Monthly Archives: May 2011

Tuesday Night Dinners


Every Tuesday night, we have dinner with Micah and Allie. Dinner is really the excuse we put out to the public; it’s really a cover for watching Secret Life of the American Teenager and Make It or Break It. You know, classic ABC Family staples. Robbie joins us for dinner, and then it’s bedtime in the Pack ‘n Play in the guest room.

Seems simple, right? Put a few toys in the Pack ‘n Play, and eventually Robbie will go to sleep, right? That’s what we thought. Until it was time for us to leave. Justin went in to get him and found the havoc that had been wreaked by our beloved son. The floor was littered with Micah’s socks and underwear, the dresser drawer pulled out and hanging at an awkward angle. His toys were strewn across the floor. The blanket on the bed had been dragged across the bed, and the backpacks on the bed had fallen to the floor.

Then my eyes wandered to my child, sitting in his empty Pack ‘n Play. Upon hearing us, he turned and said, “Cheese!” And then he lifted up Allie’s camera and uber-fabulous lens. Yes, he had been very thorough, using the blanket to move the camera case within his grasp and somehow opened the latch.

Fortunately, there was no damage to the camera and Micah’s unmentionables were easily refolded. But, we now have nowhere to keep Robbie that involves keeping any of Micah and Allie’s items safe. Several months ago, he reached all of their files on the shelf and resorted them. It’s days like this that I miss my little baby – you know, the one who couldn’t reach anything from his crib. Or, better yet, the one who just went to sleep instead of finding something to break…




Shopping for clothes has not been fun for the past decade. It was fun in college, when I got myself down to a size eight. But even then I didn’t really enjoy it. Trying on clothes in sizes that I hoped would fit but didn’t left me in tears in many a dressing room, especially as my size kept increasing.

I have a big event tomorrow, and I needed to buy a suit. I wasn’t looking forward to this outing, but Justin had faith. Friends had recommended White House Black Market, but I was sure none of their clothes would fit. Somewhat daunted, I made my way through the mall with Justin and Robbie in tow. I was crushed when I looked at the racks and saw they only went up to a size 14. Feeling tears springing in my eyes, I turned to Justin and told him we would have to leave. We could try Macy’s. Maybe they would go up one or two more sizes.

Justin gave me a stern look and told me to try on the clothes. So I did. I had to call in one of the fitting room attendants; I had no idea if the dress actually fit. It seemed OK, but, after all, it was a size 14. There was no way it could fit. She looked at me like I had three heads and assured me that it not only fit, but it looked fabulous (surely she was working on commission, right?). But, you know what? She was right. Not only did that dress fit, but so did the suits and the shirts that she brought in.

I felt like I had arrived. For the first time in nearly a decade, I enjoyed shopping for clothes. They made me feel fabulous. They made me feel worthy, like I fit in with the rest of the world. And, even though this week hasn’t shown it, more determined than ever to continue to work for myself and enjoy my life in my new body.



Robbie found a picture of me eight months pregnant yesterday. I saw him looking at it and asked, “Where’s Mama? Can you show me Mama?” He looked from the picture to me three or four times, shook his head, and tossed the picture aside. My own child didn’t recognize me. I know, I know. He’s not even two. But he loves to show me people he knows in pictures. And he couldn’t find me.

I’m getting close to “one-derland”. You know, being under the 200 pound mark. Not so long ago, I would have been horrified for you to know this about me. But not so much anymore. I’m so excited to meet this goal, but I’m also having a little bit of a hard time with it.

I’ve spent some time trying to figure out who Erin is now. I haven’t been under 200 pounds for over eight years. No one who has met me since I left Kentucky has known me that way. I’m trying to rectify who I find myself becoming with who I was for so long. It’s gotten more difficult as I’ve realized all the things I don’t like about who I have been for the past eight years. While I’m excited to shed that skin and lose all of the judgments that come with it, I’m not sure what to do with the person left.

I sing a little louder now and I smile a whole lot more. I talk to more people; I take more risks personally and professionally. But how do I forget the impact the past eight years have had on my life? Is it something that I need to forget? I know there’s a certain amount of forgiveness that needs to happen on my part, and it seems like that is going to be the most difficult part. After all, how could I treat my body so horribly for so long? Perhaps I need to take the advice that I so often give my students. I cannot let my past define me. This is the opportunity of a lifetime to reinvent myself, and I don’t want to spend anymore time hating who I let myself be for so long.

Chinese Miracles


I don’t know why I didn’t just go to her first. It seemed logical: chronic dental nerve pain? See a dentist. Sinus infection causing said chronic pain? Call my doctor. But, no. It wasn’t either of those that gave me the real relief. It was, of course, Zhining, with her crazy voodoo green water in a tiny glass bottle.

I must have looked pretty terrible when I came to pick up Robbie. I hear that, for two days, I looked like Death. Plain and simple. Not even warmed over. Zhining looked at me and told me that I must not be feeling any better. She said, “Wait one minute. I have your cure. Just one minute.” And she was gone to the back room, rummaging for something while I waited, hoping for a miracle.

And, boy, did she have it. The glass bottle probably measures no taller than two inches, but I only needed two drops to know it was the miracle elixir I’d been hoping for (and that Zhining had promised, assuring me that everyone in China keeps a bottle of this in their pockets, just in case). Feeling another round of throbbing pain taking hold on my temple as I merged from 128 to Route 2, I opened the bottle and rubbed a few drops onto my forehead and across my jaw. Almost instant relief.

Vicodin did nothing to numb the pain initially. Forget about any over-the-counter remedies. And the antibiotic took next to forever to cause any relief (well, 36 hours felt like forever at the time). And I couldn’t very well keep going to the dentist and begging for shots of Novocain. Who does that? So, thank goodness for glass bottles of green water. After all, as the pamphlet claims, it cures anything from “evil winds” to mosquito bites. Unfortunately, it’s only sold in China. I’ll be sending money with Zhining this summer to stock up. We’ll definitely be keeping a bottle in every coat pocket and purse. You never know when you might encounter an evil wind.

Holy Sinuses, Batman!


Yeah. About the vanilla. That remedy lasted about fifteen minutes. I didn’t think I was ever going to get to sleep last night. I took a hot shower, two Tylenol PMs, and covered my mouth in a generic numbing agent. Then, when the headache really started pounding, I sent Justin downstairs for some (generic) Excedrin. Ironically, when I woke up this morning, I found the box of headache medicine on the kitchen counter. Unopened. So what, you ask, did my darling husband give me? An additional three Tylenol PMs!

Despite an excellent night of sleep, the pain started up almost immediately after I woke up and continued to get progressively worse throughout the day. The ladies at Gentle Dental were kind enough to let me come in at 3:00 instead of 5:30. After three rounds of x-rays, there seemed to be nothing really wrong with me. The dentist gave me a shot of Novocain, and less than a minute later I was pain free. No toothache. No headache. It was a miracle of modern medicine.

Apparently, your sinuses can cause tooth pain. I had no idea this was even a possibility, having spent the entire day sure I was going to need a root canal or a tooth pulled. But, I saw it for myself on the x-rays: my sinus, sitting right on top of the nerves. The dentist kindly told me he’d prefer not to start drilling through my teeth, which my mouth (and bank account!) greatly appreciated. He recommended Mucinex, a neti pot, and some Vicodin (just in case).

Now here I am, four hours later. On the couch, Novocain slowly wearing off. Pain in my teeth and pounding in my head. I’ve done the Mucinex. I’ve done the neti pot. I’m just waiting for it all to kick in. I figure it’s good that the pain in my teeth is just a dull ache instead of a sharp pain. I will get better. I will feel fabulous. I will avoid the dentist until my cleaning in August. I do believe in miracles!



Back in the fall, I had seven cavities filled. Seven. In two of my back molars, they had to drill all the way down to the nerve and told me that I was just biding time until a root canal. On top of that, I grind my teeth. Compound all of that, and you have a major toothache. Well, actually, I have a major toothache.

It got so bad tonight that even pain relievers weren’t working. Tylenol. Aleve. I resorted to Googling “toothache remedies.” There are some real nut jobs out there. And people with terrible teeth. One of my favorites? “Put the clove on the tooth that aches. Or, if you can, in the rotting or decaying tooth.” Really? If I have a hole in my tooth big enough to put a clove of anything in it, don’t expect me to admit it here. Or at least not on a public forum where I don’t have trusted readers…

At any rate… If you’re ever in the same position, I recommend using vanilla extract. It actually works. My toothache is gone. My headache is gone. And I feel remotely human again.

Mother’s Day


Mother’s Day started like so many days: up before the rest of the family to start laundry and let the dog out. And then Robbie was up and the day was officially started with no chance of catching a few more minutes of sleep. But, he was all smiles and hugs and kisses, almost as if he realized that it was Mother’s Day.

Justin took great pains to make sure I had a perfect Mother’s Day. We went to church as a family, took a trip to Barnes & Noble, had brunch at Dalya’s, and took a family walk. He sent me for a massage and took me out to dinner, leaving Robbie at home with a babysitter. It may very well have been the busiest Mother’s Day. But it was pretty perfect.

About a month ago, I read an article in Real Simple magazine about the perfect Mother’s Day gift. It’s called the Mom Book, and the author’s children write in it as their gift to her on special occasions. I told Justin that was what I wanted to start, so we went to Barnes & Noble for me to pick out just the right book.

While I was gone for my massage, Justin and Robbie got to work making Robbie’s first entry in the Mom Book. It’s a colorful expression of Robbie’s enthusiasm for me as a mom. But, perhaps the most touching part, is the three flowers taped inside. While we were on our family walk, Robbie picked three dandelions and put them in the seat of his riding toy that he took with us. Justin went out to the yard and found the flowers to include in my book, so I would always remember our walk.

I’m not sure that there is a good way to preserve dandelions, but I’ll be researching online just in case. I love that now I can have memories from special occasions like this all in one place.

Cinqo de Mayo Miracle


Robbie and I went out to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants with our good friend Julia. I had an extra coupon for $6 off dinner that I shared with a gentleman at the table next to ours. He was pleasantly surprised, and I felt pretty nice about my good deed for the day.

Upon leaving the restaurant, the gentleman stopped by our table to talk to Robbie, who had a death grip on his newest balloon. He looked at Robbie, handed him a $10 bill, and said, “Here you go, young man. Tell your mom to buy you something nice. Happy Cinqo de Mayo!” And then he walked out of the restaurant.

Robbie spent the rest of dinner playing with his new $10, very pleased with the attention from a new person. And I learned a valuable lesson about doing something nice for other people.



I never planned – or wanted – to have a child enthralled with Elmo. Ever. Sure, I have cats and a dog named after Sesame Street. But, Elmo the cat is actually my least favorite. And Elmo has now infiltrated our lives.

I don’t personally have the words for all the Elmo that has taken over our lives… Perhaps it’s best to just show it in pictures.

Robbie picked out his own Elmo shoes at Marshall’s this week.

Wanting to be a good boy and have his picture taken, Robbie grabbed his Elmo book and hopped on the potty.

The most recent additions involve a chicken dance Elmo and a dancing/story telling Elmo. Both are a hit, especially now that Robbie has learned how to make them work. But, I’ll be honest, I like that he has something special that interests him. Between Elmo, cars, trains, and planes, Robbie has some things that he’s interested in. For a long time, I just bought toys that I thought he would like, and he never really played with them. Now that I can focus on something he loves, it makes picking out surprises that much more fun. Now, if only there was some place to put all the other toys…

Sick Baby


Well, Zhining was right. Justin really does need to dress Robbie warmly because, when he doesn’t, Robbie gets sick. He had a little bit of a cough on Sunday and, against my better judgement, I took Robbie to a play date. When we got home that night, Robbie was exhausted and couldn’t stop coughing. And he didn’t stop all night long.

I stayed home with Robbie on Monday, not feeling well myself at all after staying up all night listening to coughing and then waking up with horrible congestion. I would have given anything to send him to daycare by 10:00 in the morning. He cried and fussed every time I breathed and it made him uncomfortable. He didn’t want to eat, and he would only drink out of a bottle. Robbie wanted to be held but freaked out if I needed to shift my body. At one point, all he could do was hold his balloon and cry. Pitifully.

Justin couldn’t get home fast enough for my liking. There was absolutely nothing I could do to make Robbie happym, and it broke my heart. And split my head. Which was pounding by 10:00. I want to be able to cuddle my child and make him feel better. But I have absolutely no idea what to do when none of my regular strategies work. Thank goodness he was feeling better by Tuesday morning and I could escape the confines of 9 Bartlett Avenue for the relative peace and quiet of Lawrence Public Schools.

Fortunately, within a day, Robbie was happily holding his balloon and back to Swiffering the floor for me.