>Hurry and Eat Before We Starve


thumbnailCA404U66I’m wondering how it is that this happens? Seriously. How does one go to the grocery store and spend $300 and be out of so much in just 2.5 days?

I came home from work this morning to discover “we” have gone through an entire box of fruit snacks, a case of Diet Mt. Dew, a box of my granola bars, a box of microwavable soft pretzels I bought because I’ve been craving them, 3 frozen pizzas, an entire bag of pretzels…

Well, we didn’t do it. Evan did. Well, all of it except for the Diet Mt. Dew.

Lately I’ve been seriously trying to cut back on the amount of junk food this family consumes and instead have been buying healthier snacks, fruits, veggies. You get the idea. I do buy a few—a very select few—snacks that he especially likes. And we unload the groceries from the car and put them away. And then it starts:

“I’m hungry. Can I have a______”

Of course when I’m here, because I don’t want my kid to weigh 300 lbs., I try to limit him. And then I go to work. And I come back to this. And John insists Evan eats it all, and I believe him because I know Evan. And then I ask John, “Didn’t you tell him NO?” John’s answer is always that, yes, he did, but Evan does it anyway.

Evan is 9 years old. John is 36. C’mon, now. Really? I know it’s easier to give in than to deal with one of Evan’s tantrums, but really this is why Evan has tantrums. Because he’s smart enough to know that John will give in. And then the vicious cycle starts. And I am the one paying for it.

The one working my butt off for the money to buy the groceries that are virtually gone in 2.5 days. And also the one who has no quick snacks available when I have a day off. Nope, by the time I have one of those, the only way we can eat is for me to cook a 5-course meal, get takeout, or simply go to the grocery store again to buy more food that will be gone in 2.5 days. And if I did that, I’d be spending well over $3K a month for groceries. Seriously, y’all. I do okay, but I can’t spend that fricken much.

I’ve thought of doing several things. I could just buy stuff by the day. But I hate  going to the grocery store, so this isn’t a good option. I’ve actually tried this one: not buying any convenience foods or snacks. The result? Fast-effin’-food 3 meals a day. Blech. Which leaves the only other option: putting a padlock on the fridge and cabinets. Really, though? Who does this? And I have a feeling this will damage Evan even more. Making food and eating such an issue will result in him having issues with food. And as a result, issues with weight.

As a fatty, I don’t want that for my kid.

I just know the current plan isn’t working.

And I’m sending out an S.O.S. to my peeps in the Blog World. Have you ever dealt with this? How did you fix it? Any ideas?


>It’s Been Over a Year


Yesterday, I was going through closets, organizing and purging. And I came across something that made me stop in my tracks for a full 5 minutes or so. I held it in my hand, turning it over and over. It looked horrible to me, like a device of torture. It was one of these:

th_101_0021An infusion kit for my Brethine infusion pump. They looked like huge thumbtacks, and I had to jab them into my thigh at least every 48 hours, but usually daily. I remember thinking I had it covered. I stick needles in people all of the time at work. It wasn’t the same. And after 3 months of it, it never got easier. The catheters were supposed to be subcutaneous, meaning under the skin. And I remember one time I felt this excrutiating pain after changing sites before my leg started throbbing and then went numb. I had hit a blood vessel and the subcutaneous drug was infusing into a vessel. And more times than I could count, someone (a doctor, a nurse, John, Evan…) would pat me on the thigh. In precisely the wrong spot.

Women wear the scars of pregnancy and childbirth like badges of honor. The c-section scar. The stretch mark. We all do it. And as we critique our flaws, we can find peace with these because they were behind our child’s presence in this world and our lives. I have more scars than that. My legs are peppered with them. As are my hips from the progesterone injections. I love these and I hate them, but I’ll get to that shortly.

My discovery today in the back corner of the closet showed me I am not completely healed from my pregnancy. I wanted to burn it. Yet I could not throw it away. Instead, I tucked it into the box of mementos I have kept for Zach. It mingles in there amidst his little cap and id band from the hospital, his footprints, his take-home outfit, and more ultrasound pictures than I can count. And there it is. The lone article that has anything to do with the struggle that occurred to bring the child here. One day I will have to explain it to him. What in the hell is it?

Well, it’s pain. It’s hope that we would get another hour/day/week/month. That he would have a better chance. It’s my love for him. It’s my darkest hour. It is every bit of my strength. It is 33 weeks and 4 days. It’s only 6 hours in the NICU. It’s terror. It’s heartbreak. It’s half a million dollars, yet priceless. It is everything I was for 14 weeks. It’s tangible proof of a miracle.

I loved and hated that stupid pump. The root of the hate is obvious. The pain, the nuisance, the side effects. But love? Really? Well, quite simply, we can hypothesize all we want about what kept Zach in there for as long as he was, but we will never know for sure. Only one thing is certain: if I would have delivered the first time I had over 30 contractions an hour, he wouldn’t have been  stillborn or a preemie. He would have been called a miscarriage. It wouldn’t have even been ethical to try to help him that early. And so if there is the slimmest of chances that that needle daily was the reason….

So no, I couldn’t throw it away. I had to save it for him. Because mothers try to tell their children how much they love them at least daily. Lucky me. Because when it comes to Zach, I have the proof.

Incidentally, March of Dimes is having their annual March for Babies as spring arrives. Click the link and help out.

>Getting Even


With my husband. My better half. Because anytime you take a pic of him, he does this crazy stuff. So it looks like I married the Great Retardo in each and every pic of him. He really does look normal, I swear. So I was going to put this one on Facebook, but he threw a fit. And by looking at it, you’ll understand why it begs to be shared with the world, even if it is just the Blog World. Maybe this will teach him to just say “cheese” next time…


>Police Women of Cincinnati


I’ve been pondering how I feel about this show A) as a somewhat-feminist, and B) as a woman, and C) as native of Cincinnati.

Oh Hell.

I have to admit that the show is entertaining. John and I have been known to watch it. And it is sort of amusing to see these locations on the small screen and know exactly where they are showing/ talking about. And then it sinks in. That there are others out there who have never been here to Cincy and have no idea that the areas they are showing are our inner city, and this is not the whole of my hometown. Can they not just show a few traffic stops in some of the nice areas just so the rest of the world can know that they exist. So there’s that- the sheer embarrassment.

And then I am full of girl pride for some killer women out there handling business. Go, girls.

But really? Really really? If these officers were men, they wouldn’t have their own show. Well, there’s Cops, but they include both male and female officers. Does TLC’s making a show about women officers mean that it is an extraordinary thing? That this is abnormal? I mean, I’m not trying to belittle the bravery of any law enforcement—male or female—who put their butts on the line to keep us safe. I could not imagine a job where I had to strap on kevlar to start my workday. But why the big distinction between man and woman if we are equal in the workplace?

So I don’t know how I feel about this show. I’ll just have to keep watching until I figure it out.

thumbnailImage: Officer Colleen,, of TLC’s Police Women of Cincinnati, getting ready to kick some ass and take some names.

>I’m a Techno-Moron


So my computer died. And I went running and screaming like a little girl this very afternoon and now I am feeling all proud of myself and ultra-cool and high-tech because I bought a laptop instead of a desktop. Not my MacBook like I wanted, but a Dell. And I just had to blog about this because I am laying on my living room floor and blogging and am uber-excited about it. Incidentally, I am playing with this new toy and some of its gadgets that I must tell you about, but I feel like such a dork because I am so fricken excited that I can do this.

I should explain that I can recall the day when one had to use DOS prompts to start a computer. And I remember sitting in my english class for gifted and talented nerds like me when our teacher came into the room telling us of this article he had read where you would one day be able to play cd’s on the computer!!! Yep, the invention of the CD-ROM. I witnessed it. And the Challenger disaster. And the fall of the Berlin wall. I remember the first Mac, with that fancy little invention called a mouse. Yep, I’m that old. I also remember when cell phones required a shoulder bag/battery and the receiver was the size of a fricken cinder block. So I am sure, with all of this in mind, you can forgive my reluctance to switch from desktop to laptop. And you can forgive my dorky excitement that I have taken my huge cyber-leap.

Now, this new toy of mine has Windows 7 on it. Not sure if I like it or not. It seems better than my desktop, which had yucky Vista on it. But there is one new feature I am loving that prompted me to write a new blog post: Windows Live Writer. It’s like blog magic, I tell ya! It asked for the web address of my blog, as well as my user name and password, and basically I am typing this like I am a word document, but somehow, it is coming up with my blog. It looks like a Word window, with the task bar and everything, but it is like I am writing live on my blog. Even the font it publishes in and everything. I’m in love. I’m retarded. But there you have it!

Next up: I’ll take a pic of me typing while I do it with the integrated webcam. That’d really be fancy, y’all!

>The Coupon Diva’s Night Out


So the fam and I went out last night to dinner, to rent movies, and then to the grocery store. And I am going to use this opportunity to vent about kids’ Valentines. You know those valentines everybody gives out because they’re like 200 for $1? For the free meals? Well around these parts, that restaurant is Frisch’s. Don’t get me wrong–I love their onion rings and hot fudge cake, but it is decidedly crap. And those free meals really aren’t free because you can’t get it to go. Meaning Evan begs and begs to use it, and to do so, we all have to go. But we don’t eat free. My guess is that risch’s make a killin’ on those things. And so last night, when John and I both wanted italian, Evan insisted. I can’t complain though. Both children behaved impeccably. Zach, who has been rather fussy lately (either teeth, his cold, or the fact that he’s been waking about 10 times per night these days) chilled in his Floppy Seat/ high chair combo at the table and actually interacted with us for the first time while eating out. Then, when our food came, he just munched on the straps of his floppy seat while we ate.

So then I get this wild idea. While the boys are behaving, I’m going to try to do something I have never done: use coupons! I have a coworker who can get stuff free by the way she uses coupons. I’m not talking that hardcore, but just want to save a few bucks. Usually my trips to the supermarket are kinda like the 80’s show Supermarket Sweep where you hurry and throw random shit in the cart before Evan has a full-blown tantrum and Zachy completely melts down. But they’re behaving, so I can do this, right?
Fricken-A Right, I can! First stop: BRU. We need formula and other general stuff. I am armed with a “$4 off of two cans of powdered formula” coupon, and gift cards I got for buying two big boxes of Pampers and a large box of wipes last time I was there
(hey, I was gonna buy them anyway…). Well the moral of the story is that I walked out of there with 4 huge cans of formula (manufacturer made cans with “25% more free”), teething biscuits, and 4-4 packs of the organic baby food I use when we go out. I spent—Ta-Daaaaaaaa!–$48!!!! When the little cans of formula I normally buy are $25 each!
So on I go to the supermarket from there, and I won’t bore you with the details, but between the sales they were having with their frequent shoppers’ card, and the coupons I had, I saved about $68 off of my order.
That’s money I would have spent.
Holy crap!
I am a fricken COUPON DIVA now! I’m converted.


>Evan is recovering nicely from his recent illness, which I’m thinking was viral. Zach ran a temp between 102 and 103.5 all weekend, and although it broke Sunday morning and has not returned, his inbility to tell me what hurts had me taking him to our family doc yesterday to be sure all is well. Yay for Zach! Everything checked out fine, so it was either viral or was caused by teething. (Nope, no teeth yet). While there, with a doctor I work with repeatedly in the ICU’s, we went over Zach’s milestones again. He’s so hard to gauge because I compare him to Evan, who did everything at the speed of light, except for speaking. And I have tried to be laid-back about the whole thing: Zach will do whatever when he’s ready to do it.
The moral of the story is that the doctor is worried not about Zach’s fine or gross motor development–those have a way of catching themelves up and any mild slowness has mostly been the result of prematurity or simply from baby chunk and resolves itself. But he was worried about the sensory stuff: that Zach still, at 9 months, gags on anything thicker than nectar-thick (the consistency of pudding is too thick for Zachy!), that he isn’t babbling mamama/ dadada/ bababa yet. And so the first step is an appointment with an audiologist at my hospital to ensure that there is no hearing impairment. I should mention here that we don’t think there is at all, but since it is the number one source of this sort of delay, it has to be ruled out. I can tell you that his newborn hearing screen was perfect, as was the more indepth one they did because he was premature. He has never had problems tracking us by the location of our voices. When we speak to him, he looks and smiles. We are both sure that his hearing is fine. It is more of formality than anything. Something we have to rule out in order to go to the next step.
So what is the next step from there? Well it could be one of two things. Given that Zach has always had green nasal drainage from birth, it is entirely possible, according to our doctor, that there is a pocket of fluid in his ears. It also is unlikely because he has never had a single ear infection, and usually babies with drainage problems will have fequent ear infections. We are really hoping this isn’t the case with Zach because it will mean he will need tubes in his ears. Surgery. I don’t even want to think about it.
So after both of these are ruled out, Zach will be seeing a developmental specialist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. I have mixed feelings about this. I hate that he has to even go there. This is where the overzealous doctor made the false allegation with Ben, for starters. It is also where Ben was treated by the team of pediatric cardiologists, and thus holds some very painful memories for me. And that place is terribly depressing. Nothing will make you appreciate your healthy children like a stroll through that place,where you are liable to see anyone from newborns to teens with these horrifying medical conditions. And then on the other hand, there is relief. Because while you never want to need them, you feel absolutely grateful that there is a facility a stone’s throw from home that breaks ground daily in just about any treatment for children imaginable. They even work in collaboration with Good Sam to do surgery in utero if need be (Yes, it’s called The Fetal Surgery Center of Cincinnati or something like that). (Good Sam is the OB Mecca I griped about while on bedrest if you followed my pregnancy blog. Gah! I hated going to that place!) If there is something wrong with Zach or he needs any sort of treatment or therapy, I can trust them not only to find it, but to be completely competent at treating him. And that is about the only ray of sunshine in this whole Godforsaken mess.
Because I cannot get it out of my head that this is my fault. That I should’ve lied about my contractions while pregnant. Because if I would have done that, there would have been no home uterine monitor. And thus no trips to the hospital. And no drugs. And no early c-section. But my God, the drugs…3 months of the Brethine pump, plus the oral form I took before the pump and the subcutaneous injections I got each time they sent me to the damned hospital. The mag sulfate–evil, evil mag sulfate. The indomethacin. The steroids to speed him up in there. The damned pain meds it took to get me through that last month, which my OB assured me were safe. And the progesterone shots. I keep wondering which one it was, knowing full and well that it is likely none of them that did this. Which brings it back to me. Which takes me back to those last months of my pregnancy and makes me contemplate whether I could’ve held on longer. It’s so easy to speak of this now when I have had nine months with my angel and am free from that pain. But then? If I put myself back in that place, I think I can honestly say that I did the best I could. Me and my uterus of which medical mysteries are made. I have to be nicer to myself about this. I was in an active labor pattern for months–literally–and I effing functioned like that. Yes, I did the best I could. And while I am not trying to stroke my own ego here, I think I would be hard-pressed to find many others who could’ve endured that for as long as I did. But still…
And John’s reaction! Argh! Since he dropped Zach and I off for the appointment that was supposed to be a routine check and ran errands with Ev, I had to explain all of this to him. And his response to all of this still infuriates me: ” ARE YOU TELLING MY SON IS GOING TO BE RIDING THE SHORT BUS TO SCHOOL??????” Seriously. And then: “We’ll have to get a ‘Slow Children Playing’ sign for the yard just for Zach.” I know he was just trying to make me laugh, but still. I could’ve killed him, I swear. Completely unhelpful and inappropriate, John.
So anyway…
I have to wait. I have to hope all is well, or that his delays are so mild that minimal therapy will fix it all. I still hate that we are in this place.
The ball starts rolling on February 28th, when Zach sees the audiologist…