Christmas Wishes

This Christmas is a little tight.  Santa’s bringing the kids store-bought presents but we’re giving everyone else goody bags with homemade yummies and stuff.

I made my Grandmother’s Fruit Cake.  I know what you’re thinking: “Fruit cake?  Does it work as a door stop?”  And in most cases, you’d be right.  But this is Ice Box Fruit Cake.

Sorry, you won’t be getting that recipe.  My grandmother gave it to me and made me promise not to share.  I think my cousins have the recipe too, so go ask them.

Santa2011-PhoebeandGriffinThe kids saw the really good Santa this year.  This particular Santa is so popular that he is by appointment only AND you have to pay a $15 sitting fee.  $10 is applied to your photo order.

Phoebe, of course, clammed right up.  Griffin lost his ever-lovin’ mind.

As seems to be usual now, Christmas is kind of a bummer.  I’m working really hard to be happy.  But this is the time of year that I miss my parents the most.  I also find myself missing a lot of other folks too. 

When I was a kid, Christmas was a huge 2 day deal.  Christmas Eve, we’d get together with my mom’s brother and his family and open a few presents and my parents would make steak sandwiches.  Christmas day would start at our house with Santa and then either we’d host or my aunt would host the big meal and we’d have tons of food and the booze would be free-flowing.  There was almost always a fight or argument. 

I get sad because almost all those people are gone now and the rest have scattered.  John says that we need to build our own traditions and he is right. 

So I am going to spend the next year deciding how I can keep Christmas in my heart.  Santa and I had a conversation about some fun stuff and I think Phoebe will love her Christmas morning.

Meanwhile, I hope you have a magical Christmas.

Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

soupThis is seriously good soup.  So good that every time I make it, I am amazed that I can make something this good.  It tastes at least as good as any restaurant’s Tortilla soup (I’m looking at you Barrel of the Cracker). 

This was born of curiosity and the beginnings of another recipe.  It started as a recipe on A Year of Slow Cooking and I was curious about how such a simple recipe could taste so good.  But John said, “I think this would be better as soup”.  So I added some chicken broth.  And then I decided it didn’t have quite the right flavor, so I added the chili powder and garlic salt.  Those three ingredients add a richness and depth that is wonderful!


  • 2-3 Chicken Breasts
  • 2 Jars Salsa
  • 2 Cans Black Beans (rinsed, drained)
  • 16 oz Frozen Corn
  • 32 oz chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Chili powder
  • Sour Cream (optional)
  • Tortilla Chips (optional)
  • Shredded cheese (optional)


  1. Spray crock pot with nonstick spray.
  2. Trim fat off the chicken breast.
  3. Place chicken breast at the bottom of the crock pot.
  4. Pour salsa, black beans, and corn on top of the chicken breast.
  5. Sprinkle with garlic powder and chili powder.
  6. Pour chicken broth over all of it.
  7. Cover and cook on high for 6-8 hours.
  8. Take chicken out of the bottom of the crock pot and shred with a fork.
  9. Mix chicken back into the beans/corn/salsa/ mixture.
  10. Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips and cheese.

I served this the first time by crumbling chips into the bottom of the bowl, pouring soup over, then topping with sour cream and cheese.  Now I let everyone put their own bowls together.  I personally like to sprinkle the broken chips in a`little at a time so they stay crispy as I eat.  John doesn’t use the sour cream or cheese.

I also have to note that I cook this in a 5.5 quart slow cooker and it is “lippin’ full” so you might want to use a larger pot.  Additionally, I always use 3 chicken breasts because we eat this two nights.  It makes a LOT of soup.

And no, Phoebe doesn’t like this.  She loves the chips and salsa I put out though.

I get sick almost every Halloween

A few days ago, I decided that I was starting to react to the autumnal pollen.  So I did what every reasonable person who is allergic to damn near everything did: I decided that was a good time to sweep the back porch covered in said polleny wonder.

Now I do have to admit that I was having some of MOMS Club friends over for a scrapbook session and the kids would be playing during this.  I knew that letting the kids run on the porch would be something they could do to run off some energy.  We were having nice weather and the kids loved the porch.

Next morning, which happened to be Wednesday, my voice sounded like I’d smoked about 4 packs of cigarettes before 10 am but I still felt ok.  Just a little tired.

By the next day, Thursday, however, I decided that I had seriously screwed up.  My nose was completely blocked and my throat was irritated and again with the raspy voice…

I needed to feel better fast.  Friday was going ot be action packed.  I had a purse party in the morning and John’s work was hosting their annual Halloween party for the kids.

Every year, this place has a seriously awesome party for the employee’s kids and this year, the employees were decorating all of the meeting rooms.  After hearing about the plans that John’s group had, I really wanted to see it.

I ended up missing the morning party much to my chagrin but at least my finances were happy.  I would have spent too much money as I LOVE purses.  But I needed to make an appearance at John’s party with the kids in costume.

Saye Family 2011I had never dressed up before but always got Phoebe dressed up but then John didn’t usually dress up either. This year, he was dressing up and I didn’t want to be left out.

Things I learned:

  1. It is a challenge to get two kids dressed in costume – especially if you are alone when attempting this.
  2. It is an even bigger challenge if you plan to costume yourself as well as two young children.
  3. Fake blood takes a bloody long time to dry and will get all over EVERYTHING
  4. My kids are more freaked out about the wig cap that goes on under the wig than the wig itself.
  5. It is difficult to get a 3 year old in a ball gown clipped into a car seat.  The skirt is very fluffy and really gets in the way.
  6. People pay no attention to people driving down the road.  They also pay no attention to a lady driving an SUV, covered in blood and seemingly being attacked by birds while driving down the street.
  7. The few people who do pay attention will take a picture of you on their phone – while they drive down the road.

So we had a great time at the party and then we stopped at Varsity which has the best burger anywhere and the most fabulous chocolate milk in the world.

When we got home, I immediately went to bed but didn’t stay there.  I had developed a horrible cough and the only way I could sleep was sitting up.  Thank goodness for our recliner.  I slept there for a couple of nights before finally breaking down and going to the doc.

Sinus infection, ear infection and bronchitis.  YAY!  I am an overachiever.

I’m beginning to feel better but the kids have gotten a little bit of it too.  They have a little bit of a cough and are a little stuffy but it seems to be getting better.

That’s how we’re doing, how about you?

Happy Birthday Daddy

jim-daddy-grannyMy dad would have been 71 today.  This picture is from 1976.  My dad is the middle with the lady on his lap.  The lady is my great grandmother.  The other man is my uncle Jim.

He would have loved my kids.  The man seriously loved babies.

The most vivid dream I've ever had came about two weeks after he passed away.  I honestly don’t know if it was a dream or if I was meeting him at the Great Starbucks in the sky.

He and I were meeting in a beautiful room with a tall ceiling and a wall completely covered in greenery. One wall was all windows and it looked out over a beautiful lake. 

He sat across from me with a cup of coffee in a simple mug.  I remember crying in the dream.

He asked me why I was crying.  I said that it was because he was gone and I couldn’t talk to him.

He told me that I could talk to him whenever I liked, I just might not get a direct answer.

“Besides,” he said, “you wouldn’t want me back the way I was.  I was so sick.  Think of me like you remember me when you were just a little fart.”

So today, I’m trying to think of my daddy the way he asked in that dream.  I am trying to remember him calling me “little fart” or telling me that we were having “a bait of boiled buttholes” for dinner.

I’m trying to not remember the harsh words spoken between us or the almost violent arguments we would get into.  I’m trying not to remember the ache of not being able to argue with him about religion or politics.

I know that when I tell him I love him today that he will hear me.

How to make caramel apples

  1. Purchase caramel apple kit.SONY DSC
  2. Line cookie sheet with wax paper.  Ready plastic wrap to wrap your delicious creations.
  3. Follow directions on package to melt caramel.
  4. Push sticks into apples.  Nearly lose eye when one stick breaks and splinters fly through air.
  5. Pick up apple on a stick.  Apple slips off stick.  Put apple back on stick.  Repeat.  Swear with great creativity. Figure out how to angle apple so it won’t fall off stick.
  6. Dip into sauce that is now hotter than molten lava.
    Swear obscenely when stick comes out of apple leaving apple bobbing in viscous goo.  Go find the mother effin’ tongs.
  7. Realize you’ve destroyed tongs because you found preschooler using them to mess with "things" in toilet.  Find the salad spoons instead.
  8. Use salad spoons to dig apples out of caramel sauce that is now hotter than the sun.  Sauce drips off of salad spoons and onto your pants leaving a blister the size of your hand.  Swear loudly enough that the neighbors think there’s some sort of domestic situation at your house and call police.
  9. Repeat process with remaining apples and/or say to “hell with it” and go buy caramel apples at grocery store.
  10. Enjoy!

Stupid Easy BBQ

Today on our meal plan is BBQ sandwiches

I recently discovered the delights of pork loin.  I say that I don’t particularly like pork but the truth is that I like pork loin, pork chops and bacon.  I’m not adverse to the occasional ham either. 

I don’t like pork roast though.  In my experience, it’s been a greasy mess and seems heavy.  I’m not sure I’ve ever even had pork loin until recently but my in-laws had it the last time we visited and it was delightful.  That got me looking for my own recipes.

I don’t remember where I came across this one but it’s mot too original.

  1. Put the pork loin in the slow cooker.
  2. Cover with bbq sauce.
  3. Put on lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Shred about 30 minutes before serving.

I serve on hamburger buns.  We also use leftovers for topping baked potatoes, pizzas, in salads, whatever. 

This method creates tender, delicious pork and is as the title says: stupid easy.

October’s Meal planning

I was inspired to share this with all of you this month.  I was reading one of my favorite once a month cooking websites and she shared her own meal plan.  Now granted I’m not cooking tons of this at once but I am doing a little bulk cooking. 

My October Meal Plan

  1. Chicken Tacos
  2. Breakfast for dinner
  3. BBQ Sandwiches
  4. Leftover BBQ
  5. Homemade Pizza
  6. Grilled Chicken Burritos
  7. Baked Potatoes with the fixin’s
  8. OUT
  9. OUT with Family
  10. Delivery Pizza
  11. Beef Stew Bowls
  12. Cornish Pasties
  13. Big Salad
  14. Chicken Tortilla Soup
  15. Chicken Quesadillas
  16. Homemade Pizza
  17. Hamburgers
  18. Hot dogs
  19. Turkey and veggies
  20. Turkey Turkey Club Sandwiches
  21. OUT
  22. Burgers
  23. Turkey Enchiladas
  24. Kielbasa
  25. Cranberry Chicken 
  26. BBQ Sandwiches
  27. Leftover BBQ
  28. Veggie Beef Soup
  29. Leftover Soup
  30. Coca Cola Chicken
  31. Turkey Enchiladas

This is a plan.  It doesn’t mean it’s written in stone.  The only things that are absolutely sure things are the items for the first 7 days as I just went grocery shopping and the turkey related items.

I bought the turkey about 6 months ago and he’s been hanging out in my deep freeze.  I think its about time to get him out and cook him up.

What this plan does for me though is help me when I’m trying to figure out what we should have.  This way, I can create my grocery list in advance and then check the sales and act accordingly.

Do you plan this far ahead with your meal planning?

My Philosophy of Life

I have philosophies or sayings that I generally try to live my life by.

The first comes from a legendary movie.

Go that way. Really fast. If something gets in your way, turn.

The second is incredibly simple.

Don’t be an asshole.

I hear you. “But Amanda, I’m not an asshole".

You might be.  Do you:

  • Not pay attention to your surroundings or could care less that you’re in sync with others?
  • Live your life in a tremendous hurry despite other people’s needs and wants?
  • Routinely back into people either on foot or on wheels (car)?
  • Completely disregard the needs of others?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are an Asshole.

I don’t mean that you have to live your life serving others or constantly allowing others and their needs to be more important than your own.  What I mean is that you are a considerate human being – that you consider the needs and wants of those around you and how you can accomplish your wants and needs without trampling others.

Standing in line at the grocery store with a full buggy and there’s a person behind you with 4 items?  Let them in front of you.  It won’t take but a moment for them to complete their transaction and it will give you a bit more time to unload your buggy.

You are in a quiet restaurant when suddenly your young child decides to melt down?  Do you:

  • Yell at your child to quit it? 
  • Finish eating your meal and carrying on your conversation?
  • Do you walk the child out the door while requesting a doggy bag for the remainder your dinner?

If you answered with anything other than the last option or some variation of it, you are an asshole.

Other people do not want to listen to your squalling child.  Eating out is expensive and after you factor in a babysitter, you’ve spent a small fortune.  This is precisely why many restaurants are in the news lately because they’ve adopted a “no children” policy.  Do they hate kids?  Probably not.  They are customer friendly. 

Practicing basic consideration would make this world a better place to live in.  If we all thought for one instant before we took any action as to how we affect those around us, we would all be a lot happier.

Broken Wings and Stranger Things

brokenwing10 days ago, I found myself in the worst place a parent can imagine: the emergency room with an injured child.

It started earlier that evening.  I was cooking dinner, John was holding the baby and Phoebe was The Pink Tornado.  This is a term coined by one of John’s friends regarding her own preschool age child but it fits Phoebe so well that I’ve stolen it.

Like most three year olds, Phoebe is in perpetual motion.  She’s running here, scampering there, dancing around and jumping up and down.  She’s also moody and can be crying one moment and laughing the next.  She trips over her own feet and more often than not says “I’m ok!” before I can even ask.

She also has the annoying interesting habit of running off to hide when she’s upset or hurt.  Which is what she did after she flipped over a wheeled office chair I keep in the kitchen.  She hit the floor quite hard but I was mostly concerned with her noggin.  Not feeling any kind of knot on her head, I decided to let her finish processing the incident and let her hide behind a chair in the living room.

After about 10 minutes, she’s still crying and it’s not quite like anything I’ve heard from her before.  There was an urgency to it.  John finally got her out from behind the chair and I gave her what I thought was a pretty thorough inspection.  I checked her arms, her head, her back.. I saw no redness, no swelling, no bruising. 

She stopped crying but there was definitely something wrong.  I thought maybe she’d bruised something that just hadn’t shown up yet.  I gave her some Tylenol and then she wanted up in my lap.  That’s when I figured out something was wrong with her arm.  I had looked at her arm; had bent the elbow, but didn’t see anything wrong and she didn’t react to me bending the elbow.  As I picked her up, I put my hands under her arms to lift her up and that’s when she screamed and I now understood what the crying meant.  She was in real pain and there was something going on beyond preschooler drama.  There was definitely something wrong but I wasn’t sure whether it was her arm, her shoulder or maybe even a broken rib.

I made the decision right there to take her to the emergency room.  Atlanta is blessed to have a great children’s hospital system that consists of three hospitals, numerous urgent care center, etc.  I took Phoebe to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Hughes Spalding.

This hospital is near Grady Hospital in downtown Atlanta.  The location isn’t too great, but the parking lot is secure and brightly lit at 10:30 at night.  They validated my parking and we were in and out in just under two hours.

The nurse we worked with immediately saw the swelling on her chest.  I hadn’t seen it, wasn’t looking for it.  But it was there and turning red.  An x-ray showed that Phoebe had a broken collar bone.

Next day, an orthopedic explained to me that the collar bone, or clavicle, is the most broken bone in the human body and is very thin in children.  But she also told me that children are amazing healers.  Within a month, the bone will reconnect and within about 8-10 weeks, the healing will be mostly complete.  Additionally, in children this young, within about a year, the bone will actually remodel itself to return to it’s normal shape and it will be almost impossible to tell that it was ever broken.

So my daughter is part Time Lord.

paperdollsMeanwhile, I’ve got to keep her from reinjuring it.  Remember she is the Pink Tornado.  So no jumping, no playgrounds, no climbing, no nothing that will keep it from mending properly.  Her grandparents overnighted a cool wooden “paper” doll set that she loves and is helping to keep her entertained.

The hospital put her in a weird brace that held her shouldersFLA 16-701p back.  The orthopedic first put her in a standard arm sling with a waist strap to keep the arm immobile.  After our second visit, another practitioner suggested a shoulder immobilizing brace that is actually working a lot better.

Tales of a Wannabe Domestic Goddess

pin-upLong before I had children and even before I was married, I said that the only thing domestic about me was that I lived in a house.  I hate housework and don't understand those souls who seem to derive so much pleasure from scrubbing toilets and washing baseboards.  So it surprised everyone including me and my husband when I became a stay at home mom.  Visions of June Cleaver, Carol Brady and Ma Ingalls filled my head - could I vacuum wearing pearls?

No, I'm closer to Morticia Adams than to any of them.  And this realization made me understand that I am seriously uneducated in the methods of home economics.

I'm not saying that I didn't know how to clean.  Everyone can take a rag and a bottle of cleaner and clean like crazy, but I was completely unprepared for the daily routines and just general busy-ness needed to maintain a home.

My mother worked at least part-time for a lot of my childhood so I don't remember her as housewife. And as I’ve mentioned before, she also hated cleaning and housework with her involved the whole family pitching in to get the house in order before holidays or before company came over.  I am a champion of crisis cleaning and can stuff more junk into closets and under beds than you can possibly imagine.

After I married, both John and I worked full time outside the home.  We'd tackle the housework in the same way that my mom did: long marathons just before company or when the kitchen was threatened with closure by the local sanitation department.  I tell the absolute truth when I admit to drinking milk out of a vase because we didn't have any clean glasses.

Once I became a full time mommy, I had to learn to do all those things.  I'm still learning.  My house is mostly clean and on it's way to being completely decluttered.  I have cleaning routines and I rarely crisis clean.  I still have a long way to go but feel like it's not overwhelming.

But for the record, we still call it "excavating" the kitchen.

school age nightmare

I was a bright kid.

In the first grade, I read on a 4th to early 5th grade level.  Instead of being challenged to read more and learn more, my teacher decided that I was a problem and separated me from other children.

In the second grade, I had a teacher who was more understanding of my reading prowess.  However, when I refused to count to 100 - I got bored with the task at around 50 - she decided that I was bad at math and needed to be put into remedial math which only bored me more than counting to 100 did.

My third grade teacher also saw me as a problem.  I was 4 grades ahead of the other kids in the class in reading.  She decided to send me to another class for half of each day for "enrichment" while maintaining that I had to complete all the work from her class too.  I was 8.  I got home from school, took a 30 minute break to tell my mother about my stressed out day and then got to work on 2-1/2 hours of homework.  After 2 months, I was mentally exhausted and told my mother that I "just wanted to be stupid like everyone else".

In fourth grade, I started getting bullied.  I had a great teacher that year but she seemed to have a blind eye for the boys in the class.  We were assigned seats in lunch and I was put next to a guy who delighted in telling me how he was going to rape and torture me every day.  I was in a reading class with two other students which was great because I got the challenge that I needed but it also meant that other students in the class called me teachers pet and teased me constantly.

Fifth grade was a comedy of horrors.  During this year, I was held down by two boys who each felt me up.  I also had two girls hold me down while a third girl hit me repeatedly.  None of these kids got in trouble for their actions.  Instead, I was told to be more careful.

My parents did not believe in designer clothing for young girls and this was when designer jeans were really first in fashion.  I so wanted that stupid swan on my butt.  So during fifth grade, all my differences were pointed out repeatedly by girls who made fun of my hair and lack of designer jeans.

So as you can see, much of what I learned in elementary school was not about the wonder of this planet or about humans at  their best, but about teachers who had no idea how to deal with me, or who wanted to dumb me down to the level of the other students.  I learned that being stupid was preferable to intelligence.  I learned that I wasn't allowed to say no even when I was being violated. 

Conversations with my husband

Him:  What time is Phoebe’s dentist appointment?
Me: 9
Him: AM or PM?
Me: What do you think?
This stuff just writes itself, folks.

My kid is so talented

blogmyspacedvd to ipod video convertertalkingphoto, dvd to psp convertertalkingphoto, dvd to zunetalking photo album

Lies my mother told me.. part 1 of a million

There is not a screw in my belly button that keeps my butt from falling off.

There is no way that potatoes can grow between my toes.

A rat named Herbie does not live in my hair causing snarls.

Speaking into my ear does not echo.

A swallowed apple seed will not sprout into a full grown tree.  Doesn’t work with watermelon seeds either.

Tummy trouble - the Revenge

I write this from the hospital.

Monday, I had a colonoscopy to follow up on the diverticulitis that I had back on April Fool's Day. But our story really starts on Sunday.

Sunday afternoon, I drank something I've decided to call "drano" for it's abilities to completely clean your digestive tract out. You drink this stuff and then it gets everything out. To be more explicit, you basically poop yourself silly.

It wasn't as bad as I imagined. I mean yeah you live on the potty for two hours or so. But there's no cramping, just the URGE.

Next day, Monday, I go for the scope. My doctors have their own endoscopy center and it was really nice. Overall, the procedure wasn't bad. They put you to sleep and the only discomfort is getting an IV put in.

I've discussed my bad veins before and they haven't gotten any better since the last time I needed one. It took them six sticks to get the IV in and it was the anesthesiologist who was successful.

I woke up from the scope feeling quite refreshed and STARVING!

Next day, Tuesday, I got up, fed the baby, cleaned the kitchen and then had a bowl of Cheerios with Phoebe.
Two hours later I was in pain. As fast as the pain started, it would stop. Then I'd get a reprieve of anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. I can't tell you why I didn't call the doctor right away. I only know that I decided to eat very lightly that day. Dinner was chicken noodle soup and even that became torture as the day turned to night.

I finally called the doctor at 10:30 that evening when I was experiencing fever and chills. The doctor advised me to take tylenol for the fever and call the office next day.

After a terrible night of pain, I was advised to go to the emergency room. I was admitted to the hospital Wednesday and now, Thursday evening I'm still here.

They say that I've developed colitis most likely from the prep before the scope.

I hope I can go home tomorrow.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Why we need to stop blaming people for losing their homes

When I bought my home in 2003, I was taken to task for my home choice.


Because I had researched what I could afford. I researched the areas I wanted to live in. I also chose to take a loan only for the purchase price, not the value of the property (which was significantly higher). Additionally, I opted for a fixed rate loan.

I did a ton of research and knew exactly what I could afford and what I was willing to deal with.

For my trouble, I was called a fool by both my mortgage broker and my real estate agent.

They knew that I qualified for far more. They knew that my payment would be HALF of what my mortgage payment would be if I took the adjustable rate loan. They said I was throwing away money that the banks WANTED TO GIVE ME.

Most folks didn't do the research I did. Most folks took their mortgage brokers’ and real estate agent's advice and took what they qualified for.

So if you're calling all those people who are losing their home irresponsible, greedy and self indulgent you need to think about the real problem.  I think the real problem was that the foxes were in charge of the hen house and the hens trusted the foxes.

Perfectionism or the Death of Creativity

I’ve been working on my son’s birth announcements for about 12 weeks now.  First, there was coming up with the perfect design.  I wanted something that would be cute but would also be really fun.  No standard blue booties for my kid.

So I researched.  And researched.  Until I found a completely cute idea.  And detailed.  And very intricate.

Oh, and I have to make 40 of them.

Strangely, I thought I’d have more time when I was in the hospital.  I remembered having a good bit of downtime when my daughter Phoebe was born and thought that would be when I’d work on them.

But I didn’t count on being INCREDIBLY tired and having a baby that wanted to stay up all night.   So with the exception of just a couple of hours, I slept when the baby slept.

But now I’ve been home with my darling boy for eight weeks now and I still don’t have them done.  Part of it just the sheer lack of time that I have. 

Having a newborn and a preschooler at the same time has been a completely different experience than the first go around.  For one thing, the older child is AWAKE during the day and during baby’s morning nap times.  At the other end of the spectrum is my son’s interesting evening schedule.

IT’s gotten better, but he’s still up until 11 or so every night and then up at about 3 or 4 AM for a couple of hours.  Then Phoebe gets up somewhere between 7 and 8 in the morning.  So while I’m getting between 4 and 5 hours of sleep, being awake from 3AM until 11PM is pretty tiring.

Oh I sometimes get a nap before Phoebe gets up and sometimes I can time everyone’s afternoon naps so that I can get one but it’s not leaving a lot of time for anything else.

So when I do have a few minutes I can dedicate to something crafty, I need something that I can get done quickly and can also drop in an instant if little man decides he doesn’t want to sleep.

Here's where the problem is.  As a perfectionist, I want to work on my craft and tweek and massage it and make it look just gorgeous.  This does not lend itself to being speedy.

So I procrastinate and wonder if I have enough time to work on a project.  I estimate how long it will take me to get my materials together.  I second guess the design I have in my head and I surf my favorite websites looking at ideas and examples.  Meanwhile, the clock is ticking and pretty soon, my son is waking up ready for a feeding or Phoebe is awake from her nap and wants a snack and I’ve lost the opportunity to get anything done.

Flylady says:

Perfectionism is when we decide that we can't do something because we won't have the time to do it "perfectly".

She is right.  I can’t do what I want because I’m afraid I won’t do it perfectly or I don’t have enough time.  I should just grab a couple of pieces and work on them and be done.

So that’s my challenge.  What about you?  Does perfectionism keep you from doing what you want?

Reading is fundamental

Few weeks ago, John got a new iPad.  He loves it.

But then the topic of what to do with his Kindle came up.  He wouldn’t really need it because he could use the iPad and the Kindle app to read his books.

So I took it from a couple of weeks ago.  Bear in mind, it’s only on loan and if he REALLY needs it back, I guess I COULD give it back to him.

kindle2_dark_backgroundSince getting it, I realized how much I miss reading.  I’ve loaded a few favorite books: Pride and Prejudice, the first three Anne of Green Gables books, The Boleyn Inheritance, the Bible, etc.  All books that I tend to read over and over.  I’d love to get a couple of the Harry Potter books and To Kill A Mockingbird, but they aren’t available on Kindle.

The thing is, I really enjoying reading this format.  I didn’t think I would because I LOVE books.  I love the smell.  I love the feel of the pages.  I love the sound of the pages turning.  I marvel at my abuse of paperbacks.  I can look at a book and tell how much I love it by how badly the book spine is broken.

I mostly read paperbacks if you can’t tell.  Hard backs are nice, but they are heavy and hard to stick in your purse.  The only problem with paperbacks is that they are only good for so much abuse before you’ve got to get another copy.  This little book reader however, goes neatly in the diaper bag. 

So I am happy to salt my words and eat them.  I still prefer physical books but this is an acceptable way to read.

Recipe: Quick pizza lunch

This is a super quick and easy lunch. Also, is there a preschooler - or mama - that doesn't like pizza?

First, you need some sandwich thins. These are little rolls that you can get at your grocery store. There are several brands. I'm using Arnold brand.

Next, you'll need some sauce. I almost always have a jar of spaghetti sauce in my refrigerator but you could also use Alfredo sauce.

You'll also need toppings. Basically you could use almost anything leftover from your fridge. Chopped up lunch meat, left over chicken, fajita steak leftovers, whatever. Use your imagination.
I have a kid who loves pepperoni so I am using that to make a traditional pizza.

Add the cheese of your choice and voila! You're ready to pop it in the oven!

I cook these for about 12 minutes on 425 degrees. But my oven runs a little cool so adjust as necessary.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Why yes I am liberal

A friend the other day was listening me rant about politics and asked, “Are you a Democrat or a Republican?”

I replied that I was neither.

And that’s the truth.

I am however a liberal.

Yep, I went there. I admitted to being a liberal.

But here’s the thing: I think that our government should be big enough to make sure that our water is safe to drink, that our food is safe to eat, that our borders are secure, that our interests overseas are protected.

I think that we shouldn’t lose our homes or file for bankruptcy because someone gets sick.

I think that big companies don’t have the right to treat us however they want just because they give us a paycheck.

I think the government should stay out of my bedroom and out of my uterus and, in fact, should leave all medical decisions to me and my doctor.

I think that as long as there are tests, that there will always be prayer in school, but I don’t want teachers to take it upon themselves to school my children in religion. That’s my job.

I want to know that if bad times happen, that I’ll have help.

I want to know that I won’t have to eat dog food because it’s cheap when I retire.

I don’t believe in welfare - either corporate or social. But if my tax money is going to bail anyone out, I’d much rather it go to feed poor people than give CEO’s fat bonuses.

I know for a fact that there is health care rationing in America. Just try to get in to see a specialist or have your insurance pay for surgery for something that isn’t life threatening. But I understand that part of requiring that everyone has insurance means that there’s a larger pool of people paying for the few folks who REALLY do need the specialists and the life saving surgery. The benign mole on my ass can wait a few more days.

I believe we should take care of the Earth because we were made stewards of it by our God. Not to hurt some business or make it too expensive for you to drive your Hummer.

Most of all, I believe in the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. There’s no room for greed or selfishness in Jesus’ teachings – no matter what the pundits want you to believe.

Would you like some cheese with that WHINE?

I have decided I have to change my attitude.

I’ve been tired and worn out and, well, just pissy for so many days now that I have got to do something else.

So I have decided to focus on the positive.

For example, instead of fussing that I only got 4 hours of sleep last night, I will get excited that I got those 4 hours IN A ROW and IN MY OWN BED!!  Because more often than not, I sleep in the recliner downstairs and Nugget sleeps either in the pack and play or the swing.  This happens not by design but because I don’t know how long I have before the next scream-a-thon at night.

I have tried, as much as possible, to let Phoebe and Moo get as much sleep as possible.  Moo needs the sleep because he is going out of the house and working every day.  Phoebe needs the sleep because OH-MA-GAWD preschoolers MUST sleep or they get cranky and cranky mommy can only deal with so much crankiness every day.

So I try to keep Nugget’s crying upstairs to a minimum. 

This is not easy or, to tell the truth, possible.  He seems to have his cranky period from 6:30 until midnight or 3AM, which ever seems to drive me crazy first.

Actually, it is getting better, because as I stated above, he settled down at midnight last night and slept until 4.  I felt that he was pretty sleepy and put him down upstairs instead of in the pack and play or swing.  This means that I got to sleep in my bed.  I didn’t take off my clothes but I did sleep in my bed.

So see?  I put a positive spin on it.  No whining.  Let’s see if I can keep it up.

Not a happy camper

Small rant here.

Friday, I spent the afternoon at the emergency room after experiencing very bad stomach pains.

Turns out, I'm having a bout of diverticulitis. I was given antibiotics and pain meds and told to follow up with a gastroenterologist. I have a colonoscopy in my future.

I'm also dealing with bad tendinitis in the thumb of my left hand - and of course I'm left handed so yeah it hurts to do almost everything. The trouble started about a month before G wad born. At some point, in my busy schedule, I need to go see the Wrist Dude. Not yet though - I got other problems.

My kid has had an upset tummy for almost a week and has developed a nice rash that obviously hurts. The BRAT diet is in place.

Oh and a painful skin condition I've had for years is completely out of control right now. So yahoo.

Went to the podiatrist Wednesday just to find out that I have THREE suspected warts. More bug juice and I'm limping.

We've got one our new toilets leaking into the ceiling over our laundry area. So we gotta deal with that.

My youngest, while greatly improved, still thinks 1AM is party time.

Oh. And Aunt Flo showed up for a visit. The bitch.

How are you doing?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

3 weeks...

"When he lay on my chest for the first time, part of me felt as if someone had given me a Martian baby.… Part of me felt like I was holding my own soul." - Anne Lamott

For the love of C-Sections

C-sections are not exactly something that you think, “Gee, I hope my pregnancy ends in a c-section.”  You certainly don’t wake up in the morning WANTING a c-section.

But they aren’t bad things.

I didn’t know that I’d have a c-section with my first pregnancy – it just turned out that way because of a variety of reasons including: 1) baby was ginormous 2) I wasn’t dilated AT ALL 3) I was in severe pain from sciatica – so I had a c-section with Phoebe and it all worked out ok.

This time, I knew from the beginning that I’d have one because my practice doesn’t do VBACs (Vaginal births after c-sections) and I was ok with that.  I could have found another practice that would give me a chance to do one (a VBAC) but I felt comfortable with the idea and decided to stick with them.

For the most part, I am pleased with that decision.  However, that doesn’t mean that the c-section itself was in anyway pleasant.

100_0272 - CopyThursday morning, we left the house at 8:30 and headed to the hospital.  Because of the gestational diabetes, they wanted me there a full hour before other folks usually have to be there so we wandered in about 9AM, got checked in, changed into our surgical gear and plugged into an IV.

Then, we waited.  And waited.  And waited.

The primary OB showed up about 11 and said we’d go at noon as planned.  We were just waiting for the second OB.  Turns out when you have a repeat c-section, they need two OBs to do the surgery.  I’ve yet to really find out why, but Moo has an idea it has to do with the procedure that I’ll tell you about in a minute…

So they walk me into the surgical theater at HIGH NOON and I sit on the table, get into position for my spinal block and then wait.  After about 10 minutes, the anesthesiologist is FINALLY ready to put in my block and then things started moving.

Again, how can I explain how a block feels?  I can only describe it as the feeling of when your hand or foot goes to sleep.  You are aware of pressure but there’s no pain and you can’t really tell whether someone’s poking you with a scalpel or tickling you.

I describe the c-section in two parts: before they get the baby out and after they get the baby out.  Last time, the first part was almost pleasant.  This time?  Not so much.  I immediately got nauseous from whatever they gave me and I felt like I was suffocating for most of the surgery.  I still smelled the odor of cooking bacon – which just happened to be my flesh burning. 

100_0282I still felt intense pressure when they were getting him out.  But things seem to be MORE this time, more intense, more pressure.  Moo says that when they were getting the baby out, that both doctors were standing on little footstools pressing on my stomach with both hands.  This probably explains why I felt like I’d been in a car wreck the next day.

100_0288But there’s also the sweetness of the day.  The feeling of Moo’s hand in mine as they brought my child into this world.  The sound of his cries as he emerged.  The excited exclamations of the team at how beautiful this boy was.  The tears coursing down my face when they told me he was a boy.  The softness of his skin when they let me kiss his sweet little cheek before whisking him off to recovery.

So while I didn’t enjoy the process, I certainly appreciate the outcome.


IMG_0512My new baby boy, Griffin Lee Saye.  He came into this world on Thursday, February 24 at 12:45PM.

He weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds and 12 ounces!!  And he’s 19-1/2 inches long.

Yeah, a big baby.


With just a couple of days before this kid makes his debut, I’m trying to be appreciative of things.

This was a completely unplanned pregnancy – Moo says it wasn’t since we weren’t doing anything to prevent it – but as you know, I didn’t think I could get pregnant again without drugs and crazy calendars and doctors involved.  But this is definitely the last pregnancy for me.

I will be getting my tubes tied during Thursday’s surgery.  Mainly because of one of my mother’s friends.  She didn’t think she could get pregnant – she was 50.  In fact, when she missed a couple of periods she just thought she was entering menopause.

What took her to the doctor was the overwhelming tiredness she felt.  At that time, hormone replacement therapy was in full swing and all the menopausal women in my acquaintance were taking hormones to help deal with the symptoms. 

She went to her doctor in hopes of getting something to help with the fatigue and they ran a pregnancy test “just in case” and found out she was pregnant.  That child, a daughter, was a blessing to them, but I do not want to be walking around, 50 years old, being surprised by a pregnancy.

So this is my last pregnancy and I am trying to enjoy these last few days.  There’s much to be done: cleaning, preparing the nursery, getting ready for a visit from Grandma, last minute packing and a million little tasks that “just have to be done”.  But there’s also the moments of laying in bed with Moo as he rubs my belly and we talk.  There’s the moments of having Phoebe pat my belly and ask about the baby.  There’s feeling this baby move around and remind me of his presence almost constantly.

There’s the tiredness I feel after walking through Target.  The heaviness of my belly, my hand supporting my back, the glances I get from people.

I’m still fighting a cold and my throat hurts and I can’t take a damn thing for it except plain Sudafed and Tylenol, but I’m appreciative of that.  Not being able to take something and just crash because of this life I’m cultivating.

The Braxton-Hicks contractions remind me that my body is preparing for his arrival.  I’ve been dilated at about 3 cm for about 2 weeks now.  My body knows he’s almost ready and I am appreciative of that.

I am appreciative of the friends and family who have rallied around me.  One friend has kept Phoebe for me on Thursdays while I was at the perinatologist’s office.  My aunt and her sister have kept Phoebe while I went to the doctor on some of the Mondays and another friend has kept her on another Monday.  My husband has used his days off to watch her other days.  Another friend sent me 4 giant boxes of little boy clothing.  Another friend gave us her gently used but still serviceable infant car seat while another has given us a high chair that’s barely been used.  My mom’s club has already arranged the delivery of several meals after the birth of this kid.

How thankful I am for all of them!

How thankful I am for experiencing all this!

38 Weeks: The day is nigh…

So I’ve not felt real good since Saturday.  Oh I wasn’t sick or anything over the weekend.  That was later.

I’ve had what I call “Kitty Litter Nose” since the snow back in January.  You know, you feel like your nose is full of tiny rocks or glass or something?  And you blow it and it looks like a bloody mosaic?  (Sorry I can get a bit gross sometimes)

I get this off and on and it’s mostly that my nose gets so DRY and if I’d just use the saline spray it would be better?  I even asked my ENT Chester about it and he told me to use the saline spray too.

Oh well.

Over the weekend, the kitty litter nose just felt a little dryer, a little more stuffy but nothing too terrible and I felt ok.

Monday, I went for an OB appointment and I felt ok then, but by the time I got back home, I felt vaguely like dog crap.  Nugget is right under my boobs and I feel a little breathless most of the time anyway but I felt a little more breathless Monday afternoon.

I chalked everything up to just being hugely and gigantically pregnant and went on with my business.

Tuesday, I didn’t feel very well but I had a plumber coming out to replace ALL OF OUR TOILETS so I had to keep it together…

Now I am pretty damn handy with a toilet, if I say so myself.  I am an expert plunger and will confidently open up that tank and replace all of it’s innards if it gives me any trouble.

Our potties are all original to our 20+ year old house and I’ve completely rebuilt one, partially rebuilt another and the third one did that “tinkle tinkle” sound all the time which means it needs to be tightened but I’d tightened it so much that I was afraid if I tightened it anymore, I’d crack the porcelain.

Additionally, our water bill was getting ridiculous.

So the plumber finally gets to the house about noon just as I’m sitting Phoebe down to lunch.  I get him started and finish lunch with the kiddo. 

As the plumber works, I feel worse and worse.  Not about his work, that was great.  He was quiet, not too chatty, which I appreciated since my throat was beginning to really hurt.  I kept the kiddo out of his way and busy until he was done with the upstairs bathrooms and then I put her down for a nap.

He finished up with the guest bath downstairs right at 4PM and I was about dead.  I mean, I was REALLY sick.  I managed to keep it together long enough to get him paid and out of my house but then I crashed on the couch until 5:30 when Phoebe woke up from her nap.

After cooking a more complex dinner than I should have (Coca Cola chicken, mac and cheese and green beans) and watching a few minutes of TV, we put Phoebe to bed and I got in the tub.

I rarely go to bed before 11 or so, but Tuesday, I was so sick I just wanted to go myself.  But my head was so stuffy that I decided that a warm bath might help.  I also used the Neti pot about 4 times that day and I did it once before I went to bed.

IF you’ve never used a Neti pot before, you are missing an interesting experience.  It’s not unpleasant but I wouldn’t say it’s the best thing in the world I’ve done either.  However, the results are worth a few minutes of discomfort.

As a kid, I never liked diving because the water went straight up my nose and gagged me.  Using the neti pot is basically forcing that water up my nose on purpose.  Not exactly something I’m going to enjoy under any circumstance. 

I use the Neilmed neti pot not because I like the pot itself but because the saline mixture that comes with it is AWESOME! 

It doesn’t burn my nose like other mixes.  I’ve tried a couple of different ones and they all say that you may need to work up to full strength mix but the one doesn’t burn at all and it’s easy to mix.

So Tuesday night I feel like absolutely dog crap.  Wednesday morning, I actually felt a lot better.

By today, Thursday, I feel human again and gladly went to my LAST PERINATOLOGIST appointment.  I got to see THE PERINATOLOGIST again and he said that I had done wonderfully and I should be proud of myself for the control I had.  I haven’t felt like I’ve had the GD under control very well but he says I have and since he’s been birthing babies since I was BORN, I’m gonna trust him.

The last ultrasound was a full scan so we got to look at all the organs again and did measurements of the little guy.  Right now, he’s an estimated 8 pounds 15 ounces – which is what Phoebe weighed when she was born at 38 weeks, 2 days.

With another week, he should gain somewhere around another 1/2 pound or so which will bring him in around 9-1/2 pounds.

So that’s where we are.  Waiting.

If baby boy decides to come now, they will pause labor long enough to do a c-section.  Otherwise, we wait.

How I’m learning to FLY

About 5 years ago, I found this chick online who calls herself Flylady. She can be found here and you can sign up for her daily emails and podcasts and watch videos and sign up for her branded version of a calendar program, etc. She’s also got products that she sells like special timers and scrubbers and books.

Oh I hear you.. “But Amanda, it all looks like a big scam to sell me cleaning supplies” and I’ll admit that she’s definitely figured out a way to monetize the advice she gives. But at the heart of all of the gadgets and gizmos and buzzwords that you’ll find, you will find something very interesting.

She’s offering real advice on how to make your house your sanctuary and she’s offering a real way to do it. And there’s no judgment, but there’s also no excuses.

FlyLady has broken down the first 31 days of her system down into a list of easy to complete list of tasks that she recommends for folks new to her system. I fully embraced it about five years ago and went through most of the steps, but found myself reverting back to my old habits. It’s taken me 5 years of misery in my house to really appreciate what Flylady has to say. It’s taken me 5 years to stop being a perfectionist in my housekeeping.

A perfectionist, you say? Yep, Flylady helped me realize that it was perfectionism that made me not want to clean. That it was my mother’s and grandmother’s perfectionism that drove me crazy and that I am walking down the same path. And like other crazy stuff passed down in my family – which will be another post – the CRAZY PERFECTIONIST STUFF STOPS WITH ME.

Here’s some of the logic for you: I see that the kitchen is a mess. I guestimate how long it will take me to clean the kitchen to my perfectionist mindset and I ALWAYS overestimate – usually by several hours. Then, because it seems so big, I PROCRASTINATE because, come on, who’s got 4 hours to clean one room?

The truth is that the kitchen only needs maybe 20 minutes of real work. However, my mind is saying that there is a lot more work. It’s saying that I also need to clean out the junk drawer and change the baking soda in the refrigerator and bleach the countertops and wash the tray thing in the silverware drawer and sanitize the trash can and reorganize the pantry and suck the lint out of the lint trap in the dryer and a million other things that NEED to be done before I will declare the kitchen clean.

So old me would have said, I’ll just do what absolutely needs to be done right now for me to be able to cook a meal and leave everything else for another day. New me says that’s good, work on the 4 or 5 quick tasks that absolutely needs to be done but also set a 15 minute timer and do one of those other things. The next day, new me will do the things that absolutely be done (i.e. empty and fill the dishwasher and run it, wipe off the counters and stovetop, and empty the trash can if needed) which won’t take more than 15 minutes and then set a timer and do another 7-15 minutes on something else.

This very act has taken my house from a total wreck to a livable place that I LIKE in a matter of just a few weeks. And best of all, no one is stressed out. No one is being yelled at. No one is being driven bat shit crazy with crazy perfectionist attitudes.

I was beginning to think that we really needed a new house and now I am convinced that we just have too much damn stuff.

My house isn’t perfect and that’s ok. It’s clean enough that I don’t feel embarrassed to have a friend’s almost 1 year old crawling on my floors. My husband doesn’t complain about not having enough clean underwear because I’m keeping up with laundry. My daughter stays out of things better because there just isn’t as much clutter to get into. And I’m a lot happier because I don’t feel guilty when I play on the computer or take a nap because I am not looking at a cluttered house and thinking about how I should be working on that instead of taking care of me.

And isn’t loving yourself just as important as loving your family?

Why I hate housework

Most of us learn about house cleaning and maintenance from our mothers and I am no exception.  My mother was a crisis cleaner.  This means that generally the housework was left until either A) we had company coming over or B) it was time to put up the Christmas tree. 

There was also frantic panicked cleaning or stuffing things into cabinets and closets when my grandmother was coming – she wasn’t really considered company since she lived 2 doors away and was at the house 1-3 times a week. 

At these times, my mother would turn into a complete tyrant and would scream, yell, cajole, bribe, etc to get me and my father to help her in cleaning the house.

We would work furiously to get the house into shape.  We would often work late into the night getting the house into order because no one would rest until the house was to my mother’s idea of cleaning perfection.

I grew up with this and my only real idea of housekeeping was about this crisis cleaning.  There was no such thing as a weekly cleaning day, or areas of the home that needed daily attention.  And I grew to HATE the week of Thanksgiving because we’d put the Christmas tree up that weekend and my mother couldn’t consider putting it up unless the house was completely clean and tidy.  This is when my mother would do a version of Spring cleaning that would make everyone bat shit crazy. 

After all, we had hardwood floors and they needed to be stripped and waxed.  The rug in the living room needed to be shampooed.  The kitchen cabinets needed to have everything taken out and washed.  The bathroom needed to have every inch of floor space scrubbed with a small brush reserved just for this purpose.  The linen closet had to be completely emptied and all items categorized, rewashed if necessary, refolded and placed back into the closet.

What’s worse is my maternal grandmother – the one that lived two doors down? – was doing the same thing and would enlist my help.  I was volunteered to help grandmother and then I had to come home and do all the same things at my house.

I later found out that my grandmother had volunteered my mother’s help to HER grandmother when my mother was a girl – so this was just what you were supposed to do.  Besides, in my grandmother’s and mother’s eyes, I was young, I couldn’t get tired!

By the end of the week, I was exhausted, could care less if we ever put up the Christmas tree and just wanted to go back to school. 

After Moo and I got married, I refused to do the bat shit crazy cleaning but the house would have to be cleaned or it would be a complete pig sty.  In fact, while I was working, Moo and I would tackle the kitchen about once a week and we’d get the trash taken out in time for pickup.  But the other stuff like cleaning the toilets and bathtubs and vacuuming and mopping were left until CRISIS CLEANING TIME!

And of course, if it’s been – GASP! – a month since you cleaned your toilet, you know that’s not a fun job. It takes three times longer to get that sucker clean as it would if you just gave it a swipe every couple of days and then really scrub it out once a week.  But who can remember to swish it daily?

I believe that I have found a secret to keeping house without crazy long cleaning sessions.  What I have discovered keeps me and my family sane.  I’m not having to browbeat my husband into helping me because THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO AND I CANNOT POSSIBLY DO IT BY MYSELF!!!

Come back tomorrow to learn what I’m learning.

37 Weeks

So here we are.  Less than two weeks before my scheduled C-section.


I’m pooping my pants.  Hang on while I change them.

Ok.. that’s better.

So Tuesday morning, I wake up and my left wrist is killing me.  I mean really really hurting.  When I was pregnant with Phoebe, I had the same thing for the last month or so before she was born, except it was the right wrist.

My hands and feet have been swelling a good bit and like a lot of preggos, the swelling is affecting the carpal tunnel in my left wrist.

So I wrapped it up and went on with my business.  The wrap reminded me to take it easy with that wrist and I did pretty well.

Well, Wednesday night/Thursday morning, I had a really bad night.  BOTH wrists hurt all night.  My fingers were swollen and hurting.  I even took off my wedding band because my hands were so swollen. 

By the time it was time to get up Thursday morning, I was in tears because I couldn’t figure out how to get dressed, much less drive myself to the doctor.

Moo was really concerned about me because I don’t usually do that.  I’m one of those stoic types when it comes to pain.  I will lie and say that I’m ok and just stay quiet while I’m in pain.  When I finally start talking about the pain, I’m generally beyond that.  If I start crying, well, then, I’m in a LOT of pain.

He was so concerned that he took me to my doctor’s appointment just to be certain that they weren’t going to keep me.  He also put the suitcase in the car – yeah, he was THAT concerned.

So blood pressure was good. I gained another two pounds.  Baby looked good.  And the swelling?  Well that’s just part of being 9 months pregnant.  Once I knew I was ok and the baby was ok, I calmed down and I could better deal with the pain in my wrists, which in turn, made Moo feel better about me.

I am pretty much an emotional mess right now.  I’m crying during commercials again which is pretty irritating. 

Also: effin’ Braxton Hicks contractions.  Anyone who calls them painless can kiss my ass.  They are highly uncomfortable and, of course, are annoying because if you stop doing the thing that is bringing them on, say, sitting in your favorite chair playing a computer game, then the bastards stop. 

Nugget’s room is 95% complete.  We still need to move some furniture around and we plan to do that sometime this weekend.  I have laundered all the gender neutral stuff I had for Phoebe and the stuff I got at a yard sale but still need to launder the new clothes I bought last weekend to fill in the gaps.

So all you mamas out there.. what irritated you the most in the last trimester?

Conversations with my toddler

I haven’t talked about Phoebe’s speech development in a while.

Truth is, there isn’t much to say.  Not that there’s no improvement.  There is.  She’s talking up a storm.  Perhaps not on level with her age, but her vocabulary has greatly expanded and nearly every day I hear her say something new.

Here’s a conversation we had this morning:

Phoebe: Mama, juice. (what she calls fruit cups)

Me: No, we’re going to have breakfast.

Phoebe:  Mama, juice.

Me:  No, let’s have cereal.

Phoebe:  Cereal?  (Thinks about this for a moment).  Juice?

Me:  No, we’re going to have cereal.

I open the refrigerator to get the milk and, of course, she sees the mandarin orange cups she’s jones’n for.

Phoebe: (pointing wildly)  MAMA JUICE!!  MAMA JUICE!! MAMA JUICE!!

I put her in the booster chair and pour the milk.

Me: Let’s eat cereal.

Phoebe now begins to cry with real tears and everything. 

Phoebe: (tearfully) Maaaamaaa… juice….

Whereupon, I open and drain a cup of mandarin oranges and give them to her.

Phoebe: (daintily placing one orange slice in her mouth) Mmmm… good juice.


My mother in law is coming to spend some time with us when Nugget makes his appearance so I wrote down a few of Phoebe’s words.

She knows a lot of words and you can understand most of them.  But sometimes the meanings are not the same as what you and I might think.

Words with multiple meanings
"Sauce" - some type of sauce, usually ketchup, but can also be salsa or grape jelly.
"Car" - can be a car, but can also mean the stroller
"Omnia" - usually means "banana" but can also refer to her Dumbo stuffed animal or elephants
"Cracker" - can be a cookie or cracker or chips - anything crunchy like that
"Cookie" - interchangeable with cracker... could be cookie, could be cracker, could be chips...
"Cow" - can be a cow but also a horse.
"Carow" - candy, carrots or my aunt Carole
"Juice" - can be juice but also any fruit in the refrigerator

Words and Phrases that have meaning to her but maybe not to you
"boo-boo" - boobs.  This is usually accompanied by her pointing to or patting your boobs.
"Ouchie" - a physical ailment like a scraped knee.
"Ahm" - Apple
"Tig" - Tigger stuffed animal

35 Weeks

So yesterday was the beginning of week 35 and I spent it running to my perinatologist.

My fasting blood sugar is still not up to par or rather down to par or .. WHATEVER.  So we went up on my insulin again. GAH!

It feels like a personal failure.  I know that I’m watching what I eat.  I write down what I eat, so I KNOW what’s going in my mouth.  And I am CONSISTENTLY under the number of recommended carbs but my fasting blood sugar is CONSISTENTLY above what we want.

So I added the additional insulin last night and this morning! 95!  Under 100!  YAY!!  Still not under 90 but closer.

After a day of appointments, I tend to have leg cramps so it was into the tub with me last night for a nice warm bath and then off to bed at 10.  So nice.. except I was hot.  And I had leg cramps anyway… And I had this creepy crawly feeling.

I get this way right before my period most months – it feels like I have bugs on my skin or something.  It was bad enough last winter that I was afraid we had bed bugs and I inspected the mattress with a magnifying glass and flashlight.

Since I’ve been pregnant, the creepy crawly feeling comes about once every couple of weeks so it’s got to be hormonal some how.

Today, I’m working on putting together my hospital bag and of course, since I’m a list maker, that means putting together a list and checking it about 4,736 times.

Here’s the list so far:

  • Toiletries like shower gel and shampoo (SCORE!  I found some shampoo I acquired from our hotel room at DisneyWorld last year.  It SMELLS SO GOOD… ) and toothbrush and toothpaste and hairbrush and hairbands and other stuff like that…
  • Carmex – in case my lips are dry
  • Pajamas – cuz those gowns are sooooo sexy… Besides last time after the first day or so, it was nice to get up and have a shower and “get dressed”.  PJ’s reminded me that I’d just had major surgery but I felt more presentable to company and while walking the halls.  AND THEY MAKE YOU WALK as soon as you can.
  • Ginormous granny panties – cuz of the “Grossness” that follows childbirth
  • Also, Maxi Pads – in case I hate what the hospital has…
  • Socks
  • comfy bras
  • Nugget’s going home outfit and booties – the hospital we use provides t-shirts and blankets while you’re there but you want something cute for pictures and for coming home.
  • Pen and paper – cuz I will be given a million instructions and I will NOT remember half of it unless I write it down.
  • Some kind of file folder thingie – they give you about a million pieces of paper that YOU. JUST. HAVE. TO. KEEP. Like the birth certificate verification and photo order forms and stuff…
  • Phone charger – cuz my phone is also my entertainment…
  • Nail file – cuz Phoebe came out of the womb with a set of sharp talons and I was afraid to cut her nails.
  • Also, mittens – for the same reason…
  • Carseat – cuz they won’t let me take Nugget home without it…

I’m considering taking:

  • Laptop – Moo brought his last time and I surfed some and figure I could watch Netflix on it with the AWESOME free WIFI at the hospital.
  • Camera – amazingly this is not hot mainly because my phone is also a pretty good camera.
  • Pop-up laundry basket – Moo says I don’t need it but I’m still torn.  I mean, I can just unpack the suitcase and use it for dirty laundry.

Note, I’m not taking a few things on other lists because I am having a c-section so I have no need of things for labor like tennis balls or massagers for my back or watch for timing contractions.

What else?

34 Weeks

5 weeks from today, I will be having a scheduled c-section. 

5 weeks from today, I will be giving birth to a behemoth.

Well, maybe not.

I am now visiting the doctor’s twice weekly – my OB/GYN on Mondays and my beloved perinatologist’s office on Thursdays.

The Monday visit consists of a consult with whomever I am seeing that week – remember, this is the practice with a dozen midwives and doctors – and a Non-Stress test.  The non-stress test consists of sitting in a recliner with two sensors on my belly, one measuring baby’s heart beat and one presumably measuring any contractions, while I push a button every time that Nugget moves.

This past Monday, they took me back, got my vitals and then took me straight to the Non-stress test room as I was the first one booked.  The nurse did a great job finding Nugget – something others have had trouble with – and was able to get me situated comfortably.  After 20 minutes, nurse practitioner Gina came to the NST room instead of taking me to an exam room to do the consult while I lounged.

They had me go ahead and sign the consent paperwork for my c-section on February 24th.  I basically agreed that I was ok with a blood transfusion and that I was aware that c-sections were a surgical procedure that could result in different problems including disfiguring scars and death.

I was in and out of the office on Monday in an hour.

Today was the perinatologist’s office.  There, I get vitals taken (blood pressure was 110/72 – yes, perfect.  Weight is up 1 pound from my last visit but still down 9 pounds from my first visit in August).  Then it’s back out into the waiting room to wait for a technician to come get me.  After the ultrasound, it’s back out to the waiting room to wait for a consultation either with the perinatologist or one of his nurse practitioners.

Today, I went back for vitals and then straight into an ultrasound room – good timing I guess.  This baby hasn’t been very photogenic.  He has let us see everything we’ve needed to see when we needed to see it, but he likes to hide his face so we’ve only been able to get shots of his face in quadrants and only one good view of his profile early on.  So I have no pictures for you unless you’d like to see his kidneys.

He’s head down and has his face towards my spine so we get marvelous views of his spine and of his vital organs.  But again, it makes for crappy views of anything interesting.

Again, I am making a GINORMOUS baby.  Nugget is measuring at 6 pounds.  Phoebe AKA Spider Monkey was measuring at 7 pounds at 34 weeks as you will remember from THIS post.  And again, part of the weight is because of his LONG legs.  His legs are measuring at 37 weeks, 6 days – so again, like Phoebe, he’s LONG LONG LONG. 

The tech said I was probably gonna deliver a 10 pound baby.  I just smiled and nodded because they said the same thing about Spider Monkey and she was just 8 lb 15 oz.  But then I again, I am reminded that I delivered her at 38 weeks, 2 days, so she might have made it to 10 pounds if she’d baked until 40 weeks.

Afterwards, I consulted with nurse Susan today.  Despite my own efforts, my blood sugar sucks rocks and that was the bulk of our conversation.  My fasting sugars just do not want to get into the range desired.  They want me under 90 fasting and I’ve been averaging 110 over the last week. 

Nothing I do seems to help – having a snack or not having a snack.  Eating late or eating early.  Doesn’t make any difference.  My diet is quite good.  I eat between 2000 and 2400 calories a day and it’s mostly low carb.

I am craving fajitas, sweet and sour chicken, meatballs and soft serve ice cream.  So some of my cravings are even low carb.  And I’ve only indulged in the sweet and sour chicken once this pregnancy and the ice cream 3 times. YES, IT IS TORTURE.  I could literally wallow in a big tub of sweet and sour chicken while scantily clad cabana boys feed me soft serve ice cream. But I have been good and have abstained… Le sigh…

I take two shots a day – before breakfast and before dinner.  And I take 2 different kinds of insulin – regular and a slower acting insulin called NPH.  They keep cranking up my insulin and it IS helping but I’m still not within the range. 

The internet has been most discouraging, telling me basically that it will get worse before I deliver.  Nurse Susan basically agreed today and added a third type of insulin and a third shot daily.  This one taken right before bed time.  This insulin is even more slow acting than the NPH and costs a fortune even with the co-pay.

Do not get me started about insurance.  I am incredibly thankful that I have insurance.  I am incredibly happy that I have pharmacy coverage, but quite frankly the hoops you have to jump through are ridiculous.

A vial of NPH only lasts about 14 days and the regular lasts about 25 days.  Because of this, I’ve needed refills pretty regularly and had 3 refills on each prescription.  However, my insurance coverage states that if I need maintenance medication - meaning anything with more than 2 refills, then I must buy 3 MONTHS of meds at one time.  My argument that I will not be pregnant for 3 more months is irrelevant. 

This is NOT cheap.  Not remotely.  I am also aware that I will have a number of unused bottles of insulin that I will HOPEFULLY not need after delivery.  I am hoping to find a charity that I can give unopened, sealed medications to when this is all over.  This stuff is too expensive to throw away and some poor person who can’t afford their meds could sure use it.

Other than being peeved with this, I am quite well.  I am tired.  I am having leg cramps.  I feel a little breathless because he’s right under my boobs.  I feel heavy and slow and I waddle.  He moves a LOT and usually when I’m trying to sleep like at 5AM or at 11:30 PM – especially when I need to get up at 6AM.

Moo puts his hand on my belly and feels Nugget’s movements.  I don’t know what he expects – a flutter or a slight shift?  Instead, he gets a roundhouse kick that shocks him and he mumbles something about not knowing how I can stand it.  I think it freaks him out just a little.

Also, the constipation is back – I know: TMI.  But you know you want to know this stuff.  I mean, have you ever taken a dump so big you thought you should name it? 

Pregnancy ain’t for wussies, y’all.

The Lie of Motherhood

I was talking to a young woman the other day who is expecting her first child.  She sees me as something of an expert since I’ve had one and lived through it to get pregnant again.

41UTViw UdL._SL160_ She asked my opinion about strollers and wipe warmers and bottle sterilizers and such.  I told her the only gadget that I recommended was the Itzbeen Baby Timer because it covered all the bases with a newborn.

Why did I need such a thing, she asked.  So I explained that Moo and I had found that newborns are much like combinations with only 4 numbers on their lock.  These things are:

  1. Feeding
  2. Changing
  3. Sleep
  4. Holding/comfort

and that with this little timer, I knew what I had done last and could try something else if baby wasn’t happy.

“Don’t you just know what the baby will need?”

She has bought into the mystical mothering lie that we all buy.  Mothers are supposed to form a bond with their children so deeply that nothing else is like it.  And that part is true.

99% of the time, I know what Phoebe needs without her telling me – something that’s bitten us in the butt with her speech development – but I digress.  She wasn’t born with me having this knowledge nor was I born with the ability.  No magic wand of motherly pixie dust was sprinkled over me in the surgical suite during my c-section nor did a switch get flipped somewhere and I just KNEW what she needed.

When you are pregnant with or, for those of you adopting, preparing for your child, you think that when that child is placed into your arms for the first time that you will fall instantly in love with this creature. 

This is true for some women, but not all of us. 

We have this picture in our head that our child will look like pictures we’ve seen of ourselves or our spouses as newborns – the truth is very far away.  After all, you aren’t giving birth to a clone of yourself or your husband – you’re birthing a completely new and different person with their own mix from the gene pool.

So, we are handed this creature that we know is our child but doesn’t look like anyone we know.  All babies look vaguely larval to me - the same smooth features, mushed noses and squinty eyes.

This tiny creature is completely reliant upon you but doesn’t really know you that well either, but you smell familiar and your voice is familiar.

So we have this creature, we’re exhausted, our hoo-ha’s hurt or we have an incision, our entire life has just been turned upside down, our family dynamic has just changed, our marriage has just changed, our financial picture just changed.  You name it, it’s changed.

And somehow, we expect to have learned or acquired or been blessed with the magical glow of motherhood.

That, my friends is magical, mystical bullshit.  And I think it’s part of the reason why women have serious trouble with postpartum depression or babies are abused or neglected or why some women have so much trouble adjusting to motherhood. They feel like there’s something wrong or that they are personally missing something or the hormones tell them that the problem is the baby, etc…

Let me tell you this: I’ve talked to more than one woman that didn’t instantly feel that bond with their children.  I felt no huge bond to Phoebe when she was first born either.  But I think the difference is that somehow, either through friends or family or television, we found out or were told that it’s ok.

It’s ok to feel overwhelmed when you have a newborn.  There will come a time when you are exhausted, you haven’t showered in a couple of days, the house is a wreck, all you seem to eat are sandwiches and you have this tiny creature who has needs and you are the number one person on the list who can fulfill them. 

It’s ok to wonder “what the hell have I brought upon myself?” at 3 in the morning when the kid won’t sleep.

I’ve been there and I expect that in a couple of months, I’ll be there again.  But what you learn is that you get through it.  You learn that everything will work out.  One day, you will look down at the baby and the baby will smile – even though you know it’s gas – and you will know that it’s worth it and, in that instance, that’s when bonding is really happening.

I have no scientific back up for any of this, of course, but I do know that the bond of motherhood and the love you feel for that child, your child, is something that you learn and experience every day as your child grows. 



164711_1734418527604_1452797312_1849900_709775_n Picture it: Winter. Snow and ice in almost unseen amounts hits Atlanta. The interstates are shut down. People are stuck in their homes. I PERSONALLY missed 5 days of work.

People call for better preparedness. People call for more snow plows, more sand trucks, better planning for future events.

Think that sounds like the current conditions in Atlanta? No. I’m describing what was called the Storm of the Century in 1993. Here in Atlanta, we commonly refer to it as the Blizzard of ‘93.

162793_1748883211450_1519930970_31776609_773772_n My front yard is currently covered in about 5 inches of snow with about 1 to 1-1/2 inches of ice on top of that. The street in front is covered in the same ice. I’ve seen a couple of cars (usually 4X4’s) go by but we haven’t ventured out.

Additionally, temperatures haven’t risen above freezing since Sunday. So you add 6 or more inches of frozen precipitation with 5 days of below freezing temperatures and you have a mess.

Atlanta and metro area counties are being criticized for their preparation or lack thereof and are promising to be better prepared the next time.

Our own storm preparations have been quite successful. Moo’s been working from home as we’ve kept electricity and, more importantly, internet service throughout week. I went to the grocery store on Saturday and got our normal groceries along with an additional loaf of bread. I also roasted a turkey Saturday morning.

In addition to the turkey, I do one batch cooking session every week and this week was lasagna. Our recipe makes 4 good size lasagnas and we put the extras in the freezer. So far, we’ve enjoyed the fruits of previous sessions in the form of turkey enchiladas, chicken tacos, veggie beef soup, homemade cinnamon rolls, and the lasagna made this weekend.

Here’s the important part of this: an event like this or even close to this only happens in Atlanta every 10 to 20 years!! Before the storm of ‘93, there was the storm of ‘73 which also had people housebound for several days.

I barely remember that storm as I was only 2-1/2 at the time – the same age as my daughter now – but I recall my mother’s stories about us losing power and then regaining it a few hours later because our townhouse had a generator. My only real memories of that storm are because my grandmother, who lived a short distance away, came to stay with us after a few days because her power was out for nearly 3 weeks. She brought her little Toy Manchester dog with her and our cat, Muffin, hated that dog and would spit and yowl at it.

Also in my memory is the big storm of ‘82 when the storms hit late in the day. My father got off work at 3:30 and ended up finally home at 8PM after walking the last 7 miles home after the car got stuck.

My memories and experience is limited to the 40 years I’ve been on this Earth but I can tell you this - spending tons of money on snow plows and salt trucks as some have called for in the last couple of days seems a little like overkill in light of the fact that this kind of thing only happens every 10-20 years. This is one of those times when you need to prepare yourself and your family.

Figure out what you and your family would need if you couldn’t get out for a few days and start that way. You don’t have to spend a ton of cash or time on preparedness. A few frozen pizzas and chicken pot pies in the freezer and some firewood is all most folks need.

So folks, the moral of this story is this: we got through those other storms and we’ll get through this one.

Relax and try to enjoy it.