Thursday, December 22, 2011

A, B, C, easy as 1, 2, 3

"Since you had one with the first surrogacy and two with the second are you going to have three with the third?"

I lost count of how many people asked me that.  Friends, family, casual acquaintances, my ob.  Hell, I even joked about it myself a few times.  Oh, it's a funny joke, carrying triplets.  Ha ha HA.

When I went to California for my embryo transfer I was well armed with statistics and facts and percentages.  I knew we were going to be aggressive and transfer three embryos.  I knew what could happen.  I was willing to take the risk. I knew that in the room next to me there was another woman, a second surrogate my IPs were were working with, who was taking the same risk.  My IPs, frustrated with their 15 year cycle of trying and failing to have a child had decided to take a big risk.  Two surrogates, six embryos.  An unusual situation to be sure but one everyone involved with was comfortable being a part of.

Right before the transfer the doctor squeezed my hand and said "Now triplets are possible you know, but not likely at all.  You just keep taking your prenatal vitamins and everything will be fine."

After the transfer came the wait.  Almost right away I knew it had worked.  I just felt pregnant.  Less than four full days after the transfer I got my first positive urine test.  Nine days after the transfer I had my first blood test.  My beta came back as 62. Now that might not mean anything to most of you but for those of us in "the biz" that number is kind of low.  Two days later I had another beta and that one was just a hair shy of doubling.  A good sign but I still wasn't real happy with the low number.  Two days later I had my third and final beta and the number had almost tripled.

I found out that the other surrogate had not gotten pregnant.  Not one of the three embryos transferred had "stuck" for her.

So yesterday was the big day for me.  I got to go to my first ultrasound and see how many embryos had "stuck" with me.  Based on my low numbers I felt like it was probably one.  (In fact, I had compared my numbers to when I was pregnant with the twins and they were a good deal lower this time around.)  I also have had almost not morning sickness and certainly you can't have a multiple pregnancy without morning sickness, right?  On the other hand, I knew that I had been really tired.  Well, tired doesn't even start to describe it.  I was utterly exhausted.  So maybe it was twins.

When I went for my ultrasound the technician recognized me from when I was in all the time with the twins.  She was friendly and we chatted for a bit before getting started.  As she started the ultrasound she asked "Any chance there's more than one in here?"  I laughed and said there could be as many as three but I didn't think that was really possible.

She started probing me and the room got very quiet.  I couldn't see the screen but I could see her face and she looked... confused?  Worried? Amused?  I started to get worried myself.  What if she was seeing a gestational sec with no fetus in it?  What if this was a chemical pregnancy?  "What are you seeing there?" I asked at last.

"I'm seeing a lot of activity" she said slowly and then she turned the screen towards me.  And there it was.

A. B. C.  Three.  Triplets.  
I was speechless.  I just stared.  How could this be?  I mean, I knew it could be but .... HOW?  I managed to find my voice and I asked the tech to show me each heartbeat twice.  I still didn't believe it until she managed to get all three heartbeats on the screen at one.  The rest of the ultrasound was a blur.  I was trying to keep from crying or laughing or passing out or all three combined.  Before she left the room the tech squeezed my hand.

I got dressed and wandered out to the waiting room.  Then to the hall way.  Then I had to sit down.  I sat for a long time.  I called Jesse and my surrogacy agency and texted a couple of people.  Then, when I was at last feeling halfway solid I drove home and ate half a jar of nutella.

Today I'm still feeling stunned.  I don't know what this will bring.  It's still super early in the pregnancy.  (I will be six weeks tomorrow.)  I know it's not uncommon in multiple pregnancies for one fetus to ... disappear.  Of course that doesn't always happen.  I have to admit that I am facing the prospect of carrying three babies.  Am I freaked?  You bet your sweet ass I am.  Freaked doesn't even scratch the surface of how I feel.  But I'm going to play this one day by day and see what comes next. 

As for right now?  I'm going to go eat that other half jar of nutella.  Don't judge.  I'm eating for four.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Houston, we have a baby

Woot!  I'm pregnant!  The transfer was successful much to my great relief.  To be honest, I was getting positive pregnancy tests just four days after the embryo transfer but I wanted to hold off on sharing until it had been confirmed by blood test.

Three blood tests later my hgc numbers just keep going up so we're really, truly pregnant.  My IM is starting to get cautiously optimistic.  This has been a long road for her and I know we still have a long way to but she's getting excited.

As for me I feel pretty good right now.  I have decided that this will be the pregnancy where I do not get morning sickness.  I'm determined not to throw up a single time.  I have had a couple of times where I felt a little urpy but I think that was caused less by morning sickness and more by a pretty wicked case of heartburn.  Mostly I'm hungry all the time and really, really sleepy.  I forgot how tired I get during early pregnancy!  I keep thinking "I should really get the Christmas decorations out ...zzzzzzzz." or "I suppose I should get dinner started and clean the ..... zzzzzz."

Oh well.  This too shall pass and before you know it I'll be on to my favorite part of pregnancy - the part where I switch to maternity pants!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Randomness - The LA edition

Is there anything more decedent than room service?  You look at a menu and choose whatever you want to eat and then magically, after a quick phone call it shows up in your room and you can eat it while you sit on your bed and watch a marathon of Deadliest Catch.

Have I mentioned that I am in LA?  Probably not since I haven't blogged in over two weeks.  Eek.  Retroactive blogging guilt!

Saturday morning I had an embryo transfer.  Attempt #2 at surrogacy #3 has begun.  I'm going to be here till Wednesday taking it super easy and resting and relaxing and clenching and hoping like the dickens that this one takes.  I feel like our odds are pretty good so.... we'll see I guess.

I have gone into serious take-it-easy mode.  After I eat my room service I stare at my tray with resentment thinking how big of a job it will be to take it over to the door.  Why must post-room service clean up be such a big job?

Today is my husband's birthday.  I feel bad that I'm not home to do something nice for him.  I would have grilled him a nice steak or something.  Although really he does all the grilling at our house so he probably would have had to grill his own steak.  Which I guess he can do even without me there.  So I guess me not being there really doesn't change anything.

Before I got here I was really looking forward to a few days rest and relaxation.  Now that I'm here I have to say that I am SO BORED.  I've been reading a ton, spending a lot of time on pinterest, playing some facebook games and watching a bunch of reruns of Pawn Stars (most depressing show ever).  It was fun at first but now I'm going a little stir crazy.  I wish I could do a load of dishes or brush Elle's hair or listen to one of Joseph's long stories about video games or play with my camera or can a batch of tomato sauce or bake some cookies or do anything outside of this hotel room.  But... my IPs want me on aggressive bedrest so I'm resting.  And slowly losing my mind.

Oh!  Hoarders is on!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Overheard from the backseat of my car

Joseph's friend: "Joseph, you have Aspergers right?"
Joseph: "Right.  And you have Tourette's System*?"
Joseph's friend: "Yeah." *long pause* "That's probably why we're such good friends."
Joseph: "Because we understand each other."

Melt.

*He really called it "Tourette's System.  He's too cute.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The visitors

I had some visitors this past weekend.  I watched thme run around the house and take toys off the shelf and scream at each othrt and laugh at each other and eat bowls of applesauce and then run around some more.  I stared at them and wondered "How were you both ever so small that you fit in my tummy?"

The surro-twins, they're not tiny babies any more.  They're little people with gigantic personalities.  I spent most of the weekend just watching them and enjoying being around them.  The time I spent with them was about the only time in the past two weeks I haven't had a pounding, burning lupron-induced headache.  Maybe because they were a nice reminder that everything I'm going through is for a reason and when it's all done and we're (please, oh please) successful there will be another little bit (or two) of magic in the world.

There's The Boy who laughs at everything and will let you hold him (even if you're pretty much a stranger to him) as long as he's eating chicken fingers.
There's The Girl who's a little more serious and hard to impress.  Once you make her smile though you feel like you've won something.
The Boy doesn't want to stop and look at what's in front of him, not when there's something even more interesting across the room.
The Girl is a little more deliberate.  Once she knows what she wants she's determined to go after it.
When you give them a present they might think it's hilarious to try to drop it in the toilet.
And when they nap they put their little heads together.

Yup, I did a good job.  Now their daddies are doing a good job.  I can't even explain to you how much it filled my heart up to see the babies and see how well they're doing.  The timing of their visit was perfect too.  I needed a reminder that at the end of all the shots and the ultrasounds and the headaches and the procedures and the pills....
Something wonderful happens.

One year ago today Jesse's credit card was stolen for a stupid reason.
Two years ago people were rude by proxy.
Four years ago today Elle wanted an itchy potty.
Five years ago today Joseph wanted Jesse to take ED medication.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Lupron Blues

So I don't know if I've mentioned this or not (and I'm too lazy to go back and check) but I am preparing for another embryo transfer.  This will be my second attempt with this new couple and for various reasons I'm feeling a lot more optimistic than I was the last time around.  As it stands right now it looks like I should be transferring sometime right around, or even on, Thanksgiving Day.

In preparation for the IVF cycle I have been on a drug called Lupron.  I have to give myself an injection of it in my belly every day.  Luckily there is plenty of padding and the shots really don't even hurt that much.  Usually Elle picks out the spot where I should do the injection then the counts down for me to jab myself. It's a family affair.

Lupron is a hell of a drug.  Here's me normally - "Hello!  I enjoy things that are pleasant!  Chocolate is good!"  Here's me on Lupron - "I have had a headache since last Tuesday.  I swear to god that whatever it is you're doing right now you're only doing to piss me off.  If you don't stop breathing so loud I am going to rip your face off.  WHY DON'T WE HAVE ANY CHOCOLATE IN THIS HOUSE!??!?!?!"

The kids call Lupron my "crabby shots" and it's a pretty well deserved nickname.  I try really hard not to take it out on them and most of the time I'm pretty successful (poor Jesse gets the worst of it) but I guess sometimes I fail.  We were in Goodwill the other day looking for some finishing touches for Halloween costumes and Elle was just not listening at all.  When we were standing in line she kept whining and begging for me to please buy her some chocolate eyeballs that looked like they were about 47 years old, please buy the eyeballs, why won't you buy the eyeballs, I NEED the eyeballs, I never get any eyeballs, these are the best eyeballs ever, I will cry if I don't get these eyeballs.  Joseph started shoving himself between me and Elle and trying to whisper something to her.  She couldn't hear over the sound of her own whining so finally he yelled "Watch out Elle!  Don't make Mommy mad!  You know she's crabby when she's on her Lupron!"  We got some looks.

But in spite of having had a constant throbbing headache for the past week and having my asshole dial turned up to 11 things are pretty good. Halloween was fun.  The kids were adorable.  Please stand by for photographic proof in 3 .... 2.... 1....

In case you can't tell they went as Doctor Elle and Plants vs Zombie zombie Joseph.  And didn't they do a nice job when I said "Look at me you guys!"?

Oh yeah!  I also became famous on facebook for like three seconds when I posted a picture from the Anoka Halloween parade.  But that's a story for another day.  For now I have to go eat my weight in Nutella.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Little Elle on the Prairie

You may recall that several weeks ago Elle and I took a little road trip to see some historical Laura Ingalls related history.  It was a joy to spend those days with just Elle.  She was funny and sweet did the most adorable things.  She also broke something in pretty much every location we went to.  By the end of the trip I was calling her Hurricane Elle because it turns out that girlfriend has a serious case of the klutz.

So join me if you will on a pictorial journey down memory lane as I tell the story of that time Elle and I drove to South Dakota and then back again.

The trip began as so many in American history have - in a covered wagon. 

Actually, that's not true.  The trip really began in my car which we had packed to the gills with cheese sandwiches (remember how excited she was about the cheese sandwiches?  Maybe not, I might have mentioned it on facebook) hard boiled eggs, activity books, Barbies and changes of clothes for one very picky little dresser.

The first stop on the trip was the Laura Ingalls museum in Walnut Grove, MN.  Laura and her family lived here for a time but the town is mostly known for being the setting of the odd and inaccurate tv series based on the books.  In turn the museum is really more about the show than it is about the real Laura Ingalls.  Here Elle stands with the real fireplace used in the show.  I think that's what it was.  It's hard to get a close look at things when you're touring with a five year old who cares less about what she's seeing than she does about what else she can see.
There were lots of other exhibits that Elle really enjoyed as well.  It's a pretty neat little museum with lots of hands on stuff for kids so if you have a kid into pioneer stuff this would be a good place to go.  They had a little church with an organ you could play.  Elle really liked that.
 They also had some old fashioned toys you could play with.  This was another big hit with Elle.  I guess playing with dominoes makes her look like she's 12.  Odd.
I forced Elle to try on these pioneer clothes.  She looked so cute that this older lady who was in the museum started kind of ... following us around and wouldn't stop talking to us.  We finally had to go into another building in order to lose her.
 Then there was this odd military exhibit. I guess to highlight Laura's military career?  Elle did not enjoy trying on this helmet but I made her do it anyway.  Can you tell that the thing weighed about as much as she did?
 Next up was a jail cell.  Always good for a laugh.

The next exhibit was a pioneer dugout house.  Elle was fascinated with the bed made of rope and furs.  As someone who has an unnatural fear of bedbugs I was pretty much horrified when she insisted on trying it out.  Yuck.  The good news is that she seemed to come out relatively infestation free. 
Then it was time for a quick phone call.  Just because you're exploring the prairie doesn't mean you can't use modern technology.
 After that was a visit to the school house.
We walked though this big area of weed and overgrown grass to get to this fiberglass horse.  I don't know why Elle looks like she hasn't brushed her hair in a week.  Pioneers didn't have hair brushes either.  I think.
Elle's favorite part of this museum was the outhouse exhibit.  This sign made us laugh and laugh and laugh.  For the rest of the trip Elle kept asking if she could poop in whatever exhibit we happened to be in at the time.
We drove all the way to Walnut Grove to play with some old toys.  I told Elle my grandparents used to have that same toy barn when I was a kid. This led her to believe that I had been a pioneer.  Not pictured, this stuffed goat that you could squeeze and then it would yodel.  We only did that about a million times.  We only stopped because the old lady who had been following us before caught up to us and we had to move on again.
This little area where you could pretend to be a pioneer grocer was Elle's favorite part of the whole museum.  We spent a REALLY long time here buying butter and canned goods from each other.  I have to admit that Elle is the one that finally put an end to this game.  (What?  It was fun!)  Not pictured here is the large glass front of this counter.  Moments after I took this picture Elle ripped the entire thing off.  I don't know how she managed it but somehow with her puny bare hands she pulled the glass front and wooden frame off.  There was no one else in the building at the time but I looked around and there were security cameras.  Maybe somewhere there exists film of me frantically shoving the thing back together while Elle happily rings up another order of butter and eggs.
The last stop on this tour was the old post office.  Museum karma caught up with Elle and as we were leaving this area she tripped and when stumbling across the room and crashed into a wooden telephone booth.  I almost laughed because it looked so damned funny but then I heard a pathetic little moan from inside the booth.  Elle, being the drama girl that she is, started to cry as soon as I got over to her so I used the phone to call the pioneer doctor.  That made her laugh and then she wanted to call the pioneer doctor too.  When she hung up the phone the receiver snapped off.  In her defense the receiver had been duct tapped on so I don't really think she can take the blame here but cripes.  It was clearly time for us to leave.
Stay tuned for the next installment where we visit Plum Creek and Elle manages to break something else.  That's right, my baby broke something at a creek.

Three years ago today I had a conversation with the neighborhood brat.
Six years ago today I was OMG, boring.

Monday, October 24, 2011

When your children are raised by a semi-crunchy mom

In this house we have no problem with letting the yellow mellow.

I just wish that once in a while my children would remember to flush down the brown.  Or to shut the door when they're in the bathroom ... doing bathroom things.

You would think that once your children are potty trained you would be able to become less intimately acquainted with their waste products.  Not in this house.

Is there every going to come a day where I am not able to tell who was in the bathroom last just by looking in the toilet?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

She got less because she needed less

I started this blog because of Elle. When I got pregnant with her I wanted a way to keep my friends and family updated on my pregnancy.  In retrospect I probably vastly overestimated the interest my friends and family would have in my pregnancy.  I think sometimes when you're a woman who's experiencing the agony and the ecstasy of her first pregnancy you think everyone else is going to be as fascinated by every little twitch and twinge as you are.  Of course no one really is but that's ok.  It fun to share.

Over time this blog evolved.  I talk a lot about myself now, about my surrogate pregnancies, about raising the kids, about any little thing that pops into my head.  I post a lot less than I used to but now I think of this blog as more important than I ever did before.  Perhaps it's morbid but sometime around the time I gave birth to Little A I started to think that if something bad were to ever happen to me at least the kids could go back and read my blog.  In that way they could know me and know how much I love them and maybe look back and laugh at some of the good times we shared together.

I had such big plans for what I wanted to share yesterday on this blog.  I wanted to talk about how Elle turned six years old.  I wanted to share her excitement about the whole day and how when I picked her up from school she was nearly vibrating with the pure joy of being six. I wanted to talk about how she used about eight pounds of sprinkles to decorate her birthday cake and how she put such thought into picking out an ice cream flavor she thought everyone would like.  I wanted to talk about how she squealed with delight over every present she opened and how when I put her to bed she told me "I've been waiting my whole life to be six years old!"

All those things happened and they were wonderful but the day, on the whole, was not wonderful.  It was the kind of day, the kind of week really, that had me shaking my head and feeling totally at a loss.

For the past week we have been dealing with Joseph being unable to deal with the fact that it's Elle's birthday.  He's too jealous.  He's too rigid.  He can't deal with the fact that Elle gets something that he's not getting at the EXACT SAME TIME!  We've spent the days now gently reminding him that yes, Elle gets some special stuff but he had a big party on his birthday day and he got to pick out the flavor of ice cream that he wanted.  We've less gently reminded him that yes, Elle gets to open presents on her birthday but that on his birthday we all sat around and watched him open presents too.  We've exasperatedly gone over and over the fact that yes, one time we went to Disneyland for Elle's birthday but that we also went to New York for his.

None of it mattered.  There were tantrums and melt-downs and general terrible behaviors all day long.  As Elle stood in the frozen food section and picked her ice cream flavor Joseph pouted and made rude comments.  When she said she wanted mint ice cream Joseph screamed and gagged.  Elle looked worried and said "I'll pick something else."  I assured her that mint was a fine choice and that she could get that if she wanted.  Joseph screamed "Oh sure, give Elle whatever she wants!  Elle is the most special and I am just boring old Joseph!"  She didn't pick mint ice cream.

When a few people came over for cake and presents Joseph spent a good portion of time in the bathroom wailing because no one was paying attention to him.  Later Jesse had to take Joseph into the laundry room because he was having a melt down over Elle getting such good presents.  We turned on her new toy guitar to drown out the sound of him yelling.

I was so angry yesterday.  And I was just so sad.

From the time Elle has been baby she's always had to give so much.  She's spent hours and hours and hours of her life in waiting rooms while Joseph has had various therapies.  She's had to be pulled out of school early so that I can get both of them to Joseph's appointments across town on time.  She wants to say hi to Joseph when they pass each other in hallway at school but she's learned not to because it upsets him.  She's had countless conversations and playtimes with me cut short because I have to deal with something Joseph needs.

Elle, if you read this someday, I'm sorry.  I'm so sorry that you got less.  Less attention, less time, less understanding, less consideration.  You needed less and so you got less.  I always tried to make it even and to work it out but I know it wasn't fair and I'm sorry.

But also know this - on the day that you were six years and one day old, your mom went out and bought you a carton of mint ice cream for you to eat all on your own.

Two years ago today Elle was four.
Four years ago today the kids were getting older.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three things

The other day Elle was sitting at the table drawing a picture.  As she drew she hummed a little song to herself and swung her legs.  I looked over her shoulder and peeked at her drawing of herself playing on the playground.  "That's a really good picture sweetie."

"I know" she responded. "I'm a really good drawer."

Just like that.  Matter of fact.  She went back to drawing and humming in general feeling pretty content with herself.  She didn't hesitate to say that she was good at something.  She didn't argue with me and insist she wasn't really that good.  She didn't follow her statement up with "But you should see my friend!  She's really good.  I'm only a little good.  I need to get better."

I was so struck by that.  I don't remember ever having the confidence she has.  Maybe I did once, when I was her age but then if I had it when did I lose it and why?  Why did I go from being a self-assured little girl into a woman who has no faith in herself?

If you were to ask me what I was really good at I would say nothing.  That would be my first answer.  I can't keep my house clean enough, I'm disorganized, every time I try to make bread I fail miserably, I never went to college because math is to hard for me and I get anxious in new situations, I have terrible eyesight, I forget things all the time.  And that?  That's what I see when I look at myself.  When someone compliments me I deflect it and deny it.  When people compliment me on my photography my response is that they only think it's good because they don't know any better.  I mean, I have literally said that to people.  It's why I have done very little with my photography business (even though I started a facebook page for it).  I'm certain that I'm not good at it.

That terrifies me.  I don't want Elle to turn out like this.  I don't want her to think that she's not good at anything.  I don't want her to always second guess herself.

So I'm trying to change the pattern.  I need to start seeing what I'm good at so that others can see it to.  I need to let my daughter see me taking credit for the things I do well so that she can know it's ok to credit for the things she does well.  So for days I have thought about what three things I feel like I'm really good at that I feel comfortable acknowledging.  It was hard and I had to stifle a lot of doubt and insecurity but I came up with a list that I think is honest and true.

1. I am really good at canning.  I have a pantry full of applesauce, jams, salsas, tomato sauce, pickles and other canned goods.  I taught myself how to do it and I'm proud of that. 

2. I am good at making people laugh.  I am a funny person.  I have a good sense of humor and I'm not afraid to use it.

3. I am a really good mother.  (And to that I'll also add that I'm a really good surrogate mother.)  With me my children have love, care, security, laughter, learning, and an endless supply of apple crisp.  I'm not a perfect parent but I work on improving the areas where I make mistakes.

Phew!  That was hard.  But good!  It feels good to give yourself credit.  So now I want to hear from you.  What are your three?  No putting yourself down!  What are you good at?

One year ago today some people were assholes and needed to be treated as such.
Two years ago today I was maybe in a cult.
Four years ago Elle was the easy child. Hahahahahahaha.

Friday, September 23, 2011

I wish I had half her self confidence

"Even when I'm not looking in the mirror I still know how cute I am because I can just remember it from the last time I looked." - Elle

Two years ago today I was pregnant with twins.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Some day I will grow up and stop worrying about this stuff

You know, you get to a certain age and you start to feel like you know yourself pretty well.  And then one day something happens that makes you shake your head and realize you still have so much left to learn.  I'm thirty-*mumbles* years old and yesterday I had a real "duh" moment about myself.

I take it really, really personally when someone is mean to me.  I don't mean that I get sad or upset if someone is mean to me.  I mean that I immediately start thinking "Oh no!  I did something wrong!  There must be something about me that's causing this person to be mean to me.  I have to try and figure out why this person isn't nice to me.  Surely it has to be an issue on my end!  If only I was nice/smart/funny/interesting/good enough they would like me and not be mean to me."

It never even really occurs to me that maybe the other person is just kind of an asshole.

Of course on an intellectual level I realize that there are mean people in the world.  And I realize that every so often I am going to run into one.  And sometimes I might have to interact with one of them.  And they might not be so nice to me.  When it happens though I'm thrown for a loop.  It always takes me by surprise.

See, I think I'm a pretty nice person.  I care about my family and friends.  I try to be polite to strangers.  I stop for people in crosswalks.  I am nice to waitresses and cashiers.  I like puppies and babies.  I like buying things for people.  I can laugh at myself.

So the question is, how is it that I can know that I'm a nice person who's generally likeable and know that there are mean people in the world and yet not know how to not internalize it when one of those jerks takes their jerkiness out on me?  And will I ever learn how to do that?  Or am I doomed to always be left to wonder what I did wrong after someone treats me poorly?

(And by the way, this is not a post about how I'm to awesome and kind to function in this cruel world and it's NOT an attempt to fish for compliments.  Believe me, I have plenty of flaws and I know it and I can deal with that.)

One year ago today Elle was wise.
Five years ago today Elle like bad movies.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stressed

Yesterday I got an email that made me sad and stressed out.  I can't go into all the details but it involves surrogacy and egg donors and people who are not totally honest and how now the plans for me to try to get pregnant in October have been flushed down the toilet because we have to go back to the beginning to try to find a new egg donor.  Frustrated does not begin to describe how I feel right now.

Also there is something causing my "d" key to not work right so when I need to use it I have to push on it really har hard.

In order to cheer me up here is a picture of Elle from our recent road trip. It makes me laugh. (Recap is coming!  I'm working on it between canning massive batches of apple sauce and folding massive piles of laundry.)

One year ago today I won the teacher jack pot.
Four years ago today I shopped when I was pregnant and it was bad.
Six years ago today I talked about my cervix as I am wont to do.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

The one where I divorce my husband because of a weight set

I was in the garage this morning getting ready for Garage Sale 2 - Revenge of the Overpriced Crap when I tripped over Jesse's old weight set and fell flat on my face.

Have you ever been falling and everything seems to happen so fast and yet so slow?  As I was falling I had time for this entire thought process:

"Ouch!  What was that? That goddammed weight set! Why did he set that weight right there? I've tripped over it ten times already?  I could have moved it but with my back hurting so much that seems like a bad .... AAAAAA!!! I'm falling!  I thought I could regain my balance but I couldn't!  AAAAA!!! I'm going to fall on my face!  I know, I'll drop this big armload of garage sale clothes I'm carrying and then I'll free up my arms PLUS then I'll have something soft to fall on.  Oh no!  I didn't aim right and now.....*thunk*.... Jesse is so hearing about this when he gets home."

The worst part is that I can't even be very mad at Jesse because not five minutes later I fell backwards over a pile of crap that I left sitting out.  So now I'm inside with my banged up foot and knees and arms and a rather large sore area on my hinder and I'm wishing I had some ice cream and thinking about how much I hate garage sales.

One year ago today I had money woes.
Three years ago today I found a good use for blogging.
Six years ago today I was boring.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Song lyrics that are kind of creepy when you read them

I Drove All Night
by Celine Dion

I drove all night to get to you
Is that all right?
I drove all night
Crept in your room
Woke you from your sleep
To make love to you
Is that all right?
I DROVE ALL NIGHT!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Home again, home again

Elle and I are back from our trip.  I'll have a recap of it later (complete with pictures even though I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I should have although I guess there's something to be said for putting the camera down and living in the moment) but here's one picture that I posted on the facebook.  I think it sums our trip up nicely.

There's Elle smiling and looking happy as can be as she shows off her new corn on bacob* doll.  She's wearing a reproduction pioneer coat that an employee of the Laura Ingalls homestead site let her her wear because she was crying and the employee didn't know that Elle sort of cries a lot.  Also, shortly after this picture was taken Elle ripped a button off the jacket.  On accident but it just added to the streak of breaking something at every single spot we visited.

*This is what she calls corn on the cob and it's my favorite thing ever and I'm always talking to her about corn so that I can try to get her to say it.

Three years ago today I babysat.
Four years ago today my tiny baby girl got a haircut.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Little House and the Big Garage Sale

On Friday Elle and I are going to leave for a short road trip to Walnut Grove, Minnesota and DeSmet, South Dakota.  We'll be visiting some points of historical Laura Ingalls Wilder spots.  We recently (last night) finished reading the books and we're very excited to see some of the places the books talked about.  Well, I'm excited to see them.  Elle is excited because I told her we could pack a cooler of food and that I would make cheese sandwiches.  She has not stopped talking about those cheese sandwiches for days.

One thing we needed to do to get ready for the trip (other than the buying of the cheese, oh my god the cheese) was to have a garage sale.  We've been needing to have one for a long time and since we needed the extra cash for our road trip I decided to bite the bullet and just do it.

Maybe I should have bitten an actual, literal bullet because garage sales are the freaking worst.

It would be far easier to just walk into Walmart and announce over the loud speaker "Will all the weirdest, stinkiest people please come over to my house and root through my personal possessions?  And then can you turn your nose up at them or find insulting things to say about them?"  Then I could have saved myself the trouble of pricing, moving and organizing everything.

I hit upon what I thought was a pretty brilliant idea though.  I advertised the sale as "almost everything for a quarter" and then I put a big sign up front that said "EVERYTHING IS A QUARTER (unless otherwise marked)" and I really did have most stuff unmarked and ready to be sold for a quarter.  Sometimes it pained me a little because I knew that stuff was worth a lot more but I really just wanted it all gone.

Of course the fact that people were getting nearly new kid's clothes for a quarter didn't stop them from trying to talk me down on the price. "Will you take $1 for these 17 things?" or "This one shirt has a stain on it, can I have it and this electric heater and these wind chimes and these shot glasses and that bike and this scrap book and this pair of cleats for fifty cents?  Because this shirt has a stain."  One guy gave me a hard time because the perfectly functioning bread maker that I had IN THE FREE BOX no longer had the instruction book with it.  When he told him he could look the instructions up online he responded as though I had suggested he engage in sexual relations with the bread maker.  "I don't do THAT!"  At last he agreed to take the bread maker but as he left he said in a threatening tone "If this doesn't work I'm going to throw it away!"

In the end even though we sold most things for just a quarter we made $195.65 (plus $241.75 selling stuff for other people because I'm that big of a sucker).  That was enough to cover our trip hotel costs PLUS our cheese sandwich budget!  Or at least it was until we discovered on Saturday afternoon that all four tires on my car needed to be replaced.

So now we're back where we started from only less so and there's a good chance an angry guy with soggy bread is going to throw a small appliance through my window some night.  I can deal with it though.  Instead of staying at the historic bread and breakfast located in a building that used to be a bank where Ma and Pa did their banking we'll be staying at Bob's Discount Hotel and Taxidermy Shop where kids eat free on Thursdays.  I hope they have cheese sandwiches.

(And because I've been asked for an update on the surrogacy situation let me just say this: AAAAAAAAAAUUUUGH!  I'm at a loss for how to describe how things going without going into too much personal detail or swearing or speaking in tongues but oh my lord, it is a test of patience and perseverance and uterine fortitude.  Let's just leave it at that.)

One year ago today I introduced my dad.
Two years ago today it was twin time.
Four years ago today someone tried to hurt me.
Six years ago today Joseph "liked" sports.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

There are weird people all over the place and some of them become parents

When we left off Elle was playing in the backyard with a neighbor boy after I had shooed H out of our yard.  They played for a few minutes but then the little boy's sister (stick with me, it gets confusing here) came into our yard and said that H's mother (who is not related to the little boy) said he could not stay in our yard any more.  When I questioned what was going on the girl told me H's mom wanted to talk to me and that she didn't want the neighborhood kids playing in my yard.  I assured the little boy that I had talked to his dad and that it was ok that he stayed in my yard.  Then I told the little boy's sister that if H's mother wanted to talk to me she should come on over.

Now if you're like me you're thinking "What the hell?  She sent an eight year old over as her messenger?  And she's trying to dictate what the other neighborhood kids are doing?"  Because that's what I thought.  Because I'm not a crazy person.

Jesse and I went into the garage to do some work for a garage sale.  We had the door open and I kept an eye out for for H's mother but nothing happened for a while.  I started to think the whole thing would just be dropped.

And then I saw her stomping across the street.  Now something to keep in mind here is that I was not even certain what her name was at this point.  In the three years we have lived in this house I have never spoken to this neighbor.  Before she was banned from our house her kid spent hours and hours over here yet she never once thought to come over and introduce herself or to see the home that her kid was playing in or to say "Hey, thanks for watching my kid all day while I had no idea where she was!"  She only decided to talk to me after I said her child wasn't allowed in my yard any more.  Ponder that for a second.

I put my hand up to Jesse and said "I will handle this." just as H's mother reached the end of my driveway and yelped "I think we have an issue we might need to discuss!"

Internal monologue.  "I don't even know your name.  You've never spoken to me before or even bothered to return my friendly waves when we pass each other on the road.  In the interest in neighborly goodwill I have kept my mouth shut when your daughter broke the handle of our screen door.  I never said anything to you when she was rude to me or mean to my daughter.  I even kept it to myself when she tried to steal from Elle because I didn't want my first interaction with you to be one where you felt attacked.  But now you have the nerve to come over to my home and yelp at me because your daughter's feelings were hurt by the fact that there's one yard she can't rule the roost in?  Oh honey.  There is some shit up with which I will not put."

I met her at the at the end of the driveway and she flared her nostrils at me and said 'Why are you being mean to H?"

It kind of got worse from there.  She talked fast, I talked faster.  She got loud, I managed to stay pretty quiet.  She flared her nostrils bigger and bigger and I looked at Jesse like "This bitch is crazy right?"  She kept making the same points over and over.  "H is a good girl!  She's a good girl!  I think she's a good girl!" I shot them down. "No she's not.  Really, is that why she stole from my house?  Is that why every other neighbor around us has complained to me about her?" (All right, that last one was a low blow.)

She tried to blame Elle for starting the fight.  I let her know that's ridiculous because Elle is 5 and H is 9.  She countered that it couldn't be H's fault because (and I am not making this up) H has had fights with every other kid in the neighborhood and that's just what kids do.  I suggested she take a look at the pattern H had dealing with other kids.  She said I couldn't know for sure that the fights weren't Elle's fault because I had not seen them first hand.  I responded that I DID know because if my kids are outside I know where they're going and who they're with.  A lot of the time I can even see them out my front window because I keep an eye on them even when they're outside.  I pointed out that she didn't know H was causing the fights because before that day she didn't even know that there were fights being had.

It became obvious pretty quickly that H's mother had not come over to deal with anything.  She came over to bully me and make me feel bad for kicking H out of my yard.  Once she saw that it wasn't working she got flustered and all but resorted to "I know you are but what am I?"

The strangest part of the argument was when she tried to tell me that H was allowed to decide if Elle was allowed to play in the neighbor's yard or not if she was there first.  I actually laughed in her face.  Back in the garage Jesse was snickering as well.  I let her know that sooner or later H was going to have to learn that she wasn't in charge of everything.  And maybe I stuck my finger in her face a little bit and said "And you need to learn it too because if it happens again I'm going to put a stop to it."

This was the point where I think she realized she wasn't getting what she wanted she so pulled out what she thought would be the big guns.  "Well then" she said with a self-satisfied smile.  "I guess H won't be allowed to play at your house any more."  I paused, confused.  "Um, H hasn't been allowed in my house for at least two years now."

She blinked.  Blinked again.  Then she looked smug.  "Then Elle's not allowed to play in our yard either."

I laughed again.  "Elle hasn't been in your yard for years because of how H behaves.  Do you just not know at all what is going on with your kids?"

There was a bit more back and forth but at this point it was all just a blur and I was wondering if she was ever going to leave my yard.  All I knew was that I wasn't walking away first.  This woman wanted to bully me and try and say it was ok for her kid to bully my kid.  She wanted me to back down and agree that Elle was somehow to blame for what happened.  I wasn't worried about being the bigger person or the mature adult.  I didn't even care how stupid I looked standing at the end of my driveway arguing with a lunatic.

At last H's mother threw up her hands and said "Fine!  Fine!  It's all settled then!  Elle's not allowed to play in our yard and H won't come over any more!  Fine!"

"That's fine with me!" I called back.  "I have to say though that after talking to you I'm not real surprised H acts the way she does."

H's mother stopped in her tracks.  Her whole body got stiff and she opened and shut her mouth a few times.  She looked exactly like H had when I made her leave our yard.  I felt a brief little jolt of something... victory? and I smiled to myself as H's mother stormed across the street.  (Interesting side note, she then went across the street and proceeded to yell at H and some of the neighbor girls demanding their side of the story.  That might have been a good idea to do BEFORE you came over and made an ass of yourself in my yard but WHATEVER.)

So now all is quiet on the western front.  Every day since this has happened Elle has played with neighbor kids without incident.  Joseph reported that a few times he saw H sitting in her driveway and pouting.  I feel a little sorry for her because she obviously got screwed in the parenting department.  She's a bully because she's being raised by a bully.  But I'm not sure I'm a nice enough person to feel as sorry for her as I should have.  I'm glad that (for a couple of days anyway) she's the one feeling left out.

Of course we still have to live across the street from these people.  I don't think for one second this is the end of H being mean or causing issues.  My hope though is that she and Elle will just go their separate ways and that I don't have to have anything else to do with her or her mother.  Or that they move to Antarctica.  I guess I kind of hope that too.

Three years ago today Joseph made up a game.
Four years ago today I had kids.
Six years ago today I was hungry.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The one where I make the neighbors hate me

Yesterday was ... weird.

Ever since we moved into this house three years ago we've had issues with a certain neighborhood kid.  It started out as just kind of annoying.  She was around all the time.  ALL the time.  She wold knock at the door a dozen times a day asking for the kids to come out and play.  If I said no she would be back 10 minutes later ringing tho doorbell.  We would be sitting in the dining room eating dinner and look over to see she was standing on our porch and staring in our big front window.  She would ring the doorbell at 10 at night, wearing her pajamas and wanting to play. One day she was at out house for five hours when I happened to overhear her mother outside yelling to another neighbor "Do you know where H is?"

Some of that might make you feel a little sorry for her.  It made me feel a little sorry for her too.  That's why I kept letting her in the house even though she wasn't a very nice little girl.

Elle was three when we moved here and she was very eager to please her new playmate.  When H would come over and say "I get to use all your toys and you just play with this one car ok?" Elle would hesitate but agree.  When H would say "Ask your mom for snacks and then give them all to me!" Elle would go along with the plan.  When H would say "Tell you mom you want to give me all your Barbie clothes" Elle would cry but then say yes.  Of course I always kept an eye (and ear) on what was going on on in the room and I would step in to settle things.  "Tell your mom you want your door shut and for her not to listen to us!" and then when she left "Don't play with any of your toys or touch anything till I come back to play again!"

All that was annoying but when she started trying to take Barbie clothes from Elle I had to put my foot down.  It was ridiculous that I had to ask a six year old to empty her pockets before she left the house.  At last we decided she just wasn't allowed to play in our house any more.

Time passed and as Elle got a little older she was allowed to cross the street to play with the neighbor kids in their backyards.  The general rule was to not play in H's yard since her parents never supervised what was going on.  It was a good rule in theory but the problem was that no matter what house Elle went to H was always there.  And she was always so mean.  It seemed to make her happy to leave Elle out of games and to tease her and make her cry.  I have lost count of the times Elle has come home crying because H was being mean to her.

H's newest tactic is to tell Elle she's not allowed to play in other people's yards.  Elle can be playing with at the house across the street and H will come over and tell Elle she has to leave.  Or she will instruct the other little kids to ignore Elle and be mean to her. Little kids are like packs of wild dogs and this pack has found it's leader in H.  If she's not around they will play nicely and happily with Elle but if H is comes around they will follow her lead and be mean to Elle.

I am sad to say that Elle is pretty much the perfect victim for them.  She's the youngest kid in the neighborhood.  She's five and she still thinks of even slightly older kids as an authority figure.  She's very sensitive and cries easily.  She's still at that wonderful stage where everyone she knows is a friend and she's eager to please her friends.

Things kind of came to a head a couple of days ago when Elle came home from another neighbor's house crying because H had led the group in kicking her out yet again.  I was just sick of it.  I told Elle "You don't have to me nice to H.  If she tells you to go home you yell right at her 'Maybe you should go home!' or just ignore her."

Then yesterday as Elle was walking to to another house to ask if the little boy who lives there could play she passed by H's yard where H was sitting out with two other neighborhood kids.  They stopped Elle and an argument started.  I didn't hear anything that was said other than Elle yelling "Maybe YOU should go home!"  Jesse hurried over to step in and finish walking Elle to the next house.

The little boy on the corner (who's actually a nice little boy and not really part of the group of mean girls) came over to our house and he and Elle played on the swingset in the backyard.  They were there not five minutes when H and her two cronies came walking into our backyard.  Why were they there?  To make the little boy leave?  To harass Elle?  To be pretend to be nice to her for five minutes so that they could use her playground?  I wasn't in the mood to find out.  I stepped outside and in the most matter-of-fact voice I could manage I said "H, you are not allowed to play in our yard.  You other kids can stay if you like but H is not allowed to be over here."

H was shocked.  She stood and stared at me for a minute and then slowly turned and stormed out of the yard.  One of the other little girls quickly followed but the youngest hesitated and took a few steps closer to the playground.  H yelled "COME WITH ME RIGHT NOW!" and both the little girls quickly scampered after her.

This, my friends, is when things started to get weird.  And this is when I made sure there won't be any friendly neighborhood get togethers any time real soon.  But now I'm getting angry and shaky thinking about what happened so I'm going to continue this tomorrow.

Three years ago I was lumpy.
Six years ago I was pregnant and not loving it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Newsie!

Wow, it's been a while since I posted.  That was not my intention.

This is a busy time for me.  I have a lot going on but none of it is interesting.  Perhaps the only thing I can think of to share is that later this month Elle and I will be taking a little road trip to visit some places of interest in Laura Ingalls Wilder history.  Elle tells me every day that he's so excited for the cheese sandwiches I promised to pack in the cooler when we go.  Joseph is excited to.  A few days ago he told me "I can't wait for your trip because then you'll be away from me for a few days!"  I guess he's ready for school to start soon too.

The only other news I have is that Joseph got a new hat.  When he wears it I sort of want to smoosh his face because he's so cute.

See?  Smooshable!

One year ago today we went to the splash pad.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

I can make it one more month

The kids go back to school in one month.  I have mixed feelings about this.  On one hand, Elle will be in all day kindergarten and I will have no children at all in the house for six hours a day and that makes me a little sad and lonely.
On the other hand I would pay a billion, trillion dollars for school to have started yesterday.

I am attempting to sort and edit pictures from the three (yes, three!) photo shoots I did this past weekend and my work conditions are less than ideal.  My computer is located in our office/Lego room.  Every well equipped home should have a Lego room.  To my right Elle is playing Fresh Beat Band videos on the computer we have set up for her and Joseph.  I've asked her several times to turn the music down but I think The Fresh Beat Band has taken over the computer and they're turning up the volume from the inside.

Behind me Joseph is digging, digging, digging in a huge pile of Legos for the one single Lego that will complete his current Lego masterpiece.  How loud can one little boy digging through Legos really be?  That's like asking how bright the sun is.  It is SO LOUD OH MY GOD YOU CAN'T BELIEVE HOW LOUD IT IS.  On top of this he's yelling out "BARF!" at random intervals and nothing I say will make him stop.

Tthe kids make sure to let me know they're still around by asking me something every 4.6 seconds.  They need a snack.  They need a drink.  They need me to tell the other child to make less noise. They need me to help them reach a Lego off a high shelf.  They need me to give my opinion on the latest Phineas and Ferb episode.  "BARF!"

I've been working for an hour and my head is throbbing.  My back aches and my shoulders are tight.  My right eye lid has developed a twitch.  I've finished three pictures.

I'm calling it a day.  I'll get some work done in a month.

One year ago today I shared a video.
Two years ago today Joseph humiliated me.
Six years ago today Joseph was cute.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Swing away

Thanks to a combination of luck and timing and generous grandparents Elle now has her own playset in the backyard.  This is pretty much the greatest thing that Elle has going on in her life right now.  She loves that playset.  It's got two swings, a glider, a slide, monkey bars and a play area covered by a canopy.
By far her favorite part of the playset is the swings.  The day after we got the playset put together she woke me up at six in the morning asking if she could go swinging.  She doesn't care how hot it is outside, she'll go out at all hours of the day and swing, swing, swing.  She comes in every so often for a new coating of sunscreen and to cool off but then she's right back out there again.

She likes to swing with her eyes shut.  Sometimes I'll be out working in the garden and I can hear the rhythmic "squeak, squeak, squeak" of the swingest and then her little voice joining in to sing to go with the rhythm.  Yesterday I heard her singing "Bad Romance".  I held my hand over my mouth to stifle my laugh.  She didn't notice me watching her.  Her eyes were screwed tightly shut.  Her hair was coming loose from her pony tail and blowing around her face.  Her long legs moved forward and backwards in time.  Suddenly she cried "I'm swinging higher than I ever dreamed possible!"

Swing away baby.  Swing away.

Three years ago today I had a blogging problem.
Four years ago today I reviewed Harry Potter. Sorta.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sliding into manual mode

I have been struggling and stressing and fighting to understand the manual mode on my camera for a while now. The fact it, it all just sounds too much like math to me.  I feel like I almost have a grip on the concept but then it just slips out of my hands and I'm back where I started from.

For some reason though something clicked for me yesterday.  All of the sudden it started making sense.  Oh don't get me wrong, I still have a lot to learn and I need a ton of practice but it feels so empowering to be able to turn the little dial from A to M on my camera.

Yesterday I took a few pictures of Elle using only the manual setting and I was pretty pleased with the results. (You can see them here but be aware blogger reduces photo quality something fierce.)  I have learned two things about shooting in manual:

1) I CAN do it and it's not nearly as scary as it seems at first.

2) I really need a pedicure done by someone other than a five year old.



One year ago today I played in the ocean with my kids.
Four years ago today I wrote a post about body image and MTV that to this day gets tons of traffic.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

A totally random story

When we went to California last year we spent a day at the San Diego zoo.  It must have been the annual "Weird Guys Get In Free" day because every five minutes Jesse and I were having to look at each other with eyes that seemed to say "Oh my god, did you see what that guy just did?!?"

There was a family reading the bible as they walked from exhibit to exhibit. ("Look children!  These are the wild boars.  These are one of five animals mentioned by name in the bible.  Oh look!  I opened my bible to exactly the right page!  What a blessing!*  Let's read shall we?)  There was a guy who kept trying to introduce the animals to his daughter. (Koala!  Koala!  Look over here koala!  This is Ella!  Say hi to Ella!  Koala! Look over here at Ella!  Look koala!  Ella!")  There was the guy who tried to imitate animal noises and when he got the the kangaroos he yelled "HOP HOP HOP HOP HOP HOP HOP HOP HOP" until a zoo keeper came out and told him to stop.

The weirdest though was a guy standing next to me looking at the lions.  There was a whole crowd gathered around because a lioness was right up against the glass and everyone was trying to look at her.  The guy next to me did this non-stop running monologue that went something like this: "WOW!  Look at that!  Would you just look at that beautiful bitch lion!  What a gorgeous bitch! I've never seen a bitch lion this close before!  How amazing!  The bitch lions never come this close to the glass!  It's so rare to see the bitch lions like this!  What a beautiful bitch she is!"

He said it enough that I started to question if maybe I was wrong in thinking a female lion was called a lioness so I pulled out my phone and googled "is a female lion called a bitch" and then the internet said "it's a lioness dumbass" and I felt stupid.  But not as stupid as the guy calling the lioness a "bitch lion".

Bitch, please. 

*I think it was less a blessing and more of the fact that the had a bookmark holding his place.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Facebook is so gay

To really understand the beauty of this story you have to understand Joseph.  I have raised him to be open and accepting and there is not a single part of him that is hateful or judgmental.  What he said in this story was not a joke.  It was an an honest attempt to answer his own question and figure out one of the touchier points of social interactions. 

"How do you know if someone is gay?" Joseph asked me.

"Hmmmm..." I responded, stalling for time as I tried to best form an answer he would understand.

He continued.  "I know that if like two men or two women are married then they're gay but how can you tell if you just met them?"

"Well buddy, there are maybe a few things that might give you a clue someone is gay but every person is different and -" I started but then he cut me off.

"Could you look them up on facebook?" he asked.  "Like if you looked up Bob and it said 'spouse - John' then you would know he was gay?"

I choked back a laugh. "Yes, I suppose that would do it."

Joseph continued.  "And you could look at their status updates?  Maybe it would say something like 'Bob is bein' gay!" or "Bob is gaying like no one has ever gayed before!' then you would know they were gay?"

On one hand I am a little disturbed by how well Joseph understands how facebook works.  On the other hand, I kind of want to get "Bob is bein' gay!" printed onto a t-shirt. 

One year ago today I went to New York.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Almost like a business plan

So, um, I started a business.  Kinda.

In this modern age with the facebook and the twitter and the google+ all one really needs to do to start a business is log onto their social network of choice and declare "I HAVE STARTED A BUSINESS!"*

So a couple of days ago I logged onto facebook and declared that I am now a business owner.  Then I curled up in a ball and spent the day trying not to vomit and thinking maybe I should call the whole thing off.

You see, I feel like saying "Please like my business and perhaps choose to utilize my services" feels a lot like I'm saying "Here's my heart!  Feel free to stomp all over it and mock me!"  I tend to take things a little personally.

But, if I don't challenge myself and I don't take chances then I am never going to grow.  And I do want to grow.  And grow in new and exciting ways that don't involve my ass.  So please, if you are so inclined please check out my new project Heartland Photography and maybe click the "like" button or repost or retweet or whatever it is the young people are doing these days.  I'm just starting out and fumbling my way through this but I love photography and I think I have some fun, original ideas on how to make this business work and the support of my bloggy buddies means the world to me.

Thank you to the moon and back.

*That makes me think of The Office when Michael stands in the middle of the office and yells "I declare ... BANKRUPTCY" which was one of the funnier moments ever on the show and now I can't hear the word "bankruptcy" without thinking of it.

Three years ago today I tracked the Wild Asshat.
Four years ago I was a germaphobe.  Ahahahahaha.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Not babies any more

Yesterday Elle lost her second tooth.  She was brushing her teeth and she felt something fall out of her mouth but she thought it was a drop of water.  When she came to me so I could check her teeth over I said "Oh Elle!  Where's your tooth?" and calm as could be she walked back to the bathroom, picked the tooth up off of the floor and said "I knew I dropped something."
No big deal, no drama.  Just "Oh yeah, this piece of proof of my babyhood just feel out onto the bathroom floor.  Whatever."  She's really not a baby any more.


Joseph turned 11 this past weekend.  He's firmly settled into the teen years now and he's got the attitude and the first tiny pimple to prove it.  He's trying so hard to be independent.  At least he thinks he is.  He told me the other day that he doesn't have to listen to me any more because he's independent and when you're independent you only do what you want to do and could I please make him some lunch?  I guess he's not yet old enough to have figured out the concept of irony.
So grown up!  My babies aren't babies any more!  They're like little adults.

On the other hand.... Yesterday I was upstairs and I heard a loud thump come from the downstairs family room.  Before I could ask what was wrong Elle yelled up "It's ok Mama!  I jumped off the furniture and I didn't get hurt ... much.  I just think I broke my leg bone just a little bit! I'll shake it off and take two or maybe three deep breaths."

Later the same day Joseph and I were discussing how we had run into a friend of his from school at the grocery store. He said "I like her.  She's nice and she always has interesting things to talk about.  She knows a lot of stuff and she can talk to people about anything.  It's nice to have a person like that in your group of friends because she makes everyone in the group feel more comfortable."  And as I'm thinking how impressive it is that my Aspie is making such great, astute observations he finishes off with "I don't like her new haircut through.  It makes her look like a pharmacist."

Maybe not all the way grown up yet.

Two years ago today I got pissy about cake.
Four years ago people asked stupid questions about adoption.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Parenting is hard and we all make mistakes so don't laugh at this guy

Every so often I am overwhelmed with the amount of responsibility I have for my children.  And not in a "Oh my god, I can't believe how all I do all day is take care of these kids and I can't do it any more!" way but in a "Oh my god, I have so much power in their little lives and I can't screw this up because I don't want them to be criminals someday." kind of way.

It's kind of a big deal, this parenting gig.  You try so hard to do everything right but the fact is that everyone who parents is doing SOMETHING wrong.  We're too cautious, we're not cautious enough.  We push too hard, we don't push hard enough.  We put strict limits on screen time and junk food, we say "Go watch Dora so I can edit some pictures and here's an ice cream sandwich for lunch.  Don't tell grandma."

So knowing that most of us are doing the best we can and that we all occasionally screw up I try hard not to judge when I see parents doing things a little differently than me.  Sometimes though ... sometimes I see parents doing things that make me think "Oh come on buddy!  Are you for real?"

At soccer yesterday there was a little boy on the opposing team who had no interest at all in being there or playing soccer.  He sat down in the grass.  He wandered around.  He picked his nose.  He looked bored.  Every so often his dad would call to him "Come on!  Get out there and play!  Run!  Run!  Run!" 

The little boy would whine "I caaaaaaannn't!" or "I'm toooooo hooooot!" or "It's hard!  The balls don't come to meeeeeee!" 

This was clearly bothering the dad.  He started to get antsy.  "There!  There!  Get that ball there!  Go! Come one! Run!" ( In Elle's soccer program they throw like five balls on the field at a time so that everyone gets a chance to play and kick the ball.  I call it the No Hurt Feelings League.)

Anxious dad got more and more worried as his son refused to play.  He started pacing.  "THERE!  THAT BALL RIGHT THERE!  GET IT!  RUUUUUUUUN!"  All the other parents started to look at him and exchange glances with each other.  A woman near me muttered to no one in particular "Way to have a stroke over pre-school soccer."

All of the sudden anxious dad ran on to the field.  He scooped up an used ball.  He ran over to his kid and said proudly "Here, I got you a ball!  Kick this one!"  And he stood back and looked really pleased with himself as his kid whined his disinterest and sort of took a half hearted swipe at the ball.

Anxious dad started to walk away but then ... he paused.  And picked up another ball to bring to his kid.  And then another.  And another.  And another.  So now in addition to a dozen four and five year olds on the field there was a full grown man running around and scooping up balls.  It was not ridiculous at all.  Each time he would bring his son a ball he look so pleased with himself, like a cat presenting it's owner with a dead mouse.

Now the kid still didn't want to be there or to kick the balls that were being brought to him.  He was just getting more and more annoyed.  Elle started to take an interest in the whole thing though.  She watched for a moment and then a smile spread slowly across her face. 

I don't know if I've ever told you this but I think Elle is part evil genius.  She went over to the disinterested kid and as soon as anxious dad set a ball down Elle swooped in and kicked it away.  She kicked it down the field and then ran back to get another ball.  She kept doing it.  Every time anxious dad tried to give his son a ball to kick Elle would run over and kick it away. 

Anxious dad was not pleased and at one point he looked over at me like he wanted help dealing with my out of control child.  I pretended I didn't see him.  Thankfully the whistle blew soon after and ended the game.  Anxious dad walked off the field.  He was red faced and sweaty.  Disinterested kid remained disinterested.

So, see?  We can't judge. We all make mistakes.  Some of us get totally owned by a feisty red headed five year old.  Some of us sit back and laugh quietly while it happens.  None of us are perfect.


Three years ago today my kids were chums.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sometimes I can't keep quiet

I don't want to take Elle to soccer practice any more. 

This past Sunday I took Elle to a birthday party.  It was awkward and uncomfortable and weird for a lot of reasons.  I suppose the worst part was about five minutes in when the mother of the birthday girl started telling a story about how she tried to cause herself to miscarry when she was pregnant (with the birthday girl herself.)  While that's a fun little story to share among family and friends it seems like an odd choice to announce stuff like that to a group of total strangers.  Especially when the attempt resulted in your child being born extremely premature and having life long effects on her health.

I think it goes without saying that leaving Elle at the party was not an option.  So I stayed and felt icky and kept an eye on all the other kids because no one else was and it seems like maybe letting a bunch of four and five years olds run around unsupervised is not the best idea in the world.  Not as bad as punching yourself in the stomach and not seeking medical attention when you start to bleed but I digress.

So after Sunday I was kind of topped off in the bad parenting department.  That will be enough for now thank you very much!

Then I took Elle to soccer on Monday.  During the game there was a random little girl running around on the field who looked like she was maybe just barely three years old.  She kept trying to pick up the ball and run away with it.  No one stepped in to take her off the field.  At one point she came over to me and told me she cut her finger.  I looked but it didn't look cut so I suggested she find her mom or dad and ask for help.  She said "My mom and dad aren't here.  Just Kristin." and she gestured across the field to a woman talking on her phone and paying no attention at all to the baby in her care who was an entire soccer field away from her talking to a stranger.  I suggested she go to Kristin for help and she wandered away from me.

I watched the little girl as she crossed the field.  Then she crossed another field.  Then another.  Then another.  Then another.  I could see her bright green shirt become a tiny dot as she walked all the way across the soccer complex.  I kept one eye on her and one on Kristin who never once looked to see where he charge had gone to.

The soccer fields we go to are at the top of a large hill and to get to the parking lot you have to walk down the hill with woods on either side of the path.  The little green dot started to head over to the path and I was just about to run over and get her when Kristin started to look around.  She looked casually at first, in no hurry.  She started to walk around the field slowly.  She looked unconcerned and didn't end her phone call.  The green dot paused by the port-a-potties.  Kirstin circled over to my side of the field and finally ended her phone call.  She looked confused.  The green dot started to move closer to the path.

Now let me clarify here that Kristin was not a young girl.  She was a woman at least the same age as me and certainly old enough to know better than to totally ignore the very young child she's supposed to be watching.  I don't know if she was a step-mother or a day care lady or an aunt or a family friend but she was doing a crap-ass job of watching the kid and it pissed me off.

Kristin called to a kid on the field "Where's your sister?"  Because of course the five year old playing soccer is going to be able to tell you the lost kid is.  The soccer player did not know of course.  The green dot started to head down the path.

"Are you looking for the little girl in green?" I called to Kristin.

"Yeah?" She looked surprised.

"She came over to me before. She said her finger was cut.  Then she walked away and now she's going down by the parking lot."

Now a flash of annoyance.  "She came to me twice for her finger too.  It wasn't cut."

"Yeaaaaah, that's not really the point. I didn't see anyone watching her and I think she was just looking for someone to help her." I replied as I watched the green dot pause again.

Kirstin started to slowly move away.  She muttered something under her breath and called for the green dot's sister to get off the field and come with her.

I should have sat back down and shut up.  I should have kept it to myself.

I should not have yelled at her back as she walked away "Maybe if you had been watching her instead of talking on your phone this wouldn't have happened!"

She didn't say anything but I know she heard me because I, um, yelled it and it saw her pause and stiffen up.

I'm not exactly sorry I said it (although I probably could have done it without yelling it at her as she walked away) and I don't think I was wrong.  I just think that the rest of this soccer season could get awkward.  Twice I week I'll have to see this woman and her non-child-watching-ass.  Oy.  The really sad thing is that this is not the first time I've yelled at another parent during a kids sports practice.  (Seriously, it's not.)  I'm just so good at making friends!

I don't want to take Elle to soccer practice anymore.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt

I bet you're on the edge of your seat wondering how the two most exciting things in my life turned out last week.  I'll fill you in on Joseph's birthday party and my tooth removal in a second but first, let me ask you a question.  I took the kids to the drive through at McDonalds for some ice cream after soccer practice and I ordered both of them a small McFlurry.  The order-taker-person snotted back to me "Small?  We don't have small.  We have regular and snack size.  Which of those do you want?"

Now is it just me or is it not a giant, impossible leap of logical thinking to figure out that if someone orders a "small" what they want is the smaller available size?  Like, if I had ordered a large I can see where she might have felt like she had to tell me there was nothing bigger than the regular size but was the snotty tone warranted when I ordered a small?  Most of the time I'm not one to say nothing when I'm treated rudely but I have this fear that all food service people are just waiting for an excuse to spit in my food so I just meekly corrected my order to two snack sized McFlurrys.  (That's a stupid name anyway.  Snack sized?  When you don't want to make a meal out of your ice cream?)  Plus, Elle had practiced soccer in the rain and she only cried twice so I wasn't about to tell her we couldn't get ice cream just because Mrs SnackSizedBossyFace was rude to me.

Aaaaaanyway.  The birthday party.  It went well.  In the end almost no one RSVPed so Joseph called everyone on his list and said adorable things like "Hello!  This is Joseph!  I invited your son, Aaron P, to go to my birthday party this Saturday.  Please let me know if he's able to attend so my mom knows how much cake to buy!  Thank you and have a pleasant day!".  After people were able to recover from the sheer, overwhelming cuteness of his phone messages they called and a total of 11 kids said they were coming.

The day of the party nine kids showed up.  I don't know what's worse, not RSVPing or RSVPing and then not coming.  Whatever.  We had the party at my grandma's apartment building and we rented out the theater so the kids could have a private showing of Despicable Me.  Then they had pizza and cake and spent the next hour screaming fart jokes at each other.  If volume is any indicator a wonderful time was had by all.

Joseph had a great time. He cried a little bit when the last kid was picked up.  Ever since the party he's been asking if we can throw more parties this summer.  A end of summer party, a middle of summer party, a 4th of July party, a sprinkler party to make the neighborhood kids jealous.  We might do that last one.

And now to the other thing in my life, my teeth getting pulled out.  Not much to tell about that since I was knocked out for the procedure.  All I remember is that a nurse came in to give me some laughing gas and somehow we got to talking about me being a surrogate.  She was asking all these questions and I was rambling on and on and I don't even remember most of what I said.  Then she said she was going to start my IV medication and then I started to feel really woozy.  I joked "Now I'm going to start telling you all the really embarrassing stuff!"  Pause.  "Like one time I..." and then I don't remember what I said after that so there's a very good possibility that the nurse knows something about me that I would rather she did not.

My mouth feels weird with the missing teeth.  I have to wait two months until I can see about implants so for now I sort of mumble/talk without opening my mouth much because I don't want people to see the gaps.  They're far back so I suppose it's not totally obvious but still, I sort of hate it.

And now I will close out this long boring post with a cute thing Elle says: She calls bumper stickers "bumper car stickers".

Two years ago today I got out of the hospital.
Five years ago today my kids were in a parade.