16 Nov

I took Annika and the dogs for a walk and met a neighbor. She was nice and telling me how cute everyone was; we made conversation; it was pleasant. Then the topic went toward the safety of the neighborhood (it’s fine) and she commented that she just heard that the governor isn’t going to allow any Syrian refugees in North Carolina. (I also read that some want to only allow Christian refugees in.) I won’t repeat some of the things she went on to say, but it was mean, sad, and hateful. By saying that all Muslims are terrorists or dangerous (and that bad things should happen to all of them,) you are no better than a Nazi or a KKK member in my opinion.

I saw a headline (I didn’t confirm its authenticity) claiming that one of the attackers in Paris registered as a refugee in Greece last month. So what? How many thousands of innocent people, including children, escaped violence by opening borders to refugees? Other attackers made their ways into other countries through plenty of “legit” means. Bad guys will always find ways to get in. Guess what? There have been 615 children killed by gunshots in the US in 2015 so far. That’s more than were killed in Paris. I’m not saying Paris isn’t sad. I’m not saying guns are the entire problem. I’m saying (after she ironically went on about second-amendment rights) that we have plenty of issues in our own backyard, and directing hate at refugees (particularly Muslims, though not all refugees are Muslim) is rather silly.  They are trying to escape violence, and not all Muslims are violent terrorists. Just like not all Christians or Republicans are bigoted assholes.

This isn’t organized or well-written but I don’t care. I am just sad.

Longest week ever

13 Nov


Monday morning Annika woke up with a chest congestion cold. There is really nothing worse than a sick baby. When she gets a cold, it means she gags and chokes on her phlegm and ends up throwing up. She refuses all food and throws up what little I can get down in the tube. It’s good times. I canceled her PT appointment and we laid low, only going to Walmart to buy some worthless homeopathic cough medicine that is approved for anyone under the age of 4. The first night I can say without exaggeration that she woke up about 20 times. Every time she coughed she woke up, often sobbing. Maybe that was the second night, actually–the sobbing part–I lost track. See title.

Tuesday I went to work, which was frustrating because I was worried about her all day. She felt warm when I went home for lunch, but the thermometer said she was fine. That night I was especially impressed with working moms; I was exhausted from little sleep, and then felt like I had 100 things to do after being away from home all day, with a fussy baby on top of it. (Did I mention Jason is gone right now?)

Wednesday I got an appointment with the pediatrician, who gave me the go-ahead to buy OTC kid’s cough medicine and give her half the dose. Then we had to drive up to UNC (a little over an hour) to an appointment (that we waited for 6 months to get) with the geneticist. I was stressed that she would gag and throw up on the drive up, but instead she just slept and coughed. The appointment was fine, but no real answers. We go back in 6 months to consider more testing.

Thursday I had to run some errands that I couldn’t put off any longer. She threw up in public (I caught it all on the rag!) and I rewarded myself with a cheeseburger at our favorite place, where an incredibly kind gentleman literally took my check out of my hand and paid it for absolutely no reason. I was wearing an Army shirt and on my own, so maybe he figured he was helping out a soldier’s family. Or as Jason suggested, he thought I was poor and couldn’t afford to feed myself and my child because we looked like a train wreck. Either way, free burger! We were in bed before 8 PM.

She woke up at 2:30 AM sobbing, threw up a bit, and we took a steamy shower and FaceTimed with Daddy to distract her and cheer her up. This morning we drove up to Duke (again, a little over an hour) to meet with the ENT who deemed her tonsils unimpressive and not in need of being removed. Then the GI doctor praised her weight gain, gave some suggestions about medications, and was an overall delight. I really like him.

Oh I also ran 3 miles on Thursday, which is the longest I have run in a LONG time. I shall reward myself with pizza again this weekend. I think I’m going to make that my new weekend ritual until Jason gets back. It should bode really well for my saddlebags.IMG_0867


Incompetence makes me rage

8 Nov

I have memories of my mom always getting angry about “incompetence” while I was growing up.

I am my mother’s daughter.

I get SO PISSED OFF when things aren’t done correctly or don’t work the way they should. And while in many situations it’s no one’s fault per se, that doesn’t stop me from writing an angry email. (Two months ago I got a gift card to reimburse me for Luvs diapers when I told them their new redesign sucked and I will never buy them again. I’m also getting a gift card for a pair of Annika’s pants that had a hole in them the firs time she wore them.)

Yesterday I had to replace Annika’s NG tube. It was traumatic for both of us. It took four tries, some blood, gagging and crying to get it in. That fucker was supposed to stay in for minimum three weeks. Well, after I gave her a bath last night before bed and washed the sheets yesterday, this morning I woke up to the tube port popped open, and her stomach contents all over the sheet/her hair. Do you know what stomach contents smells like? Most of her stomach contents is/was milk of some sort. It’s not pleasant.

We only switched to this brand of NG after we ran out of the old ones, which were no longer available once we moved to a new region (according to our insurance.) I have probably used about 6 of them. Three have had this problem. This is absolutely unacceptable. It has messed up her car seat, our sheets, her hair, her clothes…and this all pales in comparison to the biggest issue: that I am going to have to replace her NG tube unnecessarily.

This morning I wrote an angry email to the company that makes the NG tube before I even made my coffee. I don’t know what I expect to happen but I feel better after I have told them they suck and are traumatizing my daughter by making a shitty product that doesn’t work right 50% of the time. I have found a new brand that I am hoping is available through our home health supplier.

Then we had more problems with DirecTV. Specifically, logging into the website. Ever since they merged with AT&T, it has been a clusterfuck. I have either called or online chatted with customer service about 10-15 times about either billing or login issues. I have reset my password (to the same damn thing) multiple times. I finally figured out the billing, only to still have login problems. Even now, I can’t verify that we are DirecTV subscribers so that we can watch TV channels on Apple TV because DirecTV doesn’t have their shit together. I called customer service and the final answer is that she would forward this to their engineers and let them know it was a problem. Awesome.


Hours later update: the medical company responded, apologized, and is going to call me tomorrow to find a way to send me replacements. They are looking into the lot number (makes sense since all of mine are from the same lot.)  They also want me to send this one back to them once I replace it so they can look into the problem.

I figured out the login for DirecTV. They just keep messing up the username, but luckily I wrote it down in the “read this if I die” notebook for Jason a few months ago and came across it today.



Belated October recap

8 Nov

On a whim, I entered Annika in the Gerber baby photo contest. (It popped up in my Facebook feed and I had an hour to enter her before it closed.) There are literally hundreds of thousands of entries, so I have zero expectation of winning, but feel free to go vote for her every day until November 24. You can search by “Annika” in NC and she will come up. Maybe we will win for her division or something???

Screen Shot 2015-11-07 at 9.42.36 AM

Click on the picture and it will take you to the page to register using your email address

October was a pretty typical month. We had 21 appointments for Annika, one for me, and 2 for the pets. We are taking a whole week off of Annika’s appointments, and her speech therapist is out for a week, yet somehow we still have 19 scheduled for November. (We see five specialists this month.) December will be much more lax with the holidays and vacation time.

A friend (actually, also Annika’s physical therapist) invited us to meet them downtown for the Friday night Halloween celebration. Kids go trick or treating in the stores. I had the Elsa dress that she received as a gift, so I channeled my inner Disneybounder and “dressed as Anna” using what I already had and a borrowed cardigan. I am glad she did, because without someone to meet, I likely wouldn’t have gone. Annika didn’t trick or treat, and if I didn’t have anyone to meet I would have felt weird walking around alone. Annika did well, watching the other kids and looking adorable. IMG_0765


She allowed me to put the wig on her for a few pictures

She allowed me to put the wig on her for a few pictures

In other news, I have started running a bit more. It’s nice to be reminded that if you keep at something, it gets easier. I don’t feel like I’m going to die the entire time. Now if I could just stop eating 99% carbs, maybe I would actually see a difference in the size of my ass.

I might finally order pizza tonight. I’ve been saving that treat for a special day. I just deemed today special.

Lifestyle bloggers are liars

17 Oct

Years ago, when I was registering my blog in some sort of network, I think I checked the “Lifestyle Blog” box. I figured “I talk about my life, sure, I guess it’s a lifestyle blog?” While I am funny sometimes, I don’t consider it solely a humor blog. This was back before it was Annika-centric and therefore a thinly veiled Mommy Blog.

I was so wrong. Lifestyle blogs are clean. They are beautiful and ideal. They are also lies. Lifestyle blogs (and the similar Instagram accounts) present gorgeous, flawless photos. They are artistic. They spend time selecting the perfect filter. They meticulously edit and crop. They wear makeup and stage things. It’s all very lovely and a little bit inspiring, but it’s also bullshit. That’s not real life. You know what is real life?


#notalifestyleblogger (or a good cook)

It's models who fall down and make funny faces

It’s models who fall down and make funny faces

It's bed-head babies with toys on the floor

It’s bed-head babies with toys on the floor

IMG_0443But while my life may not be a lifestyle blog, I have the best job ever. I love every day, despite the difficult moments. I will eat the crappy egg and let Annika have the one with the runny yolk. I’ll eat the leftovers on soggy toast. I will clean up the toys every night to make me feel like my life is in order, then pull them all back out the next day. I will dress her in adorable outfits that take me back to my Barbie days, and not lose my mind when she gets food all over them. I try really hard to have a beautiful, organized life, but at the end of the day everyone’s life is a mess on some level. Don’t believe everything you see on the Internet.

This is perfection. No cropping, editing, or filtering necessary.

This is perfection. No cropping, editing, or filtering necessary.

Someone’s got a case of the Tuesdays

5 Oct

You know how the majority of America feels on Sunday nights? That’s how I feel on Mondays.


Tuesdays are the one day a week I go to work.

Every Monday night, I get a little mopey and sad. It’s not that I hate my job, it’s that I hate being away from Annika. While sometimes I whine about never getting a break, I rarely take anyone up on watching Annika so that I can do anything for myself. At the end of the day I don’t want to be away from her. This explains why I haven’t had a haircut or pedicure since she was born. (Oh wait, I did get a [terrible] haircut once–but Sarah came with me and held Annika while I got it done. At least some child got a wig out of it.)

I know working is good for me and good for our finances (even if at least one client cancels for a legitimate reason every single week.) Could I afford (both literally and figuratively) to work a second day a week? Yes. While some months it would be difficult to schedule all of Annika’s appointments (we average about 22 appointments a month, and that’s just standing therapies. It increases when you add in any of the specialists. Those are typically scheduled on Thursdays, the tentative second day.) But as for now, we are sticking with one day, which I am incredibly grateful for. I am so glad we in a financial position where this is possible.

This is rambling but I am just saying I hate Tuesdays. I want to hang out with my little nugget all day, every day. Can you blame me?


Stoic little princess


One thing in the movie “Wild” that pissed me off

4 Oct

Every single time she came into contact with a man or men when she was out there on her own, I thought she was about to get raped. And half the times, the men were actually being creepy or assholes or both. The other half they were nice guys, but you never know that as a woman.

Men truly don’t realize the power the wield in our society. Or the terror they can invoke by simply being present. On the other hand, there are plenty that do. One man was complimenting the way her “tight ass” looked. When she said “please don’t say that,” he fired back, “can’t a guy give a girl a complement these days?” with a smirk on his face.

That’s the problem. Whistling at women, telling them they are sexy or hot or complimenting them in some sexualized way is not a compliment. It is a way of exerting power. And they damn well know it.

I have read plenty of brilliantly written editorials/blog posts/columns about feminism, male privilege, and how despite how far we have come as a society, we still have a long way to go. And this is not one of those posts because I can’t be so eloquent and organized at the moment. I just felt really pissed and needed to rant.

Oh, and she is hiking for 3 months and never puts her hair in a ponytail. WHO GOES HIKING WITH THEIR HAIR DOWN?

However, it is a really good movie and I enjoyed it way more than I expected I would. I highly recommend it.

Story Time with Dora the Explorer

30 Sep

I have been wanting to take Annika to Story Time at the local library for about 2 months now. However, it has always ended up that she is either at an appointment or sleeping during that time, but today we finally made it.

In the past, I have avoided playgroups because I would worry about what she couldn’t do compared to other kids. That was actually only in the beginning. I went to a few playgroups in Germany toward the end, but they were only once a month. Recently the neurologist told us to get Annika on playdates and in groups so that she could interact with other kids, so I figured this was a free opportunity to do that.

It was so great. It was “Birth-5 years,” but most of the kids were in the 1-3 age range, which was perfect. As soon as we sat down on the floor, she crawled off. There was a time when she would have sat perfectly still on my lap and not moved. Not anymore. She is a little Dora the Explorer. Of course, she ended up crawling over to another mom and into her lap. Annika really loves people. So she sat on some lady’s lap for a few minutes (of course the mom was gushing at how adorable she is, because DUH.) Then she crawled over to another mom before I got her back to me. Of course she didn’t really pay attention to the book, but half the kids weren’t. At least my kid wasn’t the one entering the imaginary bubble the librarian told us about in the beginning that was surrounding the storyboard, or knocking into the temporary walls/signs along the edge of the room. (I don’t understand why moms were just sitting there letting their kids do this stuff. End judgmental rant.) 

One kid tried to touch her NG tube, another tried to take her pacifier, and a few let her get close and watch them play/exist. Overall it was just a really good experience for both of us. I was so proud of my little Dora taking off and wanting to see what was going on. I hope we can go again soon.


I brought one of her crinkle books with us to keep her entertained and distract her from crawling into another mom’s lap that as already occupied. Annika doesn’t understand boundaries.

Parents: Screen your child’s “talent” entry

19 Sep

As you probably heard in the past week, Miss Colorado opted to perform an “original monologue” as her talent for the Miss America pageant. She talked about being a nurse, and I guess how this is her talent.

I will throw my two cents in really quick before I get to my point, but I think it’s rather silly. Yes, you are a nurse, and that is commendable, admirable, and you must be pretty smart, and compassionate, and whatnot…but that is not a talent. Webster defines talent as

a  :  a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude


I mean I would honestly be more impressed if you ran a 4.2 second 40-yard dash across the stage, rode a unicycle…there is apparently a woman out there who plays two recorders out of her nose. These are talents. They are things that most other people cannot do. I am not saying that being a nurse is not awesome and great and makes you a good person (hopefully,) but it is not a unique talent that you have to practice or train for, with added individual aptitude, to make you stand out and be much better at someone else. Playing the violin (like a professional, not like a 7-year-old) or singing opera? Talent. Ballet or even *shudder* tap dancing? Talents. Being a nurse in and of itself is not a talent, any more than my husband being a solider is a talent. It makes him better than your husband (HAH! Just kidding) but it is not a talent. If he got up there and shot a target from really far away and hit a bullseye, sure, talent. The fact that he wears the uniform and goes to work every day? Trust me, not talent. There are plenty of shitbag soldiers out there. There are likely a lot of shitbag nurses, too. In reality the judges should have been judging her on her ability to deliver the monologue. In which case she could have just done a scene from Shakespeare. Unless they were supposed to judge her on her career choice, in which case there could have been a neurosurgeon or a rocket scientist holding a flute thinking, “now hold on a minute!”

But I digress; this is not my point. My point is that when I was laughing at how silly this “performance” was with my BFF, it made me remember my misguided entry into the Emerick Elementary School talent show when I was in Kindergarten. I don’t know whether it was my idea or my parents’ but…I read a book. Like turned the page, recited it out loud. We probably thought it was great because I loved this book so much that I had it memorized.

You guys: that’s not a talent. That is a nerd.

I am laughing even remembering this. WTF was I thinking? What were they thinking, allowing me to do it?? What’s more, I distinctly remember being unsure of whether it was an acceptable thing to do as I was waiting with the other kids to perform. I saw another girl with a book and hopefully inquired whether she was reading her book. I’m sure she thought I was a weirdo, because no, it was her sheet music to play the piano. (<—–an actual talent.)

My (other, elementary school) best friend won the talent show that year. (I am sure they no longer award prizes unless everyone gets one, as I had a collection of soccer and softball participation trophies to show America’s decent into the “everybody’s a winner!” mentality.) You know what she did? She rapped. It was Will Smith’s “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” Coming out of a white girl in kindergarten. I’m sure it was adorable and hilarious and obviously original, and she absolutely deserved to win.

I did not.

I think that means, technically speaking, I was a loser. I have to partially blame my parents. (Not that I have any memory of anyone making fun of me, I absolutely am making fun of myself now.)

Maybe Miss Colorado’s parents should have had a sit-down with her about exploring other options.

Never a Dull Moment

17 Sep

Today is September 17. We have had 11 appointments for Annika so far this month, plus two vet appointments. Oh, and Jason’s been gone. So it’s safe to say there is rarely a dull moment around here.

Blue not being an asshole.

Blue not being an asshole.

Yesterday as the PT arrived at the house for Annika’s session, the stars aligned in a negative way and Blue decided he needed to remind Reno that he is the Alpha Dog. (Jason says this is somehow my fault for not asserting myself as the Alpha since he left. This is me rolling my eyes a little bit, but then again this crap doesn’t Balkan when he is around.) Anyway they both have bones out front, plus Blue has been chewing on a branch/big stick for the past couple of weeks. A little nub of the branch had come off, and Reno picked it up. Let it be known that Blue (the asshole in this story) was across the yard looking at the grass. He suddenly attacked Reno and they were fighting. I thought they would get over it, as they sometimes scuffle in play excitement, but it quickly became apparent that this was more than that. I ended up handing Annika off to the PT and proceeded to beat my dogs (hey PETA) with the stick, trying to get them to stop fighting. It easily lasted for about 3-4 minutes. I couldn’t really get them apart, because if I got them to stop for 2.5 seconds, the other one would lunge at whoever I was holding and all hell broke loose again. I was beating them and screaming “STOP IT!” (they didn’t care.) I had seen my parents break up their dogs once with water, but of course their bowl was empty and it didn’t even occur to met to get the hose and turn it on them. I finally pinned Blue against the fence with the stick long enough to usher Reno out the gate into the driveway. The PT got Blue inside. Reno had a few bite marks on his ears, but despite all of the slobber (Blue’s) all over his scruff and neck, there were no injuries there. It seems like Blue could have done more damage, but was more just asserting his dominance. (i.e. being an asshole.) I cleaned Reno up with some peroxide and will keep an eye on them for infection.


The stick that is now in the garbage can

I was hoarse and panting. It was scary and frustrating more than anything, because they are assholes and they don’t give a damn when I tell them to stop something. It reminded me that they did this the first time Jason was gone (though it’s not like he’s been gone long this time…) I even went out and bought them crates when he went to Afghanistan because I couldn’t deal with them. I eventually started walking them to help them get some energy out. I took them the other night for the first time ever with Annika in the stroller (since she doesn’t hate it now), so I guess I will have to implement that more frequently.


I took away their bones and dog beds (anything they could fight over) last night, and slept nervously, hoping they wouldn’t fight inside the house. They each paced the bedroom separately without their dog beds. Those princesses were completely befuddled where they were supposed to lie down and sleep. Finally I think Reno took the dog couch in the living/dining area (yes they have their own couch) and Blue took the rug.

Yesterday evening. I was hopeful they were over it.

Yesterday evening. I was hopeful they were over it.

This morning Reno was a little edgy, and still is to a degree, but I left them alone when I had to take Trixie to the eye vet, an hour away. She has iris melanoma, which is little spots all over her eye. They looked like freckles. The options were either to laser them off now, (they weren’t bothering her), or wait and eventually she would get glaucoma (I think?) and lose her eye. Annoyingly, it started right when we moved to Germany but the vet there said it was some sort of virus that was just dormant in her system and not hurting her. Is that what you guys call cancer?

This was taken in Germany, but you get the idea. It has gotten a little worse.

This was taken in Germany, but you get the idea. It has gotten a little worse.

I set my alarm for 7. Apparently I hit “off” not “snooze.” I woke up again at 7:45, and barely got out the door little after 8, which was when I had wanted to leave. As I drove out of our neighborhood, a cat ran across the street in front of me. Just then, I pulled to a stop sign with a sign on it, “MISSING CAT. BLACK WITH BROWN STRIPES.” Well, it was a black and brown tabby. Maybe I should go back. It was only like 30 feet. Sure enough, he was under a car. He came right to me, so I texted a photo to the number on the sign and asked if it was her cat. She called and said she couldn’t be sure (???) but was on her way. A few minutes later she was ecstatic saying she *thought* that was her Toby, but I said please go get his microchip checked just in case, because if not, you are stealing someone’s cat from their front yard.

A bit later she texted me to say she looked closer and noticed he was declawed and her cat wasn’t, but thank you, she returned him, and I had renewed her hope in finding her cat. Too bad, because I noticed later that the signs say there is a reward. 

The GPS now said I was going to be 20 minutes late dropping Trixie off. To be fair, they wanted her there between 8 and 9, for a surgery that wouldn’t start until 11. Getting there at 9:20 wasn’t the worst thing.  I was trying to do a good deed. 

When I dropped her off I told them we lived an hour away, and that if they could do her first and call me ASAP, I would appreciate it. I was going to try to kill time and hang around in the area. Annika and I went to McDonald’s, then Trader Joe’s. I decided to just go ahead and drive home because they told me the earliest they would be done was 2. It was 11 something.

As we got home, I checked my email. I had one from the vet- “We tried to call you but your phone said it was not accepting calls. (?? I was just on the phone with someone who had called me, why does the Universe hate me?) Trixie is done and can be picked up at 12:30.” Email time stamped 11:20. I’m reading it at 12:11. If they had called me, I would have turned around and gone back. Instead, Annika and I spent an extra 2 hours on the road today. Trixie seems to be fine so far, and her eye is just going to be permanently discolored.

Then I came home, fed us both, and vacuumed and cleaned the floors. I started some laundry and cleaned the litter box and have decided that I am never getting another pet ever again.

And for no particular reason, a picture of Dora the Explorer, checking out the hallway.

And for no particular reason, a picture of Dora the Explorer, checking out the hallway. Don’t judge her loungewear outfit. 


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