Monday, June 13, 2011

The Closet Disgusied as a Bathroom

We purchased our first home almost 5 years ago when I was pregnant with our first child. What to Expect While You're Expecting must have officially fried my brain by this point, because for some unknown reason, I agreed to buy a house with the World's Worst Bathroom. (I'm gonna go ahead and claim that title, because I believe we have the goods to back it up.) Not only is it painfully small, but when we bought the home, it only had a bathtub. No shower. Eh....? Now, if you saw me when I was pregnant that first time, you will remember that I gained almost 70 pounds. Observe.

Be nice
Back away from the food, Leslie!

Clearly I was in no condition to maneuver washing my hair under the faucet of a bathtub every day, and the thought of getting my big belly in and out of the tub each morning made me cringe. So, I made Rob PROMISE that we would convert it to a shower as soon as we moved in. And we he did convert it right away, so it is better than when we first bought it. (Trying to look on the bright side here, people.) Still. This room is a hall closet at best. The title, bathroom should never be used for a space this small.

So, when Jill at Baby Rabies suggested that bloggers post videos or pictures of their homes, I knew I wanted to do it. She said we should show them in their real state and quit pretending like we all live in pristine castles. YES. Thank you! So here it is, the Bad and the Ugly that is our bathroom. I'm not even going to fake it and act as if there is any Good about it. Just keepin' it real.

Note: Before viewing this video, please keep a few things in mind.
1. I just woke up from a nap before shooting this.
2. I'm still tired.
3. I have bed head.
4. All my makeup mysteriously fell off while I was sleeping.
Thank you for your time.

Click Here to Enter the World's Worst Bathroom

P.S. Why did Oprah have to go and retire before I could appeal to her to remodel our bathroom?

Not cool, Oprah. Not cool.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Insta Friday

This week has been loooong and has unfortunately revolved around the fact that I'm sick. Still. I am slowly starting to feel better thanks to my visit to the Minute Clinic the other day though. And these babies are helping me out, though antibiotics and my stomach do NOT get along. Hello, nausea.

My illness did not stop me from having a beer or two last weekend however. (Sometimes you've just got to suck it up and power through.) Had it been any other beer, I would have passed, but this beer is my favorite from a local brewery here in Nashville. We've recently discovered that a beer store close to our house has a tap of this brew, and will refill our growler for a small fee. This revelation could lead to trouble.

On Sunday, we went grocery shopping and decided to check out a new yogurt shop in the area called Berry Bear. And thus, a new addiction is born. This place is so awesome. They have 18 flavors of frozen yogurt to chose from and 36 (I think I counted that right) different toppings you can add. It's self serve, so you decide how much yogurt to add to your bowl, and you dress it with your choice of toppings. They weigh it once you've created your bowl and charge by the ounce. It was fun for the kids and SO delicious. I picture us spending lots of time here.

AND...they have a cool sink in the bathroom that I someday would like to have in my dream house, thankyouverymuch.

The rest of the week has been a haze of working, pumping, taking care of the kiddos and muddling through the best I can.

I did snap some shots of my "pump room" because it is so near and dear to my heart. I've pumped in this room for 15 months (and counting), so she and I have a history now. And yes ladies, it's a bathroom. Don't be jealous! Honestly, I don't mind that much. I'm the only person who uses the room (we have several other restrooms in the office), and it's nice that it has a sink so that I can clean my supplies at the end of each session. What I don't particularly care for is that our cleaning service uses this room as their storage area. It's not a problem per se, it just doesn't make for the prettiest scenery.

And this is where the magic happens. Behold, the beauty of my Medela.
(Cue bright lights and angels singing.)
Seriously though, I love this thing, and couldn't have made the breastfeeding relationship I have with my babe work so well without it.

Proof that one of my boobs is a show off and a total over achiever.

It's all worth it to be able to do this though. I love this time with my girl. And I'm holding on to it as long as I can.

Happy weekend,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Snot, Drainage, and Other Unmentionables

I'm sick. For 12 days now, I have been under the weather. Sore throat, cough, snotty nose, etc, etc. I've been through 3 bags of cough drops, and I'm about to polish off my second box of tissues. (Woooohooo!) My cough gets worse at night, which is pretty inconvenient since we co-sleep. Every single time I get Avery to sleep, I start hacking and wake her up. She then proceeds to give me this "how dare you wake me out of my perfectly restful sleep" look, and back on the boob she goes. This little game that we've been playing each night, while buckets of fun and laughs, is starting to get old.

So today, I decide to venture out to the Minute Clinic. I didn't want to go to my PCP, because I kept picturing myself sitting in his waiting room for a couple of hours, surrounded by people even sicker than me, only to have him say, "Just a virus, nothing I can do, you'll just have to wait it out." And then I kick him in the nuts. (Note: That last part is just in my dreams.) Obviously I have been hanging out at the peditrician's office way too much, because that is always her response when my kiddos are sick. And then we've wasted precious moments of our lives with zero outcome, and been exposed to a million more germs in the process. So, no thank you on that one.

So okay, back to the Minute Clinic part. OMGosh, this nurse practitioner was awesome! She actually listened to me when I was talked, seem to empathize, was very thorough in her exam, AND even gave me some medicine that is suppose to make me feel better. Word. It seems to her that what was probably just a virus in the beginning has developed into a sinus infection and bronchitis. <---- That is why I should have went in 10 days ago. Lesson learned. So, I'm doing antibiotics for 10 days (yippee, a yeast infection!), some "cough pills" that she says will loosen up all that lovely stuff that is currently wedged in my chest and throat, and cough syrup to help clear up the bronchitis, soothe my throat, and help me sleep.

Fingers and toes crossed that this works.


Friday, June 3, 2011

Insta Friday

I finally joined the rest of the world and bought an IPhone. I was always one of those, "What's the big deal about the IPhone?" people, but now I'm all, "O.M.G. my IPhone is the best thing ever." I want to kiss it and sleep with it and have little IPhone babies with it. I especially love my Instagram app that allows me to take random photos and spruce them up with all sorts of fun filters. It's so easy to use and has the easiest sharing capabilites of the photo apps, in my opinion.

So, imagine my delight when I found that Life Rearranged, leads these awesome "Insta Friday" sharing blog posts. I was doing Friday's Photo here anyway, so this is the perfect new thing for me. Especially since the bulk of the photos I take these days are via Instagram.

Without further ado, I present to you my first Insta Friday offerings.

We traveled to Kansas City last weekend to spend time with Rob's family. This was our first road trip since Sis came along, and we were nervous about how the kids would do. I would have photos of the car ride, but the kids were doing so well, I didn't dare look at them or try taking a picture for fear they might melt down and make me want to jump out of the car.

Our first stop when we got there was to a BBQ joint called Oklahoma Joe's. We read that they had the best ribs in the universe and since Anthony Bourdain has them listed as one of the 13 places to eat before you die, we thought we couldn't lose. Okay people, gaze upon these beautiful ribs. Best I have ever put in my mouth.

We also made a trip to the City Market. It was nasty, cold and rainy that day, but we had a good time despite the weather. Will was especially proud of the new Adidas outfit and AIR JORDANS he got from his uncle Pat and Aunt Steph. He wants to wear the shoes every day now. Even when they don't match his outfit. Thanks, guys.

Cannolis from Carollo's Italian. Need I say more?

Every time we go to Kansas City, Rob has to have a pizza from Minsky's. It's his favorite pizza in the world. No matter how great the other pizza that we find in Nashville may be, for him it just doesn't compare. And I must say, it is AH-MAZING.

(Note: I realize that most of these photos are of food. We reeeeally like food.
A lot.)

After we visited and ate ourselves silly, it was time to head home on Monday. I found fairly inexpensive airfare that I took advantage of so that Avery and I could fly home. Since she's still a lap infant and can fly free, it was a no-brainer. It was worth every penny to not have to endure another 9 hours in the car climbing back and forth from the front to the back seat. Did I mention that I also nursed her in her car seat? Let me just say a few words about that experience, OWWWWW MY RIBS!!!

The little stinker was much better flying a couple of hours on the way home.

And then she was all tuckered out once we finally arrived back in Nashville. You know how good your couch feels after you've been staying in someone else's house for a few days? So does she.

I came down with a cold or some other nastiness while we were gone and completely lost my voice. These became my best friends and were the only thing that made me sound somewhat like a normal human being.

Wednesday, Rob had a terrible day at work and we came home to our AC being out. Fun times. We had these plans for dinner that got completely thrown out the window as it was 84 degrees in our house, and I didn't dare turn on an appliance that omits any more heat. My husband managed to fix the AC himself in about an hour (THANK YOU, HONEY), but by that point, it was too late and still too hot to cook at home. Wednesday=$1.99 Wacky Packs at Sonic. Yes, please.

And, it's finally Friday again. I'm all jazzed because I'm actually feeling a little better today, and I managed to put makeup on for the first time this week. Though, if it weren't for Rob driving us to work every day, I would never have makeup on. The car ride in is my time to nap, apply makeup, play Words with Friends, check Twitter, and of course, play with Instagram.

Happy Friday folks,

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Drama King

Will has a flair for the dramatics. (Disclaimer: he did NOT inherit this from me.) Allow me to demonstrate.

Will: (in the whiniest voice possible) Mommy, Sis wants my Explorer.

Me: Well, it would be nice if you could share it with your sister. You've been playing with it for a while now.

Will: (cranks whine up an octave) But, she'll just EAT it! Is that what you want!? Do you want her to eat it!?

Me: Will, she doesn't even know how to play. She just wants to pretend, she'll be over it in a minute, and you can have it back.

Will: (indignantly hands Explorer to his sister) FINE! I won't play with anything then! I just won't ever play with anything ever, ever again!! (Huffs and crosses arms across chest)

Me: (stares blankly)

Will: You don't want me to play with anything, do you!? You don't even like me, do you!?

Me: You're being silly, Will. Of course I like you, but you need to share with your sister.

Will: (pouting) You want a new son, don't you??

Me: Don't say that, Bud. No, I don't want a new son.

Avery bores of Explorer, drops it on the ground, and moves on to the next thing.

Will: (smiling as if nothing happened) My turn!

I am left wondering silently what on earth just happened and how long this "I Must Have Every Toy He/She Has" stage will last.

If you know the answer to that question, please don't tell me.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

I am a Victim

You won't read those words very often. They are taboo. We associate them with being weak. To say you are a victim is to claim you've been defeated. That you aren't strong enough to overcome something that has happened to you.
Or is it?

From Webster's:

Victim: one that is injured, destroyed, or sacrificed under any of various conditions

one that is subjected to oppression, hardship, or mistreatment

The definition itself doesn't suggest anything about weakness, fault, or guilt, but we have come to associate it as such.

Let me back up a little. I haven't written here in ages, and I've made excuses to myself and others as to why. I have been much busier than usual, but I could have found the time. The truth is, I've been struggling to put into words what has been on my mind for the past several months. And I didn't want to say it the wrong way, because I think it's important.

So here's what happened. I was home, snuggled in bed with my baby, nursing her to sleep, watching Private Practice. And then it happened. At the end of the show, just briefly, you got a glimpse of KaDee Strickland's character, Charlotte being attacked from behind. It was evident from the final scene of the show that she would also be raped. I sat staring at the TV in disbelief. Blink, blink, blink. It felt so horribly real. I couldn't move. I lay in bed shaking. I didn't sleep much that night. The scene was horrific and scary, and brought about a reaction in me that I'm sure a lot of viewers experienced.

I was molested.
I wasn't raped.
I wasn't beaten.
It wasn't a stranger.
I was 15.
It was dirty. It was slimy, and it was degrading, and it was wrong. I felt that in every inch of my body. I tried to get out, attempted to "take myself to another place" like they say on TV, but there was no escaping what was happening to me. It took only minutes. It felt like hours. Days even. It only happened that one time. That night, after I was able to get away, I cried to my dad riding in the passenger seat of his police car. It wasn't easy, but I told him everything that happened. It never happened again.

That's all I'm going to say about "the event." I'm not going to talk about him. I'm not going to say his name. It isn't important now. What I want to talk about is what happened after. I began going to therapy, and almost immediately, I remember the therapist saying to me, "You are not a victim, you're a survivor." Okay. I had heard it before. I had heard it on Oprah, or a movie, or read it in the monthly issue of my Teen magazine. I couldn't recall exactly where, but it was familiar to me, and it sounded like the right thing for a therapist to say. I've heard it many times since then. I heard it on Private Practice the week following Charlotte's rape. I recall her saying, "Stop looking at me like I'm a victim." If you go online and Google, "I am not a victim," you will get thousands of hits. It is a mantra that many embrace.

Now maybe these words help a lot of people out there. And if they do, great. Go with that. I realize they are meant to be empowering. They are designed to give the power back to you when you feel like it has been ripped away. But I must say, all those words did for me was push me to pretend that I was okay. I wasn't. Hearing that I wasn't a victim, but yet a survivor, gave me this impression that I needed to act strong even though I didn't feel strong. It said to me that I should just overcome what happened. But I hadn't. I hadn't even began to scratch the surface on dealing with what happened. I immersed myself in this role of playing a survivor. But that's all it was, an act. So, I started stuffing all those "weak" feelings deep inside myself. I pushed that victim away as hard as I could. I didn't want to be that girl. I didn't want to be vulnerable. So, I wasn't weak or vulnerable on the outside. I smiled, I laughed, and I just kept stuffing that victim down. I acted like the girl I was before. But I wasn't the same girl. Whether I wanted it to change me or not, I had been changed forever. What I didn't realize at the time, was that I was trying to stick bandaids over a gaping hole. I wasn't being honest with my parents, my therapist, or myself about how I was really feeling. Because I was strong, remember!? I was a survivor. I wasn't a victim.

My quest to appear strong led me to a slew of bad choices throughout the years. I just kept pushing that victim down. Eventually, I had to put Xanax and Prozax and Zyprexa on top of her. She was starting to get out of control in there. I even found a man who I allowed to push her around and remind her of how weak she was. I did so many things to drown out the voice of that weak, pathetic victim inside me. But as much I tried to silence her, I could still hear her from deep within. And finally, after a breakdown that would lead me to a week in the psychiatric ward, I came face to face with her. She told me all the things she had been wanting to say in those years I had stuffed her down. She cried for days and days. She forgave me for what I done to her. And on the day before I left the hospital, I finally realized something about that girl. She may have been a victim, but she wasn't weak. She was vulnerable, but she wasn't a push over. She was damaged, but she was honest. She just wanted to be heard. I just wanted to be heard.

I finally stood inside of what had happened to me. I told that 15 year old girl that I was sorry. I told her that it wasn't her fault. I told her that she didn't have to be strong until she was ready. I told her there were people who loved her enough to hold her up in those moments when she couldn't stand by herself. I told her it was okay to be a victim. I told her that I believe a person can be a victim and a survivor at the same time. I told her that there was no shame in feeling whatever it was she needed to feel to move on. And eventually, she did. I finally moved on.

Do I still have moments when I'm effected by what happened? Yes, of course. Every experience that I've had in this life made me the person I am today. But now, I love that person. All of her. Even the victim.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Birds and The Bees and a Three Year Old

It was just an ordinary weeknight in the Milner house. Rob cooked dinner, I nursed Sis while trying to simultaneously fold laundry, and Will took every single toy he owns out and scattered them throughout the house. Things were going like clockwork.

After I got Will's jammies on and read him a couple of books, I asked, as I always do, what story he would like for me to tell him tonight. You see, reading 2 books at bedtime just isn't enough for this kid. He expects an off the cuff story from a topic of his choosing each night. It's pretty amazing what random subjects he manages to dream up.

And then this happened.

Will: (Deep in thought) Hmmmmmm....tell me the story about......ummm....(light bulb goes off in 3 year old brain) how Sis got in your belly. (smiles, thoroughly satisfied with his choice)

Me: (Chokes on water) Really? You want to hear that story? What about the one about the DRAGON? (scary eyes and emphasis on "dragon" to promote my alternative story)

Will: No, I don't want the one about the dragon. Tell me the one about Sis in your belly.


Me: Well, one day, Mommy and Daddy talked for a really long time about what it would be like to have another baby. We wanted you to have a little brother or sister to play with and since we love each other very much, we decided that another baby would be awesome.

Will: (Puzzled) But how did she get in there?

Oh my gosh, this is not happening right now. Seriously, this story isn't suppose to come up for another few years at least, right!?

Me: Well, Daddy put her in there when she was very, very small.

Will: How?

What is this an interrogation!?!?

Me: Well, there's a special hug that mommies and daddies give to each other to make babies. (Thank you, Momversation!)

Will: Oh. (shakes his head seemingly satisfied)

Me: And Sis was just this big (holds thumb and forefinger together closely for visual) when she went in Mommy's belly. She was so little, she didn't have eyes or ears or even arms and legs yet. She lived in Mommy's belly in a little sac filled with warm water. She just floated around in there, and as time went on, she grew and grew. When Mommy ate, some of my food went to feed her and help her get bigger. She got bigger and bigger until she was ready to come out of Mommy's belly and meet us. Then Mommy went to the hospital and she came out.

Will: How did she get outta there?

AGH, not this part!

Me: Well.....she came out of Mommy's privates.

Will: YOUR PRIVATES???? (falls back on the bed laughing hysterically) How did she get out of your privates? (still in stitches)

Me: There is an area on mommies' privates where babies come out of when they are ready to be born.

Will: (still giggling) I didn't come out of your privates. I came out of Daddy's.

Me: (joining Will's laughter) Uh, no Bud, you were in Mommy's belly too, you didn't live in Daddy's belly. Daddies can't have babies in their bellies, only mommies.

Will: (now serious and in deep thought) Oh. Well, that's not fair. (long thoughtful pause)........
Now, tell me the story about the DRAGON.

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen. My first official bird and bees talk. I'm sure I have much more explaining to do in the future. Next time, I'll pour a glass of wine first.