Old News: Past Blog Posts

Monday, December 30, 2013

Resolution 2014

Typically I am not the 'New Years Resolution' type.  I would say it's because I don't believe in making cliche and unrealistic promises, but mainly it's because I hate letting myself down.  Also, because I fancy myself a Grade A Procrastinator, I usually find myself waking up on January 1st with a vague hangover, an enormously messy house, and zero idea of how I managed to pull off another holiday season without checking into the loony bin.  Who has time to sit down and make a bunch of empty promises to themselves when there are presents to be bought and wrapped and then more presents to be sorted and put away?  All this Christmas consumerism puts a pretty big damper on my ability to dive into self analysis and plot out annual self-improvement strategies.

Most years, I can't even fall back on the typical : 'this year, I will exercise more' resolution because I happen to actually like working out and therefore, there's no need to hop back on a bandwagon that I never fell from in the first place. 

Before I began teaching group fitness classes, I couldn't stand visiting the gym in January.  The 30 minute wait for treadmills that had been gathering dust a week earlier would make my blood simmer.  Once my workouts started making me a modest income, I began to look forward to a room full of sweaty bodies each winter, slightly doughy from their recent pre-resolution holiday binges.  It was nice: lots of re-charged enthusiasm and sparkly new workout clothes.  And because I was the instructor, there was always a spot for me in the class...no wait necessary.

Now I have two kids--one of whom has a serious aversion to sleep--and guess who's looking extra plump and doughy these days?  

It's true.  Six months after bringing another life into this world, I am still proudly displaying the evidence of that tiny guy both in and around my pants.  At four months adjusted, my youngest son tips the scales at a measly 11lbs 1oz.  I on the other hand have about twice that to loose before my clothes finally stop begging for mercy.  

And so, the night before the last day of 2013 I find myself bone-tired after three days of head-spinning holiday festivities, four days of obscene work hours to make up for time off, and six months of sleepless nights.  I am also left without a speaking voice, encumbered by a maddening alternate of sinus pressure and nasal drainage, and stiff and sore in almost every muscle group, right down to my fingers.  

Realizing my self image has plummeted along with my figure and worse, my favorite stress-management tool has taken a backseat to 4am nursing sessions and 10 hour workdays, I have decided that maybe it's time to make myself some of those empty promises.  

Big inhale.

Here goes:

1.  I will love my family.  And I will not confuse love with constant self-sacrifice.  I will remember that loving my boys does not mean that I am responsible for every single nighttime meal or that I should feel guilty when the clean laundry spends a night or two in laundry bins and draped over the back of the couch instead of in our dressers and closets.  

2.  I will respect myself.  I will remember that I am less-than-stellar company when I am neglecting my health and denying myself exercise-induced endorphins.  I will acknowledge that I am a more fitting mother and role model when I am healthy and happy than when I am stressed and sleep-deprived and hostile.  

3.  I will accept help when it is offered.  I am not a super hero.  Or if I am, my superpower is being able to drag my happy ass from bed (or wherever it was I landed after the 4am meal) each morning.  Next to completing the NY Times crossword puzzle, raising children is maybe the most challenging task there is (even after less than two years of experience, I am quite certain of that fact).  It was not meant to be done alone.  That's why God or whoever made it necessary for two parents to be involved in the baby-making process.  Shoot, Mrs. Clinton thinks it takes a whole damn village to raise those little f*ckers right.  

4.  I will stop punishing myself.  I do not need to spend so much time apologizing for all the things I perceive to be (or actually am) doing wrong.  Nobody gets to be perfect at everything and I can realistically expect to fail in at least one aspect of my life on a daily basis.  Instead of dwelling on those failures, I will celebrate my tiny victories and try to spread the failures around a little, so as not to neglect one area entirely.  

It's a start, I guess.  There are probably a thousand other promises I should be making to myself in order to maximize my potential in 2014...but I think I'll set my alarm for a 530 workout and go to bed instead.

Cheers to you, dear reader.  Good luck with your self-improvement projects this year.  

Maybe I'll see you at the gym.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Christmas Poem

T'was the night before Christmas Eve and all through the house, 
all the creatures were stirring, 
I think even a mouse.  

Unwrapped presents were piled by the tree without care, 
in hopes that the wrapping fairy soon would appear.  

The children were crying, 
not wanting their beds,
while visions of a beach vacation 
danc'd in my head.

And Pa in his sweatpants, 
opening a Christmas music app, 
it wasn't a secret
we could both use a nap.

When in the next room, 
there arose such a clatter, 
I sprang from the couch, 
fearing tears or blood-spatter.

Away from my wrapping, 
I sprang like a frog, 
and luckily I found 
it was only the dog.  

I settled back to my task, 
with scissors in hand, 
to the tune of Jingle Bells 
sung by some awful rock band.

When what to my worrying 
mind did appear, 
but the fact that two presents 
were absent from the tier.

I searched and I stewed, 
things weren't going my way.  
Where were the damn things?  
...ordered way back on Black Friday!?!?

A glance at the bank account confirmed my fears: 
The presents had *not* been purchased
...commence Christmas tears.  

I scrambled on Google 
to re-direct my fate, 
but alas the gifts are personalized 
and will arrive two weeks too late.  

You've known me for 31 years 
--almost 32 -- 
so Mom and Dad, 
my blunder is not so surprising to you.  

Not long after the New Year and the Epiphany, 
a box will arrive -- 
perhaps down the chimney.  

In the spirit of Christmas, 
I will not place blame.  
But my inattention to detail 
has caused gift-giving shame. 

Maybe next year I'll sing a more uplifting tune, 
but this year I am crabby 
-- not having slept since last June.  

And so I exclaim before you get too miffed, 
Merry Christmas to all

-- oh, and this poem is your gift. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

The evolution of the Christmas Shopping List

AGE 5:  
Dump glitter and glue on a piece of construction paper, call it art and excitedly hand it to mom and dad on the last day of Kindergarten before Christmas break.

AGE 10:
Participate in mass holiday ornament crafting task (probably also involving glitter) and distribute to parents, grandparents, siblings, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins.  Feel like a total Christmas hero.

AGE 15:  
Withdraw 40 bucks from the checking account you opened last summer with your lifeguarding money.  Buy six presents for your closest friends at the mall then beg your parents for 40 more dollars because you forgot to buy stuff for your family too.  

AGE 20:  
Arrive at your parent's house after your last final and sleep until 2pm each day, complaining that finals week was exhausting---but not too tiring to spend the hours between 10pm and 3am drinking at some crappy apartment with your high school friends.  Make a mad dash to the mall on December 24th to spend what's left of this semester's student loan money on presents for your immediate family only.  

AGE 25:  
Feeling totally flush and buzzed off a full time professional gig, spend the week before Christmas zipping around town, buying gifts for friends, family, and the dog.  Ignore the fact that roughly 50 percent of each paycheck is split between taxes and student loan repayments (remember those gifts and all that beer you were buying 5 years ago?)

AGE 30:  
Start budgeting for Christmas gifts in January because your husband 'knows how you are' then start making the Christmas list in November (reason: see above).  Spend the six weeks leading up to Christmas combing the Internet for gifts to cover the following people (because who has time for the mall with two kids and a full time job?): your kids, your parents, your husband's parents, your husband's siblings and their spouses, your siblings and their spouses, your babysitter, your babysitter's kids, your sister-in-law's parents (because they always buy you and the kids stuff), your cousins, your aunts and uncles, your housekeeper, your neighbors who are constantly bailing you out in a childcare pinch, and the dogs...Nope. Screw the dogs, they can just have access to their favorite chewable toddler toy without consequence for Christmas.  Merry Christmas, Spot.

And a very Merry Christmas to you, dear reader.  May the holiday be filled with presents, but more importantly...with love.  


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Jammies for the Rest of Us

Unless you've been hiding under a social -- or regular -- media rock (possibly in an effort to ride out the holiday season without blowing a gasket or losing what's left of your mind), you probably saw the 'Christmas Jammies' video that features a (now former) news anchor from Raleigh and his family.  You know the one.  It's a video with impressive production quality that shows a family straight from the pages of J. Crew, clad in the season's snuggliest jammies, dancing like lunatics, and rapping about their enormously impressive lives.

Daughter Lola can dance, sing, play the piano, count to 100 (wait, that's not the impressive part) ... in Chinese, and has already done what most of us will never do; competed in a triathlon.  

Junior (named 'Penn' after Daddy) is the youngest and has apparently not yet mastered Chinese.  Still, he's damn cute in his shaggy mini-hipster haircut and Mom and Dad have him signed up for 'hip hop classes,' so I'm confident he'll be pulling his tiny weight by next Christmas. 

Mom, it seems, is an actress who landed a part in Ironman 3 this year and because that's not impressive enough, also completed an Ironman (despite taking a punch to the face in the first leg by someone who seems to have beat me to it...) 

Dad shows up the whole family while good-naturedly poking fun at his recent vasectomy, demonstrating his ability to do the worm, and giving an admittedly shameless plug to his new marketing company.  

I watched the video this morning when it had a mere 800,000 hits.  Just now, I observed that it is rapidly closing in on 5 million.  By the time you read this post, I am confident that number will have doubled. It's the sort of thing you find to be totally amazing but also want to spit on.  As in: hock a major loogy and watch that picture-perfect family beg for mercy as they scramble into their fancy hybrid in a desperate attempt to avoid drowning in your sticky, smelly mucus....inhale.

Why so hostile, Ready or Not?  

Where's your Christmas spirit, Lady Crabby Pants?

Well, let me just say it wasn't all shiny red Prius's and matching striped PJs around the Ready or Not house today.  

So, here is my response to that marvelous viral gem that has everyone grinning and clicking and sharing (and plagued by Will Smith tunes for the remainder of the day).  

***Because I don't have access to professional-grade video equipment, or a desire to shame the Caucasian race with my white-lady rapping routine, our Christmas letter will have to embrace the classic medium of the written word.  Enjoy.***

Merry Christmas from the Ready or Not Crew!

This year has brought loads of surprises; starting last Christmas when Mom discovered that nursing is a highly unreliable form of birth control. 

Despite her and her OB's best efforts, Mom's incompetent mommy-bits failed yet again at carrying a baby to the preferred 37-40 weeks gestation.  

Ready or Not Baby joined us in June, at 31 weeks and 2 days, weighing in at 4lbs 2oz and with a serious hankering to play with the NICU nurses for 25 days.  

He loved those nurses so much, he contracted viral meningitis 10 days after discharging home and ended up back in the ICU, this time with a ventilator and a borderline hysterical mother.  

Thankfully, the little man is home now and showing no lasting effects from his early hospital forays, minus a crooked man-part which will be corrected in the next few months (don't worry kiddo, Mommy will delete this post before any of your classmates learn to read).

He doesn't much care for sleeping, but can roll like a champ and has finally developed a gummy grin and giggle that almost makes up for the extreme sleep deprivation he inflicts...almost. 

Ready or Not Toddler has had quite a year himself.  Not to be outdone by his little brother, he has had his fair share of hospital visits.  Respiratory bugs plagued him last winter and caused delay after delay of his (second) inguinal hernia repair.  

He finally kicked the bugs, had the surgery, and now his scrotum looks totally normal again (Yes! Mommy will delete!  Nobody reads this anyways...)

Ready or Not Toddler also learned to walk at the ripe old age of 17 months (15 corrected) and now knows how to say most food-related words.  He's come a long way from his original 3lbs 10oz and eats enough bananas to warrant a real concern over a possible potassium overdose.  At 18 months, a developmental psychologist told us that cognitively, he was comfortably 'average' and we could not be more proud. 

He loves his Daddy and tolerates his mother.  Maybe someday he will even learn to say 'mama'.

In the last 6 months, Ready or Not Mom has managed to lose 12 of the 30 lbs she gained with #2 and hopes to someday quit turning off her alarm and get her fat ass to the gym on a regular basis again.  Meanwhile, she just has anxiety dreams about it.  She still runs when her friends pester her into it. 

She did medal (last place!) in a triathlon today when she managed to fail miserably in three separate events: Mothering, Career, and Housewife.  

She's managed to unintentionally piss off 80 percent of her immediate family since July and looks a lot like an over-fed homeless person since she hasn't had a proper haircut in over a year and her clothes don't fit right.

Dad does everything around the house from cooking all the meals to taking out the garbage to playing Mr Fixit every other day.  He does all this without accepting even an ounce of gratitude.  He is slowly coming to terms with the fact that what he thought was a 'tall forehead' is actually male pattern baldness

Here's hoping that this holiday season finds you and your family happy and healthy.  

Much love,
The Ready or Nots


The Holderness family might be rocking their Christmas Jammies all over the Internet, but today I managed to keep both kids alive and take a shower.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Baby Sleep Tips

Oh, silly me.  I forgot to include the title of this post in it's entirety.  Here it is:

Baby Sleep Tips...for the Terminally Confused and Utterly Exhausted Parent.  

Is that adorable little bundle of love keeping you awake at all hours? Are you at your wit's end?  Are you feeling like exhaustion is kleepijng yo frome performinf Evan tha slimplest of trasks?  (like, I don't know, say...typing?)

Well then Champ, you're in luck.  Because I am about to clue you in on some very simple remedies for your present state of overwhelming fatigue and blazing sense of despair. 

Follow these basic tips and hold into your hat, because your mind is about to be blown.

Tip 1: Feed the baby just before bedtime.  Full bellies help babies sleep longer.

Tip 2: Don't feed the baby just before bedtime.  It will create a situation whereupon the child will become dependent on nursing or a bottle in order to fall asleep.

Tip 3: Swaddle the baby.  Swaddling contains the primitive startle reflex present in newborns that tends to rouse them (because a self smack in the face is no way to wake up), mimics the cozy snugness of the womb, helps regulate temperature, makes baby feel more secure, sleep better, and cry less.  

Tip 4: Don't swaddle the baby.  Swaddling newborns delays initial breast feeding, thus causing less effective sucking and increased post-birth weight loss.  It also causes hip dysplasia, respiratory illness, overheating, developmental delays, and increased risk of SIDS.

Tip 5: Rock the baby to sleep.  Rocking fosters a stronger bond between parent and child, reduces crying in colicky babies, promotes more restful sleep, helps regulate heart and respiratory rates, aides in regulating sleep patterns, assists in developing baby's vestibular system, and also results in heightened neurological and motor development. 

Tip 6: Never rock the baby to sleep.  They will become dependent upon rocking to achieve a sleep state.  Instead, they must learn to self-soothe if you ever expect to sleep more than two hours at a time again.  

Tip 7:  Give baby a pacifier.  The sucking reflex is calming and will help baby wind down for the night. Also, pacifier use has been associated with decreased incidence of SIDS.  

Tip 8:  Don't give baby a pacifier.  Baby will become dependent on the pacifier and you will spend your nights as an under-appreciated pacifier retrieval service.  Pacifiers are associated with middle ear infections and dental problems.  Pacifiers will confuse your poor whiddle baby and create problems with breastfeeding.   

Tip 9:  Bring the baby to bed with you. Co-sleeping promotes better sleep, boosts milk supply, helps baby regulate breathing, results in children with higher self-esteems who engage in more positive behavior, and cures cancer.   

Tip 10: Never (ever) bring baby to bed with you.  He will die if you do.

Tip 11:  Let baby 'cry it out'. The kid needs to learn to self-soothe at some point, right?  Women two generations back will be the first to tell you that you're running a serious risk of 'spoiling' that baby totally rotten if you tend to every whimper.  Perhaps a more rational argument is that not all cries are indicative of a real need and it's best to wait (at least a short period) before rushing to the rescue of a child who may actually be nearing the point of sleep.  

Tip 12:  Never let baby 'cry it out'. Excessive crying elevates stress hormones and floods baby's brain resulting in increased aggression, anxiety, and ADHD.  The cry it out method also results in lower IQs, socially detached babies, clingy and dependent children, poor fine motor skills, and oh, it doesn't work anyways (or at least ends up needing to be repeated multiple times).  

Tip 13: Keep the room dark and quiet. Newborns have a jacked up sense of night and day and use of light can help establish a proper circadian rhythm (keep it bright during the day and blacked out at night).  Lots of lights and sounds at bedtime will only serve to confuse baby even further and stand squarely between you and that elusive eight hours everyone keeps raving about.  

Tip 14Don't obsess over keeping the room dark and quiet.  Assuming you don't have the luxury of living in a sound-proof bubble, there will be all sorts of noises erupting past baby's bedtime; phones ringing, dogs barking, neighbors banging on the door complaining about barking dogs...Junior is just gonna have to learn to deal with all that and the sooner, the better.  As far as light is concerned, even Mr Sun (...Sun, Mr Golden Sun...) is plotting against you come springtime.  

So there you have it folks.  It's all so very simple!  And the best part is, once you get one kiddo all figured out, the second one will be a total breeze (sarcastic font).

You can all thank me later.  Meanwhile, I'll be the one catching a much needed 10 second nap at a stoplight on my way to work. 

Bonus Tip: Take a picture, it'll last longer.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Weekend: Trolleys, Two-Year-Olds, and Trauma

Friday night, my friend and I crashed a gay holiday party.  No, not 'gay' as in happy (though it was); and certainly not 'gay' as in 'lame' (I take serious issue with that word usage, by the way); it was 'gay' as in 40 fabulous homosexual men drinking fabulous cocktails in an extremely fabulous house, looking...well, fabulous.  

Technically speaking, we weren't crashing, because we were invited. But it felt like crashing to me almost immediately -- mainly because my outfit was from Marshall's and in total (shoes and home hair dye included) probably cost less than what other partygoers spent on tailoring their designer jeans.  

I had known some of these men for years.  We'd met working out (because according to cliches and actual fact, these guys love the gym) long before I was a totally out of touch mom...you know, back when I was a totally out of touch single chick.  

This fact however, did not stop me from feeling completely out of place among the lively buzz of cheek-kissing and animated conversations. 

My friend (also female, also straight) knew more faces than I did and consequently spent much of the first part of the night introducing me to various collared shirts and wool sweaters. By the time we were dashing for the two heated trolleys parked on the tree-lined street, primed to taxi us into a nearby park adorned in Christmas lights, I am fairly certain we'd been pegged as the token lesbians.  

Don't get me wrong.  I had a ball.  It was probably some of the most holiday fun I've seen in ages.  I was generally forgiven for my thrift shop winter coat and bad dye job (at least to my face) and spent the evening laughing until my face hurt.  

I also got to partake in some serious real-estate voyeurism and basked in the beauty of a bronze pasta arm set against a stone backsplash, a kitchen sink large enough to bathe a ten-year-old, sleek refurbished hardwood floors, tall ceilings lined in gorgeous crown moulding, stained glass and Tudor windows, pristine glass-encased walk-in showers, and the sort of breathtaking oversized sofa I have only seen in magazines and television.  I found myself wondering how quickly it would take my one-year-old to destroy this seemingly untouched perfection.  When I joked with our host about moving in, his face turned white at the mere thought of a toddler invading his palace.  I quickly assured him it would just be me.

Because my lesbian-lover was driving, I decided to also bask in the impressive assortment of cocktails available.  I sampled the cranberry and lime infused vodka, the rumchata, a dirty martini (garnished with blue cheese stuffed olives), a half glass of champagne, two pulls off a bottle that tasted like cinnamon and lighter fluid, and two Bud Lights on the bus--because I think that's what lesbians drink and I didn't want to disappoint anyone.

I wasn't really drunk, but eventually feeling self-confident enough to finally eat something (dinner was passed on earlier in the night in favor of applying mascara and giving bedtime instructions to my FIL who was manning the ship for the night).  I giggled merrily as I hovered over the dining room table, fawning over an array of cheeses and cheese dips -- and a couple of broccoli florets to save face -- laughing at the fact that my friend and I (now found binging on party food) had met our host when he started taking our spin classes a little over a year ago. 

Shortly after that act of debauchery, it was time to part ways with this untouchable fantasy world and return to my modest home and my sweatpants and my insatiable infant. I wasn't feeling too buzzed and felt confident we weren't looking at another Mommy Has a Hangover situation.  
When I woke the next morning, I felt a little headachy, but nothing a couple glasses of water couldn't take care of.  The morning progressed and soon I found myself at another party: a two-year-old's birthday party at Build-a-Bear in the mall.  It was pretty much the same type of event as the trolley party.  Just replace the trolley with a brightly lit mall, the cocktails with tea, coffee, and juice, and the well-dressed partygoers with screaming babies, unrulely toddlers, and small children.  

By the middle of the party, I was starting to feel the first pangs of nausea.  The nausea followed me home and then to work.  I pulled myself together just enough to handle almost five hours of patient care, but couldn't muster the energy to sweet talk one of my last patients into a full treatment (this is typically my specialty) and uncharacteristically allowed her to bail after only 15 minutes.  

When I arrived home, it was late and dark and I wondered if I shouldn't try to eat something, since I had yet again blown through more than one mealtime.  

That proved to be a terrible plan.

The rest of my night and into the early morning, I was darting back and forth between the bathroom and my bed, alternating between shivering under a pile of blankets and kicking sweaty sheets back.  I also had the pleasure of expelling my dinner out both ends...not to put to fine a point on it.  

Convinced I was probably being struck down by a deadly virus, I decided to call in some parenting backup (i.e. the hubs) and quarantine myself from the baby until I could get to a medical professional who would verify my impending death.  

At one point, I found myself seated on the toilet, hovering over a trash can, pumping breast milk and blowing my nose.  When the hubs popped his head in and asked if I needed anything my first thought was that I needed him to wipe the present image of me from his memory completely.  What I actually said was 'sexy,' waving a hand dramatically in front of myself, then I let my head collapse back down into the trash can.  

Amazingly, I managed to live through the night.  There were points where I prayed for death, but luckily it never came.  

Things are better now.  I have managed a couple of meals, some laundry, and even a visit with Santa and my inlaws.  Whatever was responsible for my brush with death by way of GI complications seems to have passed and I am beyond grateful for my returning health.  

I may not be fabulous enough to hang strong with an army of gay men or have enough stamina to fully function at a two-year-old's birthday while battling the beginnings of a stomach bug, but I lived through this weekend ... and that's good enough.

Friday, December 6, 2013

How This Rock Landed on My Finger

Next weekend, the hubs and I will strap the rugrats into their respective rear-facing car seats and aim our humble chariot north on I-55, stopping only long enough to unload said rugrats into the eager arms of their Gammy and Nonno.  This will be our seventh Christmastime trip to the Windy City.  It is a tradition that started the year we met and I was living there with two roommates, an air mattress, and mounting student loans.

The following was originally posted during one such visit, four years ago today.  I can still remember the giddy sense of excitement that fueled these words:

It seems a little insane to plan a December trip to downtown Chicago and not pack a scarf. My friend's husband and co-host to our venture called it a 'rookie mistake,' a statement to which I took only minor offense because I have in fact been a (very temporary) resident of this great city; and should have known better. Still, my concern for being scarf-less was trumped only by my boyfriend's apparent concern for our being camera-less. This struck me as a little odd, mainly because he normally seems less than interested in my obsessive photo-snapping. But I let it slide, because stranger things have happened.

This is the third trip my boyfriend and I have taken to see the big city christmas lights, and thus I will now call it an 'annual tradition.' To complete the tradition, we have three main stops: 

1) The Christkindle market in Daly Plaza: an excuse to drink spiced wine and collect the cheesy tourist mugs in which the wine is served 

2) Macys: to enjoy the crowds and consumerism of the season without making any actual purchases. 

3) Millennium Park: to watch ice skaters fall down and snap silly pictures of ourselves in the giant mirrored 'Bean.'

When we'd tired of giggling at uncoordinated skaters and got to the Bean portion of the night, the subject of my uncharacteristic camera-free state arose only long enough to decide we could substitute with my (inferior) phone camera.  I was dragged my to the outer ridge of the bean and positioned in front of my travel companion, presumably to allow my smartphone photography skills to take shape. As I fumbled to create the appropriate angle with the viewfinder, I happened to notice something glimmering on my right shoulder.

What happened next is a bit of a blur, because I tend to stop listening when I see something shiny. But the gist of it is, my best friend and roommate suddenly got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. At least, I hope that's what I agreed to....

...and THAT is how this rock landed on my finger.

Seven months later, we dragged almost 300 of our dearest friends and family out into the smothering St Louis heat to attend the greatest wedding in recorded history (this is fact).  And thus, our amazing little family was established.  

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Two Under Two: Part Five

Settlers piled into covered wagons and travelled across this great nation with about 10% the amount of luggage we are hauling for a long weekend away with our boys.  As my grandfather, an aeronautical engineer, was apparently fond of saying, 'it's not so much the kids, it's the ground support equipment.'

Here's a brief list of our 'ground support equipment' for our holiday travels:

1. Two pack n plays 
2. One double stroller
3. One umbrella stroller 
4. One Baby Bjorn baby carrier 
5. Seventeen teensy-tiny onesies
6. Six infant-sized pairs of pants
7. Eight toddler-sized shirts
8. Three miniature hoodies
9. Five 18 to 24-month-size pants
10. One crazy-small and hopelessly adorable fleece vest
11. Four fists-full of itsy-bitsy socks
12. Two pairs of size five shoes
13. One corduroy pageboy hat that will only serve to aggrivate and (later) embarrass the baby, but cause no end of delight to mommy
14. Four pairs of footie pajamas, ('p-jammers') for adequate 'pitter-pattering' of little feet
15. Three sleep sacks -- Halo brand, could not live without, wouldn't want to try.
16. Five knit winter hats (for a total of two adult and two pint-sized heads, I know--the math didn't work for me either)
17.  Three winter coats, one pumpkin-seat cover, and three warm blankets 
18.  Six bottles and six slow-flow nipples
19.  Enough frozen milk to feed the baby for four days (because when packing the cooler, I had the totally rational thought that I could get hit by a bus, rendering my boobs useless)
20. Two sets of pumping supplies -- because scrubbing those bastards all the time gets annoying.  But because I must...
21. One bottle scrub brush.
22. One electronic breast pump
23. Two nursing covers -- presumably one for each boob?
24. One cigarette-lighter power adapter
25.  Seven books
26.  Two balls (ha)
26.  One iPad -- ghetto rigged to the back of the passenger seat because we couldn't find an actual mount on short notice.
27.  One fully-stocked diaper bag PLUS a second bag with even more diapers and wipes.
28. One inhaler, because vacation is an opportune time for colds.
29.  Infant Tylenol, because you never know and I'll be damned if I have to 'run out' to the store on Black Friday.  
30.  One DSLR camera for which to harass my children, overwhelm my 'vintage' laptop, and document this fiasco we're calling a holiday.

....and maybe a thing or two for mom and dad and whatever else we forgot....

...like say, the kids.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Please don't buy us any Christmas gifts, the trunk is already begging for mercy. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ok I'm a Runner, Get Over It

I recently read a surprisingly mean-spirited op-ed piece called, Ok, You're a Runner, Get Over It published by (here's another surprise) the WSJ criticizing runners; questioning their motives and declaring that the reason they run is to be seen participating in the most 'visible form of strenuous exercise.' He even launches into a rant about running magazines, running stores, bumper stickers, and race t-shirts.  

At first, I was flabbergasted and offended on some very fundamental levels.  So I happily reposted a Runner's World response that was arguably even more mean-spirited, but resonated with my own response and therefore in my mind, totally justifiable. 

Who was this guy to pick on the entire culture of running?  What exactly were his motives?  Did a 5K participant insult his mother?  Did reflective running gear once trigger a childhood seizure?  Why so angry Mr Stafko? Why??  It's been suggested to me that the whole thing is just 'tongue in cheek' satire and I should relax, but sarcasm is like a second language to me and I like to think I can spot the difference between irony and an angry rant. 

I spent a decent amount of time fuming, a number of conversations complaining, and more energy than I should have playing defense against his aggression: I don't run for the praise or exposure, I run because (gasp) I like to run

And then I started mentally composing this response.  Get this, I did that while I was on a run.  And I'm not ashamed to tell you that.  Some of my best thinking happens while I pound the pavement.

Here's what I decided:

When I started running with any seriousness back in college, I initially did it as a way to help shed the 20 lbs (ok, 30) that had accumulated with my growing appreciation for alcohol and love of late-night grease (po-key stix, po-key stix, po-key stix...*) both of which are available in unavoidable abundance on college campuses across our great nation.  But eventually, I did it because I began to actually enjoy it.  I know.  I was just as surprised as anyone.  

So I could argue that I fall into the apparently forgivable 'fitness nut' category that Stafko mentions briefly near the end of his piece; those who started running before social media ruined humanity and who also enjoy a good spin class when they're not out bothering Jon Q. Public by hogging precious sidewalk space. 

But I won't.

I will stand firm in solidarity with even the least serious of runners.  I will happily defend those following programs called things like 'Couch to 5K' and 'Running 101' and those who occasionally enjoy a good half mile jaunt around the neighborhood.  Hell, I'll defend mall walkers to the death.  Now there's a group of dedicated mother f*ckers who you better not pick on.

Our unfriendly writer tells us that,
There is only one reason running aficionados display the (26.2) stickers. They want the rest of us to know about their long-distance feats. 

Yeah, so? 

Know what pisses me off? Concert t-shirts. There is only one reason music aficionados display the names of their favorite bands on their chests. They want the rest of us to know about their concert-attendance feats.   


Now, it's very possible that I have committed all the offenses listed in Mr Stafko's rant ...and then some: I have shopped at a running store, worn a 5K t-shirt to Starbucks, own a 26.2 bumper sticker (magnet, lives on my refrigerator), and yes, I run outdoors.  I am even guilty of using an app that posts my runs on my Facebook page. Hear that? It was Stafko's head exploding.

This is me, not apologizing for my apparently inexcusable behavior.

I consider running to be a part of my identity: Mother, Wife, Physical Therapist, Group Fitness Instructor, Mediocre Mommy-Blogger...Runner.  And while I certainly don't consider myself by any means an accomplished runner (I regularly get by a handful of dudes 20 years my senior) it's not any less important to me.

These two are smiling because they know they can kick your ass with or without a bike.

...and *this* guy is more than just a pretty face (who loves himself a good derby party)

When a failing cervix put me on a forced fitness hiatus during my second pregnancy, I cried like a damn baby.  Yup. That's how much it means to me.  

But apparently, I'm not allowed to talk about it because that counts as self-congratulations.  I can't announce it on the back of my car alongside the names of my graduate school and local NPR affiliate because it bothers some dude with a computer and a byline with the WSJ.  

And why is that exactly?  Are we still operating under the assumption that he once had a refector-induced seizure?  Or can we assume that (more likely) there's some amount of fitness guilt there?  We don't get cranky and spew out 17 paragraphs of bitterness when confronted with a bumper sticker proclaiming affiliation with a particular baseball team, so why is this so different?  I can only assume that on some level Mr. Stafko is jealous. 

There, I said it.  

He just can't seem to fathom that a person would actually enjoy those particular behaviors that your doctor and scientists and Mrs Obama are always insisting will keep you healthy and happy (endorphins!) ...oh, and less of a drain on our flailing healthcare industry.  So he thinks these folks are just rubbing their healthy habits in his face as a form of bullying, boosting themselves up while making him feel bad...which he clearly does (mission accomplished team, we can all peel off our bumper stickers now).

Maybe you happen to agree with our running-phobic bard (because he is so poetic in his angry rant).  Maybe you think that deep down all runners are just show-offs in sneakers.  That's your deal and only you can identify where these feelings are really coming from.  I can say with certainty that I do not run to be seen, because newsflash: it is not a pretty sight.

Exhibit A

But, I will not apologize for my hobby.  I will not be self-conscious of wearing a race shirt to the grocery store because that is what happened to be clean that day.  I won't even quit for posting my runs to Facebook; because if Suzie Snorefest gets to post pictures of her dinner, I get to jump on the look-at-me bandwagon and post about my runs.  I think it's safe to say Mr Stafko didn't hesitate to sit down and toast himself in the absence of his (former) running friends when his WSJ piece went viral.  Why can't we all be allowed to celebrate our accomplishments without ridicule?

Ok, I'm a runner.  Get over it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Wake to crying baby.
Fume over beeping smoke detector. Complain on Facebook about the smoke detector, because people love reading status updates about that sort of thing. 

Return to bed.
Ask dog nicely to move over.
Ask dog less nicely to move over.
Try to manhandle dog off the bed.
Give up and squeeze into the six inches of space between dog and edge of bed.
Quick prayer that the house doesn't catch fire.
Fall asleep.

Wake to crying baby.

Wake with a start only to realize there are seven minutes before scheduled meeting with running buddy.
Check weather on phone.
Learn it is 23 degrees outside.
Text running buddy with half-assed apology and climb back into six inches of allotted bed-space.

Wake to husband's alarm and promptly go back to sleep, enjoying the extra 8 inches of space afforded by his absense (until the other dog hops up on the bed).

Wake again to sounds of toddler babbles and thuds from the next room. Click video monitor to confirm that thuds are not suggestive of immediate danger; only indicative of toddler's desire to unload the bookshelf of all items within reach.  
Remain in bed, deciding to be really good for the rest of the year so that maybe Santa will bring either a bigger mattress smaller dogs or.  

Happy noises turn unhappy, wade through 45 discarded books to rescue bouncing toddler from crib.  
Turn on channel nine just in time to catch Dinosaur Train and ponder yet again whether Dr Scott, the paleontologist is actually good looking or if it's just his vast knowledge of the Paleolithic era that's intriguing.  

Try to remember the last time the baby had a bath.
Fail in that task and decide it's probably time for another bath.
Bathe baby with one hand while wrestling back toddler and deflecting flying bath toys with the other; dry baby; diaper baby; bundle baby into adorable guitar onesie, socks and hat; admire baby; listen and feel as baby simultaneously spits up and poops.  
Put on annoyed face.  

Discover toddler has climbed into the damp tub, footie pjs and all.  

Document toddler fiasco through a series of photos and post to blog; thinking it's funnier than it actually is, chuckling to self all the while.  

Serve well-balanced breakfast of honeydew melon and Cheerios to hungry toddler. 
Nurse hungry infant while darting around the house straightening things up in an act of pure futility.  

Load children and diaper bag into car for 'play date' at the zoo. 
Chase toddler around reptile house with the double stroller for 30 minutes while flashing smiles at and exchanging fly-by pleasantries with other play-date moms.

Arrive at home to pass baton -- sorry, care of children -- off to husband.  Decide showers are overrated and eat lunch instead.

Leave for work.
Pump party!

Omitting details to comply with HIPPA, suffice to say there is plenty of back pain and balance deficits and general running around. 

Leave work for the six mile commute home.
Make tentative plans to run later.
Pump party!

Arrive home, deciding to be really good for the rest of the year so that maybe Santa will bring a helicopter to make the commute run smoother.

Eat dinner.
Relish in the fact that the husband is capable of cooking a delicious meal and gracefully handling the children while doing so.
Come to the conclusion that whatever Santa brings could never be better than the man who made dinner.
Maybe won't be so 'good' after all, save the big guy a trip ;)

Dump the children at the neighbor's house to attend the wake of a beloved aunt-in-law.  
Stand the sort of endless line that we should all be so lucky to have at our own wakes someday (she was loved and will be missed).
Learn through small talk that even the most vaguely known of cuz-in-laws are active blog-readers.
Leave feeling flattered, a little horrified, and extremely grateful for such a warm and welcoming group of in-laws.  

Arrive at neighbor's home armed with ice cream (insufficient payment for an evening with a total of four children under five, but don't tell her that).
Visit briefly.
Home for bedtime.

Call running buddy to cancel for the second time in 24 hours.
No great excuse this time.
Will run tomorrow...right?

Squeeze into tiny space between dogs and husband.
Decide to just be thankful for the warmth the crowd brings to the bed.

A Chilling Tale

Duuuun Dun...

Duuuun Dun...

Dun-dun dun-dun...

Dun-dun, dun-dun, dun-dun...


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Survivor's Guilt

Today is World Prematurity Awareness Day.  That probably doesn't mean much to you, unless there's a premature child who plays (or played) an important role in your life.  But in the spirit of spreading 'awareness' I thought I'd post again on the topic.

So here goes...

Wikipedia defines survivor's guilt as a mental condition that occurs when a person perceives themselves to have done wrong by surviving a traumatic event when others did not. (I thought I'd open this like a seventh grader's term paper).  

Most days, I wake up feeling fortunate and entirely grateful to have been blessed with two healthy, feisty little boys teeming with with spitfire and sass, and endlessly adorable.  

Other days, I wake up feeling nothing but guilt.  See, those virtual support groups to which I belong are constantly filling my newsfeed with heartbreaking tales of loss and personal devastation.  Early yesterday morning for example, I found myself watching a  four minute UTube video one mother had posted of her cradling her stillborn son (photos set to a Sarah McLaughlin song).  I watched it from start to finish, immersing myself in each beautiful and devastating photo.  Moments later, I was asked to pray for a woman who lost her 24-week baby after delivering in an ambulance.  

I'll give you a minute to pull yourself together.  

So it's not really a wonder then that shortly after these encounters I spent the ten minute trip to meet my running buddy ugly-crying in my car, right?  

I know.  There's an easy fix to all this anguish.  The tragedies aren't mine.  My story has a really nice ending.  There's no reason to spend every other day grieving for the terrible loss of some total stranger, right?  I could easily leave those groups, or even just 'hide' the posts from my feed.  I could even do it from my phone, right now, with two taps of my finger.  

Sure, it wouldn't mean that babies would suddenly stop dying and that their parents would suddenly quit being torn apart with sorrow and despair.  It would just mean that I wouldn't have to scroll past the tormented posts of their mourning parents in order to watch that video of the lip-dup proposal that my old classmate posted or laugh at the latest cartoon from The Oatmeal.  I could instead go about my day living in blissful ignorance to the pain and suffering felt that same day by those parents of preemies who were too fragile or sick to survive.  It's what we all do, really.  We have to turn blinders on to all the tragedies that happen daily all across the globe so we can make it to work without melting down in despair somewhere during our commute.  

But somehow, I just can't bring myself to hide those posts.  

And no, I don't even think it's the same as that innate fascination we all have with 'watching a trainwreck.'  Instead, I think it's a form of survivor's guilt.  Why should I be so lucky to have gone into labor before the prescribed amount of time (twice!) and be fortunate to bring home a tiny but basically unscathed baby (both times) when other women are met with such unimaginable tragedy under similar circumstances?  The whole thing leaves me feeling conflicted and guilt-stricken.  

Who's to say that these women aren't more patient or kind or loving?  Who's to say they're not more suited to be mothers than me?  Certainly there are women who have ached to be mothers more than I ever did; ladies for whom motherhood is all they ever really wanted.  It makes me self-conscious of all the moments I get to nuzzle a newborn or tickle a toddler while cribs sit cold and empty in homes of potentially more worthy parents.    

At times of tragedy, people often talk about 'God's Plan.' Well, it leaves me wondering what sort of sick son of a bitch is running things up there.  

Please don't get me wrong, I did not write this post to generate sympathy for myself and my misplaced culpability.  Instead, I hope to honor the tiny souls that have moved on too soon and to honor the courage of their parents.  I can't imagine the bravery required to somehow find a pathway through such devastating tragedy.  

We are so lucky to be living In a time where modern science has taken a giant slice out of the infant mortality rate.  On this day designated to promote awareness of prematurity all over the world, please take just one moment to reflect on the struggles of those impossibly small warriors (both fighting and fallen) and their enormously courageous parents.  Then, if you want to do more, visit any of these sites to see how...

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Laughter or the Looney Bin

This post is part of the first Humor in Parenting (and Breastfeeding!) Blog Carnival inspired by the anthology "Have Milk, Will Travel: Adventures in Breastfeeding", a collection edited by Rachel Epp Buller and published by Demeter Press in August 2013. The anthology looks at the lighter side of nursing. All of its contributors found something funny to say about their days as a non-stop milk shop, even if it was a tough job to have.

This carnival celebrates the craziness that is parenting and asks the question of how we use humor to get through our days, or minutes, or years. Just what's so funny about being a parent? And why is it soimportant to make life with kids funny even when it doesn't exactly seem hilarious?

Please share widely and connect us with other funny parents who are blogging and Tweeting. Use the hashtags #funnybreastfeeding and #humorcarnival along with whatever witty originals you come up with. Those ought to be worth some laughs, too!

See below for links to the other contributors. And, as you might have said to your nursling once upon a time, enjoy the buffet!


During my first pregnancy, a girlfriend sent me a link to an article on Parenting.com about preparing for breast feeding. Take a moment to click and read it for yourself (don't forget about me though! I'll still be here rambling away, pining over your virtual absence the whole time you're gone).  

Oh good, you're back.  The article was - and is - comic genius, am I right? Which really doesn't really explain why it made me cry.  The thing that does explain my tears is simple: hormones.  Hormones and anxiety.  They're essentially the two defining factors of a pregnant woman; the reasons you better watch you ass around those crazy, bloated, unpredictable lunatics.

My reaction was alarming though.  See, I happen to fancy myself a fun-loving, good-humored sorta chick.  Humorous snippets on the Internet are my wheelhouse.  I can frequently be found watching comics stream on my Netflix account or listening to them on Pandora.  My heroes are Tina Fay and Mindy Kahling.  Laughing is my thing.

Yet here I was weeping like a--for lack of a better analogy--baby, over an article that was meant to inspire it's readers to engage in chuckles and belly laughs and spit-takes (my thing dammit!).  Who was this weepy stranger who had suddenly invaded my ballooning body?

As my pregnancy progressed, I was generally able to generally keep those bastard hormones in check.  That is, until I reached 31 weeks and my water broke.  

I was sitting innocently at our dining room table, piecing a puzzle together with my neighbor's three-year-old during the St Patrick's Day/30th Birthday Party we were throwing in honor of my husband.  All of a sudden, my chair filled with a warm fluid which I initially mistook for urine (so I sat quietly contemplating my exit strategy for more than a couple of minutes). Eventually I clued myself in on the significance of what was happening, mainly because my neighbor (mom, not 3-year-old) was able to spot the look of panic on my face and then guide me out of denial.

Can I just say there's no more dramatic way to bust up a party than by sending a bawling pregnant woman and her drunk husband out the door to deal with the premature arrival of their first child?  To make matters even more dramatic, the only other truly sober party-goer was a very pregnant girlfriend of mine who sprung into action by inquiring about a hospital bag (which only made me cry harder...of course I didn't have a bag packed!) and herding us into the backseat of her shiny new mom-sized-SUV -- at least someone was prepared for parenthood.  It seems that between my tears, I was able to spout accurate directions to the hospital where I had planned to deliver.  Guess which one of us they wanted to plop in a wheelchair and roll over to maternity?  I'll give you a hint, it wasn't the one who looked like she'd just had one too many servings of corned beef. 

Upon further investigation (and the three cups of coffee ascertained by our preggo friend and her husband for the purposes of sobering up my husband) it was determined that my membrane had indeed ruptured and I would be admitted to the hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy, which would ideally be at least a month, but turned out to be only 20 hours.  

The delivery of my first son was painful (vaginal delivery of a breech baby, no time for an epidural...my vagina still hasn't forgiven me), mercifully fast, and happened during the brief period after my husband and I had finally decided it was safe for him to sneak away for a real meal.  And also a brief but futile argument with the doctor as they were wheeling me to the delivery room and anther when they told me to push (but I never made it to the classes! I don't know what to do!)

Needless to say, there were more tears at this point.  

In the five weeks that followed, my husband and I bounced between work, our home, and the hospital's NICU and I discovered the devastating combination of hormones and sleep deprivation that provide new mothers with a foggy, tearful, blended sense of fatigue and bliss. 

I cried with my breast pump, in the car, as I decorated the nursery, while buying tiny preemie clothes that sagged off our tiny little man, and once when I ran into my poor, unsuspecting OB who was trying to get home from working a 36-hour shift but made the enormous mistake of asking how I was doing.  

Again, all these unprovoked tears were disturbing to both me and my husband -- who one time had to simply turn the radio off because every station seemed to be playing a song that made me cry harder than the last. 

I eventually leveled out as our son came home and we all learned to sleep better.  My husband and I adjusted our sense of 'normal' as all new parents do.  We settled in to witness all the tiny miracles that make up the first few months of human life; all the while, falling deeper and deeper in love with our amazing little creation.  Laughter began to once again outnumber my tears.

Then...BAM!  I was pregnant again.  
(Betcha didn't see that coming)

No one was happier than this guy. 

That's right ladies, I am a walking, talking, cautionary tale for woman who stupidly rely on nursing as their primarily form of birth control.  Don't get me wrong, we were both thrilled.  Maybe just a little freaked to learn that #2 was scheduled to arrive a mere 17 months after we had welcomed #1.  

I soon discovered that my previous OB had scaled her practice back (possibly because she was tired of evoking tears in her patients with common niceties exchanged in hallways) and therefore I had to choose a new doctor to guide us through the chaos of my second pregnancy.  The new OB was very matter-of-fact and reassuring, but that didn't stop me from lying awake at night, reading up on the odds of delivering a second preemie.

Sure enough, a little beyond the halfway point of my pregnancy, we began watching my cervix slowly thin out on biweekly and then weekly ultrasounds. Eventually we also discovered that unbeknownst to me, I was having contractions as well.  By the 30th week of my second pregnancy, I was admitted to the hospital with an official diagnosis of preterm labor.  My cervix had basically sacked out, I was beginning to dilate, and my contractions had become even more persistent and evasive to the medication I had been taking regularly, though they were still barely detectable.

I remember feeling a particular sense of foreboding as I sulked my way across the parking lot that separated my OB's office from the hospital, nervously clenching the 32-ounce water bottle that I had foolishly hoped would be my salvation and desperately breathing in the warm spring air like I imagine a prison inmate might do in the precious last minutes before being incarcerated.

The next five days were a bit surreal.  I was admitted, gouged with an IV and pumped so full of magnesium sulfate that I could barely walk straight.  And of course, I once again morphed into my alter ego: Weepy McBasket-Case, who is summoned to deal with any pregnancy-related crises that might arise.  

Despite the best efforts of the medical team assigned to my case, Ms. McBasket-Case delivered her second son at 31 weeks and 2 days, just one day shy of the gestational age achieved by his brother (that kid is clearly a competitor). 

And so we suited up and jumped back in the ring for round two of the NICU challenge.  The walls had been repainted and the security doors had been replaced, but much of the staff was the same and they were just as bewildered as we were to learn of our encore appearance so soon after #1 (a 17 month age difference had suddenly become only 15).  Round 2 was a bit more chaotic than Round 1 had been, what with adding that additional 15-month-old into the mix.  But the stay was a bit shorter and a bit less stressful by virtue of the fact that we had been there and done that.  

The thing we didn't anticipate was a 10-day face-off with viral meningitis, earning us a PICU stay and a ventilator a mere week and a half after discharging home.  (It's possible our health insurance provider has decided to just put a hit out on our entire family so we don't end up tanking the whole system). You can imagine that ol Weepy McB was there for every step of that road.  

We now reside in a far less dramatic and chaotic world.  My oldest is nearly 20 months old now and the little guy is 4.5 months (making them respectively 18 and 2.5 months 'age adjusted').  Much of the medical side-show we had created is now a vague memory and it all feels a bit like a dream where the details are fuzzy, but the feelings it evoked are still fresh.  The tears have subsided some, but as a mom, I think I will always be putty in the hands of the marketing team over at Johnson & Johnson (those bastards know just how to trigger an ugly cry).

It was in the days after being admitted with my second son that I began composing my blog; thus joining the ranks of the bazillion and ten mommy- bloggers on the planet (you're welcome, world...).   In writing blog entries, I was able to both vent and find perspective; also, two imperative things became abundantly clear:

1) The tears were an important part of my coping strategy; Weepy McBasket-Case was indeed a necessary evil.  


2) Without my usual identification as a fun-loving, good-natured kinda gal, I might have lost my mind completely.  

I am so lucky to have married a man who fills my chuckle bucket (that didn't sound right, now did it?) and makes me laugh with such ease.  In that shiny new SUV after my water broke, he held my hand and cracked more than a couple of zingers to lighten the mood.  He brought nothing but smiles into the delivery room even after missing the arrival of his first-born (though he did comment on the bloody state of the room, noting later that it resembled a crime scene).  It was his quick wit and my need to laugh that got us through the chaos of my failing mommy-parts and eventual early delivery of our second son.  

Laughter has most definitely kept us both afloat in the past 20 months, it helped chase away the tears in a delicate process necessary to cleanse my anxiety.  Laughter has kept us strong as a couple and grounded as parents.  Our toddler loves nothing more than to make us laugh and sometimes just flings himself into our arms, all giggles and dimples for no apparent reason.  Even the littlest guy is suddenly cracking smiles and melting hearts like a true professional. 


I am so grateful for smiles and giggles and quick wit.  I am so lucky to have my boys and the joy they all bring.  Even if it means there might have been some tears along the way as well.

Follow Ready or Not Mom on Facebook, you won't regret it.


Please check out these the other submissions to our humor carnival:

I will sleep when I'm dead:
Zoie at TouchstoneZ needs some sleep but her kids have other ideas.

Boobs are in the House
 Jenny of Half Crunchy Mom shares how her love affair with her nursing breasts was hindered only by the act of pumping, but she found a way to party with the pump.

Send in the Nipple Clowns
Pickle Me This shares a story in which a mother who hasn't slept more than three hours in a row for six months reflects back on the comedy of her breastfeeding life.

And, from Have Milk contributors:

The importance of laughter
Jessica Claire Haney of Crunchy-Chewy Mama gets serious about looking for humor with her kids where her own parents didn't.

Underwater and Excuse Me Adriann Cocker of Cockerchat muses on the absurdity of parenting while leading a hip loft lifestyle in downtown Los Angeles.

To learn more about Have Milk, Will Travel, or to buy a copy for your favorite mom

(or the people who love her), visit the Have Milk, Will Travel: Adventures in Breastfeeding site