Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Decisions, decisions

I'm still here. This blog is still here. Yet I don't know if it should be.

Where do I go from here?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fitting In

When I was younger, I fit in anywhere. I could instantly find friends anywhere. I had no pre-conceived notions about who would/wouldn't make a good friend. Boys were not "Icky." Girls were not pretentious. I could slap a coffee filter on a G.I. Joe figure to have him parachute from the third story window immediately after cuddling my Cabbage Patch doll.

I knew what I believed, but was happy to hear everyone else's views. Many Sunday mornings, after sleeping over at my best friend's, you could find me with her in her Lutheran Sunday school class. I went to Catholic school. At lunch, among friends, I debated the value of Yom Kippur vs. Catholic confession (9-year-old me was quite certain one day of fasting and coming to terms with G-d myself was much preferable to cowering in a confessional being judged by a priest and 30-something-year-old me still feels exactly the same way).

So many people fear public speaking. Not me. I love it. I'm comfortable in front of crowds. I wanted to be an actress. I'm a born leader and I enjoy (almost) every minute of it. The best compliment I ever received from my mother was when she asked, "Why did you never become a rabbi? You know all this stuff. You've always been a leader. You would have been good at it."

Now, though, I find it increasingly difficult to fit in. Among most of my friends, being Jewish makes us the odd ones out. With one group of fellow Yids, we're too observant. With others, we're not nearly observant enough. With some people, we're the wrong religion entirely and therefore not even a candidate for friend. I have to bite my tongue around some friends so as to not make political comments that I know will tick them off. Many of my friends are far older. A number of those have grown children, so when I'm exasperated by the toddler tantrums, my friends look at me like I have three heads and go back to helping their daughters' plan their weddings. Others are young and single and are equally baffled when the toddler tantrums or the kindergartner insists on wearing his Batman mask, bathing suit and not much else. They're too busy planning their road trip with friends (from which they will post ten THOUSAND pictures to Facebook) to hear my explanation.

So it's nice that we have finally managed to find a little space in the world where we've collected people with whom we feel comfortable. I can randomly bust into song and not only will no one stare, but some friends will actually JOIN IN and sing along. One or two might even grab their guitar or play along on the piano. And that, right there, makes all the slings and arrows in life so much more bearable.

"You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes you meet those people you can`t forget. Those are your friends." --Dana Scully "the X-files"

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Are Libraries Cooler Than Cupcakes?

I say, "Yes," and you know I love cupcakes, so that's a big deal.

I've posted before about how I do so love Children's Librarians. Then, today, a (librarian) friend shared this and so I feel compelled to do the same.

I don't know about you, but I would find a way to watch a reality show about our local librarians. That would be some interesting stuff.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rules that only morons need to hear: What Cannot Be Unseen

Have you ever had to explain something to someone which really should be common sense, but for some reason, it wasn't for that particular person?

Don't speak loudly and in great detail at the gym about the best blow job you ever gave, particularly when there are elderly ladies on the treadmill next to you is one such rule.

I came across another one last weekend that needs sharing: While at a restaurant, do not EVER speak of anything you have seen on a television segment titled anything remotely similar to, "What Cannot Be Unseen."

This should be common sense, but it wasn't to the group of ladies a few tables down from us at a restaurant. After hearing about one such segment (again, in great detail), I had to put down my food because I had lost my appetite. Now, I don't have a weak stomach, so if even I was grossed out, you can rest assured what you just discussed (LOUDLY AND IN GREAT DETAIL) was completely inappropriate in an establishment where eating takes place (or at least DID before you grossed people out).

So, what other rules have you felt compelled to clarify for the morons?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Make new friends and keep the old
(but only if they're Christian).

I heard of such things, but I didn't believe they really existed, at least not among nice people. I figured the concept was just something people threw around to try to prove a point of bigotry. Sure, some bigotry exists, but I didn't believe it really existed in such an outright and confusing form.

People really exist who won't be friends with people who are not Christian. Please excuse me while I find my jaw and pick it up off the floor.

What's even "better," people--sweet nice people, won't be my friend because I'm not Christian.

The one in question (and I suspect now that there have been others) isn't some mythological awful vicious beast. She's nice. She's very sweet. She and I have a lot in common. I often invite her to parties and events and she always declines. I figured she was just busy with her large family and many commitments. Nope, she's just...Christian.

This blows my mind. I don't understand it at all. I tried discussing it with a (Christian) friend who laments that she's on the opposite side. She knows she has friends who are ONLY friends with her because she's Christian. She tried to explain the rationale to me as she's actually had this conversation with some friends including the one in question.

Turns out some people believe only fellow Christians can share their goals, beliefs and philosophies. I find this so odd because, for years, I recognized that my parenting style and goals were most similar to a fundamental Christian friend. Politically and religiously, we were polar opposites, but our goals in life (menschkeit, even if she probably wouldn't refer to it as such) and parenting were the same. We had a lot of fun together and we had some great discussions. She once called me, "Insightful," which, to this day, I think is the best compliment I've ever received. My life and my children's lives are richer because she and her children were a part of them.

In addition, I've been told that, some Christians basically have the idea that, "You're going to hell anyway and I'm not, so why bother getting attached?" Hold on. There goes my jaw again. Must go chase it as it rolls under my desk.

Now, I know many (if not most) branches of Christianity believe that faith in Jesus is the only way to heaven. Funny, though, many of those claim that their and only their exact interpretation of Jesus will drop you on the yellow brick road to heaven. Everyone else is either headed to hell's western shore or will have to renounce their beliefs in the end times. Honestly, I find that offensive. Go ahead and pat me on the head and say, "Oh, that's a cute little doily your son has on his head, but I'm right and you're wrong and in the end, you'll just toss that in the trash and hand him a 'Jesus Rocks' baseball cap instead."

Judaism believes it's actually EASIER to be a good person if you're not Jewish. We have 613 laws to follow. The rest of you have only 7 fairly simple ones (among others, don't murder people or eat a live animal and you're good to go).

In Judaism, we don't focus on the afterlife. Whereas Christian texts write extensively about heaven, we Jews know very little about what the world to come has to offer. That's because our focus is on the here and now. If we worry about our behavior here, the rest will take care of itself. So my concern is not who I'll share a booth with in the next life, it's who I'm sharing a drink with in THIS life and how I treat him or her.

I'm just stunned and in disbelief that this not only happens, but has happened to me and that it's done by otherwise nice people. What a shame! What an absolute shame!

Monday, July 05, 2010

The Moment I Knew

I'm taking part in e.p.t.'s "Moment I knew" blog tour.

Just thinking about that moment when I first learned I was pregnant (we'd later find out it was with not one, but two babies) makes me grin like a big idiot (a happy idiot, though).

With our first pregnancy, we were ttc (trying to conceive) when my husband was sent away. We tried to plan visits around my cycle, but with no luck. Every month, my cycle got longer and longer, so every month, I took a pregnancy test only to be greeted with a great big honking evil BFN (big fat negative). I was heartbroken.

Then September 11th happened. My husband was away and I had just found out, yet again, that I wasn't pregnant (I visited him a few weeks prior in an attempt to catch ovulation). My lmp (last menstrual period) was September 8, 2001. During the awful chaos of the 9-11 attacks, I was thrilled that I wasn't pregnant and it made me question whether I even wanted to have children given all the uncertainty in the world. Dh and I discussed it in depth and decided we still did. We took comfort in the fact that maybe we could raise children who could counteract such hatred.

It was good that we came to that agreement because, when I visited him 3 weeks later, it finally worked. He came home for good (well, as "for good" as you can get in the military) a week after that and I kept joking that I was pregnant (Would you grab an extra piece of chocolate? Oh, it's not for me. The baby wants it.), but we just didn't know. I didn't have any of the usual symptoms. In that time, the military had given us orders to move almost immediately. So we planned one last trip to visit family in the area before we were sent across the country.

While visiting, we stopped to pick up an e.p.t. I tucked it away and we went to bed. In the morning, I woke up before Dh and took the test. I refused to even look at the test until a full 5 minutes had gone by. I was terrified that it would be yet another negative.

When I looked at the test, I was shocked. TWO LINES. I had never seen two lines before. I stared at it for a while trying to believe it. Then, when I was fairly certain this was really happening, I went back into Dh who was still sleeping. I shook him and whispered, "It worked." It took him a second, but suddenly he sat up straight and I handed him the test. He saw it too.

We decided not to tell the family right away, but we had a family dinner that night. We just about floated through that dinner. We were SO happy. Giddy as can be, we had to keep our news to ourselves and pass the potatoes. We couldn't hide our excitement, though. There are pictures of us at that dinner and you can see these huge goofy grins our faces in every single one.

I still have that test. I tucked it away and everywhere the military sent us, that test came too. Nothing in the world will ever compare to the early morning when I first saw two lines.

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of e.p.t and received an e.p.t. keepsake case and a $20 gift card to to facilitate my review.

You can find out more about e.p.t. products (including a keepsake bag which would have been ideal for toting my first test around the country) at

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Coconut Oil and Randomness

Tropical Traditions sent me a jar of their Certified Organic Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil last fall. I was just stomping through my archives and realized I never posted my review. Ack!
As luck would have it, I'm STILL discovering new uses for the stuff.

First and foremost, I cooked with it. It tastes absolutely amazing with sweet onions and tilapia. It adds just a hint of sweetness which makes for a much richer flavor then olive oil.

I tried baking a chocolate cake with it, but it wasn't quite my favorite. First and foremost, I need to say that I don't like the taste of coconut. When baked, it has that flavor. So it wasn't quite my style. Although, oddly enough, when I ate some cake the next day (after it was refrigerated, I liked it much better. The coconut flavor wasn't as strong the next day.

So, even if you don't particularly like coconut flavor, you may find that, like me, you really enjoy this with meat or vegetables.

I found the most random uses in addition to eating it. With the oil, Tropical Traditions included a little booklet that had lots of information and included some alternative uses.

One idea mentioned was using it as a moisturizer. I found this coconut oil was the only thing that worked to get rid of TheBaby's cradle cap. I rubbed it on her scalp and the next day, the flaky dry skin was gone.

I also made the most wonderful exfoliating concoction. I added used coffee grinds to coconut oil and kept it in a little container in the shower. I used it in the mornings. The smell was great and my skin felt very soft. I have oily skin, but using the oil on my face didn't cause any problems.

Unlike most other oils, this coconut oil is a solid at room temperature. So, you can add "Prop in a science lesson" to its resume'. This has proven to be endlessly fascinating to my kids.

Our vet recommended giving the cats some oil to help prevent hairballs, but we've never had any luck getting the cats to actually eat oil, though. The booklet mentioned that some pet owners just put a small scoop on their pets' food. Sure enough, we put a scoop in their food and one of our cats loved it. I must admit, one wouldn't touch it, but neither of these cats would eat any other type of oil. Our fuzzy boy happily licked this up right away.

Last weekend, I found the most bizarre use for this coconut oil. Would you believe it works wonderfully to cover scratches in hardwood flooring? Well, it DOES. Moving furniture left us with a big scratch on our floor. After panicking momentarily, I remembered reading that walnut oil was supposed to be good for such scratches. We didn't have any (and we had company coming very soon), but I did have a little bit of this coconut oil left. So I put some in the crack and rubbed it in. The kids and I were all shocked when we realized you couldn't see the scratch at all. I then cleaned the floor as usual with hardwood floor polish. A week has gone by and it still looks great.

The price on the oil seems a bit steep to me, but they have sales all the time--really good sales. If you sign up for their newsletter, they'll let you know what sales are happening and they link you directly to them. I've found that very helpful. They also list sales and blog giveaways via twitter.

Dancing Naked Men

I have a chance to see dancing naked men tonight. I, however, am passing up that opportunity and instead will stay home with the family.

I want a freaking metal!

I know there are people out there who complain that the male body is ugly. I am not one of those people. In my opinion, the male body is gorgeous and worthy of longing stares.

But no! There will be no happy staring at swinging bits dancing men for yours truly.

My husband had better appreciate my sacrifice.

I can also think of a few other things he had better do.

FYI: I just created a "Dancing naked men" label for this post. How have I blogged for 4 years and not yet created such a label?

EDITED TO ADD: Here's my giggle for the day. I'm wading through my archives and I just found this post:
Sexually Deprived For Your Freedom. I guess some things never change. Some things don't change one single bit. ;-)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Bargain Brag

Here's a tip for you: always check out the clearance. I don't care where you are, go find the clearance aisle and look. If you were at the store last week, check again.

I found some fantastic deals at Borders. I didn't even realize they had a clearance section, but when we were there for the Fancy Nancy party in May, I saw it. At the time, they had the Wallies Peel and Stick chalkboard designs for $4 (down from $20). I came *this* close to getting one or two, but decided we really didn't need them.

Then, when we were there about two weeks ago, I had to hunt down the children's clearance section. It was much smaller and was a completely different location. They still had those chalkboard stickers, but this time, they were 98 cents each.

For that price, I snapped them up. One package was a little too beaten up, so I let it go, but I got two packages of the plane and cloud designs and one of the house/tree designs. I figured I'll give one of the plane/clouds as a gift. I saved $60 and paid less than I would for the tiny chalkboard strips at the Dollar Tree.

They have excess in the packaging (like the borders on stickers), so I'm going to cut out some smaller designs too.

Oh and we're going to put one up on the front door so that we can leave notes to each other and reminders when we're on our way out. Another tip is to put one inside your cabinet door and that way you can write down items as you run out. We found it useful to do something like that on the cabinet door where we keep medicine. That way, when we gave the kids a dose of medicine, we wrote down who got what when. That was particularly useful with twins when we often found ourselves trying to remember who we got medicine last.

Back to the topic of unlikely clearance and great deals, I once found a big box of foam Chanukah stickers for $1 on a clearance table at Barnes and Noble. I don't think these are the places where most people even think to look for clearance.

No matter where you are, try to hunt out the clearance section. You might be pleasantly surprised. We certainly were!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

An Ode to the Children's Librarians

I love you. If I "swung that way" and wasn't already married, I would propose to you--all of you.

I love that you seem genuinely happy to see my kids and to stop and chat with them. If, in reality, my kids annoy the hell out of you, I love that you're fantastic actresses.

I love that you know where the heck the Lauren Child books have gone. They were there for months, then suddenly, Franklin stares out at us from their place on the selves. Franklin doesn't hold a candle to Clarice Bean or Charlie, but a quick stop at your desk sends my children on their little yellow brick road to Lola-land.

I love that you love that hissing cockroach. I sure as hell don't want anything to do with it, but I'm thrilled that there's someone who's willing to show those nasty things to my kids while I'm ALL the way on the other side of the library.

I love that you believe my daughter when she reports that we dropped that book in the drop slot on Thursday, even though the computers still show it as checked out. I also love that you let her tell you all about how we know we brought it back on Thursday because we were there for the water cycle program, but we were a day early because it was really on Friday. So we came back on Friday and made these really cool water cycle crafts. And TheBoy even got to make one even though he's technically not old enough for the program, but they let him do it anyway. And we know we dropped that missing book in the book slot in the back of the building because we like to do that when we have a lot of books to return because it's just easier, so we use that and park in the side lot and walk a little farther to the side door.
After my daughter's big long explanation, you put a trace on the book so we won't be charged. Yet another reason to love you.

I love that not only do you stand up in front of a room full of over 100 people and sing a song which compels children (to the tune of "Merrily We Roll Along") to follow a number of simple tips including, "If you have to go REAL bad, REAL bad, REAL bad; If you have to go REAL bad, sneak out quietly," but you do so loudly, clearly and with no hint of embarrassment.

When my kids ask for your recommendations on teen graphic novels, I love that you check with the teen librarian (I didn't even know there was such a thing) and then you bring every single option back to me to look over first. I can't tell you how thrilled I was that, even though you don't have any kids, you knew to let me have a look first.

And you, the new young one, you have a cool literary-themed name. I think that's cool as hell.

I love that you do so much outreach in the community, both through the library and personally. I've gotten to know some local children's librarians and I'm floored at some of the things they do on their own time and with their own money to help out children in need.

My children make crafts and get the bright red corn syrup all over the tables and you don't even flinch. When I jump up to wipe it up, you assure me that's not necessary. For that, I could kiss you.

I love that, during story time, you can respectfully get a child to sit down, quiet down, stop breaking the blinds, climb down from the rafters, etc. And I also love that, if necessary, you're not afraid to find whoever came with that child to deal with it. I've always been amazed at the awesome balance children's librarians can strike with that. They're friendly and respectful, but not doormats.

You know my son is probably not going to stand up and do any of the dances, but you just let him be. Thank you for not making a big deal out of it.

I love that you offer neat craft ideas.

I love that you have whole stacks of ideas for audio books that we can take out and listen to during road trips. I also love that you were absolutely right about Stockard Channing reading the Ramona books. Those were loved by all during our last long drive.

I ADORE your summer programs. You can't beat free, local and air conditioned in the summer. Add the fact that they're educational and I know you bust your butts to set them up and run them and I'm just about ready to don a cheerleader outfit, grab pom poms (which my kids probably made at a library craft program) and create a cheer in your honor.

You are wonderful and for that, I thank you and because of that, I love you.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Oh Shit! I'm Becoming My Mother.

My mother is very superstitious. She carries all her own old ethnic superstitions as well as others she's collected over the years. I can get behind one or two of them, but most of them just have me shaking my head and moving right along.

So, yesterday, when I noticed someone left the baby's shoes on the table (a HUGE bearer of bad luck according to my mother), I snatched them off and said, "That's bad luck." Wait. What? Who said that?

Girl2 turned to me and said, "You do you realize you sound just like your mother, right?"

Just you wait, child. Just you wait!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Old people rock!

Today, an elderly couple stopped to chat with me. The woman mentioned that she has two great grandbabies. She saw my brood and asked if they were all mine (NOT in the usual condescending tone). When I confirmed they were, she smiled and said, "Four is a great number. It's a perfect size for a family." I smiled and said, "We think so."

I can't tell you how nice it was to hear something like that. So often, my gaggle of kids is met with wide eyes and a horrified, "Are they ALL yours?" I must point out that my kids are very well behaved. People make these comments while the kids are standing right beside me in the super market or are sitting on a bench with me at the park. It's not as though two are attempting to do a trapeze act from the light fixtures while one rolls around on the floor and the baby's busy pickpocketing someone's wallet.

So I was very grateful for the kind and accepting words of that woman.

She reminded me of Cleo, who lived across the street when we moved in. She moved to a nursing home years ago, but she was a lovely elderly woman in my neighborhood. Cleo was 93 and had eight children and more grandchildren and great grandchildren than she could remember.

When I was at my wit's end with colicky premature twins and a husband who worked the night shift when he wasn't deployed, I would pack up the twins and go for my daily constitutional. I'd pack them in the stroller and walk around the neighborhood. I'd stop to visit Cleo on her porch and we'd chat, mainly about babies (hers were born at home).

One time, I tried to make a hasty exit when the twins were particularly fussy. Cleo didn't even bat an eye. Whereas we always hurriedly left restaurants when the twins made so much as a peep which caused people's heads to snap around violently so that they could glare at us; it didn't bother Cleo in the slightest.

I told her they were hungry and started to rush away. After she asked if I was nursing and I assured her I was, she said, "Then just feed 'em. In my day, they got hungry and we fed 'em. No need to get up and go. You've got what you need. "

That was when I was still new to nursing and nursing in public was often a tricky fumbling disaster. So I was so relieved to hear her say such a thing. Not long after that, I became quite the pro at nursing in public and I think Cleo's reassurance played a big role in that.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Turn and face the strange cha cha changes.

Times they are a changing!

Lots of changes, minuscule, monumental and everything in between going on in my world and I wouldn't have it any other way.

We're making lots of changes around here. New phone number. New social media outlets. New pets. New career for the husband. And, as early as August, a new address for all of us. Wahhoo. Yippeee! Hallelujah! And other such exclamations of happiness.

Then, just today, a great new volunteer opportunity was presented to me. It's birth-related and you all know that's something that's near and dear to my heart.

Something that hasn't changed is my family. I'm still happily married (for over a decade) to my husband who rocks. Our kids are great. Girl2 finished the entire Harry Potter series in 7 weeks. She has since moved on to the Septimus Heap series. We have to take two of the books at a time out from the library because she finishes them so quickly. Girl1 prefers the Graphic Classics. Thus far, H.P. Lovecraft is her favorite. They both taught themselves to ride without training wheels this year. TheBoy loves math, Ponyo, BabyMouse, Franklin, the Hulk kids' comics and any sort of attention. This kid has a future in sales because oh boy is he a charmer! TheBaby celebrated her first birthday, but before that, she took off running and climbing. She can make it to the top bunk on her own (much to my dismay). This kid doesn't sit still. She now has a head full of blonde curls. Her smile is absolutely adorable. And what a lover! She runs over to us just to give lots of kisses. That sweet face of hers does sometimes remind me of what we're missing, but that smile and those hugs and kisses help me heal.

Now, for some less-than-thrilling news; I've been re-evaluating blogging. Obviously, this joint isn't as jumping as it once was. I tried NaBloPoMo in hopes of once again lighting my blogging fire, but it just didn't happen. While it did inspire me to do some writing of which I'm proud, it just didn't lure me back to the blog side. So I've decided to leave this place and ride off into the bloggy sunset (blogset?).

I won't be going anywhere just yet, but I'm going to wrap this blog up in the not-too-distant future. This place will remain, but I'll be movin' on. I've written quite a bit here about military life, veterans' issues, homebirth, midwifery, c-sections, breastfeeding, babies, Judaism, children, twins, and just life in general that I'd like to keep available in the blogosphere. I'll leave comments opened as well, but I'll leave the current settings--older posts have moderation enabled to thwart the spammers.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

My Favorite Picture Book:
"Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?"

I have four children and more books than some libraries. So if I begin a phrase with, "My favorite," and end it with, "Book," you know it's gotta be good.

My children love Lauren Child's illustrations and her artwork is darling. She's the creative genius behind Charlie and Lola. I love the way her writing and artwork captures childhood. Both her characters and drawings are so sweet with a hint of mischief (or, in Lola's case, sometimes more than just a hint).

My twins made it their mission to take out all of Lauren Child's books from the library at least once. During that quest, we came across "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book?"

I really can't quite describe this book in a way that will do it justice. In this book, Lauren Child introduces us to Herb who likes books. Although, Herb has used and abused one of his collections of fairy tales. As luck would have it, one night, Herb falls into this twisted fairy tale book. At one point, we find Herb falling into an upside room because he tore it out and glued it back in upside down when he was younger.

I love not only the story and illustrations, but the way it's told. In the upside room, the text too is upside down. At one point, characters climb up the text. It swirls and whirls and keeps your attention. There is absolutely nothing boring about this book.

I love love love love LOVE this book.