Thursday, December 30, 2010

Family Day in the Snow

Tucson has turned beautifully cold these past few days with highs in the 40's. It is rather uncharacteristic and so we have taken many opportunities to go outside and freeze our butts off. I guess when "cold" is a novelty it is more appreciated than when it is a regular part of life. I may not think it to be so awesome if I were living in it constantly.

Anyway, this morning my son and I were running some errands when he could see the snow on the mountains. He asked if we could go and see the snow. I figured, why not? We went home, grabbed my husband, and two daughters and hit the road. About 40 minutes later we were in a good 6-8 inches of snow and about 30 degree weather. It was amazing. We got the kiddos bundled up and sent them off. (There's my hunky husband and daughter throwing snowballs onto the car so we could drive back into town with snow on our hood).Our 5.5 year old daughter LOVED it. She was out there forever, running, jumping, sliding, falling in the snow; making snowballs and throwing them all over the place. She was red faced, cold, and happy. She'd fare well in my master plan to relocate our family to Boston at some point. :)

Our 3.5 year old son lasted about 20 minutes before he realized he was getting wet and then freaked out. He started crying hysterically about how his pants and gloves were wet and needed to be changed immediately. He then took off for the car in search of dry clothes. Guess he wouldn't last long in Bean Town.
Our almost 4 month old daughter spent most of her time with me in the car but I did take her out for a few minutes to commemorate the occasion with a photo. She has on two layers of clothing, a jacket, a blanket, an Elmer Fudd hat, a fleece hood, and then a jacket hood. That was a lot of work for about 5 minutes outside.
We stayed for an hour or so and then headed back to town for frozen yogurt...oh, the irony.








Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas in Pictures

This is what my living room looked like at 10 pm tonight. And these are just the presents from family members for our kids. The mess is killing me but I told myself, and the kids, that they could keep all toys out for 1 week. It's going to be the longest week of my life.Baby number 3 is 3.5 months old and started rolling over 3 days before Christmas. She rolled herself across the room to get to the presents. And then tried to EAT them.
Child number one opening her Disney Princess Deluxe Pack. Loves it.
Child number two discovering his Razor scooter.

We had a really wonderful Christmas and it is magical to see the joy of Christmas through the eyes of my children. They were so excited and thankful. Hope your Christmas was splendid.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Up and Down, All Around

I'm sure my son has the attention span of a typical 3 year old boy. But I'll be damned if it is not killing me these days. He goes from one activity to the next, usually demanding my immediate involvement in a matter of minutes. By the time I get settled into one he's moved on to the next. This would not be a problem if it were just the two of us at home. But I have a 3 month old baby constantly in my arms, which requires lugging her around as well as keeping her happy as we move about the house every three minutes and twenty-seven seconds.

Our days goes something like, "Mommy, come upstairs to my room and play superheroes with me." I go upstairs, sit down start playing superheroes, and the next thing I know he's done. "Mommy, can you turn on the click start game for me?" Get that turned on, sit down to play with the baby and he's done. "Mommy, can you turn on Batman for me. I want to watch Batman." Turn on Batman. Son watches four minutes of it. "Mommy, I want to ride my bike outside." It takes me fifteen minutes to put his shoes on, open the garage, get his bike, set up my chair in the driveway so I can watch him. Just as all this gets complete, he rides his bike for five minutes and he's done with that too. It takes me another fifteen to put everything away. We go back inside, "Mommy, can you get out the crayons and some paper. I'm going to make a picture." I get out the art supplies, he scribbles for thirty seconds, and then asks if we can go play trucks upstairs.

Are you seeing the pattern?

How I haven't lost more weight is beyond me.

Does this go on in your house too?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Neighborly

We bought our house when our neighborhood was being built. We were actually the third house up and saw the rest of the homes go up around us. Two years after moving in we had our first child and two more have followed since. Our oldest is now five and until a few months ago we could have sworn that no other kids lived in our neighborhood.

Then our daughter went off to school, our local public school. Each afternoon after school let out our streets and sidewalks became filled with kids riding bikes, scooters, playing catch, etc. Then, out for a walk one day, our daughter saw a classmate and they were beyond thrilled to learn they lived so close to each other. In the week since kids have come out of the woodwork. One of our daughter's best friends lives just down the road from us on our same street. Ironically, they have lived there almost as long as we have and yet we have never run into each other. Now, we are out almost everyday after school watching our children play as well as the weekends. It's actually really nice. It seems strange though that after 7 years we are finally starting to meet more of our neighbors, especially those with children.

Some of my best childhood memories are those that involve playing with the neighborhood children. We rode bikes, played ball in the street, went in and out of each other's homes as if they were our own. Today people are much more cautious and stand offish and I can understand much of that, but it sure would be nice to have a little bit more of that true neighborly and community feeling and we are starting to have some of that. It's nice.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Three Blessings

These three blessings are saving my life right now. They bring me immeasurable joy and give me such a sense of purpose, a reason to get up every morning. Things in general are a bit of a clusterfuck right now. One aspect of my life that couldn't be better is the relationships I have with each of my children.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Snowbirds are Arriving En Masse

Every year around this time the snowbirds (aka: old people from colder parts of the country) begin arriving in Tucson. And every year around this time the locals, myself included, get cranky. It's not that I don't like old people. I have an ancient grandmother whom I love very much. It's not even that I really mind that they've arrived. Heck, we can use all the help to our economy that we can get.

It's their driving that gets me all hot and bothered. They are s l o w.

Today after picking up my daughter from school we headed down to visit the aforementioned ancient grandmother. Generally speaking it takes 20 minutes to arrive. Today it took 30. I swear every car I got behind or next to was a person over the age of 70 in a car with an out of state license plate, like Wisconsin or Michigan or Idaho or South Dakota.

The road rage I was suppressing was immense. You can tell my children ride with me all the time as my three year old, sensing my frustration, says, "There are stupid idiots on this road." Couldn't have said it better myself, kiddo!

It is for this reason, among a few others, that I don't own a firearm.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I Am Tired

Life with 3 kids 5 and under sure is interesting. Our "newborn" is now 3 weeks old and I am back in the groove of "life as usual." I am taking and picking up our daughter from school, cleaning, cooking meals, doing laundry, giving baths, paying bills, making and keeping appointments, and the host of other tasks that consume my daily life. Sometimes it's a bit hard and it definitely requires that I start preparing much earlier for when I want to leave my house, but all in all it's been a relatively smooth transition from 2 kids to 3. Definitely easier in many regards than the transition from 1 kids to 2.

I'm still primarily trying to stay home during the day as I don't like to take new babies out in public too much (germ phobia). That and the fact that my boobs are constantly leaking and more times than not I forget to put the "pads" in my bra. Before I know it I'm driving down the road and the front of my shirt is soaked. My daughter loves when I pick her up from school like that, trust me. I've had to start carrying the baby close to my chest instead of pushing her in a stroller to hide the leakage.

Both older kids have adjusted so well to their new sister. They adore her! There is no jealousy or impatience or regression of behavior. Really, I expected some type of acting out from one or both of them (especially since our daughter such a rough time when our son was born), but it just isn't there. And trust me, I'm thankful for that.

All that being said, I. AM. TIRED! The baby sleeps a good portion of the day and then is up all night, which means I am up all day and then all night. I think I've been getting somewhere in the ball park of 2-4 hours a night for the past 3 weeks. I'm not sure how much longer I can last like this, but I'm not thinking too much longer. My eyes burn, my head hurts, I nod off if I sit too long in one place (not really a problem since I don't ever get to really sit). All three of my kids were "backwards" for the first couple months of life and both of my older kids didn't sleep through the night until they were each 3 years old, so it could be a while. I saw one picture of myself where I seriously looked dead and I asked my husband how he could even stand to talk to me looking like that. He assured me I looked fine. I knew he was lying, but again. Thankful!

Anyway, life is busy but good. Any ideas on the whole sleeping issue?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Family of Five


Last week I gave birth to child number 3. All went smoothly and I made sure to get up and walking after the c-section so that we could get discharged after 2 days (My hospital experience was not a pleasant one, but that's another post for another time). We've been home for a week now and so far the transition has been pretty seamless. The kids adore their new sister and have been a huge help to me. My husband took two weeks off to help as I recover. I'm sure things will be a bit hectic for a while once he goes back to work but for now I am just trying to rest, relax, and enjoy the extra help.
To say that I am smitten with our new daughter is a gross understatement. There are no words to adequately express the feelings when a new child is born. I love her beyond measure and feel so blessed to be her mother. She's nursing well and is pretty mellow as a whole. She has her days and nights mixed up so I'm pretty sleep-deprived but at least when she does sleep she sleeps well....something neither of our other kids did especially well until they were each close to 3 years of age.
Needless to say I am being kept busy, but it's a wonderful kind of busy!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mono

Two weeks ago our son fell suddenly and incredibly ill. He ran a very high fever and the lymph nodes in his neck, armpits, and groin swelled to unbelievable proportions....proportions that literally deformed his face. His eyes swelled almost completely shut and his face was so swollen he did look like he had some type of physical deformation. It was very scary. During his exam the doctors discovered his spleen was about 3 inches below where it should be, exposing it and making it very dangerous if he were to fall or be hit.

We rushed him to the hospital where they promptly ran a series of test that said it was "likely" a severe case of mono but that some of his blood work raised suspicions of leukemia or lymphoma. We were shocked, scared, speechless. You see because in addition to this I was three weeks away from giving birth at the time (now I'm down to 6 days away). These past two weeks have been unreal. It has involved days of doctors appointments, blood tests, exams, and waiting, waiting, waiting for results.

A week into his illness the spot test for mono came back positive alleviating some of the concerns, but they still weren't able to rule out cancer. Just the thought of my sweet, precious three year old son being stricken with cancer was beyond words devastating. The last round of tests have led my doctor to say that she's really not worried about cancer anymore, but they will continue to monitor him for a while to make sure and also to make sure that his mono is getting better. Even if it was "only just mono" the fact that he was/is so sick is frightening. Apparently, most kids that get mono don't even know it. It passes as just a really bad cold. Why our son has been hit so hard with it is a mystery. It happens rarely, but it does still happen and apparently he is one of the kids it happens to.

Anyway, we are two weeks into this illness and he's still very ill. Today is the first day he has shown any sign of improvement and I am hoping that it will be lasting and not just a fluke. I have been up with him 'round the clock as he has had incredible difficulty sleeping (breathing issues due to the size of his tonsils and swollen lymph nodes). I'm exhausted but know I have no other choice.

I just keep praying that he will gradually improve, day by day, before Tuesday.....the day I am scheduled to give birth. It is likely going to be months before he is fully recovered and the thought of continuing to care for him and a brand new baby is a bit daunting, but I trust that it will work out and life will go on. He and my daughter will be staying with my mom while I'm in the hospital so I know they will both be in good hands but I still hate to leave him knowing he is sick.

So, that is what has been occupying all of my time here. What's new in your world?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kindergarten, Babies, and Other Thoughts

Our daughter started Kindergarten last week and all of my worrying and fretting was for naught. She did wonderfully. Her teacher seems delightfully nice and competent, most of her classmates seem like good kids, the principal came across as hands-on and kind, and I left feeling like she was in the right place. It still hasn't alleviated all of the worrying. I miss her like crazy and at times really wish she were still home with me. However, she enjoys going and I would never want to do anything to give her a negative impression of school. There will be plenty of those feelings she develops on her own later. But still, she's FIVE. Should five year olds really be sent off to school? It just seems so young. However, her being in school has allowed me to view her from a new perspective. I have always been proud of her and known she was kind, caring, sympathetic, and bright. However, being able to see her the way others, who aren't incredibly biased, see her has been a blessing.

On the second day of school when I went to pick her up I had a mother come up and introduce herself to me and tell me how sweet she thought my daughter was and how much she appreciated what she had done on the first day. I had no idea what she was talking about. Apparently, this woman's daughter was crying while she was being dropped off and my daughter walked up to her, gave her a hug, took her hand and walked her into the classroom. They have become fast friends and this woman wanted to let me know how much she appreciated it. Hearing this about my daughter literally brought tears to my eyes.

Then this past Friday my daughter earned a toy out of the prize box. They get a stamp for everyday that they are on task all day and have no behavior issues. If they finish the week with five stamps they get to choose a prize. Our daughter finished with her five stamps and was allowed to choose a toy. Instead of choosing something she wanted she came home with a Star Wars toy for her brother because she said she wanted him "to be happy." Again, tears!

To see her interact in this world, with others and demonstrate the same type of kindness I see at home makes me think that everything will be okay. Words really can't convey how proud I am of her.

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On another topic I am two weeks away from giving birth to baby number three. This sure snuck up on me. It's hard to believe that we will soon be a family of five. Thinking about getting my oldest to school, my middle to gym class, and all the other errands I normally have to run while toting along a newborn gives me a bit of anxiety but I'm sure I'll figure it all out. People do it all the time and I had these fears with each of my previous two children and it all turned out fine. Moms figure it out. That's what we do.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Times are A'Changin'

Our daughter starts Kindergarten in a week. She is thrilled as can be and there is no doubt she is ready, but I am a nervous wreck. I don't want to send her off into this world where I can't see her and shield her and protect her. Just the thought of dropping her off on her first day has been giving me serious anxiety. Yesterday we went school supply shopping. Since we live in a state that doesn't value education and the budgets have been slashed we got a list PAGES long for supplies for not only our own kids but other kids in the class and teacher supplies. Lovely. anyway, that mission is accomplished, she has school clothes and once I get her new tennis shoes she will be set.

When my husband and I first moved here we took into consideration the school district and the particular schools our future children would be zoned to attend. A year ago we got rezoned. Either elementary school would be fine; they are both good schools but we were partial to the previous school for a couple of reasons. So, we applied for a variance and crossed our fingers. We were set on her attending this school. Then we found out they were having a large Kindergarten class and they would be unlikely to approve any open enrollment kids, of which our daughter is one, so we started getting ourselves used to the idea that she'd attend the school in which we are zoned.

For someone like me who plans out everything far in advance the not knowing has been killing me all summer. We were supposed to find out by this past Monday if she would be approved. When we called they hadn't made a decision about open enrollment until they finalized numbers for those kids who actually lived within the boundaries. Then today I got a call from the Principal who said that he was hoping to get approval for another Kindergarten class at which point our daughter would be approved and then that would significantly drop the class size to even smaller than the other school. But he won't know for sure until Monday. She starts the following Monday. Can I just say that I am stressed.

On top of that I am hot, very pregnant, and HOT!!! I have 30 days until this baby is born and it just feels like there are so many changes happening all at once. Any good, calming vibes you could send my way would be appreciated.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Five on the Fourth

My daughter takes after my mom in that she loves hotels. I'm not just talking about enjoys staying at them, but seriously LOVES them. And she's picky. She's a 4 star or 5 star resort type of gal. Travelling once we stayed at just a local hotel we found and she was like, "Ooh, this place is gross. Did you see how small the pool is. I bet they don't even have room service." Yeah, definitely my mom.

Anyway, her birthday is the 4th of July and since we had her party last weekend when our family was in town we had no real plans for the actual day of her birthday. Lo and behold she asked if we could go stay at a resort. She knows how to work it too. "Mom, you won't have to cook and you can swim so you won't be hot and you can just lay in the hotel bed and rest because you're pregnant." Master manipulator that one!

Anyway, I pricelined a room and got a 4 star resort in Scottsdale for $60/night. I took that as God's way of saying we were meant to spend the weekend in luxury. It was heaven. Large, comfortable room. Fun, happening, pool area. Nice dinners in Scottsdale each night. And two kids who didn't fight AT ALL. In the midst of all this fun my "baby" turned FIVE. FIVE! I can hardly believe it. It literally seems like just a year or so ago that I gave birth to her. Yet, here I am 8 months pregnant with child number 3. Where did the time go?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sick Boy

My kids are tell it like it is type of people. Pretty much they are miniature versions of me. I don't sugar coat, I don't mince words, and I don't waste words (although some may argue this blog does just that). My kids are the same way. I love that about them...even though at times it can be highly embarrassing.

My son has been telling me for a few days now that he is a "sick boy." He wouldn't tell me that unless he was. He doesn't fake illness for attention or make things up for the fun of it. The problem was that he didn't seem sick. He wasn't acting sick. In fact, he seemed perfectly fine, so while I acknowledged his continued assertions that he was a "sick boy" inside I was wondering what the heck he was talking about.

Then yesterday he pooped his body weight in a yellow mustardy color poop that reminded me of a breast-fed newborn. I had to light every candle in the house just to faintly get rid of the smell. Putrid doesn't begin to describe it. I guess he was sick.

But today he woke up seemingly fine so after dropping my daughter off at Vacation Bible School for the morning I took him grocery shopping. Suddenly he starts ripping these loud, horrendous farts throughout the store all the while telling me that his stomach hurt. We were standing in the dairy section getting milk and eggs and yogurt when he farts so loudly I swear people thought it was me. To deflect the attention I said, "Wow, buddy are you okay?" He says, "When you have to toot you have to toot. There's nothing you can do about it." The old lady next to us about peed through her depends she was laughing so hard. She then says, "Ain't that the truth."

Anyway, he spent the remainder of the day sick as a dog. I guess he really was a "sick boy."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Harsh Realities

I have been a bad blogger lately. The truth of the matter is that I really just haven't felt like it. At all. There's actually been a lot going on lately that I could be blogging about, but I just haven't wanted to. I posted something a week or so ago about a friend's husband dying and then promptly took it down. It was too soon. It seemed way too personal to be talking about something so horrific. It still does.

I will tell you this though. You can make plans for the present and the future and in a split second those plans can be forever altered, changed, ruined. It doesn't take much and that is scary. You can assume you will raise your children together, go on vacation, retire and travel and then grow old sitting on the porch together until you both peacefully pass from this world to the next. Then something can happen that shatters that illusion and makes that idyllic scene completely impossible. You can be left alone, raising your children by yourself. A widow or widower when you are still technically young.

Being faced with these thoughts lately has given me a much greater appreciation for the life I currently have, knowing that it is possible that at any moment that life can be altered. It makes some of the "little" things my husband and I bicker about seem so pointless.

I suppose my point is just that life can be unfair; it can suck and be painful and seemingly unbearable. But the possibility of these things happening shouldn't make us stop appreciating the positives simply because there is a *chance* something bad could happen. Sometimes fear can be paralyzing and we need to remind ourselves to live, to continue to enjoy life, and deal with the harsh realities when they occur but definitely not to live in constant fear of them *possibly* happening. And that is what I have spent these past few weeks trying to do.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sharing Is Not Synonymous with "I Want, Therefore I Take"

I am curious as to when the term "share" became synonymous with the word "take." Each week this past year I sat in the lobby with my son while my daughter took an hour long gym class. Each week I heard parents tell their children or implore others "to share." Some used this term correctly, but most did not even come close.

Today I reached my breaking point with a certain mother who loudly tells other kids that they have to "share" each time her spoiled brat of a kid whines about wanting a toy another kid is playing with. Today it happened to be my son. He was sitting with a few pieces that connect to make a bridge. This kid came over and tried to take the pieces from my son. God bless him, he held his ground and looked over at me like, "Do I have to give these up?" His mother then says, "Well, we ALL have to share. Maybe that boy will share with you." For the record, I hate that passive-aggressive bullshit. Not to mention....THAT'S NOT SHARING!!! THAT'S TAKING. There is a huge difference. Might I recommend a dictionary in which to look it up. I wasn't going to say anything in response, other than telling my son, that "No, you're fine. Keep playing" but the woman just wouldn't stop with her yapping about "sharing" said repeatedly solely for my benefit. I finally just looked at her and said, "Encouraging your child to take my child's toys is not SHARING. It's TAKING. Don't misuse the first word to justify the selfish act of the second." The room fell silent.

I just don't think sharing should be used as a justification for taking what you want right when you want it. Don't misunderstand. I don't advocate selfishness. Kids need to learn to share certain things (within reason) and take turns, etc. My issue becomes when people (read parents) use the term "share" to essentially justify taking something they want or they want their kid to have. Don't try to categorize that under the heading of "sharing." Just be honest about what it is.

If my kid has five toys and is playing with one then his friends can play with the other four. That's sharing. Sharing doesn't mean that my kid has to give up the one toy he is currently playing with because some other kid wants it right at that moment. My kid clearly wants it too. Which is why he is playing with it in the first place. So, why do some people view sharing as one kid having to give that one toy up when another wants it? That is not sharing at all. To me, there is a difference.

I would never expect a parent to make their kid give up his/her toy simply because my kid wants it too. I'd have my kid(s) find something else to play with until that kid was done with it. I just don't understand the parents who won't tell their kids, "No, that other kid is playing with that toy now, you will have to wait and find something else to play with." There are too many parents who are teaching their kids that to "share" means to a) take what you want when you want it and if that kid doesn't give it up then he/she isn't "sharing" and b) you have to give up a toy you are playing with if another kid expresses the slightest bit of interest and if you don't then you aren't "sharing" either.

There is going to be a generation, even more so than there already is, that will just expect instant results, instant gratification, never having been exposed to the concept of delayed gratification because they were always given what they wanted when they wanted it with little regard for others.

When relaying this story to a friend today she said, "Well, my husband doesn't believe in sharing at all. He thinks once you claim a toy it is yours to play with until you are done. That may be five minutes or it might be all day." I'm interested in your thoughts on this. Where do you stand? What say you?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Randomness

My baby turned three this past holiday weekend. THREE! So hard to believe when it seems like just yesterday he was born. We had a party for him the day before his birthday which was great. He had a lot of fun and ended up with some pretty cool gifts that he loves and has been playing with non-stop since. Monday, his actual birthday, we took him out to dinner....more as a result of my lack of desire to cook than for his birthday but we let him think it was for his celebration.
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My daughter started an art class this week. An actual art class. So much of what passes for art these days is really activities and crafts that truthfully doesn't take a lot of artistic ability. I don't know yet whether my daughter has any natural artistic ability but this class is great. It teaches a step by step approach to drawing and it's amazing what she came out with after just her first class. The program is Young Rembrandts and it is nationwide. You should check it out.
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I have under three months left of this pregnancy. I can hardly believe that it has gone by this quickly. It's strange. This is my third pregnancy and I am obviously older with this pregnancy than either of my previous and yet as a whole this pregnancy has been the least complicated. Sure, I was sick at the beginning, sure there was a whole blood pressure scare that turned out to be nothing, and sure I am tired but as a whole I feel good and at times really don't even feel pregnant....I don't quite look it either, which is odd.
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We enrolled our son in a gymnastics class that runs once a week through the month of June. It is his first class of any type and we weren't sure how he was going to respond. He's a rock star. He participated right away, followed directions, did as he was told and had a blast. It was unbelievably cute watching him bounce on the trampoline, climb a ladder, walk on the balance beam, etc. I love this age!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rendered Impotent

A few nights ago around 9 pm our phone rang. I answered it with a quick "Hello" and a woman on the other end calmly says, "I know who you are and I am going to fucking kill you." I hung up immediately and she called right back. I said "Hello" again and she started in again saying, "I know who you are, I know where you live, and I'm going to fucking kill you." I interrupted and said, "You have the wrong number. I have no idea who you are or what this is about." She replied, "Don't fuck with me and don't you ever fucking call Sherry again." I said, "I don't even know a Sherry. You have the wrong number" and again hung up.

She calls back a third time at which point I was pissed and a bit scared too and she starts right in talking about how she's not going to come alone and she's going to kill us all and that I better not fuck with her. Clearly telling her she had the wrong number again wasn't going to get me anywhere so I just told her that I was going to call the police. At that point she hung up on me and didn't call back. I'm hoping that at this point she realized she had the wrong number.

An officer was sent out to our home and I relayed the story. This woman blocked her number. The police said that without the number they could do nothing and even with the number we would then have to be able to prove who made the call and that this woman could claim she lost her phone, didn't make the call, the list of excuses goes on. So, the following day my husband calls our phone company and explains what happens and says he needs the phone number to complete the police report. They cite privacy laws and state that without a subpoena they cannot release the number of the incoming call. They do inform us that if it happens again we can pay for a line trace and then the police can call the phone company to get that number, but supposedly the trace has to happen immediately following that call and that we have no access to that trace, again without a subpoena.

Here's the thing. My husband and I know she had a wrong number. She obviously thought she was calling someone else, so it is not like we are worried about some crazy person looking to hunt us down. We do worry some just about mistaken identity and tying our phone number to our address and then showing up. However, the larger point is that with all parties claiming there is nothing they can do I can totally see how actual intended targets end up dead. Think about abused women, stalking victims, etc. If I was the actual target and was receiving these calls and the cops repeatedly told me they could do nothing then there are not a lot of options left for the victim. It's a bit disturbing really.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Supersititions

Growing up my mom took us over to see my grandparents (on my dad's side) often. Her father died two weeks before I was born and her mother when I was 6 months old so I only really knew one set of grandparents and then my grandmother's parents, my great-grandparents, as well. My mom and Nana, as we called her, went out for breakfast all the time and after school we'd always stop by to play at her house. Nana died in March 1985, when I was 7.

When I was much older my grandmother would tell the story of the final driver's license my Nana received before her death. She went down to the DMV to have a new picture taken. When her license arrived in the mail in January there was no picture on the license. Apparently, my Nana took this as a type of superstitious premonition predicting that she wouldn't be around much longer, despite having no real health problems. She died of either a heart attack or stroke...at the moment I can't seem to recall....but unexpected nonetheless.

Anyway, I was cleaning out some drawers for my grandma the other day when I came across a bill fold that had a bunch of old credit cards and identification cards that all belonged to my great-grandparents. In the bunch was the infamous driver's license that lacked a picture. It was a rather eery feeling to know my Nana got this just a couple of months before dying and that she seemed to *know* her demise was imminent. My grandmother was just going to throw it away, so I kept it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Random Conversations that Make Me Laugh

* My daughter has a girl in her gymnastics class named Elizabeth. My daughter informs her teacher today that she has a doll at home named Elizabeth also. The teacher says, "Well, is your doll as pretty as this Elizabeth here?" My daughter replies, "Yes, my doll is much prettier." While I may need to have a discussion about tact with my daughter I am thinking this particular teacher should apply the same "rule" lawyers use and never ask a question that you don't already know the answer to.

* I was cleaning out my daughter's room the other day and moving furniture so we could clean our carpets. I said, "You just have way too many toys." She says in response, "Well, why did you buy me all these toys then?" I thought for a moment and said, "That's a good question." She says, "Well, maybe you just shouldn't have bought me so many." Hard to argue with that logic.

* Out of the blue my daughter asks if having your tubes tied hurts. (For starters I don't have my tubes tied so I have no clue and secondly I have no idea where she would have ever even heard about having your tubes tied). I said, "No, I don't really think so but where did you hear about that?" My daughter says, "I just read about it on my computer. Like on Facebook."

* The other day when driving my daughter says, "Mom, is our new baby going to be black or white?" I said, "Well, she's going to be white just like you and your brother and mommy and daddy." She was silent and I said, "Why do you ask?" She says, "Well, it would be weird to have a black baby since we're not black." Indeed! I think my husband would have quite a few questions if I birthed a baby any color other than pasty white.

* At the grocery store the other day an older woman says, "Oh, your kids are so cute. How old are they?" I replied, "Thanks. They're 4 and 2." She looks at them again and says, "Are they twins?"

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Times Are a' Changin'

During my first pregnancy I held strictly to the no caffeine rule. I started weaning myself months before I became pregnant and didn't take a sip of caffeine the entire nine months. My husband came to every appointment with me (except for maybe one or two), even the routine monthly ones. About 12 weeks in I painted the nursery gender neutral colors (we didn't know the sex yet) and had the crib, dresser, changing table, and other baby necessities set up and ready to go.

Pregnancy number two wasn't much different. I still tried to avoid caffeine and except for the days that I just couldn't bear the migraines at which point I'd drink a real coke, I didn't put caffeine in my body. My husband came to less appointments with me as we realized his presence wasn't necessary at every single weigh in and I still had the nursery set up and ready around the start of my second trimester. We knew we were having a boy so we bought clothes and blankets and sheets and other more "manly" gear. By the time he was actually born we had been ready for 5-6 months.

Oh, how things change! Here I am 22 weeks into pregnancy number 3 (5months) and while I don't drink a ton of caffeine I have usually one glass (usually in the form of a soda) of caffeine a day. My husband has come to exactly ONE prenatal appointment with me....the one where we found out the sex and while his absence would have bothered the crap out of me during pregnancy number 1, I could care less now, realizing it's inconvenient for him to take off work and really outside of the "major" appointments I don't need him there anyway. As far as the nursery goes.....we have done NOTHING! I did sort clothes once we found out we were having a girl but now those close are dumped in a massive pile in what is currently our home office but what needs to transform into a nursery. The thought of doing it is overwhelming. The cleaning, the moving of furniture, the painting, the organizing. It has to get done and I'm starting to have some anxiety issues about whether or not I'll finish it in the next few months, but I just don't even want to start.

And don't even get me started on the journals I planned to keep each pregnancy. With our daughter I wrote diligently, almost daily throughout her pregnancy. I wrote quite a bit during my son's pregnancy as well, although at this point I have no idea where that journal is. I realized the other day that I haven't written a word about number 3, so I ran out and bought a journal the other day that I figured I better start writing in before this pregnancy is over and there is no record of it.

At this pace if we have a fourth he/she'll be lucky if we remember to name him/her!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Domestic Disturbances

My husband and I don't argue a lot and when we do we make it a point to not do so in front of the kids. Today we had a bit of a verbal back and forth where voices were raised. The kids were in the backyard but had apparently come inside at some point and started hysterically crying upon hearing the argument. It broke my heart. They were scared and confused and clearly didn't like their mommy and daddy upset with each other.

It just made me think about kids who are raised in an environment where yelling, shouting, and fighting are the norm. I'm sure they get used to it to the point where it doesn't phase them or to the point where they no longer react, but that's sad in and of itself. No kid should ever have to get used to that.

The kids calmed down pretty quickly when I explained that mommy and daddy were just having a disagreement and that everything was fine, we all still loved each other. However, their response was enough to convince me that a home where fighting is the norm is no place for children. I've always been on the side of, "You don't get divorced, you work it out, especially if kids are involved." Today made me think though that if I were in a marriage that was constant fighting I'd do anything to protect my kids from that, including leave.

Do you make it a point to not argue in front of your child/children? How do your children handle spats between you and your spouse?

Friday, April 30, 2010

East Coast Vacation

Last Thursday we boarded an airplane and headed to Washington D.C. for a week long stay with my parents who reside in Northern Virginia. I spent weeks, okay months, worrying about flying with our 2 year old son. It's not that he is poorly behaved, but he's an active boy and neither child has ever flown before. Turns out all the time spent worrying was time wasted. The kids could not have been more perfect on the 2 hour flight to Dallas and then the 3 hour flight into Reagan. Both loved flying (a lot more than their mother who hates it) and spent much of the time looking out the window.

I could write a book about all we did, but I'll try to keep it as concise as possible. First of all, we went in knowing that there would be quite a bit of walking involved. However, I think my husband and I severely underestimated the amount of walking that truly was involved. Our 4 year old daughter walked the entire time for the entire week. I still don't know how she did it. Our son did the best he could, but fortunately my husband was able to carry him for much of it.

We spent Friday visiting my dad at his office, then headed in to the Natural History Museum and the Air and Space Museum. The Air and Space was a hit, especially with our son. He is obsessed with airplanes. The Natural History was a bit disappointing. We had everyone tell us it was a must-see, but I guess as a whole I was a little underwhelmed. The other thing that took some getting used to was the crowds. The sheer number of people in DC is shocking. I thought Arizona was crowded, but it is nothing compared to the crowds we fought through in DC. We drove by the memorials and White House later that night and it was great to see everything lit up.

Saturday we rented a car and drove into Baltimore to visit the aquarium. Our son loved the dolphin show and we really liked the stingray and shark exhibit. After being to Sea World, though, the aquarium just doesn't compare. I'm glad we went and I enjoyed Baltimore and the weather was absolutely gorgeous.

Sunday started off with a hitch as our rental car was towed from my parents' parking garage. We got it back relatively quickly and headed to Mt. Vernon. It was beautiful and walking the same grounds George Washington walked was amazing. I would kill for a house and yard like that!

Monday we toured the Capitol and then the Holocaust Museum. That was hard. We had the kids with us and were asked a lot of questions by our daughter about why someone would want to kill all those people. I'm thankful that some of the more graphic depictions had walls to block the kids from seeing them. When I was ten and living in Germany we visited Dachau. I still have very vivid memories of the gas chambers, incinerators, and the bunks. So seeing something to this magnitude put it all in perspective and really was hard to wrap my brain around. It is hard to believe that that type of evil existed in the world. We spent two hours there and could have easily spent another two if we were sans kids. The one thing that really haunted me was how anyone (and there are many) could deny that the Holocaust happened considering how well documented it was by the Nazi's. The other thing that was disturbing is that Denmark was the only country who refused to participate and who helped "rescue" the Jewish people who were escaping.

By the end of day 4 we were exhausted. We were tired and I was in quite a bit of pain. I have lower back problems that have worsened as this pregnancy has progressed and I also have a knee injury that will require surgery to fix that I re -injured days before leaving, so I was truly the Walking Wounded. We had planned to spent Tuesday at the DC Zoo, but the mere thought of an hour commute on the Metro and then actually walking the grounds of the zoo was not really that appealing so I did a google search and discovered something called the Reston Zoo. It was a petting zoo about 20 minutes from my parents and it was so much fun. I highly recommend it! There were ostrich, emu, sheep, goats, antelopes, kangaroos, bison, camels, and a plethora of other animals that you could feed and pet. The kids loved it and it didn't require much walking at all.

Our final day we stayed close to home again so I could get some laundry and packing done. We did drive into George Mason University. I wanted to see the campus and it was a good chance for the kids to run free and not disturb anyone.

Overall, the trip was amazing. The kids were beyond great, we had a ton of fun, ate great ethic food and seafood, and the weather was PERFECT!

I can see why my dad loves it so much out there. Truthfully, I'd probably move there in a heartbeat. I made the comment multiple times that people on the east coast seem to be a more civilized people. They aren't necessarily more friendly but they are more polite. People would bump into me and immediately say, "Excuse me" or "I'm sorry." In Arizona if that happens people either don't say anything or they say something like, "Eff you, asshole." That was made apparently clear as I was grocery shopping today. I almost screamed out, "Oh, please send me back to Virginia!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Big Picture

I have a tendency to view things as "the worst possible thing ever." Then inevitably something happens to either a family member, a friend, or even a stranger that puts things in perspective and makes me feel foolish and ashamed for ever feeling that way in the first place. Not to necessarily minimized the particular plight or hardship we are facing but it makes me realize that there are worse things and that maybe I should be more thankful for the blessings that I do have and not take them for granted or just expect that they will always be around.

For example a few years ago my husband was a car salesman. He did really well until the economy tanked and we were really struggling. He was looking for another job (thankfully he has a college degree to fall back on which made his current job a possibility) but money was really, really tight. He found a job almost immediately and while he has to work his ass off (80/hr. weeks every week) he is providing for our family in such a way that continues to allow me to be home with our children. During this same time a co-worker of my husband's was facing a similar situation, but he has no education or work experience outside of working at a car dealership. They have had to give up much and things are not looking good for them. Foreclosure on their home and bankruptcy is a real possibility. There are times I get down because my husband seems like he is always gone but then I think "At least we're not near bankruptcy" and it puts things in perspective.

Similarly, there are times I am annoyed at little things. Maybe because my husband leaves his clothes all over the house so I can tell the exact path he took when he got home the night before. Or the fact that I receive virtually no help ever with my children. I am with them 24 hours/ 7 days a week. No one ever takes them for an hour so I can run some errands or anything like that and there are days that togetherness is hard. But then I think about a friend whose husband was just diagnosed with cancer and they have young children who may soon be fatherless. Or I think about a young girl who has brain cancer. She is the same age as my daughter. The thought of living a day without her makes my frustration with no "me time" seem silly.

Then I think about this new life growing inside of me. I would never say that I have taken any pregnancy for granted. I know from first hand experience how possible and devastating it is to lose a child somewhere along the way during a pregnancy Because of that experience, I always worry early on until a few ultrasounds have been done if there is anything wrong, anything that might cause me to lose the baby. I'm always so thankful when I find out that things are looking great. It's easy to lose sight of the fact that not every pregnancy is smooth sailing. I have close to ten friends who are pregnant and all due within a month or two of my due date. A couple of them have recently learned there are complications and more than likely will lose their children at some point during their pregnancies. I am crushed for them. Learning that something is wrong is at times crippling and it puts in perspective the miracle that childbirth truly is. It's amazing that so many make it into this world at all with all the variable of possibilities of things that could go wrong.

I guess it just seems like at times people, myself definitely included, fail to see what is going on around them. We tend to live in our little bubbles where what happens to us is "the worst." That is not to say that because someone has it worse, our problems aren't problems. I guess what I am saying is that it helps to look at the big picture.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Facebook and Me

I reluctantly joined Facebook a little over a year ago after caving into some hard-core peer pressure. (Yes, I know...I'm weak, so weak)! Relatively quickly I got back into contact with a ton of old friends and even some former really great friends who I had just lost contact with over the years. It was nice catching up, hearing about what was going on in their lives, and going through pictures of their kids. It felt like the past 10-15 years had been condensed into a high-light reel, which is many instances is a good thing.

But then I started getting friend requests from people I barely knew in high school and/or college. My first instinct was to reject the friend request, but I figured that might be too mean, so I started approving everyone. You know, it just seems a bit ridiculous though that if I never spoke to you or you me in real life that we are all of a sudden Facebook pals.

Then for some of these people (and in all honesty some actual friends as well) their Facebook page became the place for them to rant about politics or religion or the state of education and on and on and on. Truthfully, that is the part I HATE, LOATHE, DESPISE about Facebook. I started hiding "these people" from my news feed and then I started deleting them as friends. The one good thing about Facebook is that when you defriend someone they don't send out a notice announcing that a defriending has taken place. I can just slink quietly away and hope they forget about me and our Facebook friendship.

I have thought regularly about deleting my account entirely, but then realized I would miss the updates from actual friends who live half a world away. It is a quick, easy way to keep in touch with people I am friends with in "real life" and I wouldn't want to sacrifice that because of a few annoyances.

So, today I bravely logged on and started deleting "friends." My criteria was simply two-fold: a)If we weren't friends or spoke on a regular basis in real life then you were cut; b)If we haven't communicated regularly through Facebook in the past 6 months you were cut. At first I was super hesitant to hit that "delete friend" button. Pretty soon though I had deleted around 30 people and here, five minutes later, I probably couldn't tell you one of their names. It felt freeing, liberating!

Are you on Facebook? Do you occasionally "weed out" friends?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Random Thoughts About Our Upcoming Vacation

* We have been planning on a trip to visit my parents in Virginia for three months now. I have prayed every single one of those days that we would all be healthy for the 8 days that we are there. Three weeks ago the kids got sick followed by me. The illness only lasted a week so I figured we'd be good to go. We were good for at least another month or so before it was our turn to be sick again. But, last week my brother and his wife came to visit from Milwaukee. They brought the plague with them and got most of our family sick, me and my kids included. We now leave in 10 days. Oh, how I am hoping a)we are completely recovered and b)my husband doesn't catch it and end up spending the entire trip sick.

* There is a major difference between how I plan for a vacation versus how my husband plans for a vacation. Case in point: I have been making a rough outline of the places we want to visit while there. I have done this by trying to appropriately balance the museums and other places of interest that we as adults want to see with fun activities and places to visit for the kids. Nothing spells disaster like a day of visiting museums while dragging two disinterested kids around. My husband's primary concern for each city or area I mention is the food. For example, we were contemplating a day trip into Philadelphia. While I was thinking Liberty Bell my husband was thinking cheese steaks. He was mapping out Pat's and Geno's and some other off-the-beaten trail place that is supposedly better than both. When it became clear that Philadelphia was probably too far for a day trip he was bummed....not because of the places we wouldn't get to visit, but because he wouldn't get his cheese steaks. We are now planning to spend a day in Baltimore. Again, I am thinking aquarium, walks along the waterfront, etc. He is researching seafood restaurants where you can get crab and bang them open on a table lined with newspaper.

* I have successfully managed to pack a week's worth of belongings for me and two kids in one bag, with still 5 pounds to spare. How I did this is beyond me. I am the person who packs for a month when we are gone for 4 days. I am the person who usually takes two huge suitcases just for myself for less than a week. I think part of it is knowing that my parents have a washer and dryer so I didn't bring as much, but I still probably brought more than we'll end up wearing. I swear this particular suitcase has a never ending bottom. I just keep filling it and more room remains. It's awesome!

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Dangers of the Sharp-Toothed Snail

When my son was around a year old he found a tiny, round, pink piece of plastic that had come off my daughter's jewelry box. He managed to quickly stuff it up his nose so far that I was unable to get it with tweezers. We ended up having to take him to the doctor where they inserted what looks like a device used during pap smears in order to safely remove the plastic. It was not a pleasant experience and since that time I talk almost daily about NEVER, EVER sticking ANYTHING up your nose. EVER! Did I mention ever?

Every once in a while I'll catch him with something close to his nose where I promptly remind him to not stick that up his nose. Fast forward almost two years.

My husband and I read to the kids from Where The Sidewalk Ends fairly regularly. One of the poems that has stuck with them is entitled "Warning" where it states, "Inside everybody's nose/There lives a sharp-toothed snail/ So if you stick your finger in/He may bite off your nail/Stick it farther up inside/And he may bite your ring off/Stick it all the way, and he/May bite the whole darn thing off." For whatever reason they talk daily about the sharp-toothed snail and how if they pick their nose it'll bite their finger off. That's all well and good, until today.

This morning the kids were in the backyard blowing bubbles when my son became hysterical. I ran out to see what the problem was and my daughter said she thought he got bubbles in his eyes or up his nose. So, I started hugging him to comfort him when he said something about a rock. The inside of me panicked and I asked, "Did you stick a rock up your nose." He manages to nod his head yes. I look up and incredibly deep, beyond my reach I can see the tip of a rock lodged in his nose. I hold the "good" nostril and tell him to blow as hard as he can. Nothing happens. He continues to cry and sucks it up further. At this point I am trying to decide whether to call 911 or rush him to the hospital. I keep having him blow, hoping to at least get it to a point where I can reach it with tweezers, although I was a bit worried that I would even be able to grab it then due to the size of the rock. How he managed to fit that rock up his nose, and that far, is beyond me. After about 5 minutes of this he finally got it close enough for me to reach with my finger nails and pull it out.

The inside of his nose is scratched up pretty badly and he was obviously pretty scared, as was I. When he finally calmed down enough and the hysterics had passed I asked him why he stuck a rock up his nose. He said, "So, the sharp-toothed snail could eat it." He was apparently trying to feed the sharp-toothed snail and wouldn't you know the snail likes rocks to eat.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Good Monday

Well, our broken water pipe proved to be a bigger deal than we initially thought. My husband worked on it until dark on Sunday and then took Monday off to finish the job. The materials we thought we needed actually weren't going to be compatible with the particular piping used so he spent three hours being send all over town to different plumbing supply stores until he finally found a place that had all the necessary parts and a very helpful guy who walked him through the process step by step. It took another 3 hours once he got home to finish, but it appears to be fixed, we have water, and we are hopeful this will last. Part of the problem is a huge mesquite tree whose roots entangled and punctured the pipes causing the break. We would like to rip it out but our Gestapo home owner's association mandates that every front yard must contain one 5 gallon tree (ridiculous considering how close together our homes are). So, now we have to have a plumber come out to look at the tree, the roots and their proximity to the pipes and hopefully put in writing the fact that if we leave the tree the roots will cause further damage. It is then our hope that we could successfully contest the mandate. I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to go against common sense that an HOA could mandate the necessity of certain foliage when the presence of that landscaping would cause damage to the actual dwelling.

In other news, we were supposed to find out the sex of our baby tomorrow. My husband was going to take the day off and come with. Long story short, since he took off yesterday to deal with the water pipes I called the office to see if there was any way we could come in and have the ultrasound done then instead. They actually said yes, which I totally wasn't expecting so we hustled out.

The baby looks perfectly healthy and was very active during the ultrasound, although proved to be very modest, refusing to uncross the legs. I was starting to get a little anxious because I wanted to know the sex, not really for myself, but the kids were dying to know. Finally at the end we got enough of a glimpse to determine.................................IT'S A GIRL!

Our two year old son was thrilled. He has said since the moment we told the kids I was pregnant that he wanted a sister. However, today when we were at the store, my daughter was pointing out all these cute little girl clothes and I don't know if he started to feel left out because all of a sudden he started crying and said, "I don't want a sister anymore. I want a brother." Broke my heart.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Do It Yourself If You Can

Today really couldn't have gone more wrong. If it wasn't so utterly frustrating it would have been comical. We woke up, intent on going to church, and then heading to my mom's to celebrate Easter. As I was out in the front yard hiding Easter eggs for the kids I discovered that our entire front yard was flooded. We initially thought it was coming from our irrigation system, but later discovered the main water pipe to our house had burst....and it's located UNDER our concrete driveway.

I started calling plumbers to get estimates, etc. The cheapest we were going to get off was $537 and that was assuming they didn't have to tear up the driveway, which truthfully would have been the easier way, and therefore the way they probably would have chosen, regardless of cost to us. So my husband spent the morning digging a ditch to try to locate the pipe. Later in the afternoon my brothers came over to lend a hand in pulling up foliage, sawing out roots, and digging about 3 feet down and 3 feet in (and under) our driveway.

It took 6 hours but my husband and one of my brothers were about to put the new piping in when they realized the pipe they got was 1/16th of an inch too big....and by this time all the hardware stores had closed. So, my husband has to go back and get the correct size tomorrow and hopefully since all the heavy labor has been done it won't take too long to size, cut, and assemble the new piping. Total cost of piping and supplies? Sixteen dollars. Even having to go back and get new piping after the mis-measure will result in a grand total of $32.

That's a lot better than $537!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Happenings

Well, I took a bit of an unintentional break. I've hit that part of my pregnancy (probably a little too soon) where I want everything spotless and clean and organized and I have been running around my house like a frantic woman making sure everything is just so. It started with seeing finger prints and scuffs on my wall, which on one particularly emotional day resulted in me repainting large portions of this house. Then I realized it had been a few months since I had cleaned out the kids closets, rooms, dressers, and toy bins. It took me two days but I gutted their rooms, cleaned and vacuumed them and then rearranged the rooms for something fresh and new.

Next on the agenda is to turn our home office into the baby's nursery. We have a huge desk in that room and the only way to get it out is to take it apart, which I know is going to prove to be frustrating and time consuming and then reassemble it in our bedroom -- thank God we have a huge master bedroom. But, before I upend our house I am going to gut the office closet, which has computer parts, board games, old clothing, files of bills and taxes, books we've read and Lord only knows what else and try to find new homes for them at which point we can start bringing the baby stuff out of storage in our garage and setting up the nursery. Well, after I paint the room of course.

Anyway, all of this has proven to be incredibly time consuming and then I came down with a cold a few days ago which has slowed the progress a bit. I just want things done. We leave on vacation in three weeks and when we come back we begin a summer full of birthday parties, programs, etc that I fear will leave little time for anything else until this baby comes.

Oh yeah, we have decided to find out the gender of the baby. I was leaning toward not finding out, but my husband really wanted to know. Since he felt more strongly about knowing then I felt about not knowing we decided we will find out a week from today. Now that that decision has been made I am really excited about knowing. I have felt for a while that this baby will be a girl and last night I had a dream I gave birth and it was a girl, so I'm sticking with that for now. My husband, though, thinks it is a boy. I guess one of us will be right. :)

So, what is new in your world these days?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

If I Wanted Your Opinion I Would Have Asked For It, But I Didn't So Butt Out!

It infuriates me when people I don't know feel they have the right to step in and say something to my kids, however kind or well-intentioned. My husband and I pride ourselves on having well-behaved children. Of course, they are children and they act up but they are disciplined accordingly and for the most part act exceptionally well in public. They know the consequences of misbehavior and usually we don't have a problem. When it has come to behavior I have actually never had anyone say anything negative to us and many have actually commented on what well-behaved children we have. That always makes me happy and proud of them.

So, the type of "stepping in" I am referring to is more "butting in" and it's always from the 50+ crowd. I guess I don't know why they feel they have such liberty when it comes to input into my family. I'll give you an example. Today we were at Target with my mom. Both kids were in the basket part of the cart. I was in front of the cart, paying for my portion. My mother was pushing the cart so therefore standing behind it. My 4 1/2 year old daughter stood up in the cart to point out a pack of gum she wanted to my mom. She wasn't horsing around, she wasn't leaning out, she wasn't doing anything she wasn't supposed to be. The cashier instantly says, "Oh, sit down honey. The cart could shoot out and you could fall and smack your face and then you'd be hurt....blah, blah, blah." She goes into an entire series of events that would be unlikely to happen in the way she said, especially considering my mom and I were both holding onto the cart and it was pushed against the wall of the conveyor. Further, even if it did happen IT'S NOT HER BUSINESS! She didn't say it rudely and she wasn't being unkind, but I just resent the intrusion and undermining of my parenting.

My daughter's feelings were hurt so I said, "You are fine. You did nothing wrong." The cashier said, "Yeah, you're not in trouble. I just didn't want you to get hurt." This further aggravated me because it's not like she has the "power" to get my daughter in "trouble." I didn't want to be an ass, but I was also clearly pissed so I just said, "Yes, but that's what she has parents for. If I felt she was in danger I would have done something myself. I don't appreciate the interference." She was silent. I then said to my daughter, and loudly for the benefit of the cashier, "Sweetie, you are fine. You just worry about listening to your mommy, daddy, grandparents, and teachers. She is none of those things." It really bothered me and it really upset my daughter and it angers me still that she felt she had the right to say anything to a child that wasn't hers. I don't care how well intentioned, it simply wasn't her place.

I witnessed a similar occurrence with an older lady at the mall telling another mother with children close in age to my own that she should take the elevator with the kids because it's safer than the escalator they were riding on. While that may be, why does that lady think she gets to make a decision about the safety of another woman's children? It just floors me.

I can feel myself having to totally restrain myself from verbally berating the "butt-in-skies" and I hate that feeling. I hate feeling like I have to justify decisions I make when it comes to MY children and I don't know what it is about certain people that makes them feel like they're the expert and know what is in my family's best interest more than I do.

Rant over!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cursed

Yesterday, on the drive to church, I was telling my husband that I hadn't had any morning sickness for a week, nor had I suffered a migraine. Both had become daily occurrences over the past 4 months of this pregnancy. I made the comment that the worst seemed to be over and that hopefully I'd continue to feel better.

About halfway through the service I started feeling a little funny, but figured it was hunger since I hadn't eaten breakfast. Well, on the drive home I became very sick. My husband stopped to get me some McDonald's french fries....my go to food during pregnancy. I couldn't even keep those down.

Then an hour later I got a migraine that knocked me out the rest of the day and well into the evening. I was so miserable. Why did I have to curse myself by mentioning the absence of the two things that cause me to suffer the most during pregnancy?

The today, I have had a horrible headache all day long. No amount of Tylenol or coke (the cola, of course) has been able to alleviate the pounding.

I'm thinking that next time I go a week or so without a headache or morning sickness I should just keep it to myself and not tempt fate. It hasn't been kind to me.

Friday, March 19, 2010

To Err is Human.....To Accept Responsiblity is Unlikely

I realize that being merely human, mistakes are made everyday. Some are unavoidable. In truth, the actual mistake doesn't upset me as much as the poor handling of the situation after mistakes are made. It is rare these days for individuals or companies to take responsibility and rectify the situation without presenting a litany of excuses first. I don't want the reason as to why the mistake was made; I simply want it fixed. The customer shouldn't suffer because a mistake was made on the merchant's end. Am I alone in this thought process?

This past week we travelled out of town and on the way we stopped at a McDonald's drive thru for breakfast. I ordered two orders of pancakes, two sausage McMuffin's and two biscuits. When we pulled through and I started handing out food we were given ONE order of pancakes, two sausage patties, and FOUR plain English McMuffins. The order wasn't even close. So, my husband went in and told them. Instead of just saying, "Oh, sorry sir, let me fix this for you right away" which would have solved the issue, the man went into a diatribe about how the woman, and she was a woman, who took the order was new and that she was still learning the system, blah, blah, blah.

So because she's new and apparently hasn't been properly trained, we as the paying customers are just supposed to accept the food she decided to give us and not the food we actually ordered? This type of treatment and then excuse wasn't a one time thing either. This seems to be pervasive all over the place and not just in the food industry.

It seriously drives me nuts. Part of the problem, at least here in Arizona, is the fact that so many people who are being employed in these types of jobs barely speak English. So you have someone who has little training, no experience, and further can't speak the language. Really, it's enough to make me back my bags....the problem is I wouldn't know where to go.....ineptness seems to be widespread.

The bottom line is that I simply would like for people to take responsibility for their mistakes and fix them. That's it. Apparently, that is like asking for a cure for cancer.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hilton on the Home Front

The older of my two brothers lives in Wisconsin with his wife. He's been out there for about six years now. He attended law school out there and then took a job with a firm there when he graduated. We don't get to see him much -- maybe once every couple years -- which I know is hard on my mom. She would love to be able to go out and visit them more often and would also love it if they were able to come here more often than they do.

Since they couldn't make it out for Christmas they are coming the week of Easter. My mom has been preparing for this visit for a month at least. She's cleaned the house, gutted and rearranged the pantry, cleaned the downstairs portion of the house. Now, she's moved on to what was the playroom for the grandchildren, but which is being morphed into a comfy abode for my brother and sister-in-law. She's taken out all the toys and either thrown away old and broken ones or put "good" ones in a chest out on the back porch. She's had the carpets cleaned and is now looking to BUY a dresser so they have some place to keep their clothes.

I asked her the other night if she was aware that they were not moving in with her, but rather visiting for only a week. I also asked her if she realized who it was that was coming. While my brother and his wife make very nice livings, they live well below their means. They certainly wouldn't expect my mom to be going to all the trouble she is going to. I mean, it's nice and they'll appreciate it, but I just hope she does in fact realize that they will be heading back to Wisconsin after 7 days.

Although, depending on how nice she fixes the room up, I might start vacationing there.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mental

My mom calls to tell me this story tonight. As she is relaying it to me I can't help but think, "Where is she going with this? This can't be real." Apparently, it is. My mom's best friend has a friend. This friend has a sister who has a son. Still with me? This son has some type of mental illness (I don't recall the specifics other than that he lives in his own apartment -- he's in his early 20's -- and most of the time controls this illness with medication. A few times a year he has "episodes" that require medical intervention).

The story:

The son calls his mother and tells her that she needs to come over because he has a "red-headed troll" in his closet. The mother tells her son that she will be over after work. I don't have any first hand experience caring for someone with a mental illness, but it would seem to me that if I had a child with an issue and he/she called with that type of information I might drop what I was doing and go check it out. But I digress. For whatever reason, the mother doesn't go over after work. The following day she gets another frantic call from her son insisting that a "red-headed troll" was in his closet and she needed to come over immediately. Again, she didn't. The third day he again calls and this time she goes over.

When she arrives she finds that he had boarded up his closet and had pushed all of his furniture up against the closet. When she opened it she found a red-headed midget locked in the closet along with three days worth of bodily waste.

Apparently, the son had gone to the library and heard a story about the troll that lived under a bridge. He arrived back home, when shortly thereafter this man appeared on his door step. Thinking the "troll" followed him home from the library he literally picked the man up and barricaded him in his closet. Turns out the midget was a Jehovah's Witness and was more than gracious, even apologizing for "scaring" the man. The mother was profusely apologetic. The midget refused to press charges and from all accounts was unbelievably forgiving.

When I first heard the story I laughed because it seemed so unlikely. Plus, what are the odds of someone hearing this story and then having someone who "matches" the description show up at his door? But really, it's pretty sad. It's sad that the mother didn't come to her son's aid prior to the third day. It's sad that this young man, who struggles with mental issues, was so scared that he literally locked another human being in his closet with no food or drink for 3 days. It's sad that this midget's family, assuming he had one, didn't report him missing -- not to mention the other Jehovah's Witnesses who he presumably went out "witnessing" with. It's incredible to me though that this man, who probably thought as some point that he was going to die in that closet, was so forgiving and apologetic when he was clearly the victim.

Shortly after talking to my mom I read a story about a young mother who fled her house in a manic state (she was bipolar and off her meds). Her husband and father informed the police who apparently searched for her, but were convinced she hitchhiked and probably met her demise that way. Turns out they discovered her body today, a mere 1/2 mile from where they found her car. She died from exposure.

It just seems like there are a lot more young people suffering from a variety of mental illnesses and when properly medicated do okay, yet you hear/read so often of them going off of their meds for whatever reason and it results in some type of tragedy. As far as we've come in understanding mental illness and accepting a variety of what the societal norm would deem "abnormal behavior" we still as a society seem to be fairly ignorant when it comes to the seriousness of these illnesses.

It's just sad to me. Maybe if people took these illnesses more seriously these types of occurrences and tragedies wouldn't happen with such frequency. I don't know; maybe I'm naive to think that, but it just seems that so many of these mental issues are brushed aside or downplayed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pilot vs. Odyssey

Well, we're back in the midst of one of my least favorite endeavors: car shopping. A while back we bought a mini-van; I had serious buyer's remorse and so we took it back the next day. I felt completely good about that decision because at that time a) I wasn't pregnant, b) we were undecided about even having a 3rd kid, and c) I love my Pathfinder.

Well, now that I am pregnant and about 5 months away from D-Day we realized we need a bigger car. Our Pathfinder doesn't have a 3rd row and it's impossible to fit 3 car seats across the backseat. So, the searching, negotiating, re-negotiating, re-searching, etc. has begun. We have spent all weekend searching the state for the best deals and spending a ridiculous amount of time on the phone and Internet trying to negotiate the best deals.

We have negotiated two smoking deals on two different cars: a 2008 Honda Pilot and a 2007 Honda Odyssey. I am fighting the Odyssey with all the energy I can muster. I'd much prefer the Pilot, despite the fact that the Odyssey has more room and would probably be easier with 3 kids in car seats. My husband wants the Odyssey. He thinks it is the smarter choice.

So, if cost were the same, what would you do? The Odyssey is leather, has navigation, and DVD. The Pilot has none of those features. While those upgrades are certainly nice, they are not necessities to me. That's great if cars have them, but their absence wouldn't be a deal breaker for me.

Any thoughts?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wanted: A Baby Sister

Our son adores his older sister. He hangs on her every word, does whatever he can to please her, and pretty much worships her existence. To say he loves her simply wouldn't adequately explain his feelings for her.

As a result of this, he is insistent that this new baby be a girl (he has yet to fully understand that I have little control over this). He repeatedly says, "I really, really want a baby sister" followed by, "I don't want a brother. No more boys is this house." I, on the other hand, secretly am pining for another son, although either would be a joyous, welcomed addition. Part of me now though really wants to have another girl just for his sake. The thought of him taking care of and fawning over a baby sister melts my heart and while I know he'll be a terrific big brother regardless, there is something incredibly sweet about the thought of him with his baby sister.

Not to mention it is the cutest thing in the entire world to hear him say the name we've chosen if this baby is a girl.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Limbaugh Leaves Socialized Medicine for.......Socialized Medicine?

I find it interesting that Rush Limbaugh declared that if the United States passes health care reform then he will leave the U.S. and move to Costa Rica. Has anyone told him that Costa Rica has socialized medicine? Personally, I am all for him leaving the country. In fact, I'm all for anyone who doesn't like the way we do things to find the first flight, boat, train on out of here.

It just seems that if Limbaugh is leaving in protest of what he thinks will be a socialized health care system, he would head to a country that doesn't have socialized health care itself. Am I missing something?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Expenses

Today I wrote a $120 check for a man to come out, spend 10 minutes inspecting our house for termites (no sign of them), and extending our warranty for a year. Friday I will be spending probably at minimum double that for a different man to come out and fix our freezer and our dryer (hopefully)! When it rains, it pours I tell ya.

The ice machine in our freezer has been leaking for two years now. So, ever couple of weeks, my husband takes it apart, take a hair dryer to melt the ice, and puts it all back together. He waits until enough water has leaked and formed a solid ice block on the shelf of the freezer before repeating the process again. We've had the repair man out here a half dozen times to "fix" it, which lasts a few months before leaking again. I don't want to have to buy an entirely new fridge/freezer simply because there is a problem with the connection to the ice maker that can't seem to be fixed.

Then our dryer decided that it would quit drying clothes unless I ran them on high heat for 3 hours. I'm thinking our electric bill is going to be a bit higher than usual this month. My husband took the entire thing apart, cleaned out the vents, etc. and the dang thing still doesn't dry our clothes. I'm thinking it might be a problem with the heating element, but really that's just a random guess based on nothing specific.

I just hate having to spend money on things like this. There are so many other "fun" things I could spend hundreds of dollars on, yet it seems like our money always goes to fixing or replacing things. Part of me wants to sell everything and start over with a totally minimalistic approach. The fewer things possessed equals the fewer things that will eventually need to be fixed.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Kids Say the Darndest Things

**This weekend my son was repeating the word "idiot". I stopped him and told him that we don't say that because it is not a nice word and that no one in our house was an idiot. He said, "But some people are." I started to say, "No, people aren't idiots" to which my son again said, "Some people are" at which point my daughter chimes in, "Yeah, like the people you honk at." Apparently, when I honk the horn I mumble "idiot" under my breath. Looks like that bad habit is going to have to stop.

**The Jehovah's Witnesses are regular fixtures in our neighborhood and once again this past Friday two JW's came knocking at our door. I opened it up and as one of the women wanted to "share the good news" my daughter peeks around the corner and says, "We already know about Jesus." I'm thinking I might start letting her answer the door from now on.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

And We Will Call Him or Her........

It's funny because almost the minute we started telling people we were expecting another baby they started asking if we had thought of names yet. Being the Type A person that I am, I had of course already compiled a list of possible contenders. If this baby is a girl, the name will be easy. My husband and I fell in love with a girl's name when I was pregnant with our son, who is now 2.5. That name is still at the top of our list. In fact, it is the ONLY name on our girl's list.

Our boy's list isn't so finalized. I have literally suggested close to fifty names and the ones that weren't flat out rejected by my husband were met with a wishy washy, "Ehh, it's okay." Dear husband, on the other hand, has suggested ONE name. That's right! ONE!!! And it's a name he suggested months ago that I said no way because no one would ever guess our child was a pasty, white kid of Irish decent with a name like that. Yet, he continues to submit it for consideration.

Then, this week I suggested two names (two of the original fifty I initially submitted, if you are keeping track like I am). Suddenly, he likes them both. They are now his "top two" as he calls them. Is he trying to drive me crazy?

The thing is, we have months to go. It's not like we need a name right this second. We don't even know the sex or if we are even going to find out the sex....although we need to make that decision pretty soon because that ultrasound is coming up. With both of our other kids we LOVED their names from the get-go. There was not a lot of discussion or deliberation. Both names just were, if that makes sense.

The real kicker is going to be if this child is a girl and we spent all this time negotiating over a name we can't even use.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Coming Soon: Version 3.0

I have been sitting on some news for the past few months and that is we are expecting baby number three in a handful of months. We are obviously very excited and so far our other two children have reacted wonderfully to the news. I have been incredibly ill this pregnancy, but the baby is healthy so that is really all that matters.

Yesterday I went in for a second ultrasound (the first ultrasound 4 weeks ago had a weird fuzzy line across the screen that prevented the doctor from getting a measurement of the head so he wanted to redo it just to make sure). The baby was crazy active: punching, kicking, flipping around all over the place. It was awesome. Everything looked perfect, which I thought was the case, but it is always nice to have that confirmed.

The bad news was that for the second month in a row my blood pressure has been high and yesterday's was really high. This is not normal for me at all. My blood pressure is usually in the ball park of 116/65 to 120/72. I have not had any history of high blood pressure in either of my other pregnancies. A month ago, since it was the first high reading they weren't really that concerned. This week they were. So, I have to go back on Monday and if it is still high they'll have to decide what to do with me (at home bed-rest vs. admitting me to the hospital, both of which will be a disaster).

So, I'm incredibly worried now, which obviously isn't good for my blood pressure. The doctor tells me to go home, rest, take it easy, etc. Uh hello....I have two young kids and my husband works 80 hours a week. Take it easy? Rest? Yeah, right! Nevertheless, I am trying to do just that, knowing that if I can't get my blood pressure down on my own the alternative is not going to be something I like.

On that note, any prayers, good vibes, etc. you can send my way would be appreciated.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What Tiger's Speech Showed About a Mother's Love

I caught a portion of the Tiger Woods mea culpa extravaganza this past Friday. I sort of found his words to be void of any real meaning and his flat affect left me a bit puzzled, but the aspect that resonated most with me was at the end when his mother embraced him. She later made some comment to the effect that she loves and supports her son regardless of his shortcomings.

I'll admit that when I first saw her embrace him with this huge smile I was bothered. I thought to myself, "He cheated and lied and betrayed his wife and kids. What is she still doing hugging him, grinning ear to ear?" It bothered me enough that I chewed on it the rest of the day.

But then it hit me. She's his mother. She likely doesn't condone what he did, she's likely disappointed in his actions, yet she most definitely still loves him. Isn't that the way it should be? I tried to imagine my son 30 years from now making a mistake of that magnitude (I pray to God, he never does) and what my reaction would be. I'd be unbelievably disappointed and he would know this, yet I wouldn't stop loving him or stop supporting and encouraging him.

I think it's easy to love your kids when they are good or successful, but it's just as important to love them when they make mistakes or fail. Love shouldn't be conditional and a mother's love (and a father's) is really one of the last types of loves that truly exemplifies this (or at least should). So, in retrospect when I think of Tiger's mother embracing him it's really quite beautiful and speaks volumes about a mother's love for her son.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Sign That I May Not Be Getting Enough Sleep

Every Thursday I drop my daughter off at gymnastics class and then go and run errands with my son. The class is only 45 minutes long, so they are usually quick, close errands. Today, like every Thursday, I dropped her off and then ran to get gas and pick up something at the store quickly. Next thing I know I was on the street approaching our neighborhood. Without my daughter!

I drive the route home so many times a day that it has become automatic. I rarely even remember getting home, just that I'm there. Suddenly, I realized I was minus a kid. I circled back and got her and was still there with ten minutes to spare, but I'm thinking I may need to start going to bed a little bit earlier.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Drowning in Housework

For the most part I am a pretty organized, "stay on top of it" type of person. This applies to my personal life, professional life, home life, etc. I get things done and I get them done pretty immediately. It's a standard I have pretty much set for myself. While others (bosses, husband, children, etc) hold me to a certain standard it comes no where close to the standard I hold for myself. Therein lies the problem.

I have been letting myself down and while for the most part it isn't that noticeable, it is driving me crazy. For example, I have a pile of laundry as tall as my two year old waiting in the hallway to be folded. I have a floor that hasn't been mopped in a week and bedrooms that haven't been vacuumed in that same amount of time. There are toys and magazines and library books in various spots throughout the house where they don't belong. My husband says he hasn't noticed (although, I know he is lying about the pile of laundry). While I know all these things need to get done I also just simply can't keep up. I feel like I clean one room only as another room is being systematically destroyed. I finish cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast just in time for it to get messy again for lunch and then dinner. I am constantly picking up toys.

These are minor things, I know. They aren't going to keep the world from spinning, but it seriously causes me great anxiety just knowing the house is not the way I like it and it's because I just can't keep up lately. So, I want some suggestions. How do you keep your house in order while keeping a firm grasp on your sanity? Is it possible?