Wednesday, March 31, 2010
There are knock-down drag-out fights and fits of rage over getting the drops in Harper's eyes.
The laundry is piling up, as I won't allow anyone to reuse a towel after one use for fear of contamination.
The smell of Lysol is beginning to kill my brain cells.
"This is your brain. This is your brain on Lysol."
How about another round of questions for our patient?
Me: Harper, it was another tough morning. You are driving me insane. I love you, but what's the problem. Take. The. Drops.
Harper: I know I was driving you insane. And I will take the drops.
Me: Tell the good folks out there in blog land about the money that is going to exchange hands if I have to pay $40 to have your pediatrician to administer the drops. Go ahead. Tell 'em.
Harper: Well, what's going to happen is that I am going to have to waste my $20 that I got from my birthday if I won't let you put the drops in.
Me: That's right. I have to pay $40 because the doctor wants to see you, now that the infection has spread to your other eye. BUT, if you won't let me put the drops in first, and they have to do it, you can pay me half the amount of the appointment. Period. How does that sound?
Harper: That doesn't sound too good.
Me: So, what's your choice?
Harper: I'll take the drops here so that they won't have to use the cup thing over my eye to get them in.
Me: Smart move. Girl, I love you, but these past three days have been emotionally exhausting for me. You have really pushed me to my anger limit.
Harper: I have?! Oh . . . I knew that. Ok. Your turn.
Me: I'm done. I need to take a shower.
Harper: I know you need to take a shower.
Me: You sayin' I smell?
Harper: NO!!!!!! You do not smell. I thought you needed to talk a shower so you can relax.
Me: Yes, that's right.
The rest of the day includes: the trip to the doctor's office, calling Keurig to find out why they sent me yet another Keurig Elite, ordering tickets for August: Osage County, looking through my new Chalean Extreme Program that just arrived, and catching up on the episode of Lost that I missed last night.
I realize Jesus had a pretty tough week this week . . . and I'm not saying that any of the frustrations in my life are even close to what He endured, but when one gets to the point where they have to physically sit on their child to administer medicine, it's pretty clear that a low point has been reached.
This has been a Good Friday week for me.
Sunday can't come soon enough.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
(cue creepy music)
I love when my children experience "firsts". Like, taking her first step. Or, her first lost tooth. Or, how about her first time on a sports team. Now wait! Nothing beats: HER FIRST CASE OF PINK EYE!
As she is spending yet another day home with moi, Harper and I have agreed to write this post together.
"No, Mom, Mom! Put it in big letters!"
Me: So Harper, tell me about that eye of yours.
Harper: Well, when I woke up yesterday, I couldn't open my eye. And I'm like, "MOM! I CAN'T OPEN MY EYE!"
Me: What happened next?
Harper: My mom said I had pink eye. So I had to stay home from school.
Me: Cool. Did you like that?
Harper: Nah. Kind of. Well, at least I had my homework brought home so I could do it. And so, I had to stay home, doing my homework, and playing Bananagrams with my mom.
Me: Hmm, I seem to recall some, well, difficulty with getting the medicine in your eyes. Would I be correct in that assumption?
Harper: Yeah. Well, the first time it was really, like, creepy because it's STUFF GOING INTO YOUR EYE! But, the other times doing it was a little easier-
Me: Hold on . . . easier????? Please.
Harper: It was easier because I got used to it.
Me: I'm sorry, but have you forgotten this morning?
Harper: Yeah. Well, it was kind of hard because . . . yesterday I was used to it, but then I, like, kind of forgot how easy it was. I finally did it.
Me: Yes, but what did it take to convince you?
Harper: My Dad told me a story about when he was little. It was about how he was scared of going to the doctor. His doctor told him you can be sick longer or you can take the shot now and get better soon.
Me: What a sweet story. So, how did I handle you not wanting to take the drops?
Harper: You . . . kind of got really mad. Then you went to your office, shut the door, and I think you put a chair by the door because you were so mad and didn't want anyone to get in.
Me: For the record, I did not put a chair by the door. But I WAS livid. Continue.
Harper: Change of subject.
Me: No, I don't think we're done with this interview.
Harper: I finally got the drop in because Dad told me to close my eyes and then he put the drop on the corner of my eye. Then I opened my eye and the drop came into my eye and then I closed it again to keep it inside. For some reason, Dad did it three times in the same eye.
Me: I think he wanted to make sure it was really in there. So, um, how are you feeling about me now?
Harper: Um, I know that we're OK now and well, when we are done with this post, I wanna play Bananagrams.
Me: I love you, Harps. I love you more than any other girl in the world.
Harper: Yeah! I love you too, Mom. Can we play Bananagrams now?
And with that, our story ends. Tonight, I will be taking the kids to see The Wizard of Oz at Heinz Hall and thankfully, Harper can attend, because she allowed me to force feed her eyeballs the drops.
Monday, March 29, 2010
You won't be finding me coaching your kid's soccer or softball team.
I soooooo know my limitations.
I have, however, made a huge decision for myself this week which will not only benefit my fitness and health goals, but will place me in a position to encourage and cheer on my friends.
Every heard of P90X? No? I'm surprised.
If you have, let me answer most emphatically that NO, I will not be attempting this program.
Yesterday, I signed on to become an Independent Beachbody Coach (the company who developed P90X) because I really like their exercise programs. I do not have a gym membership - the cost, the driving, and the childcare are all hassles that inhibit me from going. I know gyms work for some, but for me - not so much. I'd rather wake up, walk downstairs, exercise (or head outside for a run), walk back upstairs, shower, and be done with it.
However, even I need someone to kick my patootie, so the days I don't run or play tennis, I get help from dvd's - and I've seen a ton of them. I do love me some Jillian Michaels.
But here again - I needed something more and Beachbody brought it.
So, I signed up to be a coach with a company who knows a thing or two about fitness. In turn, I get a nice discount on the programs (such as Chalean Extreme) and supplements (I am a shake and vitamin girl) plus a nice commission when someone purchases from my site. Beachbody takes care of everything else. I just work out and encourage others to get fit!
I needed this accountability for myself. For in order to help people (and specifically women) to both make fitness a habit and to encourage their journey (which, as I joked with a friend tonight, I already do - telling people what to do that is . . . ) I must lead by example. Becoming a coach who can recommend programs and keep people motivated, will, in turn, keep me committed and on track.
George and I have both talked a bit about starting a "Fit Club" at church where we do one of the dvd's with folks one night a week. I think that would be a blast - similar to the Sargent's Program my dad used to be a part of back in D.C. But, that's Phase 2.
Phase 1 is just getting through 90 days of Chalean Extreme. My goal is to be working out every morning at 6:45 "alongside" my friend Janet who is in Maine. We're both passionate about fitness. I'm just not passionate about mornings.
So, Beachbody, here I come.
I'm going to work my tail off so that I can inspire others to work their tails off. America needs to get fit.
Starting with me.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Little did I realize what kind of commercials they run in between shows on, of all places, Qubo.
It was around 3:00 when Zane made this statement, "Wow, that is a really bad hairpiece."
I glanced up to see a commercial advertising just that. Hairpieces for men.
I didn't share with Zane that I once yelled, "Great hair!" at Rod Blagojevich as he walked during the Evanston 4th of July Parade. So, I too, can recognize a bad piece. The keen eye must run in the family.
Rod thanked me.
He didn't quite get the joke.
In my opinion, a bad hairpiece for men should be like the lipstick/food on or in between the teeth issue for women.
We tell each other when something looks ridiculous.
Glad Zane is getting this at an early age.
Ok, so I'm not totally sure that Rod wears a piece. But, it just looks like one. And, if it is his real hair, than it's even worse than a wig.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
I mean, with all the talk out there about green living and organic eating, and antibiotics and steroids, and free range, and local farming, etc., etc., etc., one could get "green envy". However, upon taking an honest assessment of their actual living habits, one might realize that "green with envy" is the only actual thing green about their lifestyle.
So, I asked myself, "Do I have actual habits in place to do my part in helping the environment? With all my talk about healthy eating and clean foods and such, have I really made any lasting changes?"
Time for a self-review.
Last year, right around this time, I wrote this post as one of my Thrifty Thursday articles. I have since abandoned Thrifty Thursdays because, well, I forgot to write them. Thus, they are no more.
It was interesting to re-read my post about Cutting Out Waste to see if one year later I was still on my own band wagon.
I still do not purchase paper towels. We use microfiber cloths for cleaning, and fabric napkins for eating. Yes, that means more washing, but I have an energy star appliance which uses half the water of a top loader machine and thus, I wash. I have less paper waste. Any paper we do use goes in a bin out back and hauled down the street to the recycling bin when filled to the brim.
I also purchase recycled toilet paper. Toilet paper does not need to be cushy. The cushy stuff isn't good for the pipes anyway. And lets face it. You are wiping your a&* - why be fancy?
Nope. Still don't use them. I know there are folks who clean and dry their baggies. I don't trust myself to do that. Instead, I have trained my family to bring home their rubbermaid containers. Haven't lost one this year.
We recycle other plastics once a month. Yes, we've gone from recycling pickups twice a week to once a month. Our back porch is full.
One year later we are still making our own from green products. We moved here 9 months ago, at which time a friend gave me a great assortment of green cleaners that she had made herself. We are still using one of the concoctions she made. It takes a capful of green cleaner and water. The place smells great. The counters are clean enough to eat off of, which I find myself doing often. Must. Sit. Down.
I do use something different on wood, and will admit to using Lysol during our H1N1 scare and the recent pink eye palooza.
We do not use room fresheners. Soy candles are lit frequently.
What about food, Miss Know It All?
That's the thing, I don't know it all, so back off.
- I purchase fair trade or organic coffee. I especially like Green Mountain and Newman's Organic's (100% of profits go to charity, plus Paul Newman was hot).
- You will not find me buying individual bottles of water. Folks, this is sooo expensive. If you don't like the tap water, (and in Beaver, you shouldn't be drinking it without a filter), get a filter. Or, splurge like we have for 5 gallon reuseable jugs. I've gotten a little bit of flack for the cost of our water per month, but if you are buying individual bottles, I can assure you, you are paying more than I am. I use the water from my cooler for making coffee, cooking, the dog, everything. The brita filter just didn't cut it. Sure, we could go fill up our jugs at the grocery store or the beer warehouse (yep - the beer warehouse), but I'd rather budget for delivery. It means that much to me.
- I do not purchase items with high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, or dyes. (not even in bread - seriously, check your bread for HFC) If I want sugar, I eat sugar. What this means for us, is less money spent on snacks for the kids. I bake more. What this means for the kids is that their friends can't stand that we don't have fun snacks that come in individual small expensive packages. Zane loves peanut butter crackers, so we do get those. Both my kids love fruit leathers - brought those to Zane's pre-school and the kids almost cried. One mother, however, did call to ask where we got them. It's healthvangelism. I also get pretzels and corn chips and stuff, but fruit roll-ups? Are you kidding me? If I wanted my kids to eat food dye, I'd squirt it directly into a bowl and give them a spoon.
- I follow the dirty dozen rule when it comes to organics. I can't afford to go organic all the way, so I follow this list of must-have's and must have not's. I can not purchase a non-organic apple. My hands just won't let me. And strawberries. Don't even think about it. Which means? We don't buy strawberries, because I can not afford the organic type. I keep a basket of apples and pears and clementines out all day. The kids know that at any time they may grab a snack from that basket.
- I purchase milk without growth hormones. And actually, if I really think about, not so much milk these days. George and I drink Almond Milk. The kids prefer to get their calcium and D via orange juice, V-8 fusion, and green vegetables.
- I purchase meat without growth hormones or anti-biotics. Which means? There are weeks we don't eat meat (we do have the occasional roast). I do go to McDonald's or Wendy's with the kids once a month. Only now, after watching Food, Inc, I am seriously reconsidering that. Why go there when they love miso soup and California rolls? They don't get a plastic toy, but they don't really need another plastic toy. My kids would be just as stoked if I told them we were getting miso for lunch. And it is for sure healthier for them.
I raised the McDonald's point at dinner tonight, asking the kids what cow's eat.
One would think. I then shared with them what I have learned.
They are now down with California rolls becoming their new "happy meal."
So am I a kill-joy? No. I do purchase the occasional box of cookies (d&^m those girl scouts), and surprise yummy for the kids - which makes the treat more fun. Recently we had Reuben's and I got good 'ole deli meat - nothing fancy. But I don't purchase Popsicles, those fruit snacks with red dye, candy, soft drinks, processed cereals and meat with junk in it as a habit.
Zane and I developed a great smoothie recipe that we then turn into popsicles. I splurge for pudding (with the real sugar), they drink water, and if they want a snack, I bake something, or they grab fruit. It's really not that hard. Yes, there is some complaining. But, they will live.
If you came to my house, the kitchen would seem bare. I shop for meals once a week. I don't stock pile a ton (accept for chicken broth, beans, and such) because I don't buy enough processed stuff that will keep for a long period of time. I do need another freezer. That would rock.
I'm not trying to sound haughty.
What's for dinner tonight?
You won't like it.
Kale chips (seriously, they are so good that Harper and I fight over them), baked tofu (George rocks it and Zane can't get enough), and wonton soup from our Chinese place.
Dessert? Smoothies made with banana, almond milk, honey, some oj, and a few other things thrown in. Nutella is also a staple around here.
I'm not all out crazy green, but I'm doing what I can do for my family. Many of the choices I make are inconvenient (making cleaners, no paper towels, or baggies) and a bit sacrificial (I love meat, and the kids glare at me at times), but we all need to decide what we can do, and do it. If you feel the fight is worth it.
I happen to think it is.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
"Emilie? Oh, she's my girlfriend."
And with this exchange, as recounted to me by a friend of mine who was the first recipient of the news that Zane had a girlfriend, spring has sprung. Love is in the air. Cupids arrows have struck.
Only, don't talk about it around the other boys in Zane's class, for "they tease anyone who has a girlfriend." Shhh.
Ok, son. Mum's the word.
Let me warn you, however. A woman, very close to your heart, and looking a lot like, well, me, once told a man the very same thing. "Ok, we'll try this out. But how about not announcing it all over the place. Let's keep things cool and quiet, ok?"
I married him.
So begins the tale of Zane and the first little lady who has won his heart - other than Mom.
He is protective. Chivalrous.
Our fair maiden: "There is a boy in class who is pushing me."
"I'LL TEACH HIM A LESSON!" barks her Prince Charming.
"Zane is so silly", I share with the said object of son's affection.
"Zane is so strong!” she quips in reply.
This is by no means the first time my son has taken a liking to a fine looking lady's face, for we have often noticed his affinity for older girls, you know of 11 or 12. And true to form, in this case, his latest crush is a year older than our 5 year old lady killer.
Only this time? The feeling is, well, kind of mutual.
But what boy wouldn't love a 6 year old girl who digs Spiderman and molding flubber into the shape of dino livers after a recent hunt and capture of the most evil carnivore? And what girl wouldn't love a 5 year old boy who digs trampoline's and burping contests over a refreshing cherry Italian soda?
It's a match made in Beaver.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I had long black curly hair with a big rounded poof in the front, pushed forward a bit, the ends being clipped back with a barrette. Seriously, I am not sure how to explain it without a photograph handy. Something like this. See where I'm headed?
He wasn't mistaking me for Julia Louis-Dreyfus.
No, that happened with a different guy. And not at Bally's.
This time I was wearing red workout tights. That I remember.
Had I actually been the actress he thought me to be, I would have indeed been wearing red. On the Starship Enterprise. I would not, however, have been seen working out at a Bally's in Deerfield, IL.
Unless, maybe, Marina Sirtis did happen to hit Bally's from time to time. Who knows. She had to stay trim in that outfit somehow.
All that to say, I do have some inner-geek in me when it comes to Star Trek: The Next Generation, and even spent a Halloween dressed as Commander Deanna Troi. Communicator and all. There are pictures. Somewhere. George went as Wesley Crusher.
Will Wheaton. Yeah, he's still around.
So, I know all about the Borg. Forced assimilation and all that sort of jazz.
I revisited Chicago this past weekend. It took only seconds after exiting the plane and entering the gate at O'Hare upon arrival to realize that this was not home.
It didn't look like home. It didn't feel like home. It. Was. Not. Home.
I have assimilated.
We are Beaver.
I had a tremendous time. Fabulous. Loved seeing all the folks I could in roughly 24 hours. I reveled in watching a performance of a former student. I enjoyed much needed catch up's on conversations with old friends. I was introduced, and re-introduced to new babies. I hit up my favorite second hand shop, drank coffee with those I hold dear, ate a great hot-dog, and slept in a king sized bed. Alone.
And that's just it.
I loved it all, and yet there was a deep-seated feeling of loneliness and wanting to be home.
And Chicago just didn't cut it as "home" any longer.
I don't feel any remorse over that revelation, but rather, gladness. For I have taken to this new town so very quickly and easily. I have a neighborhood the likes of which I have never experienced, and new friends with whom I've connected surprisingly quickly. My new church community is my new church community. We live here now. Now.
And Chicago? Chicago, along with Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, and let's not forget Lake Forest and Bannockburn will always hold some of the best memories from 18 years of my life.
And yet, as a wise, wise, woman once recalled after a bump on the head,
"There's no place like home."
Resistance is futile.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
And how my son and his "girlfriend" dissected dinosaurs (only the mean ones) at the kitchen table, turning home-made flubber into the carnivore's kidneys.
You want to know the 411.
You probably have no interest in hearing about my sick Keurig.
See, this is Cuppa Jo, and this Jo doesn't begin the day without her fresh cuppa, handed to her bedside by her husband. And frankly, you should know this.
And yet, there's been an injury to the very appliance that I consider a member of our own family.
Some googling revealed that there have been a batch of Keurig Elites taking nose dives over the past few months. My research turned up complaints of countless misfires which have occurred in Keurig Elites all over the US. The water wouldn't heat. Machines turning off after brewing one cup. Loud, angry, painful noises.
Yes, my little Keurig is wounded.
Upon calling the company, it took less than 5 minutes for the customer service representative to share that a new one would be in the mail tomorrow. With pods. Did I need to send the defective unit back?
I was instructed to just dispose of it.
Like, bury it?
No answer. He wasn't in the mood to joke. Polite? Well, yes, although also sounding very unemotional and scripted in his response to me. Clearly, he had heard my story before. Apparently, countless times. He knew the drill.
I would like to thank those Keurig Elite owners who have gone before me, reporting their injured machines, and thus blazing the trail by which enabling me to get a replacement so very quickly, without the wasted time of several phone calls to the company or the hassle of packaging up the unit to send back. Thanks for fighting so that I wouldn't have to do so.
Hopefully, my next Keurig will be from a fresh batch - ready to perform up to 4 times a day without complaint, fatigue, retreat, or defect.
Until I receive my new machine, I will lay hands on the lame appliance, in hopes of securing at least one cup of java in the morning.
And if I can't?
You will find me at my neighbor's house.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Zane has recently begun linking the letter and the sound it makes as it corresponds to words. He goes around "puttering" and "muttering" and "tuttering" all day.
"P, p, p, p, p. Popcorn!"
"T, t, t, t. Teeth!"
Each time we tell him that he is getting closer to reading, he glows.
And, I, of course, cry.
Yesterday, on Seuss's birthday, he comes home from school and tells me that he read the name Dr. Seuss off the board.
I was doubtful.
"No, mom, I did. I looked at the word and saw the d, d, d and the sssssss. She told us it was an author's name, so I raised my hand and said Dr. Seuss. I got it right!"
He put two and two together and . . . oh, the places you will go!
And Harper? Be still my heart.
After some arm twisting (not literally), I convinced her to try out Girls on the Run at the local YMCA. She was reticent. Really. Very. Reticent.
She is continuing to take tennis lessons (but is currently opposed to even attempting to play a real match), but we decided against softball (due to the schedule - we want our family evenings), and swimming (again, lessons are at the dinner hour). However, we wanted Harper to experience one activity where she would have to overcome a challenge (she will run/walk a 5K at the end of the season) while providing a real confidence boost - her coach ROCKS.
I made sure to have her running clothes ready after school, a snack, and her shoes (which now have pre-fab orthodics due to her aching flat feet). We showed up, I gave her the instructions to listen to her Coach, and went to sit in the lobby with Zane (who can play a mean game of Tic-Tac-Toe).
She finished the class with a smile on her face. And a very hungry stomach.
As we chatted last night before bed, she shared that she was proud that she is now a Girl on the Run. It's not often she'll communicate verbally about something personal of which she is proud. So, even though the words were few, they were packed with depth.
Oh, the places you will go . . .
Reading and running.
Two of my favorite things.