Wednesday, November 6, 2013


The day after election day. Always a turbulent one, is it not? Either the things you voted for passed or they didn't. In my case, they didn't. Badly. My state voted against something that would have helped schools across the state have funding. Teachers would have been able to have raises and job security, and the schools could have hired more teachers. They could have had more money to spend per student. Apparently, though, if it involves a tax increase (which would have been a measly $75 for my family, per year, though it would have created a tiered tax structure) for anyone, people will vote no. I tend to put my kids first, and I'm tempted to just give the school the $75 my taxes would have increased. I know nothing is perfect but come on. At least I voted.

My parents have a dog (had?), a chocolate lab. Shen. He's nearly 15, and we got him as a tiny brown furball just after I turned 16. We went and said goodbye to him this weekend. Well, me, C, Dee, and a close friend  (who until recently dated my brother and loved the dog like her own) did. J stayed in the car because he didn't want to go inside. Shen hadn't been eating. His back legs don't work. He lay there, shaking, and his tail didn't even try to wag and I sat there furious that they were letting him suffer like that. I was powerless to help. I am not strong enough to perform cervical dislocation on a (once) 120 pound lab. I had no options. I wanted desperately to end his suffering but I could do nothing. Just like when my grandma died. She, at least, had the refuge of morphine. Saying goodbye was the same. Shen was gone, only his husk remains. When I said goodbye to my grandma she was no longer present in her body. I said goodbye to their empty, ancient meat. That was all. This, two days after some of our best friends had to put their own dog down after his 18 years with them. I hope they've put him down by now, or that he's died on his own, but I've heard nothing.

Dee may be night weaned but she sure as shit isn't sleeping through the night. I have been up with her for at least an hour (continuous or not) 5 out of the last 6 nights. She sometimes sleeps all night, but it's rare. I just want a full fucking night of sleep. Like 10-6. With no interruptions, and I want to sleep IN. I haven't slept in since Dee was a baby, C was hunting, and we all slept until 11 one morning. That was over 2 years ago.

It seems that the universe is telling me I have no control over things. Reminding me. Taking away my sturdy ground and making me feel powerless and angry. Frustrated and helpless to the edge of tears. I control what I can. I let the OCD slip in here and there aroundtheedgeswheremaybeit'snottakingoveryet. I load the dishwasher. I put the spoons/forks/knives in their slots where they go so they're sorted. I desperately try to keep tiny little places sorted and clean. Plates aligned just so in our crappy tiny 20-year-old dishwasher. I can't focus. I fight the irrational fury from escaping and causing my kids' sweet faces to crumple. All J wants to do is read a book with me. It's a long and sometimes aggravating process because he's just learning but he insists on reading Level 2 readers because those are the Spider-Man books we have and because "See Mama, I can do these, I just need a little help and ugh I can't remember this word...". Dee...she's two. She's mercurial and sassy and smart and there are times when I cannot stand to be near her because she makes me want to scream for no reason at all. When I snap at them I break inside, watching the light in their eyes and their lips start trembling. I'm a terrible mother sometimes. Then J says things like "Mama, you're not lazy. You do all kinds of wonderful things for us like make us costumes." And I want to retreat into a cave and cry because I don't deserve them.

I know I'm being stupid and irrational. I have taken my meds. I know. I have been playing far too much Spore because it's somewhere I have 100% control over the things that happen to my people. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Random Updates

Howdy, everyone... How's life?

Yeah, I've neglected the whole writing thing lately. Bad Tena, bad!


Dee is now totally night weaned (yay!!). This took telling her that we only nurse at bedtime and morning (which I count as 5am at the earliest) and that if she wakes up at night (which she does, usually once or twice at 1-2am) we will hug her and snuggle her and put her back in her bed.

I'm much happier and more sane off of Mirena, still. I've been charting CM, which seems to be working pretty well for us (also using VCF spermicide films, not just checking CM). I'm not a huge fan of the short LP I've been having (9 days? no thanks), but I started taking B6 a couple days ago. I'm currently on 10DPO but PMSing like crazy, so waiting for AF to show at any second. Bleh. Hopefully the B6 will help so I'm not like oh, hey, it's period time again. It helped in the past (between kiddos).

I haven't been running in ages, though my legs are all better. I was planning on going this week but between working on J's Halloween costume (a pteranodon) and someone having made off with my shoe inserts I don't see it happening. I really need to find those, I have no idea where they went. They were on my night stand one morning and that afternoon, poof! Vanished.

I think that's all for the moment. I'm going to take my wedding ring in to get resized and replated today. Whee! Do I know how to live or what?! It needs to be made bigger...turns out that yes, my finger got fatter over the last almost 10 years, and that gaining 20 pounds in that same time frame doesn't mean my fingers are still the same size that they were when I was 20/21.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

What has happened to childhood?

I'm the first to admit that when I was a kid, I was a girly-girl. I lived in dresses, always had to be the girl/mommy when we played house, and I absolutely LOVED my Barbies and My Little Ponies. You know, like these ones (also, I love, without that site I never would have been able to figure out all the names of my old ponies that my kids now have).

Even though I was such a girly girl, I still got to let out my tough side. I was a caveman (yep, caveman) for Halloween once. My sister was my pet monster. We were fierce and awesome and had our own radio show. I was Rose, and she was Frank (I have no idea why she chose Frank). We used to interview characters from Sesame Street, Tiger Sharks, and, occasionally, our little brother.

We were normal kids. We did insane things like wear 3 pairs of socks so we could "scrunch" them. We wore tee shirts that were way too big so we could tie them on one side without making them too small. We wore leggings. And I used to have a dress that was white with day-glo puffy paint fish on it. I loved that dress. 

I remember my first bikini. I was 13 (I think) and I wore it so happily. I sunbathed in it, and on our trip to Florida I wore it on the beach. It was basically a sports bra and it was covered in giant roses. My favorite one (at about age 16?) was a (still conservative) halter top that was bright blue and green. My brother once (accidentally) let a lizard jump down it while I was sunbathing. I did have one that was dark blue, and actually more string-like, which I had when I was 14, but I only wore it to the beach for that one trip because I wasn't comfortable with how much it didn't cover my boobs. Have I mentioned that I was a D cup before I had kids?

I think I got my first pair of grown-up shoes (heels) at about age 12 or 13, and I loved them. I loved the sound they made when I walked. I loved that I was suddenly a little taller than 5'2".

Now I have a daughter. She's getting to have opinions on things. She, at not-quite-2 1/2, absolutely LOVES My Little Pony. She has my old ones (all 4 that I still had; Butterscotch, Sundance, Bangles, Yo-Yo) as well as one inherited from her cousins (who also inherited it, somehow) named Wisteria. She has a whole bunch of non-MLP ponies that she loves, and she has one new MLP. Rainbow Dash, the one with sparkles in her hair. Because the other one comes with a purse, and not a trophy. WHY?! Rainbow Dash is not all about accessories!

Anyway. Dee's opinions also extend to clothing. Her favorite outfits are dresses, especially with either her light up shoes or her pink cowboy boots. She will also wear jeans and stuff, but she prefers dresses and skirts. Or nightgowns (which we've explained she doesn't get to wear when we leave the house). She loves necklaces and bracelets, and getting all dressed up with her baby dolls so she can climb into her spaceship (highchair) and go shopping for hats in space. She nurses her babies. If she sees her T-Rex costume from last year (still fits) she will BEG to wear it, because she wants to be a fierce dinosaur. Her favorite bath towel is a triceratops hooded towel (which is truly awesome). She and her brother play Lego (or Duplos) together. Sometimes she declares that she's a princess and cooks us food, but it's usually only a ruse so she can eat our faces. 

This ferocious, brave, sweet, sassy child is growing into a world where someone sells these boots for toddlers. I would wear them, but I would never let my young child wear them.


Girls are told (maybe not out loud but sure as hell by the toy section) that they are only good for being cute and sexy and sweet. You have to work to find a toy that isn't super-gendered if your daughter wants a Lego set. Duplos are pretty good, but what about when your daughter is older? Does she have to play with Lego Friends, where the figurines look like bizarre alien versions of regular Lego figurines, and they sit in hot tubs or on yachts? Why can't Wonder Woman or Batgirl or Storm or Hermione be part of the "girl" toy section? Or available with their OWN sets? Why can they only be found with the huge sets, while you can find Superman with his own smaller Lego set? And forget about race cars (like Hotwheels) that could be marketed to girls...

Why do Monster High and Bratz and Equestria Girls have to be what our daughters look at? I know I never wanted to look like Barbie, but my Barbie had clothes that actually covered her body rather than barely-thigh length skirts and knee-high stockings.
Why do these dolls have to be so skeletally thin? I know that most girls don't say "Oh, I want to be thin like my dolls" but they don't even look healthy... And WTF is up with their short little arms?! All I know is that I will NOT be buying Dee any of these dolls. If she gets one for a gift it will be going back to the store.

My daughter will not fall prey to the idea that she's only a pretty face, or only gets to do science that creates makeup just because she's a girl. She will be climbing rocks and mountains and exploring space and digging up dinosaurs and being her own person.  I will not buy her the clothing or shoes that scream "grow up and have sex already!" or "Look at me, I like to shop and manipulate my daddy. Tee hee". I will remind her how amazing she is, and how strong and beautiful and wonderful her body is and I will do my best to make sure she knows that she is worth more than the marketing world wants her to think. She's better than that.

That's it for now... I have a rant brewing about boy stereotypes too. In the meantime, if you think you'd like to know more about what we *as parents* can do to help combat this insanity for our children's sake, please visit and And make sure your child knows how very, very amazing he or she is, no matter what they toy aisle tries to tell them.

ETA: A Mighty Girl also has a parenting books section, including books on how to deal with the sexualization of childhood.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Review: "Oh Crap! Potty Training" By Jamie Glowacki

Oh Crap! Potty TrainingOh Crap! Potty Training by Jamie Glowacki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are so many things to say about this book. First of all, I wish I had read it when my son was potty training at age 3 (or, actually, before that, but whatever). He wasn't hard to train but because we waited so long it took forever (like months). With my daughter? She's 27 months old, and is completely, 100% day and night potty trained. It took less than a month.

Anyway, enough about my kids. Jamie lays out the facts for you. She goes in-depth into the basic blocks of readiness about going to the bathroom (from "clueless that it's happening" to "hm, something happened" to "uh, I did something" to "oh, hey, I need to pee/poop"). She addresses the steps to assessing your own child's "readiness" and how to go about it. While she does have some steps that I disagree with (like no underwear at all for a week or two) she encourages every parent to tweak her protocol to fit their child. She discourages rewards, but acknowledges that they are fine if you want to use them. There are chapters devoted to poop, to EC, to special circumstances. She even tells you how to defeat the dreaded bedtime "I have to pee six million times" stalling tactic (which frankly, I desperately needed!).

Every parent looking to potty train should read this book. It is a little hard to track down because you have to buy it through the author's website, but maybe if enough people buy it then it will become more readily available.


I did win this book though a giveaway on Erica's blog a while back. You should check her out, she is awesomesauce. 

Also, for more information about Ms. Glowacki's book, check out her website. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

First Day of School!

J started kindergarten yesterday. So far he absolutely loves it. He's made two friends in his class (and by friends, he means that he knows their names). Here's a picture of him (you only get the one, because the computer with our other pictures isn't working at the moment) waiting for the bell to ring, which was another whole new experience!
I know he looks terrified, but he was just feeling squinty. Also, I think his shirt was hungry.

The Finer Points of Pooping on Cows

J lost tooth #2 at his cousin's 4th birthday party on Saturday. There was a bouncy castle with a slide inside, and he somehow bit it (haha) on the way down and knocked out his tooth. He came running up to C and said "Daddy!! I went down the slide, and hit my face, and here's my tooth!" For the record, the tooth was already loose and nearly ready to fall out, so he wasn't actually hurt by the ordeal.

The tooth is in the baggie. I made him get out of the piƱata line to get his picture. I'm so mean. (He didn't lose his place, the other kids were nicer than I am.)

The bouncy castle was a big deal for Dee too. She had lots of fun, as long as nobody bigger than her was in there at the same time.

Now, I bet you want to know about the pooping on cows. I mean, surely, I would never have included it if I didn't mean for you to find out about it, right?

On the way home today, Dee informed us that she needed to poop. This is a big deal, as she is potty trained now and we weren't quite home yet. So I asked if she needed to go right now, and she said "No, I need to poop...on a cow."

"On a cow?" I was bemused.

"Yes, me need poop on a cow."

This inspired an entire discussion about the uh...technical details of pooping on cows. We asked what she thought would happen if she pooped on a cow. She mentioned the stinky part, and said it would stick to the cow. J chimed in, wiser older brother that he is, and pointed out that it would depend on what *kind* of poop was going to be landing on the cow as to whether or not it would stick. At this point I was laughing pretty hard. Then Dee said "Moo" and I laughed so hard I cried. It was one of those moments you never expect, and then BAM, you look like an insane person riding in a car while your children discuss the finer points of livestock defilement. 


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Rant on the American Diet vs Real Food and Why This Bugs Me

Whenever I go on Pinterest (which is very awesome if you have a particular project/goal in mind, and otherwise will just suck you into a vortex), I see lots of things about fitness and losing weight and losing fat and so on. (On a side note, LOVE YOUR BODY AS IT IS. It will make you a much happier person in the long run. Not to say you shouldn't try to be healthy, but love your body just the same.) On those same pages, I see recipes full of shit. Cupcakes with Twinkies on top. Things full of sugar and processed ingredients. Do people not see the connection?!

I recently read a book called Fat Chance by Dr. Robert Lustig. The book was amazing for many reasons, but it primarily dealt with why (globally) people are getting fat, and why the abdominal fat we have is so very bad. You can read my review here on Goodreads, but it isn't very long. Essentially, everyone is binging on fructose so they don't raise their blood sugar. Sounds good, right? NO. Because fructose (straight fructose like in fruit juice, HFCS and agave nectar, not when you get it from fruit directly) is metabolized by your liver as fat. Visceral fat. The fat that clings to your organs and sucks away your life. Exercise helps, but diet does too. And trying to get rid of cutaneous fat may be a laudable goal, but if you don't do a damn thing about your diet you aren't making yourself any healthier. So yes, you can be overweight/obese, have low visceral fat, and be healthier than someone with low cutaneous fat who eats crap all day and has hidden visceral fat choking their insides.

We have been trying to eat more "real" food; more fruit and veggies, fewer processed foods (not that we do a whole lot of that anyway). It's going slowly but we are doing pretty well. It helps that it's summer and the farmer's market is open, but even in winter we have so many options for real food, real fruit and vegetables, raw ingredients to make bread and "real" food. Yes, we use butter. Yes, we use lard. Yes, we buy real cream and real sugar. Want to know what we don't buy (or buy it less than twice a year)?

Fruit snacks. Soda. Processed cheese (Velveeta/American). Margarine. Junk cereal (Trix, Cocoa Puffs, etc). White bread. Packaged cookies. Chips. Macaroni and cheese.

This, unfortunately (or not) means that many coupons I could clip and use go unclipped simply because we don't buy or eat the foods they are for. Fine with me, I don't need to spend the money simply to save a few cents on crap.

However... of course there's a however. Things we *do* buy that aren't particularly good for us:

Fruit juice (one container per week or less). Danimals Smoothies (ugh, gross, but the kids LOVE them and only get one per day). Cereal. Goldfish crackers. Frozen pizza (working on eliminating this entirely, but usually this is a once a month to every-other-week thing).

My kids LOVE their veggies. And fruit (just ask Dee about her "sawbees" (strawberries)). J has been known to steal broccoli from other people's plates. Corn on the cob is a huge hit. Obviously that's just a summer thing, but other veggies can be found year-round at your local grocery store. For most of the country, that's an accessible thing! I know there are places where grocery stores don't exist (another rant for another day) but in the vast majority of this country that isn't an issue. The biggest problem comes from when people on a budget (hello, most Americans) are trying to do the grocery shopping for as little as they can. Unfortunately, produce is often overlooked in favor of cheaper fare (especially organic produce). Instead of rice and beans (which is nutritious, filling, and about as cheap as it gets), people frequently go for the junk food that they have coupons for, and grocery stores often put specials on those items as well. Why buy milk at $3 a gallon when you can buy four 2-liter bottles of soda for less than $3 after the sale and coupons? Why buy fresh apples at $1.69 a pound when you can a gallon of apple juice (store brand, on sale) for $2 or less, or BOGO fruit snacks? Just try reading the labels - if you are buying the budget brand (at King Soopers/Kroger it's "Great Value" and is even cheaper than the Kroger brand) because you can't afford not to, you are unfortunately paying for extra fillers and fewer real nutrients.

We are very fortunate to finally be in a place (financially) where we can afford to shop at the farmers' market all summer for our produce. Even when we can't make it there, we go to Sprouts and spend at least half of our grocery budget on produce every week. It's a work in progress, and it's a struggle sometimes to make sure we eat all of our veggies (or fruit) each day, but I try to keep in mind that it's better for me and my family if we can live healthy lives by eating healthy foods. I do supplement a tiny bit of produce from my container garden, but that's miniscule compared to the amount of food a family of 4 needs. (Oh to have a yard and a real garden!)

I don't really have a solid plan for how to fix this broken system. I could really spend hours writing more and more about these issues, but for now I must stop. In the meantime, I will do what I can - educate my children, feed my children and my family the best that we can (and it's true, kids will eat veggies if you serve them and ask for their input on how to cook them!), and, someday, try to help the community I am in to create a more affordable, sustainable, and healthful way to eat and live.

Edited to Add:
I was perusing my Bloglovin list and came across this article from Science 2.0: Taxes On Sugary Beverages To Reduce Obesity Won't Work
It seemed to go with my rant here (sort of).

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tooth Fairy

J lost his first tooth this weekend.

Awesome for him, bittersweet for me.

I think that playing Tooth Fairy has been the most disillusioning part of parenthood for me. I actually had to call my mother to ask her what I was supposed to do with J's tooth. C told me to throw it away, that keeping it would be creepy. My mom told me the same thing. So J's first baby tooth went in the trash. *sigh*

I remember when he first got that tooth. It was so sweet and exciting and adorable to see his gummy little mouth with the two tiny teeth just poking through.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Longing for Fall (a poem)

The heat lays on my skin
Like damp gauze
I long for Fall
Even though Fall
Will bring Kindergarten
For my firstborn

Truly, before the Fall arrives
The air will cool
The leaves will change
And the garden will ripen
The birds will fly South
Heedless of the Equinox

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mirena: My Whole Story

Yay, it's out! Thank the gods.

Now to tell my whole story. It is not a great or terribly positive one, but here it is.

July 31, 2012 - Mirena inserted during period. I took some ibuprofen before the appointment. Insertion was a little crampy but nothing at all compared to period cramps or labor. I weigh 140 pounds, the same as when I became pregnant with Dee.

July 31-Sept 8 - Spotting and light bleeding

Oct 14- Very light, very short "period" with only one day of very light bleeding and a day on either side of spotting. It is around this point in time that I noticed that my depression and anxiety seem to be worse than usual, in that I am more irritable, moody and my Zoloft doesn't seem to be as stabilizing as it has generally been. This continues for the remainder of the time I have the Mirena.

November - My acne becomes worse than it has ever been, even as a teenager. It is painful and awful, and I am embarrassed to be nearly 30 years old with this complexion. I publish this post.

Dec 29 - I am now up to 146 pounds, and have another very short and light period (one day of very light bleeding, a day or two of spotting on either side)

I continue to experience cramping, discomfort, "fullness" and other various symptoms.

April 14 - Visit the OB/GYN office to see why I am in pain. Ultrasound reveals that the Mirena is in perfect position, but it does appear that I am gearing up to ovulate (which can actually happen, just rarely, on Mirena). The nurse sympathizes with my acne and other symptoms but urges me to try and "wait it out." My weight is 149.

May 5-11 (approximately) - I feel melancholy, exhausted, irritable, and begin to feel like I'm experiencing terrible mood swings and PMS. This is weird because while my moods and depression have been worse since getting the Mirena, I have not experienced anything like this. I post this and I begin to feel like I haven't experienced anything like this since I was first pregnant with J (which can basically be summed up as feeling like I was going through the worst PMS imaginable, though of course it wasn't PMS). I have cramps (more than usual) and just chalk it up to the same old crap. I have dreams that I am pregnant and I assume that they are just my brain vomit (however I haven't had many of those in my life since having had kids, and they were predominantly when I was actually pregnant). My weight at this point is 147.8.

May 11 - I start the worst period ever, and also post this. The cramps come in waves (much like contractions...) and I am in so much pain for 3 days of heavy bleeding that I spend as much time as possible on the couch taking ibuprofen around the clock. I have no energy and am just miserable. I used to (before I had kids) have occasional period cramps that made me want to vomit, but these are entirely different.

When I had the Mirena removed on June 10, the midwife noted that it was lower than it should have been (therefore lower than it had been in April). I believe, now, that what happened was this: I was pregnant. No more than 4-5 weeks at the most. I had a miscarriage. I didn't see anything in the toilet because it was very early (and I wasn't really looking...). The contraction-like cramps that I had were, in fact, contractions, and they managed to shift the position of the Mirena in the process of everything else.

I've since had my first period since Mirena removal. It wasn't bad, pretty much a normal period. No remarkable cramps or anything. I have lost 1.5 pounds since getting the Mirena out. My skin is healing and clearing up nicely, though I have some uneven tone and things that are still present. I expect that will take time to disappear.

As far as the miscarriage? I don't know. I feel, in my heart, that is what happened. I never took a pregnancy test. I have no way of knowing now, and I don't even know if it "counts" since I didn't even connect the dots til a few weeks after it was all over. I don't know what I am supposed to feel. Upset? I didn't want to be pregnant...but I would never have said I'd rather lose a baby than to be pregnant again. It's not in the plans for C and I to have a third biological child, for a number of reasons. We want to adopt a child, maybe two. I still want to have 4 kids when all is said and done, but originally we'd planned to only have two biological children. Now...I don't know. I feel like I'm supposed to feel something that I don't, or maybe I do feel something but have no "right" to feel anything because I don't even know for certain I was pregnant.

I know that my experiences were not common. The acne side effect is somewhat rare (I think about 10% get it), but well documented. Pregnancy can happen, rarely (less than a tenth of 1% of the time) and when it does, it may be either ectopic or it may be uterine, but there is a high risk of miscarriage either way.

So there you have it. My story. I would not get the Mirena again.

Monday, June 3, 2013

One More Week!

I am getting the Mirena out in ONE WEEK. Huzzah!

No more cramps.
No more acne.
No more exhaustion (from that...).
No more horrendous PMS-and-periods-from-hell (once was quite enough, thanks).

Oy. It will be *so* nice to be back to normal!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Well, that explains a lot.

You know how I said that the one perk of Mirena was the no periods? Yeah. Guess what showed up today? I guess a six month break is nice, but I don't recall PMS and the first couple days sucking this much. I have been a complete bitch (like to the point that I feel like I haven't taken my Zoloft when I haven't missed any days lately), exhausted, and in desperate need of chocolate. I am kind of afraid of how bad this will get...


Well, at least I'm not spiraling downward again.

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Have you seen the movie The Phantom Tollbooth? You know the part where they're stuck in the Doldrums, not motivated or able to do anything, like they're surrounded by molasses? Yeah. I'm kind of stuck like that. I'm not exactly depressed, but just sort of...stalled.

I can't run anymore for a while. I pulled my soleus muscle. This means no stairs, no walks, no runs until it's healed. Dammit. I am limited to yoga and strength training, which is fine but doesn't help satisfy my need to move, to rove, to think. It's stupid and annoying, and I brought it on myself. Basically, I thought that running barefoot/with minimal support would be a good idea when I got shin splints. Well, yes, it did help those...but then my pronated arches (especially my right foot), further "assisted" by the slope of the sidewalks in my neighborhood, put excessive strain on my soleus. The lower portion and the upper portion were unequally worked, and the upper was weakened while the lower was strengthened and then pulled. The result is stabbing agony after about a quarter of a mile, as well as agony when I kneel/sit on my calves (comfy, generally) or when I take the stairs. Or try to stretch/work my calves (going up on the balls of my feet and lowering back down, etc).

Everyone on my floor at work (except me) hates their job. Yeah. Happy place to be every day. I can't do anything about it, my boss is awesome and theirs...are not. But it's not exactly a pleasant environment, it's very negative. 

I'll get over it, but still. Blah. Back to work, I suppose.

Depression Sucks for Everyone.

If you don't regularly read Hyperbole and a Half (or hell, even if you do), you may not have registered that Allie has been on a 19 month hiatus.  She's gone through hell, and thankfully made it through to the other side (almost). What she has written is one of the best descriptions of the process of depression that I've ever come across. So go read it, and send her a virtual hug.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday to My Sweet Girl

Dee turned 2 today. TWO. Although, if you ask her, she'll tell you she's three. I think that 3 may be her favorite number. She can count to 3, even, and knows how many things add up to 3. Smarty pants.

The stats:
Still tall and skinny!
Height: 34.75" (72ish percentile)
Weight: 22 pounds, 11 oz (20th 5th percentile!)

Monday, April 22, 2013

5-Year-Olds = Awesome

The other day I made hamburgers. C told me I made a "mean" burger. A few minutes later, J happily informed me that his burger was "quite aggressive and delicious."

I love that boy.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Watching, Waiting.

Click photo for source

This is such a beautifully written article in the form of a letter to a child. I love it. It sums up my own feelings on the Bible pretty well, actually.
Go read it!

I am waiting to hear what the United States Supreme Court decides for our nation. I know what is right, and I know what I want them to decide. That all people should have the right to marry. That all marriages should be treated with equal weight. That to discriminate against those whose orientation isn't straight and narrow in this way, when it is *illegal* to discriminate in other ways, isn't okay.

Do I pray? I suppose you could call it that. I am sending my desires out into the Universe that our Supreme Court does what is right.

Monday, March 25, 2013


I ran/walked almost 10 miles last week! You may have noticed, based on my shiny little ticker, that I've now gone 16 miles this year. Wohoo! I did it even in the snow and with shin splints. I had to take a break from the Zombies, Run! app, because after 3 days of running I noticed that my shins were sore. Yeah. Shin splints. I know I am prone to them, but I haven't actually gotten them since I played soccer as a kid! I worked on some stretches and just walked for my next few nights. We also got about a foot of snow in the meantime, so I wasn't going to run through that (and the ice that came with it). Walking was good, and my shins are feeling better. I also finally got around to putting my orthodic (no idea how to spell that) inserts in my shoes, since I imagine part of the problem was my unsupported arches. Wow, I sound so sexy right now.

Ahem. Anyway, I am going to drag at least one of the dogs out for a run/walk tonight (we'll probably even use Zombies, Run! again) and just walk the icy spots where nobody bothered to shovel. I've got my 1.2 mile route pretty well established, so we'll probably just do that one. I've completed one whole mission on Zombies, Run! and part of the next one. I like that when I finish a mission mid-run (I have like 10 minutes left of the second mission) it just puts it into radio mode and plays my music with random commentary, and no zombies. Good stuff!

Oh, and C threw me a surprise party this weekend! He's the best husband ever! He felt bad that I turned 30 right before he was working for 5 weeks straight (including weekends) and we never got to have a party for me. Little J even kept the secret, which is shocking. So I *may* have eaten a lot of crap this weekend... but it was fun!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Running from Zombies (review of Zombies, Run!)

You may recall that I have a fondness for audio fiction. Genre doesn't matter, I love them all. I particularly enjoy full-cast audio drama (like the Drabblecast and Dunesteef). A while back, I saw a new app mentioned on Erica's blog, And Baby Makes Four, that was a good motivator for her to go running (this post, specifically). I checked it out, but the $7.99 price tag for Zombies, Run! was enough for me to forgo the purchase. Weeks (months?) went by, and one of my friends mentioned on Facebook that the app is now 50% off! And while $7.99 is too much, $3.99 was doable, so I bought it.

Dude. This is amazing. I love this app. It basically sticks *you* the runner into the middle of the story, narrated in present tense, full cast style. I won't spoil any of the plot points, but the basic premise is that you have a variety of missions to fulfill while you escape from zombies. You can add a playlist to your phone (if you have the right music app, and create a playlist *on your phone*) that will play your music between the plot pieces of the story. You have the option to add the moaning zombies to your runs, which I haven't done yet because I'm a chicken. Plus I was running at night, and the story is engrossing and spooky enough in the dark without the zombie noises. While you run your favorite route, you will be informed that you've picked up various items (trousers, underwear, tools, etc) and when you finish your run, you press a button and return to base. If you don't finish your mission in one go, you can continue it the next time you run. Because of this game (because, really, it's basically a real-life RPG) I ran 1.9 miles in 22 minutes last night. Okay, so I only ran most of that time. But still, it was great! I'm a bit sore today but that's not surprising. It honestly didn't feel like almost 2 miles.

The app and website are integrated ( and you can link your Facebook account if you wish to share your runs with your friends. It also has a way to track your calories burned, and will log your time and distance. It doesn't track your speed (i.e. if you slow down it won't make the zombies get you) and the storyline continues whether you are running or walking. I really, really recommend this game, it is so much fun!

On a related note, I recently got new ear buds. I have freakishly tiny ear canals (like, the doctor has to use a pediatric otoscope to look in my ears) and have a horrid time finding ear buds that stay put and deliver good quality sound. I usually end up buying the $10 Sony or Phillips ones at Target (with just okay sound quality), and then they break 5 months later and I buy new ones (like these). I can't wear the Skullcandy ones, or any similarly styled, "in" your ear type ear buds, because they just fall out of my ears, unless I take off the cushion part completely, and then that just hurts. I found some new ones at Target this weekend, though, that caught my eye. Called yurbuds Inspire for Women, these are actually designed for women's smaller ears! The set came with two sizes of silicon thingies, one larger and one smaller. I'm using the smaller ones. They are comfy, they FIT, they don't fall out, and I love them. They are also sweat-proof. They come in a multitude of colors (I got purple) and they are *so far* awesome. I can't speak to lasting power yet, but so far these are my favorite ever ear buds. At $30, they are more than I would usually spend, but I have hopes that they will last.

I was not paid or compensated for either of these reviews, and the companies involved don't have any idea who I am. I just wanted to share these awesome products with the world!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Growing Up

We moved both kids to big/bigger kid beds last night. Dee still woke up twice, but no worse than normal! She *loves* that she can get in and out of her bed by herself. J still slept like a rockstar, as he always does. He loves his big bed! We got his bedding and bed from Ikea (bed frame, duvet cover, sheets). Dee has her old mattress and moved into the toddler bed that my father-in-law made for J when he turned two.


J's bed is sort of temporary. I will (this summer) be making him this bed (from Ana White's website) so that he and Dee will have more room in their shared room. He will be keeping his mattress since it's brand new and we just dropped a small fortune on it. It's important to us that our kids' exposure to outgassed, manmade chemicals be minimized when possible (lots of reasons why, but a good summary is given in Breasts, a Natural and Unnatural History), so we went with an organic cotton mattress for Dee (from Munchkin, got it at Target) and the Sultan Heggedal natural material mattress from Ikea for J. I figure he's going to be using it til he moves out, so it was worth the investment. He said it's a little too "hard" but it should soften a bit with use, and if it's still too firm we can always get a topper. Although the way he's been jumping on it, it might get softer really fast...

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Free eBook, 3 days only!

I am a big fan of Mike Bennett and his work, and he has a number of short story collections available. One of them, Salvation and Other Stories, is currently available for *free* via the Amazon kindle store. So hop on over there and get it, read it, and rate it!

This collection includes "Night Crossing" which is the introduction to Mike's epic vampire saga Underwood and Flinch which is available as a free podcast through iTunes. I really, really love the book and can't wait to buy it when it does come out in paper.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My Favorite Deals Round-Up

As spring approaches, and the urge to refresh the home encroaches (ha! I'm a poet!), I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to save money on small (and not-so-small) things, as well as some helpful things when getting rid of your stuff.

(This may or may not have been inspired by the fact that we've been cleaning and organizing our own house lately. Hard work but I am looking forward to the final result!)

Clothing, shoes (kids and adults), and household items:

I really like Zulily. They offer goods at discounted prices. Zulily offers shipping deals (i.e. pay shipping on your first order in a given 24-hour period, but all orders between then and midnight ship free). They also have awesome toy and book deals once in a while. If you haven't signed up yet, please use my referral links!

Zulily referral link.

Totsy is now Modnique Kids. I have no experience ordering from them yet, and they don't seem to have a referral program, but if you use it please comment below to let me know how it works!

Ink for your printers:

Use code sigler13 at for 10% off your order and free shipping on orders over $50. We've used them before and they are AWESOME. We got our ink like 3 days after ordering for way cheaper than buying it at the store. More details here:


Scott Sigler also has some awesome Petco coupon codes. Go to his site here to access them!

Postal Services: 

Use code "KATG" for (click the microphone in the upper right at to get a $110 special offer, including a $50 value postal scale (5lb digital), $5 in free postage (with an additional $50 added if you stay past your trial period), and some postal labels. If you hate the post office and want to purge your house of things (i.e. selling your stuff on Ebay, or if you have a home business), this could seriously be a lifesaver. The mailperson will just pick up the stuff from your house! Note: this is a 4 week free trial. You will be charged $15.99 a month after your 4 week trial. You get to keep everything from your special offer even if you cancel, though.

Don't forget consignment stores and thrift shops! They are great ways to be green about your spending (or purging). Goodwill and Arc both take donations and turn the profits from sales around to do good in their communities, and they are great places to pick up furniture and clothes on the cheap. The Arc will come and pick up donations from your house, including furniture, if you call and let them know you have stuff. I am a HUGE fan of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, which also takes donations and specializes in home-improvement materials, appliances, and large furniture. 

My beautiful light, from the ReStore!

My favorite consignment store for kid's stuff is Once Upon a Child. These kids grow like weeds, and it's so wonderful to take a bag of stuff once every few months (they buy gently-used clothes, shoes, books and toys), turn it into cash, and buy the kids some new, much-needed clothing! Even if they only buy 1/3 or 1/2 of the things I bring in, I still break even or better nearly all of the time. Plus they have stamp cards (at my local one, anyway) where for every $10 you spend or sell, you get a stamp, and then when you fill your stamp card (20 stamps) you get 20% off a future purchase. OUAC is a franchise, so individual stores may vary, but I've generally been very happy with them!

Consignment for adults is harder. I've shopped and sold to both Plato's Closet and the Clothes Mentor before, but I'm not actually fashionable enough to sell much to either. I do like shopping there, it's a great place to get almost-new stuff for 1/4 to 1/3 of the price of new! Plato's Closet caters to the teen crowd, so venture forth only if you're feeling prepared to fight off the teeny-boppers. Depending on the individual store (also franchised) they do offer 50% more cash when you redeem your goods in exchange for a gift card for the store.

Finally, we come to TradeSmart. I can't even tell you how much I love this store. It's got movies, books, games, etc, both used and new. You can sell books, games, music and movies (they even take VHS) to them in exchange for cash or a gift card (which allows you to get 50% more money for your trade). Plus, it's a brick-and-mortar book store, which is a wonderful thing. Also, every time I shop there, I'm all "Shop Smart. Shop TradeSmart."

Yeah. I know. I'm a dork.

Anyway. Happy cleaning!

I was not paid by and am not affiliated with any of the above for these comments. They are just awesome and I wanted to share!

Friday, February 1, 2013

A letter from myself, dated 12/4/2010

Hello, Future Tena.

It's me. I know that when you read this (again) J will be 5 and probably in kindergarten preschool, and Hush Puppy will be approaching 2. I just wanted to remind you that just in case your clock has started ticking again, you SO do not want to be pregnant again. C has probably already had a vasectomy, but don't get any ideas anyway.

I'm writing this at 19 weeks pregnant with Hush Puppy. I can't walk very long before my low back, hips, and groin start threatening to jump ship. I swear it sometimes feels like my pelvis is going to fall off. My boobs are already 34Gs (you'll have to let me know if they ended up getting bigger after the baby comes). My belly is constantly uncomfortably stretching, and it is hard to get comfortable when I lay down. I can't really bend over terribly far any more. I haven't gained much weight yet (about 2 pounds, I think), but this pregnancy is really hard on my body. I don't ever want to do this again, you hear? Also, the Braxton Hicks contractions have been hanging around and coming on strong a couple times a day. Fun, right? Oh, and sex? Forget it. It's not remotely enjoyable, which sucks because while I had no sex drive with J at least once I got going it was great. It's just really unpleasant and uncomfortable and leaves me aching afterward, and not in a good way. I haven't had an orgasm since...hmm. It's been a while. 

Anyway, I hope the kids are great and the dogs are great and that C is great and doing very well in his career.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

J's 5th Birthday: PIRATES!

J turned 5 this month (*sob*). We had a big old pirate party, and it was amazing. The kids all had a great time and, most importantly, J was absolutely thrilled with the decorations and things. So here we go!
Pirate hats - Acquired with eye patches, swords, and mustaches (as desired) by arriving guests.

The treasure chest: Goodie bags (a.k.a. treasure) was put in the chest, which was made of a divided cardboard box and duct tape. The tissue paper was taped over the bags, red "X" marks the spot! This worked great until J got impatient during the plunder and ripped off the whole sheet...oh well. The kids had to do a treasure hunt and find the treasure chest (with the help of First Mate Daddy). 
Treasure bags - sewn from black fabric and stamped using poster paint
The "Pirate Pirate" - This ship (complete with two cannons) served as plaything, pirate gear storage (swords, etc), and gift receptacle. The white thing is one of the clues from the treasure hunt!
The Jolly Roger (which may or may not still be hanging up, on J's request)

"To Prevent Scurvy"
Pirate Booty, Cuties oranges, Grog (root beer), cannonballs (chocolate cake balls), and there were Goldfish crackers that I hadn't put in that blue bowl yet when I took the picture.
The treasure map cake, made by yours truly

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Status of The Night Weaning Attempt

Dee is only waking up once per night (yay!!) but I still suck at putting her back in her bed. So we're making progress, but we're not there yet. My mom informed me that my brother used to be like this, and he is *still* a terrible sleeper at 24. So that's not particularly encouraging.

And here's a picture of Dee (with a cold) with pigtails *squeee!!* (Not squeeing for the cold, just the pigtails. That cold was hellish.)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Some Random Babble

I'm having a little trouble getting into the swing of things this morning, so let me just brain vomit on you for a while. Anyone who needs a towel is welcome to grab one. ;-)

My baby is 5 now. 5. FIVE. I get that he isn't a baby anymore, but 5 is no longer a toddler, no longer even a preschooler. He's 5 and will be starting Kindergarten in the fall (and soccer, too, if he still wants to). He's smart and sweet and so polite (it kills me a little when he says "Yes, ma'am" to me). Don't get me wrong, he's certainly got his mean moments and the occasional attitude, but over all, J is just about the sweetest little boy I've ever met. He sings songs to his sister (mostly "Rock a bye baby" which I think is probably a sweet way to threaten to put your baby in a tree if they don't stop crying). He makes crafts and things all the time. The other day he just made a dinosaur sculpture out of cardboard, told me it was a new duckbill that lives underground (so didn't go extinct), and named it "Dinoduckduck Di" for it's species name. He writes songs about superheroes and P-funk. I love him so much I can't breathe when I think about it.

As J and Dee both get older, the urge desire need ache for another baby (specifically a boy) is getting stronger. I know I hate being pregnant. I am sick the first half of the pregnancy, then everything hurts and I can't sleep and my sciatica gets so bad I can hardly walk. The heartburn is horrible. There's the utter exhaustion. But then...there's the magic of seeing that little pink line. Of knowing (in between pukes) that there's a person you are building, cell by cell, inside you. Speculations of whether that person is a he or a she. The little wiggles. Having the baby all to yourself. And the delivery...if I could have another delivery like Dee's, I would do it in a heartbeat. C is not on board with this.

I'm a little torn. I have *always* wanted 4 kids. I have 3 younger siblings, and 4 older ones (WAY older, like 15-20 years older, so we're not very close). When we were first talking about family, we had decided that we'd have 2 biological kids (presumably boys, given how C's family goes) and adopt 2 kids (girls). Once we entered the real adult world and realized that adoption is super expensive ($17-$30k, from the estimates I've seen) we have sort of pared down to adopt only one, just for financial reasons. I just can't deal with the heartbreak of the foster-to-adopt system, and I really want a baby so I can breastfeed it. But this yearning inside for 1 more biological kid is really tough. I would love to have a biological kid in a few years, and then adopt one so they have age-mates (within a couple years) like J and Dee, who are 3 years apart.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Guest Post: DIY Cozy Coupe into a Minnie Coupe

I want to thank my friend Brea Peters for this fantastic tutorial! She made this awesome Minnie Coupe for her sweet daughter, who happens to be the same age as Dee. Brea can be found on Etsy (where she makes some seriously awesome tees and bows) with her shop SASSIEnSWEETboutique. Check it out!

DIY: Cozy Coupe into a Minnie Coupe

1. Disassemble the car (take off the roof, pull out the steering wheel.
2. Sand everything down. You need to do this so the paint sticks better.
3. Tape off the wheels (I used plastic sacks and taped them).  
4. Spray the body pink and the top black ( I used Krylon Spray paint).
5. When the pink is dry paint the polka dots ( I used a bowl for the "stencil" and white latex paint). 
6. Put it all back together.
7. This step my DH did. He cut two circles with flat bottoms out of wood, painted them black and attached them with screws from underneath the roof (they are super secure and won't come off).
8. Attach a bow :). I made my bow from pieces of hot pink and white polka dot fabric that comes in pre-cut pieces ( at Hobby Lobby in the same aisle as the bandanas and pre-cut felt pieces) I literally just made it into a bow and hot glued it to the wood :).
9. I personalized it a bit by adding DD's name to the license plate area and then painted Minnie Coupe on the front. 
10. Stand back and say "damn I'm good!!" :)

Thanks for the inquiries about the ear size, I'm waiting to hear back from Brea about it!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Chores for the Kiddos

J (now that he's 5) has requested chores to do so he can earn an allowance. After searching a bit, I found this great chart that breaks down chores by age! (from The Happy Housewife). Since I want to start simply, I think I will make a chart for both kids, probably with magnets and a dead cookie sheet (which I can cover with fabric). Dee is enthusiastic about cleaning up, but she doesn't really put things "way" where they go always. We've found some funny things in our tupperware cabinet as a result of her help, anyway!

(Click the photo for the source site)

I think to start, we'll have J do the following:
1. Vacuum entryway.
2. Mop the entryway.
3. Feed the dogs and let them out of their kennels after they're done eating.
4. 5 minute clean up of the living room (toys, clothes, books)
5. Make his bed.
6. Help put his clothes away.

Dee's chores:
1. Put stuffed animals away.
2. Put books away.
3. Wipe down baseboards. (Maybe. We'll see how she does with this one.)
4. Help put her clothes away.

J will be earning money, but I don't think Dee needs to do that yet. Maybe when she turns 5? Or understands? I think C and I had agreed on $1 a week for J, as long as he does everything on his list. A magnetic chart will definitely make it easier.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Night-Weaning Update

We had that one lovely night. Then we had the canines. (cue horror movie music)

The four worst teeth.

One. After. Another. For 2 months.

Finally, they are all through. Yay!

I've been sort of trying to do this approach, where basically you just gently stop letting baby nurse if she doesn't sleep between nursings at night, and don't nurse baby to sleep between, say, 11 and 6. This is for the first 3 nights. We've sort of been stalled here for the last few weeks. *yawn*


Dee has spent many more nights in her own bed, but I still have a hideous time putting her back in her own bed if she wakes up at like 3 or 4. I'd rather go back in my bed and sleep, even if it means bringing her with me.

(Also, I'm going to start calling my baby girl Dee, because it's closer to what her name is, and she does sometimes get called this (when she was born, I had thought we'd call her a nickname that started with L, but that didn't really stick). I may start calling J "Jay" here, but I don't know. So for now, I will be going back and changing references to "L" to say "Dee." Maybe. I'll work on it. So please don't be confused!)