Random Thoughts: Thursday Quickies

Look for Lost thoughts tomorrow. I have to write a little bit about “Some Like It Hoth” from two weeks ago along with last night’s episode.

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Dear Bun, Please stop getting sick. Or, conversely, if you’re not really sick, please stop that yellowish goo from coming out of your nose. You have no fever, you are sleeping great, eating well, and… your energy is certainly not diminished. To put it mildly. So you’ve got ear tubes now, which is great, although it seems to mean that all that crap that got trapped behind your eardrums now is free to flow copiously out of your left nostril.

It’s really disgusting, honey. Please clear up. Thanks. Love, Mommy

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Dear Monkey, I know: you want Daddy. I know. I cannot provide Daddy at my whim, or yours — oh, would that I could. And I know that my inability to produce Daddy at your whim, along with my being such a hardliner about meals and baths and bedtimes makes me a mean mommy, but having you tell me that with tears standing in your pretty baby blues really hurts my feelings. I don’t get to spend much time with you these days, and I would like our time together to be more pleasant and less frustrating for both of us. Let’s work on it, okay? Thanks. Love, Mommy.

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I started The Thirteenth Tale, and I joined Goodreads (both at the suggestion of Kelly at Peace, Love and Flowers). I’m excited about these developments, which pretty much goes to prove what a literary geek I am.

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Still looking for a babysitter for May 1 so DearDR and I can go see the premiere of Wolverine. Any takers?

And yes, DearDR knows I have a thing for Hugh Jackman (as Wolverine). That’s why we’re going — correction, trying to go — to the premiere. Because DearDR loves me very much and wants to see me happy. Heck, he even brought me the Entertainment Weekly magazine with Hugh Jackman (as Wolverine) on the cover. In Wolverine’s signature wife beater. Be still my heart.

I may be a literary geek, but I’m still a flesh-and-blood woman. Hear me *rowr*.

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I know there’s been a lot of fist-shaking at the media about all this Swine Flu reporting — oh, sorry, H1N1 — but this image has been making me laugh for days now. Thanks to Brandon at thinkoutsidethepun.blogspot.com.

And look at it this way: If it were something truly serious, wouldn’t you want this level of alert? The government and the media are just trying to do their jobs, and inspire confidence in the systems used to warn people about this stuff. It sucks that it can raise anxiety levels for a disease that’s just like the regular flu, pretty much, but what’s that old saying?

Better safe than sorry.

Pictures from the Forest

“I just woke up from my nap in the car. How you doing?”

Hours and Hours of Fun

Twue Wove

(This isn’t the greatest picture. I tried to convince DearDR to sneak up closer, but I think he was worried about missing the shot. This gives you some idea of how much Bun loved that Goldendoodle.)

Hiking! (This is probably actually, “Lift Me Up On that Big Rock, Mommy.”)


“Cheeeeeessse” in the Woods


Wind! I

Wind! II


“I Climb Up, Mama.”


Because after a long, sweaty 3-mile hike, really all you want to do is go to the playground:






Okay, girls, can we please go get something to drink now? And some lunch? Magic word: Notdogs!

Need Me Some Sleep

This terribly truncated post is brought to you by Blog365 and the fact that I am deliriously exhausted. We do not go to Cook Forest to sleep. All that fresh air and activity wipes us out, and besides, the beds suck. So I am off to my own non-sucky bed, to sleep perchance to dream, and I will have a bunch of pictures to show you tomorrow! It was gorgeous up there.

But I’m so farking tired.

Things I Learned Over the Weekend

If I drink two beers in a row at night, I’m pretty much done.

Goldendoodles do not shed. (The one we hung out with this weekend was sweet — pretty much like a giant stuffed animal come to life. By Sunday, Bun was walking up to him, hugging him, and exclaiming, “I love you so much!”)

I’m not 25 years old anymore, and that’s okay. (The juxtapositon of The Ex with my husband and children was… illuminating. In a great way.)

Bubbles and sidewalk chalk provide plenty of entertainment for the under-5 set. (Okay, I kind of knew this one.)

I’m not as out-of-shape as I thought. I survived a 3-mile hike (mostly downhill), even carrying Monkey a mile or so. And I’m not too sore.

Two-year-olds should not go on 3-mile hikes, even if they are mostly downhill.

If you leave a child’s camera outside on a picnic table, pictures will be deleted.

Even boys as young as 6 will want burn something.

Having a responsible, almost 10-year-old girl who likes young children at Cook Forest with you is priceless.

Just like with grief, there are five stages of napping: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

In a full-size bed, Bun will sleep right in the middle, perpendicular to the bed.

Monkey likes “Red Dragon Tattoo” by Fountains of Wayne. A lot. That’s my girl!

Wearing white pants to a party where your children will have access to dirt and chocolate is just dumb.

Couples Quiz

I picked this up over at ClumberKim’s place. It’s standing me in good stead since I’m still in the woods.

What are your middle names?
My middle name, which used to be Marie, is now my “maiden” name. (I hate that term, maiden.) I tend to use it professionally. His middle name is Reed, after his maternal great-grandfather.

How long have you been together?

Our first date was October 1, 1999. We got married September 1, 2001. Coming up on 10 years!

How long did you know each other before you started dating?

We were acquaintances from college, so we probably first met in 1990 or so? We never really hung out, but we knew each other to say hi or have little conversations.

Who asked whom out?

DearDR asked me to have dinner with him. I had to email him about a month later to see if he meant it, though. I didn’t actually give him my phone number the night he asked me — I told him I was in the book. Unfortunately, DearDR didn’t have a current phone book at the time.

How old are each of you?

DearDR is 40; I am 38.

Whose siblings do you see the most?

We see his sister a little more often than my brother, even though we all live in and around Pittsburgh. My sister we usually only see two-three times a year. We live next door to my in-laws. It’s actually pretty even, though, between holidays, birthdays, and random family events.

Which situation is hardest on you as a couple?

Our biggest source of conflict is the household duties. I feel that he doesn’t help out enough; he feels that since he works such long hours (and he does) and makes most of the money, that the household should be my duty. Unfortunately, since I also work and take on the majority of the kid stuff, the state of our house suffers. We both hate it, but until I can hire someone to help me out, it’s the way it’s going to be. It causes a lot of friction, because when he complains, I get very defensive.

Did you go to the same school?

We both went to Duquesne University. Technically speaking, I finished before he did, because I graduated in 1992 (is that right??) with a bachelor’s degree, and he didn’t earn his Ph.D. until 2004, when I was pregnant with Monkey.

Are you from the same home towns?

No. I grew up in Erie and he grew up in Coraopolis.

Who is smarter?

Well, now, that depends. Book smart? School smart? He is, no doubt. But I have more common sense, and a lot more pop culture savvy.

Who is the most sensitive?

He is, hands down. I am clueless.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?

Most often when we’re on our own, we really enjoy Bocktown Beer & Grill.

Where is the furthest the two of you have traveled as a couple?

We went to Italy on our honeymoon — landed in Rome on Sept. 10, 2001.

Who has the craziest exes?

I’m going to go with him. Because, let’s face it, he dated women, and women are crazier.

Who has the worst temper?

He says he does. I asked. I think I get angry more often, but when he gets angry, he gets angrier.

Who does the cooking?

Me, me, me. Unless it’s pancakes and eggs on Sunday.

Who is the neat freak?

Sigh. We both want our house to be much, much neater. I clean more, but he cleans better (when he cleans).

Who is more stubborn?

I am.

Who hogs the bed?

Neither of us. I do hog the covers, though. When a kid ends up in bed with us, she hogs the bed.

Who wakes up earlier?

Me. Every single day.

Where was your first date?

Kaya in the Strip District. The next night, we went to a Pens game together. The day after that, we ran into each other at a Steelers’ tailgate party. You can see we were meant to be together.

Who is more jealous?

He is. And why shouldn’t he be? I’m hot (hahahahahaha!).

How long did it take to get serious?

I knew in the first month of dating him that we were going to get married. It panicked me a little bit, but I rode it out. Eleven months later, we got engaged. Since my dad reads this blog, I think that’s all I’ll say about that.

Who eats more?

He does. I eat better.

Who does the laundry?

All me, again.

Who’s better with the computer?

Hmm. That’s an interesting question. We each know how to do different things on our respective computers — he’s a PC and I’m a Mac — but all-in-all, he is probably a little more tech savvy.

Who drives when you are together?

Usually he does. This is fine with me. I drive enough as it is. Besides, we’re usually running late, so I can do my makeup in the car.

The Annual Trip to the Woods: Part I

I don’t remember what year we started going up to Cook Forest State Park. It came about because JenZ’s family (her mother’s side) went every year, and one year she decided it would be fun to invite some of her college friends and roommates. When I started going, I was single, as were many of the rest of us. It was just a great excuse to hang out in the woods, sit around a camp fire, drink A LOT of beer, smoke a lot of cigarettes, and read trashy magazines. And eat junk food. The guys burned stuff and played poker.

From the original group of six or 10 of us, we have evolved into a force of about 25 (it varies year-to-year), including children and dogs. We’ve expanded from the biggest cabin they have (two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a loft) to three cabins. This year, the stalwart Misfit household is unable to join us because they relocated to Tennessee. (We miss you, Misfits!)

We have been there in many iterations, the lot of us: single, dating, married; pregnant, with infants, toddlers, kids (I think everyone is still under 10 years old, but we’re getting close) and dogs. I don’t recall going with the Ex while we were dating, although it’s possible; ironically, he will be there this year, newly divorced. He’s bringing his dog (they didn’t have children). DearDR and I have gone almost every year we’ve been together, starting in 1999; I think we missed one year “just because” (read: we were broke), and I know we didn’t go when Bun was still an infant.

We still drink beer, but not as much as we used to. Hangovers are hell with kids. A few of us may smoke a cigarette or two after the children are asleep (guilty). Trashy magazines, junk food, burning stuff, and poker are still the order of the days (and nights). As are hikes, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, canoeing (someone falls in the river every year — last year was DearDR’s turn), and all manner of catch up.

And although we have been there rain and shine, I don’t know that we’ve ever been there when the weather is predicted to be 80 degrees with no rain. The kids and dogs can run around outside; there’s a playground nearby; s’mores will be made; sunscreen and shorts will be worn. It isn’t the most relaxing of times when you’re a POD (parent on duty), but I can think of worse ways to spend the time. Besides, it kind of illustrates the “it takes a village” mentality in action — everyone, parent or not, keeps eyes on the kids (and dogs) and takes turns playing with and/or feeding them. It’s pretty awesome.

We’re leaving today around 2 p.m. Cannot wait to be there.

Meme Me

I am honestly having trouble coming up with things to write about. All I have in my head lately is all the stuff I have to do to get us out of town this weekend, and get my house “redd up” for my parents, who will be staying here overnight in our absence.

Monkey and I had a funny conversation about seeing through brains two nights ago, but it was one of those “had to be there” moments.

Like the other day, too, when I took Bun home early from a party we were attending (she had not napped that day, and she was a crazy girl at the party, and DearDR and I just couldn’t keep chasing after her), and she was quite put out with me. Pulling into the driveway, she was chewing on the zipper on her coat.

“Are you hungry?” I asked her. “Do you want some dinner? Do you want some yogurt?”
“No,” Bun responded with a pout. “I don’ like dinner. I don’ like yogut.”
“Oh,” I said. “What do you like?”
“I like Daddy,” she said definitively. “I like Monkey.”

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I need a repository of memes from which to draw. ClumberKim’s got one up at her place I am probably going to “borrow”. If there’s a meme you like or you’ve done lately, please share.

I’m heading out of town this weekend, too, so I have to schedule some posts. Better crack out the camera, too. If nothing else, I can show you some cute pictures of my kids!

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Countdown to Cook Forest: One day. A little more ready today, but it’s going to be a late night, and a crazy Friday.

Random Thoughts: Short and Bittersweet

I had my crankypants on last night for no good reason — oh, I had reasons, primarily too much to do in too little time, the perpetual problem — and so I really struggled with something to post.

But I got a wake-up call at the news that someone I know knows parents whose two sons have Batten Disease. I didn’t fully succeed in getting uncranky, but I sure got a cold dash of perspective.

In lieu of the struggle to write anything relevant, I’ll send you over to Slate for two (funny, I promise) articles regarding a unique parenting perspective. The upshot of the first is that saying yes to your kids is a good thing because they will learn that they can depend on you, and as a result they will leave you alone to do your own thing. The upshot of the second is that staying home is okay — forced fun is no fun.

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I haven’t gotten to the library in ages, which is why I haven’t had anything new for What I Am. I just reread Inkheart from my personal library, and I discovered I liked it far more this time around. I am rereading for the 150th time The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. And I’m currently enjoying the beats of M.I.A.’s Arular, but I don’t have a critic’s perspective on it.

I need some book ideas: send your favorite five my way, and I’ll put them on my library list!

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Cook Forest Countdown: Two Days. So not ready.

Whew.

Bun pulled through like the champ she is. They make you do a lot of waiting for a procedure that only takes about 15 minutes, though! It was a very long Monday.

When the doctor came out to me, he asked if Bun had been acting okay. I said she had been, wondering why. He told me that while her right ear had been clear of infection, her left ear was really bad. I responded, “Well, she does have a really high pain tolerance.” He nodded. “You know,” he observed, “she probably thinks that pain in her ears in normal. I think you’re going to see a happier child.”

When I do the math, I boggle a bit. Bun’s been alive for 28 months. Factoring in last year, she’s probably had ear infections over, say, 16 of those months (counting from November to April). Can you imagine being a 2-year-old who has had chronic pain? Who thinks that ear pain — on top of teething pain, no less — is probably normal? If someone did something to take that away, even if it were a little scary at the time, wouldn’t you be happy, too? No wonder kids are completely different people afterwards!

And Bun, at the very last moment, did get scared. She slept badly (probably because of that raging infection in one of her ears, even though she was on antibiotics), and was quite put out that she couldn’t eat yesterday morning. I couldn’t even give her a glass of water. She got pretty feisty in the waiting room, but wasn’t too much trouble. After about half an hour, they called us back to get her ready for the surgery: I had to dress her in a loverly hospital gown and non-skid socks. There was a toy push-type car that the kids could ride in back there, and Bun’s favorite thing: other kids. She made three friends while we were waiting. With the exception of a little boy who was probably about a year old, she was the youngest child I saw. (She was also the most verbal, surprisingly. And she took turns in that car amazingly well, without one protest. I was proud of her!)

After almost another hour, they came to take her back for “magic air” and the procedure. When Bun realized that I wasn’t going back with her, she went totally boneless. She didn’t scream or cry or really even struggle, but if you’ve ever had a 2-year-old go utterly limp in your arms when you’re trying to get her to do something she doesn’t want to do — well, it presented a challenge. I comforted her, and made sure she had Cuddle (her lovie), but the look she was shooting me was both accusatory and pleading.

I did not break down. The quiet whisper of faith I had been waiting for finally showed up, and I knew she would be fine.

I finished my coffee back in the waiting room (well, in the cafe outside the waiting room), called DearDR, and went back into the waiting room. The doctor came right out and told me Bun was done, and she had done great.

She has to have drops for the next few days, but other than that, she can resume normal activity. We’ll have to get earplugs for swimming and bath time (for bath time, we can also use cotton balls with Vaseline over them). In about 12 to 18 months the tubes fall out (if someone can tell me what that is like, I would appreciate it), and also by that time, we hope, she’ll have outgrown the problem that causes ear infections. I have my fingers crossed.

A big, huge thank you to everyone who has given me support and encouragement and who said some prayers for my little girl. After months and month of agonizing over this, I truly feel we did the right thing. I’m really glad it’s over!