30 April 2009

No Girls Allowed and Letting Go

Having 2 young boys, you get a fair share of "so, are you going to go for a girl?" to which I sharply reply "no, no, no... I wanted boys," and I mean it with every inch of my soul.

My grandmother had 2 sisters, my mom was 1 of 2 girls, and I was 1 of 2 girls as well. When I was pregnant with Chase, and we called my grandmother to tell her the sex, she replied "Oh, well, you'll just have to try again for our girl!"

Which, for the record, made my skin crawl.

And very, very few people "get" that I didn't want a girl. Nothing against them, obviously I am one, but I just don't do pink frufru and ponytails.

I was the little girl with matching everything (EVERYTHING) and whereas that worked for my mom and her personality, I am not wired that way - I don't believe I'd be able to play matchy-matchy this and that just to leave the house. The Ponytail Wars, the Ballet Recitals, the Sassy remarks....

I joke that the boys can tag along to the store in mismatched shorts and shirts, with dirt under their nails and suckers stuck in their hair, and people giggle because "boys will be boys", but if I were to have a little girl in the same conditions, DHR would be on my doorstep within hours.

Sadly... true.

After Chase's birth, it seems that both sides of the family dropped the "what about the third". Chase put us all through the wringer. Which, makes me uneasy... what happened to Chase was a freak accident. Odds are in the hundreds of millions... it's not that we have "bad genes" or that Chase was a "bad egg"... Chase is my calm, easy-going, plays-by-himself kid. He's actually less fuss than Conner (it could be the age though...). It breaks my heart a little to think we were "thrown out of the baby-making pool" because of what happened with Chase's birth. Does that make any sense?

I have this growing pile of clothes, baby clothes, in Chase's nursery. It started out as just one plastic tub, and now the pile stands NO LIE 4-feet high. On the bottom are newborn clothes, then 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months... the top foot is sadly now 12 months and even some 18 month shirts that won't fit....

Technically, I am supposed to go through these clothes and stack them into "Giveaway", "Keep" and "Sell" piles... "keep" being for a quilt I want made of the more memorable boys' clothes - like the yellow duckie onesie both the boys wore, the shirt that always made Conner's eyes the most beautiful shade of blue, Chase's "accidental" take home outfit with ponies and cowboy tassles on the booties...

Problem: I just can't do it. I can NOT mentally and physically go through this MOUNTAIN of baby clothes. It means no more babies. No more first smiles, first crawls, first steps... you get it.

No. I don't want another baby, at least I don't think I want another baby. I make the joke with Michael that I might be up for it if he could guarantee me another boy, but we both laugh knowing that God would laugh at US and give us a girl. Because He knows I could handle it, and God's funny like that.

I need inspiration to let go of the baby things. Or I need a miracle to bonk me on the head and say "you could have one more baby". I'm beginning to think neither are going to happen.

(Inspired by this article, which explains even further why I just can not have a girl) (she also blogs over at the Mother Load)

28 April 2009

Have I Told You Lately That I Heart You?

Do you know what amazes the bananas out of me?

YOU!

No, seriously.

Here I am, in my little dusty corner of the Internets, flopping some text onto an instant publisher for the world to read all about my blah blah blah, and yet... people actually read it (like... 2,500 of you a month!).

What?

Thing is, I've got to warn you guys - whereas you are getting The Real McCoyAmanda, you must know this: I'm an absolute train wreck in real life.

I don't mean that in a "I'm absolute ape crap bonkers" way, what I mean is that for as long as I can remember I've been unable to articulate what I'm really trying to say in a conversation unless I've already planned it all out in my head (typically only applies to people I've known for less than 5 years...). BUT, sometime around middle school (maybe early HS), I realized that I can come to a complete thought, case, point and procedure in written word.

For me to blog is completely natural. Yet, then again, it's also just this splattered mess all over the WWW.

...and still you come...

So, I've got a game!
Come on... play!

See, my Google Analytics tells me lots of fun stuff, we've talked about this before. Over the past few weeks, many of you have started "outing" yourselves, which I can not express how much i LURVE. Love love love. Thank you, de-lurkers, I heart each and every one of your faces. For reals.

I have viewers ALL OVA the place. If you are one of these people, HOLLA AT CHA GIRL (read: say "hi" "it's Monchichi from Nebraska")... (It can even be anonymous... you can even be one of those people who has only been to my blog ONCE, and HATE MY FACE, but seriously, just TELL ME.... )

1. Rhode Island - I'm just fascinated with Rhode Island... it's all situated nice and pretty in the North East, access to the Big Time Cities in a short drive, yet it's TINY. As in,  1045 square miles... that just blows my mind! That's... 8 TIMES smaller than Atlanta! From RI? 

2. Richmond, VA - I've never been to Virginia, but the pictures are gorgeous... I had an english teacher in college who now teaches in VA, and she would speak of how beautiful and (obviously) history rich the state was (or is...?) .... Plus, Mike's work is opening a new office there, and if the market were to FREAKING GET OVER ITSELF ALREADY, I'd totally move there.

3.  Michigan - COOOLLD, dude. I don't know how you handle it. But, I get about 30-40 hits a month from this state and from several cities. FESS UP!

4.  Beverly Hills, CA - WHAT? I know. I know. The kids are adorable. If you are wanting head shots, hit me up already... ge'ez. Oh, and West Hollywood, CA - go ahead and admit you are reading too... i...see....you.... (and have either of you ever run into Lauren Conrad? I live vicariously through her... SAD)

5. Canada, in general - Hate me for lumping you all together later, but for now... really? I'm just a tiny little girl with two kids in Alabama....

(On my list of "really? me?": Australia, Vietnam, The Philippines, Italy, Spain, Poland?)

And don't stop reading! I know that motherhood, and The Crazy and The Funny, and blogging in general are all common threads. We all share something in common, and you are here for a reason. I hope not to disappoint...

... and now for the rambling to stop....

27 April 2009

Eggs Aren't Offered This Way At Waffle House - I Hope

Chase slept through the night, as in 9:30 PM till 8:30 AM. Which, for the record, Chase managed to wake every single morning for our 8 day vacation at FOUR in the morning

He'd wake, not go back to sleep, start talking, playing and eventually... want to nurse. So, I'd fetch him and he'd nurse with me on my side half-asleep and he'd stick his fingers all the way up my nose or in my eyeballs (OUCH) or even scratch my gums with his fingernails.

BEFORE THE SUN WAS EVEN UP.... Waaaaay before. Sigh. Wasn't this supposed to be a vacation??

Returning from vacation, in my house, means no groceries, and baby who hasn't nursed for almost 11 hours = hungry. Chase eats 2 eggs every morning. I make those eggs with milk. If I use water, he doesn't finish... 

... I was engorged from not nursing...

.... No milk in the house ....

.... Hungry baby ....

See where I'm going?

Yes, this morning I prepared two eggs (in the microwave), scrambled with... breast milk...



24 April 2009

7 Quick Takes: I'm Having a GIVEAWAY, FYI Edition

-1-
If you haven't already entered my Fabuluous Giveaway... WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? It's free stuff people, and free good stuff... SO CLICKITY CLICKITY already.



-2-
We just spent a week in Destin, FL. 

 (not my picture, google let me borrow it... kinda)

But, I'm not sure when my vacation started or ended.... Either way, I'm in need of some rest. Like, whoa.




-3-
Don't worry your little brains out. It's unattractive. There will be more on our trip in another post sometime this week...



-4-
I'm trying to type this with a 16 month old asleep at the foot of my bed. I'm totally risking nap time for the sake of blogging. Bad mom or good blogger??



-5-
This could, quite possibly be, the shortest Quick Takes you'll ever see.



-6-
I sent my husband to the store during our vacation for two items: toothpaste and diapers. He came back with those and the following:
- Two beach chairs with wheels (probably 50 bucks!)
- Two foam swords (right, because Conner needs more weaponary for his growing arsenal...)
- A cooler with wheels (if it has wheels, in Michael's book, it automatically becomes a trillion times better than it's wheel-less counterparts)
- 4 6-packs of gatorade
- A 10-peice sand bucket collection complete with shovels and crab molds galore (we already had said item in room and yes, he knew that.)
- An additional, yet notably larger, shovel.

Two crucial mistakes: 1)Never send husband to store when he's bored already and 2)Don't let aforementioned bored husband bring equally bored 3-year-old

For the record, we never used the cooler.



-7-
Did I mention I'm tired? That vacations need vacations after them? That my husband has a spending problem? That my child is trying to sleep? OR... did I forget to mention that I'm giving STUFF AWAY

For more Quick Takes that suck way less but might not offer FREE STUFF visit the Conversion Diary.

22 April 2009

Product Review and GIVEAWAY - EcoTOOLS

I had a bit of trepidation about reviewing a line of eco-conscious make-up brushes, for the most part, because I am very, very (did I mention very?) picky about what I put on (or even near...) my face. As a rule, I don't even allow my husband to TOUCH my face, as I grimace at the thought of his not-so-recently washed hands smudging their little germy selves all over my pores only for me to break out in Mt. Everest sized zits within a day...

Needless to say, make-up, cleansers and applicators must meet a strict regime of standards before coming within a foot of my face. 

I'm the girl that had acne in 4th grade, that still had it in college, and will almost certainly be the 30-something with both acne AND wrinkles. (Ok, WHO DID I TICK OFF!?!?)

So, when I was asked to review the EcoTOOLS line of beauty tools, I dipped my toes in the kiddie pool first. 

It arrived in a cute green box, not filled with unnecessary and wasteful packing, yet conservatively packaged in a 100% post-consumer box - I was already a bit smitten. 

(Side note: I just DON'T UNDERSTAND companies that use boxes the size of my head, followed by 4 gallons of plastic, surrounded by bubble wrap and then littered with 10,000 copies of your invoice.... for something the size of a Happy Meal Toy... WHY MUST YOU DO THAT, crazy companies??? Let's talk numbers here (forgetting the excessive waste and carbon footprints for a minute) and say that if you cut half of that... how much would you save? $$$Company vacation people$$$... COMPANY VACATION! ... ok, off the tangent train...sorry.)

The press-release for EcoTOOLS was printed on 100% post-consumer paper with soy based ink (SCORE!). I know I'm not techincally reviewing the company, but these people have their business straight. Earth-friendly through and through.

So, with all this hype about the packaging (or there lack of), what about the product itself, right?

I tried the EcoTOOLS Blush Brush, which is made of animal-free taklon bristles, with a bamboo handle and metallic ferrule (you know, the thing that holds the bristles to the handle...) made from recycled aluminum cans. I was skeptical of the bristles, could they beat out the soft sandpaper brush I currently use?

Quick fun fact: Do you know why bamboo is so earth-friendly? It has a low-impact on the earth's natural resources as it able to grow up to 4 feet a day! Too bad they can't find a use for kudzu...

Being OCD about my face, as I might have mentioned... I did what an responsible mother would - I yelled for Conner ... and he came pouncing down the hallway like a good little 3.75-year-old.

"Mommy is going to take this special brush and tickle your face. You tell me what it feels like, ok?" I explain.

"Otay... (I sweep his face)... *giggle*.. it's weelwey soft like baby biwd feadas!!"

Alrighty then, soft. Good. (but not from "baby bird feathers", my dear...)



I bit the bullet, dipped the EcoTOOLS blush brush into my favorite blush, tapped away the excess and applied it to my cheeks (from apple to hairline, in an upward motion, pleaseandthankyou). One sweep and I was floored. This little "green" brush was not only amazingly soft, but it is somehow contoured to minimize effort. Two sweeps on each side, and the job was done. 

that's a bit of blush, a sweep of bronzer with the same brush and mascara, not bad, eh?

My old brush was immediately gifted to aforementioned 3-year-old for his next watercolor adventure.

I was convinced this whole line would surely be pricey, right?

Um. Somehow... not. at. all!

The EcoTOOLS Blush Brush retail value is only $6.99! 

"Oh, well.. then I'm paying 10 bucks in shipping because it's not in any stores in my area..." you are thinking...

WRONG!

The EcoTOOLS line can be found at Wal-Mart, Kmart and Ulta (have I mentioned that I heart Ulta?)

Does it get any better? Well... YES! First, EcoTOOLS has joined with 1% For The Planet, an alliances of businesses that are committed to leveraging their resources to create a healthier planet. So, 1% of their annual sales is donated!

Better, you ask?

I am giving away (1) EcoTOOLS Foundation Brush to one lucky commenter (and it comes in a sturdy, reusable brush bag)! Additionally, in celebration of Earth Day, I will also include 2 other "earth friendly" goodies!!




Here's how the game works:
One comment = one entry
One tweet* = one entry
One blog link to this post = one entry
(Please Tweet and blog before commenting, and leave the URL's for each so I can verify, thanks!)**

*If you are new to Twitter, copy and paste this: RT @AGZaremba Earth Day giveaway ecoTOOLS foundation brush http://themomjob.net 
** That's 3 entries per person. I had to get a calulator too, that's some hard math.

On Monday, I will use some random generator via The Internets and choose a lucky, earth-loving commenter to receive this amazing Foundation Brush and other "green" goodies!

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?!

For more information on these amazing (and did I mention GREEN!) products or other beauty essentials, visit EcoTOOLS online.

20 April 2009

Green to Granola?


That is one week's worth of recyclable materials from Casa My House minus the fact we were gone for 2 whole days....




When we first started the recycling bit, it took a while to catch on. I found myself digging plastic containers and cardboard boxing out of the trash every now and then (um, eww). But, now it is so much of a routine, Conner even knows where the paper and plastics go (we don't have cans as I don't purchase carbonated beverages with the very tiny exception of parties or company).

In efforts to go "green"er and save some cash, we've also implemented the following:
  • No more dry cycle on the dish washer - Air dry all the way!
  • Full loads only in the washing machine, partial loads are a waste of water and electricity (obviously). Plus, we have a front loader which saves additional H20 and power.
  • Unplugging electronics that are not in use - everything from my electric razor to the can opener to the toaster oven and the laptop charger.
  • Reusable Grocery Bags - I've got 5 now, and I buy one every other week. What I love other than the fact that I'm being "green" is the fact that they fit so much stuff! As in, two gallons of milk fit in one bag, so it means less trips to the car (for my husband... well, when he does it...)
  • Michael brings home The Wall Street Journal every day for recycling (that's 25 newspapers a month!) (and have you seen how thick those things are?) as well as all the extra paper from his office
  • ....and other small things that add up....
When I spend time at other's homes that don't recycle, I find myself LITERALLY resisting the urge to dig through their trash and pull out the recyclable materials, stash them in my car and toss them in the orange recycle bags at my house.

Would that be wrong? - I wouldn't do it because I was being all judgey judgey, I'd do it because I want to help... Ok, I won't .... but, just know I think about it. Even on vacation, I consider packing up all the recyclables and bringing them home (and I have...).

Anyways...

I've been reading a few blogs, like the Mama Manifesto on how to take my "going green" efforts and transform or transition into "going granola", that is... incorporating more organic materials and less toxins into my tiny tots (and I guess myself and Michael too... ge'ez) while continuing my efforts to be as green as I can.

Why green to granola-ish, you might ask?
Well, for starters:
  • reducing pesticide, additives and preservatives intake for my wee-ones - read the following:
    "Artificial colorings and preservatives in food and drink are thought to contribute to hyperactivity in pre-school children, and while many still contest this issue, a recent study in the UK found that the proportion of hyperactive children was halved when additives were removed from their diets. Many additives—such as preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colorings and flavorings, MSG, hydrogenated fat, and phosphoric acid—are prohibited in organic food production." - source
  • toxins and chemicals used in "non-organic" foods and goods are harmful to the environment
  • organic foods have been found to contain higher levels of the "good stuff", basically maintaining their natural antioxidants, fructose and glucose as well as the other nutritional benefits of fruits and veggies say these people.
  • Interesting tidbit:
"Research at the Rodale Institute has shown that organic practices can remove about 7,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year and sequester it in an acre of farmland." - source: Tim J. LaSalle and Paul Hepperly, Regenerative Organic Farming: A Solution to Global Warming, Rodale Institute, 2008.

...and those are just a few benefits... (more can be found here or here)


Thing is - it's a little overwhelming. Where do I start? 

First off, I don't have a Trader Joe's or a Whole Foods in my area (here is the part where I mention that Birmingham has Whole Foods and I cringe to think I don't live there anymore.... *SIGH* annnnnnd digression.)

Oh.... and organic is EXPENSIVE. As in, I noticed that organic applesauce versus Mott's Natural (I still buy the "good stuff"... no thick syrups, 100% fruit juice, little to no preservatives, please... etc.) and it was $1.50 more for the same amount. People! That's BUDGET BUSTING stuff.

My children never drink sodas (nor do I).
 (Mike = different story... he has a stash at work. FINGER POINTING, MICHAEL, FINGER POINTING!!) 

Conner is a very, very picky eater, so he doesn't eat well... but I'm doing my best people. Chase, on the other hand, loves chicken and eggs (which I do buy organic, cage-free with extra omegas.... blah blah blah), yogurt, aforementioned applesauce, fruits, etc. So, he's eating healthy... but not organic.

As far as cleaning products, I've switched almost solely to vinegar and water for most cleaning and then I use Seventh Generation for deeper cleanings. Soap and water are commonly used as well, but I do use bleach in the toilets and on the kitchen floor but then I rinse the residue away. I am also an avid Clorox Wiper for public places and things I KNOW need disinfecting. Clorox Wipes = not organic and surely full of toxins.

How do I incorporate more chewy granola into my slightly green life? Not straight up oatmeal, but maybe Quaker Oats Chewy Granola Bars with Chocolate Chips (which aren't organic, btw)?? Can't I just straddle the fence? 


                 Source: QuakerOats.com

Am I rambling? Answer: YES.

But, I'll close with this (it's printed on the back of a plastic cup we use to wash the boys during bath time, and is stored right outside my glass shower, so I read it every day....)

Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents. It was loaned to you by your children.  - Kenyan Proverb. 




(Psst.... product review and giveaway on Earth Day!!)

16 April 2009

7 Quick Takes: Bunny Ears and Going Dutch Edition

-1-
Packing. 
Ugh. 
And packing for 4 people, 2 of which are unable to pack for themselves and the other...ummm... unable to pack for himself... leaves me with packing clothes for FOUR WHOLE HUMANS for EIGHT WHOLE DAYS. I developed a Plan Of Action though. 

Remember the crazy flu/tonsil nonsense/yellow death? Well, after that, we went to Birmingham and had a Great Friday on Good Friday, followed shortly by an additional 3 day stay and Easter (WITH NO PICTURES, spare me)... leaving me with not a single pair of underwear and Conner and Chase sharing an old shirt of mine...

So. I implemented The Plan and am in process of washing every single thing we own, only to pack it into suitcases, See? NO SORTING OR FOLDING OR HANGING.

Genius.

-2-
I'm not telling when or where said trip is. 
Neener Neener
But it is to some place with Sand! and Ocean! Booyahs.

-3-
Staci, who is NOT an imaginary friend but does not blog (yet), thankyouverymuch, has become SUCH a Saving Grace lately. She's a mommy of 3, absolutely hilarious, and of the non-judgey type. I heart those who can admit their sink is full of dirty dishes AND they are watching tv without CARING. Those are good peoples, people. 

We talk nightly about our crazy lives and whatnot... and it's incredibly therapeutic and I miss her muchly.

.............and then.............
she tells me she and her husband have received orders to The Netherlands.....

Like as in HOLLAND.


BUT THIS ONE:



Oh, and they have to move their tushes and the tushes of their THREE KIDS UNDER THE AGE OF FOUR in 6 months.

Well, crap.

-4-
On the positive side of this story, they are all coming to visit us next month. For those of you who are bad at math, that's FIVE children under FOUR staying in a 2,000 sq. foot home, sharing two rooms* with an additional FOUR adults. It's going to be nothing but pure awesomesauce I tell you.

Most certainly illegal in most states. (But maybe not FREAKING HOLLAND)

*two rooms for the kids, two for the adults...


-5-
Conner went to the zoo. 

With his preschool class.

The entire class noticed MAYBE 2 animals.

So, what did they do the rest of the time??? you ask.


Well, they looked at the treasure map, duh.


Oh, and then they went to the playground....


-6-
I found a prescription medication (THANKS MOM!) that allows me to, prepare yourself people, EAT FOOD! And have an occasional GLASS OF WINE. I mean, can you believe the craziness of that??

(It's called Bentyl and is prescribed for esophageal spasms, in case you are one of those in my shoes)


-7-
Congrats! You made it through this boring quick takes! Here's a picture of myself in bunny ears supplied by the glorious Mighty Maggie.




Happy Weekend!




For more Quick Takes, head on over HERE.

This Is The Way We Brush Our Teeth

Chase brushes his teeth no less than 1,607 times a day. Good thing he looks awesomely adorable doing it....

13 April 2009

Box O'Fun

Last time I won something (other than the prize of motherhood, right? right.) I was in 5th grade - it was a gallon sized bucket filled with Butterfingers.

I was ecstatic.

Yet, I hate Butterfingers.

So, when Mighty Maggie blogged about a random box of stuff she received from a fellow mommy blogger, and in turn, decided to do the same, I thought "hey, I like this girl's blog, I never comment, so... why not kill two birds and see what happens..."

And I won. Honestly, I was completely pathetic and waaayy too excited when I checked that Friday to see if I had. Us SAHM's will do ANYTHING for a little pick-me-up!

Then, a little while later, I am doing my usual routine with the exception being that the night before I made a VOW that I'd FINALLY stop being sick and clean. my. house. It is amazing what having the flu, your children having the flu and then you getting tonsillitis ON TOP of The Yellow Death will do to your standards of cleanliness. I was swamped I tell you.

Oh! BUT! The doorbell rang, and there sat a happy little box on my happy little doorstep. A surprise JUST FOR ME! I was over the moon with geekiness.

I practically ripped the box open with my bare teeth, dropping my Swifter to the ground and cut Michael off mid-sentence (he'll survive).


"A Note of Explanation" which included an awesome new way for me to spice up my Ramen noodles a-la Asian - add an egg! I've just never thought of that...




This card is adorable. But then, I stopped to think about it... you really can't have just one shoe.... well, I mean... if you have two legs you can't






Do you guys want a picture of me wearing the bunny ears?





These are flip-flops FOR YOUR DRINKS, wearable coasters! Adorable.





Maggie tells me this book killed precious brain cells. I'm not sure I have any left to spare though...





And OF COURSE coffee... she lives in Seattle. I haven't tried it yet, but MAN does it smell good.



Additional contents:
Space Needle shaped noodles (all organic)
Tons of chocolate eggs and Reese's chocolate eggs, which completely sufficed as an adequate lunch for two days. 
Grapefruit Vegetable Soap (it smells delicious...)
A book of bookmarks that are very shabby chic. 
And stationary pictured above.

Thanks to Maggie for all the goodies! What a pick-me-up! 

So, the tentative plan is to pass on the joy to my readers, BUT there's a glitch - we have a jam packed schedule for the next 2 weeks... and I will have NO time to host a giveaway and then gather items. SO, the first week of May, look out for a GIVEAWAY of a completely random, but oh so fun Box O'Amanda!

10 April 2009

The Miracle Baby

Chase had his next-to-last neurology appointment.

Oh yeah, I said it.

NEXT. TO. LAST!!!

Three months ago, Chase had his regularly scheduled brain check with his Neurologist From The Gods and seeing as his head circumference was growing faster than the rest of his body (i.e.- 50% on height/weight and then 55%.... and then 75% ... and then 95% on his head....), we had a CT scan.

I didn't blog that, intentionally as we were finally thinking "this is it...."...

Fortunately, it came back with normal ventricles and we were soooo relieved.

But, that meant we had to come back in 3 months rather than 6 and to be totally honest, we were a bit scared. For once, Chase had begun to show signs of The Bad Things we were warned about over and over again.

All went well today, however, and Chase's story is all but unfinished - but a new chapter has begun.

----


We received the "dodged a bullet" speech.... AGAIN.

Let me place specific emphasis on the severity of this - Children with grade IV bleeds do not survive - as a matter of fact, the definition of a grade IV bleed is a "fatal bleed". When a baby has low grade IV or grade III, they can survive BUT 99.9999% of these babies have complications, surgeries and development delays. The nurses, who see hundreds and hundreds of children on a more regular basis than Chase always remember his story - 
         
        he's that baby, 

                  the one that shouldn't be here, 

      the one that fought the hardest fight and won, NOTHING short of an absolute miracle.

Did I mention ONE MORE APPOINTMENT and then we are, and I shall quote Brain Doctor,  "out of the woods"??

A FATAL BLEED??!! And NO problems? Sixteen months ago, I thought I was loosing my newborn son and left a hospital with nothing more than a piece of cloth and a broken spirit.

From this:



(sorry, I don't post intubation pictures for they crush me to pieces.)
To this:





God is wonderful and we are all so thankful for His grace. 
From mine to yours... Have a happy Easter.

(if you are new to my blog, and wish to read Chase's Story from the beginning, I'd start in the Decemeber 2007 archives and work your way through.)

08 April 2009

Scarred for Life: Take 4,585

What kind of mother would post a picture like this of her darling son attempting to keep the sun out of his eyes after his sunglasses fell on the floor?

I guess it'd be the same mother that even OWNED said hat... In her defense, it was a gift received senior year of high school and she's never worn it. Said hat has only served as a "snow hat" and was thrown into said mother's vehicle during that freak snow incident a few weeks back.

I'm just sayin'...

07 April 2009

The Bite Heard Round the Block

This is Charlie:




Charlie became our first baby shortly after we learned I was pregnant. It was one of those logic things in which you figure that if your animal lives you can maybe survive parenthood - seemed sound at the time however, I suggest that no one make life altering decisions whilest preggers. Pregnant women have no judgement :)

(and neither do Michaels... it's just a rule)

Michael grew up with a peek-a-poo or two (ha! rhyme!). I, on the other hand, had yorkies. Ok, one yorkie - Rusty. For reference sake, here are photos via google of said breeds:



Note: Small.

We scoured the Internets for a peekapoo and couldn't find a darn thing under 600 bucks. We were NOT paying over half a grand on a dog. Period. We had baby stuff to acquire for Pete's sake.

Then, like a shining star - out of nowhere- lands us a link and a phone number to a place in Calera, Alabama with 4 peek-a-poo puppies - JOY! $300 bucks! YES!

We get to a shack in The Middle of Nowhere, it's freezing and dark. This place was no bigger than a tool shack. Inside, was dreary looking and there sat two or three cages stacked high in this 8x10 space. My heart was broken for any animal that lived here.

Two woman, who probably were not related but called each other "Sister", appeared from an attached back room with a box of puppies. They put them in one of the metal cages and told us about one in particular whose tail had to be cut off because it "got stuck in something".

Remember, I was pregnant. I BROKE DOWN. A poor, tiny little puppy... white... and soooo in need of a good home who had obviously experienced some sort of trauma. I didn't care that he wasn't the cutest in the litter, or that... he really didn't even look much like the rest of the litter - he was coming home with me. We fork over the money, don't question the "surgery" or that his siblings look more "peek-a-poo-esque" and leave.

On our drive home I chose the name Charlie after some Real World guy that I thought was hot - but mostly because I liked the name.

Fast forward/Condensed Version - Vet visit. Charlie isn't a peek-a-poo, he's a jack russell mix. He has food guarding issues and sparring of his spine from the "surgery". The vet hypothesizes that nothing was wrong with his tail and the breeders chopped it off so he'd fit in with small breed puppies. Oh, and to top it all off, they calculated his age. Charlie was, AT BEST, 4 weeks old when we bought him (weaned from his mother and sold illegally an entire month early = issues).

Few more months go by: We are in love with our furry baby, but he's having severe trust issues and is violent. "Untrainable" one vet tells us, "You'll risk the dog hurting the baby if you keep him" adds the behavioral specialist. An hour later, I, 8 months pregnant, leave the vet WITH my dog and refuse to give him up.

Charlie is, for the most part, a wonderful dog now. Time has calmed him and he and Michael share some weird connection thing that is borederline disturbing/adorable. He's playful sometimes, and nice when he wants to be. We even got him a dog, Squish:


(Note: Squish is an absolute moron. Dumb as a rock. Very playful and kind hearted. 100% pug - who knew the mut would be 1,000 times smarter than the purebred??)

We thought we were out of the danger zone: Charlie will growl, but not bite. He is violent towards strangers, but being protective isn't necessarily a bad thing. Guard dog, he is.

Then, last night happened. Conner, being the Professional Dog Annoyer of the household sneaks up on Charlie, who was on the bed. Conner gently hits him on his thigh and in an instant Charlie had shattered the Thin Line. He let out a huge growl and chomped his amazingly large teeth right down on Conner's right wrist.

Michael was furious. Conner was so crushed. I was taken aback. Charlie knew what he'd done.

Conner's ok - physically he has a little bruising and Charlie broke skin. His hand swelled just a bit, but it's fine now. Emotionally though, Conner's confused and upset. "His" dog hurt him. It's so, so sad.

We always said we had proven that Vet and her fancy specialist friend wrong. Charlie wouldn't hurt our children. But now? Now he's crossed the line. I've heard it before, that once a dog bites he's made a break-through of sorts. You could tell in Charlie's demeanor this morning that he is fully aware of what happened.

So, what do we do? For now, nothing. But, it's sad to think we might have to eventually find Charlie another (child-free) home. We'd all be so crushed.

So, what would you do?

02 April 2009

Taking Out The Trash

 When I married Michael, somewhere in our vows he must have sneaked in a small part about how I would solemnly swear to clear away a dusty corner of my brain and begin to store shelves and shelves of knowledge about the Stock Markets, Financial Terminology and all things related. Did he know I'm allergic to Math?

 But, a vow is a vow and somehow, really I guess it's how much I love him and care about what he cares about, but SOMEHOW I've retained a CRAP TON of said knowledge.

 Like, a lot.

 For instance, I know what a toxic asset is (even before that word was plastered below every other headline about failing financial institutions who back crappy mortgages). By definition (thank you Google), it's a term for assets (or "stuff") that has exposed the holder to large losses.

 In our house, our mortgage has become a toxic asset. Our home isn't worth what it once was, we bought at the peak, our Adjustable Rate Mortgage is flying high with the birds and all that jazz. But, I've told you about this before.... and ... I'm happy to report that we are working with our financier to re-do our mortgage (it might not necessarily be a refinance, so I'm using "re-do" for now... work with me people).
 
 Yes, this toxic asset has prevented us from financial freedoms we would have otherwise had. Moreover, it's held us from moving back home to be with our families. But, God has a plan and for now, we are happy.


But....

Financial woes aren't my point here. (see that, I have NO transitional, so I came right out with it... the journalist in me just died a little... but it's ok... she's been dead for years...)

What about those in our lives that are or become "toxic assets".

Recently, I've had to purge my life of one person that has been absolutely nothing but a toxin. This person causes hell and havoc at every twist and turn, taking down everyone within arms reach with little to no remorse for their actions. Piles of use, abuse and neglect for anyone who cares to attempt to help for this person.... sadly, an all-around parasite.

I know that is harsh, but reality is what it is.

So, what if ... the toxins are in your blood? As in, the person who is toxic to you, the bad in your life, is related to you? It makes it more difficult to get away (blood is thicker than water...). In this case, it bought nothing but time - more time for this person to do more damage.

In other times of my life, depending on the stage, my reaction would have been different. At one point, I would have held on tight - told myself that I deserved no better. That person is gone, and I hope to never, ever, ever run into that "me" again. 

But you grow. You learn. You move on from what hurts. At this point in my life, I know that letting go of what's pulling myself and those around me down will only make us stronger.

What time has done for me is miraculous. What distance has done is just as amazing.

Moving away from my family and friends is so incredibly difficult, but in that I learned a valuable lesson about "Golden Friends".
make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold...
Those friends, the ones that mean the most, are there through everything, no matter the distance and share something so special that nothing can break it. My friends - my circle - are my backbone.

No measure of space, time and distance can separate those that are priceless, but no amount of blood can justify a toxic relationship. So to this person, goodbye. I'm glad to be rid of you.

(and since I can't be serious for too long, I would like a show of hands for how many of you, at any point in this post, started singing, humming or thinking about Britney's Toxic... that includes NOW as well... teehee)

And Since All I Can Do Today Is Complain

Mom Job Things I Despise Doing #7,382:
Re-threading Car Seat Straps.

Babyless Followers: This is the (ungodly) act of taking apart an entire car seat and attempting to re-thread the straps to fit your growing wee-one. Typically, it's not that hard to take the car seat apart, but then you must put the thing back together with all it's 20+ pieces IN ORDER. Also, the instructions are surely in Mandarin and require a Doctorate in Physics to decipher.

Oh, and if you don't do it right, you risk your child being fatally injured during a car accident.

No pressure.

(And right now, I only have to do TWO seats. Oh, and they are not the same brand... so the process is completely different for each seat. Great.)

Dear MTV

Dear MTV,

Please stop playing "T.I.'s Road to Redemption" 10 times a day (as you've done for over a week now). I want my MTV, but I want it to not suck.

Thanks,
The Mom Job

01 April 2009

I Apologize In Advance For Boring You - Cleaning Tips & Questions

I can't stay WELL. Ge'ez. Sore throat, glands swollen, feels like someone is choking me. What. Ever. Save the "sorry, hope you feel better's"... it's not good to entertain the antics of a hypochondriac.

It is hard, however, to be funny when your insides are trying to convince you to press the Internal I Quit Button.

So, what I can do is contribute to The Mom Job AND The I Have A House TOO! But No Kids Job with the following:

1. We have hard water. That is an understatement. Our water leaves clouds all over my glass shower within ONE DAY of cleaning. And my go-to cleaner, Scrubbing Bubbles, won't get the job done. So, with a little help from Mrs. Google, I tried the following:

Make a paste using powder laundry detergent and water. Apply paste in circular motion to glass surfaces in shower. (I like not having to break a sweat, and I didn't if that tells you how effortless this is). Let sit for a minute, then rinse with hot water. I towel dried afterwards so the water I used to clean doesn't re-dirty my shower.

Endless battle, but clean shower. And it smelled like fresh laundry!

2. I keep a bottle of 1/3 vinegar, 2/3 water for a few things: windows, glass surfaces and granite counter tops to name a few. But this power cleaner can do so much, including getting a streak-free clean on black appliances like ovens, dishwasher fronts, the fridge ("fri-ja-frator" in Conner Land), and microwaves. Works like a charm.

3. Kids or no kids, the absolute best rags to use are cloth baby diapers. I thought I could do the whole cloth diaper bit, but it just didn't work for me (and I applaud all of you moms that CAN do it, because the laundry about nearly killed me trying).
So, I started using them around the house 3.75 years ago and still have the same ones. They are ULTRA absorbent, for obvious reasons, and can clean up spills better than 15 paper towels.
I use a damp one to wipe down dusty surfaces (sorry Pledge, you make dust come back faster for some reason, anyone else experience this?). 

Sooo many uses, I recommend picking up a bag of them.

4. Hardwood floors get a bathtub full of hot water, a SMIDGEN of dish soap and a splash of Pine Sol (orange flavored, please). It's VERY diluted (thus, bathtub full). I use a mop (duh) but wring it out very thoroughly. Clean, shiny, yummy smelling and disinfected. 

5. Kitchen floors get the sink filled with hot water (HOT HOT), 1/4 cup bleach and a squirt of dish soap. Mop once, then rinse mop, empty sink, refill with hot water and run over the floor again. 

Now for my questions:
1. How in the WORLD do you clean your mirrors? Our bathroom is like, 98% mirrors and I DESPISE them. Once I hike my arse up on the counter top and do the Death Match Parade of Mirror Cleaning Shame, I still can't get them clean enough.

Done? NO! Missed about 15 spots! 

It's not the cleaner, I tried Windex (and don't use it anymore, except on the outside of our glass doors). I found that the aforementioned vinegar and water mixture works best. I SWEAR it's either the technique or the rags/paper towels (both seem to give me equal, yet unacceptable results). WHAT DO YOU DO? (and don't say don't clean them, I've tried that...)

2. No seriously, how do you clean mirrors 5 ft. high  and 10 ft. wide with no streaks??? I need to clean the one on my bedroom ceiling too. I KID! That's just nasty.

3. Do you have a "cleaning schedule"? Are you OCD about it? Mention it in front of other moms just to make them cringe? OR do you really follow it? If you are of the last variety, let me know what you do. I've tried a schedule, but can't get it down. I have my lazy days and my super-ultra-someone-give-me-a-Valium-STAT days in which The Schedule was thrown in the trash.

4. I hate laundry. Should I seek therapy or just throw away all our clothes? For serious though - I'm tired of liking a new clothing item only for it to look 7 years old after 2 washes. I use Tide Ultra HE for Front Loaders (can't use anything else really, makes me sneeze). Does great getting things clean, but fades my darks. I use really cold water. Promise. Do you add anything to your darks? 

This post is way too long and you stopped reading 3 minutes ago. Sorry about that. Why did I publish this?


Ooohh... you guys get to see Conner's Preschool Class Picture sometime in the next few days, once I blur out all the other Angels' Faces. It's a real treat (you've GOT to see Conner... I can't even believe I'm purchasing this picture. IT'S THAT BAD)

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