Sunday, December 21, 2008

Safety First-ish

While Dan works on restoring his 1978 Jeep Wagoneer I find myself constantly faced with conversations that normally would not interest me in the slightest but because of his commitment level in this project I participate. Conversations about fuel pumps, cloth cleaning techniques, and the Jeep as the original family all terrain vehicle. So today Dan and I were looking at old Wagoneer ads and came across this one.
"Jeep" - Safety First-ish.

Funny that an ad campaign regarding safety features a woman driving her two small children through a snow storm while they stand on the front seat obviously not wearing seat belts. Dan chides me with, "Well, that's how safe the Jeep is."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Really Detailed Ultrasounds

Well, we got our final ultrasound today ( and loaded it into youtube to share!) to see what little Merrick has been up to in my belly. He is moving all the time despite my having heard that the bigger they get the less they can move around.

Reading the excerpt below from my weekly babycenter update gave us some idea of what to expect on the video,

It may be harder than ever to get comfortable enough to sleep well at night. If you can, take it easy through the day — this may be your last chance to do so for quite a while. Keep monitoring your baby's movements, too, and let your caregiver know immediately if you notice a decrease. Though his quarters are getting cozy, he should still be as active as before.

but I think you'll agree we didn't expect to see this... I kept telling Dan it feels like he's got nunchucks in there.

or this... seriously. This kid is amazing. I don't know who those other guys are but my ob/gyn assures me that everything is as it should be.

Fat Fat Belly

What better way to beg forgiveness for my lack of posting than to show you how fat I am. Below is my offical "9 months" pregnant photo. While it may seem that one photo is only one photo, when you are this large one photo is actually 30 photos that were taken, including breaks for crying at the sheer largeness of my body, extreme editing and lighting tricks, resolution manipulation, and the 20 minutes I spent wondering if it wouldn't just be easier to write 4 blogs than post another picture of myself.

Ok, perhaps that is being dramatic. While I did weight in at 238 lbs. yesterday at the doctor's office (I was 250 lbs. when I delivered Cohen) I don't feel so bad. I am 23 days away from D-Day. I can still walk. I am not covered from head to toe in a terrible rash. And we somehow managed to come up with enough money to make Christmas a go this year.

Happy Holidays - from the fat fat belly!

If I haven't told you yet that is what Cohen calls me now... fat fat belly, fat fat boobs. As in, "Can I have some more yogurt, fat fat belly fat fat boobs?"

"No, it's not time for me to go to bed, it's time for you to go to bed fat fat belly, fat fat boobs!"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Letter to the Readers ... Again

So I have realized how hard it is to follow the blog through blogger. I mean, I am pretty active on line and I would not go to the trouble to jump through the hoops blogger expects you to pass through just to follow my blog.

If you will look out your blog window, to the top right you will see a new gadget on my page - entitled - Subscribe... Your Way. This will allow you to be alerted of new posts via your email, the browser of your choice, or, if overlooked, not at all. But that would be foolish.

Let me know if this makes it any easier for you.

Happy Holidays.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Decorating In Pieces

This was the first year Cohen knew enough that I had to really up her level of participation in decorating the tree. I just wanted to share a few pictures of the tree and some of our favorite ornaments that were taken during the process. May the broken Wiener Dog Ornament rest in peace (until we find his leg in the kitchen where he hit the tile and glue him back together again).

This is Cohen's work. She worked on the lower level alone.

You might also be inclined to inquire about the three ornaments on one branch. When I asked her to separate them she told me that the "hot dish" was the cow's food and the barn was her house. "She needs those things near her to live mom."

This Wiener Dog Ornament lived in the nativity manger along with a couple of "puppies in my pocket" and a plastic dog on a motorcycle for about three days before the accident. He lost his leg during a fried chicken dinner in one of Cohen's many attempts to divert my attention while she tossed pieces of food back into the serving dishes from which they came.

Wiener Dog Ornament is survived by Beagle Dog Ornament who is in hiding on the North East Upper side of the tree.

This is one of my favorite ornaments on the tree.

This is my other favorite.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Conversation in Marriage #1

While Christmas shopping on the etsy website tonight I came across the My Love for my Vagina Scarf Keeps Me Warm. The following conversation ensued...

Lawton: Oh my god - we should totally get this scarf for my brother for Christmas.

Dan: Are you kidding me? Who makes that?

Lawton: Vulva Love.

Dan: Who would even wear that?

Lawton: Come on Dan, Ani Difranco plays shows in the winter too.

On Soft Sand and Mud

While facing my family in the context of this blog usually entails looking forward today my head is in a different place. Instead of closing my eyes last night to go to sleep and seeing my future with my children and Dan as I always do - I was looking back, reviewing my past.

Watching some of my closest friends go through the initiation into parenthood as they await their first born I see them taking the exact same steps I had when I was awaiting Cohen. The process is so common that when I visualize it I imagine parents-to-be waiting in line for a turn to waltz on this grand Harlequin dance floor where the foot prints are laid down in a pattern to guide them through the motions.

After the dance, parents glide off of the dance floor onto the opposite side of the room, a spot from which - from here on out - everything looks different.

With my first pregnancy I glorified my parents. I humanized mistakes that I had been holding against them thru my twenties and then praised myself for how big I was for being capable of forgiveness. Parenthood was obviously going to bring out the best in me. Pregnancy and the preparation for becoming a first time parent allowed me to see that while they may have sometimes failed, my parents had tried their best. And when entering an endeavor such as parenthood a young couple needs to believe nothing more than that our best will simply be good enough.

Not long after my daughter was born Dan and I were at my parents house and my mother was holding Cohen at less than one month old. My mother's lips and teeth were stained like those of a child who had taken great pleasure in drawing out his consumption of a purple sucker. Only she had consumed two bottles of red wine. I remember sitting across the room watching the way Cohen teetered in her lap. I sat torn in two - one half the maternal instinct that wanted to snatch Cohen from my mother's arms in a protective swoop - the other half of me paralyzed as the child who grew up watching her parents drink and was never able to find a single word that could combat their addiction.

This feeling of conflict turned out to be a much more accurate indication of how parenthood was about to play out for me.

I looked back onto the metaphorical dance floor, traced my steps, and stood frozen and confused as to how a path I thought I saw myself walk so clearly had taken me somewhere I never wanted to go. Parenthood forced me to confront a lot of things in my own childhood that before having a child of my own I would have just as soon never revisited. It turns out that my parents' best hadn't been good enough. This was a two fold problem.

First, throughout my pregnancy I had convinced myself that despite their flaws I could still emulate my parents and raise a child that would turn out at least as good as I have, and I felt pretty good about who I was at that time.

As a mother I realized that I turned out the way I have because of many factors in my life beyond the way I was parented and that who I am is fundamentally opposed to much of how I was brought up. This left me with no one to emulate, and the thought of flying solo as parent terrified me.

Secondly, my parents had not changed. They are the same people now as grandparents that they were when they were my parents. The only difference is that my children have a filter - me. I never had that. I saw everything. Still, it has taken me a few years to master the balance between being a protective mother and a scared kid simultaneously facing her parent's addictions and seeking their approval.

Could it be that we never truly see our parents as people until we are parents? Or do we realize upon our own entry into parenthood how little room for certain types of error there is - and it becomes clear that some of us had parents that did not share our awareness of the size of that margin for error?

Cohen adores her grandparents. She sees them on a weekly basis. Life goes on despite addiction. Life smooths over rocky pasts, despite the initial impact of strikes and blows scars form the bridges between before and after so that families can continue to move forward - which I have always felt is a family's only hope.

My mother drinks on and off, and denies being an alcoholic. My father is a shadow of the man I used to know and I spend a fair amount of time trying to figure how much of that is due to his illness and how much is do to his pain pill addiction. But my mother mostly hides her drinking and will refrain when Cohen is with her. My father is too far gone to take anyone else into consideration when seeking out his pain medication. While I have not seen the real him in almost a year at the least, Cohen will have never known the real him. She knows him now, knows what little I let her see. they have a petri dish relationship that I monitor closely.

Weeks away from having our second child I fly solo with confidence these days. I have Dan, and I am lucky to have found a partner so equally involved with his love for our children. For me family redefines itself with each addition. That is the gift of looking forward instead of back. It gets better with time. As a mother I can build on the foundation of my choosing, rather than the girl I used to be who spent her time trying to construct a castle on soft sand and mud. Recognize the power in that and flying solo will be a breeze.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Merry Christmas to All... and to All a Dog Fight!

In this "dog eat dog" economy I know many of us are looking for ways to pick up some extra cash before the holidays. While an 8 1/2 months pregnant woman can't turn to selling her body on the street (not that the demand doesn't exist, I'm just exhausted) I instead decided to hold dog fights in my kitchen.
I know. The horror. But don't tell me you didn't see this coming from the woman who doesn't even clean her daughter's wound when she's bitten by a strange animal. We all knew this was coming.
One of my favorite things about Alby is his love of being photographed. The idea for my dog fight rink began after I agreed to let Cohen stir the batter to our red velvet Christmas cupcakes if she promised not to lick the spoon. The following photo was taken after this brief discourse.

Me: Did you lick the spoon?

Coco: No.

Me: Are you sure?

Coco: No. I didn't.

The rest of the batter I split between she and Alby while I finished the cupcakes. Enjoy...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Cat Bite + Dumb Mommy = Urgent Care

Last week I sold a small kitchen table and chairs that I have had for years and our family has just outgrown. I used Craigslist to sell the set and when the woman came to get the table we began chatting about our two year olds. She had shown up in a Geo Prism to pick up this solid oak table set and when I told her I did not think it would fit she offered that she might come back later with her Accord. I told her if she could give me time to get ready I could follow her to her house with the set in my van.

At her house she invited us in and we ended up spending the day. Had I known her it would have been a normal and lovely day. The only weird thing about it was that I did not know her at all. She was very hospitable to Cohen and let her play with all of her son's toys, but her son was in daycare and did not come home the entire time we were there.

Dan thinks this is just the kind of weird shit I do. Going to a stranger's house with our daughter and spending the day. The first time I tried to leave I told my new friend that Friday was my special day with Cohen to go out to lunch. Before I could name a restaurant she had offered Cohen chicken nuggets, banana, pudding, juice, and an apple. It was my intention to say that I didn't want her to go to any trouble but then she pulled out a spiral cut ham and asked if I was hungry.

Ladies please... you show me a pregnant woman that can turn her back on a spiral cut ham and I will vow to never form another relationship based on a sale made on Craigslist.

So I ate ham and pears and pretzels while discussing everything from the current state of the mortgage market to postpartum depression with my new friend. Her husband came home, gave me the polite greeting on par with what Dan would give a strange woman he came home and caught me feeding ham to.

During all this time at this woman's house Cohen ran from room to room after her cats. At times I watched the cats let her pet them and at others I watched them run for their lives. It never occurred to me that I had to worry about a cat hurting my daughter because all the cats I have ever known cannot ever be caught. Not by adults with open cans of Tuna more than less a toddler with a rock and a stick in hand.

When the cat did finally bite Cohen it was on the couch next to his owner sleeping. Cohen was being abnormally gentle petting him while he slept. Then he just turned and bit her. She did not cry. She just looked a little stunned and I asked if she was OK. Our hostess said the cat did get her and offered to kiss it for Cohen. She received the kiss on her hand where the bite was and went back to playing. I went back to visiting.

Later that evening, in the urgent care with the attending physician it is the above that we would backtrack to in order to determine that I am a bad mother.

We left my new pal's house around 3 p.m. At 9 p.m. while Cohen was playing at the book store I noticed the tiny puncture mark on her hand was raised like a bug bite and slightly yellow. Looked like it had puss in it and was red around the edges. I remembered something about my grandmother getting bitten by a cat and almost dying. I begin to wonder if I have overlooked something important.

After a few phone calls to my mother, my aunt, my triage nurse and Dan it is decided that Cohen has to go to the Urgent Care because I am an idiot.

Dan had gone out with some friends to have a few drinks. He never responds well to Cohen needing medical care as it is, so imagine what a buzz kill it was to have to tell him that not only did I take our daughter to a stranger's house where she was bitten by a strange cat but that because I also failed to wash the wound when it happened we now have to go to Urgent care because of the rate of infection common with cat bites.

By 10:15 p.m. I have Cohen and Dan in the car on the way to the urgent care. By 10:30 p.m. I am lost, driving in and out of shopping center's looking for the doctor's office when Dan asks me to pull over so he can throw up due to the combination of what he drank and my shoddy driving. I pull into a parking lot and blast Christmas music so Cohen can't hear him throwing up.

Picture this: 10:30 p.m. a minivan pulled over by a fast food joint windows down blasting Christmas music while the dad vomits and the kid in the back screams, "Why is he throwing up? What is Daddy doing?"

As we are pulling out of the parking lot there is a police officer from the town where Dan used to work sitting in his car. Dan slinks down into his seat and asks me to please just get out of this parking lot. I am still totally lost and prioritizing finding Cohen's doctor above Dan's pride. So I pull in front of the cop and accidentally drive up onto the curb a little. Quickly he pulls out right behind me. I turn immediately into the next shopping center and the cop breezes past me. Dan considers forgiving me as we are pretty even as far as feeling like shitty parents go. I may have let her get bitten by a strange animal, but he just puked on the way to the urgent care.

There was no wait and we saw the doctor immediately. He asked me what time the bite occurred and I said it was around 1 p.m. He asked if I had cleaned the wound with antibacterial soap when it happened and I told him I had not. He judged. He told me that when my child is bitten by a strange animal I should always wash it right a way. I tried to explain that she did not even cry but it was obvious that I was an idiot and it would be left at that. He tells me again, firmly that when my child is bitten by a strange animal I should always wash it right a way.

He said she needed antibiotics for the next ten days and I informed him that she is allergic to penicillin. He glares at me again, as if this allergy is somehow also borne of my negligence as a mother and tells me that the penicillin medicine is the best to stave off infection. I state again that she is allergic and cannot have it at all, not even in a mixture. He tells me (filled with disappointment) that he will prescribe the medicine without penicillin but that it will not work as well and will take longer and then he leaves.

All I can do at this point is thank God that Dan barfed within the hour and that the barf incident has rendered him humble and without the energy to take anyone's side but mine. Incidentally, Cohen is fine, her cat bite is minor, and no longer filled with poisonous cat puss.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas Hocking

GE Profile Built-In Dishwasher Black - $250

Reply to: [?]
Date: 2008-12-03, 11:29AM MST

GE Profile Built-In Dishwasher with PermaTuf Tall Tub and SmartDispense Technology - Black

Variable cycles PermaTuf Tub and Door Liner SmartDispense technology 3 digit LED display countdown Giant tub Rinse aid dispenser with indicator and adjustment

Sells for $879 in stores NEW

We are selling ours for $250. Like New Condition. Photo on Left.

Need to sell because we got a new dishwasher

Photo on Right

- the Labrador 3000.

Email with any offers or questions. And no, there was never a dog in the dishwasher we are selling. You will just have to trust us.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Her First Phone Call May Be Her Last

In my family the holidays are much like a needed trip to the dentist. You look forward to going, eager for the end result, but when you arrive and the drilling starts you begin to wonder why you ever came at all. In the end you are better for having gone, but sore none the less.

Dan's mother was out visiting my brother in law this Thanksgiving, but she agreed to let me use her house to host Thanksgiving. By "agreed" I mean that she asked to host Christmas this year (a tradition we have always done at my house) and I stipulated that if I could use her house for Thanksgiving she could have Christmas dinner. After watching my guests get to just walk out the door this Thanksgiving I cannot remember why I ever compete to host any of these events. While it may sound like I won the battle in getting to use her house, she won the war in getting me to pick up her sister and keep her with us for the holiday.

The morning after Thanksgiving my mother and I were cleaning and packing up/dividing the leftovers for guests while Dan's Aunt watched without lifting a finger. Instead of participating in any of the work she shared a story.

She told me how she had recently had a phone conversation with her daughter (who lives back east) where Dan's Aunt explained to her that it is very difficult for her to date because all of the men out here are Mexican. She was shocked that her daughter found this comment to be racist.

I told her that maybe her daughter didn't understand that she meant that many Mexican men just come from a male dominated culture and you did not want to be with a dominant man?? A stretch, I know. She quickly corrected me.

A: No, it's because they do drugs.

L: Now that is racist, not all Mexicans do drugs.

A: And they steal, they do drugs and they steal.

L: OK, that is totally racist. If you are aware of a group of Mexican men that do drugs and steal it is more likely that they do these things because they are from an impoverished area or a position of disadvantage rather than doing such things due to their race.

A: Well, that may be, but one thing I know for sure about Mexican men... they tend to kill their women and bury their bodies in the desert.


A: It's true. I read it on the news.

L: Not all Mexican men kill their women and bury them in the dessert!

A: I'm just saying if I ever date a Mexican man the first phone call I am going to make is to my family to tell them good-bye, and to let them know to look for me in the dessert if I don't call again.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanksgiving Morning

Dan snuck out back and got these shots of Cohen and Alby Thanksgiving morning before all the chaos of the holiday. Posting to come soon...