Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reader Question: Favorites

Today's question is brought to you by Deja (@PinkieBling), who seems so cute and fun on Twitter that I'm still bummed she was too sick to attend PJs @ TJ's. A recent tweet of Deja's that is SO VERY TRUE:

Deja wants to know about my favorite pastime, food, movie, and color...you'd think these would be simple to answer, but I am rambly, and a non-committer.

Would it be superlame if I were to say that my favorite pastime is blogging, and reading blogs? More so the reading, than the writing, as evidenced by the fact that I am delinquent on many, MANY posts (including, but not limited to quarterly updates for both kids, birth stories, a home tour, a 101 in 1001 update, a MIL update, more random crap bins, my breastfeeding journey, a crocheting post, and so on, ad nauseum - it's all coming eventually, I swear!). Twitter and pinterest fall under this general category as well. Ultimately, "stuff I can do on my phone" gets more time than "stuff that I have to do on my laptop". Sigh.

Other activities I enjoy include reading, drinking wine with my book club ladies, crocheting, watching lots of BAD reality tv, napping, taking bubble baths, playing with makeup and nail polish, taking the kiddos to the zoo, aquarium, museum, etc. Writing this list is making me realize that the stuff I enjoy the most does not equal the stuff I devote the most time to. I probably need to reprioritize my free time.

Favorite food is definitely some sort of Indian food. My coworker and I go to Indian lunch buffet at least twice a week, and it is amazing. I love all of it, but if I had to pick just one thing, probably mutter paneer. I have done two stints of vegetarianism (five years total - I will go back to it for good some day), and Indian food definitely got me through them. YUM.

I always find favorite movie to be nearly impossible to answer. My standby is always Princess Bride because it never gets old, but I'm sure there other movies I enjoy more. My Facebook profile (filled out a million years ago, but still indicative of my favorite type of movies) says Nightwatch, Winter Passing, Away We Go, Shopgirl, Garden State, Lost in Translation, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Mean Girls.

I don't really know if I have a favorite color per se, but my wardrobe has been 95% black since about 1993. I also only buy black cars. I also like all shades of gray, mustardy yellow, plummy purple, teal, and raspberry.

How about you - what is your favorite 1) pastime; 2) food; 3) movie; and 4) color?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Contest Winner!

Our internet is down, so I'm blogging from my phone. Just wanted to let you guys know that 1) I suck at writing contests such that there is a clear, transparent, easy way to determine a winner, and 2) You guys suck at reading my mind and commenting the way I want you to. I will simplify things next time :)

Whenever I am in doubt, I err on the side of more entries rather than less. That means people who sent 3 questions get 3 entries, and I threw a pity entry to Jessica, who missed being able to tweet about the contest.

I came up with 33 entries, and random.org chose #13. Laura from Navigating the Mothership has fantastic luck over here!!!

Congrats, Laura!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Reader Question: What things helped you get through those first few weeks with a baby?

This question is brought to you by Linnea, or LE Bean, which is actually pronounced Ellie (L.E.) Bean and not Le Bean (WHO KNEW?!!). The damn hippo on her blog, while adorable, breaks my work computer on the regular, or I would have fun blog factoids here. In real life, she is hilarious, dramatic (in a good, theatrical kind of way, not in an angsty teen kind of way), and lots of fun. Go offer her words of encouragement, as she is expecting a baby bean in a couple of months!

Oh, Linnea. Linnea, Linnea, Linnea. Are you SURE you want to ask this question? REALLY SURE??? There is nothing, I repeat, NOTHING that a mommyblogger (or a blogger who also happens to be a mommy, if you find that label revolting) likes more than to word vomit assvice all over you mothers to be. And I am, quite possibly, the WORST at this. I have baby gear lists, hospital packing lists, second baby lists, required reading lists, tips for birthing, tips for your hospital stay, tips for shit to steal DURING your hospital stay, tips for your maternity leave, breastfeeding tips, solid feeding tips, floor feeding tips, THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. And you barely have to prompt me and I will EXPLODE from the excitement of being able to impart all of this knowledge on you.

But you’re not here to stop me, so HERE I GO. This is shit that worked for me, it might not work for you, we are all special and unique mothers with special and unique babies, blah de blah de blah.

In order to show some restraint, I am going to limit my response to five pieces of assvice and five things to purchase. This is me SHOWING RESTRAINT, Jesus.


1) Make sure you understand your hospital’s policy (and have thought through your position) on things like rooming in with baby bean, where your hub sleeps, whether or not he can shower there, how long they let you keep your preshus newborn and snuggle and nurse or whatever before stealing her away for HOURS for that first never-ending nursery trip, how long and how often they will continue to steal her away during your stay. These are all things that I wouldn’t have known to ask on the tour, but it would have made my first couple of days with the baby much more enjoyable if I had known all of the expectations going in.

2) Watch (borrow or get from library, do not buy) Happiest Baby on the Block, and make sure you include J. It may or may not work with your child, but if it does? Totally worth your 20 minute time investment. I am not even joking, Justin’s eyes welled up with tears after we watched it, and he said something to the effect of “This is the first time I feel like I will know what to do with the baby.” Also, it seems like a lot of dudes get into the whole swaddling thing, especially if you are the sole milk provider and they are looking for ways to help. I think it appeals to their MacGuyver instinct or something, as most of the swaddles are overly complicated. We swaddled the shit out of both girls, but the 5 S’s in general worked best on Adriana.

3) Making babies makes you hungry (especially if you are breastfeeding, you will want to eat ALL THE THINGS), and hospital food sucks. A well fed mama is a happy mama, so make sure someone is in charge of bringing you something delicious to eat after birthin’. My brother and SIL have brought me fried chicken for both babies, and those meals will be the ones I remember when I am on my deathbed. Relatedly, the best present I got when I was in the hospital was a GIANT ziplock bag full of homemade cookies (if you are visiting a new mom in the hospital? DO THIS). Yum. If you can coerce someone to be the cookie-bringer, that’s awesome too. Finally, I put my mom in charge of stocking my house upon my arrival with stuff like fruit and veggie platters, lunch meat platters, etc. You want tons of healthyish stuff that’s easy to eat one-handed while snuggling or nursing a baby, and if you aren’t the one who has to procure or prepare it, even better.

4) I feel like this might be too late for you, but maybe not? The best thing I did on my registry was include all of my car seat needs. We registered for 2 bases, the infant seat, AND 2 of the next car seat up. Excessive? Maybe. Did people think I was an asshole? Probably. But people pooled together on items we ACTUALLY NEEDED, no matter what. Your kid is allowed to leave the hospital stark naked, but is not allowed to leave without a carseat.

5) Do whatever you need to do to maximize sleep. You and your significant other are much better parents if you are well rested! For us, this means co-sleeping for mom and baby (something I never thought I’d do), with dad in a different room (also something I never thought I’d agree to, but it's not like he lactates), a white noise machine, and lots of sleeping when the baby sleeps. The girls also spent a lot of time sleeping in the swing with me sleeping on the couch.

Things, things, and more things:

1) Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper, for reason #5 listed above. And because Megan’s post from a funeral director’s standpoint is scary. All the convenience of co-sleeping without having to actually, you know, share your bed. Although there is some snoozing during side-lying nursing time (BEST POSITION EVER)(especially now that I figured out I can nurse the baby from both boobs without flipping sides)(genius!)

2) Swaddle Me for when the baby is little, Miracle Blanket for when they are bigger and can bust through the velcro like a baby Houdini, for reason #2 above. 2 of each, in case of poops.

3) For a first time baby, I definitely recommend the ItzBeen Timer or some sort of smart phone app that does the same thing. Also, did you know there are apps to time your contractions? Yay, technology! Anyway, the ItzBeen was never far from our reach when Adriana was a wee one. We were so dang TIRED we couldn’t remember exactly when she last ate, slept, or was changed, or what side I last nursed her on (although, some people use hair bands on the wrist of that side, which is also genius). The ItzBeen took the guessing out of parenting for us. Kid cries…Which timer has the biggest number? Start there. Works best for people who suck at tracking things on pen and paper and just want to know the most recent information. Parenting by triage.

4) Definitely a swing. I know some babies don’t like them, but it was a LIFESAVER for us. We had the Fisher Price My Little Lamb swing. I say had because Lucy’s chubby butt (16.5 pounds) actually burnt out the motor this week, so it’s dunzo. It SAYS it’s good up to 25 lbs, but one year of frequent use between both girls was too much. I’d recommend the My Little Lamb for maximum cuteness, but one with a wall adapter is probably much more practical. It uses D batteries like gangbusters.

5) I was trying to think of things that are essential for those first few weeks, as the question stated, and the only thing we haven’t covered is stuff for your lady bits. Tucks pads, giant maxi pads, dermoplast, stool softeners, breast pads, nipple cream, black underwear and black yoga pants. Not sure why you need those things? Google is your friend. Or email me. Procure all of this in advance of childbirth, so no one is running around at the last minute.

Note that I have not posted about breastfeeding assvice, as I can’t remember if it applies to Linnea. I have SO MUCH SHIT to say about that, I’m saving it for its own post. That way I can totally break my own rule about 5 things.

Here is a picture of me and Adriana, camped out on the couch in a mound of pillows and blankets with tons of baby paraphernalia all the fuck over the place. Consider getting a little caddy to take stuff from room to room. Or a wheelbarrow.

I would also be lying if I didn’t mention that I got lots of help in the form of one husband. My FAVORITE, FAVORITE thing about our marriage is that we agreed from the get go that it was important to us, no matter the financial consequences, to do this baby thing together. Justin took off 6 weeks with Adriana, and 2 months with Lucia. SO HELPFUL. Even if that help sometimes looked like this:

Look at Adriana's dark hair!!! Thought for sure she had my hair, but alas, it all fell out and (sloooooooowly) grew back in a golden brown color. Weird.


Go ahead and populate the comment section with your own assvice and product recommendations for Linnea. SHE ASKED FOR IT!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Reader Question: What Made You Start Blogging?

This question is brought to you by the lovely Shauna, whose blog features the best mastheads ever, hilarious whiteboard messages from her dog, and ALLEGEDLY a disturbing number of bacon references (but none since 2009 - what's up with that???)

Okay, so I kinda talked about this a little bit over here, but you probably shouldn't click on that link, since it lists four blogging goals that I have made ZERO PROGRESS ON WHATSOEVER. Oops.

Basically, I was a big old lurker for many, many years. I stumbled onto the little blogging world when I googled makeup tips for rosacea and found a post Sundry did on the now defunct Sundry Buzz (RIP). I read that entire site, and fell in love with Sundry and Swistle, and then proceeded to read every last thing either one of them ever wrote. Which I don't think you can actually do anymore, at least for Sundry. You can go here or here, but not her current website. It's really too bad, because her oldest stuff is the best stuff. Let us pause a moment to mourn the loss of both Sundry Buzz and old Sundry.* Let's also pause a moment to thank Swistle for being consistently awesome since September of 2006, because really, that's amazing.

I probably would have been content to just lurk around Swistle and friends of Swistle forever, but then Google reader suggested I check out Saly's blog. I also stalked her archives, and what really struck me was that she had managed to find this core group of awesome readers, who were always there to cheer her on and give advice and INTERACT, which was something that was missing from my bloggy experience. Coincidentally, this is also how I found Shauna - I decided that these people were so awesome that I wanted to follow them too.

The final kicker was finding other Laura.** Every time I'd read her posts, I would think of what an amazing record of her daughter's (and now son's) childhood she was creating. Her blog is so funny and informative and beautifully written and relevant to my own experiences, that I stalked her too, even breaking out of my lurker shell and emailing her a bit. She was very nice and responsive that it gave me the confidence to branch out on my own.

So there you have it! If you are currently on the verge of making the transition from lurker to commenter or lurker to blogger, DO IT! I have so much fun interacting with people on Twitter and Instagram, and I've even made an e-BFF and gone to the best slumber party evah! It's just so much BETTER, not carrying on completely one-sided relationships with amazing women.

* In the completely, totally, absolutely, ridiculously unlikely event that Linda ever sees this, it's not that I don't like you anymore. I just feel like you are too busy to really focus on your blog, and your posts don't make me spit diet coke on my screen on a regular basis like they used to. I miss that.

** In linking this, I realize that I missed YET ANOTHER day in the life posting session. STUPID STUPID BROKEN GOOGLE READER. I am SO BEHIND on everyone's blogs! And I PROMISED myself I would participate every quarter this year. If you aren't familiar and have some time, go check Laura's out, and then stalk all of the participants too (that's what I did)(I think Laura thinks it's super creepy when Heather or Mama Tully show up here)(but I loved their day in the life posts, and every post since!)(ZOMG BABY SNOWPEA IS HERE GOD I'M SO BEHIND!!!)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Reader / Follower Appreciation Giveaway

I somehow completely missed my blogiversary earlier this month, and I missed taking a screenshot of my 100th Twitter follower by a fraction of a second (I was literally SNAPPING THE DAMN PICTURE when it refreshed to 101 followers). In honor of those milestones, I am hosting a little giveaway to say thank you to everyone who reads this little blog o' mine or follows me on Twitter. I truly appreciate every last one of you - your comments, tweets, emails, texts, etc. make my life a million times better.

You can get up to three entries as follows - please leave one comment for each, and make sure to include an email address so I know how to contact you.

1) Leave a comment in which you ask me a question (anything you want to know!)
2) Leave a comment in which you tell me something you want to see more of in year 2 of The Diniwilks.
3) Leave a comment letting me know you blogged or tweeted about the giveaway (make sure you leave a link or @lauradiniwilk)

The winner will be randomly selected at 5pm Ohio time on Friday, February 24.

The prize?

A package full of goodies I hand selected just for you! It will be similar to a CDP, but you get to open it all at once (unless, of course, you WANT to save it for a crappy day). I will ship to the U.S. and Canada, but there might be a few less goodies for a Canadian winner to offset shipping costs :(

Good luck!

Contest closed - I will announce a winner tomorrow (Saturday)

Monday, February 20, 2012

Panic! At My Body - Part 2

Please excuse my little intermission - I intended to write all of this at once, but then I ran out of time and knew that if I saved it as a draft I would never, ever hit publish.

Okay, so I left off at my little post-baby breakdown. That was definitely more intense than my previous episodes, and for a couple of weeks afterwards I'd occasionally wake up from a dead sleep to find my heart racing and arms tingling. I decided it was time to find a family physician I actually liked and have her run the bloodwork they recommeded at my last ER visit (an entire year earlier). My new doctor was nice enough, but she also thought anxiety was the most likely culprit for someone my age, family history of heart and autoimmune disease notwithstanding. Then again, she also freaked out over my cholesterol levels despite the fact that I was holding a 2 week old baby and was still breastfeeding, so she clearly didn't know what she was talking about. I made a mental note to look for a more competent doctor, and went back to normal life.

At that point, when I was being completely honest with myself, I was about 50-50 as to whether it was anxiety or heart issues (which is about 50% more than I was after the first two episodes). I couldn't really ignore the fact that there was now a mental freakout component to my symptoms, which had been completely absent before.

Cut to 6 months later, as I was getting ready for PJs @ TJ's. I am always a bit of a stressball when I am about to go on a trip. I go into full Type A mode, and am unable to rest until my bags are packed, the house is clean, outfits are laid out, bills are paid, etc. etc. etc. This time was no different, but I was running WAY behind because Lucy had been sick all week and I am insanely sleep deprived. I decided to take a little sleep break and finish up in the morning before my flight. Almost as soon as my head hit the pillow, adrenaline started coursing through my veins. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't just relax and go to sleep. I knew that no matter how tired I was, the only way to make my heart stop racing and my body stop fidgeting was to just get up and finish packing.

After I packed, I was able to fall asleep while watching TV. I thought everything was normal again until I was on the runway, about to take off. HMMMMM. Heart racing, fidgety body, feelings of panic...fuck.

And repeat for the next 3 flights. Heart problems don't really save themselves for specific situations like being on an airplane.

The weirdest part about this panic / anxiety business, for me, is that I STILL don't consider myself an anxious person, at least not in my head. It's purely physiological, for the most part. I'm not afraid of flying - I have flown lots of times before and am usually super excited to go on my trip. But, for whatever reason, my body has decided that it is now super sensitive to adrenaline, and randomly clicks into full on fight or flight mode at the slightest provocation. So I'm sitting there, minding my own business, and then my body experiences this rush of chemicals and starts freaking out. And only then does my mind start to join in - the only thing that really makes me anxious is my anxiety itself. SO WEIRD.

But check this out - I am not a unique and beautiful panicky snowflake. 6 million Americans suffer from panic disorder (a type of anxiety disorder that describes my symptoms to a scary degree):

Panic disorder is a real illness that can be successfully treated. It is characterized by sudden attacks of terror, usually accompanied by a pounding heart, sweatiness, weakness, faintness, or dizziness. During these attacks, people with panic disorder may flush or feel chilled; their hands may tingle or feel numb; and they may experience nausea, chest pain, or smothering sensations. Panic attacks usually produce a sense of unreality, a fear of impending doom, or a fear of losing control.

A fear of one’s own unexplained physical symptoms is also a symptom of panic disorder. People having panic attacks sometimes believe they are having heart attacks, losing their minds, or on the verge of death. They can’t predict when or where an attack will occur, and between episodes many worry intensely and dread the next attack.

Panic attacks can occur at any time, even during sleep. An attack usually peaks within 10 minutes, but some symptoms may last much longer.

Since getting back from my trip, I went back to my doctor (who actually acknowledged her mistake about the cholesterol, so I guess she's a keeper). She was all ready to give me something to take all of the time, but then I mentioned that I normally go at least 3-4 months with no issues at all. So now I have medication I can take on an as-needed basis.

It was IMMENSELY helpful talking to other people about anxiety. Their experiences were definitely completely different than mine, but the similarities really helped me get to the place where I needed to be to ask for help. I think just knowing that I have something I can take if I want to will help me chill out. I also think that I will feel infinitely better if a certain baby will start SLEEPING THROUGH THE DAMN NIGHT, but that is neither here nor there.

You may be wondering where the whole "anxiety = weak" attitude came from. First, let me clarify that it's not like I would ever hear that someone else has anxiety and instantly judge them or feel superior or think of them any differently than I did before I knew they had anxiety. However, I will say that it's hard for me to not judge myself as being weak for having anxiety. In fact, if you have been reading carefully, you may notice that I had to kind of rewrite my definition of anxiety for me to accept this truth about myself. I am still not an anxious person, it's just that I experience these physiological reactions that I couldn't control any more than, say, the color of my hair (without hair dye, that is). I guess I'm still working on accepting things.

I think a lot of this has to do with my family. We are all very, VERY good at keeping up appearances. It's kind of like my random crap bins - if you must be messy or imperfect, compartmentalize / containerize it so that no one else knows. No one else can ever see that your life is anything less than perfect.

Needless to say, it's been very hard for me to talk about this here. However, I think that it's SO MUCH BETTER than keeping it all in. I don't really have anyone outside of family to talk to about this, but the internet is full of awesome people who are open about their experiences and it makes me feel NORMAL, and like I am still STRONG, I just have a new quirk that makes me me.

To everyone who has left supportive comments or sent nice emails, it really means a lot to me. Thank you!!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Panic! At My Body - Part 1

If you are super duper observant, you may have noticed that Sunday was missing from my PJs @ TJ's recap. This is not because I didn't make it back to Kelly's for breakfast (donuts! and bagels!), it's because I wasn't entirely sure what, if anything, I was going to say about that part of the trip. After having some time to process things, it turns out that it's SO MUCH BETTER for my mental well being to share things than to keep it in, so here we go.

Sunday morning, I had the awesome opportunity to talk to people about my anxiety. To the four ladies who listened to me and gave me thoughtful, non-judgy words of wisdom, I am forever in debt to your priceless advice.

I have alluded to my anxiety issues here before, but I usually just laugh it off or totally gloss over it. I have never even come close to explaining the extent of it, or how freaking scary it really is, or any of my own personal hangups about it.

The first time I ever had an "episode" I was sitting in class, just minding my own business and trying not to fall asleep during a movie. Granted, it was the first day of my MBA program (so...fall 2008) and we had all stood up and introduced ourselves earlier in the evening, but I had been doing the school thing for many, MANY years and it shouldn't have caused any stress.
But there I was, with my heart racing so fast it felt like it was going to explode. I got up, went outside, and called my parents, who suggested that I call 911 ASAP and have an ambulance take me to the nearest hospital. I remember my blood pressure was super high, like high 150's over high 90's compared to its usual low 110's over low 70's. They hooked me up to an EKG in the ER, but basically said that at my age, it was most likely anxiety.

I told the doctors that I am not even remotely an anxious person. I have no fears whatsoever, except a slight dislike of public speaking (insert nagging voice in back of head, pointing out that I had to talk in front of people earlier that night), and was no more stressed that day than any other day of my life (nagging voice now pointing out that my baseline level of stressful activities is 10 times more than any normal person considers taking on). I not only smacked down the nagging voice, but I was actually OFFENDED and IRRITATED that the doctors were brushing my HEART PROBLEMS off as anxiety. Anxiety is for WEAK PEOPLE, and I am STRONG.

I was sent home with a clear EKG and instructions to chill out.

Over the next couple of months I had maybe 5 more episodes (way less intense than the first day, but scary nonetheless), and each time I just sucked it up and powered through it, because whatever was wrong with my heart wasn't going to show up on an EKG.

In October 2010, I was sitting at work and I had another episode intense enough to send me to the ER. After another clear EKG, the possible explanations were anxiety (weak!), caffeine (maybe, but I've been downing 3-5 Diet Cokes a day since I was like 15), and some sort of autoimmune issue, since I have a family history. I was instructed to follow up with my family doctor for bloodwork to see if I needed to see a specialist.

But I was too BUSY for that shit! I was planning a party for my 1 year old! I was doubling up on classes so I could graduate from my MBA program in December! I was killing it at work! (A physiological reaction to stress? NOT ME!!! I'M FIIIIIIIIIIINE!!!) Just like last time, I had 5-6 more less intense episodes afterwards, which I could ignore fairly easily now that I had TWO clear EKGs.

Then I got knocked up, and preggorexia, fatigue, and other adventures in pregnancy took over. My blood pressure is awesome when I'm pregnant, so I basically ignored my issues for the next 9 months.

Have you ever noticed that I never got around to talking about Lucy's birth story on here? You're about to find out why.

So. I did my birthing thing in which I get some pitocin, but skip out on the pain meds because I'm AWESOME! And STRONG! I was riding high from the post-birth endorphins so I jumped at the chance to be released after 24 hours. Hospital stays are for WIMPS! I am a birthing GODDESS! My vagina is better than yours!

Then karma bitchslapped that smug smile right off my face.

We got out of the car as a family of four for the first time. Justin got Adriana out of her carseat, so I grabbed Lucia's carrier. I had to twist a little funny to make it through the breezeway, which made my insides feel a little funky. And then I lost my shit.

Over the next 3-4 hours, I experienced a full blown panic attack. This was way more intense than the heart palpitations and weird rushing sensations of ER visits past. I was POSITIVE that I had messed up my insides by trying to carry Lucy. My whole body felt so weird that I started googling stuff like "insides falling out after birth" and "uterine vaginal prolapse" (seriously). My brother and SIL stopped by with a gift shortly after we got home and I had Justin send them away because I was still freaking out. Then my parents came by with food and I was WIGGING OUT but I completely faked it and acted like I was just a little tired so they would go away. I was dizzy and shaky and panicky and seriously considering going back to the hospital. I'd lay down and then pop back up and then lay down and pop back up - I couldn't get comfortable, and no matter which way I arranged myself I couldn't stop feeling like my kidneys were detaching and getting stabbed by my ribs. And, of course, my heart was racing and my fingers were tingling the whole time.

I simply COULD NOT DEAL with Adriana, so I took Lucy upstairs and had Justin and Adriana stay downstairs. I was able to talk myself down by focusing on Lucy and blocking everything else out. She saved me, for real. In fact, for the next day or three she was the only thing that kept me calm.

Would you believe that even after that happened, I was still not 100% convinced it was anxiety?

To be continued...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

PJs @ TJ's

OH, HI! It is now THURSDAY, and I am finally caught up on sleep enough to write my PJ's @ TJ'srecap. Oh my gosh, you guys, it was SO MUCH fun. If you are on the fence about attending a blogger gathering, DO IT. Internet ladies are just as awesome in real life as they are in your computer.

Last week was kind of a crazy week because Lucy caught the daycare death plague twice. As in, she had a one day recovery from barfing and diarrhea and then promptly began barfing again. So I left for Kelly's a) completely worried that Justin was going to fail at parenting a sick baby (irrational - he's a great dad), and b) even more sleep deprived than usual. I thought I could sleep on the plane, but I started getting all panicky, tipping my years long internal debate of Name That Attack from "Heart" to "Panic" for good. So I solved that mystery, but I was tired as hell when I finally made it to Arizona. Oh, and there is a 2 hour time difference, which did not help the situation.

Anyway, I made it to the airport and over to Megan's terminal (we had similar flights so we decided to split a car). We went to the hotel, but I couldn't check in because my roommate Jess was having a Planes, Trains, and Automobiles experience, and everything was in her name. We ran into Stephanie in the lobby, and decided to wander over to a local shopping area to get some grub (and laugh at the worst waitress in the history of the universe) while Kelly dealt with a sick Penny and issues with getting everyone passes to get on base. Brooke and Elise came by to pick us up, and we all piled into Brooke's car. The weekend had finally begun!!!

Once we got to Kelly's, I decided to plant myself on the couch with Noemi and Diane, because I recognized them from their accent vlogs and they are pretty much exactly the same in real life as you would expect them to be. The rest of Friday night mostly involved surreptitiously glancing at everyone's nametags while cramming sandwiches in my face and trying not to fall asleep on Kelly's couch. I was essentially a zombie, so that was seriously the best I could do. If I had known that I wouldn't get much of a chance to talk to Diane for the rest of the weekend, I would have done jumping jacks or something to stay awake and keep the conversation going. That was the biggest problem with a weekend like this - there are SO MANY awesome people, and SO LITTLE time to really connect with all of them. If you're reading this, Diane, I think you are hilarious and I really, really, really want to get to know you better!!!

Friday night just happened to be self portrait day in the #febphotoaday challenge, so this is what I wore:

Top: Converse (Target)
Jeans: Mossimo (also Target)
Shoes: Unlisted (Macy's)
Ring: Not sure of the brand, but I'm pretty sure it came from Macy's
And I have some of those Goody hair band / bracelet combo deal thingies on my wrist.

I could have totally wore sweatpants all weekend and not felt out of place though. Yay for laid back ladies!

I woke up Saturday morning at 9am Arizona time, which was 11am Ohio time. ELEVEN!!!! I haven't slept that long in...hmm...at least 3 years. I felt like a completely new person. We carpooled over to the base and basically hung out, getting to know each other better and squeezing babies all day. The best part of the second morning was bonding with the internet babies. Penny still wasn't feeling well, but Jess's Callum, Erin's Lorelai, and Andrea's Alli were hamming it up. All of the babies are about a thousand times more adorable than you can imagine. At that point, I was kinda sad I decided to leave Lucy at home, but I ended up being glad later (foreshadowing!!)

Oh, and I DID wear sweatpants and a t-shirt the second day:

Once we were kicked out so Kelly could decorate, a group of us went to get mani/pedis:

Then, it was finally time for the PJ party!!! It was everything a PJ party should be, and more. There were cute jammies (Jess on the left, Lara on the right):

Matching jammies (Noemi on the left, Diane on the right):

Tons of pizza, pop, ice cream (including root beer floats, because Diane is a genius!), and dip that pretty much consisted of crack, rainbows, and butterflies. This picture isn't just intended to capture Phil's pizza-carrying skills though. Do you see it? THERE WAS A BED RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE LIVING ROOM!!!! Kelly's vision = full of awesome.

Me, Kammah, a root beer float, and Dirty Dancing:

Okay, quick takes on everyone, since that is probably what you came here for if you are still reading:

Kelly (or TJ, if you prefer) is just as funny in real life as she is on her blog. She never once made me (or anyone else) feel like an outsider for being a newer blogger or having no blog. I would LOVE to spend more time with her, gossiping and swapping in-law and other obnoxious family member stories. Thank you for inviting us, Kelly!

My car buddy Megan was amazing and pretty much single-handedly made the entire trip worthwhile. I suspect we will be friends for a long time. She's normal and funny and interesting and I am ANXIOUSLY AWAITING the day she will stop reading our blogs and start one of her own (as you should be too).

Jesabes Jess (my roommate) was one of the people I was most excited to meet, as we read each other's blogs. We spent some quality time pumping together and had some nice moments in the room, but I feel like I didn't get to know her as well as I wanted to because we were always rushing to get ready or sleeping. Jess - we WILL fix this at the Blathering!!!

Brooke, Noemi, and Lara are all beautiful and would be the most fun people ever for a girls' night with lots of wine and gossip. Also, Lara mentioned being nervous about her age, and DUDE. If I look HALF as young and vibrant in my 40's as she does, I will consider my entire life a success. Noemi, Kelly, and Diane would be my ideal people for a girls' night with lots of bad reality tv, ice cream, and snark.

Du Wax Loolu Jess is very down to earth, warm, and friendly, just as you would expect from reading her blog. I want to go get coffee with her. Erin is fun and friendly and also has MIL stories, so she should come too.

Linnea is freaking hilarious and I could just listen to her for hours. She is the best person to have around when you need to break the ice.

Elise is so cute and entertaining, and seems a lot more mature than her age. I want to sit and offer big sisterly advice to her and Kammah while we crochet and eat bagels (or things that are not bagels).

Stephanie is laid back and on the quiet side (not in a shy way, more like in a "taking it all in" way). When she does talk, she is always super nice and very interesting. She also has lots of good blog recommendations.

I didn't get to know Andrea, Kara, or Phil's aunts as well as everyone else, but the conversations we did have were always pleasant. I wish Andrea and Kara didn't have other obligations that weekend, because they both seem like awesome people. Perhaps they will also start blogging or tweeting more? The world could use lots of cute Alli pictures :)

And we all totally missed Deja, who couldn't be there due to illness. Boooooo!


One last pic of me and a cactus, since I risked being shot down by large guns to take it:

Also of note...I had my own planes, trains, and automobiles experience trying to get back home (thank god I didn't have Lucy). I won't bore you with the details since I did enough of that on Twitter, but this totally happened when I asked for "stuck in an airport indefinitely reading material":

Thanks to everyone for a great time, and to my hubs for taking care of the girls so I could go (even if it meant the sacrifice of a onesie)(HE CUT IT OFF LUCY BECAUSE SHE POOPED AND HE DIDN'T WANT TO GET IT IN HER HAIR!!!)(Men.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pump the Wiggles Out

Pump the Wiggles Out a video by lauradiniwilk on Flickr.

I about died laughing when Justin sent me this video...too funny to keep to myself.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Daycare Don't Care

In my last post, which I'm not going to link to because it's just SAD and DEPRESSING (sorry to keep it at the top for so long), I alluded to the fact that we were having some issues with daycare.

Adriana started daycare a year ago, when my parents took a month-long trip to Florida. We needed someone who was okay with taking her on short notice for just a month, with no commitment to continue once my parents came back. We basically ended up with the only daycare that was willing to accept her, so I pretty much overlooked issues I blogged about waaaaaaaay back here and here. When my parents got back, it was decided that she would stay in daycare once a week. I called around to find a place closer to work, but no one was willing to take her just one day, and to be flexible if we had to change the schedule depending on what was going on with my parents. And they all had RIDICULOUS waiting lists.

Overall, I've been pretty happy with the place. It's definitely clean, and they seem to follow all of the ratios closely. Adriana was quickly moved to the 18 month room, where she had a teacher that we both LOVED (and who paid attention to my concerns about the fluids and the unhealthy menu choices). Around the time Lucy was born, Adriana moved to the 2 year old room, and started going to daycare 2 days a week. Her teacher is super shy so I never felt very informed about how it was going, but Adriana started talking enough that I was getting a pretty decent idea of what her day was like.

However, all of that talking was almost a bit too much. Adriana started practically abusing her doll, laying it face down, putting the blanket over her head, and "patting" (beating!) her while yelling at her to go to sleep. At first it was kind of cute, but then some of the things she was saying made me think that some of the teachers there are mean to the kids.

Then, just in time for my parents to leave on their second month-long trip (meaning, now BOTH girls are in daycare full time, which breaks my heart for Lucy), two things happened in the same day. First, I went in and talked to Adriana's teacher about her binky. I told her that she hadn't used it at night for a few days, and asked how they normally transition them off for naps. She said she had no idea Adriana even had one, and that she never used one.

This pissed me off for several reasons. First, Adriana sleeps like shit at daycare, frequently skipping naps entirely and then acting like a holy terror at night. NO WONDER - they weren't giving her a binky! And I'm SURE that she asked for it. There were TWO in her cubby, both of which I made a big production about because her original one got lost when she moved into this room. There is NO WAY the teacher didn't know she had them. So basically daycare has been fucking with her nap schedule since August, likely because the teacher chooses to transition kids off them without parental consent so she doesn't have to deal with it.

I was running late to work, so I just sighed and left. I thought about calling and talking about it, but at the same time, the damage has already been done. I wanted her transitioned off, and she was transitioned off.

That night, I was driving Adriana home and we were going through our nightly ritual of talking about her day. She told me about how she went to the office with Miss Megan, and she played with Kate and Noah, and Miss Kyra pinched her. Insert record screeching noise here. Miss Kyra [a floater, not her actual teacher] did what now? She pinched me. In my back and I cried. I called the daycare immediately and reported the incident to the assistant director, who said she would confront the teacher about it. I was so mad I didn't even think to talk about the stupid binky.

We went home and started to eat, and I made a video of Adriana talking about how she was pinched and pointing to the area. I didn't check to see if there was a mark, because it didn't occur to me that there would be one. My parents told me to look when I talked to them on the phone about it, and I said I would when I changed her into her jammies later. But then we got the call about my uncle, and Justin ended up being the one who put her to bed.

The next week was all crazy and sad and I had other things to deal with. I spoke to the assistant director when I had to arrange extra care for the girls so my parents could attend the funeral, but it was kind of a quick talk. There was so much other stuff going on that I decided to drop it and assume that Adriana was either exaggerating or was handled a little roughly and it made her eczema sore.

THEN, the saturday after it happened (which was a Monday), I was making a video of Adriana complaining about the eczema her back to show her dermatologist in case it wasn't flaring up when we go. With the iPhone light shining directly on the area, I saw she had a yellowish bruise RIGHT FUCKING WHERE she said the lady had pinched her.

I went in during my lunch the following Monday, and talked about the incident with both the director and the assistant director. I made it clear that it was absolutely not acceptable to me, and that I 100% believed Adriana and felt like I failed her by letting everything else that was going on that week trump getting the issue resolved. The director basically made everything worse by saying all the wrong things. She was so quick to jump in and say she believed it happened, that I kept thinking "then WHY did you hire her???" AND she totally outed herself as a racist, implying that skin color has anything to do with whether or not your the kind of person who would pinch a two year old hard enough to bruise them. Jesus.

Anyway, I ended up deciding that the girls would stay as long as this particular teacher was never alone with either one of them. They readily agreed to this, and I am pretty confident that they are holding up their end of the agreement. They also said that she would lose her job if anyone ever reported anything like this again.

I had another long talk with the assistant director [who I REALLY like], who told me that she looked the teacher right in the eye and truly believes she didn't do it. She was SUPER upset when she told me this, practically crying, so I just told her that it was okay that we believe different things about what happened.

OH and, as if all that wasn't enough, some moron parents were smoking pot in the parking lot last week. We walked out, and Adriana was like "I smell something. What's that smell?" What, indeed. I complained, and the daycare didn't hesitate to call the cops. At least they handled THAT right.

Meanwhile, I LOVE the new lady in the infant room. They have maybe 3 babies in there at any time, and Lucy is getting tons of attention. Adriana is getting moved to the 3 year old room early because she's such a good talker, and I like that lady so far. A friend of mine has been looking at daycares, and she said that ours is WAY nicer and WAY cleaner than all of the ones she looked at.


Once my parents are back in town, I think I am going to at least make the rounds in all of the other daycares to see if I can find one that would be a better option. But for now, they are staying put. It feels wrong, keeping them there after this happened, but I don't think that anywhere will ever feel right. God, I even have issues with the way my own PARENTS take care of the girls. And how can you ever know if someone is the kind of person who would pinch a kid? Why does it have to be SO HARD to get quality care for my babies? I have never wished harder for a daycare at work.