May 30, 2008

Reason 12,060 Why I Love my Husband

For txt messaging me and telling me to "enjoy the bamberness" after I told him I was going to watch Battlestar Galactica while he was out seeing Indiana Jones.
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On Being Depressed or Why I Feel Like a Bad Mom

My brain is all over the place. I have a million things bumping around in there, including the complete mood swing that I've had today going from barely holding back tears to chuckling at Justin's text messages from the movie theater.

I can say with a fair amount of certainty that the last six months have been the hardest time in my entire life. Financially, as a parent, as a wife, balancing motherhood and trying to be myself and working and trying to stay sane. I've struggled with depression in my life. Depression, anxiety, mild mental illnesses, they run in my genes. When I finally worked up the courage at 21 years old to seek help, it was hard and scary. Once I was on the medication that helped my chemicals balance, I looked back at the years before and wondered what it would have been like if I'd realized what was going on sooner instead of just writing journal entries about being "sad for no reason" as I did so often.

I've been on medication for anxiety and depression ever since, and I have no problem with that. In fact, I feel that it's something I will need lifelong help for and am fully convinced that I will probably be on some sort of medication for the rest of my life. That's fine. It's worth it for me to be able to relax, to be able to feel like a normal person with normal highs and lows instead of a lot of lows that have no cause. I don't feel bad, guilty, or un-natural about making myself mentally healthy. I talk about it when I can, because there are a lot of other people out there who think maybe they should talk to someone, but they don't always have the courage. Those people need to know they're not alone. I still find it encouraging to read other people's stories, and I hope that I can provide that for someone, someday.

In the last week, I've been struggling more than I have for years with depression. I know that some of what I've been feeling in the last few days is hormone related, but it's also just related to all of the stressors in my life right now. When I came home from work today, I felt like it was all I could do not to break down and cry. That if I let my guard down and topped consciously holding myself together, that I would just burst into tears and that I might not be able to stop. I went into my bedroom and lay on the bed, struggling. I felt like a terrible mother, because in those moments, I didn't even want to be around my son. We've reached a new level of frustration with Sam being two and not able to talk and tell us what he wants/needs. He whines constantly. He hasn't been sleeping well, he's been crying at bedtime and waking up in the night some nights. It's becoming harder for me to be with him 24/7 without a break. The added stress of waiting for his full development evaluation to see how delayed he is and in what areas is just making me a little crazy. I feel like I must be somewhat to blame... if only I had read to him more, not let him watch as much tv, fed him different foods, blah blah blah a million other things.

Our financial situation is coming to a head, and as I mentioned the other day, we are currently looking into bankruptcy. It is terrifying. I am scared and in disbelief that we are even considering that at such a young age. That we somehow allowed ourselves to fall into this complicated, awful pit and can't dig ourselves out. It makes me feel a tiny bit better that a lot of the literature refers to bankruptcy as a new beginning, a way to have a fresh start. That's what I feel like I need right now. Simplicity. Living in Bellingham again, I have felt life becoming more simple somehow, and I want it to continue. I don't want to shop, I don't want to use credit cards to buy things I don't have. I don't want to focus on money, technology, having all the new things as was so prevalent in the area we used to live in.

Hours after I felt like I might not be able to pull myself out, I do feel better. I've read my favorite blogs and eaten dinner, and feel fine. Justin's gone to see the new Indiana Jones movie since I already saw it last night with Violet, and we were texting back and forth and he made me laugh. It's different this time around because I'm more open, have more support, and most importantly, am aware of how I'm feeling and what kind of things are causing me to feel this way. I'm just trying to take it one day at a time, and if I feel like I need it, I'll find someone to go talk to, adjust my medication, ask for more help, do what I need to do. I definitely need to start going to church regularly again (it sort of fell off a bit when we moved), because I know my faith was a stregth that was helping me in all this, and I feel like I'm missing it now. And when I hear my little boy laugh, when he nestles up next to me on the couch in the morning, when he gives me an imprompty kiss, or plays with my hair, I'll remember how great life really is and why it's all worth it, even the hard times.
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Fringe

I just the trailer for JJ Abrams new show 'Fringe' and I am excited! Also I have a weird fondness for Pacey (which I can't stop calling him even though I didn't even watch Dawsons Creek really). So, another show I'm looking forward to...
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May 28, 2008

Summer Plans

We are going to be quite busy this summer. Things to do:

June
  • Justin will be in Mexico for four days building houses with a bunch of other guys from Lake Forest Park Presbyterian Church.
  • Violet's husband will be out of town for 5 days, so I may head down to Seattle for at least a couple of days to help out with her 3 kids and give her some adult company.
  • Ladies Night - hang out with my Mom and her girly friends.
  • My Mom is getting married! To an awesome guy! I will probably cry (happy tears) and eat a lot of cake.
  • Family picnic for Justin's 10 year HS Reunion (unfortunately the dinner is on the same night as my Mom's wedding!).

July

  • July 4: A barbeque at my cousin Courtney's.
  • My 5 year wedding anniversary! Drop Sam with the grandma and head out of town for a couple nights.
  • My 10 year HS Reunion (dinner and family picnic)

August

  • Wedding Shower for Sati (which I am planning)
  • "Bachelorette Party" (which I am also planning) - Manicures, pedicures and fun for Sati before her wedding.
  • Three day, two night trip to Natapoc Lodge in Levenworth with the ladies & kids from book club.
  • Sati's wedding! Reception at a hotel/casino - drop the kid off with grandma again for a night of relaxation and uninterrupted sleep.

I am also hoping at some point to somehow be able to afford to travel to the East Coast and see my family (mainly my Dad, Stepmom & little sister), but I'm not sure how that can happen unless I win the lottery or start saving up my pennies right now...

I'm very excited about this summer - a lot of fun things are happening!

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Really?

Really, Ashley Simpson and Pete Wentz are having a baby? Really?

Really, Sharon Stone? You're going to blame a horrible earthquake on karma, really? You can't take that shit back.

Really, debt collectors? If you call me 15 times a day I am more likely to answer the phone? Really?

Really, Sam? You are going to go back to crying and not going to bed nicely at night, EVER? Really?
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May 27, 2008

100 Things About Me

I have seen this floating around, so decided to give it a go.

  1. I have six tattoos.
  2. I met my husband when I was only 19.
  3. When I was 18, I studied abroad in London for a quarter.
  4. When I was 10, I lived in Denmark for a summer while my Dad worked there.
  5. I love those Brachs candies that are pink, white, and brown with coconut in them.
  6. All of the pets that my husband and I have owned have had names starting with "P", for no particular reason.
  7. My favorite flower is a lilac. We have a white and a light purple bush blooming in our yard right now.
  8. When I am listening to the news and hear something about an "RPG" harming someone, I automatically think 'Role Playing Game'?
  9. I like the song "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips (EMBARRASSING!)
  10. I have never shot a gun.
  11. Most of my friends are older than I am.
  12. When I see the word resumes (as in starts again), in my mind I think resumes (the thing you submit to get a job).
  13. I cut my fingernails super short because ever since I had Sam they get really dirty and I can't stand it.
  14. I don't think I am pretty.
  15. I would rather eat out than cook at home.
  16. When I was in high school, I spent a lot of time chatting on AOL. Back when it was the 'cool' thing.
  17. I have a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a focus in HR.
  18. I hate pus.
  19. I like octopi - live ones. To look at. Not to eat.
  20. I have a giant unicorn collection with over 200 items, including a tattoo on my left arm.
  21. My favorite animal is the Red Panda. If it wasn't totally wrong and inadvisable, I'd have one for a pet.
  22. When I was a little kid (2 or 4, I forget) I broke my collarbone by rolling off the couch during a nap.
  23. My wedding invitation included a line from 'The Princess Bride'.
  24. I believe in ghosts and psychics.
  25. I hated the movie '21 Grams'.
  26. I weigh too much.
  27. I like going to the movies by myself, even though a lot of people think that's weird.
  28. I currently have two cats, Piper the giant (13 pounds... big) and Phoenix the needy.
  29. I wish that I was a better artist (drawing & painting).
  30. I took piano lessons for years, stopped in high school, and can't wait to learn again when we get a house big enough for a piano.
  31. My toenails are painted neon green right now.
  32. I am afraid of heights.
  33. My middle name is Lynn.
  34. Every time I've ever been on a diet, I've cheated and lied about it.
  35. I get excema, only on my right foot and my fingers, mostly when it's hot out.
  36. I let myself get sunburned every year before I star wearing sunscreen for no particular reason other than being dumb.
  37. I can't wait to be pregnant again.
  38. If I can't get pregnant again, I want to adopt.
  39. I like hot dogs more than hamburgers or barbequed chicken. I would rather eat a hot dog at a barbeque. And I like them burnt.
  40. I have lived in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Dakota, Minnesota and Washington.
  41. I have a missing tooth because I had to get a tooth pulled because it was cracked and I never got an implant because I don't have $3000 extra dollars to put a titanium rod into my jaw.
  42. I still have trouble sometimes remembering how to pronounce the word 'tapestry'.
  43. I am a Christian, but didn't have faith until last year.
  44. I was baptized in September 2007 by immersion in Lake Washington. Appropriately to the state where I live, it was freezing, overcast and drizzling.
  45. We decided to get our son Dedicated because we want him to choose for himself when/if he wants to be baptized.
  46. I have three holes pierced in each ear.
  47. Black licorice makes me gag.
  48. I also hate that Simple Green cleaner because to me, it smells just like you spread black licorice juice all over the floor.
  49. Right now I am itchy because I'm sunburned on my shoulders and upper back.
  50. I thought I had about 30 blogs on my Google Reader, but I am apparently really shitty at math because I have 77. Only 30 of them probably post regularly.
  51. Every day, at least one of the blog entries someone posts makes me cry. Today it was Mrs. Chicken.
  52. I didn't know what lol cats were until about 2 weeks ago.
  53. Before I got pregnant, I hadn't seen my natural haircolor (sandy brown) in about 10 years.
  54. My favorite food is pizza, and I would eat it every day and have, in fact, gone through several periods in my life where I did just that.
  55. Gary Busey and Andi McDowell make me angry.
  56. I once met George Strait because my great uncle is in his band.
  57. On my fridge I have my Mom's wedding invitation for this summer, a picture of my friend Sati & her fiance, a family portrait of my family and a picture of me and my friend Violet with Jamie Bamber.
  58. Why did I meet Jamie Bamber? Because I am a big enough dork to have attended the Creation Entertainment Grand Slam Sci Fi Convention in 2007. It was awesome.
  59. I lost 50 pounds while I was pregnant because I barely ate for 5 months.
  60. Every day, I hope Crystal will post a new entry in the Crazy Chronicles.
  61. I am an emotional eater.
  62. I know how to knit, but can't figure out how to crochet.
  63. I have a sewing machine, and have only ever used it to sew some mediocre curtains. It currently resides at Violet's house because her machine is broken and she ACTUALLY sews things.
  64. I love Violet's kids almost as much as I love mine.
  65. I was a vegetarian for a couple of years, but I started eating meat again when I was pregnant and craving pepperoni and never gave it up again.
  66. My favorite meat is bacon.
  67. My 5 year wedding anniversary is this July.
  68. I love to sing in my car in the summer with the windows down.
  69. When I was 18, I briefly worked in a fish processing plant through a temp agency, and gained total respect for people who work on assembly lines, especially in big-ass freezers.
  70. I am a night owl.
  71. Sometimes when Sam wakes up in the morning, I put on a movie and doze a little on the couch (sometimes with cuddles!) because deep inside I still think 8 is too early to get up.
  72. In the past year, for unknown reasons, I have started using 'balls' as a swear. As in 'oh balls' or 'holy balls, look at that!'.
  73. I don't always stop fully at stop signs.
  74. I do not like beer, wine, champagne or cider.
  75. I do like Malibu Rum, Chocolate Martinis, and Lemon Drops. A lot.
  76. I just gave $25 to the Washington Community Action Network when they knocked on my door randomly wanting to promote immigration reform.
  77. The only thing on my 'one day when we have money again' list is a nice digital SLR camera.
  78. My Rock Band avatar is named Jonesy.
  79. I had laser eye surgery in 2007 even though I was afraid I'd be blinded, and I am sooo glad I did it.
  80. Sometimes I can't believe I have a 2 year old because I still feel like a kid myself.
  81. I was mad when I found out Britney Spears was pregnant because I was going through infertility.
  82. I am currently listening to an audiobook of "The Sociopath Next Door". Creepy, huh?
  83. I probably don't force fruits and vegetables on my kid enough.
  84. Sarah McLachlan is my favorite singer.
  85. I used to be creeped out by pet rats, but now I kind of like them.
  86. I will let Sam have almost any pet when he gets older, but not bugs, spiders, or cockroaches. Snakes are ok though.
  87. I am really hungry right now because I haven't really eaten anything substantial since 10 AM, I was waiting for my husband to get home but he's still there because they ran into some snags, and I wish that someone would just drop off a big pizza and a coke Slurpee for me.
  88. I am currently helping plan my 10 year high school reunion.
  89. One day, I want a house with a jacuzzi tub, built in bookshelves, and an island in the kitchen.
  90. I wish more people read my blog (yeah, I'm working on it...).
  91. I have seen The Barenaked Ladies in concert five times.
  92. I went to Hawaii for my honeymoon, and the entire airfare and hotel was paid with hotel points that my husband earned while travelling for work.
  93. I want to own a horse someday, and I love riding horses.
  94. I want the next new car we buy to be an electric car. Zenn maybe?
  95. I have never been skinnydipping.
  96. I love having a tan.
  97. My husband and I often don't touch at all when we're sleeping because our temperatures run so differently we can't deal.
  98. I love going to the zoo.
  99. My favorite ice cream flavor is Cinnamon Buns from Ben & Jerry's, or for 'regular' flavors it's Cookies & Cream.
  100. Pepsi over Coke.
  101. I can't believe I seriously just thought of 100 things about myself.
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May 26, 2008

Defining Motherhood

Yesterday I rode the Toddler Roller Coaster, bigtime. I don't know if it was because Sam hasn't been sleeping that well, if it was because daddy had been out of town for several days, or if he is just the stubbornest kid ever, but he had the worst meltdown I've seen in his two years.


The day was going well. We got up and got ready, hung around the house for a little while, but I decided that we should go out and enjoy the sunshine. I decided we should go to a local lake and walk around the path. It's shady, so not too hot, and short enough that Sam could walk around in and be okay. On the way there I stopped and got Sam some chicken nuggets and fries. Side note: I am impressed with the fact that the kids meal at Arby's comes with a BOOK! Awesome.


We drove to the lake and got out of the car. We were happy. I tried to get Sam to eat at a picnic table, but he didn't want to so I decided I would just carry the lunch while we walked until he was ready to snack on it. We got about 10 feet down the path before my delusion of having a nice afternoon at the park began to shatter.


We came to an area that had a bench, and in front of the bench the trees opened up to the water. Not a beach, mind you, just a little kind of swampy area. There was a young couple playing with their dog and puppy in the water. That's when Sam decided that the only thing he wanted in the whole world was to go into that water. Unfortunately for him, I did not want that. I didn't have a change of clothes for him, didn't have a towel, didn't want him to get all dirty. He tried to go around me. He tried to crawl down the large step down to the sandy/muddy area. He whined. At first it was like a game. I said No. I said No. I said No. Do you see a pattern developing here? Finally I took him and sat him on the bench. I told him that he was not going to go down there and that we could go for a walk or play elsewhere. He cried and fought against me. I kept pulling him back.


At some point it became a different kind of battle. Even if it would have been easier to back down, I COULDN'T, because now I was at the point of no return in standing my ground. Guess what, Sam? I DO have the ability to be more stubborn that you, and I can physically remove you from a situation. I had to carry Sam back to the car, kicking and SCREAMING. People were staring at me. It sucked. I somehow managed to strap the wailing, flailing two year old into his car seat. I shut the door and stood outside the car, trying to breathe deeply and catch my breath, but I couldn't stop the tears.


Maybe it was being with Sam almost 24 hours a day (including nights since he was sleeping like crap). Maybe it was sleeping on the couch and my back aching from the night before because he woke up at 3 AM and the only thing that would calm him down was Blue's Clues. Maybe it was a culmination of stresses in my life, thinking about his possible speech delay, and wondering why he NEVER, EVER listens to me. We left the park, Sam in the backseat wailing, me in the front seat sobbing.


It was awful. I felt defeated. I wished that I wasn't alone and could just have a few minutes to myself, but there was no one else. I wished that husband was there to help me.


After a few minutes, we both got our shit together and stopped crying. I decided to try again - partly because I REALLY needed for Sam to run around somewhere so he would take a nap in the afternoon. We went to a fenced in little toddler park near our house. It was sunny and we were the only ones there. Sam had a great time. He played in the rocks, he climbed up and down the little stairs on the playground, he went in the swing and laughted. He ate some of his lunch and drank water out of a Dasani bottle. Later, we went into the grass. I lay down and we played and rolled around and he smiled, and laughed, and I laughed. We both felt like this:

This is my definition of motherhood. This day. The hardest times of your life, followed immediately by so much happiness and pride and love that your heart feels like it's going to burst. And I wouldn't trade it for a billion dollars.

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May 25, 2008

Mother's Day

Yes, I know it's two weeks late, but I'm inspired. Alternate title: Pride, it's not just for parents.

Reasons Why I Am Proud of My Mom


My Mom had me when she was 21 years old. That's us in the picture. I am the baby with the weird long head, and that's my Mom holding me. Look how young she looks. I was 25 when I had my son, and still not prepared in some ways!



My Mom had the strength to leave my Dad, who was not right for her, when she was only 26. We lived in an apartment in the college housing at Michigan State University. We had a cat named Butterscotch, who we had to hide in the bedroom when the plumber came because we weren't supposed to have pets. She worked hard to finish school, even though it meant being on welfare - she knew that it was the right thing to do because it would let her provide a better life for us later.


My Mom made sure that we always got to see my Dad. They had a good relationship - we never knew if there was any tension, just that both of our parents loved us and made sure we were taken care of.



My Mom was a Girl Scout leader, drove us to ice skating, gymnastics, acting, piano, dance and who knows what other lessons throughout our childhood. She gave us great Birthday parties and Christmases. She was a mother figure to friends who didn't have as good of situations at home as we did. She taught me to drive even though I know it scared the crap out of her. She was a cool mom, but with boundaries.


My Mom has spent most of her career taking care of people who weren't taken care of well enough by the people they depended on most, or people who didn't necessarily have the means to succeed on their own. When she wanted to change her path, she went back to school and did it. She taught me that I could do what I wanted to do. She has worked for Head Start, helping kids from low income and otherwise not perfect circumstances. She has worked in special ed with disabled middle schoolers. She currently works in high school special ed with kids who are in trouble. Some of these kids don't have any adults in their life that they can depend on. They can be disrespectful , rude, and a little crazy. But she teaches them. She is one person they can depend on. I wouldn't have the strength.


When I was pregnant, I realized that it wasn't in my heart to go back to work when I had the baby. My Mom told me that if it was that important to me, I could find away. It was the best advice I could have gotten. We did figure it out, and I'm still home being a Mom almost full time to my little boy! She was there when I gave birth, and she stayed with us for a week after he was born to help out. Now she watches Sam twice a week so I can do some work from home instead of getting a job that takes me away from him for more hours every week.


My Mom is an advisor for the Gay Straight Alliance at the high school where she works. Last Friday, they won an award for being the most inspirational GSA in Washington State this year.



My Mom has managed to put the past behind her, to work through some really crappy stuff from her childhood and two divorces. She finally stopped depending on other people to define how she behaved, she found herself, and now, at 48, she has found a man who thinks as much of her as she deserves. He loves her, he treats her well, he is smart, he wants to be a part of her family. This summer, she's getting married for the third time, and I can't wait to be there.


My Mom sings beautifully and is in a choir. When I saw her do her first solo she was so good, my eyes welled up with tears of pride.



My Mom taught me how to be kind, how to be respectful and treat other people. She taught me to believe in myself, and I hope that I can do that for my child(ren).

Mother's Day 2008

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What I'll be doing this summer














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May 22, 2008

Advice on Resumes and Cover Letters

I am currently screening resumes for SIX open positions at work. This means screening several hundred resumes per week. Here is some advice for you...

- Make sure your cover letter is made out to the CORRECT company for the CORRECT position. If you've sent me a cover letter for a part time position at a toy manufacturer, you are automatically out.


- Read the job requirements. If you don't have a degree, and the job requires one, you've just wasted your time sending your resume in.


- If your e-mail address is something like 'sexygrrrl04@whatever.com' or 'iamsoawesome@something.com', perhaps consider setting up a new account - like maybe 'firstname.lastname@gmail.com'. Much more professional.

- Don't save your three page resumes with each page in a different file (ie name a, name aa and name aaa). Why would you even do that?

- For God's sake, use spell checker and READ IT OVER before you send it.

- I don't need to know about your favorite movies, favorite tv shows, favorite books, favorite sports teams etc. Not interested...

Just saying...
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Ugly Betty

Seriously? I knew they weren't going to tell us what she picked, but still. ARGH!
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May 21, 2008

TV Thoughts Tonight

You know what I like? The Saturday Night Live skits with the gum-chewing A-Holes. It cracks me up.

The season finale of Desperate Housewives was good. So was Supernatural.

CSI was kind of depressing. So was House. Bones was good, but also sort of depressing.
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Not Feeling Funny

I want to write something light and funny, but I'm just not in the mood. I have so much going on in my life right now. For the past several months I've been holding everything in, not thinking about it and trying to go about my business. I've been doing a pretty good job of it. At first I was feeling better than ever. But every once in a while I have a day or two where that exterior cracks, and I break down a little bit when I feel the stress and weight of everything coming down on me. Today is definitely one of those days. When I think of all the things going on in my life, it's just the way it is. I deal with it because I have to. But when I list them all out and try to look at it objectively, I can say that this is probably one of the most difficult times I've ever gone through. Luckily, I have a good support system, but that doesn't mean that my eyes aren't dry from crying today.

Some of the things going on are money related. My husband's new job pays 40% of his old job, which is not cutting the mustard. I don't want to get a full time job because I don't want to put Sam in day care 8 hours a day and spend only 3 hours a night with him before his bedtime. We have a mountain of debt that we can't afford to pay, a car with a least we can't pay off, medical bills we can't pay. Yesterday Justin brought up the B word - bankruptcy. Obviously we haven't really looked into it yet, but the fact that we'd even be researching it at 28 years old scares the fuck out of me.

My Dad and Stepmom are getting divorced. There is a lot around that, and a lot of feelings. They just told my 9 year old sister the other day, which is what has me in tears today. Somehow the idea of her having to go through it and my stepmom having to try and explain things to her is breaking my heart a little bit.

My father-in-law has Parkinson's Disease. We were planning on moving in with him to help out with the house/property and help him. But everything is delayed. He's not making any decisions, the addition we were hoping would be done in less than a year hasn't even been started yet. Our future is up in the air since our plan was to move in with him and now it feels like he hasn't truly made a decision yet.

My husband has been fairly sick for a while and a month ago got diagnosed with Celiac's Disease. We're dealing with it, he's on a gluten-free diet, but the road to recovery is long and full of mistakes and stomach aches.

We are still trying to have another child, but the diagnosis has delayed it, along with Justin getting an ear infection and a bad cough. Hopefully next month we'll be back at the doctor, but that's another thing that costs money.

One of the biggest things that I'm having to get used to right now is Sam's development. We've been a little bit worried for a couple of months about his lack of speech. He babbles, sometimes he blurts out a word once, but then doesn't use it again. Our doctor's office sends out the Ages & Stages Questionaire before each appointment. We filled out the 24 month survey and it revealed possibly developmental delays in speech, fine motor skills, and relating on a personal level. They referred us to St. Joseph Hopsital for a full evaluation. It's not the end of the world by any means. It's something we can work on since it's early. But it's not going to be easy. My Mom was in Early Childhood Education for a long time and is now in Special Education. She has friends at work who know about this kind of thing. We're going to have to start being more firm in making Sam ask for things, through words or at least through signing. Today I watched my Mom tell Sam that he could have another cracker if he signed 'more'. I know he knows how to do it, because he makes that hand motion for Itsy Bitsy Spider, and a while back that was the one sign we managed to teach him. He wouldn't do it. He whined and cried. He didn't get a cracker. I just got a glimpse of how hard it is going to be to really stick to it, especially when I'm the one who will be with him most of the time trying to teach him. We don't have a formal diagnosis of delay or anything yet, but I'm expecting it. It's frustrating, I know he is so smart, understands so much. But now it's frustrating because he can't tell us what he wants/needs, but knows what it is.

Other than that, Sam is great. Today he practiced with a spoon and was able to actually scoop onto the spoon. Now if we can just work on getting the food to his mouth without dumping the spoon, we'll be set! He also walked down a set of 5 normal sized stairs today without holding on to a hand, railing, anything! I was quite impressed. He makes an elephant noise and a train noise (complete with pulling hand motion). He can identify a cat, a dog, and an elephant in pictures. He's up to 26 lb 6 oz, and up to the 25th percentile for weight (he was 10th at 18 mo). He's 36 inches tall, and in the 80th percentile there. He had to get blood drawn at his doctor appointment, which was just awful. I think the holding him down part was much worse to him than the actual needle stick.

I try to keep my mind on the good stuff, the things Sam does. Revelling in him splashing through a mud puddle, feeding himself macaroni and cheese, watching him climb into the car by himself, watching him push his trains on the track all around the train table in his room, the way he walks to the kitchen and goes to the cabinet or refridgerator when we ask if he's hungry. The way he cuddles with me in the morning when it's just a little too early for me to wake up fully and I let him watch a cartoon. The way I love him... although if I think about the depth of that, it's almost just as likely to make me cry as the stressful stuff.

Justin's away on a business trip right now in Hollywood. I'm hoping tomorrow will be a better day and I'll make it to Monday night when he gets back without too much trouble.
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May 20, 2008

Weddings are FUN!

Today I went wedding dress shopping with Sati, one of my best friends. I helped her in and out of the gowns and we fitured out what kind of style she's looking for. I helped her dive in from the bottom to lacy dresses and pouffy ones, heavy ones and flowy ones. She was gorgeous. I cried a little when I saw her in this one:
While we were in the dressing room pulling and hooking and zippering, she asked me to be her personal attendant. I'm not a bridesmaid because she's just having her 2 sisters - a small ceremony. I said of course I would, and I can't wait. I'm so happy for her, so happy to help, and I am pretty sure I'm going to bawl when the day comes. They have a tentative date now - August 31, and I'm so excited.
We're going shopping again this weekend, to the outlet of a bridal shop here in town, and hopefully popping down to David's Bridal as well. I can't wait.
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May 19, 2008

Sick Again

I started coming down with something yesterday and I pretty much feel like crap today. It's weird and doesn't connect in my mind to cold or flu, maybe some kind of virus? I am super-tired, not much of an appetite, sore/tickly throat, swolen neck glands, lightheaded and achy. Orange juice and carbonated beverages hurt my throat. Isn't it awesome how I always get sick right before Justin is about to go out of town? He's leaving on Wed morning until next Mon night, so I'll be on my own with Sam. It is just so much harder when I'm feeling this tired/crappy.
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May 18, 2008

Dance to Bill-O

I haven't posted much about politics here lately, or news. I will say that when we had cable, the only news show we watched was "Countdown" with Keith Olbermann. We love him. If you share our love, you know that Keith has a little bit of a beef with Bill O'Reilly. Frankly I agree, and imagine if I had to meet Bill-O I might throw up in my mouth a little. I'm sure that if you are a Keith fan, you may have seen the video of Bill back when he hosted Inside Edition freaking out because he doesn't know what "play us out" means. Well, this is even better. Thanks to Todd at Iced Tea & Sarcasm, and in his words:

"This was too good to pass up. Enjoy but not at work. Bill curses like a sailor!"


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May 17, 2008

Personal History

I just took Personal History by Katherine Graham off my "Books I'm going to read this year" list. Here's the thing. I'm in this book club. Normally, even if I don't enjoy the book that much, I can push through and finish it and be part of the discussion. I was a little bit daunted when I saw the SIZE of the book (688 pages) for May, Personal History. But I was determined to try. I started reading it almost two months early. It was slow going - it was dry and detailed and the print is quite small. I made it to page 100, I was on track, and it seemed like an acheivement in it's own right. Guess what? That's as far as I got. I found this book so uncompelling that I could not justify spending hours and hours reading almost 600 more pages of something that was so uninteresting to me. I expected a story about a woman who made some sort of triumph in life, that would be a strong woman roll model. Instead what I found was the story of someone born into a wealthy family who may not have seen as much of her parents as she'd like, but had every opportunity given to her. She got older, went to college (which I'm sure was all paid for), and then she got a job at the newspaper her father owned. I just don't find that compelling. Name dropping and politics abound. She describes dinner parties and the outfits of the people at her father's Washington events in excrutiating, dry detail, but when it comes to her own miscarriage and then a later still birth of her baby it warrants a few sentances (according to my friend, who managed to get 170 pages in). I suppose it might be interesting to read of her husband's mental illness and subsequent suicide, but I imagine that the way she describes it leaves something to be desired. I do appreciate the historical value of her story, the inside view she has on many political histories and events. Perhaps if I was a history buff or read the Washington Post a lot I might have been more interested. I just can't get into any book, fiction or non, where I'm able to get 1/7 of the way through it and not feel any connection or investment in any of the characters. So, I guess come this Sunday I'll be explaining all of this to my book club friends (I'm interested to see if anyone finished it), and moving on to Letters from the Earth by Mark Twain, which is much smaller and promises to be quite a bit more interesting.
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Hey, nature...

There is this thing I really like. It's called SPRING. It comes in between winter and summer. It's a pleasant time of year where the unrelenting rains of the Washington winter fade into some sunny days, some breezy, pleasant days. The trees and flowers start to bloom, and the birds come out. Sometimes it's in the 60's and maybe the low to mid 70s. Do you know what I don't appreciate? SKIPPING SPRING! What is the deal? It was snowing practically into May and then suddenly we have a severe weather warning because it's going to be in the HIGH 80s today. TOO HOT! TOO SUDDEN! I don't like it. Also because I realized our new house doesn't have great circulation. Oh well, at least we have screen doors and can open the front door and bring a fan in to circulate the air a little, and two ceiling fans. If it's getting up to 87 or 88 degrees and it's not even June yet, I'm scared of what it's going to be like this summer. I would prefer it be about 77 degrees every day with a light breeze. That would be nice. Oh well.
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May 14, 2008

The Time Traveler's Wife

I finally finished "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Nifenegger. If you haven't read this, you should go out and buy it. I only got about 1/10 of the way into it before I knew that it would be one of the best books I've read, and a new favorite. It is a poingaint love story, with a longing spoken of that is as old as time, yet told in a completely new way. Henry is a time traveller. But unlike other science fiction stories, he is neither in control of his time travel, nor does he choose to make his frequent trips to the fast and future. Clare, his future wife, first meets Henry when she is six. Henry first meets Clare when he is 28. Amazingly told, heartwrenching and beautiful, the book brought me to tears several times. The story is told both from Henry's point of view and from Clare's, and the love they share transcends space and time. I can't wait to see her next novel, whenever it may come.

PS My husband just cracked up at the name W.W. Wordsworth, which I thought was pretty funny.
[Continue reading...]

Fall Up Fronts are OUT!

Yes, I am an insane person. I love to go and read the news at TV.com, and all of the networks have been making announcements about lineups and cancellations and what is going to happen in the fall. And being the TV freak that I am, I am already looking, compiling, thinking...

Rachael's Renewed Shows (Happy!)

  • 24
  • 30 Rock
  • America's Next Top Model
  • American Dad
  • Bones
  • Boston Legal
  • Breaking Bad
  • Chuck
  • Cold Case (Mostly Justin likes this one)
  • Criminal Minds
  • CSI
  • CSI: NY
  • Desperate Housewives
  • Dirty Sexy Money
  • Eli Stone
  • ER
  • Family Guy
  • Ghost Hunters
  • The Ghost Whisperer
  • Grey's Anatomy
  • Heroes
  • House
  • King of the Hill
  • Law & Order
  • Law & Order: SVU
  • Medium
  • My Name is Earl
  • Numbers
  • The Office
  • Private Practice
  • Pushing Daisies
  • Reaper
  • Samantha Who?
  • The Simpsons
  • Supernatural
  • Ugly Betty
  • Without a Trace (Another Justin show)

Rachael's Cancelled Shows (Sad...)

  • Aliens in America
  • Big Shots (Okay, I'm not that sad about this one, but it was kinda amusing)
  • Bionic Woman
    Battlestar Galactica (Sad even though we knew it was the end)
  • Jericho
    Journeyman
  • Moonlight (Argh... why do all the good Vampire shows get cancelled??)
  • Shark

Just for fun... other shows I like that I don't know when they'll be back (cable):

  • Nip/Tuck
  • Psych
  • Monk
  • Top Chef
  • Project Runway
  • Eureka
  • Shear Genius
  • Ghost Hunters International

Yes... I AM obsessed and watch way too much TV.... what of it? There are some new shows coming out that sound sort of interesting (definitely watching Dollhouse (Joss Whedon-Fox) and Fringe (JJ Abrams)). WOO!

[Continue reading...]

My "Office"

I work part time as an HR Administrator for a company whose office is about 1.5 hours from where I live. I work a lot when Sam naps, or after he goes to bed. Once a week, I work in the office, and twice a week I have "Home Office Hours" - two hour blocks which I set aside to be online for work and available to anyone who needs me (usually no one). I get to get out of the house and try to concentrate. Normally, I head over to my favorite LOCAL coffee shop. Today I came to Giant-Ass Coffee Chain because I had to make a phone call, and I feel weird at my favorite local coffee shop talking on a cell phone because I don't want to annoy people, because the people there are actually nice.

Things I have realized I hate about working at Giant-Ass Coffee Chain:

1. There are NEVER enough freaking outlets. I realize that it's not a computer store, but they have the T-Mobile hotspot in every location I go to, but only maybe two available outlets? WTH? Local coffee shop has like 5 outlets with two spots each which are easily accessible and SHARABLE by more than one customer.

2. Giant-Ass Coffee Chain is expensive and their coffee actually doesn't taste that good... Good think I like barely-coffee blended chocolatey type beverages.

3. Giant-Ass Coffee Chain always has too many huge windows, and I have to bob my head around like a chicken trying to see my screen.

4. Local coffee shop has FREE Wi-Fi. Giant-Ass Coffee Chain has T-Mobile hotspot, which I couldn't get to log me in today (perhaps we forgot to change the direct debit to our new bank account), so I had to pay $10 to log in for 24 flippin' hours because I did not have time to get back in my car and drive somewhere else, or be on the phone for a million hours trying to troubleshoot it.

5. Giant-Ass Coffee Chain is... well, a Giant-Ass Coffee Chain. People don't talk to each other unless they already know each other. I like Local coffee shop where people talk about comic book movies and Firefly and art and how they roast their own coffee right down the block.

I am going to go escape from Giant-Ass Coffee Chain now because I have a meeting tonight regarding planning for my 10 year HS Reunion (ARGH!) and must make myself presentable.
[Continue reading...]

May 13, 2008

New Look & Thoughts on Blogging

So, today I decided that I really wanted a three column template for my blog, and was disappointed to find that I could not manipulate my normal blogger template to do what I wanted... grr... Anyhow, I managed to look through the blogger help topics and find myself a website with a template for me. I like the new look and feel a little more organized, although it always bothers me that most of the templates don't take up the whole window when it's maximized. Oh well! I hope anyone out there reading finds it easier to navigate. I also went through and added labels to all of my entries.

I've been reading a bit about blogging on the internet, it all started with the Five Essential Pieces of Advice for the New Blogger over at Seattle Mom Blogs. Then I start to wonder, should I be changing everyone's names? Is it bad that a picture might link over to my flickr site? Should I not ever talk about where I work or the town I live in? Is it really that bad to use a blogger template and reveal my age? Obviously I'm no big time blogger. I don't know if anyone even actually reads my blog other than my actual friends and family who already know me! Anyhow, it's just all so crazy. I don't think I'll change anything right now, but the longer I go using proper names etc., the harder it will be to change it if I ever decide I want to. Who knows? Of course I'd like it if people read my blog, but I don't see myself as being as interesting, witty, or funny as the other Moms I read online. And it's in no way something I'm trying to advertise or make money off of or anything like that. I just need to write! Anyway, I will stop my random blogging thoughts for the day there.
[Continue reading...]

May 12, 2008

Merging Blogs

For the past couple of months since I started posting again here at SNOTW, I have also been blogging at my other blog (Adventures of the Heiner Family). I originally decided to start posting here because I was looking for an outlet to be JUST ME, not a Mom or a wife necessarily - to talk about issues that are important to me, be creative, talk about the books and movies I've loved recently etc., and not focus on other people for a few minutes a day. In the past few months though, I have come to realize it's all intertwined. I'm not keeping up on my AHF entries as much - partly because Sam is two now, and I'm busy actually doing things instead of writing about what he ate that day etc. like I was when he was small. I've also realized that it's almost impossible to be able to blog about my life, my days, my likes and dislikes honestly without talking about my child, my husband, and my family. Everything is intertwined and it's all a part of who I am. So, I have decided that I am going to post almost exclusively here on SNOTW from now on. I'm going to start using labels, so if people want to only find the posts about Sam, they can do that. So, no more seperation - this is me in all my tarnished glory. :-)
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Merging Blogs

I have decided that I'm going to merge my blogs - Adventures of the Heiner Family and Scientific Nature of the Whammy. I originally started SNOTW as a place to post about things that were more about me, and not my family or my child. I was reaching out for a place to be just me, and not a Mom all the time. But in the past couple of months I've found that I am both, and it's almost impossible to post there without ever talking about my family or my little boy. So, I've decided that I'm going to do it all in one place. For those of you who have only been checking in for family updates, they'll still be there, but you'll have to read them amongst other random blogs about whatever I may have been thinking about that day. You have most definitely noticed that I have not been posting here as much as Sam's gotten older. I'm busier now, taking him places, doing things with him, and living life. I will most likely not post here any more, although I will keep all of my entries up. I might post once in a while with little updates, but for the quirky stories about things Sam did that day, or for information on his development etc, you can come visit us at my other blog:

Scientific Nature of the Whammy
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May 10, 2008

3 miles is far...

Things I learned today:

1. 3 miles is a lot further than I thought. Perhaps it was the hilly ups and downs, most of which were made pushing a 26 pound toddler in a stroller. Perhaps it was that the first .5 miles was spent going 'toddler pace' ie stop and backtrack then go again then stop and play with a rock every five minutes.

2. Why I think it is so hilarious when Sam picks up food off the freshly vacuumed floor of my living room and someone tries to stop him - today I saw Sam try to eat several sticks, multiple rocks, a couple pinecones, and a handful of dirt and pine needles.

3. At two, Sam can still fall asleep in a stoller travelling up hills and down, over rocks and roots, and still be asleep.

4. Seeing a deer 5 feet away eating leaves off a tree branch, and Sam being completely quiet and pointing in wonder makes the whole world fade away into happiness.
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Mother's Day

On my first Mother's Day, Sam was less than 2 weeks old, and I was still in that exhausted new-mom place. It's hard to believe it's been two years, that I've been a mother for two years. In some ways it feels like forever, and in other ways it feels like it's flown by. I feel like I was always meant to be a mother. I love it, I love my boy and the time I've spent with him. This Mother's Day I'm escited to be watching Sam grow and learn. Today he and I went for a walk in the woods and we saw a deer. Sam had just woken up from napping in his stroller for about half an hour, and I bent down to whisper to him and point at the deer. He saw it. We looked at the deer, a mere 5 feet away chewing leaves off a branch near the path. Sam didn't make a sound. He just reached out his little hand and pointed. The deer moved, his hand relaxed, then pointed again. And in that moment, I was not thinking about how he hasn't been eating the past few days or how he's not talking yet. I also was not thinking about how I was on a 3 mile trail that I didn't know how far I was, or the hills I had in front of me to push the stroller up. It was a perfect moment, and I think it was my Mother's Day present from... somewhere.
[Continue reading...]

May 8, 2008

So many....

There are so many movies I'm looking forward to this year, and I didn't even know this one was coming out! Thanks Miss Zoot!

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The Swell Season, Iron Man, and Random TV Thoughts

The Swell Season: I went to an amazing concert last Wednesday and never got a chance to write about it. My friend Violet and I went to see The Swell Season at the Moore Theater in Seattle. We decided not to go for the opening act since Violet was leaving her 5 month old daughter at home for one of the only times ever. We somehow managed to arrive at the top of the five flights of stairs (not exaggerating) we had to climb to get to our seats RIGHT as Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova took the stage. Excellent. Despite the fact that we were about 3000 feet above the stage at the very top of the theater, it's not that big a venue and we could see okay. The only unfortunate thing was that there was a speaker hanging down so we couldn't see the person playing the piano (Marketa for the majority of the concert). They did a bunch of songs from 'Once' and others I hadn't heard. I always love it when musicians give stories behind their songs, and there was much of that, my favorite being a crazy story about a song inspired by two souls who had been burned at the stake for being retarded in the 1400s and wandered about in the dark until recently. 'Once' was my favorite movie of the year last year, and if you haven't seen it yet, you should go out and rent it right now. If you're not a movie fan, buy the soundtrack, you won't be disappointed.

Iron Man: AWESOME! I went and saw Ironman on Sunday with Violet and my cousin. It was SO GOOD. I loved it. I am a huge fan of comic book movies, and will even go so far as to see them even if I don't think they're going to be that good (coughghostridercough) just to support the genre. Then every once in a while one comes along that is so good it validates my supporting it. The last one I liked to this degree was 300, which I didn't even expect to like that much. And yes, I realize that is a graphic novel and I know the difference, but it's still the same genre in many ways. Robert Downey Jr. was so good as Tony Stark. Maybe it's because that's partly how he really is, I don't know. But he did a great job, and the graphics and everything were amazing. Also, Jeff Bridges is REALLY creepy with no hair. What's up with that? It was so good I want to see it again.

ER: Why was last week's episode of ER actually pretty good? I can't stop watching it even though it's been on the air for 57 years and the plots repeat. I just can't give up now, it's like when you're in a line and at some point you cross that threshold where you kind of want to give up and go home, but you've already invested so much time in the line you can't bear the thought of giving up your spot. I can't stop watching ER. I actually have really enjoyed the progression of the Morris character. I remember HATING him when he first arrived, which I guess you were supposed to, but now I just feel like I want to be his friend...

Grey's Anatomy: I thought last week's episode was really good, and it brought the tears (when DOESN'T it, really). There is always some random scene that affects me, and this time it was Miranda and Addisons conversation in the scrub room. I like Private Practice okay, but I think I'd be happier if Addison was just back on Grey's.

Battlestar Galactica: I haven't watched last week's episode yet because we had company in town. But I have REALLY been enjoying this season, and I'm fascinated by the whole Cylons vs. Cylons thing that is going on right now. I read today that Esai Morales, who recently starred in the second season of Jericho, will take the role of Joseph Adama on the new series Caprica. Interesting....

American Idol: All I want to say is that people made the right choice this week. Blech on you Jason. I hope Syesha wins.

Top Chef: I don't like Dale, and I hope he doesn't win. I do love Richard. He is awesome, and I thought he was so cute in the wedding episode, all happy to be at the wedding. He just seems like a nice guy, and that he knows what he's doing. I'm rooting for him.

ANTM: Goodbye Dominique! Thank goodness... As a heavy girl, I am of course rooting for Whitney. She's just so sassy and cute!

Okay, that's all for now. I'm tired and my eyeballs are about to fall out.
[Continue reading...]

May 4, 2008

It's funny because it's true

Check out this article over at College Humor that Justin found the other day. The Gilette 5 blade is my favorite... Seven Jokes that Came True
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May 2, 2008

TWO

Dear Sam,

Two years ago at this very moment I lay in the dark in an uncomfortable hospital bed with my brand new 8 hour old baby in the bassinet next to me. We didn't get much sleep that first night. I know now that even 8 hour old babies get hungry, and unfortunately I wasn't able to give you what you needed, although I wouldn't realize it until a couple of days later. You were perfect. Your hair was so blonde it was almost white, it reflected the light like silver. Your eyes were so dark that I couldn't really tell they were blue, although I knew they were. You were my world, wrapped up in a blanket like a burrito, and I finally knew what love at first sight felt like.

It's hard to believe that two whole years have passed since you were that tiny baby. You were so small that every single item of clothing was too big, that you could sleep on my chest with your feet ending barely past my belly button. You couldn't move, couldn't hold up your head, couldn't smile or play. I spent so much of my time then just looking at you, watching you awake and asleep and loving you. My first child, a son, named for an ancestor and a friend, the love of our lives in a warm, sweet smelling bundle.

When you were a baby, you hated taking baths. Now, you would stay in the bath for hours, splashing and playing until your fingers and toes turned into prunes and the water was ice cold. You love water, and I can't wait to take you to the beach this summer and watch you play in the waves. You are all little boy - I look at you now with your new haircut and your chin that's lost all it's baby fat, and your mouth full of little boy teeth, and wonder where the last two years have gone. You love cars and trains. You impress me every day. Where did you learn how to make elephant noises, how to say 'choo choo' and pull with your arm like you're pulling a whistle chain, to do the hand movements to 'Itsy Bitsy Spider'? How do these things happen so fast when I'm not looking?

Your favorite book is 'Go, Dog, Go' and I have passed another mommy milestone in having the entire book memorized. I could recite it to you no matter where we are if it will make you happy. You like books, and I'm glad for that. You point at the pictures and listen to the words I say. I think you're storing them all up. You don't really talk yet, although you've started saying 'drop' again lately and we've heard you slip up and let your words out a couple of times. I think that one day you're just going to start spouting sentences and surprise us all. I have my moments, the mommy fear kicks in. Sometimes when you're frustrated or upset you hit yourself in the head with your tiny fists. I try to tell myself it's normal, that it's just frustration about not being able to communicate, but baby, part of being a mommy is worrying about your little boy. I'll be happy when this time passes and I can look back and laugh at myself for worrying.

You are smart. You know your shapes, and can point out all of the characters from "Blue's Clues" and "Dora the Explorer". I know you watch too much, TV, but you do love "Bee Movie". The other night we went out for dinner and you ate your entire meal on the bench next to Justin because no high chairs were available. The entire meal. I couldn't believe how good you were, how it didn't seem to matter that you weren't in a high chair. You love slides, and you climb to the highest one every time, unafraid to sit down and push off and fly down the lenth of it. You will do it over and over. You like to swing, and are good at letting me know when you're ready to get down and start sliding again.

I love it that you are a cuddler. You understand when Daddy or I get hurt, and you give us kisses to make us feel better. Sometimes you kiss us for no reason at all. I love the way you cuddle up next to me in the early morning or right before bedtime, laying with your head next to mine, and pull my arm around you to hold you near. I can never have enough hugs from you.

We play in the back yard, and have been discovering all of the best playgrounds for toddlers around Bellingham. Tomorrow some of our closest friends and family will come to one of those parks to help us celebrate your second birthday. You are loved, little man, you are loved so much that I can't even believe it. Your Aunt Kira comes over to watch you every Monday, and when she leaves, you cry. I am always sad to see you cry, but it fills my heart with joy that you love her and know you're loved by her, and that you miss her when she leaves. Your Grandma Edie comes over on Tuesday and Thursdays, and you do the same. I love to watch you interact with your family. I am so excited for you to grow up surrounded by these people, in this wonderful place.

Your Grandma Helene and Aunt Lianna are here visiting, I'm happy they'll be here for your party, and you have been having a blast with them around. I wish we could see them more often, but I will make sure that you always get to see them and talk to them, even when the visits are a little further between.

Sam, you are amazing. The love I feel for you fills my heart, wells out my eyes, and runs down my cheeks. Sometimes I am overwhelmed just holding you in my lap with my arms around you, breathing into your hair and feeling the warmth of your skin. Two. I can't wait for the next one, and the next one... I want to hold you here with me forever, but also can't wait to see what you're going to do next.

Happy Birthday my not so baby little boy. I love you.

Mama
[Continue reading...]

TWO

Dear Sam,

Two years ago at this very moment I lay in the dark in an uncomfortable hospital bed with my brand new 8 hour old baby in the bassinet next to me. We didn't get much sleep that first night. I know now that even 8 hour old babies get hungry, and unfortunately I wasn't able to give you what you needed, although I wouldn't realize it until a couple of days later. You were perfect. Your hair was so blonde it was almost white, it reflected the light like silver. Your eyes were so dark that I couldn't really tell they were blue, although I knew they were. You were my world, wrapped up in a blanket like a burrito, and I finally knew what love at first sight felt like.

It's hard to believe that two whole years have passed since you were that tiny baby. You were so small that every single item of clothing was too big, that you could sleep on my chest with your feet ending barely past my belly button. You couldn't move, couldn't hold up your head, couldn't smile or play. I spent so much of my time then just looking at you, watching you awake and asleep and loving you. My first child, a son, named for an ancestor and a friend, the love of our lives in a warm, sweet smelling bundle.

When you were a baby, you hated taking baths. Now, you would stay in the bath for hours, splashing and playing until your fingers and toes turned into prunes and the water was ice cold. You love water, and I can't wait to take you to the beach this summer and watch you play in the waves. You are all little boy - I look at you now with your new haircut and your chin that's lost all it's baby fat, and your mouth full of little boy teeth, and wonder where the last two years have gone. You love cars and trains. You impress me every day. Where did you learn how to make elephant noises, how to say 'choo choo' and pull with your arm like you're pulling a whistle chain, to do the hand movements to 'Itsy Bitsy Spider'? How do these things happen so fast when I'm not looking?

Your favorite book is 'Go, Dog, Go' and I have passed another mommy milestone in having the entire book memorized. I could recite it to you no matter where we are if it will make you happy. You like books, and I'm glad for that. You point at the pictures and listen to the words I say. I think you're storing them all up. You don't really talk yet, although you've started saying 'drop' again lately and we've heard you slip up and let your words out a couple of times. I think that one day you're just going to start spouting sentences and surprise us all. I have my moments, the mommy fear kicks in. Sometimes when you're frustrated or upset you hit yourself in the head with your tiny fists. I try to tell myself it's normal, that it's just frustration about not being able to communicate, but baby, part of being a mommy is worrying about your little boy. I'll be happy when this time passes and I can look back and laugh at myself for worrying.

You are smart. You know your shapes, and can point out all of the characters from "Blue's Clues" and "Dora the Explorer". I know you watch too much, TV, but you do love "Bee Movie". The other night we went out for dinner and you ate your entire meal on the bench next to Justin because no high chairs were available. The entire meal. I couldn't believe how good you were, how it didn't seem to matter that you weren't in a high chair. You love slides, and you climb to the highest one every time, unafraid to sit down and push off and fly down the lenth of it. You will do it over and over. You like to swing, and are good at letting me know when you're ready to get down and start sliding again.

I love it that you are a cuddler. You understand when Daddy or I get hurt, and you give us kisses to make us feel better. Sometimes you kiss us for no reason at all. I love the way you cuddle up next to me in the early morning or right before bedtime, laying with your head next to mine, and pull my arm around you to hold you near. I can never have enough hugs from you.

We play in the back yard, and have been discovering all of the best playgrounds for toddlers around Bellingham. Tomorrow some of our closest friends and family will come to one of those parks to help us celebrate your second birthday. You are loved, little man, you are loved so much that I can't even believe it. Your Aunt Kira comes over to watch you every Monday, and when she leaves, you cry. I am always sad to see you cry, but it fills my heart with joy that you love her and know you're loved by her, and that you miss her when she leaves. Your Grandma Edie comes over on Tuesday and Thursdays, and you do the same. I love to watch you interact with your family. I am so excited for you to grow up surrounded by these people, in this wonderful place.

Your Grandma Helene and Aunt Lianna are here visiting, I'm happy they'll be here for your party, and you have been having a blast with them around. I wish we could see them more often, but I will make sure that you always get to see them and talk to them, even when the visits are a little further between.

Sam, you are amazing. The love I feel for you fills my heart, wells out my eyes, and runs down my cheeks. Sometimes I am overwhelmed just holding you in my lap with my arms around you, breathing into your hair and feeling the warmth of your skin. Two. I can't wait for the next one, and the next one... I want to hold you here with me forever, but also can't wait to see what you're going to do next.

Happy Birthday my not so baby little boy. I love you.

Mama
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"Friend" 5: A spattering of friends past and present

TGIF! Not that I always even know when it's Friday since I stay home with my son. I definitely look forward to the two WHOLE days I get to spend with Justin not working though! Today I want to remember and be thankful for friends of times past and present. I'll start with the oldest, and end with the most recent...



Kira - My sister, my friend. She has been with me since I can remember, arriving when I was only 2 years old. As children I tried to teach her everything I knew, then got jealous when she knew so much. She is one of the best people I know. She does things like watch my son for eight hours on Mondays to help out, and then while he's napping she cleans my house. She also does things like bake gluten-free brownies for my husband the day after he's diagnosed with Celiac Disease. She is creative, a perfectionist, an artist, an environmentalist. She is awesome.


Rachele - Rachele, oh Rachele. My best friend in 4th and 5th grade. We hated our 4th grade teacher together. Since we were both Rachael/ele D, he called us Da and Do (the first 2 letters of each of our last names). We HATED it. We bonded over Girl Scouts, painted posters of Sparty for the McCheeroff, chasing Jordan Rash around the playground and sleepover parties. At the end of 5th grade, I moved far away - Michigan to Washington. Rachele and I wrote letters. She came to visit once. Over the years our friendship waxed and waned, but through the glory of MySpace, we've been back in touch for several years. When we first got in touch after Rachele had her 2nd child, I found that she had chosen the same name for her that Justin and I had chosen were we to have a girl. How crazy is that? Rachele is an inspiration. She hasn't always had things easy, but she is a great mom to three gorgeous little kids. She blogs about overcoming sadness and the past, and has continued her education and gone from working at gas stations to a job and career in the medical field. I'm proud to call her my friend. Maybe not the closest, but as one of my oldest friends she'll always hold a special spot in my heart. YTFA Rachele!


H - An amazing friendship with a really, really weird end. When I was in 7th grade, I met H and we quickly became best friends. Our friendship was an amazing thing of creativity and fun. We had an incredibly involved life involving different lives and characters we imagined and playing their stories out. We both loved to sing, and were in the school play together that year. H's family had lived in Hong Kong for several years, and to me she seemed mature and worldly. She had a cute older brother and we had dozens and dozens of sleepovers at each other's houses. My friendship with H certainly affected my transition from 8th grade to being a freshman in high school. The summer after 8th grade, as we sat in her bedroom, H pulled out a picture of a baby. She handed it to me and said "What would you do if I told you this baby was mine"? I was speechless. At that exact moment, my parents arrived to pick me up and I heard the car horn honk from the driveway. I had to go. She told me that she'd had the baby over the summer, who the father was (an on-again off-again sort-of boyfriend/guy she liked who had moved to another city) and that the baby lived with him and his mother. Now, I am not sure whether I ever believed her or not. But it didn't make sense, I had been away from her for 6-8 weeks at most that summer, and it just didn't make sense. I came to the conclusion that it wasn't true, but somehow she kept up this charade all through high school. I would pass her in the lunchroom that year or the next and she would say something about the child while her friends sat by trying to supress smiles that laughed at me. Later, my sister became friends with H, at which point it was completely apparent that there had never been any baby. This was one of the WEIRDEST experiences of my entire life. I guess this was the only way she could think of to oust me, to tell me that she didn't want to be my friend anymore. It was completely bizarre. I still think about it and wonder what she was thinking, why she told me that. I have barely spoken to her since that summer, I would see her around in high school, but our friendship was over. I do know that if this hadn't happened, maybe I never would have made the other wonderfully close friends I made in ninth grade, so for that I'm thankful.


Thomas - Okay, I admit it. When I was in high school I spent A LOT of time on the internet. A lot. On AOL. Chatting with people. Mostly with people my age, some who I knew (my friend Sati) and some who I didn't. I met people from online. Sometimes I was smart, sometimes I was stupid. One person I met online was a boy named Thomas. Some people might say that this friendship couldn't have been as 'real' as real-world relationships. But I talked to T for an hour or more almost every night for over a year. We talked about everything. He was always there for me, he listened to my problems, helped me be calm, and offered practical advice and solutions. Despite the fact that he liked me as more than a friend, he managed to sit through, support me, and give me advice on several boys I dated. He made me feel better about myself, worth more, and valued as a friend. He was probably one of my first real friendships with a male. Most of all what I remember is being able to talk about more important things - familial relationship and religion. Thomas went to a Christian school, and had an amazing faith in God that I couldn't even imagine. As with my friend Violet, I never felt judged and he was open to ALL of my questions and ideas and wonderings about how there could be a God. I admired him for his faith. I felt jealous because I thought I would never know what that felt like. I eventually met Thomas in real life and we hung out a few times, but things tapered off and we lost touch. I've been thinking about him a lot in the past year. I thought of him when I found my faith, and especially when I was baptized. The idea of telling him about my experiences made me excited. Unfortunately I don't have his contact information. I'll always remember him and hopefully I'll somehow be able to find him and get back in touch with him.


J - I met J in middle school. At the time, I don't think we were really friends, although I do remember seeing him and spending some time with him and another friend on my 8th grade class trip to Washington D.C. We both took journalism in 9th grade and then spent some of our time in grades 10-12 working on the high school newspaper together. He was smart, witty, and funny - he made me laugh. Somewhere in there, I developed an enormous love for him. I know that some people will say it wasn't, that it was a silly crush, but I loved him, a part of me always will whether it was as a friend or more than that. Unrequited of course. As our high school graduation ceremony ended, I suddenly realized that I might never see him again. In fact, I probably wouldn't, and I wasn't being dramatic about it, it's just the way it is. I wrote him a letter. I told him how I felt and that I wondered why nothing had happened between us and admitted that although I felt embarrassed about this letter, I needed to write it and that if he didn't want to write back that was okay, but please not to show it to anyone else. Well, he did write back. That summer while I was visiting my Dad, I received a four page long handwritten letter from J. After I read through it, I cried. All my emotions and wondering from the past three years just got released, and I was free. He told me that I tended to have a negative slant to my stories, my life, the way I talked. That wasn't all of it, but part of it. Maybe that was the beginning of me looking at my behavior as an adult and how I framed things, and the first step onto a road of realizing how lucky I am, and how to be happy even when circumstances aren't want I first wanted. He ended the letter with "Now go and get yourself a Slurpee". Perfection - he really did know me. In a moment that could have been cruel, to a seventeen year old girl with less-than-great self image, he still supported me, and I'm grateful.


Sam - I met Sam in one of my classes while attending Whatcom Community College through the Running Start program. I was 16 years old, almost 17 and he was 16. He was cute, with his sandy light brown hair, roundish face, and excited eyes. He was incredibly smart. So smart that he had graduated high school at 16, and had published papers on paleontology at that age. We started e-mailing each other long e-mails, making study dates and talking the whole time. I broke up with my boyfriend and Sam told me he loved me and wanted to be with me. Over the next couple of months we dated on and off. When we broke up for the final time, I told him that I didn't like some of his behavior (he would drink sometimes), and that I thought he got too involved in relationships/feelings too fast, saying things like 'love at first sight'. I still wanted to be friends. Over the next month or two after that, I tried to be his friend. I would see him around and we'd chat, we'd e-mail. I was probably being manipulative. Despite the fact that I'd broken up with him, which was hard and felt horrible, I think a part of me wanted for him to still say he liked or loved me because it made me feel good. One day I got an e-mail from Sam that said, amongst other things, "you keep saying you want to be my friend, but you're not acting like it". He was right. Something just clicked, and I realized I wasn't being a good friend, I wasn't giving him the option of doing what he wanted when it came to communicating, I was... well, being a bitch. I drove all the way to the school on my day off and waited for him outside his class. I sat down with him on a bench, so nervous I was literally shaking, which I didn't notice until he pointed out that my hands were trembling. I told him I was sorry, that he was right. That I would leave it up to him if and when he wanted to be friends and talk again and he replied with "I'll get back to you on that". It was truly a moment that changed my life. I realized that I needed to be an honest person and that I needed to have a lot more respect for other people instead of just thinking about myself. To this day, the most important thing to me is respect. I try my hardest to treat other people respectfully, and I expect the same in return. He helped me to being becoming and adult. I didn't talk to Sam again for a year and a half. In August of 1999, I got an e-mail from him. I remember that he said "I said I'd get back to you, I didn't say when" and that I wrote back, so excited, I'd never liked how things had ended between us. We talked on the phone, caught up, he told me about his life and how he'd been living in Seattle and going to school at the University of Washington. He had a girlfriend who he loved. He was back in Bellingham for the summer, staying with his parents. We made plans to meet on Friday at Stuarts, my favorite Bellingham hangout of the time, to get coffee. He didn't show up. I was mad, of course. I didn't know where he'd been. I came home to an e-mail about how his car had broken down. When I talked to his Mom about it later, she told me how upset he'd been, pacing in the yard, unhappy that he couldn't make it to see me. The next Monday, I got some of the worst news of my life when I opened my e-mail. It was a note from my friend Xotchil. "Do you remember that smart kid Sam... he killed himself... my grandparents know his parents...". I was in shock. I don't think that Xotchil knew how close I'd been to him, or how he'd affected me. I made my way downstairs where my sister and Sati (who'd spent the night) were. I was crying. I told them about the e-mail. I drove my sister to school, then drove to Bellingham because I didn't know what else to do. I remember crying and repeating "No, no, no" out loud on the way there. I stopped at a phone booth and dialed his parents house. His grandmother answered. I didn't know what to say.... "I heard something... about Sam... that he killed himself". She confirmed that it was true, she was sweet and kind, I couldn't believe I was even having the conversation. I gave her my information and told her for his parents to please call me if there was anything I could do. I drove downtown and saw Xotchil, walked into her work crying and she came and had coffee with me. I know now that Sam's girlfriend broke up with him, I know that he got a gun, but they don't know how. I know that when he contacted me, he was tying up loose ends. I felt guilty because I volunteered for a teen crisis line and I should have seen it, done something. I know now that they think he may have had Asperger's. But he could have just been a mixed up 18 year old kid who never fit in with kids his own age or with the adults, and had an intelligence beyond his years. I know that his parents were having health issues and that it probably scared him. I will always wish there was something I could have done. I talked to his parents, and actually became friends with his mother. I think I may have been one of the only ones of his friends to offer to help and to talk with them and tell them about their son and how much he meant to me. Now we exchange e-mails sometimes, and Christmas Cards. I tell her about how my Sam is doing - my Sam that is named partially after her son. When I think of the name, I don't think of sadness. I just think of an amazing star that went out too soon.


Of course this just a snapshot of people who have meant more to me than I can really describe, and will always be a part of my heart. There are many, many more people out there who are currently part of my life, or who have been recently that I love and who have affected me in positive ways. But these are some of the important building blocks that have made me who I am right now, and despite any pain or sorrow I've had, I can't say how grateful I am for their presence in my life.

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I like my house

I like my house for many reasons. It's small, it's cozy, and it's simple. But one of the things I like most is that there is a big picture window in the front of our house that I can sit on the couch and look out. Right outside that window is a tree, which has just started to sprout little chartreuse leaves and delicate pink blossoms. I like this tree because it is a favorite landing place for many birds in the neighborhood. I've seen Robins land on it, and right now there are several little black birds with speckles munching on blossoms outside my window. I don't know what they are despite all of the time I just spent looking online while I should be working. I have also seen several Chickadees today. And my favorite bird, which I've been seeing every day for the past week or so, the Stellar's Jay. So pretty!

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May 1, 2008

Engaged!

I just talked to my friend Sati, and she got engaged tonight! I am SO EXCITED! I cried when she told me, I am unbelievably happy for her and can't wait to go through the planning and the future with her. She is amazing and I'm glad she found a man who adores her and treats her the way she deserves and loves her. I haven't gotten to know him very well yet, but I can tell that he's a great guy and that they fit well together. YAY!
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Friend 4: Justin

My Thursday friend is Justin. Justin is my husband, and one of my best friends.

We met when we were both 19. At that time, we were both working at the newly opened VoiceStream call center in Bellingham. I was in the escalation queue, which meant that when a customer asked for a supervisor, they'd be transferred to me first (yeah, when you ask for a supervisor you most likely aren't getting one the first time). After I got off the phone with the customer, I e-mailed Justin to let him know what I'd done to resolve the situation. And the rest, as they say, is history. Our first 'date' was shopping at the mall. Justin got being embarrassed out of the way early by breaking a martini glass candle at a department store. Our first official date was to the VoiceStream holiday party on December 4, 1999. I actually have a picture of our first date...


We moved in together early on - we were spending so much time together that it was pointless for us to both be paying rent when we were together all the time anyway. Justin moved in with me, and Sati, who I wrote about on Tuesday. Of course, as a 27 year old I can look back with 20/20 hindsight and see that THAT was sort of a dumb idea. Luckily, after a couple of months Sati found a new apartment and our friendship was preserved, and I am so, so glad.

Justin and I talked about getting married early - within a few months of meeting. We weren't talking about getting married right then, just 'someday', and we didn't tell anyone else, because we were 19 and they would have thought we were crazy. When we'd been dating for about a year, we moved to the Seattle area - Justin got a job at VoiceStream corporate and I went to finish my Bachelor's Degree at the University of Washington.

On October 27, 2001, Justin and I were on a vacation in Phoenix, AZ. We visited his Aunt & Uncle, who have a gorgeous home which they have opened up to us several times, and has been one of the most relaxing vacation spots I've known. We went to Sedona overnight, went to the Grand Canyon. It was a gorgeous day and we were walking around near a stream in Sedona when Justin got down on one knee and pulled out a gorgeous ring and asked me to be his wife.


We were married almost two years later in July of 2003.


I think one of the reasons our relationship has worked so well is because we are so close as friends. We've been through our parent's divorces, two years of trying to have a baby, and many moves. Justin stuck by me even when I didn't know how depression and anxiety were affecting my life and helped me to feel okay about myself when I finally got help and got on the wonderful thing I now refer to as 'happy pills'. He is an amazing man and a wonderful father.


I see myself growing old with him, sharing jokes and hugs, and fun, raising our children together and enjoying each other's company. I know I'm not doing Justin justice at all with this description. I don't know where I would be without him.
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Oh, wah.

I'm watching this week's episode of Top Chef right now, and the elimination challenge is to make a healthy meal for a family of four on a budget of $10. So all of them are whining and complaining about how hard it is. GIVE ME A BREAK! Do you think the average family in America has $10 a dinner to spend?? Holy cow. That would be a grocery bill of $280 a month just for dinner. Not including breakfast and lunch. That's a lot of money for the average family. They're not asking you to make lobster jackasses, make a meal that a kid wants to eat. Okay. I'm done now. Back to the show.
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Pieces of 8

I am thinking about lists. I am a list maker. I like to write all kinds of lists all the time. I love crossing things off my to-do list, and my to-do list gives me a sense of control over my life even though it's just an illusion. Since I started blogging about my friends, I've been thinking about other lists of things I really like. Here's some of what I came up with... And 8 is just a random number I picked because I had the train of thought... lists-numbers-how many?-pieces of 8. If you like Captain Bogg & Salty like I do, you might have that song stuck in your head now.

Favorite Books:
  1. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffeneger
  2. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
  3. A Widow for One Year by John Irving
  4. The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  5. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (yes I know a series is sort of cheating, but it's MY list!)
  6. The Homecoming Saga by Orson Scott Card
  7. Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
  8. Incarnations of Immortality series by Piers Anthony
Favorite Children's Books (Storybooks):
  1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi & Ron Barrett
  2. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson
  3. Alexander and the Magic Mouse by Martha Sanders and Philippe Fix
  4. The Cinder Eyed Cats by Eric Rohmann
  5. A Story for Bear by Dennis Haseley and Jim LaMarche
  6. The Rainbow Goblins by Ul De Rico
  7. Santa Mouse by Michael Brown
  8. Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola

Favorite Movies:

  1. Jurassic Park
  2. The Day After Tomorrow
  3. Once
  4. Sliding Doors
  5. Bride & Prejudice
  6. Dogma
  7. Sixteen Candles
  8. The Last Unicorn

Favorite Animals:

  1. Red Panda
  2. Pygmy Marmoset
  3. Wombat
  4. Narwhal
  5. Tiger
  6. Lemurs
  7. Tapirs
  8. Horses

Favorite Foods:

  1. Pizza - My VERY favorite is from Marrones in Ardmore, PA
  2. Cheesecake
  3. Garlic Cheese Bread
  4. Tacos - Homemade are my favorite
  5. Bacon
  6. Strawberries - Plain or shortcake
  7. Cheddar Cheese
  8. Caprese - Fresh Tomato, Basil & Mozza... mmmm.....

Favorite Songs:

  1. "Elsewhere" by Sarah McLachlan
  2. "Nightswimming" by REM
  3. "If You Want Me" by Marketa Irglova & Glen Hansard
  4. "I Will Lift My Eyes" (No particular artist)
  5. "Friends Don't Let Friends Dial Drunk" by Plain White T's
  6. "Under African Skies" by Paul Simon & Ladysmith Black Mambazo
  7. "I Don't Know How to Love Him" by Andrew Lloyd Webber (Jesus Christ Superstar)
  8. "Call & Answer" by the Barenaked Ladies
Favorite TV Shows (of all time):
  1. The X-Files
  2. Quantum Leap
  3. SportsNight
  4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  5. Firefly
  6. Grey's Anatomy
  7. Battlestar Galactica
  8. Lost
Favorite TV Shows (currently on):
  1. Lost
  2. Grey's Anatomy
  3. Supernatural
  4. 30 Rock
  5. The Office
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. Pushing Daisies
  8. House
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