Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Living As Cave Woman

I did indeed accomplish my cleaning yesterday in preparation for the meeting I hosted. I'm sure everyone was very impressed for the first five minutes after walking in the door. From that point on there were muffin crumbs, crayons and toys on the floor anyway so who cares!? No one said anything about the lemon slices in the water pitcher either. Hmm. So much for making impressions, even false ones.

I wanted everyone to know that my microwave is broken. I thought you all should know that I am now living like a cave woman. Next thing you know I'll be cooking on an open fire in my snowy backyard. What a total pain. I had no idea how much I appreciated this appliance until it was no longer working. I had heard of people cooking meals in their microwave and I thought, 'Ludicrous!' Actually I still think that's a bit crazy but maybe I'm wrong.

Oh, how I miss it's pretty green display of the time, how it defrosted chicken for me, warming up hot beverages that had become cold before I finished them and the leftovers. The leftovers!! I have to warm up leftovers in a pan/pot on the stove. On the STOVE! That's just silly. I have to stand there and stir the contents and make sure they don't burn! That's just ridiculous. Far too much work. I long to put my cold item on the turntable, close the door and hear the beep, beep, beep as I punch in the cooking time.

We have procrastinated buying a new one because Baby A is so tall we need to buy her a new car seat. This is going to cost a large chunk of change. As inconvenient as not having nearly instant hot food is, she comes first. One of many sacrifices we will make for her over the next several years.

I hope she knows how lucky she is to have such a nice car seat when her mama is sipping cold tea because her microwave that was only three years old decided to quit. Stupid appliances...
See how happy we were when she still fit in her car seat.

False Impressions

I have given myself a time limit today. I am running out of time to write this. Why the time limit? Well, for some stupid reason I offered to host a La Leche League meeting at my house today. So, now despite the leader telling me not to go nuts cleaning. I totally will. And I'm just supposed to provide water and someone else will bring a snack. I bought a dozen muffins last night anyway and a fresh lemon. You know, for the water. Because we always drink water with fresh lemon around here. I had thought about baking biscuits until I bought the muffins. I decided I would have enough cleaning to do. And I wouldn't want to get all the cat hair that I'd be stirring up with my cleaning frenzy to get in my biscuits. Wouldn't that be a nice impression to make? “Here are the warm biscuits I baked. Pardon the cat hair, it's virtually tasteless.”

I made Peter help me dust our monster computer armoire on Sunday. It had a blanket of dust on it and I couldn't stand the thought of people looking at all that dust. He even cleaned off his desk which was so nice of him. I can't vacume right now anyway, since little A is sleeping. I only have (want) to do the floors and vacume the rugs. In a way, I like to have people over because it motivates me to clean. Then I feel like a phony because people may think my house always looks this way. Which it totally doesn't. Once it is clean though I am totally obsessed for a while picking up little pieces of lint of the rug or compulsively polishing the sink. Which doesn't have dirty dishes in it because I always wash them immediately.

I don't want people to come to my house and feel badly that their house isn't this clean. Because my house isn't this clean either. It's all a big show. By me. Welcome to my show. I can't help myself. I don't really have OCD I just lapse into that behavior sometimes.

Then there are those people who may not think my house is clean enough. To those people I say “HA! You should see what it really looks like!”.

A picture of the nasty filth and cat hair under my radiator and the culprit of said cat hair.

Monday, January 30, 2006

My Worst Nightmare

Last night I had a very bad dream. I was cutting Simon Colwell's hair. He was trying to explain to me that he wanted it to look like this. So I began cutting and I was very nervous. I was texturizing it and I got a little carried away. Suddenly I realized that I was in way over my head and his haircut was going to be a disaster. When I tried to finish up with him and make it look good he started yelling at me and telling me "This looks absolutely dreadful!" and "What a god awful job you did." I'm not sure at what point I woke up. I may have started to cry and apologize then woke up. Then I lay there in bed thinking I seriously have to stop watching American Idol.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Working Mama

I am happy to say that my muscles, although still a little sore, are getting less sore. I was a bit concerned I was going to have the second day seize up. You know, the day after a good workout you are thinking “Wow, I'm pretty stiff.” and then the next day you can hardly move. Thankfully this is is not the case for me today. Obviously I'll have to try harder next week.

I'm sure the thousands of people who read my blog are DYING to know how I'm doing since going back to work. Since I can't stand keeping people in suspense I'll tell you.

Although I was very apprehensive about going back and really was filled with dread about it, once I actually got there, I was fine. Better than fine really. I was/am great. And of course, because I like to drive myself crazy, I feel bad about it. What is wrong with me? I am enjoying being away from my child and my husband. I would never say it that way but I am glad to be back at work and I am a nicer person to both of them since going back. That is the only conclusion I can come to. That and what a horrible wife and mother I must be.

I have tried to figure out the reasons why it has helped my whole state of mind so much. There is the obvious, getting out of the house. Which previously consisted of getting groceries, visiting grandma or going to appointments. There is the adult conversation. This is really nice since I am totally a chatterbox and strangely find myself mostly talking about Baby A anyway. There is the making of money. Relieving some of the financial strain is rewarding. Feeling like a contributer to the household cash flow. Those are the reasons that first come to mind.

Of course all my clients say “Good for you! It's good to get out of the house.” and stuff like this. I imagine them secretly thinking that I must be a rotten mother to leave my baby so soon. Four months! Only four months old! I don't mean to brag, but I am good at my job. And people appreciate me. They want me back there making them look good whether I'm a bad mom or not. Of course they're going to say “Good for you!”. What they really mean is “Good for me!”.

I can't help feeling guilty about this. It's my other part time job. A very wise friend said to me last night “If you were working 14 hours a day at a 'job' that would be ridiculous but that's what mothers do and somehow that's just expected.”. (Sorry, if I misquoted. I believe I am close) Her point (I believe) was that it is okay for me to enjoy some time away from that job because I spend a lot of time doing it. But hey, can I really trust her because I was doing her hair at the time? Ha ha!

I'm just happy to be enjoying work because I'm doing it whether I like it or not. I'm enjoying my husband again which is much nicer than being angry with him all the time. Most importantly I am loving every moment I am with Audrey and appreciating every little thing she does. Even when she's grumpy or crying. I can see that she is so happy to see me and that no one can take my place.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

My Amazing Body

I miss being pregnant. Well, except for all the vomiting. It was the first time since I was thirteen that I actually felt comfortable in my own skin. I remember inspecting my belly every day to see if it had changed. I didn't care about not having man abs because soon I would have a big, beautiful round tummy.

It was liberating not to have to worry about trying to get thinner. There was no point, I wasn't gonna get any thinner for a while! I admit I was concerned about putting on a lot of weight while pregnant. I have three older sisters two of whom still struggle with weight they gained during their pregnancies that just never went away. I have seen what it has done to their self esteems and I know that I have the personality to go down that road. I fully expected a big weight gain but I planned to do things a little differently. I love to work out and planned to continue doing so through my pregnancy. I know not everyone shares this love and that is okay by me. If I could make a good living at it and didn't love my present job so much I would work out for a living. I was always an athletic kid and other than my unfortunate high school experience have been active most of my life. I started TaeKwon Do at 19 and really started going to the gym and learning to lift weights when I was around 21. Although I enjoyed all of these activities very much I couldn't help but fall into the temptation of comparison. I looked at my body and then at the bodies of others. I would compare the amount of exercise they did with the amount of exercise I did. This was irritating. No matter how hard I worked at it I never looked the way I wanted to. I was never lean enough. Don't get me wrong, I didn't have an eating disorder or anything although I can totally understand how that can happen especially in our society today.

Also, I love to eat. (After seeing how my mother would like me to constantly strap Little A to my boob I think I am beginning to understand why myself and my sibling enjoy food to such a degree!) I have never been good at eating very healthy food. I like butter, gravy, sour cream, cheese, rich sauces and chocolate. Mmm chocolate. I don't think I over eat. I just don't deprive myself of foods I enjoy. I found it depressing when I finally realized that if I ever wanted to look the way I dreamed I would have to stop eating the foods I loved. At least, most of the time. I did follow 'Body for Life' for three months and did find I leaned down a lot. I would recommend it to people wanting to lose weight. It allows you to have one day where you can totally PIG OUT! And I did. I actually made my husband sick with the amount of absolute junk I would eat on that day. He tried to keep up with me and couldn't. So fun. And yet, I still consistently lost body fat each week. Magic. ANYWAY, I just couldn't keep it up. I hated being so strict all the time. I gave up my dream but since I still loved to work out I continued and tried to be satisfied that although I didn't look like this I was indeed fit and healthy.

I spent the first four months of my pregnancy so ill that I ate whatever I could keep down. Sometimes that was nothing. Needless to say I wasn't too obsessed with what I ate during that time. I tried to keep caffeine to a minimum and stopped eating anything that gave me heartburn. I told myself that if I starting putting on a lot of weight while I was pregnant I would be more careful about what I was eating. During the 'sick time' I was even concerned I was not putting on enough weight and even lost one pound. (Sorry to those of you who lost many pounds or were hospitalized due to severe morning (ha ha, morning sickness. Yah, right. They should call it every waking minute) sickness.) I had to relish that moment in spite of my concern. I was worried I was not putting on weight. Me. That was a worry, for me? There's a first time for everything. I somehow miraculously put on only 20lbs during my pregnancy and ate what I wanted. Hey, don't be mad. Something had to go my way.

I continued working out throughout my pregnancy as I had been before only lower impact. I stopped doing TaeKwon Do at the end of June and swam laps for the month. I swam laps two days before having her. I remember doing the back stroke that day thinking “This might be my last day in the pool for a while.” Too true.

I have missed going to the gym and TaeKwon Do since having Audrey. Thanks to my mom agreeing to babysit I have gone back a few times. I am surprisingly not too out of shape. Let's all remember having babies is a work out after all! I went to an aerobics class yesterday which is what inspired me to write this post. The muscles in my fingers are the only ones that are not sore. Ouch. I love it though. And I am sick that way. I love the feeling of muscles that have worked hard. Except when I can't walk right because I hurt so bad.

My body is different now. It's got new stretch marks, a saggy belly that may never be the same and um, it's had stitches in places that the sun doesn't shine. Except maybe on a nude beach. But I embrace my new body. I will keep working on it but having a baby has somehow made me appreciate it more and what it is capable of achieving. I leave you with two photos of me the day I was in labor with my glorious tummy out there for everyone to see. The bare belly one is about five hours before I gave birth (notice my expression) on September 12, 2005.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm Alien(ated)

I will try quality above quantity this post because I have to work in two hours... Ugh... work. I'll save that for another post. Today I was thinking about me (because I'm self centered) and being a mother (Again). I was thinking about how cool it is because it's like you've joined a club. A club where other women have carried a child (usually), given birth (usually), and breastfed (usually). A club with members who have experienced sleep deprivation, hearing loss due to crying and mother guilt. And by that I mean a mother load of guilt as well. I feel special to be a part of this club even though sometimes it's members can be judgmental and hurtful to each other. I have witnessed this between others but have so far been blessed not to experience it myself. Unless you count my mom. She has always judged me, even before I became a mother.

What I have noticed is that once you join this club you become a little alienated from the people who are not in it. I think this may be why my husband and I weren't getting along during the first couple of months postpartum. He was not in my club. I had gone through a major transformation and he, well he was basically the same. I mean he had become a father but the physical and emotional trauma that I had been through had forever changed who I am. In those first months I felt so much anger towards him and had no idea why. I mean, sure it was annoying when he played guitar while we were watching 'Lost' but was it really THAT annoying? I felt like I was drifting away from him and he would never understand me again. This was very painful for me since my husband and I have always been very close. I am happy to say that my anger towards him has subsided and I am enjoying being a parent right alongside him. I think a new bridge has been built between us and this one is stronger than the last.

Now, that I am back out in the world more and back at work I am starting to notice this alienation from some of my friends and coworkers. Even people I used to work out with at the gym. I can almost hear them all thinking “Oh man, is she talking about labor, breastfeeding, her baby AGAIN!”. And yes, yes I am. Because that is my life right now. And if you don't like it, too bad. It is a strange feeling to have an imaginary wall between yourself and others whose company you had always enjoyed.

There also seems to be different mom clubs. For instance, mothers with grown kids sometimes have this air about them like “I have so been there and done that.” when you are talking about your baby. I feel like saying “Hey! I'm in the club too! I know you've been a member a lot longer than I have but can you give me a break? I could really benefit from your experience here.”.

I'm totally generalizing and I do realize that not everyone wants me to shut up about my baby, my labor and my boobs. In fact, some people want to hear about it! And not all mothers of kids older or totally grown up don't care about what I am experiencing now. In fact most of the good experiences I have had with other moms has been through reading and commenting on other's blogs and getting comments on my own. Most of the not so good ones have been with people that I know. People who I can see and touch and who live in the same city. It is here in the gargantuan world of the internet that I feel the most love. From people whom I have never seen (other than in pictures), will likely never meet and who live all over the world. How sweet it is.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Renewing my Faith in the Internet

Isn't the internet a great things sometimes? Not only can I lay my thoughts and concerns out there for anyone anywhere in the world to see, I can get opinions about them. Just when I had lost faith in technology and decided the internet was only feeding pornography addictions and spitting out spam and spyware onto every computer it could. Then I discovered the blogs of so many lovely, honest, real and gritty people. I decide to start one of my own. I talk about all sorts of things that maybe I just shouldn't talk about. What if I say things that are unpopular? I think, “Oh well, no one will pay attention to anything I say anyway.” But then people did start paying attention. I felt special. People cared what I had to say. Some of these people even think I'm funny. I thought only my husband felt that way.

When I wrote about this vaccination thing I was hoping to get feedback. I got my wish. Thanks to all of you who left comments for me both out of concern and support. I feel like I have a whole bunch of friends out there who don't really know me but care about me and my baby. Being a mom is the scariest thing I have ever done and nothing makes me feel better than to get feedback from every mother I know about everything I am doing with my little girl. It is hard to make decisions that not everyone supports especially when those decisions are regarding a human life that you are responsible for. I wish things were black and white so I never had to wonder if what I am doing is right.

I have changed my mind so many times in the past few days. I am going to get her needles done, no I'm not, maybe I should, no I'm not. When we went to our appointment yesterday and I told the public health nurse that I wasn't going to get them done I felt awful. She didn't pressure me I just sensed her disapproval. Which I expected but it still felt bad. I almost changed my mind again. Why can't I just be committed to what I decide to do? I still had comments coming in about this last night including a link to an article which gave me a little peace about it.

Sometimes I wish I was a robot and didn't have a brain. My brain gives me a headache. Some of my thought process goes like this... pharmaceutical companies make money from vaccinations, there are paranoid and hurting people out there who are convinced vaccinations cause or caused their children to be sick, I've read articles that said there is nothing to worry about, but who's writing those articles, I've read articles that say there is a cover up going on, but who's writing those articles, how do you explain kids getting sick after needles, but what if my baby gets sick from not having her needles... BAH!!

I don't know if I'll ever be comfortable with what I decide either way. I just know what I want to do today. I will pray that this is the right decision for us. I go with my gut and my gut says no, no NO! I promise I will talk about something else tomorrow and keep you all posted. Again, thanks y'all. You know, for being my internet buddies and stuff.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Damned if I Do and Damned if I Don't

First I'd like to say thank you to all the people who commented and gave me their opinions regarding vaccinations. Although all of the people who commented were in favor of them. Guess what? I've decided not to get them done tomorrow. Please don't think I'm ungrateful. I wanted to get opinions because since before I even gave birth to Little A I had my concerns about vaccinations. Let me give you our background.

Several years ago our nephew (on my husbands side) was diagnosed with Autism. This was before Peter and I were even married. Before he was diagnosed we watched his brother and wife go through the agonizing journey of trying to determine what exactly was the matter. Then after the diagnosis trying to deal with what exactly it meant and how to move forward from there. During the process of looking for reasons why their son had autism my sister-in-law found some information regarding the link between Autism and vaccinations. I would have never known about this had it not been for her. Now, years down the road we have our own child and are faced with this difficult decision. Should we vaccinate?

I did what any parent would do. I read. And read. And ask questions. And read. Of course some of you may say I didn't read enough, or didn't read the right books or articles. This could be true. I tried to read non-biased information. I talked to my sister-in-law. She told me that their second son had all his vaccinations except for the MMR at 12 months. Based on this information I took Audrey for her two month shots. I gave her the Tylenol a half hour before as instructed. Later that day after having the shots she was feverish (which I know is normal) and didn't eat well for almost a week. I felt terrible. I called my friends with kids and asked them if this was normal. They said I shouldn't be concerned. I felt sick. During the following week any behavior that was different than before the needle made me paranoid. I was convinced a genetic switch had been triggered and she would never be the same again. Eventually, she seemed to be back to 'normal' again. I was relieved and vowed not to get her next needles done. But during the past two months I began to change my mind again. Maybe I had over reacted. Maybe I was wrong.

Here are some things I have read that caused me to worry in the first place.

Thimerosal is a preservative. While the use of mercury-containing preservatives has declined in recent years with the development of new products formulated with alternative or no preservatives, thimerosal is still used in certain antivenins, skin test antigens, and ophthalmic and nasal products, in addition to certain vaccines recommended for adults or older children.

As a precautionary measure, the Public Health Service (including the FDA, National Institutes of Health [NIH], Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC] and Health Resources and Services Administration [HRSA]) and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a Joint Statement, urging vaccine manufacturers to reduce or eliminate thimerosal in vaccines as soon as possible.

In its report of October 1, 2001, the IOM's Immunization Safety Review Committee concluded that the evidence is inadequate to either accept or reject a causal relationship between thimerosal exposure from childhood vaccines and the neurodevelopmental disorders of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and speech or language delay. Thus, while the available scientific data do not establish that these neurodevelopmental disorders are caused by thimerosal, at the same time, they do not establish that these neurodevelopmental disorders are not caused by thimerosal.

However, in these studies a minority of children appear to develop normally and then suddenly manifest all the signs and symptoms of autism, leading to the diagnosis of "regressive" autism. These children may have a genetic predisposition to autism that requires an environmental stimulus to trigger. The environmental agents that may trigger regression are not known.

The FDA is encouraging the reduction or removal of thimerosal from all existing vaccines. Much progress has been made to date. The FDA has been actively working with manufacturers, particularly those that manufacture childhood vaccines, to reach the goal of eliminating thimerosal from vaccines, and has been collaborating with other PHS agencies to further evaluate the potential health effects of thimerosal. In this regard, all of the routinely recommended pediatric vaccines are now manufactured as either thimerosal free or thimerosal reduced presentations.

This is all taken from the US Food and Drug Administration website so I consider it to be one of the most unbiased sources of information. And what do I conclude from those excerpts?

-Mercury is poison.
-Thimerosal has Mercury in it and is in vaccinations.
-“They” won't say thimerosal causes autism, but “they” won't say it doesn't.
-If it does it is only in a “minority” of children anyway.
-“They” don't know crap.
-“They” are trying to remove thimerosal from vaccinations because it could be very bad and want to cover their butts.

My other sister-in-law was visiting this weekend and we spoke about my vaccination dilemma. She told me that she had delayed all of her kids vaccinations until they were older especially in the case of her youngest son who was born after our nephews autism was diagnosed. He just turned four and had the MMR. She said he did have a unpleasant reaction. His arm swelled badly, was itchy and he had a huge purple blotch on it. I was glad to get her opinion since she shares my concern. If autism can be genetic, it has shown up in our family and could potentially be triggered by a vaccination I do not want to take a chance. I will wait until Baby A is older, bigger and can possibly handle it better. My sis-in-laws kids were okay waiting until they were older, I'm sure she will be too.

Perhaps I am making a mistake. I may regret my decision but I am simply not prepared to put her at risk. I realize I sound paranoid but I tell myself I have reason to be. I have seen autism up close and personal and it is a lifelong struggle for everyone involved. I am not willing to vaccinate her right now in case she is one of the few children who may have an adverse reaction. I know people may strongly disagree with me or have suggestions. Please do leave comments about it. I have had a difficult time finding information about this and want to know what people think having read what I have posted. Thanks a lot.

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Quickie

No, this post is not what you think. I mean I only have time for a quick post. I was out all day, and went for a romantic supper with my husband. Lucky me.

Just a quick question to put out there for my wonderful, intelligent, beautiful (is that enough sucking up?) readers. I am taking Little A for her second set of vaccinations on Monday and I hate it. I have concerns about vaccinations. Anybody out there got any opinions on this? I would love to hear what you all think.

Thanks a lot.

Oh, and here's a new photo I couldn't resist posting. How can anyone stand poking a needle into her and not hate themselves for it?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Breaking the Silence

When I first saw my baby I was so happy. A girl, with so much black hair, and so perfect. I remember looking at every bit of her amazed at the perfection I saw. Becoming a mother. That was not as perfect as I had hoped.

I don't remember exactly when it started. It may have been when she was two days old, still wasn't eating and I had to start pumping. Or it may have been night after night of waking up constantly to have nurses manhandle my breasts and nipples to unsuccessfully feed a screaming uncooperative infant. It might have been those times when she cried not because she was hungry but for some other reason and I didn't know how to comfort her. When I was all alone in my hospital room with my sleeping baby next to me I cried. I felt trapped. What had I gotten myself into? This was a huge mistake having a baby. I wondered what I would do. I considered giving her up for adoption but then thought what a terrible person people would think I was. To intentionally get pregnant only to give that child away. I felt horribly guilty. I was convinced that I couldn't do it. I couldn't be a mother. I just wasn't cut out for it. Why hadn't anyone told me it would be this hard? It didn't get any better once I left the hospital either. Then I was even more alone. I kept crying for weeks which worried my husband and left me thinking I would never feel normal again. Why wasn't I the happy mother that everyone, including myself, expected me to be?

Now that four months have passed and I have some perspective on things I look back at that time and feel sorry for myself. I also feel angry. I am angry that none of the many books I read even tried to explain that those feelings can happen and that it is perfectly normal. I was convinced I was a bad person. I truly did have those feelings and I was not prepared in the least for them. I am also angry at every single woman I know who gave birth, most probably felt the same way and never told me! Since I began reading blogs I have found so many strangers who were willing to tell it like it is. God bless you all! I'm sure I would have sank into an even deeper depression if I hadn't found out that what I was going through was perfectly normal, at least for me. It's as though no one wants to vocalize how awful being a new mother can be for fear that the world will cease to procreate. Newsflash: That is NEVER going to happen. As if not talking about it will somehow stop it from happening.

I know, I know Brooke Shields blew open the whole postpartum depression door. But what about those of us that suffer from the less severe form of that depression? I sure as heck had more than the 'baby blues' but I didn't have thoughts of seriously hurting my daughter either. It was more of a feeling of despair, doubt and entrapment. I was afraid to tell even my mother how I was feeling. When I even hinted about it I got the distinct impression that it was really upsetting to her. Thank goodness she didn't know how I was really feeling. I lived one day at a time and as the night grew near a sense of dread would come over me. My husband just could not comprehend it. He came home from work to his sleeping infant daughter and a wife that clearly was not coping and thought “What's the big deal?” To his credit he was sweet. He knew my feelings were legitimate. That I was tired and hormonal. But how can another person really understand what is going on inside you especially when that person will never experience it first hand.

I have decided to break the silence. From now on I am telling every woman I know how bad it can (not will) be. We have all heard the most horrific labor stories haven't we? 'Oh, I had 500 stitches.' 'I was in labor for two weeks.' 'I nearly bled to death.' pardon the sarcasm and also the truth but we've heard it all in regards to labor and I say “bring it on”. I want to know. My labor experience was really great, partly because of luck and partly because I was expecting it to be unbelievably bad. I think that helped. It could never be as bad as my imagination had made it out to be. So I encourage everyone not to be afraid to tell the truth. If it was bad, say it was bad. I think people want to know. And if they don't, who cares at least they can't say 'Why didn't you tell me?'

Can you believe I thought about giving this girl up?? Talk about guilt!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Kick This

Okay, I'm not sure how I'm going to follow up yesterdays post. I made my husband read it and he said it made him a little uncomfortable due to it's personal nature. Sorry dearie, you knew I was a blabber mouth when you married me. (He always tells me when something is totally off limits because I have a habit of talking about personal stuff to my clients as well) My main goal is to try and get this posted before I have to go to work today. Lately I have been spuratically writing all day. I want to get this baby done before baby wakes up.

Any of you who have viewed my profile may have noticed I listed TaeKwon Do as an interest. It's more of a compulsion actually. I have been training off and on for over nine years and have achieved my second degree black belt. I started when I was around nineteen years old because a friend of mine had encouraged me to join her. At first it was just a fun form of exercise until I went to my first competition. I won silver and gold medals. I was hooked.

As a kid I was hyperactive (some things never change) and always into almost any sport especially swimming and figure skating. We lived in a very small town and those were the only activities available to do other than casual school sports. Once I moved to the small city I live now at the age of thirteen sports in general were a lot more serious. We couldn't really afford swimming or skating lessons so I just played sports at junior high school. My first year in high school I had a very bad experience. I tried out for the volleyball team, got onto the team and after my first practice was called into the coach's office. There were two coaches and while one told me he wanted me off the team the other said I could stay but as a bench warmer. I told them to stuff it and walked out. Being so young I didn't know how to handle it. I wish I could travel back in time and give myself the words to say to those stupid men and make them tell the rest of the team what they had done so I wouldn't have to suffer through my teammates all individually asking why I wasn't coming to practice anymore. What cowards. Needless to say I wasn't interested in any school sports after that. Except I played soccer one year but only because they brought in coaches who weren't teachers at my school. We sucked and lost every game anyway. I became a somewhat 'hefty' kid due to my inactivity. I do believe I had a pretty good body image anyway though. I must have been oblivious.

Fast forward to age 19. I was totally craving some sort of physical activity that I could really love. I was feeling unhappy with my weight and needed to make a change. My friend had just started TaeKwon Do and was really enjoying it. I had never considered a martial art but was totally pumped to try it out. I loved the “Karate Kid” and can't believe I hadn't tried something like this earlier. As I said earlier, soon after I started I was a lifer. It filled a void in me that had existed since my spirit had been broken in that coaches office in high school.

I have met some of my best friends through TaeKwon Do. One of these friends was my roommate for two years. He is one of the most wonderful, generous and hilarious people I know and he stood up with us when we were married. I met my boss and his family through TaeKwon Do and have my dream job (which I have had for nine years) all because I met them there. My husband and I just attended my instructors wedding this summer and now they are expecting their first child who will almost certainly be friends with Audrey. Not only have I met great people but I have found confidence and pride in myself that wouldn't exist if I had never joined TaeKwon Do.

Here is me breaking the most boards I have ever broken at one time. Six ¾ inch pine boards with a Side Piercing Kick.

And this is me working out on the speed bag my husband gave me last Valentines Day and only put up about two weeks ago.

Now you know a bit more about what makes me tick. Baby A just woke up. Mission accomplished.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I Give You This Ring

This morning while taking a shower and performing my daily hair removal ritual I was thinking about what to write today. Well, I knew what I was going to write about but I was wondering how I was going to write about it. After all this isn't an X-Rated blog.

Let me start by sharing even more personal information that no one ever asked about. Neither my husband or myself had ever slept with anyone else before we were married. After closing their gaping mouths most people ask how old we were when we got married. I'm assuming this is because they are imagining a couple of teenagers getting wed so they can get it on. We were in fact 32 (him) and 26 (me). How on earth had we gotten that old without ever having had sex with anyone? In the case of my husband he was so shy (how shy was he?) he barely spoke to anyone, certainly not any girls. There was no way it was going to happen for him unless some forward young woman swept him off his feet, forced him talk to her and took him to bed. Lucky for both of us the first young woman to do that was me. As for myself I remember at a very young age making the decision that the only man I would have 'relations' with would be the man I married. I am not saying that I was never tempted to break that promise to myself. Apparently I was more stubborn than I was amorous. I can honestly say that I have no regrets about this and I also feel extremely lucky that I was his first as well. I think this must be incredibly rare in men.

If anyone is wondering why I'm bothering to give this information about myself it is partly because I am proud of it. It also explains (I think) why we are still so interested in each other. Our third anniversary was in September, after Audrey was born. (Worst anniversary ever, by the way.) We had been dating for over six years by the time we got married. So we are still enjoying marriage and all it's perks very much.

I have mentioned before that I am a freak of nature and everyday I am more convinced that this must be true. I seem to be part of a very small percentage of women who actually enjoyed sex while I was pregnant. In fact, during the first four months when I was horribly, horribly sick that was the one thing that I actually enjoyed. For those few seconds I didn't have any nausea at all and it was heaven. I remember one time after we... ahem...finished I said to him “That is the ONLY thing that is good about being pregnant.” I think my husband 'gets' how lucky he is to have a wife who let him touch her during those nine months. My experience after having Audrey has been much the same. We waited the six weeks and then things were almost back to normal. Certain positions were temorarily out but for the most part it was the same as ever. If things had not gone so well during birth as in - having more than the seven stitches I received - things could have been different. The general consensus seems to be that we girls aren't interested after having a baby. "But I'm confused--you're into sex and you have an infant? What's up wit dat?" Again, I'm a freak.

Which finally brings us to the "Ring Review". I like to make my readers wait not unlike my men. So as I had mentioned here I purchased a treat for us to try. I wasn't planning on buying it I was just enjoying time alone in the grocery store and while strolling down the prophylactic aisle this one called out to me. AND it was on sale. I had read about it in a Glamour magazine and it sounded good to me. I left it on the bed for Peter to find when he got home. Even though he'd worked almost twelve hours that day he was game to try it out. Miracle of miracles Audrey went to bed and stayed there. Things were going our way! Being the responsible adults we are we read the instructions first. Hey, if you are going to wear something battery operated in a sensitive area you better make sure you are doing it right! After a little 'cuddling' we removed the packaging and turned on the switch. His eyes popped open immediately which sent me into a fit of laughter. "Are you okay?" I asked him still laughing. "Yes, but this feels weird." He was also laughing. Once we got going and stopped laughing it was good. Really good. Especially for me. You are supposed to throw it out after one use. I think this is only because they are covering their butts and don't want people reusing and passing on STD's or something. We totally used it again. Less laughing, and still really good. They say the battery last approximately 20 minutes. I figure we've got at least 5 minutes of battery power left. I would totally buy it again. I give it four out of five stars. Just so you all know I'm not going to make a habit out of reviewing various things of this nature. This is probably a one shot deal. Peter gave me permission to talk about it this time. I'm not sure he wants me talking about this sort of thing on a regular basis. But to you I say, go forth and try the ring. It was good for me.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Tag I'm It!

So, Manic Mom tagged me. At first I didn't even know what that meant but I'm really rather quick so I soon caught on. Here goes.

Four Jobs You've Had in Your Life:
1. Waitress for Caterer
2. Dietary Aid
3.Psychiatric Nurse's Aid

Four Movies You Could Watch Over and Over:
1. Some Kind of Wonderful
2. Say Anything
3.The Matrix
4. The Princess Bride

Four Places You've Lived:
1. Foxwarren, Manitoba - Canada
2. Brandon, Manitoba – Canada

Since I have only lived in two places I added a 'Countries I've Traveled To' section so you all won't think I'm super boring.

Countries You've Traveled To:
1. United States
2. New Zealand
3. England

Four Websites You Visit Daily:

1. The Sarcastic Journalist
2. Very Mom
3. Dooce
4. IMDB (Internet Movie Data Base)

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch:
1. Lost
2. Grey's Anatomy
3. Coronation Street
4. Ellen

Four of Your Favorite Foods:
1. Pasta
2. Chicken
3. Lobster
4. Chocolate

Four Albums You Can't Live Without:
1. Any and every Cure album especially 'Disintegration'
2. Every Coldplay album and all singles.
3. Michael Jackson “Thriller” (Yes, really)
4. Pretty much any album by “The Smiths”

Four Places You'd Rather Be:
1. At a Spa having a massage, pedicure and facial.
2. In the Sea
3. In England
4. In Bed (and not feeling guilty about it)

And finally, per tradition (apparently),
Four People Who Are Now Obligated To Do This on Their Blog:
Since I'm all new at this I will pick some of my wonderful readers for this task.

1-- The Secret Cave of the Sugar Mama
2-- Dreaming of Isobelle
3-- The Mama
4-- Big and Little

There you have it. You will all have to wait to hear about this tomorrow.

Friday, January 13, 2006

3 Brilliant and Beautiful Men

First of all I'd like to say how happy and excited I am to actually have some readers. And they are not people that I know personally and who commented out of obligation to me. That's so cool. It's so nice to be liked. And some of these fantastic people have linked me!! Excuse me, I need a moment. Okay, I'm back.

So since there are actually people paying attention to stuff I write I thought, why not throw a wrench into the blog. Whatever that means. I'm going to write about something that isn't poop, or breasts, or a baby named Audrey. I am going to write about men. Not just any men. Totally wonderful drool-worthy men. Well, in my opinion anyway.

I filled my car up with gas today and when I went in to pay I happened to look at the magazine shelf. Be still my beating heart. Jake Gyllenhaal was on the cover of Details. Oh how I love him. AND the guy working at the counter actually struck up a conversation with me about Jarhead and whether or not I liked it. Which I did by the way. Jake must be good to cause a guy who works at a gas station to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I read the article and observed the delicious photographs while Little A (okay, I had to mention her) was playing on the floor. I enjoy these precious moments when I can read a two page magazine article without having to change a poopy diaper (okay, I had to mention that too) or pick up a fussy baby.

Later I was watching a taped episode of Ellen and The John Mayer Trio was the musical guest. What a fabulous day I am having. Friday the 13th is my new favorite day. John Mayer had lovely long hair and played his guitar like nobodys business. He is so fabulous. I am always so very impressed every time I see him play live. On T.V. I wish I could see him play live. I will settle for the former.

And finally the third brilliant and beautiful man I am refering to is the one who watched the John Mayer Trio with me the second time around. The man who almost worked a twelve hour day today. (and didn't get paid for the extra hours) The man who I bought this for and who will get to try it out with me later. (He is going to be so embarrassed, I'm just keeping it real babe) The most brilliant and beautiful man in the world as far as I'm concerned. My husband. (Insert Awwwww! here)

And here's a gratuitous photo of A because I can't help myself.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Todays blog is dedicated to those of us moms who have ever experienced the pump. You know what I mean. The breast pump. I myself, was not prepared for it. When I was expecting I read many books. Pumping was mentioned. I never paid much attention, because I wouldn't need to pump. My breasts would be fine. My baby would be fine. My milk would be super fine. It would all be fine. Only it wasn't.

In regards to my breasts, (please god don't let all the perverts find me because I'm talking about this) they are rather large. I have heard people complain before about their breasts being big. I don't like to go around saying "No, seriously, you're not that big." I am an H. For those of you who didn't know bra sizes go up that high, they do. I'm just thankfull I'm not a Z. Yet. So when I say big, I'm not exaggerating. Now you know. Needless to say, I hate them. My only consolation was thinking that they would be great for providing nourishment to my child. Turns out they are mostly great for suffocating her. That's right friends, I had to hold back part of my breast with my thumb so as not to smother her. The upside? I have tremendously strong thumbs. Other things you don't find out until you try to breastfeed. My nipples are (were) flat. What good are enormous boobs with flat nipples? I'm a freak of nature. These things made breastfeeding a sleepy, jaundiced, clueless baby even more difficult.

That takes us to the next point. My baby. She was not fine. She had something called ABO Blood Incompatibility. I encourage you to go to the link, it is interesting. Esentially, my blood made my baby sick. Therefore causing a series of problems one of which being unable to breastfeed well. I was totally prepared for breastfeeding to be difficult but not to this degree. I was still determined and was blessed to have really great people to support me. My Midwife and Noreen, my Lactation Consultant.

We have now reached the portion of this post regarding my milk and pumping. Hip hip hurray. Since my baby was not successfully breastfeeding I had to start pumping. I was told that once my milk supply actually came in she would likely be more interested. She was just too sleepy and weak to bother to work at getting my colostrum. Noreen took me to a special room on the maternity floor where the breastpumps were located. She explained to me how to attach all of my equipment. (I don't mean my equipment) I was so sleep deprived at this point I wasn't sure if I'd be able to do it myself the next time but I did. So, once we were set up we looked at the clock, attached the 'cups' and we were pumping. And pumping. And pumping. Hello, is there anything in there? Let me just say that I have helped on a dairy farm and the resemblance to cow milking is disturbing. I think I pumped five drops of colostrum that first time. I scraped every last drop I'd collected into my container as if it was liquid gold. I was depressed despite everyone's pats on the back. "Good job. Look at all that! Wow!" I must have been staring at everyone with a look that said "You are all nuts!" Sure enough though with frequent trips to the 'pumping room' I began to express more and more. It was hard not to be competitive. Comparing myself to other mom's in the room thinking, I'm sure I've pumped more than that. Or, feeling sad because I had never pumped that much. We fed Audrey whatever I pumped no matter what amount. I felt somewhat proud although I was dissapointed that she wasn't getting it the normal way.

After a week in the hospital we went home. I rented a Medela Lactina pump until I was able to get Baby A breastfeeding. I finally did so with the help of my midwives coming to my home twice a day for a week. The whole experience was not fun but well worth the fight. I am extremely proud of myself for sticking with it and I know that I am up for other challenges motherhood will bring. Since I am now back at work I have to pump again. I now use the Medela Harmony hand pump which is awesome. I guess I'll be pumping until Baby A is weaned. Pumping was never something I had planned on but it was something that was necessary for me. I am grateful that I was encouraged to keep trying no matter how big the obstacles seemed to be. For all you pumping Mama's out there, I know what you're going through. And in the end, it's well worth it!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Poop Parade

Disclaimer: The word poop appears several times in this post. If you don't like hearing about baby poop in it's various stages, abscence or abundance please don't read further.

Any mother knows that one of the most important things your baby does is poop. That all important poop. After a baby is born we wait for the meconium. Then come the chocolate pudding poops. And get ready for it – the mustard poops. My favorite description is seedy. Mmmm. Why oh why do health care professionals use foods and condiments to describe baby poop? In our first few days with Audrey we were especially obsessed with the pooping. The meconium came and then the pudding and we were getting to the seedy but we were having our breastfeeding problems. She did become dehydrated at one point and she had an awful little black turd that was stuck in between her cheeks. That was the most depressing diaper I ever changed. I think I even cried. I also think that was the night they gave her formula because my milk really hadn't come in yet. Things did eventually get back on track thankfully. Then they were finally going to let us go home. But they kept asking “Did she have a poop yet?”. I wanted to lie in case they weren't going to let us go without leaving a poop filled diaper present for them. She never did. Ungrateful child. So home we went anticipating the next poo.

Those first few days were rough. I remember the morning I was still in bed and Peter went to get Audrey out of bed and change her before bringing her for breakfast. “She pooped!” he called from her room. I may never have jumped out of bed so fast. Peter and I did the poop polka around her change table. She must have thought we were nuts. I have never seen such a beautiful site. After that she continued to be a poop once a week girl. My mom would always ask me if she had pooped. My sister always told me the reason she was grumpy was because she had to poop. We were all obsessed with her bowel movements, or lack thereof. My mom tried to convince me to try suppositories. My husband refused. Smart man. My midwives kept telling me “a baby can poop 10 times in 1 day or 1 time in 10 days.” So we tried to relax. A person could get constipated worrying about a kid that hardly ever poops.

Well, let me tell you. The poop parade has begun. Monday morning, we hear her making happy noises from her crib. We go in her room. It stinks. Peter and I look at each other in amazement. “Do you think she pooped?” Sure enough, there it was. Later that day at her first swimming lesson, after we are out of the pool and posing for pictures there is an explosion in her pants. Can't be. Must have been a big fart. Nope. Little Swimmers are NOT fun to change when they are poopy. Tuesday morning. Happy noises again. A little smelly in her room. Residual smelliness? Another morning poop. We go to visit an expectant friend and her little girl. I change her there. Poop! What is going on with my poopless wonder? Is this how things will be from now on? Will we actually get to use the Diaper Genie more than once a week? Stay tuned for the next installment of "Baby Poops A Lot". (Now!)

Is this or is this not the face of a baby who has regular bowel movements?

Baby University

We have enrolled Audrey in Baby University. You must be asking "What is that and who are the instructors?" Professor Dad and Mama teach a variety of courses. Just to name a few - Guitar Basics, Little Touch Leap Pad, and Baby Einstein. Here are some pictures from our brochure...

Professor Mama isn't a homeless person although you can't tell from her appearance. She sometimes arrives to class having just gotten out of bed. This behaviour is frowned upon and she has been warned.

As you can see we are trying to encourage early learning. Can't hurt really. Although the Sarcastic Journalist has referred to baby einstein as "baby crack" we received it as a gift and thought we'd see how she liked it. As you can see by the photo, she lay there on her Bobby Pillow and stared at it. So I think that means she liked it. Who am I to stand in her way? The following may be my reasons for trying to teach her so early.

I was a terrible student. I don't think I started that way. I always had the best of intentions. My kindergarten teacher was... not nice. I could be mean but I'll be diplomatic instead and try to look at it another way. She was very old and my class was the last she taught before she retired. One of the most memorable moments for me from that first year was when myself and another girl had dumped the classroom's books all over the floor during lunch when she wasn't around. At least that's how I remember it. Our punishment? She grabbed us one at a time by both shoulders and shook us. I can still remember my head flopping uncontrollably forwards and backwards. Perhaps that gave me mild brain damage and this explains my poor marks for the remainder of my years as a student. I look at my young niece who is about to start school this fall. I try to imagine shaking her that way. It makes me ill. At the time I didn't think anything of it. I had been bad and that was the consequence. Now I wonder what on earth she was doing teaching anyone, especially tiny young children if she so easily lost her temper.

Wow, this may be a long post. I have many theories on why I was a poor student. Besides the trauma I experienced in my first year, there was the ongoing torment by fellow students until I finally moved away from the small town I grew up in. I don't recall having problems until about grade 2 or 3 when math started to become very difficult for me. I'm sure my teachers tried their best, I even had someone work with me during recess with flashcards trying to burn multiplication into my brain. I would do the flashcards all week and then when I came back after the weekend – gone. It was as though I had never seen the cards before. The only ones that seemed to stick were the ones that rhymed. 6 x 6 = 36 Math was really my biggest problem. And since both of my parents had dropped out of school at an early age neither of them could really help. They also seemed to have no expectations of me. A 50% was almost as good as an 80% it really made very little difference. I remember wanting so badly to make them proud but once I realized it didn't matter either way I think I stopped trying.

Strangely enough in my grade twelve year I found myself in a bad situation. I had to pass every single class I was taking in order to graduate. I wasn't sure if I could pull it off. Not only did I pass everything but I pulled off some of the best marks I'd ever acheived and I won a scholarship awarded to the "most improved grade twelve student". Me. I was pissed. How depressing to discover my hidden potential after all these years. I only needed a little motivation! This was however, a turning point. I began hairstyling school that fall and TaeKwon Do shortly after that. I was very successful at both. I am now a very established hairstylist and a Second Degree Black Belt. I realized I had a specific learning style. I had to apply what I was learning. Traditional school does not recognize different learning styles. They require everyone to learn the same way. Sit, listen, learn. I learn by physically doing.

Now that I have Audrey it is very important to me that she doesn't have the same negative experiences that I had with school. I intend to pay attention to her interests, encourage and support her and stand up for her to anyone who is trying to bring her down. We are going to read to her, sing and play instruments for her and expose her to as many positive learning tools we can. And then we'll pray that she picks up at least some of it.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Bathing Beauties?

On Saturday my husband said one of the most romantic things to me since vowing to love me in sickness and in health. Although, I think I may have used up the sickness vow in the first four months of my pregnancy. He had today, Monday, off work. So he had said to me on Saturday “Let's turn the phones off on Monday.” I'm pretty sure he got lucky after that. He never wants to turn the phones off. Heaven forbid someone he works with would have to survive one day without being able to call and ask him something they should be able to figure out themselves. I do admire his devotion to his job and his dependability but I think these good qualities are often taken advantage of by some people. In any case, I was thrilled.

Today is that day. Day off day. It was a good day. Except when we were practicing putting Audrey's car seat in his car and he kept bumping his head and there were some bad words and I yelled. But it was a fleeting moment soon to be almost forgotten. He was able to come to Audrey's first swimming lesson! Splashers. All three of us had a great time. I went in the pool with A and he video taped us. There were three other babys in the class. One girl and two boys. They all seemed to like the water. One of the boys is Sam, our neighbor. His mom Shauna and I registered them for lessons together. I think it is cool that they are so close to the same age. I hope we can do lots of stuff with them as they both get older.

And this evening A and I went to our La Leche League meeting and dad had some time to himself. There are so many new moms at the meetings right now. It is so nice to be in a more comfortable place as a mother and possibly have useful things to say to other moms. At my first meeting I was so insecure and paranoid that people would think I was doing everything wrong. I do feel like a different person now. And I guess that's because I am. I really noticed feeling that way when I was back at work last week. It seemed as though work had changed so much but really it was mostly me.

So, day off day is over now. Time for bed. I can lay awake tonight wondering why I ever posted a picture of myself in a bathing suit on the internet.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Are You Suffering From Premature Hairloss?

This was my daughter at around 2 weeks old. Notice the hair. All that hair. I don't know about anyone else but when I was pregnant with her I didn't want to admit to having any preferences about the sex of my baby. When asked “What would you like to have?” or “Do you think you are having a boy or a girl.” I replied “Oh, it doesn't matter. We would just like to have a healthy baby.” Which wasn't a lie. But about a month before I had her when my mom and I were in the privacy of her car I blurted out “I hope I have a girl with lots of black hair!”

Imagine my pleasure when baby A arrived and with so much lovely dark hair. I was in heaven. What could be better for a hairstylist? A girl. With so much hair. And everyone who saw her would say "Wow! She has so much hair!" I would nod and smile proudly. I imagined the cute pig tails and braids I'd give her. I didn't have much else to be happy about. I was happy she was here but why oh why wouldn't she eat? That's another story. Which I think I have already talked about in an earlier post.

Anyway, the hair. Shall we talk about my hair? I have a good amount of it. I have been known to say I have too much. It's wavy, not curly. Sometimes I straighten it. It's generally uncooperative. But, I like my hair for the most part. I don't want it to get any ideas like my house did and start falling out. Oh wait! It is falling out. In handfuls. Now, I've heard the story about how your hair gets thicker during pregnancy (I hadn't noticed if mine did.) and then that extra hair you gained, you then begin to lose. Hey, I've told that story! Reassured many a new mom that she wasn't going bald, the hair loss would stop, not to worry. What the heck did I know?? Really, what a moron I was. I had never experienced it. Until now. It is my punishment. Because I am going to go bald. (Love that bold tool!)

Peter thought I was exaggerating but when I stuck my hair covered hand out of the shower and exclaimed “Take a picture of this!” he began to get the picture. I also notice he cleaned out the hair trap in the shower which he thinks is disgusting. I meant to do it and then noticed later in the day that he must have done it himself. I guess he didn't want to shower with the small animal lurking in the hair trap by his toes.

Enough about me and my soon to be baldness. What is even more horrific is that my sweet Miss A has also nearly lost all of her gorgeous hair.

Everyone told me she would lose it to which I declared "No she won't!" But again I have been proven a liar. Now everyone says "Wow! She sure has lost a lot of her hair!" I nod and frown and feel like telling them to shut up. I could cry. She looks like an elderly man with lots of hair around the sides and back but only a sad few long straggly hairs on top. My dreams of little pig tails are gone for now. I choose to dream of the day when the new growth begins to sprout!

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bye bye, Sweet Girl

So, I'm sitting here in my 'pretty' clothes (as apposed to my 'comfy' clothes - jeans or velour pants and a T-shirt) waiting as the minutes tick by before I abandon my daughter and head back to work for the first time since she was born! A kind and thoughtful friend of mine called me earlier to see if I was “quietly freaking out”. I think I put on a brave face, or voice rather. Maybe if she could see me she would see the bags under my eyes from laying awake worrying or the panic in my eyes that I just can't conceal.

It's like Audrey knows or something. She got up at 5:30 this morning. Then again at 9:30. She was up all the rest of the morning until noon and then only slept for a little over half an hour. I felt guilty (again with the guilt) for wanting her to sleep so that I could prepare for today. Make a sandwich for work to eat while I pump, make a casserole for my sister and niece who are babysitting her at my house tonight, write a blog about freaking out. She wasn't unhappy the entire time, she smiled at me a lot which hurt my heart even more. She wasn't very interested in eating which bothers me since she'll have to have a bottle while I'm gone and I was hoping to fill her up a bit. She's pulling and rubbing her ear a bit so now I'm thinking she may have an ear infection. It's like everything around me is screaming “Don't leave her!”

I will be leaving her though. In the capable hands of my wonderful sister who lost her oldest daughter Erin, of only 18 years old at the hands of a violent ex-boyfriend. I'm hoping that my Audrey Erin will help to heal her broken heart. That is the only consolation I may find in leaving her so soon to go slave away for the almighty buck.

I'll be thinking of my beautiful girl smiling a toothless grin at her when she wakes up from her nap only to find that her mother is no where to be found.

Erin Kristen Chorney