Monthly Archives: May 2014

You only get one!

I decided that my kids only get one trip to the ER. The other day Buttercup cashed in her opportunity…
She loves to climb. Couches, tables, people… you name it. Occasionally she falls off, but it never bothers her and she almost never gets hurt. Almost.
She really did a number on herself the other day. I was silently freaking out when it looked like she cut her tongue. So I took her to the local ER. The nurse tried to get a good look at her mouth, and as usual, she wasn’t terribly accommodating. But it was while we waited for the doctor to come in that Buttercup did the most surprising thing: she started climbing. She tried to jump off the hospital bed, climb the chair next to the bed, and was her usual daredevil self. I actually apologized to the doc when she came in! I was clearly about to waste her time. No stitches, no antibiotics, nothing. I drove her in the pouring rain for naught but my own peace of mind.

Here’s to the occasional cardio workout courtesy of a fearless toddler.


It started with a bookcase….

Yesterday was The Regulator’s birthday (Double digits!! Woop Wooooop!!!) And every year I tell my kids how they were born. So here’s his story:

I got pregnant about 2 months after getting married. People think that’s weird, maybe even wrong. I was in my early 20s, teaching at an all-girls school for not-a-lot-of-money, and the Hubs was working part-time at the local supermarket, having just lost his job. We lived in a dinky one-bedroom apartment over some lady’s garage. But the boy was on his way (not that we knew it– he wouldn’t show us “the goods” at any of our ultrasounds) and we had to do what we could. Thankfully a lot of stuff fell into place: we found a great 2-bedroom apartment in a nice suburb for a good price; the Hubs got a full-time job with benefits; the raise at the all-girls school kept me going another year; and even a premature baby was healthy and happy.

The day before I went into labor, I looked at the bookshelf in the living room and wanted to scream. See– the Hubs and I love books. A lot. In the “olden days” before the Kindle, we had to buy books that we loved and store them on shelves. But we have So. Many. Books. And they were in no order whatsoever. The Hubs had sort of just thrown them up on the shelves when we moved in, and while it was something that always bothered me, I realized that day that something had to be done. I took down all the books, sorted them by author and divided hardcover from paperback. It took all day, but I was very proud of myself. I went to bed knowing the next day I was going to be taking my students to see a production of Romeo and Juliet. But baby had other plans…

I woke up in the middle of the night, feeling… ick. Nothing hurt, no fever or anything– I just had to use the bathroom except it didn’t feel like having to use the bathroom. I soon realized that my water must have broken. I wasn’t due for another month, so I quickly proceeded to freak out. Called the doctor, who asked about contractions, of which there were none. So he told me to try to get more sleep and meet him at the hospital in the morning. I packed a bag (with stuff I never used, as most women will tell you) and tried to sleep. Yeah– that worked.

Went to the hospital, and the nurse did the usually exam. It was determined that my water indeed had broken, which can create an infection risk for the baby. I was admitted and given a Pitocin IV. If you don’t know, Pitocin will spark contractions, and that’s what I needed. The doctor told us that it wouldn’t be long now. Time, as we all know, is a relative concept. I was in the hospital bed the entire day waiting for the labor to get into high gear. Lemme tell you– it was boring. Like, really boring. Then it was painful… like, really painful. I got an epidural (which didn’t work, btw) and kept at it. It honestly felt like nothing was happening. I was 20 minutes away from a C-section when suddenly it was GAME ON. I was pushing, nurses were monitoring, the Hubs was reassuring, and the doctor was catching. Nearly a full day after my water initially broke, at 12:36 am, I had my first son, all 6 lbs 3 oz. of him.

Since he was premature, there was a concern that his lungs would not be fully prepared to start working. It turned out we had nothing to worry about, since he was screaming within minutes of birth (he started out grunting, which is disconcerting). We all went home two days later, and have been enjoying life as a family ever since.

So Happy Birthday, Regulator. Here’s to all things fair and even. Because that’s the way you like it. 

How to Talk to a Woman Whose Child is Dead

I’ve heard it said that every woman has probably had at least one miscarriage, and most of them weren’t even aware that they had gotten pregnant. This is a powerful essay from someone who has lived through a huge loss. I know people who have gone through similar ordeals, and it might do them good to read this.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Outside? You mean, like, in public?

It’s not that I can’t handle going out. It’s not that the kids can’t handle going out.

We just don’t do it all that often.

The kids go to school, I get stuff done around the house, Buttercup takes a huge nap in the middle of the day. The kids come home, undo all the work I’ve done, I make a mess in the kitchen, maybe some of it gets fixed and then we go to bed just to do it all over again. If we’re going somewhere, it’s because we NEED to go somewhere. Soccer practice, groceries, church, games. The Hubs goes to work, I tutor here and there. So yesterday, when I needed to buy face wash (the Hubs and I use the same products), Buttercup and I went to the “Star Department Store” (they don’t need my endorsement, anyway!). It took all of five minutes to get what I needed, and that definitely didn’t justify the 30-minute drive. We had nowhere to be, so we walked the rest of the mall.
(I posted the following on my Facebook, but I would like to take this opportunity to flesh out my thoughts a little bit…)

1) Wow, it’s been a long time since I just walked through a mall. Being a Jersey Girl, many an afternoon during my high school years was spent walking the corridors of nearby malls. My HSBFF (now a sister-in-law) and I would try on dresses with no intention to buy them, eat cheese fries in the food court, and people-watch to our hearts’ content. Many of my dates with the Hubs included walks through malls talking about our future. But since our future included 4 kids and lay-offs, shopping for the sake of was not much of an option. So the mall became a thing of the past.
2) I had no idea that Sur la Table was there (see #1) I probably spent 20 minutes in there, looking at French Presses and silicone baking pads. It also did my heart good to know that I have some seriously nice stuff for my current kitchen, tiny and sorry as it is, since there was nothing in that store that I actually needed (I got a pastry blender a couple weeks ago, which really was necessary!).
3) I couldn’t justify a single purchase aside from the one I actually made, so I only bought that one thing (The other thing I was thinking of purchasing I ended up getting a free sample). I would have LOVED to have gotten ALL the things!! There was an adorable kid-size apron, some clever coffee mugs, and really great cutting boards. But money is a concern.
4) I kinda dig how unabashedly the Disney Store splits its merchandise along gender lines. Princess stuff on the right, Lightning McQueen on the left. I think it just makes it easier to find exactly what you want for a particular kid. Your kid likes Doc McStuffins– boom. Toy Story is your nephew’s fave– bang. It’s fantastic.
5) I would like a new set of pajamas for Mother’s Day–shirt and shorts/capris, please. I saw a nice set as I was leaving the department store. I don’t wear nightgowns, and my pajama pants bunch up around my knees, which is kinda annoying.
6) Jules needs more ‘everyday’ earrings. We’ve lost a couple earrings, so we need new ones that I can put in to “change things up” every so often. I found some, but I just didn’t buy them.
7) I want the earring holes I used to have pierced again. I used to have two in my right ear, two in my left and one more in the cartilage in the top of my left ear. I had custom-made earrings for my wedding. But I was working in Catholic schools, and the number of holes in my ear were a sticking point with my boss, so I allowed the 2nd and 3rd holes to close up. Who am I out to impress now? I liked them; I want them back.
8) My wrist smells like Bath & Body Works Sweet Pea fragrance. And I like it (however, see #3). Seriously: I have spent YEARS trying to use up all the soaps and lotions I own! I gave myself a manicure just to use some products. So I don’t care if you buy one, get 15 free– I’m staying out of that store for a while longer. I don’t even love giving them as gifts– fragrance can be such a personal thing.
9) I stayed away from Old Navy on purpose, because #3 would have most likely gone out the window. I love clothes from Old Navy, and I could probably use a 2nd pair of jeans, or a dress for Toughie’s First Communion, or a new outfit for Buttercup, or extra pants for the Regulator. That’s when I was pretty sure our time at the mall was over.
10) Those KFC Go-Cups are a perfectly reasonable meal. For $2.99, I got 2 chicken tenders and a handful of potato wedges. Add in a lemonade for another dollar, and that’s lunch! Let’s be honest: do we ever NEED all the fries we get in the average fast food meal? I was hungry before I bought it and I was no longer hungry after I ate it. I’d totally get that again.  11) I’m totally doing laundry an hour earlier than yesterday because I got my butt out the door and to the mall. I get sucked into the Today Show and subsequently most other TV shows over the course of the day. But the fact that I really wanted to get to the mall set me off on my day earlier than usual.

Here’s to shopping without buying and buying without guilt.

At God’s Table

As I think I have mentioned before, Toughie was in classes for his First Communion this year. The Mass was on Saturday, and everything went wonderfully. I was a puddle of goo watching him at the altar rail, receiving Communion for the first time, and we all enjoyed a lovely luncheon afterwards.

The day before, the Pastor of our church spoke to the kids about how important this day is to the Faithful. He used as an example the Emperor Napoleon. Apparently, he was asked on his deathbed what he considered the best day of his life. Was it when he conquered this kingdom or that kingdom? When he won this or that battle? No, he replied, the best day of his life was the first time he received Holy Communion.  (Not to be cynical, but it was pretty clear his life was kind of on the downhill by the time he was on his deathbed.) Either way, it’s a good example of how important this moment should be.

Do kids “get it” that this is such a monumental milestone? I don’t think I did when I was his age. That’s probably why other denominations don’t put quite the emphasis on the First Communion that we do, nor do they insist it happen at such a young age. But that’s not why we do it now. They get it now so that they “get” that it’s important and because the mere act of getting it helps them to “get it” more as they get older. I hope that makes sense. It makes sense to me. I just… get it.

Here’s to the spiritual feast– may we always find abundance in ourselves and in each other.

What if I gave this a try?

I’m actually just saving this for later….



How many entries should you include in a portfolio? The answer depends on your purpose. If you are developing an electronic portfolio that will represent your accomplishments as a student, you may include a variety of materials – from essays to problem sets to photos to Web texts to a résumé. In this case, it makes sense to include many kinds of materials because those reviewing your portfolio will click on only those items that interest them. If you are developing a portfolio for your writing class, however, you should probably limit yourself to five to seven examples of your writing. Here are some kinds of writing you might include in such a portfolio: 

  • an academic essay demonstrating your ability to argue a claim or position
  • a personal essay that shows self-insight and demonstrates your ability to paint vivid pictures with words
  • a Web text you have developed on a specific topic
  • a brief report prepared for any class or community project
  • an essay or other writing project showing your ability to analyze and solve a problem
  • your favorite piece of writing vwriting based on field research, library research, or both
  • a piece of writing for a community group, club, or campus publication
  • an example of a collaboratively written document accompanied by a description of how the team worked and what you contributed
  • an example of your best writing on an essay examination
  • a multimedia presentation
  • correspondence, such as a letter of inquiry, an email message, or a job application or résumé

You should also include the assignments for the work you include whenever applicable. If your portfolio is for a writing course, you may be expected to include examples of your notes and early drafts as well as any responses you got from other readers. 

(credit: The Everyday Writer )

Here’s to looking for a new direction