Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Kathryn's plight

I interrupt my usual snarky banter with something important.
Please keep this girl, her family, and those tasked with her medical care in your thoughts and prayers, as they embark on a long journey. After many days and nights of searching for an answer to the problem, she has been given a diagnosis. And it's a heartbreaking situation.


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Turkeys have their own mind

So  I left off with a reblog of the mom who summed up the sentiments I was feeling at the time. I was a watched pot and hating it. Don't make any pregnant woman feel like a watched pot. It's horrible, and incredibly frustrating. Not to mention, it's pretty darn RUDE. (queue Michelle Tanner's "how ruuude!")

Things after that were a bit of a whirlwind. The following week was another litany of work, babysitting the Godchildren, my own doctor's appointment, and a house with visitors. I was trying clary sage oil and red raspberry leaf tea to motivate the spawn to well, spawn. Not a lot was happening. I swear the kid was waiting for the chaos to cease before he graced us with his presence. I should've had the doctor stir the pot (aka strip/sweep membranes) at that week's appointment, but I didn't. I figured that I would give him a chance to exit on his own first. Being Thanksgiving week, the OB's office was closed Thursday and Friday, and MamaX3 had her OB & NST appointments Tuesday. I didn't want to be dealing with crazy traffic Wednesday, and had plans to be cooking things in advance that day anyway. Yes, we were still planning on hosting Thanksgiving because we are insane. So, my appointment was on Monday, 2 days after my due date. I had the doc sweep membranes at that visit. And the contractions I'd been having the previous week got more noticeable and frequent. And I told them I wasn't going to go forward with the induction scheduled for the next day, because the decision to induce just did not give me peace.

The next day, I was sitting on the Godchildren. Yes, didn't you read a few sentences up? I am insane. MamaX3 came home, and we started having contractions every 5 minutes, alternating who went first. I decided I needed to go home just in case it was hormonal feedback, and just in case I really *was* in labor. I got home and the contractions spaced themselves back out, but they were getting stronger. I reluctantly called the OB's office and the nurse asked what was going on, I told her, and she said, "Well, you've convinced me". Ugh that was not what I wanted to hear. I don't entirely know why, aside from the fact that it was going to mean coming home from the hospital ON Thanksgiving, and totally leaving my MIL to handle Thanksgiving prep. So, I called Devildog to come home, preventing him from getting overtime that day.

It took a bit of time to get to the hospital, partly because Devildog had to shower and wash the work grunge off his person, partly because it was the start of rush hour going in the direction of most of the traffic, and add Thanksgiving traffic to the mix. It was shortly after 5pm when we arrived. I will spare the male readers the triage portion of the initial intake. I will say the nurse was giving me crap about bailing on the induction and then showing up in labor that night. I love nurses whose sense of humor matches mine.

Being that I have such fast deliveries, the OB was hesitant to let me leave. Any other woman presenting like I was, she would have potentially sent home. Knowing how fast things can escalate, I decided it would be judicious to stay. I asked for the epidural early, because I was figuring I'd eventually get tired, start fighting contractions, and having trouble. To get the epidural, one must have 2 bags of IV fluid, to avoid blood pressure tanking to lethal levels. I got to my room a little after six p.m., and things started moving faster and getting stronger within the hour. By 7:30, I was sensing that I was not going to make it to the epidural, and told Devildog as much. By 7:45 the contractions were practically non-stop. At that point, I told him I hit transition. Not wishing a repeat of Blur's exit, he called the desk, telling them to get the doctor. Meanwhile, my nurse who was advised of just how fast things went with #2 & #4, went off in search of the anesthesiologist. She must not have been in the room when I told Devildog I wasn't going to make it to the epidural, nor did she have bat hearing. She returned just shy of 8 p.m., and at that moment, I started feeling immense pressure. I said as much, and she asked if it was with or without a contraction. (BOTH, honey - it's seriously GO time. Clearly, you haven't had expeditious patients like me before.)

And then...an explosive gush flooded the place. Devildog made an awful face, saying "yea, your water broke. It stinks!" I asked him what it smelled like because I could not smell it at all, being north of the carnage. His response? "rotting meat". Seriously? Some other woman would have been offended, but luckily for him, I'm not some other woman. Although, when you think about it, if you pull the plug on a tub of water that has been sealed up for the better part of 9 months, things are going to be a bit stagnant, so it made sense in a way. The nurse left the room, I hope to get the OB, not the anesthesiologist. All I know is the next several minutes were what felt like a single, long, contraction. It was probably more like ten 2-minute contractions piled on top of each other with a 10 second break between them.

A mere 23 minutes after the explosive gush, the baby was born, and I was completely out of breath, being asked if I wanted the oxygen mask. Yes, please, breathing is overrated sometimes, but I'd like to NOT pass out within seconds after expelling a mini-human from my nether regions, thank you. Nothing incites an obstetrical riot like a freshly spawned mother losing consciousness, so yea, let's avoid that.

If I'd gone back home, or stayed home till my water broke or contractions were closer together/stronger, then I would have been having a baby at home or on the side of the road. I have a friend who had one of her children inside 15 minutes on the kitchen floor. I didn't want that happening here. I warned everyone that I have very fast deliveries, and this was no exception. Upon hearing the story, a few people made comments about a greased pig.

Yes, I've got a case of greased pig, greased chute. Except, in the throes of it all, none of it felt like greased anything, probably because he was partially sunny-side-up. By the time you propel the 5th from your person, you not only have a clue as to how your body operates in childbirth, your body expedites things that much more than it already had in the past. But this turkey had his own timeline for the exit, as do all other babies. He's going to have birthday cake for Thanksgiving some years.
Look at those fat turkey legs

Friday, November 15, 2013

Because this other mom has said it sooo much better than I could

My friend C shared this link with me, after one of her crackbook friends posted it. Her crackbook friend is the author, but she very nicely puts it into terms that are more polite than I would have.

So, let me just reblog hers, noting she's got twins, and I'm only growing one. I'm due next week, NONE of mine have ever arrived early, unless you count 2 days as early.

I almost feel ...   …like a watched pot, taking too long to boil.  No one could possibly want these boys to be born more than me. I’m sure it will be easier to hold them in my arms than my belly.
Instead of being frustrated by my well intentioned friends and family, I posted a guide on my Facebook … it was a bit tongue-in-cheek but from a very real place. Not only did people get a kick out of it, some also asked to share it if their due dates came & went. I made the post public so strangers could share if they needed it. In doing so, I decided to post to my blog in case there were people not on Facebook that needed to know someone else in the world felt their pain. I do, sister. I promise to not ask if you’ve had your baby yet.  Feel free to comment and/or share this post. 

It’s not only for me .. but for all of you who have been there, done that.

1) If you see a post from me stating that I’ve given birth, then I’ve had the babies.
2) If you see a post from my husband/daughter/sister/bestie stating that I’ve given birth, then I’ve had the babies.
3) If you see that I’ve posted pictures of the boys in the hospital or in my arms, then I’ve had the babies.
4) If you see that someone has tagged me in pictures of the boys in the hospital or in my arms, then I’ve had the babies.
5) If you receive a private message, phone call and/or voice mail from me/my husband/daughter/sister/bestie telling you that I’ve had the babies … then I’ve had the babies.
6) If none of the above has happened, then I have NOT had the babies.
We hope this guide has helped clear up any confusion ;) And please … feel free to share this note with anyone. Really … ANYONE.

Let me amend and add also: If I've come to visit you and shown you the offspring, then I've had he baby.

Thanks to Retta for sharing this helpful guide.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Art of Life

It's too personal a story to relate.
But after a long time friend left my house today, I found a note I'd jotted down during one of Father Lam's homilies. And it so appropriately sums up what I was feeling, and how that friend has lived life.

"The pain passes, but the beauty remains." - Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Thank you for making the trek - all the way to my house today, and all the way through our lives.

And don't stick your head in a tiger's mouth.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tough love

I was watching the Today show and they were talking about the first half of this story, where an exasperated dad took his 4th grade son to the street with a sign as a public means of discipline. The anchors all said it's a form of bullying itself, by making the son hold the sign saying "I'm a bully! Honk if you hate bullies!" And the dad caught a ton of flack for it.

Let me just make these points:
1. The son was in trouble at school for repeated offenses of bullying. This means that the school was attempting to curb/stop the behavior. The dad made various efforts to get his son to stop bullying.

2. The dad stood on the street corner with his son. He didn't sit in the car playing on his phone or drinking a latte.

3.  The dad owned his son's behavior. He basically said "My son screwed up. Let me do something to prevent it from escalating, and my son being the reason someone else's child ends up on the news because no one did enough to stop the tide of the mistreatment." He DID NOT defend his son's behavior. He did not say "oh, no! not MYYYY child! you're mistaken! you're lying!" that so many other parents do. He demonstrated to his child what other children were feeling when his son was being mean to his peers. Sometimes, empathy is a powerful experience. Who better to help victims of something cope, than other people who have experienced that pain and share their coping methods.

4. The school reported back to the dad that when his son returned to school, he apologized to his victim - OF HIS OWN ACCORD!  No one forced the apology as a contingency for his son's return. The son understood what he'd done, and how it impacted his peers, and he apologized.
Here is where I'll reference that Stanford prison experiment from the 70s. The two groups switched roles after a time. The first-round inmates did not mistreat the former guards to the same extent they were.
Maybe if bullies were subjected to a taste of their own medicine, they'd quickly check their own behavior.

5. He didn't backpedal. The next day, the dad stood on that same corner without his child, responding to the critics. He stood firm in his parenting, and told critics that he was not going to be bullied in to sugar-coating things. The fact that his son apologized to his victim of his own accord tells me this tactic worked.

As a parent of a child who must learn things the hard way, I can relate to this dad's frustration. It took a long time for my child to change some of his behavior, and it took interventions on many fronts. I can relate to the mental, emotional and spiritual exhaustion from constantly battling my child on things like house rules, treating people poorly, and consequences. And being strong-willed, my child also didn't back down from me either. As a result, the house was fraught with tension on a daily basis. But, I'm the parent, and the responsibility of the household rests on my shoulders and those of my husband. We HAD to exhaust our efforts to effect change. In our minds, there was no other way to do it. We were not going to shirk our responsibility to raise our children to become responsible adults.

I personally applaud this dad for taking a stand with his child, and going tough love on his son. If more parents did so, we'd see a decrease of bullying, entitled behavior, and an increase of civility. This guy didn't subscribe to what I call "speshul snowflayke parenting". And I appreciate that he took a stand against his child's behavior, and stood on that street corner with his son holding the sign.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hippy Chick

I am quickly outgrowing all my maternity shorts. And I have dresses that I would wear, but, I have this problem with my hips. My core muscles never got properly rebuilt after having Blur, so they're weakened and not doing their jobs now. They aren't holding my bones in place properly. And I have no one to blame but myself and yes, I blame the spawn because I can. And it's true. He's part of the reason why my femur slips out of the hip socket and pinches on my sciatic nerve with a direct shot. OW is the nice word for it.
I'm back to binding my hips with that post-surgical binder a friend gave me last pregnancy for the SPD (symphasis pubis dysfunction). I'm not having as much difficulty with that right now unless my hips are misaligned. What I *am* having problems with is the sciatic/femur/hip intersection. And there is only so much the chiropractor can do for me. I'm working on what I can to keep my mobility and learning how to more efficiently get myself safely on my feet first thing in the morning, and with minimal pain.
And then, there's this fun trick to get myself in and out of the mom-bus:

I don't have running boards to help me step up or down into the van, and it's a total crap shoot as to when and how my hip will revolt, and what will cause it to do so. One side is the more problematic, I think because that's the side with the partially sacralized L5 vertebrae. So, I'm trying to remember to use the other side to do the leg-foisting of things to scoot and turn me in the seat. And it's not my dominant side, so that makes it even more fun for me. I'm down to 7 weeks till my due date, and I can't say I'm looking forward to the physical challenges this is going to present.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Animal behavior

We've got a goose problem now. Not that it's a bigger problem in terms of size of the flock. It's the same size flock we've had visiting the pond behind our house since we moved in here 3 years ago. I should correct myself and say that it's a human problem. Humans are feeding the birds, who are now associating all the humans with food.

Previously, there were a couple of geese in our driveway, and when we went outside they moved away from us. Now, they travel in the full gaggle of 15-16, and when they see humans, they move en masse TOWARD them, expecting food. And they have done it to me twice. They did it to Clone this morning as she walked to the bus stop. They did it to a kid on the next street over from us.

We have a human problem. Stop feeding the wild animals. And especially stop feeding them crap that isn't in their natural diet. It's bad for us to eat it, so it's even worse for the animals. And by feeding them, you're going to evolve the natural instincts of survival out of the flock. And then...one day, they're going to have a moment of low blood sugar crankiness and attack someone en masse. So Fish & Wildlife Conservation is going to have to label them as a collective nuisance, and catch and possibly destroy the birds. Geese, especially Canada Geese are a particularly violent animal that is capable of inflicting serious injury to a human. I've seen the violence they're willing to inflict on their own species.

All because you thought it was cute to feed them bread that they don't normally eat, from a source they don't normally interact with, in a manner they don't normally go about on any day.

Seriously, you're not the old woman in Mary Poppins feeding pigeons in the city. You're a problem human creating problem animals in a neighborhood with a wide age range of resident, by interfering with the laws of nature and the natural order of the animals' habitat. And you're breaking a few laws. The birds are naturally fearful of humans, and you're making them lose that fear, which then evolves into associating humans with food. And then when they encounter people like me who wisely do not feed wild animals, they are hungry, cranky and angry, and go on the attack because HOW DARE I NOT FEED THEM!?!??!? 

So I mean it. Stop. Feeding. The. Wild. Waterfowl. You're doing more harm than help.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Matt Walsh is spot on

I've been doing this mom gig thing for 20 years, and I can't tell you how many times I've been on the receiving end of a non-parent's complaint that I'm a failure to society because my child has "gone nuclear" as Matt describes it. Or they complain because my busy kid is busy within inches of their occupied space. If they'd been nicer, I would've been nicer in response, and not attempted to silently goad my kid into annoying them more.
And since this blog post from Matt Walsh sums it up so perfectly, I'm just going to post the link here for you, because I can't do it any justice. Meanwhile, I'm that mom Matt describes in the store, except I'm also telling my nuclear nugget that nobody wants to hear their complaints and howls, so they may as well give it up on making their case for the coveted source of the tantrum. My saying no to them is most definitely not an invitation to convince me otherwise.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Sometimes, it's more painful to waffle on a decision than it is to just decide already and deal with what comes of it.

I'm dealing with a lot of junk and trying to mentally and emotionally sort it. And today was ok, but it went downhill this evening. I could go into a rant, but it will only serve to continue stirring the negative sentiments swirling in my head. It didn't help that there were some reactions around me that weren't what I was hoping for them to be, and I accidentally shot my own foot and that of a dear friend with my griping. And I'm hanging my head in shame with tears of frustration and hurt. I hate feeling like I can't win.

I am on the teacup ride at Disney, and I've never liked that ride ever whether in real life, or proverbially speaking. Things have been out of balance for a while here, and trying to right the ship again is proving a massive challenge. I look forward to finding balance soon. A lot has suffered for things being out of whack.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Baby Registry

I just spent 3 hours with an INCREDIBLY tolerant Blur at Babies R Us today, crafting a registry for Mambo #5. Seriously, the registry I created looks utterly asinine. I literally looked for the style of clothing I wanted and needed for this child, in the sizes appropriate for the seasons of that expected size. If you saw that registry, I will just apologize now. There's no way to just craft a generic list on there. So I have to do it here. Hopefully they allow me to add a link into the comment section of my registry so you can come here and read the honest details. And if you do make a purchase with the intention of gifting it to our family, please make sure the cashier notes the registry with the purchase. In the event that we get duplicates or this boy outgrows a size too fast, BRU allows items to be exchanged for a year, provided it's unopened/new w/ tags etc. This applies to ANY item, whether I've added it to the asinine looking registry or not. So, give the cashier the registry number or our name so they can attach the items to the registry.

No, I do not want, need or expect one of each size of items I scanned.
No, I do not want, need or expect every thing to be brand spankin' new with tags.
No, I do not need the EXACT items chosen (with only small exception but that will be addressed).

Yes, I welcome 2nd hand stuff in useable condition, barring items with safety recalls.
Yes, I welcome any and all sizes of diapers, wipes, and clothes.
Yes, I plan on boobing this baby too. (Hence the nursing tops, but I'm picky about the access of them)

So, here are the specifics on clothes/sizes/seasons, listed according to size order:

Newborn: I know babies don't stay in the NB size long. I feel comfortable with the amount of stuff I have in that size.

3 mos: it will be cooler temps, so long sleeve onesies, and pants are welcomed. I reaaaaally loved the snap front onesies that a friend gave me with Clone, and in the event of a blowout diaper, they are incredibly helpful to disrobing squawky baby without getting poop in the kid's hair. So, the more snapfront, the merrier mama is. Sleepers/creepers/sleep-n-plays have always been a go-to item for cooler months, as well as this size baby.

6 mos: we're heading into warmer temps in Florida at that point, so short sleeved stuff is perfect, and a couple pair of pants for those cooler days or at night make the onesies versatile. Since it will be warming up, a couple pairs of shorts (denim, khaki, black, blue - the basics) can sorta dress up a onesie if we're feeling a need to do more than just a onesie. Again, snap fronts are mama's friend.

9 mos: Blazing. Hot. Summer. In. Florida. The kid will likely be found in diapers at home, and that's it. A onesie for bed or going somewhere. Bibs to catch the drool but, is it shameful to say I still have some bibs from the older kids? I need to go find them. And my older kids were walking by 9 months the latest. Speshul Snowflayke Speed Racers.

12 mos:  we're heading back to cooler temps, so pants and long sleeves, or just onesies, pants and a couple lightweight jackets will do well. Unfooted creepers are helpful for little feet to grip the floor. Footed sleepers are lovely pajamas.

18 mos: Florida winters are short, but for a native, not nice. Again, long sleeves and pants are lovely things, and by this point, the kids are helping dress themselves, and often proficient at UNdressing themselves when you least want them to do so.

So, most of the clothing questions answered, let's address the other stuff:

Nursing tops: I plain and simple don't do pull aside, or drop cup, styles without some other secondary layer to cover my chest. I am not comfortable exposing that much of my chest to that point, and it's entirely personal preference. I had a couple Japanese Weekend surplice sleeveless tops with under-bust access when nursing Blur, and thinking I was d-o-n-e having kids, I donated them and that's the one thing I lament. Those tops were awesome for complete discretion, and no requirement to don one of those drapes that scream like a WW2 bomb alarm to alert the world that you're boobing a baby. Plus, my kids refuse to keep the cover over their heads anyway.

Diapers: yes please, every size. I'm not brand specific or preferential. I do not object to store brand butt covers either.

Diaper wipes: oh lord, if I had space to store a pallet of those, I would. When Blur was a small baby, I had been given a bunch of those adult wipes and they were HUGE by comparison to the baby wipes (which have shrunk 2 inches in both directions since my first 2 kids were still pooping their pants btw). It was awesome to not worry about possibly touching the yuk. They were like 10x10 or something really ridiculously gargantuan. But regular baby wipes are not going to get handed back to you.

The swing: Oy, that one in the registry is pricey! I am absolutely, unequivocally not actually asking for THAT one. One like it from a second hand source is great too. Blur hated the back and forth of the swing after a while and would reach out and grab the leg to stop moving. Kid was talented like that. But we also had a travel swing for her in that tiny hovel where we lived, so space was premium. She could reach the leg to stop the swing. I'd like one that can swing in either direction, which is why I scanned that astronomical monster.

Rocking chair & ottoman: I scanned that mac daddy model just because I could and it was comfortable, and it is a recliner too. I'll have to fight to keep the Devildog out of it, but as many nights as I've sat up with a complaintive baby, myself needing sleep, and said child not wanting to be anywhere but my chest...this is where my logic was in scanning it. It's just so I can avoid as many visits to the chiropractor after sitting up with the complaintive spawn on my chest. Would I welcome a standard rocking chair and ottoman? yes, absolutely. Devildog was able to rock Clone in the one that was given to us. Since that hovel was tiny, and we never used it, I then gave it to a former coworker with 2 little boys, who'd confided in my sister that she was wanting a rocking chair. We were able to sneak it into her car at work one day and she was ecstatic.

Pretty much all the other odds n ends I scanned were things we've used before but blessed others with previously, so having replacements would be awesome. Dishwasher baskets, changing pad, etc - if you can find a cheaper one, or have one in your own closet, no hurt feelings if you give that to us.

There's also a VIB card attached to the registry. If you're flummoxed...I don't blame you. You can do a gift card amount on the VIB card of your choosing. If you can afford $5 and that's it, so be it. I am incredibly grateful for any generosity given in our direction. There's the bonus that BRU will match 10% of the amount added to the VIB card, so it's kind of like free money.

Edited to add: And if all else fails, there is always the option of a gift card to some place nearby that offers takeout or delivery. Once my MIL and MamaX3's mom goes back home, we're looking at needing fast meals, and me needing one handed food for things like breakfast and lunch or middle of the night when both mom and baby are hungry.

Monday, August 26, 2013

In my own way

That's exactly the spot where I'm standing: In my own way. As in, I'm impeding my own travel.

This year, I have been feeling pulled towards leadership as a Thirty-One consultant, and have an incredible leadership team willing and able to nudge me, train me, encourage me, and kick my butt when needed. I made sure that I chose an upline that would be unafraid of holding me accountable, and R.L. has done exactly that. I wasn't thinking about a position of leadership when I enrolled. As time progressed, I saw that path as the one I was being called to take though.

And in the last several months, I've also impeded my own progress. Call it self-sabotage if you want, because ultimately that's exactly what it is. In examining my situation and reasons and motivation etc, I have admitted to myself and R.L. that I am afraid of succeeding. My wiring is towards worst-case-scenario, and I have a habit of expecting the other shoe to drop. This is in part due to history of our life, and crap heaping at points that break the line holding the tent. Another part is the negative voices I've heard pretty much my entire life, and I'll just attribute that to the family history of depression - along both sides of the trunk. Double whammy for the bonus, right? I am not prone to the same levels of despair that some people experience, because I apparently got enough feisty energy to keep chugging through funks. Along with that, came this big ole suitcase labeled "Fear of Success", that I've been dragging along with me since CHILDHOOD. And that joker has no wheels on it either. It's truly an OLD bag. Quite honestly, it really *is* an utterly asinine bag to be carrying. It's ugly, it doesn't always close all the way, there's always stuff sticking out of it to get snagged on branches and lamp posts and other people as I drag it, and the handle broke in such a way that it won't completely separate itself from the bag nor will it hold well with airplane tape or zip ties. And it's got my name allllllll over it. 

I earned the registration for National Conference back in the first quarter of the year. If I hadn't, I don't know that I would have gone to it, despite the statistics reporting that attendees come home and do more business, grow bigger teams, and promote to next levels of leadership in the months following the event. By the time National Conference rolled around, I hadn't held an in-home show in over 3 months, but managed to scrape up some kind of sales every month but one (goose-eggs for sales numbers is disheartening, to say the least). I was also pregnant with #5, after failing to rebuild my body over the 3 years following the previous pregnancy. I was just in a bad place physically, mentally, emotionally, to the point of contemplating the decision to continue this journey, despite my desire to get away from the merchandising job of almost 10 years, help my husband go back to school, and still maintain some kind of flexibility that I've enjoyed. I'd already bought the plane tickets, booked the non-refundable hotel, earned the registration for free, and not being one to just throw away money, I went to the convention. Exhausting, exhilarating, extremely beneficial.

We were graced with speakers and trainers who shared their story, their ideas, and their inspiration. Gloria Mayfield-Banks included in her presentation, that long, inspiring, kick-my-fear-in-the-face, quote from Marianne Williamson:

 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Gloria told of how she was able to come from a violent situation, escape it, find joy and love and passion in her life, and then go on to simply stroke a check one day for a child of theirs to attend college - in its entirety. The lady at the reception desk in the financial office attempted to point Gloria and her husband to the financial aid department, and Gloria looked at her and said "No ma'am, I just need the number."  GOOOOOOOSEBUMMMMPS! Then a few days ago, a friend posted that quote on her newly-minted-as-a-grownup-ish daughter's timeline on crackbook. She wasn't the only one who needed to read that.

It's insane that I think I am both inadequate and powerful at the same time, but I flounder on the sidewalk like a fish trying to cross the road between lakes. I know where I'm supposed to travel, but I'm meandering on a random scenic tour, apparently hoping for some magical results, or just expecting that shoe to drop. And then I was sitting in the pew yesterday at Mass, and Fr. Jhon was celebrating this time. He's newly appointed pastor for our parish, and so far, I have loved his homilies. He's right up there with Fr. Mike the canon lawyer history buff who weaves 3 periods of time into the same message. Fr. Jhon played that youtube video produced by Volkswagen, about that Swedish subway platform where everyone took the escalator till a piano was installed along the stairs. Fr. Jhon then went on to say that as humans we are lazies, and that we need to quit using the escalator. He can teach us what we need to know, he can tell us which direction to travel, but ultimately it is we who must do the work, and the walking. We need to use the stairs and put in the work. We need to get out of our own way and go where we are supposed to travel. We won't do anything but wander the desert till then.

And I was sitting there thinking "gee Trish, you've only been hearing the SAME message for weeks now. Get out of your own way already. How much longer are you going to just dawdle around and make things inherently more difficult for yourself?" Talk about smacking me in the face - a LOT lately.

Failure is knowing what you're supposed to be doing, and still not doing it. And failure in that manner sucks monkey butt.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Honing In and Helping Out

When Devildog got fired from the retail job, (meepmeep! tire tracks don't wash out of clothes by the way) I told him "Go to school" and he resisted with the same LAME excuses he'd been using the last 10+ years. It was October, and I told him he had time to keep looking for a job while he got things started for the Spring semester in January. Nothing came of the job search, but he did get his butt to school. He went to school through the Summer, and into the Fall. Then started that 4th semester but things got crazy, and it didn't happen. But he did get a very part time job. He chose nursing as his focus of study, which I find ironic and amusing. After a MAJOR injury, and much of his childhood spent in doctors' offices, hospitals, etc, and he hates any proximity to any of it.

But I see it in him. It's his calling. He is a natural born leader, and always has been. The Marine Corps honed that trait, Home Depot put it to use handily till someone lied to cover their own misstep, and he is prone to taking charge elsewhere. It's a different dynamic at home, because I'm here with my own way of doing things, and there's wisdom in the compromise.

He has related a story of an incident on the softball field where a pitcher got lasered with a ball coming back from the batter, right smack dab in the temple, splitting his head open to the bone. There was blood gushing everywhere, and Devildog jumped in, taking charge, calling for ice, putting pressure on the bleed, talking to the guy to keep him awake, and down from a panic because every heart beat sent more blood surging from the wound, risking his consciousness and potentially the opportunity to see his children grow. EMTs arrived, crediting Devildog with giving them a live, conscious patient to transport. Devildog came home from the game that night, a little shaken and worried for how things would result for this guy.

Several months later, the pitcher was working a service call - at the full time job Devildog landed a few weeks after I enrolled to sell Thirty-One. In any case, he saw Devildog and stopped to say hi to him. There's a massive scar, nerve damage, some other brain injury type things, and the gift of being alive and seeing his wife and children every day. And there was a sense of pride the day Devildog got a personal update from this guy. It took a couple days because of our crazy schedules, but he told me about the encounter, and I could see and sense the pull he has to pursue this goal.

At the first ultrasound appointment in July, he was enthralled, not just as a new dad, but as a guy who took Anatomy & Physiology with the intention of going to nursing school. He was naming off the parts the ultrasound tech was labeling for the reports going to the doctors, and parts not being labeled. He was totally fascinated by the images of blood flow, and little tiny human parts, and the magic glimpse into a secret world that the ultrasound machine provided. I was watching my mini-human, as a mom. I was watching my husband as a wife who knew she had to make things happen for them both.

Fast forward a few weeks to the follow up ultrasound to check that choroid plexus situation, plus fetal echo because they like to pick on the old broads who breed. Here he was again, just completely like a little kid who loves trains visiting a train station. I mean it was so uber cool to watch the valves of the heart flicking in response to the blood moving through them, and the pulsing of the heart, and the ductal arch, and the red and blue of the blood flow on the magic screen. But for Devildog, it was even more evident that this was more than just cool stuff for him. This, was unequivocally, his calling.

He has said he needs to go back to school, and I absolutely agree. The timing for our lives has never been all that convenient for anything, so here we go with a few more years of Semper Gumby soon. I want for my husband to enjoy his job and love what he does. He's not at that job right now, and the only thing keeping him where he is, happens to be a lot of overtime pay, insurance because I'm pregnant with our 5th child, and sheer adult responsibility. In turn to him feeling called to go to school, I feel compelled to do what ever it is I need to do to help him get it done. I know this means a lot of sacrifice for all of us. I know this means a sort of geographical single parenthood. But I survived being a Marine's wife, setting me up to be able to navigate that kind of journey. Semper Gumby it will be, and a lot of eyes on the eventual prize. I can't say I'm entirely excited about this whole idea because I know it's a lot of work. But there are lots of wise quotes citing opportunities looking like work, so I'm just going to trust that between God, us, our support network, and lots of work ethic, we will get through this challenge and emerge on the other side with something awesome.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Originality and Humor

When questioning the fertility and family size of folks who have more than 2.8 children, you are encouraged to avoid the same. trite. comments. every. single. body. else. has. used. before. you.

Seriously. It's lame. We live in a circus of our own, with our own brands of chaos. If you're going to waste our time with the same junk as everyone else, save your breath. It takes a lot to entertain us, given our own spawned clowns and elephants. It's the one common vent amongst parents of larger sized families.

The family of four kids I have doesn't really feel that large to me. But, I got lots of crap when I was pregnant with Blur. So you can imagine why I felt a need to just keep this fifth one off the radar completely. I was mentally and emotionally starting to come around to the idea of surprise #5, and then my husband outed me on Facebook with a post of an ultrasound picture. He missed the memo on my non-online-disclosure decision. I'd intentionally kept it off my primary page, and only shared in closed groups and private messages where I knew I'd have supportive, or at least funny, commentary.

And in that 21 week scan, we learned this baby had bilateral cysts on the choroid plexus. It's a normal variant, provided there are no other variants like the long bones being short. Thankfully the long bones were measuring normally, if not a week ahead of dates. (It explains the incessant craving for dairy, there was some bone growth & ossification happening.) So we had to do a follow up today. The cysts remedied themselves. The fluid was apparently just extra buildup in some hormonal surge and extra time was needed to reabsorb it. I don't have to go back to get that monitored. Then there's the issue of my "advanced maternal age" prompting things like needing a fetal echo done. Yep, heart is fine too. Everything is where it should be and functioning properly and well.

Since my husband outed me, I figured I'd post my own picture from today's scan. Apparently, I'm not stalker-worthy material and some folks were unaware of the story, and that surprised a few more folks. And then visibly, the belly is winning the race now, and it's darn near impossible to hide the belly, unless I don one of Omar-the-tentmaker's frocks. So, I'm getting comments in person too.

Here, let me just answer all the questions and save folks the trouble of asking. I want to spare you the trouble, and also spare you the dirty looks you'll get, plus the tone of voice, and sharp responses of which I'm capable of providing. Because like I said: It's lame, and it does nothing to entertain me. And it's just not funny. I'm easily amused, but the same questions just don't do it for me. Step up your game already. Be original and humorous. Give me something I haven't already heard.

Are you ready for it? Here goes:

1. Yes, we know what causes it. We've had 21 years of practice. We're damn good at it. We like it. We're married to each other, so we're SUPPOSED to be doing it with each other, not someone else. It's not wrong to actually LIKE your spouse. We've worked a lot of years to get where we are, and we like where we are. Don't be jealous that you can't get in on our party, ok? Just go get your own.

2. Yes, we have tv, cable, dvd's, etc and we utilize them. We actually have multiples of each. Oh, ANNNND we have computers with internet access, plus smartphones. We have friends. We have access to entertainment. And we have access to each other - you know like I said up  there^ in that spousal thing.

3. Yes, *I* am Catholic, but my husband is not. Our inter-faith marriage is always a work in progress, and we don't follow any one strict tenet versus another. Ours is an interesting dance of sorts, melded together the last 21 years with a lot of compromise after a lot of trial and error. Apparently, I'm a better Catholic than I thought I was, though. And apparently, I'm the kind of Catholic girl the Southern Baptist boys like. Take that as you will.

4. Yes, we've heard of birth control, and condoms, and at some points, we HAVE utilized a variety of all of them. I don't have to share this topic with anyone outside of my husband, I am not going to share the details of why, how, etc of what we do in that regard. I don't say a word about your decision to do permanent sterilization, hormonal birth control, barrier methods, etc. Be respectful of what we do, just like I'm respectful of what you do. In short, I stay out of your uterus, you stay out of mine.

5. Yes, everything OBVIOUSLY functions just normally, nothing is broken, so please tell me what is there to fix?

6. Yes, I have my hands full. I have a head and heart full too. The van is full. The house is full. The garage is full too. Our lives are full. How is yours? Is it full of good stuff or just junk and drama and crap?
There are people who completely ache and pay lots of money to ATTEMPT to even get a tenth of what we have. I'm truly and completely blessed, while my heart breaks for those who long for the simplest part of my life, and some may never have it. Don't tell me the obvious, because somewhere in earshot of your comment is someone else who you're insulting in the opposite manner, by reminding them of their empty hearts and arms. And there are those who have suffered the losses of 4, 5, even 8, or 12, or more babies and pregnancies. They are so grateful to have a baby make it into this world, while forever mourning the loss of those who grew wings before seeing light of day. They happily bring as many into this world as they humanly can. It hurts and it stings and it drives the knives deeper, while you twist them. Do you still feel brilliant saying that one?

7.  No, I don't know how YOU do it with just one, or two. Seriously, I need balance in my life, and I need my own interests and hobbies. I don't know how you can helicopter- and lawnmower-parent a completely normal child who has zero no neuro-challenges and come out the other side with your dignity and sanity intact, or theirs for that matter. I delegate stuff to the kids to do, as they become independent and capable enough to handle things. I've blogged about that before. Simply put, it's my job to create independent people who can function outside of me, and handle the hiccups of life. I have my own interests because one day those buggers will fly the nest and I don't want to be that mother-in-law that gets ranted about on the internet. I want my children and their families to feel like I respect their adulthood, and parenthood, and I will do my best to allow that by knowing my place in their world and not encroaching where I do not belong. I blessedly have a fair selection of wise in-laws who may not agree with how we do things, but they know it's not their family or household.

8.  No, I didn't realize that we didn't need to have any more kids. Thank you for telling me that. I didn't realize I was still 6, and asking for a second dessert an hour before bedtime. Last I checked, we are well beyond age 18, and still married to the same person after all these years. If I have my wits about me, we have kids who are 20 and almost 19. So unless there's some strange science or miracle, I think we are qualified to decide what my husband and I need, or don't need. I think your words simply speak of your own insecurities, and lack of time spent with us and getting to know us sufficiently. We are raising our kids in a manner that rivals most any other way modern parents do nowadays, and we've got one who was trained for management at his job as soon as he graduated high school, and another about to head off to MCRD Parris Island for boot camp. The Marines don't take *just* anybody. Our oldest daughter has life skills her peers can't fathom, and a perspective they won't achieve till they're much older. Our preschooler is articulate, funny, well-adjusted and capable of handling things kids her age still have a tantrum over happening, and she's fiercely independent. But they're still capable of being kids. We haven't robbed them of anything. We've sacrificed our own self-serving desires to give them what they need. We have indulged in some things, because we need balance and they need to see us doing our own thing, chasing our own goals and dreams, and they need to see us sacrifice for the greater good or to achieve those goals. Despite the fact that I'm running headlong toward 40, and I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, either.

9. Yes, they were all surprises. No, we didn't plan or try for any of them. They were all not in our radar at the times they appeared on it, and now we can't imagine that radar without them there. Then they brought friends to the party, who we mistreat just the same as we do our own. I have birthed and borrowed children, and never imagined this many people would call me Mom. I'm just glad I didn't have to change all of THEIR diapers, or potty train them.

10.  No, we don't know if we're done yet. We thought we were done with the last 5. No, we don't know if we'll have any more. Every time we have thought "done" and laid plans of our own, another mini human comes along and mucks up the plans. But it's cool. We make pretty babies with brains and a sense of humor. And they think it's pretty neat that mom & dad ride motorcycles. Well, dad does, mom's just good at dropping them and then getting pregnant again.
One other side note about the variations of these questions: Again, when you're asking a parent of one, or ten, about the number of kids, you're insulting them. And the ones who only have one or two who like previously mentioned, utterly ACHE for more kids and can't attain that are once again stabbed by your words. Why must you be so intrusive? Don't be offended if one of us snaps back with "Why? were you looking to hire me as your surrogate, because I don't know if I'm the one you want doing that. I might not want to give up a child to be raised by twits like you."

11.  No, I'm not easily offended. I married a Marine and had a bunch of children with him. When you have that combination, you recognize when God laughs at you (in my case, it's almost daily since the early 1990s), and you learn to live by that other Marine motto: Semper Gumby. If you think you can offend me, you can, but it requires extreme stupidity, lack of consideration and forethought, no sense of humor, and downright intrusive and demeaning foolishness. I am not sure you want to test the mettle of this Feisty Irish Wench. Some of the things slung at me verbally by strangers, meant to offend, really didn't do that. I've survived a number of things, including two teens at once - and one was a daily test of my faith and ovarian fortitude. I have reasonably thick skin, and some of you will be lucky I don't have him with me when you open your mouth.

So, please, I absolutely encourage you to get creative when you see me or my larger-family cohorts. Ask us something we have NOT already been asked. Or for poops n giggles, maybe say something encouraging to the mom whose day is shot because of that series of wackadoodle events instead of "well you chose to have that many". Yep, we ultimately did. Someone has to combat the stupidity of the world, and it may as well be us, because YOU are sucking at it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Divas' Day Out event

Come to Divas' Day Out, May 11th, 10a-4p

Click on the picture to view a larger image and learn more.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Do you know anyone in direct sales?

There are people, who like me, choose to do a direct sales venture. There are a multitude of opinions about the business model, but that's not what I'm talking about today. Some companies are great, and others leave a lot to be desired (and that's the nicest thing to say about some of them).

Whether you think they're an awesome venture if the company is a good fit for you or a friend, or you think all of them fall under the category of things to avoid, the fact remains they still exist, and do provide income for many people. Most of them operate with a home party plan, where someone hosts a show and receives gifts or discounts for doing so. The sales person receives a commission off the party sales. That's the most basic gist of the way they operate.

I can't speak for anyone else in direct sales, but the vast majority of people who are direct sales consultants really do take the job seriously. I take it just as seriously as I take any other job I have or had. So, when we go do a show, and someone books a party, we take that seriously. We honor our part of the commitment we make to come to your home, make the time there as fun and interesting as possible and leave a positive impression. We understand that everyone has a life to live and that sometimes there are more lemons than sugar in your world. If you agree to host a show, we take you for your word that you will do it. If you can't uphold that pledge, then please contact your consultant as early as possible, apologize, and let them know you can't do it. Give the consultant the opportunity to rebook that date with enough time to give the new host the same level of service you would have gotten.

To ignore calls, emails, text messages or postal contact is not being kind to the consultant. We would rather be told up front that things changed, than to be left hanging. We understand that circumstances change and you probably feel a little guilty changing or canceling an agreed-upon event. Personally speaking, I have some decent big-girl-pants, and can handle being told the party can't happen. It won't hurt my feelings if you can't do it. I'm not going to judge you or kick you while life is knocking you down too much to add me and my wares to your mix. What I find more hurtful is knowing that you're ignoring me, now expecting that the show isn't going to happen without enough time to rebook that date, and that you're not being adult enough to just be honest with me. You feel bad that you can't do something you promised, but I am now left being told not to go to work that day. You'd be feeling something when your boss calls and says "don't come in to work" when you know that not working means you're not earning any income that day. Likewise, if you were an employer and an employee no-call/no-showed for work, you would not be happy either because that impacts the business.

So, please be kind when you commit to booking a show with your direct sales consultant. Hold up your end of the bargain. If you can't, then be honest and give your consultant enough notice to recuperate that loss of business with you. We will be gracious, thank you for trying and especially for letting us know about the change of plans, and we'll wish you well, and try again another time. If things change later, reach out and book a show again. If not, then just keep that consultant in your thoughts and prayers for their continued success. You may not be able to directly help their business fiscally, but you can help in other ways through well wishes, prayer or referring other people to them. We will most certainly and gratefully accept any of that from you.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Normally I try to avoid the news because it raises my blood pressure, and demonstrates the moral lows of society. But this is abhorrently low. I don't care what your position on the pro-life/pro-choice conversation is, because the root of this story isn't based in that debate. I have seen this all over the web because none of the mainstream outlets are talking about it (but they'll talk ad nauseum about Vick's antics). They'd rather rail on a dog cruelty case till people get tired of hearing it and stop giving a crap about it, but we won't hear about this human-against-human cruelty at all. But this story of greed, indignity, predatory behavior, municipal failures, and murder deserves more attention than a football player who shot his own foot, or the one who committed his own egregious harm to animals. This case deserves the same kind of outrage that stemmed from the death of Treyvon Martin, minus the division of the populace. Where is Corrine Brown's wig-wearing,, horrible grammar self, lambasting the officials in Pennsylvania for not doing anything to stop this death mill? Where is Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Gloria Allred, Nancy Pelosi, Sarah Palin, or any freaking body else who claims to be a proponent of equality, fairness, and what's morally appropriate? They're all afraid to go near this story, because it's so horrific and inhumane, they're ashamed to admit nothing was done about it sooner.

I see jerks making judgmental comments about the women that went to this medically trained individual (he's not a doctor or a man - those 2 types will generally be of help and care). Instead of judging women for making the choices they do, start training your sons and daughters to choose mates and partners wisely, and to treat each other with respect, so they don't find themselves feeling so desperate that they have no other option but the path to this guy's office. Because there's always going to be vultures circling the vicinity of anything smelling desperate. And instead of looking down on women who land in tricky situations, reach out to them with compassion and kindness. You don't have to buy them a car, stroller, or diapers, but just give them the emotional support to get through the challenges, and stop kicking people when they're already down as it is.

I was there myself 20 years ago - feeling sticky and trapped and lost. However, I was incredibly lucky. Oh my God, how incredibly lucky I was. I'd had sex with a guy who was raised with morals, and who was not going to leave me stranded. And we got pregnant. SO many people pair up with someone who doesn't hold the same sense of obligation, and they get into trouble for the decision. Emotional, physical, and financial abuse is a small part of it. But the children suffer for it every time.

Thankfully - oh so incredibly thankfully, I did not suffer the same fate my counterparts did. I was not abandoned. I was not left to fend for myself. I was not overtly harmed. I did lose friends. I did miss out on fun. I was looked down upon by many - and yes, I could see it, hear it, feel it. All they saw was someone who looked 12 (I was 17) with a bulging middle, and they never stopped to ask me my story, or offer encouragement. They could only bother to assume unkind things about me, about my parents, about my situation. They contributed to kicking me, and breaking me down - even if only in their minds.

Why are we doing that to each other?

I had a friend whose boyfriend was pushing hard for her to have another abortion after falling pregnant when birth control failed again. I tried to convince her to keep her baby, and promised that I completely understood and grasped her fears, as I'd lived them. I volunteered to help her any way I could so that she could avoid the path she was walking toward. I didn't share with my husband that she didn't want the abortion but she felt like she had no option. He and I both wish I'd told him. He would have intervened with certainty. Later that fateful day, this girl was mourning the loss, and inconsolable. I still feel guilty that I didn't do more.

Had she been given more encouragement, instead of being berated and told she wouldn't make it, I'm certain that she would have done well despite the challenges. I knew she had it in her to get there. A few years later, she reached out to me via IM, thanking me for mentoring her and encouraging her. She finally got away from that particular guy and was living elsewhere and doing well. I do not know what ever happened to her after that, but I think of her often. I know she still carries the burdens of the choices made in her earlier days, and it will forever haunt her.

Instead of casting knowing and judgemental glares at young women who become mothers sooner than they should, smile at them. Stop and say "You look young, and you probably feel daunted and overwhelmed, but just know you're doing the right things to raise your child. I admire you for what you're doing." If you're in a position to do something tangible, ask if they need diapers, bus fare, pants for the child, shoes for herself, a text book for college classes, a car seat that is appropriate for her child's age/stage, lunch money, or even a freaking nap and you'll watch the little for her.

Get back to being a neighbor in the old-fashioned sense of the word, and stop being the person that just lives in the same neighborhood. Be a neighbor and friend, and evil will have less chance to reach the pervasive levels that this individual reached, because people won't feel so freaking hopeless and desperate. Stop giving such a damn about what's in it for yourself, and start just being interested in what's the right thing to do for someone ELSE, without reparation to your own self.

Friday, February 8, 2013


As per my usual, I have neglected my blog in favor of the instant gratification of crackbook. But I've been insanely busy the last couple months, and trying to shift gears on a few things. I added more to my plate in November when I decided to become a Thirty-One independent consultant. I had an incredibly phenomenal January and I'm just utterly blown away by that. I'm grateful to those who have done what they have done to help me achieve the goals I set out to accomplish. There's a chance I may fall short of one goal this month, and as much as that disappoints me, I am still thrilled with what I did. Devildog was impressed too. Anyone who knows him, knows that is not an easy feat. I am certainly interested in seeing where this journey takes me.

But I started this blog with one word in mind: intentional.

As I've said before, I have been listening to Dave Ramsey podcasts for several months now. One of the things I keep hearing every day is the word intentional. "You have to be intentional about it" is one of the phrases mentioned several times a show.  I am just wired for A.D.D. and that whole "ooh squirrel!" thing nails me every time. As I progressed through the end of 2012, and into 2013, I realized that if I was going to get anywhere better than I am right now, I better be attentive, and be intentional.

Intention means you plan. Doing something intentionally means you lay out the framework, and you DO it. I'm not all the way in place to launch, but I make progress daily. I am constantly restructuring my thoughts, so that ultimately it will lead to restructuring of my actions. Being a work-in-progress is uncomfortable at times. I'm forcing myself to look at what I'm doing, and assign a value to it in my life. And I don't always like what I am evaluating. And then I have to add more to my developmental to-do list so that I don't make the same kinds of errors.

Inadvertently, my personal theme this year has so far become being intentional. And when I am intentional, I generally see decent results. I'm constantly trying to balance the various plates in my life, and trying to return favors that are long-overdue for repayment.
And in the middle of typing this blog, my brain kept poking me off the chair to go load the dishwasher and run it. So I had to, before I decided I didn't feel like it enough to skip that task. This goes hand-in-hand with the stuff I have learned from FLYLady over the last 11 years. It goes hand-in-hand with the stuff I'm learning from Dave Ramsey. It goes hand-in-hand with the ability to accomplish the goals I set for myself. It goes with the idea that I have to pay back into the circle of giving, because I drew from that circle so many times in the past, and I'm finally in a position to help others in a way that I know is directly benefiting them. I'm doing my part to preach the Gospel, and occasionally putting words to it. (See St Augustine for that reference). I've been drawing from that well for about 20 some-odd years. I think I'll be busy for a good long while.