Vera Lynn at large.

Adventures in Parenting, Wifery, and other questionable pursuits.

25 January 2010

The Initial Draft of My Proven Plan for Finally Losing That Baby Weight

Many of you who have seen me lately, having noticed I've dropped a few pounds, have asked me what I'm doing differently, how I managed to lose weight during a time of year when many instead find themselves bulking up. What follows is a basic outline of the plan I've follwed up to this point. Please remember, it is important to seek the advice of your doctor before beginning this or any other weight loss program.

Let me begin by opening everyone's eyes to a harsh reality--if that baby of yours is more than a year old, it's just called "weight." Unless it really makes you feel better to call it "baby weight," which it probably does, and it might until the little darling graduates high school. My own experience with this plan resulted in the loss of baby weight I had maintained successfully since the birth of my youngest son, now aged 21 months. In my case, it was clearly still "baby weight" due to the simple fact that this is my plan.

Read on.

Step One: Come Down With Bronchitis the Day Before Thanksgiving.

Make sure it's a really severe case, too. Preferably viral. You won't be able to take in adequate amounts of oxygen and will, therefore, be too preoccupied with breathing/survival to think about food. When you do manage to eat, it will be primarily clear broth-based soups, tea, and water, anything to help thin those bronchial secretions and keep you from getting one of those devil-in-a-blue-dress Mucinex hangovers. You will be too ill to attend family celebrations on Thanksgiving day and will thus be spared the proverbial tryptophan overdose and belt-loosening that usually follow. Congratulations. You're on your way!

(Weight lost: 5-7 pounds)

Step Two: Have One of Your Children Diagnosed with a Scary Sounding (Though Ultimately Harmless) Illness.

As you finally recover from the bronchitis (approximately two weeks from its onset), take your 4-year-old to the doctor for something to dry up the cough he's had for four weeks, a cough that you had attributed to an unnamed allergy and had previously assumed was harmless. Panic when your pediatrician tells you he has pneumonia.* By "panic," I mean experience intense feelings of guilt for not suspecting he was so sick; obsess over whether or not he is running a low-grade fever at all hours of the day and night; lose sleep; become slightly manic, which will result in skipped or forgotten meals and questionable personal hygeine. You become so afraid that something will happen to your baby (regardless of his age, this child will always qualify as your "baby"), that even stress-eating is off the table, so to speak. Congratulations! This will ensure that your initial, bronchitis-induced weight loss is at the very least maintained but more likely that it is parlayed into additional pounds lost. The average length of an antibiotics course for walking pneumonia is 14 days. This strategy should deliver you safely to the doorstep of Christmas week.

(Cumulative pounds lost: 10-12)

*It is imperative that your child not become so ill that hospitalization is required. This would introduce variables such as hospital cafeteria food, homemade food delivered by well-wishers, vending machines, and those little pudding cups they keep in pediatric/maternity hospital guest fridges, none of which are included in this plan.

Step 3: Experience a Christmas Blizzard

Since by now you will have achieved at least a partially cleansed palate, Christmas, with its accompanying parties and numerous scheduled family gift grabs and buffets, has the potential to completely undo all of your hard work. A significant, nay, record-breaking blizzard can insulate you against an embarrassing backslide. Here, timing is imperative. Local media should start their doomsday prophecy almost a week in advance, giving you time to finish the bulk of your Christmas shopping (so you're not housebound on Christmas morning with disappointed, hysterical children). It is important, however, that you remain skeptical enough about the forecast so as not to plan a Christmas dinner of your own. In other words, do not buy ingredients for a Plan B holiday meal. Maintain instead that, surely, you will be able to get out to at least one of the four gatherings you're planning to attend on December 25th.
The linchpin of course, for this portion of the plan, is the snow. It should start falling in earnest on the 23rd and increase steadily in intensity until early Christmas morning, when it can decrease as long as the winds pick up. Total snow fall MUST equal at least 12" to guarantee reduced access to food. It will help if crews are slow to plow the roads and/or if plows are able to turn what were previously functional two-lane streets into narrower, one-and-a-half-car-wide snow canyons edged with ice. Conditions should only improve marginally, if at all, over the course of the next week and can, if you prefer, be coupled with sub-zero temperatures and/or windchills to help sustain weight loss through at least the New Year's holiday.
(Cumulative weight lost: 12-15 pounds)

Step 4: Your Optional Hypothetical Bonus Number

Because, due to circumstances beyond your control, you have not had your usual unencumbered access to holiday food and beverage, at this stage you qualify to subtract an Optional Hypothetical Bonus Number of your choosing. Although you didn't gain the average 7-10 pounds of extra, celebratory weight the average American gains over the holidays, I see no reason you should be cheated of subtracting it from your overall weight loss total. I suggest something tasteful, believable. Enough to encourage you but not enough to arouse suspiscion in others when they ask how much you've lost all together.
(Suggested cumulative weight lost: 15-20 pounds)

This Brings Us To January

January is Girl Scout Cookie season. You're on your own here, but keep in mind that your cookies won't arrive for a month or two. By that point you'll likely have either gained all of your weight back (or, if you prefer, your "baby weight"), or you will have lost so much that a few (dozen) boxes of Girl Scout Cookies will be but a blip on your dietetic radar. You can always freeze 'em, right? Just an FYI on that. I found out the hard way one year that although frozen solid, Girl Scout Cookies are still perfectly edible. Previously, I was under the mistaken impression that taking time to thaw out an entire box of cookies would give me a chance to think about whether or not I really wanted to eat them. All. And I had just gotten a toe-hold on that thought process when I decided to see if frozen cookies could still be easily consumed (ie: without chipping a tooth). They can be. If this occurs, your only hope is to eat so many that you become simultaneously nauseous and so hopped up on sugar that you burn right through the calories without regaining the appetite to replace them.

Good Luck!

10 September 2009

The Garage Sale Diaries II

I promised Lucas that I would let him keep the money we made from whatever toys he could bear to sell. I don't think I maybe put it quite like that, but that was the jist.

So all day he popped in and out of the garage asking, "How much money are we making, Mom?" very loudly and easily within earshot of our browsers. "Wow!" he'd say in that exuberant 4-year-old manner of his, "We are making SO much money with all these PEOPLE here!" [gestures with both arms outstretched].

As the day wound down, and we were all alone in the garage, he sidled up to my spot at the card table I use as my sale desk. "Mom," he asked, calmer now, "Can we count our money now?"
"Oh honey," I started. I couldn't help myself, "You never count your money while you're sittin' at the table..."

The Garage Sale Diaries

Today was Day 1 of my three day yard sale extravaganza, neigh, MISSION to rid our home of as much baby clutter as possible. This is the big one, people, the bouncy seats, the swing, the furniture, the Bumbo, Jumperoo, Exersaucer...if it's not nailed down and reeks of baby, it's going.

Ron threatened to cry when the papasan swing sold (it hasn't yet), and I filled a tote with clothes I'm just not ready to part with yet ("Oooh, I remember when I found that little dog t-shirt at Baby Gap and the girl had to call THREE different stores to find one in his size...").

Baby steps to get rid of the baby stuff.

26 September 2008

In Which I Attempt to Play Well With Others

Lucas started preschool this fall. Nothing drastic, just a 3-year-old program for a couple of hours, two days a week. We thought it would be good for him, socially and academically, and good for us, in a termporary thinning-the-herd kind of way. Three kids minus one kid equals two kids, if only for a short time.

In spite of my initial anxiety that he might have some trouble adjusting, Lucas has performed like a rock star. He loves his teachers. He loves the activities. He loves playing with kids who aren't his brothers. Lucas is doing great.
I, on the other hand, am struggling. Just a little. Everyday when I go to pick him up, I dutifully check his little mailbox cubby for any notes to go home. The first week, I am greeted with an order sheet for the Cookie Dough Fundraiser. I understand the need for fundraising, I do. I did my time as a Girl Scout hauling cookie order forms, peanut order forms, and God knows what else door to door across the neighborhood. But I was older than Lucas and able to do some of the work myself. Granted, I still conned Dad into soliciting his co-workers (my dad, incidentally, should have been an honorary Scout--the man sold some serious cookies), but I shouldered some of the burden. Lucas, however, is THREE, so I doubt he's up for going door to door. So this Cookie Dough Order Form, with "L U C A S" penned neatly in the upper right corner, is really a ruse, a kind if slightly passive-aggressive way of letting me know, in this time of economic crisis, when homes are being foreclosed upon in record numbers and the country's largest financial institutions are failing, that I am expected to solicit friends, loved ones, and possibly total strangers to purchase $10 vats of cookie dough so that my son's preschool can purchase a large musical instrument for their outdoor nature area. Fantastic.

This is the first hint that I might suck at preschool. The form lies on the kitchen counter for two weeks before I convince my mother to order 3. Ron and I order 2. There is an embarassing number of blank lines left on the page. I have visions of West Omaha Uber-Moms sashaying into school with order forms so copious they actually require staples. "Hope this is okay," they say with affected, slightly giddy nonchalance, "We had too many to fit on one page, so I just stapled them together." I couldn't even bring myself to ask my next door neighbor-slash-confindante-slash-fellow mom-in-the-bunker, Steph. I just couldn't. I know someday I'll end up buying useless random crap from her son, Caden, because that's what good friends/neighbors do, but right now, Steph only has the one child. I have THREE, so, in my mind at least, buying from the first to come through the ranks sets a dangerous precedent. I imagine neighbors peering through their blinds as I approach year after year (after year). "Oh God!" panic in their collective voice. "It's HER! AGAIN!" they say, "Oh God!" If they buy cookie dough in the Fall, what will they be expected to purchase this winter? In the Spring? What??? And what will happen when all three of my children are selling things at the same time?! What then?! This is like my own little circle of Hell right here.

So the day our C00kie Dough Fundraiser Forms are due back, I sort of slide into preschool unnoticed. I mean Lucas does. I mean I just sort of walk him in and point him toward a table activity without drawing undue attention. My blue form is folded neatly in on itself so as to avoid the potential public humiliation of only having two lines filled out. Three, I guess, if you count the pre-printed SAMPLE line. I approach one of the teachers. "Hi, Miss Rubi," I say, adhering to that bizarre preschool more whereby you refer to all teachers by their Preschool Teacher Names rather than real-world titles, "Do we just give these to you?"
"Yep," Miss Rubi smiles, glancing briefly at the sheet in my hand, "That's fine."
"Great," I say cheerily, handing it over. There is a visible indentation where my sweaty grip once fell. The paper is still folded. "Have a good morning," I turn quickly and exit before she has time to examine our order. Gad. I am pathetic.
I reason with myself on the van ride home. At least I got it in on time, I think. That was something. But I am a grown-up, and I suppose that's the general expectation. I just don't want them to think poorly of Lucas because his mom is a fuck-up. I mean in addition to our less-than-stellar performance in the fundraising arena, I also missed Snack-Time Sign-Up for September. By the time I found the sheet hanging on one of the many bulletin boards, all the Tuesday/Thursday spots were taken, so now I check the board first thing each time, waiting for October to appear so that I can put us down for some super spectacular and conciliatory, if obligatory, treats.
Preschool is hard.

Next Up: Why I Fear the Class Directory.

30 December 2007


Now that the truly worrisome elements of our Festive Holiday Disease have passed, we have moved on to more amusing stuff. Amusing to me, at least. This morning upon waking, the Toddler sneezed 26 times in a row. Literally. 26 times. He just kept sneezing and sneezing, stifling, then sneezing. I was in awe and for a moment had flashbacks to the young girl who appeared on the Today Show having had hiccups for a number of weeks. Were we next? But 26 was as many consecutive outbursts as the boy had in him, I guess. Oh well.

26 December 2007

Holiday Hospital Tour '07

We made it through Christmas Day, but just barely. After a long day of faking his way thorugh presents and naps and coughing and gagging, at 6 o'clock last night we finally decided that Lucas should probably go to the E/R at Children's Hospital. The Toddler was wearing his "Trouble is My Middle Name" jammies and a black stocking cap when Ron wrapped him in his new Lightning McQueen blanket and carried him down to the car. The kid didn't even flinch. He had been on the couch with us for half an hour trying to stop coughing, trying to get a decent breath. We had tried all the usual suspects: cool air, steam, warm juice. But nothing worked. I had read that croup allegedly peaks between days 2 and 3, and here we were at the end of day 5 with no real improvement, and over a long holiday weekend, no less, when going to the pediatrician hadn't even been an option. He was diagnosed via the Nurseline.

So they went. And I stayed here with Alex, who was sleeping, waiting for word. And I waited. And I felt very alone. Even though I knew it was probably only croup, this is the first time we have had to deal with serious coughs or truly high fevers, and I was exhausted. And once I sat down in the quiet I was overwhelmed by our living room full of toys that weren't being played with. It was just so quiet in the house. I knew Alex needed his sleep, but it took all I had not to go wake him up just so I would have company, so there would be kid noise again. The peace and quiet was unnerving.
Eventually, I got ahold of a couple of friends by phone, the kind of friends who double (when necessary) as interventionists just long enough to talk you off the ledge du jour. Because on Christmas night, when your first born is on his way to the hospital without you, and your other baby is sleeping in another room, and you are 21 weeks pregnant...well, like I said, it's lonely and it's overwhelming and it's too, too quiet.

This morning, though, at first, Lucas looks better. He should, considering he's been hooked up to Albuterol and has a steroid to boot. For awhile he is on the floor in the next room happily playing with his new Lego trains. And then he starts to fade again. And it's time for more of the oral steroid, which he immediately throws up all over himself, my husband, and the surrounding area. Then after a quick bath, it's time for a breathing treatment--ten minutes of whimpering inside his clear plastic facemask with purple dragon details. As he cries, the steam puffs out through "nostrils" on either side of the mask. My sad, unwilling little dragon.

As for me, I will be taking down the Christmas tree and decorations today. I know this should probably end with a neatly drawn vignette about rediscovering the true meaning of Christmas, about remembering what's truly important in life. And yes, while there's some of that involved, there is also a great deal of disappointment. Three years in a row. But I'm trying to let it go. What can you do but let it go?

24 December 2007

No Place Like Home for the Holidays

It is Christmas Eve and we are under quarantine. More or less, I mean. Ron has gone out to get a few last minute items (including lunch). Lucas is miserable with full-blown croup--103+ fever, chills, coughing so hard he vomits, and so on. Alex seems to mostly have a cold with a little touch of croup thrown in. His fever is finally down today, though, so that's been a bright note. We have been really hard to find bright notes the last couple of days.

So tomorrow is Christmas. I have to keep reminding myself, as yet again it doesn't really feel like it. I had held visions of sugar plums and reading special books for the little boys all gathered around the glowing Christmas tree (it is Alex's first Christmas after all). Instead we all huddled on chairs in the master bathroom while a hot shower spray steamed up the room. It was too soggy for books. And we tried to get Lucas excited about Santa, but he just slumped back against Ron's chest and stared off.
Last year Ron & I spent Christmas night proper at Bergan Mercy Hospital trying to stop my contractions with Alex. It worked, but it still took some of the shine off the holiday.
Here's hoping.

At any rate, we will not be going to my parents' house in the morning yet again. And we will not be going to Ron's family gathering either. We will be here--wiping noses, taking temps, doling out the Tylenol drops, holding sick boys in our laps.
Merry Christmas.

22 December 2007

What the Holidays Mean to Me

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas at our house. And it's not just the tree, the lights, the gifts waiting to be wrapped. It's mostly, well, the annual spread of Holiday Cheer, and by that I primarily mean, "Disease."

For the third year in a row, we have been blessed with a Festive Holiday Virus. Last year and the year before it was the Norovirus (or perhaps Rotovirus, those crazy twins are so hard to tell apart). But for 2007 we have received something new. It appears at this point to be a cold variation, which started with a fever and cough, then blossomed to include a runny nose, watery eyes, and the occasional sneeze. Alex was the first to fall on Thursday, followed closely, of course, by the Toddler late Friday evening. I am still waiting my turn, but that doesn't mean I've been missing out on all the Holiday Fun--I spent last night on couch duty with Alex (all the more celebratory at 21 weeks pregnant).

As for other Holiday preparations...I have not yet begun to wrap gifts. And I still need to finish the framing projects I'm working on for both sets of parents. And I need to make some brilliant kind of salad for a family gathering tomorrow. And pick up some fragrant bath something-or-others for Ron's Aunt Letha.
But first things first, I suppose. Lucas and I made pancakes this morning. [Let it be noted that powerlessness is not my strong suit, so I am all about feeding a cold as well as a fever.] And I am working diligently to maintain a saline/suction/temp-taking/Tylenol schedule with the boys. In addition, I have managed to put on a bra, brush my teeth, get dressed, and refill our bird feeders--all before noon!

I am considering that next year, perhaps, we will move into some sort of sealed bio-dome for the entire month of December in an attempt to avoid perpetuating our latest (contagious) Holiday Tradition. Please call if you know anyone with such a timeshare to rent. While the bio-dome is preferable, we would also consider a portable plastic bubble (or bubbles). Thanks!

02 November 2007

Back Again

Wow I'm bad. Sorry. I'm not even going to bother with the promises about regular forthcoming blog entries. Think I've probably cried wolf one too many times for anyone to buy that bridge at this point anyway. Instead, I'll do my best to bring the general story up to date.

Pregnant. Me. Still. 14 weeks tomorrow, and let me tell you, it's drag. ging. I was once again taken out by morning sickness as I was with Alex. No actual throwing groceries, but that debilitating nausea and 24/7 general malaise. I still feel like shit in the evenings but otherwise seem to be improving gradually.

A couple of weeks ago we had a little scare when I blew out a uterine vein. That was fun. Very gorey. But all seems well at the moment, and the baby didn't even seem to notice that little incident.
So that's the pregnancy up to this point. We'll answer the boy/girl question sometime mid-December, and until then...well, I'm just taking it one day at a time. One very loud, busy, nauseous day at a time.

As for the boys, they don't get the fact that I'm growing another little sibling, only (in my opinion) that Mommy's not as much fun as she used to be. But they're coping. Alex has been pulling up and cruising furniture since roughly 7 1/2 months (he'll be 10 months on the 18th) and is on the verge of taking his first wobbly steps. Maybe by Thanksgiving. And Lucas, well, he's 2 you know. He likes to help with chores (laundry, loading & unloading the dishwasher, raking leaves, dusting, and so on) and is obsessed with trains and race cars. And sitting on Alex. And taking toys away from Alex and occasionally bashing him in the skull with a sippy cup.

So that's us. I am still here, still pregnant, still chasing around two little boys and trying to find time to write.

10 September 2007

Oops, She Did It A--Oh Wait, No She Didn't

I know I'm a little late to the necktie party, but still I feel compelled to weigh-in on last night's VMA fiasco. And I'm not just talking about the opening performance.

First off, though, Britney. Oh, Britney, Britney. Brit-ney. For one thing, I'm going to tell myself that she did not choose her own costume. That I'm willing to blame on a stylist, although it certainly made me feel better about my own postpartum bod. I mean, egad. Sure she looked good for having had two children recently in close succession, but with the sharks circling someone should have known that little black number was only gonna be blood in the water. She should have just said No, as it were. What is it they teach with Stranger Danger? "Just say, 'No,' go and tell?"

And as far as her actual "performance" is concerned...I felt for her. She looked scared. She looked like she knew the number was hopelessly lame. She looked like she wanted her 2001 snake back so she could crawl into its hole & die. [Note: Okay, so I think pythons actually spend most of their time in trees, but that doesn't exactly work to make my point, so I'm bending the truth. Please, if you're an albino python out there reading this, don't sue me for gross misrepresentation.]

Going in I was almost rooting for her. No, I WAS rooting for her. I wanted her to kick ass so that everyone would shut the hell up. It would have been a brilliant, Lee Press-On finger raised at the media and all other naysayers. "Can you hear this Bitches? Well lemme turn it UP!" But obviously it didn't work out that way. The whole thing was a set up. Just give the girl enough rope.

As for the rest of the show...Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I was really looking forward to seeing groups like Fall-Out Boy and the Foo Fighters churn out some ass-kicking, Best-of caliber performances. I was not looking forward to watching them perform in my friend's basement, which is how the "Suite" concept came off. One can only look up Dave Grohl's nose so many times before even I begin to question my affection. The claustrophobic camera angles and poor acoustics made it almost painful (not to mention the drunk chick in every front row who was clearly aware of the fact that she was on camera). And God forbid they would have aired an entire song at any given time. It was like, "Here's Fall-Out boy...[riff riff riff]...and now back to you!"

While it's true that Britney pretty much blew, at least she can count among her miserable company members of MTV's creative and production teams. Better luck next year, guys. You too, Brit.

27 August 2007

Third Time's A Charm

If you had asked me 6 weeks ago if I was going to have another baby, I would have told you--in no uncertain terms--absolutely not. No way. No how. Nuh-uh. But then something happened: Alex hit the magical 6-month mark.

It's the same thing that happened after Lucas was born. One day I'm be-boppin' & scattin' along, completely content with my solitary son, and the next I'm telling Ron I think I should get off the pill so we can start trying again. And we did actually "try" with Alex, which was a joke. For 3 months I bought those stupid ovulation tests, which are basically target practice for when you take the "real" test. I never could catch a hormone spike with those stupid things. So we tried, which was annoying. If you have ever actually "tried" to get pregnant in a keeping-track-of-ovulation kind of way, you know what I mean. And with no results by early April that year, I told Ron that we were going to abstain until further notice so as not to conceive a Christmas baby.

He was fine with that, so fine, because his birthday is December 19th, and as he will be happy to tell you, it sucked when he was a kid. His siblings always hit the proverbial birthday goldmine, while little Ronnie got the shaft--one present to cover both occasions. So for that reason and the fact that I absolutely did not want to spend the Holidays on bed rest, we abstained. Except for one teensy little indiscretion the night before Audri & I left for Minneapolis. Except for that one time. And wouldn't you know...I spent Christmas home alone on the couch, lying with a pillow between my knees & timing contractions while Ron took the boys to celebrate in Glenwood. Happy Effing Holidays.

So this time when we decided to go for number three I told Ron, "And we're not going to actually try, like I'm not going to track anything. We can just have fun and see what happens." You'd think I would have learned something by now, wouldn't you? Like I'm sure as soon as those words were out of my mouth, people in the back of the theater were covering their eyes in horror & shouting, "Nooooo...Don't go in there!" Yeah, well, after you.

Off the pill I came. And since I didn't even have a standard "green week," I thought, "Oh great, I'm not even ovulating. Fan-tastic." I am 35, after all, and at 35 (according to one report) only 55% of women will successfully conceive after a full year of trying. So I waited. And waited. And I thought, "I wish I'd get my freakin' period so I'd at least know that I'm functional." Not that that has anything to do with whether or not you're actually ovulating. But I digress.

So...still waiting. Then last Thursday when I got home from work, just for S&G (and because if you're a woman and have ever gotten into the addictive cycle of peeing on sticks "just to see if maybe") I grabbed a First Response out of the linen closet ("linen and pee stick closet" more specifically) and headed to the bathroom.

"Ron?!" I hollered. Then walking out into the living room, eyes fixed to the tell-tale stick, "Ro-o-on!" Where the hell was he? "Where are you?!" I yelled.
"In the kitchen?" from the next room. Oh.
"I think we're freaking pregnant," I said rounding the corner.
"What?!" So this is what it takes to get his attention away from the computer monitor.
"Seriously," I handed him the stick, "How many lines do you see?"
He looked down at the decisive lines I had thrust in front of him. "We're pregnant," he said, "Holy crap."

So we're shocked of course, but only sort of. God forbid I would be off the pill longer than two weeks before getting pregnant. Wouldn't want to be normal or anything. Now we're just waiting for my first doctor's appointment on September 13th to find out the actual due date, though we're guessing the last week of April or first week of May.

Let the games begin!

23 August 2007

We Are, How You Say...

...pregnant again! Just found out this morning.
Details to follow, but to answer immediate questions:

Yes, on purpose.

No, not trying for a girl.

About 15 months apart.

If all goes well I will end up with 3 children at or below the age of 34 months.
And you think I'm crazy now?

16 August 2007

Mars & Venus on the Couch

Tonight we're watching a repeat of "Scrubs" when a new Sprint commercial comes on. Perhaps you've seen it. Accelerated grey film with neon-like doodles that appear and change along with the voiceover. Toward the beginning is a line that goes something like, "When you were young, what did you dream about as you fell asleep?"

At which point my husband, sitting next to me on the couch with feet propped on the coffee table, says as though on cue, "Boobs."


"Boobs. Didn't you see the boobs just then?"

"Oh my God," I'm laughing now, "WHAT?!"

"Those were boobs."

"Ron, seriously. Oh my God, those were not boobs!"

"Those were subliminal, neon boobs!"

I get up and walk into the kitchen to get a drink. "You have lost your shit," I say.

"They were boobs," he says, rising as I sink back into my seat. Five minutes later he is still not back. I mute the television. The distinctive clatter of a computer keyboard. I know exactly what he's doing, which triggers in me an eye roll reminiscent of the finest slot machines.

"Ron," I get up and walk into the kitchen where he is hunched over my keyboard, gazing pie-eyed up at the monitor, "seriously, you are not--"

"See?!" he interrupts, "They are BOOBS!" He has of course, being my husband, Googled the new Sprint commercial, played it, and frozen the screen on the moment in question.

"Fine Dear," I concede with only a hint of sarcasm, "they are boobs. Hairy, blinking boobs," referring to their apparent eyelashes and deceptively eye-like motion. Not to mention that they are floating among similarly drawn stars, as though suggesting nighttime and sleep. Unless he thinks the stars are fireworks someone has shot off to celebrate the appearance of magical, disembodied breasts.

"You can't tell me they didn't do that on purpose," he says.

"Sure I can." Oh, Testoste-Ron. You dear, sweet Man.

I Heart Motherhood

It is insane to me how much I love being a mom (and I don't think that's the just the Zoloft talking, although I'm sure it doesn't hurt). No I really just feel like I've hit my stride with the boys, and considering I was never even sure that I wanted kids to begin with, it kind of seems like a miracle.

As with most things in my life (save, perhaps, this blog [thought I should point that out before someone else did]), I go for full-contact motherhood. No half-assed crap up in here. Unless you count the bottle-feeding thing. But I digress. If you've ever wondered who on Earth takes the time to read all of those crazy parenting books, um, you're lookin' at her. Among other things, the bookshelf above my desk contains the following titles: The Happiest Baby on te Block, The Happiest Toddler on the Block, Common Sense Parenting of Toddlers and Preschoolers, The Baby Book, The American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child: Birth to Age 5, Playskool Toddler's Busy Play Book, and Unplugged Play: 710 Games and Activities for Ages 12 Months to 10 Years. Not to suggest that I've read every single page of every single book, but let's just say we're acquainted.

09 August 2007


My house smells like meat.

Not because I'm cooking or anything. It just smells like meat. This has been going on for about two weeks, and it's about to kill me. At first I thought I might just be pregnant and experiencing the accompanying hypersensitive nose, but after peeing on numerous sticks (pregnancy tests, I mean), I eliminated that possibility. Ron claims he doesn't smell anything, although he was quick to suggest it might be the cats. "Guess we'll have to get rid of them," he quipped. He says this a lot. Anyway, as someone who has had cats for going-on eleven years, I can assure you (and Ron) that they are not the source or this particular odor. Unless they've tricked out a barbie in the basement, which is possible (but not likely).

First we changed the air filter hoping that had something to do with it, but it didn't help. Then, I bought a Glade Plug-Ins Scented Oil Fan (Fresh Linen, to be specific), which only made the place smell like "Flowered meat," as my spouse so delicately put it (funny, since he claims he can't smell anything). Let me tell you, though, Ron knows from meat. When he lived in Bettendorf, he had a fair to partly sketchy apartment (at idyllic "Chateau Knoll") that always smelled like meat. It was like the guy downstairs ran his food dehydrator 24/7 & gave out free jerky with the crack. Anyway, now our house smells like eau de Chateau with no downstairs neighbor to blame it on.

So every time I enter the house it's like I get rolled by Slim Jim & his wing man (Jack Link). On the off chance that anyone else has experienced a similar, disembodied meat scent phenomenon, please advise as to how I might convince it to go into the light. I'm desperate. And we're running low on A-1.

02 August 2007

Poll Dancing

I don't know about you all, but lately my caller ID has been absolutely lit up with political and special interest pollsters. Bo-ring. I actually got a call the other day from the National Right To Life Association. Of course, as this was the highlight of my day, I couldn't help but answer:
"Hello, Miss Lee?"
"Hi!" I said, enthusiastically, "Is this the National Right To Life Association?"
"Yes, it is," said the nice lady on the other end.
"Yeaaah," I paused, "You're gonna want to take me OFF your call list."
They must have gotten my name during my temporary stint as a Registered Republican during Nebraska's last gubernatorial primary, when I switched parties to vote for Governor Dave (and against Coach Tom). Anyway, needless to say I will not be contributing money to, nor will I be supporting in any way/shape/form, candidates who find favor in the National Right To Life Association. As if.

29 July 2007

Birth Write

Okay, folks, I'm trying to change my ways. In addition to taking extended vacations from Vera Lynn, I am also notoriously wretched at giving up the rest of the story when I leave you hanging. Case in point: Alex's misshapen head. I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry. I will do better. Granted, I'm still not going to wrap that one up just yet, but I will take a minute to expound upon my sado-masochistic labor experience. Oooh, it hurts so good...

I have to admit, Libby handled herself with a certain amount of grace.

By the time I got to the hospital that morning, she was already hooked up to the Pitocin. Libby, her birth coach Cheryl, and her husband John (Ron's brother) were playing Uno. You remember Uno, right? You draw until you can match either the color or number, you get Skipped, Draw Two, go Wild, etcetera. They had combined 2 or 3 decks to make this monstrous, obnoxiously thick stack of cards that never seemed to get shuffled properly. Or I am just shitty at Uno and a sore loser besides.

So as morning became afternoon, we watched the clock. And time. Crept. Slowly. By.
I looked through the magazines I had brought along. I made and re-made my grocery list. I ate cups of Kozy Shack pudding from the visitors' fridge in the next room. I got my ass kicked repeatedly at Uno. Then finally, a little after six in the evening, things started to get interesting. The contractions were actually starting to hurt enough that Libby didn't feel like playing cards (I think they had ramped up her Pitocin by this point, since she had progressed only about 1/2 a centimeter all day). Since she wanted to go without painkillers, I suggested we go for a walk. "You should try to get up and move around," I said, "That's what helps get the baby down into position."
No dice.
So I got the big blue birthing ball out of the closet and sat down on it just past the foot of her bed. "Do you want to try this?" I bounced, "It's rather entertaining." I grabbed onto the end of her bed and took a few exaggerated hops. "Needs a handle, though," I added.
Still nothing from the bed.
"Come ooon, Libby," I tried again, "Maybe it would help you pass the time?" I shrugged innocently up at her and smiled.

She didn't go for the birthing ball, but that folksy little maneuver did get her to agree to a brief walk down the hall. Once we returned to the room her night nurse came in and basically told Libby in no uncertain terms that it was wonderful that she wanted to have a natural birth, but in order for that to actually happen she was going to have to get much more active (read: You're gonna have to get off your ass, Sister). It was roughly at this point that Libby opted for pain meds. A choice for which we were all grateful.

Next thing we knew, she was ready to push, and at 10:50 p.m. (after 3 little sets of 3 shoves), Hayden Charles Lee emerged. And I got to watch the whole thing, too. That was cool. I didn't watch when Lucas was born because I decided that I didn't need to see something that size coming out of my body. To be honest, I wasn't completely sure I needed to see something that size coming out of ANYONE's body, but Libby reminded me that I'd never have one "that way" again, so I decided what the hell, right? You only get so many chances in life to watch something like that. Actually, it was cute. Libby actually said, "I'm not sure what your comfort level is, but you're welcome to stay." To which my internal dialogue responded something like, She's not sure what my comfort level is? Has she met me?

So anyway, Baby Hayden has arrived. He was 1/2 an ounce heavier than Alexander was at birth and exactly the same length. I can't believe my little guy was ever so tiny. So delicate and curled into himself. So still. Already I can't remember those days. And in a way I'm grateful. And in a way I'm sad. And in a way, I'm considering having another one.

22 July 2007


En route to the hospital I got behind a white Chevy pickup truck with the following window decals:

My truck has balls.
(So I checked, and yes, there were the requisite faux-nads dangling just below the hitch.)


My other toy has tits.

Neat, I thought. Good for you. And then I noticed his vanity plate:


17 July 2007

Slap & Tickle

My sister-in-law, Libby, is scheduled to be induced this morning, and I am going along for the ride. Partly to support her (yeah, yeah), and partly to welcome my new nephew, whom they plan to name "Hayden," but mostly (mostly) for my own perverse pleasure. See, I really want to watch someone else's labor experience. Of course I haven't told Libby this, because there's just no gentle way to say, "I'm coming to the hospital because I want to see what's going to happen to you." That just seems mean. And Christmas would probably be awkward.

But I am so curious that I can't help myself. She has this insane idea that she's going to go sans epidural, which I of course think is insane. To me, wanting to "fully experience" a "natural" childbirth makes about as much sense as the desire to "fully experience" a "natural" appendectomy. Not to mention the fact that I was present for a brief period during Libby's early labor with her first child, and from the onset she was writhing around moaning & carrying on...I've got 20 bucks that says, "Epidural by noon."

So to summarize--Libby/labor, Me/vaguely disturbing S&M-like fascination with birth process.
I'll let you know how it goes...