Thursday, February 26, 2015

Random Thoughts Thursday: Kids Shows

For today's random thoughts I will share with you some deep dark secrets and little known but very legitimate facts about the shows your kids watch. My kids of course don't watch television because we spend the entire day reading and doing Pinterest crafts. Cough cough. I can, however, share some insights through my own research.

The Man With the Yellow Hat's name is Ted. I bet you didn't know that. It could be a useful piece of trivia some day.You'll thank me the next time you are on Who Wants To Be A millionaire. Is that show even still on? I never knew he had a name. On the show Curious George and he is always called the Man With the Yellow Hat. We got the movie last week and apparently he has a name and it is Ted. I bet that's not the only thing you didn't know about kid shows. I am here to tell you what PBS won't.

The Man With Yellow Hat aka Ted abuses prescription drugs. Mostly Xanax and Valium with the occasional Oxycontin thrown in there. How do I know this? Come on, how else would he have such eternal patience for George's antics? He's cute, but that monkey is a little shit.  Ted (so much shorter to type) will go out to get the paper and George will plug all the drains, leave the water running, use the couch cushion as a boat, and order a million donuts with Ted's credit card. Not that I've seen the show or anything. Ted will open his front door and be knocked over by water and donuts, only to get up, retrieve his hat, and say with a chuckle, "Well, George, what do we have here?" I don't mean to be cynical but no sober person would react that way. Unmedicated Ted would probably say something like:

"What the fuck! George, you are going to clean all this up and work in sweat lodge until you pay for these donuts! I can't even get the damn paper without my house getting wrecked!"

I guess that wouldn't be very appropriate for the kids, but you have to admit it is a more realistic reaction.

Caillou obviously has oppositional defiant disorder and his parents are clueless. I think they might abuse prescription drugs with Ted. Then again, they could be stoners. Have you seen that kitchen? Who paints their kitchen blue, green, red, and yellow? It looks like Sherman Williams threw up in there. Caillou will be whining and throwing a fit and his parents will be all like, "Maybe this cookie will help". Steller parenting. Also, why is a four year old bald and why are his only friends a cat, his Grandma, and a girl named after a piece of fruit? When it comes to Caillou I just say no, no, NO. I usually turn the TV on to stop the kids from whining, not add another whining kids to the mix.

I have to admit PAW Patrol is probably one of the more tolerable kid shows, except that damn song is permanently etched into my brain. I am just wondering if they are ever going to address the fact that Ryder is either a troubled runaway or an abandoned child. Where are that kid's parents? He lives on an island in a tower with six dogs. Of course, I guess if we can suspend reality enough to believe that dogs can talk, fly, and operate machinery Ryder's lack of supervision is a moot point. I also disagree with Ryder's favoritism. Those poor dogs stand at attention hoping to be picked for the mission. Shouldn't he include everyone to avoid self esteem issues, even if he only gives them menial jobs? I guess it brings back memories of team sports in gym class.

Don't even get me started on Sesame Street. I know, it's a classic, one I used to watch as a kid. Is it just me, or has everyone on that show just started to lose it? I guess I would too if for several decades my social circle  consisted of muppets. We have the walking eating disorder, the closeted gay couple, the Count with an untreated case of OCD, and a giant bird. Let's not forget Elmo with his identity crisis. He is always referring to himself in the third person. Maybe he is a mom?

Thomas the Tank Engine is a snooty cheeky fellow. Also, can we say teachers's pet? Again with the favoritism, Sir Tophom Hat. Do you think Sir Tophom Hat has a real name, too? I think it's Edgar. Why is Thomas the most useful engine? Engines are all useful in their own special way. What's that you say? I should resolve my childhood issues? Hey, writing is cheaper than therapy.

I love the Berstain Bears. The books more so than the shows. My dad used to buy me a new book for every perfect spelling test and now they have been passed on to my sons. That being said,I feel like Mama and Papa have a really weird marriage. Mama is always treating him like one of the kids and he is always portrayed as a buffoon. No wonder he hides in his wood shop. I bet he has dirty magazines and a keg in there. Again, with the names. Who names their kids Brother and Sister? By the way, before Sister was born Brother's name was Small Bear. I bet you didn't know that either. Why would they go through all of that hassle to change his birth certificate? Man, I need a life.

I always laughed at the story in which Mama bans television for a week for everyone, including Papa. Yeah, if I tried to ban my husband from watching TV for a week he would immediately turn on a game. Once he was done laughing. If I tried to ban television from my kids for a week I would really just be punishing myself. Sometimes that half hour a day is really precious. Fine, hour. Hey, if I banned television entirely I wouldn't be able to give you this comprehensive, educated, and very relevant review of kid shows and unknown facts. Your welcome.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Jan, The Domestic Diva

My mornings (weekday mornings) almost always start out the same. The blare of the alarm clock, the bargains I make with myself for one more press of the snooze button, the realization that I am now late getting the kids out of bed, muttering to myself as I make my way to their rooms about how stupid I was to sleep just a little bit longer. Then, waking the kids and getting yells from all three of them, sometimes I hear a plea from one of them to “please let me stay home,” while my blood pressure begins to rise. I retreat downstairs and let the dog out, feed him, give him the treat he is begging for with his incessant bark, before making my little one’s lunch and looking at the clock wondering why I don’t hear any noise coming from upstairs. I march back up the stairs and find they are all still in bed and I begin to lose it as I yell for each of them to get up, telling them they have very little time to get ready and out the door (I may have to do this more than a couple of times). The frenzy begins as they come down the stairs. Papers fly, money is requested, schedules have to be rearranged before they head out to school. It seems to never change, and when they are all out the door, husband included, all I want to do is climb back into bed, put the covers over my head and sleep the day away because I have just survived another morning in this crazy world of life with kids.

I am a “stay-at-home” mom. I loath the term “stay-at-home” because I do everything but stay home. Let’s just put up my day today as an example. Once I got the kids out the door, I got a call from my daughter. “Mom, I forgot my poster project, can you bring it to school?” Now, this probably wouldn’t be a big deal if her school was right down the street but, it’s not – it’s a thirty-minute drive away (one hour round trip). I begin to exit the house and realize my son didn’t take the trash to the curb. Rolling my eyes, I throw the poster and my purse in the car, grab the wet cans and wheel them down the long driveway, while the water drips on my running shoes. Yes, I am dressed to head to the gym once I go to my physical therapy session for a wonky neck. I get back into the car and drive to PT. Once done, I am on my way to my daughter’s school to drop off her poster (I was supposed to be going to the gym, remember?). After that, it dawns on me, like one of those V8 commercials where you smack your head with your hand, I still need to get my 10-year-old her colonial costume for her play on Thursday (yes, I am major procrastinator!). I visit two stores in completely different directions before coming up with something that “will do” before getting back into the car. I look at the clock - it’s 10:50 and I still have time to hit the gym and get in a shower before the short day is over. My phone chimes, I have an appointment. I look at my phone to see that I have a dental cleaning in 10 minutes that I didn’t even remember scheduling. I drive to the dentist and get in the chair. “Oh, are you going to work out?” the hygienist asks. “I was planning on it,” I say in defeat, knowing, after this appointment, there is no way I will get there. I finally arrive home so I can get in my shower before I have to leave and pick up my 10-year-old at school, when my husband and son come home. My son is “sick” and is convinced he has Bronchitis (which I already told him he didn’t, but he didn’t believe me. He knew I wouldn’t have picked him up, so he called his dad). I am asked to make a doctor’s appointment, so I do – it’s at 2. I hop in the shower and get ready (because I have an event to attend in the evening). I get ready just in time to hi tail it to the doctor’s only to be told it’s viral (ah-hem). From the doctor’s office, I make the trek to pick up my 10-year-old (her school is also 30 minutes away), followed by my other daughter and arrive home at 3:45 pm.  

Now, how much of my time was spent “at home”? Not a whole hell of a lot. As a matter of fact, I think my ass is becoming flat from sitting in that damn car for hours on end (pun intended)! Maybe I should be called a “stay-in-the-car” mom. Parents should get special travel awards for our frequent driving just like airlines give for flying. If you drive so many miles, you should get perks like free valet parking (anywhere), free tolls, three free speeding ticket dismissals per quarter, our own fast track lane and special discounts on cars (the I-Drive-Everyone-Everywhere-Discount). Besides truck drivers and people in sales, we lead the pack when it comes to miles driven on any given day.

I don’t want to sound like a complainer (although I’m sure I do). I love my kids, and I would do anything for them. I am so, so fortunate to not have to hold down a paying job so that I can be there for my kids at a moment’s notice. I know there are many who not only have to work full-time but also have to be that parent who drives their kids everywhere while still keeping food in the house, meals on the table, etc., and I am in awe of them. I just think the days of June Cleaver are over - when kids went to school right down the street, when sports were done at school rather than miles and miles away, when working spouses came home at 5:30 and everyone was home to have a family sit-down meal. We live in a different time where stay-at-home moms no longer stay at home. While we believe life has become more convenient with cell phones and the internet at our fingertips, fast food, and grocery delivery, it has also become more complicated, more spread out, more demanding and everything clipped at a faster pace.        

I don’t really know what my point is here (I think this is more of a cathartic release for me). I guess it’s just to tell you, you are not alone if you too, spend more time in your car than at home. You are not alone if your planned day never seems to go as expected and, at the end of the day, you are not the only one who thinks “what the hell did I really accomplish today besides sitting on my ass in the car for hours on end?” And that hectic morning that morphed into the hectic day I described? I’m sure it’s a typical day for many. So whether you call yourself a stay-at-home parent, domestic engineer, homemaker, family manager, home economist, mistress (or master) of the house, house goddess (or god), or my favorite, domestic diva, you are not alone my friend! So next time you see another parent on the road, give them a thumbs up – we’re all in this together! Oh and just call me Jan, the Domestic Diva – I think that’s a much better title!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tough Stuff: The Secret Moms' Club

There is a club that no woman wants to belong to, a club that no one wants to talk about or think about. I was thinking about saving the tough stuff for Tuesdays, but today I am going to talk about something uncomfortable but all too common. We need to talk about miscarriage.

The word miscarriage makes us uncomfortable. Every woman of childbearing age fears it, but the truth is one in four women experience miscarriage, many in silence. I am one of those women and today I am breaking the silence. Currently, I am going through my second miscarriage in six months. I should be ten weeks pregnant right now. The other day I saw my tiny baby on an ultrasound screen, What I didn't see was a heartbeat.Why am I telling the world this? After all, I am a very private person. I don't do public displays of emotion, and most people would never suspect when I am going through something. Believe me, I debated, agonized, and consulted Jan about sharing this very personal situation. It makes me uncomfortable. So why am I sharing? I am hoping that maybe I can help even just one woman feel less alone. We wait until the first trimester has passed before we share the news of pregnancy, in case something happens. The truth is, at the moment of conception something has already happened; a life has formed, and you have become a mother to that child. The truth is that when we see those lines on a pregnancy test we start planning, we start imagining. If you lose a baby and nobody knew it existed, it doesn't make it any less real. It can be a very isolating experience, having to carry on with your life as though you didn't lose a child, as though you haven't' been forever changed. Everybody grieves differently, and no way is right or wrong. Some women may feel that they want to keep their miscarriage between themselves and their partners and that's okay. What's not okay is feeling like you can't talk about it, like you have to just get over it. It is a sad and uncomfortable topic. During my pregnancies, I lurked around on the What To Expect When You're Expecting message boards. I saw a lot of posts along the lines of, "Please, only positive posts, we don't want to read about miscarriage," and "I am sick of hearing about miscarriage". I am sorry that they are sick of hearing about miscarriages. Some of us are sick of having them. My point is, if you want to share your story, it's okay. You don't have to be ashamed or worry about scaring people, or pretend it never happened. If you have lost a baby, whether you were one day pregnant or forty weeks, you are a grieving mother, and you are not alone. Here is my story.

The month before I conceived my second son I experienced what is clinically known as a chemical pregnancy. In this situation, the pregnancy test turns positive but implantation doesn't occur or occurs very briefly. A chemical pregnancy can be missed because a woman may mistake it for a heavy period. We were trying for our second child. I was full of hope when I missed my period and saw that faint line. A few days later the bleeding started and my doctor confirmed a chemical pregnancy. It seemed strange to put a clinical, cold word like "chemical" in the same sentence as "pregnancy". This was my first experience with pregnancy loss, but sadly not my last. Just one month later I was blessed with another pregnancy, this one healthy and full term despite dealing with some scary bleeding at 20 weeks. We figured we would wait a while before having a third. Maybe once my oldest was in school all day, and my youngest was in preschool, and hopefully sleeping better. Have you ever heard that saying, people make plans and God laughs? On August 5th, 2014 just four months after I stopped nursing I missed my period. "Couldn't be," I thought. Still, I picked up a pregnancy test and there it was. Pregnant. I am ashamed to admit this, but my initial reaction was not one of joy. I wish I could go back and change that now. We very much wanted a third child, but it would be financially tight, we would have to buy a bigger car which we couldn't really afford. My then nineteen-month-old was still up several times a night. These are the thoughts that went through my head on August 5, 2014. Thoughts that seem petty and meaningless now, but human thoughts nonetheless.

During the next week, the surprise wore off and the excitement began to creep in. My pregnancy symptoms began immediately. I was nauseous all of the time, I was highly sensitive to smells, I had weird cravings and aversions, I was exhausted. I figured these were all good signs. I had no reason to believe that anything would go wrong. As I anxiously awaited my eight-week appointment, I began to imagine my third child. I pictured a dark haired, boisterous little boy or a giggly, bubbly, blue-eyed little girl. I didn't care which. Being a planner, I began to look at toddler beds so my youngest could give up the crib to his baby brother or sister. I ordered him a big brother in training t-shirt. I was blissfully ignorant. Still, I told no one that I was pregnant, not even my mother. I figured I could announce it after my first appointment. I imagined taking pictures of my son in his t-shirt holding an ultrasound picture. It's not that I didn't worry about miscarriage. Every time I was tempted to share my pregnancy news something stopped me. On August 27th, I came home from an afternoon at the park and hurried to the bathroom. You know, pregnant woman bladder. I saw a drop of blood, no bigger than a quarter. I worried, but my husband reminded me that I had experienced bleeding with both of my boys and everything had been fine. That night I dreamed of a beautiful carousel suspended in the sky, painted horses rising through the clouds. When I woke up, I knew, but at the same time I didn't want to know. I called my doctor's office as soon as they opened. They had me come in for an ultrasound. I dropped the kids off at my friend's house and drove to the hospital like a lamb led to the slaughter. As an aside, everyone needs a friend like this - a friend who will take your kids at a moment's notice, no questions asked. I am lucky enough to have a few.

I stared at that ultrasound screen, the technician wearing a perfect poker face. They can't tell you anything, but I knew what an eight week ultrasound should look like. What I saw was an empty space where my child should have been, the heart rate a flat line. They called it a blighted ovum, a condition in which conception occurs but development stops at the forming of the gestational sack. I was devastated, but I told no one. Remember, no one knew I was pregnant. If you are someone close to me who is reading this, please don't feel badly that I didn't tell you. I didn't know how to tell anyone I had lost a child that no one had known about. I went about my days on autopilot. My pregnancy symptoms increased, making it difficult to believe that I had actually miscarried. To humor me, my doctor did another ultrasound and blood work. My hormone levels were dropping but my body wasn't getting the message as it held on to a pregnancy that was already over.

I opted for a D&C. The procedure itself is pretty simple. The tissue is removed under light anesthesia. In the two months following the procedure I went in to the office every week to get my blood drawn. My hormone levels were going down, but not as quickly as they should have. The whole thing was like salt in an open wound. I watched all of the pregnant women coming in for their ultrasounds, their checkups, and their glucose tests. No, I wasn't jealous of them; I didn't begrudge them their happiness or their babies. At the same time, though, every visit to that office reminded me: I should be here for my x number of weeks appointment. I should be wearing maternity clothes by now. It felt weird to simply carry on, weird to order a beer at a restaurant, weird to eat soft cheese or take an Advil. Nonetheless, I moved on as if nothing had happened, because as far as the vast majority of people in my life knew, nothing had. This is what we do, right? We get pregnant and then we pretend like nothing life changing has happened, just in case. But what if just in case happens? If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears, does it make a sound? You're damn right, it does.

At this same time my five year old began having difficulties in school. He had begun kindergarten as almost the youngest kid in his class and he didn't handle it well. I spent five weeks meeting with the school principal, social worker, and teacher. After being patronized within an inch of my life and finding no solution, we finally moved him. It was a very stressful time. Not only did I not appreciate being virtually patted on the head and called an overbearing mother, especially given the tuition we were paying, but honestly given my mental state at the time it is a wonder I was able to remain diplomatic (not kill anyone). Anyhow, life went on as it does whether we think it will or not, and I became fixated on the almost obsessive need to get pregnant again. Of course, I knew I could never replace my baby. Yet, I needed something else to focus on. True, we weren't trying in the first place but the expectation of having another child had been created and I couldn't shake it. My hormones stabilized and we were given the green light to try again three months after my D&C. Our nice, low stress Christmas trip to San Diego seemed like the perfect time to jump back on the baby making wagon. Well, Jan, now you know what went on in your guest room. Ahem ahem. Hey, we're all adults here, we all know where babies come from. Admit it, you needed a little comic relief.

On January 11th, 2015 we were surprised to learn that we were already pregnant again. A September baby would be perfect, I thought. She would be one of the oldest in her class instead of the youngest like her brother. I don't know why we thought it was a girl, but we were convinced. I would like to say that I was over the moon with excitement as I had expected to be, that I cherished every moment. The truth is I was guarded. I had been burned before. My doctor checked my hormone levels and they were perfect, having more than doubled in forty eight hours. I became obsessed with creating the healthiest baby possible, wanting to believe I had some control. I drank vegan protein vegetable smoothies every morning. I took organic prenatal vitamins from Whole Foods. I bought organic veggie trays and finished them within a week. I didn't feel very pregnant. The nausea came and went; it still does. That was about the extent of it. I had no bloodhound sense of smell, no mood swings, no food cravings or aversions. Nervously, we went to my eight week appointment. We waited anxiously as our two year old got a kick out of putting his toy race cars in the stirrups. Don't worry, I disinfected them. The cars not the stirrups. When my ultrasound began I was instantly relieved to see the baby instead of an empty gestational sack like last time. It was very tiny, of course, but we could still make out the head and tiny tadpole body. Sadly, the relief was short lived. The baby was measuring at six weeks instead of eight and half. A heart beat could not be detected, but if I really was only six weeks it was possible that would happen. It was possible that my dates were just off. It was possible. Yet, just like last time I knew, as much as I wanted to believe otherwise. My dates weren't off. I knew when we had conceived.

My OB advised us to be "cautiously optimistic". I love my OB, but honestly this is one of the most contradictory phrases in the English language. It is impossible to be optimistic if you are also being cautious. What followed was the longest week of our lives. I continued taking my prenatal vitamins and ordering my coffee half decaff. I continued hoping against all odds. But really, what were the odds? When I had gotten pregnant I searched for comforting statistics. The consistent answer seemed to be that a healthy woman under thirty five with a history of one or more live, full term births has a less than five percent chance of a second consecutive miscarriage. Well I am the five percent.

Eight eternal days later I sat in the darkened ultrasound room. My husband tried to entertain our two year old, who was very upset at my feet for being in the stirrups where his cars needed to be. I was glad he was there for a distraction. He seems to be able to make me laugh in the most dire of circumstances. The same ultrasound technician was there with the same poker face. This time, the baby was on the screen, seemingly perfectly formed. And perfectly still.

Was it harder to see the baby or the empty sac? Nothing about this has been easy. Still I am glad that I got to see this baby, even though now I can't stop seeing a still form where a wriggling tadpole should have been.

Sadly, these things happen, and more likely than we care to acknowledge. Statistically, one in four women will experience at least on miscarriage in her reproductive lifetime. Maybe she is your sister, your mother, your best friend, or your doctor. Maybe you don't even know that she has been indoctrinated into the secret moms' club. Maybe she's you and no one knows. Maybe you feel that you are alone. You're not.

Next weekend I will have another D&C performed and then I will move forward. I won't move on, mind you, because experiences such as these change us forever. But, I will move forward because that is the only direction worth going. You will move forward too, brave soldier. This may be impossible for you to believe if you are in the throws or aftermath of loss, but I promise you, you will. It occurs to me here that I haven't described how I remembered my babies, because that is important and their is no right or wrong way to do it. Some people have jewelry made, get a tattoo, donate to a hospital, participate in walks, or release balloons. First of all, I named my babies. This may seem weird to some people. After all, it was so early on and I didn't even know the genders. Still, to me they are all my children whether I got to keep them for a day or forever. The baby I lost to a chemical pregnancy I call Eden to represent the garden of life. The second baby I lost is named Quinn Jayden. Quinn means, "wise" and Jayden means, "God hears". And this baby? I think I will call her Hope, because hope is one thing that I still won't give up. Why did I lose two babies in six months? I don't know. Some testing will be done but the reality is I will probably never know. Will we try for another baby? Yes. Not now. For now I am going to stop focusing on having another child, but we will try again when we are ready. Is it worth it? Yes it is. I have learned to appreciate pregnancy, as miserable as it can be. I will never again take for granted the sound of a heart beat. And, as much as they can drive me crazy, I appreciate my living children that much more. A million things have to go right for a child to make it from conception to birth and only one thing has to go wrong. One small glitch in the genetic code. I have a statue in my backyard nestled among my rose bushes. It is a statue of a sleeping baby in the palm of God's hand. I suppose it is easy to say that it's unfair for this to happen, and it is unfair, But those babies didn't suffer. As their mother, I will take all of that suffering so that they can experience only peace, because that's what mothers do. As I said, this is a difficult story to share, but if it can ease the loneliness of just one person then it is worth it. Sometimes it is hard to know exactly how to feel in the direct aftermath of a more or less invisible loss. Sometimes it is hard to know how to react to such a unique grief. True, we have no road map, but As a woman in the trenches I want to tell you a few things about miscarriage that I myself needed to hear:

-It's Not Your Fault. My OB told me, "You did nothing to cause it, and you could have done nothing to prevent it". This is difficult to believe for us as mothers, as women. Shouldn't we be able to control what is happening inside of our own bodies? If we could, we would do anything in our power to do so, but we can't. You didn't lose your baby because you drank fully caffeinated coffee, went out on a bender before you knew you were pregnant, or could only stomach English muffins. You didn't lose your baby because you took medication, fell down the stairs, dyed your hair, forgot to take your prenatal vitamins, cleaned the litter box, or had too much stress in your life. You didn't lose your baby because it was an unplanned or even unwanted pregnancy. Nothing that you did or did not do caused your miscarriage and nothing you had done differently could have prevented it.

-Grief Has No Time Limit. Many posts that I read on miscarriage support forums were along the lines of, "It has been x number of days/weeks/months, shouldn't I be over it by now?" No, you shouldn't. However you feel is how you should feel. I can tell you that days will come when you will almost forget, and the time will come when the heaviness on your heart will lighten. Then something will remind you of pregnancy or your due date and you will be back underwater. Then you will get up again. Grief comes in waves. Don't let anyone tell you that you should be over it by now. The caveat to this: if you are unable to eat, sleep, or complete your daily activities or if you have thoughts of harming yourself don't wait for it to get better. Get help. Remember you are not alone.

-A lot of People Won't Understand. Some will say hurtful things along the lines of, "At least you weren't further along", "It wasn't really a baby yet", "You already have children so just be grateful". Most likely, these people have good intentions. They just don't know what to say. The loss of a child makes people uncomfortable no matter when it happens. But loss is not contagious and it's okay to talk about it. Just be prepared for some of these responses and don't take them to heart. The only appropriate response is, "I am sorry for your loss. Is there anything I can do?" I know this because I have been blessed to receive many of these responses, since I elected not to hide my miscarriage this time. To those of you who have not yet received a return call from me, I really do appreciate your thoughts and concern and you will hear from me soon. I am still processing and it is much easier for me to do that through writing and sometimes difficult to do through talking,

-Your Husband/Boyfriend/Partner Is Grieving, Too. Miscarriage, like all hardships, can strain a relationship. Sometimes the spouse who is not carrying the baby gets forgotten, but they are grieving, too. Sometimes they are even more prone to keeping their grief silent in order to be strong for their spouse. Encourage them to talk about it. It's okay if they are angry, want to try again, or don't want to think about trying again. It's also okay if they don't want to talk about it and would rather lose themselves in the game. Remember grieving takes many forms.

-Getting Pregnant Again Won't Take Away Your Loss. All children are a blessing and if you decide to try again and are blessed with another pregnancy it will bring you joy. However, you will have many complicated feelings. This baby will never be that baby and you may feel guilty for wishing that it was, or for being excited while still grieving you previous loss. You may also feel disconnected to the pregnancy or even indifferent. That's normal. It is a coping mechanism. Once you have been badly burned you can never enjoy the glow and heat of a fire with quite the same innocence. But, you will appreciate your pregnancy more than ever before.

-Yes You Will be Happy Again. I know it seems impossible, but I promise you that it will happen. I can't tell you when. But you will live to fight another day.

-Do Something To Acknowledge Your Baby. Whether you were one week or forty. Plant a flower, make a memory book, name your baby. Your baby was real and will always be a part of you.

-An Early Loss Doesn't Count Less. I can't begin to imagine the pain of giving birth to a sleeping baby, or losing a living breathing child. That being said, loss at any time is painful and you are entitled to your grief.

For those of you who want to support someone going through pregnancy loss:

-You Don't Have To Say Anything. Just be there. For me, offers to get me out of the house have been invaluable. So have "I am thinking of you" calls and emails.

- It's Okay To Bring Up Your Pregnancy Or Your Friend's Pregnancy. This one is personal. Some women in the throws of a loss are hurt by reminders of pregnancy. Again, it is not that she isn't happy about your pregnancy. She just knows that she should be growing a belly, too. It is best to give it some time and gauge people's reactions, but you don't have to hide. Pregnancy is a joyful time. Personally, I still want to hear about your pregnancy. One day it will be my turn again, too. Be prepared to let me hold your baby a lot, though!

- It's Okay To Be Uncomfortable. It is an uncomfortable topic. Remember, you don't have to say or do anything, Sometimes it can be hard to know whether or not to bring up someone's loss, regardless of its nature. You want them to know you are thinking of them but you don't want to pick at a scab. I think a simple, "How are you doing?" is sufficient. Personally, if I want to mention my losses I will, but often I just want to talk with you about that skank on the bachelor or that new guy in your life. These are welcome distractions. That being said, if you bring it up you are not bothering me or reminding me of it. It's okay.

I will carry Hope with me for another week, but I know she is already gone. I have been pregnant a total of twenty weeks in the last six months and it has been quite a roller coaster. It is difficult and confusing to be pregnant, then not pregnant, pregnant then not pregnant. It is difficult and confusing to continue carrying a child that I know has died. But here I am. The truth is I am not unique; we all have crosses to bear, and often the heaviest ones are invisible. The truth is I will be okay. I would like to thank everyone who has supported my husband and I and continues to support us through this journey. I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this. I encourage you to share it with anyone to whom you think it might be helpful. Finally, I would like to thank God for my two healthy children. Some people don't get so lucky. I would also like to thank Him for the three I carried for only a short while. It is pretty special to be a mother to angels.

"An angel in the book of life wrote down our baby's birth, and whispered as she closed the book, 'Too beautiful for Earth'".

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Federal Prison Vacation - I'll Take One Please!

Kat is so good at random thoughts – me? Not so much. But I was sitting on the crapper, and random thoughts just seemed to stream through my brain. Yes, women sit on the crapper. As a matter of fact, we make a lot of decisions on the crapper because it’s the one true place in the house that we can find the most peace (although, my kids do find me occasionally, and even my husband, and ask what I’m doing or when I’m going to come out or just tell me something through the door because they think it’s just that important). 

Anyway, in my crapper office, I was thinking of that Teresa housewife who’s spending 15 months in a federal prison for some lovely white collar crime she and her husband committed – fraud I believe. She was sentenced to a minimum security prison which, I believe, is the equivalent of boarding school. Now, what I’m thinking is that this is a pretty good deal and here is why. First off, she gets three meals a day (that she doesn’t have to cook). I don’t know about you, but having to cook every day for a family of five gets exhausting. Not only does she not have to cook, she doesn’t have to clean her house (well, she probably never had to clean her house but I do!), juggle the kids, or deal with her husband (he seems like a putz). She has 15 months to work out, contemplate life, write her next book (that she will make millions off of the minute she leaves the facility), do crafts, participate in sports, play board games, cards, puzzles, billiards, experiment with music and watch movies. It sounds like a mighty fine country club for tired moms if ya ask me. I'd even take some solitary confinement with padded walls for some added pleasure. She gets almost free health care ($2.00 co-pay), dental care, therapy, educational classes and the like. ALL FOR FREE! Hot damn! I think I should go do me some white collar crime – I’m in need of a mommy sabbatical! Okay, I will admit that it would suck to miss 15 months of my kids growing up – as much as they exhaust me, I would miss them. And I would miss my husband (because he’s pretty damn cool). But, putting those two things aside, it sounds like a fantabulous vacation, minus the nightly turn-down service and chocolate on the pillow.

Well, I’m not going to commit any crime, so don’t you worry about me. I will still continue to pay for my vacations while being a practicing upstanding, law-abiding citizen. But sometimes, in the chaotic tornado I am sometimes sucked into, I think “Man, that Teresa woman – she’s got a good thing going.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Kid Shaming - I've Stooped

Caution, the photos contained in this blog may be disturbing for some viewers - okay, at least to me! Today, as I made the hike upstairs to retrieve my ten-year-old's laundry, I entered into The Twilight Zone: a time and a place no parent, male of female, would dare venture if given a choice. This dimension that's neither here nor there, exists because my daughter exists. It creates great anguish to those who have ventured in and are tripped, caught and grossed out by it's contents and inhabitants. Yes, this is what I am faced with on this fine Tuesday. Ewe, what is that sticky mess I just put my hand on? What is that smell? Could it be coming from the cup that's full of milk from when? How many stuffed animals does one kid really need? If I got rid of a few would she miss them? 

Am I alone here? While picking up the laundry, I felt like I was sifting through the remains of a house after a tornado, stepping on various items, sifting through papers and toys. I know, for a fact, half the clothes in that closet, taking up space on the floor, were never worn. This just exhausts me. I have spent more hours than I would like to count cleaning and organizing her room, and now it's just back to its former state. Last time I cleaned her room, I found an uneaten wrapped hot dog from a baseball game we went to two months earlier! I think I need to get my hazmat suit on and start all over again. This is going to be a long week. 

I hope this post makes you feel better about your own kid's bedrooms. My other two kids are next - they need to be shamed into cleaning their rooms as well. Out of three kids, couldn't at least one of them been a neat freak?  #cleanyourroom                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Friday, February 13, 2015

My Two Year Old Thinks My Angry Face Is Funny

We have all heard the phrase, "the terrible twos". With my first child, they didn't exist. In fact I thought it was an urban myth. It's not. My first son was a fairly compliant, easy going child until he hit the tyrannical threes. That is when you really start researching boarding schools.

My sweet little baby is now two. He is much more active and adventurous than his older brother ever was, which makes him easier in many ways. His brother still suffers separation anxiety and hates to be left at school, whereas when I leave my two year old in the church nursery he is all like, "Bye, Mom, no time for hugs, I see a train table". I love his independence, but his adventurous nature also means that he likes to perform death defying stunts such as climbing on the train table and leaping onto the couch, trying to ride his toy car down the stairs, proudly standing on the coffee table, and trying to run away in parking lots, or pretty much anywhere. It is not only that he has no concept of danger. He also knows he is not supposed to do those things and finds it EXTREMELY hilarious when I catch him in the act and put on my angry mom face.

When I was a kid my parents, especially my dad, had that look. You know the one. Without any words being uttered, the look speaks volumes. It says, "You better watch it, kid". This look was all it took for me to shape up. Hold on, my two year old is trying to open the oven. Okay, I momentarily distracted him with a taggie. I knew there was a reason that I left my clean laundry on the dining room table. See, I am not lazy, it was all a part of my grand scheme to keep my child alive until his third birthday. Now he is walking around with the taggie on his head. By the way, if you don't know what a taggie is it is this little square of soft cloth with little fringes on it. It is the new craze in baby toys and great for sensory exploration. Seriously, a square cloth with fringes on it. I bet the inventor is a billionaire.

Okay, I totally went off on a taggie tangent there. Two year olds are not the only people who are easily distracted by cloth with fringes. I told you, adult ADD is real. So where was I? Oh yeah, the look. You know how parents tell their children, "I hope you have one just like you?". I should be so lucky. My two year old finds my angry look and also my angry voice funnier than President Obama fumbling through his cue cards. You may or may not know this, but nothing is more infuriating than Your child laughing while you sternly scold him. Here's the catch: the angrier I get the harder he laughs, which makes me angrier, which makes him laugh harder. Yes, I know parenting expert in the back of the room. I should just remain completely calm whenever I discipline. Believe me, many times I do. Incidentally, he finds my calm, serious voice funny, too. Also, in my defense, it is hard to remain calm when you child attempts to outrun cars. Just a second, he is pulling a chair up to the oven. This can't be good. Okay, he was distracted by the cat. I knew I kept these cats here for a reason. They are cheaper than babysitters and the American Academy of the Powers That Be doesn't get their panties in a twist when you use them to entertain your child for ten minutes.

My two year old is a character. He is full throttle and he has a zest for life. He finds joy in everything. I just wish he wouldn't find so much joy in my angry face. Case in point. The other day I took the car in for an oil change since it was only two months over due. Shut up. It turned out my battery needed to be replaced too, or at least that is what they told me. They could have been lying to make an extra two hundred dollars, but the thought of being stranded somewhere stuck in a dead car with two kids was terrifying enough that I didn't ask questions. This whole process took about an hour and a half, and since it was approaching five o'clock aka the witching hour, I wasn't worried at all. Actually, I always take my car to this place because they have a completely enclosed waiting room and toy room. When you are waiting for an oil change with two kids this is essential. The only problem is my two year old has learned the concept of door handles since our last visit, so he made a game out of running to the door, grabbing the handle, and saying brightly, "I be right back, okay, guys?". Cute, right? It was the first 77 times. Nonetheless, we managed to get out of there only two hundred and twenty dollars poorer, and they even pulled my car up to the door for me. Again, a great perk when you are traveling with kids. By now it was getting dark. As I hauled my kids out to the car and fumbled for my keys my two year old broke away and attempted to run around the car. I grabbed him quickly, swatted him on the diaper and yelled, "We do not run away in parking lots! A car could squish you!" He dissolved into giggles to which I helpfully and maturely responded, "It's not funny!" I got him in his car seat and started driving, finally coming to the logical conclusion that I should ignore his maniacal laughter since my scolding was proving so comical. The entire way home he would pipe up from the back seat, "Mom? Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!"

Yesterday he continuously tried opening the oven. This is the downside of a double oven. A time out and Angry Mommy face ensued. I sternly told him if he touched the oven again he would be right back in time out. He got up, smiled at me, and promptly walked over and lightly touched the oven with his pointer finger. Another time out ensued. Sitting in a chair is the ultimate punishment for a child who never stops moving, so he finally conceded with a "Sowwy, Mommy," and moved on to chasing the cat. His latest trick is standing on the coffee table and then calling, "Mo - om!" to make sure I see him.

I swear, he was just a baby yesterday. I fear I am about to turn in to that wistful old lady in the grocery store whispering, "It goes by so fast". Maybe I should wrap this up. Before you misunderstand me, I love my two year old's precocious personality. I think it will serve him well in life, providing he survives his toddler years with all his appendages in tact. I also love his brother's intuitive, sensitive nature and they way he can sit on the floor and build for hours. I love my children equally but I don't love them the same. They are completely different people with only gender and DNA in common. I love each of them for their individuality and all the little quirks that make them the people they are supposed to be. Still I have to practice a scarier angry face. Excuse me, I have to run. My two year old is about to eat cat food. Hey, that could save on groceries, right?

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Could you stay mad at this face?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What's Up Wednesday: A Joke To Get You Over the Hump Day

It's Wednesday. Yawn. This is when the week starts to drag. I though I would share a joke to get you over the hump. This is actually my brother's joke. If you tend to get your panties in a twist over swearing then don't read it. Otherwise, have a laugh and share a joke of your own.

The church was throwing a special dinner in honor of an upcoming visit by the bishop. The pastor was out fishing and he returned to the rectory with the biggest, meatiest trout that you have ever seen. As he was standing in the rectory kitchen cleaning the trout one of the nuns who did much of the cooking wandered in.

"My, Father, that sure is a great fish!"

"Yes," replied the pastor proudly, "I caught this son of a bitch."

As you can imagine, Sister's eyes widened in shock and she put a hand over her mouth to stifle a gasp.

"With all do respect, Father, I don't appreciate that type of language."

"No, no, no," the pastor hastily explained. "This type of fish is called 'son of a bitch'."

"Oh!" Sister was relieved. "Well, in that case, I'll cook that son of a bitch!"

Later as she was taking the fish out of the oven the deacon wandered in dressed in his Sunday best, nervous for the bishop's visit.

"Why, Sister that fish looks and smells delicious," he exclaimed.

"Thank you," Sister replied proudly. "I cooked this son of a bitch."

"Sister," gasped the shocked deacon, "I am appalled that you would use that word!"

"Oh, my you misunderstand! This type of fish is called 'son of a bitch'."

"Oh! Well, in that case, I will make my special casseroles and side dishes to serve with that son of a bitch."

Finally, it was evening and the bishop arrived. They all sat down to dinner hoping to make a good impression. Everything was cooked perfectly, and the bishop complimented the delicious trout.

The pastor beamed with pride at his accolades. "I caught that son of a bitch," he boasted.

"And I cooked that son of a bitch," Sister chimed in.

Not to be left out, the deacon piped up, "I cooked my best casserole and side dishes to serve with that son of a bitch."

Silence fell upon the table. The bishop leaned back in his chair and looked around the table at the pastor, the sister, and the deacon. Finally he said:

"You fuckers are my kind of people!"

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mad Monday: Fifty Shades of Frustrated

As the Fifty Shades of Grey movie comes out this weekend, the controversy is swimming on social media. It’s bad, it degrades women, the writing is horrible, how could anything of this poor quality be published? (Just to name a few of the assaults on the book). Now, I am not going to promote the book (even though I read it and was highly entertained), but what I do want to call to your attention is the problem of people critiquing something they have never read. The vast majority of those who poo poo the book and the movie, have never even read the book, and that just gets my goat. When I ask people what they think the book is about, the answers vary, but they are NEVER on the mark.

I belong to a book club where we hash out books every month, ones we wouldn't normally read in order to force ourselves out of our comfortable genres and into (hopefully) an appreciation for other styles of writing and their genres. Most of the time I finish the book, and if I don’t, I feel it is not my place to criticize it, especially if the others in the group really liked it - there has to be a reason right? I respect their opinions completely. And let’s face it, the reason there are so many different genres and writing styles out there is because of just this issue – personal taste. Some people like a good romance, others prefer fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, non-fiction, etc. Some women like a little smut with their romance and some are appalled by it. It’s okay – different strokes for different folks, right?

But, bringing it back to book club, we read a classic this past month – A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. This book is extremely graphic with rape scenes and general evil. It’s a hard book to swallow, but it has a great message that manifests itself throughout the book. Good vs. evil and a human’s ability (or inability) to choose between the two. I had to get to the end of the book to really appreciate the way the author teaches us this - but that’s just it – I got to the end of the book. I read the whole thing. I was entitled to my opinion because I finished it. Some didn’t finish, but had plenty to say about how horrible it was and then pushed their views on how skewed the premise was. But when I asked if they knew what the message was, they got it all wrong! How do you argue with someone who never read the book?  Or worse yet, only read the first 10 or so pages that are filled with complete evil? How do you carry on a constructive discussion if they don’t understand the basic, fundamental lesson that lurks within the pages that they refused to read?! You can’t.

I’m not bashing my book club group or the members in it – I love them all. (I love you all!! Really I do!!) However, I do feel very passionate about following through from beginning to end before passing judgment.  This works in other areas as well – it’s not just limited to books and movies. Whether it’s politics, world views or health concerns (the measles vaccine vs. the Autism controversy to name one), we owe it to ourselves and to those around us to educate ourselves before we open our mouths and spit out unreliable bullshit. I don’t talk much about politics because, quite frankly, I would prefer to have a root canal than to read about their preschool level antics. When an election comes, I do my research, make an educated choice and wipe my hands of it. But I don’t complain about someone voted into office if I never voted!  

So, formulate your own opinions. Read the book, watch the movie, research an event or topic, take a bite of food you don’t think you’ll like, vote – educate yourselves. Don’t take another person’s word for it. Education is the best tool we have in promoting healthy opinions. And hey, if you don’t like it after your read, watched, researched, tasted, or voted, then you have a right to your opinion and I will respect that (and so will most everyone else!). BTW, who’s going to see FSOG this weekend? 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Random Thoughts Thursday

I know how Jan feels about her lost chapter. When I was in AP English in high school I was almost through a fifteen page paper with limited to be verbs when my paper disappeared into internet space. That hurts. Now I save my work in several places and email it to myself because emails seem to stick around forever.

I am also writing a novel. Jan is my mentor.

The silver lining of Jan's shitty situation is the fact that you got to hear my niece's beautiful singing. When she is on Broadway in ten years you will be bragging that you were one of the first to hear a performance.

You may have read my Mad Mondays post. My kids were suffering major cabin fever. Usually they get along, but they were fighting over ridiculous things such as the location of plastic chairs and the welcome mat. I think the last one is kind of self explanatory. We had to get out of the house before I jumped out a window and stuck my head in a snowbank, so I took in the sight of my house with boot prints on the floor, crumbs on the counter, a crumpled up table cloth, and a full washer and dryer and said, "Screw it!". I am now at this ingenious place called Cafe and Play which is just what it sounds like. Let me give you a visual. I am sitting at a table with a cub of coffee, okay, fine, a mocha with 600 calories, and my kids are playing five feet away in a fully enclosed, child proofed play area. I have been here fifteen minutes and have only been interrupted five times, which is about a third of the interruptions I experience at home within the same time frame.

This great place is closing its doors next month due to lack of revenue. Apparently not everyone likes to drink a cup of coffee and sit down. Come on, people! We need to start a donation page to keep this place opened. Places like these keep us Illinois stay at home moms with young kids sane during the long winter months. Did I mention that it is winter for like five months here?

I have now been interrupted nine times.

I feel guilty for sitting here typing instead of interacting with my kids within the play place. Then again, they do have wifi so I guess I am not the only slacker mom here.

I see a lady holding a newborn. It kind of makes me want another one.

My five year old is trying to help toddlers escape from the play area. My two year old is climbing up the slide. The feeling has passed.

My husband has a work dinner tonight. I don't think work and dinner can be said together unless you are the one cooking, especially not if alcohol is involved.

I thought of another way in which kids are like cats: both have a compulsion to climb shit. The difference is cats land on their feet when they fall. They also come potty trained. However, cats get very pissy when you attempt to take them anywhere, whereas kids get pissy when you remain in the house for extended periods of time.

I just spilled coffee in my lap because the lid wasn't on all the way. Should I make like the McDonald's lady and sue? Nah, they have no finances, remember?
I have now been interrupted twenty one times. My five year old thought I should know that some kid in there has a stinky diaper. As long as it's not mine I don't care.

If no one sees my house in its current state, is it still messy?

My five year old asked me if we can order french fries. They don't have french fries. Or beer, oddly enough. I think that would solve the cash inflow problem. See, Hunny, I could be an accountant.

I really think this blog platform needs to have spell check. Every time i try to copy and paste from Microsoft Word my font turns all weird.

Maybe I should just learn to spell.

Needed a little Pick Me Up (after a chapter I spent hours writing didn't auto save!)

Yes, it happens. That wonderful piece of writing you know you will never be able to duplicate, doesn't get auto-saved or sent to the big cloud in the internet sky before you accidentally press the off button on your computer. An entire chapter and two days worth of revisions. This probably goes with Kat's Horrible Monday post but it happened to me today, Wednesday (well now it's actually Thursday and  I am just starting to pull out of my self pity enough to post this). So, feeling a little blue, I asked my daughter, Julia to sing me a song and I thought I would share. #whenautosavedoesntsave

Monday, February 2, 2015

Mad Mondays: Kat and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Welcome to Mad Mondays, where we can air our pet peeves, complaints, and gripes. Basically, Mad Mondays will be a bitch fest but in the humorous sense, not in the whiny, chip on my shoulder sense. Please add your own gripes, complaints and pet peeves in the comment section. We know you have some, you can tell us. After all, nobody ever said TGIM!

When I was a kid my favorite story was Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good, Very Bad Day, now a major motion picture. Your welcome for the free advertisement, Steve Carell. As a kid, I thought the book was really funny and I couldn't get enough of it. I mean, who goes to sleep chewing gum? Of course the next day won't start out well, and we all know what happens when a day starts off in the crapper. As an adult I don't find this book funny, but more of a sad memoir much like If You Give A Mouse A Cookie and all of the torturous books that came after that. I actually wrote a post about that on my Paychecks to Pacifiers blog which I haven't updated in forever. Your welcome for the advertisement, Self.

You know those days where shit just hits the fan and then keeps hitting it until your entire day is just a shit storm that you can't escape? Sorry, Mom, no other word would do it justice. Anything goes on Mad Mondays. Anyway, we have all had more of these days then we care to recall and sometimes all you can do is trudge through until bed and start over again the next day.

My day didn't start out so terrible. It was Sunday, a day of rest according to priests who have no children. Sorry, that was rude. This was also my husband's first day off work since the previous weekend, which was good considering we woke up to a blizzard. An actual blizzard, the fifth worst blizzard in Chicago history, the fourth being the one that took place inside my house on this fine day. We were completely snowed in which meant we were not only missing church but also a super bowl party. Oh well, in my pajamas I stayed and I took this opportunity to make banana nut pancakes and bacon, which were pretty good if I do say so myself. The kids loved them and my husband wouldn't try them because he caught me sneaking K-A-L-E into the batter. I swear, you couldn't even taste it. If I had just cleaned the kitchen and gone back to bed this would have been a pretty successful day, Instead I cleaned the kitchen while my husband worked on his computer constructing our budget, my two year old tried to do stunts involving the train table and couch, and my five year old followed me around the kitchen asking if I could play with him now? How about now? How about NOW! For those of you jer- I mean lovely people like Jan who live in Sunny California or somewhere equally not frozen, let me tell you a little something about being stuck inside a house with kids. It is like being handed the role of cruise director except you don't get paid and your guests are caged animals with the attention span of goldfish. Also, your assistant director won't get off the computer.

After building with blocks for awhile the kids were hungry. Wait, didn't I just feed them? So I made my five year old a peanut butter and banana sandwich since I was out of jelly and I couldn't go to the store because of the whole sixteen inches of snow thing. Since I am not only a cruise director but also a short order cook, I made a hot dog for my very un-American two year old who won't eat peanut butter because it is too sticky. Seeing this, the five year old suddenly wanted a hot dog instead of the sandwich he had ordered. Luckily his brother shared some because the kitchen was closed.

After lunch we played  a riveting game in which the boys crawl around on the floor and bark pretending to be dogs and I have to rescue them from the snow only for them to run away again so I can rescue them again and so on and so forth. Dog people, don't take this the wrong way because I am nothing if not an animal lover, but you know how dogs can be kind of annoying sometimes and kids can be kind of annoying sometimes? Kids who are playing the part of dogs aren't like that at all. Somehow this game morphed into a game of using a cardboard box to slide off the couch. At this point I decided to call nap time since we would have needed a snow mobile to get to the ER. My two year old protested nap time loudly and spent the next half hour in his crib screaming, "No Night night! I want SLIDE!!!!!" before finally falling asleep. Meanwhile, I tossed some buffalo wings in the slow cooker since we couldn't make our scheduled super bowl party because of the whole sixteen inches of snow situation. My five year old wanted to know if I could play with him now? How about NOW? My husband scrutinized a Microsoft excel spreadsheet that apparently showed I was spending an exorbitant amount on groceries. Um, hello? I am always cooking and these people are always eating!

My son and I moved on to an imaginative game of carnival which result in him melting down because of my inability to build a roller coaster in the family room since this was suddenly "his dream". The kid has a future in drama. For a smart kid, I sometimes wonder about his logic. This somehow transformed into a melt down about the fact that we couldn't go to the "bowl party" and a monologue about his plan to "fire the weather boss". Caged animals. When this particular storm had passed we resumed our dog game except in this version I had to adopt him from the shelter and take him to my home where he would promptly run away and so on and so forth. My husband promised to be off the computer in five minutes. My two year old woke up in a difficult mood and then proceeded to have explosive diarrhea. The hazmat team couldn't get to us on account of the whole sixteen inches of snow thing, so I yelled at my husband to get me a plastic bag and some disinfectant. My two year old got an impromptu bath. After the bathroom and surrounding ares had been thoroughly scoured, I began sorting laundry but was interrupted because the boys were hungry. See what I mean? I made chicken nuggets, veggies, and avocado fries as well as some grilled peppers to go with our wings. My five year old said his tummy "didn't feel like chicken nuggets". Seriously, who are these kids? I informed him that that was what was being served and he could choose to eat it or not. Meltdown. After dinner the kitchen looked like the blizzard had hit inside (which I suppose it had in a sense). I cleaned the kitchen and directed the boys to clean up the toys. My husband helped while trying to get the game on. Unfortunately, our Dish receiver has been overheating, making the watching of television for longer than twenty minutes a fire hazard, which is not much different than the usual television watching experience when you have young kids. Two hours later I had the kitchen cleaned, floor swept and mopped, toys picked up,  and laundry switched over, I snuck onto Facebook for a glance at the pictures of the super bowl party taking place in a parallel universe. Oh well, I was just happy to have the house clean. Now to wash my hands and get the kids to bed so I can relax and not watch TV. A strange thing happened when I turned on the bathroom faucet. Water began flowing out of the vanity and over flowing into the kitchen and onto my freshly mopped floors. I yelled at my husband to get me some towels while I began removing all the flooded crap from underneath the sink and practically begged my footed pajama clad two year old to stay out of the water. My five year old helped by putting his toy cones up at the bathroom entrance. It turned out the pipe had come loose. I tightened the pipe, dried and cleaned everything, and moved on with my evening. My husband read to the boys.I dealt with another blow out diaper. When they were finally in bed my five year old complained of a tummy ache so I gave him some pepto and water and then took a shower because I was still wearing my pajamas from the night before. Shut up, it's not like we were going anywhere. By the time I was done in the shower and wearing clean pajamas (see, I have standards, people) the boys were asleep. I breathed a sigh of relief that this day was coming to a close, finished the laundry and then decided to sit down until I heard the suspicious sound of water flowing. How many frazzled moms does it take to tighten a pipe? After repeating the drying, cleaning up, and tightening steps from an hour earlier I got smart and put a bucket under the faulty pipe. Once I changed my wet pajama pants I gratefully crashed on the couch. Three point five seconds later my two year old began crying. My body appeared to be glued to the couch, so my husband kindly tried to get him back to sleep. When I finally got tired of listening to screams of, "No! I want see Mama!!!!" I trudged up the stairs and crashed on the floor of my two year old's room. It's nice to be wanted, right? I finally began to drift into an exhausted sleep, grateful that the terrible, horrible no good very bad day was over...

Suddenly the door opened and light spilled in from the hallway. Was it an angel coming to take me to my heavenly reward. No, it was my husband. Remember, I missed church that day.

"Aiden threw up," he announced. "What should I do?"

Talk about a rude awakening. I gave him my expert instructions on how to handle a vomit situation and to his credit he took care of it, sheets, a midnight bath, and all. At this point I found it difficult to fall back to sleep because not only was I on the floor but I was also panicking about the likelihood of a stomach virus ripping through the house. Now, I know nobody like stomach viruses but I have a full blown phobia. When someone throws up I feel like I am in an episode of The Walking Dead or Survivor. Who will be next? I was also feeling guilty because apparently his tummy really hadn't wanted chicken nuggets. In my defense, it was a boy who cried wolf situation. Finally, my exhaustion overtook my paranoia and I fell asleep about five point eight minutes before my husband shook me awake and asked if he should give Aiden any medicine. I informed him that I had given him pepto for all the good it had done, and asked him to please spray the entire house with Lysol. I gratefully made it into my own bed at two A.M. and that is how the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day ended. I couldn't make this stuff up. Now, do you want to hear about my Monday?