Saturday, August 30, 2008

Just When I Get Out, They Pull Me Back In

As you can tell from my last post I've got some issues. I've over committed myself and its starting to mess with my head. Now my head, some may say, is already messed up and didn't need anything more added to the mix.

But I suffer from a condition common to many women, the inability to say no. No is a simple word, its only two letters N-O. But I find it difficult to say.

Maybe it stems from my junior high insecurities, I want you to like me so I'll say yes and help you out. So you'll think that Renee's a great girl, always willing to help out, let's be friends with her.

Maybe its a mom thing. I'm so used to helping someone meet their basic needs that its just easy to help anyone else. You can't find your dinosaur? You need help? Let mommy help you. You need me to what? Ok, I'll help.

Maybe its because I'm not working outside of the house anymore and I need a way to stay connected to the "real world". When I was working every day I didn't do this much. I said yes all day at work but said no to other things because I was too tired. Now that I'm home with Bunny its like "you want me to spend time with adults and not talk about dinosaurs or using the potty? Cool where do I sign up?"

Even when I want to say no, I say yes. Every fiber of my being is screaming no, no don't do it but my mouth is saying ok. Stupid mouth.

But after my panic attack on Friday, I decided to let go of something. I looked at what I was doing, planning a wine tasting event and being a team leader for the Obama campaign. I weighed the pros and cons of each.

Wine tasting - wine at all the planning meetings, meeting people who could help me get into writing, wine, manageable commitment, wine. Did I mention the wine. No real downside there.

Obama team - making a difference, making history. But there are some downsides - 10 hour per week commitment, recruiting new volunteers, too much responsibility, if someone doesn't do their job, I'd have to do it.

It seemed like the choice was clear. I was going to have to quit the Obama team. But I felt guilty. I'd made a commitment, how could I back out?

Bubs tried to reason with me. "You can still canvass and phone occasionally, just not all the time." He even said that Obama would understand and agree that I have to do what is right for me and my family. I'm not giving up completely, I'm still voting for him.

Ok, that did it. I was going to call the campaign and explain the situation. And then it happened. Mike from the campaign said Obama's coming on Monday. We want you to volunteer all day. You can hear him speak and possibly meet him. And what did I say? YES. I can quit next week.

Friday, August 29, 2008


I walked into the living room, my chest felt heavy. I sat down on the couch by myself but I was not alone. A feeling of dread enveloped me. My heart began to race and pound like it was going to come out of my chest. My mind began to jump from thought to thought, my mood darkening.

I was panicking.

I could see my daughter playing with her dinos on the floor. "What you doing, momma?" She brought Giganta over to say hi. He started to climb all over me, up my arm and onto my head. It was the connection I needed to break out of this. I reached past Giganta to hug my daughter. She was real, she was true, she was everything in the world.

After she struggled out of my hug and ran to pick up Deltadromeus and Allosaurus, I started calming down. I steadied my breathing and tried to clear my head. The more I breathed and focused on what was important, the slower my heartbeat became. My mood lightened, the dread began to losen its hold.

I had to get moving to get away from this feeling. I grabbed Bunny and the stroller and we headed out. As the fresh air entered my lungs I could sense that everything would be alright. We walked the river trail, picking wildflowers and watching bees. We saw the ducks swimming. Bunny was in heaven. "Look momma. Look at the ducks. I want to buy a boat." This was real and true. This is what was important.

This was my first panic attack in years. I used to have them all the time but I learned how to handle stress. I learned how to avoid them. But lately I've been overwhelmed. I've been stretched too thin. I know I need to let go of some of these things to focus on what is important.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The First Time I Ever Saw You

Most parents get to know their babies over the course of nine months. They get to feel the baby kick and see her growing inside the mother.

When you are an adoptive parent, you miss out on that. You prepare documents, you put your life on display for a social worker, you get fingerprinted and you place all your hopes and dreams in the hands of people you've never met. And then you wait and wait and wait some more. You wait for your referral. Notification that a child that has been chosen for you.

This is the story of Bunny's referral.

We decided to adopt in the fall of 2004. We researched our options looking at both domestic and international adoption. Finally after a lot of discussions and debates, we decided to adopt from China.

We began the process formally in January 2005. We chose an international agency who would work directly with China and we chose a local agency who would conduct our homestudy. We also had to compile a dossier, which is basically a bunch of documents that accompany your homestudy. The documents had to be notarized. The notarization had to be certified by the Secretary of State. The certification had to be authenticated by the Chinese Consulate. Then everything has to be translated into Chinese.

Because I wasn't that organized, the process took over six months. Our paperwork was sent to China in July and logged into their system on July 23, 2005. Then the waiting began. At the time our paperwork was logged in, the wait was 9 months. But as these things happen, the wait time increased.

Every month I would check the agency's websited to see when the new round of referrals were coming. And every month I would be disappointed. In August 2006, I saw that the referrals were going to be for all families logged in on or before July 22, 2005. We were going to have to wait one more month, we'd missed the cut off by one day.

Or that is what I thought.

On August 28, 2006 I was sitting at my desk working. Then the phone rang. I answered it like anyother call, "This is Renee. How may I help you?" A woman on the other end told me that we had our referral. We were parents to a little girl.

She asked if I wanted to conference Bubs in so he could hear the news but he was in a meeting and I couldn't find him. Then she said she could call back. Call back are you crazy, I needed to know everything right then.

She told me everything she knew about the baby, which frankly wasn't that much. She lived in the YiHuang Social Welfare Institute in Jiangxi China. She went into the orphanage when she was approximately 1 week old and she had spent most of her life living with foster parents. At the time of referral she was 7 months old.

I couldn't believe it, our "Non-Existant Hypothetical Baby" really existed. She was our little Bunny. They e-mailed pictures and I saw this beautiful little girl with a heart shaped face and a rosebud mouth. I just sat there and cried. Then I realized I had to go find Bubs. I ran next door to his office but he was still gone. I finally busted into his meeting (with his boss) and dragged him upstairs to see the pictures. Needless to say he was beside himself.

We had waited for so long for some proof that there was a child at the end of this process. We'd waited for 21 months since officially beginning the process (that is almost as long as it would take to gestate an elephant). And we finally got to see our baby. We got to study, to memorize the lines of her face. We finally had something to show others, "See this picture. This is my daughter."

My daughter. Wow.

We wanted to hop on the next plane to China to bring her home. But again we had to wait for another round of approvals. We got our clearance to travel and set out to meet her in October. We were finally united as a family on October 30, 2006.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Queen of the Explorers

Two intrepid explorers set forth from Fort Wauwatosa to brave the wilds of the Menomonee River. They were lead by Bunny, the Queen of Explorers, who has spent many months honing her skills by tracking the movements of some sly dinosaurs.

They were in search of the wildest of wildlife. The cricket, the chipmunk and the duck, oh my.

They could hear the crickets chirping but could not find the elusive insect. All attempts to find him in the tall grass were foiled by this wiley bug.

They searched high and low and found the entrance to the chipmunk's kingdom. But alas, they were denied a glimpse of the royal rodent.

They made one final, futile attempt to find some, any wildlife. They brought out the bread hoping in vain that they could coax a shy duck out of hiding with the promise of food. But the duck would not cooperate.

Bunny, Queen of the Explorers, was tired and ready for a nap. But she did not give up hope that she would find her quarry. She vowed to return to the Menomonee River wilderness another day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Great Big Girl Bed Experiment

On Sunday after a few days of build up, we took the front rail off of Bunny's crib and turned it into a toddler bed.

She was over the moon. She kept getting in and out of the bed with a huge smile on her face.

I was not as excited. You see, her crib was like a toddler cage. Even if she did not want to be in it, she did not climb out of it. Well she did once but she fell and never did it again. I could put her down for a nap or to bed at night and there she would stay. She might scream bloody murder but I knew she was safely contained.

So right after we put her down on Sunday night, she climbed right out of bed and headed for the door. The door was closed so she doesn't have to deal with meowing (and sometimes peeing) cats jumping in and out of her bed like mommy does. So she grabbed the door handle and tried with all of her might to open the door. She was unsuccessful, for now. But she is just like a Velociraptor and will figure that out in a few days.

So I went in, put her back in bed and read her another book. And you know what? She stayed in bed playing, eventually falling asleep. She stayed there until morning. Halleluja!

Yesterday at naptime we were not so lucky. She didn't try to escape but she brought the entire contents of her bookcase into her bed. And then proceeded to cry that there was not enough room, the books weren't staying where she wanted, the stuffed animals were not cooperating with the books. You name it, she cried about it. Total drama. Just when I thought she had fallen asleep, I hear a knock at the door "Momma, I pooped."

Great. Naptime officially over with no actual napping.

No nap led to a sleepy toddler nodding off in her dinner. She fell asleep at 7 and stayed asleep (and in her bed) until she called for me at 7 am. Again another great sign.

Now we just need to work on naptime. She needs it and so do I.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

How I Got My Bloggy Groove Back

As you know, on Friday I posted that I had lost it. I had nothing to say. It was hard for me but several of my wonderful readers like Kate, MamaCarter, Kristin, Anymommy Stacey and imommy all offered their support. So thanks ladies, I needed that.

I took their suggestion and took the weekend off from blogging. Time away helped me gain some perspective. The fact that I didn't have to blog, helped me think of things to blog again. I began to view situations and occurances through the "how would this look on my blog" lens again. This was good.

But the thing that really got me back into the frame of mind to blog again was something that I had been dreading all week. On Saturday I went to volunteer training for the Obama campaign. I wanted to volunteer but I had agreed to be on a team giving 10 hours a week. I wan't to sure about that commitment. So I was not excited to go to the training. But as these things go, it was very good and they got us all fired up.

Part of the training made me excited about blogging again. They wanted us to develop our story. To be able to share with the public during the campaign who we are and what has brought us here. They had two people come up and give their stories.

The first was Javier. He told of his parents fleeing war torn El Salvador. He told of growing up poor in an alcoholic home. How he became involved in crime and drugs before turning his life around at 23. He is now 25 and is filled with that wonder and excitement that you get when you realize your whole life is ahead of you.

The second person to share her story was Mary. Mary grew up in a conservative family in a small town. She was sent away to boarding school with the nuns because she was "too wild" for 1950s Kansas. She later became a nun herself. After she left religious life, she began to work with refugees in war torn areas. She lost a leg in the Sudan but continued her work. She most recently lived in South Africa, teaching at the Bishop Desmond Tutu school of peace.

As I listened to their stories, I thought my own story was nothing special. It was typical, white middle class, had all the advantages growing up, blah blah blah. I haven't struggled, I haven't done anything extraordinary. Who would want to listen to my story?

But it is my story. What has happened to me in the past has made me who I am today. I dealt with infertility. The path that I chose to walk down, led me to my daughter and will lead me to Turtle. What once cause me so much pain has brought me to joy. And what is happening to me now will make me into my future self.

So my story may be mundane but its my story and I want to tell it. And that is why I blog.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I've Lost All Contact With The Outside World

So the internet was down from Wednesday night through last night. I freaked out. How could I check my e-mail? I had blogs to read. I needed to Twitter (okay maybe I didn't need to Twitter but I wanted to). I needed to post on my blog.

I needed the internet but it was not there.

Well when I came home from dinner at my parents house, the internet was back up and running. I should have been jumping for joy. But I wasn't. I checked my e-mail, nothing iteresting. Tweeted once (see you really don't need to tweet). Read one blog of the 167 waiting to be read (note to self don't add anymore blogs to reader until you clean it up). Then I turned off the computer and went to watch TV.

I didn't even check my blog stats or look at my blog. I had been chastised by more than one person for not posting the last two days, but I still didn't start a new post. I realized I had nothing to say. I'd started a few posts and abandoned them. Some I may go back to, the rest I gave up on for good. But there was nothing inside just waiting to come out, nothing that needed to be said.

I don't know why I'm feeling like this. Its not just writer's block. Its more of a general malaise. We are off schedule, there was no music class, no play date this week and gymnastics was skipped because Bunny had a cold. Maybe its because everyone here is sick. Maybe its all the disruption from the construction. Maybe its because I've been bad cop this week and Bunny has said on more than one occasion that she doesn't like me. Maybe its . . . or maybe its not.

I feel like all the dust the workers raised has settled in my brain. Filling in all the crevices. Numbing me. I need to shake it off but I can't. I'm too tired. I just want . . . I don't know what I want.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Little Miss Fix-It

First an update on the basement repairs. They've are running a double crew and are going to finish ahead of schedule. Yes! Edited to add: They finished at 10:30 this morning! Now the real work starts.

Last night I was finishing making dinner and Bunny was watching the bug movie on her little DVD player with Bubs. Bunny came into the kitchen holding a picture. I oohed and ahhed over the picture.

Then she asked for tape. I figured she just wanted to add her picture to the collection hanging over my computer so I gave it to her. I realize that wasn't the smartest move, giving a toddler tape, but I figured her father was supervising.

Then he called me into the dining room, "come see what your daughter is doing." My daughter? That can't be good.

So I head into the dining room in time enough to see Bunny putting tape on the DVD player. WTF? I turn to Bubs for an explaination. It seems the player stopped working so Bunny decided to fix it with tape. It works for her books so she has decided if something is broken, it can be fixed with tape.

Of course she was only using Scotch tape so it didn't work. If it was duct tape, it probably would have worked because duct tape can fix anything.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Home Improvement

Not that the CrapShack needs it or anything, but today they are finally starting work on our basement.

Its been about 4 months since we first noticed water in our basement. The basement was finished, it was our family room and Bunny's playroom. We moved everything we could into the living room and have been living in cramped quarters ever since.

At first we thought we could get the work done in May or June. But now its mid-August and its just starting. And once they finish the waterproofing work, we still have to re-do the basement, fixing dry wall and installing new flooring. We'd like to make some improvements as well. Its no telling how long that will take.

I'll be happy to get back in the basement by Christmas.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Pure Joy

Yesterday we went to Irish Fest in Milwaukee. Before Bunny, the highlights of the evening would have been spent drinking beer with friends and listening to Gaelic Storm.

Now its just a bit different. The highlight for all was the splash pad.

Friday, August 15, 2008

I Want My Two Dollars

My husband is a gambler. He loves to play poker.

For most of our marriage he has had a regular Thursday night game. For eight years it was at our house (until Bunny came). Various and sundry friends would meet in our basement, drink beer, eat junk food, tell bad jokes and quote movies. Oh and they would play poker till all hours of the evening.

Not only did I allow this debauchery to take place in my house. I actually facilitated it by purchasing a beer fridge for Bubs one Christmas (and he's Jewish). Our basement became a mini-casino know affectionately as Scottawatomi.

Because I was the Pit Boss and ran the house, I wanted to institute a rake on each game. Not much, just something to compensate me for the loss of my basement (and husband) every other Thursday for eight years. My repeated requests were shot down unfortunately.

However, Bubs came up with an even better way to reward me for being an awesome wife. I get half of his winnings. It really is a no brainer because Wisconsin is a Community property state. But it works. I already incur half of his losses so why shouldn't I get half the winnings.

Usually its not much, five or ten dollars. However, if he's going to the actual casino, Potawatomi, or to Vegas with the boys it can be lucrative. Last nights haul $1. Momma's rich.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Road Trip

Yesterday my husband took the day off from work and we took a family road trip to Chicago. We planned on hitting the Shedd Aquarium.

Now we used to do this all the time pre-Bunny. Milwaukee is only 90 miles from Chicago. You can drive down, hang out and come home all in one day. But when a toddler is involved things become a bit more complicated.

Before it was "Do I have my wallet, keys, coffee. Great let's go." Now there is a list of things that must be brought: diaper pouch (fits in my purse or under stroller), extra diapers (just in case), snacks (craisins and fruit bars), water sippy, juice box, wipes, sweater or jacket, Gigantasaurus, Velociraptor and Euoplocephalus carried in red purse, portable dvd player with A Bugs Life. Its not so easy to take a road trip on a whim, all of this requires advanced planning.

The key to the trip was the dvd player. We had told her that we were going to the aquarium and all of the stuff she was going to see. She was very excited. But in order to stave off "where's the aquarium" over and over again, we had to keep her occupied. A movie is a great way to do that. I don't know how parents traveled with children before this. (Oh wait, I remember a 4 week road trip out west in a van in which my brother and I tried to kill eachother on a daily basis. I don't know why parents traveled with children before portable dvd players.) So thank you inventor of the portable dvd player, you saved my family's sanity and kept my child occupied for two whole hours. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

After spending two hours in the car, Bunny was rearing to go. "Fishies, fishies. I wanna see the fishies." So we decided to hit the dolphin show first. Bad idea. Although it is my favorite thing at the aquarium, trying to get a toddler to sit for 2o minutes after sitting for two hours, well let's just say its not gonna happen. She wiggled and whined the whole time. "I wanna see fishies." The only time she seemed to be enjoying herself was when the dolphins jumped, which wasn't enough for her.

So after the dolphins we hit the lizard exhibit. This was much cooler for Bunny. She loves lizards and was running from window to window oohing and aahing. I thought she was going to faint from pure joy when she saw a keeper feeding a lizard by hand. Do you know what he was eating? A flower. She thought that was hilarious. After we saw the Komodo Dragon (diet - anything it wants, well alright then remind me to stay away from that one in the wild) we headed up to see the fish.

At first she seemed to enjoy herself but then she started to fall apart. There was a turtle related meltdown (the reptile kind not the impending baby brother kind). We managed to discern that she was hungry and wisked her to the restaraunt. After fortifying her with fish shaped fish sticks, she seemed much better. "I'm not gonna cry anymore, Mommy." Good, I'm going to hold you to that.

We managed to see the rest of the aquarium, including an insanely cool coral reef exhibit. Then it was time to head back to the car for a two hour drive home. We planned it so the drive home would coincide with nap time. We thought it was brilliant planning on our part but our plans were foiled by a toddler. She started singing "I'm not gonna nap. I want to watch the bug movie. I'm not gonna nap." Not exactly music to my ears. But the dvd player kept her entertained for the ride home. Until we were 20 minutes from home, when she finally fell asleep. Great.

So all in all the road trip was a minor success but I don't forsee another one in the very near future.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Great Interview Experiment

A few weeks back I signed up to be part of Citizen of the Month's Great Interview Experiment. The concept is to interview and be interviewed by your fellow bloggers, finding out what makes them tick, why they do what they do.

I was lucky enough to interview the wonderful A.C. from Thunder and Windchimes. I have become a big fan of her blog because she writes so simply and so eloquently. Check out her posts on nature and on thunder and windchimes.

Now on to the interview:
1. You are relatively new to blogging, why did you start? What did you hope would come of it? Now that you've done it for a while, what do you like most? Is there anything you dislike?

Well, I started blogging a few years ago - maybe 4 or so - but my first blog didn't make it to more than 10 posts. I started up again last year when I decided to go back to school for a science degree. I had started reading some really interesting science blogs and I thought it would be neat to try and write one of my own, chronicling my life as a non-traditional student. So, I have two blogs; Thunder and Wind Chimes and a science/school blog.

I only recently started Thunder and Wind Chimes because I found myself wanting to connect with other bloggers on a more personal level. I also wanted some more freedom in my writing; freedom to write about arguments with my partner, freedom to write about my childhood. You see, my partner and my mother both regularly read my science blog, so I feel limited in what I can write there. I suppose when I started Thunder and Wind Chimes, I hoped that I would have a place to vent and a means of connecting with and relating to other people. That's my favorite part - the relating to people. I love it when I read something someone else has written and it brings back my own memories. I also love that everything that happens to me is potential post fodder. Sometimes AJ and I will be doing something and he'll say "great, now you can write about this on your blog." He even warns our guests that anything they say or do may be published. What don't I like about blogging? Sometimes I feel guilty if I don't write every day. I put a lot of pressure on myself as it is so it doesn't help when I have blog guilt.

2. You are very open about your past substance abuse. Is that a hard issue for you to discuss or does the discussion help you deal with things?

Nope. It's really not hard for me to discuss at all. I spent the last six years discussing my substance abuse with people in AA meetings and I'd say it's actually harder for me to NOT discuss it. Sometimes, I think I mention it when it's best left unsaid. I'm not sure if it helps me to deal with things or not. I think, for the most part, that I've come to terms with it all. In fact, discussing it usually opens the door for other people to relate to it and share their own experience. I was taught that I could do something positive with it - to help other people with their own substance abuse issues - so part of me feels like I can't do that if I hide it. Of course, I respect that some people prefer to remain anonymous and I don't believe that they're doing a disservice. There's a lot of stigma attached to the term "drug addict."

3. Ok lets go back to your childhood. I still have my childhood teddy bear. What was your favorite toy/possession? Do you still have it? If not do you wish you did?

Oh, my favorite possession, by far, was Dinosaur. He's a stuffed Brontosaurus (back when Brontosaurus was the correct name). He's green and about the size of a football. I used to sleep with him every night and take him to school in my backpack. I got him for Christmas when I was five, after I'd seen one at my friend's house and bothered my parents for one for months. He was the last gift I opened on Christmas morning. I still have him and I actually still keep him in the bed, though he sometimes gets moved to the floor to make room for AJ and the cats.

4. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you have realistic plans (like doctor) or were they more fantastical in nature (like fairy princess)? Do you still wish you could be that?

At about age three, I started telling my parents that I wanted to be a paleontologist. That seemed, to me, like a very realistic plan, though the word "paleontologist" struck fear in my parents' hearts because paleontologists don't get rich (well, some certain Hollywood consultant paleontologists might...but not most). I really loved dinosaurs and I was pretty proactive about my passion; I wrote to paleontologists and sent them my drawings, I plastered my walls with dinosaur posters, I started saving up money to go on a dinosaur dig. Somewhere along the line a few things happened to squelch that dream: I started to become afraid that my parents were right and that I'd never make any money, my self-esteem got so poor that I decided I could never get a degree in science and, of course, I started using drugs. I do still wish I could be a paleontologist and, in fact, I have started to pursue just that. Last year, I decided to go back to school to study geology and zoology, the building blocks of paleontology. I have two more years of school after this coming one and I can start looking for grad schools that have paleontology programs. This fall I'm going to a big paleontology conference where I'll hopefully meet potential grad school advisors and do some networking.

5. It seems that nature has a really important place in your life. What is your favorite spot to enjoy nature? Describe being a nature sitter and what it means to you.

Nature does have a really important place in my life, though I often get caught up in other things and forget to enjoy it. I think by "nature sitter" I mean that I tend to use nature as a means of calming down and relaxing and bringing my life back into perspective. I have pretty bad anxiety problems and I often battle with depression and I've found that the best way for me to alleviate that is to find a quiet, beautiful spot outside and let myself blend in with my surroundings. It's hard to not feel good when you feel a part of the natural world. I have so many favorite spots to enjoy nature - I live in a beautiful area with a gigantic lake and little mountains. This summer, I've spent a lot of time at a particular beach that is fairly secluded. The water is clear and the mountains rise up behind the water. The close ones are light blue and the ones far away are dark blue. When the sky is blue and the water is blue, the whole world just looks's really breathtaking. We've had a lot of thunderstorms this year, so I haven't gotten to sit outside much, but it has made for some great storm watching. I have a chair on my back porch that I like to sit in while storms are approaching. I also like to sit on the porch and read Mary Oliver's poetry. She's a nature-sitter, too, and I'm pretty sure her poem, Wild Geese, is one of those life-changing poems that once you read, you'll repeat to yourself over and over again.

6. You went to college after high school and have now gone back to school, what did you originally study and what are you studying now? What made you decide to go back? Do you wish you would have waited to go originally?

I originally studied writing. My degree is in "Professional Writing," which includes media and creative writing. I got into creative writing in high school and chose it as my major in college because I knew I could do well without much effort. Bad reason. I obviously still write quite a bit, but I don't enjoy writing professionally. Now I'm studying zoology and geology and hopefully paleontology, which is sort of a marriage of the other two. I think my writing degree will help me out if I end up in an academic setting, doing research. I learned to write and wrote successful grants and I can write a pretty decent research paper. However, I really do wish I'd waited to go to college. I wasn't ready when I first went...I didn't understand how much of my life my career was going to consume and I didn't have the self confidence to really go for my dream. After working in an office for two years, I can see that I'm not going to be happy doing this. I need to learn and be engaged. I didn't necessarily waste the first four years of college, but I didn't get out of them what I could have. And now, I can't get much financial aid for this second degree. The government is great about giving away money for degree #1, but not degree #2, which doesn't help me much because my parents were also okay with giving up some money for degree #1, but not degree #2.

7. Assuming money were no object, if you could go anywhere, were would you go and why? Who would you want to travel with?

Oh! This is a fun question! I have three places I'd go. And I'd take AJ with me to all three. First I'd go to Curacao. I've always wanted to go to an island and AJ has been there and says it's the most amazing place he's ever been. I love the sun and water and warm weather and I hear the islanders speak a billion languages and are really relaxed and friendly.

Second, I'd go to Yoho National Park in Canada. It's got the most amazing lakes and mountains and it's home to the Burgess Shale, which is houses some of the most perfect specimens of Cambrian animals. I just finished reading a book about the Burgess Shale, so I'd love to see Walcott's Quarry and some of the specimens.

Third, I'd go to Italy. I went there in 2005 and had the most amazing time. I really want to go because I want AJ to see a European country. Other than Curacao and Canada, he's never left the US. I would love to show him Florence and Rome and Venice. I think everyone should have the experience of visiting another place, another culture. It's life-changing.

8. As a fellow cat mom I was so sad to hear about your sick kitty, how is E.C. doing?

EC is doing okay. She's still lethargic and she's still only eating out of my hand, but she is up and about much more frequently and she has even been sitting on my lap, which is something she hasn't done since she got sick. She's taking a steroid and it seems to be helping a lot. I think, though, that this cancer is getting the best of her and that she probably won't ever bounce back fully. But she's still got a lot of life in her and we're going to enjoy her and make her comfortable as much as possible.

9. Finally, describe a perfect day. What would you do, who would you be with?

A perfect day would be one where I'd feel totally content with whatever it is I'd be doing. I think it'd be like this one day, not too long ago. I got up and AJ and I walked to the coffee shop and got coffee. We sat outside and chatted until a friend called. We met her and her boyfriend in the park and lazed about until we got hungry. Then we went to the food co-op and got some fresh fruit and cheeses and crackers and beers/sodas. We drove to the beach (the one I talked about in the fifth question) and had a picnic and then went swimming and relaxed on the sand. Eventually, when we were a bit sun-scorched, we drove back to our friend's house and ate a bit more and played horseshoes in the yard. AJ and I left a while later and went home. I read on the porch for while and then we got in bed, with the cats, and watched Battlestar Gallactica for the rest of the night. It was an un-planned, see-what-happens day. It was awesome.

Thanks A.C. Now I know who to direct all of Bunny's dinosaur questions too.

Monday, August 11, 2008

And The Winner Is

The winner of the 101st Post Contest is lovely Z from Autobiography of My Feet

In case you want to know exactly how the winner was chosen, here is photographic proof.

The names of all commenters were written on pieces of paper

and placed in a hat.

The hat was then handed to a 2 1/2 year old who promptly pulled all the paper out.

After repeated requests to hand mommy one piece of paper, she did.

And here is our winner. Not very scientific I know but that is how it is in But Why Mommy land.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Well since I've cut my hair, I've been told 10 times how much I look like Jamie Lee Curtis. It happens every time I cut my hair.

What do you think?

Image courtesy of Wire Image

Do you look like anyone famous?

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hair, The Musical

Let's just put it out there - I have good hair. Its the one thing about myself that I am vain about. I used to hate it but give me some good color and a good cut and I love it.

The cut and color are so good right now that I get stopped on the street and complimented about my hair. People have even taken pictures of it to show their hairdresser. It was better than someone complimenting your outfit. Your hair is a part of you, it is who you are. I was the girl with the cute blond(ish) bob.

Which is going to make what I'm about to say sound weird. Yesterday I cut it. I cut it all off.

Why would I do that if I am so vain about my hair? Because I also have a short attention span. I want change. I've changed jobs a lot (since graduating from law school 10 years ago I've had 9 jobs). But the easiest thing to change about yourself is your hair. You can color it, cut it, grow it out and do it all over again.

I was born with blond hair that grew into beautiful little waves. Then when it turned darker, my mom cut it short (boy short). Then I had a Dorothy Hamil and several million perms (what was I thinking). I started leaving it strait and it looked much better. It was short (really short), it was long. I also experimented with color, blonde, red, brown (my natural color, I think) and combinations of all of them. I always wanted pink streaks but never got them, maybe next time.

I discovered my safety zone is a bob with bangs. I had it in college, in law school, when I got married and recently. I know I'll always go back to it. But it doesn't stop me from trying new things.

So yesterday, I cut my hair short. It looks great. Its much easier to do. But I know that within the year I will start to grow it out and start all over again.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Of Trucks and Ants

First a little housekeeping. Don't forget to enter the 101st post contest. Just leave a comment here for a chance to win some lovely earrings from my Etsy shop.

Now on to our regularly scheduled post.

Oh the things that will fascinate and occupy a toddler for hours. Yesterday some crews were chopping down a tree on our street. When we returned from gymnastics, we found trucks and machines and men doing all sorts of work. Bunny stood stock still and screamed "Trucks, mommy."

So we sat down on our front porch to watch the show. There was a Bobcat thing with a claw/shovel that would pick up the already chopped branches. It would then carry them to a wood chipper. The wood chipper would chop them up and spray the chips into a waiting truck.

Bunny watched this for at least a 1/2 hour. She was fascinated. She kept asking questions which I answered to the best of my ability. I was a little distracted. All I kept thinking of was Steve Buscemi (name that movie for 5 points).

Well after they had cleaned up the branches and loaded the machines on the truck, I thought it was time to go inside. But no. By that time, Bunny had discovered a colony of ants living in a crack on one of the front porch steps. "Oooo a colony" she cried (yes she knows its a colony of ants, she loves bugs almost as much as dinosaurs).

So we spent the next 1/2 hour sitting on the porch looking at the ants. At first she tried to feed them leaves. But then she settled in watching them carry things to and from the colony. She would crouch down real low to get a good look, just staring. Then she would get up and move to a different location to get a better view.

Oh to be two again and be fascinated by the simplest of things.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

In Dreams

Sometimes I wake up (am woken up by a cat) early in the morning. Its too early to get up so I try to fall back asleep. I've been using this deep breathing method that really seems to do the trick.

But rather than falling back in to a normal sleep pattern, I feel like I'm in this half dream/half reality world. Sounds from the waking world, like a cat's meow or a car driving on the street weave their way in to my dreams. Dream conversations feel so real that I am convinced they actually happened.

In my dreams Bubs and I had a conversation about new park I discovered with a wading pool. He told me he took Bunny and ran into our neighbors. Bunny and Elvis ran splashing through the pool while Bubs and Michael had a conversation about pre-school. It was so real it had to have happened. Right? But when I asked Bubs about when he would have gone since we just went for the first time yesterday, he looked at me like I was nuts.

In this dream/reality world, I also find that real events or conversations are re-imagined. An Obama campaign meeting now takes place with a dinosaur, my third grade teacher and Brett Farve. It didn't happen, but I wish it had. It would have been more interesting that way.

Normally I don't remember my dreams which is why these dreams have such an impact on me. What about you? Have you had dreams that felt so real you were convinced they actually happened.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Say My Name, Say My Name

There was a moment this morning, just a 10 minute window, in which Bunny and I said the other's name 1,000 times. Maybe it was more, maybe it was less but the names were said a whole lot.

Now any parent can relate to this. Your child will call out for you for a multitude of reasons. Mommy (where are you) Mommy (I'm hungry / thirsty), Mommy (I want something), Mommy (I can't find my toy/shoes/book/anything even though it is right in front of me or right were I put it), Mommy (I need you), Mommy (I need help), Mommy (I want to annoy you). The best is Mommy (I love you).

Because you are their parent, your child expects you to drop whatever you are doing and answer their call. The world revolves around them. If you do not answer right away Mommy becomes MOMMY, becomes MOMMY, MOMMY, MOMMY, becomes MOOOOOOOMMMMMMMYYYY.

Now there is the flipside to this. As a parent you utter your child's name repeatedly through out the day. Bunny (where are you), Bunny (come eat/drink) Bunny (you need to do something), Bunny (come pick up your toy/shoes/book/anything I'm getting sick of stepping on them), Bunny (don't do that), Bunny (stop what you are doing immediately), Bunny (time for a time out), Bunny (listen to me, for the 100th time, listen to me). And yes the occasional Bunny (I love you).

And because you are their parent, your child ignores your call. The world revolves around them and frankly they have better things to do than listen to you. If they do not listen right away Bunny becomes BUNNY, becomes BUNNY, BUNNY, BUNNY, becomes BUNNY MIDDLE NAME, becomes BUNNY MIDDLE NAME LAST NAME.

Its no wonder children learn their names so early.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


This post is my 101st post on this blog.

When I started this blog a little over three months ago, I had no idea what it would be. At first it was just going to be a way to document Bunny's life and share pictures of her. It was really meant for friends and family.

I had/have another blog that I sometimes posted in. It was mainly for my jewelry busines but I talked about my life there. I figured that I would keep that blog going for myself and this blog would all be about Bunny.

But I learned something, Bunny is my life. I can't really seperate one from the other. She has shaped how I view the world, how I react to situations. It seemed more appropriate to talk about things here.

I started my other blog in 2006 and I never was really comfortable blogging there. I'd ignore it for long stretches of time. In fact in two years I've only posted there 98 times. 101 in three plus months or 98 times in two years, no contest as to which one I care about more.

I shared my other blog with the Etsy community. But I never got the same sort of reaction to it as I've gotten from you all on this one. Perhaps that is why this blog has become my primary outlet, because of you, my readers.

So in celebration of my 101st post on But Why Mommy, I am going to give away this pair of earrings from my Etsy shop. All you have to do win is leave a comment. Tell me how you found me, what you like about this blog, if you think I'm nuts or whatever you feel like telling me. I'll keep the comments open for a week and the winner will be announced on August 11.

The winner will be chosen at random. Well actually it will be chosen by assigning a number to your comment. The number will then be chosen out of a hat by Bunny or her father should Bunny decide to dump the numbers out, choose multiple numbers or in anyother way act like a 2 1/2 year old. On second thought the winner will be chosen by Bubs.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Further Proof I Need My Head Examined

Just a few days ago I wrote a post about being overwhelmed. I was tired, cranky (hormonal) and I just didn't think I could deal with having a toddler who didn't nap. So my mom took Bunny for a few hours on Wednesday and then again on Thursdays like she normally does. This gave me a chance to recharge my batteries, to get some things done without a toddler hanging all over me and apparently to lose my ever-loving mind.

It all happened so simply. On Wednesday after dropping Bunny at my mom's, I went and had coffee. Then I went to get the oil changed on my car. I waited in line for a while and by the time I got in, I was bored. I sat there playing Tetris on my phone when all of a sudden the phone rang. It was my friend Janet.

We hadn't talked in a while so we caught up. She works for the Alliance Francaies and was telling me all about the Bastille Days festival she had helped work on. Blah blah blah, yadda yadda yadda. And then she hit me. She said they were putting together a committee for their Beaujolais Nouveau release party in November and she wanted to know if I'd be on it. There'd be meetings, planning, organizing, finding donors for the auction and helping get new people to the event.

It sounded like fun. Something I totally would have done pre-Bunny. So I said yes and then immediately regretted it. How can I give up my time? I don't have any time. But then I talked myself back into it, I'd be meeting new people, spending time away from Bunny with adults, there was wine involved. So it was a good thing. Right?

Which lead me to my second and slightly larger problem. I had already decided to do some volunteerinig for the Obama campaign. I used to be involved in politics right after college and loved it. I feel passionately about Obama and wanted to do something about it. So on Saturday I went out on a voter registration canvass. At first I didn't want to do it but ended up having so much fun.

When I got back to the office, they asked me if I would become involved in a team. The team would be responsible for one aldermanic ward, canvassing, phoning and general organizing. The ward was in my neighborhood so I said yes.

Yesterday I went in to the office to find out further details. It would be about 10 hours a week starting in late August. The time would be flexible around your schedule. The more we talked, the more I thought I can do this. And then he asked if I would be the team leader. He said you are a mom, you're used to dealing with "difficult" people, I think you can do this. By the way it would be an extra 15 hours a week. I almost said yes. But then I thought better of it and said I'd think about it.

So in 4 days I went from feeling like I had no time to get anything done to volunteering my non-existant time to two organizations. I need to get my head examined.