Not Gonna Do it This Year.

So I have decided that I will not be making any 2013 resolutions.  Well, "decided" is not really the right word...let's just say there is nothing left for me to accomplish.  2012 was the year that I figured it all out. I have done it all.  From giving birth to stenciling flowers on a vase, 2012 was the year I pretty much did everything except shave my legs (dude, I was SO pregnant this year - don't judge). 

Here is a summary of what I accomplished:

1.  The word is NUNchucks, not NUMchucks.  35 years of incorrect pronunciation gone all because they re-released Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  check
2. I made Christmas presents this year.  Yes, I said made. One can never have enough coasters. I just hope no one drops them, gets them wet or places anything other than a room temperature beverage in a Solo cup on them. check
3. I made a person. A really big one. You may not be impressed but I know Wesley is thankful. check
4. I went to Home Depot for something other than a Christmas tree or to have a key made.  In fact, I went all the way to the back of the store. There are some delightfully helpful people that live in the back of that store if you ever decide to go. check
5. I made four Pinterest recipes while on maternity leave.  True, one was microwave mac and cheese in a mug, but it totally counts. (disaster by the way, but check).
6. I now own mod podge and I keep it in my craft bin (see #2). At this point, my real friends should be planning an intervention. check and check
7. I realized I was old enough to own a set of mixing bowls. Look, it really just doesn't occur to some people - check
8. I didn't spend my birthday money at CVS or on gas. - This one had Andy particularly worried. Check
9. I used the aforementioned birthday money to buy myself a purse. It was a Kohl's purse...nothing too terribly expensive. We should all just be glad it's not my usual tote bag with a logo on it from some random company that I can't remember how I got or an Aldi grocery bag. check
10. I learned not to fear the self-proclaimed grammar Nazi's out there and finally admit that though my love for ellipses may never be understood...I am not ashamed. Also, for the record, I don't always care where the comma goes (I realize this doesn't bode well for grandma, but maybe she should be prepared to defend herself is she thinks she's going to be's just really too much pressure.).  ...check,

So have fun with your resolutions...I'll be painting my nails. (ooh, another check).

Hope it's Cool to Blog About This...

Here is my review of some children's toys...just in time for Christmas.

The "Super Hero Secret Hideout" Toy
This is the abode of some action figure. I'm pretty sure it's the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I'm quite disturbed by the fact that it's practically twice the size of the child playing with it.  When I was young, yes I had Barbie's house...but Barbie's dream mansion was NEVER built to scale with an actual Barbie.  She couldn't fit in any of the rooms and forget about letting her relax on any of the furniture or in the bath...she didn't fit.  She barely squeezed herself into her elevator. #whydidBarbiehaveanelevator?  I, quite frankly, don't have room for such huge toys.  Mainly because as the ancient Chinese proverb wisely states, "The bigger the toy, the harder it is to throw it away in a year without your kids noticing."  The Ancient Chinese were wise indeed. 

The "New Twist on a Favorite to Squeeze a Few More Pennies out of Consumers" Toy
First I spent a week neglecting my family because I got highly addicted to flinging birds with different skill sets at structures housing green pigs laughing at me (why are there green pigs laughing at me?) Now, I have to actually build the structure, place the laughing green pigs, then knock them down with birds of assorted colors?  At least, I think this is what this game is asking me to do. Don't invent toys that create more work.  I am not a patient woman.  There is a reason you won't find a game of Jenga in my house.  This isn't Field of Dreams...I don't care who will come, I'm not gonna build it.

The "Creepy Doll Army You've Assembled and Trained" Handy Carrying Case
This is the creepiest container of unrealistic beauty I've ever seen.  I have no problem with Barbies...but don't buy this case, and if you do, don't face all the Barbie's looking out.  It looks like you are smuggling tiny perfect people.  And for the record, smuggling people is not cool.

 The "This Will Never Come Out of Your Carpet" Toy
WARNING!!! This is NOTHING like Play-Doh.  It's sooo much more irritating that Play-Doh.  It's even more maddening than knock off Play-Doh, Magic Dough.  This is really what you buy people that you hate.  Read my letter to the makers of Moon Dough here.

The "For Those Kids Who Dream of Dentistry" Toy
I love Play-doh.  Now having said that, what's fun about making teeth?  Let me answer that.  NOTHING is fun about making teeth.  Also, I get the white Play-Doh is for teeth.  I get that the silver is for fillings.  What exactly is the red container of Play-Doh for?   

The Toy That Says, "I Hate You So Very Much and Here's Proof."
This is amazing.  You can turn your child's bath into a colored slushy, then turn it back into water.  
I was wrong, THIS is what you buy people that you hate.  You can bet, that if some kid pushes my son around on the playground, they will be getting a box of Squishy Baff in assorted colors at their Monkey Joe's party faster than you can say...well Squishy Baff.  And what's with the weird spelling?  What's wrong with the word, bath?  Now you've made an annoying toy AND you can't spell.  Now I'm super annoyed.

Side Note: If I've invited you to my son's birthday party, please don't get nervous.  

A Funny Thing Happened While I was in the Hospital...A Birth Story

This is what hugely pregnant looks like.
So here we are!  Here I am.  Slowly recouperating from being pregnant and having a baby.  It feels great to be on this side of a journey that started many months ago.  The baby is here, he is healthy and we are beginning our life as a family of four.  My heart is so full of joy.

But, to catch you up on our journey to this point from my last post at 32 weeks when I declared that I would be on the couch eating goldfish if you needed me, I felt a post was needed.

At 36 weeks, I found out that I was more than likely headed for a c-section with this pregnancy.  The baby was not head down.  He was so not head down, in fact, that the doctor poked at a lump around the top of my rib cage and said, "I'm not really sure what part of the body this is. Perhaps we should do an ultrasound."  Yes, doctor, perhaps we should.

The ultrasound confirmed my worst fears.  The very first thing that this child was supposed to do, he didn't.  Was this act of defiance a sign of things to come?  I can only wait and see.  I was offered a version, which sounded incredibly unappealing to me.  You want to turn my baby with your hands in a process that has a 50% success rate and is painful and might put me into labor?  Um no, I'll take c-section for $1000 please, Alex.

I was a little taken aback that I would need a c-section.  I did not need one with my first baby, so the idea that I would need one with my 2nd took me a second to digest.  In order to fully and intelligently prepare for the surgery, I did what most intelligent, well-researched people do...I polled people on Facebook.  And to be fair and have all of the information, I asked for only people with good c-section experiences to respond.  No need to scare me people.  If the c-section was going to was going to suck, but at least I didn't have to fear it.  People didn't sound so bad.  

Weeks passed by, the baby never turned, and before I knew it, we were scheduling Wesley's birth in my day planner...just like they did in pioneer days.  Before I move on to the actual birth, I think it's important to mention three interesting things about my pregnancy and what they all had in common:

1.  I was diagnosed with marginal cord placement - this is where the umbilical cord is attached to the placenta off-center and can hinder proper nutrition to growing babies in the womb.

2.  The cardiologist who was monitoring my heart palpitations put me on a low dose beta blocker for the duration of my pregnancy to combat my random heart flutters. (the flutters turned out to be benign, pregnancy related and have since stopped).

3.  I love coffee.  No, like I really love coffee.  I drink it regularly through my 2nd and 3rd trimesters. 

What do these things all have in common?  Well...I'll tell you. All three have been known to contribute to low birth weight babies.  Are you snickering yet?  If not, remember this bit of trivia.  

So on September 11th, shortly after lunch and a week before my due date, Andy and I headed to the hospital.  This was a different animal entirely.  I was extremely nervous.  This was surgery, after all, and so many things ran through my mind.  Also, I know how much Andy hates hospitals.  He hates everything about them.  The neutral colored walls.  The instrumentation. The sick people.  Now he was going to have to remain upright in an actual operating room, shielded only by the standard c-section blue sheet.  He kept all of his anxieties to himself, though.  That's just the kind of amazing guy he is...he didn't want me to worry about him.

So, as scheduled, Wesley made his debut via planned c-section.  The child that I thought might weigh somewhere around his brother's weight of 8lbs 8oz actually weighed 9lbs 14oz.  Um...huh?  How is that possible? As many ultrasounds as I had had, no one EVER said to me, "hey, so your baby is breech and oh by the way he's also gigantic. Like he might be born holding a juice box and speaking in full sentences so don't buy any newborn diapers."  I had zero warning.  He was even a week early.  Apparently, Wesley was breech but almost transverse (sideways) so the measuring was off which was why no one had any clue that I was having a humongous man child with facial hair.  Did you see my pregnancy pic above?  That's right, I could have been even bigger if he had been positioned correctly.

The funny thing is that at the hospital, Wesley was actually the runt of the c-section litter that day.  The woman to the right of us in recovery had delivered an 11 lb+ baby and the woman to the left had delivered twins that each weighed over 7 lbs.  Wesley was just tiny in comparison!  

Recovery from a c-section has been very different than recovering from a regular delivery, obviously.  The regular delivery has all of the things you expect to need to recover from.  If you just remember not to squat, you are usually good. A c-section, while way easier at the hospital because you avoid the entire labor process and are practically assembly-lined to your baby in record time, has been different.  It's like going in for major surgery and being handed a baby to simultaneously take care of during your recovery.  I was a bit frustrated that I couldn't jump up and care for him the way I had with Samuel in the beginning. I am thankful for good drugs.  I am also happy to say that after almost two weeks, I am starting to feel human once again.

So I am now a mom of two boys...and it feels amazing.

Samuel going home.
This kid is in newborn diapers.
Wesley going home.
This kid laughed at those wimpy newborn diapers.
The nurse had to find size ones.

At the end of the's all worth it. 

Thank you so much for your prayers, well wishes and tolerance of pictures!!!

Samuel and Wesley's mom!

Too Pregnant to Blog: Lying-In Has Begun

Week 32

You know those weekly updates you get when you are pregnant.  They are so full of excitement and miraculous information about the "magic" happening in your body.  Well...Mine should say something like this: 

Lots of magical things are happening in your body this week with your little one.  It's too bad you can't enjoy any of them because of the sciatica radiating down to your toes during the day and the heartburn keeping you up at night.  You might have a moment to reflect on the miracle except that the general public won't stop talking about how you are "totally waddling" and you spend your personal reflection time plotting a lot of people's deaths.  The bright side is that your husband isn't bothering to ask for dinner anymore and is existing on a diet of peanut butter and beer.  At this point, he just pretends like you aren't even there which, quite honestly, is working out well for you both.  He has begun referring to you as "it" to all of his coworkers and friends…as in, "don't anger it" or "It is resting" or, most likely, "It forgot to turn off the oven, again" .  Your current child is so bored that he spends most of his time just standing guard in the upstairs hallway saluting people as they walk by.  You wished it worried you more that you are phoning in this particular portion of his childhood, but the truth is, you just want to stand over the sink and eat Frosted Mini Wheats in your pajama pants.  But, hang in there Mama, this too shall pass...and its all gonna be worth it when you bring your bundle of joy home in a few weeks, put him in his crib and cry for three hours because none of your shoes fit anymore.  


I have begun my lying in.  This is an ancient childbirth term used to describe the time when pregnant women would stop doing anything productive around the house and just sit around on every pillow they owned with the DVR clicker and a huge bag of cheddar flavor-blasted goldfish. 

So bed rest is, essentially, a historical thing.  And you know how I love history. Thankfully, I'm not medically on bed rest, which is why I prefer to call my reduced schedule, Lying-in.  

It basically means that I have chosen to cease all activities except work…and here’s why:

       1. I am, apparently, working on becoming a champion at swelling. I was never really proud of my ankles…not my best feature, however, I find that I sure do miss them now that they are gone.
        2. Sciatica.  In both hips.  Every time I stand up, I want to cry.
        3. I am currently burdened with a heart monitor that I must wear 24 hours a day for 30 days.  -  Ah yes…Big Bertha (as I have dubbed her).  I had bad heart palpitations for three days straight and as a result, I’m being monitored by people all over the country through a gigantic and heavy heart monitor that I wear around my neck.  It is absolutely not discreet, hurts my neck and I hate it. Thankfully, I have had no further heart palpitations and a clean EKG and echo.  But, yes, I feel like I’m a hundred years old.  I would love to bedazzle Big Bertha…jazz her up a bit…but alas, she is on loan only. 

Lest you think I complain too much, here is the bright side to all of this – well, mostly Big Bertha because there isn’t actually a bright side to sciatica. 

-        1. I get so many doors opened for me at this point that it almost makes up for the number of gasps I get from people when they find out I still have 8 weeks to go. 
-        2. No one at work argues with me…about anything.  I held big Bertha up to one of my coworkers a few days ago and reminded them not to upset me.  “If you upset me,” I said, “Someone from eCardio is going to call me…then I’m going to give them your number and you are going to have some explaining to do.”  It works better than randomly bursting into tears on the job.  I’m not sure I’ll want to give Big Bertha back. 
-        3. Last week, at the grocery store when I disputed the price of the 12 pack of beer I was buying (because I’m classy like that), the 16 year-old check out boy didn’t attempt to argue.  He didn’t even make me show him the sale flyer to prove it.  He immediately called the manager over and they both took the age-old company line, which as you know is… “The hugely pregnant customer with the heart monitor is always right about the price of her beer.”   

I so appreciate great customer service. 

At any rate, I’m still here, still pregnant.  Looking forward to this guy’s birth.  Oh and, just in case you were wondering…we have a name. 

Wesley Webb T.

Can’t wait to squish his big fat cheeks!

My Birth Plan

Dear Medical Professionals:  I would appreciate a strict adherence to my birth plan. After much thought and consideration, I have decided that below is the optimal plan for providing the greatest and most holistic birth experience for me and my...well okay, for me.  

I'd like the following people to be present during labor and/or birth:
  • My husband, Andy
  • The entire cast of Grey’s Anatomy, SEASON ONE (I will accept the cast of Scrubs as a last minute substitute)
  •       I’d like an ocean view, non-smoking room 
  •       It would be nice if parking were included in my $1000 copay...or maybe a complimentary shuttle from my house.  I'm just putting it out there.  
  •       During labor and delivery, I will be catching up on Vampire Diaries Season 3 on Netflix with my headphones.  I’m assuming you’ve done this before so just tap me on the shoulder when you are ready to hand over the baby and at the end of the current episode I am watching, I will take him.
  •       I'd really love an ipad to stream my Netflix...but I don't want to be greedy.
  •       Do you have a program that offers any kind of discount tickets to shows or local restaurants? What about free babysitting coupons?  
  •          I want the all-inclusive labor and delivery. Which means that in six months, I would like to not get a mystery bill in the mail for services provided that I cannot even pronounce. 
  • Again, I will be watching Vampire Diaries…so you know…call it like you see it.  You're the medical professional.
  •          I will laugh in your face if you offer me a tub, a mirror, a pool, a squatting ball or anything that involves me not propped up in the bed streaming video to my iPhone.  I did not come to the hospital to work out or be grossed out in anyway. 
  •        I would like for you to begin administering the epidural while I’m in the lobby filling out paperwork.  Please have it ready.
  • After delivery, I would like the baby in the room with me at all times, with a few small exceptions.  Please take to the nursery when the baby is crying, when I am trying to sleep, when the baby needs something, when the baby is awake, when I am on the phone (or playing a game on my iphone), and especially if I am eating a large Pinkberry and I feel that the baby is jealous or wanting of my frozen treat in any way.  
  • Yes, to help avoid a Pinkberry mishap, please allow my baby to eat. Hungry babies are jealous babies.
  • I would like to stay at the hospital five days after my baby has been discharged.  Please see that I have a daily supply of Starbucks and Peanut butter M&M’s (after all, I’ve earned it).  Also, please keep the noise level on the hall where I am resting to a minimum (no babies crying, please) and if you must come in the room, refer to me exclusively as The Goddess.  

Welcome to Atlanta

Welcome to go away.  Although, if you must stay, here are some helpful things to know.

Over 50% of our population is made up of people from Ohio, and none of them know where they are going.

There's no need to pack a coat when you come. I go so many years between needing mine, I forget what it looks like.

The price you pay for cheaper housing and milder winters is that you won’t be able to breathe from about February to November each year.

Atlanta is where Coca-Cola, Home Depot and pollen originated.

There are exactly five days a year that are pleasant for sitting outside and/or having a convertible.  Don’t let those pastoral southern photos fool you.  It’s hot, humid and there are a lot of bugs down here.

Your thighs will start sweating by mid April and won’t stop until late September. 

While we may have small bears, we have gigantic roaches.  And no, they are not afraid of that rolled up Geico mailer in your hand.  That’s like fighting off a mountain lion with a plastic party knife.  

On a hot day, people will tell you the roaches are only in your house looking for water.  On a rainy day, they will tell you they are seeking shelter from the rain.  The truth is…we don’t know what the hell they want, but they, like you, want to be here.  Down south.  Where all things are better. 

89% of Atlanta’s traffic is caused by nothing at all.  The other 11% is caused by accidents, stalled vehicles or a worker leaning up against a piece of road equipment, eating a sandwich. 

Always get in the right hand lane to go East and the left hand lane to go West. I realize this feels unnatural. Also, the earlier you make this maneuver into the correct lane, the better for all of us. 

We have more roads named Peachtree than actual peach trees. 

Snow days are simply our collective way of reducing our carbon footprint.  Don’t expect us to go anywhere.

Most of the Real Housewives of Atlanta don't actually live in Atlanta and are typically not even from Atlanta.  They've never had a moon pie and don't know where "yonder" is.  They don't realize that kudzu has a name nor would they know how to spell it if they did.  If you want a completely unrealistic view of life in Atlanta though...that's totally your show.  

Most real housewives of Atlanta are at Target or are sitting in a 45 minute traffic jam to go five miles. 

When you come, it would be helpful if you would bring your own water.  

When you leave, take some people with's getting horribly crowded down here.  

Shall We Dawdle?

I have come to one enormous conclusion about my child recently.  In particular I have discovered his biggest flaw.  Now I know as a mom, I’m not supposed to dish on my child’s faults.  It should be hard for me to even admit that he has a flaw.  But he does…and it’s huge.

My child has absolutely no sense of urgency.  Yes, he is a child prodigy in moseying.

It’s true.  It’s like he doesn’t have anywhere in particular that he has to be. It is the only explanation for his ceaseless dawdling.  There are days when I am so frustrated by the snails pace with which we get things accomplished that I can feel myself going from 0 to psycho and losing my cool with a kid that has no idea what I’m ranting about.  He is, after all, doing what I asked.  It’s not like I ever said these tasks had a time limit. 

The kid turns brushing his teeth into a ten-minute negotiation on the amount of toothpaste that is acceptable on the tip of the brush.

In the time it takes for him to find and put on his shoes alone, I could have defrosted that chicken I forgot to lay out the night before.

We spend more time talking about having to go to the bathroom than just going.  How this child has not exploded from waiting too long is beyond me.   

And getting out of the car…don’t get me started.  Oh, well, never mind…get me started.  He exits my vehicle with the same urgency of a man being forced to leave a sports bar in the middle of a play-off game.

Why I could probably embroider a couch cover if I could redirect all the energy I use up finding creative and non-psycho, anti spirit crushing, child affirming ways to say, “HURRY THE HELL UP.”  (Because hurry the hell up is what I’m actually thinking) Well, at the very least, I could manage to do something with that chicken that I now have defrosted from Shoegate 2012.

In frustration the other day, I found myself saying, “Samuel!  The tortoise just passed us.”  “Huh?” He only briefly looked up from the fruit roll-up box he was determined to “fake read” from top to bottom (I mean the organic whole grain, grass fed, gluten free, soy based, real fruit snack, biodegradable box…obvy) before even entertaining the idea of removing his seat belt to begin the 40-years-in-the-desert-type trek from my car.  

I don’t understand him.  Where is his sense of urgency?

Does he not get that when I decide to hit the snooze button three times too many and wake him up by raving about how we’re already 15 minutes late and he needs to hurry that that means really hurry?  You mean he doesn’t stop and think, “I know mom needed that extra 21 minutes of sleep and now we’re running a few minutes late, but that’s okay, because I’ll help her out by picking out my clothes and getting dressed myself before she even gets done putting on her make up.” 

It’s like he has no boss, taking note of when he gets to work.

No iCal burdened with multiplying tasks that have to be completed before his energy runs out.

It’s like he has no bills to pay, or responsibilities, or even a basic understanding of time and how hurried life can and needs to be.

It’s like he’s a…child.

That kid just might be on to something.  

If you need me, I’ll be in the backseat of my car “fake reading” one of my 50 cookbooks because perhaps we could all stand to slow our pace down a bit.

I said "a bit."

Thank you, Erma

This week, I am using the Christmas gift that my parents so generously gave me this year.  I am at the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop in Dayton, Ohio.

I am overwhelmed by this amazing experience.  I am overwhelmed at so thoughtful and caring and supportive a gesture from my amazing parents.  I am overwhelmed by the caliber of speakers that are willing to share what they know to a room full of rising humor writers.  I am overwhelmed by the kindness and support of every person I've met.  But I think the thing that has most overwhelmed me is the legacy of one woman, who I've never met, but who has made an enormous impression on my life.  

Thank you, Erma.  

Last night, the first night of the conference, the speaker introduced Bill Bombeck (Erma's husband) and her kids.  Bill took the stage to read his favorite Erma story to us.  Bill has to be in his 80's and could not read the story without choking up quite a few times.  In fact, getting choked up would be the theme as each family member took the stage to share their favorite story.  When she died, Erma left both an inspiring legacy and a gigantic hole...and sitting in the banquet hall last night and tonight listening to the love of her family, praise from professional writers and the adoration from all those in attendance...I couldn't help but feel them both.  

I started writing sarcastic stories in elementary school.  I was born with was my spiritual gift.  Of course, it has taken many years to hone this, um, gift into something that was actually funny and not completely disrespectful.  Erma didn't inspire me to be a humor writer...I have always been a humor writer.  When I was writing early stories about superfluous organs and how useless high school language classes were, I was in the beginning stages of finding my voice.  

And Erma didn't teach me that. 

What Erma taught me was that what I was doing had a name.  It had a niche.  It had a purpose.  And mostly, that there was a classy way to be funny (or that you should just change people's names).  Erma gave me direction.  She taught me fearlessness.  She taught me honesty.  She has been to me, like to so many others, a silent mentor.  She has helped me fine tune and define my voice as a writer.  She has empowered me to say, "I am a writer," and not stutter while doing so.  She taught me to, in her words, "hook 'em with the lead, hold 'em with the laughter and leave 'em with a quip they won't forget."

So I will not bore you with my very own Julie/Julia story...instead I will simply leave you with one of Erma's many amazing quotes:

"For me, heaven on earth is using up every bit of life before I leave it."  Erma Bombeck

And although you left us too early, you continue to give back. So, thank you, Erma. I am forever an admirer and a humble student of yours.

Advanced Maternal Age Alternatives

Today, at my doctor's appointment, I sat down with a few of my doctors, midwives, nurses and a few people from accounting that I forced to stay late to try to help them improve the morale amongst their old and pregnant patients.  I know they really appreciated me taking the time out of my day to educate them, although they didn't verbalize it, they did keep looking at their watches in amazement at how the time flew while I shared some medicine-changing suggestions.

Mainly I threw out some alternatives to putting AMA - Advanced Maternal Age - so heartlessly at the top of a woman's chart.  It's so hurtful.  So cold to have those words stamped carelessly on your file when you've spent your entire preconception wondering if you even have eggs left that aren't covered in cobwebs.

I came up with ten suggestions and I expect to see some major policy changes (not to mention a new stamp being made) once they think it over and decide which one they like best (I could tell they really liked them all).

AMA Alternatives

1. Wise and Pregnant - obvy

2. Pregnant and Calcium Conscious - never too early to fight the signs of osteoporosis.  See also Pregnant and counting Fiber intake.

3. Master Ovulator - I mean by our age, we've ovulated way more than those other kids having kids these days. We deserve the title.

4. Pregnant with Lower Car Insurance Premiums - Age does have it's privileges

5. Pregnant with a Roth IRA - I didn't have one when I was pregnant the first go round.

6. Pregnant and Fighting - okay...fighting those fine lines and wrinkles...but fighting none the less

7. Pregnant and wondering if you'll even have the energy to take the kid to Disney one day. - oh sorry, that was that out loud?

8. Pregnant and Team Edward -what?  We might be old, but we are NOT blind.

9. Pregnant with Skymiles - No, I mean like enough Skymiles to cash in on something

and finally,

10. Executive Level Pregnant - I see an elite lounge at my OBGYN's office that anyone under 35 can't use.  They'll have a full time masseuse and buckets of pasteurized Feta Cheese.  I'm also thinking we will need club jackets.

So my OBGYN office thanked me profusely for the after hours "miss dinner and learn" as they jokingly dubbed it (they are such kidders) and gave me a referral to another office where I guess they want me to go present the idea to them.

Old and Pregnant

So the big announcement is exactly what you thought when you read the title.  It's official, confirmed by my doctor and I'm ready to share.

I'm old.

When did this happen?  Three months ago I wasn't old.  I was 34 and full of life.  I was wearing heels and bouncing into work.  I was staying awake past 9:30 and finishing entire Comcast on Demand movie rentals.  I was able to read in bed for longer than five minutes. I was hittin' up the clubs...all up on that Kryptonite and you could find me in the A... Okay, I haven't done some of these things since I was 29 and I had to look up Kryptonite in the urban dictionary. Kids today...whew.

Well, the news is true.  I am old and I am not happy about it.

To most people, 35 is not terribly old. 35 is the new 16 or whatever nonsense people tell you.  If 35 is indeed the new 16, then someone forgot to tell my lower back and gray hair. The truth is, that statement is crap and I only hear it from 20 year olds and it makes me wonder, "Then how old does that make you?" Truthfully, 35 is just 35.  And most would declare that 35 is not old.

It is considered old, however, in the world of say professional sports, modeling careers and, in my case, pregnancy.

AMA or Advanced Maternal Age is what they call it.   First of all, I hate the word 'maternal' makes me immediately think of the word 'frumpy'.  'Advanced' is only cool when someone is talking about your child's learning, and when you partner the two and throw 'age' at the end of it and it makes me want to start ordering cases of Ensure and looking at features for my Hover Round.

Better yet, and I think I proved the case for necessity when I fell down the steps at the Marriott, I need a First Alert necklace.  Only, can it ring directly into the kitchen to tell my husband to bring me up another beverage?

It also makes me feel like my doctor is shaking his head thinking, "She knew she was AMA and she went and got pregnant anyway.  Hussy!" The phrase is just so dire...when any census will show you that many many women had babies well into their 40's and were up working in the fields the next day (don't tell my husband this...I told him that AMA means 'Absolutely Must Avoid all housework for at least the next 16 months.)  To which he responded, "Well that doesn't really change anything around here then does it?"

The nerve of him saying such things to a ticking time bomb of raging hormones.  Well, okay, being AMA and all I think my hormones are doing more sauntering these days.

"So you are now considered 'Advanced Maternal Age,'" my doctor explained to me during what they called a pregnancy confirmation visit in January.  I leaned in.  "What does this all mean, Dr.?  Am I in danger of breaking a hip in delivery?  Will this be partially covered by Medicare?  Should I have the theme song to Golden Girls as my birthing music?" I grabbed his arm, "Are you going to write me a prescription for Boniva?"

I'm not sure if the Hippocratic Oath says something specific that discourages doctors from rolling their eyes at overdramatic patients, because I felt like he reeeeallly wanted to, but didn't.  Instead, he leaned in to me and said, "We'll talk about it at your next visit.  That'll be $40."

I don't think I can do 30 more weeks with a doctor who doesn't have a sense of humor. Wait a second I'm making note of this on my birth plan post-it.


2. Only funny doctors

Okay... most important stuff covered.

Well, whatever AMA it is to mean...and don't you worry, I'll share all the senior details along the way (if I can remember them), I am indeed what I like to call, Old and Pregnant.

Due in September...and our little family is excited - except no one is excited about me being 8 months pregnant in August. I said no one.

On a totally unrelated note, Andy wants to know if he can come live with you from early July to mid-September.  Think it over and get back to me later.

The Other Rachel

I must start this post with a warning.  This one is not funny.

These last few days have left me heavy hearted for two close friends.  They are both dealing with things that I can describe in no other way than to's unfair.

Both are wonderful, beautiful, fantastical people.  Both are facing things that are hard, bitter and emotional.  Their specific troubles lie at opposite ends of the spectrum, but I am equally bummed about both.

Don't you just hate weeks like this?  Weeks where you just seem to get bad news after bad news about people that you love?  That is this week for me.

One of these people is a friend of mine named, Rachel.  I met Rachel at my home Church years and years ago.  I am older than her (by about 7 years I think) so there was a lot of years I knew of her, but did not know her.

She would turn out to be a kindred spirit.

I recruited her to perform in a mystery dinner theater that I had written and was going to perform at some local churches.  It took nothing to convince her to hop on board.  When it comes to writing and performing, I would learn, Rachel is an "all in" kind of person.

She helped me finish my script, we bounced ideas back and forth and I came to adore her incredible intelligence and amazing sense of humor.  She played one of the main characters to perfection.  Everyone in our rag tag cast thought/thinks a lot of her.

This week I learned that she is facing the toughest performance of her life...Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.  Oh how many times have I said to myself, "this isn't fair."  She shouldn't have to deal with hospitals and chemo treatments.  She shouldn't have to take heavy cocktails and be on a first name basis with nurses at Emory.

In my moment of anger and sorrow, oddly enough, I turned to her blog.  She has begun her journey in true Rachel fashion...fearlessly and by making us laugh.  I know in my soul that she CAN do this.  She CAN go through this journey.  I just so wish she didn't have to.

I told you in the beginning that this post would not be funny, no, for that, I'm going to let my good friend, Rachel take over.  To steal a quote from her CaringBridge site, "Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand."  ~Mark Twain

Thank you for your transparency, Rachel.  I love you so much!

Check out her blog! - Lymph to Victory


Those were great years.  Possibly my favorite of my childhood.

It was after make-up and before a driver’s license.  I had gained a slight advantage over my unruly hair from, say, sixth grade, and was blissfully ignorant that I was a marriage away from a flat iron. 

My biggest concern was whose mom was dropping off and whose was picking up. Okay, well it was a close second to the beginning of the school year classroom seating arrangements and what cute boy would grow to love me over the span of a semester as we worked on our science homework together and passed quippy notes.

With the help of Turtles stamps, I was growing my cd collection.

I saw every movie made during that time period. 

Dead Poet’s Society broke my heart. 

Christmas Vacation was released…it would forever define Christmas moving forward. 

Public Service Announcements were about runaways…not Crystal Meth.

C+C Music Factory was making us all sweat ‘til we bled…and we were all pretty much fine with that.

I was at the Playground…ya know…with Iesha (are you trucking with me?)

We didn’t have real problems back then…why should we?  We had just been introduced to Dylan McKay and his overalls and NKOTB was telling everyone to “Hang Tough."  I was doing my best to do that in secret as my NKOTB fandom was of the "in the closet" variety.  

Those were the years I was unashamed to be crafty…artsy even. 

Not the good crafty, mind you.  I was more like Theo’s horrific shirt made by Denise crafty.  You had to look hard if you really wanted to see my genius.  

I used to take old Keds.  I mean old Keds.  Not white anymore Keds.  Should have been thrown away six months earlier Keds. 

You get the picture.

And I would attack them armed only with puffy paint, glue on sparkle gems and a vision.

Debuting each new pair of puffy painted Keds was as exciting as opening nights would become later in my life or posting a new blog would be even later than that. 

I would debut them at school.  Most people would just stare.  Some would say things like “wow.”  One boy would inevitably ask me when the box of crayons had thrown up all over my shoes. 

Undaunted I would go home convinced that the problem was that no one “got me.” And indeed that most likely was the reason...that and the tacky multi-colored Keds I was wearing that were so bright you literally could not look away from them.

I think my most memorable creation had to do with a jean jacket that I “refurbed”.  Let me stop right their and share with you my level of obsession with jean jackets.  I loved them.  Loved everything about them.  Loved the way a pair of dangle earrings fell at the slightly turned up collar and how fantastic they looked when paired with a banana clip. I still love them.  I would like nothing more than to wake up tomorrow and learn that jean jackets and sweater skirt sets (see Can't Buy Me Love...or my 7th grade class picture) were making their comeback.  

But back to my 1989 self and jean jackets.  

Enter Teen Witch. This gem of a movie starred the original Lively sister…Robin.  I wanted to be her.  I knew a refurbished jean jacket was the way to go.

I assembled my puffy paint collection, old pins, earrings that were missing their match and anything else I could find.  I had an old jean jacket hanging in the back of my closet that I was going to work my magic on.  I went to work, spacing the earrings and pins out on the back of the jacket to perfect that “organized messy” look that would partner so well with my pre-smoothing serum frizzy hair and my hoop earrings.  I attached the earrings and pins and puffy painted some finishing touches.  I sat back and admired my work. 

I was incredibly pleased. The jacket may have been flashier than my first pair of Jams or my original orange Swatch watch with the hot pink watch guard. I could not wait for school the next day. 

The next morning, I donned my new Teen Witch inspired jacket, re-sprayed my bang wall, slipped into my puffy painted Keds, secured the Chinese jump rope that never left my wrist all four years of middle school (you never know when you might need a Chinese jump rope at a moment's notice) and started for the door.

Oh Wait.  I also put on my hot pink lipstick holder necklace with the mirror inside and the black tassel hanging from the bottom.  Can’t believe I almost forgot that. 

NOW, I was ready to go to school. 

So what was the reaction at school?  Who was the first to want a Rachel designed Teen Witch inspired jean jacket? 

Sadly, we’ll never know.  I went to get into my mom’s car to go to school and leaned back against the seat.  When I did, I gave myself the most unsanitary and painful acupuncture treatment from the high concentration of mainly post earrings I used to decorate the back of my jacket. 

My back burned in agony.  I was wounded…possibly mortally.  I strained to feel the trickles of blood that I was sure were finding their way down my back from the puncture wounds.  Spontaneous tears began to stream down my face from the pain.

So, in the end, the jacket didn’t make it to school and the incident reminded my mother that I was overdue for a Tetanus shot.

Today, I look back at those years and wonder if I am still that fearless.  I mean that fearless minus the puffy paint of course.

Just a regular old update

Right now, I'm trying to save all of my "interesting" material as I work on my submission for the Erma Bombeck writing competition.  It happens every other year and I want to take a crack at it.  I am limited to 450 words.  I have NEVER been able to convey ANY message in less than 700 the challenge is two-fold for me.

I have exactly one month to write something hilarious, Erma-like and short.  I might as well have said I'd climb Everest.

So here is how our holiday went...

Samuel didn't sing one word of one song in his entire Christmas performance (he's in the red sweater in the back).  I'm not sure why I got to the school 1 hour early to reserve seats when I could have seen him look annoyed and frustrated at home on any given day. :)

He loved his visit with Santa.  And his dad's camo hat.  And Santa.  And presents.  And The Nightmare Before Christmas.  We sat down and Andy shared the Christmas story.  You know, the one about Jesus.  Samuel interrupted a few times to add a ghost and a zombie into the manger scene.  I told him to stop going totally Hollywood with a very traditional story.

Aunt Jen came over the week before Christmas to make Christmas cookies with Sam and when we came home from our date, we found that he had talked her into making zombie cookies.  Excellent.  The spirit of Christmas is alive in this little one (or undead, as the case may be).  This is a cute pic of them on Christmas eve.

On Christmas morning, he completely forgot what he was supposed to be excited about. I asked him what day it was and he told me it was Saturday.  Then I asked him who came to the house while he was sleeping and he said "Nanny Cooke?".

No, Samuel.  Nanny Cooke did not come by last night while you were asleep.  AS you would say to me "I think that's kind of weird."

He finally got it.  As seen here.

He was very excited to get a minion.  Funny, I thought that's what we were to him.

Despite his unnatural affinity for all things undead, this little boy gets sweeter and sweeter everyday.  He is a joy in ways I could have never imagined and, like all parents, Andy and I stay amazed at him.  I had such a great time with him over the holidays and we were both sad to go back to the normal day-to-day of work and school.

Finally, my Christmas present to myself.  A writer's nook.  It's really hard to get a good picture of it but I love the space and I finally have my own little corner to be creative.  

In addition to the amazing holiday we had, my parents celebrated their 40th anniversary by taking their children out to a fancy dinner and cracking open a bottle of Cristal that my dad has been saving for awhile.  Andy and dad got to enjoy most of the bottle because the rest of us, apparently, "didn't get it."

Andy had a lot more time off than normal and it was wonderful to have the family time.  In fact, for the first time in a really long time, we rang in the New Year together and celebrated by playing a pretty cut throat game of Candyland.  

Well, that's all for now!  Happy New Year!