May 31, 2010

Creative? Or Mentally Ill? You decide.

Leave it to Yahoo! to bring the real hard-hitting science to light. In my search to find out all the things that could potentially kill me, I found out that I may already be one twig short of a cuckoo's nest.

Creativity, Schizophrenia Share Similarities in the Brain

Those of you who know me personally are probably tallying up all the warning signs in your head, including but not limited to murderous dreams, musical ADHD, and the crippling ineptness I display in the kitchen. But I assure you that I do not hear nor respond to voices in my head (which, of course, is the official way to diagnose someone with schizophrenia).

I think I'm going to my own study - "Scientists Create Mythological Studies in Order to Overcome Jealousy and Social Awkwardness".

May 25, 2010

Heeeeere's Johnny!

Just about every kid has a favorite toy. A lovey, something they are ridiculously attached to. Sometimes it's a blanket they've had since they were a baby. Sometimes it's a stuffed animal, or a doll, or an action figure.

For us, it's Johnny.

Johnny is a tiny two-inch tall farmer who made his way into our home via Craigslist. I purchased a Fisher Price treehouse for Lainey last year, and I found Johnny sadly crammed into the top compartment. He is little, that is for sure, but an officially licensed "Little People" toy he is not - so his reason for living in the treehouse is unknown. However, they say everything happens for a reason and obviously that is the case here.

One day a few months back, Lainey found this little farmer in the very bottom of the toy bin. She snatched him up with enthusiasm and ran over to me with as much excitement as if she had found an entire slice of birthday cake in there. She held up the plastic toy triumphy and exclaimed "Look Mommy - it's JOHNNY!"

Lainey has never known or met anyone who goes by the name of Johnny, and I cannot clearly recall the name ever coming up on any of the Nick Jr. shows she watches, so where she came up with that is beyond me. But from that day forth, Johnny had become a full-fledged member of our household. He has been discovered in every room of the house - even on the kitchen counter once, which leads me to believe that he is really another version of the Chuckie doll, except with a hankerin' for Fig Newtons.

Each time we play with blocks, it is imperitive that we first build a castle for Johnny. She even brings him over and sets him in the doorway, which is either to help me judge the correct sizing or because he does not trust me with the construction of his new digs. Sometimes he sits at the dinner table, staring at us with that surprised look and his hand in the air as if to say "Yes, I'll take seconds please." Once I even found him sitting alone in the dining room, face and arm smeared with peanut butter.

Yet another time I found him in the bathtub, which either means that his farmering duties had left him in desperate need for a cleaning or he was investigating the spider that I had sent down the drain earlier.

More times than I can count, I've found him under the massive load that is my cat Aja, who would prefer to sit on things that any other living being would find amazingly uncomfortable. Yet there Johnny lay, under the rolls of black fur, arm outstretched in hopes that his best friend Lainey will soon rescue him.

Eventually I know the day will come when Johnny takes a backseat to more important things, such as boys and beating up on Owen. But until then, I suppose I should embrace this new member of our family. But I'm still keeping an eye on the Fig Newtons, just in case....

May 24, 2010

Everything Will Kill You (A Friendly Warning)

* Don't eat alfalfa sprouts, because they contain salmonella.
* Don't consume any lettuce, because it may have E. Coli.
* Don't dine at McDonald's, because you'll get asthma.
* Don't eat anything with high fructose corn syrup, because you'll get diabetes.
* Don't feed your baby formula, because it's laden with synthetics and fungus.
* Don't buy strawberries, potatoes, apples, celery, peaches, or spinach, because they are laced with so many pesticides that you may as well just bathe in it.
* Don't swim in the ocean, because you'll get covered in toxic oil.
* Don't swim in a public pool either, because you'll catch an intestinal virus.
* Don't use children's Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl, or basically any type of pain relief whatsoever, because they may or may not have bacteria, and they may or may not have too much active ingredient.
* Don't get your kids vaccinated, because they'll become autistic.
* Don't delay your kids' vaccines, because they'll catch polio.
* Don't let kids near your remote control, because they might swallow the batteries.
* Don't let your hillbilly kid play with a gun, because they are just as likely to shoot themselves as an urban kid.
* Don't use a drop-side crib, because your baby will get trapped and suffocate.
* Don't use disposable diapers, because the chemicals will sear their skin off.
* Don't use any plastics with BPA, because it leaches out and screws with your endocrine system.
* Don't talk on a cell phone, because it'll give you brain cancer.
* Don't text while driving, because you'll end up becoming a roadside pancake.
* Don't go tanning, because you'll turn in to a wrinkly old cowhide or get skin cancer.
* Don't take Viagra, because you'll go deaf.
* Don't get your heroin from Mexico, because it's so pure it'll kill you instantly.

(These were all taken from actual Yahoo! news articles. Of course, I paraphrased a tiny bit...) I could also step off a curb tomorrow and get hit by a bus, and I'm sure the statistic for that is out there somewhere too. I'll take my chances with the strawberries.

May 23, 2010

LOST! No, Really....

Do you remember back in school, when all the other kids' parents were buying them brand new Nikes and you were stuck wearing Keds? I had a moment like that today.

I logged in to my Facebook account and there were five - FIVE - different people who referenced the TV show Lost in their status updates. Suddenly, embarrassment washed over me and I had to resist the urge to pick up the remote and delete my DVR'd Law & Order: SVU reruns. Benson and Stabler might be pretty awesome detectives, but how often do you see THEM show up in a Facebook status? Lost has become a cultural phenomenon that's engulfed society just as a stench cloud engulfs hobos. It's all-consuming, and rather confusing. Apparently there are entire blogs centered on decoding certain episodes, talk show segments aimed to answer viewers' questions, and forums dedicated to disecting the show bit by bit.

Well, I may as well admit it - I have never seen an episode of Lost. Not one. Part of me is proud of that statistic, as anyone who knows me is keenly aware of my desire to rebel against the norm. But I felt a little sadness too. I mean, I'm never invited to parties....but what if I WAS? Would I have to sit in the corner downing cheese cubes while all the other guests gossiped about the dramatic conclusion? What if they asked me what I thought of it? OR WORSE - what if they knew of my Lost ignorance and avoided me like a flesh-eating disease?

It was suggested to me that I Netflix all the seasons in order to reinstate my coolness factor, but I see a couple problems with this. A) My attention span with regards to TV is comparable to that of a gerbil. I can barely sit through an entire episode of House Hunters, which requires absolutely zero brain function, so the thought of watching a show that required not only concentration but homework is rather overwhelming B) It would probably take me another six years to catch up on all the episodes, at which point the show would no longer be of any validity and there mere fact that I was still watching them would throw any remaining coolness I had down the toilet and C) I don't have Netflix (yes, I DO live in a cave, thank you very much...).

So I have decided to remain in the dark, to keep wearing these Keds and sitting in the corner with my cheese cube. Lost disciples, I'm sorry I cannot join in your pop cult. Next time, try casting Christopher Meloni.

May 19, 2010

Greatest Hits

Have you ever felt like today's music lacks a certain creative quality? Like perhaps every song sounds just the same as the last, and that if you hear another tune about someone in a club or one that contains the word "grill" you just might throw up in your mouth a little bit?

YOU, my friends, are in luck! Lainey has become a one-woman singing machine, and I'd like to introduce you to yet another aspect of her creative genius - songwriting.

For instance, her favorite hit goes a little something like this:

I Like Fish
I Like Fish
I Like Fish
I Like Fish
What's that? That's the ant.
What's that? That's the ant.
Swimming on the ground!

Or possibly Rock-a-Baby is more your style?

in the treetop
when a wind blows the cradle will rock
and then a wind blows and then the wind blows
and down will come Lainey, cradle and all!

(It's very windy near this cradle, as it seems).
Another surefire hit is this one, a remake of two different songs that she sewed together with love:

Pockafulla Posey
Ashes Ashes Ashes AshesAshesAshesASHES

Truth be told, I've never heard the end of this song, it usually ends up with her falling after spinning herself into an unmoveable object, such as the couch or the floor. I don't even know who the kids are listening to these days, because I'm an old fogey now (as evidenced by the fact that I just used "the kids" and "these days" in the same sentence) - but I feel confident that we could produce a Lainey Bop CD that would blow them all out of the water.

Wait, do they still make CDs?

Anyhow, I leave you with this final lyrical masterpiece:

Hush Lainey Mommy
Momma show you a shooting star
and mommas reading a book with you
and then the book is read
and momma show you the moon
and the moon is in the skyyyyyyyyyyyy
and singing a lullaby.

Eat your heart out, Miley.

May 16, 2010

Oh Roadtrip, How I've Missed Thee

It has been far too long since I expended a ridiculous amount of gas wandering the boring landscape that is the midwest - so this past weekend, I decided to do something about that. I decided to head to the promised land, also known as Rockford, IL, which happens to be the home of one of my best friends. It was going to be a day full of...well, I have no idea, because I'm a Gemini and I can't focus my attention on trifle things like decision making.

First of all, I'd like to say that I hope I get reincarnated as a weatherperson. You get paid to use confusing words like "precipitation", "index", and "partly sunny" while paying no attention to their accuracy, not to mention that you can wave your arms around like you're swatting imaginary flies and no one thinks twice about it (I, on the other hand, get looks as if I belong on a street corner with a jar and a coonskin hat). Plus I hear there are free donuts.

On the day of my trip, Mr. Weatherperson insisted that the cartoon sun on his imaginary map would be smiling, teeth and all. And yet when I got in my car, there were so many rain clouds that the sun may well have just exploded and I wouldn't have been the wiser. I was determined to make the best of it, so I put in my mixed CD and got to driving. Per my friends instructions, I was supposed to exit on I-39 to Rockford and 20 miles later I'd be on her doorstep. Simple enough. Yet half an hour later, I found myself still on I-39 and curious as to why the city of Rockford has not been mentioned on the signage. Sure, Rockford isn't exactly DeKalb, but it still deserves one measely sign, right? A quick phone call and I established that I was, in fact, on the right road - just heading in the wrong direction.

I drove back the half hour (which equalled a full hour of extra road time to those with less-than-average math skills) and the additional 20 miles to my original destination. Certainly, a trip that starts out this way is in desperate need of some burritos and a basket full of stale tortilla chips.

After lunch, we thought we'd head to Magnolia Festival. What is that, you ask? Hell if I know. But magnolias are pretty, and festivals are...festivals, so what is there not to like? Plenty, as it turns out. We saw a sign full of flowers (magnolias, presumably), and as I drove down the block to score a parking spot that didn't require a shoehorn I realized that we had actually passed the festival. Confused, we circled and went down the block again. The festival actually lived in the back parking lot of what I think had once been a pawn shop, or a tattoo parlor, or both perhaps. It was not even a full block long, and from what I gathered in my stalkerish circling of the neighborhood it consisted of a food tent, some hippie jewelry, and a bounce house.

Under any normal circumstance, I'd say give me a funnel cake and let's have at it. However, Magnolia Festival also required a $5 entrance fee. Common Goddesses tend to be cheapskates as well, so that scored it a big thumbs down. With an infant that was getting more and more impatient with every repeated trip around the block, we decided to move on to Plan B. The mall. Probably a poor choice, since we really had no desire to go into any stores (cheapskate, remember?). And combined with the fact that there were more tweens there than a Jonas Brothers concert and that I was being slowly suffocated by the cologne smell eminating from Abercrombie, we decided to forgo Plan B too.

After much deliberation in the CherryVale Mall parking lot, my friend and I opted to skip the tour de Rockford and just do what we do best - rent a terrible horror flick and point out all of the idiosyncrasies.

Bad weather, a great friend, and The 8th Plague. Ahhh yes, THERE'S the roadtrip I've so desperately needed!

May 14, 2010

Owen VS. The Dragon

I had the priviledge of documenting an epic battle between my son, Owen, and an evil Black Dragon foe who hails from the land of McDonald's. It began as a staredown, neither one daring to move:

Suddenly, the Black Dragon ATTACKED! Owen was caught off-guard and struggled to maintain his composure:

RAWR! The battle had been waged! It was quite a back-and forth effort, a lot of saliva was spilled:

But finally, Owen got the upper hand - he knew in order to defeat the Black Dragon he had to bite it's head off. It was the only way:

Victory was his! It was a proud day for this young knight:

He celebrated with a good drink and a long nap.

May 10, 2010

How to Become Recession-Proof

I have discovered a sure-fire way to become recession-proof - a job that no matter what the economy is like, no matter who is President at the time, you will always have job security. ALWAYS.

What is this job I speak of? Why, it's simple really - start making orange traffic cones. I mean, I probably saw enough of them this weekend to block off the entire state of Texas, and that's just here around town. If you combined that with the 12093 billion of them scattered throughout the United States at any given time, you should stay busy until you retire around the age of 89.

Now, just like tax accountants and IRS agents, you will have to work extremely hard in the spring. Some two-thirds of the highways and interstates are blocked off this time of year, so you'll have to pump out those orange cones even faster than my daughter can take down a handful of Goldfish crackers. But if you balance out the perks of the job, such as carrying cones around in the back of your car so that you can "save" that sweet parking spot by the door and having an instant witch's hat to use at Halloweentime, then I'd say it's definitely a career worth looking in to.

No need to thank me for this useful tip, I consider it a public service.

May 9, 2010

To My Babies On Mother's Day

I just entered this short little blip in a Cotton Babies contest, but then I decided what the heck - I should blog it too!

You are small, yet your love is huge. Your words are short, yet your personality is endless. You cannot do a pushup, yet your strength is amazing. You do not know your colors, yet you see only rainbows. Your knowledge is limited, yet your mind is wide open. You may be too little, yet your wonder knows no bounds. You are young, yet you seem like an old soul. You may be my children, yet we are best friends. You may think you rely on me, yet in truth I only live because of you.

To my beautiful redheaded girl and my sweet little blue-eyed boy: On this Mother's Day, I thank YOU for letting me be your mom. You two have brought more joy into my life than you will ever know and I celebrate that, today and every day.

PS, Thank you for the beautiful painting and for the formula puke on my shirt. I wouldn't have it any other way.

May 6, 2010

Exam Rooms and Alien Probes

After some miracle and/or glitch in the scheduling department, the ENT docs were able to get Owen in last-minute for an appointment today. So I carefully packed up his bag with all of our essentials and managed the one hour drive to the University of Iowa Children's Hospital. I used to be overwhelmed and confused by this place, considering that it's about the size of a small planet and probably even has it's own zip code. However, we have frequented it enough times that not only do I find myself at ease there now, but at one point today I found myself directing an elderly couple as if I were a greeter on the payroll.

We arrive in the "Otolaryngology Department", which thankfully had posters of ears, noses and throats hanging everywhere just to clarify what otolaryngology was. Our appointment was at 10am, and efficient as ever we are ushered back to the exam room at 10:13am.

Now to anyone that has had to sit quietly in an exam room the size of a postage stamp, you know how incredibly boring it can be. There are only so many times you can read those informative posters on the wall about washing your hands before it makes you become a paranoid germaphobe. Owen got tired of hearing about the hygiene instructions pretty early on, and my attempt at making funny faces were failing miserably due to this appointment's proximity to naptime. I felt like I was in there a lifetime, so I snuck a peek at my cellphone to check the time and sure enough - I had been there an entire lifetime. It was now 11:32am, over an hour of exam room solitude. Is this one of those dreams where I walk out and it's weeks later and everyone has been turned into zombies?

I stuck my head out into the hallway, and since I saw no moaning creatures I decided that I would ask the next person that walked by if I should reschedule my appointment for a time when there might actually be employees working. Luckily, the next person that came down the hall was the doctor.

We discuss, and she informs me that we need to scope Owen's throat with a camera that looked an awful lot like the robot on "War of the Worlds". I'm instructed to hold Owen's arms and legs to keep him from squirming, while a nurse holds his head still and another doctor manuevers the scope. As you can imagine, my baby thought this was just incredibly delightful and was squealing in pleasure. Oh wait, that wasn't pleasure - it was HORROR. Screams of horror. Can you blame him? He had an alien probe going in his nose. But then, as if we weren't having enough fun, the doctor says to me "Mom, could you sing or something to try and calm him down? His screaming is making it difficult." Seriously? He's being physically restrained and a camera is being forced into his throat, and you think that Twinkle Twinkle Little Star is going to help? This isn't American Idol, lady. Take your pictures or go find someone who has actually practiced medicine on a small child before.

After they had fished the camera out of Owen's right nostril, it was decided that Torture: Round Two should commence next Wednesday in the form of a laryngoscopy and endoscopy. Luckily, this time they will give the poor child some anesthesia. But I bet I'll be stuck reading the same hand washing posters...

May 5, 2010


Where does it all COME from?

We decided to disassemble the death trap today to return it to Target. Seeing as how the entire crib was made out of cardboard and double-stick tape, I figured I could take it apart faster than Lainey could eat a plate of strawberries. (No really, I was trying to do it before she finished her breakfast and realized what was going on...). What I didn't anticipate, however, was the time that would be involved in clearing the STUFF out of it. But it's just a crib, right? you ask. What could possibly be in it? Well, I made a list. Keep in mind, this crib DOES have a changing table w/ drawers so that factors in - though is hardly an excuse.

In the drawers:
6 sleepers
10 onesies
3 pairs of pants
4 outfits
10 misc articles of clothing that no longer fit and I didn't even know existed because they lived at the very bottom of the drawers
a thermometer
an nearly-expired but probably recalled bottle of Children's Tylenol
a wrench
saline spray
a hair ribbon
3 socks, none of which are a set
2 books
2 rattles
a pink towel
a pair of MY underwear (?)

In the crib itself:
2 mobiles (only one was set up)
a baby mirror
13 stuffed animals, monsters, and misc. critters
5 blankets
a pair of pants
3 bibs
another 3 socks, which not only don't match each other but also don't match the ones that were in the drawer
a random AC adapter cord
a Winnie the Pooh ceramic statuette (I *think* I put it in there to keep it away from Lainey)
2 washcloths
a softball (I'm blaming this one on Lainey, too)

Underneath the crib:
a quilt
a fleece throw blanket
yet another 2 mismatched socks
one AA battery
2 crib sheets that have NEVER been used
a comb

Once I removed all of these items, I couldn't even MOVE without lodging a miscellaneous sharp object into my foot. Clothes were everywhere, toys were everywhere, and since I no longer had the storage area formerly known as "the crib" it all ended up in the only place that I could think of - the floor. Half an hour and 20some screws later, we managed to disect the crib and get it returned, but the nursery still looked as if a hurricane of Katrina magnitude has gone through it.

Twice I went in there with intentions to sort through it, and twice I've left after making an even bigger mess because it seems too overwhelming to me. In fact, I feel pretty confident that the stuffed animals are multiplying every time I turn my back. I'm just sure that next time I enter the room the Sock Monkey will have arranged an army that will try to strangle me with a burp cloth.

I finally made a mental checklist of what needed to go in the basement, what needed to go to Goodwill, what needed to get hung in the closet. I grabbed a garbage bag and headed back up the stairs, ready to take on the stuffed animal militia. I opened the door and stood, processing the mess. That's when I realized that somewhere between this afternoon and this evening, Lainey had gotten in there and had dumped baby powder on what little floor was still visable and turned the laundry hamper upside down. That's when I finally took control of the situation, and did what anyone else would do when faced with a mess of this magnitude - I shut the door and went downstairs to have a snack.

May 4, 2010

Buried Treasure

Actual conversation that took place between Lainey and I last night:

**enter gas noise here**
Lainey: "Lainey TOOTS!" Giggles.
**enter another gas noise here**
Lainey: "More toots!" Giggles again.
Me: "I heard that!"
Lainey: "OH NO Smell it!"
Me: "Oh yeah I smell it!" (I really didn't, just thought I'd humor her....)
Lainey: "Mommy...BURIED TREASURE!"

I tried to regain my composure enough to play rock paper scissors with my husband to see who would go digging into her diaper for this apparent *buried treasure*. Turns out, it was a false alarm.

Foot note: You know you are a mom when your last two blog posts feature poop as their main topic.

May 3, 2010


I think it's a parental requirement to have at least ONE piece of blackmail against each one of your children, right? Well, thanks to an ancient blog of mine I just rediscovered a little gem of a video of my daughter from August of 2008:

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing

Babies are funny. Pooping is funny. But babies pooping? Why that is just pure hilarity...

May 2, 2010

Recalls, Recalls, Everywhere

Unless you've been living in a big hole, or you don't have kids, you've probably seen the recall announcements that have been plastered all over the news lately. Cribs, high chairs, medicines, food products - it's as if all of the baby product manufacturers have conspired to limit the population by maintaining exceedingly poor quality control practices and mass-producing itty bitty death traps.

Apparently, I own one of those death traps. It goes by the name of Simplicity Crib 'n Changer combo. It would seem that their support rails give way, causing the mattress to buckle and to swallow your child into a nasty little burrito of foam and blankets. And even though my daughter slept many a night in this crib, I suppose I should be thankful that my son has barely so much as touched it. In fact, his eyes shoot open if you so much as THINK about laying him down in it, as if he were saying "I know about this company's sketchy saftey standards, and if you set me down in this shoddy piece of manufacturing I will not hesitate to screech my lungs out." So currently, this crib houses a multitude of bears, stuffed toys, and laundry balls that missed the hamper. But Scooby Doo certainly does not deserve such a horrific end either, and between that and the fact that I may actually use it as a bed again someday I thought it might be wise to follow through and return it.

Of course, not only do we not have our receipt from three plus years ago, but we have absolutely no recollection of where we actually purchased this thing from. We've narrowed it down to somewhere online, but after that we draw a blank. So my first thought, naturally, was to call Walmart. I think Walmart would return a pair of underwear even if it had lipstick and a skid mark on it and not think twice, so why not my crib? After explaining to the customer service rep three times why I was calling, and repeating the model number so many times that I sounded like a number-obsessed schizophrenic, she decided to put me on hold for 45 minutes while she took a smoke break and had a turkey sandwich. Upon her return, she asked the model number one more time, and then decided that I was wasting too much of her time and told me that they never sold such a crib.

My next call was to Babies 'R Us. This customer service rep was completely opposite of the one at Walmart, in that not only did she actually have a list to consult, but she remembered the model number on her first try. However, I think she may have eaten some sugar that was laced with even more sugar, because she would NOT.STOP.TALKING. I got to hear about her crib, what it looked like, that she was storing it in her garage because she was going to loan it to her sister but then her sister got a different one and now she is storing it until she has another baby but she doesn't know if she should have another baby or not but if she does then she ought to find out if her crib is on this recall list. I'm not sure if she mistook me for one of her girlfriends, or for someone who did not have a whiny toddler and a baby who was doing his best Niagra Falls impression all over my shirt, but after a lot of "uh huhs" I finally got her to admit that they would, in fact, return my crib for an instore credit. I then got to hear her personal schedule, and that she would be glad to help me unload it if I came in TODAY but if not someone else could probably take care of it.

For kicks, I called Target too. They decided that they didn't actually want to field my call themselves, so they gave me an 800 number based in India where I found out that they, too, would return my crib for me. However, she could not guarantee me that the employees at my specific store would help unload it, or that anyone in customer service would have any idea what this recall was.

I guess my project this week is to disassemble this crib and take it....somewhere...where it can "cross over" to crib heaven. Or the garbage dump. Either way, it frees up some space in the nursery. And since it seems like the only two types of cribs that exist are ones that have been recalled and ones that will be recalled, I think I'm opting for a twin bed this go around.

Next stop, the Tylenol recall list. This Common Goddess is going to need a couple of those myself before all is said and done...