Tuesday, August 29, 2006

You know you're a mom when . . .

. . . you are sweating your ass off at your Tuesday morning fusion class, feeling the burn in your glutes, trying desperately to stay focused and push through the tough positions when you bend over into a downward dog position and . . . a Cheerio tumbles from your sports bra and lands on the floor in front of you. :-/


Saturday, August 26, 2006

No fair!

My age: 37 years
Number of times I have been stung by a wasp in my lifetime: None. Never. Zero.

Loaf's age: 16 months
Number of times she's been stung by a wasp in her lifetime: Four

What the hell? Have I bred some type of child genetically predisposed to wasp stings? Are the wasps taking revenge on her for being a wasp exterminator in another life? I don't get it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Road to nowhere

Most everyone has probably heard about the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska. Well, we’re having the Road to Nowhere built 20 feet outside the back of our house.

Our neighbors own a big plot of land that runs behind their house and ours. They’ve promised us from the day we met them that they have no intentions of developing the land for as long as they live in their house. (I so desperately want to believe them on this).

However, they recently learned that they have to lay down a road to that land now or they may never be able to, thus rendering the plot land-locked and worthless.

They started building the road this week. We have two backhoes (a really big yellow one and a smaller red one), a couple of dump trucks and a big red machine that grinds up whole trees operating from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. right off our back yard. The kids’ sandbox, wading pool and other outdoor toys are mere feet from where this work is taking place, rendering our backyard completely useless (on what has been an amazing, perfect, sunny and humidity-free summer week).

And, making it worse, the girls’ bedrooms are on that side of the house. Today is better, but yesterday the noise was so raucous that Loaf had to nap in the car (a pathetically short nap that left her cranky and whiny for the rest of the afternoon).

In addition to the rumbling motors, they’re taking down and grinding up whole trees. Every time a tree comes down, the whole house shakes. And the grinding of them? We have all the windows on the backside of the house shut and the noise is still deafening.

The good news is this road won’t be used (hopefully) for a very, very long time. Maybe never. It will be gravel and once it’s in, our neighbors plan to let the vegetation grow right back over it. It just has to be on the town’s maps so when the day comes that they want to sell that lot it’s grandfathered in. I understand that. And I really don’t think it’s going to be any type of inconvenience once done. But right about now it might as well be a four-lane superhighway.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Starting the day with a brawl

I hate confrontations and generally avoid them at all costs. That said, when I snap, I SNAP.

Pulling out of my driveway this morning, guess what? SNAP. It happened when a woman in an SUV passed me doing—in my estimation—50 or 60 mph. My road is residential, narrow, wooded, hilly and has a speed limit of 30 mph. On our nightly walks, we’re often passed by drivers who seem to be training for NASCAR.

It pisses me off. We’ve written letters to the police department but that’s a short-term fix. They come and do some additional patrols and it gets better for a while and then they stop and it’s back to living on a raceway.

So this morning, when that big Suburban flew by only a few feet from the nose of my car, a little voice in my brain said, “That’s IT!” (Actually, it said a lot more than that, but I think my mother-in-law might read this).

And I pulled out after her and followed her to . . . the ER? The train station? The bedside of a dying relative? Nope. The golf course at the end of our road. Because heaven forbid she is late for her tee-time.

I pulled up behind her as she was pulling her clubs from the back of the truck and smiling and waving to all her golf friends. To help set the stage, she was one of those women. You know the type: Probably in her 50s. Probably doesn’t work. At 7:45 a.m., her flawlessly coifed, female-politician hair was wrapped around a visor that coordinated perfectly with the rest of her designer golf outfit. Makeup and nails were done as though she were off to the opera instead of the golf course. Tan. Very tan. Lots of bling.

From here on out I shall refer to her as Abhorrent Speeding Hoity Obnoxious Lady (or ASHOL for short).

ME: Excuse me, Ma’am, but that road back there is 30 miles per hour and you must have been going about 60.

ASHOL: Well, you pulled out quite fast yourself.

ME: No, I was inching out to get around the garbage cans (note: today is trash pickup day). I have learned not to pull out quickly because of people like you.

ASHOL: Well, I did look down at my speedometer and I was doing 48.

ME: Right. On a 30 mph road. I walk my babies on that road and next time I’m calling the cops.

OK, so it wasn’t really a brawl, but I hate that I my voice and body were all shaky for about 30 full minutes after ASHOL and I had our little chat. I’m sure she just laughed it off and went on with her day. And probably in her twisted head thinks I am the obnoxious one. But I’m still pleased that I called her on it instead of letting it go (a choice that would probably have had me kicking myself all day long).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A baby story, part 2

So we get to the hospital and go through all the admin and check in stuff. The doctor gives me a check and I'm only a few centimeters along, so he orders me up some pitocin (it was already after lunch on Sunday and I'm sure he was hoping to get this wrapped up in time to make his escape before Monday morning.)

Sometime around 3 pm, I started having some big, whopping contractions. My immediate thought: EPIDURAL! I am no hero. And why sit around in pain when you don't have to? But the anesthesiologist was tied up in a c-section and I had to wait nearly an hour for relief. Why oh why did I wait? I knew I was going to get one and now I was lying in bed clutching the rails and crying until finally the anesthesiologist showed up and got that epi cranking. Instant. Relief. AHHHH! Love the epidural.

After that I slept for a bit and poor Mark read, walked the halls and watched bad TV.

Finally, around 7 p.m., it was time to push. I pushed. And pushed. And pushed some more. The nurse checked and Peanut's head was still pretty high. "More pushing," she said. So I did. I pushed for well over two hours, and on the final few pushes Peanut's little heart slowed waaaaay down. And that was bad. So everyone, especially me, who was utterly exhausted by this time, agreed that it was time to stop pushing and start cutting.

My little Peanut was delivered via c-section at 9:44 p.m. on August 17, 2003 -- three years ago today. She weighed 6 lbs, 3 oz, was 19 inches long, had a slight shock of dark hair and a good healthy scream. In my eyes, she was perfect.

Upon delivery we learned that on top of being pretty short, her umbilical cord was wrapped all around her and acting like a tether preventing her from descending. It should have been a sign of things to come because to this day she procrastinates and takes her sweet time every time we have to go someplace, is a little stubborn, and hates change. But she's also incredibly sweet and wonderfully fun. The minute I saw her beautiful face, my heart swelled with love and to this day it still does every time I see her. I love to watch her play. Her singing fills me with more joy than I ever thought imaginable.

Happy 3rd birthday baby girl! You've made my last three years more fun, more joyful, and more full of life and love than the previous 34 combined. There are days when I wish I could freeze you here and keep you close to me forever. But I know there are many more incredible moments ahead and look forward to being there with you every step of the way.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A baby story, part 1

Three years ago tomorrow morning, I woke up at 2 a.m. It was a Sunday. I was 9 months pregnant and suffering—horribly—from insomnia. Knowing full well that I was not going back to sleep, I hauled myself out to the living room and plopped down on the couch. Nothing good was recorded on Tivo (late summer is the worst time for good TV) so I ended up channel surfing and came up with . . . Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.

For the next few hours I laid there learning about shark attacks and shark sightings and where sharks mate and what they do in their free time all the while wishing I. Could. Just. Sleep. One could argue that if you are trying to relax, maybe watching interview after interview of people talking about what it’s like to almost be shark food is not the best choice, but I think I was too tired to even change the channel. So, Shark Week it was.

Around 6 a.m. I got up, had a bit to eat and headed into the shower. Mark’s Aunt and Uncle were scheduled to arrive for breakfast in a couple of hours. It was in the bathroom that I realized I was going into labor. I will spare you the gory details, but let me assure you, the signs were crystal clear.

I told Mark, who absolutely did not believe me: How can that be? Your due date is not for another week and besides, Aunt G. and Uncle N. are coming this morning. You cannot be in labor when my mid-west, good Christian, salt-of-the-earth relatives are visiting. Got it? So stop saying such ridiculous, crazy things.

Poor man. He was in so far into his own denial that I really had to just let it go.

So anyway, we went on with our morning. Aunt G. and Uncle N. came and we had a lovely visit, though the entire time we sat with them at our dining room table I kept thinking about my (itty bitty at that time) contractions, and wondering how far apart are they actually? It would be rude to keep looking at my watch, so I was trying to count in my head, all the while smiling and nodding and inside thinking: HOLY FUCK THIS BABY IS COMING. MAYBE TODAY. MAYBE TOMORROW. BUT IT’S COMING VERY SOON. HOW MUCH IS THIS GOING TO HURT? WHAT THE HELL WERE WE THINKING?!?!

Later, Aunt G. and Uncle N. said they had no idea anything was up. They are either VERY good liars or I am a good actress, because I would have sworn I was sweating and surely looking completely panic striken.

After they left, I told Mark I was calling the doctor. Again, he asked me if I really thought that was necessary. This time, I was a little less diplomatic in my response, but to my credit I did not smack him upside the head with my new Diaper Genie, which is really what I wanted to do.

Fate was on my side because my OB was on call that weekend and already at the hospital. Come on in he said. And bring your bag. Woo hoo! So we called my mom in Massachusetts and off to the hospital we went.

To be continued tomorrow . . . . (don't let the suspense keep you up tonight, but if it does, I recommend something other than Shark Week). :-)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Tonight at the gym there was a man in my Step and Sculpt class. It is highly unusual--at least in my experience--for men to take these types of classes.

It was even more unusual because this man was definitely old enough to be my grandpa. White haired, balding and a bit frail looking, I was initially concerned that the poor man had mistakenly wandered in from the Seniors' Lounge, where you see a lot of old guys hanging out playing chess and cards. But nope. He got his step and his body bar and his two sets of hand weights and stood there stretching out and waiting with the rest of us for class to start.

It's a highly choreographed and fairly "girly" class. Lots of mambos, grapevines, step turns, pivots, over-the-tops, etc. The instructor even threw in a new move where you do an L-step curtsey (her exact words).

I've gotta give the guy props. He was clearly no stranger to the Step and Sculpt. He handled all the choreography not just adequately, but dare I say it? Gracefully. I usually seek inspiration from the lean and mean women in my class who show up in spandex shorts and a sports bra and have no trace of a muffiin top. But this guy? I think he tops them all on the inspiration scale.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Communication gone awry

As I'm pushing the double stroller on our walk tonight, Peanut sticks her head out to the side and says oh-so matter-of-factly, "Stick it, Mommy."


So I keep pushing the stroller, thinking there is no way I just heard what I think I heard and ask her to please repeat what she said. Again: "Stick it."

I shoot Mark one of those accusatory, "what have you been saying around the children?" looks, but he is plainly as shocked as me.

This time I stop the stroller and go around to the side. "I'm sorry, Mommy didn't hear you. Can you please repeat that?"

"Stick it. Stick it, Mommy," this time with greater emphasis and frustration. Finally, she starts grabbing the back of the stroller cover, which is Velcroed together around the metal frame. The Velcro has come undone. "STICK IT," she exclaims in a "good Lord, do I really have to repeat myself again?" voice.

Well, thank goodness we straightened THAT out.

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My newest goal

I love a challenge. And I have found a class at the gym that has me completely jazzed. Well, first it has me in complete, utter, I-can't-walk-for-24-hours pain, but after that I'm jazzed.

It's called Fusion and it rocks. It's every Tuesday morning and I've made it 3 of the last 4 Tuesdays (I missed last week to go to Sesame). Essentially, it's a lower body toning and strength class, but you sweat a good deal and huff and puff a bit too, so I'd guess there's some cardio benefit as well.

The class starts with a light warm up and then the instructor (who has one of the most kick-ass bodies I've seen in real life on pretty much anyone) begins the tort-, I mean *ahem* exercise.

Begin with squats. Lots of them. You'll be squatting pretty much non-stop for the next 45 minutes so get used to it. I knew I was in trouble in the first class when she referred to a set of pulse squats as "recovery." Recovery? Is this woman insane? This is usually what I call "good toning."

You'll squat with both feet on the floor both slow speed and then pulse (double time). You'll squat on your right foot as you tap your left first forward a bunch of times. Then to the side a bunch more. Then to the back. Then touching all three points. Then with just the little bitty tips of your left foot touching the ground. Then with your left foot off the floor. You'll do all this for a long time and start thinking, "OH. MY. GOD. My butt muscles are spasming. My quads are on fire. And we still have to repeat this whole sequence ON THE OTHER SIDE!"

But that's still many, many minutes away. You've got to do lunges. Lunges where you step forward. Then back. Then squat lunges to the side. Then squat lunges where you lift your knee up in front of you. Then more where you lift your left leg to the side.

Every so often she'll throw you a bone with one of those pulsing "recovery" periods, which truthfully do start to feel pretty good after a while. I mean, it's like if you're arm is being sawed off and someone comes along and says, "Oh we'll stop sawing it and instead just slam it in a car door a couple of times," you'd probably think that was a pretty good trade off. Hence why the "recovery" squats actually work.

At some point, you will be asked to stand on your right leg, which is so tired it feels like you may never be able to move it again, and hold your left leg out (doggie pee pee style) to the left. You will stand like this a very, very long time. And then - with no break whatsoever - you will be asked to start doing leg lifts with that left leg. Leg lifts, people!

The amazing thing about this class is that every time you think it cannot possibly get harder, it does. Every time you think your body cannot possibly burn more, it does. And for some reason, you keep pushing through. I think part of it is the music - a funky new age CD with an afro-Cuban beat that makes you feel very much in touch with your inner Earth Mother/Goddess.

The two crowning jewels of this class are the bent over leg lifts and arabesque leg lifts. The bent over leg lifts consist of you standing on that right leg (still) and bending at the waist with your hands on the floor a few inches in front of your toes. Your left leg is either A. out to the side, or B. behind you. You will lift it. Many times. Fast and slow. And then you'll be asked to remain in that position, KEEP THAT LEFT LEG UP and squat on the right leg. A lot. Again: fast and slow.

The arabesque sequence involves you standing on your right leg with your hands out to the sides for balance and your left leg out straight behind you. Again - repeat the whole thing. Leg lifts, squats, etc. Only this time you add the extra element of trying to keep your balance, which so far for me is ridiculously impossible. I wobble and bobble and put my foot down about 28 times during this part. And curse under my breath. A lot.

In the middle (before switching legs) and again at the end, she does a series of push-ups and plank poses to work the abs. These both pretty much suck, but by that point you are so happy not to be working your legs, that you'll pretty much agree to anything.

There are women who have obviously been taking this class a long time and can do the whole thing without ever stopping to take a break. No wobbles or bobbles or foot touches for them! I am not one of these women. But I will be. Even if I spend every Wednesday for the next three months limping around like I am today. I. Will. Conquer. This. Class.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Sunny days . . .

Hundred and ten degrees.
Sweat dripping down my back and face.
Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Place?

Yes, we took the bebes to Sesame Place. Yesterday. In the 100-degree (but feels like 110 with the heat index) heat yesterday. And . . . we had a fabulous time.

Yes, Loaf was a bit fussy, but she clapped along to Big Bird's Beach Party.
Yes, the instant - and I do mean INSTANT - you stepped out of the water you were sweating again, but we just chilled in the pools most of the day.
Yes, we paid a ridiculous amount for yucky breakfast food, but seeing the kids' faces light up upon meeting Elmo, Zoe and others was well worth the price.

Overall it was a wonderful day. Here are a few pictures.

Telly giving Loaf a high five.

This is a bit blurry, but it really captures the excitement on her face.

In this picture, Peanut is telling Zoe how much she loves her shoes. Definitely a girl after my own heart. :-)

Hello? Elmo? Um, screw those other kids, pay attention to ME, ME, ME!

Mission Impossible: Trying to get a photo with Big Bird with both girls looking at the camera.