Just Put it on My Bill

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So as I mentioned yesterday divine intervention made me call J.T. my trusty OB because I hadn't felt the baby move for a few days and when we got there he warned me that there was a possibility we might need to do a c-section sooner rather than later.

I tried to remain calm when reporting this to everyone but when I was faced with the possibility that baby day might be fast forwarded two weeks my brain freaked out and did a back flip out the back of my head.

I believe my exact thought process was:

1. Is my baby ok in there?
2. 38 weeks is too early for the baby to be born!
3. All that time spent letting nature take its course was for naught!
4. I haven't bought my pretty hospital bathrobe yet!
5. The diaper pail at home is overflowing and I need to change it before my in-laws come over to pick up Ellie!

Not necessarily in that order but you get the gist.

We had an ultrasound to see what was happening and found that my fluid was dangerously low. The conversation went something like this:

Ultrasound Tech: (silent as she probes around, then) Have you been drinking?
Me: (thinking) Oh Jesus I'm busted! My weekly wine allowance has given my baby some sort of fetal alcohol thing! Oh God - do I own up to it or play dumb? Can they trace wine in my system from three weeks ago? I'm totally going to lie - no one can prove anything. Except all of those people who watched me drink wine.
Ultrasound Tech: (after 10 seconds of silence while I contemplate life in prison for killing my unborn baby) Because you look like you might be really dehydrated. Have you been drinking enough water?
Me: (relieved laughter) Oh no... I don't drink that shit.

Apparently I'm supposed to be drinking water. My homework assignment was to go home and hold my mouth open under the bathtub faucet on full throttle for 24 hours then come back in today to see if the fluid had increased. If so, then the problem was dehydration. If not, then we had bigger problems and it was baby time.

So began my 24-hour water binge. With the life of my baby on the line I forced myself to down almost 5 gallons of the nasty stuff.

It must have paid off because not only was my fluid way up, but the baby has actually turned into a duck.

Mini Jesus Lives in My Purse

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Ok people. Prepare yourselves for a really weird story. I mean REALLY weird.

For the past few days I've noticed a change in fetal movement. And by change in fetal movement I mean the baby hasn't been trying to claw and kick her way through my belly button 23 hours a day and rocking my insides with a fun little case of the hiccups for the other hour.

Since Friday morning I have only felt her move a few times, despite pulling out all of my old tricks (holding an ice cube tray against my stomach and eating a pound of Jelly Bellies). Nick and I were timing the kicks yesterday morning and we only got one or two in an hour and a half.

I debated for a long time about calling J.T. my trusty OB but I felt guilty about paging him on a Sunday in case nothing was wrong so we decided to forge ahead to a birthday party at Monkey Joe's.

Before the birthday party, though, Nick of course had to stop at 7-Eleven for his daily Double Gulp. And when I say daily, I mean DAILY. He drinks a DOUBLE GULP of Diet Dr. Pepper EVERY SINGLE DAY.

In fact, the owner/cashier of the 7-Eleven told Nick that he was sent to him from God because he doesn't have health insurance and since Nick goes in there every single morning he can give him medical advice. Which apparently once included examining some hideous lump on his neck.

He's fair, though - in exchange for free medical advice he gives Nick free Double Gulps.

Ok, somehow this got off on a tangent.

So anyhoo, there I am waiting with Ellie in the car while Nick is getting his daily Double Gulp and probably performing some sort of rectal exam behind the cash register when I decide to check my phone for messages.

Sometimes when I put my Blackberry in my purse and don't lock the keyboard I'll pull it out and there will be a bunch of random numbers and letters on the screen because the stuff in my purse will push some of the buttons. Which is what happened yesterday morning. Some random numbers had been pushed and when I looked at the phone I stared at them for a second because they looked familiar.

Then it occurred to me - that is my doctor's number. All seven digits. I know it by heart because I used to call them almost every day when I was pregnant with Ellie.

And I know what you're thinking because at first I thought the same thing and no, I don't have it pre-programmed into my phone and no, I haven't called the office from my cell phone in months. My purse just randomly pushed those numbers.

At that moment I knew for sure something was really wrong and that God, or the universe, or SOMETHING wanted me to call J.T.

So Nick comes back to the car and I'm like "dude - mini Jesus is in my purse and he wants us to call J.T." and he's like "hold on just a second - I'm going to need to take a sip from this Double Gulp for this."

I mean, I'm a pretty big skeptic when it comes to stuff like this. Sure, I believe in ghosts, witches, demons, zombies, leprechauns, karma, fairies, phantoms, shadow people, God, Allah, Buddha, reincarnation, Eskimos, vampires, voo doo, werewolves, angels, swamp things, Canadians and all forms of superstition in general (like most people) but this is weird, right?

So without further delay I paged J.T. and told him what was going on (minus the part about mini Jesus in my purse - I didn't want to sound like a crazy person or anything) and so we went to the hospital to get monitored.

Things looked ok but I was having a ton of contractions and at my follow-up appointment this morning he decided to do an ultrasound and found that my fluid was extremely low. I'm sitting on the couch right now on my 5 millionth bottle of water and if it's not higher by tomorrow at 11:30 then it's baby time.

Baby time is a little like Hammer Time, just without the parachute pants and funky dance moves.

I keep checking my Blackberry because I'm hoping the next number mini Jesus wants me to call is DQ.

So there you go. That's your weird story for the day and a nice little tale if you believe in God, angels, cosmic signs, random probability or mini Jesus living in purses.

Pelo Loco

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I know what you're thinking: Jeez - we get that you have a cute baby already. Now get back to the funny stories about nipples and poop.

Well, what I'm about to share with you could save your life one day. Pay attention.

At first glance, the picture above is seemingly innocent. A cute baby with wild hair playing in the tub. Who doesn't love a cute bathtub baby with wild hair picture? All clean and slippy - so cute.

Don't be fooled my friend... that's exactly what she wants you to think. Being cute is her primary defense. That and her hair. And her pepper spray.

Bath time used to be such a fun time. Ellie splashing around, squealing while she played with her little bath toys and enjoying the fact that the urine she's been sitting in for the past two days (ish... those baths are easy to forget about) was being magically washed away by her very own personal slave.

But that all changed a few weeks ago. I can't pinpoint the exact moment but somewhere along the way a switch flipped in her brain that alerted her to the fact that she will die a slow, horrible and painful death the minute liquid of any kind touched her hair and she should do anything at all costs to avoid it.

Including homicide.

It always starts innocently enough. Ellie pretending like she's having fun, me singing songs about bath time and making funny duck noises.

But we both know what's coming. We're just biding our time until the moment I reach for The Cup.

The Cup which apparently fills with acid poison water from the faucet which will wet her hair, eventually reach her face and GOD FORBID THE WORST THING EVER! maybe a little will trickle into her eyes.

At first it was easy for me to overpower her with my brute strength but Ellie is extremely crafty and much stronger than she looks. Last week I found a set of weights and a can of Body Fortress under her crib.

Her main weapon, though, is her hair. Last night I was able to hold her down long enough to wet it but before I had a chance to shampoo it she teased it out and it became a weapon of distraction. I found myself deeply entangled in her mane and she used the opportunity to grab her rubber duckie that she had filled with pepper spray while I wasn't looking and shot me in the face.

While I was on the floor she pole vaulted over my head and out of the tub, stopping only to hiss at me in the doorway, her and her still dirty hair scampering into the darkness while I lay choking, thinking about how different and wonderful my Friday nights used to be.

You've won this round, Ellie, but I've got two days to plan my next move. Let's just say that I'm working on a little something in the garage.



A Whole Lotta Ellie

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I wasn't feeling very writey today, so I decided to test out my movie maker.

Just a warning: it's a whole lotta Ellie. You'll probably bail after the first minute.

If nothing else, hope you enjoy a little Silversun Pickups on this awesome Friday afternoon.

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Land Mines

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Between Nick and me, Ellie has a significant number of genetic land mines we are both praying she avoids. My hair (or frog fur as my friend Carrie lovingly calls it), Nick's inability to sit in one spot for more than four seconds... I could go on and on but for the sake of our marriage and due to the fact that he is a key player in helping me "let nature take its course" to get this baby out, I'll just leave it at that and say that everything else about him is perfect.

One land mine we knew she would stomp squarely on with both feet, though, was bad teeth. She is screwed either way - Nick and I both had braces. The big question mark was whether her bottom row of teeth would look like a 100-year-old broken down picket fence or if she would be able to floss her top row of teeth through that picket fence.

Since I was little I've had a fascination with buck teeth and they run rampant on Nick's side of the family. In fact - I'm just going to say it - that was the reason I married him. The possibility that at least one of our children would be born with buck teeth.

There's just something about them that makes me so happy. Every time I talk to someone with buck teeth I am lulled into a dreamland trance and I can't peel my eyes away. And if they actually result in a speech impediment of some sort - OOOOH! You can't see it but I'm dry humping the couch right now.

I mean, who doesn't like someone with buck teeth?

When Ellie's top teeth started to come in I tried not to get too excited, but as of our trip to the zoo yesterday I'm pretty sure it's safe to rejoice the incisors.





I know, I know - I'm sure she'll hate them and I promise I'll get her some braces by the time she's ready to hunt for a husband.

But I'm going to enjoy them every day until then.

Fashionista

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Me: Can you please get Ellie dressed?
Nick: Sure.

(Ten minutes later)



Me: Oh Jesus.
Nick: What? She loves spandex.

Tommy Boy

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To borrow a quote from my favorite actor Chris Farley -

Not here...



Or here so much...



But right here.



37 down - three to go.

Q & A

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I'm excited to report that in the last three weeks I've had over 500 people visit the blog. And I'm even more excited to report that I figured out how to install and read Google Analytics - a major feat for a girl who had to Google "HTML definition" one month ago.

My close friends have had years to snuggle up with the terrifyingly obscure thoughts that troll around my brain but all you new folks are just getting acquainted and understandably have a lot of questions. I don't want anyone jumping to conclusions or calling DFS so I'd like to take a moment to address a few of the more popular inquiries now.

Q: Does Nick get mad when you air his dirty laundry on your blog?
A: Nick knows better than to look me in the eye, much less question anything I do while I'm pregnant. He knows what is good for him and the only thing he would dare question is if I would like regular or jumbo-sized pancakes. However, I know him well enough to know that he would prefer that I paint a picture of him that is more Pierce Brosnan and less Steve Urkel. Sorry homey, I just call it like I see it.

Q: Did you get pregnant again so soon on purpose?
A: Well, if "on purpose" you mean visit the fertility doctor three times a week, have 4,238 ultrasounds to measure the size of my follicles, take hormone shots to make them grow, more hormone shots to make them fly out of my ovaries, more hormone shots because the chest hair that grew during the first two rounds was still a little patchy, have three nights of perfectly timed unromantic mechanical sex, visit every Catholic supply store in the northern hemisphere looking for a statue of St. Gerard, plant a statue of St. Gerard in the front yard, dig up the statue of St. Gerard and replant it upside down, threaten God that if I don't get pregnant I'll never bring Ellie to church again, sacrifice a virgin chicken, tell God that I was just joking but only kind-of and he better do what I say, then yes, we did it on purpose. Otherwise... whoops! Guess I'm just really fertile.

Q: Don't you ever get tired of eating pancakes?
A: That's like asking if I get tired of breathing or if Tom Cruise gets tired of being gay. It's not a choice, dude - there's syrup in these genes.

Q: You sure curse a lot.
A: Ok, Mom, that's not a question, but yes, I do curse a lot. But lucky for the old woman behind me in the grocery store my internal filter catches most of the bad words as they make their way from my brain to my lips. This blog is designed to be an unedited look into what's happening up there and sometimes there is a lot of hostility floating around. I just let it flow.

Well, that's all I've got time for today. I've already missed the first half of Teen Wolf.

If you have a question you would like answered or just need some advice, feel free to email me at skidmarking@gmail.com.

Fly the Croup

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I know I know, I've been slacking on the blog this week. But I have two good reasons:

1. Nick has the week off and we've been working on "letting nature take its course" to bring on the labor as J.T. my trusty OB prescribed, and

2. Ellie has The Croup.

Combining the two is like watching your grandpa do a pole dance then being escorted into the champagne room.

For those without kids or who have been lucky enough to avoid The Croup, the technical medical term is Holy Shit Fucking Fuck Fuck My Baby Is On The Verge Of Death Please Do Something Why Are You Just Sitting There Looking At Me With That Look On Your Face You Stupid Worthless Idiot.

When I was pregnant with Ellie, Nick and I took a babymoon to California and one night we took a romantic sunset stroll hand-in-hand along a beach filled with elephant seals. They're cute little critters but make a God-awful noise and the smell is enough to make someone's hair fall out. They have a lot in common with present day Ellie:

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The other little Croup fun fact is that it gets worse when she sleeps, which, if you're doing the math is prime time to let nature take its course and nothing gets you more in the mood to let nature take its course than the sound of your baby barking and gasping for air in her crib.

Timing has been good for Nick to be home this week because one of the big perks of being married to a doctor is that he can quickly diffuse the frantic freak out panic attacks I have every five minutes (give or take four minutes). Had it not been for this constant reassurance that she is not going to die I would have set up camp in the hospital parking lot, running her into the ER every time she sneezed.

I must say that in addition to dispelling my death fears it has been awesome to have someone around to talk to during the day other than the voices in my head.

However, his constant presence makes me feel a little bit like the boss has flown in from Tulsa and is poking around the office to make sure his employees aren't goofing off making prank phone calls all day.

I've been home with Ellie for eight months now, and I have come to accept it as my full-time job. As I went about performing our trump-tight routine Nick spent the majority of the day following me around asking "what do you do next"? I can't blame him - I was asking everyone I knew that very same question for the first four months.

However, I found myself feeling defensive while I explained pancake o'clock.

In fact, I found myself explaining a lot of things, including the importance for sippie cup efficiency. Dude, these things don't grow on trees. You can save the juice leftovers for lunch.

I like to think that yes, while many of the things I do during the day seem trivial, a quick peek behind the curtain has enlightened Nick to the reality that is laundry and the next time he pulls that clean pair of underwear out of his drawer he'll have a greater appreciation of the work it took to get them there.

Or maybe not. He's back to work this weekend and I'm pretty sure he left skidmarks in the driveway when he left two hours early this morning.

I'm going to go ahead and take that as a compliment.

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

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This weekend my college friends and I traveled to Planet Ozark for our annual girls trip. And yes, I don't know how to use The Photoshop so I had to trim the fat off of myself in this picture using the eraser button on my photo editor.

Yet I digress.

We had our annual girls weekend, and apparently we weren't the only ones:



Not that I have any problem in the world with a group of guys in a pool drinking pink frozen drinks together, but I'm pretty sure that night they were all sitting in their hotel room wondering why they never score with any awesome chicks.

Again, I digress.

It took us seven months to plan this trip. Let me repeat that. SEVEN months. And over 100 emails. OVER. ONE. HUNDRED. EMAILS. For eight people to plan a weekend. Emails so painful that there were times when I would read an email then calmly walk over to the wall and beat my head against it.

When did this become so hard? I used to get together with this same group of people on a weekly basis to watch Friends. Now we get together twice a year, at Christmas and for one weekend in the summer, give or take the occasional miracle when the planets align and maybe half of us can get a babysitter on the same night so that we can shovel a 15-minute dinner in our faces.

And even with SEVEN months notice there were still a few who skipped out on Sunday's outlet mall shopping extravaganza because they had kid commitments and the Mom Guilt was too much to bear.

What's all this talk about Mom Guilt and does it make me a bad Mom if I don't experience it? Ok, but what if I experience the opposite of Mom Guilt and peel out of the driveway swinging my shirt around my head like a lasso?

Anyhoo, the minute everyone arrived at the hotel (we had to take five separate cars due to schedule conflicts) the planning frustrations disappeared and it was poop-your-pants laughery for 36 hours straight.

Which came as a big relief to me because I must admit I was a little nervous about the soberness that this baby has saddled me with. Usually everyone (except the DD, of course) has cracked open their first vodka before they're finished packing and the fun doesn't stop until our heads explode on Sunday morning.

But I must say that it was refreshing to be the only one not waking up in a pool of my own vomit. And my pregnantness secured me a spot on the bed vs. the pull out couch. Score.

36

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Looking at the ultrasound pictures while waiting for the doctor:

Nick: Oh look... she has your liver.
Me: That's not her liver.
Nick: (silence, turns the picture sideways, then) Oh Jesus! (throws the picture at me).

Yesterday we had our 36-week ultrasound and I'm pretty sure this baby thing is actually going to happen. J.T. (my trusty OB) was spewing nonsense about a birth plan and I just continued to change the subject to things that didn't involve me and mind bending pain hanging out in the same room.

Against strong protest from my constituents in the southern states I have made the executive decision to bite the bullet and try to push this baby out the old fashioned way. I've almost gotten the rioting, looting and pillaging under control.

The catch is that because I had a C-section with Ellie my doctor won't induce so we have to let "nature take its course."

Apparently we can give nature a push by doing things that are 100% contrary to what my body feels like doing right now.

Things like actually leaving the pancake cocoon I fashioned for myself on the couch and taking down the 6-foot retaining wall I installed down the middle of our bed.

I liked it better when I was 16 weeks and the idea of pushing a baby from my loins was in the oh-so-distant future and all I had to focus on was eating chili dogs and trying to poop.

Now I'm freaking the fuck out while I watch the executioner sharpen his axe from the window of my cell.

The good news is that she's still definitely a girl and they're estimating her to be a little smaller than Ellie. But there are a lot of things smaller than newborn Ellie - like a fireplace set or a Volkswagen - so that piece of information is not really THAT much of a relief.

The bad news is that she looks a lot like Gene Shalit.




But Nick says that's actually a good thing because he won't have to worry about beating little punk asses when she turns 15.

Mama

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video

I've created a monster.

The Hannah

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On Saturday night I joined my Fancy Friends to cheer on our buddy Ryan at his first title fight at Scottrade Center.

You may recall that a mere seven days prior I was front and center at the St. Charles County Fair demo derby (with my non-Fancy Friends) which means that I have scaled the gamut of St. Louis culture starting at hillbilly, landing at pimp and completely skipping over everything in the middle.

Attending such diverse events in a short period of time makes me feel like I need to catch up on my immunizations or something.

Ryan is now under the management of Don King which is great for him but better for me because now I have a famous friend and am one step closer to gaining the street cred and respect I've been working so diligently toward.

In fact, this new found connection has really opened my eyes to the profound world of boxing and I've been inspired to take a step back and reevaluate my entire outlook on life. I would even go so far as to say that...

Everything I Ever Needed To Know I Learned From Don King.

5. Referring to yourself in the third person is cool, but it's been played out. Inserting a definitive article immediately preceding the third person referral not only establishes your dominance on the food chain as we know it, but creates a whole new rating scale of cool. From now on I shall be referred to as "The Hannah."

4. When anything is in question - whether it be your reputation, integrity, innocence... just smile and wave around an American flag. That should do it.

3. Everyone needs a well thought out motivational song when they enter a room. This goes for any room, including the bathroom.

2. Surround yourself with really big people who make a living by kicking other peoples' asses.

1. Nick always advised me if I'm ever in a precarious situation to act crazy because "no one fucks with a crazy." I agree and would like to point out that Don has taken this one step further - no one fucks with crazy hair. Would you rape this? Shit no.



My Milkshake Turns The Yard Into A Barren And Defeated Wasteland

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Second babies have a big advantage in that parents have nine months to obsess over all of the mistakes they made with the first baby and develop a well-formed plan to ensure they don't screw it up like they did the first one.

One of the 67 things I have on my list of "Things Not To Screw Up With The Next Baby" is breastfeeding. I really had no idea what to expect when I tried to breastfeed Ellie and my pathetic attempts went down in a titty twisting blaze of glory.

So in preparation for Baby #2 I decided to burn a mulligan and re-took the hospital's breastfeeding class over the weekend. This time I came prepared with a list of real-life questions, case studies and character witnesses.

After the teacher finished reviewing the basics and showing a commie propaganda video of happy moms sitting in a circle talking about how wonderful breastfeeding is and how people who don't breastfeed are horrible parents who will spend eternity being licked by flames from Satan's tongue, she asked if there were any questions.

I glanced around the room at all of the other first-time Moms sitting blissfully unaware of the unimaginable frustration that awaited them and nare a hand was raised.

Of course there wasn't. She had just painted a picture that made it seem like magical fairies fly through your window and place your perfectly formed nipple into your baby's smiling mouth and then laugh and cheer you on as they press the 'dispense' button on the side of your tit.

Me: Well, I have some questions.

The Teacher: Oh, great!

Me: Ummm, I have a 15-month-old at home and I tried to breastfeed her but had to abandon ship because if she didn't latch on correctly the first time she launched into a horrific 30-minute screaming fit that made me want to slice my wrists. In your experience have you come across any other mothers who've experienced anything similar?

The Teacher: Oh yes, that's actually very common. And babies really pick up on the Mother's tension - I've found that the best thing you can do for that is just try to relax.

Oh, YEAH! What awesome advice! Why didn't I think of that? I mean, when your baby is screaming her balls off every time you unsnap your nursing bra because she thinks your boob is a poison-spewing butcher knife, I should have just tried harder to relax.

And let me remind you that this is a cry that has been genetically perfected over the last thousand years or so to raise your heart rate and blood pressure to a level that makes it very easy to visualize throwing your baby out of the car window. And then hitting reverse. Then drive. Then reverse. Then drive.

And not just me. I had lactation consultant after lactation consultant try to help me and each came to the conclusion that maybe I should just bottle feed. Then they quickly exited the room leaving me with the mind bending screaming because they were afraid they would do something that would land them in prison.

But you're right - I should have thought of that. I'll just relax. Thank you SO much. This has been well worth my $25.

I will be the first to admit that before I had Ellie I judged Moms who gave formula to their babies. Why wouldn't you want to give them the best start possible? Breast milk is best, right? And I had every intention of breast feeding my child until she turned one, started to develop a cognitive memory or teeth. Whichever came first.

But if it's one thing I've learned from this whole parenting experience it's not to ever, ever say that I'm definitely going to do something or judge other parents for doing anything. Except piercing a baby's ears. I just think it's so wrong to inflict non-vaccination pain on a baby.

For two weeks I tried everything. A plastic nipple thing that sucked my aerola up into it like a little mini-vacuum. I taped a tube to my boob hooked to my own pumped milk to try to whet her appetite.

Finally one day Nick walked in and saw me sobbing while sitting in a pool of milk trying to thread the tube through the plastic nipple thing and said what we both were thinking - this isn't working.
And so I quit trying. After many days of guilt-ridden crying and berating myself for being the world's most incompetent Mother, of course. My compromise to myself was to pump and give it to her in a bottle in addition to supplementing with formula.

I know there are Moms out there reading this right now who are judging me. And maybe giving up was taking the easy way out. But I had to weigh my sanity against the benefits of the antibodies in my milk. And my sanity kicked their little asses.

And guess what? She's a very healthy, happy 1-year-old. She didn't sprout horns or grow a beard because I gave her formula. And once I made the decision to let go of my guilt (that took another few weeks) I was able to actually enjoy being a Mom for the first time since she was born.

Would I like to breastfeed #2? Of course. And I feel like I'm way better prepared for the challenge. But I'm also prepared to be realistic and flexible.

I need my sanity. After what these babies have done to my body, my mind is the only thing I have left.


The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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Cue the banjo.

Oh, the St. Charles County Fair. Where culture meets corn dogs. Where the family tree starts to resemble said corn dog.

For the 12 years that I've lived in St. Louis I haven't missed one demolition derby and my massive purchase at the corn dog stand is enough to keep their business afloat for the next 364 days.

I must say, though, that this year was the most memorable. Literally. I've never actually gone to one of these things sober and it was like experiencing it for the first time.


Yes, Elizabeth's shirt says "No Money No Honey." And she means it.


You can't see it from the photo, but I'm actually on the phone with our life insurance agent right now. I'm pretty sure that riding anything constructed with a spare tire and dog leash automatically increases our premium.


Perhaps the most disturbing element of this photo is the sign on the wall that says "no dogs allowed".


So much truth -sniff-. This shirt just says what everyone else is thinking. That it's harder than you think to recover from The Gout.

The Rascal

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I think every Mom starts out with nothing but the best of intentions for keeping their child healthy. When I was pregnant with Ellie I had all sorts of lofty dreams about developing a partnership with the blender to transform my child into a nutritional powerhouse.

Fast forward 15 months to my birthday last week when, for a very sketchy 24-hour period she ate almost nothing but cake. I know what you're thinking, and just go ahead and try to deny this little face.



Plus, she's SO cute without teeth.

Of course this is not an everyday occasion but I had a big reality check yesterday when I read my weekly Parents magazine email update. I also like to refer to these weekly knowledge nuggets as "Here's an email about what the good Moms are doing and why you suck."

There was a list of "good" and "bad" foods to give kids, and unfortunately many (ok all) of our meals dip into the wrong category.

Don't call DFS just yet - I would never give her soda - but chicken nuggets and hot dogs are a staple in our household.

What? It's chicken! Chicken's healthy, right? Especially when it has all of that yummy breading fried on.

And hot dogs? Hot dogs are... well what the hell are hot dogs made out of, anyway?

Ok, point taken.

This morning I had the opportunity to attend the Save-A-Lot grand opening on Page Ave, and in addition to doing some awesome things for the community and local food banks they may have actually saved my baby from a life dependant on insulin and tooling around town with her ham hocks spilling over her Rascal.



I got some great ideas for healthy lunches for kids (all under $1 each, to boot). Upon cross-referencing their list with the "healthy" category given to me by Parents magazine I found that all include several of the recommended foods.

Here are some of their under $1 fantastic lunch ideas:


  • Peanut butter and jelly on wheat, yogurt dip w/ fresh fruit, granola bar & Splash Out Fruit Drink
  • Beef ravioli, baby carrots w/ light ranch dip, Fruit Flips Snacks & bottled water
  • Turkey sandwich on wheat bread, pretzels, raisins & Splash Out Fruit Drink
  • Tortilla filled with cream cheese and ham, banana, yogurt & bottled water


And I was able to purchase each lunch for under $1 for everything - score!

To celebrate my new passion for Ellie's healthy lifestyle, I'm giving away a $50 Save-A-Lot gift card to one lucky reader. Just go to their website and tell me one of the products listed under their dollar menu. Then email that to me at skidmarking@gmail.com with the subject line Save-A-Lot. Deadline for entries is August 12 at noon.

And don't worry - no one will judge you if you spend the whole $50 on chocolate cupcakes.

Chillin' Like A Villain

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For obvious reasons, Ellie likes to kick her feet up whenever the opportunity presents itself. The stroller, church pews, restaurant tables... her feet know no boundaries. Even this afternoon while she was working at her office.

Faces of Death

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Yesterday I was talking with my sister-in-law about a recent online debate regarding what to do with a Facebook friend who passes away. Of course my initial reaction was to keep them as a friend - I would never diss a dead Facebook friend!

The only Facebook friends I diss are those who clog my news feed with those farm games. Yes, I know I can just block the status but I refuse to be associated with anyone who spends time playing that shit.

But then she pointed out that you'd get constant reminders to get back in touch, or even worse, poke them. And poking a dead friend is just wrong.

I did a little research and it turns out that it's up to the next of kin to decide what to do with someone's online presence. It's not typically something that's included in a will so it can be somewhat of a sticky subject. Do you really want your husband or wife to have access to your Gmail account? I want Nick to remember me as a loving and devoted wife, not someone who Googled beastiality once. Twice. I just needed to know how to spell it, ok?

This conversation forced me to sit down and give some serious consideration to my own wishes for how I would want Nick to manage my online presence in case I meet an untimely demise. Which naturally led to the bigger picture of the responsibility that would fall on his shoulders if I'm no longer around and I started to panic as I realized that he would be lucky to last a week without the house exploding in a blaze of glory.

Or at least having the electricity shut off, giving our children a serious competitive disadvantage as they fight with the rats over trash can food scraps in the dark.

So in anticipation of an unexpected meeting with my maker, here are 10 things I'd like to put down in writing to put my mind a little more at ease. It probably won't hold any water legally, but I know you all will see to it that my wishes are carried out. Well, you all and DFS.

1. I hope you were kidding last night when I brought up the subject of my funeral and you told me you think funerals are a huge waste of money and plan to dump my body in the river. I want a slideshow. A good one. Don't include any pictures that accentuate my chins or show my cellulite - use Photoshop as necessary. And use good songs - none of that cheesy Michael Bolton or Sarah McLaughlin bullshit. Give me a little bit of street credit, please. I wouldn't be opposed to the idea of hiring a DJ to spin a fat beat.

2. Also for the funeral, I want my friend Carrie to do my hair, make-up, wardrobe and accessories - not the funeral woman who will make me look like a dead hooker that was just pulled out of the gutter behind a BBQ stand in Sauget. Then I want you to take a nice picture and make that my new Facebook profile pic.

3. I will give you access to my Facebook profile because you will need it to set up my online memoriam. You are in no way allowed to change my status to anything about how you look like Pierce Brosnan or have huge muscles. I would like you to use this medium as a way to ensure there is a constant stream of fresh flowers and burritos placed on my side of the bed for the next 10 years. Wait, 20 years. 30.

Now, on to the more important things...

4. You know that white thing strapped to Ellie's ass? It's called a diaper, and it must be changed every few hours, or if you smell something reminiscent of a petting zoo. Whichever comes first.

5. Our children must eat three meals a day. They don't all have to be well balanced but sugar packets and diet soda do not count as a meal, or even a snack.

6. And for Christ sakes brush their teeth. With actual toothpaste and a toothbrush.

7. And give them a bath, or at least hose them off in the backyard a couple times a week.

8. All bills have to be paid. No, you can't just hide our trash in the neighbors' bushes.

9. I'd prefer them not to watch television at all, but if you must please limit it to one hour/day of educational programming. Don't let them watch those ghost shows unless you want them sleeping on your floor for the next 20 years.

10. And lastly, I expect that at some point you'll venture out of the house, and possibly even talk to another woman. Just remember that I'm watching you. At all times. Always. Oh, what was that noise coming from the closet? she'll say. And you'll know it's me. Standing there. Watching. Judging. But please, don't let that stop you from moving on.

34 at 34

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As I mentioned last week, I turned 34. I think I'm finally over the initial shock and the urge to snort cat tranquilizers is nearly gone.

Rather than obsessing about all of the people out there who are younger than me, I've been focusing on all of the people who are dead and that makes me feel better.

Though being 34 weeks pregnant in 100 degree heat sometimes makes me envy them, too.

Nail Polish

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Of course everyone has little annoyances that they would like to change about their spouse. Some leave the toilet seat up, some snore, etc.

Mine happens to be the fact that there is a sea of bitten off fingernails in the passenger side floorboard of his car so deep that every time I get in I feel like I need a snorkel.

My worst fear came to life last week when I traded cars with him to go to a meeting. He was going to take Ellie with him to dinner and because my car has all of the baby paraphernalia it was just easier to trade.

After the meeting I had a nice follow-up conversation with one of the panelists and I offered to give her a ride to her car because I had lucked out and gotten a spot right outside the entrance. The moment the offer escaped my lips I realized what a tragic mistake I had just made.

Apparently the thought of being gang raped in downtown St. Louis outweighed my telepathic suggestion for her to decline because before I knew it she was ankle deep in the nail pool.

Before she even stepped into the car I gave the disclaimer that this is my husband's car and that it is in no way a reflection on me or my beliefs in personal hygiene. She didn't seem too bothered, but I'm sure tomorrow morning once she finds a pile of toenails under her shoe rack she'll have second thoughts.

What is strange about this whole situation is that the minute Nick sits down in MY car he calls me a gypsy because I leave my gym card in the cup holder and have a reusable grocery bag in the back seat.

It could be worse, I guess. He could have horrible gas that he finds hilarious to inflict upon me. Wait... let me think of another example. This might take a few minutes. I'll get back to you about how it could be worse.