Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Deep Roy

I have a story to tell. About rats. And handguns. But mostly rats. And snakes. However, I have to do some more interviews and gather more information first. I also have to fish an old family rat story out of storage in my mom's attic this weekend. Stay tuned!

For now, though, here is Olivia's take on Deep Roy's version of the Ooompa Loompa. You may not see the similarity (the pointed shoulders and widow's peak hairline), but I do and it makes me smile:

Augustus Gloop! Augustus Gloop!
The great big greedy nincompoop!
Augustus Gloop!
So big and vile
So greedy, foul, and infantile
'Come on!' we cried, 'The time is ripe
To send him shooting up the pipe!

Don't be Augustus Gloop tomorrow. Leave enough food for everyone! :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Bird goes to Chicago!

On Sunday JB, Olivia, and I made a sort of impromptu trip to Chicago to see our brothers. Neither of them have met Olivia. Austin has been traveling a lot the last few months and we probably won't see him until the new year, and it's always fun to see my brother and his girlfriend Virginia, so we hopped in the car and went!

Unfortunately for me, the Bird only slept from 1 a.m. to 4 a.m. that day, and I had volunteered to drive TO Chicago, because JB is a better night driver and would be driving us home. I was soo tired! Agh! I drank this crappy gas station cappuccino to keep me up but caffeine doesn't really help me. Then I decided to count the cars on the other side of the highway. That also wasn't effective, as it was early Sunday morning and no one was driving around. So I filled my mind with "worst case scenarios" about the drive, which I do often (gotta be prepared!). I came up with game plans of what to do if, say for instance, a giant semi-truck suddenly came barreling out of the woods to the right and was about to t-bone our car. Would I a.) drive down into the steep median but keep going in the same direction, hoping to avoid the semi by inches, b.) yank the wheel hard left, causing the car to do a 180 and drive into the oncoming traffic lane and attempt to maneuver around THAT traffic, or c.) try to miss the truck by either hitting the brakes or the gas? This game worked pretty well until I got too wrapped up in it and started to wander out of my lane because I was looking at the amount of oncoming traffic across the median to determine if driving directly across the median to avoid the semi would be my best bet. The car's tires hit the rumble strip and JB woke up. He got nervous because he thought I was falling asleep. I was not--can't be falling asleep if an evil semi could be lurking in the woods!

When we arrived in Chicago we met up with Austin and went to Eleven City Diner, a neat cafe in the Grant Park area. It still strikes me how excited people get when they see babies. Olivia was riding in the Baby Bjorn (front-carrying backpack thingy) and no one could see her face, but ladies got excited nonetheless. (I'd at least wait until I saw the baby's face: what if the baby was SCARY looking??) The owner was just enamored with Olivia, especially after she looked in the carrier and saw her. She was an older woman wearing these sweet funky eyeglasses, and I was pleased to have such a lady take interest in my child. This was the second restaurant owner to rave about Olivia. The first was Marie Caltrib, whom I blogged about previously. When Marian had returned to Marie Caltrib's three days after Olivia's visit, Marie had asked Marian, "Where is your baby?" Well, either that lady has some memory or Olivia made a major impression on her!

The hostess at Eleven City Diner looked at Olivia and then at me and said, "I think she's going to have your red hair!"


I didn't have the heart to tell her that my brown hair had randomly turned reddish, though I did point out JB's red locks to her.

After lunch we headed with Austin to Tommy and Virginia's place in the Lakeview area. I would like the record to show that on the Wii I am the cow racing champion. I can't play any other video games worth a dime, but man, can I race them cows! haha. Olivia sort of played her first video game, as JB managed to juggle holding Olivia and the Wii remote control at the same time. We had dinner at Joy's, my favorite Thai restaurant. I was very excited to be there but the Bird was not, and so she cried the whole time, which prevented me from eating. Boo, Olivia! I say, Boo!

JB and I both agree that if we were to live in a big city, it would be Chicago. For now, though, we'll just have to make the 3-hour trip here and there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The secret's out!

Lucy wasn't sitting by her baby, Olivia, being sweet and protective...

She was just waiting for Olivia to get out so SHE could be in the pillow!

That little rat! Lucy is top princess dog, and she will not hesitate to take advantage of the luxuries that man has to offer. Either that or she loves the baby so much she likes to lay on her stuff because it has her smell. She has also taken to laying on Olivia's used swaddling blankets, etc., if they're around, just like she lays on our dirty laundry.

Speaking of dirty laundry, our washing machine broke! Agh! The repair guy said this morning that he could replace the motor this afternoon. I still haven't heard from him. The machine broke after I put our beloved flannel sheets in it and now they're sitting in a wet pile in the sink. I cannot live without my flannel sheets on our bed! We have lame cotton ones on there right now and it's FREEZING when I climb in the bed at night after taking care of Olivia. Regular sheets in the winter make me ornary.

Monday, November 10, 2008

My friend Kristen recently gave me a book by the local columnist Tracy Lorenz that highlights some of his best columns for the Muskegon Chronicle. It is quite entertaining and has encouraged me to keep writing, even if I’m tired or don’t have any funny stories to tell.

I am almost finished with my latest “dog wrangling” stint and I STILL don’t have any good stories! (Well, someone DID slink off to the basement to leave a pile of indiscernible yuck and I almost stepped in it—not sure which end it came out of and this troubles me—but that’s not that interesting.)

Soooo…I shall post about my baby-labor experience, for those of you who have requested.

Don’t worry—it’s very clean. There aren’t any descriptions of body parts or fluids!

First of all--the labor: long and exhausting. My advice to any woman considering having a child: get the epidural. Don't try to be brave or earthy or whatever by doing it naturally. Perhaps I am a wimp, but even with the epidural, it came to a point where I asked the doctor if she could just use the plunger thingy to get the baby out. The doctor declined. I asked her to cut me (this is a fairly common procedure that is required of a lot of women). The doctor insisted that I was blessed with not needing to be cut. I did not think that my body could last much longer. Seriously, at that point I had been awake for like 36 hours with only a little bit of drug-induced rest. I won the battle for getting cut, though, and am not sorry for it.

The hospital: Staying in the hospital was sooo exhausting. Ugh. The staff at Spectrum Butterworth are very efficient. So efficient that they were in my room constantly checking my stats (blood pressure, heart rate, etc), Olivia's stats, helping me with nursing (okay, thanks for that), having my delivery doctor stop by, my obgyn doctor stop by, the baby's pediatrician stop by twice, asking me various questions about this and that, and just generally keeping me awake at all hours of the night.

At one point I had FINALLY fallen asleep, around 4 a.m. (just after a blood pressure check) when a woman appeared at the foot of my bed.

"Hi April. My name is blah blah and I'm here to ask you some questions."

"Sure," I say, as I start to fall back asleep. I didn’t even bother sitting up or opening my eyes all the way to look at her.

"Do you feel safe in your home?"

This question puzzled me. Did she want to know if I worried that my smoke detectors didn't work? Or was she insinuating that we could have a lead-based paint problem and that I couldn't take my baby home to it? Who WAS this lady and how dare she ask if my own house was SAFE for my baby?!??!?

"Uh, yeah," I replied.

"Does anyone in your home harm you physically or emotionally?"

Aaaah. I see what she was getting at. Does your baby daddy abuse you? Phew. She wasn't trying to be rude about the state of my home.

I told her "No," and she left.

Then like the one other time that I was in deep sleep the door to my room burst open, flooding the dark room with bright hallway light. A woman silhouetted against the light said, "Your baby is in the nursery!"

Really? I thought. Thank you for stating the obvious.

Then she said something about Olivia not being accidentally taken out or something. See, they have these little arm bands that they put on all babies so that if anyone goes near a door with a baby or tries to steal them, the whole place goes into lockdown. Apparently this had happened (probably accidentally) so the lady was telling me that my baby was not compromised. She probably thought she was being reassuring, but I had no IDEA that there was a situation in the first place, and her waking me up to tell me that my baby was NOT snatched automatically sent me into worries that she COULD be snatched. Agh! Sleep averted!

I got another big scare, but this was during early daylight hours. When Olivia was born she apparently swallowed a lot of nasty crap. And for the first couple of days she kept coughing up this nasty and would occasionally choke a little. The nurses who brought her in to me for feeding reassured me that this wasn’t a big deal, and to just burp her if she had troubles. Worked for me.

This worked for me until Shift Change happened a new nurse brought Olivia in to me. As she picked her up Olivia started to cough/gag. The lady threw her over her arm and smacked the daylights out of her on her back. Poor Olivia had a very surprised and troubled look on her face, as if to say, “Who the heck is this?!?? What happened to Gentle Nurse???” (Olivia is gifted with fun facial expressions.) As the nurse is doing this, she says to me, “If this happens again and she stops breathing, don’t worry. Just pull the Emergency Cord right out of the wall and we’ll all come to help immediately.” Then she hands me the baby and walks out of the room.

Stops breathing?!?? Since when was it possible that she would STOP BREATHING from choking on the nastiness?!??? None of the other nurses mentioned this! Why is this lady telling me this? I was perfectly calm about the situation until SHE showed up! Now this crazy nurse is going to leave me ALONE with this brand-new baby that could very likely stop breathing?

That was so not cool of her.

The homecoming: Fortunately, Olivia did not stop breathing on my watch. And she wasn’t stolen from the nursery. And she was allowed to come home to a house with possible lead-based paint remnants and a non-functioning smoke detector.

It all ended well.

Well, for Olivia.

She is the one who is catered to 24-7. She is the one who gets to sleep whenever she dang-well pleases (which she does not take advantage of). Who doesn’t have to wait for the bathroom to be available before she takes a crap. Who never has to prepare her own meals. And who gets to relax all day wrapped up in a cozy blanket and warm hat.

Me, however, well, I’m not faring quite so well…

I’m quite jealous of those blankets and hats.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Last night after I brushed my teeth, I told JB that I was off to bed. "I better get in the bedroom soon because I think Lucy is in there and I gotta make sure she's not peeing on the bed," I told him. (Though it's been a while, she HAS peed on our bed--NOT COOL--so she is usually banned from our room unless supervised.)

JB said that he saw her in there and she hadn't peed on the bed. "But she is doing something naughty-cute," he told me. "You'll say you're mad, but I think you like it."

I marched into our room, and this is what I saw:

She is laying on MY pillow. And JB was right: it IS naughty-cute. Of all the places in the bedroom to lay, she chooses MY PILLOW, probably because I'm the mom and she loves my smell. This is sweet of her to love me like that, but really, I lay my head there, dog. And apparently when I'm not around, you lay your butt there. I was not mad this time because fortunately, I had given her a bath since earlier that day she was doing this:

Lucy is digging to China. She is quite fervent about it, as you can see. As a matter of fact, I need to quit blogging right now because I just realized that I've left her outside for quite some time and I am concerned that she has resumed excavations (she's been awfully quiet out there) and I really don't feel like giving her another bath...

Monday, November 3, 2008

No God

I don’t know how people who don’t believe in God can do it.

If there’s one thing that I learned after having Olivia is that I could not survive without God.

There have been so many moments with her when I have cried out to God in desperation (babies can be quite frustrating!) and he came to my aid. And even when I was waiting for an answer to my prayer, I felt great peace knowing that I was not the one in charge of this little baby—that God was. It is a wonderful thing to know, especially in scary situations. I mean, if Olivia were to choke or stop breathing, I think I would faint from fear, instead of taking action, if I didn’t feel I had someone else to help me in that situation. I think you’d have to have great confidence in yourself in order to keep your cool. And I am not that confident in my CPR skills.

For instance, when she was first born, nursing was not working out. I felt terrible because, essentially, I was starving my baby. The nurses all tried helping me, and even the lactation specialists came in twice to give assistance/advice. But it still was not working. If I hadn’t had God to lean on at that time, I would have had an emotional breakdown. Instead, I asked God to help. I had peace knowing that I wasn’t in charge of making it work and that God did not want Olivia to starve so he wouldn’t let her. After my emotional plea to him, Olivia’s pediatrician came to visit (he was JB’s childhood pediatrician, too! How neat is THAT?) and told me that it could take 1-2 weeks to get nursing down. None of the nurses bothered to tell me that! I instantly felt relieved. I believe that God sent Dr. Hoffman in to talk to me at that exact time. And you know what, it DID start to work! And I have a fat baby to prove it!

Last night I realized that I was starting to get JB’s head cold—he was sick all weekend and was able to kick it by sleeping it off. I do not have that option since I have Olivia, so I was freaked about it. It’s hard enough to take care of Olivia with JB returning to work today, let alone deal with a terrible cold to boot. I really, really wanted sleep, so last night I said, “Please, Lord, let Olivia sleep for 4 hour stints tonight, instead of her typical three.” (Typically she gets up after three hours, like clockwork.) That was at midnight. At 6 a.m. she was still sound asleep! I totally got some rest!

After I saw that “6:00” on my clock this morning, I knew that it was God who hooked me up with sleep, and I just couldn’t keep the story to myself.

There are several more instances of what I believe to be God’s hand in my life. And I know where will be many more, and I am so thankful.