Monday, December 20, 2010

Ways to go from totally relaxed to stressed to the max in less than four hours

Hear the nurse practically wail “the doctor said please let this woman have an induction date” after viewing your NST report

My first thought is that my child is in distress when really the apparent goal was to see if scaring a 42 week pregnant woman would break her water. It was not my doctor who viewed the NST, the results were fine, and I’ve just become the ultimate anomaly in a highly medicated world. So no, I cannot be induced, but all is well.

Consider castor oil
While talking to my chiro/acupuncture doctor, he tried to enlighten me on the benefits of castor oil to induce labor. It worked for his wife twice. I have read up a ton on castor oil, and the only for sure thing I can really glean is this: It’s not if you get diarrhea, it’s when and if you survive it with your butthole in tact. Now, if I knew for sure this would work, I would drink that junk straight from a shot glass and call it a day. However, there are no 100% guarantees with anything. The idea of ending up with horrible diarrhea and still no baby, or in labor having diarrhea on my baby, or with a c-section having diarrhea when I can’t even feel who I’m pooing on because of the spinal has kept me from committing to this procedure. However, just thinking about all this poo has stressed me out.

Telling your husband he was right about something that is so wrong

This is a Christian blog and I am going to assume that most Christians value and understand the importance of sex within a healthy marriage. With that being said, don’t read this if you are easily grossed out.

My husband came home last week after talking to the guys at work and informed me that sex was not the only way to induce labor; his guy friends at work clued him in on another highly effective way to get things moving: drink semen. I stared at him, told him research would be done and if he and his friends had devised this plan to trick a majorly overdue pregnant woman, then he might not be alive for the birth of our son. All of my research came back negative, and we laughed the whole thing off. Then on the phone with my natural birthing teacher a few days after that, she started a sentence in an eerily, familiar way: “you know prostaglandins in semen are absorbed through the gut ten times more than through the vagina, right?” Great! She knows this stuff, has the research to back it up, and now my husband gets to be right about something that no man should be able to hold over your head when you’re big, fat, whale size pregnant and on the verge of drinking almost anything(see castor oil above) to get the baby out. My choices for inducing labor: drink castor oil or semen. Further proof that the Lord of the universe has a much better sense of humor than I could have ever imagined.

Having the sonographer ask you to answer questions about pregnancy, induction, and VBACs

I love my sonographer. We have been through the trenches of low fluid levels for what seems like eternity, and I value her dearly. However, I think when you are in the medical profession and you see an overdue woman these should not be the first words out of your mouth: “Oh my gosh, I was sure you’d be pulled off my schedule by now. How are you still pregnant? What’s wrong? Did the doctors tell you why he won’t come out? Why isn’t he out?” My first thought was to tell her I wasn’t drinking enough semen, but I refrained. She’s nice, and though she has a couple kids of her own, she’s not someone I can see appreciating semen jokes. She might have cried, and as frustrated as I was, I didn’t think making her cry would make me feel better. So I told her everything was fine(uh, she’s been doing the ultrasounds so she should know this) and we don’t know why he won’t come out. When she asked again why I can’t be induced, I explained I was VBACing. Then, though she was induced and I would think would know this, I had to re-explain the risks of medical inductions to a woman VBACing or a woman who’s not since there are significant risks to both. I also had to explain the risks to the baby. By the time I left, I felt I should have been rewarded a doctorate because when you pass 42 weeks, everyone expects you to have all the answers, even if they went to school for this stuff. Why am I not getting paid for this? And why don’t people in the medical field know these facts? Scary stuff.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

“The truth is I don’t really even like camels”

We went to the mall to let Wren run off some energy in the play area yesterday, and I had the most awkward conversation with a five year old. Here it is:

Little girl: What’s in your belly?

Me: A baby.

Little girl: People with big stomachs look funny.

Me: Uh, thanks?

Little girl: The truth is I don’t really even like camels.

Me: Okay.

Little girl: Can I take your daughter for a ride?

Me: No.

I’m not completely sure about how I reminded this child of a camel, but I have to admit it was odd to have a conversation that was weirder than the ones I already had last week or anticipate this week. All my conversations last week stemmed around three questions: You’re still pregnant? Well, is my abdomen still protruding beyond what’s normal for the average human being? Then the answer is yes. When is the baby coming? Hold on, let me get my crystal ball out and give you an exact date! Where is the baby? With this one, I just look at my stomach then back at the individual who asked and shrug. I mean, really?

People are concerned and get nervous when there’s no plan, and the last few days have been evidence of that. Parents have the option to get their kids into the world by a ton of means, and I guess that’s okay. It’s just with all the planned inductions, life becomes a little harder for us wait it out types. No one has a clue what to do when the due date passes and the baby is still not here. They all want my contingency plan. Currently, we don’t have one. I have never seen anyone stay pregnant forever, so I do believe Samuel will come out. That’s about it.

I do admit that I am human and have been very tempted to jump on the proactive planning train, especially lately. Words like “fluid dip”, “c-section”, and “zero dilation” are not wonderful to hear when we want no drugs, no surgery, and absolutely no medical intervention short of being provided a hospital bed to birth near. But I cannot focus on the what-ifs or try to lay out a concrete road for how this birth is going to go. It’s pointless, it stresses me out, and stress does not lead to labor. My doctor, as previously mentioned, is amazing! She trusts me, she trusts Sam, and she is all about a woman’s body and its ability to birth. IF, and I pray it does not come to this, I end up with a c-section it will be because Samuel needs it. Otherwise, she’s content to let me ride this out as long as he is. Being that we are cut from the same strong-willed cloth, we may be waiting a while.

So as I somewhat dread going back to work tomorrow, I’m trying to look for ways to make it entertaining for myself. I think when people ask if I’m still pregnant I’m going to say no and give them indignant looks. I might fake going into labor during my classes just to make my 8th graders squirm. Some of the things they do give me nausea, so I think it’s fair. I am fully planning on wearing a sign taped to my stomach that says, “Yes, I’m still here and still pregnant.” My hope is that if I make the answer that obvious I can avoid answering the same question all day. Not having to answer the questions will help to avoid throwing me into thinking about all the what-ifs and messing up my zen mama calm. And if all else fails, I’m just going to take a cue from the five year old and say, “the truth is I don’t really even like camels.” Everybody will think I’m nuts, but I’m pretty sure the question and answer portion of my day will come to an abrupt end.

In all honestly, I may try all the above mentioned strategies. However, I'm also going to work on being more grateful for people who stop and care enough to ask how I'm doing. I'm lucky to have them. They're better than camels.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A letter

Dear Contractions,

I am not trying to tell you how to live your life or do your job. However, your recent choice to just drop in and out of my life, cause me pain, and not offer anything(a baby!) in return has not gone unnoticed. I feel it’s come to a point where I have to say something.

Consistency is key in relationships. Deciding to conveniently appear Monday at my doctor’s appointment and cause me to have to stay on the NST machine for over an hour was not cool. I also did not appreciate you setting off the NST machine’s alarm. I’m still not exactly sure how you did that. It would have been fine if you had kept appearing regularly, but no, you just stopped. When you then waited until later that night to appear and interrupt my sleep, I tried to understand. It was very inconsiderate though.

Last night you made me try three yoga positions at 11 pm before I could get comfortable. You popped in twice at consistent intervals, then you just dropped off. I am grateful for the night of sleep you finally decided to offer me, but after standing on my head, flipping on both sides, and squeezing the crud out of my husband, I thought this was the real thing.

Know that I’ve waited for you for a long time and am grateful you’re here. I’m just a commitment girl; I need to know you’re going to hang around and our relationship is going to result in something beautiful(the delivery of my baby) as opposed to just hurt, sleepless nights, and never-ending doctor’s appointments. You don’t seem to consider any of this. You are so unaffected. Please consider my feelings before you play with my emotions and my uterus. That’s all I’m asking for.


Monday, November 29, 2010


Dread permeated the air. I felt it before I even entered the building. Returning from a break to resume business as usual at school is never easy, and the looks on the faces of my students made it clear that they were not going to jump right back in, ready to learn. In an effort to cheer up my first period, I reminded them that we only have three weeks left until winter break. After sharing this news and putting on my best smile, one of my more pessimistic boys dropped his head down on his desk so hard I thought he might have given himself a concussion. When I asked him why this was bad news he said, “Because I thought we only had two weeks.”

It seems we’re all waiting for something, and patience isn’t a game any of us are good at as far as I can tell. I know for a fact that I am not a picture of stillness and calm right now. On my waiting for list are the following:

Waiting for Sammy to arrive

Waiting to discontinue the daycare drop off while Wren is home with me after Sammy arrives

Waiting for Dennis to finish finals and graduate(keep your fingers crossed, Wednesday should be the last day)

Waiting for Wren to get to the point where she’ll just say Grapenuts instead of staring at the pantry crying the fake fit cries until I make her use her words(seriously, she never stops talking, but when she is in a particularly divalicious mood, which is not often, she expects me to respond to groans, cries, and huffing sounds. She’s not an 8th grader yet, so I’m not sure how she has reached these development milestones so early in life. She must be a genius!)

Waiting is inevitable, but here’s the problem: sometimes I find myself focusing more on what’s going to happen when the waiting is over than enjoying what’s happening now. Seeing this behavior in my 8th graders made it easier to see in myself. They have three days to create their own multimedia project using the computer labs and their imagination. On any other day, this would be what they considered an awesome assignment; today they came back to school just waiting to leave again, so they half heartedly began their projects. I viewed this as very ungrateful, which it is. So am I. I have a great husband, wonderful daughter, easy pregnancy, no real complaints, and all I could do was try to get through the morning routine to get to work. In my mind, I thought maybe I wouldn’t be going back to work, that Sammy would make a Thanksgiving break appearance. He didn’t, and quite frankly, it was na├»ve to expect him to. He’s not due until the 7th, and if he arrives before Christmas that’s fine with me. My children really dig the fashionably late statement. But I want to meet him. I want to go into labor(I’m not nuts, I really WANT this experience). I’ve been reading a book a friend lent me about natural childbirth experiences, and I’m even more anxious to have a shot at this now than I was before. I’m ready for Dennis to not have to give up hours of his day to homework. He already works so hard.

But focusing on all of that has left me missing the now. I love Sammy’s kicks and his little hiccups. I won’t feel them inside of me once he arrives. And really, I love being pregnant. I feel great and the fact that there is a little life inside of me is still awe inspiring.

With the grunting, sometimes tantrum phase, Wren has also started saying please and thank you often. She doesn’t call us mommy and daddy but says “my mommy” and “my daddy”, which is adorable any time of day. Her go to foods are apples, corn, and homemade protein bars. There is so much about this phase that is amazing, and the tantrums are a very small percentage of the overall day.

As for Dennis and college, well, I’m just ready for that to be over. I know I cannot be as ready as he is, or as Wren is for that matter. He doesn’t see her from Monday night until Thursday morning, and they NEED to see each other. They both have tantrum tendencies when too much time goes by without each other.

My goal for the week is to focus on the now, the great events happening at this moment without so much preoccupation with the future. When Sammy gets here, he gets here. I’m trying to convince myself he’s not due until Christmas so anything before that will be a pleasant surprise. When Wren gives me the sounds that express dissatisfaction instead of the words telling me what she’s actually dissatisfied about, I’ll just think about the “I love yous” and the way she kissed both cheeks, my forehead, and my nose before I got out of bed this morning. College we only have to contend with for three more days. We’ll get through it. Life is about now, and our now is good.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday and a Good Deal on Goats

I’m not bashing Black Friday, though I fully anticipate being tucked in my bed with my nine month pregnant belly warm and out of the way of all carts or other devices that can become projectiles when shoppers go wild. However, I have been thinking a lot about what it says about our culture that we kick off the holiday season with a material driven mad dash to the nearest store. In some ways it probably shows that we’re givers, wanting to please those in our lives with things they want and get a discount in the meantime. I’m the ultimate bargain-shopping, coupon-clipping freak, so I fully understand the refusal to buy things at full price when you know you can get them on sale. Tradition also seems to play a huge part in Black Friday. I have friends who shop every year and then go grab coffee or lunch. It’s a bonding, almost survival type experience, and I find nothing wrong with any of that. I’m just not sure where it fits into our lives as we continue to try to progress.

We’ve set a limited Christmas budget this year because our goal has always been to stick to traditions that truly fit in with Christ’s purpose for Christmas. Though giving is one of those principles, gluttonous package tearing where everyone forgets who gave them what less than 48 hours later does not in my opinion. Then we received a catalog at church that put things into an even clearer perspective: a Gospel for Asia’s Christmas Gift Catalog. This is not exactly your JCPenney’s catalog with the pajamas and bedspreads. What can you buy for those in need in Asia if you feel so inclined? Try rabbits for $11. A pair of pigs for $55. A mosquito net for $10(malaria still causes 1 million deaths a year). The list goes on and on, and Dennis and I quickly became very intrigued by the idea of purchasing chickens and rickshaws and blankets. It makes sense. Spending $50 on stamps to send out Christmas cards to people I never see just to show off the cuteness of my offspring does not.

I’m not opposed to the idea that we can both give and receive. Yes, we can have Christmas presents and still give to others, and there is nothing super contradictory about that. It’s just that giving now feels better than receiving, and I want my children to feel that early on in their lives, to see the impact helping others can have. I also want them to run down the hall on Christmas morning excited about their presents. It’s a balance, but I would feel much better about us spending more on others than ourselves, which is the goal this year. If you also happen to be interested in giving, or you’re just curious about how much a solid pair of goats are going for these days, check out It beats Black Friday crowds at four in the morning.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A few things...

Things that make me smile

Starbucks offering buy one get one free holiday drinks this weekend

Wren’s positive body image. After putting on her clothes this morning, she looked at me and said, “I so cute in red pants!” I could learn from this child. I had just been examining the situation that is my upper thighs now touching.

My grandmother coming to clean my house before Sammy gets here. I love this woman. I know she goes home after scrubbing my baseboards and cleaning under my refrigerator and wonders how something like me flowed from her genealogical line, but I don’t care. I’ll take the judgment for a spotless house.

No TV. Really. We have no channels. My grandmother may flip when she gets here and there is no Dr. Phil. Don’t worry, I’m keeping the house super messy so she won’t have time to think about it! I’m mercilessly hard on this 79 year old woman.

Wren taking her eye drops that I believe actually contain the word “acid” in the ingredients without a fuss. It took a few rounds, but she’s a pro now.

Date night

An unexpectedly large check from the side business

Things that make me put on my look like I have gas but am really just frustrated face

My 8th graders acting like writing a persuasive paper is a NASA assignment after three weeks of being hand held, spoon fed, and checked in on while working on this very assignment. When one of them had the audacity to ask me what a thesis was today, tears literally welled up in my eyes. We’ve only been covering that for 12 WEEKS! That paired with hearing the word “Seriously?” bathed in sarcasm when I tell them for the 500th time they cannot use the word you in a formal paper makes me so grateful for Thanksgiving break next week. I might be resigning if there wasn’t a break near.

Being asleep when my husband gets home from college. He came home at 10:10. I had already been out for at least two hours. Such a waste of time together.

Falling asleep while thinking about all the things I need to get up and do. I was running a list in my brain of the chores that would be great for me to get started on when I zonked out next to Wren last night. How very productive!

Missing Bible study and prayer time after starting the week so strong and truly enjoying it. It’s amazing how quickly I get apathetic about the things that matter.

Friday, November 12, 2010


My life is good. I have absolutely nothing to complain about and everything good to praise the Lord for. That’s the good news.

The flip side is that I know two great ladies whose children have cancer, I am now acquainted with more than a handful of people who have lost children before birth, and almost every person on our block has spent time unemployed in the last two years.

I feel this very bipolar need to be giddy happy and overwhelmingly sad all at the same time. Can you rejoice in the miracles of your own life when others are suffering? And where is my sadness coming from? Honestly, I think enough of myself to say that I truly feel horrible when things are happening to other people that aren’t good. However, I also know human nature, and I am so very human. And selfish. I don’t like bad things in close proximity to me. It’s different to read about tragedies happening to people you don’t know; it’s quite another to know the person, put a face to the pain. It gives you the “if it can happen to them, could it happen to me?” kind of feeling, and those are questions I’d rather leave unexamined.

Plus, I always seem to find out about things happening to other people when I am not feeling grateful enough for my gifts, adding a layer of questions on top of questions. Am I a bad person for complaining to my husband about Braxton Hicks contractions and an achy back when I am lucky to have a healthy pregnancy and still be perfectly mobile this close to the end of it? Is it possible to feel sympathy for others and still acknowledge the petty annoyances of everyday life without a being a completely ungrateful shrew?

I think many of these questions arise from my lack of time spent with the Lord. For instance, as I watched Wren play in the bathtub tonight, I wondered how I would explain to her that good people, even kids, get sick. How do you explain about the love of Christ and the cruelty of the world and their incongruent existence in the same realm? I know there are a million Bible answers to those kind of questions, but as a somewhat Bible studying adult, the questions still floor me sometimes. However, if I was actually spending more time talking to God, listening when He tries to answer me, I might not have to spend so much time trying to come up with answers of my own. I might understand more about times to weep and times to rejoice and that everything has a season.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Instead of…

Please place the phrase “instead of” in front of each sentence.

turning on the computer Monday night to check Facebook, check email for the 500th time, read things I don’t care about, I read a book I had been looking forward to getting into.

rewarding myself with sugar for a week of not eating any sugar therefore throwing me back into sugar craving mode, I’m making Dennis give me a foot massage if I avoid sugar this week.

once again, turning on the computer Tuesday night for anything, I cooked homemade sloppy joes, unloaded the dishwasher, and did two loads of laundry.

trying to do anything during the short hours I get to spend with Wren before her bedtime, I participate in imaginary play with dolls, do puzzles, and watch Wren go through all the shoes in her closet exclaiming, “so cute”.

freaking out because I think I may have been exposed to Fifth’s disease this week, which is not good when you’re pregnant, I just prayed, called my doctor and found out the next day I had already been tested for immunity and am immune.

biting off the head of the woman who looked at my stomach yesterday and said, “any minute now, huh?” when I just hit 36 weeks yesterday, I just smiled and said, “not yet”.

Friday, October 29, 2010


This week has outshined most in the way of blessings. Due to the amazing staff that I work with, Sammy now has over 1000 diapers, over 1000 wipes, over $100 in gift cards, homemade blankets, and books. Wren even scored books out of my baby shower. I actually started to feel slightly embarrassed as gifts kept rolling in from these incredible people who did more than enough for us the first time around. It was overwhelming in a positive way.

Due to Dennis’ generous job, he is taking on more responsibility and received a nice promotion with it. Sammy is healthy, Wren is wonderful, and life in general is just good. It’s nice and low key, and it’s about to get a lot more low key.

As a family, we have a tendency to unplug from everything when we get the chance. TV, computer, and cell phones are all things I’ve started to view as hinderances more than helpful. In fact, when our computer fan started sounding like it was going to start an electrical fire in our office Monday, we decided to live without a computer in our home for a week. I loved it. I do realize the irony since I have a blog and usually post my blog updates on Facebook. I did miss being able to blog, but I didn’t miss being on the computer with no purpose, or with a purpose I did not particularly care about. I have computer access at work all day so it’s not like I went cold turkey, but it was amazing just to use a computer for work then know there was no access at home. I didn’t aimlessly surf the net when I could have been cleaning, sleeping, cuddling, or cooking. Though we understand we can’t permanently live without one due to job and school commitments, I think I’m going to make it a goal to not use it at least four nights a week. It was so relaxing in a way I didn’t expect.

Along with that, we are giving up our TV service. For those of you who have ever visited our house, you will know that this is not a huge sacrifice since we only had 30 channels to begin with. We just realized that the only time the TV comes on is when we are watching Netflix, not something we need cable service to do. We’ll save $50 a month and simplify, which is the real goal. If you don’t need it, why have it?

As we eliminate more and accumulate less, I’m feeling more at peace than I ever had. Five garbage bags full of clothes that Wren cannot wear are being donated tomorrow. A diaper genie may go with it since I am not intelligent enough to push the diapers in there without having my hand bitten off by the crazy closing clamp, and Dennis says the bags don’t really mask the poo smell. We’ve simplified our grocery list to include real foods and almost nothing processed, cut out almost all cell phone use, and the highlight of most of our nights is going to the park and watching Wren swing and scream “airplane” every time she sees one. Last night she did attempt to rush the soccer field during a practice which was interesting(she can kick), but even that wasn't too stressful or high maintenance. My blood pressure at my OB appointment yesterday was 83 over 62, evidence that I am pretty much stressed by nothing. Simple.

I’m not claiming that we have the secrets of life figured out. Far from it, and I learn more every day. Everything we have is a gift and any lesson I learn on any given day comes from knowledge beyond my control. I just wonder why anything in life had to ever be difficult. Why did I ever give into the demands of multitasking and keeping up with things in life that I didn’t really care about? Why did I get stressed over things that weren’t important? Why was seeing the big picture so hard? It seems easy now. The message that God has been trying to convey to me for months, I think, is that I don’t need more. I need to work with less. And I have never been as happy as now, when I finally started doing what He said.

Friday, October 22, 2010

New Developments

I have written at least ten blogs in my head. Life is just moving so fast that they have not made it to the actual blog, and there are new events everyday to think about, write about, learn from. I am going to take the easy way and just compile a quick list because I am starting to lose track of the last couple of weeks.

Loss of another former student from my school, this time a student I actually had in class: Just about the time I was ready to blog my heart out about all the fabulous events of my existence, a student who was in my class two years ago committed suicide. It didn’t feel exactly right to share all my great news after that, and I didn’t feel like sharing much after that anyway. I’m now navigating through the waters of having students in my class who were friends with this student, spent time with him before his death, and are trying very courageously for their age to make sense of this. Some of them have chosen suicide as their research topic for my class this six weeks, and for better or worse I let them because it was already on the list of approved topics. Plus, they seem to find solace in the tangibility of note cards and research databases, putting their hands on information that might eventually answer the whys they can’t seem to figure out right now. Though there is part of me that would like to warn them that no amount of information is going to offer closure, I can’t. Maybe they will find something in the plethora of articles and academic journals that I didn’t after a high school friend took her life. Maybe they will get an answer. Maybe just doing something is enough of a distraction right now.

Clothe-A-Child: I still cannot get over how spending a few hours two Saturdays this month with families who needed a little help purchasing school clothes for their kids has affected me. I must confess I tend to be a “holiday volunteer”, as if people aren’t hungry, poor, or sick anytime except October-December. But this experience has me rethinking why consistent volunteerism isn’t a part of my routine. I want it to be a part of my children’s lives, God obviously calls us to do it, and I took more away from those two Saturdays than I offered. Imagine families standing outside of Kohl’s for hours, sometimes overnight, to receive $100 a child to buy winter clothes because they qualify for this program. Add to that the pride issues that probably come with not being able to do this without help. Would you and your kids be tired and maybe a little cranky when you finally got in the store anywhere between 5:30 am and 10:00 am? Well, not one person I ran into was. These families were funny, energetic, some of the most awesome bargain shoppers I have ever seen, and every one of them hugged us as they left the store. All we did was carry their bags and add up their totals on calculators, but they made that small contribution feel valuable. Some people might say why complain when it’s not your money you’re spending? I came to the realization that none of the money we spend is really ours. We’re provided it by a gracious God, so all the Black Friday crazies willing to hit people and run over small children because of some misplaced sense of entitlement might want a reality check before they hit the stores this season, including me, though I’ve never injured anyone for a sale item. It’s all a gift, not a guarantee or something we earned.

Our first fellowship at our house: I would love to pretend that without any thought or planning this whole event came together because I am a combination of Martha Stewart and Betty Crocker in a desirable 31 year old body. However, not one part of that statement would be true. After waking up at 4:30 am to help with Clothe-a-Child, we had our small group from church coming to our house that night for fellowship. Being that we are just now emerging from Hermitville and including people besides our immediate family in our downtime, this was kind of huge. Plus, we volunteered to cook for all of them. House cleaning was partially complete, so when we came back home from Clothe-a-Child, we finished most of the rest of it. Then, we napped. I’m not proud of it. It wasn’t part of the plan. But 4:30 am came very early and I didn’t want to fall asleep half way through entertaining guests. When we woke up at 3:00, I realized we had no drinks except water and coconut milk, no napkins, and I had to actually start cooking. I ran to the store and came back and started dinner while Dennis bathed our child. Around 4:15 I realized I needed a bath. At 4:45 after the quickest shower and throwing myself together possible, I caught a glimpse of my naked daughter running full speed down the hall daring one of us to try to get her into clothes. If you catch her right out of the tub, it’s not too bad. If she gets away, it’s like wrestling a kitten into water. I let my husband do it because I was still toasting appetizers and reorganizing the plates, cups, and silverware to make sure I chose the most logical order. Right at 5 the door bell rang and our first guest entered the chaos, except by then it didn’t look chaotic. Everything came together and we enjoyed an amazing night. My Martha Stewart/Betty Crocker skills aren’t what made it great; the people we were surrounded by would have made that a great night even if my child had still been naked, dinner had burned, and everyone had been forced to drink coconut milk.

I finally saw MY doctor and fell in love with her all over again:
That’s right, I love my doctor. I look forward to the appointments where I have face time with her. I shave my legs if I think there might be a below the waist exam, something my husband might appreciate me doing for him more often. I write down questions and discuss my life with this woman. Seeing her makes me smile. Plus, all of my questions about this pregnancy were answered. For instance, why am I having BPPs and NSTs every week? Because the recommendations changed for pregnant women with thyroid issues sometime between when I had Wren and now. No biggie. There’s nothing more to it than that. Whew! When is my due date? December 7th. Do all of the doctors in her practice work with women who are trying to VBAC in the unlikely case she can’t be there when I deliver? Yes, and she wouldn’t work with them if they didn’t. That’s another thing I love about this woman. While a huge portion of women will complain about their freedom and choices being violated because the right to abort their child is occasionally and not very seriously threatened, I hear almost no one complaining because our right to deliver our children the way we see safest and best for our family is disappearing and has been marred by tons of legal requirements. There is over a 99% chance that I will NOT have my uterus rupture during a VBAC. However, according to my hospital’s by-laws(and I’m not griping because I’m delivering at one of the few hospitals that actually allows VBACs) I have to be hooked up to a fetal heart rate monitor and an IV the whole labor just in case. Though doctors and hospitals make decisions that put women and babies at risk everyday without much, if any, scientific evidence to support their choices-think unnecessary C-sections and unnecessary inductions-the risk of these procedures are not emphasized or even addressed most of the time. It would be easier for me to go in and demand a scheduled major abdominal surgery than it is to find a doctor willing to perform a procedure that has less than a 1% chance of leading to serious problems. Something is so very wrong with this picture. But that’s just another reason I love my doctor, and I told her that yesterday as she hugged me on the way out of the office. Oh, and I love my little son too. He’s super cute and kicks me all the time and I can’t wait to meet him whenever he does decide to arrive.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

And so it begins

I thought about not blogging about this. I thought about not talking about it, but my mind has been occupied for almost a week, so maybe putting it in words will get it out of my head.

This pregnancy has been so normal and easy and is still going great. So you can imagine my surprise when I received a call from my doctor’s surgery coordinator on Thursday informing me that we would be starting weekly biophysical profiles(BPP) and twice weekly non-stress tests(NST) as well as me seeing the doctor every week from here on out. I won’t even be 32 weeks until Tuesday. The reason? I have a thyroid disease. Here’s the shocker: I have had a thyroid disease since I was nine, and we did not do this with my first pregnancy. However, Wren almost ran out of amniotic fluid, I am older now, and Sammy’s due date seems to be a massive moving target because his measurements aren’t exactly adding up to his due date and none of the sonograms have added up to what they originally thought the due date was. I’m going to pick my doctor’s brain a bit more tomorrow about why we maybe couldn’t have discussed this before I was 32 weeks pregnant because the shock alone almost sent me into labor. However, I think a few things just added up weird and they’re being extra cautious.

Honestly, I feel like Sammy is just fine. Is he measuring a little small? Sure, though sonograms are notoriously off on measurements, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was tiny. His sister is not large and we don’t tend to make big babies. Plus, if he is coming out the good old fashioned way like we hope, I’m okay with him not being a 10 pounder. But the fluid thing was scary. It didn’t happen till I was overdue and we caught it, but I know it would have been on my mind this pregnancy despite my promise not to worry about. No fluid equals bad things for baby, so it will be nice to keep tabs on those levels from here on out. And maybe that’s why this happened. God knows me, He made me, so maybe He didn’t want the last eight weeks of my pregnancy to be marred by stress over fluid levels.

I don’t know. This is really not something to stress about, but it’s made my mind sort of misfire and malfunction for the last few days. If everything is fine, why are we doing this? The obvious answer to that question is to keep things fine, but a small seed of concern has now been planted that wasn’t there before and is making me worry about I don’t know what. During the non-stress test I am supposed to lay with a fetal heart rate monitor on my belly for half an hour relaxing while they see if anything is wrong with my child. How non stressful is that really going to be? And the biophysical profile can take up to an hour. I’m not sure how happy Sammy is going to be having someone push on my belly with a jelly covered wand for an hour. The child is so active he may start kung fu kicking the wand and then hide.

I’m glad tests are available to monitor things like this, but the crazy testing news came on a day when I was thinking that if Sammy’s birth went well, maybe giving birth at a birthing center would be possible next time. Maybe having one successful VBAC would lead to us being more comfortable with the idea of a birthing center birth like we really wanted the first time. I really don’t know if we would have done it, but it seems like that option might not even be worth thinking about now, and that’s okay. Healthy babies are the goal. I just don’t love interventions, but neither does my doctor. That’s the beauty of being with a doctor I trust; I know she is doing this for a reason and feels that it is the best thing. She’s pretty hands off otherwise. Unfortunately, that leads to the question of what is the reason, and is she really concerned something is going to happen that is out of the ordinary? This is the loop my mind has been running for too long now. I’ll talk to her tomorrow, pray constantly, and try to relax during my hour and a half non-stress/profile appointment. I don’t really know what else to do.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Everyday Epiphanies

The search for spiritual gifts continues and took the form of filling out tons of information about our personalities this week. It was fun, it was eye opening, and it made me realize that God is showing me epiphanies every day. I’m learning about me, about who I am, who I thought I was, who I might have been once but aren’t anymore, and these are fairly earth moving realizations. Being that my mind has a habit of jumping from one thing to another without the ability to linger for more than a few minutes, I thought I better start writing these down so I will remember them. I know, they’re epiphanies, I should remember them because of how they affect my life. However, I am beginning to wonder what would happen if I lost my to-do list or didn’t write everything down, and even thinking about that makes me scared. I need a record of everything. I will add these as I’m shown them.

I don’t enjoy being a leader and am not particularly good at it
This was an epiphany because as a first child, a teacher, trainer, someone pegged to go into management at my last job right before I said no way and quit, I have always been viewed as one. I’ve accepted the role because it sort of seemed like where things were naturally going, but I don’t like it. I will take charge if needed because I hate it when people show up for something without an agenda or plan; I tend to take over out of frustration more than desire. Plus, I’m bossy and opinionated. But when we were finding out our spiritual gifts, leadership did not come up and I was hugely relieved. I am a dominant lion, but I think that just goes back to being bossy more than a leader. When it comes to the saying “lead, follow, or get out of the way”, I’ll gladly get out of the way. I’m not really a good follower either, but I’d be great at living in Oregon in a cabin off of Cannon Beach growing my own veggies, homeschooling my kids, and generally being out of the way of everything.

Noise bugs me
This one also kind of shocked me. I love music and the sound of my daughter’s chatter. However, certain noises are too much for me now. I cannot listen to mainstream radio stations because the music is horrific and the noise makes me nuts, especially in the car. I don’t want anything on for background noise. It irritates me. We listen to music when we eat dinner, generally Queen, oldies, or Charlie Brown(we’re a little random at our house) and that’s fine, but I have to have quiet at some point in my day. In fact, if my phone rings often, which it doesn’t, I start to get a little cranky. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to people, but I need noise with a purpose. Telemarketers beware! I do not see those calls as purposeful, and when they happen after 9pm, I’ve gotten rather forceful about my opinion on that issue. Something as simple as the drum line from the high school visiting for a pep rally the other day almost pushed my nerves over the edge. I was the old fart leaving them gym muttering, “do drums have to be that loud? Is that really necessary?” Maybe this is a long term effect of being surrounded by 8th graders for five years, but I think it might be permanent.

I want to write for a living
Okay, this should not have come as an epiphany since I knew this at around the age of 10, but I guess I was re-epiphanized(my own word) with this knowledge. I love writing. I majored in English and only obtained my teaching certificate as a back-up plan so I could eat if the writing did not take off. For years, I semi-pursued this quest, having poetry published, submitting short stories, but it stayed on the back burner. Honestly, I stopped missing it when I wasn’t writing, so I just kind of moved on thinking that one day I might or might not get back to it. Now, the life events I choose to partake in pretty much have to fit into t he category of benefiting my family in some way or I just don’t enjoy doing them. I know admitting that will probably lead to speeches from well meaning individuals about “me time” and “time to be who you are away from your family”, but I get it and I’m not imposing some martyr-like prison on myself to only serve family and forgot me. I like to do things for and with my family and I really get restless, antsy, and irritated if I’m wasting time away from them or not doing something to benefit them emotionally, physically, financially, etc. But I think I see now that writing can. It came back one of my highest gifts-technically it was creative communication, but I’m not actually creative in other areas, so I’m going to assume it meant writing-and I want to use it for Christ and my family. So, slowly I am going to try to reintroduce myself to the writing world. I don’t know what form that’s going to come in yet, but it can benefit my family if I’m using a gift God gave me and they are witness to that. Plus, it makes me happy and maybe along the way will help my kids find their gifts. And let’s pray it becomes a financially lucrative pursuit at some point. I’m not too artsy to say that I would LOVE to get paid for my words.

There are more, but my mind is already moving to something else I need to do. Did I mention I’ve realized I have trouble sitting still?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Topics I like to avoid before I’ve had my decaf

This entry is oozing out of me, but I’m hesitant to write it for so many reasons. Number one, it could come off as political, and overall I think politics are overrated and used to define, classify and divide too often. Also it may make me look like I assume I know what all people in one religious group believe on an issue, and I don’t nor do I claim to. Plus, it’s indirectly about a topic I hate and, almost eight months pregnant, don’t really want to talk about: abortion. Because today before 10 am I had the responsibility of fielding questions about back alley abortions from 8th graders. Yeah, just another day at the office.

It started out as a normal day. We’re reading a book we’ve read for five years, a girl gets pregnant, is sent off to have the baby somewhere else because it’s the 1960s and that’s that. But this year it didn’t stop there. Students in two of my classes raised their hands and asked if there was abortion in the 1960s to which I answered it wasn’t legal then. One student continued by asking if the dirty, back alley kind were an option in the 1960s. I repeated my previous statement about the legality issue and moved on.

But this entry isn’t really about abortion or the shock I felt about the casual way a 13 year old discussed it or that there was not even a collective surprised gasp when the words, “dirty, back alley abortion” flew from a girls’ mouth like the words “pink lip gloss”. It’s about lines and boundaries and who we are at our chosen professions and who we really are, and which one is actually real.

I don’t agree with abortion and I do connect that to my faith, not that I think if I was an atheist I would suddenly be okay with abortion. But my pro-life stance has been intertwined with my faith ever since I can remember because they are both what I have believed in for so long. Should that have come into play in my response? Should I have, as my husband recommended, said “the destruction of innocent human life wasn’t politically correct yet” instead of my neutral “it wasn’t legal”? Same thing, but not really because words carry meaning, and the first statement would have left no doubt about where I stood. With my students politically, religion, and issue wise, I always leave doubt. I’m not here to tell them what to think, I’m here to teach them how to think. None of them could tell you whether I’m a Republican or Democrat, pro-death penalty or against, pro-life or pro-choice. What’s a little scary is none of them could tell you if I’m a Christian or not, largely because I’ve kept it that way.

I am a huge supporter of the separation of church and state and that’s always been my defense. I do not want anyone’s religion running our country, period. I am a Christian before I’m anything else, but that doesn’t mean other people have to be. However, when did I become a droid, if that’s what I am? Because honestly it goes a little beyond wanting to make sure I wasn’t teaching kids what to think. I didn’t want angry parent phone calls flooding the principal’s office, and that crossed my mind in the brief time before I answered.

Though I did momentarily think of making a comment like my husband recommended, and I rarely let offending people get in the way of being sarcastic, I weighed the cost of that kind of comment and decided it was too high. Was that the right decision? Could parents have really been upset because I expressed more than neutrality at eight months pregnant with my son kicking inside of me about abortion? Who knows, but it’s easier to not rock the boat when there are hundreds of parents who I have seen get offended over much less.

In a place like where my husband works, a Christian organization that holds chapel every Monday, I would have had no problem expressing my opinion. But in a diverse school where people could be offended but also maybe positively affected, I hesitated. Is that Christian relativism? It’s not like I had to preach a sermon about it, but would have expressing where I stood and therefore a little more about who I am have been appropriate? Am I willing to be who I am and express my beliefs only when it’s safe or is it just going back to my belief that students need to know how to think, not what I think? I don’t know. I either failed miserably today or succeeded grandly. I don’t know which. And can you succeed at your job while failing as a Christian? If so, is it really succeeding at all?

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Second Time Around

The second pregnancy is different. Some things are the same: I’m still referred to as the happy, pregnant woman, I’ve still never had morning sickness, I still didnt have to shop for maternity clothes(thanks Amy). God has seen fit to bless me with easy, wonderful pregnancies both times, and I am so very grateful for that. The difference this time is more in how we’ve prepared for Sammy’s arrival, or not prepared.

With Wren we had four showers and the child had more clothes than Dennis and I combined before she was born. We spent $500 on a crib that has now become a glorified doll holder since we co-sleep. We took natural birthing classes for eight weeks. During the first pregnancy, we had time to do these things because we didn’t have a child yet.

Yesterday I bought Sammy clothes. This puts him up to a total of six pairs, more than enough I say until we see if he actually needs the newborn or zero to three months size. Sammy is getting a bassinet from my sister that she received from a friend because we know another $500 crib would be empty anyway since he will be in our room for night feedings and, when he’s big enough, our bed. We haven’t even been able to squeeze in a refresher course for our birthing class, but thankfully our birthing coach from last time has offered to doula if we need her. Between that and reading our birthing book from last time, we’re considering ourselves ready to go.

It’s not that we care less about this pregnancy or this child; it’s just a more mellow attitude the second time around. Sleep deprivation? Been there, done that. Putting together a nursery my child spends no time in because she’s attached to us all the time, which I love? Did that too. I have friends who decorate for fun, but I decorate because people walk in my house and think we’ve lived there for two weeks instead of over two years. It does not rank high on my priority list. If I thought Sammy would be in his nursery a lot, we’d be working on turning the office into a nursery a little bit faster. I know where he’ll be though; attached to me nursing or riding in his baby sling so he can hear my heart and get acclimated to the outside the womb world in his own time.

This time around, I want no showers. Wren’s clothes are now separated into three bins: two are full of clothes that still don’t fit and one is full of clothes she outgrew before the tags came off. I’ve already given away two bins of never worn clothes. When Sammy is given toys, we will have to start using our kitchen cabinets as storage space because Wren’s are already flowing freely out of her room and to every other corner of our house. Plus, most of Wren’s are unisex, so Sammy will have his fair share of toys just waiting. Dennis and I feel like we’ve hit the jackpot because my school has offered us diapers and wipes in leiu of cake and punch, and being second timers, we know how awesome this offer is!

I think for us it comes down to seeing our reality. Despite the fact that Wren has been showered with material possessions, and I’m sure Sammy will be too, it’s not what means the most to her. We mean the most to her. Our time spent working on puzzles, reading books, chasing her around the house, going to the park, is all she really wants. It may just be that she is too young, but so far she has never attempted to take a toy she likes from the store. She plays with it at the store, puts it on a shelf and walks out with nothing more than mine or Dennis’ hand and never throws a fit about it. If we were to detach her room from the rest of the house, I think she would honestly care less. As long as dad’s there to play and I’m there to sing, she might not even notice.

Our reality looks different than I expected because I was more of a boundaries person before we had kids. I thought there would be places in our house that were off limits or grown ups only. I cannot imagine it being like that now. Somewhere in between feeding a child from my body, watching her sleep, and obsessing if her temperature was 99 instead of 98.6, I lost all boundaries. I am like one liquid woman who feels connected and flowing through every member of our house. It’s amazing. Dennis and I were watching her sleep last night and he said he couldn’t imagine her not sleeping in our bed. Me either, and I know the time will come when she doesn’t want to.

I don’t want Sammy to feel like the hands me down baby or like we didn’t care enough to do all the first baby things with him. It’s not that way at all. Like I said, it’s just a mind set difference and the fact that we were so overly prepared with Wren that we can still use what we have to avoid being wasteful. Sammy and Wren are already distinct, unique, perfect little beings on their own, and any difference in how we prepare for them is not a reflection of our love. It’s just us meeting their needs. Every child is different. You don’t prepare for them or raise them exactly the same. It doesn’t mean you love one more than the other or expect more or less from one than the other. It means you are looking at them as individuals and making your decisions accordingly instead of adopting the one-size-fits-all version of parenting. Though I’m sure we’re destined to make mistakes everyday, I am comfortable with where we are now and how we got here. And I can say this: the excitement of adding another person to our family is just as awesome the second time around.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What's Scarier: Zombies or Stripper Poles?

There are maybe 45 random blog entries I could write at this exact moment. Life has been rewarding, interesting, and full lately and the fuller the life the less time I seem to make to write about it. I’ve been reprioritizing, and finding a time to write--something I do for nothing more than selfish pleasures right now--has been difficult. But that’s a whole different blog entry.

The main thing occupying my mind today is my students, what I see in them, what is good, what is scaring the crud out of me as someone who will be old and helpless when they are running the world. What parents choose to allow their kids to digest into their bodies and minds is their business. I am only speaking as a somewhat objective outsider who grades creative short story assignments. My thoughts: turn off the tv, video games, and any music that includes the words “ho”, “pole”, “disco stick”, or any reference to “capping someone”. I think zombies as an entire genre should also be outlawed. Quite frankly, at seven months pregnant I almost couldn’t get through some of the “stories” I had to read due to nausea. I had to soldier through so I could let the students know exactly why they would be rewriting their rough drafts. I told them from the beginning to make them school appropriate and was pretty specific on what that meant, but I finally realized something this year: this IS what they consider appropriate. When you can see strippers, shootings, and someone getting their throat slit (sorry Lost, I loved you but this is primetime before kids are in bed tv viewing and I almost puked seeing the throat slitting) before 8:00 and this is “family time”, the word appropriate takes on a whole new meaning. When the only radio stations I can turn on with my daughter in the car are Christian stations, 98.7 KLUV, or my classical station so my child won’t learn four letter words or slang for sexual favors, something is not right.

I’m not that old, I’m completely AGAINST censorship, and I am for parents raising their kids, not society. I’m just wondering why we don’t stop pouring our money into this kind of entertainment, which only allows it to thrive. At the very least, can we stop buying it for our kids or letting them view or hear it?

I’m sure none of this is startling to anyone who is ever around kids. I just think most people in education see things on a larger scale, and that’s what makes it alarming. You think kids aren’t affected by violence? Yeah, that’s the problem. They don’t flinch when people are stabbed, shot, or eaten by zombies. They could write screenplays that are more gruesome than most of my nightmares. It’s so second nature for them, as is a completely casual attitude toward “hooking up”. Doesn’t the fact that they aren’t outwardly phased mean they have somehow been affected in a more permanent, more disturbing way?

Lest you feel this blog is coming from a home where only pure things enter our minds, don’t be mistaken. Honestly, we rarely, and I mean almost never, turn on the TV at our house. However, Dennis and I do have a show we watch that has some gruesomeness in it, and that’s Fringe. Do we watch it when my daughter is around? Never. We order the Netflix videos after the season has been released and have a date night on the couch. Am I becoming a more intellectual human being watching this show? Probably not, but I still do it. It’s one of my few pointless outlets, and it’s viewed on an extremely limited basis. But there are still temptations everywhere you look, and even though I’m not as impressionable as a child or teen, I still don’t think some habits benefit me. Reading trash magazines while I wait in line at the grocery store? Probably killing brain cells I might need one day. Accidentally listening to a Kesha song where it took me a full minute to realize she was encouraging me to get “my drunk text on” and take my clothes off because I was so distracted by the beat? I don’t even want to relive that experience it makes me feel so stupid. But I know better than to defend this behavior. I can acknowledge it and say, with Christ’s help, I’m really trying to eliminate things that in no way could ever be seen as glorifying to Him. My students on the other hand actually attempted to defend watching The Real Housewives of wherever(never seen it) because of the lessons you can learn from it. Lessons? Don’t go on reality TV because you only end up looking stupid? Do you have to actually watch reality TV to understand that lesson?

The truly scary part: I have amazing kids this year. The kids are not bad; they’re just a true reflection of what our society chooses to value and promote wrapped in 13 year old bodies that serve as a startling reminder of how off track our priorities are now. Believe it or not, I would like my children to be surprised, alarmed, and appalled if they see anyone shot, stabbed, or eaten by a zombie. I want my daughter to slap the first guy who refers to her using any terms I’ve heard in a rap song. Maybe violence is not the Christian answer, but if anyone besides her husband mentions anything about a “disco stick” around her, so help me, I will probably slap them myself. And for ladies even attempting to date my son, you are not immune. Don’t show up at my house wearing stripper heels. I’ll knock you off the porch steps.

There’s enough scary, questionable stuff in the world. Kids don’t need to have seen most of it in some form before they hit puberty. It goes back to being an intentional parent, and yes, it’s exhausting. I think it’s worth it though. From where I’m sitting, I can tell you the cost of not being intentional is pretty high. Our kids are paying it.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Going to the dogs

It was supposed to be a peaceful walk. I even left my ipod at home so I could just focus on the sounds of the night, maybe meditate a little bit (if you can technically meditate while moving) on what God has been teaching me and de-stress from the day. That’s what I was looking for last night when I started my walk around our neighborhood about 8:30. It was a little late, but I stayed close to the house. Turns out, being within 20 feet of your house does not ensure safety.

I’m not the kind of person who dislikes animals. My family has an unfortunate history with pretty much every pet who made its way into our home, but I like animals. We just don’t have the time or desire for a pet right now. However, we are pretty much situated in the middle of pet crazy neighbors who think that if one dog is good, five is even better. That’s fine with me, but I do believe that leash laws and pick up your own animals’ poo laws still exist. So I am never too happy to find my foot in a vaguely recognizable mess within my own yard, and I was especially perturbed when a dog came running towards my toddler last week leaving her the option of being attacked or jumping into the road. The owners were right behind the dog holding the leash. Unfortunately, if the leash is not attached to the dog, it doesn’t work. Who knew? Dennis grabbed Wren in enough time for the dog to realize it was a three on one fight and for its owner to jog over, put that pesky leash back on its collar and giggle. No harm, so I grumbled a little and forgot about it.

Then last night I encountered Cujo. Walking on the sidewalk across the street from my house, I heard a dog barking and growling and then felt it breathing on my left calf. It had jumped out of a dark alley and was inches from my leg looking for a reason to strike. I’m seven months pregnant, holding my car keys and pretty much frozen to the pavement at that point. I cannot remember what to do if a dog attacks, or how to keep one from attacking. All that keeps going through my mind are the bear safety videos Dennis made me watch before we went hiking in Oregon. I vacillated between rolling into a ball and playing dead and trying to find a tree to climb. That’s all I could remember, and I couldn’t get straight in my head which one to do when because I got bored halfway through the videos and told Dennis all I had to do to be safe from a bear was run faster than him. So, for some reason I put my hands in the air like I was being arrested and backed away saying stop in a relatively calm voice. I made eye contact, decided against it, looked at the pavement, kept backing up and realized Cujo was following me, still growling. This dog was not huge, maybe up to my knees, but it had teeth. If it can bite me, I don’t really care how big it is. Plus, it was not in a particularly good mood, so I was not having positive feelings about this situation. And I’m not sure how good my fighting skills would have been since it’s getting hard to punch around my ever expanding belly. The car keys seemed like an option, but that’s all I had. I kept backing, and when I decided to back into the street and try to get to my house, it didn’t attempt to come with me.

Once I made it to the hallway, fear evaporated and anger replaced it. This was supposed to be my relaxing walk. This is my neighborhood. I pay HOA fees! Why do I have to worry about dog attacks? Maybe the owners didn’t know the dog had escaped from its yard, and that’s the only thing that kept me from leaving a message on Animal Controls emergency line. Most of the other walkers had disappeared by the time I was chased into my house, so I figured the owners would realize Cujo had escaped the next day and deal with it before he amputated anyone’s leg.

The thing is, Wren likes dogs. I don’t want to teach her to be scared of them, but we do teach her that you don’t run up on them or touch them. We ask permission from any owner before we go near them because I understand that people can be as threatening to animals as animals are to people. I’m just looking for the same thing and really hoping the poo, leash-less animals, and attempted dog attacks don’t escalate. All of this has happened in about a two week period, so I’m praying it is a coincidence and not a sign of things to come. I don’t want to be the person who reports someone’s dog. I also don’t want to be the pregnant woman in the hospital unable to receive very much medical treatment because I’m pregnant. What happens when a dog bites you and certain antibiotics and pain meds can’t be used due to risks to the baby? Not finding out the answer to that question would be great. And even worse than that, I don't want to be the mom of a child who is attacked by a dog. My mind won't even go there.

I’m trying to think as a Christian how I should handle this, and I know it’s probably to talk to the owners personally first. However, I don’t have the ability to link the poo with the correct dogs DNA, and I am not going around a blind alley corner to find out whose yard Cujo resides in. We’ll see. I’m attempting another “relaxing” walk tonight, but I may have my pepper spray in hand this time. I don’t usually carry it because I’m just stupid enough to accidentally spray myself, but I’m willing to take that risk if Cujo goes into full attack mode. Maybe I need to find an indoor relaxing activity.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rubber Ducky, You’re the One

I tired of the idea of multitasking months ago. Honestly, I believe that I can have 10 things on my to-do list and I will get them done faster if I work on one at a time, not five at the same time. What I finish is actually quality, and I’m not losing my mind trying to juggle returning a phone call while answering email and cooking dinner at the same time. I usually end up emailing the wrong person while not listening to the person on the phone and burning dinner. It’s not quality.

Apparently I even need to stop multitasking on some of the tasks that should be somewhat intuitive, at least while I’m pregnant. This realization came courtesy of an unfortunate bathtub incident on Sunday. I was running bath water, stepping in the bath water while having a conversation with my husband and trying to reach for my daughter who wanted in the bath with me when it happened: I was violated by a rubber ducky! Wren has about six rubber duckies, so I’m not completely sure who the culprit was, but I sat my tush on a ducky beak, flung my whole body backwards and sat in shock. Luckily, this fall did not lead to contractions and an emergency room visit, though it did lead to some laughs from husband and daughter.

It was amusing, but it did bring back the thought that multitasking is a myth. The brain needs to focus on one thing at a time to truly comprehend. It’s safer(that’s a shout out to all you crazies who text while you drive) and I feel healthier when I’m not doing the chicken-with-my-head-cut-off dance. It took me a long time to realize the root of my disorganization was just my tendency to take on too much and not prioritize what needed to be done first. Even if I could get it prioritized, I still never felt like doing one thing at a time was good enough, like I was cheating because I wasn’t 100% stressed and ready to scream. Luckily, I’m over that feeling.

I have to credit one huge change in our lives that has helped me eliminate the need for multitasking and that is pretty much doing away with our cell phones. I know, this is blasphemy for most people, but it is absolute bliss! We installed a home phone in June, went on a prepaid plan where we have so few minutes a month available that it has to pretty much be emergency only and life became much simpler. Here’s why:

People can’t find you, therefore they stop looking:
I remember when my phone would ring and it always seemed like I had to answer it. There was a sense of emergency revolving around the fact that someone was calling me right then and what if they needed something. Even if I didn’t answer, I had their voice message or text just waiting and this lent a feeling of needing to respond when a need wasn’t really there. Now, people call my cell, it’s usually off or not with me, and then they call the home phone if they really need something. I check the home phone at the end of the day and call back who I want when I want. And when people don’t really need anything, they stop calling and this frees up a ton of time you spend calling them back just to find out they only called you because they were bored.

Relationships are better when they’re not casual:
Speaking of people who call when they’re bored, don’t you just love the people who call because you’re their from here to there person? You know, that person they call on the way to the grocery store or to pick up their kids? They don’t need to talk to you, maybe don’t even want to, but they are so used to doing something all the time that sitting in the car in silence or with only the radio freaks them out. They call you, fake interest until they reach their destination, and then you don’t hear from them again until they are going somewhere else and happen to see your number in their phone. Yeah, these aren’t quality conversations. I am now a fan of the old school style phone conversations that involve putting my child to bed, getting something warm to drink and having a conversation with a person where this is no predestined time for it to end. Those are good, and honestly, I don’t have as many phone conversations as I did before giving up the cell, but they’re better when I do.

Texting…I just don’t have words:
I hate it. I am not a technology hater, but I hate texting. I realize this confession will make me unpopular with 99% of the population, but I'm ready to be honest. I hate it because 8th graders think you spell you as u, and cause as cuz, and they get seriously offended when this is not accepted on a formal paper in my class. I hate it because on a regular basis I am having conversations with people who then pull out their cell phones and respond to a text from someone else. By the way, this is not multitasking, it’s just rude. Really, if I bore you that much then just walk away. It would be less irritating. I hate it because by the time I type out one text, I could have called and said what I needed to say therefore making it a huge time waster. I just hate it.

Anyway, that’s my rant for the night. Rubber ducky bum violation = bad. More time with family doing one thing at a time and not living glued to a cell phone = good.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


We are in the middle of ear infection hell. Allergic to pretty much any effective antibiotic on the market, Wren has had the same ear infection for 10 days and the only change is it is now in both ears instead of just the one it originally started in. Not exactly the progress we were hoping for.

I realize in the grand scheme of things this is not the end of the world, but it has thrown ours slightly off balance this weekend. We now have to see an ENT to check for hearing loss, our regular pediatrician to start food allergy testing so we can pinpoint why a child who has never had strep, a respiratory infection or any other illness cannot shake ear infections, and we have to honestly consider the possibility of tubes despite how hard we have fought it for 20 months.

In the midst of this, I saw why Dennis and I balance each other out so well. This morning, a Sunday no less, when Wren was screaming, grabbing both ears and on the verge of hyperventilation, I was torn up inside. Dennis was too, but I think he handled it better. I didn’t handle it well because it was the waiting period. Wait for an emergency care center to open, wait to see what they say, wait to see what our pediatrician on call will say about what the emergency care center person said, and on and on and on. I don’t wait well. Dennis does. But the tables turned when I spoke to our pediatrician and we started making a plan. Within minutes I looked up all the ENTs she recommended, including their age, number of children, office hours, and the mood and temperament of their office staff. I had phone numbers listed, stats and risk on procedures documented and a slew of questions written in my spiral. I was armed. The illusion of control was intoxicating. Waiting was over. When phones are turned on in the morning, I will strike with a vengeance. By this point, Dennis was the lump of a mess I had been hours before.

It’s not that he wasn’t ready to act. He knows the food testing, poo collecting, and hearing test are all necessary to try to continue to avoid tubes but also figure out if there is any other viable option. It’s just that his mind went a different way than mine: are they going to puncture her eardrum this week to test the junk inside? How do they food allergy test? Is the new antibiotic she’s on going to cause her to be sick(diarrhea was pretty much guaranteed, so fun for the week we collect poo!)? How traumatized is she going to be after a week of probing, testing, and feeling sick?

All of this had crossed my mind and still does, but I saw it as doing something, a means to an end that will hopefully include the end of all ear infections forever. Yes, it will be a messy week or month or whatever, but we’re moving. I’m the person who would rather be going 10 miles an hour in slow traffic than just sitting even if it means I have to do the whole stop and start thing constantly. I like to measure progress. Maybe it just means I’m not patient.

Either way, I expect it’s going to take both of our personalities to weather whatever the ear future holds. Whenever one of us struggles, the other just seems to be okay or at least functional at that moment. It’s a nice balance in a situation that seems to have no balance right now. But I am afraid it may prove what I already feared: I haven’t learned much about patience. That illusion of control still appeals to me a little too much. Then again, I found an Indian proverb that says “Call on God, but row away from the rocks.” Maybe I’m the rower. While Dennis sits patiently in the boat seeking guidance, maybe I’m the one who feels better with paddles in both hands, praying but using what little skill I have to row. I don’t know. I’ll pray, I’ll row, and somehow, we’ll hopefully land in a place that doesn’t involve ear infections, allergic reactions, or words like poo and collecting lumped together.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A year and two sizes later

Trying to convince my husband that buying panties while pregnant is not a good idea has failed the last couple of months, so I took some of the birthday cash I received and decided to surprise him. He had a final in college on Thursday, and I thought it would be perfect if he came home and could see my new undies in the Victoria’s Secret bag since he has been complaining that I’ve had the old ones too long. I overcame the voice in my head that kept saying, “Do not buy panties while pregnant, do not look at your butt while pregnant, none of this is smart.” The lesson learned from this is always listen to the voice.

Wren and I set out on my 31st birthday and had a pretty good first trip to Victoria’s Secret. I picked out undies, she put some on her head and roamed around, and we were out of there in under ten minutes. It wasn’t until she was napping that I decided to try on my new purchases. I wasn’t expecting any major surprises; I had purchased the same size I always wore. There was a surprise waiting when I put them on though: they disappeared. That’s right, my pregnant butt ate them! Now I have been trying to tell Dennis that with this pregnancy my butt has also become pregnant, but in his always supportive way he says that it’s not true and I’m just being paranoid. The panty eating butt incident is proof.

I didn’t get too upset. I mean, I knew my other ones were a little snug and you can only blame that on too many trips through the dryer for so long. So, Wren and I trudged back to Victoria’s Secret to trade them in, something you can do if you’ve tried them on over underwear and they are not “obviously worn”. Who tries to return obviously worn panties I wonder, but, I digress. This second trip was a little different. Wren tried to use a bra as a slingshot and actually got her arms tangled up in some bright orange panties. However, she was distracted and happy, her slingshot aim wasn’t great so no one got hurt, and it gave me some time to stop and really think about my butt size and what would fit over my newfound ten pounds of cellulite. I decided to go up a size. That’s right, one size. I even consulted a 17 year old, size 0 sales associate before making this decision. Her advice: “Maybe you can just buy what you think you will need after the baby comes, you know, when everything falls back into place. By the way, get the ones with the lace at the top because those will stretch while your belly is still stretching.”
And yes, this individual is still alive. I was even so full of the love of Christ that day that I didn’t bother to shatter her no body fat world by telling her that things don’t fall back into place after you have a child, they just fall. You try to catch them with underwire and big butt cheek covering panties. I just smiled and resisted the urge to tell Wren to aim the bra slingshot at her.

So, we left. Why did I not try them on at the store, you ask? We were running startlingly close to bedtime, something I don’t usually do, and locking Wren in a small room with me while I tried to analyze the amount of butt coverage this size offered just didn’t seem wise. Besides, I went up a size. That should be good, right?

Well, the birthday panty plan failed. When Dennis came home all he found was a wife who had tried on five more pairs of panties that didn’t fit(one actually cut off circulation to my thighs) and was trying desperately not to blame him for the fact that I now know EXACTLY how much bigger my butt is. He had good intentions. And really, I love my pregnancy body, I loved it the whole pregnancy with Wren. This pregnancy has been no different until now, and I finally know the difference: I never looked at myself from the waist down before when I was pregnant. I definitely was not stupid enough to look at myself in a full length mirror wearing nothing but underwear. Am I getting dumber with each pregnancy?

I still love my pregnancy body, most of it, and I don’t feel 31, whatever that is supposed to feel like. This experience showed me that I have matured, and I don’t just mean put on weight. This experience five years ago would have led to tears for most of the day. Now, Wren and I laughed, put panties on our heads and called it a day. My body makes babies and milk, so I think that makes up for my bottom being a bit on the J. Lo side right now. I don’t want to teach my daughter that panty size is a defining factor for self esteem. Plus, I did realize that I’ve been letting some things slide, important things that I need to address soon. If I am going to push a child out of my body without drugs in less than four months, I need to start getting my body ready for that. I wouldn’t sign up for a marathon without practicing my running, so I don’t think I should enter labor in the not so wonderful shape I’m in now. And that’s when I realized I’m more concerned about my health than my clothes size, more concerned about keeping my body in a healthful condition than having no cellulite. Don't get me wrong, rock hard legs like I had when I spent the better part of my day exercising would be nice, but that's not my long term goal, even after the cellulite shock. I want to teach my children to focus on health, not numbers on the scale or sizes on clothes because I think when your focus is right the rest of it just falls into place. That was my a-ha moment: after 31 years, I have finally discovered how to put on my big girl panties(literally) and be the example I want my children to see. I won’t just be saying it, I’m going to live it. And really, only 31 years to learn. I’m a pretty quick study.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Great and Real Expectations

Baby Alive farted today. This may not sound eventful, but it was actually kind of scary to see and hear a doll with such life like features fart and then scream “hug me” repeatedly for 20 minutes. Wren started freaking out a little and I thought about putting a pillow over Baby Alive’s head to muffle the sound. However, I had visions of Wren in a few months trying to quite Sammy’s cries with a pillow to the face and thought better of it. That would totally be my fault. So we just laid her on the bed and let her freak out until she closed her huge eyes and fell into a peaceful slumber.

Baby Alive was only acting this way because her batteries are low. She’s usually polite, not too demanding, one of Wren’s favorites. It was a great visual demonstration of what can happen when our batteries get low. It was also a freaky reminder of that Chucky movie from when I was a kid.

It’s easy for me to forget the tired, run down times when I’m not tired or run down. Right now, I feel so alive and like I’m accomplishing so much. Wren and I have our summer schedule pretty ironed out, the house is generally in some kind of order, and I feel completely rested. Dennis is about to embark on his last semester of college before receiving his Bachelors in December. It’s good. The second trimester rocks. And though it’s not easy thinking about taking Wren back to daycare, I feel like we could be on the cusp of life changes that will eventually eliminate that need and allow us to grow our family even more. I’m not looking forward to returning to work, but I am working hard on doing it with the enthusiasm my students deserve. Plus, I have maternity leave just around the corner.

There have been days in the last two weeks when things have fallen so beautifully into place that I actually felt like I should be wearing a Suzy Homemaker tiara and sash. However, I have to remember that there will be days I want to toss the tiara and hang myself with the sash, days that dinner isn’t hot and on the table at six, days that my house is not clean and I am not functioning on eight full hours of sleep. There will be days I’ve been locked in a room with 75 eighth graders and all their attitudes, and I will want to scream. I can’t wait to meet Sammy, but I know that I’m going to be a Jersey cow for the better part of the first two years of his life, and I’ll be trying to sleep and keep up with a two year old the rest of the time. I remember the first few months with Wren as a newborn as some of the most beautiful moments of my life. I didn’t care that nothing was clean, that I pretty much just served as a milking machine-in fact breast feeding was one of my favorite parts and I’m sure will be again-, and that we only ate because people from our church brought us food. I knew I was accomplishing the most important task by just being with my child and not being anal about everything else. I know it will be that way with Sammy too, but I also know I won’t be napping when he naps unless Wren happens to be napping too. I know we’ll be doing play dates for Wren so she’s not bored instead of just laying in the recliner semi-unconscious together. And I am looking forward to balancing both. However, I know one thing my daughter and I for sure have in common: if not well rested and well fed, we are beast. We are Baby Alive farting and begging for love and not wanting to be hugged when someone finally does approach us. We’re nuts. And I do anticipate the double or triple or more sleep deprivation that comes with having two children instead of just one. So I’m trying to recharge now, rest, cook, play, and just take it one day at a time. I figure if I get into the habit of this it will be easier to accomplish when I am run down with low batteries.

I will not set unrealistic expectations. When Sammy is born and I am chasing one child and constantly feeding the other, I will not scrub toilets, cook if I’m exhausted and need a nap, try to pretend I have it all under control. I will laugh and enjoy every moment and remember that at some point I will be able to clean with my two little helpers beside me, return phone calls, sleep through the night. Every moment with them is so unique and fleeting. I won’t miss them because I’m worried about doing something else. Even when my battery is low, I will bask in the happiness of the moment and remember that real grown up junk is always going to be around for me to do. Little ones grow too fast.

Should my plan of just letting go and not stressing fail and you find me having a Baby Alive like tantrum, please don’t put a pillow over my face. Just cover me up with a blanket and let me nap. That’s probably all I’ll need anyway.

Monday, July 26, 2010

They’re just not that into me

Well, I finally heard back from a job I was interested in. Let me clarify: I didn’t hear back. I stalked their office line dumping my story on the first poor soul who answered the line and was told what I think I figured out weeks ago. If they were interested in me, they would have called, they’ve started and almost finished filling the positions I applied for, and that email they went to the trouble to send saying I would hear from them by phone or email soon was, well, not true. Plus, they haven’t taken the jobs off their site to show they have been filled because then they wouldn’t get calls from girls like me, and who doesn’t want to hear from me? I did have the privilege of leaving another message for HR, a different woman than the first two who never returned my calls, just to verify that my resume is somewhere in a shred pile. I was told to leave a voicemail, but she’s a very busy lady. Apparently it’s busy work hiring people who aren’t me.

I’m not upset about being passed over for the job. Honestly, I was qualified. You could compare everything they asked for with my resume and I fit the bill completely. However, I’m sure about a thousand more applicants did as well. My issue is with the lack of any kind of follow up. I get it; if 10,000 people apply for a job, all of them will not be called and told they’re not needed. However, when you send communication over a two to three month period that says you will hear back, that’s another story. I have emails that say I will be contacted. If you’re going to go to the trouble to send an email, here’s one I’d like to see:

Dear Applicant:

We will contact you by phone or email if we are remotely interested in your skills. For the rest of you, if we don’t contact you by such and such date, you are never going to hear from us. Your resume has been shredded. You are either under or over qualified, don’t have exactly what we want, or the font on your resume gave us nausea. Better luck next time.


It’s honest. I could so get on board for a company like that. The band aid rip pain that would occur from such an email and never being contacted again would be so much quicker than the months of false hope offered by one line that was never meant to be taken literally. “We’ll call you…yeah right.”

The good news is this didn’t ruin my day. It actually didn’t even interfere with five minutes of my day unless you include the time I spent calling, being rejected, and leaving a voicemail. I think I’m growing a little, even slowly. I read a quote somewhere about God punishing us by giving us what we pray for. I’ll try to find it because it’s much more eloquent than my short version, but it basically says that if God really wants to punish you, He’ll give you what you think you want instead of what He has planned. This must not have been part of the plan. I’ve been blessed by unanswered prayers before, or prayers that were answered with a resounding no. I’m pretty sure I prayed to marry my first boyfriend. Nice guy, but he’s not Dennis who is my puzzle piece and father to Wren and Sammy. I am glad that one was a no. I’m sure I’ve prayed for a lot of things that have not come to fruition, and maybe I should remember to thank God for that. In my mind this was the perfect job. In reality, it may have been a nightmare. Or maybe I’m meant to work for this company at another time in my life. Whatever the case, I like answers. I can handle nos. I can handle the fact that I will not be what every person or company wants. Just tell me. I’m not good at reading between the lines. The only time I try to guess at what someone is thinking is when I ask my daughter if she needs to go poopy and she doesn’t answer one way or the other. Then I watch for signs. Even then, I’m wrong 50% of the time. I wish she’d just say yes or no or her famous, “oh, poop”.

Plus, I have a job I’m going back to in August. Though I don’t even allow myself to think about the pain of the daycare drop off again, it’s a job I love with people I like. I know how lucky I am to have it when almost everyone we know has been affected by lay offs at some point over the last couple of years. We’re just trying to future plan for when I will need to be home to homeschool the kids and still bring in income so we can both retire comfortably and our kids can go to college. And other opportunities have shown themselves in the last couple of weeks. It may not be the thunderbolt, arrow pointing confirmation I was hoping for, but I think we’re heading in the right direction.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mission (sort of) Accomplished

Our only real goal for the weekend was shoes. Dennis needs another pair of brown work shoes, but due to his weird, wide feet, finding shoes in his size is a nightmare. However, the brown work shoes are dead. They cannot be revived. I’m embarrassed he’s worn them this long.

We left the house this afternoon with that one mission in mind. Our schedule was already off because we missed church due to Wren’s very odd sleeping schedule lately. She won’t nap until three and goes to bed at a decent time at night, but she can’t stay in a deep sleep for more than three or four hours. This is a new, exhausting development and we’re all struggling because of it. I guess I did get what I asked for a few weeks ago when I wished she would stop waking up at six am. Now that she can’t sleep at night, I get a couple of extra hours of sleep in the morning. However, it’s more exhausting than before because the night is so restless. Just more proof that God has a great sense of humor and isn’t afraid to show it.

Anyway, we just needed shoes and knew she wasn’t napping anytime soon. Our first stop did not render satisfactory results, so we decided to go the mall and look there. Plus, Wren could roam around and hopefully get tired enough to nap. We walked the mall, hit up all the sample trays because it’s a great way to eat unhealthy foods in small quantities so you can convince yourself they don’t count, and rode the carousel. Watching the ice skaters took up almost half an hour, then we left. Wren fell asleep in the car with food in both hands and slept for two hours.

As Dennis and I cooked dinner, we marveled at how easy that nap had gone and how maybe we were pulling out of this crazy sleep phase. It only occurred to us an hour after coming home from the mall that we had no brown work shoes. In fact, we did not even enter a store in the mall to look for shoes. We became so preoccupied with just marveling at our daughter’s every move that the reason we left the house completely escaped us. Technically, I guess this means we did not accomplish our mission, but I still feel a sort of accomplishment. I never want all the things on the to-do list to get in the way of a really good day, the kind that has no agenda and no goal. This wasn’t supposed to be one of those days, but I’m glad it turned into one. Unfortunately, that makes some other day this week find shoes day. God bless the weird, wide feet.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Poop Diving and other things to do during a power outage

We lost power tonight due to something big breaking, I don’t know what, but the whole neighborhood was out. In honor of this occurrence, I want to share a few fun ideas for activities you can participate in if this ever happens to you.

Play how do I get in my house

We pulled into our driveway and I pressed the button on our garage door opener, but the garage door didn’t open. After trying several more times, we tried Dennis’. Nothing. Dennis thought there might be a power outage, so we went through our back door which was only made possible because we had Dennis’ keys, not mine. I misplaced my back door key after a long argument I had with it one day for getting stuck in the key hole. I removed it from my key ring as punishment and then it ran away.

Try to find things to eat that don’t require heat

We came home for the purpose of eating, but with no stove, microwave, oven, and the things in our fridge getting ready to ruin, there wasn’t much appealing going on in the food department. I settled on cereal, Wren had granola, and Dennis is still holding out.

Inadvertently teach your child the word “nipples”
Still not sure how this one happened. Wren has always called girl parts milk because of breastfeeding, but tonight she grabbed her milk makers and started pinching them. When Dennis told her to stop pinching her nipples, she then pinched them harder but screamed nipples while doing it. Who needs TV, radio, or internet when you have this to watch?

Go look for your purse only to realize you didn’t lose it
I hid my purse when we went into a store and then left it in the car when we realized the power was out. I decided to go back out to the car to get it, which means I went from one horrible, hot situation to another one outside. I could not find my purse, so I tromped back inside and searched the house before sadly deciding it was lost. One more trip to the baking car revealed that I hid it well, but it was still there. After this, I was actually hotter than before which I did not believe was possible, and I was suffering from butt sweat.

Poop Dive

Oh, a favorite and a first for us! We decided to let Wren play in the tub because it was cool and she loves water. After five minutes of Dennis supervising Wren’s bath playtime, I heard him scream for me. I then heard him say to Wren, “you didn’t do anything wrong, it’s okay.” I had guessed by that point, but confirmation was available in four poop logs floating peacefully in our tub. Wren watched them from outside the tub as Dennis and I tried to decide how to get them out. Dennis claimed it happened so fast, that she said diaper-her code for I’m about to poop-and before he could get her out, she assumed the hands and knees position and started launching. I told him it happened on his watch so was technically his clean up responsibility. He retrieved the poop shovel we took on our Oregon hikes, which prior to tonight never actually touched poop. His first attempts only split the logs into smaller pieces. I offered to take a shot but played the pregnancy card when I realized how nasty those things were up close. I even threatened to throw up. He retrieved them all, we disinfected the bath tub, and we’re hoping to play this game again…oh…never.

Get naked and show your neighbors

I’m pregnant. It was 86 degrees in my house. And really, I don’t need an excuse to run around completely naked at 20 weeks pregnant in my own house. All the same, I may have created quite a situation for the neighbors to discuss at our National Night Out block party in a couple of weeks. I was walking in the living room in all my naked glory when I started to wonder why our kitchen nook, where Dennis was trying to work on homework, was so bright. I quickly realized it was because he had opened the blinds to get some light, and our neighbors’ window is right outside our window that was providing that light. Hopefully, they didn’t see anything in the short time it took me to get a blanket around me. I guess I’ll find out if I get stranger than usual looks at the block party.

Visit the neighbors you haven’t streaked in front of and show them your underwear

All the neighbors started convening outside to watch the men try to fix whatever was broken that caused the outage. I was holding Wren and had neglected to button my shorts because it was hot and I’m a little big for those shorts now. My neighbor politely informed me that Wren’s leg had hiked my shirt up and she could now see all my business, which thank God just ended up being my panties because I was wearing underwear. At first I was embarrassed, but then I remembered that this woman answered her door naked one time when I came over, so I figured we had both shared our business, and I didn’t do it on purpose.

All of these activities are memorable, free, and will give you tons to talk about with friends! Try them today, and pass this on to anybody who might ever be without power and find themselves bored. I’m so happy to have provided this entry all about free, wholesome family entertainment.