Thursday, December 29, 2011

Not a terrible Christmas

So, I'm alive. These antibiotics I'm on are kicking strep's butt (I came down with it sometime last week and woke up the day after we arrived in Denver feeling like I was dying), and I've felt completely fine since Sunday. I'm just tired.

The Sunday and Monday of our visit was great. People were mostly no longer throwing up (I got strep; all the kids got a stomach bug; it was WONDERFUL) by Sunday night. Considering the circumstances, it was a pretty good Christmas. It's always good to be with my sister and her family.

I got a number very cool presents, but the one I'm really excited about is the ice cream maker. I told my sister I liked kitchen gadgets that are useful but that I'd never spend the money on myself. I was thinking a Slap Chop, or a garlic peeler. Then I opened this box and was very excited. Way better than a salad spinner.

She gave me a recipe book (I think it's this one) to go with it, and I'm collecting the makings for my first batch now. I need to find rennet tablets, though. Does anyone know where to find such a thing? I can pick an easier recipe, but this is the one labeled "Five Star Vanilla Ice Cream," so of course that's what I'm starting with. Because "Easy Vanilla Ice Cream" would be, well, easy, and I believe in making things as needlessly complicated as possible. My first attempt at chicken broth was something to behold.

The girls got PRINCESS EXPLOSION for Christmas, and they're pretty happy about it. There's a doll Emmy got that sings "I'm a Little Teapot," and she's obsessed with it. I made the mistake of handing it to her in the van on the way home in a moment of desperation, and we were treated to literally an HOUR of that song, over and over again. Then she threw it on the floor and screamed for it, and I decided to take the screaming over the singing.

It's much easier to tolerate in the apartment. Especially since she cradles it and runs around in circles, crooning and occasionally tripping.
Speaking of the drive home, I could very happily make a living driving back and forth between Denver and Salt Lake through the Rockies. Every kind of spectacular landscape you could imagine is somewhere along that drive. It's a miracle one of us didn't drive off the road. The girls didn't appreciate the longer drive, but we considered it well worth the extra time. I've seen all the pictures, but it's something else in person.
Also! I now have a membership to Gold's Gym that includes childcare. Jeremy's work has an incredible deal, so we took it. I'm so excited. Swimming is finally clicking for me again, and now I can go anytime I want! The girls also seem to flourish when they regularly spend small amounts of time with different people. So, wish me luck! And motivation.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On the mend

I'm so glad I cleaned the house on Monday. Because there has been an entirely more unpleasant kind of cleaning going on for the last day and a half. The kind of cleaning I'm not comfortable describing to you, but I'll just say it involves EVERY SINGLE ONE of the towels I washed on Monday, plus a handful of cloth diapers when those ran out, a gallon of vinegar, buckets of boiling water, and at least a cup of baking soda. Also, the washer and dryer are starting to squeak.

On the bright side, I've lost two pounds (no, I haven't gotten sick--just lots of heavy cleaning and a fear of eating). We also have several VERY clean spots in our carpet.

If I make it through another day without getting sick, it will mean I have superhuman DNA. Or that I take my vitamins and Jeremy doesn't.

Also, friends, there is nothing sadder than watching a baby throw up. I know, I know, it's a disgusting mental image. But think about how revolting and horrible it is when you're an adult, and you know why it's happening, and you know that it will be okay. Kids, they don't know. It's just completely bewildering and awful.

Emmy's young enough not to be bothered by the revolting aspect. Once the physical discomfort is over, she's all, "Eh. I'm tired. Let's go back to sleep." But Grace just cries and cries. I think she's afraid to eat now, too. She hasn't gotten sick since last night, but all she's eaten today is a piece of toast, five frozen peas, and a tiny bite of pizza.

We ought to leave for Denver tomorrow, provided I don't get sick. If I bring this illness to my sister's house, no one would ever find my body, and my sister would be one rusty gold van richer.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sharing is caring

The problem with having friends is that they pass on all their various illnesses and diseases, along with all their kids' illnesses and diseases. I'm swimming in friends here. I couldn't have kept these people away if I'd wanted to (I didn't). This is the most friendly place I have ever lived, and it's AWESOME.

Except for the whole getting sick the weekend before Christmas.

Everyone at church got sick in the last couple of weeks. I breathed a sigh of relief when it seemed to have passed us by. And then Emmy woke up from her nap yesterday with a fever. And then last night Jeremy started moaning and being sad and uncomfortable, and I rolled my eyes because I'm the best wife ever. And then he spent the entire night being violently ill. And then when I got up this morning I felt like my throat was stuffed with a giant wad of balled-up socks.

Grace is completely unaffected. As usual.

It's like we all have something different. Which is fun because we could potentially pass around various horriblenesses for weeks. Who knows what could happen? It'll be the best Christmas surprise ever.

Also, we're supposed to leave for Denver tomorrow morning.

I spent all of yesterday cleaning like a crazy person, and then I went to the liquor store (in Utah, this means driving around to seven different locations which may or may not be closed at odd hours and hoping one of them is open and has what you want) and then water aerobics, so I think maybe I'm just overtired. I get sinusy weirdness all the time lately; I think it's the pollution.

At least, that's what I keep telling myself as I alternate between sweating and shivering every five minutes.

The one bright spot in the day is that Upstairs Neighbor brought down the cutest present for us this morning (four adorable mugs, hot cocoa mix, and some tea). Totally made my day. Now I feel like a horrible person for not thinking to get them anything.

Anyway, Merry Christmas, all!

(And please pray that we'll all be better tomorrow. I've been looking forward to this trip since I left there last month.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011


This will be short and dry. It's something I've been meaning to write about for a while because I'm quite sure there are a few others of you out there who have a similar problem and have either not been told how to fix it or haven't even been told it exists.

I've recently discovered that my persistently weak abs a stubbornly bulgy stomach are a result of an Actual, Real Thing, not just me not trying hard enough. It's called diastasis recti. It happens to most women during pregnancy and usually goes away after birth. Mine is not severe. But it's not going away on its own. Having two gigantic children 16 months apart is one of the best ways to get it. Yay me.

So I've been holding off on the ab exercises because everything I've read says they make it worse. That's just SUPER.

Well, I picked up this video on a whim at the Babysteals Boutique here in Salt Lake (online discount store, with headquarters five minutes from our apartment; yet another reason to love Utah). I was looking for a Christmas gift for my niece. I didn't find one, but this video is a total win. The lady has that weird cheerleader smile and is entirely too perky (and pretty) for my liking, but I can feel my stomach tightening up, ever so slowly. I already have far less back pain after just a couple of weeks, and my belt is getting bigger and bigger on me.

I'm still on the novice level. I have to bow out of some of the exercises because I'm too tired to do them properly. But she tells you exactly how to keep proper form, and how to keep strengthening and using those muscles throughout the day. Anyway, if any of you are having a similar problem, I really suggest trying it. Even if you can't do the full workout, it can get you started on getting those muscles back to where they're actually useful. I've also noticed my posture improving, which is nice; I really don't want to have a hunchbank when I'm 90.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pandora: Christmas Edition

After ten years working in a restaurant, I thought I was done with Christmas music forever. From Halloween to December 24th, all we listened to were inane versions of the same five Christmas songs sung over and over and over. "Jingle Bell Rock" doesn't have much charm to begin with, but try listening to it in Spanish, in country twang, in a soft rock revamp and in the original--ALL IN THE SAME HOUR. It's like having your brain sucked out through your ear.

And then. This year. I'd been a bit glum since the cloudier, cooler weather started (this is before I started shoveling in vitamin D like it was candy--10,000 IUI/day is apparently what it takes to make me happy). I got a bizarre hankering for some Christmas music, so I decided to see what Pandora had to offer.

My favorite version ever of any Christmas song ever is sung by--get this--The Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan:

It is utterly perfect in every way. And I don't even like Sarah McLachlan since all the rage about her a decade or so ago (her voice is lovely, but I'm so tired of it).

So this is the song I plugged in to get my Christmas station started. There have been many good songs and many good artists. But then there are the hordes of breathy, overwrought emotional Christmas hymns or rocked-out, overwrought Christmas hymns, and it makes me want to scream.

There are two kinds of classic music that I like.

1. The original version.
2. A fresh, new version that still stays true to the spirit of the original. Please don't tell me that "O Holy Night" needs an electric guitar or breathy arpeggios. Or that "Silent Night" needs to be wailed at the top of your lungs.

So what does Pandora give me?

Breathy, flowered-up or rocked-out versions of old Christmas classics. OVER AND OVER AGAIN, despite me hovering over the computer every chance I get, plugging in thumbs up and thumbs down for every song I have a strong reaction to.

Me: Oh, what a lovely version of "Oh Come Oh Come Immanuel." LIKE.

Pandora: SIIII-III-LENT NII-II-II-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-GHT [where each "I" represents a part of the amazing scale this singer can sing], HO-HO-HOHOHOHOHOLY NII-II-II-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-GHT...


Pandora: Personally, I really love this extremely twangy group of musicians who pronounce their Rs like they're trying their darndest to hold them in their mouth with their teeth until the Second Coming. You sure you don't want to give them another shot?

Me: NO.

Pandora: Okay, I'll throw you a bone. How's this for bizarre? Annie Lennox singing the most beautiful, haunting rendition of "Lullay Lullay" that you have ever heard. Enjoy crying into the soup you're cooking for your little tiny babies.

Me: *sniff* LIKE. A LOT. BUT IT'S SO SAD.

Pandora: Fine, how about something cheery like "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer"?

Me: Are you listening at ALL? HATE.

And so on.

If you can sift through the horrible stuff, Pandora does come up with real gems. If you like really strange ladies singing about terrible tragedy.

I dare you not to cry.