Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bitty Soccer

Last night was the last night of Bitty Soccer for Jamie.  I don’t know if it’s his age or just who he is, but he really didn’t like it and is glad that he won’t have to go back.


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Oh, he loves playing, kicking the ball around on his own or with me, and chasing Charles, but he does not enjoy drills and games with other kids and coaches.


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His thumb, his source of comfort, stayed in his mouth nearly the full hour, every week.


Charles was a year older when he started Bitty Soccer, so maybe that was our mistake.  Maybe Jamie needs more time.  But I think he’s just different than his big brother in this way.  Charles loves to follow the enthusiastic directions of coaches (when he’s paying attention), he likes kicking and dribbling drills, and he likes silly skill games.  Jamie does not.  He would rather watch the other kids with his thumb in his mouth.  Is it the structure he doesn’t enjoy?  The crowd of people he doesn’t know?  I’m not sure.  Maybe he’ll be more into individual sports and activities and Charles will be my group sport kid.  Or maybe he’ll be up for the challenge next year.


I think, overall, that Bitty Soccer was my mistake.  I had hoped to have Jamie play for an hour while other adults supervised him and I read stories to Charles.  Then, we’d switch for Charles’s soccer practice and I would read stories to Jamie.  Instead, I was on the field for Jamie’s soccer practice the entire hour, leading to swollen feet and a totally unsupervised five-year-old every week for an hour for four weeks.


He’d rather do this than stand in line and kick the ball at the wall again and again.


Jamie said he wanted to do soccer.  He says he wants to do swimming and gymnastics, too.  But I wonder if he understands that his classes will not be the same as his brother’s.  Jamie relies on Charles quite a bit.  I have a feeling that Charles starting kindergarten this fall will be as much a shock to Jamie as it is to Charles.


I learned a little more about my child this past month.  And for awhile, we’re going to hold off on joining any more organized activities.

Monday, April 28, 2014


I now weigh as much as I did when I gave birth to Charles.  I have eleven weeks to go.


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The baby’s quite the kicker


My butt gets big right along with my belly.  My thighs?  Humongous.  And I know I’m going to get bigger.


I wouldn’t be so depressed about it, except that I know what will happen within a week after giving birth: I will no longer look pregnant, I will just look really, really fat.  And that fat will linger for a year or more.


I am healthier this pregnancy than I was during either of the other two.  I eat well, I exercise regularly.  I passed my glucose screen with flying colors.  But my body still did what it does, and gained a bunch of weight.


Well.  So there you go.  I’m fighting to get over it now.  After all, there appears to be nothing I can do about it.  And I do have eleven weeks until my due date, so there’s no sense in crying over spilled milk, as it were.  All that remains is to find comfortable clothes to take me through the third trimester and some ways to enjoy my last pregnancy.  A getaway would be nice, but that’s not happening.  Maybe someone can hint to Tony that planning several date nights between now and July would be most welcome…

Thursday, April 24, 2014


This past weekend, we took a family trip to Ilwaco/Long Beach to go clamming and relax and just get away after tax season.  We’re going back in another week because, well, we always go “home” for Loyalty Day and the Blessing of the Fleet.  You can take the man away from the ocean, but not for long, I guess.


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As we were heading to the pizza parlor, Charles (who sits right next to Jamie in the truck) started calling, “Jamie!” to his brother.  Repeatedly.  Jamie ignored him. 


“Jamie!”  “Jamie!  I’m talking to you!”


“I can’t hear you!” Jamie finally said.  I started to smile and glanced sideways at Tony.  Sometimes, you just know when something is about to get good.


“Jamie!”  Charles yelled louder, and more insistently.


“I CAN’T HEAR YOU.”  Jamie replied




“I’m seeing the lake, Chawals!  I can’t hear you!”  (We were driving by Black Lake.)








“Chawals, I’m trying to FOCUS!”


That effectively silenced Charles because Tony and I were laughing so hard he couldn’t get a word in edgewise.


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Why are these people always bothering me?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book Report

I’ve read several good books lately, all different, and all ones I would recommend reading.


The first in this latest list is one about which I actually called my mother before I was done reading it and told her to check it out from the library.  It’s The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.  It started slowly, but as it built, it became more and more absurd and more and more funny.  There are a few books that make me laugh out loud while I’m reading them and even fewer from which I’ll bother to read passages out loud to Tony; this was one of those rare books.  Things just kept getting crazier and crazier – it reminded me of a Zucker, Abrahams, Zucker movie.  So, I guess if you liked Airplane! or The Naked Gun, for instance, you might like this book.


When I last did a book report, I was about to start Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson.  What’s with reading about geriatrics lately?  I honestly don’t know, but I do know that this was a wonderful novel about an old man confronting prejudice in his sleepy English town and learning to live his life again.  It had an element of “Oh! I know someone exactly like that!” about it, which makes things a bit more fun.  Also, there’s a distinct “watching a trainwreck” feeling I got during a couple of parts of the book – a feeling that can sometimes bother me and cause me to feel embarrassment on the part of the characters, but in this case was more of the “I can’t look away!” variety.


Are you among the few people left in the world who have not read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini?  There’s a reason it was a best-seller for so long.  Maybe, if you’re like me, you haven’t picked it up yet because you thought it would be painfully sad.  I don’t mind emotion in the novels I read, but I do tend to bypass books that look like their sole purpose is to make me cry.  This was not one of those books, thankfully, and I’m glad I checked it out.  It is sad, it is poignant, but it’s also comedic and beautifully written and full of hope.  I love stories of hope and I adore stories of redemption, even if things don’t always turn out wonderfully.


I read Elizabeth Kostova’s The Swan Thieves and I was not nearly as enamored by it as I was with The Historian.  Both were back-and-forth in time books, but The Swan Thieves was just more boring.  I guess reading about a lonely nineteenth-century impressionist artist and her totally staid love affair with an older man and how it relates but doesn’t relate to a modern artist’s weird obsession and psychotic episode just didn’t grab me in the same way that Vlad the Impaler did in The Historian.  Also, it was really, really loooong.


Time again for you to tell me what YOU’RE reading.  Is it good?  I’m adding to my library wish list since I know that I’ll be spending many overnight hours awake, nursing and infant, in no time at all.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sugar Rush

I could vomit or fall asleep right now; really, either one is possible.


I finished my 2-hour fasting glucose tolerance test this morning, otherwise known as “shock your system with concentrated, un-carbonated orange pop and then let people poke you with needles.”  It was a 2-hour fasting test because my doctor has had to send so many women back for the 3-hour test from false positives on the 1-hour test that he is now trying to hedge his bets.  I suppose that one day of hell is better than doing this twice, but still.  TWO HOURS.  The baby staged a massive, sugar-fueled dance party for most of that time, though he’s now come off of it for the requisite sugar crash and nap.  I wish I could do the same.


I have never had gestational diabetes, despite extreme weight gain, and I am fairly certain I don’t have it now (and I really hope I don’t have to eat those words when the test results come back).


I put the test off a bit because I needed Tony to be available to take the kids to preschool in the morning.  You don’t screw around with fasting when you’re 28 weeks pregnant; you fast overnight and then do your test first thing in the morning, pulling away from grasping fingers and sleepy eyes and whining voices who want you to “make me breakfast, mommy” and “don’t go, mommy!”  As if I could have made breakfast for anyone else while my stomach was eating itself at 7 am.  So I did the test today and I have my routine doctor’s visit on Friday, and then life can go back to its normal routine of chaos and idiocy.


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It’s a “normal” I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Van Family

As you might have seen on FaceBook, we bought a van.  It’s a 2008 Toyota Sienna AWD Limited, and we got an incredible deal from this used car dealer, which was a wonderful buying experience.  So.  If you’re near Woodinville and looking for a car, I recommend checking them out.


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The kids love it, more than I ever thought possible.  Of course, in their minds, we’ve pretty much always had our other cars, so there is an aspect of novelty to this car.  There are also countless buttons and lots of room – the boys request to spend time “playing” in the car (pretending to drive places).  Thankfully, when the steering wheel locks up from being “driven” too hard while the car is parked and off, I can easily unlock it.  This was not the case with our old Honda CR-V.  Charles once locked the steering wheel so hard that I spent ten minutes frustratingly yanking and pulling and trying so hard to get it to work before I called my brother to come flex his muscles and get me on the road again.


Oh, you didn’t know that steering wheels could be locked in this manner, thereby keeping you from even turning on the car?  You must not have little boys who like to make “rrrr-RRRR” sounds while pretending to drive.


It’s a very nice new-to-us car, but it will take some getting used to.  I mean, have you seen how long these things are?  And I keep reaching for a clutch pedal and the gear shift, since my Honda was a manual transmission.


Our timing was good; Tony was able to take part of yesterday off (his first time off in three months!) to go pick up the car.  We drove it to his end-of-tax-season party last night at a bowling alley, at which I did not bowl.


Then we came home to this:


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Top bunk – it lasted until about 2:15 am


Ahh, brothers.  They are so great.  Though in a few years, they’ll probably be more like this.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Those Days

The post-cold season colds have been hitting our family pretty hard, culminating in me sleeping on the couch most of last night.


Charles and Jamie are both stuffed up and have coughs, even though it is April and I really thought we might get through this year unscathed by viruses.  Alas, no.  And Tony will probably be next, since tax season is now over and he can let all his subconscious or involuntary defenses down.


Isn’t that the way it works?  Like, when I was in college, I only seemed to get really sick over winter or spring break.  It’s like my immune system was fighting to get me through finals and then just completely shut down once I had turned in my last paper or test.  Or maybe it’s just that I stopped self-medicating with copious amounts of coffee and alcohol.  Seriously, how did my liver make it through college?


Anyhow, yesterday was one of those days.  You know, THOSE DAYS.  Nothing seemed to go my way.  Jamie and Charles both threw fits, and you know what?  I am tired.  I am just tired of the tantrums and the whining and the pleading and the fighting.  No matter that I am firm in my consequences or mean it when I say no (I don’t give in), they still whine and cry and try to get me to change my mind about things like candy or snacks before dinner or toys at preschool (they’re not allowed to take any and they know it) or wearing pants.  It’s exhausting and my patience is running very thin.  Do I know that losing my temper and snapping at them when they start to cry because I won’t read them a story when I’m late for work doesn’t help the situation?  Yes, but I can’t seem to help myself.


And whether you want to blame pregnancy or just my natural brain dysfunction, I am very forgetful.  I felt like, yesterday, several of the balls I was juggling crashed to the ground, the largest being that I got halfway through a roadtrip to buy a new car (yes, more on that later) and realized that I forgot the title to the car I was trading in.  By the time I got back to the house, I didn’t have enough time to turn back around, make the deal, and get home in time to pick up the kids.  Oh, right, and then there was dinner that wasn’t planned (you mean you people want to eat again? I just fed you!), or the meat for Taco Tuesday at the office that I was supposed to bring and forgot about until 8:30 yesterday morning, so the kids and I were late as I thawed chicken in the microwave and packed my crockpot and spices to take to the office.  And since the crockpot was working all morning in the same room where I hang my jacket, my jacket now smells like tacos.


I used to come home from dinners out at Mongolian food or Mexican food and take a shower because I cannot stand to smell like food.  Worse than smelling like cigarette smoke from the bars, even (you know, back in days of yore when I went to bars and people were still allowed to smoke there).


And I gave up sugar yesterday, too.  Not permanently, just for one day.  Turns out I chose the wrong day (“to quit sniffing glue”).  Think I can make it through another day?  Maybe.  Or maybe I’m going to go buy a banana cream pie this afternoon.  You just never know.


When the kids both wandered into our bed last night around 2:30 AM, sniffling and coughing, I retreated to the couch.  I didn’t wake with achy hips this morning, so at least one benefit came from the interruption in sleep, I guess.


Who has two thumbs and is glad tax season is over?  This girl.  I need someone to take care of me for a little while.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Three Months to Go

I awoke in a panic the other night.  I couldn’t breathe; I was lying on my back. 


Welcome to the third trimester, baby.


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Holy big belly, Batman!  Three months to go!


My face is rounding out, I need to go bra shopping again, and lots of maternity clothes that I have worn for the past six months no longer fit.  I am also at that point where moving becomes difficult.  I now sleep with three pillows (one under my head, one between my knees, and one behind my back to keep me from rolling over) and I have trouble getting off the couch or out of bed in the morning.


Now is the point in pregnancy where all compliments will be gladly received.  I know I have a bit of a beached whale thing going on; it’s only going to get worse.  Lie to me, is what I’m saying.  And if you want to lie to me while also plying me with cake or pie or cinnamon rolls, I certainly won’t complain.

Friday, April 11, 2014

No Potty-Training Advice Contained Herein

Jamie is potty trained. 


*Drops mic* *Brushes off hands* *Walks off*


Okay, more details, fine.  But you all know I’m not some sort of potty-training wizard, right?  I, quite literally, put in the minimum amount of effort with Jamie that I have ever heard about for potty training.


I didn’t buy him any potty training books or have him watch any potty training videos.  I rarely remembered to give him a treat after he used the toilet.  Unlike Charles, he didn’t get a big bribe (Charles got a bicycle) when he was done.


He just decided last Friday that he didn’t want to wear diapers anymore.  We had two very wet, very dirty days during which I changed his pants and underwear so many times that I went out and bought more pants for him.  But on Sunday and Monday, he didn’t have any accidents.  On Tuesday he had one.  And he hasn’t had any since.


He’s potty trained, and I didn’t do a damn thing.


Indeed, if I remind him to go potty, he just looks at me like I’m nuts.  He tells me when he wants to go.  He refuses my help in the bathroom.  I walked upstairs to help after he announced to us all, “I need to go pee-pee!” and ran off, but as soon as I poked my head into the bathroom, he yelled at me, “Go away, mommy!”  I guess I’m not needed here.


My child astounds me.  I’m still not used to not changing his diaper.  A week ago, I was lugging a diaper bag everywhere.  Now?  A purse filled with snacks and a rolled-up set of underwear and pants just in case.  Not that Jamie will need them.  He’s got this.



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Life With Boys



Jamie, after bonking his head: “I’ll prolly be okay.”




Conversation at breakfast:

“I love you, Jamie.”

“I love you, Charles.”

“I love you, poopy.”

“I love you, pee pee.”

“I love you, penis.”

“I love you, butt.”




Charles, whispering to me: “Mommy, Jamie smells like a raccoon.”




Never a dull moment, I swear.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Doing Something Good

Last summer, I read this article.  Maybe it was posted on Yahoo News for, like, a day, or maybe I saw it in another feed.  Regardless, it touched me.  You know that overwhelming feeling of sympathy, when you read or see something terrible, and your chest hurts?  Yeah, I felt that.


And then, the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon kicked in: I started seeing the same report everywhere.  Articles kept popping up.


I’ve known about diaper need for a few years; I’ve read about it through Rookie Moms and their affiliation with Help A Mother Out.  I was guilty of thinking, “somebody should do something about that here.”  But in late August, I realized that I was somebody, and I could do something.


I contacted the Community Action Agency of Skagit County and asked them if they would be able to store and distribute diapers if I organized a diaper drive.  Yes, they said.  Enthusiastically, even.  They have space in the food distribution center to store as many diapers as I could find and the means to distribute them to needy families through the 13 Skagit County food banks and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.


Then I got pregnant.  And sick.  So I let the idea sit on the back-burner for awhile.  I enlisted some friends to help brainstorm how to go about enticing all the people I knew and could reach to donate diapers.  A great friend of mine is also a graphic designer, and volunteered to create our logo and fliers.


Spring came, and it was time.


Skagit Diaper Drive 6-12



The cycle of poverty IS a cycle, and a depressing one at that.  30% of families in need report reusing dirty diapers or keeping their children in dirty diapers long after they should have been changed.  Dirty diapers can lead to unhealthy kids who suffer from diaper rash, bacterial infections, urinary tract infections, fevers… the list goes on.  Parents need to work – impoverished parents, if they have jobs, need to keep them – but some daycare facilities require an adequate diaper supply to keep the children there.  Not enough diapers leads to sick kids and increased medical costs and missed work.  Missed work means less income.  Less income means the ability to pay for diapers decreases.


I can only imagine the guilt and stress that must come with having to choose between buying food, medicine, or diapers, or paying utilities and rent.  When the cost of diapers can be up to $100 each month for each child, this is a reality for many poor families.  And that just plain sucks.


I know I can’t fix the world.  I can’t make sure that every child is well-fed or clean-diapered.  I can’t fix poverty or the myriad reasons people find themselves in poverty.  But I can organize a diaper drive.  In fact, it has been remarkably simple.  If you’re in Skagit County, you can donate disposable diapers, even loose ones (like if, for instance, your child grew and you had leftovers) at the following locations:


The Skagit Valley Family YMCA and all 5 YMCA Early Learning Centers

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce

The Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce

The Sedro-Woolley Chamber of Commerce

Three Little Birds Boutique & Salon (offering a 10% discount on purchases with diaper donation!!!)

Sedro-Woolley Public Library

Key Bank in Mount Vernon

The Skagit Children’s Museum

Riverside Health Club in Mount Vernon and Sedro-Woolley (inside Kids’ Club)

Goodwinds (of course)


Thank you to everyone who has helped so far, Community Action, the drop-off sites, my friends who are donating and spreading the word, and especially my dear friend Heather.  No mater how many diapers we collect, it will make a big difference in someone’s life, and for someone’s cute, little, diapered bottom.


And if you decide that you want to be somebody and organize a diaper drive in your town, let me know.  I can give you tips and encouragement.  At the very least, your hometown food donation centers might already accept diapers for distribution, so pick up an extra package next time you have a coupon!

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Promising Start

This morning, I was awakened at 6 am by the shuffle of little feet… out of bed… down the hall… and into the bathroom.  It took a minute for my brain to register that the footfalls were not Charles’s, but Jamie’s, and that he was going potty.  I got up to see if I could help, but he had his pants down and his diaper unsnapped and just looked up at me and said, “I had to go pee-pee, Mommy.”


I told him it was awfully early, and would he like to put on a clean diaper and come back to bed with me?  He indignantly cried, “I have a diaper right dere!”  I picked up his nighttime diaper and it was totally dry.  D. R. Y.  I snapped it back on him and led him back to bed.


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He got up, finally (he and Charles both slept extra long this morning) at 7:30, ate breakfast, and was still dry when he got dressed at 8.  He toddled off, naked, to the bathroom to do his thing before we put underwear and pants on him.


After a particularly wet and dirty day Friday, a day on which he steadfastly REFUSED to wear a diaper, as he has every day since, I was feeling a bit defeated by potty training.  Why couldn’t he wait?  Why did he choose a week and a half before the end of tax season to decide he was ready to use the bathroom?  And did he just like the idea or was he actually ready?  Because I was not ready AND I was already tired of cleaning up messes.


Another problem is that he sometimes wants to go, desperately, but can’t.  Because, you know, he just wet his pants.  This is what happened Saturday morning, after we were completely on-time for Baby Boot Camp, until he decided that he needed to go pee-pee and threw a twenty-minute tantrum when none came out.


But then Sunday was better, perhaps because Tony took him and his brother fishing at a nearby lake and Jamie learned the fine male art of peeing outside.  Perhaps because it just takes time to “click” or something.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I am impressed.


Jamie is such a willful child.  When he decides he wants to do something, be it climb the tree or ride his tricycle or learn to use the toilet, he does it.  It might take him a long time to decide to do something, but once the decision is made, there is no turning back.  I’m a little in awe of him.


The teachers at pre-school say he does just fine pooping in the potty when he’s there, though he has yet to do this at home.  I hope he’ll hurry up and decide to, though, because I don’t know if I can handle more dirty underwear.


However, my loads of diaper laundry are significantly reduced.  I was hopeful, but not too sure, that we would have Jamie potty-trained by the time the new baby comes this summer.  Looks like we’ll reach that deadline with time to spare.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Potty Time

I had completely forgotten how terrible potty training is.


You guys.  It sucks.


Instead of changing diapers – those easy, mess-containment systems that seem so horrendous for the first baby and then become so darn routine – I am changing pants.  And tiny underwear.  And washing the floors.  And butts.  And legs.  And my hands, again and again.


It’s early days yet, and I’m just not willing to commit myself 100% to potty training.  I had said that I wanted to wait until tax season is over so that I can trade off cleaning duties with Tony or at least ask him to clean up the grosser messes, but Jamie is ready now.  Sort of.


He wants to wear underwear, and he sometimes tells us when he has to go, but he often forgets.  So I end up half-assing things and putting him in diapers a good chunk of the time.


He has lots of underwear, but not nearly enough pants if we’re going to do this right. 


Do you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share?  I honestly don’t remember much of what I did for Charles, other than buy him a two-wheeled bike and tell him he could have it when he used the potty consistently.  Insofar as bribery as a parenting tactic goes, Charles was much easier to manage than Jamie.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Two Weeks

I got this in an email from Tony this morning:


“This morning was not a happy one. After multiple proddings, Jamie would not come up and take a shower although he said he wanted to. After I got out of the shower, he had a complete and total meltdown because he wanted to take a shower. I’m just waiting for today to be over so tomorrow can be a better day.”


photo 3 (23)  Pre-7 am chaos 

I know.  Oh, I know. 


It’s April, folks, and for a tax-accountant family, that means it’s both the best and the worst time of the year.  The best because we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  The worst because the kids and I have been cooped up together for too long.


I’m sure the kids will understand about tax season and being a CPA later in life, but right now all they understand is that dad is almost never there (Wednesday mornings, evenings after 6, and Sundays) and he is always tired.  There’s never enough time to wrestle on the bed or go on a bike ride with him.  Understandably, Tony is short-tempered because he doesn’t get enough sleep and he works hard every day and our kids, as Bill Cosby says, have brain damage.


I want strudel toast!” (Parent puts strudel bread in toaster) “Noooo!  I want to do it mine self!”  (Jamie drags chair to counter, puts bread in toaster, gets knife and plate, proceeds to drop entire butter dish on floor)

(Kid wakes early to find that mom has already showered) “Mom!  I want to shower with you!  I want to go to your meeting!”  “Charles, I already showered and this is not a fun meeting for kids.  It’s a bunch of adults sitting around talking for an hour, just like every week.  Stay here and eat breakfast and shower with Daddy and read stories and play with toys.  I’ll see you tonight.”  “No, Mommy!  Don’t go to your meeting!”


I’m short-tempered, too, and I have to remind myself to breathe deeply, let go of little things and even some big things, and that I am allowed to start over multiple times each day.  If the morning doesn’t go well, I can start over.  If I pick up the kids after work and there is a tantrum right away in the car about who gets to choose the song we listen to, I can start over.  I choose my attitude, because my children are having a hard time choosing theirs.


It’s April, and we’re all going to make it.  There are even plans being made for after April 15th, and they don’t all involve a giant nap for Tony or me running away to Southern California or selling our children to the circus.  Nicer weather sure helps.


And you know what else?  I’m 25+ weeks pregnant!  You wouldn’t think I could get bigger than this, but I will.  Oh, yes.


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