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


>> Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I had the girls in the car. We were on our way to the western suburbs for some shopping. Brenna was so excited as Caelan and I usually shop while she is in school. My plans were to go to Archiver's and use my coupons for free and very discounted stuff (that expire today),visit Ulta for makeup (more freebies, luckily those coupons are good for a few more days) and Old Navy for a kitchy St Pat's outfit for Caelan's 6 month photos (on the day that you must wear green).

These plans had originally been set for later this afternoon but the weather guys are calling for a load of crap to move in by noon. Mom was gonna hang with Brenna at the pet store or the ice cream parlor while I ran my errands.

With those plans out the window I figured that if we set out by 9am and I brought lots of treats that all would be fine. Caelan would sleep and Brenna could be bribed.

Snacks- check
Juice- check
Stroller built for two- check

And so we drive. The first thing I notice is the sleet. It's not too heavy so we press on. The I pass the local John Deere plant. And drive through snow drifts that have been blown on to the road. Well, crud. I didn't realize the wind was so high. That changes everything as we are not going to a mall but to a "open" shopping area. I really don't think it is fair for me to drag the girls across a cold and windy parking lot multiple times for some free scrapbook paper and 25% off any item (even if I can save almost $25 on said item).

So it's back to home. Which made Brenna cry. She really wanted to go shoppin'.

Shortly after noon my mom called to let me know that she would be done working soon, did I want to bring the girls out? Since the crud hadn't started yet and I wouldn't have to drag the girls around I quickly agreed. I got to do my shopping while Brenna & Grandma (with a surprise visit from Daddy) enjoyed ice cream.

The girls scored big at Old Navy- I got them each cute cargos (on sale) for Easter outfits, each a St Pat's shirt and each a funny shirt (Caelan's says "My Mom is a Rockstar" and Brenna's says "I Didn't Do It, My Evil Sister Did").

I got my necessary stuff at Ulta and my free nail polish and free spring make-up collection. And my scrapbooking goodies from Archiver's.

As we loaded in the car and were leaving Brenna wanted to know when we were going to "go shoppin', Mommy". Seems ice cream just isn't enough for some people...


How I Eat Carrots: by Caelan

>> Monday, February 26, 2007

As everyone has heard, numerous times, I won't take a bottle. I think it's the same as my mom not liking Pepsi in a plastic bottle. Sometimes your beverage of choice has the perfect container. For Mom's Pepsi it's a can; for my milk it's the breast. Period.

Honestly, I'm not sure why this is such an issue for my mommy. It's not like she has anything else to do.

Anyway, yesterday while everyone was sitting at the table enjoying Texas Toast prepared in the French style (mom was calling it that because she asked Daddy to get French bread and he brought home Texas Toast) Daddy was holding me and I was really trying to get a taste of that syrupy goodness. Mean Mommy said "No maple syrup!" Something about allergic reactions. Bah!

Mommy thought carrots would be a good substitute. Oh please! This from a woman who thinks dark chocolate is a food group. C'mon, lady, give me the good stuff.

Here I am taste testing the bowl. Actually the bowl was kinda tasty. Mom uses a fruity Caldrea dish soap. Probably better than that orange mush in there...
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Here's Daddy forcing carrots into my mouth. Honestly, I'd rather be sucking on the bowl.
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And here I am nearing the end. Mom had to get all fancy with her camera. Orange may be my color...
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I'm sure that since I have had carrots more fun foods are on the way. But don't think I'm gonna take a bottle any time soon! Breast or bust!


Over 500 Cancellations

>> Sunday, February 25, 2007

Caelan and I are awake after a late night. Last night was scrapbooking night; need I say that we didn't go? Not with the winter storm that blew through... Is still here, in fact. Jarod and Amanda came over before the weather got too bad and we settled in; Amanda & I to scrap, Doug & Jarod to amuse the girls and watch movies. Not sure when they will get to leave, the drive is blocked by a pile of ick that looks to be about 2 1/2 feet high. Lots of wet, heavy snow outside. I'm not looking forward to digging out.

Here's a picture from yesterday afternoon. Our storm began with layers and layers of ice. Trees were weightd down, as you can see below. Branches were breaking off under the weight. Over 100,000 people in the state are without power. Thankfully we aren't having that problem.

Here's our flattened butterfly tree. It looks like a big, white spider.

And the trees across the road are struggling under the weight of ice and snow.

I really don't see us getting out of the house in time for church this morning; maybe we'll make it to the 6pm International Dinner...


Brenna's Bad Day

>> Thursday, February 22, 2007

It all started yesterday afternoon... No one was napping so I thought we would go for a drive to get Doug's new glasses and the ride would knock the girls out- two birds one stone.

As we are preparing to leave our suburb and drive to the optometrist I decide to call;no sense in driving all that way if the glasses aren't in. And they weren't. OK, new plan.

"Ah-ha!" thinks I, "We'll go to the park. The fresh air will wear them out and we can all rest when we get home." It was a gorgeous day, lower 50's; the snow was melting, the sun was shining.

Brenna made for the swings, which was perfect; no standing water. But we weren't there for long because the swings overlook the great activity center. Slides, bridges, "rock" steps... The works. So out of the swings we go.

Now, the park is terraced between the swings and the activity center. I tell Brenna to wait because Caelan and I have to go around. I turn around to get the stroller and when I turn back around Brenna is gone. All I hear is a little voice,"Mommy... stuck."

And stuck she was. In two feet of snow. Because the terrace is shaded and the snow melts much more slowly when the sun doesn't hit it. So there is Brenna,wearing jeans, tennis shoes and a sweat shirt, up to her hips in snow. And not making any moves to extract herself.

I put the stroller somewhere it won't roll and remove her from the snow. I then stand Brenna in a dry spot and say, "Wait here while I get Caelan and we will all go around together."

I turn my back to get the stroller and as I am turning to move toward Brenna I hear whining. Walking down to the second terrace I can't figure out what is wrong, Brenna is just standing there. As I get closer I see that she has stepped in mud. So I tell her to get out of it. I see her trying... Her leg isn't moving. So I walk over and give a tug. Brenna moves; her shoe stays. Neat.

So I now have a child with muddy and wet socks, shoes and jeans. I carry her to the sidewalk, remove the remaining shoe, roll up her pants so I don't get mud all over myself and tell her, very firmly, to stay there while I get Caelan and the stroller. I return with the stroller, put Brenna on the handles, put her shoes in the bottom and we head for the truck.

A minute later I hear a very small voice say,"Sorry, mommy." OK, now I feel like an ass. I didn't think I was very upset or hard on her but she obviously felt badly. I told her that it was OK but we had to go home and take a bath to get warm and clean. Need I tell you that there were no naps?

OK, now forward to dinner. I was making turkey cutlets with spicy black beans.Brenna was helping. We were waiting for things to heat when suddenly I see Brenna tumble head first off the kitchen chair. Seriously... She was just sitting there and then boom. Right on her head. Lots of tears but luckily no blood.

Nothing else happened until we were closing in on the 24 hour mark this afternoon. Caelan and I are on the couch, Brenna climbs in to a chair with a base that lets it turn, rock and lean back. It's got some good springs in the seat. And Brenna begins to jump while holding on the the back. I've told her so many times that she is going to fall over, she's going to go boom,she's going to get hurt... Well, this aftrnoon it happened. Over goes the chair and Brenns is flat on her belly on top of it. And what does she say? "Mommy, broke it." sigh

At least she wasn't hurt.


Below Average

>> Monday, February 19, 2007

I heard a commercial this morning. It was commercial about engagement rings. The commercial said that the average engagement lasts 13 months. That made me think about our engagement.

When we got engaged Doug & I had been dating for just over a year. We dated "long distance" for 6 months and then I moved to Iowa. It was a commitment I was willing to make so we could continue our relationship; you can only do "long distance" relationships for so long.

Forward to October 2003. October 6, to be exact; Doug's birthday. We are driving to Texas for work. We stop in Kansas City for dinner. KC Masterpiece to be exact. Doug likes good BBQ. We are sitting at a booth, just talking about work, when Doug says to me something along the lines of "So, would you like to make this relationship more permanent?"

I was dumbfounded. "What?"

"Will you marry me?"

And I laughed. Like a lunatic. I was completely caught off guard. I really thought Doug would propose in a much more romantic way. As everyone knows I said yes.

But no ring, not candles, no champagne. And when we saw Doug's family in Texas he did his best to make them choke when he told them- he made sure they were eating.

We were married on October 24. We were engaged for 18 days. Not even one month. I didn't want anything big. I actually wanted to elope; we were going to be in New Orleans in November and I thought it would be fun to get married there. But trying to plan something so quickly- ack! So we found a lovely little chapel in rural Iowa, had my sister and brother-in-law be our witnesses, got married on a Friday morning and spent the weekend at Country Club Plaza in Kansas City- where Doug took me for our first romantic weekend and where we got engaged.

I guess we're below average.


I Need New Jeans

>> Friday, February 16, 2007

I have developed a severe hatred of shopping. Used to love it. Of course I hadn't had any children at that time; things were firm and in their rightful places. Now my body is foreign territory. And not fun foreign territory. I don't want to explore it because I am hoping it will change, revert back to what it once was.

So, jeans. I need new jeans. I bought a couple pair after Caelan was born and they are too big (not complaining, losing baby weight = good) so now I must succumb to the torture of shopping for denim.

Luckily I have found two, yes two, possible saviors in this black hole of doom.

First I present to you Zafu, a website that claims to match you with your best jeans. I like the fact that I can choose to not see jeans that have stretch. Whose bright idea was that, anyway? "Oh, let's make the jeans stretchy so women can think they are a size smaller." "Oh, terrific idea! And then they can continue to stretch during the day and sag! Fabulous! We develop butt firmer and make a fortune! Women won't "get" that it's the jeans! Brilliant!"

And second is Blond Genius, a local store whose ads claim that they can match you with your perfect jeans. I probably wouldn't actually enter this store except it has, as TKW calls them, Fancy Pants. And the fancier the pants the better they fit. Not that I can bring myself to spend so much on a pair of jeans. Well, maybe one really good pair...

Maybe I'll just buy shoes and bags... They always fit. sigh


Anonymous Adorable Baby

>> Thursday, February 15, 2007

Here is the baby formerly known as Caelan, now to be called AAB, modeling her onesie tutu made by TKW (link takes you to her January posts, scroll down to January 28 to get the low down on the tutu).

Yep, AAB received the onesie that was saved from the trash by Sugar Daddy and will now be an official eBay model. We are, of course, hoping this will lead to actual paid gigs and someday AAB will become famous like one half of the Olsen twins. Preferrable the half without the eating disorder or really crappy taste in art.


And A Large Chocolate Computer To You, Too

>> Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Yep, there it is, Doug's Valentine from me. He was greatly amused by it when he found it in the car this morning. I made him take it to work- for two reasons. 1) He works with computer geeks; I think they will all find it fitting and 2) I really don't want it in my house. I'm not a fan of milk chocolate...but if it's here, taunting me... well...

Brenna & Caelan got Daddy a book that he has been wanting. They got me an Archivers gift card. And Doug hid an Ulta gift card inside the book I am currently reading. Yes, we hide our gifts for eachother. It's good for a smile. I ordered books for the girls through Brenna's school but they didn't come in yet. Thankfully they are too young to notice.

So, who's going out to dinner tonight? Not us. The last time we went out for Valentine's dinner was 2004. I found out I was pregnant with Brenna two days later. Anyway, the experience was awful. Over-crowded restaurant,badly prepared food, surly waitstaff, very rude and bitchy hostess. We had a reservation- I could see it on the sheet- and she "couldn't read it" so we had to wait...and wait...and wait. Needless to say, we've not been back to that restaurant.

I will prepare a lovely feast here: shrimp cocktail to start followed by Parmesan crusted chicken with twice baked potatoes and personal desserts (carrot cake for Doug, dark chocolate cake for me) all washed down with a bit of bubbly.

If Doug is home early enough Brenna will share dinner with us; if not she'll have a hot dog and veggies. Which, quite honestly, she will enjoy more.

Hearts and flowers to all my blog friends. The Geeks love you.


Prelude to Valentine's Day

>> Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Unlike every other community around us, school wasn't cancelled here. Today was Brenna's Valentine party. And it was her day to take snacks. If it hadn't been we certainly would have skipped school today; the roads were terrible. But the cupcakes made it without incident as we managed to miss the car that slid out of control in front of us. A couple of other vehicles weren't so lucky.

Here Brenna shows off her Valentine box. She helped but quickly grew bored so I did the top. Fancy, huh? And it's got a nice coating of Modge Podge so if I put it up she should be able to use it for a couple of years.

While Brenna was at school Caelan and I wandered around Target. We needed dog food, diapers and lotion. Of course other things made it into the cart- including the makings for dinner tomorrow night and a bottle of sparkling wine. I'll share the menu tomorrow- Doug is likely to see it if I post it tonight. I'll just say it's gonna be yummy.

Unlike tonight- leftover lasagna. Not that it won't be yummy, but it's leftovers. Blah.


Here I Am!

>> Sunday, February 11, 2007

Wow, I haven't posted since Wednesday. I do have a good excuse, though. Well, a couple of them, actually.

I got that nasty cold that is going around and it was honestly all I could do to keep up with the girls. I felt truly awful... Rundown and bitchy. Blech.

And secondly I was working on a video of photos for my Grandma's 75th surprise birthday party. I would have shared with all of you the great photos from the 1930's thru now but, as many of you have seen if you read our comments, Grandma H is a frequent visitor.

Happily the family was able to pull it off without a hitch and she was completely surprised. I think she actually thought we were going to let that milestone on her road of life slip by without any sort of celebration. HA!

So I will leave you this evening with a couple of photos. The first is my grandmother with her "baby" chow when she was 2 or 3. I think it is such an adorable photo- it just makes me smile.

And here is a photo taken in late 1973. I would have been almost 3- that's me on the right-my sister- on the left- would have been 2 1/2 and my cousin Anne was just over a month old.

You can all see where Brenna gets her good looks!


Ralph's World - The Coffee Song

>> Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I bought Brenna the Welcome to Ralph's World CD yesterday- I highly recommend it, btw- and this song was on it. I immediately thought of Meritt who has proclaimed it her new favorite song.



Doug's cold has held on and it is making it's way through the house as Brenna & I both have stuffy icks. I'm dosing everyone with vitamin c- we had clementines at breakfast, Brenna is drinking grape juice, I sent a V8 to work with Doug and I am in the process of drinking one right now.

My big plan for today is to steam in the shower for half an hour while Brenna is having her "quiet time". Oh, that sounds like heaven.

Right now I am taking a break from exploring my computer- it's growing on me and I am really looking forward to more RAM- and Brenna is watching Cars and eating bunny grahams and a few chocolate covered blueberries.

Caelan is napping. Hallelujah. She had a rough night. Between 8pm and midnight she would wake up screaming every half hour or so. No idea why. I finally got her down and myself in bed at 12:04 (Doug took some cuddling duty from 11 - 12) and she slept til 4:03am when she woke wanting to be fed. I got back to bed at 4:23 and both girls slept until shortly after 8am. Thank God for small favors...


Hate Is A Very Strong Word

>> Tuesday, February 06, 2007

OK, I am getting used to the Vista. It does have some really fun new features but I still miss my XP. Mostly since a lot of stuff isn't Vista-ready so I have to find ways to "cheat" to get things done.

Here is what I know... I have 120mb of ram and 64 bit dual core processors. We are going to have another gig of ram added. You need 2 gig to do it right. If you don't have the hard drive space do not use Vista. It's huge.

Otherwise I am getting over my bitchiness about it. I'm going to play with it until my other laptop comes homeand if I'm not happy we can use the restore disk from my XP loaded machine and load on of the spare XP licenses we have laying around.

In other slightly nerdy news- that only the ladies will probably appreciate- I bought a Zeno today. I'm lucky that I don't really have an acne problem but once in a while I get breakouts. And I am just vain enough that they bother me. I will let you all know how it works. In fact, I'm off to wash my face & try it out right now.


I Hate

>> Monday, February 05, 2007

Windows Vista. HATE IT!

We bought a new laptop yesterday because Doug's is on it's way to the computer graveyard. He said that he would take my old one and I could have the new one. Very gallant of him, no? After much research he decided on a Gateway 64bit dual processor model (I think I have that right) with a 120 GB HD. Sweet, yes?

No. You would think that with the dual processors this thing would be smokin' fast. And it probably would be if Windows Vista didn't suck.

Suck, suck, suck.

I am currently on hold with the place with the Big Yellow Tag to see if they have any laptops left with Windows XP. I loves me the XP.

Did I mention that I can't transfer anything I saved to the new OS? Nope. It works with nothing.

I really am not impressed.

And Doug was even less impressed than I am.


You What?

>> Saturday, February 03, 2007

A recent conversation at Casa Geek:

Brenna, laying on our bed: Mommy, I ssuck.

Me: Honey, you don't suck.

Doug: Um, I think she's saying she's stuck...

Me: Oh, that does make more sense...


Food or Lewd?

>> Friday, February 02, 2007

Speaking of food... I have a Snicker's cheesecake (homemade from scratch) sitting in my fridge for my sister's birthday tonight. It smelled really good when I took it out of the oven yesterday. Chocolate Teddy Graham crust... Cream cheese... Snickers... More Snickers... C'mon 6 o'clock.

But that is WAY off topic of this post. I just wanted to share the torture of that cake.

This just won't go away... Another article on breast feeding in public...

The debate rages on...

Now, I am all about nursing. I nursed Brenna for a year and plan to do the same with Caelan. In fact, I have no other option with Caelan as she adamantly refuses to even consider taking a bottle. I nursed Caelan on our flights to and from Dallas with no problems. I even nursed her at the gates in the airports. I have nursed her in the car in restaurant parking lots. And I take full advantage of the nursing rooms in the malls.

In all cases I was discreet. I covered Caelan with a blanket and made sure (in the airports) that I was in a relatively quiet area and would not disturb people. In the parking lots I will park in an empty area. I do these things because they are common curtesy. I would not nurse my baby in a Victoria's Secret, or in a busy food court. I really don't care if the law allows me to or not. Nor would I throw a fit if I were asked to cover up a bit if I were nursing in a restaurant. It's just curtesy. Which seems to have disappeared along with common sense.

In this article was a passage about infant formula:

Part of that may be due to the popularity of infant formula, particularly in past generations. It was first developed in the 19th century, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that it was embraced as the modern, hygienic way to feed babies. Because early infant formula was so expensive, it gained popularity first among the upper classes.

“Now the resurgence of breast-feeding is following the same pattern,” Peters says. Many studies say that low-income, less educated women have lower breast-feeding rates than wealthier women.

I thought this said alot. Why do you think wealthier women nurse more than lower-income women? It could be looked at from a lot of angles, I suppose.

1) I suppose we could be termed as "wealthy" although I see us a middle-class. I nurse because it is, well, FREE. Infant formula is expensive and I just can't even consider buying something to feed my baby that isn't as nutritional as what I can create using what God gave me.

2) "Wealthy" women, working or no, have more opportunity to stay home, maybe? Although I argue that because many women return to work after 6-12 weeks and pump. But, still, pumping is equal to nursing, in my book.

3) WIC. I think this is most of the reason. WIC provides formula for low-income families. And if someone else is paying for it why not take it, right? In the hospital you are now given forms to apply for WIC. Everyone is given them. I was urged to fill them out when I had both girls. I refused them and was visited by a social worker who urged me- again- to fill them out. Her reasoning? "Almost everyone can get this assistance." WHAT? There is a problem with the system, sister. (But that is a whole nother subject and I can feel myself getting off track)

Nursing my children is one of my greatest joys. Granted, I don't feel that way when it is impossible for me to leave Caelan for more than 3 hours (when will she take a bottle? It's the same stuff; just a different container...) but it is a joy nonetheless and one that will disappear before I am ready to let it go.

As the saying goes "Discretion is the better part of valor". A little discretion never hurt anyone, no matter how you view your rights. Everyone has rights, there is no need to trample on others just so you can flaunt your own.

As a note: the part about bodily fluids in the pool- I would have been pissed about that. That's what the chlorine is in there for. And I would much rather take my chances with a tiny bit of breast milk than urine, thankyouverymuch.

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