Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A tattoo meme?

I am obsessed with tattoos, so I figured a good way to get stories (and photos!) out of people would be to share my own, and then start a meme, of sorts. I don't really know who to tag, though, as I am not sure which of my readers have tattoos, so if you have any tattoos, consider yourself tagged! You have to publish a post about your tattoos and then leave me a comment telling me about it so I can come and read it!

Okay, here are mine:



This is the first one I ever got, at 18 years old. I designed it myself, from scratch. It represents me (the outer lizard) and my dear friend and first love who killed himself when I was 16 and he was 20. I got it in Janesville, WI at a tattoo shop whose name is escaping me right now.






This is the second one I got and I think I was 21? It covers just over half of my upper right arm. The idea came from a photo my good friend at the time cut out of a magazine and gave to me. It was really random that she just saw it and wanted me to have. There was no caption or anything with it. I don't know where it came from or who she is (and yes, everyone asks me what goddess she is. I don't know.) The picture really spoke to me for some reason. I was going through a wierd rough time in my life and getting this tattoo was an act of strength for me. I got it at Rogue's Gallery in Menomonie, WI by an artist named Taki. I had adored his work on other people and thought he would be perfect, which he was. His style is more Japanese anime so I had to steer him away from making the woman look like, well, an anime goddess, but it worked out. He did the black and white in one sitting and the color in another. I never wanted color in my tattoos, but the earth behind her head sort of needed some color. I have pictures of it somewhere without the color and i am not sure which way I like it more!






This is a decent sized one on my lower back. I don't remember the age I got this one, maybe 22? I got the idea from a picture off a flyer for something. I ended up using the same outline but changed the swirls in it to snakes instead of just regular swirls. This one hurt ALOT. When I went in to have it touched up he basically re-tattooed the whole thing to keep the color really dark and even. The same guy who did the one above did this one. It was another strength thing. I love how powerful it looks and I feel like it lends me strength. It played a roll in the births of both of my daughters, actually. Thinking about it as a visual reminder (of sorts, since I can't really see it!) of my strength. There is a cool black and white of me in labor with Iris that is taken of me from the back and it's a good shot of this piece.






This is my most recent piece. I got it by the same artist who did the second and third. I got the idea a book about the Celtic Lunar Zodiac and it represents my sign. If you want to read all about it (and see the original photo!), go here. It is on my left upper arm, matching in size to the one on my right arm. I love this piece. It's a bit dark and creepy for my taste, but I sort of like that about it! Most people who see it look closely and then go "oh! There's a woman in the tree!" so that's kind of fun. I got it the summer before I moved to Seattle, so that would be six years ago this summer. Wow!

I'm dying to get more work done. I want something for Iris on my right forearm and something for Eloise on my left. I have an idea about Iris' but nothing has come to mind for Eloise, yet. Since I can't really get anything done until I'm done breastfeeding (and then there's the whole issue of paying for it . . . ) it will be a while!

So, that's my story! I look forward to reading your stories and seeing your pictures!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I am loved!

Ooooo, I've never been tagged for a meme before! I'm so excited! Queen of the Bad Mommies tagged me with the Six Wierd Things meme. Apparently I am supposed to tell you some wierd stuff about me that you never really wanted to know in the first place. Then I'm supposed to tag some other mamas, but we'll see if I actually get that far!

So, let's see here . . .

Wierd thing number one:

After 12 years as a vegetarian I started eating meat again when pregnant with my first daughter. I haven't given it up since, but have given myself through nursing both of them to quit eating it again. I fear it will be MUCH harder the second time than it was the first! I had that whole teenage-angst/rebellion thing on my side the first time (I was 13 when I gave up meat).

Wierd thing number two:

Matt thinks this is super duper wierd-- I pour my cereal bowl full of milk and then eat my cereal by dumping it in the milk a little bit at a time. I do this because I HATE soggy cereal.

Wierd thing number three:

I prefer processed corn syrup crap syrup to real maple syrup.

(Hmmmm . . . why are all my wierd things about food? Well, let's roll with it!)

Wierd thing number four:

I won't eat any food that is past the expiration date on it's label. Even if that date is, say, January 30th and TODAY is January 30th.

Wierd thing number five:

If I am making eggs I have to take the wierd little white globby thing out of it that would, if fertilized I suppose, grow in to a baby chick. It totally wierds me out. Heck, eggs weird me out all together, even though we eat a ton of them over here!

Wierd thing number six:

I don't really like chocolate. I'll eat it, sometimes, because I like sugar but I don't prefer it in the form of chocolate. I have been getting better about eating it, but still, not my fave.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Just had to share this!

Iris put this diaper on all by herself! I often encourage her to go diaper-less around the apartment because I think it might help with the whole potty training thing. Nope. She is one determined little girl and will wear a diaper one way or another!




(yes, she put it on backwards, and yes, it was secure enough to leave her in it for a couple of hours!)

It's already beginning

Iris is a tall toddler. She's already outgrowing size 3T clothing and all the new stuff she's wearing is 4T, which really isn't THAT big of a deal. Clothing only really starts being a problem when they no longer make them in your length. I suspect both girls will hit that magical time in their lives right aroud puberty. Matt and I are no strangers to the woes of being tall. He's 6'7" and I'm 6'. We always knew we were raising tall girls, but I didn't really think we would deal with the downside so early. For one, I have been researching strollers constantly over the past few days and it keeps boiling down to one thing: Iris is too tall for most of the ones I like. Well, technically she just fits in most of them, but seeing as how strollers are pretty much investments, I don't feel comfortable dropping almost $500 on the Phil and Ted's E3 (which I came very, very close to doing!) if Iris' head is already brushing the sun shade. Sigh. So I'm really at a loss. I need to get a stroller I can get both girls in and do some serious walking, but nothing seems to fit our needs.

Well this just might work. How fast do you think Iris can run?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Panic attacks?

I think I'm having panic attacks. I wasn't going to post about this on my blog, because you know, some things really are too personal to broadcast to the whole world, but I changed my mind. Why? Well, interestingly, the more people I talk to about it the more I am told stories of other people this type of thing is happening to. I'm one of those "misery loves company" types of folks, so this is working out well for me. I tell you my sob story, then you share yours. Yay!

I think this tale of mine probably begins as a young child. I used to ask to go home from school all of the time because of tummy aches. There are many memories of sitting in a chair next to the teachers desk with my coat on and my school bag in hand waiting for my mom to come and pick me up. Mostly I just got dosed with a lot of pepto bismal and that was about it. Fast forward to the past few months. I've been having some of the same symptoms I had as a young child. For those of you who are mamas, I liken my symptoms to morning sickness. I feel like I have morning sickness. More recently these symptoms are accompanied by weakness, shakiness and fear. Before anyone starts telling me it's a blood sugar thing (which is what I initally thought, and what it certainly sounds like), I don't think it is. I get this at all times of day, including right after meals.

So, I have been getting obsessed with this, as it has gotten much worse over the past little while. I was freaking out so much one day last week that I called Matt to come home from work. I ended up settling myself down, but it had never been so bad that I asked him to leave his work to help me. As I talk to more people I hear stories of all kinds of crazy symptoms manifesting as panic attacks. I had no idea.

It's also driving me crazy to get the advice "just breathe" and "it's all in your head, you'll be okay" because when you're in the middle of it you're NOT okay. You think you're dying. My sister told me tonight that she was told that it actually does help to "just breathe" because focusing on your breath takes your brain away from the panic and focuses on something else.

At any rate, this is all sort of self-diagnosed. I would love to figue out what's really going on, but I am not sure I'm up for making the rounds through doctors to figure it out. I will probably just wait until it gets really bad, as opposed to the just pretty bad that it is now.

So the final question is, why would this be happening now? My life is infinitely less stressful now that it was, say, around the time Eloise was born, yet I felt a million times better then than I do now. Why would that be? Is this just another mama thing?

Friday, January 26, 2007

Why am I just NOW hearing about this?!

One of my new favorite blogs is Suburban Bliss. Melissa, the mama who writes this blog, is a proponent of mixing booze and playdates. So much so that she was on the Today Show this morning spewing the virtues of such a brilliant combination. If you, like me, didn't catch the segment when it aired, you can see it here.

What is wrong with you people? Why haven't you informed me of this sooner? I feel so betrayed by you all! The video depicts mamas sitting around in a restaurant (albeit one far too fancy to show my children's faces in. Red Robin anyone?) and they all have their babies in one hand and a drink in the other. Now that's the tribe I'm looking for.

In other news I took the girls on a sort-of play date this morning. I say sort-of because I only got to exchange about five words with the other mamas over the course of two hours and Iris just raced around the children's museum like a mad woman. It was neat to finally put some faces to MDC screen names, though! Sadly, there was no booze involved, though I wonder how popular I would be for suggesting a bar for our next meeting spot?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Paper diapers are ruining the world.

Okay, maybe that's an over-exaggeration. Probably not the whole world, but definitely my daughter's entire wardrobe. Let me explain. Apparently I have been out of the paper diaper loop long enough that they snuck in these perfect little invisible shoots that cause my daughter's poo to squirt straight up the back of the diaper and all over her clothes. Every. single. time. Today I rolled her over and there was the biggest stain of breastmilk poo all over everything. I started getting her undressed and fully expected to see the most over-flowed diaper ever in the history of anything. Nope, all there was was the tiny little remnant of the poo that ran straight out the back of her diaper. Staining a onesie, a long sleeved shirt, a pair of pants, a sweater and a blanket. But not the diaper! Nope. I literally could have reused the stupid thing if I wasn't so angry about it.

I am going to buy some bigger prefolds and try the cloth diapers full time again. Her rash seems to be almost cleared, but I also haven't done that great at eliminating the vitamin C or dairy, yet, so that may still have something to do with it. I also have shelved the Fuzzi Bunz for the past week or so, so it very well may be that my very sensitive daughter can't stand crapping in to $20 a piece diapers. Grrrr.

It's funny, because I hear so many people complain that they don't like cloth diapers because they leak so much. I am totally the opposite. I have had more leaks in the last week with Seventh Generation diapers than I have total in the cloth diapering history of both of my daughters, thanks to the secret poop shoot!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Oh, where to start?

So much seems to happen every day, even though nothing much really seems to happen. Does that make any sense? Anyways, this is going to be another brain-dump post.

The ladies and I ventured over to Melissa's house for an impromptu play-date on Tuesday. It was nice to do something like that after all my bitching and moaning about never seeing friends anymore. Both of our toddlers survived the two hours and maybe, just maybe!, we'll do it again real soon. Melissa's second babe is still so young, so she's deep in the middle of the whole "it's exhausting even thinking about leaving the house" mode. I am just barely on the other side of that emotion myself, but I think between us we can muster the energy. It can be so tiring to break up fights and say over and over "use your words! don't hit! look, another truck!" but I feel like if we don't keep getting them together, they will never learn how to work it out.

This morning I got super, amazingly ambitious and dragged the ladies out to not one, but TWO baby stores in search of the perfect double stroller. I'm pretty sure it doesn't exist, but that's another story for another day. Iris was a trooper for the most part, although, she is still two, so being a trooper still means plenty of tantrums and complete disregard for authority (which would be me, I think). Why do double strollers suck so much? I tried Iris in several of them and the front seats are all way too small for a monster-sized two and a half year old. I did spy some nicer ones, but those practically cost what we pay in rent every month. I would love to get a Phil and Ted's stroller (who wouldn't?) but I don't want to have to give up the girl's college funds for it, know what I mean? I threw a little hissy fit myself in Babies R Us. I was tired of chasing Iris through the store, but noticed they sell Seventh Generation diapers for cheaper than any other store I've been to. Since I am still up in the air on the whole cloth vs. paper thing, I decided we needed to purchase a pack. When I finally drag Iris to the check out line there was one elderly slow as molasses woman ringing people up and about eight million of us in line. I look down towards the service desk and see no less than five employees all standing around with a vacant stare on their faces. I decided I wasn't gong to wrangle my inches away from full melt-down mode toddler through the long-ass line to save $1 on diapers, so I threw it on a display and walked out. Take that, Babies R Us! ha ha. Oh, well.

I managed to get my energy together to take the ladies to a park this afternoon, as well. It had been a loooonnnng time since I had done that, so I was pretty darn proud of myself. Matt and I had planned on bringing both of the girls to our counseling session tonight, so I figured it would behoove us to wear Iris out at least a tiny bit. Yes, we're still going to counseling. We started talking tonight about cutting the cord, though. We love it, though, as it's pretty much the one time every week we can count on really connecting with each other. Coming from such a rocky place has also made us a little gun-shy of ever getting in to any fights, so when we do, which has been amazingly and wonderfully very few and far between, it's helpful to bounce some ideas off of the counselor as to how to try and do better next time. Iris did great in the appointment, by the way, although we essentially paid to talk with the counselor about all of her rocks, which Iris found terribly fascinating. Well, no, actually we talked about how shitty I feel alot of nights. I wrote about this a few posts ago, about talking to my doctor and basically being told I'm just going to feel shitty as long as I have the stress of mothering two very needy children on little sleep and less than adequate outlets for my stress. So, we talked to the counselor about all of that. It is sort of frustrating to be told "take some time for yourself! learn some breathing techniques!" because I feel like that trivializes what I'm really dealing with on a day-to-day basis. Okay, maybe I just wanted to hear that there was some awesome drug out there for mothers to help them get through it all. Oh, right. There is. It's called valium.

We opened the whole preschool can of worms tonight, as well. I'm so dizzy over the whole thing. Living in such a major city allows you more preschool options than you can shake a stick at. We are mostly limited by finances and practically lost our eyeballs when we saw that some of the schools charge upwards of $1000 a month for a freakin' three year old to attend their program. If I pay someone $1000 to educate my three year old, she better turn out to be a freakin' nuclear physicist some day.


Okay, that's enough brain dump for this evening.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Friendships

A lot has been changing lately for me in the friend department. I have never made friends easily and can be pretty particular about the kinds of people I want to spend my time with, which doesn't make it any easier to make or keep friends. When Iris was born I felt terribly isolated. No one I was already friends with had a child, so although I spent a little time with them, it felt like I was on an entirely different planet. When I attended birth classes I didn't make any friends. When I went to First Weeks class I didn't make any friends. I gathered occasionally with a group of mamas I met on the Babycenter message board and kind of spent time with them, but no one ever felt like a close friend. I met a mama who hired me as a nanny, so we were sort of friends, but it felt like "we're friends but you pay me to be here, so that's sort of wierd". I started taking Iris to pre-school and now, a year and a half in to the program, I still have yet to make a friend. yes, I have met people I can chat with at social functions and occasionally exchange babysitting with, but not good friends. Almost two years ago I met my closest friend through the woman she nannied for. We were like kindred spirits and spent tons and tons of time together for several months. Then Eloise was born and I was doing the single mama thing and I didn't get out much. Then school started for our toddlers and her son went on opposite days from Iris and she often worked when they wasn't at school. Then her second child was born the night before Thanksgiving. The two of us have gotten together with all four of our children exactly once and that was last Friday. She was here for just over an hour, I think.

Life is crazy. Being a mama of two is crazy-- and lonely. I miss friends. I miss the ease with which I could get anywhere with little pre-planning. I have again been trying to find a group of mamas I can relate via MDC. Of course, we're all mamas, so we all have busy lives. I am sure that getting us all together for something will take some serious planning. I am even more sure that making close enough friends that we actually get together on a regular basis will be next to impossible. But, I also tend to be a bit of a pessimist, so we'll see.

Recently I read this article and thought it was amazing. I would love to have a tribe. There are mamas and children everywhere, so why is it so difficult to even make one friend, let alone find a tribe? I just don't know. So many of us are raising families far away from our own parents, siblings and extended family. It seems like a perfect solution would be to utilize friends as family, but in actuality, it doesn't really seem to work like that. For instance, my daughters have "aunties" who are gals I have been friends with for a very long time. Even though they are dear to my heart, they aren't very involved in my life, nor I in theirs. They don't have children, not that that necessarily matters, but our lives rarely cross paths.

I am very lucky in that I have friends who would come to my help at any time if I needed them to, and lord knows I have. Although I appreciate that quite a bit, it's really quite nice to just have more friends who want to get coffee once in a while. I have gotten myself stuck in the message board vortex, as well. It's like I think I have friends, I mean, I can tell you the names of several different mamas and their kids, the funny thing Jimmy did last weekend, and what a jerk so-and-so's husband was last night, but you know, I've never met these people. I really know very little about them, and the online interaction certainly no where near takes the place of having a real friendship.

I will continue to give this some thought, and some energy. We'll see.

How about my mama readers? Do you find mothering to be a lonely task?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Okay, maybe you're all on to something . . .

So I am begrudgingly looking in to an elimination diet. I don't have to like it, but I will learn more about it. A brief scan of the information on askdrsears.com says that several of some of the things going on with Eloise could be related to food allergies. I thought it was just the rash, but apparently the hives, the rough skin on her face, and now introducing . . . green poo! All signs of a potential allergy. Like you all didn't know that. I needed to figure it out for myself, you see.

I don't want to attempt something like this all willy-nilly, so I'm going to look in to it more and figure out how to do this realistically. So far I've sort of given up my vitamin C supplements (have you heard about the sharp increase in norovirus in the Puget Sound region? Yikers! Hand me the vitamin C!) but beyond that, I'm not doing anything.

So all of you mamas who are smart about this kind of stuff, can you send me links as to what I can do to start an elimination diet? I'm lazy, you see. And severely sleep deprived. And very, very fragile.

Like a house of cards

Sleep, sleep, sleeeeeeeepppppp . . . why must you elude me so? Taunting me. You're right there. I can feel you in every inch of my bones, but alas, sleep is giving me the big ol' middle finger. The butt wagging "nana nana boo boo!".

If the girls are healthy, and Eloise decides she will go to sleep, and Iris doesn't wake up screaming, and Eloise doesn't wake up playing, and mars and venus are aligned in the heavans, then all is well is Sleepville. The house of cards that is our precarious sleeping arrangement is functioning. Tonight is not one of those nights. Iris has a cold, I think. She is coughing, at any rate. Loudly and often. Last night she kept waking up Eloise, Sweet, sweet Eloise who chose 2:30 am as her bed time and 8:30 as her waking time and hardly got a good stretch in between. I need Eloise to get some sleep tonight, so I've relegated us to the sofa so Iris can have the bedroom all to herself. That is, of course, until she realizes that she's in there alone and freaks out. So I'm sitting here, staring at my sleeping little babe, hoping she stays asleep, which is proving tricky as apparently even the click-click-clicking of the keyboard on the laptop is enough to annoy my sleeping beauty. Sigh. The cat is snoring in the corner. He sleeps on Eloise's gymini. Silly Benjamin.

I'm counting down the minutes until we live somewhere big enough for, well, big enough for me to get some sleep. That's what life really boils down to, folks. When will mama get to sleep again?

I just keep feeling like maybe if I write eough about my sleeping woes someone out there will send me the magical advice. Like if I put it out in the universe enough I will have to get some sort of answer to all of this. I'm ready!

In other news, Miss Iris has become a tremendously fantastic big sister. She has always loved Eloise, but lately she is just all up in her space hugging and kissing on her. It's so cute. We haven't had any problems with her hitting Eloise lately, either, which is relieving. She never seemed to hit her out of anger, more out of "hey! I bet it wold be fun to whack my sister and see what kind of reaction I get!". Today she kept asking if Eloise could sit on her lap. Sooooo cute. Not suprisingly, Iris has found other ways to be a sassy pants, but, you know, she can be pretty angelic, too, so it all balances out.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Holy freakin' crap

Please forgive me if this has been mentioned everywhere, I haven't made all the blog rounds or checked in on the message boards, but we're sitting here watching the Dr. Phil show that has the Sears on it, and Oh. My. God. I can't help but feel like this is HUGE. To have doctor's on national television, on Dr. Crazy McCrazy's show, no less, telling parents to bring their babies back to bed with them and (gasp!) put a weaned baby back to the breast. I just am so thrilled I could scream. I hope that this is the kick in the ass that mainstream parenting (and mainstream pediatricians) needs to adopt some of these parenting ideals.

Matt and I took particular interest in the segment where the mother was being paranoid about germs. I am definitely obsessive about germs. Okay, freakishly obsessive. I fully admit it. I try work really hard, however, to help Iris (and some day Eloise) have a healthy fear of germs. To not stick her hands in her mouth after playing at school, but not be so freaked she won't ever touch anything.

I love that they never once mentioned the term "Attachment Parenting" (at least, I didn't notice if they did). It isn't about subscribing to a parenting style, it's about responding appropriately to your child's needs. Especially since the AP term can carry lots of negative conotations to more mainstream parents and therefor make people wary of AP practices.

Off to write my email to praise the show. Hooray!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Happy five month birthday!

Today Eloise is five months old. I swear this is all going by ten times faster with the second one. Makes me wonder how quickly a fourth or fifth child grows! In this last month she has started laughing, like really laughing, and she's rolling over both ways! She still seems worlds away from sitting up on her own, but hopefully that's not too far off. For some reason I can very distinctly remember when Iris started sitting up on her own (although I recall little else of most of her milestones) and so I am all whacked out that Eloise isn't running on the same schedule. Her "reflux" seems to be completely resolved, but now we deal with a booty rash that is hangin' on for dear life. At least it's now manageable instead of crazy terrible. My other new favorite thing, although it may be a fluke, is that if she wakes up in the middle of the night and just wants to lay there and babble and suck on her fingers, she will put herself back to sleep if I ignore her. Isn't that cool? Again, maybe a fluke, but if she can pull this off, she will be a WAY better baby than her sister was. Only kidding. Sort of.

Today I bungled the meetig time for a playdate so the girls and I met Matt for lunch and then did some shopping for fall clothes that they can grow in to. Total I got them five pairs of pants, five shirts, one pair of knit tights and two pairs of jammies for $44. Man, I am a GOOD shopper! On the drive home the scariest thing happened to me. We were going through a tunnel on the interstate and I started feeling really wierd and dizzy like I was goig to pass out. I was in the center lane and there wasn't even a place to pull over, I was freaking out. So I cracked my window and turned up the radio and started kind of talking and singing loudly to snap myself out of it. I felt better after we got out of the tunnel, although a little shaken up. When I told Matt about it he said the same thing used to happen to him when he got panic attacks while driving and that he would roll down the windows, crank the music and sing. I thought it was so interesting that we reacted the same way! I still have no idea why it happened to me, I'm not prone to panic attacks or anything, but it was so scary. I just kept thinking that I couldn't kill us all by passing out at the wheel. I wish I knew what caused that so I could make sure it doesn't happen to me ever again.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Weekend wrap-up report

The weekend always flies by. Always. It sucks. Friday night I was supposed to go see Bobby Bare Jr. for the millionth time, but alas, my BBJ partner had thrown her back out. I joked to Matt "I guess that's what happens when your best friends are pushing 40!" but we all know I'm just kidding. No offense to my elderly, err, I mean older friends :) Instead I made a short shopping trip to an outdoor mall and tried to act like a child-less person for a while. That lasted all of half an hour, as I found I would rather shop in Pottery Barn Kids and Hanna Andersson than Gap or Anthropologie. Oh, well.

Saturday Matt took Iris swimming while Eloise and I laid around. That night we went to a really fun birthday party at a children's museum that the family had rented out for the party. This family obviously lives at a level Matt and I could only dream of and their parties are always quite the affairs, complete with goody bags that probably cost more than the present we brought for the birthday girl. Oops.

Sunday we watched the Seahawks game in the morning, as is a Sunday tradition during football season. I get in to it once in a while, but mostly I just keep asking Matt the same questions over and over because for some reason I just can not wrap my head around how football works. That afternoon we headed to Melissa's house for a BBQ. Well, an indoor BBQ. It was there that I turned in to The Mom With the Terrible Child. For some reason my sweet, adorable, always perfect child (you're sensing the sarcasm, right?) turns in to a bully around this one child whose parents are friends of Melissa's. Not ten minutes in to the party Iris pushed him down and of course he started crying. She has done this before, to the same child, but I didn't realize that it was actually a pattern until yesterday. Then I got to spend the rest of party following two inches behind her so my terrible child wouldn't wound this little boy anymore. I got the sense from his mama that she was none to thrilled with my daughter, and I certainly don't blame her. I would have felt the same way in her shoes. I think we're going to have sit out future parties as, you know, parties aren't very fun when all you end up doing is sequestering your child away from other children. Weeeee! I hadn't seen Melissa's newborn since he was a few days old, which was almost two months ago. A woman I hadn't met before was sitting on the couch holding a sleeping baby, so thinking I could strike up conversation I said "how old is your baby?" she replied that she was holding Melissa's baby. Oops. Yeah, hmmmm, guess that's a pretty good sign that we don't see enough of each other!

This morning I went to the doctor to try and figure why the hell I've been feeling so crappy lately. Normally I don't get headaches, I've gotten very few in my life, but for some reason I've been getting one every night the past couple of weeks. On top of some other blechy symptoms, I just couldn't figure out what was going on with me, so off to the doctor I went. Turns out I just, you know, am a mom. Maybe that should be my official diagnosis: "momitis". As is the very nature of motherhood, we aren't typically well taken care of. She recommended I do more for myself (ha!) and try to get outside more. I'm glad I paid the doctor to tell me that. I also got some new things to try to boost my immune system, as I need to stop taking my vitamin C to see if that helps with Eloise's rash and she drew some blood. I briefly asked her about permanent birth control methods, as there is no way in hell another child will ever be born from my loins. She passed along a brochure for a vasectomy clinic so I could show Matt. I was sure he would be upset with me for even mentioning it, but I was pleasantly suprised that he said he would absolutely get one. Woo Hoo! No arm-twisting required :)

It's been so cold here that the snow that fell last week is still on the ground. This is very unusual for this area, but I like the Wisconsin-like feeling of it. The snow is so pretty!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Flame retardant clothing

I thought I would devote a post to some of the information I have discovered on flame retardant clothing. I only very recently learned about the problems with this thanks to the smart mamas on MDC.

Here is a link to an article from healthychildproject.org on Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs). Here is a little information from that site:

Animal studies have linked PBDEs to neurodevelopmental and behavioral deficits, thyroid hormone disruption, and possibly cancer. PBDEs are used more heavily in the U.S. and Canada than anywhere else in the world.

PBDEs may impair the brain function and motor skills of children. All PBDEs disrupt thyroid hormone balance because the chemical structure of PBDEs closely resembles thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormone function is critical to proper brain development both in the womb and after birth.

Apparently these PBDEs are in just about everything. Not only in our children's clothing, but in our furniture, carpeting, bedding, the list goes on. Most alarmingly, PDBEs are being found in mother's breastmilk, so you can see how scary this can be.

I just wanted to provide this as my own little PSA. Like I said, I only very recently learned about this stuff, so we have a ways to go to start phasing some of it out of our lives.

Interesting, another thing I learned on MDC, is that flame retardant clothing doesn't burn, but it does melt. Wearing close fitting, cotton clothing is going to be your best bet for safety, in my (and many other's) opinion. I am not sure about other clothing manufacturers, but my daughter's fleece Carter's pajamas have a tag hidden down on the side of them that says "to retain flame resistance . . . " so you may want to check your own child's clothing for these kinds of tags. They aren't warning tags, but rather information on how to maintain the flame resistance. It is thought that frequent washing might help break this stuff down, but you don't really know. At any rate, buying these products just sort of continues the cycle.

Iris lives in Carter's fleece pajamas. Luckily she is outgrowing them, and they have been washed about eight million times, so I will just let it go until they head for the garbage. I just bought Eloise several pairs of these pajamas and am just kicking myself for it. I mentioned in my last post that Hanna Andersson makes organic cotton pajamas with no flame retardants on it. Plus, they are super cute. See these and these. Are they expensive? Yes, very. I can get four pairs of Carter's fleece pajamas on sale for the price of one pair of Hanna Andersson pajamas on sale. I don't know this from personal experience, but I have heard they hold up really, really well and I have seen them have amazing re-sale value on E-Bay. Something to think about. Also, snug fitting pajamas like those sold at Old Navy and Gap aren't treated with flame retardants and are a bit cheaper.

As with everything, it is my opinion that parents should do their own research and come to their own conclusions about these kinds of issues. I just have heard from so many parents that they didn't even know these kinds of things existed.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Holy crap

I love my new site meter! Hopefully I don't scare any readers off by telling you all I'm keeping tabs now, but damn, if I'm not obsessed seeing who is reading and where they are from. Honestly, the only person I know for sure who it is is my friend in Turkey (hi!), so other than that, it's actually pretty anonymous.

My most favoritest feature of the site meter, though, is seeing how people got to my blog. Alot of you are coming from MDC (hi!) which I expected, and love, but there are those people who use search engines and end up on my blog. Like the person who searched for "how tall is Ami James" and came to my blog (hi! sorry, I don't know, but he looks short and he seems kind of like an a-hole).

I could play with my site meter all day. Seriously. The kids can fend for themselves, right?

And in other news, I discovered what the fuss over Hanna Andersson is about. Eloise is sleeping on my lap in her new HA jammies. Her big sissie has a matching pair, as well. Soooooo cute! Organic cotton jammies, no less. A big, only semi-sarcastic, thanks to MDC for teaching me that most regular jammies are covered in flame retardant. Between my two daughters they own about 6 pairs of those fleece Carter's jammies and have been all covered in flame retardant. I'm terrible mother! How did I not know about this?! But yay for adorable organic cotton jammies. Yummy.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

You're all dying for an update . . .

right? I mean, on the butt rash, reflux issue. It's been, what, like 20 hours or something since I've written about it?

I'm completely fucking confused. About the reflux, Eloise still isn't coughing and as my own little experiment, I'm giving her just one dose a day instead of two. So far, she's still perfectly fine. Hmmmm. I seriously think that the problem resolved with the antibiotics. We'll see.

The rash. Well, it's pretty much gone. Lots of nakey butt time and slathering her with zinc oxide at night seems to be helping. I've stopped taking vitamin C (and consequently feel like I'm getting sick every other second) but I'm not sure what is actually doing the helping and what isn't. She does, however, keep getting random small welts on her upper booty/back and thighs. What the hell? I still don't have a answer for this. I'm looking in to it, though, because apparently medicine isn't actually a science and my child's pediatrician is no better at figuring out what is wrong with her than I am.

Anyone out there in blog world know what causes random small welts to appear on a baby's upper booty/back and thighs? And if one more person writes and says it's the dairy in my diet I'm going to freak out. So don't say that. Say it's something else, like that I need to eat more french fries.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What a day!

Ugh, I must say I'm glad that today is almost over. It started at 6:00 am. No, scratch that. It started at 12:47 am. But really, it started last night, when I had the bright idea of staying up later than everyone to watch Miami Ink. Man, I LOVE that show. I have a (now not-so) secret crush on Chris Garver and so I took particular interest in last night's episode which featured him and Ami James in Hawaii. So then I take off for bed. Eloise wakes up at almost 1 am. She, unlike my first baby, is all business when she nurses. She doesn't nurse for comfort or pleasure, which is frustrating when I want to put her back to sleep without moving from my horizontal position in bed. Iris was up just before dawn and I got her to sort of rest in bed and be quiet until Matt came and got her at about 7:30. Iris was in such a terrible mood this morning. It was awful. I had to have her go sit on her bed twice. This is the the form of discipline reserved for only the sassiest of behaviors, like whacking her sister over the head with blunt objects. Ugh. Eloise was in a mood, too. I just barely handled them this morning until it was nap time for all. Luckily, that was the magic bullet. All was well in our home after the naps.

Then the snow started. The sweet, beautiful snow. The snow which caused every single commuter in the greater Seattle area to embark on their evening commute at the exact hour of 4:00 pm spurred by the local news encouraging people to get home before the storm hit. Matt left work, or rather, attempted to leave work, at 5:00. Silly Matt hadn't been told what was going on outside of the four walls of his window-less office, so he thought nothing of leaving at his normal time. He literally couldn't even make it out of the parking lot and after over half an hour of waiting there, gave up and went back in to work. He didn't get home until after 9:00 pm. If I had known this morning that he was going to get home that late there's no telling what tall building I would have flung myself from, but luckily I was none the wiser, and we ended up all surviving the day. Matt is going to stay home in the morning and allow me the greatest mama pleasure of all, a child-less grocery shopping trip. Seriously, child-less shopping is the most miraculous thing ever in the world. You know I'll be blogging about it tomorrow. Nighty night!

All about Matt

I will use this post to update you all on the wonder that is my boyfriend, Matt. He would be pleased if I shared with you this picture:



For those of you who don't swoon at the very site of this man, it's Dwyane Wade (and no, I didn't spell his name wrong) of the Miami Heat. He's so dreamy. I think it's very cute that Matt is taller than him, he's pretty dreamy, himself!

He would also be very pleased if I shared with the world that his newest favorite show is Dog the Bounty Hunter. I'm a little embarassed to say that I have enjoyed watching this show with him. It's so bad it's good. Have you seen it yet? Seriously, you should. As Dog would say "There's no ice in paradise". Word.

Monday, January 08, 2007

This is going to make me crazy

I should just rename this blog "The Chronicles of a Diaper Rash". Seriously. Sorry for any of my readers who are bored by this, but such is my life right now. Booty rashes and lack of sleep. Weeee!!!!!!!!!!

Just got of the phone, yet again, with the pediatrician. I called them this morning and I hadn't heard back until late this afternoon. She called and said "did you get our message? We wanted you to come in for an appt" to which I replied, "I never got a phone call." grrrr. Anyways, because the rash didn't respond to the antibiotics, that means it wasn't strep. And probably isn't yeast, either. Just a plain ol' horrible, horrible rash. I am more than a little irked that we gave Eloise a whole round of antibiotics for what we now know was nothing.

Now we're doing as much much diaper-free time as possible, am going to try and use yet another new diaper cream and (my elimination diet proposing readers will applaud this!) going to eliminate some things from my diet. I'm actually really nervous about this one, because I have been chugging massive amounts of vitamin C this season in hopes of staying healthy. That's going to be the first thing to go and we'll see what happens. To be honest, I'm pretty upset about it. I feel very strongly that vitamin C is a lifesaver in boosting immunity and I just can't get sick. Ugh. I'm not sure what I will do. I can't get any decent sleep (the other immunity booster) and now I can't take my vitamin C. Not sure how long it will take to see results, but I think I will challenge it after rash goes away to see if that really was the culprit. If it isn't the C, then I will have to investigate other dietary possibilities. That was just the one thing I take alot of (several thousand milligrams per day) and in hindsight, I started taking it in mass quantities right around the time the rash got really bad. I'm also going to sort of rotate around the diaper stash to eliminate the chance of her skin getting rubbed in the same place over and over, which may (or may not) address the rash issue.

This is all so frustrating. I wish I had the magic diaper that would eliminate rash. Isn't that what Fuzzi Bunz claim to do? Well, at least now I can re-sell them without the fear that no one would buy dipes that a yeast-y, strep-filled baby had used!

Thank you, again, to everyone who responded to my last plea. I'm going to be putting some suggestions in to play over the next few days, hopefully we'll see some results. You know I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Want to know what the funniest thing in the world is?

Then watch this:



Apparently the funniest thing is watching big sister and dada through toys at their heads while saying "donk!". Who knew the kid liked slapstic? Interestingly, this was the first thing that got Iris laughing uncontrollably, as well.

Family bedrooms are for the birds

So I'm just curious, who out there, in toddler land, can actually make a family bedroom work? We moved away from the family bed shortly after Eloise came. I just got no sleep sandwiched between a toddler and an infant so now Iris sleeps in her own bed a mere two feet away from my bed. It was a fantastic solution at first, but has quickly worn out of it's novelty. When Eloise was tiny not a whole lot could wake her, not even a loud toddler (and that's saying alot!). These days every little thing Iris does wakes her right up. It's infuriating. Yes, I realize that is a strong word, but when you've had as little sleep as I have, it's the only fitting one. Every Eloise waking wakes me up. Every Iris waking wakes Eloise AND I up. Iris seriously, seriously needs her own bedroom. Seriously. Anyone out there willing to take this toddler in for the night?

People who rave about the closeness of a family bedroom either A. have children who don't wake each other up, B. are lying, or C. are so sleep-deprived that they've become delusional.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hopefully not the end of cloth diapering

Today, for the first time in close to two months, I put Eloise in a paper diaper. I know, shock and horror, right? I was so darn proud of the cloth run we were having and felt like it was one of my major accomplishments, a parenting goal I was actually achieving! And before anyone starts leaving comments about it, I know I'm no worse a mother for not putting my baby in cloth, it was just one of those things that I was a freak about. One of many, huh?

So I have written on and off about Eloise's booty. It's been a source of frustration in our household (along with the "reflux", which I will come back to). It started with some rashes that would come and go throughout the first couple of months of her life. I didn't actually do anything special to treat them, other than go 100% cloth, thinking that was the answer. Well, a few weeks ago she got crazy welts all over her thighs and tummy/back-- basically all of the places the edge of the diaper cover was touching her skin. She also had a pretty nasty looking booty rash that wasn't going away, so I took her in to see her pediatrician. We saw the woman who was newer in the practice, an ND, who I liked. She diagnosed the rash as yeast, wrote a prescription for Nystatin and said we could give Eloise Benadryl for the hives. The hives ended up going away without needing Benadryl and we diligently applied the Nystatin at every dipes change for several days. The rash never went away (and in fat started to look worse) and we went back to the ped, this time seeing the regular one, and she said the rash wasn't yeast, but rather a strep rash. Eloise started on antibiotics. Well, tomorrow will be the end of the antibiotics and her booty looks exactly the same as it did the day I brought her in. Her welts have returned and her booty is still bright red and yucky looking. I didn't want to risk ruining her precious cloth diapers by putting any cream or anything on her booty, so today I finally decided to get some paper diapers so I could start slathering her butt with Butt Paste. I have heard good things about it. We'll see. I don't know what else to do. I have posted about it on the Mothering.com message boards to no avail and can't seem to find any info online about what would be causing this. I don't know if it is better to keep her in cloth or keep using paper dipes. Is the butt paste going to help? Why isn't the infection clearing with antibiotics? Oh dear, there are so many questions I don't have answers to.

And in other, related, news, is the whole reflux thing. Eloise has been on meds for a few weeks for this. It seemed like she made an immediate, but not 100%, improvement right after we started the Zantac. It was sheer hell trying to get the medicine in her and we switched to the more pleasant tasting Pepcid. She started going through this phase where she was up every night for an hour to two hours just coughing, so I didn't really think the meds were working. Well, interestingly, her cough went away the night we started the antibiotics. Coincidence? Who knows. When I call the ped first thing Monday morning about the booty rash I will mention it to them.

It's so interesting to me that alot of medicine seems to be "well, let's see if this works!" and then try that and then it doesn't work so you move on to the next thing. In Eloise's short life I've been to the pharmacy half a dozen times to get medication for her. I don't even think I've been to the pharmacy for myself that many times in my life!

Ugh. I'm just beyond frustrated with this whole thing. And the irony is, I was so devoted to cloth diapers and we have invested alot of money in it, and now I might have to give it up. I can't tell if the diapers themselves are causing the welts or what. I don't want to keep trying new covers because they are very expensive and I also don't own a sewing machine, so I can't even try to make them myself (although lord knows I probably wouldn't even if I did own a sewing machine!)

If anyone reading this has some insight for me, please share. I'm willing to investigate anything for this rash.

ETA: I am also taking probiotics, at the ped's recommendation, to help with Eloise's skin issues. Not sure if that matters, but thought I would add it.

Now my apologies for all the apologizing

I am feeling a bit bad about my previous post about my craziness. Good friends have started apologizing after reading it, and it really, truly, was never my intent to make anyone feel bad-- especially some of the people that were incredibly, deeply supportive to me during my rough times. None of the people I am super close to right now have the great fortune of knowing me through my long history of craziness. Most of my current friends met me long after Iris was born, so there was no way for them to know that I was exhibiting a pattern. I'm sorry if I made anyone feel bad with my last post. I think that everyone who is close to me knows how grateful I am to them for their incredible support (and I these people know who they are because I have thanked them, many times).

One thing that is so funny about this blog is that I always intended for it to be my brain-dump on my experiences with motherhood. It is starting to blur many lines for me, however, as many people I know in real life read my blog. I have to be careful about what I say, which most times is a good thing, cause I have the tendency to let my snarkiness get away from me and knowing how many eyes are on me keeps that in check. The things that I feel that I really need to say people, I try to do in person if I get a chance, or via phone or email, if I have to. I don't use my blog as a way to get the word out to folks that I am close to. I really meant my last post to be my thought process on the whole thing and not at all fishing for apologies from anyone. So, my apologies, for the apologizing :)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Hindsight is 20/20, no?

I pretty much like to call my mom a million times a week. Just to say hi, or see what she is up to, or ask a question. Today I was simply calling to beg my mom to please come out and stay with me while Matt leaves on a business trip that is coming up soon. No such luck, unfortunately. She isn't going to be able to make it. As usually happens during my conversations with her lately, it turned to the thoughts about moving to Milwaukee. Interestingly, she doesn't really get too excited about it, but rather mentions how great it is where we are, how much we would we leave behind if we moved back, etc etc. Yeah, sometimes my mom doesn't always say the things I want to hear. She was, however, talking about how my brother wants to move back to WI from New York City. She was saying how expensive it is there, how they can't get ahead, blah blah blah, to which I responded "so pretty much all the same reasons we want to move back, huh?". I thought it odd that she seemed more supportive of my brother's choice to move back than ours, but that's just how she is. Hopefully she understands a little bit more, now. At any rate, living back in the midwest with my whole family there would be so fantastic. Well, that is until we all grow to hate each other and have to retreat to the farthest reaches of the country again. hee hee.

One interesting turn in the conversation settled on all of the drama that has occurred between Matt and I in the past. We have had more than our fair share of ups and downs, the most recent of which occurred during the last two times I have been pregnant. Coincidentally, last night was one of the roughest nights I have had with both the girls in a long, long time. As I was up with both of them for two hours in the wee early hours of the day I was just getting more and more crazy, like out of my body crazy, just feeling so full of anger about the situation and it felt like my brain and emotions were totally out of control. I don't know why that happens to me, but in situations like that I at least can step back and say "oh, I'm just super sleep deprived and frustrated with the girls not sleeping and pissed off that I don't have anywhere else for Iris to sleep so that she can stop waking up the baby (and vice versa)." I was remembering this feeling of being totally out of control crazy as pretty much how I felt through both of my pregnancies. I get there on and off when I'm especially sleep deprived and/or frustrated, but never for very long. Not like, say, nine months. So, this brings me back to the conversation with my mom. We were talking about the stuff that has happened in my relationship and she pointed out how it seemed to correspond to my pregnancies. She mentioned how I had a hard time taking care of Lily and even Iris, at times. I said, yeah, I think that being pregnant certainly made me crazy in the head. I had recognized it before, but no one ever picked up on what was going on and offered to help me. It was so validating that, for the first time ever in my life, anyone I was close to actually acknowledged what a crazy mess I was directly relating to being pregnant and newly postpartum. My mom, of all people, was the first person to ever say that to me. On top of all of it, I felt like I was even crazier for even thinking I had been crazy. It felt like everyone would just point fingers at me and say I was being a terrible person, which I very well was at times, but no one ever, once, said, you know, you're just a little too cuckoo and everything around you is falling apart. Maybe there is something going on here that is beyond normal. My mom said it was a shame that no one could step in and see that, because I sure as hell couldn't see it, I was in the middle of it, after all. Things might have turned out a lot different had I had the right support while I was pregnant. Sigh. Well, I absolutely will not be having any more babies, so that sort of solves that problem. I am so glad that my crazy pregnancy hormonal haze lifted not too terribly long after Eloise was born and life could carry on again. I hope that if anything like this should happen to me again maybe at least my mom will be clued in to what's going on. That's one of the tricky things about being crazy in the head, you lose your capacity to even realize it's happening. There are some things that really almost require someone else to try and pull you out of, mental illnesses and addictions are two that I am pretty familiar with, but I am sure there are more.

It sort of reminded me of when I started college and I was super depressed and having all sorts of weird issues, including suicidal tendencies. It wasn't until I took a whole bunch of pills one day and called my counselor in a panic that I finally got the help I needed. I guess sometimes things need to get really, really shitty before the signs are super clear that a person is just out of their mind and need some help. I just hope that the end of being pregnant also closes the end of those issues for me. Hopefully nothing will resurface again in the future.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Little update

It's a new year! Every year I hope that it will be better than the last, and I must say, last year won't be too terribly hard to top. Of course, birthing my second daughter in my bedroom can't be topped (yes, I do consider myself a superwoman, thanks for asking!) but pretty much everything else can certainly be improved upon. I am not too big in to grand illusions of what I will specifically do in the new year, so rather I make vague resolutions. This year it is "drink more water". See? Easy peasy. More water is so subjective, I've pretty much attained the goal without even really trying. Story of my life, huh?

We spent NYE at a friend's house mostly trying to keep Iris from clobbering her other friend over the head. It was awesome. No, it actually was a fun night, but the days of late-night parties filled with booze and conversation are looonnnggg gone. Now are the days of blocking toddlers punches with one arm while rocking a baby to sleep in the other. Woo Hoo! We were asleep by 11:00. Happy New Year! Luckily putting Iris to bed that late means that she sleeps in. That was, perhaps, the most exciting part!

Yesterday I took down all of the Christmas stuff. It really seemed like this year's holiday flew by all too quickly. It's nice to get the living room space back but it is also sad to see the tree go.

I spoke to my mother on the phone yesterday and she told me that they finally got my dog, Lily's, autopsy report. I have been riddled with anxiety about what the report was going to say, mostly dreading that she actually had some huge medical condition that I completely failed to recognize. I suppose the good news, if there can be any, is that she didn't really have anything they can point to as being the obvious cause of her pulmonary hypertension.

Matt and I took the girls for a walk around Greenlake this past weekend. Greenlake is a small totally polluted lake in the middle of the city with a three mile path that goes all the way around it. We spent the time talking about how to make a move to Milwaukee work and I am incredibly excited to say that I think we're finally on the same wavelength about it. Matt hasn't been opposed to moving but he very much wants to stay with the company he works for so he can take advantage of the opportunity to move up. I, on the other hand, have my undies in a bundle about moving and just want to pack up and go. So we reached a compromise that will actually end up being the best case scenario if it works out in the end.

Last night Eloise rolled over for the first time! We went to a friend's house for dinner and I was sitting on the floor and laid Eloise down on her tummy. I look back down at her and she's on her back! Woo Hoo! Go Eloise!

And, in other news all-together (don't you love my spaced out blog posts?) I am sooooooo over my daughter's school. I would love to pull her out all-together but I know that she really loves the interaction (and by interaction I mean being clobbered and/or bitten by the other children). I am so torn as to what to do. I hate it, Matt hates it, I am pretty sure Eloise hates it (Eloise has to stay in the nursery while I work in Iris' school once a week). Iris has a love/hate relationship with it. I just can't stand how much work is involved. I guess this is what parents do, huh? They put forth effort in things they would much rather not because of their children. So where's my mama of the year award, huh?

Okay, that's my brain dump for the day. I feel like crap because I woke up early this morning from a nightmare with a splitting headache that hasn't yet gone away. I don't know if the nightmare caused the headache or vice-versa, but either way, I wish I could lay on the couch the whole day. Sigh.