Friday, September 24, 2010

Uh Oh, Here Comes Politics

Many of you probably have gleaned that I majored in history/political science in college.  Well, maybe not.  Regardless, I did.  But I rarely talk politics on my blog... well, I rarely talk politics beyond my kitchen table for that matter.  Why?  Well, largely for the same reason that I eschew the topic of religion: chiefly, that I don't really feel like there's a whole lot to be gained from standing on a soap box and orating about anything.  People have strong opinions about both religion and politics and I'm certainly not going to change any minds - I'll just rile those people up whose minds are too closed for them to entertain the possibility of disagreement and if people agree with me, then I've wasted my time anyway. 

So, my blog is, for the most part, devoid of serious discussion about politics and religion. 

Except for today.  I'm talking a little politics.  Well, maybe mostly history, but a little politics (and no religion!) will make their way into it.  It's not a Democrat/Republican kinda thing or a this-guy/that-guy kinda thing... it's just a let's stop and think kinda thing.

I came, recently, across a quote in a newspaper article that I found particularly poignant.  It came with a story about President Grover Cleveland (1885-89 & 1893-97) and how he vetoed a bill requiring that tax-payer money be spent to hand out seed to farmers in Texas during a terrible drought.  This is what he said in defense of his (seemingly heartless) decision:

      "I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit.  A prevalent tendency to disregard the limited mission of this power and duty should, I think, be steadfastly resisted...
       The friendliness and charity of our countrymen can always be relied upon to relieve their fellow-citizens in misfortune.  This has been repeatedly and quite lately demonstrated.  Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood."


See, Cleveland wasn't biased against Texans or farmers.  He didn't want to see them struggle and suffer.  But he knew that it was not the federal government's responsibility to bail them - or any other ailing group of individuals in America - out of trouble according to the Constitution.  It is our responsibility to help one another

It is not any one person or party at fault for where we are as Americans.  It is Americans' fault that we are where we are.  We are at fault for expecting government to do for us what we should be doing for one another.  It has become an expectation that Washington solve all problems for us, while we resolutely blame that same entity for solutions that do not work.  And yet, all the while, while we try to figure out whom should be held responsible, we are derelict in our simple duty of extending helping hands to our struggling neighbors. 

I wish that elected officials would scale back their role in our lives, restricting their influence to that which is granted by the Constitution, and I wish that we all would become more proactive in solving our problems as a community in this great nation.

We're good.  It's out of my system.  I'll be back to talking about poop in my next post - promise!

Friday's Here!

I tried to stay away.  I told myself I'd come up with something original and inspiring for you, but the questions were just irresistible... you'll see!  Enjoy!

1. If you could speak with a different accent, what would it be?

I'm not sure I care... I just wish I had SOMETHING.  I'm from Colorado and that means I'm essentially a blank slate.  I pick up accents everywhere I live and end up sounding like... well, mud.  I've got a New York/Charleston/Virginia/Tennessee thing going on and it's not pretty.  I'd like just SOMETHING.  I'd settle for Tennessee, because, ya know, I live here and it'd make me fit in a little better.  I force some "yall"s out when I'm talking to people but it sounds pretty fake when it's on the heels of me talking about some "schmuck", ya know?

2. Can you fall asleep anywhere?

This wasn't a skill I possessed all my life.  Sleep deprivation in college helped a LOT - I found I could fall asleep sitting in a chair next to the professor in a 4-person seminar.  THAT is skill.  Following that, being pregnant with Jack and working at a high-pressure law-firm, I found that the only way to get through a day was to spend my lunch break sleeping in the trunk of my Prius in the parking garage.  I don't get enough sleep - ever - so I have adapted to get it when and where I can.  It's useful.

3. Do you use public restrooms?

Psh, of course.  I aint skrrrrrd.  I even sit.  I mean, I'll wipe off some pee if it's splattered on the seat, but I figure if my butt cheeks get germy, that's too bad.  They go right back in my pants and I put the pants in my washer.  Or they put new germs on my toilet seat, but I clean those constantly.  I even pee in porta-potties.  I hate being full of pee and any grodiness is totally worth it to me to get rid of it. Seriously.  I'm also not afraid or ashamed of squatting behind some bushes.  I was born, apparently, with some very easy-going buttcheeks.

4. Stuck in an elevator with a celebrity for 24 hours?

I'm wickedly claustrophobic so I'm going to go with that guy that can escape from anything... You know.  Him.  I'd do just about anything to him to ensure that he'd let me out once he escaped.  I'm guessing, though, that's against the spirit of the question, so I'll go with Tina Fey because she is my freaking idol.  So funny.  So cute.  So awesome.  But to  make me feel better, can we make it a very large elevator?

5. Where did you and your significant other go on your first date?

Aw, ready for some cuteness?  I have a story for ya.  Once upon a time, there was a Melis and there was a Justin.  They were freshman at the same school, in the same Engineering class. Justin was in Navy ROTC and Melis was in Air Force ROTC.  She had noticed how handsome Justin was, and, even though she had multiple boyfriends at the time, she couldn't help the fact that Justin took her breath away.  Truly.  She had been hoping for weeks just to talk to him.  They had a ball coming up - the annual Tri-Military ROTC Ball - and Melis had turned down three date offers for the night (knowing that it was mandatory to have a date) hoping and praying that Justin, the guy she'd not spoken to in her life, would ask her.  In desperation, Melis called Justin one day, stammering on the phone like an idiot because in her (uncharacteristically un-suave) panic she forgot his name momentarily.  She asked him something lame about homework.  He replied something smart-assed.  It was mortifying but it ended with Justin asking Melis to the ball and Melis doing a crazed happy dance.

On the evening of the Ball, Melis dressed to the nines with a stomach full of butterflies on speed.  Justin was in his uniform and beyond handsome.  The evening was perfect... And the best part?  No kissing.  No hand-holding.  Just good, old-fashioned chivalry.  Total romance.  Melis and Justin were growing something incredible and weren't sure what or how but they did not want to rush into anything and instead spent months enjoying those drugged butterflies flitting around in their bellies, delighting in each new step and each new sensation and gave their roots plenty of time to grow deep and entwined.

One of these days, if you ask me nicely, I'll continue the story.  It's ADORABLE.

Sigh.  Loved that question! Thanks, Mama M.!  Head over her way to participate your own self! (See?  Working on the "Southern" thing here.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Collection of Random Thoughts...

I don't really have the brain power today (any day?) to form a coherent, well-organized post.  So you get some random thoughts, brain-vomit-style. 

*I can't ever seem to find either of my two hair-ties.  I don't ever think to purchase more, so I reuse the same two and if I lose them, I'm toast.  In desperation this morning, I resorted to using the twist-tie from my bread bag to tame my hair.  That's sad.  (But I like how loosely it holds my hair - the result is a very wispy-looking style... hm....)

*I moved the girls into booster seats at the table instead of their high chairs.  It's really nice to have all of us sitting at the table for meals.

*Jordan and Addie started talking much earlier than Jack, saying their first words at 9 months, and now at 16 months, they've got quite an adorable vocabulary.  Addie's is mostly food-related and Jordan is much more social.  She calls everyone in the family by name, including the Baby in my "pat pat" (her word for stomach, thanks to Disney's Little Einsteins TV show).  I love listening to them chatter and learn from one another.  They also seem to learn from Jack to an absolutely absurd extent.  I wonder if having him around doesn't have more to do with their advanced speech (relative to his at the same age) than anything else.

*I haven't been feeling too terrible lately, thanks to that awesome 2nd trimester.  The only thing I'm dealing with is a weird symptom - heart palpitations that make my heart race and beat irregularly to where I get short of breath and slightly dizzy.  It's pretty disquieting, but I'm dealing with it.  This pregnancy is so funny to me; with Jack, I couldn't WAIT to start showing and move into maternity clothes and I was so bummed that even at 6 months, I wasn't really looking pregnant (just "fat" as my MIL delicately put it).  With the twins, I resisted maternity clothes as long as possible, wearing Bella Bands and yoga pants and maxi-dresses as long as humanly possible, even to the point of discomfort.  With this one, I threw my hands up in the air around 11 weeks when my pants started - started! - to feel tight and moved into mostly maternity stuff, even though it's much too big.  At this point in my life, comfort is so much more important than being able to tell myself I'm still wearing my size 4 Lucky's (albeit unbuttoned and glued to my body by an elastic sleeve) or feeling like it's any kind of victory to do so.  Shoot. 

*Yesterday, when I picked Jack up from school, his classmate's mom was there with her 10 day old infant.  I was chatting with her when big brother came out and proudly showed off his new baby brother to Jack - it was so adorable!  Jack regarded the new baby and turned to me and smacked my stomach and said to his friend, "Here's MY baby brother!" (We have no idea if it's a boy/girl.) and stormed off.  Later in the car, he asked if we could take the baby out to show his friends.   When I told him that he could show off Addie and Jordan, he said, "They're not babies anymore.  They're big now."  My eyes overflowed because he's right. 

*Jordan is a total dare-devil.  She jumped off my bed the other night and smashed her face on the floor, giving herself rug burn on her nose.  She scales chairs and cabinets and has figured out to cart Jack's step-stool around to reach more stuff.  The other day, I visited the bathroom and came out to find that she had put the stool ON the sofa and was standing on it, getting ready to dive over the arm of the couch.  Luckily I caught her, but all she did was giggle.  She got a bloody nose by chasing after Jack and losing her footing.  It's not uncommon to find her swinging from door knobs or pouncing on her siblings (and Daddy!) like a rabid cat.

*Addison is sweet and calm unless there's any kind of music involved and then she starts to sing and dance.  Its too funny to see her wiggling her hips or shimmying her shoulders to a hymn during Mass.  She'll break it down in the grocery store or bop her head around in her car seat.  I love it - she is so adorable with it.  If she wants to dance and there's no music around, she'll make up a little song and sing to herself so she can dance.  I love her.

*Jack loves his "big white school" - and I couldn't be more thrilled that he's fitting in so well at his new place.  I'm a little bummed that we're going to be moving farther away from it, but we'll keep going, even if it's a longer drive.  He is super excited about the idea of building a house; he never really got attached to this one. In all the houses we've looked at, Jack has been sure to pick out his bedroom and where the train table will go, as well as where the babies and the new baby will sleep.  I try not to get too offended when he picks a closet for Mommy and Daddy's room... He loves to look at floor plans and he delights in exploring construction sites.  I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to making a place that is truly ours - and giving him a place of his very own where he can pick out a color for his room and where he can feel ownership over every bit of his home.  I think it's going to be a fabulous adventure for all of us, but for him, I can't even count all the benefits. 

*The littles are up and rambunctious so I'm going to go color and play hide and seek!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Five Question Friday

Sick babies and a migraine yesterday derailed my Back2Blogging crap because I ended up going Back2Bed thanks to some Benedryl (for the kids).  So, instead of continuing on to the last day, which requires too much thought and insight, I'm opting for Mama M.'s Five Question Friday instead.  I just wanted a lighter, easier morning of blogging.

So, here we go:

1. What is the 1st nightmare you remember?

Easy.  Peasy. It still haunts me.  I was probably about 5 and I had a fever from some kind of illness and I remember dreaming that the basement level of our house had become Hell - complete with fire and eerie laughter and pitchfork carrying... Cabbage Patch Dolls?  Yes.  My Cabbage Patch Dolls had become demonic rulers of Hell and I was, for some reason, incapable of stopping myself from descending the stairs straight into their firey clutches.  I think I woke up shortly before they actually grabbed me, or my mom woke me up because I was screaming, but I vividly recall the way the fever made me feel hot and how it made the dream seem more real - I also remember feeling my body throb and it seeming like the devilish music the Dolls were swaying to was actually something I could hear.   Ugh - it was terrible.  I HATE fever dreams and I will NEVER own or allow another Cabbage Patch Doll into my house.

2. Favorite sport to play or watch?

Okay, I don't really *play* sports.  I'll flop around like a moron on some court or another or on a field or something, but it's really just a bad imitation of coordination so I avoid that like the plague.  However, I am a die-hard football fan.  College, pro, doesn't matter.  I love football season, I love football food, I love football culture, I love, love, love it.  I love the random dings and chimes associated with network football coverage, and the cadence of the game soothes me, I love the way the announcers' voices sound and the entire experience can always put me at ease.  Unless it's a Notre Dame game, in which case I don't relax until it's over.

3. Once piece of trendy fashion I could pull off?

Well, I don't mind leggings and I wear those only because I wear them with shirts long enough to hide the badonkadonk  and I rather like stuffing leggings into clunky fuzzy boots because the bigness of the boots makes my legs look skinnier by comparison.  And I don't like jeggings (ew, childhood bad memories of the 80's) so I don't give a hoot about them.  I think I wish I could do skinny jeans, but that's just because I wish my badonk weren't so squishy and melty-looking and if I had a sweet little tush, I wouldn't care what I'd be putting it into, pants-wise, because I'd be so happy to have a hot hiney.  I do wish I could pull off hats, though.  I feel like they can totally make an outfit and they look good on me, but I am always afraid I'll look like I'm trying too hard. Does that make sense?  Like, look, I built this whole outfit around a hat.  How lame am I for trying so hard to look cool?  Because I'd totally have to build an outfit around a hat and I'd be desperately trying to look cool.  I think I'm NOT a fashionista at all.

4.  Did you make good grades in school?

Oh boy, I was a total over achiever.  My high school GPA was like a 4.78 or something absurd like that because I am a complete and total geek.  In college, uh, that slipped a little because I over extended myself with trying to do chemical engineering and biochemistry as a double major plus Air Force ROTC and enjoy college life.  So I eeked it out of freshman year with the first D in my life (some sort of crazy calculus course) that was a huge relief to get because I passed the class... and got a C in physics and decided that was all for the birds and switched to Political Science and History (blech, in retrospect, blech) and promptly resumed my over-achieving (and desperate attempts to resurrect my GPA from the damage dealt during my frosh year...).  Yeah, I was kinda obnoxious.

5. What magazines do you subscribe to?

Well, none.  None by choice, but I somehow get American Baby sent to me ALL the time for free.  It's like the magazine gods know that I'm perpetually pregnant so they just keep my house constantly stocked with baby mags.  It's a little irksome because I'm not really sure, at this point, how many "Your Total Newborn Care How-To Guide"s I really need... or how many "Breast or Bottle, Which Is Right For You" articles I can read in the bathroom anymore.  I generally just give them to the girls who love to look at other babies and call it a day.

Head over to Mama M.'s blog to play along, or leave your answers as a comment! I'd love to know what you're up to!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Through Your Eyes (Back2Blogging Day 3)

It's the 3rd day of the Back2Blogging challenge with the SITS Girls and I've found a post with a title I particularly like to share with you.  It's not that the title is clever, or that it's catchy or has an awesome search engine ranking... it's that it's addressed directly to my son.  This blog is as much about being MY outlet as it is about journaling my path through motherhood, and one day, I'd love for my kiddos to be able to read about it.  This post is for Jack and for me, probably more than it was for my readers, and I'm proud of myself for creating this post the way I did.  Does any of that make sense?  Gah, probably not!

My dearest Jack, I had no idea, when you found my old digital camera, that you would figure out how to use it.  Nor had I any idea that when you brought it to me and asked me to "lookit pitchers" on the "commuter" that I would find on its memory stick a treasure of the rarest kind: insight into how you look at the world.  I found, among the pixels, another clue into who you are - into what is most important to you and into what you see through your eyes.

When you were very little, before you could crawl and roll, I read in a magazine that parents should crawl around their house and "look at things from the child's perspective" in order to help baby-proof the home.  I did that, and I picked up nick-knacks and I plugged outlets and wound up cords... but there is no way I really "saw" what you see.  I didn't realize how wonderfully interesting that plastic "pukkin" in its basket of leaves can be to a toddler just discovering the fact that seasons change and holidays are special occasions replete with their own adornments that set them apart from every other day.  The pukkin that I take for granted as a routine decoration that just goes along with the drop in temperature is so much more to you - it's strange and different and out-of-place and therefore worthy of capturing with your pitcher taker.  It's fodder for deep discussions about the color orange and the fact that leaves do grow on trees which are very tall and sometimes hide the birds making all that noise.  So that these things now sit on the floor in your living room is astonishing and interesting, and I never grasped that until now.
Your toys are important to you in the same way that my cell phone is important to me.  The way my wallet and keys and credit cards are... Those things are essential to me getting through the day and they are the tools I use to conduct myself in this world.  Your toys are your tools for interacting with your world.  They are how you express yourself and how you learn, and they are as integral to your day and to your life as my phone and internet are to mine.  So it is perfectly natural that you would capture your "dackter" in the camera's memory - though I cast it aside as an annoying nuisance to trip over and put away each night, it is so much more than that to you.
... Your airplanes are classified into two kinds: "Airplanes," and "Brrrrrm-brrrrrm"'s, which Daddy is forever trying to convince you are actually called "propeller aircraft" but I keep telling him is an obnoxiously specific name and using the sound it makes is not only more efficient but more practical.  We have long discussions about airplanes; we talk about the sounds they make, the "boom booms" they carry and cause things to go "bouf", their speed, where they go, whether or not we can see them "high up in sky" or if "there too mannay clouds"... Maybe one day you'll be an aerospace engineer like your Dad, or maybe you'll make your desire to "fly up in space to look at stars" come to fruition...
I had no idea, Little Man, that when we bought our house in Georgia near the railroad tracks we were buying into a life-long love of all things train.  I don't know if it was that twice-daily visit from the St. Mary's Railroad engine that imparted your love of locomotives, cars, tracks, bridges, tunnels and cargo, or if you were born hard-wired to be fascinated by the rails, but I do know that, even though we don't have a train that rocks past our house every day, our lives are full of "hoot-hoot"-ing and "chug-chug"-ing just as often anyway and I would not want it any other way.  Your train-o-philia is so much a part of your personality, I am not in the least surprised to see frame after frame of photographs of your collection - the tracks, the table, the engines and cars... Jack, I love your enthusiasm and focus so much.
This photo is so bittersweet to me.  I don't think I have any other pictures of me nursing any of you kids.  Jack, you captured, in such a respectful and innocent way, one of the most intimate moments I get as a Mommy.  It makes me sad, to an extent, that this is what you see from me so often - me, on the sofa, baby on lap... but it makes me so happy that you're there with me, sharing the experience.  Even though you're over two and a half years old, Jack, and even though those chunky pink legs belong to your little sister Addie, they just as easily could have belonged to you; it wasn't that long ago that I was holding you on that Boppy, on my lap, on that sofa.  I never would have seen myself this way if you hadn't given me this photograph. Thanks, Buddy... it means so much.
My first inclination when I saw this last one was to holler at you to stop flashing yourself because it will  hurt your eyes, but it's too late, and I should just hush and enjoy looking at how blond your hair is and how blue your eyes are and how long your lashes are.  So here I am, marveling at how bright you are in so many ways, Kiddo...  and at how awesome it is that you've given me the chance to step behind those bright blue eyes and look out from your windows and see your world...  It's fascinating and heart-warming and funny all at once. 
So thank you, Buddy, for sharing with your Mama.  I love you beyond comprehension.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Post I Wish More People Read...

Continuing on with the SITS Girls and Back2Blogging week, I'm re-posting a very old post that I wish more people had read.

I don't wish more people had read it because it was insightful or beautifully-written or touching... It's just funny.  But more than that, it's one of those mom-ments (get it?) when we realize that moms aren't perfect.  We make mistakes.  And our harshest critics are ourselves.  But at the end of the day, we're still doing the best we can and everything we do is out of love and devotion to our families... so long as we don't take ourselves too seriously, even our doofiest mistakes can help us grow - both in what we've learned and in our sense of humor that makes all the stress of motherhood a little easier to handle.

I was utterly furious when I wrote this post - furious and dejected and frustrated... but the entire situation ended up being hilarious and it's my best example of how I keep from being overwhelmed by those annoying "life" bumps that come along... just by laughing at the absurdity of the adventures of being a mommy.  (Be warned: there are a couple of "f-bombs" embedded in this particular post!)

Titled "About A Moron" from May of 2008:

So today I did what I consider to be basically the stupedest (yes, I am going to use it as if it were a legitimate word) thing I have probably ever done in my life.

Let me preface this whole story with one fact that you must always, ALWAYS keep in mind while reading it: I am a BRICK. Educated, yes, intelligent, fairly, but underneath it all, a big, giant, unthinking BRICK.

I had to drop something off on base at the off-crew office today at a certain time. I showed up with Jack two hours before the deadline and was very proud of myself for being on time. As I was depositing my stuff, someone came up to me and told me that I had missed the window of opportunity and that I would have to collect my things and take them with me. I was so upset! I nearly cried right there because I was also dropping things off for Amber and I promised her I'd have it there on time. I asked what he was talking about because no one had told me the time had changed and he replied, "Yeah, well, it was 30 minutes ago... sorry... they tried to get the word out so I guess you missed the message." Well, I know very well that I would have known about any time changes since I'm one of the people that PUTS the word out about such things. So, dejectedly, I left with my stuff, hoping that things might work out next time and feeling like a huge turd because I was letting people down.

So I got back to the car and started strapping Jack into his car seat. I had my bag slung over my shoulder and my car keys in one hand and he was struggling to pull them out of my hand and pushing random buttons and beeps were going crazy and it was annoying so I chucked the keys in the driver's seat and put my bag on the ground to use both hands to wrestle him into his seat. Finally situated, I gave him some smarties and some nuggets and shut the door. I picked up my bag to toss it on the passenger's seat and head to the playgr.... FUCK the door was locked. LOCKED. All of the doors were locked. The keys were on the driver's seat. I was looking at them. Jack was in his car seat. I was looking at him.

I lost it. I wailed, "Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!" and just put my forehead on the window and started saying, "no no no no no" and sobbing.

This was not my car. This was Matt's car. I was driving Matt's fucking car and my child was sitting inside and my keys were in there with him. And there were lots and lots of dudes looking at me like I belonged in an institution (I do.) or something.

Someone came up to me and asked what was going on and I explained the situation and he said he'd call dispatch and base security would come help me out.

I was very grateful.

But then it turns out that base security entailed several trucks, fire truck, ambulance and patrol cars. With lights and sirens.

As if my humiliation wasn't at it's pinnacle, now I'm a spectacle in addition to a shit-show.

I do, at this point, need to reassure everyone that it was only 68 degrees outside instead of the 95 degrees it has been for the last week. So at least God thought I deserved SOME kind of break. I would have broken a window within 30 seconds if it were any hotter outside.

Jack was just chilling in there the whole time, smiling at the 50 or so people that stopped to say any number of things along the lines of, "wow, that sucks!" or "gosh what a nice car - I hope they don't have to break a door off!" or "wow, this is going to take awhile" or "what will her husband say?" etc.

Meanwhile, someone has just informed me that the deadline I thought I had missed hadn't been missed after all and they were wrong and I can go ahead and drop my stuff off. So apparently Fate had a shitty way of keeping me there so I could get everything turned in before I got home and had to turn around. Oh, because I forgot to add that I have no cell phone because it is on the coffee table so I couldn't call anyone to ask what the hell was going on until I got back here.

Anyway, back to the car that has my keys and my baby inside...

So after a bunch of guys assess the situation as being beyond hope, one of the security guys shows up and has a slim-jim to pop the locks (which are electronic so the old methods don't work) and I had to explain to him how important it was that they try really really hard to get this fixed without hurting the car at all because it's um, well, not my f-ing car. (And boy, oh boy, the looks I got when I explained that I was tooling around in my husband's best friend's car while they're out to sea...) I got chewed out for giving more of a shit about the car than my kid, which stung, but I know where my priorities were and I knew I'd buy Matt a new car before I let Jack sit in there for more than another 20 minutes, but I had to at least try to make sure they were as careful as possible.

They did, after a couple minutes, get it open and I doled out some massive hugs to the guys and scooped Jack out of his carseat and just held him for like 10 minutes while people thinned out and shook their heads at my idiocy. He was totally fine. He actually ate more food than he has in a week while he was sitting there, so I was pretty happy about that. The car is fine. I, however, not so much. I am a brick. No question about it. I'm embarrassed, I'm ashamed, I was scared, and now I'm writing about it because I'm a glutton for punishment.

Thank God it wasn't too hot out. Thank God Jack is too young to remember my negligent parenting. Thank God that He watches out for drunks and fools because I am the latter and would LOVE to be the former to forget about all of this nonsense.

At least I met the deadline. So really, the only person I let down today was me.

ROCK on.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back2Blogging #1 - My First Blog Post

It's not really that I've been away... really... it's just that I've been distracted and tired and barfy... but, ya know... I could use some inspiration here and there.  So, I'm joining the STIS Girls in their blog challenge - Back2Blogging. 

Today, we're re-posting our first post... with possible changes, re-writes, etc... as well as what we like about it.

Here it is: "As If You Don't Waste Enough Time Online Already"

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I suppose I'm doing myself no favors by creating yet another avenue of keeping up with our lives. I'm injecting another method for wasting what little free time I have and thereby making it hard to complain without people rolling their eyes when I say, "gosh, I'm just so busy/tired." What's more, is that I'm sure it's no secret, but I'm a pretty big doufus 90% of the time and a blog is basically guaranteeing that I'll be exposing myself to ridicule and criticism every time I pull a stunt like letting Jack take a grand dump on my cell phone after his bath.

Oh well.

I know most of you are avid readers of the baby page, or at least avid lookers-at-pictures-but-not-leavers-of-comments, but this blog will probably have a little more of the adult (*gasp* but not "adult" as in, wouldn't want to let a priest read it) and a little less of the "oh look how cute my baby is." But, let's be serious, my baby is damn cute, and I'll probably talk about him at least 50% of the time because my life consists of little else.

Distilled down, I just said this page is going to be really boring. That being the case, read at your own risk. Enjoy if you can. And welcome.



I began my blog when my husband was deployed and I was lonely - reaching out to a few friends and family who read and followed my life with little Jack when it was just the 3 of us.  I don't think I'd change anything about the post, and I'm pretty glad that I've not waived from my original intent.  I did a brief foray into the world of AdSense, but realized that I'm not about trying to keep up with the likes of MckMama, so I took them down and intend to just plain keep it real (note: there is nothing wrong with ads and using a blog as a source of income; I'm just not there right now) as an outlet for my passions and creativity, my venue for venting and gushing, and as a way of connecting to friends all over the world.  And for me, that's just fine.  What do you think? 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Details, Details

So, I'm sure our announcement left you with some burning questions...  I'll go ahead dish, mmkay?

First of all, as first trimesters go, this one wasn't too bad.  I had some nausea and lots of fatigue (which is generally why you found me absent from commenting on your blogs as often as I'd like, or remiss in posting on my own) but in general, this baby has been pretty good to me, considering the other three have - ahem - not been as forgiving.  I mean, saying, "Jordan, can you please hurry up with those molars because Mommy is trying to gestate a baby and I'm too tired to listen to your whining" doesn't really get you anywhere. 

To that effect, any first trimester with 3 kids 3 and under already making your life chaos is pretty much something I'd advise against... you know, except for the whole part where you don't get a baby after 40 weeks without the first trimester...

Anyway, one of the worst parts of all of this ended up being my decision to use cloth diapers.  My nose has been super sensitive and ANY smell - good or bad - sets me a-gaggin' so scraping fresh "I'm teething and just ate corn and 4 crayons"-style poop out of cloth diapers into the toilet generally left me weak and shaky and my stomach totally empty.  Talk about a bummer.  I'm not totally over the smell thing, so if you can pray to the gods of solid poop for the next week or so, I'd really appreciate it. 

Aside from physically, I'm feeling basically blessed.  Overwhelmed with love for this kiddo already, and sad but  happy because I think he ("he"... in my house, you're innocent until proven guilty) is our last and I've not even held him in my arms and I'm already lamenting the last time he smiles without teeth or the last time I puree baby food or the last time I put him to my breast or the last diaper I'll change or the last time his hair has that downy-soft "baby" feel... It was horrifically hard with the older 3 to let those things go, and I'm pretty certain that the passing of each milestone is going to dissolve me into a sobbing mess in the corner of my closet... *sigh*

I mean, here's the deal: we were actively trying to avoid a pregnancy at this point in our lives.  A fourth was on our radar, but we were planning (hah!) to wait for a bit longer before we started serious discussions.  But our hearts were open, so I guess that trumps what our rational brains were saying.  Anyway, two pretty darned reliable methods of birth control failed (no, not operator error, I promise; I flounced into my doctor's office for my yearly exam a few days before the test came back as positive, utterly confident that there was no way a pregnancy was even remotely possible) putting this baby into an impossibly small percentage of probability... which makes his presence in our lives nearly miraculous.  And for that, I am both grateful and still a little mystified.  (Though, despite all the love and happiness, I'm still considering the company named for a Greek city a bill for college tuition in 19 years.)

The kids are doing great with everything; the girls understand nearly nothing, but Jack is excited and loves to pat my belly and then ask me to pat his (where his baby is also growing) and Addison loves all things baby - she's very sweet and gentle and loving.  I think she'll do wonderfully well... Jordan... well, Jordan will no longer the "the" baby of the family, so I think that'll irk her a bit since she already feels she doesn't get enough (constant) attention, but then again, she is full of surprises so I'm just going to sit back and watch.

I'll leave you with some stats, in case you were wondering... or in case you needed someone to point and laugh at today or in the future when you're starting to think I've got my shit together:

When this baby is born, Jack will be 4 years, 3 weeks old.  The girls will be 22 months old.  There will be 4 kids, 4 and under in my household, and for a year, there will be 3 under 3 again.. actually, 3 kids 2 and under, if that sounds nuttier.  For that matter, for two months, I will have an incredible 3 kids under 2.  In five years, I'll have had 4 children.  Woah. 

Truly, it shouldn't be too bad.  They're close in age which will make things much easier... for now.  At least, that's what I tell myself.  Stay tuned... it's gonna get crazy (er, crazIER)!

I also updated, and will continue to update, The Exhibits page as this whole thing unfolds... Thanks for being a part of our incredible experience!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An Announcement...

And, finally, new for March 23, 2011, we'd like you to meet, our newest addition to the zoo:

We hope you'll stay tuned to find out more about this little one with us as we anxiously await his (or her!) arrival.  There's quite a bit of preparation ahead of us yet, of course, but we've made plenty of room in our hearts already! 

Friday, September 10, 2010

5Q Friday...

Alright... I'm feeling pretty uninspired.  I'm working on some super-dooper awesome posts for next week, but I'm being an annoying perfectionist, so they'll have to wait... Buuuuuut, I need something to distract me from browsing through Gymboree's awesome sale online and drooling over all the freaking adorable fall clothing for littles.  So, enter Mama M.'s Five Question Friday.  I LOVE Mama M.'s blog.  I don't know why I don't end up commenting more on it.... but she's so genuine and so funny - I feel like I'd want her as an aunt.  Or a L&D nurse.  Definitely for an L&D nurse.  (And sometimes reading her stories of being an L&D nurse makes me want to have more kids.  That's how you KNOW there's something wrong with me.)

Anyway, head to her blog to play along OR leave a comment and let me know what your answers would be - fun!

1) Do you feel guilty spending money on yourself?

Um, YES!  It kinda gives me cold sweats to buy myself stuff.  Or eat anything that's NOT on the dollar menu.  I mean, the last time I paid someone to cut my hair was in Georgia.  Jack was 18 months old, and the twins had yet to be conceived.  THAT is intense.  (No, my hair is not super long... I got sick of it about 3 months ago and used some Fiskars to lop off about 6 inches of it on my back deck.)  My wardrobe gets refreshed when my sweet and super fashionable little sis brings me hand-me-downs as she cleans out her closet.  Sigh.  It's not like we're in dire financial straits or anything, but I'd so much rather see my kids in new clothes that fit or reading a new book or put money in a piggy bank for my Dyson or something.

2) How well do you know your neighbors?

We've only lived here for about 4 months, but we LOVE having a sense of community around us, so we're certainly trying to get to know more people.  We lived in college dorms, followed by an apartment with our best friends surrounding us, then to a military base where everyone was friendly, to a fantastic neighborhood in Georgia where we'd have regular "driveway gatherings"... to Virginia where that started to go away and now we're here and we're putting forth a HUGE effort to learn people's names and a little about them.  The people across the street are swingers, though, so I don't really try too hard with them.

3) What age are you looking forward to being?

I like Mama M.'s answer... but I don't really look forward to being any particular age because I'm much more focused on enjoying each minute of every day.  It's not easy... but I've got no guarantee that I'll get to be any other age than what I am TODAY, so I try to relish that instead of looking ahead too far in case I get too busy dreaming about some future time that I stop appreciating now.  Does that make sense?  However, if someone could tell me I'm going to win the lottery at a certain age, I'll pick that.

4) Do you get excited when the mail comes?  Why?

Yeah, I do... a little bit... not every day, but pretty often.  I think it's a combination of a) me having an excuse to leave the kids in the house and walk to the mailbox alone for a second of fresh air and freedom (that's so sad and pitiful, I should delete it so you don't all know how pathetic I am) and b) the possibility of there being something cool in it... like Disc 3, season 7 of Entourage.  I was thinking about the whole "mail" thing and marveling that my kids will probably not really "get" what it's like to be excited about the mail... and if they do, my grandchildren certainly won't.  So weird.  They totally won't understand "film" or "corded telephones" either.  (Sorry, I digress!)

5) What is your earliest childhood memory?

Hm, I'm not sure of timelines, so I don't know what would be my earliest... I have tons and TONS of very vivid memories from being very young - before my sister was born, certainly.  I'm 4 years older than her, so I can recall things from earlier than that, at least.  I remember once staying with my dad's parents, Grammy and Grandpa, and eating dinner from a kiddie-plate shaped like a train (pork chops, potatoes and veggies) while Grammy baked bread (delicious bread full of holes and very buttery tasting) and then heading to a local store called "Duckwall" to buy thread so Grammy could finish sewing a dress for me.  I remember going back to their house afterward (in their giant blue Cadillac station wagon) to take a bath (in which I got to play with a plastic shape-sorter ball) and I can even recall the smell of the soap which was slightly floral and light pink-colored.

Okay, that's enough nonsnese for one morning - the girls are jail-bird style rattling their crib bars and squaking "Mama"! so I'd better go scoop them up and get a-snugglin'.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Potty Language

I love, apparently, to talk about poop.

Not that I get all giddy and gleeful like: "Poop!  Oh, poop! I can talk about it! Yay!" but in that I do it so often.  Not do poop, that is - talk about poop.  (Seriously, this post isn't THAT gross.)  I must find some sort of foul enjoyment in the discussions because they permeate my conversational repertoire.  The situation has gotten so bad that I can't even tell if other moms are like me, or if I just engage them in doo-themed discussions because I am such an avid poopophile.

It's beginning to worry me.

I can recall being younger, sitting at my grandmother's kitchen table listening to her describe a bowel movement to my mother as if she were talking about a recent rainstorm that produced the most brilliant rainbow.  I was appalled.  I swore that I would never ever talk about # 2 (go ahead, say it like Austin Powers... you know you want to) to the extent (ahem, or at all!) the way she did.

(In my defense, I am certainly NOT at the point of discussing any of this as it relates to the things I do in the ladies' room.)

Just last night, not only did I laugh to the point of tears at a "poo-dicament" involving Jordan and a bathtub, but I went a step further and posted about on Facebook.  (Not friends with me on Facebook?  You're missing out... er, maybe not.) See, she has this tendency to drop a deuce in the tub after dinner. Well, she has the last few nights, anyway.  And it's usually as I'm rinsing shampoo out of Addie's hair, so Jordan announces she's done her deed by screaming and crying in a horrified way (the turds scare her... do I even say it?  ..they scare the crap out of her.  There. I did it.  Forgive me.) as the product floats away, disintegrating quickly and making for a nasty clean-up job.  Yesterday, when I realized what was going on, I hollered, "Just, help!  Poop!  Poop in the waaaa-ter!" and he came running, to find me fishing squirmy, slimy toddlers out of the tub and passing them to him to towel off before they realize what's going on or have time to try to dive back into the bath (as they're prone to doing).  As Jordan got passed off, I said, "Please, get a dipe on Miss TubDump! I don't know if she's done!"  Well, the nickname kinda stuck for the rest of the evening, so I couldn't stop laughing, even as I scooped, bare-handed, the poo from the tub, wiped the floor, the tub, the toys, with bleach (for the third time in a row this week).  I couldn't get her terrified facial expression out of my face... like the toddler equivalent of staring at Jaws.  I couldn't stop laughing.  I mean, what's WRONG with me?

And I heard recently that Twitter conversations are getting logged in the Library of Congress and archived now.  What if they do that with Facebook feeds?  Will my kids be able to look up these status updates years from now, and use them to torture one another (that is, if I haven't already tortured them with it personally...)?


But it doesn't stop there.  The other day, one of the girls waited until AFTER the bath to leave a little surprise for me.  I had to chase one girl down (who has a habit of piddling when the cold air hits her wet skin) to diaper her and ran back to find her sister with a diaper in my hand when I noticed a particularly bad smell in their bedroom.  Thinking it was just a fart, I grabbed the naked tot and realized she had "fart" smeared all over her backside, feet and legs.  And then I found the pile.  Or three.  So I wiped the child down, diapered her, put both girls in the crib to keep them away from the mess and took a picture of the biscuit with my cell phone.

Yeah, I'm that gross. Love me anyway.

Then, when Justin was walking into our bedroom about 20 minutes later and roared with shock at the log that one of the girls had "baby-trapped" the doorway with, I lost it.  I was nearly sobbing with laughter.

Now, am I seriously that insane?  Or am I laughing because it's better to sob with laughter than to just plain sob?  Or am I really a 6th grade boy trapped in a 28-year-old woman's body?

I use cloth diapers.  That necessitates scraping the solid waste from the diaper into the toilet, flushing it, and laundering the diaper.  What do I use for that job?  Why, a plastic picnic spoon, kept in a plastic cup in the kids' bathroom (on a high shelf... after I found Jack drinking out of the cup and Jordan chewing on the spoon a few months ago, I learned that higher is always better [this is a statement of distance from the ground, people, not a life-style endorsement]).  What do I call the contraption?  My sPOOn.  Yeah, it's labeled on the cup... I even pronounce it like that.  "sssssPOOnnnn"

We use poop themed nicknames occasionally... "Daisy Duke", "Miss TubDump", "Pooo-rincess", "Deuce Nukem" and so on.  Different kinds of bowel movements get their own category from "stealth poop" if it doesn't smell so you get set to change a urine diaper and are surprised with a more complicated job, "faux poo" if you're prepared for a dirty diaper and there's nothing to be seen, and then into the more descriptive names that I'll spare you.

But ("butt"? ba-dum-chhhh) I have to wonder - is this motherhood?  Is this how I know I'm a mom first and a mom forever?  Have I degenerated from my super-educated, want-to-save-the-world-and-effect-positive-change-through-academic-achievement-self of old into a fugazi, mundane, even disgusting drain on society with nothing meaningful to contribute?  Have I become "Idiocracy"?  Am I "doomed" to a life of bad puns, embarrassing discussions and sounding like I've got an IQ of about 60?

Or does this pass?

I suppose all things doo.

Ask Jordan.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

The Last Two Weeks: Photo Collage Edition

So, before my dad came, this was the state of my house.  THIS, and worse.  And for each step forward, I took to backwards... you know how it goes with us...

Grandma Gallagher sent down a care package that included awesome dress-up stuff for the girls and Jack, and dolls from their Uncle Jon and his fiancee, Amy!  So that was awesome, because it kept the kids occupied for about 30 seconds while I started a load of laundry...

And, luckily, the kids are adorable enough that I don't mind TOO much when they interrupt me, or worse - make a bigger mess to clean up in the middle of my cleaning.

Somewhere along the lines, I realized Addie has become a toddler.  She's a real, honest-to-goodness toddler, with two-piece jammies and who likes to wrap her dolly up in a blanket and give her kisses and rock her while she sings to her.  So I probably took about a day or so in the last 14 to spend time marveling at how quickly babes become kids become moms watching babes become kids. 

Then my dad got here!  The kids took to him right away (it was the first time he'd met the girls and maybe the 3rd time with Jack!) and we had a phenomenal time enjoying one another's company!

We went to our aquarium, of course, and loved every minute of it!  It was Dad's first experience at any aquarium, so it was really cool that we could take him there!

Jordan decided to ham it up for the camera...

 We also visited the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum to take a ride on a real steam engine.  Also a first for my dad and he absolutely loved it.  I let Jack have his own camera and he happily snapped away, photographing his favorite subject matter in the universe!  It was a tremendously cool experience and again, I'm beyond thrilled that we could introduce Dad to something so awesome.

That afternoon, we all went to the Southern Brewer's Festival in downtown.  Talk about fun!  There was beer, food, live music and general fun to be had by all!  I can't believe that we got lucky enough to have his trip down here coincide with the Festival.  Score!

We went for walks, ate an incredible amount of food, watched football, played with the kids, went to Mass, drove around the area and just really had a blast.  It was certainly a whirlwind of a week and I am so grateful that Dad made it out here!  He's never been this far east in the US OR south, for that matter, so it was certainly an eye-opener for him... There's just a different feel to life in the South than there is in his native Colorado, and it was really neat to see him learning so many new things and to introduce him to the way we live our lives.

But, things are calming down a bit and I'm getting back into routines and whatnot.  I've got a few blog changes that might be coming up, as well as some fun stuff to post about AND if you haven't noticed down below, I've got a blog button now!  I have no idea what to do with it or why in the world you'd want it, but if you do, it's yours for the taking!

I'm off to go get a very cry-y Jordan out of her crib and start dinner before the hubs gets home, but I hope you enjoyed my collages!


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