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Friday, December 12, 2008

Haiku Friday #12: Definitely Winter

Haiku Friday

It is official:
Winter has come and all the
Kids are sick this week

Yesterday we were
Supposed to have ten total;
Three were at home sick,

Two more went home by
Lunchtime, and that made for an
Easy day, but I'm

Afraid I'll get sick
Too; don't want to pass it to
My husband and son.

Not a great day yesterday -- it started out fine, since we were down to seven kids when the day started (we have three teachers in each classroom at any given time for the 12 to 24 month age group).

But I had morning diapers, and every kid save one pooped by 9:30 AM. One of which had really messy diarrhea. We had to change her whole outfit -- it was everywhere. A few hours later, she threw up all over herself, the floor, and my fellow teachers (I escaped it because I was changing another diaper at the time). Her parents were called but we didn't know when she'd be picked up, or by whom. She threw up again at the lunch table. Her mom ended up being the one to come for her, shortly after the second incident.

While this was going on, another girl in our class was developing a fever of about 101 degrees. She didn't get picked up until after I left for my lunch break at 1:15; all the kids were already asleep by then. Meanwhile, another (perfectly healthy) child had five poopy diapers before naptime. Not diarrhea, just a lot of poop.

So it was quite the morning. The afternoon was decidedly quieter -- all the kids slept longer than usual, since there were fewer of them to wake each other up when they stirred. Our 7 AM to 3 PM teacher left early, as did I. Unfortunately, the kids who get picked up later (around 6) weren't the ones who were out (please don't misunderstand me here -- I don't want any of the kids to be sick, but I felt bad for the teachers that were there until closing time).

I washed my hands and used sanitizer all day -- I do not need to get sick. If I got sick, I would either be stuck at home with a healthy, active baby toddler, or I'd pass the germs to the boy and his daddy, in which case when I got home from work on Monday I'd be healthy but stuck with a sick husband and son. And you know how dramatic boys are when they're sick.

Better go get a good-luck charm to hang on my front door to ward off all the germs. . . .

For more Haiku, visit A Mommy Story.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Yeah, I know -- it's Tuesday, but I felt like this was a cool enough weekend to write about. Sunday night I was busy writing the PBN post (at the last minute, as usual), and yesterday I didn't have time to write a well-thought-out post, so I just put up the meme. Sorry folks, my life outside this blog is pretty busy.

Anyway, Friday was my son's actual birth-day. As a special birthday treat, my husband brought him to the center just before lunch, where we we were having a school assembly for Shabbat with Marc, the musician who performs every Friday. This week, parents were invited to come for the assembly as well, so I thought it might be fun for my son to come. Not to mention, Clifford the Big Red Dog was the special guest. That night, we went over to my mom's house for pizza, cake, and presents from her, my dad, and my sister. Oh, and my sister taught the baby to say, "Ho, ho, ho!"

Saturday dawned bright and snowy. I was running late, but I was even more so because of the weather. Fortunately, I wasn't the only one. I got ready for the day, picked up the cake, and headed over to my parents' church. We had the party in the basement, where the kids have Sunday school every week. My mom bought some mylar balloons and I put up crepe paper. My dad helped me move the tables and chairs and set up tablecloths, the food table, and the gift table.

Almost everyone was late. But things slowly got moving, and we had a pretty typical party: food, cake and ice cream, gifts, mingling. We went to Giant Eagle for the cake, and it was a pretty decent price, and fantastic white cake (I like theirs better than others, and better than their chocolate: the white cake is almond-flavored). Plus, when you purchase a birthday cake for a child's first birthday there, they give you a free "smash cake", a 5-inch confection just for sinking a baby's face into. I have to say though (and this may be typical of any place you purchase birthday cakes from), we didn't get the plastic Winnie the Pooh toy. They wanted an additional $8 for it, but at least they told us about it when we ordered it, and gave us the option of not buying it.

Adam didn't seem to care for the cake too much -- but he loved the icing. Ice cream too, although I don't know which he liked better, since my mom was feeding him while I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. My sister and I then cleaned him off, which took some doing, since we weren't at home where we could just plop him in the tub.

Then we opened gifts, which I think may have frustrated him. We helped him out to move it along, and every time he got a good look at a toy and decided to try to play with it through the packaging, my husband would whisk it away. He got a few clothing items, but mostly toys, which was actually a good thing. We had kind of a lack of age-appropriate toys here at home, even though Grandma's house was stocked with a toy basket full of goodies.

A little conversation later, and most all the guests started helping to clean up and leaving. My in-laws came back to our place to hang out just a little longer since they spent about 3 1/2 hours driving here and about 2 hours actually at the party. Shortly after they left I fell asleep on the living room floor, watching Adam play with his new toys.

Sunday my parents cut down their Christmas tree and we went over to help them decorate it. The baby really liked the ornaments, and got mad when we wouldn't let him touch the glass ones. We spent the rest of the day relaxing.

Anyone else have a good weekend? Bad weekend? Any feelings about the weekend at all?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Sweetheart Tag

From my high school friend's blog.

She posted a picture of hers, so here's mine

Here's how it works: Each person answers questions about their sweethearts. At the end of the post, the person then tags 6 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them comments, letting them know they have been tagged.

1. What is your husband's name? Brandon John Keller
2. How long have you guys been married? 18 months (548 days)
3. How long did you date? We dated for 2 years and 10 months (or 8... see below) before we got engaged, and got married 2 1/2 months later
4. How old is he? 26
5. Who is taller? Brandon
6. Who can sing best? I could answer that if he ever sang for me... I'll have to say me since I don't know.
7. Who is smarter? I say him. He says me. We're probably evenly matched.
8. Who does laundry? Me
9. Who pays the bills? Me
10. Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? Me. I've always slept on the right side of the bed, even when I lived with my parents.
11. Who mows the lawn? When we have a house, we'll probably split it. Except the push mower. He can do that. I'll ride, thanks.
12. Who cooks dinner? Him. He always knows how to spice a dish to make it better. I cook a kick-ass breakfast, though.
13. Who is the first to admit when they are wrong? Usually him.
14. Who kissed who first? He kissed me first. I didn't kiss him back until 2 months later, after we had broken up and gotten back together.
15. Who wears the pants? Me! No, not always. I sometimes give him a turn.

If you read my blog, consider yourself tagged. :) It's not required, but it could be fun. Oh, and if you're not married, feel free to delete questions about marriage and change the words so it applies to you and your significant other. You don't have to be a Mrs. to have a sweetheart!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Wanna Play Again?

Tradition! The holidays are full of it, and my family is no exception. In fact, my dad is probably more a proponent of it than most fathers. He merrily sings the opening song from Fiddler on the Roof and does a little dance any time we ask why he does, well, pretty much anything around the holidays.

We had many holiday parties with both sides of my family when I was younger. Most of the ones my parents hosted were for my dad's side, although my mom's family occasionally came over. But my mom tried to avoid that so she wouldn't have to stress out about my irresponsible cousins and their rambunctious children.

Most of the family events with my dad's family that I can remember at our house were summer cookout holidays, because my in-town aunt usually did Christmas. But even at the handful of fall/winter holidays that we hosted, dinner (and in the case of Christmas, presents!) was always followed by games.

Every family holiday gathering ended with my dad, my aunts, and my grandpa playing Cribbage. And attempting to explain it to my sister and me as kids. Every holiday my dad would try to explain it, we'd mostly understand, and until the next holiday we'd forget it again. To this day the only thing I remember is how to keep score.

It's been almost nine years since my grandfather died. I haven't seen anyone in my family take out the Cribbage set yet. Now our only playful tradition is working jigsaw puzzles during Christmas break.

My mom is a retired teacher and part-time tutor, so she always had a good, long Christmas break that coincided with mine while I was in school. We all loved puzzles, my mom probably the most of all, although I love it just about as much as she does now. My dad would get each of us (my mom, sister, and me) at least one puzzle, sometimes two, and all three of us would spend Christmas day in our pajamas, folding card table in the family room in front of the TV, and work puzzles all day while watching our favorite Christmas movies.

Now that I have my own family, we're still establishing our traditions. My son received more toys than anything else for his first birthday, so I'll bet at least some of ours will be centered around playing!

What are your family traditions? Does your family play any board games, card games, role-playing games, video games, or any games at all? Blog about it at PBN to win some awesome video games from Electronic Arts. Hurry! Contest ends at midnight.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Haiku Friday #11: One Year

Haiku Friday

One year old today
I can barely believe it
He's getting so big

Last December fifth
At two thirty-five P. M.,
He made his entrance

Almost seven pounds
Nineteen and a quarter inch
He did not start small

Now he's much bigger:
Thirty inches and almost
Twenty-four whole pounds

No longer nursing
He drinks milk from a sippy cup
And eats table food

Still "army crawling"
He doesn't pull himself up
He's not walking yet.

But he waves hello
And goodbye, and points at things
He even says, "Hi!"

One year old today
My baby's growing so fast
What will two be like?

OMG, I can't believe it! It's my son's birthday today. I've been reminiscing for a few weeks about the events that happened 365 days ago. My little baby boy is more like a toddler now.

So much has changed lately! We're completely done with breastfeeding as of 2 weeks ago (yay!), he is sleeping all night in his crib now -- most nights for 11 hours! -- and he's pointing, waving, and experimenting with words, like "cat", "hi", and "buh-bye", and sounds like "meow", "rawr", and "hoo hoo hoo" (like a monkey -- that's his favorite).

He's drinking whole milk out of a sippy cup that he sometimes holds by himself, and eating table food. He loves Gerber Puffs, Cheerios, and cheese. He's a big boy. *sniff*

Happy birthday, baby!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday Realities

Another Thanksgiving come and gone. I was thankful for the 24-hour break between feasts, especially with the added perk of helping an infant feed himself this year -- all I had to worry about last year was third-trimester heartburn.

But it was a great extended weekend, overall. We ended up not going to Mass on Thursday, as I was feeling sick and actually spent most of the day on the couch. Dinner wasn't until a little after 5 o'clock -- we had to wait for my sister's boyfriend. He was supposed to be there sooner, but he was hunting. Seriously? Nothing against hunting or anything, but we were all sitting down at the table, ready to start eating at least 10 minutes before he decided to grace us with his presence.

My son made everybody laugh, first by offering my husband some of his mashed potato-cranberry mess, and later when he had two pieces of turkey sticking out of his mouth and my grandmother said he looked like a walrus. My dad then responded by mimicking the Sesame Street character The Count: "One, two, turkey bits! Ah! Ah! Ah!"

Friday morning we slept in and ended up leaving for Cincinnati around 11:30. The baby slept the whole way there. We spent the afternoon hanging out with my father-in-law, who was installing his new stereo system for his gigundus flat-screen, hi-def tv. My husband's grandmother cooked the dinner, which was wonderful, of course. She -- and her whole family -- is from New Orleans, and she used to teach culinary arts. I relish any opportunity to eat at her house. Cousin Jody entertained the two little ones (mine and his cousin Zoe) with a laser pointer while the adults had after-dinner drinks.

Saturday we spent with some friends we went to college with. They took us out to lunch and talked about her dad's refusal to pay for their modest wedding and his mom's insistence on including items such as lavish centerpieces for their reception. We caught up on local gossip. At six we went to Cousin Jared's engagement party. It was great -- everything I would have wanted, had it been mine. Well, maybe minus the kids. My son, his cousin, and my brother-in-law's daughter were all there and under the age of three (my brother-in-law's "daughter" is actually his girlfriend's daughter, whom he was caring for while she was at work). And there was a pregnant couple there -- but that's a bit different. Jared asked me if I had any advice for them. I said, "Be prepared for anything." I couldn't think of anything wiser or more eloquent at the time. I should have said, "Get a Pack 'N' Play." That thing would have saved us so much grief when we tried to put the baby down for naps in strange beds this weekend.

Sunday we watched Star Wars: Episode III and the Bengals game (yikes). My father-in-law sent us home with his grandmother's Christmas tree and our tray-table set that we apparently forgot to move out of his basement with all the moving we've done over the past few years.

All in all, it was a great weekend. Very festive and fun. The single worst part was going home with all the traffic and torrential rain to several piles of laundry. But we made it a bit better by listening to "The 12 Pains of Christmas".

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Holiday Plans

Ah, Thanksgiving: the time of year when we stuff ourselves fit to burst, pass out in front of the television, and then wake up at 3:45 AM to get that great deal on a new vacuum cleaner. All while avoiding Aunt Margie's smothering hug or cheek-pinching icicle fingers.

Most years since my husband and I have been together, we've attempted to have Thanksgiving dinner with both families -- mine, in Columbus, and his, in Cincinnati (for those of you who aren't from around here, they are about a two hours' drive apart). And every year, our families have set dinner for the same time or an hour apart. I was mad: at my husband because we always ate dinner with his family first (and therefore ate more with them), and at my mom for not working out a different time for ours -- seeing as it was at our house.

Last year I was on bedrest and we lived in Boston. One of my husband's friends from BU was kind enough to invite us over for dinner. Her husband was a great cook, and they would have been alone for the holiday too, if not for us. They had a car and came to pick us up so I wouldn't violate my bedrest orders.

This year will be a little different. We'll attend Thanksgiving Mass, since we'll be out of town on Sunday. Dinner today will be at my parents' house, and it will be small, as it's been since my grandmother stopped hosting due to my unruly cousins. My mom, dad and grandma (maternal) will be there, as well as my sister and her boyfriend (who will have eaten at his house already -- my mom is so mad). My dad's sister and her husband will be there, and of course my husband, son, and I will too. And that's it.

Tomorrow we'll drive to Cincinnati and have Thanksgiving dinner at my grandma-in-law's house. She's been talking about doing a Friday dinner for a few years, so all her children can see their in-laws on Thanksgiving day. This year, she's going with it. We expect to see my father-in-law, his fiancee, her six-year-old from her previous marriage, my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and at least two of their aunts and their families (the third lives in New York).

Then on Saturday, we'll meet up with a couple friends of ours in the area, since we haven't seen them in about six months. That evening, my husband's cousin will be having an engagement party. It was supposed to be Labor Day weekend, but he got called back to New Orleans because of the hurricane. He's a firefighter, and he lives there now, since he went to Tulane for school.

Overall, it should be really busy but a great time. Yay for food!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

"Whaddaya Say, Ya Wanna Play?"

My husband and I spend what is probably an inordinate amount of time in front of the television. We don't not let the baby watch TV, but we don't put on anything specifically for him, since he doesn't understand it yet. Well, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends waiting until your child is 2 years of age to let them watch. But the AAP also says not to cosleep with your child or put him to sleep on his belly before the age of 1 year, and I'm guilty of both.

We don't always agree on what to watch, either. We have a few shows we're both addicted to: Heroes, Eureka, Smallville . . . oh, and we love Mythbusters, too. Everything else is hit or miss. I like Project Runway, my husband prefers Top Chef. He loves to watch Deadliest Catch -- which I hate -- and I can't get enough of my guilty pleasure, What Not to Wear (and of course he can't stand that).

But one we do agree on is Cash Cab. He doesn't care for Jeopardy quite the way I do -- which is weird, because the shows aren't all that different. We're both pretty good at trivia, and fiercely competitive. You probably don't want to team up against us in Trivial Pursuit.

Ben Bailey's show was a hit with us from the very beginning. The questions are a little less intellectual than on Jeopardy, and a bit more general knowledge and pop-culture based -- although there is the occasional brain buster. And we love the Red Light Challenge questions! When we went to New York to visit my aunt-in-law, we secretly hoped we'd pick the Cash Cab one time. But it wasn't to be.

What's your favorite game show (or shows)? Head over to Parent Bloggers Network to read about some you may love, hate, or have forgotten about entirely. Then read about's Arm Chair Holiday Shopping Sweep. They have lots of great kids' products, and their sweep includes five free items around the site that you can get with any purchased item. Start your holiday shopping early!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Haiku Friday #10: Mommy Guilt

Haiku Friday

Lately on Twitter
I've followed momversation
A panel of moms

Who famously blog
Discussing certain issues
Important to us.

Mommy guilt over working
I also feel it.

Momversation is an interactive vlog between several bloggers from their panel of fairly well-known mommy bloggers. Selected bloggers discuss momversation's topic of the week, which is usually related to parenting and always provocative.

Their most recent discussion really resonated with me: mommy guilt over working. I spent the first nine months of my son's life as a stay-at-home mom while my husband worked at whatever substitute teaching jobs he could find. In that time, he was unable to find any permanent job a contracted position, so he went back to school to get a teaching certificate. Apparently a Master's degree in Education and a Bachelor's in English Lit do not qualify a person to teach English, either at the high school level or as an adjunct professor at the college level -- even community colleges.

With him back in school, I had to get a full-time job just to keep us afloat -- and some months, even buoyancy seems impossible. I'm sure many of you are familiar with this situation. So I applied at a few preschools and day care centers in the area, figuring that as an employee, I would have an easier time getting my son into one, and also would probably receive a tuition discount.

So here I am, working 40 hours a week with other people's kids, rather than being with my own son -- out of necessity, yes, but it's still enough to make me wish I was helping him grow and learn, and witnessing his milestones, not theirs.

Sometimes I wish that I could work from home, that I was brilliant enough to start my own little Etsy shop or something. But from what I hear from work-at-home moms (and dads) is that the guilt is still there -- and it's even harder to get work done, so they often feel like they fall short in both categories.

Here's the good news: I have recently learned of an open spot in one of the infant/toddler classrooms that he will be able to take. All we have to do is fill out the paperwork and get everything set up for him to go. This is such a weight off of my mind. Next semester, my husband will be student teaching, and if there wasn't a spot for my son I would have to quit, just when we're starting to become a little more financially stable. I'd exhausted all my other child care options, too. This is it.

So I'm super excited (and relieved) that he'll be coming to school with me. My mom will still watch him on Mondays and Fridays, since they could only guarantee me a part-time spot for him. But that's okay for now, because she doesn't work those days. I've got daughter guilt about this one, though. I hate that I'll now be bogarting two days every week out of my mom's schedule.

The lesson here? You do what you can with what you've got. And you forgive yourself for needing help. You forgive yourself for needing to work and being away from your kids.

What about you? Any moms or dads feeling the guilt out there? If you don't have kids, do you feel guilty about working for other reasons? Or do you feel guilty about something else entirely? Leave a comment. I'd love to hear what everyone feels about this.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Love, Not H8

This past Saturday afternoon, my husband and I went to a protest of California's passage of Proposition 8 -- for those who haven't heard, Prop 8 is a ban on gay marriage. A lot of money from religious conservatives went into advertising for it. Since it was passed, there have been protests everywhere.

Saturday was no exception: it was a national effort to get the voices of GLBTQ (Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transsexuals, and Queers) and supporters heard. Just in the state of Ohio, protests were held here in Columbus, in Cleveland, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Dayton.

Usually we go to my mom's house to watch the Buckeye football game on Saturdays, but last week we dropped my son off there to see his aunt, grandmas, and grandpa, and we went downtown, umbrellas in hand. It was cold, and wet, and as we left my mom's house I was sure we were going to have a miserable time.

I couldn't have been more wrong. At first, we just felt cold and wet, unable to hear much or see anything over the crowd. But we saw some cool posters, and as people moved around, we moved closer and closer to the front and actually heard people talking on the loudspearker. Cars honked in support as they passed, the crowd cheered, and we ended up lending one of our umbrellas to a couple that had no hats or hoods. We got into conversation with a few different people.

All in all, I'm really glad we went. I'm also glad we didn't take the baby -- he would have hated the weather, and with me bringing home germs from the preschool on a weekly basis anyway, he didn't need the extra opportunity to get sick. But it felt good to stand up for something I believe in -- I haven't done that (outside of the Obama rally in town a few weeks ago) since 2003, when the dining hall employees went a strike at my college.

I don't usually talk too much about politics on this blog, and I intend to keep it that way. I will say my piece, and be done with it. This country was founded on certain beliefs, two of which come into play here: first, the separation of church and state. Marriage is both a religious and a political event, but for the purposes of legality, it is only a civil affair. It is a declaration of two (or more -- I'm not polygamous, but it's none of my business if anyone else is) people to join their lives together -- to have the same insurance, file taxes together, see each other in the hospital, and have the ability to inherit from one another in the case of a passing.

Secondly, the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. We are talking about Constitutional rights that have been violated and taken away from other human beings. I am in a heterosexual marriage, but I still support the rights of other human beings to decide for themselves what they believe, to decide whether or not they want to marry, and if so, who they want to marry. My marriage is not threatened by any other marriage.

Whether homosexuality is right or wrong, taking away fundamental rights is wrong.

Playing With String

One of the facets of my geekdom is my involvement in the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA. Although I've been somewhat less active since I moved away from the group I started with, and certainly since the baby was born, it's still something I enjoy -- partly because there is so much to do within the Society.

Most of the activities I participated in involved "playing with string": knitting, embroidery, weaving, and different ways of braiding to make cords. I also crochet, but that's not strictly within the SCA guidelines because it was done after 1600 AD.

These skills really came in handy a few years ago, when I had no money (student loans are great until you run out of the leftovers at the end of the semester). I made hats and scarves for everyone on my gift list -- I got so good at the crocheted ones that by Christmas, I could make one, start to finish, in under two hours. While watching a holiday tv special.

I will more than likely be racking the right side of my brain again this year, with the exception for the gift exchange at my best friend's house. It's hard to know what to make for someone when you don't know who will be receiving it.

So tonight I'm finishing up this post so I can win a prize from Klutz -- anyone remember them? They make activity books for kids, including art and craft books. I'm always looking for fun craft ideas for the kids at my preschool, and then when my son gets a little older I'll share the books with him.

Plus, Parent Bloggers Network has teamed up with Klutz to get you free shipping when you order $50 or more through the link on this post. You also get a free copy of their award-winning Activity Book. That's a $14.95 book for free, people!

Anyone else planning on going the DIY route this year? Leave me a comment and tell me about your favorite homemade gifts -- given or received.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Haiku Friday #9:Teacher Drama

Haiku Friday

Teaching preschool is
A fun job: the hours are good,
The kids are awesome!

But sometimes there is
"Teacher drama" -- teachers who
Don't get along well.

The other teachers
In my room were so proud: no
Teacher drama here!

Other classrooms have
Problems: teachers switch rooms to
Avoid coworkers.

I almost counted
Myself in their number 'till
A few weeks ago

One teacher in my
Room and I clashed a bit
But things are good now.

But in the next room
There is a new teacher as
Of Thursday morning.

*Deb was moved to a
Different room because of
An old injury.

She can't lift babies
To change diapers, so she was
Moved against her will

She wanted to work
With older kids but now she
Must work fewer hours

Man, this sucks. If you follow me on Twitter, you may remember my mention of a certain passive-aggressive coworker. Well, it took a few weeks, but we settled into a routine, go to know each other a little better, and now our classroom is drama-free once again. Apparently she told the third teacher in our room about me, "I know she must hate me," which is exactly what I said -- I thought she hated me too. Funny world.

But things are not hunky-dory with the class next door, whom we share some of our activities with. "Deb" used to work with 4-year-olds and for some reason they had her in an infant-toddler room this year. Which was stupid, because she has a weight restriction of 10 pounds because of back problems. So she's been having a lot of pain and needing to call off work because they have her in there, changing diapers -- lifting kids up to a changing table who weigh as much as 30 pounds.

So I was glad, if somewhat surprised, to hear that she was in an older room starting yesterday. Until I heard she wasn't given a choice, and was forced into a part-time position so the school doesn't have to pay workers' comp (I am a little confused about this part, since our preschool is one of the few places of employment still hiring people, rather than laying them off). Sigh.

If you can spare a few minutes, send some good prayers/thoughts/mojo her way. She and her husband are still paying off their mortgage and can't afford the pay cut.

*This person's name has been changed to protect her identity and her personal pride.

If you'd like to participate in Haiku Friday today, write your own haiku on your blog, visit A Mommy Story to grab that pretty button, and sign her Mr. Linky so you can read more haiku (and get yours read, too!).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Boob Talk

A few months ago, I mentioned that I was trying to start weaning my son. Well, here we are, it's nearly mid-November, and I'm still trying. This is seriously getting old.

Once I decided to stop taking the breast pump to work, neither Adam nor I had a problem with skipping over the hours of 8 to 6 during the week. The weekends -- or my days off when the center was closed for Jewish holidays -- were are another story altogether. If we were at home with no company, Adam noticed that I wasn't nursing him; if we went somewhere else or there were other people around, he was sufficiently distracted. He doesn't seem to mind whether he's drinking breastmilk, formula, or juice, and he doesn't even mind the sippy cup (he refuses bottles of any kind; he must think we're trying to trick him into taking a nipple other than these two). He just misses the sucking, the comfort, the bonding.

At this point, I'm pretty much down to two feedings a day: once when I get home from work, when he's super needy, and once when I put him to bed for about five minutes before I switch him to the pacifier and pat his back until he's asleep (actually doesn't take that long anymore -- and I'll tackle the issues of him falling asleep on his own and in his crib when I get to them).

It's taken this long and still isn't there yet for one simple reason: I'm working full-time. Yes, that's the reason I was actually able to start, since I'm away from him for 10 hours every day. But because I work, I've just been too tired to figure out when I can push feedings back gradually to eventually cut them out -- let alone actually implementing that.

I'm kind of stuck here at the two, but I'm trying. Yesterday I had a painful clogged milk duct at work and was looking for a kind of hot pad to massage it with, and a coworker advised me to get cabbage leaves. Apparently since they're already a nice cupped shape, you just stick them in your bra, and they dry up your milk pretty quickly. So I asked Brandon to pick up a head of cabbage at the store. I'll let you know how it goes.

You may wonder why I want to wean my son, if I've breastfed him for this long. I didn't even mind when he started teething, getting those two little pearly whites on his bottom jaw. He bit me accidentally a few times before his medicine kicked in and he was in too much pain to latch properly. But it wasn't a habit. Well, now that he's got four more teeth on the top as well, it hurts almost every time. He's just so eager to nurse, he sucks really hard and his teeth can't help but get in the way and I end up with bite marks on my precious boobs. Ow. That, and he's also been pinching them when he wants to nurse, or outstretching his hands and saying, "Mamamamam" -- I can thank my mother for teaching him to say that.

Guess it beats "mommy's numnums" or "me eat". I don't think I could nurse this boy to toddlerhood, and I heartily applaud anyone who is brave enough to complete such a journey. Actually, I got the same kudos from that same coworker who recommended the cabbage leaves. She went back to work quite a bit earlier than I did, though. She had this job to come back to; I had to find it and spent a few months doing so.

Ah well. I'll keep everyone posted.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Haiku Friday #8: We Have Some Catching Up To Do...

Haiku Friday

It's been sev'ral weeks
Since I participated
In Haiku Friday

Furthermore, I have
Neglected to post in this
Blog since last Sunday.

Since November first,
I have been spending much time
On NaNoWriMo.

National Novel
Writing Month happens ev'ry
Year: each November

Hundreds of thousands
Of prospective writers try
To write for a month

Fifty thousand words
Of fiction in thirty days
Is a lofty goal.

Okay, seriously, folks. It's 1 AM and my brain hurts. Six stanzas of haiku is plenty, considering I still have quite a bit to say.

So, yeah, I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year. I made a pathetic attempt last year while I was pregnant and on bedrest. Pathetic because I didn't get very far, considering how much time I had on my hands. It's funny how boredom can cause you to feel apathetic about doing something so you don't feel bored. Ironic, that.

NaNoWriMo, briefly, is an annual contest of sorts in which many, many psychotic people aspiring writers set out to achieve that elusive goal that never seems to make it to the top of the priority list: write a novel. The twist? Do it in 30 days. Fifty thousand words in thirty days. That's about 1,667 words per day -- which takes me about 2 hours if I'm concentrating hard and the ideas flow freely.

Last year I logged a total of a whopping 324 words. This year, with an 11-month-old, a full-time job, and a blog, I have written about 2750 or so. You just can't say I don't work well under pressure. Of course, that's far from the goal for winning NaNoWriMo. Anyone who writes a 50,000-word (or more) novel within the time frame is a winner. Everyone who signs up and writes at least one word is a participant. My personal goal this year is to write at least a little bit every day. So far, I've achieved that. I think it's a good start to make myself a bit more disciplined. And easier to work around than the 10,002 words I should have already.

There's also NaBloPoMo, the blogging equivalent (also probably a bit easier) which of course I didn't find out about until the 2nd, and what's the point if you don't do it for the whole month?

In other news, I finished my son's Halloween costume, mostly. I didn't do the red underwear-looking thing that Superman wears over his pants. But he had the blue, the S, the cape, the yellow belt, and red socks, rather than boots. We also went to the pumpkin farm for our jack-o-lanterns last Sunday. I'll post pictures of both of these events soon.

Work's been a bit rough, not because it's preschool, and that many kids will wear anyone out, but because of the "teacher drama". Somehow I thought that it wasn't going to happen, but I'm apparently not immune. And I didn't think anything was wrong until I was confronted . . . but that's another story for another day.

Off to bed so I don't drink my weight in caffeinated beverages at school tomorrow. Happy Friday, everyone! It's good to be back!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Everybody Wants to Be a Cat

Lately I've been missing my cat -- or to be more precise, my sister's cat. Charlene died in March this year while my parents were in the Dominican Republic celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary.

We've always been cat people: my parents had two cats in the earlier stages of their relationship, Ginger and Twinkle (Ginger, the black "mutt" type, was so named because she and her brother Fred used to "dance," like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers). They also had a German shepherd named Heidi who was of less-than-average intelligence, even for a dog. She died before I was around, having eaten a raw chicken.

Since then, my parents have been cats-only, and my sister and I grew up with cats. Twinkle, the sweet, older-than-dirt seal point Siamese, was fairly tolerant of us as kids. Ginger hated us (well, we were kids; we wanted to hold and pet). They both passed when we were 7-8 and 5-6. Twinkle was 21.

Charlene and Snowpaws were giveaway kittens from my dad's route (he worked for the post office, delivering mail until he retired almost 5 years ago) -- someone who didn't spay their female cat. So my dad brought two replacement cats home in a cardboard box: Charlene, a skinny black cat who clearly had tiger stripes when she sat in the sun, and Snowpaws, her black-with-white-chest-and-feet, Maine Coon-looking brother. Snowpaws ran away after about three years. We put up signs and hoped and prayed, but eventually figured someone else was feeding him, because he never came back.

A few years later we got a chocolate-point apple-head Siamese, Coco Puff. Appleheads, as you can see from the photo, are built more like typical American Shorthairs, not super-skinny with angular features like wedgehead Siamese cats -- that's what Twinkle was.

So Sara and I grew up with mainly Charlene and Coco, who (like many cats) loved to sit in the windows. Even when it was cold, they still sat on the backs of chairs to get a good look at what was going on outside -- especially at the living room window in front. Charlene loved that window, and would sit there every year during Beggars' Night. It was really uncanny.

Once I moved out and into an apartment of my own with my (now) husband, I got cats of my own, Trouble and Tiger (you can probably guess what he looks like; I'll just say he's orange rather than grey). Adam even loves them. Well, really, he loves all kitties. He gets excited every time he sees one, even if it's ours that he sees every day.

But I've still come home to my childhood cats and they're still my cats. I even think of my sister-in-law's cat as somewhat my cat, because the in-laws are my family now too, and family cats belong to everyone in the family. Plus, Griffin loves me. (Then again, so do most of the strays in the neighborhood -- we have a ton of those. Must just be my animal magnetism. That and my secret desire to adopt them all.)

After Adam was born, I didn't cry much. I cried all the time when I was pregnant, and really I cried a lot even before that. I suffer from chronic clinical depression, and I've been on and off of medications for the past seven years. But somehow, after we brought the baby home from the hospital, I only expressed negative feelings with anger and frustration; I never cried. So when Charlene died, my sister cried for a whole week. Me? I cried when I found out that she died in her sleep. But then I didn't cry again. Not until I read a really sad blog.

Now Halloween is drawing closer once again. I've been thinking about how for 15 years, Charlene sat in that window, and I bragged to my friends that I had a cat content enough to be part of the decorations. I love my current cats, of course.

But I still miss my kitty.

This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by Burger King Corp. If you'd like to participate (and be entered for a chance to win a $250 VISA gift card!), write your own post about your pets by midnight tonight (Pacific Time). Click on the PBN link above for details.

Also, sorry for the depressing nature of this particular post. I promise my next post will be lighter.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Busy Weekend

...but still good.

Thursday night (yeah, I know; not exactly the weekend, but I promise it's related): After work I went straight to my (mostly) weekly therapy session. I think the therapy is helping, but I really need to get in with a family doctor to get back on antidepressants. I say "a" doctor because I still technically don't have one, exactly. Since we moved back to Ohio, we've searched for a doctor closer than 30 minutes away that takes our insurance. Until a few weeks ago, we had been unable to find one -- in 7 months, people! Now I'm just waiting for the insurance company to send me a new card: the doctor we found won't schedule an appointment with anyone until her name is on the insurance card, which of course takes 7 to 10 business days to get changed... blah blah blah. Crossing my fingers that the card comes soon.

After therapy I picked up my son and we went to JoAnn Fabrics. Brandon and I had been talking about what he would be for Halloween since last Halloween: Superman. We considered all the superheroes (we're geeks, remember?), and we settled on Superman (or -baby, as the case may be) because he doesn't wear any kind of mask or hat-type thing. Babies hate things on their head, so it's perfect, right? I wasn't sure whether to sew or buy, since I found a really cheap one online, but he was kinda in between the infant and toddler sizes. So I will sew. And I have since decided that I must be a crazy person little ambitious -- Halloween seems a lot closer from this side of the weekend. It's happened before. It'll probably happen again.

Friday afternoon Brandon got a call from Aaron and Christina, who wanted to know if we would like to go see Celtic Thunder Sunday night. An hour later, my sister-in-law Abby called about possibly visiting this weekend and offering to babysit so we could have a date. Amazing how things come together like that.

Saturday Brandon went to pick up Abby from OU (she's in her first freshman quarter there) while Adam and I picked up the house. Or rather, I tried to clean and simultaneously tried to keep Adam out of the cat food. Since he's discovered his mobility, he likes to dump their food bowl onto the floor. Sigh. At least he doesn't eat it.

We went to my mom's house for the OSU game as usual. Abby, Adam, and I fell asleep. After the game we went to Target so Abby could get some new clothes for school. It was really nice to get out of the house and not go to the grocery store, work, or a movie. Plus, Brandon and I got to play "personal stylist," which we love. We love to watch Project Runway, I like What Not to Wear on occasion, and we enjoyed both Queer Eye for a Straight Guy and How to Look Good Naked while they were on. But we don't have much money, so we like to shop for other people, like our sisters.

I worked on Adam's costume a little over both Saturday and Sunday. So far, I've cut out the pieces for the "S," the onesie, the cape, and half the pants. Still have the other leg of the pants, the red underwear thing, and the belt to cut out. Then sew it all. I may or may not do the additional yellow "S" on the cape. We'll see how much time I have. I'm definitely not sewing boots -- Abby bought him a pair of red socks.

Sunday we watched the Bengals game, I did a ton of laundry, and Abby looked for some poster- board and her own Halloween costume. Then Brandon and I went to Aaron and Christina's house before the show.

We took one car to save on gas and parking, had a nice, brief dinner, and went to the Schottenstein Center for the show. Parking turned out to be free (the tickets were, too, but we knew about that -- Christina knows someone who got us the tickets), but the seats were kinda tiny and the auditorium was really warm and stuffy. Other than that, it was fantastic!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Celtic Thunder, they are an all-male, 5-piece Irish band with a wide range of ages (16 to 41), tones of voice, and singing styles. They are accompanied by a slew of very talented instrumentalists, as well. You may have seen their show on PBS. They are all excellent performers -- they sing with choreography, although the singing is much better by far. My husband's only complaint about the show is that most of the music isn't Irish. I didn't mind so much -- men that sing well are HOT. (My husband knows I think this, and he knows I like his singing. So why doesn't he sing very much?)

Today it was back to work for me, and as well as I've handled being away from the baby so far, the first thing I thought this morning when I got there was how much I missed him.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Still Alive

...even considering this is my first job in a day care setting and I have the plague that just won't end.

At first it wasn't so bad. Yeah, I spent my first weekend with the flu. But I seemed to make it through the rest of my first month at the JCC preschool unscathed.

And then last Monday I woke up with pinkeye. Woohoo. I felt okay other than that, but as the day wore on, I felt pretty tired and my nose was a little stuffy. No biggie; I just figured the abrupt changes in the weather were responsible and I'd be fine after getting some rest.

Ohhhh no. It was a full-blown, knock-me-down, double-whammy cold and sinus infection. Runny nose, stuffy nose, headaches, toothaches, coughing, losing my voice -- all week long. I'm still not 100 percent yet: my voice is still a little raspy, and my nose is still clogged a bit. And of course I bring everything home with me -- my husband, son, and mother all got the cold/sinus infection. Fortunately none of them got the pinkeye.

So I've been trying to get better and still manage to be a mommy. Still haven't quite got it down yet.

Despite Adam sneezing what my husband called "snot rockets" for a few days, he managed to complete some milestones:

  • He has two more teeth coming in (he got the bottom front two, oh, around 6 or 7 months, then nothing until a few weeks ago -- the two outside top incisors started coming; now it's the two in the top middle).
  • He (maybe?) said his first word, I think: "meow" -- we have cats, both sets of grandparents have a cat, and he loves basically any cat he sees; he gets all excited and squeals usually, but my parents' rather vocal Siamese was meowing last week while Adam was at their house and we heard Adam make a high-pitched kinda "mew".
  • He's started waving bye-bye, although as yet only to my parents, and he needs a little help to get started, but then you let go of his hand and he does it on his own.
  • He's crawling scooting froggy swimming now! He pushes with his hands and feet while still laying on his belly to propel himself forward on the carpet. He's fast, too! I was surprised at how quickly he got from one end of the room to the other, considering he's not actually crawling -- which he can get into the position for, but can't really move from there.
Yay! My baby's growing up. No, I'm not sad. Yes, I'll have to get on that purchasing of the baby gate thing, but I'm proud, and I don't regret anything except that I haven't spent much time cleaning around here yet.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Music Therapy

As previously mentioned, I am somewhat of a musician. I used to be more than that: in high school -- my busiest and most productive musical years, I was still taking piano lessons (which I ended up taking for a total of 13 years), I was in marching/concert band, pep band, and choir, and in my free time, I was teaching myself to play acoustic guitar, singing in the shower, and writing music of the sappy love song variety. A career in music was once the only kind of career I considered. More than anything, I wanted to be famous someday.

But then I went off to college and things changed. I sang in women's chorus (this picture was taken after our Christmas concert -- that's me, my grandmother, and my sister Sara), wrote one song, even played guitar in front of my theatre class for our stage fright project. But I never really immersed myself in it the way I had since I was too young to know better, and for the same reason I eventually left school, I left that part of my life -- maybe for good.

I have suffered from depression since I was 17. Back then I was able to combat it, or at least distract myself from it, with my hobby. When I graduated, I had no more busy schedule, no more routine, no more order. I fell apart.

I still battle with it, but sometimes I'm still able to forget about it for the time being. The smallest thing, like singing along to the radio in the car, can help lift my spirits for almost the whole day. And I'm not the only one who benefits: my son loves music of any kind, especially singing. My dad sometimes plays the guitar for him, and Adam just sits there, entranced.

When he gets a little older, we'll use music as a tool, for therapy, for memory, for entertainment. At now 10 months old, I'm still mostly singing to him just for fun. Working at a preschool helps me keep fresh songs in my head, like "Bringin' Home a Baby Bumblebee" and "Fudgie the Whale"*. And anytime Adam won't eat, I sing Raffi's "Apples and Bananas", which always makes him laugh; I just stick the spoon in his open mouth. :)

What songs do you like to sing to your kids, your partner, or to yourself?

This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as an entry for a contest sponsored by Bush’s Beans.

*Here are the lyrics to "Fudgie the Whale" in case you're interested. I tried to find a link where you could actually hear the song, but the only one I found was a drunk Youtube video. Meh.

Oh, I'm a real big mammal,
I'm a great big whale.
I've got a chocolate head
And a chocolate tail.
I bought my car today
Because it was on sale.
And when they call for me,
They call me "Fudgie the Whale".
Fudgie... Fudgie... Fudgie the Whale!
Bop bop ba ba bop ba bop ba ba, yeah!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Haiku Friday #7: (Not-So-) Random Thoughts

Haiku Friday

A few thoughts that have
Occurred to me since last night;
Tell me what you think:


There is only one
"U" in the word "nuclear,"
Pronounced "NOOK lee er"

It is not pronounced
"NOOK yah ler" despite widespread


When you are asked a
Question in an interview,
It's usually

A good idea
To answer it, and not make
It plain you did not

Bother to answer
The question. If not, at least
Stay on the topic.

Especially when
That job is one of the most
Important there are.


Experience and
Knowledge are helpful in such
A job interview

Complete lack thereof
Is not a reason for why
You should be chosen.

(No matter how charming
You may come off.) It should not
Be seen as a plus.


If experience
And knowledge are a problem,
Success cannot be

Determined by the
Simple lack of failure. A
Success must be more.

Adequacy is
Not enough. Is that really

All right, so I promised myself at the outset that this blog would not become a place to bitch about religion, politics, or really anything at all. I'd much rather this be a place I can tell my story, but in a comedic way. But I really felt the need to open up after last night's prime time television programming. Anyway, so that's my haiku, if you like it, let me know. If you think I can improve upon something other than my (at this point) unwavering beliefs, let me know that too.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blog Tag

Stole this from Caitlyn McFarland Hair. So weird to write that, even though she's been married longer than I have. You know how it is. To play along, just answer each question and type the answer into Google image search and post the first picture that comes up.

First Name: Melissa
(This, according to the caption, is R&B singer Melissa Lujan.)

Middle Name: Marie, Nash (yes, I have two)
(Holly Marie Combs of Charmed)

(Basketball pro Steve Nash)

Last Name: Keller
(Kasey Keller, pro soccer player footballer)

Age: 24
(This is a still from the show.)

Place I'd like to visit someday: Ireland

Favorite Vacation Spot: Ft. Myers, FL

Past Celebrity Crush: Michael Vartan
(Does it have to be in the past? This guy is seriously
yummy -- you've seen him in Alias and Big Shots.)

College Major: Linguistics

Place(s) I grew up: Pickerington, OH

First Job: Bob Evans

Favorite Treat: dark chocolate

Favorite Food: Icelandic chicken
(Um, it's called "Icelandic chicken" because of the way it's prepared, not where the animal is from.... But I guess that's the fun of the game.) :)

Favortie Color: indigo

Somewhere I've gone today: my mom's house
(Not really my mom's house, but again, that's the fun.)

What is/was for dinner: barbecue chicken

Lashana Tova! Today was Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year and day of judgement). Since I work at the Jewish Center, I got to leave early yesterday and have today and tomorrow off work. Which is good, because we spent Saturday & Sunday traveling to see my in-laws, so I didn't get much of a weekend.

Can't believe it's already October.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Haiku Friday #6: So Far, So Good

Haiku Friday

It seems that I have
Successfully cut out the
Midday pump session.

No more lugging the
Breast pump to work and cleaning
Pieces on lunch break.

It's still not perfect:
I still let down a little
In the afternoon.

Overall I'd say
It's going well; next up is
Overnight feedings.

Actually, this started because of a mistake: earlier this week, I was running a little late on my way out the door (but by a stroke of luck there was very little traffic that morning and I still made it to work on time), and I forgot my breast pump. I wasn't howling with (engorgement) pain, so I decide to try it again the next day. Still seemed okay, so I did it again. No apocalypse for me -- or Adam; he seems to be doing okay with Brandon or my mom, he drinks from a sippy cup (only the one, mind you; we'll have to buy another of that same brand), and he seems to have the same reaction whether it's breastmilk or formula. He misses the nursing, though. We do that as soon as I'm home from work, to get him to bed, and when he wakes up at night.

We've been sharing a bed since he was around 6 weeks old and the gas started keeping him up at night. I've been making half-assed attempts to get him to sleep in a crib for about 4 months now. Not that the individual attempts are pathetic, I just have a problem with consistency. This parenting thing may kick my ass yet -- I'm told that consistency is the most important part.

But for now, the weaning seems to be going well going at all. Thank [insert your personal deity here] for small favors.

Edited to add: For my readers who are unfamiliar with the joys of parenting, sorry for all the boob talk! I'll post something more interesting next week. :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Geek Week in Review

Good week in the geek world, or at least on TV: two season premieres and two continuing episodes since Tuesday.

The summer series Eureka continues in its third season, unfortunately with the unwelcome addition of the Degree "product integration." More persistent and more obnoxious than its predecessor, the product placement, NPR's Morning Edition told me this morning that product integration is the new big thing for advertisers. They focus on more subtle advertising within a program -- although I would beg to differ in the case of Eureka. Not only is the commercial in the script, but there are now "podbusters" (commercials in which the spokesperson is an actual character from the show). These are designed to mimic what you're actually watching and keep you from turning down the volume, changing the channel, or, in the case of TiVo, fast-forwarding -- the last of which is supposedly to blame for this new method of perpetuating capitalism.

But I digress. This week's episode, although driving home the Degree commercial more than ever, was also one of the better episodes this season due to the character development of (and therefore, plot development around) the mysterious Eva. That, and not only is Henry Deacon back, he has been newly written in as the mayor elect of Eureka.

Fast-forward to Thursday: the season premiere of Smallville! Not only did I get my Justin Hartley fix, but they brought back Arthur Curry/Aquaman and Dinah Lance/Black Canary (with her canary cry!) with Oliver Queen/Green Arrow as part of the primitive Justice League. Wooo! Hot celebrity crushes and personal geekdom aside, it was apparent (but not painfully so) that the new writers are rebuilding a little from the suckfest that was Season 7, sadly without Lex Luthor, but thankfully without Lana Lang. That said, it was quite an enjoyable episode, and one of my favorite in awhile, despite the recurring tendency to tie up all the ends at the close of each episode in a manner reminiscent of a Shakespearean comedy. I like that to some extent, but they tend to hit their viewers over the head with it a bit on Smallville. One of these ends, though, led to a great sexual tension between Clark Kent and Lois Lane and set Clark up in his future role as Daily Planet reporter.

This evening the CBS sit com Big Bang Theory continued in its second season. Although in many ways it is a typical sit com, I do want to mention it because it's very light, a nice, nerdy appetizer to Heroes later in the evening. And it is funny for your average sit com viewer; it's only enhanced by knowledge of intellectual subjects, especially higher math and science, that some of those viewers possess. Leonard finally scores an awkward relationship with his cute, perky neighbor Penny only to find out that she lied about not even finishing community college (whereas he has a PhD in physics). She feared his condescension, and rightfully so, it turns out.

I am really new to the Heroes bandwagon -- I started watching it because my husband got into it, but I didn't start watching until last season, and then, not all of it. I still have a lot of questions, but I'm slowly catching up. I'm enjoying it, not as much as Smallville as far as superheroes and supervillains go, but that may be because the Heroes characters are new to me, as opposed to Superman and the comfortable DC universe. I'll most likely be posting more about it as the third season unfolds, but I'm just about hooked already -- further augmented by the two-hour premiere tonight. It was two separate hour-long episodes, but they were both shown tonight, so I'll go ahead and classify that as a double-header.

On a completely unrelated (but still geektastic in its own way) note, happy first day of fall! Today, September 22, was the Autumnal Eqinox. Bring on the sweater weather, changing leaves, and numerous holidays!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It really is Einstein's work...

If I weren't already married, I would pledge my undying allegiance to the Baby Einstein exersaucer. That, and six months ago, our bouncer/swing combination. They have been the only way for me to get any dishes, laundry, or housecleaning done as the stay-at-home parent for almost nine months. My husband is also a fan, now that I'm back to work, and he has to play the role of both father and student.

The swing and bouncer mostly kept Adam quiet, or put him to sleep -- often faster than I could by sitting down with him and nursing. But I have picture after picture on our digital camera of him just staring up at the hanging animals on the swing's overhead bar, or looking around as if to say, "Where is that music coming from?"

And the Baby Einstein contraption keeps him occupied for (almost) hours now that he's older and needs a little something more to capture those ever-turning wheels in his head. Rattles, things to push and spin, animal pictures and noises, and even a puppet keep him entertained so that we can do homework, housework, and (gasp!) even something fun once in awhile.

So here's my question for you: What modern convenience(s) are you completely in love with? What could you do without? Feel free to comment below.

This is my (first!) post for Parent Bloggers' Network (PBN). This weekend's blog blast is sponsored by Yoplait Kids. Check out the links above for more information.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Haiku Friday #5: Newbies, Nursing, and No Power (Still)

Haiku Friday

Fell asleep again
Putting the baby to bed;
Nursing makes me tired.

Want to start weaning --
I just can't find the right time
To cut sessions out.

This week at the school
One teacher on vacation,
Two out this morning;

I was the only
Person familiar with the
Classroom I was in.

One fellow teacher
Says she's still without power --
Goes home in the dark.

Estimates say that
Electricity will be
Back on by Sunday.

Man oh man. I was surprised there were so many still without power yesterday, only to hear on the news today that more than 100,000 are still going home to empty refrigerators and candles and flashlights scattered around their living rooms. A few of my coworkers are included in that list, and some of the power companies are saying when it does come on Sunday, it may be late, even very early Monday morning. Please keep all those wonderful thoughts coming for them!

This morning was a crazy one at work. On Thursdays I get there an hour early to sub for one of the teachers that works four 10-hour days, Thursday being her day off. This week, another teacher in that room was on vacation as well. So I knew there would be another sub. But then the third teacher had a doctor's appointment and didn't get back until noon. I, having worked mostly in the infant/toddler rooms for two weeks, was therefore the resident expert in the classroom. Lucky they also had one of the teachers from the other infant/toddler room in there for a few hours, so I wasn't at a total loss. I will say this: the next time yogurt is on the menu for morning snack, I'm serving something else. (Just try and picture your 11- to 18-month old eating yogurt by him/herself. Now multiply that by about 10.)

Nursing's still going. :-P I was hoping to have at least started the weaning process by now, but I'm still getting adjusted to being away from the baby for most of his waking hours during the week and sore boobs because of that. I only pump once while I'm at work, and feed him right before I leave and as soon as I come home. I feed him overnight, too, when he wakes up. That has been happening more often since I went back to work. He's trying to make up for the lack of breastmilk during the day by waking up to eat at night. Blargh. Makes trying to cut back on the number of feedings difficult. And I'm not sure which to cut out first: if I don't pump at work, I think I might die, and same goes for my arrival at home. Nursing at night helps him sleep a little longer, and first thing in the morning usually means he'll sleep after I leave, making it easy on Brandon or my mom.

So, a few questions for anyone who has successfully weaned: How did you do it? Was there anything that made the transition easier on you and/or your baby? Which feeding did you cut out first and which was the last to go? Leave me a comment below, or send me an email at momsensical [at] gmail [dot] com. Inquiring minds (or maybe just mine at the moment) want to know.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lights Out

I've been meaning to post for almost 2 days. Surely, I thought, I would not be writing this tonight. All the problems will have been fixed by now, and I won't get a chance to discuss it.

But here we are, Wednesday night, and much of the city of Columbus, Ohio is still without power. For those not living in Ohio or the general area, Hurricane Ike was still pretty pissed off when he came to call on our calm state. Ike was still a Category I Tropical Storm with 75-mile-an-hour winds Sunday night when he ripped through the state, especially Central Ohio, with a vengeance. The "remnants" caused over half a million in Columbus and surrounding suburbs to lose electricity, with damage still being assessed.

We were lucky. We only lost power from around 7 PM or so Sunday night to 5 PM on Monday. We only lost the contents of our fridge (which needed to be cleaned out in a bad way anyway); most of our meat and veggies stayed frozen in the back of the freezer, and we're able to cook what didn't. We were able to do laundry, take showers, and hang out at my parents' house (where they only lost power for maybe 20 minutes while AEP was hooking things back up) for awhile. The power outages meant the JCC was closed on Monday, and I didn't have to work; Brandon doesn't have class until tomorrow morning (and my mom is still off work tomorrow from teaching at Columbus Public Schools), so we didn't need to find a new babysitter this week -- my dad is recovering from foot surgery.

My friend's family got power back on yesterday afternoon, and my father-in-law still does not have working cable or internet in Cincinnati, even though his electricity has come back on. We're all lucky that the wind didn't cause any major damage to our cars or homes -- my parents lost a few shingles, and the porch swing tried to leave, but other than that, everything held down pretty well.

Some are not so lucky. Because the hurricane hit Texas so hard, many of our electric crews were sent there to help out. Not that Texas doesn't need them, but they never anticipated being needed back home to return power to much of the city. I keep hearing at work how other teachers recently spent $100 to $200 on groceries Saturday or Sunday, just to have it all go bad in their refrigerator or freezer.

Folks, this is not a religious blog, by any means. In fact, I've been aiming to keep just about anything religious out of this blog -- maybe I'll create another one for thoughts on spirituality. There are so many other things that need discussion on this one. But whether you're religious or spiritual or ambivalent, please take thirty seconds to send out a prayer, a thought, positive energy or just some good ju-ju to anyone affected by Ike.

I'll be sending my own good thoughts to all of you who are still patiently waiting for life to return to something approaching normal. Good luck!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Haiku Friday #4: Long week

Haiku Friday

It's been a long week
Sorry this is a day late
Been no time to write

Weekend: I got sick
Monday night so did the boys
Tuesday: went to work

We're over the flu
(For Brandon and me, the worst)
Now Adam won't eat

Hey, folks. Sorry for the involuntary week-plus-long hiatus. I kept trying to sit down to at least write a quick note about why I wasn't posting, but things kept getting in the way -- you know, getting sick, caring for my sick husband and son, washing all our clothes and dishes to make sure all the germs left... just mundane things. But we're basically all better now. Brandon and I are back to 100% after a good night's sleep last night, and Adam's almost there. He just won't eat anything. He's been nursing like crazy (of course he is! I have been slowly coming to the decision that I want to start weaning), but if I attempt to give him any solid food, he gags and spits it out. My mom says he's probably just not back up to 100% yet, but I'm not sure.... Should I be worried? My symptoms started on Saturday and my appetite came back on Wednesday. He and Brandon both got sick Monday, and Brandon has already bounced back, and I thought Adam would maybe even recover faster than we did.

We'll be heading to my mom's house tonight for the OSU game. Go Bucks!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Haiku Friday: New Job

Haiku Friday

I got a new job
Today will be my first day
I'm kind of nervous

I'll leave the baby
At home with his dad; no more
A stay at home mom.

Short one this week, all. Gotta get up early in the AM, or at least earlier than I'm used to. I know I already posted a long entry about the recent change in employment earlier this week, but Haiku just makes it so much more fun!

Visit A Mommy Story to play this week. You can write your haiku about anything you want, just click the link or the button above (email me at momsensical [at] gmail [dot] com if you need help with the poem or button). Sign the Mr. Linky on her site just like it says, and enjoy some of the other "Friku." I promise you'll have fun!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


I just have to make the super-quick announcement that finally, three days after the end of August, I have finished visiting every single blog of the people who are listed and/or left a comment on the Blogging the Recession post at Motherhood Uncensored (Note: if you visit this site now and have not done so before, it's really great but it is uncensored). I feel so proud of myself right now... but also a little disappointed in myself that I didn't leave comments for everyone. I didn't try to find those that did not leave a link or url, and I didn't go any further when I ran into a private post of someone I don't already read. But I did visit every single site, some more than once on accident (you'll see what I mean if you see the list -- it's over 170 blogs long before you get to the comments!).

My blog never made it to the list, so I don't think I'll be in the running for any of the prizes, but that's okay. A lot of them were new-baby items, and since Adam's only going to be 9 months on Friday, we're (hopefully) not going to need any of those for awhile yet! :)

On a side note, about that blog design I mentioned. I don't know if I have any return visitors or not, but if you stumbled across my blog a week or two ago and are now back, you may notice that I changed up the look and feel quite a bit. Added a sidebar, completely revamped the overall design and replaced the header. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the change, or if you're just visiting me for the first time, your opinion on the design. Love it, hate it, just be honest (as much as I love having my ego stroked compliments). As a newbie blogger, I welcome any and all opinions. Feel free to leave me a comment there at the bottom or send me an email at momsensical [at] gmail [dot] com.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I'm in the money!

...or at least I will be in about two weeks.

Since we moved back to Ohio from Boston back in February, my husband has been substitute teaching and looking for work that will actually support our family of three (subs are paid per day of work, whereas full-time teachers have a yearly salary divided up over the twelve months; subs do not get paid over the summer, and during the year, they only receive a total of about half of a regular teacher's salary anyway). The original plan was that he would find a job as a full-time teacher, and I would be a stay-at-home-mom until the summer, when Adam would be 6 months old, and then I would go back to work while he stayed home with the baby.

We have both been searching for the last seven months and thus far, have been unable to find work. About a month ago or so, my husband decided that since he wasn't getting anywhere (and I do mean anywhere -- he looked for jobs in high schools, colleges, libraries, the Department of Defense, and put his resume up on Monster) in the job search, that he would go back to school. In the meantime, I kept looking for work as a secretary, and then as a daycare worker/preschool teacher (in the hopes that Adam could be cared for in my place of employment, at a discounted price).

Two weeks ago we got a break. My sister Sara works at the Jewish Community Center, and has for the past three years. She was assigned there for her freshman observation (she's in school for early childhood education), and they liked her so much, they hired her Monday through Friday after classes and also for their summer camp. Then we found out that Aaron's aunt is the director of the center. I was a little nervous about putting myself out there for the open position, because I have "some college coursework completed," none of which is in education. The one thing I have going for me is 10+ years of babysitting experience, and informal child care/supervision of youth activities at both my church and in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, more about that later).

I've been trying to get paperwork done for this job, and silently freaking out about getting a physical and a TB test done (we can't find a general family doctor, either -- but at least Adam has a wonderful pediatrician). I wanted so badly to post the good news about the possibility of a job, but I didn't want to jinx it. And then today I got a call from the director. The original position I applied for was one that someone else had left, and this person apparently came back to it in the past few weeks. But I can still work two eight-hour days and be a floating sub for the rest of the week! I hung up with the director, and danced around my kitchen/living room until my quads hurt.

Deep sigh of relief. Damn, did we need this. I won't be getting a huge salary or anything, and they don't have a place for Adam now, but as the child of an employee, he is at the top of the waiting list. And it's something. Especially when we're fighting with the loan company to disburse the money for Brandon's first semester so he can actually, you know, pay for books (he's been in class for nearly two weeks already). Happy little dance!

Edited to add: Sorry, folks. I know I promised this would be shorter, but I just couldn't contain my excitement!

Further edited to add: Upon reflection, I think the reason my posts are so long is because I feel the need to explain EVERYTHING, since you all know practically nothing about me (personal friends excluded). Hopefully this will get better with time.

Geeky weekend

I know what you're thinking. Oh, so she's actually going to live up to her blog title now, is she? Yeah right. Well, I am, dammit! I am a geek, just like I said. And now I'm going to prove it to you.

On Saturday (yes, I know it was days ago, I've been trying to sit down and write this for like two days), my husband and I played in a Star Wars RPG. For those who don't know, a role-playing game, or RPG, is a game in which players create characters, roll dice (to make it more realistic by adding the element of chance), and are led on a series of adventures by someone who writes a story for them, or GM (for game master). Yes, like Dungeons and Dragons, only that's not the only RPG. Far from it. They can be about pretty much anything you want them to be about, but really a good one will include some elements of a mystery, some combat, and some good acting (which happens to be my favorite part, an amateur aspiring unpolished dabbling actress myself). My husband and I have participated in everything from Dungeons and Dragons to Call of Cthulu to superheroes (his personal favorite) to Shadowpact (a fantasy-type world that is more like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and my personal favorite -- I mean, I get to play a slayer [who is not unlike Faith, for those familiar with the show], and how cool is that?).

Lately the only games I've played have been run by my friend Aaron. He is an excellent storyteller, and he does not put too much emphasis on rules, both of which make for a good GM. He runs the Shadowpact games (and soon, superheroes), but his current campaign (like a novel or movie in which individual games are like chapters) is a Star Wars game. It takes place roughly 100 years after the original trilogy, so the only familiar character in the story is R2D2.

Anyway, the game was the shortest I've ever participated in, lasting around 3 hours. I didn't even have time for my ADD to kick in! It was a lot of fun, as Aaron's games always are, and I even got an extra character point (these are a reward from GM to players for awesomeness, and are used to "buy" new skills or improve existing ones; an example would be if someone was a martial artist skilled in karate, s/he could use those points to get better at karate or maybe pick up judo. Like in the real world, when you have a teacher, you can get better at something you're good at over time, or learn new skills from him/her). I was very excited about my extra character point, because he gave it for a "really cool bit of roleplaying" in which my character and my husband's character had a really intense argument. I must mention that my husband and I were not arguing, but our characters were, much like in a play. This is why it's my favorite part. Stage fright is not an issue when you're acting in front of less than 10 of your friends. Well, and buying pretty dice is fun. Yes, I'm a geek. But I'm a girl geek.

After the game, we stayed for dinner and then watched some Firefly after the kids went to bed. Sunday Brandon went to play a Dungeons and Dragons game by himself. He invited me to join in, but I just wasn't in the mood to play D&D with a bunch of guys I don't know very well (most of them not at all, actually). I didn't know that they would be playing two games. Note: Most games last a really long time. See the bit above where I say that the three-hour game was the shortest I've ever played in. I've played in several that last upwards of eight hours. Also see the bit above where I mention my ADD*. Fortunately, these games were designed to each run a total of 4 hours. Still kind of annoyed me that I didn't know about it. But what really pissed me off is that after his first nap, Adam decided that he was going to be the crankiest fussbudget ever. He wouldn't sit, he wouldn't play, he wouldn't nap, he just whined. I could have really used another pair of hands, and my whole family was at my cousin's wedding in Massachusetts. We couldn't afford to go, so I was stuck in my apartment for 12 hours with a whining infant. Brandon called twice to tell me he would be later than he thought. The thought going through my head was, I am so blogging about this.

But like I said, I've been trying to write this post for about two days, and I didn't get the chance to whine at all of you. :) After he finished playing the D&D games, he went out (at nearly midnight) to go grocery shopping for a bunch of foody-type items we needed, and when he came back, he also had ice cream, chocolate milk, and flowers. The flowers were alstroemerias, which mean "I'm sorry". Awesome. Ice cream = even better. Chocolate milk = OMG. No no no. You don't understand. I am a chocolate milk FIEND. Nine times out of ten, I will choose chocolate milk over alcohol -- even if I wasn't still nursing. It's truly like crack to me. And then all day Monday he was doing nice things for me, favors and such. Almost like having a personal slave. Almost. He did have schoolwork he had to get done for class today.

Good weekend.

P.S.: Tonight, because apparently we did not get enough Star Wars in our geeky diet, we watched A New Hope. Sigh. There is no chance that my son will not be a geek.

P.P.S.: I want to apologize for this incredibly verbose post. I will endeavor to write future posts earlier in the day, in an effort to rein in my rambling nature.

*I do tend to talk about ADD casually sometimes, but in this case, I am actually one of the roughly 4% of Americans who suffers from Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. Not ADHD, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder -- I'm not bouncing off the walls, I just have a hard time concentrating, paying attention, remembering things, and procrastinating. A hard enough time that when I was in high school, I did see a behavioral specialist (against my will, at first) and take medication to treat it. Not Ritalin, but Adderall, which is milder (Ritalin is usually for ADHD).

I mention this because I don't mind sharing bits of my personal life with you, but I want to spell out the facts, rather than throw around terms carelessly. Occasional casual references are fine, but continual misuse of the terms really bothers me. I assume that people are, at least at their core, decent human beings, and if someone misuses these terms, I assume it is because they misunderstand. Thus, if one of these terms comes up, I try to educate the user. If the terms are abused, I get pissy. Just sayin'.

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