Friday, September 12, 2014


Kids like little holes.  Specifically, putting things in little holes.  Which is how we ended up with a bead shoved all the way down Matthew's ear canal Wednesday afternoon, courtesy of Leah.  Thanks, Leah.

Of course, this is better than tiny objects up the nose (if I had a nickel for every Lego I've removed from Matthew's nose... never mind the marshmallow incident...).  Or at least I thought so, until I found out my son would have to go to the hospital and be sedated so they can remove a bead from his ear.

I can just imagine the waiting room now:

"My son is having tubes put in his ears."

"Mine is having having his tonsils out."

"Mine has a bead stuck in his ear..."

Oh well.  I  can record it in my Great Moments in Parenting, right next to the time I had to call Poison Control on Leah twice in one month ("Wild hyenas would be more qualified to raise children than you are, Mrs. Overly...") and the time Matthew and Leah both fell all the way down the stairs within two minutes of each other while I was standing, oblivious, ten feet away.

At least something in the ear canal won't migrate to his brain while we wait for Matthew's "procedure" this afternoon.  And at least the bead can't go past the eardrum.  (Come to think of it, maybe this is payback for the time Matthew jammed a q-tip through Leah's eardrum).

I don't know if it's because I am operating at Full Frazzle this week or what, but my kids seem to be on a mission to send me to the loony bin. My sweet, girly Leah -- when she wasn't sticking beads in her brother's ear -- peed on my lawn this week.  Yes, you read that right.  The only child with non-adjustable private parts peed on my lawn.

When she got in trouble for stripping off her panties and watering the grass, she wailed over the unfairness of it all.  "But Michael and Matthew peed on the lawn and didn't get in trouble!"

Um, what?

"Matthew, did you pee on the lawn?"


"Michael, did you pee on the lawn?"

"No...  well, not on the lawn.  Just in the window well."

Oh good, because that's SO MUCH BETTER.

Really, I'm just telling you all this because I feel it justifies the fact that I ate nothing but pumpkin candies for dinner last night.  Normally about three of those things is enough to send me into sugar shock, but it's just been that kind of week.

Don't judge.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Every Mother a Critic

I just watched a video of a c-section, because I'm weird like that.  And all I have to say is that is abundantly clear why you are in so much pain afterward.  I mean, good heavens, they go in there and rip things apart without even using a knife for all of it.  They rip things.  Lots of things.  Ouch.

Of course, vaginal births aren't the most fun either.  Really, there is just no good way to get a baby out of you.  Which is one of my questions for God.  I mean, wouldn't childbirth be easier if the exit were, say, a little more exit-y?  Maybe if there were some kind of zipper involved?

Of course, there is no good way to get a baby out of you, but according to the internet, there is a right way.  And it doesn't involve epidurals.

Now, I know "women have been doing it this way for thousands of years" and I have no problem with natural childbirth.  If you want to ride that pony, be my guest.  But, keep in mind, the reason women did it that way for thousands of years is because they didn't have any other options.  Personally, I like to think that, given the choice, Eve would have been like, "Epidural?  Yes, please!"

So, if you choose to give birth naturally, afterward your line is, "I loved my birth experience!" not "I am superior to anyone who has an epidural!" 

Epidurals are not of the devil.  But making other mothers feel like failures is.

Honestly, ladies, enough with the one-true-and-holy-childbirth thing.  As well as the one-true-and-holy-way-to-feed-an-infant thing.

Seriously, in case you've missed it, breastfeeding is a movement now.  Not just a way to feed your baby, but a moral superiority card you can play whenever someone criticizes you for whipping out your Double D's in the middle of Olive Garden.  (Just type "Nurse-in" into google and you'll see what I mean).

Is breastfeeding great?  Absolutely!  Should you be able to feed your baby anywhere and anytime you need to?  Certainly!  But you know what else is great?  Politeness.  Kindness.  Not flashing your boobs at everyone around you just because the law is on your side.

Also great?  Formula!  Isn't it wonderful that so many babies are growing up healthy and strong thanks to this scientific advancement?  So why do mothers go around criticizing other women for not breastfeeding?  "You're feeding your baby something that is meeting all his nutritional needs!  How dare you?!"

Um, yeah.

Unfortunately, the criticism doesn't stop there.  Pacifiers.  Diapers.  Sleep training.  Potty training...  need I go on?

Let's lay aside the judgment, ladies.  There is more than one way to do all of these things.

And more than one way to do them right.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What's in a Name?

"That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet."

Really, would it now?  Because I don't think William Shakespeare would have penned these words if he lived after Utah came along.

2014 Romeo:  "I know you're a Capulet and I'm a Montague, but names don't really mean anything... Wait, what was your name again?"

Utah girl:  "Braxleigh."

Romeo:  "Uh... never mind.  Just forget I said anything."

(Braxleigh is a real Utah name, you guys.  I'm not making this up).

Unfortunately, most of the ridiculous names I've seen lately are for girls, so not useable.  (*Sniff*  Byrklee.  *Sniff*)  But thankfully, luck appeared just yesterday in the form of a small boy knocking on my door.

"Who are you?" I asked, just before his grandmother appeared from around the corner and said, "His name is Draygen."  (sp?)

"Have you been drinking?" I asked.

"No, his name is really Draygen."

Okay, I made that up.  I didn't actually ask if she'd been drinking.

But since I'm such a generous person, I bequeathed the usage rights for the name Draygen (and any of its possible variations -- Dragon, Dragen, Dr'Agen, Draegon, or Draygon) to a friend of mine who is also expecting a baby boy.

This left me with quite a problem, since the perfect boy name is now in the hands of someone else.  Luckily, my sister, who has taken to texting me name suggestions on a daily basis, came through for me today:

"I have a boy bible name for you," she said.  "Izaak."

"Twin brother to Muzak?" I asked.

"Yes, and sister Prozak."

Prozak!  It's brilliant!

Prozak Zyrtek Overly.

What do you think?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Names and Other Issues

I disappeared.  Again.  

Sorry about that.  It's just that I was busy spending all my spare time with my face in my pillow.  

I'm not kidding.  I wasn't just tired, I was I HAVE TO TAKE A NAP RIGHT NOW OR I'LL DIE tired.  (You should have seen me at Legoland this summer trying to nap while standing in line).  That, coupled with 24/7 nausea might have made me a little bit anti-social and grumpy (sorry, neighbors!)  Don't worry, it wasn't you.  It was me.

Okay, it actually wasn't me.  It was baby number 4, due to arrive in early February!!!

We are thrilled, obviously, though I still find myself not quite believing this is for real.  (11 years of infertility will do that to you).  After I took several pregnancy tests I left them in my nightstand drawer and then went back every five minutes to check on them.  For three days.  (Yep, still says "positive"...  Wait, really??  Let me check the instructions again...)

I was convinced that this little one was a girl, if nothing else because Michael never caused this much trouble in utero (even my twin pregnancy didn't wipe the floor with me the way this one has).  We had a name picked out and everything.  But to our great shock, ultrasound says 100% boy!

So now I need name help.  Because I have about 15 girl names I like and ZERO boy names.  Zero.  But, if you are going to help me with names, first, you have to know my rules for naming:

1.  You are naming a person, not a pet.  I just saw some friend of a friend of a friend on Facebook who named their new baby (a human, presumably) "Lynx".  These are the kind of people who make me fear for the state of humanity.

2.  This baby will need to get a job someday.  A respectable job.

3.  You should know how to pronounce his name as soon as you see it.

4.  You should know how to SPELL his name as soon as you hear it.  Nobody wants to spend a solid third of their life explaining how their parents were drunk and playing Scrabble when they decided to spell Michael M-Y-K-I-L-E.

5.  All my other children have biblical names.  Normal biblical names.  I'm not saying it has to be biblical, but it does have to be normal.  No Methuselah or Nebuchadnezzar or Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.

6.  Like I said, it doesn't have to be biblical, but it does need to dwell solidly in the realm of classic or traditional names.  (You really can't have a Michael, Matthew, Leah, and then a Denim Diesel).  

7.  It should be clear what gender the baby is based on name alone.  I know it's the in-thing for parents to be all, this is my baby girl "James", but that's NOT NICE.  Not nice at all.

8.  Naming after a person is fine.  Naming after a thing or a brand is not.  (This is my son "Eiffel Tower Lego" just doesn't cut it).

That's easy enough, isn't it?

Thanks in advance!

Monday, May 19, 2014


You know you're in the throes of a diet when you're making ramen noodles for the kids and you're like, "Mmmm.... wish I could have some."

I mean, they're ramen noodles, people.  They're like little strips of sawdust flavored by chemicals. They're not even part of the food pyramid.    But man, do they smell good!  (Er, sorry, kids.  I think I may have drooled in your bowl a little bit).

I miss carbs.

Plus, I did a really insane thing the other day.  Costco was selling those giant bags of M&Ms for like $5 and I thought to myself, those will be perfect to pass around at the family reunion... in July. 

Yes, I bought two giant bags of chocolatey goodness and they are going to sit in my pantry for a month and a half.  Which means I have to look at them every time I open the door for a piece of oh-so-satisfying sugar-free gum.

On second thought, maybe I should just bury them.  In the Bermuda Triangle.  

Conveniently enough, I'm pretty sure the Bermuda Triangle is residing with Michael's wallet, my favorite charm bracelet, and the lost City of Atlantis just inside the door of my storage room.

Seriously, my kids got in there last week and thought it would be fun to play Tornado.  (I knew I should have been suspicious when I tripped over the Fischer Price baby Jesus on my way to the laundry room!)  So that is today's task -- disaster clean-up.  I'm hoping to find Matthew's black hole that he uses to transport our most prized possessions to a galaxy far far away.  Wish me luck!

But first, to plow the kitchen.  I made the mistake of mopping the floor on Friday, which was really stupid because my kids still live here.  (New task: send the kids to boarding school.  And pick up a snooty British accent for good measure).

It's true,  dahling, nothing attracts sticky messes like a freshly mopped floor.  You might as well put out a sign that says, "Spills wanted."   And never mind about the clean bathrooms.  (How is it that you can have the house totally spotless on Saturday and then by Monday morning it looks like a colony of Tasmanian devils whirled through?  Does no one know how to pick up their own underwear?  Or aim?)

As it is, it's 11:00, which means I have about eight hours to go until it's time for a Family Home Evening treat.  Eight hours with me, the pantry, and two giant bags of M&Ms.

It's going to be a long day.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Mother You Are

About two years ago, a friend of mine told me I wasn't doing a good enough job as a mother.

To say I was shattered is an understatement.  This is the sort of comment that you hold onto forever.  No matter how much you try to bury it and forget about it, it's like holding a beach ball under the water -- it always resurfaces, sometimes with such force that it blows out of the water and leaves you flailing as you try to regain control.

When our fifth IVF cycle failed about six months ago, it multiplied.  Suddenly it was like I was trying to hold a dozen beach balls under the water.  Every morning I would wake up and think, "The reason it failed is because I am not a good mother."  And every night I would go over the inventory of what made me a bad mother that day:  I spent too much time on the computer.  I yelled at my kids.  I didn't read any books.  I didn't help them practice their alphabet or their numbers.  I only glanced at my son's homework instead of truly checking it.  I refused to sit on the piano bench while he practiced.

And then I would start picking apart my mothering preferences, feeling guilty over the things I don't like to do.  I hate playing Candyland, for example.  I don't like cooking with my kids.  I never go on preschool field trips because it makes my stomach knot to think of giving up my two precious hours of kid-free time to help herd a group of wild four-year-olds through a quiet museum.  I hate bedtime routines and by the end of the day I'm so ready to check out that I often send my kids to bed with nothing more than a hug and a kiss.

But I realize, I need to stop focusing on the things I'm doing wrong and start focusing on the things I'm doing right.

Not someone else's "right."  My right.

Just because there are some moms out there who love going on field trips with a class full of Mexican jumping beans does not mean I'm a bad mother because it's not on my Fun List.  It's okay that I don't like playing Candyland.  It's okay that I don't get any warm fuzzies from my children dumping the entire salt shaker in the cookie dough when my back is turned.

One woman's idea of what it means to be a good mother is another woman's horror story.  There is no one-true-and-holy mothering style, and no perfect way to be a mother.

I'm not saying I have no room for improvement or that how I am is exactly how I should stay.  But improvement doesn't always mean changing into something new; sometimes it just means becoming something better.

Being better as the mother you are.

And forgetting about the mother you're not.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Breaking Camp

A vacation should consist of the following things:

- Meals I don't have to cook
- Dishes I don't have to clean
- Comfortable beds I don't have to make
- A shower every morning
- An indoor, flushable toilet that is clean and easily accessible
- Sleeping in as much as possible

Camping consists of the following things:

- Meals I have to cook.  Outside (which is 100 times more inconvenient than cooking at home).
- Dishes I have to wash.  Outside.  With cold water unless I want to heat it up.  (I don't).
- Beds that deflate while I'm trying to sleep
- No showers
- Toilets that are not easily accessible (particularly in the middle of the night), smell like a sewer, and are often splattered with evidence of someone's explosive intestinal issues.  If there are toilets at all.
- Sleeping as little as possible.

Add in extreme temperature changes, kids waking up at the crack of dawn after they've kept you up half the night, smelling like campfire and mosquito repellent and wallowing in alternating layers of dirt and grease, and I have to wonder why anyone ever wants to do this.

Does it really need saying?  A vacation is something that doesn't require you to pee in the bushes.

But since I'm headed on one or two camping trips this summer, I read this article with interest:  5 Ways to Make Camping With Children Easy.  (Wait, I know this one... Don't go!)

First suggestion?

Keep glow sticks on the kids at night.

I've done this before.  Fun for the kids, easy for the mom.  Good suggestion.

Be willing to go for drives.

There's the problem with camping right there.  Kids don't sleep.  You don't sleep.  You have to take your little darlings for an hour-long drive just to get them to shut their eyelids.  Fun fun fun.  We're all having fun.

Give your children plenty of light.

I think the glow stick or a flashlight is sufficient.  I don't need to spend time rigging up night lights.

And now the good stuff:

Use two tents.

"Designate one tent to be only for sleeping and changing clothes," the author says.  "The other tent then becomes only for toys and playing."

Say what?

I already had to bring my entire kitchen on this dumb camping trip and you want a separate tent for toys?  I'm supposed to bring toys?  So many of them that I need two tents?

She's actually serious.  Her last piece of advice is don't be afraid to overpack.

No really, she says that.  Don't be afraid to bring more stuff.  Your entire kitchen.  Your entire storage room.  Every blanket you own.  Your medicine cabinet.  Your toy room.

Am I the only one who thinks there is something wrong with camping if the only way to make it less miserable is to BRING EVERYTHING YOU HAVE AT HOME?

Can't we, you know, just stay home?  Or in a Marriott or something?  

Don't get me wrong, we can still go outside.  I'm not opposed to nature.

I'm just opposed to it getting on me.