Tuesday, January 31, 2012

If I Could REALLY Draw

I would draw Calvin and Hobbes fan art.




Have more? Please send them to me!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Kristina's Child Find Visit

At Kristina's last preschool parent/teacher conference, her teacher expressed some concerns about Kristina's focusing and listening skills.

As we had been having the same difficulties with her at home, I went ahead and called the recommended Child Find and made an appointment for her to be screened.

The Child Find Program is operated by the Boulder Valley School District, and all children 0-5 living within the school district are eligible for the free service. They will evaluate everything from vision and hearing concerns to social and emotional development, and give you the resources to address and help the problems at hand.

I believe there are similar programs in place nation wide, and would definitely recommend contacting your local public school district to inquire whether they have a similar service available if it's something you might need. 

The screening started with hearing and vision tests. Although we didn't have any concrete observations about Kristina's hearing being lacking, all the ear infections and tubes during her baby years certainly put in the real potential for substantial damage to have occurred.

However, Kristina's hearing and vision were pronounced perfect, and we moved right on to the speech evaluation.

She did well with it overall. It included naming pictures on cards, describing what they were for, saying the alphabet and naming the sound of individual letters, picking out a block based on color, counting, and answering hypothetical questions such as "if you were thirsty, what should you do?"

("Get some water or juice to drink!" was Kristina's immediate (and very correct!) answer to that one. And if her giving the correct answer to an obvious question seems like an odd thing to remark on, you have not spent enough time around preschoolers, because some seriously RANDOM shit comes out of their mouths all the damn time.)

Kristina's language overall was very good. Her mistakes, such as using the ffff sound in words with a th (like saying "free" instead of "three") were labeled as very age appropriate, and not of concern. Her cognitive reasoning and conversation skills were excellent, and everything else fell well within the expected range for her age.

Next came the motor skills. Fine motor activities are NOT Kristina's forte, and I was most concerned about how this part would go.

First the evaluator had her draw simple pictures, starting with a line, and then a circle, and continuing through several simple shapes and letters with each being a little more difficult than the last. Kristina's pencil grip was awkward and weak, and even though I was somewhat concerned at whether she was doing very well with the whole thing, the official diagnoses still placed her within the normal (passing) range for her age.

Then she was set to the task of cutting, first following a straight line, then a curved line, and then cutting out a dinosaur. I have to admit, I owe a big thank you to her preschools over the years for giving her these skills, as I have not been big on having scissors readily available for small hands.

(Note to self: let Kristina use scissors more.)

(Note to self: let *gulp* Adrianna *gulp gulp* use scissors.)

(Note to self: don't cry when if Adrianna cuts off Kristina's hair.) 

And finally, it was time for the gross motor exercise, which involved balancing on one foot, jumping, and skipping, all of which Kristina did at age level. I actually thought she seemed a little clumsy from her normal activities, although that may just be because she was trying to do things as instructed instead of simply hopping on one foot when the whim strikes as she usually does. 

Overall Kristina was marked as Passing for everything, and was not seen as needing any additional services.

And that diagnoses leaves me slightly conflicted.

One the one hand, I was actually worried that they might try to stick an ADHD diagnosis on her, and that I'd be fighting about medicating her (or rather, my refusal to do so) for the next 10 years. But on the other side, the idea of 'bring your child here for whatever sort of play therapy once a week, and we will make things noticeably better in 6 months' really didn't sound half bad either.

They did suggest a few things for helping in day-to-day life, such as making sure she gets active time before school, incorporating sneaky fine motor things like drawing maps and making signs/labels into regular playtime, and giving her a picture list of specific toys to play with during unstructured free time to help give her direction and focus.

And ultimately, just recognizing, embracing, and coping with the fact that she is an intensely spirited child.

She is MY intensely spirited child.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Oh Crap, I Started Dreaming Again

Anyone remember me mentioning how I *really* liked to pick out corresponding places to live back when I was applying for all these awesome career jobs?

Well, as the job search became more and more futile, I also became more and more depressed about my lack of having any possible way for me to obtain these wonderful homes.

So I stopped looking up apartments to rent and houses to buy, and limited myself to watching HGTV only once or twice a week.

I do loves me HGTV, even if they didn't pick me for the awesome pink room house giveaway

But then, about a month ago, I pulled up the listings for homes for sale in Nederland.

A coworker had been asking me about rent costs up there vs. in Boulder, and I had been unable to find much of anything listed to rent at all (after telling him there were always these cheap little cabins available), and that inspired my MLS search.

And that impulsive little search caused to me falling in love.

With a big yellow house.

You know that Peter Paul and Mary song about being in love with a big blue frog? No?? Oh, well then I suppose me singing "I'm in love with a big yella' house, and a big yella' house loves me" doesn't make much sense.

Moving right along....

However, after having that glimmer of very real hope that maybe there would be something I could possibly afford someday (like, perhaps the people who have it under contract now will update the kitchen then list it again for the same cheap price in 6 months, stranger things have totally happened after all), I started to look at jobs a little more too.

Also, my father expressed crankiness about the rotating schedule I presently have. I really don't mind it, but as I'm relying an exceptional lot on my parents for various things right now, their opinions matter.

I've scanned the government job posting site a few times, and went back to some of my old haunts for city and law enforcement job postings, but really haven't gotten particularly excited about anything despite sending in a few applications.

And then, there was a piece of paper push-pinned up by the time clock inside the Target employee offices.

It was a posting for an HR Specialist position at a Target location down on the east side of Denver.

The drive from my parents' place wouldn't be pretty, as googlemaps estimates the time at over an hour, and that's with using some of the main interstates that get congested with rush hour traffic and thus probably wouldn't actually be going at the calculated 75mph rate very often.

But rent rates weren't terrible out there, at least not compared to the Boulder area.

And house prices themselves were down right drool worthy.

Like this little guy, listed at a mere $114k and located 3.3 miles from the job posting and a block from an elementary school. Even adding in a stop by a preschool only brings the morning drive time up to 14 minutes, which is still less than half of what I'm driving now.

I could deal with that.

Did I mention the job posting said it was a Mon-Fri 8-5 job with some flexibility?

I could really deal with that.

The house itself is a nice size for us, if I do say so myself, with three bedrooms together on the main floor so the girls could each have their own while still being nice and close to me.

You know, so I can HEAR them finding mischief at all hours of the night, and make an educated decision as to whether I should get up from my soft warm cozy bed and step in. 

As it does only have the one bathroom (although it's shade of pink is certain to win favors with this family), I could see there being some real merit in putting in a second one in the basement in a few years, and then turning the two bedrooms and the family room already down there over to them entirely as they get a little older and more independent [read: able to bathe themselves and less likely to strangle themselves with a blanket].

I like the look of the yard a lot. The patio area and long driveway are just great for learning to ride bikes and scooters and making chalk murals. There's enough grass to do grassy play while still not seeming overwhelming to me, and maybe even room to stick in a trampoline. Kristina needs a full size trampoline soon, she's almost too big for the toddler one but has the need to move like that more than ever. It's a little hard to see, but I think the tree in the back already has a tire swing on it and everything.

But see, this about the point that I start to mentally arrange living room furniture and suddenly come to the crashing realization that I don't actually have the job that would possibly require living in that house, and that there's only more depressing details and annoying realities like that even though I could probably manage the monthly payment for a $100,000 mortgage, I still don't have the savings in place for covering all the other expenses like a down payment and closing costs.

Oh well... it can't just be a flight of fancy forever I suppose.

.......Or at least, I hope.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Difficult Question to Answer

The ever wonderful friend/cousin/mommy-of-Kristina's-favorite-person-to-visit-Quinn/sender-of-delicious-cookies/missionary/minister LauraJean asked a simple question in response to my blog post about how marriage should be more like divorce.

As she was the person who both married us and insisted on us doing a little long distance pre-marital counseling, her asking how would I have reacted to those very questions when I was getting married held a lot of weight for me.

After all, she just might get to marry me again some day, and just might be crafty enough to ask just that.

But it hasn't been an easy question to answer, because the straight up response is simply "I don't know".

And that's a really crummy answer to give her!

So I've been really trying to give her something else, something more, something better than that.

I've written out a very long and detailed story chronically in great detail how Peter and my relationship came about and how his involvement with the military really had a heavy hand in shaping it's progression. But then at the end of it, I'm back to the mindset of where I was when we got married, but I still don't have an answer for her.

So please read the following with understanding and encouragement, the subject matter is not an easy one to deal with. 

How would I have reacted to someone demanding I make a full and thorough financial evaluation with this partner? I would have balked at the idea, and then tried to get Peter to do it (he did take a major in economics, after all, while I picked my major solely to avoid being required to take Intermediate Micro), and finally done it myself when he didn't and would have found it to be a painfully unsavory requirement.

But I would have genuinely tried to do it. Honestly, I probably would have managed to fail horribly at coming up with a reasonable family budget, as numbers and I are not friends and we do not play well together, but I would have handed her some scrap of paper with the basic financial information on it and might have even had some clue of what was truly our family financial situation. You know, instead of how it was where as long as there was enough money to pay mortgage and buy food I didn't pay any attention to bank accounts.

How would we have planned for children? I think the only thing I've proven worse at budgeting than money is children. Not to say I don't do a reasonable job taking care of my girls, but I never PLANNED my parenting. And the few slight preconceived notions I had of how things would go were so comically wrong, I'm not entirely sure that parenting on the fly is truly a bad thing for me.

However, it would have been nice to actually have Peter involved in some of it. I liked having complete executive power over everything dealing with it at the time, but that both left him feeling unneeded and only encouraged his lack of interest in the girls, and overall it just wasn't good for having a fully integrated family unit. So it probably would have been nice to be in a situation where he was forced to do something more than just agree with whatever I said or did in regards to having children. Like, BEFORE we had children... which is still a somewhat mute point as I was seriously pregnant when we got married..... but those are small details in the matter.

How would we have structured holidays and vacations? I actually did always like the idea of hosting the big family gathering for Christmas, and we had fallen into the routine of visiting his extended family's Thanksgiving celebration before we were ever married, so much of that came to be probably very similarly to how we would have said we wanted it to be on paper. 

You know, while also ignoring reality details like how having large quantities of our parents in small confined spaces with me for any length of time starts to stress me out a TON. Mostly because everyone else is stressed. So then I get stressed about other people being stressed. Bah, too much adult stress, not enough unadulterated joyfulness running about. Dammit, I like my holidays JOLLY. 

How would we have worked together as a couple? Well see, this one I really don't know about, because we don't do it very well with most things. But I suppose either we would have figured it out and then had a much better (or at least longer) marriage, or we would have realized that he doesn't like it when I have to nag him and I don't like it when he doesn't get his part done and that perhaps this wasn't the symbiotic relationship of our dreams.

How would I have defended myself to the world on the choice of marriage? Well, ironically, I spent the first 6 months defending why we didn't HAVE TO get married just because I was pregnant. Until I finally just gave up and figured we might as well get married anyways, since everyone wanted us to and I wasn't coming up with any good reasons against it beyond the ideological "having a baby together is a crappy reason to get married" which nobody ever seemed to listen to.

So I'm going to say it again. Here. Now.

(Not that it matters any more or that anyone is going to be listening to me more than did before, but just being able to SAY it makes me feel better.) 

Getting pregnant together is a crappy reason to go get married right then. If the guy is a decent human being, he will be there to support the mother and child to the best of his abilities regardless of whether he signed piece of paper committing to such. If he's not going to stick around and be involved in their lives, a legal status saying he should isn't going to make him do so.

A marriage does not make a family, and the lack of a marriage does not mean there is the lack of a family. And the part of the world still saying otherwise is wrong.

So there you have it, my best attempt to answer the simple question of how I would have reacted to those anything-but-simple thoughts I had about a better pre-marriage screening process.

If the process to get married was as much of a pain as the process to get divorced has been (and assuming there wasn't extraordinary circumstances like pregnancy and the resulting world breathing down your neck about why aren't you getting married every 12 seconds), I highly doubt Peter and I would have every gotten married.

Hell, we've barely managed to get ourselves divorced....

[Side note: as I'm sure at least a few of you have been wondering (especially those of you keep asking me about it) we have been scheduled for what is supposed to be our final hearing set in court the third week in February.]

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Gingerbread House Story

Some people make elaborate gingerbread houses, or even villages, from scratch each December to introduce their children a classic holiday tradition which will then be passed on to their own children for no easily determinable reason beyond it is what they did themselves growing up.

We are not those people.

We are the people who buy a pre-made kit three weeks after Christmas because it's on sale at 90% off.

But hey, it still counts as an enriching and parent/child bonding filled activity, right??

(Or at least a generator of blogging material activity, thanks to Kristina's camera skills.) 

At first, things were going well. Kristina was excited to make the house, Adrianna was down for a nap, and I got the house frosted together without incident.

Kristina eagerly started placing gum drops along the roof line with more care and focus than she has for most projects, and I started congratulating myself on bringing home such an entertaining and bargain worthy activity for her.

And then the roof pieces promptly fell off.


I guess the directions to let the house sit for at least 30 minutes before decorating weren't kidding. But never fear, for Mommy is here with the icing bag and will simply re-attach the roof!

There we go.

Now time for some more candy to be applied by Kristina!

And then Kristina wanted me to make the roof red and green.

I may have been slightly skeptical about this idea. However, I accommodatingly went to work covering the roof in colored frosting, and even got about 3/4 of the first piece done.... 

.......When the roof promptly fell off. Again.

I said, Mommy will re-attach the roof!!! 

There we go. The angry face does wonders for making low-quality frosting kinda sorta do what it's supposed to.

And then Kristina continued to put on candy for another 10 minutes until she got bored and decided she'd rather bounce around the house on her new hop ball than sit at the table any more if Mommy wasn't going to let her eat any of the candy. 

And the house came out just picture perfect! See!!

What's that you say? You think that's just a picture of the box the kit came in? Oh, well, don't worry, I'm sure ours came out looking EXACTLY like it!

Like, I'm even pretty sure it had a roof on it at least some of the time....

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Learning Experience: Online Clothes Shopping

I recently ordered myself some new clothes.

(The middle of January is always filled with lots of wonderful clearance.)

Plus all my work clothes are getting rather worn.

(Apparently that happens when you wear the same few outfits 5 days a week for 6 month and like for them to be clean when you first put them on.) 

However, as I haven't been exactly been ordering large quantities of new wardrobe in a while, there were a few unexpected things I learned in this last venture.

1) I have very poor judging-levels-of-khaki-ness skills via the computer screen.

I keep searching for pants that meet the "khaki" color requirement for working at Target that are a little darker than the standard light stone color, just because they get so dirty so quickly and the lighter they are the worse they look by the end of the day. Plus I don't actually like wearing khaki colored pants. So I keep ending up with pants that are too brown to wear at all or really really pushing the khaki code.

2) Skinny jeans should be avoided at all costs.

It doesn't matter how much weight I've lost this last year or how trendy they might still be, skinny jeans do NOT look flattering on me. And I should know that already. Being on sale 75% off doesn't change any of that. No, it really doesn't. Now if only I could remember that detail when I'm shopping.

3) I don't actually know what pant size I wear anymore.

Apparently it's a very small number at this point. And that kinda freaks me out, and makes me compulsively eat bagels. And cake. Because being able to see my ribs is very strange and possibly an indication of unhealthy. And I keep ordering pants that are just too big, and then getting annoyed when I couldn't possibly wear them (and keep them up) without a belt.

4) Contrasting reinforced elbows look stupid on t-shirts.

How did I not notice this when originally ordering? I really couldn't say.... But hey, borrowing from the mens department is still a nice fashion change up from the 70s and 80s styles that keep sneaking back into the mainstream. Also, men know what shirts are, a lesson that would be good to rub off on far too many college students I see prancing through Target.

Coming soon: Making returns, with children.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Sneak Attack of Lonely

Most of the time I am not lonely.

Between working at Target and living with my parents and having the girls, I usually retreat into my evenings of solitude grateful to have a few hours of (mostly) uninterrupted quiet and space.

(And my computer.... I loves me internets.)

But then, every so often, that overwhelming feeling that I am missing someone, that partner, that friend, that confident, sneaks in and gollumps me from out of nowhere.

I have enough sense to avoid romantic comedies like the plague and do my best to console myself that blatantly happy couples still have the same problems as everyone else, some just hide them better than others.

But sometimes those actions are not enough to ignore the culturally ingrained idea that the world should always operate in pairs and that my other half is missing.

Tonight the crippling realization of my lack of yin (or is it yang?) was from none other than my bloggy reading list and a pair of beloved cousins.

Remember LauraJean? She's the mother of Kristina's partner-in-crime Quinn, who recently had a second adorable little blue-eyed girl and is often a source of love and compassion for me.

Well, she put up a sweet little blog post featuring a perfect picture of darling baby Maya.

Ridiculously cute, no?

But then, mere moments later, her husband Tim published a longer piece about political agenda and environmental conservation.

Which I should probably admit I merely skimmed, as it just wasn't as captivating as gazing at baby Maya, but he's really quite smart and I'm sure it's a well thought out and stimulating read, and I have every intention of reading it more in depth once I stop alternating between cute baby coos and self-pity long enough to regain abstract intellectual thought processes.

But you see, it wasn't even WHAT they wrote about that mattered at all! It was that the two of them were blogging at the same time, and me seeing that and imagining them sitting on the couch together with their laptops, quietly talking about things as they came up and just enjoying each others basic presence during the moments of internally focused silence.

And suddenly I felt very, very alone in this silently sleeping house and found myself desperately missing having that other person next to me.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Making House

Since the arrival of the infamous storage pods of furniture, things have been a bit cluttered around the basement.

However, last week I had a bought of amazing evening energy, and actually managed to get the main downstairs living space rearranged how I'd been wanting it.

I essentially swapped where the girls' toy area had been with the couch/tv space, to give them a larger space to play and to allow for the brief hope of creating a space for me that wouldn't constantly have them *right there* in it.

And now I just need to figure out what to do with the pile of toys I essentially just moved from one side of the room to the other....

But lookie how pretty and adulty I made the alcove!

I might even follow through with my intentions to "decorate" it. Eventually.... I don't want to seem too capable and efficient here or anything like that.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Piano Dancing Sister

Grandma and Poppa picked up this little gem of a toy for Kristina a few Christmases past, which then was left in storage and has been a big hit with both girls since it's been brought back out.


The camera was then turned off so I could discuss with Adrianna that she isn't to sit there and play with the on/off switch and instruct Kristina that she is to use kind big girl words when telling her sister she shouldn't do something.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Thought on Marriage and Divorce

As I have been going through the long and pain-in-the-ass process that is getting a divorce, I often wondered why getting a divorce wasn't more like getting a marriage.

I mean, getting married was EASY!

Sure, some people over-complicate the matter with throwing an overly elaborate party wedding, but the bare bones part of technically getting yourself legally hitched is remarkably quick, easy, and cheap.

Well, so long as you're not gay.......... sorry gay people, I know I shouldn't whine too much about how hard it is to get divorced when it's way harder for many of you just to get married in the first place.

(BTW- assuming you managed to get married in a semi-standard fashion in the first place, does the divorce process work the exact same way? Can a same-sex couple file for a legal divorce in a state that doesn't authorize same-sex marriages? How about the process in Canada?) 

The never ending forms to fill out, finances to wrangle, negotiations to make... divorce not a fun thing to deal with!

Why couldn't it be the same way as getting married? Show up with your family lawyer, say your "I don'ts", sign a piece of paper, eat some cake, and you're good to go.

But then, as I went through the divorcing process more, I realized I had it backwards.

Getting married should be more like getting divorced.

Getting married should force you to sit down together with your finances and REALLY look at them. All of them. Debts, assets, property, investments, income, bills, taxes. How are you combining them? Keeping them separate? What do you want them to look like in a year? In 5 years? 20? What do you have to do to make that happen? Do you agree on savings/retirement/spending? Daily family budget? Big purchases? Who spends more on a daily basis? Who brings in more income? Who will be responsible for paying the phone bill every month?

Getting married should force you to talk about children and about so much more than whether they're a yes/no vote. When are you going to have them? What if you can't? Who is going to be the primary care giver? What duties will be shared? Is there going to be outside the home childcare wanted? Needed? Have you budgeted for it? Are you in agreement to what their schooling should be? Diet? Immunizations? How will you potty train? Will insurance cover speech therapy if it's needed? When do you need to start a college savings fund? Who decides when and how prevention is implemented when you don't want any more adorable buckets of drooling showing up? What happens when you get a "surprise" in 10 years?

Getting married should force you to plan out the year. Whose family will be visited at Christmas? Do we travel during the summer? How much time do we need to plan vacations? Do we make every effort to attend family functions? What will we do for the kids' birthdays? Father's day? Chinese New Year??

Getting married should force you to work together as a couple. Who is the one that takes care of the paperwork? Who is the one keeping track of all the follow up details? Who procrastinates? Who nags? Are you ok knowing that you will each fall into these roles with each other on everything for the rest of your lives? Can you have reasonable conversations about stressful things? When stressed? Do priorities match?

Getting married should force you to defend yourself to the world. Why are you doing this? Is it a good decision? Have you thought things through? Really through?? How will this impact your life? How will this impact other people's lives? Are you absolutely positively sure it's what you want? Why?

And then you're not allowed to actually get married until you're in agreement on EVERYTHING.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012



The CU students came back to Boulder en mass this past weekend.

The store had gotten busy in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, and then stayed busy through the week after Christmas.

And then, the last week and a half or so have been blissfully calm inside Target.

Sure we have ridiculous amounts of clearance all over the store, most of which requires daily rearranging, and some very unlucky employees got placed on the Bounceback Team and have been spending their days scrubbing shelves and replacing label strips throughout the entire store.

But overall it was still absolutely wonderful compared to what had been passing for work in recent months.

And then....

The dorms reopened over the weekend and classes started today.

And you would think college students had never bought nail clippers and Easymac before in their lives.

Repeatedly I brought out a stack of boxes full of spiral notebooks, and all of them were snatched up before I could even get them on the shelf.

Every check out lane was open and lines were nearly as long as during the official back-to-college week in August.

And the trash left on the shelves.... so many empty wrappers from candy and energy bars, half finished sodas, empty starbucks cups, the occasional empty McFlurry..... who raised this generation and why didn't they teach them better than that?

Also, if I have to make change for one more less-than-five-dollar purchase being paid with a hundred dollar bill, I just might start ranting about trust funds right there at the check lanes.

Welcome back students, our daily sales goals are happy you're here.

Monday, January 16, 2012

This is Important

Rachel over at Grasping for Objectivity recently published a truly impressive post, Coexist.

I have long felt this way, and even tried to express these feelings at various times in things I have written.

But she DID it to a level I have never reached and I am simply awed by the power of her words.

Read it. Feel it. Share it. Remember it.

Motherhood is hard, and there really should be more acceptance, understanding, and encouragement.

It didn't

The (Post) Baby Belly

I recently stumbled across this picture I took of me with Adrianna about 30 hours after giving birth. I wanted something to put up as my facebook profile picture at the time, but didn't have quite enough rockin' momma self confidence with the pudgy I-just-gave-birth belly and that-40-lbs-wasn't-just-baby butt and all.


In (skinny belly) retrospect, that makes me kinda sad. It's an adorable picture, although looking at it now I could still probably manage to accurately draw circles around exactly what I didn't like about my body in it.

But I had JUST given birth! Alone! After gaining twice as much weight as the last pregnancy!

I was looking fabulous!!

I just wasn't quite fabulous enough to see it right then....

I knew going into the hospital with Kristina that I would walk in wearing maternity clothes and I would walk out wearing maternity clothes because the nice lady at the birthing class told me I would.

Well, she said I would still look like I was 6 months pregnant, and I was bright enough to deduce that I would still need maternity clothes.

(Did I ever tell you how I kicked ass on the law school admissions test? I'm so glad all that brilliant power of deduction is being properly used... as I work an entry level retail job.... and will only have to work there for 10 years to cover the cost of my college education........... *sob*)

But getting right back to my birthing class story...

The nice birthing class instructor more right than I ever wanted to admit.

But see, I didn't know anything before going through it because I hadn't ever spent any time around someone who had just given birth.

I had no idea my belly even looked awesome during my first pregnancy until I was in that very same childbirth prep class and had to watch a video of someone giving birth (lets just say I'm not a fan of watching that particular miracle) and saw a belly absolutely covered in stretch marks. Apparently I just had no idea what stretch marks actually wore prior to that moment in time. And my sexy smooth preggers belly had NONE until 3 weeks before Kristina showed up, at which point I was like, oh...... and immediately started rubbing even more excessive quantities of cream all over my vain midsection.

And now I wonder about our culture, and how I had reached adulthood (and tripped over motherhood along the way) without ever seeing a real life pregnant belly up close and uncovered in person.

I do have two distinct memories of people breastfeeding, one being a friend of my mothers who had a daughter some years younger than me, and one being the family I nannied for the summer after my freshman year in college.

(The second family almost made me swear off breastfeeding completely, since I was the one always stuck holding the hungry baby while the mother tried to just get this one thing done real quick......)

And that's still not exactly a lot of exposure to these things, considering the amount of breeding people around.

But hey, we're evolved, so we all live alone in our isolated dwellings while using a computer to attempt to fulfill our basic needs for human companionship.

And because everything we see is so filtered, photoshoped, and otherwise altered we have no idea of what humanity really looks like.

The good, the bad, the ugly.... and the postpartum belly.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Discovery of Energy Drinks

Turns out the Target employee break room is a never ending place for new experiences in life.

Yesterday was my first time having an energy drink.

Which quickly progressed to my 4th time having an energy drink. Which quickly progressed to me bolting up and down the employee area hallway because I could not possibly consider sitting on my break. Which quickly led to my energy drink privileges being revoked. Which quickly led to me feeling sick, and not liking energy drinks any more.

And then I made it into a rage comic just for you! 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Almost Code Yellow

A "Code Yellow" is called out at Target when a child is lost, and all the team members on the sales floor begin the search for the missing offspring.

However, some team members can be a bit abusive of that Code calling privileged.

Yesterday I briefly stopped by Target with the girls, and as no stop by Target with the girls is complete without a visit to the toy section, we most certainly found ourselves visiting the toy section.

I was greatly enjoying the various team members who happened to be moving around the huge piles of toy clearance right then (which goes to 70% Thursday morning, in case anyone needs more plastic in their house) as it provided me people to chat with while Kristina poked away at the little kiddo video game demos and Adrianna made all the princess dolls make out with Ken.

(Yeah, totally not kidding there about that last part.)

And then there was a moment where Kristina was asking me something about an electronic toy, and my attention was briefly focused on locating the "on" button.

And Adrianna darted off around the corner.

My coworkers were very amused by my few moments of slight panic until I found her three aisles over honking away on a bike horn, and thought that calling out a Code Yellow about Marty losing her kids would be quite funny.

But see, I didn't actually LOSE them. Temporarily misplaced one, yes, but that is different from one being truly lost.

And a truly lost child isn't that funny at all.

It's a small percentage of my coworkers who have children, and as a result that is a subtle detail missed by them.

Although, I would also argue that it's very hard to truly lose a child inside Target.

It's a large store, but the space is still finite, and the employees know it (and the where-to-find-lost-children hotspots) well. The front doors are the very first things monitored when a Code Yellow goes out, if the child was to leave the store it would have to be immediately after being misplaced and before the Code was initiated.

There are at least 20 employees on the floor at any given time, all of whom should scoop up a small wondering-alone child and bring them up to Guest Services, and that's without a Code Yellow.

Adrianna was misplaced. I found her in less than 60 seconds (with no help from my heckling coworkers, I might add). I have never seen a Code Yellow last more than 5 minutes before someone locates the missing child.

It is hard to truly lose a child in Target. 

However, the temporary misplacing of children (and spouses and friends.....) is a common affair.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dear Dream Fairy, You Sucketh

Dear Dream Fairy,

I would like to lodge a formal complaint with you, as my dreams have not been up to standard recently.

I know you are a busy little being, off bringing dreams to the world and all, but I would greatly appreciate your attention to this sub-par quality that's been coming through.

Allow me to give you some examples.... 

No parent or child caregiver should ever have to have dreams of changing especially disgusting exploding diapers (believe me, they do enough of that during their waking hours). However, this last week I have had very vivid dreams of just that on THREE separate occasions, and one of them didn't even involve my own child! No more dream poo in slumberland, mmkay?

I deal with time and stress and the need to be places at certain times and the stress of that possibly not happening and why on earth can't my children put on their own shoes and coats when we're running late on a very regular basis. I really don't need to wake up in the middle of the night with my adrenaline pumping and freaking out about being late to something that never actually existed in the first place. I'm having an unpleasant physical reaction to these mental flights of fancy you're sending me. And it sucks. Do you think we could do something about it, and like, not take a few years off my life due to imaginary stress?

And staying on the theme of having physical reactions to mental flights of fancy, the dreams where I end up doing stuff like having sex with my boss (whom I don't even have a particular fancy towards) in very extreme circumstances (terrorists take over the store, we were on a plane that crash landed on the Swiss Family Robertson island, turns out he was training me to be a covert operative for the CIA this whole time, etc.) weird me out. A lot. And then I go to work and get all discombobulated from it. Now, if you just need suggestions of men to stick in that leading man role, I would certainly be happy to make a few, as Leo DiCaprio and Hugh Jackman spring readily to mind....

The dreams of commercials make me want to stab my brain. Please fix that glitch and make sure the updated spamware is installed. Thanks. 

Finally, could I just stop having the ones about horrible things happening to my children? I know, dreams are playing out your subconsciousness and I can't help but be bombarded by all the ways my children could possibly die from sleeping in beds with blankets and stuffed animals or by eating peanut butter, but I wake up crying from those and then have to go risk waking up my peacefully slumbering babies just to hold them until I feel better. They're sleeping through the night these days (well, most of time anyways), I should be too.

Thank you for your attention to these matters, I look forward to getting them resolved promptly.

Like, perhaps tonight?


Monday, January 9, 2012

The Bedding Liberation

Despite emptying out the storage pods and moving all my belongings into the garage nearly a month ago, I have been ashamedly bad at getting things farther along.

I did manage to get my bed together after spending a week sleeping on my couch, which I was actually rather happy about initially since it is the best couch in the world and I had dearly missed it, but then it eventually turned back into just sleeping on the couch, thus I had to nearly give myself a concussion dent my parents' precious walls actually assemble my bed frame.

And then I remade it with the same sheets I'd been using, which if my memory serves at all must be somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 years old and are most definitely looking every year of it at this point.

And that made me very sad.

(In all fairness, my mother did have the bed neatly made with much newer and nicer guest sheets when I arrived a year ago, but they never managed to feel like anything other than guest sheets to me, so at some point I elected to use the old ones instead.)
However, it was still a few more weeks before I got around to pulling out the large trash bags full of bedding from our house and digging out the couple sets of sheets I knew were in there.

But then, I realized something as I gazed at those sheets.

I didn't WANT to sleep on them.

Admittedly, they were exceptionally unappealing as Peter had spent the couple months between when I left New York and when we packed up the house sleeping on them without managing to use the washing machine and then the subsequent 8 and a half months in storage didn't exactly freshen them up a whole lot.

But even clean, they would still be most certainly stained from Peter. I never did figure out why, but something about the temperature he sleeps at and sweats at during the night with his body oil secretion and chronic lack of pajamas made it so he ALWAYS stained the sheets horribly even when they were being washed on a weekly basis (and believe me they were, because he also made them smell icky in that staining process, and I have a weird compulsion against sleeping in smelly bedding).

And as I stood there looking at them more and more, I remembered how I had picked them out not because I really liked them but because I thought Peter wouldn't mind them.

He always held a staunch and overly verbal position against floral bedding.

But see, Peter's not sleeping on this bed any more. Which means he won't be staining any more sheets or voicing stupid butthead opinions about not liking roses ever again. 

It's bad enough I will be sleeping on what was our bed for the next 20 years, I most certainly do not need to be sleeping on sheets the reek (and I do mean that in every possible context) of him as well.

And so I went out the next day (ok ok, I just stopped by the sheet section Target after work, but it was still a very conscience, if lazily and ultra-conveniently done, decision) and bought myself a very nice set of purple floral pattern sheets. I have big plans to get a nicely matching purple quilt set as well, but as I am presently really trying to watch spending and avoid further financial upheaval as much as possible it may be a few paychecks until that part.

But it will so happen. 

Because I'm an adult, and I can just go buy a set of sheets if I feel I need new sheets. And I can choose any set of sheets I damn well please.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Kindergarten Round-Up

This past week included the annual Kindergarten Round-Up for Nederland Elementary, and Kristina and I found it to be quite the informative affair.

(Even if I was slightly disappointed at the complete lack of lassos involved.)

But first, I must make sure you are aware that this particular elementary school just so happens to be the exact same one I started my school career at 21 years ago, and which I haven't been back inside of in at least 18 long years. So I had ever so few trepidations about re-entering this building for the very ironic reason of sending my own offspring off to Kindergarten.

We began with a tour graciously hosted by a pair of 5th graders from the peer leadership program (note to self, put Kristina in the peer leadership program), and I was surprised by how everything was simultaneously familiar and confusing as hell. I'm still not sure I could find the art room again, despite clearly remembering that we met for brownies in it the moment I walked stepped inside, and it's really damn hard to observe things as an objective parent when all you can think is whatever horrible childhood trauma happened in that room.

For example, I cannot tell you what form of piano was in the music room (was there even a piano?? be dammed if I know....), because I was too busy remembering how I tried to get a couple friends to sign up for the talent show with me (I was going to play my recorder. I'm sure I had seriously badass 5-year-old recorder skills, and would have been the Hot Cross Buns star of the night) and then they ditched out on me at the last second IN THAT EXACT MUSIC ROOM.

And I had the overwhelming urge to ask whether the old computers that had been replaced just last year in the computer lab with new ones could have been the ones I used twenty years ago. Part of me thinks it's highly unlikely, as they were really pretty lame even then (I had to use the non-colored version of Microsoft Paint to draw pictures!!), but then I see the absolute unchanged-ness of everything else in that school....... 

But anyways, eventually we made it back to the little cafeteria where we got to eat pizza and Kristina whined about there not being soda to drink.

(Sorry kiddo. Remember the time when you were a toddler and we were visiting the grandparents out here and you wanted to share that other kid's snack when we were at Gymboree and it turned out to be whole grain oat crackers and organic cranberries and you thought it was shit and you tired to hand your half chewed mouthful back to him? And then we went out to New York and all the other moms kept pantries fully stocked with Oreos and Capri Suns and you thought that was seriously awesome? Yeah, we're back to healthy Colorado now..... you should just be glad they served regular pizza and not sushi.)

Then they herded all the children into the gym and herded all the parents down to the Kindergarten classroom for the big orientation.

(Interesting side note: Kindergarten classroom chairs totally felt big after sitting on the preschool ones for a board meeting a few nights prior. Tiny chairs are all relative, I guess.)

The principal at the school just started this past fall, but seemed like a decent enough sort. He also has a couple little kiddos himself, including one going into the very same Kindergarten class as Kristina, so I suspect he may be very involved with the little ones for the next few years and I'm ok with that.

The Kindergarten teacher herself was just enthralling. I think Kristina will do well with her, which is a nice feeling to have even if it's hard to objectively say why I came to that conclusion.

As there is only half day Kindergarten at this point, there is also the Kindergarten Enrichment program which serves to create a full school day for the little ones, and it's taught by another slightly-less-awesome-seeming teacher. However, her classroom had a sandtable set up with My Little Ponies, including several from the 80s and two of decent rarity/collector value from when they first came out in 2003, so she can't be that horrible of a human being.

So Kristina's day will be split, with half being in one classroom as official Kindergarten, and the rest being spent in the Kindergarten Enrichment room next door.

You know, assuming I get her signed up in time and can work out all the financial issues as they most certainly charge for the extra time at school. However, they said that it is covered by CCAP (the assistance program the girls use right now to cover childcare) and that there are scholarships available, so I'm hoping that cost won't be a concern beyond getting the right paperwork done.

We also heard from the school nurse, who did a very politically correct little speech about how the school is PRO immunizations (you hear that hippies??) but that there is a waver that can be signed if you choose not to for personal, religious, or medical reasons. Kristina is totally up-to-date on all her shots, but I did have the thought that it might *almost* be easier to just sign a waver. And then she also said that school quarantines the non-immunized kids and doesn't let them attend if there is an outbreak of something like whooping cough, so the implications of her missing a month of school suddenly made the paperwork hassle seem worth it.

The main office person talked quite a bit about various policies at the school, how registration works, and all the assorted contingencies that go along with things. She seemed to be the one that pretty much ran the school. I have a lot of respect for the people in those roles, and hopefully will find her as helpful as she seemed to be during the upcoming school year.

And then, we got the district school bus director (or whatever his exact title was). The idea of just sending my child off on the school bus was rather stressful to me, however after he went over everything I started to feel a little better.

The Kindergarteners MUST sit up front by the bus driver, and he very clearly stated that if there is a big sibling who wants to sit with them, then they too will be sitting up front. The Kindergartners are met by the Kindergarten and Kindergarten Enrichment teachers just inside the school doors for the first month or two upon drop off. The Kindergarten and Kindergarten Enrichment teachers take the Kindergartners out to the buses at the end of the day and make sure that each child gets on the correct bus. The bus drivers have lists of the children who should be on their bus. Any changes to bus schedules (such as going home with a friend) must be communicated to the school at least a day ahead of time in writing. The bus driver will NOT let the Kindergarteners off the bus if someone is not at the stop to pick them up. They WILL radio the school, who will try and contact the parents while the bus continues the rest of it's route. If nobody is there to pick up the Kindergarteners on the return pass, the bus will take them back to the school and deposit them into the care of the office staff.

So yeah, all that "we know who your child is and WILL BE keeping tabs on them" stuff really did make me feel better.

And then he began to mention that their system for sending out bus schedule notifications is complete crap and most people never even get theirs.....

It was an informative night, and I was quite proud of myself for being able n hich they were clustered on in the Kindergarten classroom and getting in trouble for picking my nose and wiping it on said steps.

(My mother recently mentioned that she ran into my Kindergarten teacher, who is presently pursuing becoming principal certified, and I just don't know if I could handle professional meetings with someone whose most prominent memory of mine involves them scolding me about boogers, so I'm kinda hoping she doesn't become Nederland Elementary principal until my kids are through or I manage to gain a lot of maturity and start feeling like an adult.)

And Kristina just had a blast with the whole thing. When I returned to the gym to retrieve her, she had made several new friends of whom I had to pry her away from. I then took her down to the Kindergarten classroom, for even though it had been a stop on our tour we didn't have the chance to actually look around at all, and she was all set to spend the night there exploring everything in depth.

Now we just need to wait another 7 and a half months......

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Year to Turn Two

My dearest Adrianna,

Today is your second birthday, and you have certainly filled the last year with growth. I'm continually amazed at the little person you so clearly are and so fully project onto the world despite still having minimal language. You are a loving and imaginative little girl, always eager to share your sippy cup with a doll or put a stuffed animal to bed. You are a child after my own heart with your clear adoration of ponies, dollhouses, and pink fairy wings. You think you can take on the world so long as you have your trusty blanky, babydoll, and paci at hand. Sometimes though, you could save me a little stress and not HAVE to climb quite so high or insist on trying EVERYTHING Kristina does. Also, I'm still betting you are going to be the one in the emergency room with a broken leg, for although you don't have your sisters boundless energy and instant mastery of all things gross motor, you also have no fear of the laws of physics and like to do things like climb to the top of large rocks and jump off of them. I truly love how you're still my little snuggly baby sometimes, and as a result totally let you get away with still sleeping in my bed when you want. But I know those nights are dearly numbered, and will be done with forever very soon. So enjoy what you're getting away with while it lasts my little princess, as far too soon you will be big. But then again, you ARE my littlest baby, so maybe you'll never be too big. (Don't tell your sister about that part, even when she insists that she's not little because she's four and a half.) However, as much as I love you still being my baby, I am eagerly looking forward to this next year when you (and I) will fully leave the babyhood behind. Diapers and pacifiers and maybe even sippy cups will all go in this coming year. You will start truly TALKING, and fully expressing all those incredible ideas I know are already bouncing around your head. I will be able to purge our home of all the lingering baby toys without guilt, and will gleefully buy you any number of dollhouses and My Little Ponies. You might even grow enough hair to wear pigtails (with bows, of course). I cannot wait until you get to go to regular preschool, as I know you sorely want to and continually feel that it isn't fair that you can't yet. And I know you'll constantly surprise the world with just how amazingly smart you really are. I love you sweetheart, and am so incredibly happy that you are mine.

 Happy 2nd birthday Adrianna