The Big Head

Overheard at dinner tonight:

T: Z, you are so smart! And pretty. Are you pretty?

Z: Yep.

T: (laughing) And modest. Are you modest?

Z: Nope.


The Wedding Story - Part 2

So now that I was properly shod, we went back to SSS's house to get ready to go. The funny thing was that both of the girls were ready to go before e even got in the shower. We were totally waiting on him. When he finally made his appearance, we headed out.

The traffic gods had been against us all day, and the trip to the wedding was no exception. We had to get from one end of town to the other on the busiest cross-town road. Arg! When we arrived at White House Ranch, the ushers were immediately upon us telling us to RUN! The wedding was about to start. It is not nice to tell a woman non-accustomed to heels to run anywhere. We ducked into the garden with all eyes upon us, though we were only the next to the last people there. Of course, there were no seats together, so I sat with e and SSS found a seat further up.

When the groomsmen came in there was a guy with gray hair standing next to the preacher. Never having met the groom, I thought to myself, "How sweet! The groom asked his dad to be his best man." Nope. He was the groom. Ooops!

The bridesmaids were lovely in dark purple gowns. Each selected a gown that suited them best. SSM was a vision in strapless cream chiffon. She wore a fingertip veil over gorgeous loose curls. Just beautiful. I love weddings! Everyone looks so pretty! It is nice to have an occasion to to gussy up for.

The service was very nice; sort of non-denominational. The bride is Jewish and the groom is Protestant. There wasn't a chuppa, but they did stomp the glass and yell moseltov, which was a treat. Afterward, we adjourned to the house for the reception.

The White House Ranch is a beautiful house that used to be a private residence, but has since been converted into an event center. We were all agog at the sheer vastness of it all. What could the former owners have possibly done with it all? And the cleaning? Forget about it. But I suppose if you owned that sort of house you would have minions to do your cleaning. Interestingly, the kitchen was kind of a disappointment. It was all '80's laminate and cheap painted cabinetry. I am sure it was cutting edge when it was built, but it seemed incongruous given the grandeur of the rest of the house.

The wedding was small-ish; under 50 if I had to guess, but I'm not sure that is a good estimate. Immediately after the service, everyone hit the bar. Much to the bride's chagrin, the red wine was gone in a matter of minutes. I think the keg made it all the way through, but since I don't drink beer (or wine, for that matter) I can't be sure.

The food was great and the cakes were pretty. The groom's cake was an homage to the University of Texas, which was the alma mater of many in attendance. It was shaped like the state of Texas with a U.T. longhorn in the middle. It was surrounded by white chocolate-dipped strawberries with a tiny U.T. logo on them. The perfect cake for the guy that put the fan in college football fanatic.

The music was a little too easy listening for my taste, but there were some fun songs, too. In a stunning display of loyalty to U.T., they played U.T. fight song, and the school song, The Eyes of Texas are Upon You. We all sang and flashed the hook 'em horns sign. Afterwards, a very earnest woman - who was a complete stranger - came up to me and corrected my hook 'em etiquette. It seems some woman in some obscure U.T. history text said that you were supposed to keep your hand still during the school song to show your unwavering loyalty to the school. I was all, "She can't be serious." She was. Seriously? unclench. This gal seemed to not be picking up on many social cues, but she did notice that my reaction was incredulity. She kind of mumbled, "But you can do what you want." and slunk off.

Finally, the other sorority sisters and I gave SSM a candle light (a silly but harmless sorority ceremony) for her in the foyer. There is singing and the passing of a lighted candle, so I was glad we didn't have to do it in front of everybody. It was sweet. The same girls gave me one at my wedding, so I was happy to return the favor.

The bride and groom left in a cloud of bubbles at the early hour of 10:00. That left us with a fair bit of time for visiting. SSS, e, and I stayed up ridiculously late chatting. Or more accurately, SSS and I did. e fell very soundly asleep on the couch next to us. At 4:00 a.m. we finally cried uncle and crawled off to bed.

My body is totally unaccustomed to all-nighters, so I felt like death in the morning even though a.) I had only had one drink; and b.) there weren't any small people demanding breakfast at the crack of dawn. Left to my own devices, I woke up around ten. We decided to do Ugly Breakfast (when you go to breakfast without doing anything more than getting dressed) before I headed back for my dad's house.

After what seemed like a million delays (I may or may not have had to drive back and get my cell phone), I was finally on the road. I got back around 3:00 to find that Daddy had accomplished the near impossible: both kids were napping at once!

They had a big time while I was gone. My dad's Rotary Club held an adoption awareness picnic on Saturday, so he took the kids along. There was a bouncy house, a scary clown (whose bright idea was that?), hot dogs and toys. Did I mention it was held at the local zoo? Z was in heaven. I made my dad promise not to give my babies away, even if there were days where I felt like that would be a good idea. Z and Q played with the kids that were there to meet prospective parents and had a blast.

That night, Daddy and his buddy MFS took to kids to Chuck E. Cheese. They had a big time. Q like anything with a steering wheel, whether or not it is moving. Z ran from game to game and raced around with all of the other kids. The only downer was that someone swiped her fancy flashing mouse cup and all of her tickets, but they got the cup replaced. I wonder how you wash something that has a flashing light in it. It doesn't seem like it would be dishwasher safe. On Sunday, MFS took Daddy and the kids to the Tokyo Grill for lunch. That is a good place to take kids because the cooking of the meal is great entertainment. All in all, they had way more fun than they ever have with me! I guess that's what grandparents are for.


Happy Turkey Day!

Work, work, work, work, work.

Eat. Eat. Eat.

Work, work.


Work, work, work.

Collapse in tryptophan induced coma.

The end.

Hope you had a Thanksgiving as filled with love and laughter as mine was.


Stop the Insanity*

Visiting my dad is exhausting. It's all the work of parenting (alone) without any of the convenience items. Why does Z get so wound up when we are visiting? She is much wilder here that she ever is at home.

That said, I have two words for you: n@ked gymnastics.

Last night before bath time, Z stripped down to her birthday suit and turned somersaults across the living room floor, flashing her girl bits at us once per flip. Just showing off for F.A., I guess.

*The rest of the wedding trip is coming. I just need a little sleep first.


Big Balls in Cow Town

This will shock you, but I loaded up my kids and drove across the state. Oh, no shock? Yeah, me neither. I think the shocker would be if I were ever to stay home!

The occasion this time was the wedding of my sorority sister M (SSM). SSM lives in Houston along with a large group of our friends from college who work in the aerospace industry. (Can you say NASA? Yeah, my buds are mission control. How cool is that?) The wedding fell on one of T's rare weekends off, but I was not foolish enough to think he would be making the trip with me. No, he would be off looking for the mean deers.

Originally, he was headed out to the ranch, and Grandma was going to watch the kids for me so I could make a weekend event of the wedding and really catch up with my college friends. But plans change, and T decided to go to the lease. There is talk of letting the lease go after this year, so he wanted to get in one last hunt. Now the problem with the lease is that it is not kid friendly. No plumbing. No insulation. Open flame gas heaters. It's the deer lease of death! So I was stuck with responsible for the kids. Not that I was bitter, or anything.

I was struggling for ideas for who I could pawn them off on trust them with. I was coming up with nothing. I thought maybe Z could stay with lovely neighbor S - with four kids already, what's one more? - and I could lug Q down with me and get a sitter. Finally, inspiration struck. I was headed down to see my dad for Thanksgiving anyway, so why not drop the kids off there, then zip over to Houston for SSM's wedding? Genius! Lucky for me, my dad was agreeable to this plan. Yippee!

After the goat rope that was Z's party, all went smoothly on the trip down. Well, except for that little stop in the thriving speed trap metropolis that is Jewett, Texas. Thank you Mr. Nice Officer, sir for only giving me a warning. Honest! I missed the reduced speed sign. Z finally fell asleep right when it was time for dinner, so we drove on through to my dad's, arriving at 8:30 or so. Man, that drive is a beating. But at least I get to drive for two and a half more hours the next day!

Stellar parent that I am, I stuffed my sleepy/cranky children with McD's and hustled them off to bed. I actually fell asleep while playing 'possum to get them to sleep. I probably would have slept through the night right there on the floor if my dad hadn't accidentally set off the fire alarm when he got home from the theater. (It is a weird alarm sensitive to the light a fire makes, so it goes off if you turn on the hall light at night. Charming, huh?) Daddy and I stayed up until midnight chatting, which is unheard of for a former farm boy such as he.

I wasn't in any particular hurry to hit the road in the morning, but even so, I had a really hard time getting out the door. First I forgot my keys. Then I forgot the Librivox book Daddy had burned for me to listen to on the trip. I made it all the way to the gas station before I realized that I had left my purse at the house. When I came back to get it, my dad asked if I had separation anxiety!

Finally, I was on the road! By early afternoon, I had arrived at Casa D, my sorority sister S's (SSS) house. We sat in the living room and got all caught up, having figured out that it had been over four years since I had been down for a visit. (The last time was when I was pregnant with Z! Man, kids sure put a crimp in your social life!)

Finally, I declared myself to be starving and we headed out for soup, salad and bread sticks. Unfortunately, the wait there was half an hour. At 2:45! In a recession! Right before Thanksgiving! We had no time to wait because the shoes that matched my wedding ensemble fit my pre-babies feet, and were so old that both of the heel caps shattered when I tried them on. Also, I needed pantyhose. Not like I have a lot of call for those staying home with the kids! Thank god!

So rather than soup, salad, and bread sticks, we grabbed snack bar nachos at Target. The good news? The shoes I found matched my skirt perfectly and were SO pretty. Black and tan spectator pumps? with ankle straps? and black patent leather that matched my purse? Totally worth the agony of the unaccustomed 3+ inch heel. The pantyhose? Were made for female basketball players. I am not height/weight proportionate, so those suckers were so long that I could tuck the control top under the band of my bra. And I did. Who needs Spanx?

Wow, I am taking a long time to tell a relatively short story. I am officially too tired to finish this epic tale tonight. Tomorrow I will bore thrill you with wedding details: the dress; the food; the strange girl with no social graces. Stay tuned.


Hunter Love*

T: Sweetie, your eyelids are all glittery.

Rae Ann: Is it gold glitter from Z's project or eye shadow?

T: Glitter. It's pretty. Like a turkey feather.

High praise indeed.

*1. Eww! Not that kind of love
2. This entry is for CCF, my biggest fan. I wrote this after Daddy and I stayed up late talking because I knew you would notice if I didn't post!


Thanksgiving Heartburn

Z had her school's Thanksgiving feast today. I dropped off Z and the cupcakes in the morning, and was to return to help out at 10:45. In the meantime, I needed to get packed up for a week-long trip to visit my dad, straighten up the house so it wouldn't be a mess when we return home, and wash off several days accumulated stink. (Again, my standards of personal cleanliness? Low. Shameful.)

Now, I would like to blame it on T, who called needing paperwork that some brain trust in the department had misplaced, but it was not his fault. I simply couldn't get everything done in the allotted time frame. So I was late. And not just a little late either. Not only did I not arrive early to help set up, but I arrived late enough that the songs had already been sung and the kids were sitting down to eat.

I was just sick. When Z's teacher told me that they had already done the singing, I almost popped a tear. It is my whole job to be there for all of Z's stuff and I had missed it. Z didn't seem phased or disappointed at all, so at least there is that. A couple of the other parents took photos, but no one took a video. So for this party, I get a great big parenting fail. Boo.

I did redeem myself slightly by staying until the bitter end and helping to clean up after a horde of sugar crazed three-year-olds. I would have done that in any case, but still. Sigh.

* ** *** ** *

In different but related news, I met Z's best school friend at the feast. What can I say? Oh, noes! I totally understand why Z is friends with this little girl. She is as precocious and verbal as Z is, leaps and bounds ahead of the other kids in the class. Where the other kids are still speaking practically in grunts, Z and her friend are on a polysyllabic spree.

Where Z's chatter is bossy, but innocent, somehow her little friend seems far too worldly for pre-school. Like she came to their class via pre-school juvie. Like maybe she was grabbing a quick ciggy in the girls' room. For example, as I was helping to clean up the feast, I watched this little girl drag a little boy over to a corner and make him kiss her. OMG! She's three! Now Z has been known to give kisses, but she doesn't demand that the other kids kiss her. There was just something about this little girl that shot up my antennae.

But what do you do about it? It is not like I can tell Z not to play with this girl - that would just make her more irresistible to my hard-headed offspring. Plus she is the only kid in the room with whom Z could hold an actual conversation. She doesn't seem like she'd have a mom who would call me up for a playdate, so Z is only seeing her three mornings per week. I guess I just want Z to stay little for as long as humanly possible.


Alpha Mom

I am not a competitive mom. One of the (many) reasons I love Z's school is that everyone is so laid back. They would never even raise an eyebrow if you brought store-bought cookies for the class Thanksgiving feast... Perhaps this is why I always go over the top with the homemade baked goods. Everyone is extra appreciative because they know that you didn't have to do it.

I am totally bummed that you can't tell how cute my turkey couple is in person. I started with yellow cake mix and store-bought chocolate frosting. The hen on the left was (obviously) the easier of the two. I just squeezed the frosting out of a zip top bag, making a large blob for a head, then poked in the candy corn and candy eyes.

The tom, while still totally doable, took a little more work. First I frosted and sprinkled the cupcakes with chocolate sprinkles. Then I decorated a Nutter Butter for the head with white frosting, candy dots for the irises, a candy corn beak and a Twizzlers* wattle. I used assorted colors of Twizzlers for the tail and chocolate Twizzlers cut on an angle for the wings.

Next year, I think I will just do a miniature version of the hen. How much sugar does a four-year-old really need, anyway? I know that they will just be licking off all of the icing!

Last year, I made turkeys out of rice krispie treats and chocolate chip cookies. The tail and beak were made of candy corn. Chocolate frosting glued the whole thing together.

Clearly I was very pleased with myself.

Of course, I should expect the post-party-teachers to hate me, seeing as how I got the kids all hopped up on chocolate covered sugar bombs, then left them to deal with it. I'm awesome like that.

*I think Twizzlers are vile, but kids seem to love them!


Golden Eggbeater

In the words of Dodi, "I am a stay at home mom - not to be confused with "housewife" which would imply that I have any interest at all in housekeeping... which I don't." If they gave an Oscar-like award for housewifery - the Golden Eggbeater, maybe? - my mom-in-law would have a whole shelf full. I, however, would not even be allowed to watch the award show on TV. This said, I have of late been in a veritable cleaning frenzy. Or at least as frenzied as I get when company isn't eminent.

I have spent a fair amount of time on piddly detail stuff like organizing closets and the laundry room. But I have managed to haul out the totally cool vacuum Sister K gave me for Christmas last year and do battle with the dog fur more than once this week. Unprecedented! I have also made a herculean effort to keep the garbage dump kitchen counters clear of clutter. It is amazing how one little stray catalog attracts junk like an electromagnet. And that cooking thing? Totally messes up my kitchen. Ugh!

Anyway, lots of sweat has been invested lately. T walked into the living room this evening and said, "This is nice. The living room looks really clean for a change." Oh! Stabbed right in my homemaking heart! He realized as the words were leaving his mouth that they had sounded a lot better in his head. You know, less OMG-the-house-is-usually-a-total-sty-ish.

He backpedalled like crazy, but not to worry. I took his 'compliment' in the spirit it was given. Who knows? Maybe there is a Golden Eggbeater in my future.


Finally, I have evidence that I did more than incubate Q. He is in every way the spitting image of his father. The poor little guy is doomed to be short, but at least he will be freakishly strong.

Okay, back to me. Unlike Q's dad, I am a bibliophile of the highest order. I always have a stack of books on my nightstand waiting to be read, and you can find books of all kinds stashed in every nook and cranny of my house. Q has added the word 'book' to his burgeoning vocabulary. He insists on lugging one with him everywhere he goes.

And for the last few nights? He has insisted on taking one to bed with him. Nope, no cuddly stuffed animal for my boy. Bring on the literature! See? I told you that giant head was filled with giant brains!


Great Leaps

My 1.5 year-old, Q, has thus far been the strong silent type. His sister does enough talking for any three people, so I have totally not been sweating Q's taciturn ways. He makes himself clearly understood with out all of those bothersome syllables that everyone else uses.

That said, in the last week or so, Q's vocab has totally EXPLODED! I remember Z doing this same thing when she was about three months younger than Q is now. It was amazing to behold then, and in some ways even more amazing this time. You know how it is: everything your first kid does is amazing, so in retrospect it is hard to know what really was.

The first cool thing I noticed was during story time before bed. We were reading a (Blech! Barney) story that asked you to pick out certain items on each page. Not all of them were even common items, but Q picked out every one correctly. Wow! So now that I was cued in to his language progress I started noticing that he was doing a lot of naming of things: cereal (!), dog, shoe, ball, etc. Then I noticed that he had started pointing and saying, "Eat! Eat! Eat!" when he was hungry and food was in sight.

The funny thing about his words is that they are all multi-functional. For instance, 'shoe' means shoe, sock, and/or foot, depending on the context. Z did exactly the same thing. 'Cereal' means lots of things, too. It means that he is hungry, thirsty, wants a snack (that is not necessarily cereal-based), and/or that his cup or plate is empty.

More recently, we were reading Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton and he started naming the animals and sometimes even the animal sounds. Tonight, we read Are You My Mother by P.D. Eastman. There is a very minor character of a kitten about half way through. As soon as I turned the page, he started meowing. He'd never done that before!

Children (especially my children!) are so amazing. This is a good thing. Otherwise I might eat them - and not in a "Nom, nom, I could eat you up!" sort of way, either! This motherhood gig isn't for sissies, but the rewards are pretty darn fabulous.


Critical Mass reached 1000 hits today! I am so excited! Thanks for reading!


Christmas Shopping

I got a good start on my Christmas shopping this weekend. My mouse finger is exhausted.



This is another entry about the contents of my son's diaper. You have been warned.

My poor little guy just can't catch a break. After all the difficulties with chronic constipation, he is now plagued with the opposite problem. The antibiotic that is so good for curing ear and/or lung infections? Also kills all of the good bacteria in the gut. Antibiotics + no beneficial bugs = battery acid coming out of Q's bunghole.

After just one diabolical diaper, changed almost immediately, he was sporting a butt so red that baboons were calling to join his troupe. After the second, again changed as soon as it happened, he was sloughing off skin. After the third, I called the pediatrician. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything they could do for him, short of stopping the antibiotic. But he was only on day three of a 10-day cycle, so the meds hadn't had a chance to do their thing. Besides, I live in fear of creating one of those superbugs if we don't finish our antibiotics. I'm a little obsessive on this issue. They did recommend some super duper (and obscure) diaper rash ointment, but it wasn't available at the MegaMart. Rats!

The next morning, I frosted his bum like a cake with Balmex and started him on the BRAT diet which I learned about on John & Kate Plus Eight. Bananas, rice, applesauce, toast. It is supposed to bind everything right up. I did a little research and found the BRATTY variation, which adds tea and yogurt. Since Q is allergic to rice (I know! Who's allergic to rice?), my version was the BATTY diet. The name makes me laugh and even better than that? It worked!

As a matter of fact, it worked so well that I convinced myself that he was over the unfortunate side-effects (even though he still had several days of antibiotics left) and started just feeding him regular fare. With disastrous results. Back to all battery acid all the time. This time it was even worse. I guess I didn't catch one as quickly as I usually do (when pooping is a rare event, you usually notice when it is going down), and the poison poo got on his junk. Oh! It hurts me to look at it!

At this point, even the mildest of wipes make him cringe and cry. Tonight I gave up wipes entirely and just put him in a warm bath. When he was done, I pretty much dipped him in Balmex from the waist down.

Only one more dose to go. Maybe having ground zero in his colon is a good thing. Maybe all of the bacteria that was causing him to clog up has been killed and the good kind can take over. Man, I hope so.


Adventured in Questionable Parenting

When Z was getting ready for school this morning, she looked over at me and announced in a deadpan voice, "Mama, I bited the crap out of my tongue."



Rant... Sort of

Let me preface this post by saying that I love my husband. He is a good man, a good husband and the love of my life. However, there are days where I am not sure I would pee on him if he was on fire. Today was one of those days.

It all started when he got up this morning. Now I take a lot of ribbing about my status as "not a morning person," but he was really taking the cake. He was stomping around growling at everyone and complaining about how tired he was. This after he went to bed before me and got up after me.

He stomped upstairs and ate his breakfast in our bedroom so that he wouldn't have to deal with the children. If he'd worked yesterday, I might cut him a little slack. He does put his life on the line for a living. But yesterday? He was gone ALL DAY shopping for hunting gear and accessories for his new Jeep. The whole freaking day. Somehow it has never occurred to him that his days off are also potentially my days off. You know, if I weren't a single parent and all. Aaarrg!

He abandoned ship again today after his solitary breakfast, returning home (almost) in time for lunch. He then acted all put out with me because I hadn't planned a hot meal for him. Seriously. Has he met me? Lunch is every man for himself around here. I make meals for the kids, but T? Is grown.

Then there was the classic trash issue. This is the one household chore he is responsible for (because I am even worse at it than he is). I asked him to take out the (overflowing) trash from the kitchen. For the third time. Then he was all, "Oh. You mean now?" I know that it is self defeating of me, but I just can't bring myself to do it for him. I know that if I cave - even once - it will suddenly be my job forever.

After lunch he returned to his usual sweet self. He even apologized for being grumpy all morning. Will the wonders ever cease? Then he redeemed himself fully (despite the fact that he walked away from the dinner table without clearing anything but his single plate) by bringing me a surprise Blizzard. Banana Cream Pie! Yum! Apparently the way to my heart is the drive-through at Dairy Queen.

By the time he was ready for bed, he was back in my good graces. As he was shuffling off, I said, "How can I be all rant-y on my blog when you are being so sweet now?" To which he replied, "You be quiet, woman! And don't you make any noise when you come to bed. And don't ruffle the covers, either. There. Is that better?"

I just love him.



I got a call from Sister K this afternoon. It was the first time I'd talked to her since my return from California last week. Naturally, she asked about the kids.

Me: Z missed me enough to be sweet for a whole week! But she is totally over it now.

K: What do you mean? What is she doing?

Me: Challenging any and all instructions. Here's an example: Yesterday she was wearing a pair of pants with a drawstring. I looked over at her and she had the ends in her mouth (I'd swear she's part goat!). I told her to take them out of her mouth. So she moved them to the very corner of her mouth, without putting them in, then looked over at me as if to dare me to say anything.

K: Wow. Can you imagine what would have happened to us if we did that? I think you are just not mean enough.

Me: She has no fear. She would rather take the consequences than do what she is told. I don't want her to flinch every time I raise my hand.

K: With Mom, it wasn't the spankings. She could just be so unpleasant that we would do anything to avoid it. So I think you are just not being mean enough.

Me: I'm totally mean! I'm so mean I scare my husband!

K: (ROTFL) Maybe you are mean enough.


Who Needs Your Stinkin' Job Anyway?

T was not selected. His boss and his co-worker told him he didn't want that job, anyway. He is now focusing on his interviews next month.

On the upside, moving might not be quite as eminent as I previously thought. Turns out that when T said we were moving no matter what, he was just blowing off steam. Who knew?

Usually, he only says things if he is planning to follow through, so I was shocked when he told me to quit telling people we were moving. I was all, "Okay... I won't talk to my friends about it any more." But since my friends are his co-workers' wives, I guess it was a political gaff. Blah. Guess I'll just tell you nice anonymous folks on the internet!



Do you remember that ketchup commercial from the 70's where the Karen Carpenter-ish singer sang, "An-tiss-a-pay-shun, it keeps me way-ay-tin. I hay-ate to wait!"? That song so totally sums up life in our house right now.

T had an interview for a new position last Wednesday. Usually, the people selected for the positions are posted by the end of the day on the last day of interviews, which was Friday. Nothing. He compulsively checked his e-mail all day Saturday, but by today was too disgusted to even look.

Promotions are all numbers based: the score on the written test + the score on the board interview = the top x candidates are selected to promote. There is no reason we can think of to delay the results. It is crazy making. I really feel for T. My life won't change much either way, I'll just be doing my mom thang in another location. It would be a totally different world for him. I hope they put us out of our misery soon!


Fun With Time Changes

Z has an unfortunate napping habit. She goes down okay, but as soon as I close the door she is up. She plays quietly enough and (usually) stays in her room. The problem is that she piddles around until it is time to get up, then she goes to sleep.

So yesterday she went to sleep around 4:00 and didn't wake up until 6:30. She was clearly confused when she woke up. She called out from her bed for a while, then finally came to the top of the stairs. Q and I were watching TV in the living room. Z called down, "What are you guys doing down there?" With the time change, it was completely dark outside.

She clearly thought it was the middle of the night. I told her she could come downstairs because it was dinnertime. When she got to the bottom she said, "Mama, I want breakfast." There was no convincing her she hadn't slept through the night.


Breathing Blah

Poor Q. On Friday morning his breathing was labored and he never ventured far away from my lap. Completely limp. Yikes! I took him in to my least favorite doctor in the pediatric practice (our regular doc is off on Fridays. This lady once suggested that I continue giving Z an antibiotic she was clearly allergic to because "We don't want her to be allergic to it.").

As soon as I got Q down to his diaper, the nurse started setting up the nebulizer. She said that she could tell just by looking that he was having a hard time getting enough air. They tested his blood oxygen and it was low. Not crazy low, but low enough. Normal is 100. His was 95. They tested his blood and he had a high white count and apparently he sounded wheezy under the stethoscope. She gave him some steroids and did a breathing treatment at the office. She said that it sounded like it could be a precursor pneumonia and prescribed Omniceff.

We left the office with the assurance that the prescriptions would be called in to Mega-Mart. I figured I would do a quick restock of the pantry, then pick up the prescriptions when we were done. So we finished up our shopping and headed over to the pharmacy. Dr. Quack hadn't called it in. Arg! Q was melting down and Z was winding up. I tried to distract them with a trip to the Christmas aisle, but my little consumerette doesn't understand the concept of window shopping. Not much fun for either of us. We made another pass at the pharmacy only to discover that the doc had prescribed all the meds for a nebulizer, but no nebulizer. Seriously? I was ready to find the woman's house and do some serious damage. We finally got everything and made it home without my having to go to jail.

We discovered that Q objects vehemently to the nebulizer. He screams and cries and I have to hold his hands to keep him from pulling the mask away. Therapy or child abuse? The line is thin. It is like trying to do inhalation therapy on the cartoon Tasmanian devil. If it didn't make his breathing noticeably easier, it so totally wouldn't be worth it. Hopefully he is on the mend.


More Catching Up to Do

Just returned from more glam jet setting - or a trip to see Sister K in California. Whatever. I will fill in all the details as I can.

I returned to a house that seems to have been the scene of a stuffed animal snuff film. During the week I have been gone, it seems that the fur from my pack o' pooches has mated with the pink poodle fur from Z's costume to produce bastard mutant hairballs of death. They are everywhere. This is beyond even my tolerance for filth. I am feeling the need to clean compulsively for a while. You know, like when your mother-in-law, your husband's boss and a news crew is coming kind of compulsion. Can't. write. Must. clean.

Anyway, I'll do my best to catch up!


S.O.S. (Same Ol' Stuff)

The trip home was easy and uneventful. I returned home to babies in various states of disrepair. Both had run moderate fevers while I was gone, and Q decided that he felt too bad to bother with sleeping through the night. Sigh. Four days of relaxation blown in four sleepless hours.

Once we got back to Small Town, Z seemed to recover quickly. Q did not. He wasn't really running a big fever or anything, but he sure was having to work at breathing. I am trying not freak out over a possible recurrence of his pneumonia from last month. It's probably just a virus, right?

One perk of being home again? Z was THRILLED to see me. It turns out that she started whining "I want my mommy" as soon as they dropped me off at the airport. This is ironic because she spends most her days miffed with me in various degrees. I am bummed that she was a pill for her grandmother, but it sure has been nice since I've been back. She's been super sweet all week.


The Big Day

No matter how you sliced it, the election this year was an historical event. If one team won, there would be a black man in the White House. If the other team won, there would be a woman in the nation's second highest office. Pretty cool.

I was one of those fabled undecided voters. I could see the pros and cons of both candidates. It finally came down to one issue for me, and I voted for that guy. I feel good about my vote, but even if my horse doesn't win the race, I am not worried for the future of our country.

My oldest sister, Sister L, and I have different political views. Several elections ago, we found ourselves on opposite sides of the voting booth. It so happened that year that my candidate was victorious. Sister L said something then that has stuck with me ever since. "No matter who wins the election, they will do a pretty good job. If they have come this far in politics, they would do a pretty good job as president." How reasonable! How democratic! She's brilliant!

I wish more people could see that path. Our founding fathers were geniuses. They imparted our government with so many checks and balances that no matter what your political leanings, our country will head in the right direction. No one man (or woman) can completely change the way we do business here in America, though for good or bad, the president gets the credit/blame for how things turn out.

* ** *** ** *

Election day was my last day in CA. Sister K and I had a fun sisterly day. We had brunch, then shopped a little. (Woe is me! My favorite California shopping venue is going out of business. Mervyn's, you will be missed!) We went to see a very silly but completely enjoyable movie, Beverly Hills Chihuahua. We gave it two thumbs up. It was just a sweet movie: no foul language, no potty humor, a good lesson. OMG, I just morphed into my parents!

Next, we had our make-up done. I hadn't changed my look in so long that Clinique no longer makes my colors! The make-up artist did a nice job, but M felt the need to comment on 'my new make-up' several times over dinner. It was a little, ahem, dramatic. Once I applied it myself, I really liked the way it looked. New to me: eye shadow base. Totally cool. Mine has a little neutral shimmer and keeps my eyelids from inhaling my shadow. I also caved and got some tinted sun screen. I don't wear base, but I know that I should be protecting my skin. This was a good compromise. We'll see how long I keep it up!


Happy Birthday to Me!

Once upon a time, a boy met a girl and they fell in love. The boy told the girl that he would be hunting on her birthday and the girl didn't believe him. He went hunting and the girl almost dumped him. After four years of mediocre birthdays spent either at the ranch or waiting for T to return from hunting, the girl got smart and got herself to California.

Fast forward four years and a bona fide birthday tradition is born. So now when T goes out to kill Bambi (which strangely, he almost never does on opening weekend), I go to California to visit Sister K. This year I even got to pawn off the kids on their grandmother go by myself!

Sister K has birthdays down to a science. I arrived on Saturday afternoon to a perfect SoCal day. We went to visit Sister K's grandmother-in-law at her new condo. OMG. I would sell a kidney to have a view like that. She has an entire wall of windows facing the ocean. Just the street then the ocean, complete with seals. Heaven! Then we went to a lovely chichi restaurant that served wicked martinis to go with the gorgeous views. I swear they only waved a piece of fruit over a martini glass of vodka before they brought it to the table. That, however, did not keep me from drinking it! Sister K and I were wiped for the rest of the day. We are some kind of party animals, huh?

That evening we went to The Secret Life of Bees. Totally rocked. Such a treat to go see a real grown-up movie. Unfortunately, on the way home we saw another car hit a kitten as it ran across the street. We stopped to see if we could help it. Unfortunately, though it had run away after it was hit, the kitten did not make it. I made it dry eyed through the tear jerker of a movie only to completely lose my shit over a random kitten. We were good Samaritans and took it to the emergency vet clinic for disposal. There is a funny story in there, but it is still too fresh right now for me to tell it. Anyway, we eased the trauma with ice cream and a trip to the Mother Ship (Target).

On Sunday we had brunch and a walk on the beach. A front had blown in and the weather had turned cool and wet, so the beach was pretty deserted. We went to dog beach - the only beach in town where dogs can go off-leash. The dogs are always such a treat. They just love playing in the water and playing together. I can just picture my poms playing in the surf, their tiny chicken legs exposed by the water. I live way too far from the beach.

After the beach we went to a rescued bird sanctuary. They had all sorts of domestic birds from tiny finches to these huge indigo macaws. A pink and white cockatoo fell in love with me and crawled up my shoulder, refusing to get back on its perch. This alarmed the keepers, but we managed to get him back without losing an eye or a digit.

That night we ate our weight in melted cheese and chocolate at the Melting Pot. I just love fondue! My bro-in-law rocks in the plans department! Thanks, M!

Monday was my birthday. The big 38. Best. Birthday. Ever. Sister K booked us for an entire day at the spa. We started the day with lemon souffle pancakes with pine nuts and raspberry syrup. To die for! We started the day off with a spa treatment that neither of us had ever had before: watsu. It is kind of a floating massage/stretching session. For a water baby like myself, it was heaven. Next we headed off for stone massages, which totally rocked. Pun entirely intended! Though my massage was awesome, I think I got the white bread version of the stone massage. Sister K told stories about her masseuse using his elbows, ice, and possibly hanging from the rafters while he rubbed on her. Dude. We ate lunch Hollywood-style in a cabana by the pool. We finished up our treatments with the best facials I have ever had. My face felt as soft as a baby's bottom. We hung out in the tranquility room for a while then got all dolled up for a fancy spa dinner. M met us and made it a party. Wow. Such a great day.