Saturday, July 31, 2010

17 Months

Dear Matthew,

...Or as your brother calls you, Ma-hue. He's called you this pretty much since your birth often throwing "Baby" in before your actual name. Come on Baby Ma-hue he commands. Let me kiss you Ma-hue. Ma-hue can have some of my cookie. He'll share just about any food with you. Once you eat all of your cookie or what have you, which you do twice as fast as he does, you scream for more. I remind you that you already ate yours and your big brother comes to the rescue, swooping in with his sweet smile and his offer to share with you. Of course, brotherhood isn't all fun and games. You always, without fail, want whatever toy Garrett has and he draws the line at giving you whichever toy you want whenever you want it. It's a learning curve for the both of you.

You've mastered the art of kissing, complete with the *smack* sound. At night, as I read the two of you a Bible story and prepare to heave you into the crib I tell you to give your brother a kiss. You lean forward, with a slightly coy little smile, to meet his lips. Smack. You plant one on him. He backs away and you lean forward again. This goes on for a good five to ten kisses depending on the night. You'll give them to me and daddy--when we're lucky. But always, always, you'll give them to your brother.

It's been a difficult few weeks, I'm not gonna lie to you. You've hit a phase (tell me, Son, that it's a phase. Please. Pretty please? Let it be a phase.) where you want to be in my arms all. the. time. Always and forever. It started in Tahoe and it's just proceeded to infiltrate our daily lives. If I try to pass you off in public so that I can take care of some business you screech like a bird of prey and will not pipe down until I take you back. Also. The hitting.

You're a hitter. A smacker. A scrappy little fighter. When we discipline you with a, "Matthew, stop screaming for no reason!" or ask, "Dude, come here so I can change your diaper." you answer with an angry face and then a whack. It's charming. We're working on it. Thankfully the biting (did I mention the biting?) is waning. After only a few furious jaw clenches onto my body parts you've seemed to grasp that I'm just not really a fan. Thank you, for that.

Lately you've been up to this funny little shuffle stepping that resembles a crab doing a weird sort of mating dance. It's hilarious and adorable. It almost makes me forget the hitting.

I said almost.

You still don't say much. Mama, Dada, dog, uh-oh, bye-bye, night-night, a weird word that means Garrett, tickle (which sounds like tickaticka) and nana. I taught you "more" in sign language and you picked it up really quickly. I'd teach you more words but it's the only one I know. I plan to learn (and teach you) more. Your brother couldn't have cared less about learning sign language but you seem ready and willing to soak it up.

Your voice, when you do say something, and your guttural laugh are very deep. I tell everyone that when you start talking it's going to be the voice of a post pubescent teenager. However, you also let out shrill, high-pitched, cackles so I guess it's anybody's guess.

I cannot believe you're 17 months old. Football season, the season I was so desperate to get to share with you again, is almost upon us. Summer is half gone and your second year of life is nearly so. Thank you for your tight hugs and for wanting me and only me. It drives me nuts at times but I'm thankful that you love me so fiercely. Thank you for your kisses and your smiles and for sharing your life with me.

I love you.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Grandkids Are Going To Have The Best Names!

As I was snuggling with my oldest last night we had the following conversation.

Me: Are you going to go and grow up on me?
G: Yeah.
Me: Are you gonna get hairy armpits?
G: Yep. And whiskers.
Me: And a hairy chest?
G: Everything daddy has.
Me: Hmmm.
G: But I'm going to shave my chest.
Me: You are? Why?
G: Just because. I'm going to do all these things when I'm married.
Me: Okay. Are you going to have babies?
G: Babies? (pause) Of course!
Me: Oh good. How many?
G: One. Two. Three. This many. (he holds up five fingers)
Me: Wow. That's a lot. What will you name them?
G: Well, (pointing to one finger) This one will be Peanut Butter Face.
Me: Oh what a great name. How about the rest?
G: One will be Ice Cream Face. And Popsicle Face. And Sandwich Face. And...Cereal Boy!
Me: How many of them are girls?
G: Well, this one is a girl. (he points to his pointer finger)
Me: Okay...was that Peanut Butter Face?
G: Yes. And the rest are all boys.
Me: Alright. (pause) So you're sure you're convinced that growing up is the right thing to do?
G: Yeah. I do.
Me: I thought so...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Funny Four-Year-Old

The Rock Star says some seriously funny things. Currently he is in the backyard with two neighbor boys. Our yard is littered with tiny plastic balls that resemble some sort of BBs. They've been here since we moved in and Garrett often finds them as he's frolicking around in the great outdoors. So he just found one and he ran up to the boys yelling, "Look what I found! It's a diabebe." For some reason he has the words BB and diabetes intermingled in his brain.

Another word that he says so adorably I've adopted it myself in the hopes that he'll say it for awhile longer is vitafin. We don't take vitamins around here. Nope. For us it's strictly vitafins.

He thinks the worms and slugs in the yard are his pets and he names them. His favorite was Gummy. Gummy was a dead slug. Do you think we were able to convince him that the slug was deceased? No way. That slug was just taking "a really long nap."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Incipient Lesion

My husband is talking out of one side of his mouth. He had a dentist appointment this morning and after the dentist praised him for taking such good care of his teeth, he informed Troy that the incipient lesion he'd been keeping an eye on needed to be filled. The what? I shouted through my cell phone as Troy told me about it. Apparently I'd known about this but I feel like I would have remembered something called an incipient lesion.

Anyway. The dentist had time to fill it right then and there so Troy went ahead and had it done. Then he came home and he could only smile with half of his face. (We're in the skit tonight at our church's Vacation Bible School so I really hope he regains feeling soon.) It's pretty funny. I can say this because I've never had a filling. Perhaps, by admitting this to all the Internet world, I'm going to get a mouth full of cavities before my next appointment but it's true. I'm completely terrified of getting my first cavity. Sure I've given birth, passed a kidney stone, and received the Rocephin shot of death in my hind quarters but I'm panic stricken at the thought of dental work involving Novocaine.

As he got ready to head to the church to prepare for VBS, I laughed every time Troy smiled. Because I'm mean like that.

Also, I think I'm going to try to work incipient lesion into my daily conversation. In various ways. None of which will make much sense.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Happy Place

We're not bumper sticker people. I should rephrase. I'm not really a bumper sticker person and my husband is definitely not. Still, he humored me when I asked if I could put one, just one, bumper sticker on my car. So around we've driven with a KEEP TAHOE BLUE sticker on our car for the past five years. Although, it seems that, at some point, someone tried to remove the slogan from my vehicle and now it reads more like KEEI TAHOE BLUE. Despite my dislike of a car tattooed in bumper wear, I slapped another one on this year.

It reads: Lake Tahoe is my happy place.

Because it is. And well, that's my new hair. I chopped it all off a few days before I left for the lake but I never got around to posting a picture. But back to the lake and how it's my happy place. The only place that time flies faster than Tahoe is Hawaii. Even then it's probably a tie, really. I spent 10.5 days and 11 nights at the lake and it feels like I was gone for a long weekend. No Internet. No television. Very limited cell service. Pine trees. The sound of the creek rushing just a street away. I saw a sign hanging over a cabin that read, Welcome to God's Country, and although I happen to think that every nook and cranny in this whole created universe is God's country, I know just what they mean and I couldn't say it better myself.

Matthew started the week off in the worst mood I've seen since his first few weeks of life. He wanted me to hold him all. the. time. And if I had to put him down to, say, use the bathroom or brush my teeth or sit in peace for two seconds, he flipped out. And when I say flipped out I mean turn into a crazed and mortally wounded coyote. He wouldn't go near my dad for three whole days. It was absolutely horrendous behavior. Still, I was able to catch this shot of his first glimpse at the lake.
The Rock Star talked incessantly about going fishing with his Grampa. So, while I stood around taking pictures and swatting the mosquitoes off of myself and my son, they fished together. Garrett caught (drum roll please) Grandpa. That's right. At one point his hook somehow managed to nick the backside of my dad's shorts. As I was the only other adult at the creek, I had to remove the hook from my father's posterior. It was high times. Thankfully we were able to use Garrett's fishing pole to catch crawdads later in the week because they were the only thing, other than the mosquitoes, that were biting. After this particular fishing excursion the car was full of blood suckers. I smashed one on the windshield and left it there as a warning to its cousins everywhere that I mean business. It's still there. Dead. Lifeless. Don't mess with me you obnoxious insects. Never did a person walk the planet who hates you more than I.

My dog was awful on this trip. In Tahoe the canines are generally allowed to roam free. They come and go when they please. My dog does not understand why he is not allowed the same privileges.

When he was inside the cabin, he wanted out. When he was outside the cabin on his chain he wanted to roam. So he barked. Incessantly. And at one point we left him off his chain. He played and played and played. And then he ran away. I found him, about a half hour later, frolicking in the creek with a new friend. When I called him he took one look at me, turned the other way, and ran. So I did what any sensible dog owner wearing flip flops would do. I sprinted full speed after him. My mom would later say, "I've never seen you run so fast." In actuality I'd underestimated the incline of the hill I was running down and any speed she witnessed was simply my attempt to not fall end over end. Eventually he turned and ran toward me. I assume he saw the crazed look of rage on my face and realized that he'd better make his mind up quickly whether he was going to disappear forever or return right then and there and face the consequences because, clearly, I was leaving him no other choice. Of course, Beck isn't all terrible. He's well behaved at home when there aren't eleven billion smells to urinate all over. And he sure does love himself some Tahoe. If he ever goes missing, it's the first place I'm going to look for him.

My parents got to the cabin on Saturday. I showed up with the boys on Monday. My brother and his wife got there on Wednesday. Troy got there on Sunday. Matthew enjoyed spending time with his aunt and uncle. He warmed up to them pretty quickly.

On the first full day that they were there we hiked down to Emerald Bay. My brother, Garrett and I rafted over to Fanette Island. We hiked up to Laura Knight's tea house--a place that, after 14 trips to Tahoe, my brother and I had never been to. On this, our 15th trip, we made it over with a tiny not quite four-year-old in tow. As we walked around the island we wondered how many people thought we were a happy little family. Then we shuddered at the thought and moved on.

The Rock Star hiked all the way down to Emerald Bay and all the way back up. Down is, of course, the easy part. On the way back up he moaned and groaned and asked me five thousand times to carry him. At one point he reasoned, "Mommy. I'm getting so sun burned. If you pick me up we can get to the top faster and I won't burn as bad."

I answered by reminding him that he had plenty of sunscreen on.

Even though we were bringing up the rear (by quite a lot) I let him stop along the way to have his picture taken in a tiny waterfall. And I encouraged him, applauded him, commended him. Eventually, we made it back up. Two miles completed for my little guy.Aunt Heather bought Garrett this net while we were there. It came in mighty handy when we went crawdading. (No crawdads were hurt in this endeavor. All were rewarded with pork loin--a part of their natural diet, I'm sure--and released back into their habitat.)

After Troy got there we all went rafting on the Truckee River. If you've ever been to Tahoe you know that the only slightly dangerous part of the river between the dam and River Ranch is the very end. My parents went in a commercial raft and they took Garrett through the final rapids. Troy, Matthew, Beck and me were in a personal raft and we carabinered Matthew in. My brother and Heather also took their own raft. Heather was ejected. She ended up throwing herself on top of an older woman and a poodle and riding the rest of the way down with them. The fact that there was a poodle--and I'm talking toy--on the river and Heather ended up somewhat on top of it is pretty funny. Although, I'm not sure she thinks so.

Here we all are before The Poodle Incident.On Garrett's birthday we drove over to the east side to take pictures and play in the water at Sand Harbor. This is literally one of about 50 pictures that look pretty much like this.

Almost seven years of marriage...
The Rock Star jumping off a rock into daddy's arms.Little Buddy jumping off of a rock into mommy's arms.

The Rock Star turning four. I made him a dirt cake filled with gummy worms and gummy rats. It was a hit. Even if the adults nearly gagged just looking at the gummy rats.
Exactly 7:30 PST. Four years ago I was sweaty and exhausted and The Rock Star was much smaller and gooier.

We had a great time swimming in the lake nearly every day, rafting the Truckee, visiting with family and friends, hopping boulders in Ward Creek, shopping, eating way too much, having coffee at Squaw, hiking, and loving God's amazing creation. It became apparent that Tahoe is in Garrett's blood like it's in my own. He was often covered from head to toe with good, old fashioned, Tahoe dirt. And Matthew, after a few days, decided that he, too, loved the lake.

And also, that he loved Grandpa.
My children do not fall asleep on people. They just don't. They are "put me in my bed and I'll sleep" kind of kids. Except, apparently, in Tahoe.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Lake Tahoe is my happy place.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To A Four-Year-Old

Dear Boy,

I used to believe in forever. I'd hold your tiny body in my arms, forever. I'd smell your fresh-from-heaven head, forever. I'd kiss your little fingers and toes, forever. I'd feel your chest rise and fall as you laid on my own, forever. And, yes, I'd be changing your diapers, forever. You were everything I could have ever hoped for. Your eyes, your cries, your sighs. They were all I'd waited for. And you'd be my baby, forever.

I used to believe in forever. But I blinked and you turned one.
And then, in a flash so quick and so bright I can't quite wrap my brain around it, you were two.

And quicker, even, than that burst of light, you turned three.

Now, without consulting me at all, you've gone and turned four. I'm left with memories of those early years and the vague idea that, once upon a time, I changed your diapers.
Garrett, you are sunshine and honey and the smell of fresh strawberries all rolled into a body that never quits and a personality that warms me from the inside out. I don't think you will ever know, don't think you could ever know, just how much of my heart you hold in the palm of your hand. I don't think it's possible for you to ever comprehend just how much I needed you and just how far you've exceeded all of my expectations.
That's not to say you're perfect. Boy howdy! Far from it. You're stubborn and bossy, strong-willed and occasionally sassy. Sometimes you talk back. Sometimes you kick me. Okay, in fairness, that was only once and you were thoroughly punished for it. You test me and push the limits and ask for candy at 8:00 am. But you are so very tenderhearted, so in tune to spiritual things, so in love with your family that, while you try my patience on a daily basis, I find myself wondering how we were blessed with such a tremendous gift.
I miss the days when I believed in forever. I miss how tiny you were and how you fit perfectly between my chin and my waist. I miss those days--and I think I always will. But I love your hugs, the hilarious things you say, the joy of seeing you become a little man. I look forward to watching you grow and change this year and beyond. I hope you're enjoying your first full day as a four-year-old. I love you with all of my heart!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Four-Year-Old!


...Now, I adore my gynecologist but I'd like to know what particular brand of crack she was smoking that night because I might have slept for a total of forty-two minutes and sixteen seconds. Maybe most women don't experience contractions with Cervidil but I was not one of these auspicious ladies—I don't have that kind of luck. They weren't unbearable by any means but sleep was certainly not in the equation. At one point, my nurse informed me that with the way my contractions were going I'd have a baby by morning. For your information, she lied. Steady contractions, minor but nonetheless in attendance, coupled with umpteen machines making clickity clackity hum tink tink noises all night and the occasional, "Dr. Soinso to Labor and Delivery such and such," made for nearly zero hours of sleep on the part of the laboring mother-to-be. Additionally, I had intravenous fluid racing out of my bladder every half hour and my first nurse wouldn't let me go to the restroom without her, personally, unplugging my monitors from the wall. I continually had to page her and it always seemed as though I was interrupting something important. It got to the point where I forced myself to stretch the potty breaks to every hour even though I would be in extreme driving-across-the-state-and-dad-won't-stop-the-car-for-any-reason agony for thirty minutes of that hour. I didn't want to inconvenience my nurse. I thought I was the only woman in the history of delivering babies who needed to pee that much. If, Lord willing, I ever have another biological child, I will inform the nurse that I will be taking myself to the restroom. When, every half hour, both my offspring's heart monitor and mine simultaneously flat line, she should not worry. "If I die, my husband will be sure to inform you, I promise," I'll say imperatively. Side note: My nurse was a perfectly delightful woman who made the early stages of labor very nice for me in every way other than relieving my bladder. And, in fairness to her, nothing fun happened while she was on duty…except for the incessant urinating. Oh, and she got to give me Tylenol for a headache I saw fit to develop. I'm sure it was the highlight of her night.

In the very early morning my nurse got to go home to sleep and I got a new nurse. She was an older woman who was present for the most miserable part of my labor. I asked her meekly if it would be possible for me to just take myself to the bathroom. She granted me my one wish in the world and seemed perplexed at my asking. At around seven-thirty my beloved doctor came to examine me. Despite having contractions all night I was only dilated to one. I was, however, seventy-five percent effaced, which was the only teeny tiny cause for celebration. My doctor gleefully broke my water, which quickly got the contractions coming harder and faster. I'm not even kidding about the gleeful part, she was positively chipper over the whole situation. And just let me tell you that I kind of always thought of the "water" as being, you know, clean, for one thing. And also I pictured it whooshing out all at once and having the whole thing over with. Well, for me it was more of a rather pathetic trickling for quite a long time. I should also point out that bodily fluids aren't, to my knowledge, ever the most hygienic of substances, so clean was out of the question.

Aside from the insertion of the IV, there are four and a half hours of my labor that I would like to forget. And really, what's 270 minutes out of a lifetime? Mom was right! But from 8:00 am until 12:30 pm on July 20, 2006, I was not the happiest of campers. I don't know how far apart my contractions were but it seemed like they were coming right on top of each other, ramming into one another like freight trains gone mad. I clenched my teeth. I gripped the side of the bed as though imploring the inanimate object to take away the pain. I made scrunchy faces. I did not laugh at Kelly Ripa talking about having a bidet installed in her home, but my husband did. It was the only time in the day that I entertained thoughts of punching him. Then The Price is Right came on and I decided I'd rather hit Bob Barker. He's a charming old man but when he was shouting, "Come on down" while I was contemplating gnashing my teeth, decking him seemed like a great idea.

At eleven o'clock the midwife who had replaced my doctor when her shift was over examined me. Expecting, with the way my contractions were raging, to be at a four or five, I was livid to discover that I was dilated to…two. Given that I was clearly not progressing at even a turtle's pace, she offered me my epidural followed by Pitocin. There was no reason, she said, to give me Pit, which apparently causes psychotically intense contractions, before giving me the painkiller. And yes, I was planning, from day one, to get an Epidural. Except that I was terrified of the process. Sitting still while someone shoves a needle into my spine has never been my idea of a good time. Couple that with the fact that at our birthing class some twit who already had three children said, Imagine me saying this in an obnoxious voice, "I'm going to try this one (she annoyingly pats her middle) without drugs. I've had the epi with my other children and every single time I feel this excruciating electric shock explode through my body when they put the needle in. It must be worse than natural birth." Now imagine thirteen first time moms staring back at her in nauseated horror. The doula teaching our class tried to do damage control but it was too late. So, I was terrified of the administration of the medicine and whatever this electric shock business was, but figured that even an electrocution had to be better than screaming and yanking my husband down to my level so that I could shriek, "YOU did this to me!" Plus, I've just never seen the point in trying to be a birth-giving hero. At the end all you get is bragging rights, they don't actually hand out medals for your triumph. And if your theory is that, "Mom did it without drugs so I can too," let me remind you that she also didn't grow up with an internet or a cell phone and I bet you don't have a problem using those. And your childbearing great-granny crossed the country on foot behind a covered wagon but you don't think twice as you board your plane and munch peanuts now do you? Um. Hold on a second, I'm climbing down from my soapbox. Okay, whew, I'm off. And oh, I don't hate people who don't get epidurals or anything. I mean, truly, yay for them. I just don't understand the reasoning. Okay, back to the story at hand. So, I'd been nervously planning an Epidural all along.


No, I don't need to be a hero, but I've always thought of myself as having a fairly high threshold for pain. I didn't even know they would give it to you before three. I was horrified for about four seconds. Then my next contraction hit. And it's possible that I might have signed my life away to get that needle rammed into my spine.

The anesthesiologist was going in to a c-section so I had to wait for about an hour. I took a shower. It was really less because I was dirty (although laying in your own amniotic fluid is probably not the cleanliest of options) and more because I was about to claw my way out of my skin and a shower could only help. Emblazoned in my mind is an image of myself standing in the water with both palms on the wall in front of me. My head is hung down between my shoulders and my teeth are clenched as I breathe through a contraction. I think it was the only time I cried. And it wasn't sobbing or blubbering or screaming or moaning; I just concentrated the full weight of the contraction into scrunching my face. And tears burst out.

Back in bed I waited for the anesthesiologist and just before he came in, my midwife examined me. It had been an hour since my goods had last been investigated. Guess what I was dilated to? Drum roll please…TWO! At this point it had been 18 and a half hours since I arrived at the hospital. I honestly think I could have labored for five days and not hit three.

I had the friendliest anesthesiologist I could have hoped for. Of course, it's not amusing to have a needle inserted into your spine, but it wasn't traumatic and there wasn't even an inkling of an electric shock. I wouldn't have one administered daily just for chuckles but the relief it brought made the remaining seven hours of my labor almost pleasurable. The only unfortunate part was that my inquisitive husband, who desperately wanted to watch, was banished to the corner of the room because, apparently, husbands tend to pass out at these sorts of things. But when the nurse said, "Excuse me, I'm going to have to ask you to step over there while the procedure is performed," I suddenly felt very lonely and very important in a way I didn't altogether enjoy. Following the Epidural, I got a nifty catheter and a Pitocin drip. Like magic, the dilating began.

The Epidural was administered with me on my left side so I stayed there for quite some time. Shortly after all of my pain went silently into the blazing heat of the afternoon, I got a new nurse. All my nurses were lovely but my last nurse was perfect. Not terribly older than me, she struck up conversation whenever she had a few minutes. She and my midwife were thrilled that Troy and I didn't know the sex of the baby. They couldn't wait to find out right along with us. Troy decided to take a lunch break and I was encouraged to get some sleep. I was nearly promised a baby by midnight. I tried to sleep. Really, I did. But the excitement of meeting my firstborn united with the violent shakes prohibited more than the half hour or so that I was able to get. I didn't feel particularly cold but apparently shivering is a side effect of Epidural. Shivering, however, would be the understatement of the century. My teeth were literally crashing together and if I managed to fall asleep, I would wake up with my tongue caught between my gnashing jaws. The only way I could stop shaking was if I very consciously resolved to keep still.

In the late afternoon, my nurse realized that I had been on my left side for a really long time and she had me turn onto my right side so that all the numbness wouldn't seep to one side leaving the other unepiduralized. It didn't take long for her to come rushing back in. Baby didn't like my right side. He kept pinching the cord and his heart rate would plummet. The midwife assessed the situation. I would roll onto my left side again to see if his heart rate improved. If not, it was straight to the operating room. And by saying, "I would roll," I mean, of course, that the nurse would roll me because I had no feeling from my waist down. I also had no clothing from my waist down and with my blessedly pain free existence, I suddenly became very aware of my nakedness while the rolling was occurring. Perhaps the serpent gave Adam and Eve an Epidural in the garden. I chose to ignore the fact that my merchandise was exposed to anyone who entered my room. Thankfully, the baby's heart rate returned to normal on my left side and no more naked rolling ensued. I did, however, have to get an oxygen mask just in case. In case of what I'm not really sure but it seemed like a good idea at the time and who I am to argue with the medical professionals. I got a B in biology and barely passed college chemistry.

The details of the blissfully numb afternoon are a little fuzzy. I cannot remember how many times I was examined or what I was dilated to during those probings. What I remember is that in five hours I progressed from an unwavering two to a nine. I recall feeling extremely panicky because my mother didn't answer her cell phone right away and I didn't know where she was. Troy and I had decided that we wanted to experience the birth of our child quietly, privately, serenely. I, in fact, had become fiercely attached to the idea of making it through the labor and delivery with only him. The mere conception of this baby had taken so many tears, so many prayers, so much of who we were that I only wanted to share his miraculous entrance into the world with the one person who had walked every aching step of the trial with me. But I needed to know that my mother was in the waiting room…waiting. Sending me moral support through the walls. Being there in case I suddenly decided that I needed her to come in and make it all better. Of course, she got there in plenty of time to sit and wait.

At 5:30 I was at nine. Blessed. Beautiful. Nine.

At 6:30 I started pushing. Thankfully, they had lightened my epidural so that I had control over the delivery.

I chose to have a mirror. While I never thought that was something I would want to see, the experience of watching my child's birth is an image I don't think I can ever forget—nor do I want to. I'd just like to say that giving birth is the most exquisite and the most revolting thing I have ever done. You're sitting there all confused and like, "How, exactly, do I get it out?" And the nurse is all, "It's like taking a crap." Well, actually, she says it more like, "It's as though you're having a bowel movement." But um…my bowel movements do not weight over six pounds and come out with heads that measure fourteen inches around. (It is here that I would like to add an emphatic Praise the Lord!) So I'm sitting, legs in stirrups, knees up near my neck, arms around my legs, attempting to equate my baby to a turd and in any case, I more or less figure out how this business is accomplished. And it's a frustrating activity because as you bear down you see this head start to appear. This, in and of itself, would be fantastic if you could push through eighteen contractions in a row but, well, you need some kind of air in your lungs so pausing becomes a necessity. Three counts to ten…then rest. Oxygen mask on. Oxygen mask off. Three counts to ten…then rest. Oxygen mask on. And during each rest that little head crept back from whence it came.

Now, I am one of the most competitive people I know. Luckily, my husband, on more than one occasion, has been made aware of this personality trait flaw. As the pushing went on I became more and more exhausted. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Breathe.

One. Two. Three. Four.Five.Six.Seven.Eight.Nine.Ten. Breathe.


That is how Troy would count. Because he knew I'd be mad at myself if I couldn't get to ten each time. Eventually the nurse told him he was speeding up. He knew it. I knew it. He just kind of smiled at her and said, "If she doesn't get to ten she'll be mad at herself."

Though progress was being made, the midwife suggested an episiotomy and, by that point, I was thrilled to oblige. It was the only time Troy and I both looked away. The pediatric nurse was brought in. Moments later, his entire head emerged. They suctioned his nose and mouth and I said, "what do I do now?" Because it seemed that the shoulders would be a painful problem. My midwife smiled and said, "Nothing." And two seconds later, at 7:30 pm, 26 hours after I arrived at the hospital, the rest of him literally slid out. The nurse and midwife had told Troy that he could announce the gender when the baby finally emerged. He said, "It's a boy!" But he didn't need to. The tiny body was twelve inches away from my own and I think it only took a nanosecond for me to take him in entirely. Two arms. Two legs. A nose. A mouth. A…um…boy. Feet. Hands. Fingers. Toes. Flesh of my flesh. Vision of my dream. They laid him on my chest and what I remember most was how hot he was; still snug from being so very close to my soul. And what I recall after that was how he was staring at me in a heartbreaking way. Because for as long as I could remember I had waited for this moment and it had finally come. And if I hadn't felt four pairs of eyes watching the two of us, I would have wept.

"What's his name?"

Troy looked at the inquiring faces and answered, "This is Garrett."

And then he cut the cord. At the time the actual cord cutting ritual didn't feel particularly momentous. But now, in the quietness of night when my wiggly wormy one-year-old is still, I wish I had paid more attention to those few seconds where we were two spirits joined as one. If only I'd relished the time before he was severed from me; cut loose to split his head open and talk back and go to prom and get married and one day cut his own child apart from his wife.

He was whisked to the other side of the room for evaluation and his proud daddy never let him out of his sight. The midwife delivered the placenta. She answered the question of our curiosity. It appeared to be a normal placenta, healthy and unfailing. To me it just looked bright red and gucky. But then, I've never been educated on how to tell a good placenta from a sick one—we didn't, actually, cover that in any of my theatre courses. The midwife began the thrilling task of, uh, refurbishing my commodity and Garrett began to scream…loudly. Only minutes earlier he had been nestled comfortably inside me and now he was this whole separate person making noise all on his own.

Though it had only been about five minutes, it seemed like forever when Garrett was finally handed back to me. From then until the middle of the night, he made barely more than a peep. Troy went out and made the announcement to our families and then we had about an hour with him before they came in. I nursed Garrett for the first time and he did astonishingly well…but he'd sucked his thumb in-utero so he'd had practice. Of course, after the first time he promptly forgot how. That certainly made for a frustrating couple of days. But in the delivery room it was very calm. The three of us did quite a bit of staring at each other, savoring our new family, astounded by the incredible blessing that the Lord had bestowed upon us. With my husband by my side and my son in my arms, I felt that the deepest desires of my heart had been realized. And this was only the very beginning, the first few minutes, of our life together, as a family.

Monday, July 19, 2010

How Have Four Years Gone By?

Four years ago tonight, this was my story...

*Disclaimer: I use my blog as a journal and, after a year of trying to remember the details of my birth story I decided to journal it before I forget everything. Many of the details have already faded into the months that have passed by. The following is incredibly long and I do not expect anyone to read through it all. It's not terribly graphic but it is a birth story so the words placenta and cervix do make an appearance. The V-word, however, does not because it is an icky word that should be struck from the English language. Eventually there will be another blog on the hospital stay because there are some mighty fun details from that. Including but not limited to my roommate thinking that her one day old daughter was mad because her shirt was dirty as well as the amazing ice panties. So, if you do get through this and are just dying to hear more, stay tuned...

My son has now survived nearly a full year of living, which, naturally and obviously, makes me the expert on childrearing. I've learned that nothing can prepare a first time parent for what is about to happen to them. Oh sure, there are books and blogs and literature from the gynecologist's office. There's advice galore from every woman who has previously stuck her legs into stirrups and watched a child emerge. I will say that prior babysitting experience helps. Well, sort of. I mean, not with the birthing process and not with how to breastfeed or not go crazy in the middle of the night when the child will not stop crying. But it helps in terms of not holding the baby like a bomb or putting the diaper on backward. I was fortunate to have had such baby-holding-diaper-changing experience. Still, I was unprepared. And I knew it.

For starters, I was terrified about the actual birthing experience. I had literally begged and pleaded with God for my child. Babies don't come easily for my husband and me. We can't just wink at each other and get a positive pregnancy test in the morning, which, in case anyone is wondering, seems to be the sort of magic my sisters-in-law can invoke. And so, several failed infertility treatments, the beginnings of an adoption process, heaps of prayers, torrents of tears, and a great many months after my husband and I first, er, winked at each other in the hopes of manufacturing arrows for our quiver, I found myself carrying our first child. Words cannot begin to describe my elation. But, even from the beginning, I found myself terrified about getting it out. I wished myself a kangaroo on more than one occasion. Lucky marsupials, growing your young in your pouch.

My mother always told me that birth wasn't bad. "People wouldn't have more than one if it was that horrible." She made a good point. Just when I started buying her particular brand of making-me-less-scared, someone at church would say something along the lines of, "labor is absolute hell, but you get a baby out of it." Neat. Thanks. And every time I felt an anxiety attack coming on, I'd remember that I had sobbed hysterical prayers to the Lord for this baby. I felt as though feeling apprehensive was the deadliest of sins. Toward the end, I tuned in to A Baby Story daily. Maybe watching all of these women would somehow prepare me for the birth. Some made me feel better. The calm, epiduralized women were accommodating to the theory of peace that I was hoping for. The caesarian births actually made me start hoping for a breech baby who would emerge through a tidy scheduled slicing of the abdomen. But the screamers, wailers, extreme sweaters and moaners sent me right back into panic mode.

Thankfully (and it is with hesitation that I choose that word) my baby began giving me extremely bad pains where his little butt was ramming inconveniently into my ribcage. I say thankfully because after a few weeks of sleeping on top of rolled up socks (the only way to not feel the stabbing pain) I was ready to get that child out by any means necessary. In fact, on the way to the hospital I looked at my husband and said, in complete sincerity, "I'm not scared at all anymore."

I was induced. My child was growing a little slower than my obstetrician would have liked and she ordered him out a week before his due date, suspecting a failing placenta and a growth restricted baby. Because it was a medical reason, I was happy to comply. I have never supported removing a child early just for kicks. You know, because Aunt Betsy flew in and doesn't have all month to wait around for junior to make his appearance—or whatever.

So anyway, after a few days of calling morning, noon and night, I finally got in for the induction. When I got settled in my room the nurse gave me a gown and pointed me toward the bathroom so that I could get changed. I remember thinking that was peculiar. In just a few hours nurses, doctors and midwifes would be taking turns probing and investigating my hooha with outrageous abandon but for the time being we were all about the modesty. The other curious statement was that I should take off my undergarments unless I was of a religion that prohibited such an act. What religions are these? And how, exactly, does one give birth with her underwear on? Come to think of it, how does one end up in such a predicament at all? Seems to me if you leave your underwear on pregnancy becomes much less of a dilemma altogether. But I didn't engage the nurse in dialogue regarding either of these mysteries. Best not to reveal too much of my personality in the first five minutes. I simply went into the bathroom, took off my clothes, slipped into something a little more comfortable and a lot more revealing, walked out and climbed in to the bed.

It is here that I will explain that getting my IV put in was just maybe the worst part of the whole experience. Honestly. When my nurse put it in my arm I thought, "Oh no. I'm really not going to be able to handle this. I'm done. It can just stay inside. I'm fine carrying around the extra weight. Really. And that back pain, I'll get used to it. It'll probably build character—or something." But then again, I'm a self-professed needle weenie.

My doctor happened to be working that night so she came in, sat sideways in the extra chair and flopped her legs over the arm while she described the induction process. I tend to think of my obstetrician like I used to think of my teachers when I was in elementary school. She's like a mythical demigod who only exists within the realms of her office. It was both comforting and unusual that she, like us mere mortals, sits sideways in chairs from time to time—even if she does so while using the word cervix. Because she suspected that my baby was growth restricted, she wanted to try a slow induction process, to see how he handled slight contractions before we forced his little body to endure the real whoppers.

Cervidil would be, for lack of a more pleasant word, inserted. Twelve hours later she would remove the medication and examine me to see how I was progressing. In twelve hours you will come back and check? I was kind of hoping to have this whole thing over and done with by then!!! I thought forlornly to myself, but who was I kidding, my mother was in labor for 23 hours with me and then they still had to rip me out with a suction and forceps. "Don't worry," she said, "you probably won't have contractions and you can sleep all night."

To Be Continued...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Giving his regards . . .

Back in June we wrapped up Garrett's first year of preschool. It was only mornings two days a week but it was an excellent opportunity for him to meet children of the same age while learning his ABC's, numbers, and numerous songs. We were very pleased with the teachers and programs, and the Rock Star enjoyed his year very much.

It's hard to believe we're in the latter half of July already. Nevertheless, there were a couple of school happenings worthy of being documented in cyberspace. Firstly, the Rock Star had his end of the year, performance, a three and four year old Broadway revue. The kids performed many well known songs including "New York, New York," "So Long Farewell," and "Tomorrow." Although much of the performance was meant to be a surprise to the parents, the lyrics had been sung loudly and often at our house during weeks leading up to the actual show.

Of course as soon as the performance started, somewhere during the song pictured above, the Rock Star loudly declared that he had to go potty. Neat. Especially since we made him go less than fifteen minutes before the whole thing started just to avoid this from happening. As it turned out he was only the first to elicit his inner diva and declare that he was taking an unscheduled break. Before the program was over (less than an hour) at least a quarter of the kids had made a quick trip to the toilet.

Seriously, I don't know how the preschool teachers do it. Two children can be overwhelming, let alone a classroom full. And the teachers don't just get through the day, they get the herd of three and four year olds to learn and sing songs in a mostly organized fashion . . . all while teaching them how to recognize the letter H and identify what sound it makes.

Well, back to the pictures. Later that month, G got a chance to have a preschool drive-in movie in his own cardboard car:

Then of course there was a field trip to Wheeler Farm and an un-birthday celebration for all the kids who would miss having their special day commemorated during the school calendar year.

As you can see Garrett was quite in love with his un-birthday crown and he proudly continued wearing it at home.

Oh to be three again, when your days might be filled field trips, and singing, and dancing, watching movies in your own daddy-constructed vehicle and having a day celebrated in your honor for no special reason . . .

Then again, it might be even more of a privilege to be a parent and watch all this wonderment from the sideline.

Because sometimes being a parent is so much more than awesome. Especially when you're documenting the happy parts more than a month later. After all the daily frustrations have faded away and been forgotten and all that you're left with is your happy memories recorded in pictures.

And of course I can't leave out our other son who fills our days with awesome. Little Buddy is still waiting for his days of learning and merriment . . . scratch that . . . who is experiencing plenty of learning and merriment, just not at preschool quite yet.

Happy Birthday Karsie!

Dear Karsie,

In just three days my own baby will turn four. This seems incredibly impossible but that's a different story for a different day. I remember exactly what I was doing this time last year. I was planning his third birthday party. Then I got the news of your birth, in pieces, from your blog and from your God-mamma. A bit of news here, a hurried phone call there. My stomach was in one giant knot. I could barely move, afraid of what might happen if I did. With all the fear--and love--that I felt, I could not imagine, for one second, being your parent. I tried to wrap my brain around what your mom was going through. I tried to imagine the seventeen-year-old girl that I met back on the third floor of Nease Hall over ten years ago dealing with such a monumentally difficult time. I couldn't figure out how she'd possibly be able to remember how to live. But Karsie, she did. And so did your dad and everyone else who loves you beyond measure. But, most importantly, so did you. You fought and became a living, breathing, miracle.

Thank you. Your impact on my life is hard to put into words. I laid awake that night and prayed over and over and over for you and for your parents. In the middle of my own trial you pulled me out of a "me" focused prayer life. Matthew would live. Certainly I wanted his life to be spent with me but he would live. As your life hung in the balance I realized just how lucky we were and I held Matthew close and begged the Lord not to take you home.

I love you so very much, from afar, through your blog and emails with your mama. It was such an amazing blessing to finally meet you. May you always know that your life has impacted so very many. In ways that I may never be able to articulate, you're my hero. Happy Birthday!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Not Sleeping in Tahoe

For all of you who regularly look forward to reading about the latest antics of the Rock Star and Little Buddy you undoubtedly realize that this blog is on temporary summer vacation as Lori and the boys are off to Lake Tahoe with her parents. I, the husband and father portion of this fishbowl family, am still home working. One of the benefits of Lori's job raising the boys is that she can take her job (and it certainly is work) with her even to places like Lake Tahoe. So while Lori is off enjoying her week with the boys and parents I can hijack her blog to give you an update.

Now, I don't pretend to be as entertaining as my wife, but at least her loyal readers will have something to read while you wait for her return--at least a couple entries. I do get to join the family for a few days following the weekend. . . .

And this time I even have permission to write and won't be punished by a retaliatory blog like what happened here.

The family is having lots of fun. They are enjoying their time together at the lake. A certain would be rock star is having so much fun in fact that he is not letting anyone sleep in past the time of (cue drum roll) . . . six AM!

6:00 AM! On vacation! Seriously son we need to have a talk. Vacations are for fun and family, but they are also for rest. Remember I've told you that in the summer the sun gets confused and comes up too early. Just because the sun is up doesn't mean you have to be rousing the house for another day of adventure.

It would be one thing if you could quietly read the paper and make yourself some coffee. But you are not quiet (even when you try to be) and the cabin is so very small that your stirring disrupts everyone's slumber. This is a particular problem because while the adults can go back to sleep, Little Buddy often does not. Then he starts cackling and squealing and adding to the early morning not-so-merriment.

I talked to Lori this morning and the Rock Star decided staying in bed until 6:00 AM made him too much of a sluggard. He decided to get up at 5:05, because after all the sun was already up and he couldn't be outdone by a gaseous ball of light and fire.

I'm thinking the Rock Star might need a new name. Aren't Rock Stars supposed to be up all night and sleep all day? . . . not that G staying up all night would make for a great vacation anyway.

. . . Suddenly I'm feeling better about not being included in this weeks escapades. Sure I may be stuck back home, going to work every day, but I get to sleep in past 6:00 AM . . . Lucky me!

Speaking of sleeping. The Rock Star may have inherited some of my sleeping quirks. Supposing this is true, the fishbowlwife will have sympathy for his future spouse. If you clicked on Lori's revenge link above, you know it was primarily a critique of my sleep preferences. Particularly ridiculed was the fact that I wrap a shirt around my eyes (so that its darker) and the fact that I like a fan running (happy white noise). I'd include a picture to make fun of myself but Lori took both cameras with her on vacation. I digress . . .

. . . a couple weeks ago when Garrett had the stomach flu he wanted to go to bed early, even though the sun had not fully dropped beneath the horizon. Apparently, he likes it to be dark when he sleeps as well--evidenced by this picture:

Of course the large bowl over his head was supposed to be used in case he woke up having to purge any more stomach contents. He thought it was better utilized as a sun shield. Maybe Lori and the rest of the family would be getting more sleep if they would have brought the white bowl. Or maybe, much to her chagrin, she will have to teach him to wrap a shirt around his face. Maybe this could get him to rest until a more reasonable time (like say 7:00 AM).

Monday, July 12, 2010

I'm Outta Here!

The plan was for me to leave at 4:00 am this morning to head to Tahoe with my boys and dog. Troy is coming out later. Whether I actually accomplished the task of getting three people out of the house by 4:00 am will remain a mystery until I return. But you can place bets. Please pray for me. A nearly seven-year-old golden retriever, a nearly four-year-old boy, a sixteen-month-old, a 570 mile drive and one mama. Yikes. (Yes, I've driven farther with the kids before but this time we're adding a hairy slobber machine. Hooray!)

Here is a little revisit from our last trip to Tahoe.

Also, Happy Anniversary to my friends Kevin and Michelle!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Oh, I See Color!

I've had a post about colorblindness percolating for awhile now. Ever since I first read the comments written about my family and me in a certain corner of the Internet world, really. I chose not to defend myself against the hate speech because, truthfully, I saw very little point in doing that. We adopted transracially. There are people who are angry about that. We fought a contested adoption. People hate us for that. I'm not going to change minds and, slowly, I'm coming to terms with that. But when one person states one untruth, completely in opposition to anything I've ever written on this blog, and someone else tweaks it ever so slightly, it becomes a game of telephone and suddenly the truth has become so distorted I cannot recognize my own details in the calumny.

Such is the way it was when one person claimed that I said I was colorblind and another took it a step further and said that I'd written that I didn't care if my child was covered in blue polka dots and then another was incredibly appalled that I'd make such a claim--which I didn't. I have zero recollection of making such a statement and certainly can't find it in my archives. Please, if you find it, bring it to my attention. I'd like to retract it on account of the fact that, if I ever said anything of the sort, I was clearly delusional, not firing on all cylinders, and, to put it mildly, had a major case of the crazy cakes.

I am not colorblind.

And though a post about this has been percolating for some time, I ran across this today, put so much better than I ever, ever could. And, in the event that you don't click on the link, I'm going to include some of it here. Written by Amie Sexton and appearing on The Livesay (Haiti) Weblog, it is something that we all need to hear--whether we're a transracial family or not. say that love does not “see color” is as ridiculous as saying that because I love dogs they are all exactly the same to me. Suppose you stood before me with a Great Dane and a Chihuahua and I insisted that there is no difference between them –that I am blind to their genetic traits. Any one of you would argue my insanity in a court of law because clearly one of these dogs is a 210 lb. mini-horse and the other could be mistaken for a rat. My love for dogs does not change my ability to recognize their distinct attributes. My love may allow me to impart affection to both critters equally regardless of their size but it will not cause me to ignore what is obvious. And taking it even further –if I insist these two creatures are practically the same in every way and therefore I cram my Great Dane into a crate made for a toy breed I’m no longer just ignoring the difference but overlooking their specific needs and inadvertently causing damage.

...When your adopted minority child looks in the mirror he/she sees black, brown, peach, yellow, tan, etc. skin looking back. For that child to hear us say that our love is “colorblind” can be far more hurtful than any of us would dream. What we mean is that our love for them transcends color and ethnicity. But what they often hear is “I don’t see part of you.” We so desperately want to affirm our children in the security of our unconditional love that we miss the point. What if Tara came to me tomorrow and said, “Amie, I’m going to overlook the fact that you are a red-headed freckle factory and continue loving you anyway”? Besides how completely ironic that would be given our shared features, it would also hurt me deeply because the very nature of such a statement implies that my traits are unbecoming and undesirable and something to be overlooked in order to find me acceptable. Our children want to be accepted because of who they are –inside and out- not in spite of it.

Love that overlooks is belittling. Love that acknowledges is accepting.

Amen. No, I am not colorblind. I see my son's color. I see his curly dark hair. I see his features, the one's that make me identify him as the color "black" even though he is intrinsically "brown". I see it just as I see my oldest son and identify him as "white" even though he is the color of a not yet ripened peach. And Matthew's color matters. It matters deeply to who he is, where he has come from, and what that means culturally, socially, and personally.

Certainly I've made the mistake of saying that his color doesn't matter. When we were filling out our adoption information packet, we were given the option of checking (or not) several different ethnic markers. At some point I said, "It doesn't matter to me what ethnicity the child is." When we turned in our paperwork with every ethnicity checked we absolutely did not mean that his color, heritage, and culture was unimportant anymore than we meant that it didn't matter if the baby was a boy or a girl. Of course gender matters--it matters a great deal.

So, yes, at some point in the adoption process we said that gender and ethnicity didn't matter. But to look at my child and say, "It doesn't matter to me that you're African American," is as ridiculously devastating as looking at him and saying, "It doesn't matter to me that you're a boy." Of course it matters. Attempting to make him "white" or trying to make him fit into a "white world" would be as devastatingly wrong as attempting to make him a girl and putting him in a dress. I have an African American son. And that matters. And, certainly, polka dots would have mattered. For crying out loud, polka dots would have made a big difference.

But my love would have been the same.

And that's the point.

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's a Pillow. It's a Pet. It's a Pillow Pet.

For months The Rock Star has been begging for a Pillow Pet for his birthday. It has to be a dolphin and it's the only thing he's really asked for. Whenever he says he wants something else for his birthday I say, "More than a Pillow Pet?" He always answers with, "No. I really want a Pillow Pet." Aside from his play set, which we ended up spending very little of our own money on, he's getting five presents from us. Three of them he'll open just before we leave for Tahoe. A kiddie fishing pole, tiny tackle box, and a mask and snorkel set. The other two he'll open when we get back from Tahoe. A few pairs of new underwear and the beloved Pillow Pet. Whenever the Pillow Pet commercial comes on he begs me for one. Today was no exception.

G: I want a Pillow Pet for my birthday.
Me: Put it on your list.
G: It's the only thing I really want!
Me: Okay, well you don't get everything you want. Put it on your list and we'll see when we get home from Tahoe.
G: I want the dolphin one!
Me: I know.
G: (after much of the commercial has played) Mom! They are even machine washable!

And he said the last part as though this is the major selling point for him.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

All For A Free Frosty

In an argument I usually think I'm right. I've become attached to my answer, my opinion, my action, what have you. If I've already seen the error of my way of thinking, it likely doesn't result in an argument but, rather, an apology. I think this is often the way with humans. We reason therefore we reason that we are right. But typically, I'll admit when I'm wrong. If, that is, I'm wrong.

Today, I wasn't wrong.

Let me back up. The Rock Star played tee ball in April and May and, when the season was over, he received a Salt Lake Bees Knothole Club ID Card. The Bees are our minor league baseball team. Among other things, this card grants him a free Jr. Frosty from any Wasatch Front Wendy's location. A Jr. Frosty is only 53 cents but every penny counts. A couple weeks ago we used this card at a Wendy's near our house. When I mentioned it to the employee she seemed to know exactly what I was talking about and didn't even need to see the card to verify.

I tried to use it again today at a different location which is still very close to our home and very close to where Garrett played tee ball. I asked for the Frosty and informed the person taking the order that I had a card to receive it for free. I also ordered a 99 cent Frosty. The intercom crackled and there was a bit of a language barrier and I was unsure of what she declared the total to be. The order should have come to $1.07 but I thought I'd heard a six which was confusing. I drove up to the window and a young guy asked for $1.60--and this is where it gets interesting.

Me: I'm confused. I'm paying for a Frosty and getting a Jr. Frosty for free.
Guy: Do you have a coupon?
Me: No. I have a Bees Club Card. Do you need to see it?
Guy: Uh...
Me: Here (I hand it to him.)
Guy: Hmmm. I've never seen this before. Hold on just a minute.
(He disappears. While he is gone, the lady at the next window is hanging her head out of it trying to get me to pull forward. Clearly, she's thinking that I have no idea how the concept of a drive thru works. Guy returns with Rude Employee who is now holding my card.)
Rude Employee: So you just want the one Frosty then?
Me: No. I want to pay for a small Frosty and get a Jr. Frosty for free.
Rude Employee: Do you have a coupon?
Me: No. I have that card.

We interrupt this dialogue so that I can explain, in great detail, what this card looks like. On the front it says Salt Lake Bees Knothole Club Official Member. There is a picture of a bee wearing a baseball cap and holding a bat. At the top in tiny writing it says, Triple-A Affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and at the bottom it says Presented By: and then has the official Wendy's logo. At the very bottom it has the symbol for copyright and says 2010 Oldemark LLC. The Wendy's name and design are trademarks of Oldemark LLC and are licensed to Wendy's International, Inc.

If you turn the card over it says Knothole Club ID Card Holder Benefits and proceeds to list several things including the free Jr. Frosty. Now back to our scene.

Rude Employee: (making a face like I am the dumbest person he's ever met, staring at the front of the card for about three seconds and then saying, with conviction) This card is only good in Los Angeles.

Now, I didn't mean to laugh out loud. I certainly didn't mean to do it right in his face. I definitely didn't mean to convey with that laugh that I was, of course, laughing at him and not with him. It just bubbled up and out because the statement was so utterly ridiculous.

Me: Los Angeles? It is not good in L.A.. It's a Salt Lake Bees card! How could it be good in L.A.? It says it's good for a Jr. Frosty at any Wasatch Front Wendy's.
Rude Employee: (without pausing) Oh. Well then. This isn't a Wasatch Front Wendy's.

The Wasatch Front is an urban area in the north-central part of the U.S. state of Utah. It consists of a chain of cities and towns stretched along the Wasatch Range from approximately Santaquin in the south to Brigham City in the north. Roughly 80% of Utah's population resides in this region, as it contains the major cities of Salt Lake City, Provo and Ogden. And, just so you know, I wouldn't even try to use it anywhere outside of Salt Lake county.

Me: Well, I used it at the Wendy's on (insert name of street near my house here) and that's even farther from the Wasatch Range than you are.
Rude Employee: (rolls his eyes at me!) Well, I don't know what to tell you. I mean, I guess I'll do it. (insert dramatic pause) This time. But I'm going to be talking to my manager about this.
Guy: (stepping forward) $1.07 (whispering) I'm really sorry.
Me: It's okay.

It was like I was holding him at gunpoint in an attempt to rob him of half a dollar. I felt like, without a trial, judge or jury, I'd been sentenced to hang for my sin. At least Guy realized that we're innocent until proven guilty and that, in this case, I would not be proven guilty.

The card also entitles us to discounts on EnergySolutions Arena events and Utah Jazz games. Maybe I should try to get discounted tickets at the Staples Center and, when they look at me like I'm insane I can inform them that Rude Employee at a Wendy's in Utah informed me that my card was only good in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Brian Head

This was in our newspaper, The Salt Lake Tribune, which, by the way, I am forever referring to as the "The Salt Lake Union Tribune" because the paper that I grew up with was called The San Diego Union Tribune and old habits die hard. Also, it should be noted that The San Diego Union Tribune is constantly sending me emails titled, We Want You Back! And I'm all, "Really?" Because I don't think any of your delivery people actually want to drive out here. Unless the paper is not actually talking about my business but is, instead, expressly begging me to return to San Diego. In that case, I had no idea I was so missed. Anyway, back to what I found in our paper this morning.

"Brokers drop sale price for Brian Head Ski Resort

Parowan>>Brokers have reduced the sale price for a southern Utah ski resort by nearly $6 million.

The original asking price for Brian Head Ski Resort was $34.75 million, but was reduced to $29 million three weeks ago.

A broker for the firm CB Richard Ellis Inc. says the price came down because of a slow market in resort real estate.

The resort near Parowan is currently running its regular summer activities, including mountain biking and ski lift rides.

General manager Henry Hornberger says even if the resort does not sell before the winter season begins, he expects it to be business as usual at the resort.

Brian Head Resort includes two mountains, nine lifts and 640 skiable acres on 53 runs."

I called my dad and asked him if he had 29 million dollars lying around. He asked if I'd found something I wanted to buy and I told him, "Brian Head." See, Brian Head isn't just a resort near Parowan. It's memories. I grew up skiing there in the winters, my family, my grandparents, aunts, uncles and, eventually, cousins, would cozy up in a condo or two with hot chocolate, plastic arms, and a series of ropes used for swinging my brother and I wildly from the second story.
Brian Head is a place for digging cars out of the snow. It's a place for planting plastic arms in the snow and making people think someone is buried. It's a place where the adults play Trivial Pursuit and my brother and I go to bed. It's, apparently, a place where my brother still sucks on a pacifier...

And, okay, so if you click to enlarge that picture, the one that was taken some 25ish years ago when my brother really did still suck on a pacifier, you will see that I did, in fact, give birth to myself. Because that, right there, is Garrett in a purple ski jacket. So if all the people who didn't know us when we were little could stop saying that he looks exactly like his father and I contributed no DNA whatsoever that would be great. Thanks.

Brian Head is a place, apparently, where I dressed up like some sort of mini diva.

And perfected the snow plow...

A few years back I was able to introduce my husband and my own son to the snowy resort...

As far as the cost goes, what with the adoption expenses and all, I can come up with, maybe, let's see, carry the one, minus that, hmmm, about $200 of that asking price. Does anyone have the other 28,999,800 lying around?

And, also, slow market in resort real estate? You don't say...

Monday, July 5, 2010

Gotta Love the Glasses

This just in: I'm so allergic to this blasted state that I now get to use antihistamine drops every year from early May until late October. The upper eyelid infection has returned. Last week, when I'd take my contacts out, I'd feel like there was a finger or a plank stuck in my eye. On Thursday night I took them out and just didn't bother putting them back in. My right eye has continued to feel like I am the individual in the parable who needed to remove the log from her own eye before attempting to pull the speck out of another's.

I called the eye doctor this morning and got in at 11:15. I have to wear my glasses for another week while using an anti-inflammatory. Then I switch to the antihistamine. I've alternated between contemplating an eye patch and wanting to pop the thing out with a spoon. On Saturday I was about ready to pack my bags and head back to San Diego where I didn't spend a season and a half out of every year wanting to claw my eyes out.

I've never had any kind of allergies before. I'm not a fan.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

What Did You Eat for Dinner?

The Rock Star yakked again tonight. Bright purple blueberry barf all over the stairs. He then proceeded to sprint to the bathroom and deposit even more berry blast into the toilet. This explains why he fell asleep on his bed this afternoon without prompting from me. I had to wake him and we then had the following conversation--entirely groggy on his part.

Me: What do you want for dinner?
Him: Nothing.
Me: Nothing? What about pizza?
Him: No.
Me: How 'bout Beck? We could eat Beck for dinner. (trying to get him to laugh so that he'd actually wake up)
Him: No.
Me: If you don't give me any ideas, I'll just make mashed potatoes. (He hates those!)
Him: No you won't.
Me: Maybe if you wake up all the way I'll let you have ice cream for dinner.
Him: Well, that's not going to happen. So I'm not going to do it.

And then I laughed. A lot. He's only three but sometimes he has the practical wisdom of an eight-year-old.

Half an hour later, he threw up all over the floor and dinner was altogether out of the question.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


You know you have boys when you spend the afternoon turning an old plant pot into a Slug and Worm Habitat.

I'm just saying.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sweetness and Light and Feces

I want a raise. I simply do not get paid enough for this job.

Little Buddy has been having explosive diapers for a couple of days now. He's acting perfectly normal except for the part where he has a very small appetite and horrific Huggies. This is the kid who has always been willing to eat whatever we put in front of him. Now he's turning his nose up at everything and then, when we attempt to insist that he eat it, throwing it at us. And we've had several ridiculously nasty diapers. Matthew will be walking along, minding his own business when all of the sudden he gets a strange look on his face, grunts, and lets out a horrendous sound from his nether regions. In the matter of one second he'll be covered from the top of the front of the diaper to the top of the back with runny goo. It's special.

Last night, our door flew open at 3:40. The Rock Star was sobbing about throwing up. It took us a few seconds to realize he'd thrown up on the floor of his room after attempting to make it to the bathroom. I got him cleaned up while Troy got the floor cleaned up. Then I made a bed for him on my floor, Troy got him a big bowl, we put a nightlight in our bathroom, and left the toilet seat up. A half hour later he was barfing again but, luckily, he made it to the toilet. He then proceeded to have horrible diareara (his word, not mine) all morning.

At one point I heard sobbing coming from the bathroom. As I opened the door, I asked what was wrong. I needn't have asked. There was poop everywhere. It was very reminiscent of that one time on the plane. Except, you know, the bathroom was bigger this time. "I didn't make it!" He wailed. I'll say. There was poop in his clothes, poop on the floor. Poop on the side of the toilet, and poop down his leg. He was perched on the top of the toilet and he was embarrassed (and hey, he'll get to relive his embarrassment again when he's old enough to read my blog! So yeah for that!) and just kept apologizing to me. I explained that he didn't have to apologize, that it was an accident, that I knew it wasn't his fault, and on and on and on. When I'd cleaned him up I had him get down and that's when I realized that it was somehow also on the bottom of his foot. The floor of the bathroom filled with Garrett sized poop prints. Neat. When all was said and done I realized that the toilet was full of paper and, well, plugged. Sweet. Just as I started to unplug my boy wailed, "I have to go poop again!"

"Run upstairs, quick!"

And as I unplugged one toilet he filled another.

And before I could rinse out his clothes he filled the bowl again.

So I gave him a third of an Imodium.

My house is a mess.

There is still a chunk of quesadilla on the floor where it landed when Matthew lifted his chubby arms over his head and lobbed it at me. There are receipts on the counter and clothes on the bed. At least they're freshly washed and folded. Today I broke up a fight between a one-year-old and a not-quite-four-year-old over a pop-up book that Garrett had first. I put Garrett in time out because a certain one-year-old had knocked over a certain not-quite-four-year-old's farm and the not-quite-four-year-old got so mad that he took his anger out on his bed and threw everything on the ground, blanket, sheet, and all. He's been destroying beds lately and it's really getting on my nerves so I put him in time out on top of the naked bed. I held Matthew as he sobbed simply because his brother was crying in time out. I brushed my teeth. I think. I wiped a lot of bottoms. Or, that is to say, I wiped the same bottoms a lot of times. I fed them lunch. A toddler threw lunch at me. I put both boys down for naps, sat on the couch, and exhaled.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Sometimes raising kids is all sweetness and light and unicorns dancing on rainbows and sometimes it's all out guerrilla warfare.

But just before I put them down for naps, Matthew--the human food pulverizer--flashed me the most brilliant smile. And, as I laid with Garrett while he fell asleep, he whispered, "I really love you. Sweet dreams, Mama."

So who knew unicorns danced on rainbows even during war?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Eleven Days

Me: Hey buddy...
G: Hmmm?
Me: What should I blog about today?
G: Going in the water.
Me: What about going in the water?
G: Because I love water.
Me: Uh. Okay.

So this has nothing to do with water but on the way home from playing with a group of Garrett's friends today he declared, from the backseat, "I know what Grandpa was called when he was little." I asked him to supply the answer and he shouted, "Baby Grandpa!"

Me: Garrett, do you love Grandpa?
G: Uh huh. Why?
Me: Just wondering. When are you going to see him next?
G: At Lake Tahoe!
Me: What are you going to say when you see him?
G: Aloha!

I was afraid of that.

Me: What are you going to do with Grandpa at Lake Tahoe?
G: Go on the raft. Now please stop asking me so much because I'm watching a show.
Me: Oh okay. (pausing the show) What are you going to eat with Grandpa?
G: A hot dog.
Me: Are you going to do anything else fun?
G: Play with him!
Me: Are you going to push him in the water?
G: Uh huh. And even I'm going to jump in the water with him like I did last time. But do I have to cover my ears and my nose and my mouth?
Me: No. You just have to blow out. Are you excited about going to Lake Tahoe?
G: Uh huh.
Me: How many more days?
G: Two more.
Me: I wish. Do you remember how many days I told you this morning?
G: This many days. (he holds up ten fingers)
Me: Plus one of mommy's fingers.
G: Oh yeah.