Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Found my soapbox. It's petty, but hey.

Something that has been bothering me for a while just popped into my head. I will be unable to sleep if I don’t write about it. I feel the need to correct your grammar. Well, perhaps not YOUR grammar, but someone’s. I understand that my grammar isn’t perfect. I type as I would speak, so it isn’t the same as technical writing, in which I would worry about my overuse of commas and ellipsis. At any rate, here is the reason why. At my sister’s bachelorette party I got into quite the drunken argument with a stupid girl (scary part… she was an education major.. she will be teaching our children) about the correct use of the term “so-and-so and I” when she corrected my grammar incorrectly. It nearly got very heated, until I remembered I was at a party, that we had been drinking, and my sister didn’t give a damn that her friend’s college education was severely lacking. (I have not yet completed my college degree.) Back to my point.

Our conversation went something like this:

Me: You are coming to the bar with Kelly and me?

Stupid girl: You mean Kelly and I.

Me: No. I mean “Kelly and me.

(then it began to get ugly.)

The Grammar Lesson:

When you are going to talk about yourself and another person by name in the SUBJECT of a sentence, you would say “Jamie and I are going to the park with Josh.” That is correct. How do I know? If you kill of Jamie (or just leave her behind, it might save you some jail time.) You would say. “I am going to the park with Josh.”, so it is logical that when you add Jamie, nothing changes. You wouldn’t say “Me is going to the park with Josh (unless you are two), so it would be incorrect to say “Jamie and me are going to the park with Josh.”

When you are going to talk about yourself and another party by name in the PREDICATE of a sentence, you would say “Jamie is coming to the park with Josh and me.” This is correct grammar. Why? How do I know? To be fair, this time we are going to kill off Josh. You would say “Jamie is coming to the park with me.” Again, it is logical that nothing changes when you bring Josh along for some three-way fun. You wouldn’t say “Jamie is coming to the park with I.” Not even a two year old makes that mistake very often. So, it is absolutely, positively, without a doubt incorrect to say "Jamie is coming to the park with Josh and I."

End Grammar Lesson

So, that was my soap box for the day. Stupid girl, go to hell. Stop correcting other people’s grammar in order inflate your ego. It only makes you look stupid because, ahem, YOU are mistaken sweetheart. YOUR grammar needs to be checked. NOT mine.

Update: Just in case you wanted some real proof:

Just to Entertain you...

I haven't felt much like blogging lately. I have nothing to say. Nothing witty, nothing important, well, nothing important that I want to tell anyone. Don't know why... So, until I come up with something worth sharing.. Watch my kid be crazy...

Here he is dancing like a fool. Leapfrog sure makes that ABC song sound Jazzy!

Here he is giving Daddy a kiss:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

That's right! It's Official...

The little bugger is walking... Please forgive the fact that he is nearly nude. The child hates clothing now. He attempts to take it off every chance he gets. I am just counting my blessings *knock on wood 100000 times* that he hasn't discovered the fun of removing his diaper. Also, please forgive the fact that he is chewing on what appears to be a dog collar. He has been fascinated with that disgusting thing since birth. At that moment getting his precious first (or probably second) set of first steps on video so Daddy could witness the event took precedence over a bit of hygiene. Besides, the tantrum that would have followed would have ruined my afternoon.

Now Daddy is bound and determined that we should not try to have another child. His fear is that our children will become so smart that they will take over the household and we will end up hog tied in the closet while they run wild. Please, reassure him (and me just a bit) that his "vision" is very far-fetched and will NOT come true!

In other developments. I no longer need to nurse him to sleep. I do nurse him before bed... But he no longer REQUIRES it. I can just hold him and love him and kiss him. Tonight, he wanted me to hold his hand until he fell asleep. How sickly sweet is that? (By the way, my husband is now going to need reassuring that even the most macho of men loved their mommies when they were babies, and that he will not turn out to be some "sissy" boy because of this most recent development.)

update: I've also decided after watching the video again that perhaps I should explain that I'm NOT drunk. I was standing up and tried to sit down so the baby would walk to me. I apologize for the shakiness. There are dogs everywhere here.. (three, but there seems like millions when its raining.) They all have their part too.. Kleenex is licking her paws, Chewie makes his appearance at the beginning and promptly leaves. Buster... He's the white "fluff" you see to the right of the screen. He is passed out on the couch.. While I can honestly say that I was not drunk.. I am not in a position to vouch for that old man's sobriety. =o)

Mommy Moments

I stole this from Babyfruit :

Super Mommy Moment:
Bathing baby in an airport sink in Ireland in one of those sinks where you push the button and the water runs for 10 seconds at a time. There were two seperate faucets. One issued scalding water, and the other water that could have caused hypothermia. I washed him without causing either. Oh, did I forget to mention the 30 hour plane ride where we were kicked off every 5 hours? Did I mention that we were not allowed to gate check strollers, so I had to carry off all of our "essential and valuable" items (my laptop case and the diaper bag) along with my 23 pound cranky, dreary limp noodle of a son?

Mommy Heaven on Earth:
Being greeted by crying baby with a snoogle in the neck, followed by him falling asleep in my arms. No Boobs required. OR taking a shower while baby plays peekaboo through the shower curtain. No tears, I got shampooed, and rinsed thoroughly! yay!

Going to Mommy Hell:
Pick one:
Baby on cliff in stroller at Grand Canyon, Baby on Sign Pole near cliff at Grand Canyon, Baby sitting alone on cliff at Arches National Park. You choose which one will send me to Mommy Hell. Truthfully, there was a (semi-) responsible adult just outside of the camera in each of these pictures, but Daddy now has what he calls "indisputable evidence of why he will get custody of the child in a divorce." Isn't it nice that he thinks about stuff like that?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Vacation Recap... The good, the bad and the ugly...

We spent the last week and a half traveling between our home in Nebraska and Bakersfield California. Why? We were going to the Goode 2007 National Waterski Tournament. My mom was the Chief Safety Director, which was exciting for her. We were going to get to see the best of the best skiers in the country in all age groups. That was exciting for me. We were also going to get a chance to see the country side and visit with old friends.
Friday, our trip started earlier than we had planned. My dad got off of work at 1:00, so by 3:00 PM we were on the road. We took off and headed west on I-80. We were nearly to I-76 when the sky began to cloud up. We saw a tornado, which was completely awesome. Mostly because it was far enough away we didn’t need to worry, and it was in the middle of nowhere, so it was likely that very few people suffered damage as a result.
We got to Denver and got gas (way later than I would have liked). We thought we would stop somewhere in the summit area, but everywhere seemed to be booked or crazy high prices. We finally stopped in Beaver Crossing or some place like that. When we left Saturday morning it was 54 degrees. We got to Arches National Park pretty early. We went on a hike to the Wall Arch. It was great to get out of the car, even if it was 100 degrees outside! We left right on time and began heading to Bakersfield. We were going to drive right through Las Vegas on our way. Because I’d never seen the strip and we were going to be there at night, we decided to drive straight through downtown. That was a much longer detour than we’d expected. We left only to get stuck in a traffic jam just outside of town. Turns out there had been a terrible accident. (Thank you Lord for the delay that kept us from being involved in that accident.) We began the search for a hotel. Did you know that regular hotels are illegal in Nevada? Neither did we. Every single hotel we found was attached to a casino. We really didn’t care to stay at a casino hotel, so we kept driving hoping for anything else. Nothing. We finally decided to stay at a casino… we tried went in and tried to find the hotel front desk, but it was nowhere to be found. Did you know that hotels don’t exist in Southeast California? Neither did we. We finally stopped just outside of Barstow for the night, but much much later than we wanted.
We got up Sunday, a bit sleepy, but happy that we were almost there. We got to Bakersfield around 11am, too early to get into our room, so we stopped at the site so Mom could do her “safety inspection” of the lakes, etc. Got into our room at the hotel, got unpacked and found out that a ton of people had complained because the hotel wasn’t as nice as everyone who had volunteered in the past had been accustomed to. We figured it was Bakersfield, so it wasn’t like there was a huge selection of “really nice” hotels, the room was fairly clean (albeit old and gross in many ways), and the neighborhood didn’t seem too bad. Many of the people relocated, but since we had already unpacked, we were content to stay, thinking that pretty much everywhere was like this hotel.
Monday night my friend came out with her fiancé. I left the baby with my mom for a while so we could go shopping for picnic supplies for the next day. We also enjoyed a Mexican barley soda together at the hotel and chatted for a while. I have to say that she has found a keeper. He was such a sweetheart and was great with the baby. A+ Lady! Anyway.. We got to see some superstar skiing that day. Mens 1 and 2 Jump (men aged 18 through about 28?) was scheduled for that afternoon so we hung out and watched them jump nearly 200 feet. I hope that they had fun.The rest of the week was pretty much the same. The parents rode out to the lake with friends who were staying in the same hotel since they all had to be there at the butt-crack of dawn. We arrived later in the morning, usually around 10 after the baby got up had breakfast and a nap. We made quite the show coming in each morning.. The baby sat in his wagon, which was thoroughly loaded down with cooler, camera bag, diaper bag, toy bag, food supplies and a carpet to lay down.

The whole deal

Tons of people came up to me and commented about how they had watched us come in every day. The baby thoroughly enjoyed the wagon, more than he would have a stroller, and it was very convenient for carrying all of the “junk” that we needed in.
The fire in Santa Moncia gave us quite a show with its nasty smoke blocking out the sun for a few days. On the worst day it was as dark as it normally is at sunset at around 3:00 in the afternoon. It actually got lighter as the day went on and the sun set, getting beyond the range of the smoke.

Friday night some “friendly” neighbors got into the hotel and stayed in the room next to us. They were loud and obnoxious. Their child (probably 3 or 4) proceeded to scream through a majority of the night, followed by his mother’s yelling “NO” at him many times as well. Saturday morning I awoke to them screaming again. I got up and started cleaning up a bit, packing a few things here and there. Then I started to smell the smoke. What they were smoking I’m not sure of, but I decided it was time to leave. We headed to the lake and spent the rest of the afternoon with my parents. There was supposed to have been an “Officials Appreciation Banquet.” I have to tell you that if I showed up somewhere at 6:30 every morning for 6 days, working until late afternoon each day, spent several hundred dollars to get to the location to do this work, all as a volunteer, I probably wouldn’t have felt very “appreciated” at all. Normally the appreciation banquet is at a hotel with a buffet, complete with a bar and cocktail hour before-hand. Not this time. 2:00 began “cocktail hour.” On what planet warm bud light constitutes a “cocktail” I’m not sure, but that is what cocktail hour consisted of. The food was okay, but we were all crammed into a teeny backyard fighting the flies off while we tried to eat it. Our beverage choices were staggering.. I had a hard time choosing between warm bud light and warm water. So, after the crappy motel and the crappy banquet many of the officials weren’t very thrilled with how “appreciated” they were, and the “good stuff” hadn’t even happened. Now, I had been defending the hotel all week. Saying Bakersfield doesn’t exactly have the Ritz Carlton, and it isn’t exactly a wealthy area, so when I say what I am about to say, please don’t think I’m being overly critical. We got back from the “lack of appreciation” banquet as I’d like to dub it, and immediately started packing. With much coaching (and amusement on my part) from others staying at the hotel we finally got the back of the truck loaded, leaving nothing behind… My dad wanted a shower, but we skipped it and headed out the door. I’d say we left around 5 or 5:30. Apparently 30 minutes after we left some sort of crack deals started going on, women started turning tricks outside of the room that was directly below us (where we had just finished packing up the truck.) Things got loud and crazy. The police were called. They showed up sirens blaring, got out, looked around and LEFT!!! The night was quite exciting complete with Police having guns drawn and all kinds of gang activity. Our friends who had stayed in the room just below us had been contacted by the front desk and told under no circumstances should they leave their room... for their own safety... Needless to say I am very VERY glad we left when we did… We were supposed to have stayed that night. There are many other problems that occurred, but I don’t want to bore you with the details. As we were leaving, we all discussed how “rushed” we all had felt. None of us had been in any hurry to get out of there, and no one had intentionally rushed any of the others, however we had all felt rushed when we were leaving. I honestly believe that it was the Holy Spirit impressing it upon us. Had we not packed up quite as fast as we had, we would have been out in the middle of the parking lot during the whole “shoot-out” and crack deal gone bad… Again, thank you Lord for getting us out of there when we did! (Oh, on a side note.. the skiers had been directed to MUCH MUCH nicer hotels than the dive we were told we HAD to stay in…) Next year, we might come back to watch my Dad and Mom ski (should they qualify, which is likely), however we will be staying in our Camper or some other more friendly accommodation.
We had heard that I-70 through Grand Junction CO was pretty much a no-go due to some truck explosion earlier in the week, so we decided to take a “short cut” (rather a 8 hour detour) to the Grand Canyon. That was incredibly exciting. The canyon is absolutely beautiful and completely amazing. We also got to see quite a bit of Route 66 on the way. That, however was incredibly sad to me. Such a piece of American History and it is pretty much dilapidated and gone. Many of the old stops are shut down, falling down and destroyed. I am sure there are some stretches that aren’t quite as bad.. But the stretch along I-40 through Arizona wasn’t much to talk about. I think someday I want to actually tour the route before it is completely gone.
Saturday night we stopped in Kingsman AZ. We stayed at a Hampton Inn and Suites.. If you haven’t had the pleasure, you should do so. Perhaps it was the change from the shabby motel we had previously been at, but for the price, the pillow top mattress, big fluffy duvet beautiful bathroom, etc. were absolutely wonderful. It’s just too bad the baby decided he needed to nurse the entire night and cried every hour on the hour, leaving me awake for the entire night.

Sunday night, for only 10 less we paid at the Hampton we stayed at the shabbiest Days Inn Ever. It was in Las Vegas NM. It was pretty scary. We got out of the car and you could hear the coyotes scream as if to say.. We’ve got our kill… and its YOU! We made it home Monday night, just missing a terrible storm by minutes. There had been 70 mph winds that had knocked out signs, lights and the cover/canopy part of a gas station. It was crazy!
Needless to say, we are glad to be home. The baby is finally back on his normal schedule and I’m starting to get unpacked. I had a good time traveling, but I’m glad that we aren’t going anywhere for a while. Not until our next trip to visit Daddy. I certainly have no plans of staying in a Howard Johnson Express in Bakersfield anytime in the near future. The baby did extremely well traveling until the very end… But to tell you the truth, I wanted to cry and I was tired of being in the car too, so you can’t really blame him, can ya?

P.S. I really wanted to load this thing down with pictures too, but it got too out of control.. So here is a link to the photos from our "2007 Nationals" adventure...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Vacation? Nah...

We are back from the "Goode 2007 National Waterski Tournament." It was a good, albeit dirty dirty week. The lake didn't have grass, so we sat in dirt all week. Then there was the Santa Monica Fire (photos to come) that cast an eerie orange glow over the valley and blocked out the sun much of the week. As we were leaving ash was falling from the sky like snow. yuk. On the way there we stopped in Arches National Park and on the way back we stopped at the Grand Canyon. We also got to see some remnants from Route 66. Sadness.

I have more to come, just wanted to put something up quickly. Be on the lookout for photos and all. :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

To wean... when, how, why? or Not.


First I must apologize. I am very very conflicted about this subject. So, bear with me as I dance around this subject, and pardon me if while during this dance I step on your toes.

A while ago, I blogged about why breastfeeding is such a controversial topic. Mainly, I believe because the breast has been so sexualized. In nearly every other part of the world women routinely nurse their children into toddlerhood (3 or so?). The baby is 9 months old now, and this is a regular topic that is up for discussion between my mother and I, my husband and I, and myself and I. I am writing this now in an attempt to discover what my plans are for weaning. After all, I don't want to just stop nursing him. How mean and traumatic would that be for a child baby who doesn't understand why that is happening? So.. since I plan on doing this gradually, I want to know HOW gradually should I do it? I have already started. He is eating solid foods, and is nursing on average 4 times per day. Once when he gets up in the morning, and once before each time he goes to sleep (two naps, one bedtime.)

I've done some research and this is what the general concensus for weaning is:
  1. Do it gradually over weeks or better yet, months.
  2. Have Daddy step in and help by feeding with bottles, etc.
  3. Gradually replace nursing with expressed milk or formula until one year.
  4. Nursing until 1 year is best
  5. Most babies will eventually wean themselves.

So.. here's my issues/comments about this.

1. Do it gradually.. Duh. I don't want to just stop. That would be painful for both of us, and lets face it.. Mommy with boobs that hurt when the wind blows on them combined with Baby who screams like his limbs are being ripped off in a medieval torture device because Mommy is witholding those boobies?? I'm pretty sure it wouldn't end well. So. Gradually. Got it. I can do that.

2. Have Daddy step in and help. This is a toughie. Daddy is 7000 miles away. Daddy has been one of the people who I have felt pressure from to begin the weaning process. (I am not sure he means to, but I feel it... It's most likely internal.) Daddy is supposed to step in and give baby formula or expressed milk in a bottle during the feedings you are weaning the baby from. Problems with that: 1) Baby hates bottles 2) Baby hates formula 3) Baby hates expressed milk. Yes, the baby likes milk, but only if it is straight from the cow (er, I mean me). So what is a mommy to do? Doctor says "developmentally normal babies will not starve themselves at this stage. He will eventually drink the formula." Have you ever tasted formula? For a baby who is used to it fine, but a baby who is used to drinking sweet breastmilk isn't necessarily going to go for the iron-y tasting milk that some chemists have broken down and put back together into a powdery mess. Comparing the taste of formula to breastmilk is like comparing the taste between coffee and milk. Two different tastes. I personally think formula smells like sour milk... and the one time I did try to taste it I nearly threw up... So, I can't say that I blame the baby. Perhaps his issue is partly mine? At any rate.. If Daddy is going to "help" with the weaning thing and have it be truly successful, it's going to have to wait until December...

3. Gradually replace breastmilk with formula or expressed milk. I touched on this above. He hates formula, and won't drink expressed milk. He prefers it from the cow. So, there's no easy way here for me to "gradually" increase and decrease certain amounts until he's used to a certain taste.

4. Nursing until 1 year is best. I don't have any issues or comments. It probably is.

5. Most babies eventually wean themselves. I know this to be a fact. Why? I don't see any adult men chasing after their mothers to get a sip. I don't see any teenagers, or even older children doing this. The oldest child I've heard of nursing was 5. The thought of a child that old nursing creeps me out a bit.

I have spent a lot of time deliberating over this whole issue. While there seem to be lots of personal reasons for me to start seriously weaning... I can't really think of that many. Sure, it would be nice to have a drink without calculating how long I have before i can nurse, etc. Yes, it would be nice to be able to wear my NORMAL bras again.. (Oh how I long for that day!).. But... I don't drink that often, and when I do it's ONE beer, or ONE drink.. so whatever.. that much doesn't effect the baby. And my pretty pink lacy victorias secret bras will still be just as good in 6 months as they will be in 3.

The reasons for me to continue to nurse for now? There are tons of those. The baby hates milk unless it comes from me. The baby likes to nurse, because it comforts him. When he is upset it always calms him down. He doesn't bite anymore while nursing. It is truly nutrionally sound. He can't have ANY whole milk until he's one, he hates formula, remember. It puts him to sleep nearly every time. It is healthy for me. The more I nurse the lower my chances for serious cancers. It works wonders for quieting him up, nearly every time.. especially on airplanes.

Issues with continuing to nurse beyond these are solely ingrained by society. Our culture is truly conflicted about this subject as well, so of course I'm going to have issues. My baby is only 9 months old, but he's a giant. He's in freakin' 24 month clothes (though I have been known to cram him into smaller outfits because he hasn't worn them yet). So if I did have to nurse him out somewhere, people think I'm nursing a child who's a lot older. Our culture frowns upon nursing beyond the "teeny tiny baby" stage, yet the medical community is trying to get women to breastfeed until their babies are one. So unless I stay home all the time I have to put up with that crap. Just read the papers about women getting kicked off planes for nursing, etc. It's disgusting. (My baby nursed whenever he wanted to on the plane... It made for a much happier baby, a much happier mommy and a much quieter plane!) I also wonder sometimes if I'd had a girl if I would be feeling this much pressure to wean (internally and externally). If it was a girl, there wouldn't be a "sexual" issue going on.

So... here's what I'm going to do about weaning. Nothing. At least not right now. The baby is happy with his few feedings per day, I'm happy.. Because we can leave the house for the afternoon and he doesn't care if he skips his afternoon mommy milk. (he does ask for it when he gets home.) I am going to pray that he self-weans... I will only OFFER when he is ready for sleep. In a month or so, I quit offering in the morning, and then in another month at naptimes, and then maybe, MAYBE by the time he's one.. he'll quit asking demanding to be nursed. If he hasn't weaned himself by the time Daddy comes home, then at least It won't be so hard, right?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

It's been nearly a month?

Time sure does fly when you're busy as... well, busy. We got back from Bahrain. That was fun. The flight back was less then optimal, but it could have been much much worse. We were in the VERY VERY last row and the plane was incredibly crowded for much of the flight. There was no food at any of the stops.. except one, where we weren't allowed to leave the terminal area to get it. KFC had never smelled so good in my life. We didn't have much of a jet-lag problem. The plane ride is long enough that it pretty much took care of that for both of us.

When we returned, we tried to relax a bit but things ended up being insane. We got back to Nebraska Thursday and got to the house around 4pm. We skipped out (sorry guys!) on my in-laws because the baby had been in a car/plane for way too long already and was a bit cranky. We drove in to visit them the next day and spent the entire day with them. Saturday we went to the lake for part of the afternoon. There was a waterski tournament which was fun.

Sunday. Sunday I had lots of plans. Go to church with the in-laws. When that failed, I thought I'd go to the lake for a bit. But that failed too. Why? I had the worst flu I've had in 7 years. We are talking about in the bathroom on the pot holding the trashcan sick for over 14 hours. I was VERY glad that we didn't attempt to head out anywhere, because it would have been miserable. It took me a couple of days to recover from that, then just as I was beginning to feel like I could walk without passing out my Mom got it. We got through it because we had to. Wednesday we left for the 2007 Midwest Regional Waterski Tournament. That was great fun too, until Saturday. When the wind started blowing. And didn't stop. Ever. We spent a bunch more time in the RV with the a/c running than I would have liked.. But we still had fun watching everyone ski, getting some photos, swimming and walking around. On our way home we had some engine trouble, which was funny and crazy. The RV stopped wanting to go faster than 55, then 45, then 35, then 0. Yes. We were stuck on the side of the road. The baby woke up and thought it was great fun to be in the RV while cars were whizzing by. He was rather upset when my Dad got everything running again and he had to be put back into his carseat. He ended up stopping in Concordia KS at Walmart, buying some fuel stabilizer and a new fuel pump, installing all of that and then filling up with gas. (He thought it was bad gas?)

So. Now I am sitting here... frantically trying to catch up on my work, waiting for even more to come in. Trying to figure out what the heck we are going to about getting packed. This Friday evening we take off for Bakersfield CA. Yes, we are going to Nationals. There was some confusion about whether my Dad qualified. He didn't. He is still ranked #2 Overall for the entire Midwest Region, though, so that is something. My Mom will be Chief Safety at Nationals... So she'll be stuck at the lake... However, the baby and I I'm sure will be spending a bit more time doing other things.. Visiting my newly engaged friend.. (I'm so excited!) and well, seeing the inside of the hotel... Because I do have to work sometime!