Sunday, September 23, 2007

Just a good day.

Today was good, really, really good. Do you ever have one of those days, when no one cuts you off in traffic, and your toddler is an angel, and your husband isn't crabby? :) Today was one of those days, and the only description that comes to mind is, really, really, good.

We slept til 8am, did a quick resp. treatment, then had omelettes at our favorite breakfast place. FD and I always get the same thing, The Crazy Jack omelette. It's egg, cheese, avocado, bacon and sprouts. Definitely not low fat, but yum. Froggy was fantastically well-behaved, and entertained herself with Cheerios and crayons. Yes, she ate both. What are you gonna do?

After breakfast and many refills of coffee, we had a leisurely walk through the farmer's market. We bought a coconut and drank the milk (although technically, it's called 'juice' until the coconut matures - so we learned from the very informative coconut man), and after shopping a bit, we came home for a nap. Well, Froggy napped, and I had a meeting with my boss.

Totally last minute, before dinner, we went to a concert in the park and listened to a, well okay, a wedding singer band, but when they played James Brown, Froggy danced her little heart out. She was also thrilled with the hundreds of dogs who joined the party. In LA, parks are so dog-un-friendly, so it was great to see all the purebreds and mutts. And Froggy has no fear, running up to each one. There were a couple times, I almost threw my body in front of her and the more aggressive looking dogs. She hasn't figured out that there's a difference between pomeranians and rotweillers.

After the concert, we had a yummy dinner of leftovers (no cooking for me!), did treatment, read stories and crashed. Then Mommy got to watch "Curb Your Enthusiam" and have a glass of wine. A perfect end to a fun day. Ahhhh, no complaining here.

A Moment of Silence

Marcel Marceau, who revived the art of mime and brought poetry to silence, has died. He was 84. - From the MSNBC story.

"In one of his most poignant and philosophical acts, “Youth, Maturity, Old Age, Death,” he wordlessly showed the passing of an entire life in just minutes." Marceau likened his character to a modern-day Don Quixote, “alone in a fragile world filled with injustice and beauty.” - from the Associated Press story.

I saw this piece at The Geffen a few years ago, and was able to meet Marcel after the show. And for a mime, he was quite chatty. For some reason, I just assumed he would continue the performance after the curtains closed, like a vow of silence, but nope, he talked and talked and talked!

There was a certain sadness, like his mentor Charlie Chaplin's work, that I found enchanting. Marcel's father was murdered at Auschwitz, and Chaplin's mother was a prostitute and he and his brother grew up in an orphanage. I think because of these tumultuous childhoods, they were able to sculpt the raw beauty from life, not extracting it from the negative, just incorporating the two. They lived in the silent details, and showed us how a walk in the park, acting like a child, or growing old, are indeed art. Let's take a moment of silence for someone who knew the importance of shhhhh.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Soooooo Much!

Froggy is very excited about her new bike helmet. Grandma and Grandpa bought us the bike seat, so as soon as I fill up my sadly deflated tires, we'll be hitting the trails.

I feel guilty for not posting all of the adorable things Froggy has been saying lately. We've been crazy busy, and with all the birthdays, traveling, health issues, I've been too tired.

But here's a quick update on our ever so exciting lives:

Froggydaddy had a pre-requisite algebra test that he had to take in order to place in the class. If he didn't pass the equivalency test, he wouldn't get into Algebra, and if he didn't get the class, he wouldn't be able to apply to the Respiratory Program in the Spring. It was a big deal, a big stressful deal. FD HATES math. It's always been his nemesis, his dragon at the end of the labyrinth. Yes, it was of epic proportions that he pass this test. So after sleepless nights, studying "Algebra for Dummies," taking practice tests, working with a tutor (Hummingbird's Grandma), he PASSED!!! Yeah, and he did so well, he was only a couple points away from passing out of algebra altogether. But we were happy with the results, and he's now trudging through a + b = c. Poor guy. Yesterday he had a word problem and asked for my assistance. It completely brought back those horrible memories of 8th grade, where two trains meet at a station and one of them is late, and there's an oil spill, and one of them explodes, and we're still supposed to know when they would arrive, had they not blown up somewhere near Topeka. Ugh, I looked at him and said, "you're on your own, sorry." A couple minutes later, he said, "it's 66.7 miles." Whew, I'm so glad Froggy isn't taking Algebra, because I would be nooooo help. I'm proud of Froggydadda. This is tough for him, and he's facing it head on and doing well. He's also taking a Respiratory class and Yoga. When he's not studying, he's parking cars at night, to bring in some income. Note to everyone out there: TIP YOUR VALET!!!

Froggy is amazing and hilarious, and NAUGHTY. I don't know where to begin. She's speaking in full sentences now.

When she wants to be held, she says, "Mommy hair-do." I have no idea why. Maybe in Froggy language it's 'mommy, here, do,' as in, 'mommy do as I say?'

Today she poured her water glass onto her food and I said, "Froggy that is not funny!" And then she laughed this maniacal laugh "HAAAAA HAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAA!" It was like out of the movie "Chuckie." I couldn't believe it. So of course I started laughing. I know, I know, not a good parenting move.

We've started potty training and it's more difficult than one might think. She prefers to pee on the floor, and she then jumps in her pee pee puddle. I'm trying not to be harsh, and when she pees on the floor, I say, "pee pee in the potty." She completely ignores me, and continues to splash in her own urine. Oh dear. I think I need to read a book on the subject.

We've had a tough month of "I only want my mommy!" If I walk into the kitchen, she sobs like I just told her Barney died. If FD is home, and I take out the garbage, she stands at the door and screams "MAAAAMAAAA!" It's so sad, and I'm flattered that someone could possibly love me this much, but I would really like five minutes without a toddler attached to my leg. And it's tough when FD can't do her resp. treatment, or give her a bath, because she only wants mama.

Tonight, we had two wonderful friends and their son "the Bub" over for dinner. We had salmon with a ginger sauce, couscous, zucchini and garlic, and kale. And the Bub's mom brought a wonderful plum pie. It was heaven, not too sweet, and with a pecan crust. Froggy and the Bub had a great time playing. I wish I'd taken some pictures. Have I ever mentioned that we have WONDERFUL friends?

It's raining and this is the first time in a year that I've heard the sound of pitter pat, pitter pat, clink clink ping. It is music. Finally. I'm off to bed. One of these days, I'll have the time and energy to post all of the adorable Froggyisms.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Three Birthdays and a Mountain

Froggy, it's not your birthday anymore!

It's Grandma "W"s, now give back the candles.

Froggydadda and Sissy Snuggiekins snuggling.

"Okay, if it's not my birthday cheesecake, then why are there TWO candles?"
Why? Because Mommy only had two.

Grandma W mentors "M," and she is like part of the family.

After the birthday party, we hit the trails. It was about three miles and Froggy ran the entire time. And half of it was UP hill. I am amazed by her energy. If we could bottle it, we'd solve the energy crisis.

Nice view, huh? Through the mountains, where the ocean meets sky.

This was the first time (now I know I'm getting old) when my knees hurt going down the mountain. I actually prefer the "up" route.

At the top of the mountain is a waterfall, or a trickle-fall. It's so dry here!

Well you can't tell from this picture, but we were actually having fun! I guess FD and Froggy were too cool to smile.

Yay, almost down!

I think SissySnuggiekins wins the prize for the best-dressed hiker. You see the resemblance to John Muir, don't you? It's the heart glasses. They're essential for outdoor survival. I love it.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Waiting For Human Kindness

If you always assume the one sitting next to you is the Messiah
waiting for some simple human kindness -
You will soon come to weigh your words

and watch your hands.
And if the Messiah chooses

not be revealed in your time -
It will not matter.

-Danny Siegel (adapted from a Yiddish Proverb).

I stole this from Mieke's blog because I thought it was so beautiful.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Froggy's Birthday Party!

Chaos with wrapping!

A lovely dinner!

Froggy playing with one of her favorite presents, a rubber froggy.
Ohhhhhh, the presents. Clothes, toys and books, oh my!
It was all too much for the Froggy Princess. She had to take a cheerios rest.
Great-Grandma "B" was born on September 8th too! Froggy and I planned it that way, ya know. We wanted her to arrive on a day when an important, strong, smart woman was born!

Cousin T-rey, Grandpa J, and a friend of the family "P".
And it just wouldn't be a party without Froggy's best friend "Hummingbird". Her grandparents were so kind to drive all the way to the mountains for the party, even though they live just down the street. Froggy was thrilled when her best-bud showed up and jumped up and down and screamed!
The birthday cupcake after a lick!

Singing Happy Birthday! Froggy was stunned during the song, but clapped wildly after!

Grandma Hummingbird and Hummingbird, sporting Froggy's princess shoes.
The neighbor boys and Froggy trying out the noisemakers. Yep, they work!

Auntie Gorgeous Hair posing with the Princess!

Great Grandma "B" sitting at the head of the table.
A family portait. Cute, even though Froggy's grabbing my boob.

Auntie Heder and Froggy in the backyard. They get along great, and both
appreciate the finer things in life, like shoes, jewelry and purses.

Buddy the dog getting ready for the party.

Grandma "W" threw a WONDERFUL party for Froggy and her Great-grandma "B" for their birthdays! The food was amazing, and all we had to do was show up. She took care of everything! How great is that? Why were we so tired afterwards?

It was an ideal toddler birthday. We have the most AMAZING friends and family. I'm always amazed, when I see you all together, how truly wonderful you all are! We are so blessed to have such an intelligent, kind, and loving group of friends and family. Froggy is indeed growing up with love all around her. And for that reason alone, I feel like we're doing something right.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Froggy is Born

My water broke at 1am on the morning of September 8th, 2005. It was two weeks before my due date, and we still hadn't installed the car seat yet. This was my first thought. Not, “I’m about to meet my child,” or “We’re going to witness a miracle,” nope, I was just thinking about all the stuff on my to-do list that wasn’t crossed off. It was like a friend showing up at the door unexpected. You're thrilled to see them, but still wish you’d had time to vacuum. And yet I was calmly ready. We took the natural childbirth classes, learned the breathing, read all books on everything from breastfeeding to saving money for college. Honestly, I read about fifteen child/parenting/birth books while pregnant. We were prepared to meet our baby. But first, we needed more sleep. It was one in the morning and I knew if she had my genes, she would not be greeting us at five.

Around 7am the contractions started. Just little tightening twinges and I thought, "this is nothing, I can totally do this." Around nine, we packed our bag, oh yeah that was another thing we hadn’t done, and were off to have a baby. We called Grandma W. and told her we were on the way to the hospital. She said, "I'm already there."

Our hospital was located on the UCLA campus in Westwood, which was wonderful, because after we checked in, they told us to get lost. So we went to The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for lattes. I had a decaf and called my sister. We chatted for a bit, and said, “I can’t believe I’m in labor and sitting out on the patio of a coffee shop enjoying the day.” Again I thought, “This labor stuff is a breeze. I don’t know what those OTHER women were complaining about. Maybe I’m just tough, geez, what a bunch of crybabies.”

We window shopped, and every once in a while, I’d stop to breathe. The contractions were getting closer and it was difficult to walk, so we slowly made our way back to the hospital.

We were not the only soon-to-be parents at UCLA that day, and there wasn’t a labor and delivery room ready for us. “Just like the baby Jesus,” I thought, except UCLA isn’t exactly a barn, and I wasn’t exactly the virgin Mary. Okay, bad analogy, I just really wanted a room with a cd player, so I could listen to my ocean sounds, and sit on my yoga ball. Instead, we were stuck in the tiny check-in room and would remain there until I started pushing. It wasn’t what we’d wanted, but you can’t get hung up on the little stuff when you’re squeezing a watermelon out your hoo-hoo, ya know? So with that perspective in mind, a broom closet was fine.

When I was dilated about 4 centimeters, the midwife asked me on a scale of one-ten how I would rate the pain. I thought it was getting pretty severe so I said, “ooh, seven, eight.” She and Grandma W. laughed, ha ha ha, (obviously they’d done this before) and said, “honey if you can talk, you’re not an eight!”

I was beginning to think that perhaps I was in for more than what I’d bargained, and would like to change my mind about this whole natural childbirth thing. Sure it sounded good in that hippie, granola way. Our baby would be brought into the world without being exposed to anything, and I would be able to fully experience this miracle, and ouch, this was really starting to hurt, and those drugs they talked about were really starting to look good. In fact, any drug was starting to sound like a viable option. Just hit the vein and make it quick!

A couple hours later, we were still at four centimeters. The midwife suggested a cervical medication, that helps speed up delivery. Froggydaddy said, “we don’t need any drugs! She’ll speed it up,” then looked at me like, “you heard the lady!” I’m kidding about this. He was wonderful, and let me wrap my arms around his shoulders and scream. We decided to stick with our no-intervention plan, and would just “imagine” my cervix opening a little quicker. Strangely enough, it worked.

In forty-five minutes, I went from four centimeters to eight. And let me tell you, those forty-five minutes were the worst forty-five minutes of my life. I begged for the epidural. I cried, I yelled, I moaned, I seriously reconsidered becoming a mother at all. At one point I looked at Froggydaddy and said, “I REALLY do not want to do this anymore, okay?” And when he said, “we’re gonna do this just like we planned,” I thought, “oh yeah Buddy, just like we planned, huh? I don’t see you contorting in pain, vomiting into a little kidney-shaped dish, just praying for any drug at all, an epidural, heroin, anything to ease the pain, so you just take your little plan and shove it, owwwwww!”

The midwife said, “I’ll go see if we can get you that epidural now.” She returned a minute later to say that there were two women in front of me. I said, “I don’t care about those other women! Give it to me, now!”

The midwife left the room. Great, not only was I going to die from the pain, but now I just pissed of the woman who was going to catch my baby. Now what? But she was kindly checking to see how long it would be. When she returned, she looked at me and asked, “are you pushing?” I hadn’t thought about it, but yes, I was. Who knew? It was too late for an epidural, this baby was coming.

All the women in my life had tried to prepare me for the pain. They said “it’s manageable,” and “the contractions are like a wave, building and building, and eventually retreating back into the ocean.” But my contractions weren’t retreating. There was no wave, no break, no cute little tide pools with sea urchins, no this was never-ending. The 250 bucks we spent on learning how to breathe was pointless, because there wasn’t a moment to breathe. I couldn’t visualize anything! The contractions were overlapping and I thought, “Everyone lied. This isn’t manageable, and I’m not tough. I want to go home, and I definitely do NOT want to give birth. Let’s just go to a movie and pretend the last nine months never happened.”

Our room was still not ready and I was not about to have the kid in the freaking broom closet. But Froggy wanted out and there really is no option when it comes to pushing. It’s like a mosquito bite that has to be scratched. I LOVED PUSHING! Finally, relief. Finally a feeling of accomplishment. That pointless pain stuff was misery, but now I was in control and this kid was coming out. The end was in sight. I looked at FD and said, “Let’s do this.” I don’t think I’ve ever been more sure of anything in my life. I wanted this baby out of my body, pronto. I’d been patient. She stayed at the hotel St. Mommy for long enough. But it was check-out time.

I can’t describe the feeling of giving birth. It was amazing. I held onto Froggydaddy, wrapped my arms around his neck and wailed. It was so primal and spiritual, and I could not have done it without him. And I’m not exaggerating. There was one point when he had to put film in the camera, his fingers were fumbling, he was sweating, and I said, “forget the camera!” He rushed over to me and I had never needed anyone more in my entire life. He grounded me into the earth at the very moment our daughter was born. And by squeezing his poor shoulders with all my might, I pushed Froggy out. It took both of our strength to bring her into the world, and that’s why it was so wonderful.

There she was, my beautiful, miraculous girl. You should’ve seen her eyes. All of a sudden, this person was inside of me and now she’s looking at me, like, “hi, mom.” I will never forget that moment. Ever. And I can not imagine anything in life more amazing. She was my Grand Canyon. All night, I wanted to look into her eyes. I felt like I had this marvelous secret that no one else knew, this key to viewing life. It’s hard to explain, but when Froggy was born, it was like seeing an old friend after a very long time apart. Somewhere, somehow we had known each other all along. And I knew at the very second she looked into my eyes, like a jolt of electricity, that I could never love anything more.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today, we brought a beautiful new soul into the world and named her ... Froggy. It was an amazing day.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Princess Bribes

Our playdate started out relatively tame. "Hummingbird" gave me my milk, we listened to music, played with my dolls, and had a snack. Then all heck broke loose!
It all began when I dressed up like a fairy princess. Harmless enough, right?

But Hummingbird said that she was also a princess and required the power of a magic wand!
I told her, "be careful fair maiden, you know not your powers!!!" But she took it and ran away, into the night! As you can see, I tried to remain calm.

So I stole her tiara.

Finally, she agreed that I was indeed the fairest in the land and gave back my wand.

But then she said, "SUCKER!!!" and stole it back. I said, "look girly, you may be cute, but there's only enough room on this block for one princess. And that position has been taken!" She said, "whatever," and then we watched a little Sesame Street. Before Hummingbird left, she helped me with my respiratory treatment and even pounded my back and chest. I guess we really are best friends after all. We'll rule together!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


This poem reminded me of my drive to California -- my car in tow, a cat sharing the ride, and the absolute freedom I felt driving west! It was frightening, exhilerating, liberating - a true adventure. And it was something only a 21 year old can do.

You get to a point in life when you realize that no matter what, you can never just get in your car and drive away. I wanted to today. After being on the phone with pharmacies and case workers and insurance companies and dealing with all the red tape of life -- grabbing my keys and hitting the road, sleeping in the trunk and eating egg salad sandwiches from 7-11 sounded like a dream vacation. When I tried to take a five minute 'calming down' break, the case worker called and I didn't answer, so all meds were sent to the wrong pharmacy, and it took another hour to fix the problem.

Froggy saw me freak out and said, "huggy mama," and then she started crying. I felt like a jerk and did the only thing a stressed out and guilty mama could do. Instead of getting in my car and driving into the sunset (which would only be about a mile or so), I drove our sorry selves to the swings, the slides and merry-go-round. Somehow in the sway of the wind, and the blissful sound of Froggy's giggles, I was able to escape, and ultimately remember why I stay. She is my joy, my adventure, and in a strange way, my freedom. Even with all of the CF strings attached, there is no destination as wonderful as our bed at night, tucked under the covers with the butterfly light on, hearing those sweet words, "ohhh huggy mama."

Poem: "Keys" by Nancy Henry, from Our Lady of Let's All Sing. © Sheltering Pines Press, 2007.


When things got hard
I used to drive and keep on driving—
once to North Carolina
once to Arizona—
I'm through with all that now, I hope.
The last time was years ago.
But oh, how I would drive
and keep on driving!
The universe around me
all well in my control;
anything I wanted on the radio,
the air blasting hot or cold;
sobbing as loudly as I cared to sob,
screaming as loudly as I needed to scream.
I would live on apples and black coffee,
shower at truck stops,
sleep curled up
in the cozy back seat I loved.
The last time, I left at 3 a.m.
By New York state,
I stopped screaming;
by Tulsa
I stopped sobbing;
by the time I pulled into Flagstaff
I was thinking
about the Canyon,
I was so empty.
Thinking about the canyon
I was.
I sat on the rim at dawn,
let all the colors fill me.
It was cold. I saw my breath
like steam from a soup pot.
I saw small fossils in the gravel.
I saw how much world there was
how much darkness
could be swept out
by the sun.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The MRI Files

The neurologist called today and left a message. I was driving my boss to the airport and couldn't answer.

Her MRI was normal!!! Yaaaaaaaaahhhhh Whhhhooooooo. Yeee Hawwww! Yippeeeeeeee!!!

I'm going to call the doc tomorrow and see what this means exactly -- if we continue with her seizure meds, or if there are other tests to be done. But for now, we're just so happy the little Froggy doesn't have a brain tumor, or abnormal brain growth or something scary. This may be just something she grows out of, maybe after a year or two on seizure medications, she'll just stop having them. So far, she hasn't had one since we began her full dose. No eye deviations or anything. Woo hoo.

And because the fun never stops, Froggy's cold isn't really going away. So the pulmonologist started her on antibiotics today, to prevent bronchitis, and to keep the nasty little lung bugs from sticking around. I'm pretty comfortable with it, because in two years, she's only been on antibiotics once.

Sorry my posts have been so boring. Froggy has done a million and one adorable things in the last few days, but FD and I have been sick too, so we've been in survival mode. One of these days FD and I will actually have a conversation that doesn't involve doctors, meds, bills, the pets, or laundry. Ahhh, someday.

Still a little baby in this toddler

"Yes I still eat baby food!" Froggy hates veggies, except the spinach and potato baby food. I'm afraid she'll be the only kindergartner with a jar of "Earth's Best" in her lunchbox.

Oh yeah, right on the nose.