Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bad Taste, Yet So Delicious

I have mixed feelings about the chocolate statue of Jesus on the cross that's been causing a minor uproar in this holiest of seasons.

On the one hand, it's obviously in bad taste. Would a chocolate buddha go over well? How about a chocolate Mohammed? (didn't they do that on South Park?) Chocolate pagan bunnies and eggs are one thing, but a chocolate Jesus seems to me so far over the line that we can't even SEE the line.

On the other hand, we Catholics are full of strange contradictions. In my parish, and many others, the tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays has been warped into a good way to make money. The Friday Fish Fry is full of tasty beer-battered fish, french fries, and homemade desserts by a Girl Scout troop. The line is so long that a familiar parishioner walks through the crowd selling cups of cold beer to ease our Lenten suffering. (Perhaps in a satiric reference to the women who tried to give Jesus water along his route - or perhaps the soldiers who gave Jesus the wine on the sponge...) Some parishes take it a step further and fry up muskrat, which is apparently not a meat (but probably more of a sacrifice than tasty fried cod).

Can't we have a sense of humor about a chocolate Jesus? As long as there's no chewy center or cherry cordial heart, I think I'm ok with at least having a good laugh - though we'll be sticking to bunnies and Peeps for our Easter baskets.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ticks for All

To protect the kids from the inevitable ticks that come from walking in the woods at Great Grandma's farm, I forced them to wear jeans and long-sleeved shirts, even on what turned out to be a surprisingly hot (80 degrees) spring day.

Long sleeves weren't enough.

It started when the 7-year old found a tick crawling on her sock. Then the 11-year old found one, and we were off to the tick races. Brendan's city boy eyes grew wider and wider, and he grew a little paler. After we found one on his back, I made the mistake of telling him that ticks like to crawl...uh...into hairy places. At that, he practically had his pants off IN MY GRANDMOTHER'S LIVING ROOM. I persuaded him to move the party into the back hallway, where I inspected him and he was tickless.

The others weren't so lucky.

Aunt Pat didn't help, as she casually mentioned that she'd tested positive for several tick diseases, but if you can "get the ticks off within 24 hours, you're pretty safe from disease."

By the time we left, my kids were in the back of the van with their pants off, inspecting their legs and feet for ticks. Brendan kept telling me to hold their jeans out of the window to let the wind get rid of any ticks. But at 80 mph, I envisioned the wind getting rid of the jeans, so I inspected the seams, pulled off a few ticks and squished them.

That night, I inspected everyone again, including myself - - 3 ticks. Yippee. I was calm and kept everyone else calm.

At 3am, however, I woke up with my hands in my hair, holding (what I subconsciously must have known was) a tick between my fingers. I was lying there for a good 10 minutes, trying to decide if I really wanted to get out of my nice comfy bed to walk into the bathroom to see if I was really holding a tick between my fingers.

I did. It was. So my friend the tick made it through 2 showers, a pony tail, and a solid hair-brushing to surprise me at 3am by moving around on my scalp.

I decided against telling Brendan, because the sheets would have been stripped at 3am. Forgeddaboudit.

From 3-4am I lay awake, debating whether or not I should sneak upstairs to the kids' room and inspect their little scalps with a flashlight. Fret. Fret. Fret.

Then I realized that waking up to a flashlight on your head at 3am would do more harm than good, and I went back to sleep.

Next time we visit Great Grandma on the Farm, we will wear lots of layers again, and bring a good supply of Deet.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

She Screams for Ice Cream

Took the entire family on a roadtrip yesterday to see "Great Grandma on the Farm" - my 95-year old grandma in Southern Indiana. Many posts will follow about this event. But first, I have to report that for 95 years old, living alone, my Grandma is pretty outstanding.

When I asked her how she managed to get two black eyes (you can barely make then out in this slightly blurry pic), this was her account, as close to verbatim as I can get:

"I was carrying a lovely bowl of ice cream in from the kitchen, when I caught the toe of my shoe on the edge of the door frame. Then I fell and hit my eye on the corner of the china cabinet. There I was on the ground, and it was so sad. My ice cream bowl was broken and so I couldn't even eat my ice cream after that!"

95, people. 95.

More later, because I MUST report on the tick population, and my husband the city boy. But first, I have to get the troops out the door to church on this fine spring morning.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Caffeine and the Diet Coke Cult

There seems to be a slight misunderstanding with my last post. I did mention the idea of giving up caffeine, but when I say caffeine, what I really mean is COFFEE. The idea of giving up DIET COKE is another matter altogether - an idea that is off the table. Sisters of the Diet Coke Cult- back me up on this. Diet Coke doesn't count as a caffeinated beverage, but it DOES count as one of your 8 glasses of water for the day. And I have it on good authority - have seen it with my own eyes - that Diet Coke is coming out with a new species of Diet Coke that contains VITAMINS. Soon my bevy of Diet Cokes will also count as a nutritional supplement. (insert evil laugh here)

They had me at Tab.

And, by the way, the caffeine dilemma was solved at 2:37pm with a tall Americano with a little half and half and a single Splenda. Not too bad for my jump back into the caffeinated pool

Down but not out!

Darling husband was hit by a stomach flu Sunday morning, which I did not take very seriously, considering Saturday was St. Patrick's Day, and he enjoyed quite a bit of the brew. I changed my tune when I crawled home from work Monday morning (do you know what it's like to have to get sub coverage mid-day?) and spent most of Monday afternoon and evening reliving some not so pleasant college memories on the cold tile of the bathroom floor.

Tuesday was a blur.

And now I'm back at work. Whheeeeeeee!

I just want to send a shout out to those ladies who puked their way through their pregnancies. Way to go, ladies! I didn't puke once this time around, but I made up for it a little bit on Monday.

Now I have a dilemma - feel free to weigh in on it - - I've been without caffeine for 48 hours, and am suffering from the dreaded caffeine headache. Do I take this as a sign that I should GIVE IT UP? Or should I high-tail it to Starbucks at 3pm for a LATTE?

Please advise.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Elusive Pout

Hard to capture on film...but here it is: The Lip.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Good Clean Fun

Here's a great article on a super-clean, very funny comedian I've grown particularly fond of lately, Jim Gaffigan. Most people will recognize him from the Sierra Mist commercials he does with another great guy - Michael Ian Black.

Those that know me may be baffled at my affinity for a stand-up comedian who has stricken curse words from his act. Me too. But we watched his special "Beyond the Pale" and laughed outloud repeatedly, and now think of Jim Gaffigan when we walk past the Hot Pockets at the grocery store.

Friday, March 16, 2007

One week down...

I'm officially a working mom again after surviving my first full work week. A few lessons I've learned this week:

1. Pumping in a Science lab supply closet is pretty interesting. Pipettes, beakers, the occasional odd item (a pair of sneakers, a volleyball, a case of microwave popcorn) all kept me company while I tried to envision my little pumpkin nursing. Visualization is supposed to increase your milk supply. Whatever.

2. Four hours of uniterrupted sleep truly is a luxury, and it's JUST enough to make it through the day. Of course, I was actually slurring my words by Thursday night and had to take a little nap just to make it to dinner.

3. I missed my work colleagues and my students, but they'd understand if I won the lottery and quit working tomorrow.

4. Coming home and getting a huge 3 month old grin makes it almost ok.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Disney's New, Improved Hundred Acre Wood

Disney fans all around the world are in shock following Disney's announcement that a 6 year old girl has been spotted in Winnie the Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood.

You mean that's not Christopher Robin?

No, no, definitely not. This girl is described as "tomboyish" and wears a safety helmet.

Eeyore also pops Prozac and has a little spring in his step.

Pooh is on Atkins, so he's off honey, and has eaten Piglet.

New and improved, indeed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Hittin' the Bottle

She took a bottle on her first day of daycare.

This same sputtering, puking, crying she-devil that stalwartly refuses to take a bottle from my husband, happily took a bottle of my breastmilk from her wonderful new daytime caregiver.

Trying to get everyone used to what will be our new schedule, I dropped the baby off at her baby-sitter (a woman, incidentally, whose own daughter was my student years ago) for a half day "trial run" to see how she (read: I) would do. As I left, I joked with the woman, "She's not on a schedule, won't sleep unless you're holding her, and she won't take a bottle. Good luck." Except I wasn't joking. At all. Ha. Cough. Ha.

I made it until 10:30, when I broke down and called, expecting to hear that familiar "I refuse to take a bottle and now I'm officially starving" wail in the background, but it was completely quiet on her end.

"I hate to ask, but how is it going?"

"It's going great! She only took about 3 ounces though. Is that ok? Is that her norm?"

I almost dropped the phone. 3 ounces? Are you kidding me? Out of a bottle? I got used to freezing milk in one ounce bags, because she wouldn't choke down more than that if forced to use a bottle. We tried a shot glass (don't send me email about how this will effect her life), we tried a dropper. Nothing doing.

So as it turns out, as I've been told by others, some babies will take a bottle from anyone other than Mom or Dad. You'd think Dad would be a great choice because clearly he can't offer the same goods as Mom, but NO. Our doctor explained that some babies assume that if they're getting it from Dad, then Mom must be close by and choose to fight it out.

Of course, this is an assumption. Who knows what a 3 month old thinks. But think they do. And act. And manipulate.

I'm relieved that at least she won't be freaking out with hunger while I'm at work freaking out with maternal angst.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

What is it with Michigan??

First there was the dismembered body of a Michigan wife and mother; now this.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Maybe she burned the roast

I'm completely fascinated by the disturbing dismemberment story (as if there is a cheerful dismemberment story); now the husband has confessed to killing and dismembering his young wife. The article ends with a mention of the couple's two young children, 6 & 4, and the husband's statment that he "looks forward to seeing them again as soon as possible." Most likely through a thick glass partition, is my bet.

From all accounts I've read, things seemed this side of "normal" for the couple and their family; neighbors mentioned barbeques and watching them teach the kids to ride bikes. Either this guy completely fooled everyone, or somewhere along the way, he completely snapped. I'm far more interested in WHY this happened than how he actually did it -I can watch endless episodes of CSI on Spike tv to find out how he did it.

On the complete other end of the marital dischord spectrum, my husband and I caught the last half of Shalom in the Home last night while biding our time before Battlestar Galactica last night. The couple just needed a little boost; the husband was repeating a pattern of behavior and making himself (and everyone around him) miserable. The highlight for me was seeing Rabbi Shmuley running around with balloons on his head, helping the wife and kids plan a "Welcome Home" party for the husband. Can't picture a Catholic priest doing the same, but you never know. I'm just glad they worked it out in the end; sleeping on the couch is temporary...but dismemberment lasts a lifetime.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Must be an impressive pair

Oh, to have this much influence just by showing my ta-tas...

BERLIN (Reuters) - A German man who spent 10 days in a self-made box atop a 72-foot-tall pole to protest a looming jail term was lured off his perch by his wife -- who sent up a topless picture of herself in his lunch box.

Fred Gregor, 45, was bidding to have his 15-month conviction for fraud overturned by squatting in his tiny cubicle atop a converted television mast. He told Reuters in a telephone interview last week that he wanted a new trial.

His wife Susanne, 25, backed his protest until the former stripper and mother of their five children decided she had had enough.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Brownie Thursday

Overheard at my 2nd grade Brownie troop meeting while we worked toward our Caring and Sharing badge:

"I hate the Germans! They killed my grandpa in the war!"

Sleepless Houses Across America...

We had a relatively easy night last night, with the 7 year old only getting up twice. She usually slinks into the guest room, but since my husband was sleeping there last night (banished because of snoring), she lucked into a spot next to me in the Sacred Parental Bed. The 3 month old was sleeping peacefully in the bassinet, which is a relatively new phenomenon that I hope continues.

According to the New York Times, we have it pretty easy every night. In homes all across America, and dare I say the world, parents are up at various hours dealing with "migratory children." Especially between 1-3 am. Expensive princess beds are abandoned in favor of the parents' bed; or, even better, Mom ends up in the princess bed while Dad sleeps with small flailing children.

On one level, it's reassuring that our children are not the only ones up at all hours, unable or unwilling to sleep alone. But on a deeper level, the article brings up the idea that it's our lack of strict boundaries that may be causing the problem. Are we the problem? Are we the same parents who know that our parents probably had the right idea, but we somehow feel guilty for applying the same rules to our own children?

I have fond memories of crawling into my parents bed once in a blue moon during a thunderstorm. Sleeping on Dad's arm, (or better yet, sandwiched in between Mom and Dad) was a luxury I instictively knew not to ask for too often. Why is it so hard for my generation of parents to say "Sleep in your own bed!"? Because sleep is like crack. You get a few hours, and you just want more. We will do anything to get a little sleep, including let a few rules slide here and there.

As of toay, the new rule is that the 7 year old can sleep on the floor, on the couch, in the guest room - anywhere but in our bed. We just got the 3 month old out of it, and if my husband can stop snoring, we will once again share the Sacred Parental Bed. Not much happens but sleep, but for now, I'll take it like the sleep whore that I am.