Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dear Universe

Dear Autumn:

I love you dearly. You are my favorite, hands down. I love your fiery colors, your crisp mornings, your football games, and your back-to-school excitement. So why, dear seasonal friend, do you allow yourself to be pushed around by the bullies of summer and winter? Yesterday we were sweating bullets and wearing shorts and t-shirts in 90 degree weather. I couldn't sleep last night because it felt like a July night. Today, my kids broke out the big honkin' winter boots and danced around amidst huge snowflakes that were sticking to the grass. Tonight I'm wrapped up in my blanket with ice-cold toes, in denial that I need to go dig out my slippers. Stick up for yourself Autumn! We deserve crisp mornings and 70 degree days!

Dear Max:

I'll make a deal with you. If you promise not to bite me while nursing, I promise not to wean you. I appreciate that you're teething, but I would appreciate it even more if you didn't teeth on my nipple. I haven't had to use this much Lansinoh since you were a newborn. So next time you feel the need to chomp, please let me know so I can run far, far away.


Thank you so much for pulling your collective heads out and granting our appeal. It was definitely the most pleasant surprise I could have asked for today, and helped you avoid the lawsuit I've been threatening since you first denied our claim in May.

Dear Glee-

I am so glad you were on my TV tonight. I think I am officially addicted. Can you please be on TV on Monday night and Tuesday night too?

Dear Ice Cream and Hot Fudge Sauce:

Get in my belly. Enough said.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Your family might be a little computer addicted when...

Your daughters are playing on the computer downstairs and it needs to be restarted. So your husband goes to restart the computer and you hear your 7 year old start whining.

"But Dad, can we play on your laptop?"

"Nope, I'm using my computer."

"Well, can we play on Mom's laptop?"

"Mommy's using her laptop."

"But Dad, we need more computers in this house. We only have three!"

In our defense, the laptop belongs to my husband's work. And both my husband and I were doing legitimate work on our laptops. But still. I'm thinking three computers for four people should be enough.... I'm just sayin'!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Things you never thought you would say

"Please tell me you did not just eat cat vomit."

"The toilet is not your own personal swimming pool."

"Be soft with the dog's nose."

And that was all in the space of one hour this afternoon. Anyone else have some gems to share?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


You mean you don't match your baby with your bedding? Sad!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Sometimes, I think the moms should be the one to take the business trips.

No really, hear me out.

We'd come home and announce that we were leaving in two days. We'd take the nice company-owned truck and drive for five peaceful hours. We would listen to the satellite radio, catch up with family and friends, and not once would we have to pull over because of out of control screaming, an emergency potty break, or to rescue a thrown sippy cup.

We'd stop for a leisurely lunch, then arrive at our nice hotel rested and refreshed. We'd call home and let our husbands know that we'd arrived safely, and secretly gloat when we talked with our flustered husbands while the kids hollered in the background.

Then, we'd kick back on the king-sized bed, and order room service while flipping through cable channels. After watching a movie completely uninterrupted, we'd fall asleep and sleep all night. No one would wake us up by climbing on us, kicking us in the ribs, nursing all night long, puking, pooping, or drooling on us.

When we woke up the next morning, we'd have all the time in the world to get ready. We wouldn't have to pack lunches, change the epic poop explosion, help the seven year old practice the violin, veto non-matching/inappropriate/immodest outfits, or find four missing shoes. Instead, we'd enjoy a hot breakfast made by someone else, and read the current day's paper cover to cover.

On this fantasy business trip, we'd then spend a whole day cavorting with other moms. We would enjoy seminars entitled "How to look like you just stepped out of a fashion magazine with just the clothes in your closet," and "How to lose weight on a diet of Diet Coke with Lime and chocolate chips," and "Hiring the perfect housecleaner/chauffeur/personal chef." Gossiping over the catered lunch would be considered networking, and the fun would continue over dinner at a fancy restaurant that our family budget could never afford.

I might be just a little jealous.

Friday, September 18, 2009

I wanna be a domestic Goddess

I grew up with a mom who was a domestic goddess. She could sew anything, including most of the things we wore. We rarely (rarely!) went out to eat- there was always a home-cooked meal on the table. And we had a huge garden- half the size of our back yard. There were six of us, and we joked frequently about being slave labor when we were sent out to pick the peas, beans, tomatoes, (just for the record, you get in really big trouble when you get in a tomato fight with your siblings when you're supposed to be picking them!) and whatever else was ripe at the time. We had cherry pitting parties, movie nights shelling endless bags of peas, and nights on the deck covered in splatters of tomatoes as we ground them for spaghetti sauce.

Now that I'm a mom and trying to live more frugally and eat more healthy, I'm really wishing I would have paid more attention to the massive amounts of canning that my mom did every summer. In a fit of domesticity, I decided that all the apples we picked last week needed to be turned into apple butter. After a few calls to my friend Jules who gave me the recipe, and to my mom the canning guru, and 24 hours with the apples in the crockpot, I ended up with this:

7 very pretty, very yummy jars of apple butter. It tastes like apple pie on toast. And they all sealed! Its not much, but combined with the 24 jars of freezer jam we did a few weeks ago, and we're going to have lots of yummy toast this year, if nothing else!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Baby Steps

I knew it was going to happen eventually. I was washing off counters in the kitchen after lunch while Max was repeatedly testing the childproof latches on the cabinets. (Bless the soul that invented those and the previous owners of this house that installed them on every cabinet in the kitchen!) I glanced over to see that he was standing there not holding onto anything. Then with a great big grin, he took a step. His eyes widened, surprised at what he just did, before he fell onto his diaper-covered bum.

I scooped him up, gave him a big hug, then stood him up again. He giggled, then took two more steps into my arms.

He is ten months and two days old.

In other news today, he also learned how to open my laptop. So since I'm pretty sure I just gave birth to him yesterday, I'm fully expecting that tomorrow I'll find him toddling over to my laptop, opening it up, and updating my facebook status.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009


Today is a strange day. 

I'm sure September 11th is strange and sad for a lot of people. Eight years ago, I was 37 weeks pregnant with my oldest daughter.  I woke up, showered, and made myself as presentable as a 37 week pregnant woman can be, and got in the car, heading to an OB/GYN appointment all without turning on the radio or the TV.  The reports were mixed and chaotic, and it took five or ten minutes of listening before I caught the gist of what had happened.  I called my husband who was home playing the xbox and told him to turn on the TV because it sounded like the United States was at war.  It wasn't until I got home later that afternoon that I saw the footage of the planes crashing into the towers and realized the magnitude of the event. 

Growing up, I heard stories of where my parents were when they heard JFK had been shot, or my grandparents tell of the landing on the moon.  I will tell my children that I remember driving up 7800 S, wearing my green-checked maternity shirt with my hair up in a clip.  I will tell them that I remember how quiet everyone was that day, and how we cried with the rest of the nation.  I will tell them about the flags that appeared up and down our street for the next week.  And they will shake their heads and think I'm old as they read about Septmeber 11, 2001 in their history books.

But that's not the only reason that September 11th is a weird day for me.  New Years Eve, 2005, I peed on a stick and after almost a year of trying to get pregnant, the test was positive.  I immediately looked at what my due date would be. September 11, 2006.   We were thrilled about the baby, and started making plans for our first homebirth. And then I had a horrible, unexpected miscarraige in March of 2006.  With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I can almost say I'm grateful for that experience.  We weren't ready for the complications that came with Max- there is no way we would have been able to deal with his medical problems emotionally or financially at that point.  Plus, the year that followed led me to doula work, filling my lives with pregnant moms, babies, and friendships built attending births.  As I went through invasive and sometimes humiliating fertility treatments and testing, attending the births of others reminded me that birth works, and that someday I would be able to carry a pregnancy to term.  My life headed down a different road because of that miscarriage, and I am grateful for the path that I am on.  But every September 11th, I can't help but think of the baby that we thought we would have- a baby that would be turning 3.

But that's not the only reason September 11th is weird for me.  Last year, on the evening of September 10th, I got a call from my friend Kayleen who was in labor.  She was having her second daughter, and had asked me to be her doula for her homebirth.  Her gorgeous daughter Tessa was born at just after 1 am, after a labor that Kayleen made look easy.  I made it home just after 4 am, bleary-eyed and happy,  thinking about how healing it was to attend a birth on a day when I was feeling a little melancholy.  I got an hour or two of sleep before I woke up to engineer the school morning rush.

I had just dropped Ashlynn of at Kindergarten and was looking forward to the prospect of a long afternoon nap when the phone rang.  It was my dad.  "Stacy, I have some more bad news.  You need to sit down."  He proceeded to tell me that my oldest brother Curtis had died sometime earlier that morning.  Five weeks before, my family had been through the heartache of my youngest brother dying of a drug overdose.  Things were just starting to get back to normal after the funeral, burial, flowers and grief had started to subside, and now it was all happening again with a different brother.

My oldest brother Curtis never had an easy life.  He started down the road of drugs, alcohol and crime when he was in high school.  He spent cumulative years in jail.  He had been excommunicated from the church, but had started getting his life back together.  He had been rebaptized and preparing to go through the temple for the first time.  But my brother Jay's death five weeks before had been the hardest on Curtis.  I think he felt responsible in some ways, and had a hard time forgiving himself.  He relapsed, and had a heart attack in the shower after work.

Going through a second funeral for a second brother was difficult for everyone, to say the least.  I don't know how my parents lives through that kind of grief and survived.  I can't imagine the grief from losing one child, let alone two in the same summer, both from drug related incidences. 

So today is somber day.  In some ways, it feels like any other day.  I got up before the sun and Abby and I practiced for an hour and a half before school.  I laughed on the phone with a friend, and nursed the baby.  But later today, I'll call my mom, and we'll probably cry a bit.  I sent a birthday card to sweet Tessa who gets to have her first birthday today.  I'm thinking a little about what it would be like to have a three year old running around my house.  And I'm remembering all the ways in which September 11th has changed me.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Trouble, part 2

Also titled "How we managed to visit three separate hospitals and the inside of an ambulance in one day" or "Another example of how my baby boy is going to be the death of me before he's one year old."

So yesterday, we met with yet another surgeon at the University Hospital.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was hoping against hope that this surgeon would be the one to tell us that every one else is blowing things out of proportion, that his head shape is fine and we need to find something else to worry about.  Instead, he tells us the same thing all the other surgeons have said: the first surgery has failed and Max will require another complete skull revision.  His recommendation though is completely different that the other two surgeons.  He recommends going into surgery as soon as possible.  His thoughts are that the bone hardens as he ages, and the longer we wait the more scar tissue and adhesions we may have to deal with.  The other Doctors have said we need to wait 9-12 months after the first sugery before doing another one so as to let Max heal completely and decrease the risk of uncontrolled bleeding. 

I left the office confused and frustrated.  My husband is in Ireland on business this week, so my normal practice of calling him and hashing through all the details was shot.  If it were up to us, we'd rather have the surgery this calendar year, so that our insurance would pick up the whole gigantic tab.  But we're also not willing to complicate our baby's health for the sake of a few bills. But now, how are we supposed to know what's right when two experts have told us completly different things? And how are we supposed to choose the right doctor to operate on our baby?  Its not like we can ask for before and after pictures, or take him back to our first surgeon and tell him to do it right. I was ready to cry at the thought of another hospital stay, another round of endless nights in the PICU with a baby who doesn't understand why his eyes are swollen shut.  

So being as my older girls are in school all day long, and I was in Salt Lake, I had planned an entire day of errnads to run.  I shoved the surgery issues into the back of my mind so I didn't have to think about it any more, and headed to the other end of town.   When I passed by a friend's house, I decided on a whim to stop by.  Max was hungry, so we settled in on her couch for a visit while he was nursing and when he finished, I set him down on the floor to chase their cat.  A minute later, he sat up with a big grin on his face and something blue sticking out of his mouth.

I operated on instinct and did what every mom would do: I took my finger and swept his mouth, popping out a piece of blue plastic.  I didn't think anything of it until he started coughing.  And coughing.  I turned him over on my lap and started thumping his back.  He started gasping and continued coughing.  I could feel his body trying to vomit, but nothing came of it.  He was still breathing, but not sounding great.  He started vomiting again, and it went all over me and all over the carpet, but there was nothing in it.  I sat him up and he seemed ok, so both my friend and I breathed a sigh of relief.  Until he started screaming.  I groaned inwardly, knowing that we were headed to the hospital.

His screaming intensified the whole way there, and I went from thinking I was being a hyperactive worried mother to knowing that something was really wrong.  Once we got to the hospital, I discovered the only benefit to having a coking baby: you don't have to wait in the ER waiting room.  In a weird coincidence, the first ER doctor that we saw had a baby of his own who had craniosynostosis, who had been operated on by the same surgeon we had seen that morning.  Max was shrieking in pain, and I was getting panicked.  I knew that because of his history of aspiration, he was at high risk of aspirating whatever it was into his lungs, and his incredible screaming (they had to come and close the door to his examining room because he was disturbing everyone,) had everyone worried that something was seriously wrong.  They ordered some xrays where they didn't see anything.

At this point, I had to call and cancel my lessons for the afternoon, (this is the second time I've had to cancel lessons at the last minute because I was in the ER with the baby) and figure out what to do with my older kids who were getting out of school in an hour.  I called my husband in Ireland to tell him I was sitting in the ER with the baby.  The poor guy had been awake for nearly 36 hours with only 1-2 hours of crappy sleep on the plane, and had just falled asleep to be woken with the news that his son was once again in the hospital and he was across a very large ocean.   I talked with him for just a minute before I had to hang up because Max was vomiting all over me, himself, and all over the floor.

Just then, a nurse walked in to help clean us up and tell us that we were going to be provided with do-not-pass-go, do-not-drive-your-own-vehicle trip to Primary Children's hospital.    The nurse told us that Max would likely need a bronchoscopy, an endoscopy, or both, and they weren't equipped to do it there.  I almost started to cry right then and there.  The thought of having an emergency surgery on my baby when my husband was an entire planet away nearly sent me into panic mode.  And we were heading to our third hospital of the day, which just happens to be right next to the hospital we had left that morning.  They called the ambulance for transport and I kept trying to calm down my hysterical baby.  One interesting fact about hospital transports: if possible, you bring your own carseat and they strap it onto the stretcher.  It was rather eeirie riding in the ambulance- the last time I rode in an ambulance was after delivering Ashlynn on the side of the freeway. 

We got to Primarys and had to start all over.  I had to tell the story to every nurse, intern, resident, physicians assistant, and doctor who walked into the room.  We paced the floors and tried to get internet access or texts through the vortex of cell service that is Primary Children's hospital.  No one ever seems to be in a hurry at that hospital, which I imagine is a good thing, because I'm sure they would hurry if they thought it was emergent enough.  They finally decided on more xrays.  Poor Max at this point hadn't eaten anything or even nursed in about six hours, and was exhausted from the screaming and the pain he was in.  They were insisting I couldn't feed him because of the possiblity that we might have to head to surgery. The problem is, you can't really explain that to your baby who just wants to nurse.  I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast, was leaking breastmilk everywhere, and felt like I was reeking of vomit.

The xrays didn't show anything in his trachea or his lungs, so I was finally cleared to feed him.  He gratefully and greedily nursed.  We were told to watch for more choking or vomiting, but he kept nursing like his life was depending on it.  Once they knew he was going to keep it down, they decided to discharge us.  My dad had to come and get us because I had left my car at hospital #2.  I was so grateful to load up in the car and drive away.  Max was completly exhausted, and slept from the time we put him in his carseat all the way until I put him in his crib in Heber.

The whole time we were at the hospital(s) and in the ambulance, I felt very strong.  I even joked about it, saying that nothing could compare to what we had already been through.  Which is true, but on the way back up the canyon, I completly lost it, and sobbed almost all the way home.  I could have lost my baby.  He could have choked and not been able to breathe.  We were at three hospitals. We were in an ambulance!   All those things coupled with the definite knowlege that we were headed to another surgery left me feeling beaten, sad, exhausted, and incredibly grateful that we had been so blessed. 

A decent night's sleep last night improved both of our outlooks dramatically.  My husband will, if all goes well, (and really, haven't we had enough trauma for a week?) be home tomorrow night, and we can deal with the questions about surgery then.  And Max is acting like his old self again.  It might take me more than a couple of days to get past the PTSD from being back in that hospital again, though.  And after sweeping a magnet, several pieces of cat food, and some rocks from Max's mouth today, I'm seriously contemplating buying a baby-sized plastic bubble for Max to live in until he gets past the "put everything in my mouth" stage.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First Day

Aren't they cute?  (And big?  *sniff, sniff*)
I sent my first grader and second grader off to the first day of school yesterday.  And yes, my eyes got a little misty as I saw them walk into their classrooms without a second glance.
It felt a little strange to be going home with just the baby in the van.  I got over it quickly though.  Max and I celebrated the first day of school by going home and taking a big fat 3 hour nap, then by grocery shopping just the two of us.
The first day of school was declared a rousing success.  And the girls were up and dressed at 6am this morning, (Yes, 6:00 am!) ready to go to school again.  Its a really good thing I had that nap! 
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