Archive for March, 2009

Unintended

I rarely ever talk about Monster on this blog. When I do talk about him, it’s usually about his physical well being and his mental health. I have a few honestly good reasons why. One of them is that I do blog about the most important things to us right now, and that is his mental well being and physical health. While mapping the road to our first baby together we have not lost sight of the long, dark road that lies ahead for us as a family, with or without a new baby. Monster’s fate rests heavily in our hands, and therefore heavily on this blog.

This journal has also become absorbed in my obsessive need to goal orient my life. In planning our future, my present has received little note, not here at least. This journal was started out of a need for companionship amongst like-minded lesbians (or in Calli’s case, honorary lesbians) who had taken the journey and succeed, or were just starting, like we were. Over time, these women have lent me strengthunimaginable and showed me a compassion that lacks in my day-to-day. Their journeys have steadied my hand and held me strong, their bravery has made me braver, and I feel more sound of mind than I have in a long time. Their choices have ultimately led me to defining my own choices, in both my life and my plans for trying to concieve. I was hotheaded, and their wisdom has cooled the fires to smouldering tinder.

Why Monster has been in the background is not easy to assume. It is not because he is not of me- a biological truth feels more like a lie as he resembles me more every day – and not because I did not raise him from birth. I could not love him any more if he had my eyes or my hands, physical likeness or not, he is my son more than ever. I cannot imagine a day without him in my life, and my heart aches for the years we were separated. I know the pain of missing a child, and I never want to relive it again.

The main reason for keeping a lot of his quirks and daily details silent is for his safety and anonymity. At 11 he is old enough to be embarrassed by being put in a public forum, no matter how small the audience may be. I strive to keep him as private as I can, while still sharing the joy that is my Monster. I don’t want him to find this journal when he’s 16 and be completely mortified with what is held within.

All that being said, at this age, development comes in leaps and bounds and happens so fast I can’t blink without missing it, let alone blog. He changes his mind on what he likes so frequently there’s no keeping up. As we are constantly getting rid of his old toys, my heart cripples a little, wondering how long it is before he no longer needs me for everything. I will mourn that day for the rest of my years.

His personality is such that most of my posts are centered around his disorder because it really does consume a large chunk of our parenting. We’re constantly doging the bullets, and are therefore completely preoccupied with this demon in his head.

We are so shamefully tired of this struggle. We thrill for the day it is controlled, and things maintain a sense of sanity. I want my sweet boy back , the one who stood at the edge of my bed, begging to sleep with me while Fil was at work. I don’t think I gave myself enough time to absorb those moments, the way he needed me more than anything in the world. He would cuddle against me, and I could hear his breath go slow with the weight of sleep upon him. I never knew those moments were brief and already leaving before they had time to impact. I thought him immune to aging. How naive.

I now relish those moments when they return, fleeting as they may be, when he needs me to hold him, or when he comes to me with his arms spread wide and a look of pure, shining love in his eyes – the look that tells me he’ll love me, deeply as always, no matter how many times I take his DS away or tell him to rotate his clothes.

Not all is bad with Monster. He is a joy to have every day. Even if he has one of his horrible days, there are pinpoints of light that direct us in the right direction. When he puts his clothes away without hassle, or presents his wide opened mouth, showing me that he chewed his vitamin without prompting. Little things that make me marvel at this boy I have made my own, who has grown to adopt some of my mannerisms, who clings to me so feverishly, afraid he’ll lose his mother for good. I am surprised when he joyously accompanies me on errands, kisses my cheek with his oriental Ra*men breath and begs me to watch TV with him. I feel there is no greater power in the world than doing things to make him shiver with excitement, like buying him his favourite bubble gum or watching Phin*eas and Fe*rb with him for hours. There is also no greater gift than the smile he gives me, wide and true. I struggle to memorize every feature of his boyish face creased in a smile, knowing that gifts like that are ever precious as he ages.

I can’t stress enough how it pains me that he struggles with this disorder every day. Whether it is ADHD or some disease that lurks behind common symptoms, we won’t know until we see his psychologist. I fear the path we are taking him down, one where he will alternately feel betrayed and relieved, hate us and love us. Then, and only then, when he is healthy and mentally stable, when this disease no longer consumes our family, will it be easier to write about things other than his problems.

A Glimpse

Recently, I’ve had several dreams involving this monster of baby-craving. In these dreams this baby that we have, Fil and I, is a round, deliciously pink little girl with chewable cheeks and thighs.

Today, the baby-craving reached all new heights of craziness. It couldn’t possibly be that Co-Worker N showed me pictures of her youngest child when she was a baby. Chewable cheeks and gnaw-worthy thighs. I almost died from the cuteness.

I had some long parenting talks with Co-Workers N and R. I was amazed at how vastly my beliefs differ from theirs. I want so many different things for my children, including freedom and knowledge that they chose their actions from their knowledge and experiences. I don’t want to be the one that’s constantly telling them what to think or believe.

It brought up a lot of other issues, in my head, where I differ so drastically from other women and their parenting styles. A lot of my beliefs on early infant rearing come from my observations of two drastically different styles, natural and modern, as well as how my parents raised me.

My neighbours were natural, while my parents were modern. My neighbours didn’t allow television until late in their children’s lives, they did cloth diapers and natural childbirth and all that jazz. My parents bought diapers from the store, used an epidural and I could watch all the television I wanted, as long as I did something else, too. My mother also breastfed me for 3 weeks, and because of that, she swears, I am a healthy adult. My neighbour breastfed her son until he was walking and talking, to the point where he could point to her chest when he wanted it. I understand that past about 9 months or so mother’s milk becomes more of a comfort tool, like a binkie or a blanket, than actual sustenance. I still think over a year is a bit much. What about those teeth? Ouch!

Fil and I have decided a lot of things already about our parenting choices. They’re mostly ordinary, most women choose these because they’re more conventional. However, the group I feel most linked to, the IVP, seems to differ from us around every corner!

We have decided to pump for 3-4 months, supplementing with soy-based formula when needed and transitioning fully at around 4 months. I wanted to breastfeed, I promise. Fil, however, informed me that if I did she’d never touch my breasts again. It became an easy decision after that. I reassured myself by figuring I will still bond with my child, in a bit of a different way.

We are both vehemently against cloth diapers. Why? They’re gross! Anyone who does it is a brave and strong person and deserves a medal. Plain and simple.

We will not co-bed through the night, only after the morning feeding and for intermittent day naps. I know that transitioning a child who is co-bedded into their own bed can be very hard, but that’s not why. It’s simply the fear of suffocating my own child. Both Fil and I are quite violent in deep sleep, and though we have had Baby B in bed with us before, it was for light napping early in the morning, not heavy dreaming sleep. The fear is well founded, and I will not risk my precious baby for that.

We will however keep our child in our bedroom with us until s/he is 6 months. I think that any earlier and I would be too neurotic to go to bed, but any later and it would be too hard to remove him/her from my bedside.

Things like natural toys/products are up in the air. How natural do you go? Obviously BPA/toxin free, but like wooden toys? We merely don’t have the money for such expenses. Plus, I feel that some products aren’t necessarily as natural as they claim. I have actually heard that Seve*nth Gener*ation diapers actually cause terrible diaper rash. If my baby gets my delicate Irish skin, that kid is going to rash it up!

We do not plan on having a natural child birth. I want to wait on the epidural until right before it’s too late. I know I’m not strong enough to last through the pushing, my tolerance for pain is really low and I think that the stress would ultimately put our baby in danger.

We will, however, ask that our baby be in the room with us at all times. Unless there is a true medical reason to take him/her away from us, s/he is staying in our room. We will care for our child and let the hospital staff do what they should, that is, make sure s/he is healthy.

Since I should be theoretically working from home, there will be no need for a doula. I would love to have one, but I don’t think it is necessary since Fil will be home too.

As for things like insurance, I have no qualms with going on state assistance. Nk went on state assistance and let me tell you, she had AMAZING care. Much like Calli, she had a great doctor, the facility was wonderfully beautiful and they were all quite competent. I won’t say nice because I don’t know. The best thing is that post-partum, state assistance covers the infant up to a year and the mother up to 3 months.

We have no qualms with taking aid from the state. Pregnancy is expensive and I’m too young to get my own plan. We definitely want to have a baby before I’m 24, so I’m okay with taking state insurance.

I know that we’re neurotic in our approach to the long wait – 9 months, mind you – but for us it is soothing. We think that everything has to be perfect or we can’t do it. If any hiccups are there in our plan we won’t feel comfortable with going ahead. It’s important to us, and at least we feel like we have some control.

HUGE emphasis on feel.

But here’s a question for you gals who made here to the bottom.

If you chose to deviate, even slightly, from a natural childbirth/rearing plan, what was the deviation, and how did you decide?

Spring

It rained this morning in Austin. Hard and heavy, thick droplets of rain smashing down onto cars, echoing off of tin and splattering against windows. These early Spring rains bring not the sticky warmth of late April, but cool breezes from the north where Winter is still queen. Yet somehow, inexplicably, these cold rains nourish the Spring bloom. Set against a grey, dismal sky the once barren trees of Austin’s Winter are now resplendent with feathery crowns of vibrant greens. The stark contrast between what my view once was, spindly trees with blackened leaves, and is now is amazing, brilliant swaying giants with shocks of bright green leaves.

This part of Spring is my favourite part, the early breaths in Texas are the most beautiful, when the air is still cool but the trees have already donned their Spring attire. As it warms through the day, the green becomes more lush, the sun cooking off the water making tendrils of steam rise against the canopy outside of the office windows. It’s so hard to concentrate, the vast view of Spring birthed before me.

Today is not a work day, not for most of us. About 45% of the office is actually concentrating, focusing on getting the last leg of work done. Most are too busy flitting around, chatting on the phone or with co-workers, grabbing lunch or taking long bathroom breaks. No one wants to be here, when the sky is still grey but the sun peaks through, hinting of the weekend to come.

I’m so thrilled for the rain, because it comes in thick diagonal sheets, blanketing our newly planted herbs and tomatoes on our porch. Because of the intermittent rain followed by heat and bright sunlight, our tomatoes are growing faster than we expected. Their little shoots shot up through the coconut husk planter so fast we quickly removed the plastic bag serving as a miniature greenhouse over the weekend. Our little herbs aren’t doing so well, two sprouts – Italian parsley and chive – have popped up and remained at the same size since then. The wait is agonizing, but soon our little porch side garden will be in full bloom.

It’s always been a big dream of mine to grow a lush, fruitful garden in my backyard. My mother grew tomatoes in an old claw foot tub in our backyard and they were so delicious and wonderful I wanted to grow thousands of tomato plants in my own first home. The good news is, Fil shares the same dream. In my imagination, I see swaying trees, ripe with plump Mexicola Grande avocados, fragrant lemons, heavy red apples and firm loquats. I see long rows of green onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, beans … all kinds of vegetables and fruits.

My desire for a garden, I think, I deeply rooted in my connections to the country. I’ve mentioned my family’s roots before, I believe. My father’s side of the family, the side I know best, is from a small town in a Western county in Ireland. There, our family (my direct family, lots of cousins etc.) still owns a farm and a bed and breakfast. They were farmers, probably owned some sheep too, and I own that past with pride. My mother’s side, however, is made up of farmers, ranch workers. The land has fed, clothed and put a roof over many of their heads. My great-grandmother was a chicken farmer, her husband raised watermelons. There have always been cows, on both sides, and gardens that flourished with all sorts of delicious fruits and vegetables. When I was younger, my grandmother had a little garden, as well as a chicken coop. She had fresh eggs, cabbage and squash and I thought it was the neatest thing ever. I set it in my mind, that image of a bountiful garden replete with life giving goods.

Now, on our humble porch, the beginnings of an urban garden are taking root. Little chive, parsley and oregano struggle up through black soil, while tomato sprouts stretch and turn their leafy heads towards the sun. Every morning we check the progress of our little seedlings, wriggling with excitement to see how many new tomato stalks there are. Soon we will transplant them in a hanging basket, grape tomatoes will grow on top while plump big reds dangle below. When our first tomatoes ripen, I will pick them and some parsley and go inside to make a tomato salad with homemade mozzarella and vinaigrette.

I love Spring.

Edit: The Evolution of a Plan

Let me start of by saying thank you to halfadozenfor tipping my comment total to 100. Woohoo!

My neurotic page “The Evolution of a Plan” has fallen into disarray. That plan has altered alarmingly over the past month, going from “we’re never having a baby, period” to “I’m going to stop trying to get into nursing school and focus on getting a certification or shorter degree” to “we’re going to start trying in December, again, *BREATHE IN BAG*”

All the *huff, huff, huff* that has followed those drastic dips and rises has left me completely incapable of figuring out exactly what our plan looks like.

Now that I’ve edited it, trimmed the fat (school), figured out what we’re doing with ourselves TTC wise and other things, the plan feels smoother, smaller and more slick. I like it, a lot. The *huff, huff, huff* feeling it used to create, because it was this thing, wholly unfinished and glaring at me from my backseat, is totally gone. Now I can start working on checking those things off.

A lot of the changes came as a shock to me. Fil and I formulated the school jump as well as the need for an immediate 40 hours after I found out my parents were no longer going to be able to financially help. They could only contribute what my school had given to them in the form of a loan. At this junction in our lives, that amount of money, plus my tiny little check, will do nothing for us. Not to mention, all parental aide is cut off come May. So SCRAMBLE, is what that said to us.

I feel largely at peace with out TTC choices. I’m happy because I will have the education to be able to stay at home with my baby. I will spend so much more time with Fil, and we will get to heal our relationship. The chores will get done faster, Monster will get more attention and the baby will have 2 pairs of hands, ready to unfreeze breastmilk or change a stinky diaper. I thrill at the thought of not missing my child’s first smiles, first utterances, first steps.

Right now I’m trying very hard to get my body under control. In 9 short months we will start TTC and I want my body to be a good vessel for that little life. Cosmetically, I don’t want to be the woman who people always wonder “is she pregnant or just fat?” I want to have a gorgeous bump to put on display, rather than hide below layers of fabric like I hide my body now. I want to take pride in pregnancy, and not fall into deep depression over how much worse my body gets after the baby. I know that if I’m not happy with myself during the pregnancy, it will be so easy for me to fall into post partum depression. So very easy. So I want to be comfortable with my body before I allow it to become home for another being.

9 months. That’s all that seperates me from the start line. Wow. I need to go clean.

A Little Better

Two Fridays ago I had my wisdom teeth removed.

It should have been routine. They should have just popped them out and after 3 days of healing I would be better to pick up my normal life.

But 3 days stretched into today, and is continuing as I type this.

My first problem was before they started the anesthesia. The nurse complimented my hair, following it up with a “is that your natural colour?” to which I answered with a shakey “yes”. She blinked and said “oh”. I didn’t really think much of it until later.

My second problem was as they were removing the final tooth I started to come out of the anesthesia. I could feel/hear everything and tried my best to scream because I could feel them pumping my gums with novicane and what felt and sounded like drilling. My brain screamed but all I managed were moans of discomfort.

My third problem was when I fully came out of it and started crying, immediately, because the pain was unimaginable. I wanted to curl up on Fil’s lap and never open my eyes again. In recovery, I was still crying and mumbling “it hurts” so they gave me some ibuprofen and a pack of ice. The pain medicine that they put in my IV had already fully worn off and I was very aware of the places they had just ripped teeth from.

My dad and Fil got me home pretty quick. Once I was home I immediately fell into bed and lay there crying. That’s where my fourth problem started. I don’t remember much, but I know it hurt bad and the pain medicine wasn’t working. Fil called the doctors office, they authorized a refill of pain meds and told her to start giving my acetametophine on top of two pain meds. I finally fell asleep. Fil woke me up later to have some yogurt (SHE FED ME, THAT IS LOVE), repack the wounds and take medication. I slept until dinner which was one sliver of mushed banana, a few bites of potato salad and the rest of my yogurt from earlier.

My problems doubled over the weekend. The pain kept sky rocketing as if there was no plateau in sight. Saturday night the on-call surgeon told Fil we’d probably have to come in on Sunday to have them pack the surgial site because most likely I lost the blood clot right after surgery or it never even formed in the first place.

This is a good point to say that the probable cause for this is, in fact, my hair colour. From what the nurse told me (really, told my dad and Fil, but I was lucid enough to grasp it) red heads have problems with bleeding and losing their clots, more so than patients with different hair colours. All my life I’ve been quick to bruise knowing it was due to my red hair (it’s been researched!) but having never been under anesthesia or had an operation, I didn’t know how my hair would come into play. Some researchers claim that the mutation in the melanocortain 1 receptor that makes red hair also lends itself to a higher intolerance towards anethesia, pain medication and a higher instance of brusing. The bleeding thing isn’t a proven scientific fact, it’s mostly just an observation the nurses made over the course of operating on red heads versus other hair colours. But, I digress.

So Sunday evening (really, at 5 p.m. the on-call surgeon showed up at the empty office to help me!) I got the two lower holes packed with a dissolvable material that was soaked in clove oil. The clove instantly numbed my entire mouth and soaked into the bone. Relief came 15 minutes later and it was wonderful.

Monday was Monster’s birthday party so I had to suck it up for him. I took my pain medication with me in a baggie and gummed some under cooked breadsticks and tried to focus on how happy Monster looked and how fun it was to play some nonsense games with Fil.

Problems 9-12 developed over the course of the week. First, my pain medication supply was dwindiling and Fil left a message to have them refill my pain medication. That Wednesday (the 18th) I went in to have them re-pack the surgial site with the same nasty clove oil. It helped a little, but not nearly as much as before. What helped was the irrigation, getting all the food that had made its way back there… even if the doctor was a bit rough and made the exposed nerve SCREAM.

I had my actual follow up appointment yesterday after Monster’s well check. The night before I had laid in bed moaning as my jaw throbbed and ached. The pain kept me awake until 5 a.m. I only got an hour of sleep and at the office the assistant did the same thing, irrigate and pack. This time the packing made me nauseated and did nothing for the pain. I left work early feeling hot, dizzy and sick to my stomach. After a shakey drive home I tried to take it easy and relax. Fil made me call the doctors office to see if they’d give me a refill so I could stop rationing out my last few pain pills. Instead I got a doctors appointment for today so the doctor could evaluate me.

So I went this morning. The openings are still sore from how rough the tech was with the syringe. Instead of getting to see my doctor, I got a tech who simply irrigated (AGAIN) and told me there was nothing more they would do since I was 11 days post-op and should be okay.

In one swift kick she invalidated my jaw pain and sent me home with my 3rd syringe.

I felt helpless, because I kept insisting my jaw hurt bad and that normal pain management wasn’t cutting it. Four ibuprofen every 4 hours barely took the edge off. She simply told me to keep it up and wait to see how my body healed. I wanted to punch her in her smug little face because who in their right mind confirms that yes, jaw pain is normal post-op because BONE IS EXPOSED TO THE ELEMENTS but then insists that ibuprofen should be able to help that pain, because it shouldn’t be that bad.

I’ll admit, my 20 odd problems since I’ve had this procedure are nothing compared to what Tiff had to endure. It’s still alarming how things can go so wrong when you think you’re in capable hands. I feel a little betrayed after my encounter with the tech today, I feel she was rude and now I have the worse pain in my jaw, causing a horrible headache. I just hope things heal fast and go smoothly from here on out.

Monster – 11 Years

Dear Monster,

Let me start off by explaining what this is. It is a year letter. Every year on, or around your birthday I will write you a letter. In it I will sum up your growth over the past year, the milestones that have mapped out the revolution around the sun. I will include your yearly check-up stats and go over what made this year special. I know I haven’t been prompt, but years 4 – 9 were all spent in Michigan and year 10 was so hectic. I think you understand?

This past Friday, the 20th of March, you turned 11 years old. You’d been watching the days trickle down since Thanksgiving, quipping at the end of every odd week “my birthday’s getting closer!” forgetting that Baby B, Big B and my birthdays all fall before yours. But you’re an only child and I remember that total disregard for everyone elses birthdays. You are special, my dear.

For your birthday you wanted to do laser tag with your best buddy, JM. I picked a place that didn’t turn out to be very good, because you couldn’t go rock climbing, the glow golf looked stupid and we had to wait forever to get you both into laser and bowling. But the look on your face when you emerged from the laser tag area, pink and sweaty, was well worth the wait. You were so happy you bounced for hours from the excitement. We even let JM stay two nights because we love you that much.

This year has been a lot of ups and downs for you. Our family has been put to the test so many times I can barely count. Not too long ago I was taking Daddy to the ER every few weeks because she was in a lot of pain. What they thought were kidney stones was actually a big tumour in her bladder. That tumour turned out to be cancer. Now Daddy is fighting really hard to stay with us. She’s a fighter, kid, she’ll make it through.

Daddy also hurt her jaw really bad at the end of January. We got a little mini-vacation out of that and went to San Antonio so the hot shot doctors down there could fix her. Well, even though they didn’t do anything for her, we still had a good time as a family. You enjoyed the hotel room a lot, because you had a big bed to yourself and there was plenty to watch. We brought down all your fun toys and let you play on the floor between the beds, which you thought was pretty cool. Daddy and I got so fed up with the doctors we decided to take that Friday off and go see the real San Antonio, you know, not the part with the doctors and the hospitals. You finally saw the Alamo, and weren’t impressed with it at all. In fact, you were kind of bored with it. You were most stoked about going to the Guiness Book of World Records Museum and playing the 3D shooting game.

You were pretty well behaved on that trip, for a 10 year old who had to pack up and drive to a strange city in the middle of the night. Let me tell you, that was a relief to me and Daddy because we’re constantly bombarded by your swinging emotions. You, my sweet son, can be quite the cranky crankerson. You go through rapid emotion changes, from happy to completely pissed off. We think that a lot of it can be solved by finding the right ADHD/anger medicines and oh yeah, could you hurry up and get through puberty, please?

But, Monster, we really understand why you get so cranky and don’t know why. We have to remind ourselves that we too were once in that place, where you’re just mad and you don’t know why, or your sad or happy and you have no reason. That being said, it doesn’t drive us any less crazy.

Speaking of your ADHD and your anger problems. They have reached a peak where we can no longer not medicate you. I’m so sorry we have to put you through this, it has to be hard on you constantly trying to get used to new drug routines. But I promise there is an end, we just have to find it. The anger medicine you’re taking right now seems to help. At least it seems to lengthen that fuse on the TNT that is your anger. You still get angry and frustrated, but I think if you just talk to someone about it, a lot of that will go away. That’s an obstacle you have to overcome on your own, baby, but Daddy and I promise to be with you, every step of the way.

Today (March 23, 2009) was your 11 year old well check. They weighed you and took your height and tested all your parts. Guess what? You’re normal! YAY! You’re 57 and 1/2 inches or 4’9 and 1/2″ since feet just make you sound more mature. I promise I won’t disclose your weight, because I would throttle my mom if she did that to me. I will report that you passed your hearing and sight tests, and all your other parts are completely normal. I never realized I was clenching every muscle in my body until I relaxed at the word “normal”. I am so happy! You should have seen the look on your face when I told the tech that everything about you is good, from doing good in school to having a healthy appetite. It’s almost as if you dreaded being bad or weird and when I said the opposite you looked pleased and relieved, all at once. Should I put it in all caps? YOU’RE NORMAL!!! There.

We’re also very happy that the momentarily crippling allergies that made you cough and kicked up your asthma are almost completely gone. The allergy medicine and the nasal spray have cleared all of that yucky stuff up and you’re not constantly hacking up a lung. I can tell that you’re happy too.

It sounds like you’re on so many medicines, and I hate to say it but you are. You’re not one of those lucky kids who doesn’t ever get sick. But we’re right here for you and we’ll make sure you take your meds and that you’re okay. Just don’t expect me to call you every day when you’re 30 asking if you chewed your vitamin.

Don’t get me started on the whole “chew your vitamin” thing. I know you’re just testing your boundaries, trying to see what you’ll get away with. Let’s see you have that power when you run out of chewables and you start taking the pills! A-hah!

Since you turned 10 we have done a lot of really fun things. Like moving, of course! May 15, 2008 we finally got our own apartment. We were just done living with roommates, especially ones with a brand new baby and a 6 year old. You deserved to have a room of your own and we needed to have separatebathrooms. I think we’ve made a beautiful home for ourselves, your room is amazing! This weekend you got rid of all your old Legos  and made room for brand new furniture – a desk and an entertainment center. Daddy and I spent 9 hours on your room that Saturday and let me tell you it was worth it. You have so much room to do what you please, you can play with all your toys now because they’re out and you know what you have. It almost made me cry because my little boy is growing up. Babies don’t ask for furniture!! Oh well. At least you’re happy.

You and I spent a wonderful summer together. Daddy worked all the time (except for that one week when she had an ear/eye/throat infection, eww!) so it was me and you for the most part. During the day we went to the apartment’s “gym” and watched Food Network while we worked out. You’re quite the stud! After we had family time with Daddy and she went to bed we stayed up late and played video games, mostly The Godfather, or watched t.v. – it was your choice, so it was either cartoons, Discovery or Food – I think you enjoyed that time the most. We also went to Lampasas to visit with my grandparents. You saw and touched a real cow – her name is Susie – and even fed her oat cakes. We saw a herd of wild antelope and you swam until the sun went down.

In the first weeks of February, Grandma M (for Michigan) came to stay for a week! That was one crazy week. But you got to visit Chinatown (which you’ve been wanting to do forever) and take fun pictures for everyone back in Michigan to see. We had a fun week with her. You got 50 whole dollars from her for your birthday and of course you loaded up on video games! Grandma M was so shocked at how big and grown up you are. She only remembers little 4 year old you. This big 11 year old Monster is into video games and World War II (an obsession that makes your Grandpa dizzy with pride) and it’s so hard for her and the rest of the family in Michigan to wrap their heads around it. Give them time.

Most of our quality family time is when we’re at home, though. Since Daddy got sick we’ve spent so much time with doctors we only want to just stay at home with each other and relish the time we have to relax. When all this is said and done, we’ll finally have time (and money!) to go do the things we want to do. I promise.

What else is there to say? You’re perfect. For all your downsides, there are so many amazingly wonderful things about you. You and Daddy are my reasons for living and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope you feel just how much you are loved.

First, for a reference, this is my boy in 2007.

Summer of 2007. Look at his handsome punim, he's sooo little though!

Summer of 2007. Look at his handsome punim, he's sooo little though!

And this is him most recently, March of 2009. God he is growing up way too fast!

Not quite ready to give me a smile.

Not quite ready to give me a smile.

Taking pride in his ghost, Halloween 2008

Taking pride in his ghost, Halloween 2008

I don't get the face, but he's damn cute! This was in November 2008.

I don't get the face, but he's damn cute! This was in November 2008.


Love,

Mommy

I can’t hold it any longer

You may have noticed a dearth of photographs lately. It’s not that I don’t take them any more. No. I’m still as absorbed with photography as I was 6 months ago when I couldn’t put the camera down. But lately I haven’t been at all pleased with the quality of photos I’ve been putting out.

Our little Nikon Coolpix has seriously let me down in so many aspects. In many ways I wish I had our old Sony Cybershot back… you know, from Monster. The photos I took with that were so utterly beautiful in quality I barely needed to touch Photoshop. All of those pictures I took in Europe, that stunning photo that’s up as my header, were taken with that camera. I miss its lens and ISO options. The Coolpix is a great point-and-shoot doo-hickey that will get us by, but I want the big camera. The one with the attachable lens and the 80,000 picture options and the heft to where you hold it different, with one hand gently supporting the 1 ton lens.

Canon and Nikon have teased me since I caught whiff of the existence of SLRs. But the price tag was always too much for me to swallow… and consequentally my parents. It’s not like they didn’t mind dropping $800 on me… they just prefered it to be in useful things like a laptop for college.

The horrible part is that I have absolutely no way of making extra money to put into an SLR fund. It’s not like I can splice pay checks (that are too tiny to even split in the first place) or sell things without first diverting the money to frivilous things like rent or that electric bill or that boy who needs to have three people attend his rather lavish party (what with lazer tag and Chinese food!).

My evil scheme to GET an SLR is to simply ask for money on special occassions instead of actual presents. Like, that $200 you were going to spend on me at Christmas? Put it in the bank. That $150 you were going to drop on me at my birthday? IN THE BANK MISTER!! And then maybe at tax time I’ll be able to take a measly $200 for myself and get my dream camera.

But the only problem with this is I have one more year of horrible pictures to look forward to. There is no Photoshop tool that can clean up a horribly grainy image of Monster playing his video game, or to de-blur an adorable photo of Baby B watching Phineas & Ferb.

Stupid point and shoot!



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