A Rant for America

Okay, so I will be the first to admit I’m not openly patriotic. I mean, I do love America, but I don’t find it necessary to cover my lawn with flags or station a giant blow-up elephant holding a Vote Republican sign in the middle of my yard. Mostly because I’d rather people didn’t vote Republican and also because somebody else already did that and I draw the line at being unoriginal when it comes to tacky lawn decor.

I did wear red, white and blue to church on Sunday–on purpose–in honor of our country’s birthday this week. So remember that before yelling “Brittany hates America!” after I tell you that I think we’re in trouble here, folks. And not because of Obamacare. Nope. I don’t think millions more Americans having access to health care is the thing that’s going to bring down this great nation of ours.

No, that would be Katy Perry and porn for women.

Let’s start with Katy Perry. I know, she’s cute. And “weird” in the way only someone who has producers, handlers, promoters, costume designers, song writers, agents and changing hair colors can claim to be. Plus, I can’t think of another performer “edgy” enough to include a line about PMS in one of her lyrics. P.M.S! Can you believe it?! And… AND! She’s singing about a boy having PMS! That Katy Perry (shakes head and smiles), she’s so crazy. No wonder millions of parents let their kids stay up past their bedtimes and go to the mid-night premier of her movie.

You know what else Katy Perry has been up to? If you got Parade magazine in your newspaper this past Sunday you do. She performed at New York’s Fleet Week.

If you don’t know what Fleet Week is (I’ll admit, I didn’t) you can look it up on Wikipedia. That’s what Katy Perry did anyway. Here’s a little excerpt from her interview:

Performing for the troops was special, Perry says. “It wasn’t just another show. It’s such a tradition, and it felt very vintagey,” she explains. “In the back of my mind, I was like, ‘Marilyn Monroe did this. Of course I want to be a part of that.’” Skilled as she is at working a crowd, she did her homework as well. “I Wikipediaed ‘Fleet Week’ because I wanted to know the history. I don’t want to look like a complete idiot.”

And that pretty much sums up why Katy Perry is emblematic of the decline of America. She can’t take all the blame, of course. That falls on every person who thinks that doing his/her “homework” on a subject begins and ends with Wikipedia.

BECAUSE YOU KNOW IT GETS THINGS WRONG, RIGHT?  AND THAT ANYBODY CAN ADD TO THOSE ENTRIES? NOT JUST PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY KNOW THINGS.

Moving on…

You know what millions and millions of people–mostly the ones who give birth to and raise this nation’s children–are reading?

If you guessed Pride and Prejudice, you’re wrong. If you guessed Twilight, you’re wrong again. If you guessed erotica or romantica, give yourself a pat on the back. Then wave good-bye to the dignity of women because ladies, we have sunk to the level of men when it comes to sex. (Not all men, just the ones who like porn. I know, there are a lot of those).

I’ve already ranted about this once, but it’s an even bigger problem than I thought. According to Time magazine:

S & M has gone mainstream… [just] ask publishers of erotica and “romantica,” which adds graphic, often S&M-tinged sex to traditional romance-novel formulas. These books have spiked sharply in popularity since Fifty Shades fever hit this spring, suggesting that for readers new to erotica, James’ work isn’t a one-off experiment but a gateway drug.

So basically, people are spending a lot of time reading for titillation as opposed to education. And that’s my real problem with porn for women. There are SO many books with really beautiful words in them, but this is not what we’re choosing to read. Millions of women in the world can’t read because they’re forbidden to or they couldn’t afford or weren’t allowed to go to school and never learned how to read. Yet in America women are choosing to read crap. Fellow American women listen…

FREEDOM DOES NOT COME FROM SAYING YES TO SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE THAT CHOICE.

And if anyone can answer this for me, I’d appreciate it.

WHY WOULD ANYONE SPEND HOURS SLOGGING THROUGH BAD WRITING JUST TO FEEL ALL TINGLY DOWN THERE? WHY NOT JUST HAVE SEX? (If you ‘re married, of course. And only with your spouse). WOULDN’T THAT TAKE A LOT LESS TIME?

Just wondering. Sorry for yelling. I only do it because I think we can do better, America.

And if you think maybe I sound like an old prude, I did just celebrate my 39th birthday. So, I am, in fact, an old prude.

I only wish America was too. (But not in a burka wearing kind of way).

Happy (early) Birthday, America!
Love ya! 

Because I Forgot to Send a Card for Father’s Day…

The summer I turned thirteen I earned my first real paycheck. My dad worked at a small press that printed educational materials and marketed them to schools and when they needed some extra help, I’d go with him. My job was to shrink wrap the packets of materials, which was super fun for about the first five minutes until I burned myself. I also got to count things like toothpicks and safety pins that went with the packets and somehow taught important lessons about self-esteem and honesty.

Obviously child labor laws in Idaho are a little less lenient (at least 25 years ago they were) than in some other states. And clearly the job sucked. But, man, that paycheck did not. I think I got paid about $1.25 an hour and when the secretary handed me that first check for around $90.00 after I’d been working for two weeks straight, I asked her to make a copy of it so I could keep it forever.

The paycheck wasn’t the only good thing about that job. I’d ride with my dad from Burley to Twin Falls every morning and he’d tell me what the different crops were as we drove past field after field. I remember being amazed that he knew so much, even though I was on the cusp of believing he didn’t know anything. Once we got to work I didn’t see much of him until lunch time. Then we’d go to the Arctic Circle where I tried a mushroom burger for the first time and the curly fries were to die for. Sometimes we’d eat there but most of the time we’d eat in the car and listen to Paul Harvey on AM radio. I fell in love with Paul Harvey that summer.

Usually I was the only kid at the office, but one day two other girls showed up. Their mom worked there too, but since they lived in the big city of Twin Falls and I lived a whole thirty minutes away, I didn’t know them. That didn’t stop us from becoming fast friends and comparing how different things were in our respective cities/towns and schools. We talked about Girls Camp, complained about the boredom of counting small objects and took turns at the shrink wrapper.

Then summer ended. I bought my own school clothes and felt very proud. My dad got a new job and my work friends were forgotten. I can’t even remember their names now. And maybe I would have forgotten them all together if not for what happened a few years later.

One morning I opened the newspaper–because even in high school I enjoyed reading the paper–and there on the front page was a story about my two friends. To put things into perspective, this wasn’t the front page of our local paper The South Idaho Press. This was the front page of the Boise paper, The Idaho Statesman, which my parents still took even though we hadn’t lived in Boise for many years, but they, too, loved the newspaper.

The story went as follows:

The girls were home one day when they heard a gunshot. Their dad had shot their mother (the article made sure to point out he had been a Mormon bishop only a few years earlier). Then he came for them. One of the girls called 9-1-1 and as the operator listened to the girls pleas for help, he heard another shot. The pleas stopped.

When the paramedics arrived at the house they found the mother and two sisters dead. Their father was sitting in the bathtub with his wrists slit open. But not enough to kill himself. He survived.

I read the article in shock because I knew these girls. I pointed it out to my mom asking if she remembered them. “I know,” was all she said. Until I asked her why their dad would do that to them. She knew that too. She knew the accusations he was too cowardly to face.

And then I remembered the day their dad came to the office. We had been laughing, but they stopped when he walked in. I didn’t get why they wouldn’t even look at him. He made silly jokes and looked goofy in his socks and sandals, so I chalked it up to embarrassment that he was their dad.  I got that. But it still didn’t explain the tightness in the air and their relief when he left.

The day I read that article was the first day I had any inkling that being embarrassed because my dad made me put on a life jacket in front of a bunch of older, popular boys before I could ride on my cousin’s boat, wasn’t the worst thing a dad could do.

No Fear

This post is a stop on the Virtual Book Tour for The Gift of Giving Life
Remember a few weeks ago when I said my Girl 1 has been giving me hell since pre-conception? No? Well read up, then come back. Or just keep reading. Whatever.

So–as I was saying–Girl 1, not so easy. Our most recent flip flop “misunderstanding” was only the latest in a long line of Battles for Control. But I don’t want to bore you, so let me see if I can sum up the past twelve years in a paragraph.

Miscarriage; clomid; miscarriage; clomid; raging hormones and much craziness from said clomid; ectopic pregnancy; clomid; pregnancy; progesterone; frequent blood-letting to track hormones; fainting from said blood-letting; puking, puking, puking, and more puking; pounds, pounds and more pounds despite the puking; worrying, worrying and more worrying; then swelling, really a lot of swelling; more worrying because of swelling; much crying and begging to be induced early; hospital check -in; cervical gel to induce labor before my body/baby was ready; baby-less check out to make room for mothers actually about to give birth; hospital check-in; pitocin; repeat of baby-less check-out this time with a shunt sticking out of my hand making it impossible for me to look at said hand until next hospital check-in; more pitocin; raging sinus infection but only mild contractions; more pitocin; another sleepless night; water breaking; contractions; epidural (ahhh); impatient doctor; move to operating room but not before nearly choking to death on anti-nausea medicine; c-section…

Perfect, beautiful, miracle that I have to wait too long to hold.

And most of those things took place over a period of nine months. But those nine months have affected how I parent this kid ever since. A parenting technique can be boiled down to one word:

FEAR.

I hate fear. I’m always trying to conquer it. I fear the ocean, so I learned to scuba dive. I fear getting in a car accident if I’m not driving, so I let my husband drive. I fear rejection, so I started writing.

But one fear–aside from my fear of snakes–I haven’t been able to let go is all the fear surrounding Girl 1’s conception and birth. First there was the fear we’d never have her, then the fear we’d lose her, and finally all the fear on the day(s) (four to be exact) of her birth.

I probably should have let go of my fear after everything turned out okay and I had a healthy baby. But I didn’t. I’ve held onto it and it flares up whenever things get rough with #1.

It manifests itself in the What Ifs? that make me a crazy mom. What if she throws a fit if I say no? What if she throws fits because I yell too much? What if I’m the cause of all her insecurity? What if she never leaves home? What if she does leave home? What if she does all the bad things I can imagine a teenager doing? What if she does all the bad things I did as  a teenager? What if something bad happens to her? What if I’m that something?

You see what I mean?

I don’t have the same kind of fears with my other two. Maybe it’s because they’re not my oldest, but I also had much better births with both of them. And you can call me crazy, but I think our experiences giving birth can have a bigger impact on us than we realize.

Which is why I wish I had this book twelve years ago:

The Gift of Giving Life  takes the fear out of childbirth and puts the focus back on the sacredness of it. So many women–like me– get caught up in everything that can possibly go wrong or having everything perfectly prepared for baby, including the timing of his/her birth. Most of the books about childbirth (I’m looking at you What to Expect When You’re Expecting) leave you looking for any and every sign that your body is not doing what it’s meant to do rather than encouraging you to listen to and trust your body and your spirit.

The Gift of Giving Life fills that gap. And while it is very much LDS oriented, I think every woman can learn from the personal stories in it. You might think that since one of its authors is my friend Sheridan who I’ve told you about here and here, the stories would all be about natural childbirth involving hypnosis. But they’re not.

There are stories about miscarriage, adoption, emergency C-sections, planned C-sections, water births, hospital births, headstand births. Okay maybe not that last one, but you get my point right? Pretty much every method of childbirth is covered in this book.

You might also think if, like me, you have no plans to EVER be pregnant again that you don’t really need this book. Wrong. I have learned so much from reading through these stories. This book is an awesome reminder that Heavenly Father has not only blessed us with the ability and privilege of giving birth, but also to nurture and raise our children. All of it is pretty stinkin’ hard most days, but if we’ll put our trust in Him and ourselves, we can do it. We have no need to fear.

Visit The Gift of Giving Life site to sign up for their newsletter and to receive a free Meditation MP3 as well as tips to help increase spirituality in your pregnancy and birth. 

For my readers I have a coupon code for 10% off a copy of The Gift of Giving Life.   Click here and after you add the book to your cart use this coupon code.  GWFWXR3F  This code is good until Father’s Day 2012.

I Want to Hide All of My Eleven Year Old’s Shoes

I want to hide all of my eleven year old’s shoes. Every last pair.

I went out of town a few weekends ago, but as I drove away from my house on the way to the airport wearing my very favorite outfit I thought to myself (because who else would I think to?), “Really, Brittany? Is this what it’s come to? You can’t even put on real clothes to leave the state?”

To which I meekly replied, “I changed sweatshirts.”

But I couldn’t fool Myself. “That sweatshirt came with pajamas,” she kindly pointed out. “So technically it is sleepwear. Which means you are about to cross the line to become one of those I-couldn’t-bother-to-get-dressed-today-so-I’m-wearing-my-p.j.’s-in-public people. You need to step back, girlfriend.”

And so I did. I turned the car around, went home, changed clothes, and left my flip flops–my favorite pair–at the bottom of the stairs.

I returned home three days later as excited to be reunited with my flip flops as I was to see my family again. And more excited to see them than I was to see the dog. I’d been going through some serious flip flop withdrawal (I’m sure Mitt can relate, except with a different kind of flip flop).* My pedi needed some air time and my soles longed for the feel of soft rubber beneath them. I’d missed their comforting whispers of  thwak thwak when I slipped them on to walk across my dirty kitchen floor. They’re more than a pair of sandals. They’re a trusted friend and protector, always there for me in times of need.

Except now they were missing.

I searched for them, thinking maybe I was misremembering where I put them or perhaps dear husband had put them away somewhere for me.

“Has anyone seen my flip flops?” I asked.

“Not me,” came the all too familiar reply from three little girls.

“Girl 1, did you wear my flip flops? The ones I asked you not to wear.”

“No.”

A very definitive answer, so surely it must be believed.

But as day passed into night with still no sign of my favored flip flops, I began to worry. Morning came and I asked again. “Girl 1, are you sure you haven’t seen my flip flops?”

“Which ones,” was her innocent reply.

“The black ones with the little jewel,” I said, hoping my description would jog her memory.

She thought carefully, but her confused look left me little hope of recollection.

“The ones I told you not to wear ever again. Three times.”

Now she remembered. “No, I haven’t seen them.”

Her answer seemed a little cagey, but I let it go. Even if she had worn them–and I was pretty sure she had–I had little doubt I could find them in one of the usual hiding spots.

But as one flip flopless day faded into the next, I lost my cool.

“Girl 1, do you know where my flip flops are?” I asked with significantly less patience than I had asked the previous one hundred times.

“I don’t know! Okay?!” she yelled.

Which meant I know I should know where they are but I can’t remember and I know you’re going to be really mad at me so I’m going to go ahead and get mad at you first.

“Did you wear them?” I asked while debating whether to start with consequences or go straight to water boarding.

“I don’t remember, okay!” she yelled.

No, not okay.

“Can’t you just wear a different pair?” she asked, I’m sure, with every intention of being helpful. “Why do you have to have those flip flops? It’s not like you don’t have others!”

Well, she asked. So, of course, I had to tell her. “BECAUSE I LIKE THAT PAIR. AND I TOLD YOU NOT TO WEAR THEM. BUT YOU DID. AND NOW THEY ARE LOST. AND YOU DO NOT HAVE ANY PRIVILEGES AT ALL UNTIL THEY ARE FOUND. NONE! GOT IT?”

Maybe I could have told her a little less loudly, but I can’t be held accountable for my actions when I’m in the midst of flip flop withdrawal.

“I think they’re at BFF’s, okay!” she responded in kind before grabbing her backpack and stomping to the door while muttering, “You are so unfair. Why do you care so much about a pair of stupid flip flops anyway?”

The door slammed shut and she stomped her way to school, but I could still see her eyes rolling.

And that’s when I seriously considered ransacking the entire house until I had found every pair of her shoes so that I could hide them. Maybe at my BFF’s house.

But I didn’t. Because then she’d just wear my shoes and we’d be right back where we started. So instead I rolled my eyes and muttered, “When is eleven going to be over?”

Then I longed for the days that I thought would never end when I couldn’t get her to wear matching clothes, let alone shoes.

*Seriously, it’s a post about flip flops. You had to know there’d be a Romney jab somewhere, right?

Band-aids. Dislike.

Ten Reasons Why I am Not Stuck on Band-aids and Why They Don’t Stick on Me. Ever.

1. They’re gross.
2. That brownish color they come in is even grosser.
3. I know there are Band-aid options now. I don’t have to buy the gross brown ones when there are neon, sparkly, Princess, and every other kind of Band-aid available. But that’s kind of like putting lipstick on a pig. No matter how you dress it up, a Band-aid is still a Band-aid.
4. They’re sticky. I know that’s the point, but it doesn’t change the fact I don’t like sticky things. Not even stickers.
5. They leave behind that gross, sticky, black residue that you have to scrape off.
6. They’re hiding something and I don’t like secrets. I can handle the truth. I can’t guarantee I won’t pass out if there’s lots of blood involved, but that’s preferable to looking at or wearing a Band-aid. And by “lots” I mean not very much.
7. The only way a Band-aid will come off is if you go swimming. The only thing grosser than a working Band-aid is a floating one. I don’t think any one wearing a Band-aid should be allowed within ten feet of a swimming pool.
8. The only thing grosser than a floating Band-aid is used Band-aids stuck to the wall so the bloody part shows. I had a friend in high school whose little brother did this with all of his old Band-aids. I never saw the room, but every time I see a Band-aid I imagine what those walls looked like and it makes me gag. I avoid the possibility of my children ever doing this by never buying Band-aids nor allowing them to bleed.
9.  Band-aids never get thrown away. They just end up sticking to something else and then you find them and you have to unstick them from whatever they’re stuck to and then they’re stuck to you and eww. I’m feeling nauseous thinking about it.
10. Did I mention Band-aids are disgusting? No? Well, they are.

My Million Dollar Idea: UnPinterest

The problem with taking time off from blogging is that it’s hard to get back into it. I can’t think of a darn thing to write now that I’ve got the time to do it again. Plus, I’m getting the feeling either no one wants to blog anymore or every one’s on vacation.

So where are you fellow bloggers? Have we all run out of things to say? Or are we too busy finding pictures to pin? Is this what we have been reduced to? Looking at pictures of what people like instead of reading the words they write?

The thing is, I kind of like knowing what people don’t like. And how do you pin that? Is there something called UnPinterest for our dislikes? Or are we all just trying to create a perfect space with recipes we’d whip up if we weren’t so tired, home decor we’d buy if we weren’t too poor, crafty projects we’d make if we weren’t so uncrafty, birthday parties we’d throw for our kids if we actually threw birthday parties for our kids.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Actually, I hardly ever go on Pinterest. Mostly because I can’t remember my password, but also because it’s very intimidating. There’s just so much to look at, I don’t even know where to start.

I do know where I’d start on UnPinterest though: Shades of Gray.

Have you heard of it? If not, you’re lucky. It’s the latest thing for the modern housewife. Every one’s got to have it. It’ll spice things up in the bedroom. Turn up the heat. Re-ignite a dwindling flame.
It’s Porn for Women.

 Finally. Because apparently we’ve been missing out, ladies.

The thing is, everyone who is reading it can’t put it done. They’re staying up all night to read it because they have to know what is going to happen and then they have to move on to the next book. They all say the writing is terrible, but they can’t stop reading it.

So my question is, when exactly are they “spicing things up”? Because it kinda sounds like they’re just doing a lot of reading. Reading they don’t really even enjoy because it kind of sucks. Except for the sex scenes, of course. Which they describe as ridiculous.

I guess I don’t understand the appeal, so feel free to explain it to me. Maybe I don’t get it because I know it started out as Twilight fan fiction. Since I’m not a Twilight fan to begin with, that’s strike one. Strike two comes from the fact that every thing I’ve read or heard about the book says the writing is truly terrible. I barely have time to read good writing, so I don’t want to throw that time away on something that stinks. And finally, it really irritates me that there are so many excellent writers not making any money while someone who doesn’t know how to write anything beyond a titillating sex scene is making millions. So, strike three.

And there’s my unpin for the day. Go ahead and consider this my Facebook dislike of the day also.  But stay tuned, I think I’ve found a new blog topic. There are a lot of things I don’t like.

Next up: Band-aids.

Hinges

My Saturday started with a 6.5 mile run, something I’d never done before. Proud of my accomplishment I figured there was nothing else I couldn’t do. I could get my house clean and, of course, my children would merrily cooperate because why wouldn’t they do that for a mother who could run so very far?Without even stopping. In only one hour.

But my eleven year old had other ideas that had less to do with helping and more to do with sleeping. And I was okay with that since she didn’t do a lot of sleeping during the week. I had just run six and one half miles, so I had no doubt she could wake up and joyfully go about her chores once she decided to roll out of bed. The fact she’d never actually done such a thing before didn’t deter me from believing she could and would that day. Because, after all, I had run all those miles.

Let’s just say the morning did not go as planned. Or imagined. Instead, by eleven o’clock my husband was attempting to remove said daughter’s bedroom door from it’s hinges after it had been slammed one too many times. (Something that must be genetic, because by the time I was sixteen my door frame was literally falling apart from abuse). We’ve heard from countless parents of teens and pre-teens that bedroom doors “just pop right off the hinges” and “it’s easy.”

Well, it’s not. At least not for us. The screwdriver got stuck in the hinge thingamajig and the eleven year old got sent to the garage until she could stop using ugly words.

She was there for really a long time. And I was sorely tempted to lock her in there for the rest of the day. Judge me all you want for that. If you think I’m a terrible parent, you’re probably onto something. You also probably don’t have a hormonal preteen who’s been giving you hell since pre-conception, but who you love to death anyway.

Anyhow, the day did get better and by the time we went to the church BBQ at the park, she was in fine spirits. We all had a great time, in fact. Chatting with friends, eating chicken and salad, playing at the park, busting open a pinata. Good times, readers. Good times.

Until the sun went down and we were ready to go. It was then we noticed we hadn’t seen Girl 2 in quite some time. But we didn’t worry too much because she’s pretty responsible that one. She’s not a wanderer and if she leaves in a huff she always cries loud enough to let us know where she is.

But when I saw the friend I thought she was with, then I did worry. When the friend said G2 had gone to the bathroom with G1 and she hadn’t seen her since, then I worried a little more. So I asked Girl 1 if she knew where her sister was.
“We went to the bathroom and then I waited for her, but she never came out so I left,” she replied.
“How long ago was that?” I asked.
“I don’t know, but it was still light out,” she answered.

And then I panicked.

I looked down at the bathroom doors, saw a man come through one and every bad story I’d ever heard about little girls in bathrooms flashed through my mind.

By this time my friend Bethany had run down to the stalls to see if Girl 2 was still in one. She heard crying coming from one, but couldn’t tell what the crier was saying and kept asking if it was Girl 2 in there. The crier finally spit out that it was and that she couldn’t get out. And that she was alone.

Am I a terrible mother for being relieved? To the point of laughing a little? Because she is my kid I’ve never really thought about locking away, yet this wasn’t the first time she’d gotten herself locked in somewhere. Plus, even though I felt really bad for her, I could smile because what I’d imagined had been so much worse.

The bathroom doors had both a deadbolt and a magnetic lock that requires a key card to open. Usually it opens automatically from the inside, but this time it was stuck. Girl 2 couldn’t open it from the inside and we couldn’t open it from the outside. So after about thirty seconds of trying we called 911 and told G2 the firemen were on their way.

They arrived a few minutes later and went to work. First there was some discussion as to how they should accomplish their rescue–something I thought they could have perhaps discussed on the way over, but whatever. Then they tried the key card. It didn’t work. So they tried kicking the door, followed by the key card again. Still no luck. So you know what they tried next?

Hinges. Because those babies just pop right off.

Except when they don’t. Not even for firemen.

There next plan of action was to call Public Works to see if they had some magic way to get in so they wouldn’t have to bust up the door. Which was very considerate to all of us due paying members fo the community who would have to replace the expensive door. But my baby was the one stuck on the other side of that stupid door, so I didn’t really care how much it cost.

But I didn’t really say anything because, after all, she was safe. We just kept telling her “five more minutes.” I did slide a lollipop through the crack at the bottom of the door for her. Because, you know, she needed sustenance. And I wasn’t entirely sure she had actually eaten dinner. Also, it was starting to look like we’d be there for a while.

Then  very nice cop showed up to help out the very nice policeman. Some of the boys there suggested he shoot down the door and I thought that was a pretty good idea. Aside from the bullets richochetting through the 3 x 3 cement bathroom my little one couldn’t get out of. Instead he called the community parks association (SAMLARC) and informed them they needed to get someone to the park within the next five to ten minutes or the firemen would be breaking down the door.

Then an eternity passed. I made a little joke to the cop about not being able to lock Girl 2 in the closet anymore and luckily he laughed. Apparently he thought I was joking. I didn’t mention anything about garages or older daughters and near acts of parental desperation.

And just when I was about to kindly suggest that they BREAK DOWN THE DAMN DOOR!! the firemen brought out the big tools.

They had the handle broken off that door by about the time the  SAMLARC guy showed up. Which is to say, in about five minutes. It’s all the other stuff that took an hour. Making Girl 2’s trip to the bathroom the equivalent of Gilligan’s three hour tour.

If only she’d worn her gingham shirt and put her hair in pigtails, she would have been a dead ringer for Mary Ann.

Also, the only other time I’ve seen her face this red is when I accidentally locked her in the car at Target when she was two and I was eleven and half months pregnant and looked like an elephant. But that is another, equally entertaining, story.

And it’s physically impossible for my husband to keep his eyes open in a picture.

But the lesson learned on Saturday is this: Hinges do not just “pop off.”

We’ve got the pictures and the screwdriver that’s still stuck in Girl 1’s door to prove it.

Diorama Time = New Shoes for Mommy

I planned on writing a spectacularly hilarious post today–or at least a moderately funny one–but my two weeks of child and house neglect have caught up with me.

Okay, make that three weeks.

All right, fine. It’s been a few years.

But I’m using this Memorial Weekend to make up for it. I am actually going to participate in the creation of the much procrastinated first grade leopard report + diorama, the third grade city report + float (shoe-box size, thank goodness), and the fifth grade state report + poster. There will also be some bathroom and bedroom cleaning going on because they all smell worse than outhouses and I miss my floor. Plus there’s some gardening to do too. I’m pretty sure I have some food plants amongst those weeds. At least I vaguely remember planting some.

But first there’s some shoe shopping to be done. Because we’re fresh out of shoe boxes and we’ve got those two dioramas that are due Tuesday morning bright and early. What other choice do I have? I mean, how else do you make a diorama? Everyone knows the basic ingredient is a shoe box. And stores don’t just give those things out willy-nilly without any shoes in them. So I’m willing to sacrifice for my children by purchasing new shoes for myself.

I know, right? I should definitely be named Mother-of-the-Year.

And Girl 3 has her diorama shopping list all ready, so this project should be super easy.

Before I run off to Nordstrom (okay, I’ll probably have to settle for Target since we’ve got to find a stupid plastic leopard anyway because I’m not going the clay route again like we did with Girl 2’s fennic fox) I’m going to help a sister out. A sister who came bearing a six pack of Diet Coke, a bag of limes, and a dozen bundtinis* in my darkest hour when I was too tired to think and just wanted to punch my computer in the face rather than do anymore manuscript fixing.

So for my awesome friend Carrie Maxfield–who sadly does not have a blog of her own–I am posting this link to a photography give away contest:

Amazing giveaway for photographers or anyone interested in photography.  All expenses paid, 2 day trip, to be mentored by Andee Tate of Crave Photography.  Plus lots of other free goodies from 10 other venders.  Go to her blog to check it out and enter.  Or, just check out her work to get inspired or motivated by her creative photos!  Go to http://cravemyphotography.com/blog/

I went to the blog and her pictures are pretty fantastic, so you may want to check it out yourself. In the meantime, I’ll be back next week with a post about another awesome friend, Sheridan, you remember her–she of the no bra–whose book was just published. And I think you’re gonna like it.

Now I’d better get on that whole shoe shopping thing. I’ve got a lot to do this weekend, so there’s no time to waste.

* If you don’t know what a bundtini is I feel sad for you because you must not have a Nothing Bundt Cakes in your neighborhood where you can buy delicous big bundt cakes, yummy littler bundt cakes (bundtlettes), and deliciously yummy baby bundt cakes (bundtinis)–because everything is more delicious when it’s baby sized. Except for actual children.

Labor Pains

Writing a book is–seriously–like having a baby.

It takes a long time to cook up and there’s really a lot of puking involved in the process (though it’s vomiting of words as opposed to food). When you finally get it out you think the hard part is over.

But it’s not. Not even close.

Then there’s all the molding and refining. And back talk. My manuscript was almost as sassy–not in a good way–as my eleven year old. “Why would you even write that?” was it’s favorite catch phrase, followed by, “Stop it. Just stop it.”

You know what would have made the whole book writing thing easier? A Plan. I mean, A Better Plan. One that I actually stuck to. But that’s not really how I operate when it comes to doing things for the first time. I kinda just do it really poorly and painfully, then decide to listen to the advice of more experienced people my second go around.

Like the first time I gave birth. I went into it with no more plan than thinking  I’ll give that natural childbirth thing a try and see how it works out.

Four days and one C-section later I had learned my lesson. Make a plan and get a doula.

Like my friend Mama M who can garden, recycle, and not buy things like nobody’s business. She already has her Birth Plan typed up and ready to go. And she’s not due til August. August people! I haven’t even planned what I’m going to wear today (though I think we’ve all got a pretty good idea).

But you’ve got to read this thing because it is hilarious.

Mama M.’s Birth Preferences
Below are my wishes for delivering an organic, all-natural, locally-made baby
(thanks in advance for helping me create the Patchouli Fest I’ve been dreaming of)

Mother: Mama M (blood type: O-negative)
Father: Mr. M.
Doula: Hattie Engel

  1. Nurse Preference: I’d love to work with a nurse who has a positive attitude towards natural childbirth or at least one who thinks I’m cute.
  2. Medical Procedures: I’d like to avoid any medical intervention where possible (including, but not limited to, Pitocin, IV, and epidural, but excluding liposuction and boob jobs – let me stress that these two are welcome procedures: C-cup and perky please). If medical intervention becomes necessary, I’d like to talk about alternatives and consequences and have some private time for discussion with my husband and doula.
  3. Induction: If induction becomes necessary, I’d like to start with non-medical methods (i.e. changing positions, walking, squatting, nipple stimulation, aerobics videos with Richard Simmons, etc.) and only use Pitocin if these don’t work.
  4. Monitoring:  I’d like to avoid any non-critical monitoring and also to avoid non-critical vaginal exams (if you do examine my vagina, please don’t criticize it).
  5. Free Movement: During labor, I’d like the ability to walk freely, use the shower, squat, kneel, or engage in interpretive dance to align my chakras.  
  6. Liquid and food:  For hydration and strength, I’d like access to clear liquids and small snacks that I’ve brought with me with the exception of vodka gimlets – don’t give me access to those.
  7. Quiet time: I’d like staff to be quiet and calm for maximum relaxation.  I want to be the only one screaming.
  8. Umbilical chord: I’d like to let it stay attached until the pulsing is complete.
  9. Baby on chest: I’d like the baby to be placed on my chest asap after birth and medical procedures on baby to wait until I say I’m ready for them.
  10. Circumcision: I’d like the baby circumcised if it’s a boy.  If it’s a girl, can you come up with some other form of retribution for the trouble she put me through?

Note for treats: Please also enjoy these organic vegan brownies (they are organic except for the Betty Crocker brownie mix and vegan except for the eggs and 2 cups of butter).

See what I mean? I did not think of any of these things the first time around. But let me tell you, I learned from experience–which sadly seems to be the only way I learn. With Baby #2 I had my best friend/doula by my side (who also happens to by Mama M’s sister), my husband, a better doctor and a plan.

And four hours plus one epidural later, boom, I had myself a baby. So. Much. Easier.*

So my advice, whether writing, birthing, or what ever…

Make a plan, man.

Make. A. Plan.

* The fact that Girl 1 will pretty much say no to anything unless she’s given a detailed plan and plenty of warning while Girl 2 pretty much just goes with the flow and is up for anything may also have had something to do with the amount of hell they put me through to get here.  And the amount of hell they currently put me through.

Bad, Good and Awesome News

Good news friends. My pitch outfit–with some help from my pedicure–totally worked. The senior editor of the publisher I want to publish with wants my full manuscript. The WHOLE thing.
Doesn’t mean it’s going to actually get published, but apparently those sort of requests don’t happen very often.

The bad news is he wants it in two weeks. Two weeks from last Friday. Which is actually less than two weeks now. Which wouldn’t be a big deal except for the fact my manuscript is about an eternity away from being submittable. Sadly this means my blog will be on hiatus while I do some major editing.

Other things on hiatus during the next two weeks: house cleaning, responsible parenting, and my life.

But in some awesome news, my husband swept, mopped, AND polished the floor while I was gone, thereby eliminating any need for socks ever again.

Or at least for the next two weeks. Because I’m pretty sure by the end of my hiatus from everything that doesn’t involve me scowling at my laptop, we’re going to need socks all over our whole bodies to create a barrier from the dirt.