available but not cross the line to desperate for goodness sake! At the end of your time together, there is the awkward moment by the door where no one really knows what to say. Sometimes the prospect will tell you that they aren't ready to committ - they are just looking right now to see what's "out there". While you appreciate the honesty one part of you is frustrated that they are wasting your time but one part of you wonders if maybe you can "wait it out" until they are ready to settle down? Maybe you were so fantastic they will be ready sooner rather than later? Most times though pleasantries are exchanged and if you're lucky the potential says they will call soon.

Once they are gone and out the door, you can finally breathe and relax. Then the post mortem begins.... you dissect what they said, what you said, what you did, what went right, what went wrong, what they seemed to like, what they didn't. But most of all you wonder if you'll hear from them again, and if so, how soon.

Most times, you never get that call back. You never know why and after enough "first dates" you start to wonder if you're ever going to find "the one". You start to doubt your worth and compare yourself to others out there on the market. You start to nitpick your faults and stop giving credit to your assets. You start to wonder if you really should have some work done?

Sometimes you do get that call back (or second email) and the person wants to come see you again! The whole dance starts all over again and your hopes start to soar even though you try and stop yourself. After the second meeting you usually fall back into the "never hear from them again" category and go through that ordeal again. Sometimes the potential has the courtesy to send an email - or more rarely a phone call - thanking you for your time and telling you that they loved what they saw, but you're just not right for them. "Its not you, its me." They assure you that you'll find someone soon.

Your hopes are dashed even though you pretend they're not. After enough time has gone by you start to think about just pulling yourself off the market and giving up completely. Friends tell you to give it time - Rome wasn't built in a day. But you feel like its been forever and to make it worse you hear friends or acquaintances talk about finding their perfect match in a matter of days or weeks. You sulk for a day or two - but then you get that next interested email or phone call and away we go all over again....