31 December 2008

Counting Sheep

Armed with a free sample of Ambien CR, I set out to bed last night expecting a few things:
1) Sleep
2) Hallucinations
3) That groggy feeling in the morning.

I’ve suffered from occasional insomnia since high school and after the great Amanda Doesn’t Sleep for 10 Whole Days Incident of my Senior Year, I’ve become rather paranoid about not going to bed on time. Call it my inner-dork, but I have a bedtime and darn it, I’m sticking to it. Now if only someone would tell my insides and my brains that so we could ALL WORK TOGETHER!

Right.

So, after a few weeks of having Issues with Sleep, I decided to pop 1 Ambien CR at around 8:15 (usually it takes 45 minutes for me to Feel the Effects and I wanted to be good and tired for my 9:15-9:30 bed time and I had a Really Long Day that I’ll tell you all about in a minute…).

At 8:40 I set out to nurse Chase to sleep and that’s when the hallucinations began. Oh man, when I had Conner back in 2-oh-oh-5 they gave me Real Ambien to help me get some sleep while they started the Cytotec. Two problems there: First, don’t give a pregnant woman sleeping medicine and then expect her to STAY AWAKE FOR 3 HOURS TO FILL OUT PAPER WORK THAT MIGHT BE VITAL TO HER LIVING! And secondly, The. Bed. Wouldn’t. Stop. Moving. As in full-on hallucinations I believed my bed to be on an ocean and kept asking Michael why he was moving my bed and the floors were moving and the walls were spinning and then there was That Commercial About Buying Alpacas…. So it was all really trippy and what-not. Needless to say, I’m SOOOO glad I’m not an LSD addict.


Oh yes, last night. So, I’m lying there expecting all these crazy hallucinations when suddenly the sleepy feeling sets it. But not the Drunk on Nyquil feeling I expected, but a pleasant drowsiness. Then, I began concentrating on the pillow on the other side of Chase. The way the light hit the ruffles in the pillow sham… wait… is that a sheep? Oh my! With the fan breaking up the light… and man… it looks soooo fluffy.

Thing is… I was conscious enough and informed enough about Ambien Hallucinations to KNOW that there was - IN FACT - no sheep in my bed. But it was kinda hilarious as I sat there, starring at it and all its BAH-RAM-EUWssss. I reached out to touch it, almost expecting the full on fleeciness associated with sheep to meet my fingers (no such feeling). I kept thinking my eyes would adjust and the sheep would disappear, but I just sat there starring and it stayed. No eyes, no mouth … just the entire side view of a sheep the size of my pillow.

Creepy.

After Chase was good and asleep, I came to say goodnight to Conner and Mike.

“Just so you know... if Chase wakes up it’ll be fine. He’s being protected by a fluffy lamb” I mumbled across our dark bedroom to Michael.

“You took the Ambien, didn’t you?” he replied.

And For The Record: I slept GREAT! This is the FIRST sleep-aid that I've taken that didn't make me feel like a groggy monster the next morning. I had vivid dreams, but nothing too odd (I dream alot, usual vivid and I almost always remember them anyways). Good stuff.

(Oh yes, I promised you guys news from the Cardiologist! Appointment was what wore me out yesterday, the news is good and I’ll type it up tonight! But it is interesting… so check back soon!)

28 December 2008

The Mom Gods Smiled

Oh how the Mom Gods have smiled upon me. Is as if my whole world has been sprinkled with pixie dust and powdered sugar. Sigh…

As of Christmas Adam, Conner has OFFICIALLY become a Big Boy. Oh yes, that’s right ladies and gents… *drum roll please* Conner is no longer sleeping in his “bappie”! Taadaa!

I tell you, the big trick to this whole thing was “needing some room to air it out” as my first college roommate would’ve said. We’d tried going sans diaper but I would put him in underwear (excuse me… “unnawares”) only for him to wake from nap or in the middle of the night “soaktinged” wet.

I just assumed his wee little bladder wasn’t up for the challenge and dutifully placed a diaper on him every night and before naps. Oh, but the Mom Gods had a new plan for me. They conspired a brilliant strategy to change my ways.

The night before Christmas Eve (Christmas Adam, again), I… *another drum roll* fell asleep while nursing Chase down for the night. Since I never came to say goodnight to Mike and Conner (as I normally spend another 30-45 with them before I’m kicked out asked politely to leave, the routine was broken.

Bad mommy, I know.

But that meant no diaper was ever placed on the poor child. Additionally, he had decided to “free ball” it all day and with all those magic ingredients swirled together POOF! We have no more need for nighttime diapers! Apparently, Big Boy undies felt too much like diapers so he would just wizz in them without a care. Who would’ve thunk it to leave the man parts without ..umm….restriction?
HoooRAY!!

It’s going on 6 nights now. He gets a firm reminder just before I leave.
“Conner, remember… you don’t have a diaper on so if you need to go pee what do you do??”
To which he replies “I go to da potty!”
Good boy.

And whilst we are on the subject of obedient childrens, Chase DIDN’T WAKE MOMMY FOR A 4 A.M. BOTTLE for THREE WHOLE NIGHTS IN A ROW! Oh yes, that’s right… the kid actually ate breakfast AFTER the sun rose! I mean, come on! What DID I DO to DESERVE such AWESOMESAUCE!

Sigh.

I’m pretty sure I’ve now earned some sort of Telling the Internets of Your Good Fortunes Bad Karma Jujus. But OH WELL!!

***Update 12/29*** I actually wrote this post a few days back, but changed the number of days when I posted it last night. So, the Mom Gods had plenty of time to change their minds and be mean to me. So, of course, Conner had a freaking accident last night. Oh wells. We aren't going back to the diaper and are staying "restriction free" for bed. We think he might have just had too much juice before bedtime.****

27 December 2008

The Ways of the Wicked

splash

splash, splash


SSSPLLAAAAAAASSSSHH

Me, in my ultra-firm you-probably-are-earning-yourself-a-5-minute-time-out-MISTER voice: "Conner! You got him [Chase] all wet!"

Chase crawls away from the bathtub and towards me as I'm sifting through the bathroom cabinets in search of ONE FREAKING hair band.

Conner responds in his woot-woot-aren't-you-wickedly-proud-of-my-awesomeness-because-look-at-HOW-WET-I-got-my-brother voice: "I Did! He's SOCTING WET! I GOT BATHED ALL OVA HIM!"

A pause. And he returns in with his singsongy joy ringing off the bathroom walls: "Chasey... comed back! Help me! *giggle* Help.. I needed you to comed BACK. Oooooh CHA-AASE-EY!"

Oh Kid. Chase may be young, but he's certainly no fool.

26 December 2008

Only the half of it


This is my living room after picking up ALL DAY.. Not too bad...




And this is 1/2 of the playroom after being partially straightened...




This being the other half



Now, the only major problem is that this is HALF THE GIFTS! We are still venturing to see Mike's parents on Saturday and they have a "spending problem"... sigh. What AM I GOING TO DO? The playroom is now officially and completely packed out. Nothing else, and I am NOT exaggerating, can fit. These pics don't even show the 15 toys in our master bedroom (now those pics are just outright embarrassing).

So what's a mom to do? Give away toys my children are attached to? Sell my dining room table and have a 5th 2nd playroom? Sell my children? Seriously, I'm really stressed about this. Did I mention that all THREE of the closets in the Conner's, Chase's and the playrooms are all FULL ALSO?! And that we cleaned out FOUR boxes of toys last month??!! IDEAS!!??!!

I did, however, obtain a SWEET new laptop from the Rents. Thanks Mom and Dad! Built in camera too... how scandalous. HAHAHA. Like there is anything sexy-sexy going on at my house... We'd have to do it on top of a pile of Rocketships, Choo-Choo trains, Blocks and a few select puzzle pieces.

25 December 2008

Operation: Save Christmas

This time last year, Mike and I were beyond most people's definition of exhaustion. Despite that, it was Christmas Eve and we were away from home without one single gift for Conner from "Santa" or ourselves. So, without my knowledge, Michael sprung into Super Secret Operation: Save Christmas.

We'd spoken briefly about how "it didn't really matter that the gifts were in Montgomery and we were in Birmingham and that we were extremely grateful just to be with family on Christmas and how presents don't define the Holiday and so on and so on". But, we did want some sense of normalcy. Some sign that things weren't complete chaos (although it was). And then there was Conner to whom we'd been selling this idea of magically appearing gifts for over a month now. Not that he'd known one day from the next but we had promised.

So, with no sleep, armed with his college friend Stuart, a couple of Cokes and some gnarly music (I'm sure), Mike trecked to Montgomery having spoon fed me the excuse of "I'm going to the NICU to see Chase since it is Christmas Eve". He had taken a night shift before, so I swallowed the fact that Mike would go yet another night without sleep and headed for bed myself around 11:30.

Mike arrived in Montgomery shortly after 1 a.m. and spent over an hour sorting through gifts, loading them into the car in the freezing cold. He still doesn't know how the neighbors didn't see him and call the cops... He even flushed the potties and grabbed a few essentials we had missed in our mad dash to Birmingham a few days prior. What a good little hubby he is.

"Santa" then hustled back to Birmingham (on his magical sled with reindeer, naturally), more exhausted than ever, to set up the next days Christmas Delight. By the time day broke, he was crawling into bed. His Christmas Merriment Experiment tucked under his belt.

We woke a few hours later, and Conner and I stumbled down the stairs of my mother's house to find a room full of gifts.

It took me a few minutes to realize that the gifts were in the wrapping paper I had used. The same sizes, the same shapes, the same amount of gifts that I assumed were still under our tree in Montgomery.

In a haze I asked "Did you go out and buy the same gifts? And wrap them?"
I'm a moron.
He chuckled and replied "No. Guess again."

Then it hit me, the magic of Christmas had not passed us over and there sat every single gift Michael, I and Mr. Clause had intended on giving Conner and our families.

It was truly amazing.

I will always treasure what Michael did that night. Thank you baby. You are the best Santa ever.

24 December 2008

This is HILARIOUS

Over at A Little Pregnant, Julie has mastered a remix of her "Most Annoying Noise" that just so happens to be a screech from one of her adorable children. It's absolutely. Hilarious. And. Must. Be. Listened. To. Now.

Seriously.

The first sound is just the screech, the second is a remix of some very popular annoying sounds. Not to spoil it, but you might hear a little of Ming Ming's "this is SEWIOUS" or Snoring Husbands or W (not that I oppose his presidency, but come on... you've got to admit his voice is worth laughing at!).

Enjoy dear friends.

22 December 2008

Duck, Duck, Breast

It was decided that Chase's favorite thing would be the theme for his 1st birthday bash. This was the result on a cake:




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Ok. So there's 2 things incorrect with the previous statement. First being that Pirate Ducks aren't exactly his favorite. But, I needed a large Quacker and the Pirate variety was all they had. Secondly, ducks are his second favorite thing BUT had I requested a 1st birthday cake decorated in his first love, it'd looked more like this:



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And that my friends would've been COMPLETELY inappropriate. And Publix might have even refused me the free Smash Cake:



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Ha. Just kidding. Take off the boobies and his real smash cake is there.

I sure crack me up.


All-in-all, the party was a hit. Chase sported his rocker look, which he was born for. Just kinda his thing. Rock on little man, ROCK ON!
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I was laughing to make him laugh, and although it worked, I forgot that in order to take a good picture, I should probably remember to aim correctly at my subject. But with a little cropping, I think this could turn out super cute.


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Being a Birthday Boy is HARD WORK PEOPLE!

20 December 2008

A Not-So-Cheerful Update

On this day 1 year ago, I sat in a normal hospital bed, experienced normal, painful (although more than frequent) contractions, waiting on Chase’s normal arrival. I couldn’t have been farther from reality.

By 10:55 the next morning, Chase was born and I was relieved that my journey through this pregnancy was over and I had met the baby boy I’d carried for 39 weeks. He was gorgeous. And pink. And crying. And an absolute miracle.

And then, as quickly as the joy set in the rug was ripped from beneath me and I fell.

It was this day, one year ago that I realized my perfect baby was fighting for his life. It was on this day that I was wheeled into an unfamiliar and unexpected NICU to see my newborn baby. It was on this day that I became broken.

It was that night that I learned the true meaning of fighting for your life. The nurse stood over us, muttering words like “intubate” “seized 5 times” “he’s not doing very well”. It was this night I was convinced my baby would soon die.

It was the next morning that I would leave the hospital, in tears, in pain, in mourning and drive 2 hours to Children’s Hospital to see my baby that I’d yet to even hold. Or touch. Or even talk to, warned that stimulation could induce seizures. It was the day I left the maternity ward babyless with nothing more than a cap and the most indescribable feeling of loss.

With that said, I am thankful for what God has graced us with and for Chase’s progress thus far.

But unfortunately, that’s not the end of this story.

It’s strange that I’ve struggled to come up with the words to tell you guys, my loyal readers and beloved family and friends, something that throws a wrench into Chase’s progress.

He’s not ok.

Over the past 6 months (at least), Michael and I have been in denial. Chase frequently turns blue around the mouth and nose. It’s not during times of stress, or him being cold or crying. As a matter of fact, he does it 2-5 times a day when he’s happy as a clam. It took us this long to admit that our Miracle Baby was not in the clear and far from ok.

After speaking with his Neurologist, Chase has been referred to a Pediatric Cardiologist specialist at Children’s. We’ve been told that it’s emergent and we need imaging within the next week or two. We will do our initial imaging in Montgomery and then our heart specialist in Birmingham will take over from there. They have several hypotheses, and to be completely open and honest here, none of them are especially optimistic.

So here we go again. I wanted you all to know we appreciate your prayers and thoughts. It is the most frightening thing to know we are going through this again, and that this whole thing could be tied together and more than just a fluke accident. To “know” that something is wrong with my baby is more than I can handle

We love you all and will, of course, keep you up-to-date. I think I might even post some birthday pictures on Monday, you know… if you’ve been good boys and girls.

17 December 2008

Perks of the Mom Job: The Counterpoints

Staci is apparently unhappy with my Perks of the Mom Job post, or at least she thinks I’m partially delusional. Whereas that is might be true, I do have a few complaints about SAHMommyhood aka The Job That Never Ends.

Here are a few counterpoints:
Uniform
If I had a Big Persons Job I’d be better equipped and motivated to keep up with fashion. Which would be awesome and I’d totally look just like Lauren Conrad (hurmph) or Blake Lively from Gossip Girl. But, alas, I’m just a frumpy momma with a closet full of Victoria’s Secret PINK collection sweats and soffe shorts. When I do get “dressed up” I’m choosing between a mix-match of about 3 outfits. Sigh.
And have I failed to mention the copious amount of pregnancy/post-pregnancy/nursing ensembles that invaded my closet 4 years ago and have yet to relent? I see no sign of retreat.
But the Verdict? The Uniform is still a perk of The Mom Job (I heart sweats!)

Hours
Oh Geez. Does any OTHER job require you to be “on call” 24/7, 365 for 18+ years including ALL holidays, weekends, and no-nap-benders? Didn’t THINK so.
You learn to bypass “deep sleep” in case you must handle the more than frequent “I need go pee-pee!” or “duh monsters, and duh ew-bites and duh ROBOTS and duh bubbled-beeez are scaring me!” or SOMEONE needing a bottle at 4 AM (Chase! Seriously dude, let’s eat breakfast after the sun rises, k?)
NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT I HAVE NOT SLEPT IN MY BED WITH MY HUSBAND WITHOUT A CHILD PRESENT SINCE EARLY JUNE OF 2005!
I currently sleep with Mr. Chase in another room b/c he nurses 3-4 times most nights (see: ecological nursing). Conner sleeps with Mike as he refuses to sleep alone and we’ve tried EVERY SINGLE METHOD SO SPARE ME THE CRITICISM PEOPLE! That’s what grandmothers are for. Ugh.
(also see: attachment parenting)
Verdict: A big fat NEGATIVE on the hours.

Nap
Can’t really complain with the exception of the following:
1) When 1 or both children won’t nap and turn into blood sucking monsters are cranky.
2) When 1 sleeps and the other is a pain in the arse only for the non-asleep child to want to sleep when the previously sleeping child to begins to wake resulting in a CRY-A-PALOOZA. Wah.
3) When the nap schedule interferes with doctors appointments, visits and errands AND
3b) When certain relatives DON’T FREAKING UNDERSTAND that The Nap Schedule is a Sacred and Precious occurrence that need not be messed with and how IMPORTANT and CRUCIAL it is to adhere to it no matter how damn special THEY THINK THEY ARE.
Whoa. Rant… oops.
Verdict: A positive with those few exceptions. What other job let’s you nap?

Lunch
I mostly stick to my previous statement with one exception: having to feed little mouths before even thinking of touching my own (now cold) food.
Verdict: Positive

Honorable Mentions
This section is devoted to crap only SAHM’s deal with day-in and day-out with the rarest of complain, blog post (giggle), mental breakdown or bottle glass of wine:
- Constant Laundry (I suppose all moms do this but, geez… THE LAUNDRY)
- Never ending dishes
- Having to pack up ½ the contents of my home just to run to the dentist
- Oh yeah, not being about to actually GO to the dentist or doctor or OB/GYN or gym or salon WITHOUT company ALL BY MY LONESOME!
- The “labeling” associated with not having a “REAL JOB” (those people are invited to a Special Event @ my home next weekend @ 2 p.m. called “Let Amanda Kick You in The Wanker”. Light refreshments will be served.)
- The Whining
- The Timeouts
- Watching hours of ueber repetitive cartoons
- The Poop
- The typos in this entry because I've been trying to type it up for two days but The hubster went out of town for work and the kids won't get off me for 3 seconds!

THE END.

P.S. – You’re welcome Staci

15 December 2008

Quick! 5-minute Speed Date!

In efforts to help ME (consider it an early Christmas gift, k?), I would like to know more about YOU!

Crazy, eh?

I'm doing a bit of research about those who visit my site and well, most of the work has been done by these kind people. And those kind people, in the course of one month, have given me a whole bunch of numbers. I usually hate numbers, but these are particularly interesting.

For instance:
I have 101 Absolute Unique Visitors (so far)
2:29 is the average amount of time you spend on my site (good for you).
56% of you use Internet Explorer and then nearly 22% of you are cooler use Safari. 3% use Chrome and I don't know what that is.
4% ACTUALLY USE DIAL-UP. Dang.
In these 4 weeks, I've had 432 page views (Yippee)
Viewers have come from 23 states.

I love facts. They make my tummy feel yummy.

But, the FACT is that numbers don't give me anything other than a Data High and a little headache. I'd like to know more about you, ESPECIALLY the LURKERS or people who come by on a whim.
Like when you googled:
"how to guarantee a failed VBAC" - Odd, I don't remember having one of those...
"did anyone wonder how Edward dealt with Bella's period?" & "Forks, WA"
"Christmas Party NICU Birmingham, AL 2008"
"Jenny Says Turn Off The Radio"
... and one of my favorites "It's ok. He can call me flower if he wants to"

So, by-chancers, lurkers, family, friends and Internets... lend me a few minutes. Fill out the following in any form you wish (sentence form, paragraph, bulletin points, a slideshow or powerpoint presentation, fling the message through your computer on a pile of dung - you pick!) and post it in the comments section. If you've got a blog that I don't know about, link it! (I'm a blog reading NERD). If you wish to remain anonymous, that's cool too... just leave any "personal info" blank. This should be exciting!

1. Do we have anything in common? Mommyhood? Two boys? Toddler and/or Screaming Banshee? SAHM? Freak of nature with a psychopathic tendency to leave the lines on the carpet when you vacuum only to swear WAR against the first person to ruin it? NICU baby?

2. Do you have a blog? Can I stalk it read it?

3. Do you leave comments? If no, why not? (It's ok, I'm bad about commenting too...)

4. Favorite post? You don't have to link it, just dig through your brains and give me a few highlights. Favorite post of YOURS (link it puh-lease)?

5. Anything you wish I'd write about more often? Anything I should shut my hole about?

6. Apple or grape jelly? Strawberry?

7. Do you use your kid's names on your blog/myspace/facebook/front door? Their real name? Should I stop using mine?

8. Favorite perfume, cologne, fragrance, smell? I heart pumpkin spice.

9. Wheresa aboutsa are yousa fromsa?

10. What's your blood type? You know, in case I you ever need a donor organ... (I'm B Negative I think...)

11. Any tips, suggestions, complaints, general love and internet hugs?

12. How'd you find my blog? If I know you in The Real World tell me how you get to it - facebook link, myspace link, direct (as in typing my URL), friend's blogroll, etc ?

Thanks gals (and maybe a guy or two). NOW GET TO WORK!

11 December 2008

They Don't Sell Boobies at the Shop-A-Snack Kid

As Chase and I crashed into bed last night, and he let out the same giggle he does every single time he knows he’s about to get some one-on-one boobie action, I sighed and said, “You are going to be hard to wean, aren’t you?”

And I know the answer to that is unreservedly yes.

He already eats like a horse anyways, whatever we have, he wants. He gets “people food” at every meal, and seems especially not-full when I’m the most hungry.

He looks at me.
I look back at him.
I motion with my fork to my plate, half-full.
He grins.
I begin shoveling the rest of my food into his mouth, even though he’s already finished a small human portion himself.
Best. Diet. Ever


He eats more than Conner in the Real Food Department (sad, I know), still takes a few 3rd food purees, 2 small formula feedings a day, and of course… the breastfeeding.

But I wouldn’t call what he does “nursing”. I’m more of a Stop-N-Fill. Or Stop-N-Feel if you will…

He gets thirsty doing all that mad crawling and cruising along the furniture, right? I can read his mind: Oh but why have apple juice when Mom’s clearly not busy? I’ll just find her, yank down her tank top and have at it. She won’t mind.

I’ve tried the whole “Stick to your Guns” routine (Guns? Buns? Boobs? It’s tit-for-tat I’d say). I’ll tell him I’m NOT a 7-11 and insist that he get some juice out a cup like a civilized 1-year-old. But nope, he ‘aint having that.

Conner was breastfed till 14-months when the 3rd or 4th case of mastitis declared itself victorious. My original intentions were to stop Chase at the 1-year mark, which would be in about 2 weeks. I don’t see that happening. I’m hoping to have him cold turkey over the next few months. Sure to be interesting…

I guess this is like potty training. He can’t go to college still wanting to snuggle up to the nearest rack of voluminous boobies. Oh. Wait…

08 December 2008

Hey Fat Man, BUTT OUT!

This weekend, the Hubby relieved me of The Mom Job for a WHOLE hour so that I could escape to Target. I shopped under a pseudonym and most wouldn't recognize me in a big red suit, a long white beard and black boots. I also had the laugh down to an art.

I only spent an hour and some change sifting through all the toys and gadgets that the boys have absolutely no room for and will probably break in a week. I managed to get out under $200 too! But I couldn't help but wonder... why do the grandparents get credit for their gifts... the aunts and uncles ....and cousins and friends ...and teachers and neighbors... they all get to say "here you go kid, look what i got just for you!"

But when it comes down to the man who goes to work every day to pay for these peices of garbage lovely gifts and the woman who carried these children for 2 separate 10 month gestations, dealt with the agonizing heartburn, the sleepless nights, the swollen feet, then birthed them through a hole the size of .. well... you know an approximation of how big it is. Tack on the crying when things went wrong or when one particular child decided to stop breathing and seize and all (no blame, Chase, no blame) and then when that woman spent weeks bleeding her insides out, cramping away, nursing and cracking and becoming engorged... and all THOSE extra sleepless nights till they are... well.. 20-something that are sure to come... why is it that THAT person (or persons) has to throw away all the "Aww... baby... ALL THIS STUFF IS FOR YOU! FROM ME!" on some hocus pocus mumbo jumbo imaginary fat dude that broke in without setting off the alarm mom and dad promised would help protect you?

I know, I know. "It's not about the presents.. but the MAGIC and their faces... and who CARES about who the gifts came from when they are HAPPY and SURPRISED and loved..." BLAH. BLAH BLAH.

BAH HUMBUG!

I don't know how long these Pixie and Fairy dust years of Santa will last because I did NOT fight Saturday mid-Holiday Target Crazies for Conner to say "Momma! Look what SANTA got ME!"

06 December 2008

Perks of the Mom Job

There are COUNTLESS reasons why being a SAHM is a slamming good time, but I decided to blog a few. In no order, here’s a list of why the mom job has it’s perks.


The Uniform
Oh man, how I’d love to of worked at Chili’s or Friday’s in my favorite jeans and a tank top. It got HOT in those thick cotton tees that were NEVER in my size (X-tiny) and BLACK JEANS. It’s so impossible to look good in black denim.
AND THE SHOES, UGH! Come on now.
Or to have worked at Copper Grill not resembling a penguin. That’d've been sweet, but probably would’ve dented my tips had I of shown up in soffe shorts and a Game Day shirt. The other jobs - Corolla, Sun & Soul, Skate Station.. all had pretty relaxed uniform policies. No skanky clothes (check-ish), cover your boobies in a modest fashion (check, sometimes), don't wear your pj's (um, check, sadly), do your hair... shower... blah.

But, as a Professional Mommy of Mr. Chase and Conner, LLC there is no required uniform. I have could do it naked (or at least close to it, I do have windows… and neighbors... and the desire to prevent my children from mental trauma). Typically, I shower in the mornings and change into a different pair of sweats, soffe's, or yoga pants and a new tank top or t-shirt. If errands need to be addressed, I fashion the latest item of clothing that doesn’t resemble the later years of high school AND doesn’t have poop or dog hair or baby dribble on it.



The Hours
I COULD complain about SOME of the hours being a mom, but it does have it perks. Like when the kids sleep in and I don’t have to wake them because the only place we have to be is Nowhere Land or His Clubhouse and those things, my lovelies, also exist in the time void that is Tivo. Woot.



Speaking of the Hours… NAP!
Oh. Nap Gods. Thank thee for thyest most specialest of gifts... ye olde Nap! I am an absolute SLAVE to the naptime. I schedule everything around it and for more than just The Selfish Reason (see #3).
1) Without nap in the morning, Chase goes to nap early in the afternoon, causing him to wake earlier in the afternoon than normal… resulting in him wanting to go to bed at 6:45 at night… which then yields an AWAKE and “happy” baby at approximately 4:45 A-FREAKING-M.
I know you stopped reading. Pick up here….
2) If Conner doesn’t take his one afternoon nap (oh so smartly of me to have them together… again Shout-Out to the Nap Gods), he is a Giant Grumpy Pain In My B-U-T-T. No getting around it. He’s there… lurking in the misty shadows of our living room. Waiting for someone to ALLOW a commercial to come on, or for his JU-JUICE to POSSIBLY be EMPTY or for his train to even THINK about RUNNING OUT OF BATTERIES or… you get my point. He’s a giant pansy without the nap.
Then there’s 3) I love having two-ish hours to blog… watch tv… read…. shave my legs…. prepare dinner… do NOTHING.... It’s just nice to have some time alone with me. I’m good company.



The Paycheck
Ok so I don’t get PAID as in BANK. But, I do get an endless supply of kisses, hugs and unexpected-from-behind-full-on tackles by a 3 ½ pound monster and his side kick of practically equal weight WHENEVER THEY PLEASE throughout the day. I also don’t have to miss out on anything in The Land of Conner and Chase. Which rocks. It makes me warm and fuzzy on the inside AND gives me blogging material. An obvious win-win.



The Lunch Break
In the Professional World, people get lunch for an hour, maybe 30 minutes, and they brown bag. Some people have access to a microwave and fridge. I, on the other hand, have my whole freaking kitchen! Gas stove, gas oven, full range of utensils, access to my HUGE pantry… etc. I can have whatever I want as long as I’ve shopped for it. If you brown bag your lunch, you are eating that whether you change your mind or not. If you can leave and grab something… well… you’d better make it snappy. I’ve been known to think about lunch since breakfast and can figure some way to get What I Want before the clock strikes 12 (pm…) and my Little Princes turn to pumpkins. It’s definitely a plus in my book. But what can I say… I’m such a Food Whore.


Key points here, obviously, but I love being a Working from Home Without Monetary Benefit Momma *snort*

05 December 2008

ShareYourStory.org

A few things spark The Dark Place Inside that dealt with Chase's NICU experience seeing as it was this time last year.

Putting up our Christmas tree made me cry, I know... pitiful. It was remembering not having our home on Christmas, spending it differently than originally planned, without Chase, without Conner half the day.... in the NICU. It felt like I was being punished or robbed... either way it didn't feel like anything needed to be celebrated. After we finally came home, and Christmas had passed, I left the tree and all the decorations out till the end of January and not because I'm lazy (which I am) but because my family didn't get to enjoy them the way they should've.

All-in-all, it's going to be a tid bit bumpy this holiday season.

Then, I received an email yesterday from the March of Dimes. As most of you know, Chase was full-term and the March of Dimes mostly deals with raising awareness of premature births and birth defects but they also provide a whole community for parents dealing with the horror that is the NICU experience.

Share Your Story is a way for those of us who've had to go through the motions of being in the NICU, dealing with the stress that becomes your companion and everything afterwards - from doctors appointments to getting past it and getting on with life.

I am eternally grateful that Chase is doing so well and that I am not in the shoes of many of these parents. But, I did share some time with many of them and those like them, and will forever feel strong connections to those touched by the experience both similar and not.

I've shared my story through the March of Dimes and if you happen upon this blog for similar reasons, I encourage you to do the same. It's a step in healing that can't be matched.

03 December 2008

Give a little

In the interest of all that is product reviews/tips/mommy-related mayhem and all that jazz associated with being a mom who "works from home without pay" or WFHWP (seriously), here's a yummy lemon-scented tip for clean-up time!

Using a large microwavable bowl (I prefer my 1 quart Pyrex glass measuring cup), place 3-4 cups of hot water and at least 1 cup of lemon juice (I buy in bulk, so I have tons to spare) in the microwave for 5-6 minutes (a little longer for those really dirty appliances, like moi). After it does it's biznas, allow the container to sit in the microwave for at least a minute. Remove (CAREFULLY AS IT WILL BE PIPPING HOT) and immediately use a damp sponge or paper towel to wipe out the microwave. The years... months?... weeks worth of caked on spaghetti and reheated leftovers come off without an ounce of perspiration!

Yay to that!

Plus, it leaves your microwave smelling of fresh lemon-ey goodness! I prefer to keep the door open for a bit to let the smell waft through my kitchen and I also leave the used lemon-water out for fragrance purposes too! I also like to pour the leftovers into the toilet as it does freshen the potty room a bit too. That might be a little odd, but who cares!??

Go forth and clean thy kitchen!

02 December 2008

Is this thing on?

I'd apologize to my readers, but since I only have 10 and you guys NEVER LEAVE ME COMMENT LOVE I'll just forego the comforting snugglies and fork over the excuse for neglecting my blog.

I. Am. Obsessed. With. Twilight.

I'm on the 4th book now and if Mike doesn't hurry the heck up, I'm considering shipping him to Forks, WA just to tease the baby vamps. Once he's finished, I'll get the Whole Book To Myself!! Battle lines have been drawn. He has 24 hours to surrender The Goods.

I haven't watched tv in 10 days. I know! Right? Except for House and the Iron Bowl. (I mean, don't hate the legacy.... Got twelve?? 36-0 BABY!.. etc etc).

I'm also in a writing rock/hard place. I want MORE from blogging but that means TIME and MONEY. Oh, and a GAMEPLAN. And a computer that worked would help... (and a chance and a prayer and... [indistinct grumbling])

Blah blah yadda yadda etc etc. The end.

24 November 2008

Bloody Vampires

This is gross... but you know that joke about lesbian vampires? Oh, I forget how it goes... and even if I remembered it I probably wouldn't type it out...


Well, Mike and I have been trading questions like a tennis match all weekend over Twilight and the rest of the series by Stephenie Myer about vamps, teen angst and other creepy crawlies (oh yes, that's right ladies and gents... my hubby is reading it with me! Actually, he started first and is a whole books length ahead of me. I actually mentioned the books a few months back when the last one was released knowing I was inviting my about-to-be-THIRTY hubby to the idea of reading a series catered to the 11-15 year old girl demographic but I also know how obsessed he was with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel... My husband is apparently a 14-year-old girl on the inside. Sigh).

Then, it hit me... Teenage girl.. Hormones... Umm.. Period?
That's right... I googled "what does Edward do when Bella has her period?"
Since....

*SPOILER ALERT*









He can barely be around her anyways because her scent is so strong... what does he do when she's bleeding actively for 4-5 days?? I mean, in New Moon, when she gets a paper cut at her birthday party it causes an absolute mayhem of craziosity forcing the Cullens family to split Forks and Bella to suffer immense heartache... so much for "Have a Happy Period"...

And apparently, I'm not the only one concerned with Bella's menstration. Here's the first few results from google:
Yahoo! Answers doesn't consist of the brightest crayons in the box... but they'll do. 14 answers? Sheesh.

Then, of course, Mrs. Meyer had to confront the question herself.

Several people on the Yahoo! board answered "read the book", so I am assuming that maybe the book addresses the issue... but how could I not wonder?

I know. Eww. An entire post about a fictional character's Aunt Flow. I might need counseling.

22 November 2008

Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now

I'm at a bit of a blogging crossroads. Blogger has been giving me a headache for, well.. since I've had the account but I've kept it for several reasons. I enjoy having it linked to all my other google stuff: like reader and email. I think the layout is simple, but flexible in that I can edit html (minimally, of course). Oh... and did I mention I've got my darn hands full with the boys? Grief... Conner has pnemonia (like... as in... a freaking chest xray proving just that)... and Chase is just himself. Wait... did I get off subject?

Right.

Oh yes...I hate that blogger gives me grief about pictures and uploads. It has eaten countless entries. I also think I'd enjoy having a more adaptable template and a new look. There's only so much you can move around on blogger.
So, I'm debating... do I move to wordpress? I don't think I want to pay for typepad... and those are my "big name" options. I've heard that wordpress is more flexible, and I also like the way they handle comments and trackbacks. There isn't a seperate page for making comments, which means that on my iphone it's one less page to load. This means nothing when talking about actually blogging, but I know personally I prefer reading wordpress blogs when on my iphone. So, readability is a plus.
A bit of research turned up many of the same sentiments. I also found a mommy blogger with a talent for the technicals. Mama Blogger is AMAZING and did several posts on this very topic: Blogger v. Wordpress
Here's the comparison.
Why She Misses Blogger.
Wordpress Glory.

She also has the Ultimate Guide to Migrating from Blogger to Wordpress. She rocks.

So... Should I stay or should I go now?

17 November 2008

Product Review: NeotoGo



Slave to the “targeting all moms!” commercials I’m bombarded with day in and day out, I bought NeoToGo in efforts to gallantly swoop in like a white night(ess) and save my precious toddler from the onslaught of germ intruders in the Land of all That is Healthy (and So Fresh and So Clean Clean).

Its convenient packaging was also a major influence.

I waited around for a coupon, but none surfaced. So, on an impulse buy I purchased the NeoToGo for a little under $6.00 at my local Target (it was on an end cap near the sodas and YOU-KNOW-YOU-NEEEEED-ME Candy Bars).
It attaches to your keychain, which rocks, but also adds to my unbelievably cluttered keychain. Can you believe I carry this thing around, EVERYWHERE?!



On the Upside: Convenient. Not messy. Easier to access than a tube of Neosporin (as we all know that would get destroyed in my purse and I’d end up with a shellacked and rain-proof catchall. Sigh. Who needs more goop when you’ve got a handbag full of sugar cookie leftovers, candy wrappers, goldfish and spilled juice?)

On the Downside: It was difficult to spray (as difficult as spraying can be, at least). The trigger on top doesn’t work 50% of the time. When it does spray, it’s sometimes not enough. I question how long it will last, as it appears very small and requires multiple spray attempts before reaching (what I consider) an adequate coating.

Buy worthy? Maybe. Depends on your child’s ability to hurt himself/herself in a padded room and your personal level of OHMYGOSH. GERMS. STAPH. DEATH. FROM A BOO-BOO! Oh dear.

I have used it a few times for playground mishaps and questionable cuts that I notice away from home. This doesn’t substituted proper wound washing or necessary Band-Aids, but it is good for a quick de-germing.

All the Technicals:
Size: About 2 ½ inches long, 1 inch in width
Amount: 0.26 fl oz per container, spray
Website: Neosporin.com

From The Big Boys:
NEW NEOSPORIN® NEO TO GO!
First Aid Antiseptic/Pain Relieving Spray
The NEW NEOSPORIN® NEO TO GO!
First Aid Antiseptic/Pain Relieving Spray is specially designed to fit anywhere to give you infection protection, anytime, anywhere.
Durable, non-aerosol spray fits anywhere
Designed for easy, one-handed use
No touch, no sting application




Personal Best, A Story of Consumerism: When Chase was 6 months old, the family ventured up to the pond in our neighborhood. After an hour or so of fishing, the hubby and Conner readied their last hook and prepared to cast away. Chase and I stood a good distance away, behind them a good 8 feet and to the left. But with wind a factor, Mike cast once and the line caught. Trying again, but with too much force, he swung violently and the hook flung back, catching Chase in the EYEBROW. WHAT ARE THE ODDS? I panicked and in one fluid motion ripped the hook out of his brow and ran like a mad woman to the car a few feet back, grabbed my trusty NeoToGo, sprayed a few sprays on my finger, then swiped it across my newly pierced, screaming newborn. Oh the horror. Luckily, the barb didn’t go through and the quick germ fighting action of this product saved my sanity.

Hurray for impulse buys!

It bought me enough time to fly Chase back and disinfect him to the 10th level of cleanliness. Which, for the record, is only one level shy of dunking him in a tub of bleach and burning off the first 5 layers of him epidermis. Nice.

16 November 2008

Make a Cake or Two. Ok, One.

I made a cake last night from a box of yellow cake mix. I was celebrating my Alma Mater's amazing win to put us at 11-0 for the season (in the best way to celebrate - EAT CAKE!).

Thing is: a box of cake mix is supposed to make 2 9-inch round cakes.

But after I got ahold of the cake batter, and then my hubby, and my 3 1/2 year old.... well, only one cake made it into the oven.

That's right, we ate an entire cake's worth of yellow cake batter.

Once again proving, I'm totally "that" mom.

15 November 2008

Oh. Food!

Recently, I discovered blogchef.net, which mainly consists of asian-inspired cuisine, delictable desserts, and mexican dish recipes. (Great site, easy recipes, lots of pics... I've made his stir-fry rice [realizing I need to purchase a Wok if I want *perfect* stir-fry], his Crab Rangoons, and his recipe for Sweet & Sour Sauce is great)

Last night, I made these, Mexican Pizzas! It was yummmmmmy. I used a mix of Colby and Jack cheese, and sprinkled a few finely chopped jalepenos on mine. I also prefer all things "not chunky", so I subsituted regular tomatos and salsa (seeing as I am allergic and all...) with my oh-so-yummy staple Ortega Think & Smooth Taco Sauce. Additionally, after browning the meat, I added a packet of Taco Seasoning (following the directions of the packet) to give it a little extra kick.

Oh, and I think I might have cooked rice to add some filler.

You should try these, it was simple and filling!

14 November 2008

I spoke too soon.

We are on day DEARSWEETHEAVENSCANSOMEONEHELP 10 of the I'm Going to Have Teeth, NOW Marathon. With a week plus of no sleep (for BOTH of us), countless amounts of the Tylenol/Ibuprofen Dance, 2 boxes of Teething Biscuits (or were those for the dogs...), and 3 days without a real meal, Chase has THREE WHOLE TEETHIES!

Con, on the other hand, has an ear infection and his fair share of the Tylenol/Ibuprofen Dance but with Amoxicillin. He is also not eating. Apparently, they know how bad the economy is and have decided to pitch in and help.

I promise to return to blogging as soon as my head stops spinning and I get a little rest/laundry/football-watching finished.

With that, I'll leave you with a Roll Tide.

05 November 2008

The 5th of November

Since I don't even own a traditional baby book for Chase let it be known on The Internets that today, uh...the 5th of Novemeber, he cut his First Tooth.


10 1/2 months of tooth-free nursing. Sigh.

Remember, remember...

John Piper

On the Election.

I'm not big on watching YouTube, nor do I spend any real amount of time researching different advocate's opinions on anything, really, but I do enjoy this particular segment from John Piper on the election for a few reasons:

1) I just really love how he speaks. It's well-tempered, concise and meaningful (to me).
2) He makes a very valid point - that this is God's will... He already knew who'd win this election.
3) We aren't going to "Hell in a Handbasket" no matter who wins - because frankly, it HAS to end anyway...
4) These "crazy" people who are SO UNBELIEVABLY VESTED in this election need a slap in the face - it's ABOUT MORE THAN WHO IS PRESIDENT. We need a leader, not a rock star.

So, here's the clip. I hope you take the time to enjoy it.

01 November 2008

Bootacularlylicous. Warning: Lots of Pics!

Preface: I spent an hour trying to get my poop of a camera to upload things properly to blogger, and I THOUGHT I had... but apparently not seeing as the pics giving me grief are now huge and not properly sized. So, to view the whole pic, click on those of interest. Thanks!

The Neighbors put on a smashing good time this year for the All Hallow's Eve Bash 2-oh-oh-8. First, we started out as the biggest and best trick-or-treat train in the WHOLE NEIGHBORHOOD!

(Thanks Lauren and Rob for the pics... without me asking...)

Conner tried trick-or-treating, but honestly he was thinking "Umm. Dude. You do realize you are giving away perfectly good candy, right?"






He was also not interested in pictures...
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Then, we trick-or-treated back to the Halloween Bash (with exception to Chase & I scurrying ahead of the pack with a few other couples for a much needed diaper change...)

The party was wicked fun, too. Lots of yummy food, the boys had a ball playing games, eating WAY too much candy, watching Charlie Brown and The Great Pumpkin and wishing they could play the Wii set up on a giant screen in the backyard! How cool is this??:





We also walked away with some awesome "prizes":




And I even made a few "Ghostly Bowling Pins" on the fly a-la stuff from around the house/garbage:

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The Monkey and The Dinosaur had a great Halloween. Thanks to The Neighbors for the invite (and the candy. and the pizza. and the games. and cleaning up all the mess.... etc etc etc).
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Here's to TURKEY DAY!

29 October 2008

Someone Get This Kid a Spending Account...

The commercial zombiefication continues:

"I NEEEEED That!" for the 1.2 millionth time Conner cries from the living room.

It's this: http://www.target.com/Lexibook-Groovy-Chick-FM-Organizer/dp/B001009ZCS/sr=1-5/qid=1225307328/ref=sr_1_5/175-3957251-9157035?ie=UTF8&rh=k%3Aelectronic%5Forganizer%5Fkids&page=1

(sorry, blogger's picture uploader is giving me hell)

(if you are lazy, like me, it's a pink electronic "daily organizer" for annoying brats kids...and not the exact same one, but similar)

The commerical ends with "Blah blah blah Daily Planner blah blah Batteries Not Included"
Then he shouts: "I NEEEEED TO PLAN MY DAY!! RIGHT! NOW!"

You know, in case he forgets to eat, play, eat, sleep, play, eat, play,sleep....

28 October 2008

Turmoil from my Laundry Room: A Rant

This post will probably be me whining, but hey, if Conner can do it then sign me up. Oh, the WHINING. I am beginning to wonder if I got a degree in How To Make the AntiChrist in Small Child Form INSTEAD of Advertising because OH LET ME TELL YOU I want to write a NASTY, NASTY letter to all the buttholes who make commercials for children look SO FUN in the "IHAVETOHAVEITNOW" kind of fashion. Every. Freakin. Commercial. "I want THAT!" ... "I WANT THAT NOW!"..."But I NEEEEEEEDDD! IT"..."I NEEEEEEED IT NOOOOOOOW!"

*Shoots self in face*

He even wants the girlie stuff because it's obviously just as much of a slammin' good time since it's marketed in between Batman crap and some stuff that'll surely stain my carpet and end up in the Toys We Don't Touch Place in the top of my pantry.

My REAL reasons for blogging is that I just spent an HOUR sorting. Then folding. Then hanging. Then categorizing things that are too summer-esque and moving them to The Back of The Closet. Then moving things that are now Chase's size across the hall. Then discovering goldfish in my laundry basket and eating them because I CAN. Then hearing the beeping noise echoing from my laundry room to inform me that "It's TIME to DO MORE!! COME GET US!!".

*Shoots what's left of my face from missing the first time since I was distracted by OH! RACE CARS! THAT MAKE NOISE!* Ugh.

Scratch the whole advertising thing making my toddler/preschooler/precious angel face into the AntiChrist.. LAUNDRY IS SATAN!

AND IT DOESN'T END!

And apparently, It has to get worse because boys are gross. And make messes. And don't clean up without assistance. No matter how old they get. And then they sweat... in their clothes... that I WASH. AND FOLD. AND PUT AWAY! Only for them to DO IT AGAIN... for the NEXT CENTURY!

The Angst.

I think I'll go catchup on The Hills now and try to start that episode of Grey's I missed due to Conner's mad skillz.

Yay.

25 October 2008

The Jedi Council is not endorsed by the ADA

My precious little flower strikes again. Sigh.

Thursday night as I began to settle in for a much anticipated episode of Grey's (because ALL EPISODES of Grey's are much anticipated in Amandaland), Conner decided to test his Jedi powers and grabbed by iPhone. I must add that the iPhone is an amazing distract-your-3-year-old-for-some-much-needed-sanity tool and any parent without one and it's amazing mind-numbing games, super awesome graphics and seizure inducing lights is truly missing out. With that said, Conner's recent obsession with Star Wars and their totally awesome Light Sabers means that he's been spending a substantial amount of time on my phone playing with my Light Sabers application. It turns your iPhone into a mad crazy light sabering wonderland of awesomesauce and You Too Can Pick Your Weapon (!!)... Conner is "Dard Vada". Sweet.

So, he grabs the phone and begins to swing about wildly as if being attacked by a whole onslaught of Storm Troopers (or Jedi in the case of him being Dard Vada). The thing is, you have to swing about wildly to get the cool effect of the "Zoom, Zoom" sound made by all Light Sabers.

Then, BAM!

He smacked himself in the mouth so hard I heard a crack. And for the record: I checked the kid first (but my iPhone is ok, btw).

He opened his mouth, frightened and in pain to reveal that his front right tooth was chipped. Bad. He stuck out his toungue, I fetched the piece of now unattached tooth and quickly scooped him up in efforts to minimize his little brains exploding all over the bedroom in total freak-out-panic-mommy-IHURTMYSELFFIXITNOWPLEASE mode.

Oh but I couldn't stop it.

My BABY had HURT HIS BEAUTIFUL SMILE.

"Dental emergency?" I asked Michael.

With that, I called his dentist which (after calling me back) informed me that he could fix it in the morning, and they might have to shave the tooth up to the break. Great.

Michael was worried he'd look like this guy till Conner's 6th or 7th year on earth, when the baby took would fall out and be replaced with a Big Person "Teeth, teeth":





But, come Friday morning we had the incident under control (after having to call the dentist in for a "special" visit, because dentist don't WORK on FRIDAYS (!) ... or for half a day on Thursday... or from 11-1 during the week... I mean SERIOUSLY, WHY
AREN'T WE ALL DENTISTS??). I am glad to report that they were able to place some Special Goop on his tooth, harden it with a Ultra Special Light (similar to the Light Saber in it's own right), and now my Little Jedi has a great smile again.

The Force is strong in this one, but his Light Saber skills need improving.

20 October 2008

Not Home, Not Now, No Way.

It’s over guys. After 1 month on the market, we had an employee of Michael’s show interest in renting the house. Good news was he wanted it now, the bad news is that it wouldn’t cover our mortgage by $250 a month and the ugly news was that he needed only a 1 year lease and wanted an escape clause in case he took a job elsewhere.

We were really stuck. The market is horrible, and we took last week to speak with 3 realtors. Not only are houses selling for $30,000 under their value, but the realtor’s in the area are just not showing homes. None. Our favorite realtor, Julie D. with Prudential Ballard told us “my phone doesn’t ring anymore… ever.” It was a nail in the coffin for us. We knew that even if we listed with her, the house wouldn’t show. If we rented – the tenant could back out in a year (or less) and according to Julie it WILL take more than a year for the market to stabilize.

We just couldn’t slit our throats financially. If our house sold for $20,000-30,000 less the price we paid, we would not only loose our down payment, but we’d have to bring 15-20 grand to the table. We don’t have that to throw away.

So, we made a hard decision. We thought about it all weekend. Saturday night, I couldn’t sleep so I got up to talk to Michael.

“What if we don’t leave… is that even possible?”
“I was wondering the same thing,” he said.

And with that, we were sold. The parade of homes was in the neighborhood all weekend, and not one phone call. The house down the street, on the market for 3+ months… not ONE SHOWING.

Michael talked to the comapny he works for this morning and it’s official – moving to Birmingham is a dead duck.

We are actually ok though. I know most of you are upset for us, and we truly “feel the love”. We wanted to live there too, believe me. It’s difficult to justify the schools here – you pay $10,000 a YEAR and get a sub-par education where in Birmingham the boys could go to public school FOR “FREE”. They’d have access to a larger school, more options for academic pursuits and, of course, the athletic opportunities associated with well established 5 and 6A programs (note: this is our opinion, sorry Montgomerians. We both graduated from "public" (I use that term loosely, as Michael did go to Mountain Brook) schools in Jefferson County, and from what I've seen here, it's just not the same)

We hate that the boys won’t be near their grandparents. We desire to be closer to our church family at Mountain Brook. We can’t stand being the “new kids” with no friends.

When we had Chase almost a year ago, Michael and I were flabbergasted with the medical system here in Montgomery. The NICU staff was floored and did not have the knowledge or experience to deal with his condition. After being flown to Children’s, Michael and I talked about how we could be ok with keeping our family so far from what we consider to be excellent healthcare. With that said, we will continue to see the doctor’s at Children’s because their services can not be replaced.

But as far as moving back goes, give us a few years. Once the boys are in elementary school, I will be working and we will begin to look for jobs in Birmingham again.

For now, thank you all for the calls, emails, and messages. We really hate being away from you all, and we know we are loved. But hey, you are always welcome to visit!

Lots of Love,
Amanda & Michael

17 October 2008

Christmas List!

I absolutely l-o-v-e- (love!) these "Erica" patent leather pumps with buckle detail (in gray, please) by Modern Vintage.

16 October 2008

Sell This House

You've all seen the shows where some cutesy, 20+ years in the market, overpaid and underworked realtor/design expert comes into a house that's been on the market for 7,000 days and rearranges and paints and hides the pee stains on the carpet, right?

Well, I've always wondered how SOME of those people didn't think to hide their neon bar signs or replace their technicolor carpet BEFORE thinking someone was just going to waltz in and offer their asking price. Seriously. Then, I thought surely these shows were popular enough that when I started my home buying search (my casual start to home buying, might I add) today that aforementioned homes would be few and far between, right?

OMG. WRONG!

These are pics from the first 6 houses I clicked on. They are in nice neighborhoods (well, 1 neighborhood) in a very nice area with a stellar elementary school. These are rooms in homes that are between the $200,000 and $270,000 price range. For those not familar with Birmingham (well, the "new" market at least...) that means that these are between 2,100 and 2,700 square foot homes with 3-5 bedrooms and 2-3.5 baths. Fairly new too... with nice backyards... and daisies... and free pedicures every other Thursday (ok, I made that last part up).

Here goes:
[Note: for FULL effect, make the pictures REALLY big...nice.]

1) The tree rooms. I saw TWO of these within the first 6 houses. SERIOUSLY. TWO!! That's a THIRD. It isn't HORRIBLE, but Kirsten Kemp would having most def told these sellers to paint over it. This is the least offensive of the offenders. (ps - I totally get it if the kids like it, and if it's cute... and if your mother-in-law forced it upon you and painted it while you were away getting that free pedi, and when you came home it was there, permanent and the kid's already thought it rocked... but NOW IS THE TIME PEOPLE. NOW IS THE TIME!)



2) Purple room theme going on? What? Do you SEE that shiny purple bed spread?? What's worse is that the shiny bedspread is a theme in ALL OF THE BEDROOMS. Can you BU-LIEVE that these two purple bedrooms are the master bedrooms from two TOTALLY seperate houses? I really hope they are friends.

Do you SEE the bedspread in the other room? The one with the tribal things? And the crazy border? Who puts this stuff up? What is the husband on? Michael would tell me NO and ask me if I'd be drinking. For GOOD REASON.




3) This is the little girl's room from the shiny bedspread house. I feel bad for posting it, seeing as it MIGHT have been her choice in pink... but then again, when Conner asks if he can wear my gold pumps to school, he gets a nasty look, some counseling and a big fat no. That's why I'm the mommy.



4) Ok, I understand you are dark. Bad life? But why put it all over your wall? The curtains too? Ugh. I would love to say I'd paint over it (read: TO A NEUTRAL, TASTEFUL COLOR) and move on if I bought your house but come on, I don't have 3 grand to spend on primer.




Disclaimer: I do feel a little bad about "outing" these real life houses on the internet, but maybe.. just maybe, someone will know the people these houses belong to and offer some help. The kind with a fancy couch and a shrink... the kind of shrink that can paint and has a Target card.

15 October 2008

Banana Rimba

A conversation between Conner and I this morning over breakfast:

"What's dis say?"

"Umm... this says Apple Service Care for Amanda Zaremba [insert our address here]"

"Apple Service Care... Rimba?"

"Yes, Amanda Zaremba is mommy's name. What's your name?"

"Conner Rimba!"

"Haha... yes.. Zaremba. I'm surprised you can say that. Good job.... So what's mommy's full name?"

"Ummm... Momma Rimba!!"

"Well, to you it can be. But my first name is Amanda... just like your first name is Conner. Can you say 'Amanda Zaremba'?"

"[silence... then...] Banana Rimba ?!?"




I wonder if they'll let me put that on my checks.

13 October 2008

ROLL TIDE!

An oldies but goodie, you guys remember Conner's first "Roll Tide Roll!", right?
Roll Tide from a 2-year-old

Giving Him The Bird.

Conner's got a little Captain in him...




I, on the other hand, have a totally inappropriate rack.

12 October 2008

Toilet Bound Woman: An Update

Remember this post about a woman stuck to her toilet seat? Well, apparently the boyfriend that was literally feeding her ... ugh... habit(?) won the lottery. Again.


Why do crazy people win money and not me? (That's assuming, of course, that I'm not crazy AND that I entered a lottery... seeing as we don't have one and all. Don't get me started on THAT topic!!)

11 October 2008

10 Things I Don't Hate About Him.

Number 10 would definitely be his ability to mess up song lyrics in the most-funnest, totally OMG, like... whoa... ways.

Mike: "I busted on you in anuuuther liiife"
Me:" Uh... what?.. eww..." (sorry, it was kinda gross)
Mike: "You know... [Miley Cryus voice] I busted on you, in anuuuther liiife!"


Ok... I corrected him. It's "I must have know you, in another life". He thought it was "one of those new age sayings... like on Gossip Girl".

In his defense, it was my iPod he stole.

But, I can't defend his choice of "See You Again" at volume 36 with the windows down the whole. way. home.

09 October 2008

I hated the previous title, so I changed it to this.

It's so rare that I get a chance to fire up the archaic Mac in the dining room, but tonight... I'm playing the "I'm uploading pictures of the house so we can sell it" card. Nice.

Anyways, I could blog about the recent mouse infestation (we named him "Rodger"), but other than us having a furry friend living in our garage, there's not much to tell.

I could also tell you that Chase is pulling up on furniture and wanting SO DESPERATELY to walk... but... well, there's really no good excuse to pass that one up. But I CAN, oh... the power...

Moreover, I could elaborate on what a GIGANTIC pain IN MY REAR-MOTHER-FREAKIN'-END trying to sell a house in THIS MARKET with 2 kids and NO ONE TO HELP. Oh, and did I mention we have two dogs? Not two new dogs, the same ones... but they are doubly extra-ly annoying when showing a house. Sadly, no one has had the privilege of being shown our gorgeous home though. Here are some exclamation marks to express to you how I really feel. On the inside. - !!!!!!!

(But YOU too can OWN it, if you really really wanna) (And you wanna) (Escrow now?) (Seriously?)

I could also tell you about how the Market has eaten my husband. About how he has to close accounts because margin calls have caused numerous people thousands and thousands of dollars. About how much he hates to do this to clients, but it's a necessity of his job. And with no floor in sight, it's becoming way too common. I will tell you, though, that the LAST thing you need to do is pull your money out of the banks. That's how things fail. Trust that your less-than-$250,000 will be nice and cozy sitting at the bank. Oh, and also... don't short stocks... I know you can make oodles doing that right now, and it's an "essential marketing balancing thingy"... but seriously, it's just crappy. So don't.

Anyways... I WILL post some pics! Yay! (Chase's "you took my drink" face, Conner being an LSU fan for the day - someone's hand-me-downs, and Batman brushes his teeth, too!)








07 October 2008

Calling all (Asian) Cooks!

I desperately want step-by-step ingredient-by-ingredient DEAR HEAVENS HOLD MY HAND instructions on how to make totally stellar FRIED RICE! I've tried a few recipes I found via Chef McGoogle, but it's not "doing it for me". Anyone, tips? Suggestions? Make it for me once a week and deliver?

30 September 2008

My apologies

With the market having consumed my husband, Chase doing some odd "I'm not sleeping at night and will be waking every half-hour" mess, Conner being, well, himself AND the added stress of readying a house for those oh-so-NOT-eager potential buyers.... the blog is neglected.

I promise to try harder :-)

24 September 2008

Gross.

I tried. Really.

I did the hand sanitizer routine after every door opening, toy touching, and all other potentially contaminated object fondelings but somehow Conner outsmarted me.

After making it a WHOLE HOUR without having direct hand-to-face contact with anything COVERED IN OTHER KID'S NASTY-NESS, Conner managed to wander off to the water fountain while I checked-out.

And when he couldn't get it to work, he figured he had to of been doing it wrong. So, as I looked away to sign my credit card slip, Con wrapped his entire mouth around the handle you normally turn to make the foutain work.

Oh Lord.

This thing sees 100-ish snotty monsters per day, all of which think water-fountain-touching is a requirement and MY not-snotty monster decides to expose his insides to it and it's potential infestation.

Seriously, eww.

Should I just wrap him in plastic coverings (you know, other than his nose for breathing...) before going to public places? And WHY OH WHY can't doctors PLEASE have COMPLETELY seperate offices for well visits!!!!!????

22 September 2008

It's OFFICIAL!!!!

We got the job in BIRMINGHAM! We are moving home!!!

Um... anyone want a house? It's pretty.

I Confess.

For a very long time, like maybe a whole TEN YEARS... I've been hiding a very deep secret. An addiction that consumes numerous hour-long (and sometimes two!) segments of my life. I forget who I am. I become an unbelievably long list of characters in an insane amount of situations and walks of life.

And thanks to Tivo, I never miss a beat.

I'm addicted to TV!

And honestly, I've become a bit embarassed, especially seeing as I DO have two kids that seem to require all this attention and stuff. Like food. And love. An all that other kid growing crap.

Then, I came across another (another!) blog last Friday (mightymaggie.com) and she reminds me of this totally awesome, yet occassionally socially recluse, mommy of 2 under 3, lover of Target, diagnoser of medical conditions via Dr. Internet, AND tv-addict = yours truly.

In college, Mary would stand in my doorway or in front of the couch begging to go "do something" but I'd be mid-program and unable to budge. People often think I spent the late high school era partying, when in fact I was in front of my mom's tv in the living room.

I checked my calendar last night so I'd know what lie ahead of me for the week:
Chase's check-up.
Conner's snack-day.
Grey's Anatomy 2-hour (!!) Premiere
Conner Dentist.

Not too bad (except: who actually schedules in tv on their calendar with their children's various appointments?? Really?) Then, I sat down to set up my week of programming via TiVo and I realized what a boob tube junkie I am.

House, Fringe (because I heart Joshua Jackson and the hubster approves!), Prison Break, THE HILLS!, The Sheild, 90210, GOSSIP GIRL!, MTV's crap (all 4 shows...), and then you have to add up all the medical incredible and jon and Kate plus 8's .... Etc etc etc. Oh, and don't forget it is football season and I bleed crimson for The Tide on Gameday. And I will also admit to a Rock of Love and I Love Money on VH1 when it's "in season". (edit: Oooh Oooh Oooh, and Project Runway, Tabitha's Salon Takeover, Top Chef, all the Housewives shows, The Rachel Zoe Project, Shear Genius, 'till death, The Colbert Report, blah blah blah).

So, since the mightymaggie mommy-blogger can proudly proclaim her guilty pleasure, and I don't ever do anything for ME, I'm fessing up!

I admit it - I LOVE TV!!!!!

I encourage all fellow addicts to come clean. It's ok. We can watch together!

15 September 2008

Fuzzy Little Man Peach

In the Dec/Jan '08 issue of Wonder time Magazine (you'll have to pretend that was cited correctly, I'm unable to do HTML edits with my email postings), I found this interesting, yet totally random, tidbit. According to a (then) recent study by John Hopkins University, pregnant women "who experience moderate to severe heartburn gave birth to children with average or above-average amounts of hair."

Bonkers, right?

Apparently, they've found a link in the hormones that cause fetal hair growth and those that relax the mother's esophagus (which results in frequent heartburn).

I had very little heartburn while preggers with Con, and he was your average haired baby.

But Chase? Good grief. The heartburn NEVER STOPPED!!! I was literally chocking on my stomach acid every night with that fresh-from-a-good-barf feeling. Awesome. And the kid? Fuzzy as can be. He had dark, inch long + hair. It has turned light but he is still as furry and cuddly as can be.

And yes, I am just getting enough time to catch up with my 9-month-old magazines. Sigh.

11 September 2008

My 9/11 Story

I was sitting in the second desk back, one row from the last near the window. It was AP Psychology and my Senior year of high school. Shortly after the bell rang, we began our usual discussions as a senior class which typically consisted of hot topics in the news.

Mrs. Green was a younger teacher and laid back, so the occassional stroll across the hall to the "bookstore/late check-in" room was expected. Kyndle, a friend who sat in front of me had just returned from such a trip and with fear in her eyes she announced from the doorway that something was wrong and we needed to watch the news.

Mrs. Green obliged and turned it to the first news station she came upon, MSNBC. It was shortly after 8, and the first World Trade Tower had just been hit.

We watched, glued and silent. I sat quietly as I witnessed the second plane slam into the second tower.

I cried. Not caring who was around me, who saw me. None of us cared. Mrs. Green addressed us - basically insuring us that what we were feeling... scared, uncertain and unsure was what we needed to feel. "If you pray..." she said "do it."

I did.

After AP Chemistry, the day went fast. We watched continous coverage as our teachers encouraged us to stay informed, stay involved, and understand that our country was bleeding.

After school, I had practice that remained uncancelled. To this day, I feel a sense of anger about it. I remember standing there in rollcall, our director saying a prayer and giving us a moment to reflect. I thought to myself "right now, those people are dyeing... trapped, burning... And you want us to practice?!"

We had no idea we'd be graduating into a post 9/11 world.


I hope I cry every 9/11. I hope it always chokes me up to see the footage I saw live that day. Because if I do, it means I'll never forget.

09 September 2008

Confessions of a Pre-School Time-Out King

"He had to go to time out today ... That's why he didn't get a stamp on his hand." said Mrs. Conner's teacher in a "sorry to tell you this tone".

I wasn't surpised. He had acted nuts all weekend since Michael was out of town and Conner was wanting nothing short of his daddy.

So I interrogate my 3-year-old in my "hate to have to drag you out of God's house by your ear" tone. "Did you have to go to time-out today?"

"Uh huh" he returned with a half-smile.

"Why?"

"I runned away inside!"

I give him the obligatory don't do that again speech, but it's in the car when he really opens up.

"I took his book"...."I took his two books"..."And I runned"

I corrected his speech and began the third degree, flash light in the eyes, air conditioner off and of course I threatened not to feed him.

"Conner, did you take his books and go to time-out for it?" I asked.

"Uh huh" ... "He pushed me down...On the playdrowned (more fun than it sounds, especially if you can't swim)... He go time-out"

So, as any "good" mother (or curious person) would do, I drift off into a dream-like scenario of my own version to this mysterious tale. I've deduced from Conner that this child egged him on (seeing as Conner tells me "He really mean"). In my dream sequence, he and New Friend apparently got into a tiff involving the slide and their own personal The-World-Revolves-Around-Me-Bubbles colliding. Both boy's You-Are-In-My-Bubble alarm began blarring and New Friend then, obviously, shoved my precious angel who was busy counting his blessings and picking his mother a beautiful array of lillies. Conner, after seeing how totally awesome time-out on the pre-school level can be, sought revenge and stole his book later during story (or coloring) time.

He did the crime, so he did his time.

Oh the drama that is being a toddler.

03 September 2008

At least the antioxidants will protect him...

Conner came home from preschool on Tuesday with his thick, blond hair stuck to his forehead. His arms were covered in a glaze of purple and his shirt and pants weren't spared.

Apparently, they had grape juice that day. And boy, was he thirsty when he got home.

26 August 2008

I'll Take an Apple Juice, Heavy on the Liquor

Last Thursday was a one-hour test run for Preschool. I'm not sure if it was for the children or the parents, but either way it only lasted an hour.

While in the pick-up line, waiting anxiously for our children, one mom in front of me began a conversation with a mom behind me (might I excuse myself from your sandwich? thanks.)
"Are you ok?" she sniffled. "I was a mess. I looked for you earlier but I was really distracted. (Child's name) was so great. She went right on in without a tear!"

The other mom chuckled, switching her car keys from one hand-on-hip position to the other. "No...(chuckle)... I'm fine! I was sooo ready for this! I thought I wasn't last year but now I'm wondering why I waited so long!! I needed preschool!"

They laughed and began talking about some walking track and a car wash. I tuned out and veered my stroller out of their conversation.

And I thought to myself, I'm not either of those feelings. I'm not boo-hoo-ing uncontrollably at the classroom drop-off, rocking in the fetal position in a dark corner of the bathroom right next door but I'm also not throwing a thank-you-for-this-moment-of-freedom pass-me-a-margarita-and-some-menopause party either.

I'm sad that Conner is growing up. I'm happy he's getting quality peer time in a structured and loving environment. I miss him helping me with laundry and dishes most mornings. I'm a bit ellated that I don't find partially melted dinosaurs in my dryer and rocks in my dishwasher after he's "helped". I think I am going to actually enjoy and take advantage of getting stuff DONE so that my free time when he IS home the other 3 days a week is WITH HIM and not my to-do list.

Yes, I'm also upset that I don't know exactly what he's doing and if he's said something new and hilarious or whether he's picked apple or grape juice that day. But, I've got to suck it up and except my new reality. It's good for all of us.

And although I can't be there to hold his hand or make sure he doesn't pee on the floor, I know if I coax him just right, I'll be able to decipher what he's learned that day.

That he sang his ABC's.

That he colored with "brown and yellow".

That he picked "apple ju-juice".

Sigh. And I might just tear up writing this and try to prep myself for Chase's turn. After that, I guess you can sign me up for one of those menopause parties....

23 August 2008

Tropical Storm Fay

It's 10:12 pm on Saturday and boy, is it wet around here. My handy WeatherBug iPhone App tells me that just today (i.e. -since midnight this morning), Montgomery has received 3.5 inches of rain. It started raining before midnight, so I'll chalk that up to 4 inches. And to boot, it's still raining (hard)! (Could see 4.25 by the nights end)

Icing on the soggy cake - 33 mph sustained winds with 50 mph gusts so far. The handy Weatherbug tells me that the winds should get "gustier" as the night progresses.

I'm a little cabin feverish, so as you can imagine The Monkey and his trusty sidekick Bam Bam are uncontrollably loosing their minds. Since we should be seeing two WHOLE days of rain ahead, I forsee lots of coloring. Or timeouts. Whichever comes first.

19 August 2008

One Too Many

Me: I'm going to meet your teacher now. I love you and I'll be back in just a little while.

Con: I go wit you.

Me: I'm sorry sweetie. You can't go this time but you will get to see her and your new school on Thursday.

Con:....

Me: Do you know how many days away Thursday is?

Con: 2, 3, 5??!!

Me: Well, it's 2.

Con: Dats 1 too many!


WHAT DID HE JUST SAY? Hahaha!

16 August 2008

Picture Update

Fun with daddy! Then last night, Mommy fed me some blue coconut slushie from Sonic. Oh boy, was it good!




Conner also picked out the fire truck at Wal-Mart to ride with his two quarters.
And lastly, I leave you with the 15 frogs we caught. We do this nightly now, and our neighbors think we are freaks. They're right. I probably should have led with that, right?







15 August 2008

So Cal

I think I might actually watch the new 90210 (Sept 2 on the CW).

What do you think?

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BirminghamMommy