May 31, 2007

Entry for May 31, 2007...

The Cat Daddy said I should lay off the quizzes and do some real writing, so here I am...

...trying to gain some perspective & keep my wits about me. Everything feels just a little out of whack lately--real life tends to do that to me every so often. Nothing catastrophic, just a buncha little realities put together. Life is busy, as usual, but I've learned that nothing sends me into a tailspin faster than having to deal with my back issues, which I've been doing a lot of. The whole sacral shear-thing is truly a pain in my butt. And since everything is connected, consequently it's a pain in my whole left side. The good news is that I have people who can help me to get better and stronger, and realigned and all that. The annoying part is waiting for appointments, referrals, and all. So in the meantime I have to be very aware of the effect on my mood. Anyone who deals with chronic pain knows how much it can affect your life. It doesn't even have to hurt all that bad...the prolonged effect is the kicker. But believe me, I'm way better off now than I was several years ago. My initial injury happened in, like, 1994 and I spent nine years treating symptoms and searching for a doc who could help me get better and stay better. So now, to know exactly what's wrong and to have a plan for dealing with it is a wonderful thing, and makes the pain fairly bearable...

...His Highness's latest tricks include rolling from his back to his tummy and sitting in the bouncy-chair (Johnny Jump-Up type thing) hung from our kitchen doorway. I found one of the nicer ones, with a tray, at a yard sale for FIVE of my best finds so far this year! He also enjoys telling elaborate, yet unintelligible, stories and chewing on toys. He likes rubbery things and crinkly things, but his favorite toy? A terrycloth washcloth. This month has included visits from both grandmas, as well as one of his great-grandmas, so he has been in baby heaven with all the cuddling and oogling. As if we never do that anyway. His next big milestone will be transitioning from the Pack N Play bassinet-insert to his crib, as he gained 4 LBS this last month and is fast approaching the weight limit of the bassinet-thing...

...lots more to say, but I'd better sign off for now.

May 28, 2007

I Am Awesome!

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
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It's good to know that eight years of Christian school were not in vain...

May 24, 2007

OK, Now My Feet Are Tingling...

CAIRO, Egypt - Customs officers at Cairo's airport on Thursday
detained a man bound for Saudi Arabia who was trying to smuggle 700 live snakes
on a plane, airport authorities said.

The officers were stunned when a passenger, identified as
Yahia Rahim Tulba, told them his carryon bag contained live snakes after he was
asked to open it.

Tulba opened his bag to show the snakes to the police and
asked the officers, who held a safe distance, not to come close. Among the
various snakes, hidden in small cloth sacks, were two poisonous cobras,
authorities said.

The Egyptian said he had hoped to sell the snakes in Saudi
Arabia. Police confiscated the snakes and turned Tulba over to the prosecutor's
office, accusing him of violating export laws and endangering the lives of other

According to the customs officials, Tulba claimed the snakes
are wanted by Saudis who display them in glass jars in shops, keep them as pets
or sell them to research centers.

The value of the snakes was not immediately

"Looks like you can't check exotic animals on a plane, so I guess I'll have to pile y'all into a bag and carry you on. Promise me you won't wriggle loose and bite anyone, OK?"

May 23, 2007

You May or May Not Know...

  1. That I have issues when it comes to using the phone. When I was about 8, I wanted to call my grandma and ended up talking to someone else's grandma, who thought I was "Jane," and we were all really confused until my mom got on the phone and determined I'd dialed the wrong number. I was so mortified--I shudder to think of it even now! It took me years (YEARS) after that to get up the courage to use the phone to even order pizza. I like to think I'm a lot better about it now, but I'm still not all that big on the telephone. Thanks, but I'll take email any day, with its emoticons and snarky remarks, over the phone, trying to interpret conversations on verbal cues alone.
  2. That I was the school spelling bee champ in 8th grade. I beat out Alison S., who was a brilliant sixth-grader, but misspoke a letter and that was that. I went to the district spelling bee and missed regionals by one spot ("inoculate"). Then I went to the ACSI spelling bee and missed state by one spot. Alison also went to the ACSI bee and made state. Lucky Alison.
  3. That I secretly like Neil Diamond. It was only recently that I came to terms with this and was able to admit it, largely due to the inspiring movie "Saving Silverman." Several years ago I chauffered Mom, Mom-In-Law, and Grandma to a Neil Diamond concert and had to feign disgust, both to them and myself. But I think even then, on some level, I knew I was enjoying myself.
  4. That I can write backwards. Every so often I go through a phase where I'll write backwards letters to friends, and the only way they can read them is to hold them up to a mirror (I glue them to construction paper so they can't just hold them up to the light. I'm slick like that). It was a skill I discovered one day while trying to write left-handed. I can't write left-handed worth beans.
  5. That I am good at hiding it when I get nervous.
  6. That I'm not that easily embarrassed, but when I do something truly embarrassing, like dialing the wrong number and talking to Jane's grandparents, I have a hard time letting myself off the hook.
  7. That I dabble in many hobbies--sewing, cycling, and geocaching, to name a few--and I have materials on hand for knitting and crocheting, but I draw the line at scrapbooking. It's just not meant to be.

Thanks to Linda for the Jesus name, Amen!

These Winds of Change Are A-Blowin'...

Every so often I feel like I've fallen way behind, as if life is whizzing past and I'm missing out on something. You know what at least part of it is? I ditched church this week. I still haven't figured out why, but I was overwhelmingly tired and didn't even budge from my bed until well into the second service. Good for my sanity, bad for keeping up with church happenings, as it turns out there are a lot of changes going on right now.

Two weeks ago the announcement was made that our pastor will be stepping down. It's a long story, but in the end, I think it all boils down to good things. No one's mad at anyone else, it's just time for him to spend more time with his family and be a layperson, while from the church's end it's time to more or less graduate from being a "church plant" and go wherever it is that God is taking us, with whomever he has in mind to take us there. The Good Pastor was a businessperson in a previous life, so it's not quite the dramatic change that it would be to a lifelong pastor-type...he's just going back to what he was doing before God called him to plant our church.

OK, but what I missed out on this week was the news that God seems to be calling The Good Pastor and his family far, far away for this next chapter of life. It seems a job offer came thru that he'd be flippin' nuts to turn down (apparently the company 'courted' him, and 'bent over backward' for him and all sorts of things that would make anyone want to say 'yes I'll move far, far away to work for you'), and to my knowledge there's really nothing holding him here. Extended family all live in other parts of the continent anyway, so that's that, and they're planning to leave in 2 months.

Personally, this is a bummer for me. I don't know The Good Pastor and his wife all that well, but I'm kinda buds with their daughters...we're all on the worship team together, so we goof off and plan apocalyptic/pyrotechnic worship sets and such. The second one, especially, I feel a sort of kindred-spirit vibe with. It's a bummer for them too, as they're both mid-high school. Ugh--that has to be the worst time thinkable to do a major move. What on earth is God thinking???

Oh, wait--he's God. We don't necessarily get to know that.

Given my own experiences though, I can attest to the fact that what seems flippin' nuts can, indeed, be exactly what is needed and beneficial. I hated (HATED) leaving home when the Cat Daddy went into the military...and it took me a long time to grieve and come to terms with my new life. I'm not saying I'm "all there," either (on any level), but most days when I take a look back all I can say to God is "you were right, I needed this; thank you."

So where some are reeling at this news, to me it is a familiar sadness. I've been the one leaving and I know how wrenching it is (every. single. time.), and I want to send them off well...for my own part to make sure they know what they've meant to my life and all that.

OH, and then there's this whole other side to the story...the rest of the church, those of us who will be 'left behind.' Bad expression. Those of us who will remain. Better. Being its own subculture (microcosm?), church has lots of quirky things that go on when a pastor leaves--transitions are tough in any aspect of life. Some tend to view "the pastor" as "the church," so when the pastor leaves they aren't quite sure how to carry on. So as a kneejerk response they might find another church (which is usually better than giving up on church altogether), which creates the unfortunate side effect of decreasing the church's size. Or maybe when the new guy comes in and can't help being different from the old pastor because he's not the old pastor, they don't like how the dynamics change, or that they change at all, so again, they look elsewhere. Same effect.

Our church is no exception. While people aren't exacly streaming out the nearest exit, there are those who are keeping their feelers out for whatever else might be out there, church-wise. We are in for an interesting summer and fall, I think.

It's only recently that I've been able to look at such topics with even a hint of objectivity. Usually change like this affects me deeply and personally. It doesn't usually occur to me that the same types of things can and do happen regularly in church life cycles. Instead, I panic. By now though, I've been in enough churches to see patterns and understand a little bit that that's exactly what happens all the time in church life cycles. For once, I'm not panicking. I think I've arrived on a higher plane of existence?

More likely it's due to the fact that, while we really like our church, the Cat Daddy and I don't have the history here that many families do. We weren't there for the early years of meeting in living rooms and doing porta-church in a school. And truth be told, soon enough we'll face leaving and moving onto wherever it is that we'll be going next. That's why we are sad, but it doesn't affect us as personally as it does others. It is a different perspective.

On the other hand, if the same situation were going on at our home church back in AZ, I'd be reeling, too. That's where my history is, and where I still have some semblance of roots and connection.

Anyway, I was already one down for having missed the big announcement Sunday, then later in the week I learned of some who are nosing around other churches, and even though I knew it was coming and was part of the normal dynamics of change, as soon as it touched my social circle, it did make me the slightest bit nervous (who, me??). I had my moment of "Holy crap, where have I been," to which I swiftly responded "Well, doofus, you've been taking care of a 5-month-old, and working part time, and you decided to attend the Church of St Mattress last week."

This is why support systems are good, be they friends, family, or professionals...or in my case some combination of all three. I could get all pious and say that in that moment I thought of Jesus, who is my eternal anchor, no matter how crazy things get. Not that he's not, but in that moment what I thought of was getting home to hug the Cat Daddy and His Highness, and be thankful that we are in our pack together.

Overheard Recently...

OK, more like "these were actual conversations I had"...

To a friend: "Since mom-in-law will be in town, I'll ask her to watch His Highness so I can take the kids to the vet. Oh, wait, I guess I have to start calling them 'the pets' since I call my kid 'the kid.'"

To the Cat Daddy: "I'm going to take the kids to the vet this week since they're due for their shots. While I'm there I'll ask them to check Pim for signs of infection, to see if we can get him to stop peeing everywhere."

CD: "When does His Highness go to the vet?"

Me, without batting an eye: "Next Tuesday."

Maybe I should ask the pediatrician if she can get His Highness to stop peeing everywhere, too?

May 18, 2007


Dude, the Miniature Killer's a CHICK!!

May 15, 2007

Accents, or Lack Thereof...

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
The Inland North
The Northeast
North Central
The South
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Hmmm...I'm from the West. I was a little surprised by how much Boston factored in there, but then again, I tend to pick up inklings of wherever I live, so there you have it.

I also disagree that places like southern Ohio & Indiana, and especially Missouri, don't have an accent. My own relatives say "Mizzuruh," and no one can convince me that there's no twang there.

via ChewyMom

May 8, 2007

Hero Homecoming...

Last week a solider was killed in Iraq, who happened to be from this area. Today his remains were flown to the base. Flightline activity was suspended while the casket was unloaded from the aircraft and transferred to the hearse. Then a motorcade consisting of the hearse, the soldier's family, and motorcycle and police escorts moved slowly along the roads on its way off base.

People came out of their offices and lined the roads--military, civilians, and contractors all--to pay their respects. While waiting the mood was genial; coworkers conversed among the quiet murmur, grateful for a day of New England sunshine. Soon security teams stopped traffic along our route. Those waiting to enter the gate held still. A semi-truck, resting in its turn lane, quieted its engine. Without a call to attention or warning, the crowd grew silent as people slipped to the front to view the procession as it approached. Airmen and soldiers stood at attention and saluted. Some civilians placed their hands over their hearts; the rest of us left them down by our sides.

Police vehicles...

...the hearse containing the soldier's remains, his coffin bearing the American flag...

...a limo containing, presumably, the soldier's family...

...the escort of civilian motorcyclists...

...and finally the last of the police vehicles.

All drove quietly and solemnly by and exited the gate as quickly as they'd approached us. In less than a minute it was over. A glance further up the route showed others going back to their respective buildings. The murmur of the crowd did not return as we silently walked back to our offices. And, as one man whispered, "That was that."

May 2, 2007

Poor Zoe's Spring Haircut...

The Cat Daddy did it. I drew the line at "Bic-ing" her.

On Breastfeeding and Stupid Weeks...

Last week was high on the stupidity scale. It was a rough week in the skerrib house.

To begin, His Highness and I had a cold. We are now on the upswing of things with only a remnant of symptoms, but a week ago at this time we were definitely ailing. "Snuffly" is how I would describe us.

Despite the cold, however, the doc declared His Highness healthy enough for his 4 month vaccinations. Guess what? Vaccinations when you're healthy are no fun, but vaccinations when you're snuffly are really no fun. They're, like, negative on the fun scale. I was spared from the sticking-and-screaming, as the Cat Daddy accompanied the Monkey Boy this time around, but of course I was around for the ensuing traumas of his body processing the dead bugs.

The hardest part of the whole thing was the realization that it's time to begin formula supplements with His Highness. Now to some, this would be a non-issue; to me, it was hard to accept. I'm all for people making their own informed decisions about breastfeeding vs. formula, but for my family I'm a huge advocate of the breastfeeding, and I am quite proud of the fact that for his first four months, His Highness had nary a drop of anything except breastmilk, plus a couple doses of anti-gas drops and Tylenol. I was working really hard with the pumping so he would have enough to eat at daycare, but to me it was well worth it.

Well, while he was beefy at birth, and then had settled into a weight curve on the lower end of the growth charts, this time he was not registering on the charts at all. And while I could debate the validity of such charts since they tend to be based on formula-fed infants, who tend to gain quicker than breastfed ones, the doc was concerned. And, as I mentioned before, it was the Cat Daddy who accompanied His Highness that day, so it was he who was there to talk with the doc and take her recommendations, and share them with me after the fact. And I have come to trust the doc--she has fervently supported the breastfeeding all along, and wants us to continue as long as we're comfortable, but she also wants to see a heavier Monkey Boy. So she and the Cat Daddy devised a good plan--formula at daycare, breastmilk at home, and no more pumping-under-pressure for me.

I was highly disappointed, but agreed that it was the best thing for my boy. Beginning that day, we offered His Highness some formula or pumped milk after each feeding and he took it...he was still hungry. Right away he slept easier and became even more laid-back than normal.

This was see results so quickly was a huge relief, but at the same time it was tough to think that my boy had been hungry and I hadn't realized it. And even amid the relief was a bit of grief that, for whatever reason, my own milk supply was not enough to sustain His Highness. My friend the Reverend's Wife says that you die a million deaths with your kids, meaning that moms are continually letting go of how they "thought things would be." As a crunchy-breastfeeding-type, I so wanted to exclusively breastfeed until it was time to introduce solids, which would not be until at least six months. From reading several websites I had concluded that if I just worked hard enough, that could and would (and should) be the case. Now I was faced with succumbing to the formula-monster. Rice cereal wasn't even an option (yet) this point it would make him feel fuller and he might not take in the calories he needs to put the weight on. No, it had to be formula. The one thing I'd hoped to avoid. Rats.

I chalk up my hangups to two main issues: pride and control. It's a noble cause for a mommy to want to breastfeed her child. It's a gift that many of us are happy to give. It's also a pride-thing, for me at least. I take some part of my identity as a mom from it. I think about the hard work I'm doing and my head puffs up ever-so-slightly. I am His Highness's food source. For anyone else to hold such a privilege requires me to relinquish a bottle of pumped milk. I'm the mommy and I had the control! Now I had to let go of my ideal.

While that first day was hard to take, several things have made this transition much smoother.
First has been the encouragement and concern from the doc and other friends in His Highness's and my life. Knowing my priorities/hangups, many people have deliberately reassured me that I'm doing everything I possibly can to feed and care for my son. I'm no lazy mom. Mrs. Roots, my cohort in crunchiness, went thru her own time of formula-supplementing Baby Roots. She not only understood why I was disappointed by the need for formula, but also was able to share some tips and tricks she had how to tell the difference between a bottle of formula and a bottle of breastmilk. Piece of cake, unless you've never even thought about it. Now I know.

Second has been the Cat Daddy, who is quite the able dad and most decidedly King of the House. He sensed when I was feeling overwhelmed, ordered me to take the day off, took a half day off himself, and encouraged me to call the lactation consultant.

Third was the Lactation Consultant, who came over one afternoon to see him feed, take some weights, and do some math. Guess what? My supply has never been all that big. To me this is a relief...there's nothing I've done or not done to make a previously-sufficient supply go down. It's always been on the low's just that now His Highness has outgrown it. We set up a plan to increase my supply. If it works and my body starts producing copious quantities of excess milk, then it's that much less formula we have to rely on. If it doesn't, guess what else? None of us are any worse for the wear. I'm maintaining the supply I have and His Highness is getting the calories he needs to grow, and I can be confident that I've done everything I can to breastfeed exclusively. Oh, and the news is encouraging for any future (and as-of-yet hypothetical) kiddos. For various reasons, women's bodies tend to produce more milk with subsequent kids.

Finally, I called my mom. Turns out she started formula supplements with me when I was about the same age. My mom is also a champion of breastfeeding, so to hear the same from her was again a relief. She reminded me to read the breastfeeding book she sent me. I reminded her that it was that book which recommended beer as a means of increasing milk supply, a method at which she was horrified. I hate (HATE) beer, but I loved horrifying my mother for the week I tried it. But alas, it didn't work. No more Killian's for me, and no love lost there, either.

I still have to remind myself not to take it personally that the Monkey Boy will eat more from a bottle after he breastfeeds about half of the time. I know it in my head, but it takes time to internalize. I'm getting there. In the meantime my happy, sleeping baby is a good reminder.

May 1, 2007