"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

Mother's Helper

>> Thursday, June 29, 2006

Today Brenna & I picked up Merrit's Nature Girl so she could watch Brenna for a few hours and I could get some things done.

As I filed bills and caught up on some scrapbooking in the office I could hear splashing and laughing in the pool and Brenna's cry of "Bubbles!" as NG worked the bubble wand. When Brenna tired of outdoor play she dragged NG through our house, from top to bottom, playing with toys, coloring and keeping NG on her toes. I was told that "Brenna sure likes to run around." "Yes, " I said, "that is why you are here today. I am tired from chasing her every day."

But I think Nature Girl had fun and she got money for her latest savings goal.

We grilled tonight: hamburgers and shrimp, and rounded out the meal with sweet corn and coleslaw. The best thing about living in the midwest is the sweet corn- straight from the farm. Yum!

I took NG home about 8pm. After talking with Merrit for 40 minutes I said that I should go. We walked outside to look at her garden- I see many zucchini in my future- and then around front. Where we talked as the sun set and the stars came out. By the time I left it was 10:15. Honestly, where did that time go? It certainly didn't feel like we were talking that long. Poor Coffee Husband, I probably robbed him of his quality wife time. If I said that I was sorry about it, though, I would be lying. So I will just say that he is lucky I left when I did because we could have probably stood out there and talked for a couple more hours, at least.


Babies, Babies Everywhere

>> Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Doug's cousin had a baby boy last week and my cousin had one this week so Brenna has been seeing babies quite a bit lately. She is momentarily fascinated by them and will give an "air kiss" in their vicinity, then it's off to something that actually does something. She will give nice touches to their little heads, almost like she is petting a puppy.

We did get to see a bit of the green monster rear it's ugly head this weekend, however, when Doug was helping a 9 month old distant cousin to stand. Brenna marched right over and tried to pry Daddy's hands off that baby. It seems, however, that Mommy can hold and cuddle babies and no notice will be paid.

She is Daddy's Girl.


Weekend Fun- in pictures and video!

>> Monday, June 26, 2006

We were out of town this weekend for a family reunion (my family). We stayed at the historic farm where it was being held in southwest Iowa. Together, with other parts of the family, we rented the entire "village". Much fun was had and I am still quite exhausted so I will give you pictures with captions.

Here are Brenna and her cousin Koen, exhausted after a full day of play and food, relaxing and watching Toy Story before going to bed.

Brenna plays hula hoop with a frisbee.

The baby Mozarts playing piano in the one room school house.

The water baby on the slip & slide.

Slip & slide video

Today Brenna learned that corn tastes best on the cob.

Seriously, once she gets it, she really gets it.


Red Zingers for Breakfast

>> Friday, June 23, 2006

I'm not sure if anyone but women who have been pregnant can understand this. Sometimes I don't. But pregnancy cravings are so strong and so real that they can, honestly, make you slightly insane.

Wednesday night, the evening of the neck incident, I was laying in bed with Brenna. She had been very fussy all day, probably because Mommy was not able to move and play, and would not go to bed. We were watching Food Network. A bakery in Chicago was featured on Sugar Rush: the Angel Food Bakery. And the spot featured "classic" treats with a twist. Needless to say, one of the treats looked just like a red Zinger. And the desire was born, strong and quick.

Doug, being the good husband that he is, asked where he could get some. I told him the local grocery store had them near the checkouts. And off he went.

And he came home with boxes of Star Spangled Cakes (white cake), Swiss Rolls and Nutty Bars. Not a red Zinger in sight. He said that he saw nothing by the checkouts.

Fast farward to last night: I had to go to the store for a few items and there, by the checkouts, were red Zingers. My desire had abated but I had to get them just to show Doug. Partially because he had no clue what red Zingers were when I first mentioned it and partially to prove that they were, in fact, where I said they would be. (My sister was able to verify that fact.)

It was after 9pm when I got home last night, much too late to eat the sugary mess. And that is how I came to have red Zingers for breakfast.


The History Of Global Warming

>> Thursday, June 22, 2006

Actually the title of this article is a misnomer. The Earth has been warming and cooling for eons. Please read a fact driven refutation of a certain politician's rather inconvenient slide show.


I'm Channeling "Geek Girl #1"

OK, that may to too obscure a reference for most of you, especially if you weren't a child of the 80's who closely identified with John Hughes movies. Let me take you back...

The year is 1984. Sixteen Candles has shot Molly Ringwald into fame. She, of course was not "Geek Girl #1". No, that honor belongs to Joan Cusack, who has, it seems, made sure there are no photos of that role to be found anywhere on the internet. Still not ringing any bells? She was the girl on the bus in the neck brace. Ah, I can see the lightbulbs clicking on.

Yes, I am currently ensconced in a lovely neck brace. Sexy, I tell ya. I can hear everyone screaming "What happened?" Well, here's the story:

Brenna & I were out walking, ok, Brenna was being pulled in the wagon, when I saw a little boy in the street and a car speeding around the corner...

No, not really. Did you think I would have a story full of excitement and adventure? Of course not. Here's what really happened:

As anyone who has been pregnant knows, you sleep surrounded by pillows in the vain attempt to find a comfy spot. Yesterday morning I was attempting to remove a few pillows so I could cuddle with Doug. I rolled on to my back and, as I have done thousands of times, I lifted my hips to move the pillow that was cushioning them. As I did I shifted weight to my neck. And I heard every vertebra in my neck pop like dominoes being toppled. I couldn't move. Tears came to my eyes. Doug had to help me out of bed and change into clothes to make an emergency visit to the chiropractor. After much agony it was discovered that I couldn't turn my neck far enough to get the disk that was pinching the nerve in my right arm back in to place. So home I went with an appointment for later that afternoon. And the results were the same.

And now I am in a neck brace in the hopes that my neck muscles will relax enough to get everything back in place. God, I hope so. Because Brenna is freaked out by mommy not feeling well. Which makes her clingy. Which causes a pain which can only be described as a steak knife being stuck in your neck- and staying there.

I can't drive as I can't turn my head, which keeps me from picking up Nature Girl for her first "mother's helper" session. Which makes her- and Brenna- sad. I can't clean much as my right arm has a shooting pain down it. I can't type quickly as my fingers are varying between numb and tingly. And I look just great! :) I'm sure to be hit on constantly when my sister takes me to the store tonight to get supplies for this weekend.


My Grandparents

>> Monday, June 19, 2006

For the past few years my grandparents have been dealing with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. It seems that the DNR wanted to purchase quite a bit of their land in southwest Iowa because prairie chickens, which had become quite rare had begun nesting and reproducing there.

The grant was approved and, though many of their neighbors voiced very loud objections, my grandparents sold the land. The sign just went up.

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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Nice, huh? My grandparents are "old time" farmers- they loved and respected the land that gave them so much. I'm very proud that they chose to do this rather than sell to a corporate farm that would rape that beautiful land.

Southwest Iowa may not have cities or much entertainment, which makes it perfect for a relaxing getaway. And there isn't much that rivals that view.


Where Did it Go?

I'm already looking at my schedule and wondering where my summer went. Having just returned from a very busy weekend (a convention, a graduation and Father's Day) and looking toward another one in 5 short days (family reunion) my mind is filled with what must be done, what shold be done and what I would really like to get done.

And that makes for a very restless sleep. Well that and the fact that Brenna slept restlessly which woke me and that my collar bone feels out of alignment and I hurt. (Note to self: call chiropractor at 8- see when I can get in.) Not to mention the fact that I have a gymnast residing in my uterus. All of which conspired to get me out of bed for good at 4:42 this morning. I come to you sans coffee but with a lovely cup of Irish Breakfast tea and homemade banana bread.

I asked Doug the other day which seems shorter to him: 3 months or 12 weeks. He said 3 months. I think differently; 12 weeks seems shorter. Either way that is about how long we have until the baby arrives. And we've so much to do yet. I need to make bedding (the accent color is lilac for any of you who are curious or want to send gifts), do some painting in the room, make what is now the room that holds the gym and the cat into a guest room, potty train Brenna (if she doesn't break me first!), and maintain everything else I do daily.

Now, I'll admit that I don't have Meritt's usually crazy schedule (I've seen her calendar and don't know how she deciphers it much less gets everyone where they need to be when they need to be there) but my life isn't bon-bons and Oprah, no matter how much Doug may like to think that it is. In fact I have spoken with Merrit and Nature Girl about a weekly standing appointment for a "Mother's Helper"- 4 hours of Brenna care for me and back-to-school-shopping money for her. I may have to ask Doug to raise my stipend until school starts. :)

Ahhh, one cup of tea gone and things to do staring at me. I should do some of them while I have no one clamoring for my attention. On with the day...

Naptime feels so far away....


She's in Control

>> Friday, June 16, 2006

Now if I could only get Brenna to realize that she should hold it in until she sits on the potty; not until she is off the potty. I'm sure someone is making progress, I'm just not sure if it is her or me!

In happier news: good garage sale-ing today. I got a Medela Pump in Style Electric Breast Pump for $50. Now, considering that these things cost over $300 new (YIKES!) and that I nursed Brenna until she was almost a year old and that the manual pump gave me tendonitis I think this is a damn good deal. Oh, did I mention I saw one at another garage sale for $150. Yep, I got one hell of a bargain.

I also got a Lil Tykes type desk for Brenna for $5 (which sits in the office by daddy's desk) and a bunch of clothes we didn't really need but I couldn't resist for baby for $6.

Ahhh, it just feels so nice when you get good deals...


Potty Diaries- Day 4

>> Thursday, June 15, 2006

Umm, yeah. Day 4. See day 2. Pretend I wrote it today. The potty gods are not on my side.

Other than that, a funny thing happened this evening. To properly tell it I must rewind the day a bit to after Brenna's nap (and time number 6 on the potty).

I decided that Brenna & I would make Doug's Father's Day cards. So down to the basement we came; glued, added stickers, glitter and some special touches with crayons. Brenna was very helpful, actually, placing stickers where I pointed when necessary, where she wished if we weren't trying to spell something, adding sparkly stuff from a tube. It was all great fun.

So, we got the cards done and wrapped Doug's gift in paper from Brenna's easel that she had colored previously. I then took the cards and gift upstairs to pack -as we will be gone this weekend- leaving it on the bed, planning to get it away before Doug got home from work.

Fast forward to 5:30ish. Doug has called and said that he is almost home. Brenna is having a bit of a meltdown so a few minutes later I take her outside to wait for daddy. We exit the house through the front door. The garage door is closed, I figure Doug will be home any minute. Brenna and I walk down the block and back. About the time we get back Doug walks out the front door and proclaims, "So this is where you have been hiding!"

"No, we were out here waiting for you," I answer.

Yep, in the amazing instance of perfect timing Doug had pulled into the garage as Brenna and I were preparing to exit through the front door. The garage door must have just finished closing when we got outside. Doug went through the entire house looking for us- basement, Brenna's room, our bedroom... Where he found the Father's Day cards & gift on the bed.

"Ah-ha!" he thought, "A surprise!" So he opens everything, talking to himself as he does, thinking that Brenna and I are in the closet waiting to surprise him. While Brenna and I are outside waiting for him to come home and I am blissfully unaware that the gift I am planning to pack is being opened.

Doug exits our bedroom and sees that the front door is open and he finds us outside.

"I found the cards" he says.

"What?" I ask. Then it hits me. "You opened your Father's Day gift? I was going to pack it and give it to you Sunday."

Ahhh, the best laid plans.



>> Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I am interrupting what I am sure would be a day three rerun of the potty diaries. Yes, I know you were expecting potty talk, if you must know how today goes just check out yesterday's post.

Last night I dragged Doug out to see Glenn Beck's Midlife Crisis Tour. If I can say one thing to anyone considering seeing him- GO! Honestly, it was a great show. He was the Glenn Beck of the radio show, not the TV show, which I, admittedly, haven't warmed to yet. Although I will say that Glenn is much thinner and taller than he appears on TV.

I was able to get second row tickets, up close and personal. If he hadn't trimmed his nose hair we would have noticed. Glenn is very engaging and made eye contact with the audience. There were many times that I felt like he was talking directly to us.

The first half of the show was full of life's observations and many laughs. The second half began with a tear-jerker of a video and was much more personal and emotional. Hmmm... "the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment..."

What really came out in the show was how much he loves his family. He spoke at length about his wife, Tanya, and his four kids. Sometimes he would tear up and you could tell it was pure emotion and love.

After the show Glenn was in the lobby, shaking hands, signing autographs and posing for pictures.

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I got to tell him that Brenna is his son Ralph's (pronounced Raif) age and he touched my belly and wished us well with the upcoming bundle of joy. He didn't rush people by, and was just so sincere. I heard him say that he stays until the very last person is gone.

Really, just a nice, genuine person.

So I'm listening to Glenn on the radio today and he gave Iowa a great compliment. He said that Iowa has some of the most beautiful women he has ever seen...natural, healthy and glowing. :)


The Potty Journals- Day 2

>> Tuesday, June 13, 2006

15 minutes on...

30 minutes off...

15 minutes on...

30 minutes off...

And that is the schedule my morning has taken since the diaper came off and the potty training pants went on this morning.

Brenna has been sitting nicely on the potty with her books, her Leap- with potty cartridge inserted, or shredding toilet paper (a small sacrifice to the potty gods). (I got the Leap for $8.99 on clearance at Target. Bargain, baby!) No bribery necessary- which leaves TKW in awe. Who knows, maybe a bit of bribery would make something happen?

Brenna continues to work on her control as there has been nothing in the potty or the pants.

Ah, I hear the alarm calling us back to the potty. After a quick message from Brenna:

hn;.h,hg,b hm fjhjngfhtfryt sdjklz5ui yojy77



A Battle of Wills

>> Monday, June 12, 2006

Since there is nothing on our calendar for this week I have declared it to be "Learn to Potty" week. Brenna, however, has declared it "Learn to Throw Tantrums" week.

So far this morning she spent one and a half hours between 8 and 11am on the potty. With no progress. Unless you count the control she is learning in not going in her pants- or the potty.

In the one and a half hours of off-potty time I would say a good 45 minutes of it was spent engaging in mini-tantrums when things did not go exactly her way. As I would walk away as she dissolved into tears and collapsed to the ground I think it is safe to say that she did not make the progress she was desiring, either, and the tears dried up rather quickly and she moved on to something else.

Brenna made it through lunch with dry, clean pants. I figured we would wait about 10 minutes and try again. That proved to be 10 minutes too long. Crap. No pun intended.

And now we are beginning the afternoon round as Brenna made it through her nap with pants dry and clean. In fact the alarm is going off now. To the potty we will go!


Iowa Geek on TV- Tonight!

>> Saturday, June 10, 2006

Doug was contacted today by the local CBS affiliate KCCI Channel 8. They wanted to interview him about political blogging. So, tonight at 6 & 10 make sure you turn to KCCI News Channel 8 (that's a Des Moines station) to catch a glimpse of Doug- and maybe a cameo by the lovely Brenna (who everyone really wants to see!)

UPDATE: Gordon Fischer from Iowa True Blue is the Democratic counterpoint to the story. I didn't have him on my blogroll before. That oversight has been corrected.

And, sadly, no lovely Brenna to be seen....


Doug Needs

>> Friday, June 09, 2006

Via 2 Hot Chicks

Type [Your First Name] Needs into Google and tell us the first ten results. Mine are very appropriate:

  1. Doug Needs Money (campaigning in expensive)

  2. Doug needs to cool down (probably a good idea)

  3. Doug Needs Money (More please)

  4. Doug needs YOUR help! (oh yes)

  5. Doug needs to sell videos of his exploits (but only those that have been declassified...)

  6. Doug needs to define himself (a good idea for politicians)

  7. Doug needs to take a look across the pond (that would make Jody happy)

  8. Doug needs to be brought back (well make up your mind)

  9. Doug needs evidence to force this to arbitration (yes, because I am confused as to what I should do)

  10. Doug needs to get this property turned into a game (for 50 points, should I go accross the pond or not?)

Jody Needs:

1. Jody needs a custom mouthpiece. (Funny, I thought my mouth was fine.)

2. Jody needs a family to take care of her during the day. (Hmmm, like a nanny for me? Excellent.)

3. Jody needs you to show some love. (Leave some comments once in a while!)

4. Jody needs volunteers (to show mw some love, maybe?).

5. Jody needs to urinate. (Well, not right now but with the baby kicking around it does occur rther often.)

6. Jody needs to take an AIDS test. (No, I don't. They took one when I was 8 weeks pregnant, it was negative & I'm pretty sure I'm still OK.)

7. Jody needs real estate. (Across the pond maybe?)

8. Jody needs pictures. (Actually Jody needs time to scrapbook the pictures she already has!)

9. Jody needs to have more parties! (OK, I can get behind this one!)

10. Jody needs to urinate. (Again? Really, I'm just fine right now.)


Hangin' With The Chilins'

Cousin Koen is usually at daycare while his parents are at work. Except when his provider takes a day or two off. Then he comes to visit Brenna & me.

We get Koen twice this week. Yesterday, which explains why I wasn't online at all, and today, which has dawned chilly and grey so I have turned on Toy Story in the hopes that it will occupy them for at least a little while.

So far it isn't working. There is much more fun to be had in the joining room with me. Never mind that the main part of the basement is full of toys and things suitable to jump on. Noooo, the funnest place is in the office digging through the bag of recycling and the shelves of books.

This may be a long day...


The Votes Are In

>> Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Actually they were in before 10pm last night but I have had a very busy day. I thought Doug would have posted before now (other than on the political site).

Unfortunately he lost. By a much larger margin than expected. I really thought that we had reached a large number of people. Voter turnout for our area was very low, which we honestly hoped would work in our favor.

We learned alot from this experience. Namely that there are some people who will lie to your face; people that you respected, people that you trusted. Politics is a dirty business. Dirtier when you are up close. That, and that there is a reason that most politicians are older and retired. They have nothing else to do. Doug was split between working, family & campaigning. That's a lot on one guy's shoulders.

But all things happen for a reason and I am sure that Doug will move on from this to bigger, better and probably more important things.

And now our lives can go forward. We can take a little vacation and relax. We can enjoy weekends again. Ahhh...


Swimsuits & Pregnancy Shopping

>> Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Swimsuit shopping is one of the most dreaded shopping experiences a woman can have if you are to believe all the fitness magazines. Even Dr. Phil covered it a couple of weeks ago.

To be honest, wearing a swimsuit has never really bothered me. I'm not an overly inhibited person although I have become much more conservative as I've aged. Which is a good thing- if you've ever seen a 35+ year old woman trying to pull off the Abercrombie "look" you know what I'm saying.

Anyway, although there are things about my body I would like to change I'm not overly freaked out about them. I figure that I flatter myself by thinking tht people are actually paying attention to me. Hello! They are all too self absorbed wondering who is looking at them!

So... swimsuits. I have always had problems buying swimsuits due to my very, um, curvy figure. Think Jessica Rabbit. Not that I'm that thin anymore but it gives you a general idea. I have always had to purchase suits with 2 pieces at stores that sell pieces separately. This is annoying and costly. But it wasn't really a problem when I lived in Minneapolis as every mall had a store like this. Not the case here. And definately not the case with maternity swimsuits. I have yet to find a place that sells separates in maternity suits. Even on the internet.

So I broke down and ordered a swimsuit from a maternity store. It arrived today, along with the two tops I ordered. I opened them and wanted to scream "I have large breasts! I'm pregnant, for god's sake! I am not a fat woman with no boobs!!!" Because everything I ordered to fit my breasts was still too small for that area and made to fit a woman almost twice my size everywhere else.

I just don't get it. Everyone and their mother knows that your breasts grow as you progress through pregnancy. So why, why I ask, do the maternity designers think that, if you order something in a larger size you can get away with minimal support. Because, let me tell you, those "built ins" just don't work. At. All.

So the entire order is going back. I kind of knew it would. It's just so bloody depressing. And I still need a swimsuit.


Today is the Day

Brenna is doing the "Morning Mambo" with Bear from her chair this morning as she slept in until 7:45 am, waking only to wish daddy goodbye. She is truly her daddy's girl. I'm sure she will be a night owl early and be sleeping until noon well before her teen years.

One of my biggest pet peeves was realized the other day. I bought a pretty Inflata-bed (Buzz Lightyear model shown- the one I got Brenna was pink with flowers)for Brenna as she has outgrown her pack & play and we need a portable bed for a weekend trip the end of the month. I was hesitant to buy it as there were only two on the shelf nd both looked as though they had been opened and returned. I took the least mangled box, made my purchase and inflated it for Brenna when I got home. And it's a good thing that I did as it has a hole in it.

Now why, when the previous purchaser returned it, didn't they tell the store that it had a hole? Don't they know that the store will just put it back on the shelf unless they know it's defective? Don't they realize that it is annoying for the next customer to have to return it, too?

So today I have to return to the Big Red Bulls-Eye to make an exchange. And, of course, I'll have to go to one outside of my little suburb because I know there aren't any more of this design left here. Grrrr....

Brenna has finished her breakfast- yogurt, apple cereal bar and juice- so I suppose we should get our day started! Time to go vote!

Update: (because I have nothing else going on)

We were able to get an Inflata-bed at the other Target that hadn't been opened and mutilated by someone else. Brenna likes it...
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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

She is currently working on mutilating it all by herself.


Mundane Days

>> Sunday, June 04, 2006

Nothing blogworthy seems to happen in my life. If it doesn't involve Brenna or some pregnancy tidbit it seems I have nothing to share.

Doug spent most of yesterday knocking on doors in preparation for the primary on Tuesday. He is the underdog- I would love to see him win just to prove all the "big money" in the area wrong. But, alas, money seems to buy political seats. Just another problem with our government.... I guess that until all of us "little people" demand change we just won't see it.


Brenna allowed us to sleep in until 8:30 this morning. Lovely. And now she is down for a nap while mommy & daddy veg in the basement watching The Three Musketeers and geeking out. And, as the battery of my laptop is dying I may just lay down, watch the movie and doze a bit.

I warned you... mundane.


I SOOOO Want To Go To This!

>> Thursday, June 01, 2006

I love to travel. If we were to win the lottery I would travel at least 1/3 of the year. (Yes, only 1/3. I love to travel with Doug and he would have to work sometime!) So it is only natural that I subscribe to all kinds of travel sites. Today I got an email from http://na.visitlondon.com/.

There is an exhibit I would love to see: http://na.visitlondon.com/whats_on/queen_mother.html. Art from the personal collection of The Queen Mother. On display at Buckingham Palace. She had several Gainsborough's- I can look at his landscapes for hours. The exhibit also features works in the Royal Collection: Ruben, Faberge, jewelry....

Sigh... Art... In the palace... In London...

C'mon lottery...

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