29 June 2014

"Answer Me This," Week ??

Phew. Little Munchkin has been battling a fever for three days -- low-grade until today -- but she'd been happy as a clam so we decided to take a risk and bring her down to my husband's aunt's farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains as planned, fever and all. 


In my defense, I did vote against it. She had seemed a little more crabby this morning, but she woke up happy after a morning nap and so I gave in and agreed. She spent the first hour there happy as normal. Her Bella and Poppy brought her the little inflatable pool they keep at their house and some umbrellas to protect her from the sun and she splashed away happily. The second hour brought some serious sleepiness and attendant crabbiness because:

a) We left her pack'n'play at my parents' shore house, where we will be next week on vacation, to minimize our load in the car on the way down and because we didn't think we'd need it this week; and

b) I spent a lot of time training her to sleep in her crib. And only in her crib. Aside from her crib, she will sleep in her car seat, sometimes. Which turns out to have bitten me square on the rear end because sometimes you need a kid to put her head down and sleep, even if she's not in her crib.

So we left before dinner. She slept in the car in two half-hour bursts. By the time we got home, her fever had spiked to almost 104, when it had been hovering around 100 for two days. We gave her some Advil and a bath, then she took another half-hour catnap, and then she was ready to par-tay until a good hour past her normal bedtime. 

Commence demon-child meltdown during prayers. What the what? Daddy pulled out the calming skills he didn't know he possessed and she eventually went to sleep. Daddy is already asleep himself, about ten minutes later. I am not far behind, but first: Answer Me This! (There will be no graphic or pictures in this post because I'm exhausted. Sah-rry.)


1. How often do you take public transportation?
Next-to-never, anymore. Back in my single, livin' alone days, I took an Alexandria city bus to work on the daily. Since my first apartment, I haven't lived anywhere that's particularly public-transportation-friendly. Also I started working from home alllll the way back in 2007 so I don't really have anywhere to go.

2. How many cousins do you have?

Uhhhhh.... I think the total is 33. That works out to 28 on my Mom's side and 5 on my Dad's side. My Mom is one of eight kids, she had seven, and two of her sisters have six apiece. Most have at least four. My Dad is one of three kids, and his two sisters had three and two, respectively. 

My daughter has five cousins, all on my side, plus something like four in heaven on her Daddy's side. 

3. Have you ever fired a gun?

Yes! If you haven't, you should -- it's way more fun than you think. Actually, it's been a while since I've been to the range, not since before Keira was born. Which is notable because I heard once that moms have the best aim (according to some military range instructor or other), and I'm interested to know if my aim has improved since my little one was born. I was supposed to go a couple of weeks ago with a girlfriend but I was sick and had to cancel, and we haven't rescheduled because she's CRAZY busy and I'm el barfo. 

4. Do you ride roller coasters?

Not if I can help it. I've been consistently motion-sick since way back. Also I'm not terribly fond of heights. Put them together and you get: No.

5. What's your favorite flower?

I'm between the stargazer lily and the peony. One is spear-y and elegant, and the other is fluffy and cheerful, so I guess it depends on my mood.

6. Are you allergic to anything?

Tree pollen. This spring has been brutal. Bah-rutal.

15 June 2014

"Answer Me This" Linkup, Week 10!

Happy Father's Day, especially to my husband and to my father. Also to all the grandfathers and the godfathers.

Kendra at Catholic All Year is hosting a weekly linkup. She provides the questions, you provide the answers, and then you link up with everyone back on her page. It's a great way to get to know a little about your fellow bloggy travelers, as well as a chance to consider some things about yourself that you hadn't before. Join us! 

Kendra's answers, next week's questions and the linkup can be found here.

1. What’s something you intended to do today, but didn't?
I was supposed to hang out with my friend from high school. She lives about three miles away, and has for a year, and we've hung out about six times. She has no kids yet and you know how it is with your non-kid-having friends: you put all your energy into getting through each day, and while you could totally spare the energy for your friends you don't necessarily think of it. Meanwhile, she thinks having even one kid is totally overwhelming, so she doesn't ever suggest hanging out either. 

Every time it occurs to me to suggest that we go out for a drink after Keira's bedtime -- or, currently, for her to have a drink while I watch, pregnant and momentarily sad about it -- she's about to go out of town. Always.

So this morning, her husband was doing a Tough Mudder and my husband was supposed to take our daughter down to his parents' house, so we were both going to be just sitting around. We had big plans to get together. And then Michael was sick, so he didn't go anywhere, and I never heard from her either so we just didn't. Oops. 

2. What's your favorite grilling recipe?

Grill bread. You brush the outside of a big loaf of crusty bread with olive oil and then sprinkle on herbs and spices, whatever you want. Then, once the crud has been burned off the grill and you turn it off (or waaaaay down), you put the bread in and turn it a couple of times until it's grill-marked and warm. It's a total mess to eat but soooooo gooooood.

Alternatively, you can halve the loaf and load up the inside, then grill-mark the inside and the outside. Either way is awesome. I was trying to find a picture on the internet, but it turns out, upon consultation with my dad, that it was invented by my parents' neighbor and thus I'm revealing it to the wider world for the first time. You're welcome, wider world.

3. What movie did you see most recently?

Ummmmmmmmmm. That is an excellent question. The last movie I saw in theaters was Lone Survivor, I think. It was extremely upsetting but I think everyone should watch it anyway. I couldn't tell you what I last watched on TV or Netflix, because I watch more shows than movies.

4. Would you say your tendency is to over or under react to medical situations?

Under. Definitely under. It drives my husband crazy that I usually just try to wait things out. Early in this pregnancy, my allergies took me down like a wounded antelope and my throat was so sore I thought I might die (of dehydration, because I couldn't bring myself to swallow any water, not of drama). I got right on top of it and went to the doctor -- on a Saturday, even! -- to have a strep test because the last thing I wanted was to pass strep to him and to our daughter. My husband was amazed that I went to the doctor at all. Because usually I don't.

5. Do you squeeze the toothpaste tube or roll it?

Both. I start off squeezing and switch to rolling when rolling becomes necessary. 

6. What are you doing for Father's Day?

That is still up in the air. Since Michael's been sick and still is, and his father is also sick, we're playing it by ear. We'll see how everyone feels in the morning. 

11 June 2014

What am I even talking about?

Feedly is down and I had to take a break from work because my belly is (as always) in revolt. I should go get something to eat but I hate food, so... Blogging! Total randomness, comin' atcha.

This pregnancy is limping along, y'all. I am 11 weeks and 1 day, and it has already felt like an eternity. I can't keep my vitamins down and my diet is a disaster, but I'm not that worried because the same things were true with my first pregnancy too and let me tell you: she cooked up perfectly. The ob/gyn asked me during the lengthy "so, you're pregnant, tell us everything about everything" questionnaire if I remembered her APGAR scores, and I told him she got a 9 and a 10, and he was very impressed because apparently they don't give out a lot of 9s and 10s at our hospital.

Yeah, that's right: my baby got an A on her very first test.

Last night my husband brought me home a Caesar salad from Costco -- which is enormous, with chicken, and only costs $4! I'm not sure I could make it myself for $4 even if I were up to the (admittedly pretty small unless you can't walk into the kitchen without barfing) challenge -- and I shared my chicken with Keira. She had leftover macaroni and cheese to eat, but she preferred my chicken and the grape tomatoes off my salad. Or, as she refers to them: bobillies.

"Mmmm, chicken. Mmmmmm, bobillies! More bobillies? Peeeeeeease?"

I was trying to figure out why she was calling them that, and I thought maybe she thought they were blueberries? But she doesn't like blueberries. Maybe she's just weird, which would be delightful. When my goddaughter was a toddler she made up words for everyday things in her life. Her belly button was a "dongegonk" and her favorite socks were her "hula-hulas." It. Was. Wonderful.

Aaaanyway I have to get moving. I have to eat lunch whether I want to or not, which means I'm going to have to get in the car and go buy lunch because our cupboards are bare, and I only have an hour before I have to call into a work meeting.

Wish me luck finding something my belly will accept for lunch! It's touch-and-go around here.

09 June 2014

"Answer Me This" Linkup, Week 9!

Here I am again, late to the linkup party! We had a great weekend -- Saturday was my cousin's wedding in Delaware. Family weddings where it's not one of my own siblings getting married are rare, so it was big fun to be at a wedding with my entire family where a bunch of us didn't have all the responsibilities. We took a bunch of ridiculous pictures in the photo booth and never did get a picture of the whole fam -- less the kiddos -- dressed to the nines because we started to try and then cocktail hour ended. Oops.

Kendra at Catholic All Year is hosting a weekly linkup. She provides the questions, you provide the answers, and then you link up with everyone back on her page. It's a great way to get to know a little about your fellow bloggy travelers, as well as a chance to consider some things about yourself that you hadn't before. Join us! 

Kendra's answers, next week's questions and the linkup can be found here.

1. Do you have a land line?
We do. It was actually cheaper to have the landline than not with our cable and internet bundle, and it makes me feel like an adult. Also, I still have a Philadelphia area code on my cell phone since I got my number when I lived there still and trying to get everyone to get your new number right is a pain in the rear end. So it's really nice to be able to give a local number to the pediatrician and delivery men, etc., even though it's super-rare for us to actually get a call on the land line.

2. What is your least favorite food?
I guess eggplant? Maybe kale? Come on, people. They're both nice to look at in the garden but they're not really meant to be eaten!

3. What's on your summer reading list?
I don't really have one. I tend to pick things up randomly and/or reread stuff that's already on my bookshelf. Once in a while I get a really good recommendation from someone who knows my tastes, but that is increasingly rare as more and more kids enter our lives and we run out of time for reading.

4. Is there something that people consistently ask for your advice on? What is it?
I usually get asked for "what's the right thing to do" advice. I don't always do the right thing, by a long shot, but that's not because I don't know what the right thing is. 

5. What's the most physically demanding thing you've ever done?
Other than giving birth, I guess it was my Irish dance lessons in high school. That noise is a lot harder than it looks! Do you know how difficult it is to hold your hands perfectly still at your sides? And to stay up on your toes while you reel around? I guess you do if you've either Irish danced or danced pointe, but I didn't until I did it. By the end of that year, I could pick out individual muscles in my calves. It was pretty cool.

6. How do you feel about massages?
I feel very, very warmly about massages. I would love to have one right now, in fact. Does anyone have $100 or so they weren't planning to use? I'll take care of the tip. :)

05 June 2014

"Rape Culture" or a culture of denial?

A reasonably good friend of mine, with whom I disagree almost always when it comes to politics, shared this on Facebook this morning.

And when the mother of a friend of ours from high school commented:

"I agree BUT, when a girl or woman is wearing shorts so short that everyone can see her butt cheeks and shirts so low you can almost see her nipples, I think she should expect to be objectified."

My friend replied, simply, "No." (Which... Dude. Rude!)

Now, I never wade into these debates on Facebook. I have a million things to say and anyone who knows me knows that I have very little fear about saying them, but just I don't do that stuff on Facebook. People get ugly, immediately, and presume the worst about each other, and I'm not on Facebook to get flamed by strangers who happen to know someone I know.

I'm tempted to break my rules and get into it this time. This is a departure from reality, and like all departures from reality just really bothers me.

Of course a fifteen year old girl, dressed provocatively, is going to be sexualized by the men and boys who see her. That's why she dresses provocatively. What other reason is there? Seriously: name one reason to wear short-shorts that dig into your crotch if not so that people will look at your legs?

This message from a teenager who doesn't understand her own power, her own worth, and the danger she's potentially putting herself in is almost understandable. She's fifteen. She may not have been raised by parents who taught her self-respect. She has a lot of growing up to do. She has a lot more to see of the world and the ugliness that's out there before she can hope to realize that covering herself modestly is best for everyone. She's been steeped in a radical feminist worldview that talks constantly about "rape culture" and yet ignores that the atmosphere of cheap, supposedly consequence-free sex is a major contributor to the fact of rape.

Ever-younger girls are parading around dressed like the Pussycat Dolls. Have you tried to shop for a modest bathing suit for a nine year-old recently? Best of luck to you, because clothing manufacturers seem to think that pre-pubescent girls need padded bra tops and string bikinis. Such things are available for toddlers.


Why is that even being manufactured in a size 3T? Is it really necessary for my daughter to be running around the beach in a bikini with her diaper sticking out? (Yes, my one-and-a-half year old is wearing size 3T bathing suits. She's a tall, solid, healthy kid.)

Look, there's nothing healthy about deciding to pretend that wearing sexy clothes to school should be a right for teenagers. My friend who shared the picture has two sons, and he and his wife have taken steps to ensure no more babies (which just makes me sad), and thus he will never know what it's like to parent a daughter. He's never been a woman. He's never experienced being leered at while wearing a maxi dress with no exposed cleavage, let alone while wearing a bikini, and he never will.

It's easy for male "feminists" to share these sentiments and even to think they mean them. But parents of daughters know better. Grown women know better.

It's not rape culture, it's reality.

03 June 2014

I have a million-dollar idea.

There should be a setting on my television remote called "Pregnant and barfing."

Or maybe just "Barfing," so as to accommodate those barfing for reasons other than pregnancy.


This button would filter food commercials from the broadcast. I just almost lost it during a Popeye's commercial.

If I hadn't breathed through it, it would have made... Four instances of barfing today. Fun times up in here!

01 June 2014

"Answer Me This" Linkup, Week 8!

OH MY GOSH, you guys. The formatting on this post just refuses to cooperate so it looks funky. I apologize. I have tried to fix it and I just can't. This is making me crazy. I CAN'T EVEN UN-CENTER THIS PARAGRAPH. WHAT IS HAPPENING.

Kendra at Catholic All Year is hosting a weekly linkup. She provides the questions, you provide the answers, and then you link up with everyone back on her page. It's a great way to get to know a little about your fellow bloggy travelers, as well as a chance to consider some things about yourself that you hadn't before. Join us! 

Kendra's answers, next week's questions and the linkup can be found here.

1. Do you have a smart phone?
I do! I love my iPhone, almost unreservedly -- the battery sometimes drains unexpectedly so I'm holding back from true love. I'm one of those people who thinks of or is asked something she doesn't know... and then has to know right NOW. I grew up as the family dictionary and encyclopedia (I kid you not, my youngest sister once asked me "How many rocks are there in Vermont?" and got seriously miffed that I couldn't tell her. I was in college and so she was about... six or seven?). The advent of the internet in my life -- answers at the other end of that horrible modem noise -- was a wonder and the smart phone was an absolute revelation. 

2. Which is your favorite meal of the day?
Like Kendra, I am a fan of breakfast, but we apparently do not like the same breakfast. I love eggs and potatoes. As a native Philadelphian, I should call them "dippy eggs," but nope: in my house, they were called eyeballs. I am over 30 years old and when I spend the night at my parents' and they ask what kind of eggs I want, I answer "Eyeballs, please!" 

Eyeballs, or dippy eggs, for the uninitiated, are sunny-side up eggs (although I prefer them over-easy), and they were called eyeballs because a) my dad is super weird and b) they look like googly-eyes on your plate. 

...Now I'm hungry.

I could go full-on weird and tell you that the highest breakfast praise in our home was that the eggs you were presented were "a picture of eyeball reflection," but no one needs to hear about that. 

3. Shower or bath?
I love a bath for relaxation but I have to follow it up with a shower, because I tend to feel like I've just been sitting in a soup of my own filth (I mean, I'm not a farmer or anything so I'm never really that filthy, but still). Which is why I don't take baths very often -- it's a dreadful waste of water to do both. I really do not enjoy a shower, which I get is weird. And it's all horrid when I'm pregnant: baths make me more nauseated than I already am and showers... You know that moment when you have to tilt your head all the way back to rinse the shampoo from the front of your head? Yeah. So normally that ain't no thang, obviously, but when I'm on the edge of a vom already the tightening of the skin on my throat is.... You know what, I can't talk about this anymore.

4. Think of a person you love. How many days have you been in love with that person? (Don't worry, this site will do the math for you. And, hey, now you can order this card!)
Michael and I had our first date on October 11, 2006 (we were married two years to the day later, because we're gross like that). I'm estimating that it took me two months to know it was love. So according to Kendra's handy site, that comes to something like 2,725 days. Wow.

5. What's the best church you've ever been inside?
I've never been to most of the fanciest European cathedrals, but I loved Westminster Cathedral, the Catholic counterpart of Westminster Abbey, in London. I went to a very, very early Mass there when I was a senior in high school and on a band trip to London. There had to be more than eight Catholics on that trip, but only eight of us got up to go to Sunday Mass -- high school students, amirite? -- and the place was cavernously empty-seeming with only about two hundred people at Mass. It is beautiful, but I don't have any pictures because we were there for Mass, not on a sightseeing tour, and so I hadn't thought to bring my camera.

6. Happy Feast of the Visitation! Has anyone ever come to help YOU?
When my daughter was born, my mom stayed for two or three days. I had no milk and my poor baby just cried and cried because she was so hungry. I was sore and tired and hormonal and not calm enough myself to calm her but my mom walked her and soothed her and I got a little bit of sleep. Everyone was telling me that if I supplemented with formula, I would never have enough breast milk and to just keep at it, but she was so hungry! And then when the jaundice began to set in the pediatrician changed his tune. I began to give her some formula and she pinked up but still -- your first baby is a tough proposition! 

You can't really see my momma back there, but there they are: my mom and my daughter.

When my mom left, I cried. For, like, hours. She was supposed to come back the next weekend -- a three-to-four hour drive is no small thing, but she was going to do it for me -- and then Hurricane Sandy intervened. In the end, her inability to come the second weekend was probably a blessing because I kind of got trial-by-fire motherhood training, even though I still had no milk. 

I hope this next one gets some milk!