Saturday, December 19, 2009

An apology from a tired mom

Sorry folks, I can't post. In between cleaning up barf and diarrhea and trying to get 3 hours of sleep at night I just have nothing left. I know my ode to boogers was appreciated in the summer but I'm pretty sure no ode to barfing and pooping is welcome.

I'm tired.

I'm beaten down.

A week long stomach bug in triplets is not fodder for blogging of any interesting sort. My mind is cheese. Just thank the lord I have not yet caught the bug, however I doubt I'm immune. Pray for an end to this nightmare for mommy. I have got to get some sleep.

And I didn't win the photo contest. Poop.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pity Vote

After 87 loads of laundry, a trip to the ER, multiple barfs by multiples, 2 hours sleep, interrupted by one uncomfortable barfing toddler, and at least 8 prayers to God not to give me three kids with a stomach virus and simultaneously afflict me and/or my husband, I ask you for your pity vote.

My kids are in a photo contest here! You know what they look like, even though at least one has her butt to the camera, so vote for me so I get to win the awesome prizes!


Saturday, December 12, 2009


Two years ago I was sitting in an OB's office listening to him tell me not to 'pre-worry' after I'd asked him a very basic question about who delivers babies for him when he's not on call. A very stupid thing to say to a woman newly pregnant with triplets who was instructed by most people to find this out from their OB before too long. True, I was only a couple of months pregnant and statistically speaking I had a higher chance of losing that pregnancy than most of his other clients but really? That's 'pre-worrying?' Wondering who covers for your OB in the surgical suite when you might have a really high chance of an emergency c-section?

My husband, naturally, seized on this phrase and repeated it to me incessantly until I threatened to cut off his entire nether regions with a dull knife. He knew I had a habit of worrying about things sometimes before it was truly necessary to worry and here was a man who had summed it up into a tidy phrase for him. It didn't occur to him that since I had now labeled the doctor a jackass he was winding up in the same category quite quickly.

So here I sit pre-worrying about the holidays. For the first time ever I have my mom at my house for the holidays. Throughout my childhood this woman made gift receiving unpleasant, thus ruining Christmas for me most years. She never gave a gift without expecting a certain type of reaction from you. She had some sort of pre-written script in her head, and if you didn't follow it to the letter her feelings were hurt. For example, once she gave me some earrings and I thanked her but did not put them in my ears. The next day she comes to me all sad and forlorn and says it really "hurt her feelings" that I didn't put the earrings in.

Really? Thanks isn't enough? Oh, thats right, it's never been.

In addition, the lady never asked what anyone wanted for Christmas, she just bought things all year long and stowed them in her closet, sometimes for more than a year, and then around Christmas she looked through everything she had and picked out some things for you. Naturally, this resulted in a sweatshirt I might have worn as a 13 year old being given to me at the age of 16 and somehow the hearts and kitties didn't quite work at that point. So, as you can imagine, Christmas, and any other gift giving occasion became a series of faking a positive reaction to a gift you didn't want and would never use and watching her reaction to see if you performed according to her expectations and then holding your breath for about 24 hours to see if you heard about her hurt feelings because you failed.

Really fun.

This year, after 3 blissful years with the in-laws, who not only ask what you want, but properly anticipate other things you might enjoy and then don't wear their egos on their sleeves waiting for your reaction to their gifts, I'm back in hell. She will be present for presents, she will be jealous and she will likely notice the disparity between the number of gifts my new family exchanges versus what she gets and gives. She's not even getting anything for the adults despite my hinting to her that she would be receiving from the adults. Truth is, even if she behaves herself, I will be on edge all holiday waiting for the explosion and trying to protect my in-laws from her brand of crazy. My holiday is destined not to be relaxing or as enjoyable as I've gotten used to in the last couple of years.

In addition, I've just found out I will have no nannies from Dec 24 through Jan 3. Thats 10 days people. I'm going to be 7 1/2 months pregnant. I have to go from having regular breaks where I can rest in the morning to having 10 days straight of taking care of triplets with only the 2 hour nap break in the afternoon. I don't know how this happened but I'm freaking out. I already cried about it. I'm already miserable. That's pre-worrying for sure, because why be miserable 2 weeks early? I will suck the marrow out of every second I have to rest over the next week and a half, but I am terrified of this 10 day thing. I feel like I'm going to go into labor or fall down dead or cry daily. I don't know how to not be upset about this.

It honestly feels like these two factors put together basically have destroyed my holiday. Yes, I'll enjoy watching my kids open presents, and watching my husband and in-laws opening theirs, but that's a pretty small window. Otherwise I'll be tired, stressed, and on the alert for my mom taking the crazy road the whole time. Not good people. How do I deal with this?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Compare and contrast, a year has passed

One has to say 'Wow" no? Little 9 month old munchkins, large 22 months old kids. I imagine I look different too. Last year I was exhausted only from lack of sleep although they were finally sleeping through the night by 9 months. I was a heck of a lot skinnier and not pregnant. This year, toting around a 7 month belly and working through the 4th cold in a row of said toddlers as usual I think I might be more tired. Hard to say. I hope I seem happier!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why do we even bother?

This exhausting exercise known as "getting their picture taken with Santa" is really questionable people. The kids don't enjoy it, certainly not at 22 months. In fact two of three were terrified of Santa. TERRIFIED people. Like he was an axe murderer waving his axe with imminent intentions of whacking them. So poor Santa had to give up his chair and sneak into the side of the frame where they didn't notice him as much as the dude behind the camera squeaking the Santa doll and all three of us caretakers had to get in the picture too. Sigh. Although, in the end we did narrow it down to just me and the kids with the killer in back.

Note the bribery of one santa teddy bear for B and one yellow cat for J from the Christmas shop out front. A was willing to follow the squeaky santa behind the camera though and put aside her holy terror for a minute.

I'm beat. They'd better love Santa next year or I'm over it.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

An upbeat Christmas post...

As I am getting into the holiday spirit finally, assisted by the cute children in christmas clothes and the boundless energy of my MIL I will reprint here something I wrote a few years back after spending another Christmas with my in-laws. It's short but to the point. I had found a new place to rest.

Christmas with the 'other' parents:

Yes, I had an incredible Christmas. Who wouldn’t enjoy themselves when they finally meet the kind of parents you want to come home to once a year? True, one can objectively figure out what about these people would have driven me crazy had I been their child, but as an adult, living in their home for 11 days, well it’s usually every woman’s worst nightmare to be stuck in the freaking arctic of Illinois with their boyfriend’s parents. Not just any boyfriend, most likely the man you will be spending the rest of your life with. So these are the people you have to convince they might want you for a daughter in law.

Of course the boyfriend thinks they’re perfectly fine, so what did I have to worry about? According to him they don’t judge anyone, they’re so easy, why am I so anxious? Um, perhaps, dear boyfriend, because once I get there, in the middle of nowhere, where the average temperature hovers at 15 and I have nowhere to go and nothing to do but read and watch TV THERE IS NO ESCAPE even if I hate them? What’s to worry? I could go jump off a building, oh that’s right, they only get 4 stories tall in the prairie, so I’d be more likely to maim myself and end up confined to a bed in their home with only them for company and at the mercy of their whims. That’s if I didn’t get frozen to the sidewalk on contact and have to be scraped off with a snowplow. If at that point, my appendages all remained intact, my jaw would likely be broken and I’d have to be fed pureed foods through a tube. But that’s only in the worst-case scenario.

No, none of my worst fears came true. They were so much better than my parents that I’m never going back home again. I might even forget my parents exist. I suppose I ought to wait until I marry into the family and have a little something to offer, like a grandchild. (Editors note: boy did I come through on that one eh?) One always needs collateral to be accepted into the family completely. The question is how to keep my mom away from said grandchild until it is old enough to not be scarred by her insane need to buy love with stuff and food. We don’t need to perpetuate the cycle of fat and greed one more generation. For god’s sake I’ve been in therapy for years and haven’t stopped equating love with whether the person will buy me a nice dinner and a pretty thing. Yeah, I’m that kind of girl. Shower me with presents? Sure I’ll stick around….

So yeah, Christmas was great, with calm, drama-free people who live to buy each other presents for fun and without strings attached. And 11 days went by just like that.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Greener grass syndrome

How is it possible or fair that before you have your children you can spend every second yearning to be a parent, yearning to have a house full of kids, yearning so much that you miss whole days of childless freedom only to find yourself 2 years into having children yearning to be alone, yearning for the pre-children vacations you used to take, yearning to have the body you used to have and so on?

Oh yeah, that's right, it isn't fair.

I have a bad habit I got from my mom of tending to always look to the future to be better. I keep thinking if I could just get married, just have babies I'll be happier, if I could just have the babies turn into toddlers it'll get better, no, maybe when they can speak full sentences it'll be the best. I'm not the kind of person who lives in the present really well. Now of course the current present sucks more than usual because 7 months pregnant isn't fun for almost anyone, but it's not unusual that I'm craning my neck constantly to see around the next bend.

The real truth about children is you just have no stinking idea what you're getting into until you have them. Sure you see people with children all around and you see tantrums and struggles and know they haven't slept in weeks, but you think, it'll still feel fantastic if I can just have one. Especially once you get denied up front and have to struggle to have one (or three). Then there's the post infertility guilt that either you or others put on you because shouldn't you be happy all the time that you got lucky enough to have children when others can't?

Phooey on that. I can resent my children just as well as anyone else when they're acting like crabby little pains. Hell, maybe I should be more resentful because I paid for mine and still ended up without the upgrade to the 'no tantrum model.' I mean shouldn't I get a little extra tweak for the extra cash I had to put out up front?

But it's amazing how romantically I can see life before children now. As if it was all wine and roses before. Like DH and I sat around on island getaways and sipped cocktails while reveling in each other's company every minute of the day and night. Right now I'd give my right arm for an evening sipping cocktails in my own living room without a baby monitor chirping over my shoulder. And as if I didn't spend those evenings before romantically viewing how wonderful it was going to be if someone just gave me a damned baby.

You just can't win. And I didn't even want children until I hit about 31. Then it was like a ton of bricks and nearly impossible to resist. Now I can't wait until they all go to college and I can do things with my friends and husband on the spur of the moment without arranging childcare and 8 other things to do so.

I need to work on enjoying the present. Like this morning when all three of my kids were as cute as they can possibly be, for whatever reason, but just so cute you wanted to eat them all up and snuggle with them all morning. Sadly, that's not usually what they're up for but a moment like that? Has got to be enjoyed without any distractions. No worries about what I have to do, haven't done, whether I've slept or not, am getting the cold, or whatever. Just wallowing in three incredibly cute, loving kids. It won't last forever!

Monday, November 30, 2009

A tribute

On the anniversary of my dad's death I will reprint here for you the speech I gave at his 70th birthday and then again at his funeral. I hope it is somewhat funny and gives you some insight into why I miss him so much:

I know many of you knew my dad pretty well as a smart, serious and funny, wise and caring man who enjoyed life’s pleasures and knew how to manage a staff, a gaggle of crazy Russian visitors or a room full of graduate students. I want to share with you tonight the dad I knew and tell you a few things he taught me.

James Robert Millar, familiarly referred to as Jim Bob when in Texas, was born on July 7, 1936 to James and Virginia Millar of San Antonio, Texas. He grew up sandwiched between his older sister, Nancy, and his younger sister, Carolyn. It’s no easy being a middle child, but he knew he was destined for great things when he overheard his mother on the phone one day to a friend saying: “Nancy’s the smart one, Carolyn’s the pretty one, and Jim Bob delivers newspapers.” The very fact that he shared this story with me and can laugh at it is a testament to one of the lessons he taught me – never take yourself too seriously – always be able to laugh at yourself.

My dad did a stint in the ROTC and the Army Reserves. Now, you might not think of my dad as the army type, but it ran in the family and it helped pay for school. The funny thing is that the army probably had no idea what they had in their hands when Jim Bob arrived. Never taking things too seriously, as he knew this would not be his future career, he showed his loyalty to his troops when he located the officers cache of ice and delivered it to his enlisted men doing field maneuvers so they could have ice in their hidden stashes of scotch. He was such a brilliant leader that when the officers tried to stump him by handing him a troop of the biggest boneheadded, clutzy, two left footed, couldn’t see straight, tripping over themselves guys that no other company wanted, and then told him to attack the fortified base camp those same officers soon found grenades rolling into their tent while they played cards. I learned from my dad how to be a leader with humor and how to inspire loyalty in my own employees and coach the best out of them despite their weaknesses.

My dad sort of fell into his future. While going to graduate school at Cornell, he found a fellowship at Harvard to study Soviet Economics. The cold war had brought about a sudden demand for specialists in the Soviet arena. He wasn’t so certain, however, when he met an economics teacher who so frightened his students that they made a plan for each student to take turns answering one question a day, subjecting themselves to the ridicule that followed on an alternating basis. One thing my dad was great at was finding his footing anywhere. I learned by his example how to find a way through my uncertainty and fear when I’m in a new and intimidating situation.

My dad never stopped changing. He developed a talent for gourmet cooking when I was in high school, he learned Russian at 26 and how to ski at 30, and he grew to appreciate four star restaurants and walking along the C & O canal in the wee hours once he moved to D.C. Through all of this my dad taught me that you never have to stop bettering yourself.

One my dad’s greatest teachers was his own mother. A closet thespian herself, she coached him in speech and presentation. Her coaching can be seen in the lack of a Texas twang that accompanies most of his words. I could still catch him saying “Joo-ly” and “thee-ayter.” But it’s because of what he passed on to me that I stand before you giving this speech, hopefully without shuffling my feet and infusing my sentences with ‘uh’ and ‘you know.’

A few years ago I found myself in a job where I was underappreciated and unhappy. I felt that the place would fall down without me though and that I couldn’t leave. With a few simple words my dad gave me my most profound lesson to date. He just said to me one thing: “the graveyard is full of indispensable people.” Needless to say I’m not there anymore. I know he helped a lot of people step outside of themselves and see that they were not trapped in a life or future they did not desire. He was always supportive of his past students and employees when they chased their dreams too.

The man you knew the least and I knew the best was the guy who drove us to Michigan each summer playing Merle Haggard tapes and singing Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again.” The guy who would walk into Tower Records and asks an attendant to just pick some music out for him to try. The guy who took his daughter fishing at 6, married into a whole new culture, moved his family to Russia to write a book for a year and the guy who spent hours on the canal with binoculars spotting beaver, deer and all types of birds.

This is my dad, and for all that he has taught me and all he has shown me, I thank him today. I love you dad!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Crying jag

Being pregnant gives me free license to cry about anything I want to, right? And I do. I tell ya. I cry about the kids being sick, I cry about missing a few hours of sleep, I cry about daddy giving me a dirty look, I cry about having to crawl around on the floor cleaning up after dinner, heck I cry during dinner when the kids are told time and time again not to throw their food on the floor and then look at me innocently and do it again.

Why do they do that? Do they have a death wish? They are playing with a heavily pregnant, tired, mostly insane woman here and they don't see the warning signs?

I tell ya, the radio silence you suddenly experienced shocked me. This week is a rough one for many reasons. Small ones like, no nannies on Thanksgiving and Friday, having to sleep with one child at grandma's house, and the kids all getting sick like dogs the day after we can possibly take them to the doctor's office to do any good resulting in the one day I had a nanny being sacrificed to the gods of urgent care just to be told there is nothing they can do for a cough that is keeping my child awake for hours every night. And large things like my dad.

A year ago, the day before Thanksgiving, my dad decided he was going to die. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in June and had been a terribly unhappy patient during the whole process but he was done. He was telling me weakly, in a very dramatic way, that he "just wanted to see the kid's faces one last time...." The very next day.

Yes, I was supposed to pack up my 9 month old triplets, take grandma away from her husband, whom she hadn't seen in 3 months as they were still trying to sell their place in Illinois, find a hotel, tickets and everything else, and get my kids to the hospital before he died. Which, according to him was imminent. Strangely, his oncologist said he had months left. As  long as he continued treatment.

Can I tell you what he objected to and what caused him to stop treatment? A blood transfusion. Now I was later told that for cancer patients it can be a more painful process, but I've had 2 blood transfusions myself and I don't understand how this can be too much compared to chemo. But who knows. The fact of the matter is that he decided to die Thanksgiving weekend. And it was a decision he made and I was to jump to it to accommodate him.

I don't know if I sound unfeeling, harsh, or selfish right now, but it seems to me he could have made a choice that helped both of us more. He might have had a chance in hell of seeing his grandchildren once more or at least me if he could have waited. Taken a few more days of treatment. But he insisted. He was done, he was going home to hospice care and no more of any life saving treatments for him. And it was put on me to say that I could not give him his dying wish. I could not force my mother in law to jump on a plane with me and 3 infants at the drop of a hat for a man who, in theory, didn't have to die right then. Truthfully, I could not force myself.

Dad was always a drama queen. I remember fondly him handing me the keys to the car with the tank on empty and saying 'I hope you make it' when I was 16. I learned later that empty doesn't really mean empty. I also know that he lived for creating drama. This dramatic death was just another moment in life. I could not submit to this emotional sabotage and abuse myself for him this one last time. I told him I'd be there Monday. That was the best I could do, so he knew how fast I could get there.

I bought a ticket for my aunt, his sister, to get out there asap. She arrived to assess the situation and said, yes, he really is dying. I needed to come. She agreed the kids didn't need to come because dad wasn't really aware. I bought the fastest ticket I could to arrive Monday morning. On Saturday night dad was told I'd be there Monday. He died Sunday morning at 6 am.

The anger of having someone play such a game with you is hard to explain to those who haven't been in a screwed up family quite like this one. A lot of people will think he had no choice, or I'm being too hard on him, or even that he spared me. No, he did what he did because he chose to make a point. He couldn't even wait for his only child to get there as fast as she could. It didn't matter that I had 3 infants at home who took precedence. It didn't matter about the impossibility of what he asked me to do. He made his decision and I know why he did it but it still makes me mad.

I'd have liked to say goodbye.

So Thanksgiving will be tainted for a while. And that's frustrating too. It seems the older you get the more days and months and holidays get screwed up by tragic deaths and events in the lives of people around you. Didn't help that a fantastic guy died before Thanksgiving and I had to go to his funeral Friday either. The world has lost enough great people in my opinion. I need a break.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I am grateful for what I have, it's just hard to see through the clouds this week. I'm sure next year will be much better.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Music to live by

My life definitely has a soundtrack. I'm one of those people for whom almost every song has a memory and most of the people in my life have been assigned a song at one point or another. I imagine I inherited this gene because I remember very clearly setting out each summer for our rental home in Michigan to the sound of Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again" which my dad had popped into the tape deck of the car. I loved things like that. Later, after my brother died and one of his friends used a Pink Floyd phrase to memorialize him ("Shine on you crazy diamond") my dad would lay in the living room with that album playing mourning the loss of his son deeply. So, clearly, here is where I came from.

As a kid I used to compile 'depression tapes.' Oh yes, I called them depression tapes, growing up in a household with a mentally ill woman will give you a vocabulary of illness that others rarely use. I'd tape all the sad love songs I could find and then turn on the tape and get myself crying. I used to think of it as a sort of healthy therapy. I mean, nothing wrong with crying, right? And why not pick a specific convenient time to do so? I had a lot of sadness in my life, so I found plenty to cry about. That's sad in itself seeing as how I was 11, but whatever.

In high school, of course, every boy had a song. I religiously wrote down every song I slow danced to with my main crush, and any time any other boy asked me to dance I also wrote those down. At this point though, songs weren't really sticking as strongly as they did later. The transitory teenage mind I suppose. And the random choices of slow dance songs picked by high school djs also made it complicated because they just weren't right for the situation. But the 80s music as a whole can transport me right back there, Madonna's "Crazy for You" reminds me that I actually had the lyrics to that song taped up inside my locker door that year while I was pining away for that damned boy. Oh the hours I spent in angst over that silly boy who was just not interested in me. So much emotional energy!

When my brother died, the soundtrack that had defined him as an older brother would be my mourning tracks. Early on any of the music he used to listen to, which was a little more sophisticated than my taste since he was in college, would make me smile. Psychedelic Furs, Stray Cats, Adam Ant, and many others I'd seen him air guitaring to. Later, one in particular, "Melt With You" by Modern English, would show up in the oddest places right when I needed a little help, driving to have dinner with the parents or heading to the doctor with a scary lump in my breast. Seeing as how it's heyday had long past it became my song to know he was out there looking after me, because it was uncanny when it would come on the radio.

Nowadays the songs get less assigned but sometimes you're in a space in your life where you keep hearing a song and it just fits your feelings. For my mom, several years ago when I was struggling a little harder than average with relating to her, it was "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac. It was hard to even understand why the lyrics made me tear up, but they did. So it will always be about her and me.

When I was pregnant with the triplets I found a song about three babies by Sinead O'Connor of all people that made me bawl like nuts even though I have no idea what she intended it to be about. Might be three dead babies for all she meant, but for me it was a great tune to anticipate my future triplets. I listened to that sucker all day every day for weeks.

What I need to find now is a song for my dad. The anniversary of his death is fast approaching and I realize I have no song. I have a great soundtrack of Merle Haggard, Anne Muray, Crystal Gale and so on, but no song has stuck for his passing. Our relationship was complex, filled with lots of fun and interesting conversations, but also stressed by handling our individual relationships with my mom. He was definitely not always great, I struggled plenty dealing with his way of parenting, but he was a good friend in the end. So it's odd I haven't picked a song. I don't get a lot of radio time, true, but it only takes one song. Perhaps this weekend while I'm away scrapbooking and listening to all of my music it will hit me. Perhaps it's just too raw still. I need more distance before I can pick some lyrics to just mourn a bit while driving down the road. Because it's definitely hard to just mourn a bit yet. Still feels like a ton of bricks.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Thanksgiving to remember

I'm a romantic at heart. I believe in true love, princes, fairytale endings and dreams come true. It's a sickness, I know, and it leads to a lot of disappointment in life and the people around me, but it's just the way I am. In the same way I just knew there was some sort of God or spirit that powers the universe, I've always known that sometimes you can get that movie ending, if only for a little while.

Thanksgiving 2006 was one of those times. In the spring of 2006 I had a beautiful wedding that came off without (almost) any hitches. A fantastic honeymoon (actually we were greedy and took two) had followed in the spring and summer and I had convinced the somewhat reluctant husband to allow me to start trying for a baby. The payoff was instant for him of course, so the whining and wheedling didn't have to go on for too long. But he wasn't quite ready to be starting a family while I knew my time was running out somehow, so it was nice that I prevailed. Even though, by Thanksgiving, we had been trying for 5 months, it wasn't foremost on my mind and I hadn't given up yet.

So we approach our first Thanksgiving together as a married couple, in our new home that was perfect for family life. We had invited our friends over for the meal as I found I loved cooking for a crowd and had done so for the last couple of Thanksgivings already. That morning as I was prepping in my kitchen, chopping vegetables and cleaning potatoes while listening to my ipod, a certain song came on.

"At loooove...has come along...."

You know the one. "My lonely days are over and life is like a song" and all that. (and if you're truly clueless, go listen here, it's a classic)

A great song. A fantastic song for a sappy romantic spending her first Thanksgiving married and possibly pregnant (because when you're trying aren't you always possibly pregnant?) in a beautiful home with the prospect of friends coming from miles around to eat a great meal I prepared like a mommy already taking care of her family. Oh I was a mess. I played that song about 15 times, singing at the top of my lungs while tears trickled down my cheeks with happiness.

Disgusting, no?

On that day nothing could go wrong, even though half the guests didn't show (for apparently valid reasons later) and I think I had some other issues with cat hair being all over the outfit I had picked out to change into for the meal so I didn't feel all perfect homemaker like I'd dreamed. But overall? The best Thanksgiving ever. This romantic idealist had it all for a moment in time.

Sometimes, fairytales do come true, even if just for a little while.

This post prompted by Mama Kat's weekly assignment. Go check out everyone else's!

Monday, November 16, 2009


Everyone has fantasies. It's part of being human to imagine better things than one has, or just imagine things working out the way you want them to. It's just natural, although I'm sure some people fantasize more than others, we all know men too well to not know that.

My mom, growing up as an orphan, fantasized about what having a mother would be like. She imagined a best friend relationship between mother and daughter. And because she had a mom until she was 7 she had memories of the good times. I stood no chance in hell of living up to her fantasies. Even if I wasn't a stubborn, independent American kid, I could never be her best friend. Most kids aren't and shouldn't be their parent's best friends. She didn't hold my brother to that standard so she and he had a better relationship. I knew I was a failure in her eyes, or at least a disappointment, from early on.

She now has a fantasy that her new living place will be the place she belongs. Already, however, she is disillusioned. Already she is complaining about the food, the move, the people. Whatever.

My current fantasy is about childbirth. After my hellish c-section I mourned a positive birthing situation. I thought I had missed my only chance to have such a thing, I was stuck with this horrible memory and no breast feeding to boot. But then I got knocked up again magically. Here's my chance. I have been cleared for a VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section) and so there's nothing to prevent a fresh new positive birthing experience.

But am I expecting too much? I am hoping to go all natural, but I will have restrictions. Because of the possibility of complications I am not allowed to labor at home at all. I will be monitored continuously, and if the kid doesn't come out by 42 weeks, its over, c-section is necessary, because they can't or wont stimulate labor for a VBAC. Too much risk of uterine rupture. (TMI I know, sorry.) So there is a possibility I wont get to do this my way. There will be some fighting I have to do to maintain control and keep the worriers at bay until I really need medical intervention, but I'm up for that.

But otherwise, if the kid comes on time, I'm free to do what I want. No meds? I'm crazy enough to hope for that. You hear all this positive about the euphoria of the natural hormones that get released when you do it without an epidural. And my last epidural was no walk in the park anyway, so I'd love to avoid that sucker. So I dream that I might be one of those strong people who can mentally tough it out through labor and find that dream like ending where you hold the baby in your arms and feel incredible and powerful and connected and so on and so forth. Am I fantasizing outside of the realm of possibility?

Am I setting myself up for disappointment? Maybe these stories of euphoria are from crazy ladies who do yoga and breathing exercises for a living and only eat organic whole raw foods and live green and compost in their back yards and raise worms in their garages and stuff? Do I stand a chance when I don't have a spare minute to even do the yoga part? And I am so not raising worms people. Don't care if I could save the world.

I haven't got my ego riding on not getting an epidural, but I've read it's better for the kid. I do have my ego riding on how tough I am though. I worry that I'll crack immediately under the pain. I worry that I'll break and then regret it later realizing I could have made it. I wish I could have some sort of birthing coach but that's a tough area. My hospital has banned doulas because they were interfering by giving medical advice. And I'm also insecure that once I get a birthing coach she may push me too hard to stay natural when I've decided I'm over it. How do I get one who is fine if I change my mind and chicken out? How do I get one that is allowed in by the hospital? Is it really necessary to have this person or can I just make my husband give me what I need?

It's not that I think the husband is incapable, but it's his first birth too. An experienced voice in the room who can tell me I'm doing well, where I am in the process, help me focus and reassure me that I'm making the right choices when faced by problems, seems like a good idea.

Anyway, I digress. I am most concerned that I'm setting myself up for disappointment again. The first few months of motherhood as a rule contain lots of "you're not perfect" moments already. I don't need to feel like my birthing process itself was a failure again. I want to give this kid the experience the first three didn't get. I want that good story. How do I keep my expectations grounded in reality rather than lost in fantasy? Anyone got a good book for me to read about that?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Slacker Sunday photo

There's funny pictures and there's cute ones. This one is just cute. This is my J with his winning smile. Not devious, just happy. Love him.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Rose by any other name...

Dear Roseola,

Wow, Roseola, you are a special virus aren't you? Only attacking young children, scaring the crap out of their mothers, and pretty much benign but a pain in the ass. What a great way to be. Lets see how you like to entertain us, shall we?

First, we wake at 2 am and find a burning ember of a child in bed. Now, admittedly, we have been extra lucky in that we have maybe once before had a child with a high fever in this house. Truly remarkable considering we raised three simultaneously and most infants have random fevers now and then. But, unfortunately, because of my lack of experience with random night fevers, we had to call the nurse hotline to find out what to do when your kid is seemingly normal in every way other than the fact that he is being welded to your body where his iron hot skin touches yours.

So then the next day proceeds and we are lulled into a sense of security because no other symptoms appear. True, after nap we have three feverish children instead of one, but otherwise, they seem ok. After talking to the doctor, who mentions stomach bugs as a possibility (thanks doc!), I do get a little panicky thinking about three barfing toddlers all night long but you're too smart to go the blunt route. We actually get a pretty good night's sleep, fevers and all. So just when we thought it was all over, reality hits.

We have crabby, cranky, irritable children on hunger strike with random rashes sprouting all over their bodies.

And the 3rd night? No sleep at all. Somehow the 'irritability' mentioned on all website searches of symptoms of Roseola doesn't quite adequately describe the night we just survived. Every 15 minutes someone screaming or yelling in some sort of private agony that can not be translated into a solvable symptom? Oh yeah. That's lovely. Not letting pregnant mommy sleep until 3am and then waking her again at 6 with sobbing and whining and moaning and whimpering? Oh that is just touching.

So glad you cared to send the very best.

And this sneaky business of sending symptoms one at a time and far enough apart to confuse and distract? Why you should be in the CIA or something. The frying pan in the face that hits you right when you think you're through the last of it was a brilliant finale.

Hating you Roseola. Thank god for you and me that it's a once in a childhood thing, because if I ever see you again? (And that means the fourth kid better get a mild-ass case of it mister) I will be a lot less tolerant of you. Whatever that means.

Stupid virus.

Yours in exhaustion,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Problem Solved?

Well the doctor called me today and said I'm anemic. Half of me thinks this is the solution to all of my problems, as if an iron pill a day will make me not exhausted when I'm pregnant, caring for triplet toddlers, dealing with my mom's crap and moving through the anniversary of my dad's death from cancer last year.

Yep, a pill ought to do it!

I do truly hope that taking an iron pill will give me a bit more energy, and mom's move is over after today, in theory (not to tempt the gods to make it last a third day), and I'm not one to pick a time of year to get depressed about something bad that happened, so perhaps I will be feeling better soon, physically and mentally. But I also know I'm depressed. Life feels very hard right now because every day is the same thing. Get up, care for the kids, slog through whatever mom throws at me, count the minutes to kid bedtime and try to cram in a couple of hours of things I like to do before I go to bed for what may or may not be a restful night, depending on the kids' and my pregnant body's cooperation.

I think I need a challenge. I feel like if I were struggling more, say, had no mornings a week with a nanny, had a disabled child, or something that made it truly impossible to make it through the day, I'd feel happier. Crazy no? But I'd be challenged. There was nothing I liked better about my previous jobs than days where I had to be so efficient that people's head spun as I went by. That's why I loved animal rehab with its 400 baby birds needing feeding while the phone rang and people dropped off new injured animals and cages needed cleaning. I loved retail during the Christmas season because there was always too much to do. I loved even just being an administrative person at a medical office because there was more to do in the day than could be accomplished.

At each of these jobs I left at the end of the day knowing I was probably the best employee because I don't lose my head in a crisis, I love the challenge of getting too much done in too little time, and I still did it well with a smile on my face.

Technically I do have too much to do in too little time, but some of it is easy to ignore. Say taking the garbage out or sweeping the floor. Just not really important when compared to keeping animals alive. How about folding laundry or de-cluttering my house? It can wait, right?

So how to feel motivated and challenged when caring for children (and mom) 24/7? I should be crafting xmas presents or something, but it works better when there's an urgency to what I'm doing. Christmas presents can wait too. I know so many women who do so much during nap time it puts me to shame.

And lethargy breeds lethargy. I promise. Half of my tiredness is boredom. I need a kick in the pants. I need a deadline. I need a boss breathing down my neck. I am an achiever of goals, not a creator of goals to achieve. I need a boss. Or a wife. I'll take either. Any takers?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not old hat to this girl

It's funny because most people would assume that since I've been through a triplet pregnancy, this singleton pregnancy would be all 'old hat' to me. Uh no people. I might as well be pregnant for the first time.

Because, you see, it's all different. First off, I had a great group of triplet moms I communed with at least three times a day on baby center dot com and so when I had some strange sensation I ran right over there and heard from 3 other people that they felt that once or yesterday too. This was fantastic. I dream that we will all get together in Vegas some year when the triplets are old enough to be abandoned by mommy as well as we are all done paying for 100 diapers a day. They are like my long lost sisters, these ladies, and we still support each other through the trials and tribulations of triplet toddlers that NO ONE else could possibly understand.

Also, my life was a wee tad different back when I was pregnant the first time. Strange twinge? I lay down. Abnormal pressure feeling in uterus? Lay down. Not to mention that I was being seen by a doctor of some sort at the very least every other week and that cervix of mine never had so many viewings in all its previous years.

When you're pregnant with one kid no one wants to look at your cervix until a head is sticking through. And laying down? Not an option with triplet toddlers.

So here I sit, with no doctors wanting to check my cervix and no pictures of healthy babies every other week via ultrasound and decidedly different sensations. You might think I'd be all casual this time around but I can guarantee you that when I was pregnant with triplets it NEVER felt like one of them was dangling their little foot down outside of my cervix and kicking me right in the coochie.

Oh yes. Almost like I'm being kicked from the outside, thats how low this kid is hanging out.

The poor triplets probably didn't have room to dangle, much less aim their little limbs all crammed into that tiny space. This kid is drifting about in a pre-stretched uterus and what a low slung hammock it seems to be this time. The dr said today that it very well could be that I'm funneling and the kid's foot is reaching pretty far down. I have a mind to retaliate a bit (DH is now thinking how easily he could help with that.)

So I spend a lot of time analyzing the various pressures and twinges and aches and agues that I am suffering because it all feels different. I'm less scared this time around but I don't feel like I know enough to be all worry free. And it is definitely strange to not have doctors wanting to poke and prod me regularly throughout this process. I never realized how reassuring it was to see those kids waving and jumping around on ultrasound all the time. This kid is just going to have to hang in there and give me some obvious signs if something goes wrong.

But I do not like feeling like a novice at a game like this. I suppose this is what children are for though, because the likelihood is that when this one comes out I will still be a novice. The chance that anything I've learned from raising the first three will pay off with the fourth? Not high. That would be too easy. I suspect a whole new game will be afoot then too. Got to keep momma one step behind don't they?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Beginning to look a lot like.....

I used to rock the Christmas season. I had presents early, ideas for presents for everybody and resources to find those presents too. Those were the days.

When I lived in the glorious state of Maryland, which I miss every day, I used to visit every craft fair for miles. I knew each one, half of the artisans who worked them, and I loved every minute of it, even if I didn't buy anything. Mostly I bought stuff for myself, but when the holidays started rolling around I had a veritable festival of gift ideas handed to me by one of the most popular craft fair regions around.

Lest you think I gave everyone crocheted potholders just you hold on right there.

These were artisans. Beautiful framed photos of almost every kind of subject, hand painted ceramics, hand carved wooden toys, thick, luxurious blankets. This stuff was good. And I always overspent. And then half of the things I bought for other people? I gave to myself in the end.

But I digress. The truth is I was always prepared for Christmas present giving long in advance and I always had great ideas of what to give people. Well, perhaps they just never let on that I sucked, but I'm pretty sure I didn't. These days though? I can't even think of one thing for one person on my list. There are no craft fairs around that I am familiar with, even if I had time to hit one, I don't have spare money to experiment on crafty gifts, and inspiration? Gone.

I don't have the brain power for inspiration. I am exhausted, overwhelmed, fried mentally and emotionally, where am I going to find spare brain cells for inspiration?

Oh, woe are those who exchange presents with me. You'd better make a good list if you want anything. Otherwise? I might just whip out my own crocheting needles. It might get ugly.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

slacker Sunday photo

I already know I'm screwed with this kid because he knows that smiling when mommy's yelling at him gets him out of trouble. But when I see pictures that show how well he knows how cute he is I am doubly certain I'm screwed. I am so screwed.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Fear not

Fear is hard to overcome. When your fear is only 2 years old it's impossible.

When I gave birth almost 2 years ago (although giving birth is altogether too benign a way to describe the horrors of my c-section with the triplets) I suffered through some awful complications. I could go on about the surgery itself, the recovery from the surgery, the blood transfusions and so on, but the worst part started before that. The two nights before I had my children I couldn't breathe.

I lay in bed that Sunday night in February coaching myself through the feeling of suffocation. You'd think I'd have awakened my husband, called a doctor, or something, but I guess I thought it was just those crazy kids smothering me with their fat little bodies all pressed up against my lungs and diaphragm. It's pretty normal to be short of breath when you're pregnant.

But it wasn't that. It apparently was that my blood pressure was sky high. I was heading into pre-eclampsia, that delightful unhealthy space where your body is giving up the battle to support other life forms within you. And mine was giving up quick. Apparently high blood pressure makes it hard to breathe but the doctors were afraid my lungs were filling up with fluid as the heart was giving out. Pulmonary edema you know. Not a good problem to have. So to the hospital I headed. They tried to stabilize me and I had what the doctors would probably call a 'good night' but for me it was a living hell.

I still couldn't breathe. I also suffered from extreme hot and cold, had to sleep with three belts with cold metal monitoring devices strapped to them wrapped around my body. It was terrible.

I'd like to say I was strong and determined to make it to 36 weeks, full term for triplets, but 2 nights of not breathing crippled me mentally. I was just at 32 weeks and like hell I was suffocating for 4 more. I gave up. I told the doctor my resolve was gone and to get those damned kids out of me. We had already gotten steroid shots, so the babies were in great shape to come out, albeit early. There was nothing left to do but stop mom from dying slowly mentally and physically.

The problem was that the high blood pressure takes weeks to get down. Sure, they put me on drugs after the birth and monitored me closely, but I was still having incredibly high numbers. 150s over 100s. And I could not sleep in any position except sitting up. A week later, when I went home I had to sleep in the recliner downstairs sitting up. And still I suffocated. When all the lights were out and it got too dark? Suffocation.

I had to have DH create a soundtrack of soothing music to play on loop all night so that when I was awake I had something to hold onto reality. For a week I slept in the living room with a soundtrack. (The babies didn't come home for weeks after me so no problems there.) I finally made it up to my own bed but had to sleep with a hundred pillows like I had while pregnant. Two weeks into recovery I visited my OB. I explained that I couldn't lay down because I couldn't breathe and he urged me to try while telling my mother in law it was all in my head. Nice.

I'll tell you what, my head sure was convincing.

Somehow I got through this and eventually lay down again and life went on, but when I lay down to take a nap today? Couldn't breathe. Panic set in. Am I already succumbing to pre-eclampsia? Am I going to go through this all again? It doesn't take much to remember the incredible fear and feelings that went along with feeling like I was suffocating. My attempts to rationalize what happened today don't help. I have some serious fear to overcome in the next 2 months before I give birth. Because this is only going to get worse, and while I may not get that sick, I had better get through whatever is handed to me and I had better not get any more fears along the way!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A theory of relativity

It's all relative isn't it? Parenting I mean. From day to day, how you react to x, y or z is all relative.

Last night, while A was crying in her 'night before I get really sick' way I had no sympathy. I got up once, made sure she wasn't currently sick, wet or missing a stuffed animal or blanket and never again. Two weeks ago?  I got up 4 or 5 times. I felt sorry for her. I knew she probably had a sore throat. She never lets me give her meds in the middle of the night though, so what can I do for a sore throat? Is it better to lay in bed listening to her cry, knowing she would stop if I went in every time, but then would be back on in an hour or so?

Well last night it was. Which mom is right? The sympathetic one? Or the sleepy one?

Today, perhaps I have no patience, because I am tired. Disputes get settled with both kids getting yelled at. Yesterday, perhaps, I was better able to distinguish between aggressor and victim. Did it make a difference? Not really. They fought again 5 minutes later. Did the victim feel vindicated or understood? I  doubt it at 21 months.

But perhaps this is the balance. Some days I'm more or too sympathetic. Some days I'm a beeyotch. If it's 50/50, maybe this is balance? Because no human can be balanced every day. And too much sympathy is bad too, perhaps not as bad as too little?

It's all relative. And lately I have been relatively unhappy, so they have probably suffered in my parenting that way. Now I guess I have to manufacture a couple of weeks of happy parenting and it should all even out. Any hints on how to do that other than offing some annoying people in my life?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Da Pitts

Oh I'm there again. The deep black hole that is so easy to fall into where you feel all alone and abused and unappreciated. Call it hormones, bad confluence of events, whatever, but there I am, spending half of yesterday crying and the other half on the verge of it.

You know the problem with being human is that all of your friends and loved ones are human too. Therefore fallible. They will let you down. They will continue to do the things that they do that drive you crazy. They will make efforts to change but not really change. They have the best of intentions and yet, they are who they are. And you have built your life with them in it. And without excommunicating everyone, there you are.

I'm not about airing dirty laundry here, other than about my mom, who can't read blogs due to a developmental delay in the area of machinery (also known as fear of all objects with buttons.) But thankfully, I can complain about her as she is at the root of this big slide I just rode. My mom is bipolar. Diagnosed after 40 years of ineffective psychological intervention and still not really under control.

Or at least I see that now. For the last couple of months I had fallen for it. "It" being her good days that seemed like finally a doctor had found the right cocktail of drugs for her. I now see why my dad fell for it. Although after the 80th time you might think he'd have gotten a clue. I sure have one now. She gets so 'well.' She's still annoying as hell, but she's all there. The brain is clicking away, she's independent, finds things to do, gets physically more healthy and so on.

She seems 'normal' for a crazy lady.

And then it comes. I saw the warning signs. I even tried to warn her current doctor. You all can bet when you see three postings on my blog about mom after months with none that the storm is coming. The doctor just said she thought it meant more signs of mom's health. She didn't listen to me. Even when mom decided my daughter was turning against her. My 20 month old daughter without an evil bone in her body. The doctor didn't listen.

So then mom comes and visits and says that she's having her phantom pains again. And she's been medicating herself. For those of you unfamiliar, my mom is in an assisted living facility specifically because she is not allowed to medicate herself. She has intentionally overdosed herself multiple times, so no, she should not even possess medications, much less be administering them to herself. And the medicine of the moment?


Or for those of you in the know, the most addictive damned pain med ever. Mom, the shaky handed 75 year old woman, managed to sneak pills into hiding. When I pay people specifically to watch her take each and every pill each and every day.

Addicts are smart you know. And generally very charismatic.

People trust them.

So, long story short, her doctor went and talked to her and supposedly mom gave her all her extra pills. Surprise, surprise, when a director from the assisted living facility searched mom's room the next day? Still 4 more pills were found. Does the doctor now listen to me? She doesn't return my calls all of a sudden. Does she now see that mom's unstable again? No, she goes ahead and gives her review of mom's mental state to the new facility mom wants to move into and apparently it's good enough that they still want her.

Um, yeah people. Go ahead. Because one way or another it seems mom's going to get what she wants. And it is abundantly clear now that I am not going to be able to control it, convince people to heed my warnings or avoid the drama altogether. And that is disappointing as hell. Mom has convinced another round of people to listen to her, the drug addict manic depressive, over the well therapized, mostly stable grown daughter who has seen it all a hundred times.

Who would you believe? Thats what I thought. But somehow, the people I should be able to trust and lean on? They let me down every time.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

J, A, B

All week I've been wondering where my Halloween spirit is. I love decorating and last year looked forward to dressing up the kids like crazy. This year? I barely stuck some pumpkins on the front step. As Daddy struggled to get J in to his Giraffe costume (which every other day of the week J asks to be put into but on this night is was like dressing him in live stinging bees) I thought, why are we doing this? It's really for the grown ups. Not the kids at this age. So why do we do this?

Well I'm glad we did. Our neighborhood was in great form. We finally have people participating in the holidays and the street was full of friends and friendly faces. The kids did great and I had fun. And I'm the most important one, right? I guess I had a happy Halloween after all.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This is how they kill you

Inch by inch, night by night, they kill you.

First, B gets sick and spends an hour screaming even with Motrin in his system and everything you can think of to do does nothing. Three days later as your throat is progressively getting more scratchy yourself A has her night before her first day of being sick. I don't know why her night before is worse than her nights during, but there it is. Every hour or two she wakes up moaning and crying like she's lost her puppy. The first few times you check on her, she's satisfied with a pat and a tuck in. Perhaps you give her some Motrin because it's pretty predictable that her throat hurts like yours does. By 3 am you give up and lay in bed listening to your daughter moan and sob and whimper and cry. Every hour.

Then you have to wake up and make it through a day full of appointments and errands and at nap time you are too congested and sore throated to nap yourself. But you make it through that day.

Then it's J's turn that night. By mid afternoon he's pulling on his already previously infected ear that should be mostly healed by now. The doctor tells you it's likely he got a second infection due to the cold and needs to come in tomorrow because it's going to be resistant to the current course of antibiotics. So you head to bed and starting at 11, he's up every hour hollering and crying. Oh yes, they all cry differently. Different heartstrings to pull at you know. Different types of misery.

Every hour, maybe hour and a half he's up yelling and whimpering. You know that trying to give him Motrin at night is like trying to medicate a greased weasel so you whip out the ear numbing drops the dr gave you last week and squeeze some in to both ears. For an hour and half you think you've solved the problem. Until he's crying again. At the 2 hour mark you can give him more drops. Doesn't work.

At 6 am you know you're dead. Today you have a dentist appointment, music class, no afternoon help, crazy mom coming over to visit and you have to find a way to get J to the doctor to check his ear and then likely get to the pharmacy to get meds for him too.

This is how they kill you. Because you haven't yet recovered from the three colds they had a week and a half ago. And before that there was only a day between the cold they had before that one. And you can only pray they don't catch a 4th cold right after this one because you might just hunt yourself down something so bad for pregnant women to catch that you end up in the hospital for a few days of someone taking care of you. Anyone got some swine flu?

Monday, October 26, 2009

A night of learning and trampolines

I did it. I survived a night in a hotel with triplets with only minor injuries, and those were created by trying to plug my ears too vigerously. (why won't it accept that word? Is it not one?)

Yes, I am a proud single momma today. While the husband is away for a full week, I'm a single mom. Meanwhile, Great Grandpa and Great Aunt on the in-laws side were visiting in Petaluma where the in-laws live. Instead of driving up there two days in a row, a royal pain in the arse, I decided to spend the night at a hotel nearby. This would do two things, perhaps more, 1. keep me from having to drag them all the way home and up and down stairs at home two days in a row and 2. show me it can be done and if things don't go perfectly the world wouldn't end.

See I've been training myself about letting things go. For 20 months I've been scheduling these kids to within an inch of their lives. It was critical, or so it seemed, that everything go as planned or else I pick up the pieces the next day. When they were little and they missed a nap, it did seem like the world might end. Can you imagine three overtired infants? Not good. But these days? Three overtired toddlers are a pain the butt but it's survivable isn't it?

So the plan was to get over it if they didn't sleep well, or on time, or at all. Sure I was risking my amount of sleep too but I'm a big girl now. I can deal with that. Or else I'd better learn how, as an infant is on the way and probably determined to keep me sleepless for at least a couple of months. I got a suite at a local hotel so I could close the door on them and read in my bed after I put them down. Everything went ok with the exception of the triplets finding the pack n plays to be sorta like trampolines. Methinks we need a different sleeping option for future trips?

I was pleased to find that J and A fell asleep by 8, I had given myself a sanity deadline of 9 since they are never up that late. Sadly, that was not the end of the story. Apparently B got lonely? Scared? Insane? And cried for an hour from 8 to 9. I tried the sweet approach, after all, he had a cold starting and I gave him motrin in case his throat was scratchy. Although the way he was screeching would be more to blame if that was his problem. No dice. As soon as I left the room he was back at it. And it wasn't just crying. It was insane screaming, tantrum quality yelling, banging, rolling around and throwing himself from side to side with varying volumes, pitches and qualities of screeching/screaming.

It was impressive. Had there not been other children in the room, not to mention other guests in the hotel.

After the soft touch I tried the mean mommy approach. "You stop crying right now mister!" No workee. That boy? Thought he could get me to stand by his crib until he fell asleep. You think I was up for that? Yeah, no. So then I gave up. That boy screeched himself to sleep. Nothing worse than laying in bed trying not to listen to your kid scream. Sure doesn't work. Can make a person crazy I think. And B sure is good at it.

Not a talent I'm going to appreciate during his lifetime. Unless it gets him out of some kidnapper's grasp. Not to think about such things, but it's the only way I can think it might pay off.

Anyway, other than that weird tantrum business, we did ok. I feel like a successful single mom! I'm not saying I didn't have help, but I did 48 hours straight with the kids and survived. Yay me! The kids were a little off the day after, but overall, it was ok! Yes, the kids can miss some sleep, stay in a strange place, change up their routine, and they will do ok. In fact they had the best night's sleep ever the night after. I love it when they sleep well! Obviously.

Momma slept well too. Funny how not having a snoring, bed hogging, elbow possessing partner in bed with you augments the lack of toddler wake ups to give me a brilliant night's sleep. Today I felt rested! Woo hoo! Would that tonight could be so peaceful. Wish me luck!

Friday, October 23, 2009


My baby's famous! At least famous-er than he was on my sad little ill-read blog. Go read Dumb Mom's hilarious post but don't miss the picture at the bottom! It'll look familiar!

Does this get me out of blogging for today? Good, cuz I'm off to get a long awaited massage from the one dude on the planet who knows how to dig his elbows into my arse just right so that I can actually sleep on the left side for a few nights. Who knew that the hip pain from ONE baby growing in my belly would far surpass that I had with three? My hips and ass have gotten so tight you probably can imagine the size of the stick up there just watching me walk down the street. I can't hide it any more people! I'm a tight ass!

More later!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Peppery passion

Question of the day, or rather writers prompt provided by Mama Kat over at Mama's Losin it:

Describe what makes you want to live life with a passion.

Well duh. The kids. I am a lazy bag of poop. I loooove sitting every night watching tv and reading email and newspaper and doing puzzles. I will work my mind out until I drop from exhaustion, but my body? Lazy. Couch potato. No motivation. Not an ounce of inspiration.

No passion. I used to have a job filled with passion. Animal rescue. Not much more inspiring than helpless, neglected or in pain animals. The passion came from either releasing rehabilitated wild animals back into the wild or adopting cats into loving homes. I loved what I did and loved being so busy I couldn't sit down. So then I came home and would crash every evening. Not a huge deal because I was young and had a metabolism at the time and I was so active all day.

Then I got wrapped up trying to get pregnant. The depression and the treatment itself got me sitting all day on the sofa watching tv and eating. My passion I felt was being denied to me because all I wanted to do was be a mother. I knew it was my new 'calling' in life. So my passion was all sucked up trying to get those babies.

And here I am. A house full of 'em. A house full of reasons to find passion for me and for them. I want to be the mom who shows them how full of joy life can be. I want to be the mom who shows them how to have fun riding bikes and running through the woods instead of sitting in front of the tv. I want to be the mom who raises healthy, vibrant, energetic, children full of life.

That is my passion and they are my passion.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mother of all....

In case you haven't had enough stories about the crazy crap that comes out of my mom's mouth, here's more! I'm actually wondering what's going on here, because she has clearly not given me anything to write about in months and suddenly she's an every day topic. Makes you wonder if she's winding up for the next round of 'How Crazy Can She Be?" starring herself.

So, very typically, B was throwing himself around today any time he didn't get what he wanted or his way or possibly, every time he just plain felt like it. Mom says "It bothers me when he does that." I said, well, welcome to toddlerhood mom. She replies "he shouldn't" do it. Good lord, here's that list of rules she has in her head. I have to wonder how she dealt with me as I am quite certain I was as independent and headstrong as any of my children when I was 20 months old. How else would she like my children to express their displeasure? "Oh mother, I dare say that upsets me a tad."???

Thank god she never had a pet of her own to care for. She can not do high maintenance. I suppose it's probably unsurprising that a high maintenance woman can't deal with high maintenance toddlers but it's the shocking lack of clue that has me reeling. But then it got darker.

A hands her a book and then walks away, right? Mom says "she does that deliberately." I clarified did she mean act like she wanted mom to read to her and then walk away? She said yes so I said "it's not personal mom." "Yes it is."

Oh, so my toddler child is out to get you now is it?

No mom, it's not personal. Just like the hundreds of times A has acted like she's about to give you a cracker and then pops it in her mouth. What would she have against you? I mean I haven't sat there and given her a hundred reasons like I could have, but she's a baby lady! How evil can she be?

So I am getting a few really good clues as to my own toddler years. It's pretty clear that around the age of 18 months I started disappointing her, turning against her and behaving inappropriately according to her book of rules. Doesn't really speak well for my happiness during this period. May explain my utter stubborn independence that borders on stupidity when I refuse to ask for help but am 7 months pregnant with triplets. Or foreseeably 9 months pregnant with one kid and do the same. A likely possibility.  Because if I learned at the age of 20 months that the one person who was supposed to love me unconditionally had that many problems with me? And if she thought I turned against her and developed feelings in return? Well that would explain a lot. Because she never thought I loved her enough as long as I can remember. And it's pretty clear that it doesn't take her much to come to that conclusion.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mama Mia

My mother, queen of the 'grass-is-greener' mentality, is moving again. Yes, the third time in a year. Now she's certain she's found the perfect place to live: Rhoda Goldman Plaza. Well as perfect as assisted living can be. I'm certain that no matter where she is, misery will follow. Both of us.

The major difference between where she is now and where she wants to go is religious. One is run by Catholics and one by Jews. Admittedly, my mom's dad was Jewish but when the directors indicated that perhaps mom would enjoy that Friday Seder would be performed every week I laughed. My mom has not been Jewish a day in her life. Not only did we celebrate Christmas every year of my life, but my mom denies she even believes in God. My response has always been that it's pretty hard to be as angry at God as she is if there is no God. Who is she actually angry with? I think she's spiritual but she lived with my adamantly atheist father for so long that she lost her own feelings on the matter. Sure, she's suffered a lot, but she still has some spiritual underpinnings. How else do you survive?

So, my feeling is that what she really means is that there are more Europeans or Russians there. She has the fantasy that this means she'll make friends. Naturally, little miss snarky within me says "there were plenty of Europeans and Russians in Washington DC and she didn't make friends there."

Can you blame me?

The back story makes my bitterness make more sense. A year ago my dad settled on Rhoda Goldman as the perfect place to send my mom, perhaps even before he died just to get her out of his hair. Then he up and died quicker than you could turn around and we were stuck finishing up the process of applying for her. We were all in and then BAM! Mom decided to try to end her life. She popped a bunch of pills and lay down to die and ended up in the psych ward. Well, naturally, when Rhoda Goldman got wind of this, by hearing from mom's psychiatrist, they politely declined to house her. So, who had to pick up the pieces and find her another place to live? Oh yes me. And when that first place turned out to not be ideal for mom? I found her a better place. And moved her. And did everything necessary to settle her in and make her happy.

So here we are, almost a year after the first application, 7 months after the 2nd time I moved mom, and I'm back in hell. Filling out applications, emailing, phoning, faxing stuff everywhere. Mom's fantasy must be entertained. She is absolutely positive that she will be happier in this place. She will suddenly make friends and have fun and have things to do and 'fit in.' I can promise you that my mom never fits in anywhere. She is an anomaly. Not necessarily a fault of her own, she grew up in an orphanage. She is prone to fantasies of how life should be and rarely does anyone live up. Rarely does anything in life measure up to the fantasies of a lonely orphan.

Will she be happy? Will she move 800 more times just to kill me? Will we make it through a holiday season without her crashing? And, since she has gotten sick enough to die both times she moved before, will she get sick again?

And why, when she has handed the entire application process to me to handle, did she turn in her 30 days notice to her current living abode when I EXPRESSLY TOLD HER NOT TO? For goodness' sake woman are you trying to give me fits? I have told her three times that she is not officially accepted and does not have a guaranteed place to live at RG until the application is completed. Last year we got kicked out on the basis of the doctor's note so we do not burn our bridge at our current place until we are in officially. But does she listen? No.

Stubborn much? Thank goodness the people at her current place called me to see what was up. It's not like mom's not competent but she is just so irritatingly sure she knows what's what that she keeps screwing things up with her independence. It took me 4 months to fix the mess she made of her prescription coverage when she took it upon herself to deal with a denial of coverage by herself. Do I not have a personal assistant covering her paperwork? And she has to ask someone where she lives to help her type up a letter so she can print it off and turn it in. While I'm paying (well really, she's paying) someone $40 an hour to pay her bills and keep her papers in order.

Every time I think I've got everything, and particularly her, under control I find out differently like a smack to the forehead. Why don't I get it by now? She is going to find ways to piss me off no matter how hard I run, how fast I try to move, how many bases I try to cover. It is just a fact.

So, here we are again. She will likely be accepted. I will get her moved. And the circus goes on.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Slacker Sunday photo

It's beginning to look a lot like Halloween!

I'm also entering this photo in a contest over on Parenting by Dummies so check it out!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Books again.

Ah books. Such perverters of good intentions. Back in the old days I could stay up late reading a good book and compensate by sleeping in or taking a nap. Not so much these days. I've lost the right to sleep in and apparently lost my napping mojo. I lay down and the brain kicks in. As does the fetus in my belly.

And with the triplets coming off of back to back colds, we are not getting great nights. At least 3 wake ups every night. I'd ignore it but we also just had two nights in a row of double diaper failures so one feels somewhat obligated to run in, feel up waists and legs for wetness and then run out at the very least. I can't expect them to sleep in wet pjs right? But extinguishing night wake ups begins again, or began again last night with B. After the requisite wet check he was roundly ignored by the mommy in her bed when he continued to screech for another 20 to 30 min. Off and on mind you, the most annoying sort, since you get all drowsy and then "wah!" and then you get all drowsy and "wah!"

But such is the nature of the beast. Or beasts, as there are three. But back to the book. It is so imperative that I not buy books people! Every time I have one in my possession and dare to read it I exhaust myself and ignore my responsibilities while I finish it. Bad plan mommy. But reading just feels so nice. And NORMAL. Kind of like sleeping.

Right now I'm reading a book about mormon polygamy (The 19th Wife) which is actually pretty good and may actually make me feel better about my situation, mightn't it? Although having another wife or two around to share childcare and house chores....

And the hubby would sure get more attention.

Eh, what can I do but sit around this last morning of the week where I get some free time and enjoy my book. It's grey and cold outside (great SF weather this week! Monsoon, fog, rain, cold, grey.) so I might as well enjoy hanging out in bed for an hour reading.

Thus this un-entertaining post. But honestly? My absences have lost me so many readers and commenters I felt I had better post at least a few times this week. I doubt I'll get them back but eventually....I'll get inspired and write again. Perhaps I'll even remember how to be funny.

But I'll leave you with one more crazy mom comment. Wednesday when A was trying a fruit snack thing and had sucked on it and spit it out into my hand but then wanted another? Mom says "you should make her eat it." Apparently force feeding toddlers is also in her skills book. She just forgot her toddler size gavage tube for direct shunting to the stomach of objects rejected by the toddler palate.

Oh mom. Back to the book.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

What's a woman to do?

Ok, I think it's time for me to learn Spanish.The problem is, although that would be the obvious language choice for living and working in Hispanic heavy California, in San Francisco, the Asian population is way bigger. And how does one pick just one of the many languages in the Asian community in order to succeed.

No, the truth is I plan on learning no new languages in my last few months pregnant with my 4th child nor after, while caring for 4 children. I am just frustrated. The lovely monsoon we had here in San Francisco yesterday left me with my neighbor's tree in my yard. Well a third of it. But it was a big third. Fence crushed, and basically a whole tree sitting in my yard. Was quite a sight. So I called up the dude who mows my lawn and has trimmed my trees and asked if he had a chainsaw to cut up a tree. I'm pretty sure this man understands me because he hasn't usually done things against my wishes to date. So when I told him to just come over and take a look and give me a price, since this was not my tree and the neighbor had to agree before money was spent, I thought I made myself clear.

Problem number 1: the woman who assists me with my mother's paperwork is familiar with this man and has seen him tending to my yard before, so when he arrived and I was upstairs she let him in no problem. Problem number 2: language barrier? Or seemingly nice man taking advantage of woman? I still am not sure. All I know is I came downstairs and the tree was gone already. He'd been here 20 min, my neighbor just happened to call as I looked out the window and shrieked "oh my god he's already done it!" (Let me qualify 'shriek.' While I am a girl, I do not shriek like one, but I did yell loudly in shock and surprise. Who would have preferred I write it that way?)

Good lord. How can a man chop up a tree in 20 min? What made him think he could just show up and do the job when there are two people involved and he doesn't know one of them? And I never agreed on the price I'd pay him so who does he think is going to pay? What just happened here?

So then he told me how much it would cost. And it's a lot. Not crazy, but twice what I pay him to spend 2 hours cleaning up my yard and he just did this job in a quarter that time. So, now, stuck between a rock and hard place (neighbor and yard guy) what do I do? He can't undo the work he's done. If I push back about the price I risk the relationship I have with him, and so far I've felt him to be trustworthy.

So for the first time that I can remember in my long and independent life I went to my husband and told him that I thought I might need a man to back me up. I'm not sure if I'm being taken advantage of. Does this man think I'm stupid? Is it because I'm a woman? Will he act different if I have back up? All he does when I talk to him is shrug. What is that about? Is this language? Or is this just how he is?

Naturally my husband was in the shower.

So, after a quick check in with him, I went back down the scene of the crime. I would have to take care of it myself. My neighbor showed up, I asked the right questions and found out that the per pound disposal fee of 'pine' is higher than your average tree disposal fee. We worked it all out for a lesser fee and I let him finish the job and everything seems to be fine but I'm still unsure what happened. Am I an easy mark? I do trust people. I was raised in Illinois at a time when kids could come home after school without parents home to care for them. I could count on one hand the number of times I feel like someone has taken advantage of me in a business transaction. But it's possible I have no idea how gullible I am. Wouldn't that be the very definition of gullible?

Sometimes I do wonder what would happen differently if I were a man. I'm not asking for the opportunity to be one, but I'd love to do the whole costume thing and see if the world seemed different in the way people reacted to me. Because if I'm getting shafted for being a woman? There's some ass kicking to do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rewarding motherhood

DH and I were having a conversation last night about the 'rewards' of parenting and how I've been feeling lately. "Real" jobs give you concrete rewards. Each day you look at your stack of paperwork accomplished, or number of sales made, or whatever measure of success your job uses, and you know how much you did successfully today. You can leave satisfied that you did a great job without anyone telling you or patting you on the back and saying you rock.

Kids don't work that way. Each day you could count the number of diapers changed, (perhaps I should time myself and be proud of my efficiency per diaper change or something?) noses wiped, tantrums ignored or whatever, but what makes you feel like you were a brilliant mom at the end of the day? The husband thinks the fact that my kids are brilliant and generally happy should be enough. I think that on a day to day basis, where at any random time some kids are happy and some are not, I can't take credit for the happy kids and ignore the unhappiness. I can't say that just because A learned a new word today that makes ME a great mom. Maybe she learned it from Elmo? Who knows?

So how, at the end of a day, do I feel brilliant about the job I'm doing? I've had a history of jobs at which I did excellent work and knew daily that I was a success. Mothering? Not so much. Each day I have failures. Failure of discipline, failure of handling a crisis, misunderstanding a kid, yelling too much, almost crying with frustration and so on. How do you overcome all that 'failure' with just saying "oh, well the kids seem happy usually so I must be a fantastic mom?"

Perhaps they were just born happy? Maybe I have unusually brilliant kids genetically? Maybe it's grandma who makes them so happy, not me? Where do I get my daily affirmation that I am doing a great job?

DH just can't fathom this issue. He feels proud just because they are great kids. That's all it took over the 4 days he cared for them. But you know what? He gets to go back to his job where he is brilliant. He doesn't have an endless string of days and months of the same every day crap the kids pull to drag him down from his self esteem of previous days. I used to know I was brilliant at about anything I tried to do. Now? I'm not so sure. Am I a good mom? And if no one tells me that I am, can I believe it about myself somehow? And even if people tell me I am, how do I not discount their opinion due to them not seeing how I parent when I'm alone (when I'm generally more yelly and frustrated)?

I need me some Dr. Phil or something. Someone to tell me that it's as plain as the nose on my face that I rock as a mom. I can't wait 30 years for one of my kids to turn around and say that I did ok. I just can't.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Bridesmaid to be

How exciting. My best friend has gotten herself all engaged and stuff! Not that I knew ANYTHING about it ahead of time, what with being consulted about the ring and all. But the lucky lady got proposed to in, of all places, Tuscany.

Tuscany people. How cool is that? Who gets to sit on a balcony in Tuscany with a gigantic rock on their hand and know they've found the man they're going to spend their life with? Not many people I tell ya.

But the stranger thing? She wants me to be a bridesmaid. I never thought I'd be all old and crap before I was her bridesmaid (this is not a comment on how long it took her to get engaged, but a condemnation of how fast I got old.) I mean I'm old, decrepit, fat, tired and pathetic at most times of day. I'm supposed to pull myself together and get cute and look like I belong with a gaggle of lovely young ladies, none of whom have any pity for the likes of me. I'm preeeeeetty darned sure I don't get to wear flip flops down the aisle.

And good lord, I never even thought of this when I planned my wedding. Did my bridesmaids think they had a long way to go to get ready to be in my wedding? I hope not. After all, it was me I wanted people to look at, not my bridesmaids. And theoretically, everyone will be looking at my gorgeous friend, not me, but still. Her pictures forever will have me in them. I will theoretically have to look at those pictures with me in them. Ugh.

The good news is I have year. In that year I get to give birth and hopefully breastfeed my way back to a more normal size for me. THIS time I plan not to squander post partum weight loss by eating my way back up 30 pounds just months later. Oh such a shame. I have such plans this time. I want to walk that baby around the whole neighborhood daily. I want to choose differently this time. But who knows how I'll feel? I got overwhelmed with the triplets. So I ate. Do I have a better coping mechanism this time around when I feel overwhelmed? No. Will a single baby not overwhelm me? Unlikely. I will be overwhelmed. I will reach for the chocolate bar. Oh yes I will.

I need a book that can tell me how not to reach for the chocolate. Because my friend's wedding is worth it. Oh yeah yeah, I'm worth it too. I know. Don't preach to me about self love, but I was worth it last year too and I ballooned my way back up to my highest non pregnant weight ever. And then I got pregnant. Not helpful.

By next October I need to be HAWT. Or presentable. I'll take presentable but I'll shoot for hawt. I can not be the old ugly chick next to the hawt bride and her other two young cute bridesmaids. I just can't. My kids will see these pictures and while I love having guilt ammunition to use against them (as in see how you ruined me?) I do not want it to be in my friend's pictures. She has to still love me when it's all over and I'm quite sure the wedding planning may give enough reasons for us to pass evil looks amongst ourselves. I will not give her something to point at in photos for the rest of our lives. So there.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dearest Mommy

Dear mom,

I know that once upon a time you had two children of your own. Clearly, we must have come from you because I look like you for sure. I am quite certain that during our toddler years we resided within a reasonable distance of you as I did not have nannies or grandparents to whom I ran instead of you. Now I know it's been a long time, I'm an old woman myself, but I think most parents remember their childrens' early years with some fondness or at least some detail.

So how is it that you turned to me two days ago, when two of my three were fighting to be on my lap to be read to, and said "insist that they sit with me and read a book."


How, pray tell, would you like me to 'insist' to a child of 20 months that they sit with you? Logic? Force? Cookies? Well that last one might work, the attention span of said child might only last the length of the cookie so I'm guessing it would be limited in its success.

So I tried to explain to you that I had been gone 4 days and naturally the kids wanted to sit in my lap and it was definitely nothing personal about you that caused them to do so. I came up with what I thought was a brilliant parallel to explain by saying that even when there were 100 other toys in the room (oh yes, I MIGHT have bought that many in the early days before we ran out of money) the children generally could be counted on to fight over that ONE particular toy that one child got ahold of first. Your response? "Yes well they should not fight over toys."


Wait. Did you just say, mother of two children who I can personally testify did fight over every last and blasted thing on the planet, they "shouldn't?"

What rule book did that come from? What means this "shouldn't"? Children with children sized brains and egotistical mindsets of the typical child should not fight over toys?

Ok, you are disqualified from the judging of children from here on out. Because your rule book? It was written by aliens or something. Or old people who have forgotten what children are like. And I can no longer help you if you continue to compete with me over my own childrens' attention and yet expect them not to be competitive with each other over their one and only mother.

You, my dear mom, are going to have to chill.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reality bites

So, the reality is I don't feel like writing. Heck I don't feel like getting out of bed in the morning either, but I have to do that. Coming back to the 'real world' that I inhabit? Sucks. Because every day is the same thing. Or rather, every week is the same routine. I have bright spots in every week to look forward to, date night, one morning with time to myself, but that's about it. But I had freedom for 4 days.


That is hard to recover from. I had the choice of when to get up (relatively because I did have obligations I went for) where to go, and what to do when I got there. I got to hang out with old pre-children friends. I got to be my old animal rescuer self. I got to be brilliant at a 'job.' I forgot about the internet (mostly intentionally because the hotel wanted to charge me $13 a day for the privilege of checking my email) and forgot about the daily grind of mothering and got to just be.

I also got to remember why animal people drive me batty. Actually, I've had a theory and corollary for some time: "Animal people are crazy" is the theory, or honestly? The Truth. Capital T. It just is true. The corollary is "Animal people who fixate on one particular animal are craziest." Thankfully I did not run into the latter. But the weekend was full of the former. Sure I include myself in this collection of crazy. I used to have a cat rescue. One has to be crazy to have 23 cats in a house that pretty much has to then reek of cat urine. I don't know why you can't keep the smell down, but the reality is you don't actually smell it if you sleep and eat there. You just don't notice it. I'm definitely crazy. But I was not overboard. I like all animals. I just "get" cats the best so I chose that one to rescue. I also did not become the crazy cat lady with 100s of cats running through the walls and eating each other's dead carcasses like you read about in the news sometimes. So I know I'm not totally nuts.

But it's good to spend some time back amongst my tribe of crazy. Animal people are well intentioned. Several of them actually get along with people too, and that's who I spent my time with this weekend. The director of this particular animal rescue is 'da bomb.' She is non judgmental, funny, smart, and can laugh at herself as well as her circumstance any time. That's the way to be people. If you can't laugh at yourself you really need to loosen up. But when you choose a life of animal rescue it is imperative, nay, life saving, to be able to laugh because of all the pain you experience through the suffering of innocent animals. And when your family consists of over 200 farm animals of varying shapes, sizes and disabilities? Your life is full of humor.

So, I spent my time either at the 'farm' with happy people and happy animals, or resting and recovering from a cold from hell with a good book. It's hard to come back. Day one, same old thing. Grumpy, fighting kids. Crazy mom with annoying judgments. Wake up, feed and clothe kids, entertain, feed, nap, entertain, feed, get them ready for bed, sigh with relief when it's all over. And being away for 4 days did make me miss them, but that sense of ennui comes back like a ton of bricks the minute it begins again.

I think I need a new job.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I'm back and I'm good

sorry sorry sorry! I hope none of you thought anything was wrong. It was terrible to leave you hanging with the ultrasound post (the kid is fine btw) and then drop off the face of the planet. But the next day was no nanny, two cats to the vet during nap time, then an afternoon of sick babies. Then Wednesday, I had to do 87 loads of laundry, pack, write up instructions, and go to the dentist to get a hole drilled into my head as well as 2 hours of gum torture.

Busy much? And then I hopped on a red-eye to come to Maryland. Sick, exhausted (sick kids equals no sleep and mommy gets sick too) and feeling a little abused, I nevertheless honored my commitment to come to Maryland for the annual fundraiser of an animal rescue group I go way back with. Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary is the happiest place on earth for animals. Farm animals that is. If it fell off the back of a truck on the way to the slaughterhouse, got abused by an owner, neglected by a collector, abandoned in a truck in downtown DC, or was just walking down the road and found by a good samaritan, it ends up here and lives out its life in comfort, companionship and with good medical care until it dies of old age.

My job is to run the Silent Auction. Around 300 items get donated each year. I get to sort through that collection, write it up, set it up and harass people into bidding for each and every item at or above their intended limits of spending. I am good at that last part. Is anyone surprised I can harass? I thought not. I love this job because the director of the sanctuary sits all weekend and tells me how wonderful I am and because I know I do a good job. You know how infrequently a mom hears she's wonderful or feels like she's doing a good job? I think you do. Not often.

So this is supposed to be a delightful break for me and some relaxation comes with the deal. But then I had to get sick the day before I came? How unfair was that? So instead of catching up on sleep like I dreamed about, I am sleeping to heal. Would be nice if I could breathe at night, but not so much these days. And being limited by what a pregnant lady is supposed to use while sick basically sucks. Ah well. I'm eating well, have read one book so far and am enjoying the scenery. Wish I had the energy to visit old friends, but not this year.

The hardest part was memories of my dad that hit me like a cement truck when I arrived. For those who don't know, my dad died last November of pancreatic cancer rather suddenly as he was predicted to last 3 or 4 more months but he gave up. He just gave up and quit all treatment and died within days. So fast that I couldn't get there in time. But dad loved the area in Maryland and Virginia. And as I crossed at Whites Ferry (an actual ferry for cars across the Potomac) I was just so sad that he chose to give that up early. True, he wouldn't be here now, but it takes a while to forgive someone for dying on you, no matter the way or reason for the death. And how I wish he could meet this new kid or even just watch me mother my kids. He's missing my greatest accomplishment. That sucks.

So, on with the show. I should have some amusing anecdotes from this weekend as animal people are all pretty strange (myself included but I'm not the weirdest) and they usually lend themselves to parody quite naturally. I'll let you know if a cow decides to follow me home too. Thanks for hanging in there during my absence.