Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Anita Talks

Charlotteans: If you are in the local area today, I'm going to be on WFAE's Charlotte Talks discussing cocooning--how people use technology to stay at home and its effect on the community.

I'm a wee bit nervous. I think you'll also be able to listen on the archives later. But if I sound like a doof, I'm going to remove that link!

UPDATED: I only sounded like an idiot part of the time. The rest, I think I sounded only doofy. I now understand, in some small way, why actors never want to see themselves on screen.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Show Off

On Friday, at daycare, Conor's teachers told us that they lined up the children, who still range in their skills, to go potty.

Conor was the last one in line. He sat a little longer than the others and pooped. Still being very, very proud of himself, he hopped off and announced to his classmates:

"That's how you do it, Warren*!"

*Name changed to protect the poopless.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Well, Isn't That a Kick in the Head

We've got to teach our son some bed sharing manners. Although we do have many nights when he stays in his own bed all night long, if he has a bad dream, it's a hop, skip, and a jump to the big bed where he can sleep in the middle.

And we really don't mind. How could you possibly mind when dawn rolls around and he sighs "I want Mommy" and tucks his head under my neck, puts his arm over my ribs and gives me a little kiss.

That is awfully cute, no?

It's the bad dreams ("No, Wyatt! No!!" was last night's talking in his sleep) and the general rusting that is irritating. He wiggles, he twirls, and he kicks. Usually right in the ol' kidney.

I don't like waking up to being kicked in my kidney. It is not something I enjoy. In fact, I think the kidney kicking ended up in some dream of mine while I was in a HUMONGOUS condo in Manhatten (like several thousand square feet) that needed just a little work but was a bargain pricewise. I figured out why it was so cheap when I had to fight off the vampires who were going after Conor and me. (I've had a fantasy lately of being a Vampire Slayer. Think about it: don't you think Buffy and Willow could have helped out in the fight against Voldemort and the Death Eaters?)

Anyhoo, a vampire was kicking me in the back at some point when in reality is was only my favorite cling-on Conor.

We've taken to mumbling in our sleep "Stop kicking! Stop twirling! Don't hit me in the head!"

Eventually he won't sleep with us nor kiss us when we make him "pay the troll" when he leaves the dinner table. It will all end and then we'll be left with just memories of his toddler snuggles at dawn in the big bed. And damaged kidneys.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

One Thing Leads to Another

So we've been busy over here at the Mother Thing household recently, doing "things" behind the scenes. You may recall that last year, Dave and I did a small remodel on the "master" bathroom. Basically, we painted, bought some new shower curtains and hung a lovely over the toilet medicine cabinet. It was very pretty, as I have to say is evident in this picture.

However, we still had the ugly cheap vanity from one or two owners ago. But we figured we could live with that.

More importantly, though, we did NOT replace the bathtub determining that it would be too expensive. Why replace the bathtub? Well, just take a look.

And that picture only hints at the lovely green seafoam tiles that were also beginning to lose their white expoxy coating. Yes, the bathroom looked nice until one opened the shower curtain and saw the hideous green and pink colors the original owners put there. Because they were 1) cheap and 2) color blind. The screams from our guests who used this bathroom were deafening. And somewhat amusing because the bathroom looked so nice from the outside.

Hating this tub with a passion and knowing that if we ever sold it, buyers would demand a boatload of money off the asking price, we did a full bathroom remodel last month.

Yes, I do mean full. We hired contractors to gut the room and take away that hideous tub and tile wall. Then we installed a new tub, subway tiling on the walls, and a transparent door on the bathtub, a trick we learned from This Old House to make a small bathroom look bigger. (There is no longer a curtain to stop the line-of-sight, dontcha know).

We also got a new toilet and vanity with enough storage that I have moved out of the Bathroom formerly known as BUB (Butt Ugly Bathroom) and into our new Grown Up Bathroom.

Oh. My. Lord.

There is space. And light. And storage. I have a drawer to put my make up in for the first time since my last undergraduate apartment. I am so thrilled! And really, I feel like a grown up! I never realized how much influence my bathroom had on my self-image, but clearly, there's a relationship!

Of course, as part of remodeling the bathroom, we moved the futon out of the den to the office, moved my old sofa from the living room to the den and then had to buy a new sofa for the living room that just arrived yesterday. We also completely reorganized our kitchen cabinets as a convoluted outcome of the bathroom remodel.

So I guess chaos theory in our case means "If a butterfly flaps its wings in our bathroom, I will get a new sofa."

Oh, and IVF is back on the table. More about that later.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter

I have no spoilers and I will blog no spoilers.

Nonetheless, I am VERY EXCITED to receive our Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book on Saturday. I'm honestly thinking about Harry et al a great deal lately. I just finished book 6 again, and have redigested the shock that that books ending.

One, I think that Snape is not nearly as bad as we think he is (although he does suck loudly right now). I also think we are going to find a previously unknown relationship of Snape to Lilly Potter that will explain a great deal.

Two, I don't think Harry is going to die. That's just too mean for what is still essentially a children's book. Remember, Harry ain't Tony Soprano.

Three, I anticipate rereading the whole series of books at least one more time in the next few years. Rereading them does highlight some of the flaws. But then it also shows JK Rowling's genius on occasion, too.

And I'm sure few of you out there were watching Dr. Who last Friday night and got all the references to the Harry Potter series. You just cannot possibly be as geeky as we are. Nonetheless, the witches looked like dementors. And Expeliarmus was the final word that sent the witches back to their own universe. Dave and I thought that was hysterical.

After I finish the book, I'll post it on the blog so that others who want to discuss it but don't want to be a spoiler can email and we can rant and rave about everything that happened.

I can't wait!

Meditation Fatigue

Yesterday, during my morning meditation, I tried a new practice focusing on mindfulness, that is, becoming aware of the state of oneself. During this practice, one starts first by focusing in one's sensations and perceptions from the 5 senses: what sitting feels like, what you hear, what you taste, etc. Then after mastering that practice, you move to focusing on what one feels emotionally.

It's a good practice for just becoming aware. And I did have a mini-revelation when I realized that I hadn't noticed "hearing" the air conditioner, despite it being the loudest sound in the room, until it turned off.

But the more revealing part of the meditation came when I focused on what I was "feeling." The book suggests naming the emotions one encounters: joy, fear, anxiety, resentment, anger. (I suppose negative ones hang around more than positive ones)

So I sat there feeling inward and waiting to name my emotions.

"I feel tired."

Is that really an emotion? Stop talking! Listen to your breathing again.

"I feel tired. Really, really tired."

Stop it!

"Feeling tired."


Breathe. Listen to your breath.

"Still really tired."

So, I went to bed early last night.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Conor's Birthday Party

Yesterday was Conor's birthday party. I don't know how to narrate this blog except 1) the child is growing up way too fast and 2) I had a blast at it.

We were supposed to be outside and have a "wading pool" party, but a thunderstorm blew up and blew apart that plan. Fortunately, at this age, all (we think) the kids need for fun is someone else's toys. Of course, we may be entirely lame parents, but they seemed to have fun and they seemed to enjoy The Cake.

Yes, The Cake. I am most proud of The Cake I made. Indeed, see the picture below.

I made that! And I'm not crafty at all!! It's supposed to be a Curious George cake, if you must ask. But nonetheless, it's at least a good monkey! I used a Wilton Animal Crackers Cake Pan and moved the bear's ears to make a monkey. (Cake evolution theory at its finest)

Have I told you of Conor's love of Curious George? That every night we have to tell him stories about Conor and Curious George? And they have to begin with "Once upon a time, there was a little boy named Conor who had pretty curly hair" and then quickly move on to how he and Curious George went golfing, played at the beach or built a tree house? Conor's cousin speaks daily about how he and Conor had fun when they visited over Thanksgiving. And our poor son is obsessed with a cartoon creatue.
In any case, it helped us figure out this year's birthday theme.
Not everyone in the house is a fan o' CG. I love how Patches is trying to tattletale on this toy (Curious George on a firetruck).

Friday, July 13, 2007

Oh, Just Lots of Things

We had another "event" this month. I will probably refer to this as the Month Where I Used A Gazillion HPTs. I took a test on Monday afternoon and got the faintest of faintest lines on my First Response Early Response (FRER) test. In case you were wondering, that was 9 dpo, so it was very early and certainly reasonable to have a faint line.

However the next morning, 10 dpo, it was still way too faint and I knew it wasn't going to stick. Nonetheless, I took another test Tuesday afternoon with an Accu-clear (which I've later found out was panned on Peeonastick.com) and still had that faint line. By this point, I'd broken down and let Dave inspect the sticks, too, instead of saving the test for a big "You're Going to Be a Daddy" surprise, which one might admit is pretty foolish at this point. In any case, he saw a line, too.

And BECAUSE I AM PATHETICALLY OPTIMISTIC, I took another Accu-clear test on Weds morning, 11 dpo, and finally got a faint but clearly visible positive test line. It was gone by Thursday morning (12 dpo) when I peed again on a FRER. I won't even mention the three tests I took Weds afternoon with one positive (FRER) and two negative (Answer, New Choice/Dollar Store).

I am my own HPT testing lab. And I'm sticking with FRER because I think they are still the most sensitive. However, if I was really pregnant, then all of them would be flaming with two hot pink lines right now and it wouldn't really matter which test I used.

So there. Bleah and crap. I continue on my quest to be the oldest miscarrying freak of a woman in these United States this year.

In other news, we have an evil bunny indulging him/herself in a fresh vegetable garden buffet every night. It's amazing how this rabbit can eat the insides of a tomato clean out and leaving a soon-to-be rotting hull on the vine. Oh, what a talented bunny haunts our garden. At least it's not a rat. (And I just realized that I didn't blog about our rat problem from the spring. Hmmmm. Go figure)

I like not this bunny. And I like not our dog who lets this bunny run free in our garden. It is shocking that Patches lets the bunny roam, much less live, considering the incident with the bird and the other bunny. I know he's an older dog now but he still chases squirrels around the yard, and God(dess) forbid that Scarlett should do anything out of the ordinary because he'll rat her out in tail wag. Speaking of rats, I should have realized his hunting days were over when he did nothing as a rat ran across his paws and under the deck earlier this spring (see Rat Problem, above). Yes, nothing more than a quizzical look from our bird killing dog should have been my first clue that He Has Changed.

We try and try to explain to him: Scarlett, good! Don't bite or bark at. Birds, good! Let live!! Rats, bad. Attack! Bunnies in garden, bad, Bad, BAD! KILL BUNNY, KILL!

And on a big change of subjects but more on my mind that evil bunnies, I believe we are going with Catholic Social Services for our domestic adoption. I promise you that soon I will devote an entire blog on how FREAKIN' confusing adoption is, the range of prices that are out there and why, and why we are making the decisions that we are making. I keep making these offhanded comments about what we are doing on this adoption journey, but each decision point we get to is really, really hard.

But enough for this Friday post. I wonder why I always blog my longest on Fridays because no one comes around to read it. If you are here on Friday, well, thank you for stopping by!! I do miss having your company on Fridays.

Have a good weekend, y'all!

Oh, one last thing: it is one of my biggest pet peeves when people misspell y'all. It is the contraction of You All. You All: Y'all. It is NOT the contraction of Ya All. What the hell is that?? Ya All? Ya'll?!?!?

The only time the "ll" goes by itself is when you are contracting: You All Will. That becomes Y'all'll. Yes, that is a word. We use it all the time down here when we are inquiring about others' plans in the future. "Y'all'll be at the park on Sunday? We will, too! See you there!"

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Here is a picture (from the Charlotte Observer) of one of the trees from the VanLandingham estate that went down in the storm last week. It was truly as impressive in person as it appears in this picture.
Things are almost back to normal now, except for all the squashed houses, porches and roofs still left in the 'hood.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Big A$$ Storm

I've tried to think of some clever way of titling this entry: Stormy Weather (which only sounds clever if you're singing it. Well, at least in my head, it sounds clever) or Third World Neighborhood (a reference which may become clear later). But I'm clearly not clever enough for a good title, so I'll just cuss.

We had a bad storm this weekend. Now, I know you're thinking, "Yeah....summer....thunderstorms????" But this was a wee bit more. When I looked outside and saw the wall of water and the limbs (!) and leaves flying across the yard, I thought something must be up. And when I say "Limbs (!) and leaves flying" I mean small trees were sailing around our house like the Wicked Witch of the West.

By the time this 30 minute (!) storm ended, we had between 1 1/2 and 2 inches of rain, and the neighbor a few doors down on my left's car? Crushed by a humongo tree. The neighbor a few doors down on the right? Well, that was a two-fer: a giant tree crushed the addition of one house and knocked in the roof of another. Our friends, who had just had their house remodeled and moved back into it only in December, had their car and front porch crushed by an uprooted, HEALTHY tree. Thas the weird part: in many storms, you can expect the rotted trees to fall. in this storm, healthy trees fell. And it's not like the ground was saturated with water; we've had nothing for at least a week.

Apparently, it was a microburst: A short, very strong storm with winds, they estimate in our case, at between 60 and 70 mph.

Of course we lost our power for about 12 hours. (Hence the third world reference). Although 12 hours is short for us. We've lost power for over 7 days in the winter. I'd like to confirm for you that yes, indeedy, that sucked.

On a better note, after the storm, our neighborhood was packed. Everyone was lining the streets and the sidewalks to compare damage and shock over the storm as well as check in on each other. As the article says above, I really do love my neighborhood, even if I did have a tree on my house.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Conor turns 3 next week.

We are about completely out of pullups. Last night was the easiest poopie on the potty yet. And the cheers continue with the "I DID it!!!" raising of the arms in victory after the big poop. And that's just Dave.

I've been waiting to make that joke for a while now.

We had our first overnight underwear and we were surprised with wet sheets this morning, but I think that is going to be the rare event. He's been dry most nights for the last month. We just see the end in sight.

Speaking of endings, have you been wondering what's up with the boobs lately? You must be because I have not spoken of them. Well, we are thisclose from total wean. We're down to about 10-20 seconds per boob at night followed by half a mini-bagel and water while I rock him. Mini-bagels have indeed turned into his comfort food: yesterday he fell and hit his lip and wanted a bagel to soothe him.

I know we've been bfing for a long time for Americans, but it has worked for us. It was the right thing for our family. I'd say that pretty soon we'll just be at the bagel and not at boobie. I don't think I will be sad about it. I know of Moms who are very sad when they stop bfing. I think we've gone past that point and we/I are just ready for snuggles and cuddles without bosomies involved.

Oh, and on a somewhat different note, did you see the article yesterday in the NY Times about how children cause parents to cut back on their exercise? One look at my butt could have told you that. It was hardest when Conor was really young and I couldn't leave the house for any distance of a run because he was solely breastfeeding. Some running women would get up, pump, and then go for their run. I was too damn lazy to do all that work, so I got out of my running habit for his first year or so and I've never really gotten back into it. (Hence why my booty is the size of Rhode Island). Dave is still in shape although like the article says, he doesn't exercise nearly as much. Still, he's thin and I'm huge. And even when I'm running more than he is, he can beat me on our regular route.

Since I'm not convinced I'm going to have another biological child, I've decided to just go ahead and get back into shape even if I am "running" my old routes slower and with more walking than I'd like. If I don't start doing it, I'll never get back to the place I'm supposed to be. And my butt will continue to grow until I have to go buy another closet full of bigger Mom jeans. And who wants that?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

This and That

I slept for 11 hours last night. You'd think that I'd awaken bright eyed and busytailed and ready to take on the world. You'd think wrong. I don't know why I am so tired, but I am.

Nonetheless, check out this surprise in the local paper. We thought the story would run on Father's Day, but it didn't. Also, the online version does not have the ADORABLE picture of Conor giving Dave a huge smooch. It's truly a precious picture!!! Still, Conor has been in the press more than the average 3 year old, I have to say. And it's high time Dave gets public credit for being the amazing father that he is!

We're still working on the potty training. Conor is doing really, really well, but still doesn't want to poopie on the potty. I have to say, though, that I can tell when he really needs to go, especially when he runs towards the bathroom cupping his hands over his front and back end private parts. He can say he doesn't want to/need to go poopie on the pottie, but I can tell he does. (It's awfully cute, in a potty training sort of way)

Ok. I'm off to make a stew. Yes, it's too hot, but the meat was on sale.

I'm behind on starting that, like I'm behind on everything. Ptooey.