Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Dreaming Big

Me: what do you want to be when you grow up?

Olivia, on her first day of Pre-K:  well I will probably get a job but they will fire me so I guess I will just have to find a new one.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This is why I have no time to write blogs.

I took the dogs out for, oh, two minutes? Three, tops. Olivia is at my mom's and I'm home alone with Adelle "destructicon" Knepper.

Oh well. I can maybe blog again in like 17 least she is really cute!

Monday, March 18, 2013

How do you kick rash? Share for a chance to win!

Fact: I birth babies with rashy butts.

Olivia was the worst for sure because she always had some sort of redness and irritation that I was fighting.  It would get better for a day or two, and then all of a sudden Hello Red Butt Baybee.  But Ainsley was always rashy and now Adelle tries to fit right in too.

I would have sworn to you, over the past four years, that I tried everything to keep from getting diaper rash.  Different brands of diapers.  Keeping her super dry.  Keeping her super clean.  Only using wipes for dirty diapers but not wet diapers.  But still, my babies would end up with diaper rash and a bad attitude no matter what.  Bring on the diaper rash cream!

I'm not sure why it took me until kid #3 to figure out that I should be using diaper rash cream to prevent diaper rash instead of shaking my fists at the heavens and cursing it every time it showed up.  It's like, "AHA!  I am supposed to put this cream on her beefy little bottom all the time instead of just when it looks like it needs it!  Who knew?"

Everyone.  Everyone knew.

Except me, and maybe except you.  But now you know!  It is crazy how you can take care of babies for so long and feel like you actually know what you are doing, what with keeping them alive and fed and everything.  And then all of a sudden you realize that you were missing something very simple and very useful all along.
These butts are rash free!!!

Diaper rash cream.  With every diaper change.  Lucky for Adelle I discovered this revolutionary method in time to save her lots of sore butts and crankiness!

I've tried all different brands, and my very favorite for everyday prevention is Boudreaux's Butt Paste.  It smells good and wipes off easily.  I can't stand creams that are sticky and require lots of wiping to remove.  I don't have that problem at all with Boudreaux's Butt Paste (I use the Original Butt Paste, but there are a couple of other options - All Natural Boudreaux's Butt Paste and Boudreaux's Butt Paste Maximum Strength).  Plus it keeps away the burning heat of the evil Rashadon!

No Rashadon threatening to crush our Butt City!!

No matter what, every parent is going to have to deal with diaper rash at some point and will probably hit the Internet for ideas on how to fight it.  So tell us: 

How do you kick rash?  Answer in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card!!

Sweepstakes Rules:
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion and/or to share the above video; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
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d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 3/18/13 - 4/15/13
Be sure to visit the Boudreaux's Butt Paste brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nintendo, it's for breakfast now!

I used to have a tiny little bump in my back that felt like a marble.  A doctor told me it was a fatty tumor and was no big deal.  And it wasn't until recently when it became so huge that it started to hurt and keep me up at night and could be seen sticking out of my back.  So then the doctor told me it had to be removed.

When I was in middle school I was part of this medical explorer group.  I don't know why, maybe I was entertaining ideas of being a doctor or something?  Maybe I wanted to get out of school.  I can't remember.  But I watched an open heart surgery and watched gross videos of medical procedures and thought they were super cool and did not suffer from near barfarooney at all.

Now that I am an old lady with a big lump in her back, I have turned into a giant baby.  The doctor was explaining the incision to me (ew) and how they will cut it out (gross) and how, if it was big enough, they may have to pack the area...(gag from the depths of my soul, omg).  I had to ask her to stop before I harfed.  Such a baby.  She assured me that the whole thing was  no big deal.

And then, the night before this no big deal surgery I couldn't sleep and when I did I had weird stress dreams.  Like, I got a job and Mitt Romney was my boss.  Or that they removed it and it was full of hair and teeth and turns out I ate my twin in utero which I'm pretty sure I saw on Grey's Anatomy a few years ago so it must be totally a real thing that will happen to me.  And when I woke up I had an 80's (90's?) commercial for Nintendo cereal stuck in my head.  "Nin-ten-do, it's for breakfast now!  Nin-ten-do, it's a cereal, wow!"  All day.  And that was the only part I knew so I just kept Rain Man repeating it to myself over and over.

(You can find anything on YouTube, I swear.  Here is the commercial that burst forth from the vaults of my damaged brain.)

(Also, if you are thinking of trying to buy some of this 20 year old cereal, be prepared to pony up at least $200. ) 

So after my surgery my incision was covered up and the doctor told Mark it was Pretty Big.  They sent the giant wad of fat and skin and other unknown grossness to pathology, although it is most likely just a cyst so I'm not trying to lead up to any kind of drama or anything.  Two days later when I could remove the dressing I was greeted with this beaut:

My promising career as a back model:

And since nobody wants to hear you complain less then your kids, Olivia wanted me to acknowledge her horrible boo boo, here it is for your pity party participation:

Her feet look jacked, too.
Needs manicure at age 3.97
A fun discovery after this minor surgery is that Vicodin makes me want to barf and then pass out and then just kill me OMG.  I spent a good amount of time laying on the floor whimpering.  It was pathetic.  I think I even said, "this is worse than my c-sections."  I'm a joy to be with.

No boo boos to report.
She pretty much claps YAY for everything.

I'm feeling pretty OK now though.  It is still sore but I don't need any pain medication.  It turns out that I will likely survive this very minor outpatient surgery after all.  Now I need to stop blaming my recovery for my complete lack of effort in preparing for Olivia's birthday parties on Thursday (at school) and Saturday (at a bounce house) this week.

MY KID IS FOUR THIS WEEK.  Plus there is the situation of this other baby who is crawling and standing and cruising and getting into everything she shouldn't because, hey, that's what babies do.  I found Adelle in the kitchen poking the electrical outlet with her finger in apparent irritation at the childproofing she has to deal with.  Olivia was like, "emergency!  We have a situation here!" 

It's rough around here, guys.  And by rough I mean pretty cute and fun despite lack of sleep or ambition to party plan.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

My #1 Tip For New Moms: Master The Swaddle!

The first couple of weeks after your baby is born, she is a delicious-smelling adorable little bundle of sleepiness.  You go around telling people, "oh, she is such a good baby!  She never cries unless she is hungry!  Must be because we have such gentle temperaments and stellar genes!  Best.parents.ever!"
Sleepy newborn goodness.
It isn't your gestation skills.
Being born is exhausting.
And then?  She turns, like, three or four weeks old.  And suddenly she is a delicious-smelling adorable bundle of intermittent screaming and pooping and you are all, "my genes are tainted and my temperament is obviously flawed and woe! Copious amounts of woe!"
Please, go on about how you had a calm baby
because you are a calm person.
I've had the pleasure of nurturing three adorable yet stubborn bundles of joy, and the key to calming all of them was a perfectly executed swaddle.  I am a swaddle master at this point.  I swaddled by reflux grouch, my trach/vent dependent drama queen, and my colicky scream queen.
Sure, there are lots of useful tips for new moms.  People love to cram "useful" tips down your throat in the final weeks of lugging around your watermelon uterus.  (Sleep when the baby sleeps!  Worst.advice.ever.)  
My favorite thing to cram down the new mom throat is this:  Master the art of the swaddle.  
Take care of every need that you can think of: feed that baby!  Diaper that baby!  Burp and give that baby some gas drops!  If you are new to using gas drops, you should try St. Joseph Infants' Gas Relief drops.  They help to break down gas bubbles that add to the cryfest extravaganza, and you can use them at every feeding. (Want a $3 coupon? Click here!)
Once you feel confident that you've done all that you can do to make your baby happy, then wrap that little glob of nomable fatness up as tight as you can. 
Now.  I know that swaddling can be hard, especially if you gestate tiny little swaddle ninjas.  All of my babies have been little escape artists who could undo the most magnificent swaddle using magic and sheer will to scream.  If the traditional swaddle doesn't work for you because you give birth to swaddle escape ninjas, there are a bunch of swaddle blankets out there. 
Here are my top three tips for a good swaddle:
1. Make sure that your baby's arms are straight when you start the swaddle. 
You want the blanket to be tightly wrapped!  If the baby can wiggle those arms, the baby can get out of the swaddle, and the baby will scream, and then there is a good chance that you will scream too.  You will feel like you are being mean as your baby screams and wiggles and fights the swaddle but DO NOT GIVE UP.  Your baby craves the security of the swaddle as much as you crave the silence of a calm baby.
2. Legs in or legs out - it doesn't matter!
If your swaddle ninja appears to use her legs to push the swaddle off, leave her legs unwrapped.  The arms matter the most because of the super fun startle reflex that takes your baby from peacefully sleeping to scared out of their mind screaming. 
3. Don't let temperature freak you out.
Usually, overheating isn't a concern in the winter since it is chilly anyway.  But in the summer, you may worry that your baby will overheat.  If you need to, swaddle your baby in only a diaper to keep her cool.  Or you can swaddle with a lightweight blanket.  I used muslin swaddling blankets for my summer baby and she was always cool and comfortable, even when it was hotter than hades outside.

Tell me, friends, what is your #1 tip for new moms? Answer this question in the comment section below for a chance to win 3 packages of St. Joseph Infants' Gas Relief Drops. That's one for you and two to share with friends!
Also, you can follow this link to print a $3.00 coupon.

Sweepstakes Rules
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
  1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post
  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 2/6-2/28.
Be sure to visit the sponsor's brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

Monday, February 4, 2013


Trying to get a picture of our matching manicures, and Adelle has to photobomb because that is SO Adelle.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Nutrisystem Nation: Baby Blaming

I am going to be a part of Nutrisystem Nation!  For the next four months, I will eat all Nutrisystem, all the time.

I have thirty pounds to lose.  It is all the fault of my children.  Those little body wreckers who make me squeal with glee daily?  Those ones.  I blame them for all of the eating and lazing around that I did while I was pregnant for the past four years.

Alright...I know it is my fault that I haven't lost this weight.  The real problem isn't my kids (although I can actually blame Adelle for my stretchmarks, THANKS ADELLE) it is my lack of self control paired with all day grazing.  Being at home with my entire fridge and pantry available all the live long day seems to be too tempting for me.  A handful of pretzels, a piece of string cheese, just one granola bar...those things really add up. 

My hope with Nutrisystem is that I will learn portion control and when to stop eating.  Because it is easy to say that I will stop eating when I'm full, but everything tastes so delicious and I always manage to keep eating until I am STUFFED.  It's a problem.

My fear is that I will hate it, if I am being honest.  That I'll spend dinner looking longingly at Mark's dinner.  Or that for whatever reason it won't work and I will be stuck with this weight.  OR that it will work and I will lose all of this stupid weight and then gain it all back.

The first order of food should be coming any day and I can't wait to get started.  I was able to order most of my meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack) and I really ordered one of everything because I need to figure out what I like. 

So that's it.  I will write a weekly post about how it is going.

Want to join me in being more healthy by taking control of your weight loss?  Join Nutrisystem today by calling 1-888-853-4689 or by clicking here.
Disclosure: I am being provided the Nutrisystem Women's SUCCESS Select as a part of the Nutrisystem Nation Blogger Program, in exchange for writing about my experience with the program. All opinions are mine and have not been influenced in any way.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This is 33

My birthday was this week.  I don't really care about my birthday.  I mean, I don't expect anyone to make a big deal out of it or buy me an extravagant gift or anything.

If you were wondering, I got a heart rate monitor and some roses.  Which is a pretty dismal gift in comparison to my thirtieth birthday gift.  And most importantly, I slept for 13 glorious hours during which I did not deal with any kid BS.  I wore ear plugs and woke up totally refreshed and without a sore throat for the first time in a week.

(Adelle is trying to kill me by not sleeping, and Olivia is trying to kill me by attituding me to death.  That will be the extent of my parenting woe.  For now.)

I keep thinking that at some point I will become this really put together, efficient, goal-attaining bad ass.  I can tell you for sure that at 33?  Not yet.  Maybe next year.

Right now I am way overweight.  And not in the, "I feel so chubby you guys tell me how skinny I am so I can feel good about myself" way, but more in the, "wow, I just had to buy the biggest size in a normal people store and let's not lie, it was kinda snug oh noes" sort of way.

Last week, after doing drop off and pick up at preschool and running a bunch of errands in between, I came home to find that my pants?  My maternity pants, by the way, which I haven't stopped wearing since July 2010...had a hole in them.  A big hole.  In the crotch.  And not all hidden and discreet.  More like, HEY EVERYONE I AM CROTCH AND I AM BUSTING OUT!!!  I know that I have a tendency toward hyperbole so please let me prove to you that I am not exaggerating:

During our shopping trip yesterday I had to explain to Olivia about mannequins.  Which involved repeating the word mannequin so many times that it sounded wrong.  And then last night I had a dream about that movie where the guy is obsessed with and eventually marries a mannequin.  (Here is the wiki - and the mannequin is played by Kim Cattrall LOL FOREVER.)  True story.

I can't really complain though, can I?  Cute kids, fab husband, a weight problem, and bizarro dreams.  This is 33.  I'll take it.  Maybe when I'm 34 I will be a put together, goal-attaining bad ass.  Or at least manage to wear hole-free clothing at all times.  Maybe.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Seven Months

Adelle is seven months old.  Read while I tell you about all the things she does that are the same things that every baby does when they are seven months old except I think they are special because my baybee is infinitely more interesting than any other baby ever born in this universe or any other!

It seems like the last bits of colic have gone, and now there is just a happy little ball of beef who spends her time smiling, trying to crawl, and hurling herself at any object that catches her interest regardless of the probable injury that may occur.  And she is grabby!  I was talking to Olivia and looked back at Adelle to see that she had a fist full of scrambled eggs and spinach from my plate. 

Now that she is somewhat mobile, using a combination of army crawl, backwards crawl, and rolling, she is much more content.  She can get to the things she wants to play with or to the room she wants to be in.  It seems that she likes the kitchen because she can make noise by slapping the floor and kicking the doors.  I am able to walk away from her without her crying now which is nice because I am not built to hold a baby all the live long day.

She loves to eat food.  Veggies even.  Which I will not let fool me, because Olivia loved veggies too and now?  Well, when I want to sneak a piece of chocolate and she asks me what I'm eating, I tell her veggies so that she won't ask to share.  I even let her gnaw on a graham cracker for 45 minutes while I painted cabinets.  Food bribes are the best.

She is obsessed with the dog toys despite having about 47,000 baby toys at her disposal.  She loves her sister more than anyone.   She is all smiles but will make you work for a giggle.  She is still a swaddle addict.  She is still kind of a crap sleeper but at least is getting more predictable.  Naps are around the same time each day and the night wakings are, too.  We tried some sleep training but after two weeks and a three hour middle of the night cryfest I decided that it is just easier to get my ass up in the middle of every night.  Whatever. 

There are two teeth just almost popping through.  I can feel the sharp edge of one, and the other is a big white gumbubble.  I can say with absolute certainty that this child is the Worst Teether Ever OMG.  Screaming awake every two hours all day and night until the fuckers cut through. 

I love this baby.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

December 29th would have (Could have?  Should have?) been Ainsley and Evelyn's second birthday.  It could have been a sad day.  I wasn't sure how I would feel about it, honestly.  I don't see why a particular day has to be sad and I felt like I would be ok but I guess you can never really tell with The Sadness.

Ainsley's First Birthday Party
at Akron Children's Hospital, Reinberger Family Center
The Sadness?  It's random. 

It's rocking Adelle to sleep and noticing how the curve of her fat ass cheek looks just like Ainsley's.  It's putting a shirt on Adelle that Olivia and Ainsley both wore and realizing that my opportunities for these kinds of moments are quickly coming to a close.  It's Olivia in the back seat of the car asking me what "died" means and then saying, "remember Ainsley?  I miss going to see her." 

As The Internet promised, things have gotten...easier?  Or, less hard?  When I think of Ainsley, I rarely think of her last gasps for breath (which haunted me for months, quite honestly).  I think of my favorite thing - leaving a long day of work and peeking my head around the corner of her hospital room to see her see me.  You might think that, seeing so many people all day every day would confuse her, but she knew her mommy and daddy.  Her face LIT UP when we got there.  Even if she was sick she was always happy to see us.

Six days before she died.
There was a group of nurses at her door cracking up at her.
It is strange, having some distance from her death.  The trach and vent and g-tube that got to be so common to me now seem so foreign.   I knew she was a very sick girl and we were always pretty realistic about that, but now that I look back at it?  It looks unnatural. 

Which sounds stupid because, duh, it isn't "natural" for your kid to breathe through tubes hooked up to her throat.  But we were so used to it - I would pick her up and play with her and hold her up in the air like Super Ainsley without a second thought.  When I looked at her I only saw her and never noticed the medical stuff.   When I look at her pictures now, I see all the tubing and it makes me feel bad that she had to go through all of it.

When we were in the PICU, one of our nurses came to tell us something that another family told her.  They said that they were coming into the unit for the first time and they were scared out of their minds.  And they looked over as they walked past our room and there was our gap-toothed, chubby, trach-vent baby, splashing in the tub and smiling and laughing.  And even though they had a very sick child, they could not help but pause and smile.

THAT was Ainsley.

Bath time: her favorite.
It was Ainsley and Evelyn's second birthday and my friends decided that it was cause for celebration.  The same friends who came without question when the twins were just born and I didn't want to be alone.  The same friends who organized a fundraiser for us.  The same friends who brought me water at calling hours as we greeted a never-ending line of people who came to remember Ainsley and Evelyn.

They are good people.

On Ainsley and Evelyn's second birthday, I went to a Disco Dance Party.   You cannot watch kids jump around and dance and be sad at the same time.

Happy Woulda/Coulda/Shoulda been second birthday to my twin girls, Ainsley Laura and Evelyn Cecille.  Always celebrated, always missed, and never ever forgotten.