Sunday, June 29, 2008

Working for the weekend

We had a great weekend. 

On Friday night, MacTroll got home early from his trip to Cali. Early enough that X-man was still awake, so we got to hang out and do lots of family hugs. 

Then on Saturday, we got up early and headed off to Clinton Lake. X-man played in the sand with his buds from CARE, including the Lemonade family.  X-man had nothing but hugs and kisses for Mealyworm. And both Bug and X-man enjoyed jumping on T-Dad. See.

Then later that night, I cooked an awesome recipe for chicken fried rice from Weight Watchers. I think it might become a staple in my house. Lots of brown rice and vegetables. Low points (6) for the sheer amount of food you get to eat. 

But points were accounted for on Saturday, so I could use some Flex points Saturday night with my fellow mom friends. We went out to the mini putt course and then out to Applebee's at 10 p.m. for drinks. I had saved up enough points for a mudslide, while the others downed their fruity margaritas and martinis. 

Then this morning, we decided to go to the park with X-man and had a special treat. Dad Rogers was driving Curious J through our neighborhood to see excavators. So we got to say good morning to them. Then Quigs and her brood showed up at the park too. It was 71 degrees, breezy and full sun. So it was too nice NOT to be outside.

This afternoon, I volunteered with Quigs at Swann School for their art fair. It was very fun. They had various food booths. X-man partook in the grilled hotdog, which was giant. Then after the classic rock band finished (yes, X-man did some of his signature dancing). Quigs and I prettied ourselves up into a zebra and an elephant to help with the school's production of "The Lion King." The play was directed by Libbygirl. So, Quigs and I were doing our best to dance with Timone and Pumba and hit all of our marks. And seriously, it was a lot of fun.

All the kids were amazing. You can catch some of our CARE members hanging out in Libbygirl's classroom on youtube.

We got home to find our backdoor wide open. Apparently, we'd failed to shut it properly and it blew open. I quickly counted and we were missing a cat. Sweet Nyssa had disappeared. Joel searched upstairs and I looked in the basement, then we both went outside. He searched around house, and I scanned the open field. 

When I got back inside, he was feeding the rest of the cats, and she still wasn't showing up (a sure sign she had disappeared). Then I walked upstairs and opened the linen closet. She was standing there very sweetly and relieved that I'd found her. 

Silly kitten.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Things that don't make sense

People who live across the street from a park with a soccer field with a net -- who have a soccer goal with a net in their backyard. (Ditto for swings, slides, basketball courts, etc.)
The fact that the style of jeans that fit me best at the Gap aren't Curvy -- they're Long and Lean. What the hell is long and lean about me?

If the appropriate serving of food for an adult at a fast food restaurant is a kid's meal, shouldn't there be a mini meal that is appropriate for children? 

Why is the deadline for a mortgage the first of the month, but there's no penalty unless it isn't paid by the 15th of the month? Should the deadline just be the 15th then? 

Why does Wacoal make bras up to like 42 DDD, if their panties only go to an XL, which is a 12-14? Seriously, even with implants that would be like an upside down pear.

Got anything in your world that doesn't make sense? Feel free to add it to the list by leaving a comment!

One more baby item going, going, soon to be—gone!

Last night I ordered X-man a big boy bed. Not a toddler bed, but a real full-sized bed. The bed that will grow with him until he gets ready to go off to college, and then probably after that when or if he chooses to come home and visit or spend his summers/vacations in our house. 

It's a little strange thinking that far ahead. But I did it. I ordered the bed, so that instead of X-man falling asleep in our bed, we can lie with him in his and then just get up to leave rather than carry him out of ours and risk him waking. 

After I ordered the bedframe, I ordered him some more close-to-his-age sheets that were on sale. The bed is on backorder until July 25th, but MacTroll and I will go out before then and get him a good mattress. And later down the road, we might consider getting the loft bed that goes with the set for friend sleep overs.

That means, that there are precious few baby items in our house after this summer. The crib will be in the basement waiting for the diaper changer to be outgrown, so we can sell them as a set over Craigslist. Most of X-man's baby toys, DVDs and books have been passed on to friends and cousins. 

I was never a big fan of going ga ga over babies. I mean, I like them. They're cute and fun, particularly once they get to be around six months old and start to move on their own. But I really prefer that 15-24-month period, when they're definitely not babies, but also definitely not big kids. 

I'm excited for all the new things X-man is learning. I love watching him get so excited that he holds his hands up in fists and shakes, like his cousin Alex. I love that he can ask for things, tell me when he's thirsty, say please and thank you. He's good with his friends and animals. He's a hugger and a tickler. He's a dancer and a swimmer, too. Yesterday, he drew me a picture. Sure, it was on the wall of the kitchen and the magic eraser couldn't help me undo it after it was fully appreciated and explained that we draw on paper NOT on the wall, but he drew it for me. So, I said thank you. 

Last night at 11:30 p.m., I lifted his tired body from my bed and carried all 37 lbs of him into his room. This morning when I woke up at 7 a.m., he was back in my bed again. I had been so tired from this week, I didn't even hear him open and close his door, run in and climb into bed with me. 

It's days like this when I'm glad we have the gate keeping him from going downstairs. It also reminds me that I need to call a locksmith to install some deadbolts at the tops of the outside doors, because he can open the lower ones now.

X-man was an awesome baby, and I wouldn't want to have any other baby but him. But I also love him as a big kid. Bites, struggles and all.

Cute new thing this week: 
We've been watching a lot of "Two and a Half Men" around our house lately. X-man just refers to the show as "People!" Since he doesn't know their names like he knows Thomas, Lightning, Elmo or Bob. 

MacTroll gets home tonight. Woohoo!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Big mouth

So, my whole life I've had this terrible, terrible talent for opening my big mouth and putting my foot right in. And I don't have dainty feet. 

I notice that my ability to do this gets worse when I'm tired. And since I've been at the front lines with a non-sleeping toddler this week, I've been worse than normal. 

It's like torture, the sleep deprivity. And I don't know how to describe it to people who aren't also going through it (or haven't recently). Most people with kids between infancy and 4 years seem to get it. Others might remember it, but they don't want to hear about it. They just want to tell you their way to fix it. 

And when that happens, I get way defensive. 

There's no actual point to this blog than to say, I'm a moron, and I'm sorry, if I made anyone angry this week. I'll try to get my shit together for next week and be back to plucky Looseyfur.

Wicked little thief, I am

So the power went out at 10:30 a.m. at my house. It's still out at just past noon. There is a giant flatbed truck with a crane outside my house replacing one ugly green box with another ugly green box that looks to be the exact size and shape.

The mysteries of Ameren CIPS.

When the power goes out at my house, I realize I have no clocks that are battery powered. There's one on the wall in X-man's room, but um, the rechargeable battery ran out two days ago and I haven't charged it yet... instead placing importance on replacing the halogen bulbs in my ceiling fan in the family room. Boy that was a dumb choice, apparently. Oh well, I've never been good at gambling.

MacTroll's battery-operated whatsits have gone from beeping every few minutes to a constant warning beep. I could turn them off, but then I'd have to leave my bedroom, which currently has the only moving air in it since none of the ceiling fans work. And it's pretty warm out there, if my brown grass is any indication.

But, Loose, how are you on the internet? You ask. 

Thank god for the 785 people living in the apartments on the other side of us, and that a couple of them are okay having open access networks. Yes, I'm a thief, but seriously, if the power doesn't turn back on by 3:20 p.m., I'm going to have to figure out how to manually open the garage to make it to pick up X-man and get to our playdate.

It shouldn't be too hard, but I like pushing buttons, as my spouse and all of my ex-boyfriends will tell you. I, like X-man, prefer a good button pushing. There's a lot of clarity in the cause and effect relationship there.

Oh, and don't worry, the container of 1/2 the fat Edy's mint chocolate chip ice cream was the first thing I rescued from possible spoilage from my freezer. So far today, 3 point breakfast made up of yogurt and granola, 16 oz of water, 3 stalks of celery (0 points), and 3 points worth (1/2 cup) of low-fat ice cream... Well, shit, it's not like I can heat up my leftovers!

Maybe I need a nap. We have to have a travel alarm clock around here somewhere. Oooh, maybe in the basement!

My priorities are so screwed on straight.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Disturbing Billboard

In late winter 1998, I was lying in bed reading the newspaper. It was a completely normal Sunday morning. MacTroll and I slept in, he ran out and got a coffee and a Washington Post and I hung out with the kitties being lazy as can be. 

Then in the middle of my beloved Metro section out comes the question: "So, um, are we going to get married?"

It wasn't really a proposal, but my mind turned upside down, and I stared only at the now non-sensical paragraph in front of me. I wasn't really surprised at the question. We had been together since July 1992. We had moved in together. We had joint bank accounts. We adopted a couple cats. We had furniture. But it was the whole word -- "marriage." It was tied to words like "wife" and "husband" and "anniversary." All words that I hate because of the the cultural assumptions that are tied to them that I believe are sexist, dangerous and just plain ugly.

My response, which was, I'm sure, not the one MacTroll had wanted was, "Can't we just be together without all that - mess?"


"I guess I just always pictured myself married," he said quietly.

"Can I think about it?" I asked.


So I did. I thought and I thought and I shook my head with distaste. Marriage was about law and religion and all this other stuff that didn't really apply to us. 

A couple weeks later it got brought up again. I said I needed more time. 

"How much more time?"

"I want to live with you for at least another year before I give you an answer."

In January 2000, I decided that if we got married we could do it our way. None of this white dress, staring at the bride down the aisle stuff. No uncomfortable wedding showers or people in suits and ties. If we were going to get married it was going to be a big party -- and most of all, it was going to be a ceremony that celebrated the 8 years we were together before we got married. Because, damn it, you put 8 years in with someone, they count. 

Sure, there will still be those people who only believe your relationship is validated once you sign that damn certificate, but they just don't get it -- the big picture of what is important. 

Life is about connections and regardless of what you signed or pledged before whatever power that be you believe in -- you've met someone you want to spend part of your life with. Someone you can be vulnerable with and someone you can depend on (and vice versa). That doesn't happen every day. So when you find it, you need to hold onto it and work on it as hard and as long as you can. Because there are no guarantees -- and in case anyone hasn't noticed the idea of "forever" has gotten a lot shorter lately and with good reason. 

People are forming relationships more out of mutual interest in one another (and much later in life) rather than because it's a societal institution and a check mark on a list called "A successful life." 

In April 2000, I went to the Feminist Expo 2000 with my friend Heidi. We had to take an afternoon off of work to go. We drove up to Baltimore and saw Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless give their speeches. Then we broke up into small sessions. Would it be Mary Daly or bell hooks. Damn, that was a hard decision.

bell hooks was talking about love and damn it, I was a 21st century, 20-something with a big question on her hands...

So I stood up and asked how in the world can a feminist who is uncomfortable with how society treats and talks about marriage and assigns roles based on gender could I possibly ever feel comfortable with the reality, when the basic relationship vocabulary made me seriously uncomfortable.

She gave me an honest answer about negotiables and non-negotiables. Getting married to me was negotiable. Sharing a last name was a non-negotiable. Having a lot of people was a non-negotiable. Having traditional vows that made people promise a lot of stuff that they might want to do, but in reality probably wouldn't, was non-negotiable. 

On the drive back to D.C. I talked with Heidi and made my list. Not surprising most of the stuff that was non-negotiable Joel didn't give a crap about either. :-) That always makes things easier--when you agree on the big picture stuff.

So, when I drove down Prospect Avenue today after making my $70 purchases from Target, my eyebrows furrowed when I read a billboard that said, "Married people make more money. Marriage Works" with large images of coins on a table. I gagged and turned up my Liz Phair.

In all of my stressing out about what I wanted our marriage to be about, it didn't even occur to me to think of capitalism as a point to get married. I mean, holy shit. 

How is a relationship based on promises of greater financial success possibly a good advertisement for one of the most challenging and dynamic relationships that you'll ever have.

In my opinion, that stupid billboard is what is wrong with America's views of relationships. It represents exactly why so many marriages end up in divorce, which is not a sign of failure between the two people, but instead a sign of failure of our culture which promotes a completely materialistic view of "success" and an unrealistic approach to love. Love should be appreciated for all of its grandness and its pretty serious shortcomings.

(Someone remind me again what is so desperately wrong with being single? It's not like a plague. Seriously. Be happy single. Be happy in a committed relationship. Be happy however you live your life.)

And while I'm all worked up, remind me again, how not allowing people who are of the same gender to get married isn't discrimination? I've always been a little fuzzy on good and bad things and I tend to be "non-trad" according to my friends about things like this. But I'm still confused. If Ellen wants to marry Portia, why the hell does it matter to the rest of us? Can't we just say, "Rock on and good luck!" Like we do when any other couple that we purchased a $99 ricemaker for takes that plunge?

That sign really pissed me off. 

Monday, June 23, 2008

To work or not to work

I've been flipping through the want ads lately looking for jobs that sound attractive. I've never really not worked (minus the three months before and after X-man's birth). And I'm a little freaked out by not having a paycheck only 5 weeks after my position at Millikin ended. 

Since I've collected a paycheck since I was 15, when I got my worker's permit to be a library page at the North Suburban Library, there's a certain amount of stress to my predicament. I mean, I know it's weird to think about, but I've spent 17 years working already. And theoretically, I should have 35 years more to go. 

But what I really want to do is to teach early education, and since plans to get a second master's fell through (I'm giving the big university the bird from my computer right now), I'm exploring my Parkland option starting in Spring 2009. That gives me six months, IF I decide to go that way, to be unemployed.

Or I could accept that career number two is not going to happen any time soon and get a position that works with me now. However, I'm finding a crazy amount of difficulty finding something part-time that wants me to work between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Everything has crazy evening or weekend hours attached to it that I can't participate in due to MacTroll's work schedule. 

But if I went back to work, even only part time, I would be paying for X-man's pre-school, which he loves (he doesn't want to leave the Turtle room when I go to pick him up these days). 

So here I sit thinking: Do I just make my house/home life my job and recognize that with everything I get done now during the week it means that MacTroll and I get pure, fun family time on the weekends? (i.e. I just own the housewife -- why is that such a dirty word to me? -- title and do it Dana-style) Or do I accept that making a meager paycheck doing good things for the community would ease some financial pressure and is, therefore, paramount.

Adding to the difficulty of the choice is my current weight loss goal. I'm rocking at the walking. I'm going to the gym. I'm cooking meals and really feeling very in tune with my body. I never feel any of this is important when I'm working. In fact, because I work, single parent, and do the house stuff, I feel completely overwhelmed most times. But at the end of the day... there's that damn check. 

Sounds like a poll for people who know far more than I do... :-) 

Look to the right if you want to be quantitative or leave a comment if you're all about the qualitative. You're obviously welcome to do both, too.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


My son has a lot of buddies. He's closest to Lightning McColin, Bubba and CuriousJ. "Closest" meaning when I mention we're going to go see any of these three people he claps and shouts their name.

Last Thursday, I took an awesome walk with an old friend and her daughter at Meadowbrook. This is a walking place where we usually meet Libbygirl and Lightning McColin on Tuesdays. When he got out of the car he started shouting, "McColin, where are you?" and scanning the parking lot. 

When I told him we were meeting a new friend, he went back to the car door and started demanding that I take him home.

As it was, X-man took one look at K and C and decided both of them were well worth hanging out with. And he and C checked each other out as we walked stroller to stroller around the park. I'm hoping this week we'll have our stuff together enough to pack the jogger in the car. 

He also is becoming very fond of one of the Super Twins in his Turtle class. He uses his name all the time at home. I'm wondering if they're sitting at the same table in class. I'm going to have to look tomorrow. 

Then last week, we were in the bath and we were talking about family. One of X-man's favorite things to do when MacTroll and I are in the same room is to point at each of us and announce our presence. Having all three of us together is means for a pretty good time. Even if we were the only lame-o-s who completely skipped the Taste of Champaign this year. 

Anyway, I asked him who else was in his family, and after Mama, Dada and Riley came "Curious J" and "Bubba."

So, when I complain about the biting (and boy do I have a giant bruise on my forearm from that this week) and the lack of sleep... I have to remember that the good moments far outweigh the tantrums. 

That although he spent the first 30 minutes today NOT wanting to be where he couldn't swim, he calmed down and looked really cute in the kayak at Lake of the Woods (thanks Freak Family!), even if he only wanted to sit in it on dry land. 

I'm most thankful for the wealth of grown ups that he feels safe with. When Curious J is napping, X-man is happiest sitting in Rogers' lap reading books or playing cars. When I announce we're going walking with McColin, X-man cheers not just for Lightning, but also for Libbygirl. When we're going to the garden and I tell him he'll get to run around with Ms. Thang and The Boy, he watches them in bewilderment as they run and leap and talk a mile a minute. And The Boy can climb trees! 

I really do have a lot to enjoy, like days with moments like the one below. 

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Big Loser: Week 3

I just returned from weighing in. I was too tired from my lack of sleep last night (another 10:30 p.m. night with X-man and a 5:30 a.m. morning) to stay for the meeting. 

But the important part is done for this week. I've lost another 1.4 lbs. Bringing the total so far up to 7.6 lbs. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

 My first goal is to reach a 10 percent reduction, which would be 24.1 lbs. So I still have a long way to go at this rate. 

But I'm doing it and I'm not feeling deprived, which is nice. And I have a fleet of walking buddies, which is nice.

Oh, and can someone get the Neilson Ratings group to stop calling me. I don't have a TV... how the hell can I help them do anything? Besides, it's the summer, all the shows I bother to watch online aren't new any more. That means I'm not even tuning into my computer.

Tomorrow's agenda: Curves, Farmer's Market and family fun. 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Peaceful morning

I got to sleep until 7:08 a.m. this morning. Seriously. It was wonderful. I got almost 8 full hours of sleep, which means X-man got 9.5 hours of sleep. 

He didn't fuss about breakfast. He didn't fuss about getting diapered or dressed. He didn't fuss about getting into the car, or walking into school or going to the Turtle room. He washed his hands TWICE at the sink. "Bubbles, mama, bubbles!" 

And he was only semi-needy when it was time for me to leave. 

I celebrated his achievement by driving over to the Curves and working out. And even if I don't weight any less this week (tomorrow is weigh in ), I'll have worked out 3 times at the gym and walked between 6.25 and 11.25 miles this week (depends on if X-man gets up early or late tomorrow and we walk to school or not.) 

My feeling of slackness came from me trying to use the computer to track my food this week. I'm on my computer a lot, but not usually when I eat. So I'm not writing it down before I consume food. So back to the regular handwritten journal I go. It is a good way to track your weight progress online though -- nice to see the curve bending down, even if it's a little at a time. 

Curves weighed and measured me on Monday, so I'm weighed each week, weighed and measured each month and then there's the normal step up on the scale I put myself through. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Containing a superhero

So, you know when Peter Parker was a kid and his uncle told him that "with great power comes great responsibility." It's a creed that all superheroes have to live by or bad things happen. We've seen the results: Superman goes evil in Superman 3. Apparently Spiderman has some issues in Spiderman 3 (I haven't seen it). Dr. Jean Grey does it in X-men 3. Anakin loses it in Star Wars 3. (Anyone see a theme here with superhero films?).

Being a mother of a superhero, I get that I'm supposed to be instilling this kind of inspirational stuff into my 2 year old. But really at this point, my ambition as a parent is just for him to go to bed before 10 p.m. 

After trying to lie with him on a pad in his room, having him lie with us in our room, doing the calming music like he has at school, adding aromatherapy baby soap (thank you California Baby) into the bath routine, rocking, singing, etc., in order to get our suddenly not tired boy to sleep we resorted to caging him in his room with a baby gate.

There was lots of crying as we tried to get his focus off the gate and onto reading bedtime stories. When he wouldn't have anything to do with us. We tried to hug him and kiss him goodnight and communicate that we were leaving. (I got bit on the forearm pretty good. There will definitely be a bruise even with the icing.) I went back in 10 minutes later and got him to calm down enough to read five bedtime books; after each one I told him that at the end of the stack, he needed to go to bed. I had him look me in the eyes and tell me that he understood after each book. 

When we got to the end of the pile. X-man laid down in defeat. I'm not sure what he thought was going to happen because he was fine -- until I stood up to leave. Then he lost it in hysterical crying again. I put him in his bed and kissed him goodnight, and before he could crawl out, I got out of the room and shut the gate.

I went in the bathroom and was chatting quietly with MacTroll about how hard it was to listen to him cry and call out for us. I got one contact out of one eye when I heard some pretty decent grunting. MacTroll and I walked into our bedroom and there was the kid. He had HEAVED his body up and over the gate -- Casey Seeger style.

So there goes the restricting movement idea. How does one contain a superhero? I guess I was foolish to even try.

I took out my second contact while MacTroll denied X-man Sesame Street Podcast. Then I showed X-man the ultra cool full and orange moon on the horizon, announced it was my bedtime and I crawled into bed. 

X-man finally quieted down, crawled into our bed and lay down between my legs with his head resting on my lower abdomen. He talked for a while, did some of that baby reflex thing (where they think they're falling and put out their arms) and boom 10 minutes later (around 9:15 p.m.) he was snoozing. 

So, maybe if we take him swimming from 3-4 p.m., then to the park from 4:15-5:30 p.m. and then to a picnic with friends and to Irish music in the park from 6 to 8 p.m., give him a bath and have him do hysterical crying from 8:20 until 9 p.m. we'll get him to go to sleep before 10 p.m. again tomorrow.

But I did like playing with his hair as he slept in my lap. It kind of made the hurt all go away having that moment with him and knowing he didn't even realize. 

And here he is busting a move to the Irish music tonight in Wheatfield Park in Urbana. A big thanks to Quigs for the photo.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yeah, I'm that Dwarf

Seriously, give me a beard and a big red nose and call me Sneezy. The cold weather in May postponed my annual allergy hell a couple of weeks, but now I've got it full on. I'm sneezing, itchy and otherwise miserable. No amount of Claritin, Zyrtec or preventative nasal spray can help. I just have to wait out the pollen (at the lastest, mid-July). 

So what did I do today? I cleaned up my garage. It's still not quite as organized as I would like, but it does look a lot better. I just need to pick up the pegboard for the tools and to hang the shovels. 

But who am I kidding? It takes me forever to hang things in this house. Just when I thought I was making leeway, I realize there are still plenty of pictures leaning against walls in my master bedroom, guest bedroom and basement.  And there's that big ugly gaping hole I managed to put in the garage wall with my car door (long story). Gotta see if I can find a handy man to put that back together. (Anyone have any handyman suggestions?)

But right now, my poor nose needs me to take a nap so that I can get up and go walking with Libbygirl and Lightning McColin at the Prairie Park at 4 p.m. 

MacTroll is grilling tuna to put on a salad for dinner. Hooray!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The bedtime shuffle

Two weeks ago we had a son who loved his bed. He happily crawled into bed for naptime or bedtime with a book in hand and flipped pages and talked to himself until he passed out.

For the last two weeks, he has refused to nap at home and it takes him 2 hours to wind down to fall asleep. If we end bath time at 7:30 p.m., he's usually asleep by 9:30 or so. Tonight it went as late as 10 p.m. And he was up at 5:30 this morning. 

From my research online and from talking to parents with other 2 year olds, this doesn't appear to abnormal, but MacTroll and I do find it frustrating. X-man wants to lie in a big bed with us to fall asleep, except when he's in the big bed, he does everything NOT related to sleeping. 

We've tried some classical music, like they use during naptime at school. We've gotten him a soft Bob the Builder and Thomas to sleep with and chat with. We've tried talking to him about how if he stays in bed, we're happy to leave the door open. 

But I fear, what this comes down to is me erecting a baby gate at the door and telling X-man that he's got to stay in his room. And I hate to do that after 2.3 years of him going to bed so well. But 2-2.5 hours at bedtime is really hard. It leaves no energy left in MacTroll or I to get other stuff done (dishes, laundry, etc.) that usually gets done when X-man goes to sleep.

We even ran him ragged from 6 p.m. until 7:15 p.m. at the park. He took a nice bath and got his two bedtime stories. So, I'm just at a loss as to what the change could be besides some kind of mental or physical development going on. Any child development experts out there?

Working things out

So here's the deal about having big blow ups in relationships -- you get a firm idea of where you stand. And friends, I'm here to report, that MacTroll and I are in pretty good standing with each other since he returned from his trip to WWDC. I like when relationships are this way. When you can get things off your chest, tell your whole truth, listen to the other's whole truth, take some time to think and then join hands on the same path.

I do realize that this is not always possible. But most of the time, I'm one of those "fight the good fight" kind of people. Plus, it takes an insane amount of trust to be able to be vulnerable and fragile enough to peer at the truth. I know a lot of people can't do this. They'd much rather sit in their lovely estate in the Land of Denial hiding in the luxury of their own imaginary worlds.

If you're waiting for photos of our trip to Rockford. I'm going to send you to X-man's web site. There's a lot of good shots there. Speaking of the X-man, he's currently covered in markers from coloring thank you that are a little late (Sorry, Rita!). 

Okay, I'm off to get the kid dressed and get ready to walk to the gym. 

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Daddy-o Day

Well, we're all back home except for one favorite elderly cat who will get picked up tomorrow. We tried to take X-man out to breakfast this morning, but he was unhappy about doing anything that required him to leave his house after being gone for five days. So, we decided to say "Blah!' to breakfast and instead X-man played with Daddy (and all of the toys he hadn't seen in days), while I ran out to the store and got a week's worth of groceries.

In the cards was a picnic lunch in the front yard, which turned out pretty nice. We had sandwiches on Ciabatta bread, fruit and some potato salad. There is a lemon daisy cake cooling on the oven, and I got all the necessities to make the fruity mimosas from Beth's wedding (Dude, that was like 9 years ago!) as a special father's day treat tonight.

I'm also prepping some Greek kabobs and making these cool baguette, tomato, mozzerella things from weight watchers. 

Now the trick is going to be keeping to one piece of cake (I successfully avoided Joel's summer sausage at lunch). So, um, I might just put it out of sight and take it for the kids to eat at the garden meet up on Thursday. :-) It's a great summer cake. 

I hope you're all having a great Father's Day!

Friday, June 13, 2008


There's a lot of hunger going on around here these days.

I weighed at the WW up here and I'm down another 1.2 lbs. So that's 6.2 lbs in two weeks, which is good because it's chief water retaining week AND because I had a bachelorette party and a Mom's night out last weekend where I used my 35 extra flex points, a usual Loosey no-no. Normal people get to use those things. People with metabolisms in reverse don't really benefit by using them.

But since a 2 lb per week loss average is good, we'll be happy as long as the numbers keep going down, right?

The other hunger came while we were playing with the neighbor's swingset this morning. (I have loads of pictures to upload when we get home.) X-man started getting nippy, like a puppy, so we went inside for morning snack.

I was putting his muenster cheese on a plate and getting out a juice box when "BITE." He clamped right on to my ass.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Greetings From Rockford

We've been here 24 hours, and X-man has shown his Nana what a big boy he is and how impossible he can be. I think she's completely tuckered out by this afternoon. And if it wasn't for an impending thunderstorm, I think she'd be napping.

I'll blog about the exact places when I get home and can upload some photos.

But today after lunch, X-man refused to nap in the big boy bed at Nana's house. So he and I sat looking at some old photo albums. Most of them were strangely photos of flowers, and he kept asking for people. I put one down and picked another one up, and in that moment he decided to stand up, reach behind us and put his index finger and his middle finger on a HOT lightbulb in a desklamp on the dresser. Burns.

There was a lot of hysterical screaming (From X) and a lot of sighing by me as I tried to get him to run his hand under cold water. He kept holding it up to my lips wanting me to kiss it. And unfortunately, this was the first time my kisses weren't able to make the pain go away.

I called our nurse hotline in Chambana. She said I had done the right thing. The pads of his fingers started blistering up, so she pronounced him with second degree burns and gave us a treatment plan at home. Poor Nana kept trying to comfort X-man, but he would have none of it. And she was trying to get him to put his hand in some cold water or on a cold towel, but nope -- none of that either. He was in crazy, pain, no-nap toddler world.

Nana ran off to get some Children's Motrin for the pain. And X-man calmed down once I filled up a juice cup with ice and orange juice. Since he wouldn't hold the wet, cold towel, but was thirsty from all the fuss, I figured he was holding something wet and cold in his hand. That seemed to help. He refused the bandaids with neosporin profusely.

So, four episodes into Curious George he passes out in the big blue chair in the family room. I carefully put some neosporin on two different band-aids and wrapped his fingers up.

Poor nipper. He's gonna have a sore left paw for a while.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Large and in Charge

Where do I have to go to get some decent underwear around here? I'm not talking the kind that last you forever -- I'm talking about the kinds that aren't on very long. 

I'm a girl with abandonment issues since Lane Bryant closed our store in Champaign, leaving the nearest plus-sized LB shopping to Bloomington. I keep walking in the "other" stores  like Maurices, Avenue, Dots, Old Navy (only works if you have a pre-baby body), etc., but no one is sporting lingerie for the food friendly. I had become dependent on finding at least a couple things at Lane Bryant over the years that had become staples. 

This is my problem. I'm smaller on top than I am on bottom. There is a 14" difference between my waist and my hips. My body screams for separates. 18 bottom/14 on top. One foot in "plus-size" and one foot in "regular." It's annoying.

So, I went out on a limb. I tried a new-to-me place online called Torrid. It's an LA-based store that I saw when I was in Irvine visiting KTDID last February. The "mall" it was in was scary. (I had never been to a mall with valet parking for my Ferrari before...) I'm much more daring online (go figure).

I tried a once piece red and white flowered teddy. Not bad, right? Maybe just bad enough...;-)

But I should have known better. Way to big for the girls, but just enough room for the caboose. 

So, my loyal readers, if you've got any suggestions in the not just bra and panty area (looking for something that covers the belly a bit), please, for my sake, tell me about where you go. Because I am apparently lingerie shopping challenged. Or maybe I just need a trip to the city to actually try stuff on. But just to be clear, I need underwire... and no thongs, g-strings or cheeky pants. I'm a hipster, bikini, boy shorts or french cut kind of girl.

On the plus side. I called Torrid for the return. They sent me a Fed Ex label over the internet to print and send back the package for free. Samantha, the customer service agent, was very friendly. And they appear to have new stuff all the time, so I'll keep trying. 

Three posts in one day... I must be doing laundry today.

Thinking of Grampy

"There's an old proverb that says you can't choose your family. You take what the fates hand you. And, like them or not, love them or not, understand them or not, you cope. Then there's the school of thought that says the family you're born into is simply a starting point. They feed you, and clothe you, and take care of you until you're ready to go into the world and find your tribe." — Meredith Grey, "Grey's Anatomy"

After I dropped X-man off at school today (He walked in, washed his hands AND picked out a puzzle by himself without imploding for the first time with me dropping him off at the new room, although he did point to the Panda room when I asked him which was his classroom.), I had to return some movies that MacTroll had rented from That's Rentertainment.

If you're not one of those people who is afraid to go on campus, you should really check this locally owned and operated store out. We love them not only for the international collection but because they have a renter's block. Give them $100 and you get 100 DVDs for $1 for THREE nights. MacTroll and I are a little slow. It takes us around 2 years to use all 100 movies.

Anyway on my way over there I started thinking about my grandfather. In the last few days, X-man has become pretty friendly with my old Care Bear (from the original Care Bear days). He holds Grumpy Bear closely and finds the fact that he has a heart on his butt and on his nose pretty entertaining. MacTroll got really confused the first time I asked where Grumpy's heart was and X-man immediately flipped the bear over to show us his buttocks. 

That bear was a gift from my grandfather to me almost 25 years ago (don't think about the dustmites). My paternal grandfather was my favorite person in the world as a little girl. I'd get excited when we were going to see him. I'd be sad when we left. I remember the day he told me they were moving to Florida. I was lying in a sunbeam with him on the floor of the living room. It was a lazy day, and suddenly my hangin' around with Grampy became a life altering shift. He was moving away. And even his promises that the new house would have a pool wasn't good enough. I didn't want to see him once a year and swim in his pool. I wanted to see him all the time and sleep on the carpet in the living room, get pushed around in the wheelbarrow and watch him drag his toast into his egg yoke in the morning. 

I felt a certain kinship with my grandfather that I didn't feel with anyone else. He was my favorite, and in the way he always showed me infinite patience, I kind of always wondered if I was his favorite too. Of course, he'd never tell me that -- there were six other grandchildren in his life. But I watched how he had to keep on my three boy cousins. How he'd shout or grab their hands or spank them when they'd try to run across the street without looking. I could sit next to him in his garage or in the garden and just watch him work. My grandfather gardened a lot. He was fabulous at it. And never mind his "Master Gardener" certificate -- my people are landscapers. I guarantee I have no green thumb, but I don't mind the work and I like doing it with my son the way my grandfather liked doing it with me. We liked being together. It was a natural. 

In 1992, two weeks after I met MacTroll. My grandfather, grandmother and aunt Rose were killed in a car accident while driving from Florida to New York to visit relatives. Poor Barbara had to break the news to me. They were 70 and 69. There was a double Catholic funeral where my parents grew up in Hinsdale. There was grief.

But mostly there was me sitting on the porch outside feeling separate from everything that was going on inside. I didn't think that was where my grandfather would have wanted all of us to be. I didn't think that was how he'd like to be remembered. 

I like to keep trying to grow roses like he did. In this house I have a Sterling Silver and two Kennedy rose bushes. They've been blooming the last couple of weeks. And each time I see them, Daniel Thomas Williams, Sr. (aka Grampy), the first son born in America to my immigrant great grandparents, is all I can think of. 

And I guess that's what the afterlife is for me. The ones who knew you keep you in their hearts and love you and remember you as they focus on trying to create quality relationships with those that touch their lives regardless if they're related by blood or marriage or just by proximity. For blood and legal bindings are nothing in comparison to love. 

So, I'm raising my WW 32 oz water pitcher to my tribe. Seriously, you do good work. I hope I'm there as much for you as you are for me. (And KTDID, I still think you should come home for a visit this summer. Call me. We have points!) 

Here we go to grandmother's house...

Tomorrow X-man and I pack it up and head up to Rockyford. The birthplace of yours truly. My parents still live up there, so we're visiting my mom for two days and then going to dad and Barbara's on Friday night and Saturday before coming back down to Chambana.

We have a special trip planned for my Dad with my sister and her husband on Saturday in the burbs of Chi-town, which should be incredibly fun.

My parents have embraced the whole grandparent status pretty okay. When X-man was crawling, I outfitted both of their houses with brand new port-a-cribs and travel high chairs to make me have to haul less in the car. Now that X-man is all "big boy, big boy bed!", Dad donated his crib and gave us back the chair (so we can use it for guests in the future). Mom still has hers, but she's more of a keeper "just in case a baby visits" she's on ready status. 

Better yet, was the effort that they put into their houses on their own accord to make them safe environment for X-man. My dad and stepmom are queen of making sure all the plugs are in electrical sockets before we get there. When renovating his front foyer, my dad had his old 1970's handrails and banisters replaced to be childproof, and he purchased a gate for the top of the stairs, as did my mom. Both houses routinely move all breakable objects out of X-man reach (a feat which they are astonished at each time we visit giving his growth and ability to grab things). 

And it's nice because it makes the visit so much easier when your son can play with things and move about the house freely. Nana even has a stash of toys she's picked up at garage sales that X-man loves to play with. And then at Dad's we pull out the rubbermaid box of cars and trucks for him to zoom around the wooden floors. But mostly, he likes sitting on my dad's lap and listening to him identify birds in the backyard. 

What it means for me is that I get to do my weigh-in up north, and as things go, this weekend kind of put me off track with all the going out with the girls. Eating out is so the killer of all good things related to progress in the WW area.  It also means I'll get a chance to scope out some father's day gifts for MacTroll, awesome dad, extraordinaire. 

And don't worry about the kitties and the dog. We use 3 PhD Petsitting. Michelle and her crew are awesome and thorough -- and I love that you book them entirely ONLINE.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Unemployment: A Day in the Life of Loosey

6:50 a.m. 
Wake up to X-man stirring.

7 a.m. 
Give morning hugs and talk to X-man. 
Set X-man up with "Bob the Builder"
Pee, wash up, brush teeth, get dressed.
Remember that I forgot to take out the garbage and run downstairs to get it on the curb.
Remember that I forgot to dry X-man's rashguard, swimsuit and towel for school: Do laundry.
Put away laundry that was in the dryer.
Feed five cats, dog, fish.
Pill elderly cat.
Empty diaper genie and all garbage bags upstairs. 
Collect dry cleaning.
Haul bags downstairs. 
Put garbage out. 
Dump drycleaning next to door.
Get X-man into a clean diaper and dressed for school.

7:45 a.m. 
Have a 15-minute conversation with X-man about what he wants for breakfast. Lots of tears and frustration, as he refuses everything. He asks for "Curious George." I cave and sit him down to eat his Cheerios with bananas and watered down apple juice in front of George.

8 a.m. 
I make a point of eating 1/2 cup of strawberries, 1/2 cup of banana and 1 cup of Cheerios with 1/2 cup of skim milk. 4 points, Weight Watchers.
I take two fiber supplements, two calcium supplements, a multi-vitamin, two ibuprofen (broken glasses are killing my head) and a zyrtec for my allergies.

8:10 a.m. 
Prepare X-man's swim bag with his items for school, including replacement shorts, since he peed through his last Thursday and I forgot to take new ones in on Friday.
Haul bedspread and bag of dry cleaning to the car.
Get broken glass case with nose pad that fell off on Saturday in case and in car. 
Get checks to deposit. 
Shit -- I forgot to let the dog out to pee. 
Let dog in. 
Put dog in car because he refuses to miss going to school with X-man.
Bring dirty juice cups and pool stuff from car into house. 
Put swim bag in car.

8:30 a.m. 
Take 5 minutes to confirm X-man is done with his breakfast.
Pick him up and haul him to car after he clings to the chair refusing to go and shouting for Dada.
Get him in the car. Get hit three times to communicate his refusal.
Tell him "Hitting HURTS! Use your words." 
2-minute time out in the car seat.
Baby cries all the way to school. 
Baby gets carried with swim bag into school. He's moaning. 
In the classroom, I hang up his swim bag and take him to wash his hands. 
It takes him 2 minutes to decide which sink he wants to wash his hands in (there are two). 
He walks outside ready to play, notices me signing him in and clings to my legs crying. 
Ms. Holly has to peel him off my leg, and I leave with him in hysterics.
Drop dry cleaning off at cleaner's next to daycare.
Deposit checks.
Run by Chittick Eye Center to get nose piece fixed and pick up extra glasses and ask if I can renew my contacts, or if I need to make another appointment to get my eyes checked.

9:05 a.m. 
Call Rogers and check in to see how she's doing.

9:20 a.m. 
Empty baby pool, clean up all the stuff blown around the yard due to the storms.
Clip pedometer to shorts.
Mow back yard.

9:45 a.m.
Come inside sneezing. 
Have water.
Transfer money from Checking to pay part of Joel's Am Ex bill.
Transfer money from Money Market to Checking to pay my Chase credit card bill.
Fill out Daycare Tax Reimbursement Form so I can start getting back some of the money we've paid toward daycare this year in our Flexible Daycare Spending account.
Call Joel and check in. 
Mail Mike his Father's Day card.
Start this blog.

11 a.m. 
Trim around garden, hot tub, sandbox and areas of the back fence.
Spray out baby pool, reinflate and fill.
Fill with water to weight it down in the wind.
Put up metal yard fixtures and plant peas to grow up them in area where Raspberry bushes are either dead or questionable... 
Allergy attack.
Let out Dog

Eat left over Turkey WW chili from last week 6 points. 
Drink water.
Blow nose a lot.
E-mail MacTroll about end of month stock needs. 
Take dishes out of dishwasher.
Put dirty dishes in dishwasher.
Get/Read Mail.

11:50 a.m. 
Refill lawn mower gas.
Mow front and side yards.

1 p.m. 
Check CARE board.
Update item, RSVP, member relations/maintenance.
Research Quicken 2007 home finance software for the Mac at

1:15 p.m. 
Take a shower.
"Oh look, I have hives on my underarms and knees/legs from mowing the grass. How nice. They go lovely with the sunburn on my shoulders. Ouch!"
Apply prescription facial cream.
Put on robe -- carefully.

1:25 p.m.
Turn down hot tub to 60 degrees.
Order Quicken with free shipping from Amazon.

1:30 p.m.
Eat a Dannon Lit and Fit Yogurt 1 point and drink 16 oz of water.
Apply lotion to sunburns. 
Read and The Chicago-Tribune

3:30 p.m.
Wake up with a start. 
Ouch -- headache, but the hives are gone.
Cancel garden meet up. Call the only other person likely to attend today.
Get dressed.
Figure out what will be for dinner and if I have enough ingredients.

4:15 p.m. 
Get flex benefits signed at NG.
Drop off Box Tops for Education that I've been dutifully collecting.
Pick up X-man.
Drive home.

Start Dinner. 
Low-fat pesto with a green salad with tomato and a hint of avocado for me. 
Low-fat pesto, bread, grapes and kalamata olives for X-man.
5:15 p.m 
Sit down to dinner with child. 
Attempt bonding conversation with 2 year old about his day.

5:40 p.m.
I can't sit still any longer.
X-man asks for "Curious George."
I give it to him, and I feed the cats and the dog.
I pick up the kitchen and run the dishwasher.
I write down my foods for the day.
I frame a photo and think about where I'd like to hang it.
I check my e-mail.
I create some meet-ups for the Dads for CARE.
I list my carpet remnants at CARE since Freecycle didn't work out.

6 p.m.
X-man announces he's finished. 
He's eaten everything on the plate clean, but only 1/2 of the pesto.
He plays with car.
Freak drops by to borrow Seasons 1 and 2 of Buffy and pick up her magnet letters.
We go outside.
He asks for a popsicle and gets one.
He wants mommy's skinny cow one instead.
So I go in and throw his kid-one away and get another.
Then we play with his Little Tyke car, blow bubbles, play with chalk and watch the house across the street from us also get Green siding (woot!).
He's covered in dirt, popsicle and bubble fluid.
I announce the 5-minute warning about bath time.
I announce the 2-minute warning about bath time.
X-man helps me put away the bubbles, but refuses to go inside.
I pick him up and carry him inside.

7:15 p.m.
Temper tantrum ensues on 2nd floor.
We go into the guest room, so there's nothing to throw.
I sit in front of the door and repeat: "I know you want to keep playing. I'm sorry you're frustrated, but it's time to take a bath and get ready for bed. I love you. Can you calm down and talk to me."
There was mild violence toward me, but the temper tantrum was in crazy kid mode... so time out wasn't working. 

7:40 p.m.
X-man stops crying and asks for hugs.
X-man gives me gentle touches.
X-man gives me a bigger, tighter hug.
X-man climbs up onto the guest bed and says, "Big Bed! Here, Mama, here."
I lie down with him and remind him about bath.
He whimpers.
I pick him up and put him in the bathtub. 
He asks to brush his teeth.
I wash him while he brushes.
He plays with his ducks.
When he' done, he asks to try the potty.

8:05 p.m.
I put on his overnight diaper and long t-shirt from the Monticello Train Museum.
X-man picks out three books to read.
I read him the three books.
I turn on his night-time music.
He curls up in bed with his blankie and book and the Grumpy Care Bear my Grampy gave me when I was around 8 years old.

8:15 p.m. 
I start writing this entry.

8:45 p.m. 
I finish writing this entry.

Quigs is coming over for a key. And then I'm going to go to bed and getting up tomorrow and doing the same stuff, pretty much, except substitute indoor stuff for outdoor stuff tomorrow.

But technically, I've been "unemployed" for three weeks. If you actually have the time (which apparently I did today) feel free to share your own "unemployment" day (traditional working parents and part-timers are welcome to share too!)

I'll read your blog and send you good supportive vibes!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


To compensate for the marital melt down  yesterday, MacTroll and I were on our super good behaviors. There was hand holding, complimenting, together time with X-man. We ratcheted up the parenting level to "above Looseyfur standards." 

And then I told him what he said really hurt me. He apologized, and we're going to talk about it some more when he gets back from travel next Sunday.

Today, I went to Target for sunglasses to wear to the pool with my contacts and some shampoo. I came out with those items and Flo and Ramone from Cars for my boy. He LOVED learning to say the word Ramone. 

He was so excited about them, he refused to nap. So at 2:15 p.m. I gave up and took him to Sholem Aquatic Pool, where he decided he had outgrown the baby/toddler pool and wanted to explore the big kid area more. He also loved learning about what a lifeguard is and saying it over and over again. He even approached one. She smiled at him and he touched her flotation device. Today, my son also kissed two girls. A baby girl, probably around six months, who was hanging out in the Puddle. And a 4-year-old girl who was lying over the fountain area in the zero depth pool. He actually laid down, looked into her eyes, leaned forward and puckered up. It was hilarious.

At 5:15 p.m. I announced we were done and going home. X-man screamed and threw a fit all the way to the car. Once in the car, he quietly drank his juice and by the time I had reached Windsor and Mattis, he was out cold in his car seat. 

I carried him inside, put him on the couch, changed him out of his suit and swim diaper and put him in a fresh one, covered him with a blanket, and the dude DIDN'T OPEN HIS EYES.

Gonna put in a movie and hope to wake him up until at least 7 p.m. But I thought you'd like a photo. 

"Oh crap, it's the police."

As many of you know, my husband and I don't get to spend a lot of time together. The first six years of our relationship was long distance. The next two I worked 50 hours a week and went to graduate school while he chased Monica Lewinsky, Ken Starr and other Washington players down with his camera for multiple news agencies. Then we got married, and he obtained full-time employment with United Press International (where the news never stopped, not even for holidays, birthdays, anniversaries or blizzards) and I spent my time working for a foundation for journalists that worked under similar expectations (although they paid much, much better and had no problem with comp time for weekend assignments).

Then we moved here when we discovered no one had been tending the "marriage" garden. He still traveled all the time, only now for Apple. And I stayed home working one temporary, part-time job after another so I could get some quality marriage time on his schedule. 

Then we had a baby, some postpartum depression and still the travel. 

So communicating things about our marriage through the telephone has been a skill we've both learned to deal with. In short AT&T has substituted as our marriage counselor for several years. So when the company has any kind of financial woes, I sure as hell know they can't blame us for not giving them an insane amount of money over the years.

But last night, we got into one of those "state of the marriage" discussions on my way back from Decatur. And mostly, like my previous post, I was expressing my concerns about feeling unappreciated and relegated to forever being the Mommy or the Maid in our relationship. 

I had stopped my car and parked it on the street across from my driveway for the discussion. X-man was in bed, and we were finally getting to the grit of how MacTroll felt.

Warning: As I type this, I might vomit a little.

Apparently, the last five years of making our home a home in Champaign. Caring for it. Painting rooms. Hanging photos. Cooking for it. Paying the bills. Cleaning for it. Planning vacations. Running errands. All those "homemaker" duties... 

"Aren't special. They're all things a good roommate would do."

Cue the headlights from a car approaching. It stopping. A police officer beaming his light on the back of my car. I can't get my street plowed when it snows or drains cleared when they're blocked and the entrance to the subdivision is flooding. But a cop noticing me sitting quietly in my VW. Sure.

Needless to say once he ran my plates and my license and made sure I wasn't a potential domestic violence case, I was let go with the suggestion that I maybe park in my driveway to finish the discussion with my husband because the cops sweep my street to watch on the apartments next to us. 

The minute I entered the house, what MacTroll had said was gone. We talked about other stuff for a while and laughed a little about the cop, who was very nice to ask me three times if I was sure it was safe for me to go home (which was good of him), and then at 1 a.m. I drifted off to sleep.

At 3:30 a.m. X-man woke up crying. I went to see him and hugged him. He settled back down and fell asleep, and I went back to the bedroom. I sat awake in bed. MacTroll and Riley were snoring. I went to the guest room. Couldn't sleep. His sentence turning over and over again in my head. 

Yeah. Here comes the vomit. 

Saturday, June 7, 2008

"Mommy" and "Daddy" Differences (in My House)

My husband and I will have been together for 16 years this July. It marks the first year where we will have been married as long as we dated. So, I like to think I know him pretty well. 

• I know that he cares deeply for me and our home. 
• I know that since X-man's birth he feels this need to provide for us and works desperately hard at his job to keep big bucks and awesome health care available to us.
• I know he loves his work more than he gets annoyed with the stupidness that sometime occurs at his job at Apple.
• I know that he has a fabulous sense of humor.
• I know that I can always talk to him about things that are on my mind and even if he disagrees, he won't ever not want to hear what I'm saying.
• I know he came from a home where he was the fourth kid, was often told he was an "oops,"  and felt ignored and neglected and left to his own devices and doesn't want X-man to ever feel that way.
• I know that he can think in dimensions that I can't when it comes to academic and technical solutions.
• I know that every time he reads, "Mars Needs Moms" to X-man he cries and thinks of how our lives matter most in how we provide for him.
• We share the same values about all the big stuff in life. 

Knowing all this is definitely part of how we survived the long haul as two kids who met at summer camp before my junior year in high school in Rockford and his senior year of high school in Dunlap, went to separate colleges and lived in separate states during the six years before we moved in together in Falls Church, Va., when I decided to go to graduate school.

But this morning, I was uber annoyed with him.

I get up with X-man every morning. I make him breakfast. I wrestle him into clothes. I get him on the way to school. Most mornings out of the month, I do this alone because of MacTroll's erratic and heavy travel schedule. 

This morning, X-man came in our room at 5:50 a.m. I had had a great night at sushi last night with the CARE Moms and was buzzed enough from my adult time that I couldn't fall asleep until 2 a.m. I just laid in bed struggling with sleep. So I told X-man he either needed to lie down with me and go to sleep or he could go play trains in his room. 

What he wanted was a playmate and after 35 minutes of X-man crawling around on top of us, MacTroll went. I fell back to sleep for a short time. When I woke up X-man was at my bedside again asking me to come play. I thought maybe MacTroll had come back to bed. But no, he wasn't there. He wasn't in X-man's room either. I shouted for him and he was elsewhere in the house. I'll bet my VW that it was in front of an iPhone or a computer somewhere.

He responded immediately, in that "damn, I'm busted" tone, and went to play with X-man. At 8 a.m. on the dot, I hear MacTroll walking around to my side of the bed. He pats me on my left shoulder. The one I had to remind him all week was tender due to my tetanus/whooping cough vaccine on Wednesday. So when people touch it, it's like someone is pushing their finger into a deep bruise causing a fit of pain.

"Whoops, sorry! I'm going to go and get a blood test," he said.
"What?" I stammer, my eyebrows furrowing even further. 
"I am supposed to get a blood test as a follow up to my physical. So I'm going to go now."
"You never mentioned this to me this week."
"Well, I forgot until now."
"Can you take X-man with you?" I ask.
He looks toward the curtains that are pulled closed at the window.
"I don't know how to do that if I'm getting blood drawn for a while and he's running around," he finally responded.
"Put him in the stroller," I responded offering a solution.
"I guess this means that you want to keep sleeping," he said.
"Yes," I answered.
"How long do you want to sleep for?"
"Until I'm not tired any more," I answered closing my eyes.
"Did he eat breakfast?" I ask.
"He had some juice and goldfish crackers."
"That's not a healthy breakfast."
"It's what he wanted."
"That's fine, but that's one element you put on his plate. You put all the other stuff around it."
"I guess I won't get my blood drawn," he says quietly.
"Thousands of other people take their kids with them everywhere, every day."
"I know. I know. I know," he says standing up.
"Well, you go back to sleep, then," he says as he walks out of the room.

Fat fucking chance now. But it took me at least an hour to work through the conversation and think of several reasons why I'm crazy about my husband before I could write about it without wanting to throw breakable shit across the room.

Any parent who is the primary caretaker of their child knows how you end up taking your kid with you everywhere. How you never get to get dressed alone or pee alone. How you take your kids to your doctor's appointments, if you have to. Or how you have to NOT go places because you have your kids, and it's not appropriate for them to go. And this is one of those things he doesn't get about my day-to-day life: 

What I need or want doesn't usually matter. 

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Big Loser: Week 1

At 9:45 a.m. I weighed in after week 1 on Weight Watchers. I weighed 236 lbs with clothes and shoes. That's a 5 lb loss. I got a little star sticker with a five on it for my efforts.

I also determined that the weight on my scale at home is 2 lbs less than the WW scale, which is good to know, so I'm not nearly as bewildered after my meeting as when I got on the scale this morning naked and it said 233 lb. (1 lb. extra is clothes and shoes).

I am saving a majority of my points for dinner tonight. The CARE moms have a night out at Kamakura. And sushi is 2 points a piece (for my Alaska roll). I have to figure out the edamame value too. 

One of my favorite things about summer is the amount of good fruit at the store. I'm a nectarine fiend. But yesterday I noticed Schnucks has fresh cherries on sale this week at $2.98 a pound. X-man loves cherries. I have to cut the pits out of them, which is a pain and turns my fingers red. But I think he's getting bored of bananas.

However, he and Lightning McColin did a STELLAR job of eating some giant strawberries yesterday and putting the stems back in the container

Oh, and I wanted to point out that I planned it out and had small banana split Blizzards at DQ twice this week. :-) And that's unusual, since I'm a Jarling's kind of girl, and I've had DQ maybe 12 times since we moved here in 2003. But as I get smaller the points I'm allowed to eat lessen. So I might as well take advantage of a 28-point day with a 10-point ice cream on two pretty hot and muggy days. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


So here's something I didn't write about this week. On his second day in the 2-year-old room, X-man bit another kid. He had this problem in his toddler room between 18-21 months. So it had been a LONG time since he'd had the behavior. 

He bites out of frustration and in self-defense (Not that this excuses the behavior). Someone takes a toy from him and instead of using his words he goes straight into the physical, because he's better at it. We've been trying to teach him to use his words, but I think with all the recent changes he's been having a hard time adjusting. 

MacTroll's been at work a lot over the last couple of months. He has to say goodbye to his beloved ba-ba. He just started a new class with new teachers and new kids, where the kids use the potties and full sentences and can do things a lot better than he can. In the toddler room, once he was the "older kid" he had a confidence, and his behavior improved. 

We try to use a lot of words at home. And, of course, we're still using the "If you are violent you'll sit and be silent." But since that post, I've only had to use it three times, which isn't too bad, considering I know usually kids can be in time out multiple times a day and that's completely normal.

I know the behavior is typical. The school says it's pretty normal for toddlers, the pediatrician, the parenting books, the child development web sites. They all say once he learns to use his words things should get better. But I feel terrible about the whole thing and just want it to stop. 

When I got the write up from the teacher, who was very, very good about everything, I felt really guilty. I felt like I was doing all I could do being the primary caregiver and discipline giver because of MacTroll's frequent absences. I ended up crying all the way home, where MacTroll gave me a hug and then X-man joined in. As it is, I ended up 3 points over my daily budget yesterday, but in the plus column, I hadn't used any of my "flex points." So I don't have a lot of guilt, but I did acknowledge the reason I was eating was because eating makes me feel good, and I was feeling pretty sad about my kid hurting other kids. 

I have to work on that.

As for X-man, at school he's in the "penalty box," (as I call it). He sits right next to a teacher at all times, so he can be watched. He had a good day today, which made me feel better. But still. I know it's probably going to happen again. 

P.S. Can it stop raining long enough that I can cut my grass again and stain my fence? 

P.P.S. One week until Quigs moves to the hood. I'm very excited.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Can I admit something?

I hate having to count 16 animal crackers out of the bag to determine my 3-point snack serving.

What's wrong about this is that with some other addictions, you stop cold turkey in detox. Not that that's at all fun and games. Seriously. That's really crappy hard. 

But in a really, really selfish way, I feel like there's some emotional validation to me comparing what I'm going through with Weight Watchers to someone handing an alcoholic a big bottle of vodka and telling her she can only have one shot. 

I know this will get better. In two weeks, I will still be annoyed that I have the problem, but I'll have learned to live with it. I did it before, and it was all good until I fell off the wagon. 

But right now, it's really frustrating.

Funny Moms

I just found this link through Mrs. Chicken's blog. And two things have me rolling on the floor laughing. Sure the blog entry is stellar, but to the right is her plea for readers to click on the advertisement on her site. 

When I read the plea, I almost peed my pants. 

Bravo, Get in the Car! You have a new reader (I hope you don't mind that I'm so easily amused.)

Old Friends

My friends Beth and Bob, who live in Philly, had a baby girl, Annika, on May 17. It's their first child and they had been waiting very patiently for her arrival. 

On May 30, Bob's father, Robert, died at age 53. Today is the funeral. And the fact that Annika won't know her paternal grandfather is very much on my mind. 

Since I don't believe in an after-life, death probably seems more desolate than it does for people who do. But what I do like to think, is that the spirit of those we loved lives on inside of each of us. 

That said, I know Bob and Beth are going to be awesome about telling Annika stories about Robert. He's got a colorful history in that 53 years. Some of the stories will have to wait until she is much, much, much older (Polyesters Dance Club!). :-) But they'll be recalled fondly all the same.

Monday, June 2, 2008


Friday, May 30 at 10 a.m. I was 241 lbs at WW. I weighed the same at my scale at home.

On Monday, June 2 at 10 a.m. I was 235.4 at home. 

Either the scale is broke, or this illustrates perfectly the shift in weight my body has due to water retention issues. 

Cause who, besides uber crazy wrestlers, can lose 6 lbs in 3 days?

Oh wait! Me.

Money says that I'll eat Chinese food once and gain 8 lbs, even by eating within my point range.

Mood Swings

I'm no slouch in the mood swing department. But my toddler seems to be the master. In between days where I'm getting knocked around a bit by his tantrums are days when he's super needy. Days when no one will do except Mama. At naptime and bedtime yesterday, X-man asked for his ba-ba (pacifier). Both times, I told him there were no ba-bas. That the ba-bas had gone to the babies, and that as a big boy, he got to do other cool things like go swimming in his new pool, play in his sand box and play with his new Mack Truck. (The Mac Truck was on sale for $16.99 at Toys R Us last week!) Last night, he got a little sad and asked for a hug. Then he laid in my arms like he did when he was a baby mumbling things. 

I asked him if he'd like me to sing him a song. He says, "Yes." So we start with ABC's. No, that's not right. Pick something else... back to an old standby... the song from Jaws. It's was his favorite at bedtime when he was tiny. 

The song finishes, he asks for more. I sang it three times. Then I wrapped him up in his dragon blanket from Ikea while he clutched his blankie, and I put him into bed. 

This morning, he stalled going to school at breakfast by eating his Cheerios one piece of cereal at a time. 

Then we got him dressed, and he said very clearly and matter of factly (which is pretty good for a kid who doesn't talk much), "I don't wanna go to the Turtle Room. Pandas, Mama, Pandas." It seems, similar to our friend Lightning McColin, X-man has some apprehension about moving rooms at school. 

I held him for a while, and he whimpered all the way to the car. Then in the car he got quiet and listened to the radio. At school he didn't want to come with us and stood at the car crying and pulling on the door handle. I held MacTroll's hand and at the sight of it, X-man ran up for hugs. Then we went into school, and I showed him where his cubby was, and his jacket hook and swimming bag. Then we went to wash hands in a bathroom with two mini toilets with two 2-3 year olds on them using them all by themselves. X-man stood in the doorway for a split second shocked. Then we washed hands and took him to Ms. Holly, who led him to a puzzle. 

I'm pretty sure by the time he makes it into the swimming pool at school at 3 p.m., he'll be glad he's a Turtle. But I can also see where knowing a lot of the kids can go potty by themselves, talk in full sentences all the time and have a bit more coordination is intimidating, particularly with new-to-him teachers in the room.

But my little man doesn't back away from a challenge. So I guess I better get on figuring out how to do this whole potty training thing and let him know that whenever he thinks of a ba-ba and misses them, I'm happy to hug him until he feels better.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June 1: Summer Arrives

X-man and I spent two hours playing in the backyard today. We planted some tomatoes, which involved a lot of digging in the dirt. Then he dug in the sandbox while I blew up the inflatable swimming pool. The goal was to get it up, so the sun would warm the water. X-man saw me finish it and wasted no time in climbing in and lying down (sans water) while I blew up the slide portion. 

I'm one of those parents who doesn't purchase high-end swimming equipment. I spent $30 on this sucker, and it's not the best designed thing, but I didn't expect it to be. I have to figure out how to put some grip down on the steps of the plastic blow up ladder so it's easier for little toddlers to climb without slipping. 

Anyway, X-man went and dragged over the hose and started demanding water, so I changed him into a swim diaper ("Nemo, Mama! Nemo!) I let him fill it up by himself. He got to decide when he had enough water (which I determined was FREEZING), but he didn't care at all. 

After swimming for a while and going up and down the slide, we stopped and had some crackers and juice. I filmed our conversation over food, which I'll try to post up on X-man's web site soon. Aunt Terry and Uncle Lester came over and he got to show them the pool. 

During all of this MacTroll was sneezing his way through mowing the front yard. Since I suffered through the backyard earlier in the week, we determined this was a fair course of action. 

Today also marked the first day we took all the "ba-bas" away from X-man. (Ba-ba = pacifier) We had to do a few extra hugs at naptime to get him settled and ready to go down. He was in his room talking to himself for a while, but I think that's expected. 

It was also my third day of Weight Watchers. First two days went great, I even avoided badness at Lightning McColin's fest of kid foods (I was the watermelon queen and the burger I had was great!) But today I made a mistake at lunch. I ate a small avocado. Not a uber large one.  A tiny one. But still 1/4 of it is 2 points. So I wasted 8 points on that thing on top of my cup of spinach, which was zero points. Oh well, this is what I get for not calculating before I put things on my plate.

I'll get through. I am drinking all kinds of water, which I find awesome. Because I am the world's worst water drinker. 

Someone out there with appropriate BMI drink a martini for me, okay?