Thursday, April 30, 2009

One of Life's Absurdities

I order contacts from an online site and have for about 15 years now. They used to not even require a perscription, but that changed probably six or seven years ago. So, basically I enter in my doctor information, they verify that the perscription is current and then ship out my contacts.

So, I ordered new contacts two weeks ago and still hadn't received them. When I called to check today they told me the order had been canceled because my perscription expired in February. Since my husband changed jobs in December we haven't really utilized all aspects of our health insurance. Tonight I am looking up our coverage and here is what I discovered.

Our insurance covers no aspect of the eye exam, yet they will cover a portion of the contacts or glasses received as a result of that exam and those contacts and glasses are also FSA eligible. However, I can't get those contacts or glasses until I have an exam that they don't cover. It seems weird to me that they won't cover the exam but they'll cover the product of that exam. If anything it seems they'd cover a portion of the exam but none of the contacts or lenses. Why not just cover all or nothing?

One more of life's mysteries.

She's the Messy One

My son has caught whatever stomach bug my daughter had this past weekend. The poor guy has been throwing up for two days now and with great frequency. Last night was so bad I couldn't even keep up with the clean up. So, after I finally got him to sleep at 1 am I started trying to get the vomit out of the carpet, couch, off the floor, and began loads of laundry. Needless to say, our house smelled like death and looked even worse this morning as the vomiting continued.

My daughter has dance class every Thursday afternoon and so thankfully my mom came to pick her up today to take her. While she was gone and my son was sleeping I went to town disinfecting the house. I cleaned and vacuumed the carpets, scrubbed the bathrooms, stripped the beds of all sheets, scoured the kitchen, mopped the floors, and washed every ounce of clothing, towels, and bedding used over the past 48 hours. The house was pristine.

When my son woke up we got out some of the toys and played with them. Granted, he wasn't really feeling well so we didn't do much but everything we played with he put away. When my daughter arrived back home a few hours later it took only minutes for the entire downstairs to look like a tornado had blown through. Her shoes came off first and were tossed in the middle of the living room. Her dance bag was flung on the couch, her water bottle on the other couch. Then she started getting out all her little gadgets that she plays with and soon they occupied the end tables, the little cubbies in the entertainment center, and a portion of my dining room table.

That is when it hit me. It was her. All this time my husband and I have had this misconception that our son is the messy one. That the reason I spend every single night picking up is because he is a messy boy. We were wrong. It's our daughter. By the time my husband got home forty-five minutes later you could hardly tell that I had slaved away the better part of my day beautifying the downstairs of our house.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Oink Oink

I gotta tell you, I am not one to be an alarmist, but this whole swine flu outbreak scares me. It's frightening how fast something can spread all over the world. The US had its first reported death and my initial fear is that this is only the beginning. Arizona now has its first confirmed case and honestly that makes me a little uneasy.

We're not out and about a lot, but we do go to the Children's Museum regularly, the gym child watch area, the library, not to mention stores and restaurants. Truly, you can catch something just about anywhere you go, so I'm not really one to live in seclusion but I have to be honest and say I have been hesitant to go anywhere that is not absolutely necessary in the past few days.

I say this next part with some hesitancy because I don't want it taken the wrong way. However, we live in Arizona. Not only are we close in proximity to Mexico but there are many who come from Mexico regularly to visit family in town. With the outbreak starting in Mexico and seeming to be most severe there it is unsettling that these travelers could be exposing the rest of us to a potentially deadly virus.

It concerns me even more because our son has severe respiratory problems when he is ill. A normal cold virus in most of us becomes pneumonia with him. Something that may put us in bed for a few days puts him in the hospital. It makes me nervous.

Like I said, I don't want to be an alarmist but on the other hand I don't want to foolishly expose my family. I guess for now we will just be careful and stock up on hand sanitizer.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Children Pay for the Sins of Their Parents

My grandmother lives in an older, established neighborhood. Most of her neighbors have been her neighbors for 50+ years and some of her neighbors are children or grandchildren of the original owners. When I was a kid I loved going to visit, which was often, because it seemed like there was always so much going on and everyone was always in and out of everyone’s house. In the past few years the neighborhood has “gone down hill” a bit. There is some crime, drugs, violence and a bit more of it than say, in the area in which we live. I still go down there a couple of times each week to visit with her and so that she can spend time with my kids.

One of my grandmother’s neighbors is a single mom raising a 15 and 9 year old, fathered by two different men, neither of whom she had ever married. This woman, we’ll call her Lucy, has never worked (unless you count a short stint at the strip joint), wastes whatever money she can scrounge up on drugs and cigarettes, doesn’t make her children go to school, allows the fifteen year old to leave the state with her 19 year old boyfriend, and in general is pretty neglectful of her children. Both men send her child support, which she then promptly uses on herself, primarily for the aforementioned drugs and cigs. My grandmother has felt this need to look after her because she was friends with her mother, the original owner of the house, and feels it is her “Christian duty” to look after her.

The problem is that Lucy “borrows” money from my grandmother all the time and never repays her. The bigger problem is that the money was spent, not on food or necessities, but on drugs, alcohol, and the like. My grandmother finally stopped loaning her money a few months ago when we (her family) convinced her she was using it for drugs and not to feed her children, like she claimed. My grandmother has tried to support her in finding a job, getting insurance for her children, and signing up for federal assistance.

Unfortunately for the children, Lucy’s door was an ever-revolving one with a steady stream of men in and out. The 15-year-old was always running off with some boy and the 9-year-old was left at home half the time alone, through the night. Each time I was over at my grandmother’s the children would be roaming the neighborhood street with Lucy coming and going with a variety of friends and men. Police, CPS, and truancy officers were regular visitors to her home and she has been in and out of court for a variety of offenses, although to my knowledge, never in jail.

About four months ago, her brother, the legal owner of the house she was living in, had her evicted because she quit paying rent. She was using the child support to pay rent and one of the fathers stopped sending money. She moved in with a new boyfriend, whom within a month or two dumped her and told her she had to be out by the end of April. For the past week she has been going from friend to friend staying a night here and there. She was not looking for a job or a place to live and was trying to get family members to take her kids. She had no plan, which was nothing new, and ignored most of my grandmother’s attempts to help her find a place to stay.

This brings us to last night. Apparently she checked into a hotel with her 9-year-old daughter and overdosed and died. Her daughter tried to wake her this morning and couldn’t. My grandmother called to tell me. She was very upset so we went down to see her this afternoon. No one knows at this point if the overdose was intentional or not. Her older daughter is convinced that her mother intentionally killed herself. Her nine year old says she was popping pills last night and drinking alcohol. Either way the result is the same.

Here’s the thing. I am a big believer in second, even third chances. I believe that there are those who are very unfortunate or due to some unforeseeable circumstances need help and assistance to get back on their feet. However, I also believe you can’t help those who won’t help themselves and Lucy falls into that latter category. She was given opportunity after opportunity by a variety of people; especially my grandmother and she wasted every single ounce of help she was given. It is amazing to me how many people gave so much yet she gave nothing to provide a better life for her children. There has to be a point where, despite receiving help, you pull yourself up by your bootstraps and make the commitment to change, to do what is best for your children. That never happened. My grandma would spend hours with her talking to her about the importance of finding a job to be able to provide food for her children. She repeatedly told her that she couldn’t keep moving in with boyfriend after boyfriend, that the children needed a home and stability. Nothing took. She came over to my grandmother’s just a few days ago while I was over with the kids. She was obviously drugged out on something as she could barely focus or string a sentence together. She knew she had days left until she had to be out for good and she said she couldn’t find a place to rent because no one would rent to someone without a job, yet she said she hadn’t even begun to look for a job. It was hard to sit and listen to that because I would take any menial job I could get if it meant putting a roof over my children’s heads.

Sadly, my fist thought after I heard she was dead was that maybe now her daughters actually stood a chance at a better, healthier life. Maybe they wouldn’t end up making the same mistakes as their mother, as the fifteen-year-old is currently doing. Maybe being out of that environment would give them the shot they needed to rise above their upbringing. I have no doubt those girls are crushed. I think that losing a mother, even a neglectful one, has got to be devastating. However, I can’t help but wonder if in time they won’t be better off. As a mother it makes me furious and incredibly sad to think of a child finding her mother dead. What a traumatic thing to have to live with. I just think it is so selfish and irresponsible to participate in that type of lifestyle at all, let alone in front of your child. That thought alone bothers me tremendously and makes me so sad for those two girls.

My grandmother has this overwhelming sense of guilt, thinking that if she had given her more money or allowed her to move in things would be different. I think the only difference would have been that it would have been my grandma who would have found her dead in her house and frankly, at eighty years old, it probably would have killed her. While this is an undoubtedly sad situation on all accounts I don’t think there was anything anyone else could have done. People bent over backwards to help her and support her and she chose to do nothing to help herself.

Tonight when I was tucking my children in I thought about how there is nothing in the world I wouldn’t do for them. There isn’t a thing I wouldn’t sacrifice for them or their future. I would do whatever I had to do in order to support them and provide for them and make sure that they were taken care of. I’d do anything. ANYTHING! I also thought that all children deserve that. All children deserve someone that fiercely loyal and committed to their success, happiness, and well being and it is sad that not all children have that. It really angers me that it is the children who end up suffering due to the mistakes, sometimes tragic, that their parents make.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

I'll Tell Ya Mine; You Tell Me Yours

This weekend was pretty good. Very busy and not truly relaxing, but as a whole it was nice. My parents are both in town so we went up to their house on Friday evening for a family bbq. It was fun and the kids were really excited to see their grandpa (grandma too....they just don't see my dad as often as they see my mom). My grandmother came over as did one of my brothers, my sister, brother in law, and their four children.

Saturday my husband had to go into the office for a couple of hours so the kids and I played at home, went on a long walk picking flowers, and pretty much just relaxed. Saturday afternoon I went and got a pedicure. I took my daughter with and they were really great with her. They let her soak her feet and then painted and decorated her toenails and fingernails. She loved it so this may become a ritual...although I only get a pedicure about once a year, if that. We ran a bunch of "necessary evil"l errands like to get toothpaste, deodorant, and floss. Nothing really fun.

The big "deal" of the weekend was supposed to be Sunday. My grandmother wanted to take me, my daughter, my mom, my sister, and her two daughters out to brunch at this very fancy establishment here in town. It has been planned for months. This morning my daughter wakes up and looks horrible. She says she doesn't feel well so I spend the morning cuddling with her and giving her some sympathy. Right before I was going to go get us ready to leave she starts vomiting everywhere...all over me, herself, the blankets she was wrapped in, our carpet, our couch and cushions. EVERYWHERE. VIOLENT. PROJECTILE. VOMITING. I cleaned her up, cleaned the house up, cleaned myself up and needless to say left my daughter home with my husband, which was disappointing. She really wanted to come and I really wanted her there. By the time I got home a few hours later she seemed a bit better, so hopefully it is nothing serious (like the swine flu..I say that only partly kidding) and something she'll recover from quickly.

So, this evening we are taking it easy. Like I said, it was a busy but nice weekend. Tell me what was on your agenda for the weekend? Anyone reading a good book right now?

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Lottery

The other day I went to the mall in an attempt to take my kids to the movies. We were meeting my grandmother and got there a little before she did. While we were waiting I put some money into one of those machines where you drop the claw, try to grab a toy, and then bring it back to the chute to collect. I NEVER win anything out of them, but I figured it was worth the try. First attempt: score! A huge water, glitter ball. Second attempt for another? No luck. I then went to a different machine to try to get one of those huge, spongy balls. Score. Two for three ain't bad.

Fourth attempt I end up grabbing two stuffed animals and bringing them both back for collection. I tried for one more stuffed animal, but failed. Seriously, in all my life I don't think combined I have ever won four prizes from these games. I was feeling pretty good.

We then tried to see the movie, which when trying to purchase tickets, we were told that the particular showing we wanted to see was a private viewing for a school. I pointed out that the time was listed in both the paper and online and what a major inconvenience it was for us to come back (not entirely true, but once you have kids stoked to see a movie it is hard to explain that they can't see it). Anyway, I walked away with 4 movie passes for any movies we want to see.

In all seriousness this much good fortune just does not happen to us, me specifically, very often. And when it does it is rarely on the same day...or even during the same year for that matter. Since we couldn't see the movie we went to order lunch. They ended up giving us an extra drink, which I pointed out, but gave to us anyway. Nothing major but my grandmother was thrilled to have an extra one to take home for later.

So, I was feeling pretty good. I called my husband and told him. He was pretty surprised since usually I am calling to tell him how I lost my cell phone, or had to wait forever behind some idiot somewhere, or was tripped by an old man in a wheelchair. Things like that. He suggested I go buy some lottery tickets after my daughter's dance class. So, that was the plan....until my son fell on his head and a trip to the ER took precedent over a trip to my local convenient store.

Now, I am pretty convinced my string of good luck is over and am hesitant to waste my money on lottery tickets. I am thinking that yesterday was the day and I missed my chance. :) Bummer.

Why I Don't Own a Gun

We had a bit of drama last night when our son decided to take a header off a bench and land on a concrete slab head first. It was horrible, awful, sickening. (I swear this kid is going to kill me with worry. He is so active and rough that I want to just wrap him in bubble wrap and never let him do anything or go anywhere.) He may or may not have lost consciousness en route to the hospital. He may have just been sleeping, but since I couldn't easily rouse him we don't really know.

The good news is that after keeping vigil by his bedside all night because I was afraid he'd die (a bit of an exaggeration, but I was concerned nonetheless) he appears to be fine, minus the bruised head and swollen left side of his face down to his eye. The bad news is that our health care system is at the very least incompetent but more likely negligent.

I won't get into the entire story here but we waited hours with a toddler with a head injury. When we finally spoke with the House Supervisor he acknowledged that due to the severity of the injury and our son's age he should have been fast tracked, meaning he should have been in and out within 45 minutes. When I asked why this wasn't done he said, and I quote, "Well, I am not entirely sure because I wasn't here when you came in, but the nurse looked out through the window (a glass partition separating the triage area from the lobby) and saw your son walking around and determined he was behaving appropriately." Hello, Natasha Richardson! Apparently, based on that highly medical assessment she determined it was not that urgent that my son see a doctor. This must be some new method because I am fairly certain that 1)nurses can't make medical diagnosis' and 2)making a medical decision without examing the patient has to be a violation of some sort.

Aside from the total lack of care there was not a single person in the hospital that could/would answer a single question we had. Namely, we wanted to know how much longer we were going to have to wait because if it was going to be hours we were going to chance it and take him to a different hospital. Secondly we wanted to know if there would be any financial consequences if we took our son to a different hospital, one specifally with a pediatric department (I took him to this one because it was the closest and at that time I didn't know if he was conscious or not). Their response repeatedly was, "We can't really tell you to stay, we can't tell you to leave, we can't tell you if you'll be billed if you leave, we can't tell you if you leave if your insurance will be billed or if they end up being billed if they'll pay. Basically, we are under such strict federal guidelines we can't tell you anything about anything." I really find that hard to believe especially as I am standing there holding the Patient's Bill of Rights, every one of which they violated last night. My husband's response, which I thought was a good point, was "So, you stand by your nurse who made a medical assessment of my son without ever examining him simply by watching him through a window and then based on that assessment determinted urgent medical care wasn't needed, yet you can't tell me whether we should keep him here or take him elsewhere and if we leave if you will bill us?" His response was, "Yeah, we can't really tell you anything pertaining to any of those things."

The bottom line is that I am thankful our son seems to be okay and as of this morning I have filed complaints with the Arizona Department of Health Services, The Joint Commission of Healthcare Organizations, the Hospital CEO, Hospital Human Resources, and the House Supervisor's superior. I figure at the very least we are owed an apology and personally I would like to see the dozen or so employees we dealt with last night lose their jobs. They should absolutely not be anywhere near sick or injured people. They messed with the wrong person; the last person you ever want to piss off is a mother with a sick or injured child who feels her child isn't getting even the minimum standard of care.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Reading By Candlelight

We put the kids to bed a little before 8 tonight, hoping they'd sleep well since I am taking both to the movies in the morning. I then went downstairs and started picking up, did a little writing, and watched a bit of TV. I came upstairs around 10:15 pm and saw that my daughter's door was closed (she always sleeps with it open) and the light was shining through underneath the door frame. I opened the door and found my daughter "reading" a bazillion books to her dozens of dolls.

Me: Hey, what are you doing? You're supposed to be asleep?
Her: I wasn't really tired, so I thought I'd read a bit.
Me: Sweetheart you really need to get to bed. We have a busy day tomorrow.
Her: Well, I have to finish reading to all my babies. They really like it when I read to them.

Then I watched her finish "reading" the stories, tuck them all in, and then go to sleep. If she doesn't sleep past 7 am tomorrow there is no hope!

Sick and Tired of the Negativity

I used to watch CNN almost daily. That greatly lessened when I started having children. Lately, though, since going to the gym and having 27 different TVs on, all broadcasting the latest news updates I have caught more than my fair share of CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the like. It has become abundantly clear based on what I see daily on TV and just in my own personal experience that it is pointless to discuss politics. One side is never going to change the other side’s mind. Democrats and Republicans will never agree on much and each will continue to think the other side is wrong, ignorant, short sighted and the host of other stereotypes and impressions spoon fed by the media and shoveled down by the masses.

So, why is our society obsessed with constantly arguing and discussing politics? I have been guilty of it plenty of times as well. I guess I just don’t see the point anymore. Politics has become so polarized that regardless of how sound the logic of a Democrat is a Republican will never acknowledge that even if it makes them appear ignorant in the process and vice versa. It frankly is exhausting to constantly have to defend one’s reasons for believing a certain way and honestly is hovering dangerously outside the boundaries of social norms. I don’t understand why everything has to be a political battle or why every event has to be littered with political undertones

The constant back and forth tit for tat just seems like a waste of time, energy, and breath. People spend more time trying to convince others they are right. Why? You believe you are right. Probably most of the people you insulate yourself with think you are right and those that don’t will never think you are right anyway. So, for whose benefit are you preaching, arguing, lecturing, vilifying, etc.? I just don’t get it. I have become so fed up with the constant bickering by both parties and the people that support those parties that I really can hardly stand it.

There wasn’t much I agreed with Bush on, but I didn’t feel the need to talk about it all the time. And despite my overall displeasure with his presidency I can also acknowledge that he did some things right and well. So, I guess I find it interesting that those who criticized the Bush bashers so much are the first ones and the most vocal ones to be relentlessly Obama bashing right out of the gate, not even acknowledging when he does something right (like his handling of the Somali pirate situation). I find it an extreme position to declare that you are wholly opposed to everything he has done, will do, or might even consider doing. Obviously if you are a Republican you are not going to be a fan of Obama. Everyone knows that. And I mean everyone. Limbaugh has spoken. So, what is the point of screaming it from your rooftops? Those who are like-minded obviously agree with you and those who voted for Obama and even some of those who didn’t are going to disagree. You’re not going to convince anyone otherwise. So, again I ask, what is the point? More and more it is starting to look like there is none. I’m seriously contemplating canceling my cable service, canceling my Internet subscription, and running the treadmill with my eyes closed just to get a break from the constant negativity that has so permeated American culture. Can you tell I am fed up?

Monday, April 20, 2009


One of my husband's friends loaned him a bootlegged copy of "Taken" starring Liam Neeson. The plot centers around his daughter, who upon arriving in Paris, is promptly kidnapped and sold into white slavery by Albanian thugs. It is then Neeson's mission to find his daughter within 96 hours.

It was a great movie. However, movies that center around parents losing their kids, either temporarily or permanently are hard for me to watch. I can't help but envision our daughter in the place of the kidnapped girl. I managed to bite off all my nails even though I had a pretty good idea of how it would end.

While these themes make for good, suspenseful, emotional movies they are becoming harder and harder for me to watch. How about you? What movies are difficult or uncomfortable for you to watch?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Daughter: The Defender

There are instances in every parent's life when words don't ever really adequately express the pride we feel for our children. This weekend was one of those times.

Our daughter is super considerate of others. She doesn't tease or make fun of other kids. She's really concerned about how others feel and if they are happy and comfortable. Unfortunately, that same courtesy doesn't often extend to her younger brother. She varies between the extreme of demonstrating all the above characteristics and then picking on him relentlessly. However, after this weekend I never have to worry about how she truly feels about her bro.

We attended a Healthy Kids Day Event at our local YMCA. There were games and activities and booths with, you guessed it, healthy snacks. We were in line at one of the booths and a girl about 3 or 4 years of age was trying to push her way through to reach her mom (who was ahead of me in line) and in the process shoved our son down. He was hysterical, more because his feelings were hurt than he really was. The child's parents immediately scolded their daughter, told her to apologize, and then they apologized to us. It was not a big deal and frankly we were impressed that the other parents responded so thoroughly. (Many don't). End of issue.

As we start walking away we realized our daughter is not behind us. I look back and there she is, standing cross armed, saying something to the little front of the little girl's parents,who were also listening and appeared as if they were trying not to smile. I asked the other mother what she was doing and she replied (incredibly impressed) "She's defending him."

Apparently, she had gone back and told the little girl, "You cannot be pushing my brother. That is not nice. You must apologize!"

Friday, April 17, 2009

Where Does the Time Go?

There are days when I look at my kids and can hardly believe that the time has gone by so quickly. I still envision my daughter as a baby in so many ways, despite the fact that she will be four in 3 months, but going on 16. She's smart, precocious, caring, sensitive, inquisitive...and the list goes on. Sometimes I look at her and think, "Where did this amazing child come from." It's a bit sad though because I know the days of her childhood are limited; she's only getting older and while I love each new stage I often find myself missing the days since passed.

This same phenomenon has begun happening with my son. All of a sudden he's talking so much more, understands everything, is such a big helper, and very clearly not a little baby despite the fact that in many ways he still is. He'll cuddle like a baby, he's sensitive, and he still very much needs and wants his mommy at all times...and I love that.

I love watching as my daughter and son gain their independence, but with that comes the sad realization that some day they won't need or rely on me. I guess that is the ultimate goal. I was watching them tonight at my nephew's birthday party. Here they were playing games, using their imaginations, and oblivious to anything or anyone else around them. In that moment I flashed ahead to their school years, their teenage years, their young adult years trying to envision what they will be like. I have no doubt about the type of solid people they will become but I just wish I could slow the time down and have them remain my babies for just a little bit longer.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

To Indulge or Not to Indulge

I was one of those rare creatures that HATED chocolate. I didn't like the taste at all and I never understood the compulsion others had to satisfy their craving by consuming vast amounts. All of that changed in October of 2004. For it was in that month that I became pregnant. Within months I was craving chocolate cake with an intensity that I didn't know I possessed any more. I began my search for the perfect cake and eventually settled on a huge, deliciously rich and moist cake from Costco that I would send my husband out to buy on a weekly basis. It is amazing to think that during that pregnancy I only gained 18 pounds considering I probably ate that amount in cake each week. This strong urge to consume chocolate in all forms lasted the duration of the pregnancy, but for the most part disappeared once I gave birth. Every once in a while that craving would return, which I'd satisfy, and then it'd be months before I even thought of chocolate again.

Then August of 2006 hit and I was pregnant again. Almost immediately the craving for chocolate returned. Only this time, in addition to cake, I craved chocolate ice cream and candy bars too. It was nine glorious months of guilt-free indulgence. Then I gave birth and the cravings did not go away.

So here I am almost two years later and every once in a while get these intense cravings. I try to eat healthy and work out as I'm still trying to lose a little more weight. In my mind I figure by caving I am only undoing all the hard work I put in at the gym or off-setting all the healthy choices I had made with food. But man I am dying. Every once in a while I give in and I'm okay with that as long as it remains the exception and does not become the rule because but if I gave in each time I had a craving I'd be over 200 pounds.

So, how do you deal with cravings that become consuming at times?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Setting: Living room couch, reading books to my daughter. She asks me to read this one particular book that I don't enjoy AT ALL.

Me: (After just completing aforementioned hated book) You know I don't really like that book too much.

Her: I do (shocked and incredulous)

Me: Well, that's fine. You can like it.

Her: But you don't like it?

Me: No, it's not one of my favorites.

Her: (with surprising force and conviction and with an intensity and determination that frankly quite frightened me) NO! You will like that book. Okay, mommy. You like it.

Me: Whatever you say.

Decisions, Doubts, and Second-Guessing

Our son has had respiratory issues since he was 8 months old. Every time he gets sick my husband and I wait and see if the wheezing begins before starting the breathing treatments and praying they help. Often times they don't so back to the doctor we go. There's always this dilema though of whether or not should we take him. Is he sick enough? Should we wait another day or two? What can the doctor really do anyway if it's viral? We're not those people that run to the doctor with every cough and sneeze, but sometimes we have been those people who have waited too long, kicking ourselves for not taking him in sooner. This appears to be one of those times.

Both kids have been sick for almost six weeks now. It started with both of them having a cold that lasted for two weeks. The runny nose stayed, the coughing got worse, and the sneezing increased. I started suspecting allergies but the allergy meds didn't do a thing to relieve any of the symptoms. While our daughter seemed to start improving, our son did not so after week 3 we called the doctor. She saw him, said while he was wheezing a bit she thought it was more a result of his asthma so recommended we continue giving him albuterol treatments. She said his ears were a little pink but not infected and she and I both are on the conservative side when it comes to medication so she prescribed nothing.

Well, two more weeks passed and neither one was better. Last week I debated daily whether I should call the doctor and each time I convinced myself that he may be better tomorrow, so I never called. After taking a turn for the worse on Monday night I called the doctor yesterday, they could hear him hacking in the background and so we made an appointment for first thing this morning. Well, I am glad I did because last night the poor guy was coughing so much that he started coughing up tons of dark brown phlegm, which then led to vomitting, I think as a result of so much phlegm being coughed up. It was gross and I am still trying to get the smell out of the carpet, couch, and any other crevice the vomit managed to find itself stuck in.

Long story short we saw the doctor, she wanted chest x-rays, and we walked away with the diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia, double ear infections, sinusitis, and an exterior lip infection (lip got so chapped, it split and is now swollen and infected).

So, now I feel horrible. The poor guy has been miserable for almost two months and while he wasn't as bad the first three weeks, had I trusted my gut and taken him in last week he could be on day 7 of a 10 day course of antibiotics and on his way to feeling better. Instead, he is miserable and on day one of the antibiotic treatment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Feeling The Love

After working out I went to pick up the kids from the Child Watch area. My one year old (well, soon to be two) son reached me first, so I scooped him up into my arms. He gave me a huge hug, wrapping his arms tightly around my neck, then scrunched up his nose and said, "Ooh, mama, you stink."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Chatty Cathy

My daughter talks all the time. I'm so used to it and frankly most of it is so cute that it doesn't really phase me. However, today I was trying to do a zillion things at once and she was following me around just talking. About what, I don't even know. I said, "Sweetheart, mommy needs you to stop talking just for a couple of minutes until I can finish taking care of all this stuff."

She looks at me and says, "Mom, I talk. It's just what I do. So, I am just going to keep talking, okay?"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

No Grand Gesture Needed

I'm not really a grand gesture type of person. What I mean is that I don't expect grand gestures from my family or friends and specifically my husband to honor certain significant events. In all honesty, receiving a card is usually adequate. Rarely, is that all I end up with but I think my husband would agree that I'm pretty easy to please in the "gift" arena for birthdays, holidays, and anniversaries.

So, yesterday driving back from Phoenix I made the comment to my husband that this would be the first Easter in my entire life that I wouldn't be getting an Easter basket. You see my parents have always given us, even as adults, an Easter basket. That is until my parents moved out of state a few months ago and the first round of holidays and birthdays celebrated without them is beginning to circulate. I said this to my husband, not because I was really that disappointed or bothered by it or that I expected anything from him-I'm a 31 year old woman after all--, but more as a statement of fact; an observation and an acknowledgment of a tradition ending or possibly just interrupted. Topic changed and I didn't think anymore about it.

Today I woke up to a beautiful bouquet of flowers and an Easter basket with a few goodies. Aside from being incredibly grateful I was shocked. This from the man who practically forgot my 30th birthday. Don't get me wrong, my husband is a thoughtful and generous guy, but this was touching because I didn't even have to hint deliberately. It was something that caught me completely off-guard because I wasn't at all expecting it or even hoping for it. He simply said, "I didn't want you to have to have an Easter without an Easter basket."

I guess it's gestures like these, seemingly little but incredibly thoughtful, that I appreciate the most.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Places to Go, People to See

I always look forward to the weekends because my husband is usually home and it's a good chance for us all to do something together or for me to actually get to do something or go somewhere alone. This weekend offers a combination of both and I really couldn't be more excited.

Today my husband is leaving work at noon, being Good Friday and all, and coming straight home. Once he arrives I will be leaving as fast as my legs can carry me to spend the rest of the afternoon having some "me" time. First, I am going to get my hair washed, cut, styled, and possibly highlighted. This may not seem like a big deal, but I am usually the kind of person who pops into Supercuts, gets the 15 buck haircut, and calls it a day. And while I used to get highlights fairly regularly I haven't colored my hair in almost six years. Today, I figured, I'd treat myself to the full experience and branch out and try something new. I'll let you know how it goes. Then I am heading to the try to find a pair of the ever elusive "perfect khaki shorts". I have been looking for about 8 months and have found a "problem" with and returned every single pair I have purchased during that time. Today, I hope, the hunt will end. If I have enough time I may meet a friend for a drink.

Tomorrow, we are heading up to Phoenix to watch Disney on Ice. Our children have never been and I haven't been in probably 20 years, so I am excited and to say the kids are excited is a vast understatement. We contemplated spending the night in Phoenix but with Easter being Sunday we are heading back after the show.

On Sunday we will attend church and have the kids hunt eggs three times: once at our house, once at church, and once at my grandmother's, who we will be visiting in the afternoon. All in all, it should be a busy but fun weekend. So, what is on your agenda for the weekend? Do you celebrate Easter? If so, any special traditions?

Note to Self

The next time I plan on letting an almost 2 year old help with the dying of Easter eggs maybe I should not buy the most complicated, labor intensive, multi-stepped set on the market. Maybe I should stick with a pack that solely consists of dunking the eggs in colored water.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Why Kids Crack Me Up

I noticed at dance class last week that in addition to my daughter’s tap and ballet shoes that were both more than a size too small, her leotard was looking mighty snug as well. So, we swapped tap shoes with my niece who was wearing ones that were too big and then I went out and bought my daughter new ballet shoes (nothing like having to buy all new gear when there is only two months left of class and she'll probably grow again before classes resume in August) and a couple of new leotards. We got home and she tried the new leotard on.

Me: Does it fit okay.
Her: Yeah, it fits. See?
Me: Yep, it does. Does it feel okay? Is it comfortable?
Her: Yeah, it’s comfortable. It feels much better in my crotch.
Me: Excellent

** To clarify, her old leotard was giving her a wedgie each time I put it on because she has grown about 3 inches since class started in August. So, she was constantly picking the leotard out of sensitive places. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

No Red Meat Update

About two weeks ago my husband and I decided to kick red meat for a bit. There was no real reason other than just kind of being sick of it. Tomorrow marks the two week point and in that time we have consumed no red meat. We have consumed chicken twice and ground turkey once; other than that most meals have been primarily vegetarian. This leads me to make a few observations about how it is going.

1. I don't miss red meat at all. More importantly, my husband doesn't miss it and he was a huge red meat eater (Loves him some steaks). That doesn't mean I won't at some point, but for now I have had no cravings.
2. In two weeks I have lost 6 1/2 pounds. In all fairness I have also been exercising 5-6 times a week. However, I was doing that prior to this little experiment and my weight loss was not that rapid while exercising, watching what I was eating, but still consuming red meat.
3. For the first 2 or 3 days I felt a bit sluggish. However, in the days since I actually feel like I have more energy and I don't feel so "heavy", if that makes sense.
4. My daughter has never eaten meat and so I have always had to make a vegetarian meal for her if we were going to eat meat for dinner. Since doing this, meal preparations have been a lot easier. (I still had to make alternatives for the nights we consumed chicken and ground turkey).
5 My grocery bill has gone down significantly. I never really realized how much buying hamburger, steaks, and roasts added to our grocery bill. I usually shop once a week to buy fresh produce, milk, eggs, and ingredients needed for a week's worth of dinners. For the past two weeks we have spent less each time by simply eliminating meat, while still buying more fruits and vegetables.

I can't say that we will forever forgo red meat. Like I said previously, I go through phases with food. However, for us, for now it seems to be working and I actually feel healthier. I acknowledge that much of that could be entirely mental, but either way I feel good.

** My husband requested that I mention he has lost 5 pounds in these past two weeks. And I will mention that he does not work out.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Family Tree

My mom has been working on tracing our family roots for the past couple of years. Not long ago she started doing the same with my husband's family. (We have a complicated and fairly estranged relationship with them and they have been unwilling to give us any information about their origins). She has managed to trace both sides of his family back to the 1600's, which is pretty amazing and very interesting. He has learned things about his ancestors that he never knew and which his family still may not know. He was raised believing he was German and on his mom's side he is. While too long and complicated to get into here they were actually Germans living in Russia and migrated to the US to escape religious persecution. We recently learned his father's side is Irish. His great-great grandfather was born and raised there, so it's a pretty recent connection. He had no idea. He also had no idea that part of his father's side were Canadian who later became US citizens. Needless to say, we have discovered quite a bit and it's a fascinating history from which he hails.

This week we were contacted by a great-great-great granddaughter of the sister of my husband's great-great-great grandmother (still with me?). She, too, has been working on her family tree and discovered the connection and was actually able to fill in many of the blanks about my husband's great-great-great grandmother.

It's just really strange to have these connections to people that can be traced so far back. I guess it puts into perspective how truly connected and intertwined all of our lives are to each other. I mean who would have thought that hundreds of years later, descendants of Irish and Canadian immigrants would cross paths in America? It boggles the mind.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Truth About Feminism

The world is filled with all types of women with all types of different interests. There are those who live and breathe a career, there are those who dream of staying home and raising a family, there are those who do both, and those who do something in between. The point is I, probably much like you, had a choice and I had a choice because of what women did before me. I had a choice because other women fought to be able to give future generations of women that choice. For that I can truly only be thankful.

Many people connote the term "feminist" with something negative. As if someone who is a feminist couldn't possibly still raise a family. As if a feminist can't still believe in a traditional family dynamic. As if a feminist is something to be shunned and frowned upon. When I hear the term "feminist" I think of many things and sure some of the things that sometimes come to mind are the stereotypes. However, the first thing I think about is brave, strong, incredible women making huge sacrifices so that their daughters and granddaughters would get to choose whether or not they wanted to work. They fought so that if a woman wanted to stay home, she could choose to do so and not be told to do so. Really, words can't adequately express how thankful I am that this is the case.

When I look at my daughter I see a future full of possibility. I see her having the choice of whether she wants to get married, have children, work full-time or part-time, or even from home. I see her having the choice and making the sacrifice to be a stay-at-home mom as I chose to do (the key word being "chose"). The possibilities are endless and regardless of what she chooses I will be proud because it is a choice she made, not one someone made for her. So, I guess if that makes me a feminist I'll proudly accept the compliment. I hope my daughter is one too.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Pearl Jam's Ten and Other Stuff

The summer before my freshman year of high school I was invited by the high school basketball coach to try out for a summer league team. I ended up making the Varsity, which meant that I was significantly younger than most of my teammates. Coming from the small, parochial school that I did I had not been introduced to what is now some of my favorite music.

That summer, and actually for the next year into the following summer, we travelled all over playing in different tournaments, which meant we spent a lot of time in vans listening to a host of artists, popping one tape out of the deck (yes, a tape deck) and replacing it with the next. The album that probably got the most play was Pearl Jam's Ten, rivaled by Nirvana' Nevermind. I fell in love with it instantly. I listened to it so much that I wore it out and had to buy a new one. When CD's were the latest rage, Ten, was one of the first purchases I made.

Needless to say when I heard Pearl Jam was coming out with a remastered version of Ten I was very excited. I got to listen to it tonight(and subsequently ordered it) and was duly impressed. Somewhere during the first song all these memories from those days 17 years ago came flashing back. I remember listening to it on my walkman, standing in an elevator, in Vegas with a few of my teammates. I remember sitting with a few of my teammates listening to "Jeremy" over and over again in our hotel room alternating its play with Nirvana's album. I remembered rooming, in California, with our most "wild" of teammates who every morning would blast "Money" by Pink Floyd as she showered and got dressed. To this day I cannot hear the "Cha-Ching" of the intro without thinking of her....and fondly so. I remembered listening to Hunger Strike by Temple of the Dog over and over again, and being introduced to Phish by the eldest member of our team, someone I looked up to and respected greatly. Seriously sweet memories of some of my all-time favorite people.

It's amazing how just hearing songs can take you back to a different time, a different place, and provoke all these memories of a time since passed. I loved those days, love those people, and love the music I love today because of many of them. I simply cannot wait to listen to Ten again so many years later.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Few Tunes For the Weekend

Criminal Minds, Cold Case, Private Practice, and Grey's Anatomy are a few of my favorite shows. One of the reasons they are amongst my favorite is because they always play great music by artists that, prior to their music being played on these shows, aren't well known. Lately I have heard four songs that I really can't get enough of.

This song is by Gomez entitled Little Pieces and I love the beginning.

This song is Rise Up by Ben Lee.

is Maybe Maybe by Nico Stai.

And this is Hodges with My Side of The Story

Hope you enjoy. Have a terrific weekend!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Can't I Just Go Naked?

Before my husband was my husband and we used to shop for clothes together I always thought my husband's guidelines for picking out clothes were a little weird. Before he would even consider trying them on he'd go up and rub the material between his fingers. Then he'd walk away with it either in hand and head for the dressing room or an emphatic no and move on. Apparently, since he was a small child he had a thing about the material and how it felt against his skin. I can understand that, although I found his constant fondling of clothes a bit odd.

In all truth though, I have come to realize that I am the strange one when it comes to picking out, trying on, purchasing, and then actually wearing clothes. You see, I have this obsessive one find clothes (shoes included) that when on basically feel as if they are not. I hate clothes that are too tight or snug, too short, too long or loose, cap sleeved, and the list goes on. As far as shoes go...they need to feel as if they are not encapsulating my foot. My biggest problem is with tennis shoes, which I need to exercise.

Which brings me to my latest obsession. I bought a pair of tennis shoes almost three years ago that I have been using with regularity. I love them. They are perfectly broken in, they don't rub any part of my foot, and I tie them just enough to keep them on without putting any pressure across the top part of my feet. Well, I have worn them into the ground with all this exercising and so I set out to find the perfect shoe. No small feat (pun intended). I found a pair of New Balance that I loved, but were $140. In the realm of things that is not bad, but I hate to spend money, especially on myself. So, I kept looking. I found two pairs of New Balance that I really liked and bought them both (for a grand total of 80 bucks). But now the break in begins and it is driving me nuts. I have to work out in them in order to break them in but all I really want to do is put on my old, falling apart, certainly not supportive tennis shoes from the days of yore. I know once they are broken in I will love them. In the meantime I am going crazy.

Next find a pair or two of gym shorts that are the perfect length (mid-thigh), the right type of mesh (ones that don't include the ultra-static prone lining), and a reasonable price.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Baby's First Haircut

My son has, or I should say had, shaggy, curly hair. I loved it. However, it seemed to stop growing. So, my husband and I decided we would have it all cut off in the hopes it would grow back faster, longer, and curlier (fingers crossed).

So, today he got his first haircut. He did a great job, sat in the chair, followed the hairdresser's directions, and came away looking like a little man. He is very proud of his haircut as he walks around saying, "Like daddy."

As she was using the trimmers I was furiously picking up every curly lock that fell to the ground. I didn't realize just how much hair he really had because it never really looked like he had much (I think because it is so blonde).

Anyway, I am pleased, he loves it and as I type this we are awaiting my husband's arrival for the final seal of approval.