Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Aw, Nuts!

Or more specifically…peanuts.

Turns out the kiddo is allergic. Of course we found this out the hard way on a Sunday morning, basking in the fall sun, enjoying breakfast as a family for once when it hit. I was lazily sprawled on the couch, one leg flung over the side, the other half of me curled into a magazine as I tried to pretend I was sleeping in at some beachside resort. Meanwhile, Daddy is taking one for the team and preparing the babe’s breakfast of eggs and peanut butter toast, none of which he hadn’t tried at least once before. As fussing arose from the prince’s chair (ok, a space saver high chair), I couldn’t help but meddle (I’m the Mom, ok?) and check out the situation. I heard Mike mumble something about “what’d you rub in your eye buddy?” which of course roused me to actually assert my body to the upright position and scope it out.

I quickly pieced together what was happening as my eyes darted back and forth to the toast, then to his swelling face, then back to the toast, now onto his coated eyes and waited for the labored breathing to begin. I remember asking Mike to remain calm as I wildly ran upstairs, a not so gazelle like move that ended up throwing both boys over the edge because they weren’t sure what was going on. Grabbing for the Benadryl, Google and an iPhone (reviewing that now, I wonder if people even 20 years ago would ever list those as emergency prep items), I began calculating in my head how quickly an ambulance really could get to BFE, where they would take us and the millions of things that could go wrong. Being in health care improvement has it’s perks, but with a little knowledge also comes fear – you could call it power, but when a Momma’s kid is in this kind of situation, nothing but fear is left.

As he sat there before me, in all his glory – Mr. Anaphylactic shock himself – all I could think of as my fingers darted across the keys 9-1-1 and Children’s Mercy that thank goodness were locked into my phone (thank you self-help books) was “not on my watch buster – if anything ever happened to you – well, there’s no point in going on.” Full.on.Momma.Bear.Mode. Looking back I can’t pinpoint if it’s cool or really, really creepy. There are no words to describe the feelings felt in those moments that feel like hours, where you’d do anything to trade places with the situation you’re child is in, to release the pain, the fear, the unknown…

Minutes later his breathing slowed as I continued assessment with the 9-1-1 dispatcher, then again with the CMH clinician. A smile returned to his puffy, swollen eyes and face – his grin flowing into the flesh that didn’t usually surround the panels of his face. Even with this bizarre-like mask, he returned to playing cars, eating the remote and banging around pots and pans like it was nothing at all. A few doses of Benadryl, some sleep and a few Zen-like breaths and prayers, we were in the clear. Well, the little man and I were – I’m not sure if Daddy has fully recovered. I seem to recall frantic cursing and stomping and all out mayhem, providing confirmation that indeed, Mommy will have to be home in all emergent situations lest things really go off the deep end.

Today we visited our primary care and allergist, who went over the duties of an Epi pen, what to look out for, the test results and more. On a lighter note, the kid has a head the size of a bowling ball (which houses a brilliant brain I might add), is long and lean, an insatiable appetite and the energy of a Jack Russell terrier. Plus, an adorable, flirty smile and personality to match. So what if he doesn’t have teeth or can’t have peanut M&Ms…

we’re nuts about him anyway.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Otherwise Engaged

I fumbled for my iPhone, hearing its insistent ring muffled somewhere in the confines of my Tumi I’d been toting around for a straight week, the fatigue of a 100-hour work week settling in further as I grew annoyed with the sound. Finally spotting the pink case, I grabbed the fingerprinted screen to check to see what last minute thing may be needed back at the hotel now that the weekend loomed before us. Instead, I was greeted with the identity “Rynny,” and felt the foul mood slip right away, crossing my fingers he was calling with the good new. Sure enough…

“Hi Meggie,” he said, his voice an octave higher than usual, his pace a bit quicker as there was no pause between the next phrase:

"We’re engaged!”

Causing a scene on 47th street, I dropped my bags and meeting evaluations and focused on the news at hand, begging for every last detail, even the ones he most likely couldn’t recall. I didn’t care that others were staring at me as I gabbed into my phone, congratulating him and praising him for a job well done – an important conversation to have with the groom to be, whereas the bride phone call would go very different of course. But that call on “how did you feel? Did you like the ring? Were you surprised? What girls did you call?,” etc. would come shortly after. I listened as he described the romantic scene that had taken place just hours before, coming alive like the fairytale he had intended it to be. Recalling the hours he had obsessed over this, biting my head off one minute and asking me for help the next, I was relieved they both thought the romantic gesture had been spot on to kick off their happily ever after. I won’t share their story, because it’s theirs, but let’s just say it involves an art gallery, wooden blocks, one shocked gal, some champagne and a beautiful, sparkling ring topped with a “yes.”

Speaking of gal, I can’t imagine a more complimentary fit to my amazing brother – a pair so well matched that tough conversations may respectfully be had, good times will be celebrated, quirks will be accepted, memories will be magical and a lifetime of goodness, peace and love will pave their every journey. Not to mention she’s freakin’ gorgeous, understands my obsession with handbags, has olive skin and thighs that don’t touch, is amazing with children, is one smart cookie, is my partner in crime with board games because we can read each other’s minds and fits well into our admittedly odd family. She’s perfect. And I can’t wait to love her even more.

Congratulations Erica and Ryan – may the love you felt in that magical moment light a spark for the lifetime that lies ahead. And always know, we’ll be supporting you and cheering you on from the Choate family sidelines.

Now, let’s get wedding planning, shall we?

Top 10 Reasons We're Certain the Kiddo Is Mine...

Week of September 26

1. Though we love adorable shoes, we can’t be bothered with them. They cramp our style with their restrictive nature and stuff. Maybe flip-flops on a nice day…if only someone will invent those for one-year olds.
2. When served mostly delicious food that is somehow masked with something healthy, we’ll manage to pick out the nutritious stuff and wolf down the yummy goods. Example: toddler spits out egg masked in the yogurt while Mommy picks around vegetables to consume cheese in a casserole.
3. When others cry, we cry. We can’t help it – we wear our hearts on our sleeves. So if you need empathy with a side of sympathy, stop by.
4. Daddy, at times, has a hard time understanding our language. Example: growling/whining when toddler can’t get the lid off something means “take care of this for me” ironically, a death stare from Mommy means the exact same thing.
5. We’re social butterflies – show us the way to a party and we’re there.
6. Dogs make us smile (ok, and shriek), and we will stop whatever we are doing to acknowledge them.
7. When we don’t get our way, we tend to let others near us know about it. In fact, toddler has picked up on tossing things over the balcony, much like Mommy did when she was three in an effort to “make a statement.”
8. We’re not afraid to get a little dirty – it’s what makes life so adventurous and fun.
9. Our hineys stick out of the back of our pants, and our little potbellies out the front. For some reason, it’s cute on the toddler, but no so much on the Mom.
10. We love to dance. I mean, really love to dance. Make it soft rock, R&B or Toddler Tunes, and we’ve got our hands in the air.

Let’s hope he picks up some of Daddy’s good habits here soon…

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Bite Among Friends

You may think you're entering into a post about a fabulous evening out with the girls, and perhaps you're even asking what new joint we hit up, the gossip we cruised through or the events that occurred afterward. Or maybe even what we wore. Probably not because this isn't OK! magazine, but who knows? Anyway, that's not the case. Instead, I'd like to share what I walked into the other day when picking up the babe from his first day in the toddler room:

"Oh, hi Megan - he's out back. He had a really good day, but..."I watched the director's face contort a bit, wondering exactly how to interpret what the creases, frowns and half-smiles all meant. My mind went immediately to the fact he had pooped on the floor, wouldn't sleep, threw a burrito across the room or heaved in a corner due to all the excitement. So hey, yeah, that's a little graphic, but come on now, we're talking about a toddler here. Nothing can really be too gross, dramatic or surprising, can it? Because these are real, real events people...

As she began to explain he received his first "boo boo" at school today, I imagined a black eye, a little bloody nose, scraped knee or the ever-consistent head bump. But instead, I was met with this:

A bite among "friends." His boo boo note read: "My friend accidentally used his mouth instead of his words over a toy, so I suffered a bite." It went on to say they iced it, had snuggle time and was signed off by an administrator. Serious stuff for a boo boo. I almost felt like submitting the note to HIPAA.

Apparently there was a toy incident. And given that L has no teeth, is new to the classroom and isn't quite yet walking, I'm going with the notion he was being hazed. Or initiated. I'm not sure which. Either way, I'm pretty sure this kid, whoever he is, may not end up on L's "friends" list anytime soon. Either that or they'll move forward in true boy fashion and forget it all happened. As a Mama Bear, I'm considering going all CSI on the mark and give the kid a talking to, but given his 2-second attention span, I'm not sure it will influence him much.

Guess they don't call it the ankle biter room for nothin' what's with the forearm?

Cheers to you, little buddy. Day 2 is bound to be a best day in the toddler room yet!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Change Management

There are days, oh so many days, that I place my hands near my temples and drag them down my face, wishing for a dictionary to fall out of the sky. Yes – a dictionary. (Ok, that and perhaps a money tree and a cute pair of heels). To which I would then flip to the “M” section and search for my very own name. Here, I would find “Megan” and discover clean, neat bullets underneath, defining my personality, my day-to-day and my fate line by line in a simple, meaningful way I could understand. A definition so complete that, when I find myself doubting who I was, who I am and who I will be, could serve as the magic genie that would help pave the way. A book with such magical fine ink that would give me the confidence, know-how and faith to appreciate the woman I was going to become in each of life’s amazing moments.

Now, you’d think at 30, I’d have figured this out by now. In fact, you always hear women running around talking about this decade and beyond, ranting how they “found themselves” and felt “comfortable in their own skin” and “finally knew what they liked.” Lies, I tell you. Lies. Ok, maybe not, but if this is the case, I’m falling sadly behind, in one area particularly:


Blech – just typing it makes me ashamed.

You see, the hubby and I are on a quest to simplify, which not only includes de-cluttering the impossible house, but also returning to our Dave Ramsey roots. By simplifying, we hope to reach a more Zen-like state, focus on what matters (like our little family) and create open hearts and minds that have more energy to be positive and give back. Oh, and to do the little task of saving for braces, college, to support a growing family and not have to go into panic mode when the AC stops working…

Yeah…this goal does NOT fit in with my general habitus. A.t. a.l.l.

For me, I am what I have. It comes from a long, sick line of baggage and confidence issues that I won't bore you with as I'm sure you're due for your own time on the couch. My perception is what gets me noticed is not the smile on my face, the friend I am, the Mom I try to be or the work I put in on the job or at home. It’s not that I remember to call on your birthday, plan a celebration in your honor or help you when you’re at your lowest. It’s not the hand-written note, the holding of your hand or the ride when your car is in the shop. It’s the Coach handbag, the Nordstrom clothes, the glittery top and the latest nail color. Strip that all away, and to be blatantly honest…I’m not sure of who I am at all.

Now, for those of you who know me really well, you understand the above paragraph is only true at a certain level, but this whole stripping down in life thing? Is really, really scary.

Will the girls still call on a Saturday night, even when I’ve had to turn them down a few times because it wasn’t in the budget? Will anyone notice if I’m in the same tees and jeans each week so I can send my kid to the best pre-school? What kind of first impression will I make without the perfect gear? What will I talk about if not the latest fashions? Will I still be any fun if it’s water at wine night versus the real deal? What will my family eat now that I have to actually prepare nutritious foods for them? Without “stuff,” how will we preserve our memories and keep the love alive?

Even typing it, it all so selfish and silly. After reading that you probably want to just give me a swift kick in the ass. Or even call me a selfish b*tch – who knows. And please, don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful for every little bite I take, the roof over my head, the threads on my back, the luxury of a car to drive to my amazing career. But even a gal who seems to have it all has to stop and think: it’s too much – I get it.

But who will I be without?

I can’t even comprehend or quite honestly imagine what it’s like to really struggle – how I got dealt such a blessed hand in life I’ll never really know. But I’ll keep being appreciative and grateful for it each and every waking moment and be humbled by the fact it could change on a dime.

And in the meantime, I’d love to know if you’ve stripped down or dealt with change to spare some change. What did you discover and what became of your life and love because of it? What was your long-term change management plan and its results?

Every Moment

The light of the TV flicked across the room, it’s corners darkening with my lids as they grew heavier. It was another bout of insomnia that was keeping me awake, and my choice of medicine for the evening was raunchy television. Hey, it’s better than Unisom for the fourth night in a row, right? Even if it was Chelsea Handler re-runs I was burning brain cells with…

Turning to fumble in the dim light for the remote so as not to wake the sleeping beast beside me (M, not Ellie) I found myself pausing for a moment again to take in the soft melody of a familiar commercial, watching as the pictures droned by, and taking in its intricate messages:

And, like it had probably hundreds of times before – it moved me. The message, the completeness, the realness, the expressions, the heart pounding, the possibilities – all impacted me where I found myself wanting to cry or beam with the kind of joy that can only be felt from deep, deep within. Now, without Googling the commercial, I couldn’t tell you who was endorsing their product through human heartstrings, but I can tell you…

I’m grateful. Oh so grateful. That messages like this exist in our world still today, despite headlines of news meant to shatter our souls versus build them up to the potential they were meant to be. To lift our hearts with hope when some days, it seems like there is none left.

So thank you (advertisers), for keeping this campaign alive. It sparks in me the gentleness, grace and patience to make every one of my moments count, including:

Holding my son when he cries, watching him struggle through emotion and frustration and try desperately to interpret what that might mean to him at age one. To look up at the clouds when I’m walking the dog. To notice the person’s smile and color of eyes in the drive through. To drive a different route to work. To fail with grace. To let the house remain a mess in order to soak in the last 10 minutes of the sun. To hug for 10 minutes as Dr. Daly recommended. To strike up a conversation in an elevator. To put the iPhone down and the smile up. To dance in public places with a child on my hip. To remember a dear friend’s birthday. To really feel the grass between your toes. To sense the water as it lingers over your hands doing dishes. To watch my son’s face as he studies a toy intently, only to break into fits of laughter for no reason at all later on. And so very much more…

These are the moments. And, like AT&T promises: they all count.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sneak Peek

“Where are you going?” Mike said sleepily, his mouth half-covered with his (ridiculous) Star Wars pillowcase. The clock read nearly 3:00 a.m. and I was making yet another sly attempt to sneak out of bed to steal away and obsess about the kiddo’s upcoming birthday this week. “Just gotta send a quick email,” I say, knowing well he was already flipped on the other side, deeply occupied with his snore routine.

You see, though I’m positively bananas over planning the little guy’s birthday, similar to how I am when it comes to any soiree, I may be slightly too focused on it in an effort to avoid the bucket of emotions that comes with a child turning one. More on that to come. For now, just pass me the tissues as I create his slide show, watch that Rice Krispy treat commercial with the kid’s locker combination from his Mom on it and stow away my own child’s “baby toys” in the basement. .

Anyway, I wanted to share with you all that are so kind to ask and are interested in the event a few things I forgot to include on my first post. Here is a sneak peek at a few things I didn’t mention before that we’re pumped about:

- The cake: my original vision shattered due to copyright challenges, I found this amazing piece online and decided to hop up to Hy-Vee and see if they could do something similar within our budget. At our 20-minute conference (I bet they don’t get many freaky parents like me in there!), we created a cake that I could only have dreamed about. The first layer is chocolate and will be themed around “I Love You Through and Through,” the second layer is vanilla and is themed around “Little Feet Love” and the top layer will be marble and highlight “Peekabo I Love You.” Also, a little “1” candle will perch on top. A storybook feast!

- Personalized gift: checking out at Von Mauer one evening, we spotted the most darling book called “My Very Own Name,” in which different animals carry down letters of your child’s name to spell it and tells a tale around it. It’s beyond precious and something I want to purchase for all of my friends’ kiddos when they hit this milestone. We had it inscribed in the front as well – hopefully something he (or we) will hold on to for years to come.

- Guest book: needing some inspiration at Mom’s group the other night when we attended open art night, I painted the cover of the “Mr. Birthday” book and will have guests sign around it, a momento Lawson can hold on to recall the people that meant so much to him in his first year.

- Memory box: guests will be asked to share their favorite memory with the birthday boy in his first year. Plus, this will prove my point to my Dad that yes, I will use the glass vase from the wedding again...

- Birthday boy gear: we decided to splurge and split the piggy bank open to get this little tee. It arrives Friday from the LittleOneBoutique I found on etsy, and I’m pumped to see how darling he will look in it, particularly paired with his worn, wide-leg jeans (ridiculous, I know…) Meanwhile, I’ll probably show in a tee I’m trying to hide my post-baby stomach in and a pair of boyfriend jeans that show almost my entire hiney, but hey – L is the only focus, right?!

- Centerpieces: besides books to match the appetizers, his toys! Bright, mostly shiny, and a whole lot of fun, they are the perfect accessory to the evening.

T-minus five days and counting. Not to mention Uncle Ryan is flying in for the event. This is sure to be an evening we’ll never forget. Counting down the days, Mr. Birthday!

PS: Two of my best friends shared the same birthday week as our little guy, so we want to wish them the warmest, most fabulous celebrations! One involved a time capsule (how cool is that?) and the other has an invite that features her darling girl draped in pearls and a tutu. To die for! We've already pinkie swore to plan better or together next year. So looking forward to celebrating your little ones!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Your "Flava" This Fall

As the days have ticked by the last few weeks, my mind has been restless with thoughts of an upcoming meeting season, the millions of toddler transitions that seem to all be happening at once and the endless pursuit of self improvement we all struggle with day-to-day on about a billion topics. So instead of wallowing in that hot mess, I wanted to venture into something mindless. Join me, will you?

Question: with summer near its end, what trends will you follow this fall?

Here's a glimpse at pieces of my retort:

1. Spend more time observing my son's smiles than the second hand on my watch

2. Sport blue nail polish

3. Don sassy booties (oh wait, you've already heard about those three times on this blog alone)

4. Rest more at home

5. Continue to support the pop-up frozen yogurt joints that have every delectable topping imaginable

6. Purge "stuff" in our home

7. Use personalized, "handwritten" eNotes

8. Recycle glass

9. Yogalites

10. Dress more classic vs. trendy

11. Avoid the news

12. Down seasonal beers

13. Snarf Mellow pumpkins - for sure

14. Live in the moment

15. Jump in the leaves

16. Be the best I can be at all my various roles, but in a gracious, forgiving way

17. Give back, give back, give back!

These are just some "trends" that come to mind. Now, what's your "flava" for fall?