Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Short picture sequence, and a surprise ending

Steamer basket... check...

What's in here?


Leta (mom#2): No-no, Cullen!

Brilliant musician already...



Sorry about that. Yuck, I can see my under-eye makeup and it looks very yellow. :( And I never noticed that the freckles have spread to my eyelids.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Millions of invisible needles

I wasn't going to take the tree down today. I was planning on taking the ornaments off sometime this week and having Jason take the tree down this weekend, as Monday is the beginning of curbside Christmas tree pick-up.

I knew that a lot of needles were going to fall off, so as I was staring at the needle piles under the tree I thought perhaps I should get a head start so needle clean-up won't be as laborious this weekend. I took the angel off the top and heard a few needles daintily fall to the floor. I took the paper chain off, and a few more needles let go. But when I started taking down the ornaments, whole branches were ending up bare! By the time everything was off there were enormous piles of needles on the tree skirt--so much that the skirt was no longer visible.

I took it in for a minute, looked at the distance between the tree and the door, and decided to go for it. I gingerly pushed the tree skirt aside. I propped the doors open, and I took the whole thing, base and all, out the front door.

Cullen was watching from the porta-crib (or as we call it "baby jail") and the girls were trying to help pick up needles until I snapped at them to "just stay out of the way" (there goes my Mother Of The Year award). I tipped the tree over and unscrewed the base as fast as I could, then marched it over to the curb/snowbank.

Pleased, I came back inside.

Into my personal hell.

sharp little needles everywhere
+ vacuum cleaner not giving top performance
+ carpet that hides everything
=hours of obsessive, frantic needle searching
=unhappy baby
=no dinner at dinner time

AND after all that work I am still stepping on (EXPLETIVE!) needles!!! And my neck is killing me.

And I feel like I have suffered a severe trauma.

And I feel terrible for that, because I know there are people out there suffering for real and I'm out here in suburbia getting crazy over some needles.

But it doesn't change the fact that it nearly broke my brain.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Booo dead Christmas tree

I don't think we'll ever buy a tree from a lot again. We did it sort of out of desperation. Usually we go to a farm and get a "fresh" tree but this year we just waited too long. We went to a lot near our house and bought a cute little tree for $20.

This tree has been shedding needles like crazy since we bought it. Jason made a fresh cut when we brought it home but it still isn't really drinking the water I give it. The bottom branches are bare now. Every time Leta jumps I can hear the needles falling. The trees we get from the farm never lose their needles. Last year we had our tree for over a month and it was still doing well when we took it down. Maybe that's the difference between a $20 tree and a $50 tree.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Year in review

I've had this blog since 2004 but I didn't really use it until about a year ago. Now it's time to reflect and do the Year In Review.

Several recurrent topics: depression and RAGE!!!, various hellish skin problems, lots of sickness

  • vowed to get in shape, remember birthdays, clean the garage and start parking in it.
  • started using Google Analytics
  • car broke down (saved a bundle going to Import Auto Clinic instead of dealer)
  • lots of knitting and running (brrr)
  • celebrated six years of marriage
  • trip "home" for nephew's birthday party
  • got "Why Does The Sun Shine?" stuck in my head for a long time
  • sick family all the time
  • Leta got a camera for her 4th birthday
  • I went to the dentist!
  • root canal
  • sick family all the time
  • Leta's birthday party
  • had a date with Jason
  • Leta went to the dentist
  • Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School
  • Mina went to the dentist
  • visited Chelsea in Steven's Point
  • yard work
  • Mother's day weekend with Grandma and Mom
  • started donating blood
  • birthday party at Cafe Montmartre
  • severe weather! floods! disaster!
  • Samsa family reunion
  • cut the dickens out of my finger!
  • trying to make finger better
  • Mina's "anti-Leta" phase
  • Cullen's nipple-biting phase
  • visit from step-brother
  • sharpie drawings
  • reminiscing about Damrow's
  • I started wearing my panama hat (thanks, Shannon!)
  • hip x-ray painting got some attention (street anatomy, kevin md, animal new york...)
  • Cullen saw dentist about his fused tooth
  • new x-ray painting
  • Leta started preschool
  • aaaaand sick
  • Mina started kindergarten!
  • Patrick Saunders died unexpectedly
  • started participating in Illustration Friday meme
  • sick kids
  • Mina turned six!
  • high school reunion (trip to Appleton)
  • brother-in-law's wedding (another trip to Appleton)
  • chaperoned my first field trip
  • new hairdo
  • Cullen's first birthday!
  • furnace trouble
  • Mina stopped receiving services from WEAP
  • Mina's tooth extraction
  • finally giving in to nervous breakdown--hysterical call to doctor=paxil prescription=terrible horrible crippling depression
  • switched to wellbutrin, light box, supplements=lots of highs and lows
  • NOROVIRUS hits--three out of five Samsas violently ill
  • spread it all around at Thanksgiving--you're welcome, Appleton!
  • adjusting to medicated life
  • Mina got glasses
  • annual physical
  • Cullen started taking steps!
  • couldn't donate blood due to anemia
  • Mina has pink eye!
Well, that's it so far. It doesn't seem that impressive when I sum it up in this way, but trust me it totally was. :P

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Not the same kind of crust as a pizza or a pie

We've been back since Christmas night, but it took me a little while to catch up with things.


I had a sinking feeling last night when I was putting the girls to bed and Mina was saying her eye tickled. It was very red. I wondered not if, but WHEN she would wake up and scream about her eye being glued shut. Calmly, I told her that there might be germs in her eye and she should not rub it because then the germs would get on her hands, and maybe to her other eye, and maybe to the rest of us. She had a tiny eye booger that was driving her nuts and we removed it with a wet cotton swab.

This morning around six the crying started.

"My bad eye won't open!" She yelled from under her comforter.
"No problem," I said while running a washcloth under some warm water. "We just need to hold this washcloth against your eye for a minute."
When I approached her with the cloth, do you think she would let me near her? Noooo. Screaming and hiding under the blanket, shaking, hysterics... When I told her that she could hold it on her own eye, she still resisted. The other eye started to look like it was crusting over, too. She couldn't see out of either eye. I tried and tried to talk to her, until I finally gave up and turned on cartoons.

Thirty seconds later she wanted the washcloth.

I suppose I should be calling the doctor's office Monday.

Everyone has a pretty bad cold right now, of course. Lots of sniffling and coughing and mouth breathing. Cullen and I are healthy (ish). I feel a little post-nasal drippy but nothing too bad. No coughing, no sniffling. Sometimes I wish I had one of those hazmat suits.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Random pictures and the weather--what could be more interesting?!

Mina was laughing for a long time about her invention, the beard crunch. I had Jason take a picture of it with my camera, even though I look terrible. And here I am posting it for all the world to see. *pats self on back*

This is what Cullen does when he has to wait .002 seconds for food.

Some chopped spinach.

Some lentil soup cookin'.

The girls watching The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Now for something completely different:




I'm not sure when I will be going out to finish Christmas shopping... I guess I shouldn't have waited until the last minute!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


I couldn't give blood today because my hemoglobin was 11.6. I let them poke me again, you know, in case it was a fluke or something, but it only got lower.

Jason is excited about this because it means more beef for dinner. The guy at Red Cross said it means Jason has to take me out for steak dinner. I like that idea except I hate steak. Apparently the spinach and lentils aren't enough though. Or maybe I'm just bleeding internally. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Twitter is eating my brains

I think Twitter is making it hard for me to write here. Suddenly all of my thoughts are 140 characters or less.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sunshine! Oh glorious life-giving sunshine!

I happily drove around in horrible, slick, snowy conditions this morning, gliding past accident after accident after accident, because there was a big blue sky above me and sun shining in the windows.

I had a lot of errands to run which would normally make me a little grumpy, but I couldn't wipe the smile off of my face if I tried.

I never thought I would feel this way about the sun.

I was driving around smiling and shaking my head, thinking, "We just keep going through all of this, every year... Crazy..."

Jason was up in the dark this morning shoveling snow, and our friendly neighbor helped us out with his new snowblower.

Snowfall after snowfall, we dig ourselves out, we trudge through, and we help our neighbors trudge through (or in our case our neighbors help us).

There's SOMETHING about it... Something that kind of makes you feel alive. Something that makes you huddle together. Something about the friendly Wisconsinites enduring the blustery cold blowing snow. Something about all those layers of clothes, the ugly boots, the hat hair for months and months, the regular consumption of alcohol, the extra layers of fat...

As much as I hate it sometimes, especially when the sun hides for weeks at a time, I also think it's kind of... What is the word I'm looking for... scary+fun+cozy+heartwarming+unbelievably awful+ Well... I'll think about it. You can help me out if you like.

I guess what I'm saying is... Wisconsin isn't for everyone, but for now at least, I kind of love it (even when I hate it).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I think I finally have some ideas for Christmas. No, I'm not going to tell YOU! Sheesh!

I've been very tired for the last few days for no good reason. Wait, maybe it's because I haven't had coffee in 5-6 days. Maybe that's why I've been feeling down again. Hmmmm... I have been drinking 3-4 mugs of tea per day. I wonder what will happen when I stop doing that too...

Jason's giving me 'tude about blogging instead of feeding my family dinner. I'm annoyed AND I feel foolish at the same time! NEAT!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Walking! and Thanking! and Freezing!

Cullen has taken a lot of steps this morning. He's going to be walking by the day's end, I'm sure of it. He actually runs. ONETWOTHREE and then falls over laughing. It's the funniest thing. I know it's not so cute to READ about but god, this kid is so adorable. The bigger he gets, the more pronounced his dimple is. I think I'm in love. Sorry, Jason. Cullen has stolen my heart. ;)

I decided to send the doctor a thank you. It's in the mailbox now. I've been a pretty demanding and hysterical patient. Rightly so, mind you, but still, he always calls me personally rather than having the nurse call, always makes time, is always really nice, and I want to encourage that. Plus, it's almost Christmas, AND he and his wife are about to have a baby, so you know, lots of well wishing had to be done. That totally makes up for the fact that I don't have any Christmas cards to send out yet much less presents, right???


Have I mentioned that it's -1 degrees F with a windchill of -20? That was a REALLY cold walk up to the school this morning. Maybe we should move out of this frozen tundra. It seems like kind of a pain to go through winter now, with the light box and the vitamin d and the horrible rosacea and OH I don't have to worry about that anymore because I froze my face off this morning. Everyone who lives here is crazy. Just thought you should all know.

Friday, December 12, 2008

What kind of light box am I using?

It's a SUNBOX. The SunRay II, in fact. It looks like a giant glowing briefcase. It's my personal sunshine and I want to hug it every day. I only wish it could make breakfast for me.

Well Woman Visit

I've been jotting down notes for the last few weeks about what I want to talk to the doctor about. I filled up an entire mini Moleskine with said notes, but most of it was babble from when I was feeling bad. I decided to do some editing and make it a more concise list of concerns and got it down to three pages. Last night I worked hard to get it down to one page, front and back.

Do you think I got it out of my purse today at the appointment?

You're right. I didn't. Oh well. We didn't have two hours anyway.

I weigh 135.5 lbs. I thought it was about ten more than that, I really did. Amazing! Those are the kinds of surprises I don't mind. Now to start pumping iron... Dr. Dude said if I got below 130 I would need to add calcium to my supplements.

The pap was, well, it was what it was. Uncomfortable. But not bad. No pain. There was a nurse in the room "helping" but I have a feeling this is something that the male doctors are doing these days.

The nurse told me she just loved working with Dr. Dude and isn't he just the nicest?

I apologized for all the crazy phone calls and was assured that they weren't crazy and that if I sat next to him for eight hours I would realize that I was "better than normal". Well I guess that's my brand of crazy then, worrying about being crazy. Ha!

My socks were complimented by the doctor and nurse. Dr. Dude said he always likes my socks. What do you say to something like that? I shrugged and said, "Thanks... I love socks," and they laughed.

I'm to continue with the stuff I'm doing. Dr. Dude is going to be off for the next few weeks but "They know where to find me," he says, if need be. I am sure I can leave Dr. Dude and his family alone for a few weeks. :P I go in for a follow up (re: Wellbutrin etc.) at the end of January.

Oh! I asked about cholesterol because the one time I had it checked it was 400something, but he said since I was pregnant (with Mina) that was normal, and that when you're pregnant your body wants to hang on to all that cholesterol. He said I could get it checked but he doesn't think I need to and normally they would wait a few more years. Of course I didn't want to get pricked more than I needed to so I said I would just wait!

And I got my flu shot. Have you had yours? I have to bring the girls in for theirs.

Well, that's about it. I'm healthy. Aren't you glad I told you?

P.S. I feel kind of bad for the nickname "Dr. Dude". It's just that when I started seeing him I was not confident in his abilities and thought he was just some kid who may be delivering my baby... Eek. Little did I know! Maybe I can upgrade his nickname to something more fitting now.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I'm almost done saying The Line


Okay. Really. This is getting out of hand.

Moving on...

My grandma gets worried when I don't post for a few days so I'm sure the rest of you do too, right? No? Well I will post more anyway, because I love my grandma.

Since I don't have any big thing I want to say, I will do some tidbits:

  1. We've all had a cold for a few days.
  2. We got a ton of snow today and Madison public schools were canceled.
  3. We broke a shovel.
  4. I spent way too long tonight reading archives from my livejournal and cracking up. Yeah, I think I am funny. Mostly I was laughing at stories about the kids.
  5. My lips are in pain. Winter is pain. Wind is pain.
  6. I'm getting anxious about my upcoming doctor visit.
  7. I got out three Christmas decorations today. It's a start, right? I think this weekend we shall get a tree. This week I need to figure out where to put it. I need to stop being such a grump for the sake of the starry eyed children who can not stop talking about Christmas.
  8. Mina and Leta got along famously today. They were laughing so loud all day it was kind of driving me crazy, but it was kind of great. I get to see the inside scoop on what it's like to have a sister. Kind of like having a brother, because they have so much fun together, but different because they are SLIGHTLY more considerate. Maybe.

Okay. Time for bed.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

"I drink YOUR milkshake!"

Do you ever get a line stuck in your head for days, or even weeks, and just say it over and over throughout the day?

I have the milkshake line in my head and I walk around all day every day saying it, each time trying to sound more like "Daniel Plainview" in There Will Be Blood. It brings me immense joy. Sometimes I laugh for a minute after I say it.

Today I asked Jason if he was getting sick of hearing it and he told me that he quite enjoyed it. I asked if he was joking and he said no. Well, that's good. I guess I married the right person. ;) I imagine most people would probably be driven crazy by something like that.

Light Box DON'T

I think the dark circles under my eyes were from looking at my light box, which the sales person at the medical supply store told me would give me the maximum benefit. They seem much better since I stopped doing this a few days ago, instead letting the light in less directly. I hope my eyes aren't permanently damaged! Thanks for the eyestrain, pal!

Not very "Madisony" of me

We are in the thick of dry skin season here in Wisconsin. While I'm sure most of the locals are feeling the pinch from paying out the wazoo for the latest berry extract goo, I'm going another way...

Petroleum jelly has been my first aid for extreme dry skin for a while but never have I slathered it on daily in place of lotion. That is, until I read this dermatology blog article and decided I would give it a try.

This is day two and so far my skin is looking and feeling pretty great! Sure, it doesn't smell delicious, it feels kind of gross going on, and it's PETROLEUM JELLY... But my legs are seriously smooth and not itchy like they were before (despite liberal daily applications of Lubriderm).

It's still possible that I'm going to break out in a horrible rash or full body acne or something, but so far so good. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Hmm... Internal dialogue better than therapy

So I was folding laundry for a couple of hours tonight and I kept stopping to think. My internal dialogue was being so obnoxious that I couldn't fold towels and think at the same time.

Something that's been bringing me down when I think about it is that I feel sort of like a failure, admitting defeat, talking about this with professionals and going on about it here, taking a drug. I zone out on that thought a lot, and then have to shake myself free from it. I tell myself I'm doing the right thing, not to think like that, and all of those things.

By the time I was putting the towels away I was doing that thing where the lips are actually moving and you notice thankfully before anyone saw. (But then you go and blab to the world about it on your blog...) Anyway (there is that word again!) I came to an important crystallization I think.

I've been wearing this ugly sweater every day. I can't remember the last time it was washed. It's more of a robe, really. It's actually a maternity sweater that ties like a robe. I just want to wear my sweater all the time, and be really, really warm. I have always enjoyed clothing, and have been known to change my clothes several times in a day, so not caring about my outfit can be a sign that things are not well. I also haven't wanted to talk to people, haven't wanted to go anywhere, I just want to stay home with my family, wear my sweater all the time, and watch Boston Legal DVDs, and I am usually pretty squirrelly and need to get out and talk to people all the time.

I stopped in front of the mirror, taking note of the acne around my chin and by my eyes in weird places, and I said to myself, "It feels kind of good to allow myself to just go ahead and have a nervous breakdown."

I thought about that for a minute, about if that's kind of twisted, but no. I think it really is good. I've always felt that I wish I could go back and tell myself ten years ago that it was okay to be depressed and have really bad days, and to just wallow in it for the day and get it over with...

This may have been a long time coming, but I've just been going and going and going, and now I just have to sort of get it over with. The help I'm asking for and the things I'm doing will help for sure, and from here on out, but I think for me, it's important to be okay with "not doing well". I think that this is already cheering me up a little.

I'm not a photographer

Here is Mina multi-tasking. 1) looking through her glasses 2)deciding what to eat next 3)writing and coloring 4)getting her picture taken

I bet you thought she was just having a snack. Do you see how complicated life is when these organizational skills don't just come naturally? She is thinking very carefully about four things at the same time.

Leta really wanted me to take a picture of her in her new glasses, too. I let her wear sunglasses in the house if she wants to because it keeps her from saying that she can't see out of one of her eyes and needs glasses just like Mina. I hope she will get bored with it soon. Mina thinks Leta's preoccupation with her crooked sunglasses is pretty funny. You can see she's trying very hard not to say something mean here.

I just hope she doesn't break/lose her glasses today at school.


Mina got her glasses. One side is impossibly thick and the other side is almost normal. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this before, but I love glasses and find people with glasses much more approachable. I want to squeeze her so hard but she doesn't like that. :)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Feel Good - Look Terrible

I have really dark circles under my eyes. Let me hear your best beauty secrets for this problem. I am very fair skinned so the skin under my eyes is practically transparent. I really do not like the way makeup looks under there and am wondering, is there a better way?

One thing is that I'm very thirsty all the time, so maybe it's from dehydration.

My sleep habits haven't changed.

That wasn't even what I wanted to write about. Distracted much?

Ah--Okay. Wow. This is hard. It's so hard for me to say. I'm not sure there's any good way to put this so I'm just going to put it out there in all it's ugliness: I really hate exercise. I've been trying all year to get healthy and form good habits and I just keep thinking that when I do it enough, all of a sudden, I will LOVE it. I will enjoy doing it. I will feel great. Is it ever going to happen? Is there something fundamentally wrong with me? Will I ever be able to change from that frail, lanky looking, floppy girl who preferred scribbling in notebooks to riding bikes?

Tell me!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Are you feeling too happy?

That's what Jason asked when I told him I was going to see if I should lower my dosage of Wellbutrin SR.

I got pretty freaked out this morning when my heart was thumping super hard for no reason while I walked Mina to school. I know that for some people it can cause panic attacks and I also had too much coffee this morning. So I was pretty sure I wasn't having a heart attack or anything like that...

When I got home my vision was all weird. Sort of hazy. Sort of tricky. Like a light where there wasn't light.

So I start googling like crazy and of course come to the conclusion that I'm having a seizure. PANIC! PANIC!

I called and left a message for Dr. Dude's nurse. Dr. Dude called me back 20 minutes later and said to go back to 150 1x daily since I was feeling great on that much, and I told him I thought 300 was making me annoyed with everyone and wanting to be left alone... I mean more than usual. ;) He asked what we did for Thanksgiving and I told him we went around our hometown spreading Norovirus everywhere. He thought that was nice of us. Anyway...

Anyway anyway anyway. I say that word a lot. Because I get side-tracked a lot I guess.

I'm feeling normal now, everyone. I'm going to quit drinking coffee or at least cut down. I know, I know, you've heard it all before.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Weathering the storm in my sleep

I managed to remember a dream Thanksgiving night even though I wasn't entirely sure that I ever fell asleep. I must have dosed off in the early morning sometime.

My most obvious recurrent dream symbol is the tornado.

Growing up, and up until I was around twenty, I used to have dreams all the time that I would be doing some mundane activity, and look up to see that five cyclones were headed straight for me. I'd start running around telling everyone, "Oh my god! We have to find shelter! Oh my god! The tornadoes are coming this way!" and no one would do anything and they would treat me like I'm just some crazy kid, and the general feeling was being out of control and extremely frustrated.

When I started trying to make some positive changes, getting rid of sources of pain, and embracing my more nurturing friends, and figuring out how to feel better... Then I had one where I was again doing something mundane, and again looked up to see all the tornadoes, and when I said, "We need to get in the basement!" everyone said, "Well you're probably being silly but just in case, we will go, to make you feel better". It was improvement.

When I started my life with Jason--not married, mind you, but sort of at that pivotal moment when you have to decide to abandon ship or dig your heals in... I had a dream that Jason and I were driving away together when there on the horizon I saw the tornadoes. I said, "Oh no! Tornadoes!" and Jason said, "Oh no! Let's get in the ditch together!" and I knew then that it was love.

Anyway, Thanksgiving night I dreamed of being in a basement while a tornado raged overhead. I was doing everything I could do, and would probably be okay, I just had to wait for the tornado to pass.

So I guess that's life right now. Hoping the tornado passes, and doing what I can to be safe while it's here.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Total Bumwads, Doda.

As my brother would say.

Jason caught the sick. Thanksgiving was delicious, but none of us got any sleep last night and this morning wasn't very good at all for my better half.

We came home early and I think he's starting to feel better now.

I know I won't get it. Moms aren't allowed to get sick. Those are the rules. I don't make this stuff up.

You can all start blogging like crazy now so I have something to read this weekend, kthnx.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Quick notes on Thanksgiving eve

I used the light box this morning. It wasn't as hard on the eyes as I thought it would be. In fact, it was just fine! Twenty minutes went by super fast. Also, I think I've finally figured out how much fish oil I need to take to make two grams. Tomorrow is when I move to a full dose of Wellbutrin. Well, what I mean is I go from taking 150 mg in the morning to 150 mg in the morning and 150 mg in the evening. So far I'm having no side effects and just feel normal.

Car trouble today made me cry though, really really hard. I could feel it happening as I walked out of the service department at Capital KIA, but I hurried back to the car before the water works exploded. You know what? It felt kind of great. I haven't had a hard cry in a long time! Why is it that kids throwing up doesn't make me cry but car trouble pushes me over the edge every time? Luckily it's all resolved now. Thank you Capital KIA for fitting me in today and fixing everything for free. Now we can attend Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow!

Anyway... I'm thankful for all of the awesome people in my life. All of you make me feel like I am never alone.

I'd like to do a separate post for Thanksgiving, but I'm not sure I'm going to have time. I'm thankful, though, that I won't have time, because I have wonderful people to visit. ;)


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A sick day is a lot of 15-30 minute chunks

Every time Mina vomits I set the timer for 30 minutes. If she makes it that far, she can have a sip of water or ginger ale. Then I set it for 15 minutes, and if she makes it she can have another sip. So she gets a sip every 15 minutes, unless she vomits, then it starts at 30 again. This seems to be the best way to keep things happy.

Cullen is kind of tantrum-y today but no longer vomiting. I think he's mad because I'm not giving him solids.

Mina is curled up on the futon with a blanket and the giant mixing bowl by her side, and she is falling asleep right now.

Leta is energetic and bouncing off the walls. I am kind of crabby toward her and I feel bad about that.

I didn't try out the light box today. Hopefully tomorrow...


Madison deals with Norovirus outbreak

Mina woke me up a couple of hours ago saying that she was taking a drink of water when "the water just came splashing back out". Of course, I knew what was happening. I stripped her bedding, gave her a giant mixing bowl and said if she felt like the water was going to come splashing back out again, let it splash out into the bowl please.

An hour or so later she was up, up for good, asking what's going on, should she have any more water, she kind of doesn't feel good but she's not sick right? Not like Cullen right? Because those germs were killed by the bleach!

We sat together in the bathroom where Mina made me remove the rug "just in case it splashes" until Mina threw up a few times and felt ready to lay down again.

Luckily she hasn't been crying or completely freaking out, and I have been nice and calm (yay me!!!) about it all... But I have decided that I will just keep up with the laundry and not try to sleep because I hate interrupted sleep and I'm tired of tiptoeing in and out of my bedroom.

I will be calling her in to school today for sure.


More throwing up. She's being a good sport about it, and I am so thankful for that! She has finally figured out that it is much less unpleasant if it all goes in the toilet.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Times

So while I was at the dentist today the receptionist came in and said Mina was waiting in the office at school because she had early release today.

I rushed out of there to get her, then I went to get my GIGANTIC LIGHT BOX. This thing... Well that's another post.

Anyway, Cullen was crying and stuff so I gave him food and he threw it all on the floor. The kids were being jerks. My brain started to unravel. And then it happened.

Cullen threw up. Again. And again. And again. And again.

Thank god we still have some chlorox in this granola house. I do hope we don't all get it.

Cullen is now wrapped in a towel, laying in Jason's lap. Every time we move him, he throws up.

The girls are in their room watching Cinderella, waiting for their dinner of tater tots, and Jason and I have lost our appetites.

Ah, just in time for Thanksgiving.

Tidbits #8763423 !!!!!!

  • No Paxil today
  • Wellbutrin instead today
  • I called the medical supply store and my light box is waiting for me
  • What if there is so much happy in my brain that it explodes from all this Wellbutrin and light and Vitamin D?
  • I'm just kidding about that
  • I do feel a bit jittery but it could be ALL THE COFFEE
  • I get my teeth cleaned today and probably a scolding for not getting my dental work done. I'm planning on blaming my fear of dental work and the fact that it costs money and stuff like that. If I still get a stern look I will become adorable a la Tina Fey's Sarah Palin.
  • I'm getting a lot done today because I have energy and Cullen is actually taking a nap! Praise God!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gee, I hope I wasn't too cocky

Last night I definitely felt like taking hostages. At one point I jumped on the couch and pulled my sweater over my head while Jason tried to make the children leave me alone. But, I pressed on, read to them, and didn't do any irreparable damage to their fragile little brains. That's always my goal! It's good to have goals...

TODAY I AM drinking coffee. Dr. Dude instructed me to take one more Paxil on Sunday so I will be needing this coffee.

Drugs, drugs, drugs, drugs. I'm sorry, folks, it's what's on my mind.

Sometimes I regret being so open about what is going on, like when family members worry about me. However, I don't want to filter my writing or start writing in different journals depending on the subject because that's too complicated for me and would discourage me from purging in this way, which is the best way I know how to stay sane.

Well, hugs to all on this Sunday. Live, Love, Laugh.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Feeling Great!

Today I didn't take the Paxil and I feel great. I'm awake, alert, I had a cup of tea and no coffee. I don't even feel like I need coffee!

Amazing what a week of feeling like total crap can do. Feeling normal is like a present from the universe.

Yesterday at 11am I already felt like I was dying and wanted to lay down on the floor of the doctor's office. I didn't care about anything. After my appointment I sat in the van just staring blankly ahead in the parking lot for about fifteen minutes.

I wasn't sure if I was going to feel horrible today as I hear discontinuing Paxil is PAIN, but then, I only took it for nine days and it was a low dose. Anyway, take THAT, Paxil! I feel awesome.

I'm the best quitter ever.

Yesterday I would have become too exhausted about 1/3 of the way through this post. Today I could go on, and on, and on! But I won't.

Just wanted to say hi.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Plan of attack

I went to see Dr. Dude today. I told him that Paxil was horrible and I counted the ways. He said I should stop taking it. I don't take it tomorrow. I take it on Sunday. Then I take Wellbutrin starting Monday which sounds much better, but who knows...

I also got a prescription for a light box. Yippee!

Dr. Dude says us whiteys need to take vitamin D in the winter and that I should be taking fish oil.

I go back in a few weeks for my physical so we'll talk again then, and I'm to call in the meantime if things get worse.

I didn't feel rushed, it was a nice and quiet talk, and I have to say that instances like this in particular show me how nice it is to have a family doctor who knows all of us and how I feel about things, what makes me nervous, remembers personal details from visit to visit and appears to actually care.

I couldn't talk to a stranger about such sensitive issues.

Writing a blog is different. ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Brain is out with the flu

I don't feel like writing right now. I'm just going to do the things I have to do to get by and sleep the rest of the time for the next couple of weeks, I think. I promise to emerge refreshed and ready to blog my heart out soon-ish. xoxo

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I saw the sun peek out for a minute this morning. I'm determined to have a good day today. I'm dressed (comfortably), my hair still looks like I cut it myself with a machete, but I did cover up my blemishes and throw some gloss on. The kids are (hopefully) working on getting dressed and we're going to grab the world by the tail and put it in our pockets.

I'm not even going to complain about --oh I almost did.


My wonderful husband has lovingly made gluten free steal cut oats every morning and filled our bellies with yummy warm comfort food. Thanks Jason!

Off to have a great day.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

darkish lightish place

Well folks, after a distressed call to Dr. Dude this week I am on day four of Paxil. So far it sucks the most ever. I hear that it is supposed to suck the most ever for a few weeks, and then it gives you a great big present of happy when your brain explodes. Does that sound about right, Dr. Internet?

I have concerns about this drug and I go back and forth about it. I'm writing everything down and get to see the doc face to face in a few days, when I will probably beg him for any and all suggestions, treatments, and possibly a different drug that doesn't make me want to sleep until it's all over.

Until then I will probably continue to feel shivery, thirsty, so tired I could die, dizzy (spells), headachey, nauseous, spacey...

Sometimes it's fun to be spacey, when you're in the bathroom and you can just get lost in the wood grain of the cabinet, but it's never fun when your kids are going, "are you LISTENING?"....

So, that's what's going on. Okay. I'm glad I told you all about it. Now excuse me if I sleep for a few weeks.

Friday, November 14, 2008

How did that HAPPEN?

How did it get to be Friday already? I guess I could do tidbits. Or not. There's the laundry buzzer, and the in-laws will be here at 8am and I'm so very tired. There are a couple of things going on that are on my mind but I guess they can wait. More... This weekend... Probably.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Woops, I guess I forgot to write yesterday. I think that because I posted so much the day before I should be forgiven.

I just found out that Laura's kiddo is in the hospital. :( I feel so bad for her. Okay. I'm out of time this morning.

Monday, November 10, 2008

recurrant mental image

This is what I picture sometimes when I'm feeling overwhelmed and cornered.

------SPECIAL REPORT-------

Cullen's first official word that is not mama or dada: lego.
this is actually tied with uh-oh.

two words in one day! Hooray Cullen!

Haha! Hilary trying to be a grown up! SO funny.

Portrait photograph of Bob Dylan taken by Daniel Kramer
Free picture taken from

After going to the YMCA and blowing off steam I came home to have lunch with Leta and Cullen. After lunch I changed Cullen and put him down for a nap, and sat down to respond to a couple of emails.

Then the phone rang.
It was Mina's school, wondering if I was going to pick Mina up today.
"Umm... her next appointment isn't until..."
"NO, it's early release," AHHH! Damn you, early release! It was already 20 minutes past release time... I assured her I would be there in 10 minutes.

I went into Cullen's room, and of course, he was covered in poop.

And then all of a sudden there was no more air and my eyes bugged out and my lungs collapsed and it was all over. The end!

My hair, this week, looks a bit "Bob Dylan" I think. I think my hair is sort of like a mood ring. I don't know why or how, but I swear it is alive and it changes depending on how I'm feeling.

Breaking News!

Dr. Dude just called to say Cullen's blood work is all normal. That means A)The remaining Thomas items we have aren't poisoning him with lead and B)He can continue with his steady diet of Cheerios!


You can all breathe a huge sigh of relief now and go on with your lives.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Every Sunday I am depressed.

I swear, it's true. I don't know if it's coincidence, but this is how it's always been and I have always hated Sundays. Maybe this is the day I do the most thinking. Maybe it's because I hated church as a kid. Maybe I also hated wearing itchy tights, having brunch, listening to Sunday morning jazz, all the listening and waiting and feeling stir crazy. Now all that other stuff is gone but I still feel the same feeling.

I'm getting worse at everything I do. I'm overwhelmed. I talk to friends, I have a great relationship with my husband, I get out of the house often, I'm involved in many projects, I exercise, I eat moderately well, I take vitamins, I dress up every day, all the things that make my life awesome and give me the best odds at not being a whiny depressed baby. I see my husband do things with ease that I struggle with. And I should just be happy because he helps out and is a good husband to me, and a good father, and good at his job, and excited about the things he's excited about, but it all goes through the depressed filter and I just feel like I'm not doing well. I know that in the months to come I'm going to need more patience and creativity and energy than ever, and I'm coming up empty.

I don't want to hear anything you have to say to me, because I'm bitchy and nothing sounds right when it goes through the depressed filter. Please, don't take offense to that. Just know that I *know* I'm doing a good job, the best I can, I know I'm not a failure, I know, I know, I know, but I also KNOW that I'm not doing as well as I would like to appear to be, I KNOW I am yelling too much, snapping too quickly, and this has been going on for a year, so it's not like I'm just having an off day. It's just becoming obvious that I need some intervention.

I know that my kids need me to not be depressed.

I feel like I'm trying everything and I still can't get a grip. It's so... fragile. I just need the teeniest amount of help. Just a smidge! Something. Just a tiny something. But what?

I'm not big on drugs, obviously, since I've worked soooo hard over the years to maintain stability without them. But there are more and more days lately when I wonder if I'm doing myself and my family a disservice by not considering something like that. And no, it's not just because the drug commercials are manipulating my emotions.


Well, I'm glad I got that off my chest. Happy Sunday, everyone! :P

Saturday, November 08, 2008

It happened again.

I was on the elliptical, getting in the zone, sweating buckets, and this time my heart rate (supposedly) went down to 60. I didn't feel weird or anything. It was during the portion when I was to go at least 6 mph, then I saw it go 88...87...86... the faster I went the more it dropped. Then when I dropped down to 3-4 mph it went back up to around 160.

I'm watching I'm Not There. I wasn't that excited about it when we were talking about what to watch but so far it's pretty good.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Job I want

I want to be a usability expert.

Quick list of things about today

  1. More furnace issues today. Jason has been working hard to keep us warm. I am thankful because I had to take the panel off the furnace this morning and I didn't much like it. I like taking things apart and putting them together, but not things that have, you know, gas, and fire, and that sort of thing.
  2. Drama at Leta's preschool/church (not involving Leta--just church doctrine)
  3. I have a new workout that I like. It is pretty quick and hard and not boring. Something kind of unnerving though, is that my heartrate went from 160-ish to about 80 for five minutes or so right in the middle. 80! I mean I was sweating and working my butt off, and I didn't really feel any different, so maybe the machine was malfunctioning.
  4. My skin is getting pretty bad (red). It made me cry a little today, because Jason asked what was making it bad and I said, "Going outside, exercise, taking showers! Being alive!" and then buried my face in my hands because I'm a basketcase.
  5. It snowed today. I wasn't happy about it. It wasn't good snow. It was sort of freezing rain snow. Sleet. Whatever. Can't make a snowman or go sledding with that.
  6. Mina has a LOT of extra energy.
  7. Still no word on Cullen's celiac blood work.
  8. My eyelids have started spasming again.

The End

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Two things! Or more!

Leta, Mina, and Mina's dog have been sitting in their room for the last ten minutes playing a nice, quiet, polite game of Candyland. This is pretty amazing.

Cullen had his blood work done in the lab at St. Mary's Hospital today. It took us forever to figure out where to go. First they told me to go to the other building, then they thought I had to register, then I had to go back to the other building, and is it just me or are hospitals always laid out in the most crazy, illogical way that makes if feel like a video game or something?

Anyway... when we DID get to where we need to be, I swear I heard Cullen say "Outside" for the second time, and I also swear that he has started saying a form of "What's that?". They sound very similar. Like "Azza!" and "AzzaT?" It's a complex language, baby-speak. The lab people were really warm and funny and nice. It took a while to get enough blood out of Cullen though. Tiny baby veins!

No word on the results yet. The doctor asked if he should mail the results or call. I chose the FASTER way, of course. I wonder if he will call or if one of the nurses will call. I remember talking to a nurse at Dean when we got Mina's test results.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Nothing to see here! *nervous high pitched laughter*

I was going to edit my last post to add this but decided my neurosis deserved a post of its' own.

I just read that women my age don't necessarily need the annual stuff so much, now I feel kind of worried because really it feels wrong to go to the doctor when I'm kind of healthy, but you know the only time I've ever had my cholesterol checked was for the life insurance physical when I was 22 and pregnant with Mina, and it was like 450 or something (I just know that it was REALLY HIGH). So I could be healthy or I could be a ticking time bomb!

I should probably confess that sometime early last year I think I had a kind of mental breakdown, and one of the ways I was affected was that I became preoccupied with the notion that I should be in PERFECT HEALTH and began wondering about every. little. thing. I don't know if that's the same as hypochondria since I didn't think I was dying from any diseases or anything, it was more like "WHOA there's a little blemish, better get that nipped in the bud..."

I mean it made sense to me to have a physical one year after having a baby. I don't know why because I don't see any information backing me up on this. Why am I so worried about this? It's just a physical. People have them all the time. I will get checked out and be sent on my way.


One Year Visit

This morning Cullen went to see Dr. Dude for his one year well child checkup. Highlights:

  • Cullen is in the 50th(ish) percentile for pretty much everything.
  • Cullen has fluid in one ear--keeping an eye on that.
  • Cullen's sternum sticks out on the bottom. Doctor says it will start to bug him when he's approaching middle age. I have to look into this more.
  • Phase one of flu shots. Phase two next month.
  • Other shots. Cullen sad. Cullen not like shots. Cullen smash--oh, it's over, nevermind.
  • Not quite over! Tried to do celiac blood test at the clinic but they said the fine people at the hospital lab are much more skilled at doing it on babies, so that's next on the agenda for torturing the boy.
  • Next stop is 15 months and of course they can't schedule things three months out at my clinic. Annoying!
I made my annual physical appointment today, too. Isn't that the most exciting news you've heard all day?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

While I watch and wait...

Even the kids are excited about this election.


Mina is recovering like a champ. I asked her if her teeth hurt and she said they hurt a little but not as much as they hurt before. I haven't given her anything for pain. She's been in a good mood.

This week is Leta's week to provide snack at preschool. I did not bake cupcakes. I bought bags of graham crackers, cups of applesauce, and packs of yogurt and if that's not cool then I have raisins too. It also happens to be Mina's day to provide snack on Thursday. I bought the cool bags of applesauce with the twist off opening which the kids love, but she begged me very nicely to not make that the snack she brings because the kids always ask her if she's eating medicine when she has that in her lunch. I argued that if they all had one they would know it wasn't medicine, but she said, "Please, mom, just please..." :( I wanted to bring something soft that Mina could eat along with all the kids, that was what I was thinking. Sigh. Wow this is so boring. I'm not sure I can bring myself to publish.

Tomorrow I'll be writing about Cullen's doctor visit.

Seriously? I have nothing to say? I'm just going to strike out everything that I want to edit from this post, but I can't because... Well you should know that I never erase anything I write. I change things, tweak them, but I never delete more than a word at a time... And I never work on a post way ahead of time. I'm writing this now, at 9:58pm, and will probably publish it in a couple of minutes. I have NO drafts waiting. Maybe that makes me a less than stellar writer, but I just don't like planning things very much. I like to fly by the seat of my pants.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mina's Tooth Extraction at Meriter (Mostly so I remember)

Today was the BIG DAY. And now I'm going to tell you all exactly how it went, just in case anyone else has a child who is about to get a tooth pulled.

1. No food or drink after midnight.
Mina had a small cup of icewater when she got out of bed. She was well prepared for this. Yesterday she even said, "It'll be kind of nice to not have to eat," HA! This from the girl who has to eat something every five minutes... Anyway, I told her she could sleep in as late as she wanted and she could wear her pajamas all day. She was pretty happy about that, however, couldn't stay in bed later than about 7:15am.

2. Check in at 10:30am.
It can take 25 minutes to get to Meriter, and then you have to consider the time it takes to park, get inside and to the right floor... I like to leave a generous margin of... error? I guess I just hate being late. So I left home at 9:45. I mean we were pulling out of the driveway at 9:45, not getting ready to leave, because we did that at 9:30, because you know it takes 15 minutes to get ready to leave.
Anyway... In we went to patient registration where they confirmed all of our information, gave us some paperwork and then sent us on our merry way to the pediatric ward.

3. Pediatrics
We rode the elevator up to the sixth floor and just as we were told, there was a sign on the wall for pediatrics and an arrow pointing to the left. We went down the hallway to the left and just as we were told, stopped at the second nurses station to check in. They led us to a room where Mina was checked out and answered questions--particularly reguarding her cough--many times. While we were in there another little girl was wheeled in and had apparently just finished the same thing Mina was about to do. She was still out and snoring. We decided to wait in the play area. Mina played half-heartedly with a few things before standing in the middle of the room, rotating nervously and saying, "I think we should GET OUT OF HERE. I really think we should leave. NOW."
"Why?" I asked, thinking she must be getting nervous about the procedure.
"Because I think that every kid who comes in here to play is SICK," she replied. God, she was right, but I had to be all, "NO... No... See, they just have teeth pulled and things like that, like you..."
Then, a nice man in scrubs came along with a bed and had Mina hop on for a ride!

4. The Operating Room (henceforth known as the OR)
Mina loved the bed ride, down hallways, in the elevator down to the 4th floor, through the door to the OR. I felt a little funny being in there because I saw lots of signs saying I needed to not be in there. They wheeled her into a big room with other people in beds and privacy curtains where she was parked at the end on the left.
I talked to a couple of uh... nurse people (I don't know. They all just wear scrubs. It's so hard to tell who is who...even though they all wear identification around their necks). Dr. DentistDude came in to go over the treatment plan and answer any questions. (Pull tooth. Fill other fillings.) Then the anesthesiologist came in, which was really what I was most concerned about. She explained that I would walk out with them but then they would take Mina back to the OR without me. Then they would put a mask on her which smells of bubble gum, and have her take some deep breaths. She would relax and fall asleep. They would put tubes in her nose and down her throat. They would give her an IV, heart monitor, and she (the anesthesiologist) would be there watching and monitoring everything the whole time. That made me feel a little better.
So, then we wheeled Mina out, and they explained to her that mom had to stand behind the red line because only people with special clothes could come into the OR, and so I stood behind the red line and waved as they took her on a fun ride. Weeeeee!

5. Waiting
The other OR people coached me to wait until Mina turned the corner and then I should go out the door and down to the end of the hall, where I would see a woman with a clip board, and she would take care of me.
I did just that and there she was. She walked me into the OR waiting room, looked on her sheet and then wrote a number on a post-it. She then showed me the TV screen "grease board" which showed the status of everyone by number. Since it was noon, she encouraged me to go down to the cafeteria and get myself a discounted lunch. I'm glad I did. I had the greek chicken salad and it was delicious and huge and about four dollars. I saw that lots of doctors were getting that so I figured it must be decent.
I got back to the waiting area at 12:30 and spent the next hour staring at the "grease board", guzzling free coffee and writing in my sketchbook. I felt a little sad and scared and wished I had a familiar face to just... be around.

6. Post-Op
Dr. DentistDude came in and snagged me for the post-op talk. He explained that the tooth next to the tooth they pulled was worse than they expected. They had to put a crown on that one. He also said they didn't need to use a spacer because her top teeth had good contact with her bottom teeth and he didn't expect them to shift, and a spacer would just be a food trap. He filled her other cavities with the white stuff and billed for the silver stuff (nice. way nice.) because sometimes insurance co's will only cover the silver, and if you do the white they'll cover for the cost of silver and you pay the difference, but often they won't cover it at all.

7. Recovery
Dr. DentistDude led me to the chair just outside the OR and said a nurse would come to tell me when I could come back. A few minutes later he came out to get me. He brought me over to Mina and I thanked him profusely. She was kind of half asleep still. They gave me her disgusting tooth in a box with a dollar coin attached to it. They told me the drugs she was on which included Zofran for nausea and Tylenol. She went for another ride back up to her room on the 6th floor where we were required to recover for at least an hour. Our roommate was still there! She'd had hers done at 9am and it was 1:45! I was afraid we would be there all day. However, just 20 minutes later, Mina was flipping through the channels on the TV, sighing heavily and complaining that she wanted to go home. That's my girl! The nurse told her if she drank half of her cup of water we could go. Well, once she realized it was half empty, she sat up and said, "I want to put my shoes on."
"I don't even know if you can stand..."
"I want to try," she said, and she stood just fine, and put her shoes on and was ready to go. They came back in to check her vitals and I signed out. We were home a little after 3pm.

Today and tomorrow it's nothing but soft foods, no straws. This info is from the nurses and the handouts they gave me. The doctor said she could eat whatever she wanted. I will err on the side of caution though, and not just because I bought all that soft food last night.

Mina's tooth is under her pillow but she still isn't asleep. She came out a little while ago to show me some gauze she got out of her mouth. She just came out again to tell me she doesn't really feel like laying down.

If you read that whole thing you deserve a prize.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

It is ALWAYS teeth.

So Cullen's been a super mega crankified baby this weekend. Today was the worst. No naps. Lots of crying, lots of throwing himself around on the floor. I noticed a bit of snot oozing from his nose too. "AWW shit, don't be SICK..." I thought.

Then, tonight, I stuck my finger in his mouth and felt his gums in the back. Spikes! Spikes coming through, on the bottom left... On the bottom right... On the top left... On the top right. Four molars all coming through, making everyone crazy.

I should have known. It's ALWAYS teeth.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy November First!

Happy National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo. It's going to be tricky, with Thanksgiving and birthdays and everything, but I think I can do it. What could possibly be easier?

Today I finally went to a little place called Sophia's. My mom has been raving about this place for a while now and she finally forced me to go today.

First, it was kind of hard to get to because it's on a one way street. It wasn't really hard. I don't know. I'm kind of a whiny baby. Moving on...

It's the tiniest little place on earth. There are three or four tiny tables in the place with scores of Madison hipsters crowded around them as if they're hovering around crack pipes or something. We squeezed up to the counter and ordered. I ordered some kind of black bean tomatillo taco with eggs and potatoes and OJ, and we got a chocolate croissant to nibble while we waited. We sat outside on rickety chairs around a rickety wooden TV tray, shivering in the cold, telling stories and waiting for our crack breakfast. Every now and then I would get up and peek in the door to see if we could snag a spot at a table.

Finally after an hour or so we got a spot inside sitting with another family who was just finishing up. Our food came right away after that, and the talking stopped for about five minutes. It was so tasty and obviously lovingly prepared. I was also very hungry by then that I think my eyes rolled back into my head as I chewed my first bite of taco and tomatillo sauce oozed out onto my potatoes and eggs.

And then, just like that, it was over, and there were other vultures circling people longing for indoor seating.

Anyway, glad I finally tried it. I won't be bringing the children there for a leizurely coffee date or anything like that, but I can definitely see it being a very uniquely Madison experience with an almost cult-like following. Visiting parents will be scrunched around tables with other different visiting parents, feeling the rush of it all... Anticipating their farm fresh hippy breakfast. Mmmm.

I'm so distracted with hungry thoughts that I can't seem to wrap up this post. Somehow I don't think this leftover Halloween candy is going to cut it...

Friday, October 31, 2008

The WEAP years ~ The end of an era

September 2006

Mina started working with the Wisconsin Early Autism Project two years ago after being on the waiting list (for funding) for one year. I worked with her as much as I could during that year, but I had another child to care for as well. Try having 30 minutes of uninterrupted floortime with a 3 year old when you have a 1.5 year old... I did my best. I did a lot. But, she needed much more than what I could do. During Mina's first month with WEAP I think I cried almost every day about how quickly she was responding, how much she was talking, how happy she was. These girls came over every day with so much energy, energy that Mina needed so much that I alone just couldn't provide. They were Mina's cheerleaders. Six hours every weekday were full of success, praise, treats, pony rides, spaghetti arms, and super fun and creative learning time.

I know Mina loved it about 95% of the time, and if it wasn't for WEAP, I don't know how I personally would have managed. When we were on the waiting list, not recieving any services, I was so tired. I was stretched beyond the max. Everything else slipped to the wayside. Jason and I were fighting all the time, I was worried all the time, I had terrible guilt because Leta didn't get enough attention, everything seemed so dark and impossible and I just had to keep my chin up and keep trudging through because I wasn't going to let Mina down. By the time Mina got her waiver slot (Katie Beckett/Medicaid) and started therapy, I just felt totally broken.


Now, two years later, our time with WEAP has come to an end. This month it was determined that Mina no longer meets Level of Care to qualify for Medicaid. In other words, she has become too high functioning. Just like that, she goes from 33 hours per week of in-home therapy to nothing. This isn't exactly the ideal way to end things, but I'm so grateful that we were able to get the help we did when we did.

Today was Mina's last day. We had a graduation party this morning.

Thank you, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to Margot, Stacey, Dr. Sallows, Jordan, Sara, Stephanie, Sharon, Jennifer, Claire, Melissa, Andrea, and Morgan. Thank you, WEAP. Thank you, Wisconsin, for funding this. Thank you to the village who has helped us so tremendously. Thank you for making such a difference in our lives, and Mina's life. You have given our brilliant child the tools she needs... to give back to YOU, to share the amazing things that are going on up there.

I have tears streaming down my face and Mina is telling me it's okay, not to be sad, and that SHE IS HUNGRY and so I should feed her and get off of the computer. Thanks for bringing me back from my sentimental moment, Mina. ;)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yay heat! And nursing woes

Hooray! We have a new furnace! It works and it's pretty (so Jason says) and I love not wearing a scarf around the house because I hate it when my scarf ends go in the sink. We need someone to affix some sheet metal for us. Anyone? Anyone?

Also, Cullen has been waking in the night more and more, and because I'm weak and I didn't learn from my mistakes last time (slow learner) I'm afraid he's decided that 1-2 times a night it's time to wake up for a meal. I think he's getting some molars because the latch seems kind of off. I think this is a sign that I should wean him NOW. I will have to get earplugs, though, if I have to not feed him in the night. I'm sure to get scolded for it when I go see the doctor. Well, maybe. His last appointment was with Dr. Awesome and she prescribed a book on how to stop feeding your baby at night. Maybe Dr. Dude will have different advice. We'll see!

That's all folks. My baby calls.

Monday, October 27, 2008

They're not just the hottest, they're the COOLEST!

Our furnace has been on the fritz for a while. Today it was pretty cold out and it was obvious that the furnace wasn't doing it's job. 64 degrees may have been balmy in my childhood bedroom, but I hate it when Cullen's fingers and toes are cold and being cold in my own home actually makes me really depressed.

Fortunately, my brother-in-law happened to be doing some work in town. You see, I married into a heating and cooling family. (cue angels singing)
Unfortunately, the prognosis is that we need a new furnace. !!!!! Is right. I don't swear a lot (stifled laughter) but this is one of those occasions when I think we can all agree it can't be helped.
Because my brother-in-law and father-in-law are so heroic, know people in the biz, and care about keeping my family warm, this might not be as horrible as it would otherwise be.

I hope I can return the favor somehow and not just by staying married to Jason. ;)

So, we have no heat tonight. It's a little chilly but I've got a kettle on the stove staying warm so I can have hot tea all night. The fan is circulating the air. I've got blankets and towels blocking drafts, the kids are bundled up, and you know, the laptop is keeping me warm.

Maybe I should bake something.

I guess a fireplace would be kind of nice.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Time to introduce MILK!

I'm not sure...

Do you think he likes it?

I guess maybe.

Okay, he LOVES it.

Yesss... YES! He took the milk down! Mwahahaha!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Long Overdue Birth Story

Seriously? I never wrote Cullen's birth story? I can't believe it. I scoured my blogger archives and my livejournal archives... Nada. I have written about new boots, Celebrex commercials, everything else. I remember that I didn't want to write it for a while because I felt guilty for the troubles that other people have had birthin'...

ANYWAY! Today Cullen is ONE YEAR OLD! So of course, we must travel back in time to the day he was born.

The night before I was determined to have a baby, even though my regular doctor ("Dr. Awesome") was out of town and the resident "Dr. Dude" would be delivering my baby...

I had a funny feeling in my toe that conditions were right and with the proper encouragement we could have that baby. Jason and I had twinkles in our eyes as we laid down to bed. I woke up in the wee hours with a sort of quiet crampy, icky feeling. It was quiet enough that I wasn't sure. I laid there for a short while, riding out some more icky cramps, feeling a bit sick.

Finally at around... Oh, I don't know, 4am? (Should have written this when all the details were fresh!) I got out of bed to see if I could time any of it. I don't remember timing anything though, I just remember having one that I definitely for sure felt was a labor pain. I knew then that it was time to call Laura.

"NO... NOT YET..."
"Okay... See you soon..."

That's about how it went I think. I think it was after I called Laura that I woke up Jason and we got ready to go. I was mostly ready. Anything we were doing to be ready at that point was extra. I was feeling okay. I remember having one or two big contractions before getting in the car, and was mostly okay in the car which was one of my big worries. The car can be a terrible place for pain.

I think it was maybe 5:30am when we got to the hospital. I spent some time in triage, getting checked out. I was just starting to have some pretty bad contractions, but some were okay. It was kind of inconsistent and I was surprised when they said I was 7ish cm dilated. I thought I would be maybe five, or worse, that it was false labor.

Still, it took about three hours to get to ten. I was in a hospital gown, on all fours on my birthing bed with my bare butt in the air when the doctor arrived. That is a story that, I'm proud to say, made my friend actually spit out her coffee. I should maybe point out that at the time I sort of... well I felt a little funny about Dr. Dude, because he's the same age as my peer group, and I don't know, I didn't get the "doctor" vibe from him? So here's this young dude who isn't my husband being greeted by my bare butt in the air...

Of course, it only gets worse from there. Suffice to say... I got over it.

Anyway, I remember he kept checking and telling me, "There's just that last bit of lip yet..." As if I could do anything about it. I suppose he was telling me so I knew not to start pushing yet.

I sat on the side of the bed for most contractions, with my feet on the ground, leaning into Jason, and breathing in his t-shirt. My husband always smells good. I don't know what it is. When I smell his skin I am instantly calm. During the postpartum dark days I frequently took little "smell Jason" breaks. This probably sounds insane. Anyway, it's true, so now you all know my secret to happiness--huffing Jason's pheromones.

It was about 8:30 when Dr. Dude gave me the go ahead to start pushing. I wasn't in a good position for pushing. I was just a smidge too reclined. I was past the point of being uh... verbal though, so nothing was done about this. I felt a little powerless at this point but kept pushing anyway. Dr. Dude started applying some pressure on the perineum and telling me to push "right here"... It wasn't long after that! At 9:11am on this day one year ago, our baby boy was born!

I had one stitch and Cullen was perfectly healthy.

I had so much fun that evening with Stephanie, Laima, Laura and Tim sitting around (a bit doped up) thinking of baby names and laughing. I'll always remember that. I was so glad to have them there, passing the time, sharing hearty laughter.

My dear Cullen. You light up my life. Now I have two boys whose skin smells amazing and brings me joy. You are my last baby and you are ONE now! Not such a baby anymore... Your sisters adore you and love (LOVE!!!) to take care of you. Your daddy, once nervous around babies, is now an expert and loves to take care of you too. You're lucky you have so many awesome caregivers around! You make it easy though, you never cry for very long.

Right now you're standing at the edge of the coffee table knocking all the books off, one by one, but I think what you're REALLY doing... is pooping.

Happy, happy, happy birthday. Now it's almost over, and it's time for you to go to bed. I love you so much, my beautiful boy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

What's on everyone's mind right now:

My hair, of course.


Lowly unkempt housewife, depressed, letting the house go, letting herself go.


With makeup, and out of pajamas, and NEW HAIRCUT!

This is housewife's idea of "doing hair":


This is Dr. Mom doing Bill Clinton impersonation:

Thank you, thank you very much.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cleaning is not my favorite

Shocking, I know.

My mother tells me that she cleans the floor on her hands and knees. Her floor always looks fantastic so that's what I did today. It looks okay but it took longer than I expected, made me sweaty, and it's going to be filthy again in about an hour. I think I'll go back to leaving it dirty, at least until the kids are grown up. :P

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Late"

This is pretty much what I was scribbling in my journal 90% of the time when I was in high school. I probably didn't say "WTF" though...

Leta goes to the dentist

I have to confess that sometimes I am just so grateful that Leta is a fairly neuro-typical child. She can be nervous and shy, but she also likes to challenge herself, and she takes a lot of pride in being a big girl, and being brave.

Today Leta went to the dentist for a cleaning.

She went in without me, smiling, with her head held high. Cullen and I terrorized the waiting area. Leta came out 30 minutes later with play money, a new toothbrush and toothpaste, and the biggest smile ever.

"Mama, they painted my teeth! We talked about my Halloween costume too, did you know that she asked me what I was going to be for Halloween? And I said a UNICORN! Mama there's the bathroom, did you go to the bathroom while I was getting my teeth cleaned? Did you get a drink? Did you know that I got to pick a TOY out of the DRAWER? They got new toys in the drawer, did you know that?!!"

I love all of my kids so, so so so much, but you have to know that if they were all like Leta, or Cullen, or Mina, I would not be the picture of inner poise you see before you. I can only handle ONE of each. ;)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

This is a post about butter.

For most of the night I have been trying to think of things on which to spread this unbelievable butter. I thought I was buying butter from down the street but it's actually from Minnesota. I feel a little bit guilty about that, being from the dairy state after all. Minnesota butter! But oh! It's heavenly. I never knew butter before I tasted this butter. In fact, I never really liked butter that much! Oh sure, it's better than margarine, probably, but it always sort of grossed me out. Until today! I'm in trouble now. I don't know if I can go back to regular old butter.

I could, I really could. I was thinking today about what I used to live on--IGA mac and cheese, Ramen, frozen peas and corn. That's really it. I didn't drink soda (at home). I did smoke A LOT. I also weighed 110 lbs. And now my life is so full of really good food. I was thinking, could I go back to eating that way? Of course I could. And I wouldn't be sad about it, I really wouldn't. I would be sad about whatever circumstances led to my having to eat that way I'm sure, but you know, I can always make food about surviving and not about doing something really fun. It's sort of a hassle anyway. So yeah I could go back... But every once in a blue moon... I would dream of fancy butter.

Obligatory Fall UW Arboretum Walk

To prove I was there. And I look like (expletive), and the sun flare doesn't hide that.

I promise I was going 2 miles per hour when I took this on the drive through the Arboretum.

I just really wanted to capture the feeling of being inside of a giant bright yellow tent.

Lovely prairie. You can't really tell but this is several feet taller than me in most areas.

The trails are pretty easy here.

Nice shot of Cullen's back!

Leta is HOLDING A CATERPILLAR! It lasted for about .002 seconds and I'm so glad I was able to capture it.

Let's pretend Mina was pulling the wagon the whole time. In reality she was whining about being tired for almost the entire time. She did get to switch places with Leta for a little while... I think everyone was pretty tired but I was determined to force everyone to enjoy this short lived season!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Tidbits #8763422

I have a couple of more meaningful blog posts writing themselves in my head, but then there is all this other junk happening that clog up the creative juices, so I thought I'd just empty them out here.

Everyone loves tidbits, anyway.

-Last week I chaperoned my first ever field trip to Schuster's Playtime Farm for Mina's class. I was really impressed with her class and she did a great job.

-Leta went on a field trip with her preschool class, too! She really had a great time and talked endlessly about it. I didn't chaperone that one, though, mostly because Leta goes to school before Mina and I still had to take Mina to school and then there's Cullen and I just didn't want to go to another farm, okay?! The hay! It makes the insides of my eyelids all scratchy!

-Spent way too much on winter boots, Smartwool socks, and the perfect shoes today. Mina got these Merrell shoes. They are a cinch to put on and she likes them. Mina has trouble with shoes, and it's important that she can put her shoes on herself and that they're easy so she feels good about herself.

-Have to work on being more on top of changing the furnace filter. The last time was at the beginning of summer and the last few days the heat just hasn't been kicking in. I bought a new box of filters and changed it and boy was it GROSS. Unbelievable. It took a while for things to start working but now everything seems fine. I had to turn it off and on a few times to get it to work. I'd really like to pay Jason's brother to just do some maintenance on it periodically when he is in town. I know it's a pretty crappy furnace but if we can go a couple of more years without needing a new one that would be super...

-I want to have some note cards made of some of my paintings/drawings. I have my ideas which ones I want, but I'd appreciate it if you could just wander over to the art blog and just comment on the ones you think would be good on notecards. Of course I will have my dutiful husband take better pictures of things where appropriate.

-I donated blood this morning. Five more pints and I get my picture taken for the Wall of Fame! This time I stuck with my trusty right arm vein and it did not disappoint. Last time I stupidly went along with it when the phlebotomist insisted that lefty would be the big performer. It stung going in, it hurt the whole time, bruised terribly and was sore for two days. Righty never hurts me, not even a little.

That concludes this edition of Tidbits. Thank you for your patience. I'll have something cool to say soon I'm sure.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Shout Out to My Parents

I was thinking, today, about how lucky I am that I have two parents who both, still, and often, separately, tell me they love me, how proud they are of me, and other such words of encouragement and praise.

Thank you, to my mother and father, for your nurturing ways.

On a completely unrelated note, Leta has been saying "ridiculous" lately, like all the time. It reminds me of Jonah Hill, the Superbad guy. It's ridiculous! *Wild hand gesturing* I don't know why.

I hope I can nurture Leta's future career in comedy, and not in the way that all comedians are products of horrible childhoods...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What the...

How did it get to be Wednesday already? I'm glad I didn't announce to the world that I was trying to write every day. OH dang...

I'm watching the debate. MUST RESIST RESPONDING IN BLOG!!!

*breathe breathe breathe*

According to the American Frugal Housewife, nothing works better on chapped lips than EAR WAX. Go ahead. Try it. And then tell me about it. Also, you should brush your teeth with a mixture of honey and charcoal. MMMMMMM! I bet that would take care of any dandruff you might have, too.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Illustration Friday - "Strings"

If you are a mom wearing crocs in public then you might have this problem. Tee hee!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Sunday Sunday! Randomness...

We were in Appleton over the weekend for Jason's brother's wedding. It was a lot of fun and I mean that. I knew plenty of people and did lots of catching up.

Tonight I'm tired. I worked a little on my towel rug while watching Desperate Housewives, diapers are in the wash, I have dishes and a little unpacking to take care of.

I was considering having some art postcards printed up.

I like this idea more every time I think about it.

There was something I was going to write about tonight and I'm just typing all of this banal crap, hoping it pops up... It's not happening, though. I'm still drawing a blank. This will have to be good enough for tonight. I hope everyone had a great weekend.

EDITED TO ADD: Ahh! I just remembered. I was going to mention that on the way back from Appleton we saw signs for a tractor pull. It must have been over with by then because we saw a lot of tractors coming away from the area with the signs. I think what a tractor pull is, is some sort of competition involving tractors. You can read about it here if you so desire.

I really, truly love Wisconsin. I remember when I was a kid and I wanted the world to know that not everyone in Wisconsin is a redneck or a farmer. And honestly, I grew up in a liberal arts college town where all of my friends parents were artists, musicians and teachers. It didn't feel very rural midwest to me. Now I do think there is something charming about it all. I like living in South Central Wisconsin especially because it's just slightly warmer than where I'm from, there is a lot of Farmer's Market and Community Supported Agriculture action which is delightfully hippy-hillbilly... Hippy-billy? Hill-hippy. Something. It's granola, folks. It's neat, though. The sense of community around here is what I like. It just "feels" right.

/Wisconsin advertisement :D