Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An Emotional Outpouring

This is in regards to my prayer request yesterday. Yesterday, I invited moms from that website to meet with me at the hospital and pray together in the chapel. Only 1 mom was able to come. Today, 2 more came. 30,000+ women are praying for this family through this website. Many of us have changed our avatars to lit candles to symbolize our vigil. Today, my friend Tricia and another mom, Deb, came and we prayed together in the chapel. We held hands and I led them in prayer. I don't lead people in prayer. Prayer has always been an intimate thing for me. So it's been a big deal for me to hear this calling from God to invite people to pray with me... to invite people to come and meet and be together and pray together. It's outside of my comfort zone. But it's what is right. After we talked and prayed and cried, we decided to go up and see Michele. She's been moved from ICU to the oncology unit. Her husband will be speaking with Hospice this afternoon. Her mother is there. I held her, she cried, we prayed together. No mom should lose a child. It just isn't fair. I embraced her husband and told him how many women were praying for him, for their children, for Michele. I kept my heart open to God and moved as He moved me, spoke as He spoke through me. I can't even tell you what I said and when and to whom. I completely followed the words coming from my heart. I allowed my tears to flow. I hugged and held hands. Since her cancer diagnosis was announced, I've felt like my purpose was going to be more about the people her life touched, the people who struggled with what she was suffering. I am sad for her... for all the memories she is going to miss... all the events in her children's lives that she will not be part of. I grieve deeply for her children... who won't have Mommy there at dinner, bedtime, morning time, first days of school, sporting events, graduations, weddings, the birth of her grandchildren. My heart breaks for her husband. They are 2 people who were so in love, so dedicated to each other. She always spoke positively of him. I hate to think of how he feels, the worries and stresses he has, and the loneliness in his heart. So many people are impacted by this 1 woman. Her life has created an uncountable number of ripples. A website of 35,000 moms is creating more hugs and kisses for children, more loving embraces with spouses, more moments of pausing to see the sky, feel the sun, hear the wind. There aren't words that makes any of this feel adequate... that makes any of this make sense... there aren't answers. It is what it is. I am so thankful for this community website that I am part of. I've had my issues here and there... but miniscule when you see how this group of women is coming together in support of this family. The prayers, the words of support, the concern. Anyone who says that internet friends aren't real... hasn't had a real internet friend. This group of moms will be coming together and providing food, child care, probably offer up a variety of resources... it is truly awe-inspiring. And I have to admit to being proud to be a part of such an amazing group of women. So go hug your kids or call your parents or embrace your most treasured partner in life... make sure the people who are important to you know how important they are. I have no good ending to this post...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Over The Moon!

Boy have I been needing some fantastic news today... and boy did I get it!!! From PioneerWoman.com Second Prize: $200 Amazon.com e-card. The second qualifying player to correctly answer all questions was…#8 Eternal Lizdom. Congrats, Eternal Lizdom—great job. All those Smarty vibes you guys sent me STUCK! YAHOO!! I AM SO EXCITED!!! And Christy... for the record... I am hereby officially EDUCATED.

A Prayer Request

For those so inclined, I have a serious prayer request.
I am majorly involved in a local moms' website.
There is a mom who is in need of serious prayer.
Less than a month ago, she found out she had breast cancer.
She's now been hospitalized and they are finding "something" on her lungs, on her brain. Reports last night are that she has bleeding cancerous lesions on her brain and they still don't have answers on everything going on. Also, she was placed on a ventilator.
She has 4 children. She has a husband, loving family, friends.
I'm not asking anyone to pray for a cure for cancer. But if you could add Michele and her family to your prayer list or take a moment to pray now... If nothing else, a moment to reflect on your own blessings.
Thank you.

A First

As parents, we memorize and journalize and photograph and video as many "firsts" as possible.
As people, "firsts" are important in life. First job, first kiss, first marriage (hahaha).
It's funny the firsts that stick with us.
I never knew that parades were so important to me. But they apparently are. We took Teagan to her first neighborhood parade yesterday. And it was Zach's first parade ever.
Our neighborhood has a "freedom festival" at the end of June every year. There is a 5k run/walk- that experience might get Jeff blogging again; it was not a good one- a neighborhood festival, a parade, and the weekend ends with fireworks.
We don't do the festival. It's booth after booth of food, crafts, direct sales, etc. We've gone twice- once with kids and once without- and didn't find it very exciting for us.
We watch the fireworks every year from Teagan's bedroom window. We get the full show with no mosquitoes, no crowds, no traffic.
This year, it was a family first. The parade. They close down streets around our neighborhood and in our neighborhood for this parade. It's usually 80 or so floats/groups. We usually make sure we are no where near home or content to be locked into our home during parade time.
This year, Teagan noticed that something was different on our drive to and from church. Folks around here like to set out chairs and blankets to reserve their viewing spot for the parade.
Teagan asked to go to the parade.
But we don't do parades... But we don't... But we... But...
We packed the kids up into strollers and walked the distance to the parade route. We happened upon a shady spot that would remain shady- it was ideal. The kids snacked and played "run around the tree." We played many rounds of "I Spy" with Teagan. A large family group came along and asked if they could share in our shade- and we made new friends!
The parade is getting closer- we can hear the sirens blaring. Soon we catch sight of the flashing lights of the firetruck... and catch sight of the police motorcycles... and the parade has begun.
And I fight back crying. And not the tearful kind. The welling up from deep within wracking sobs kind. Not a sadness thing. The overwhelming excitement of catching glimpses of this "parade" through my kids' eyes. It just struck at me solidly in the chest. And I realized that I feel that gasping, sobbing, wracking, overwhelming excitement at the start of any parade.
And I have no idea why.
The kids loved the parade. They got candy and magnets and we even got a rather large red ball (from Target). There were local TV celebrities, some sports people, oodles of Shriners, local businesses, only a couple of politicians, dance groups, cheerleaders, marching bands, churches.
Teagan's first freedom festival parade. Zach's first parade ever.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I Need All Smartness Vibes

I'm sure I've got many readers who also read Pioneer Woman. And maybe you saw where I won a SmartyPants quiz once before and won a handy dandy $50 Amazon gift card. The pressure is on. Big time. P-Dub has been doing these marathon, rapid fire type quizzes to qualify her readers for a Big Quiz- taking place tonight. I won a spot in the quiz. Check it out... I'm a bit nervous. I have no idea what it will be like. The questions will most likely be hard and beyond my smartness. I'll have Jeff helping me and Google at my fingertips. Christy on the side, perhaps? But I need lots of smart vibes coming my way, ok??

Saturday, June 27, 2009

It's the Little Things

I sat down to pay bills yesterday. 2 weeks ago, I was scheduled to pay my gas bill. But I had overpaid, apparently, before. So I had no bill to pay. I got paid yesterday. I sat down to pay my bill. Opened the envelope. With low summer usage and still having a credit... NO BILL TO PAY! Hooray!

Friday, June 26, 2009


You've been warned. Work. Bathroom. Ugh. There are 3 separate sections of my building. There is the sales and marketing (used to be corporate) end. They have 4 bathrooms- 2 women, 2 men. Each has stalls, 2 sinks, etc. The middle of the building is manufacturing. There are 2 locker rooms. 1 for men, 1 for women. Front room is lockers, bench. Middle area has sinks. Toilet stalls. Then there is my end of the building. We have 2 bathrooms. 1 for women, 1 for men. No stalls. 1 toilet, 1 sink. The good news is that when you go to the bathroom, you have the place to yourself. Lately... our bathroom is a real issue. It started with the mystery blood. From time to time... there will be random little bloody smooshy splotches on the toilet seat. And in weird spots. The kind of spots that are from a scratch or something that has then been sat upon and smooshed about. A polite note about general cleanliness was put up by our QC department. It didn't help. So, many weeks after the polite note, I put up a much less polite note. I should have snapped a pic and sent it in to passive-aggressive notes. Tension about the bathroom has been building. We made some changes with our cleaning company and they have... stopped cleaning. Nice, eh? The sink is gaining a nice brown tone, as is the bottom of the toilet. I actually got fed up and cleaned the sink my own damn self. It's back to being brown. Even after a big meeting with the cleaning boss guy. It's an ugly, ugly situation. So many times I've gone to the bathroom and dealt with the normal complaints- the things people can't help, you know. The things folks try to drown out with atomic clouds of air freshener. But the things that are in our control... why can't the people who all use this one bathroom be a little mindful of the others who use this bathroom? There are about 10 women who use this one bathroom. So I would think that we could work together to ensure the following: 1. If you use the last of the toilet paper, take appropriate action to get another roll so you don't leave someone stranded on the toilet, dripping dry. 2. Big wet spots on the toilet paper- the kind of wet section that is layers and layers deep, the kind that make it impossible to pull on the toilet paper- are so not cool. 3. Is it really so difficult to pick up the paper towel you dropped? 4. If you use the last of the soap, refill it or grab another bottle from under the cabinet. 5. WASH YOUR HANDS. /vent

With Friends Like These...

One of my first bloggy friends was Mim over at Mim's Muddle. I love hearing her tales of motherhood, her love of sci-fi, her busy schedule, and all the fantastic things she stays involved with. As my Dad would say- she's good people.
And she's honored me with an award!
The Love My Friends Award is given to those bloggers who aspire, inspire and share the most beautiful of human attributes: art, wisdom and friendship. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more.

A beautiful award from a beautiful friend.

And I am tasked with sharing it with 8 others.

I usually really agonize over the passing on of awards. I want to share with the people who frequent my blog, who comment on my blog, or whose blogs I visit and really get a lot from. I try not to replicate anyone who has been given the award within our little circles...

But this time, I'm just going to wing it and give the award to the 1st 8 bloggers I can think of... the bloggers that are on my mind and that I've connected with as some of the bloggers who aspire, inspire and share the most beautiful of human attributes: art, wisdom and friendship.

Casa Hice


Flartopia (My 2 Sense)

Adventures in Motherhood

The Fourth Frog Blog

Adopting M.E.

C. Beth Blog

Joanie's Random Ramblings

And I can't forget... my non-blogging friends who read my blog. Christy, Ashli, Lindsey, Tim, Victoria, Jim, and all my Facebook friends who read and respond!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Reaper. A CW show that was on for 2 seasons and was a really great show but that never gained a big audience. I finally got to see the final episode. And I can't say a lot about it because Jeff hasn't watched it yet... better yet- if you haven't watched it... don't read this entry, m'kay? I don't want to ruin anything accidentally. Stop reading now, ok? . . . . I HATED THE ENDING. Hated it. I assume that they didn't know it was the final episode. I assume it was supposed to be the cliffhanger to snag you for the next season. But see... there is NO opportunity for the show to continue. There was talk of it moving to SciFi or SyFy or whatever they call it now. There was then talk of it going into syndication. But 2 of the main characters- Sam and Sock- both said they wouldn't come back for syndication. So no show. I guess I can make up my own ending... but... it is just SO frustrating to have a show be cancelled and the show doesn't even get a chance to END the storylines! It happened with Twin Peaks (in my mind, Leo Johnson is still trapped in that cabin with a rope in his mouth, holding that jar of spiders over his head). I just recently watched Wonder Falls. Crappy ending. Open story lines. No closure. I get that television networks are in the business of making money. And advertisers want viewers who will see their ads. So when the audience base isn't there... the money isn't there... the show dies. And the people who DID watch the show are just left hanging... dissatisfied... unfulfilled...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Am I Feeling Inspired?

I'm fat. I've talked about it before. I was at a point where I was okay with it. I'm not anymore. But I've been struggling to find motivation. I'm so... down... about the weight I've gained since weaning... On one hand, I feel like I don't care. That this is just how I am for right now. That with everything else in my life, there isn't time and energy to take care of me. But then that sounds crazy. Why would I not take care of me? I have so many excuses. Schedules are busy, kids are demanding, husband deserves attention, church commitments. Last night, I caught this article on Yahoo Features. Working out is taking care of a lot of muscle. My legs are firmer. My arms are stronger. I can feel those changes. But my belly has gotten flabbier. I can feel muscle forming under the fat. But the fat is out of control. I have this flabby pooch that hangs over the waistline of any pants I wear. I look down when I am sitting, when I am standing... and this belly... this flab... I've come to hate it. I've started hating part of myself. And that is sooooo not like me. I've been slacking off with working out. I've been lucky to hit the gym once a week. I've done no exercise at home. The Wii Fit is collecting dust. Complete and total lack of motivation due to the frustration of getting fatter, gaining weight, being flabby. But that article struck a cord. Gave me an inkling of hope. The short list of food... quinoa, green tea, kefir, avocado, eggs, grapefruit... some of my favorite foods. OK- I've not actually had quinoa. But I know about it and am willing to try it out. So this morning, I stopped at the grocery store and picked up red grapefruit, avocado, kefir. I stopped on the way in to work and got 2 scrambled eggs. I ate scrambled eggs and avocado for breakfast. I'm about to go pour a cup of kefir. It's time to make a change... I don't know fully what I'm doing. But I have to get back on track. I have to get rid of the flab. I have to get back to being on a good path. I hope that my inkling of hope, my moment of inspiration sticks. Maybe... maybe if I keep up with eating these foods that I already love... maybe... maybe I can reduce this flabby belly... maybe.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Do you like the new look??

Monday, June 22, 2009

Had A Bad Day...

Sometimes, the day is just off. Work can be stressful. Tension with a loved one. Children pushing buttons. As an adult, I'm "more in control" of how I manage a bad day. I'm more "in touch" with how I de-stress and feel better. As a 4 year old, Teagan has no idea how to snap out of it. How to get back on track. Sometimes, the simplicity of "making a different choice" just won't work. She had one of those days today. I got to pick up the kids this evening- a rare treat these days. Jeff had plans for the evening so I rushed to get them on time. Teagan was sitting in time out when I got there. She was in trouble, for the umpteenth time today, for sassing, talking back, not listening. Being rude to Miss Lisa. The same things she had gotten a talking to about at Sunday School yesterday. The same issues we've been having at home. I gave her my Disappointed Mommy face. And I thought about what to do. How to help her make a different choice. I buckled her in. I told her... Daddy's not home for the evening. We're getting McDonald's for dinner. McD's is a Big Deal. It's well known that Mommy doesn't like McD's because it makes my tummy hurt. Teagan's eyes got big. "But you don't like McDonald's! It makes your tummy hurt!" "I know. But I love you. And I know you like McDonald's." We start driving. She's thinking in the back seat. We get our food and start the drive home. "Mommy? Why did you get us McDonald's when it makes you feel yucky?" "Well. Sometimes Mommy has a bad day. And sometimes Mommy has a day where she makes lots of bad choices or I feel like there is just too much to do. And on those days, I just want someone to do something to help me feel better, to show me they care about me and love me and that someone wants to help my day get better. You had a rough day today, didn't you? (She nods from the back seat.) Well. I love you. And I care about you. And I wanted to do something special to help your day get better." And you know what? We've had a perfectly lovely evening. We ate dinner together. We watched a little TV (recorded PBS shows). We had a fun bathtime. We all played in Teagan's room and sang songs and read a book. I put Zach to bed and spent a while just talking and such with my daughter. And bedtime was peaceful. And quiet. And enjoyable. I don't look at it as rewarding bad behavior. I look at it as a lesson in helping out someone you love. She knows this isn't an all the time treat. She knows that demanding it won't make it happen. And she knows that sometimes Mommy will go out of her way to do something special- just because I love her. Even if it means that Mommy gets a little tummy ache.

Chicken and Noodles

When Jeff and I had first started getting serious in our relationship, he shared with me that his favorite meal was the chicken and noodles that his Grandma used to make. I'd never heard of chicken and noodles. I asked him to explain. "Chicken and noodles and sauce." Yeah- that really helps. We will now have been married 6 years this October. And I've never cooked chicken and noodles and he's never helped me better understand what it is. We've eaten it together one time and he told me that it wasn't "right." But couldn't tell me what wasn't "right" about it. Yeah- that really helps. So for Father's Day, I decided I was going to figure out this Indiana chicken and noodles phenomenon. I was born in California. I spent my childhood in Kentucky, my adolescence in Ohio, my young adulthood in Ohio, and then on to Indiana. I have connections in the deep South, the mid-South, the Midwest, the West Coast and even the East Coast. My mother, in her growing up, moved every 3 years. She's lived, eaten, and even cooked in many states, many regions. I called her to see if she'd heard of chicken and noodles. Nope. I decided that my best course of action was to turn to Hoosier moms. I am part of a local Moms site- an online community. I did a search for "chicken and noodles." I perused the postings and all of the shared recipes. 20 different versions of chicken and noodles. Some had carrots, celery, onion. Some didn't. Some used cream of chicken soup. Some didn't. So I started pressing Jeff for more info... I found a recipe online that seemed to match his memory. I boiled the chicken in chicken stock. I boiled the Reame's frozen egg noodles in chicken stock (had to be Reame's, by the way). I shredded the chicken. I melted 4 tb of butter. I took 4 tb of flour and mixed in "enough" milk to make it liquid. I added that to the melted butter. I whisked in a can of cream of chicken and herbs soup. I added the shredded chicken and the noodles and about 2 cups of chicken stock. Mixed it all together. Served it up. The kids (eventually) ate it and enjoyed it. I found it to be pretty tasty. I was pleased with it. Jeff? "Well, there's nothing wrong with it." Yeah- that really helps.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Side Effects

Zach is back to mostly healthy. Diagnosis was what we anticipated- massive teething (4 bottom molars at once), bug of some sort. The fever went away after 24 hours and he was back to his fun, happy, playful self by Friday morning. Grandma stayed until the end of the day Friday and she had a blast with the kids. But there are side effects to the illness of a child when you have more than one child. Teagan has been a little... neglected. At least in her perspective. And her attitude has shown it. She stayed home with Grandma and Zach on Monday but it was a disaster. Tuesday she went to Miss Lisa's. She had a good day... but was very sad to leave her brother at home. Weds, both kids went to Lisa's. Thursday was the Day of the Fever so Zach stayed home and Teagan went to Lisa's- again, very sad to leave her little brother, to not be with him at the doctor's office, etc. Horrible bedtime Weds night after church. Lost the opportunity to go with me to music team Thurs night. Apparently had a horrible bedtime for Grandma on Thurs night. An hour of screaming and crying- just like Weds. So a new deal was struck. I knew she needed some one on one time, some attention. She could stay home with Grandma and Zach on Friday. But if her behavior became difficult, she could go to Lisa's. If she had a great day- cooperating, listening, helping- she would have a special date with Mommy on Saturday. "Teagan, you have the opportunity to stay home with Grandma today. It is your responsibility to make good choices- being cooperative, helpful, and a good listener... taking a nice nap at naptime... If you choose to be difficult with Grandma, you are choosing to go to Lisa's for the rest of the day. You also have the opportunity to earn a very special date with Mommy on Saturday. It is your responsibility to show us that you can make good choices all day long- through bedtime. Making good choices is choosing to have a date with Mommy!" And today? Saturday? We have a date. I'm taking her to Monkey Joe's, then to lunch, and then shopping for Daddy's Father's Day gift from the kids. It's going to be a great day!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Cosmic Balance

Ever had one of those days when everything little thing that is usually unimportant just goes wrong? Getting out the door late... the pants you want, you can't find... you pour coffee all over your keyboard... Little things... but every little thing... just seems a little... off. And then you find out that a friend who was waiting for test results gets better news than expected... or a friend facing a crisis is getting unexpected help... or someone who has had a string of bad luck is having a great day. So maybe your bad day has a purpose. Maybe your bad day means there is cosmic balance. And while I couldn't handle this every day, I'm okay with the occassional bad day if it means goodness for someone else. I just hope that when I have a fantastic day, it doesn't mean someone else is having a horrid day. But I suppose that is always true. Maybe it's just all a cycle. We go in and out of good days, bad days, crappy days, average days, horrid days, fantastic days. Things get out of sync and back in sync. Ebb and flow. Peaks and valleys. So I hope that my day of many mishaps is proving to be your day of much rejoicing! *** On a side note, I know many readers here are also readers of Joanie's over at Joanie's Random Ramblings. And if you are a reader, you know that Joanie's boyfriend is facing extensive cancer treatment. Joanie is facing some increased expenses as she helps care for him- and a lot of stress as she watches the man she loves go through this. Braja of Lost and Found in India has set up a Paypal fundraising effort. If you are so inclined, go to her site and you will find a paypal button on the right side of your screen. Any little bit can help...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sick Baby

Home from work today with a sick boy. Grandma was here Mon and Tues, as you may recall. His poop went back to normal and he was a happy fella. Back to daycare Weds, Grandma went home. By the afternoon, liquid poo was back. I get home from work and give him a big hug... he's hot. Check his temp- almost 102. Fever hangs on all night. 101 this morning. I'm home. He's asleep right now. We go to the doc at 10:15. And Grandma is coming back. I didn't even ask this time. She heard her newest #1 fan is sick and she said "I'm leaving in an hour!" I love my mom. I love my kids. I love my husband. My boss is being very understanding about my sick boy... given the circumstances, it's a good day, really.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Hailed a "cultural phenomenon" by Newsweek and celebrated for years by the likes of This American Life, The Today Show, Esquire, The Onion AV Club, Daily Candy, Entertainment Weekly, and E!, Mortified is a comic excavation of the strange and extraordinary things we created as kids. Witness adults sharing their own adolescent journals, letters, poems, lyrics, home movies, stories and more. After all, where else can you hear grown men and women confront their past with firsthand tales of their... first kiss, first puff, worst prom, fights with mom, life at bible camp, worst hand job, best mall job, and reasons they deserved to marry Jon Bon Jovi. *** So I happened upon this comical performance art type thing called "Mortified." People submit their diaries, letters, and other bits of pubescent angst and read it for audiences. At first, I couldn't fathom sharing my diary. But then I went and pulled my diary out of its "hiding place" in my dresser. And it is really pretty freakin' hilarious. I was given my diary as a Christmas gift in 1985. I was 11 years old. 6th grade. "I also adore (underlined 6 times) Anthony S. ____ and Bradly C. ____. Actually, they are probably drooling over me." Apparently... I had some real hatred towards my girl friends in 6th grade. Oy. "The other day, Metal Mouth Melissa, Atomic Fart Amy and I all got in a fight. Triple M vs AFA & me. Stuck up Stephanie, Snotty Sharon and Talkalot (more like fightalot) Tine, tried to stay out of it. They didn't do very well at trying." This one starts out sweet but... as a parent who now truly knows what it means to value every minute of sleep... it's really laughable. "10/13/86 My parents are not telling me everything. I found out that they have marriage counseling every 3 weeks. I'm really scared, what if they get divorced?" "10/15/86 I hope my parents do get divorced! My dad woke me up at 5:30 a.m., I'm supposed to get up between 5:45 and 6:00! Every minute matters!" Spectrum was a singing group I was a member of in junior high. I obviously wasn't one of the popular "prep" kids. "Spectrum picnic was awesome! I never realized that there are only 5-7 preps in Spectrum! Everyone else is a blow-out! It's great!" And if you ever need a plan to escape... and need to make a contract with yourself in order to get your point across? "Jan 21, 1990 I have $33, so if I must leave I have enough for a bus to somewhere!!
Contract for:
The Silent Treatment
1. I shall speak when spoken to, but I shan't volunteer information.
2. I will always be polite and never get snooty.
3. If worse comes to worse, take a walk to calm down."
And I signed it. In cursive. Because it was, you know, a contract. With myself.
I wasn't a regular diarist. I skipped years at times. I have 2 journals. The first started at the end of 1985 and the second was last written in at the start of 2002. And now I blog daily about little bits and pieces of life.
My diary is filled with crushes, school dances, bad grades, angst, hate towards my parents, passion, dreams, favorite quotes, and even lyrics (none of my own).
I've not laughed so much at myself... and gained such insight into the trials of puberty... and I hope I can hang on to these diaries and the, dare I say, wisdom contained within so that I am better prepared to understand my daughter when she hates me, when she is obsessed with love and dating and hooking up, when she is fighting with her very best friend.
Jeff never journaled. So I guess we're just SOL on insight when it comes to Zach. Poor boy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


We are a TV watching family. Jeff and I find hours of entertainment watching TV, watching movies. Perhaps it is that acting bug, that production passion... We enjoy others things, too. We both enjoy reading. When we actually do it, we enjoy playing cards or board games. My kids like TV. Teagan especially. And that mostly doesn't bother me. Because she also loves to jump on her bed, ride her bike, blow bubbles, read books, dance, run, play with her brother, bake, cook, and more. We've been slacking, though. As parents. We aren't being as careful with what she watches as we should be. We've been letting Disney decide what she watches. We've been lazy because it's easy. We start the day with Phineas and Ferb. Or Lilo and Stitch. I don't really like either of these shows for her. To be honest- Jeff and I enjoy Phineas and Ferb. It's a really fun and clever show. But since my daughter seems most focused on the older sister... and since the older sister is prone to histrionics and complaining... it's not a good combination. Same for Hannah Montana. Or Zach and Cody. Or any of the other Disney shows geared toward older kids. So it's time to lay the smack down on what we watch. Phineas and Ferb needs to be reserved for adult watching. Weird, I know. Jeff and I will come up with a short list of shows that we feel are appropriate and positive. Like Imagination Movers, Sesame Street, and Little Einsteins. And we will record these shows and watch them when we want some TV viewing time. Because I think my mom is right... I think Jeff and I have been right about this before... when we get lazy and watch these shows... Teagan's behavior gets worse. Teagan's choices get worse. And it's well past time that everything gets better.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Poopy Post

As a mom of young children, poop tends to be a normal part of conversation more often than I'd ever imagined it could be. I've tried to refrain here on the blog but... the time has come to break my silence.

Zach has a bad rash. It started with weird poop Friday. Squishy, soft, loose... sometimes pure liquid. (See? Motherhood is not for the faint of heart.) This, of course, quickly led to a bright red rash. Typically, Desitin (the original stuff, not the creamy stuff) clears up his rashes right away. Not this time.

So I grab the handy dandy Boudreaux's Butt Paste. It helps a little but only for one application.

By Sunday morning, some spots are better but some are worse- much worse. There is a spot just where his little butt cheeks start to come together that is bright red... and ulcerated. In other words, bleeding. Diaper changes result in screams of "owie! owie!"

We give him some semi-naked time. We let him hang out with just a t-shirt on outside, on the deck... inside on a well covered kid couch.

My baby is in pain. My baby has tears at diaper changes. It's time for full on warfare.

I go to Target and buy every tube and ointment I can think of that could possibly be used on a rash.

We put a diet in place- white rice, bread/toast, yogurt, water.

After his bath, I load the ulcerated spot with Neosporin + Pain Relief. I coat his bottom with A+D Ointment. I coat the diaper with Triple Paste.

This morning, things look less red, less painful.

Thankfully, my mom has taken me up on my begging and pleading... ok, she's Grandma, she's easy, all I had to do was ask... but she's come to stay for a couple of days so that we can keep Zach on a diet that fixes the poop issue, keep him in as clean of pants as possible...

And I have to admit there is a potential added bonus. 2 years ago, Teagan had a bout of diarrhea. My mom came to take care of her. And my mom potty trained her. In 2 days. So successfully that we took a day trip to visit family in Chicago and Teagan stayed dry the entire visit- even notifying us in the car when she needed to stop to potty.

So maybe Grandma will have magic to work on Zach. And maybe not. Maybe he isn't ready. Maybe the little bit of pottying he's been doing is just... experimentation. But maybe he is ready to be done with diapers. Maybe he is ready to start focusing on using the potty on a regular and consistent basis.

But no matter. Whatever the outcome... my kids are getting some fantastic Grandma time, my son will have a fully healed butt in a day or 2, and I get some quality time with my mom.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beef and Boards Presents "Annie"

This afternoon, Christy and I had a real treat. We got to take Teagan to Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre to see "Annie." We arrived at the theatre and picked up the tickets. The buffet is set up where the stage eventually comes out. We are taken to our table, order our drinks (coffee for Christy, iced tea for me, lemonade for Teagan). We load up on food in the buffet- Teagan wanted some of everything. Fruit, salad, baked fish, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, mac n cheese, chicken fingers. That was everything TEAGAN ate. Christy and I also had roast beef and fresh veggies and Christy managed to snag some baked apples. We ate well! The show starts after the buffet is removed. The emcee comes out and goes through the basics and then announces birthdays, groups, celebrations in the audience. There was a married couple there celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary! Pretty amazing. The lights go to half. The music starts. The lights go dark, the curtain rises, the set moves into place. The lights come up on a few beds overloaded with orphans. I had to force myself to not stare at my daughter. She was sitting on Aunt Christy's lap on the other side of the table. Every time I would turn to catch a glimpse of how she was enjoying the opening... I'd get all choked up. First few numbers of the show... I was all kinds of teary and fighting off these emotions. Not sadness, of course. But the excitement of seeing a show like Annie... one I'd not ever seen on stage but had grown to love passionately through the soundtrack and, later, through the movie. I'd acted out every song, every role, in my bedroom. Soundtrack at full volume... Miss Hanigan, Annie, Grace, Rooster, Lily St Regis, Daddy Warbucks, The Lovely Boylan Sisters. When I was a camp counselor for a summer day camp for kids with emotional disorders... I actually started many a morning by being totally silly to "You're Never Fully Dressed Without A Smile," to the delight of the kids. I had daydreams of being discovered and being asked to be an orphan... but I didn't dare to dream of being Annie... except while in my bedroom, on my bed-stage... To take all of that and pass it along to my daughter like this... I'm not sure there are words for it, really.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Playset

After a lovely breakfast out at Bob Evans... we swung by Home Depot to check out their playsets. We'd looked online but the prices were... meh. I'd been loyally searching Craigslist but was unimpressed or didn't find anything. Jeff worked on a design but it seemed most prudent to buy a set with brackets and such and then add on.
The set pictured above is the Swing-N-Slide Palisade. Online, it runs around $1400. In the store, it costs about $400 less! Jeff will have to buy the main lumber supports separately. We are opting to buy our own slide instead of the one that comes with the kit. And we already have expansion ideas for when the time comes! We can easily add an arm off the back or another deck and slide or another climbing apparatus. We can build a picnic table underneath. Lots that we can do if we choose to! And the pic isn't sntirely accurate. Our set has a rock wall on the side instead of a ladder.
WHEW! It's done! Well... the deciding part is done, anyway. The set is purchased. Jeff now has to go pick it up. And then go to another store for the support lumber and the slide we prefer. And build everything. We should soon have a playset in our backyard! Yahoo!

Cold Cut Cookie Cutters

Salami. Cheese. Cookie Cutters. Cutting board. Small knife (grown ups only!). Blueberries on the side. Dinner. Done. Dinner. Fun!

Friday, June 12, 2009

RIP, My Friend

your light shone bright this morning
but now you've faded into snow
the screen is dark
the hours we had together
can never be taken away
cherished time
nothing can replace you
digital signals be damned
but my zen...
the pain will fade, the sorrow wane
productivity improves
until next week
"dead like me"
soon to fill my mind
RIP my faithful friend
you served me well

Chicken Dinner Face

An easy crock pot meal... This was about 1 lb chicken breast, 2 cans of Sprite. Cooked on low for 6 hours. Added Trader Joe's veggies for the last 30 mins. Wish we could have stopped the cooking earlier- I think leaving it on warm dried out the meat a little. But it flaked with a fork! Then I just did a packaged, flavored rice Used the rice as a face, cut up carrots for eyes and nose, used green beans and wax beans for smiles and ears, and chicken for the short and long hair pieces! Kids thought it was fun and I found it remarkably easy to do! It's all about presentation...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Hello Dance

Teagan spent the past school year attending Saturday morning dance class. You may also know that she had her end-of-year recital this past weekend.
This was not a big recital with a well lit stage, a darkened audience, and 4 year olds running about in confusion and sparkly costumes. It was a dance reception. It was the youngest class (Preschool Creative) demonstrating what they'd been doing for the past 9 months. It was the pre-ballet girls (age 5) showing their warm ups. Each class also did a simplified ballet waltz that demonstrated the difference in what the preschool children learn vs what the pre-ballet children learn. 2 of the older girls (age 12) did a brief demonstration en pointe in beautiful, flowy, blue costumes.
Teagan was excited. The reception was held in the larger dance studio downstairs. Class is normally in one of the smaller upstairs studios (Up a steep and very narrow stairway... to a voice like a metronome...). Chairs were set up around the front and one side perimeter of the studio- audience lined the space.
The girls gathered in the hallway for a group picture and then came in with their teacher, Miss Katie. She's an ideal first dance teacher. She will forever be part of Teagan's dance experience. I love Miss Katie... she personifies the reason why we chose the studio we did. It's a family owned studio- started by Miss Sue a decade ago (after she partnered with others 3 different times to start studios over the previous 20 years, prior to going out on her own in 1999). Miss Sue is still head of the studio and her daughters are both part of the business- Miss Laurie (whom we see every time we are there) is Marketing Director and Miss Julie is the Artistic Director (I've not met her). This is Miss Katie's profile from the studio's website:
Katie walked into her first ballet class with Miss Sue when she was six years old and has not left the dance studio since. In 1994 she became a teacher’s assistant helping with the preschool creative and pre-ballet classes, and by 1998 she was teaching. She danced with the Gregory Hancock Dance Theater from 1996 – 2002 and was involved in the annual student production of The Nutcracker. She graduated from Indiana University in 2007 with a B.S.P.H in Health Administration and a minor in Dance. She has experience in Ballet, Pointe, Modern, and Jazz. Katie could not imagine her life without dance, and could not imagine teaching anywhere else!
I bolded the part I love. Miss Katie started lessons with this studio (prior to the changes of names and such) when she was 6 years old! She's basically part of this family. And several of the instructors are similar in their experience and connection to the school. Miss Katie... is extremely patient, pretty, agile, graceful... she is great with the girls and they, of course, adore her. I've learned something from her, too. But I'll save that for another post.
Anyway. The girls all come in with Miss Katie. The Hello Dance is when each girl, solo, crosses the studio floor to Miss Katie, curtsies, and then waits for the other girls to cross. Each girl is encouraged to do any kind of dance she wants to do. Typically, we see running, skipping, and sometimes a lot of twirling.
Teagan watched a handful of girls go before her. When she was called on to come across, she began with this graceful, arms floating, on her toes, serious ballerina dance. It melted my heart and I felt tears swell in my eyes. The audience reacted to the grace, creativity and ballet-ness my little girl was showing. There was a delighted and tender "Aw!" and "Oh!" from the parents and grandparents and friends...
Which did NOT sit well with my little diva who was completely focused on her dance until she became aware of being watched.
She was half participating for the rest of the class. Going through the motions, distracted by the people, by Mommy watching her. I got the huffy "Mom!" eyeroll a few times. It was funny- but not. Cute- but not.
But at the very end... for the Goodbye Dance... there was a change. Something clicked.
Miss Katie demonstrated what she wanted the girls to do for their goodbye- Leap across the floor, then spin one way, spin the other, spin the other. All with grace and slowness and purpose and control. Teagan was in place to go first... but when Miss katie called on her... without attitude, only honesty, my baby said "I don't remember what all you did!"
A few other girls go- mostly just running or skipping, a few attempt a leap but haven't a clue what they are doing. It's absolutely adorable. It's again Teagan's turn. This time, she is ready. She has seen Miss Katie dance like a ballerina and she is back to being in tune with the dance, feeling the purpose. Wanna know how you can tell that she is focused? That she is unaware of the audience? That she is feeling the music, feeling the dance?
It's her signature move... it makes her the Michael Jordan of dance class...
The tongue. Sticking out. It's been her signature move since birth.
And it brought her back to being our happy little ballerina.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm A Smartypants!

When I first started to think about blogging, I started out by looking at blogs. Just to see what it was all about. Starting a blog wasn't my idea. Christy and Latifa made me do it. I would tell them stories about my kids or share opinions on whatever topic... and the answer would always be that I really needed to start my own blog. Now that I think about it... maybe they just got tired of my stories... hmmm... Anywho, as Christy and I researched blogs and what people do with them and we came upon The Pioneer Woman. We were first hooked by her storytelling. Then her cooking section- the pictures, the recipes! I've been working my way through her photography section, learning and learning. There is also a tab for homeschooling. They live on a ranch in the middle of Oklahoma and the kids work the ranch- so homeschooling is a great option. I know many families who homeschool and it is a concept that I think works really well for some families. On her homeschooling page, she often does Smartypants quizzes. Christy and I are hooked. Christy usually discovers the quiz and we gather our resources, look up the answers that we don't already know, and enter. The prizes are damn good. First with all the correct answers usually gets a $100 Amazon gift card. Second place is $75 and then she usually does a random selection of 3 other entrants who also got the answers right. We've entered these quizzes a few times now... and either not gotten them all right or not been selected as winners. Until today. And you shall now all call me Smartypants and behold my true Lizdom.

How Does My Garden Grow?

A little update on our raised veggie garden in our backyard... The soil is topsoil and manure. The pictures don't show it but it is now also protected with mulch. These pictures are actually a week or so old and the garden has changed a bit. I will try to get more pics for next week! I'll start by exhibiting my vast lack of knowledge when it comes to things that grow from soil. My mom was nice enough to mark the plants in the garden with popsicle sticks. All I can make out on this one is that it is "green." Green beans? Green peppers? Green eggs and ham? I haven't a clue...
Cherry tomatoes
Cucumber Squash
Something I've learned from my mom is that our garden isn't getting enough water. Apparently, the topsoil/manure mix dries out easily since there isn't any clay in the soil to retain the water. So I have to water more often... which I guess really means that I have to start watering the garden. I watered last night. And then it rained overnight. Of course.
Stay tuned... coming soon to a blog near you... Veggies! (I hope!)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Anyone Have a Spare Free Trip to NYC?

I wanna go to New York. Like... soon.
I want to go see the revival of Hair.
My mom is responsible for my passion regarding musical theatre. She introduced me to the movie musicals when I was a kid and then hooked me on live theatre when we worked the concession stand at the Cincinnati theatre that hosted the Broadway Series. I don't think she knew how deeply it would get into my blood, my soul. I'm sure she anticipated that I would develop an interest in the music and want to see shows. She probably didn't anticipate that I would end up involved in theatre starting in high school, through college, and then community theatre as an adult. And given that I didn't know how deeply musical theatre would impact me, I'm sure she had no clue.
There was one musical that my mother introduced me to and I don't think she had a clue just how much it would impress upon me... and I don't think she had a clue what all happened in this musical.
Hair is a 60's Lovefest. It completely changed the landscape of musical theatre by introducing the idea of the rock musical. It had an amazingly diverse and rowdy cast.
From Wikipedia:
Hair tells the story of the "tribe", a group of politically active, long-haired "Hippies of the Age of Aquarius" fighting against conscription to the Vietnam War and living a bohemian life together in New York City. Claude, his good friend Berger, their roommate Sheila and all their friends struggle to balance their young lives, loves and the sexual revolution with their pacifist rebellion against the war and the conservative impulses of their parents and society. Ultimately Claude must decide whether or not to resist the draft, as his friends have done.
My mom knew there was a nude scene. But since I was just listening to the music... no harm, right? I'm quite certain my mom had no idea that there were songs about drug use, sex, rebellion... Songs like...
There is just something about the story... the music... the lyrics... it has such passion, such power.
This has all come up because I watched the Tony Awards. The Tribe from Hair performed "Aquarius" and "Hair." And I want to go and see it performed. In NYC. On Broadway. I've seen the crappy movie and have memorized every word from the original soundtrack. I've never seen it onstage.
I want to go on stage for the Be-In. I want to be in the audience, completely part of the movement. I want to dance and sing and feel the energy and peace and love. I want to feel free and uninhibited.
I don't want to take my clothes off, though. I'll let the paid actors handle the nudity.
For now... I'll just reconnect with the soundtrack. It's been years since I've listened to it but I am finding that I still know every. single. word.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Muffin Tin Monday

So I've been doing some reading online about blogging moms doing this "Muffin Tin Monday." From what I gather, most are stay at home moms... or really creative moms... or moms with more mom time on their hands than this mom! Most do these muffin tin meals around a theme and I find their creativity very inspiring! However... being a mom of the "I don't have time to cook dinner" variety... but being a mom who prefers to feed her family at home than a constant diet of fast food or restaurant food... I came home from work today and decided to give the Muffin Tin thing a try. The theme? Foods my kids will eat. One half of the tray is Teagan's, the other is Zach's. They had colby jack cheese, a deviled egg (Grandma made them yesterday), cheese-it crackers, fruit (watermelon and strawberries; inhaled before I could grab the camera), hot dog and ketchup. Did they like it?
Hard to know- they were eating so fast that I couldn't get a good picture!

The Weekend

I will eventually get pics and video loaded up from the weekend. But it's going to take some time to fully recover. We had Teagan's dance class reception (mini-recital) on Saturday morning. Punch and cookies afterwards. We then headed to the park for a picnic with a group of IndyMoms from MomsLikeMe.com. Stayed only briefly because Grandma was coming that afternoon. Got home, put both kids down for a nap, did a bunch of fast housework- dishes, clean up kitchen, pick up living room, vaccuum, moved clean laundry to bedroom. Grandma came- and so did my brother (Daniel, the younger of the 2- he'll be 17 in August). My kids woke from naps and were so excited to have Uncle Daniel and Grandma there!! Lots of playing and gardening and fun from then on. Jeff and I headed out for our dinner downtown and the kids didn't blink an eye. They were too busy helping Grandma put together the mini-lasagnas. They assembled 3, cooked 2, froze 1, ate 1. We ate the other cooked one for dinner last night. Mmmmmm. Easy and Teagan loved that there was so much she could do to help! She grated cheese, she mixed tomatos and meat, she layered, she scooped. Sunday morning we all got up and T and I headed out the door at 8:30 to get to church early so we could practice for our duet. We were singing "Come, Now Is The Time To Worship" during communion. I had been under the impression that it was for BOTH services. Found out Sunday morning that it was only for the FIRST service. Which meant making some frantic phone calls to the people who had been planning on coming to hear Teagan sing! Aunt Christy still made it (since she only lives a mile from our house, she isn't far from church). Unfortunately, Jeff's folks did not. Teagan did such a great job. I am really so proud of her. She had a special dress picked out, she got a shower in the morning so her hair was extra soft and shiny. She looked adorable and she sang as well as you can expect from a 4 year old. Better, really, considering everyone was moving around and getting communion and smiling at her from much closer up than if they'd been just sitting and listening. We each had a microphone and when she kept hers close to her mouth, you could hear her and she sang those words. I forgot the words- same line, both times through. Oops. Lesson learned- print out lyrics and keep them in front of you. Family left after first service, I had to stay to sing with the Music Team for second service. Called on the way home- we are cooking out for lunch so could I stop and pick up buns and other burger and dog items? Finally get home. Christy comes over for lunch. We eat. I'm feeling sooooo yucky. Exhausted. Run down. I'd had a horrible sneezing, blowing, stuffy allergy attack that morning. The effort to sing with Music Team and sing with my daughter took more energy than I'd thought it would. Up late the night before- eating too much, drinking a little. I was not myself, not feeling well. Grandma offered to stay with the kids so Jeff and I could go playset shopping. We hit 2 stores. Both had models set up so you could really see and inspect the sets. We saw things we liked. We even saw a couple we'd have been ok with buying and having in our backyard. But the price was insane. We want to stay in the $1000 - $1500 range. The sets we like... Over $2000, usually closer to $2500. Ugh. And that's not an installed price. So a decision has been made. Jeff is designing our playset. We will then price out the lumber and accessories and see if we can't do it ourselves for less expense. I have no clue how long the process will take... but I have full confidence in his ability, desire, passion... so I know he will come up with something perfect for us! Family left around 5 yesterday. Heated that lasagna, bathtime, bedtime. Watched the Tony Awards- most of them, anyway. Headed to bed a little before 10. Feeling much better this morning but still a little... off. Maybe more coffee would help. *shrug*

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fogo de Chao

I had a dining treat this past Saturday night. We went out with another couple and Christy to celebrate Christy's birthday. We ate at a Brazilian steakhouse called Fogo de Chao. If you haven't eaten at one of these places... it is the epitome of gluttony and glee and great service. The amount of food is unreal. So much to try. You start with the salad bar. Tabouli, beets, various chicken and potato and egg salads, sliced tomato, cucumber, full artichoke hearts, heart of palm, asparagus, fresh mozzarella, parmesan (grated and amazing chunks), red and yellow peppers, smoked salmon, prosciutto... more cheeses, more thinly sliced meats... romaine, spinach, bibb lettuce... Wait. I missed something. Oh yes. The beverages. We got there a smidge early so we started in the bar. Christy and I partook, Jeff (as always) abstained. There was a house special with a fancy name. A glass filled with cut up lime, dump in sugar, mash it up, add rum and soda, maybe. I can't drink rum so the bartender made mine with vodka. Mmmmmmm. Kinda mojito-ish. We are seated at our table. Our waiter is also a certified sommelier. We select a bottle of malbec to share at the table. When he delivers the wine, he goes through the entire tasting bit and such. Then he pours for everyone at the table (those partaking would be me, Christy, and the other Jeff). We hit the salad bar. Then they bring out the side dishes that are constantly supplied at the table- fried polenta, fried banana, cheese bread, mashed potatoes- all are kept in constant supply. The dishes are replaced throughout the meal if we've let them sit too long. You then start using your disk. Each diner has a disk- red on one side, green on the other. If you want meat, go green. Need a break? Red. The gauchos come around with large skewers of a variety of meats. You have tongs with which to take the freshly sliced meat onto your own plate as they slice it. I ate a piece of sausage. I ate the most divine lambchops... and I usually don't like lamb... but it was truly from heaven. I ate a couple bites of a shortrib. Other than that... I ate BEEF. And cooked to perfection. No brown, dried out, overcooked, chewy "steak" in this place. Top sirloin, bottom sirloin, filet mignon, ribeye. Medium rare, warm in the center... cuts that melted like butter in your mouth... flavors that melded and blended... the meats are fire roasted and often have this crunch on the outer part of the meat. I've never in my life eaten so much food, so much meat, so much beef. Dessert... Christy and I shared a vanilla creme brulee. The other Jeff had a house specialty- passionfruit cream (a passionfruit ice cream served with a black currant liqueur), and my Jeff had New York style cheesecake. Dinner took over 3 hours. The bill was astronomical. The food was divine. The company was hilarious. For the amount of food available and the amount of high quality beef that we consumed; for the amazing customer service- where your every want is attended to promptly and often before you realize you want it... the price is justified. But it won't be repeated within the next decade by this wallet!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Friday Frustration- Wooden Playset Edition

I have tried writing up a post about locating a playset. I've got one started that I've gone in and messed with time and time again for about 3 days now. Bottom line? I'm beyond frustrated. No store has any playsets in stock. None. I even considered Wal Mart- the store that I will NOT give my money to. I've checked various home improvement stores. I've checked Meijer and Target. Costco has a set but we don't LOVE it. Like it. Found a Rainbow playset on Craigslist. Contact the guy- he JUST promised it to someone today. I've spent probably 12 hours online, searching and searching and comparing. I've called store after store after store. The online deals are higher priced and I don't want to commit to something I can't get a sense of, you know? I'd love to be able to just go to Recreation Unlimited- they are the dealer for Rainbow Playsets around here. They deliver and install. But they are expensive. Bottom rung is double my budget. I'm just so frustrated. Maybe Sesame Place would have been easier. Or buying a minivan. Or a lobotomy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Creative Zen

I forget the occasion that I received this as a gift from Jeff. Christmas? Birthday? Mother's Day? I'm sure he will remember- he's got a good mind for that sort of thing.
Anywho- I have to admit that this is one of my all time favorite gadgets.
We all know about my little TV habit here at work... and that my time is limited with June 12 being next week. Thanks to my Creative Zen, I've already weaned myself from my antenna TV.
I've previously only used my little gadget when traveling. It's great when waiting in an airport or bored in your hotel room. But he's been loading it up with shows for me and I've been watching/listening at work. I have also loaded my music on it and I can even listen to the radio!
So far... I've gotten caught up on Big Love, I've gotten hooked on True Blood, and am currently on the last episode of the current season of Chuck.
Anyone have any suggestions on what movies or shows Jeff should find for me next?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June is LGBT Pride Month!

I'm not L or G or B or T but I am LGBT friendly and supportive.

So I send out 3 cheers to President Obama for this new Proclamation!

Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.


The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.

My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.

These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm A Keeper!

I've made some very lovely blog-friends over the past 8 or 9 months and one of them is Alix over at Casa Hice. She is a grand story teller and has a wicked sense of humor.
She has bestowed a lovely award upon me...

There are always rules, of course. You have to earn your awards!

1. Post a funny or sweet keepsake that tells something about myself.

2. Pass the award on to 10 other bloggers that I think are keepers.

A funny or sweet keepsake about myself? Like Alix, I feel like I've shared so many! My favorite would be My Magic Christmas. Or sweet posts about my kids and how much I love them or how happy they are.

But if I dig back... search and search the memory banks...

I remember the day that my husband proved to me that he was my hero. He likes to play it up like he's a wus... but when you get right down to it... he is loyal, reliable, strong.

Childbirth can be an overwhelming experience. Going into it the first time, I had no clue what it would be like. I was scared of the pain, potential tearing, contractions, blood, afterbirth, placenta... just all of it was so overwhelming. We went to our childbirth classes. I read books. I got online and joined birth boards and learned from moms who had been through it.

Jeff was nervous. He didn't think he could handle the blood. The idea of a child pushing through my vagina was a bit more than he could bear. The nasty factor of childbirth is very strong when you haven't been through it.

At one point in the pregnancy, Jeff even tried to convince me that he didn't want to be in the delivery room. No way was he getting away with that! But we did agree that he would be an above the shoulders dad- there to support me, cheer me, help me. But not dealing with the below the waist birthing part at all.

We're at the hospital. Labor is in full swing. I'm handling it pretty well- until my water breaks and the contractions get insanely hard. I cave and ask for an epidural.

The nurse and doctor come in and have me sit up, lean over the bed tray, and ask Jeff to hold me still. As I am moving into sitting position, a contraction hits and I freeze. Jeff keeps hold of my arm and keeps me held frozen in place until the contraction passes. I get in place on the bed and cart thingee, head down on a pillow. Jeff leans over me and whispers in my ear while they do the epidural. Held me in place, comforted me.

Then we get to the point where it is time to puuuuush. The part Jeff's been worried about. There aren't stirrups... the nurse has me pull my knees up and then instructs Jeff to grab my leg and hold it in place.

He pales a bit. And grabs hold.

The contractions are almost constant at this point. My epidural is about half effective so I can feel when the contractions hit and know when to push. The nurse is holding one leg, Jeff is holding the other.

Teagan starts to crown. Her head would push forward and back in, forward and back in.

Jeff, my husband... the one who was so scared... who thought he didn't want to be there... who didn't want to see any of it... became fascinated by the birthing process.

He starts trying to convince me that I need to see what is happening, how amazing it is. He begs me to let him get the camera... to have them pull down the mirror so I can see it, too. He's holding my leg, he's cheering me on, he's completely excited about everything that is happening.

I couldn't have done it without him. He's a keeper, too. My own keepsake.

And no- Even with his ringing and enthusiastic endorsement and encouragement, I didn't watch and there are no pictures or videos of Teagan's birth. Thank you.


I am going to award this lovely blog award to the following blogs that I love reading and look forward to seeing pop up on my reader!

C. Beth Blog

A Look On The Random Side


The Mom Experience

Rejected Truth

Frogs In My Formula

The Jason Show

A Long Patience

Being Michael's Daddy

Fourth Frog Blog

Honorable mention to: moosh in indy and Color Me Katie

But all my readers and all the blogs I visit and comment on... all keepers!!


Turns out...
I can easily be swayed from this:
To this:
We were on the verge of planning that family vacation, booking hotels, planning restaurants, making lists of things to pack. When it occurred to me... that the money to be spent on the vacation this year could be used on something that would be an investment for our family. A back yard play set. My kids looooove being outdoors! My kids also love going to the park and I have to admit that while I wish I loved the park... I don't. I actually do all I can to avoid taking the kids. I have to have an eye on Teagan 85% of the time. I'm fine with her running off and playing independently. I don't hover. But there are times she calls for help with equipment- climbing or monkey bars. And I just like being able to know where she is. So if just she and I go, it's all good. Add Zach to the mix... trouble. The boy is a daredevil. He thinks he can do anything. He thinks he can climb, crawl, dive, slide, swing, run. He tries to walk off the edges of play equipment. He does everything he can to get away from me and stay right by his sister. Add in the parents who don't care what their kids are doing, the parents who hover and get in the way, the kids who are rude or bullying, the teenagers who take over pieces of equipment... It just ends up being less fun. So the idea of having our own playset in the backyard... letting the kids run and play and climb and slide and swing... in the safety and controlled environment of our fenced in back yard. Our own playset also means having friends over, having family over, having something to do in our own yard for years to come. And because family vacations are still really important, we are taking a trip to Cincinnati. A visit with my family one day, a day where the kids stay with Grandma and Jeff and I go out for a day of fun, and then 2 nights in a hotel (with a gorgeous pool) and a day at the zoo and a day at the museum center. So we are back to our original plan- nothing big this year, back to Sesame Place next year. Zach will certainly get more out of it next year than this year. We already talked with Teagan about it- she is way excited about getting a playset. And going to visit Grandma and go to the zoo and museum. *** Back on the subject of that playset... it has been very frustrating to find what we want! I generally have a "3 strikes" policy with retail stores. Treat me badly 3 times, I'm done shopping there. Sometimes it doesn't even take 3 strikes. Toys R Us has hit the 2nd strike and I'm very close to being done. In my vast searching and learning about wooden playsets, I've found a builder that I like. Big Backyard. That picture up there is the Ashford and we LOVE it. Big Backyard advertises on their website that you can find the Ashford at TRU. TRU has it on their website- but the shipping is $500. Ouch! Then I see a coupon on the TRU website- 20% off, in store only, all wooden playsets. Whooppee!!!! Last night, after work, I head to TRU to check it out. I called first- I asked about the Ashford and was told it was no longer carried in stores. But I thought I'd go see what else they had. With a 20% off coupon in hand, I might upgrade and be happy enough, right? I walk in the store. I pass a handful of associates who never greet me or ask if I need help. I finally make eye contact with one and ask about the wooden playsets. She directs me to the other side of the store. I head over and see the wall of pictures of the playsets. You are supposed to take a little tag to the register and then pick up the boxes. But all the slips are gone for all the playsets. Huh? I find another associate and ask for assistance. I'm informed that "most people" bought their playsets in February so they are out of stock on everything and the warehouse is out of stock on everything and nothing can be ordered by the store anyway because Corporate does all ordering. So... Corporate issued a coupon for product that stores don't have and can't get?? I'm sure I'll be posting an update soon- a follow up to my next steps. First, I'm calling a different TRU to see if they have any playsets in stock. There are only 3 TRU stores in the Indy area. If I strike out across the board, I'll contact TRU to complain about this coupon and about the lack of stock in store and warehouse and the lack of helpfulness on the part of the employee. I also plan to contact the manufacturer of the playsets to inquire if they sell elsewhere and also to discourage them from selling through TRU. So frustrating. So, so frustrating.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Stephen King's The Mist (movie)

We watched The Mist Saturday night. I think I could have really liked the movie. I've not read Stephen King's original short story but I do want to read it. If you haven't seen the movie and plan to see it and don't want to know about it... DON'T KEEP READING. If you haven't seen it, have no interest in seeing but want to read the synopsis, here's a Wikipedia link with all the details. I didn't like the movie. There was an important thing that wasn't done right and it ruined it for me. Again- don't wanna know stuff about the movie? Don't read this blog entry! You've been warned. Here's the deal. People are trapped in a supermarket in a small town. They are being attacked by fantastic monsters who are part of this mysterious mist that has enveloped the entire town. Turns out the mist and monsters are because of some Army experiment where they have opened some other dimension. In the store are people who've known each other for a long time. That whole small town thing. The main character is this dude- David, I think. He's there with his son, Billy. Billy appears to be 9ish. Billy is having a really hard time, understandably, dealing with the scary crap going on. Wanna know what would help Billy? If his dad would stop running all over the store, doing scary crap with everyone else, going on missions to the next door pharmacy... if his dad would stay and be with him instead of trying to save everyone else. Especially after Billy BEGGED his dad not to leave him again after Billy was almost attacked by a pterodactyl type monster. Jeff was the first to comment. That he wouldn't leave his kids. That I wouldn't leave my kids. That we would help to the best of our ability. But that we wouldn't entrust the lives and safety of our children to a few random people who are also terrified and concerned about their own self-preservation. So the total lack of connectivity between this father and his son was really disconcerting and distracting. I've done some research on differences between the movie and the short story. I really want to read the short story to see if reading it builds the relationship between father and child differently. Then there is the issue of the ending. I didn't watch it. I knew what was going to happen and I knew at what point I should exit so I didn't see the bad stuff. See- I have a really, really hard time dealing with parents hurting their kids. I watched a documentary on Jim Jones not so long ago and the part of the story of how that day played out... when the mass suicide happened... the stories that impacted me the hardest were those of parents taking the lives of their own children. The film ends that way. The dad kills the 3 adults who escaped the supermarket. He also shoots his own son. He then has no bullets left to take his own life. He's yelling and screaming and hears what he thinks is a monster coming to get him... but it's the Army, clearing out the mist, making everything all better. So he killed everyone for nothing and now has to live with the guilt. At least long enough until he can get a gun with bullets. The short story ends with the potential for hope if the reader so chooses. The survivors hunker down for the night after escaping the market. They survive the night... and the main dude hears a single word in the static coming through on the radio... no station, no station, no station... hears a word. So there is hope that there is life out there... and they continue driving to find that life, or to meet their doom, or whatever other ending you choose to follow. So a movie where I should have been focused on monsters and other dimensions and religious cult fanatics (Marcia Gay Harden's performance was really, really good). But instead, I was completely distracted by the lack of realism between the main character and what should have been his number one priority. Why make him have a kid?? I think the movie would have worked just fine if the child hadn't been part of it. His role pretty much made him an "in the way" character anyway. So just don't have him there at all!