something you may not know about me.

i have terrible teeth.  well, they're hard as diamonds and i've never had a cavity, but they're as crooked as a used car salesman.  or, they used to be.

after dr. francis (god rest his orthodontics license), a head-gear (yes - say a word and i'll cut you), two surgeries followed by giant purple mouth bandages, two permanent metal retainers glued to the back of my teeth, and merely 7 years of braces: voila.  easy peasy (sugar-free) lemon squeezy, right?

however, here's the part  you may not know: i still wear a retainer most nights.  and yes, it is the same retainer i walked out with from my last orthodontic eighth grade.  and yes, it's full of holes and about ready to fall apart but i'm too lazy and miserly to shell out for a new one.  and yes, i'm fairly positive that i've swallowed a few plastic shards in my sleep as a result of my old-as-the-pyramids retainer. 

oh well,  what's a little plastic in my bloodstream?  i still have a plastic piece from an old lip ring stuck in my lip and i haven't died yet.  if we've learned anything from hollywood, it's that foreign objects under your skin can't kill you.  in fact, they seem to pickle you indefinitely.

so maybe my retainer can indirectly help me achieve immortality.  i will have really straight teeth for all eternity...tell me that's not the plot to a really awesome novel.  somebody contact james cameron, i'm ready to sell the rights.

oh, and that kid in the picture a) is not me and b) looks like he might bite you if you make fun of his grill.

oh, and one other thing you might not know about me: i have stolen from the poor.

brain fry.

i apologize for not having blogged in a while...we've been busy, busy with penelope, painting the kitchen, and napping whenever we can.  i've also been working on my reading goal for 2010 (an average of 3 books per month).  it's funny, when you find yourself awake in the middle of the night to feed your kid, and you just sit on the couch for half an hour with nothing else to do...3 books a month seems like a piece of cake. 

granted, you can't see the words and the few bits of information you do take in get forgotten by morning, but i'm going for quantity, not quality here, people.

because this morning has already found me saying, 'please stop crying long enough for mommy to put on some clean underwear,'  i'm going to cut this blog short.  however, i will leave you with an endearing picture of what i hope the relationship between todd and atticus will look like someday.

to catch a glimpse of their father-son dynamic, and to laugh your butt off, click here.


we dutch love our glasses.  or so i assume about the dutch...i'm not really dutch myself, i've just been grafted in and now i make blanket statements about 'my people' that are unfounded and unverifiable.  that's how i roll.

by george, i've got it!

figured out why atticus' pee smelled so bad: it's time to strip our cloth diapers.  so after putting my kid through the trauma of catheterizing him, as well as paying for a trip to the ER, all i need to do is run a special washing process on his diapers.  cool.

i feel like an idiot.

also, on an only slightly related note, remind me to tell you one day about how i've been less than impressed with my soap nuts.  yes, you read that correctly:  surprisingly, berries that grow on trees don't get stuff as clean as soap does.

(plus, my sister says they look like the petrified poop that her friend brought back from the poop museum in china.  nothing screams 'clean laundry' like balls of dried poop.)

the lost duggar has been found.

meet jaige.

lord love the duggars, but i need a haircut.

tiptoe through the tulips with the v v's. (or, how i'm pretty racist now.)

for mother's day we hit up the tulip time festival in pella.  having never been to pella, and being fresh-dutch, i was enthralled.  give me some pella bologna for energy and a head covering for just-rolled-out-of-holland style, and i'd sweep those streets cleaner than the lazy non-dutch could ever sweep them.  (not only am i now dutch, but i'm highly intolerant of the non-dutch.  if you ain't dutch, you ain't much.)


i found myself excitedly talking about how i love dutch culture (or really, pella-dutch culture which, though i don't have extensive experience with the netherlands, i'm sure is basically the same thing).  todd responded, "yeah, i guess the dutch are kind of interesting.  i mean, we hid the jews from the nazis...wooden shoes...legalized euthanasia."

we ate some authentic pork chops on a stick (just like oma used to make) and wandered around for a while.  i wanted to take a tour of the historical village and the windmill but having just given birth ten days prior, i was a tad sore and decided we should come back at a later date for the tour.  plus, they have a ton of cute-looking antiques stores and things that will probably be fun to check out when there aren't a million dutch people roaming the streets.  instead, we bought some stroopwafels and watched a bit of the parade, which included a band of scottish bagpipers... whom i boo'ed and told to go home (under my breath) while todd said they should lose the dresses and come back.  even without the dresses, they still spin their drum mallots around in a pretty pansy kind of way, so i just say leave the scots to scotland.

you probably can't see it, but in addition to stroopwafels, this stand also advertised its 'spicy chicken sandwich.'  however the word 's-p-i-c-y' was pronounced 'dutch.'  i like that.  and i liked stroopwafels.  (as did atticus, if you can't tell.)

and did i mention it was FREEZING COLD?  atticus was all bundled up in the stroller, and i wore penelope in my moby wrap inside my coat.  (i got A LOT of weird looks from people - is that bulge under her coat her boobs? a preggo belly? i just can't figure it out!)  adults were kind enough to look away and pretend not to notice.  kids stared at me unashamedly.  and teenagers seemed to be mad about it.
by the afternoon, we were all really tired but we had so much fun! (i mean, prettig.)  i'm so glad for my dutch family (both nuclear and global).

monday, one-day.

"monday, one-day; tuesday, two days; wednesday, when? what?; thursday, the THIRD DAY."

(anybody want a peanut?  for some fun [monday, fun-day], i'll give 2 kudos to the person who identifies the quote.)

look how much she's grown since fetus-hood!

penelope is 11 days old today.  we've been through a lot together over the last week and a half:

...i have bragged about what a great sleeper she is, and cried because i believe she never sleeps.

...she has used up a half a bottle of shout, a whole box of wipes, and goes through an average of 12 diapers a day.  i'm not exaggerating.

...we celebrated mother's day in pella for tulip time.  more on that later.

...she is filling out. i can already tell she's gaining weight! that the 'just-been-born' swelling has gone down, she looks nothing like atticus.  at all.

...she still hasn't flipped her days and nights yet.  oh well, sleep is for chumps.

...she has already slept through more noise than atticus has experienced during sleeping hours over the course of his whole 18 months.

...she has been to pella, hobby lobby, walmart, old chicago, and various garage sales, as well as accomplished an entire shopping trip.  she's a girl-about-town.

as for atticus, his vocabulary and capabilities have EXPLODED over the last couple of weeks.  things he has learned recently:

~how to say "oink," "woof," "meow," "neigh," "baa-baa," and "quack." granted, most of them don't actually contain any consonants, so you have to be adept at interpretation, but it's definitely a step!

~how to say "thank you," "baby," and maybe "sister."  after learning how to verbalize "thank you," he has also started using the sign...better late than never.

~he not only closes doors, but he can now open them.  fantastic.

~he gives hugs...and is learning about kisses, although they're basically just hugs.

~he can help burp and change penelope, and take diapers to daddy for him to throw away.

~he can sing "rock and roll"

...maybe there's more, but that's all i can think of right now.  how is he suddenly so big?!  he's not my little baby's really kind of sad.  not that i'm not glad to see him grow, but seeing him next to penelope really just highlights the fact that he's a TODDLER, not a baby.  oh man.

in case you were wondering...

...,"whatever happened with atticus' urine?" today is your lucky day.  i'm about to tell you.


they found nothing wrong in the urinalysis and nothing wrong at the ER.

since saturday's trip to the hospital, atticus had still been screaming and crying every time he had to go to the bathroom, and was holding it for HOURS on end. (i didn't know a 17-month-old could do that.)  we tried using a potty chair, having him pee in the bathtub, giving him LOTS of water and some ibuprofen, but he was still in so much pain. 

however, he's feeling a lot better now, and didn't wake up crying last night at all, which was the first night since we'd been home. (it has made for a long week with little sleep to have both of them up during the night!)  we think we've determined that the pain from peeing was just from inflammation from the catheter.

we still have no idea why his pee smelled like paint thinner.

so there you have it.  inquiring minds want to know.

i love technology, but not as much as you, you see...

but i still love technology.  always and forever. 

i just thought i'd let you know that i have (hopefully) fixed the video in the last blog.

always and forever.

atticus meeting penelope: as time goes by

atticus' first encounter with the little sis:

atticus has since warmed up to her:

"his" baby

helping to burp her

he also said 'baby' for the first time when he saw her at the hospital! it was so cute!  since coming home, he's stopped pointing at my belly (or really, mostly his belly) when you ask him where penelope is - he understands that the baby is penelope! (i figured he just thought that 'penelope' meant 'belly')

coming home

and in atticus' news...

poor kid.  atticus hasn't gotten much individual time here on the blog lately.  so he thought he'd make life extra eventful in order to earn some screen-time.

tuesday morning he woke up with a diaper that smelled like paint thinner had been poured into it.  it was so freaky - i took it off him and the smell was so strong my eyes burned and my throat closed.  it was like he had peed out cleaner.  then he was perfectly fine and didn't have another one like that until thursday morning.

yes, the same thursday morning during which i was going into labor. cool.

so i called the pediatrician's office, thinking that labor seemed to be progressing slowly enough that if they could get us in relatively early, it might end up working out.  but the nurse didn't seem to be worried about it ("it's totally normal for urine to smell extra-strong in the morning."  oh really?! oh man...i guess i am just a complete idiot and this has nothing to do with the fact that it smells like my baby peed out nail polish remover.  but whatever.)

however, all that being said, we did end up deciding to take him to the doctor's office...but we waited until yesterday (friday) and todd and his dad walked atticus right next door to the clinic.  the doctor wanted to take a urine they inserted a catheter and rooted around for a really long time, but atticus had nothing to give them (besides a MAJOR earful, understandably).  so as not to disrespect my son's modesty, we'll just say they ended up trying another method.

then by today, atticus had occasional fits where he would be fine one second, just playing and laughing, then the next second be doubled over in pain, screaming, with his little right leg all stiff.  by this afternoon, it was happening as frequently as every 5-10 minutes until it became constant screaming and writhing, even after giving him ibuprofen.  we called first nurse...was it constipation? irritation from the catheter?  a pulled muscle from having to hold him down to put the catheter in?  appendicitis?

we finally decided to take him to the emergency room, and it broke my heart to see him go.  because penelope needed me here, todd took atticus and i wasn't able to go...i know 'baby's first ER visit' isn't something you find in most baby books, it was still a big milestone and i was having to miss it.  (even as i type this, they're still gone.)

todd called from the car to say...atticus was totally fine.  clapping, singing, babbling in the backseat.  then he called from the ER waiting room.  atticus was running around, climbing on things, getting into everything, and in a perfect mood.  the doctor found nothing wrong with him and he's free to go.

also, his urine sample from yesterday came back completely normal.  in case you had any doubts.