Saturday, December 31, 2011

Half Cookery

Every once in a while for the past several months, I have thought about making some foodie type posts.  So I have pulled out my camera, set up some shots of questionable greatness and began to document some of the things I've made.

And then, as in so many aspects of my life, I get caught up in the actual doing and dealing with children who have *gasp* needs, and I never take a shot of the completed dish.

Oh, there was one exception.  These oven-dried tomatoes?  They were just a fantastic snack that came from the dozens of late blooming tomatoes I grew.

Um, yes, there are quite a few less in the "done" picture.  Odd.  (My mouth is watering right now just thinking about them.)

This is about half the blueberries I scored at the farmer's market last month.  They have become a fabulous jam.

But where the heck is the finished product?  Well, I still have seven unlabeled jars in the cupboard.

This?  This is the start of a fabulous apple pear cranberry sauce that I made at Thanksgiving.

And this is the garlic I roasted for the Thanksgiving mashed potatoes.

I swear that I did finish making everything.  And more!  I am apparently not cut out to be a foodie blogger, though.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Why I Love Her

It's because of little notes like this:
Dearest Shannon, 
Dad and I just watched the girls and they are so beautiful, Dad actually had tears in his eyes. I can't believe how grown they are.  Nana needs an updated pic for my quilt on my bedroom wall.  Shannon, you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and know that I have loved you since the day I met you and now I love your children as I have loved you.  Sending you sugar with tears as I remember how little you were and now see your face in your children.  Love ya bunches,
The wicked step mom who loves you like a mom.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Can You Keep It Straight?

Today my girls and I went to a cookie exchange.  We took cranberry pumpkin bread that I learned how to make because of Bossy Betty.  So yummy.  Especially if you realize you didn't add sugar before popping that last batch of mini loaves into the oven.  *In our oven, the cranberry pumpkin bread (second recipe in that link) took about 34 minutes for four mini loaves.  We're just under the 3000 feet above sea leave mark, so I'm not sure if that's the difference.

To avoid minimize potential problems, I didn't tell Madelyn that it was a cookie exchange or even that cookies would be involved.  I said we were going to see friends.

These friends?  They're from an online mommy group that I just couldn't bust into last year to save my life.  This year?  Not to brag (seriously, I'm just grateful and kind of in awe), but the cookie exchange was changed from yesterday to today so I could go.  I'd only met one of the women in real life before, but it wasn't at her house.  The rest were friends waiting to be made.

As far as Mad was concerned, she was already friends with everybody.

As I pulled her from the car seat, a woman came out to greet us and see if I needed help bringing everything in.  Mad went up to her and said, "Hi, can you call me Rocket?" and then ran into this house we've never been to before.  Went straight in and found the kids in a back room of the house.

Eventually she came back to the front, where another little girl was playing.  Mad walked over and said, "Hi.  I want to be called Rocket.  Can you call me Rocket and keep it straight, please?"

And then I was forced to reveal that Mad's real nickname is The Director.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Inappropriate Baby Babble

In case you find yourself deep in conversation with one Fynnie Fynnie Coco Pop, here is a handy translation guide:

Day-iss = Dog
"Sheesh!" = What a day-iss says

Mmm-poop (also known as Mmm-poopf) = Winnie the Pooh

Guck = Duck (and most other birdlike animals)
"Gack!" = What a guck says, of course

Fynnie doesn't mention Santa by name, but over the past few days she has been telling us what he says.

A week ago, Santa gave a breathy, "Oh!"

This afternoon she told us Santa says, "Oh ha!"

And tonight?  Tonight she insisted that Santa shouts, "Ho!"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tired. Sad. Happy. Eh.

It's been a few days.  No, I didn't skip a word there.  It's been all of them.

Friday marked one year since I removed Corey from our home.  He has lived with my mom this whole time, because the one alternative he's placing his energies in is a bureaucratic mess.

There is not an activity that I do with Tom and the girls that I am not fully aware that my son is missing.

While shopping with my mother-in-law recently we came across some adorable hand-painted ornaments.

"Why don't you pick one out for each of the girls?"

I did.  I did not blame her for not saying, "Why don't you pick one out for each of the kids?"  She does not ignore or disregard Corey.  He does not live at our house.  What sense does it make to get him an ornament for our tree?

It doesn't.  I know it.  Do I always have to make sense?

And again, the fact that he does not live here was a decision I made.  I stand by it as much as I hate it.  He is still, and will always be, my son.  I love him.  I want him to be part of our lives as much possible, and as much as he's able.

He and my mom spend holidays and birthdays with us, with the occasional "just because" day thrown in here and there.  Sometimes she offers to bring him up to see his sisters, but he declines.

It was a little surprising to me how he jumped at the chance to be in a family portrait.  If he weren't there, I'm not sure I could have done it.  A week ago when things were falling apart (pre-vomiting) as we tried to prepare for the photo shoot, I called to tell him I was thinking about scrapping the whole idea.  It was the disappointment in his voice that made me reconsider.

We had our do-over on Saturday morning.  Corey looked fabulous.  The girls were adorable.  For some reason I looked like Marie Osmond, pre-Weight Watchers.  (Ask me if I care.  G'ahead, ask.  No, I don't care.)

Tom, who had obsessed about what I wanted him to wear for the better part of 10 days, showed up wearing the burgundy shirt that was my first choice?


Well then, he definitely wore the black shirt, right?  I mean, everyone else was wearing shades of burgundy or pink and black or khaki, so he did, too.  Right?

Hell no.

Blue.  A blue T-shirt with a gray sweater vest... with a (small) stain on it.  What the hell?!

Since Fynnie and I had gone to get Corey while Tom and Mad went to get new tires, we met up at the photographer's locale about four miles out on unmarked dirt roads.  There wasn't really a chance of him going back to change.  And we're cutting it really close if we're going to use anything from this session for our Christmas cards, so rescheduling was out.

Did I mention that I got my period as we arrived at the photo shoot?  That helped explain the entirely new levels of unreasonable irritation I was inflicting... sharing experiencing that morning.

Our photographer, Gina, is such a relaxed, happy person.  It rubbed off.  We had a lovely time.  A happy time.  The photos look like it, too.  Even though I just knew I'd be annoyed when I saw that blue shirt, it wasn't the first thing I saw.  Not even close.

I saw a family.  My family.  With my husband and my son and my daughters.  Smiling.  At the camera.  We look good.  We look okay.

Could we submit a pose to  Yeah, probably.  One of my favorites does have both guys laying in the dirt.*

We drove away from the photo shoot with a slight change.  Fynn went with Daddy while Madelyn Baby Rocket rode in Mama's car with Brother.

Driving almost four miles on deeply rutted roads eventually caused Mad to stop talking.  Corey asked, "Are you okay, Madelyn?"

"I'm Baby Rocket."

"Are you okay, Baby Rocket?"

"Yes.  I'm just a little shaken."

Not to worry, she likes being a little shaken.

A few minutes later she asked him, "Are you coming home?"


"Are you going to my house, Brother?"


Corey did his best to continue the conversation as he wiped tears from his eyes.

He did end up coming home with us after lunch, where it was almost like old times.  Including the fact that we locked up doors to certain rooms.  Corey went into his old room and brought out the last two boxes of his belongings and took them with him.  There are a few books, his light up tambourine, a baby blanket and a shirt.  Little pieces of him here and there, but he takes more each time he leaves.

Yesterday was uneventful, emotionally.

Today... today was all over the map.

One of my fellow MomShare mamas had her second child, a beautiful little girl.

One of my blogging buddies stood by and waited for her beautiful four month old Elimy to come through open heart surgery.  Everything is going great!

And this evening, I learned that one of my colleagues got the results of a biopsy that was done Friday, after a year of battling two cancers and two days after making it through seven hard weeks of radiation.  One of the cancers is back.  In a bad place for some treatments.

I am spent.

I read most of today's news while nursing Fynnie to sleep tonight.  Crying in the dark for the good and the bad.  Feeling how grateful I am for what I have.

Apparently my emotions were too much for Fynn.  She became restless in that very rare way that means, Please put me down and leave me alone!

I didn't want to, but a mama's got to do what a mama's got to do.  So I put her in the crib and covered her up.  I rested my hands on her belly and told her, "I love you so much and so much."

And my girl, who would rather sleep in someone's arms than all alone any day or night... my girl, who has only slept through the night maybe a dozen times in her life... grabbed my hands and flung them away.  And went to sleep.

I took it as a little "Get over yourself!"  So that's what I'm going to do.  Tomorrow.

Good night, all.  Sleep sweet when you get there.

*If you have my personal email address and you'd like to see the photos, let me know and I'll send you a link.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Hope We'll Be Ready for Our Do-Over

Family photo shoot scheduled for last Friday morning got derailed by two of us projectile vomiting.

And do you know why I am sort of grateful for all of that yuck and goo?  (Well, not for Mad's.  That's just sad.)  Because my eyebrows started growing long.

Not just long.  Curly and long.

And I, style maven that I am (not), decided to trim them myself.

Pawing my way through the beauty supply drawer in my lair bedroom that is pretty much all hair bands of varying sizes, a face file, the crappy nail clippers (what happened to the good ones?!) and a few brushes and combs.

Eyebrow brush?  Not on your life.

Special clippers or scissors or whatever the hell people use to accomplish this task?  Bah.  Ha.  Ha.

Just me, the scissors that Tom recently used for some nefarious purpose that apparently dulled the blades (a fact I didn't realize until trying to trim Mad's bangs last night), my eyebrows-gone-wild and a lot of tension.

What could go wrong?

Yeah, no.  I'm not including any photos.  I suck.  Whatever.

I will say that there are no unruly or long hairs on my face at this moment.

Okay, yes, there might be a shocking lack of hair in the middle of my right brow.  I'm telling myself that people will think I have a cool scar.

It's hard to maintain the delusion, though, when my Nancy saw it and laughed out loud this morning.  She tried to hold it in.  Couldn't.  Kind of loud.  May have created a different type of scar.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Ode To the 10X Mirror

How do I love thee?
Let me count the blackheads,
The white heads,
The stray eyebrows that keep finding their way to my chin.

What kind of a fool leaves for five days and doesn’t take you with?
A hairy she-beast who, three days in, fondles her chin hairs in the manner of old time professors.

Upon returning home, She-Beast will silently call out for you while tending to other important duties.  Like taking a three year old (and herself) to the potty and then through the rest of the world’s fastest bedtime routine, unloading the car and notifying concerned friends and family members that we are all home again, home again, jiggity jig.

But then, oh then, she will steal up the stairs and into her lair, where she’ll search frantically for Grandma’s old tweezers. Finding them, she will push her face into you, beloved 10X mirror and gasp, “What the hell did you do to yourself?!”

Soon all will be well (plucked and squeezed) in her world and she will move onto other important tasks, like paying the mortgage and showering.

The end.

Dear Daughter,

You are adorable.  People smile at you and talk to you and about you as you pass by.  This happens whether we're in the store or you're on the soccer field, where you run with your hands by your face, looking only to the audience to make sure they’re watching you instead of watching the ball, your teammates or opponents. And when you speak, people listen.

So please do not tell the lovely restaurant hostess, “Mommy has to go the potty.  We’re going to the potty.  Me and Mama are gonna use the potty.  Fynnie doesn't use the potty.  I have my potty seat because I don't want to sit on the big one.”

Thank you.

Your onliest mother,


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Conversations and Notes From Vacationland

From the road

*Mad calling Fynnie "Baby" incessantly*
*Fynnie fussing every single freaking time*
Tom: Maybe Fynnie doesn’t want to be called Baby anymore, Big Jet.
Mad: *blowing raspberries* Pshht!  She’s still in the Baby Fynnie seat.


Mad: I have to go potty!
Daddy: We’ll stop at the next off-ramp and find a potty.
Mad: *grunting* I pushed myself and got the poop out.
Mama: *silently laughing in the front passenger seat*
Daddy: Don’t push the poop out.  Hold it in.
Mad, proudly and coolly: I’m holding it in my pants.
I'm happy to report it was not a true statement.


Tom: Do you know what she’s doing now when she helps with laundry?
Me: ?
Tom: She’s turning them inside right.
Me: I taught her that.
*high five*
Tom: Mad, when you’re uh…
Mad: I’m not Madelyn.
Tom: Mad… er… Big Jet… I’m sorry.  Big Jet, when you’re six you’re going to take over doing all the laundry for the family.  How does that sound?
Mad: That sounds fine.


Tom, as we passed a slow, beat up motorhome: Can you be an outlaw and drive an RV? I mean, really, c’mon!


On location
How to stand out in a hip downtown restaurant, the kind that serves cauliflower soup and potato and leek pizzas?  Walk in carrying a potty seat adapter.  Nothing says suave and sophisticated like bright white plastic and a foam cushion with Sesame Street characters.


Chris to Matt, pointing at the device that has just done something unexpected less than two feet from me:  Are you printing something?
Matt, looking slightly confused:  Uh, no.  I guess sometimes it just does that.  Like a test page or something.
Me: Um, actually, I just photocopied my butt.  It'll be printing a while.
Judy, laughing (thank god!):  Just like your father.  I assume she was talking to her sons about me being just like my father-in-law, but she could have been talking to me, too.


Note to self
Stray eyebrows, no tweezers = bad.

Friday, November 25, 2011

In Case You Didn't Know

Per Mad... Big Jeff... Blue Plane... Big Jet Rocket:

"Twice is two times.  Thrice is three times.  Rice is just for eating."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Itchy, Scratchy, Lumpy, Bumpy

In the beginning of allergy shot therapy, there are weekly shots. Four weeks at each level, with increasing amounts of a person's particular allergens. Have a reaction and you are either "held" at that level for an extended time or dropped back to a previous level.

Five weeks into my shots and I am already back where I started.

Last week's Pets and Grass shot caused a reaction. It was pretty much instant. Nothing dangerous.  I never had problems breathing unless I thought about how I should make sure my airway wasn't closing up.

The doctor and nurses had told me that any welt larger than some coin (quarter? silver dollar?) was cause for concern. Yet when I called to say that half my arm was red, itchy, hot and swollen to the point of being painful and that the swelling was causing my hand and elbow joints to ache?

"It's a localized reaction.  Ice it."

"What about the fact that it's still growing more than 24 hours later? Or that it's raised about half an inch?"

*in a tone that clearly indicated I'm overreacting* "It's a localized reaction. Ice it. Can you take Benadryl?"

"I'm nursing."

"Okay, suck it up and deal ice it."

Do you know what kinds of looks people give you if you're walking around with an ice pack under your shirt sleeve at work? Especially when you are in the midst of an important conversation right when you can no longer take the cold, so you wiggle and pop it out the bottom of your shirt?

Monday, November 21, 2011

I Have Always Said...

Madelyn is smart.  Advanced.  Brilliant.

Now I'm being forced to take that back.

Madelyn... er... Mad-A-Girl... em... Mad... *sigh*... none of those work any more.

Oh no, not for my girl.  Try it and her initial response is a giggling, "Madelyn isn't Madelyn.  Madelyn is Bob Dole Rocket."

Did you know I call my daughter by her wrong name at least 15 times an hour?  Who knew?

Rocket is fairly tolerant about the whole thing.  I mean, it took her four whole days to go from laughingly reminding us to telling us through clenched teeth EACH AND EVERY SINGLE FREAKING TIME we slip up.

It's been a week and a day.  And now?

Now she hangs her head in forlorn dejection, clearly wondering if she was adopted or switched at birth.

She is pitiful and we are pathetic.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


What have you done with 2011?

I have wasted spent a lot of hours online this year.  Mostly I've chalked it up to being a good way of multitasking while Fynn nurses.  Sometimes I've been able to step away from the computer knowing that I have just done something that will make a difference.

Late last year I became friends with someone who is more driven than I will ever be.  Her name is Bridget and she's from the same birth board I've mentioned before.  She read a post on the board by a young mama who was receiving assistance, but still couldn't keep her child diapered and fed.  The woman's own relative was taking her daughter's diapers and formula.  In desperation, she had resorted to using maxi pads to diaper her daughter.

Can you imagine?

Bridget looked around and saw the diapers her daughter no longer fit, and the formula that didn't work out as expected.  It's not like Bridget was rolling in dough.  Her husband's work in construction was spotty because of the economy, but she could still help.

She gathered a few of us together and we have worked toward a common dream.  It's called MomShare and it's pretty amazing.

Do you have things your baby or child has outgrown that are just taking up space in your home?

Are you in need of clothes, baby gear or just an amazing group of women who understand what it's like to struggle to meet the needs of your family?

Maybe you fit into both of those categories.  Most of us can help and yet still occasionally need help, too.

MomShare was set up to connect moms in need with moms who have.  We come from all over the country and from all levels of education, life experience and income.

Members have shared coupons, clothes, breast pumps, bottles, cloth diapers, books and our lives.  We started out on BabyCenter, but have been steadily making the switch to our own site, MomShare.

That and many hours of Thousand Island Solitaire, online tabloid reading and sarcastic commenting on other people's blogs is what I've done with 2011.  What about you?

Hide and Seek Isn't Scary

Today Mad and I played hide and seek for the first time.  She asked.  I never would have brought it up.  It was fun!  We laughed and hid and sought and laughed some more.

Sounds normal, right?

Did I mention that I was secretly tense the entire time?  Seriously.

No, I'm not afraid of a three and a half year old jumping out at me.  (Not that she did.  She stalks the hider and can barely contain her laughter when it's her turn to be found.)

Let's go back 15 years, shall we?

Corey was the same age as Mad and we played our first ever game of hide and seek.  He was terrorized by the hiding.  By the seeking.   Thought I had left and wasn't coming back.  Freaked out.  It ended with tears and hugs and confusion.

Looking back, it was the very first sign that things were not as wonderful as I thought they'd been.  We never played again.

I know that the game didn't cause Corey's problems.  I get it.  But I guess I was traumatized by that afternoon, too.

Today Mad and Mama played hide and seek.  Then she played with Daddy.  Then with Mama again.  The only thing that upset her was that it had to end.  That little girl is balm for my soul.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Learning Something (Or Two!) Every Day

In case you were wondering...

The way to ensure that guy from Craigslist will show up on time even though he didn't confirm that he was coming?  Take off your bra.

Living in the desert is so dry!  (You know you wanna ask.)  It's so dry that folding toilet paper in a dark restroom in the dark at say, 2:45 in the morning, will allow you to see the toilet paper light up from static sparking.  And then you get to contemplate wiping.

But wait, there's more!

After asking if you can put someone on hold for a minute so you can dash into the restroom and pee, make sure you only hit the mute button on your cell phone once.  Once.  Or, I guess, three times would work.  Twice will just... well, let's just say that I'm glad it was family and not some employer or teacher I work with.

My work here is done.  Carry on.

Monday, November 07, 2011

What It Takes

Know what it takes to get the fridge sold for $150 on Craigslist?

Girl power.  (And maybe invoking the "I transferred everything from the old one to the new one, so maybe you can clean it so I can take pictures" clause.)

Ahem, yes, I was completely willing to just let the delivery guys pick up the old one.  Or sell it to Edison for a $50 rebate.

Know what it takes to get the guys who are coming to buy said fridge to actually show up?

Bra removal.

Women who work outside the home know what I'm talking about.  Taking off one's bra at the end of a long day is a mini rite of passage.  It says, "I'm done.  Clocked out.  Shuffling around until bedtime is my latest pastime."

It's magic, I tell ya!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Right Now

Fynn is nursing before a nap.

And reading her own bedtime story.

Occasionally she pops off just to exclaim about something she's just read.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Would You Do What I Did?

I haven't spoken to my birth father since 2002 or early 2003.  I don't use the term birth father to indicate that I was adopted.  He and my mother were married when they had me.

I was two or three months old when he met and manhandled someone who immediately had him arrested for said manhandling, but later went on to have two children with him.  They married a few years later and are still together to this day.  She is my beloved Wicked Stepmom (the name she gave herself).  I am her Sweet Pea.

I am 40 years old and I am someone's Sweet Pea.

Birth Father was mostly out of my life from when I was four or five until I was 11.  From what I can gather, it was probably a combination of lack of effort on his part and lack of willingness to deal with any confrontation on my mom's.  Maybe, too, it was fairly common then for children to simply take on the new husband's last name and sweep that other dude under the rug.

He didn't really become part of my life until I was old enough to drive from where we lived, just east of the LA county border to where they lived, just north of the US/Mexico border.

Eventually (right after I moved back to San Diego), he moved their family to the deep south.

He has spent most of his life since then as a truck driver.  Every few months he would find his way to my neck of the woods.  By then, I was divorced.  Corey and I had our own place.  We would go to the truck stop to pick up Papaw and either get a meal out or bring him home.

Corey adored his papaw.  Pretty sure the feeling was mutual.  And I loved having him in my life.  We used to just chat, sometimes for an hour or more.

I had him and I had the father who raised me and life was good.

Birth Father has a long history of problems.  Lying.  Cheating.  Anger.  Never having lived with the man, I never witnessed it, and by the time we had become so close, those stories were in the past.  Troubling, but old.

Then he got caught cheating on my beloved Wicked Stepmom.  Again.  And it had been going on for an extended time.

Over a decade.

I was done.

I don't believe that saying, "You can't choose your family."  I chose the man who raised me.

Birth Father and I never discussed it.  I cut him out and he accepted it.  I just cannot tolerate people who willingly, knowingly hurt others simply to satisfy themselves.  Wicked Stepmom chose to stay for her own reasons, and I credit her with a strength to do something I could not do.

Just last year, at age 62, he was arrested for assaulting at least one family member.  As I've mentioned before, they are the Jerry Springer side of my family, so I never tried to gather all of the details.  Because of the fiasco, I'm pretty sure he was mandated to attend anger management training and counseling.  I can't imagine he would have ever gone otherwise.

Wicked Stepmom and I talk at least a few times a month.  Every once in a while she mentions her hope that I will come around.

Here's how the most recent conversation went:

"Your dad and your brother are emailing.  They seem to be getting along real well."
"I know.  I saw something about that on Facebook."
"Three down and one to go."
"Yes, but it's my understanding that the man is still a rat bastard who has never acknowledged what he's done, nor apologized.  He's never reached out to make amends to anyone.  I choose not to have that sort of person in my life.  I have enough to deal with."

She agreed with me.  It's not like I'm the crazy one who's holding out for no good reason; they all know they're fucking nuts, but they're sticking together anyway.

That conversation was on Monday morning.  The next day I received an email from Birth Dad.  It's not the first one I've received in the last eight or nine years.  He has forwarded religious and political humor emails.  (That is a family trait I hope my kids never pick up!)  Last year when Wicked Stepmom was struggling to send emails with photos, he helped her out and forwarded a few things.  Never any sort of note.  Nothing.

Yesterday's email was a bona fide personal note.  His sister had died the night before.  She'd had a stroke a few years back and never recovered.  He hoped we were well and sent his love to us all.


What am I supposed to do with that?

I cannot believe the emotions it brought up.

Over the past few years, especially as I've heard about his various health conditions, I have wondered how I will feel when he is gone.  It wasn't "how will I feel when he's gone if we don't find a way to reconcile?"  The man has had 63 years of lying, manipulating and bullying.  It's not like he's going to change that much.

Hearing that his sister had died brought that right back.  Made the reality* feel more real.

*I don't understand why people talk about the possibility of death as if there is some alternative.

Not only that, but taking eight or nine years to write those few simple lines says to me that it took some courage.  When it comes to that level of putting oneself out there, I'm a veritable sucker.

I talked with Nance and Tom and asked what they thought about it.  Nance's thought was that it was god working in mysterious ways.  I'm not religious, so there's not a lot I can do with that.

I asked Heather, too.  Of all my friends, she is the most likely to have a situation close enough to feel like she can relate.  She thought I should respond mainly to avoid future drama.  She is from the south, so maybe that makes sense from a Southern perspective.

Personally, I felt like a response was in order.  I don't want to try to out-jerk the jerk, and I cannot otherwise justify not responding.  So I did it.  I could not bring myself to leave the opening that Tom suggested.  However, I did tell him how to find a cache of low quality cell phone videos of the girls, which in some ways seems to have had the same affect.  Two emails have followed.  Not the sort that would necessarily require a response under regular circumstances other than to maybe say thanks.  I'm so far behind on corresponding with people that the thanks wouldn't normally come for another few weeks.

It's hard to know where to go from here.  It's not a place I've been before and I don't see the clear best path.

Once upon a time I did severely limit contact with my oldest brother.  He was going through this druggie/asshole-ish phase that I just couldn't have around my son.  If he called, we always talked.  Sometimes went better than others, but I was never not there for him.  I was pulling for him and held my breath when he started talking about leaving certain friends and activities behind.  My brother didn't ever seem to me like the lost cause that I figured Birth Dad to be.

So I am wondering, would you (at any point) do what I did?  What would you do?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Up High, Down Low, Too Slow!

Today at work I was pinched, grabbed and fondled.

Unfortunately it was in a classroom of severely disabled middle school students.  Looks like I need to get fancier footwork.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Things You Don't Want to Hear

At the allergist's office:
"Well that's weird!"
"You reacted to everything.  Even the water."
"I've never heard of that before!"
"What I'd like to do is to inject you with pure Benadryl to see how you'll react this time.  We'll inject you three times, each time with a higher amount.  And if you live through that, then we can go from there."

At the allergist's office during the Benadryl challenge:
"I've never seen anyone react like that before."
"Do you have a cardiac problem?  Your nail beds are blue.  Probably because it's been so cold.  *touches my hand*  Well, you're not cold at all.  Maybe just mention it the next time you see your GP.  Say, "Some crazy nurse said...""
"That shouldn't happen."
"We have never done anything like this before.  Ever.  You're the first."

At the car dealership again:
"We don't know exactly what's wrong.  You have 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, ,10, 11... 11 codes popping up.  Could just be a glitch.  Probably is."

*In case you were wondering, I am fine.  Somehow I managed to pass the challenge, but it was touch and go for a few minutes there while hives and red patches were measured over time.  Who the heck has a body that fights Benadryl, people?!  That ain't right.  The good news is that the Benadryl helped finally clear up some lingering swollen itchiness from the previous day's screening.

**As far as I know, the half moons of my nails have always been a little bluish.  That crazy nurse has pretty peach colored nail beds.  I'd be kinda jealous except I've always leaned toward cooler tones.  Apparently it's how I was made.

***Let's all send a little rapidly dying energy to my car battery, mm-kay?  I have 9,000 miles left on my extended warranty.  A new battery runs about $8,000.  Having that done under warranty would be a dream come true.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Okay, Seriously

My feet are healing.  Toe maybe not broken after all, although the word mofo still pops up now and again.  Broken blisters are only sore while I'm wearing shoes.

I did sleep weird the other day and got a kink in my neck.  I guess I pretty much asked for that, though, didn't I?

Instead of adding new body parts to a list of complaints, I'll just say I'm really glad I don't have to.

This morning, while driving the girls to Grandma's house, we had issues.  In case you're new around here and don't know, our morning drive goes from an elevated desert over a mountain range pass and down to the bottom of the other side.

It's not exactly treacherous mountain driving, being that each side of the freeway has three to four lanes.  There's enough of a downhill grade to have emergency ramps should one of the thousands of semis that passes through have a brake failure.

I did not have a brake failure.  Even better, I didn't have any trouble while in the pass.  About 10 miles from Grandma's house I heard that beep.  Saw the red triangle with an exclamation point.  Read the message that said, "Stop safely now."

Felt sick.

The last time this happened was a few years back, and my car had just run out of gas.  Today, I had plenty of fuel.  Last time I was only doing about 35 miles per hour; the car died in about 30 feet, complete with a locked up steering wheel.

Today I was driving closer to 75 miles an hour.  In the fast lane of a very fast freeway.

With my girls in the back.

*deep cleansing breath*

I did not attempt to get to the other side.  I made the equally bad decision to pull onto the center divide. 

A call to roadside assistance had someone on there way.  "They'll be there in 80 minutes or less."

"Eighty minutes?  I'm on the center divide with two small children."

I am not a crier, but I could have been.

A CHP officer pulled up, mentioned three times that I was in a very unsafe spot.  (It wasn't just the center divide, I was up against the start of a bridge, where the shoulder narrows.  Every passing carr rocked us.  I could not move forward or back.  Although my car was still running, it wouldn't go.)

He had dispatch call the tow service to see if they could speed things up.  Apparently not.  He came back and asked for my cell number.  Called my cell phone to make sure it was right and then told me he was going back to run a traffic break.  He would call me to let me know when to go.  I was concerned at how fast I could get the car to go.  He went back to his SUV and came back again.  Said another officer would run the break and he would escort me.

Someone on his walkie-talkie asked if I'd turned the car off and then turned it back on.  I had not. 

I tried it.

The triangle of doom was gone.  Replacing the "stop safely now" message was the same old "miles until E."

I do not understand cars.

Apparently I reset the car's computer.  Not that everything was fine, mind you, but it was good enough to make the traffic break work for us.

It was a little surreal being escorted off the freeway by two CHP officers.  Officer Garcia, my knight in shining black and white... whatever SUVs are made of these days... and the officer who ran the break made sure I got into a parking lot near the off-ramp and waved as they drove away.

My car was running fine, so I called my dad and Nance to update them before heading off again.  Got to Dad and Margaret's place only to hear the unmistakable sound of air leaking from a tire.  I had a moment of desperate hope when I wondered if maybe the flattening tire could have caused my earlier dilemma.

I believe my tires are "run flats," meaning I can go a little way before they show the effects of, say, a roofing nail being jammed clear through.  Despite leaking air for at least 10 minutes, the the tire still looked and felt normal.  So I dropped off the girls and had my dad follow me to the dealership.

The examination of my car revealed several problems.  Maybe the missing air filter case clip could be dealt with another time, but that and the rest are being worked on now and for at least one more day.

Thankfully, the problem that brought us to a (metaphorically) screeching halt this morning is covered under the extended warranty we purchased four years ago.  I am about 10,000 miles from the end of that warranty.  Whew!  With the driving I do, it will likely run out by the middle of winter.

Unfortunately, there are a host of "maintenance" issues that are all going to be handled at the same time.

The only estimate I've received so far is that we're at $550.

Plus two new tires.  No, not the one with the roofing nail; they're going to repair that one. 
Tires are a veritable bargain at $330, because it's not just tires.  They're gonna mount, balance and install them.  I may have begun self-medicating with chocolate.

And there may be a deductible for our warranty work. 
There's no deductible, hooray!

I have a theory on why this happened.  Want to hear it?

Last night I worked out our bills for tomorrow and next Friday.  We pay all of our bills ahead of schedule, but had gotten ourselves up tight against the due dates with all of the activities in July and August.  Last night I mentally patted myself on the back as I thought, "By next Friday we'll only have one bill left for the month of October.  Then we can start on Christmas, Tom's mother's retirement gift and a few other things.  As long as nothing happens."

Stupid thought.

Here's another, much better:  Mad, Fynn and I were only delayed.  We They were not frightened or injured.  Even though I will be driving a rental car home tonight, we will all go home together.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So There's This Woman at Work

She's one of the teachers I work with.  Lovely soul.  As Nance kept mentioning the other day, gorgeous eyes.  Kind of scattered.

A few years ago she had surgery on her foot.  A sort of "won't this be great?!?" deal that has resulted in more surgeries.  I'm not even sure if it's been two years or three that she's been hobbling around in some version of a cast and crutches.

She started school late this year because of another surgery.  A different one.

Now she has a cast, crutches and a full plastic and metal stabilizing neck brace.

We wonder what she'll come back with after the holidays.

Today I feel a little bit like her, only without the accessories.

Yesterday morning I met some random woman off the Internet in a park.  At 4:30 in the morning.  To walk.  We walked for what turned out to be about 90 minutes.  (Time flies when you're in the midst of a good conversation.  And apparently the days are shorter than they were when Fynnie was last nursing all night long, so I misjudged when I should head home to clean up for work.)

When I got in the shower, I realized that what I'd thought were a couple blisters on the backs of my ankles were, in fact, no longer blisters.

Lamaze breathing comes in handy for a lot of things, not just popping out kids.  In case you were wondering.

By the time I arrived at work, my legs were a little stiff, but not too bad.  The bigger problem was that I have to wear grown up shoes at work.  (And I recently got the stink eye for wearing flip flops.  Again.  So I left them at home.)

Did you know it's not at all painful to go up two flights of stairs with popped blisters on the back of your ankles?  It's because the ankles angle away from the shoes.  In fact, if I could have gotten to my desk strictly by going upstairs, I would have done it.

Instead, I hobbled along the upper floor of my building, gradually turning my toes inward.  Did that help?  Not really, but for some reason I kept doing it.

Also, for unknown reasons, I realized I was hunching over.

The only thing that made it even more fun to watch was when I realized I'd drank too much water, coffee and lemonade and needed to dash to the bathroom.  My version of a dash, included pigeon toes, a hunched back and a lot of Kegels.

Have I ever mentioned that I have some sort of muscular connection between the Kegel muscles and my eyelids?  It must be true.  That's the only explanation I can come up with for the fact that my eyes get this surprised look if I'm doing them right.

So, to recap, yesterday I was pigeon toed, hunched over, rhythmically shocked, bloated, itchy, sneezing, dripping (from my nose, people!) and practicing my Lamaze breathing.  What could be better?

Today I accidentally kicked a little wooden wagon that the girls have for their blocks.  It was more like walking into the corner of it, but only with the second to last toe.

I think I broke my toe.  It's swollen, gray and purple and hurts like a mofo if I try to point or flex my foot.  Which is something I apparently do ALL. THE. TIME.  And it's not that shooting pain that stops when you stop.  It lingers.

Between the toe, the broken blisters and the sore muscles from yesterday's long walk, I am not a huge fan of living in a two storey house right now.

Tom and I discussed it this afternoon, and I decided to tape my toes together.  Only, we have no clue where the medical tape is right now, so I used dark gray electrical tape.  Highs and lows, people.  It is easier to walk, but pinches a little and has become covered in white dog hair.

The thought of shoes is enough to make me break out in a sweat.  One of our Chinese girls accidentally left a pair of slip on sandals that are my size.  Sure, they're a sort of neon salmon plastic.  What?  I'll just wear all black tomorrow and have them be my pop of color.

So now that I've got the feet covered, on to the neck!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Oh, No She Di-en't

Oh, yes I did!

Wait, what?  You don't know?  Oh this is big deal stuff, peeps.  Let me lay the foundation for ya.

*I am dealing with an especially bad "girl time" right now.
*I am bloated, cranky and craving butter.
*My allergies are beyond manageable.  (I know, because I've broken down and taken meds the past few days.)
*I am sneezing, dripping, and itching.
*My eyes are swollen (no, not the skin around my eyes... I mean my eyes) and red.
*Eyelids are puffy.
*Head feels like it's going to explode.
*My ears are plugged.
*Sinuses periodically stop dripping long enough make my face hurt with the congestion.

Even better, I was so wiped out yesterday that I went to bed at 8:15 last night.  Naturally, that means I have been up since 3:30 this morning.  When I was finally tired enough to go back to bed, Fynn gave me three solid minutes to get comfy before letting me know she was up.  So I'm also tired.

And my hair is scraped back into a ponytail-ish bun thing.  But with three inches of brown and gray(!!!) frizz poking out everywhere.

On the other hand, my girls are adorable.  Mad has two of those ponytail-ish bun things in a style that we call her Mickey Mouse ears.

Fynnie had a little clip to keep hair out of her face.

Cute clothes for both of them.

And... I took them to breakfast this morning.

Alone.  (Tom has tennis on Sunday mornings.)

In a restaurant.

Mad is always asking if we can go in and eat whenever we pass Farmer Boys.  So today, we did.

I told the cashier that it was my first time bringing them on my own and asked her to please wish me luck.  When she realized I was splitting a plate between the girls, she made a note of it.

They each had a plate with a pancake, a strip of bacon and a cup of fruit.

They ate.

They behaved.

Any spills that happened were not from hopping around and banging into things.

There was no shrieking.

No incessant requests to go use the potty.

Even more impressive, I got to eat.

And we finished at the same time!

I picked a few pieces of food up off the floor and wiped down the area where Fynnie sat and we were out the door.

People smiled as we left.  (And not because they were so relieved that we were finally leaving.)

And the angels sang, "La haaaaa!"

Friday, September 16, 2011

Does It Make You Want to Kiss Me On the Mouth, Too?

Or we could call this, "Reason #675 Why She Shouldn't Be Forced to Endure Meetings That Other People Use In Place of Therapy"

Her:  "Blah blah blah wah wah wah *snort*"

Me:  "Or maybe since you are a full-grown woman, you could actually do it yourself."

(Two people later said they could have kissed me on the mouth for that.  One of them was not my boss, who was sitting right next to me, however.)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Vacating, part two

More fun from our time away last month.

On our second day, we got to meet up with a the family of a wonderful friend I made through my birth board.  Janette and her husband have twin sons, Charlie and Sam.  Madelyn, who was going through a please let us be a phase of shrieking "Sister!" did not spare Charlie and Sam.  It is now how we refer to them.

Fynnie loved them.  Couldn't get enough!  And if someone happened to, you know, touch her?  Fabulous.

Later that evening we went to a park near the home of my brother-in-law and his fiancee.  It was like the United Nations park.  From what I saw and heard, I think there was a very good chance we were the only people born in America.  A huge group of Africans played soccer, while their children played with Mad.  We saw people dressed in traditional garb from at least three places in Asia.  It was beautiful.

 Fynnie contemplates her earlier meltdowns after seeing children from many nations come together for fun and frivolity.

Oh, wait.  I'm pretty sure these women are originally from here.  They were very patient and tolerant when Madelyn decided to join their game of bocce ball.  They even let her throw the ball.
Sticking with a theme that lasted from the start of our vacation until after our Chinese exchange students (more on them later!) left, Mad melted down when she was forced to realize that we don't actually know these bocce ball playing people do something that was outside her master plan.

The next morning before we left, Uncle Matt made the most amazing banana berry oatmeal.  Mad would have loved it.  If Uncle Matt hadn't given her some of the homemade peach ice cream he and Sarah had made the night before, she might have tried it.
In a pure sign of brotherly love, Matt and Sarah let us crash at their new place.  By new, I mean the movers arrived from Boston with their belongings about 30 hours before we showed up.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011


This is about 20 minutes from my home.  When I say I live in the middle of nowhere, this is what I mean.
It's a Joshua Tree, in case you were wondering.  They are protected.  If one were to suddenly pop up in our yard, we would have to keep it.  To me, they are straight out of Dr. Seuss.

 These hills and trees are a memory from my childhood.

My parents had a motorhome.  My sister and I got the bunk beds in the back.  Sometimes I would wake up in the morning, look out the window and see these deep green trees and the wheat-colored grass.  It was when I fell in love with the earth.

This is the face of a bribed child.  She did not scream or otherwise cause complete strangers to come to her rescue at any of the restroom breaks.
The same could not be said two days earlier at a potty pit stop (her first time using a public toilet) at my office. 

Making time to meet up with a friend and her family in Monterey?  Freaking brilliant.  (I mean my friend, Bridgie, is brilliant.  I haven't asked if I can post photos of B and her gorgeous family, so you'll have to imagine the cutest baby girl with a round, barely blonde head, deliciously full cheekies and big blue eyes.  Look where she had us meet her!)
Clear and total resemblance.

Fynnie's interpretation of the sign and her sister.   
Or pretend sharing.  You know she doesn't really intend for you to take it, right?  Whew! 

This slide is about two stories high.

 The best way to work off an eight hours car ride.

 Again, Fynnie's version.
The outfit, in case you are wondering, consisted of a sunsuit that was perfect for the 96 degree weather we'd enjoyed earlier in the day.  Completely mismatched pants and sweater?  Mama's last minute "what if" pieces that came in handy for the 64 degree afternoon in Monterey.  Too bad it wasn't "What if Fynnie would like to have stylish photos of her infancy?" 

Somebody get this girl a teddy bear!

Doing her best Sheena Easton (seriously, is that how you remember her?).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Stupid Things I Say

Me:  "I want to be Hasidic and grow those curly things." *making curlicue gestures near the sides of my face*
Tom:  "I could grow a beard."
Me:  "With the change of life coming my way, so could I.  It's gonna be great!"
Tom: *nervous laughter and quick glances between the road and me*


Me to me:  "Note to self:  Dipshit, not shithead.  Wait!  Calling your beloved niece either one of those to her mom isn't going to be better, even if there was an ultimately eloquent point you were trying to make."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Have You Been Sitting on the Edge of Your Seat, Too?

Last week Mad had her EEG.  The instructions were clear and simple:  Wake her up no later than 6:00 A.M. and bring her with clean hair.

Madelyn is a morning person.  Six o'clock would be like getting up 15-30 minutes earlier than she does on her own.

We kept her up about 90 minutes later than usual and then woke her up around 3:45 to go with Daddy to Grandma's.  (Hey, it said she had to get up early, not me!)  And right after Tom called to say he would grab Madelyn before her appointment (I was running late... it was a crazier morning with just one than with two!), I called Margaret and asked her to please wash Mad's hair.

Once upon a time, my life was under control.

Only one parent was allowed in for the procedure, which would have been nice to know since Tom took half a day off work to be there.  The tech instructed that it should be the parent who could be the firmest.  I waited for Tom to grandly acknowledge my rightful position, but he just looked at me blankly.  I said, very tactfully (for once), "I think that's probably me."  He nodded.  I went.

The technician, Mary, and her trainee were gentle and friendly, lovely.  I was given a mirror to hold so Madelyn could watch all the scalp cleaning, followed by gooping her up, adding electrodes and covering them with gauze.

Mary praised Mad's ability to follow directions at such a young age and talked soothingly to Mad and me about relaxing.  I wonder how many more times in her life I'll get to watch her fall asleep.  Not many, probably.  It was beautiful and fast and completely unlike trying to get her to nap today.  Within five minutes of the test starting, Mad was out.  Just in time, because my arm was starting to tingle from holding her hands (both a soothing and a don't-touch-that technique).

I watched the screen the same way expectant fathers watch contraction monitors.  I saw the standard brainwaves and I saw some enormous spikes.  Once I saw very low waves.

Mary occasionally made marks on the screen that I couldn't read even with glasses.  Sometimes for the large spikes, but occasionally for what seemed like time intervals.  (There wasn't a clock in the room, so this is just a guess.)  As the 20 minute test was wrapping up, she remarked that our doctor is highly skilled and efficient, and the only person to read ped results.  I was pretty sure it was her secret code for telling me we'd be coming back to see him (instead of getting a call or email).  Not too soon, though, because he was on vacation until the 15th.  She suggested I call or email him to let him know the test had been done anyway.

Not seeing the rush, I waited to send my email until Wednesday morning.

I received a reply a few hours later.  From the doctor.  Who was "stuck in London," but promised to read the report right away upon his return.

Dude, I think tears welled up in my eyes again just from the memory.

This morning I opened my email to find another e-missive.  The results.  Three days before he returns from his vacation.  Yes, I wonder how long it would have taken to get results if we hadn't switched insurance companies, too.

Yes, she had spikes.  If Mad ever does have a seizure, or unprovoked fainting spell we'll need to medicate.

I responded right away to clarify... and yes, the over-excitement and cold ice cream combo counts as a provocation that negates the need for medication at this time.

It's not exactly the clean bill of health we would have loved to get, but it's enough for now.

Tom and I figured these brain spikes could be a factor in Mad's brilliance.  And then we turned relief into ridiculous by arguing about discussing which one of us might have contributed this awesome brain activity.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Happy Birthday, Fynnie Fynn

For the big things and the little
For the laughter and tears
For the love and the heartache
For the long nights and short mornings
For the whole year through
I Love You

~ Mama

Friday, August 05, 2011

Translation, Please!

We have been enjoying the company of two very lovely young ladies from China for the past few days.  They arrived Tuesday evening.  It has been fun, and kind of nerve-wracking, to watch them experience our foods for the first time (nerve-wracking because of the vastly different cultural approaches to eating and to being a guest or host.  I want them to like everything or feel free to say they don't.).  It's not often someone will say to you, "I have never seen anything like this" and be talking about cheddar cheese. 

Wednesday night was their welcome party.  Our girls, as I've taken to calling them, were surprised to find that the party was going to be at a park.  The evening was full of cooler weather and minimal wind (double hooray!), good food and fun games.  During a rare quiet moment, Katrina smiled at me and said words no one wants to hear.  Ever.

"Your husband must have been very handsome when he was much younger."

Okay, I might have giggled a little when I agreed that he was very handsome when he was much younger, but she continued.

"You too. I saw pictures of you on the wall and you were very beautiful when you were younger."

At least she recognized that it's me in those photos.  When we pulled them out, Mad looked at them and pointed out her daddy.  I pointed at my own picture and asked her, "Who's that?"
"Um, a friend."

Thursday, August 04, 2011

I Feel So Popular!

Emms over at 3hearts2hold1love invited me to participate in the 7 Links challenge.

To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long gone, but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again.

1) Blogger is nominated to take part.

2) Blogger publishes his/her 7 links on his/her blog – 1 link for each category.

3) Blogger nominates up to 5 more bloggers to take part.  (I will just say straight out that Bossy Betty would be on my list of nominees, but she refuses to participate in such frivolity.  I, on the other hand started smiling and waving to the crowd Mad and Fynn as though I just won Miss America as soon as I saw that Emms nominated me.  I would also include Heather at The Baby Sucks, but her blogs is mainly in pictures, not words.)

4) These bloggers publish their 7 links and nominate another 5 more bloggers.

5) And so it goes on!

6) We’ll be sharing the best posts from participating bloggers on our blog and everyday on Facebook and Twitter at #My7Links

Most Beautiful 
Although I'm still slightly irked at how some of the photos look washed out on this post, I love it.  It's my first and still only Christmas Letter.
Most Popular 
Fynn's Birth Story, As Told By Mama   
Most Controversial
This post didn't inspire any negative remarks, but it certainly could have.  It was just over two years later that I really did reach "done."  The eight months since then have been many things, most recently they've been exceedingly painful, sad and aggravating.  So, not exactly onward and upward, but continuing.  
Most Helpful 
I participated in The Mother Letter Project.  This is what I wrote.  Who knows if it was helpful for anyone else, but it helped me to put these things down, and to grieve for the differences between Corey and Madelyn.  
Surprise Success 
This has been hanging around (*sigh*, bad puns suck) my popular posts for quite some time now.  
Not Enough Attention 
This was the second post I made after a five year hiatus from blogging (after the obligatory, "gee, guess I'd better get back to this" drivel... I find those posts annoying, frankly, because so few people stick with it after such an announcement).  So my zero followers never read way too much about my nipples, but now you can.  Yes, I'm a giver.  You're welcome. 
Most Proud 
It's long, but it makes the point I was aiming for, and it inspired the longest single comment in the history of my blog.  I thought maybe I was the only one to write short response novels, but apparently not.
I nominate: 
Beth at Anti-Supermom
Noelle at Because Nice Matters  (I figure it may take a moment for her to get to this since she is off having her daughter AS I TYPE.)
Janelle at Renegade Mothering
And Amy Sue at MyHappyCrazyLife

Saturday, July 23, 2011

On Sharing

When Madelyn was a wee bebe, I had some difficulties sharing food with her.  It wasn't an issue with Corey.  I don't know why exactly. 

Okay, I have some theories:
*I was extremely stressed by Mad's start in life.  It blindsided me and affected how I made decisions for several months.
*When Corey was a toddler, I gained about 35 pounds on the "toddler diet."  That's the one where Mama makes a meal for herself and the kidlet, eats hers and finishes his.  Brilliant.

I've been much more relaxed about sharing food and drink (I pretty much only drink water when we're together) with Fynnie.  Still not eating hers, but totally fine letting her share mine.

I have this really cute water bottle that is clear with a periwinkle lid.  (Periwinkle was the color at my wedding, people... this stuff is important!)  It is with me almost constantly.

Did you know that light shines through a clear plastic bottle with a periwinkle lid?

Did you also know that letting your nursing daughter sit up and take a sip in of water in a dark room with the computer on before you will illuminate exactly what happens when said nursing daughter lets water flow in and out of her mouth.  In and out of your cup?

Fricken slo-mo science video reel before my very eyes.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Home. Friends.

This is the post I almost believed I'd never write.

Sorry I've been getting so far behind on reading blogs.  I have been busy.  Making friends.  Smiling.  Laughing.  Planning.  Happy.

That mommy group I could never meet up with for activities?

I've been meeting.  I've been active.

In the past three weeks I have:

Learned to make and can jalapeno jelly and strawberry jam.  Turns out it's so much easier than I would have guessed.  And fun.

Ordered tutus from one of mommies for the girls for Fynnie's birthday party.  Mad's will be pink, yellow and purple.  Here's a (blurry) picture of Fynnie's that I snagged.
The blue piece in the center above the bow is a flower for her hair.

Taken a belly dancing class.  There was another one this morning, but I couldn't make it.  I'll catch the next one.  It was fun and a good workout.  Made even better by the fact that I had Fynnie strapped to my body during the whole thing.  Madelyn?  She was busy playing with the other kids or running over to try out our moves.  Oh!  And remember that one miserable trip to the breastfeeding support group when Fynnie was a couple weeks old?  Remember the mama who gave me the blow-by-blow of the last 11 weeks of her pregnancy, labor, delivery, recovery and the status of her relationships with the medical staff at the hospital where all this happened? She was there.  She's been my Facebook friend for a few weeks, but I didn't know until she walked in and started talking.  And talking.  She struck me as nervous (I don't think any of us had met before, except for me and the host... who'd been at the canning party).  I think that 11 months ago she must have really been (understandably) traumatized by the circumstances of her daughter's entree.  And I have to say that I kind of like her.

Supported a mom's endeavors to avoid having her son selling discount cards at the grocery store.  I bought four of them and, along with all the discounts, was thrilled to get a 20 minute photo shoot for my girls.

The girls and I met again with the photographer mama and her girls.  At the mall.  For pretzels and lemonade and to get my CD of photos, but we hung out for almost an hour.  We may start getting together to walk in the mornings.

Applied to host a couple of young women from China for about two and a half weeks.  I think we're in.  They arrive on the second.

Tomorrow I'm hosting a canning "party" of my own.  All I did last time was cut up some strawberries and jalapenos and then fill up and label a few jars.  Neither of the women who are coming tomorrow were at the last event, so I'll be the "knowledgeable" person.  Bahaha!  One of the ladies who is coming is the same one we were able to help out a month or so ago.  The other one is just coming because she's interested.

I've still been going to the gym regularly with my pal, Jennifer.  I did miss two weeks because we were fighting off sinusitis.  Yuck.

And aside from all of the fun and frivolity, there have also been trips with the girls to the local farmer's market and the farmer's market from a neighboring town.  Tom and I took Mad to a cooking class the other night (more on that later).  We're getting out more.  And "out" no longer means just the grocery store or the park.
Tom, Madelyn and I painted that orange wall.  It looks great.  Tom's very happy.  Making such a bold statement started off as just following through on one of our "some day" conversations.  But as the girls and I went to choose the paint, it occurred to me:  Making this dramatic change is akin to transforming our house into a home, something that stalled out a couple of months after we moved in.  (It has also led to a discovery:  If one paints a wall, the first thing one does is stand back and appreciate the new color.  The second is to notice that the other side of the wall really needs to be painted, too.   Still no decisions regarding the niche, but we'll get there.  Maybe I'll ask the ladies tomorrow what they think.)

Oh, what's that?  You want to see pictures from the photo shoot?  Did you think I'd pass up a chance to share my sweet girls?  Feel free to check out the rest of the pictures here.

Mad and Other New Frog

Fynnie Fynn getting ready to crawl away

Could she be any cuter?  No, but does anyone else see that look in her eyes?  The one that says, "Hey, I wonder what your shoulder tastes like!  Mama's tastes great and she makes this awesome sound every time I bite her.  Will you make a sound?

Doesn't she look sweet?  Our photographer friend is amazing.  This shot was taken while Mad was doing the most hilarious slo-mo roll around the floor, arms and legs up in the air.  It reminded me of some old SNL episodes with Molly Shannon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

News of My World

Doesn't involve any hacking, sneaking or listening in on other people's conversations.  But there's a lot to share!

We are feeling increasingly more pleased with our decision to switch to Kaiser.  We met the girls' pediatrician last week and Mad's neurologist today. Every medical professional we've encountered greets us and then tells us why we're there.  Because they've read our file.  Doc walked in this morning and said, "So you're here about the incident in April."

Yes, that was my jaw hitting the floor.

Moreover, he really listened to what we were saying.  We discussed Mad's fall in 2009.  Unlike the neuro we met back then, at no time did our new doc try to insist that Mad had a seizure and then fell.  He listened.  We laid out everything.

Two women in Tom's family have a history of seizures.  Teen onset, lasting through early adulthood.

Mad fell.  Knocked herself out.  Came to.  Went out again.  Had an EEG that showed some minor activity that our old ped, Dr. Present, said could result in a seizure disorder later or could be nothing.

At the birthday party in April, Mad was extremely excited.  By the singing.  Her first candle to blow out.  The frog cupcake.  The ice cream that she was eating way too fast.

She seemed to have a brain freeze followed by a seizure.  But she came to and was her normal self (albeit upset) in a matter of seconds.

What did all of that mean to our new neurologist?

Mad fainted.

Apparently some people are susceptible to vasovagal episodes.  And do you know what can cause them?  I am not joking when I say being excited and eating something cold.

Yes, that was me breathing a huge sigh of relief.

Fortunately, Doc is going to redo the EEG to be on the safe side.  Again unlike the previous neuro, New Doc does not advocate using heavy duty meds to prevent something that may or may not happen.  So if it turns out she is at risk for developing seizures, we will wait to treat them if they show up.

He said Mad seems perfect.  Developmentally appropriate.  Smart.  Pretty (he did say that, but not as part of his diagnosis).

So next up will be an EEG.  Unlike two years ago, Mad isn't likely to fall asleep anywhere we put her (not that she did then), so she'll probably have to be put under for it.  That's our least favorite part of the whole thing, but we'll take it to get the answers we need.
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