Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vignettes, Part I

They're Married!  Where to begin?  First, Matt & the boy weren't able to make it to the wedding for reasons passing understanding (or, at least passing explanation).  I was more than a mite irritated initially but it wasn't the end of the world - the groom's brother assumed ring bearer role, there was plenty of daddy/boy bonding at the movies and McDonald's, and daddy got some much needed sleep.  We weren't able to draft off the wedding vendors and get professional family photos taken, & I have bruises on my shoulders from lugging 270# of toddler gear, snacks, & entertainment through three airports alone but if that's the worst of it then we'll live to fight another day. 

About a third of the rest of it, in no particular order:
~~~There were two hairdressers at the hotel for the bride, handmaids, and other takers on the big day.  They were young, stunningly beautiful, & could have easily just flown in from Manhattan.  As she was getting her up-do, my step mom was telling us she saw two bears on her hike that morning.  I asked if she had to use the bear spray (It's a real thing!  Who knew?) - one of them laughed (at us) and said, "I'm from Montana.  We don't mess around with bear spray, I carry a .45"  The other one moonlights as a firefighter.  Love it.

~~~My brother & I did our last "long" run before our upcoming race on Montana's fire roads.  Another wedding guest with full marathons under her belt joined us.  The thing about fire roads is that they tend to be in the woods.  Which, in Montana, tend to grow in the "hills".  To normal people that actually means  "mountains".  My @** of a brother and his new running buddy jogged 2.5 miles uphill whilst chatting.  I was in my quiet place, music on, trying not to guess when the damn path would flatten out.  I faltered once, tried for a second wind, and failed again after rounding a bend and seeing the trail get steeper and wrap around more mountain.  They took pity on the newbie and we headed back downhill toward smoother ground - I did then get the necessary mileage in (albeit with zero grace or dignity), but it did not bode well for my participation in the Hospital Hill Half Marathon.  Also?  Deep reservoir of grit and determination?  MISSING.

~~~No, we didn't see any bears.  Then.  But I spent most of that run grimly staring 3 feet in front of me so I might've missed 'em.  I am also sure I missed some breathtaking views & scenery.  Too busy taking breaths.  (badda-bing).

~~~A small group of us hit two bars the night before the wedding.  I have not been to a "real" bar in years.  Maybe decades?  An older lady at one of them was wearing a long blond hairpiece.  Which we noticed because she kept taking it off and adjusting it.  By the time we left, her brunette friend was wearing it.  I clearly need to get out more.  And I need to bring my camera when I go.

~~~Our cabbie when leaving for the airport could not have been any nicer, more helpful, or a better conversationalist (which to me is akin to sorcery).  He told me he & his girlfriend bought a trailer and after he sells his cabbie business they're going to go see the rest of the country.  Their biggest expense will be gas, of course, but they plan to economize on food with bulk purchases and fishing, etc along the way.  Since they like fish, rabbit... and squirrel.  This did not strike me as noteworthy until we left the state. 

~~~They opened the pool!  I took my girl down the morning of the wedding but the regular pool was pretty cold and suspiciously cloudy.  She got in up to her knees then lost interest.  I sat in the hot tub for a couple minutes with her on the side, dangling her feet, but the hot tub was also suspiciously cloudy, and keeping baby entertained and not running on slippery tile wasn't relaxing.  But... tutus!

~~~We ended up having to fly into Springfield, Missouri, not far from the Arkansas & Oklahoma border (and also somewhat near Joplin, MO, scene of the recent horrific tornado strike).  There were two southern women sitting behind us on the plane.  One of them seemed to be a very nervous (new?) flyer.  There was a spectacular lightening storm off port side.  My girl was out, we were heading home, and I was half dozing myself and half listening to the nice southern ladies.  I couldn't hear what they were saying but I enjoyed the southern drawl and it struck me that they might've been singing [or playing something without headphones].  It sounded like church hymns.  I thought they may've been to sooth the nervous flyer.  It was all oddly cozy and pleasant when we suddenly got a leeetle bit too close to the storm and got caught in a downdraft.  One of the ladies screamed, "Jesus Lord, please save the babies!

I've written before about my ambivalence with religion but I could not have been any more on board with her at that moment then if I said it myself.  Not quite the atheist in a foxhole but same concept.  I grabbed my girl's head and we dropped again.  People were screaming & praying out loud.  My "final" profoundly intuitive and sentimental thought?  "Well, THAT figures."  The flight attendant came by a few minutes later to check on everyone and said that 1 in 5000 flights experience that level of turbulence - a girl after my own heart!  I tried to get Matt to find out how far we dropped but his flight tracker only showed a rate of descent.  Best he figured it was about 120'.  Which really doesn't sound like much (a day later) but that's a 10 story uncontrolled drop.  Wheeee!

I have more but it'll have to wait till tomorrow.  Apologies in advance for the forthcoming gratuitous blurry photo arrays!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Standard Issue Mommy-Blogging Post

[Disclaimer:  Apparently someone is doing a big blogger-swimsuit-promo right now.  This isn't that, though I do have excellent timing.  This post is actually an effort to make the bride's head explode with excessively effusive exclamation points and caps-lock abuse]

We're in Montana and my sister's Big Nuptials are less than 48 off!  So many stories yet so little time...  Including one in which I completely retract my previous comments about "being comfortable with myself".  Lies!  Let's call this the great Bathing Suit Debacle of 2011.  Since last decade's suit finally unraveled, I had no choice but to face the music mirror - the hotel had an indoor pool and I'd found a polka dot bathing suit for my girl complete with attached pink tutu.  Tutus!  What's a mini vacation without gratuitously cute photos of my girl splashing in a pink tutu?  And the boy?  Family-shamly, he was going swimming

I've been insanely busy at work plus doing a gazillion wedding-related errands (Flower girl dress!  Sparkly shoes!  Pink tutu suits!), and of course mom's stuff comes last.  I'd planned to do lunch time shopping but then the kids caught strep (RIGHT before vacation - OF COURSE.  It's like death & taxes - Planned trip?  VIRUS ALERT.  On a bright note, their antibiotics should stave off further pathogens from the petri dish that is mass transportation).  Wednesday afternoon was sucked up with more tornado sirens/basement time, leaving me with less than 12 hours to go and two kids in tow - my best shopping option is now Target.  Because they are close and also have dinner pretzels.  Fine, right?  I need a rural-Montana-hotel-pool suit, not swanky-spa-retreat suit (the latter being necessary for my alternative secret life).  I looked online & they had plenty of standard black one pieces.  Key word there was "online".  On site, they only had string bikinis and tank-inis.  Is that even what they're called?  I DO NOT KNOW.  Not a single one piece to be had.  Two pieces are... painful...  Multiple pregnancies, remember?  C-section?  There is squishiness in the middle that does not need to be seen.  Or squished.  But anything for my kids.  I had no other time then or after arrival and either the kids weren't swimming or I was going to go swimming in my running shorts, trailer style.  And because I'm awesome and love my kids and want them to go swimming, I bought something.  IT HAS A SKIRT.  Welcome to middle age.  I now own the standard-issue-suburban-mom bathing suit. 

The flight itself was more or less fine, other than leaving for the airport at 4am without a single measly hour of sleep and, as it turns out, a poorly packed bag to boot (it's supposed to SNOW here.  Do we have jackets?  Sweaters?  Do you enjoy rhetorical questions as much as I do?)... we arrive... THE POOL IS CLOSED. 

My apologies, I am not certain my thoughts were articulated clearly enough.  Allow me to repeat:


At least now I'll fit in with all the other moms at the neighborhood pool this summer with my new skirt suit. 

There are lots of pictures to post but I must run off.  We have an exciting morning planned at the local grocery store.  Running down the canned good aisle will be just like running thru the park - remember it's cold here?  No jackets?  I'm seriously going to earn my mommy stripes today. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fast Hatter

These are from my brother & fellow racer's visit a couple weekends ago, taken on his phone.  If I were more organized, I would have written a brilliant comprehensive study on the remnants of imperialism as manifest in women's fashion, as witnessed in the hats at the recent royal wedding and the Kentucky Derby.  And I would have worked in a footnote about the anachronistic wedding veil, since my sister's wedding is in 5 days.  Um, yeah...  Instead I'll simply point out that my girl likes hats (just like her mom).   Though I will refer aficionados of the quirky to Slate, while MSN posted a gazillion shots of toppers I'd actually wear, given a bigger budget... and actual tickets to the race.  Um, yeah

Brimming with options
Whither our heads? Shade? Accent?
Loud horsed-assery.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Delays, and Belated Clarity

My daughter’s formal IEP arrived Thursday night.  No surprises – everything had already been covered at the meeting but there it was in black and white:  Poor, Below Average, Moderately Low, Low, Significantly Delayed, Very Poor…. This is my exceedingly delightful gorgeous daughter they’re talking about.  No, No, No, NO.

They provided an exhaustive catalogue of what she was doing (she can jump 4” – who knew?) but it was not enough.  The worst section was the occupational therapist’s who, in addition to using their standard numeric scale, was super-duper-thorough and noted the expected developmental ages for various things my daughter was not yet doing (she’s turning 3 in nine weeks):  expected at 12 months, expected at 14 months, expected at 13-20 months.  That was exceeding helpful information.  A litany of failed benchmarks.

But then something caught my eye:  The area of daily living skills was one of [her] higher domains…. “Daily living skills” - This is language from my world.  When you break your non-dominant arm in an accident, it’s worth more or less x.  If you break your dominant arm, it’s worth a tad bit more, say 1.2x.  If you break both arms you can no longer brush your teeth, scratch your nose, or use the restroom solo.  The sum of your claim has now shot past 2x simply because you cannot perform your ADLs, Activities of Daily Living.  This creates near total dependence and allows for an endless stream of minor humiliations, depending on who is, um, brushing your teeth.  Every physical & occupational therapy form, ever, should document which ADLs are affected by whatever your complaint is.  Therapy will (hopefully) either restore your skills or find work arounds.

Something finally clicked – “This” (sweeping hand gesture)… All of This is simply supportive care.  The 12 page summation of Ways In Which [my daughter] is Behind is simply the grand-daddy of Therapy Evaluations and they’re just working on her ADLs.  Because standing on her tiptoes and, well, talking are important life skills.

In writing this, it strikes me that this should have been self-evident.  This is clearly less Grand Epiphany and more insight into the tortuous workings of my brain.  I think I even explained the process to someone else mid-testing, but also had managed to work myself into a frenzied lather about the whole thing.  How did I think they were going to develop an Individual Ed. Plan without some baseline?  The whole point of an IEP at this stage of the game is to set her up for therapy.  Fabulous…  Round one?  Sanity : 0  Hysterical Mom: 0 No winners here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

52557 Hours Ago

Five years, 364 days, and about 21 hours ago my son was born.  He was pretty cute at first.  To wit:

Then he did a lot of this:

We drank a lot of this:

Matt's ankle had been casted just a couple weeks earlier, because he tripped on a curb swatting at a bee while walking the dog, so he did a lot of this: 
Of all the things that have tested our marriage, that cast might be top on the list.  His "medical restrictions" with a new baby in the house were... ill timed.  It eventually came off, he was eventually able to fetch things for me from upstairs again, and all was right with the world.  [kidding...  kind of.]

Then 6 years went by in the blink of an eye.  Tonight my son was riding around on one of his sister's toys chatting, "I'll be 6 in first grade, then I'll be 7 in second grade, then I'll be 8 in third grade, then I'll be 9 in fourth grade, then I'll be 10....   Oh please, please, please stop talking child.  Mommy's not ready.  Happy Birthday Baby.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Of Tears and Ice Cream

[Are we back?  Is blogger happy again?  Sure?  Good.]

Are you guys more emotional now post-kids?  I've turned into a big ol' softy.  Don't tell anyone as it'll ruin my street cred - after all, I have a reputation as a stoic soulless paper pushing bureaucrat to uphold - but the J&J commercials of sleeping babies that play during the holidays?  The throat tightens.  The humane society ads with the Sarah McLachlan song?  Little pangs (though I'm not tempted - even I'll admit three dogs is a little much).  And this ad breaks my heart.  Everytime.
We actually went thru MetDesk to set up my daughter's (special needs) trust, and I love them, but they're not in the middle of a waterworks-triggering ad campaign. 

The recent kicker was a couple days after Mother's Day, when I heard Melissa Etheridge's I run for life.  Big squished up ugly cry face.  [I'd link but couldn't find a great clip on youtube].  In case you don't know the song, it's actually about breast cancer.  I hope I don't offend anyone by adopting a broader view.
I run for your mother your sister your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for life

I don't think the history of my scale would make for interesting reading - I've never been skinny, but I've always stayed in the "regular" sizes.  I had three babies in four years, and in the middle of that process added a 2 hour daily commute to my life.  Factoring in the resulting small children to tend to, the reduced time to exercise, the fatigue of working-whilst-caring-for-small-children, on top of the fact I'm married to a bean pole with a junk food habit, and let's just say I've had "Range".  One that I've variously been at peace with, complacent about, and despondent over.   Not as despondent as I was in junior high when I flirted with but managed to avoid a full blown eating disorder, but there have still been more mornings than there should have been when my mood was tweaked by what the numbers were.

That said, I'm generally comfortable with myself, moreso when I'm exercising, and mostly because of the multiple decades I've had to get used to the hand I was dealt (think pears).  But it has taken decades

My daughter is 2.75 years old and is wearing a 3T.  Not all 3Ts fit her tummy but almost all are too long on her.  She is still in that delectable chunky toddler stage so settle down, I'm not calling my baby girl fat.  Her brother was a little chunk too, but he'd started to shoot up around this age and is turning into a tall skinny beanpole like his daddy.  But kids with DS have a slower metabolism and lower muscle tone.  It is going to be harder for her.  Also.... she eats like a starving feral baby at every meal.  I do NOT want to be that mom, monitoring her girl's weight.  But we can barely keep up with her brother's caloric needs and I've no problem giving the kid ice cream.  My daughter probably doesn't need it.  Or at least not as big a bowl.  How do you manage that?  She might be non-verbal but there's no question she knows when her brother is getting something she isn't.  How do I manage two distinctly different sets of needs without triggering a slew of food and body image issues?

I'm personally & painfully aware of all the crap, pressure, and unhealthy standards out there in the big bad world.  I'm not talking about being skinny - I'm talking about being healthy and strong.  I think the best we can do for her is set a good example.  I want her to see her mom eating her veggies (that should crack my family up--it would be something new), and exercising.  I want it to be completely normal and expected that mom is going to go for a jog and, hey, want to come with?  I want to be healthy enough to be here for her in 40 years.  I don't want it to take 40 years for her to be comfortable with her hips.  I want her to feel the same sense of satisfaction I've felt the last couple weeks when I've hit previously undreamt of mileage.  I want her to kick ass

So yes, I'm running for my daughter. 
And, yes, I'm absolutely adding that song to my playlist.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Little Brother

Pete’s Day of Entry
Welcome to Middle Age. May
Your knees bend sine die.

It's like Crack, but with an extra letter

Or:  We're all entitled to One Vice
Little Bean.  Gift from
God.  Such joy, when smashed and boiled.
Without, I slow (yawn)
The innocuous looking coffee berry
I have got to get more sleep.  This is ridiculous.

Edited to add:  My sister sent me an email challenging "boiled"'s syllable count and its importance in the coffee making process.  A former barista, she says the water should actually "rest a minute" before use.  Let us all defer to her great wisdom.  Except she was wrong about the syllables. 
     Little Bean, Gift from
     God.  Such joy when roasted, smashed.
     Without, I slow (yawn) 

Monday, May 9, 2011

That's the way we roll

Bulldozer?  Check.
Nekkid kid?  Check.
Smell of illicit substances wafting thru the air?  Check. 
(Really!  Though not from our host's house, just in case you were curious)
All we need is a trailer and a tornado...
Opps!  We had the tornado already.

Lest I leave you with the wrong impression, Matt's Aunt and Uncle were redoing their patio and it wasn't done in time for their annual Mother's Day barbecue.  The kids were obviously thrilled.  I didn't take too many photos, so not a great shot of girly here.  This was one of few sans barbecue sauce and crumbs.  Yes, this is her standard There are Other People About face, but she did actually warm up to a couple folks.

Matt had to work so they sent me home with a doggie bag for him - of which he was evidently feeling a little protective.  This is what greeted me this morning.  Could he have left me a larger note?  I know I'm getting older but my eyes haven't failed me altogether.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

There are many beautiful tributes to mothers being posted online today.  This will not be one of them.  I and ALL of my maternal figures deserve pantheons erected in our honor, but I am going spend my morning lazing about, relishing the contrast between the deliriously delightful dizzying dash of days that is my life because of my children, and the quiet special day, devoted to my role in their lives, in which I will hide from them upstairs. 

Mom, Gigi, and MAB will be getting calls later and I'll spend the afternoon noshing on BBQ with my MIL.  Tomorrow I will mail the cards my son lovingly crafted for them because nothing says I Love You like a card that arrives 4 days late.  [Speaking of which, we have an Easter card for Gigi too.  I'm totally putting both cards in one envelope because I'm thrifty like that.] 

Today also more or less marks my one year Blogoversary.  This started off as an unsearchable photo-only blog but I quickly hijacked it and am now smitten with my virtual Mommy hour (or two - see below).  I never explained the title but this was to literally be a "Trial Run", as I started posting photos in April and wanted to see if I could keep it up before notifying the family.  I always thought I'd change the name but then decided that I'd keep it because this is your life, you only get one of them - it's not a trial run, make the most of it.  Which I heard in some form from someone at some point in time and which I took to heart. 

From my son:

Adorable, no?  First off, LOVE that he's writing on his own now.  Being a Mudr sounds much more exotic than working-mom-in-the-suburbs, don't you think?  Maybe it involves hats.  Second, did he take a flier on my height or does his school have a creepy amount of personal data on me?  'Cause he got it right.  At least they didn't try to guess my weight.  He did not get my eye color right but his dad does have brown eyes so I will assume that his dad & I are doing EVERYTHING right (ha!) because he clearly thinks of us as one parental unit.  That he thinks the best meal I make is eggs in the microwave is ...disturbing.  Though unfortunately possibly accurate.  Last, also disturbing, is that my hobbies seem to consist of the TV and computer.  Apparently I need to get outside more - gardening, maybe? 
This is my azalea bush.  Pretty!  There are two of them.  We would need about 150 more to fill the empty spots in our backyard.  Maybe I could put the kid to work weeding....  because this is his competition:

What mother doesn't wish for a laundry fairy?  [Sorry I can't rotate it for you].  I am a clearly fabulous mother and not only do I deserve a laundry fairy, I have clearly instilled a strong work ethic and sense of tidiness in my children [insert joke about child labor laws HERE]. 

Happy Mother's Day to me, and mine, and to you and yours.  And a special note to all the mothers who are no longer with us, to stepmothers, adoptive mothers, birth mothers, and my German host mother senior year of high school who I did not appreciate at all but with the wisdom of my many many years, I now know was also awesome.  And Happy Mother's Day to my husband, since he played a... role in this too. 

[Resisting the temptation to describe the role Matt played in this.  Since this is a family friendly space].

Friday, May 6, 2011

Photos from Vaguely Recalled Prior Holiday

Can't quite put my finger on when these were taken but a kind relative just forwarded them.

Do you see the pout?  We were at my MIL's house and there were Other People about.
Someone doesn't like Other People (I wonder where she got that from?).
That's my girl!*  Shattering the Happy Child stereotype holiday by holiday.
*THE husband pointed out that I have used a shocking number of exclamation points lately.  What is it about blogging that encourages ALL CAPS and italics?  Back in the day I mocked punctuation-ally dependent emphasis. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Network News

I've been at a conference all week.  Home town, so no traveling, but still it was something New! and Different!  Though I'll be cursing the day I begged to go when I get into the office tomorrow.  I wonder what our voice mail system's maximum capacity is? 

Lots of good information but one of the written goals of the event was to Network.  Anyone want to take a flier on how I felt about that?  Gah.  You'd think at my ripe old age I could get over myself already.  And not unrelated, the BEST class covered interviewing techniques.  Which was all about reading people and not a lick about asking the right questions.  Since "reading" people requires actually, um, interacting with them I was riveted.  Socializing 101.  Granted, Socializing 101 covered only conversations with lying cheating crooks but information is information.   Far be it from me to complain! (*chortle*)

Two non-work related funny things I got out of that class:

80% of right handed people wear their watch on their left hand.  Continuing the trend of always being in the ever-loving-G*d-effin' MINORITY, I wear mine on the right.  Is there no end to the merriment?

There was also much discussion as to linguistics and grammar - which I also adore.  One of the examples involved a dad running thru the events of the day.  "My kids got up, we had breakfast, I took my kids to the park, I fed my kids lunch... then I put the kids to bed".   Who hasn't felt like that at the end of the day?  Heck, how often have I SAID that?  Even mid-day?  "Matt, please take your son with you when you go to the store."  Funny stuff.

I'm fighting the temptation to check all past posts to see how I referred to the hubby my husband ye ol' ball and chain Matt. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Not A Giveaway

This is the Team Shirt my brother bought us for our big run.  I'm not sure it's quite obscure or random enough but the whale won me over - they're endearing like that.  I have no prizes, but you'll get some serious literary cred if you can identify. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


I don't think I've missed a whole week blogging in a while now.  I had something funny planned about being buried underneath the laundry pile and unable to call for help, but then Sunday rolled around and that suddenly seemed trite. 

Then I wrote a long overwrought post about the last 10 years and righteous albeit imperfectly executed wars and certain people rotting in hell but I didn't post because I just don't feel it was my story.  Matt & I both know people variously impacted but neither of us lost anyone directly on either 9/11 or in the two wars since so although a citizen of this country, entitled to my opinion, freedom of speech, blah, blah - we've been relatively insulated.  And when I say "overwrought" it was eye rollingly cringe worthy. 

But since I do excel at self-mocking, I will share that on the morning of Matt woke me up to watch the news and I remember my first reaction was to think they were making something out of nothing, assuming it was a little Cessna, lost in the fog, or maybe with a mechanical problem.  Man - when I am wrong, I am really really wrong.

My brother came to visit this weekend and we ran a 5k on Saturday and then accidentally ran 8-9 miles on Sunday.  Because I cannot read a map and have NO sense of distance.  No, I have not yet recovered.  I still don't have Easter photos.  We haven't received my girl's IEP yet and she apparently has croup.  My son announced he was going to have kids in 10 years... when he's 16.  We took the little dog into an abusive colorblind groomer.  All good stuff.  Huh.  Seems like a good night for Jon Stewart & a glass of wine. 
Royal Tannenbaums?
Girl on a Mission

Seriously Undignified.  And not even matching.