Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top 10 Movies of 2010




These are the best movies I've seen in 2010 (not necessarily movies that came out in 2010)--in no particular order.





1. Shutter Island Surprisingly good, kept me thinking about it long after.



2. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I've not read the books, but I thought this movie was great, good mysteries.



3. Last Station Great acting!



4. Secret Life of Words I can't describe this, just check it out.



5. Young Victoria One of my top 3, so romantic!



6. Bright Star Also in my top 3, very romantic, very sad.



7. The Blind Side Probably #1 for me. Great story!

8. Once Great story and great music.

9. The Hurt Locker Last year's best picture. Well-deserved.

10. The Messenger Hard core, great acting. I think actor Ben Foster (also of Pandorum and 3:10 to Yuma), is going to be the next big thing.



Honorable mention: Precious. Very hard to watch, but you've got to see it if you haven't already.



Check out more Top 10s at Oh Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday! You can also read more of my movie "reviews" by clicking on the movies tab in my sidebar.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What's Working for me right now (Top Ten)

So my parents lived with us for most of November. They've now moved into their own house (thank goodness!) but I lost what should've been a big month of holiday planning and progress. So I'm a bit behind. Meanwhile, my daughter is the definition of the Terrible Twos. And L has been out of whack since the grandparents arrived--super sensitive and prone to tantrums (come on, you're 5, get over it!). I'm working on a new mantra of "just love them." Obviously not in the only love them sense, because I still have to feed, clothe and discipline them, but basically love them. So when I can, instead of leaving the room when they throw a fit (and who can blame me?), I try to stay and comfort/distract the wailing child or whatever. Sometimes it works, sometimes the fit continues and I leave. It's a work in progress, I'll let you know how it goes. Meanwhile, here's what has been working for me lately in top-ten-catch-you-up-and-link-to-Amanda-Kristen-and-Jill fashion:

1. Scotch paper cutter. I've coveted these for years but always found them too expensive/overpriced to indulge in this luxury. This year, when I saw it on sale for $3, I bit the bullet. Oh my goodness, spend the money, it is worth it for the savings in time and frustration! {Then the next day Target dropped the price to $2.50 and there's was a $1 off coupon in the paper. Anyway.}

2. Kmart. I've been meaning to write a pro-Kmart post for a while now. They are saving me big bucks on T's clothes (regular everyday price of $3.50 per piece (including jeans!) and sales on 2-piece sets as low as $6, wahoo), but I generally want to give them a shout out for sending their ads in the mail, which helps me catch a bargain. This week, you must go there and buy super soft fluffy pajama sets for $10.99. I bought a set yesterday for my sister (who asked for soft pjs on her wish list) and went back today to get a set for myself and for my BFF whose birthday is at the end of the month. So soft and super cheap!!!

3. Gifts that give more. A bunch of blogs have been highlighting charitable giving this time of year, like Amanda's post about giving a goat etc. Sadly, those are mostly out of my price range (my budget is $15 per gift outside my hubby and kids). But here's what I've managed to do this year: I bought my aunt a pair of earrings ($11, I think) from the Mercy House shop, that funds a new maternity house in Kenya. I bought my mom stationery ($12.95) and my grandma a necklace ($6) through the Hunger Site store (my purchase funded 75 cups of food). And I found a website called Orphans Hope that let me buy a winter jacket ($10) for an orphan in Ukraine on behalf of my sister.

4. Roku. This is a box that somehow hooks up to our internet and lets us stream Netflix instantly to our TV. Every night, Hubby and I watch (part of) a movie or an episode of Intervention after the kids go to bed. Love it! I should also mention that Care Bears To The Rescue has come to my rescue more than once during the daytime (I will not mention, however, that my 2-year-old will grunt for the Roku and point to the show she wants to watch, ahem).

5. Walmart for photo cards. I got an email about a great deal from a website I'd never heard of to get 60 photo cards for $4.90 shipped. Awesome, I thought. Till I went to the website and I tried to make a card and I just couldn't get it figured out (theoretically, you could add as many pictures to a blank card as you wanted, but I could not size the various pictures (I wanted to use 3) so they would fit). So I gave up on the great offer and headed to walmart.com which I've used the last 2 years for cards. I picked a card that was made for 3 pictures, plopped in my photos and within minutes, I'd ordered our cards. 36 cents per card, not bad. {No shipping, I'll pick them up in-store.}

6. Elfing Around. My apologies, I should have done a big post about this last month, so you all could buy an elf in time. Alas. Anyway, it's a website that sells you not just an elf but an experience. I won an elf for L last year in a giveaway and he loved it so much that this year I bought T an elf of her own plus the Year 2 package. So they send you the elf, plus 12 nights of mischief that the elves get into--you stage the elves and in the morning your kids are blown away by all the fun stuff the elf did overnight. Kind of like Elf on the Shelf, but it's so wonderful because the activities, and sometimes even the props, are provided. Awesome! We love our elves. L even brought his elf to speech yesterday and explained to his teacher that "he's not really mine, he belongs to Santa at the North Pole." Precious!!! {Of course, it's kind of a pain to stage elves every night, but most nights it takes 5 minutes or less.}

7. Nesquik. Okay, this is kind of a long story so here are the main bullets--L drinks this nasty formula called Neocate. For 5 years he drank it from baby bottles, then around Halloween he finally switched to cups, but then his volume dropped--he can't/won't drink as much of this foul beverage from a cup--and he needs all the calories. So we started adding Nesquik powder to turn it into chocolate "milk" and his volume has gone back up. It's not a permanent solution (his GI and nutritionist are worried about cross-contamination from the processing plant), but for now, I'm thankful for Nesquik.

8. Sharing bargains. My BFF and I have various websites and blogs we read/subscribe to for bargains, coupons, deals and when we come upon a deal we think the other could benefit from, we call or email to spread the word. This has helped me find some great deals and I hope she would say the same.

9. Bribing for diaper changes. I'm reluctant to even mention this because you know in a couple days it won't work anymore, but for now the way I've started dealing with T's refusal to let me change her diapers, is to give her a pretzel stick. That (so far) is usually enough distraction to let me lay her down and change her pants. Hallelujah, fewer tantrums.

10. Priority mail flat rate boxes. This is how I do out-of-town Christmas gifts. If it fits, it ships. No guessing/wondering about prices plus easy checkout at the post office during this hectic time of year. Last December, I stood in a long postal line, then at my turn I start unloading my bag and tell the guy I have all flat rate--one large, 2 mediums and 2 envelopes (or whatever it was)--he was able to calculate what I owed as I was putting the stuff on the counter. He said it was the easiest transaction (for that many packages) he'd had all day. Heehee. Oh and this year the post office sent me a postcard asking if I wanted them to drop off some flat rate boxes. Yes please! I sent the postcard back in and the other day a pile of boxes showed up at my door. Even easier! (And free of course.)

Wow, this turned out to be a long post! I wasn't compensated for any of these opinions, they're just stuff I like. No affiliate links either. I'm linking to Oh Amanda's Top Ten Tuesday, We are THAT Family's Works for Me Wednesday, and Diaper Diaries' Thing I Love Thursday, for obvious reasons. ;-)

What's working for you these days?! And how do you get your kid to cooperate during diaper changes?!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WFMW--Share Your Wish Lists



Today's themed Works For Me Wednesday is Holiday Tips and Tricks. You know I don't link up to WFMW very often, because I rarely have my act together, I'm not one to be offering How To's. But today I actually have a holiday tip that's been working for years and years and years. Here's the thing, my sisters and parents and I still exchange gifts at Christmas. {In fact, this year, almost everyone is coming to Phoenix so we can open gifts together. Hooyah.} Anyway, we aren't super close and don't live near each other and so even if we know what the other is into, we don't know what they already have. So what should I get them for Christmas?! Starting around Thanksgiving, we email each other our wish lists. Some are long and specific (with links to show what and where to buy), some are short and general; sometimes I get them exactly what they ask for, other times I already have something in mind for someone so I veer off their list. In any case, it's super helpful this time of year. If you are always banging your head against a wall trying to figure out what so-and-so wants for Christmas, just ask for a list. That Works For Me!

Now, as an added bonus, I thought I'd share what's on MY list this year:

-anything Vera Bradley

-8x10 frames for hanging

-Willow Tree figures

-picnic blanket

-seasonal decor






For more tips and tricks (holiday or not), head to We Are THAT Family. And if you link up a tip today, you're entered into a great giveaway. Ho ho ho!
So, what's on your wish list this year?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Internet Hodgepodge--November 20

Oops, it's been several weeks since I shared some favorite posts. Here's what I've been enjoying recently: Alicia's Homemaking shared her recipe for Super-Moist Pumpkin Cake. It looks soooo good!


Simple Organized Living has a great tip and a delicious-looking recipe for cinnamon bread. Yum!


Email Answer: Clean Freak? by Young House Love is a super helpful "how I keep my house clean" post (thank you, Simple Organized Living).
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Top Ten {Tuesday}: 10 Things That Help in My Struggle with Depression by Tree Root and Twig is a great honest post, and it inspired me to write this post about my own struggles.
-
Stark.Raving.Mad.Mommy shared this video about ultracompetitive moms, that happens to interview an animated version of herself. Way cool.





Giving Up on Perfect is doing a wonderful series on Special Needs Kids. Go here for the latest post.

This post is linked to Saturday Stumbles at It's Come 2 This.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Young Adult Tales 6--Challenges

This is the last in my series of posts recounting my Young Adult Years, hosted by Ginny Marie (thanks Ginny!) over at Mommy's Piggy Tales. Inspired by this post by Tree Root and Twig, I've decided to write about my "challenges" that began in law school with the onset of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, followed by Depression and Agoraphobia--and how I deal with them today. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

I talked a little bit the history of my IBS in this post. Symptoms began my second semester of law school (although I can look back at a few weird incidents prior to that, but they were few and far between). We had a class called Torts that was immediately after lunch twice a week. A few minutes into class (like clockwork), I had to poop. Urgently. I couldn't hold it in. I had to leave class, use the bathroom, and return. {So embarrassing!} Weird, but it was only those 2 days a week and life went on. I don't remember the exact progression but over time these urgent episodes got more frequent and less predictable. By the end of law school, I was taking a lot of Pepto Bismol for diarrhea and Rolaids/Tums for gas.



During Bar review was when I started having episodes in cars--we would often have to stop at a gas station on the way from our apartment to class (about 20 minutes).



We flew from LA to Chicago and back around Easter of '99 (this was a couple months after Bar review). Sitting on the plane waiting to take off in Chicago, seatbelt sign on, I really really really needed to poop. I'm sure I took a ton of Pepto but still, this was really bad and I had this thought of I'm going to poop right here in this seat and make a big mess and it will smell and the stewardesses will know. It was awful. By the grace of God, I held it till the seatbelt sign turned off--but it was a long time before I was willing to fly again.



A couple months after that, we drove to my sister's college graduation. The drive was miserable, we had to stop a lot. Then the actual graduation ceremony was a disaster. The first time I had to use the bathroom, I discovered there was a long line for the ladies room. I managed to hold it, but there was no way I could stay in this situation where I couldn't get to a bathroom when I needed to. Anyway, the whole weekend was horrible and humiliating and everyone kept asking what was wrong with me, assumed I had a UTI or was pregnant (I was, after all, a newlywed)--just awful!



Back in LA, I finally saw a doctor. She diagnosed IBS and I think she prescribed Levsin. She also tried to figure out if it was tied to stress (no, the symptoms were always around whether high-stress (Bar review) or low-stress (being a couch potato)) or depression or what food I was eating (I did a diary, eliminated caffeine, nothing mattered). In the days following this conversation, I had a lightbulb moment--maybe I'm depressed. I talked with my doctor and she confirmed it, put me on Zoloft, and I started therapy. {More on the depression in a minute.}



Okay, so once I was diagnosed with IBS and Depression, things were better for a while. But symptoms went up and down, I tried different medications, this and that. I finally had a colonoscopy in 2001, it only confirmed that there was nothing wrong other than IBS.



Sorry, this isn't making any sense. I've had IBS for 13 years now, so I have to pick and choose what is worth telling. Here's the gist, by 1999 my symptoms were so bad I hated to leave my home. Once I was diagnosed and medicated, things got better, but I was still disabled by it, unable to work, to drive etc. But I learned to cope and gradually added more things I could do, like go to church. I could go places if Hubby drove. Etc.



Where I Am Now

If you've read my blog, you know I get around all the time, I'm constantly taking my kids to school, speech, doctor's appointments. I am not currently on prescription meds. I take Metamucil and Acidophilis daily and Imodium as needed. I take Imodium a lot, several times a week in the course of driving around, two pills per dose, and hopefully I can make it to a gas station in time.



Strategies: I give myself extra time to get anywhere I'm going. If a drive takes 30 minutes, I leave 45 minutes before I need to be there--because I might need to make a stop. If a drive takes more than 5 minutes, I may have to stop. L's preschool is 10 minutes from here, and sometimes I can't make it without stopping for a bathroom. I routinely (2 times out of 3) stop on the way to speech, about a 20 minute drive if the stoplights cooperate. It sucks. Especially with both kids in the car--I have to unbuckle and rebuckle two car seats--but this is how I get around. I know where all the bathrooms are--in all the stores I shop at, in all the gas stations and fast food places I might need to stop at on my routes.



Depression

I was diagnosed with Depression in the middle of 1999, but I can see, in hindsight, the onset of symptoms following my summer in South Dakota, fall of 1997. My first symptom was I didn't want to drive anymore. I put thousands of miles on my car in SD and I didn't want to drive from my apartment to school. WTF?! Ah, but there was a "reasonable" explanation--on my way out of Eagle Butte, I almost ran over a kid on a bicycle. (I saw him on one side of the road and slowed down and I thought he was letting me by, but then he darted across the street anyway. I was going slow enough that I stopped in plenty of time, but it still shook me up.)


I also lost interest in attending classes and doing homework. But again, this seemed reasonable. I'd worked superhard my first year and everyone around me was burnt out too.


Anyway, none of this was too bad or interfered much with life (other than Hubby (my fiance at the time) did all the driving and my grades dropped) until I was a full-time couch potato in '99. My doctor put me on Zoloft and within a few weeks I was feeling much better. She recommended I stay on the drug for at least 9 months to prevent a recurrence, so I went off Zoloft when 9 months were up. Oh and the therapy was nice too. I did that once a week or 2 until we left LA at the end of '99.


In 2005, after having my son, my Hubby and I were "on the lookout" for post-partum depression symptoms because of my history, yet we still missed them. My symptoms that time around were irritability and wishing to turn the clock back to pre-baby days. Anyway, I figured it out right before L turned 6 months (right before he got sick and our lives turned upside down). I went on the Zoloft again, because I'd had good history with it and it was safe for breastfeeding. Unfortunately, it increased my anxiety (previously, my anxiety had been all about the IBS and being away from bathrooms, now I was anxious even doing routine things that previously had not been a problem). In the fall of '06 I chose a new primary care physician--I showed up and said, "I have IBS, I'm Depressed, help me" and she's been great. First off, she switched me from Zoloft to Lexapro and that helped the anxiety. I was on that for a year or two and she helped me get off of it so I could conceive T.


When I was pregnant with T, I didn't want to hit bottom again with PPD. So I asked my primary doctor if she'd prescribe Lexapro as soon as I delivered. She said no, no meds unless/until I need it. So I asked my OBGYN what she thought. She said I could go on Lexapro immediately after T was born so I said great, let's do it. {Lexapro is not considered safe for breastfeeding but for EE-related reasons, I knew I wouldn't be breastfeeding anyway.} I definitely did develop PPD again--I started off on 10 mg of Lex at birth and a few weeks later had to up it to 20mg, I still have days I wonder if I should be more medicated. But I also know that self-care goes a long way to keeping up my mental health, as my doctor likes to remind me--I need alone time and exercise. I struggle with the exercise, but I've seen first hand that if I don't get out by myself once per weekend, I'm have a shorter fuse all week.


Agoraphobia

Okay, I know this post is super long already, but I have to tell this part of the story. So I was a full-time couch potato starting in '99, I rarely drove after fall of '97 (and pretty much never from 2000-06). When my fall '06 doctor put me on Lexapro, she made me get counseling. I love therapy but it was really tough without childcare, not to mention expensive. Anyway, so I started seeing this therapist and he basically called me agoraphobic and I was like "I go out all the time, just with someone else driving" (in addition to Hubby taking me places, I also had met a friend who would come pick up L and me to hang out and shop and do playdates, bless you, Catherine). Anyway, I learned that agoraphobia includes any avoidance behavior, so that would include me and my driving avoidance.


The avoiding driving of course overlapped with the IBS getting worse and I hit a point where I thought "I can't drive, I have to concentrate on holding in the poop." And I have had one incident in particular where I was driving and needing a bathroom and I ran a red light (it turned yellow and I couldn't stand the thought of waiting at a long light when I needed a bathroom so I floored it, but didn't quite make it through when it turned red). That was a huge wake up call because the kids were in the car and I can't put our safety at risk like that. Worst case scenario, I poop my pants, but I will stop on yellow!


Then my husband was in a car accident. Well, first, my therapist had me practice leaving my house. I did a little driving-- once to Target, and once around the block several times, going home and leaving again each time--what was this called? Exposure therapy maybe. Anyway, so Hubby is in a car accident. The car was totalled and Hubby hurt his back. And it was almost Christmas. So one day I had to finish shopping in time to get a gift in the mail and I took L with me to Target and shopped and whatever. And I told my therapist about this and I was like "Why can I do this for someone else {meaning helping Hubby by not leaving the errand up to him} but not myself? Am I just lazy?" And he said "possibly." To this day, I don't know if he was serious, or this was reverse psychology, or sarcasm. Either way, it was eye-opening. So using his techniques and exposure or whatever, I gradually drove more and more. I still avoid freeways (which I've never liked, even when I was "normal") but otherwise I get around to quite a big radius these days. :-)


If you made it through this book-length post, I thank you! I thank Tree Root and Twig for spurring me to write this post, I hope it might help someone who is struggling with any of these issues. Feel free to leave me a question in the comments if something didn't make sense or I left something out. For more (hopefully happier) Young Adult Tales, go here. Thanks again!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Five Question Friday--November 12

Super simple post today because I find myself fascinating.... Five Question Friday hosted by Mama M. 1. What is the most physically painful thing that has ever happened to you?
Duh, labor of course. Both times, the anesthesiologist took his sweet time getting to me, so I experienced hours of contractions. I don't remember L's labor very well, but T's is still a vivid memory. I remember that in addition to the enormous cramping pain, I also felt a stabbing pain. Like knife in the gut, someone is stabbing me pain. Is this normal, ladies? Because I think it might have been gas related to my lovely and ever present Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Anyway, in case you're wondering why I go for the epidural, that's why. I don't need a medal, just give me the drugs, thankyouverymuch.

2. How much sleep do you get at night?
There is not enough sleep in the world! On a good night, we'll go to bed by 10:30 and the kids will sleep till 7:00 (on a good day)--so that's potentially 8.5 hours. But we aren't always so good about going to bed and the kids rarely make it till 7 (today it was 6:00). Anyway, if left to my own devices (as I was when I was a full-time couch potato), I'll sleep 10-11 hours per night. So 8.5 doesn't seem nearly enough!

3. How long did you believe in Santa Claus? How did you find out that he does not exist?
I believed for a very long time. Into junior high, I think. {I know, crazy!} I had 3 sisters (one older, 2 younger) and we all slept in one room on Christmas Eve and talked about waiting for Santa. One year, I heard "Santa" hit a key on the piano about 3am and I knew convincingly he was real.

I don't know how/when I finally figured it out. It wasn't one startling moment, I think I just outgrew believing in magic. Or maybe kids at school talked about how Santa is really your parents and it was like "oh, of course!" I don't remember.

Anyway, I had to continue to act like I still believed in order to keep getting presents. To this day, my parents won't let us talk like he doesn't exist. {Weird!}

4. What was the last movie you saw in a theater?
I believe I've only seen one movie in a theater since I became a mom {that's 5 years--so sad!} and that was Becoming Jane.


5. What do you wear to bed?
For a very long time, the answer was a t-shirt and shorts or flannel pants, but in the last couple of years, I have discovered the joy of matching pajamas. I have one set of summer pajamas and 3 sets of winter pjs, including my super favorite Betty Boop Coca-Cola pajamas. :-) Of course there are still those nights when I stumble into bed without matching. But waking up coordinated is kind of magical. I highly recommend it!

I told you, I'm fascinating! For more Q&A fun, go here.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

When I Became a Grown-Up

I am participating in Young Adult Tales over at Mommy's Piggy Tales. The story I'm about to recount took place when I was 31 years old, so maybe I wasn't technically a "young adult" anymore, but I count it as when I became a grown-up, although most days I still feel like a big kid. This is also a story that needs telling as background here on my blog of how we began our journey with Eosinophilic Esophagitis. Enjoy! December 24, 2005. L had just turned 6 months old and he started vomiting. We called to get an appointment with his pediatrician but she was booked and told us to go to Urgent Care. We went to an urgent care that was located down the hall from the ped's office, so while we were waiting at UC, Hubby walked down the hall to try to get us in to see the ped. He succeeded--we saw our doctor who diagnosed a stomach bug, said to keep going with the pedialyte etc. He seemed to perk up that afternoon--he sat contentedly in the bouncy while we decorated a Christmas tree.

Christmas morning he vomited some more and then improved again. A few days later we went back to the ped for his 6 month well visit. He had thrown up that morning, but she said he seemed fine, probably his stomach was still sensitive from the recent virus.

He vomited off and on the next few days and we'd call the nurse line and were always told "unless it's green or projectile, don't worry." Meanwhile, my mother- and sister-in-law came to visit for New Years.

December 30. We were hanging out with the family that evening, and L got hysterical. By then we recognized the pattern --he screams, screams, screams, then vomits. This time, I spread out some towels on the floor, and sure enough he puked--and it was green and projected a good 3 feet so we headed to the Emergency Room. {I took the towel with the green puke with us to the hospital, determined to be taken seriously.} We chose to go to Scottsdale Healthcare Shea because we trusted that hospital (we had recently moved further west in the Valley so there were closer hospitals, but we headed to Shea).

We went to triage and the nurse asked if he's always this pale. We said "yes, this is his normal skin color." People were always complimenting L's porcelain skin.

The rest is kind of a blur--I guess pretty much from that first moment, they suspected L was anemic. We went back to a room and they tried to draw blood. They couldn't. They tried and tried and L was crying and crying, but no one could find a vein. I remember nervously laughing and saying, "he must have blood cuz he's alive." Eventually, they called down someone from pediatrics to find a vein, even she struggled. At some point, someone found a vein in his head. That was a shocking sight!

At one point, a doctor came in, before the bloodwork was even back, and said he suspected he was anemic and would have to go to Phoenix Children's Hospital (PCH). We were shocked! Was it really that bad? We're just here for vomiting. He was very kind and said that for pretty much anything pediatric, they send you to Children's.

At some point the bloodwork came back, I'm not sure if we were told numbers at that point; if we were, we didn't understand the gravity at that point. We were told he'd need transfusions, and then they'd have to figure out how he lost blood.

So they sent L to PCH in an ambulance. Another shocker. I was 31 years old and had never been in an ambulance, here my little 6-month baby was in one. They strapped him into his infant carseat and then onto a gurney. I traveled with L in the ambulance and Hubby followed behind in our van. He wasn't sure of the route so he wanted to follow the ambulance, but the paramedics warned him, they weren't going to slow down and wait if they got separated.

Now, I have a bad case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I do not like riding in a car (like a cab, bus, shuttle) where I can't stop if I need to poop, but I just had to suck it up and get on in that ambulance with my baby.

The paramedics we rode with were very nice. The guy in the back with us was encouraging that anemia is easy to fix, he'll have blood transfusions and be fine. The harder part would be figuring out the cause. {Yeah, he pretty much hit the nail on the head on that one!}

We arrived at PCH and were admitted to the Pediatric Intesive Care Unit (PICU). By this time it was about 3am, I think. Oh and L was starving--they hadn't let me feed him {I was breastfeeding} because they were planning to do an abdominal xray or ultrasound or something. I remember a nurse coming in and giving us a little orientation and mentioning there was a lactation room if I needed to pump--and yes, I was quite engorged by then--so she set me up with that. I think they fixed his IV (found a vein in his ankle so he didn't need the one in his head) and we waited for doctors.

Dr. Watanabe, a hematologist, came in (was this still nighttime or the next day? I think we met a different doctor earlier?). He sat and talked with us, quizzed us on anything and everything from L's first 6 months of life. Eventually, we learned the numbers--L had a hemoglobin of 3 and iron of zero. Normal hemoglobin is 13. 9 gets you a transfusion. By 6, you're (usually) too sick to get off the couch. L was at 3! He was critically ill.

They began the blood transfusions. Creepy! When morning broke, I called my parents and told them a short version of what happened. That was the last time I talked to them during the ordeal. The reason I call this post "When I became a grown-up" is because I was unbelievably strong. I'm usually quick to cry but I kept it together the whole time. After I talked to my parents that one time, I made hubby talk to them and anyone else going forward--because I recognized that I was unusually together and knew that if I talked to anyone, I would break down. And I couldn't afford to do that. I was keeping it together for my son.

We stayed up all night and eventually went home for a few hours that day. When we returned I noticed how red L's lips were and thought, "poor kid, now his lips are chapped." Nope. We learned that being pale has nothing to do with skin color (L will always be fair-skinned) but has to do with lips and cheeks (cheeks should be rosy, lips should be red). It was early in December that I'd thought what a pretty pink color of lips L has. (From looking at photos, we can see that L started getting more and more pale beginning in October. And he'd seen his ped in October and both those times in December. Yeah, she wasn't our pediatrician after that.)

After 2 nights in the PICU, L graduated to the "Hem/Onc" floor {Hematology (blood) and Oncology (cancer) shared a floor--so we saw little baby cancer patients, so sad}. There, he had a roommate. Anyway, I don't have to tell all of our hospital stories.... The point is, my baby was in the hospital and I had to grow up fast. Listen to the doctors, take care of a sick kid (he was still sick when we took him home, he continued to vomit until we figured out he had EE 2 months later), give him iron and a laxative, take him to lots of doctor appointments (first with Watanabe and then to his gastroenterologist). The night he was on the Hem/Onc floor, we left him overnight (I think we left him the 2nd night in the PICU too)--so hard to leave him and he wasn't sleeping through the night yet.

And of course we had guests at home and it was New Years Eve and it just was all around chaos. We just let my in-laws fend for themselves (my sister in law was enjoying bubble baths in our huge tub while we shuttled bak and forth to PCH) and went to bed early on New Year's Eve. I remember they pestered us to open the Christmas gifts they'd brought from all the family members--that was the last thing we wanted to spend time on, but they were relentless. Just a really bad time.

So there you have it, the night I became a grown-up. A short synopsis of what happened next: Watanabe pretty much guessed it was a gastro problem, after ruling out a bunch of stuff, and eventually the GI did upper and lower endoscopies that found the Eosinophilic Esophagitis. I was ordered to wean him cold turkey and he stopped all food and we put him on the Neocate (elemental formula) and Prevacid. And he started to thrive.

Our best guess as to what happened (how did he get a hemglobin of 3?) is this: his body was reacting to the food he was eating (i.e. my breastmilk) by attacking his esophagus, causing erosion and bleeding. The bleeding was microscopic in quantity (I never saw blood in his diaper) but over time, he became more and more anemic. Another piece of the puzzle may be that at 3 months old, babies' bodies switch from fetal hemoglobin to making their own--so you have a natural dip in hemoglobin, so losing blood after that could make for a really low score. Meanwhile, he lost blood so slowly, his body compensated fairly well so, while we don't doubt he must've been in much pain that we didn't know about, it wasn't as bad as you'd expect for such a low score, plus we don't believe there was any brain damage from lack of oxygen in his blood. {That's the most sense I can make of it all, as a non-doctor.}

For more on our adventures with EE, you can click on the "ee" or "about" tabs in my sidebar. For more Young Adult Tales, go here. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Young Adult Tales 4--Life on the Rez

Continuing to recount my young adult years, I bring you my summer in South Dakota. For the rest of my walks down memory lane, click on "MPT" in my sidebar. For others' tales, go to Mommy's Piggy Tales. Thanks to the tv show LA Law, I decided in high school that I wanted to be a lawyer. Who doesn't love to argue, right? Then in college, as I was pursuing my interest in Native American history and culture, my advisor mentioned she knew a former student who was practicing Indian law. What? I could combine my interests in Indians and law, who knew?! From that point on, that became my goal.
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What is Indian law? Basically, it's advocating on behalf of tribes, either working for a tribe or working for an organization such as Native American Rights Fund (NARF). Issues include treaty rights, water rights, gaming etc.
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Just so this story doesn't take super long, I'll cut the chase--in the spring semester of my first year of law school, I looked for and applied to summer jobs in Indian law. The job I got was working for the Attorney General of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. I received a Student-Funded Fellowship that paid me a little bit of money to support myself while on the (unpaid) job. And I bought a car, because I had no way to get myself out there. A friend (and her dad) and I caravaned to SD (she drove onto Montana for her summer job).
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On our way, we drove down to Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation. The poverty was immediately noticeable and I started to worry about what I'd gotten myself into. {Shannon County, where Pine Ridge is located, is one of the poorest counties in the US.}
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Okay, so I drove on to Eagle Butte, the town where I'd be spending my summer. I followed the directions the AG (Steve) had given me and arrived at the administrative building. I remember meeting the secretary and then I met the only intern who'd arrived before me, Paul. They should have known I was coming but nobody cared, apparently. The dorm we'd be staying in wasn't available for another week. Paul was staying with the AG's brother (Tom), the tribal attorney. They were kind enough to offer me the couch (in the middle of the living room) while Paul slept on the floor of an empty bedroom. Great first impression.
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Eventually the dorm opened and more interns arrived--Katherine and Chris soon after and later Christine and Truc. Becky, a young law grad, also arrived. She'd interned previously and now began working as a lawyer for the tribe.
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Steve was a jerk who buddied with the guys but didn't have much use for us women. The work was poorly divided and I never got to do much "legal" stuff during my time there--Katherine and I spent most of our time doing secretarial work on a case that had already been to the appellate level. So I won't talk about the work and my boss.
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Life on the rez. Eagle Butte had a population of about 2000 people--my high school had 2700. There were two grocery stores, one restaurant (and a bar that served frozen pizza), a couple gas stations. Only half the residents of Eagle Butte were tribal members, the rest were white, so I sort of blended in, although I think I stuck out as "city folk." {One time, I was talking on the pay phone in the gas station and these two boys looked at me funny and asked if I was speaking "Mexican." No, but I guess I was talking faster and different than they were used to.}
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It wasn't as destitute as Pine Ridge (or at least my brief impression of it), thank goodness. Tom had a nice house. Most of the houses were owned by the tribe. When Becky arrived, she had to be issued a house by the tribe. She moved in and her parents came out to help her clean up and paint the walls etc. The dorm we stayed in was for the high school, where kids from outside of Eagle Butte would live during the school year. Other than finding an enormous cockroach one night, the place was in good shape.
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There were about 2 main north and south streets in the town. The main center road had everything on it: gas station, our office building, then the post office, laundromat, drugstore, a grocery store at either end. To the east and west were residential areas. Then on the main east-west road was the restaurant, another residential neighborhood, and two motels.
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Eagle Butte had running water but smaller nearby towns did not. One of our secretaries did not have a home phone. Everyone had a propane tank sticking out of their lawn. I'd never seen that before.
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The interns and I left town pretty much every weekend. We went to Rapid City a few times, including once we camped and went to a pow wow. We went to Deadwood, which is an old "ghost town" with casinos. We went to Hot Springs and enjoyed a warm-mineral-water-filled pool, that was fun. We traveled around the Black Hills and saw buffalo and prairie dogs. We had to drive across the state to Sioux Falls to pick up Truc and I think that's when we went to the Corn Palace in Mitchell. We camped in the Badlands. We arrived when it was dark and set up our tents and woke up to the most amazing landscape! Really spectacular terrain (they film movies there to look like other planets). We hiked that--man, it was hot.
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One time in all this driving around, we were in Chris' car and got a flat tire and Chris couldn't figure out how to get the spare out from under the car. I was the only one with a cell phone (this was 1997, I had borrowed my parents' phone for the summer) but I couldn't get reception to call AAA. Thankfully, a family driving by stopped to help us--the dad got out, I think he even had tools in the back of his truck, and he freed the spare and we were on our way.
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The traveling was by far the best part of the summer. I think I put 8000 miles on my new car that summer! We saw Mount Rushmore; went to two pow wows (Rapid City and Pine Ridge); the scenery and wildlife in the Black Hills were amazing.
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Those are my memories from my summer in South Dakota. It was a priceless experience, most affluent white kids from suburbia don't get to see reservation life up close. I wish the job aspect hadn't been so negative, that was unfortunate. But it was a very valuable experience.
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Okay, folks, I'm asking for your help once again. I have 2 weeks of these young adult tales yet to come and I'm open to suggestions on what to write about. Here are some choices:
-My wedding and/or honeymoon (to Whidbey Island, WA)
-Our vacation to Charleston, SC
-My 6 weeks in France in college
-Challenges
-Something about growing into either my appearance or personality over the years
What strikes your fancy? Tell me in the comments what you'd like to read about. Thanks!!!
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Thanks for reading--come back next week for another installment of my Young Adult Tales!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Update

Lots of wild stuff going on around here! I know I have a totally random blog and don't talk about at-home stuff a whole lot. As in all things, I blame my lack of time management skills. Anyway, I hope you will rejoice in these triumphs with me even if you didn't know about our trials.



First off, L is finally pooping on the potty!!! That's right, he is 5 years old and not totally potty trained. Clearly I am the world's worst mother, go ahead and judge. We've tried various things, gotten advice from both his pediatrician and his gastroenterologist, but ultimately he wasn't ready.



So how did this miracle happen? Well, it seems to have been a combination of the end of naps (I would put him in a diaper at naptime and that's when he'd poop, but now he no longer naps), some particularly urgent poops, and peer pressure. I hope it helped that I'd been sitting him on the potty each day, maybe that got him comfortable with the unknown. And it certainly helped that once he'd done it the first time (one of those urgent poops) he got lots of cheers and prizes.



Within ten days of that breakthrough, he gave up bottles!!! I've talked several times on here about his Eosinophilic Esophagitis and that he drinks this really awful formula (Neocate Jr.)and we're really fortunate he has never needed a feeding tube, but the flip side is he continued to drink from baby bottles, even at 5 years old. Again, we've tried a variety of methods (and cups, straws, etc.) and two feeding therapists, but ultimately it was just about L being ready. Two weeks ago, he put his 8pm bottle on the counter and said "Hmmm, bottles are for babies. I am not a baby." And I jumped up and said, "would you like to use a cup instead?" and proceeded to go through the cabinets offering all the different and cool cups and straws we own. He sat down with an extra cup of formula and drank it and said "mmm, this is so good!" and daddy and I sat there with him talking about how he's such a big boy and no more bottles and we'll go shopping tomorrow and pick out some new cups.... Oh and of course we gave him a prize. :-)



We worried about what would happen the next day. When he got up, he was willing to have a cup instead of a bottle and he got a prize when he finished. (Thankfully I'd just stocked up on prizes when he started pooping the week before.) He has kept it up ever since. No bottles for over 2 weeks!!! And unlike the time we took the bottles from him on our initiative rather than his, his volume hasn't significantly dropped. Instead of 7 bottles a day, he gets 7 cups. However, the downside of the transition is that he could drink a bottle in 5 to 10 minutes, it takes him much longer with the cup--so sometimes he doesn't finish in time to head to school or to speech and that is where his volume has dipped a little. We're hoping his speed will pick up with time.

After a few days without bottles, he said to me "I'm a big boy now: one, I poop on the potty, two, I can open the white gate {this is an odd thing for him to list since he's been opening our baby gates for a long time} and three, no more bottles." And I replied, "yes, I think we should have a big boy party." So I guess we'll be having a party soon (when the grandparents visit next week).

The transitions have been a little tough, as I think transitions always are, because I am a creature of habit and rely on my routines. Drinking cups can take a long time and I often have to remind him to "drink, drink, drink." And of course pooping is still new and different and causes us all to stop what we're doing when L says, "I've gotta go poop." But it's all for the good and we rejoice in these huge successes for our big boy. Yea!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Young Adult Tales 3--Jobs

My young adult years were filled with a variety of summer jobs. Here's what I remember about them.



1. Insurance brokerage. Summer between high school and freshman year of college. My first job ever, it was working at the business owned by the parents of my old friend Ericka. My big project was to clean up the storage room. I re-alphabetized the files and cleared up some clutter (oh the irony that I was in charge of de-cluttering and organizing!). Meanwhile, I learned how to put together the packages for clients and run the computer programs (gotta love DOS). I remember the boss (Ericka's mom) telling me that when we answer the phone, don't say "Can I help you?" because of course you can; instead, ask them "How can I help you?" Words of wisdom, my friends.



2. Usher. Summer of '93. This was probably the best job I've had. There's an outdoor pavilion in the Chicago area called Ravinia, and each summer there are tons of shows. The Chicago Symphony plays each weekend, kids acts come on Saturdays, and all sorts of everything in between perform as well. I wore a uniform (the vests were totally unflattering with my small chest). I passed out programs and helped people find their seats. We also enforced rules like no standing on the railings. And we cleaned up the pavilion when the shows were over. If a show was sold out, we'd put a program on each seat rather than hand them out.



It was pretty hectic before the concert started, especially when everybody poured in at the same time and everyone needed a program etc. But then once the concert was going and everyone was seated, it was great, I just enjoyed the concerts. Some of the best acts I saw that summer were Dolly Parton and Peter, Paul and Mary.



I became friends with some fellow ushers and had a crush on this one boy. He got a group of us together to play frisbee after work once or twice. That never went anywhere of course, but on our last night, we did dance together (I think he danced with all the girls that night) to Strangers in the Night (though I don't remember who was performing). Anyway....



3. Realtor. Summers of '93 and '94. Another friend of the family, Mrs. M., was a realtor. My older sister had worked for her one summer and then I don't remember exactly but I think we split the job my sophomore summer (and that's why I got the ushering gig too?) and then I worked for her again the next summer after I got back from 6 weeks in France.



Anyway, working for Mrs. M. wasn't too bad. She was a very easygoing boss. I helped her with some advertising/brochures for the properties she had on the market. And I "hosted" some brokers' open houses, in other words I sat in an empty house and barely anyone ever came.



4. Accounting at a law firm. Summer of '95. I wanted to be a lawyer, so my parents, once again, helped me get a job. Their friends, Mr. R and Mr. B, were partners at a Chicago law firm and they said there were always a few positions for lawyers' kids around the office--and I got one of those. It was in the accounting department, not quite the "legal" job I had in my idealistic mind. The project I was hired for was to track down outstanding checks. I had an office and everything! Lots of files to go through. As I wrapped up that project, I started doing this and that for the various people in accounting: mostly filing, a little data entry, sometimes adding up phone bills. At some point the Accounts Receivable person was on vacation or something and I filled in for her on a couple tasks. I liked that kind of busy work--take the checks, enter them on a spreadsheet, photocopy them, take the checks here and the copies there, I don't remember what all, but it was do-able.



That's it. Summer of '96, I started law school. Summer of '97, I interned in the law office of a tribe in South Dakota (a story for another day perhaps). Summer of '98, I was a summer associate at a fancy shmancy Orange County (California) law firm. Then I graduated from law school and became a couch potato.

Okay, folks, question for ya! I have 3 weeks of these young adult tales yet to come and I'm open to suggestions on what to write about. Here are some choices:
-My wedding and/or honeymoon (to Whidbey Island, WA)
-Our vacation to Charleston, SC
-My summer on an Indian reservation
-My 6 weeks in France in college
-Challenges
-Something about growing into either my appearance or personality over the years

What strikes your fancy? Tell me in the comments what you'd like to read about. Thanks!!!

To read more Young Adult Tales, go here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Five Question Friday--October 22

Another crazy week here. I'm hoping to come back and tell you all about it soon (very exciting stuff going on in our household--L is growing up fast!). For now, just a quick 5 Questions post. Enjoy!
1. Who is the better cook, you or your spouse?
My husband is by far the better cook. And he enjoys cooking while I do not. How ironic that I'm the at-home spouse. These days, he cooks dinner about half the time.
2. How often do you talk to your mom?
This has been a point of contention for a long time. My parents still like to "check in" on me in a weekly phone call, which I think is absurd {looking forward to reading others' answers to this one}, especially in this age of email. I am not a child anymore, I'm 36 for goodness sake! Anyway, for now I've stopped arguing because the kids enjoy the calls. Pretty soon they'll be moving to town so we'll probably talk more often.
3. Are you adventurous in the kitchen or stick to the recipe?
I am not adventurous in the kitchen (see #1), but I like "recipes" that are so easy I can do them by memory, eyeball the spices etc.
4. Is your second toe longer than your big toe?
No, the second toe is shorter.
5. Do you dress up for Halloween? (Bonus question: What will you be this year?)
Sadly, no. I like to aspire to that, think about it, I've mentioned in another post how I'd like to dress up in a '50s poodle skirt but I know that ultimately I'm too shy/easily embarassed to go through with it. So instead, I'll wear a pumpkin t-shirt to all the various parties and trick-or-treating.
For more Q&A fun, go here.
Tell me, how often do you talk to your parents?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Young Adult Tales 2--College Friends

Continuing with my Young Adult Tales (check out my other tales by clicking on the "MPT" tab in my sidebar), this week I'm writing about College Friendships. In my "old age," I'm realizing I've never been great at making friends. I had a few close friends in high school, but I didn't have much of a social circle back then. In fact, my two closest friends, Amy and Karen, didn't get along with each other. One day, I'd hang out with Karen and possibly some others of her friends; the next day, I'd go to a movie with Amy. And so forth. Those two have remained my closest friends to this day, they both were maids of honor at my wedding.

Okay, so off I went to college. I had been assigned a roommate, Sarah, and we'd exchanged letters and talked on the phone once before school started. When I arrived at our room, there were two girls sitting in there. I introduced myself and I didn't know which was Sarah. Finally, one girl spoke up that she was Alison from across the hall. I don't know how it all unfolded but Alison became a friend and while Sarah and I got along at first, it deteriorated over time (that's a story for another day) and we were never close. Alison was actually a junior, a transfer student, rather than a freshman. She had a single room across the hall from my double.

Meanwhile, classes started. I was in an awful class, Ecology of the Americas, it was in the American Studies department and a substitute for English 2 (I had AP'd out of English 1). There I met Joanna. I think we made plans to meet at the dining hall for lunch or dinner. I am so grateful that she was outgoing, because apart from Alison, she was the only friend I made. Joanna had made several other friends already and so she introduced me and that's how I met my other friends.

We all know how you go off to college and go to frat parties and get drunk. Yeah, well I was very ambitious and also a bit concerned about my family history of alcoholism (not my immediate family but past generations), plus I hated the taste of alcohol, plus it was illegal and I was a goody-too-shoes... so I didn't drink. While some in our group drank (like Alison who was over 21), Joanna was a non-drinker as well, and she was great at coming up with fun alternatives to the frat party scene. {My college was not big into the Greek scene. It only had 2 frats and 2 sororities at the time, I believe, but that was still the main entertainment scene on the weekends.}

Other friends in my group: Shirley (still a close friend), Mika, Brian, Anna, Christian, Cindy (joined our group, through Shirley, our senior year).

Some of our off-the-beaten-path activities: apple picking, the A to Z birthday party (an activity for every letter of the alphabet), "How to Host a Murder" parties, going to Improv Boston and "Tony and Tina's Wedding" and the ballet. Otherwise, there were lots of pizza and movie nights.

I was also in choir. I had fun with the people in Chorale and Chamber Singers, but rarely did those friendships extend beyond class time. Angie and Kathy are the exceptions there. They were both younger than me, but we had lots of fun.

While I'm talking about fun and friends, I think I'll take a minute to reminisce about Chamber Singers' trip to Martha's Vineyard my sophomore year. Chamber Singers was a small group, maybe 14 of us. We took two vans from Boston to Martha's Vineyard. On the way there, I was in the van with Angie and she was a very gregarious (loud) person. I guess we started singing to the radio, or maybe just singing for the heck of it, anyway I distinctly remember singing "I Saw the Sign" (Ace of Base, this was 1994). Even though I never ever sing by myself and let people hear my voice, I did on this occasion.

Anyway, the first day we had a rehearsal, then we stayed with host families--I stayed with a nice family with a high school daughter--and had a concert the next day. Walking on the beach, dinner with the choir, I remember having a great time that weekend!

Another friendship highlight was Spring Break of my senior year. Joanna, Shirley, Cindy and I stayed on campus and did a ton of fun things. That's when we went to the ballet. We also drove down to Rhode Island for a day trip, very fun! We each cooked one night, so I made a pizza of course (using Pillsbury crust, I'm not a chef by any means). That was an awesome week!

Great, I think I'll leave it there. I remain close with Shirley, who has twins almost the same age as my son, though we live 2000 miles apart. And thanks to facebook, I am back in touch with Alison, Joanna, Anna, Cindy, and Kathy (I'm still searching for Angie, I'm sure she'll turn up there sooner or later!).

For more walks down memory lane, head to Mommy's Piggy Tales. Join me next week for another installment. Thanks!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Internet Hodgepodge--October 16

Just a few links that I've been saving up. I'm linking up to Saturday Stumbles at It's Come 2 This. Hope you're having a great weekend!


Free Christmas Planning eBook from Organizing Your Way. Awesome! Lots of free printables as well.

This is a great post to get ready for Halloween--it's written for kids with sensory issues, but I think there are helpful tips for all families.

I am eager to try this gluten free naan recipe (hat tip to Aubree Cherie). I love naan bread!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Young Adult Tales 1--Courtship

I have a new project, a continuation of Mommy's Piggy Tales, this time about our Young Adult Years. It's a more write-whatever-you-want kind of deal, so today I've chosen to record my courtship (at least the beginning of it) with Hubby. In the summer of '96, I started law school. For whatever reason, this school starts one section of its students in the summer, so there were about 80 of us on the law school campus. Y'all, it was like summer camp. Until it hit me about 6 weeks in that, um, we're going to be tested on this stuff! But I digress. The point is, with only 80 people, we all got to know each other. No, this isn't where I want to start, let's try this again.

In the spring of 1996, I was a senior in college. I had been admitted to several law schools but was waitlisted at another. One day, the dean of admissions from the waitlist school called me and offered me a spot in the section starting in the summer. For a number of reasons, including starting in the summer, I chose to go to that law school. So one week after graduating from college, I started law school.

My mom drove me to law school and I met a few students when I reached the quad. I met a few more students when I went to get my ID. I met several girls when I moved into the dorm. Then I met a bunch of people on Orientation Day. The day after Orientation, day 2 of law school, was Service Day. We all went over to a nursing home. Oh and we were told to wear old clothes you could get dirty. Now of course I packed light for law school so I didn't exactly bring a bunch of rags with me. So I wore a sweatshirt I'd bought 4 years before when I was looking at colleges. In other words, I was wearing a college sweatshirt from a school I DID NOT GO TO. Bad idea! All day long, every one of my new classmates asked me, "Did you go to {school A}?" People who asked me that early in the day got the long answer "no, I almost did, I got this when I visited but yada yada yada I went to {school B}." That got old real fast so if you asked me late in the day you got the succinct "no, I went to {school B.}"

The first time I met Hubby, I don't actually remember. As he tells it (cuz he's a sweetie), he saw this cute girl (me) in a {school A} sweatshirt and so he initiated a conversation, knowing several of his high school friends who'd gone to {school A}. We were standing near the elevators and he says hi and asks me if I went to {school A.} It was late in the day so I said, "no, I went to {school B.}" As he didn't know anyone who went there (I'm not even sure he'd heard of the school), that was the end of the conversation and I got on the elevator and he was bummed.

The second time I met Hubby was a few days later. This time I remember our meeting but he doesn't. ;-) It was at a party on the quad. I met him and two other guys at the same time, we only talked for a few minutes.

So then we start classes and formed our cliques and so forth. Then a bunch of us girls started going to church together on Sundays. One Sunday as mass was starting, we noticed Hubby sitting by himself a few rows over from us. So we asked him to join us. From then on, he was in our little Catholic going-to-church group.

Okay, so when I started law school, I flirted with everybody. But I really didn't think about Hubby because the word about him was "he wanted an undergrad."

Second semester started in the fall. Hubby sat behind me in one of my classes and one day at the end of class as we were all leaving, he tapped me with his pen and said goodbye or see ya later or whatever. I noticed because you know we all saw each other all the time (we were still having all of our classes together as a section), so it was strange to have such a pointed, personal goodbye.

One day, I went shopping with friends, an engaged couple I'll call Jack and Jill. I mentioned that I thought this guy (I'll call him Joe) was funny. They cautioned me away from him (thank you, he was totally a player) and Jill said, I kid you not, "like Hubby." As a command. I was all, no, he likes undergrads. Then Jack explained he thought that was just a put-on so he doesn't get pulled into the whole "who do you like?" pairing up thing. Hmmmm, I thought. Well, he did tap me with a pen the other day. And we all thought hmmmm.

So then I saw him with fresh eyes. I started listening to him talk at dinner in the dining hall and I found him more interesting than I'd previously thought. I remember we had some conversations around campus and then came Rock 'n' Bowl. It was a Thursday night and our section went bowling. Several times that night, Hubby came over and visited me at my lane and I went over to his lane and I guess we started flirting that night.

The next night, Friday, was movies on the quad. I was in a friend's room and telling her I was starting to like Hubby and she agreed he was a good guy. Then the movie started so I went down to the quad and found some friends, including Jack and Jill. The movie was "Babe" (about the pig) and we were having a fun time and I thought how much I'd like for Hubby to be sitting next to me. I even wished it on a star. I kid you not. I did the whole "star light, star bright" rigmarole and wished that Hubby would sit next to me.

As Hubby tells it, he had a couple beers in his fridge so he grabbed them and headed down the quad toward a friend's room, then he noticed the movie was playing. He saw someone he could sit with but a voice told him to keep walking. Then he spotted me and my group--and he joined us! {So my wish came true!}

So we watched the rest of Babe together, then the second movie was something James Bond and I made snarky comments all through it, which Hubby tolerated so that was a good sign.

Saturday we ran into each other on the quad and were talking and I could hear my phone ringing so we went up to my room and Jill had left a message about going to a movie that night (a plan already in the works, she was just letting me know time and movie) so I turned to Hubby and invited him along and he agreed--so this was our first double date with Jack and Jill.

Following the movie, we all made plans to go to Cracker Barrel the next night, so we did that Sunday night and at some point Hubby said the movie Braveheart was like an epic poem and I had to see it, so we made plans to watch that together the next Wednesday.

Between Sunday and Wednesday we walked and talked a lot. Wednesday rolled around and I had second thoughts about our date. But then I thought "{Hubby} makes me smile."

So he came over to my room to watch the movie and long story short we stayed up all night talking (yes, talking, no funny business). It was a magical night and the start of it all. We got engaged a year later, married a year after that. 12 years next week. For many years, we celebrated the anniversary of "Braveheart night" by rewatching the movie.

There you have it, how I met my husband. It's a really long story but I tried to keep it short, hopefully not too short to lose it's magic. Go to Mommy's Piggy Tales to read more stories from our Young Adult Years and come back here next week when I'll be talking about... I have no idea! Stayed tuned! ;-)

Tell me, how did you and your husband meet?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Celebrating Birthdays as a Mom


In case you hadn't heard, yesterday was my birthday. It was a typical crazy Monday (my hardest day of the week), then we celebrated with a great dinner, pumpkin cheesecake, presents and a movie. I don't know about you, but I find it hard to "celebrate" my birthday now that I'm a mom because I'm so busy being a mom, which involves changing diapers, wiping noses, being at others' beck and call (not to mention driving to preschool, driving to speech, stopping at Whole Foods). Now if you can get away on your birthday, to a spa or a date night with your husband, that's great. Have a wonderful time! But if, like me, you celebrate amongst the chaos, here's my advice for how to enjoy your day.

-Low expectations. If you expect to be treated like Queen for a Day, you will be disappointed. If you expect that it will be a usual day of chaos with some birthday cake thrown in, you'll be able to appreciate the extra perks like your favorite dinner and a movie when the kids are in bed.

-Answer the phone or don't. I don't know about your traditions, but in my family, people call on your birthday. This can be fun, enjoy it! Or it can be annoying. Maybe you'd rather be watching hulu. Or maybe you just had a baby two weeks ago and all they want to do is hear about the wonderful baby (who is keeping you from getting any sleep). If it's the latter, feel free to let the machine get it.

-Feed your kids what they like. Lunch and dinner drive me crazy these days. Even if your kids don't have food issues, why not give them their favorite foods so meal times are ever so slightly more manageable. For my birthday dinner, I chose to get food from Carrabba's--my favorite restaurant and we had a gift card. My kids could have had their usual this and that, but instead I made a frozen pizza. This didn't work as well as I'd hoped, L still hopped up every 5 minutes to scrounge for food, driving Hubby and me kookoo, but I still think it was a good idea.

-Dad home early. With the kids' earlier bedtimes, I knew it would be hard to get takeout, eat, have cake, and open presents without keeping the kids up late. Hubby would have to leave work on time or early. Yesterday, he didn't get out as early as I would've liked, but we rushed through dinner and managed to get everything done and the kids down on time. Maybe I should have titled this Enforce Bedtime. ;-)

-Time management/Plan ahead. If you're a regular reader, you know I suck at time management in general. But I planned ahead for my birthday so I wouldn't need to shower before bed. I picked up the living room on Sunday night so the mess wouldn't drive me crazy. I left myself very few chores and got them done pretty early in the day. Then I was able to watch Project Runway on DVR while L was at preschool and watch Glee on hulu during nap time. Then, once the kids were in bed, I could crash in front of a movie--no shower, no chores.

-Think ahead to after the kids go to bed. The real "gift" of my birthday was once the kids were in bed, I got to pick the movie. The kids are in bed by 8:30 so that leaves enough time for a short movie before Hubby and I get ready for bed around 10:30. It took me a while to choose what to watch, I wanted something I was guaranteed to like, but I had trouble choosing among our old favorites (I've seen them too many times). Finally, I searched instant Netflix and found a Jane Eyre with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine from 1944. We hadn't seen it before, but I love the story (Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite books). Sure enough, it was quite good, though I wore out before the end and we turned it off around 10:00 (we'll finish it tonight or tomorrow).

That's it, that's what I've learned through trial and error over the last few birthdays and it worked for me yesterday. Focus on what you can control (what's for dinner, what kind of cake, what to do after the kids go down) because there's so much you can't.

For more tips and tricks, visit We Are THAT Family.

Tell me, how do you celebrate birthdays now that you're a mom?

Last week's "Glee"

Warning: a not-particularly-family-friendly rant follows.

So as part of my birthday "celebration" yesterday, I chose to watch last week's episode of "Glee" on hulu during T's naptime (L has "quiet time" in the living room, but in honor of my bday, I kept the tv on to keep him quiet, heehee). Now, I was skeptical to begin with because it was The Britney Episode, but I also feared the Madonna episode (that turned out to be great) and the Lady Gaga episode (that was okay), so I thought maybe it would be okay.

Don't even get me started on Lady Gaga! My thoughts on Britney are a little more benign. I don't think she's particularly talented and I can't figure out her continued airplay. And of course like many (most?) female recording artists, she uses sex to sell.

So I was pleased when the episode started and Mr. Shoo (Shoe? Shu?) refused to let them do Britney because, say it with me now, She's a bad role model. Woohoo! Then everyone goes to the dentist and has anesthesia-induced Britney dream sequences. Half-naked. Sorry, just the Brittany character is half naked. The midriff-baring snake scene and the mesh sequin body suit thing. Classy! I fast-forwarded. Then Brittany and Santana have a shared dream sequence of that Britney-Madonna duet--yuck, I fast-forwarded again.

I watched Rachel's version of Hit Me, Baby, One More Time because that song I kind of like. Did anyone else think how sad it was that this very talented girl (Lea Michelle) just couldn't do much with a song traditionally sung by one with far less talent. Sad!

I also enjoyed Artie's version of Stronger, so I didn't fast forward.

Then there was the big Homecoming number. Toxic, I think? Fun rendition but the crowd, especially the nerds getting, um, excited. Yuck!

Oh and meanwhile, the whole "plot" is that these Britney dreams have been so good for the Glee-Clubbers: Brittany has confidence, Rachel dresses better, Artie is inspired to try again for the football team. Yuck, yuck, yuck. The message: Mr. Shoo was wrong, she's a great role model. Gag!

Meanwhile, the real Britney Spears appears in the episode. Thank you, Fox, for employing this um, has-been.

So here's the thing--I haven't finished watching the episode. (When I left off, Sue had just set off the fire alarm at the pep rally.) I probably should so I can get some closure and of course be up to date on any "plot" before next week.

But a few more episodes like this and I don't know if I'll keep watching. The show is only as good as the music, I've never particularly liked the plots. In which case, why do I care if it's about Britney as role model? I suppose the answer is because I don't think this kind of plot/episode is good for the young women who watch Glee. Just like I don't think Supermarket tabloids are good for women or photoshopped covers on "legitimate" women's magazines. Don't I become part of the problem if I continue to watch and endorse this show?

Anyone else watch Glee? What do you think of this season so far?

Top Ten Tuesday--Halloween Costumes


I have mentioned before how much I love Halloween, so today I bring you my Top Ten Halloween costume ideas (in no particular order, and these are not affiliate links)...
1. I love peacocks so I think this infant costume is Adorable! 2. This is the cutest baby bunting costume I've seen:


3. I love this! It's a Coke machine costume!


4. T loves playing with her Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads, so how's this for a great costume? 5. How about one of these Christmas costumes from Oriental Trading? Only $10 and your child can wear it for Halloween AND Christmas!


6. Pottery Barn has amazing costumes, but I especially like the food ones. Here's popcorn:


7. I just think this R2D2 costume is too cute! 8. L had the idea that he and T should be pirates. How cute would matching pirates be?! Girl and boy.






9. I think it would be so cool to dress up our family like the Scooby gang. I'd be Velma, of course, because I wear glasses. Hubby would be Shaggy cuz that's easy--green tee and brown pants. L could be Fred, T could be Daphne, and we could carry a stuffed Scooby.
10. I would love for T and me to dress up in matching poodle skirts.

For more Top Ten fun, visit Oh Amanda.

What are your favorite costumes? Share in the comments!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

On My Mind

-Dinner drives me crazy. In fact, tonight I had to leave the room, L was not eating and was giving us the hardest time. He won't eat. He wants cookies and gum drops (fruit snacks) but won't eat his chicken nugget or vegetables. While I was gone, he started eating yogurt. Later, he ate watermelon. For that, we gave him dessert. WTF are we doing?! Meanwhile, T had started eating more than 10 minutes before the rest of us (because that's the only way to keep her from moaning/yelling at the gate) so she was bored and dropping silverware on the floor.

-I tried to make a Scholastic book order online and it just wasn't working. Over and over I tried and just kept hitting the same error. Poop! I really wanted to order online for the larger selection. Now it looks like if I want to place an order, I'll have to use the forms. Argh.

-I have been shopping for days. Thursday T and I went to Kohls. I tried on a thousand things and everything looked hideous (except one sweater vest that I decided against because it was black, I own too much black). I bought brown jeans and a white cami. Friday I went to Old Navy, Steinmart and Nordstrom Rack. Again, I tried on tons but only bought one sweater. (I tried on that sweater I liked at Old Navy. It was cute but itchy, so I passed.) Today, I went to Kmart to get a toy for T and browsed their clothes. Actually, I found a bunch to try on. A couple sweaters came close, but I didn't buy anything. Tomorrow, I plan to hit the mall. I have gift cards to Gap and Express, neither is my favorite store but I'm all for free stuff, and I saw a sweater I liked on Aeropostale's website, so I might try that too.

-Monday is my birthday (which is why I'm treating myself to clothes in the first place). Mondays are my worst day of the week. Hopefully, Hubby can get out of work a bit early. He's going to pick up Carrabba's for dinner. My favorite! (And IBS-friendly because the next morning I'm taking T to Scottsdale for a doctor's appointment--fun.) I've asked hubby to find me a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. Then presents and putting the kids to bed, then I'm thinking chick flick. I may watch Young Victoria again. The thought of good food and chick flick will hopefully carry me thru the tough day.

-Tuesday I was eaten alive by a mosquito. I have 12 or more bites. At any given time, I have about 7 bandaids on. (I put Benedryl on the bandaid and it keeps me from scratching.) So I've been wearing jeans all week even though it's still over 100 degrees. 110 today. I'm hoping I'll be healed by my birthday. :-)

-The end.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wish List

My birthday is next week. How old am I, you ask? I will be 36. Eek--how did that happen?! Anyway, today I bring you my {mostly fantasy} wish list.
1. Pretty much anything Halloween or Fall related. I love love love this season!


2. I need a watch, but I can't decide what kind I want. I love digital because it helps me know exactly what minute it is as I'm rushing out the door. But those make for pretty ugly watches.


3. I need a dustbuster. How do I not already own one? I need something cordless and portable so I can just clean a little spill at a time without dragging out the big guns, and also to clean up our cars.


4. I would like a new apron. I have an apron that's in pretty good shape, but it's 11 years old, I think I deserve something new and super cute. I'd love a Coca Cola apron but I haven't found a good one. This one has my kitchen colors and is adorable:


5. I need clothes! Okay, not really need. I want some new pieces to brighten my fall/winter wardrobe.;-) I've been browsing the internet with very little luck--I'll just have to go shopping and try things on. But I'm admiring this "jet sweater" from Old Navy. (I can't manage to paste a picture--can you please click over and tell me if this is cute or hideous?)


6. Speaking of clothes, I saw this cute skirt on etsy. Don't know if I'm cute enough to pull it off, though. And skirts are pretty impractical for my lifestyle. But I love the waistband!
7. A makes-me-happy diaper bag. I've been on a quest for a new bag for months now (kind of on hiatus at the moment). Something like this but that costs less than $50.8. Glee volume 3 soundtrack. I can't believe I don't own this already. Have I been living under a rock? A must-have.

9. So technically this is Halloween costume, but I think it would be fun for both Halloween and for playing dress-up with the kids. Even though it's only $19 at Walmart, I can't justify the expense because I can't say for sure I'd wear it outside of my house. But I love it and I already own a pair of saddle shoes. :-)

10. I would absolutely love this Coke chalkboard for my kitchen! And since I plan our meals ahead, it could always have tonight's dinner posted on it.

What do you think? What's on your wish list? Where do you shop for clothes? Let me know in the comments!

For more Top Ten fun, visit Oh Amanda.