Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Friendly Reminder

Don't get so caught up in the 'what-ifs' that you miss what is.

This is directed at me, but I thought I'd share.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Music Monday

BUMD and I will celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary this Wednesday. In August, we'll celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. Confused? Well, as usual, we did what works best for us. In this case, we had our wedding in May 1991 and a church wedding in August 1992.

The first wedding was a small, private affair - just him, me, and his best friend. Brett held the scabbard while BUMD and I jumped over the sword. We'd decided that we were committed to each other, so the marriage was official to us (albeit not legal). That was fine for the moment; my parents had already said that they wouldn't support a married student and I still had one more year of school to go. BUMD had just graduated and had work to do here in VA. We spent the rest of that year trying to spend time together at least once a month, until I graduated in May of 1992. We moved into our new apartment in VA in July.

In August, we had the official church wedding. I suppose I can't blame my parents for doubting our initial commitment. We had, after all, only been dating for three months before getting engaged. The family engagement track record wasn't too hot at that point, as my sister and brother had recently broken off long-time engagements. Our relationship was clearly different. We just were, and are, right for each other. We couldn't see a reason that we shouldn't be married, so we decided that we were. Formalizing the relationship in front of a larger audience and signing some paperwork made it official to others. Therefore, we celebrate both dates.

Since we didn't wait to get married, I never had the "Wedding Bell Blues" that Fifth Dimension sings about. That hasn't stopped me from loving the song. I was tickled to hear K singing along with it today. I've clearly been playing it enough lately.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I Want Candy!

Anyone who knows me knows that the phrase "I Want Candy" doesn't leave my lips very often. "I Want Chocolate" - well, that's far more common ("I Neeeeeed Chocolate" even more so). Our family avoids food dyes and other chemicals, so most candy is out. The kids are hardly deprived - the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus bring high quality chocolate, and most Halloween candy is traded in for a toy or other present. As a result, their consumption of the usual candy you'll find in grocery stores is limited, at best.

There are, of course, exceptions. Some things just have to be experienced. Twizzlers, sadly, are out. Thank goodness I didn't make the dye=crazy connection until after K was a toddler. A steady supply of Twizzlers helped me get through grad school. Mmmmmm - strawberry twizzlers. Panda black licorice is good, but it's just not the same. I just found that they make a raspberry version - I might have to track it down.

One of the essential candy experiences takes place in the movie theatre. Sure, popcorn is great, but I want my Junior Mints. Chocolate and mint - is there a better combination? Unfortunately, I had to settle yesterday. I took the kids to see the Hannah Montana movie. K and A were excited, C less so. We got our tickets and walked up to the concessions stand in gleeful anticipation of experiencing a Junior Mint-and-Popcorn induced movie theatre coma. But - no Junior Mints! The nerve, I tell you.

K and I looked through the rest of the offerings and I decided on my next favorites - Sno-Caps. K asked what they were and I turned to her in shock. How could I have missed this part of her childhood education? It's already slightly stunted from lack of Swedish Fish and Jolly Ranchers. Sno-Caps are fairly safe (no red dye, but vanillin (synthetic vanilla - yuck!). So first I asked for one box, then decided to play it safe and get two. We made quick work of them. Even C, who mostly lacks a sweet tooth (and can eat red dye stuff without going insane), ate a fair bit. The popcorn was suitably salty and the movie was bearable. It was even quite good in some places. It gives me a lot of hope for Miley Cyrus's career beyond Hannah Montana.

I'm sure I'm horrifying the hard-core Feingold evangelists. I just prefer to do things in moderation. If it won't kill them, why not let them try it? That said, this was A's first and probably last experience with movie theatre popcorn. Midway through the movie, she started coughing. Later, she said her throat hurt, which is the same feeling I get when I consume cinnamon. She had a negative skin test to corn last year, but it looks like her allergy remains. It's the same cough she had with soy milk. When we switched to rice milk, it went away. Oh well, at least she got to experience it once. Next time, though, I'm bringing my own Junior Mints. Some things are just essential to the experience.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What Goes Around

It seems like every time I check out at a store, someone asks for a donation to a charity. Homeless pets, people with disabilities (really - that's how they phrased it), cancer, you name it. It's like a gift with purchase, only it's going to someone else. I actually admire this approach, even if it's a bit overwhelming to be asked every time. I usually end up giving some small amount - it's barely noticeable to me, but if everyone does it the donations really add up.

It came as no surprise to me a couple of weeks ago when the cashier at Borders asked if I wanted to donate a book. They were collecting books for kids at Children's National Medical Center and Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children. This was a really easy sell. I am a sucker for books and A has been spending time with specialists at both hospitals. I even got to choose which book I wanted to donate. I was happy to make that donation, but a little skeptical because BUMD's cashier didn't ask him to donate (we always check out separately so we can each use coupons). I eventually shrugged it off and figured that Borders is a good business - surely someone got to enjoy those books.

Just over a week later, I got my answer. We were in Borders (again) when A had to go to the bathroom. I took her in and she decided that we should share a stall. She's six and relishes her independence, so this doesn't happen much anymore. As I was helping her, I realized that the pee in the toilet was pink. Now, she's known as the "Reigning Queen of Pink, Duchess of Fluff, and High Protector of Barbies", but this was taking her pink-love a bit too far. We headed back home in a bit of a tizzy and I made her pee in a cup so I could see for sure. Again, pink/red pee. I put in a call to her primary care, who told me to call her nephrologist, who told me to take her into the ER. Yeah, Happy Mother's Day to me. It wasn't like BUMD could take her - he doesn't do girl part stuff or needles if he can help it.

We went to Fairfax Hospital, where we stood in line for a few minutes before signing in. After waiting for a few more minutes, we were called back to the kids' triage area. From there, we were escorted to the kids ER. They found a small gown for her and then showed us to a room with a bed, rocking chair, a small TV, and the usual ER stuff. A was particularly delighted by having a gown that fit her. We keep ending up at facilities that serve mostly adults and have no child-size gown. She always looks like she's wearing a kimono. She told the nurse that she walked like a penguin in those gowns. She cracks me up.

Once she was in the gown she had to pee in their cup (and yes - I brought the pink pee with me). Of course, now her pee was clear. It figures. They tested it while she was seen by nurses and doctors. In between those exams, she got to watch TV in bed - what a treat for her! The child life specialist stopped in to introduce herself and asked if there was anything she could do to help. She then excused herself and came back with a selection of books. She told us that they had been donated to the hospital and that A could choose one to keep. Ah ha! Well, that answered my question.

Eventually, it was determined that A didn't have an infection. We were sent home and advised to see the nephrologist that week. We saw her on Tuesday. She sent A for a renal ultrasound, where they found a kidney stone. It should be no big deal, but it does explain the hematuria and perhaps the stomach cramps. We'll be keeping a close eye on things, since she only has the one kidney.

Overall, the visit to the ER was one of the best doctor's visits I've experienced. The staff was excellent, the facilities were nice, and everything went smoothly. We were home in less than two hours. Of course, the main reason is that A is not very sick. I'm exceptionally grateful for that.

We have a lot of appreciation for our good health these days. A's godmother also spent Mother's Day in the hospital with her son, who is our godson. Devin was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia in January. He entered Duke University Hospital in February and had a stem cell transplant in March. Yesterday, he was released from the hospital. He'll continue to be seen as an outpatient for a few months while they monitor his recovery. I am so, so thankful that he's doing so well. He is a fighter and we're so proud of him. We're also thankful that his parents have been taking such good care of him. They are exceptional people. A child (sorry - teenager) could not hope to have better advocates. If I can be half as good as them, my kids will be lucky. BUMD is going down to see them this weekend. We're excited that this moment has come. It's been a long winter and spring for them, but summer's definitely coming.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Yesterday was a Good Day

Not a great day, but a good day full of happy-inducing, soul-satisfying experiences. It needed some help getting there, but things were going my way and I made it happen. I love days like that.

The morning routine went smoothly. DH and I were able to get some quality time in. I left to get my hair cut and realized I didn't have any cash for tips, so I stopped into Trader Joe's to get some treats and cash back. While there, I noticed a group of small children surrounding the cooking/demonstration area. They were being shepherded by none other than Mrs. W., C's kindergarten teacher. I hadn't seen her since last year (all the kids are done with preschool now), so we had a chance to hug and briefly catch up. It was wonderful to see her.

From there, I went to see David. He worked his magic and made me look great. While I was waiting (color and highlights take a while), I started craving a hamburger. I shouldn't really give in, because BUMD and I are on the South Beach Diet. By the time my hair was done, I was a goner. I decided to go for it and a few minutes and miles later I walked into Johnny Rockets. Two men sitting at the counter smiled at me as I walked in. I'm decidedly not hot these days, but the happy feeling must've shown through. I took a seat at the counter. The waiter was pleasant. The music was good. I ordered a #12 with onion rings and a vanilla coke. The coke was perfect - crushed ice and yum in a I-haven't-had-a-coke-in-oh-so-long kind of way. The onion rings were also perfect - fresh and crispy with the ideal amount of batter. Nice. The burger was good - not the thick, juicy kind I was craving, but still tasty with a good amount of mayo and sauce, crisp lettuce, juicy tomato, and tangy onion. It was a really good diet-busting lunch.

To round things out, I went to TJ Maxx to spec out a new purse. While walking there, I passed a woman sitting on a bench. She asked for money. I gave my regrets, but then decided that if I found what I was looking for, I'd give her something on the way out. I not only found a purse, but also a hat. They're set aside until Sunday now. Thus satisfied, I made good on my promise. It's not a location where people are typically asking for money - I wonder what she was doing there?

Later, I was supposed to go to a meeting but was not exactly enthused about it. I let BUMD talk me into opening a bottle of wine and staying home instead. We cooked up a steak, made a ton of veggies (mostly back on the diet track), and sat down to watch some TV with the kids. Later, we got some more quality time.

So, there you have it - the ingredients of a good day. It took a combination of good decisions and fate to make it happen. Also a little laziness and some desire for good karma. All in all, it's the best Hump Day I've had a quite a while.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Music Monday

I love iTunes. I have all of my music in one place - all of the CDs in the house have been burned to a hard drive and every new one that comes inside gets the same treatment. Eventually, we'll get around to figuring out what parts of our vinyl and cassette collections will join the iTunes library. With over 16000 items in the library, there's a lot to listen to. We're fond on making playlists to suit our moods and quirks. Some days just beg for a playlist. Today, for instance, it's rainy and glum - so why not listen to songs that have the word "rain" in them? Some will make us feel better, while others just fit the mood outside. I noticed that one great "rain" song was missing from our collection. I'm rectifying it here. Garbage's Only Happy When it Rains definitely wakes me up and puts me in a better place.