Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Life by Numbers

1 - the number of times the phlebotomist had to stick me for my glucose test this morning
2 - the number of hours I was at the doctor's office today
3 - the number of pieces of pizza I had for lunch today
5 - the number of dollars I had to pay for parking at the doctor's office
7 - the number of steps in a row Liam took on his own on Sunday
16 - the number of steps in a row Liam took on his own this morning
27 - the number of weeks pregnant I am
29 - the number of weeks pregnant I am measuring
35 - the number of miles my parents had to drive to babysit Liam this morning
42 - the number of times Liam flirted with the pizza place waitress today
53 - the number of times I told Sydney that she needed to wear pants instead of a dress to school today due to the cooler temperature
0 - the number of times she listened to me

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Wanna Feel Like a Loser?

On Thursday, I received my "Semi-annual Make You Feel Like a Loser Newsletter". This is also known as my college alumni newsletter. Twice a year I am subjected to the braggings of my fellow alumnus and although I never give the school money or send them my contact information, they always seem to find me anyway.

Most of the alumni updates are about people I don't know so I usually scan them to find names that I recognize. And I have to say, their lives sound a whole lot more interesting than mine. Granted, I attended the Honors Program at my university (and that's the alumni newsletter that I get) so most of the submissions are from people who had near perfect SAT scores and went on to get one or more graduate degrees. But I still feel like a loser compared to them.

So, I got to thinking: what would my ideal "alumni snippet" look like?

"Jana ______ ('98, history) married Ryan _______ ('99, biology) in 2000. After shaping young minds in the arts of social studies for several years, Jana went on to have and stay home with two fabulous, even genius, children and is expecting a third in the spring. She owns her own chocolate business, volunteers at church and is next in line to be Rick Steves' travel assistant in Europe. She and her family currently live in an historic area of Houston, but will soon be traveling throughout Europe trying out and writing reviews of various restaurants, hotels, historic sites and tourist attractions. She may be contacted through PBS."

Instead, I'm afraid my actual snippet would read something like this:

"Jana ______ ('98, history) married Ryan _______ ('99, biology) in 2000. After spending several years teaching geography to disinterested and unappreciative high schoolers, Jana went on to have and stay home with two children and is expecting her third in the spring. She owns her own chocolate business (that is on hold until her life gets sorted out), volunteers at church (for the free childcare and to feel useful to society) and dreams of someday needing to get a passport so that she can finally fulfill a life-long dream of going to Europe. Anywhere in Europe. Jana and her family currently live in an historic area of Houston, but will soon be moving to the Land of Fruit where she will desperately try to fit into suburbia and find friends for both herself and her children."

And this is why I don't bother to send in my little snippet to the newsletter. (Don't get me wrong, though. I love my life and wouldn't change a thing.)

So....what would your ideal "alumni snippet" say?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oh, the Guilt

Ryan often says that I would have made a great Catholic because I always feel so guilty about everything. Seriously, everything.

Like, today for instance. I was dropping Sydney off at school (thank heavens for "drop-off" and "pick-up") when an older lady knocked on my window. Kinda scared the you-know-what out of me.

I rolled the window down a bit (OK, I didn't really "roll" it down since my car, ahem, I mean, van, has automatic windows) and asked if I could help her. She explained that she had just dropped off her grandson at school and her car broke down across the street. She wanted to know if I could give her a ride to her home, which was about a mile away.

She seemed credible. There was a steaming car across the street and the neighborhood she needed to go to was about a mile away and there is an elementary school in the direction that she pointed.

But, I just couldn't. And I feel so guilty about it.

I apologized profusely, but I told her that I had children in the car and did not feel comfortable giving a ride to a stranger. I do, after all, live in a huge city with lots of scam artists and I have trained myself to be wary of strangers (I didn't say this particular part to her).

The woman said she understood and continued to walk down the street toward her neighborhood. I'm sure she felt more comfortable asking me for help, rather than the other people nearby, since I drive a family friendly mini-van, but I just didn't feel comfortable giving a stranger a ride to a neighborhood that's a bit shady with my toddler son in the vehicle.

And now I feel guilty about it all. I wonder if she made it home OK. I wonder if her car will get fixed. I wonder if she thinks I'm a truly horrible person for not helping her out.

Sometimes it stinks to have a conscience.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I Just Thought I Knew Them

I discovered a few things about my kids this weekend.

First, Liam loves his new shoes:


In case you can't see them all that well, here's what they look like up close:


Of course, he's still not walking on his own (and I know, by now I can hear all of you saying, "Will she PLEASE just stop obsessing over this kid walking?), but he is walking a bit better while holding one of our fingers. I'm hoping a trip to the park to meet up with our play group (all of whom are walking now) will put some toddler peer pressure on him to pick up the pace.

Second, when Liam is teething, he likes to bite. Hard. Take a look at his poor pacifier:


While this would have been the perfect opportunity to make him cope without one, we didn't want to make Sydney suffer through it since they are now sharing a room. I hurriedly found a replacement.

Third, we discovered the trick to get Liam to drink more milk:


No, it's not the healthiest thing, but you've never seen a kid suck milk down as quickly as our little guy when we "pink it up." It was actually our pediatrician's recommendation, believe it or not. She suggested chocolate syrup, but Liam seems to prefer the strawberry, so that's what he gets most of the time now.

Fourth, Sydney cracks us up with her logic. Case(s) in point:

"Germs come from Germany."
"Doctors wear name tags so they'll remember their names."
"Daddy has bald hair on top and brown hair on the sides." (to which her classmate replied that her daddy also had bald hair on top)
"We should name the baby 'Choo Choo Soul' because I like that show."

Just when you think you know you're kids, they surprise you. I guess that's what keeps life interesting. Around here anyway.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

15 Month Checkup

Height: 29.5 inches (10th percentile)
Weight: 21 pounds (10th percentile)
Head Circumference: 17.5 inches (5th percentile)
Shots: 3
Nasty Looks from Pediatrician: 0
Nasty Looks from Liam: 267

I was so worried about nasty looks or snarky comments from the pediatrician regarding Liam's pacifier use and lack of walking that Ryan went with us this morning so he could take some of the blame for our "bad parenting". Fortunately, the pediatrician didn't even ask about the pacifier (and we certainly weren't going to bring it up) and she didn't seem to be worried about the lack of walking. She did "prescribe" a trip to a children's shoe store to get him some walking shoes, though. She seems to think that wearing shoes will force him to walk on his own. At this point, I'm willing to try anything, so we'll be heading off to the mall this weekend to get some ankle high shoes. Normally, I would just put him in his squeaky shoes, but the little bugger figured out how to undo the velcro in three seconds flat the first time we put them on him, so we'll be looking for a pair that ties.

Really, the only nasty looks we got were from Liam. First, for the ear check. Then for the tongue depressor and then for the shots. He's been pretty pouty ever since despite the oodles of acetaminophen I've been giving him:



Fortunately, lunch seemed to cheer him up a bit:


His next checkup is in May following the pediatrician's maternity leave (she's having her FIFTH baby in April). He better be walking by then because I'll be lugging around a newborn by then, too!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Grocery Store Embarrassment

Have you ever snuck a peak into someone else's grocery cart just to see what they're buying? No? Just me? Oh, well. I'll admit it, I like looking in other people's grocery carts (not a big, ogling look, just a an observatory glance - I don't want you to think I'm a weirdo or anything). Maybe it's the wannabe anthropologist in me, but I think it's fascinating to look at the combinations of products people need/desire.

I don't particularly care if people look in my grocery cart, either. After all, I don't find two gallons of milk, a package of cheese sticks, granola bars, diapers and the like all that interesting, but hey, if someone else finds that particular combination of things to be interesting, then who am I to judge?

However, today, for the first time ever, I was embarrassed and tried to hide an item at the bottom of the cart. The worst part was that I HAD to buy this thing for Sydney's school (for the Valentine's party this week) and then I couldn't even find it (since I never buy the stuff). Summoning all the courage I had, I approached a manager and asked where it was (which I NEVER do - usually I just make Ryan go later to get the things I can't find). Once procured, from the dairy cooler, no less, I stuffed it under the bread and produce. I had no problem hiding it as it is not all that large, but I couldn't keep it a secret from the clerk, who thankfully, didn't even bat an eye when she scanned it.

What was this horribly embarrassing product that caused me to turn beet red? It was a can of this. I don't normally get embarrassed by the things in the grocery store, because, hey, it's a grocery store, not a 24 hour "book" store, but it just killed me to buy this. You might think I'm totally weird after reading about this whole scenario, but Ryan and I had a truly, shall we say "perverted" theater professor in college who talked about this stuff incessantly and in ways we found to be quite disturbing (use your imaginations, people). While no one in the store seemed to care that I was buying it, during Valentine's week of all weeks, we've never looked at the stuff the same way since.

So, do you have any totally weird quirks like this? Something you just can't bring yourself to buy? Please tell me I'm not alone.

**Edited to fix a truly horrible grammatical error. Please don't tell my English major dad if you read the other version.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

My mom always stressed the "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" mantra. I'm not saying that I always follow it, but I do try (quit rolling your eyes, Ryan). Lately, some of the people on my neighborhood moms Yahoo group have been getting on my nerves and instead of saying what I think to them, I'll say it to you guys instead.

To the people who refuse to vaccinate their children and then chastise those of us who do: You have every right to not vaccinate your children. You have every right to think that the government is evil for asking you to vaccinate your children. But don't you dare lecture me about the evils of it. I'm not stupid. I can read medical studies and articles and form my own opinions. In fact, you ought to be thanking me for vaccinating my children because my kids and the thousands of other vaccinated children in the neighborhood keep YOUR kids from catching horrible diseases that are completely preventable.

To the mom who doesn't want her children to have fluoride in their water: I would love to see your children's teeth in twenty years. I guarantee you that dental work is no fun and you are setting them up for a lifetime of misery.

To the people who e-mailed me warnings about having our house tented for termites: No, the process was not fun and yes, it was expensive, but we did the research and decided it was the best thing for our 80 year old house. You people wanted me to have someone come out and spray some all-natural fruity moss juice on the infected areas. Are you kidding me? What good is that going to do? No, it's not toxic and may have been better for my family in the short run, but I'm not going to pay someone to do that every two months to keep my house from falling down. Plus, you know what? The only live bugs we've seen since the tenting are two spiders and a grasshopper. I bet you can't say the same.

To the new moms who make extraordinary demands for their dinner drops: We are all happy that you've just had a baby. We completely understand if you really dislike fish or have a food allergy. But when you list EIGHT things you don't like or request VEGAN meals, don't be disappointed when there aren't people lined up around the block to bring you a meal. And a quick e-mail to say "thank you" for a meal wouldn't kill you, either.

To the people who repeatedly brag that their kids don't watch TV: Good for you. You're a better parent than me. If you'd like to come to my house and entertain my kids while I get dressed in the morning or while I cook dinner, you're more than welcome to. Until then, I don't want to hear about it.

To the moms who "slam" hospital/doctor led births: Not everyone wants to give birth in their home bathtub with no drugs. Yes, I would have preferred to not have a c-section, but don't make me feel more guilty about it than I already do, OK? And you better believe that if I'd been able to give birth the "normal" way ("normal" is your word, not mine), I would have demanded every drug imaginable. Not all of us want to be martyrs.

To the "You're killing the earth by using disposable diapers" moms: If you want to use cloth diapers, go right ahead. Not only is the initial investment in them very expensive (unless you buy used cloth diapers - can I just say "Ewww"?), you're also doing three or four extra loads of laundry a week to keep up with it since you go through three or four times as many diapers as I do. How is that helping the environment? Especially when you have to use HOT water on them.

To the moms who insist that everyone use vinegar and water to clean everything in their houses: I do not like the smell of vinegar. I do not want my entire house smelling like vinegar. And I haven't read anything about vinegar killing bacteria as effectively as my manufactured cleaning products. So I'll just keep using my anti-bacterial stuff for now, OK?

Whew! I feel much better now. Thanks for listening.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Two Down, Two to Go

Liam's 15 month checkup is scheduled for February 13th. His pediatrician wants to confirm four things on this visit:

1. He is off the bottle.
2. He is off the pacifier.
3. He is walking.
4. He is talking.

Last week, we were 0-4. We're now 2-2. And, no, he's STILL NOT WALKING!!!!

Liam had his first bottle-less day last Thursday. We finally dropped the evening, pre-bedtime bottle and he did just fine. He is still sleeping through the night (7:30-7) and other than a couple of crying episodes (which I think were related to his congestion), he slept just fine.

And I can officially say that he is talking. A couple of weeks ago, his ball rolled away and when I asked him where it was, he waved at it and said, "ba ba" (translated to "bye bye"). So we're counting that as his first word. And today when I picked him up at the church nursery after my volunteering, he looked up at me and clearly said, "Mama." He's been saying "ma ma ma ma ma" when I enter a room (and "da da da da da" when Ryan enters a room), but today he actually said, "Mama." I think my heart melted a little bit.

The walking? Well, I can't do anything more on that front. He walks with his little toys and when he's holding on to someone's fingers, but WILL NOT walk by himself. Silly boy.

And the pacifier? The pediatrician will just have to be disappointed about that one. There's no way I'm taking it away from him until we're settled in our new house.

He's had a couple of other "firsts" in the last few weeks, too:

His first bike ride with Daddy.

Using a spoon.

Then deciding that just HOLDING the spoon and eating with the other hand is easier.

Climbing on our kid-friendly chair.

Using the chair to try to open the gate.

Being a daredevil on the chair.

And then, losing it when he can't figure out how to get down by himself.

He's growing so fast.....where did my baby go?

And speaking of babies.....Thanks to everyone for their baby boy name suggestions. We are pondering each and every one of them. You'll find out in May which one we picked (or didn't pick if it's a girl).

Friday, February 1, 2008

Baby Boy Names - Help!

A while back, I mentioned that we were having a tough time coming up with baby boy names. Granted, picking names hasn't exactly been at the top of our "to do" list lately, but the last two times around, we were much further in the baby name process at this point in the pregnancies.

Mommy Daisy asked what kind of preferences we had when it came to names. I wasn't ignoring her comment, but I had to think about it for a while. I guess I'd say we like classic or Biblical boy names. We're not completely opposed to the trendier names that seem to be so popular today, but in the long run, we'd probably be happier with a classic name.

Plus, it seems like every time I turn around, there are little girls with boy names. In the last couple of months, I've seen little girls with names like Riley, Wesley and Ryan. And let's face it, if you name a boy Tracy, Leslie or Shannon (once classic boy names) these days, he's going to get beat up three out of every five school days. I'd really like to avoid that and I'm sure our unborn child (should it be a boy) would like to avoid that as well.

So, I turned to Nymbler for help. This nifty little tool takes the names that you like and generates a list of names that are similar in preference. Based on the three girl names and three boy names I entered (and these will remain a secret since we will be not be revealing the baby's name until it's born), I got the following recommendations:

Boy: John, Simon, Robert, Elliot, Peter, Benjamin, Sterling, Joseph, Zachary, Daniel, Jack, Curtis
Girl: Susanna, Sue, Leslie, Christina, Miriam, Sarah, Katie, Claudia, Tabatha, Clarissa, Kathryn

Unfortunately, I'm not all that thrilled with the boy recommendations. Sydney's name was going to be Benjamin had she been a boy, so that's kinda neat and I will admit that Zachary was on our list with Liam, but other than that, I don't really like their list.

As for the girl names, I do like several of them and will probably add them to our ever-growing girl name list, but honestly, I think we're pretty set on a girl name at this point.

So, my blog-reading friends, any opinions on a boy name? Something classic that won't turn into a girl's name or something Biblical? I will tell you that if it's a boy, then the middle name will be a Biblical name. How sad is it that we decided on middle names already?