Monday, July 30, 2007

Is it Just Me.....

........or is "John From Cincinnati" the worst HBO show ever? I know it takes a while to get into HBO shows, but several episodes in, I just can't watch it anymore. Borrrrr-ing. And enough with the cursing. We get it, they're all a bunch of angry people, but come on, a cursing every fourth word is overkill. And it's not even included in wonderfully flowery prose like "Deadwood."

.......or is "LOTR: The Two Towers" the "Empire Strikes Back" of the LOTR series? I have been reading it for two months now (with a break for HP7) and still can't get through it. I'm sure that the details of it are important to the whole story of the trilogy, but it sure is a tough read.

.......or am I odd for actually liking the new shows on Lifetime? Most Lifetime shows are pretty cheesy, but their new Sunday night lineup is really good.

.......or is getting back on a diet the hardest thing ever? We fell off the wagon with evening milkshakes and a breakfast buffet (hello, carbs) and now we're struggling to get back to our diet plan.

.......or am I the only person who doesn't hire someone else to do yard work and house cleaning? Because it sure feels like I'm the only one in my neighborhood and Sunday School class that knows how to clean a toilet and do a load of laundry.

.......or is playing dress-up and/or Barbies torture? I'd much rather read books, play games, color, paint, or do anything else than make up princess stories using Barbies.


Saturday, July 28, 2007

Growing Up

Our little guy is growing up and it is quite bittersweet. I marvel at how quickly he learns and how rapidly his physical development is occurring, but I am sad because with each passing day he loses just a bit of his babiness.

Today Liam started crawling. He's been rocking back and forth on his knees for a a couple of weeks, but today, he finally figured out how to coordinate the hands and knees. He still moves fairly slowly, but I know that within the week he'll be zooming all over the living room which has now been quartered off with the baby gate. He'll also have access to all of Sydney's toys which reside in the adjacent playroom. Any bets on how long it will take for us to hear, "Liam's touching my toys!"?

Another milestone was reached this week. Liam has found himself. And not in the teenage angst or midlife crisis existential sort of way, but in the "Hey, what's this cool thing that they keep covering up with a diaper?" sort of way. This is a whole new territory for me; I have no clue how to deal with this. I'm sure this is just the first of many "boy" matters I'm going to have to deal with. I've got a lot to learn.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Not Your Typical Princess

Sydney has officially been bitten by the "princess bug." She dresses up like them, reads books about them, makes up stories about them, etc. All of us are now very well versed in what constitutes "being a princess." But, as much as we know about them now, I can safely say that our princess, Princess Sydney, is not your typical future queen.

After all, she does get her hands dirty.

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And, like every other woman in the world, she sometimes gets her dress caught up in her pantyhose (or in her case, princess-themed panties).

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For once, I'd like to read a princess story with a heroine as real as our Sydney.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On the Other Side of the Table....

As a former teacher, I know that having your child's teacher contact you about a behavioral issue is pretty much the last resort. As someone who hates confrontation, I tried every trick in the book to get a kid to behave before calling their parents. After all, many parents got quite defensive about their kids and refused to believe that THEIR child would talk too much, throw paper, cheat, etc.

So, when Sydney's teacher pulled me aside last week and said, "Can I talk to you about Sydney's behavior?", my heart sank.

Apparently, the teacher asked her to join the other kids in the eating area for lunch and she refused. She wanted to keep playing with the dolls instead of stopping to eat her lunch. I don't know how the teacher finally got her to comply, but all I had to hear was that she argued with the teacher.

I assured the teacher that this would not happen again and spent the afternoon thinking of a possible punishment for the next time the teacher informed me that Sydney argued. Ryan agreed with me that the newest Barbie (a really icky old one that once belonged to me) that my mother had just given her would be returned to its previous home should we get another negative behavioral report.

The next school day, I had Sydney tell her teacher what would happen if she argued again and I then asked the teacher to let me know if the insubordination ceased or continued. Thankfully, Sydney complied with all directives that day and we didn't have to follow through with our punishment, but the threat of it still looms over her head.

I don't like punishing my kids. It makes them sad and then it makes me sad, but I refuse to raise mean, spoiled kids. I've seen how kids who get away with talking back at a young age act when they are teenagers You know, they are the ones that have teachers dreading the school year when they see their names on the rolls. They are the ones that get whispered about in the teacher's lounge during conference periods and lunch time.

Those will not be my kids.

There seems to be a fine line between making your kids behave and breaking their little spirits. I certainly do not want to break Sydney's spirit, but she has to learn that she cannot have everything that she wants. It's such a hard lesson to learn. And an even harder one to teach.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Best Husband in the World

I have the best husband in the world.

He took both kids to his parents' house today so that I could read Harry Potter without interruption.

I finished it at 5:45 pm.

It was awesome.

Friday, July 20, 2007

In Honor of Their Theatrical Debut....

I've taken the "Which 'Simpsons' Character Are You?" quiz. I'm honestly not surprised at how it turned out.

You Are Marge Simpson

You're a devoted family member who loves unconditionally.

Sometimes, though, you dream about living a wild secret life!

You will be remembered for: your good cooking and evading the police

Your life philosophy: "You should listen to your heart, and not the voices in your head."

And, yes, I'm one of those horrible parents who lets their children watch "The Simpsons". At least I don't let them watch "Southpark".

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What a Jerk!

Get this. The guy whose car we hit on Sunday hired an attorney and is claiming that we are at fault for the accident. Even though the witness said it was clearly his fault. Even though the cop said it was clearly his fault. Even though he is the one who got the ticket.

So now, he's asking our insurance company to pay for the damage on his crappy car EVEN THOUGH HE WAS AT FAULT. Why can't he just admit he was wrong? His car was barely damaged. At least his was drivable and he didn't have to have it towed.

So we can either pay our deductible ($1000), rental fee ($250) and tow fee ($135), get our car back and not have our insurance rates raised (since it wasn't our fault) and let it go or we can file a claim with his no-name backwoods Louisiana insurance.

What does he honestly think we're going to do?


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes.....

We were once worried about Sydney's speech development. We're not anymore. Instead of worrying how to get her to talk we're now wondering how to get her to stop. Here are a few of the latest gems.


While waiting for someone to vacate their parking spot so that I could pull into it, I heard from the back seat, "Get out of the way, jerk." Oops....guess I gotta watch my mouth.


While taking turns making up a story:

Sydney: "Once upon a time, there was a princess named Sydney who wore a pink dress and pink shoes. Your turn."

Me: "Princess Sydney put on her pink crown and went for a ride on her horse. Your turn."

Sydney: "And then, she rode all the way to Prince Farquad's castle. Your turn."

Me: "She told Prince Farquad that she wanted to go to school to learn to be a doctor. Your turn."

Sydney: "No, she doesn't want to be a doctor. And then, she said she just wanted to get married so Prince Farquad asked her to marry him and they got married and she wore a white dress with glass slippers just like Cinderella and some mice were there and Shrek wasn't happy but Princess Sydney and Prince Farquad lived happily ever after. The end."

Stupid Disney princesses. Why can't just one of them be a doctor or lawyer or something?


Attack of the "Whys"

Me: "Please don't bend your cards."

Sydney: "Why?"

Me: "Because then you won't be able to play with them anymore."

Sydney: "Why?"

Me: "Because then they'll be all bent and wrinkly."

Sydney: "Why?"

Me: "Because you hurt them by bending them."

Sydney: "Why?"

Me: "I don't know why....why are you bending them?"

Sydney: "I don't know."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Random Updates

After the horrible weekend we had a week ago, I thought I'd update our situations.

1. Liam is feeling much better. His fever broke and despite a diminished appetite for the past several days, he seems to have recovered from what appears to have been a virus. We're now back to having a happy baby boy.

2. I had a follow-up endodontist appointment on Friday regarding my abscessed tooth. The specialist is going to contact my previous dentists about old x-rays. He thinks that I have an infection in my jawbone that is slowly killing my teeth one by one. Lovely.

3a. The car stereo was quickly fixed after I dug out the "magic code card". We now have music again. Yay!

3b. Unfortunately, our poor car is once again injured. First, I hit a gigantic garbage can last week while playing "garbage can obstacle course" down our street. Our side mirror needs to be replaced. No big deal.

3c. AND, on the way home from church today, Ryan and I were involved in an accident. We are fine (except for a stiff neck for me), but our car is not. The front end is bent and crumpled. The other guy was ticketed (it was SO his fault) and we've arranged to have it towed to a body shop tomorrow. Hopefully, it can be fixed. I really like that car. And thank heaven the kids were not with us since my parents kept them overnight.

We're sad about the car, but it could have been worse. The kids could have been with us. Our airbags could have deployed (we were only going 15 mph or so). It could have been raining (it had just stopped). We could have been hurt. Probably the best thing about the situation is that the elderly gentleman in a car behind us stopped and gave a statement to the police in our defense so it looks like the offender's insurance (yay - he has insurance) will be responsible for fixing up our car and paying for our tow and rental expenses. It really could have been so much worse.

For some good news:

1. We left Liam overnight for the first time and he did a great job. And so did we. I didn't cry once.

2. We saw the new Harry Potter movie. It was awesome!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ode to Lady Bird

Lady Bird, Lady Bird how well you did know
That spring showers make wildflowers grow.
Every Texan knows that tradition dictates
Bluebonnets are the official blooms of the state.

Year after year we put our kids in their fields
Hoping our cameras will give us good yields.
Were it not for you, First Lady so fair
We would not have such lovely pictures to share.

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Thank you for having wildflowers planted along our roadsides and bayous. You made our state all the more beautiful and gave us an annual tradition that both tortures children and delights their parents. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I Dare You....

I dare you to watch this video and tell me that it's not one of the cutest things in the world. It's pretty long, but 30 seconds or so should give you a good idea of what I'm talking about.

Do I not have two of the cutest kids on the planet?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Helpless (from New Orleans)

I just hate it when babies are sick. Particularly my baby. I feel so useless and helpless.

We arrived in New Orleans late Thursday evening and noticed that Liam was a bit warm to the touch. Luckily, I packed the infant acetaminophen (just in case/because you never know) and we gave him a dose before bed. Poor little guy was up half the night crying and burning up, despite the medicine. He was hot all over; his little hands felt like branding irons when they touched my face. He and I both got about four hours of sleep.

He was running a fever all day Friday and Saturday and has barely eaten anything. We've stopped the solid foods and gone back completely to liquid meals in hopes that he'll stay hydrated. His diapers are still much lighter than usual so now I'm getting really worried.

The worst part of it is the feeling of helplessness on my part. Yes, I can give him medicine, offer him food around the clock and hold him until my arms ache, but I can't make his misery go away. He continues to look up at us with watery eyes with such sadness and desperation as if to say, "You're supposed to help me. Why won't you help me feel better?" And there's nothing more I can do. It's heartbreaking.

At least when they're older, they can tell you what's wrong. But when they're babies all you can do is guess and try to make them comfortable. I think I'm failing on both counts.

We're heading back home later today (still without a stereo) and I'm going to force my way into the pediatrician's office tomorrow if I have to. I dare them to turn me away. Seriously, I dare them. I'm sleep deprived, worried and in "mama bear mode." There's no way I'm taking "no" for an answer.

And if that doesn't work, I'll simply make them look at my sweet-faced boy who is in utter misery. If they can say "no" to his sad eyes, then I'll know they're heartless.

Friday, July 6, 2007

It Wasn't Meant to Be (from New Orleans)

We decided a month ago or so that we needed to take a trip to New Orleans to see Ryan's family. The long drive is torture, but we're adults and sometimes you just gotta suck it up. So he scheduled two days of vacation and we arranged to spend one night with his elderly aunt and the next two nights with his dad and stepmom.

So many things have gone wrong, I really don't think we should have come.

First, the elderly aunt got the date wrong (even though I made sure I wrote it down in the card I sent) and is currently off gambling with her friends on the Mississippi coast somewhere. So not only did we not get to stay at her house, but we won't get to see her at all. On the upside, she can't really complain about not seeing us often enough because we tried.

Second, when I tried to move the car around to make loading it up easier, I discovered that we had a dead battery. Ryan took off work early to go get a new one and we wound up leaving an hour later than we originally wanted to.

Third, we forgot that disconnecting the battery means that our stupid "anti-theft" stereo gets locked up. We discovered it about fifty miles into the trip. Do you have any idea how long a six hour trip can be with absolutely no music? And since we refuse to pay the local Honda dealer $50 to reset it for us, I guess we've got six hours of misery coming up for the trip home, too.

Fourth, Liam came down with a 102 degree fever last night. And we can't tell if the permanent wet spot on his shirt is from snot or drool. I know it's not vomit because that hit me and Ryan instead. He is super grumpy and will only sleep if he's being held (by me, which is both annoying and heartwarming at the same time). I think I slept about three hours last night.

I can't imagine what more we're in store for if we truly weren't meant to come here. Plague? Pestilence? Fire? Flood? I just pray we can make it back home in one piece.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Dental fears

Well, I didn't have a root canal done yesterday. I had the equally nerve-wracking, yet less painful procedure of having an infected tooth drained. It was not pretty, but at least I'm in less pain than before. Hopefully, the procedure along with a stronger antibiotic should knock out the infection that has made me miserable with pain and fever for the last few days. Who knew a tooth infection could cause such a high fever.

Sadly, I have to go back next week once the pain and swelling have dissipated to figure out which tooth is the culprit. I saw a different doctor this time around and he seems to think that they'll have to redo the root canal I had back in September. I'm not looking forward to it, but it has to get done before our insurance changes due to Ryan's new job.

So you've probably figured out by now that dentists are not my favorite people. I feel bad for them because all of the ones I've been to have been the nicest people imaginable, but the pain they inflict on me procedure after procedure, year after year has permanently altered my opinion of them as a whole. No, it's not fair, but it is what it is.

I am scared of the pain. Frankly, who wouldn't be when they KNOW how painful something like a root canal can be? During my last one, Ryan heard me scream while he was in the waiting room. We're talking serious pain. How can you like someone who causes you pain, even when they apologize profusely for it before, during and after it?

My question is this: how do I keep my kids from sensing and adopting my fear of dentists? After all, parents model attitudes and behavior. I certainly do not want them to grow up being scared of the dentist. I try to not talk about it too much in front of them, but they (especially Sydney) see how much pain I'm in before and after seeing a dentist. I've already screwed up Sydney by making her scared of thunder (just like her coward of a mother), so I'd really like to get this whole dentist thing right.

Any ideas?

Monday, July 2, 2007

A New Kind of Diet

I've developed a new kind of diet. I'm going to trademark it as "The Dental Work Diet". You see, once again, I'm set to visit the root canal dentist today for root canal #5. Yes, folks, root canal #5. So, in honor of this momentous occasion, I created a new diet.

Breakfast: oatmeal with a pinch of brown sugar (instead of the cranberries and almonds I usually put in it since there's no way I can chew them without screaming)

Morning snack: a yogurt shake (to counteract the lovely effects of the antibiotic on my digestive system)

Lunch: soup (preferably something yummy from Central Market, but out of a can will do fine, too)

Afternoon snack: a Sprite to help my stomach calm down from all of the pain killers I'm on

Dinner: more soup and perhaps a piece of very tender fish which I cut into tiny bites and shove to the back of my mouth to avoid the tooth in question

Evening snack - chocolate milkshake

Feel free to adapt this diet to your own needs should you ever need dental work. For instance, you might want to add a shot (or two) of your favorite liqueur to the milkshake to help you sleep better. Or you might want to lose the milkshake all together and just have the shots. Have fun making it your own.

In the mean time, I'll be sipping on my soup and Sprite and praying that this is the last root canal I ever have to have.