Monday, December 12, 2011

HALP

Hi. Can't talk. Busy barely functioning and swallowing back vomit every five minutes. And happy holidays to you all!

Seriously though,.... that's pretty much accurate. I'm sorry I'm MIA, but yeah. Very sick. So sick. Tried a B12 shot last week, which the doctor swore is this new miracle cure for morning sickness, and no dice. I was so disappointed.

So that's what I'll be doing the next two weeks. Trying to slog through the holidays while feeling like I have stomach flu. I'll try to blog more when I feel like myself again, promise. In the meantime, feel free to send me bland food and hugs.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

I'm Still Alive Here

Well, I'll be eight weeks along tomorrow, and I officially feel like death most of the time. Which is Such a Good Sign! as my doctor always loves to say cheerily. Meh. I call bs on that one. I know plenty of people who had lovely healthy babies without ever barfing, you know? But I guess since I seem to be one of the lucky half of women who DOES feel sick from pregnancy hormones, for me perhaps it is in fact indicative of a healthy baby. At any rate, my progesterone is now a whopping twenty four, which is the highest it's ever been with any pregnancy, so it seems that my body is actually responding to the supplements! (In the past, it often wouldn't... I'd be taking tons and tons of it, and then my levels would only raise a point or two. It was so weird.)

I don't have another check up until January fourth, which seems so far away, but I know the holidays will make it rush by. That's the kind of nice thing about having my first trimester coincide precisely with the holidays. Makes normal festive things like cooking, cleaning, decorating, shopping and general bustling around a bit daunting, but it will certainly make these draggy, sickish, still kind of iffy-feeling next four weeks go a bit faster, I imagine.

What seriously sucks, and without any silver lining, is that our roof is leaking again, into the same freaking closet, and the roofing company now says they're simply going to have to replace a section of the roof. Fun! But at the least the mold remediation company that came out for an inspection said there's nothing bad enough to be torn out, just bleached down, dried with fans and coated with an oil based Kilz. None of which I can do in my delicate condition, of course, so that's nice. The worst of it is that I am still short a closet- the closet I usually hide all the presents in! Not sure where everything's going to go once I actually get in gear and start shopping.

Oh, and? Just in case I didn't already feel like barfing? We have mice again. I didn't even play around this time. After two traps were... activated in one night (the night that it got really cold and snowed,) I called an exterminator to go crazy on the place, attic to crawlspace. Best of all, he's also responsible for coming back and emptying the creepy cages full of poison and glue pads that he placed around the "hot spots." SHUDDER. I know it's mean and I feel so bad about killing little creatures, but the idea of them in my house makes me NUTS, like seriously in need of anti anxiety meds to sleep nuts, especially now that Jamie spends his days all over the floors and putting everything into his mouth. The germs! The possible fleas and diseases and feces! THE CREEPY LITTLE RODENTS WITH THEIR CREEPY HAIRLESS TAILS!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving a Day Early

Today I am thankful to have heard my baby's heartbeat, seen a little seahorse-looking embryo measuring at six weeks and five days, and to have received a due date of July 12th. I kind of can't even believe it. This... is happening. And the progesterone. It's working! For once it's working! It's so weird. I guess maybe all the other times it was a crappy egg to begin with so there was no saving it even if I took progesterone all day long. But this time, perhaps, there is a perfectly fine baby in there that just needed a little help taking off.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sick Food, Kitchen Pictures

The Good News: As of the last few days, I have morning sickness (all day,) which is never a bad sign when you're hoping your pregnancy is still viable, right?

The Bad News: See above.

The Good News: I am on my second bowl of egg noodles over mashed potatoes, covered in butter, and it is helping tremendously after a day of searching fruitlessly for something ok to eat. (Isn't the food search so awful when you're already feeling nauseous? You're hungry and know that eating will help the queasiness at least marginally, but then every time you open the fridge or freezer the sight of at least two or three objects in there is bound to make your retch.)

The Bad News: I don't think this is going to be one of those first trimesters in which I lose weight (see above re: carb fest.)

I have an ultrasound scheduled the day before Thanksgiving, when I will be eight weeks according to the usual period math, or approx. six weeks according to that crazy ultrasound I had, which I think is more reliable. But we'll just see what size baby shows up, hope it has a heartbeat, and go from there. Honestly, I think I'm rooting for just six weeks along. An extra two weeks to prepare is an extra two weeks, you know? Though, that would also knock two weeks off the estimated Amount of Time I Will Probably Feel Crappy 24/7. So hmm. Now I don't know which I would prefer.

Oh, here's a little morning sickness PSA after having done this... what, seven times now?

-Try to stay hydrated, but not primarily via plain water. Water often makes me sick. I try to do tea, hot or iced, apple juice, Vitamin Water, lots of oatmeal (instant with hot water,) hot chocolate, etc. but only do sips of water here and there to supplement.

-Pizza is almost always safe. If nothing else is working, try it. Eating it cold is sometimes surprisingly helpful.

-Scrambled eggs are often very comforting, but don't make them yourself! The smell of cooking eggs = obvious gag factor. Wait until someone can make them for you while you sit in another room.

And now, in honor of this boring food/preggo post, I will continue with the home tour and post pictures of our kitchen. Please note that these were taken a few weeks ago, well before the craziness of discovering I was pregnant/being in Michigan for three days/being at the hospital for two days with only one hour of sleep/having a major cold that I cannot medicate this entire week. Our house is possibly the most chaotic it's ever been right now, and I just don't care.

I think I have reached the point in domesticity at which I've realized that neither cleanliness nor clutter is a final destination. Homes are cyclic and I have gotten over exulting/panicking that the house is going to stay the way it currently is, whether it's currently spotless or currently a madhouse.

Anyhoo, side rant of zen realization there. On to the pictures- terrible as usual due to dinosaur camera, which I cannot justify replacing since I am in no way a photographer and am limited to point and shoot capabilities anyways.



If you click a few times to enlarge, you can see on the fridge the photo booth pictures of Jim and I from my friend Renee's wedding. Seriously, best reception idea EVER. It was so fun, and then a few weeks later, there was the added fun of receiving an email link to every single picture taken that night.


View of kitchen from sunken den.












(A side note about this kitchen: It is... very colorful, at least for a small room. Perhaps a little more so than suits my general preference, which showed up more in the initial decor of the kitchen: basically just blue on white with tiny touches of yellow and green. I added the more colorful elements in with the blue about six months (?) ago in an attempt to help the kitchen blend a little more seamlessly with the den without having to repaint one or both rooms. The curtain fabric was purchased online, and more or less picks up both the blue of the kitchen and the wheat/berry colors of the den, as well as a dash of brown, black, and olive-y green.

I used this same fabric to recover several pillows in the den, so the two rooms have a common element. Then I removed all the white pottery that used to sit on top of the cupboards and replaced it with inexpensive odds and ends that tied in those brighter colors. It was more or less a success, and while I am pleased with it and certainly don't DISLIKE it, eventually I dream of painting both these rooms softer colors, replacing the kitchen laminate and the den carpet with the same wood, and just lightening everything up a bit. You know, in my next life, when I have all the time and money and energy in the world.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Jumping In With Both Feet

Well, I have been an official doula at my first birth, and my goodness, what an introduction! The expression "baptism by fire" comes to mind. Literally every single thing that could happen, did, short of someone dying, pretty much. I don't want to reveal anything of a personal or detailed nature because there are obvious confidentiality issues, but the basic facts are that mom was induced, labor was prolonged, there was meconium in the water, the epidural had to be adjusted several times, Pitocin turned up and down, and mom was on oxygen the last half of labor.

She eventually did dilate fully but baby never engaged in the pelvis, even after four hours of painful but unproductive contractions. They finally gave up on laboring baby down and had her push anyways while they tried to manually pull baby down. They finally got baby into pelvis and used the vacuum for over an hour while Mom pushed with everything she had, but eventually a c section was performed, which I was allowed to watch.

Baby was extremely compromised at birth, and had to be resuscitated and put on a breathing tube. Mom also suffered minor surgical complications. Baby is currently in a children's hospital out of town, and the mom will join once she is recovered from her twenty six hour ordeal. And I? I am recovering too. I can honestly say that I did everything I knew to do, and that I believe I was a big emotional support to the family, especially after the c section, but I am obviously sad that the outcome was so interventive and that the baby wasn't healthy and able to stay with his mom. At least I can say that I've probably already gotten my hardest birth experience under my belt!

Monday, November 14, 2011

You Know The Drill

Unfortunately this post is going to be very random and all over the place due to extreme fatigue and sinus-head. I came down with a headcold the last day of the conference and since I'm still pregnant I can't/won't take anything for it, so here I am, stuffy and mouth breathing and lightheaded. But here are the highlights of my life the last few days!

-my client is still pregnant, so her birth will count towards my certification! Yay! I am a little bummed that she's agreed to induction on Thursday if labor doesn't start on its own, but she has a lot of extenuating circumstances going on that make me very understanding of how much she wants to get this birth over with. She'll be thirty nine weeks on Wednesday, so she's close to being due, and the baby is thought to be over eight pounds already, plus she's already dilated/effaced a bit, so hopefully if there is an induction her body will be ready enough to go into labor that it won't be too rough of an experience. Either way, I'm super excited, and very intent on getting myself well before she has the baby so I can do a good job and not be blowing my nose and hacking while she's trying to get through contractions.

-the conference was AMAZING, seriously, so much better than I'd even hoped. I am so so happy I found this place and got to meet all these wonderful women and learn so much. There was such a wide variety of experiences, reasons for taking the workshops, birthing backgrounds and history, age, etc. but everyone really clicked and I felt like I made some great connections personally and professionally. And you guys were right, while I was going through some further concern about the pregnancy (I'll get to that later) there could not have been a kinder and more supportive group of strangers with which to go through it.

-I loved staying with my aunt. She is so awesome and fun, and treated me like a queen. I got delicious homemade meals, a spotless condo in which to relax, and someone to hang out with in the evenings. It beat staying in a hotel by a loooong shot. Thank you, Aunt Nancy!

-She also went over and above good hostess requirements by driving all over trying to help me find a charger that would work with my phone when I realized that I had forgotten to pack mine. Unfortunately none of the ones we bought would work, despite saying that they were compatible with my phone's make and model, and we even bought a battery in case that was the problem, but alas nothing worked and I ended up spending the last two days I was gone without a phone. It felt strange! But when I got home my own charger worked just fine. ??? MYSTERY. Also, craptastic phone.

-Related to the theme of electronic devices, I pulled over at a Meijer just outside of Ann Arbor and bought myself a GPS on my way home last night, after having managed to get myself turned around and confused for the third time that weekend. I had all my little maps and people had given me directions for getting back to the interstate, so I should have been FINE. I was trying to reverse my printed Mapquest directions that I used to drive TO Ann Arbor, but I just couldn't figure it out! I seem to have a) some kind of handicap re: following directions b)the world's worst sense of direction/spacial awareness in the world and c) once I make one wrong turn I just kind of freeze up and get confused. I seem unable to reason my way through the process of, say, getting back to where I started or of logic-ing out where I am in relation to other streets. So. I made a command decision to stop pretending I am a grown up woman who can find her way around and decided it was time to get myself a GPS and cease the wandering around in panicky circles once and for all.

-Lastly, I got a call from my doctor's office at eight thirty Friday morning on my way to the conference to let me know that my progesterone had dropped from the not-great-but-not-yet-terrible thirteen point five to a genuinely dismal ten. They wanted me to find a compounding pharmacy in Ann Arbor to which they could call in two different hormone supplements as soon as possible. So... I did (and my, what an adventure that was, trying to locate this random pharmacy in a city I've never driven in before, during my lunch break at the workshop!) I never took anything with Jameson's pregnancy and he hung in there, but his progesterone never went below a fifteen, so it was much better to begin with. I've actually never had my progesterone drop like this; it always stayed where it was or maybe went up just a titch. So while now I'm trying to resign myself to the fact that this is probably in the process of failing, I also felt within my heart that if I didn't throw everything medical at it that I could, I'd feel doubly awful if/when I did miscarry, especially considering I hadn't actually wanted to be pregnant in the first place. Guilt and all that, you know.

So I'm taking progesterone three times a day, in various forms (!), but I've also got a call in with the doctor to inform them that if I cooperate and do all the drugs, I'm going to require a weekly scan to assure me that it is in fact working and the baby's still growing and/or to let me know as soon as possible if it does stop growing. They didn't have me coming in for a scan until a month from now, but I am NOT going to walk around for a month hoping against hope that maybe the pills are working some magic when in fact the heartbeat stopped weeks earlier, you know? So maybe I'm being demanding, but this is what I need to stay sane. By this point in my reproductive game, I am an INFORMED CONSUMER who knows what she wants, dang it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Seriously Crazycakes

So, I had a dating ultrasound today, even though based on my last period I would only be just six weeks and they don't usually do them until seven. I think my obvious level of confusion about my low hcg levels/my stress about leaving town for three days/my history of miscarriage/my obvious state of CRAZY re: unplanned pregnancy led them to squeeze me in for a scan just to settle my poor little female head.

According to my ultrasound, my baby (which IS in my uterus, is a singleton, and doesn't have any little cohorts lurking in my tubes or ovaries, thank heavens) was conceived only about two weeks ago. Yeah. Like, two weeks ago as in right around when I was expecting my period. Two weeks out from when I had very definitely felt myself ovulate from my left ovary. And yet the corpus luteum from this baby is on my RIGHT ovary. Which means... wait for it... I was lucky enough to experience that rare double ovulation phenomenon, and happened to conceive at a point when I thought there was NOWAYINHECK that I could get pregnant.

Yeah. I know. And it also means that for where I am in pregnancy (barely four weeks, not six) my hcg levels are actually ever so slightly off the charts HIGH.

I just... I don't even...

I'm going to go lie down now.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Blah Blah Blah PLUS Bonus Verbatim Letter To Santa

Urgh, apparently pregnancy brain has struck already, because I sought babysitting for today and wrote down in red, underlined ink, "Sarah-Dr-12:30!" in today's calendar square, and laid awake last night thinking, "To-MORROW! To-MORROW!" and then the nurse called me today and was all, "So we'll see you TOMORROW, Thursday, at twelve thirty!"

Or maybe I can't blame hormones. It's not like that's never happened to me when I wasn't in the family way.

This is still so surreal. Especially because I don't physically feel pregnant: no nausea, no tenderness in the chestal region, no unusual fatigue, no bleeding gums, nada. I'm MAYBE peeing a little more than usual? MAYBE a little bloated? But that's about it. Aside from the whole pesky emotional rollercoaster of crazy, which is definitely there. Oh, and the kind of melancholy fact that about two weeks ago I pretty much stopped producing any milk at all, so Jamie's been up multiple times each night lately, trying in vain to nurse and too sleepy and out of it to accept the sippee cups he willingly drinks from during the day. It makes me really sad, and also really tired in the morning, but I'm still not counting that tiredness as a preggo symptom because I'm pretty sure ANYONE would be tired in the morning if they were up all night with a sad baby suckling in futility and then fussing angrily.

Well, whatdya gonna do? Que sera, sera! One day at a time! God has a plan! One foot in front of the other! Shop and clean and bake cookies and browse online obsessively to distract yourself! (That last bit is my own contribution to the litany of platitudes one generally is offered at times like these.)

In news unrelated to the state of my gestating uterus or frantic squirrel brain, Jim and I went to Addy's first parent teacher conference last night, and it was so completely pleasant and relaxed. I just love her teacher, and I am well aware how lucky I am to be able to say that. She's lovely and patient and funny and also just so happens to live across the street from us. Yeah. It doesn't get better than that... except maybe for the times when our windows are open and the kids are screaming, or when I shuffle out to the mailbox in my robe and slippies, or when our lawn goes unmowed for too long. Then it's a little disconcerting to remember that your neighbor whose living room window looks into yours is also your daughter's teacher. But mostly it's good, and so is having a family with identically-aged kids just a few houses away with whom you can trade babysitting for these events. I seriously felt like we lived in Mayberry last night.

Every time I am waiting yet again for the bathroom, or feeling cramped by the size of our kitchen/eating area and the lack of central air and overwhelmed by the mess created by three small kids in less than two thousand square feet (looking around, I often hear in my head that line from One Headlight that goes "This place is always such a mess/ Sometimes I think I'd like to watch it burn") I remember that we literally could not find a better location in which to live than exactly where we are, and moving even marginally further away from our friends and families would really put a kink in my current ability to make it from home to just about anywhere I want to go in under ten minutes. Can't put a price tag on that, right?

So, we'll add on if we have to. Or install an outhouse in the backyard! Or maybe the baby can sleep in a dresser drawer in our room for a year or so! OMG BABY!

Oh, and as a reward for slogging through all this nonsense, you get Eli's letter to Santa, as dictated to me this morning after yet another whining fit about how it takes so long for Christmas to come. (Also, possible alternate title to this post, "How I Am Apparently Raising An Entitled But Very Expressive Child.")

Dear Santa,

I want some presents. I am angry and I really want them and I really want today is Christmas. I talked about it but I yelled about the Mario pajamas and I throwed a fit about them. I... I am crying for Santa to come and I was sad about Santa and I was really really angry about it. And I was really really really really really reeeeeaaaallly angry. I really want something. I want cookies for Christmas. And I really really angry about them. And... like, I want a Black Cat and a Black Spiderman for Christmas. And do you know what? Also I want more and more and more. I want a Bears jersey like Brian Urlacher, and an Ohio State number one jersey. I would like a football. I want, uh, mmm, I really want Adelay to get a new green dinosaur for Super Mario. Um, I want MORE. I want shin guards. I want some... I don't know what I want. That is just all.

Thank you Santa! Thank you Santa!

From, Eli

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Shake It Off

Okay, yesterday was emotional crazycakes day and today is back to business as usual- I feel brisk, efficient, and able to just shelve this whole being pregnant thing in the back of my mind until tomorrow's appointment. Mood swings, anyone? I mean, just last night I burst into tears because Jim glanced at the computer screen to check a score update while he was talking to me about the whole thing, and I immediately stomped away because PAY ATTENTION TO ME AND MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT EVERY SECOND GEEZ! And today I'm all, "Oh well! La la la! I'm just gonna pull a Scarlet O' Hara here and think about it tomorrow! Today, I shall shop for Christmas presents and a new winter coat and boots for Addy and spend hours trolling the internet for the best coupon codes, hooray!"

In that vein, does anyone have any recommends re: warm but not super bulky winter coats for girls, in the S (7/8) size range? And preferably not insanely expensive kthanx? I'm leaning towards this Lands' End one, using the 25% off plus free shipping code, of course, but there are no reviews on this item yet, which makes me twitchy. Anyone wanna weigh in? I'm also looking for a pair of boots that meet the following criteria: a) waterproof and insulated, suitable for walking around in actual wet snow and not just for looking cute with tucked in jeans, b) WILL still look cute with tucked in jeans, however, and will be okay to wear to school without totally frump-ing up an otherwise fun outfit and c) will not cost more than forty bucks. I know, that's pushing it, but I just have this THING about spending money on shoes, even for myself and especially for kids who outgrow them in a year.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Deep Breaths

I don't even know where to begin. I wasn't planning on writing this post until weeks in the future. I was going to write something light and funny today, possibly about the surprise food poisoning we all got this weekend from our favorite Mexican restaurant! Instead, I'm so stressed out right now that my heart has been pounding in my throat all day long. Actually, it's been doing that for a week, on and off. I'll be fine fine FINE until I am not, and then I snap and yell about tiny little things, so much so that I'm trying to avoid my kids as much as possible except to hug them. Also, today I made the colossal mistake of reading the latest posts in the Faces of Loss blog that I subscribe to, and I finally cried, partly out of guilt because, oh, what is another miscarriage compared to losing twin babies at birth, right? But also partly out of grief, because while a miscarriage is not the same as stillbirth, no, it is also not the same as having a sweet (albeit unplanned) baby, or as never having accidentally gotten pregnant at all, and so it sucks and it hurts and it makes me angry.

Which is to say, I am pregnant. Surprise. Not planned, not at all, so much so that I was embarrassed to even tell anyone. Then, when we got the first blood draw results, when I would technically have been almost a week late already, my hcg was only thirty. Which... is terrible. It did double in forty eight hours, to eighty-eight, but that's still terrible for this point in pregnancy (technically I'd be considered six weeks on Wednesday, though I think I ovulated late, so more like six weeks on Saturday.) My progesterone is also very low, thirteen point five. Basically, all signs point to miscarriage (seventy-five percent chance, technically) or ectopic pregnancy. I know every pregnancy is different, and I also know that it's possible I ovulated a lot later than I thought or something, so that could explain the very low hcg levels, if I was just a week behind where I thought I was. But I also know what my hcg s were in all six of my past pregnancies and they have NEVER been this bad, not even with the early miscarriages. So.

I'm waiting, on pins and needles, for a call from my doctor to discuss the results of my third hcg draw on Saturday, and the possibility of an ectopic diagnosis. She has fifteen more minutes and then I'm calling to bug them again, because dear Lord, if I have to wait until tomorrow morning my head is going to burst from stress. It also sucks that I am leaving for the three-day doula workshop Friday morning. The last thing I want is to be in the middle of a miscarriage, or still in limbo or whatever. My client is also STILL pregnant, so I feel worried leaving her, especially now: she just had to have emergency surgery for a pregnancy complication, AND found out her mom is really sick. I feel so badly for her, and hate to leave her for any amount of time.

Oh, and then there's the food poisoning. Basically, I'm just a basket case right now and could use any comforting words anyone can scrape up. I just can't believe this HAPPENED at all. We've never had an accidental pregnancy, which I was proud of, so I guess this is my punishment for being cocky about using the rhythm method so successfully, huh? Sigh. I just can't believe I'm probably facing another lost pregnancy. I so wish I could figure out why my body doesn't want to hold onto my babies. My heart does. I don't know why I can't get in synch.

Quick Edit: I just got off the phone with my doctor and my hcg was at three hundred thirty one on Saturday! So that seems... good, right? She said it was a very healthy increase and to just come in on Wednesday for an appointment. Apparently if it were ectopic they'd be expecting to see it slow down by now, rising but not quite doubling, and this is twice now that it's almost tripled, so...? Maybe everything's ok. Still iffy, what with the low progesterone and generally low betas, but not definitively bad, yet. Still a surprise with a capital S, but better than a miscarriage. We'll see.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

For The Germophobe In All Of Us

It happens to every "mommy" blogger eventually, right? In other words, this is my first compensated review post, and before you raise lofty eyebrows and delete me from your feed, let me interject that I honestly do like this here stuff I'm peddling. Also I used the products BEFORE they asked me to write about them, so, you know, I'm not exactly turning tricks here.

The "stuff" in question is MyClyns, produced by Union Springs Wellness


MyClyns is a line of cleaning products and personal germ protection products which are unusual both in their gentleness and in their efficacy. Let's start with the hand sanitizer, which doesn't use alcohol (very important to me because of my sensitive skin) AND kills germs about four times as long as any ordinary Purell-type hand sanitizer. It's also a foam, so much less messy than the normal gels.

The cleaning products are non aerosol and nontoxic- they don't even have scary warnings on them about flushing your eyes and calling Poison Control if you get some on you, because they are free of phosphorus, bleach, carcinogens, surfactants and methanol. Also, they smell a LOT better than my usual Seventh Generation products, which always remind me of my grandfather's aftershave, and not in a good way.

But the clincher, and the thing that makes them so worth taking the extra time to order them rather than grabbing yet another tub of Lysol wipes at the grocery? After thorough application, the household surface spray, the floor cleaner, and the surface wipes kill germs for up to THIRTY DAYS. Thirty days, people! So you can get your counters really well once a MONTH, and just spot clean with some soap and water in between. Ditto for your nasty kitchen floor! Ditto for your doorknobs, your light switches, your cell phones, and your keyboards.

MyClyns also offers a laundry rinse aid which removes the smell of urine and sweat in one wash, as well as a fabric spray which smells honestly amazing and kills odor causing bacteria. There's even a food wash, which can be used on any meat or produce, and which removes 98% more chemicals, waxes and contaminants than water alone.

However, I think the coolest product is the Germ Protection Spray. It's about the size and shape of a pen, so it's very easy to keep on you at all times whether or not you're carrying a bag. You just spritz it into your face, right into the mucous membranes of your nose and mouth, to kill germs whenever you're exposed to them, be it daycare, school, your office, the subway, a play date with a sick kid, the mall, airplanes, or everyone's nightmare, the McDonald's Play Place. It is also a wonderful antiseptic/first aid product, and can be sprayed directly onto any cut or open wound to kill germs and promote healing.

So... how can this product kill germs and still be safe to spray into your kids' faces? Well, to start with, it's 99.9% highly oxidized water, which is famous for its healing properties. The other percentage is an FDA-approved solution of oxychlorine compounds called Microcyn. The compound in Microcyn moves through the cell membranes and deactivate the cell's essential enzymes and structures, rendering them non-viable.

It sounds a little crazy, spraying a germ killer right into your face, but I've used it and it just feels like a mist of water. And it will literally speed healing of those little cuts and cracks in your hands like you can't believe. But mattering just slightly more than my own testimonial is the fact that MyClyns personal spray is used by first response teams, firefighters, police officers and EMTs in eighteen different countries, and many medical supply companies, such as Emergency Medical Products, Inc. promote the spray as well. It's actually been around a long time, and was the product that started it all, so to speak.

As you can see from the link, the spray is a lifesaver for people in the medical and law enforcement arena, protecting them from potentially very dangerous pathogen exposures, but it's also available to you and your family, who are just as deserving of protection from this year's round of runny noses and Surprise Stomach Flu episodes. Any of the MyClyns products are can be purchased through your local wellness coach, or you can order online from Union Springs and they will refer you to a local rep. And of course, you can always get extra discounts and products by hosting a demonstration or deciding to become a wellness coach yourself.

The item I'm most excited about right now is this gift basket which I'm giving to Addy's teacher for Christmas this year. Pretty nice, right? And something kind of different, in a sea of gift cards and boxes of chocolates. Candy is great and we all like lotion, but what teacher wouldn't be a little extra excited about the idea of some serious germ protection, amiright?

So there you go: Sarah's Gift Guide 2011 suggests a big tub of surface wipes and a personal germ protection spray for everyone on your list. They'll thank you later, when everyone else is sniffling on their couch and they're out skiing this winter.

Want to learn more? Check out MyClyns products on YouTube

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Home Tour, Volume 2

Because I need to post, but am crashing too hard on Halloween candy to try to write anything, I present our living room, in a (mostly) toy and kid free state:














This is how we use our play yard when it's not set up in the middle of the room. I seriously think it's one of the most invaluable items of kid gear you can buy. You can gate off anything with that sucker, PLUS you can take it outside, either to use as a playpen or to hose it off if the idea of wiping every nook and cranny is a little too daunting. On a seasonal note, it may just go around our Christmas tree this year. We'll just have to see how Jamie does. Y'know, now that he's WALKING and all. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Parenting Fail

Perhaps you, like me, have always sought to parent with an emphasis on frankness regarding the human body and its natural and normal functions, without shame and with acceptance and appreciation for the wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Perhaps you have always, in private settings, permitted honest observations about the differences and similarities of our bodies, encouraging a dialogue about function over form and of the very subjective and changeable nature of the term "beauty." Perhaps, during your recent pregnancy, your children were encouraged to observe the growth of your belly and even the existence of your stretch marks, so as to foster a sense of normalcy and acceptance regarding the biological functions of the female body, and of the cosmetic changes sometimes rendered by those functions.

Congratulations on being so forward thinking and relaxed and hippie-like and whatnot! Now your child, too, might pipe up with any or all of the following questions and observations (if you're lucky, all within the span of a few days!):

-"Why are your front teeth so big, Mom?"

-(while tenderly patting your face) "Hey, Mom, you forehead skin feels bumpy! Why isn't it soft like the rest of your face?"

-(after bursting in on you as you are exiting the shower) "Huh, Mom, your butt doesn't look the same as mine- yours is sort of SAGGY, isn't it?"

Humph. I think maybe it's time to emphasize the importance of diplomacy and tact over honesty, now.

Friday, October 21, 2011

This Entry Would Be Good With A Nicely Aged Cheese

I'm sure most of you already read Amalah (and sorry there's no link, but Blogger has been screwing up my links for about a month now,) but if you don't, or didn't get to read today's entry yet, let me just urge you to right this minute. Or at least to read this excerpt, which gives you the gist of it:

The thing is, I'm not unhappy. Like, at all. I love this life, this crazy minivan-full-of-many-boy-children life that I never, ever expected to be living, but oh, I'm so glad I do. Honestly, I could kind of see myself having baby after baby, if I only had a place to put them besides Ikea dresser drawers. Or enough money to keep them all in karate/braces/camp/pizza/college.

Or enough patience to promise myself that I wouldn't yell at them for taking too long to put their shoes on, thus making me get out of the car and show the world that I didn't have time to get dressed that morning, even though that was my own damn fault for not getting out of bed 15 freaking minutes earlier, because...what? I thought today was going to be the magical day when everybody puts their shoes on the first time I ask instead of the seventh? Come on.



Indeed. I am overall so grateful and content and even EXCITED about my Important Life Choices thus far, but boy can I relate. Especially to that bit about feeling teeth-grindingly irritated at your constant state of running behind schedule, even though you know you could probably head off the crazy by just regularly ASSUMING that none of your kids will function properly and compensating accordingly. I mean, how many times have I yelled at everyone to hurry up when what I really wish I could do is go back in time an hour and yell that very thing to mySELF, still laying in bed with an arm thrown over my eyes trying to wish away the call of duty?

Today was even a good day, overall, but sometimes this suburban, stay-at-home parent to three young kids, living-on-a-budget-much-tighter-than-we-anticipated-back-before-2008 life feels... about like it sounds, I guess. Huh.

I should be very excited right now: my friend/client is due with her baby basically any day at this point, and while I am disappointed that she will very likely deliver before I've attended my workshops, thus disqualifying that experience from counting towards my certification, I am happy that her difficult pregnancy will be over soon, and happy that at least I probably won't have to worry about heading for Ann Arbor for three days, leaving her a hugely pregnant time bomb at a week from her due date.

I also got a new client last week, a referral from my own doula, who is herself having some very serious health problems due to a surgical complication, and who may be out of commission for quite some time. While this is hardly good news (and please pray/think good thoughts for her if you would, as she went through some really scary stuff) it does mean I may be able to fulfill my three practice births requirement sooner than I anticipated, which would be fantastic. It was a really cool feeling to go and meet with a client who has no personal knowledge of me and whose only relationship with me will be as a birth professional... definitely a different experience than serving as a doula for a friend, though that is obviously a thrill too. But serving in that capacity doesn't feel quite as NEW, I guess, since I've been present at births of friends and relatives before.

But anyways, you know, I should be feeling pretty jazzed and instead I feel a little PMS-ish and frustrated and overwhelmed by all the different categories of to-do lists running through my brain. I guess part of my mood could also be due to a week straight of rain/clouds, and another part still to the ongoing Eli struggles: he's doing much better in terms of daily behavior than even a few weeks ago, thank goodness, but still battles so much with controlling himself once one little thing (and my, how fun it is predicting what that one thing will be, HA HA HA) tips his mental scales into the negative zone.

It's depressing mostly because I feel like the majority of the behavior improvement has been the result of Jim and me figuring out better ways to head off the temper tantrums. Which is GOOD, don't get me wrong, but I'd prefer for ELI to be the one gaining improved coping skills, y'know? I sometimes feel so exhausted at the end of the day from constantly navigating the minefield of his fragile and unpredictable emotions. And I LOATHE that our family is falling into this classic, middle child as the difficult child stereotype. Sigh.

In a side note, it is also WILDLY UNHELPFUL to my general frame of mind that the very bad word cluster very bad worst cluster roof is leaking into YET ANOTHER VERY BAD WORD CLUSTER CLOSET! A CLOSET IN WHICH MY PERSONAL CLOTHING RESIDES! AFTER HAVING BEEN ALLEGEDLY REPAIRED BY PROFESSIONALS! VERY BAD WORST CLUSTER. This, on the heels of Jim having to put our mailbox back up after last week's babysitter (who was a gem in all other respects) backed into it. Home ownership is for the birds, man.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sweetest's Day


Addy's dream come true.


How amazing is this cake?! I mean, right? I think this has Cakewrecks potential.

Welp, I did it! I gave a toast without reading from notecards, without sobbing openly, and without saying anything too embarrassing for the new couple or myself. Hooray! Another life experience under my belt. The wedding- the whole weekend, actually- went by way too fast, but it was an awesome time, and was totally worth all the driving and childcare arrangements (and coming home to find poop on a bath towel, what the sweet mother of...) and shoes that made my toes go numb. I got to hang out with so many people that I love so much and don't get to see nearly often enough, and now I'm going to feel weird and sad the next few days wishing I could... I don't know, take them all on a week-long cruise with me. Five hours of reception is not enough.

Sadly, I have no reception pictures, except for the cake and candy buffet, which I took before dinner. After that, well. That's between us and the awesome complimentary photo booth Renee and Justin hired, complete with funny prop box full of fake mustaches and feather boas. Speaking from personal experience and as a witness to the wild rustling and shrieking coming from behind the black curtain, that poor photo booth attendant was privy to many a special moment as the night wore on. My sister has most of the prints, I believe, and when she gets them scanned and emailed, maybe I'll share, assuming I get everyone else in the pictures to sign the necessary release of privacy forms. For now, here's a few of the bridal party pre and post ceremony.


The beautiful bride.


Shawn the hairdresser attempting to tame my hair. Despite repeated warnings from both Renee and myself that yes, I really do have enough hair for three people, he still had to express the obligatory shock and awe (and dismay) when he first plunged his hands in. Before bed that night, I pulled twenty five hair pins from my scalp, and even that hadn't been enough to keep it from tumbling everywhere after just a few minutes with the Black Eyed Peas out on the dance floor.


Subway!


The bride's sister Kelly, maid of honor (and Reese Witherspoon lookalike, amiright?)


My sister Rachel and friend Linzi.



Party bus! In which there was three bottles of champagne, but nary a glass or drinking receptacle of any kind. So uh, here's hoping no one had the flu, because there were a lot of basic hygiene practices dispensed with in that limo, let me tell you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Excited/Stressed

I am feeling a little wound up/frazzled this week. Friday afternoon I leave for Kentucky, where I am the matron of honor (ugh, I'm a MATRON!) in my friend's wedding- my best friend from, I don't know, probably our sophomore or junior year of high school. I can't believe it's been ten years since she taught me how to skip class undetected. We've certainly gone our separate ways since high school, and haven't lived in the same town since 2003, but whenever we reconnect it's like no time has passed at all. It's pretty astonishing, actually, how quickly a married mother of three can revert to acting like a high schooler.

I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! The wedding weekend is going to be super fun, but mostly I'm just so happy because I think I have never before met a couple so perfect together. I can definitely give the sappy part of my toast ("I know you two will be happy forever!") with a clear conscience, because I will be telling the absolute truth: they were made for each other. And that's the most important part of the wedding, OBVIOUSLY. All the rest are just minor details in comparison. But still. I want everything to go perfectly, and mostly I want to not trip walking down the aisle in the heels which I am being ordered to wear but which I am so not used to walking in anymore.

I am also kind of nervous about the speech thing, as I have been told to keep the mushy stuff to a minimum and aim for funny instead. I think in general I AM a pretty funny conversationalist, but giving a speech is different. I've never had to PLAN for funny before. It's just... tricky. Lord knows we've all heard some painfully awkward wedding toasts in which the speaker was clearly aiming for funny but instead the speech went full-tilt too much information. There's a very fine line between a funny story about the bride/groom and a mortifying story about the bride/groom which none of the new in laws (or in fact the person's own blood relatives) ever needed to hear, y'know? So. TRICKY. Anyone know a good joke or ice breaker?

Other wedding related frets include the following:

-I am leaving on Friday to attend the rehearsal/dinner, as well as the wedding the next day, obviously, so I will be gone from Eli and Jamie for over forty eight hours. This is making me feel a little teary, and worried about how they will cope.

-The boys will be with two different sets of babysitters between Saturday afternoon (when Jim and Addy leave for the wedding) and Sunday afternoon when we all get home. I am fretting about the logistics of this and also Eli's behavior with other adults, one of whom he doesn't know very well, unfortunately.

-Relatedly, I am fretting about making sure the house is clean and organized and that all possible child-related supplies are stocked up on, since there will be all these people at my house, taking care of my kids, while I'm four hours away. I need to leave all these NOTES and LISTS about food and bedtime (Pull Up must be on! and then probably sheets will need stripped in the morning despite Pull Up!) and how to work the streaming Netflix and when/if to give baths and vitamins and time outs and and and....

-finding my way around Louisville, since I am so terrible at directions and can get myself turned around and confused in my own hometown where I have lived my entire life.


But at least we found babysitters, THANK GOD. It was getting down to the wire there.

Adding to the stress of the week:

-My doula client has been in the hospital since last Thursday with preterm labor issues. She even failed her fetal fibronectin test, so she's on strict bedrest until she has the baby, basically. This sucks for many reasons, obviously, but it especially sucks because a) she gets out of the hospital the day I leave for Kentucky, and I don't want her to go and have the baby the weekend I am gone! And b) she will almost definitely deliver before I attend my doula workshops in November (just ten days before her due date) which means that her birth can't count toward my certification. And c) if she does deliver before thirty six weeks, which seems likely, her birth is going to be a lot more medical than we were hoping, for obvious reasons which I agree with but which nonetheless stink.

-Our doctor heard a heart murmur when Eli had his check up last week, so today I am taking him to the hospital for an echo cardiogram (sp?) Addy had one at three months old, and was fine, and my nephew had one a few months ago, and was also fine. So maybe heart murmurs just run in the family? But this seems more concerning, since both of the other kids' were heard as infants (i.e. the murmur was present basically from birth) but Eli's always been fine up until now, so this is a new development. I'm honestly not super worried, but, you know... It's never a breeze taking your kid to the hospital for something HEART RELATED.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Cold Feet

Adelay and I were sitting at the kitchen table just now, me reading my library book and drinking coffee and she, oh scorner of books, working on a dot-to-dot, biting her tongue in concentration. After awhile I heard her sigh heavily, and asked her what was wrong.

"My feet are really cold!" she said crossly. "It's making me freezing!"

"Well, go get some socks or your slippers," I responded easily, returning to my book.

"No, because I'm too cold to walk to my room!" she moaned, and crawled into my lap instead.

Instantly, because I am an introspective, metaphorically-thinking dork, I thought of all the times that I myself know exactly what it is I need to feel better- more sleep, more exercise, more time with the husband, better eating habits- but am so full of excuses for why I can't give myself the very thing I want or need.

Just today I was bemoaning my lack of muscle tone to my friend, noting that even though I weigh a little less than I did pre-pregnancy, I feel that I look much flabbier and less shapely. "I think I'd take a higher number on the scale if it meant my body looked a little firmer!" I told her. But the next thing out of my mouth was, of course, a litany of reasons why exercise is so inconvenient right now: don't want to spend money on a gym membership, can't run or jog in our neighborhood because of my bad knee, can't buy an elliptical for the house because there's nowhere to put it, ditto for a weight machine, I can barely find time for the stuff I already have to do, blah blah blah.

Not that those reasons are not true or not legitimate. It's just that I still know I could find ways to tone up and strengthen my knee again if I really wanted to. I did it once and I could do it again. I have come to believe that ultimately, we do what we want to do. Everything else is mostly excuses, you know? So I think this is one of those situations in which I either need to suck it up and find a way to do some weight training, or I need to stop complaining about my lumpy love handles and jiggly thighs. Stop whining about having cold feet, or walk down the hall and get myself a pair of slippers, so to speak.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, today was a little better. Eli had his four year well child check up (a month late, yes) and I talked pretty frankly with our doctor about my concerns regarding his behavior. Part of me was thinking, "Oh, why bother him, and anyways, he's a doctor of BODIES, not brains. What can he tell you that you couldn't google or read in a book or don't already know?" But the other part of me thought, "It couldn't hurt to bring it up, and anyways, might as well get your money's worth out of the visit!"

As it turned out, he did have an interesting observation. He asked if anything had changed in Eli's daily life lately, and besides Addy going to school full time, the only other thing I could come up with was the fact that I've been spending a lot of my free time doing doula training prep: reading, spending more time online and on the phone with either my doula mentor or with the friend who is my first "practice" client. I've also had to leave several times in the evenings and weekends for meetings with these people. Not a huge deal, and nothing I thought to discuss with Eli, but the doctor suggested that possibly he's feeling kind of abandoned by me since I have something new with which I am, admittedly, a little preoccupied. Huh.

Who knows if that's really it, or just the rotten fours (what was it Elisabeth said awhile ago? That she keeps looking for a book to help her with her own Eli, but that the title she's looking for, "Your Four Year Old: A Tremendous Asshole" seems to be out of print or something?) but after talking about it honestly with Jim, the doctor, my mom, my friend, you all... I decided that regardless of the root of the problem, the solution is probably found in that old saying, "Children need love the most when they deserve it the least."

So, after dinner tonight, even though he fussed and whined and refused to eat it, we made cookies together and had fun. That felt good.

video

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Grow Up

It is so beautiful outside today, so warm, so Indian-summer except that it's not quite late enough into fall for sudden balmy temperatures to qualify as that. So we'll just say it's a lovely autumn day. Adelay and I made sand art sculptures on the deck today, using a kit she got at her birthday party, and I was so grateful that it was nice enough outside to be dumping all that neon sand on the grass instead of our kitchen floor. It was so peaceful, watching the sand trickling down the tiny funnel and into the plastic hearts and butterflies. About as spa-zen as a frazzled mom of three gets during a normal afternoon, I suppose.

My dear middle child has been slowly taking it out of me the last few days, and I am just so tired. I feel kind of defeated today. On our way home from the afternoon's errands, all I wanted was to have somewhere to dump him off for a while, to walk away and say, "Not my problem right now." His behavior just seems to keep regressing: the running away, the throwing fits, the hateful language whenever he's angry with me. He will scowl at me from the floor where he has hurled himself and hiss, "Fine, then I don't like you anymore!" and I will think, while carefully schooling my features into a blank and impassive expression, "Right back at you, kid."

I had to physically carry him out of a store today while he screamed, and the baby in the stroller screamed too, rudely awakened by his older brother's fit about an NFL football player Christmas ornament he had seen dangling in a Hallmark display. But it could have been anything. Once he sees something he likes, any errand, any shopping trip is brought to a grinding halt, and it's like negotiating with a terrorist to get out of the store without blood, sweat and tears (there's usually at least sweat and tears.)

Yesterday, thinking that maybe his recent bad behavior has been due to boredom, I drove over to a friend's house and picked up their little boy to come play with Eli for a few hours. At first all was well: Eli and his friend played with action figures, Jameson napped, I folded laundry and peaked in occasionally to listen to their hilarious conversations. But as usual, it all unraveled as soon as Eli didn't get his way about something (this time, it was what snack to have) and he continued whining, throwing fits, hiding, yelling at me and at his friend, etc, until finally I just took the other boy home, after apologizing profusely for Eli's rude behavior. I have never felt so embarrassed and disappointed by my own kid. And like such a failure.

We have literally tried every sort of discipline in the book, short of, you know, beating him or something, and it doesn't seem to matter to him. You can literally watch the crazy come over him, and it's like he literally can't control himself, even if we've spent the previous half hour getting him psyched up to behave well and earn a prize, redeem a toy from time out, get an ice cream cone, whatever. We're trying so hard to give him the opportunity to make good choices, to not get him stuck in this cycle of being the "bad" kid, we're talking talking talking to him, praising him whenever he is good, giving tons of hugs and cuddles, and he's still just losing his shit on a daily basis. I don't know what to do. And I'm tired of feeling like a prisoner to my own child's hysterics.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Birthdays. Plural. So! Many! Birthdays!

The weekend of hosting multiple birthday parties went off very well, but oh my word, I am FEELING it today. I just keep staggering around as though someone is sneakily refilling my coffee cup with decaf. I even went to bed early last night, but apparently sevenish hours of sleep was not enough to counter the effects of: a big family birthday dinner Friday night for both Addy and Jamie, a kid birthday party Saturday afternoon for Addy's friends, a family dinner and late night with my sister Saturday evening, and church and a Fall Festival on Sunday.

These pictures are not in any kind of order, and I am too lazy and sleepy to bother flipping them around, so, randomly, here are some photos of the weekend.



This morning, opening presents before school.


With some friends, at her Rock Star! themed party. (At which the theme was kind of a bust... The plan was for the kids to each get an instrument, or position of singer or dancer, and put together a little show for the grown ups performing to Addy's favorite dance music. Instead, the motley crew quickly fell apart due to the inevitable band problems: internal power struggles and ego issues. At least it wasn't drugs or alcohol, I guess. But the concert was cancelled.)


Awesome cake, courtesy of my sister Laura. (That's right, my policy is that I host the parties, but Sarah no bake-y. Let's all stick with what we do best.)


Photo board from Adelay and Jameson's joint party.


Jamers was utterly riveted by his singing card.


Notice all of the helping hands assisting the birthday boy with his gifts. Just one of the many benefits of having lots of cousins and siblings! Learn to love it, Jamie.


Addy with her pile of gifts, with which she needed NO assistance, thankyouverymuch. Like mother, like daughter.


As per his usual stance on... people, places, and things, Jamie approached the whole cake ritual with some skepticism.


Birthday boy may have been slightly underwhelmed, but the rest of us were blown away by the treasure chest cake my mom made. Pretty sweet, no?


And this is where I found myself this afternoon, trying to read that doula book there on the footrest, but instead falling asleep in the sunshine. Oh well. I've earned a nap. Maybe tomorrow I'll be productive again.

Monday, September 26, 2011

To: The Universe Re: Grievances, Commendations

Dear Universe,

I greatly dislike the phase "it never rains but it pours" because it is so darn true. Always. For reference, here's what you threw my way in the last forty eight hours:

-a four year old who ran laughing away from me in a department store, and stayed lost for a half an hour, to the point that I had all the employees helping me look for him, had other employees watching the door to make sure no one was absconding with a wily looking four year old, and an older sibling who was weeping in terror, sure her brother had been kidnapped or would be lost forever, doomed to wander the clothing racks of Kohls eternally. That was fun. (We found him in a mens' dressing room, fyi, playing with a Christmas toy he had first snagged from a table REALLY REALLY FAR from where I first lost sight of him.)

The worst of that situation was actually that he just flat out refused to apologize to me or listen to my very stern lecture on the car ride home. He was clearly not getting it, what a big deal what he had done was and how he could never do that again. (This is something that has happened before, btw. More than once.) So I finally had to ask Jim talk to him instead, since he wasn't listening to me, and I really really loathe being that mom who's all, "Just wait til your father gets home!" My motto's always been, "If it happens on your watch, it's your problem." But what could I do? I just felt very strongly about getting across that we don't run away and hide in public places. It's kind of one of those hill-die-on issues, right?

-a kid who woke up screaming in the night with sudden ear pain, and had to miss school YET AGAIN today while I fussed around for six hours with the doctor's office trying to either get an appointment or simply get a prescription called in.

-the joy of being awake all night with said child, who didn't sleep from about twelve thirty to four thirty. The baby then woke up to nurse fifteen minutes after THAT, and then, just as I was finally drifting off to sleep, I realized that above all the rain outside, I could hear rain falling INSIDE, and flung open the linen closet door to discover that it was leaking again. A lot. All over the place. Including on my head. It was a long night.

-Jim stayed home from work today to deal with the roofing repair people... who never showed up, even after being called three times. *bangs head on table in frustration*

BUT. Here's the happy thing that almost evens out all the sucky. I met with my old doula Saturday just to get some general guidance for my upcoming birth, and she asked me to consider joining her when I get certified! This is exactly what I was hoping for, and I am so excited to have someone to learn from, and to be brought alongside a professional doula who already has an established business and a name in the community. What a gift, not to have to just jump in by myself, starting from scratch with putting together a business and a website and building a reputation for myself. It's certainly a big responsibility, since she's basically sharing with me her own good name in the community and trusting that I won't do anything to tarnish it. So that's weighty, right there. I'm so touched to be trusted that way.

It just feels like everything is coming together with this doula thing, and that this was totally the right time in my life to pursue this path. I'm so happy I finally found a passion, and a way to offer something meaningful to the community someday while still for the most part remaining an at-home parent. Every time I think about how it's all working out I just start grinning like an idiot. Call it luck, call it God's plan, call it fate, whatever. I call it awesome, and I am so thankful!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lots of Topics. Take Your Pick.

I don't even have anything specific to post about today, but I can't stand leaving that horrific BARFING post up any longer. I mean, what if I died in a car accident today and the last thing I published on my public blog was about throwing up on my own shoes? *shudder* What a way to go.

So I guess I'll just ramble about something or other for a few paragraphs... Um, Halloween! Two questions: What are your kids going to be? Are you going to make their costumes? And will YOU dress up, too?

Whoops, there were three, weren't there? My answers are: Addy wants to be a cheerleader or a cowgirl. We're still undecided on that, but I'm rooting for cheerleader because we already have that costume. Eli will be either Batman or a dragon, and he got both of those costumes for his birthday, so we won't have to buy anything new for him for sure. (Are you sensing that my kids are really into costume wearing in their everyday life?)

Don't know yet about Jameson. We have a Tigger costume that both the other kids wore when they were his age, but he is totally different in size than either of the other two were (Eli was really chubby, and Addy was really small- the costume totally sagged on her- but Jameson is more just thin and long, not tiny in general) so I don't think it's going to fit him right. Any adorable ideas for one year old costumes? I thought about dressing him as a dragon-slayer, if Eli does indeed opt for dragon, but then that seemed awfully... involved. And I am nothing if not uncreative and lazy about such things. Which brings to me to my answer re: whether or not I will make the costumes, which is a big fat NO. As for whether I will dress up with the kids, just depends on my mood that day, honestly. I have before (once as a cat, and as Sarah Palin, last year :) ) but it was pretty spur of the moment.

And hey, as long as I'm not writing anything creative or funny or touching, or, my specialty, humiliating, I will ask anther question! At what age do kids usually transition from a morning and an afternoon nap to one long afternoon nap? Jamie is still very hit or miss in this area; some days he's not tired until one or two, but other days he's falling asleep by eleven and I have to put him down.... BUT then he won't nap at all in the afternoon, which, weirdly, means a horrible bedtime because by then he's overtired and miserable. It's awfully hard to try to plan errands and library trips and so on when I never know when the kid is going to be asleep!

Oddly, I worried about his napping LESS when he was younger because he would always fall asleep in the car, so if he hadn't napped yet, I'd just take off for the store and he'd be out by the time we got there, and then remain asleep in his car seat for at least an hour or so. Ah, memories. This is no longer the case. He hardly ever sleeps in the car anymore, and if he does finally nod off, he inevitably wakes up furious during the transition into the house, and won't go back to sleep but is then grouchy and fitful for at least an hour. So car sleeping just sucks, now, and I'm always playing loud music and shoving toys and sippee cups at him to try to keep him awake until we get home.

You know what does NOT suck anymore, though, and which I keep meaning to do a big Gratefulness Post about? Eli does not. have. accidents. anymore. At least not on a daily basis, and never of the horrifying number two variety which was killing me slowly just a scant six months ago. Gosh, that seemed like it would never end, and then there was the constant leaking and multiple underpants a day, every single day, and now... now it is over. At last. Thank God. We've also noticed that he's actually using the bathroom less often and pees a lot more at a time, and we're wondering if maybe his bladder just finally caught up in size with the rest of his body? or something?

It makes me feel bad for ever giving him grief about it, if he really couldn't control it. I mean, I didn't give him MUCH grief, don't get me wrong. We certainly didn't punish him or anything. But one senses, after awhile, that people are tired of cleaning up your pee and rinsing your underwear. One catches that drift, I would think, after hearing sighs and muttered grumbles for months on end. So, if anyone's still stuck in that technically-potty-trained-but-never-quite-making-it-to-the-toilet-in-time phase, let me say: I don't think there's any magic trick to fix it. You just have to grin and bear it until it's outgrown, and try not to give your kid a hard time about it, because they probably can't help it.

Also, once they outgrow it, be sure to celebrate with new Transformers underwear.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Gag Me

I've always said that the one gross part of parenting that I've never gotten used to/gotten over is throwing up. It just freaks me out, and I hate most of all that usually when your kids are throwing up, it means the whole family is more or less sick and so YOU are feeling kind of queasy, too.

Well, I think this weekend may have officially gotten me over throw up. First I went to my friend's bachelorette party, and it was awesome and fun UNTIL I decided to try a shot for basically the first time in my life, after having had quite a bit of wine and a few tequila sunrises over the course of the previous several hours. Usually I'm such a lightweight about alcohol that I have a no-doing-shots-ever policy, but I think what happened here was that I was JUST drunk enough to think maybe it would be fun!

Was. Not. Fun. I don't even want to describe it all, it would be too embarrassing, but let's just say there's a pair of suede boots that need dry cleaning, a club floor to which I owe a new mop, and I may also send my friends Kelly and Beth an I'm-so-sorry-I-threw-up-in-your-bathroom-SINK care package of Lysol wipes and Febreeze. (In my defense, I was on antibiotics, which definitely makes you more likely to get sick while drinking. But I apparently drank just enough that I FORGOT I wasn't supposed to drink too much. Nice. Also, the sink? There was someone on the floor of the bathroom- that's right, I'm not the only one who can't hold her liquor- and I was afraid of tripping over her on my way to the toilet, so I apparently just stumbled to the nearest receptacle of any kind.) It was a night of humble pie, let me tell you, as I have always been quite proud of my ability to drink just enough to have fun and not enough to get wasted or throw up. Sigh. Guess I can take that off my resume.

I was then horribly hung over all the next day, and then even into the next, which seemed kind of excessive until my KIDS started throwing up and I realized that possibly not all of my achy-ness and nausea was due to the weekend's unsavory activities. Yes, that's right, I returned home from a night of vomiting to... two more days of vomiting. And it turns out my kids aren't any better at finding a good spot to throw up than I am. I feel like I'm caught in the world's longest hangover, and I hereby vow, before the Internets and everyone, to never again as long as I live do a shot.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sweet Spot

Jameson (Jamie, Jamers, Jamie Boy, Jamie James, etc.) will be one in just two weeks. One year ago to the day, I was released from bed rest just in time to celebrate my birthday the following day. And then I spent the happiest two weeks of my entire pregnancy doing birthday stuff (presents!) cleaning and nesting, snuggling the older kids and doing last minute baby shopping. I still smile remembering that time- SO different from the end of my first two pregnancies, when I was counting down every minute, so miserable and ready to be done! Physically I was still quite uncomfortable this time, too, of course, with swelling feet and heartburn and constant contractions, all that fun stuff. But by that point I just expected it, and I knew not to think I was in labor at every twinge, so I tried to just go with the flow. I was so happy, and so mellow, that I could hardly even wrap my head around it when it was, in fact, time to have that baby!



Jamie has totally entered my very favorite stage of babyhood, possibly even of childhood thus far in my experience: from about ten months to about eighteen months. Still completely a baby, with nommable cheeks and chunky thigh folds and all that, but with so much blossoming personality as well, and just enough independence (can crawl/walk around! can feed self a cracker! can hold a cup!) to make those times when they DO want to be held and cuddled that much more special. But, again, still totally a baby in terms of size, so those special holding times aren't too taxing on Mama's arms yet. And and AND- sleeping through the night, most nights! This might be the best part. Babyhood is so much more enjoyable on a full night's sleep, amiright?



He's crawling everywhere, pulling up constantly, and occasionally squatting on those wobbly little thighs and ever so slowly rising to a stand all on his own. When this happens, he looks around in bewilderment, almost as though his muscles are propelling him upwards independent of any conscious mental decision. Which I suppose very well may be the case. Bodies are often doing things without express permission from the brain, in my experience. For example, despite being back to pre baby weight, my body seems to have slowly sculpted for me, as an early twenty-seventh birthday/ welcome to your late twenties present, a matched pair of dimpled saddlebags. Thank you, aging genes. Clearly you know best.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Frame of Mind

So I know most of you long-time readers are aware that I'm kind of a clean freak. I'm sure you also know, without my even saying, that it is very hard to maintain a home's cleanliness levels to standards pleasing to a clean freak when three small kids spend the bulk of their time in said home. They even EAT in there, for frick's sake. (They keep rejecting my suggestions to eat outdoors for every meal. WHATEVER.) So, how does one survive the daily defeat of trying to clean up even as people make messes all around you? How does one lower their standards just enough that they do not become a resentful and miserable slave of a housewife?

I have two tips, both somewhat new found and both of which have proved enormously helpful to ME, anyways. Tip number one: read Biting the Dust and discover all about the crazy cleaning habits of yore, as well as some pretty crazy things people still do today. The book is both hilarious and informative, particularly in the chapters talking about how consumerism and ads really fanned the flames of housewives everywhere to out-clean each other (you know, back before feminism and the discovery that we could do things OTHER than clean our houses, if we wanted.) It really made me reconsider how certain standards came to be the norm, and who is really benefiting from all this cleaning fervor (hint: not housewives!) I think the main thing it changed for me is my use of the word "need" as relates to house chores.

I often say fretfully things like, "Oh I need to mop so badly!" But, what constitutes a need? Do I just mean that the floor looks dirty to me and so I WANT to mop it (or for someone, anyways, to mop it)? Do I mean that the baby is crawling around on the floor so it NEEDS to be germ free at all times? And if so, is that even possible?

Which brings up the other important issue the book addresses, namely, our modern obsession with killing the germs in our homes and whether this is necessary, harmful, or even attainable. Example: does the toilet bowl NEED to be sanitized? Is someone DRINKING the toilet water? Or is just that we don't want to look at smears or smell nasty odors? As long as we're practicing good hand washing habits and not constantly sticking our fingers in our mouths, does it really matter that much if every surface and every light switch has been Lysol-wiped religiously? Or, if we have small kids who very likely are not always practicing good hand washing and very likely ARE sticking their grubby hands into every orifice of their bodies and then all over every item in our house, is it even possible to hunt down every germ, anyways? Should we still try?

It's just a very thought provoking read, and really helped me relax about all the things I think of as "needing" to be done regularly. I came to the conclusion that each house has it's own comfort level of cleanliness/tidiness, and housekeeping is all about keeping it at that level. But it is literally impossible to have the entire house entirely clean at any one time. As soon as we're done wiping something, the dust begins to accumulate again, so... there's no point in striving for perfection, I guess is what I'm saying.

A few days after finishing the book, I had another epiphany, while happily dusting my living room late at night after the kids were in bed. (Yes, happily. I love putting on a good movie, getting out the Pledge, and really taking my time. Whatever. Don't judge.) It occurred to me that deep cleaning is basically my hobby. It's the thing I like to do when I have some free time, just to mellow out and kind of clear my head, all while feeling productive. I hate rushing around trying to cross things off lists, but I love to just kind of... zen clean, I guess is how I'd put it. Wipe hand prints off picture frames, dust bookshelves, scrub down every nook and cranny of the shower. This is deeply satisfying for me.

So, that's how I'm looking at cleaning from now on. It is my hobby, something fun and productive to do with my free time, but something that is not necessary for anyone in the house to carry on with their daily routines. Dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, picking up toys? Kind of necessary. Scrubbing the floors? Not necessary. NICE, especially to me, but not necessary, i.e. not something I should rush around trying to fit into my day, or should feel guilty about if it goes undone. It's just my hobby, no more or less virtuous than scrap booking or coin collecting. It's something I do if I have the time to sit down and enjoy doing it well, and something I just don't do if I don't have the time. Obviously, since I enjoy it, I do make the time frequently, but again, there is no inherent VIRTUE to it, or necessity.

I realize this might not work for every personality or household. Some people hate cleaning, but also hate messy houses, so they still clean just as much as I do, but grudgingly. Other people hate cleaning and don't care about mess, but the people they live with DO care, so there is an uneasy balance of who is obliged to does what and how often. This would suck, clearly, and you have my sympathy. Also, my ears. Tell me all about it. Also, tell me what things you consider to be NEEDS in the realm of house chores.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kids, Lately



Jameson would like to remind everyone that in just nineteen days, he will be one year old. He would like more jars of carrots, please, preferably of the Earth's Best variety.







Eli would like to thank everyone for his awesome birthday presents, and the gorgeous cake, which we just finished up a few days ago. He would also like to assure everyone that he is surviving his new found alone time during the day JUST FINE, thankyouverymuch.






And THIS one. Sniff. This one is setting off for her first day of school in the above, and returning, below, flushed with happiness. Literally pink cheeked. (She's also returning with mostly uneaten lunches, but we're working on that. One thing at a time.)