Sunday, November 30, 2008

I put the "F U" in fun

Black Friday and holiday shopping fun, yes? This year not so much. What's with the killing of the people?The stampeding and gunfire? Are you kidding me?

Let me just say that though I have on occasion imagined myself bludgeoning someone while out rubbing elbows with people that I like to refer to as "rude, morally-bankrupt animals", I would never.... NEVER resort to violence outside of daydreaming when faced with not getting something that I want.

Is this what we have come to?

How does it make sense that a season, first and foremost named as the season of GIVING, should cause such hostility and homicidal tendencies? Oh, right. Christmas is no longer Merry Christmas... but XMAS, Happy Holidays, etc, etc, etc. 'Tis the season of give me more, because if you don't , you're a bad parent/child/sibling/grandchild and you don't really love me-me-me-me-me.

I will admit that I have been guilty of commercialism, of going over board because I want my kids to have all the things that I didn't, and I have come to realize that by doing so I have created mini monsters who play with new toys for about a week then grow bored of them. Lesson learned. We have scaled waaaaay back on gift giving for any holiday, and we donate the things no longer played with, the ones that are collecting dust.

It has been a painful process, realizing all that has been compromised... my children's egos, my wallet, and the core of our souls. No thing can make my kids love me, and no trinket can show them how much I love them. That is up to me, and up to them. I thank God that my husband and I have come to this realization before it was too late.

Oh, I'm sure we might get the "I'm looking for more presents underneath the ripped and tattered remains of what probably amounts to 3 trees" , and even a small "is that it?" look from at least one of my ankle biters... but we'll get there. Baby steps, people. ;)

But honestly? I'm not sure I want to buy into a holiday that has been tainted with sacrificial blood. Maybe I will opt out next year. Maybe the 25th of each month will be cause for celebration, and maybe, just maybe we can celebrate the true meaning of Christmas every day of every single year without killing someone.

That would be swell.

OK, I'm jumping off of my soapbox now, and I'll leave you with this thought (OK, I'm only standing with one foot on the soap box right now):

This being my first year of retail hell ( I work at the Tar-jay), I would emplore all of the lovely shoppers out there to at least try to put something back in its original spot. If you don't want it? Ya know what? Take it to the register anyway and say these eleven magical words.

"I don't want this, can you put this back for me?"

Those eleven mystical and magical words would reduce hundreds of thousands of man hours of hunting what we like to call reshops from the candy aisle and eventually returning it to the lingerie section.

What does that mean for you you might ask? Lower cost, better savings.

And me, not mentally flipping you the bird. Just a thought.

Hugs and kisses,
~mert

Thursday, November 13, 2008

That's like bringing a knife to a gun fight

Why is it that family is like the sharpest knife, cutting the deepest wounds?

Tommorrow I am supposed to go to the MIL's Lia Sophia party.... BUT, last night we saw her at Target walking around with her boyfriends granddaughter, bent over talking all cozy with her. We managed to get in and get out with what we needed without even bumping into her. The kids were crushed to see their Nana- who doesn't make time to see them except a few MINUTES every 2 weeks or so- covorting with another little girl. Emma said, "Momma, it makes me sad seeing Nana with that girl... it's awful." John and I were so upset that our kids felt so hurt.

I wonder though, had I not made such a big deal out of it, what would the girls have said about it? I was just so mad and hurt on their behalf, I wanted to lay in to her right there in Target! Anna was supposed to walk with John to the electronic department but once I saw her walking with Steve's granddaughter I said nope, stay with me. Later I explained that I didn't want her to have to face her grandma with those raw emotions... Anna doesn't deserve to see her with another kid and have to try to swallow the uncomfortable-ness and tension, the hurt and anger.

We have told the MIL that we don't want the girls going out with her and Steve alone without us, or being over at her apartment with the possibility of them being alone with him. I don't know him and I refuse to risk anything, I could never live with myself. The problem is that when they were dating again (before he moved in with the MIL) almost a year ago, Anna spent the night. The MIL never told us that he might be coming over, even though she knows how I am about my girls being around strange men. After Anna came home from the sleep over I found out that the MIL had left Anna alone with her BF while she took a shower, etc. SO, I broached the subject with the MIL by saying that Anna should never be left alone with him, just to see what she would say. She said,"No, of course not."

She basically lied to me by not telling me that it had already happened, so right then and there I decided to put a stop to sleep overs since she has proven time and time again that she makes bad choices, especially when it comes to my kids. I also explained that the kids would not be over at her apartment- especially after he moved in- unless we were there.

More recently, about 2 1/2 months ago, she asked if she could take the girls shopping and reluctantly we said yes. She shows up to pick them up with her BF. I was at work so I had no idea, but John let them go, which I was kind of pissed about. She ambushed us with this, purposely because if she shows up with him, what are we supposed to say right?

She does this kind of thing all the time. I or John will lay down the law and later she claims she doesn't remember having that conversation. It makes me so mad! It reminds me of my mother... "I'm certified nuts so I can act like an idiot and not even try because I can get away with doing these things (and stop taking my medication) and not have to be accountable." ONLY her (the MIL) thing is, "You never said that, we never talked about this-OR- I don't remember you saying that." GRRR.

Anyway, Anna was supposed to go with me to the party, but now neither of us want to go and it's tomorrow. John said he's going to talk to her about it and let her know how hurt the girls were, but in the mean time I have to figure out what to say our reason is for not coming without lying about it, so as to not make a bad example for my kids.

I just can't tell you how hard it is to hear your 3 1/2 yr old say how "awful" it feels to be crushed by your own grandma. And how hard it is to hear your 7 yr old talk about how hurt and angry she is. I just want to "blow her away" verbally and be done with her sometimes. I want to knock that "knife" out of her hands forever, but John doesn't think that that is the right answer. I know it has mostly to do with the kids not having any grandparents, and Emma missing out (but isn't she already missing out?), and how uncomfortable things will be at family gatherings (like the last time we didn't talk to the MIL for 4-5 months after she threw a bucket of water in Anna's face)... I just don't know how to fix this.

How do you fix something with a person who believes she is always right , and never does anything wrong? This is exactly the dilemma I had with the egg donor, and exactly why I estranged myself from her. The MIL is so like my mother (the egg donor) sometimes, and it makes me angry that after divorcing myself from the E.D. that I still have to put up with pretty much the same.... STUFF.

Now I have to deal with not making a bad example for my kids by lying to get out of an uncomfortable situation.

And I am struggling with forgiveness as a Christian... But that's another load of dirty laundry.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Baby-do

Anna and Em had to have their hair trimmed 2 days ago, and Em decided she wanted shorter hair, "Like momma". They cut off about 6-7 inches! But she loves it and keeps doing the hair check/hair bounce thing- like from older movies- with a palm facing the sky, pushing her hair up in little bounces. Too funny, she looks like a little old lady when she does it.

She wanted it shorter but I said we could always go shorter later, because her hair has some curl to it it will shrink up a bit.

Anyway, attached are some pics I took yesterday morning. Sometimes I look at her and think to myself, "Who is this little person?" , because she has grown so much over the summer.


Especially when I see her smile like in this last pic... This is her real, happy smile- unlike the first "I'm only smiling because you asked me to" smile. In this picture she is thinking about dressing up for Halloween and seeing her Uncle Benjy, Aunt Marci, and my Aunt Yvonne very soon. ;)

Friday, October 03, 2008

whoa there!

The time has come once again to brag about how smart my first born is.... Yeah, I know, right?

I can't help it, I'm so proud of her. Proud of what , you say- the fact that she has a ginourmous brain? It's hardly something any of us have any control over, but I shall continue to feed and nurture it, and hug it and squeeze it... OK, not so much with the squeezing but you get my drift.

A few days ago we received the results of her yearly aptitude tests and my 2nd grader has the math skills of an early 3rd grader and the reading skills of an early 5th grader!

Ahhhhhhhyeeeeee! :D

Anna, we are so proud of you. Keep up the good work :) Oh, and by the way, thanks for learning some humility and not screaming "in your face, I'm smarter than you" to your classmates like last year.

Love ya,
Mommy

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In that case, you're fired!

Anna (7 1/2, going on 35 1/2): I think I want to take walks, because walking will make me healthier. Then if someone wants me to model, I'll be in good shape. I could take modeling classes...

Me: Modeling classes would probably cost money. And we , ummmm, don't have any.

Anna, leaning in closer for emphasis: Make more money then.

Me: Maybe you should get a job.

Anna, smiling sweetly: I have a job, it's annoying you.

Mary, smiling incredulously: Well, you're pretty darned good at your job.

Anna, laughing and crossing her arms: If I'm so good at my job, maybe you should give me a raise.

Cute, smart and funny? Someday the man of her dreams is going to be in BIG trouble. I hope Prince Charming has a sense of humor, otherwise he's so screwed.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

No butts about it - Emma-isms

A few days ago I bent over at the bottom of the stairs to pick something up ...

Emma (trying to go upstairs): Mom, MOVE. Your big booty is in the way.

Me: I'm so feeling the love. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

So grown up

Anna's first day of school was August 21... yeah, I'm just getting around to writing about it! With work, and then my poor kid already missing 2 days of school because she caught a cold, it's been kind of busy here.

Anna is in second grade, and is in an advanced reading and math group. We are pretty stoked about that. Here she is, my little girl, insisting that she doesn't want hair clips or head bands. *sniff*

And modeling her Camp Rock book bag with the man pretty Joe Jonas on the front... 'cuz Hannah Montana and High School Musical are so like- yesterday?


Annnnd, cheesing it up just before she leaves Emma and I in silence- meaning no clawing and shrieking for the first half of the day. ;)


These pics are from last year, on the first day of school. Look how much she has grown!

My baby is almost all grownz up.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Love thy neighbor...

Except when they act like an idiot.

OK, I know that's not how the scripture goes... but I have a low tolerance level for stupid people.

And no, I don't mean those that are mentally deficient or special needs, I'm talking about the people that really should have a clue and know better. Kind of like my neighbor, who I am sure at one time in her life was considered the "girl next door". Shoot, my husband tells me that he hears that she has guys lining up at her office door (she works at the same hospital in town that he does), all of them vying for her attentions and affections, while she sits there giving them the million dollar (and quite fake) smile.

No I'm not jealous. And I would never bat my eye lashes to get some guy to come over to do my yard work for me. I think we can safely say that she uses her feminine wiles so that men will do things for her. I'm guessing she doesn't reserve those niceties for men either. She has tried her charms on me, and what I mistook for her just being nice tome... well I have discovered that her niceness has a price, to the sum of free part time day care.

Since the 4th of July, and since I told her kid that she was not allowed in my yard the day after, my neighbor has ignored me. Oh, she ignored John too, but only while I was around. Later, she called my husband for tech support for her PC. Which , given my feelings for her because of her repeated use of me, I was a little pissed at him for going over there to fix it. But he did get 20.00 out of it, so at least he didn't do it for free.

Anywho, a week and a half ago, she saw me working the sales floor at The T, and she starts up polite chit chat with me. I was civil, mostly talking to her daughter. That was fine, whatever. LAST WEEK, she shows up at the Snack bar of The T where I happen to be working a shift. She orders snacks for her kids from me, then proceeds to tell me that "she's going to look at a new car seat, they should be fine"- meaning sitting there by themselves. WTH????

I stand there with my mouth open at the audacity of this woman while I hear her muttering to her kids something about "you better be good for something-y (which I assume was my name, Mary), or they would never get ICEE's at The T again"- and think to myself, "Even at work I have to deal with this sh*t?"

Thank goodness it was time for my break, and my team leader came over to relieve me. I stepped from behind the food counter to order my dinner, and in the middle of her scolding her kids she looks up startle and says to me, "OH! Are you leaving???" She then gives me a slightly nervous and fake smile.

"Uh, yeah... I'm going on break."

As I walked away to find that she was still determined to leave her 7 and 4 year old aline in the front of the store NEXT TO THE FRONT ENTRANCE/EXIT, I felt a little guilty. What if some one took one of them? What if they went to use the restroom (that was only about 10 yards away), and some stranger hurt them?

I'm no saint, but I do feel bad when the safety of children is taken for granted... But I decided that I was NOT going to sit there gulping my food for the measly 15 minute break that I get when working at the snack bar... the whole while disciplining her children for her. Like I have done when her kids invite themselves over to my yard, and she pretends to not notice, then asks me about an hour or two later "if that's OK" and/or "she hopes that they are being good", when she knows darned well how her son can be (rarely good, almost always in trouble or beating up his sister).

I'm sorry, I don't feel bad that I told her kid to leave my yard on the 4th of July weekend BECAUSE not only was he being down right mean and hurting his sister, he started whacking my kids over the head with toys too. You can't pawn your kids off on somebody then get pissed that your neighbor doesn't want your misbehaving children in their yard. I have enough problems with my own misbehaved-constantly arguing and fighting- children and for sanity's sake, I don't want your children added to the mix.

And you can't just expect that your neighbor is going to watch your kids for you while they are AT WORK, just because you think you have glossed over your idiocy by chit chatting with them for less than 5 minutes, after you have been ignoring them for 3 weeks.

So dear Lord, I know I am supposed to love my neighbor as I love myself, but can you please settle for me not killing her right now?

Thanks Big Guy.

Amen.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Ahhhh, there's nothing like the smell of the great outdoors

Emma has recently (meaning the last 3 months) learned to employ new torture tactics. At the first sign of any adversity (meaning anything not going her way), she screams (meaning blood curdling, horror movie ,shrieks of despair).

John has been out of town for mandatory training since last Sunday, and the children of the corn have been most disagreeable in his absence, to the point of the gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair... and eventual fantasies of joining the witness protection program on his return.

Which would be today, thank you Jesus.

Anywho, digressions aside...Emma shrieked today and I decided that the penalty, henceforth, shall be instant and immediate time out.

No pleas, no excuses... *imagine me saying, with my "talk to the hand" salute* BUP BUP BUP! Time out!

So, she sits a few feet away from me on her Little Tykes picnic table, demanding a tissue.

"Nope," I say, "we are outside, and you are in time out. I'm not going inside just to get a tissue."

"But I need a tissue..." She produces a largish boog on her pointer finger.

"Bah!" I shrink back a little , only because, OK the booger was massive, "Use nature's tissue. Here's a leaf." I pluck a leaf from the weeds nearby.

"OK," she says giggling, relishing the thought of wiping her boog on greenery.

Oh my, -I think-... what have I begun.

I start in on sharing a wondrous piece of history with my precious babe, "You know, there was a time when people didn't have toilet paper. They had to use leaves. Can you imagine that?"

I look over at Emma , just as she replies "nope", and just in time to find her wrapping a leaf around her boog finger and sticking it up her nose tissue style.

" No," I yell, "Your supposed to... I meant..." This is where I begin to try to hide my amusement and stifle hysterical laughter.

And fail miserably, as usual.

She stops, looking up at me as I try to compose myself and my words, waiting...

With the leaf still stuffed up her nose.

Some how I'm thinking that the fine art of "leaf blowing" was not included in Dr. Spock's book. Or parenting 101. But, I am proud to have taught her to appreciate the great outdoors.

Silver lining people, silver lining.

Emma, last month, enjoying ham-ing it up for the camera. I think she inherited the class clown gene from her momma.
God help us.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Rest in peace

How exactly does one sum up the life of a loved one? Do we view and review their lives a little less if they are a family pet? I'd say that if you loved your pet even a little, this would not be the case. Love lost is love lost, no matter how many legs your loved one might have.

Numa started what we like to call the herd... I went to find myself a kitten, mean while Numa had other plans. She put on her best face and immediately began to fawn all over my husband. Yeah, you could say she was a bit of a ho'. :) John decided that he wanted the momma kitty (Numa), and I wanted a kitten (Sophie), so we compromised and each got the one we wanted- after I refused to back down.

We took Numa home a year after we were married and let me tell you, that cat drove a wedge between the MISU and I. Litterally. If John and I were snuggling, she would plop herself right down in between us, or on his lap... and the lovins that were once mine were now split between the 2 ladies in his life. I was a jealous wife, I was not happy.

Numa and I came to an understanding early on, the arrangement was still not quite equal if you ask me. She got his attentions during waking hours, and I got what was left over... usually while the MISU sawed logs.

We saw Numa through her second pregnancy, most of which John and I were away in the Persian Gulf. Yup, while her parents were away at war, she got knocked up. Lookin for love in all the wrong places, sheesh. This new litter would give us another of her fur kids, Ivan.

18 of her 19 years were spent with us, and I will say that she was a surly foster mother to 5 other kittens (besides Sophie and Ivan, her own) , and at one time ruling over the Herd- 6 cats. I have affectionately called her Big Momma, or Momma Kitty since then.

Numa never lost her spark or spunk until about a year and a half ago, and since then it had been a slow and steady decline. She had a hard time moving around, she was after all about 166 in human years. Over that last year and a half, John and I had contemplated more times than I have digits to count on whether or not we should put her out of her complete and utter misery. We'd think about calling the vet, talk about calling the very next day, and that would be the day Numa would decide to get up out of bed, clean herself and chat with the family. I kid you not, every single time.

Yesterday was different. I checked on her while she was sleeping and noticed that she had stopped breathing. I continued to watch for several seconds, holding my own breath in dread until I saw her chest move again. This time it lasted over 20 seconds, and her eyes were open. Nausea set in, and I stood there paralyzed. Part of me was relieved... yet so devastated and sad.

Numa repositioned herself and began to breath again, and I continued to stand there in horror. No, she hadn't gone peacefully like I had hoped. She smelled the hot dogs I fixed for the girls and raised her head a bit, and I noticed that just this small movement was quite an effort for her. She was breathing fast and shallow, her eyes half lidded as if she were in pain.

I gave her a few pieces of hot dog which she barely touched, which was very unusual for her.

I called John... and watched her suffer to her feet. She moved around painfully and restlessly for another half an hour until she finally couldn't take any more... and uncomfortably went back to bed.

Yesterday, we had to make 5th decision in 4 1/2 years... It never gets easier, it never gets less painful.

We decided to bring her home and bury her under our pine tree in the back yard, and put the ashes of Yuri (who died 12 years ago as a kitten, from a heart problem), Ursa, Seven, and the ashes of her kids Ivan and Sophie with her. We said a prayer and thanked God for sending Numa to us, for giving us such a wonderful, noisy and sometimes grumpy cat. We thanked Him for taking care of her for us now, and for showing her the way to the place where her kids and foster kids now play.

It's the end of an era and almost 2 decades, lady... we love you and miss you. You were such a good kitty.

Rest in peace, Big Momma.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What a bargain *Anna-isms*

So... the other day I was doing a goofy dance while tidying the living room. Anna was not amused, but hey, I was amusing myself so having my daughter amused as well would have been the nuts on my ice cream sundae. But whatever.

Amusing myself, yet again, I say to my precious, precocious 7 year old (whilst shaking my money maker)," You know, I'm going to dance like this at your wedding, so ya better get used to it."

Anna replies, dryly,"I'm not getting married then."

HAH! Not to be defeated, and not having my fun ruined, I chorkle (that would be a chuckle that begins or ends with a snort), "Wha-? You no like my dancing? TOO BAD!" I shake my rump like a belly dancer on a Mardi Gras float, for you know, emphasis.

"OK, tell you what," she begins with wide eyes and a startled expression, that quickly changes to one of complete triumph, "You don't dance like that at my wedding? And I'll pay for a quarter of it." She crosses her arms and smiles smugly, "That's right, you'll only have to pay for three quarters of it."

Oh my, maybe I should get this all down in Crayola.

Nah, make that Sharpie. ;)

Friday, July 11, 2008

An Iowa brand of fear (and other oddities)

If you know anything about the mert, it's that I grew up with hurricanes on the east coast in Maryland (off of the Chesapeake Bay), and experienced my first earthquake a week after being transfered to Oakland , California while in the Navy. Yeah, I'm talking about the big one that collapsed the Bay Bridge, the very bridge that we had been on only 10 minutes before it collapsed?

But I digress... What I mean to say is that though living through a hurricane is no fun, though surviving it surely is pleasant and wanted, as is learning to not have a nervous break down from each little tremor while living in the Bay Area for 12 years. But this tornado business is a fresh new hell for me.

I've been living in Iowa for almost 7 years now, and I can truly say that I am blessed to live in an area that is not commonly the birth place or destruction zone for them. Usually they tend to wander all around us in different towns, usually different counties.

Three nights ago, I had a horrible dream in which I saw a tornado coming and screamed for John to help me get the kids inside to the basement, and in the dream a tornado struck our house and pulled me up through the dining room floor as my family watched in horror. Even in the midst of a nightmare my corny humor escapes, because the tornado left , and left me stuck in the dining room floor, with my feet hanging over my family while I hung there wedged in the floor.

At least I made it, right? I have had dreams where I have died and let me tell you, it puts a damper on the rest of your week. SNORT!

The oddities start here. Emma had a nightmare the next night (2 nights ago) about a tornado and slept restlessly all night, waking up almost every hour crying. Now it is very possible that she had nightmares because she heard me telling John about my dream (later in the dream I was chased by the Headless Horseman LOL!). But I have had dreams that have come true before : my brother getting into a car accident, my mother thinking about killing herself, and weird tidbits that later turn into de ja vu moments. I once told my brother -when we were kids- that I had a dream the night before about the very mall we were sitting in, that a lady with a certain colored shirt and color of hair in heels was going to trip on the escalator and fall. Just as I was telling him, he looked over to the escalator and it happened just as I described. They don't happen a lot and I only have them every couple of years, but I do take extras precautions when I have dreams like that, to the best of my human ability. I have had "feelings" in the past that have come true as well (winning money in Vegas and Tahoe, the airline losing my luggage, about my mother thinking about killing herself etc.). If only I had a "feeling" about winning the lottery... but no such luck.

Recently, before we even bought our pool, I had a dream that Emma drowned in a pool. I seriously considered not buying a pool, but resolved to be as anal retentive and careful as ever with Emma being outside near the pool. These dreams unfortunately add another layer of neurosis to my character, but what can I do?

The biggest problem I have with admitting stuff like this is the fact I realize how nutty and fruit cake-y this makes me sound, especially considering the fact that my very own mother is a legally documented and certified Coo coo for Cocopuffs nut case.

Anyway, yesterday was not the case (as far as tornadoes missing us), and we had a tornado headed right for us. Naturally, I was terrified, and a little spooked that Emma and I had both dreamed about tornadoes. We went to the basement after the first siren, meanwhile Anna was close to tears as I set up a corner of the basement with sleeping bags to huddle on in case we needed it. The second horn sounded and I announced that we all needed to go to that corner, as I watched the doppler read out of the storm over top of us on my laptop... and PRAYED. I kept the girls occupied with games on their Nintendo DS's, while I paced and prayed for our safety (and John's at work), and prayed that not only the tornado pass over us completely but that it dissipate into nothing but beautiful fluffy clouds so that no one be harmed.

All I can say is that those dreams made pray even harder, and if I am getting those dreams for a reason, then I'll take it. I'm going to say that it wasn't my neurotic behavior taking over, but feeling the gravity and seriousness of the situation combined with our dreams that made me face it with subdued terror and fervent prayer. ;)

I know a lot of people in my town were praying because the tornado did dissipate and the tornado warning was called off early just shortly after the tornado was supposed to hit our town... the greenish-gray clouds giving way to partly cloudy but sunny skies.

I've never seen the sky look so blue, and I had a new appreciation for the power of God and the power of prayer.

Oh, and I'm really glad the Headless Horseman never showed up. ;)

Monday, July 07, 2008

It takes a village... (OR- why my 4th of July weekend sucked)

Of idiots to ruin my 4th of July weekend. Bah.

Let me just say that normally, I am a very tolerant person. I think I'm pretty nice to the people I kind of know, very nice to the people I love (but I do rule with a stern hand- sometimes an iron fist, I must say), and polite and accommodating to most strangers -unless they fall into the idiot category, then it's so on.

I think that my polite kindness and my kind politeness may be considered my Achilles' heel, which makes me, in turn, a heel.

I guess the best place to start would be the beginning, no? My 4th of July weekend started with me working. Hooray. People need their hot dog combos and popcorn, so I suppose someone has to do it, even if it's a holiday. It was OK though, we managed to work on the monstrosity of a swing set while the kids played on it's re-composing skeleton ( re-composing IT IS TOO a word, get over it), played in the pool and sand box... and I even grilled lunch, almost melting the grill's plastic hood.

Anywho, later I had to go to work. I figured I could kick some butt and leave early since closing of Food Avenue is 8 pm and the fact that I could prep most of the work before then and leave at about 8:20 PM instead of dragging things out until 9 PM.

NOPE. The Lead Cashier needed me to walk rounds to collect the cash from the cash registers, leaving me to get off of work at, yup you guessed it... 9PM.

You would think that I would want to get off early to see the fireworks, right? WRONG. See in the ass backwards town I live in, we like have a little thing called River Boat Days on the Mississippi river. It has a small carnival and concerts near the pool. But they way we do it is that River Boat Days starts on the 3rd and ends the 5th. Fireworks are AFTER River Boat Days ends.

What? 4th of July without fireworks? I know. It sux. So the 5th I'm off and we decided to work on the swing set some more, go see Wall-e again ( because we loved it the first time we saw it)then go see the fireworks sometime between 9:30 and 10pm.

We worked on the swing set as planned. Then my snotty neighbor's obnoxious boy a year younger than Anna, but just as big as her- who doesn't listen to his mother at all- decides he is going to invite himself over to play on the swing set with his sister in tow. The sister is OK most of the time when she isn't viewing Emma as competition or a threat for some reason, and trying to sneak subtle abuse under the radar. The neighbor? She can be friendly at times, but recently has become a little snotty and condescending, and has implied that her life is harder than mine because she believed I still didn't work. Like I'm not worth as much for not working. It's not my fault she is a single mother of3 for Pete's sake. Sheesh. She implied by her tone one day that I was an idiot to think that she had a spare moment to herself, and then said she supposed she could use some of the hand me downs I had given to her for her new baby. When someone gives me a free bag of anything I say thank you, whether or not I can use any or all of it. Usually, lately- though I thought we were becoming friends in the past- we just wave to each other because I have decided that I'm not going to give her the opportunity to ruin my day by making me feel like an idiot. Last weekend she ignored me completely while her sister was in town, even though her kids were across the alley in my back yard... while her sister looked on with an expression I can only describe as"Oh. Mah. Gah. They are like totally over? in that lady's yard? Ugh, is that like a BUM shirt she is wearing? So 1990".


They have moments when they can be nice ( but usually are yelling and screaming at each other, and the older brother tends to be a bully, meanwhile the mom is too overwhelmed I think to do anything most of the time, so he gets away with it) but I'm keeping an eye on them and giving them a chance to be good instead of sending them home. I don't want to hurt their feelings by doing this even though I have dreaded this moment because the neighbor lets their kids come over whenever they want with out asking or caring if this is ok with John and me. I don't want my yard to be an amusement park for the whole neighborhood, and a free day care for the parents. Crap, it's happening, but I'm determined to handle it as best as I can. Soon, the brother and sister get bored and decide to jump in our pool. I ask him to go ask his mom if it's OK if they swim in our pool.

He comes back and says that his mom said yes. The mom comes over, suddenly very friendly, and checks to see if her children are behaving. The boy is not. The mother attempts to make him behave, but he doesn't. His mom tries to make him go home because he is being bad, but he refuses to get out of the pool. She kind of gives up and mumbles he is going to get time out if he doesn't get out while she crosses the alley back to her house, he ignores her. I tell him if he doesn't get out NOW, and listen to his mom, he won't ever be allowed back in the pool. He complains it's not fair and goes back to his house, while Anna and the sister continue to play in the pool.

The sister decides that she will take out some of her frustration from being bullied all day long by her brother on Emma, but splashing her in the face. I give her "the look" and quietly tell her to knock it off.

She knows I mean business and plays very nicely with the girls, except for the parts where she still views Emma as a threat/competition and refuses to play with her. *SIGH*

The girls are hungry, I feed them, including the neighbor's daughter, and they decide they want to play in my girls' room. I go over and ask the neighbor if that is OK, she says yes. She stays for awhile. The girl gets bored and goes home.

My girls decide they want to dry off so they play inside for awhile.

Phew. Good. An hour later the girls decide they want to get their swimsuits on (even though Emma just likes to play outside of the pool, occasionally getting her hands wet). While they finish getting dressed I go outside and remove the pool cover... then come back inside to see the boy in his swimming trunks, peeking inside our back door. I groan and wait a few minutes, hoping he will leave. He doesn't so i tell the girls to go out I'll be right behind them. Before Anna even gets out the back door, the boy is in MY POOL. Anna tells me, I become exasperated and go outside.

"Did you ask your mom if you could get in?"Hiding my fangs, I tell him he needs to go ask his mom if it's ok if he gets in the pool because I don't want her unaware should he get hurt.

No, he says, he'll go ask. I stop him. "NEXT TIME, you need to ask me first before you jump in my pool." He avoids eye contact. I ask him if her heard me, he says yes.

He comes back and says that his mom said yes.

He slaps Anna and his sister with a pool toy. I tell him no hitting or he will have to leave. he stops for a bit, then continues to jump in and out of pool (getting leaves and grass in the pool I just spent 20 minutes cleaning with a net), like he did when his mom was over, I tell him to knock it off. He leans over the side of the pool, letting gallons of water out, I tell him to knock it off.

Finally I have had enough. "There is one thing you are going to learn while over in my yard... If you don't follow my rules, you're out of here," I say while jabbing a thumb in the direction of his house, across the ally. He ignores me, I ask him 2 times if her heard me, he finally says yes.

He waits a few minutes, then tries to blow water at Emma through a pool noodle, I yell"Don't you dare." He dumps 3 buckets of water over Anna's head, despite her yelling stop and she screams because he got a lot of water in both of her ears, I tell him enough and before I can even finish, he starts slapping Anna on the head "trying to help her get the water out of her ears" then slaps his sister and Anna again with the pool toy, the noodle.

"OK, that's it, you're outta here."

He gives me a blank stare.

"Go on.. GET out. Go home."

He gets out and goes home.

They play for a bit and get out because they are cold. The boy comes over and asks if the sister is staying at my house because he is going somewhere with his mom and their baby brother. I say no, we are going in side.

He says, "Mom said she can stay here while we leave."

"No she can't, we- meaning me and my girls- are going inside. You have to go home now," I say to the girl, not trying to be mean so I soften my tone, though I am angry that the mother seems to think I'm her free day care, "I'm sorry, you have to go home." Grrrrrr!

Later, I go outside to put the pool cover on, and she pokes her head out her kitchen door, "Thanks for letting my kids play, were they good?"

Pfffft. "No," I say, "HE wasn't, that's why I sent him home."

Oh, she says, she asked him why he was back home and he told her he just wanted to come back home. She said she asked him if he was bad, and he lied.

I explain that he was slapping the girls with the pool toy, so I sent him home. She says nothing.

Then I decide that since I'm clearing the air, "He got in my pool without even asking. We were coming outside and he was already inside the pool". She mumbles something I can't hear over my air conditioning unit. I tell her that I told him "There is one thing you are going to learn while over in my yard... If you don't follow my rules, your out of here", she says OK, then says sorry.

I wave good bye over my shoulder and go back inside.

What really makes me angry is that her kids are running around and she has no clue where they are, or if she does see them in my yard doesn't care that they just invite themselves over... why? because again, she is overwhelmed? Not my problem. To top it off? This happened while she had a "male visitor" over at her house.

To make matters worse (if you are even still reading this rambling rant), later we go a little early to see the fireworks to make sure we get a good spot. We get down to the river front just after 9pm. We wait, and wait and wait. And what do we hear? Are you kidding me? The last concert act , The Blue Oyster Cult starts their lasp part of the show late, and still no fireworks because the fireworks don't start until River Boat Days is officially over. It's freaking quarter to 11pm, and no fireworks. We decide to follow the hundreds of people that are leaving the area and go home, very disappointed. And would you believe? They started the fireworks shortly after we left. Forgive me if I'm wrong but fireworks are really for kids and you're starting at 11pm? IDIOTS!

Not only do we not have fireworks on the 4th , like every other NORMAL town, but we wait the next day in vain, for almost 2 hours.

The next day... the neighbor's daughter invites herself over just minutes after we get outside, and immediately jumps on a swing. *2 and half SIGHS, while noticing her mother isn't paying attention that her kid is in my yard, and deciding that I need to nip this ALL in the bud because I refuse to be free day care, especially to someone who has so openly despised me*

"You're going to have to go home."

"Why?"

Choosing my words carefully, I say, "Because I don't want you guys over here today [as in: because I am very tired and would like to spend my day not having to discipline someone else's kids]."

Still refusing to get off the swing," WHY?"

"Because I said so, that's why," I say, exasperated.

"Well, we were going to play in our (baby) pool, ANYWAY," she says in a snotty voice, while walking away.

"Good for you. Bye."

She must have told her mother what I said because later last night they came over to ask what John and I were doing to our pool ( adding shock), and the mother called them back over immediately. I hope she got the message because though I'm nice, I don't let people walk all over me. Not anymore. Why? Because people suck, says the pessimist.

It's so irritating to me, and the reason is that we went through something similar when Anna was a toddler. There is a girl that lives a few houses down that was 3 or 4 years older than Anna, and she didn't seem to have any friends. So we had a really small pool and she would see Anna and I playing in it , then show up minutes later at my back yard, slowly creeping towards the pool while asking me questions... eventually getting in the pool without asking. Her mother would say to me, "OH, I noticed she was in your pool..." and I would say, yeah she just showed up in her swim suit and just jumped right in. "oh, she invited herself over," she would laugh,"She does that all the time."

Yeah, well... you might want to do something about that, I mean sheesh! Do you even care where you child is? Once, she invited herself over to play with Anna, and her father, who was supposed to be watching her while his wife was out of town... just drove off and left her at my house without even asking me. He didn't even acknowledge that she was in my yard as he drove by my yard , through the alley! NICE.

If you are going to try to shove your kids off on other people so you can have a break? Please do us all a favor and don't bother to procreate anymore.

OK, rant over.

And now you know why my 4th of July sucked.

The end.



Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Just as I suspected, Sponge Bob is the devil

Just a few minutes ago, Emma came upstairs and mumbled something about poking a hole in my couch while I showered (getting ready for work).

"What," I asked, "You did what?"

"I poked a hole in your couch but someone was in my arm..."

"Just a minute," I say while slathering soap on," I'll be down in a minute."

So I wrap myself in a towel and go downstairs,"You poked a hole in my couch? Where?"

"Well...," she begins, " someone was in my arm and they made me do it...," she shows me with a downward slash of her Nintendo DS stylus-clad hand.

"Oh yeah," I ask, incredulous., "And who would that be?" (there may have been a hint of sarcasm)

"Um... Sponge Bob."

And there you have it. I knew it! Sponge Bob is the father of all things unholy. Take note, dear readers, lest your couches be poked with holes, too.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Monday, June 30, 2008

And now... your moment of Zen.

A few days ago Emma was giving me lip after I told her to do something (I really can't remember what it was), and asked why she needed to do whatever I asked her to at that time.

Me: Why? 'Cuz I'm the boss, that's why.

Anna, with her arms crossed and a smug look on her face: You know... you can be the boss without being bossy.

Me, walking away so she can't see me trying not to laugh, all the while enjoying that fact that she stuck up for lil' sis: Wow, that was deep. How very philosophical of you, thanks for sharing.

Monday, June 23, 2008

You think so? (Emma-isms)

The other day while coming back from seeing my friend Michelle in Wisconsin, Emma chimes in while playing her Build A Bear game on my Nintendo DS:

"Totally WICKED awesome!

and later after visiting the Milwaukee Zoo:

"Mom, you're better than Lucky Charms."


Better than Lucky Charms?
Now that is totally wicked awesome. ;)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

I just might surprise ya

On May 5th I received a very pleasant surprise in my email in box. It seemed that my soul sista'/cyber BFF/ kindred spirit was about to have a surprise 30th birthday party given by her mom, and her mom- Julie- wanted me to be there to be the "icing on the cake".

Knowing that my hubby is normally shy (until you get to know him, then ya can't get to shut his pie hole ;) ), I broached the subject slowly, and softened the blow of what it would cost to get there by offering to have this little trip as my mother's day present. "Yeah, we can do that," he said.

Inside I let out a SQUEEEEEEE! Shortly there after, being the dork that I am I began to panic a bit. "Maybe we shouldn't go, maybe she wont like me in person because I'm such a dork... what if I do what I always do and say something stupid because I am really nervous? What if I start to actually like the taste of synthetic leather because my foot never leaves my mouth? Oh god, what did I get myself into...what if she doesn't like me?"

Then I realized that Michelle and I have been emailing each other almost daily for over a year. She knows everything about me... including all of the bad things that I keep hidden from most of the world, and despite all of that she actually gave me her address to send her daughter a purse for her birthday. I know where she lives. ;) Honestly though, she's not afraid to give it to me straight and I know that if she had any qualms about meeting me in person ( which we have talked about many times since she lives in Wisconsin, and I live in Iowa) she would have never given me her address. So I turned the hose on my neurosis and never looked back. I made hotel arrangements after getting time off from work, and started making lists of the things we needed to make the four hour drive.

Finally, after over a whole month and a few [hundred] emails passed between Julie and I, June 14th rolled around. Believe it or not, I wasn't nervous at all. Well, except for that first bit. We arrived at the hotel in time to grab a quick lunch and change clothes. Julie was so sweet, she left us a card and some cookies in our room to welcome us!

We got ready and drove over to Julie's (Michelle's mom) house and we were welcomed and received very warmly. All of Michelle's family and friends we so nice! Not to mention funny :) We waited. And waited. And waited what seemed like an eternity, but was actually only about 40 minutes... and finally they walked in through the back door...
Looked around the room ...

Saw me (with a strange look on her face, LOL), then John ( with slight recognition)...Then saw my girls, then looked back at me... :D
Julie and her family managed to pull off the surprise of the year, and I was so happy to be a part of it.


In true Krajnovich fashion, we really cut loose at the end of the party and let our hair down. Or in Emma's case... worse. She suddenly announced to the room that her butt hurt, and preceded to drop not only her shorts but her Disney princess panties too. Then she made her way to a nice, soft chair and planted her naked bum on it. While I laughed hysterically along with everyone else and turned shades of red that haven't yet been invented... Emma luxuriated in feeling the cool smooth material beneath her bum, by scooting her bum across the chair... giggling. I then got to wrestle my 3 year old back into her undergarments, which was no small feat, mostly because I wanted to crawl under that chair and die of embarrassment.

I joked that Emma needed to get her clothes back on or this would be the first and last time we would be invited up to Julie's house... and I joked that this wouldn't be the first time a Krajnovich was caught with their pants down. ;)

Again, we had such a great time, and the next day (Father's Day) we went over to Michelle's house for a couple of hours before driving to the Milwaukee Zoo. I was a little sad about leaving but I was so happy to have finally met Michelle in person, and the fact that the whole family had a smashing time, not just me... I was on cloud 9 driving to the zoo! Not to mention the fact that both Michelle and I managed to make the whole night without wearing our food! BRILLIANT!

I know Michelle and I will be getting together again. Four hours isn't nearly enough to keep us apart for very long. I'm already thinking we should get together every year for our birthdays.

Michelle, I'm so glad we got to meet and I am looking forward to being less nervous next time so that you get the full dorky affect.

There might even be drinking involved. ;)



Love ya!

~mert

Friday, June 13, 2008

This Might(y) B the funniest cartoon evah!

I have to admit.. I am a closet 'toonie.

I don't watch 'toons as much as I used to, but I remember my adult 'toon career starting as early as 18 yrs old. Yup, fresh off the turnip truck, I would watch the Flintstones after a looooong night shift as a Hospital Corpsman at Naval Hospital, Bethesda, Maryland. I'd climb into my top bunk after a long night of scrubbing old, retired colonel butts and suctioning tracheostomies and watch Fred blunder through Bedrock, dragging Barney along on his meat-head meanderings. Loooooved it!

Later, when I married the hubs, I got him hooked on Ren and Stimpy and South Park. Somewhere in there I started watching MTV's Liquid Television and got him hooked on Aeon Flux and Beavis and Butthead. Have I mentioned that I may be a bad influence? Ummm, I just said butt, heh heh.

Recently, Nick premiered a new 'toon called Mighty B. The concept of the show was a collaboration of 3 people- including Amy Pohler (SNL, need I say more?), who also does the voice for the main character Bessie Higgenbottom . Oh my sweet nutter butters, is she funny! This new show is [IMHO] a cross between Ren and Stimpy and Square Pegs, with a little dash of I Love Lucy thrown in.

In the words of Harry (Jim Carey in Dumb and Dumber): "I like i'. I like i' a lah' ."

:D

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Ding Dong, ding dong, ding dong!

No I'm not referring to my husband though it could be fitting, we are a couple of ding dongs...

No, those ding dongs are the tolling of bells. Nobody has died yet ;) They ring out to celebrate our 19th anniversary, today.

I think I mentioned a few weeks ago that I asked the MISU if he thought we would make it to 20. He said no. With a smile, he was just being silly. I think.

Let me just say that the only way I plan for either of us to leave this marriage is feet first, six feet under, so the bells tolling... if he's not planning on us lasting another year? Looks like I've got some planning to do of my own. I've only got a year to plan AND execute, pardon the pun.

But shhhhh... this will be our little secret.

But... he is smarter than me. Maybe he has planned and is about to execute. Poop! I have so many more things I want to do in life, like wanting to lose enough weight (and boobs) so that I can see my feet again, mastering the art of calligraphy (with my feet)... or trying the newest Ben & Jerry's flavor. Oh well. If you don't hear from me in a month, send in the cavalry and a back hoe to dig me up, will ya?

In semi-seriousness ( and with slightly less morbid references), my husband loved me for exactly who I was because- frankly- I told him exactly who I was. He took me despite my spotty, troubled past and potty mouth. He overlooked my perverted, annoying and criminally insane/homicidal/psychopathic family members, and even risked dipping a toe into the septic tank that is my gene pool.

God bless that man!

In all seriousness... I know we talk about the things we have yet to do in life, but even if we never accomplish half of those dreams, know that your are my dreams and fantasies fulfilled. You are everything I had hoped for, and amazingly at times everything I am not. You truly do complete me. Who needs far away vacations and expensive cars... You are my Paris, my city of love.

And my rrrrrrich Corrrrrinthian leather. ;) I tried really hard to keep it together, but enough of the mushy stuff.

Babes, you saved me from a life of trailers, 'coon skinnin', and crocheted beer can hats.

You are the wind beneath my wings.

And Hans, Boobie, I'm your white knight.

Love,
Aury

Friday, May 30, 2008

Every Silver Lining Has It's Cloud

I know yesterday I was pretty upbeat... but the realization that one day my child will have to have her chest cracked open is finally sinking in. Yesterday after sending the email out, then posting the email on my blog I came down of the good news high. We will see the pediatric cardiologist again in 2 years, and man... it's going to be a long 2.

Statistically, Emma will have to have surgery one day, and it doesn't matter how long from now, sooner or later she will have it... I feel like there is a heavy thing hanging over us, and knowing that this thing is there just waiting... I'm scared for my child.

Though I have resolved to make sure that we need to stop messing around with the health of our family (John with high triglycerides and high blood pressure, and Anna bordering on being considered obese earlier according to her BMI last summer - which we resolved with a lot of cutting back and watchfulness), but now seriously we are making or breaking Emma. What she learns now in eating habits and exercise is crucial. If we teach her healthy things hopefully it will follow her into her teens and adulthood, making recovery for her much easier.

What is troubling me is that her valve flaps are already showing signs of thickening, which isn't good. If they become very thick and stiff, they will not close properly. Which could mean that surgery could be sooner rather than later in our future.

If you could, please pray for me to see the silver lining, and enjoy her health right now. Not only enjoy it, but continue to nurture and support it so she can go as long as possible without having to have surgery. I'm trying to focus on that right now. Tears , and more tears, and lots of prayer.

I am having trouble with faith. I find it amazing that with Rachel, I had no doubts that she would be healed, and this makes me feel really bad as a mom. *tears again* Why is that? How could I possibly have more faith for a cousin than my own child, who I carried for nine months? Who is a part of my very flesh and heart? How could something so little have a broken heart, when she was so very vital in healing mine after losing a baby?

Sheesh, I think we know where Anna and Emma get their drama genes from *LOL*

Anyway, prayers for me too would be great because my faith is wavering, and I know it is because of fear.

1 John 4:17-19

In this is love perfected with us, that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and he who fears is not perfected in love.



~mert

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Matters of the heart

Hey y'all,

Just wanted to update you on Emma's heart situation. We went to her appointment yesterday.

If you remember, Emma complained of chest pain April 22nd, and we tool her to the ER. They ordered an chest xray and said they thought it was muscular pain or growing pains, but wanted us to see a pediatrician just in case (we normally just see a family doc). The pediatrician we saw a week later said that- after me telling her that Emma had been known to have a murmur on occasion, only to have it gone on other visits- that she did hear a murmur but didn't think it was anything to lose sleep over. She listened to Em's heart for a very long time, but she said she would like to have it checked out by a pediatric cardiologist just to be sure, and so that we would have a baseline diagnosis/evidence of normalcy for the future things like other doctor visits and checkups, plus sports in the future. I also told her (just as I had the ER doc) that Emma had periods where her lips wold be a little dusky/blue, as well as her nail beds. I would have her move around a bit and she would "pink up" after a few short minutes, always without complaints about the whole thing. Emma was always asymptomatic. The doctor said that this was actually fairly normal for kids Emma's age and to not worry about it.

Surprisingly, no EKGs were done either visit, but the pediatrician said that she would rather have the specialist do it.

So... yesterday, Em had an EKG at the ped. cardiologists office, which was normal. The doc then came in to see her and said that she did hear a murmur and the spot she heard it in seemed to be one of the lower chambers. Her thoughts were that it was most likely a small hole in one of the lower chambers (called a ventricle). She thought that the blue lips/nail beds was normal for her age, that the murmur was slight leading her to believe that the hole was very small because her EKG was normal... but she wanted to do an ultrasound of the heart to check out the size of the hole.

The BAD news:
She checked the heart valves and came across a birth defect that turns out to be pretty common.Normally the aortic valve, when closed usually looks like a Mercedes sign and it has 3 flaps that open and close when the heart pumps blood from from the lower chambers. This is called a tricuspid.

Emma's aortic valve is what is called a Bicuspid because 2 of the flaps are stuck together, and because they are stuck, her valve looks more like a foot ball shape when the flaps are open, instead of a perfect round shape that a tricuspid has when open. She also noted that the valve flaps are a bit thicker than they should be.

The GOOD news is that she couldn't find the hole in the lower chambers of the heart, she she believes it is a pin sized hole. Also, even though she has this heart defect, she said the heart is beating normally, not working too hard to compensate. Also she said there was no regurgitation of blood back into the lower chamber of the heart, meaning , as she put it " the heart isn't back washing blood back into the lower section". VERY good news. Also, the valve is closing completely right now. She believes that Emma will have a normal childhood, the heart is beating perfectly. The problem will be if and when her body grows but the aortic valve doesn't, therefore causing the Bicuspid (two flapped) valve to remain partially open, causing back flow of blood and making the heart work twice as hard. If this happens - most likely near or into adulthood- she will need surgery to fix it.

There are no restrictions to her activity, thank goodness. She is allowed to run and play like any normal kid. ;)

She wants to see Emma back in 2 years for a full work up, and wants both of the kids to have their cholesterol checked since Johns side (maternal and paternal) all pretty much have high cholesterol.

Through all of this Emma was very watchful yet grouchy, but she didn't cry once. She did complain when the doc was doing the ultrasound of her heart. A few times she cracked us up by saying "OW!" when the doc wasn't even touching her. I said that she was probably complaining because she's pretty bony, Emma is a peanut. The doc was trying to distract Emma by asking her questions and encouraging her to look at the screen, but Emma- in TRUE 'vich fashion (John's side of the family)- ignored her out of sheer stubbornness, which we also thought was hilarious. She would only answer the questions if I re-asked them, refusing eye contact while watching Nemo.

Anywho, we are praying that God keeps her heart working normal, the hole heals up... I might even get the courage up to ask for complete healing... Because we have had evidence recently that God is an awesome God, and he hears our prayers, haven't we (my cousin Rachel)? *big grin*

Thanks for listening, and your prayers too.

~mert

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What a gem ;) OR Happy Mother's Day to me

Last Friday Anna went to a children's museum some 45 minutes away from, for a field trip with her first grade class. As always (I had trouble sleeping the night before, and) I had a talk with her about general safety and what was acceptable and unacceptable.

Did I happen to mention that I am neurotic? It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the nightmare I had the night before about Anna coming home from the museum and telling us that a stranger had harmed her.

Anyway... this is the talk we always have when she will be away from us, or when we go anywhere that is a good distance away from home, especially if there will be a lot of people.

I can't help but be this way because I know what dangers lurk around every corner. For me , as a child, they lurked in the very corners of my own home and I guess this makes me a little over protective. I know that when she gets a bit older I will have to trust that I have taught her as best as I could, and send her on her way with a few "gentle" reminders. ;)

Just as she walked out of the door for school, I said a prayer for her and her class. I asked that God keep them all safe from... "them", the sick and twisted people that live just to hurt children. I prayed that they be surrounded by so many angels that they would be invisible to "them".

The day went by very slowly for me, but Anna did eventually come home. I asked her happily, after giving her a hug, how the day went. We sat down on the couch together to snuggle.

"Well, I didn't... It wasn't very much...'" she sputtered as she teared up. "I-," She began as she turned away from me in embarrassment.

"Anna, it's ok... calm down. You don't have to be embarrassed, you can tell me anything. Remember how many times I have told you the embarrassing things that have happened to me?" Anna nodded, slowly turning towards me as I put my arm around her. "You can always talk to mommy and daddy, no matter how embarrassing or upsetting it may be. Even if you are in big trouble, please always talk to us about it. OK?"

She nodded again. "I didn't have a very good time at the museum," she said as she choked back tears," I was home sick."

I breathed a sigh of relief. "It's OK, I think most kids are a bit nervous on their first field trip that far away from home. You didn't have fun at all?"

She settled in and relaxed against me,"No, not until we went outside to play on the museum play ground."

"That's OK," I said as I patted her," At least you had a little fun."

"Well, I had fun buying my mood ring too," she smiled up at me.

We sat for awhile , snuggling while watching the Food Network. I had a sudden realization that usually in our world being sensitive was viewed as having a weakness. How many times have we heard ourselves or someone else say to their child " Stop being such a baby"? "Stop being a drama queen" or "grow up"? I can't count how many times my own mother made me feel like I was less than human for crying or being sad over something she had said or done to me.

"You know Anna... feeling this way isn't a bad thing. I mean being sensitive or the fact that you were feeling home sick. It just means that you feel things deeply." I thought about all of the thousands of times she seemed to have overreacted, or played the "drama queen" over the span of her 7 years and smiled. There was no middle ground with this girl for the most part. She experienced things at the highest highs and the lowest lows, and I smiled again to myself.

I gave her another squeeze, "You are one of the strongest people I have ever met. You're smart, beautiful, funny... you're like a diamond. You know how a diamond has little cuts in it? Those are called facets. Each one of your facets- or the little things about you, including being sensitive- make up the whole you... a beautiful little diamond."

She looked up at me and lit up with such a brilliance that words fail to adequately describe it.

Being sensitive and feeling things deeply isn't anymore flawed than a diamond that is pink or canary yellow. Those diamonds are actually valued more for their rarity and color.

I choose to see my girl for the rare and priceless gem that she is.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Update on little Emma Rose

Well, we had a follow up appointment for Emma today, our little peanut. Just so you know how much of a peanut... she's3 feet tall and 27 pounds fully clothed. ;)

Anyway, our new pediatrician said that she did hear a slight systolic heart murmur, classified as a stage 1. She said if I hadn't mentioned that Emma was diagnosed with a heart murmur (at birth, which they recanted later at a peds appointment because they couldn't find it- then last year when she had pneumonia they heard it again, only to not be able to find it during a follow up after antibiotics), she might not have caught it.

So... Emma has an appointment to see a pediatric cardiologist out of town on May 28th. They will do an EKG there and will look at her chest xray from her ER visit... and based on those the doctor will decide whether or not she needs to have an echocardiogram.

The doc did say that overall, she isn't too worried about it, and that I shouldn't lose sleep over it and that it's good to just have it checked out and documented now because later in life other doctors will notice it and will want all of these tests done anyway (if we don't look into it).

I want it looked at anyway, whether or not it is considered minor. This is my baby we are talking about here... nothing is minor to me LOL!

I let the doc know about Emma having gray/ grayish-blue lips at times, and dusky nail beds... and that it usually resolves itself within a few minutes, and she listened intently. She asked if her fingers and toes were cold during these episodes and said it was common for children with heart murmurs to experience this. I was really glad that she took me seriously because when I mentioned this during her bout with pneumonia last year they blew me off because she was fine by the time we got her to the ER.

Emma did well, she followed directions during the exam and didn't shed a single tear. She did however scowl at the doctor while the doc listened several minutes to her heart, moving the stethoscope every 5 seconds or so. Emma was awarded with a sucker, which was blue of all things... but at least her lips are tinted blue for a good reason for once. ;)

I will let you guys know what the pediatric cardiologist says after the 28th, thanks in advance for your thoughts and prayers. We really appreciate it!

Here are a few pics of miss thang after her appointment, sporting a pony tail, my sunglasses and blue (sucker tinted) lips. :D

PS- I forgot to add that as of 2 days ago, Emma has told us that she isn't afraid of bugs anymore. Her kitty cat- the one she has a death grip on in the photos above- IS afraid of bugs, but she isn't. ;)

Friday, May 02, 2008

Ahhhhh, finally

What's new pussy cat? I know... I really need to get my buns over to your blog, like yesterday. ;)

I haven't been able to squeeze in blogging except a random post here and there to let you guys know that I haven't mysteriously lost my gravitational pull, therefore floating off the face of the earth in into the heavens. There has been no spontaneous combustion, freak accidents (except for Emma spraining her knee this last Tuesday). Nope, just me, tired and whiny me, still unable to manage my time enough to squeeze in some good quality blogging.

What, you say? Emma? Knee? seeing a doctor for a second week in a row? Why yes! My little one has suddenly grown accustomed to waiting rooms and has developed a need for a physicians intervention.

Forsooth and whatnot. ;)

I cannot explain it except that she was happily jumping one minute, then screaming in agony the next. I had her rest for an hour, and she woke a dozing me with crying. I found her crumpled on the floor next to the couch, just a few feet from me. So then I decided to give her some medicine and see if she could walk, she limped a little. Then I had her try to climb the stairs (for nap time) and the moment she used her right leg to climb the first step, she cried in agony.

I called the hubs and contemplated taking her to the ER again, but after John came home he convinced me that she probably didn't need to see the ER doc, and possible could wait a day to see if she really needed to see a doc at all. Over protective me? I convinced him that neurotic me wouldn't rest until she was seen and I knew that it was nothing more than a sprain (as evidenced by her slightly swollen knee).

I had to work, but found out 5 hours later *rolls eyes*, after I got home, that she had a sprain and took some children's motrin before bed.

On another note, and more on Emma, thank you for all of your comments and prayers concerning the chest pains and the buggie issues. She has an appointment next week to see a pediatrician ( we normally see a family doc), and I will update you guys with more info as we have it.

On the buggie front, we went outside this week so that the girls could try out the new side walk paint. Em immediately began to scream because of the ants on the side walk. SO... I sprayed her with invisible spray (insect repellent), gave her her buggie sunglasses, then armed her with bug "happy spray" (20 parts water to 1 part febreeze, to make the bugs be nice, not to kill them) in her own special squirt bottle.

One commenter said that they thought that "indulging her fears" wasn't exactly the way to go (thanks for the comment Sue), but I would just like to say that I have tried the "get over it" approach and it actually made her more afraid. I think she trusted me a little less, and that bothered me. The problem with parenting (and childhood) is that one approach does not work for every child. My girls are very high strung and stubborn. My oldest is afraid of water but because we got her a pool that she could comfortably stand up in (she was almost 4 foot and the pool was 30 inches deep), she had a blast after getting used to the pool for only a 1/2 hour. the year before year I accidentally dropped her when my husband was tossing her to me in a deeper pool and she didn't trust me after that, and refused to let me hold her while in the pool. Though the school of hard knocks approach might work for some children, I have learned that suggesting that they just get over it makes them mistrust me and even fear me. I really dislike the idea of them not trusting me since I've had an inherent (but well deserved) fear and mistrust of my abusive mother my whole life.

What I did do though was try several things until I found something that made her more comfortable. I brought her her dad's comfy butterfly chair outside for her to sit in, and brought out her Magnadoodle to keep her occupied and distracted, all the while not giving in to her pleas to go inside. I did give in to her demands to have her feet up off of the ground because she didn't calm down after 1/2 hour and was shaking terribly, and considering her recent bout with chest pain I felt this was necessary... but also I think compromise is in order her for her to feel like she is being heard, has options and is at least a little in control. Baby steps right? She IS only 3 years old. Spraying her "happy bug spray" seemed to help and I think she felt in control some what. Of course once she got going there was no stopping her until I convinced her that she had adequately drenched a 2 foot radius from her chair.

As for the 'ahhhhh, finally" part, I found a yoga DVD that I just love. This is not an official review, I just really love it!



Yoga For Beginners truly is a DVD for beginners. What I love about Barbara's approach to yoga is that she gives you tips on breathing, body movement and placement. She also says pointers like ,"If you feel a strain in Y or Z, then your X is too far off center". She also gives reminders to watch for neck or face strain, etc. There is an intermediate section also, but I'm not there yet so I can't tell about that yet, but I have noticed increased flexibility just from doing her DVD every other day. I also noticed that I am less sore after work (***TMI ALERT*** I usually have horrible groin/pelvic floor pain from all the walking on those hard floors, and my back is pretty stiff), that my upper body strength has increased, and ***TMI ALERT*** that my boobs have perked up a bit.

So, to sum up... I can now officially call it Yog-ahhhhhh instead of Yog-ouch. ;) If you are interested in giving yoga a try, but don't like the fact that most exercise DVD's don't take the time to explain proper body mechanics for each exercise, or you think that yoga is too hard based on what you have seen on TV I highly recommend this DVD to get you going.

Friday, April 25, 2008

What do you do when...

Your child develops an irrational and debilitating fear of something? Recently Emma has developed a fear of BUGS of any kind... even the tiniest bugs like gnats and ants. One day about 1 1/2 weeks ago she just freaked out while in the car and screamed like a victim in a horror movie. John almost wrecked the car it scared him so badly.

Four days ago she refused to do one of her favorite activities, side walk chalk, and shook violently at the sight of an ant. Later, she refused to move from a spot in the middle of the back yard because I made the mistake of telling her that she didn't need to be afraid, bugs were every where in the back yard (above ground and below) and the didn't and wouldn't hurt her. Later (after about 2 hours of her standing in one spot screaming) we convinced her to get in the sand box, into the nice NEW , clean sand. I was a few feet away when she shrieked and sobbed because of one ant in the sand box.

I don't know what happened, the only thing I can think of is that she had a bad dream or something but I can't seem to get a clear answer about it. I know I need/ we need to comfort her but I don't want to over do it (as in John and I have told her we will give her hugs but we refuse to carry her around in the back yard or hold her off the ground)... and I know that if I ignore her behavior it could foster feelings of abandonment and make things worse.

I have been wracking my brain to come up with things to make her feel like she is in control, and to show her that bugs are good and that it's OK to not like them but she doesn't have to be afraid of them.

Soooo, this is what I have come up with, I hope it works! Emma got some toy lizards for her birthday from Anna from Target, and they had some matching buggies on sale. My idea is to have her get used to bugs by playing with these, they basically are from David Kirk's Miss Spider/Sunny Patch.



Also, we bought her a magic pair of sunglasses in the right side of the picture below that have butterflies on them, and the lenses flip out to the sides. They are magic because bugs will see that she is friendly since the glasses have butterflies, and the bugs will decide to be very nice to Em and not hurt her. If they do fly on her, they are just there to give her a buggy kiss to say thank you for showing that she is ok with bugs.




If THAT doesn't work, we have also bought her a spray bottle that I will fill with "bug spray" (thanks for the idea Ash!) that will have water with a dash of febreeze for scent. She can spray the bugs if she gets scared while we are out, not to "kill" them but to remind them to be nice. ;)


I hope something works because I hate to see my baby shaking in terror because of an ant :(

Did you go through this ( irrational fears) with your child? How did you get them through this phase? Any help would be appreciated!

*photos are borrowed from Bug Safari*

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bruce Lee (and Chuck Norris) would be so proud

We have been trying to get Anna interested in activities, hopefully a sport of some kind. We want our kids to NOT be couch potatoes like us, and we are trying to be good examples by increasing physical activity...


but it's not working. :P

Me a few days ago: Hey Anna, what about karate? You like to do high kicks and karate chops...

Anna (in a less than enthusiastic tone): Mmmmm... OK... But only if you bribe me.

*SIGH*

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

On a more serious note

Emma complained of chest pain today. I called and made an appointment with our doctor, and was told we had to bring her in 2 hours later because" it's statistically unlikely that she is having a heart attack". Harumphhhhh.

I wondered to myself if I remembered how to do child CPR... "follow the rib cage uo , place 2 fingers on the tip of the sternum, then place the heel of one hand after those fingers...", and pictured myself trying to keep it together while doing compressions with one hand and talking to 911 with the other.

then I asked her if she wanted some medicine for her chest while we waited and she said, "No, I want to see the doctor NOW."

Um, dudes? When your 3 year old asks to see a doctor? Scary stuff. I called John and told him to forget the doctor, to pick us up to bring us to the ER. Being the responsible adult that I am I called the doctor's office back and explained that since Emma is now asking to see the doc, I wanted to cancel the appointment, and that we were going to the ER. What does this lady say?

"Ummm, well you can just bring her here, instead of bringing her to the ER..."

Me- "Yes, well, 3 year olds don't normally ASK to see the doctor so I feel more comfortable bringing-"

"But, you could just bring her here, and we could see if the doctor could see her right away..."

Me biting my tongue, cus really receptionist lady? You're going to try to talk me into bringing my kid to a clinic equipped with an EKG versus a fully equipped hospital.... because you want my freaking money? WOW. *clearing my throat angrily*- "Basically I am calling you to TELL YOU that I wont be bringing Emma there, we are going to the ER."

"Well, we can run tests... Oh I guess all we can do is an EKG."

"Exactly."

"OH. OK, good luck then."

I said thank you and hung up before I could utter the words, "Good luck with me not coming down there to kick your @ss."

Then I repented and prayed for my child who was slumped back on the couch, my sweet little 3 year old, whom this idiot wanted so badly to make money off of. Sheesh.

Statistics, schmatitistics. Lets say 100 out of 20,000 kids ever experience cardiac problems at Emma's age... For the 100 kids, and the parents of those 100 kids, statistics don't mean a mother blogging thing. Yes, I get it. The chances are rare, but I'm not going to sit idly by while Emma actually goes from saying "Mommy, I don't feel good, my chest hurts" while pointing to her sternum area to "I want to see the doctor NOW." (in lieu of the tasty purple medicine that she begs for for no reason at all).

And frankly, I have been a statistic all my life for one reason or another -my childhood, tubal pregnancy, endometriosis, infertility,emergency c-section with Anna, miscarriage, having a large mass on my thyroid, various allergic reactions... I could go on but you get my point. Sheesh, no wonder I am such a pessimist. I have seen the numbers and the numbers usually include me, so I'm going to do what I need to do to make sure my kids are safe. End of story.

OK, rant over, back to the important stuff like Emma. ;)

My concern is that John has a heart murmur, and at birth we were told Em had one too. Later before we left the hospital after she was born the doc said he could no longer hear it. A year ago when Emma had pneumonia, our doc said he could hear one again, but couldn't hear it with a follow up appointment. He said that there are some kids who will develop a murmur during illness but it will go away...

Also, when Emma was sick last year with pneumonia , we rushed her to the ER because her lips were bluish. Since then, she has had a few episodes where I will notice that her lips are slightly purple, but check her again in a few minutes and she is fine. Of course this never happens while actually at the doctors (why is it that kids are always fine when they get there?), but when the ER doc asked today if that had ever happened I said yes. Apparently he is a little concerned too that Emma is so small that people often mistake her for a 2 year old.

But honestly, today scared me. John has a cousin who's son needed heart surgery at the age of 8, after discovering he had a problem when he was 6 or 7.

Anyway, an xray showed nothing and I was surprised that they didn't do an ekg... but the ER doc wants to see an actual pediatrician instead of a family practice doc to have Emma looked at more closely.

She did better than I expected and was even able to identify her pain level by looking at a facial expression chart, as seen here.
She pointed to #4. When told to hold her breath for the chest xray, she forgot to stay still and covered her mouth with her hand... which all the xray techs thought was adorable. She followed directions very well otherwise and was ooooh'd and ahhhh'd over for being so cute, petite and for her curly hair... basically she was treated like a little princess.

The extra bonus for her was that her nana (the infamous MIL) works at the hospital so she came over to the ER to see her Peanut.

My little princess didn't cry once.

I did, but not my girl. ;)

Hopefully her tests will come out normal (when we get in to see the pediatrician), and her chest pain will have been nothing more than indigestion for the bagel and cream cheese she had for breakfast... but prayers would be appreciated.

I know all I seem to be doing is asking for prayers, but surely you parents and grandparents understand.

Thank you so much, from Emma, John and me. I really appreciate it.