Saturday, July 31, 2010

SmartKnitKIDS Socks--A Review


A while back, I got an email asking that I review a pair of socks on my blog. I normally refuse to do reviews because the requests I have gotten so far have been for things that don't interest me.

This request intrigued me, though, because I know there are a lot of moms out there who would be interested in these socks. You see, they are completely seamless. So, I said, "Why not?"

Danny hasn't been wearing socks much since it is summer, but the other day when we were headed to our nature center, I insisted the kids don footwear. Danny was actually excited to wear these SmartKnitKIDS Seamless Sensitivity Socks. He said they feel "slippery," which means in Dannyspeak that they are smooth.

Later in the day, I asked Danny if he liked them and his face lit up in a smile as he crowed, "Yes! Yes, I do!"

The real testament to his appreciation, though, came the next day. Danny insisted on wearing them again and got upset when I explained that the socks were in the wash.

Later in the day, however, I noticed Danny was wearing the seamless socks, only this pair wasn't quite as dirty as yesterday's pair. Unbeknownst to me, Danny had surreptitiously stolen the extra pair of socks in the box. The pair that I was intending on giving away to a reader. Of course, I noticed after Danny had worn them for hours on my very unclean floors, so they are in no condition to be seen by anyone outside the family.

I recommend checking out their website at: www.smartknitkids.com


Note: I was not compensated in any way for this review. I was sent some socks to try out, but was not paid.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

First Time--A labor of love


There are many firsts in one's lives: first kiss, first time driving a car, first time birthing a baby. The first time giving birth comes with many new experiences. For example, laboring to have Danny was also the first time I ever pooped in front of a bunch of people and the first time my mom and sister saw me naked as an adult. It was also the first time I was ever fed a milkshake by my sister while I sat in a bathtub.

I think that last example typifies how my sister was during my pregnancy and labor. When I was pregnant with Danny, Beth was uber supportive. She is by nature, but during this time she outdid herself, even though she was dealing with her own issues pertaining to pregnancy. I won't go into details, but at the time she and her husband were grappling with some serious decisions regarding whether they should/could/would get pregnant. Despite my sister's stress over these issues, Beth was nothing less than ecstatic for me and my impending motherhood.

Which is why I asked her if she would accompany me to the hospital and, along with Bil, be my labor coach. In my Bradley method class, the teacher had suggested that you have an additional person helping, along with your husband. She suggested a woman, someone who could be nurturing and sensitive, and someone who could assist if Bil needed a break.

Bil and I went home and discussed our options. I had many friends who would have assented to my request, but the only person who I would be totally comfortable with was my sister. I wasn't embarrassed to make such a big request of her. I knew she would not hesitate to say yes, and more importantly, that her yes would be totally sincere. I wasn't worried about how I would look or act in front of her, and I knew she wouldn't judge me if I opted for an epidural or happened to do something embarrassing, like say, scream obscenities at Bil.

Well, Beth not only said yes, but she insisted on reading my Bradley method book so she would be totally prepared. She was really excited.

Maybe a little too excited.

After the 87th time she called to ask if I had lost my mucous plug, I started to worry a bit. Would Beth's exuberance prove to be too much while I was laboring? I wasn't sure, but as my mom would also be in the labor room, I figured she could run interference if need be.

It turned out, my concerns were absolutely unfounded; Beth was a super star. Most of the nurses assumed she was my doula, she was that good. She took charge and assured me I was doing fine. She helped me get in different positions and encouraged me to breathe. She made sure I relaxed every muscle, drank enough fluids and concentrated on the fact that I would soon have a tiny baby to cuddle.

Though I normally don't much appreciate being bossed around, it turns out that during labor, that is exactly what I need. I was too absorbed in trying to deal with the pain to think about much else, and this is where Beth took charge. What I never fully realized about my sister is that she is amazingly confident in the face of crisis. She doesn't tend to panic, like I do.

I have told Beth that I never would have made it through that labor without her. She dismisses that modestly and says I would have been fine.

But, she's wrong.

The labor with Danny was really difficult; nothing went well, and my midwife (not the midwife I wanted, but one in the practice who was on duty) was no help at all. She refused to give me any drugs, even the antibiotics that I should have gotten since my water had broken over 12 hours before. She gave no advice on how to make the labor progress and didn't catch that I had a fever until my sister pointed out how I was shaking uncontrollably. The worst of her sins, however, was judging me for how I was reacting to pain. This from the midwife who had never experienced the pain of childbirth for herself.

The worst part was that at one point, I started to panic. Really panic, in a way I have never done before or since. I couldn't focus and I was truly frightened. I had been in labor for over 18 hours and was trying so hard to keep myself together. The midwife insisted I couldn't have an epidural, and I was starting to feel as if I were losing my mind.

Beth was the one to keep me together. She got close to my face and assured me everything was going to be fine. She made me breathe and relax, and I really believe she saved me from having a panic attack.

My sister has always been there for me. Always. Through a bad breakup that I was sure was crushing my heart, through a mild bout with depression, and in all the fun, happy, and mundane times in between.

This experience with giving birth to Danny was special, though, and it changed the way I saw my sister. It was the first time that I had ever seen Beth in such a stressful situation where she put everything on hold and focused on someone's needs so intently and completely. I never realized how amazing she is under immense pressure, and I had no idea she had such a gift with working with people in pain. I don't think I had ever been in such a vulnerable position with someone before, at least as an adult, but she took complete care of me, and for that I will forever be grateful.

I have always known she was there for me, but this act of selfless service meant more to me than I can ever express. And now, there is never a doubt in my mind at how far she is willing to go for someone she loves. I really admire that about her.

To this day, I have so wanted to do something special in return for her. I wanted to make some gesture that would express how much it meant to me to have her there. And I have never been able to figure out what would work, what could possibly compare to the sacrifice she made for me.

I know a blog post isn't much, but it's a start, right?

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For more posts on firsts, see the Spin Cycle.

Monday, July 19, 2010

random thoughts--summer edition

~~My mom informed me that I should get off my rear and write another blog post. Of course, she phrased the request much more politely than that, but still that was the general gist.

I have missed blogging, but summer has really taken its toll on my creativity. I would love to say that I have had no free time at all in which to write, but that is not, strictly speaking, true. I mean, I did find some free time to waste watching a few episodes of Losing it with Jillian Michaels. Embarrassed though I am to admit this, I can't seem to quit going back to hulu to see if there are any new episodes. I am fascinated by these families who actually welcome Michaels into their houses for a week.

I mean, have they never watched The Biggest Loser? Do they not know what kind of demon woman she is? Wow, she is so hard core and really, really mean. But there is something about her tough approach that is really fun to watch.

From the comfort of my sofa. While possibly eating a snack or two.

~~Danny has developed something of an obsession with Legos. Obsession might even be too weak of a description.

If you have never worked with them, the directions for these Lego atrocities are practically indecipherable. At least to me, though Danny seems to have no trouble at all figuring them out.

Danny has encouraged me to play Legos with him several times over the summer, but I typically call "uncle" after about 30 minutes of building. Constructing entire universes out of these tiny plastic blocks is really hard on the eyes.

Saturday, however, I think I was bitten by the Lego bug. As I helped Danny with his new Space Police ships, he got distracted by the movie Charlotte was watching. Before I knew it, I had taken over completely. I had to have worked on these space ships for no less than 2 hours, during which time if Bil was imprudent enough to interrupt me, I grunted and waved him off.

In the end, this was one of my masterpieces.


It took Danny 90 seconds to dismantle this ship that took stole 90 minutes of my life, not to mention my eyesight.

I hate Legos.

~~Mowing our lawn is a multi-day process for me. I typically tackle the front yard first, as this is the area that most people see. I figure my neighbors are probably tired of looking out their window and seeing what looks like an abandoned house across the street.

Then, I move on to our back yard. I never seem to be able to mow it all in one fell swoop. It takes well over an hour just to cut the back grass; we have a rather large lot and of course, only a push mower. And while I am mowing I have to take periodic breaks to make sure Danny hasn't killed Charlotte and that Tommy hasn't smeared Vaseline all over the walls. It feels like I have been mowing the lawn all summer.

As I labored for what felt like hours, my neighbor came out on his riding mower. I'm sure he was cackling maniacally at me while the breeze ruffled his hair as he drove around his backyard. Meanwhile, I was frantically swiping at the sweat dripping in my eyes and trying not to run over our cord, cursing the whole time.

B finished his lawn HOURS before I did it. And he didn't need a shower and change of clothes afterwards.

And he calls himself a neighbor.

~-Note to self: Must talk with Bil about the possibility of installing astroturf.