Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pics for the Folks

More Pictures for the Grandparents

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

While You Were Out

Ryan was out of town on business last night. Naturally, I HAD to take advantage of the situation.

I considered hiring a few shirtless “dancing men” in tight pleather pants… but I was too tired for a party.

I contemplated sitting on the couch all day and letting the dishes pile-up in the sink… but that would be down-right immoral. Even I have principles.

So, I brainstormed a little more until—SHIZAM—the perfect idea hit me. I was going to do something that I NEVER got to do when Ryan was home. He just wouldn’t tolerate it.

I felt a little naughty as I worked out the details, like I was somehow betraying my husband. But I felt justified and liberated at the same time.

Last night I prepared a meal incorporating as MUCH dairy product as HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

Ryan is allergic to milk and I have carefully maneuvered around cheese, ice cream, and anything that moos for the last three and a half years. But no sir, not yesterday.

Bethany’s Evil Bad Lactose Enriched (Lethal) Creamy Cheesy Tomato Pasta

½ cup of butter
1 cup cream
1 ½ cup of grated parmesan/mozzarella cheese mix
A handful of fresh chopped parsley
¾ cup of your favorite marinara sauce
Two diced chicken breasts
1 clove of garlic (minced)
2 T. olive oil
¼ cup of chopped onion
Pasta of choice cooked al dente
A handful of parmesan cheese

Sauté chicken, garlic, and onion in olive oil until cooked through. In a separate pan, simmer butter and cream together for five minute. Add parsley and cheese. Stir till melted together. Add marinara, chicken mixture, and cooked pasta. Put in serving dish and sprinkle with parmesan.

Guess what I drank with dinner. Yup. Milk. Skim, of course—I’m watching my figure.

Yes, this recipe was my own invention and I am proud of it. It was delicious. Even Doug, who usually won’t eat anything that isn’t a hotdog, gobbled it up.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Ooey Gooey Baby Love

Basically, if you’ve met my daughter, you know what I’m talking about.

She is yummy. But not in a hamburger and french fry way. She's yummy in a dainty, princessy, vanilla ice cream with strawberry sauce on top, she’s mine—not yours, neener neener way.

Not to juxtapose a frustrated rant about my son to a love eruption about my daughter. I love my children equally. I just happen to have extremely positive feelings about Kiana right now. She’s so pleasant, she smells good, and she doesn’t get into my makeup drawer every day and paint the floors with my treasured MAC eye shadow.

Kiana’s tiny head fits so nicely on the space between my collarbone and neck. I rock her gently and stare into her droopy eyes as she prepares to fall asleep. Her lips curl upward in a semi-smile as I stroke her velvet scalp. Her body feels so warm and so small molded against my chest. A little jelly bean.

I kiss her miniature nose. It is firm, not squishy like mine (thank heavens she didn’t get my nose). Her eyelashes are growing longer. They are the color of honey. Her mouth is so delicate. When she yawns, I see that the top of her tongue is snowy white from her last meal. Each time she sneezes, she coos “ohhhhh” in gratitude.

As I gaze down at my little girl, I savor the moment. I do not think about the price I paid to bring her to the earth. Nor do I wonder what she will be like when she gets older. I just appreciate who she is right now. She will not look this way tomorrow. She won’t emit the faint clean scent of the preexistence for much longer. Her hair will grow, teeth will come, and one fateful day she will turn “two.”

By then, the space between my collarbone and neck will have become far too cramped.

My heart aches to think that she will only be this Kiana for this moment. So I hold her close, watch her sleep, and thank Heavenly Father for this incredible gift.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Cub Woes

“Douglas, don’t you step in that!”

Doght! I immediately realize my mistake.

My little insubordinate has now plunged his foot into the clammy knoll of dog poop and is grinning at me wickedly. I quickly put down Kiana’s car seat and grab Douglas before he starts somersaulting through the stuff (Oh yes he would).

He begins thrashing to and fro. He REALLY needs to do the somersaults through the poop now that he knows that I would prefer him not to. His very life depends on those somersaults. There are tears… oh the tears. Then there are blood-curdling screams… only furthering the neighbor’s suspicions that we beat our child.

I found two gray hairs growing from my scalp last week.

I use to think I was Super Mom—that I had all the answers. Then “two” happened. Two kids is not the issue, but the fact that one of them is “two” is.

How does one do “two?”

I need a book.

I need your prayers.

I need a pint-sized straight jacket.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bow Chicka Bow Bow!

The doctor gave me the go-ahead (with a wink).

I have been shopping for the “appropriate” outfits.

All systems are revved-up and ready for action.

I have been stretching.

Ryan is incredibly excited.


Are you thinking what I think you are thinking? You would. Get your mind out of the gutter.

I’m talking about exercise.

After my nine month hiatus from the gym, I was worried I’d have a rough time getting started again.

Oh contraire!

After one play date with the elliptical trainer my body was coated in a rainbowy, frothy lather of endorphins! Wahoo! I love getting that heart rate up!

The Pulmonary Edema Diet gave me a good jump start but there is still work to be done. And I am glad! I love setting and accomplishing goals.

I am doing pilates. I am getting my cardio in at least four times a week. I am pumping iron. And while I don’t believe in dieting, I am definitely watching my portions.

The only thing standing in my way is Doug’s potty training treats.
Can’t resist… So delicious.

And when I reach my goal I will be rewarding myself. Ryan is going to take me on a secluded romantic weekend getaway and I will be sporting one of these by the pool.

Are you scandalized?

Don’t be. I probably won’t be wearing it for long.

Again… the gutter.

Monday, January 21, 2008

My Beautiful Girl

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bethanyisms (Eyebrow Woes)

When I pluck one, two grow back in its place.

Annoying? yes.

A blessing? absolutely.

My mom took me to get my first wax when I was thirteen. My eyebrows had become akin to those of Frieda and Oscar the Grouch. I was a social misfit anyway and my forehead unibush was only complicating matters.

Some might argue that I was too young for such a procedure (facial waxing)… and they were right. The responsibilities of eyebrow grooming were far beyond my maturity level and my tweezers were insatiable.

By fourteen, I had accidentally tweezed off the outer half of each of my eyebrows. I looked scary, but at least I then had two separate eyebrows.

Remember that… yeah, I bet you do.

I finally realized the magnitude of my problem when I looked in the mirror and saw Spock staring back.

Thus, the evolution of my eyebrows continued. As I regrew the length of my brows, the width took a plunge. Pretty soon my eyebrows had become mere slivers of what they once were. You know the look.

Thanks to my uncanny talent for resprouting unwanted facial hair (some might call it a spiritual gift), my eyebrows have recovered time and time again from the endless cycle of torture and experimentation. A blessing and a curse.

Luckily, Ryan and I met during a "good-eyebrow" year.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Sometimes I Forget that I am White

I look at my three-week-old baby and feel baffled.

I asked Ryan several times if he messed around on me because I am not completely convinced that Kiana is mine. She’s beautiful and perfect and… so incredibly Caucasian.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

I have a hearty helping of lips, my skin is olive, my eyes are dark brown… these features combined often inspire the question “what ethnicity are you?”

Well… I am Danish. I am as white as they come. But one would never know by looking at me. Sometimes I forget that I white, myself.

Several years back, I was working at Gandolfos and some of my coworkers were making some semi-racist comments. I put them in place by telling them that I was .5 African American and found their remarks offensive. This shut them up pretty quickly.

I know I don’t look black, but I look just un-white enough. I meant to tell my coworkers the truth later, but I forgot.

A couple days after, my boss approached me. He said “Hey Bethany, I’ve met your parents and know that you are not half-black.” Then we had a good laugh.

Here’s a question, though:

We plan on getting Kiana’s ears pierced in a couple of months. I created a firestorm of controversy when I wrote a comment indicating so on a friend’s blog. People commented that it was “barbaric” and “white-trashy.” Why?

I admit that their disdain only strengthened my resolve.

If an African American or Latino baby has their ears pierced it is “okay” and “cute,” but if a white baby has their ears pierced it is trashy. Sillyness.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Boy in Training

Ryan spent the majority of Sunday trying to undo the damage I caused. He and Douglas watched five hours of uninterrupted football together. They ate roast beef sandwiches and I believe several cans of Dr. Pepper were involved. There were manly grunts and high-fives exchanged. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Ryan taught Doug a few testosterone-laced phrases such as “for shizzle” and “Hey man, waz-uuuuup?”

You see, because my cub spends day in and day out with the mama bear, he may have adapted a few of my non-masuline characteristics. For example, when he and I go shopping he runs his fingers along the rows of clothing and squeaks “Ohhhhh, how cute!” I don’t think he learned that from Ryan.

Then there is the cross-dressing. Doug likes to try on me and Ryan’s shoes, but particularly enjoys the challenge of my high heels.

Douglas watches me get ready in the morning. He has now mastered the art of blush and mascara.

But the final straw was when we caught Douglas in the bedroom with my Evenflo Comfort Select yesterday. He was pumping. It made the list of my top ten favorite Douglas moments.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Nursery

Here's Kiana's bed. Cindy sewed it. I was just the lovely assistant.

I did, however, design and paint these letters. Autumn colors for my Kiana Autumn Lee.

Dougs initials.

Doug's Big Boy Bed.

I know, the tent doesn't match... but every two-year-old needs a tent... don't you think.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bethanyisms (Part II)

Amidst these draining few weeks, I've called my therapist mother-in-law several times for advice on how to calm myself down. She advised me to indulge an activity that is gentle, calming, and distracting.

So every time Ryan calls to the backroom to ask what I am doing, I yell back that I am “self soothing.” I, of course, am on the computer. I am blogging. It helps me feel better. It helps me laugh at myself. It does the trick.

While I currently have little news to report, I would still like to coddle myself. Thus, I introduce to you a segment I call “Bethanyisms.” As mentioned in an earlier blog, Bethanyisms are small episodes that make me the eccentric woman that I am.

The following Bethanyism is the story of how I wet my pants while on a date….

I don’t feel embarrassed about it. Maybe I should be. I was twenty years old for heavens sake. I’d had decent bladder control for years. But it was really HIS fault. If anyone should be embarrassed it should be HIM.

He picked me up in his 92 Camero and we made a quick stop at his house to retrieve his wallet. Just as we opened his door, it hit me. I HAD to go. My knees buckled, I hunched over, and held that position until the sensation passed. Then, I asked him if I could use his bathroom. He turned pale.

“Can’t you wait until we get to the restaurant?” he asked shakily.

I shook my head. Any unnecessary vocalization might cause me to “spill some.”

“Our toilet doesn’t work very well.”

“I’ll use the sink,” I mustered.

He sighed and led me to the bathroom. It was immediately clear why he didn’t want me to use his bathroom. There was stale urine coating the ceiling, walls, and toilet. Apparently, my date had sluffed the lecture on “aiming” during his potty training years.


Still, the water beast was unleashed. It was coming. There was nothing I could do. I slammed the door behind me and squatted, taking extra precaution NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING.

I was so relieved that it took me a few seconds to notice that the brunt of my expulsion had ended up down the front of my jeans. I had peed myself good and hard... all for the sake of NOT TOUCHING ANYTHING.

I cursed my date and his sicko dungeon of urine.

I put on my coat, which luckily was knee length, and endured the rest of the evening in a puddle of my own filth.

Still, my date thought I was charming and cute. His head cold made him oblivious to the ammonia smell that was all too magnified in my own mind.

The next day he sent me a dozen beautiful roses… they were yellow. I never called him back.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Chuck: Behold the amazing shrinking woman. Bethany, you look little. How did you loose the baby weight?

Bethany: Thanks Chuck. I lost 25 pounds in three days thanks to the Pulmonary Edema diet.

Chuck: That’s fabulous! You must feel so proud of yourself. Would you recommend this diet to other people?

Bethany: Absolutely, Chuck. I had great success with this plan. Others would as well—that is, of course, if they don’t particularly enjoy breathing. This diet is also successful if one doesn’t mind going 48 hours plus without a drop of sleep, being constantly nauseated, having an upset stomach, enduring severe anxiety, peeing like a racehorse, dealing with megalomaniac doctors, and staying two nights in prison… I mean the cardiac unit of the hospital, being tethered to half a dozen machines, and not being able to take care of your newborn. Yes, this diet was fabulous. I would recommend it to anyone.

Chuck: What an amazing weight loss story! You are an inspiration to us all.

Bethany: Thanks Chuck.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding

Whoever said that having a Baby is Glamorous?

Okay, no one ever said that. But is what they didn’t say is that having a baby is an extremely GROSS process. You suspect it might be so when you check in to the hospital, but can never quite appreciate vast amounts of multi-colored liquids involved until you’ve actually gone through it.

While I often feel it my duty to fill others in on the most sensitive information of my life (a habit my mother calls giving “too much information”), I will spare you the gruesome details if my delivery and recovery… even though this goes against every fiber of my being.

The topic that cannot be left undiscussed, however, is breastfeeding.

Theoretically, it should be easy.

Open mouth, insert boob.

But alas, even to a seasoned breastfeeding veteran, such as myself, getting the process started can be a little tricky.

I was in the hospital for three days and shuffled though a small army of nurses. One nurse was African American, one was fromVietnam, one was Hispanic, one was white, one was Indian and one was from Iran. As different as these women were ethnically, they all had one thing in common. They all squeezed, shook, and kneaded my bare-naked boobies.

And I was grateful.

Kiana was too tired to cooperate and I was getting frusterated. Had I not had a full staff getting fresh with my girls I may have ended up in the insanity ward. Hormones… you know.

Now that Kiana and I have an understanding (I sustain her, she helps me lose those pesky baby pounds), things are going much better. Now if only I could remember which side I nursed last, left or right.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Adventures in "Big Brother" Land

Doug is kind of interested in Kiana.

He is all of the sudden keen on being a baby himself. He hasn't enjoyed a good swaddle in years... until today.

When I got home from the hospital, Doug took in upon himself to "unpack" my bags in the bedroom. All of the sudden, Doug yelled "Stickers!" When Ryan went to the bedroom to investigate... this is what he found.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

No Worries

Don't worry. I am okay. I was discharged from the hospital tonight. The echo cardiogram showed that my heart was fine. My lungs were full of water because I was given way too much IV fluid during surgery. What a relief!

Thank you so much for your prayers. I have spent many moments in tears of gratitude for the love that was shown for my family over the last week. Thank you to my mommy and Sierra for taking good care of my babies. To Ryan for being the love of my life. To Doug for being a good boy. To my Heavenly Father, for blessing me with loving support during these scary last few days and sparing me a horrible heart problem.

I'll return with more lighthearted blogs soon.

I Don't Like Hospitals

I am back in the hospital. I thought I was having another anxiety attack—just like after I had Doug, but I wasn’t feeling upset or sad. I called the doctor on Tuesday and was advised to go to the ER just to be safe. Turns out I wasn’t having a panic attack but something called post-partum cardio myopathy. I guess sometimes after surgery, the heart swells causing fluid to build around the lungs—giving a sensation of drowning. Very scary.

So, I have been in the hospital for the last few days. The doctors have been flushing my system, loading my up on drugs, and running tests. I am so blessed to have my mom and sister in town helping out. Ryan, as usual, has been my knight in shining armor. He is my everything.

We don’t know how serious my case is yet, but I wanted to ask you to keep my dear husband, children and myself in your prayers. I’ll keep you updated as we figure this out.