Friday, December 28, 2012

A Little Christmas Croup

Are you wondering how to have a good time on Christmas Eve? I know, I know!

Spend it in the emergency room, in a city you don't even live in! 

Sound like a good time? IT IS, believe me! (Don't.)

Yes, everyone is fine, and yes, we really spent some time in the e.r. on Christmas Eve. After putting Brandon to bed at my in-law's house, he woke up crying and coughing, but not just coughing... barking like a seal. Though we'd never had any of the boys crop up with croup, as soon as I heard that cough, I knew that's exactly what it was. 

He was having a hard time breathing, just enough that I didn't feel comfortable letting him ride the episode out, so off we went for a good time at the e.r. My mother-in-law drove Nate and I to the hospital, since we didn't know where it was.

Somehow, we lucked out and they got Brandon in right away. It was only 10 p.m., so perhaps it was too early for the drunken idiot injuries and car accidents, even for Christmas Eve, when people had probably started drinking at 10 a.m. Or maybe everyone was already passed out. Either way, it worked out well for us.

They started him on a breathing treatment, which required a mask to his face, which he LOVED. It was super awesome to hold down my already struggling-to-breathe child and force a mask over his face, causing him to cry and bark and struggle to breathe even more, and THAT was sarcasm, folks.

Eventually, he got over it, calmed down, and allowed the mask to remain over his face without too much of a fight. I don't want to brag or anything, but it was totally due to my rousing rendition, in my nails-on-a-chalkboard Celine Dion-like voice, of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."

He fell asleep in self defense, just to get me to stop singing, I'm sure.

Three hours later, he was released, with instructions to take him out into the COLD air if it happened again. We're actually not supposed to use warm moist air (like steam from a shower), because cold air is what helps bring down the inflammation that causes the barking seal cough.

As we were leaving, knowing that our kid was going to be fine, it was time to crack the inappropriate jokes to cope with the stress of what had happened and diffuse tension, so I asked Brandon if he wanted to go down to the wharf so he could "talk" to the seals, and my mother-in-law cracked that we could probably just set him out on their deck and they'd still hear him. 

And things like that. The rest of Christmas was fantastic, or maybe it just seemed like it was because hey, we weren't in the e.r.!

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

There Is Not ONE Answer

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."
-Frederick Douglass

I have spent my adult life studying, learning about, and being in the presence of broken men. I have walked among rapists, murderers, pedophiles, the mentally ill, the criminally insane. As someone who has studied criminal justice and psychology in college, as someone who has worked in some realm of law enforcement and as someone who knows all too well what humans are capable of and how depraved they really can be, I am not afraid of the knives, hands, guns, penises used to commit these beatings, rapes, and murders. I am afraid of the people who use these tools to commit these horrific acts.

I'm afraid of their violent tendencies, of their psychopathology, sociopathology, genetic predisposition, whatever it is, that causes them to carry out these acts. I'm afraid of those people.

What compels humans to do the awful things they do? The answer: There is no easy answer. There is no ONE answer. Not always. It could be biological, it could be the circumstances one grew up in; the classic "nature vs. nurture" argument. However, the circumstances that cause one human to break and commit horrific crimes can be applied to another human being and while they may break, they do not go on to commit crimes against people. 

Bad people are among us. They are everywhereAnd NOBODY is immune from them. Not me, not you, not my kids, not yours. Whether you want to believe it or not, they are in your neighborhood, your town. You pass them on the street and don't even know it. One of my dad's friend's was a parole officer, and he has said, "If you knew who you walked among, you would never leave your house."

I've learned that bad people are the enemy, not the tools they utilize to harm others. I've learned that when confronted with the bad people, in order to defend or protect yourself against them you have to be capable of fighting back, and to fight back, you have to be able to match or exceed their level of power. I've learned that laws do not and will not stop them, and that a determined person will always find a way. They don't give a shit about you, they don't give a shit about the law, they don't give a shit about a fucking thing. Except destruction.

Having seen the darkest of humans, it is impossible for me to live in an ivory tower. I understand what humans are capable of. I'm not trying to scare you. I'm trying to advocate for you, for the innocent. I'm trying to help you be aware, not so you can live in fear but so you can protect yourselves, protect your families. So that you can be diligent. So that you can understand what you need to protect your children from. People are flipping out right now, calling for more gun control laws and to be perfectly frank, there is so much more to this issue than simply "gun control." We need to look beyond gun control.

We have to focus on making changes in our society. 

We have to focus on getting these people off the streets, on supporting the resources that will either help or remove these people from society so they can't harm others.

We have to focus on building strong children.

Strong children turn into strong adults. Strong adults create a strong society. 

I'm very angry. I'm saddened, I'm grieving. I'm angry that it takes an incident of mass murder for people to wake up as to what's around them, as to how broken society is. I'm especially angry that people only become outraged when something as dramatic and traumatic as the murders at Sandy Hook occur, when children are being murdered every day, children are being abused and molested every day, and nobody seems to be outraged, en masse, at this fact, and that the general public does not seem to be making the connection between these children being broken, and then turning into broken adults who then turn on the society that did not protect them as children.

I'm angry that people have not been looking at the core of the issue: Broken people. And what to do about them.

Earlier this year a disturbed man in my city sat on a sidewalk and waited for the next woman who was alone to walk by. One did, and he stabbed her over and over, murdering her literally in the street, in broad daylight. 

I am fucking outraged. I don't give a shit how he murdered her. Whether he stabbed her, shot her, strangled her, I don't give a shit. I give a shit that he murdered her. I give a shit that he was loose in society in the first place

If you want to sign something, sign for more funding for mental health services. Fight for the services that will take the violently disturbed off the streets, whether to get them help or remove them from society. 

I see a huge outcry for more support for mental health services and agree with that outcry, but also think we need to fight for our schools to have the funding for mental health services, for counselors, for people who can identify the broken children and try to help them, give them a chance to get help before they are permanently set on a dark path that they will never recover from. Whether by counseling, or taking the steps to remove them from their volatile homes, or by recognizing the ones who have already become a danger to others and taking the steps to either get them help or get them off of your streets, keep them from preying on you and your family.

And speaking of schools, fight your schools, period. I'm heartbroken at the financial slashing that schools are enduring. Children suffer because of that. Society suffers because of that.

And especially, instead of voting for cuts to law enforcement, vote for more funding for them. They are the only ones who are going out and actually taking the people who will harm you and your children off the streets. Funding for law enforcement agencies is being slashed across the country, and people are wondering why even more bad shit is happening in their cities. 

A fully funded, fully staffed police force will have the resources to put officers in the schools. If you fight for funding for your local law enforcement agencies, fight to put officers and deputies in your children's schools, fight for them to be staffed enough to have a strong presence on your streets, just imagine what a safer town you would live in, how much safer schools would be. Police officers are already involved in the communities they work in, are familiar with some of the residents and families, and therefore can do more than just guard the school. They can work with students, they can recognize deviant behavior, see warning signs, and take action.  

No matter what your opinion is on guns or gun control, don't believe that laws are going to stop all criminals from obtaining guns. WAIT. LISTEN. I am merely being matter-of-fact here. We cannot afford to be naive or in denial about this.

I just want people to understand that no matter what the laws are, someone who is bound and determined to obtain a weapon to destroy a person or persons will find a way to do it. There is such a thing as arms dealers, of the underground, of the black market, and like drugs, guns will ALWAYS be in existence. The gun manufacturers, the gun dealers, they are not going to stop making and distributing the product that gives them their paycheck. They just aren't, no more than the drug growers/manufacturers and dealers are going to stop and find another job. 

Until there is ZERO DEMAND for drugs or guns in the entire world, they will continue to be made, consumed, used. They will continue to be obtained by people who are bound and determined to obtain them, no matter the laws. 

With the understanding that THERE ARE bad guys out there, ask yourself what changes we can make in society to protect ourselves from them, and to either get them help or get them off the streets.

Ask yourself what we, as a society, can do to prevent them from "becoming bad" in the first place.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.


I debated about whether or not to post about the recent tragedy. I vacillated about what good, if any, it would do, I vacillated about whether or not I wanted to risk angering or upsetting people. And in the end, I decided that I would post because I think ALL perspectives need to be heard and considered. I want to offer my perspective, as someone who has seen and dealt with things that most people don't. 

How we move forward as a country in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook murders needs to be carefully and rationally considered, and I see a lot of knee-jerk, emotional responses occurring, and I get that! People are hurting, are scared, and want to, need to, blame something. But we need to focus. We need to look at all sides, and all potential solutions. There is not just one answer. I see that many critical issues are being overlooked, and that really scares me. It scares me that not every issue surrounding the tragedy is being considered, not every issue is being fought for, and frankly, that will just keep us on the same path we've been on. 

**I welcome discussion about this, and only ask that everyone is respectful of one another.

And now, back to my regularly scheduled programming of sarcasm, humor, debauchery, and trivial complaining.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Just some diaper talk, here.

The other day, between taking Ethan on his field trip, completing an order from my home business, Brandon's nap, Nate making dinner for the boys and then for us, and all the other things that tie us up, somehow, Brandon's diaper didn't get changed. For a while. We don't know *exactly* for how long but we're guessing for probably most of the day.

You know, "third kid syndrome" and all. It's worse than "second child syndrome." Brandon basically fends for himself most days. He's a tough, and very self-sufficient, two-year-old.

So, when bedtime rolled around, Brandon's diaper looked like this. Our screaming neglect looked so funny that I had to take photos, and later, after drinking a drink or however many, decided that everyone should see them and know what kind of diaper is capable of holding a day's worth of urine, along with some other diaper information. Because everyone makes good decisions after drinking.

THAT THING is hanging down to his KNEES. HOW was he able to walk in that thing? And more importantly, WHAT diaper was able to hold that many pounds of urine and not leak?

Pampers Cruisers with DRY MAX. The "dry max" is an important point, because the non dry max Pampers have the little absorbent crystals that like to bust out of the seam of the diaper  when it gets too full and get all over kids and every-damn-thing like some kind of futuristic fungus, but the dry max ones don't have the crystals.

See the little blue dry max bubble below the Cruisers logo? I know some people had issues with the dry max diapers when they first came out a couple of years ago, but in the ensuing backlash, Pampers updated the diaper and it's supposedly better now.

We don't stick with any one diaper. We use Huggies, all the different kinds of Pampers, Costco's Kirkland brand, Luvs, and Target's Up and Up brand. I know each kid is different and different diapers work in different ways for each one (How IS that?) but those have been fine for us.

One problem that a lot of people have is keeping kids dry all through the night and the best diaper I found for that are Huggies Overnights, in the next size up from their current diaper size. So, Brandon's in size 4 during the day but at night we put him in a size 5 Overnight. 

We've done that with all the boys and it seems to be the magic trick. Except with Ethan, he frequently soaked through his diaper at night; the diaper doublers didn't help, nothing. So we had to restrict beverages before bedtime, put underpads below his sheet, and suck up a lot of bed changes. Yes, it blew.

What diapers have worked best for you, disposable or cloth? My friend swears by the disposable diapers from The Honest Company, and they're also biodegradable, which is a huge win.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Random Mom Thoughts - While Pregnant: 2nd Trimester

It's another installment of Random Mom Thoughts! I must clarify once again that no, I am not pregnant... these thoughts are what I remember from my previous pregnancies (mostly my first). And if you're surprised that I remember anything from that far back (2 to 6 years ago), trust me, I am too!

- WHEW! Out of the first trimester!


- (During ultrasounds) Aw that's actually a baby in there! Doesn't look like an alien anymore! Aw, I could watch this thing all day long!

- FIFTEEN POUNDS IN A MONTH?? What the hell? I knew I was going to get fat. (Not baby belly fat. Like ALL the hell OVER fat.)

- At least I finally look pregnant. I think.

- WAS THAT A FIRST KICK? Oh yeah, bring it, baby!

- Maternity clothes SUCK MONKEY BALLS.

- I think I can smell Nate's fart from three rooms away. Holy shit, what did he EAT?

- Jesus Christ, a beer has never looked so good. Fuck it, I'm having a sip. Oh sweet Jesus, that tasted so good. I'm having another sip. Fuck it, I'm drinking a third of the bottle. Okay, half. Okay, half PLUS an extra sip or two or three. Okay. I'm stopping. It's empty.

- OH HEY EVERYONE, IT'S A BOY!! Oh hey, I guess we should stop saying "it."

- What the hell do we name this guy? How badly are we going to screw him up because of his name? I mean, we're going to screw him up no matter what, but I'd like what we named him to only factor in a little bit.

- Suddenly, pork chops are the devil. Never mind that I could eat them up until yesterday, WHY ARE THEY SO DISGUSTING NOW?

- Since when is the smell of bacon gross? Unbelievable! IT'S BACON! Oh my God, it smells so bad that I have to leave the room. The house. The neighborhood.

- Hey, where's my brain? Oh, there you, wedged nice and high UP MY ASS. How/why does pregnancy make me so stupid?


- (First pregnancy - OBVIOUSLY) Holy shit look at that kid freaking out like that. What a little bastard. And LOOK! His mom's not even doing anything about it! That will never be me! I mean, sure, my kid will act up every once in a while, but I am going to have shit under control!
***YES, I can hear your smirky laughter from here. I'm laughing at me, too.

- Okay, the kicks are getting a little stronger. That one to my full bladder? Not so excited about it.

- Did Nate just open a package of pork chops? He did! Oh my God, the smell. Is he trying to kill me?

- Yes, I'm pregnant and buying beer and wine. No I'm not having a party. No, it's not for me, it's for the dude that knocked me up and now has to tolerate me. Stop looking at me all sideways like that. I STILL CAN SEE YOU! I can smell the judgment wafting off you like a cheap perfume!

- Oh hey is that a sandwich? Throw some cake on top, please.


What were yours?

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

And The Winners Are:

The five winners of a free copy of No Laughing Allowed are:

Commenter #1: I Like Beer and Babies

Commenter #4: USA Kiwi

Commenter #10: Nikki R.

Commenter #11: Teri Biebel

Commenter #17: Heidi Leach

Congratulations, girls! You won because Brandon drew your comment number out of a Firetruck lunchbox.

There is no better way to win.

Anyway, please, please, pretty pretty please email me the address you want your copy emailed to. ASAP. My email is:

For the rest of you, if you want a copy, you can buy it for $2.99 from Amazon! <---- That's the link, goobers.

Thank you to all who participated, and to those who bought the book, and to everyone who reads my blog. Your support means a shitload to me!

Hugs and kisses from Brandon with his Hand Foot, and Mouth disease!

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Monday, December 10, 2012

I'm shocked, I tell you.

I'm sure it will surprise absolutely nobody who has read this post to find out that Brandon has cropped up with hand-foot-mouth disease.

Yeah. Goooo kid.

And after coming home from the doctor's office (where he screamed his face off just being weighed and having his temperature taken), my mom took us to dinner and in the span of five minutes, I watched Brandon grab his shoes, including the bottom, then quickly grab a chip and shove it in his mouth. Then he grabbed another chip and drove it along the filthy booth like a car. I had time to get that one out his hands before he tried to eat it. Then he dropped another chip on the ground and I was able to stop him as he was diving under the booth to retrieve it and eat it.

And he tried to put his mouth on the edge of the table. I just don't know about this kid. Anyway, in case you've been dying to know, kids can get the disease without having the sores on their hands and feet. He only had canker-like sores in his mouth and a pimple-like rash on his butt that after a couple of days, looked more like scabs.

Please, go eat your lunch now.

But before you do, be sure to enter my giveaway! It ends tomorrow (Tuesday). For details, click on the link to the post here, or just click back to the previous post. Good luck!

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