Monday, June 30, 2008

Everyone loves a picture post!

You know, it's funny... I have given birth to three good sized babies without any pain killers, but a cut on the finger has my life on hold.

I got a lecture about proper cutting technique from my darling husband, but honestly, I would have sliced the hell out of my knuckle and I think that would have sucked just as much. What's the diff? The knife slipped hard. I should not have been using this knife to cut stale bread.

I tried to get a good picture but I suck at that, too! Luckily my mom is coming over this afternoon. Then I can just hold my finger and cry while she does all the work around here. Mwahahahaha!!!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Three Year Mystery--SOLVED!

Mina, August? 2005

Yesterday afternoon I was in the kitchen when Mina walked up to me slowly and purposefully. She shifted her gaze from side to side, opened and closed her mouth a few times, until she finally said, "A really long time ago I had a scary dream..."

"Oh?" I said as I pulled leftover pasta out of the fridge.

"I saw something scary on the TV when we slept over somewhere else..."

I immediately stopped what I was doing and crouched down close to her. "What? What did you see? Where?"

Little by little, the tale unfolded. She would tell me one little bit, and her cheeks turned red and she trembled. Then she would put her hands over her ears and yell, "I don't want to talk about it anymore! It's too scary!" I would say okay, that she didn't have to, and then she would tell me a little bit more.

You see, it started when we stayed at the cottage GG rented in Waupaca. Mina became TERRIFIED of the TV. She'd cover her ears and run out of the room, screaming, shaking... She was hysterical! The first time was when something went wrong with the TV and we were scrambling to fix it, changing channels, futsing with settings...

After that she freaked out just looking at the TV even if it wasn't turned on. I had to keep it covered with a blanket. Then it was just if the channel changed, or words came on the screen, or the screen went black. We had no idea if she was scared of the words, anticipating something scary, scared of the reflection on the TV, a high pitched noise that we couldn't hear... All we knew was her reaction, intense fear and occasionally she would yell, "SCARY SCARY SCARY!!!"

She was STILL scared of the TV by the time we moved here. We never knew why. Eventually it got better and she stopped running out of the room all the time.

Apparently Mina saw a green guy on TV at the cottage. She said he had a long chin and was bald. He kind of looked like a cartoon but was real, with lots of grown ups around. She described with terror how the words came down, and how she had scary dreams about it. We did some image searches and concluded that it was the green goblin from Spiderman. It must have been a really short blip that she managed to catch.

She said in her dream there were holes in the floor. She said Leta was scared, too, because there were branches scraping against the window. She said Leta fell out of the bed, which she did.

I started looking at all these pictures and thinking about that time. Mina had a blood test that confirmed gluten sensitivity. When she stopped eating wheat, she started drawing these amazing pictures. She was newly diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder - Not Otherwise Specified. I prefer to call this, "spectrumy". ;) After the shock and the worry and the sick feeling and scouring the internet and books, I think it started to seem less horrible, and I started to separate fact from media hysteria, and started to realize that practically everyone worth talking to is a little bit "spectrumy"...

Anyway... Here are some of our favorite magnetic doodle drawings from the early gluten-free days.

Jason really liked this bee:

I got a kick out of the shower:

Self portrait I think:

And finally, "scary TV":

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A guy walks into a bar

asks the bartender for a glass of water. The bartender pulls out a shotgun. The man says thank you and walks out.

I can't wait until the kids are just a little older and we can start doing Minute Mysteries. I'm trying to remember them:

-naked guy with broken toothpick
-dead in a room with a deck of cards
-goes upstairs, turns out the light, passes day everyone is dead
-??? I know there were so so many more.

Do you know any?

Also, Mina and Leta are into jokes right now. What are your favorite kid jokes?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

You may be wondering,

How does she do it?

The answer is:

Cullen is 8 months old!

Cullen has become a very wiggly, active boy in the last month. While he is not crawling, he gets what he wants by rapidly rolling over and over like a little baby ninja. He does sort of inch forward to get things that are out of reach, but doesn't quite get his belly off of the ground.

Cullen has four teeth--the central incisors. The latest one, still in progress, looks troubling. It looks like two small teeth coming up in place of one regular sized tooth--like the tooth is split. I will have to talk to the doctor about it I guess, and see what the deal is.

My friend Kelly taught Cullen how to clap. I swear I have been trying for months and months, and Kelly holds him for two minutes and gets him to clap. The same with Mina! Kelly taught Mina how to clap, too. What is it with you, Kelly? Or, what is it with ME? Why can I not teach my kids to clap?

Cullen has been talking about DaDa, ehdthhhh, plbtlbtlbt, and AYEEEEEEE!!!!! a lot lately. My favorite nick name for him right now is "baby bird", because he is always making this attention seeking squalking sound. Then when you look he will say, "A DIE DIE DIE DIE DIE!!!! UGOOOOOOOO!" in a very John Belushi samurai-esque way.

He loves to eat and will pretty much eat anything you put in his mouth. All of my kids are such carnivores. Already he loves steak. I STILL don't know how to eat steak. I don't know when he will learn to self feed, though, since he never puts anything in his mouth.

Lately Cullen has been waking up at 5:30am, eating, going back to sleep until 7:30 or so, taking another nap around 9:30, then depending on when he gets up from that one, his next nap could be anywhere from 1-4pm. He goes to bed at about 7:30pm and sometimes cries a bit. Last night I had to go in there and he had himself all turned around and up against the foot of the crib. He was all upset so I stood over him rubbing his tummy and his cheek while he caught his breath, and when I left the room he went to sleep just fine.

I can't believe in only four months he will be a year old.

Sometimes when I stop to think about my life it blows my mind. In a good way. :D Still, it is so surreal at times.

Pause! Pause! Pause! *tries not to panic*

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Ummm... I like this.

Spiders on drugs youtube video

End of June Tidbits

-I can't wait to write about Cullen for his 8 month update tomorrow. He's gotten SO big in the last month!

-We made it up to Appleton again last weekend for the big Samsa family reunion. We squeezed in as much as we could, of course, including time with Jason's mom and my mom and grandparents. We had a great time but were of course totally drained and useless Sunday night.

-Yesterday my step-sister, her husband and their daughter came to visit. Jason and Martin went golfing at Door Creek and the rest of us went to the zoo. We went on a train ride, the carousel, and the giant tree fort playground thing. The kids were tired and cranky about five minutes in... Then we went to the ZuZu Cafe because the kids were whining about being hungry. The boys brought home steaks and grilled those up for dinner. We had such a lovely time on the deck, despite the presence of a dead baby bird a few feet away. Eww.

-I'm feeling really guilty about the state of our garden.

-I didn't make coffee this morning and that was a mistake. Something must be done about this. I just can't go on without it.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My life.

Jason and I were just sitting down to watch Running With Scissors when Leta came out of her room. She cried, "Mina shoved a puff-ball in my nose!"... I took her by the hand and went into the bedroom. Mina was curled up in a ball with her hands over her ears. Jason put her in a time out and I took Leta to the bathroom. Her nose was bleeding.

It was one of those moments when I just wanted to press pause and cry. If I could just cry for a few minutes, then I could come back and handle the situation. But there isn't a pause. You just have to act.

I held a tissue up to he nose and closed the good nostril, told Leta to blow. She was crying, "WHAT IS THAT RED STUFF?" and it was hard for her to blow but thankfully it just plopped out after a couple of minutes.

I have no idea what possessed Mina to do it. We explained to Leta how bad it was to stick things up your nose and she was like, "ooOOOooh!" Like she had no idea. Why was she letting Mina stick something up her nose? Maybe she was asleep? Maybe her nose was already bleeding and Mina was trying to stop the bleeding? Ugh. They were just getting crazy like they always do.

These kids.

Then we watched the movie, and now I'm torn between thinking about how strange life is and how much I like having a sort of normal life, as crazy as that sounds.

I love my husband. I love my kids. They are so damn beautiful. They are all so different. I just want to look at them all day. And I guess that's what I do, at least, right now.

Yesterday Mina, Leta and one of Mina's therapists were playing. Mina was a prince, Leta was a princess and the therapist was a monster. She was going to eat them, you see, but Mina said they would find the monster some fruits and vegetables to eat instead. Leta is great at creating drama, and Mina is great at solving problems...

Cullen is so adorable, I am just in love with that baby boy. He can clap now! It's the cutest thing. You just wouldn't think a baby clapping could be so precious, but let me tell you, it is. It's especially adorable because you can tell he's really concentrating, and then you can tell he's really proud of himself. He has that big drooly smile and looks around at his enthusiastic fans...

I love it. I love life. Even though there are bloody, slimy puff-balls.

Oh, bother.

I bet if I read my horoscope today it will say, "Don't even think about posting, commenting, or talking to anyone today," because it's just one of those "off" days. Or weeks, maybe.

Okay, it doesn't say that at all. So it's not the planets. It's just me. :/

Edited to add: Oh, Hilary. Stop being so Emo. You are making it worse.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sex and the City

Laura and I have been trying for a couple of weeks to round up our girlfriends for a night at the movies with Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha. We finally thought everyone could go last night, but it ended up being just the two of us. But do you know what? (<---Leta says this all the time, before every single thing she says) We are as fun as ten girlfriends. :P

Of course we got a bit dressed up. No, no designer labels or anything like that... We're just Wisconsin girls after all! I did wear my favorite pair of Fluevogs, pictured here:

and of course whilst sipping a crappy martini at Friday's was complimented on them.

Oh, anyway, the movie...

It wasn't great, but you know, the whole series was kind of a guilty pleasure anyway. You just see it because you like paging through magazines and looking at clothes and seeing what happened after the final episode. It was a little long. A little meandering. A lot cheesy. I didn't really expect it to be any different, I guess. At least there is some closure and we can all go on with our lives now.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Something I didn't know

Many houses don't have a sump pump! I thought this was a pretty standard item even for older homes, you know, like... plumbing, and... electricity. Just one of the many things I take for granted I guess.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Love at first poopy diaper

You do all the things I would never do. Things that are too fun, too dangerous, too messy... You pick up the slack when I just can't do it anymore. You cook their favorite food, you don't complain when I have my time away in the evenings, you are the enforcer, protector, provider. You are a combination of the sensitive modern dad and the classic old-fashioned dad. You are everything we need.

Happy Father's Day, to my lovely husband. You can keep your job for at least another year, and not just because you always smell good. ;)


Friday, June 13, 2008

I don't know if you heard,

but we've had some severe weather.

Our basement, thankfully, has not flooded. This morning the sump pump was turning on and off for hours. Jason went outside to see that there was a mini-flood up against our foundation where some PVC pipes are supposed to connect...but don't. The water was just dumping out in this spot up against our house. Luckily with some duct tape, spare pipe and the rearranging of some pavers, Jason was able to stop the water from spilling out against our house. This will have to be remedied in a more permanent way with some kind of flexible rubber joint or something. Hopefully such a thing exists!

There was also a flood in the girls' room. Leta, to ease the boredom while we were outside, took a bottle of water into their room and gave her stuffed llama a bath. The futons got a bath too. Isn't that fun?

Many of my friends did not have it so easy and are now busy un-flooding their basements. I hope we have a break from the rain for a little while, for their sake!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Curious, indeed

I got this treasure from a friend of mine for my birthday and let me tell you, Mary Roach does not disappoint. I also read Stiff and enjoyed that almost as much as I am enjoying this. Let's be honest, though, sex = more fun to read about than dead bodies. Maybe.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Happy Birthday

to Jacques Cousteau and Richard Strauss! And...

As Courtney Love says, "I want to be the girl with the most cake". :D

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Keeping up appearances

Yesterday I went to the doctor and complained about my skin for half an hour.

He gave me the Mayo Clinic info on Rosacea, acknowledging that I already knew all that stuff from my internet digging (haha) and previous visits but here it is anyway...

We discussed treatment options (topical, oral antibiotics, Accutane...) and really the only option for me is to either do nothing, or use Metrogel, because I am breastfeeding. He recommends wearing hypoallergenic sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat.


The warts. I won't go into detail about how awful it is for me to have anyone look at the bottom of my feet. Of course the doctor said anyone who doesn't hate their feet isn't normal. His take on the warts was that the only reason to treat them is if they hurt. What about my self esteem? My self esteem hurts! No, they can be uncomfortable, and are getting worse. Anyway, We talked about all the things I'd done for them over the years with no success, and he said all they could really do at the clinic was to freeze them over and over and he really didn't think that was going to do the trick if it hadn't worked in the past.

SO, in the end, I got a prescription for Metrogel and a referral to Dermatology, because they might have some new fancy way to treat warts and rosacea. My appointment is in August.

I felt sort of deflated after my appointment. I get really anxious about appointments and when that wears off the effect is sort of depressive. I worry about overreacting, wasting time, underreacting, being a nuisance. I feel like I'm there all the time. Of course, it's never for ME. I know that. And I have a very nice, friendly, comfortable sort of doctor. It's just that when I go in and complain about something I tend to feel negative afterwards. Negative, vulnerable, foolish, paranoid.

God, I'm such a nut!

At least I didn't have to sit on the table.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Happy Times

We celebrated my birthday last night (my birthday is not until Wednesday) by getting a babysitter and meeting some of my beautiful friends at Cafe Montmartre. It was a smidge more expensive than I recall but I still really like the place. It's dark, it's hip, the service is good, the drinks and eats are yummy, and you can really talk to your company and enjoy yourself.

Thanks to Laura, Tim, Rahel, Brett, Kathy, Cody, Laima, Dwight, Stephanie, Michael and Michael's gal (I'm sorry I don't remember names very well), Emily and of course my Very Wonderful Husband Jason for tearing yourselves away from Battlestar Galactica to make me smile and laugh and drink. :D I have great friends!


Lucky Girl

I keep forgetting to mention something that happened the other day.

I was pulling grass out of places where I didn't want grass to grow and Mina was keeping me company. She was quietly hovering over me when suddenly she piped up, "Mama, do ALL clovers have three leaves?"

"Yes, Mina," I answered without thinking.

"This one has four."


Sure enough, she spotted a four leaf clover. I got really excited, telling her how lucky it was and how I've looked my whole life for one and never found one. She just had this perfectly sly smile and was totally calm and quiet.

I had her show Jason, who of course had to take a picture. Or twenty. Then I pressed it in a book, and it's been there ever since.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Grown Up Choices...

Folks, today I came home after having been gone for 2+ hours and saw my nearly full cup of coffee with half and half sitting on the table. I thought for a few minutes about whether I should drink it, and finally decided that that's where I would draw the line. It would have been different if I used non-dairy creamer, but this was real half and half. The very same half and half I had left out on the counter yesterday...

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that was a good call on my part. Actually it was my stomach. It was screaming, "For the love of all that is holy, DON'T DO IT!" while I tapped my chin and gazed upward thoughtfully...


Today we got to an appointment at the hospital a few minutes early, so I asked if anyone had to use the bathroom. (Good job, Hilary!) Of course, Mina said she had to go. We went in and Mina went, and Leta insisted she didn't have to go. I told her she should try to go anyway, just in case. Well, she sat down and said, "Mama, you were RIGHT! I DID have to go!" While the children were scalding their hands at the sink, Cullen, who was in a stroller, leaned waaaay over and PUT HIS HAND ON THE GARBAGE CAN. IN THE RESTROOM OF A HOSPITAL. I thought for a minute, then, if we should hurry out to the appointment, or if I should wash Cullen's little hand. That's when I made another awesome choice and decided Yes, I should wash his hand.

See, I'm figuring out this Grown Up thing.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Dear Hilary,

I left the half and half out on the counter this morning for an hour and a half. Still good?


Dear "Hilary",

It still felt cold, it tastes fine, and it didn't curdle when poured into the coffee. I think it's fine. I'm enjoying it. We'll see.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

What I want more than anything right now

besides all the touchy feely noble wonderful kinds of things I mean.


A PANAMA HAT. I can't get it out of my mind. I'm cuckoo for Panama hats! I want one so much, I can TASTE it.

My brother happens to be in Panama RIGHT NOW, though he says they are actually made in Ecuador and exported to Panama. All I could think of was THAT IS WHAT KIND OF HAT I WANT. Not "What kind of work are you doing," or "How is the food," or "Is it scary," No my friends. I could ONLY think of the hat!

When I get one, my life and work will instantly be divided into two categories: Pre-Panama Hat years and Panama Hat years.

Le sigh.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Yesterday morning I woke up with itchy earlobes. Remember when I had that awful face rash a month or two ago? I had itchy earlobes then, too. I mean they are insanely itchy. They aren't dry or flaky, and I don't wear earrings. The sides of my face closest to the earlobes are also insanely itchy.

I haven't been using Aveda products. I haven't been eating strawberries. I've been very nice to my skin and have even stopped towel drying altogether. SO WHAT THE HELL, SKIN? WHY DO YOU HATE ME?!

I'm going to the doctor in one week. I'm going to say, "FIX MY SKIN, DAMNIT! I WANT ANSWERS!" Except by then it will be perfect, and he'll say, "Whatchoo talkin' bout, girl, your skin is fantastic!" ... Maybe I should take a picture. I read that you should do that with rashes and stuff.


Cullen took a bath using his new swivel chair (thanks, Laura!) and he didn't cry! You see, for seven months I have been taking baths with Cullen because every time I try to give him a bath otherwise, he cries. Now that he is a heftier dude and can sit better, he is ready for this:

At first I thought the elbow cushion was gimmicky, but let me tell you, my elbow really appreciated that rest.


Mina is in the bathroom. She's been kind of a handful today. She went in there to brush her teeth but it's been a few minutes and I still don't hear the water.