Tuesday, May 31, 2011


We went camping this weekend, with my whole family. Except that we didn't really camp...we stayed in a local hotel. But my parents camped, and three of my siblings camped (the fourth one stayed in the hotel too), and we spent all of our waking hours at the camp, so it was like camping. Just without the sleeping-on-the-ground bit.

There was cornhole, washers, ladderball and badminton.

Also, playgrounds.
And chalk.

There was swimming.

And waterfalls in the woods.
There was also a constant campfire and camp food and riding bikes and scooters and hanging out and just generally enjoying the company of the whole family (some 20 of us). We are exhausted and a little sunburned, but it was a fabulous weekend overall.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Choosing Happiness - House

My husband drives by this newish log home on his way home from work, and he noticed recently that there was a "For Sale" sign in front of it. So he looked it up on the realty site. And then he showed it to me. And now I'm dreaming (as in, I dreamed about it last night) about this 4 bedroom beauty with the hardwood floors and the real wood paneled walls and the big kitchen with the island and the huge master bath and the loft and the walkout basement and the four acres and the ridiculously low (for this house) asking price that is still about $70K more than we could reasonably afford.


See, he does this to me...finds homes that are obviously superior to our own in one way or another and then shows them to me on the internet and asks me if I want to go see them. Not that we are in the market or anything. Just for curiosity's sake. And then I obsess about them and compare spaces for DAYS.

I have been wanting to sell this house and move pretty much since we moved in. It's a nice little house, but there is NO STORAGE. That's rough. But over the years, it has become obvious to me that the best financial decision we could make would be to stay put unless/until we HAD to move because of a job change or an issue of too few bedrooms. Well, my husband did change jobs, but within the same company, and we are still working on expanding our family beyond ONE child, so we really don't NEED to go anywhere yet.

So, I've decided to choose happiness with this house. We recently made some decisions that made this easier. We rid ourselves of the stained and dirty carpet in our living spaces and put in laminate flooring. It's prettier and makes the house feel, well, less dirty. We are going to repaint too, just to give the living spaces a fresh feel (and to match the oriental rug which had to relocate from our bedroom to the living room to keep down the echo).

And, whenever I start feeling like I want to move, I look at my favorite features of this house and imagine how I'd miss them. The screened porch is so nice, especially in weather like this. We can eat out there and enjoy the sounds of nature from the wooded lots around us. And my backyard, complete with playset. I'm very happy with our backyard.

Plus, the landscaping is so nice. Don't you think so?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Summer, summer, summer

This weekend was BEAUTIFUL! Warm, but not scorching, sunny and breezy. We spent most of it at Local Theme Park. Olivia wore herself out.

This week is all that stands between me and Summer. I have four more days of babysitting left this school year. I have acquired a very part time summer job for a little extra summer cash, but it does not involve being responsible for other people's children. So having said job does not in any way deter from my sense of "vacation freedom".

I am looking forward to my trash can smelling like a trash can again and not like a sewer. I will not miss diapers this summer.

Diaper-related tangent - My 22-month-old babysitting charge pooped in the potty here yesterday. He sat on the potty a couple of times last week without actually doing anything. This was CHILD-LED. HE has been telling ME that he needs to potty for about a week, and this time he was actually successful in doing something. This blow me away for a couple of reasons. First, Olivia was nowhere NEAR ready to do that at 22 months...neither were ANY of my babysitting charges, who were all around her age at the time. Second, this little guy's older brother was TERRIFIED of using the potty at my house. He wouldn't even TRY until he had been potty trained at home for over six months. I guess that illustrates the difference in their personalities. Anyway, it has me excited that we might be able to cut down on the diaper tally in this house a bit by next school year.

This weekend, we are camping with my whole family. Lots of kids, lots of food, campfires and s'mores and grilling and such. Great kick-off to Summer. We just have to get through the next four days. I am not ashamed to tell you that, on this wet day, that means a lot of Little Einsteins (which, weirdly, is one of the few shows that grabs and keeps their attention). I'm just trying to get through, y'all. I have my eyes set on the weekend already.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The curse of endometriosis

My cycle arrived yesterday with very little fanfare and then knocked me to my knees with a swift kick to the midsection around midnight.

The arrival of my cycle is not devastating to me. I hope for pregnancy, but I never expect it. I have been interested in the symptom changes I've experienced over the past five months of altered diet. While my cramping symptoms at the onset of my cycle have never disappeared, they seem to be milder and usually disappear completely with a quick dose of Naproxen.

At least until this month.

Let's just say that it took two doses of Naproxen and two extra strength Tylenol over the course of the first four hours of the night to finally dull the pain enough to sleep a few short hours before greeting my Monday with groggy reluctance.

This was pain. PAIN. The last time I recall feeling that kind of intense pain was in college. Last night, I spent the better part of my "quality sleep hours" (10pm-2am) alternately falling into my college pattern of praying for relief (pleasepleasepleasePLEASEmakeitstop) and thinking about/praying for women who actually suffer this kind of pain on a regular basis.

Endometriosis is a tricky thing. For some women, it barely manifests itself in outward physical symptoms at all. In others, it is devastatingly painful for part of all of their cycle. I have met women who have been on some pretty powerful hormonal contraceptives for YEARS just to keep the pain at bay. I have met others who have opted for hysterectomy, which doesn't always clear up the symptoms completely.

Despite my STRONG convictions against contraceptives and hysterectomy as a way to "treat" endometriosis, when I am in the throes of pain like I had last night, I cannot fault the women to turn to such treatments for relief. I can fault their doctors for not trying harder to treat the disease and give them nutritional counseling and/or strong anti-inflammatory drugs. But the women? THEY JUST WANT TO FEEL HUMAN AGAIN.

Endometriosis hides. These pockets of rogue endometrial tissue can be found just about anywhere in the abdominal cavity, and there are documented cases of it finding its way to other unlikely spots in the body. Even the best surgeon can miss spots of it if it migrates to unlikely places. And it responds to rises in estrogen just like the tissue does in the uterus. It gets inflamed and causes pain wherever it happens to be attaching itself. Thus, the anti-inflammatory diet.

I have a theory about my night-of-war-with-my-body. I have been avoiding milk and its associated estrogens, limiting my dairy to a few servings of cheese or sour cream per week. But this week, I've been experimenting with homemade ice cream in hopes of bringing it as my dessert contribution (with fresh strawberries) on our family camping vacation in a couple of weeks. On Thursday and again yesterday, I consumed somewhere around 3/4 cup of heavy whipping cream and milk. The estrogen hides in that milk fat. And I fed it to my system right before my period. Genius.

I think I'll make a shortcake for my strawberries instead.

And I'll be praying for those with debilitating endometriosis. It affects more than fertility in so many women.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Just a taste...

Today was another one of those picture-perfect days where Spring feels enough like Summer to stir some excitement about the upcoming season, but still enough like Spring to be wonderfully comfortable.

The kids, they played some sort of creative pretend game in which they each starred as a Disney character. Olivia was Rapunzel. The rest were assigned characters including Snow White, Flynn Ryder, and two Agent Osos. I, apparently, was assigned to be Tiana. I'm not sure how these characters are supposed to fit together, but it didn't seem to matter to the kids.

The wee one got restless and kept wandering into other people's yards, so I decided to let him have his turn at the sandbox. It didn't take two seconds for the rest of the kids to join him.

(Also, I've been experimenting with photo editing and effects. Makes it easier to disguise the fact that Albert Pujols is sitting there in my sandbox. Oops...forget I said that...)

This is what Summer looks like in my memory of my youth...a bunch of kids lying around outside in sepia tone. Exchange Olivia and her pals with me and my siblings, and this could very well have been taken in 1980. Except it wasn't. It was taken this morning while Rapunzel, Snow White and Flynn Ryder were going to the castle to sleep before getting up to "drive the castle to work".

Told ya they were a creative bunch.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Catching up

There's something about this time of year...we aren't actually busier, but it FEELS like we are. As a result, I've been neglecting my blog. So here's a quick and rather random update.

1. Since my last post, it rained about a dozen inches, which is something like a quarter of our total rainfall average for the whole year. As a result, we were stuck in the house forever...first because of the rain, and then because the lawn was too wet to play on. And then it stopped raining for a few days in a row and everything came to life! Just in time for Mother's Day.

2. Mother's Day was pretty good. It was sunny and beautiful. Olivia slept in until 9:00 a.m! Then she behaved herself in Church. That itself would have counted for a lot, but we weren't finished with the fun. After lunch, we popped on over to Local Theme Park (which opened on Saturday) for a little park fun. Because it was SO warm and sunny (and because I remembered to pack her a change of clothes) we let Olivia run through the spray park in her clothes.

She was quite excited about that.

All in all, a great day was had. We are quite ready for Summer to commence.

3. In April, we re-worked most of our landscaping, splitting and moving plants and putting in rock. There is one bed that we haven't touched yet and intend to re-work in the Fall, but every time I'm outside I think about what to do with it. Every Spring, I think I'm unhappy with this bed because it is SO lopsided when it starts coming up. All the tall irises are on one side. Random plants are scattered along the other side. It sits on a slope, so it's kind of weird anyway. But my original idea was that it be a dimension bed with lots of tall plants behind small plants so it looks very full and makes a pleasing display.

Today, I looked at the blooms and I realized that it kind of already does that.
See, this is the view from my kitchen window (weeds and all, I know, I know), which is how I oriented the bed in the first place...so I'd have something pleasing to look at while I did the dishes. The problem, however, is that it looks weird from all other angles. So, what do I do? Move plants around to even it out so it looks normal from outside? Or leave it like it is?

3. My life is awash in primary colors.
Very soon, several of the wee ones wearing the primary colors will stop coming to visit me on a daily basis, and then it will just be me and my primary gal.
And that just says it all, doesn't it? Dear Summer, we are ready for you!