Monday, November 30, 2009

Blog In Progress

Since I've been spending more time blogging and am really enjoying it, I thought it might be a good idea to learn some new things while I'm at it.  So, over the next few weeks (probably months with my lazy streak), you may notice some changes.  For instance, as of today the green is gone and the layout has changed.

One of the things I am trying to learn is how to create my own backgrounds, hence the new layout.  I am also playing around with html code (totally copying it- with permission- from websites that have tutorials on how to spiffy up blogs).  One of the things that has always bothered me about my blog is how the posts just kind of run into into each other.  I found a way to add post breaks and am trying to get them to work (I see it in my preview, but not always on my live blog).

Anyway, hope you'll bear with me as this site changes.  Thanks for reading!

PS- the cute post divider (along with instructions on how to add one to your blog) can be found at Shabby Blogs.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Little Man, Little Man

Dear Stinker Bug,

My how time flies!  You are 16 months old today.  We've been in Guam for 3 months and a day.  You've changed so much in the past three months (I can't even describe how much you've changed since you were born).  When we got to Guam, you ate different food than we did, you didn't walk and you really didn't have much to say.

These days, you love to eat whatever we are eating.  Your favorite foods are meat (especially cheeseburgers) and pasta. You'll really eat just about anything (except cauliflower- no matter how much cheese it's covered in and chicken nuggets).  We always have to bathe you when you eat any pasta with red sauce because you get covered from head to toe, even if you're wearing a bib.  Usually, when you have spaghetti, we strip you down to your diaper because we know you'll make such a big mess.  You always let us know when you're finished with your food by placing your bowl on your head.

You've also started walking.  Granted, you walk a little like Frankenstein, but you no longer need the assistance of a wall, chair or couch to get from point A to point B.  You still use them but are getting less and less dependent on them.  You only crawl if you want to get some where quickly, then you hit the floor, tuck your head and you're off!  It's fun watching you learn to gain confidence in yourself.  You have no fear when it comes to climbing either.  You are constantly trying to climb up on the couches, over chairs, anything that can support you, you want to be King of the Hill.

Daddy and I both think you're super smart.  Although you don't say a lot that we can understand, you are really verbal and you are starting to make connections with words and things.  I love when you do this!  You can hiss like a snake, you say "cheese", "this", "that", "night-night", "see" and several others.

Your favorite thing to do seems to be to take anything out of it's proper place (your toys, my pots and pans, bibs, ANYTHING) and throw it onto the floor and move it around.  I find my shoes in boxes of electrical equipment and your toys in drawers with the measuring spoons.  And even though it seems like I am CONSTANTLY picking up after you, I love when you're napping and I open a drawer and find a little goodie that you left- it makes my heart smile thinking of you.

Speaking of shoes, you love them.  You want to wear them all the time, even if you only have on a diaper.  You also love to take daddy's and my shoes off our feet and put them back on and I've even caught you trying to wear our shoes, but it's hard since we mainly wear flip flops these days.  (A shoe related side story-  Tonight we took you for a ride in your wagon and some neighbors asked if we had lost one of your shoes.  And sure enough on our previous wagon ride almost a week ago, you apparently tossed one of your shoes out of the wagon- your wagon is one of your favorite places to store treasures-  and it stayed outside, a block away from our house for 5 rainy days, but tonight it is safe and sound and reunited with its sole mate)

You are still such a joy to be around (although, you like to scream in a very high pitched voice when you don't get your way).  We love you so much and are so happy God chose us to be your parents.


PS-  Tonight was a big night for us.  I did something that I have been putting off for a while.  I finally broke down and cut  your hair.

I figured since you were 16 months old, and not a resident of Mulletville USA, and I was sick of your daddy complaining about your hair when strangers confusing you for a girl, and because really if you have enough hair to make a pony tail, and you're a boy and I really am accepting of the fact that you're growing up and not a baby then yes, it probably was the time to pull out the scissors and snip your locks.

I did it.  You lost some hair (bye bye baby mullet) and I shed a few tears.

You're beautiful, you'll always be my baby boy, and you sure are growing up fast!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turkey Day- Guam Style

It was a really nice day.  We had a house full of great people and a table full of delicious food.

On the menu today:

2 fried turkeys, 1 roasted turkey, 2 hams, macaroni and cheese, squash casserole, Spinach Madeline, cornbread dressing, green bean casserole, corn, rolls, greens, (is your mouth watering yet?), cranberry relish, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes , gravy, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, cheesecake (are you drooling yet?).  We forgot to take pictures of the dessert table and the turkeys before we carved them up.  We had more than enough food (a reason in itself to be thankful), which was great because we all love leftovers and everyone who came had plenty of leftovers to choose from.  Anybody out there need a pie?  I have four in my fridge right now!!

The weather cooperated with us, got a break from the rain showers, and we were able to eat outside!

Part of the crowd, on our back porch

Price's 2nd Thanksgiving, but his first Thanksgiving Dinner

Although we didn't go around and say what we were thankful for, if we had I knew what I would have said.  "I'm thankful for unexpected adventures."  How many people get to say they celebrated Thanksgiving outside, on a pleasant day, surrounded by good friends and palm trees?

I am so glad we had people over, it really felt like Thanksgiving.  Now, we have a looonnnnggg weekend to eat leftovers, do some shopping, start getting in the Christmas spirit, and enjoy some good time with two of the people I am most thankful for- Don and Price.

Happy Thanksgiving! (really, really long)

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all.  I love that the day is only about giving thanks and not giving gifts.  And how can you not be a fan of a day where the main objective is to eat to celebrate the things you are thankful for? I love to eat, but really I love to cook more.

I especially love cooking Thanksgiving food.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  One reason is, it's a pretty standard/traditional meal.  No one needs or expects a lot of experimentation on Turkey Day.  For the same reason breakfast is my favorite meal to cook, people are happy to get a hearty, comforting meal- something that no matter where on earth you may be (for instance, Guam) the food feels like home.  Today was no exception- this was the first pot luck/organized meal I've been too in Guam where there was no rice.  The second reason, is even closer to my heart.  Whenever I cook Thanksgiving dinner, I cannot help but feel connected to the roots of my family tree.

I come from a rather large, rambunctious Southern family.  We mostly love each other in a Pat Conroy novel kind of way.  Some of my fondest memories growing up are of times I spent with my cousins and grandparents on The Farm or at the beach.

The first Thanksgiving after my Grandfather died was miserable. O'Peg (my grandmother), wasn't up for having Thanksgiving at The Farm, so we went to The Piccadilly (except I think it may have actually been Morrison's back then- we're talking 1985ish).  Don't get me wrong, I love me some Piccadilly, but not on Thanksgiving (see previous paragraph about food feeling like home, it doesn't feel like home when served by ladies in hair nets).  The next day we headed to our beach house in Alabama.  It was a nice long weekend and O'Peg decided, that's where we would spend Thanksgiving the next year (you know, as I'm writing this, I'm not sure if I have my dates right and if we started our annual trip the year after Grandfather died or a few years later after the beach house was rebuilt post-hurricane).  Anyway, a tradition was born and we began celebrating Thanksgiving on a tiny island off the coast of Alabama.

It was always the holiday I looked forward to the most.  We would usually arrive late Tuesday night after a long drive from Texas.  Wednesday night one of the second cousins would have everyone to their house for dinner and a rousing game of Trivial Pursuit.  As the evening wore on and more drinks were consumed the answers became louder and more often than not at some point there would be dancing.  We would all stumble home late, the children exhausted, the adults tipsy.

Because my mom was single, our little family of 3 always got to stay at O'Peg's house (everyone else was scattered in other houses down the beach).  We would get back to O'Peg's in time to start preparing for the next day's festivities.  She and I would get the turkey ready (we cooked it in a way that was wonderfully easy, but no longer allowed in my house thanks to my husband's ridiculous knowledge of food borne disease) and make cornbread to use in the dressing.  We'd finish around midnight.

Thanksgiving Day, everyone kind of stayed at their own house working on their contribution to lunch.  At O'Peg's, we would make the cornbread dressing- to this day, I know the exact page in River Roads Recipe II   (p. 155) that she would use as her guide, but she mainly just used her taste buds, not measuring cups or spoons to get it just right.  My Aunt Jon always made her special Oysters Redneck Riviera.  At noon, every one would start to gather, not to eat, but for The Turkey Bowl.  It was our annual football game.  The Young Punks  would take on the Old Farts, and no matter who won or lost, someone always cried foul,  someone would always accuse someone of cheating.  O'Peg would usually "determine" the winner by hearing the "score" and deciding it was time to eat and she would call the game.  While the game raged on (and trust me with the way the men in my family carry things deep and let their emotions and feelings out on the field- rage is a good word for it), several of us would be setting the tables and getting ready to feed a crowd.  I think our smallest year there were only about 24 of us, our largest year I think there were around 52 of us.

Although O'Peg would call the game for lunch, show time for food was 2:00.  Everyone would arrive at the house with food and family in tow.  The minutes before we ate were always my favorite.  It was like tuning up and starting a symphony.  O'Peg and Aunt Jon were the conductors.  They would direct when the food came out, where it would be placed.  It was beautifully organized chaos.  We always had an amazing amount of food everything from turkey to Spinach Madeline, Cuban pork to LeSeur Peas, creamed brussel sprouts, squash and green bean casseroles- the list would go on and on.  Once all the food was arranged and the family (I'm talking cousins, second cousins, great aunts, random people we brought with us) assembled, we would all go out on the deck, gather in a large circle hold hands and say grace and then each one of us would say one thing we were thankful for.  The little kids always said something funny like "turkey", the tweens would always say something generic like "family" then there were the more creative who would usually say something long and silly and would of course be repeated forever, "Remember when so and so said such and such- ha ha ha ha ha."  Finally, we could eat!  And the food as always was amazing.  We would sit and talk and catch up and laugh.  The house would literally shake with laughter.  There were several years, after losing someone very special to us all, when there were tears, but mostly it was loud and full of laughs.

Somehow, on Friday we still had room for more food.  So we would have bonfire and roast hot dogs and marshmallows.  We told stories.  One year, after a trip to an Indian burial ground, all the women stood up and we did a "tribal" dance around the fire.  More hilarity ensued.

It was the best weekend of the year.  Being on an island, surrounded by family, laughing a lot, eating more.  But O'Peg was central to it all.  She was the driving force behind the weekend.  She died in 2001.   I don't remember if we had Thanksgiving at the beach that year.  But we did do it one last time in 2002- almost as a memorial to her and the end of a wonderful tradition.  So many of us had grown up, moved even further away, gotten busy with life and new jobs or new babies and it was just hard to take 5 days off to go to the beach.  And then came 2005, the year of Katrina.  She destroyed the house and then a few months later my aunt's house was destroyed by a fire.  I mourned for those houses like I had lost a family member.  We tried to all get together again at my cousin's house (not at the beach) that year, but it wasn't the same.

Last year, my Aunt Jon started the tradition up, but in a new location- New Orleans.  And it was a great success.  It wasn't a beach trip, but it was great to get back and cook and catch up.  It was a little bittersweet because it was Price's first Thanksgiving and Don was deployed, but it was nice to be surrounded by family.

So last night and today, as I cooked and used O'Peg's River Road Recipes II, I couldn't help (as I always do) but think of my family and how much I love them and am thankful for them and how they (without even knowing) have helped shaped me into the person I am today.  A person who is happiest cooking for a house full of loud, laughing people, eating good food, telling stories and just enjoying the day and all the many, many blessings in life.

And while we are just about wrapping up Thanksgiving Day here in Guam, my family is getting ready to celebrate in New Orleans and various locations around the world (we're all kind of scattered this year- Australia, Guam, Ecuador, TEXAS, California, Missouri).    I hope all of you who read this have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  I hope you have family or a family of friends to celebrate with and I hope you can find lots of things to be thankful for.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Oh No! The Eggo

In the news today, there were two headlines discussing recent food shortages.  I know scientists have predicted that there will come a point in time in which Mother Earth can no longer provide enough food to sustain the population.  I just never thought it would be here now....

First, Kellogg's announced that we should all expect to see a shortage of Eggos in the near future.  Nestle followed soon after with an announcement that there may be shortage of pumpkin this holiday season.  Seriously- no Eggo waffles and no pumpkin pie?  Good thing I got a pumpkin fix last week.  And actually, judging from the copious amounts of canned pumpkin in the Commissary (which at times is true definition of food shortage), I think we're ok in that area (but I probably should go stock up before all of Guam finds out that there may be a pumpkin shortage and buys it all up).

As for the Eggo problem...  I leggomyeggo long ago.  Don't get me wrong.  I really, really love waffles (or any other carbohydrate that I can get my hands on at breakfast time).  The best waffles I EVER had were made by  KJ- they had chunks of cheese and meat in the batter and were paired with a honey mustard sauce.  Of course, being from the South, I enjoy a good helping of chicken waffles from time to time.  And would never, ever, ever, never turn down a chocolate chip waffle.

But I don't eat Eggo waffles.  About once a year or so, I get a craving for them, eat one or two bites and remember why I don't buy them anymore.  They really don't taste that great.  I understand why people do eat them- they're quick and easy to make, but like most quick fixes- they are relatively expensive and the ingredient list is long and full of long words (mostly just vitamin supplements).

So, I'd like to offer this solution to the Eggo shortage- make your own!  There are two ways you can do this, buy a mix (like Krusteaz or Bisquick) or my prefered method-make them from scratch.  Making from scratch can take as little as 13 minutes from start to finish (I made some this morning and timed it, and by finish I mean the first waffle was finished cooking).  I use the Waffle Recipe from  The Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 75th Anniversary Edition.


*I like the flavor that a little butter adds to the waffles, but the oil helps them to not stick to the waffle iron, so I melt about 2 tbsp of butter, pour that into a measuring cup and top off with oil to achieve 1/2 cup.  Also, cinnamon is not called for in the original recipe, I add it because I like it, especially with chocolate chips or bananas, so feel free to omit if it's not your thing.

Ingredients Assembled


In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt (and cinnamon if desired). Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, slightly; stir in the milk and the vanilla.

Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened (the batter should still be slightly lumpy).  This is also when you would add any thing like blueberries, CHOCOLATE CHIPS, granola, etc.

Pour 1 to 1 1/4 cups batter onto the grids of a preheated, lightly greased waffle iron . Close the lid quickly and do not open until done.

When done lift the waffles of the iron with a fork.

Repeat the procedure with the remaining batter.

The Finished Product

The recipe states it will make 10-12 waffles, I think we have a large waffle maker because I usually only get about 5-6 waffles.  We each eat one, so we always have leftovers.  Here's the great thing- you can freeze the leftovers and then when you want a waffle- you just pop it into the toaster like an Eggo!  So, if you've very industrious (unlike me), rather than making waffles for breakfast from scratch and only having leftovers to freeze, you could plan ahead and make a double batch, freeze all of them and then have homemade waffles ready whenever you need an Eggo fix.  The initial output of time is a bit more than opening a box of Eggos, but is a money saver and can be a time saver too.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Month of Sundays...

My brother and my dog will be boarding their Guam bound planes (we tried to coordinate and get them on the same flight, but the bro is going through Japan, so the Isabelle has to fly on a different plane) a month from today.  I CANNOT WAIT!!  Trey, my brother, will be our first visitor.  I am so excited for him to get here so we can show him around and do some more exploring.  And Isabelle, I have missed her soooo much!  I can't wait for her to get here and chase all the critters that live on our porch like this 9 1/2 (at least) inch long lizard...

Sorry Mom, I know this really makes you want to fly half way around the world to visit

Photoshop can make smallish lizards seem large and menacing.

It was Godzilla on my porch- REALLY!

Or this praying mantis (ok, I really don't want the dog to chase the mantis, I just needed a good segue to show off these pictures)....

Both of these creatures were hanging out on our porch this afternoon, combined with the shrew that we saw a few nights ago and the frogs that we see every night and the geckos that jump out of my trash can every time I open the lid, we are practically living in an episode of Wild Kingdom!

I know that time will fly by before they get here since the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is always busy and filled with fun activities, and this year is going to be no exception.  It will probably even more fun filled because of Price and trying to make up for last year when Don was overseas.

PS- I have started experimenting trying to teach myself how to use Photoshop, today I played with basics like cropping and adding captions to pictures.

PSS- Bea, you're right- the mantis is missing a leg.

PSSS- Mom, I know you HATE lizards, and I'm really not a huge fan myself.  When I was taking the picture I kept telling the lizard, out loud, "As long as you don't jump on me we'll be OK.  Please don't jump on me, please, please don't jump on me."  He didn't jump on me, but I do think he and his little gecko friends really help keep the fly population down and for that I will always be grateful!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What To Do??

Ok, here's the situation...

I am not a great diaper changer.  You'd think after almost 16 months, I would have mastered it, but I have a squirmy wormy who'd rather run around butt naked than be re-diapered.  I often end up with just that, a naked little man scurrying about the minute the diaper comes off.  My little man also REALLY enjoys playing with the toy God gave him, the part that makes him a man- his penis.  Don assures me he will NEVER grow out of this and will always enjoy playing with it.

Anyway, time and time again, I run into this quandry when I am changing a dirty poo diaper- where to wipe first?  His hands IMMEDIATELY go down to his manhood, which is often covered in poo, so then I wonder do I wipe his hands or get the poo off his junk first.  When I wipe his hands first, they're clean, but they go right back in the mess, when I wipe the big mess off his bottom, his hands are dirty putting poo God knows where. Poo usually ends up on his clothes and on the carpet and me!

Fellow mommies (or daddies- or anyone with insight)- help me please!  Leave your suggestion in my comment area by Friday (Stateside Friday) and one lucky responder will get a treat from the Andersen Gift Shop.


Playing Catch Up

Things here are good.  We are just rocking and rolling along.

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is next week.  We are hosting Thanksgiving Dinner for Don's element (that's a flight to those of you on larger bases).  I love that even though we don't get to go home, we will still be surrounded by a great group of people and celebrating all that we have to be thankful for.  I'm starting to get everything planned- I'm not the only one cooking, but we still have some things to do to the house to get it ready for company.  One of those things is decorating- my favorite!!!

Tomorrow we are heading to the base gift shop which is another WONDERFUL place I have found to spend money; it's run by the Andersen Officers Spouses' Club (I haven't joined yet, but it's on my to do list).  I was only able to stay for a few minutes when I went for the first time yesterday- but I have my eye on several items (you can kind of see one in the second picture on the right column- the bowls shaped like stars and scallops- they have some in an incredible green color- they will be mine!!!!).  I can't wait to go back tomorrow and help the AOSC raise some money for their charities.   

Speaking of charities, two weekends ago, we went to a fundraiser for the Med Group's booster club.  It was a rug auction.  We bought one!  I didn't think we would since most of the rugs were a bit out of our budget, but the one we bought didn't sell originally, so we bought it after the auction was over.  I am in LOVE with it. It's a little too small for our dining room, but I know we'll have it for years to come and will look better once we have more furniture in the dining room.  Here are some pics (I'll post more pics of the house once it's decorated)...


Last week, I decided I needed to do something to make it feel like fall around here.  It absolutely, without a doubt, DOES. NOT. FEEL. LIKE. NOVEMBER!  I decided to bake, with pumpkin.  I hoped that maybe baking with one of the season's most bountiful fruits and filling the house with the aromas of spices (nutmeg, clove, ginger) that feel like fall would help.  It did (but I still miss the brisk crisp fall air we had in Ohio this time of year, although I can't complain too much- we are in a trade wind cycle right now- so it's very pleasant during the day and the evenings are amazing, even with disgusting shrews scurrying across our patio).  

I found a great recipe for pumpkin bread; I substituted applesauce for most of the oil and added chocolate chips to 2/3 of the batter.  I made muffins (one tin of chocolate chip, one tin plain) and a bunt cake instead of 3 loaves of bread.  Because I really want to be like Pioneer Woman or Smitten Kitchen, I tried to document my baking with photos...


These pictures illustrate why I probably won't ever be a successful food/cooking blogger- look at the mess- and this was BEFORE I started baking.  I also forgot to take pictures of the finished product, but let me tell you- it was worth it.  I'm starting to like baking more and more- I just have to reign myself in and remember that baking is an art based on physics and science and that measurements must be accurate to be successful.

This week has been educational.  Last night, I learned how to hula dance.  It was quite beautiful (not me dancing the hula, but the hula itself).  Each dance tells a story and there are common signs used in dancing.  The women who put the lesson on were great!  They brought sarongs for all of us to wear and gave us flowers for hair.  Did you know, there is significance to where you wear your flower?  If you wear your flower on the left side, it means you are taken, on the right side it means you are looking and in the middle you are undecided.  We also ate traditional Hawaiian food and had the most to die for, delicious piƱa coladas made with fresh coconut milk and fresh coconut chunks.  The fresh coconut tasted like white chocolate and literally melted in your mouth- I don't know if I'll ever be able to eat the stuff out of the bag again.  There are places here in Guam that you can bring coconuts from your trees and they will milk them and grind them for you.

Every day, I feel more and more thankful and blessed that we are having this amazing opportunity!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Humbling Perspective

Today I watched an episode of Dirty Jobs.   It's one of my all time favorite shows on TV.  I must admit, I have a teeny bit of a crush on Mike Rowe  (don't worry, Don is well aware of my crush, as I am aware of his celebrity crush- I won't name her here to save him from embarrassment).  I love this show, and appreciate Mike Rowe, for showing the world what it's like to have job that most of us would never want to do.  He does it in such a respectful way that truly honors "Everyman."

The episode I watched today highlighted the dirty jobs at a diaper service.  Having had a child in diapers for the past 15 months, I can only begin to imagine what it's like to be the dirty diaper picker upper, sorter and cleaner. I don't enjoy the smells that originate from the diapers of this ONE sweet, precious child (who I helped create).

So the thought of being surrounded by hundreds of dirty diapers, filled with messes made by children who are not my own, is a bit revolting and definitely not on my dream jobs list.

But here's the beauty of it... the guy who cleans the diapers has done it for 30 years.    He likes doing it, it keeps him from being tied to a desk.  At first I thought, how sad, to be happy to throw 600 lbs of dirty diapers into a washing machine day in and day out.  But then I realized, how lucky is this guy to be happy doing a job that no matter how gross most people may think it is, how routine it may be, no matter how many times he has to fix a broken machine, he's happy?  It hit me like a ton of bricks- the reminder that for the most part, we create our own happiness (or misery).  If we're given loads of crap to deal with we can either wash it out, keep going and be happy with the outcome or we can just think about how rotten our load of crap is.

Things have been much better here in Good Ol Guam lately, but this reminds me I need to keep creating my happiness to get to the really happy content place I know I can be.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Do Your Boobs Hang Low?

Do they wobble to and fro?  Then either you are big busted or you have nursed a child.

I am and I have.  I have always had large ta-tas, big girls, quite the set of melons.  Since fifth grade, I have been the girl that has always stooped over just a little or stood behind something trying not to stand out and get recognized for the "wrong" reason.  I have always had a hard time finding shirts that fit and bra and bathing suit shopping, those are traumatic events that really to need to be discussed on these pages as it may cause me to have nightmares.  Oh and let's not forget running- if I don't wear at least 3 bras I end up with black eyes and broken ribs.  Shopping for bras and bathing suits coupled with being leered at by older men (even at the young age of 17, I remember walking down Bourbon Street and one of the sleazy barkers at a strip joint told me they were hiring) and really just being naturally much larger up top than most women on this planet have given me body image issues.  One nice thing, I guess about the size of my boobs is it makes my waist look smaller (when I have a bra on, otherwise, I just look like a Two-Ton Tessy).  Speaking of Two-Ton Tessy, that reminds of another one of my boob related stories... I successfully landed a job sight unseen- just a series of great phone interviews.  However, I had to let my new employer know my shirt size before I arrived for my first day.  My new boss thought it was weird when I was asking what kind of shirt it was- did it button or was it a pullover? And then proceeded to tell her, "well, I need this really big size if the shirt is button and fitted, I only need this large size if it's just a plain button up, etc. etc."   So, since my position was one that would have me out in the public quite a bit and image was very important my boss contacted someone at my (then) current place of employment and flat out asked if I was a big girl and they replied, "No, you didn't hire a Two Ton Tessy, she's actually rather small but very chesty."  Great- the whole world now knew a thin, but boobalicious girl was coming to work.   And unlike the Real Housewives of whatever city is on these days (see how I'm trying to play it off like I have no idea that The Real Housewives of Orange County starts tomorrow), I can't just let them hang out there and have their day in the sun (probably because I don't have gel packs to keep them firm and perky). So, for most of my life, my boobs have been a curse.

But then, I got pregnant.  And although my boobs grew just short of requiring a call to Ringling Brothers to see if they could sew me a tent to keep them covered to sizes that I didn't think possible, I didn't care.  I felt like the fact that they were growing meant the baby was growing and that the bigger they grew, the more milk they would make.  And finally, at long last, I would learn to love my boobs.

Unfortunately, I was one of many women who had problems breast-feeding.  Price was born several weeks early and he had a teeny, tiny mouth and didn't know how to suck.  I didn't have a great lactation consultant at the hospital and did everything wrong from the start.  Wanting so badly to use my body the way nature intended and not being able to made me feel like such a failure.  I felt like I was failing as a mother and as a woman.  And I was so mad at my boobs- how could they give out on me, why wasn't the milk gushing out and nourishing my baby?  After carrying them around for so long, how could they not serve their purpose?  But, for all the lazy, procrastinating bones in my body- I have a very strong stubborn streak and I refused to give up.  Everyday, I pumped (I did it completely wrong for the first 8 weeks) pretty much around the clock, I tried to get Price to wake up to eat, to latch on.  Everyday, I cried. I wound up in my room in a heap of self pity on my bed.  I argued with Don, who wanted me to be successful, btu at the same time wanted assurance that Price was getting the nourishment he needed.  It took me almost two weeks to get out of denial that I was giving him what he needed, but he was losing more and more weight and I finally gave in and gave him formula, from a bottle.  Everyday, I felt like a piece of me was dying because I wasn't able to breast feed my baby.

Yet, something miraculous happened.  One day, Price figured it out.  He liked booby juice!!  Don had left for the desert and it was just me and Price and days and hours on end with little to do except figure this out.  I finally saw a good lactation consultant.  I dragged myself in, feeling broken because once Price figured out he liked the booby juice, I didn't know how to get him on right and my poor boobs were in bad shape.  I covered them in olive oil and tea bags- anything to make them quit hurting and stop bleeding.  I was frustrated all over again because I had reached another breaking point.  It hurt so bad I ended up crying in pain every time he even looked at my boobs, not to mention kicked them or grabbed at them.  The LC gave me some advice, told me to heal myself, but he wasn't getting enough milk from me.  So, I went home, tried again and ended up in tears with Price screaming because he was hungry.  So, I gave up.  I decided it wasn't healthy for me to be so upset around my son all the time.  I knew he could feel me tense up before each feeding and I didn't want those early days to mold him into a tense person later on in life (I figure I'm crazy enough that I'll wear off on him in other ways later on in his life).  And since it was just the two of us, I should be a strong, tear-free mom and move on.  I knew that giving him formula out of a bottle wasn't going to kill him.  It just felt like it was going to kill me.  I could literally feel my heart breaking and I grieved for the fact that I wasn't able to do this thing that comes naturally and that society makes you feel like should come easily to "real" women/mothers.

So, that's what I did.  I stopped.  I quit pumping, I quit trying to get him to latch on.  But then another miraculous thing happened.  I started leaking.  I healed.  We started back slowly.  If Price woke up in the middle of the night, I would nurse him back to sleep rather than make him a bottle.  Then, I started nursing him before each bottle.  I gradually stepped down his bottles from 7 a day,  to five a day, to three a day.  He was nursing!  He never got completely off the bottle/formula, but he never got completely off the boob, until yesterday.  I nursed Price for the last time yesterday.
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