Wednesday, October 26, 2011

53 is the New 99

I don't mean to go all political on you or anything, but I came across this article today and I thought it was a very interesting response to the "Occupy" movement. Granted, I have admittedly limited knowledge of the full scope of the movement (as I believe, is true of most of the protestors themselves) as well as even more limited knowledge of solutions. But I have for sometime resented being placed in a cohort (the "99%") with whom I do not identify nor share in their (confused) rallying cry.

http://money.cnn.com/2011/10/26/news/economy/occupy_wall_street_backlash/index.htm?source=cnn_bin

My favorite part is the sign from the picture - "You want to "occupy" something? Occupy a job."

I'm not saying it's that easy. I understand that poverty is a daunting cycle, that opportunities, education and jobs are very limited to those born into lower socio-economic backgrounds, that greed, corruption and selfishness often overtake basic human decency and compassion (whether you're a 1% or 99-er).

But you have to admit - it's catchy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Evolution of a Mom

I haven't been around for awhile. I've let a few things slide. Ignored the guilt of not constantly engaging in this completely voluntary and optional and inconsequential endeavor. Like every good Mormon Mommy. But at least I've finally finished making learning packets for Landon's pre-pre-preschool program I'm starting with him, complete with glittery finger puppets and pop up pages of scripture stories.

And now I feel guilty because I'm completely lying to you.

In reality, I don't keep this up regularly because I feel like this:

Thanks to this:

 Combined with this:

Who, incidentally, has gained an alarming proficiency with this:

I'm not sure how it happened, but it may have something to do with the fact that, in general, all I want to do is this:

On an unrelated note,
I want to eat this:
Martha Stewart Image
And look like this:


I see nothing inconsistent with that. Let me reside in my hormone-induced fantasy world.




In my mind, I look like this:

Except instead of rising majestically from the sea, imagine it sprawled on the couch with various food crumbs adorning it's belly. 


But in all fairness, I'm sure I really just look more like this:
What? It's slightly smaller.

But pretty soon, I'll look like this:

Only my pouch will be a baby bjorn. Also, I think I'm missing another pretty important member of my offspring. Which will also most likely happen quite a few times. 

So, forget taking your kids to the zoo. Just bring them over here and see what creature I morph into each day. I promise not to scare them. Much. 


You can find me in my natural habitat:
Notice the lack of No Feeding signs. Just pointing it out. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Because "I'm Awesome" would just be redundant

Colbert Report - Yaweh or No Way?: Mormons & God's Poll Numbers

Just to let you know - I really don't do anything of interest or merit other than the ability to change my son's diaper while he is running. And I grow people in my belly even though I complain about it. A lot. Also, I know all the words to every Ace of Base song - all three of them.

And I'm a Mormon.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dr. America

We recently heard about a couple of our friends who have job opportunities in far flung places overseas. Both of these friends are in the business field and are at various levels of excitement about the possibility of living for awhile outside the red, white and blue borders (chopsticks? will I have to use chopsticks??! how have they not discovered the fork yet?).

I had the opportunity to live in Russia in high school and I absolutely loved it. It changed my outlook on life, my view of the world and so many other things that I consider it to be one of the most formative times of my life. So I was bemoaning to Tyler that our kids wouldn't have the opportunity to ever live overseas since plastic reconstructive surgery is not a big global/export-type job.

 I know, I know. My husband is a plastic surgeon! My kids won't get to live on a Mediterranean beach! WAAH WAAH! Don't worry, I hear myself. But I also want to raise kids who are aware of the world around them, and more importantly, the people around them. I want them to understand that not everyone lives like we do - and that's okay. I want them to understand how incredibly blessed we are and also to appreciate the richness of intricacies of other cultures. I feel that the best way to do that is to be there and see it. 

Tyler plans on making quite a few humanitarian trips for medical missions all over the world, and once the kids are old enough I want them to come along and help in any way they can. But living there is completely different than a one week speed course. Would I have had the chance to visit tiny villages in Siberia, track voles at a spartan Russian bio-reserve which also had it's own dance club (naturally), experience the horrors of gridlock Moscow traffic when cars have decided to screw it and just drive on the train tracks, have market vendors trying to sell me abnormally large and misshapen produce that I later find out was harvested near Chernobyl, have my neighbor's kids tell me that their father - the one with the mercedes and driver constantly waiting for him to speed away at a moment's notice - was just a house painter, be almost kidnapped by a boozy-smelling construction worker who offered me 3 rubles to buy a metro pass because I didn't have any money and was stranded at the metro station and everyone else who looked well off had ignored me when I tried to ask for help and I was crying and he said that I needed to come home with him to calm down and he would take care of me and what's my phone number and where do you live and how can you not know how to say your phone number in Russian when you've been speaking with me for the last 5 minutes and once I distracted him I ran behind a wall and hid until he got on his train. And I only got to live there a year - how much more I wanted to do and experience! Would I have had any of those experiences in a week? Probably not. 

So...on second thought about having my kids live overseas...

Anyway. The good news is that I just found out about some great overseas opportunities for plastic surgeons! In North Korea and Hungary! 

North Korea sounds particularly enticing with Kim Jong Mentally-Il as the leader (Look! I just got on their watch list. There! Now I have two strikes! Now we won't be able to get in the country. Or, more likely, out). Hungary may be exciting too - I mean, beauty pageants FOR plastic surgery!?? What more could a plastic surgeon who  spends most of his time putting people back together after cancer, accidents or other traumas (the majority of real plastic surgery cases) want? And how proud of their dad would the kids be? (see that contestant up there wobbling in her heels because her boobs are bigger then what should be humanly possible? Yeah. That's my dad's handy work. No, I won't donate to your charity for starving children. Can't you see I'm watching something important??). 

For now I guess we'll just stay put here in America. I suppose it offers everything we're looking for in terms of job security, freedom and food. I guess there's always L.A., which, I suppose for us Ohioans, is as good as foreign. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Quick! Take the Picture Before the New Kid Comes!

We did it! We actually had family pictures taken. And it only took two years of Landon's life to do it. As far as anyone knows, this child doesn't exist except for various beach, OSU football and "look how messy I am" documentation. I suppose that's his natural element anyway.

These are also the first real pictures Tyler and I have had taken in seven years. Seven years! We were young, we were carefree, we were...in a wedding dress and tux. Yes, that's the last time we had pictures. I tried to get Tyler to go with me to Glamour Shots at the mall a couple times but for some reason he always just stared at me and then walked away. Lame.

Anyway, here's a few of my faves from the day (meaning the ones that Landon is not screaming in - and a couple where he is). You'll notice he has a toy truck in his hand for some of the pictures. We were also feeding him snacks in between takes. Next time, I'm going to have the fit just to see what I get.

Thank you to Ally - our fantastic, talented, patient, creative, wonderful photographer!! No one crouches down and fake hiccoughs to entertain a toddler quite like you!







Saturday, July 9, 2011

Letter To My Belly

A good friend of mine recently told me that she writes letters to her unborn child. She writes about her dreams for her daughter and the things that scare her and touch her heart. I thought this was a wonderful idea and will open the foundation for an unparalleled bond that mother and daughter will cherish.

I thought I might give this a try myself. But, my friend is thoughtful, creative and dreams in big writing in the sky whereas I tend to sit on the grass and notice all the dead plants around me. So when I sat down to write a letter, here's what I came up with:


Dear Baby in my Belly, 


I don't appreciate the addition of love handles you've added onto your temporary home. Really, not necessary. 


Love, 


The Woman Giving You Life


I wonder if this kid still thinks it has time to change wombs.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Internet is a Scary, Scary Place



Good thing I got married so young. This may very well have been my future.

I wonder if she's seen the movie Must Love Dogs. I wonder if she hates it.

(ps - I felt bad for a second about spreading this girl's crazy around but by the end I was pretty convinced it was a joke. I think. I hope. Please, for the love of the future of humanity.)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy Happy Birthday Landon Dear

Today Landon is two. Actually, he turned two on Saturday but by the time I actually get around to posting this, he will still be two. I'm working on tired mommy time here.

I remember when Landon was born (which is not really something you forget). I remember looking at the 2T clothes I got for presents and thinking "he will NEVER wear these." Not only has he worn them but they're now starting to resemble the 90's midriff muscle shirts. And I'll be honest, he's about five packs short of a six.

But here he is, in his two year-old glory. I'm sure every mother reading this is going "Oh you're cute. You think two years old is a big deal. Wait till they're (insert age of oldest child here)." Because sometimes I subconsciously think that about people saying "4 months! My baby is 4 months old!" But I truly thought I would never survive maintain some form of sanity keep him alive learn so much as a mother in this period of time. But I have. And I'm so grateful for the little laughing, hyper, stubborn, truck-loving, funny, sweet, golf-loving (like his daddy), mischievous, cookie-eating (like his mama), smart, quirky guy that he is.

Not only have I learned so much these past two years but he's not done too bad himself. So, in typical Mormon-mommy fashion, I will now list a few of Landon's accomplishments to date. Behold his awesomeness!!

In the last two years, Landon has:


Learned the entire alphabet backwards and forwards and is now working on deciphering ancient Mayan dialects using his "ABC Fun for Me!" rosetta stone.


Read five Dostoyevsky classics, in Russian. And then corrected the English translations.


Mastered the art of sharing to the point that he now just gives away his toys to kids he passes on the street.


Successfully initiated peace talks in the Middle East by giving Ghadafi two choices: stop being a butthead or go to time out.


Created a nuclear disarmament NGO based in Iran and North Korea called "Hands are not for hitting and bombs are not for dropping."


Rescued an injured baby bird and nursed it back to health with his sippy cup.


Published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine entitled: "Golden Poop: The Effects of Corn on the Digestive System."


Drew an exact replica of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel on our driveway with chalk which created quite a stir about public displays of religion until the rain came and washed it all away. Which gave him a new idea for the backyard - an ark.


Potty trained himself, our cat and four dogs that live on our street.


Used his homemade satellite to pinpoint the exact location of a certain bearded terrorist mastermind and then used his Fisher Price Laugh & Learn phone (with direct line to the President) to relay the coordinates to a certain Navy special ops team.


Discovered new constellations in the shapes of a fire truck, backhoe loader and bulldozer.


Traced his genealogy back to Adam and Eve.


Learned how to spell genealogy and then taught his mama.


Began his Memoir, tentatively entitled "Doggies are Funny, I Like Trucks." 


Happy Birthday to my sweet little man! I can't wait to see what the next two years will bring (world peace? let's start working on that). 


Landon, working on yet another Great American Novel.
Or watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on YouTube. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. You Mean it Gets Harder??

My good friend Brittney sent these articles to a couple of us to see what we thought. Now how in the heck did she get in my head? The things in these two articles are exactly things that I've been thinking a lot about lately - and things I definitely needed to hear.

http://powerofmoms.com/2011/06/little-kids-little-problems/

http://powerofmoms.com/2011/06/do-children-make-us-happy/

The first article definitely spoke to me the most. Ever since Landon was born I have often found myself wishing away his childhood with dreams of "if only he could sleep, feed himself, tell me what he wants, understand me, understand reason, play nicely, not play in the cat's water bowl, be potty trained, not run out into the parking lot even when I tell him not to, have an extended discussion about the meaning of life with me, etc, then my life would be so much easier."

But some of those things have come, and life isn't easier. It's just different. Good stuff came with the changes, but hard stuff did, too. I remember wanting Landon to walk so badly because I hated having him crawl around on dirty floors when we were out and about.

So he started to walk. Then he started to RUN.

Now his favorite thing to do is shout "WUN AWAY!" and then run away from me at top speed. Who knew little pudgy toddler legs could move at the speed of light when they're doing something they know they're not supposed to?

So things are never going to necessarily get easier - but I've found that the good comes with the bad, often in surprising ways. For instance, I hate the heart-stopping vision of my son running into oncoming traffic, but I am actually glad that he can walk and run around. He seems so much happier than when he was just crawling and able to get a lot more energy out. And more energy expended = better sleeping. The golden ticket.

So whenever those thoughts of "if only he could (insert wishful thinking here)" pop into my head I need to remember that every action (usually) has an opposite and equal reaction. Which means that, even though he's a lot more vocal on his opinions now, he can also choose to voice his little opinion that "mama, I yuv you." And that's something I should never wish away.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sugar Baby

Sometimes I think that God thinks I'm funny. Not in funny in the "A Priest, a Rabbi and a Mormon Bishop all walk into a bar - OUCH" kind of way but more funny in the "pat her on the head because she thinks she knows what's going on" kind of way. Kind of like when someone gets all dressed up and thinks they're looking super hot as they're walking down the street when in reality they have no idea they have pink undies static-clinged (clung?) to the back of their shirt. I'm sure God doesn't laugh at our misfortune, but you have to admit - seeing that would be kind of funny.

So I like to think I provide plenty of amusement up there. Mainly because I often do think I have it all figured out. Honestly, sometimes I can just hear this quiet chuckling and "Oh, Debbie" with a shake of the head. Usually that's the more rational part of my brain but I try to block it out as much as possible.

Case in point: This post.

Seriously, I knew what was going on. I felt super mood-swingy, more lethargic and just generally more squishy. Thank you, cookie dough dinner. So I wrote about it. I had taken pregnancy tests the week before so I figured I just needed to decompress all my sugar-laced feelings.

((Soft chuckling. Pat on head.))

Later that SAME day, I took a test again (since I had to call the OB to schedule a check up and they always make me take one) and this is what I got:

I actually took a third one the next day too. You know what they say about 3 witnesses...

So it turns out there is a bun in my oven. I'm just hoping it's as sweet as the one I previous thought was taking up all that room (and preferably not made of cinnamon).

I have to admit I was a little relieved that there was something to explain all the weirdness. I am growing a human being, after all so I'm allowed to be crazy, right? (SAY RIGHT, SAY RIGHT!!!!).

Now that my sugar bun and I are finally spending more time outside of the bathroom then in it, I am happy to say that Landon will be a big brother on December 5th!

Oh, boy. Talk about thinking that you have it all figured out. Poor kid has no idea what's about to hit him. ((soft chuckle, patting Landon's head)).

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Big 3-0

Today is Tyler's 30th birthday. You may remember his 29th, memorialized here. But probably not. You know why? Because I did nothing. Well, not nothing. But my hands were tied. How do you celebrate someone's birthday when you don't even know if they'll be home in time for their own party? And what bodily fluid they'll be wearing when they do show up? It's a struggle, I tell you.

But today Tyler is 30. It's big. It's momentous. It's old-er. He can no longer look at Jersey Shore kids and be like "that's my generation." Not that he could ever do that before. Or that he ever wanted to. But, you know, now he really can't. Actually, now I kind of wish I was 30 too.

The funny thing about Tyler is that I think he has been 30 since he was 10. Always so responsible. Always so reasonable. Always so...elderly. I love him because he taught me that going to bed at 9 is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

So in honor of Tyler's 30th birthday, I have decided to come up with 30 ways to describe him. 30 things that make up the man that is my best friend, my husband and the person I feel lucky to have been chosen by.

TYLER

1. Loving
2. Compassionate
3. Responsible
4. Pragmatic
5. Calm
6. Awesome father
7. Handsome
8. Confident,
9. But Humble
10. Hard worker
11. Dedicated
12. Very handy - he can figure out anything
13. Fun - he can make our son laugh more than anything else
14. Kind
15. Patient - mostly these are in response to me
16. Forgiving
17. Easy to please
18. Uncomplicated
19. NORMAL - he's so normal it's almost weird. I like to think I make up for this in strides
20. Funny
21. Quiet - sometimes, when it's about others. He never needs the spotlight.
22. Strong
23. Hopeful - always knows everything will be okay
24. Affectionate
25. A natural leader, even when he doesn't want to be
26. Admirable
27. Strong-willed
28. Protective
29. Unassuming
30. My opposite in so many ways that we seem to fit together perfectly

Happy Birthday Tyler! I love you!

How could you not love a guy willing to fly a butterfly kite because his son likes the streamers that hang off the back? Impossible, I say. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Mother of All Days

I've never quite understood birthdays. Don't get me wrong, I'll never turn down a chocolate cake (ever) or a big box with a bow on top (unless something inside is breathing) but I've always felt a little guilty having everyone celebrate and congratulate me. I mean, I didn't actually do anything. It was my mom who did all the work. In fact, here are my contributions to my own birth:

-I refused to come out even after over 20 hours of labor
-When I did finally move I kicked my mom's rib out just to show my displeasure
-I was also facing the wrong way because I was NOT going to make this easy on anyone
-I made my foot go slightly clubbed just out of spite (well, probably not. But I am awfully stubborn)

Being the 6th kid, you would think that I would have just leisurely popped out after a few minutes, high-fived the doctors and nurses and been like "yo momma, let's get this show on the road!" (isn't that how you talked as a baby?).

But I didn't. And neither did any of the 5 before me. So for awhile I've felt like birthdays should be a day of appreciation for the mother, not the kid-who-just-happened-to-be-kicked-out-of-a-comfy-womb-and-is-none-too-happy-about-it-either-and-I'll-let-you-know-it-for-the-next-18-years.

That's the nice thing about Mother's Day. It's finally putting recognition where it deserves. Technically, everyday should be Mother's Day but I've only felt that way since I had a son of my own. Never say I'm self centered.

So I want to take this day to officially recognize my own mother for all that she has done for me. I should also do this daily, I know. And maybe I do since everyday I think "man, this mother stuff is hard." But I still want to recognize my mom for all the things she has given me, not just life, but confidence, encouragement, unconditional love, the beginnings of a testimony and a lot of laughter along the way.
My mom and I at my wedding. I'm  not sure if you can see the resemblance. 
Here are a few things I learned from my mom:
1. Look for the good in others (I'm not as good at this as she is).
2. Never never stop learning. 
3. How to eat a raw artichoke.
4. How to feel guilty getting rid of food, even if it's starting to walk out of the fridge on its own. 
5. How to put butter on things that should not have butter on them. Like PB&J sandwiches. On my own I learned that this is super gross. 
6. You can get through anything with the Lord.
7. How to make a mean potato salad.
8. How to be a spiritual anchor. 
9. How to be a good sister (also something I'm not as good at)
10. That I am a daughter of God. 

In addition to my mom, I've also been lucky enough to have a few other great influences in my life that have shown me what it means to be a mother. I don't know how much these women know I have watched them. Let me make that sound less creepy. Watched them and admired them. There we go.

My sister and sisters-in-law. PS- I didn't have a picture of just the girls on my computer so just look at them. The guys are pretty cool, too. I guess. PPS- I'm sure you noticed the giant chasm next to me. That's where Tyler should be. But he had to work at the hospital. Doesn't it look like I was ditched by my baby daddy and was now shunned from the family? It's only funny because it's not true. 

I am also very fortunate to have another great example of a mother very close to me. Like I always say, I hit the jackpot of in-laws. She raised 5 great sons and is teaching me how to raise another:
My MIL and Landon

And of course, a few of my biggest mothering inspirations:

Okay, just kidding about that last one. But, you know, I'm sure trying to juggle diapers, algebra homework, texting, colic and how to hide your stretch marks in your prom dress is really difficult and they're trying to be the best moms that they can. No judgements here. Not too much anyway. 

And on that note...

I'd like to wish every woman out there a Happy Mother's Day and thank you to all of you who try, everyday, just to make it to the next with everyone in tact. Someday, they'll be writing a blog post about you. Except with holograms. And lasers. 



Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter



“In our hour of deepest sorrow, we can receive profound peace from the words of the angel that first Easter morning: ‘He is not here: for he is risen.’” - President Thomas S. Monson

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Yes, They're Fascinating. But Can They Pop and Lock?

Now here's a wedding that I would wake up at 6 am to watch.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hindsight is Always a Better Parent Than You

Today was a momentous day. A milestone that shall forever be enblazened in my mind. The record books shall show that on this day a checkmark was placed next to an all important stepping stone to becoming a seasoned parent.

Today, Landon completely embarrassed me with an all out throw down in public.

I feel like I should get a medal. Make it chocolate.

Don't get me wrong. Landon has cried in public before. Freaked out even. But never has he so unilaterally created a scene of destruction and mayhem as he did today. And this following a toddler storytime, which meant he succeeded at stealing the attention of every single mom in the Worthington Library away from their own book-ripping child to stare at my thrashing son while simultaneously pretending not to notice.

When Landon does something, he does it all the way.

Dear Landon,
 I'd really appreciate a warning next time.
Thanks,
The woman who gave you life
It began with the little computers in the children's area. Landon loves to play on the computers (he especially loves to wear the giant headphones that barely stay put on his little noggin) so after the lovely storytime we went over there to read a couple online books. He was fine for about 5 minutes until he decided he wanted to explore the rest of the library - with his headphones still on. Though I explained that the headphones couldn't leave the computer, he decided to test the theory himself and made a sudden dash for it. Needless to say, Landon went one way and various computer equipment went another.

Yet he hung on. He hung on to those brown little plastic headphones that were most likely borrowed from a senior center's audiology department with all his massive toddler strength. He was furious - FURIOUS! - that he couldn't take them with him. I tried to wrangle him, clean up everything and pry the headphones from his white-knuckled little hands. He screamed, threw himself on the floor and when another kid tried to sit in the seat he recently occupied, he tried to wrestle that kid down.

I knew my reaction to all of this was going to be watched and judged, even by those women pretending somehow not to notice the banshee rolling on the floor. So it was time to perform. While simultaneously trying to clean up everything and prevent Landon from taking out another kid, I remained calm (more of a stupor, really), I offered him choices (okay, we can sit back here at the table and listen to headphones or we can go explore the library, which would you like?), I validated his feelings (Wow! You are angry! So angry because you can't take the headphones with you!). I did everything by every single book I've read.

Guess what happened? The kid FREAKED. And continued to thrash and scream. And throw. And act like Naomi Campbell.

Don't give her headphones or there's no telling WHAT she'll do.

I've had some time to think about this and, since hindsight is a way better parent, I realized what was missing from all the parenting strategies.

Backbone.

My goodness. Come on, Angelos. Mom Up. Have some freakin' backbone.

What I should have done, at the first sign of tantrum, is pry the headphones out of those death grip fingers, pick the screaming child up, tuck him - thrashing and arching all the way - under my arm and take him away (far far away) from the scene of the crime. THEN I should have done all that validating stuff.

I remembered coming across an article about this recently on the website Psychology Today. It's taken my first public humiliation to realize that I need a combined approach for my son - asserting firmness while validating feelings. I have thus far tended to be heavy on the "touchy-feely let's get kids to agree to everything by offering options and rewards" side. But sometimes you just have to say "these are the rules, and this is what we do." The modified "because I said so."

So, if you're still with me, that's what made this such a momentous day. First humiliation. First major parenting lightbulb. They seem to go hand in hand, I hear.

So what about the veteran moms in the trenches? Any parenting lightbulbs of your own, or any good tantrum fighting tips? Any other good places for storytime? I don't think we're welcome at this one anymore.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Special Sibs

My article assignment for April was to look at how siblings of special needs kids are affected. This one was probably my favorite to do so far because I learned so much and was so impressed by everyone I interviewed. The information I learned from my research, I think, is applicable to raising any kid, not just those in families with special needs.

The Hess family is an absolutely outstanding example of how to take trials and make them into triumphs. Their daughter, Sophia, was one of the most well-spoken, well-adjusted and compassionate kids I have ever met. I felt like I was talking with a 30 year old, not a 13 year old (and not in the Jennifer Garner sense).

I didn't get a chance to include this in the article due to length, but I was also impressed with all the support the Hess family received. In the hip hop class that Henry takes, there was another 10 year-old little boy named Ben who volunteered to be Henry's partner to help him learn the steps. Ben spends all class learning the steps for himself and then teaching Henry slowly so he can feel included. After every sequence, Ben gives Henry a high five and tells him he's doing a great job.

Lately, there's so much discourse on bullying, self centeredness and "mean kid" behavior in youth today that it's easy to feel hopeless for our future generations.

But with kids like these, I'd say the future is looking bright.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cinnamon Bun in the Oven

I've been feeling a little...off lately. It's been going on for a few weeks now and I can't quite seem to figure it out. I feel irritable, hormonal, overly sensitive, squishy (can you feel squishy? Because I do) and my stomach seems to be expanding (that's where the squishy part comes in).

So I did what any logical, completely hormonal girl would do. I took pregnancy tests. Two of them. Just in case I peed too hard on the first one to make it malfunction. I really had to go when I took it.

Seeing as we had to go through fertility treatments in order to have Landon, I would have been incredibly surprised had I actually been pregnant but stranger things have happened (see: Kim Kardashian's decision to record a song). So I'm not pregnant. Turns out I've just been eating way too many desserts. Or I have a chocolate chip baby growing inside me.
I call the left foot!

It's funny how we always refuse to accept the simplest of answers. And by we I totally mean me and me alone. Ache in my elbow? It's broken! Migraine? Brain tumor! Cell phone bill too high? Landon has learned how to read, write and become incredibly nimble with his little sausage fingers in order to send out hundreds of texts this month! Belly a little flabbier than normal? My wasteland of a womb has spontaneously generated life!

Actually, the real aspect of all of this that I have refused to accept (other than having to relinquish one of my four nightly desserts) is the fact that I was a little sad when the tests read negative. Those sad little single lines just looked so lonely. Kind of like my son.

But could it be? Could I really have experienced the "mommy veil" where suddenly the bad stuff slowly disappears from your memory and all you're left with are the tiny little socks (awww, sock...) that they wore when they were newborns? Up until recently I swore that veil didn't exist for me. My travails were veil-less. Or so I thought.

But has it happened? Could I really have forgotten waking up every two hours (or not sleeping at all)? The feeding, burping, changing, then starting all over again? Trying to figure out schedules, praying that the baby will sleep longer than 20 minutes? Schlepping that massive car seat around that cuts off circulation to the crook of your arm? The crazed hormone fluctuations of pregnancy (How could you say something like that? It's not what you said, it's how you said it! You don't even love me anymore! I need chocolate!) (Actually, I don't think this part never went away) (Because I may have said something similar yesterday).

No. I have not forgotten any of this. I just don't seem to be bothered by it as much anymore.

Uh oh. I don't like where this is going.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Please Don't Punch. . .Our Car

If only all history could be told through the eyes of kids. Textbooks would merely be filled with stories of countries flinging water bottles at each other and yelling, "Hey you weirdos!"

I can't wait to relive my own life through my kids. Hopefully it will sound way cooler than it actually was.





My favorite:









Friday, March 4, 2011

Shameless Self Promotion

Sometimes no one can promote yourself quite like...yourself.

Here's the latest article from Columbus Parent Magazine. Yes, it's kind of a downer topic (hey, we can't all write about pink butterflies and cherry blossoms, now can we?).

I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to meet the people I have interviewed for these stories. Every single family and expert has been extraordinary and wonderfully helpful and I have learned so much from each of them. It has restored my faith in "people" because for awhile there I loathed them. As anyone who has ever worked with "the public" will attest.

A special shout out to Dr. Burnett and his wife for allowing me to interview him in the middle of a dinner party. Because nothing gets a party going quite like talking about SIDS.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Butt Of Course

It’s amazing how quickly kids grow up, how quickly they learn about the world around them. Just the other day I walked into our family room and found Landon lounging in his silk bathrobe, puffing on a bubble pipe and trying to coax our cat into fetching his iphone so he could read the Wall Street Journal – illustrated edition with his evening sippy cup.

Okay, not really. But, seriously, how cute would a little mini silk bathrobe be?

Anyway. So like I said, they grow up fast. Or even if they don’t grow up fast in terms of time (to be honest, I kind of feel like I’ve had a toddler for 16 years now. Actually, I’ll probably still feel that way when he’s 16) they certainly grow quickly in their ability to notice things around them, even if you don’t want them too.

That’s what I worry about – my little baby learning about a few things way before his time or learning about them in the wrong way or learning about them at all (girls shall always – ALWAYS I SAY! – remain a mystery. Forever. And ever. Until I want grandkids. And then I hear adoption is nice.)

Most importantly, I worry about Landon learning about things without learning respect first. I have a grand vision of raising my son with the upmost respect for not only himself and his own body, but for women and their bodies as well. I could write a diatribe on how the female body is severely disrespected and degraded in our culture but I will spare you all my soapbox. Just know that it is. Nod head.

So that is why an incident that happened a couple of days ago shook me up so profoundly, for more reasons than one.

We were visiting our local library (where all good memories begin) and Landon and I were perusing the latest books on display (by perusing I mean Landon was taking them all off the shelves and creating a step stool to stand on to reach the higher shelves to climb onto and I was pretending he wasn't my child).

Somewhere along the display were a few new fitness books. One had a cover that looked like this:

I never would have taken a second thought for this particular book except that Landon suddenly got very animated and started yelling "BUTT! BUTT! Mama, Mama! BUTT!!"

I looked down at this small bit of a boy pointing excitedly to a book cover with a toned and tight woman, still proudly proclaiming "BUTT!"

Is he saying what I think he's saying?

More importantly, since I don't remember this particular part of anatomy coming up in our fun little "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" song, to whom do I serve a restraining order for teaching this to my kid and how long should I allow them to maintain full use of their faculties?

By this time, people were starting to pay attention to my cute little pervert and snicker/judge my mothering skills. I quickly whisked him away to the kids books while loudly saying "Yes, honey. We will find that BUS book for you!"

I fooled no one.

So as my child happily pulled out every book in the children's section, I sat deep in horrifed thoughts. "It's started! I thought I had more time! At least until school when he met some other kid who teaches him poop jokes (which consist of yelling POOP! and then falling down in a giggle fit). How do I teach him to respect women's bodies when he doesn't even understand that the cat is not his intellectual equal? What if my child is the poop joke instigator? Will he be the one to teach his friends how to spell certain inappropriate words on the calculator? Do I have THAT kid?"

And so went my thinking all through the rest of the time at the library and during the ride home. I looked at Landon's sweet little cherubic face, laughing at himself for putting his sock on his head. "Where did I fail you?" I thought.

We arrived home and my mind continued to plan out how in the world I would now try to right this wrong, rewire a tiny sponge brain and change my child's certain errant path. I had to do it before it was too late, I had to work harder to instill empathy, compassion, respect and proper anatomy. I will have to speak to Tyler to get him on board, unless, heaven forbid! He was the culprit! Then we would have some words. Oh, man he would be in so much...

"Mama! BUTT!"

Landon came running over proudly showing me his tummy and pointing to the curious thing in the middle.


Belly Button.


Butt of course.


Let me step down from my high horse now to tell you what I learned from all of this:

1. I need to chill out. Seriously.

2. I need to stop projecting my own feelings and perspectives onto Landon and remember that he is only a toddler. Most of his thoughts currently revolve around cookies.

3. I still have a few more years before I really need to worry about what he learns and what he understands and even then it needs to revolve around organic discussions.

4. The most important thing I can do is not shove my own rhetoric in his face but rather create an open and honest atmosphere in our home that makes him feel comfortable asking questions and expressing his feelings.

5. I need to teach him how to say navel, immediately.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

L.I.T

Landon In Training
Um, excuse me? Do you have these in size Tiny?

In Puke Green?

 I'd also like some with pockets to hold my graham crackers.



While you're back there, look for a sippy cup camelbak too.

Don't be fooled by my Fonzi jacket.

I'm serious about hydration.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Whiners Unite!

I'll admit it. I'm a bit of a whiner. When things are bad, they are really, really bad. A hangnail will ruin my day. Okay, not really, but those suckers hurt!

One of the pitfalls about whining is that you invariably hear about someone who has it worse. And then, not only are you having a hard time but then you feel guilty about having a hard time. Which is hard.

But I do think it's important to get out of ourselves a little and remember that as difficult as something may be for us, someone else always has it harder.

For instance, you may have noticed me mentioning once or twice on here that my son was a terrible sleeper for about the first year (or you may have noticed my PTSD-like flashbacks whenever a conversation about infant sleep ensues).

But I was sincerely humbled when I interviewed a woman the other day whose daughter was born eight weeks premature. Even after she got home from the NICU, to ensure that their baby girl was still breathing with her underdeveloped lungs, the husband and wife had to take turns waking up ever half-hour to check her breathing. For the first few months.

Not only did I realize maybe Landon wasn't so bad after all, I was also immediately thankful that I had such a hard time with his sleep - because that meant that there was nothing more important than that that I had to worry about.

There are so many instances that I can point to like this. The fact that my husband's work schedule is ridiculous and sometimes we don't see him for days. Then I find out that my brother has had to travel for work extensively for the last couple of years, leaving my sister-in-law home alone with her three kids for weeks at a time. But then even she will say that she's at least grateful she's not a military wife.

Or Maria Hunte, whom I interviewed for a story about adoption for Columbus Parent Magazine. She opened her home to five teenaged girls so they could have a family. She now has six daughters - mostly teenagers. One has reactive attachment disorder. She wants to adopt more. She doesn't have many resources except those that come from her heart.

Suddenly my frustrations with my one toddler son didn't seem like such a big deal.

I don't mean to invalidate anyone's hardships. Nor do I advocate a cease-fire of the whine wars. I fully intend to continue whining. I deserve to continue whining. Why? Because pain is relative. What's hard for one person may be easy for another and vice versa.

But instead of seeing another's hardship and guilting ourselves for being a wuss (I'm really hoping it's not just me), I think that what we do need to do is take strength from others and what they go through.

"If she can do ______ then I can definitely do _______!"

If she can handle a child with a life-threatening condition, maybe I can think (THINK!!) about maybe possibly having another baby. Before I'm 60.

If she can be independent enough to be a single mom for weeks or months at a time, then I can figure out how to unclog the disposal by myself.

If she can open her heart to five kids that she don't share her blood then I guess I can still love Landon after he smears yogurt all over my freshly cleaned windows. And then draws on the cat. And then eats her food. Then throws it up.

Yes, I can do it. But don't worry - you'll hear about it later.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A California State of Mind

I'm back! Can you believe it? I know it's been awhile. I'll pause a couple minutes for the applause and celebratory cheering.


((Crickets))


What's that?


Yes, I was gone. For a few weeks actually. I'm sure you were just in too much of a post-holiday cookie coma to notice. That's totally understandable. I'm still in a bit of a fudge haze myself.


I know the perfect antidote.


Valentine's candy. I hear it works. Everyone's doing it.


Anyway! So maybe you'd like to hear about my trip. Well, I'll tell you anyway.


I was here:




Where people walk around dressed like this in January:

I was visiting a few of my favorite monkeys:


With Landon, who really got in the LA frame of mind:


I may have felt a little smug that while it was snowy and 7 degrees in Ohio, we were hanging out here:

Then I got sand in my pants and the smugness left.


Here's a few things that we saw-


These, on every woman, paired with spandex yoga pants:


Which was weird because it was 75 degrees. Seems gross if you think about it.


One of my favorite activities was to walk down Santa Monica Boulevard on friday night.


Here's what I did not see there:


Sheryl Crow or good people of the world washing their cars on their lunch breaks. Or Bill or Billy or Mac or Buddy.


Here is what we did see:


Mr. Animation (who apparently will be on America's Got Talent at the end of this month. At least I think that's what he said. 27 times.)


Mr. Animation was nothing if not a savvy business performer. He knew how to manipulate crowd dynamics with the precision of a gold human statue, making us all gather close around to attract other passersby and sending around his tip bag before the big finale. We gave him a tip for his persistence. 


But here's what I thought about Mr. Animation's performance:


Eh. 


It's been done. 


A little farther down the street we saw something else. Hold on to your silly bandz tweeners! It's the next incarnation of the Jonas Brothers.






Except with much less personality and much, much more anger at their parents for making them wear matching turtlenecks. 


Here's something I realized as we walked down the street watching the various street performers: 


There's a lot of mediocre talent in this world. 


Which is comforting for me. Moderation in all things, I say. 


Then we spent some more time hanging out here:


It's a hard life. 




So that was the gist of my trip. It's almost like you were there, huh? I'm sure I can find some sand somewhere in my shoes if you would like a memento. 


Or maybe we can get some pink Uggs. I hear they're cozy. 


Thanks to my awesome brother and sister in law and my super fun nephews and niece for showing us a great time! We miss you guys!




Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Parenting Tips of the Day

Tip #1: Every now and then, it's important to allow your child to have an illusion of control within your carefully constructed parameters. 


video

Tip #2: No need to waste precious quarters when perfectly good uncles are available. 



You're Welcome.