Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Problem with Pooh

I made a doctor snort today. Peanut had to go visit the ENT and while the doc was putting notes into the computer, Peanut and I were talking. He had a Winnie the Pooh sippy cup and very pleased about it. (Pooh is one of the few words he can actually say.) Then Peanut noticed that Cashew was wearing Winnie the Pooh socks. He pointed and said "pooh" and then I said "Yes, [Cashew] has Pooh on her socks!" Cue snort from doctor.

Edited at the request of the nut, Filbert

A Historical Day

For my birthday this year, my sister sent me a book. It is a book about things that happened in history on your birthday. I found this entry to be intersting:

October 13, 1912
To increase the population, the government of Australia announces it will pay a $25 bonus to couples who are citizens and have a baby.

This is an interesting concept. I wonder what would happen if something similar happened in America today. How much is that same $25 worth today? I did a quick Google search and came up with this. According to measuringworth.com,

Current data is only available till 2007. In 2007, $25.00 from 1912 is worth:

$551.44 using the Consumer Price Index

$409.38 using the GDP deflator

$1,155.96 using the value of consumer bundle *

$2,390.35 using the unskilled wage *

$2,913.97 using the nominal GDP per capita

$9,233.48 using the relative share of GDP

* The 2007 data for unskilled wage and consumer bundle are estimated and will be adjusted when official data become available.

I had a baby last year. I could have used that money!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's a Trick for us.

Halloween, that is.

As I've mentioned before, our Peanut has Prader-Willi Syndrome. (Yes, I'm going to link every time.) The biggest health risk for those with PWS is life-threatening obesity. The obesity stems from a very slow and different acting metabolism and is coupled with an insatiable appetite. In other words, people with PWS will grow morbidly obese on a normal diet and always be hungry besides. Peanut has just started to gain weight quickly and we are in the process of changing our family's nutritional outlook.

When it comes to the candy holidays, we parents already have a problem, and
then comes Halloween, the worst of the candy holidays. The whole celebration revolves around candy, even the alternative events. Trick or Treat? bags of candy. Trunk or Treat? entire cars full of candy. So what are we to do? Walnut is well versed in the joys of Trick or Treating and has been talking about this Halloween since last Halloween, nearly salivating at the thought of so much candy. But, we can't have it in the house. We just can't. We can't let Walnut and Cashew have what Peanut can't have and there is only so much sneaking that we're comfortable with. Some one suggested to Filbert that we only keep a 1/4 of the candy we collect, but that is still too much for Peanut to have and we need to break the candy tradition sooner rather than later.

So to that end, we are going to an apple orchard for Halloween. Royal Oak Farm. We hope to make it a yearly tradition. Walnut, Peanut, Cashew and I went there last fall with my co-blogger Mandie, the unblossomed String Bean and our friend Fancy Aimee, who totally rocks on car trips with small children.

Amazon.com Wishlists

For several years now, I have been using Amazon.com as the "host" for my Christmas and Birthday wish lists. I am in love with their new feature. It is called the Universal Wish List. You simply install this little tool (which is more like a bookmark with your web browser) and you can add ANYTHING to your wish list. It does not have to be from Amazon at all. On my wish list, I have items from Old Navy, Ann Taylor, Kohls, and Sharpie.

Another great feature I've fallen in love with is the ability to have more than one wish list. I used to be a teacher and had a wish list specifically for things I needed for school. I don't believe anyone ever purchased items for me from that list, but it was nice to have them handy when I needed a few extra bucks to earn the free shipping from Amazon.

Now I have a wish list of things I want for String Bean. That way when my mother or mother-in-law want to know what to get her, they have several ideas of things she needs (or things I want) available to them. You can name your wishlists, too! My mom has her wishlist on Amazon. My dad, however, doesn't get around to those things. So one of my mom's extra lists she's renamed as his wish list.

If you start a wishlist on Amazon, your friends can search for your wishlist. That way, if you have a birthday party or do something really nice for someone, they can just look on Amazon to see if you have a wish list. It is a really awesome feature that has revolutionized the way my family shops for Christmas!


I got suckered into Oprah today. She was talking about miracle children who have overcome all sorts of odds. I don't generally watch Oprah because I don't agree with a lot of her new-age philosophies, but there are a couple (like tomorrow's interview with Marion Jones!) that I get sucked into.

The end of the movie, The Incredible Journey, also does this to me. Something about those precious pets coming over the hill and seeing their boy just springs up happy tears of joy that I can't hold back.

When Mr. Bean cut the hospital identification tags off String Bean's ankles, that was a tearjerker, too.

This reminds me of the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond where Deborah makes herself cry because she says it just feels good to cry. Of course Raymond tries it and ends up not being able to cry, so he turns on the radio and he starts dancing to Lady Marmalade instead.

Of course, there are tearjerkers that come from laughing too hard. YouTube is a great source for finding those. Just type in "German Prank" and be prepared to laugh until you cry.

What are some of your favorite tearjerker moments (happy or sad)?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Things on My To-Do List

I'm going to cross these off the list as I accomplish them!

  • Eat lunch (If I don't add this to the list, I snack all day long)
  • Empty dishwasher
  • Check e-mail
  • Call everyone who signed up church directory photos tomorrow and remind them.
  • Update Facebook status
  • Check e-mail
  • Feed String Bean
  • Pick up Mail
  • Call attorney about updating wills
  • Daydream
  • Nap, if I can fit it in
  • Go to worship team rehearsal
  • Check e-mail
  • Send final appointment list for church directory photos to Bill
  • Sleep in past 7 am
  • Finish planning String Bean's first birthday party
  • Clean the house thoroughly
  • Laundry
  • Pay bills
  • Finish Christmas shopping (yes, I've already started!)
  • Get String Bean's flu shot
  • Get my allergy shot
  • Find a new address for that wedding card that was returned to sender
  • Blog
  • Think about whether to decorate for Thanksgiving or just skip right over to Christmas
  • Get rings inspected
  • Get assets turned over to a Living Trust
That about does it.

Monday, October 27, 2008

On Becoming a Mom

Everyone has heard the clichés about motherhood:

  • My whole world has changed.
  • Once you see that baby, nothing else matters.
  • You’ll never knew you could love someone so much you just met.

With my baby now approaching her first birthday, I feel like I’ve got some “motherhood” experience under my belt and with authority I can tell you--all the clichés are true.

My whole world has changed. Who would have ever thought I’d care about how snug the straps on the car seat are with each and every trip? Where did I lose my ability to sleep in with ease on days I am not working and replace it with an uncanny ability to provide excellent nutrition to those in my household? (Well, not for me, but for my kid!) Where did I become the official “safety inspector” in each and every situation where my precious child ventured? Why do I suddenly get brave in a room full of strangers who have their eyes on me--oh, their eyes are on my baby! Even better! Somewhere in the last year, I have lost parts of the “me” I knew and replaced it with this cliché you call “Mom.”

Once you see that baby, nothing else matters. It is 3 am. My dear, sweet husband who is a much lighter sleeper than I am brings me a screaming, and apparently starving, baby. I wake up, sit up, latch this starving little child on and breastfeed. I’ve done this countless times today. I’ve multi-tasked while doing it. My e-mail is always returned on time. My TV shows are not missed. The phone rings, I talk. I used to prize my sleep above all else. On many days, I still do. But somehow I find myself looking at this baby, who has just interrupted my sleep, contentedly eating a meal. She looks up at me, grins, and goes back to her meal. It is as if the entire world has stopped and it is just she and I sitting there in my bed sharing a special moment. Nothing else matters.

You never knew you could love someone so much you just met. I learned the reality of this cliché before we left the hospital. String Bean had a problem digesting and did what most babies do--she spit up. Not only did she spit up, but with such force that the spit up went into her sinus cavity. I was holding her at the time and felt completely helpless watching this 2 day old baby turn purple as she was unable to breathe on her own. My heart sunk in my chest, I screamed at my dear husband to call the nurse for the love of my life (sorry husband you’ve been replaced) was not breathing! Don’t worry. The nurse took care of business and I later learned that babies do this a lot and it’s nothing to get all worked up over. Easy for you to say crazy pediatrician! I am a new mom! I have pregnancy and post partum hormones racing through my system. This little helpless, defenseless baby that I have completely fallen head-over-heels for has only me, ME! to help her, guide her, love her. I mean, my husband is there, too, but give me a break--like I said, hormones.

God truly gave us a gift when he gave us motherhood. Children are a blessing. Shame on me for forgetting that God gave me this special blessing. Shame on me for getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and not enjoying this little life to the fullest.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Getting Your Affairs in Order

The last two Sundays at church we've had a mini-conference on Estate Planning. "B-O-R-I-N-G!" you say? Not at all! I have learned quite a bit just by attending the two sessions led by an estate attorney.

Did you know that when you die if your estate is worth more than $100,000 your family may have to wait 6 months to a year to get what you've willed? It is called probate.

Did you know if you don't leave a will stating where your children should end up that a judge (who may or may not agree with your religious convictions) decides who will raise your children?

Did you know that the government can take about 50% of your assets in a Death Tax which is completely avoidable with proper planning?

Did you know that by spending a thousand or two dollars now you can save tens of thousands of dollars (or more if you're made of money) later?

Did you know that in the state of IL, you will be kept on life support unless a very specific, very easy form is filled out stating otherwise?

I learned a lot, and I have a lot to do to get our affairs in order. We are not guaranteed a single day. Now that we have String Bean, we can no longer afford to have our will sitting in a file unsigned.

Luckily, we were left with a list of Action Steps so we know where we are going from here!

The Annointing, cont.

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:13-16 (NIV)

Today after church, Peanut was anointed with oil and prayed over by the elders of our church. Filbert and I sat on chairs in the middle of the room with Peanut on Filbert's lap. One of the associate pastors read Scripture and then spread oil on Peanut's forehead in the shape of a cross. One by one the men who were gathered around us began to pray. We had given them an update on Peanut's progress and our concerns at the beginning so they knew our particular requests for this occasion. They did not limit themselves, though, to just what we asked. What a blessing it was to hear these men ask on our behalf what we didn't even know we needed. Peanut's grandparents were all able to be there and listened in with great emotion.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

As Seen on my Friend's Facebook Wall

So when (insert child’s name here) was telling (insert husband’s name here) about his day this evening he said that while we were at Dr. So-n-So's he saw "Trader Joe." After some explaining, I think he now understands that your son's name is just "Joe."

Friday, October 24, 2008

My Husband's Fixations

Maybe your husband is like mine. He’s fixated on a couple of things: the Chicago Bears, Star Wars, all things related to audio engineering, and Seinfeld. It is rare that I go through a day without mention of one of these things.

Chicago Bears. We are constantly re-living the glory days of the 1985 Superbowl season. Mr. Bean was about 10 years old when the Bears won that Superbowl. He remembers every painstaking detail of that season as if it happened just this year.

YouTube has old Saturday Night Live sketches of the Super Fans. Oh. My. I hear “Ditka!” and “Bearzzz” anytime one of his phanitical fan friends is nearby.

Star Wars. We have more boxes of Star Wars action figures than I care to share. We have so many that when friends help us move they comment years later on Mr. Bean’s extensive collection. We have a book that Mr. Bean can look through and point out the ones he’s missing. He takes them out of the boxes about once a year and fills up the entire living room, dining room, hallway, and part of our master bedroom with them laid out side by side leaving only room for tiptoe paths from the couch to the bathroom.

When Mr. Bean gets together with his brother, they play “Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.” They know all the answers so it isn’t any fun. Instead of just not playing, they made a new rule. Your answer must be EXACTLY what is written on the back of the card. If the answer is “Luke and Leia” and you say “Leia and Luke” you are wrong.

Audio Engineering. There was an audio engineering contest hosted by Neumann that would rank the best audio engineers of the whole world. Mr. Bean placed 27th. *Applause* Yes, he’s a stud. Hands off ladies…he’s taken!

As proud as I am of this hunk-of-a-geek, I can’t help but get annoyed when we watch movies and he leans over to tell me the exact model of the microphone being featured. “Hey, look, that’s an U47 large-diaphragm vacuum tube microphone with a remote power!” Huh? I really don’t want to hear about the binaural head microphones and how much we NEED one anymore.


“But I don’t want to be a pirate!”

“I don’t have a square to spare.”

“No soup for you. Come back one year.”

“La, la, la!”

“You know the message you're sending out to the world with these sweat pants? You're telling the world: ‘I give up.’”

It is a shame that I know so many of these quotes considering I don’t watch the show religiously. Mr. Bean has all the seasons loaded onto his i-Pod so he can watch them whenever his heart desires. What kind of sick fascination is this? More importantly, why do I feel possessed to join him with the quote-fests?

(Posted with the permission of Mr. Bean.)

Lazier Housewife

Oh dear, I thought I would have a little bit more time for you all to get to know me, but since Mandie brought it up, I might as well just admit it. I am a Messie, yes, Messie with a capital M. They write books about me. Books that I don't read, I just hear about them. People tell me about the Flylady all the time. I went to the Flylady's website once, and just reading about it wore me out so much I had to take a nap.

One of my problems is that I'm easily distracted. (Since I started writing this, I've gotten up from the computer twice.) Let's say I'm in the kitchen and need the crockpot, which we keep in the linen closet. I walk toward the closet, but on my way, I glance into Cashew's room and notice the laundry basket is overflowing. I stop and put some clothes in the washer. Then Walnut needs to know why the sky is blue. I say something vague about fractals and then say "Ask Daddy when he gets home." Then I walk past a bookshelf and remember that I have to go to the bathroom. There are toys in the bathroom that don't belong there, so I decide to be productive and put them away, so it's off to the family room, but Peanut needs a cracker and Cashew needs whatever Peanut needs, and one of them stinks, so I have to change diapers. The diaper pail is full so I take it too the laundry room. The washer and dryer are both full and so are all the laundry baskets, so I sit down to fold clothes. Hey, there's the computer! Yay!

What's for dinner?

Lazy Housewife

My co-blogger, Amy, got a wonderful gift for her wedding anniversary. Filbert got her a maid for a day! What an awesome gift. (Can you see my face turning a dark shade of jealous?)

I rarely pull out the vacuum or dust my house. Sometimes, when I don't fall asleep right away, I vow to myself "tomorrow will be the day!" But I rarely pull through and make good on my vow. Ask my husband, Mr. Bean. He'll tell you that most days when he's at work, I don't do much more than empty the dishwasher. Other days, he comes home and I have boxes for him to throw in storage, clean countertops, dusted furniture, paid bills, clean cars, filed paperwork, and a myriad of other household chores completed. I tend to do all my work in one day instead of spreading it out over a week or month.

I really should be more vigilant in keeping house. I am sure it would make my husband happier. I just get caught up in playing with String Bean or seeing what the ladies on the View are arguing about today. Before I know it, its 4:30 and I expect Mr. Bean home within the hour.

Maybe tomorrow I'll come up with a plan for tackling the duties of the stay-at-home-mom. (The keyword is "mom" not "housekeeper." *wink*)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Words We Say

I've found myself in a position of having to report someone for the words they've said. I *think* those words were said innocently, but how can I know for sure? Did the other party take it as an innocent joke between friends or not?

He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles. Proverbs 21:23 (NASB)

I'm reminded of my constant need to be careful of what I say for "from the same mouth come blessing and cursing." (James 3:10, NASB)

I prefer to be a blessing.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Annointing

Most of you will know that my son, Peanut, has Prader-Willi Syndrome. He was also born 6 weeks premature and spent over 5 weeks in the NICU. One of the primary characteristics of PWS in infancy is failure to thrive so he came home with a feeding tube in his nose. We really wanted him to be able to eat on his own and worked diligently to that end, but one of the hardest things to do for me, was to pray about it. How could I pray that he would begin to feel hunger knowing that one day he would never stop feeling hungry. When he was about 3 or 4 months old, Filbert and I asked the elders of our church to anoint him with oil and pray over him, specifically that he would be able to get off of the NG tube. It was really a wonderful experience. A couple of the elders felt led to pray for healing for Peanut and they all prayed that the effects of the syndrome would be mild. It was about a month later that Peanut pulled his tube out and drank enough that we didn't have to put it back in.

However, keeping Peanut's weight up remained an issue until about a month ago and now the pendulum has begun to swing the other way. The weight is coming quickly, now and we're starting to keep a close eye on what he eats. Filbert and I decided that as we enter into this next phase of Peanut's life we should begin it much as we began the first phase. To that end, this Sunday, we have asked our elders to anoint Peanut with oil and pray over him again, that his weight will be able to be maintained and the hunger will not be too severe. Also, we're asking prayer for Filbert and I that we can have the discipline necessary to raise this special child. If anyone reading feels lead to include us in your prayers, we won't turn you down.

Hijaking My Sister-in-Law's Friends

Facebook, which has revolutionized how I relate to people, made me "friends" with my sister-in-law's friend. We look at each others photos and ooh and ahh over our kids. Of course, I just have String Bean, but my sister-in-law's friend has two cute kids. A boy and a girl. Her daughter is 6 months old. String Bean is 11 months old, but just a runt. We both secretly have been eager to get them together to see how much bigger my sister-in-law friend's baby is than my own bundle of joy. Here is where my evil plan began: I decided to hijack my sister-in-law's best friend.
After all, once she becomes friends with me, she'll forget all about my crazy sister-in-law!

We arranged to meet at Ikea today for some 50 cent hot dogs and bargain shopping. I woke up this morning to find String Bean's nose running and all kinds of snotty goo glued to her upper lip. Disgusting. I decided I needed to talk to my target for hijacking and let her decide whether my evil plan would go forward. She didn't answer her cell. I left a message:

Me: Sister-in-law's friend who I am secretly hijacking, String Bean woke up this morning with a runny nose. I don't think she's sick, I'm pretty certain it is just because she is teething. Do you still want to go to Ikea today? I didn't want to make the decision for you by showing up with my potentially sick kid. Let me know!

After a couple hours, Sister-in-law's friend who I am secretly hijacking called back. Long story short, her kids just got over a cold and she didn't want to take the risk. We'll have to reschedule.

I hope I get a second chance to hijack her.

Note: String Bean might just be sick. She's coughing now and has watery eyes in addition to the snotty nose.

True Confessions, Part 1

They say confession is good for the soul, so here goes.

I never really wanted to be an opera singer. There I said it. It's in writing and I can't take it back. I don't really like singing in foreign languages, I like to really understand what I'm singing and have my audience really understand what I'm singing, and not just try to figure it out by my over-exaggerated facial expressions which I was never any good at making anyway. I don't hate singing opera, I have actually really enjoyed it at times, but it was never *really* who I was.

I have a tendency to blown by whatever strong wind that happens by, and well, end up places I don't really want to be. Part of my blog journey will be trying to stand up the gusts and discovering the real Amy.

Rosemary ClooneyBy the way what I really do want to do is... You know that scene in White Christmas, where Rosemary Clooney has left the inn and took a job at the Carousel Club and she comes out in that fabulous black dress and sings "Love You Didn't Do Right By Me" in front of the live orchestra? That's the kinda singer I always wanted to be.

Edited to add: Thanks to the magnificent Filbert, my nutty husband, for finding the image!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saving for Weddings

Looks like Peanut and String Bean have taken to one another. Which makes me wonder to myself...since the parents of the bride typically pay for the bulk of wedding expenses, what should we be putting away for String Bean's wedding now?

My co-blogger, Amy, has a daughter, Cashew. Her dad suggested $1 per week. In order for her to have a $10,000 wedding budget (using the "mattress" savings plan) she'll be 192 before we have that saved up. Oh, wait. She's almost 1 now...make that 193. I'm not sure Peanut will wait that long for her.

How much should we save up for both String Bean's and Cashew's weddings? Any suggestions on how to save for both weddings and college without sacrificing one for the other?

Keep in mind that although we married a doctor and a technical professional, we are still dirt poor. How is that possible you ask? Well, that's a topic for another day!

A Gentle Reminder

Sometimes, even the most seasoned of mothers needs a refresher and I am here to help.

First of all, before ripping a diaper off a toddler and flinging it open, always check to make sure that there are not a thousand little poop drummels in said diaper. I think that is clear enough.

Secondly, when a child, who has been complaining of a tummy ache, says that he thinks he is going to throw up, DO NOT PAUSE!!!!!!! You must spring into action immediately, fling the nursing baby away if you have to! Quickly move the vomitus child to a toilet or other nearby receptacle. Then make sure the child is actually done puking before beginning the clean up. Under no circumstances should you allow the child to wander the house aimlessly while puking in multiple rooms.

Just remember, I fail, so you don't have to.

On Excuses to Blow the Diet…

I’m breastfeeding. That’s right. I am.

Ever since String Bean was born, I’ve had problems with breastfeeding. I was told when she was born that our problems were all her fault, not mine. We “fixed” her and all was good. Then I had surgery. I was told that all our problems were mine, not hers. I’d lost my milk supply and was having a hard time rebuilding it.

Someone told me oatmeal was a natural galactagogue. (Yes, you do need to look it up.) A wise mom (my co-blogger, Amy) encouraged that I take it in the form of cookies. Yum. What a great idea! After all, I need to increase my milk supply. Why not do it by getting as much oatmeal in my diet as possible? Am I really going to eat multiple bowls of the stuff? No!

In that spirit, here is a recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake cookies. Why go to all the trouble of baking when you’re blowing the diet as it is? Of course, you’re blowing it for a good cause! I suggest you eat at least 4 (or more) a day. This is, of course, not intended to be any expert medical advice.

Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies
2 cups sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
3 cups old fashioned oatmeal

In a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients except vanilla, peanut butter, and oats and cook over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and peanut butter. When the peanut butter is mixed in add the oats.

Spoon out quickly onto wax paper. Cookies will harden as they set. If it seems too thin, add about more oatmeal before you spoon them out.After they set up, eat them.

If you have leftovers (I never do), put them in a closed container to keep them from getting too dry.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Legal Mumbo Jumbo


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  • We will collect personal information by lawful and fair means and, where appropriate, with the knowledge or consent of the individual concerned.

  • Personal data should be relevant to the purposes for which it is to be used, and, to the extent necessary for those purposes, should be accurate, complete, and up-to-date.

  • We will protect personal information by reasonable security safeguards against loss or theft, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification.

  • We will make readily available to customers information about our policies and practices relating to the management of personal information.

We are committed to conducting our business in accordance with these principles in order to ensure that the confidentiality of personal information is protected and maintained.