Spring Forward
Having Sean as his own employer in construction has its good times and bad. The benefits usually outweigh the bad, which is why he is still in construction/renovations, instead of getting a "real" job. It would be nice if he had covered/extended health benefits. It would be nice if he had paid sick days or vacation days. Pension, taxes done for him, etc. You know. The responsible stuff.
But overall it's been great having him in this field of work. Not only is his head exploding with all that he's learned, and his body is looking great, but he can also charge a decent hourly rate while working.
Ahem, while working.
I can't count how many times it has happened since we moved here (August 2005) that Sean has informed me that there is no foreseeable work in the future. None. Usually joblessness starts "after Friday" or "after next week" but a few times it was even "no work starting tomorrow". It's stressful - those words: no work, laid off, overbid. You think of bills, rent, my stupid looming minivan repairs that never go away, groceries.
That's what YOU think.
You know what I think?
Yep, that's right. While I'm mentally throwing dollar bills out the window and setting our valuables (HAHAHAHA) on fire, I'm also secretly dancing a jig inside my heart.
On a normal night where Sean works the next day, he does most of the bedtime routine while I run around trying to put the leftovers into the fridge and stack dishes and put away laundry, etc. This has to be done without Nina seeing me or there will be howling involved. It's a dance between Sean holding Nina, and I.
At 9 p.m. we go to bed, and by we, I mean myself with the girls. In our family bed. Sean tucks in all three of us and I get the girls to sleep (which can take up to an hour), and I "sleep" as well. Meaning I have a monkey attached to my boobs in the front and a three-year old koala bear piggy-backing my back. While I lay on my side in a weird twist that I have to do to keep from crushing Ever and smothering Nina. (This is also the reason why I can't take a "real" dose of Seroquel to help me sleep - only a cute little fashionable dose to take the "edge off" even though I need much, much more than an "edge" off.). It's been this way since Nina & I moved back into our family bed when Nina was six months old. Nina stays attached to my chest all night and nurses every 1-2 hours, and by 4 or 5 a.m. gets fidgety and my back is pretty much screaming by then. By 6 a.m. it starts to wake Sean and Ever, and Sean will put Nina in the swing and join her in the 2nd bedroom (where we keep the swing and a queen bed). This is all well and good unless Sean then wakes me at 6:40 and says "sorry - I gotta go to work" and he's handing me a grumpy, snot-covered kicking monster who can't sleep and clearly needs to blame it all on her Mama.
My back has been abused for four months now, and I haven't slept well since I was about nine weeks PREGNANT with Nina, so the whole Going Cuckoo From No Sleep is the story of my life for over a year now.
Do you see? Do you see the beauty in this?
And we're not just talking hold this baby, my friends, we're talking MORNING SHIFTS. The shift that I will have to work if he has to work a "real" job (i.e. be somewhere at 7 or 8 a.m.) The shift that begins at 6ish a.m. and lasts until SWEET JESUS NINE OR TEN A.M. when he's not working. While he's MAKING PANCAKES I am sleeping more than two hours IN A ROW and having the most bizarro dreams because my brain is stocking up on everything that it found confounding since THE LAST TIME I slept more than two hours in a row. When I finally drag my ass outta bed Nina's just going down for her morning nap (I know! I KNOW!) and Ever's throwing on jeans for a TRIP TO THE PARK. They return, spent and hungry, and Sean fixes them a HOT LUNCH. You couldn't BUY this, folks. Okay yes you could, but wouldn't dare unless you were a celebrity. He sings and dances while loading the dishwasher, taking a shower, playing outside, folding laundry, and as it happens my heart already aches to hear those words - those words he puts off for the last, last eensy moment so as not to ruin my mood for any longer than necessary:
"I'm working tomorrow."

Summer Wishlist
Fabric to cover the upper windows of the living room - sewn around edges into two triangles to hide to overwhelming heat coming in this summer. It's starting already!

Four to five Topsy Turvy planters to hang in front of the windows outside - three for the three living room windows and one or two for the playroom windows (leaving the sliding door free). This would be the most amazing location for tomato and pepper plants and would create even more shade for the front of our house. (Some would need an additional chain so they aren't up too high in the higher part of the overhang.)

Rattan blinds to hang on the west side of the house on the outside of the deck - this is what the landlords said they did in the summers.

The ceiling fan that's been in a box for 9 months to actually be installed in the master bedroom.

My plant table that Sean said he would build for me to also go on the west side of the house on the deck. This will probably be cancelled since he's only making about half (or less) since that last big job ended, and the supplies would cost money. But it was gonna be a big table with a hole cut for a covered bin to drop in for the potting soil, and hooks for tools, and shelves for pots. Once a year in the spring I love to divide up my houseplants and re-pot as needed and give away some good cuttings, etc. It's hard to do without an "area" to do it, since I have a lot of plants. And they are already starting to do it (chicka-wah-wah) so there will be baby plants soon.

This baby to start walking and talking. (OH PLEASE OH PLEASE?)

The summer weather to not go above 72 degrees. K thanks.

The Kitchenaid Stand Mixer Ate my Eldest Daughter
We knew, when we introduced this machine-beast to our babies that the machine was to NOT GRAB my children, understand? And on the same token, I would keep my children away from the mixer while it was mixing and keep long hair in a ponytail to not tempt it's metal claws.
And yet, while cranking out peanut butter hugs cookies, Ever asked to help, and she hopped onto the bench to measure a few things, and then I needed to open the cupboard door - to get the flour. So Ever and her long, long hair ducked so I could open that cupboard. That machine grabbed her hair so fast - by the time I turned it off she had a 3-4" patch of hair in the top of her head just... gone. No blood (AMAZINGLY) just a few tears and me untangling a spiral of her hair from the machine.
We kept it iced for a while, and Ever was calm the whole time - even when she saw her bald patch. I am just to thankful it wasn't worse - that machine is capable of breaking her arm, tearing her scalp off, maybe even breaking her neck. It's one of those experiences that makes you hold your child tightly.

We will have her hair in a creative part with cute barrettes, or ponytails, a nice hat... or really, knowing her? She'll just wear it down like she prefers to every day. And if someone notices the big bald spot on her head they can ask her what happened. And she can tell them the Kitchenaid Stand Mixer tried to eat her.
Maybe once it starts to grow out we will trim her hair around it, or make layers or something. She can decide. All I know is, I have a very positive little girl who is ready to bake cookies with Mama again.

I'm sorry it took an accident like this to remind me to be diligent around machinery. I need to keep even more ponytail bands in the kitchen.
Nina, on the other hand, is behaving like she's getting seven new teeth or is having a major, major wonder week or something. Albeit over a week now.
Babysitters Wanted.

I am one of those people who loves salsa and spaghetti sauce and tomatoes, but I can't stand ketchup. I was that child, that child, who would order my McDonald's hamburger without ANYTHING on it and we would have to step aside and look all awkward and weird while they toiled to make such a creation.
I do not like the look of ketchup. The thought of ketchup. The sound of ketchup.
When Sean and I would sit down to eat, I would gently, slowly turn his plate so his puddle of ketchup was as far from me as possible. (And if he wanted to drive me crazy, he would look into my eyes while turning the plate so the ketchup came close to me again.)
To see me touch ketchup is to see me shake out every muscle in my body - quickly and involuntarily.
The thought of my thumb being dunked into ketchup evokes panic.
You get the picture.
When I worked at Applebee's we worked with a server named Michelle who was very outgoing, and she found fun in everyday things, so she was good to have around. But her playful spirit also wreaked havoc to keep things stirring if you will, and she knew exactly how to push my buttons.
I was an expeditor at Applebee's, or "expo" in restaurant talk - the liaison between the front of the house and back of the house - the guard of the kitchen window, the One Who Knows Everything. All communication in either direction must go through the expo. It's an egotistical job and if you let it get the best of you it can become obsessively detailed and stressful. Which I'm sure now you know exactly why I was their expo.
ANYhoo, Michelle would come zipping into the kitchen and say "HOLD THIS" and you would reach out your hand. And she would place eaten chicken wings bones in your hand. Eaten by customers you do not know. Customers who may or may not have run their tongues along said chicken wings bones, sucking the wing sauce. And there those bones lay; clutched in your hand.
So of course this same character would pump (oh yes, there was a pump) ketchup into these little souffle cups (tiny condiment bowls) and she would walk up to me and DUNK that onto my fingers. Oh my shoulders are coming up to my ears just thinking about it.
So you've got it now, okay. But the point is I not only dislike ketchup but also ketchupness on my body is a major focal point for me and I have had such a history with ketchup.
Which brings me to:
My daughter likes ketchup. I mean, we knew this would happen, right?
She likes ketchup to fill the other half of her box of chicken nuggets. She likes ketchup on her Kraft macaroni & cheese. She dips her cheeseburgers in ketchup. And when she's done she touches me, and I smell it, and I feel it, and it's... okay.
And it's one of those examples of how much your grow up when you have a kid. You don't commit to accepting ketchup, you just learn to accept the whole package from your child - the ketchup hands grabbing your hair, the ketchup kisses, the sleepy ketchup face. And I love her, even when she's just loaded with ketchup, so much so that my car reeks of ketchup on the ride home, amounts of ketchup that wet wipes can't control.
I guess Sean wins this one - happy to share the Fries Belong in Ketchup theory with her. He is proud that she loves ketchup even more than my despising ketchup. She persevered over my opinion of ketchup. She held her ketchup ground.
Perhaps he will understand when Nina LOVES mushrooms. Gotta work on that one.

Start immediately
Needed: Three year old girl to work alongside my three year old girl.
When asked: Do you want to play? The answer is: yes.
Must always be interested in HopHOP.
Will immediately LOOK when told "LOOK AT ME!"
Wants to paint. Wants to play outside.
Knows how to make paper flowers.
Loves peanut butter & honey sandwiches.
Doesn't mind hearing that Neil Sedaka kid's CD a million times.
Can't get enough Candy Land.
Prefers 2-3 showers or baths a day.
Can be quiet when I say BE QUIET THE BABY IS SLEEPING!!!
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Benefits: her Mama loves to bake
Inquire via knocking on our door NOW.

Let's see... how DID I feel one week postpartum?
Hadn't slept yet. I mean, there's sleep, yeah, but not real sleep.
I still had to carry my belly to walk, and still looked about 6 months pregnant.
We were referring to my vagina as "the ole battle axe".
We don't have to talk about the bleeding, do we?
B.O! Holy B.O! Why doesn't anyone tell you that you are going to lose that 50% of new blood volume by it leaving through your pores. I mean, I don't know just where I thought it would come from or where it would go, but auuuugh.
Couldn't nurse. With Ever I thought it was her. With Nina I knew it was me. Our bodies just didn't connect properly. It took six months for Ever to breast feed easily, and that's because she was crawling by then. Nina is nine months old now, and I'd say it just got comfortable at eight months.
You know what? I remember one of our many trips across the country with Ever and having a long layover at some airport or another, and having to lay on the floor of the airport near our gate - our very crowded gate, to nurse Ever side-by-side, because she just couldn't get a good latch in my lap unless I had about five pillows and a bench for my feet. Which you don't have while flying across the country. We laid on Sean's coat, I remember that, because the floor was disgusting.
I didn't know myself when I looked in the mirror for a few weeks.
My brain didn't function for many weeks - the most I could hold in my head was "go to bathroom, go pee, take Advil" or "start toast, get knife, get butter" and things like that. Otherwise I would get half-way through a room and forget why I was there.
Taking a shower was too much work. Washing my hair had too many steps. Then you'd have to dry off, and then, ugh, find something else to wear that fits AND doesn't make you cry when you see yourself in the mirror (because you are either wearing pajama/yoga pants with your husband's t-shirt or maternity clothes).
Post Traumatic Birth Stress - picturing what you went through over and over again while feeling guilt, embarrassment, frustration, or just.... overwhelmed by what you went through (and put others through).
Fast, easy calories. With Ever it was Pringles and Pepsi. Isn't that horrendous? Pringles and Pepsi. I think that was my brain somehow trying to scream at me in hunger, and by the time I heard it, it was so severe it just yelled "OH JUST DIG THROUGH THE GARBAGE CAN AND FIND SOMETHING LADY" and Pringles and Pepsi it was. After Nina I don't even remember what I ate. I'm sure it was bad.
The dreaded swivel. See, you recently pushed a BABY through your whoo-hah and now in order to get in and out of bed, or in and out of a car, or in and out of a dining room chair, you can't just get up and down. No. There's a SWIVEL in there. Oh God that swivel. Made me cuss. A lot. The swivel meant nothing to your crotch for all of your life and suddenly you make that same move that required no thought before but now your body yells OUCH YOU WEREN'T THINKING AND YOU JUST SWIVELED.
Stupid vagina.
Guys? Guys?? Where ya goin?
I couldn't watch the Food Network because someone would handle a roast aggressively and I would curl up in the fetal position. Sawing ribs with a giant knife? I'm crying. Stuffing a chicken cavity with garlic? I pass out now.
No. Instead I watched Bringing Home Baby and A Baby Story all day long, and I would yell at the TV. TOO MUCH INTERVENTION! TELL THE DOCTORS NO! ASK YOUR HUSBAND FOR HELP! GET RID OF THOSE DOGS! Oh man I had an opinion on everything, and everyone else in the world had no idea what I was going though.
I was the only woman in the world who had just had a baby and felt this way.

I'm not even going to try to tell you how it felt at, oh I dunno, eight? twelve? weeks postpartum and you go to the mall and there are these Mamas who are on those couches in the middle of the mall and they just sit down and lift their shirt and baby latches on and they just sit there and it.... works. HOW DOES THAT WORK? Oh how I hated them. Why are they here doing this? Are they throwing their perfect easy nursing in my face to make me feel worse? I had to go to the Bay and go into a changing room and lay my coat down and then lay on the floor with Ever at my side to nurse her at the mall. On a coat on the floor. A rocking chair in a nursing room was of no use to me. Unless they have five pillows and a bench for my feet. And Boppy pillows must be made for people with boobs growing out of their shoulders or something because it made no sense to me or my babies. And yet every Mama gets one. It should include an instructional DVD.
Oh and while I'm on the subject of the Mall mamas - I SOLVED that one! What I never noticed is all those babies being breast fed with ease at the mall? They're all like 5-24 months old. No newborns. No little babies. Those little babies are in strollers being pushed by new mothers who are cursing those mothers who are nursing their babies. Dig? It's a vicious cycle of new Moms not asking established Moms for help. Which is sad, really, because I've never met anyone who wants to talk MORE than an established Mom to a new Mom. It's like being that kid in class holding up your hand with your other arm bent over your head going "OH! OH! I KNOW THIS ONE!"
And yet at one week, and even one month, postpartum, I was a miserable wreck who had no energy to gather my senses and place a phone call to any of my friends who'd already had babies. Ego? Exhaustion? Postpartum brain? I don't know. But I feel like it's my goal in life to spread the word.
Your vagina will hurt! Why don't any of the books tell you this? Mother-baby bonding (grrrr don't get me started) and self-care and sleep while the baby sleeps blah blah blah NO! YOUR VAGINA WILL HURT!
Then Heidi Klum puts on an effing bikini and ruins it for yet another whole generation of mothers trying to figure this shit out.
So if there's anyone out there who happens to be a new Mama and you're trying to get a sense of the world, I will only say - you won't. Only know that each day gets easier - and it's tolerable by around six months.
Yeah that's right I said six MONTHS.
You can do it.
And after a while, maybe a year? You will look back and THEN realize all that you have learned. And then you will also say "Let's do it again". Don't believe me? I wouldn't have, either. But come back here in a year and see how you feel.
You'll be an established Mama and you'll have the whole world figured out.

Cake Balls - you go ahead and try to say it with a straight face
(for the Burnaby Family Place Easter Potluck)
So there's this cutie thingie out there that's trendy? No not trendy, but popular? amongst some internet bakers out there, enough so that I thought I needed to bake it myself to keep up with the internet bakers, and also really it was so cute that I thought I could crank these things out for every occasion matching up with whatever needed color scheme and how useful would that be? I mean really, how handy! And did I say cute?
My friends, Cake Balls. Even more toddler-perfect? Cake Pops.
Cake! On a stick! With Choco-shell! (thank you Jason) Color combinations! Flavor combinations! Smiley faces! FLOWERS! HELLO KITTY!!!!!! AUUUGGGGGGHHH!!!

I got the white cake mix as instructed ($2.39 here, would been like 84 cents in the USA) and thought I would go ahead and add my raspberry flavoring that I can't keep my hands off of, and then dip them into white "chocolate" melting wafers.... I had no lollipop sticks so I bought wooden coffee stirrers at the dollar store. Oh and the recipe calls for a CAN of frosting mixed in to the cake so I glanced around and made sure no one was looking and bought that, and then realized that the coffee stirrers weren't cute nor would they properly hold cake balls <snicker> so I bought those little white paper cups - you know like you pump little ketchup into? Yeah those. And I thought I would make the cake balls <snicker> and then once they harden <snicker> I mean the coating gets firm <chuckle> I mean.... oh you know what I mean - then I would put them in those little paper cups and stick a little Easter candy decoration thingie on the top of them OMG SO CUTE HUH?!?
I made the white cake mix. I added the raspberry flavoring and a bit of red coloring to make it pink. It wasn't raspberry enough so I grabbed the bottle of flavoring and added a dash more but it blubbed out because I accidentally grabbed the CHERRY flavoring bottle, which is a totally full bottle because it sucks, so a big glug went in there and the flavor of the cake went from overpowering sugar-vanilla-slightly raspberry flavor to gagalicious cherry CHERRY RED CHERRY CHERRY RED FLAVOR FD&C RED NUMBER 5 RED POPSICLE KOOL-AID RED CHERRY FLAVOR and kinda cake mix. But then I thought "okay well the toddlers will like it" and I followed the directions by baking the cake, then cooling the cake, then crumbling the cake, then now it's after 10 pm and Sean's all "WHAT are you doing this for again?" and Nina's screaming so Ever can't sleep and I'm all "THEY'RE REALLY CUTE LOOK AT THESE PICTURES ON THE COMPUTER" and at 10:30 I finally took the blubbering snot-covered red-faced baby out of Sean's arms and resigned to finish them tomorrow.
In the morning.
With both kids awake and the potluck is at 10.
Ten in the morning.
So Sean gets outta bed to get ready for work and I'm all "Can you stick around a while so I can finish these cake balls <no longer snickering>?" And he just looks at me.
Which means that I practically RUN! into the kitchen because I have a sheet pan with cold hot pink cake balls <see?> that need to be jabbed with coffee stirrers and dunked into white "chocolate" coating so they look as adorable as all the pictures on the internet.
So I melt the white "chocolate" wafers into our giant tea glass. And dunk and it goes PLONK! and I fish it out of the white "chocolate". Then I stab another one deeper <stop> and I get it covered completely but then I can't take the stick out without grabbing another coffee stirrer and doing a sort of stick fight to get the thing to land with a plop onto the sheet pan and now the top's all torn up from where the sticks were pushing.
This is frustrating.
Sean enters the kitchen and gets all Man Man "Outta my way lemme try" and after trying two cake balls says "This is a stupid recipe." And I'm all "BUT LOOK! THE CUTE PICTURES ON THE INTERNET!"

When it was all over we had ten balls covered in choco-shell (thanks Jason) and the white "chocolate" was all gone. Five were presentable and smooth and pretty. They took about 4 minutes each to cover. The others looked like white meatballs. Raw meatballs. Covered in white ooze. Oh. Oh.
The cake center? That looks like cake? In the ball part? Was crumbled baked cake mixed with a can <shudder> of cream cheese frosting, then all mixed together - it seriously was the consistency of Already Been Chewed cake. Oh but not just cake - lest you forget - but CHERRY RED FLAVOR FD&C RED NUMBER 5 RED POPSICLE KOOL-AID RED CHERRY FLAVOR ABC cake.
They somewhat hardened <quit it> and I put five good ones into the cute little white paper cups and let them remain, looking all cute and innocent while I threw the rest of the sheet pan of balls into the garbage.
Then I stomped around the house all Caveman Stompy and got the girls ready for the Easter potluck wearing matching yellow dresses (you know it) and thought I'd try one ball before leaving the house - just out of curiosity. The white "chocolate" shell was fully hardened by then.
It was stuck.
In the paper cup.
Which I had to TEAR to get the ball out.
Those cups have rolled rims SO YOU CAN'T TEAR THEM.
And I then imagined a handful of three year olds trying to get these things out of the paper cups and could not believe how many things had gone wrong with these dumb little balls.
Stupid balls.
I'd had visions of future birthday tables with adorable cake balls and cake pops in properly color-schemed matching tablecloth and paper cups and gifts with matching wrapping paper and decor and WHY DOESN'T THE WHOLE WORLD LOOK LIKE THE COVER OF MARTHA STEWART MAGAZINE DAMMIT?

Dig in.

Moving Forward
The title sounds nice, doesn't it? Although I am still waiting to move forward. I have ideas in my mind of how I want my life to look, my surroundings, my parenting. It's lovely! Really! You should see it! But to actually live that life I would need about 27 full days off to create that environment with no interruptions like, oh, my life, my kids, my daily requirements. And so I run in circles in my head making an invisible list of all the things I'd like to do and then think of those things while spending time with my girls. And by spending time with my girls I mean, going to get groceries, loading the dishwasher, unloading the dishwasher, laundry, sweeping, and cleaning the playroom for the 9000th time. I know this is the redundancy that I created for myself by choosing to have kids, and it's not like I regret the decision; it's just that I now wish I could slam on the emergency brake because SEE I'M A VIRGO AND THESE TOYS NEED TO BE IN BINS THAT HAVE BEEN LABELED WITH MY BROTHER P-TOUCH LABEL MAKER and instead Nina thinks I should be holding her while I transfer the clothes from the washer to the dryer. I want to organize the girls' books. I want to plant a garden. I want to re-pot my houseplants. I want to teach Ever how to tell time. I want to do yoga DVDs. I want to wash my car. I want to find my cell phone.
I want seventy-seven other things that would take too long to type out.
I want to wake up happy.
I want to appreciate exactly what is happening right now, even if it doesn't include anything on my list.
I am currently on Seroquel, Ativan, and Cipralex. I see a counselor or therapist every couple days. I'm working on it. And some day, maybe months from now, I will sleep more than three hours in a row. It will happen.
In the mean time, I appreciate those of you who are still reading. I know this blog is not what it was 10 years ago, but I'm still here.

Haloscan, who hosts my comments, is going out of business. I don't know what I'll be using for comments after Feb 19. Just an FYI.

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