Friday, January 30, 2009

Snow Week Craft Recap

Tuesday: Fannie the Squirrel feeders out of cardboard tubes, peanut butter, and bird seed.

Wednesday: Snowball fight and work for Mommy

Thursday: Cardboard tube kaleidoscope (Have the child decorate the tube. Then have the child use a cheese grater to grate a bit of crayon onto some parchment paper or wax paper. Fold paper over, and iron on very low, allowing the wax to melt inside the paper just slightly. It will cool very quickly. Then, put the colored part over one end of the tube and secure with a rubber band. Produce bands work well. Ta-da!)

Friday: Footprint snowman t-shirt

I'm running out of ideas and we might get more snow next week! Luckily, I have to work all weekend, so Daddy will be in charge of child-entertainment!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow Day Redux

Well, I guess somebody at the top got the message that last week's snow day didn't turn out too well. We got a do-over, and boy oh boy have we been snowed and iced in! We're going on day four of cooped up, but yesterday even the men-folk were home, so in the name of getting the kids out to play, a snow-ball fight ensued amongst children and adults alike. Yesterday was a great day, the kind of day that makes you really love the place you live.

The men-folk returned to work today, though the women and children were still mostly iced in. Today was fairly calm and peaceful. I fell on the ice and hurt my arm, but I don't think it's broken, though it hurts like the devil. Luckily, Mr. TFM and I both suffer bouts of carpel-tunnel syndrome (WoW), so I had a wrist brace handy. While I could have done without the injury, I have to admit that I love shoveling snow. When you've been cooped up for a couple days, shoveling snow really takes the anxious right out of a person. I shoveled all the snow I could reasonably shovel, up until I realized my wrist was really too hurt to go on. I will sleep the pure sleep of the clean-conscienced, worn-out.

Onto the photos!

That tree is seriously encased in ice. The tree damage to this neighborhood's old trees would make the Lorax mad at Mother Nature. I did NOT edit out the background on the above photo; it's really that white out.

That tree is entirely encased in ice. We've gone way above and beyond raising a tree-hugger. We're raising a tree-licker. The adult behind the tree is throwing snowballs. I'm telling you, it's a great neighborhood. It was a great day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Unphenomenal Woman, That's Me

Somebody recently called me a Feminist. I've been called many things; crazy, bitch, obsessive-compulsive. Hell, there has even been the occasional "C" word thrown in a few times for good measure. But I don't think I've ever been called a Feminist.

I am the sort of person who does not make a habit of aligning myself with particular groups of people. I am not a Christian by name, nor a Pagan. I spent a few years dutifully running around with The Mommies, but I abandoned that social order as soon as I possibly could. I am not an entrepreneur, as I do not currently own my own business. I am not a house-wife, as I do have a paying career (it just happens to be from my own house). I am not a philanthropist, though I do as much charitable work as I can manage. I don't like labels.

What I am is Myself. My status as Mother and Wife does not immediately classify me with any of the social assumptions about those positions. I am a writer. I am driven to write in much the same way I am driven to breath. My life is spent writing-- everything I do, every small task I accomplish, is done with a running monologue in my mind. But I am not full of angst, suffering for my craft. I am a crafter. I love creating lovely little things then giving them away to spread love and joy to others. Everybody should have at least a few handmade items in their home.

I am all of these things, and many more. But I am also none of these things. Any moment I might decide to pack away the sewing machine, or change my name and disappear into the wild blue yonder. I do these things not because they are who I am, but because I enjoy them. I am wary of being labeled "Feminist" because I just think that I truly am NOT a Feminist. "The Stepford Wives" is one of my favorite movies. When I'm ironing my family's clothes, I often sigh and think how wonderful it would be to be a brainwashed robot and not care that I have to do housework. To me, that sounds like freedom.

Some have said that my forging ahead and creating a career of my writing makes me a Feminist. That following my dream is what Feminism is all about. But I worry about the dichotomy there. Writing isn't a choice for me-- it is something that I am constantly, unrelentlessly driven to. By the same token, so is Motherhood. I am driven to have children. To raise them, teach them, play with them. Even to sew monsters for them. I cannot do both if I label myself. I cannot be Feminist and Stay-at-home parent. Every stitch I sew for my son is one stitch away from Feminism, and every word I am paid for is another word away from Mommy.

Call me what you want. But I know that I do not fit into any category. I am simply me, getting through my days.


This post is being cross-posted at the Oxdown Gazette. I have been invited to become a regular poster there, and will do my best not to cross-post much, so keep an eye out here and at Oxdown for more TFM!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Modern Times Call For Desperate Measures

I love Barbie. I love to dress them up and make them CEO's of everything. When I was little, I had a Barbie who wore a career suit. She owned her own company and GI Joe was her right-hand man. Because his underwear was molded on, Ken stayed home and cooked and cleaned and whined a lot.

Now that I'm an adult, I love to buy Barbies for the little girls in my life. Now that I can read labels, I feel certain that my CEO*Ruler of Everything Barbie was probably actually something along the lines of "I Can File Alphabetically and Service My Boss Under His Desk" Barbie. I resent that there is "Animal Doctor" Barbie. Call her a Veterinarian. I resent "Preschool Teacher" Barbie. Why not "Highly Acclaimed and Professionally Sought After PhD Professor" Barbie?

So, when I give the girls in my life Barbies for their birthdays, I make a point of repackaging them. Instead of "Some Stupid Girls Never Amount To Much" Barbie, I cover the boxes with paper and write something like "Follow Your Dreams, Realize Your Own Potential" Barbie. Or "The Sky Isn't The Limit, Even The Sky Is Too Low For You" Barbie. Or my favorite, "Burning With Her Own Potential" Barbie, who even has a note asking "What dream will she fulfill today?"

The first little girl to receive such a Barbie from me was my friend Rebekah's first daughter. Several months later, Rebekah repaid me in kind by giving Ezra a Military Ken. Ezra never really cared much about Ken (smart kid), but a few weeks ago some of the adults decided to try on the non-regulation clothes that Ken had come with. Apparently, Ken doesn't understand what "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" really signifies. His shirt is too short and his pants ride too low.

I give you "Don't Ask; I'll Tell" Ken:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Praise The Lord and Pass the Ammunition

On MLK Day, we were also gifted with a snow day:

Ezra made snow angels all the way around the block:

I hope lots of people encountered them and smiled:

I sure did.


For those who have heard tidbits and are confused, yes the day was partially ruined by a Golden Retriever, now called "Cujo" who barreled out of an open garage and attacked Ezra. Ezra is fine-- thank God for over sized puffy winter coats. The dog had no interest in me, even though I made myself as threatening as possible by kicking it and yelling for help. I guess this dog doesn't have children, or it would have known not to mess with a Mommy. The owner is obviously an idiot, and did not seem to comprehend just how bad the situation was or could have been. He obviously also does not have children, or he would have also known not to mess with a Mommy.

I guess he will find out soon, as Animal Control is labeling this an "Aggressive Dog Investigation" and just as soon as the idiot returns from wherever he's been for the past couple days, he will find a large man with a gun knocking on his door. The large men with guns have already knocked on my door twice because of this, and even though I'm the one who called them and my son is the victim, even I am intimidated by them. Did I mention they have guns? Also, they have rabies poles. They have informed me that they also have the ability to hit the idiot with a pretty severe fine, and the number that was quoted to me made me break out into a cold sweat.

Yes, I witnessed the guy let the dog out of a frontal door unleashed AND unattended. Yes, I want the dog gone, and (God help my immortal soul), I have to admit that I want to get one good last kick in before it goes. I am scared, and very very angry. However, I also do not want some freaking fight with one of my neighbors. Therein lies the problem. Ezra is not the only person that this dog has terrified. Many of the neighbors feel that this is the last straw as they are tired of being terrorized by a ninety-pound dog and an owner who insists that "Jake just thinks he's a Cocker Spaniel".

So, if you happen to see an angry mob carrying torches and yelling "Get the Monster!", please just stay inside. And now that you've read this and been brought up to date, please scroll back up and ponder the beauty of a little boy making snow angels in 1/2 inch of snow. It's important to focus on the beauty in life, and do our best to let go of the ugly. Snow angels.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This Changes Everything

Ezra has been working on learning to read. He's been working very, very hard. So far, we've still been able to get away with spelling some things in front of him. But just now, he picked up a toy from his train set, looked at it, and said "Mommy! This says Toys R Us!".
It'sway imetay otay earnlay igpay Atinlay.

(Also, Alicia over at Posit Gets Cozy has put up a link to the legal copy of the Inaugural poem. You can get it here.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!

Okay Universe, now that a new Era has begun, let's chill things out a bit.

I am blessed enough to have been invited next door to watch the Inauguration with friends, both old and new. I did indeed make a new friend today, a woman whom I think I have much in common with. It was just what my Inauguration Day needed. :) The hope of a new friend.

I thought that the poem Praise Song For The Day, by Poet Laurette Elizabeth Alexander was perfect. Perfect for America, and perfect for me right now. You can read the poem over at Posie Gets Cozy.

Congratulations America!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Last Night I Cried

I wept for my husband, who is married to a woman that can't give him the family he wants.
I wept for my son, who is so very lonely for another child to share his life with.

Yesterday, I took Ezra to McD's after school so he could burn off some energy and have some time to just play with other kids. At one point, he studied a family that included a brother and sister. He came over to me, buried his face in my neck and said "Mommy, I don't have a brother or sister. I really want one."

I held it together then. But last night, I cried.

Magnetic Personality

The art studio has become our new family room. Ezra rushes in there every day as soon as he gets home, and it just seems the natural place to hang out. I was looking for a fast Valentine's craft to make, and decided I felt like making magnets. I've been making these for years, and I love that it is inexpensive, can be done on a small space like a coffee table, and cleanup is super easy if you put down paper first (which you absolutely should do). I used not martha's tutorial. Megan does a great job of explaining things, so I recommend checking it out.

Dr. Seuss magnets! The Pottery Barn Kids catalog is great for finding tiny pictures. They just launched a Dr. Seuss bedroom series and I was thrilled to make these magnets! Ezra loves them. Note the Lorax with his truffula trees on the top right.

Hearts and sweet animals for V-day. My favorite is the owl:

Isn't he cute peeking out at you?

And because I'm starting to get desperate for spring (it's - 1 degree this morning), lady bugs:

I love the little Miss on the stalk (bottom left).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

On My Own Island

So, we won't be having any more children. My son is in school all day. Therefore, I am no longer a stay-at-home Mom. I only work very part time.

So what does that make me? (Other than lost?)

6 Degrees of Mental Separation

The high temperature today seems to be 10. That's 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Whitney, Katie, Matt -- shut up. Also, the low tonight will be 1. That's the kind of thing they tell you when they don't want you to know the truth. If we think it's 1 degree, maybe we'll be fooled into being grateful for just how warm that really is. 1. Just 1.

It's been pretty cold around here for a couple weeks, and that mostly corresponds with the kids being back in school. So, I'm starting to get a little tweaky. It's so cold, I don't want to open the curtains because I'm convinced that when I open the curtains Dick Cheney comes and sucks the heat right out of my house via the windows. Really, with his big sucker-fish mouth and everything. It's very disturbing.

So, no open curtains means no sunshine, means these walls they are a closin' in. Also, we turned off the cable. So, I go to the gym every day now. The gym has big windows with no curtains. The gym has CSI right there on my own little personal tv mounted to the machine. *Sigh* I love the gym.

Also, say hello to Fannie:

Fannie used to be named Archimedes, until I decided that she is a she, and she most likely has little squirrely babies up in that big nest in the tree in the driveway. Fannie had a habit of getting into the shed and eating bird food. That was pretty okay with us, until she started searching our stuff to pilfer it. So, I had to move the bag of seed into the house. I felt bad about it (I mean, she does have those squirrely babies to feed, and did I mention it's going to be 1 degree tonight?), so I made her a feeder out of a toilet paper tube, peanut butter, and bird seed. This photo was taken about 10 minutes after I hung it out. About 10 minutes after the photo was taken, the entire feeder was gone. Squirrelled away up the tree to those sweet squirrely babies.

Also, this all happened while the guy was here last week turning off the cable. That guy may have overheard a conversation between myself and Fannie. I may have had to explain that there was a squirrell, right there on that branch, looking at me, and that I needed to explain some things to her.

(Ps. I just read the above and it appears that I think that eating will keep Fannie warm. I might have a screwed up relationship with food)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Worth Getting Excited Over

Jessica, over at How About Orange has a post up today about a new movie coming out in which EVERYTHING is Made. By. Hand. I love that. I'll have to go see it in the theatre. Hopefully I can find somebody to go with me (hint, hint). Check out the info and the trailor over at Coraline.

Monday, January 12, 2009

So Good, You Can't Read It At Bedtime

My friend and neighbor, Anna, introduced me to the book series that HBO's "True Blood" is based on. The books kick the tv show's butt. They are so good, I'm having hard time doing anything other than reading them, and laundry is really piling up around here. They are hard to get at the library, as they are so ragingly popular, but are so good they are worth buying. Amazon has the box set at a very reasonable price, and also has used books available. Run out and get yourself started. Your only regret will be that you will have to put them down long enough to feed yourself.

The author is Charlaine Harris, the series is "The Sookie Stackhouse Series" and the first book is titled Dead Until Dark. Harris has created a rich, magical world that you won't ever want to leave. Girl meets vampires. Vampires get girl into all kinds of trouble. Vampires take good care of girl. Readers swoon.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Chasing My Tail

So, I found a new Ob/Gyn that specializes in PCOS. I went to see her a few months ago, and she prescribed a mood drug called Lexapro. The hope was that the Lexapro would counteract the effects of the hormone imbalance and I would be able to go off the birth control pills without going crazy.

I took my first dose of Lexapro last Friday night. On Saturday I felt totally out of it, nervous, twitchy, and disconnected. Uh-huh, I thought. That could be normal. These things often take several days to adjust to. Saturday evening I decided to turn in early and took my second dose of Lexapro. An hour later I began having serious muscle jerks in my arms and legs that lasted all night and into the next day. Sunday I spoke to the doctor on call who instructed me to never take Lexapro again. All day Sunday I suffered muscle spasms, muscle tightening, muscle tremors, and was very zoned out and couldn't stay focused. I spent seven hours watching Star Wars on tv. Chris kept suggesting that I put in the dvds and not have to watch commercials, but I just didn't care.

So, Thursday I saw my Ob/Gyn and we discussed my severe reaction to the Lexapro. Since our last meeting, she had obtained and read all my prior medical records. So, the new trying-to-concieve (ttc) plan looks like this:

Step 1: Try as many mood drugs as it takes to find one that works
Step 2: Providing we find a mood stabalizer that works, stop birth control pills
Step 3: Begin Clomid
Step 4: Begin Progesterone (not orally) every cycle beginning cd (cycle day) 17 and up until I get my period
Step 5: If we actually manage to get pregnant, begin daily blood thinner shots of Lovenox. In the ass. With the blurning and bruising. For the entire freaking pregnancy.
Step 6: If we actually manage to get pregnant, stay on Progesterone through pregnancy week 12
Step 7: Hope that the pregnancy progresses healthily and all these drugs don't have a negative effect on me or the baby.

We've been through most of this so many times in the past three years, I've lost count. Clomid, progesterone, lovenox. I just don't think I can handle another round. But I just can't handle the heartbreak either.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It is done! Sort of.

Yesterday we cleaned up the paint supplies, though we still need to paint the trim a fresh white. We can do that when we paint the kitchen cabinets and trim-- I couldn't wait any longer to get our art studio up and running!

The furniture is currently mismatched. That sewing table is a treasure given to me by my dear friend Regan. Appearantly her family has several of them just collecting dust, so they were kind enough to send me this one. I love it! It's my first real sewing table! A place for my machine to live, without ever having to be packed away!

This is Ezra's work station for now. He and I each have old card tables. I covered them with old table cloths because the card tables are in terrible condition. Plus, the purple cloths are kind of fun.

You can see Chris's work station to the right. He has the sturdiest table for now, because he carves miniatures and needs a sturdy table to work on. You can also see his new DayLight lamp that I got him for Christmas. It has a great magnifying glass on it too. Last night was the first time he was able to set it up. It's a winner :)

We are planning on figuring out just exactly what we need over the next few months, then doing an Ikea run. We are thinking maybe mounted cabinets above, with lights coming down, then something this like for work stations:
That's the Ikea Vika Amon/ Vika Annefors combination. We're giving ourselves a few months to use the space before we make any final decisions. When we do, Ezra will get his own new workstation too.

So, the furniture is mismatched, but even so, I really love it. It is great to have my sewing maching off my computer desk, and just to have a designated space for each of us to craft. We had to pry Ezra away last night to put him to bed, and this morning he took advantage of a few extra minutes before school to sneak in there again. Of all the ideas we've tossed around for the tiny bedroom next to ours, this is absolutely the best.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A New Year, A New Setup

Sometime this morning the cable guy is coming to turn off our cable and take away our digital box. We have finally had enough of paying through the nose for commercial-laden television. This happily coincides with the completion of our in-house art studio. I imagine not having readily-available T.V. will change our family for the best.

This comes after much research into the availability of shows we like on the internet. Last night, I lied in bed and was determined to watch television, as a goodbye sort of thing. I found that there was nothing on at all and turned it off, certain that our decision is the right one. So, stay tuned here for what is certain to end up being a lot more crafting!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Open and Honest

A few years ago I started my first blog with the intention of using it to explore and discuss my infertility issues. At the time, my son was at home and I found that I just never had it in me to open up about it. I'm finding that it is still difficult, but I have hope that if I open up, somebody suffering through infertility will find this blog and maybe I will be able to help that person. If only knowing that somebody else has been there.

It seems that I am nearing the end of my infertility struggle, so from time to time I will possibly post about things that happened years ago. I may jump around a bit- putting it all into a timeline is something I don't feel up to right now.

I will start by saying this: After years of struggling to find the cause, I finally took myself to an Endocrinologist of my choosing. She looked back through my history, and really truly listened to what I was telling her. About a year ago, she decided that the problem lay in something I had been told when I was 15. Then, I was told that I had cysts on my ovaries that I would outgrow once I finished puberty. I didn't outgrow them, and in fact I have Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOD, also called PCOS). Not only is this causing my infertility, but a host of other health symptoms and problems that have to be untangled and dealt with.

There. It's out. For those who aren't so interested in my health issues, I will still be posting regularly about my son, my art, my life. But I need to also talk about my illness because it really is the backdrop against which the rest of my life is lived.