Monday, September 14, 2009

Celebrity discipline

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Find something to do with the kids this afternoon amidst pouring rain.
Grievance: Boy Love has been having little accidents daily.
Celebration: The diet that I hate is actually producing results.

I am appalled. These past couple days have been eye-opening for me when it comes to America's celebrities. Now, in my book, a celebrity is someone known by almost everyone. Celebrities are household names that con almost always spur some sort of conversation. Two of the Untied States' most well-known celebrities have made some very public and atrocious moves in the last two days that really have me upset. Yes, I understand that the US is forced to lay claim to many celebrity who have done many atrocious things, but these two really get my goat.

Let's start with Serena Williams. Serena is not my favourite tennis player in the world, and neither is her dear sister, but they are American athletes who have a lot of talent. They have come back from difficult times, overcome many obstacles, and are excellent at the game of tennis. I was proud that Serena represented the United States. That is, until her little display at the U.S. Open.

Check out the Yahoo! article here:;_ylt=AkTPVhd5LnGgCKmOWxGFQfQjU6N4?slug=ro-serenafine091309&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Next, lets go to Kanye. Kanye is somewhat known for have they put it..."antics"? He is not the most gracious, gentlemanly of artists, and has often made people angry with his callousness. This is expected from him. However, he is an artist representing the United States. So when he openly disrespects a very talented girl in the middle of her acceptance speech, I think everyone is still pretty shocked.

Yahoo! article here:

I will not play-by-play each event, so please look at the links for yourself.

These two events have me really upset. What are these two role models teaching us? They are teaching us to disrespect each other? They are teaching us that all the world should revolve around our opinions? They are teaching us that any stage is our stage? These are TERRIBLE things to learn from people who are supposed to be representing our country. Who cares if they were right? The line judge, admittedly, made a bad call on Serena. Yes, Beyonce's music video may have been more revolutionary than Taylor Swift's. But in what world are we allowed to show our opinions in this way? Kanye, if you don't agree with something, that is great. Do not rip the microphone from a 19 year old girl who is winning her first VMA and overcoming a lot of odds to do so. You are ripping her of her right to her art. Serena, if you don't like a call there are plenty of ways to challenge it. That is why they set up rules to challenge in the game of tennis. Tennis is a game for ladies and gentlemen, not for childish threats and arguments about who-has-the-bigger-****.

These two need some sort of discipline. In a facebook status update earlier, I said that I hoped Kanye didn't ever sell another album. That was wrong and hateful, and for that I apologize. That was me acting just like them. It was a bad thing to think. I in no way want to take away Kanye's right to his art. However, he didn't so much as receive a slap on the hand for his little show. In the link I posted, the blogger had the right idea. They should have permanently removed him from the premises, just like any other heckler. He should get no special treatment because he is a celebrity. Serena had all of her earnings from the US Open taken away. That is fair. No one should treat a line judge that way, no matter how bad of a call they made. Even John McEnroe, the most obnoxious tennis player ever, would have never threatened the life of or sworn at a judge. She got a fair punishment. Hopefully she will learn her lesson.

I would like to know what you all think. Please understand that American celebrities embarrass this country every day. I get equally upset when football players abuse dogs, or actors show up drunk to talk shows, or whatever. But I also understand that there are American celebrities that try their very best to do what they think is right and still end up embarrassing us. Every president in the history of this country has done that. Can we leave them out of it, please? They are at least trying. I only want to hear about the right way to approach the disciplining of American role models who are being atrocious just for the sake of being atrocious.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kids do the Darndest Things

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal - Switch laundry from washer to dryer. Even such a small and meaningless task will require all of my physical effort.
Grievance - I want something sweet. I have not had anything sweet except a banana in over a week.
Celebration - Even while on my period, I am still maintaining my weight.

Yesterday Boy, Baby and I met some friends at the zoo. We were not the only people who had the grand idea of going to the zoo yesterday. It was not only packed, but there was a big special event for firemen and their families, so the place was crawling with humanity. Boy's favourite part of the park is the water fountains in the Children's Zoo. It is one of those fountains that little spurts of water randomly shoot up from the ground. Lots of children are frolicking from geyser to geyser, shrieking uncontrollably and flailing their wee limbs in excitement. There is, however, a very small boy standing next to his mother not ten feet from me. He is a little pudgy asian child, perhaps 11 months old. He is looking at the other children playing and smiling at what he sees, but he is obviously intimidated by all the big kids and running.

Boy, who has been playing with the other children, notices this little boy on one of his many juice stops and does something amazing. He walks up to the him, introduces himself, and just stands there with him, watching the other kids. While they watch, Boy Love tells the little boy what is happening ("Fountain! Water fall down! Running running!") and points out his new friends. Then, the zoo train chugs along by, and Boy helps the little guy wave hello to the train passengers, who wave back. After standing there for a while, Boy heads back out to the water, looking behind him ever couple steps, and waving the little boy to come with him. "Come on! Come on play-friend!" The child is grinning and laughing at Boy Love. He fumbles his way down the steps to the water, and Boy holds his hand into the middle of the fun.

It is things like this that warm my heart. My son is so caring and loving. He was able to seek out a child alone, befriend him, and take him from wallflower to the dance floor. He is far more of a friend than I ever have been, and someday I hope to be like him.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mean Kids

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: There are my to-do list.
Grievance: Must shower yet again after sweaty room-cleaning endeavour.
Celebration: Boy Love is rock star re: potty training.

Boy had a free ice cream from Chick-fil-A, so a couple days ago we go as a treat for his amazing ability to pee in the toilet. The thing that Boy loves most about Chick-fil-A is the indoor play place. It is perfectly sized for his smallishness, yet provides enough challenge for him to find it amusing. Not to mention, Chick-fil-A is usually crawling with wee little friends. This trip was no different.

After ice cream was eaten (as I sat looking at it lustfully, not to cheat on my new diet) we marched onward to the play place. For a while, it was just Boy making his way through the plastic maze, calling lovingly to Phinny and me through every available dirty plastic window. Then four new boys, ages ranging between 4 and 7, came in to do the same. Their mothers, obviously friends, came in, removed their shoes, told them to behave, then retreated to their table where they had a Mom Date. As soon as they left the room, their children turned into little terrors. Boy, who was more than thrilled to have some tiny comrades, was trying to make conversation and join in their games. Ever the socialite, he follows them, goes down the slide after them, and congratulates them when they do something considered amazing. These boys were NOT amused. In return for my son's friendliness, they called him "stupid" and a "baby", refused to let him into whatever bubbly platic orb they had inhabited, pushed him down the stairs with their feet, and one boy kicked him in the head. I was SO appalled. I pulled Boy out of the tubes, told him that he didn't deserve to be treated mean by these boys. As soon as his shoes were on, we left.

Before I ask what I should have done, let me tell you what I wanted to do. I wanted to sit those boys down, get in their faces, and let them know that how they have treated my son is completely unacceptable behaviour. I wanted to stop at the Mom Date table and let them know that their children are being terrible. However, I do not believe that it is ANYONE'S place to parent other kids, or tell a parent how to discipline their children. That was not my place to do so. I DO believe that at the age of almost 3, my child is not old enough to protect himself. That is my job. Until he is old enough to make wise decisions, I am his protector. It is my job to keep him from situations that will cause him harm or teach him behaviours that are unacceptable. So that is what I did.

Any thoughts? If you were me, what would you have done? If you were the parent of the other children, would you have wanted me to say something to you?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nursery Time

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal - Have Boy Love get through all of church with dry underpants.
Grievance - I did not follow my diet yesterday due to my inexplicable need to vomit.
Celebration - My inexplicable need to vomit made me lose some serious poundage. Awesome.

Our dear children's minister at church is truly a woman of genius. She has devised a cunning plan to get people involved in the nursery during church without even knowing it. Recently, I received a letter in the mail that informed me that I am manning the nursery during services on Aug. 16th. Now, being a woman who is not prone to volunteer for things that I am not good at, I knew right away that this was the work of a higher power. Higher power being our children's minister? Probably. Higher power being the Lord? Most definitely.

As stated, I am not a volunteer-er. Well, when it comes to opportunities that make me uncomfortable/stressed/painfully outside my area of expertise, I choose not to involve myself. Until now, I have been blissfully happy working for causes that I feel I can do the most good. I have been on worship teams abundant, in performance groups, directed many a project for church functions, and been a key component in many events that combine theatre and church. The nursery is not on that list. The nursery (I was hoping) would never make that list. It is not that I don't like children, and it is not that I don't appreciate what the nursery does for my children and me during church. I am, however, cursed with terrible impatience and a short fuse. I have learned to curb this somewhat after having chidren of my own, but I have not wanted to see if that will translate to a room full of children that I have no emotional connection with.

I spent a bit of last year babysitting to try and make a little bit of money and watch my own child at the same time. The experience was a scarring one. The family of children I was "blessed" to watch were tiny terrors. I could not control the atmosphere in any capacity, and I was barely able to control my then-pregnant lady emotions. It was all I could do to hold in the tears until I got out to my car. When I think of anything that has to do with watching children in any capacity, I remember those days.

I am convinced that I am not the best person for this position. I am convinced that there are some people that are really blessed with the ability to deal with children. I am also convinced that I would not have been volunteered for such a position if it were not a necessity. There are obviously not an abundance of people in church who have the talent to work with children, so here I am to help. This is the Lord telling me to get out of my pretty little box and expand my horizons. I can only hope that I keep it together. Maybe this will be an excellent experience, and I will not dread having to do it again.

If you are someone who works well with children, my hat is off to you. I truly wish I had your talents, and you are a better person than I. I wish to learn many things from you and your experience. Any chance you want to work in the nursery with me today?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Personal Training

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal - Go to Y for new simple workout. With boy in underpants (attainable?).
Grievance - Starting today, say goodbye to delicious food
Celebration - Starting today, Big Love and I are on the road to becoming healthy

This week will go down in history as a week of change. Goodbye to diapers, goodbye to jiggling tummies, goodbye to the old us! Welcome, new and improved us! Can we do it? YES! WE! CAN! (copyright Barack Obama. And Bob the Builder.)

Tired are we of buying training diapers. Tired are we of having to clean tiny sheets of urine and feces. Tired are we! It is time for change. So this week began potty training boot camp. Plan of attack? Every waking hour boy will be wearing big boy underpants. Every 20 minutes a timer will sound, indicating "potty time!". Every 5 minutes is a wet underpants check. Every victory rewarded, every accident forgiven, always encouraging improvement with a smile. Can we do it? Yes! We! (probably) Can!

After being completely appalled at our appearances in the pictures taken over our recent vacation, Big Love and I have decided to change our ways...together. We will be each others accountability buddies. We will go to the Y together twice a week (however his schedule allows) and change our terrible eating habits. To get a positive and effective start on this, we had a consultation with a personal trainer at the Y yesterday. We told him our weight goals, our schedule constrictions, and he gave us a diet plan and new workout tactic. Plan of attack? Eat the diet plan he gave us, no matter how gross it is. Example meal: 6 oz chicken (no salt or seasoning except perhaps a squirt of lemon) and 2 cups of green vegetables. That is all. No carbs after 5 pm, protein shake in the morning. This all sounds grotesque, but we are trying to be healthy. Before we went to the Y for this meeting, Big Love and I had decided to reward ourselves for our good deed with a delicious looking ice cream cake that we saw in an ad for Publix. However, after the verbal smackdown that we ended up getting, our guilt got the better of us and we went home without stopping for any treats. Nowhere on our diet does it allow for things like cake. Or brownies. Or popcorn. Or cheese. Sigh...being healthy will be hard. This will take a lot of prayer and encouragement from each other. But can we do it? Yes! We! Can!

First on the list? Purchase a scale. The trainer said that the scale will be our report card. We must stand on it every morning. If the number goes down, we are doing everything right. If the number goes up, we are doing something wrong. We will take 3 weeks at a time and set small goals. This three weeks we will lose 5 pounds. This three weeks we will lose 6 pounds. This three weeks we will lose 4 pounds. All of a sudden (or 9 weeks later), we will have lost 15 pounds! We are on our way!

This week is about training ourselves to be better people. We can only do this with the help of the Lord. We want to be better versions of ourselves! Hooray!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Listening Ears

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Boy Love will be in big boy underpants from the moment he gets up from his nap until the moment he goes to bed tonight.
Grievance - School may be hard for Boy Love.
Celebration - I got three lovely hours to spend with my Baby Love alone. I just let my house sit in shambles while I played.

As I was picking Boy Love up from school today, I was fortunate enough to have his own teacher putting him in the car seat at carpool time. Going in to this year, I have had my concerns about school for him, mostly because he is significantly younger than the other kids in his class. He is at that cut-off age where he will either be 6 months younger or 6 months older than any other kid. We opted to put him in the class of older kids, hoping he would keep up with the Big Dawgs like he does in other social situations.

When his teacher was buckling him in, I looked back at her and asked the all-dreaded question, "How did he do in class?" She hesitated, followed by a forced chuckle and said, "He is younger than the other kids." I told her that I knew this, and the concern was mutual. She followed up with "He was okay if I could get his attention and keep him listening." I know what this means. I have taught enough young kids to know that by this statement, she was saying that he was being very difficult. She also informed me that all the other kids in the class were trying to help him listen and get his attention when the teacher was talking. I am now imagining a table full of perfectly groomed little children in flowered dresses and polo shirts sitting at their assigned seats, hands clasped and saying "Yes Ma'am" in chorus. All except the one kid, my kid, running in full circles around the room shouting "ALL ABOARD!" and choo-chooing at every imaginary train station. Then he jumps up on the table, weeny little arm muscles flexed in triumph screaming, "I'm a GIANT!!" And who knows. Maybe all of this happened today.

As we were about to pull out of the carpool line, she looked at Boy and over-enthusiastically cheered, "Let's remember to bring our listening ears tomorrow!" Ugh. How many times have I used THAT line. Not on my own but on the child under my supervision that I struggle with the most. The child that fights me tooth and nail at every turn. The child that would rather do anything but what I asked. The child that makes me go home and reconsider watching kids. Well, guess what? My child is that child now.

So I spend the whole trip home talking to Boy about listening ears. I have always had a problem with him listening to me or my husband, so I decide to get online and look up some good strategies for developing listening skills. These are the tips I have come across:

Make sure YOU are listening to your child when they are speaking - check

Read stories aloud together - check

Encourage your child to guess the end of a story or sentence - check

Ask open ended questions like "What did you do at school today?" - check

Touch them when you speak to them - check

Get down at their level while speaking to them - check

Listen to music - check

When watching a TV show, watch it together and encourage them to interact - check

Learn new songs - check

"Grandma's Rule", if you do X then we will get to go play at the park - check

Give simple instructions for basic requests - check

Use a calm, but serious vocal tone - check

The list continues on.

I do all of these things when interacting with Boy. However, my struggles with him listening do not only fall under the realm of "selective hearing". He also sometimes struggles to hear the things he would want to hear, like, "Do you want to go to the zoo?". Of course, like most toddlers, he can hear that somewhat better than "Lets go tidy your room!", but he will really only listen to me if a) I call his name 5 different times in 5 different ways, b) I physically move his head/chin/shoulders to face me directly, or c) I already have his attention for something else. So then I naturally ask myself, what else should I be doing? Of course I will continue to do what I have been doing, but what do I need to change to make any of these tactics effective? Do I need to take him to a hearing specialist? Is that just me wanting to believe that him not listening is not his fault or mine?

I need suggestions. Please...if anyone out there has/had a toddler undergoing similar issues, please enlighten me! I don't want him to be a burden on his teacher, his classmates, or me. Help!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Annoyance List

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal - Go to the dumpster before varmints eat our trash in the middle of the night
Grievance - Had to leave church early due to restless baby
Celebration - Boy Love is re-inventing his potty training, not wanting to get "dismissed" from preschool.

Here is my current list of annoyances:

- The grating sound of fingernails scraping against dry flesh in an attempt to scratch an itch or irritation.

- People who spend 5 minutes doing an 11-point maneuver trying to back into a parking space for the sole purpose of making it faster to get out of. Because in their mind it will take longer than 5 minutes to back out of that same parking spot. Or take more points than 11.

- When people honk during peak traffic hours just because the traffic isn't moving. What is that possibly helping? Who is going to move just because you honked?

- Alton Brown. If I hear one more food pun, I shall grate my fingernails against my own skin just to drown out the sound of lame humour.

- When people use every possible avenue to express their political distaste EXCEPT for their own voices.

- Sports Center sob stories that replay over and over again.

- Baby clothes with an unnecessary number of teeny tiny snaps.

Any others that I did not think of?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

So THAT is why they call it a Red Eye...

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal - Physically get out of the house and walk my kids to the mailbox and back
Grievance - I have not been outside yet today. Eek.
Celebration - I just cooked fish with relative success. It was moist and flaky and flavorful.

A few months ago I wrote a blog asking advice about flying by myself with a toddler and an infant. I would like to thank those who responded. I was well prepared and the trip to Oregon was a success. However, no amount of preparation (short of something blatantly illegal) could have prepared me for the horror that was the trip home.

I had us scheduled on a red eye flight to get from Oregon back Alabama. Originally, we were supposed to embark from PDX at 12:30 a.m. (yes folks...middle of the night), layover in Houston for 4 hours, then arrive in Birmingham in the early afternoon. Long and awful, right? I was expecting it to be very tiring for me, but I was also counting on the fact that the kids would be so tuckered out that they would sleep on the two planes. After the 2nd leg of our flight got changed to an earlier time and our layover was cut to a little over 1 hour, I was a much happier camper. I would not have to find something to do in Houston forever. Not to mention, we would have been home early in the morning and Big Love could pick us up before he went to work. I was so excited!

Game Plan: Boys take an extremely long nap on afternoon prior to flights. I keep boys up as late as humanly possible, therefore instigating a dead drop into an instant REM cycle the moment we get buckled into the plane. I checked in all of the bags except the diaper bag, not forseeing the need for the dvd player or storybooks, and creating more ease in transport from city to terminal to terminal to city. I was confident in my plan. Until my plan unraveled before I even got to the check-in line.

As those of us with toddlers know, it can often be a virtual impossiblity to entertain a cranky 2 year old. If you are to add the late night hour, the shuffling through a winding line of strangers with suitcases, and knowing Gramma/Poppa are about to leave, you have a very VERY sad little Boy Love. As we were waiting in the line to check our bags, it took the combined effort of Gramma and myself to keep him from breaking free from his kid-on-a-leash and run screaming for his life out the giant airport revolving door. No matter what we tried, h was not to be satiated. He would pull on his leash as hard as he could, then fall desperately to the floor, kicking his feet and thrashing his head and screeching "NO! RUN RUN!" at the top of his wee (yet impressively strong) lungs. From the other people in line, we got a combination of oh-bless-their-heart looks and I-better-not-be-sitting-next-to-this-terror-on-the-plane looks. I did not intend to apologize for any of our actions, for I knew that any other parent would sympathize, and any other person who was not a parent yet will be blessed with this type of situation soon enough.

As we approached the lady at the desk, she informed us (with FAR too much cheer) that our plane was delayed 50 minutes. This made my 1 hour layover into 10 minutes. Not nearly enough time to get from the the back of my little plane, through four airplane terminals toting two children, and onto the next plane. My night was going to be just splendid.

After a nearly flawless security experience, I went to the restroom to change both boys and tried to get settled at our gate for the next hour and a half while we wait for our flight. Boy would have none of it. He preferred to try and escape from his stroller by Fred Flinstone-ing his feet as fast as they could grab the floor. After he had run the wheels into at least 4 sleeping strangers I scolded him for trying to escape. The only thing to satisfy him was to ride the moving sidewalk back and forth. So that is what we did. We rode the moving sidewalk non-stop for an hour. As soon as we were allowed to board, he was still not sleeping (1:15 am) and once again screeching. But now Baby Love, attached to my front by way of Baby Bjorn, was also crying as I tried to get us scrunched and setttled into our seats. The first hour of the flight consisted to crying children. Not only mine, but all the other parents who thought kids + red eye was a good idea. We were all kicking ourselves at that point.

Boy and I slept for 2 hours on that flight. 2 of the 4 hours. The rest of the time consisted of screaming, and attempting to stop Boy from kicking the seat in front of him which was holding an irritated old lady who was trying to sleep. Needless to say, she did not sleep much. Unlike Baby Love, who slept through everything. We missed our connecting flight, which not only meant that we had to spend three hours in the Houston Airport, but we would not be back to Alabama by the time Big Love had to go to work. He arranged a ride for us, but we were both terribly upset that we could not see each other until later in the night. I spent the three hours trying to push a very awake and very active 2 year old in the stroller, hold a floppy and sleepy baby on my front, have a 15 lb diaper bag slung over one shoulder, and get us all appropriately changed, fed, and coffee'd. I wanted to give up. I was sitting in the group of identical tables in the middle of the airport food area, and just stared into the distance. It was 8 am local time, we had two hours of sleep, and I had spent all of my expendable energy trying to keep Boy from escaping/screaming/hurting himself or others. And I still had 2.5 hours until my next plane was scheduled to leave.

We begrudgingly made our slow little way to the gate, where I sat next to a mother traveling with her children. Her kids, also both boys, seemed to be no trouble at all. One was sitting delightfully next to her, colouring in a book. The other was sleeping on the floor at her feet. She was reading a romance novel. Neither of her children were on leashes, in strollers, or strapped to her with any sort of straight-jacket style apparatus. They were perfect. They may as well have been wearing little searsucker suits with bow ties combing their perfectly parted hair, singing out of a hymnal. I wanted to throw something at her. I wanted to have my baby throw up on her sleeping child so he would wake up and cause a ruckus. Instead, I asked, "How do your kids do that? How do they behave?" She responded simply. "It gets easier as they get older."

For some reason, this really encouraged me. My children are 2 years and 4 months. No one can expect children of that age to do anything as planned. They are on their own schedule, and they bring everyone else along for the ride. I should have had this in my mind as I embarked, and been thinking less about my plan and more about theirs. Or just not thinking at all. I should have planned for anything, then I would have been far more successful.

The second leg of the trip was pretty much the same. It was 10:30 Houston time when we left, Boy had still not slept and was again screaming. However, I was sitting in front of the Perfect Lady and her Perfect Children, and Boy found a friend in the Sleeping Perfect Child. They spoke back and forth for some of the time, which made the rest of the crying times much more bearable. And the most important thing, I stopped myself from jumping off the brink of a complete emotional breakdown.

I have walked away with a few lessons from this experience. Never again will I fly with the kids without Big Love with me. Never again will I attempt the red eye flight, no matter how many adults are there to supervise. But most importantly, my kids are young. They do whatever they feel they need to do with zero regard to my "plan". I need to accept that, learn that people around me will either accept that or not, and move on.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Law and Order: Not-So-Criminal Intent

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal - Do all the errands I did not get accomplished yesterday.
Grievance - Baby Love is teething terribly
Celebration - Boy Love begins school on Monday!

I recently embarked on a daunting journey to Oregon for two and a half weeks. One of the nice things about both Big Love and I being from the same place is that we never argue about where to take our vacation time. Oregon is a perfect, beautiful place full of people that we love. So from the middle of July to the beginning of August, I was living in a virtual paradise. Who would have guessed that paradise would be a recipe for frantic/helter-skelter-ness and general exhaustion? Actually, a lot of people could guess that. That is the stuff that legendary novels and horror flicks are made on.

One of the most beautiful things about this trip was that I got to see Cheetah. Cheetah is an army medic and my best friend. She is currently serving her sentence overseas, and she was home on leave for the two weeks before I was scheduled to get there. Fortunately for me, I had to appear in court, so the insurance company shipped the boys and I out here three days prior to our original trip plan and covered all airline fares. This meant that I could overlap with Cheetah for two whole days. It was awesome. Except for having to be in court all day.

I was a bit misleading before when I said I had to "appear in court". This would imply that I was merely there as a casual witness, to return to my ordinary life after my 15 minutes on the stand. This is not the case. I was actually the defendant. I was sued a little over a year ago for a car accident I caused. It was one of those deals where the accident itself was pretty ridiculously minimal, but I hit a person that was waiting to be hit. I was sued for over a quarter million dollars from each of the people in the car, and what do you know? It went all the way to trial.

I was assigned a lawyer from my insurance company. An interesting fellow to say the least. He is not what I expected from a lawyer. I was, of course, expecting Sam Waterston to come out of that office building on Broadway. Instead, there was a 30-something slight asian man in a sharp pinstripe suit. Donned in tiny square glasses and a faux-hawk, he met me with a, "Hey wazzup?" This guy was obviously way cooler than I was ever meant to be, and I was somewhat intimidated by that at first. As the days went on, however, I found him to be a much more relatable. He had children about the same age as mine, and was really big on family. He had nervous habits that made me chuckle to myself, like the constant need to poke holes in things with his pen, or obsessively pull off bits of the rubber rims around the tables in the court room. His laugh was more like a single, explosive "MHAH!" that caused the small office supplies around him to vibrate with sound.

In the courtroom he had a kind of boyish, play-it-dumb kind of tactic with the witnesses. You know the movie Philadelphia, and how Denzel always prefaced his questions with "Okay, now explain this to me like I am a 3-year-old"? This was somewhat his mantra for the trial, but in a completely non-aggressive way. He would play like he had no idea what was going on ("I apologize for not being able to read this very well...could you read this passage please? Is this what this is saying? Okay thanks for clarifying.") Then when he had weasled out of the witness what he wanted to get, he would make a surprisingly aggressive point/accusation. He never raised his voice, but you could tell that he was wrapping the witnesses around his little finger. I was proud.

The other guy's attourney took a more southern style approach to his...uh...lawyering? I am quite sure that "lawyering" is not a word. He spoke slowly and respecfully, drawing out his sentences to the point of excruciating boredom for the poor jury. He sat in his chair while questioning witnesses, and was completely relaxed the entire time. Watching my attourney and the prosecuting attourney was very interesting. On Law and Order, all the attourneys take similar approaches in the courtroom, and everyone knows that all court proceedings are exactly like Law and Order. This was more like a Fire vs. Ice kind of experience.

After I had sat behind the defendant's table for an entire day plus the next morning, I was finished with the process. The jury settled my case for 12k, which is much more in my favor than it was in his favor. This made me happy, and I could spend almost the whole of the next day with Cheetah. I thank the Lord for the court experience, and now I know that I do not care to take the time to get sued ever again. Duly noted to self.

New poll on the bottom! Check it out, and weigh in!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Life on TV

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Get Big Love to come to the Y with me. This may not be attainable, but a goal nonetheless!
Grievance: I am very inspired to make more jewelry, but have run out funds to get supplies :(
Celebration: I got to hang out with Big Love last night and watch House. Nothing like Gregory House to bring two people together.

I am at home a lot during the day, and am therefore more likely to subject myself to truly AWFUL television. One show in particular that I have seen a couple episodes of is "Wife Swap". Now I had heard about this rather disgusting piece of daytime television in the past, and was particularly pleased that I had never seen it. And now that I have seen it, I am saddened. Premise of show: Two families, completely opposite from each other. For example, I saw an episode where one family revolved around their 13 year old motocross loving son, whose champion titles pay all the family's bills and for their extremely expensive way of life, and the other family worshiped fairies. These two families switch mothers for two weeks. In the first week, the swapped wives have to live in the other wife's shoes exactly. The second week, they can change whatever they want and the family has to follow their rules. The producers try to make as much drama as possible in these shows, but this one is really over the top. I feel so terrible for the families.

I suppose every daytime television show has a silver lining. After being subjected to this torture for an hour (and by "subjected", we all know that I am subjecting myself. Like the whole watching a train wreck thing), I walk away thinking about my own family and home. While the show is on, I can make fun of the people in it all I want. I can think they are idiots for doing the things they do, I can mock them for their petty arguments, and I can shake my head at their ridiculous ways of life. But then I stop. What would happen if we were on one of those shows? What would people think about us?

Looking at yourself from a third eye is really hard! I would like to think of myself as an amazing person, with talent and competence that oozes out of my pores. I would like to think that I am the perfect cook, the perfect cleaner, and the perfect mother and wife. I look at the toilet that Big Love and I installed and the chair that I fixed and I think Ha! I am a superb piece of woman and home-maker! When I make a batch of cookies without burning them, I feel like I should have my own cooking show call Super Mom! Amazing Meals in the Time it Takes Your Child to Watch Blue's Clues! But at the end of the day, I have to be able to see what I am really like. Delusions of grandeur never made anyone a better person.

So I begin to look around my home. It is somewhat picked up, the dishes are in almost all in the dishwasher, and there are probably three loads of laundry that needed to be done. My bed is not made, and my jewelry making supplies are out and mid-project. Okay, so I am not the best house cleaner. My cupboards and fridge are full of food, but it is mostly food-out-of-a-box and some basic staples, like baking supplies, potatoes, onions, and chicken. Okay, so I am not the best cook. There is a patch on my wall that my father fixed when he was here and left me to sand and paint. It is sanded, but not painted. Okay, so maybe I am not the best handy-woman. But then I look at my children, who are smiling, running about, and imagining that their spoon is a rocket-ship blasting off into space. They have full tummies, clothes on their backs, and clean pants. I can see Baby Love smiling every time he sees me or Big, and Boy Love has learned how to put on his own shoes, diapers and shirts. Okay, so maybe I am a decent mother.

If there was a film crew in my house for two weeks, what would they see in me? Would they see me as loving? Would they see me as moody? Would they see me as needy or high maintenance? Would they see me as an adequate home-maker? I don't know. I don't know who I would be paired with in Wife Swap, and I don't know what people watching me would make fun of me for. But, really, does it even matter? I know that I love my family, even though I tend to get frustrated. I know that I try to pick up my house, even though I can never seem to keep up. I know that my children are learning every day because I try to teach them. Why should I have to be subjected to scrutiny from the world? I don't need that. I try, and I have succeeded in the world of motherhood far more than I ever thought I would. Shouldn't that be enough?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

From Childhood to Childhood...

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Figure out what kind of yarn my scarf is made of. And GO TO THE Y!!
Grievance: None yet!
Celebration: Lots of sleep last night for me.

I often reminisce about my childhood. It was a pretty amazing one, as far as childhoods go, I guess. If I were to have a shrink he would probably find something wrong with it, but since I am an pinnacle of psychological perfection, I live with the firm belief that my life has been pretty awesome. I lived with parents who loved each other, loved their children, and loved God. Whenever they worked, I got to spend time with my beloved Great Grandparents, and those years with them have been priceless beyond words. I was geographically close to almost every extended family member, which meant that we were all pretty close.

Cheetah and I almost constantly find things in our adult lives that remind us of our lives as children, which we immediately text/facebook to each other. Example: One night a couple weeks ago I made lamb chops for dinner. That, in turn, reminded me of a little movie we used to watch, "Lambchops Play-A-Long", with a really annoying theme song. So, if the annoying theme song was going to be stuck in my head for the rest of the evening, it stands to reason that Cheetah had to join me in my misery. The two of us have a set of movies, our version of "classics", that we watch together whenever we are feeing sentimental and nostalgic, which is more often than not. Titles in this movie list include Goofy Movie, Muppet Treasure Island, White Squall, and other MORE embarrassing (believe it or not) movies that I shall not list.

We were not like other children we knew, and even in hindsight I think our family was a rarity. Our young years resembled those of Pleasantville, with the little suburban house, tiny conservative church, and role-model "citizen-of-the-year" type parents. We never had much money, but we always had each other, and that was the most important thing of all. Our parents never fought, we spent all of grade school in a private school, and we took our one vacation per year in the same spot in Sunriver. I remember other children talking about their parents, and how they were divorced, or never at home, or generally sporting a cold demeanour. I recall wondering what it was like to have a dysfunctional family, and sometimes even fantasizing about having a home that struggled with big issues. Not to say that I did not struggle. We were quite poor for a while, and it was apparent how much toll this took on my Mom and Dad, but they never stopped loving and making the best of it.

As an adult, there are so few people that I come into contact with that had a great childhood like mine. There are even some that think that my 50's life seems, as they say, "functionally dysfuntional", referring to the idea that my black and white existence somehow lacked any sort of colour. I cannot say that they are entirely in the wrong. I was always very sheltered, and very excited to live life outside my tiny town. I have never done any sort of illegal drug, never had terrible experiences drinking alcohol, and have never broken the law (unless you count speed limit laws). When I hear my friends or husband tell me of their life experiments, and all the things they got to experience and learn from, I feel like maybe I have been a little bit "functionally dysfunctional". My life has lacked the color that theirs has had. Or, perhaps, we just color our worlds differently...

This brings me to today, and the raising of my children. When one gets married, there is always the difficult task of combining "things", getting rid of sentimentalitites to make room for a new life with a new person. What proves to be the most difficult thing about combining lives, however, is combining our pasts. Big Love and I have grown up two completely different ways, and we are trying to bring both of our upbringings together to create a family environment for our children. So then comes the big dicussions. Do we spank our children? Do we want to approach life like something to be experienced on your own, or with the parental controls contantly weeding out anything not rated G? How long do we make them attend church before we let them discover their own spirituality? How do we approach drug use and drinking? These are all big decisions that will become more difficult as the kids will get older. I am not looking forward to this at all. Fortunately, my children are small, and the biggest decisions we have had to make for them is what kind of clothes they will and will not be seen in. So the thought/question of the day do I know what parts of my childhood should be passed on to my children, and what parts should be avoided? I loved my childhood, even though I was antsy to grow up and experience the world. Is that the kind of experience I want my children to have?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Back from the Hiatus

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Finish this blog before Boy Love awakes
Grievance: Have been too busy to go to the Y in a week and a half or blog in 2 and a half weeks.
Celebration: I have a new business!

Hello, again! Wow it has been a long time since I blogged. I am on the computer frequently, but have had no opportunity to make a post, due to my NEW BUSINESS VENTURE! I have an online shop on Etsy!

As many of you know, I am inflicted with a hobby addiction. In my opinion there is absolutely nothing wrong with any hobby, except for the distinct possibility that you will become addicted. And, really, is that so terrible? I have made the decision to take my addiction to the streets, selling my wares, hoping to turn my new creative outlet into something that can potentially help my family. If you are interested in seeing what I have done so far, check out my site!

or follow my business on Twitter:

Okay. Blatant business plug? Check. Moving on.

Many very exciting things have happened in my life over the last few weeks. First of all, Cheetah returns home from the middle east on her leave of absence TODAY! As a matter of fact, she will be arriving at any moment. I am not there to greet her, but, thanks to my awesome insurance company, I will be able to see her off! Quick, painless back story... I was the instigator of a terribly minute accident over three years ago, where I bumped someone's bumper at 5 mph. I hit the wrong guy, for he and his passenger each sued me for ridiculous amounts of money. My insurance company refuses to settle their cases (because they are ridiculous allegations), and so I have to fly back home to partake in a trial. Now, because my insurance rocks, they are paying me to fly home at the same time that Cheetah is home! Hooray! I get to see her on her leave! So that is the exciting things that have happened to me. I am in a very happy place. I have a quasi-business to keep my hands from sitting idly by, and I have a trip home to look forward to!

Over the last few weeks, I have seen been inspired to blog about SO many things. I am surprised daily at the multi-faceted life of a SAHM and wife. How could there possibly be so much richness to such a life? To the layman's eye, the existence of a stay-at-home mother seems somewhat ho-hum, and...dare I say it...bleak? I remember looking at SAHMs and thinking what many people think: Why did they go to college? Why are they wasting their intelligence? What could possibly be rewarding about cleaning all day? Well let me tell you how wrong I was. I find myself using my schooling every day, making decision for the house that require intellect and finesse, and I am able to play with my children, watch their milestones blossom before my eyes, and greet my exhausted husband when he gets home each day.

When I was living at home with Boy Love and my parents, I was a full time student and a night time bartender. I would spend about half of each day with my son, and it broke my heart every single day to take him to whoever was watching him. I did not witness many of his "firsts". I very distinctly recall coming home from work one day to hear my parents had helped Boy take his first steps. I know that their intentions were good, they wanted him to work on it so he could do it for me as a surprise. Even though their intentions were good, I was SO upset that I was not there to see his first steps. I remember crying myself to sleep that night, just holding him next to me. Since then, I have told myself that I want to be there more often. And now that I am married to a man whose job provides for us, I am able to see everything. I can see the laughs, the smiles, teach the songs, and learn the patience that comes with being solely a mother.

I am happy where I am. I still sometimes wonder if I should be working, helping out with the family finances. But now that I am at least trying to make money, I am feeling much better about it. I feel like I am helping. And I am still at home for every moment and every step. What could be better?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Woman in a Man's World

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: (frantically searching room for something I could tag as a possible goal)...I don't know.
Grievance: None of my boys slept very well last night, and that means mommy didn't sleep too well either.
Celebration: Perhaps we will get to go play with friends in their new pool today!

Yesterday was Sunday. Sundays are my second favourite day of the week. Wednesdays are my first for the sole purpose that Big Love has the day off of work, but Sundays are awesome in a multitude of ways. First of all, Sunday is Big Love's short day (a mere 8.5 hours), which means he can attend night church and eat dinner with us. But first and foremost, Sunday is church day.

I LOVE church. The kids and I attend "morning church" in a conventional setting while Big Love works, and then in the evening we attend a not-so-conventional "night church" which suits Big perfectly. At both venues I am encouraged, spiritually fed, and constantly learning things about myself and the world that God has created. I have not always loved church, probably for the same reasons that a lot of people don't like it. I found the people there judgmental, fiercely competitive with each other, and nitpicky about pointing out every little thing wrong with the world. I remember attending the class time, which was usually the hour preceding the main worship time, and being floored by the so-called "discussions" that would take place. Everyone in the classes was trying to out-smart each other in a sort of "I-went-to-seminary-longer-than-you-and-therefore-have-far-more-biblical-knowledge" kind of way. This made me feel SO angry. Whenever I felt the need to add to the discussion topic, I was edged out by someone who wanted to prove they knew more about Bible history than me. Needless to say, it was not an environment that I felt myself growing, being pruned, and growing back ten-fold.

I also never liked youth group much. Youth group days, for me, were not that long ago. I changed churches with my parents about halfway through my youth group years, and the church we moved to did not have the kind of setting that catered to someone as reserved as myself. Cliques had already been formed, alliances and enemies had been established, and no one was super excited to invite the shy, freckled thespian into their group. In hindsight, I probably wouldn't have let me in, either.

As an adult, however, I have found my niche in church. I LOVE being involved with ministries. There are many ministries that are better suited for other people, but I have found a place in Worship. I have always been a fan of singing. I am not inflicted with false modesty when I say that my singing voice is only a bit above mediocre on a good day, but I love the act of singing to God. I figure that if I love hearing music so much, then God has to think that it is awesome, especially since a lot of music is about Him. I am a Church of Christ girl through and through, which means two big things for a woman: I have been able to read music since I was 6 (hooray for a cappella singing), and I have to go through oodles of red tape if I want to accomplish anything without the help of a man.

I say this with only the slightest bit of resentment. I understand how many of the restrictions on women's leadership roles in a Church of Christ came to be where they are, and I applaud us a church community for progressing as far as we have. The fact that we have a female Children's Minister at the church I now attend is truly phenomenal. But I find myself wanting to be more than involved in ministries that allow women to be involved. I want to be a leader.

I went to school for theatre, as you probably well know. I wanted to, inevitably, bring the theatre world and church world together. I wanted to be able to have a venue to reach those who, like me, are not always church fans. Since I have been in school and graduated, my directive has changed a bit. I want to be a minister. Not a stand-at-the-pulpit minister, because that requires many talents that I do not possess. I want to be a creative arts minister. What is that? I don't know. I have only heard of one person with that title, and I have no idea what her job description was. If I were to invent a job desription for myself, it would include teaching classes, organizing events that bring the community into a church setting using "art" as a common ground, and most importantly showing people that there are alternate ways to express your spirituality than being a singer or a scholar.

So herein lies the issue. As a rule in the Church of Christ, women have many restrictions as to what they are allowed to do in leadership positions. In most churches, women are not allowed to lead in front of a baptized male. I'm sure there is Biblical ground for this rule, but I am not sure what it is at this moment. If you want to get upset about it, find someone else to explain it to you. I have learned to accept it. So if I am not allowed to lead in front of a baptized male, that means I do not pray out loud, do not lead a song, do not teach a class that men attend, and DO NOT EVER get up behind the pulpit and address the congregation in any capacity. Fine. Whatever. I can deal. What I struggle to deal with, however, is trying to accomplish things behind the scenes.

For example, this week I put together a special Thursday night service for our church. I had asked for a project to help out our over-worked and under-paid worship minister, and he asked me to put together a prayer service for Independence Day. Awesome. That is right up my alley. So I built a service from the ground up. I have never done this before, and do not know exactly what I need to do to get my project up and running, so the worship minister gives me a to-do list. Awesome. What I notice, however, is that when I send an email, I do not get a response. So I become a cyber-bother, emailing again and again. Still no responses. Only after I have told this to the worship minister and HE puts in a good word for me do I get anything back. And even then, it is often a response directly to him, which he has to re-tells to me. This is frustrating, not only because I am trying and not able to do anything on my own, but I am not helping my worship minister at all. He is still doing all the work.

This is merely an example. I want to make my life serving in a church, and I need to learn how to handle the red tape. Are there any suggestions out there? I am willing to be patient and pay my dues, but if I am going to run into gender issues for my whole life, even after my dues are paid, how can I learn to be understanding and loving about it? I am essentially begging to help the church, and it does not seem like people want me to. I hate to say it, but I am getting a little discouraged.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Anniversary

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Make Father's Day presents. I really must do this today, seeing as tomorrow is Father's Day.
Grievance: None yet
Celebration: Today is my 1st anniversary.

I have been married for one year today. It is phenomenal how quickly a year can fly by. When I look back, however, so much has happened in the last year that I could probably account for all 365 days if I needed to.

Big Love and I got married under some rather interesting circumstances. For those of you that know this story, sorry. I am telling it again. Last year at this time, Boy Love and I were residing in a teeny studio apartment in Atlanta. I had moved there in September of 2007 to get my first out-of-college job in a theatre department at a high-falutin' private school. Big Love and I had met in the spring of '07, when I got a job as a bartender in the restaurant he was managing. After I moved to Atlanta 5 months later, we kept in touch via Myspace messages (yes, Myspace has played a significant role in my life. Sad as that may sound). By the time Christmas of '07 rolled around, we were in a long-distance love affair, and were about to re-meet face to face when I came home for the holidays. When Boy Love and I went over to his house for the first time after arriving in Portland for the holidays, I was a little nervous. I had not physically seen Big Love in any sort of situation besides at the restaurant. However, when he came to the door, we had one of those Hollywood kisses and my nerves were calmed. Big Love swears that when we were kissing our first kiss that I dropped Boy Love out of my arms, but I will contest to my grave that I set him down on the ground with the gentleness of a butterfly. By the time I left Portland in January to return to my apartment in Atlanta, the two of us had professed our love for each other, and he began to find ways to move back down south. By March, he had procured a job at a local restaurant and an apartment.

Big Love had lived in the south before. He attended college in Nashville and worked for one restaurant group the whole time he was there. He developed life long relationships with the owner ad his family, and was loved very much by them. When he moved to Atlanta to be around Boy Love and myself, he was in somewhat familiar territory. During his stint in Nashville, he had been to Atlanta a few times, and he knew what to expect in the area. What he did NOT expect, however, was a phone call in early June from his old employers saying they wanted to meet up with him. They were going to be in Atlanta checking out some restaurants and they wanted to meet up. Big Love was excited about this, but had a nagging feeling in the back of his mind that this was more than a friendly meeting.

He was right. Big Love was offered a job from his previous employers. They wanted him to be the general manager and kitchen manager of the restaurant that they owned in Birmingham. This was an amazing opportunity for Big, not only because he could once again work for his friends, but because he would make enough money to support a family. The only real downfall was that the job was in Birmingham, which meant another move. And since Big Love had just moved all the way across the country to be with Boy and I not 4 months earlier, there was no way he was about to move away from us now. That only meant one thing: we were going with him. Us going with him meant we had to make a decision, do we get separate places? Do we live together? Well living together was the only thing that made sense, financially speaking. I would not be working and could not afford to support myself and Boy. We didn't necessarily want to "shack up", so that left only one option. We decided to get married.

In accepting this job, he needed to begin training almost immediately. We had two weeks to get our affairs in order. That included getting married. Big Love came to my apartment a few nights later, Sharpie pen in hand, and proposed. He drew a pen mark around my ring finger, and I drew one around his. We had decided to get tattoos instead of rings, so the Sharpie would have to do for a couple weeks.

On the 20th of June, we went straight from our respective jobs (his at the Atlanta restaurant, mine at the summer camp at school) and went to the office of our church minister. He married us right then and there, in his office, with my parents on speakerphone. It was perfect. Boy Love was at the sitters for the night and all the next day, so Big Love and I high-tailed it to Birmingham for our wedding night. The one day of our honeymoon we spent in Birmingham finding an apartment, only to return to Atlanta in the evening. We picked up Boy Love from the sitter's house and went to get our "wedding rings". We were officially married.

And that is just the story of us getting married. Chaos continued to ensue after jobs, moving to Birmingham, and a (very swift) conception of Baby Love, but that is a whole different story...

Happy Anniversary, to you, Big Love. You are a perfect, God fearing man, and I will love you forever and always.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Finger Story

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Exchange damaged/worthless spray adhesive without customer service rep thinking I stole it.
Grievance: Big Love has seemed to be quite upset lately.
Celebration: My birthday has lasted for 3 days now. I just spent birthday money from Cheetah to get workout clothes, and have not actually worked out since my birthday.

I have not written in so long. It seems as if decades have passed, dear blog. Oh, how I have missed the mental release you provide...the focus you give my helter-skelter brain...the opportunity to make lemonade of some of my daily lemons. I hope you have missed me as well, but I am sure you appreciated the break.

I have been lacksadaisical toward blogging for the soul purpose that I have zero feeling in my left pointer finger. In case you were unaware, I decided about a week ago that it would be a fantastic idea to stick my finger in an immersion blender (you know, those really neat stick-looking blenders that you hold in your hand like an electric eggbeater) and then turn it on. Why this appealed to me at the time, I have no idea.

It was a Stepford Wife moment, really. I had gotten the kids so they were somewhat content, I had straightened the house, and I thought it would be really neat to have Big Love come home to the smell and taste of freshly baked cookies. I had stumbled upon a recipe on this recipe swap site that looked amazing. They were peanut butter cookies that had a hidden peanut butter cream inside. My minds eye had a video clip of Big Love walking in, looking around, smelling the air, and getting a big smile on his face after his long day at work. He would then embark on an immediate search for the source of the intoxicating smell, find a rack of warm cookies to greet him, take a bite into the creamy center and let out the happy sigh. I love the happy sigh. Unfortunately, this little movie ne'er did come to fruition.

The first step: mix the peanut butter cream. A great tool: the immersion blender. If you do not have an immersion blender, I highly recommend one. I find many uses for it, and it is SO much more compact than a real blender. The one drawback is that the stuff you are blending tends to get stuck in the apparatus, much like an electric eggbeater, but far worse. Worse to the point that you need to manually clean it out every so often with your finger. Now, being trained almost solely on power saws through college, I know one of the number one rules: unplug anything sharp/fast moving/potentially fatal before handling the most dangerous part of the tool. I chose to ignore this very basic rule for reasons unknown. Perhaps I was just too excited to make cookies. Anyhow, the rest of the incident writes itself. As I was wiping the batter out of the blender, I caught the ON switch with some other part of me. All sorts of things ensued...blood, sweat, tears. I screamed pretty loudly (no swearing though. I beam with pride on that account) which sent the children into hysterics. There was no real pain, but my finger was sliced up real good and blood flowed forth with zeal. I managed to speed dial Big Love, who immediately left work to come home and help with the kids. Once he had arrived, he examined my wounds after the 15 minutes of wicked pressure I was applying. I was still soaking rags with blood and he said it was time to go to the ER. I wanted to do no such thing. ER? Psh. Can't I just throw some butterfly bandages over the slices and call it a night? No, says he. I may need stitches. So kids are packed, new rag for wrapping is applied, and we take a family road trip to the nearest ER.

Big Love left me there and took Baby and Boy in the car to get a late dinner at Sonic. At first I was hesitant to send him off. After all, there was no one waiting in the ER, and it wasn't like I was needing oxygen and major surgery. So Big stayed in the parking lot. As soon as the frazzled looking triage nurse came out the doors and called my name, in walks an elderly woman having heart problems. Obviously my spot in line was relinquished to her, and I was happy to do this for her. I still was the only one waiting. I sent Big Love to Sonic, for there was no point in him waiting until I got called again. As soon as I sent him away, six ambulances came roaring in to the carport. I think that bears repeating. SIX ambulances came, lights spinning, sirens blaring, and wheels speeding up to the automatic double glass doors. I could tell that I was going to be there a while.

As soon as the ambulance came, the waiting room began to fill up with the non-life-threatening emergencies. First in the door was a rather redneck looking bloke, maybe 20, with his parents, with a head injury. It was difficult to not judge him and try to guess the origin of such an injury. A BB gun recoil after playing target practice with crumpled Miller High Life cans? A flying tire iron after attempting to change the patched up tires on his '89 Chevy Pickup? I can only begin to imagine. Next was a young couple toting their 10 month old with a 106 degree fever. Then was a young gentleman experiencing extreme chest pain. After about 30 minutes of waiting after my name was called the first time, the ER was completely full of the ill and ill-at-ease. What was I to do? There were obviously people there with much bigger problems than mine. Head injuries, chest pain, ambulances, and babies come before the able-bodied 25 year old with a boo boo on her finger.

So then I had a dilemma. What was I going to tell Big Love to do? Wait for hours with two children sitting in the car twiddling their thumbs? This was a bad plan. I tried to ask the front desk lady if I could just go home, but no. I had filled out the paperwork and I was getting charged the $250 copay. I may as well get fixed. So I send my boys home to catch some Z's. So then how do I expedite this experience as quickly as possible? Do I play it off like it doesn't bother me at all, in hopes that they let me in for a quick heal and quick discharge? Do I hold my finger and fain extreme, agonizing pain so they take pity on me and let me in? While that sounded entertaining I went for the former option, which worked to my advantage. I was admitted promptly, fixed up, and sent on my way.

I chopped up the nerve endings in my finger, which means that the top of it is completely without feeling. This makes the act of typing an unusual challenge. I often look back on what I have written and see strange letters that I am quite sure I did not press. Of course, I blame the alien finger who now has a mischevious little mind of it's own.

Thanks for your enduring patience with my lack of writing and my inevitable typos. I shall re-enter the world of blogging, starting today, for my own sanity more than anything else.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Motivated Mom

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Inventory Boy's and Baby's clothes and make trip to donation box.
Grievance: I haven't done laundry in far too long, so I get to do it today.
Celebration: Date night last night with Big was way nifty.

Since I have become a SAHM and have had a few more minutes in the day to pay attention to each household chore, I have started noticing things that I have not paid any attention to in the past. For instance, my attainable goal of the day is to inventory clothes and make a donation run. When I was growing up, I would rarely (if ever) inventory my clothing (perhaps because I wore all of my clothing until it had to be thrown away) and I would almost never take things to Goodwill unless my mother put the box in front of me, opened it up, and held my hand while I filled it up. So now, as a mother myself, I see what my mom was trying to do. I am thrilled to be able to donate clothing to people who need it far more than I do as a sort of "clothes recycling program". There is a shelter in my town that helps abused mothers and children, and I am excited to give my unused things to them. It makes me feel like I am really doing a good thing.

Opportunitites like this seem to be everywhere. Opportunities to save money, help someone in need, or support a worthy cause without spending a lot of our disposable income. We have a membership to the local zoo, which is great way to support the animals and we can get into most zoos in the country for free. When the kids are old enough, I would like to get a membership to the science center for the same reason.

So then begs the question, besides donating clothes/toys, getting memberships for the zoo, and clipping coupons for Babies 'R' Us, what are some other things, as a mother, that I should be doing/collecting/cleaning/etc? I feel like there are some things that my mom used to do that I haven't even thought of yet. For instance, what kind of things will little boy scouts come around and ask for? The boy scouts in the northwest asked for soda bottles and cans to recycle, but people in the south don't recycle, so that is not an option. What about schools? What will Boy Love and Baby Love come home and ask me for? Soup can lids? Toilet paper cardboard tubes? Box Top for Education things from our morning Cheerios box? I also feel really guilty throwing my plastic/paper/cans into the trash when I know I should be recycling them. However, there is NO WHERE to recycle here! Not even a recycle center! So give me some ideas on what more I can be doing. I want to help support our environment and worthy causes in any way I can, since I have the time and the motivation.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Discipine Dilemma

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Keep the laundry going all day until it is done. This did not happen today.
Grievance: Forgot to take my daily Exedrin today. Tragedy.
Celebration: I got to shop at Victoria's Secret today. It was much needed and I was appropriately frugal.

The boys and I are at the Y. On our way out the front door at the end of my workout, we maneuver around what appears to be a father/mother/4 year old son family under the rain awning that covers the threshold. In retrospect, they may not have been this child's mother and father, for their age seemed to be older than that of someone with a 4 year old, but I am not going to guess or judge. This little boy, a sweet pudgy thing wearing a wetsuit/swim suit like he had just had a lesson in the pool, was stomping about listening to his shoes hitting the ground. He then sees something "shiny" over by the pedestal that holds up the roof, and runs at full speed for it. I do not know what this object was, but apparently his parents had a decent idea. As soon as this little boy got near to touching it, his mother screamed at the top of her lungs, "Stop it! Don't touch things on the ground! Who knows who has been slobbering on that thing!!!" Now, at first I thought the outcry was a little bit much, but I am reminded of times that Boy Love is particularly frustrating, and even the smallest of misdeeds gets an equally impatient reaction. The boy does not put the pretty whatever down immediately, and gets an even more exasperated screech from his obviously frazzled mother. He is visibly startled by the last scolding, and looks so frightened that he drops the object onto the ground.

As it falls to the ground, the dad figure starts barreling for his son with fire in his eyes. The kid begins to weakly apologize for not listening, but the dad already has his momentum built up. He bends down to the level of his child and starts screaming "Shut up! Shut up! I said, shut up!" in his face. This frightened little boy starts to quiver and whimper, then the dad does something I still cannot believe. He backhands his kid across the face. At this point, the boys and I were headed into the parking lot to find the car, and I had been glad to be getting away from this negativity, but I was not moving fast enough to avoid seeing...and hearing...this man smack his 4 year old's face. I was entirely sympathetic to the squeal that ensued. If I had been hit that hard, I would have yelled, too.

Understand that I am the biggest advocate of letting people parent the way they want to parent. One of my biggest pet peeves is when strangers come up to me and say, "You shouldn't have your child ride in the shopping buggy like that" or "Hey you shouldn't have your son carry that bag of groceries. It is dragging on the ground and he will break it". Strangers should not impose on the parenting of other strangers. Each time that happens to me, I feel like looking at them with false embarrassment and responding, "Oh, gosh, I am so sorry! I had no idea that you are this child's mother! I feel so silly for giving birth to him, feeding him, clothing him, teaching him, and loving him every day when he is actually yours to raise. Forgive my intrusion. I feel so foolish..." I have never actually done this, but the sentiment is there.

So when the little incident happened at the Y, I was really torn. I am of the firm belief that parents should not hit their children, but I do not represent every family in the world, and it is naive of me to think that every family functions best in the way that I think they should. In the fall of last year, I babysat for a family who had very difficult children, and they spoke frequently of how their father spanked them with a belt them when they were bad. If that is what works best for their family, then I can live with that, no matter how sad it makes me. But when I saw this poor, sweet little kid get hit not 50 feet from me...that was really hard to take. I was very happy to know that my son did not witness it.

So this evening, I walked away. I don't know if that was the right thing to do, but I don't want to go do anything crazy when this was obviously not my kid to raise. I wanted to run up to him, kneel down next to him and push his hair back from his face to see if he was alright. I wanted to give him a hug and tell him it would be okay. I wanted to tell his parents what I really thought of their actions and offer to take their son home with me so he can play with my kids while they cool down their attitudes. I remember a very specific instance when I was young and in the car with my mother. We were in a parking lot sitting in the car, and the lady sitting in the car next to us was screaming at her car full of children and saying horrible things to them. Mom looked at the lady then said to me, "Do you think it would be okay for me to offer to take those kids off that lady's hands? She is obviously too frustrated to be bothered with them right now, and we could all go to the park and have a picnic." I was reminded of this when I saw this family, and my heart broke for them.

So here is the dilemma. Did I do the right thing by walking away? Should I have done something? If so, what should I have done? What is the line that, when crossed, requires outside intervention?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Family Day

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Get to the Y and really try to work out hard. Done.
Grievance: Today could not have been longer.
Celebration: Quality time between the boys and their daddy.

I don't really have a topic for today. I am just so blissfully happy with how today went. I was not expecting disaster, but today exceeded all expectations that I have for a Wednesday, which is a difficult feat. Wednesdays, as I have mentioned before, are my favorite day because it is Big Love's day off. Today was fantastic, even for a Wednesday.

First of all, I got to the Y while Big Love took a well deserved nap. I did awesome. My arms are so tired that I can barely lift my dinner plate. Big Love got to revel in the solidarity of a mid-day slumber with no crying, feeding, or obnoxious wife who always tends to wake him a consistent 2 minutes before his alarm is scheduled to sound. By 3:00 we were all awake, showered, dressed, packed, and ready to go paint the town.

We made our way to the zoo, for it was a beautiful 85 degree day and the water fountains were just begging for Boy Love to play in them. While he frolicked with he other kids, he would watch the water intermittently shoot up from the ground like gentle geysers and, when he got the gall, would stick his fingers in it or try to drink from it. I played the role of damage control, making sure he shared the water and watched where he was running, and Big Love and Baby Love got to watch adoringly from a nearby lunch table. When he was adequately dried off and re-dressed, we made our way around the winding paths of the zoo in our complicated yet genius double-stroller contraption. First stop was the reptiles, at the request of Boy Love who was only interested in seeing the turtles and the monkeys. After we saw every scaly creature that we could have ever wanted, we made our way toward the monkeys, and to do that, we had to go past the birds. Freaky. Big Love told me that at one of the bird exhibits you can go into the aviary with a cup of nectar in your hand. The birds will, apparently, flock toward you in a way that only Alfred Hitchcock could imagine. This sounds terrifying, and I am sure that Big Love is only telling me this to get a rise out of me. Which he does. We make our way to the monkeys after the horror bird cage was conveniently closed, and to the new rhino exhibit after that. We made it out of the gate right before they closed it behind our backs.

After our couple of hours in the sun, it was imperative we get ice cream, so we went to the local creamery and indulged. Boy chose some sort of cake batter monstrosity because it was yellow, Big got something else that was an absurdly high saturation pink colour, and I stuck with a standby chocolate raspberry scoop that served my taste buds perfectly. After our dishes, we took the short stroll to visit Mr. Bret at the restaurant nearby, and brought him some ice cream.

The whole afternoon...the zoo, the ice cream, and even our evening meal accompanied by Lion King was truly amazing. We were just together. I love my family, and I love spending time with them. How long will my children want to spend time with me? Hopefully for a long time. I know I love spending time with my parents as an adult, and I would be thrilled if my boys would want to do the same.

Monday, June 1, 2009

All the World's a Stage

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Work on save-the-dates for my party!
Grievance: Big Love had to be at work at 6 am. Gross.
Celebration: Big Love and I get to go out on a double date tonight!

As many of you know, I am a thespian. This is a label that often comes with a certain stigma around it of geekiness, prissiness, and general quirkiness in personality. I don't see myself as any of these things in excess, although I may be blissfully ignorant, in which case, please feel free to keep your opinions/observations of me to yourself. I began as a thespian in high school. I spent most of my 4 years playing water polo with the stoners and jocks, but my senior year I made the transition to drama nerd by getting a lead in the fall musical. By the end of senior year, I was an Honor Thespian (yes, an actual title) and I had found my true passion.

So, of course, I pursued theatre in college. My first year in college took place at Pepperdine, where my hopes of acting were consequently dashed by all the really good actors that were in the program there. That did not hinder me. I had three jobs in the theatre during the year I was there. I worked in the box office, as an usher, and in the scene shop building the sets for all the shows. It wasn't until I withdrew from Pepperdine the next fall and went to Portland State that I found my niche backstage. I loved being backstage. I loved the scene shop, I loved running shows, I loved having my hand in all the different artistic aspects of the performances without actually having to don costume and makeup and memorize lines. I was blissfully happy. Until I realized that I had to take acting classes to graduate.

I had resigned myself to the fact that I was not an actor, so taking acting classes was a combination of wasted time and salt on the festering sores of my lack of talent. I was not excited about any of this. But I did my time, and through the process my fellow classmates who were actually there to learn to act were appropriately complimentary of my skills. Through college I only acted once (strangely, it wasn't even at the school, it was a real show that I got paid for. Weird) but I found myself having a strange feeling from time to time. I would get the "acting bug". The "acting bug" is a phrase that industry folk use to say that they are in need of stage time. I always thought that getting the "acting bug" was entirely cocky and self-serving. I scoffed at those who got it, thinking that all they want is to see their name in lights. I have no such interest, which was one of the selling points of working backstage. This means that whenever I get this ridiculous "acting bug", I would be thoroughly disgusted with myself. So I began to Psych 101 myself. Why do I feel the need to act right now? I don't necessarily like acting, and I am not necessarily talented. I have no interest in being "discovered", or getting seen on stage, or having to take a bow at the end of a performance.

After some consideration, pondering, and self searching, I think I have come up with it. I like being someone else. For as long as I can remember, I have always fantasized about what it would be like to live someone else's life. I have no complaints about my life. Comparatively speaking, my life was/is pretty easy, full of love and support. However, I would love to read about the lives of celebrities, or watching a movie and wishing I was in the situation that the hero/heroine was in. Whenever I would watch The Little Mermaid, one of my most favourite movies of all time, I could hear myself when she sang "Part of Your World". That song, in many ways, became like a mantra for me. No matter what I was doing in my life, no matter how hard or easy my situation was at the time, I would want to be part of someone else's world. This is a really sad realization to come to. I don't like that I have been dissatisfied with my life at times, because my life has really been a good one. Not to mention, after I have had an experience in someone else's shoes, I am desperate to get back to the stability of my own life.

So I currently have the acting bug. This must mean that I am somewhat dissatisfied. Perhaps it is because I am at home now, and being a SAHM is not something I ever thought I would be. Maybe because I don't see myself moving forward for many years to come. The only changes I see happening to myself will be experienced vicariously through my children's accomplishments. This, of course, is not a bad thing. After all, what could be more satisfying than seeing your children take their first step? Or attend the first day of school? Or play their first game of tee-ball? Yet, I still have the acting bug.

I am looking for a creative outlet. I need something to distract and re-direct my thinking so I can realize how good I really have it. I don't want to do something silly like audition for a show. Being in a show with two small children at home is, perhaps, the worst idea ever. I need something creative that I can still do while being a mommy. Any suggestions? I have already spoken with my worship minister and pulpit minister so they can give me a project for church, but they haven't yet gotten back to me in this regard. They may not even have anything for me to do. Does anyone have any alternate ideas?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Spread the Love

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Keep TV off all morning. Somewhat accomplished. We only had on the music channel
Grievance: No nap for the Pickthorns.
Celebration: Boy Love used the potty at the Y without coaching!

Long time no post. My parents were in town. I have chosen to write in this blog as a daily release and a way to let go of emotion, but when my parents were here I was not in need of a release. My mother and father are two very amazing people that increase my worth when they are around. I hope that someday I can be around them all the time. Don't worry, Mom and Dad, I don't plan on living with you yet again.

The young boys and I try and go to the Y as often as possible, which translates to about 5 times a week. I have received the blessing of my OB to exercise freely, which I am doing. Much to the glee of Boy Love, who now gets to go play with his friends daily in the child care. Today, as Baby Love and I returned to the play room after our workout (he often sits in my lap as I cycle), the attendant-of-the-day was overly excited to see me. This catches me off guard, due to the fact that the attendant-of-the-day usually has something snarky and mean to say to me about how unprepared I had left my son. It was a joy to see her with a smile and not a sigh. She promptly informed me that my son, my very own Boy Love, asked to use the potty and used it without prompting or disaster. He got a special "potty sticker" of a sea horse which he admired lovingly all the way to the car. Once he was seated, however, he promptly ripped off sea horse's head. C'est la vie.

I was SO proud of my boy. Since we began potty training in October of last year, he has had times of progression, regression, and plateau. He has only used the potty in public but three times, and rarely uses it at home since the arrival of Baby Love. So we went home, and I continued to heap praises upon him until he had obviously forgotten what we were all so excited about. Once nap time rolled around a little bit later, I put him to bed with the knowledge that I was purely happy living vicariously through my son's accomplishments.

An hour and half later of not sleeping (by the sounds on the monitor in the living room, it sounded as if he was playing quietly with his toys and reading story books to himself) led me to his room to retrieve him. As I walked down the hall, the air began to feel loaded and heavy, as if something disastrous was about to occur. When I opened the door to his room, my eyes grew large with astonishment. The pungent aroma that hit my nostrils virtually singed my nose hairs. I knew immediately what had happened without even fully examining the room. My very accomplished Boy Love had used the potty on the floor of his room. Now this has happened before within the parameters of an "accident", but this was no accident. The training pants were wadded on the carpet by his bed, and the bodily discharge was...well...everywhere. So I am sure you are aware of how a monkey is infamous for the flinging of feces to mark territory. Apparently, Boy Love is reaching his primal roots, because his room was covered in poo. He, himself, was naked, but with a layer of filth covering all parts of him easily reached by his hands. It was spread across the carpet in a way that looks like he scooted his bottom across the floor in lieu of wiping. The back of his bedroom door was littered with hand prints, like he was making a huge flock of poo-flavored hand turkeys playing in the mud. What hit me the most, however, was what resided in the middle of the floor. His favourite book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? had piled upon it the varied solid chunks that he had gathered from the corners of his room and lined up neatly in an attempt to clean.

I just stood there. Shocked. That is, until my boy started to sprint his gross little naked legs to where the baby had started to cry in his bed. This is not alright. There was no way I was going to let his filth spread to the rest of my house. So away I flew after Boy Love, him running even faster to get away from my desperate grasp. Fortunately for everyone, he touched nothing else until I got him in the shower. At this point, Baby Love had woken up from him nap, and was screaming for something, and so Boy had to just be clean and naked for a good couple of hours before I could get Baby taken care of and the room appropriately Oxi-Cleaned.

At the time, I was really upset about this little episode. I thought he had done it to get a rise out of me. In retrospect, I think he was genuinely trying to use the potty but didn't know how to do so in the confines of his room. So then comes the it time to make it easier for Boy Love to get to the potty during sleep times? I definitely want to encourage the few times that he wants to use the potty, but we keep his door shut during nap and night on purpose. Boy is a sneaky and clever little one, and he would absolutely not be safe anywhere without adult supervision and guidance. So do I keep his door open and sleep with one eye open (or risk not sleeping at all), or do I keep his door shut and stifle his urge to use the potty during nap/night? Not to mention risk waking up every morning or every afternoon to his room like it was today. What do I do?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

America's Most Talented Kid

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Make it through the day without going berserck from excitement about my parents coming into town.
Grievance: My breasts are almost completely dried up all on their own (celebration?)
Celebration: Seeing my parents is always a celebration.

Boy Love loves to turn our household furniture into his own private play gym. When he gets excited, he will scramble atop our dining room table and begin to bounce on it like a trampoline. I don't know if this grates on my nerves because the table is not, in fact, a trampoline (using an item improperly = not polite) or because our dining room "chandelier" hangs low enough for him to impale his skull on one of the wee decorative metal points under each electric bulb (safety issue). I'm sure it is a combination of the two. When he knows I am coming to hold him down for something, like putting on shoes/changing diaper/retrieving him for dinner, he does one of two things. He could sprint wildly toward the swiveling office chair that sits behind our desk, takes a flying leap over it, ending in a rolling land in the small desk alcove in which the chair wheels park. He could also do-si-do with me around the coffee table a couple times then shoot up into the air like a rocket onto the upper edge of the sofa, scuttling precariously across the apex from one cushion to the next, then doing a face dive onto the end table to escape my approaching grasp. He also loves finding things, anything, that will afford him enough height to reach the bar countertop that seperates our living room from our kitchen. I can't tell you how many times I have seen him climb from a dictionary on the floor, to his child-sized rocking chair, to his high chair seat back, and up onto the bar just to reach something he perceives to be shiny from the countertop.

These acrobatics, while dangerous in many ways, are actually quite impressive. Boy has such a vivid imagination, and he uses his resources in such a clever way that it is difficult to scold him. I am in awe at how smart he can be sometimes, and how he comes up with things that I would never even imagine. Mothers make it their right to brag about how smart they think their children are, and I am no exception to that rule. My children are the most intelligent and clever children in all of time and space. My grandmother sent me a "congratulations on the new baby" card in the mail that perfectly expresses my feelings. The front of the card had a photo of a little baby balancing the concave part of the spoon on their nose, and the inside sentiments said something along the lines of Only a mother can recognize a child's true talents.

I am all about letting my children express and explore to discover their talents, but what constitues a talent as opposed to just something impolite and dangerous? I like to think that Boy Love will be a gymnast/mountain climber/secret spy when he grows up and I am merely harboring an enviroment to hone his skill. But at what point do I see what he is doing and decide it is just unsafe? At what point does balancing a spoon on your nose become a social taboo, and not something to show off to dinner guests? How do I decipher the skill from the stupidity?

New Poll at the bottom of the page. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Small Children + Plane = ?

Daily Specs:

Attainable Goal: Start the process of cleaning the house for arrival of parents on Saturday
Grievance: We still have not gotten to the post office, and have no hope of doing so any time soon.
Celebration: Big Love got to sleep all night!

Our family has a trip coming up at the end of the summer. We are going home to Portland to visit our families after not being home for a year and half. I could not be more excited about this. Both Big Love and I are true Portlanders in our hearts, and both of our extended families almost exclusively live in the northwest. I could write about the northwest all day, and why it is the best place in the world to live, but I don't want everyone to move there and ruin the "small city" feel so you are going to have to believe me.

So we are going to Portland. I am making all these plans for us; who we are going to see, what we are going to do, events to plan and to attend, et cetera. Big Love will be there for the first week of the trip, then will return home on his own while the kids and I stay there. This leaves only one forseeable issue with this glorious vacation, that I can think of. The plane trip from Portland back to here.

I can only imagine what it is like to ride on a plane with two children. My only experiences on a plane with Boy Love have been pretty par for the course, I guess. When we first moved away from home, we flew one way. Boy Love had his own seat, and he had just turned one, so he was still sleeping quite a bit. The following Christmas, my wonderful parents got us a plane ticket home. It was only one ticket, so Boy had to sit on my lap, but it was a first class ticket so we had extra wiggle room around us. While first class sounded like an excellent idea in the plan (I won't lie, the free drinks were also a huge selling point), the actual execution was a little bit dreadful. I was that mom that brings her ridiculously loud child on a crowded plane, but this time, I was disrupting all the people that paid a lot of money for their tickets, not just the "lowly" coach passengers. The lady sitting next to me on one of the stretches gave us the stink eye as we entered the plane before departure, then immediately called her lover to complain about the awful ordeal she was about to go through. Both Boy and I cried the whole way through that flight.

I am trying not to think very negatively, but this time I am flying alone with two children under three. We have two seats, one for Boy and one for Baby and myself, but that will be, perhaps, the only positive thing about the trip. Honestly, I am a little nervous. I keep telling myself that it will be one really hard day, but it will be totally worth it to see my family for two whole weeks. I am just imagining, however, that there are going to be a hundred things that go terribly wrong. For example, how in the billy blue blazes are we goign to get through security? My plan is to have Boy in tiny stroller, Baby in baby bjorn, diaper bag slung over shoulder, and car seat in one of my hands somehow. So when I have to go through security, take the children out of their respective carriers, unload my bag, take off our shoes, how am I going to physically walk through the little beeping portal carrying both children? Or get all of our things back together after said beeping portal without losing track of one of my kids? Then come the issue of what to do in the airport while waiting for our flights. Do I just wander about like a mindless idiot? Airports aren't exactly set up to appeal to small children. One of my layovers is over 4 hours long (one of the joys of purchasing the least expensive ticket available). 4 hours! How, for the love of pete, am I going to contain my 3 year old from going completely beserk?

I don't even want to think about the plane ride. Heavens forbid I have to use the bathroom while we are actually flying. I can see it now... The other passengers around us have already tagged us as dreadfully annoying due to the constant crying, maniacal laughter, and steady stream of "Why?" questions coming from Boy Love. I have held my urge to pee for 2 hours now, and cannot hold it any longer. So I have to interrupt Boy Love from his portable dvd player and unbuckle him from his chair. As he writhes free from the straps, I throw on baby bjorn as quickly as a human can, and put Baby Love inside. Grabbing a newly freed Boy by the hand, we must now contort ourselves to creep out of our row. Next, maneuver through the narrow corridor, avoiding beverage carts, rogue feet from the passengers attempting to stretch out, and disdainful sneers from everyone else. Assuming we can do all this and enter the airplane facilities, I have to do the actual act of peeing before Boy and Baby scream/break the door down/empty all storage compartments of their contents. But at least I have provided my impatient neighbors with the ability to sleep uninterrupted for a minute and a half. After that, getting back to the chairs and re-buckled will be a cinch.

For mothers who have done this before, do you have any suggestions to better prepare myself for this imminent disaster? I really don't even know how to start, and I want to be as ready as possible for this, emotionally, mentally, and physically.