Noggin Is Now Our Default Channel

July 8, 2009

While we were on vacation, my parents kept the boys for several days while M and I got some time away to ourselves.  It was a great bonding time for M and me, and a good way for my parents to get special time with their grandsons.  One of the ways they had to compromise from some of our parenting habits, though, was watching some different children’s shows than we usually play at home.  There are very few shows I can stand to watch, so we DVR those shows and always have several to choose from when it’s TV time.  My parents had recorded a few, but more of the time, my mom would just turn on Noggin and let them watch whatever was on.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with anything Noggin plays, other than being insanely annoying sometimes.  I recognize it’s merely a matter of personal preference, so I’ve made it a point not to cringe when PJ asks for Dora or Diego or Gabba Gabba now.  If there’s an episode on, I’ll let him watch and find something else to do so that I can ignore the TV.  (On the bright side, I don’t know when I’ve kept the house cleaner.)

In the meantime, though, I have learned that the more ridiculous the show is, the more hypnotic it is for young children.  Oh, and some of those shows are totally trippy.  Yo Gabba Gabba?  There are not words to describe this show.  I love it for the way it holds my boys’ attention–but that’s about the only reason I do.  It is WEIRD.

The shows I’ve found I can stand in moderation are Blue’s Clues (with Steve), WonderPets, Backyardigans, and Maggie and the Ferocious Beast.  I still detest Dora, Diego, and Yo Gabba Gabba.  All the rest fall somewhere in between.  I’m curious.  What kids’ shows do you like to watch with your kids, and which ones do you hate but let them watch anyway?  And while we’re polling, what do you see is a reasonable amount of TV time for your kids each day?  How strictly do you stick to that guideline?

So the Vacation Wasn’t Permanent After All

July 6, 2009

Well, this feels weird.  I had no idea when I wrote that last post that it would be the left up there for four months.  I guess I was just burned out.  I’ve written next to nothing on the family blog either, but I couldn’t abandon it like I did this one, thanks to the good-intentioned nagging I kept getting.

Not much has happened in the last four months, but I guess I’ll highlight the big stuff.

–Scooter no longer lives up to his name; he walks everywhere.

–We bought new living room furniture–yesterday, in fact.  We also sold our old stuff on craigslist yesterday, so we are without living room furniture until they deliver our new stuff on Thursday.  Nothing like camping out in your own living room.

–My baby sister is finally pregnant with her first baby, and they just moved to Connecticut for a year for her husband to have an internship at Yale.  They decided to wait five years after getting married before trying for kids, and she got the positive pregnancy test about three weeks after their fifth anniversary.  How’s that for timing?

–My little brother’s second baby girl was born on July 4th.  It really wasn’t as exciting as I thought it would be to get the news she was born.  I guess with them being all the way across the country from us, I just feel kind of detached from them right now.

–We just got back from a week-long vacation, followed almost immediately by an impromptu visit from the in-laws.  Nothing terribly exciting happened in either visit, though.  I won’t bore you with all the details.

And honestly, that’s all I can think about that’s worth mentioning.  I won’t promise to be a better blogger or not to disappear for months like that again–because quite frankly, I highly suspect blogging will not be a regular thing for me again any time soon.  I’m in a place where I don’t want to feel like I have to blog and ramble about nothing important (or worse yet, something I will be embarrassed to read later on), but I want somewhere to turn when I feel like I need to say something.  That’s the only reason I never officially closed down the blog.

So dear readers, if any of you are left, check back from time to time (or keep me in your readers), but don’t wait obsessively for me to write daily about something compelling (like I know you must have done before).  And I’ve also been sucking at e-mail lately, but if you want to talk to me for whatever reason, that’s the best way to do so.  I promise I will get back to you–eventually.

And That’s One Ugly Cover

March 2, 2009

I’ve mentioned once or twice in the past that M and I play World of Warcraft (or WoW, as it’s commonly called).  It’s an awesome game, something that has actually helped me grow in many ways, one of which is admittedly embracing my own geekiness.  If you’re in the mood to find a totally addictive, time-consuming hobby, this is a good one.

One of the benefits of WoW is that it encourages social interaction among its players.  There are many goals to be reached in the game that require teams to work together to accomplish.  As a result, I have met many interesting people through the game.  There are stories of people even meeting and marrying through the game.  (Not that it’s that unusual; after all, M and I did meet online as well.)

Some people get to be real friends, even if you have never met them.  It sounds geeky to have happened through an online game, but I suspect all of you can understand.  I’d like to think many of you are friends as well, and I’ve never met you.  Somehow you can get a better idea of who a person is when you get to know them online than you can in person sometimes.

Lately M and I have stumbled across a group of friends who know each other in real life.  Several of them work together, and the others live close enough that they can get together for parties from time to time.  M and I have become observers in the dramas of their lives and how they interact.

One of these new friends is a French guy.  The first time I heard his voice (we often play with voice chat enabled with these friends), I had to laugh.  He sounds exactly like Kermit the Frog with a French accent.  Despite my initial reaction, however, I found myself liking him.  He is a guy who has been through some real crap in the past but has come through it optimistic and good-natured.  He is clearly a loyal friend who would do anything for those he calls friends.

I made a mental picture of him, of course, like I do about anybody I meet online; I’m too visual a person not to.  I assumed he was of a medium height, kind of skinny, dark hair cut short, and probably with glasses because the odds are good anyone you meet through the game is a nerd.  I could tell he was a little introverted from the way he interacts with his friends.

Well, a week or so ago, one of the other new friends we have made friended M on myspace.  She of course has many of our new group of friends on her friends list as well.  M and I spent some time browsing through them all to see how close their pictures matched the mental pictures we had of them.

Most of them were pretty similar to what I’d expected.  The only one that wasn’t even close was the French guy.  He was short, fat in an awkward way, with long, greasy hair.  If I saw him on the street, I would run in the opposite direction, sure I had encountered a pedophile.

As soon as I saw the picture, I discovered why the others treat him the way they do, much the way you would humor a pet.  They take advantage of him, and while they can be nice to him, they also tease him unmercilessly in rather cruel ways.  And if any one of them is upset with another from the group, they take out their frustrations on French guy, like kicking the dog when you’re mad at the world.

Since then, I have realized I have a lesson to learn from this.  I still like French guy.  The guy I’ve gotten to know online is someone to respect, someone I would be proud to call friend.  It does not matter what he looks like, even though I can’t get that awful picture out of my head.  Of course it helps that I will likely never meet him in person, so I can continue with the first mental picture I had of him.  But if I did ever meet him, I would make myself overlook his outward appearance and see only the kind man inside.

It’s a simple lesson–don’t judge a book by its cover–but it’s amazing how learning it firsthand can still take you by surprise.

Baby Fever

February 13, 2009

I guess I must have baby fever again.  The last three nights I have dreamed that I was pregnant.  The situations varied a little, but in all three I was nearing the end of my first trimester, just starting to show.  And in all three I was thrilled to be pregnant again.  In one case I was even thrilled to be pregnant with our fourth child; we already had a third, a daughter named Harmony.

I’m not sure what’s behind the dreams.  Scooter is now the age PJ was when I learned I was pregnant with Scooter, so maybe that reminiscing is bringing on the dreams.  But the truth is that I kind of wish I was pregnant now, or at least thinking about it.  I know it would complicate things, and I would be sick of feeling gross very quickly.  Oh, and M is still dead-set against another baby right now.  Those are compelling reasons to remind myself the dreams are just that and squash the longings for another baby.

But I wouldn’t cry if I found out by some miracle I was pregnant again, or at least they would be tears of joy.

Itchy and Scratchy

February 11, 2009

I have a mommying question for all of you mommies who still bother to read.  Lately, Scooter has been scratching himself a lot.  It’s always been a problem with him, but in the past it was more just when he was getting his diaper changed; I think he liked the feeling of his short nails on his normally-covered diaper area.  As long as I kept his nails short, it wasn’t a problem (well, when he wasn’t scratching poopy areas).

But the last week or so, it has felt more like spring, with temperatures nearing 80 degrees.  I’ve pulled out spring wardrobes with short sleeves, and Scooter doesn’t seem to know what to do with all that exposed arm.  Every time I get him up from a nap or in the morning, he has new scratches on his arms.  One this morning was scabbed over; it had clearly bled a bit overnight.

I’ve been doing some google research, but all I can find are references to eczema, which he most definitely does not have, and baby mittens to keep from scratching (those certainly wouldn’t work with a nearly 18-month-old).  Our weather has been drier than usual lately; is there any chance that could make his arms itchy?  And how would I help it if that’s the problem?  I’m being even more diligent about keeping his nails short, but I don’t think that is going to be enough to keep him from hurting himself.  If I can’t find a solution to the root problem, I might have to keep him in long sleeves for the time being, which does not sound fun as the temperatures keep gettiing warmer.

Has anyone else had this problem?  Do you have any suggestions?

Only Interesting to Me

February 6, 2009

My parents get here this evening.  We’re keeping the boys up late to go to the airport with us to pick them up.  I think they’ll both be super excited, especially because PJ has been asking to see them every day all week, as though he senses they’re coming already.  It will be fun for both my parents to see how much they’ve grown just since Christmas, especially PJ.

I spent most of the day yesterday cleaning in preparation for them to get here.  I wonder if maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal if I made more of an effort to keep up with the housework in between visits from the parents.  Still, I’m pretty proud of the way the house looks right now.  I’m left with just vacuuming today and cleaning up the clutter from the boys right before we leave.  Totally doable.

In the process of cleaning yesterday, though, I managed to bump my knee in the exact same place where I hit my toe the other day.  It’s nothing more than a minor bruise, but I feel really silly for being so klutzy that I managed to hurt myself on the same corner of the same bed twice in under a week.  I was already wearing shoes while in the room to avoid stubbing my toe again, but it seems I need knee pads too.  I’m going to have to warn my parents to be super careful in that room, although I suspect it’s more me than the room.

We’ve been considering other rooming options, though, like putting PJ in that room, his own big boy room.  We’ve been looking into whether it’s possible to PJ-proof it (much more comprehensive than baby-proofing) and move him into that big boy bed.  The reasoning is that we could get Scooter out of our bedroom once and for all.  He still naps in our room anytime PJ needs to nap in his own room because they just keep each other up if they “nap” at the same time.  I don’t want to have to separate them, but they’re a little happier when they’ve had their naps.  We’ll see.  I’d rather if we did move PJ that he didn’t sleep in that girly, dangerous bed (dangerous to me anyway).  Eventually we can convert one or both of their beds into true “big boy” beds and move one into that other room and get rid of the girly bed, but I wouldn’t want to do any converting until I was sure PJ was going to be fine in a normal bed in a normal room first.

Anyway, on a topic that actually matters…I’m not sure how much longer I’m going to blog.  I’m getting more and more concerned with how public this blog is and how meaningless and petty most of my ramblings are.  To those of you I count as friends, you typically get me and ignore me when I’m being immature or just venting, or can even manage to be supporting when I probably get annoying.  But I know you guys aren’t the only ones who read, and I’m getting tired of putting the worst me out publicly, opening myself up to criticism to all sorts of mean, cruel people.  Fortunately that hasn’t happened lately, but it has happened in the past, and I’m feel particularly vulnerable to that right now.  That’s why most of my more recent posts have been pretty pointless.

I’m looking into other options for continuing to blog, and I’m just not quite sure a super-exclusive invitation-only private blogger blog is worth it to me.  And right now, that’s about the only option I want to consider.  We’ll see how I feel about it after the weekend, as I’m quite sure I won’t be blogging over the weekend.  I promise that if I decide to stop blogging altogether, I will at least post something saying so, and I will still be available to all of you through e-mail.

Back at Square One

February 4, 2009

All this crap with my toe is STRESSING ME OUT.  I feel on the verge of tears all the time, which only happens when I’m pms-ing, incredibly sick, pregnant, or super stressed.  I’m guessing the stress one this time.

I made it to the doctor yesterday, though.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I was expecting, even though the wait was pretty awful and I got to enjoy numerous glares in the waiting room.  (Our doctor is wonderful, but her clientele is almost exclusively low-income.  Super blonde and blue-eyed Scooter and I don’t fit in.)  Scooter was a dream, though, staying happy and giggly long past his usual naptime.

I’d expected the doctor to come in, check my toe, and send me back for x-rays.  She’d look at them and decide just how severe the treatment should be.  I honestly think based on how it felt yesterday and still feels today that it’s just the nastiest bruise you can ever get but that it’s not broken.  Based on that suspicion, I expected her to tell me to keep doing what I was doing–rest, elevation, and ibuprofen for pain.  I didn’t expect her to even tape it, much less hand over crutches or a boot or anything.

All of this was based on the assumption that she had an x-ray machine in the office like every other doctor I’ve ever been to before.  She doesn’t.

Instead, she wrote me orders to have it x-rayed at a nearby hospital.  It would have been another fifteen-minute drive, minimum, smack dab in the middle of Scooter’s naptime.  I didn’t head over there right away for it as the nurse suggested because I was afraid I was already pushing my luck with Scooter’s mood.  I called the number she gave me instead.

I went through the incredibly long process of giving her all my personal information.  Name? Blood type?  Your first locker combination?  Pin number?  The name you would have had if you were a boy?  Finally she agreed to schedule me for an appointment–not tell me whether there was a wait as I’d asked.  I gave up and scheduled one for this afternoon.  Then she rattled off the list of restrictions, or lack of, for an x-ray.  Regular medication and eating schedule, etc.  Oh, and no children under the age of 12 allowed in the testing room or unattended in the waiting room.

Um, excuse me?  I have a one-year old who goes with me everywhere.  I have no other choices for his care.  I don’t know that I could find another solution ever, much less on such short notice.  I know my voice cracked as I attempted to explain this to the lady on the phone, but at least I held the tears back right then.  Her reaction was less than sympathetic.  Sorry, but those are the rules.  Call and cancel if you can’t make it.

I don’t know what I would have done if it had still been an emergency, if I was still positive the toe was broken.  Fortunately that’s not the case.  I think it would be a waste of yet another co-pay to get the x-ray and then another waste to go into the doctor again to have her tell me it’s not broken.  Besides, by then the last trace of bruising will even be gone.  I called and canceled a little while ago.

Here’s what frustrates me about all of this:

1. What if it had been a bigger deal than it was?  It took me a day to get in to the doctor, another day to get an x-ray scheduled, and it would have been yet another day minimum to get back into the doctor to get it treated.  What do I do if I have a non-emergency emergency, something that’s not enough to brave the emergency room but more urgent than the three-day treatment I get at my doctor’s office?

2. How can the testing facilities be so callous about the childcare thing?  Is it not more important that people get their medical problems addressed than keep children away from their precious testing machines?

3. Why does the doctor’s office not know this about the testing facilities they direct all their patients to?  Why would I be instructed to take my sore toe and my baby to the x-ray place right away if they would turn me away because of the baby?

Anyway, I’m obviously annoyed by the whole thing.  I’m just glad that my toe is getting better on its own.  And M and I are discussing changing doctors.  This is just one frustrating incident of many in our short time at this office.

Seriously, Can I Catch a Break Already?

February 3, 2009

I know there is a lot going on right now that is wonderful, but the weird stuff is way more interesting to blog about.  Seriously, I feel like I’ve been living the past few days in that children’s book Wacky Wednesday, where all I do is point out what doesn’t fit.

First there was the toe.  I’m going to the doctor this afternoon to get it checked out.  Of course it’s starting to improve now, but it’s still sore enough that I’m going to keep the appointment anyway.  Maybe when I stop waking myself up out of a dead sleep because I moved my foot wrong and feel like it’s on fire as a result–maybe then I’ll know my toe is better enough.

Then there was the stupid grocery store incident that truly hurt my pride more than my mouth.

Then yesterday the dog jumped up on me when I was playing with Scooter on the floor.  Luckily she missed him, but her claws scraped my face instead.  I have a beautiful scratch right along the edge of my mouth.  Thank goodness for good concealer that hides it fairly well.

This morning’s drive to take PJ to MDO was ridiculous as well, although fortunately there were no injuries involved.  First, as I was getting ready to turn the usual way of the neighborhood, I saw emergency vehicles blocking off the entire intersection at the nearby light.  Nobody was getting by.  I quickly turned the other way, deciding it might be a good idea to find an alternate route for the day.  Then the check engine light came on AGAIN.  This is the third time in a few months.  The last two were something stupid with the gas cap, so I’m not exactly worried this time either, although it is annoying to take care of.

Then as I pulled up to the entrance to the church, I saw that it too was blocked off by emergency vehicles due to a recent accident.  Some people were finding ways around it by driving on the grass, but I decided it was silly to mess with that and headed to the other entrance.  (Seriously, why was I the only one going in the other entrance?  It was just as easy to get to and didn’t require anyone to drive on grass.)

I also avoided about five accidents on the whole drive.  People were driving stupid this morning, I guess.  I can certainly see how those other accidents happened.  I had several people pull out in front of me when there wasn’t room and others hang out in the “suicide lane” in the median with their front end in my lane and butt sticking out in front of someone else.  What’s funny is that there really weren’t that many cars out.  Why make yourself such a hazard when waiting ten seconds could get you where you need to go safely?

Anyway, I’m kind of waiting to see what happens next.  Will the sky be yellow?  People wearing shoes on their heads and hats on their feet?

Oh! Scooter took his first two tiny steps yesterday evening, just barely before M walked in the door after work.  He’s still not quite ready to take off, but that was literally a step in the right direction.

Murphy’s Law at Work

February 2, 2009

I swear the universe must be conspiring against me in my efforts to lose weight.  First I work out for almost a month without losing a single pound except the three I gained during that time period.  Then just as I start to feel good about my workout and diet program, certain I am on the cusp of true weight loss, I contract the plague.  After eight days of being certain I’m on the verge of death–or at least pneumonia–I finally started to pull out of it yesterday.  I had sudden bursts of energy that took me off guard and spurred me into motion doing all the projects I’d avoided for the last week.

Unfortunately, in the course of working on one of these projects, I stubbed my toe on the corner of our guest bed, the bed I used for the five years between college and marriage.  Yes, the bed I should be so familiar with that I would never stumble over.  Normally a stubbed toe wouldn’t be a big deal; I’d whine about it for a few minutes, certain I’d broken it, and then move on with life forgetting I’d ever hurt it.  But not this time.  Nope, a full day later, it still hurts like the dickens.  It’s still swollen, looks funny, and is discolored.  Dang it all, I think I really did break it this time.  I need to talk with M about what exactly we need to do to take care of this, but it’s becoming more and more obvious that it’s not just going to go away on its own.

In the meantime, this burst of energy that I thought was going to launch me right back into my intense workouts will have to be directed elsewhere, into some activity I can do without standing on my feet.  Because I’m suspecting that all that jumping on my toes that my workout DVD insists upon might just leave me crying in pain.

Oh, and to add to my clumsiness, last night at the grocery store, I managed to smack my mouth into the edge of the buggy as I was placing something on the bottom rack.  M claims it was probably due to an imbalance from favoring my sore toe, but I think he might have just been trying to make me less embarrassed about it all.  Here’s hoping today isn’t nearly as clumsy as yesterday.


January 29, 2009

It’s been almost a full week now, and I’m still sick.  What I need to do most is sleep, but as soon as I lie down, I’m totally awake and can’t sleep.  Instead I doze off in front of the TV as soon as M gets home from work.  I’m pushing myself too hard the rest of the day, doing only the bare minimum.  I’m never going to get well at this rate.

Anyway, that’s why I haven’t been around.  Can’t promise I’ll feel up to blogging over the next few days until this plague moves on (hopefully not to the boys).