Monday, December 29, 2008

It's Going Around....

Such a fitting title for so many reasons.

Guess what?! I wasn't being a hypochondriac! No really, I had Fifth's Disease. Never heard of it? Well neither had my mom so I've been getting lots of advice from her not to mention it to people cause "it sounds just awful". So supportive, don't you think? We got a notice home from BigSpeak's school about a day before vacation started. Happy Holidays! At that time, LittleSpeak had come down with it and I'd (self-)diagnosed that this is what her and I had, had already. Thank you Dr. Google. It's pretty miserable in general, but in adults you get some added fun; joint pain for up to a month! Not to be left out, BigSpeak showed up w/the rash on December 23. So both girls and I have been run down during most of this month. (That picture w/Santa, probably at the height of our contagiousness, don't say we never gave you anything Santa!) We ended up bowing out of our Christmas Eve dinner and staying home to put the girls to bed early and eat leftovers. The house of Speak knows how to party, let me tell you.

The family illness coupled w/the busyness of the season along w/trying to get my family/house ready for my surgery equals "not much posting," you may have noticed. On the other hand, I may need to join a self-help group for my Facebook addiction. I don't actually spend as much time as it might seem on it. I leave it open all day & periodically check it/update my status while I'm in the kitchen doing other things, like cooking breakfast, etc... My extended family thinks I sit waiting for people to update their status though, so I felt the need to clarify. I feel better now, thanks. ;-)

In spite of all of this, we did manage to get in quite a bit of traditional holiday fare; caroling w/BS's girl scout troop, seeing the Nutcracker ballet, holiday parties, driving around to check out over-the-top Christmas lights, etc... but it's been hectic to say the least.

I have so many good stories from this month, I'm hopeful that during my convalesce I'll be coherent enough to share them. Go read Mike and Mir, their stories today are typical of the type I have to share with you. LittleSpeak has been up to her usual tricks and is both trying and adorable at the same time. It's amazing to me how much I can love that little bundle of energy and be just enraged by her at the same time. She is definitely the daughter my mother wished on me as a teenager: "I hope you have a daughter exactly like you!" BigSpeak has had some of her own trying moments this month as we try to work out her homework vs. play/T.V. schedule. Being a big kid is not easy. That's not to say that this month hasn't been fun, cause it has. The girls have been so much fun; they were both really into Christmas this year & that's been a treat. Sometimes I just can't get enough of them you know.

I have my surgery (microdiscectomy) on 12/30. Happy New Year! I'm supposed to have a 6 week recovery; 2 weeks of which will pretty much be flat on my back (in bed). My doctor has told me I can't really screw it up during recovery, but I certainly can prolong the recovery time. I'm not sure if the end of six week is when I can start to act like a normal person again (i.e.--walk BS the 2 blocks to school again) or if I should be back up normal by then (able to walk for 30+ minutes if I wanted to). I'm under the impression it's more the first choice, but I'll have to check on that. Hopefully, I'll be posting much more very soon, since I'm going to find myself quite stationary w/only my laptop to play with. This is most likely my last post of the year, so

Happy New Year!!!

Talk to you Next year! (Hee, yes I'm like 9 or something.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

While I was sick....

We did manage this during one of the hours I was feeling slightly ok last week:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's come to post a week

I've got a few free, coherent moments here while DaddySpeak is bathing the girls, so lets see what I can get done.

I've spent the majority of the first week of being 40 in bed (it's not starting out well). I came down w/a flu I guess. No fever and my stomach was fine, but I had chills and aches like I never knew was possible. I'd have them for 24 hours and then feel better for 24 and be back at it again. There was also a 36 hour period which included a particularly bad migraine, just to mix it up a little. My mom was suggesting the my Fibro was back in full swing, which could be the case, but I'm refusing to accept that, and sticking w/the flu story. This afternoon I'm feel so much better that I'm believing my version.

In the interim;
LittleSpeak's school has "drop-in" which isn't cheap, but when you need it, like I did this week, it is the most rock'n invention evah! All praise the daycare Gods now please.

One thing about being sick, you stop worrying about all the things you need to get done and just focus on making it to the next hour. I had a fun morning w/LittleSpeak when I laid on a mattress on her floor (she'd fallen out of bed the night before) while she played "mommy" w/her babydoll. She rocked her, and changed diapers, and told me to be quiet because the baby was sleeping. It was pretty relaxing & very fun to just "be" with her for a change.

I "forgot" to pick up BigSpeak from school one day this week. Actually, it was the day of the migraine & I'd called neighbors for her to walk to school with in the AM. They offered to walk her home after, but I told them I'd call cause I felt like I might be getting better. (HA!) So I set an alarm & crashed on the couch. When the alarm woke me I was worse, so I thought, "I'd better call to have M walk BS home." Next thing I knew the phone was ringing w/the room mom calling me. I was in the middle of a dream in which I was calling M to walk BS home, so I was super confused. M was there and the room mom was like "no problem", but by the time M got to my house I realized what was going on and was so embarressed! I'm pretty sure my "death warmed over" appreance and the fact that I couldn't look in the direction of the door "bright light! bright light!" made her realize I was, in fact, in need of medical attention.

Friday, December 05, 2008

FORTY, it's the new 30

Yup, today's the day. I'm officially in my mid-life. I think I'm advanced, since I've seemed to be in crisis for years now. ;-)

I'm not really freaked out by it, but it does seem weird. I don't feel 40. Mostly, I feel tired, but that's not due to my age so much. (It might have something to do with the fact that I'm up past 1 AM blogging. You think?)

I do remember being a teenager and thinking, OMG! Forty is OLD! Cause it was, you know. But these baby boomers, with their refusing to grow old gracefully are just redefining what's "appropriate" at what age and it's different now. I was 19 when my mom turned 40. Hah! I have a 5 & 2 YO. She was "finishing up" and I'm just getting started. In a lot of ways I relate much more with that 21YO my mom was than her 40YO self. In a lot of ways, I can't relate to her at all, but that's another post.

So, what am I doing on the first day of my midlife??? Yeah, I'm sitting at home waiting for the washer repair guy to show up. Yeah, I'm living it up! No slowing down for me.

Ok, we are going out on Saturday night (folks are keeping the girls overnight) . I'm sure there will be some pix to follow.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Get Down with the Sickness

Yeah, so this is how my life works; two steps backward, one step forward. But hey, it was only one step back overall, right?

The in laws left on Monday morning.
BigSpeak barfed her guts out Sunday about 1 AM.
Oh, and my washing machine has been broken since Friday before last (every time they come to visit we have an appliance casualty, but that's fodder for another post,) it'll be fixed until next Friday. Yes, that's two weeks without one.

So Sunday night (Monday morning) at 1 AM I was bathing a crying child, stripping a bed & remaking it, scrubbing sheets, night clothes, pillows, a sink, spot scrubing rugs and then cleaning the bathroom. My idea of a good time, don't you think?

That's the two steps back part.

On the bright side (I guess you could call it that), the second time she got sick she was in the bathroom & she did make it into the toilet. And, while the washer is broken, my MIL insisted on doing 10 loads of laundry at the laundermat before she left. Also, we have home warrentry coverage on the washer. Instead of costing $400-500 it's costing $55.

That would be that one step forward.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Big Girl Bed

There are no more babies in my house.
Only children who sleep in regular beds.


I'm going to go smell our neighbor's newborn now; so my ovaries can ache along with my heart.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Am I Overthinking this?

So yeah, it's been rough this last week or so. In-laws are visiting now, so I'm getting some help, but generally I'm wondering if I should've just had the surgery and missed a few things, but been done with it. I knew I'd do this though, and I have a date set, so I just need to suck it up and take lots of pictures, right?

LittleSpeak has gone 4 nights in a row of staying bed. Wahoo!!! I give her a gummy in the morning if she stays in bed all night & it seems to be working. It was also working for her seatbelt until today. Bah! I knew the gummy would be short-lived as a motivator, but I'd hoped she'd be mature enough to at least deal w/her seatbelt when it did. Silly me. I've seen the kiddie shrink 2x now and one thing I brought up is that I think LittleSpeak may have some sensory issues. I'll explain why in a minute, but upon looking for a tool to help keep the seatbelt on her I'm reading more and more stuff that really sounds like her AND falls into the realm of sensory issues. Her shrink agreed w/me that it does sound like that might be the part of the problem but suggested to me that if I had her tested she's not really sure what I'd do with that information. Upon some of the reading I just did I'm wondering how good this kiddie shrink really is, it's pretty apparent there are quite a few tools for the things that LittleSpeak seems to have issues with, which, one would think, she ought to know.

Here's the the clues I've gotten about possible sensory issues with her; she doesn't want to be restricted in any way, shape or form; includes clothing, sock & shoes, seatbelts, etc... This escalating to that point that she won't wear certain kinds of clothing now and the seatbelt in the car is a constant battle (she can get it off). She has been complaining a lot lately about things beeing too loud, even when they arent'. She also wants a blanket or 3 on her to sleep. I understand wanting that sense of weight I'm the same way to a degree, but I'm beginning to feel that she needs that sense of weight on her in order to settle down. The waking up in the middle of the night could be because she didn't have the weight on her and it was freaking her her out. I believe I'm going to make the phone calls tomorrow to have her tested. If she's not great! If she is, I don't want to make her suffer, especially not when I know there are tools to help her deal with it.

Of course, there's a part of me that's concerned that I'm totally being a helicoper mom and overthinking some pretty normal toddler stuff. If you know anything about sensory issues leave me your email, I'd love to talk/write to you.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Another Reason for my nomination to Mother of the Year

Does the relief I feel when I’m away from my child make me a bad mom?

Perhaps relief isn’t really a strong enough word to describe it. Little Speak She’s LOVES it. I have to remind her to kiss me goodbye when I drop her off. And when I pick her up I get a look that says, “oh, you’re still around?”

On Tuesdays, I work in BigSpeak’s (BS) class so I only have about an hour sans kids, but Thursday? Glorious, beautiful Thursday? That’s my new favorite day of the week. I get 3, count them, 3 glorious child-free hours on Thursday. And at the end of those 3 hours, I get 3 hours of just BS. In some respects, that practically child-free. My stress level has dropped exponentially this week. I actually made it to dinner 3 nights this week (I usually pass out in pain, waiting for the pain pills to take effect w/in 10 mins of Daddy Speak (DS) getting home.) Having time away from LS is making me a better mom. I can’t say she isn’t still driving me insane, but actually getting a true break from her is making a world of difference.

Things with her, have gotten so bad that our pediatrician actually referred us to a “behaviorist:” read: kiddie shrink. Ironically, I believe, (on my own,) I discovered my child’s kryptonite: Gummies. Today she peed in the potty for one, (that was the ground shaking you felt) and I’ve gotten through 3 days w/out having to pull the car over because she’d taken off her seatbelt (yes, she’s in a 5-point harness, but this kid is wicked smart, has incredible motor skills and determined is too mild a word to describe her.) Whenever she starts to pull the seatbelt off, which is often these days, (she hates restraint on any level,) I pull the car over and put it back on. If we have the time, I just sit until she sees fit to put it back on herself. But this week, I promised a gummy if she kept the belt on for a whole ride to the grocery store and it worked. So as long as it works, I’ll bribe her. All hail the Halloween Gods! I’ll pay for the dental work if it means it’ll help me keep my kid safe enough to be alive to have the dental work done.

I realize as I'm writing this that there’s a lot going on w/LS and it’s a large part of the reason the pain in my back has been so bad. It’s been so bad that I haven’t been up to writing about it. Now that I’m getting a few hours to rest, I’m seeing the forest for the trees and you‘ll be getting to hear more about it. I won’t be winning any awards for mom of the year, but when you hear some of this stuff, you’ll be amazed that I haven’t paid the gypsies to take her. I guess I'm hopeful that I can teach her to use her powers for good instead of evil. So far, I seem to be losing that battle.

The really scary part: she’s only TWO. I can NOT imagine what the teenage years are going to be like.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


I know it's been awhile. My back has been bad. I'm scheduled for surgery on Dec. 30th. I know, Happy New Year. We know how to celebrate 'round here. I had an exam with the neurosurgeon week before last and it really screwed things up. I was doing better before that, but in January I should be "over it". Right? I'm hopeful.

LittleSpeak is still on a roll. She's good as long as she's getting your full attention and you're doing something she really wants to be doing; playing outside, at Pump It Up, gymnastics, etc... If not, well all bets are off. The last two nights she has finally slept the full nights; we've been through 2 months of her trying to get us to let her sleep in our bed. Two-three times a night she'll wake up screaming for us. She was coming into our room so we put a gate in her doorway. Each of these episodes consists of us putting her back to bed 6-8 times. It makes for long nights. It's been weird, both my girls have always been such good sleepers and now, out of the blue, she pulls this. Knock on wood, I think we're done with this episode.

All things considered, I have finally decided to put her into preschool. I signed her up for two full days a week. Once I have my surgery I'll need to have someone to watch her during the two weeks following, so I figured it made sense to set her expectation now. I've taken her over there 2x this week and let her play with the kids and she's had fun, so hopefully she won't give me too hard a time about it. DaddySpeak will be home the week of the surgery and my folks will pitch in to help watch the girls, but it's a six week recovery, so I need some other soloutions too. Having her in school will give all of us a break. I'm also hopeful that being in school will also maybe get her to chill out a bit too.

There have been a lot of things going on, holidays and all, but one of the bigest things is that I'll start to feel better, but then I do something and end up laid up for a couple days. So we did make it to the pumpkin patch, and BigSpeak's school's Halloween Festival, things like that, but after each of those things I've ended up a mess for a couple days. So that's the reason for my absence. I have lots of things to blog about and hopefully I'll be starting to feel better so that I can tell you about them.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes. We. Can. Yes. We. Did. And, Yes. We. Will.

I know it's old, but it encompasses a lot of my emotions right now.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Change I Believe In

I'm so very excited right now. DaddySpeak and I are watching the election coverage, along w/so very many other people we know. I know this because I'm on Facebook, and so are many of my friends. The social colective in this milenium. I would never have thought I'd actually plan to watch this on purpose. Usually on election night I would turn the tv off, or watch a movie, because who really wants to watch election coverage? Tonight, I do.

For the first time, in a very, very long time, I am proud to call myself an American. Tonight my country came through on it's promises. It proved to my generation that all those times our parents told us that we could be "anything we want" they spoke the truth. I can't begin to imagine how it feels to be an African American right now. We are witnesing history tonight and I am so very proud of my country.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

Yes, I'm still alive. I'll hopefully have a few minutes to update you later this weekend.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I Scoff at Your Safety Devices!

Yes, now be sure to say that title w/a crappy Russian accent and flick your hand in the process. That would be my LittleSpeak saying that there. Last week, I suddenly hear BigSpeak calling me, "Mom! LittleSpeak is getting on the counters!" I walk into the kitchen telling LittleSpeak to get down and find:

LittleSpeak with two cupboards open and she is using the "safety locks" (I'm using the term loosely obviously) as footholds to reach things on the counter. Not only can she now open them, she's finding new uses for them. Sorry no photo, I'll try to remember next time. Yes I'm sure there will be a next time with her.

Nothing is too high, too locked away or too guarded from this child. I am begining to believe she just may be all the bad karma I've aquired in my past lives getting even.

Ok, I know that's not nice, but DUDE! I can't catch a break with her. She's smart & has no intention of using her powers for good.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Not much new; still drugged & dragging

The title of this post says it all.

I'm actually trying to get some info on a nanny. I'm thinking that I might be able to avoid surgery if I could truly get a month off from picking up LittleSpeak & heavy (or maybe all) housework. We'll see, it's probably cost prohibitive, but hey a girl can dream, right?

I haven't been in such good shape w/my back, so I'm getting the bare minnium accomplished & then collapsing. I'm not sure what I'm going to do next week; DaddySpeak will be away at a confernece. Yikes. I'm trying not to think about it.

LittleSpeak is still in rare form and doing her best to help extend my injury. I'm at a loss with her, time-outs don't bother her, there just isn't a form of punishment that has any impact with her. Yesterday she used the baby locks as a step to get on top of the kitchen counter. She looks at our safety devices and says "I scoff at you!" Seriously, I was putting shoes next to the stairs, so it's not like I wasn't right there when this happened. She's fast. Really fast. Luckily, we have a latch at the very top of our front door, or well, you get the idea.

Oh, lets not forget the transmission that is going out in our van. Yeah! One more thing I need to deal with. Wo hoo! And the cherry on my sundae: I'm getting a cold. That's what I need.

I really need a break. Yes?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Life, it is plotting against me.

Hi Internet,

I'm here, I haven't forgotten you I'm just having a really rough time of it these days. The outcome from meeting w/the surgeon is that I'm basically going to end up having surgery it's just a matter of when; you know, when I can't stand the pain any longer. The recommendation is for a microdiscectomy which, in light of what it could be, is probably the best I could've hoped for. This doctor does want you to stay overnight in the hospital (to make sure there's no unforeseen complications) but most do the surgery as an outpatient procedure, so that should tell you something right there. The worst part (at least it seems like it from here) is the recovery; where I'm down on my back for several weeks (like 6). No nothing for a full week, no driving for over 2 weeks, no house cleaning/picking up kids, etc....for the next 6 or so. I would need some help to say the least. On top of this, my mom has a torn miniscus, so she needs to have surgery and won't be able to help me until she's resolved that issue. In the meantime, I'm still trying not to take my pain pills unless absolutely necessary, and when there's another adult present, but these last couple weeks have shown the other adult option is negociable; the pain has gotten pretty bad at times. I need to get a second opinion and then assuming it's going to be this surgery figure out how and when we can pull this off. I don't know how the heck I'm going to be able to just turn it all off for that length of time. I'm freaking out about it when I think about it for too long so moving on....

To add to the fun LittleSpeak has been sick this last week (BigSpeak the week before, now she just has the rotten cold part). LS has been getting up no later than 5 AM for over week now. She comes in our room at that time w/a fever, so I give her tylenol & put her in bed with us to go back to sleep; only not much sleep is happening for me after that point. Her fever then goes again until is shows up at 5 AM again the next day. Weird. Yesterday was the first morning when she did not have a fever, but she's apparently decided she likes this wake up time and getting into bed to "play" w/mama. Mama is not enjoying this so we are "crying it out" (CIO) if earlier than 5 AM (has happened), DaddySpeak has to get up to do the CIO as my back is already shot from all the lifting of her I'm doing during the day. I'm hopeful, but not that optimistic, that she will go back to sleeping later than this, I need life to cut me a break somewhere!

I did go visit my primary care physican to discuss my weight loss, BP, etc....I can tell she just thinks I'm not eatting as much as I think I am, but is running some blood tests to see if anything pops up. BTW, my BP that day was 86/60, so the lowness of it doesn't seem to be a fluke.

I'm trying to maintain a "normal" life in the midst of this; BigSpeak is going to start Daisy Scouts next week, I'm working in her classroom, walking her to and from school everyday, gymnastics on Tuesdays for BS and Wednesdays for LS. There are a lot of days when I walk BS to school and then come crash on the couch w/my feet up and either get LS to let me read to her or play pretend with her until it's time to walk to pick up BS. It's very, very frustrating to say the least. Hopefully, I will start to get more rest this week and then can get back to my regularly scheduled posting, hahahahahahaha.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lost in Space

That's kind of how I feel these days. The beginning of last week my back pain got so back that I was getting chills from it, and then later, having trouble forming coherent sentences, I wish I was joking. I broke down & took pain pills that day. I decided the pills couldn't make me any loopier then I already apparently was. I had my appointment w/the neurosurgeon and since it's almost 2 AM I'm going to keep it quick and say; he recommend surgery. That's a big surprise, coming from a surgeon and all. I'll give you more on that later.

BigSpeak was also sick during part of this week; the joys of going to school. LittleSpeak woke us at 5 AM with the fever. Fun! And I have started with the sore throat tonight. I also spent most of my day exhausted & sleeping on the couch.

this is why I've been MIA this week. Hopefully, more tomorrow; when I'm sick and lying around.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Avast Me Harties!

I'm sure I totally misspelled that, but it's Pirate Speak, I'm not sure pirate were really known for their spelling abilities.
Anywho, Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day! My favorite holiday; drink rum, sing, talk funny, wear cool hats. What more could you want in a holiday?

Now go out there and annoy the crap out of everyone.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Super Nanny meet LittleSpeak

This weekend LittleSpeak started a new phase. I think it's her "monkey" phase. Although I may rename it her "get sold to the gypsies" phase.

If you've ever watched the show Super Nanny you've seen the families' who have the kids who won't sleep in their own beds. Usually these kids have been sleeping in mom & dad's bed. Let it be known here, the Speak kids do not sleep in our bed. It's happened probably once with each child. In each case, child was sick or had a bad dream, so we let them crawl in with us. In both cases no one really slept all that well, lots of tossing and turning, etc... And in both cases, I can't tell you when those happened they were so long ago; less than 2 years, but not by much. So knowing that, what started this weekend with LittleSpeak surprised us to say the least.

Friday night she decided she wasn't going to bed. I laid her down and she started crying. I said good night & closed the door, usually she rolls over and goes to sleep. This night she promptly climbed over the railing of her crib and came out crying, looking for me. After the 3rd time, I lowered her crib rail since it being higher obviously wasn't deterring her from climbing out. A few more rounds of this and I called DaddySpeak to come help. (I'm not really supposed to be lifting her a lot with my back and all.) Super Nanny indicates that you don't want to engage them, you just turn them around, put them back in bed and leave. Engaging, including just talking, is giving them the attention they seek. After 80 rounds (yes, I counted) and an hour an a half we got her to finally stay in bed. Good thing they go to bed at 7:30, eh?

Saturday, nap time, round two. DaddySpeak ran interference since my back was not doing well at all at this point. She was taking longer between attempts so he was in the next room on the computer. BigSpeak was playing in the backyard & wanted to show me her latest trick on the monkey bars. I guess LittleSpeak could hear us, cause the next thing I know I see her little, tear-soaked face at the window. This means she climbed out of her crib, up the changing table and was standing on the changing table in order to see out the window. Since DaddySpeak couldn't hear me yelling for him, I sent BigSpeak up to tell DaddySpeak to get in her room while I kept her talking. I think it goes without saying that the changing table is now out of her room. That was her 30th attempt. Chalk that round up to her as we decided the nap was off at that point.

Luckily Saturday night she was so tired she passed out as soon as she hit the mattress. Yeah!

We've decided she's given up her naps for now; when she needs them she goes down really easily for us, but when she doesn't the effort and time is futile. How am I supposed to get my naps in now???

Sunday night, round three! She started the same as Friday night's episode, only this time she started to tell me she wanted to "sleep in mama's bed". I have no idea what made her think that was an option. DaddySpeak came up to help out and this time it only lasted nine attempts. But she wasn't through with us. Sneaky girl that she is, she showed up in our room at 3 AM and started all over. Not sure if that was a continuation of round 3 or a new round 4. (And really, too tired to care.) After returning her to bed the 3 time, I woke DaddySpeak to take watch. He got to do another 3 attempts (I think) and then she was done.

Tonight she went right down. Of course, the night is young...

I'm exhausted, but I stayed up to write about it for you Internet, don't say I don't love you! ;-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Creative Me

This has been a hard week. My back is only getting worse; I had a dr. appt today & an MRI now on Monday. BigSpeak got sick yesterday afternoon (fever and throwing up, just fever now) and still is, and LittleSpeak is busy being LittleSpeak in the middle of it all. I haven't written about my back this week because it's rehashing the same old thing, but today I hit a new low. I called DaddySpeak at work & asked him to please come home. With one child I can more or less pull it off, but with two; one sick and the other wanting lots of attention, I just couldn't pull it off. I needed to lie down for at least 10 mins ever half hour (that's how I've made it through the week so far) & it just wasn't happening. DS was a trooper and took a taxi from South City to his car in the South Bay (he takes a van pool). Luckily his company allows for this type of thing once a quarter and will cover what I'm sure was a very expensive ride. I popped a couple pain pills and parked myself on the couch w/lots of support pillows, and promptly passed out. I'm just so exhausted from the pain. I'll let you know more on this when I do, my current dr believes that they will be recommending surgery, but I'm holding out hope. I just don't feel like I'm at that point yet. I'm not sure what that point will be, but it will be before I permanently have a dropped foot. And the point I'm at now is unacceptable. I can't care for my kids!

In spite of the above, I am doing something "just for me" this week, and loving it. I haven't really been cropping the last several months. I guess it was just feeling a little stale, so I signed up for a class at Jessica . I'm loving it. The class I signed up for is a writing class, it was the next one offered and I was feeling desperate. My degree is in communications, which is more than half writing, although you probably can't tell from the way I usually write here. I didn't realize how much I missed writing. I wouldn't say anything in the class has been "new" for me. Most of the techniques were ones I've done in school or at work at some point. But having someone assign me a topic and homework is really helping to get me inspired. We are given a new writing "technique" one day and the next we use our journal entries to help create a new page. In addition, we're getting new templates, papers, help in designing our pages which is always fun. I can't believe how much inspiration I'm getting from doing this. I'm so excited I'm signing up for the next class (an intermediate photoshop class) next month. I'm excited to be excited about something for me for a change.

The page we did yesterday was about ourselves, something most scrapbookers are notoriously poor about doing. The shoemakers kids have no shoes kind of thing.... It's the first page I've ever done about myself & I really enjoyed doing it. I'm really happy with the result, so I decided to share it here. (Pix is from BigSpeak's first day of school & the photo is offset because she's right next to me, but I also think it brought in a cool artistic least I'm going to keep telling myself that.)
Tell me you love it, even if you think it's lame. I'm really proud of it.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Potty Watch 2008: It's a Double!

BabySpeak surprised all of us tonight. Not only did she use the potty, but she POOPED!

Yes, the MommySpeak blog has hit a new low, we're talking about poop. Wohoo!

Tonight I went to put her on my lap so we could read before bed. She arched her back & told me "poop, mommy". I checked her diaper & told her she didn't have one. I picked her up again & she gave me the answer. I checked once more (just to be sure) and decided she was about to go. I ran her into the bathroom & put her on the potty. And. She. Went!

We did the potty dance. She got a couple M&Ms (even though she had already brushed her teeth and was about to go to bed). We called both sets of grandparents and I let her tell them herself. We went into her sissy's room so we could tell her and get more hugs and dancing. Tomorrow, after we drop Big Speak off at school we will be heading to the toy store so she can pick out a toy. I believe it will a baby who goes pee.

How appropriate.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Potty Watch 2008: Foul Ball!

Note: This post was written September 1st.

Well Summer is winding down and so is the end of baseball season. It is ending soon ,right?

I only know this cause HOCKEY starts so soon! Let's all just take a moment here to pause and thank the Hockey Gods for all that is good and holy about hockey.

Ok, so...

I haven't said anything in a while about the whole potty training debacle going on in our house. Mostly cause it's pretty much all debacle, and not so much on the training part. I know LittleSpeak is only 28 months so it's not like she's late on this subject. The thing is, I happen to know the kid is actually trained. She chooses not to go until you put a diaper on her. For this reason, I am slowly and painfully going insane. (As if there was any doubt, she is obviously the daughter my mother wished on me; "I hope you have a daughter just like you!" It wasn't said with love folks.) If I didn't think she was interested or wasn't ready (or already trained for that matter) it would be fine. But I feel like the kid is taunting me. Anyone who knows anything about this subject will agree that it is much easier to do this during the summer, so I decided to give it another try during Labor Day weekend.

I striped the kid of her diaper in the AM & let her run around nekkid from the waist down while we're home. The potty is sitting on a mat in front of the TV (for her convenience) and no pull-ups or diapers will be provided. (I have to keep them up high or she'll try to put them on.) Problem is; we have to leave the house occasionally. At which time I put a pull-up or diaper on her. This child can hold it for up to 7 hours! I'm not exaggerating. Once she has that diaper on she lets it all go. She has the kegal muscles of a ....(who would be a good comparison for this? I'm not sure I want to know). On Monday, it finally caught up with her; she had an accident. She pooped herself. She stood next to the mat (not on it mind you) and pooped all over my rug. Then she shrieked as if someone had just torn her finger off. DaddySpeak got there first (and got to clean up, lucky him!) She wasn't happy about this, so we'll see what happens next time. It'll be a bit harder to maintain during the week, so we'll see.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sexism or Family-ism

I’m going to come clean right off. I live in a VERY blue state. I live in the bluest part of that blue state too. I’m registered Democrat, (so I can vote in the primaries) but really I’m much more socialist or liberal to be honest. So right off, it’s not a big surprise that I’m not planning on voting Republican. I’m not a fan of this war. When we went to war I wrote a letter to my unborn baby (BigSpeak) to tell her that regardless of what history will show her parents did not support this decision and why. Even if it turned out that invading Iraq was a good thing, we still felt it was the wrong thing. Since then, the war has gone less than stellar (many things I wrote in my letter showed to be true) my opinions on that subject have only strengthened.

So that being said, there’s been a lot of buzz about Sarah Palin. Since I’m not planning on voting for anyone from the party, her nomination doesn’t really concern me. However, I do have some opinions about her and her choices. I’ve made a few comments to some posts on some blogs already. But now I’m hearing that the opinions I’ve expressed are “sexist”. Interesting. I’ve never thought of myself that way before. I’m pretty certain no one has ever accused me of anything related to that before. Just to clarify, I’d like to address what my issue is and why I don’t think it’s sexist. I think my opinion is more family-ism. Yes, that is totally a word.

She had a baby FOUR months ago. That woman is obviously made of steel or something. Four months after I had my baby I was barely making it out of the house. I have a lot of respect for her ability to get it together. I'm barely getting it together and my "baby" is 2. But then I'm not running for office either.

My first concern has to do with the fact that she has a special needs child who is under a year. During my first pregnancy I had a “scare “ and did some research about down’s syndrome babies. I found that your first year with that child is really no different than any other baby. After that first year, you start to learn the scope of the your child’s disability. There’s a lot of unknowns related to this, often other birth defeats are not uncommon. I think that her family and child deserve her full attention during this time.

Secondly her 17YO is 5 months pregnant. This is not new news to her. She made the decision to run for a national office knowing that her daughter would paraded out for the public controversy that would inevitably ensue. I don't begrudge her or what happened to her daughter. It is what it is, and I hope for the best for them all. It's going to be hard for everyone involved. I understand having strong personal career aspirations, but I also understand that parenting involves sacrifices. I believe that this is one of those times when a sacrifice might have been the better choice. Is running for this office in the best interest of her family and in turn herself during this time frame?

Either of these issues is a major thing for any family to be going through. Both of them, at the same time???? Talk about having a lot on your plate! I would question any candidate (male or female) about their decision making process in this situation. Perhaps the media wouldn’t have brought up this issue for a man, but I can honestly say that I would have. I just think that her family has a couple of very, very stressful years ahead of them. I understand her husband can take the lead on the family matters, but I don’t think taking on a national office and the sacrifices it will entail is the most responsible choice. Knowing that her family has these issues to deal with in the next couple years says volumes about her decision making. Add to that, the fact that she is running on a platform of “family values” and I would say it equals hypocrisy at best.

I could say more on the subject, but really that what it comes down to for me. I think her family should be the focus for them right now; husband and wife. Making the decision to allow her focus to be elsewhere, definitely makes me question her decision making ability. I don't think that's sexism, I think it's about putting your family first.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Incredible Shrinking Woman

Of course, now that I'm mentioning it, I'll probably going to jinx it and gain all of it back. I actually do not know how much weight I've actually lost, I don't own a scale, I'd rather depend on how my clothes fit (It's not what I weigh, it's what I look like I weigh, right?). Since I've quit my job I've gone down 3 dress sizes. Yes, Three.

Here's the kicker, I don't know why. Am I dieting, not really. I've been sort of low-carb, but honestly I haven't been that great about it. I haven't been horrible either.

I haven't been "working out". Shoot, with my back being so bad lately I haven't walked much lately, much less worked out.

I'll tell you what is different:

1. I've been nauseated since the month of June. In fact, I was nauseated for pretty much the entire month of June. I lost a chunk of weight in that month, about 8 lbs (my mom has a scale). But, now in September, it's clear that I've continued to lose. I stopped being nauseated 24/7 after about a month, but I still feel queasy at least a couple times a day. I can say my eating has been cut down because of this. It's not uncommon for me to only get one meal or a granola bar in a day. (It's all I can stomach.)

2. I'm chasing a 2YO all day every day. At work I got to sit & play on the web for hours, and now, not so much. I don't even get to sit to check my email, so I think this is the real reason.

I have a theory that my nausea is being cause by low Blood Pressure (BP), so I have an appointment w/my doctor at the end of the month. If I'm right, this could also be part of reason too. I don't recommend this method of losing weight.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Still Resolute

I've been meaning to write a post about my resolutions for a while now. I've been working on them (most of them) all year, but just hadn't gotten around to an update. So tonight I pulled my old post to see how long it's been. I almost fell off the couch laughing. It's a good thing keep up my posting on my resolutions wasn't part of them, cause I've failed miserably on that part. I updated them ONCE! Ummm, yeah. Well, even though I haven't been mentioning it, I have been working on them. So, even though you probably don't care, da da da dummmmm, here's the current update on them:

1) Get our finances in order
Well I obviously did a lot more then indicated in those last posts. Because of my efforts on this topic I was able to QUIT MY JOB in April. OMG, I’m still pinching myself over it. The outcome of this was to find out that we are on track for retirement and the girls college (assuming they aren’t asking for a full ride to Stanford). I do have some follow up items to help consolidate where all of our accounts are located.
Goal for week: Get consolidation paperwork (which has been sitting on my counter for months) out the door.

This is an ongoing goal, so for all intensive purposes I consider this goal ACHIEVED for this year.
b. Set up plan to get legal stuff (ie—living trust, define who the kids would go to, etc…)updated.
Ummm yeah. Not so much done on this one.
Goal this week: Make that phone call!

2) Get the house completely unpacked.
a. Spare bedroom & den still have boxes that haven’t been unpacked. (Gee do you think we still need this stuff?)
Umm..yeah. This one is lagging as well. Big surprise. DaddySpeak has moved things around a bit. And I’ve pulled together a few boxes for recycling, but honestly nothing to write home about. I did get a dent made in the spare bedroom, but that was after it got much worse for a while due to an influx of hand-me-downs.
Goal this week: spend 10 mins in spare bedroom every day (cleaning out/purging). Dude, I’d be happy if I got ONE day in this week.

3) Get all the rooms decorated; still have pix to be hung, etc…
No where near where I’d like to be on this one, but progress has been made. I had a photoshoot of the girls in July & then purchased a ridiculous amount of prints, but hey, it’s “art” right? The result is that some of the rooms in our house are looking pretty good. It’s moving along.
Goal for week: Hang at least one print/pix.

4) Follow the Flylady system again (the other stuff will fall into place if I stick with it)
Afraid this one is still where it was at the beginning of the year. I’m not sure why but for some reason I just can’t seem to get off my arce & just do it. I know it works, I just need to do it. I have been taking small steps, (baby steps!!!) so it’s not a lost cause, but if I would hunker down & do it, life would get a lot simpler.
Goal for this week: I will both update my calendar & write out/time my evening routine.

5) Define house projects we’d like to do, prioritize them, budget them out & move on them (if I do #1 and #4 this will actually start to happen.)
I did do the spreadsheet on this one. And some of them have actually happened. But new things get added & reprioritize things, so it’s hard to remember how far we’ve come.
Goal for week: reassess spreadsheet & tackle a new project.

6) Walk for 30 mins at least 3x a week.
I’m hoping to get going on this again. My back is tentatively better right now (knock on wood) so tomorrow I’m going to try adding the 30 min walk after we drop BigSpeak off at school. OF NOTE: A large part of my reason for wanting to do this was to try and drop some inches/pounds. In the last 3 months I’ve gone down 3 (yes, THREE) dress sizes. I kid you not. I don’t know how much I’ve lost cause I don’t own a scale, but I do know that I really, really need to go shopping for some clothes cause all of my shorts and pants are HUGE on me. I'm going to write about how this happened later this week.
Goal for week: walk for 30 mins at least 1x this week.

7) Get hair free (except my head) by EOY.
This is almost complete. I took the bull by the horns and got this done. All I can say is, “why didn’t I do this sooner!!!” For the first time in years I’m considering wearing a regular bathing suit (instead of board shorts) because my bikini line isn’t full of in-grown hairs. I know TMI, sorry. The shaving I do have to do is only about every 2 weeks now. Yeah I know. AWESOME! I was very, very expensive, but worth every damn penny. If you're even thinking about doing this, by all means find a way!
Goal for week: schedule next appointment.
I consider this goal ACHIEVED.

So two of my 7 have been achieved. Not so bad for a girl who updated once, huh? I'm motivated to get a few more check marks in the done column now.

Have your resolutions fallen by the wayside? What have you completed?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mom Guilt

I get one off to school and wouldn't you know it I am suddenly aware of how little one-on-one time I've been giving to the other. It's called Mom Guilt, if you don't have it yet, you will, give it 5 minutes.

The first day of school I decided I should take it easy. Figured walking to and from the school, while not far, might just be enough to do me in, so decided to veg while we waited for BigSpeak to get done. I sat on the couch in the playroom & told LittleSpeak to go make me some breakfast in her kitchen. She just about fell over! Pretty soon she was running back & forth bringing me play eggs and toast, coffee ("Hot!") "no milk, Juice! (only she says shews)". The whole time this was going on she was giggling uncontrollablly. She was giddy w/Mommy's sole attention. Seriously, all I was doing was sitting on the couch making sure she wasn't literally climbing the walls (no she did that the next day at the public think I jest,) and it was the most exciting thing ever to her. I realized that I haven't had one-on-one time with her unless I schedule it. When I schedule it we're at a class or something, so it's not just us. Ummm, can you say mom guilt?

Every day this week, we've walked BigSpeak to school, walked to Starbucks and then headed home. We do one chore for house cleaning; dust, vacuum, mop and she helps me. She has her own duster, swifter and Dyson (play one), and I pretty sure LittleSpeak would tell you it has been the best week of her life.

Tonight I laid her in her crib and she said, "BigSpeak in kool morrow?" And I said yes, then she says, "Dada work. Mama & Little ommm." And I said, "Yes, Mama & Little stay home while BigSpeak goes to school and Dada works." "Mama & Little ommm" and she grabs my arm and hugs it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day Of School

Today was BigSpeak's first day of kindergarten. Sigh. She's not a baby anymore. At 6:30 this morning she was in my room mostly dressed and asking me to cut some tags off her new dress. G'ma & Papa came & walked with us. The chaos at the school was crazy, but happy and her day was without a hitch.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

5’s A Charm--And Your Science Lesson For The Week

At least I’m hoping that will be the case. I had my 5th epidural shot today.

The experience was a lot more pleasant than my last one. Pleasant is a relative word here. In fact, this was very much like the first-third shots I had in the past. I was really pleased with the way those went so I’m very, very hopeful that will be the case this time. So far, so good.

A little background on my procedure. (and lots of over use of parentheses & italics)

I think most people think of the type of epidural (an anesthesia epidural) you get when in labor with an infant. The kind I had today is called an epidural steroid injection (ESI) and is given for a herniated disc.

My Condition

I have a lumbar herniation which is pushing on my sciatica. My pain runs down the right side of my lower back, into my hip and down my right leg. At it's worst I have a painful numbness down the back of my leg and foot. I have nerve damage in my right leg and have lost the reflex in my right foot. My doctors have told told me that the nerve damage is still not deep enough to indicate it would be permanent. I've also been told that my foot's reflex should return when the disc is healed. I have had this condition for over 18 months now. I was pain free after quitting my job in April until the beginning of August. Because of that 3 month period they are treating this as if it might be a second injury, (although it's really more likely that it wasn't completely healed and I did something to make it worse again. What I did; fodder for another post.)

I’ve had both type of epidurals and they’re similar, but not exactly the same. For instance, I don’t have a baby in my belly so I get to lay down while the shot is being administered. I also get to watch the machine measuring my heart rate, Blood Pressure, etc...(my BP was 86/39 when I got there, yes, they took it twice, I'm apparently a zombie.) I also get to watch the machine (X-ray fluoroscopy) that shows where they’re putting the needles; if I want (sorry if that makes you queasy, I think it's kinda cool). I walk into a surgery room and lay down on the table (in labor they come into your room w/a cart & sit you up on the bed). My doctor likes to play music and sing while he’s working, which adds an interesting dynamic (today it was James Taylor which was really relaxing to me, so I liked it. I found Led Zeppelin wasn’t really so relaxing the day he had that going. More like driving music to me.) The doctor first uses the X-ray fluoroscopy to locate where he wants to put the shot, he has metal wand to help him be precise on the machine image and then marks it on my physical self with a pen. (When in labor, they have you hug a pillow and hunch so they can feel each vertebra. I don‘t recall any pen marks, but I could be wrong. I was kinda busy right then.) For an ESI they actually put in two shots (you get one in a labor situation) so you get two marks. In both cases they cover the area (and I do mean cover) in iodine and then give you get a shot of something (zylocain, I think) to numb the area, which stings/burns like crazy. After that they put in the actual epidural needle(s). Epidural needles are actually catheters, if you’re in labor they start the medicine and you feel pressure in your back, hip and leg. Let me make it clear that it’s a very uncomfortable pain type pressure. During labor you notice, but usually your contractions are strong enough that you are quickly over it because you suddenly get some glorious relief! In the case of an ESI, ummm, not so much. First they run some dye in each catheter to see which direction the medicine will spread. (I think this is the most interesting part to watch on the x-ray fluoroscopy screen, but it does hurt too.) Adjustments are made as necessary and then they pump in the medicine. They do this part twice because you have two catheters in you. Double the fun. Once again, huge amount of pressure in you back/hip/leg. This time there are no contractions to distract you so the pressure is a bit more noticeable. Ya think? It feels a lot like it’s coming from both the inside of you and the outside and it sort of feels like that area might implode or explode or something. There’s a part of your brain that will start to freak out because this isn’t good, and ohmygawdgetthosethingsoutnownownow!!! but then it’s done and while it still hurts, it’s better than it was, so your brain calms down. They pull everything out, wipe you down, put on a couple band aids, you change and someone (my dad today) drives you home. (In labor, you’re typically still in labor at this time. You ain't going anywhere soon girl!)

Your body will typically react to the shot (they just put sharp things though your back muscles, so you're probably gonna swell). They tell you to ice it for 20 minutes every hour and to take your pain pills as necessary. My personal experience has found that with this one it’s best to take a vicodin, even if not currently dying from pain. I take one every 4 hours till I go to bed. After that I take them as needed. I did this during the first 3 shots and was ready for my Olympic training the next day. Seriously. All. Three. Times. That’s extremely unusual. My reaction to those was so dramatic they decided a fourth wouldn’t hurt. (Poor choice of words on my part.) Most people do not get more than three in a year as they find the effects to diminish after 3.

Epidural #4 was not this same experience. It hurt like hell. Felt like someone was shooting fire down my muscles and nerves. It was awful. The worst part; it didn’t do anything. I felt like creamed crap from that shot for several days, then I just got back to the same back pain I’d been having, minus the creamed crap part. I was very nervous about my treatment today because of #4. I was scared that I’d have the same experience, all that extra pain for nothing. Both my doctors’ think #4 missed it’s mark, and that’s why it hurt so much and didn’t do anything. I’m starting to become inclined to believe them.

I do believe this many epidural shots and my fibromyalgia may just qualify this as a pain management blog instead of a mommy blog.

Hopefully, this is the last post for pain management and we’ll be back to corralling kiddies all the time again soon.

That being said…….

Tomorrow is orientation for BigSpeak’s starting kindergarten.

On Monday,


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Surfer Grrrls!

The one day we did make it to the beach (and some SUN) on Saturday the girls did have a blast. And as you can see from the pix it didn't really matter to the girls. In fact BigSpeak's new wetsuit ($30!, yeah consignment!) is keeping her so comfortable that she doesn't want to take any breaks. DaddySpeak didn't have his wetsuit so he kept making her take breaks because he was cold and she was not impressed at all. In that vein DaddySpeak explained the "potty protocol" with wetsuits. Like I said, "no breaks". TMI? Sorry. ;-) Cool pix below, huh?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Beach Babes

We did make it to the beach (in spite of the dump truck I mentioned). I paid a high price for this little trip. Packing and unpacking the car and sitting in traffic was all I was able to pull off. My back has been in attack mode ever since. Luckily my mom & GodMum were here right away and helped to keep the girls entertained and give me a break. I spent the first two days mostly on my back. I'd go do something and then I'd come back and collapse on the couch.

DaddySpeak surprised the hell out of me by showing up late Wednesday night. He got his work done and brought a few things with him to work on, but managed to get here around 9:30 that night. I'm so glad, it means so much to all of us. I can tell the girls are so thrilled to have him back. And it means so much to me when he pulls though like this, I know we're important to him and I know he's got a lot of pressure at work. I get it, I really do, I just get frustrated sometimes. (The back situation doesn't make it easier for me to deal with these things.)

That all being said, we've been fogged in all week. The beach house is in an area known as the Fog Belt. We're the first to get the fog when it comes in and the last to have it burn off. It's typical and we know it, but we've had such incredible weather all this summer that I'd almost forgotten that this is the weather we're more inclined to in the summer months. Even at it's worst it still usually burns off by noon, but not this week. We haven't seen the sun since Wednesday, so today I finally demanded that we go find a beach with some sun. (The irony is that if you go two blocks from the beach it's totally sunny, but we're picky, we want our sun on the beach.) We had to drive to Santa Cruz, and found that the wharf area & Boardwalk were really the only beaches with sun. The fog was hanging right at the edge of the beach so it wasn't exactly "warm", and it's apparently pushing 100 at home so the place was crowded. The girls didn't mind and they had fun, so that was the point right.

Since it's been foggy we've actually been doing some stuff beside just hanging at the beach, but I'll have to post more later as back is telling me it's time for another vicodin!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Straitening Things Out

Yup I'm working on becoming the queen of the pun, cause down here in Silicon Valley, that's how we roll.

Update from today's dr visit:

I still don't have a reflex in my right ankle bad

I have an epidural scheduled for 8/21 good

If the epdural doesn't give me permanent bad
relief, I will be given another MRI & most
likely referred to a specialist surgeon.

I have to say that I will be surprised if the epidural gets rid of it altogether. They've helped my pain a lot, but they've never been permanent. I'll be pleasantly surprised if it happens, but I'm not holding my breath on that one.

Dr. K also commented that nerve pain typically goes into your lower leg (below the knee) and as of the last two weeks mine has not. All the other tenderpoints and movement (or lack of) I do and don't have imply the nerve is still a big part of the problem. I assured him that I knew it was as I'm getting tingling and numbness this go around still AND after his little exam my pain was defineatly all the way back down into my foot (I'm pretty sure my shoe and the floor were feeling it for a while there). I've been poping half vicodins all day. (You could set a clock by me cause I can tell you exactly when they wear off). They don't eliminate the pain (a full one probably would, but I'm responsible for kids you know) but they do take the edge off.

I could've gotten the shot this week, but I'm really, really trying to get the girls to the beach house for an extended period this summer. We're going Wed. for 5 days, DAMIT!

I'm still here! Back here!

Yeah I got a million of them. I'll be here all zee week, and be sure to tip your bartenders and waitresses folks!

So guess what went out the week DaddySpeak left?

Yup, my disk is back being herniated again. I haven't been posting because I haven't really been doing much of anything to be honest. That's not exactly true. We've actually been doing quite a lot as my preshus baaaabeee starts kindergarten in a few short weeks here and I'm trying to fit it all in still. Where did my summer vacation go I ask you? And when did summer vacation end in August???? The school district at the beach house starts this week!!! I guess we're lucky. But I digress; So I hold myself together as long as I can (or until another adult is present and able to be in charge) and then I generally collapse. It's fun! NOT. Since I'm collapsed not so much on the posting happening here, but I suppose you know that already.

I'm somewhat better this week than last, not popping vicodin every day anymore. I have an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon tomorrow, so I'll let you know what he thinks after tomorrow.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Chomp, Chomp, Chomp!

Can we all just agree now, that the next time DaddySpeak goes on a sailing trip it does NOT coincide with Shark Week?

99% of the shows I let the girls watch on "on demand" so guess what's on the advertising loop this week?

Da, na, da, na....

You got it. Shark Week! So now I'm constantly being bombarded with questions from BigSpeak about where DaddySpeak is sailing and could the sharks jump onto his boat? I totally blame that one on the Air Shark ad. Don't get me wrong, I love the shark week too, I just don't want to love it with my 5 & 2 year olds.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Update from the Fire Lines

Just wanted to let you know how our friends are doing. I feel bad that I haven't updated you, but I wanted to be able to include how the fire started, and that's a very recent development.
The Bad News:

Their house is totaled.

It’s in the process of being taken down to studs (which whips up the fire smell on a regular basis). 99% of everything they owned is gone due to water, fire & smoke damage. Pix is from their daughter’s room and it makes me want to cry every time I see it. (It's a color pix, nothing was altered in the color or anything, that's just what it looks like now.)
The fire was arson & apparently the PD & FD feel they know who did it; some kid who has set other fires in the neighborhood. He’s currently detained for other things, but hasn’t been charged with this one yet. They have quite a bit of evidence so I think it’s probably a matter of time. He’s a foster kid, so I’m not sure it does anything for our friends. I don’t think there’s anyone they can sue or anything.

The Good News:

They have unbelievable insurance; their house and possessions are completely covered and there is also money for living and expenses while their out of their house. (Out for 10-12 months). They were able to rent a house on our street, which is amazingly lucky. The response of friends and family actually overwhelmed them. It finally got to the point where they had to tell people not to bring them anymore stuff. One of the other neighbors volunteered to collect the donations and several other neighbors helped with sorting, so in the end it was fine and quite a bit got donated to some very lucky charities too.

They are able to now remodel their house and update their kitchen, which was original (40 years old). Not the way you want that to happen, but it’ll be so nice when it’s done.

Emotionally they are hanging in there. They have good and bad days. I think it’ll be good once school starts and there’s more distraction to things.

The one bad thing is that now they are much farther down the street from us and I miss them a lot. I didn’t realize how many impromptu play dates we had just because the kids where playing out front.

All is well and everyone is safe and really that's all that matters.

Daddy’s on a Laundry Basket

I called DaddySpeak tonight to tell him of today’s happenings: BigSpeak started truly swimming freestyle in her lesson today; both arms out of the water, side-breathing and flip turns with continuing to swim! I’m sure the instructors thought I was on drugs I was so giddy. DS is a big water guy so I wanted him to know, you know he’s got another little fishy in the family to play with. While talking to him I informed him that LittleSpeak apparently misses him a lot, she’s constantly telling anyone who will listen that her “Daddy on a boat.”

DS: Littlespeak is saying this? Does she even know what a boat is?

Me: I was wondering what she thought she meant too, but now that I’m thinking about it, when I do laundry she’ll climb in the basket and I’ll ask her if it’s a boat and where she’s sailing to.

I think she envisions that he’s floating around in a laundry basket somewhere.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reality Check

I want you to know I don’t begrudge my husband’s trip this week. I think it’s a cool trip and wish I was on it. I think it’s really neat his dad, brother and him and doing this together.
What I’m upset about is the lack of planning toward our family. You could say it’s not personal, his planning efforts can be lackluster about most things that aren’t work. You could, but it doesn’t make me feel better. And yes, you could say I’m a bit mad at myself for not riding him harder about it earlier. Even though he’s an adult and I “shouldn’t have to” remind (nag) him that’s our reality and I guess if the beach trip was that important I should been more of a pain in the arce about it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

“Mad is way too plain a word for how I feel!”

Yes, I’ve taken to quoting Fancy Nancy. But, truth be told, I am furious. I’ve been on DaddySpeak to make sure he scheduled the time off for a week this August so we could have a family vacation at the beach house. I finally emailed him the dates at work so he’d remember, and tonight he told me he didn’t think he could take it because he’ll only have been home a week from his sailing trip.

Yes, he’s taking a vacation.
He’s going sailing with his dad, brother and some other friends for a week in Vancouver. Sounds nice doesn't it?

Being the dutiful wife I offered for his mother to come see the girls during this time (she doesn’t boat; major motion sickness. HOWEVER, I do enjoy boating, but was not asked). It’s true that spending time with his parents has been known to put me over the edge in mental illness in the past. It’s not so bad these days (or hasn’t been, knock on wood) but this next week is NOT my idea of a break, much less a vacation. My initial reaction was to say that the girls and I will head over without him for the week. Then I started to really think about that & honestly, that’s not a break for me on any level. It’s a huge amount of work for me, so I don’t think that’s what we’ll be doing. I don’t know. Right now, what I do know is that I’d really like to smash my fist into someone’s face right now.

The cherry to my sundae is that BigSpeak decided to pull her usual, “I’m too tired” about picking up the playroom tonight. The room is actually not that big of a deal right now and would've taken like 2 minutes. But we made a deal awhile ago that they were going to start picking up the play room 2x a day without protests.

Yeah right, how’s that working for you?….Not so much.

Tonight when she started in I told her she had till the count of 3 to get in there and start picking up or she could go strait to bed. (I was already starting at pissed from my conversation with DaddySpeak.) She informed me she preferred to go to bed.

Mad is way too plain a word for how I feel right now.

Bonus points for you if you know which Nancy book that quote is from.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Today the dragons slayed me.

At 2:00 today I’d hit my wall with the girls. They were tag teaming me; BigSpeak would whine for things and demand that she was “too tired to contribute” or that “it wasn’t fair”. LittleSpeak would just demand; if she asked for milk and you gave her milk, she would throw herself in a fit onto the floor because she wanted water!!!! “My God Woman, what is wrong with you! How could you give me milk!” At nap time she literally screamed her head off and threw herself against her crib so it would bang the wall...For. An. Hour! After an hour she’d started to climb out of her crib, and having hardwood floors I had to put the nix on that one. But even when I took her out of her room, did that make her happy? Noooooo. She wanted to go to swim lessons. NOW! Didn’t matter that we had over an hour yet. An hour during which she was supposed to be sleeping. I finally gave up. I grabbed all of our swim stuff , threw them in the car and drove out of our way to the mall because it has a drive-up Starbucks, and we had the time. They had stopped all their whining and fussing once in the car, so I got them each a “treat” and let them drink them at the pool while we waited for their lessons (we were still really early). After lessons I drove to our cabana pool and was so very grateful to see neighbors there, so they played for an hour and a half. We came home to start dinner and the whining commenced, but DaddySpeak showed up and played interference. Thank God!

I decided that what’s going on is that my daughters expect to be entertained every minute of every day, and when they aren’t happy with the entertainment, well I believe today was an example. I think I need to reset some expectations around here. (Theirs not mine.)

Of course, we’re headed to an amusement park tomorrow, so I guess the resetting will start on Saturday.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Slaying Dragons Still

I know I’ve still been pretty much MIA. The truth is I’m still not all that well yet. I’m still having issues with eating. Actually if I don’t eat I’m fine, which is a great weight loss plan. It just not so good when you're chasing kids.

Eventually, I get lightheaded from not eating (my blood pressure is normally on the low side) so I eat and then I’m nauseated. It’s So. Much. Fun!
Now, just to add to my fun, LittleSpeak seems to have picked this up from me. This weekend she ran about 103° on her own, and 101° w/Tylenol. This morning when I took her to the doctor she was normal. Of course. She alternates between bouncing off the walls and moaning in my arms. tonight she completely lost it. Just completely melted down. Wanted to be held by me, but I was not permitted to sit down. Now I needed to hold her and walk around with her. Poor baby. Poor Mommy. I got her fed early (scrambled eggs for breakfast) and she was in bed, passed out, by 6:15.
So, sadly Internet, I’m not intentionally neglecting you, I’m just exhausted. I seem to be a little better every day, so hopefully by the weekend I’ll be 100%. More later, I’m off to try and get some sleep so I can slay some dragons tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Potty Watch 2008: Strike Two

I read Mike’s guest post related to potty training and it reminded me of one of LittleSpeak’s newest tricks in the potty training arena that I wanted to share.

LittleSpeak has shown us that she does know how to use the potty, (Yeah!) how to hold it and obviously how to frustrate her mother to no end. The other morning she showed me a new trick.

I was putting on my make up my room while LittleSpeak was playing in hers. I realized that things had gotten awfully quiet, which is never a good thing when you have a toddler in the house. I went into her room where she was laying on the floor. She had already removed her diaper and put it into the diaper genie (at least she's clean). Then, she had put a cloth diaper on the floor (something we use when we change her so the rug/furniture won’t get dirty) and was laying on it on her back attempting to put a clean diaper on the same way we do. She had her legs in the air as she tried to put the diaper underneath her bum. (Got to get them up to your ears honey!) Quite the scene.

I informed her that once she can diaper herself that’s when it’s time to start using the potty. She agreed, but has yet to completely comply.

If only she would use her powers for good instead of evil.
Yes, I do know it could’ve been much worse.

Milestones….and yes, we’ve melted

I’m better! Yeah! I was better and eating again as of last Friday (July 3). Hopefully it’ll hold. We had an amazing, relaxing, crazy, fun weekend at the beach. I have pix & if the stars all line up you may even get to see a few before Labor Day. ;-) But you know me, so don’t like bet on it or anything.
Big News! LittleSpeak hit TWO milestones today!
1. Used the potty on purpose today!!! Wahooooooo!!! It’s a step in the right direction. Now to get her to stop taking her damn diaper off all the time.
2. LittleSpeak climbed out of her crib today. I know, we’re so screwed. BigSpeak NEVER did anything like that at all. Shoot, I had her mobile up until close to her 2nd b-day. She was just a mellow, follow the rules kind of kid. (That’s over.) Little Speak , we knew was just a matter of time. We’ll see if falling out has curbed her from it, or if I’ll be making an emergency trip to Ikea soon.
Got to go to bed!! More soon. I promise.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Still Sick--not for the faint of heart or stomach.

Yes, I am still sick. It's been awful. I'm better in the AM & able to get the girls to appointments and such, but late afternoon/evenings do me in. I'm so nauseated it's not funny. I can't eat anything without feeling awful. I've been subsisting primarily on sugarless jello, string cheese, water and an occasional Diet Dr. Pepper (not necessarily all in one day). According to the doctor's scale (I went last Friday) I've lost 8 lbs. I'm so bloated you can't tell at all. I got some meds from the doctor to stop the bathroom action (TMI I know, you're welcome) which was good cause it scared me. I was so sick I was having trouble keeping me water up. He wanted me to go in for testing, but since the meds basically worked, I think it's just a really nasty virus.

But that's not the worst part. No the worst part is that now I think LittleSpeak may have caught this from me. She was super clingy/wanting to lay on me this afternoon. Finally she had one of the nastiest diapers ever known to mad.

Let's hope it was a one time thing.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mama Doesn’t Get A Free Day

I’ve been nauseated since Sunday (it’s Wednesday). I’ve mostly been ok until I eat and then I need to lie down because I’m so very nauseated. Obviously, I’ve been mostly avoiding food. Last night it got really bad and didn’t matter if I’d eaten I was so sick. This morning it was still like that so I called my mom to see if she could take the girls for a couple hours and give me a break. She did, so I slept, and took a shower, but still it’s not good. I have only had a granola bar, some jello and a popsicle in the last 24 hours. That and about 7 gallons of water. I’m trying a couple crackers now, cause my stomach is churning on itself. So we’ll see. No sick days for Mama.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fun Monday--the Fire Sale Edition

Don’t know if you heard, but Northern California is pretty much aflame. Seriously, I woke up with a sore throat from all the smoke in our air. It’s bad. Really bad. None of the fires are very close to us, but the wind is working against us as far as smoke goes. And, just for the record, the beach house has a fire just a few miles from it too, so going down there isn’t much help. Thus you get the fire sale edition of Fun Monday. cough, cough

After many weeks off I decided to participate in Fun Monday again. Fun Monday this week is hosted by Hula Girl at Heart, (go check her out for more on this topic and a really, really 90's wedding dress). The topic she gave us is:

Show us those pieces of clothing you just can't part with, whether you wear them or not. It might be your grandma's vintage wedding dress, a jacket from high school, a t-shirt from an old boyfriend or those jeans you hope to get back into some day. It could be anything. Most of us have something like that we can't seem to throw away.

I was going to participate in the Fun Monday by talking about my favorite outfit, which is a teal skirt & top. I got the outfit the spring Daddy Speak & I were engaged; so it’s 8-9 years old. I love it for a lot of reasons, mostly cause it’s gorgeous and my eyes turn the same color teal when I wear it. I wore it a lot and even took my engagement photos with DaddySpeak in it, so it’s memory is well preserved to me no matter what. Once I got pregnant with BigSpeak (6 years ago) I no longer fit in it. Or at least, no longer fit in it well. I hold on to it in the hope that I will get thin enough to get back into it, although I’m pretty sure even at a size smaller than it, my hips expanded enough so that it won’t fit “right”. But I still hope, a girl‘s gotta have a dream, right? Today I decided I’m going to give up that dream. Yup, just today I decided I’m going to get rid of it. Our friends who lost their house this weekend, I’m going to pass it on to them. Well to K, I don't think D would look that good in teal, I'm just saying... They have nothing now and it’s just sitting in my closet, waiting to eventually be passed on to Goodwill. Instead it’s going to get a new life. It holds such happy memories for me, it seems fitting that it should help her move forward into new happiness.

This is not the best pix of it, but the only I could find for now. Plus look at DaddySpeak w/his long hair! Being the Rock Star he is!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Welcome to the Freak Show

Today was so weird.

All last night & today our street has been a freak show; cars and people are constantly driving and walking by to see the destruction. The FD was here till well past midnight. The phone and cable companies have been working on lines all day. Our electricity came back around 9:30 last night, but it was well past noon before we had internet or cable. The burned out houses were boarded up by 6 this morning (DaddySpeak managed to slip in and get some photos,) and a cyclone fence with locks went up at some point during the day. People get out of their cars to peek through the fence.

Everything seems so surreal.

We had 5 parties today, we were only trying to make three of them, but I told DaddySpeak as we left, “I so don’t want to go anywhere today. I just want to stay around the neighborhood with people who know how I’m feeling. I want to close ranks with everyone here it just seems how it ought to be.” He said he felt the same way. We still had to go. It was fine. We even made the third party which was for the triplets. The majority of people were gone but it was good to be back by our house and with friends who understood our state of mind. One of the neighbors went out & got gift certificates (Target, Old Navy & Toys R Us) for D&K; the kids only have the bathing suits they were wearing at the pool when it all started. Tonight I walked over to her house to give her a check for my part. Our house was the closest of all our friends to the fire, but the smoke, apparently, drifted the away from us. Once I got past the houses I was overwhelmed w/the smoke smell. My nose started dripping uncontrollability and my eyes were watering. I can only imagine what it was like last night. We’re lucky on this front too; I tend to be very sensitive to things like smoke. If it had drifted our way I might be sleeping at my parents house for the next couple days. Several other neighbors happened to be heading to the same house as myself and we had an informal powwow for a half an hour or so. It was what I needed. To feel connected to these people who are feeling the same sense of survivors’ guilt I am. I’m glad it worked out that way.

I’m feeling so many things right now and it’s like I have no words to articulate the complexity of these feelings. I’m suddenly at such a loss of words.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Loss of Innocence

I’m sitting here drinking a mudslide in the heat, trying to get a buzz so I can forget a bit how much I care about what I’m going to tell you. As I sit here I’m also listening to the hum of six large fire engines in our street because some good friends lost their home today.

Today was a typical Friday for our neighborhood. This afternoon (after nap time) we headed out to the pool to hang out because it was HOT. It had to be very close to 100° today. I had stopped at Costco earlier & picked up a chicken to eat cold for dinner tonight. The neighbors behinds us (triplets) were there and so were A, C & their dad D. Mom would be there later after work w/KFC for the crowd. Kids played, we BS’d and shared snacks & beers. At 5:30 we looked toward our neighborhood and saw a huge black cloud rising quickly from some houses. The guys took off running (DaddySpeak was jumping backyard fences) leaving S (triplets mom) and I with 7 kids. And they didn’t come back. K (A & C’s mom) pulled up just as the guys were jumping fences, she was worried about her house. She was going to pull the KFC out & go check, but I told her I’m sure it’s fine, just go check & come back. She never came back! Now I’m getting a little worried, the guys ran over w/out anything but their swim trunks, no shoes and certainly no cell phones. Realizing this was serious and looking for some distraction, I pulled out our food and started feeding kids. K’s mom suddenly pulls up and we know D & K’s house is involved. Their mom packed up their stuff and took the kids to her house. The guys finally came back; it was D & K’s house (three doors down from us) and their next door neighbors, N (two doors down). The guys had been helping to actually fight the fire; unrolling & hooking up hoses and hosing down the house in-between ours and N’s. The fire had started between the two houses, but as of now do not know how or why. (Part of the reason there are still six large trucks out there is because they are working on finding out the why.) K & D’s bedrooms are a loss, the roof on that side collapsed. I imagine most of the stuff in the house has smoke & water damage, so what didn‘t get destroyed is probably mostly lost too. They do have some clothing and the most important irreplaceable stuff (baby mementos) were salvaged. Their dog, Leo, was in their bedroom and did not make it. I am overwhelmed with my feelings and can not begin to fathom how they are feeling right now. I had to explain to BigSpeak that one of her best friends just lost everything safe she knows. She doesn't really understand yet, and I'm sad that in short order she will. They are such babies still, they shouldn't have to understand how vulnerable we are yet.

I am grateful that they are all physically ok.
I am overwhelmed by the outpouring from the neighborhood already. (I’m sure they are too.)
I am grateful that it was not my home and my family.
I’m saddened that my child (BigSpeak) and one of her best friends (A) lost their sense of security in relation to their homes tonight.
I am hopeful that they will be blessed in the rebuilding of their home.
I pray that Leo didn’t suffer.
Mostly I am glad that all of us (their family and mine) are healthy and able to move forward together.
The picture is not of their house, I found it via an image search on yahoo.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hot Gift

I know a week or two ago I was complaining about how it’s supposed to almost be summer & we are freezing over here! But this week the temperature has been creeping up and today we were about 95° . Not having AC we’re feeling a bit warm in the Speak household (the kids’ rooms are about 80° at 7:30 this evening). In this case the heat wave does have an upside?; my folks gave us a margarita maker last weekend. It was a late anniversary gift. Coincidently my folks are spending the night here; they’re having their house tented for termites, so we broke out the margarita machine (actually the thing is so freakn’ huge it has it’s own spot permanently on the counter!) No margaritas though, mudslides! Yeah Baby! YUM! Not low carb, but yummy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Summer Vacation with a Vengeance!

This is our first week true week of summer vacation and we are at it with a vengeance!

On Monday we went to Happy Hollow. This is a park aimed at the under 5 set and is perfect for us. After 30+ years are they are gutting the place & redoing all of it starting in July, which is really very bittersweet. On one hand ,it’ll be really, really, really nice once it’s finished. On the other, this park is a place that anyone who grew up in the South Bay has visited as a child, and to have them change it now after all this time, is just sort of sad. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure, safety wise the place is a nightmare, but still, I have pictures of both DaddySpeak and I as children riding the carousel, running in the maze, climbing the fire engine….so it’s melancholy. We’re trying to get in as many visits as possible before their close date.

Yesterday, we cleaned house and then cousin S came over for a playdate; after which you couldn’t tell I’d done any cleaning. It was fine, they just built a “carnival” in the front room using every toy in the house and utilizing every inch of space in our playroom. After the playdate we headed over to one of the neighbors for slip and slide and then take out Chinese. (I love summer!)
This morning we got up and picked up the playroom (took us 30 minutes, I set the timer in 10 minute increments) then headed off to Gilroy Gardens for the day. The girls slept the entire ride home.

Tomorrow we have gymnastics and swim lessons, and Friday is Gymboree.
Whew! If we keep up this pace I’ll be a size 4 in a month!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Typical Night at Home

DaddySpeak and I are having a typical evening at home.

Girls are asleep upstairs.
TV is on; watching Dirty Jobs.
He’s sitting on the love seat and I’m on the couch, we each like to stretch out and have a blanket (cause we're true romantics). AND...

We each have a laptop going; I’m digi-scrapping, he’s cruising the Internet.

Romantics at heart, that's us!

No, we are not emailing each other!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Odd Man Out


Sometimes this parenting thing can be so hard. And they're only 5 and 2! I'm not sure how to help BigSpeak, she's super sensitive and not mature enough emotionally to deal with all the things she picks up on.

This afternoon we had a lovely low-key Father's Day with about 5 other neighbors at our neighborhood pool. We'd all agreed to a BYOM (Bring Your Own Meat) Potluck. BYOM is explainatory, potluck=sidedish to share. It was going great till we realized that the pool's BBQ is missing it' s propane tank. No problem we moved it to one of the neighbor's backyards. After everyone had finished eating the kids were playing inside and one of the girls announced we were getting a dance show. When the kids assembled to do the show BigSpeak hung back by the parents. I asked her if she was going to go with the kids and she burst into tears. She was so upset that I had to take her inside so I could get her to calm down. The explination I got was that she didn't know how to do what they were doing and wanted to do it at home. I told her that was fine & got her to calm down. She watched the "show" w/the adults, but was still unhappy. When we got home, as promised, we got our dance show. She beamed while dancing for just us.

I don't know if she was just:
  • Overtired (likely)

  • Upset because it seemed the kids had paired off & she was somewhat of the odd man out. (I think she picked up on this but may not have understood why this upset her.)

  • Being the perfectionist and not wanting to do something until she knew she could do it perfectly. (This one has been a big problem in the past, and hasn't reared it's head for a while.)
I'm sure it's a combination of the 3, the later two concerning me greatly. There's so many ramifications to being a perfectionist like that. I mean, Dude, you're only 5, if you're putting this much pressure on yourself now, how are top it by age 13? And the feeling left out thing, I know it's something we all go through, but the cliquiness that has started already, it scares the crap out of me.
I just want to gather her up in my lap and hold her. She looks so much older than her barely 5YO self, and she's still such a little girl. I want to protect her from all those mean things that rotten kids will inevitably say to her, (because kids are mean and will do that,) and the snubs that will be put her direction (because she's sensitive and will wear her feelings making herself an easy target). I just want to hold her close and make it OK.

Most of the time she's such a happy, carefree little girl and it hurts me to see these types of things chipping away at that. I want to tell her it will be OK, and know that it really will be for her. How do you help your child develop a thick skin, without chipping away at that the pure innocence that believes everyone is nice?

I watch her sleep and she's still such a baby. The world is asking her to grow up too fast and I want to protect her from that.