The magic bullet

Nick has been working like a dog lately which is super inconvenient for me because I have to take on some of his household chores.  In addition to his weekly duties of ignoring the overflowing diaper pail and drinking all but the last swallow of the Crystal Lite, I've been in charge of bath night. 

Three little kids - one me. 

It's been a while since I've given them a bath by myself and on Saturday night, as I began to wash Lila's hair, I made a shocking discovery. 

There was a raccoon attached to the back of her head. 

When dry, her baby mullet (bullet) looks slightly scraggly and teeters on trailer park but is generally non-threatening.

But the minute I got it wet it took on a new life.  Like an evil alter ego.  That thing stretched halfway down her back and I swear I heard it whisper something about stealing my wallet. 

It was time to go.

Without the fanfare of Ellie's first haircut at an overpriced posh kids' salon (where we made an appointment two weeks in advance) that presents all of its customers with a "first haircut" certificate and a live pony, I ran Lila into a bargain salon and just asked for the first person off their smoke break. 

The Chops A Lot 3000 it was. 

I mean, I don't know a lot about haircuts but I think this is bad. 
Like, REALLY bad. 

Every time I look at her all I can think of is my least favorite stooge.   

That then morphs into her face. 

In 30 years she's going to ask me why there are no pictures of her when she was little.  And I'll tell her the truth.  It's because she was terrifying.   

The screaming mimi

Having three kids under 2 1/2 affords me certain provisions.  Unfortunately, as I learned over the weekend when I did a little online research, those provisions don't include parking in handicapped spots.  Apparently I need some sort of "disability." 

Fortunately I don't let little technicalities get in the way of my dreams.  I mean, it's not like I'm going to take the last handicapped spot in a parking lot or anything.  I'm not a jerk.  I just think back to my grad school stats class and use everything I learned about the laws of probability.  Like - there are fifteen open handicapped spots outside the Wal-Mart... there are probably not fifteen handicapped people who are going to show up in the next 45 minutes.   

And my grad school continues to pay for itself one day at a time.

Another provision is that I get a helper.  Every Sunday night my niece (my sister's husband's brother's daughter... my niece) hops a train to baby town and for three days when we're not frolicking through fields of daisies hand in hand with the girls I'm able to do things like go to doctor's appointments, the grocery store, the gym, take whirlwind tours of every pre-school within a 5-mile radius and even sneak in the occasional shower.  Also she makes sure everyone gets fed. 

These three days are what I like to call The Good Days.

Then Wednesday night comes and she leaves.

And the next two days are what I like to call The Bad Days.   

For 48 hours we wear the same pajamas and look out the window, trying to remember what it's like to breathe fresh air.  That's in between The Bad Meal Times, when I'm trying to cook, then cut, a hot dog while breast feeding a baby (true story).  I've actually gotten pretty proficient with getting Lila into and out of her high chair one handed.  This is because I've learned the hard way that a baby will all but take your nipple with her if she's accidentally bumped off.

But last Friday, in the words of Popeye, "I've taken all I can stands and I can't stands no more!"  I was getting out.  Ellie needed some new snow boots and we were all going to leave the house.  Everyone.  Together. 


First, let me begin by outlining the logistics behind getting everyone in the car:

1.  Ellie goes in first and crawls all the way to the back.  I crawl in behind her in and buckle her in.
2.  I go back inside the house and get Lila, squeeze in between trash cans and van and buckle her in.
3.  I go back inside and get Hadley, who by the way detests being in the car seat.  Probably because I take her out as little as possible and 97% of her car seat experiences have ended with a vaccine of some sort.
4.  Meanwhile, Lila poops.  Take her inside to change her as other children scream in terror because they believe I'm leaving them alone in the van forever
5.  Put Lila back in
6.  Take wagon out of back of mini van and put double stroller in
7.  Adjust hernia and get in the driver's seat
8.  Hadley poops
9.  In keeping with the curse of the third child, ignore Hadley's dirty diaper and put car in reverse

I backed out of the driveway to find what I thought was rain was actually freezing rain.  Again, a technicality that I was not going to let get in the way of my dreams.

We were getting the finest snow boots Old Navy had to offer. 


Hadley's screams had now manifested into a shard of glass stabbing at my ovaries which really makes for a pleasant driving experience.  I was actually sort of wishing someone would cut me off so I would have a reason to leap out of my car, throw their door open and stab them repeatedly in the face with a screwdriver.

That didn't happen, which now that I'm calmer realize was probably a good thing.

We finally arrived at Old Navy and the freezing rain was now driving freezing rain and pelting me in the face as I punched the shit out of the double stroller because it was caught on something in the back of the van.  I finally wriggled it free, got Lila out of the van, then got Screams Her Balls Off out of the van, then crawled to the back and got Ellie out.

By now everyone was soaking wet. 

Nothing makes you feel like a more awesome Mom than walking around a store with three dripping wet kids and a baby who sounds like you're sticking a lit cigarette in her eye.  The store is every mom's public showcase, and Hadley was totally blowing my scores with the invisible baby judges.  So I decided to do the mature thing - ignore it and browse.

What baby?  Nope, I don't hear anything except the sounds of the best Mom ever just leisurely pushing her kids around the store looking for some snow boots.  What noise?  Oh, that's just our pet hyena.  Sometimes we like to get her out of the house and give her some fresh air. 

Say, no reason for asking, but do you know anything about human trafficking?  Like, what if someone wanted to get into it?  No?  Okay, can you just point me in the direction of your snow boots then? 

Of course Old Navy doesn't carry snow boots.

The next stop on our first and last errand run ever was the drive through liquor store.    

The iron maiden

Just to refresh your memory... week 1:

Week 3:

I don't know why I held my arm out like that - maybe I was subconsciously trying to hide the huge piles of laundry on my bed.  But now it's too late because all the kids are up and I don't have time to take another picture. 

Aside from my weird arm I know the pictures don't really look any different and I still look pregnant with a food baby.  But an article I read said that when you're losing weight it takes four weeks for you to notice a difference, eight weeks for your spouse to notice a difference (or, according to my Mother-In-Law, twelve years and only when you bring it up in front of a bunch of people at dinner) and twelve weeks for friends and family to notice.  And since most of you don't fall into any of those categories I'm pretty sure if we met up somewhere you'd think I looked just the same as I did last month. 

Anyhoo, today I got one of these:

Which was pretty cool. 

When it comes to losing weight, my experience with Weight Watchers hasn't been all that bad. 

But that's like saying, "If I'm going to be slowly tortured to death, for my money it's hands down the iron maiden."

Working out and eating healthy is awful.  It's horrible.  All things being equal, no one would choose healthy over gluttony and sloth.  I don't trust people who say they like to exercise.  Because I do not trust liars. 

I'm so hungry every second of every minute I'm awake.  I even dream about eating.  And it's not like I'm starving myself - I've just downsized my feedings to what most normal people eat.  I started measuring my portions in ounces and tablespoons instead of casserole dishes and troughs. 

All I can think about all day long is dry humping a pile of tater tots, probably because I swear to god every single commercial that comes on television now is for food.  Stupid ass clowns eating lots and lots of food I can't have.  

Actually that's not true.  With Weight Watchers I can pretty much eat whatever I want, but most of the things I want have the point value of an entire day's worth of food.  So if I want a Taco Bell XXL Grilled Stuft Burrito I can go hog wild, but that just has to be the only thing I eat all day. 

Which brings me to Saturday. 

Throw that 2-pound log of Mexican pleasure together with a Diet Ginger Ale and Betty White's 90th birthday celebration and that was my rockin' Saturday night. 

But as I was basking in the after glow I had a big scare.  I think my new healthy eating habits are starting to mess up my body because I swear it immediately tried to tunnel its way out of my stomach via my butt.  And I won't even tell you what it did to Hadley after I breast fed her that night, but let's just say I've never seen someone take a crap with their legs above their head before. 

My stomach has always been extremely hospitable to a bunch of junk randomly thrown together and fried and if I keep on this health kick it's going to totally ruin my plan to resume my love affair with White Castle once I hit my goal weight.

This could be trouble. 

I'm not ready to say goodbye.   

The deadly sin

My second thought when I found out I was pregnant with Hadley was, "well at least I don't have to try to lose weight any more."

Oh, and in case you're wondering, my first thought was, "No no no, sweet Jesus please no, why are there two lines on this pregnancy test, what the hell am I going to do, I have a 6-month-old and a 1-year-old, I've totally screwed myself, damn it to Hell - that stupid husband of mine this is all his fault I TOLD him this was going to happen, wait maybe this is a special unique brand of European pregnancy test where two lines actually means not pregnant, oh please lord let that be the case, no no it's not the case at all, oh crap my life is ruined, I wonder if I could pretend like I don't know this information and still have some beer tonight."

So now that she's 7 weeks old, and I got the all-clear to resume life as normal yesterday from J.T. my trusty O.B., I begrudgingly realize it's time to face the music. 

The music being the sound of my stomach rumbling all day as I can't stop thinking about my secret lover, chicken McNuggets. 

The music being my lungs wheezing after I coughed up something I ate last week while running on the treadmill. 

The music being my jeans screaming in terror as I trade them out for the sweats I've worn for the past 11 months.  The sweats I can't function without for the two hours it takes to wash and dry a load of laundry.  The sweats I tried to wear to our church Christmas Eve service but Nick made me change and the only pants I had that even came close to buttoning were so tight I started to hallucinate from lack of blood to my brain and peed my pants a little every time I sat down or bent over.   

I knew this time I was going to need some help and all I could think about was the Sex and the City episode where the book store worker tells Miranda "Will the New York Times come to your house at two in the morning and pry the cookie dough out of your hands?"

Yes, yes - I need whatever that is that does that. 

So I took a deep breath, and feeling like a kid on her first day at a new school, walked in.  Except instead of the kid I was the fat kid (big diff), and instead of school it was a strip mall where I had to stand on a scale in front of a total stranger and have her weigh me. 

And you're dying to know what that number was, aren't you?  Well, my friends, I'm not afraid.  I'm not afraid because I know it's only going down from here.  So here you go:

And just to prove that I'm REALLY not afraid I'll share another picture with you of what my sister lovingly refers to as my Dunlop Belly. 

You know, my belly so big it done lopped over my drawers. 


But, in my defense, here was the 'before' 8 short weeks ago:

I have a weigh in every Tuesday morning and I will gladly share the results with you each week (I'm a week behind on my blogging so -spoiler alert- I'll bring you up to today and tell you that I lost 3.8 pounds already this week - booyah).

Also I decided to run in the St. Patrick's Day 5 mile race.  Have I ever run 5 miles?  No.  Have I ever run 4 miles?  Not exactly.  The truth is I've only actually run one race, a 5K, and it was ugly.  I mean, REALLY ugly. 

People were hitting cow bells and banging drums and yelling the same encouraging things you would yell at a child trying to cut meat for the first time at me as my brain desperately tried to tell my pissed off legs to move and cross the finish line.  Mind you this was all after I tried to abandon ship and crawl across a median to get to my car because I thought I was going to barf if I had to run the last 200 yards.  

So why am I doing this again?  Because I'm a glutton for punishment. 

But that's the only glutton I'm allowing myself to be from here on out.   

Date night

My Mom came in town to help out last week and, in what I suspect may be the first of many efforts to convince me not to stick her in a nursing home somewhere down the line, even offered to stay over an extra night so that Nick and I could have a date night.

I'm embarrassed to say that I can't remember the last time Nick and I had a night to ourselves that didn't involve a Family Guy marathon. 

We decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants, The Stable.  You may remember this post about the glorious shrimp and cheese dip that I accidentally left in my trunk overnight but ate anyway from The Stable. 

One of the more interesting menu items is something simply called the "plate of food".  At $10, the plate of food is whatever the chef feels like preparing for you - no refunds.  We've never been adventurous enough to order it for ourselves but we've seen it arrive on other tables in the form of anything from lasagna to pot roast.

In the spirit of date night Nick decided to throw caution to the wind and go for it, hoping the chef would cook up something real special for our romantic evening.

I'm pretty sure the chef was either a jaded ex-boyfriend or a 9-year-old boy. 

With only the words, "are you sure?", we silently switched plates and I handed him my salmon. 

You may notice that in the time it took me to get my phone out of my purse and snap a quick pic the better part of one chili dog was annihilated.  This is because I've developed a really bad habit of eating like someone is about to steal my food, as my Mom pointed out when I burped and licked the last of the bread crumbs off my fingers as she was just taking the first bite of her sandwich as we ate lunch one day. 

It's not my fault - most of the time when I eat someone IS about to steal my food.  Two little thiefs that like to sit on my lap and eat off my plate so I have to be quick as lightning if I actually want anything for myself.

The silver lining surrounding the chili dogs is that I've been really stressed out about making a birth control decision before my 6-week post partum check up with J.T. next week, and I think the answer was served right up to me on a platter.

After dinner we decided to grab a drink at a bar we weren't nearly cool enough to be in.   

It occurred to me, as we were sitting there in a fabulous bar, with a fabulous view, having fabulous drinks and watching fabulous people strut around without post partum bellies or stuff leaking out of their boobs that now smelled of pinot grigio, that date nights have really changed for us.

For example, topics of conversation included:  "I can't remember the last time I shaved my legs,"  and "If you don't treat your athletes foot you're just going to keep giving it back to me."

Also we kept looking at our watches and saying things like, "I can't believe it's only 8:30!  It feels like 2am!"  

It's just interesting that what used to be a spur of the moment Tuesday night outing - dinner and drinks - is now something that we look forward to for weeks, giggling and prancing around the kitchen like school girls when we thought about it.

I'm working on teaching Ellie how to drive the van so that next time she can DD. 


The baby that stole Christmas


Yesterday, a month and a half ahead of schedule, I took down the Christmas decorations.  A task that usually leaves me sad and a little forlorn, hence why I try to put it off until Valentine's Day.  Or our long dead Christmas tree bursts into flames because someone flipped on the overhead light.  Whichever comes first.  

But this year I was champing at the bit to put this holiday season far behind us.  As much as I usually look forward to Christmas and all that it brings - the family gatherings, baking cookies, driving around looking at lights, afternoons spent shopping for the perfect gifts - I was equally looking forward to getting this one over with.  

With the chaos that inevitably accompanies a newborn baby, everything about this holiday was done as a formality.  The bare minimum so that in 30 years when Ellie sits in therapy she can't blame any of her problems that one time her parents skipped Christmas. 

A neurotic Mom who airs all of her dirty laundry on a blog - yes.  Lack of holiday cheer - no.   

Shopping for presents was a stressful and rushed afternoon activity that I tried to squeeze in between doctors appointments and falling asleep behind the wheel because my boob had been in someone's mouth since 2:30am.  

Each night our house sat sadly engulfed in darkness as our neighbors' glowed bright. 

Even getting a tree seemed like too much trouble.  Hell, we didn't even put the Rubbermaid container away after we lugged it up from the basement and took out the stockings.  We just put a plant on the top, threw some presents underneath on Christmas Eve and called it good.  

My goal is to be back in holiday fighting form by Easter.  Please say a prayer we don't have any more babies in the meantime.

Girl, Interrupted

When I was in high school my church youth group delivered casseroles to the elderly house bound members of our congregation.  I was assigned to two houses - Morty and Edna - and I would usually hang around for an hour or two and visit.  I remember thinking how pitiful their lives were.  Confined to their homes, maybe getting out once a week to go and get some groceries or visit the doctor.  Totally reliant on other people to do things for them. 

Well let me tell ya, ole Morty and Edna are international jet setters compared to this girl these days.  Over the past month a very ass-specific indention has formed on my couch and I've gotten into several arguments with myself over the thermostat.     

My grim reality set in yesterday as I was doing a quick inventory of my Christmas gifts.  A few years ago I received things like Ann Taylor gift cards, luggage tags and a cool laptop bag.  This year I was excited about a Pizza Hut gift card, subscriptions to Netflix and US Weekly and a hand held vacuum.  And people keep stopping by my house bearing casseroles with pitiful looks in their eye.

Well, first shocked looks in their eye as I open the door looking like rotten ass, but then the shock usually turns into pity as I regale them with stories about how you can have anything, ANYTHING delivered right to your front door, you see?  Society has enabled us to never have step foot outside of our houses again!

I've attempted to leave the house two times with all three kids, and both times I had another adult there to help.  And both times ended with me realizing there is NO WAY IN HELL I'm ever going to be able to leave the house again by myself with my kids.  Simply getting a 2 1/2-year-old, 15-month-old and 4-week-old in and out of a van requires a well-thought-out intricate logistical strategy.  And once inside, requires two carts and four arms.

It's much easier to just sit inside and watch Hoarders.  Looking out the window is almost like going somewhere, right?             

My days are mostly spent thinking about how it's against nature's plan for human beings to only sleep in 2-hour bursts and wondering how long it will be before the lack of sleep takes a toll on my sanity as I watch TV from behind my couch because I must hide from the midgets trying to break into my house via the chimney. 

I can hear those little bastards' feet up there... tap tap tapping around... taunting me.     

On Thursday our Helper Of The Day was my little sister Sarah, who lives three hours away and couldn't get here until 11:00.  For the first time in four weeks I woke up with the girls and was solely responsible for getting them dressed and feeding them breakfast. 

At first I was excited to be doing something that vaguely resembled our old routine but as I rummaged through the cupboards, bleary eyed, I realized I had no freaking clue what we had in our kitchen.  We've had helpers here every day and I hadn't been to the grocery store in I don't know how long.  I noticed a Post-It note stuck to the side of the refrigerator with a grocery list written in three different people's handwriting so I was guessing I needed to get to the store. 

This suspicion was confirmed as I served them leftover chicken burritos with a side of Chick-Fil-A sauce and wine for breakfast. 

At first it was fun to have so much help.  To watch other people carry my laundry up the stairs.  Lift the girls onto the changing table.  Vacuum around my feet.  To tell my Mom what I want for dinner, hand her the baby and go upstairs and take a nap. 

"I really wish I could help, but I can't.  Doctor's orders!"  I would lie as they wiped sweat from their brow. 

I know I'm going to regret this statement in a couple of weeks when I'm able to resume post c-section "normal" activity, but I'm SO ready to get back to normal life.  SO ready to be able to just hop in the van, take the kids and go do something fun.  SO tired of relying on other people to get me clean underwear. 

Don't get me wrong - we are UBER lucky to have so many friends and family willing to sacrifice their precious free time to do my heavy lifting.  And there's just something satisfying about watching my Mom stand on a kitchen chair and dust my ceiling fan. 

It's just that I hate asking people for help.  I feel like douche of the year as I lean to the person next to me and say, "Can you go put my nursing bras in the dryer, please?"

We've got a few more months before Hadley is sleeping through the night, which to me is the indicator we've reached the "normal" milestone. 

Though I'm really afraid my "normal" is about to take on a whole new meaning.