As we see family I have been thinking about things I am grateful for about my family. John's family stays up late at night and talks about things- including what is normal in this family. So I thought I would write my own what a family is list.

  • A family loves you
  • A family fights sometimes
  • Family eats dinner together
  • Family goes on vacation together
  • Family drives across the country together
  • Family invites you over for dinner
  • Family calls you on your birthday
  • Family gets you presents
  • Families gossip
  • Families stay up late talking about ideas and childhood and everything else that exists.
  • Families compete for attention
  • Family will buy stuff from your internet shop :-) and maybe even some tupperware
  • Or Mary Kay makeup if they are really nice.
  • Family will let you come stay with them for a while and borrow a car if they have an extra one
  • Family will ignore you
  • Family buys you groceries
  • Family brings cereal on trips
  • Family sends cards on birthdays
  • Families read together
  • Families have songs they can sing together- or poems or inside jokes that always bring up good thoughts.
  • Family reads your blog and even comments when you are lucky.
  • Families share opinions about which brands are best.
  • Families understand why the bathroom has to be cleaned a certain way.
  • Families hug each other
  • Families will call you even if they are mad at you, just because it has been too long.
  • Families go out to eat together.
  • Families love the same desserts
  • Family knows the food you are allergic to and remember not to make it for your birthday dinner.
  • Families will tell you honestly how you could be better.
  • Family remembers your most embarrassing moment in high school.
  • Families look alike.
I like my family.


Blog Envy

Well I put a counter on my blog that measures how many unique visitors have come to my site. As of this morning it was 597. The counter has been there a while and I am so proud of it. Except then I made the mistake of looking at someone else's blog with a counter. the counter appeared one day on my friend's blog that I read. She is really funny. This morning her counter was at 27,684. You can imagine that I feel a bit stupid with my measly 597.
I thought about asking her to put some of my links on her blog. Like my Tupperware store icon or my etsy shop. Is this in bad taste? I would say most definitely, because we aren't close enough friends. Plus if 27 THOUSAND people are reading your blog, you have lots of friends who would pay you. Or just ask for free advertising like a mooch.
Which brings me to the comparison game of the week. My blog is not as good as some people. The other day someone in my ward told me people gossiped about me. Sadly, I am not the least liked person in the ward. I was told by someone else that they are the least popular woman in relief society. When you are being unpopular, wouldn't it be nice to be the least unpopular? It is like I joined a group of the alternative to the traditional fake moms but I am not really the best of the group. There are always the women in relief society that are nice to your face but then say how impossible it is that you are not more (fill in the blank). I usually get blasted for being too opinionated or pushy. Unfortunately for them I value honesty more than their feelings. I just don't agree with pretending everything is OK to someone's face and then blasting them to other people. Rather, I would like to blast people in all situations, public and private. This makes me part of the "mean" group. Every church group has them, and I think usually many of them are also the very hated "employed" group. Also frequently the "very fit and accomplished" group. So I guess I am a little biased but I don't work or pretend to be a fitness guru. I am just pushy and when people tell me they are so sad that their husbands won't stop watching football on Sunday I tell them I don't believe it is really impossible. Because it isn't. Maybe these women have never heard of TiVO.
Either way I am not the most pushy woman or the most educated. Or the most righteous for that matter. Most people are average, and it is interesting to see how I fall in my smaller circle. In high school I was in advanced English and our teacher was quite mean. He liked to publicly share bad examples as well as good examples. Most often I was one of the non-examples but one time my essay was highlighted as an example of "voice." Pretty much that was my proudest moment in high school. Sadly, my next paper was an in class write where my essay was deemed illegible and in the end my writing teacher recommended that I become an illustrator.
Secretly of course I wanted to have the best essays. Just like I want a funny blog. Unfortunately I don't really want to do the work necessary to attain the levels of greatness to which I aspire.
And if I did it might raise me to a higher level of mediocrity, but it is a long shot to have my friends randomly wish they could advertise on my blog.


SLEEP and car trips.

Well I keep getting all these really funny ideas for what to write about, but then I forget them. This is like how in loaded questions I think I am funny but then realize I am not. I have decided my blog will never be as good as some people's. This happened after I added a counter to my blog. Then I saw Jana's. My blog has had maybe 500 unique views and it is exciting. Her blog? Over 24,000. She averages about 17 comments per post. I have blog envy. Also, her blog is much more interesting than mine. Many of my blog ideas come when I am tired and in the car.
One day I went to pick up John at the train station and I was early. So I sat in the air conditioned car and watched people. One of my favorite things to do in the world is watch people. There was a family of a little boy and his mom standing by the building. I couldn't really tell how old the boy was. He was in that 3-6 year old size where he was still shorter than the pole but a little chunky. And it looked like he was humping the pole. At first I didn't want to look but his mom was talking to someone else and I just couldn't figure out what was going on. The song I want to make love in this club came on the radio and Danielle started dancing too. That little boy was pole dancing at the train station. His mom was standing right there and didn't seem to notice and I still wish I knew where this boy learned to dance like that. I didn't think the hip thrusting and pole twirling style dancing was something that babies just naturally did. I guess some of the pussycat dolls really were born to do that. Also he was right on the cusp of the size where parents usually tell you to stop dancing in public. John wouldn't dance in public if you paid him and here was this kid, humping a pole. And me listening to the perfect soundtrack.
I have learned to like R&B songs because Danielle seems to like them. She used to just scream every time we got in the car and I hated it. Until I bought the Justin Timberlake CD that was stuck in my head. Danielle's favorite song was born. Danielle wants to bring sexy back.
I have been surprised what kind of desperation the baby car ride problem creates. We thought we could drive to Atlanta with her and got the idea that we should leave in the night. Danielle sleeps through the night- usually 12 hours. And she can sleep in the car so it seemed perfect. But it wasn't. The first stop for gas Austin barked at a dangerous woman next to us and Danielle never went back to sleep. That was 2 in the morning. We had to stop for two hours at a hotel because we got stuck in a rainstorm. I secretly wanted to bail out of the car trip and I was whining and complaining to give John subtle clues and my chance came with the rainstorm. Danielle couldn't sleep with all the thunder and lightning. But she also couldn't sleep at the Hotel. No luck on the Janae nap.
Not even Sexy back helped Danielle feel better but she eventually cried herself to sleep. Or maybe I just used my super powers to fall asleep. Now I don't usually like to talk about super powers because I don't want people to feel bad but I have the super power to sleep through just about any car trip. once my dad drove me to Victoria BC and I slept the entire way. That was a 13 hour car ride. When my family lived in Texas and I was going to school at BYU I could sleep the whole way. Sometimes I would try to sleep while I was driving, but that wasn't super popular with the other members of the trip. Either way when I get in the car for a car trip I can fall asleep sitting up for a super long time. I would even say almost any length of time. So I exercised some of my super power to sleep. This sleep wasn't very valuable of course, but at the end I came up with the brilliant idea to write my father in law a song for father's day. The song sounded a lot like the snow patrol song we were listening to.
And that is how my super power changes lives. I think Erik might really appreciate a slightly altered version of I want to make love in this club. Too bad we don't have a picture of that future pussy cat doll dancing to it. Feel free to submit lyrics to the Erik Madsen song to bringing sexy back or snow patrol or any R&B. There is always next Christmas if we don't memorize it by the family celebration of father's day on Wednesday.


Body Fat: Yours for the Taking

After much consideration I have decided to donate my fat to charity. Not all of it of course, but I think I have more excess body fat than I would like. As a child my mother would tell me that there are starving children in the world. These starving children would have begged for my fish sticks. I just thought the trash can begged for it. Then the garbage disposal after I was found out. Or the toilet. Send the fish back to nature I say. We were told to stay at the table until our meals were done. With fish sticks I never finished my meal.

Sometimes I paid Carol to eat it. I recommend to all high schoolers to keep a few dollars on hand with which you can bribe your siblings to eat food for you. Paul would sell acorns for ten cents- he was clearly desperate for money. Send it back! That was also my answer for the starving children. I repeatedly told my mother that I would happily ship my fish sticks to starving children in Africa. Did she ever once take me to the post office and make be box them up? No, because she knew that starving children don’t want fish, they want cookies. Everyone knows this. Every time we had fish I developed the powerful and sudden religious urge to fast. I would happily go without fish sticks and pray for a cause- the cause of the starving children in Africa. Despite repeated religious fasting years later the children if Africa still have no fish sticks. Gordon’s should be ashamed of themselves. Probably not enough children had as much faith as I did. Or maybe they had a stash of ritz bits sandwich cookies in their room. My fasting also didn’t make me even close to as thin as those children my mom talked about. How can I send them my fish sticks? Or my body fat?

The other day I tried to mail a Wii Fit I sold on Ebay to Thailand and shipping was literally 68 dollars. The cheapest shipping we found. I suspect that shipping to Africa is also spendy. The address of my box full of fish sticks? AFRICA: ATTN Starving Children. Maybe I would have to write them a letter apologizing for eating all the cookies in my lunches but sending them only by yucky fish sticks.

Now that I am older I should send my stuff to the starving mothers. They could probably use about five pounds of pure body fat. I am even willing to donate more. Many mothers in Africa could probably benefit from my excess body fat. They don’t even have to be in Africa or starving- I would donate some of my body fat to Claire my little sister- or my skinny friend Allison. Anyone who needs it or just wants some extra body fat can have it. Allison runs every day so if she didn’t want it she could get rid of it real fast. I will just list the shipping as a charitable donation on my taxes. Is plastic surgery for charity a tax deduction? I think it might be. If you know of any good charities for my body fat let me know.

Thanks mom, for teaching me to be aware of other people.


The Danielle Don't list.

I am really for positive teaching. I remember a seminar about how important it was to be positive when teaching people- the teacher said- "how many of you like to do something that you are bad at over and over again." I am a licensed teacher and I feel like it is my duty to teach my daughter. I try really hard to give her positive options rather than just saying no. Like- here is a baby biscuit to eat rather than that rawhide you stole from the dog, or here is a piece of paper to shred rather than your diaper.
Sometimes though, I just say- don't! or no, or stop, or some negative semi angry or just plain frustrated statement. I thought I should list them, just so everyone can know. Just sit back, relax, and imagine me in those rare moments when I realize Danielle is awfully quiet. Then I realize it's time to start the Danielle Don't list.
don't eat the toilet paper.
don't grab your diaper when we are changing you.
don't throw all your food to Austin the dog.
don't put that dirty diaper whipe in your mouth.
don't throw your shoes away.
don't run away from mommy in the mall
especially when I have merchandise from the store in my hand.
don't laugh at me and run further when I come to get you.
don't pull out your hair.
don't pull out mommy's hair.
don't steal cookies out of the dog's mouth.
don't tear up all the toilet paper.
and for that matter, stop trying to flush entire rolls of toilet paper.
please stop laughing at all Indian people you see.
don't try to bite me.
don't put your hand in Austin's mouth and grab his tongue.
don't grab his private parts either.
don't shut your hand in the drawer you can only reach on tiptoes again.
don't share the book with the baby by throwing it at them.
Please leave the pepto bismol in the fridge when we open it.
don't help us unload all the dishes in the dishwasher whenever it opens.
don't throw bowls on the floor and laugh gleefully when they shatter.
or plates for that matter.
also no laughing when you dig your nails into my skin.
don't throw everything you can reach on the floor at the grocery store.
don't dump your bottle all over the carpet.
or the couch.
or the dog.
don't throw all your food on the ground when we are at a restaraunt.
don't steal the babies pacifier and put it in your mouth.
or the babies food.
don't break through the child proofing on the cleaning cabinet again.
don't throw yourself head first, and backwards, off the bed.
or out of our arms every time we walk to the car.
don't spit your medicine back in mommy's face.

and please stop laughing when I tell you don't.


Austin's Oreos

The other day we had Casey over and she babysat for Danielle. Unfortunately she left her money in our driveway and I have to bring it to her tomorrow. After we got home we played phase 10 billion. And I lost (shocker). Something amazing happened during this game- Casey turned down mint oreos and said they were gross. She was of course incorrect.
I purchased this package of mint oreos a week ago and last night the last one disappeared. into my mouth. One I was told as an insult that I was one of those people who only ate the filling out of oreos and not the cookies. Of course that was an accurate assessment but I think it is the best insult I have ever been given. I don't like the cookies. So I carefully twist my mint oreos apart and throw the cookie to Austin the dog. He loves oreo tops. Since I feel like they are a second class snack I am happy to part with them. Then of course I take two bites out of the other cookie with no filling and carefully fold over the filling to make the perfect 2/3 filling 1/3 cookie proportion. If I can break those other cookie pieces off and hand them to Austin that is even better.
I guess double stuff just isn't enough for some people.
On Thursday I discovered something alarming after handing Austin my cookie top and walking from the kitchen to the living room. I sat down in my green chair and appreciated my oreo. Five minutes later John noticed Danielle walking around with something in her hand. Like most foods Danielle eats, it had spread to her face and clothing as well as her greedy little baby hands. She was quietly eating and not showing anyone, so John knew something was wrong.
The oreo top. Danielle had stolen the oreo top and was relishing it. She stole it right out of Austin's mouth. There are many things that are gross about this. I never realized that my daughter would like it when Austin licked her feet or play in his mouth or cuddle with him so much. My daughter's best friend is a 96 pound dog. They play hide and seek. and it turns out Danielle steals food out of his mouth.
I guess she felt bad that such a yummy treat would be shared with the dog and not with her. Even she recognizes though that Oreos are good. If you can trust someone's judgment that can't talk and eats food from a dog's mouth.


I love shoes.

The other day I did something I hadn't done in a while. Years I guess. I purchased and wore some really hot shoes. Here they are in the picture- the BCBG girls slingback 'Saraf' shoes from Nordstrom. I miss fantastically cute shoes.
It seems like some people are always wearing really cute shoes. Like this one girl who works at Nordstrom in Provo selling shoes. She says she always wears high heels. What a fantastic thing. Also Jana always has cute high heels on at church and I think it is really nice looking. High heels say I think I am good looking enough and I have developed the skill to walk in these precarious things. Also they make you taller, which I have heard takes off pounds.
In high school I was in a school musical and had the opportunity to sing in Little Shop of Horrors. One of my most vivid memories was when we started staging the play and learned to walk in 5 inch heels. Incredible. I didn't realize that I wasn't feminine when I walked but luckily after about 5 hours of practice we were all ready to walk. I guess I had walked a little bit like a horse and a little bit like a football player.
On my mission I said goodbye to my cute high heels and hello to some really ugly black shoes that I got resoled a few times. I wanted to get comfortable shoes and tried to avoid the 25 dollar plastic boots that some sisters got in Germany since they were cheap. I discovered Josef Seibel who is a great shoe designer. after over a year of wearing flats I bought a great pair of brown shoes and wore them to zone conference- where I wouldn't be walking around all day. I have never felt prettier. The fact that a tanning salon opened downstairs from our apartment and we would go tanning at lunch time probably helped. This will obviously be controversial for some but I got 2 investigators from that tanning salon and they started having the book of Mormon in the Lobby for people to read. Actually there were some kids in that city that would follow us around and ask for book of Mormons- then sell them to people for five dollars. You have to appreciate their enterprising spirit. After one day of walking between meetings I realized something about high heels- they make your calves sore. I put my feet up after getting back to our apartment and felt like an old woman.
My journey into comfort shoes was accelerated by surgery and finally ended with pregnancy. I wondered how my massive pregnant weight could be supported by high heels. When you weight more than 50 pounds more than you did a few months before you start to question things like- will I topple to my death in my old shoes. My feet were swelling so big none of my awesome shoes fit me anymore. Come to think of it, no shoes really fit me except John's flip flops. A few months after Danielle was born I tried to wear high heels but my feet seemed bigger and I kept getting blisters. I told Jen none of the cute high heels I wanted to buy were comfortable and that is when her comment made me realize I had fundamentally changed. She said something like 'let's face it, you are a comfort shoe girl.' You can imagine I was crushed. But it was true. Luckily my sad descent into comfort shoes corresponded with a rising popularity in ballet flats but it has been about a year now since I was officially labeled a comfort shoe girl.
Last week I decided it has to change.
So goodbye comfort shoe lifestyle hello BCBG girls.

and hello blisters, incidentally. the journey back will probably take more than 5 hours.


Money Mondays

Well this last week has been great- I had a Tupperware party which was super exciting. I got over 270 dollars worth of free Tupperware.
Also I decided to sell Tupperware 'gulp'. I don't know if it is perfect for my personality but I really like Tupperware. So for money Mondays this week I decided to look at specials for Tupperware- these specials run until the 27th of June but if you want to order something you should contact me of course. I would buy the modular mates 10 piece set. there is a sale until the 27th. $73.50 is the total-
One of my scariest childhood memories was when my families food storage went bad. We got bugs in our food and my mom cried about it. I was going to have a Tupperware party and explained it to my mom that I don't know why it is more expensive. My mom was like- remember that time we had bugs? I had cheap containers. I decided I should invest- especially since Tupperware is guaranteed. Nothing like childhood horror stories to inspire crazy Tupperware purchases.
If you buy 100 dollars worth of Tupperware you can get the Heat N serve set 65% off. That's $15.50 for the set of three. This set is cool because you can put it in the freezer and microwave- I have been trying to cook more for John when he goes to school and I want more of these things.
If you place an order over 40 dollars by contacting me you will be entered into a drawing to become the hostess. I will enter all the orders in under your "party" and you will get the credit. I am telling you now being a hostess is awesome. The drawing happens June 27th. My email contact me if you are interested.

Total: $85.71 with tax and shipping.


Good Intentions

I intend to be as well spoken as Jen.
I intend to organize my pantry like Mary Ann.
I intend to enter all my receipts into excel like Amy.
I intend to plan meals like Allison and only buy what I am going to eat.
I intend to make people cute presents like Kathryn.
I intend to take great photos like Sivab.
I intend to look as cute pregnant as Janelle.
I intend to make homemade rolls like Claire.
I intend to get a doctorate someday like Jana.
I intend to always look as put together as Judi.
I intend to surprise people with gifts like Rachelle.
I intend to do people favors like Carol.
I intend to say positive things to people like Linda
I intend to be fabulous like Ruth.
I intend to be easygoing and nonjudgmental like Casey.
I intend to be loving to my spouse like Annie.
I intend to be positive and fashionable like Dana.
I intend to work out and climb as much as Diane.
I intend to write everyone thank you notes on time like Wendy.
I intend to be as good a listener as Janet.
I intend to travel as much as Tasha.
I intend to be as loving as Sarah.
I intend to take my kids to lessons like Chris.
I intend to always have an open home for other people like Brooke.
I intend to be more conscious of the environment like Karen.
I intend to memorize long poems like Carlie.
I intend to be as honest with people as Lindsay.
I intend to teach like Lyndsey.
I intend to throw fantastic theme parties like Liz.

I have great friends.


Spark People

So I am a member of a great website called Spark People. I even have my own inspirational site. I really like this website and I like keeping track of what I want to eat. I don't think I ever paid attention to calories or portion size before I had Danielle and now I feel like it is just so much easier to maintain a healthy weight with working out than lose baby weight. I started by just tracking what I ate and how much I worked out. They will give you a menu and an easy workout plan. Every day you can post what you ate.
One of my favorite things? is free. I don't have to pay anyone and it is safely anonymous. I have learned so much about eating and my relationship with food. Also they give you points. Yes that's right- you get points. Now the points aren't like money and you can't really get anything from them but I am addicted. I am totally willing to work out for five more minutes just so I can get one more point for the day, and I love to fill out my goal sheet. With a certain level of points you get trophies. this is my current trophy: and it is as small as it looks. I love my trophy and on my page I can send people "gifts with my points. You don't lose your trophy though- it is still yours. If I save up enough points I can get a personal assistant or a yacht. I don't always want to save up though, because the other day I needed a Kitchenaid stand mixer. And I needed some other things= or at least pictures of them on my page. I have already purchased myself some workout clothes and Jen got me a guitar. How great is that?
This morning I went to the gym and ate a healthy breakfast which is exciting. Then I thought- I wonder how many calories I could eat in a day if I ate everything I really wanted to. So I went to spark people and entered my guilty dream day. here is what I would eat. I don't know if you can see it but I would eat Lucky charms with 2 percent milk and bacon and orange juice for breakfast. Then I would have Fetuccine Alfredo with mountain dew and the lemon cake from the Olive Garden (with strawberries). for Dinner I would eat Dominos Pepperoni Pizza with 5 cinna stix and some of that tasty butter dipping stuff.
My snacks would be a peanut butter twix, m & M's Yogurt, rice cakes, celery with ranch, and cadburry mini eggs.
I guess I left out cheese.

Total Calories in my day: about 5000. This would be an appropriate number of calories if I was an Olympic athlete. Entering it into sparkpeople was almost as good as eating all those things, and now I don't have to go back to the gym.

Also fantastic about this site: rewards. they tell you to reward yourself for meeting your own goals. The hardest part is that they tell you that food rewards aren't appropriate. I don't know if I can think of anything more rewarding than candy and maybe that is why I need a website to teach me how to eat.


Book Club Dungeon

Dungeon Siege Tale is a movie that features Jason Statham, known from such masterpieces as The Italian Job and tons and tons of cheap action movies where they just show that he is one tough Australian. You can learn many valuable lessons from this movie, such as:

  • 1. CGI sword fights are pretty much the way wizards battle these days.
  • 2. Joan of Arc was in this movie. And she probably brings her own armor, with cape, to auditions. How can you turn down Joan of Arc?
  • 3. The Vengeance of a mother is the worst sort of vengeance, if you can imagine that.

This was one of the most delightfully terrible movies I have ever seen. It was like a fantasy novel gone wrong, complete with the balance of power being thrown off by a magician’s daughter surrendering her virtue. A man named Farmer became king and although he lost his son it was revealed that his wife was pregnant with another son (by a magician). There were tree elves (women) that fought with branches. In the end the magician was destroyed and the evil Farks immediately went back to wandering around since they lacked the intelligence necessary for blood lust.

We paid for the movie on Pay per view. Some of the special effects were so bad you couldn’t watch them. Awesome. Burt Reynolds was the king. Burt Reynolds. You can imagine my delight in spending an evening home with my husband watching this movie. How did the movie even get made?

Tonight I ended up going to a book club around 8:00 and it was sort of like the movie I saw the night before, but without the guilty pleasure. Each woman brought a different book and gave a sort of book report. Here are some pearls of wisdom I learned.

  • 1. The 8 hour movie version of Pride and Prejudice is the best.
  • 2. That Groban guy who wrote other side of heaven had 11 children.
  • 3. Jane Eyre is the most interesting Victorian novel.
  • 4. The California dialect is the purest and most American accent.
  • 5. The Twilight series took place in Seattle.

You can imagine it was almost as enlightening as the movie I saw the night before. So good I thought I should give thanks.

Thanks for informing my yearlong study of linguistics about your personal feelings on the Utah dialect and the correct way to say Nevada. Thank you for telling me where Seattle is and other Northwestern geography. Thank you for sharing your extensive linguistic knowledge with my published research. Thank you for helping me grasp the society Jane Austin lived in that I visited with an expert. Thank you for claiming “Bronte” was the best author. Thank you for telling me that since my husband is here for school I should be doing missionary work while I am here. Thank you for sharing your feelings about Adam’s transgression being a sexual sin. Thanks for explaining how homeless people are sent here just so we can serve someone and that is how they fulfill their existence.

Thank you for keeping me from watching another movie like Dungeon Siege Tale. I am sure after this post I will get kicked out of book club. Or rather book report club. Tonight I learned I should not have gone to college.


Mommy Wars

Every time I talk to mom’s it seems like we talk a lot about kids. Mom’s are really competitive about their kids. Stay at home moms especially. Right after I had Danielle she had reflux and I remember talking to someone about it. They were like- “Oh she’s sick- it doesn’t seem like she is that bad. My kids were way sicker when they were born. They were really hard.” I remember I wanted to push her over, like on the playground. This was my first post pregnancy introduction to mommy wars.

Of course it didn’t take that long to find the second: breastfeeding. We were going to specialists trying to figure out what was wrong. I couldn’t take the pain. The problems were probably as boring to you reading this blog as they were to the people I talked to. What they really wanted to do was tell me how good they were at breastfeeding. One well meaning friend would always interrupt if someone else asked and tell me it’s hard but you just have to work through the pain and it gets better. Then she told me I could always just try formula, it’s worked for many of her friends. It was pretty clear that she considered breastfeeding part of motherhood. My inability to breastfeed was a sign of my lack of dedication as a mom.

The Mom one-upmanship can apply to anything, including naps. People ask when your baby goes to sleep and what kind of naps they take. I am happy to say that even though Danielle slept through the night quite early the one upping mom’s can beat me because Danielle doesn’t always have a bedtime and when she does it’s about ten o’clock. Most people are surprised when I tell them that and say- wow you should start moving that up bit by bit- you only have to move it up a half hour at a time. Yes, that is true but I like our midnight baby. Of course this morning I am watching Danielle and I am really tired. I remember before I had children it was eerie to see adults sing theme songs to The Backyardagains" or other nursery hits. The theme songs were ridiculously inane. Now I am eating my words; last night I stayed up until 2:00 a.m. and this morning Sesame Street captivating her attention is priceless. I wonder if I could sell that as a mastercard add. What a wonderful show.

I think most parents put their kids to bed so early so they can get precious alone time. I will stay up just to get some “Janae time.” Or wake up at 5:00 in the morning so I can dink around on the internet without worrying about Danielle breaking dishes (she likes breaking things) or reaching for the keyboard like she is doing this very moment. Alone time is pretty important, as is mommy competition. One of the women I know had children that walked at 9 months. The next time we talked about it her kids walked at 8 months, which is really impressive I have to admit. I went out of town and when I got back she told me her daughter started walking a long time ago. So long ago that I had actually seen the child and knew they weren’t walking. I guess pushing your child to walk makes you a better mom. Too bad for all those moms my kid was walking as soon as she was born.

These are the things mom’s ask each other- how many teeth does your child have (Danielle is pathetically behind), how many baby signs do they know (Does screaming or pointing count?) or maybe just the good old does she sleep through the night? I know women who breastfeed their precious lucky children almost until they go to kindergarten.

I think mommy wars replace other wars. When people ask John about how his school is going they ask me how Danielle is. She is my newest academic endeavor. It is tacky to ask about grades but not about babies. John doesn’t seem to understand the underlying aggression in many of these mommy wars. Most of them end with me listening to some great unsolicited parenting advice. I was looking for a picture to this post so I Google searched mommy wars and it is a book. I guess I didn't think of it first. One more mommy war loss.

In the great mommy war I have a secret weapon I have not unveiled. Next time someone asks me when my baby goes to bed or when we are going to have another baby I plan to calmly answer “Danielle’s head measures above the 95th percentile.” Those are pretty good odds but I will be on the lookout for their two headed baby.


Money Mondays and a Hospital Visit

This weekend has been a little rough for us. Danielle had an allergic reaction to amoxicillin with open sores. On Friday she was getting tons of what looked like bruises- she was brown and purple and red. John called the doctor and took her in. Her marks looked like they could be something serious so John went straight from the hospital to the emergency room where they did tests. Poor little Danielle has bad veins like I do so they tried about 9 times to get an IV in her but failed. Also she wouldn't eat so they had to intubate her. I guess it is more serious if a baby doesn't drink anything in a day. The emergency room wasn't really that clean. I used the wipes for cleaning I found on the counter and cleaned the whole floor before we put Danielle on it. Since she wasn't eating and they weren't sure if the rash was from something more serious we stayed overnight. I held Danielle's arm to keep her from pulling out her nose tube. Then all night they came every hour or so and gave her fluids through her tube.
She was so sedate and cute in her hospital hound clothes. After a while she cried whenever she saw anyone with scrubs so it was good for her to see them when they didn't have to do anything to her. I am including a picture of Danielle today- she has been on steroids for three days in this photo so the red swelling is gone. What you can see in this picture is the leftover bruising from hives. Danielle is feeling a little better but sleeping a lot- I am worried because tomorrow she stops steroids and we are supposed to go back to the doctor. I am exhausted from my hospital night of no sleep.
So this week money Mondays is about something I really intend to buy. Maybe because it was part of Danielle feeling better. The Step 2 Parent powered buggy in pink and blue is really cute and they had them at the hospital. The second day when she was feeling better we put her in the little push car. She kept trying to climb in after but she was too weak so we lifted her in.
So cheap when I looked up how much it was! Target was the best price I found. or but I couldn't find out exactly how much it would be on Amazon without checking out for shipping costs so I didn't go through the whole process. Lately I have been using to find good prices and I highly recommend it. This push car is so nice and much less than other (smaller!) options. The step 2 company is the one that makes those cute little outside playhouses. I was so impressed with this pink car- I don't know why more people don't have something like this instead of a stroller- Danielle actually liked it and was willing to sit in it. I guess it is a little bigger than the Maclaren but I am going to get one anyway.
Retail $44.95


On a Particular Feeling, or Diminishing Thereof

It has been my experience that witnessing an emotion in another person can have one of two effects: it can induce that same emotion in the watcher, or it can diminish that feeling in a spectator. Examples of the emotion carrying to a witness include deep sorrow, humor, joy—seeing someone else grieving makes me sad. I find myself smiling when someone appears terribly happy. And I can’t help but laugh when others do. I own several seasons of Seinfeld on DVD, and I enjoy the bonus features with cut takes, because the actors themselves are so obviously amused. They often blow take after take because that can’t keep a straight face. It’s just fun to watch.
But I’m not going to focus on that effect. I’m more interested, right now, in the opposite effect, that effect which causes someone experiencing an emotion to feel it less when seeing someone else who is obviously feeling the same thing. While this is probably rarer than the other effect, you will likely see my point upon elaboration.
For example:
Today I waited at the train stop for twenty minutes. Usually, arriving trains are announced by their number, the rail they arrive on, and the time of their impending departure. The voice that typically makes these announcements is a recording of all the necessary words spliced together to fit the exact train. It is a deep, gravelly male voice, which I have described to Janae as the voice of the devil. Today, this voice was interrupted by a live announcer. When each train arrived, the deep demon voice would begin, then cut out as a female voice took over the loudspeaker. The woman’s voice was high, nasal, piercingly loud, and followed a strange, sing-songy lilt. “R5 local to Lansdale next to arrive on track 1, section B, track one section B is the 6:22 R5 local to Lansdale.”
It was intensely annoying. I looked up the first time I heard it, as if I would see the woman speaking in the speaker above me. I wondered why the familiar, soothing Satan voice was being overridden by someone so obnoxious. But the next time the nasal woman spoke, I happened to be looking to my left, in the direction my train would come from. In my field of vision sat an old woman reading a book on a neighboring bench. I noticed, in my peripheral vision, that she made some kind of facial movement that corresponded to the announcement. For the next announcement, I looked directly at her to observe her reaction. She was clearly as annoyed as I, perhaps more so. She made a face, the face of a person who has just sucked on a lemon, which slid into a tight-lipped grimace-grin, then collapsed back into the sour-pucker. The transformation startled me. She did not look up from her reading, but made these faces during each announcement, sometimes settling on one face or the other, but more often switching back and forth between the two while high-nasal spoke.
In the middle of my obvious observation, I realized that I was no longer annoyed at the high voice. Watching the extreme reaction of the older woman drove annoyance from me. I was amused that she felt strongly enough about something so trivial as to put on a dramatic show for the pages of the book looking up at her. It was ludicrously melodramatic. And pointless—no one would see her discomfort and make the voice stop. The action had no purpose. Perhaps she wasn’t even aware she was doing it. But my annoyance wasn’t stilled wholly by the amusement that her demonstration produced. Rather, it was as if my own emotion, held inside, was expressed in the face of this old woman, amplified for me to see. And once seen, the emotion appeared silly, for it would affect no change and allowing it to continue served only as a kind of perverse cycle of negative feeling. My annoyance draining away was not conscious, but still it followed this logic.
A similar case took place around the time I was thirteen. Horror movies and thrillers had typically given me nightmares before that time. Movies captured my attention so completely that I had no foot left in reality. My disbelief was suspended, alright. Until I noticed the fright of the other people watching the movie. It suddenly seemed laughable to me that someone sitting in a movie theater would be clutching an armrest, or a boyfriend. There they were, their hearts racing, their nerves quivering like violin strings, and for what? Their situation was no different than if they had been watching a musical or a romantic comedy, or any other film. The world had not changed at all, so why did they allow themselves to revel so long in false emotions? I was suddenly unafraid, and scary movies no longer bother me. Again, this was not a conscious thought process. I don’t think I have ever articulated this experience before, nor noticed the phenomenon. Even so, I am changed by it, and I would bet that others have felt something along these lines.
Which brings us to the inevitable question: what do we name this effect? Does it have a name? Schadenfreude describes one person’s joy at another’s harm, an effect not totally dissimilar from the one I have detailed, but that term connotes malice, which is not what I mean. Perhaps the best we can do, as is often the case, is looking at the opposite of a term already in existence. Sympathy describes the situation in which a person feels for another person’s emotion, even if they cannot really understand it; empathy indicates an even closer connection, as the witness has experienced the same thing. What I have recognized is anti-empathy, a decrease in emotion upon witnessing the same in another. Rather than feeling with them, the watcher is distanced from the watched. I guess you could say that I did not empathize with the old woman reading the book, though I could have. Instead, I anti-empathized.


What I did Today

Today I had a great mommy time. I mailed my packages for Ebay stuff. Even though I was the only one in line I still had to wait 20 minutes. I think there is a rule in the training for the post office where they learn how to be slow. Supposedly this man's scanner didn't work. Also there was a woman that was probably about 6 inches away from me the whole time. She kept looking at my different shipping options. I wanted to tell her to go away but I had borrowed her pen so maybe she felt like she was in my circle of trust.

Then we noticed Danielle had a rash. So I dropped John off at the train and went home instead of to the gym. On the way home I used a feature for my phone called 411 and learned that indian valley wasn't actually a city name- pretty much all those little areas are called Souderton. Next time someone tries to tell me there is a difference I will call them a liar. maybe a cheat and a liar, just for effect.

I watched some of a rerun of the bachelorette while I was waiting for Danielle's appointment. What a great show. Well, a great trashy show, but great nonetheless.
Danielle is allergic to amoxicillian. Also she still has an ear infection so she got more medicine. Her fever of 102-103 has gone down. She has hives all over her body. So we went and got her perscription and took a camomile bath. Also I got to use a product that I got for free with a fantastic coupon- the benadryl itch stick. I recommend the benadryl itch stick. Danielle has her jail pajamas on that cover her legs and arms so she will stop trying to remove all her skin. She gets really hyper with Benadryl so she is currently running around the living room and fussing and talking and screeching and laughing. I think she isn't sure how she feels, but I hope it results in a nap.
My chicken pox are worse today. In the doctors office I heard them talking about a child going in that potentially had the chicken pox and they were really worried about it and I wondered if I should ask the pediatrician about what I have. I decided not to out of fear. The photos don't really do Danielle justice, she has grown some fantastic hives.
I also cleaned the upstairs bathroom.
I don't know if it gets any better than this.


Tasty Tuesdays

John's siblings have a blog and my sister in law Kathryn came up with the fantastic idea to have tasty Tuesdays- every Tuesday she posts a healthy and great recipe. I think to myself each week- well I didn't make anything new-can I post a grilled cheese sandwich again? How about going out to eat- because let's be honest that is pretty tasty. This week I decided to post my entry on both blogs. Because Danielle and I went strawberry picking this last little while. Also she just got over chicken pox and now I have them. I just want to rub my back against the furniture. I have already had chicken pox mind you- but here they are again. I thought I was safe.

OK I think I should post one of my favorite things to eat today. Strawberries. Yum! Danielle has been super fussy lately so I've been trying to take her places- if she can see lots of new things then she gets distracted from her misery. So we went strawberry picking the other day with my friend Jana. Danielle had a great time and I did OK keeping her from eating dirty berries off of the ground. It was so hard to get a photo of her looking at the camera because she was so busy hunting for berries. I think I finally taught her to take them off the bush not the ground, then I just have to ask to pay for a few berries my baby ate? I think I have discovered why strawberries are so expensive here- the tariff for inevitable baby and child theft.

Danielle's favorite food is strawberries and she had a strawberry shortcake themed birthday party. Later the day of this picture I found out Danielle had an ear infection, which should explain why she was fussy. Also now I have chicken pox and my back itches like crazy- Danielle just got over them. There was some kid at church on Sunday that was covered from head to toe with them and I was shocked that he was there- I don't think that you should take your chicken pox kid to church, but maybe that is my bitterness about my itching back.

So my idea for tasty Tuesday is to go strawberry picking and eat them with sugar. I love doing that. Also if you put in 4 cups of berries and 1/4 cup of Karo Syrup and blend them in your blender with 2 tbsp of sugar, then leave it in the fridge overnight you will have some beautiful strawberry syrup for pancakes. I love it.



What is up with the compare people application on facebook? Just today they sent me an email to tell me what my strengths and weaknesses are. Turns out that out of 10 people who voted on if I would make a better mother, only three thought I would- better than who? Because if I am being compared to Carol I know why I am losing this battle. But what about other people- The people who come up for me to compare are people I don't know very well. Sometimes a random person comes up that I don't know at all- would I rather date Nathan Copier or Billybob Randomface? Honestly this is hard to answer. I always vote for the person that I know. The thought of voting for someone I don't know for better eyes, even if they have better eyes, doesn't appeal to me.

Then the application proudly posts who my favorite people are. It is rigged though. No matter what I do some people are the most datable according to me. I tried always voting against them and I tried always skipping that question. It doesn't matter. Also why can't I just skip the "who would I rather live with" question and get on to the "better shopping companion" category. I think that I have upped Paul Madsen's statistics single handedly and it really makes me think about who my friends are. Some facebook friends aren't really friends at all. I love facebook friends because it is nice to see your numbers growing. But in reality not all these people are my friends and I am probably ruining their statistics by not voting for them. I don't know how nate Copier from my mission and Tom Warburton do it- they are just loved by the compare people function. Where is the compare people but I am married and don't want to find someone to date on facebook. I was asked if I would rather kiss the guy in the picture here or my own brother Paul. I am not quite sure how to answer those type of questions. I always vote for the people I know out of principal but Compare people finally got the better of me. Is this a photo of an actual person? Surely not. I couldn't vote for my brother. I hate how it will notify the people about your ranking. I am hoping to find out just who wanted to be stranded on an island with me and who doesn't think I'm nice.
It's amazing how much time I can waste. thank you facebook. Now I will go send someone a little hampster in an egg or something equally important.


Money Mondays

I don't think this week needs any explanation.

The Nintendo Wii Galaxy Bundle. This could change my life. I swear I could just work out all day if I had wii sports. That would make all the difference. I swear.

Total Cost 453.12 with shipping and tax


Good Times

Recently I have discovered a treasure- Monopoly Electronic Banking. This has all the joy of monopoly with credit cards. I love it. When Wendy and Harley were visiting they played with us. I was quickly eliminated and it was a tight race until John finally (and surprisingly I thought) beat Wendy. The Kings told us we were their favorite game partners. Of course this is very positive and I was thrilled. When Harley was like- I just want to play games I could have shouted out loud with happiness.
So I wish I was playing games right now. I don't like playing games with everyone I've discovered. At my birthday party they had a survey style quiz about me and one of the questions was "what is Janae's favorite game?" I didn't know how to answer. Kent MacKay aptly put the answer "whatever game she wins." Isn't that everyone's favorite game? Since majority won instead of my answer I think Kent was right in this case- and he really is. But I don't like always winning- well I should rephrase that- I don't like it if I think I will win. I like there to be a challenge. With Jen and Steve I know I won't win ticket to ride because Steve ALWAYS wins that game.
I was starting to suspect that I might be too intense for some people. I have always liked a little banter- it doesn't have to carry over to real life. Once we played games with someone who said they "hated when people took everything so personally in games." We asked for an example and they said "like when they say they hate you in a game." I didn't fully understand how that was taking things personally- In the end that person was actually saying they took it personally. Since that time I occasionally just randomly tell the people that I am playing with that I hate them. I told Harley I hated him and blamed him for my loss in electronic banking. Just to say it.
Another pet peeve- people who say they don't want to win. They pretend they aren't competitive and then do everything they can to try to let their spouse win. I used to be sad when John wouldn't favor me in games, then one day he was like- you know it isn't fun losing. I am pretty confident that John does a good job in games without me. Gideon Burton once explained that the reason that Shakespeare did such a fantastic job in theater is that he lived in an extremely critical environment. The average Londoner went to the theater often and had lots of critical knowledge. Without this criticism he never would have achieved the greatness he did. People don't strive for perfection in artistic endeavors and theater for an uneducated audience. Similarly, the people who are always being supported by their well meaning spouse are never very good game players. Usually the opposite is true. It should insult their intelligence when their spouse thinks they can't win in a fair fight. Maybe they should take that more personally.
Being a married woman doesn't put me in the ideal demographic for gaming. I think if I was a 16 year old boy I would be more likely to like the games I tend to gravitate toward. Danielle is a big reason for that- she just wants to eat what we are playing with.
It's always difficult to find gaming partners. Sort of like it's difficult to find couple friends- it seems like you like one and not the other. Or one wants to play Rail Baron and the other will only play Skattergories or the Game of LIFE. Wendy and Harley and Jen and Steve are both great couple friends. With gaming couple friends you also need an equal interest in winning the game. What if one spouse just isn't good at the game? You can't have a regular gaming relationship with a couple where one spouse is just bad at it or grouchy.
Well tonight I would like to be playing a game with a competitive and competent couple who likes to trade and talk trash. We could play Monopoly Electronic Banking. Where is Ryan Hansen when we need him?