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Typhoid Mary Hits Mardi Gras (With Child)
By now I should be in New Orleans sipping a beverage and relaxing. In actuality, I'm probably fighting rush hour traffic to get to my aunt's house in Metairie, but we can all dream, can't we? I'm in New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras with my family and The Queen of the Mayhem and all her little subjects.

I won't be posting much (if any) while I'm gone. Mainly because it's a bad idea to blog while drunk. I might end up that scary NaBloPoYe, or whatever, where you promise to post every day for a year in return for ...? Sorry, I'm not sure what you get other than a mandatory 48 hour stay at the mental institution of your choice.

My stay in the Crescent City will be marred a bit, unfortunately. You see I seem to have developed tuberculosis or something this slight cough and it won't go away. I've been bitching to T about how I never got sick before we had kids. Of course he had to remind me, "But remember that time you infected Tobago?" And no, he didn't misspeak, he meant the entire island of Tobago, not simply one or two people in Tobago.

You see, we went with friends to Tobago for the whole year 2000 New Years thing. We figured if the world ended and planes fell from the sky, a beach would be a good place to be. Over Christmas, my parents visited and every one of us got sick. Even T, who rarely gets sick. (Damn him.) I must have better immunity because I was the last to fall. Consequently, when we boarded a plane in Washington, D.C., shortly before December 31st, I was still hacking everywhere.

It was so bad our fellow passengers on the American Airlines flight from Miami to Trinidad were giving me that look. You know the one where they're wondering if the customs officials in Trinidad will be insane enough to let this obvious petri dish into their country. I swear I saw money changing hands when I came back from the plane bathroom. I think T was accepting bribes to stay away from certain hotels and beaches. Bastard.

Anyway, we were there with friends, who introduced us to some Tobago island friends they'd met last time they were there. Our new second hand friends took us to a party with yet more friends and even had us over for dinner. We had the island specialty, a yummy curried crab with dumplings.

We were supposed to meet up with our new friends again but heard that the man of the house had gotten sick. And then their kids. And then the wife. And then the neighbors. One by one, they fell like dominoes. We hot footed it out of the country before they demanded the CDC come pick me up in hazmat gear.

But I'm sure my trip to New Orleans won't be like that. Nooooooooo!

Heather, forget everything you read here.

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Musical Memories
In memory, everything seems to happen to music.
- Tennessee Williams
My parents sent me to a preschool attached to a Lutheran church. We knew the teacher, although I can't recall her name now. She babysat me at times, drove me home from preschool on occasion and taught my Sunday school class. From what I recall, she was a nice, grandmotherly sort of person. (Although I now suspect she wasn't that much older than my parents. At the age of 4, everyone seems old.) For some reason, several of my most memorable, and undoubtedly character shaping, early childhood memories involved her.

Memory 1:

One day, my preschool teacher was bringing me home and we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things she needed. I, always the obedient child, followed her around the store and smiled shyly at all the people who told her how cute I was or tried to talk to me. I remember the muzak playing in the store, tinny and sweet. Very different from the music my father listened to.

When we were standing in the check out aisle it happened. While my teacher chatted with the cashier, I looked at all the gum and candy. And I picked one up, turned it over in my hand, and put it in my pocket. Not to keep, just to have for a minute. It made sense in my 4 year old mind. As we left the store, the cashier smiled at me and told me to have a good day. I smiled shyly back and was led away by the hand, the candy in my pocket forgotten.

I climbed into the car and put my hand in my pocket. What was this? As I pulled out the candy with some surprise, my teacher noticed. She asked me where I'd gotten the candy. I didn't answer. She knew anyway. She asked me if I'd taken it from the store. I didn't answer. She knew anyway.

She brought me back to the store, made me give the candy back to the cashier who'd beamed at me earlier, and apologize. I did. Mortified and in tears.

In the car, I quietly sobbed on the way home, listening to a lecture about stealing. I'm sure it was nothing more than a quick and serious conversation about why we don't take things without paying for them, but in my 4 year old mind it was so much more than that.

Clearly, it made quite an impression.

When I got home, my teacher didn't tell my mother. Neither did I. I knew my mother would be disappointed in me. If my teacher had been, I knew my mother would be. Even as a toddler I was already desperate to please. When my mother asked me what was wrong, I don't remember what I said. Perhaps I said I didn't feel well. But I know I didn't tell her the truth. That would have been impossible.

Memory 2:

My teacher had come to pick me up for Sunday School. I'm not sure why my parents weren't coming. Perhaps my brother, an infant, was sick. It seemed to my young mind that my father was always gone. (He was in the Air Force.) I was wearing a nice dress and shoes, my hair in carefully blow dried waves. In my memory it was my yellow dress with the white patent leather shoes, but that could be just because I've seen pictures of myself wearing that dress at about the age of 4.

We were in the driveway but I wouldn't get in the car. I was screaming and kicking and crying. I remember that they tried to physically put me in the car but I braced myself on the outside of the car and refused.

You don't understand what an event this was for me. I was an unusually well behaved and compliant infant and toddler. I didn't do public tantrums like that. Perhaps that's why my mother gave in. Faced with such a strangely violent reaction from me, it probably seemed best that I stay home.

I don't remember ever attending Sunday School again.

I don't remember much from immediately after the event. All I know is that I think of my Sunday School tantrum whenever I hear the song, "Jesus loves me." Perhaps I learned it for the first time from my preschool teacher. Maybe I did attend Sunday School again after that day, but in my memory tantrum day ended my formal relationship with "church," leaving a faint imprint of cardboard doves, the smell of thick school paste, and the faded sounds of children's songs on my mind.

The pain and recrimination of disappointing people. The triumph at having my voice heard. Both of these memories are quite vivid.

What do I take from these memories now? I'll leave that to you to speculate. I'm sure that those of you who know me well, or even read my blog regularly, can guess.

I still can't stand Seventies muzak.

This was part of Julie's Hump Day Hmmm. Our task for the week was to write about key childhood memories and how and why we still carry them.

If you want to know the MOMocrats thoughts on John Edwards' recent departure from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, head on over today or tomorrow. We're not going away. We're going to be reminding Senators Obama and Clinton about the promises they've made and, hopefully, asking some tough questions. They're going to need to earn our votes.

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Driving Public Policy
Edited: Well, it seems that the AP is reporting that John Edwards is dropping out of the race. So much for my steadfast loyalty. I still think that he's played an important role in this campaign. I know he says he won't be the vice-presidential nominee, but a girl can hope, right?

I know you want to know who I'm supporting now. I don't think I'm going to decide yet. Virginia's primary is a week after Super Tuesday, so I don't have to decide until then. I know which way I'm leaning, but I want to see where HRC and Obama's policies lead me.

One of the bloggers over at Chicago Mom's Blog drafted an open letter to the Democratic Presidential candidates. You can see it on all of the sister sites, including the D.C. Metro Moms Blog that I contribute to. Veronica's letter is a wonderful idea. Several of the D.C. Metro Moms have been trying to get through to the presidential candidates for awhile. We even started topic days on all the sister sites to increase awareness of the political motivations of parent bloggers.

To a certain extent, it worked a bit. We had a wonderful meeting/teleconference with Elizabeth Edwards. We had some feelers from Senator Dodd's campaign. The Obamas basically told us, "thanks but no thanks," and I don't think we ever even heard from the HRC camp or anyone else. As for the Republican candidates? Bubkus. (Granted, I could really care less, but I do understand that not every mom who blogs is a Democrat.)

The problem I have with Veronica's letter is that it ignores my candidate, John Edwards. People can say whatever they want about his campaign being essentially over, but he is still in the game. CNN can pull him from their polls, but that doesn't change the fact that John Edwards has been driving policy in the Democratic primaries.

Even if Senator Edwards doesn't have a chance at the nomination any more, he's staying in the race to hold the nominee's feet to the fire. To make sure that Senators Obama and Clinton don't kill each other in a toddler temper tantrum, to make sure they don't forget about poverty, and health insurance, and economic reform, and environmental policy, and all those other things that we care about.

So let's not leave John Edwards out because, based on past experience, he's the candidate most likely to listen to us. Edwards does still have a role in this election. If I didn't truly believe that, I wouldn't still be beating the John Edwards drum over at MOMocrats.

For all we've heard about the presidential candidates *cough*OBAMA*cough* being socially media savvy, moms who blog have been pretty much ignored, except by the Edwards campaign. While companies and PR people can't wait to market to us or hear what we think about the latest mop or kid video on the market, nobody besides Edwards seems to give a flying fart what we think about public policy.

And it's not that no one cares what bloggers think. Hop on over the Daily Kos or the Huffington Post. Oh, the politicians care. They just don't care unless they can directly see a result in terms of political support or money. It's not so clear cut with us, the mothers who blog about anything and everything. But make no mistake, we vote, we're well educated, and we talk and write about politics in a personal way. People read our blogs. Some people actually do care what we think.

So, here's what I say:

Take heed, politicians. The internet is viral. If one of our fellow mom bloggers can get thousands of women across the country heading to the gym in an attempt to replicate her Big O on the treadmill, just think what we could do for your ideas and your campaign.

Ignore us at your peril.


One Pissed Off Mommy Blogger


As usual, I have new photos up at Lawyer Mama Dabbles. Is anyone other than my mother even reading that site? Give a gal some love, would you? Mwah!

Edited to add: Nancy, babe. I added an O link just for you! I meant to link it, so thanks for reminding me.

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Can I Get A Drum Roll Please....?
I have a blogger to introduce.

I know. I see you nodding and thinking, "Yeah, yeah, Steph, but my Google Reader is already about to explode. I just can't give any more." I promise you, you'll want to make an exception.

I am a bit biased. You see, this new "Mommy Blogger" is my cousin. I wrote her a "welcome to motherhood" post shortly before her adorable daughter burst into her world and many of you have seen her comment here on my blog. You may even have followed her link, only to find an empty blog.

Well, it isn't empty anymore.

If you're looking for a new blog that talks about how wonderful life is and how fulfilling and exciting motherhood is, hers is not the blog for you. But chances are, if you're a regular reader here, you'd vomit all over the floor if someone insisted to you that crayons and play doh are more fulfilling to you than any career, dreams, or aspirations you had before becoming a parent.

DM doesn't do puppy dogs, rainbows, and perfect Christmas newsletters. She's a member of my family. We teach sarcasm and pessimism in the womb. Hell, my aunts and uncles even have an informal competition to see who can send out the most twisted Christmas card each year. (For the record, no one has yet topped D&D's card sent out after Hurricane Katrina. It featured my cousin, holding a rifle, in front of the garage spray painted with "Looters will be shot on sight." I'll scan it in some time.)

Oh, and in case you were wondering, DM is not the cousin who was arrested at my grandmother's funeral. No, DM is more likely to get arrested at a protest rally. Or at least she was pre-baby. DM is the person we all wished we could be. She's done everything, from massage therapy to modeling. She was the only bridesmaid in my wedding with purple hair. She's traveled everywhere. (I will never be able to erase that photo of her eating the huge spider from my mind.) She's an incredibly talented photographer and a great writer.

Now, she'll be a great blogger.

If the thought of a minivan and "mom jeans" are enough to make you throw up a little in your mouth, go read Defiant Muse.

Now DM is thinking, "Dear God, WHY did I tell her about the blog?" Just be glad I don't have a scanner at home, DM. It could be worse. This is the only photo I have of you on my computer right now and at least you're not the one wearing a hideously poofy dress that you picked out.

DM is anonymous, or I'd post a more current picture of her modeling. Or if she'll let me lift a picture she's got on her My Space or Facebook pages.... (I got permission, so it's there up at the top!)

If that photo doesn't intrigue you, I have new ones up on Lawyer Mama Dabbles. I know you're all dying to see my homework from my photography class. It's almost as exciting as bark. In fact it is bark.

I know many of you have noticed that I haven't been visiting blogs lately. I feel like I need to apologize for having such a one way conversation lately.

Do you ever have times where you're really trying to get out of the house to go to the store, but you have two small children and it takes 30 minutes to get them dressed and ready to go. And then when you're strapping them into the car, one insists he has to go potty, so you unstrap them and let him go potty and when you catch them both and begin restrapping them, the other one has to go potty, and then one of them wants a juice and the other one wants a snack, and the other one must find the annoying $.20 Happy Meal gingerbread man toy that says "Not my gumdrop buttons," over and over again, and then the other one has to go potty again, and then the cat barfs on the rug, and then you have to go pee, and all you want to do is sit on the rug with your Resolve and paper towels and cry? But instead you call your husband and tell him to pick up milk on the way home and then everyone takes a 3 hour nap?

That's me lately with the blogging.

I have the best of intentions and sometimes I even get the car out of the garage. But at best I've been driving by the store and not stopping because the kids have fallen asleep in the backseat and I don't want to wake them up.

So please, please don't think I've forsaken you or unsubscribed from your blog, or even stopped thinking about you. To the contrary, I think about you all the time and wonder what's going on with you and you and you and you and you and all the rest of you. (You know who you are, even if I can't possibly link you all.)

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When Did I Become The Adult?
I have a new review of The Ultimate Tea Diet up on Lawyer Mama Review. I was skeptical going in, but it really works. Go check it out.

I also have new photos up on Lawyer Mama Dabbles. Well, they're not exactly new, but what I did to them is! Want to see a vintage Holden? How about a chocolate and lilac Hollis?

Finally, I have to thank everyone for your emails, comments, and hugs since Pandy got sick. Hell, I have to thank all y'all for your unflagging support all the time. I neglect your blogs for weeks at a time. I post sporadically or post only nonsense and you keep coming back just to let me know you're listening. You open up your homes to me (yeah, I'm looking at you, Joanne and Heather!). You call me and send me your phone numbers. Or you just let me know that you're there.

You have no idea how much all of this means to me. Or maybe you do. Either way, there's a house next door to me for sale if anyone wants to buy it. I'd be thrilled to have any of you as neighbors. And for me, that says a lot!

Last night was the culmination of weeks of dread. Ever since we got that little slip of paper from Hollis's preschool, I've been nervous as hell. The reason for my anxiety?

Parent Teacher Conferences

That's right. For 3 year olds.

As a child, I was never worried about conferences. I was a nerd model student. Even if I hadn't been, I can usually handle criticism. (Cognitive dissonance works great. You should try it.) But the thought of listening to someone tell me what my baby is doing wrong makes my heart race and my brow break out in a sweat.

It's not that I think Hollis is perfect. To the contrary, I know he's not. I know he's the youngest in his class and that he's probably behind most of them. I know that he's an introvert but he tends to get pumped up and rowdy (and stop listening) when he's in a comfortable environment. I don't know which option frightened me more, hearing that he was completely comfortable to the point of disobedience and insolence or hearing that he was too shy to fully participate.

Well, having actually been in his classroom and witnessed The Toddler in his native habitat, I knew it was more likely we'd be hearing about behavior techniques to get him to listen. I just don't want to be the mom to "That Child." Not that I think we couldn't handle it, but knowing that Holden is far, far worse than his brother, I would be completely freaked out to discover that Hollis is a behavior problem in school!

Plus, every time I go into school as Hollis's "mother" I feel like a teenager masquerading as a parent. Does anyone else feel like this or is this some bizarre personal psychological reaction to schools and bulletin boards?

Hollis's teacher also keeps asking me to call her by her first name and I, stupidly, keep calling her Mrs. N and writing "Mrs. N" on notes to her. I probably make her feel like a grandmother masquerading as a teacher, but really, when did I become the adult? I still feel like I'm not allowed to call a teacher by her first name!

Anyway, it turns out that my fears were groundless. Hollis's teacher told us that, yes, he is young and has a few problems with things a few of the kids have mastered, but he's constantly showing improvement. Hollis is happy and cheerful and obedient (for the most part) and plays well with the other kids. Whew! I mean, we knew Hollis was happy, but it's nice to hear confirmation from his teacher. And to hear that she likes him. We all want our children to be liked, don't we?

At the end of the conference, Mrs. N shared something with us that she calls the "Tell Me" sheet. It's a list of questions she asks the kids and then she records the answers. It starts with basic things like name, age, favorite color, etc.... (By the way, Hollis is still insisting that he's 5. At least he's consistent.) Then she asked him things like, "What makes you happy or sad?" and, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Hollis, to his credit, didn't answer the, "What do you want to be?" question. Honestly, I wouldn't know how to answer if you asked me and I'm 35. How do you answer a question like that? "I want to be happy/thin/tall/a princess/a fireman?" I don't know. On the way home, I decided to ask Hollis the question again, worded a bit differently. Being a creative genius, I asked Hollis, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" My literal-minded toddler answered without missing a beat, "Drink coffee and soda."

That's my boy!

There were a few answers on Hollis's "Tell Me" sheet that cracked us up. For the question, "What do daddies do?" Hollis answered, "Go to work and eat chocolate. I went to Daddy's office and he gave me some chocolate and it was yummy and crunchy." Clearly the kitchen in T's office has made an impression.

In response to, "What do Mommies do," Hollis replied, "Take baths and eat popsicles." Oy. It's time to start indoctrinating the toddler. Does anyone have a copy of The Feminine Mystique that I could borrow? Or maybe I should start out with some Wollstonecraft? Do they publish A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in a picture book?

Hollis redeemed himself towards the end though. His answer to, "What is pretty?" was "Mommy and her smile." Say it with me now, everyone, "Awwwwwwwwww!" When his teacher followed up with, "What makes her pretty?" Hollis's response was, "Her hair and her hair clip."

T was a little disturbed about Hollis's public acknowledgement of his obsession with my accessories. The kid loves to wear my necklaces, hair clips and headbands, and shoes. Clearly, there's hope for my boy!

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Sleep Well, Sweet Kitty
Lawyer Mama with PandoraIt's over.

We brought Pandy home on Friday morning after her blood tests were a little better. She did really well on Saturday and then on Sunday became lethargic again.

She stopped eating and drinking. Yesterday we discovered that she could no longer walk. I caught her trying to drag herself across the floor to her litter box.

I made an appointment to go see the vet on Tuesday morning, but we won't be needing it.

I sat up with Pandy after everyone went to bed because she was breathing pretty heavily. I put her in the living room to sleep in front of the fireplace on a bed of soft towels. About 20 minutes ago, I heard her choking and ran in to see that Pandy had dragged herself off of the carpet and thrown up all of her medication.

While I was wiping everything up and cleaning her paws, she stopped breathing.



Our "Jellicle" cat
March 2000 - January 22, 2007

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We're always making plans for the future, aren't we?

Tomorrow I'll start organizing the closets.

Tomorrow I'll start my diet.

Tomorrow I'll stick to my budget.

Tomorrow I'll get out of bed.

For some perspective, I'll remember that Why Mommy's Tomorrow truly is a new beginning. Tomorrow is her long awaited surgery and, hopefully, the beginning of her long life without cancer.

Go wish her luck, won't you? And think of her tomorrow.

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A World Without Art
I can't remember when I first became aware of "art" as a medium for emotional expression. It's just always been there. So putting thoughts about that emotional expression into words is always difficult for me.

Julie's Hump Day Hmmm for this week (yes, I'm late) tackles this tough subject:
Tell us about what the arts (music, dance, art, etc.) mean to you and what you think the effect of de-emphasizing it in schools means for the kids, the community, the culture and the future.
Art has always been important to my life, even though I am not an artist. I earn my livelihood with the left side of my brain. Reason and logic are my touchstones.

But... Some of the greatest analytical minds are also creative. Important inventions and new ideas are part of what psychologist David Perkins calls "breakthrough thinking." David Perkins' research supports the idea that the ability for your mind to have "eureka" or breakthrough moments in problem solving can be enhanced and developed through study of the arts. Something about art and music triggers creative thinking.

I've experienced this first hand. As a child I played the violin and took drama classes. My mother introduced me to famous artists. My parents took us to museums, the ballet, the symphony, and the theater. I didn't realize it at the time, but they were setting the groundwork for my later studies in math, science and computers. While my mind lends itself to the analytical fields, creativity is essential.

Take the law, for example. What most people don't realize is that a law suit is rarely won in front of a judge or jury. By the time a case gets to trial, there are very few surprises. There are rarely Perry Mason moments. An unexpected witness hardly ever appears. The important legal issues, those that determine whether a case can be supported based on statute or the common law, have already been determined.

The legal issues? This is where the case is usually decided. And it usually happens at the very beginning, when the lawyers involved develop a litigation strategy and the legal theory of the case. Once the strategy is developed, much of litigation involves the written word. Discovery is carefully crafted, the words in each motion deliberately drafted. Some of it is very routine.

But... While much of what I do is highly analytical, a touch of the genius never hurts. There are times when creativity is essential. The high points of my career, the moments I remember with pride, all involve creative arguments. Looking at a case, a contract, a legal theory in a different way can be the difference between losing and winning a motion for summary judgment and ultimately determine who wins or loses. What separates the brilliant lawyer from the good lawyer is this creative thinking and the ability to express it through words and language. Can anyone tell me that this isn't, in its own way, an art?

Schools have been cutting back arts education since I was a child. Do they even teach art appreciation in elementary schools anymore? These cuts are usually budget driven, with the idea that something must go and that art is less important than the three R's. But eliminating art and, consequently, the only outlet some children have for artistic and creative expression is short sighted.

I don't doubt that creativity, logic, analysis, and an appreciation of art are all related. Much in the way that mathematics and music have been shown to be inextricably linked, I am convinced that art can only help creative thinking.

Creative thinking.

Creative thinking is essential to the development of the human race and our society. The wheel, planting crops, developing the written word, the printing press, vaccines, the theory of relativity, trips to the moon, and computers. Our world is based on creative thinking, originality, and, yes, art.

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Show Me Your ....
I swear the dead twig Christmas tree is coming down tomorrow. Although it is awfully cute that Holden yells out "Christmas!" every time he walks past the tree.

Self Portrait

I also have a fun plan to get my butt out of the house and have some fun.

The wonderfully lovely and funny Queen of the Mayhem suggested that I bring the family down for Mardi Gras, Baton Rouge style. The husband isn't really down with driving 16 hours for a 2 day stay, so I've convinced him that I need to fly down for some cocktail mental health time. I'm going to bring Big H with me courtesy of United Airlines and bonus miles. (And United, if you screw me again, we're done. Just so we're clear.)

Now, the poor Queen is probably thinking, "Oh, shit! What have I done?" Well, Queeny, baby. That's what happens when you tempt Lawyer Mama with a good time when she desperately needs one. Now you can't back out. {Insert evil laughter here.}

So, if anyone happens to be in the New Orleans or Baton Rouge area on the weekend before Mardi Grad, let me know if you'd like to get together. Or if, say, some bloggers that I adore wanted to drag their butts over from Houston, I wouldn't be opposed. Nope. Not. at. all.

It looks like I'll be coming in to New Orleans mid day on Thursday, January 31st and hopefully crash with some family. (I suppose I should call and ask before I just show up with toddler in tow.) I'll spend the weekend with the Queen and the Mayhem in Baton Rouge and then head back to New Orleans until Tuesday, when I will reluctantly depart.

Yes, I will be flying out on Mardi Gras day. Bummer. But hey, it's a free flight. I can't complain.

I need to start practicing. "Show me your.... amygdalae!" That'll stop them in their tracks. (Yes, I am a nerd.)

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It's Not Over Folks....
Check out this video from the John Edwards web site.

See more discussion about John Edwards and media bias at MOMocrats.


Pandy is coming home tomorrow!

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Pandora Update - Now With More Puking!
Warning! Warning! Graphic bodily fluid descriptions contained below! If you're squeamish, don't proceed any further!

If you've been reading my photography blog, then you already know that Hollis was sick last week. Well, then the virus felled Holden on Monday and Tuesday. He threw up spectacularly in the back of my car.

I can handle most bodily fluids. Pee, no problem. I'll help you aim next time. Poop, not a big deal. We can fling it. Vomit, umm..., I'll go find T. You see, I'm a sympathetic puker. Both of my parents, me and my brother all suffer from motion sickness. They can attest to the fact that I am a sympathetic puker. In graphic detail. It's not pretty. When I saw that "barforama" scene in the movie Stand By Me, I could really relate.

Tuesday evening around dinner time I started to feel a bit... off. By 8pm I was praying to the porcelain god. And I continued to do so every hour on the hour for the next 12 hours. I was like a little barfing cuckoo clock. I had to stagger downstairs at noon today because T desperately needed to go to work and our sitter has the plague too. (And I'm afraid my children gave it to her.)

At some point this afternoon I dragged myself over to my laptop and pushed "Publish" on a couple of blog posts. For the rest of the day, I've pretty much been moaning and whining on the couch. Thankfully, T came home for the dinner, bath, bed routine because if it were up to me both kids would have passed out on the living room floor. On the plus side, if I got the stomach flu more often I would have abs of steel. In my current couch potato shape, it just hurts to breath.

The worst part of all the puking? I missed my first photography class. If there was any way in hell I could have dragged my butt there, I would have. But I don't think the class would have been happy if I'd: (a) passed out during the class; (b) thrown up during the class; or (c) infected the entire class with the plague.

Anyway, that whole lovely prelude was to explain why I haven't yet posted a Pandora update and why my Hump Day Hmmm for the week is late. It will be a Friday Hmmm this week, I guess. I'm not brave enough to post it without editing.

Tuesday, the vet called to tell me that Pandy's levels aren't back down to where they should be. She's responding to treatment, but not enough. The goal is to get her to a point where she can be maintained at home with just weekly subcutaneous fluid treatments at the vet (or at home if we can figure it out).

Because Pandy is responding, we're not ready to give up on her yet. So she'll be at the vet's office until Saturday. If she hasn't gotten to where we need her by then, it's probably not going to happen. In the meantime, we're still in limbo. I can't thank all of you enough for your comments and emails. It's wonderful to hear about so many cats with CRF who lived to be disdainful another day.

On Tuesday afternoon, before I was brought down by the bubonic plague, I chopped up some of Pandy's favorite food - turkey - mixed with a little low sodium chicken broth, and Hollis and I went to the animal hospital to visit Pandy. I'm really glad I took Hollis because he was so excited to see Pandy and I think now he understands why she can't come home yet.

I took some pictures, just in case.

You can see she was elated to see us. {/sarcasm}
It didn't matter, Hollis was thrilled.

She didn't move from the Meatloaf Position while we were there,
but she did at least smell her food.

Hollis kisses Pandy.

Come on, Pandy. We're all pulling for you.
And try not to get too spoiled. Don't listen to those vet techs. We love you more than they do!

And for your viewing pleasure:

Launch in external player

Doesn't that make you feel like having some cottage cheese? OK, I shouldn't have written that. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

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Windows to the Soul
Windows to the Soul (2nd Edit)

For Wordless Wednesday.

More photos up at Lawyer Mama Dabbles.

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Life and Death In the Backyard
Last Spring Hollis found a baby bird in our yard that had fallen from its nest. The poor little thing was brand new, awkwardly flapping its gangly, leather-like limbs and opening its beak in a silent yawp.

We collected the baby bird, putting him in a bucket filled with grass. Hollis thought the young bird was hungry, so we tried to feed him sugar water with a medicine syringe.

Upon closer examination, T and I discovered that the baby bird's wing was broken and partially ripped from its body. We knew that there was no hope. So, after Hollis reluctantly went to bed, T took care of the bird. But what to say to Hollis?

The next morning we told Hollis that the baby bird's mommy and daddy had come for him and they had gone back to live in their tree.

We punted. I really hadn't regretted what we did, but now I wish we'd at least broached the topic of death with Hollis.

You see, my little kitty, Pandora, is dying.

Over the last few weeks she's been losing weight and suddenly stopped eating. While unusual for any cat, it's even more so for Pandy. We affectionately refer to her as our glutton. At one point she weighed nearly 22 pounds, and she's not a big cat. For most of her life she's weighed more than Sir Hillary, our Norwegian Forest cat, one of the largest domestic breeds.

Pandy is almost 8. Sir Hillary is almost 12. They're both Aries cats.

We got Pandy when Hilly was 4 because he was so incredibly high maintenance. He was an extremely energetic young kitty and developed this annoying habit of trying to sneak up behind us and latch on to our legs to play. Fortunately, he would let out a loud "rooooowwwwr" before attacking, so I could usually manage to fend him off before I got any puncture marks. It wasn't fun at 2 am when I was stumbling to the bathroom. Anyway, Pandy did the trick. Hilly hasn't attacked my legs once since we adopted her as a kitten.

We named her Pandora because she really was a Pandora's Box for our spoiled Hilly. He tolerates her, and all the woes of the world that she brought with her. Barely.

Pandy is a bit dim, but very sweet and loving. When she was a kitten, she used to crawl up on my shoulder, rest on it like a baby and kneed my hair. If I wore it in a ponytail she got really upset. Even though she's a little big to drape on my shoulder now, she still tries to go for my hair.

Pandy is cute in a quirky way. She's black and white, with a black back and white underbelly. Her legs are black and end in white socks. But when you look at the pads of her feet, they are, adorably and surprisingly, black. She has a black face and contrasting white whiskers, with a little white goatee and mustache that stretches up to her nose on one side as if in a lopsided grin.

Pandy also has a lot of personality quirks. She overeats (um, that's kind of an understatement) and has been on a diet for most of her life. She spends every night roaming the house and yowling. She's never been very good at cleaning herself, and developed a tacky coat and dry skin over the last 5 years or so, despite grooming by us and Hilly. She's never really liked having the bottom half of her back touched, but now she will bite if anyone other than me touches her there. (And she still snaps at me.) Pandy also hates to be picked up and carried with an arm under her abdomen, my cat carry of choice.

Because Pandy hates to be picked up, it took me awhile to notice the weight she'd lost, but I could tell a few weeks ago. Then I started watching her to make sure she was eating. She was eating, but then over the last week or so has stopped and become very subdued. I made an appointment for her with our vet and then one of the cats started peeing in our hallway by the bathroom where their litter box resides.

When we saw the vet on Friday, Pandy was remarkably well behaved, but a bit dehydrated. The vet took some blood, gave her some subcutaneous fluids and a Vitamin B shot and sent us home. We got the blood test results back Saturday morning.

Chronic renal failure.

Her blood levels are very, very bad. It turns out that my poor kitty was peeing in the hall because she was too exhausted to get to the litter box.

My kitty "crashed." She's at the animal hospital for the next 3 days while they administer IV fluids and try to get her blood levels back to normal. If it's successful, she'll be on medication and a special food and we'll learn to do subcutaneous fluids at home. Many cats with CRF can be managed and comfortable like this for years.

If it doesn't work, we'll have to discuss our "options," which T and I both know means putting Pandy to sleep to prevent further suffering.

I'm more than a little upset with our past vets. In consulting the internets regarding CRF in cats, all of Pandy's "quirks" are actually symptoms of kidney failure. It's been going on for quite some time. And all of those symptoms are in her charts. We took her to the vet for her annual check-up every year and always mentioned our concerns about her weight and the fur and skin. We assumed it was because she was so large she couldn't adequately clean herself. The vet recommended grooming her ourselves and gave us some fatty acids to add to her food 2 years ago.

Four years ago, we even took her to the emergency vet because she was vomiting clear, foamy liquid and we thought she'd eaten something poisonous. They kept her overnight and told us she'd probably eaten something that bothered her tummy, even though Pandy is an indoor cat. We ended up feeding her baby food and rice until she got her appetite back and could hold down food. It's happened many times since then and we've always made jokes about how Pandy must have been hoovering inappropriate things off of the floor again.

Anyone want to guess what some of the major symptoms of renal failure are in cats?

Yep. In fact, pretty much all of what we thought were Pandy's quirks, from the overeating and back sensitivity to the dry skin and nightly yowling were actually signs and symptoms of kidney failure. And we had no idea.

Four different vets over 5 years and no one ever thought, "Hey, maybe we should take some blood." I guess it's because CRF usually happens in older cats. Pandy is 7, although this problem has clearly been going on for at least 4 years.

I got off on a hinsight rant there, but I know my cat. I'm pretty sure she won't be coming home long term, even though I'm trying to block that thought from my mind right now.

As upset as I am at losing one of my fur babies, I'm even more upset for Hollis. You see, Hollis has really grown to love his kitties over the last few years. Whenever he's asked if he has a dog, he proudly proclaims, "No, I have two kitties!" He pets them and plays with them and hugs them. He likes to sit with one of the cats on his lap and ask me, "Pandy is my kitty. Right, Mommy?" In the last year he's really begun to understand that Pandy and Hilly are part of our family. We belong to them, just as they belong to us. We take care of them and we love them.

Hollis loves them too.

Yesterday when I drove Pandy to the animal hospital for her 3 day stay, Hollis repeatedly asked me why Pandy is sick. I've been very careful about what I say because I don't want him to fear that being sick or going to the hospital or doctor will lead to death. I've simply been telling him that Pandy is a very old kitty (even though she's not) and that sometimes very old kitties get sick. When he asks why she has to stay at the vet, I tell him that the vet is going to keep Pandy for a couple of days so she can try to make her feel a little better.

Beyond that, I have no idea what to say. If Pandy doesn't get better, I have no idea what I will say.

Right now, I'm just hoping that our Pandy will be with us for many years to come. I can't bear to think of the alternative.

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I. P. Freely
I have new photos up on Lawyer Mama Dabbles. I've been having fun with my new toy!


In early December, my friend Lauren and I took H&H and her Pumpkin down to the Yorktown pier for some fun. I've blogged about it and posted photos a couple of times, but I've been holding out on you. You haven't heard the good stuff yet.

Nearly every time that Lauren and I venture out for some fun, we end up exhausted and frazzled or I do something brilliant like marinate the baby in rum. But, hey, at least I get some good blogging material.

Our trip to Yorktown didn't disappoint.

First, Holden kept trying to kill himself on the rocks of death. He would not stay off of them, even though his little feet kept getting trapped between the rocks. Holden is a climber. It's just what he does. He was frustrated beyond belief that he could not climb and he punished me by hitting, kicking, scratching and screaming. (Just for good measure, in case anyone in a 5 mile radius missed the injustice of it all.)

Then, up on the safe (we thought) pier, Holden found another way to do bodily harm to himself. See that little opening in the rail? It leads out to a little 4 inch wide ledge with nothing but water and rocks below. Guess who squished himself out there?

You know my husband is entertained by my blog because, upon hearing this, the first thing he asked wasn't, "Wow! Was he OK?" No. It was, "Did you get any PICTURES of it?!"

(For the record, I was too busy restraining my child from jumping off the ledge. Why am I seeing recreational cliff diving in my son's future?)

After that narrow miss, we decided to let the kids loose on the beach to run. With, of course, the appropriate threats of death if they put so much as a finger or toe in the water.

Do you think those threats worked on my little Hurricane Holden? Nope. He just walked right in and would have kept going.

Cold water? In December? Sounds like fun!

Holden's little dip in the water earned him a one way ticket to his stroller and a trip back to concrete. Unfortunately, once I was tethered to a stroller, Hollis took the opportunity to disappear with the Pumpkin. Seriously, we couldn't see them anywhere. I started panicking and screaming their names. Luckily, some people walking by let us know that the kids had run around to the other side of the bathroom building. Damn those kids!

So then the Pumpkin and Hollis earned a ride in the stroller. Since I hadn't brought my double stroller, Lauren forced them to sit together in her stroller. While we shopped. The kids were not happy.

Tough tiddlywinks, boys.

This is what happens when you scare the crap out of Mommy, boys.
It only gets worse. When you misbehave in your teens, Hollis, you'll earn a trip lingerie shopping with dear old Mom.

After our shopping trip the boys' punishment, we decided it was time to pack it in and go home. We headed to the car. Of course, the moment I started buckling Holden into his car seat, Hollis had to pee. Lauren asked me if Hollis had peed in the trees before.

Well, we weren't anywhere near the restrooms at this point, so I fully intended to take advantage of having a child who can pee standing up. He learned how to water the weeds as soon as that diaper came off for good. The parking lot was surrounded by these big bushes, so I figured we could sneak in one and drench the dirt in no time. Plus, Hollis is terrified of the "scary potties" with automatic flushers. (Are the people who designed those things sadists? Because they've clearly never potty trained anyone.)

I tossed back a, "Sure, he does it all the time," and then told Holden, "I'll be there in a second."

Can you see where this is going?

Lauren came around the other side of the car to get the Pumpkin in the car, while I finished up with Holden. We both turned around to check on Hollis at the same time only to find him naked from the waist down and assuming the pee stance right beside the car. He'd removed his shoes, socks, pants, and underwear completely. (What can I say? He doesn't like to dribble on his clothes.)

So, of course, a minivan full of women and girls pulls up across from Hollis and starts emptying. At this point I was laughing so hard I could hardly get out of the car. But I pulled myself together and tried to redirect Hollis to the lone scraggly little tree in the parking lot in a median beside the car. Hollis tried it out, but he didn't like the mulch on his feet, so back on to the concrete we went.

Hollis then asked, "Mommy, can you help me aim?"

I was thinking, "Oy. Kid, you're killing me. Don't you realize that adults can get arrested for stuff like this?"

So, I crouched down beside my naked child in the middle of a public parking lot with God and everyone walking by to see the show, and helped him aim. He was getting a little gun shy so I asked, "Hollis, are you going to pee?"

Hollis replied, "It's coming, Mommy."

Five seconds later still nothing and I said, "Hollis, are you going to pee?"

Hollis replied, "It's coming, Mommy."

Thinking I have the only 3 year old in the U.S. with a prostate condition, five seconds later I said, "Hollis, are you - "

"It's coming, Mommy!"


Sorry, sweetie."

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I helped Hollis get redressed and got him in the car.

What was Lauren doing, you ask?

I think she was looking for a spare diaper in Holden's bag because I'm quite sure she peed herself while rolling around on the ground laughing.

At least I had the foresight to warn Lauren I was soooo going to be blogging this. Hollis is lucky I didn't have the foresight to take pictures.

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The Wisdom of Prose or the Passion of Poetry?
In light of all the toy recalls and chemical scares lately, I'm concerned about what I buy. I'm not a freak about it, but if there is a safer alternative and it's not outrageously expensive, I'll give it a try.

But I have to admit that I'm skeptical. Vinegar just doesn't clean my floors as well as my usual cleaner, although it works great on windows. So when PBN gave me the chance to review Clean Well's new All-Natural Antibacterial Foaming Hand Wash, I came into it with an open, but cautious mind. Read More....

Now on to my post for the day:
I can't be the only one annoyed by all the press about Hillary Rodham Clinton's "break down" in New Hampshire on Monday, can I?

It's no secret that Senator Clinton is not my candidate of choice. I'm all about Edwards. But it angers me that a show of emotion is automatically seen as a weakness in a woman. And HRC didn't exactly break down. She got a bit emotional and welled up in response to a question about how she does what she does day after day. In response, HRC said,

This is very personal for me. It’s not just political. It’s not just public. I see what’s happening and we have to reverse it. Some people think that elections are a game, it’s about who’s up or who’s down. It’s about our country and it’s about our kids’ future.
Perhaps I have a different perspective because I heard the segment on NPR on Monday afternoon in the car. I didn't actually see the segment until later. But, people! She didn't "break down." Here's the segment. Judge for yourself.

Frankly, I think Senator Clinton sounded passionate and authentic when she spoke about how important this election is for the future of our country. I completely agree with her. I've never doubted that HRC cares strongly about this country and its people, but that normally doesn't come across in her public speaking.

In Nashua, New Hampshire this weekend HRC quoted Mario Cuomo, "You campaign with poetry, but you govern in prose." While I don't believe that Senator Clinton is the right candidate to bring about the changes we need in the U.S., I have no doubt that Senator Clinton is well versed in prose. Her weakness is in the poetry. Unfortunately for her, the draw of poetry is usually more alluring to voters.

Monday's question and answer session was actually pretty much the first time I've listened to her speak and heard Clinton's passion. She's normally so self possessed that she comes across as too scripted. It was nice to see that a human heart does beat beneath her breast.

Clearly Senator Clinton's show of emotion didn't hurt her with New Hampshire voters, so maybe it's time for the press to give her a break. Even if she can't help reverting the emotional female stereotype.* I can't help wondering if the press would have reacted in the same way if a male candidate had showed the same emotion. I doubt it.

*I say this with sarcasm, just to be clear.

Cross posted at DC Metro Moms Blog.

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The Boys - With My New Toy
I promise I'll have a substantive post up tomorrow, as well as a new review. But, since I promised to put some pictures of the boys up taken with the new toy, I'll delay substance a day. If you'd like to check out my post a day early, head over to the DC Metro Moms Blog later today.

As promised, I have photos of the boys taken with the new Nikon D40x. It was evening, so I had to use the flash for all but one. Well, I tried a few others, but only one wasn't incredibly blurry. I'll have to try again with a tripod sometime when the boys will actually sit still.

Holden's foot. The only photo here taken with no flash.

Holden in profile.

Holden's profile again.

Hollis's eye. I also have about 50 photos of him blinking.

Holden's eyelash. Why are the beautiful lashes always on little boys?

Who said brown eyes are boring?

I have some other non-H&H photos up on Lawyer Mama Dabbles.

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My New Toy is Here!
My new toy is here!

It was waiting for me when I got back from D.C. yesterday. I'm still figuring it out, but I took a bunch of test shots. I started out with my boys' toys, moved on to the cats and then, finally, the boys. The cats were far more cooperative than my boys. How sad is that?

I have a few kitty photos below, and you can see the toys on Lawyer Mama Dabbles. I'll post the pics of the boys here and at Dabbles tomorrow.

Sir Hillary's eyes. He did not like the flash.

Sir Hillary checks out the camera. Taken with a flash.
My poor kitty is starting to go gray. I can really see it in this photo.

Pandora in the sun. Taken with natural light.
I kind of like how her white whiskers blend in with the background.

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D.C. Moms Gone Wild
Updated to add: KC did indeed have her baby. Go see!

I can't thank you all enough for your wonderfully supportive comments, emails, and the great conversations about my blog post yesterday. It helps so much to know I'm not alone and that what I'm going through is so common.

I began to regret posting on my way to D.C. because I came a little late to the realization that everyone would probably read it before they came to the D.C. Metro Moms party. But I was so touched by the wonderful things you said to me, Nancy, Joanne, Amie, and Julie. I'm now seriously regretting living three hours away from D.C.

Now on to the fun topic!

I had the pleasure of attending the D.C. Metro Moms Bloglaunch party last night at Le Chat Noir in D.C. It was hosted by Graco and Yahoo and damn, do they know how to throw a party.

It was a lot of fun. I got to meet most of the ladies from D.C. Metro Moms that I hadn't met before, reconnect with some old friends like Pundit Mom, Mamma Loves, Mom Ma'am Me, Gunfighter (our token guy), Devra of Parentopia, Kimberly from Petroville, and Sarah minus her Goon Squad. I also finally got to meet Julie from Suburban Ecomom, Andrea from Andrea's Recipes, the unforgettable Susan (aka WhyMommy) from Toddler Planet, and many other ladies that I so look forward to getting to know better.

Considering there was an open bar, the party was actually pretty tame. Although there was a wonderful moment between Susan and Gunfighter, who had never met before. We were all wearing name tags, but the restaurant was dark and they were difficult to read. Well, GF was checking out Susan's name tag and jokingly said, "Pardon me, I'm not trying to stare at your chest."

Susan then informed GF that he could stare away and she'd be perfectly happy to show them to anyone who wanted a peek since they would only be around for 2 more weeks. (Our lovely Susan has IBC, a rare and deadly form of breast cancer. She's doing great though and after surviving chemo, is scheduled for her double mastectomy in 2 weeks.)

GF was a bit flustered and I swear he was bright red, even though I couldn't really tell in the dark. Susan clued GF in on the situation and he looked awfully relieved. I think he thought Susan had gotten an early start at the bar up until that point. I've never seen anyone so relieved to hear it was just breast cancer before!

The Graco people at the party were wonderful. Lindsay has just launched Graco's new blog and I can tell that she'll fit in to the blogging world instantly. There was also an awfully cute Graco guy named Paull from Australia. I was tempted to just follow him around the entire evening so I could listen to his accent but I thought he might be a bit creeped out. He was nice enough to record a little video blog shout out for me though and I'll post it later if I can clean it up a bit. (It was dark and very LOUD.)

Paull was taking pictures and some video for Graco and they have a Flickr group set up for the photos. When Paull had the video camera out, I told Susan it was her chance to take the girls out for one last spin, but she didn't go for it. Clearly she wasn't drinking enough. I think if we'd gotten a few more drinks in her, Lindsay and Paull could have sold the video to Girls Gone Wild. Mommy Bloggers Gone Wild? Is there a market for post-partem boobs? Wait, I don't want to know. There are some real freaks out there.

The very nice Graco people also gave one of their brand spanking new Sweetpeace soothing centers to one of our mom bloggers who may or may not have just had her second baby. (Large hint there. If she'd post on her damn blog already, we'd know!) The Sweetpeace is the mac daddy of swings. Actually, it's hard to call it a swing. That's sort of like comparing a Yugo to a Porsche.

On to the pictures:

photos in Graco Get-Togethers More photos in Graco Get-Togethers

Ooh, I also must mention something that will make you green with envy. Pundit Mom invited me to stay with her and her family for the evening, so I got to meet Mr. Pundit Mom and Pundit Girl. Pundit Girl blew me away with her poise and intelligence and she read me some of her poems. She's so self possessed and affectionate and just plain nice. I wanted to take her home with me. Ms. and Mr. Pundit Mom are doing a great job.

I had so much fun with my fellow D.C. Metro Mom bloggers. I'm just a bit disappointed that there wasn't enough time to talk everyone for as long as I wanted to. I guess that means we'll just have to do it again soon.

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Opening the Door, Just a Crack
I feel like I've been dishonest on my blog lately.

You see there's this 250 pound gorilla sitting in the room with us and I've just been ignoring it. I sit on the couch with my mug of tea, blithely chatting with you about my new camera, Brittany Spears, and the Iowa primaries. Then I get up and carefully step over those large gorilla limbs to get to the teapot.

Depression sucks.

There's no other way to say it. Well, hell, we all know there is, but I can't think of a more succinct way to say it.

I've been sinking into a green hole for awhile now. I've hinted about it. I've whined about it. I've even danced around my anniversary date with the great gorilla. But I've never really come out and said it. So let's get it out of the way.

I'm depressed. I'm on a new medication. I'm seeing a therapist. I've taken a leave of absence from work. My job that I love, that I'm really good at, that I can't seem to properly perform in my current state.

So now you know.

Now you know that I'm not perfect. I'm not superhuman. I can't do it all. I can't have it all. Frankly, right now I'm struggling to just hold on to the things that matter the most.

And it's really hard for me to let other people know about this very real, very raw struggle I'm having right now. Some of my co-workers read this blog. Some people I've known since high school read this blog (Hi, B! Hi, C!). My family reads it. But this is my space. My space. And even if it makes other uncomfortable, I'm going to write my truth.

Let's face it. I'm not really worried about others being uncomfortable. I'm more worried about what others will think of me. Because that's what I do. I talk a good game about not being a conformist, yadda, yadda, yadda, but my life is really about as conventional as it gets.

In one of my posts I once wrote,
I do not save lives. I will not cure cancer. I will never fly to the moon.

If I have an Achilles heel, a tender spot in my self worth that can be breached, this is it. The feeling that I am not living a life of meaning. The fear that I won't leave this world a better place. The fear that I chose the path of least resistance.
Gwen wrote a post several months ago that struck a similar cord in me. She wrote about how so many of us grew up thinking we were extraordinary. That we would do amazing things. We would change the world. And, of course, most of us haven't done that, have we? That pretty much sums up my completely unrealistic discontent.

I know that relating my depression to the realization that I'm not as damn special as I've always thought I was is too simplistic. But it is part of the picture.

In becoming a mother, I faced a seismic shift in my personal identity. It happens to all of us. We have no control over it. It just happens. One minute it was all about "me" and the next it was all about "baby." Now it's all about "toddler." Oh, and "toddler." Can't forget the second one.

While this change in identity and expectations is automatic, it doesn't make acceptance of the change any easier. And it's been hard for me to align my internal view of myself with external and instinctive actions.

Don't get me wrong. I do not regret having children. My family is the one thing I can see with perfect clarity. My family is the best of me. But something about this identity shift, something about becoming a mother has changed me.

Before I even contemplated children, my life was fine as it was. My accomplishments weren't ground breaking, but they were mine and I worked hard for the life and education I had. Now, for some reason, being great at my job and working hard and playing hard just isn't enough for me. I want meaning. I want worth. I want something more.

I just wish I knew what that something is.

Don't feel too sorry for me. I wrote this post more than a week ago but have trying to decide whether to publish it or not. I have bad days, I have good days. At some point the good will outweigh the bad. I know it will.

I do know that tomorrow will be a good day. You see, the DC Metro Moms Blog is having a party and I'm heading up to DC to see some old friends , some friends I somehow missed meeting at BlogHer, and meet some new ones. And if KC hasn't popped yet, maybe she'll be there too!

I have new photos of the boys up at Lawyer Mama Dabbles.

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Hurricane Holden Turns Two - a Pictorial
My little Hurricane,

You are a force of nature, leaving random messes and gray hairs in your wake. But despite your large personality, nothing has ever been easier than loving you. I never imagined it could be so easy. So easy to get pregnant, stay pregnant, and have you. Love you.

You'll be compared to your older brother for the rest of your life. I'm sorry about that. But know that your worth isn't related to his accomplishments or age. You're Holden. Loving, snuggly, sweet, stubborn, fearless, and social little Holden.

When I was pregnant with your brother, I was afraid to love him and afraid to hope. But with you, there was never a moment when I doubted that I would hold you in my arms and rock you to sleep. I just knew. And I loved you from the moment I knew.

I loved you when you were a flicker and a grainy black and white photo.
I loved you the day before you were born.

I loved you at 4 minutes

4 days

and 4 months.

Pretty early on, I realized you were a goat and we'd have to be careful. That hasn't changed.

At 9 months, when you started climbing and walking, suddenly and fearlessly, I realized we were in trouble.

By your first birthday, you were fiercely independent.

By 18 months I knew that the stubborn streak was hereditary.


you're two. Still independent, stubborn, fearless, and loving.

and reaching for more of life every day.

Despite the gray hairs and the nervous twitch, I can't wait to see what you do next.

I love you, my snuggle bug, my buddy boo, my hurricane, my Holden.

Happy birthday.


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