Tuesday, March 31, 2009

You'll Shoot Your Eye Out

Background: Most of you know that Dan is a professor at a local university. During his teachings, he will use a laser pointer to refer to charts and graphs on his PowerPoint slides.

Flash-forward to this morning: I come down the stairs to find my husband using his laser pointer to create "dots" all over the living room for Tanner to chase around.

While I find it highly amusing for our cats to chase a laser dot around ...

... I find it mildly disturbing to see our 2 year olds do the same thing.

Disturbing, but really, REALLY funny.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Traffic Jam

Is it Los Angeles in rush hour?

No ... it's just our back deck.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our First Cincinnati Zoo Class

We signed up for three zoo classes this spring ... the one in March is "Creature Features"; April is "Shapes"; and May is "Colors".

This first class went well -- the boys got to pet a baby alligator and chinchilla, and then went around and saw giraffes, elephants, and tigers. They pointed out all the animal's arms, legs, eyes, ears, etc. Really very cute!

Monday, March 23, 2009

How to Become the Most Popular House in the Neighborhood ...

... put up a bounce-house in your front yard.

One word to describe the afternoon: carnage.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Where Are We Going ... And Why Am I In This Handbasket?

Sometimes we put on a brave bravado and a smile when inside we feel like we’re drowning.

Sometimes we’d like to come out and tell people how stressed we are.

I have a hard time finding the correct balance between letting people know enough so I just don’t seem like a disturbed grumpy person, and not telling too much to where I seem like a complainer and whiner.

Endulge me for a moment ... Perhaps it will help me to just get it out.

-The truth of the matter is:

-Lots of times I feel like crying, but I can’t bring myself to do it.

-I’m too busy for such drama.

Sometimes I wish I would just have a complete mental breakdown because some time in a mental institution would seem like a nice vacation.
-I would never do that because I'd miss my boys too much and things would fall apart without me.

-I love my children dearly, but sometimes they drive me crazy.

-I worry about my kids a lot. I hope I’m doing enough for them, but I often feel like a failure.

-I think I could do more if I could find something to do that makes me happy. What is my calling? What am I good at?
-I know I need to do more for myself because a physically and mentally broken down wife and Mom doesn’t benefit anyone.

-I’m tired. I think I could sleep for a full week.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Who's Clues? Booze Clues!

It's become a weekly tradition at our house that my Dad comes over on Tuesdays to drop off dinner from Whole Foods for Dan and me.

IT.IS.AWESOME! I know I don't even have to explain to you how nice it is not to have to worry about what to cook for dinner at least one night a week!

For years now, when my Dad comes over, he takes each boy for a "tour of the kitchen" and allows them to open cabinets that are normally out of each of their grubby little paws.

As they open each cabinet, my Dad and the boys shout out what is in each cabinet. This is one of Tanner's most favorite things to do with Grandad (besides crawl through the "secret space" in my Dad's Saab).

The other day when my Dad stopped by, this is what I heard from my innocent son as each cabinet was being opened:

"Cups!" ... "Glasses!" ... "Coffee!" ... "Plates!" ... "Booze!"

Many eyebrows just got raised across the country.

Here's my thing: Everything in moderation, including alcohol.

Many parents get that one or two cookies after eating a good diner is okay, but eating an entire package of Ho-Ho while watching television is not. I don't understand why that same philosophy cannot be applied to alcohol.

Why can't we do what many European parents do and teach our kids to understand that a glass of wine is a special treat to be enjoyed in moderation, not an excuse to binge and get drunk.

In my humble opinion, Dan and I are making the choice to expose the boys to the responsibilities and the pleasures of drinking in hopes that we can lead by example.

It's basic psychology that when you make something "forbidden", it becomes more craved, more desired, more important. We don't want alcohol to become the forbidden fruit for the boys.

Moreover, we don't accept the "black and white" philosophy on drinking that too many parents embrace. Some parents draw a line in the sand ... on one side is overly restrictive notion that drinking is wrong/bad/evil and alcohol must be banished completely; on the other side is the way too liberal viewpoint of allowing alcohol parties in their homes since "They are going to do it anyway, so they might as well do it with me".

We want to walk right down the middle of that line in the sand -- yes it is a fine line to walk, but we feel it is our responsibility to walk it.

It works if you do it correctly. My parents did it with me. I can remember as a child being able to taste my Dad's champagne on New Year's Eve or have a sip of my Mom's sherry. They showed me that a glass of wine with a meal was elegant and special.

It taught me what a special treat alcohol was.

It also taught me that alcohol wasn't a big deal.

So while many of my friends in high school got trashed at after-Prom parties, I was the Designated Driver. Why? Because I didn't feel the need to taste the forbidden fruit. I'd had sips of beer before with my Dad ... so what was the big deal?

And WOW, did the lessons my parents taught me about alcohol come in handy in college! Freshman year was a free-for-all with kegs parties, Hairy Buffalo porch parties, and pre-bar "Fire-Up" parities available every night of the week. Pretty tempting for 17-18 year olds! My roommates and dorm mates would drink to excess almost every time. To be honest, I had a drink or two ... but then I was done. Again, it just wasn't a big deal because I had been around responsible alcohol drinking all my life.

So, my light and humorous post about Tanner has turned into a Public Service Announcement on alcohol and parenting.

I don't think I'll get called to do an "ABC After School Special" anytime soon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Kids Gone Wild"

Forget "Girls Gone Wild" -- I've got "Kids Gone Wild"!

Seriously -- where did my sweet, gentle, snugly boys go? And who are these crazy, wound up, full-speed-ahead kids?

I know that we are in the "Terrible Twos", but they have been so good the last three months, that I thought maybe we would just ... skip over that part of childhood. I will admit that at times I would watch other people's two year olds have tantrums, scream, cry, etc, and I thought to myself, "Wow -- my boys are nothing like that. I'm so lucky!"

Karma is now biting me in the butt.

Let's break down the new crazy antics of each of my formerly angelic children:

Hayden ... This boy runs circles around me -- literally. He just runs and runs and runs and runs in a ever increasing tight circle until he gets so dizzy he collapses on the floor. Then he will roll around on the floor while making elephant sounds until another boy walks within tackling reach. Whatever unfortunate boy was within arm's reach gets pulled down to the ground, and then sat on. Hayden will then start bouncing on the child's back until: (1) the child in question begins to cry; or (2) I pull him off said child in question. He will then try and "Say sowry!" to the offended child by hugging them with such force they both are knocked to the ground -- the accosting ends when Hayden gives kisses which are usually a 50-50 combination of snot and saliva.

Tanner ... He has found the solution to any problem -- throw something, anything. Preferably something that will mar and damage the hardwood floors. Upset about not getting to watch "Nemo!" -- throw a truck! Didn't get your way about having a cookie for lunch -- throw your milk sippy. Want the school bus to "Come back!" -- heave a pile of books off the shelf. If all else fails, Tanner will just beat his head against the floor ... until he realizes "That ouchie!" and the toy chest needs to be completely emptied and thrown across the living room floor.

Noel ... Wanting the most bang for his buck, Noel prefers to scare that heck out of me by threatening electrocution or a bone-breaking fall. Why damage the hardwood floors when you can really cause some damage and attack the big screen TV in the living room? When Noel doesn't get his way, he will run to the TV and begin to pound on it. I'm just waiting for his fist goes through it some day and he gets an electrical shock. Noel also has no fear of heights as he likes to stand up on things that he could easy fall from and break a couple bones -- the back of the couch and his dinner chair are the current favorites.

Yes, we do time out.

No, we don't spank.

Yes, we are doing 1-2-3 Magic.

No, none of them are working.

So what is this -- Full Moon ... Spring Fever ... Demon Possession?

Monday, March 16, 2009

March of Dimes

Hayden's birthday ... at 29 weeks, 4 days

Once again, we are participating the in the March of Dimes "March for Babies" to help meet the March of Dime's mission to prevent birth defects (120.000 a year), premature birth (500,000 a year) and infant mortality (30,000 a year).

Dan and I strongly support the March of Dimes. Why? Because if it wasn't for their research, support and development, our boys may not have had the quality of life they enjoy now ... or even survived.A normal pregnancy is considered full-term at 40 weeks gestation. At 24 weeks, my water broke with Baby C (Noel). I also had HELLP Syndrome. I was given 2 shots of steroids, which was to help the babies' tiny lungs to develop faster. We were able to keep the babies in for 29 weeks and 4 days gestation. They were born via c-section and were immediately whisked off to the NICU. We barely got to see our babies as they were rushed off to be examined!

They were quickly hooked up to tubes and wires - this was certainly not how we had hoped the first glimpse of our children would be. Even though we had been educated and prepared for what prematurity looks like, it was still hard to deal with. We knew that these medical miracles were keeping our children alive and that the March of Dimes was part of the research that was helping our babies.Noel was our smallest at just 2 lbs 12oz. He was in the NICU for almost 2 months. Hayden and Tanner were in the NICU about a month and did very well; they just needed to grow and learn to eat, which was a challenge even after they came home.

Without the March of Dimes' funding of research that lead to the discovery of surfactant therapy, and without the March of Dimes' support to equip NICUs all across the country, our lives with our beautiful babies would not have been made possible. If not for the March of Dimes, the wonderful joy we feel each time we receive sweet smiles and the frustration of sleepless nights would have been replaced by the horrible heartache of having lost our children. Because of the March of Dimes and their researchers' tireless efforts to save babies, we are fortunate now to enjoy Noel's sweet soul, Tanner's giggles, and Hayden's irresistible smile. We are eager and excited to spread this message during this time for the March of Dimes, as we work together to combat the serious and growing problem of prematurity and ensure that no baby is born too small or too soon. We all need to understand that placing resources with the March of Dimes – a time-tested organization who has never failed a mission yet - will be an investment; not just in our families, but in our country's future. Seems like a no-brainer to support the March of Dimes, right?

Obviously not for some people.

One lovely-sounding woman even calls it the "March of Death" because March of Dimes doesn't take an official stance on being pro-life or pro-choice. Nice ... classy.

Whatever ... you can take your ball and go home if you can't play nice. Still, I did some research and really don't see how March of Dimes supports or doesn't support abortion. They do support prenatal testing, but there are some defects than can be fixed in utero, giving children born a better chance at a "healthy" life. That doesn't mean they only want babies with no defects born. Also, there are certain birth defects where the babies fare much better if they are delivered by c-section, rather than vaginally. This can only be discovered through prenatal testing.

Obviously, I am biased. The research that March of Dimes has done over the years made my babies' health a possibility, and today I am the proud mother of gorgeous and healthy toddlers. The March of Dimes works to develop research to help babies who are born early, for whatever reason, to survive, even while there are those who say that the burden these preemies place on the healthcare system isn't worth it.

Until you can show me where an March of Dime representative states, "We are working to test all babies prenatally so that we can abort those who are unhealthy, thus delivering only healthy babies.", I have to say that they are still deserving of my support.

Needless to say, if you are uncomfortable sponsoring us and subsequently the March of Dimes, then please don't donate.

If you are thankful for what the March of Dimes has done for our boys and millions of other children, then please consider makes a donation. Just click on the link on the top left of this page.

Last year we raised over $1200. Our goal for this year is $1000 -- we decided to buck the trend and lower the bar. Any bit would be appreciated! Thanks, friends!

Friday, March 13, 2009

C'mon, Get Happy!

Boy, have I been a downer lately!

Geez ... my posts have been dark the past couple of days. Can you blame me? Nine dead in Alabama shooting rampage ... Fifteen dead in Germany high school shooting rampage ... A man walking into a church and killing the pastor?

But today is a new day!

I've been thinking about my priorities after the week's events and a quote I heard the other day that hit home: "You're never really ready, and it's just your turn."

I'm so.not.a.risk-taker. I prefer the known ... yup, I'd be the one taking the road more travelled. I create lists to help me create lists.

So I guess it is not a surprise that I am a follower of Steven Covey. I live and die by my Franklin Planner. I've had one since I was in high school! It's how I got my husband to fall in love with me --that's a story for another time.

The week's events have made me rethink if I'm focusing too much on the small, non-important stuff and not enough on the big, really important stuff.

One of my favorite bloggers (and fellow mom of triplets), did a blog about priorities based on Covey's famous lecture on how to set priorities in life based on a jar. Talk about perfect timing! I needed that shot in the arm.

I think I've been trying to shove big rocks into sand. (PSA: That makes no sense to all of you who did not use the hyperlink on "jar" in the paragraph.)

I think I haven't been following Pareto's Principle. You know -- 80% of your given results come from only 20% of your actions.

I think I've been focusing on activities that produce the least amount of meaningful results. My jar is full of lots of pebbles and sand, and not enough big rocks.

I'd think I started out with lots of big rocks, but over the years I've allowed those big rocks to be eroded down to smaller pebbles and even grains of sand. I shudder to think I forgot to put those big rocks in my jar in the first place.

So, I am emptying my jar and refilling it the right way. Yes, I will still make a list of how I will fill my jar, and I will be consulting Mapquest before I travel down any road. I know I can't change overnight, but I recognize that there needs to be change.

Won't my husband be surprised when I make doing laundry a grain of sand priority?

Tonight, I think I will add one more layer to my jar -- once it is full of big rocks, pebbles, and sand, I'm going to fill it with liquid.

Wine, to be exact. After all, tonight is the Cincinnati International Wine Festival that Dan and I volunteer at and attend each year. It's where we got engaged -- that's a story for another time, too.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Have You Hugged Your Pet Today?

My sister-in-law volunteers at an Animal Rescue Center.

I'm so jealous. It's always been a hidden dream of mine to be vet or to run a no-kill animal shelter.

I have a soft spot for animals, especially cats.

Dan ... not so much. He tolerates my cats. But I don't know how you cannot love a face like this:

I came across this poem and it was heartbreaking to me. Maybe it is because I'm already in such a melancholy mood since Esme's service, but this poem made me cry.

How Could You? by Jim Willis, Copyright 2001

When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics, and made you laugh. You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was bad, you'd shake your finger at me and ask," How could you?" - but then you'd relent, and roll me over for a belly rub.

My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because ice cream is bad for dogs, you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day.

Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.

She, now your wife, is not a dog person - still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy.

Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only, she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became a prisoner of love.

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch because your touch was now so infrequent and I would have defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway.

There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me. These past few years, you just answered 'yes' and changed the subject. I had gone from being your dog to, 'just a dog', and you resented every expenditure on my behalf.

Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your family, but there was a time when I was your only family. I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter.

It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said, "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with papers. You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed, "No, Daddy! Please, don’t let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him; about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life.

You gave me a goodbye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked, "How could you?"

They are all attentive to us here, in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you; that you had changed your mind; that this was all a bad dream...or, I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me. When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited.

I heard her footsteps as she came for me, at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her, to a separate room. A blissfully, quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days.

As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek. I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you, so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes, and murmured, “How could you?"

Perhaps, because she understood my dogspeak, she said, "I’m so sorry." She hugged me, and hurriedly explained, it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself; a place of love and light; a place so very different from this earthly place.

And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail, that my 'How could you?' was not directed at her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


This is Esme Kennedy. She was a seventh grader at our School for Creative and Performing Arts. She double "majored" in vocal and instrumental music.

On Saturday the 7th, she went out for a jog and never came home. Her body was found about a mile from her home early Sunday morning -- she had been strangled, sexually abused, and then her body had been burned.

Thankfully they caught the (insert choice of name here). Ends up he has already been to jail for 17 years for killing a woman and burning her body -- plus they now suspect him in two other deaths of teenage girls who were killed in the same manner as Esme.

I know this is rare -- approximately one child abduction-murder for every 10,000 reports of a missing child. But the World Health Organization last year published statistics indicating that while adult murders are declining, the number of child killings is up more than 58 percent.

58 percent.

Many of you will recall that I serve on the Incident Management Team for my school district; therefore, I am working closely with the Crisis Response and Bereavement Team from my district during this time.

I asked our Lead Psychiatrist the questions every parent was thinking: Why? Who? How? What can I do to make sure it never happens to my child or any other child again?

Here were his answers:

Who? ... The majority of the killers have committed prior crimes against children, the most common being sexual assaults.

The typical victims are girls in their tweens often described as "normal kids" from middle-class neighborhoods with stable family relationships.

How? ... The killer had a legitimate reason to be at the site where they first contacted their child victims. They lived or worked near the site.

Most of the victims are victims of opportunity -- "snatch and grab"; rarely does the killer choose his victim because of some physical characteristic.

Usually, the initial contact between the victim and the killer took place within a 1/4 of a mile the victim's home, and usually the first contact occurred less than 200 feet from the victim's home.

(And this fact makes me makes nauseous) About 10% of killers volunteer to help police search for the missing child.

What can I do? ...
  • The most important thing parents can do is to be certain that their children are supervised, even if they are in their own front yard.
  • Children are often told, "Don't speak to strangers" and "Don't get into cars with strangers." That advice should be carried one step further. Children should be told, "Don't even approach a car, whether the person is a stranger or not." Children should be told to turn around and run to a safe place if someone offers them a ride, asks for directions/help finding their lost puppy, or offers treats.
  • We as adults need to be aware of strangers and unusual behavior in the neighborhood. Many child abductions are witnessed by people who do not realize that a crime is being committed. For example, when someone observes an adult struggling with child in a public place, many think it is a guardian taking control of an unruly child (see my post from Tuesday). In many cases, that is what it is. However, noting descriptions and license numbers is a good idea.
  • Finally, if a child is unaccounted for, the police should be notified immediately.
Why? ... My School Psychiatrist did not have an answer for me on why.

I don't think anyone can give me a good answer why.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Facts of Life

My cousin says it best when she talks about her life with her multiples ... "The good, the bad, and the really, really sticky."

Most of our days with the boys are fun ... I can only count a handful of days that I would actually label "bad". But when they happen, I honestly question my sanity for days after.We had a bad day on Saturday. It should have been a good -- no, great -- day! We had tickets to go to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's Lollipop Concert. It's a special concert series just for young kids! This concert's theme was "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and included an instrument petting zoo and pictures with the Reds Mascots before the concert.

Please note that there are no pictures of this outing posted here or on the 365 blog. Why? Because you can't hold a screaming toddler and take pictures at the same time. Honestly, I'm not sure I'd like to preserve these memories forever anyway.

First up, pictures with the mascots. Ahhhh, no. The boys didn't like the mascots.

I'm lying.

The boys HATED and were TERRIFIED of the mascots. I'm ashamed to say that they come by this fear of large furry creatures honestly ... I remember hiding behind my parents from Mickey Mouse at Disneyland when I was a kid.

Last Easter, we had to trick the boys into getting pictures with the Easter Bunny.And do I even need to mention Christmas pictures with Santa?Next up, instrument petting zoo. Awesome set up -- all the instruments from the symphony in the ballrooms of Music Hall available for the kids to touch and "play". Besides Noel beating on the xylophone and Tanner throwing a tambourine, this did not go over too well.

Lastly, the concert itself. We got through the Star Spangled Banner, and no sooner could the conductor say "Play Ball" did we have screaming boys. We left early and it was only a half hour long concert.

The day went further downhill from there. I'll spare you the gory details and give you some highlights:
1) Hayden throwing his snack plate, breaking it against the kitchen wall.
2) Tanner grabbing Dan's cordless power drill and throwing it down the stairs.
3) Noel taking off his diaper and peeing on the carpet in our master bedroom.
4) Me cutting my finger while trying to make grilled cheese squares through tears.

Dan and I are highly educated, smart, resourceful people, but we got beat DOWN on Saturday by a bunch of two year olds.

As we pondered where our parenting skills had failed us (and drank a nice bottle of wine), we realized that parenting is one of the hardest job ever, and the fact is that we don't own our children. Our job is the love them and teach with the knowledge that we have ... We can simply advise, support, guide, and provide a landing pad when they hit rough waters.

But the boys have to learn through struggles and fustrations ... A troublesome toddler is precisely what a "normal", healthy child should be like.

The boys learn as much about themselves and life on the bad days that they do on the good days.

And when you take the good, you take the bad ...

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Pound of Flesh ...

When I was pregnant with the boys, I was told I needed to consume 4000 calories a day.

Yes, you read that correctly -- 4000 calories.


Here was a typical day of eating for me:

Liquids: 64oz Gatorade, 64oz whole milk, 64oz water, and 64oz iced tea/lemonade

Shakes: 3 Boosts/Ensures a day (one with breakfast, lunch, and dinner) + homemade fruit smoothie protein shake (one right when I woke up)

Breakfast: 2 Whole Wheat English Muffins with butter and peanut butter and wheat germ sprikled on top + 4 eggs with spinach scrambled in + 4 strips bacon or sausage links + 2 Yoplait whips + 2 pieces of fresh fruit

Lunch: 2 cans Dinty Moore Beef Stew or Chef Boyardee Raviloi + bag of carrots/peppers/celery with hummus + 4 string cheese + 2 Pillsbury Biscuits + 2 pieces of fresh fruit

Dinner: 2 chicken breast (or fish or steak or pork) + bag of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice + bag of Freshlike frozen veggies + 4 Pillsbury crescent rolls

Snacks: Some of my favorite were peanut butter crackers, jell-o puddings, frozen and canned fruit (loved frozen cherries and canned mandarin oranges), yogurts, granola bars, bowl of cereal, can of soup, can of chunk chicken, ice cream bars, and 100% juice popsicles

Extra Protein (between meals and snacks): 2 Snickers protein bars (one right when I woke up and one right before I went to bed) + one whole bag of beef Jerky mid-morning (sounds strange, but it has 60 grams of protein per bag and takes up very little tummy room) + whole package of Stouffer's Mac and Cheese mid-afternoon + one pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream mid-evening

The doctors wanted me to gain 45 pounds by 24 weeks -- I made it with a pound to spare. Yea, me!

All told, I gained 62 pounds and passed the dreaded "200 pound" mark in my 28th week. I can't imagine how much I would have gained if I had made it the whole 35 weeks!

After I had the boys, I became a milk COW for over 6 months. In order to make enough milk to feed three babies, the doctors told me to keep up my eating and drinking consumptions. So ... I did.

Amazingly enough, even though I was eating ... and eating ... and eating, I still managed to not only lose all 62 pounds, but I also lost an additional 5 pounds within 3 months of delivery.

Many of you are now throwing things at your computer screen and saying bad words because pregnancy weight is not easy to lose -- I just got lucky. (Thank you Mom and Dad for the wonderful genes!)

Let me make you feel better now. After I stopped breastfeeding for the sake of keeping my sanity (pumping every three hours will cause anyone to lose their mind after awhile), I kept eating the same way I had for the past year.

And it caught up with me.

On the boy's second birthday, I realized I needed to drop some weight. So, I embarked on a sensible weight loss plan. My goal was to lose 17 pounds to get back to my college weight, but I really wanted to lose 22 pounds to get back to my high school weight (and where I was after I had the boys).

In order to motivate myself, I enlisted my entire office to do a weight loss challenge. Twenty of us chipped in a dollar a week for the next 20 weeks -- whoever has lost the most percentage of body weight gets the whole $400 prize.

That's what I call motivation!

I'm happy to say that after seven weeks, I have lost 10 pounds. So only 1.5 pounds a week -- not the 2 pounds a weeks I would have liked to have lost, but considering that I'm only eating better and not exercising, I'll take it.

Note: I'd love to start exercising, but I don't know when I could fit it into my day. I've been trying to get Dan to join the YMCA for over a month since they have free child care while you work out, but no such luck motivating him yet.

Believe it or not, I'm NOT winning the office pool. I'm currently in third. Yet, this is not all bad news in my mind. Yeah ... I'd love to win all that cash, but there are people in my office that needed to lose weight not just for body image issues, but for health issues. The fact that they are losing more than me is not a defeat in my mind.

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm King of the World

Tanner is an enigma to me sometimes. He can be very melancholy the one moment, and screaming and crying the next moment.

At first this worried me -- all the "scary" words started pouring through my brain ... Autism, Sensory Disorder, Playground Meanie.

But then I rationalized that Tanner is very smart. SCARY smart.

I don't know many other two-year olds that can name animals the way this kid can ... seriously. I shake my head in amazement every time he starts rattling off the animals of Australia alone ... "Wombat! Kangaroo! Koala! Lizard! Sea Horse! Whale! Nemo!"

Not to mention the fact that he figured out our "child-proof" locks within two weeks of us installing them ... or that he can turn on/off every light switch in the house ... or that he can count out all of the green beans on his plate up to ten ... or that he can zipper himself into his crib tent ... or that he grabs a good book to take with him while he gets his poopy diaper changed ... or that he can undo himself from his carseat ...

Honestly, I think Tanner just gets exasperated when he can't make things DO what he knows they should do.

It must be frustrating to be king of the universe when you’re two because nobody listens the way you want them to and nothing works the way it should.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No Parking on the Dance Floor, Mi Amigos!

Let's have some fun, kids!

Go out and look at the first digit of the VIN on your car.

You might be surprised to find your "foreign" car is American-made and your "American" car is foreign-made.

If the first digit is a 1, 4 or 5, congrats ... you have a mostly American car! (Like 9 out of 10 Honda Accords or Toyota Camrys)

2 = Canada (new Camaro)

3 = Mexico (Ford Fusion, Chevy & Dodge Trucks, VW Golf)

6 = Australia (Pontiac GTO;G8)

K = Korea (Chevy Aveo)

S = England (Honda CRVs)

W = Germany (Cadillac Catera, Mini Cooper)

T = Hungary (Audi TT)

Y= Sweden (Saab)

J = Japan (just 'bout everything)

Boy, was a friend of mine mad when he found out his Lincoln Zepyr was made in Mexico!

Every day I hear people complaining that Americans are sending their hard earned money to Japan (or whichever country) when they buy a "foreign-made" car, yet the "American-made" car isn't truly American-made anymore.

GM, Ford, etc. are trying desperately to get us to buy new cars, specifically their new cars. But, if very few of their cars are truly American-made, why would we buy a new car from a company that has proven it cannot stay in business without: 1) using other country's parts, factories, and workers; and 2) crap loads of money from our government that they already claim was not enough?

GM, Ford, etc chose to move parts of their operations out of America and lay off American workers in the process, so I don't get how they can defend themselves as an American-made car.

Lesson learned? Just because the company started out here, doesn’t mean all the cars are still made here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Let's Do The Time Warp Again!

A question was posed to me on a Parenting Board I visit -- "Would you like to go back to the 50's or are you a Millennium kind of gal?"

Got to admit ... I really had to stop and think.

People brought up some very good pros about the way things used to be: Life was simpler; Kids were more active in playing outside; Not being caught up in electronic crap; Being homemaker.

Personally I'm a HUGE fan of poodle skirts and letterman's sweaters, so at least I would have been totally into the fashion aspect of the 50s! "GREASE is the word" ...

But people also brought up some very big cons about the way things used to be: Segregation; Cold War; 38th Parallel; Lack of medical treatments; No options for married women besides homemaker (of course, spinsters could still be teachers or secretaries).

Again, personally, I don't think I could have been comfortable with that kind of closed-mindedness.

Moreover, I shudder to think what might have happened to me and the boys if I had had them at 29 weeks back in the 50s. I don't think any of us would have survived. And Dan would have had to sit out in a waiting room separated from me and the boys during delivery -- how horrible for him to not get to see his sons born!

Still, it was a good question that warranted some further research (or Googling since we are not in the 50s and have to rely on the Dewey Decimal System anymore.)

Got to tell you, after what I found, I'm pretty sure I'm a Millennium gal. Check it out:

The Good Wife's Guide
From Housekeeping Monthly, 13 May, 1955

  • Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you'll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  • Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dust cloth over the tables.
  • During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum.
  • Encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first - remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes.
  • Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice. Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  • A good wife always knows her place.

Which leads me to today's lesson: Have you hugged a Suffragette today?