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Good Mornings

December 13, 2009

Now that the days are shorter it is so hard to get out of bed.  It’s dark outside and it’s cold and if the opportunity ever presented itself (which it never will) I could just sleep all day.  There are many things I love about Sam.  Here lately this makes me love him even more:  its 6:45 am, the house is dead silent and everyone is snuggled under their covers.  Then, like a bullet piercing through the silence……comes the unmistakable high pitched sound of Sam’s voice.  DA-DA!!!  DA-DA!  It’s like a lighten bolt through the dark.  I give a snort, snuggle down further under the cover and give Jeff a kick.  He’s calling you, honey.  Then, in my head I give Sam a silent high five.  Nice job little man. 

Though it is Sunday, a feast of homemade pizza last night meant that I HAD to go to the gym today.  That and I had to retrieve all my work out clothes.  Which, somehow, I left there on Friday.  Yes.  I finished my run, took a shower, put on my clean clothes (one of the two pairs of pants I have that fit), and just walked right out the door without any of my stuff.  I left my new running shoes.  I left my pants and top and socks.  The whole nine yards.  Just suited up and skipped town.  I only discovered this when I went to pull out the gym clothes for the wash and realized that the only thing left in my gym bag was my makeup bag.  Damn the lobotomy.

So after dropped Sam of f in the daycare I sheepishly explained to the girl at the desk that I needed to check out the lost and found.  “What did you lose?” she asked, “I’ll go look.”  “Well”, I say, “I left a pile of black workout clothes near the shower and my shoes in the locker.”  “Ok,” she says, “what size are the shoes?”

Aw, jeez.  I coughed the words at her like a cat struggling with a hair ball. 

“What was that?” she asks.

Oh for Christ sake.

Eleven, I choke.  Size eleven, white and blue Brooks shoes.

That’s right.  Size ginormous, gargantuan, sausage feet shoes.  Approximately 1.5 sizes larger than all of the sassy and adorable high heels I have collecting dust in my closet.  Shoes that will never see my ham hock feet again.  Not even with the aid of Crisco could I wedge these canoes into those beautiful shoes. 

Now, in defense of my piggies, the running shoes are a WHOLE size bigger than the gigantic size I usually wear because the lady at the running store recommended that.  It is apparently the way it is when you’re a runner. 

I used to be able to run in my heels.  Effortlessly.  Now I can cover a half mile in two steps with these new surf boards attached to my ankles.  All thanks to my wonderful kiddos and their successive appearances.

Luckily no other giant foot mama had claimed my shoes and the girl at the desk produced them quickly.  I tucked my tail and headed off the locker room.

 Despite my new feet, today I will just be happy with Sam and his love affair with his father.  Especially in the early hours of the morning 🙂

Here are some new pics for your pleasure: 

Abby Bracing for a Head Ramming

New Coat from Pop-Pop and Gram

What happened to my life?

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Odds and Ends

December 7, 2009

Thanksgiving day……hanging out at my mom’s……

Jeff:  Hey Kate, you should see how well Sam can bite with his front teeth.  He is really getting good.  He’s eaten almost this entire cookie.

Me:  What cookie? 

Jeff:  The cookie you gave him.  This one right here.

Me:  I didn’t give him a cookie.  That’s the dog’s treat. 

Yeah, that’s how we roll.

Several people asked me questions about the milk blog.  A lot of non-organic dairies are taking a stand against growth hormones and antibiotics.  So many of you read on your milk jugs that your milk is free of rBGH.  And then underneath that it says “that no significant difference is found between cows treated with rBGH or without”.  Or something like that.  The reason that disclaimer is on the jug is because Oakhurst Diaries in Maine began advertising on their containers that they pledged to be rBGH free.  Monsanto sued Oakhurst, who eventually had to ad the second label about how there is no difference between cows treated with hormones and those who are not.  So now, thanks to Monsanto and the FDA….if a dairy wants to promote themselves as hormone free…they also have to add that disclaimer.  This is the same FDA who claimed it was not their job to test the safety of Monsanto’s products.

So there you have it.  A little clarity on that issue for those of you who asked. 

We just returned from the mall.  I don’t know why I even try.  I’m sure that every single one of you reader friends knows that Sam hates to shop.  I, however, can’t seem to get that through my thick head.  But I had to make a return so I packed them all up in the car and drove 20 minutes to the mall.  Without the receipt for the return.  Of course.

So we’re in Baby Gap and the guy behind the counter is ringing me up.  He’s looking at me and then over to Sam who is slightly behind me in the stroller.  He has a funny look on his face, kind of smirky and he keeps looking back and forth between us.  I finish up and turn around to put my wallet back in the diaper bag and see that Sam has both of his pointer fingers jammed as far up each nostril as he can get them.  Like knuckle deep.  With a huge grin on his face. 

Awesome.

Mad Cow

November 29, 2009

I’m reading a book called The Unhealthy Truth by Robyn O’Brien.  It is making me SO MAD that I have to blog about it.  The author is a mother of 4 children, all of whom suffer from food allergies.  She delves into the food supply problems in this country in the book and how it relates to the food allergies that are more and more prevalent these days.

I have done a lot of reading on our food supply and big agribusiness.  Healthy eating is something that I am very passionate about; organics in particular.  So…I know a lot of you know that you should probably feed your kids organic milk, for example, but you’re not really sure why.  Check out a little bit of what I just read in this book:

There is this giant chemical company called Monsanto.  Most people have probably never heard of them but they are the pioneering force behind most of the pesticides we use in this country, Agent Orange, aspartame and the hormone rBGH which is given to cows to increase their milk supply.  Basically everything evil.  For the past 15 years many dairies have been injecting their cows with this hormone every 2 weeks to book their hormonal activity.  That in turn results in additional milk production and increased profits.  Though not every dairy uses RBGH, the milk from many dairies is mixed together for distribution, resulting in cross contamination across the board.  The only way you can be sure your milk is not treated with this hormone is if it is specifically labeled rBGH free.

Now listen to this…..

The hormones increase the milk production but they end up making the cows sick.  The package itself warns that the cows can suffer from “increases in cystic ovaries and disorders of the uterus”,decreases in gestation length and birth weight of cows”, and “increased risk of clinical mastitis”.  Mastitis is an infection of the udders that creates pus and bacteria….the same infection that a nursing mothers can get.   So…..when the cows get sick…they pump them full of antibiotics.  Which also end up in your milk!! Cows that are regularly given rBGH live only for about 2 years after they start receiving the drug.  Hormone free cows live on for about four to ten more years.

OMG….and then we just drink it all up in a big glass of milk.  I think of how much milk Sam drinks and I shudder at the thought of him slurping up those drugs and toxins.  Then I think about all the other kids out there and the parents who don’t know (becuase the companies are not required to tell us!!!).  Oh…so mad.

The thing that makes me furious is that the entire European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan have OUTLAWED the use of this hormone in their food.  They have actually said….we think there is enough danger in this product that we will not allow it to be used in our country.  But not us!  NO…..the FDA responded that “ultimately it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety”.  In a statement in a New York Times article in 1998, Monsanto’s corporate communications directors says”Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food.  Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible.  Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job”.

That’s super.  We can’t even count on our government to protect us from this.  They aren’t even required to label products that contain growth hormones!

I know a lot of people who say- I never drank organic milk as a kid and I’m fine!  But they didn’t use these hormones when we were kids.  This has just been in the last 15 years and I think it’s so important that we make sure our kids are protected from it.  Big agribusiness just wants to “sell as much as possible”

There is a misguided belief in this country that we should spend as little on food as possible.  Feeding your family on as little money as possible is viewed as savvy and thrifty.  I think this is doing our kids a disservice and possibly putting their health on the line.  Organic milk is expensive but to know that you won’t be feeding your kids something that makes animals sick makes it worth it!!!

Maya Angelou says “When you learn….teach”.  So I hope that you won’t take this as a tirade….but more of an effort to spread the word about something I feel so strongly about.  And something that this book has made me very fired up about J 

Ok…..I’ll be back soon with a funny little ditty…..

Pockets

November 8, 2009

Sam discovered his pockets today.  It was the most hilariously adorable thing you have ever seen.  After a family trip to get the H1N1 vaccination and a game time decision to bail on it when the line was 500 deep, we took the kids to the park.  Sam was wearing a little fleece jacket that zipped up the front.  It had little patch style pockets on the front.  Jeff was carrying Abby and I was helping Sam collect rocks.  This child LOVES rock.  Just loves them.  He would forsake any toy you offered him in favor of a giant pile of rocks.  They are hands down the most fun EVER!

So he’s got like 6 rocks crammed in his little fat fist and he keeps dropping them.  This is so frustrating for him and we have to stop and regroup every couple feet.  So I show him that he can put the rocks in his pocket and then he doesn’t have to worry about dropping them.

We load up his little front pocket with all his prized rocks.  He is a little unsure of how this pocket business works but he seems willing to give it a shot.  He clutches the pocket from the outside and begins teetering after Jeff.  A few steps later he stops to give his rocks a quick check.

He pulls open the pocket and upon seeing that the rocks are all still safely nestled in there, lets out a squeal of delight.  He shakes his head in disbelief and does a quick little rock back and forth, a victory dance of sorts.   He teeters forward again.

A couple minutes later he stops again.  He apparently hasn’t rested all his faith in the pocket and feels compelled to check again.  He opens the pocket, spots his rocks and squeals again.  He’s grinning from ear to ear and looks up at me as if to say “GENIUS!  This is absolutely GENIUS!”.  He smashes the pocket closed and laughs out loud to himself.  You can tell he is not only impressed with the ingenuity of his jacket and its pockets, but he’s feeling very smug about his ability to use them.  I wonder if he’s wondering how many other clothing articles he has with pockets in them. 

The thrill of this discovery lasted for the entire walk.  Sometimes, my friends, it’s just the little things 🙂

Dear Sirs….

November 5, 2009

So Jeff sent me a link for a job listing at the Examiner.com.  They are hiring freelance writers to write on a variety of topics, motherhood included.  Perhaps they are looking for more factual type articles, you know….where to take your kids on a rainy day.  Which stain fighter can tackle formula stains.  You know….blah, blah, blah.  But in the off chance that they are interested in more of a commentary type of column…I filled out the application.  Well, I’ve answered one of their two questions:

 

What experiences or credentials do you have that qualify you to write as the Baltimore Stay-at-Home Moms Examiner?*

 

 

 

Dear Hiring Examiners,

 

I am a 32-year-old stay-at-home mom to two children under the age of 2 and interested in a position as an examiner.  I am unclear whether I am to be addressing my credentials as a mom or my credentials as a writer but I’ll sum them both up for you in a word:  Zilch.  Disregarding the former, I had two children nonetheless (and in relatively short order).  As a result I can confidently address the issue of experience.

 

I do not have a nanny, a “manny”, a doting grandmother in the immediate vicinity, or any other type of domestic help.  Therefore I am on the job 168 hours a week.  I spend roughly ¾ of that time wearing clothing decorated in spit up.  The last time I used the bathroom without the “assistance” of my toddler and 60 pound dog was sometime in 2007.  I routinely make a complete ass out of myself by belting out  “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” in checkout lines, just praying we can get through the process without upending the candy display. Four times this week I have made a pact with myself that the children will make it through the day without watching the television.  Four times this week I have broken that pact so that I could take a shower in peace.  Ok….three times I took a shower.  One time I hid in my office, ate two skinny cows and checked my facebook page.  Lastly, there are enough cheddar goldfish on the floor of my hot rod minivan to feed an entire preschool class for a year.  You just don’t get this kind of experience from the sidelines, baby.  We’re in the thick of it!

 

My 20 month old son is precocious, quick-witted and charming.  He is also secretly training with the Toddler Jihad. Two successive pregnancies have left me a little bit slower on my feet but I spend a good portion of the day saving his sister and the family dog from the path of his destruction.  My 4 month old daughter is the sweetest, most docile baby I have ever met.  Unfortunately she suffers from reflux which also makes her a human vomit cannon.   And the family dog is on Xanax.  That factoid doesn’t really contribute to my experience but I thought you might want to know.

 

I currently write about my experiences as a mother on my blog.  I consider myself an expert on this topic or at least an expert at identifying when I’m over my head.  Which, I usual am.  But we have a lot of fun at our house.  Come visit:  www.monkeymamablog.wordpress.com

 

The remaining question is:  In your articles what are some topics you would examine and why?

 

It’s time for Abby to eat so I’ll have to leave this one for tomorrow…….stay tuned

 

  

 

 

 

No chocolate in the house

November 2, 2009

Dear Self,

The children’s gummy vitamins are VITAMINS.  They are not candy.  No one….not one single person would believe that you are eating them to increase your vitamin D levels.  They are for SAM.  They are not for you to nosh on all day to satisfy your sweet tooth.  And considering that he doesn’t even like them I think it’s a real stretch that he’s eaten half a Costco-size bottle in  two weeks.  In fact, dear self, I’m pretty sure he hasn’t had a single one.  Aside from the first one you gave him which he spat back at you like a grenade launcher.  So knock it off and get ahold of yourself.

Love, Self

Hi, I’m Earth. Have we met?

October 30, 2009

I had the most unreal customer service experience today and I just have to share because I’m so full of ill will that I have to spread it around!!!  All names and locations are going to be unchanged so you’ll know exactly who I am talking about and that will make me feel better 🙂

I made Abby and my two little nieces matching Christmas dresses this year.  So I took them up to EmbroidMe in Cockeysville to have them monogrammed.  Ok…so here are the facts:  There were two little dresses for the baby Abby and baby Emmy, and one bigger dress for Ellie.  I requested two little monograms for the little dresses and one bigger monogram for the bigger dress.  This is exactly what the order form said.  This is also what the masking tape instructions stuck on each dress said. 

This is NOT, however, what I got. 

I’m standing in the front of the store with a baby at my feet and a baby on my hip.  The sales lady pulls out the dresses for me to review and immediately I say:

“The monogram on this little dress is the same size as the big monogram.  It’s supposed to be little, like the other little dress”

The store owner (her name is Pat Chapman, btw) comes up from the back of the store upon hearing me say this.  “See,” I say “it says right here on the order that there are supposed to be two 1 ½ inch monograms and one 2 inch monogram.  That is not what I have”

Pat smacks her hand down the dresses and balls them up to shove them back in the bag.  “Well, I’ll have to re-do them” she says with exasperation.

“Won’t that ruin the corduroy when you pull out the stitching?” I ask.

“YES! yes it will” she seethes.  “It is going to leave needle holes all over it”

Sam has grabbed hold of my keys and is opening and closing all the doors to the van with the remote.  My car looks like it’s having a seizure in the parking lot.

“Ok, so I don’t want to do that.  So I guess I don’t have much choice but to leave it the way it is”.

“Yep”, she snorts “that’s the way it is.  If you really need me to do something for you I can refund the money for the one dress but I’m going to need your card”.  She is so irritated by me that she can barely look at me.  Not once has she offered an apology or an explanation for the error.  She is so defensive; you would think I was aggressively challenging her.

So I hand her the card and she swings her back towards me as she begins to issue the refund.

Now I’m getting pissed. 

“You know” I pipe up “I’m really disappointed in this.  The order form that you filled out is correct but someone did not follow it.  The dresses are hand-made and now I am stuck with an irreversible error on one of them.  The least you could do is offer an apology”  

No kidding…she whips around like I just chewed her a new one.  And I haven’t even raised my voice yet.  “I don’t know what to tell you” she snaps “errors happen”

“Is this your idea of customer service?” I retort.  Steam is building in my ears and I’m starting to vibrate.

“I’m giving you a refund, aren’t I?  That is customer service.  And if you don’t like it you can take your business elsewhere!”

HOLY SHIT.  Am I still on planet earth?  Oh..Abby just threw up in her bucket seat so I must be.  But who the hell does this lady think she is and is this really happening????  Did this nutcase just tell me that if I don’t like the error they made on my dress then I can take my business elsewhere!?!?!    Fuck yea I’m going to take my business elsewhere you crazy witch!  Of COURSE I’m going to take my business elsewhere.

Who runs a business like that!?!?!

So I gather up the kids and my dresses and my stupid $8 refund and storm out the door.  All the while promising her that I will never return. 

As I’m jamming the kids back in the car I remember that Jeff knows her husband.  Her husband Brian got Jeff a job when he first moved to Baltimore.  I close the car doors and I’m tempted to stick my head back into the shop and ask her “isn’t your husband Brian Chapman”?  But then I don’t know what I would say.  After I threatened to know her husband’s name I would just stand there and stick my tongue out or something?  It just wasn’t as aggressive as I was picturing.  I wanted her to know that I knew who she was but really I didn’t have anything to say aside from “I know who you are”.  Which, in itself, is not particularly threatening.  And at that point I only wanted to do things that were particularly threatening.  And most of the other ideas that I came up with were certainly illegal.  And Grey’s Anatomy is on tonight…..and if I had a screwed up dress AND went to jail and missed Grey’s Anatomy I was really going to lose it. 

So I had no choice but to drive home with my screwed up dress.  It’s not even like I could ask for a manager or write a letter because that LOONY nut job owns the place!!!

Sigh. 

Unreal.

 

 

*****I would like to add a little footnote regarding my language.  Jeff says it’s very un-lady-like of me to use the “f” word in my blog.  In fact he’s standing over my shoulder, smacking a mouthful of apple chips, telling me that it isn’t very tasteful.  So to that I say:  I never claimed to be tasteful.  Not once did I purport to be a lady or anything like a lady when I write my blogs.  So if I offend you with the use of my “F” word then please get lost.  Because that is the way I talk when I’m telling a story and when I type out a story I do it exactly as I would if I were telling it out loud.  F bombs and all.