Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Sugar Day!

Today is probably one of the hardest days for me to endure. Halloween. I will be surrounded by endless numbers of confections of various kinds. Chocolate, sour, and sweet. For those of you that don't already know, I have a bit of a food issue. I am not only into spicy things, but I will also eat nearly anything with sugar listed as its primary ingredient. Yesterday was especially difficult as I spent the day mixing a batch of Boo Mix (Chex mix with candy corn and M&M's thrown in for good measure). As I filled goody bags, I nibbled on M&M's and pretzels. Quite a tasty combo, if you haven't already tried it. And that is pretty much all I ate the whole day. And I mean "whole day" in its literal sense. Every time I went through the kitchen or past the kitchen or around the kitchen, I had to stop for just a few. Thank God I have been blessed with a relatively high metabolism. I am fortunate to eat these vast quantities of food and not be obese... yet. I fear that my bad habits will soon catch up with me.
After David, I had no problem losing weight. In fact, I got very tiny - as tiny as I was in high school. But while pregnant with Madalyn, though I gained a very reasonable amount of weight, I feasted on powdered doughnuts, Little Debbie snack cakes, and other carbs of the like. And I am still carrying ten pounds from that pregnancy. And then add that five pounds that fluctuate back and forth. Well, you understand what I am saying. I just need to get my rear in gear and get back to a healthier lifestyle. And this is the hardest time of year to do that. It's Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. So, I will give it my best shot. On our local NBC news last Sunday evening, they did a segment about a book written by a lady here in Birmingham about the Bible and health and it's teachings on how we should eat and exercise. I am going to try to find out the title and author and give it a shot. That would be great reading. You can learn about the Bible and healthy living all in one shot.
But here's the good news for the day: The leaves are starting to turn and it is just beautiful. Not quite as pretty as last year because so many of the trees around here did an early shedding due to our severe drought conditions. This is by far my favorite time of year. I love to open the windows and have the fresh air fill the house. And it is definitely great to not have the air running - or running up the power bill - for a change.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I just saw an interview with one of the few survivors of the tragic fire in South Carolina. Seven young people lost. Six young survivors. And they are very young. Eighteen, nineteen and twenty... when you are that age, you believe yourself to be grown-up. But you aren't. You are still trying to figure it all out. Heck, at thirty I am still trying to figure it out, too. I don't remember his last name, but his first was Tripp. I don't think I have ever been moved like that before nor seen pure, raw grief displayed. He was poised and articulate, but he said he simply wanted to let the world know what kind of people those lost really were and honor them. Sometimes in tragedy we are forced to assume a much more mature role than we ever dreamed capable. Tripp lost his two best friends from grammar school along with his girlfriend he met on his first day of college classes. And he will live forever, I am sure, with horrific memories of that night. He will never be the same. He might rise above his grief and become someone far greater than he ever dreamed possible, but never the same.

And that's life. Ever changing, swiftly moving. Seems cruel sometimes that the world does not stop for your grief, your pain, your shame or guilt. I have never lost someone so dear to me. My grandfather died shortly after David was born, but it was his time to go. He was in his eighties and suffered a massive stroke. But what do you make of young death? How do you resolve that in your heart, in your mind? My only experience with young death was that of a childhood fixture in my life. He was not a friend, per say, but a constant in my life from the time I was seven, I think. We lived in the same neighborhood, went to the same school, our older brothers were friends and played sports together, and I had a never ending, heart breaking crush on him that lasted into my high school years. And then he was taken from the world tragically. And I know how that impacted me at the age of sixteen to have to face the fact that we will all surely die, this world is not permanent nor guaranteed. And it seemed so cruel at the time to watch life continue. I remember driving to the funeral and thinking how crazy it seemed that other people were still going on with things around me. Did they not know? But that's just the way life is. And there are millions of people grieving that like in the country today. Countless across the world. And it doesn't have to be about death. It's love lost through divorce, jobs lost, financial problems, the list could go on forever. I had the same feeling after my divorce. Shame, hurt, sadness like I had never experienced before. And everywhere I looked, life just kept going despite the fact I wanted it to stop so I could curl in a ball and cry myself to sleep. Those times, the tragedies of life, they shape us into who we are truly destined to be. They make us question life and ourselves. They make us question God. They test our souls and make us stronger. But they hurt. And the hurt never really goes away.

I cry as I write this, knowing that so many lives will never be the same from this one tragic house fire. So many young lives lost. For each is a family and a group of friends and teachers who have been touched by their young spirits. And it is nothing new. It happens all around us, everyday. Today, I pray for all those touched by this fire. But I also pray for those that are hurting who don't get the media coverage. For those suffering through the everyday tragedies of life.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hot Stuff

If I didn't know any better, I would think that I am pregnant. I can't seem to get enough heat in my life right now! Jalapenos, hot wings - somebody help me! This is exactly what I did when I was pregnant with David. Anything spicy. The hotter, the better. Saturday night I made up some taco meat and made myself a huge taco salad and topped it off with some jalapenos, of course. Not quite as many as the Saturday before, though. Yesterday, I was starving for something spicy and melted some cheese on top of some tortilla chips and then added a few jalapenos to that. Then last night, we grilled some wings and I tossed mine with some hot sauce. My mouth is watering as we speak. Maybe I should call my OB and make sure they tied those tubes real tight while they were in there!

Also, I have just been so exhausted. I just think this is the long-term repercussions of my two prior pregnancies. You know, the children. They have just beat me down lately. I told Scott Saturday night that I could not remember a time when I felt more tired. I feel like all my efforts to try to hold on to some control of this household and these kids are failing. I am definitely in a mommy slump. I just look at my children and think, "What am I doing wrong?" They are great for everyone else. David has had all smiley faces in conduct this year. He has only had to "move his clip" twice as a warning. And Madalyn, well everyone adores her. I mean all she has to do is look at you with those big brown eyes and she has moved her way into your heart. And they are great kids, don't get me wrong. And I do love them dearly. But lately, it seems that every request, whether big or small, is being fought. It is the attitude, the disrespect from David. And Madalyn is just plain unenjoyable. She runs when I want to get her dressed, she screams when she doesn't get her way, she cries about everything, she climbs on top of chairs and gets in to things she shouldn't, she washes her hands fifty times a day and gets water all over the bathroom, and she refuses to toilet train. She has outsmarted me. I know it is just a part of raising kids, but I am so worn out right now. I need a fill up, you know. A recharging of the batteries. Good thing my bestest friend in the whole world is coming in a week in a half. And hopefully, I can pawn the kids off on an unsuspecting grandparent and I can enjoy a little quality friend time. And if that doesn't help, I'll stow away in her luggage and disappear.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Busy, busy!

We have been a little busy the last couple of days. And I must report that both the children are still alive. Madalyn and I went back to Belk on Thursday morning to buy the pajamas that we had to leave behind on Wednesday. When I opened up the back gate of my gas-guzzler, I was stunned to see that the stroller was not there. I started freaking out internally. But then I realized it was a sign - one of those signs that you really don't want to read. We were just going to have to do this walking. So I lovingly told my Madalyn what we were about to do - walk in the store, get the pajamas, hold the hand - and what would happen to her if she didn't mind. Yes, I agree in corporal punishment. Spare the rod, spoil the child. I needn't say more. And we made it. No fits, no running, no screaming, no tears (from either of us). I was so relieved. I think it helped that her brother, aka cohort, partner in crime was not with us.

On Thursday evening, we headed to the school cafeteria for the 1st grade production of The Share Bears. I didn't really believe that pajamas, a painted on nose, and construction paper ears would make anyone look like a bear. But when you get about 300 of them all together on risers, it was quite convincing. Teachers amaze me. They are true miracles of humanity. I cannot imagine a day in my life where I would have the mental capacity or the fortitude to be around that many children. Much less teach them a musical and have them all stand on risers and sing together. Amazing. And I owe them the world, because I got this incredible picture of my son dressed as a bear. It will be priceless one day - oh, the bribery that could take place with this picture once puberty strikes. I love it!

On Friday, Madalyn's preschool had their Fall Festival. They have various little games and each class travels the second floor of the church from room to room doing the activities and getting little toys and candy. Our class was in charge of the Treasure Chest game. Real difficult - reach in the chest full of toys hidden by styrofoam peanuts. At least one child from each class walked up to the chest and picked up one of the styrofoam peanuts and put it in their bag. Too funny. Then we had to explain that there were actually things in the chest more exciting than a piece of styrofoam. And then there was the one child in every group that had to dig and dig and dig and dig and dig and pull up every toy he touched only to put it back and pull another hoping to find the coolest twenty cent toy in the box. Children are incredible creatures. They are each so different yet so much alike. It was enjoyable watching each group come in and do their thing. The best part, however, was watching each class walk out the door leaving a trail of styrofoam behind them.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Time in a Bottle

There are days when your children are so enjoyable, so beautiful to be around that you just want to bottle that day so you could open it up for recollection during dark points of your life. Then there are days when you literally wish you could put your children in a bottle, cork it up, and throw them out to open sea. Yesterday was one of the latter.

Madalyn was supposed to be my dream child. I mean what do most women long for? A beautiful daughter - dresses and hair bows and shopping trips. When David was born, I struggled. We did not instantly bond. He cried all of the time. No kidding, he cried for four solid months. He would not take a nap. He really did not like to be held. I had no idea what to do with him. But when Madalyn was born, it was instant. She was the textbook baby - slept for two hours, would whimper when hungry, ate just the right amount, burped with a gentle pat on the back. Ahhhhhh... sweet relief! God had answered my prayers! But as the many months have gone by, I have noticed a drastic shift. She wakes up barking orders. She screams - no, shrieks - if she doesn't get her way. She does not hesitate to throw herself onto the floor or throw something at me. She hits. She is out of control.

Yesterday afternoon, I loaded the kids in the car to go and get David's haircut. It was long overdue and he has a little program at school tonight. I didn't want him to trip and fall on stage because he couldn't see through his hair. And after the haircut, we stopped by our local department store to pick up a new pair of pajamas (they are to dressing their winter pajamas for the program). It was drizzling, and I didn't want to fool with the stroller for such a quick trip in and out. So - BIG MISTAKE - I let Madalyn walk. We started out with me holding her hand. But she kept pulling on my arm and just generally bothering me. So, I thought I would try and let her walk alongside her brother. Madalyn decided to run, squealing, through the aisles of clothes saying, "You can't get me! Ha! Ha!" So then I pick her up and attempt to carry her. This didn't work, as she just screamed and kicked until I truly had no choice but to put her down. By this point, amazingly, David had picked out a pair of pajamas - camo pants with a big monster truck on the shirt. Every 6 year old boy's dream. We got in line behind just one customer. Easy in and out, I thought. Madalyn and David make a beeline for the breakables in the housewares section. I immediately put that fire out saying that no way, no how are they going to break something in this store. And so we wait, listening to the cashier and the customer go back and forth talking about what she is buying and which outfit would be "more dressier" (which just perturbs me even more - it is either "more dressy" or "dressier" - get it right lady). I just would always like to think that someone would step to the side and say, "You go ahead. You, with the screaming child and smoke coming out of your ears. You just go ahead of me." Since becoming a mother, I have done this countless times. But no, we just continue to chit chat and at one point even turn around and say to me, "She's so cute." Are you kidding me? So, when I felt my blood boil straight to the top of my ears, I just put the clothes down and left. I have never felt so embarrassed in my life. I had to pick Madalyn back up and carry her out of the store kicking and screaming. And everyone in my path is a changed person because of it, I assure you. I am the mom that those people are talking to their friends about today: "Last night there was this woman in Belk and her kid. Oh my Gosh! She was screaming and kicking and I just felt so sorry for her." That's me.

So, two lessons learned yesterday:
1. Madalyn is not ready to not ride in her stroller.
2. The sleeveless top is definitely "more dressier" than the one with sleeves.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Fires

I absolutely cannot imagine what all these people are going through in California. I think that it would be the most helpless feeling in the world watching and knowing that a fire is nearing your home and there is nothing you can do to stop it. And I could lie and say that it wouldn't bother me, that they are just worldly possessions and they could be replaced, but it just wouldn't be that simple. Lives are being turned upside down. I know that you would have time to salvage some things, but there would be so much that you could not save. Your favorite coffee cup would be gone. The pictures that your kids had colored you - gone. Everything familiar and real and comfortable - ashes. I can imagine how hopeless I would feel if my child came to me and asked me about some random thing or toy that they find to be significant: "Mama, where's my little green Power Ranger that Nana gave to me?" "Mama, where's that little stuffed dog that I like to put in my stroller sometimes and pretend it's a baby?" And what would you say as a parent? How would you explain something that doesn't make sense? Let's be honest, all that stuff matters. It is what makes us feel at home. Little reminders of time spent with loved ones, places we have been, holidays and birthdays. Little things that to others might seem unimportant, but to you make a house feel like a home.

Today, when I trip over a toy or get aggravated that I can't find something, I think I'll pause and say thank you for my life. What a blessed and glorious life I have! I feel so humbled by the thought of all these people. I feel so shamed of what a selfish and spoiled life I live. I feel stupid for all the wasted time I have spent worrying about bills and credit cards. Maybe I should spend more time in prayer for others.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What A Day

I know that we need rain desperately, but couldn't we work out a deal where we could spread it out over four or five days instead of fitting it into just one day? I can barely keep my eyes open today. Last night the storms hit around 1:00 am. The sound of the wind and rain woke Madalyn up, and her daddy got up and got her and she cuddled in next to him for the rest of the evening. It rained so hard and the wind was blowing so that I thought the house would fall down. It kept me awake for thirty or forty minutes. When I asked David if he heard the storm this morning, he said, "What storm?" They couldn't be any more opposites if I had drawn the plans myself. But I am grateful for the rain. Now at least everything will be fresh - it has gotten so dusty and dry. I am hoping it might help David too. I still can't decide what the source of the cough is exactly, but I haven't heard any wheezing for now.

Now, as promised, my jalapeno story. I have to start off by explaining that I have a huge appetite. I do not miss a meal - or a snack, for that matter. That's just the way I am. I eat. A lot. Most people, these days, do not, however. So usually when we go on a trip of any distance, I take along snacks for the road so that others who don't get hungry don't have to stop on account of me. Well Saturday, I forgot to bring along my snacks and somehow managed to only partake in one meal the whole day. By the time we arrived in Baton Rouge, I was beyond hungry. But we were meeting up with some friends of our friends who had a ton of food already prepared. So we changed and joined the tailgating action. But I didn't really get that much to eat. They had a bunch of things I just wasn't all the sure about. At the game, I ate a hot dog, and while at the condiment area noticed the biggest jar of jalapenos I had ever seen. I love jalapenos. So round about the third quarter, those bad boys started calling my name. Scott got me a thing of nachos, and I went over to that jar and added, I kid you not, probably eighty jalapenos on top of the nachos. And then I commenced to eat every single jalapeno and nacho chip. I have never tasted anything as good! I was starving. At first I was fine, but within thirty minutes, my face started to sweat. Not pouring down like I had been running, just beading up all over from an internal furnace. Then I started to feel a little funny. It was a feeling I can't quite explain, one that I had never felt before. And then I started to freak out inside. I knew I was going to puke, and I hate to puke. I'll do anything not to puke. And there I am, shoulder to shoulder with all these people, no easy way to get out. I made it to the bathroom once but didn't vomit. I got myself a paper towel and wet it and was able to talk myself out of the hurl. But towards the end of the game it came over me again, and as the last second ticked off the clock, I made a beeline to the bathroom and could not avoid it any longer. I had eaten a hot dog and all those nachos and I seriously dreaded what was about to take place. I made it to the stall and leaned over the toilet and opened the mouth anticipating an eruption of epic proportions. And all that came out was some clear liquid. Pure acid, I swear. It burned so bad. And I was squatting there (cause I was trying not to touch anything except the wall beside me) waiting and waiting for all the contents of my stomach to come spilling out. But it never did. And then I was okay. The one thing that kept running through my mind during all this was watching a jalapeno eating contest in high school and I remember thinking how stupid you would have to be to eat that many jalapenos at one time. Hmmm. At least I ate mine with nachos.

Monday, October 22, 2007

One Quick Thought

Tonight, it is official. The kids have definitely taken over the house and are out to do me in. David is in the tub singing his own rendition of a song apparently entitled "Shake Your Body" - I believe that to be the title because those are the only words to the song. There are various and sundry sound effects and dances that go with the song that sort of remind me of my bar-hopping days. And his counterpart, Madalyn, is in the bathroom in front of the tub copying every noise he makes. All this at the top of their very small yet effective lungs. I think I will fix a Captain and Diet Coke in a few and wait till Daddy gets home to get them even more wound up than they already are. By the way, I do love my kids.

Oh, what fun!

We had a safe return home yesterday from Baton Rouge. Even though Auburn lost right at the very end, it was an exciting game and we had so much fun! We haven't been to a football game since David was born. You forget how exciting it is to watch it in person. And the LSU fans were very nice to us - no food thrown on me like the last time I was there. And really not even many hecklers after the game. Everyone just commented on what a great game it turned out to be. We had a great time - and I had my first experience riding in a police car. Sounds scandalous, I know, but it wasn't in the least.

Here's what happened: We took what's called the Tiger Transit from our hotel, the Sheraton, to the stadium. It costs $10 per person, but we figured it the best thing to do since we had no idea where to park or what the traffic situation would be like after the game. So when the game was over, we followed the masses out of the gates and back to where the bus would pick us up to return to the hotel. Well the buses were there, like seven of them, but they were already full with the doors shut, so we decided to wait there. After about thirty minutes of waiting, we asked an officer directing traffic what the deal was with the transit. She said that they should return, just to keep waiting. After about 45 minutes of waiting, we asked another officer who said that the buses should be back or we could walk to the campus police station and ask them to call us a cab. After another 30 minutes, I approached a large group of officers and begged for some help. By this time, we were exhausted and pretty much the only people left on the streets. Four little pitiful Auburn fans all alone on the streets of Baton Rouge. One of the officers, after talking to us for a while, had mercy on us and offered us a ride back to the hotel as soon as he was free to go. So, even though it was unmarked, I got to ride in a cop car for (thank goodness) the first time in my life. And I never really want to ride in one again for any reason. Especially in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. So, I didn't get to bed until 2 am Sunday morning. And I feel as though I have been run over by a truck. A big 'ole, log totin' truck.

So here's to you, Mr. Kind-hearted Louisiana State Trooper. We never got his name, or if we did, none of us could remember it. And we asked if he had a card, but he didn't have one on him. We wanted to send in a letter of thanks. So, I will try to look him up online. He is the head over narcotics for the western section of the state, so hopefully I can get his name somehow. Whoever he is, he has a good deed owed to him.

Tomorrow, I'll tell you the story about the 85 jalapenos I ate on top of my nachos in the third quarter. Not a pretty story, let me tell you. I know all three of you will be on the edge of your seats...

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Cough

The cough is back. David's cough. The same cough that sent him to the hospital almost four weeks ago. The same hacking cough that we have dealt with for the past three years now. And before the cough, it was the constant nasal congestion that started around a year of age. But even before that was the allergy to milk. It has definitely been building and building over the years - this awful respiratory reaction his body goes through. And my worry has been building as well. Last night, I noticed the cough a few times. No big deal, right? Just a little cough. But this morning, it is definitely a big deal to me - the mother. The same mother that is handing him over to my parents tonight so that I can go away for the weekend. That's where the real fear takes over.

The most painful part of being a mother, to me, is not being in control. But I guess that would be the most painful part of being human. I just want to be able to wave my little magic wand and make everything perfect and as it should be. No one wants to see their child suffer even minutely. It has bothered me for years now that David has a constant cough. I had discussed it at length with his doctor. "It is not normal to cough this much," I had said. And then when I took him to the ER in the wee hours of a Sunday morning, it was definitely not normal for his oxygen level to be at 87%. And there I was, looking over him helplessly, unable to make it better. Barely able to hold it together for him. Completely not in control. And then, that night we spent at Children's Hospital, lying there watching him sleep and the watching oxygen monitor go up and down as he went deeper and deeper into sleep. I have never prayed so fervently or sincerely in my life. I have never felt the peace of God take over my heart like that before. When it is your child lying before you and you offer him up to your Lord, it just feels different. I need a fraction of that peace right now. I know that he is probably fine - it is just a cough, and we can beef up the steroid inhaler to twice a day. But I am so scared to leave him.

Anyone who reads this post (probably just one person who is required by the high school BFF code of law to read this daily), say a prayer for the millions of parents across the world who watch helplessly as their children battle health issues of their own. Some health issues as common as asthma, others as tragic and unexplainable as cancer. All these parent's need the peace of God.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sweet Silence

It is completely silent in the house right now. No Sponge Bob or Dora in the background. No screaming between siblings. This is the first silence I have experienced in one solid week. The kids have been out for "Fall Break" which takes place at the end of the first nine weeks. David, my 1st grader, went back yesterday, and Madalyn went to preschool today. I think the school board wants us to believe that the teachers and administration need a few days to get grades together for report cards. I, however, believe that they just need a few days away from our very loud and demanding children. A little quietness in the halls... it is good for the soul.

Yesterday I received settlement statements from my health insurance company. David was hospitalized about three weeks ago for asthma issues. This was our first experience in six years with the hospital. We have been very fortunate with the health of our children. So, I really had no idea what to expect to have to pay. My husband had a freak accident at home over the summer and had to visit the emergency room. I have also received settlement statements from that in the past couple of weeks. I'll be up front - we pay a hefty $675 a month for our health insurance. Not cheap, but what do you do? Now I find out that I will have to pay $150 to the ER for David, then another $300 to Children's Hospital for the 36 hours he needed to stay there, as well as $223 to the orthopedic doctor for Scott's stinking boot he needed to be able to walk after breaking his foot. Am I crazy, or does this seem a bit ridiculous? We pay a little over $8000 annually for our health insurance. And to date, this year, they have not paid out that much on our behalf. The only year they paid out more than what we have paid in was the year my daughter was born. It is frustrating for young families (especially those in commission based fields such as ours) to have to pay such high premiums and then be expected to pay additional funds. All for the the privilege of a reputable named insurance company to negotiate payment terms for you. I am beginning to sound like a Democrat! Don't get me wrong, I love my private health insurance and the quality medical treatment I receive. But the average ordinary family in America just needs a break.

Okay, now that I have that off my chest I can go back to the silence. I definitely need to quiet my head.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Catching Up

So last night, I finally got to catch up on two shows - Desperate and Private Practice. Tivo, DVR, or whatever your local cable provider terms it has got to be the most brilliant idea in the universe. Record, pause, rewind any show of your choice. No more holding pee until commercial breaks! The kids don't have to wait eight minutes to have their 23rd cup of juice for the day! In our modern society, we do not have to choose between caring for the ones we love and watching our favorite shows! We just have to find the time to catch up on them. So, that's what I did last night. This will probably sound odd, but thankfully, the husband wasn't feeling well last night and fell asleep on the couch in the middle of my screening of Private Practice. Normally, I would be forced to watch some random NFL game that he really doesn't care anything about. I looked over and silently exclaimed, "Thank God he's asleep! I can watch Desperate Housewives too!" To be able to watch not one, but two shows without interruption nor guilt is truly miraculous. And I am sure it was a once in a lifetime experience.

On a different note, I have a major dilemma ahead of me today. We are going on a weekend excursion (the husband and I - no children) to the great state of Louisiana for the Auburn / LSU game. (War Eagle and a shout out to the Auburn mom who gave me a comment!) The Tigers vs. the Tigers. Everyone join in a moment of silence. Though I walk through the valley of death..... It will be an adventure. I have been to Death Valley once before. It was in my former life as an Alabama fan. My dad commented that I would probably be the only woman in the stands that night to have gone to a game there with my first husband as an Alabama fan and with my second husband as an Auburn fan. You know something, he is probably right. I digress. My dilemma for the day is to plan the wardrobe. You would think, it being October and all, that it would be a relatively pleasant forecast ahead. But of course, the predicted high for the day in Baton Rouge is 87. So I will spend the day trying on clothes in my closet that still don't fit because of that baby weight I still can't manage to lose from the "baby" that is nearing three years of age. And I will get very depressed and probably fix a stout Captain and Diet Coke this evening and sit and watch some random college football game instead of one of my shows. And then, I will have to find the time to catch up on Private Practice later this week. Oh, the circle of life.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Everything You Never Wanted to Know

So, here I am! I have finally succumb to the pressures of the blogosphere. Now that I have done this - I have selected the template and tweaked the font and picked the name - now what do I do? Talk endlessly about my children who are the most precious and demonic things in the whole world? Talk mindlessly about the TV shows I am helplessly addicted to like Grey's and Desperate Housewives? Gripe about the absurdities of life? Become an advocate for women who give up their identities and any hope for worldly success to raise children that stomp their feet and say things like, "Whatever, Mama!" and ,"You don't understand." ? Wow! I should have done this long ago!

And here's a shout out to the woman who inspires me! As you can see, I decided on a name.