Sunday, June 29, 2008

My birthday present to you

Today is my birthday. It wasn't the most horrible birthday I can imagine, but neither was it a peaceful fun day filled with all my favorite things and phone calls and cards flooding in. Oh no. Instead James refused to take a nap even though I spent TWO HOURS trying to help him get to sleep. And he was cranky all morning before that, and I was exhausted all afternoon after that, so I didn't get the chance to do anything on my to-do list, which all needs to get done because my mother was ostensibly supposed to be here at 4:00 this afternoon, but of course her flight got canceled so she's driving down from D.C. as I type this, and probably won't be here till midnight.

But I should've known today would not be the greatest day when last night we had a surprise visit from the Devil Himself. Ben and I were sitting on the couch watching the boob tube, and out of nowhere all of a sudden this bird comes flying through our living room.


This bug was so gargantuan, it could've been a Frisbee. I froze out of sheer terror. Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined there would be a bug as big as a BAT in North Carolina, let alone IN MY LIVING ROOM. This was the MACK TRUCK of bugs, a Gulliver among Lilliputians, flying in MY house and landing on my moose poster. WHAT THE HECK, UNIVERSE? How did I miss the ginormous bloody hole in my house that has to have been there to let this monstrosity in?

Seriously. If Ben had hit it at me with a tennis racket, we could have had quite a ball game going. If I tried to stomp it with my shoe, it would've just tripped me. James could've used it as a rocking horse, or we could've put food out in a bowl for it and called it Rover, IT WAS THAT BIG.

So after staring dumbfoundedly at the Beast for an indeterminate amount of time, Ben finally sprayed it with some poison (read: chased it around with a tennis racket and a can of Raid) and it crash landed in our kitchen and crawled beneath our fridge. We hope it's dead, but we assume it's really just feasting on the contents of said fridge a la Fantastic Mr. Fox. (For those of you who aren't familiar with Roald Dahl, this means he's dug a hole up from underneath the fridge and is laughing his little endoskeletal butt off at us while we wait for him to dart out from under the fridge to his doom.)

After we felt we had the situation under control (read: weren't running around screaming like sissy ladies anymore), we did the sensible thing and Googled it. This method, after all, worked well the last time we had bizarre vermin around the house*. Turns out it's most likely a Palmetto Bug, which is just a cute way of saying REALLY FREAKING GIGANTIC FLYING COCKROACH.

And no, I'm not linking to any information about the Palmetto. I know some of you out there have the need to protect yourselves from the possibility that you're next. And you're smart people! Never mind that NO ONE IS SAFE while the Palmetto bug flies. But no one wants to see the pictures. Trust me on this one. I had one in my house last night and the photos just serve to exacerbate my trauma.

If this is my birthday present from the universe...I have some atoning to do.

*Please don't judge the general suckiness and confusion of my original blog. I was and still am technically deficient, but luckily I have learned enough to be able to create links intelligibly and have my text all be the right color and such. *cringe*

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Oops, I did it again.

Crap! Another week has gone by and I haven't posted. Oops.

Perhaps I can be forgiven if I let you know that I had Tyler ALL WEEK this week. And that James had VBS for the first time EVER, which was really fun but took some getting used to. And that my mother is coming to visit us on Monday, and will be here for a couple of weeks. And that Ben's parents are coming in to visit us the week after that. And that means they'll be here for James' birthday. And I'm trying to get and keep my house clean and ready for visitors, and plan a party, and blah blah blah you can see I'm very busy and important.

Also, Tyler decided that for my birthday I needed a head cold, so he gave me one. Actually, he was feeling generous and decided to give it to all of us. I felt bad for him when he was sick but I didn't realize his pain until I got sick, and I felt like someone had scraped my throat out with a dull razor and then replaced my brain with bricks of snot.

So anyway. We're busy and now sick. Pictures might come soon. Or maybe not. At this point I'm beyond promises. But I do still have lots of vacay pics to show off, so be hopeful.

Here's hoping everyone else is in good health! See you soon.

Friday, June 20, 2008

That Awkward Birthday Gifts Post Again

It's time again for Susan's Bi-Annual Gift Suggestions List. You may be asking yourself, why does she even bother? She's done this at least three times already and only gotten maybe one thing off the entire three lists so far. And she always has to worry, and hope that she doesn't offend someone by daring to suggest that there are certain things that might be more appropriate and helpful than others! ;)

So here's the straight talk. We do not expect people to buy James gifts at all. We are certainly very grateful and thankful for any time anyone chooses to bestow a gift upon James. But we also realize that most people who might buy James a gift live far away from us and may not have any ideas for presents, and certainly may not know what things James would love to have and/or that we have researched and know are made from safe materials, etc. I just hate to think that any of the few toys that James might receive would be things we couldn't use. It makes me feel wasteful. So, hopefully, now that you know my reasoning, you won't be so offended by my blatant requests for Stuff. Because seriously? We don't really NEED anything. So please don't feel obligated to get anything at all. I know you won't. I'm just sayin'.

However, should you be so are some goodies that we think James would really LOVE, would get long use out of, that would nurture his intelligence and creativity and imagination, would not, in other words, just take up space. I have to admit that I think most Leapfrog toys just take up space. I remember reading recently something about how a good toy should be only 10% toy and 90% kid, and I couldn't agree more.

Okay, onto the goodies.

I am in love with this wooden cow puzzle. If you don't want to get it for James, therefore, you can always get it for me. So cool. And you all know how much James loves moocows.

James would really appreciate his own broom and/or dustpan, something like this. He loves to help clean up!

James does need some actual food to go along with his new play kitchen...and we favor Melissa and Doug. Specifically, we think he'd love the Cutting Food, Cutting Fruit, and/or the Food Groups. And if you wanted to get him some little tins that he could really use to cook food, like these from Ikea, that would be awesome too!

A good set of blocks or Legos or Lincoln Logs would be great...but please make sure it's fairly free-form. In other words, we don't want Legos that are only meant to make a castle or whatever. And I always worry about the safety of the paints, so here are a few kid-friendly options I've seen, just as an example: Brio colored blocks with kid-safe paint, Brio wooden blocks with no paint, or maybe some foam blocks?

James is really getting into his cuddly toys, specifically Bunny...and although we don't want to stock up on the stuffed animals too much, we do wish he had an organic lovey, like this adorable goose.

Also of note, if you want to be more free-form or don't want us to know what he's getting, but still care that we would like him to have toys without crazy chemicals and such in them, please check out Magic Cabin. All kid-safe and environmentally friendly toys. And I love them, especially the Dress-Me Pirate Doll and the Big Book of Things to Spot. And I bet James would too.

Thanks so much for just being there for us and for James. We really appreciate you all and miss those of you that are far away. Please remember that these are just friendly suggestions and that we'd rather just see you than any other kind of gift! =)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quick Fix Pics

No time to write today, plus I know you're dying for pictures. So here we are at a really cool play place, a "kids' museum" here in Raleigh, the day before we left for Oklahoma. I figured it was good to run around all day and let off steam so we'd be tired for the trip.

We spent an abnormally long time at the water table:

(This makes me realize how far I've come since my high school germophobic days. The whole place, but especially the water table, just seems like one giant microbe to me, yet I can still allow my child to play in it, and I even remain calm and collected while he does it.)

James spent a good while delivering the mail:

And playing with the marble run:

Making his own car and then racing it (I swear, he really loved this one, I don't know why he has such a dour, unexcited look):

And of course I didn't even show you the TRAINS! on the TRACKS! Or the 10 pictures I took of us in the room full of blocks.

But hopefully that's enough to get you through the day. More soon, now that I have internet. YAY INTERNET! I missed you.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

At last able to be obnoxiously wordy again!

Apparently my blog-posting juju is directly related to my access to a computer of my own for extended periods of time. Shocking! (This is a fancy way of saying YAY I HAVE MY COMPUTER BACK...FOR NOW ANYWAY. PIECE. OF. CRAP.)

So. I'm going to tell you a story now and when I get to the end hopefully you'll see that I have a point. Hopefully I'll have a point. But let me just tell you now not to get your hopes up, because I'm not pregnant. Okay. Moving on.

In September 2005, Ben and I got married. It had been a stressful year, what with me graduating from college and getting my first "real" job and then planning and carrying out our fabulous wedding, all within just a couple of months.

So when I found myself heavily fatigued in October, I wasn't terribly surprised. I had even skipped my period in September due to the stress. Well, stress and probably the fact that I'd just gone off birth control. Yes, I went on birth control for three months before my wedding solely so I wouldn't have a horrible wedding-day period a la Sixteen Candles. But that's a different story.

Anyway. I could date my fatigue back into the spring of my last semester of college, but it was suddenly qualitatively different. I would go to work, come home, scarf dinner, and then pass out on the couch until time for bed. It was getting ridiculous. Plus I just felt different. A little voice in the back of my head kept whispering that it was possible that I could be pregnant, since my period never showed up in October...but then again, I knew I wasn't pregnant when I skipped in September, so I could shake it off and tell myself there was no way. I started feeling so many scary symptoms that I googled them. It was completely unsurprising to me that all the results came up with the possibility of a pregnancy, but I told myself that was very very very unlikely but made sense since I probably had some hormonal imbalance or something.

Speaking of classic denial, why was I so sure I wasn't pregnant? Well, my whole life, I'd had medical experts telling me how hard it was for a diabetic to get pregnant. And I had had several hormonal issues and also been told that would potentially make it hard for me to conceive. AND I'd heard that it usually took a long time after one goes off the pill for conception to be likely. And what I was looking at here was me getting pregnant one month after my wedding and one month after going off birth control and during a crazy wild life-changing year in which I thought nothing in the near future could top what I'd already been through. I thought it was going to be a quiet time in my life. Ha ha ha!

Well. So Ben saw the trail of my internet searches and freaked out just a little, so we did end up going to the store and getting some pregnancy tests just to be sure. That little voice in my head kept telling me maybe there was a baby inside me, but I was just SO SURE that it was wrong and it was just my psyche playing tricks on me. So I peed on the stick and guess what? Negative.

That's right. It was negative. So was the one I took a week later. So I scheduled a doctor appointment. And of course they asked me about pregnancy, and I told them about the home tests. So they ordered a bunch of blood tests, including of course a pregnancy test, just to be sure, even though it was unlikely.

Fast forward a few days. I come home from work at 5:00, exhausted as usual, to a message from my doctor on the answering machine to call her. Well, now I think I'm probably dying or something. After all, I "know" I'm not pregnant so I know there must be something seriously wrong with me, since they never call you if all the results of your blood tests are normal. I quickly dial back only to get a nurse who tells me the doctor is with a patient and will call me back as soon as she can.

I sweat it out on my own for the next 30 minutes, imagining all sorts of horrifying conditions and my eventual demise, before Ben gets home at 5:30. Then we freak out together, or maybe I freak out at him and he listens and who knows what he really thinks about it all, but at least I wasn't alone.




6:30. The phone rings. I pick up and it's my doctor, calling from her cell phone while she's driving home from work. Oh Lord, this can't be good, I think. She apologizes for taking so long. Then finally she says: "Well, you don't have mono. You're not anemic. Your diabetes is fine, your kidneys are fine, etc. etc. etc. But you are pregnant."

OH MY GOD I'M PREGNANT. I start laughing and crying hysterically as soon as I get off the phone, and poor Ben, he doesn't know what's wrong with me, and obviously it must be bad. I finally spit it out that I'm pregnant, and our world changes, forever, for the better.

So why did I tell you this story today? Well, you see, I was SO CERTAIN that I wasn't pregnant! Even though I had that little voice whispering in the back of my head that I was.

So now, in 2008, I have all these weird symptoms, which are NOT the ones I had back then, but I don't know the cause, and I'm worried about my health. I am about 99% sure that I'm not pregnant. It's VERY unlikely. But you know what's wrong with that line of thinking? The little voice in the back of my head that now says HA HA HA, you were wrong before, there's no way you're gonna figure it out on your own now. *cue singsongy voice: you can never be su-ure*

So I'm not sure what to do. I'm worried there's something wrong with me. Probably it's just some weird hormonal swing. But. It could be something more serious. Or...well...there's a Very Slim Chance that I could be pregnant, I suppose. But that's so unlikely.

Sound familiar?

Freakin' psyche. Everything I see and think about tells me that a pregnancy is unlikely. Hence why I began this post with I Am Not Pregnant. But, as Ben points out, I can never say that ever again with true confidence.

And then there's the little part of me that says, well, if you're not pregnant, what the heck's wrong with you?

But then I think about how I've been feeling the baby-cravings lately, so I think I'm just psyching myself out. And since I really don't think I'm prepared for another baby at this point...I also hope I'm not pregnant but that it's just some very benign hormone imbalance issue. Maybe my body is just finally resuming normal transmission since that fateful October 2006, and has to go through some crazy swings first?

Help me out here. Tell me what non-scary, non-harmful things are wrong with me that are also non-pregnant.

Oh and did I mention that Ben and I both had dreams last night that we had another baby? What's that about?

Whatever it is, I feel like maybe if I confess it now, I will find the answer. Maybe tomorrow I'll discover more certainly that I'm not pregnant. Or maybe an angel will come down from heaven and tell me to name my child Xev Chiyana Louise. Because that's the only reason a person would name their child that.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Nope, no pictures yet.

I haven't forgotten you, dear readers. Nor have I forgotten my promise for many, many pictures in the future.

Unfortunately, I'm just too zonked to get into the whole blogging thing at this point. Lack of internet access plus slight depression plus crazy blood sugars equals ExhaustiSusan.

But seriously. Keep checking. Maybe someday.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


You know what's really insane? When the "maintenance" people at your apartment complex feel the need to test the fire alarms, not to test the response rate or anything mind you, just make sure they make noise and such...but can't be bothered to knock on your door two minutes in advance so you don't have to run outside and downstairs while the alarm's going off, holding two babies in your arms, one of which is only wearing a diaper, when it's 95 degrees Fahrenheit outside and there are air quality warnings like crazy because the air is hazy and smoky from the real fires a couple hours east of here. And you just barely made it out with your own pants on because 5 minutes ago you were shaving your legs to go swimming. And you have to make time to shave your legs to go swimming, because you haven't had any time to yourself since you stepped out of the airplane when you got back from your relaxing vacation.

You know what's more ridiculous than all that? When they set the alarms off twice in one day. And one of the babies still only has on a diaper.

And even worse than that? The movie Derailed. Why did I just spend an hour and a half of my life watching that? I have NO IDEA. But don't make the same mistake I did. It was bad.

Good night, sleep tight, see you this weekend, hopefully with pictures!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The problem is...

...I have all these really good ideas for posts, and all these fun and entertaining things to say, during the middle of the day, when I have no computer and no internet.

Then Ben comes home and it's dinnertime, then we play outside or do T-Tapp, then it's bath and bed for James, then shower for me, and then it's 9 or 9:30 and I have 10 minutes to myself before I have to get ready for bed...and I'm not exactly feeling inspired anymore. Heck, I can't even remember the topic of the post I had planned, most days.

Oh, and my internet doesn't always work at those "free times," either.

Anyway, today I was thinking about this great series of posts about my favorite books, like Susan's Complete Parenting Bookshelf, including categories like Essential, If You Have Time, and Throw It Away. But I just don't have time or energy to write much about that now. Not only did we have the normal routine to get through, but we also went to a friend's birthday party and then weeded out our garden plot tonight, so you're lucky I'm even managing to type.

Thus, I will someday find the time to upload pictures from our trip, and I will find a way to write about my favorite books, but in the meantime, leave a comment about one of your favorite parenting books, or regular books, or thoughts on this topic. Or whatever else you feel like telling me about. ;)

And just before I go I have to say this: of course no one NEEDS a book to know how to parent their child. Many of my favorites are not necessarily technique books but are absolutely necessary anyway. Like Having Faith, which I reviewed last year. It's a beautiful, devastating, galvanizing read and YOU SHOULD OWN IT. But it doesn't exactly have tips about how to handle a temper tantrum or anything. Just so you know.

Sweet dreams! ZZZZZZzzzzzzz......

Friday, June 06, 2008

Resume Transmission

Hi there.

My name is Susan, and once upon a time I wrote a blog about my life and about my wonderful amazing son James.

Just in case you forgot.

But then I got busy getting ready for a trip to Oklahoma and didn't check my email before I left. Then I flew to Oklahoma and discovered to my dismay that I didn't have internet access! *Oh noes!*

And then I flew back and discovered that my internet connection at home was still total crap. Then I discovered that it was actually my computer that was the problem. Still almost no chance at getting on the internet.

And the truth is, I could get on at night for five or ten minutes when Ben is home with the laptop and I have time to myself to get on the computer, but not only am I exhausted from our trip (which was wonderful, btw, and I'll update more about that later) but I'm also suffering from a small depression at the fact that we can't bring all our family and friends back with us. Seriously. So. Not. Fair.

So, I'm depressed a little, and sort of withdrawn into myself a little at this fact. But I'm also contemplating what to do with the rest of my life besides kick bum at this mom business, so while I have your attention, which would you choose for me?

A) Go to public health school and enjoy myself immensely but think of ebola and avian flu and fear for my life every time I walk into work?

B) Go to nursing school but fear for my sanity when I have to lose even MORE sleep to get through it, plus have horrible trouble being sick with every single virus and bacteria known to man?

C) Go get my master's at library science school and become a librarian, but also have more children at the same time or something and how do I pay for this and what about the fact that I probably only want to work part-time for most of my career now?

D) Shave my head and go live in a yurt in Montana, thus relieving myself of any worry I might have related to jobs in the current economy and my ability to gain access to foodstuffs and such?

E) Something Else?

Seriously, share your thoughts. You can see which way I'm leaning but obviously I'm conflicted. That whole yurt thing is really calling my name.

And now for something completely different....

In Tulsa, at Grandpa Clint and Grandma Jane's house, James finds a small house figurine on their back porch. He points at it and says emphatically, "House, house! Door, door! Open, open!" Grandpa Clint says, "Sorry, James, it's locked." James says, "KEY! KEY!"

The other day, I was getting hungry, and as I usually do, I was thinking out loud to James. I said, "Mama's gonna make some lunch now. What should we have for lunch, baby?" And he said..."FOODS!"

So life is still good, even though I've been having trouble looking you in the eye lately. See you again soon, I hope. ;)