Friday, March 30, 2007

11 Things I Love About My Husband

Today is our 11th anniversary, which on some days, feels like it has flown by, and on other days, it definitely feels like I've spent almost 1/3rd of my life being married. Since it has been so long since we took any actual vows to each other, I thought it would be nice to let everyone know how that has turned out. Pretty good, actually, and here's a list of some of the things I love about my husband.

1. He is the first person I want to tell good news to, and we both love talking to each other. This is most apparent at like midnight, when it is way, way past time to go to bed, and we are actually in bed but can't stop talking to each other. We've had at least one of our best business ideas come in these late night talks, when the lights were out and my glasses were off and we were literally minutes from falling asleep. And we've wasted lots and lots of time talking about stupid things that late too. But overall, we both really like talking to each other.

2. He is the first person I want to spend time with when I have free time. Or when I don't have free time, too. This was proved to both of us last year when we went to San Francisco for our 10th anniversary. We absolutely loved this time we had to ourselves, exploring a new place, and able to talk and eat and travel without being distracted by our kids. It gave both of us a taste of the future, and reminded ourselves that this was the reason we got married in the first place, because we loved being together so much. You can forget that really easily in the tedium of everyday life. I wish we could go away together much more often.

3. He is thoughtful. This morning I went into my closet in the vain hope of finding a pile of clothes the Maternity Fairy might have left that actually fit and make me look good. The Maternity Fairy must have passed my house by last night, but I did find a t-shirt of my husband's that fits me, that he put on my side of the closet instead of his. And when I washed my 6 year old body pillow and accidentally destroyed it (don't ask me how) he not only found me a regular pillow to use, but made it a point of saying, we need to get to the store to get you a new one. That was about 3 weeks ago, and I haven't replaced it, but today we were discussing where to go for dinner tonight and out of the blue he said, "If we go somewhere locally we can stop at Bed, Bath and Beyond to get you a new body pillow." It is actually so thoughtful that it makes me wonder if there is something in it for him! But I think he sees that the thing in it for him is that I think the world of him when he is thoughful to me.

4. He is not tired of me being pregnant. I am, that's for sure, although I'm trying to save my true exhaustion since I still have 2.5 months to go. But he doesn't complain when I take 5 minutes to walk up the stairs at the end of the day, or get irritated that I move so slowly, or don't get much done, or make noises like a creaky old man when I am uncomfortable. Maybe he is tired of all of those things, but he is compassionate enough to not let me see him being anything but supportive.

5. He genuinely thinks I am pretty, even though I've gained a lot of weight (and not just in my stomach area, but my face and arms etc). And he means it, too, he isn't just saying the thing he learned to say during the first three pregnancies. He actually believes I am attractive, and that goes a long way toward diffusing my opinions to the contrary. Although he almost negated this point last night when he came into our bedroom and said, "Boy, it's cold in here, are you cold?" I said no, I'm not cold, and he climbed in bed, pulled the covers over himself and said, "Well, us skinny people are cold." It was one of those moments where you could see the realization hit him that that was about the worst thing he could say to his ginormous wife, and he literally grabbed at the air with his hands and tried to shove the words back in his mouth, and replace them with "I mean, us non-pregnant men in the house are cold." It is a testament to how often he tells me that I'm beautiful that I was able to just laugh at him and threaten to go downstairs immediately and write that down. He said, kind of gloomily, "Oh, you don't have to write that down, you won't forget it." He's right, I didn't forget, and I still think it's funny, but I can only laugh because I believe the rest of what he says.

6. We never fight about money. When we first got married, we came with our own preconceived money habits, namely that I am a spender and he is a saver. Fortunately, I was never a wild-and-crazy spender, and we quickly were able to come to an unspoken agreement about our finances that we have stuck to ever since. The beauty of it is, even though I still would be categorized as a spender and him a saver, he trusts me to be reasonable in my spending and doesn't question whether I really needed that new whatever. The peace in our marriage about all things financial and the fact that we do see eye-to-eye about our financial priorities may not sound romantic at all, but it is one of those things that makes or breaks a marriage.

7. He is a full partner in running our household. He knows where everything goes in the kitchen, even if he doesn't necessarily know what it's called or what it does. He is, and I admit, a much cleaner person than I am, but what helps the most is that he takes initiative to put away laundry when I do it, or take the garbage out, or clean off the kitchen counter, and I never have to ask him to do it. He cares about the way the house looks and rarely badgers me about it, which inspires me to try to make more of an effort to keep it clean as well. This is probably a source of contention to him, but he keeps it to himself and instead just sets a good example.

8. He gives 100% to our kids and to being a father. Today he went to Dad's Day at Boy #2's class, and never complains about Father and Son activities at the school. Even though he hates camping, he takes the boys to Father's and Son's campouts with the church every year, although he tries to get the kids to agree to come home to sleep. He plays catch in the backyard and the boys love baseball because he does. He has a pair of season tickets to the Orem Owlz minor league baseball team, and will take a child with him to many of the games, instead of calling a guy friend to go. Boy #2 gave him a book today at Dad's Day that said he loves his dad because his dad tells funny jokes, and it's true - he plays and jokes with the kids in a way that I don't. He can tell a babysitter each kid's bedtime routine (although he wouldn't - it's my job to talk to the babysitters) and trades off bathing the kids with me so that neither of us experiences permanent hearing loss from Boy #3's screaming tantrums in the tub.

But here's probably the most important thing: He wanted to work for himself so that he could have more time at home with his family. So he could call the shots, and if that means working late at night, at least he was able to come home for dinner first and be with the kids until bedtime, and then keep working. For every friend that I have who doesn't know what time their husband is coming home tonight, or who regularly has dinner without their husband, or who does the yard work because their husband is too busy working to get around to it, I am exceptionally grateful to a husband who has his family as his number one priority.

9. He supports me in the things I do for personal development, recognizing that those things make me a better wife and mother. I have been a much happier person since I went back to school 2 1/2 years ago, and while I think he'd prefer that I just stay home instead, it would be because he wants to be with me, not that he'd begrudge me the chance to learn and grow. He sees value in the fact that his children have an educated, motivated mother who tries new things and always wants to learn, and when I accomplish something, even if it is something he'd never want to spend his time doing, he is proud of me.

10. He lets me sleep in when I need to. This may sound trite, like maybe I'm just running out of points now that I'm at the end of the list, but it's so important I can barely believe it. Yesterday he got up with the kids, came back a little bit later and said, "It's 8:30, why don't you sleep for another half an hour?" Have more glorious words ever been heard by a mother? Today all I needed to say was "I got up at 2:52 to go to the bathroom and found Boy #3 downstairs watching infomercials. I fell back asleep at 5:30." Nothing else needed to be said, he got up and let me sleep until almost 9. It may not have immediate positive consequences when he lets me sleep in, but nothing could possibly make me happier most days, and I love him for it.

11. He is a very hard worker. While there are definitely moments when I would much rather have a full-time job than be a stay-at-home mom, most of the time I just admire how willing my husband is to put so much effort into providing for our family. I asked him the other day if it feels like a burden to have to work full time, if he'd rather not work. He said that he enjoys what he does, so it's not really a problem, but I've been around for the jobs that he doesn't enjoy and I know that he still worked very hard, even though he was looking for alternatives. I have seen the stress of being laid off or not making enough money and what that does to him, knowing that it is his responsibility in our family for him to provide, and it is hard to watch. But while he has complained about particular jobs, he has never complained about his role as a provider, which is much more than I can say about my job as caretaker of our kids.

There's lots of other things I can think of, but to sum it all up, I want to quote a cross-stitch that hung in my parent's bedroom when I was growing up: "Happiness is being married to your best friend." Whether I call him my Dear Husband, The Pessimist, or the Cell Phone Enforcer, I can certainly call him my best friend.

Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Little Bit of Vigilante Justice

It's not that we necessarily have anything against cell phone users in general. In fact, in the last year, our family became owners of not one, but two cell phones, a 200% increase over the year before. The first was given to me by my parents, who bought a pre-paid phone to use while they are in the US, and gave it to me to use/hold on to until they come back. I think it started with about 400 minutes when my parents bought it, I don't know how much use it got before I inherited it, but it has 100 minutes left now, so I'm clearly not a heavy user.

When DH moved to a new office in his office park, we were unable to get Qwest to set up our phone service there. (Imagine, a phone company unable to do simple tasks and then provide lousy customer service! I must be the only one with a complaint for that stellar company!) DH talks to two people on the phone - me, and our sole remaining client, who almost exclusively emails but occasionally calls. I talk to him using iChat on our computers, which is free, so we decided to go the pre-paid cell phone way for DH and his one non-calling client. We figured if we can save the $50 a month the Qwest charges, we'll be ahead, plus we don't have to give our money to a company that we (I) detest so much. Naturally, the first month that he switched to the cell phone, the non-calling client all of a sudden became the frequent calling, just chatting about nothing in particular, thinking out loud on the phone kind of client. Month #1: 400 minutes used, cost: $100. Not exactly the result we were hoping for, but it hasn't made us hate all cell phone users in general.

One thing we've noticed, because we do live on Planet Earth, is that cell phone users use their phones in all sorts of situations where it is clearly not appropriate. Movies, while driving, lots of places that have probably been ranted about in every blog in America. And Asia, I'm sure. But here's the worst, in our opinion. DH has not once, but twice been in the bathroom at work where someone is sitting in a stall talking on their cell phone. What, is their cubicle too roomy to feel comfortable making a phone call? They are going for the authentic phone-booth feel? They are just so busy that they can't take 5 minutes to stop talking to their very important clients in order to relieve themselves? What exactly does the person on the other end think, did the guy get a phone call and say, "Yeah, I can take your call, I'm just sitting on the toilet, don't mind me?" No, DH tells me that at least in the first instance the potty-mouth initiated the phone call, so it must have sounded something like, "Yes, I could make you a big enough priority to call you when I am not distracted by my personal business, or that of fellow stall-users, but this is about the only time I can squeeze you in." (I'll leave it up to you to insert any appropriate potty humor here.) How insulting to be thought of when someone sits down to take a dump and the first thought is, hmmm, I'll be here for a few minutes, how about I call so-and-so?

So yesterday, DH walks into the bathroom and hears a man in the only stall mumbling to himself. Of course, he's not mumbling to himself, he's talking quietly on his cell phone. As DH goes about his business, he thinks about how it must sound to the person on the other end - is the bathroom goer trying to hide the fact that he is multi-tasking? DH ponders this as he washes his hands, and when he goes to dry them, remembers that there are no paper towels in there, just an air dry machine. A really, really loud air dry machine. So he walks over, hits the button, and immediately the cell phone guy starts yelling to be heard over the noise. It's a bathroom, after all, which is nice and echo-y, plus the machine operates at about the decibel level of a jet plane taking off. DH finishes drying his hands, the machine stops after its predetermined amount of time (30 seconds), and the guy's voice drops back down to normal. DH thinks, how will he ever know how wet my hands were? And hits the button again, just for fun and walks out. The guy starts yelling again. DH, I believe, was feeling rather pleased with himself, because really, who in their right minds thinks the bathroom is the best place for a private phone call? DH walks back to his office, grabs his bag and heads out to get a haircut on his lunch hour. As he passes the bathroom, he can hear the guy - he's still in there talking. In what I can only call a moment of juvenile foolishness, which DH regards as vigilante justice, as he passes the bathroom, he pokes his head in, hits the air dry button one more time, and leaves to the sound of the guy, yelling once more.

I'm not sure what my opinion is on the whole episode, in general I'm against pranks of any sort. However clever they seem to be at the time, when you end up getting in trouble and have to explain to someone why you did whatever stupid thing it was, it certainly stops being worth it. But in this case, I find the whole thing amusing. Especially since if the guy ever found someone to complain to ("Someone keeps drying their hands while I'm trying to talk on the phone!!") he will look like the twit, and rightly so. Could this guy have learned a lesson from all of this? I guess DH will have to be our on-the-spot cell phone etiquette crime fighter and keep us all posted.

Monday, March 26, 2007

An Open Letter to Teenage Fast-Food Workers

I've done my time in the trenches, I've spent years handling food for impatient strangers, so I feel like I have some right to judge. As I sit here, eating my cold Iceberg french fries and melty strawberry-banana milkshake, I'd like to tell all of you just what us drive-thru-ers are thinking as we sit in our cars.

1. Get a move on, people! Just because you are required to be there for four to six hours doesn't mean we have to, too. As the fourth car in line, a 25-minute wait is unacceptable. Unless of course you are peeling the potatoes and slicing them by hand in order to provide me with the maximally freshest fries on the planet. And I know you aren't.

2. The window is not one of those CIA, one-way mirror deals. I can see you, and can see when you and your buddies are pacing around, joking and generally having fun. If it doesn't feel like "work" then you aren't doing a very good job. This place isn't meant to be fun, and your goofing off is causing my 25-minute wait. See #1 above.

3. Don't give me food that you wouldn't be willing to eat yourself. If you pour me my requested cup of water, and I watch you stare into the full cup for 5 seconds, it is a BIG SIGN that there is something wrong. Don't just put a lid on it and hand me a cup of plain soda water because you can't figure out how to pour a regular cup of water. (And note to managers: Are you aware that water-pouring skills are apparently going out of fashion? What exactly does this mean for our future leaders, if they are challenged by the request for a simple cup of water? And I didn't even ask for ice!)

4. Please, please, give me the food that I order. Life only gets harder than this, folks. When I say "regular" shake, (not that any of us can eat one that big, it was to split between two people) don't charge me for a "regular" and then give me a "mini." I'm not turning around and going back for my additional 10 ounces of shake, nor am I going to call and complain for the 20-cent overcharge, but I am going to be miffed and think less of you. I know you are really threatened by my lack of respect, but that's what I've got.

5. Go to college, get an education, and do something substantial with your life, so that one day you can be the person in the drive thru that is questioning the future leadership of our country. Hating your job and customers like me should be enough to motivate you to get the heck out of there, and that is the best thing I can hope for you. Besides, you need to move on so that my kids can have your job one day, to motivate them to get an education as well.

By the way, that milkshake was fantastic! Keep up the mediocre work!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

You Asked For It!

Okay, so maybe you didn't necessarily ask for it, but I did not get a thunderous stampede of emails saying, "Please, No, Don't show us the horrifying pictures of your surgical sites! We're eating right now, and you will cause us to lose our lunch! Please, think of the children!"

No, I did not get any of those emails, which, in my interpretation, mean "Heck, yes, bring it on!" I did check with my dad to get at least one opinion and he was all for it, which either means that this is a general interest that most people have and he is just the people's representative, or that he's read too many vampire books and likes the gore a little too much.

So here they are. I had Boy #1 take the pictures the first time and they were a little too far away to see the good detail. So DH stepped in and took over, saying that he wanted to take the pictures because he's practicing to be a crime scene photographer. The picture of my face looks better than reality, because the stitches are black and somehow the photo just doesn't seem to capture the dramatic contrast that they make across my cheek. I tried to count, and I could see at least 15 stitches.

Depending on your gore tolerance level, you can click the image to enlarge it. Don't say I didn't warn you.

This next photo looks worse than it actually is, I think. I can't say for sure because I haven't actually seen anything other than this picture, but going by what I've been told, the reason the picture looks so gruesome is that the purple you see is actually a marker. The Costco Lady at it again? No, where the doctor marked me up. I guess he wasn't so sure he wanted to freehand the thing, so he drew it out first. If my husband was a surgeon, he'd be good enough to cut and stitch without having to get out a ruler and trace it first.

This picture is nothing too gruesome. Boy #1 has figured out how to use my digital camera and after he took the required pictures of me, he decided to goof around a little. I was in the midst of ordering him downstairs to fetch me my card reader, when he took this one. He laughed and laughed, I'm not sure why, but he got so much enjoyment out of it, I thought I'd share it.

Well, that's it for me - now you know what drives otherwise normal strangers to cast aside all decency and demand to know what happened to my face!

Notes on a Dinner

While DH's parents were here, they took us out to dinner to Carrabba's, my favorite restaurant. It's a nicer, more expensive place than I would normally try on my own, but when there's extra adults I figure we have better odds of it turning out not to be a waste of money. And the food is so great that even if the kids don't do well, whatever I have to take home to eat because we had to leave before we started a riot will make an excellent lunch the next day. The dining room there is generally dark, you know, moody, but the table where we were sitting was right under some nice lights. After a while I thought the lighting could be coming from the heavenly beams shining straight down on the three angels masquerading as my children, who were behaving so perfectly it was almost unbelievable. It helped that we were sitting with one adult in between each child, so no one had to deal with too much. Boy #3 sat and colored with his artist grandfather, #1 played tic-tac-toe with me an DH, and won the majority of games that weren't a tie, and #2 actually ate every single bite on his plate without complaining. He didn't know what to order as a side dish, so I ordered some broccoli for him, which he generally likes. When he saw it he said, Hey, I don't want this, so we told him, Don't eat it and someone else will. Before I could look again, though, he had eaten all of it. They were just fantastic from start to finish.

Speaking of finish, though, here's a word to the wise for anyone who could be dining with my family. If you are lucky enough to make it to dessert, and actually want to eat something delicious, don't share with Boy #1. I made the mistake of ordering a Chocolate Dream, which is a brownie, covered with a layer of chocolate mousse, then whipped cream, chocolate shavings, another brownie, more mousse, and more whipped cream. The whole concoction is sitting on a pool of chocolate syrup. If it sounds fantastic, it certainly is, and that is a sentiment that apparently Boy #1 shares. From the moment the plate was set in front of us, the Chocolate Dream started disappearing as if he was a contestant in a decadent dessert eating contest. I would say that he inhaled the dessert, but that would imply that a breath was taken somewhere in the middle there, and I'm pretty sure he didn't come up for air once. Naturally, this only spurred my competitive instincts, and I knew that if I had any intentions of "sharing" this dessert with the Human Vacuum Cleaner then I better step up my game. Fork in hand, I went after what remained of the dessert with the kind of gusto that only a pregnant woman can muster.

Keep in mind, that we are now about 45 seconds since the waitress had set the plate down, and it was about half gone. I wasted a few precious seconds giving DH a bite, but dug right back in myself without missing a step. Boy #1 was like a man driven, and I can only hope that he puts this much effort and dedication into finishing his college education someday. It took about 2 minutes total for the entire dessert to be devoured, and I can honestly say that as delicious as it was, it's no fun to be that rushed. I barely had time to savor the chocolate, because I had to be so concerned about just skewering the next bite. I did get a little bit of a break right there at the end, when #1 was trying to scoop everything onto his fork that was left on the plate, but started choking on his current bite, causing him to drop a little bit back off his fork onto the plate which I immediately claimed as my own. Surely someone else could have handled the Heimlich if need be, I was enjoying my one contest-free bite!

Pregnancy Gains and Losses

Things I Have Lost Since I Got Pregnant

1. My ankles. I now have what DH refers to as "cankles" - when the calf goes right into the foot without narrowing into an ankle. He says this in regards to a newly-skinny person who looks great except, as he says, the "cankles." He is reading this over my shoulder as I write, and took great offense to the fact that I said I have cankles - he says I'm not even close, we have to wait until you can't see the ankle bones anymore, which apparently you still can. He told me to erase where I said that I have cankles, and I said that I don't need an on-the-spot editor, but that I would clarify that this is my opinion, not his. Anyhow, it seems as though I have substantially less ankle than normal.

2. My waist and hips. It seems as though I go straight down from my armpits to my knees. This is going to get worse, as I'm sure at some point I will start to bow out at the sides, and end up similarly shaped to the younger brother from A Christmas Story, who is so puffy he can't put his arms down.

3. An innie belly button. Okay, so this might be more information than anyone cared to know about me, so if you have delicate sensitivities, feel free to skip this paragraph. No one told me when I got pregnant the first time that when your stomach starts to seriously fill out, your innie suddenly becomes and outie. I liken this unto a Thanksgiving turkey with a built-in pop-up timer. According to my belly button, I'm not quite done yet.

4. The ability to breathe consistently. I have never experienced the shortness of breath that other women talk about as a symptom of pregnancy, so in the interest of experiencing all things maternal, I got this blessed new symptom. (Heaven forbid I skip something that other people might go through! I think I'm headed for bed rest and possibly a c-section just so I can totally empathize with everyone else.) Anyhow, breathing is one of those things you just take for granted, until you stop. And just like all those other things you never appreciated until they were gone, being able to breathe all the time, without thinking, is the most beautiful thing I can think of. It doesn't take serious exertion to bring it on, either, I can just be lying in bed and all of a sudden start panting as if I had sprinted to bed in order to get the good side. So when that happens, I try to make myself breathe more normally. And I tell you, for something I've been doing every single minute of my life for the last 30 1/2 years, if you try to breathe, it's almost impossible. I try to take deep breaths, and I feel like my head is going to explode, so I try to take quick, shallow breaths, and I think I'll pass out. So what I need to do, when I can't breathe, is NOT think about breathing, and somehow my body just figures it out by itself. If it's smart enough to do that on it's own, why the heck was I gasping for air in the first place?

Things I Have Gained Since I Got Pregnant

1. 40 pounds. Some people don't gain this much during their entire pregnancy. But some people also don't consider a King Size Kit-Kat and a root beer a good bedtime snack either. DH's parents are visiting for the weekend and after church, Grandma and Boy #1 made peanut butter cookies. They sat on a cookie sheet on the kitchen counter while I cooked dinner later. Needless to say, I was almost too full to eat dinner. Hence the 40 pounds.

2. To go along with #1 above, an extra chin and knee dimples. My photography teacher takes pictures of the class at random to demonstrate certain principles (white balance, shutter speed, etc) and he happened to point the camera my way while I sat looking down with my chin(s) resting on my hand. Yikes! It is scary enough to see exactly what you look like, but it's even worse when it's projected on a giant screen in front of your whole class. I realize that no one else was looking at me, but still. I was shopping the other day and tried on a maternity skirt which was slightly above knee-length in the front, but longer in the back, and it was the first time I realized just how massive my legs have gotten. Why on earth do they make clothing this unflattering? If you're trying on a size XL, don't they realize that it means that you probably aren't a candidate for that super-short skirt or the top with extra-short short sleeves? I'm not going to buy this stuff anyhow, but you'd think out of courtesy they just wouldn't make clothes this unflattering in my size. Save me some time, folks, and make the revealing maternity clothes for the people you wouldn't gag if you saw them in it on the street.

3. A healthy appreciation for deodorant. Once again, here comes some personal info that you are more than welcome to skip. I'm generally not a sweaty person. Unless the amount of work I'm doing is fairly strenuous, I really don't sweat hardly at all, and I'd say body odor is something of a non-issue most of the time. (It'd be really handy for someone to be able to back me up on this, but I'll take my chances.) Anyhow, since I got pregnant, I've started sweating like an absolute maniac. I did nothing more strenuous than attend primary today, and it was enough to, well, let me just say, I would not have been the person raising your hand if you're Sure. Which brings me to my appreciation for deodorant, because I think it was not too noticeable, and I didn't smell, which I think I would definitely have noticed given my extra-attenuated sense of smell.

4. The ability to measure my body's heat output in BTU's. I walked into church today and it felt like the heat was on. Last week I was warm too, but this was a very noticeable difference in temperature as soon as I walked inside. I turned to DH and said, "Okay, it's definitely hot in here, right?" And he said, No, it's actually perfect right now. Fortunately, we happened to be sitting right under the vent or something, because a few minutes later I was able to stop fanning myself like a menopausal woman and enjoy the cool air. DH leaned over and asked if I could feel the air and I said yes, smiling. I'm thinking about marking that seat with a piece of chalk to remind me where to sit next week! He, naturally, said it was making him cold, so I put my arm around him and tried to convey my warmth onto him. He said, as a bonus, the more I show affection to him in public the more likely people are to assume he was not the cause of the injury to my face.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Random Thoughts for Today

The Fish is Dead, Long Live the Fish

Taco, the final survivor of the original troop of three goldfish #1 got for his birthday, seems to have gone the way of the earth and is no longer with us. Well, the real problem is that he is still with us. The unfortunate creature decided to swim inside the skull that is in the fish tank, you know, for enjoyment, and has never left. So in order to get the dead fish out, we need to remove the skull first, which means sticking a person's entire arm in the tank. Which is currently full of slightly murky water, a result of having to keep the filter off because the darn guy kept getting sucked against it.

He's been on his last fin for a while now, which led to an ethical discussion between DH and myself. It was fairly clear that he was going to die, it was just a matter of time. DH wanted to speed things up a little and would make comments like, Can't we just spray a little Windex in there? Or bleach? I told him absolutely not, if he wanted to get rid of the fish then just flush it down the toilet right now. No, he said, because it would survive the flushing. So it seemed like the dilemma was between euthanasia or letting the fish die a slow, natural death. I told DH that it was a good thing that I'm not in a persistent vegetative state where he needs to make a decision between starving me to death or letting me live. Seems like he'd be the type to inject me with something just to speed things up a little. Clorox, maybe? (In his defense, he did say that it would be different for me, I'm a human after all, not a fish.)

Practical Results of My Surgery

Having benign growths removed from my face and neck has honestly been not that big a deal. The general anesthesia was the worst part of the surgery overall. But here's what I'm dealing with now.

1. I've got a giant pain in my neck, and it's not my three kids. It doesn't hurt too bad - I've got a prescription for real painkillers and I haven't needed anything for pain at all, not even Tylenol. But it definitely hurts worse than the wound on my face.

2. I have a fairly limited range of motion when it comes to looking around. Backing out of parking spots, merging into another lane on the freeway, whipping my head around when a kid calls for "mommy" (any kid, doesn't have to be mine) all of these things are harder to do.

3. A corollary to number 2, I can't look down to see the root beer I spilled down the front of my shirt, or the fact that the shirt itself is quite wrinkly, a result of being pulled out of a box of old maternity clothes I swore I wouldn't wear again, but have to because there is absolutely no clean adult laundry in the house. (The kids' laundry has been done, but our baskets didn't make it downstairs. I'm lucky to at least have a box of back-up clothes, DH was out of luck. He must have found something acceptable, though, he's not naked or wearing tuxedo pants or something.)

4. It turns out that I don't scare animals and small children. Volunteering in #2's kindergarten class, only two or three kids mentioned it, and it was more curiosity than anything else. And when I said I had surgery on it, that was enough information for them and they walked away. Adults, however, don't seem as easily satisfied. Which leads to my next topic:

The Most Audacious Thing Anyone Has Ever Said To Me

I took the kids to a place called Jungle Jim's, which is an older-kid version of Chuck E. Cheese's, with actual rides like the kind you'd see at a carnival, but smaller. They had an absolute blast, and we were there with another family, for 5 hours. While I was sitting with my friend, watching the kids play, a woman about my age came up to me and without preamble said, "What did you do to your face?"

Seriously: What did I do to my face? Did an adult from the Planet Earth just ask me that? Here's what I should have said: "What did you do to your manners? Did you have them surgically removed?" (Please feel free to submit what I should have said!) I was so shocked that, of course, I could think of nothing but answering her honestly. In fairness, I'm not embarrassed or ashamed of my scar - it's only so noticeable because of the 15 or so black stitches, and it's not like I'm in the midst of facing a life-threatening disease and this is the outward symbol of my inward struggle. I don't have a problem talking about this at all, it's really not a big deal. However, who in their right mind comes up to a perfect stranger and says, "What did you do to your face?" with no obvious chagrin at asking such a personal question?

It gets better, though, because I guess once she got over her initial discomfort of asking such an obviously disfigured person about their facial abnormalities, she decided I was free game and started peppering me with questions, which again, I just answered.

"Do you need follow-up treatment, like radiation?"
"Does it run in your family?"
"Did it look like a mole?"
"How did you know it was cancerous?"
"How old are you?"

Again, "How old are you?" Old enough to know that adults don't just ask that to random people that they've never spoken to before!! If this were my child, I would be working on teaching them not to stare, I don't think we'd even have to have the discussion that centers around "Don't ask people their health history in the middle of an indoor playground."

There were many other questions, too, but these are the only ones I can remember, I guess because they startled me so much. When she had satisfied her curiosity, she just walked away, no explanation or apology, just turned around and left. It's the way I'd treat a jerk who just hit my car - no real reason to be polite, just get the information and get the heck out of there. Thank goodness she couldn't see the scar on my neck, it's much larger and still has purple marker on it showing them where to cut or something. Apparently it's gross, the purple marker, because it looks like a bruise or something. I haven't actually seen it, although I think I might have DH take a picture just so I can take a look for myself and decide if I need to hide from public view for a few weeks. Anyone want to see it, or should I just keep my pictures to myself?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Snapshot of Life - March 21, 2007

If this blog were a record of my pet peeves, here's one of them. I hate that when I need to wake up extra early for something, I end up sleeping horribly the whole night. Of course, how could I tell a regular horrible night's sleep from a horrible night's sleep caused by a 5:30 wake up time, you might ask, since I frequently report on the horrible night's sleep that I get. Well, I'll tell you. Take a regular bad night, with one or more children waking up and needing attention, and throw in a not being able to fall asleep until after midnight, plus some having to go to the bathroom, and being hungry but not allowed to eat anything.

This morning was particularly bad because #2 had a nightmare and wanted to come sleep on the floor in my room, and I couldn't let him because our alarm was going to go off in 2 hours. So I laid down on the floor next to him (because he's been sleeping on the floor lately, go figure) and tried to distract him by asking him to tell me his favorite parts of the Star Wars movies. He did, but it wasn't distracting enough, so I asked him to tell me how Lego Star Wars starts, and he proceeded to give me a blow-by-blow account of where you go, how you kill things, which character you need to be, where to use the force, etc. Oh my gosh, he was so thorough that I almost fell asleep on the floor, and eventually I told him to keep talking to himself until he could fall asleep, and I went back to bed.

I got back in bed at 3:52. Approximately 1 minute later, it was 5:30 and the alarm clock was going off (well, it felt like 1 minute later anyhow.) The alarm clock woke #3, who cried out for a minute, but went back to bed, but gave us just enough fright to make absolutely sure we were silent while we got ready. We left the house at 5:45, about 5 minutes later than I had hoped but I didn't really care. What were they going to do, start without me?

I got there about 6:05 and checked in. Everyone I dealt with was very efficient and nice, super friendly for so early in the morning, but I dealt with all women, really, and since I'm pregnant I've got a very obvious topic of conversation available. They had to prick my finger for some reason first (they kindly decided they did not have to give me a pregnancy test, literally crossed it off the order form which amused me) and the finger prick actually hurt, which did not bode well for all the other stuff that was about to happen.

I was called back at 6:30 and given room 23, told to change into a gown and deposit all of my belongings into a brown paper grocery bag. I sat on the bed and listened to my book until it was time for the nurse to insert the IV. My best tactic for dealing with pain is distraction, I try to talk to the nurse about anything at all so that I don't pay attention to the needle and the potential pain. This nurse was friendly and chatty, so it didn't hurt too much when the IV went in, but it was in the side of my wrist and it hurt for a long time afterwards. Like it was touching a nerve or something, I don't know, but I never wanted to move it.

At 7:30 the anesthesiologist came in and we discussed options. He said either local or general anesthetic would be safe for me and the baby, but because we were doing the surgery in two places, they'd have to give me so much local anesthetic that it might be safer to just do the general, since it would be hard to change halfway through. Plus he mentioned that it is safer to do the general because they insert a tube in my throat to stop me from breathing the contents of my stomach (that may be more detail than you needed to know), and I wouldnt' get the tube with local. then there was the kicker - the local is done with all needles being injected, and the general was put into my IV. He asked me if I thought I was stoic enough to handle a local, and I didn't think I could. I've had several injections in these areas for the biopsy and previous removal, and it really, really hurt. As long as the general was just as safe, I felt like that was a better way to go.

8:00 - We are just waiting on my doctor to show up, and then we can get the ball rolling. My room has a big curtain in the doorway, that ends about 2 feet off the ground, and when it's closed all I can see are scrubs-covered calves and feet with plastic clogs walking past. When I saw a pair of jeans and flip-flops stop outside my curtain and drop a backpack on the ground, I knew my doctor had arrived. It could just as easily have been a college student, from the knees down. He whipped out a marker and started drawing on my face and neck (maybe he learned his technique from the Costco door-lady?) and we were ready to go.

Here's where everything gets foggy, and for good reason. I am wheeled into the O.R., and it reminds me so much like the tv show Scrubs, just that long trip down the hallway and through big doors and stuff. I remind everyone in the OR that I'm pregnant, just so everyone is aware, and they all are. I get onto the table and they strap my legs down, electric chair-style, but tell me it's just there to remind me that the table is really narrow and not to fall off. My doctor comes in and is joking with the nurses, the anesthesiologist props me up on one side so that I'm not flat on my back, which is bad for the baby, and goes behind me and fiddles with the IV. The nurse is asking me questions about the baby, and I remember talking to her about the baby as I fell asleep.

The next thing I know, I have a picture in my head of my next-door neighbor standing in my dining room, and then I half-open my eyes and almost immediately start crying, because I can't figure out what the heck is going on. Confused is to gentle a word to describe how I felt. The nurse, a different one, is talking to me to calm me down, I'm not hysterical or anything but definitely freaked out. I ask if the baby is okay several times, and they get out the doppler and we listen to the heartbeat , the baby is fine. I'm trying not to cry, now that I'm waking up for real and have enough wherewithal to get my act together. I'm calmer but I really wish DH was here to hold my hand, not that he would be allowed in even if he was here.

Eventually they take me back to my room, and I'm just so tired and feel gross and emotional. I'm still really groggy, but everyone is so nice to me. A nurse brings me a cup of water and some crackers, and when I look at the clock eventually it is 10:30. I've got a headache so they bring me some Tylenol, and my throat hurts from the tube. Now I'm really starting to wake up and can't believe how not awake I was just recently. I haven't felt the baby move so when the nurse comes back in I ask her to check the heartbeat again, she says I probably don't remember but they just did that 15 minutes ago in Recovery (it's only been 15 minutes?) but she is happy to do it again. The baby's heartbeat is just fine still, and I feel a lot better. I am collected enough to ask for my ipod and when I get it I turn on some George Winston, soothing piano music. It makes me feel better, but I am just so tired I can barely believe it.

After about 15 minutes I am even more awake and decide to turn on my book, I've got about 20 minutes left on it. I polish that baby off, along with the water and crackers - they offer me some other food but even though I was so hungry at 6 this morning, now I am not hungry at all. When my book is done, I just don't have the concentration to start something new. The nurse comes in to give me some instructions for home, but one that the doctor wrote, she can't read, so she has to wait for him to call back before I can leave. He calls back at about 11:45 (the instruction was not to put anything on the neck wound, because of the glue holding the incision together) and the nurse brings me a phone to call DH for him to pick me up.

Time goes quicker at this point, and I get dressed again and hobble over to the bathroom. When I stand up I realize that I'm pretty light-headed and dizzy, but I'm okay. DH calls from the parking lot and a nurse comes and helps me into a wheelchair to take me out to the car. Whenever I've been wheeled out before, I've always felt it's a pretty stupid exercise, because it's always been because I've had a baby two days earlier, and I'm perfectly capable of walking at that point. This time I don't know that I could have made it the whole way out to the car by myself. DH has #3 in the car, and #3 is so cute and happy to see me. His first question is, "Mommy, you crying?" I wasn't but I felt like I could, I still was quite exhausted.

We get home, and I have some croissants from Costco for lunch and lots more water, trying to make my throat feel better. I watch my court shows but I can't focus on it, and by 1:45 I go upstairs for a nap.

I wake up at about 4 pm, and it looks like my face wound bled on my pillow case, so I think a new pillow is going to be in order when this whole ordeal is over. I go downstairs and sit in my recliner for a while and listen to my new book. #1 goes to cubs, #2 is playing with his friend, and #3 is taking a nap, so DH goes to take a nap also, he claims to be more tired than me because at least I slept in the hospital. I told him that kind of sleep doesn't count, but I know he's just joking anyhow. My head is killing me, so I take some more Tylenol - I've got a prescription for a painkiller, but nothing hurts other than my head, so I'll stick with the Tylenol.

At 5:30 my super-fantastic visiting teacher brings us dinner, which tasted great. I wake up DH and we sit and chat over dinner for a while. At 6 I start writing this blog, thinking that I'd just sum up my day with few details because I'm so tired, but as my English professor told me last year, I'm long-winded. DH and I discuss how best to go about building the swingset we bought, the original plan was to do it on Saturday, but it says depending on your experience it takes between 6-12 hours to build. You can imagine how long it's going to take us! So I say, let's lay the pieces out in the garage, keep the garage closed so the kids can't touch anything, and build it one piece at a time, instead of turning it into a marathon building project. Dh thinks this is genius, and as he gets ready to leave for YM, he tells me that despite my deformed, scarred face, my brain has been completely unharmed. I say, yeah, me and Stephen Hawking, that's us.

It's 7:30 now, and the boys are watching Mulan for the 800th time this week, but #3 still giggles during several parts so I like watching him watch it. #2 gave me his opinion on my surgery during dinner, he said "I don't like it because it's a stitch, and it goes like a worm." Meaning that the stitches curve around in kind of a weird shape on my face. When his friend was over earlier, I could see him looking at me curiously, but surprisingly showed some tact for a 5 year old and didn't say anything about it. I'm volunteering in #2's kindergarten class tomorrow, we'll see if the 6-year olds there can keep it together as well. My guess is I'll be the Show-and-Tell item of the day!

I'm wrapping this up now, I don't expect anything else to happen, other than watching the American Idol results show at 8 and going to bed early. I am surprised at how vulnerable and traumatized I feel - I expected localized pain in the surgery areas, instead I feel like my whole body has been through the wringer. I am so amazingly grateful for my general health overall, that I haven't had to do this with any frequency and hopefully will continue to avoid serious illness like this. Man, it is so much worse than I was expecting, not the pain, just the exhaustion I feel now. I'm particularly grateful that the baby seems fine, moving and kicking like normal, so for all of you who are praying for us, thank you.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Snapshot of Life - March 20, 2007

7:06 - The alarm clock hasn't gone off yet, but the phone rings and my first thought was, Who would call in the middle of the night? Then it was a realization that it was not, in fact, the middle of the night but actually morning, and my next thought was, whoever is calling this early has got to have bad news, like they won't be in church and need a substitute, which was immediately followed by a confusing series of thoughts about what day it actually is. It's tuesday, and by the middle of the 3rd ring, Boy #1 has answered the phone. Turns out it's his friend, telling him he'll bring the backpack that #1 left at his house yesterday to school for him. I can't fall back asleep for the next 20 minutes, but that doesn't stop me from hitting the snooze button. After all, I know for sure that #1 is awake, and I can hear him having breakfast in the kitchen.

7:38 - I get up and make sure #1 is indeed ready, and he is. #3 is downstairs also, watching Arthur on tv. #2 comes down at about 8:00 and immediately disappears into the craft room to watch Curious George, which is the same show that #3 is now watching on the big tv, but this way they don't have to be in the same room.

8:15 - DH goes down to watch the kids, and I go up and shower. I come down at 8:40 to find #2 throwing a fit about not wanting to go to school, but I'm fairly full of patience today and don't get mad at him or anything. He's throwing this fit from his bedroom, and he is already half-dressed, so I think this is more a way to get his complaints off his chest, rather than something he intends to really stick to.

I have to email the pictures for my photography class today and look for my camera so I can download the pictures I took yesterday. My stomach turns when I realize that I left it outside last night on the grass next to the swing, where I put it while checking #1's math homework. I think maybe this is the perfect time to get a new one, that can do all the cool things that I'm learning about, but I'm guessing that because I was an idiot and left it outside, there will be a penalty involved, it's not just free camera upgrade time. Fortunately, it works just fine and I'm relieved.

I finish getting #2 dressed and he comes downstairs and together we look at the pictures I took yesterday for today's photography class. Finally the subject matter is something I feel comfortable with, and I have a hard time picking which pictures to submit, since the topic was portraiture and I took pictures of my kids. This distracts #2 easily, and by 9:00 he is perfectly accepting of having to go to school.

9:00 - DH takes #2 to school while my visiting teachers come over. They are fun to talk to, although I get the topic of my surgery brought up and we discuss fear of needles and incompetent needle-inserters, which starts to make me queasy, and finally I have to ask them to change the subject. The surgery itself I'm not afraid of, because theoretically I won't feel it, and maybe won't be awake for it, but it's the IV's, the blood-drawing, and most painful, the band-aids they are going to put over the incisions that will catch all of my neck hairs and have to be yanked off. I actually almost started crying the first time I had the band-aid pulled off of my neck in December, because it hurt that bad. Keep in mind that I have never once cried during childbirth, even with #2 when I didn't get an epidural.

9:40 - #3 is so cute, outside playing in his sandbox. I glanced in there the other day, and didn't actually see any cat poop, which is good as the neighbor's cat spends a lot of time in our yard and I've removed plenty before. I still can't decide which pictures to submit for my class, so I call DH to get his opinion, which is not effective since he can't see the pictures, and doesn't really care one way or the other. I complain to him that either I have to avoid listening to my book on my ipod today or buy a new one. I only have about 2.5 hours left of the book I'm listening to (the sequel to Twilight) and it's a fairly good read, entertaining without having to think about it too much (we're not talking classic literature here) and it would be nice to have a good, reliable book if I have to wait at the hospital for any length of time tomorrow. But I don't have a new book to follow this one up, so I need to ration this one, or search for a new book. DH says that if this is the biggest problem in my life right now, then he doesn't have much sympathy for me. That's understandable, but seriously, who wants to be stuck in a waiting room for any length of time and find out that the new book you downloaded is no good? I picked a bunch of losers lately, or maybe it's just that my attention span is very limited currently and I'm not willing to put up with anything that doesn't absolutely captivate me. And doesn't require deep thoughts.

10:00 - I hop on Audible and start browsing. Maybe some of these vampire books my dad has mentioned? I find them in the bodice-ripper, harlequin romance type section, and they look so stupid I can't really take it seriously. Dad, going from 40-hour war marathons to a book touted as "Sex and the City meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer"? Hmmph. Maybe I'll have to give his suggestions a little less credence from now on. But I still decide to call him and check if Anne Rice vampire books are any good.

10:40 - I call and chat with my mom for about half an hour. Her current book does not meet my brainless requirement (I think she said Washington's Crossing?) so I leave a message for my dad to call me back. She gets to hear first hand the annoying "please" that #3 has been doing lately, this time over wanting some pancakes, which we don't have. I actually had to tell him yesterday to stop saying please, which I can honestly say in my 9 1/2 year stint as a mother I've never said!

11:20 - I sit back down at the computer and respond to some work emails. We finally put a big notice on our "contact us" page saying that we don't do custom animation/illustration projects anymore, so don't bug us about it! Well, it's nicer than that, but that's the sentiment behind it. Anyhow, we still get about one a week who ask for custom work, but they try to be crafty about how they propose it ("We've got this great project we want to collaborate with you on...") I've got a couple of those to reply to, which is not, shall we say, at the top of my priority list, since we did try to tell them once already that we don't do that. But as we have learned, it's always better to be nicer than you have to.

11:50 - Read some google news, consumerist. at 12:00 I make the mistake of telling #3 that we're going to Costco, and he spends the next 17 minutes standing at the door to the garage, saying "I want to go to Costco!" and "Come here, mom, come here!" while I tell him that we need to wait for #2 to get home. Sheesh.

12:20 - #2 comes home while I'm in the bathroom. I come down to find him hiding on the basement stairs and the first words out of his mouth are "I don't want to eat!" I say, "You don't want to eat when we go to Costco? Are you sure?" He's thrown by this development, because clearly he was expecting a fight, so he says, "Okay, but I get to pick the table!" I say that's fine, but he hasn't gotten his aggression out yet, so he says "And I'm bringing this toy!" It's a 4-inch long Lego Bionicle, so again I agree. He apparently can't find anything else to argue about so he happily gets his shoes on and gets in the car.

1:15 - We've finished our Costco shopping and order our food - I've been ordering a whole pizza lately so that I can bring some home for #1 who gets very disgruntled when we have fun while he's at school. I've tried to tell him that when he was #2's age he got to do all of these during-the-day things, and when #2 is 9 he'll be missing it too, but none of that matters. Which makes sense, but still it's frustrating all the way around. The kids do really well sitting and eating, there are no giant smoothie spills this time, and my white shirt manages to stay white. At 2:00 we are on our way out the door, when the pointless door-check lady stops us to check my receipt, and then in one swift movement erodes my authority as a parent - she takes the kids' hands and draws a smiley face on them, with a sharpie no less. There goes every single lecture about NOT drawing on your body (which I have had to give many times) and I wonder if there is a policy in Costco's corporate manual regarding child-defacement. The only redeeming thing is that #3 loves his "happy" and spends the majority of the car ride home kissing his own hand where the graffiti is. That's fine, I guess, but the next time my kid gets the bright idea to color all over himself with magic marker right before, say, church, or a doctor's appointment, or whatever, I'm dropping him off with the door-check lady at Costco.

2:15 - I can't help myself, I plug in my ipod and listen to my book while I'm unloading the groceries from the car. Honestly, what else am I expected to do at a time like that? Not listen to anything? I've thought about resurrecting a discarded book and trying to listen to that instead, and save the good one for tomorrow but that seems like a double punishment. When I finish with the groceries, I sit on the front porch and watch #3 play in the front (where he obstinately plays chicken with my neighbors car until one of the twins from next door finally gets him to move, as I'm yelling at the top of my lungs to try to get him to move. Fortunately the neighbor was yelling at him to move also, so there was no danger ... this time). I finally decide on a new book, which comes highly reviewed, called Water for Elephants. I almost got The Memory Keeper's Daughter, which also comes highly reviewed but was about a woman who gives birth to twins, but one has Down's so without her knowing the doctor gives the baby away and tells her it's stillborn. Maybe a little too depressing subject matter for a woman 2.5 months away from having a baby herself.

2:55 - I'm still sitting on the front porch when DH calls on the ichat to tell me that he's decided what we are doing for our anniversary in 2009. I think this is slightly premature planning, since we don't have plans for Anniversary 2007 yet, which is in 2 weeks, but I humor him. Apparently in 2 years we are going to Dodger's Spring Training, which was my original idea, but in 2009 they are moving to Arizona, which is a substantially more convenient location. I tell him that we can go ahead and pencil it in, and then I tell him about a climbing dome thing I saw at Costco that the kids would love for our backyard. He says, we just spent an arm and a leg on a new swingset, and I say, well this just costs a foot, and it's just something to think about for next year. He concedes that if he is able to plan for Anniversary 2009 I can plan for Backyard Purchase 2008, and we are agreed. My other neighbor comes outside, says hi, and gets in her car before I can explain that I am talking to DH through the computer, I'm not just sitting and talking to myself out loud on the front porch.

3:15 - #3 is going in and out of neighbor's houses so I need to stay outside to supervise, otherwise I won't be able to find him (I can't guarantee he will come home and I don't want to have to call everyone to try to find my 2 year old. Again, the tv announcers voice in my head tells me it's a bad idea.). Lo and behold, one of the tree-trimming companies I called yesterday shows up to give me an estimate! We have fairly bad luck in getting people to show up, mostly because our address is hard to find (every house in, well, Utah has an address that is a directional coordinate: something East and something South - we have a street name, and it stinks.) I've learned to warn people over the phone to either get directions from me or to look it up, because people assume they can just find anything, which is usually true in Utah, but is a misleading notion in our case. The tree-trimmer gives me some great information about the tree in our front yard, a catalpa, and an estimate about the rest of the trees. I like him, he's the guy who does the trees on the BYU campus so you know he's got some experience, but his price was more than 3 times the guy who came yesterday. I think we are going to go with the cheaper guy and possibly just get the expensive guy to do the one in the front yard.

4:00 - I get online and learn even more about Our Fascinating Tree, The Catalpa. I think it's not doing very well, because the internet says (which is the beginning of a very trust-worthy sentence) that these trees have beautiful flowers in the spring and annoying bean pods it drops in the fall. We've seen neither. it also attracts a particular brand of caterpillar which we haven't seen. All of those things are why this tree is considered something of a nuisance, although I've really liked it. Mostly because it's different, no one else around really has one. Lo and behold again, the third guy I called about getting an estimate actually calls me back, so I tell him I think we've made a decision already, I don't want to waste the guys time.

4:30 - It's time to start thinking about dinner, which is, as always, a frustrating time of day, made worse by the fact that I will be at my photography class tonight and therefore cannot bring all of my maternal guilt to bear on my children in an effort to convince them to try the food I've cooked. So I'm trying to come up with an alternative. I think the perfect thing would be pigs in a blanket, but while I have plenty of pigs, I am fresh out of blankets. And unless I can pawn my kids off on a neighbor, I don't think I'm up to going to the grocery store. I bought another new cookbook at Costco today - this one had lots of pictures, which is always nice, and is called "Great Food Fast" which generally means few ingredients and simpler meals that my kids might actually eat, with the bonus that it is by Everyday Food (a part of Martha Stewart Living, back when she was a felon and the company didn't want her name on stuff).

I'm saved by my dad calling and we talk for about an hour. I've said this before, but it's cool when I can talk to my parents like they are my friends. I mean, they are my friends, but with a 25 year age difference or so, it's not like we are exactly peers. But I think as I've gotten older the age difference, and the authority difference between parent and child, aren't really an issue. I feel a little selfish, because I enjoy talking to them so much, and I've got all sorts of time on my hands, but they normally call when it's late on their end, so I know I'm keeping them up. But hey it's not my fault that they are so darn interesting! Anyhow, I have now run my running-out-of-book dilemma that I mentioned earlier to both of my parents and before I could even get past "So, I've got 2.5 hours left but I need something to listen to tomorrow..." they both completely understood the situation! Of course I have to choose between finishing this book today or saving it for tomorrow! Of course I run the risk of picking a boring book and then what would I do in the hospital with -horror- NOTHING TO LISTEN TO!! My dad tells me he's got a book to recommend to me, The Class of 9/11 - which I realize that he not only recommended it to me before, but actually mailed to me on a cd. So I've got an audiobook ready to go.

Maybe it is a selfish thing, to like my parents so much, but not selfish for time's sake, but for the ease with which I can talk to someone who has such a basic, fundamental understanding of me. My family has this communal reservoir of experiences, and memories, and likes/dislikes that I think makes it so that anyone in our family just understands each other better than someone else. I have known my husband for almost 12 years now, and we understand each other pretty well, but I've known my parents for 30 years - maybe it's more just the fact that they created me in their image, in their quirks, in their preferences and pet peeves. I love my husband's family, but there is no way that I'll ever know them the way I know my parents, and I have a feeling that there has been many an occasion when my in-laws probably don't understand me the way my own parents would. Being barefoot, for example, is a non-issue in my family. Or needing an emergency back-up audiobook, in case the first one is too boring. Or thinking a great way to spend a trip to Paris is to sit in a park and read books. Man, I wish they lived closer. Although maybe my family-related quirks would be exacerbated if I saw them more than once a year. I'd take that chance.

5:30 - I missed the call from the hospital telling me when to come tomorrow, so I call back. Turns out my appointment is, hang on to your hats here, at 6:00. Yes, that is A.M. When I told DH, he said, "In the morning??!?" And now we are presented with an instant dilemma - wake up three children, load them in the car at 5:40 a.m., drive to the hospital in Provo, drop me off, turn around, and get home by 6:15. Or do we leave them home, asleep, for 35 minutes or so, and be home about an hour before most of them even wake up. Some of my neighbors are outside, so I run out to ask if any of them happen to be awake at 5:40 a.m. so I could bring over the baby monitor at least for someone to listen to. No dice, but they were all happy to weigh in on the subject, and it was unanimous in the affirmative, we should leave the kids. In fact, I heard all sorts of things that they've done, in order to justify how not a big deal leaving the sleeping kids is. I told them my tv announcer theory, and they laughed, so I made them promise that if the house burns down between 5:40 and 6:15 tomorrow, that they tell Child Protective Services that I thought long and hard about this decision, I didn't risk my children's lives lightly.

6:00 - DH came home when I was calling the hospital, and now I leave him to watch the kids while I go to my photography class. The class starts at 6:30, and 30 minutes is about 15 minutes longer than it should take to get there, but of course I spend many minutes searching for my ipod, and then remember that I have to take the long way because of all the construction between my house and civilization, plus my slow, labored walk from the car to the UVSC building takes a while, so I end up getting there just in time. I'm thinking I've got a pretty good chance at winning this week, but when we watch the slide show of everyone's pictures, one of mine, the cuter one of #2, isn't in there. By the time I realize I ought to speak up, he's already about to take votes, and I don't want to sound like a jerk. Of course the same people won who always win, but you can't win if you've won before, so now he has to go through the pictures and tell us which ones not to vote for. I say, Why don't you just pull out the pictures from the 6 of us who haven't won yet? Everybody laughs, so I feel slightly better. But I don't win, I don't get a single vote, and this bothers me way, way, way more than it should. Especially since I happen to love many of the pictures I took yesterday, and the people that are really ever going to see them will feel the same way. Stinkin' artsy professional photographers slumming in an intermediate class! Seriously, several of them were done with studio backdrops and lighting. I really need to somehow figure out a way not to feel so bad about losing at something that matters so little, but I'm competitive by nature and just can't do it.

8:15 - I head home from class with an assignment to take a panoramic picture, which the teacher will professionally print for us for free. No pressure there, this is something that theoretically I will actually hang on the wall. I have no idea what to take the picture of, so hopefully inspiration will strike at some point. Soon. I have to stop at 7-11 and pick up treats for the kids for FHE (which I was supposed to do yesterday, which was actually Monday, but I blew it). I get home at 8:30 and watch the last little bit of American Idol and start catching up my blog while I drink my slurpee.

9:00 - DH's dad calls and talks to him about his dad's website, so we pause the tape of American Idol which he rewound so I could watch. I put #1 to bed at 9:15 and when DH gets off the phone he convinces me to come downstairs and watch a Weird Al music video on myspace that's an 11-minute song about going to the drive-thru. It is funny just because it is so mundane, and thinking that someone could make a song so long about something so boring. I excuse myself after about 4 minutes to go upstairs and write a mundane, and incredibly long, story of my day, which my guess is won't be as funny as if Weird Al was writing it.

10:00 - Well, I think I'm done here. I'm going to post this, with pictures to prove that despite what the artsy photography class thinks, I take good pictures (at least, I've got an eye for cute subject matter) and then I'm going to bed. Oh, and I'm going to try to download Sunday's Amazing Race overnight and put it on my ipod for tomorrow, so I should have plenty to do to keep myself busy at the hospital. Which means, I'll be seen first and have no time at all to do anything and they'll get me in and out in no time, right? Murphy's Law? If I feel well enough, I'd like to document tomorrow also, just because it is a different kind of day, but we'll have to see how I feel. I was told not to eat anything after 11pm, which incidentally is not the same as being told to continue eating right up until 11pm, which looks kind of like what I'm doing, but I've got 49 minutes left and a brand new box of strawberries, which #1 would devour entirely without sharing if I don't claim some portion now.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Snapshot of Life - March 18, 2007

7-9:30 - Fill in the typical morning routine here, including, but not limited to - getting up to turn on a video for #3, going back to bed, refereeing a fight between children, coercing #2 to have breakfast (I withheld token-using privileges until he ate), laying in bed listening to my book while #3 jumped in and out of bed with me, etc.

9:30 - DH is in the shower so I start the get-ready-for-church routine. #1 gets dressed without a comment, #2 throws a fit and takes 10 minutes to whine his way upstairs where I help him get dressed, and I pick out clothes for #3. I think #2 must have been hypnotized once while I was not paying attention, because he has an automatic response to the word "church," which is to scream "I don't want to go to church!" and various forms of that statement. He has a similar hypnotic reaction to any insistence that he eat something.

9:45 - My turn to get ready for church. While getting ready once this week I noticed a new thing growing on my shoulder. What the heck kind of freak am I??? Seriously, it's like I'm some kind of mutant! And not the cool, teenage ninja type of mutant, or a crime fighting x-men type either, the creepy kind of mutant that you feel sorry for if you see them on the street. Yikes. My doctor said that things grow faster while you're pregnant, but this is starting to be ridiculous. The only upshot (if there is one) is that this is on my shoulder, so I can have it removed by my regular doctor and not the plastic surgeon I'm seeing.

Speaking of my plastic surgeon, he is way too comfortable with other people's bodies. The first time I saw him to do a biopsy on a lesion on my face, I was laying on the exam table listening to my ipod, which was laying on my stomach. He sits in his chair, wheels it over, and with his elbows on the table, leans his arms on my stomach to reach my ipod and see what I was listening to. I'm a big fan of personal space - crowded places like Disneyland or Costco on a Saturday when all the sample ladies are out make me nuts. I just don't like people touching me generally. So I thought that was weird that he did that. Then this week when I went in again to have him look at the thing on my neck that is re-growing (have we had the mutant discussion already?) I was sitting in a chair, and he wheeled himself over to me and got right up in front of me, to the point where our knees are touching. Not just slightly bumping if we aren't careful, but like 3 or 4 inches of overlap. I turn my head around to show him the thing on my neck and he examines it for a minute. And then he's looking at my face, reaches over and grabs the skin around the lesion on my check and squeezing to check out wrinkle lines around it, that's all fine and expected. So he's talking to me, and decides to check out the neck thing again, but instead of asking me to turn around, he just reaches his hand around behind my head and starts rubbing the thing on my neck.

Now, this is all simply odd behavior to me - I don't feel truly uncomfortable, just that he clearly is different about personal space than I am. Here are my reasons for not feeling uncomfortable:

1. I'm 6 months pregnant, and weigh 200 pounds. I'm clearly not in the most attractive, cheat on my husband with the hot doctor, mode of my life.
2. There's a nurse in the room at all times.
3. All the nurses that work there are well dressed, not your typical chubby women in scrubs that look like pajamas, but more sophisticated scrubs. If there is such a thing.
4. I get the feeling that he is just a friendly, comfortable guy, who wants to make his patients feel comfortable with him, since he is the one going to be chopping me into little pieces on Wednesday. (Can you tell I'm not really looking forward to this on Wednesday?)

But just to recap, here's the things that do make me feel a little uncomfortable:
1. He's good looking. He wears jeans and like a long sleeve t-shirt type of thing, and his hair is done in kind of a Ryan Seacrest kind of messy, spiky, gelled thing. If we were in California still, I'd be sure he's a surfer. Maybe here he's a snowboarder, I don't know if that translates.
2. What if I was going to him to, say, have a breast augmentation done? Would he reach over and grab them to check out how big he thinks they ought to be? Thank goodness I've never needed to be undressed around him before. That would be awkward. Maybe as awkward as realizing I'm writing about breast augmentation on a blog that my parents and grandparents are going to read. Yikes.
3. My real doctor recommended this guy to me by saying that this is who he'd send his wife to. My thought now is, if he knew how comfortable this guy is with peoples' bodies, would he still feel this way? My husband has already said that after this surgery, if I ever need a plastic surgeon again that I have to find someone else. He said this after I mentioned that the guy was good-looking and that I didn't feel uncomfortable, I think he would prefer that I do feel uncomfortable. But in fact, I just think it's weird.

Oh, incidentally, this plastic surgeon was honored with some kind of humanitarian award last year for his service doing surgery in Ghana. I don't know if that is relevant or not, just thought I'd throw it in there.

10:35 - We are all ready to go, the boys were asked to be reverence children in Sacrament Meeting today, which means that they stand up at the pulpit and be an example of reverence for all the grown-ups that come in, talking and being rowdy before the meeting starts. Last time we had this assignment (which is made by the primary secretary), we had a flat tire and got to church totally late. So we made up for it this week by being there about 20 minutes early.

11:00-2:00 - Church. The first words out of #2's mouth when he sat down in our pew after his stint as reverence child was over was "I'm hungry." Maybe I could suggest a reverence child for the entire hour of Sacrament meeting, instead of just the 10 minutes before the meeting starts. Junior primary was as loud and irreverent as usual, I can tell it's wearing on everyone, not just me - our most capable teacher did sharing time today (class presentation) and came home thinking he had done a terrible job because he just could not hold the kids' attention. I was thrilled, actually, that it went as badly for him as it does for me, because that means it's the kids and not me doing something wrong!

2:30 - DH keeps the kids outside while we have a primary presidency meeting with our member of the bishopric at my house. We haven't met for a while and have several things to cover, but it goes well and we get a lot accomplished in an hour, with only a little off-topic conversations. The activities committee talked to my counselor about having the primary organize a children's activity during their upcoming family activity in June. The spin she put on it is, we get to count it as one of our quarterly activities that we are supposed to organize, and everyone will already be planning on going to this, so wouldn't that be great for us? Well, reading between the lines, what she gets is free baby-sitting during a ward activity, and what we get is the primary leaders missing a ward activity so that we can supervise all of the kids. I'm not opposed to this set up across the board - we did it once last year and it worked out well, mostly because we made sure the primary teachers weren't impacted at all, just us as a presidency (and it was and activity that I didn't care about missing). Well, before we could even give an opinion on this particular proposal, the bishopric member pretty much torpedoed the entire idea and was quite vehement about us not being the de facto babysitters at a ward function. He obviously was really passionate about this opinion, and I thought that was fantastic - I love that he really supports the primary and looks like he's willing to fight for us in a case like this.

3:30 - Meeting is over and the family comes back inside. We've been invited over to have dinner with another family at 5:30 and I'm bringing dessert, so I grab some cookbooks to try to find something to make, with the limitation that I only have so much butter on hand. I decide on a new recipe which looks like it's going to be brownies with marshmallows on top. I hear noises from downstairs which indicate an argument over the pod-race game, so I go down and ask if anyone would like to help me make dessert. #2 immediately volunteers and runs upstairs to help - he loves, loves, loves to help in the kitchen. Most of the time. Especially when it's dessert and not dinner we're making. And if there's nothing fun to do instead. But most Sundays it's him who helps me make dessert. #3 comes with him and both of them pull chairs over to the counter, one on either side of me and my KitchenAid mixer. It's quite crowded in there, but I don't complain because this is what being a good mother looks like, and I've got to give this a shot. They both help, to a certain extent, and are happy, #2 especially likes cracking eggs, and he's getting a lot better at it. It's times like this when I can glimpse the future, and it looks good.

4:15 - Our home teachers come over, one is our next door neighbor who is also the teacher I mentioned earlier. We think he and his family are just terrific, and he's so great with the kids. Plus they always bring candy to reward correct answers when they teach the lesson, so #2 usually asks if it's time for the lesson yet, interrupting us as we sit and gab.

5:00 - HT's are gone, and I get the brownies out of the oven and taste one. It's not so good, which is disappointing, and I have to decide whether to use my final stick of butter on the frosting that the brownie recipe calls for, or if I should make an emergency backup dessert of no-bake cookies instead. I'm in the mood for the cookies, and don't want to throw good butter after bad, so I go to make the cookies. At the same time that I'm having my dessert dilemma, DH realizes it's bath night and if we don't get a bath in before we leave, it won't get done. He bribes the older boys with a token each if they take a 5 minute shower, and they both go for it. #2 is in a particularly good mood and doesn't fight over this one. #3, however, is going through a stage where he absolutely hates taking a bath, and will just stand in the water and scream. Friday's bath, which I handled while DH was at Toys R Us buying a new swingset, consisted of him screaming from the minute I told him to come inside for his bath, all through taking him upstairs, running the water, and me depositing him in the tub. He stood there screaming and I went into our adjoining bedroom, because it's so loud and echo-y in the bathroom I just couldn't stand it anymore, and I knew he wasn't drowning as long as I could still hear him screaming. I was hoping he'd calm down and enjoy the bath, but when it was apparent that wasn't happening, I decided to get it over with and just washed him as quickly as I could and got him out. He finally stopped screaming sometime after he was completely dressed. My ears didn't stop ringing for a long time. Anyhow, today's bath sounded about as bad, but quicker, because DH didn't waste time hoping he'd enjoy himself. Once he was out, though, DH called me over to get #3 dressed. When that was done I made a batch of no-bake cookies, which take about 5 minutes with no kids helping (10 with).

5:40 - We leave 10 minutes late for our friends' house, but that's not a big deal. We are having lasagna, salad, rolls, fruit salad, and corn for dinner, lots of different foods that my kids like, which means that they both (Boys #1 and #2) take one look and say they aren't eating the lasagna. DH marches them over to the trays of marshmallow brownies and cookies and asks if they would care for any. They say yes, and he says, that unless they eat their lasagna, they won't be getting any dessert. The real miracle comes in when we load up their plates with a variety of food, and they actually eat it all! No "how many bites," no "yuck," no "is this enough?" They just ate it. And then, hold on to your hats, they both ask for seconds. Granted, it's rolls and fruit they ask for, but hey, they are actually eating enough to make them full! Without me twisting their arm! Then to top it all off, they go and play nicely and I even see #1 pushing #3 in a swing. We get to talk to our friends and have an all-around pleasant time.

7:30 - While we sit around and gab, DH tells me some great news - he has to go camping. While this is normally a cause for great concern and prayer for something horrible to happen so that he doesn't have to go, in this case we are both excited. The date for the campout is the exact same date as the next ward activity, which we were trying to find a reason we didn't have to go. Why, you might ask, would we purposely not support someone else in their calling and what, exactly, could possibly be worse than a campout? Prom. That's right, Prom is our next ward activity. Adults only, and single people are supposed to feel welcome too, although how that could possibly happen is beyond me. The activities committee is trying to encourage everyone to get really into it, you know, with corsages, and maybe go out to a nice dinner beforehand. In Relief Society, apparently the activity was announced and all the women were encouraged to coerce their husbands to go. Could that not be a sign? That people are having to coerce others to attend what is supposed to be a fun activity? And the announcement includes an assurance that we will all have a good time. And that is exactly why DH, a known camp-phobic, is actually excited to attend the scout training campout the same night. His prediction? Low attendance at the Prom.

8:10 - We leave our friends' house and I realize that I sat and talked the entire time while DH handled everything that came up with the kids, so I tell him that I'll put the kids down to bed by myself tonight (usually we tag team). He thinks this is a treat and goes downstairs to play Pod-race with #1. The other two kids go to bed fairly easily - #3 was effortless as usual, and #2 was not bad. I go back downstairs and listen to my book (the sequel to Twilight, which I polished off yesterday and immediately bought the sequel to, for another 2 credits) while I clean up the kitchen and do some dishes. My mother-in-law calls to talk about a work situation - she's dealing with a complete jerk in her department (she's in the pharmacy now) and she's tried to get a transfer to another department but they aren't doing it for her. So it looks like she's going to make some kind of ultimatum tomorrow - get me out of the pharmacy or I'm leaving. Her daughter wrote a letter for her to explain the situation to management and she read it to me to see what I think, and I told her to be prepared for them to show her the door. She thinks it is all probably a blessing in disguise, because she can certainly find a better job somewhere else than Kmart, and just needed a kick in the pants to make such a big change. She's worked there for like 13 years.

9:00 - DH and I are sitting on the couch talking about work, as usual, and other stuff. We are relatively child-free, which is nice, but we can hear #2 up in his room, singing to himself, and counting by 5's to 100 over and over again. He can be such a cute, sweet kid sometimes. I know I complain about him, because there is a lot of drama involved in many things that he does, and when things with him are not dramatic, I am too busy feeling relieved and trying to prevent the next round of drama, that i don't really appreciate what a good kid he is. Today during primary, I looked over to where he was sitting and was surprised to see him trying not to cry. We have a lot of criers in this younger group, but #2 is absolutely NOT one of them. He is one of the best behaved kids in there. I was so shocked to see him looking so sad that I almost started crying too, because I knew whatever he was upset about had to be bad. I walked across the room and took him out into the hallway and asked what was wrong. It turns out he somehow hit his nose on the chair in front of him, and it hurt bad enough to make him cry. I hugged him and hugged him until he was okay again, he got a drink at the drinking fountain and went back in. So many times that he cries I just get frustrated at him or tired of hearing it - I was glad to know I still have enough compassion to see my boy cry and want to cry with him. Makes me feel like I still have some humanity in me, they haven't beaten it out of me yet.

10:37 - I've been writing this blog for probably 1.5 hours - normally I write in bits and pieces all day, but I just haven't had a chance today, and I wanted to get it done tonight and put it up. DH has already gone up to bed, which is not a good sign, as he almost never ever goes to bed first. Oh, by the way, I wanted to mention this gripe - why is it that I hear my mom needs a second opinion on a mammogram from a comment made on my blog??!? Does this not register as important enough to warrant, say, a phone call? I recognize that maybe we don't want to turn this into something bigger than it needs to be until there is more information; I didn't mention my abnormal skin cancer diagnosis until I knew that it wasn't serious, but this seems bigger than that. As the only other person in our family with breasts, I'd think that I have some right to information here, I have a vested interest in the situation. That's pretty much all I have to say on the topic, other than, I can't believe I've used the word "breast" so many times when my DAD is going to be reading this. I think I better just post this and not think about the uncomfortableness that I'm currently feeling - maybe I need to drop in and see my plastic surgeon to feel a little less awkward. :)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Snapshot of Life - March 15, 2007

1:00 am - It's the middle of the night and I'm awake again. It's starting to be a habit, and not a good one. I don't think I got to bed before midnight, which never bodes well. As I'm thinking how hard it is going to be to fall back asleep, I fall back asleep.

2:52 - I'm up, and go to the bathroom. A friend of mine and I were reminiscing about the catheters we each had during labor once (me with #1) which sounds gross but actually, when you've gone nine months of sleepless nights because of 2 or 3 trips to the bathroom per night, it is great to have one less thing to have to get out of bed for. I get back in bed, but I'm trying not to think about anything interesting for fear that it will keep me up, so of course, I've got all sorts of interesting things going on in my head. I try my parents' trick of listening to an audiobook on the ol' ipod but the book I've just started is too interesting itself and I have a feeling that I'm going to want to stay up to listen to it. So I switch to music, George Winston, nice soothing piano music, but it's not enough to keep my attention and there I go thinking again. The light from the ipod I think might be bothering DH because he's moving around a lot, so I decide to get up and hopefully get tired enough to go back to sleep.

3:25 - I head down to the kitchen to grab something to eat. I am standing near the sink and glance over at the fish tank, to make sure the fish is still alive. It's a reflex you develop as a fish owner, one that cat and dog owners don't generally acquire, unless it's a really old cat or dog I suppose. Anyhow, I can't find the fish. That's a bad thing, as fish generally can't escape, and this one has shown no tendencies towards becoming a jumping fish. I knock on the glass, hoping that it is just hiding inside the skull that is in there for the fish's enjoyment, or maybe it just fell asleep somewhere I couldn't see it, but no dice. I unplug the filter and walk away, thinking maybe something happened to the fish while I was gone last night and no one told me. A minute later when I looked over, I saw the fish, floating limply underneath the filter - my suspicions were correct, it was sucked up against the filter and stuck there. This would be the 4th or 5th time that's happened this week, and I don't know if there is a more serious phrase than "bad sign" but man, this fish's days are numbered. I don't want to look again, because I really hate being the guy to find the dead fish, and then have to tell Boy #1 about it (they are his fish) but I also hate to have him find it too. But I pull a Lot's Wife and give one last glance over my shoulder and luckily, the fish is hanging out near the top of the tank and it's fins are moving. Whew. The thing about fish is that when they die, they don't float belly-up at the top of the tank, you find them laying on the gravel at the bottom, which means to get them out you have to put your whole arm in the water and scoop it up with a measuring cup (because we don't have one of those handy dead-fish-scoop nets) and inevitably you've got a scoop of gravel in there too, but that's the price you pay.

3:45-4 - I'm burning my latest audiobook acquisition onto cd for a friend, and it is causing my computer to absolutely chug while I try typing this as the same time. It's taking many seconds for my typo's to appear and it's starting to make me nuts. I love my laptop, but once you've got a little money in your pocket it's easy to say, why the heck didn't I get the upgraded version of this laptop? Because I couldn't afford it at the time, but if I were to buy one today I might spend a little more in the muscle department. Same with the minivan - if I had known, I would have ponied up the extra many thousands of dollars to get the next model up that comes with automatic sliding doors. I can't tell you how many fights have broken out because no one (read: Boys #1 and #2) wants to close the door. Boy #1 tries to be especially sneaky by leaping out of the car first, climbing over the other boys in the process, or getting out on #3's side, because I always close that door. But I am grown-up enough to know that automatic sliding doors, while seemingly the answer to all of my problems, wouldn't actually be - they would find something else to fight about I'm sure. Like whether or not somebody has to/gets to push the button. My friend has the auto doors and says that her kids constantly leave the door open, assuming that it will just close by itself. What kind of world to we live in, where we have to teach our kids that not all doors close on their own?

4:16 -I'm finished eating, signed my corporate tax returns that have to be mailed today, and wander around the house listening to my book. I'm scarily awake right now and not sure what to do about it. I want some ice cream but it is outside in the garage freezer, and I am not craving it enough to go out there in the middle of the night. I think I'll go lay down and keep listening to my book, and see if I can't drift off at some point.

6-7:30 - I sleep until the alarm clock goes off, at which time I nudge DH awake and go back to sleep for one more hour.

8:30- I'm awake for real and not as tired as I imagine I will be at, say, 2 this afternoon. #3 is crying for no reason, DH reports that he has been very tempermental today. I'm glad that I have nowhere I need to be today - it looks like the right day to sit at home and catch up on my tv watching (Amazing Race and American Idol).

9:00 - I take #2 to school and drop off the cd's I burned at a friends house. I get home and read the newspaper. At 10 #3 wants to go outside and play, which is fine although it's a little chilly this morning, so we bundle up a little and head out. I bring my breakfast, which is leftovers of last night's dinner, since we have plenty of it due to the fact that no one ate it except me. Grrr. why do I cook again? I also bring my ipod and listen to my new book, Twilight, which I am loving.

10:30-12 - #3 is bored so we go back inside. He is content to watch Barney so I sit on the couch and listen to my book. Turns out the audio version is just as captivating as the paper version of books usually is, and I don't do anything other than sit there and listen. Usually the advantage to audiobooks is that I am so much more productive, but not today. Also I'm sleepy, which doesn't help with the motivation. I'm already halfway through the book and the only thing that makes me not so disappointed at how fast it is going is the fact that the sequel is already out, and I'm willing to fork over another 2 credits for it.

12:15 - #2 comes in, obviously in need of lunch because the first words out of his mouth (practically) are "Can I play Lego Star Wars?" to which I reply, "Sure, after you eat your lunch" followed up with "No!! I don't want to eat lunch!! I'm not hungry!!" He starts to stomp and tries to grab the couch cushion to throw it, but I stop him, so he kicks the bag that the newspaper came in, a fairly ineffectual display of anger but frustrating nonetheless. He asks to watch a movie, I give him the same answer, and he yells "Fine!" in his best disgruntled-teenager, I-can't-believe-my-mom-is-doing-this-to-me voice. He decides on a bowl of cereal which I have to ask him to ask me nicely to get for him (I won't let him yell orders at me, especially when he is perfectly capable of doing it himself). His friend across the street comes over after the first few bites are taken, and after just a few more #2 decides he's done. I still won't let him play until he eats more because half a bowl of Cocoa Krispies is not going to lead to a decent afternoon for us. He isn't happy but controls himself in front of his friend, eats some crackers, and I finally let him go play. I have a feeling that the lack of food is going to be an issue later, but I can't worry about that too much right now.

12:45 - #2 and friend are playing Lego Star Wars and #3 is watching, so I'm off to take a shower and hopefully the house will still be standing when I get out.

1:00-2:30 - Still standing, thank goodness, and I go down to the craft room to get some actual work done while I watch Judge Judy. I reply to some emails, send some of my own, call my insurance company about some charges that I thought should be covered (apparently I thought wrong, the result of a $5000 maternity deductible not being met last year). I also called the plastic surgeon who is going to be operating on me next week, because the basal cell carcinoma that was removed from my neck is growing back, or so my OB and I think. So I want to see if he will remove that one at the same time instead of having to schedule a second surgery. This is going to be a very expensive medical year.

2:30 - #1 comes home from school and is immediately sulky when I tell him I'm going to check his homework today. #3 wants to go outside to play so I open the front door for him and let him go out for a minute by himself while I go to the bathroom. When I get outside to watch him (I don't really trust him quite yet to be by himself, not that he's ever done anything like leave the cul-de-sac but I hear the tv announcer saying "The 2 year old boy was outside by himself when..." which if I heard that I would immediately judge the mother as horribly neglectful) I find him standing on the front porch of our neighbor, ringing the doorbell which has a note next to it saying "Doorbell broken. Please knock." So I knocked, and the kids were in the backyard with their cousins, so they invited us to come back out there. I sat with my neighbor and her sisters-in-law and mother and chatted while the kids played.

3:30 - #1 calls me from our backyard and tells me his math homework is done, can I come check it? So I go over it with him - some are careless mistakes, no decimal point in a money problem, missing a zero, etc, but he's got a serious stumbling block in multiplication, especially when it involves several numbers. I think I really need to go over this more frequently with him, but I just dread the sulking, the sullenness, the moping, the bad attitude.

4:00 - I consider what I'm going to make for dinner, and I decide to give last night's dinner another chance. I wasn't home last night, so DH is not up for a battle over a meal, especially when he doesn't have a horse in this race. I give both kids fair warning about what dinner is going to be, they agree to eat it (which is kind of a joke, I recognize that) and settle back down to my audiobook, after switching the laundry again.

5:30 - DH comes home in the middle of a tantrum thrown by #3, who has just started to figure out this whole cry-really-loud-for-no-reason thing - the other kids were tantrum pros by this age, I guess #3 is just a slow starter. I have a feeling he'll make up for hit in quality of tantrums, and maybe he's just scheduling his peak tantrum throwing season to collide with us having a new baby in 3 months. Kids are crafty like that. Anyhow, he's angry because I had the audacity to put half a sandwich on a plate at the seat at the table where he normally sits. An insult tantamount to slapping him in the face with a pair of gloves, I recognize my folly now. So DH comes home to #3 sitting on the floor crying, and #2 eating his absolute minimum required amount of sandwich, which is half. #1 is outside playing with a boy his age who is going to be driven to pack meeting by me later, along with his brother. The crying gets on DH's nerves, not that I blame him, but how is it that my nerves are able to handle so much more? Well, I take #3 down to my craft room to continue crying behind closed doors. The nice thing is that when #3 flips the crying switch to "off" and walks out in a perfectly pleasant mood 5 minutes later, I'm comfortably ensconced in my lazy-boy recliner with my earbuds in my ear and my audiobook turned up just loud enough to be heard over the racket. I turn the volume back down now that it's quiet and stay down there until it's time for pack meeting.

6:30 - I take Boys #1 and #2, plus neighbor kids 1 and 2 over to the church for pack meeting. We have an awesome cub committee - they are all super dedicated and do just a fantastic job on the meetings, the den meetings, getting the boys to reach their awards, etc. So my complaint is not with them- my complaint is the enforced cheesiness of the cubs program in general. The songs, the cheers, the jokes, just a total cheese-fest. I figured out that we've got 3 years with Boy #1, a 6 month break, 3 more years with Boy #2, another 6 month break, and then 3 final years with Boy #3. It could have been planned better, the timing, could I not have maybe overlapped our nine years of cub scout purgatory? Although that means that I would have had to buy 2 uniforms, and as it is we can get away with just one for all 3 boys.

7:30 - We head home where the boys both promptly break their kites that they made at scouts (the string just comes off, it's fixable) but of course leads to a potential meltdown. I distract #2 (the potential meltdowner) and he asks if he can have a popsicle when we get home. I happen to know for a fact that there are two popsicles in the freezer, but I have three children. There is no need for the spinning red light to start going off in my head to warn me about what is about to happen here - this one is a no-brainer. I tell #2 he can certainly have a popsicle after #3 goes to bed. Which is in 15 minutes. Which means 15 minutes of me trying to get him not to ask me again, so that he won't say the word popsicle in front of said younger brother, who is not stupid and will immediately ask for a popsicle if he hears it mentioned. Finally I put #3 down to bed and popsicle eating ensues.

8:00 - Scriptures, 24 verses tonight. Yikes. I try to be enthusiastic and say "Just think how many blessings we are going to get for this!" but no one really wants to hear it. I'm reminded of the scripture that talks about a gift given grudgingly and does it still count (obviously I'm paraphrasing here). I don't really want to think about that, let's just get this done.

8:25 - DH has put #2 down to bed, #1 is at the table coloring his kite, and DH heads out the door to Walmart to get his allergy prescription refilled, plus a birthday present for the party #1 is going to on Saturday, plus a new transformer that #2 has saved his money for (birthday money plus leftover token money, which he did not waste at Chuck E Cheese's like #1 did, so he actually has $12 whole dollars). I'm instructed to go to bed super early tonight to combat the whole awake at 3 in the morning thing. I've got a copy of the business plan for the team I'm mentoring for the Utah Entrepreneur Challenge that I said I would review and make notes by tomorrow, so I decide to go over that quickly and then head up to bed. My tv shows will have to wait for another day.

8:45 - A member of the UEC team calls to ask some questions about their website and plan. I discuss it with him for a while, and can't help but think that at some point someone is going to figure out that the emperor has no clothes on, or in this case, the business plan competition winner has no practical experience and therefore no reason to be giving anyone advice. So I try to couch all of my advice with a caveat that, you know, this is just my opinion, this is how I'd do it, or I've seen it done, or whatever.

9:15 - I get off the phone and get back to the business plan. DH comes home and puts #1 to bed, then rewinds the tape of tonights new Scrubs episode to watch in the other room. I try to keep reading with my fingers plugged in my ears (which makes scrolling through a word document difficult) because I need to drown out the show and DH's laughing, which is what I'd much rather be doing right now. Eventually I close the laptop and head upstairs and listen to my audiobook while I get ready for bed. This is a mistake, though, because the book is slightly engrossing, as you can tell, and I don't really want to put it off. I sit in bed for about 10 minutes listening to the book and hear DH going through the house, turning off the lights and locking the doors. Well, there's no reason to start reading scriptures now, he's going to be in here in a few minutes to read also, so I use this as an excuse to keep listening to my book and say I'll turn it off when we both read together. Of course, this is going exactly opposite of DH's suggestion that I go to bed at like 8:30 so I can finally get enough sleep in a night, and when he finds me listening to my book he is, I think, a little disgusted at my lack of priorities. Or lack of discipline, I'm not sure. He's never been captivated by a book before, I don't know what I can compare it to for a non-reader, that need to keep reading and the difficulty in putting down a good book. I'm expecting my family to back me up on this one - certainly I'm not the only one in our family to stay up all night reading a book because it is just that good, right? Or in the case of Sphere by Michael Crichton, because I'm so scared by the book that I need to finish it to ensure I don't have nightmares!

10:30 - Scriptures have been read, and lights are off. I think I actually did pretty well for such a bad night's sleep, let's hope tonight is better.