Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why Ask What From?

Here is a sample conversation from sometime during the last month at our house:

Me: Come to the kitchen sweetie, it's dinner time.
Mia: No, I'm not READY yet! I'm STILL playing!!
Me: Sorry, babe, it's time to eat. Come here now.
Mia: What from?
Me: ....brow knit in concentration....Uhhh...from your...bedroom?

These conversations had a tendency to leave me confused for long periods of time. Another sample:

Mia: I think I want to go play outside mama, let's go!
Me: It's raining today baby, we have to stay inside.
Mia: What from?
Me: *bumfuzzled*

After several weeks of this question popping up in most every conversation, we had a breakthrough.

Mia: Do I get to go to school?
Me: Oh, I wish you could but there's no school today.
Mia: What from?
Me: slowly...I don't...understand...the question.
Mia: Weellllll, why is there no school today?
Me: the sun slowly rises in the east...WHY!!! WHAT FROM means WHY!!!

Now though, there's a new question in town. Since I asked her to clarify, her constant What From's have given way to why's.

No statement is exempt from immediate questioning.

Me: You're so goofy, Mia.
Mia: Why?
Me: Because you're just being silly, I guess.
Mia: Why?
Me: To make me laugh?
Mia: Why?

It's the age of reason, I suppose.

Also known as the age of insanity.

Friday, May 29, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday, #16

1. Yesterday I mentioned that I was feeling a lot better than I expected to after having my wisdom teeth removed. Not so today. It's gotten worse, but no worse than the awful pain of the week before when the teeth were all shifting around. At least this pain is accompanied by a sense of finality. The swelling is considerably worse today as well. I'm not nearly as cute as that cheeky chipmunk from yesterday; instead, I bear a striking resemblance to John McCain. Now I'm sure he's a lovely man, but his jaws do not belong on this 26 year old's face.

2. Garden update: I think I overplanted. The broccoli plants are ginormous. The tomatoes plants are vast. The cabbage plants are mammoth. The bush green beans are spreading like an understory below the tomatoes and cabbage. The carrots are the only things not getting bigger than I planned for. And that's probably just because they're underground and I'm unaware of their true size.

3. I have loved having Justin home from work for the past two days. He's been an enormous help with the kids, and I've been able to laze around while I heal. Husbands are the coolest. Today, though? I'm pretty sure he sprinted happily out the door to get some well deserved rest at the office. Poor guy.

4. I just finished reading another Jodi Picoult novel, Keeping Faith. I love that woman's writing. She captivates me every time, and takes me so far into the world of her books that I am left thinking about them for days, weeks afterward. If you've never read her before, you should check out one of her novels soon. You won't regret it.

Well, unless you are more of a frilly love story with rose-colored pages kind of reader. Then you may not fully appreciate her raw, real-life glimpses into someone else's reality. Thankfully, I like just about whatever genre of book I pick up, so I'm happy with either. But Jodi Picoult? She's fabulous.

5. Today is my niece, Evelyn Joy's, first birthday. I got to be there for her birth, and it was something I'll never forget - it was magic. It's totally different getting to watch somebody else's baby being born. Even though I'd been through the process myself, it was amazing to be there to see every detail and experience it from a different perspective.

Here she is one day after she was born, next to her BFF, Lauren Jade. (Here's a fun story about the two of them.)

This is Evie at about 8 months old, participating in her favorite activity - eating!

And here she is a around Easter time. I'd snuggle that bunny for sure.

Evie is so sweet...Happy Birthday little darlin'!

6. Lauren is nursing again! I called the lactation consultant to double check the pediatrician's guidelines, and she told me it was completely fine to breastfeed while I'm on this certain pain medication. I tried to not use some of it yesterday for a while, hoping to be able to nurse quicker, but the pain won out. I was feeling so bad for Lauren who just wanted her mama, that when the lactation consultant told me we'd both be fine, I just about jumped out of my skin. But I managed to contain myself long enough to go take a pill first. Priorities.

7. Mia surprised me again last night with her preschool knowledge. We were walking around the yard after dinner, when we saw a tiny snake by the side of the road. Normally, I'd get away from a snake faster than Paris Hilton would run from a Wal-Mart store, but this snake was seriously tiny. Less than 3 inches long and it didn't move very fast, so we stopped to investigate. After Mia lost interest in the snake, she noticed a line of ants crawling close by. And here's what she said.

"Those are ants! They have a head, a thorax, and an ab-duh-men!"

Here's what I said.


She's a 3 year old genius.

Enjoy this early summer weekend, and go check out some more Quick Takes.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

And Here Are My Answers: Post Wisdom Teeth Removal

1. What if, while sedated for my wisdom teeth removal tomorrow (yesterday), I pee my pants in the operating chair? How embarrassing would that be?

Thankfully, this didn't happen. Or if it did, I didn't care because I was soooo sleepy. It would have been terribly embarrassing. I wonder if it's ever happened before?

2. Will Lauren still want to nurse after I've gotten all the anaesthesia out of my system, or will she have gotten used to cow's milk by then and offer me a simple peace out sign on her way to the fridge?

Jury's still out here; I'm not allowed to begin nursing again until 24 hours post op for the anaesthesia, and 12 hours after my last pain medication. But so far, she has NOT been interested in cups of warm milk. On the one hand, I'm glad because this may make her more likely to come back to me without a hitch. On the other hand, I worry about her getting enough calories to stay happy and sleep well at night. I think at this point we're nursing more for cuddle time than calories, though, so it's not too worrisome. No peace out signs have been sighted as of yet.

3. Will Justin want to have any more kids after having the sole guardianship of the girls while I'm conked out? (Or will he offer me a simple peace out sign on his way to the gym?)

Justin's done a great job by himself; I've only seen half of a peace out sign so far. I'll not tell you which half.

4. How big will my cheeks actually get?

The nurse said my worst swelling would be on the 3rd day after surgery. Right now I'm barely swollen. I'm hoping to keep it this way with lots of ice packs and minimal child lifting. I have naturally, um, robust cheeks so hopefully, I won't end up looking like this. Although he is a cutie.

Picture courtesy of Gr'Ma 'Lex

5. What if the anaesthesia doesn't take hold all the way, and I'm left lying there without any way to tell the surgeon that I can feel every slice and tug?

True story *blink blink*: I swear I woke up during the procedure and heard tools and voices working around me. I moaned and squeaked several times (I think...) and remember the surgeon saying something about giving me more medication before I drifted off again. However, I felt no pain, and saw nothing during this time; I was just woozy and barely conscious. Thank the Good Lord. This may be why I was numb and sleepy for a lot longer than I expected to be, post-op. I couldn't feel my lips and tongue until this morning, and I assume this is because he was extra cautious when giving me more numbing and sedation that second time. Or I could just be playing doctor here, and this is normal for everyone.

6. Is there any possible way for the surgeon and nurses, etc. to NOT notice the brand new shiny red pimple on the tippy tip of my nose? Will I, on some level of consciousness, hear their Rudolph jokes?

Well, if they missed the bullseye on my nose, they're sure to have noticed the bloody nose. I didn't notice until I got home and looked in the mirror that I had some dried blood just barely peeking out of my nostril. Awesome.

7. Will my brother manage to sneak a video camera into his pocket and get frightening proof of me being a stupidly drugged up wacko while he drives me home, despite my warnings of cruel and unusual punishment if he does so?

That brother of mine. I'm thankful that he took me to the appointment so Justin could be home with the girls during the lunch time/nap time rat-race, and he was great. He only laughed at me a few times (that I remember), although I'm pretty sure he snapped a picture with his iPhone. He's good at sneaking embarrassing pictures of me; when I went into labor with Mia, Justin was out of town so Eric came to take me to the hospital. We were both running around like chickens with no heads trying to decide what needed to come with us, but while I changed out of my pajamas he caught a picture of my hugely pregnant belly. I'll get him back someday. I may have to drug him first, but if that's what it takes...

On second thought, Eric doesn't embarrass easily so he'd probably broadcast the photos I'd take of him just because they're funny. *sigh*

8. How many days can I feign a medicated stupor before I'm required to step back into the daily routine of raising kids?

Turns out, I'm no good at this. Laying in bed gets old fast, especially when I envision the state of the kitchen or laundry. I can't help but get up to put a few things back where they go before I get scolded back into bed by my care-taking husband. Plus, I just feel a lot better than I expected to.

9. On the other hand, how many hours can I stand being away from my daughters' every movement, breath, and giggle?

I can stand to be away from the movements right now, because they cause me some pain. And the giggles, I can hear from down the hall. But what I need the most and cannot get enough of right now is snuggles. With silky-headed sniffs. I need to breathe them in.

10. Does Wendy's deliver Frosties?

Unfortunately not. But moms who read their daughter's blogs do. And errand-running husbands deliver frozen custards. Not bad a'tall.

On a side note, I got a cool t-shirt. It's black (my favorite kind of shirt) and says CROWD CONTROL, We'll Take 'Em Out. Very cool from a dental standpoint. I'll wear it proudly.

Thanks for your thoughts and comments while I whined about all of this stuff. What's a blog for if I can't let it all hang out, right? You guys are the greatest for listening and offering advice. If ever you need me to play Dr. Google on you, just let me know, 'kay?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Here's What I'm Thinking

1. What if, while sedated for my wisdom teeth removal tomorrow, I pee my pants in the operating chair? How embarrassing would that be?

2. Will Lauren still want to nurse after I've gotten all the anaesthesia out of my system, or will she have gotten used to cow's milk by then and offer me a simple peace out sign on her way to the fridge?

3. Will Justin want to have any more kids after having the sole guardianship of the girls while I'm conked out? (Or will he offer me a simple peace out sign on his way to the gym?)

4. How big will my cheeks actually get?

5. What if the anaesthesia doesn't take hold all the way, and I'm left lying there without any way to tell the surgeon that I can feel every slice and tug?

6. Is there any possible way for the surgeon and nurses, etc. to NOT notice the brand new shiny red pimple on the tippy tip of my nose? Will I, on some level of consciousness, hear their Rudolph jokes?

7. Will my brother manage to sneak a video camera into his pocket and get frightening proof of me being a stupidly drugged up wacko while he drives me home, despite my warnings of cruel and unusual punishment if he does so?

8. How many days can I feign a medicated stupor before I'm required to step back into the daily routine of raising kids?

9. On the other hand, how many hours can I stand being away from my daughters' every movement, breath, and giggle?

10. Does Wendy's deliver Frosties?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Kids Are Awesome

As we were walking out of the food court from our fabulous trip to the mall last week, there was a busload of kids tromping through the place, headed for the restrooms. 50 or so adolescents waited in a raucous line for their turns in the lav. (This is totally a blind estimate; I'm so bad at estimating that it may as well have been 300 kids for all I know. So to sum up, there were pre-teens...they were rowdy...there were more than 10 of them...they stunned me into a lack of estimating ability. Carry on.)

Mia chose this moment to let me in on a secret. Well, me and the thousands of school kids around us. (Bad estimates are giving way to blatant exaggeration. Proceed.)

"Mama, I need to go pee-pee!" she yelled to me over all the hubbub.

Staring at the mulling crowd of kids, I could see no possibility of waiting in the back of that line for a few minutes of toilet time.

"We need to wait until we get home sweetie, do you think you can hold it for that long?"

In following with the amazingly good behavior she'd been using that day, she told me very nicely that, yes, she could hold it. I looked down to smile at her polite tone of voice (I try to encourage this tone since it's sometimes hard to come by...), and that's when I noticed how literally she'd taken my words.

She was, in fact, holding herself. Carefully covering her privates with her free hand, she looked up at me proudly. I tried to convince her that she didn't need to actually hold on, but she insisted that she'd do exactly what I'd asked of her. Plus, I couldn't get my point across right, what with all the adolescents listening in. I didn't want to start speaking biologically correct in those surroundings, so I sounded something like this..."No, I don't mean you have to hold yourself, just hold in your pee-pee. Wait, don't hold your pee-pee, just HOLD it. Like, wait to let it out. Oh, for the love of pity, just...never mind. You can hold it. Let's go FASTER. NO! Don't GO, just WALK, I mean."

And so we walked, in the midst of approximately ONE MEELLION pre-teen youth. (This is really getting out of hand. But my estimator is jammed with silly baby stories, and I can't stop it's unbelievable output.) Three girls: one kicked back in a stroller, one holding her pee-pee parts, and one pink cheeked mama, all dodging an entire universe of students blocking our path.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

People Watching

We ran to the mall earlier this week purely to get out of the house for a few blessed minutes. The backyard wasn't far enough away, and I needed some Chick-Fil-A so I packed the girls up and off we went.

On the way, Mia and I discussed how she should behave while at the mall. I get a little nervous taking both kids to busy places by myself, so I wanted to be sure we'd have no issues. As sure as I could be,'s hard to hold a three year old to her promises. I told her she had to hold my hand whenever I said so, stay right by my side, and not run away. Also, she had to listen and behave. Vague, but easily adhered to. She was emphatic when telling me how well she'd behave and hold my hand; she's in puffy heart love with the mall, so she was willing to do whatever it took to spend time there. (This doesn't bode well for her pre-teen years. I'll have to find some negative mall associations to begin planting in her malleable mind.)

Remarkably, she kept her word. We had fun walking around in a few stores and running down the ramps. We people watched and mannequin talked. Lauren watched the world go by in her stroller, happy to be in a new place.

When I started walking towards the food court, Mia used her sweetest tone of voice to ask if we could please please eat over here? With Chick-Fil-A in my sights I happily told her yes...she'd behaved so well, we'd get to eat at the mall. Again, I went over my expectations of mealtime behavior, and we got down to business. Mia was an ANGEL at the table. Eating happily, chattering politely, smiling at strangers. Lauren ate whatever I put in front of her, so I barely heard a peep from her corner. I began to wonder when this bubble of perfection would pop. How long could I expect such good behavior to last? Not that either of my girls are terrible, but toddlers are unpredictable. There's usually a time limit on perfection of this sort.

But not today. It went on and on. Like a ray of sunshine.

There was one moment of difficulty, but it wasn't a behavior issue. It was a people-watching issue. We happened to sit one table away from a young man with a disability that caused him to shake, nod, wiggle, and move in wild ways. Of course, Mia noticed. She asked me what he was doing, and I tried to make it seem as uninteresting as possible. "He's eating," I told her. She said, "He's being silly! You don't supposed to dance and play at the table! That's silly mama! Why's he sticking his tongue out?!" Thankfully, the food court is amazingly loud so I don't think anyone heard her but me. I told her he could do whatever he wants to, but that she needed to sit still and eat. She still paid attention to him off and on for the rest of lunch, but I didn't want to make him even more fascinating by telling her not to look at him.

I'm wondering if I should say anything now about what we saw today. Something along the lines of "everyone is different and it's not polite to point out those differences or laugh at them." I think the message might be lost on her, though.

What would you have done? Would you have addressed the issue immediately, taking a moment during lunch to correct her? Would you just talk about it later, after the fact? Or would you just continue glossing it over when she notices people who are different? How would you/have you handled this situation?

Inquiring minds need to know.

Friday, May 22, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday, #15

1. I had a consultation with the oral surgeon yesterday; my wisdom teeth are scheduled for removal next Wednesday. This has been a long time coming, and I'm only sad that it can't happen sooner. I'm so ready for these teeth to be gone! (Click here for my poetic story on the creation of's a jaw-slapping good time.) (Jaw slapping?)

I'm not quite as ready for the pain and swelling that will be happening after surgery, but we'll cross that bridge later.

2. When I walked into the waiting room yesterday for my appointment, there was one other young guy sitting on the couches, waiting to be called. I went to the check in counter and gave my name, then settled in one of the vacant couches to wait my turn. As I sat down, the young man leaned around the gigantic floral arrangement on the coffee table, and said "Did you know the Terminator's after you?"

I returned his smile and thought silently for what seemed like forever. Finally I said, as nicely as possible, "What??"

"Oh," he laughed, "didn't you say your name is Sarah Connor?"

Realization dawned. He had heard me give my name at the counter. Rather, he misheard.

I laughed awkwardly, and corrected him. I'm not good at small talk, and didn't know where to take it from here. So with a smile and a shrug, I said "It's close though...." Then I opened up my magazine and started reading.

When you stay at home with the kids all day, adult interaction can seem foreign at times. This fulfilled my quota for a while.

3. Mia's got a fun habit lately of pointing out words, listing the letters, and asking me to tell her what it spells. Sometimes she'll just make up her own list of letters, pretending to spell words, and ask me what she's spelled. Occasionally she'll spell a real word; this can be interesting.

This morning she said "T-A-T-A, what does that spell, mama?"

Apparently I have the mentality of a junior high boy, because it took all of my willpower to keep a straight face while I carefully pronounced ta-ta.

4. My grandma's recliner (from last week's quick takes) is still sitting in the same ill-placed location in my living room. You know how you see something out of place and think, "make sure to move that, it looks horrible there," but the longer it sits there, the more normal it looks? That's where we are with this chair. When we do finally get around to placing it in it's intended spot, our living room will look bare for a few days. Before I remember that I like uncluttered. Then I'll wonder why it took so long to get the chair properly placed.

5. My husband had a work picnic at a carousel park this week, and Mia was just big enough to ride on some of the rides. She LOVED the ferris wheel. I rode it with her, not realizing that I'd be such a wuss and get scared at the top. That thing was going way faster than they usually do, and when we started coming back down, it was like a freefall out into nothingness.

My nervous giggles covered my fear, though, and I chattered to Mia about how far we could see, how tall we were, how windy it was up in the sky, and GOOD LORD MAKE THIS SPINNING WHEEL OF DOOM STOP!

She wanted to do it a second time, so I graciously offered my seat to Justin. I'm very generous.

6. The carousel was a bit more low key. She enjoyed it even so.

7. I think the tides are turning back in my direction from Lauren's preference for her daddy. She still wants him for all the fun and excitement he has to offer, but more and more she wants mama's quiet arms. Which is good because I love snuggling her, even when her hair smells like 3 separate meals.

For more random thoughts head over to Jen's Quick Takes. Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Point And Counterpoint

Sometimes I think bald babies are under-appreciated. I think the moms of the world would be a bit less frazzled if all children were bald for the first 3 years of life. After all, hair is not crucial to the child's well being; we would be much better off without baby hair.

And here is my supporting evidence.

Lauren woke up this morning with a sweetly scented, fluffy head of hair. She doesn't have a lot of hair yet, but it's just enough to comb to one side and call it good. After breakfast was done, that sweet soft hair was plastered to one side of her head with pasty baby oatmeal. On the non-cerealed side, it was studded with bits of squishy green kiwi and tiny black seeds. I tried wiping it all off with a wet washcloth but she has just too much hair for that to have been successful. Poor Lauren was left with flattened, faintly acidic smelling locks. The shape of her skull was perfectly apparent under her new helmet of cereal hair.

At lunch, we got fast food for a sick big sister whose whims needed catering to. (That big sister climbed straight into bed before eating any of her desired chicken nuggets, but whatever.) Lauren devoured her nuggets and fries before grabbing two handfuls of now-dried cereal hair with two very greasy hands. She was left with free standing piggy-tails, dotted with potato crumbs.

I tried to stop her.

Which only encouraged her.

She decided she wanted bananas (telling me BAH!nanana, and shaking her head very quickly from side to side with joyful anticipation.), and managed to eat a few bites before smashing several chunks of them into the back of her scalp. It's like she could tell the exact location of the only remaining area that had yet to be defaced.

Only, she seemed to have forgotten about one teensy tuft of hair just behind her right ear. This single tuft curls and flips and is absolutely precious even on a clean-headed day. So it's especially attractive when compared with the caked-on mess of hair she's achieved with a half day's worth of meals.

While cleaning her up after lunch, I leaned in for a sniff of that innocent, unadulterated curl.

I inhaled...

And I nearly swooned at it's perfect baby-ness. Silky soft, fresh and clean, shiny and golden. It wrapped itself around my heart and tickled my baby-loving soul.

*shaking myself out of a trance*

So anyway, I think I was saying something about why babies should be bald.

And about that?

Never mind.

I've flip-flopped my position.

Update: Dinnertime earned Lauren a spaghetti and cantaloupe juice mohawk. What a day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Rime Of The Ancient Molar

Only satire can relieve my pain. So here I go:

There was once a prehistoric lady
Who lived in a homey cave.
She had no proper cooking utensils,
So her meals were fairly grave.

Neither was her hygiene in order,
This lady she stank somethin' fierce.
Her mouth was all in a shambles,
Her teeth - they no longer could pierce.

Her hearty cave dwelling diet,
Full of dinosaur bones and roots,
Had left her shape quite distorted,
She was built like a lumpy fruit.

Her mighty cave husband, a devilish brute,
Was plumb fed up with her ways.
So he sent her off with leftover loot;
She was no longer allowed in his cave.

Wandering and scavenging soon took their toll,
Our lady cave-friend was changed.
Her pear shaped body had grown so thin,
On her hips, her leaf-skirt did hang.

With time and with hardship, this lady,
She learned to survive on her own
She hunted and fished and wandered
Wishing she could go back home.

One day she noticed with wonder
That now in the back of her mouth,
Were shiny new teeth all sharp and white;
Though her old teeth had long fallen out.

Hooray! Shouted she, I'm saved!
For my husband must now take me back!
These teeth, these teeth, these beautiful teeth
Have gained me some well deserved slack.

That cave husband, mine, will look at me now
And see only shiny new choppers.
He'll wonder just where I've been all his life
He'll give me the best of his offers.

Hold up...Thought Mrs. Cave Man.
Why wait around for the Mister?
He might take me back but then
I'd be working so hard that I'd blister.

So she made up her mind, right then and right there
To never go back to that cave man.
Her new set of teeth and new sense of courage
Would be her loving companions.

And this is why my dear friends,
We're burdened with wisdom teeth.
Some random cave lady, in prehistoric times
Needed them to get back on her feet.

When next you start your complaining
Just remember - in another time and place,
Those teeth that have you aching
Would have been your saving grace.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Quote Unquote

Remember yesterday when I said about my wisdom teeth that "until I'm done nursing Lauren, these babies are staying put."?

This is me eating my words.

Rather, this is me pureeing my words into a thin and formless dribble that may be easily snuck past my angry third molars and down my throat without arousing the suspicion of said molars.

Which is how I'm now required to get my daily allotted caloric intake. One wisdom tooth erupting was bad enough, but apparently his rowdy neighbor across the roof got all jealous and decided to erupt as well. That's two eruptions. My whole upper jaw is throbbing. No chewing happens around here without excessive whining and crying on my part.

So the teeth, they must go.

I'm going to see my dentist this afternoon for an emergency x-ray and referral to an oral surgeon. My cotton wad fears must be pushed aside while I respond to this situation with maturity and responsibility.

Now, where's my puddin'?

Sunday, May 17, 2009


There's nothing like a toothache to take the beauty right out of a beautiful weekend. I've been popping pills for the past two days, trying to keep my awful attitude to myself, and not doing all that great of a job. The problem is, it hurts to eat, talk, and move, so that quit-bugging-me-and-bring-me-some-tylenol attitude is leaking out on all sides. It also hurts to lie around and complain though, so I cain't get no satisfaction.

It's my wisdom teeth. And if I were truly wise, I would have had them removed several years ago. Before they were all visible behind my molars. Before the several days of pain they cause every year when they decide to do the toothy two step in my jaws. Before my cheeks became swollen enough to cause my face to resemble a squirrel's fall storage system.

But I was all, who knows if I'll even end up needing them out? Why go through all that trouble if my wisdom teeth don't really need to come out?

Because having a toddler and a preschooler to take care of when your jaw is shooting with pain is no walk in the park, that's why. Because this pain is worse than childbirth*, that's why. At least contractions had a break in between the pains. Why did God put wisdom teeth in my mouth anyway if they're pointless and useless and torturous, if he didn't intend for them to be removed under the use of anaesthesia?

Only now I'm stuck with them because for the past almost four years I've been either pregnant or nursing. There was a 2 month period there for a while in which I had no baby attached to any part of my body. If I were wise I would have had my wisdom teeth out then. But during that time period? There was no pain. No teeth were grinding their way out of my tender flesh. Outta sight outta mind. I think we've established that I'm not wise.

So until I'm done nursing Lauren, these babies are staying put. And truthfully, I'm halfway glad. I mean, the half that's not writhing in agony. That half is yelling for surgery, stat. But the other half is a little scared of being put under while a stranger cuts around in my mouth. I have some technical difficulties with my jaws that doesn't allow them to open as far as a normal mouth, and I just can't fathom a dentist trying to do everything that needs to be done without breaking my bones in the process. And then there's the pain and cotton to deal with afterwards. The pain, there are pills for. I think I could withstand it. But the cotton No. I hate cotton in my mouth. It's worse than scratching my fingernails down a dusty chalkboard. Times One Jillion. When I was younger and had to have my braces adjusted, there seemed to always be somebody shoving cotton balls in my mouth. For which I will never forgive orthodontists in general. Cotton in the mouth should be illegal.

I have good rationalizing skills, don't I?

Somebody, somewhere, have some crunchy bites of delicious food for me. Then sing at the top of your lungs about how tasty it is. Then whatever you do, don't you dare tell me what you had, because I couldn't stand the watering my mouth would do, causing me to drool when I can't manage to swallow due to the blinding pain in the back of my mouth. Enjoy.

*Simmer down, now. That was just a dramatic exaggeration. Childbirth was way worse, but way more rewarding. I'm not gonna be snuggling and admiring this wise tooth any time soon.

Friday, May 15, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday, #14

1. I went to the last Pilates class this week in a series of free classes held at my church. Granted, it was my sweet cousin teaching the classes, so I was less intimidated than I might have otherwise been. But intimidated or not, Pilates is serious business. It's four days later, and my muscles are still sore. In a good way; I feel stronger than I ever have before. If this is what happens after just a few sessions, I can only imagine how strong I'd be if I could do this all the time.

I'd be Super Mama. Think of the laundry loads I could lift effortlessly. Think of the groceries I could unload in a single trip. Think of the toddlers I could haul on my toned hips.

Oh, I mean, think of the health benefits.

Pilates for moms. This is good stuff.

2. Last time I went to the chiropractor (far too long ago), we talked about my scoliosis and things I could do to help the situation. In reality, there's not much I can do: it just is what it is, and short of surgery (it's not bad enough for all that) I can only do things that might prevent it from getting much worse. Those things include exercise. Muscle exercise. So maybe I should try to keep up the Pilates beyond the free classes...

Something to ponder.

3. Last week, I asked if anyone had seen any good movies. I'm really curious because we have some gift certificates for the movie theater, and I'm hoping for a date sometime soon. I saw a preview for The Proposal, with Sandra Bullock which absolutely cracked me up. Maybe I'll lobby my husband to go see it with me. Although I'm really up for anything that's not chock full of ninjas or gangsters. I'm such a girl.

4. I made my favorite recipe of chocolate chip cookies last night. Made with a few secret ingredients, these cookies always end up chewy - not too crispy - perfect. Therefore I eat enough to make myself nearly sick. After I've sneaked a few bites of raw dough. And it's worth it.

5. We inherited a recliner from my grandma when she passed away earlier this month. She and I talked about it several months ago, and I knew she wanted me to have this chair. It's pink and soft and reminds me of her. She knew I loved it, and knew that I wanted to use it in Lauren's room. I've always wanted a snuggly, comfy chair for nursing and rocking my babies, so I'm glad to have it.

There's only one problem. It's still in our living room. Our already cluttered living room. It's sitting in an awkward place, blocking the path between our loveseat and bookcase. But we can't bring ourselves to relocate it to it's intended locale. We both find ourselves settled into it several times throughout the day and evening, closing our eyes, rocking gently while sinking into it's velvety cushions....

Wha..what? Snap me out of this. I'm getting sleepy just talking about how wonderful this chair is.

I suppose we'll have to move it soon. It really doesn't do anything for the feng shui of my living room. But the feng shui of my comfort...that's another story.

6. Last night I had a very vivid dream, the likes of which I haven't had for a long time. It was about a spider. Not that those dreams are rare for me, but it's my reaction to spider dreams that sometimes surprises me. (As you can see here, and here, I don't handle buggy things well.)

This was a softball sized spider, hunched menacingly on the foot of my bed - right on the corner. In my mind, I couldn't get down the normal way from the bed, I couldn't just hop over the edge. I deemed it necessary to crawl down the length of the bed, and propel myself over the end. At about the moment that my legs were in midair straddling the footboard, I woke up. Realizing with embarrassed clarity that I had imagined the spider and therefore I was now simply doing freaky things in my sleep.

So I calmly brushed off the spot on the comforter where the imaginary spider had been seconds before, and with shamed nonchalance walked purposefully away to get a drink of water. That's what I meant to do all along. I just took the exciting detour.

7. My plans to go to bed earlier have been thwarted again. I make this resolution on a weekly basis, and am failing miserably. What will it take for me to recognize this as a priority and stop doing things at bedtime? I am super vigilant about my kids' bedtimes...making sure they can get the important rest they need. You would think I'd be a little bit better about watching out for my own sleep needs too. But, I've realized that it's much easier to be someone else's boss than to be my own. I am sorely lacking in self discipline.

As always, head over to Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes, and have a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm A Pacifist

Somewhere along the road of learning to discipline our kids, we've stumbled across the 3 count warning. The child is given a directive...the child (of course) ignores the directive...the parent starts counting to three...the child kicks into gear before three is reached...or a time out/appropriate consequence is given. This is simple. It's proven to be very useful in our household, and I'm so glad for the times when Mia obeys accordingly.

However, I worry about what her counting skills will be like. Since I hate hate having to punish the girl, I've started drawing out the counting process. ONE, TWO, TWO AND A HALF...

That's right - in order to prolong the space before I actually reach three, I've added a stalling fraction. This happens now nearly every time I count out her warning. On occasion, I've been known to throw in some random quarters too. Those are usually the times when her sister has just fallen asleep, and I'm scrambling to avoid a screaming fit in time out.

The sane, logical part of me wonders why I don't just up the cut-off number to four. Since that's basically the number of seconds she has before it's T-O time.

But that feels like surrender. That feels like wimpiness. That feels like...

A lame, passive attempt at discipline.

And lame pacifism just isn't me. No sir. I'm one tough mother.

Sometimes I might count to two and a half a million times a day, but since I'm tough about it and keep my word at the end of the..............

Oh, never mind.

I'm just a lame pacifist, trying to keep my boat afloat on these choppy waters of discipline.

And two and a half is my flotation device. But I think it has a hole, leaking valuable air during the middle of the storm.

(By the way, spell check had to correct the word discipline for me every single time in this post. If I can't even SPELL the stupid word, how can I implement it? Deep questions....)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Great Outdoors

I know we've been over this before, my relationship with creepy crawlies, but when a thing takes up as much brainpower as my bug-aversion does, it gets blogged about. Take cover, because here comes the screaming and cringing. Only half of it done by me this time.

So we're playing outside, right?

It's just Mia and I, Lauren is inside napping. I'm trying to weed the garden and thin out the carrot shoots while Mia slides and swings. Only I can't get much accomplished what with all the bug induced yelling going on. Every few minutes, Mia screams in her whiniest of whines:

"MAMA!! It's a BUG! Come over here, mama, it's a BUG!"

I patiently explain that, yes, since we are outside where millions of bugs live, there are probably gonna be bugs. I tell her not to worry, just blow it off the slide and keep playing. But after about the fourth time, I come see what all the fuss is about.

There's a tiny gnat resting on the slide, which I show her how to blow a puff of air at, so she is safe again. I continue with my gardening.

"A BEETLE mama, a beetle! Get it off my slide! MAMA!" I tell her to get a stick and flick the beetle away, which she does, but..."THE BEETLE is stuck to the stick!!! Maamaaa!"

Good grief, I'm thinking. I almost never allow my feelings about bugs to be known in Mia's presence, so I'm pretty sure it's just a family trait that we share. I'm very careful to hide my freaking-out from her impressionable eyes.

I go to check out the beetle, only to find a small tick on the stick. We toss the stick into the woods, and I try to explain - again - why it's not that big of a deal to find a few bugs outside. It's even kind of neat. We talk about insects and how they're different from animals, and why insects are neat (*shudder*) so she doesn't need to scream every time she encounters one. I feel good about my momentary foray into homeschooling...we just had a small science class...easy peasy. Again, I continue with my gardening.

Now Mia is looking for bugs. She is excited when she finds an ant, a ladybug, a fly. She is armed with a stick and puffed up cheeks, poking them and blowing on them for fun now. She is squealing with delight instead of worry, although this distinction is so vague that I have trouble differentiating the two. Her squeals (screams?) intensify when there's a bug stuck in a hole, and she can't get it out. I respond with mmhmm's and wow's and okay honey's, not really paying attention anymore because I'm so focused on my carrot thinning.

Then the whining starts back up. Something about this bug in a hole is really bugging her. (Heh.) I tell her to calm down and remember what we talked about; it's not a big deal, it's just an insect living in it's natural habitat. I wander over to the hole she's dancing around and pointing to which is an empty screw hole in the swingset.

Immediately I see long spindly legs folding out of the hole, ringing it's entire perimeter. And Mia is poking at this. A spider. A big, leggy, bundled up spider. The worst of the worst.

Alright already, so it's only a daddy long legs and I know you're not supposed to be afraid of these, the most innocent of all spiders, but my phobia knows no difference between the various spider species.

I pull Mia back from her close proximity and try to remain calm. But her head is facing the spider, so I feel completely justified in hopping on one foot while splaying both hands wide in the air for a full body shiver. With my tongue sticking out. And my eyes shut tight. And then, calm facade in place:

"OH! It's a daddy long legs! He must just be taking a little nap in that hole so we should probably leave him alone. Come back here, sweetie, and don't bother him any more. No, put the stick down, and just come waaaaay over here so he knows you're not going to poke him anymore. That's better."

She wants me to push her on the swing for awhile, and I keep my eyes on those gangly legs while Mia chatters about the spider. She wonders where the baby long legs are. And where's the mommy long legs? We tell sweet little stories about the entire Long Legs family.

It's taking every discipline I have to not toss Mia over my shoulder and haul her into the house, away from the great outdoors and all its creepy crawly inhabitants.

But I stay put. Pretending I don't have a care in the world.

This mom-strength just keeps surprising me.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'm Feeling The Mother Love

I know Mother's Day was yesterday and all, but I was too busy being lazy to accomplish anything blog-related. I got to spend most of the day at my mom's house, letting her chase my kids around while I ate the bread pudding I made as a gift for her. Not too shabby, eh?

Really, I just wanted to say mushy things about how amazing it is to be a mom. How wonderful my baby girls are. How precious their voices, how sweet their fuzzy heads. How unbelievable it feels to know that they have been entrusted to Justin and I for the foreseeable future.

How funny Mia is when she's being dramatic (so, all the time). How cute Lauren is when she picks up too much momentum in her frankenstein walk and ends up running straight into the ground. How I jump up to console her only to hear her RAWRRR with delight and start over again.

How I love to hear Mia tell me a secret I love you mama. How adorable the girls look sitting in their swings next to each other, with the breeze gently rocking them while I look on, too misty eyed to snap out of my daydreams. How handsome their daddy is while rolling around on the floor with those two giggling children.

How surprised I am that I don't get grossed out when a snotty, sloppy kiss is bestowed upon me by my baby Lauren, complete with the mmmwuah sound. How I could stare into the blue eyes of my daughters for all of eternity, and still find new ways to express their beauty.

How blessed I am that my job. It's my vocation. It's my life.

Happy Mother's Day to me.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

To Cheer Me Up

A story.

An embarrassing story.

An embarrassing story about me.

If that isn't a combination for cheer, I don't know what is.

In college, I was a business major. Econ, Accounting, Management, and so forth. Pretty much write down a list of the most boring things on earth and those are the subjects I was, well, subjected to. Thankfully, my university was one that calls itself a liberal arts school, and students are required to accumulate a handful of socially diverse courses, no matter what their major. So you'd get finance majors in art class. Childhood Education majors in econ 101.

This was good for the most part, and I experienced some things that were really enjoyable. Except for my foray into The Theater. If it weren't for this liberal arts mandate, I might never have known the joy of theater. The drama, the stage directions, the set design, all this might have gone unnoticed had I not eenie-meenie-meinie-moed my way into the Introduction to Theater class my freshman year.

My professor was eccentric and quirky, small but intimidating. It was as if she could see my aura, and could tell I was not in the least bit excited about the magic of theater. I fumbled my way through character developments and improvisations, praying for the end of the semester to save me from this terrifying vortex of drama. To play voice-inflection games on the huge university stage in front of my classmates ranked right up there with loudly and stinkily farting in public. Not that such a thing has ever ever happened to me. Moving on.

Towards the end of that everlasting semester, we were required to see a children's play put on by the theater department. I don't remember much about it, except that I liked nothing about it. I couldn't hear the actors' lines, the lighting was a tad space-shipish for my taste, and I would rather have been at the student union flirting with my hunky boyfriend (hi, hubby!). I could find very little that I enjoyed about the play.

This was troublesome because I knew our professor was going to ask for feedback at the next class. We'd gone through this before with other plays, and I knew I'd be fully expected to relay a few of my opinions. I'm generally a positive person, always looking for the bright side, but I'd had it with this class and was sooo ready for it to end so I could return to my completely normal world of human resource management and business law.

When the next class period came, I still hadn't come up with any acceptable observations. Students all around me were gushing about the set decorations and acting talent, while I remained silent. The professor's bespectacled eyes rested on me when it became clear that I had nothing to say. I quickly tried to find something - anything - positive to say about the play. Finally, I decided that a negative comment didn't have to be a bad thing...there's a lot to be said for constructive criticism, right? So I let loose.

"What I really noticed more than anything was how bad the choreography was during the songs. It was some kind of interpretive dance thing, and it just seems like they should have gone with something a little more...child-like. Something that kids would understand, since it was a kid's play, and all." The professor squinted her eyes and tilted her head, like she wanted to hear more. I thought, Great! She likes my thoughtful commentary! So I gave her more.

"That was really the one thing in the entire play that stands out to me. That awful interpretive dancing by those Eskimo kids. I think something more along the lines of the hokey-pokey or itsy-bitsy spider would've worked much better. For the audience, I mean." Whew. I'm home free! Constructive criticism feels pretty good!

But then I noticed some students behind me squirming. And snickering. And gasping. The professor's mouth was pursed, and with her already squinting eyes, she looked downright hateful. It suddenly occurred to me that I shouldn't have been quite so vehement. Maybe I should've said something more diplomatic. So I quickly added..."But that's just my opinion. I have different tastes than some people and..." Why am I still talking?! SOMEBODY SHUT ME UP!

The classroom was silent for what seemed like an eternity, while we watched the professor's face for her reaction. She took a deep breath, and said, "Well. When I was trying to design the choreography for this play, I really tried to focus on the emotions that were meant to be conveyed." She went on to say more about matching choreography to scripts and the difficulties that are present in such an undertaking, but I couldn't process her words anymore.





My mouth was propped open in a tiny 'o'. All the blood had rushed from my numb extremities and flooded my face. I thought I could hear my guardian angel crying, devastated by my lack of social tact.

It was then that I remembered what she had told us at the beginning of the semester. A little bit of her personal history. Especially the part where she told us about all of her work in choreography and the many plays she had choreographed. Her passion in life.

I would have been expected to know and remember those details, therefore she must have thought I'd insulted her on purpose. Knowingly ripped her passion to shreds.

I wanted to apologize but my mouth was still frozen open, ready to swallow the fiery darts that were shooting from her aura into mine. And even if I'd had the capacity to speak, I wasn't sure if I should...after all, look at what happened the last time I spoke freely.

Sometimes I think that instead of having a Guardian Angel, I'd be better off with an Anti-Stupidity Angel. She would stomp hard on my foot, pinch my arm, and smack me in the forehead.

All of these were warnings that I would have thankfully appreciated in theater class.

Friday, May 8, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday, #13

1. What a week. After a year-long battle with lung cancer, my grandma passed away on Sunday evening. She was surrounded by our entire family, being hugged and held and kissed and rubbed until the very end. I hear that she went in a very peaceful way, compared to many lung cancer deaths, and I am grateful for that at least.

But. Don't you hate cancer? Just hate it? It's greedy. Sneaky. Painful. Everywhere.

Apparently I'm experiencing the anger phase of my grief. I've been here on and off since her diagnosis last March, and I don't know that I expect this anger, this hatred of cancer, to dissipate.

She lived valiantly, bravely, joyfully, even knowing what lay ahead of her. She found time to tell each one of us how much we meant to her, to pass down stories and wisdom to her loved ones in the time she had left. I pray that if I ever have to live through a disease like she did, that I will do so with even some small measure of her grace and peace.

2. I finally had the death talk with Mia. Circumstances being what they were, it happened before I was ready, but not soon enough, I think. Knowing that my grandma was terminally ill should have given me some amount of pants-kicking, but I am a procrastinator even in the best of times. This being among the worst of times, I waited until it couldn't be put off any longer. I talked to Mia the day before Grandma died.

She was cool with it. As only a 3 year old can, she pretty much accepted it and moved on. I'm glad she and my grandma were so close. I hope she'll have some memories of her wonderful GG, but for now, she just thinks GG is on a trip to a place called Heaven. She's happy that GG isn't sick anymore, and she fully expects to go visit her someday. Me too.

3. Poor Lauren has had about double the long week of the rest of us. Or at least it seems that way. Being pulled from her regular nap and meals routine, thrust into a houseful of relatives and fast food, all while getting a new tooth have worn the girl out. It's been a relief to get back to a normal day. My happy girl was a whining mess, and I can't say that I blame her. I did my fair share of whining as well.

4. My house has also seen better days. It has been seriously neglected during the past week, waiting patiently for its family to return from GG's house. The day before the funeral, I couldn't help but think now Grandma can see what a disgrace I am as a housekeeper! I always made sure the house was extra clean when she visited; she kept a spic & span house, and I couldn't bear for her to see mine messy. So I frantically straightened on Tuesday, not having the energy to tackle the entire mess. I did manage to scrub the bathrooms, though. That makes the whole house feel cleaner, in my opinion.

5. For Mother's Day, my wish is to spend the day with my mom. Simple...but perfect. She's been working so hard taking care of my grandma for the past several months that we haven't gotten to see each other as often as usual. Which is hard for a mama's girl like me. And having just lost her own mother, I think this Mother's Day will be hard for a mama's girl like her. If I'm feeling untethered and off-balance from the loss of my grandma, I can only imagine what my mom is feeling. So I'm hoping that by just spending some extra time together, we can begin to find a new balance.

6. I'm feeling kinda shy towards my blog now. I've never taken such a long time away (OK, a week isn't that long, but's been a long week) since I began writing it, and I feel like I've sorta lost my grip on it. Once I started spilling secrets and laying out the minutiae of my life, it naturally poured from me. Now, it's been hard to open it all up again.

Several times this week I thought about writing a post, but upon wracking my brain I couldn't think of a thing that was important enough to say. Or I could only think of things that were too important to say. Quick Takes to the rescue. I can ramble and skip around and be incoherent. Because that's, like, in the rules or something.

I can feel a spring thaw coming. I'll melt and be gushing un-asked-for details before you can say TMI.

7. Seen any good movies lately?

For more Quick Takes (hopefully less morbid than these!) visit Jen at Conversion Diary. Have a nice weekend!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A Change In Routine

Please forgive the radio silence around here. My family has been gathered together, laughing and crying and praying during my grandma's last days. We said our final goodbye's last night after a difficult week...a difficult year...and knowing my family, we'll spend the next week...the next several years...doing more laughing and crying and praying.

Most of all, we'll be remembering. Celebrating a life that's worthy of much remembrance. Martha Marie. My grandma. May she rest in God's eternal peace.

Friday, May 1, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday, #12

I understand that Quick Takes are supposed to be random and unrelated, but right now I have one thing hogging my thoughts so most of these will be related. I'm such a rule breaker.

1. Justin scared away a burglar last night. OK, that makes it sound worse than it was. Here's what happened.

He had just come to bed a little before midnight and luckily, our bedroom window was cracked open for the nice night air. I was zonked, so I didn't hear the noises outside the window of someone trying to break into our shed. Justin did, and crept closer to have a look. When he saw a man in a long trench coat working on the shed door, he yelled at the man who took off running down the middle of the street. Justin went out to see where he'd gone, and yelled some more things at him.

We called the police, and that was the end. Except we could barely sleep for the rest of the night. It was lovely.

2. When my brother and I were growing up, we had the 'Mortal Kombat' video game. Do you remember that? It was awful. Bloody and violent, and we loved it. Well, he loved it, and I was drawn to it like a train wreck, watching while he and his friends played the game for hours. I couldn't actually play it; I got too scared and nervous, so I was useless. There were some big buff ninjas on the game with unrealistically huge muscles and threatening voices to match. Those voices terrified me.

I do have a point here. And it is this: Last night when Justin yelled at the would-be burglar, his voice sounded just like a Mortal Kombat ninja. He yelled GET OUTTA HERE!! with such authority and strength that if I were that burglar, I would have lost all bowel and bladder control while escaping for fear of my life.

And that's the voice that woke me out of a peaceful slumber. I was cautiously impressed - after I recovered from the fear, I mean. My husband is quiet, calm, and reasonable. He is peaceful, thoughtful, and loving. But when pushed? He is a muscled Mortal Kombat ninja, protecting his family.

Or, erm, protecting his lawn mower.

3. This wasn't that big of a deal, in my mind. I was frightened last night, but in the dark of night everything seems worse.

What worries me though, is that the almost-thief had probably been keeping an eye on us. He waited about 20 minutes after all the lights were out, presumably giving us enough time to fall asleep. He didn't know that Justin prays in the dark living room for quite a while before coming to bed. It seems likely that our actions were being monitored.

Also, we live on a dead end and our shed is not visible to anyone unless they walk up behind our house to look for it. It's really dark back there, with no street lights or house lights. This makes me think that this thief had scoped out the place in daylight, and planned what he wanted to do.
Was he here when I was home alone with the girls? Did he know when we usually go to bed? I have a tendency to be melodramatic about things like this, but now I don't feel quite so safe in my own house.

4. This whole episode has caused me to reflect on the nature of our society. We sit in our relatively unprotected houses, with our loved ones and belongings sitting out in the open. Anyone who really wants to could disrupt our lives, taking what they desire, hurting those in their way, and leaving us to sort out the mess. It's each individual human's decision to respect boundaries, and that's all we have to rely on. Law enforcement is around, but only after the fact. It's frightening.

5. Which leads me to my next point. I love my husband. I love that I feel safe with him. I love that he was ready to guard us, fierce in his protection.

6. Now for the random things. It's been raining here almost all week, making me fear for my fledgling garden. Thank goodness it's in a raised bed, or I think everything would have rotted by now from not being able to drain the water away. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a few hours of sunshine over the weekend.

7. I would love your thoughts on a post I wrote earlier this week on how to talk to your kids about death. Any experience you have had will be helpful, so if you get a minute, please leave a comment. I'm all ears.

For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary. Have a Ninja-Free weekend!