Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year End Redux, Via Sundry

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

I spent 7 hours a day, every day, away from my twin daughters. I learned how to use Ebay. I started using reusable shopping bags for EVERY shopping trip.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make resolutions last year, that I can recall... but I intend to this year. I think the main ones will be a) getting out of debt and b) getting into shape. David and I are considering trying out the ol' Dave Ramsey plan... input anyone? Also, I'd like to learn how to use Photoshop Elements.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes- I've officially moved out of the "everyone's getting married" phase and am fully entrenched in "everyone's growing their family" phase. (What's next? "Everyone's going broke over braces"? or perhaps "Everyone's putting their daughters on the pill"?)

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Blessedly, no.

5. What countries did you visit?

Errrummm, NONE. Pathetic.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?

Financial health, physical health, a few more wall-paper-free rooms, a new camera and some photography skillz.

7. What dates from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

November 4th my heart burst with joy and relief.

The kids' birthdays are always slow-motion, savor the child, reflect on how they've grown type of days. The twins celebrate their arrival on Jan. 23rd, and Marin joined us on Sept 25th. They turned 5 and 2, respectively, this year.

The first day of kindergarten was A Pretty Big Deal for all of us. We became Parents of Grade School Aged Children. But do I remember the DATE? No.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I sat in a dentists' chair without running out of the office and barfing in the parking lot.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Getting healthy.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Our whole family was much healthier this year than last. 2007 was a very hard year for our family, health-wise, so this was v. v. appreciated.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

New living room furniture- it changed how we lived in our home.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I enjoyed watching the execution of the Obama campaign- it was done with integrity and focus and respect.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I am so sick of my parents' "getting a divorce"- it's been over 2 years since they started the process. I also am depressed about how they spend and handle their money, and I worry about their ability to sustain themselves in the future.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Besides being "house-poor", we tried to get aggressive about paying off our medical debt.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The election. My daughter loosing her first tooth. Adapting our lifestyle to be more earth friendly.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008?

Can't tell you, or you'll laugh.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? I am more content with life this year than last year. This is probably partially because we were all much healthier this year. I've really embraced life in Tiny Town, and I can now say that I LIKE living here.

b) thinner or fatter? About the same

c) richer or poorer? About the same... but in theory we've paid down some debt...

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Spending time savoring my girls, playing with them, letting time slip away, ignoring chores and schedules and to do lists and just being with them. Talking to my husband more. Talking/visiting to some far-flung friends more often.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Saying negative things. Indulging in negative thoughts and feelings and/or being judgemental. Worrying. Being crabby to the kids when they were just being kids.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

We were home as a family for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. Christmas Day was with David's side. Christmas the third was with my mom on the 29th. Christmas the fourth is on the 31st at my dad's house.

21. Did you fall in love in 2008?

Yes, with ragdoll cats. If that's not the most embarrassing part of this whole questionnaire... Jebus. CATS.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I really got into LOST this year. I still love Grey's, Daily Show, and Brothers and Sisters. Also, Oprah. SHUT IT.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I spent some (wasted, pathetic) time hating (or at least strongly disliking) someone this year, but I've since gotten over it, somewhat, which is much healthier for me.

24. What was the best book you read?

Hmmmm, I really loved Water for Elephants.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

You mean there are artists out there besides the Indigo Girls?

26. What did you want and get?

A laptop, a kitten (actually didn't know I wanted one until I WANTED ONE, if you know what I mean), the old chairs from my Grandma's house, a skillet WITH A LID, new couches, community with friends old and new, and more time to read.

27. What did you want and not get?

A SLR digital camera. East Coast Anne to move in next door, a 2009 calendar (YET), the ability to STOP napping. Le Sigh.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I loved Once and Lars and the Real Girl.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 33 (I think) (I was born in '75... so that makes me 33, right?), but I can't for the life of me remember what we did. (Sorry David).

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Not having so much GD debt.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

Fashion WHA? Ok, well this year, I wore my favorite gray hat alot (until I lost it), along with jeans, my red clogs, and various sweatshirts/hoodies/sweaters. In the summer, I loved turning my jeans into capris and sloshing around in flip-flops.

32. What kept you sane?

Hanging out with other moms, the ladies at work, blogging and reading blogs, ZOLOFT.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I had full on crushes on Barack Obama and TINA FEY. The end.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?


35. Who did you miss?

East Coast Anne. Viscerally. It really sucks that we can't really raise our kids together. My college friends Christy and Anne- isn't it about time to hit Olive Garden, girls? Tammy.

36. Who was the best new person you met?

Annie and family.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.

That being in the know about our finances is rewarding and not scary. Spending less is satisfying. There is a big difference between what we "need" and what we think we need. There is much excess in these tough times, and we are very VERY blessed- in many ways- but specifically in the material ways. Especially compared to most of our human brothers and sisters living on this planet.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.


Happy New Year, friends. Be safe. Drink merrily. See you next year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Peace and Glad Tidings

Dear Friends of Bloglandia,

Whatever you believe, however you celebrate, I hope you are having a wonderful holiday. Blogging has been such a good experience for me- seeing how all of you are living your lives, reading about your great families and the good AND bad moments, viewing pictures of your children, your pets, your private lives. Thank you for being such a caring "I hear ya" kind of community.

Blessings and peace,



Raw and untouched, here are a few photos of our Christmas:

Our tree- she doesn't know how lucky she is that she still has a warm home for the holidays. (See also: OMeffingG the pine needles).

Chef Marin- what you can't see is that she is pant-less and also diaper-less in this photo, making the view of her walking away especially comical.

Christmas Eve- after candle light service, before our subzero arctic walk.

Layered, and ready to head out to view the luminaries in our neighborhood.

Despite the actual air temp being -2 (which we didn't look at before we headed out), our neighborhood was beautifully lit. That is our house in the background.

The countdown is OVER! It's finally Christmas Day! And, small Christmas miracle as it may be, our children did not rouse us until 7 am. ON THE NOSE.

Our family shot, at David's parents' house, yesterday. We take a family photo every year in this spot, which makes it fun to see how the children have grown and changed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day in the Life

Over at Sundry's place, you can see her version of this post, where you will find great writing along with beautiful, well framed photos. While I did get my inspiration for this post from her, you will only find crappy snapshots and poor lighting over here. So with that enticing preview, I present our day, yesterday, December 22, 2008:

Some morning playtime, shockingly without any fighting (for once). I guess the fact that the big girls are home on vacation is still novel. Only 12 more days left before school is back in session! (Hold me.)

Why, yes, Marin is still wearing her original over-night diaper. We try to get our money's worth out of those things. Plus, it's greener. But look! We are still happily reading books and not bickering!

Well, since the girls are fed and happy, I guess it's time for some morning coffee.

Dammit! Grounds in the pot! Why does this always happen to me? I even wet the filter this morning, trying to prevent this very thing. Oh, well. Obv. I still drank it down. While sitting in my "nest":

Laptop? Check. Cordless phone? Check. 40 blankets? Well, not quite, but at least a nice big thick one. Kitten to attack the back of my neck while I type? Check.

While I would love to tool around on the Internets for, um, hours, there are things! to! do! Like, put the dolly down for a nap.

And have a morning snack. Store brand "gogurt"= one of three foods that sustains my children. (The other two are bread and candy.)

Around 10 AM I decided I better not push my luck with the overnight diaper any longer. I win! It has not yet leaked. Note to self: best not to push it so far next time... one more molecule of fluid and she was going to blow.
Might as well get the baby dressed while I'm at it. Including standard-issue foot wear (see also: thermostat set at 67 degrees).

Ok, so now we are starting to drive each other bat-shit crazy. I have not left the house since Thursday. I call a friend... want to meet at the library? She can't make it, but I decide to venture out with the kids anyway. We need some new movies, ahem, I mean books.
Oh, look! It's warmed up! It's only -8!

We each apply 14 layers of down and gortex, and we are off!

The following is a crappy picture I took FOR YOU GUYS while walking into the library. As I snapped this I was hollering to the girls- "Run for the door! Skin freezes in, like, 2 seconds!"

The library was pretty deserted. I guess most people were smart enough to stay in. Anyway, shortly after we arrived, I started to smell this really fowl odor. It was STRONG. And NASTY. Oh, and look at that! It's coming from my daughter's butt! Do you think I have a clean diaper along? NO. How many times have I left the house in her 2 years, 2+ months without a clean diaper? ZERO. I hurry the kids through the process of picking out books, all the while Marin is happily chattering to the (crabby) librarian about how her diaper is SOGGY and STINKY and POOPY!
Oh, well, we still picked out a few things.

We came straight home where I changed one of the dirtiest dirty diapers of my LIFE, after which I spent some quality time spraying Glade directly up my nostrils.
Next I made a hasty lunch and put Marin down for a nap. The big girls had some quiet time reading books and watching their library movies.

Marin slept until 4:30. I have the best napper in the WORLD, I know.
And yes, we do feed her chocolate to keep her from climbing my legs while I make dinner. But not every day. I mean, sometimes, I put her in front of the tv instead.
(Send Mothering-related awards, if you must.)

Hey, look at the 12 step, gourmet meal I prepared. I know it may look like a frozen pizza and sliced apple, but I'm here to tell you friends, it took some serious cooking to put a meal of this quality on the table.
(Shut up.)

Finally I leave you with our bedtime routine of piling into my bed to read some stories. I don't think my teeth usually look so... chipmunk-y, but I guess I don't know for sure.

The night ended with a serious gift wrapping session. So serious that NO photos were taken. I wrapped about 20 presents. Guess how many David wrapped in the same time? That's right, THREE. *SIGH*
Happy Christmas Eve-Eve!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

(Almost) Done

David took the day off yesterday, at the last minute, and we went Christmas shopping together.

I'm always curious how other people handle gift-giving, so I'll tell you if you'll tell me!

We give each of our kids 3 gifts from us. I love having this guideline, because once I've found 3 gifts, I can move on to the next child. Santa comes to our house and brings one present, plus fills the stockings. Almost DONE.

For our parents and grandparents we order Shutterfly photo books. This year I also have some little purse-sized notebooks with Joan and Kate's original artwork on the cover (ordered through a fundraiser). DONE.

The kids draw names on David's side- there are 16 grandchildren. So we have 3 kids to buy for, plus our niece who is David's godchild. I ask their parents what they would like. (2 out of 4 DONE).

David and I each got each other a couple of little things. This year we are not exchanging much. (I'm looking at YOU, shitty economy and YOU, medical bills.)

I managed to finish my shopping for our kids without buying a single piece of plastic! I KNOW! For the record, I am not against plastic- if you came to my house that would be VERY obvious. But it felt good to not buy plastic. I'm not sure why. I think I might be a closet hippie.

Today I have a doula client that is having a scheduled Csection, so I'll make a couple of exchanges and pick up a couple of misc. things while I'm in Bigger Town. Then, I think I'll be DONE-DONE.

Plus I wrapped nearly everything last night.


Oh, yeah, before I get too cocky, I just remembered that I haven't even considered our Christmas cards yet. If I work on them this weekend and mail them by next Monday, they'll get to (most) everyone by Christmas, right?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Laptop, Cold, Adorable

David kicked me off our computer.

We have a home office, with all-the-latest in computer advances, including 2 flat screen monitors. Also, a comfy chair, superfast connection, and other bells and whistles that I don't have proper appreciation for... until they are gone.

The problem was that we would fight over using the computer. When I say "fight" I mean the silent type- I would dash into the office to check my email while he finished putting the kids to bed, then he would hover and pace- without saying a word- waiting for me to get off. I would be annoyed that he was hovering and pacing and take my time. ECT, ECT, ECT.

(We have other computers- but this was the easiest to use and also the only one with both my email and all of our (kazillions) of pictures on it.)

Soooo, David finally had enough and moved all of it over to my very own laptop.

I'm mostly happy with this arrangement.


How do laptop users get comfortable while using a laptop? I mean, short of sitting at the kitchen table (HARD, WOODEN, COLD), I am facing an ergonomic shitstorm over here. My legs are stiff from being curled under me, my shoulder is stiff from using the mouse, my wrists are stiff from trying to type. Also, I think I've developed a twitch.

Do other laptop users use the laptop on their laps? Because if they do, I cannot figure out how they are not hunched over, carpel tunnel ridden, permanently altered invalids.

In other news, it is minus 6.2 degrees Fahrenheit here right now. As in: BELOW ZERO. Windchill is currently being measured in Kelvin. Since the temperatures have plummeted 3 DAYS AGO, I have managed to not step a single big toe outside. I'm not sure if that qualifies me as a hermit or a genius, but whatevs. I'm warm.

(And by warm, I mean I'm sitting in my 67 degree house under 23 blankets, with 7 wool sweaters and about eleventy billion pairs of socks on.)

(Which, incidentally, then turns me into a panting, mouth breathing, sweating, ball-o-fun when I whip out the vacuum approx. every 2.4 minutes to suck up all of the pine needles OMeffingG the pine needles!)

Finally, news from the adorable front: I don't think I mentioned in my last post that Coco plays fetch. We toss her favorite "dead bird" toy, and she does that awkward chirp/meow and dashes after it. After she makes sure it's STILL DEAD, she trots back to us with it in her mouth, just like a puppy.


She also loves to chase Marin while Marin drags a string. Between the toddler chubby legs pumping around, and the toddler belly laugh, and the kitten sliding into walls as she tries (and fails) to catch the string... Honestly, I don't need to go out (and possibly FREEZE TO DEATH), I have free entertainment right here.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sliding Into Lows

I called my doctor today and requested a med consult. It seems I've been on a bit of a slide lately, and it was HIGH TIME I did something about it.

It started a couple of months ago, when I would wake around 3am and would not be able to fall back asleep. I never have sleep troubles, so this was unusual for me. Also, I was extremely nauseous every morning- to the point where I spent a great deal of time pressing my forearms into my breasts and wondering "AM I????" I even took a pregnancy test... negative.

Next, I wandered into a "I don't give a goddamn so don't ask me" phase, which was lovely actually, though also not normal for me. I couldn't make decisions, I didn't care one way or another, NOTHING could ruffle my feathers, Nosiree. Me, not have an opinion? Ha, ha, ha, ha, HA!


We didn't know where we were spending Thanksgiving until hours before we had to leave... I simply could not focus on the choices or make a decision, and I also didn't really care where we ended up. (Which was in South Dakota, sharing a motel room with my mom and her dog. But luckily? It was fine. I was as calm and disconnected as a clam.)

Also during this time, I was having trouble controlling my impulses.

Exhibit A:

This is Coco. She's a Ragdoll/Persian mix, and we love her dearly. She definitely has the "floppy-cat" characteristics and is very tolerant with the children. Merry Christmas to us, a bit early!

Um? I guess I forgot to reread this post. Oops.

A related confession: I've completely fallen in love with the Ragdoll breed. Which is, to put it bluntly, embarrassing. I mean, I am not a Cat Lady. I'm not! And I'm not a Specific Breed Lady either. Or a Designer Cat Lady. And I'm surely not a Pay Money For A Cat While Hundreds Of Kittens Are Euthanized In Shelters Lady.

But I lurrrrve Ragdolls. In fact, let's just add "being obsessed" to the list of symptoms I experienced during this phase of The Slide.

(We paid a modest "rehoming" fee for Coco, since she is a ragdoll mix. But that doesn't stop me from thinking about- and even plotting- purchasing a(nother) ragdoll kitten. WHAT IS MY PROBLEM??? Oh, yeah, right. Now I remember.)

Finally, after all of that, I started to feel sad. It would hit suddenly and intensely, and then recede leaving me feeling exhausted, but no longer sad... just confused. My depression has never manifested itself as overt sadness, so this also was atypical. The ever-familiar anxiety was back too, it fits and starts.

By now it was a big ol' DUH that I needed to do something. I've been taking an antidepressant for over 2 years and never increase my dosage... until today. I've been instructed to give it two weeks and then reevaluate. So that puts us right at... what? Christmas Eve? WONDERFUL. I GET TO BE CRAZY FOR CHRISTMAS.

[Edited to add: I wrote this post a few days ago, and since I've increased my dose, I've magically felt much better. I KNOW the increase wouldn't actually take effect that quickly, but I guess I'll take this mood improvement- no matter what the cause.]