Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hangin' Tough

Full Disclosure: I was a huge NKOTB fan in middle school. If you don't know who NKOTB is, you must have spent the early 90s in a tomb. I still know most of the lyrics of their more popular songs and I think it is just SUPER that they are back on tour. Donnie was my favorite - I've always loved me a bad boy. Sigh. I'm not even kidding about this.

Now that you've all lost whatever smidgen of respect you had for me, I wanted to let you all know I'm STILL PREGNANT and STILL BREECH. It's funny - a week ago I was all, "Let's have this baby," and now, I just want it to stay in there as long as possibly and turn it's little ass (literally) around.

So, I'm signing off for the holidays. Tomorrow is American Thanksgiving, also referred to by Americans as the Real Thanksgiving, and as is our tradition I plan to sit on my ass and eat tons of turkey and pie for the next four days. There are going to be no less than five different kinds of pie in my home. FIVE. There will be no time for blogging.

Monday is D-day. Well, kinda. I got back to Dr. Magic Hands to see if the baby has turned, if the baby can be turned, or if the baby can be delivered breech vaginally. If the answer to all of these scenarios is "no" I will be scheduled for a C-section, likely next week. So, I'll post on Monday to give you the low down, but starting Tuesday, you'll be treated to some really awesome guest posts from some of my favorite bloggers. I'll also post intermittently with updates on the birth, the baby, and me, but I don't expect to be back "full time" for at least two weeks.

I know, it will be hard for all of us. But, I'm leaving Oscarelli in very capable hands. Okay, moderately capable hands. I mean, they haven't destroyed any blogs that I know of.

Happy T-Day, folks! See you Monday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

2 AM is as Good a Time as Any to Write a Letter to my Unborn Kid, Right?

Dear Sprout,

I've re-started this letter several times now trying to get it right. I'm hoping this is the witching hour and that I can it bring it home, so here goes.

I hate to start by talking about your big brother here, but it really seems impossible for me to separate the two of you in my brain. Your beginnings were so different, but also exactly the same. Oscar, we'd planned for over a year, waiting until the perfect moment, getting pregnant in one shot, and ten months later "BANG!" we were parents. Lives forever changed, lessons being learned on the fly, mistakes being made by the dozens.

You? Honestly, while you are not even one iota less loved and wanted than your brother, the planning was not so much. You are truly a child conceived of love, destine to be ours, exhausted parents and sleepless infant be damned. And, I knew almost instantly that I was pregnant with you. Waiting to take that stupid pregnancy test were the longest two weeks of my life. And then, "BANG!" everything changed just as quickly as it had nine months prior and we were on our way to being a family of four.

And, you know what? Even though I was still breastfeeding an infant that was waking at least twice a night for feedings and struggling to loose the last of my baby weight, when I saw that little pink line (after about six million tests) I was beyond thrilled. I knew it was right, that you were right, that the time was right, that you cannot plan love, that you cannot plan the force of life.

I am so excited to meet you little one. When I saw your little face on the ultrasound last week - bald head, rosebud mouth, dimpled chin, round cheeks, the very image of your older brother - I was in awe. There you were. We made you, your Daddy and I, and while your brother is walking, talking proof that we do good work together I was still in awe. My little Sprout, the actual product of our love, all but waving at us from that black and white screen.

And so now I wait. I wait for something to happen. Contractions to start, my water to break, for you to turn into the locked and downright position. I am trying to be ready for whatever you bring, however you bring it.

My mother predicts you will be my little devil. Maybe she is right, but I welcome that. A child full of mischief and daring, who marches to the beat of his or her own drum, who refuses to accept that status quo, who does things his or her own way, who plunges into life head first and lives with little regret but with as much compassion as passion. A child like me.

Until we meet, little Sprout, however that may be.

Love,

Mommy

Monday, November 24, 2008

Still Pregnant, Still Breech

First, let me just thank those of you that are still bothering to read this drivel, especially those of you that are bothering to click through and comment. I know how tedious a pregnant blogger's last few posts can be and mine are no exception. I really do appreciate your support. It does help to know you are all pulling for me and sending me your positive vibes.

I've met with my acupuncturist and had my first chiropractor appointment today. I'm doing everything I can to convince this baby that it needs to turn. I know ultimately that it is not up to me, that the baby will turn or that it won't. Period.

I've been trying to write a letter to the Sprout. I started it last week, when I started Oscar's letter. I can't seem to make anything come out. I want this baby to know it is loved and wanted and that we are waiting anxiously for it's arrival but it keeps coming out wrong, wrong, wrong. All I can think is "turn, baby, turn!"

I hate that this is how I will remember the last days of my pregnancy, how I'm filled with anxiety and fear and frustration. I am trying to accept that my home birth will likely not happen. Best case scenario, I'm probably going to end up with a vaginal breech delivery in a hospital. Worst case - an emergency C-section.

This week, I have to pack a bag for the hospital for me and the Sprout. I have to pre-register for my potential delivery. This may seem like par for the course to many of you, but it is a completely foreign experience to me. I didn't "go" anywhere to have Oscar and the idea of going somewhere to have the Sprout just feels wrong.

I have to write a birth plan. I always made fun of birth plans - you can't really PLAN a birth. And, you don't really need one at a home birth. A home birth is a birth plan - no IV, no constant fetal monitoring, no offers of medicinal pain relief, no pitocin, no hourly cervical checks, food and water at my request, no hospital gown ass exposure, no back delivery, no stirrups.

I am supposed to be able to do this, I've done it before, women do it every day. Having a baby is not an illness or a medical complication; it's part of life.

I feel like my body has failed me.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Breech, Oh the Breech

We went to see this guy Dr. Magic Hands today to see if he would attempt an external version to turn the sprout. He would not - one leg is down and the other other leg is crossed over it, giving the version an estimated 25% success rate. He felt if he attempted it, I would end up with an emergency C-section today.

So, the plan is to stick with the plan. I'll continue seeing the midwives, at least through next week and hope the baby turns. I'll begin acupuncture treatments to help the baby turn this weekend and I hope to get a chiropractor appointment for next week. I'll be doing breech exercises all weekend as well.

If the sprout has not turned by my appointment on Tuesday, my care will be transferred to Dr. Magic Hands. I'll see him on December 1, where he'll determine if a)the baby has turned; or if b)I can attempt a vaginal breech delivery; or if c) I need to have a C-section.

So, it's all about position, position, position! Oh, and to add to the problem, he thinks the sprout is already around 8lbs, making the chance of him spontaneously turning even less because he's already large.

But, I'm hopeful. I'll be envisioning my baby turning and crossing my fingers. And my toes. And my legs.

You Like Me! You REALLY Like me!

So, last week I was the recipient of not one but two (2) blogging awards. My favorite things about these awards are that they prove how totally awesome I am and that I am totally popular and well liked.

I'm kidding (kinda) because my for real favorite thing about blogging awards is that they come from other bloggers who's blogs I read and love and totally respect and that, to me, is the highest form of flattery.

So, this first one comes from Cameron over at Get the Stink Off. Thank you, Cameron! If you haven't check him out yet, do it. He's got the funny down. And, he will be the very first male blogger to ever grace Oscarelli's sacred pages when he guest posts for me while I'm off pushing a watermelon out of my lady parts.As with most blogging awards, this puppy comes with rules:

- List six things that make you happy
- Pass the award on to 6 more kreativ bloggers
- Link back to the person who gave you the award
- Link to the people you are passing it on to and leave them a comment to let them know.
- Request scantily clad photos of your blogger friends of the opposite sex.

Okay, so I'm pretty sure Cameron made up that last rule because he's a perv and in any case, I don't want to see him (or any of the rest of you) scantily clad. So I'll be skipping that one.

Six things that make me happy:

1. Oscar's mischievous grin
2. Nelson's cheesy jokes
3. Chocolate
4. Sleep
5. Laughing with my boys
6. Money (Yeah, I said it.)

I'm going to pass this award on to my friends Monica at Susanica, Jenbo at Steenky Bee, Mrs. Kitty Kitty Concerto, Crazy Loves Company, Montana at Earnest Monkeys, and Jen at Blissfully Caffeinated. You guys rock my reader, and also my comments section. Much love to you all.

My second award comes from Blissfully Caffeinated and I am totally honored that such a witty badass would give little old me an award. Wait, didn't I just GIVE her an award? See how I did that?

And the rules:
1. Post the award on your blog.
2. Link to the awardifier
3. Link to the originating post
4. Pass the award on to five or more deserving people
5. Post the fight club award rules.



I'm going to send this bad boy on out to Casey at Half as Good as You, Martin at Xbox4nappyrash, Cameron at Get the Stink Off (see how I did that AGAIN?), Super Ninja Mommy at Two Under Two (she's new, she rules, and she can kill you in your sleep), and I think that's quite enough.

Go forth, bloggy friends! Bling out your blogs and nominate your own favorite bloggers.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Son. Of. A. BREECH!

Head down and in position my ass.

Sigh.

More on this later.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

37 Weeks, 4 Days

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

And, if you haven't already, place your bets on the baby's sex, weight, length, and day of arrival! (Yes, this is the same top from my last photo, for reference.)
And, because I'm not the only one that's growing:









To Oscar

Dear Oscar,

How's it going, little man? Here we are, in the midst's of our last days as a team of two. In a few short weeks, a new player will be joining our ranks. I've been waiting for our new teammate for months, but you, my little star, are going to be blindsided.

I'm not going to kid you, or myself. It's going to be tough. You know all those hours you spend in my lap on the couch, reading books? And the time you spend in my lap on the floor building towers? Well, that lap time is about to be severely compromised. My lap is going to be the property of a very small, loud, needy person for the next several months. Your new brother or sister. Yes, he or she will share, but not much. It's not going to be 50/50. You are going to get the shaft, my friend.

You are going to spend more time crying. Don't worry, so will I. Your needs may not be attended to immediately; you might have to wait for your water refill or for your apple to be sliced. I might not be able to read you Dinosaur Roar 12 times in a row. You are not going to like this. Not even a little.

Please know that as tough as this is going to be for you, it will be even more difficult for me. I have no idea how I am going to cope with not attending to your every need the second it crops up. With not being able to comfort you the second you need it, to tickle away your sadness and kiss away your tears. You have been my universe for 17 months. It's going to be a big change for both of us.

But also know Sprout will never, ever take your place in my heart. I anticipate loving Sprout just as much as I love you, but you will always be my first, my Bean, my little man, the one who made me a Mommy.

I know you won't remember this time. Heck, you won't even remember a time before your sibling existed. But I will remember for both of us. I will remember the time when you were my one and only. I will remind you.

Love you,

Mommy

Oscar and Mommy, the day after his birth.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And Then There Was Me: A Story About My Mom

So all this talk of my impending new arrival had me thinking about my own birth story, as told to me by my mom. And, you guess it, it proves her complete insanity.


I was my mother second child. My sister is eight and a half years older than me. My mom labored with her for THREE DAYS before she was born. And, she was three weeks late to boot.


So, needless to say, when my mom went into labor with me two weeks before my due date, she though it would be a while.


She was wrong.


Her contractions began in the early morning. She got up, made breakfast, and got my sister off to school. By the time my sister left, she'd been laboring for maybe two hours. Her cousin, who lived upstairs (my family owned a two family home) had been with her most of the time, since they got their kids ready for school together.


Kathy (the cousin) was nervous. "You should wake up Paul," she told my mom.


But, my mom didn't want to wake my dad. See, he was working nights and had only been sleeping for a few hours. She didn't want to wake him needlessly.


Her contractions were intensifying and Kathy persisted in her encouragement for my mom to hit the freaking road already. But, as you know, my mother is notoriously difficult to get out of the house. However, she finally agreed. She just had to do one thing.


She just had to HOP IN THE SHOWER so she could SHAVE HER LEGS. Because who could possibly give birth with hairy legs? I mean I know when I was in labor, I was all "But am a I properly groomed for this experience?"


So, there she was, nine months pregnant, in labor, shaving her legs.


Then she woke my dad and they went to the hospital.


She was almost seven centimeters dilated, so he broke her water and called for the epidural. Her doctor told her he was going home to take a shower and he'd be back to deliver me in a couple of hours.


He never got is shower. The anesthesiologist gave my mom the epi and then he decided to check her. She was fully dilated.


I arrived not long after that, a mere five and a half hours after she felt her first contraction.

And the only things smoother than my newborn behind were my mother's gams.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Place Your Bets!

Two posts in one day? I know! But this is IMPORTANT.

With less than three weeks to go (due date = December 6), it's time to start placing your bets, fair readers. Please leave in the comments section your best guesses on Sprout's:

Sex
Date of arrival
Weight
Length

Some helpful hints:

Oscar weighed in at 8lbs 6oz and was 21.25 inches long. He arrived two days before his due date.

I was my mother's second child and I arrived two weeks early clocking in at 7lbs 13ozs and 21 inches long.

Nelson was also his mother's second child and he was 7lbs 11oz and 20 inches long. His mom can't remember if he was early or late, so he probably wasn't late. Late you don't forget.

So, come regular commenters and regular lurkers! Show your faces and place your bets, people! Winner gets eternal glory.


***************************
Also, go check out Baby Bunching. It's an awesome site by, for, and about those of us crazy enough to have two kids in less than two years.

Listless Mondays: Things Left to Do Before I Give Birth

I'm back for another installment of Anna's Listless Mondays!

Things Left to Do Before I Give Birth

1. Purchase high protein snacks and caffeinated/caloric beverages to keep up energy during birth
2. Purchase sealant for upstairs windows
3. Harass Nelson endlessly until he seals all the upstairs windows because "I CANNOT POSSIBLY GIVE BIRTH IN A DRAFTY HOUSE!"
4. Read books to Oscar while his sits on my lap for as many moments as humanly possibly
5. Scrub bathroom floor
6. Scrub every surface in my house
7. Chase Oscar around the house/yard/playground until he squeals with laughter for as many moments as humanly possible
8. Sleep
9. Obsess over appropriateness of chosen baby names, forcing Nelson to agree to change them at the last minute, only to change them back five minutes later.
10. Purchase a placenta bowl
11. See Twilight
12. Go out to dinner with just Nelson
13. Dilate
14. Start Christmas shopping
15. Finish Christmas shopping
16. Harass Nelson until he installs the infant car seat, because, "WHERE WILL THE BABY SIT? IT COULD BE BORN TOMORROW! AHHHH!"
17. Sniff baby layette and stare at teeny, tiny socks for the millionth time
18. At least 20 times declare myself finished with housework until after the birth and start dinner begin scouring the counters 10 minutes later
19. Clean out underneath the dry sink
20. Succumb to complete pregnancy insanity and completely lose my shit at Nelson a dozen or more times for absolutely no reason (I apologize in advance)
21. Break in to sobs a dozen or more times for loosing my shit at Nelson for no reason and apologize profusely

Friday, November 14, 2008

Yawn!

So, yeah, two days ago I was all "I will be posting every day until I give birth."

Okay, probably not because although my energy is surging for sure, by the time I actually have time to post I'm exhausted. Like today, for example. But I'm posting today to tell you that I probably won't be posting every day so, you know, yeah.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

It's Not Even Mine: A Story About My Mom

My mom has been dreading this story guys, dreading it. But, I'm going to be giving birth any day now so I decided to pull out all the stops for you. This story is a gem, one we retell at every holiday and family get together. It is my best Ann Johnson story. Here it goes.

Let me take you back, all the way back to 1993. Remember the 90s? They hey day of Perl Jam and flannel and my teen angst and questionable hygiene. Oh, the 90s. Anyways, one fine afternoon, after my mom's nap, my brother and I were actually able to get my mom out of the house and convinced her to take us to the mall. As I've said before, we lived in the sticks, so the mall was a schlep, but it was civilization - video game arcades and stores selling artificially distressed jeans. It was our mecca.

We'd been at the mall a while and were getting ready to go home. My mom insisted we stop at the food court so she could go to the bathroom. As you may recall, my mom's visits to the bathroom were not what one would call brief. So, 20 minutes later when she finally emerged, my brother and I began harassing her, "What were you DOING in there? What TOOK you so long?" Whine, whine, whine.

"Lets go!" was all she'd say and she turned to lead us out of the mall.

That's when we noticed it.

There was a smudge on the back of her pants.

"Um, MOM! WHAT IS THAT ON THE BACK OF YOUR PANTS?" one of us asked.

"What? Nothing. Let's go!"

Well, "nothing" was a brown, thumb-sized smudge almost dead center on the back of her pants.

"MOM! Is that POOP? Is that POOP on your PANTS?" we asked, thinking there was no way it could be poop, there was no way this could be happening to us right now. It was just too hilarious.

"No! Shut up! Come on, let's go!"

Author's note: Please keep in mind my brother and I are talking very loudly, as teenagers do, and we have not yet left the mall.

"IT IS!!!! It IS POOP! MOM has POOP ON HER PANTS! MOM has POOP ON HER PANTS! Oh my god, MOM POOPED in the MALL! She POOPED HERSELF! She POOPED herself in the MALL! BAWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!"

Oh, god, I'm in tears laughing just thinking about it (how juvenile am I that I still think this is hilarious 15 years later?)

"SHUT UP YOU GUYS! It's not even mine," was my mom's response.

My poor, poor, mother. She somehow though having a stranger's fecal matter on her pants was better than having her own fecal matter on her pants. Oh, how wrong she was.

"WHAT? SOMEONE ELSE's POOP is on your PANTS?! That's EVEN FUNNIER! SOMEONE ELSE crapped on YOUR PANTS! That's sooooooooo DISGUSTING!" We were screaming with laughter at this point. We could hardly breath we were laughing so hard.

We demanded an explanation. I mean, really, how does someone else's poop wind up on your pants? Unless you are the parent of a small child. Was there poop on the toilet seat? Poop on the floor? We had to know.

But, alas, she would not tell us. In fact, she wouldn't even speak to us the whole ride home which was over an hour. Not that I can blame her. We were laughing like a couple of loons anyways.

And she told us to stop with the laughing. But we just couldn't, you know? When something that funny happens to you in real life, the laugh can go on for hours. And boy, did it.

In retrospect, I feel bad for my mom. Bad that she got some stranger's crap on her pants, bad that we mocked her mercilessly for it, bad that we mock her still.

But not so bad that I don't laugh my ass off every time I remember this story. I'm just not that remorseful of a person.

And, this is how I know my own children will torture me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Have You Heard? I'm Having a Baby!

Okay, so today's midwifery appointment confirmed that the baby has started to drop and is in the perfect position for birth. What does that mean? Well, it means I could have my baby tomorrow or I could have it five weeks from now. I know, it's such a science.

For me, it means I have to pee every three seconds and have really intense pelvic pressure, but on the upside, the kid is out of my ribs and I can breath and eat again. So, yeah.

Being that I've been officially put on "any day" status, I'll do my darnedest to update the blog daily from here on out so you're not all biting your fingernails in anticipation of any news.

I know what you're thinking, "But, what will we do when you have the baby? What will we read? How will we survive?"

No worries, friends! I'm working on lining up a cracker jack team of guest posters to help me out while I'm on "maternity leave." Have I asked you to post yet? Don't worry, I will, because if I read your blog and you read mine, I'm asking. Actually, I've asked people who aren't even bloggers to guest post. And, if you are interested in writing a guest post and haven't been asked by say, tomorrow, shoot me an email.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Labor is Magic

Remember how I talked about how much labor hurts, but I also said that the pain was not the defining factor or the most important part childbirth? Well, I meant that. Although it was incredibly painful, it was also the most amazing experience of my life for two reasons.

The first, obviously, is because at the end of it, I had Oscar in my arms. I cannot express how intensely gratifying it is to hold your newborn child and look into his/her eyes for the first time, and the way your heart is absolutely flooded with more love than you ever imagined was even possible. It is beyond perfect.

The second reason, was Nelson. Excerpted from an email to my friend Xbox, at his suggestion:

"The first 8 hours or so of my labor, Nelson and I laughed quite a bit. I mean, I was in a lot of pain during contractions, but for the 2 or 3 minutes between them, there was no pain at all and we so freaking excited that Oscar was finally going to come out of me and join us in the actual world. Also, Nelson was smiling the whole entire time I was in labor, he was so excited and so proud of me. The smiling actually started to piss me off toward the end, because I thought I was dying and he was grinning like a fool. It was actually very sweet though. He was an excellent labor support person. He totally kept my head in the game when I was feeling exhausted and defeated, which is exactly what I needed from him. "

I will tell you with absolute conviction that I could have NEVER, in a million years, had a successful and positive birth experience without Nelson. Nelson and I are closer and love each other more for having gone through Oscar's birth together, and, bad driving aside, I am extremely grateful for my husband every single day.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Labor Hurts

Me in my 15th or 16th hour of labor with Oscar, supported by Nelson and Nebo.




Oscar with Nelson, a few hours after his birth

***NOTE: This is not recommended reading for first time moms. I NEVER tell first time moms about how much my labor hurt because it really isn't the defining factor of or the most imporant part of childbirth. Also, I think it's shitty to scare first time moms. So, if you don't want to know, stop reading here.

So, I've been thinking about labor a lot lately, and since I've been thinking about it you get to read about it. Not surprising considering I'll be full term in five days. I've been having some Braxton-Hicks contractions, some actual painful contractions, and my lack of continence has caused me to think my water has broken on more than one occasion.

I had Oscar naturally, at home. This means I did not have the option (benefit?) of any medically administered pain relief during my labor. That means no narcotics and no epidural. This was totally my choice and it is a choice that was right for me and a choice that I am glad I made. In fact, that is how we are planning this birth as well.

But, here's the thing. Pregnancy amnesia is a lie. Sorry to break it to folks, but I remember EXACTLY how painful my labor was when I had Oscar 17 short months ago. "Holy fucking shit I though I was dying" doesn't even cover it. Actually, that does about cover it. Sure, you forget for a little while, when you first see your baby. But the next day when your whole body feels like it was smashed with an asphalt roller? You recall.

In the weeks leading up to Oscar's birth I was excited and anxious. Excited to meet my baby at long last and anxious about what labor would bring. Because, really, no one can accurately describe what labor is like; no two people experience it exactly the same way. But, one thing all women who've labored can agree on is that it hurts. A lot.

So, I was preparing for this pain, a pain the most intense pain of my life. And, prior to labor, I'd never really had any painful experiences. Yeah, a minor broken bone, some stitches, a root canal, etc., but nothing MAJOR. I basically just told myself that it was going to hurt and it was going to hurt worse than I could ever imagine, but it wouldn't hurt more than I could bear because my body was designed for this. It would hurt 0nly as much as I could take.

And, the thing is, that was pretty much true. It hurt a lot and it hurt for a long time (I had prolonged labor). And then, I thought I was dying. Seriously. It hurt so bad, I was certain that I would not make it out alive. I was certain there was something wrong, something really, really wrong. I thought there was no way a person could possibly be in as much pain as I was in and survive. I know that sounds quite dramatic, but it really did hurt that bad. And this lasted for a little while, an hour, maybe?
And then, it stopped hurting. Like completely and totally stopped. And then, after the two hardest and most exhausting hours of my life, I was holding Oscar in my arms and ready to do it all over again.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nelson Can't Drive

Okay, well technically he can drive. He has a license, a working vehicle, and is able bodied. But oh my god he must be the worst. driver. ever.

My complaints about Nelson's driving are many. When he is driving us somewhere, we almost aways get into an argument over his terrible driving skills. If we are going to a new location, somewhere we have never been, I have to be the one who drives. We both agree on this. This arrangement has probably saved our marriage.

So, what's wrong with Nelson's driving? Oh, where to begin. Let's start with my chief complaint: he's a late breaker. When the car in front of us breaks, Nelson waits a few seconds to make sure they are REALLY breaking. He always ends up having to SLAM the breaks because he does not break for them in time. We actually rear ended someone because of this once.

This late breaking happens multiple times every single time we go somewhere. I've asked him, why don't you break when you see the car in front of you breaking? His response, "Well, people ride their breaks." Um, SO WHAT? So, you should ram into them, or give your family whiplash by breaking late? Okay, NO. When the car in front of you slows, you should slow as well. That's just good driving. So you see break lights, you apply the break, you avoid accidents and injuries. What's so difficult about that?

Second complaint: He drives erratically when lost or mildly confused about our whereabouts. We've gotten lost in Baltimore multiple times. A normal person would just go back the way they came and try to start from scratch. Not Nelson. Nelson begins RANDOMLY making turns. Left! Right! Right! Left! Illegal U-turn! Left! And he does this until we end up in the worst neighborhoods imaginable, or in another state, or in some tunnel. Just last night we had to make a detour and he didn't want to follow our navigation system. He was annoyed that I wouldn't just let him drive around aimlessly until he figured out where we were going. We were in South East DC at 9pm people. You do NOT drive aimlessly in South East DC, especially not at night.

Third complaint: He is a terribly distracted driver. He pays more attention to what is going on around him then the road in front of him. This causes him to blow stop signs, nearly miss red lights, miss turns and land marks. He's just constantly checking out the landscape, fiddling with the radio, scoping highway construction. Nelson is so distracted, he has promised me he will no longer talk on the phone when driving. He made this promise because he almost killed us multiple times while chatting away on the telephone and not paying attention to the road. Oh, yeah, he is THAT driver.

Fourth complaint: He stops at green lights. Often. He thinks it's being cautions. I think it's being an idiot and is going to cause us to get rear ended one of these days. Green means go. So go, okay, go!

Fifth complaint: He drives slower than my mom. For realsies. The guy drives like a grandma. Hands at ten and two, exactly the speed limit. Refuses to pass cars that are going slower than the speed limit, or large trucks that prevent him from seeing traffic and directional signs. Except when he's getting $50 speeding tickets because he's running late to work. He like some kind of leisurely Sunday driver. It drives me nuts.

Sixth complaint: I have to alert him to red lights and remind him to STOP at them. As in, "NELSON!!! RED LIGHT! RED LIGHT! RED LIGHT! STOP! STOP! BREAKS! BREAKS!" All the while I'm squeezing my eyes closed and bracing myself for impact. Because he may drive slow and stop at green lights for "safety," but when he sees a red light? He actually speeds up and breaks late and gives me heart palpitations. Again, this happens almost every time we go somewhere.

Now, I recognize that I am also not a very good driver. I drive too fast, and I have a serious case of road rage. Serious. Like, have you ever seen that move 28 Days Later, about how some scientists infect monkeys with rage and then the monkeys escape and infect all the humans with rage and the infected humans turn into zombies that run really fast and try to eat all the non infected humans? Well, that's basically me behind the wheel of a car but with worse language. And I'm fully willing to admit that.

But, I think that being foul mouthed-rage-infected-fast-zombie-driver is way better than being a late breaking-erratic-when-lost-distracted-green-light-stopping-grandma-red-light-ignoring-driver. Or am I mistaken? Mabye neither of us should be driving.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Culinary Delights: A Story About my Mom

Remember when you were a kid and your mom or dad made you dinner every night? Were there certain foods, a menu if you will, that often turned up on your table? I'm betting there were. There certainly were in our home. And sometimes, I make these foods. My brother and I refer to them as Ann Johnson (last name changed) Specials, in honor of my mom. Here's a run down:



1. Shepherd's Pie. Are you lucky enough to know what this is? Not everyone is, although I'm willing to bet Xbox does. It's a casserole made up of layered ground beef with onions, peas, corn, and topped with mashed potatoes. I know it doesn't sound great, but it is actually really delicious and something that I've Incorporated into my family's dinner plan. Something about the disgustingness of eating a mouth full of beef, corn, peas, and potatoes all at once is actually really quite lovely.


2. Baked Chicken; on the side - frozen green beans and mashed potatoes. My mom loved making some baked chicken. It's a classic, a crowd pleaser. She'd even make gravy. And everything tastes better with gravy.


3. Buttered egg noodles, hamburgers with no buns, and frozen green beans. Oh my god did we ever eat some buttered noodles up in our house. You can also substitute hot dogs for the hamburgers. And we NEVER had buns. NEVER. This meal was so greasy my stomach turns just thinking about it. But we had it at least once a week for as long as I can remember.


4. Pork roast with mashed potatoes and frozen corn. Another classic. I make this one all the time too.


5. Grey steak, baked potatoes, and frozen green beans (are you sensing a trend here?). We had steak maybe once a week. And it was always, ALWAYS grey. This is an Ann Johnson classic of the first degree.


6. Spaghetti with quick sauce. We had this every single week as well - spaghetti (always the long pasta), with a quick, homemade sauce consisting of green peppers, onions, canned tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian Seasoning, salt, and ground beef. It's referred to as the quick sauce because REAL sauce simmers all day. She'd make this and we'd eat it within the hour. I didn't eat sauce from a jar until I went to college, and this is the truth.


7. Ham and cheese sandwiches; tuna fish sandwiches. My mom makes the best, best, best ham and cheese sandwiches in the world, and her tuna fish sandwich is perfection. She sprinkles them with love or something. I'd rather have one of her sandwiches than any gourmet sandwich in the world.

8. Beef stroganoff. This is my mom's most special of her specials. Every time we see her, she makes this for us. There is nothing particularly special about her recipe (I think it came from a magazine) but it is really, really delicious. It's my favorite of all her specials.

9. Meat loaf, mashed potatos, and frozen corn. Every. Single. Week. I ate enough meat loaf as a child that I should have become a meat loaf. And? Mom, I love you, but her original meat loaf sucked big time. Ugh, it was so awful, just ground beef, eggs, and bread crumbs. Seriously, it was a loaf of meat. But later, she stated making this one that had dill weed in it and it is the best meat loaf I've ever had. I've yet to recreate it.

10. Pan-fried pork chops, mashed potatoes, and frozen corn. This is my second favorite Ann Johnson special. Holy crap to I love me a pan fried pork chop. I wish I was eating one right now.

11. Sunday morning breakfast - fried eggs, home-fried potatoes with onions, and bacon or sausage or BOTH. She made this breakfast every Sunday of my life and it is my absolute favorite meal on the planet. She fried her potatoes in an entire stick of butter. They were always golden and crispy and delicious.

Okay, so did we eat some freaking potatoes, or what? For reals, we had them almost every, single night. We must have eaten 10 pound of potatoes a week. Isn't that obscene?

Anyways, those are the Ann Johnson Specials. I'd be curious to hear what your mom or dad's "specials" were when you were growing up.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Random Bits #4

Well sur-prise, sur-prise! I was honored with a surprise baby shower for the sprout this weekend. My friend Pam pulled out all the stops. The food was fantastic, the friends were fabulous, and we are loaded up with gender neutral sleepers, baby grooming products, and gift cards to buy baby necessities (read: diapers.) Pam and friends, I was truly surprised. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Nearly as surprising, Oscar has moved into the fuchsia nightmare. He's spent three nights in there, and? He LOVES it. He loves his big boy room so much and he looks so cute tooling around in there with his toys and his books. Thank god we've got such an adaptable kid. And, yes, it's still fuchsia, but we figure by this time next year, Oscar will have an actual opinion as to what his room should look like, so we'll paint it then. So, for now it's fuchsia ahoy!

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Last week was Danny's last week with us. While Oscar and I are both thankful for some time to hang out one one one before the sprout's arrival, we miss our friend Dan. Don't worry, Oscar is making sure I don't go soft. He's been climbing on and falling off of couches and chairs, trying to ingest poisonous cleaning products and staples, running away from me at top speed while at the play ground, and making it his job to remove every single tissue and diaper wipe from it's respective package. Board much?

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And while I'm on the subject of Oscar, he's finally cut his top one-year molars, renewing my faith in God. Oh, my sweet, happy, laughing, cuddly boy is finally back. I've missed him. Unfortunately, he's got an atrocious runny nose that he's fond of wiping on my leg at every opportunity. Juicy!

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And last but far, far from least, we did it, America! The electorate has renewed my faith in this country. For the first time in many moons, the presidential candidate that I voted for, won. Obama won. I feel like I've been waiting for this day my whole life. This is an historic moment for our nation. Lets revel in it. Oh, and Bradly effect MY ASS!

Monday, November 3, 2008

35 Weeks - HOLY SHIT I'M ENORMOUS!

Okay, are you ready for the monstrosity that is my pregnant belly?

This picture was taken two days ago and I swear I'm even larger. And, just in case you are thinking, "Oh, Jenni, you're not that big, really. You look fantastic." Please look at the photo below, in which I am 36 weeks (one week further along) with Oscar.



I am seriously frighteningly large. I feel like I could have this baby at many moment. I am literally filled to the gills with baby. It's limbs are so jammed up in my ribs, I think the little (humongous) sucker might come climb out of my mouth.

33 days to go, people, 33 days to go.

Oscar, Swashbuckler Extrodinare

Oscar looted the crap out of our house and neighborhood on Halloween. Check it:



20% off at Gymboree?! Mine, all mine you scurvy swabbies!


What is this, Coach? There must be some gold doubloons in here...

Where's the loot, wench?
What's this I see? More booty to be plundered?

Kit Kats and Butterfingers and Hershey Bars! Treasure at last!









Saturday, November 1, 2008

Spin Cycle: Why Race Matters

This is my first ever Spin Cycle, hosted by Sprite's Keeper. Being that I live inside the Beltway and worked in DC for several years, national politics are local news in these parts, so I just couldn't resist putting my spin on the elections. So, here goes.

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A few weeks ago, former Secretary of State, respected republican, and African American Colin Powell endorsed Democrat Barak Obama for president. This is not terribly surprising, considering Powell has always been a moderate Republican at best, particularly considering Republican candidate John McCain's choice of uber conservative Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate.

A fairly good friend of mine who is a republican basically said that the reason Powell endorsed Obama is because they are both African Americans. I think he's using race to minimize Powell's endorsement, and it pisses me off. Here's why.

So, here's the thing. Is it true that African American voters have consistently broken for Obama in all the polls at extremely high levels? Yes, it is. Even if you take into account that African Americans generally break for the democratic presidential candidate, Obama's polling numbers in this demographic group have been staggering.

While I don't doubt race has something to do with these numbers, I do not think is has everything to do with these numbers. It is very exciting for all of us to see a person of color so close to being elevated to the highest office in this country, and I'm sure it is even more exciting if you are also African American. I know when I saw Hilary Clinton's name on the Democratic primary ballot, I cried. I did not vote for her, but just to see her name there, as a major party candidate in contention for the presidency touch me in a way I cannot explain. It is very moving to see a minority group you identify with breaking barriers and succeeding where no others have before, and I have not doubt Obama's candidacy will help to turn out the African American vote.

HOWEVER, There are also two groups that have been consistently breaking for McCain in all the polls. Voters over 65 and white men.

Voters over 65 and white men. Last time I checked, McCain was over 65 and a white man. So, why isn't anyone saying the elderly and white men are only voting for McCain because he's also elderly and white?

Because THAT, my friends, is taboo. And I'm calling bullshit on it. I mean, are you KIDDING me? Yeah, African Americans are casting their ballots only based on race, but elderly folks and white people? They are just using their smarts. Race has nothing to do with it for them. Nothing at all. White people would NEVER support a candidate based on race or age, right, Senator Liberman?

Lets call it like it is - there some old white guys (not ALL, but SOME) who are going to vote for McCain simply because he is OLD and he is WHITE and they feel most comfortable with that scenario as president. And they may never admit this is the reason, but it absolutely, totally is. And just because we don't talk about it doesn't mean that it's not happening.

Like I said, yes, I think Obama being African American will help turn out the African American vote. But I also think African Americans are a diverse voter group and will be voting based on many other issues, include national security, health care, education, choice, and the economy.

So don't you tell me people are only voting for Obama because he's African American. That's just offensive, and not juts to African Americans but to all of us, all Americans who will be making our way to the polls on Tuesday to cast our vote for the candidate who we think will best serve this country.

Feel free to disagree with my politics, but if you think race doesn't matter in this election, you are only fooling yourself. It matters, and it matters to everyone.