December 7, 2013

Little Moo Lost

I don't even know why I started writing this today.  I mentioned the incident to someone who wanted to hear how the story ended.  But one of the things I so love about writing is that it has the ability--regardless of whether you've heard a story before or not; or perhaps even whether or not you initially set out to tell it--to take someone (even the writer) on a journey.

When Moo was in first grade I worked at my first (nearly) full-time job since having kids.  It was sometimes confusing when it came to after school arrangements.  Because The Sarge works shift work as a firefighter, some days I would pick her up at the school and have to go pick Slim up at a friend's. Other days I would pick him up first and drive home to get her off the bus. There was no easy pattern to which days were which.

One particular morning, on the drive to school I told her to get on bus that day. The work day went by and I left to pick up Slim and get Moo at the bus stop.  

She did not get off the bus.      

Although my stomach lurched a little, I just assumed that she had gotten confused because of the unpredictable pick-up arrangements and was sitting at the school waiting for me.  Since driving to the school would take almost ten minutes,I rushed up to the house and called the school.

She wasn't there. 

Now my whole body felt like jelly and I started to shake a little.  I called the police.  I was starting to cry as I explained what was happening.  The officer I spoke with was extremely calm and was trying to keep me calm as well.  I was losing it quickly and beginning to shout into the phone. 

I can't accurately describe what it feels like when you hear a police officer ask you what your child is wearing.  Your mind skips back through the day and searches the flashcard moments of that morning. Breakfast, clothes, riding to school.  The clothes.  And the worst things also flash through your mind faster than you can imagine.  You think about your child being scared, alone, or not alone.

When I think about it now I'm not sure I could answer that question on any given day lately.  In the whirlwind of school clothes, tweenage fashions and dressing three kids for school every day, I might not be able to recall what outfit was donned by whom on any particular morning.  But back then there was only Moo and Slim and I remember my mind focusing like a laser on what she was wearing that day.  

As I described her outfit to the officer, I paced around the living room feeling panicked and sick.  I had no idea what to do.  I wanted to race back to the school but the officer said it was best if I stayed home.  I started to call my mom (who lives three hours away) but I didn't want to tie up the phone.  I was terrified, frantic, overwrought--no word I can find now can really sum it up.  To sit and wait for the phone to ring was simply maddening.

I lived the longest ten minutes of my life before the phone rang.  It was the Police Department telling me that she was back at the school.  I cried and cried with relief all the way to the school.  One thing I clearly remember is her puffy, tear-streaked face looking up at me when I walked in the office.  That fear and disappointment--a little lost trust.  I squeezed my baby girl so hard and we both cried together.

When I hadn't come up to the doors that day Moo had crossed the street looking for me.  She was standing by a tree where I normally parked my car to walk up and get her.  I am not sure how close he was or if he had noticed her crying, but a man had seen her and watched her from afar so that he did not scare her.  For whatever reason he was certain that she was either lost or at least should not have been waiting there so long alone.  He watched for about 15 minutes before finding a woman to approach Moo to ask her if she was okay and walk her back to the school.  As far as I know the man never went near the school and the woman left after Moo was safely inside.

I can't say that I really learned any deep-seated personal lesson from what happened.  I think we tried to establish something more routine all around.  I know we thanked God, Fate, Allah, Karma, our lucky stars and whoever and whatever could have been responsible for our lack of tragedy; just as in the opposite situation there would be no object too small to blame.

I never met the  man or the woman who helped her that day, but obviously they were good people.  I am so grateful that they were there that day.  I suppose some people might call them angels or heroes, but really it shouldn't require an act of heaven or heroism to believe in the simple kindness of others, or to find faith in our fellow humans.  
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November 18, 2013

Motherhood Mondays at

I was graciously invited to repost an old post of mine by Jennifer at Outsmarted Mommy.  She does a series called Motherhood Mondays and today is featuring This is Motherhood, a post of mine from nearly a year ago.

Jennifer is a mom to two cute little guys and a fellow wife of a firefighter.  I am so honored to be introduced to her readers and I hope you will visit her site and check out some of her wonderful posts.
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October 16, 2013

I'm a LOSER. (Why I DO workout.)

If you didn't catch my last post about working out, Why I DON'T workout feel free to check it out. This isn't a series or anything, but it might make for good comparison, a good show of progress, and a definite change of heart/mind/attitude.  Hopefully to soon be followed by a change of body.

So tonight I sat down to watch The Biggest Loser Season 15.  I am a fan of the show (among other weight loss shows) because I am amazed at the transformations that take place.  I am always interested in the journey these people take to free themselves of the things that weigh them down--and not just the extra fat on their body.

I'm a loser, baby....
In the past my usual M.O. while watching The Biggest Loser was to plop down on the couch with a bowl of ice cream and stuff my face while watching the people on TV kill themselves in the gym.

This season is different.  Tonight I sit down with a much smaller portion of ice cream--a reward of sorts after having done my own workout and held up one end of a bargain with myself to down a full glass of water before the ice cream ever touches my lips.  Ice cream is it's own revered food group in our house and although there are nights that pass without it, I usually try to allow for it in my daily calories.

Mint chocolate heaven.
I don't follow any sort of "clean" eating or any structured diet.  Clean eating for me is anything that hasn't touched the floor or been fondled by grubby toddler fingers before being ingested.  I simply use an app on my smartphone to ensure that I don't take in 7,000 or more calories a day, and to track my daily workout. Yes, daily.

The toddler bites diet, anyone?
Now I do not think that I am doing anything extraordinary.  In fact, my results are pretty meager for the much-touted workout program I am doing.  So far I have lost about a pound a week.  Which is healthy and safe, but nobody's knocking down my door to have me star in the next infomercial.  That said, major weight loss is likely lacking because I only started watching my food intake after week three of what has been 8½ weeks.  And it's possible I have built up some muscle while losing some fat so that doesn't help in the equation of actual weight lost.

Results that can't be quantified.
What does equate for me is that I feel awesome.  I have more energy and I feel fit.  I'm not what even I would think of as "fit" just yet, but compared to where I was I feel great.  I feel myself changing; my body transforming; my mind re-thinking the way I want to treat this body.  And I realized recently that this is the only thing that I have truly done just for myself (on a consistent basis) in over 12 years.

This blog is something I love.  I love to write.  It is part of who I am--I constantly compose things in my head that I just don't make the time to get "on paper."  But as much as I love it, I feel I neglect it to a degree (a HUGE degree), and it suffers at the hands of a clock that squeezes the life out of every second of my day. It falls down the ladder of priority in the face of kids, dinner, laundry (ALWAYS the laundry!), bedtime routines and (now) working out.  

My new mantra. #everydayisnextMonday
It is actually rare that I even sit down to watch TV (in the face of the two loads of laundry sitting across the room needing to be folded).  But I can't regret it for this.  I am healthier, I feel better, I will look the way I want to.  It is happening.


And sometimes I sweat.....
...a lot.
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October 10, 2013


The other night our minivan was ransacked.  We were EXTREMELY lucky or blessed or whatever you want to call it, because the thieves somehow overlooked my wallet (which I NEVER EVER EVER leave in my car) and a house key.  Our loss was limited to the large handful of change they grabbed from the ashtray, which is fine because since I've been working out, I really don't need that McDonald's-vanilla-cone fund anymore.
I miss these.
I don't want to over dramatize and say I am traumatized or feel excessively violated.  I mean, I'm more kinda pissed off and perplexed.  Our neighborhood is very blue-collar and not well-to-do by ANY stretch of the imagination.  But I guess anyone might leave some cash in an unlocked car--which IS common around here because we live on the outskirts of a small town where people are trusting and unbelieving that this type of thing would happen to them.  We have lived here for nearly eight years and people laughed at us when we installed deadbolts on our doors when we moved in.

The vandals hit several dozen cars in our neighborhood.  No one in our neighborhood is laughing.  What is even less funny is the fact that the State Police (who are the responders where we live) flat out told us they weren't coming out.  My husband and a neighbor waited for two hours after initially calling them, thinking that someone would be out to take statements or at least write up a report, but when they called again they were told that that wasn't going to happen and that basically it could be chalked up to "we shouldn't have left our cars unlocked."  Our tax dollars at work.  Thanks for that.
More useful and zero tax dollars spent. ©Mark Turnauckas2012
One piece of information we did get from the police was that they had over 100 calls about vehicle break-ins that morning.  I'm not sure if the police were implying that they were all committed by the same people, but if it was a group and they were moving that fast and there were enough of them, its not inconceivable,I guess. There were at least 15 incidents that we know of in our neighborhood alone.  And that was just people The Sarge spoke to that morning.  I later found out about a few more from others.

I found it strange that a lot of people in our neighborhood didn't seem to be troubled by it whatsoever.  One lady had her driver's license, insurance card, registration and a debit card taken and yet she did not want to wait with my husband and the neighbor for the police. I mean, personal information was stolen and she begged off because she had to be at work.

Like I said, I'm not seriously traumatized.  Obviously it was dark and whatnot but you could tell they were moving fast and just looking for cash.  They actually missed a ten dollar bill in our visor because they likely never took the time to look up and around there.  They swept out all the low cubbies in the dashboard (where my wallet and the key were) and dumped the drawer under the passenger seat and the glove box, grabbed the change in the "ashtray" and that's it.  But if I'd had personal information stolen?  You better believe I'd want to talk to the cops.  It's hard to imagine that I'd be so worried about missing work that I'd ignore that kind of violation.

The other thing I question is that is this just "Shit Happens" to them?  Because "Shit Happens" to me is NOT burglary. "Shit Happens" is like, the game was rained out, or I forgot to bring my coupons to the grocery store, or the toddler crapped in her diaper 17 seconds after I changed her.  Burglary is NOT the shit I want happening around here. ©rick2008
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August 23, 2013

Flashback Friday

Yes, it's that time of year again.  So I thought it would be best to post a reminder about some basic skills necessary to navigate the drop-off/pick-up routine at school this year.  Read up.  Take notes.  


Rules for Drop-off/Pick-up at school:

1.  Pull up.

2.  Pull ALL THE WAY up.  To the front of the line, the beginning of the cones, the end of the curb, wherever is the farthest point at which you can pull up.

3.  If your child needs more help than a few encouraging words; park your car, help your kid out and walk him/her up to the door.  Getting out of your car and running around to the other side and giving me some exasperated eye roll as if little Jimmy never needs this much help at home, does not make me feel sorry for you.  It only stokes my drop-off rage.  I know my kids well enough to know how much help they need getting in and out of a car.  Slim is called Slim for a reason, and car doors are not his specialty.  (Thank God for the automatic minivan side doors.  I used to scoff at people who had these--back when I owned a minivan that didn't even have a driver's side slider or automatic anything.  I scoffed.  Until Slim started Kindergarten.)

4.  Don't get out of your vehicle.  See above.  If you are out of your vehicle, you cannot possibly pull up.  Do not ask the drop-off/pick-up adult where your kid is.  The other day some lady (who didn't even pull all the way up!) got out of her vehicle with a note in her hand and was trying to flag down the lone adult out there, saying something about she was a friend of Joey's mom and she was supposed to pick him up.  This was wrong on SO many levels.  First of all, whoever sent her obviously didn't give her the lowdown on procedure, but that is minor considering the rest of her transgressions.  Why would you jump out of your car (one in a long line) in the middle of school dismissal and try and introduce yourself to your coworker/friend's son and the random adult supervising pick-up that day (who may or may not know Joey any better than you do)?  From the way she was trying to introduce herself to "Joey" it didn't seem he knew her very well.  Why wouldn't she go into the office and explain the situation to school staff?  Or hopefully the kid's mother had the sense to call the school and the kid had the sense to get proof before traipsing off with a stranger.  Of course this prompted a grilling session with Moo on the way home:  What would you have done if someone approached you and said that?  Would you go with them?  Would you go back into the school?.........

5.  If you think you've pulled up enough, try another car-length or two.  I'm not sure I can say it better than I did in September on my Facebook status:
Wow! Even at intermediate school people can't handle the drop-off. Here's a few clues for you: 1. Those things dangling from your kid's butt? They're called legs, and they are meant to be walked on. So, you can 2. PULL UP! In case you haven't noticed you are not the only person dropping off your child. If you pull up, several of us can let our kids out at the same time and keep the line moving. I know these are radical ideas for some of you, but change can be good. Keep an open mind. Thanks. 
I just get totally bent by people who think their kids are too good to walk a few extra steps.  Junior does not need to get out exactly in front of the doors, or exactly at the dip in the curb.  And if you think Sally shouldn't have to walk a little more to get inside, she probably needs to walk a little more.  More likely, you should park your car and walk her up because I'm sure you could use the exercise too.  (God forbid if it's raining.)  And it just seems that so many people do not understand the concept that they are not the only ones dropping their kids off.  The more you pull up, the more of us that can let our kids out and the less time this whole process takes. There is a great big world around you with other people in it.  We, too, are trying to get to work, drop off our other kid, get to the grocery store, hurry home and Facebook, etc.

6.  Follow the line.  Don't drive around anyone for obvious safety reasons.  Slim's school (the elementary) recently changed the drop-off route.  We have to drive around the little back parking lot before turning into the actual drop-off lane.  Basically it's like a giant figure eight on acid.  It really is helpful in relieving traffic on the street which was the intention in changing it, but some people can't seem to handle the change or they are just too good to wait in the line before they can peel wheels out of the lot and be on their way.  They park their cars, walk up to get their kid and then rush back to their cars and try and get out before the line backs up.  Hurry up and wait.  Makes sense to me.
(Of course the exception to this rule is at the Intermediate drop-off lane which is a huge "U" that is super wide.  Here they have a few cones arranged in a bottleneck at the inside curve to prevent assholes from jumping the line and running anyone over, but past the bottleneck you have to PULL UP [tada!] so that any cars behind you CAN go around.  Especially at pick-up, since even though you may be near the front of the line, your child may not be the first one out of the school and into your car.)

7.  PULL THE HELL UP!   Every day I marvel that we are so much closer to the end of the year and yet still so far from smoothing the wrinkles out.  At the Intermediate school (4th and 5th grades in our town) haven't most of us been doing this for five or six years now?  People spend less time than this getting college degrees and we can't master a giant left turn with traffic cones and a complete stop in the middle.

So if you haven't surmised, I have a secret desire to be the drop-off/pick-up nazi, yelling at everyone to pull up and making sure nobody pulls into the lane without driving around first.  And heaven help you if you send Grandma to pick the kids up.  You better send her in with a diagram, a map, a GPS and a copy of these rules.
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August 15, 2013

My First Baby - Ketchup With Us #24

Baby girl, so BIG.  Is it appropriate to say that I gave birth to a toddler? 

Nine pounds, two ounces.  Solid and strong.  No newborn sizes for this girl.

My best sleeper.  (Still is.)  

Snuggly baby.  

Shy little girl.

Outgoing preteen--now so tall.  

My beautiful Lovey.  My freckly Feckle. 

My first baby.  Always, my first baby.  


In 57 words or less, tell us about a significant first day in your life … of school, work, parenthood, rehab, veganism, prison, whatever you want.

If you want to "Ketchup" with Old Dog New Tits and According to Mags click on over.  The hilarious pictures alone are worth it!  

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August 13, 2013

The Most Wonderful time of the Year....

If you just thought of the old Staples commercial with the in-your-face dad skipping through the aisles shopping for back-to-school items and the miserable kids, good job, that was exactly my intention. I'm SO ready.  I mean, I'm kinda not, but I am.  On the "why I am so ready" list?  Today:

Actually last week's list, but this one looked
much more productive.
I had big plans for today. Nothing too crazy, just wanted to get some crap DONE.  First on the list was to get to the lab early because Moo needed bloodwork and anyone worth their salt knows that your have to get there early lest you sit and wallow with the blue-hairs, waiting an eon for the pleasure of meeting the phlebotomic vampires in scrubs. The only thing about that was The Geel wasn't being particularly cooperative this morning and nothing would "shy" her up faster than being surrounded by a bunch of geriatrics smiling and wiggling their fingers trying to get her attention.  In this way, the lab did not disappoint.  But I'm getting ahead of myself....

Before the day even got that good we're at home "getting ready to go" and by that I mean, sitting around like lumps while I repeat myself ad nauseum that we need to "get going" and "get there early" and "get this over with" all the while trying to feed myself, The Geel and Slim and get some measure of coffee ingested before we go, and scrounging in my purse to make sure the lab orders were still where I shoved them three weeks ago at her pediatric endocrinologist appointment.  It was probably a good thing that Moo needed to fast for this labwork because while I'm trying to feed the rest of us, she's laying on the couch moaning that her stomach hurt.

Now I am not unsympathetic, but sometimes Moo has a flair for the dramatic.  And sometimes, she simply has symptoms of high or low blood sugar that are explainable.  This was not either of those times.  She came out of the bathroom and informed me that she needed help since she had thrown up.  I go in armed to the teeth with paper towels, bleach cleaner and the like, only to see that she (TURN AWAY, YE SQUEAMISH) horked up great gobs of mucus--likely due to a persistent post-nasal drip and her apparent inability to blow that crap down and OUT of her nose.  That cleaned up and everyone suitably dressed and shoe'd, off we go--a mere hour and a half later than my originally intended departure time.

We get there at a good time because only two people were waiting ahead of us, but it quickly filled up behind us and we still waited forever.  Plenty of time for The Geel to begin her daily epic battle with me for my cell phone.  When we are finally called up we go in the back and while one tech is tapping Moo's vein the other one asks us if anyone explained the 24 hour creatine test. Um, that would be no.

Apparently, we have to collect Moo's urine for a full 24 hours and, AND KEEP IT COLD.  Yes, that's right, refrigerate.  Yeah, so, the watermelon I just cleared space for in the fridge?  Might need to move him over and make room for that specimen container.  I don't get skeeved too easily, but I really do not want my daughter's urine taking up space next to my fresh fruit and my leftovers.  Thankfully the tech suggested that some people just set it in a bucket of ice in a cool area.  I'll take Option 2, thankyouverymuch.

Don't be jealous of this swank set-up.
"Lucky" for us we get these massive ice packs when Moo's insulin comes in the mail and I have an insulated reusable grocery bag that is ripped at the top and missing the zipper.  Won't miss that one a bit, because it definitely will NOT be going back in the reusable bag rotation after being on specimen duty.

One of the other things I wanted to accomplish today was working out.  I've been pretty dedicated this whole past week despite my haphazard attempt a couple of weeks ago.  I've been doing Focus T25 and so far so good.  Trying to stay on that wagon.  One of the things I like about it is the countdown clock on the screen. Except today my workout went something like this:
     25:00 Start
     24:34 Stop. Change Geel's diaper    
     24:11 Stop. Get Geel juice.
     23:26 Pause while The Geel crawls under me.
     21:23 Stop because something went wrong with my laptop and it skipped 10 whole minutes.
     Restart, etc, etc.
For me, T25 is really T45-50, depending on how many "breaks" I get.  How many extra calories do I burn changing diapers and making juice runs?  I may have to contact Shaun T so that he can modify the workouts properly for moms of toddlers.  

No matter what I have on my  TO DO list, I'll always have to stop and feed the animals. While I'm griddling up two grilled cheese for the girls, Slim was entertaining The Geel.  As was explained to me later, she was on a mission to destroy some lego creation of his and so he went running with it.  She chased him back to his room where he turned and attempted to shut the door so that she wouldn't see where he hid it.  Only she was faster than he anticipated because she got to the door and even got her hand on the door jamb, before he slammed the door shut and crushed her pinky in it.  Screaming from both ensued.  

I can say without a doubt that Slim was crying louder and harder than The Geel.  He was so upset that he hurt her.  I ran back, saw her little mangled finger and I almost started crying myself.  It looked much worse than it was.  She seemed to be able to bend it just fine.  Mostly it was getting swollen with bruising and the skin was torn on either side, but it didn't seem broken.  I held my baby while my big boy was wracked with sobs next to us on the couch and the "excitement" gave way to exhaustion....

You don't want to see what's under the bandage.

 ...and the grilled cheeses sandwiches were burning in the kitchen.  Thankfully Moo was able to stop the house from burning down with them, but since The Geel was asleep on me, my ability to get much of anything else done was pretty limited.  Naps all around!  I fell asleep on the couch with The Geel, Moo fell asleep on the chair and Slim was chillin' like a villain with the TV all to himself.  
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July 30, 2013

Why I DON'T workout.

See, I could have written why I CAN'T workout, but I don't want to sound like I'm carrying around 10 pounds of baby weight AND 5 pounds of excuses.  I DON'T workout because when I do, this shit happens....

I have been pretty motivated (for me, that is--everything's relative, you know) about working out lately.
  • I have been inspired by Sue Diamond-Philips at Diapers or Wine?.  Mama is rockin' a hot bod after crap tons of HARD WORK and she is not shy about the before-and-afters.  I want to say "unbelievable" but they are totally not unbelievable for all the effort.  UH-mazing!  
  • I also have a neighbor who is working her butt off, too.  She runs, so naturally I don't ask if I can workout with her, but she works up a sweat regularly.  She's done some runs and one of those muddy run things which is just combining two things that don't appeal to me in the least bit--getting covered with muck, and running.  No need to make room on the bucket list for that one.
  • Then there's my sister-in-law who does triathalons and stuff.  She works her butt off too and I'm sure she'd give me a great kick in the ass if we lived closer than 4 hours apart.
Anyway, I keep actually WANTING to workout, but honestly haven't had time.  Any normal week has it's own challenges, but this past week was pretty cray-cray with the local fair. We're not major fair-going folk, but I had to represent at our booth for work two nights and Slim had two shifts at his Cub Scouts smoothie stand.  This made for three nights in a row of 10 pm bedtime (and my crew is usually in bed by 8) and subsequent days of lost naps by The Geel, which made the next bedtime painfully long and drug out, etc. etc. etc.  
Twilight at the fair
Anyway, was I writing about working out? Oh yeah.  So today I actually had TIME.  TIME to workout. Now of course, since I haven't done it in, well honestly probably almost or maybe more than a year, I was kinda lost.  I mean, I've been thinking about it A LOT, but I was thinking about, like, how good I could look, and how I was kinda wanting to feel that after-workout soreness I haven't felt in longer than I can remember, and about how much better my clothes will fit.  (The wardrobe is in protest.)  I hadn't actually got around to the logistics of doing it.
Fashion first, baby!
Thank goodness for Xfinity on Demand.  The Sports & Fitness section has a metric crap-ton of choices. Almost too many--I kind froze up for a few seconds before I found something quick I could start out with while Slim helped The Geel finish up lunch.  I ran back to my bedroom, threw on some almost-too-"fitted" workout pants and dialed up some fitness On Demand.  So my first choice was an 8 minute butt number.

This chick promises me that I will feel all of this tomorrow.  I was feeling it after the second rep, but I'm an overachiever like that, so....  The thing you really want to pay attention to is the little extras I threw in just to challenge myself.  First Slim comes in in half a pirate outfit that needed the belt untied.  Now if you're gonna add this step, PLEASE be sure that the belt is knotted in at least 6 (yes, 6!) places.  Otherwise, what's the point?  Oh, and be sure that your child times it perfectly so that you are in a sideways facing lunge and that you untie the last two knots in a low isometric hold while your knee is hovering millimeters from the floor and you can no longer feel your left butt cheek.  That's when you're doing it right. 

On your next move make sure your toddler yells for you incessantly from the kitchen with increasing volume and intensity, until you are no longer able to not respond.  It is certain that Slim would not let any harm come to her, but she could care less about that because I'm not in the room so everything is an emergency that requires screaming for mommy.  Be sure that when you yell at the top of your lungs to answer her that you lose track of your reps and then miss switching sides so that one side gets WAY more worked out than the other. (And I'll probably be walking with a limp tomorrow.)  And also, it really amps up your intensity, when your two-year-old is, in fact, yelling, "MOMMY, I POOPED!!!!" so timing is really critical.

After adding a jog to the kitchen to rescue the toddler and change a diaper, I decided to try a second short workout.  Why not?  Everything was going great so far.  I opted for 10-minute basic Pilates.  This is best accomplished by keeping the toddler with you in the room, because after you lose the first 40 of the Pilates 100 to correcting your toddlers's positioning (they are the best workout partners--ALWAYS challenging you) you can make up that lost sweat trying to maintain your position and your breathing while having the toddler climb all over you like a human jungle gym.  Then to top it all off, (AGAIN, the timing!) be sure that the toddler leaves the room from boredom, then returns just as you are lowering you leg in a single leg circle that clocks her in the noggin.  Then you get to end your workout, snuggling with your crying baby and apologizing for trying to fit back into your pre-baby body jeans.
Oh well. Maybe next time.

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July 23, 2013

The Laws Of Laundry

I'm no expert at a lot of things, but I've done a load of laundry or two or 1,000 in my day.  In fact, I've done no less than 7 in the last 18 hours.  And although I couldn't possibly hope to ever be finished the laundry (ever.) I have definitely learned much along the way and feel obligated to share with you my knowledge on the subject.

1. The one piece of clothing that you missed grabbing out of the hamper is the exact thing that your preteen daughter NEEDS to wear today. 

2. The moment you remember to throw a load in to wash that blouse/work shirt/pair of jeans you need, is exactly the same moment three people in your household will need to take a shower, and precisely the same moment you remember that you loaded the dishwasher and forgot to start it.

3. You can never buy too much detergent. Maybe this is just my own personal hoarding issue, but when detergent goes on sale, I stock up.  When Sharknado hits or the zombie apocalypse comes, you may have plenty of water and canned goods stowed away, but how are you going to wash those blood-stained clothes?

4. If and when it ever so happens that you "finish" all of your laundry (finished laundry--does that qualify as an oxymoron?) and by "finish" I mean the 11 seconds of peace you have when......
  • all of the laundry in the laundry room is actually laundered 
  • you take a breath before you start folding all of it and
  • not quite enough time has passed that the hampers are full again
....that is when your toddler will smear and spill strawberries, ketchup and/or chocolate down the front of her shirt, and you will actually wish you had laundry to do.  Instead you cross your fingers and Spray n' Wash the shirt like Al Pacino in Scarface.

5. The day you come home from vacation with all of your souvenir knick-knacks, t-shirts (more laundry?) and dirty clothes is the day your washer will break.  Hopefully you won't have to wait 10 days for the repairman.  Hopefully.

6. Your washer will go wildly and loudly off balance right about the time your toddler drifts off to sleep for her 37 minute nap after 45 minutes spent reading, singing and laying down with her.

7. Never forget to check your own pockets. I am usually good at checking the kids clothes for the usual detritus that could end up going the distance in the washer and dryer, including but not limited to: jewelry, coins, Legos, rocks,  barrettes, wrappers, wads of paper, paper clips, lip balm and/or gloss (my biggest peeve), pens (usually The Sarge), keys, erasers, and money.  There may or may not have recently been a still-wrapped-but-very-bloated "emergency" maxi pad I vaguely recall stashing in my pocket the other day that, upon it's removal from the dryer, inspired this post.

And while I was writing this (for reals) The Sarge found his "lost" debit card.

I can't make this crap up.....

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July 8, 2013

A Monday Montage

Last week I turned 40.  For the past several years The Sarge and I have gone out to an expensive dinner for my birthday.  And really, that's about all we could have managed the last two years anyway, with a clingy infant on our hands.

This year I wanted to do something a little different and so we made plans to go to New York City with some good friends, bum around the Lower East Side and get dinner and drinks. It was a ton of fun and a success on other levels as well (childcare, to name one.)

A gorgeous day in the city.  A view from The New Museum.

Views from the streets.

This place.  Like a walk down memory lane, and a place to buy a new favorite t-shirt.

The downside.

Despite the blisters (there was a matching one on the other pinky toe), I am already thinking about next year.  Happy Birthday to me!

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June 30, 2013

Pulling the Plug

I have been trying for weeks now to bust out this post.  I wanted to wait before shouting from the roof lest I eat crow, as before.
Tonight I did it.  I pulled the plug.  I cold-turkeyed these bitches.

I have been telling The Geel for weeks now that we were going to stop nur-nurs soon.  And she would nod her head with appropriate seriousness and then smile and say "Nur-nur sides?"  In other words, "Suuuure, Mommy.  You keep telling yourself that.  Now shut up and feed me."

My master plan was to start while The Sarge was away, because as much of a hard nose as he thinks he is, he just can't listen to the crying-it-out.  I'm not saying I enjoy it any, but I will tolerate it if I have to.  So he goes away for two weeks for some training, and what looked good on paper weeks ago, suddenly seems like a half-baked idea with a slight lack of forethought.

First of all, the new summer babysitter (awesomest EVER--but that's another post) started on Monday and it's the last full day of school for Moo and Slim, so The Geel is with the new sitter all by herself for a day.  Then she wakes up the next day and Daddy is gone.  And so, after those two realizations, I thought that perhaps I should rethink the idea.

Not to mention the fact that I feel like she just isn't ready to give it up.  Years ago when I first had Moo, I had a friend shared with me one of her parenting philosophies:  Babies/kids have needs and if you fill those needs when they have them, they will outgrow the need.  Seems logical, and it seems to have held true for Moo and Slim regarding nursing and many other things.  Now needing to nurse and wanting to nurse are, of course, two very different things.  I know that she doesn't need to nurse, but of course, she wants to.

Most days she wants to nurse immediately when we walk in the house after I pick her up from daycare.  I had tried many times to limit nur-nurs only to "nappies" and "night-nights" but soon found that 3-5 minutes spent nursing The Geel dramatically reduces the time it takes me to make dinner (once you count the exorbitant amount of time it takes to wrestle a toddler from your legs numerous times while handling hot food and cookware).

Even when Moo and Slim do try to help distract her it is always in vain.  The girl will not be swayed, she will not be distracted or bribed.  Or she will "let" her self be bribed and then turn around and expect to nurse anyway.  Persistence is her forte.  And I would be lying if I didn't say that it wasn't a tad convenient.  Tired?  Nurse her.  Hungry?  Nurse her.  Bump her head?  Nurse her.  But mainly it's just the fastest easiest way to get her to sleep when she's with me.

Anyway, I have been talking this up for weeks.  I have been telling her that there will be no more nur-nurs soon.  That Mommy just can't do it anymore, my nur-nurs are getting tired and that it's not nice and snuggly for Mommy anymore.  I'm sure she comprehended what I was saying, but didn't believe what I was saying.  You know, "Suuuure, Mommy.  You keep telling yourself that.  Now shut up and feed me."

So I did it.  I ended it.  I reminded her of what I have been saying for weeks.  I told her that I would lay down with her, and that she might be sad and that she would probably still want to do nur-nurs, but that we would not be doing it anymore.  And amazingly, she was okay.  She did get a little upset, and she did ask once or twice, but it wasn't the major ordeal I was anticipating.  It was not the earth-shattering, world-rocking devastating event that I thought it would be.  It was okay.  She was okay.
And as soon as I shut down my computer last night, I realize that maybe I'm the one who's not okay.  I don't get all sentimental about The Geel being my last baby.  I mean, let's remember, she was sort of not really part of the plan to begin with.  I am perfectly fine with her growing up and have often joked from the beginning that I'd like to fast forward 4 or 5 years--past diapers and the sleepless nights and nursing.  

But in the thick of it here, I think I am missing something.  It's like waging a war.  Every day you fight and fight.  I whined about nursing, I begged and bribed her just to not do it.  I was weary with the effort--both of nursing and of resisting it.  The nursing itself wasn't so taxing, but emotionally I was starting to hate it, to dread it.  It was draining.  No pun intended.  

Now that it is gone, the war is over, I can go back to......something.  Can I go to Mom's Night Out again?  My book club?  Could I meet a friend for a glass of wine?  It seems possible now, and yet it seems weird and almost wrong.  Like I shouldn't be able to.  From the first night, I stayed up too late.  First I wanted to write about it, but the second night and the third I sat up waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Waiting for the inevitable #epicfail that didn't come.  

Don't get me wrong, this has not been without some bumps.  Yesterday's naptime was a particularly ugly knock-down, drag-out match between me and the Terrible Two-ster.  It would have been SO easy to just start nursing her (and she would have, I'm sure) and get her to sleep and have some "instant" peace, but I just couldn't.  And it's not like she doesn't still need me to get to sleep.  She really has no self-soothing skills.  In fact Phase II of this whole thing will be to not have to lay down with her and sing 17 rounds of "Hush Little Baby" and recite Goodnight Moon six times.

The other strange thing is that although I have shared the "news" with family and friends, it's nothing I'm particularly proud of.  I am glad it is over, but in my heart, I hear "This too, shall pass."  A favorite mantra of mine for sure, but still, something has passed.  Right behind my sigh of relief, is a pang of loss.
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June 14, 2013

Flashback Friday: The First

(I know, I know it's really Saturday, but I had this cool idea for a "theme day" thingy, and I scheduled this post to fly last night and for some reason, it didn't.  So you're getting it now.  On Saturday.  Suck it up and deal.  I mean "Sorry.  Next time I'll try and get it right, dear readers.")

Well, I have never tried this before, but there's a first time for everything.  I'm not much into theme days, but that's probably because I hardly take the time to post with ANY semblance of regularity, and having a weekly (or even monthly) theme would kinda require that.  But I was looking back over some old posts and kinda thinking about what I might want to write about this weekend and I feel like I don't have anything better to say than I did last year about The Sarge.

So without further ado, my first "theme-y" thing.  A flashback to a year ago:

Confessions of a (Not-so-)Super Wife

I met him at a club where we used to dance.  We'd both gone for several years but had never really run into each other before that night in June.  I had been watching him dance for a while when I decided to approach him at the bar (with what could be one of the corniest things that ever left my mouth:  "I was watching the dance floor and you were absolutely the most interesting thing on it.") <gag> that was painful to write

Soooo, anyway, we talked the rest of that night and I realized by the end of the night that I didn't really like him very much.  It wasn't anything specific, just didn't get any kind of spark or anything.  Of course, after a night full of cheap gin and tonics and 2 am small talk, I'm not sure what I had expected.

About six or seven months later we started "officially" dating.  That was 14 years ago.  Marriage, three (unexpected) kids, a dog, a few states later (and not necessarily in that order) and here we are--wedded, parenting bliss.  Or something like that.

For being a man who never thought he would even have kids, The Sarge is a pretty great dad, and I think we're a good team.  He's the strong arms, straight backbone and discipline, and I'm mostly the squishy parts (in more ways than one).  His military background and my laziness sometimes make for interesting, um, discussions, but I prefer to think of it as one of the many ways we compliment each other.

He is a history buff and can (for example) tour the battlegrounds at Gettysburg and give Moo and Slim a full run down of every battle, which commanders fought which and what direction they were marching across the fields.  I am of more use helping them with their math homework.  (I am actually excited that Moo will have some Algebra next year. Bring it on!)  He is the one to make them sit and do their homework everyday as soon as they walk in the door.  I take them to auditions for plays.  He likes to plan for any and every possible eventuality.  I sometimes forget daily repeated tasks (and have been known to run out of work screaming expletives, realizing that I forgot to leave on time to pick up the kids at school.)  Like I said, we compliment each other.

One thing I never really tell him is that I appreciate our differences.  I think it is virtually impossible to realize such a thing in the middle of any "discussion" over those differences; and like most people, I have a hard time saying I am wrong about a good many things, but sometimes I am. Discipline is necessary, history is educational, planning is smart.

Happy Father's Day to The Sarge.  Today, you can be right.  Tomorrow.....well, that's a new day.....
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June 1, 2013

Around the Block

I was thinking the other day about why I don't post more often and how I could go about changing that. A few things were poking at my brain. One was a question in Facebook group asking some bloggers to fess up about our biggest obstacle.  The other was as post I read over at Pocketful of Joules about "busy people."

Anyway, those two things together made me think that mommy bloggers don't normally suffer from "Writer's Block," but there are a whole host of other things that ail us.

1.  Blogger's Block - You know, when you write a great post (or even a not-so-great one) and then you hesitate to publish it because you need to edit, or maybe you think it's just not the kind of thing you would usually write about, or the thought of the full time job of promoting it with an endless parade of social media makes you think twice.  No matter the hang up, sometimes we are our own worst enemy.

2. Kid/ToddlerBlock - This is when you sit down at your computer to get started and suddenly you become interesting to your two-year-old, who prior to that very moment, had no clue you were in the room.  Not only are you interesting, but anything and everything you touch is as well. Need a pen? Nope, she'll take that. Trying to type? Fat chance! She can do it better.

3. Laundry Block - This is a particularly tough one.  I had high hopes as I sat on the couch with my laptop, only to be thwarted by the evil glare of the pile of laundry staring me down from the laundry room (or as it is occasionally known: the loveseat).  Guilt ensues, and I forgo a night of potential writing in favor of more seating in my living room.

4. TV Block - Sorry, as good as a multitasker I can be, I simply cannot churn out a cohesive thought, AND keep track of Meredith Grey's neuroses at the same time.  Thursday Night Drama - 1. Blog Post - 0.

5.  Bills Block - Oh those pesky bills!  You mean electricity and TV aren't free?!?  Oh yeah, that's why I work. 

6. Work Block -  Generally speaking, the boss isn't too keen on me logging in and working on a new post while I should be, well, working.  And unfortunately, work is the only thing that takes up almost as much of my day as sleep.  Or at least it will when I start getting some. (Sleep, that is.)

7.  Sleep Block - Or lack thereof.  I always love it when I surmount Block's 3, 4 and 5 only to be thwarted by nodding off in the middle of working on a post.  Kind of derails the train of thought.

8. Spouse Block - This is not always entirely unwelcome.  I mean, it is not the end of the world if you have to put aside those post ideas about poop and weaning and let some other creative juices flow, right?
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May 12, 2013

Happy Mother-TaxiDriver-Waitress-Tutor-GrilledCheeseMaster-PersonalAssistant-WetNurse-BandAidBrandisher-Snuggler'S Day!

Another year, another breakfast in bed.......

These kids do it right!  It is without a doubt, my favorite day of the year.  And of course there were cards and gifts (more "chore" coupons!--that I SWEAR I will cash in.  This year.)

Now, several weeks ago I started counting my calories and I have been pretty good about staying on track for the most part.  I am trying not to be a Nazi about it and mostly just get into the habit and make sure I'm not double what should be a normal calorie intake for me (which is so easy to do it's scary.)  

Now I did not have the heart to tell my little chefs...

...that they surely blew my calorie count for the day.

Luckily, I had some help eating.

"I eat pan-take, Mommy?"

The good news is I still have enough calories left for lunch...

My Mother's Day gift.

...and dinner.

No, for real, this was actually my gift.  Not requested, but most appreciated.   

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May 6, 2013

The Sugar (Part 3): Stronger Because Of It.

When I wrote the first post about The Sugar, I somehow thought I would write two posts about how we found out and just move on to the next thing meandering through my brain.  How impossible.  It's not as if we just found out, tucked it away in a closet and never thought about it again.  It affects Moo (and occasionally the whole family) every day.  Every.  Day.  

I had written and scrapped and written and scrapped and written and scrapped a third post about diabetes for a couple months now.  I was babbling on about how I'm not an activist and how I am too lazy have no time to organize walks, be in walks, raise money for walks or any other activity designed to fundraise for the disease.  Basically it was kind of blah, blah, blah, Negative Nancy, I feel guilty, but not really.  Anyway, it got scrapped again.

Some time after Moo was diagnosed with Diabetes I came to tell many people that I was so amazed at her strength and courage in dealing with the whole thing.  She had always seemed to be my crabbier child.  (Although in hindsight some of her moodiness may have been symptomatic.)  Slim was way more easy-going and happy-go-lucky and The Geel wasn't here yet.  If someone had told me one of my children was going to be diagnosed with an incurable disease I would not have pegged her as one to take it so well.  But she did.  She was such a trooper.

I mentioned before about how the hospital we went to when she was diagnosed was really good about making sure you knew what the hell you were doing and were comfortable with it before you were discharged.  The Sarge and I agreed that we wanted her to try giving herself the insulin injection right from the start and that we would go from there based on her willingness or ability to do so.  With a little practice on a stuffed bear designed specifically for that purpose, she did great and has done so since.  We were and are so proud of her.  For all this disease can take away, strangely it gave her a certain confidence she never had before.  She felt in control and capable.

I wanted to write about this because the other day I took a survey about Diabetes.  I take surveys quite a bit about many different things and this one was very personal and asked a lot of questions about how it feels to have a child with Diabetes.  When presented with a blank box I dug up some real gems like frustrating, overwhelming, and chronic.  Then the survey presented me with some choices and I got a big kick in the hoohah.

BOOM!  As soon as I read down the list I thought of my crappy ass blog post that was wallowing in the Drafts.  And I busted out the phone to take a pic.  

Why didn't my mind go there? THOSE are the words I should have thought of. THOSE are the words I had used myself to describe my daughter, her journey, our experience. Proud. Self-sufficient. (Good grief! how many times I used that word: birthday parties, sleep-overs, babysitters.) STRONGER BECAUSE OF IT.  That confidence.

The one word I know I have NEVER, EVER used to describe Moo and her Diabetes is "victim."  That's just not in the vocabulary for us.  I will never say it hasn't been frustrating or overwhelming at times.  Even as I look at the list, I wonder if I ended up checking "Roller Coaster" before I clicked through.  SO fitting, that one:  the symptoms, the blood sugar, the emotions.  Very fitting.

The second thing that struck the same chord with me was Moo herself.  She was on the computer yesterday morning playing around with Power Point. No reason, she was just bored.  (Its times like these when I know they are so my children.) I peeked over her shoulder to see her creating a short presentation about her Diabetes.   I then thought of this revised post I wanted to write and asked her if I could include her presentation.

Her matter-of-fact-ness makes me proud.  Her almost nonchalance speaks to her confidence in handling it.  I occasionally wonder if we are too relaxed about it, but the alternative is living in fear, and I don't think that is healthy. Could serious things happen with her Diabetes? Absolutely.  Do I want her in a constant state of worry about every detail of every activity and every bite of food?  Absolutely not.

Moo wrote an essay last year that I hope I still have tucked away somewhere.  It was autobiographical.  She  wrote about her family, places she had lived, what she liked to do, what she wanted to be when she grew up.  She never even mentioned her Diabetes.  I was a little shocked, since we deal with it constantly.  But then I realized: as ubiquitous as it is in her life, it does not define her.  She is not my Diabetic child.  She is my first baby.  My Lovey.  My Moo.

She is not it, but she is stronger because of it.
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