Tuesday, November 25, 2008


There are no 2 ways around it…2008 has been a rough year. As our lives get fuller and richer, more and varied things come your way.

But this. This is the first holiday season that I feel ready to enjoy since Violet was born.

The first year, I was dealing with undiagnosed Post Partum Depression, and last year, I was struggling with both that and some chronic health issues.

But this year.

I am happy. I am settled. I am content and balanced. And I am ready to give thanks.

I am thankful for my husband, who has seen me through the bad times, and made me laugh. Who can see the humour in a bad situation. Who was strong enough to hold me up when I lost a baby, and lean on me when our daughter went into surgery. Who smushes his face against my belly to wake up baby Carli, just to tell her he loves her.

I am thankful for my Carli, who gave me hope. Who came along at just the right time. Who entertains me on my commute home by dancing along to Christmas carols. Who is the second daughter I dreamed of.

I am thankful for my Violet, who teaches me how to be independent and strong. Who will get up in the morning, and decide that it is a good day to wear the ladybug costume to the grocery store. Who faced something horrific, but got over it and jumped back on the horse. Who is so smart, so sweet…who grabbed her dad’s face last night, studied it for a few seconds, then declared, “You so gorgeous.” Who is creative and lovely and everything you could ask for in a girl.

I am thankful for my mom, my sisters, my dad for calling me, for praying for me. For crying with me on the phone and sending cards stuffed with packets of stickers and candy and Tinkerbell stuff. For listening when I talk, and reaffirming my belief that my child, and, heck, my whole family, is just amazing.

And I am thankful for me. For being able to get back to stasis. For my quirks and my faults and my ability to bake a mean cupcake and sing all the words to the Buffy musical. For my body that carries a baby girl, for my brain that actually enjoys Yo Gabba Gabba, and my heart that loves those that surround it.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 17, 2008

All About Vi.

Violet is healing wonderfully. The surgeon is incredibly pleased with how well her skin has mended. The scars are already faint, and far from the first thing you see when you look at my lovely girl.
I have been so proud of her. She didn't mess with the wounds as they were healing, she hasn't expressed any anger or fear towards dogs, she has kept a wonderful, upbeat spirit and outlook through this whole thing.
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers.
And now, some beautiful.

The first aid tape is over the place that went through her cheek. It still has a bit of healing to do, so we are leaving that one covered for now. The slightly red places on her nose, cheek, and under her eye are the other places where she was stitched. The red on her upper lip is ketchup. This was exactly 2 weeks after surgery. Behold, the amazing healing powers of a toddler.

the cutest pirate ev-ARRRR.
how vi frosts cupcakes.

bowling...her new favorite thing IN THE WORLD.

dressin' up.

see the identical, cheesy, 'ma is making us take ANOTHER picture' grins? like father, like daughter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Why do they put grippie on the bottom of infant socks?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Be Keffel.*

So, we had a rough weekend, and I only feel now able to write about it.

(Forgive me, Ali, for not calling you about this before posting it. I can barely write it, and I know that your sympathy would make me crack again.)

Saturday night, after a great day of family bowling and cleaning and taking a nap, Violet and I were sitting in the living room, talking about what to make for dinner. We have been living at my in-laws for a while to save money for a house; my in-laws dog, Magic, a black lab, was at the end of the chair. Magic has been around since before Violet was born, and has known and been gentle with Vi her whole life.

Violet was chattering at me, and went to give Magic a hug...and Magic lunged at her face.

She bit my baby's face.

I had her off within milliseconds, and screamed for my husband. We went straight to the emergency room. Violet screamed for a few minutes, but Jason calmed her down. I sat in the back of the jeep by her car seat and we sang Jingle Bells all the way to the hospital.

By the time we got there, she was completely calm; Jason and I were holding it together. She wasn't gushing blood, just oozing, and we were back to a room within 15 minutes. The nurse helped clean off her face, and we could see the marks: a crescent moon under her eye, 2 marks on her nose, one on her upper cheek, and 2 near the bottom. They were already clotting, so they left them uncovered until the dr came in. In the meantime, Violet charmed the registration nurse out of some stickers, a paramedic into letting her play with her stethoscope, and a security guard into playing peek-a-boo.

The doc came in, and felt around her face...there seemed to be no nerve damaged, but one of the innocent-looking ones on her cheek had gone all the way through to her mouth. Which meant surgery.

The plastic surgeon was in a long surgery, so they sent us home to come back at 6 am. They put bandages over her wounds, gave her some antibiotics and Motrin, and away we went.

We didn't want her to freak out when she saw herself, so we kept her away from mirrors. But as I was putting on her beloved Yo Gabba Gabba Jammies, she took off, butt-naked, and stood in front of the full-length mirror. She looked at her face for a second...then started dancing like she always does. My little trooper.

Jason and I made room for her in our bed, and we watched an endless loop of Barney all night. We all got about 4 hours of sleep, then were up for a long day.

When we got there, we found out we had been bumped for a gang member who got shot in the hand. Truthfully, this made me very angry...MY baby didn't do anything wrong, she shouldn't have to wait for an idiot who got himself into a gunfight. But she colored and sang, got her IV like a hero, and before we knew it, we were off to the surgery area. There was a second of panic for her when the bed started moving, but the transporter got Jason up there with her, and they rode down the hall like it was a parade.

When we got to the waiting area, she was a bit frightened of the largeness of the room, but we played I Spy and talked about Christmas until the docs came to do a pre-surgery check. She answered their questions, and let them poke her, and gave them big smiles...they were soon in love with her, too.

They left, and I told her what was going to happen: soon, nurse would come and wheel her flying bed into a room, where they were going to put stickers on her chest and then she was going to take a nap while they fixed her.

They came and wheeled her away, and she chattered with the nurse about care bears as Jason and I bawled as soon as she couldn't see us anymore. But apparently my chat with her was good; as she got into the operating room, She took her pillow and the CareBears blanket my mom made for her ages ago, crawled over to the operating table, lay down, and went to sleep.

She was in surgery for about an hour. The surgeon said there was no nerve damage, and the bite missed her eye completely. He expects the scars to be minimal, maybe even not noticeable when she is grown.

She woke up in recovery moments after we got there, and crawled onto my lap. She asked for coffee, which made everyone around her laugh. Instead, she got ice chips, and fell asleep on my chest again.

She is doing fine now. The swelling is almost gone. She hasn't developed a fear of dogs, though Magic is in quarantine for 7 more days; I am not sure how she will react to her.

And Jason and I are doing ok. The horror of something hurting your baby...is not something I ever want to experience again. But I know now we can handle anything as a family.

And that I have the best daughter in the world.

*This is how Violet says 'careful'. We hear this A LOT now.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Princess Nebraska had this quote on her blog today. I think that it is entriely relevant to today's proceedings, no matter your beliefs or leanings.

A belief that we are connected as one people. If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandmother. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It’s that fundamental belief — I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sisters’ keeper — that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one.

Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America — there’s the United States of America. There’s not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

In the end, that’s what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? I’m not talking about blind optimism here — the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I’m talking about something more substantial. It’s the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a mill worker’s son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too.

The audacity of hope!

-Barack Obama, 2004 Democratic National Convention