Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's Not Really Christmas til Someone Gets Kicked in the Eye

Ahhhh. The sounds of Christmastime. The pitter-patter of little feet. The sound of a child's laughter floating through the hall. The sound of a slap followed by shrieks that would make a banshee envious. Yes, Christmas at our house is a joyous occasion. My kids act like, well, kids. They are not write-home-to-mom well-behaved. They are also not look-up-the-nearest-military-school little demons...all the time.

They have their ups and downs, first adoring and hugging each other, playing school or restaurant, then, five minutes later, Monkey pulls Bear's hair and she grabs the toy from his hand and he proceeds to poke her and she slaps his hand and they shove each other and within 30 seconds it either escalates to a screaming match or they are laughing hysterically. It's a toss up.

This was taken approximately 30 seconds before he hit Bear with that train.

They inevitably choose to begin these arguments while I'm trying to nurse Roo to sleep. Which usually results in whispered threats from the couch, someone running in crying, Roo waking up, me losing my temper and putting everyone in time out. Including myself. Do I take a bottle of wine to time out with me? Maybe.

But with Christmas quickly approaching, the "Santa Claus is watching you" threat is being used more and more. Insert Ray Stevens video here.

However, it is losing its effectiveness. That's right. Now when I say, "Santa is making his lists! Do you think you're gonna be on the nice list if he sees you writhing on the floor with pillows on your head, sobbing and kicking and flailing because your brother tried to sit on your dollhouse?" I merely get more tantrum. What are my options here? I can see the wheels turning in her head, reasoning out the possibilities of a stocking full of coal:
Well, I heard that last year and the year before and I still got presents... Oh, well. Better keep up the flailing....

I suppose I could follow through on the coal threat. But I just can't bring myself to do it. So, instead, I simply pick her up, put her on the bed, and walk away to wait until she (or he, as the case may be) is ready to be reasonable.

Unwanted affection. It's rather hard to hate on him when he's being so adorable.

I know it looks like they are getting along in this one. He was actually rearing back to spit at her.

And still, I can't complain about my children. They are Good Kids, they know Right from Wrong, and they know exactly where the Line is drawn. I realized this even more last night as I was watching Jimmy Kimmel's Christmas YouTube challenge. These parents "let" their kids open one present early. They were horrible. The presents, not the kids. Okay, some of the kids were. A few were really young and very honest, saying, "I don't like this!" A couple realized that their parents' feelings might be hurt and tried (very diplomatically, I might add) to express their dissatisfaction while allowing the 'rents to save face.

But a few of those kids...

I swear on everything holy, if my child ever throws a present in my face, rushes me and screams that he hates his "stupid parents".... Not only would I be too ashamed to upload that video for the entire world to see my offspring act like that, I'd immediately start looking up the aforementioned military schools. I would be appalled to realize that my son not only knows the term "suck my balls" but would say it to his mother.

Yes, readers, it happened, it happened on camera, and now it has been documented by the Jimmy Kimmel Show, YouTube, and all the world.

So I guess we've got it pretty good. My kids are normal, well-adjusted, thankful for what they get, and I haven't tried to sell them to the gypsies.


Friday, December 16, 2011

I Made Nummies, and You Can, Too!

Oh, the yummy foods we make. I'd be lying if I said we plan our suppers each day. Usually, Wes or I come home with some kind of meat and then we make up some kind of creation. It's at the very least edible. At the most, it's worthy of me sharing the recipe here because we accidentally created something awesome.

This is one of the latter instances.

So we had some pork chops. And potatoes. And frozen veggies. Usually this will result in some kind of crazy casserole, but last night I was feeling rather inventive. I will now give credit to Pinterest. Completely responsible for the wonderful potatoes. You can see the recipe here. But the chops....

I did get inspiration for the pork from a loin recipe on Pinterest. (...this one...) But it took a sharp turn when Bear spilled half of the thyme on the kitchen floor. So we came up with our own variation. This was mostly due to her insistence that we have gingerbread pork chops. I thought that ginger would be a great addition. So. Here is what we ended up with:

4 bone in pork chops

3 T thyme
2 T ginger
1/2-1/4 c honey
2 T butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Sear the pork chops in oil for 45ish seconds on each side.
Transfer to baking dish lined with foil and lightly coated with oil.
Rub the mixture on each side of the chops.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until done.

Yup. And it was incredible. All of it. Serve with a simple green veggie like broccoli because you don't want the tastes to compete.

Sorry about the lack of pictures. They were gone before I got a chance to take any....

Monday, December 5, 2011

"Parenthood" has Ticked Me OFF

I'm addicted to the show Parenthood on NBC. I know a lot of parents who are. Seriously, Bonnie Bedelia makes the whole show for me. I totally want to be her when I'm 60.

The show has been kind of mild as far as offensive content... I mean, considering how touchy I am about certain subjects. You know who usually grates my nerves, though? Kristina, played by Monica Potter. I understand that it's her character. I get that. I don't, like, dislike Monica as a person. The writers, on the other hand, have finally royally pissed me off.

Maybe it's because Kristina is the one I associate with the most. Thirties, three kids, just had a baby... About that baby... Kristina is usually a mess about everything and that irks me. Her pregnancy was remarkably fast and not completely unrealistic, but inasmuch as the rest of the show is not overly exaggerated, I fail to understand why her pregnancy had to be. Still, that's not what got me steaming.

The childbirth was more or less ridiculous, but what was to be expected from a network tv show? On her back, screaming her head off, stupid nurses milling about. Whatever. But still, I took it with a grain of salt.

I've been catching up on DVRed episodes, so I watched several in a row. I just watched the one titled "In Between." The one where Kristina spends her first night away from the baby (who grew reeeeally fast, btw). Since the "birth," the writers haven't made it clear whether Kristina is breastfeeding or not. Which, actually, I kind of respected; that way no one gets offended, as we all know moms are very prone to do. Very. Until this episode.

I was slightly annoyed when Kristina was trying on dresses and was complaining about her "huge boobs" from breastfeeding. Poor thing. I have news. My boobs are bigger than that when I'm not breastfeeding. It's a pain. I deal. She then goes on to whine that if she has "anything to drink" she'll have to pump and dump. I hardly think that's accurate. If she went out and got smashed and came home reeling, yes. But heading out to a cocktail party and having a few cocktails or glasses of champagne is fine, as long as you aren't falling down drunk when you are pumping or nursing. Seriously, I go by the rule that if I'm sober, so is my milk. It was subtle, but pregnant women watching that scene can be easily swayed in their decision to breastfeed. And the thought of never being able to enjoy a night out without the prospect of coming home to sit down with a cold plastic pump for 20 or 30 minutes kind of really sucks.

Still, I was only mildly irritated by the allusion to inconvenience. What really got me pissy (like it's really that hard) was the scene when she was at the party. Standing there looking gorgeous in a red dress, feeling uncomfortable ( I must give Monica Potter credit, when her character feels uncomfortable, so do I), because she's there next to sexy 21 year olds in miniskirts, and she starts........ LEAKING. Gasp!!! Yep. The party is ruined because she was mortified with a huge boob juice stain on the front of that red dress. She had to leave the party. No joke.

So if any pregnant mothers were watching this show, they may be impressed by the fact that a character was breastfeeding. Hell, I was. But they are more likely to be impressed upon by the downfalls presented. Yes, sometimes leaks happen. They can happen at the worst times. But seriously? This was simply the worst thing that could have ever happened to Kristina at that moment. And it pissed me off. The first time they make reference to breastfeeding and it was in three negative ways. They didn't show any bonding and snuggling. No health benefits or mention of reduced risk of SIDS. Nope. Leaks that ruin dates. THAT'S what they portrayed.

Thanks, NBC.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Mucus Monsters Roam the Halls

All three of my kids have been fighting off colds for weeks. I've tried homeopathic remedies and the like, but Monkey finally succumbed to all the mucus that had inundated his head. He started running a fever and I didn't give him anything for it because it wasn't that high and I figure the body is fighting something, better let it do its job.

Let me just say: he is sooooo sweet when he's sick. This is a red-headed three-year-old who is running at full-throttle 12 hours a day. So it was nice for him to just want to snugs and cuddle with mommy. But I ended up taking him to the doctor.

Is this not the most pitiful picture you have EVER seen??
I'd just like to know who made the rule that if kids are deathly ill at home, they will be just fine and dandy when they get to the doctor? I always look like that worry-wart mother that takes her kids in if they sneeze once. By the time we get there, he is playing and talking and not running a fever at all. I have been assured that it's not just my kids who do this.

But he was legitimately sick. Sinus and double ear infection. Gross. He had so much mucus in his head that it was literally coming out his eyes. Yeah. So they put him on antibiotics (I try to avoid them, but, man, when they are needed, by God, they are needed).

 So Monkey is on his way to recovery. Go team!

Naturally, I get sick. It had been coming on all week, but the cough turned into a lung shutdown. Gasping for breath is not high on my list of things to do while being clobbered by children. And when a 35 pound three-year-old wants to be held constantly, it starts to take its toll. By Friday night Monkey was feeling better and I had almost lost my voice. So while he is jumping off the coffee table over and over (and over and over and over...) I'm laying on the couch nursing Roo, so I can't get up, and I can't even make myself heard because my voice is almost gone.

stop, pleeeease *cough cough* stoooop

I have adorable brochitis. They said it's acute, but I think adorable sounds better. Apparently it was almost pneumonia. Sigh. Sometimes you just can't fight off the germs, no matter how hard you try. On the plus side, Monkey is back to his old self.

By the next morning...

Well, almost.

Crying for daddy. Can't win em all.

Monday, November 21, 2011

McCracken County Torture Chamber of Doom

It's been quite a year for McCracken County. Flooding, embezzling, designer drugs out of control... Oh, and there's also our illustrious humane society. And while the concerned citizens of our fair community are rightly outraged about the first set of wrongs, we are downright furious about the latest revelations regarding the goings-on at the McCracken County "Humane" society. Most of you know about the debacle earlier this year, but if you don't, you can get the gist of it here.

When Bella Bazooka and I were writing the article about the humane society in April, we both agreed that things there were probably worse than we knew about. We were wrong. They are worse than we could have imagined. It is, in essence, a torture chamber.

Throughout September and October, employee Jeremiah Robertson discreetly captured video and audio of the goings on at the humane society. When he had a sufficient amount of incriminating evidence, he took it to the sheriff. Why go directly to the cops? Because 1) his superiors disregarded his complaints, and 2) what was going on there was completely criminal.

What, you may ask, was happening?? Were the dogs being cooped up too long? Were the cats neglected? Was the place unsanitary? Well, yes. But that's not the worst. Euthanasia specialist Beau Anderson was in charge of putting the animals to sleep. Most folks understand that sometimes it just has to happen. The method that Anderson was supposed to be using is called the heart stick method. This is where the animal is sedated or tranquilized, then a frighteningly large hypodermic filled with a barbiturate is stabbed through the muscles and nerves of the chest, into the animal's heart, delivering death in a short period of time.

Well, he got part of it almost right. In fact, Anderson chose to not sedate these animals. They were awake, aware, fully feeling when that deadly needle entered their hearts. And that's if he managed to hit the heart. Robertson says he has seen the sadist miss the heart and hit the lungs, causing the animals to bleed out, drowning in their own blood. Did I mention that the law requires them to be sedated? Seriously, what sick son of a bitch chooses to do this to fully conscious animals?? I can't see a reason for this method at all; it seems outrageously cruel to choose to euthanize an animal by stabbing it in the heart with a giant needle when there are much more humane methods available. I think they can afford it, what with over a million bucks at their disposal and all...

But wait! There's more! After the injections, the animals were left in piles around the room to slowly die, twitching and gasping for air. Living animals are walking around the dead and dying, being inundated with the sights and smells of death; pools of blood are everywhere, on everything... Robertson said that sometimes the dead animals were left for days with other live cats and dogs just roaming the room with their carcasses.

Cat hiding in a corner of the euthanasia room while, mere feet away, animals lay heaving their last breaths.

I cannot wrap my head around this. Just can't fathom how someone could be this sick. I watched the video. All of it. The only part I haven't seen is what the sheriff has. I've heard the audio of pitiful dogs being wrestled down to be poisoned. Can you even imagine the panic? It's worse than I can even put into words. If you think you can stomach it, part of the video is available here. These aren't all old or mean or otherwise unadoptable animals, either. Some of them were puppies and kittens that would have made wonderful pets.

And the poor, pathetic, misunderstood director of the McCracken County Chamber of Doom, Shirley Grimes, is the victim in all of this, don't you know? Why, she didn't even know that the animals were supposed to be sedated. Are you freaking kidding me?? That is your job, woman! It is your responsibility to make sure that your establishment is playing by the rules. You would think, after the fiasco in the spring and then OSHA jumping all over you, you'd exert some kind of effort to cover your ass! But, oh, let's feel sorry for Shirley. This paragraph from The Paducah Sun made me want to bitch slap the woman even more:
“Can you imagine working with someone like that?” Grimes said. “Could you imagine having to talk to one of your employees, constantly worrying about if you were being taped? It’s horrible.” Well, cry me a f@#$%ing river. No one would have to tape you if you were doing what you are supposed to be doing! But she sure fixed that problem. The only new rule at the "Humane Society" (that we know of) that has come about from this whole mess is.... NO CELL PHONES AT WORK!

Stepping down was a very, very wise thing to do.

Beau Anderson is facing criminal charges. He didn't get arrested. He got a summons. Is everyone aware of what penalties are on the line? Wait for it.... 90 days and a fine. Oh yeah! That'll teach him! Seriously?? If you, reader, are not outraged, you damn well should be.

I can only conclude that Anderson and administrator Delena Hall (who, btw, was euthanizing cats despite having no training or certification) both get some kind of sick pleasure from all of this. And apparently Shirley Grimes can't see past that million bucks sitting in the bank.

Jeremiah Robertson is still an employee of the McCracken County Humane Society. Good thing, too, since he's apparently the only one there with any sense or humanity. His ass is covered by the Whistleblower Act.
Nailed it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My car is safe again, so we are making our own Christmas presents

So. I tried to molest Wes with my feet last night for half an hour. I didn't accomplish much, what with the awkward angle and all, but I think I cut his right nipple with my toenail.

I was actually nursing Roo to sleep on one end of the couch and he just happened to be at my feet. I was in a particularly playful mood... Strange, considering the bill I got from the garage where I left the van to be fixed. Nearly $700. I think I actually swooned. Like Scarlett. I'm confident I'm not being raped on the estimate. I trust the mechanics (gasp) where I take my vehicles. But, good grief!

The costly part was making sure that my van was capable of coming to a stop. And I decided that it would be a good thing if I didn't drive three small children around in a death trap. I know. Hold the applause. And the fewer fiery car crashes, the better.

But this WOULD come six weeks before Christmas. I'm so proud we started buying gifts last month! Buuuut, I think we may be making presents for the fam this year. Luckily, I'm addicted to Pinterest, so I'm full of ideas.

I also discovered the lovely art of homemade soap a few months ago. Of course, Frontier Airlines has possession of the body wash and lotions that I made, but you may have already heard about that!

The soap is super easy, and fun to personalize, especially if you happen to have a surplus of aromatic herbs on hand. Which I do. I bought the base of Shea butter soap at Hobby Lobby. I also bought the molds, but then discovered that if you have a few seashells or any other kind of decorative container, they aren't really necessary.

Food coloring, essential oils, your base, and the molds (moulds?) and you are ready to make cheap and personalized Christmas gifts. The soap is microwaveable. When it is liquified, throw in some colors and scents, pour into the molds, refrigerate til firm, and turn em out. Done. Like, for real, it's that easy. I added glitter face powder into the soap, and dusted the tops to give them that designer look.

Best part? They aren't liquid, so the airport can't confiscate them.

Monday, November 14, 2011

There Are Better Ways to Spend Money...

I'm all for decorating for the holidays. Christmas tree, wreaths, doodads on the shelves. I'm sure my decor would be a little classier (and more expensive) if I were sans kids, but I'm not, so it's fun and inexpensive, lest Monkey finds his way up the bookcase to smash all my trinkets.

I am also extraordinarily cheap. Like, big time cheap. I can typically spend less than $20 and spruce up existing (and outdated) decorations, keeping the spirit while keeping back that extra cash that I will need in my Christmas Eve midnight run to the store because I forgot the nuts and tangerines for the stockings.

Usually about the end of the summer into early fall is the best time to hit up yard sales and Goodwill for old Christmas items to repurpose. Unless you are planning waaaay in advance and can think to make that run to the thrift store and hit up the clearance racks at Hobby Lobby in January. Don't be turned off because that wreath has a hideous bow or dusty clump of poinsettias on it. If it's in ok condition otherwise, it can be used.

So you gather up these items, either collected secondhand or from your (or your Mother's) attic and take inventory. Strip that old wreath and fluff up the branches. Clean the ornaments. Remove the cracked foam cranberries from the centerpiece. Once you have your basic pieces, you can begin to make plans.

Decide on a color scheme or theme. Are you going wintry with baby blues, silver and white? Elegant with gold and cream? Traditional red and green? Do you have a child's room to decorate with fun snowmen? Or are you incorporating a favorite piece into your new theme? Remember the KISS rule: keep it simple, stupid. :D Less is more, unless you are going for an over the top Victorian look or you have waaaay more time/space/money than I do...

Now, start gathering your additions. A spool of brightly colored wire-edge ribbon is usually a must. Clearance or dollar rack ornaments are a great find if they fit your style. Do you have old ornaments with missing hangers? Don't toss em! They can be great on a wreath.

Before you begin buying artificial flowers and such, take a look out the back door. Pine trees, holly bushes, magnolia trees, and hedge apples are all usable. Several bunches of magnolia leaves can fill out that skimpy wreath. Pinecones look great, especially with a touch of fake snow on the tips. Hedge apples in a bowl with large glitter flakes sprinkled on top are a super cheap and catchy table piece. Remember to grab a can of clear spray paint at the store. A coat on your glossy outdoor additions will make them stand out, as well as extend their use.

Are you not good at making bows? No problem. Weave that ribbon throughout your greenery, twisting the wire branches around the ribbon to secure it to the base. Then add some pinecones and a few holly sprigs, even some of those old ornaments. Are the hangers missing? Just insert a branch through the hole at the top. Keep in mind that odd numbers are more aesthetically pleasing. Three holly sprigs, five pinecones, and seven small ornaments, for example. Then hang that sucker on the door! Voila!

That favorite childhood ornament that you can't bring yourself to toss can be a great focal point for a centerpiece. Find a foam block at the craft store, and start adding greenery. Place the ornament or whatever it is you are incorporating slightly off center. Taper candles from the dollar store at varying lengths (just cut them off, silly) can be secured using florists putty.

There are so many more things you can do, using these basic concepts. Experiment and get creative! Once I (finally) drag out my projects for the season, I'll add photos as I repurpose and revive this year's decorations!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Here and Now

Does anyone else find it wrong that stores start pushing Christmas the day after Halloween? I mean, I'm all for getting in the spirit, but there IS a holiday between the two. I think it's important for folks to stop and really assess what there is to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. Or every day. In a country that is constantly demanding more, more, MORE, how many of us really look at what we have and how, by the grace of God, we are blessed to have it.

I know there are those in really tough situations. Really BAD circumstances. But I also believe that they tend to be the ones most thankful for what they do have. And until one appreciates their blessings, they can't give with the spirit that I believe is intended for Christmas giving. Sure, anyone can buy presents, wrap them up, and dole them out, expecting to be the coolest friend/parent/whatever, or receive gifts with cordiality. But, a thankful heart is imperative for all of the above.

What put me in this reflective mood on a windy Sunday morning, with a fussy baby, a toddler bouncing off the walls, and a sick seven-year-old? It was something very small. As I was nursing Roo, I looked down at her tiny body, a simple miracle, not born of evolution, but a creation of my own body in harmony with Wes', a gift from God. I glanced over to Monkey, diligently constructing (and deconstructing) his toy airplane, and to Wes, who was tickling Bear, both of them giggling uncontrollably. Those are blessings, folks. And, though nearly every day I am overwhelmed at some point, they are presents that I ought to thank God for, especially when that I-can't-take-this feeling sets in.

Simple thoughts for the day. I'll get back to the tales from my life soon. And later, I think I'll throw out some tips for decorating for Christmas on a dime (or a few bucks, at the most). Until then, I felt obligated to simply mention how blessed we all really are.

Just in case it slips our minds.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Story of Roo

Ugh, I'm such a slacker. I've been browsing the internet for the most random things, when I could have been writing a blog post. For the record, though, I have discovered that Sasquatch lives in Texas (or Snuffelupagus), shit has hit the fan for midwives in Australia, and, thanks to Newz Muz, I now know where the term chock-full came from.

And I've spent quite a bit of time contributing my fathomless knowledge (wink) to The Leaky B@@b's facebook page. For any readers who don't know, I'm quite the lactivist. I've successfully breastfed three children and Mom and I run the La Leche League of Paducah's facebook page. Much love to all our mamas. Mwah.

I've also spent a fair amount of time on the Birth Without Fear and Mama Birth pages. Which is what prompted me to write this post. I've never written a birth story...

So, next month, Newz Muz and I will be starting our fall/harvest blogging and cross-blogging, so I figured in the meantime, I would share the birth story of my Roo. It was the hardest and the most fulfilling so far. Why do I say "so far" like there's gonna be another....? Pfft.

Roo was "due" June 29. Obviously a due date is complete conjecture, but so many people base their opinions on when a baby should be born on that date... Wait. I don't want to get started on that today. Suffice it to say that I think "due dates" should be done away with and OBs and midwives should simply say, expect your baby sometime around the end of June. Ish. Because babies neeeever come on their due dates... Right? Anyway.


Since Bear and Monkey both came a week early, I was mentally prepared to follow suit. Ha. I have no doubt in my mind that Roo heard me say that she would be a week early and was like, "Pfft, I'll show her...." I was in the "ok, I'm seriously over being pregnant now, let's get the show on the road" stage of pregnancy. Which is weird, because every time I have a baby, I miss being pregnant afterward. So, I had been walking, doing acupressure (hey, it worked with Monkey's birth), and indulging in seriously spicy food (love it). Then I got the bright idea to make salsa.

My cilantro plant had gotten waaaay out of control and I knew I had to do something with it. My niece, who was thinking about going into midwifery, was just waiting for me to go into labor and spent the day with me on Tuesday the 28. We went to the farmer's market with Bear and gathered all our salsa ingredients. We went back to the house and made a double batch (I always overdo it), ended up with seven jars of fresh salsa (ha!) and decided that the jars now needed to be sealed and given away to each person that came by in order to get rid of at least 5.

Then I was all, "Let's make a pie!"

So we did.

Halfway through the pie making, I went to the bathroom. As I was headed through the bedroom on my way back to the kitchen, I felt a little trickle. Hm. Nothing to worry about. Obviously I was going to be pregnant forever.

The night went quickly by and Wes and I headed to bed early. Soooo tired. During the night, I was up several times to potty and I noticed difference. I realize now that I was leaking amniotic fluid, but it didn't occur to me at the time...I had never leaked before.

(Male readers, either hang with me or get out while you can...)

In the morning, I experienced another first-- bloody show. Why I've never seen it before, I have no idea. It's was like a ghost with the first two pregnancies...

Roo was on her way. Yay! But no twinge of labor pains. So, I decided to go ahead and go for my morning walk with Mom, who had already predicted Roo would come on her due date. I'd been walking daily throughout the whole pregnancy in hopes of making my labor faster and easier. Hey, anything to help...

As we walked, I had some twinges, and Mom informed me that I would go into labor before 11 am. I called Wes and told him not to go to work. Back to the house.

Mom went home to get her affairs in order. I mean, she was obviously going with me to the birthing center. Are you crazy? Go through labor without my mommy? Perish the thought!

A little after 9, I needed to pee (AGAIN). When I was done, I started to stand up and... -whoosh- ...water breaks! On the toilet! Gee whiz, I'm lucky... No mess!

Mom and my niece walked in the door as I was sitting there.
"I'm in here. Water just broke."

That was all I needed to say to send Wes into panic mode. Personally, I thought it was hilarious. He began bustling about, loading bags and feeding the cat...We sent the kids to mom's and agreed to meet them at the birthing center, 20 minutes away. Bear was concerned.

"Why are we going to Mom's?"
"In case Roo decides to come out today..."
"But I want to be with you!"
"Noooooo, you go have fun with Miss Susan."

So I began to walk about the house. I wandered from the bedroom, to the bathroom (grabbed a towel), back through the bedroom, to the living room, into the Wes was standing by the back door with his sunglasses, keys, wallet, bags... Heeheehee.

"Honey, we're not leaving right now."

He flopped down on the arm of the couch and waited while I walked and worked through several contractions. They sped up very quickly (does that even make sense? Sped up quickly?). Finally, I looked at him and said, "We can go."  I called ahead to the birthing center to let them know we were en route. It was 11.

So I facebooked and texted all the way to the birthing center. I know, I know....

I had been constantly leaking water during the car ride. Especially when I laughed or coughed. It was ridiculous. We arrived and I stood up... -gush- ...puddles. As I waddled toward the building, a family with small children was exiting. I heard the father say, "Kids! Watch out for that big puddle!" Whaaa? I looked back and there was an actual rain puddle in the parking lot! Still, I thought it was hilarious. So I laughed and leaked some more.

The lady at the front desk looked up at us and said, "Who are you visiting...?"
 "Um, she's in labor."
"OH! Go right in!! She's so calm, I didn't know.."

When we walked in, wonder of all wonders, the nurse was looking at my *gasp* birth plan. Like, she was familiarizing herself with it. Shocker. And my midwife was waiting there, too. At that point, I was confident all was going to go as planned. Silly me. This baby obviously was messing with my head.

We were shown to a room -coincidentally, the same room in which I had given birth to Monkey- and I put on one of my own gowns. After a quick check (2cm??), I decided to take off walking, as that was how I had progressed so quickly the last time I'd been down this road. Wes and I wandered through the halls, pausing for some intense contractions. After about half an hour, we headed back to the room.

I labored on the birthing ball, walked in the room some more, and Wes and my mother took turns rubbing my back with a heated massager, and he held me as I rag-dolled (that's a technical term, you know) standing/falling into his arms for several contractions. Mom told him that I would have this baby before 5. So far, she was two for two...

Eventually I was exhausted. And it felt good to sit down. The nurse asked if it was okay to hook me up to the monitors while I was in the bed. Sure. Up until then, they had been performing intermittent auscultation of her heart tones, as per my birth plan. But sitting there, completely relaxed felt - strangely - so good. While I was there, they performed the second of three (total) pelvic checks.

After awhile, the nurse returned and checked the printout. She left and returned some time later.

"Your contractions are coupled up, and you're not dilating. Candy [midwife] thinks baby is sunnyside up. You need to swing her around. You can either get in the Jacuzzi or get on all fours to swing her down."

I wanted to get in the tub. But they needed to fill it up. So while they went to do that, I got on hands and knees to start the process.

Oh. My. GOD.

I've never felt pain like that. Swaying my hips back and forth in between contractions... Trying to vomit over the side of the bed during. It was bad. Poor Wes. He kept trying to help, but seriously, there wasn't much he could've done. It seemed to last forever. It was probably like five minutes.

When the nurses returned to tell me the tub was full, I was sweating and seriously ready for a nap. Can we say "transition"...?

"Shall we check you again before we head to the tub?"

I was at 9 centimeters. Screw the tub.

They began preparing for the appearance of a Roo. I was mentally trying to gather my strength. When Candy advised me to give a push to get Roo past my cervix, I had barely anything to muster. She helped by gently easing the cervix down. Then it was time to push for real. And I simply couldn't. I was so worn out.

In my mind I was thinking, "Can't I take a nap and do this later..?" But I knew that no one else could push my baby out for me. This was something I had to do alone and, yes, I could do it.

And I did.

In less than 10 minutes and in less than 10 pushes (probably like 4? 5?), Candy said, "Reach down and take your baby."

Roo was birthed into my hands at 4:22. I brought her to my chest and kissed her over and over. She nursed immediately and took both sides. She stayed on my chest for so long. Eventually, they did weigh her. 7 pounds, 14 ounces, 19 inches long. She never cried.

Candy said she spun in the birth canal.

While it wasn't the rainbow-farting unicorns flying through the birthing center that I had dreamed of, I worked hard for my angel. With almost exclusively family support. And I was proud of myself for what I did for my baby on her due date. June 29, 2011.

That wasn't so bad, I could do it again... easy.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

TSA Owes Me Money. And Probably Liquor.

Guess what??

I went out west! No, not to Arizona. I've decided that's probably not a good idea all around. Wes and I took the Roo and headed to Colorado for his sister's wedding.

Good times, right? Semi-vacation, family to hold the baby, and open bar. What could go wrong?


Worth it.

Let me first say that the entire trip [eventually] turned out to be awesome and I'm glad I went along. I thought about sending the hubs all alone, but decided that I didn't want him to have that much fun without me. So we packed up and booked a flight from St. Louis to Denver.

Our flight was scheduled for the ass-crack of dawn Friday morning, so I decided that I wouldn't sleep Thursday night, since we needed to head out of town about 2 am. I am so brilliant. The thing was that I had been up since 7:00 Thursday morning. But, hey, I can do this, no problem. So I woke up Wes at 1:00 and we started loading up the car. However, between last-minute packing, tanking up on coffee, nursing, and visiting with a friend who was hanging out at our house in the middle of the night (???), we didn't get on the road until 2:20. Whoops. We were on the interstate by 2:40.

It takes 2 and a half hours to get to St. Louis, but apparently it takes 3 to get to my friend's house. He was taking us to the airport so we didn't have to pay a small fortune in parking fees. Cool. GO GO GO and we arrived at the airport about 45 minutes before our flight took off.

Taking into account my lack of sleep, panic at running late, and overstimulation from coffee, and you have on your hands one certified basketcase. So I fly into the airport (get it?) and start checking in while Wes brings in the bags. The woman at the desk....... I cannot express how much I am not a fan of hers. She added to my hysteria by saying, "They're boarding the plane now. They won't wait for you. You're gonna miss your flight."

I suppose at any point I could've told myself that the plane wasn't taking off for over half an hour, but I let that bitch send me into panic mode. And then she looks at us and goes, "I don't have time to check that bag."

Are you freaking kidding me???

So we lugged that huge friggin' bag aaaaall the way to the security check, as per instructions from the ugly woman at the desk. Yeah, I said it. She was ugly. I ran down there with Roo in her car seat banging against my legs, in flip flops, shelf bra... It was like the Girl Scouts fiasco all over again.

Of course I had loaded all the things that I knew I couldn't carry onto the plane into that bag. Including the, um, WEDDING GIFT. That I made. That's right. Body wash and lotion with herbs from my garden. And we all know that if a liquid is over 3.4 ounces and you try to take it through security, they take it away. Forever. Some Frontier Airline worker is now fragrantly moisturized at my expense. I'm sure of it.

So, of course, they unpack the entire bag because the gift was at the bottom. Bras and panties all over the place; I'm crying; Wes is trying to get them to put our stuff through. But noooooo. They can't let these items into the "sterile area." I am confident they made that up. Face wash, hair stuff, wedding present, etc, all gone. In all, they probably stole about $70 worth of my stuff. At this point, I'm all, "FINE, just put us through so we can get on the plane."

Finally we get to the gate. And the guy there is completely sympathetic and tells me he'll try to get my things back. Whatever. Just get us on that plane!

We did.

Get on the plane, that is. Not get our stuff back.

So, we get on that winged bus, and we are the last to load because of the holdup at security. By this time, Roo is wailing. We step on with a screaming baby and get about 100 dirty looks. "HI, friends."

She was awesome, though. Nursed the entire flight. People were soooo impressed. Eye roll.

I must say, the flight attendants were awesome, considering what they had to deal with. The woman in front of me (who had super long hair that I wanted to tug the entire flight) actually asked the female flight attendant for a salad and a bottle of water. At 7 am. Teehee. The guy next to her complained that the bottled water was AquaFina. Dude, seriously? I would've been tacky, but the flight attendant just smiled and cursed them under her breath. The other flight attendant, though.... Well. He was just as sweeeeet as he could be. And he had a thing for my husband. Most gay guys do. He's just that cute. And he slipped Wes a free bottle of water. Score. I'd let that guy pinch his ass if it meant we got freebies, after the morning we had had.

We get to Denver airspace, and I'm all, "Ok, this is gonna be fine."

Nope. Fog.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we've been put in a holding pattern until the fog clears."

Do we have enough gas for this????

So for an hour, we circle.

Wes and I decided that the pilot shoulda mixed it up, turned on the fasten seatbelt light, and thrown out some loop-de-loops. I was so delirious at that point, I probably would've enjoyed it.

We finally reunite with the ground a mile above sea level. Hey, what better for a sleep-deprived, caffeine-riddled, overstressed mom with a baby strapped to her chest than high altitude??? Maybe a bloody Mary...

Wonder of all wonders, our bag was actually there. I was totally prepared to not have it at all, but there it was, all alone in baggage claim. Molested and beaten, but there, nonetheless. Sad little bag.

Smooth sailing from here on out, y'all. Not really. Well, it would've been, if I had any inkling which rental car company our reservation was with. But I had not the slightest clue. And the paper with the info? Sitting on my kitchen counter. Go ME. So I finally find the information in my junk email folder (thank you, Steve Jobs) and we get on a shuttle toward Avis. There, the guy tries to get me to upgrade to an SUV, get insurance on the car, coverage for rocks in the windshield, side of the road assistance, pigeon poop on the bumper, and whatever else bullshit they use to try to suck you in. 

Mister, if a boulder falls on that car, you're not getting on more penny out of me after all these taxes and fees because I don't have one!!

He did sell me on a tank of gas. Then upgraded us to a Ford Fusion, which gets like 10000 miles to the gallon. Bastard.

Look! A semblance of sanity!

Yes, I realize that the humor in all this might be lost on many of you. And later, it was funny. Like, five days later, but whatever.

The rest of the trip was a blast, though. I'm totally in love with Colorado.

Friday, September 9, 2011

We Wouldn't be Alive

So. The Roo has been having a nurseathon. This kid ate for - I shit you not - EIGHTEEN hours yesterday. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time on the couch playing human pacifier. And I ended up watching "I Shouldn't be Alive" on Animal Planet. Have y'all seen this show? I ought to be banned from watching those kinds of shows...

Anyway! In this particular episode, a family of four - a mother, her two girls (9 & 5), and the mother's boyfriend went for a picnic in the Arizona desert. On their way home, they get turned around and end up at a dry river bed. The mom is all, "We're turning around." And her boyfriend is all, "Hell no! I can get us through this!"

Insert eye roll here

Needless to say, the dude gets the truck stuck in the river bed and the family is stranded in the desert with two Gatorade bottles of water. They do escape (if they didn't, they'd have to change the name of the show.), but only after three days of severe dehydration, a major ass-chewing and several harrowing experiences, including the near-death of the five-year-old. Yeah, I cried like a sap.

But it got me to thinking - what would it be like to be stranded in the desert with my family???

First of all, I have no idea why my family would ever be in the Arizona desert alone. Just not gonna happen. Only time I've ever been really bumfuzzled lost was in a corn maze. I escaped. But in the interest of fantasy and entertainment, we'll pretend that it could happen.

So my family of five is lost in the desert, near the Mexican border, fearing drug smugglers and human traffickers, with no food and only two bottles of water, and all three kids would have to listen to me threaten to hang Wes' man-parts from my wrist for getting us into the mess. Well, there are no rooms to send 'em to...

Looks hot.

If y'all had ever met my family, the mental picture alone is enough to be humorous, but for those of you who are unfamiliar, I'll paint it for you.

My second-grader talks non-stop. I asked her to not speak for five minutes one time. I thought her head was going to explode. I imagine a trek down a dusty dirt road in arid 118 degree temperatures would go something like this:

"I'm thirsty.
Can I have more water?
Why not?
But I'm thirsty.
And I'm hot.
Really hot.
I'm getting tan.
I'm tired.
My feet hurt.
My legs hurt.
Will you carry me?
Can Daddy carry me?
Make Daddy carry me.
I'm sweaty.
Monkey got more water than me.
Can I ride on your back?
Can I ride on Daddy's shoulders?
I'm thirsty.
Are you mad at Daddy....?"

At this point I would probably flip out and threaten to eat her for sustenance. My kids are chubby. I now understand why people eat suckling pig....

And of course, while Bear gets brown as a biscuit in the sun, Wes and Monkey burst into flames. Both have bright orange hair and skin the color of chalk. It would take approximately five minutes for them to both be so burnt that they couldn't move. I would have to construct a sleigh of some sort with my MacGyver skills and then pull them along. Of course, Bear would be jealous and have to ride, too. That means I would have to have Roo in the baby wrap. No, not a flour tortilla. Wearing a baby in Kentucky temps is bad enough; I can only imagine Arizona...

The only thing I have over the other poor bastards is that we would NOT run out of liquid hydration. The mother and two girls on the show drank their own pee. It was that bad. However, making milk is my superpower. And as long as I got some to drink, as well, I wouldn't get so dehydrated and we'd be sitting pretty. Well, not so pretty. I'd turn into one giant freckle. That's not an appealing thought. My entire family nursing from a walking talking freckle. Okay, now that's funny.

I don't think we'd make it out of that desert, though. I'd like to point out that I am a raging bitch when I'm hot. Okay. In fact, I just might welcome the smugglers and traffickers by day 3... Wow, that's horrible.

Seriously, though, folks, I love my family.... and that is exactly why we will NEVER picnic in the desert.

Aaaaaand there you have it.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I know hell is hot, but how's the humidity?

So. I remembered that I have a blog. Last time I used it was '09 and it wasn't even something I wrote. But I know a lot of shtuff about a lot of crap, so, now I guess I will use it...

But then came the issue of what to write about. And then I was all, "Hey me, it's your blog. Write about whatever the hell you want..." So I said ok. So my first real post shall be about my day from hell: last Thursday.

The whole day was rather shitty. I was supposed to buy a minivan, and writing checks for $10,000 puts me in a generally bad mood... But the hubby came home on his lunch break and so we watched some tv til it was time for me to go pick up my oldest kid from school.

I have the three young'uns. Bear is the oldest at 7. Monkey is gonna be three in October, and I just had the Roo in June. We haven't figured out what's causing them yet... So both the babies are napping when it comes time for me to get Bear. So we decided to just pick them up and toss 'em in their car seats and take off. When I say we, I mean Wes put Roo in her seat and I put Monkey in the car, and I left and he went back to work.

Now, Roo being the incredibly gassy baby that she is, soaked her onesie with spit-up, so I had taken if off of her. It was close to 600 degrees outside anyway, I figured she'd survive. And Monkey takes all his clothes off before he naps (yes, that's my child) so he was diaper-clad, as well. And of course, being the classy chic I am, I had on Daisy Dukes, a nursing top with a flimsy shelf bra (NOT adequate for the load they were bearing) and flip-flops, no makeup. Awww yeeeeah. But, hey, we weren't getting out of the car or anything, right?

Bear at the tv station.

We get to the school and I'm one of the last mothers in line. I pull up. No Bear. The teacher directing this clusterf**k checks the name, goes in, looks for Bear, comes back. Asks me to pull up and park.

"Is she in an afterschool program?"
"Does she go to daycare?"
Woman, I'm here to get her, why would she need to be in daycare?? "No."
"Well, she's not in the gym, and we can't find her..."
What. The. Hell.

So I start having a mini-panic attack, but what I actually said was, "I have an infant and a toddler in the car, I can't really get out and search for her."
"Could she be in Girl Scouts?"
"She asked to be in Girl Scouts, but I told her no, that she already has plenty to do with gymnastics and acting classes."
She told me to park back by the door and they would look again. As I shift out of park, I hear, "Here she is!!"

Yes, that is my child, being led by a hand held by another random teacher, wearing a size 4 winter hoodie in the dog days of August in western Kentucky. Score.

"She was in Girl Scouts..."
And Bear is in tears because "I just want to be a Girl Scout, blah, blah, blah..."

FINE. "You reeeally want to be in Girl Scouts?"

I pull up to the door, and get her BACK out of the car, figuring I just need to pop my sexy butt into a classroom real quick and sign a permission slip. Oh look. There's the principal in the lobby of the school.

"My kids are in the car, I will be right back, ok?" I say to the principal.
"Do you want me to keep an eye on them?"
"Well, they aren't going anywhere, just make sure no one hops in and steals 'em, ok?" I give my best I'm-not-a-horrible-mother-I-really-care-if-my-kids-are-okay smile.

As we pass the group of teachers involved in locating my 7-year-old Houdini, I hear them saying, "And she just wanted to be in Girl Scouts, and you could tell she was really upset, but her mother told her she couldn't, and..."


Bear leads me, not to a nearby classroom, but aaaaaall the way to the back of the school, out the back door, to a trailer that apparently houses the music room. And we enter, me in my oh-so-motherly outfit, say the Pledge of Allegiance, repeat the Girl Scouts pledge, begin the rules of Girl Scouts... Seriously?

"I'm sorry, but I have to get back to my other kids in the car. Do I need to sign a permission slip...?"

They didn't need a damn thing from me.

So I kiss her, leave, walk out to the door into the school, aaaaaand it's locked.
Shoot. Me. Now.
Let me tell you, those teachers haul ass outta that school when it is over. There was no one to be found. So I suck it up and take off to walk around the entire school at top speed. I'm so glad everyone had gone home.

Ninety-nine percent humidity does a lot of things. One thing it does is make a pair of short-shorts ride straight up the ass of whomever has the luxury of wearing them as they trek across blacktop in August. But that was nothing compared to what was happening in my chest region. That shelf bra is no substitute for a good sports bra, or, you know what? Any bra would have been better.

As I finally round the front corner of the building, I realize that NOT everyone had gone home. The teachers who were standing in the lobby (the front of which is all glass) all slowly turn and look right at me.
I should have waved.
Now, remember, my last name is spelled M-A-N-T-E-R-F.......

I make it to the car. As I suspected, Roo is screaming her little head off. So I go to comfort her so I can get the hell out of there as quickly as possible, aaaaaand--- Wes didn't put the binky in the car seat.

F**ck my life.

The rest of the day was insane. I'm talking straight jackets and padded cells insane. But it wasn't nearly as funny. So I'll leave you with this mental picture of hilarity at my expense for now, and try to think of something entertaining to bring you next time.

Yesterday, Thursday,  I get a phone call from the school.

"Hi, this is Nancy. Who is picking up Bear today?"
"Um. She has Girl Scouts."
Talking to Bear "Did you forget you had Girl Scouts?"
Mumbling in the background
"Ok, we'll send her to Girl Scouts."

A little while later....

"Hi, this Nancy again. You can pick Bear up around back of the school when it is time."
"You mean the same place I picked her up last week?"
"The troop leader said she wasn't on the roster."
"Well she wasn't on the roster last week and no one could find her."

I go to pick her up.
No kids around back.
I see my friend in her van.
"Where are the girls?"
"Mine are in the back of my car"
"Where's mine?"
"I don't have yours."
What the crap????

I'm like clueless mother of the year. Apparently Girl Scouts only meets every other week. How the hell would I know that? Bear attended Brownies and got a double dose of scouts. Go team.