Hey. So I’m just going to go ahead and get it all out about today.

Vomit. Vomit and poop for the last 48 hours from everyone but me. (SO FAR.)

When there are three people suffering from this kind of sick and only one of the three is self sufficient that leaves me with the assist. Now, to be fair, the bigger one is somewhat self-cleaning, but seeing her poor little face with tears because she feels so damn awful and there isn’t a thing I can do for her — that’s a different story. She’s been pretty low key, she’s napped a lot and stayed pretty quiet and non-demanding.

This is why we rescue pets.

THE LITTLE ONE ON THE OTHER HAND. She plays this twisted game of “I’M FINE!” all day long then when night comes she turns exorcist on me. During the day I’m required to wrangle a very nosy two year old away from two very sick people who want nothing to do with the human race, hearing any sound or being touched ever again. During the night, it’s all about washing vomit out of hair at midnight and changing sheets while simultaneously keeping the cats FROM LICKING VOMIT.

I’ve had to consider every single thing I’ve prepared over the last 48 hours based on what it would be like when it comes back out. I will say this, two hyperemesis pregnancies have made a vomit master. Just last week I was overwhelmed with the feeling that all I do all day is feed people and as soon as they’re done with one meal they’re wondering what the next one will be. Lately no one wants to eat anything which makes *that* part of my job super easy.

Silver linings.

I had the chance to sneak away to the gym today and the treadmill warned me about halfway through my run that my heart rate may be too high and I should take it easy. I can say I have never reached maximum capacity on a treadmill before, I sort of felt like a boss. It may have been the first time ever I actually enjoyed working out, normally I do it just so I don’t die unhealthy — but today felt really cathartic.

I had to take Vivi with me to the pharmacy where she bolted down the feminine care aisle, spread out her arms and shouted “LOOK MOM, YOUR DIAPERS!” then as I paid for my one thousandth prescription for Zofran ,Vivi figured out how the snaps on her shirt worked and was half naked by the time I turned around.

I plunked both little girls in the tub before bedtime because everyone had worked up a funk over the course of the day and without me even asking they took turns washing each others hair, my heart may have exploded a little bit. Moments later Vivi asked to see everyone’s nibbles (nipples) and demanded I take out my ‘udders’ so she could see mine.

I politely declined.

Have you seen this video? The company can basically have all my money (and it already has a lot) and tears because dear sweet heavens.

Hey there, lost my mind today when my lunch was interrupted several times by someone who claimed they didn’t know how to wash strawberries and then again by someone who kept making demands of said strawberries. I feel I should also mention I was hiding in the kitchen to eat my lunch so the circling vultures wouldn’t move in on what I had made myself rendering me lunchless.

I’m in this stage of life where I don’t get to just sit down and eat, I get to serve everyone else, cut big things into small bites for some people and make sure everyone has a drink, enough sauce, the right utensil and if something gets spilled I’m usually the one closest to the towels. It’s okay, it really is. I can still remember the last time my dad ever cut my French toast for me, I wonder if he remembers it too? If he remembers that transition to me not needing him for stuff like that anymore.

This is exactly the type of thing you can’t focus on when you’re a parent. Like when’s the last time I took a shower without someone asking me about my udders? When’s the last time I used the restroom without someone banging at the door for something? When’s the last time I talked to another grown up I’m not related to? When’s the last time I had an uninterrupted meal or conversation? While we’re at it, when’s the last time I shaved my legs? WAIT! Where did that chin hair come from?

It’s nice to raise these little people to independence, but sometimes the road to independence is paved with screaming frustration.

Like today.

This weekend I’m headed to New York City with my camera. I miss having my camera in my hand, I miss that excitement of having a memory card full of possibilities and going to bed at 2 am because I just can’t quite quit Lightroom just yet.

My hands have been full, literally and figuratively, being a mom.

The mom part of me is worn out, the wife part of me is grateful for a husband who supports what I love to do. The creative part of me is desperate to get out and make something beautiful and tangible that doesn’t hide under the table to poop or laugh when I take off my pants.

What is your thing? What is your escape? What brings you back to center and recharges your batteries for everything you have to face in life?

This is mine.

Self Portrait Chicago '08

(Side note, this photo is from 2008, before Vivi came out of my hips sideways and permanently altered my bone structure. Ah, memories.)

Cody’s been telling me all sorts of random facts about cats lately.

“Did you know that 80% of cats carry a bacteria that causes depression in humans?”

No, but I’m well aware husbands have a 100% chance of causing grumpiness in their wives.

“Did you know cats just think of us as big clumsy cats? Do you ever think Wink wonders why Percy doesn’t pick him up? Did you know cats never forgive?”

Buddies when it's cold.

*******

I was talking to a very trusted phone on the friend the other day when we came to the conclusion that sometimes parenting just isn’t worth it, but we keep doing it because sometimes isn’t all the time and most of the time it is worth it. We did wonder what it would be like to be parents who just didn’t care. Donuts for dinner! SURE! TV all night long with no bedtime? YOU BET! Teach you manners and responsibility? PFFT, that’s what society is for! We were both horrified by the idea of not doing the best we could and decided we’d better keep going with our shared end goal of not sending entitled and lazy buttheads out into the world, you’re welcome society.

But there are days.

Days when there are screaming fits and shrieks of terror because the world isn’t made of cheese and because you refuse to play “Roar” for the 14th time in a row on a long drive.

Days when it would be easier to say “FINE! EAT NOTHING BUT CHEESE AND WATCH CAILLOU! SEE IF I CARE!”

Today was one of those days, it’s as though Vivi noticed my renewed sense of worth and decided “Oh? You’ve got patience? LET ME TEST THAT FOR YOU M’KAY?” Rather than giving up and giving in to her, I made her take a nap, I don’t think anything else in the world could have made her more mad at me.

I used to scream and cry a lot when Addie would throw fits, because I didn’t know what I was doing and her anger scared me. The fits are easier the second time around, but then again they nearly killed me the first time so maybe that isn’t a very trustworthy statement.

Cats may not forgive, but kids are resilient and forgiving little creatures.

*******

Now we’re all going to watch this (again, if you’ve already seen it) and be glad the Internet exists despite the a**holes who lurk in its darkest corners.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Home Run Inn Pizza.

*******

I once saw a triangle with ‘sanity’ ‘clean house’ and ‘happy kids’ written at each corner. In the middle of the triangle it said PICK TWO.

I picked happy kids and sanity.

Proof of a day well spent playing and baking cakes. I can have a clean house when they move out.

I can have a clean house when the kids are gone.

For a long time I tried to make a meal from scratch 4 nights a week, allowing one night to eat out and two nights for leftovers. I enjoyed trying new recipes, but someone was always dissatisfied with what I had made and there came a point where I became so tired and fed up with trying to please everyone that I just gave up and made everyone eat cereal for dinner for a week. Between Cody training for a marathon, Addie’s gymnastics and the guilt I felt for feeding everyone cereal instead of an exciting variety of spices and flavors a downward dinnertime spiral began. Cody stepped in to help, which meant a lot of breakfast for dinner and spaghetti. Pinterest and Instagram only compounded my guilt after seeing the marvelous meals others were preparing for their families, meals their children would willingly eat that covered the full spectrum of food groups. My poor kids, would they never know the joy of curried chicken with roasted Brussels sprouts lovingly prepared from scratch by their mother?

Then one week, I don’t remember exactly when, I realized there’s exactly one thing I do not care about when it comes to dinnertime.

[Read more...]

To anyone who has never truly experienced humid cold, bless.

Growing up in Utah where it would snow two feet overnight and one was still expected to make to school on time, the way Indiana reacts to weather has always amused me. Two hour delays and school cancellations for a few inches of snow. ADORABLE. In fact, Addie hasn’t had a full day of school since January began, if school hasn’t been cancelled (7th day cancelled today!) she’s been on a two hour delay, meaning instead of being dark and freezing cold outside, it’s light and freezing cold outside.

These are Addie's siren songs. #NoFilter

I’ve heard a lot of debate about why these school cancellations happen (also! church has been cancelled for two of the four Sundays in January so far as well.) Some say it’s because Hoosiers simply aren’t outfitted and prepared for this kind of weather, or that the more impoverished areas of the city can’t afford proper warm clothing. (Which is even more silly because chances are keeping kids home keeps working parents home or working parents paying for daycare or even kids home alone because their parents simply cannot miss work, on top of that many kids rely on the schools for their only meals in a day. Clearly keeping them home makes perfect sense.) It’s not like it doesn’t snow here, or get cold, because it does — and the same coat you use for that weather can be used for this weather, just put a few more layers underneath and don’t stay outside for long.

Even the government is shut down today.

Because it’s cold.

Not because it’s snowing, not because there’s already several feet of snow on the ground or because it’s a terribly blustery day. Nope, it’s just cold. The sun is shining, the roads are clear and it’s cold.

Show me a weather map and I could point to a dozen places that are colder and more weather affected than Indiana who are still doing business as usual.

Perhaps it’s just the Utahn in me who grew up knowing that life goes on no matter how much it snows? Perhaps it’s the mom in me who is tired of keeping two little girls entertained?

I wore them out. FIST PUMP.

Cody has found me crying in the closet twice, I’ve painted a dozen My Little Ponies (I’m getting quite good), I’ve eaten a hundred plastic and felt food meals served up by Vivi, I’ve read every book we own, watched every episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ever produced by Disney Junior, I’ve not only made entire cities out of Play-Doh — I actually cleaned and detailed all of our Play-Doh gear, using toothpicks to shove the dried bits out of every nook and cranny of every plastic rolling, cutting, squishing and shaping device. Later I will take a razor, a pair of scissors and a serious attitude to the brush of my vacuum which currently looks like a long thin tribble and I will lie in the middle of the floor in a patch of sunshine wishing I were anywhere where I could go outside with less than eight layers of clothing.

Perhaps it is that there is no end in sight, just cold for days and days and days and being indoors for days and days and days and not being able to go outside for longer than 10 minutes without feeling my nose hairs freeze and crack off.

Even the cats are sick of us, they have both found places to hide where we can’t find them all day. Only at night do they come out to borrow our body heat through the night.

Yes gentlemen, you have my attention?

Knowing my luck a whole school bus of kittens and puppies will freeze today and all the firefighters who try to rescue them will lose their noses and fingers to frostbite in an attempt to save them and I will be seen as a terribly grumpy and inhumane person. (Bitter Betty (hi, me) is going to take this moment to eat her words since there have been deaths related to all this cold. Apparently 5 people died while shoveling snow (which, don’t bother, it’s too windy anyway and no one’s going anywhere) and several have been homeless people who have either refused or not made it to shelter in time. Other deaths are from traffic accidents, not necessarily related to the cold, but still, they happened while it was cold. So while I am still grumpy about being so cold, be safe. A list of emergency shelters in Indianapolis can be found here.)

Where are you at? How’s the weather been for you? My friend Ami has been making her chickens hot oatmeal and baked potatoes, I don’t even make my kids hot oatmeal and baked potatoes.

 

I had my eyes checked today, they have continued to improve over the last several years. Three years ago my prescription continued to hold strong at -5.00 (twice legally blind! whee!) Last year I demoted (promoted?) to a -4.75. Today? -4.25! My eyesight is basically the only thing that has improved since turning 30.

DON’T GET ME WRONG, I LOVE YOU SO HARD 30′s!

But I don’t remember EVER requiring this much upkeep in my early 20′s. If I actually kept up on everything I think I’m supposed to be keeping up with I wouldn’t get anything else done.

You know how sometimes you wake up really late and you stumble into the bathroom to see if you grew any new blemishes or wrinkles overnight and a cat jumps on your back? No? Just me? Weird.

I read a terrible beauty magazine while waiting today and realized there is basically a surgery or cosmetic fix for every part of my body, and based on the magazine I’m supposed to already be on my second or third round of Botox and as my jowls are beginning to sag, it’s time to look into non-invasive procedures as I am the best candidate for such treatments.

Have you ever bought a refurbished something? A phone, a hard drive, a computer or camera? They always seem to come with some sort of sticker that says “Lovingly refurbished by the fine folks at Apple” or something like that? What if once someone crossed the boundary into cosmetic procedures there was some sort of sticker or bracelet that declared “Lovingly refurbished by Dr. Zoots?” Not so we could judge them or the work they had done, but so we could feel a little less terrible about our stock model bodies and maybe learn about what we’d like to have done ourselves? Maybe?

I wish I could say with absolute certainty that I love my body, because most days I do — but sometimes it betrays me. Genetics have landed me a pretty sweet set of undereye bags and cellulite worthy of a dozen cottage cheese jokes. I grow chin hairs, nipple hairs, neck hairs and there’s even a few dark ones that pop out on my cheeks. I’ve never had, nor will I ever have thighs that don’t touch or knees that aren’t extra padded.

Have you seen the ‘Tootsie’ interview with Dustin Hoffman about when  he realized he didn’t make a very pretty girl and no matter what had been done to him, nothing would have made him what he considered to be attractive? I had this big moment after watching that for the first time where I realized I never have been, nor will I ever be considered a whole host of what are considered desirable female attributes by society — and with body parts spreading out and heading a little further South each year I’m never going to be.

And that’s okay.

I’m not terrible. I have really good eyelashes, really good hair, a pretty good neck, amazing (all natural) boobs and petite little wrists.

I’ve started telling my daughters I’m beautiful” is one of the best things I’ve ever read on the Internet. It changed the way I look at myself and the way I talk about myself. I remember growing up thinking my mom was the most beautiful woman in the world, and I wanted to be just like her. With every derogatory thing she said about herself, she would shatter my realistic idea of ideal, which meant I had to find a new ideal — and guess what? The ideal I found in magazines and on TV was one I would never, ever be able to achieve without growing 6 inches, spending my life in a tanning bed and having several eating disorders.

With more and more people commenting that Addie looks just like a tiny me, I have to be even more mindful about how I carry myself in front of my daughters. I don’t ever want her to believe that my thighs, eye bags and soft belly are not ideal — because my thighs, eye bags and soft belly are closer to reality than anything she’ll ever see in the media — and they work just fine.

Walt Disney World Marathon

Last week I told her that there’s a very good chance that she’ll grow up to look just like me. (I was secretly terrified of what her reaction would be.)

Her reaction? “YAY! You’re the prettiest mommy in the whole world!”

Phew.

I’m doing something right.

(Please, don’t let me screw it up.)

 

I wonder if Cody will remember as much about our vacation last week as I remember about our cruise back in November, which isn’t much. While I remember everything overall (the gorgeous dining room, the shopping mall in the middle of the ship, a few of the shows and how big and bright our room was) there are an awful lot of little details I don’t remember, food for example. I know I ate it but I couldn’t tell you what it was (aside from the milkshake I had at the onboard Johnny Rockets, that thing was delicious.)

One day when I was particularly unwell the medical staff had me take my nebulizer treatment in one of the treatment rooms with a bed. About 10 minutes into my treatment an older gentlemen came in and started talking to me about how I was feeling, how my treatment was going and if I liked NASCAR. When I said I was from Indy he instantly started quizzing me on my favorite drivers (um, ?) and asking me if I had heard of so-and-so or such-and-such racing. He then told me his racing team had donated a few items to the High Seas Rally on board to raise money for charity and the ship had asked him to come down to the ship’s hospital to say hi to the patients. He then pulled out racing cards and started signing them, it was at that moment I realized he thought I was a chronically ill charity patient there with the High Seas Rally in need of a little celebrity pick-me-up from one of the rally’s sponsors.

HA!

I took the cards and bragged about them at dinner, I also felt a little guilty that I wasn’t exactly the type of patient he had been sent there to cheer up, but I was most certainly cheered up in a strange and twisted kind of way.
Cody learned how to sur...nevermind. #FreedomOfTheSeas

The other thing I remember about our trip was Cody’s obsession with the Flow Rider, a surf simulator located at the front of the ship (or maybe the back? I was really sick.) Cody declared after one turn on the Flow Rider that we would only be cruising Royal Caribbean from here on out because of the Flow Rider and over dinner he asked the PR rep for Royal about each ship, “How many Flow Riders does each ship have and which one is the least busy?” I spent a lot of time watching him, and others — because even though I was sick, seeing other people wipeout never stops being funny.

Cody actually got really good towards the end of our trip, but no one wants to watch someone getting really good at something — they want to watch the process of getting good at something (aka they want to watch people fall. A lot.)

So I present to you Cody’s finest wipeouts in his learning-to-surf journey:

(Cody and I were invited to experience the Freedom of the Seas together back in November. Travel and accommodations were covered by Royal Caribbean. All opinions are my own. Especially the one about people falling down on the Flow Rider being funny.)

2014 is already 1/24th over and I’ve not done a thing around here, not that I haven’t wanted to — I’ve just been busy keeping other people alive. Tiring work, keeping other people alive. But I feel as though I need to give you a brief update, as well as document things for myself because if 2014 goes as fast as 2013 I’m going to look into suspended animation because, whoa, slow down.

1. I actually cried over a biscuit last night. It was this culminating moment where I just felt so screwed over as a parent and was so frustrated and selfishly angry that parenthood is such a thankless gig. I DO EVERYTHING FOR THESE PEOPLE, I just wanted the biscuit I ordered. (Maybe there will be more on this one later, I’m still feeling out my emotions on it.)

2. I cried at the bottom of some stairs on Monday night because the elevator was broken, it was 11 pm and Vivi was fast asleep in her stroller. It wasn’t the true emotional pressure release I really needed, but it was a start. Woe be unto the people who are around when my true meltdown occurs.

3. Oh, by the way, we were in Florida all last week. We covered Universal Orlando, Disney World and the Walt Disney World marathon. We took off last Saturday because we knew the weather was going to get dicey and we just got back at 8 am this morning. Yes, we drove. Yes, 16 hours is a long way but it was totally worth it.

4. Despite being gone for 12 days, Addie only missed two days of school because school was cancelled ALL OF LAST WEEK. Meaning had we not gone I would have been stuck in the house with these little girls for ANOTHER week (after Christmas break) with polar temperatures outside. WE BASICALLY RULE ON VACATION TIMING.

5. Cody ended up getting vertigo on Monday (brought on by a double ear infection and sinus infection) and he was easily the most sick I’ve ever seen him in our entire marriage. He was rendered completely incapacitated for at least 4 days, and is still recovering from the spins. He’s also recovering from running a marathon on Sunday, six days after he was released from the ER.

Cody runs his second marathon in the morning, six days after being the most sick he's ever been in our 13 years together. His motivation? He wants the medal. Wish him luck. #runDisney #wdwMarathon

6. Poor Cody, yes? Also, perhaps you remember that the last time we went on vacation together I got pneumonia. At least on that trip we didn’t have the little girls with us, I was a very primary caregiver for the majority of our trip last week which is part of the reason I cried at the bottom of the stairs and over a biscuit.

7. Regardless! We had fun. So much fun. Those two little girls together surrounded by Disney magic was just that, magical.

We're just going to pretend a dozen toddler meltdowns didn't happen today.

8. Our hotel room at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge had bunk beds for the girls. Despite our best efforts to wedge Vivi in, she still managed to fall out of bed at least five times.

9. Vivi is addicted to roller coasters. She went on Flight of the Hippogriff at Universal Orlando six times in a row, and the only reason we stopped at 6 was because I was *thisclose* to passing out. At Magic Kingdom she rode Goofy’s Barnstormer 10 times over the course of three days. She giggled like crazy every time. Addie on the other hand, she’s always cried on roller coasters and still does.

10. We have something in our family called “Mickey Sandwich O’clock.” It started with Addie when we took her to Disney World for the first time in 2008. You know that point in a very busy day when everyone is DONE and tears are all over the place and there’s maybe a little screaming? That’s when we seek out Mickey-shaped ice cream sandwiches and chill. Works every time.

11. Wink missed us. He held hands with Cody and me as we took a well deserved recovery nap today. I’m fully expecting a face full of cat tonight.

12. Cody refused to wear his marathon medal out in public — because despite him finishing a marathon after being so sick, his medal was third tier in the assortment of available runDisney medals. You see, people had the option of completing both the half and full marathon and receiving a special “Goofy Challenge” medal. There was also a “Dopey Challenge” medal for people who completed the 5K, 10K, half and full marathons over the weekend.  In protest to not winning all the medals, he’s already got his eyes on the “Double Dumbo” and “Coast to Coast Challenge” medals in Disneyland. THEN he can walk around with all his medals and not feel the least bit inferior.

ER to finish line in under a week. He got his medal, now he gets a nap. #runDisney #wdwMarathon

13.  Addie is quite possibly the best kid to ever exist. I mean, ignore the incessant questions, the refusal to comb her hair and the fact that she can’t keep her room clean for more than an hour — the kid is just spectacular. I could have never survived last week with Vivi without her. She also managed to run a 9:06 mile in her “Mickey Mile” race, Cody is boastfully proud of that little girl.

TERRIBLE driver. (But fun!)

14. Totally unrelated to last week, I’m amazed at how many people were pregnant at the same time as me or after me in 2011 and already have another baby, or are pregnant for a second time. I cannot even fathom either, I am barely holding myself together with two six-years apart — even friends who swore they were done with 2 are onto 3, 4 or even 5. I am not that lady and God knew *exactly* what He was doing when He gave me the two He gave me when He gave them to me.

15. Last week I received an unexpected email that informed me that my best is moving to Belgium by fall of this year. I’m not really okay with it but I don’t really have a choice. All I do have is a current passport and a broken heart, she was my first real friend I made in Indiana, she’s who made Indiana home to me. Sure she’ll be back and I’m sure time will fly and we have the Internet and blah blah blah, but Indiana will never ever be the same without her. :(