Friday, November 30, 2007

friday five

Five Books* I Can Read Again And Again (And Again And Again...)

  1. The Giver by Lois Lowry This is probably my very favorite book. It reminds me how beautiful the world is, and how much I appreciate the freedom to make choices.
  2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak I found this book at the library last summer, and when I was done I went out and bought a copy for myself. One of these days I'm going to write a post all about this book, I can't say enough about how amazing it is. The Giver has been my favorite book for years...but this one is vying for the title.
  3. anything by Tamora Pierce I discovered her first books, The Song of the Lioness quartet, when I was in junior high, and I could not even try to count how many times I've read it since. It's about a young girl, Alanna, who disguises herself as a boy so she can become a knight. I wanted to be Alanna. Sometimes I still want to be Alanna. :)
  4. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare You can look at my Shakespeare anthology and pick out where Romeo and Juliet falls by the worn pages. One of these days I'll buy a little paperback version. It seems counterproductive, but when I'm feeling sad I read this play and it makes me feel better. The best part is I can read it in just a few hours.
  5. Spindle's End (and many others!) by Robin McKinley Rose Daughter named herself for one of McKinley's books; I like that one a lot, but Spindle's End is my favorite. It's Sleeping Beauty retold, and it's magical. I'm a sucker for fairy tales.
*or series of books, or plays...

note: This is not, by any means, and exhaustive list. It was actually very difficult to narrow it down to five! :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007


I had several ideas for a post for today. I have one partly written about my grandpa and the wonderful things he's made for me over the years, and I had a strange and funny dream the other night that I might write about. But I couldn't make myself write about something funny or magical today

Today is just gloomy.

I'm fairly certain the temperature never got above freezing. When I woke there was frost on the ground and ice on the cars and it stuck around all day. The sun never showed its face. And the fog...I thought about taking a picture out the window, but an entire frame of white-grey fog doesn't make for much of a photograph.

I spent much of the day doing laundry and washing dishes. And bottles, washing bottles never ends! When I wasn't working and the Little Mister was sleeping I curled up on the couch and worked on a cross stitch I started for my little brother. I kept the curtains closed because looking outside was just too depressing.

I've suspected for a long time that I have at least a touch of seasonal affective disorder. I love rain, especially summer thunderstorms, but I tend to get down if the sun stays hidden for days and days. We've talked about getting a sun lamp, and we'll probably get one eventually. For now, though, I have to find the happiness in gloomy days. Like today.

I didn't want to go out at all (I'd rather drive in six inches of unplowed snow than thick, soupy fog!) but I decided that fun today was going to be a new food for the Little Mister. So around four thirty, when it was already dark, I bundled him up in his brand new snow suit (thanks, Crazy Grandma!) and headed out into the gloom.

So far the Little Mister has only had rice cereal, but since it's been a week with no reactions, I decided to try an avocado. Apparently avocado is good for brain development, or something like that. I looked online and it's a good "first food", and easy to prepare (no cooking, just scoop it out and toss it in a blender) so that's what we went looking for at the commissary. That and a Snapple for me. :)

The avocado was a success. He loved it! I cannot believe how much this child eats. It astonishes me! He's still getting most of his nutrition from formula (solids just once a day) but he knows when it's five thirty. He knows it's time to get into the high chair! When we get everything situated he opens his mouth wide and leans forward, ready for the spoon.

It's a lot of work (a bottle is so much easier!) but it's also a lot of fun feeding the Little Mister solids. Watching his face tonight when he tasted something new was priceless. I can't wait to try something new again...although I have to wait at least a week. :)

So...even though it was a gloomy day, I didn't let it get me down. We found the fun!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

wordless wednesday: christmas wonder

**He rolled over and over, across the mat you see there, to get to the base of the tree!**

Monday, November 26, 2007

how to lose your last marble: a monday mission

My instructions for losing the last shred of sanity you might have left...
  1. Wake up to the phone ringing at 4:00 am the day before Thanksgiving.
  2. Drag yourself out of bed, wake and feed the baby, and get in the car to pick up your husband after he's been gone for four weeks, only to have him call back to say he has a ride and you can go back to bed.
  3. Have a very l-o-n-g holiday weekend, and be sure to take several crazy-busy shopping trips, completely clean and rearrange (and mostly organize) your entire living room and dining room, cook Thanksgiving dinner, introduce your baby to solid food, and decorate for Christmas.
  4. At the end of the sanity-breaking holiday weekend, volunteer to babysit your friend's two-and-a-half year old daughter starting at 5:00 Monday morning.
  5. Wake up to the alarm going off at 4:56 Monday morning.
  6. Starting around 6:00 am listen to aforementioned toddler saying, over and over, "we take [the Sergeant] to work," "he's going to the field, his clothes will be nasty" and "go for a ride in miss [dragonfly's] car in a little bit."
  7. Repeat the previous step about 50 times.
  8. At 6:45 bundle up the baby and the toddler against the snowy morning, and drive onto the base to drop the Sergeant off to go back to the field.
  9. Listen to the toddler say "Mister [Sergeant] going to the field. His clothes are nasty." and "Mister [Sergeant] clean snow off Miss [dragonfly's] car." (note: "Mister" is sometimes pronounced "Miss" :)
  10. Repeat and repeat and repeat the previous step.
  11. Chase the toddler and the baby (who is thankfully not terribly mobile yet) around until 1:00 pm, when your friend picks up the toddler.
  12. Praise God that the baby is sleeping and listen to the quiet while you wonder where your last marble went.
p.s. I'm not complaining. Really. I had a wonderful holiday. I'm just...exhausted. :)

Today's Monday Mission is to write a post in the form of directions. Monday Missions are to visit Painted Maypole and find links to more directions. She also posted the list of Missions for December!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

the little mister is thankful for.....


We did this for the first time today. He was a bit confused at first, and didn't know what to think, but by the end he was diggin' it. He ate the whole bowl!

Sorry for the deluge of pictures. He's just so darn cute!! :)

Monday, November 19, 2007

moms need story time too! a monday mission

She cooks. She cleans. She's busy from sunup to sundown, but still finds time to read Great Day for Up! and Goodnight Moon (and all the books in between) to her kids.

When can she read to herself?

That's where you come in.

You and Story Time for Moms*. Donate and hour of your time to read to a busy mom while she washes dishes, sweeps a floor, or folds laundry. Be prepared to read anything from sappy love stories to swashbuckling adventures, with possibly a bit of zombie apocalypse thrown in for good measure.

It's a good cause: saving a mom's sanity!

Contact your local volunteer office for details.

*We don't discriminate: we read to busy dads too!

* * * * * * * * *

This week's Monday Mission is to write a post as a spiel for a real or imaginary charity. I was thinking over the weekend, while I was aching for a bit more time to read, how nice it would be to have someone to read to me. Here's my solution! If only it were real...

...but even with no one to read to me, and only reading while the Little Mister slept, I finished my book this morning. Yippee!! I will very much miss the characters, but it's satisfying to reach the end, to tie up loose ends and to finally find out what happens!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

the fate of richard and kahlan

It came today. The book I've been waiting for.

I look forward to new movies. New books, however, bring out the geek in me. I was excited about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows...but this surpasses that by far.

Since 2003 I've been reading about Richard and Kahlan and their fight to preserve freedom and save the new world. And now, finally, I get to find out their fate. Confessor, the eleventh and final book in the Sword of Truth series, showed up in my mailbox this morning. Yay!! Seriously, I did a little "I'm so happy!" dance in the post office. (Got a few interesting looks as well...)

I want nothing more than to devour this book. I want to creep into D'Hara and hide behind one of the soldiers' tents to watch the events unfold. But...I'm being a Good Mommy. I decided if I didn't set limitations I was going to dive in...and that's not fair to the Little Mister. So I'm only allowed to read when he's asleep. And, wow, It. Is. So. Hard. Horribly hard! I'm only on page 107 of 603. A year ago I would have been 3/4 through the book in this amount of time.

I know that one person who reads this blog is wondering about Richard and Kahlan too, but most of you probably don't know what I'm talking about. But that's not the point. The point is that books, especially the release date of new books, make me geeky. I'm perfectly okay with that..I accepted it a long time ago. Are there any other geeks out there? Does anyone else look forward to new books more than new movies?

And now it's time to go. I took time out after I put the Little Mister to bed to say hello to my bloggy friends. But now it's time to READ!! ;)

Friday, November 16, 2007

friday five (plus two)

I was tagged by Mary Beth at Cats...Books...Life is Good to do the "seven random things" meme. So...It's two more than five, but it works. :)

Here are the rules:

1 - Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2 - Share seven random and/or weird things about yourself.
3 - Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4 - Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Five (plus two) Random Things About Me
  1. My favorite color is orange.
  2. My biggest, longest-lasting dream is to travel in space. I am a sucker for movies like Apollo 13, Space Cowboys, The Astronaut Farmer. Even Armageddon made me get a little choked up when the shuttles lifted off... I hold onto a tiny bit of hope that it'll be possible in my lifetime.
  3. I don't watch soap operas (my mom used to watch one, when I was a kid, so I saw it from time to time, but I was never a soap opera "watcher") ...but at a junior high sleepover my friends and I split into two groups, and one group (including me) filmed a very amusing soap opera about the other group. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) the video tape was lost sometime during high school.
  4. In college I drove all over Michigan and to Ohio, Virginia, and Nebraska following the men's basketball team. Aside from one or two my freshman year, I didn't miss a game, home or away. I could list all the players' names, numbers, heights, weights, and positions. And sometimes percentages and such. I was slightly obsessed.
  5. I would rather write a real, hold-in-your-hands, takes-a-stamp letter than an email.
  6. I have lived in Ohio, Michigan, California, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Germany.
  7. I hope to someday visit places like Italy, Greece, England, and Ireland...but my favorite city in the world (thus far) is Washington, DC. (Which actually isn't a city at all, but a district. Oh well.)
So, that's some oddness about me. And now I tag:
  1. Rose Daughter
  2. SJSFalter+
  3. Kathryn at Seeking Sanity
  4. Sue at navel gazing at its finest
  5. Heidi at Viking Conquest
  6. Tracey at Just Another Mommy Blog
  7. Cyndi at For the Love of Sleep
If you want to play along, that's cool. If not (or if you've already done it already!) that's cool too. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007 week early

Today...I am thankful.

That is not to say I'm not thankful every day. I'm just thinking about it a lot today. So...

I am thankful for quiet moments whenever they happen. This morning the Little Mister woke up at 8:00. After he ate, he went back to sleep until 10:00!

I am thankful for the full-body smiles the Little Mister gives me, especially first thing in the morning.

I am thankful for the opportunity to be a stay at home mom, thankful that the Sergeant works hard so I can stay home with our little boy.

I am thankful for the chance to live in Germany for a few years, and for the friends I've made here.

I am thankful for beautiful snowy mornings...especially when I'm nice and warm in my cozy little apartment. ;)

I am thankful that I have three little kitties who love to cuddle (especially during the cold months). There's one on my lap right now!

I am thankful for my friends and family back home in the States, and thankful that modern technology allows me to communicate with them (almost) whenever I want to.

Even though I couldn't breastfeed, I am thankful for good, healthy formula to help the Little Mister grow.

I am thankful for the sweet, thoughtful things the Sergeant does, like sending me "I love you" text messages while he's at work and pulling over to the side of the road to pick daisies for me because he couldn't find any at the store.

I am thankful for my mom, my prayer warrior, who always knows how to help when I'm feeling down.

I am thankful for my dad, fixer of computers and all-around good guy.

And, perhaps most of all: I am thankful that after three years of trying, sperm and egg finally met.

I am thankful for many more things, but this is a start... What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

poetry tuesday: on writing


Sometimes the poem slips
into my brain, twitches
my fingers until
I find a pen
and paper
and push it onto the page.

And sometimes I am Cave Woman.
I swing my club
hope to find
it in the firelight,
to knock the words
long enough to paint them
on the cave wall.

November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

everyday comedy: a monday mission

Scene: A slightly cluttered apartment, decorated with baby swing, stuffed animals, board books, and teething rings. A group of four (Baby Boy, Baby Boy's Mom, Toddler Girl, and Toddler Girl's Mom) prepare to go upstairs to another apartment for dinner.

Baby Boy's Mom: Sorry I'm not all ready; I just have to finish packing the diaper bag.

Toddler Girl's Mom: Oh, you're fine! I remember these days. Do you need any help?

Toddler Girl: We go my house for dinner!

Baby Boy's Mom: Yes, we're going to your house for dinner. [to Toddler Girl's Mom] No, I think I've got it, just have to put everything into the bag.

Baby Boy's Mom puts various bibs, burp cloths, bottles, and diapers into a diaper bag. Baby Boy makes various baby noises. Toddler Girl giggles.

Baby Boy's Mom: Okay, I think that's it, we just have to carry everything upstairs now.

Toddler Girl's Mom: [picks up a bag and a pan] I'll take this.

Toddler Girl: [walks over to Baby Boy, puts her arms around him] I'll take this.

Much laughter...

* * * * * * * * *

Today's Monday Mission, hosted by Painted Maypole, is to write a post in the form of a script/dialog. This actually did happen last week; we couldn't stop laughing about that one. The toddler girl was so sure she was going to carry the Little Mister upstairs! I asked her to help by carrying a burp cloth instead. She was satisfied. :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

much needed rest

Yesterday I took the day off...from the internet.


Actually, I took the day off from most everything.

When the Little Mister was awake, I played with him, cuddled with him, laughed with him, read to him.

When he got too wiggly and wanted to play by himself on the floor I did laundry, cleaned the bathroom, and started the process of cleaning the kitchen. (It was only halfway done when it was time for bed, and I was beat. I'll do it today.)

When the Little Mister slept, I treated myself to rest of my own: I watched my Buffy the Vampire Slayer dvds. (Started over at season one. They all look so young!!)

Aside from the obvious (we both ate, I changed diapers, etc) that is literally all we did yesterday. And it was lovely.

Today I have much more to do. More housework, get five month pictures ready to mail, cook myself a real meal. But you can't take yesterday away from me!

Friday, November 9, 2007

friday five

Five Things I DO NOT Appreciate Seeing When I Get Up On An Early November Morning:

  1. The numbers "6:23" on the clock when the Little Mister decides to wake up.
  2. Four small squares clinging neatly to the last roll of toilet paper in the house.
  3. Only two clean diapers in the drawer. (How on earth did we go through so many yesterday??! Oh well, I guess we're stuck with disposables until the laundry is done.)
  4. About two scoops of cat food left in the canister.
  5. SNOW. (shudder)

Thursday, November 8, 2007


It's so hard to have a sick child. The Little Mister really is feeling better today, but still...I'm a paranoid new mommy with (in my mind, anyway) reason to be paranoid.

When the Little Mister was born, he was 7 pounds 7 ounces.

At his two week appointment, he was 6 pounds.

In two weeks he lost 18% of his birth weight...and I didn't notice.

I didn't notice.

How did I not notice??

I felt like the Worst Mommy Ever. Looking back, I'm guessing I didn't notice because I was barely conscious during the days, living in a haze of no sleep plus painkillers due to a very painful and damaging delivery. It was all I could do to nurse, change diapers, rock to sleep, feed myself... But hindsight doesn't make me feel any better. My baby got smaller instead of bigger, and I didn't notice.

We spent five days in the hospital. At first it was only observation: I kept careful track of exactly how long he nursed, and when, and I even weighed his diapers. He was a champion nurser; I had good let-down, his latch was perfect, and he ate until I was empty, on both sides.

After 48 hours with no growth, the doctor asked me to give the Little Mister a bottle. Part of me was heartbroken. I loved nursing. I loved that I could feed my child from my own body. But my baby wasn't growing. So I nursed for 20 minutes, and then offered him a bottle.

He inhaled that bottle.

My baby was starving. For two weeks he'd been hungry.

The Little Mister didn't grow a whole lot at first; he had a milk intolerance, so we switched to soy. And then the ounces started coming. When we left the hospital on the fifth day he was 6 pounds 12.6 ounces.

The final prognosis? I didn't make enough milk. Despite (according to my doctors) doing everything right, pumping practically every minute that I wasn't nursing or bottle feeding or sleeping, my milk supply never increased enough that I could feed the Little Mister without formula. About a week before he was three months old my milk just wasn't there anymore, dried up completely overnight. This is something I really don't like to talk (or even think) about, because it feels like I wasn't good enough. I know in my heart that isn't true, but it's still hard. Every day I am thankful for the quality of formula in the United States (we're in Germany but we use formula from the U.S.), but I still have twinges of guilt and, more often, sadness when I make a bottle.

But the other result of all this is that now I pay attention to everything. I worry when he takes longer naps, when he spits up more than usual, when his dirty diapers seem spaced too far apart, when he eats less or more than usual. We go to the clinic probably more than we should. My paranoia has paid off, because now we're treating his acid reflux instead of worrying about it, and we fixed his constipation by switching to a hypoallergenic formula. But when he started acting funny on Monday I just didn't know if I was being paranoid or if he really needed a doctor.

Thankfully, the Little Mister didn't need a doctor. We had a rough couple of days, but today he's happy and smiley and eating like he did on the weekend (and before that).

I'm still paranoid. I think that's going to last for awhile.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

poetry tuesday: news story

I've been working on today's poem for about a week...but it's not finished. (See yesterday's post.) But yesterday's Monday Mission, to write a post in the form of a news story, somehow connected my brain to a period of time when everything I wrote was a reaction to things I saw on the television or on my computer screen. I was a junior in college. I hadn't been writing poetry very long (less than a year), but already I was trying to work out craziness by writing poems.

Late March, 1999: Three U.S. soldiers went missing on the Yugoslav-Macedonia border.

April 1, 1999: Yugoslavia displayed the three captured soldiers, battered and bruised.

April 20, 1999: The Columbine massacre.

There were other things; a train was shot by a missile and at least ten people died, a truck full of refugees was accidentally bombed, thousands of refugees searched for safety. And much more, these are just the images I remember. It seemed to me that the world was just turned upside down.

And so I wrote. A lot.

Here are a couple of the poems.

I close my eyes and still see the three bruised faces from CNN Headline News

I want to throw my
glass at the wall and

watch it shatter into
seventeen hundred tiny

diamonds. I glare
at one cat when

he attacks
the other. And

the sun

April 1999

I want to write about how I feel but I don't know how

Thousands of
people, stacked

legos, create an

landscape. A child
sprouts from the

soil, reaching
for sunlight, water, the

chance to

April 1999

There were more, many more. But that's a taste. This post wasn't exactly what I'd planned...hopefully I can have a new poem for next week.


By the way, the Little Mister is feeling better. He's finally eating. He's still sleeping a lot, but when he's awake he's more alert and much happier.

Monday, November 5, 2007

sick baby

I had every intention of writing a news story for this weeks Monday Mission. I even had a few ideas; I was looking forward to "playing." But then we went to the park...

The Little Mister is turning five months old tomorrow, so I wanted to get some pictures at the park. (To take him to the portrait place here on post costs an arm and a leg, so I take his pictures myself.) My neighbor and her little girl came with us to help with the pictures and take some of their own. But we weren't even to the park yet when the Little Mister started screaming. And screaming. And screaming. I thought it was his teeth, but the topical stuff didn't help, and tylenol didn't either. He wasn't hungry, or wet, or tired, he was in pain. Then the gas started. Poor little guy. I held him and rubbed his tummy and cuddled him on the swing, and it calmed him down some. But he's been sleeping pretty much since we got home (more than two hours) and hasn't eaten much all day. And, being a brand-new mom, I worry about everything.

Sorry to ramble on. Hopefully we'll return to our regularly scheduled blogging tomorrow.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

light bulbs

This afternoon I smiled sweetly at my neighbor and asked him to change two burned out light bulbs. He and his wife both laughed. If I have to, of course, I'll change them myself, but when there's a guy in the building for a few days I don't mind humbling myself to ask for help.

Things change so much when the Sergeant is gone. When he was deployed for a year in 2005-2006 I did things I never knew I was capable of. I put a new shower head in the shower. I put air in my tires. I put antifreeze in the car. I used the grill. I fixed my computer (with the help of the guy on the help desk phone, of course). I bought a dvd burner and hooked it up to the tv and figured out how to use it.

It's not that I didn't think I could do these things, but these are all things the Sergeant would normally do. When he left I had to take care of everything. It was overwhelming at first, but it felt really good to know I could handle things. And the Sergeant worried a little less, I think, when I told him about the new feats I accomplished.

At the moment the Sergeant is in the field for training. And a few days ago two light bulbs burned out. As much as I don't trust stepladders, I could have done it myself...but I was thankful for a neighbor to help me out. Being "in charge" at home has taught me two things: I can do a lot more than I ever thought...but it's okay to ask for help.

This post was partly inspired by this post by Rose Daughter; I have the "I can do it myself" Army wife mentality...but time has taught me that sometimes I do need to ask for help!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

the smell of rain

From August 2002 to September 2003, just after we were married, the Sergeant and I lived in Bakersfield, California. Desert and mountains and bad air. (In 2007, Bakersfield ranked 2nd worst for smog and 3rd worst for particle pollution (whatever that means) in the United States, according to the American Lung Association.) I used to joke that you know the pollution is bad when you can see the air.

We hadn't lived there long when I went on a weekend retreat. One of the "get to know you" games was telling the group, among other things, our favorite smell. The entire group was rather confused when it was my turn and I said, "My favorite smell is rain."

"Rain has a smell?" they asked.

Of course it does! And they were mystified when I went on to say that a thunderstorm can smell even better.

"So...rain has a smell, and thunderstorms have a different smell?"

The problem is, I couldn't describe what I meant. How do you explain the smell of rain, or lightning, to a group of people who only have rain two or three times a year? And even then they can't smell the rain because the air is so polluted. I tried, but I think I only succeeded in convincing them that I was a bit crazy.

It was raining when the Little Mister and I drove onto post to check the mailbox this morning. Even though it was chilly I drove with my window down a bit because it smelled so wonderful. Fresh. Clean. With just a touch of decay (which sounds kind of awful until you realize it's autumn and the smell was leaves decaying). If I had been alone I would have stood out in the rain until I was too wet and cold to stand it anymore. I felt energized.

So the smell of rain is my favorite smell. What's yours?

Friday, November 2, 2007

friday five

Because my brain is blank today....

Five Things I Don't Do Anymore
  1. Relax in the bathtub with a book and lots of bubbles.
  2. Sleep late.
  3. Eat at regularly scheduled times.
  4. Go to the movies.
  5. Cry myself to sleep because I can't get pregnant...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

trick-or-treating is wonderful.


It must have been the crisp night air...but this is what the Little Mister did after trick-or-treating, when we stopped to take pictures in the neighbor's apartment:

He slept for two hours. I woke him up, changed him, gave him a bottle, and put him to bed.

He slept for eleven more hours!!! With no two am feeding (something new he's been trying for the past week-ish).

Can we have Halloween every night? ;)