Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the cure for Chubbs' flight meltdowns

On one hand, I want to apologize that  my blog this week has included very little witty banter (OK, fine...it never actually does) and a lot of pictures with mere, simple explanations.

But I cannot apologize for pics of my sweet baby because in a way, one picture of her can say so many more wonderful things than I possibly could with thousands of carefully chosen words.

So I will spare you the details of today's flight...the layover...the short meltdown-but overall much better flight experience (Chubbs sleeping through the entire second flight)...the pilot coming back to our seat and asking Chubbs if she wanted to see the cockpit after commenting on her beautiful smile (yes, this really, truly happened)...Delta forgetting my carseat in Detroit, allowing me to go buy a new one that they reimbursed me for with my old one coming in on a later flight (I finally got Chubbs her front facer)

and if any of that actually made sense to you...you must be a brilliant translator because my muddled tired brain is having trouble forming simple sentences.

Therefore, I will leave this to go get some sleep so that tomorrow I can do laundry, hit up the chiropractor and repack for a road trip with Aaron's mom, two sisters and niece to North Carolina on Thursday.

Sigh. Pregnancy hibernation hasn't started yet for me...and yes I am 30 weeks...and yes, this is stretching my endurance limits...but seriously, when I have two kids under two...probably won't be taking any trips for a while. (-:

And the true cure for Chubbs' flight meltdowns??? She just wanted to be the one flying the plane...now I get it...so, so simple (-:

clearly...she's a natural...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chubbs Pictures

Shopping, Swimming, Being waited on hand and foot, Prenatal Massages....such a rough, rough vacation.

Tomorrow Chubbs and I head back to the beautiful state of Vermont. Prayers for the flight with "evil" toddler Chubbs would be appreciated. (Someone suggested drugging her with Benadryl before the flight...still not sure how I feel about this, but definitely tempted)

Because we haven't had time for a full fledged update...I share with you some pics of Addison and her cousin Lauren from today...clearly another rough day of vacation. (-:

I present to you...Chubbs McPhee (who clearly, vacation agrees with):
(Seriously cannot decide which of these pics need to be printed out and framed...suggestions?)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Chubbs at the Zoo

Starting the day- posing with Grandma Ruth
Since we don't have a Zoo in the entire state of Vermont, I was pretty excited to take Addison to the Milwaukee County Zoo today. She was relatively unimpressed by the animals...until we got to the enormous tiger. (I am totally loving this picture...my fearless daughter)
My beautiful sister Bekka with her daughter, Lauren.
Chubbs saddling up for her first ever pony ride. She was terrified and most unhappy to be up there. It took a lot of convincing and "bass mouth" faces from Mommy to settle her down for the ride.
By the end she was much happier...(-:
The two sisters with their babies
All of the excitement wore Chubbs out...
But by far...her favorite part of the Zoo???

The Dairy Barn

Thursday, June 23, 2011

checkin from Chubbs

Dear World,

Just checking in from my stay in Milwaukee.

I spent the day playing with my cousin Lauren....that was fun.

Also, I taught my Aunt Andria that calm, peaceful reading sessions can go from this:
to this...within seconds:
to my cousin, Lauren....don't be scared...you don't have any hair for me to pull. Well, you did...but I kind of already pulled out all two of them.
I just play sweetly and give kisses (If they say to pick on someone your own size...then my 8 month old cousin who is the same size as me is fair game...right?
and cuddle with my Uncle Jonathan
and share the ideal cuddle spot with Lauren (to the single ladies...yes, I hear Uncle Jonathan IS available)
So pretty much been a low key visit so far. I haven't napped much...but who does on vacation? Mommy said something about going to the Zoo tomorrow, so I'm pretty psyched about that...

well, I'm psyched about that...and playing with Lauren's toys. Somehow they're more fun since they're not mine.
Toodles. There are more heads of hair in Wisconsin that I still have to go pull.

-Love, Chubbs

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

flying with a toddler

Early, early this morning I did a stupid, stupid thing.

I boarded a plane in Burlington Vermont with a layover in Detroit, headed to Milwaukee...

all alone...with Addison.

Flying alone with a curious, cranky toddler should be one of those things never attempted by anyone, let alone by an exhausted 29 week pregnant woman.

Ye, Addison, you may use my belly as a pillow. No, Addison, it is not a kicking ball with which you can stretch your little legs.

I don't know how many of you other heart surgery moms have concerns about this, but since Addison has two separate metallic devices in her heart, we were told to not let her go through security.

Therefore, EVERY TIME. I have to have the super awkward pat down/gloved massage in front of the curious bystanders at the airport.

Redefining embarrassment as you are "felt up" by a female security officer, I hate knowing that I have to do this EVERY TIME.

Last time I flew with Addison, the security officer assigned to me, horrifically enough, goes to my church.

Pretty sure as she was lifting back my pants to make sure I didn't have a dangerous weapon hidden in my underwear lining, she was humming a few bars to "Blest Be the Tie that Binds"

Once past security and finally on board, I worked diligently to time things so that Addison would sleep through most of the first 2 hr flight.

It was perfect. She was tired, rubbing her eyes just as we settled in. I gently rocked her to the precious land of slumber which meant that I could close my eyes as well....just the way it should be.

Until we sat on the runway waiting to take off for an hour...causing her to wake up- wide eyed and refreshed ready to play- just in time for takeoff.


Trying to keep a toddler on your lap for 2 hours on a cramped airplane when what she really wants to do is get down, play and show off those hot therapy moves...is a bit like trying to convince jello to stop jiggling when you shake the container. I began to pray that I would sprout a couple of extra arms as I attempted to keep her still, juggle her bottle/bags of snacks, pull out various toys to entertain her and save the hair of all passengers around us as she would lunge quickly, seeking to find fulfillment out of pulling strands of the sweetly forbidden hair. Also, on her bucket list was climbing over the back of my chair, making the "bass mouth" to passengers behind us and not understanding when they didn't even look at her.

An elderly Asian gentleman sat next to us. Addison was convinced that he was her soul mate. Hell bent on getting smiles from him...she flirted and cooed, clutching painfully at his arm hairs until she finally got a reaction. She settled back, happy for one minute before moving on to her next victim...

...the college aged guy sitting in front of us. She pulled herself up on my lap, holding onto the back of his chair, clearing her throat in an obvious call for attention.

When he ignored her, she plopped back down, found a napkin and sprang back up.

To my horror, I realize she had just grabbed it not to play with- but to repeatedly bang the back of his head with...waiting for him to turn around so that she could flash him her brilliant smile.

Flirt. (thankfully it was a napkin and not a book or a toy)

And then of course there's arriving at the Detroit airport and realizing that your lovely 1.5 hr layover now consists of 30 seconds- attempting to manage flying magically across the airport, holding onto your bouncing baby bump and pushing the hot pink stroller as if it was on fire.

During the unexpected run, I saw a sign adverting an all you can eat pancake breakfast. I almost gave up my flight entirely for a stop at that blessed oasis.

But I made it. Sweating. and hungry. and realizing that Addison didn't get a chance to get out and wiggle between flights.


At least she refrained from screaming bloody murder for the entire flight like she did back in December.

But it's incredibly draining standing on your head, holding your breath, pulling off magic tricks to keep her happy and still, praying that a repeat incident isn't around the corner. (singing at the top of your lungs to a planeful of passengers to entertain her somehow no longer seems embarrassing as the alternative is her screaming with no will to ever stop)

It was while attempting to hold her still and keep her preoccupied while she was intent at lunging towards strangers and whining/crying when constrained that I had new sympathy and understanding for those animals who eat their young.

Not that I was thinking murderous thoughts, mind you.

It was just a very, very long three hours. 

I am so excited about the prospect of a week with my family, and the fact that I was totally able to surprise my youngest sister for her 21st birthday.

But always in the back of my mind...ruining the fun...is the fact that I have to do this all over again when the visit is over...

Would Fed Ex ship a baby?????

Monday, June 20, 2011

Winner Announced/Meeting Update

It could not be a more beautiful Vermont day outside. Warm, but not too warm. Sunny. Breezy. Perfection, really. Addison is playing happily in the living room, talking to herself, cruising between pieces of furniture, suspiciously eating the cheese puffs bowl clean and ignoring the one full of blueberries.

As I sit here willing my fingers to move, I'm trying to figure out why I am so supremely exhausted. Being almost 29 weeks pregnant I'm sure has nothing to do with it. Nor does the day long trip on Saturday to New York with friends to shop and pick up my new camera. And church and the family get together for father's day (guess what I was asked to bring?)...and the frantic cleaning of my house when Addison was finally asleep to attempt to somewhat catch up  (seriously, I swear that my laundry room actually grows piles of laundry when I'm not looking)...and my first photo shoot as a PR rep for my husband's business this morning...and running across town for a meeting with a literary agent...and an hour and a half of having my book picked apart at every possible angle by a professional...

I'm sure none of those things contribute to my extreme tired state.

Although tired, I am very thankful. I was running around like crazy this morning. Driving to the agent's office, I could not figure out why I felt so lousy. Just as I was at the corner of Vomit and Hurl, I realized that I hadn't eaten anything all day...and it was 11AM. How in the world did I forget to eat???? So I picked up a honey bun at the gas station (was wishing for something slightly more healthful, but the sugar boost was nice)

I was really praying for wisdom as I walked into the office, and felt immediately at peace when practically the agent's first words were

"You know, I have a nephew with Down syndrome"

She was very interested in the subject area and was extremely helpful. I honestly told her that I was still working on ridding my manuscript of the "new writer stink" that I felt was still there. So we agreed to let me settle with the manuscript over the summer, really working out all of the final kinks and "new writer stink" (I wanted to say it again, because I was so proud of the phrase I coined to describe the problem-ha) And hopefully I'll have my manuscript to her by mid to late August, giving me a break to have this baby and settle into a new life with two kids while she reads/edits it and figures out what the next best step publishing wise would be.

While I would love to have the book already in a publisher's hands by the time I have this baby, I feel really at peace with this timeline and am excited to have the summer to just really feel 100% happy with my book before it is passed along to even more critical eyes. (yes, I am a perfectionist...but when it comes to publishing a book...I feel like that is a positive trait...)

She told me that she hadn't yet had an author which she had "mentored" that hadn't gotten published. She has several great ins here in Vermont, so while nothing was promised to me today (except the next step in August), I am feeling hopeful and very much at peace.

I know this is who will help me get to this next step. I had been praying specifically for an agent who had a family member with special needs, so that they would feel the connection and desire to help push the project along. While I still have lots of detail work to do, things are definitely making progress towards the publishing department.

On an entirely different note....how about viewing Chubbs in HD?????

You'll have to excuse my poor attempts at doing this new camera (Canon Rebel t2i) justice. Hope to be able to spend more time with it and figure the whole photography thing out a bit more.

The good news is, you will now be able to see Chubbs' every expression...catch every little act of mischief...
The bad news is- I'm going to have to start dusting my house.......

In conclusion, I would like to announce that the winner of the No Guarantees giveaway is:

Abigail: Of course I would read it. The plot sounds like an awesome mix of different people in different circumstances!

Abigail, if you send me your email address, I will get you the $50 gift card to Amazon.

Thank you all for your help with the giveaway post! It was unbelievably helpful to go into today's meeting with that post backing me up. I am forever indebted to all of you for your encouraging words.

 To thank you?

 I guess I will just continue sharing the undeniable cuteness of Chubbs....(-:

now...is there a pill you can take for third trimester exhaustion?? it is getting in my way...and oh yes, I'm going to need it in liquid form...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wife, Mother, LEPER

Confession: I am a pregnancy leper.

Allow me to explain.

A week or so ago, I developed a very common pregnancy infection and my doctor put me on an antibiotic.

Just before finishing the antibiotic, I, of course, was struck down with yet another common pregnancy infection that can come on the heels of the previous one.

Sigh. I've been struggling with a ton of Braxton Hicks contractions, extra fatigue, extreme discomfort, etc. And to add insult to injury, I had to take medication twice a day. I HATE to take all kinds of medication. Since I've never been able to swallow pills (yes, I have tried every trick in the book), I always have to take the nasty liquid version of whatever cute little pill everyone else is able to pop and swallow within seconds.

So, I've been having a bit of a pity party for my whiny pregnant self and apparent affinity to disease.

And then, yesterday, I mentioned waking up with a bit of a rash. I had a lot else on my mind with it being my last day of work, so I merely put a call in to my doctor- took the prescribed Benadryl (the liquid children's grape version...so, so gross.) and carried on my merry way. 

This morning I woke up and the rash had intensified and hideously spread. It was as if the rash devil visited me in the night and gave me a liberal sprinkling of cursed rash dust....causing my pale little skin to inflame all over with red dots (heinous, really).

I had to set aside my previously decided bare midriff maternity outfit for today (just kidding...but really...why is that a thing???)

If Cruella de Vil caught a glimpse of my creamy white skin covered in lusciously glorious red spots, no doubt she would want to make a coat out of my skin.

It's just that beautiful.

A trip into the doctor's determined that yes indeed, I was allergic to the medication that I suffered through last week to get rid of my infection.

She thinks that the rash should clear up in 7 days. 7 DAYS! I have a lot of living to do between now and then...none of it which includes this new spotty look and extra fatigue and extra sensitive eyes. (I've had to wear my glasses, which Addison has deemed her new life mission to destroy)

So just to sum up, the first infection led to the second infection which led to me becoming a spotted mountain lion- but without the sleek sexy exterior and add on a bulky belly bump...(but keep the same sort of snarly attitude of one who hasn't been fed in a while.)

I expect limbs to soon start falling off. An arm? Leg? Who knows what is next. It just seems that if something bad can possibly happen, it usually does to me. (that includes innocently walking down a street in New York City and having pigeon poo randomly fall from the sky into my hair)

My friend Patti (checkout her amazing giveaway) has ten children. TEN. How do people endure 10 pregnancies? I am on my second one, and am about ready to call UNCLE to the pregnancy gods which have sent to curse me with ailment after ailment, causing even my beautiful (free) Victoria Secret black tank top with my sale found gap jeans to not allow me to feel like the cute delicate pregnant person that I always dreamed that I should be. I had to switch to my favorite comfort pajamas upon immediate arrival home (which ironically enough, are covered in spots. I might have to rethink my favorites list)

While typing this, I am aware that I am the wimpiest person in the world with a small side of overly dramatic, but you have to remember...

I am a leper, and I don't know how much longer I'll have all of my fingers, so I might as well type it all out while I can.

Random Side Note: Keeping some chocolate in the diaper bag is a great idea for a pick me up while out on errands.
Random Side Note 2: Keeping some chocolate in the diaper bag is a horrible idea when your daughter decides to dissimulate said bag in the doctor's appointment, liberally helping herself to the chocolate and aluminium wrapper while you're distractedly complaining about your rash and the doctor watches with judgement (and makes note for a need for a visit from a social worker)

In conclusion: A pic courtesy of Addison's PCA from yesterday:
hope the Leprosy Colony has wi-fi.....otherwise this may be a goodbye

Don't forget about my giveaway that ends on Monday!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Big Change

 We all know what a quiet, demure person little Chubbs is

But today when I told her that it was my last last day of work...the last day to leave her to go to school, teaching high school band, orchestra and piano theory.....that we would get so much more time together...laughing...talking...playing....

this was her response:
It would seem that she approves.

and yes, she has an insane amount of super sharp teeth....yesterday she ate a frozen grape Popsicle...not just licked...but ate........I digress

This is kind of a big day. For so long, I've been 110% about music. It was all I did- it was all I focused on. (Yes, I never claimed to be a cool, hip person...but if you find those words synonymous with the phrase band geek, then we're all good)

Ever since Addison was born, she opened my eyes to the fact that there's more to life than music and practicing.

Honestly, ever since dealing with all of her medical issues and the drama of this past year, I have felt my intense zeal and passion for music slowly fade. In its place, I have been filled with a burning desire to take care of and protect Addison, helping to make this world a more accepting place for her to grown up in.

Wanting more time with Addison, and needing more time to spend on my book, and let's face it- in September I'm going to have 2 kids under 2- it was time to step aside from teaching and focus on my other really great jobs- mother and wife.

I'm excited for the change and new opportunities. I'm terrified at the thought of cutting down to one paycheck.

So many emotions were going into today that I woke up this morning almost completely broken out in hives. After many calls in to my doctor's office, it was determined to be just an allergic reaction to a medication that they had me on last week, but still...I think it represents what mixed emotions I have about this day.

Making the switch to stay at home mom is difficult and exhilarating all at the same time.

This summer, I will be doing some PR work for my husband's business while continuing to work on my book, so I have a short transition time before the true stay at home mom status hits in September, but this is definitely the first step.

Now if you will excuse me, I get to go play with my super cute baby...attempt to feed her while avoiding those sharp teeth with all appendages...bath her and hope that more water stays in the tub than ends up on the floor this time....have story time and wrestle/standy up time on the bed....

and then after she's all tucked in and babysitter ready, go out on a date with my husband who finally has ONE NIGHT FREE, celebrating this big change in our lives.

Maybe someday I'll go back to being a music teacher, but for now?

I plan on being 110% about taking care of my family and house responsibilities...(is it OK if 90% of that is playing and laughing with Chubbs??????)

The fact that the cleaning expectation around my house is giong up terrifies this clutteraholic.....gulp

*Checkout my guest post over at The-Not-So-Secret Confessions of a Second Time Mom.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

thank you

My tired self just found its way over to the couch.

Feet up. Head leaning back. Eyes propped open.

I might fall asleep before I can hit publish.

Dishwasher is humming busily, full of  frosting caked dishes and my thank you cupcakes are all ready to take to work tomorrow.
Note: those of you about to revolt from the poor quality of pictures on my blog these days...and the lack of really great Chubbs shots...change is coming soon...new camera on Saturday...just a few more days to put up with my blurry shots...(-: 

Tomorrow is my last day as a public school high school music teacher.

That is for another post.

Tonight? I want to somehow express my uttermost thankfulness and overwhelming gratitude for the comments and love shown on my last post. If I could, I would make you all thank you cupcakes. (because I think that's an awesome way to say thank you)

When I finished typing the last word and reading it over and over, hoping that it made sense- I hit post and immediately felt myself drowning in panic.

I had never done a giveaway before. Only a handful of people knew the plotline of my book.

For all I knew, I was setting myself up to be laughed at and to experience utter failure.

I found it incredibly difficult to explain a year's worth of constant writing and revising in a few simple paragraphs with enough clarity to do the book justice. It's a serious subject- one that requires just the right approach to make it believable and read-worthy.

The many comments that started rolling- supportive, appreciative comments beyond what I could have imagined calmed my panic and gave me a renewed vision. Each time I saw it reposted on facebook, I cried just a little bit. Tears of thankfulness. (mixed with just a small touch of tired pregnancy hormones..but mostly thankfulness...)

I just want to say from the bottom of my heart. Thank you, thank you. thank you.

As I continue to refine and polish every detail of my book, hopefully working with a publishing/editor soon, I will be doing it for all of you who re-strengthened my resolve and helped me remember the need for a book with a message like this one.

and of course, for my inspiration, Chubbs:

Lately, she's been working so hard on standing independently. She will pull herself up, deliberately raise her hands triumphantly in the air, put on a face very similar to the one in the picture above...and inevitably within seconds fall onto her little diapered bum.

What does she do next? She climbs up again. over and over. Determined to succeed, she doesn't let falling get in the way of her success. Rather, it spurs her on as she laughs, smiles and tries again. and again. Each time she gets stronger and stays upright just that much longer.

Falling is a big part of success. Chubbs taught me that. So even though this book publishing process has incredibly far to go still, the important part is the getting back up. again and again.

The testimonials that I have on the last post to use in my pre marketing pitch to publishers is definitely part of my few seconds of standing success. And will be what helps me get back up to try again.

Just like Chubbs.

Thank you from a very tired momma who was ready for bed three hours ago when Chubbs went to bed, but found amazing energy from a package of ferrero rochers that arrived in the mail and allowed her to finish her project., buzzing around the kitchen with an extreme sugar high. Chocolate, the magic strength pill...who knew?

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, make sure you check out my last post...the giveaway is open until Monday! Also, you can leave additional comments if you repost on facebook, twitter or a blog. It's a $50 gift card to Amazon thank you to one random commenter...just sayin' (-:

Monday, June 13, 2011

No Guarantees Giveaway

Win a $50 Amazon gift card as a thank you from Everything and Nothing from Essex!

Please keep reading. The giveaway is explained at the end.

A year ago, I was a brand new mom- post NICU stay, post heart surgery. I had a 4 month old baby who was still on 24 hrs a day of oxygen and g-tube fed. Our doctor's appointments were plentiful and combined with frequent therapist visits. My life was completely overwhelmed by having a child with special needs.

Caught up in such a busy schedule of "extras", I discovered something startling. As I had grown to know and love my daughter, I found that none of that "stuff" mattered in the least bit. She amazed me continually with her spirit to fight and her will to live. An unbelievably beautiful personality started to peek through, and throughout all of the medical drama, I looked down at my little girl and saw not a "Down syndrome baby", but a little baby girl who was just like any other baby who deserved a chance at everything life had to offer. Just like any other baby.

It was while falling deeply in love with my baby that I became aware of the statistic that 90% of the women who received the same prenatal diagnosis that I did choose to end the life of their baby- terminating all chance of happiness and success for the child- simply hearing about the extra chromosome and deciding to play god in their child's life, deeming this life valued as less because of the "defect' and sure to come difficult life.

Experiencing such joy from my daughter with that same "defect" and "difficult life", I was heartbroken thinking of everything that these other moms were missing out on because of their fear and misconceived stereotypes that the medical community was feeding them.

I was horrified, thinking of these many, many babies with a lot of similarities to my perfect little angel who weren't given a chance at life. Who, yes, small things were more difficult to accomplish, but they weren't even allowed to try- and no one ever would see the huge smile encompass their face as they realized happiness and success- just like any other baby.

It was at this point last year where I started thinking about all of the potential being lost- the babies not given the opportunity to make their mark on the world simply because of a label- I decided to do something about it.

I wrote a book.

No, not overnight. Many, many hours have been spent crafting a story, stringing together sentences (and then rewording each of those sentences a couple dozen times), working on the best approach to make a difference in the 90%.

This is not a book about me and Addison. This is not a memoir. This is not a book about Down syndrome.

This is a fiction book about:

-a mom named Lila is told while pregnant that her baby most likely has Down syndrome because of the soft markers that show up in an ultrasound. She fully intends to terminate her pregnancy. When the amnio comes back with normal results, she gratefully continues to grow her unborn child, convinced that she is now guaranteed a perfect baby. However, when her son is born with a small physical defect (which had been the soft marker), she immediately schedules a cosmetic surgery to fix the problem.

-a man named Walter is obsessed with perfection and being the best anesthesiologist the world has to offer. His dearest and best friend, his mother, is dying from breast cancer and on her death bed confesses to him that he was supposed to have a brother. Because this brother was diagnosed with a rare form of mental retardation at birth, he was sent away to an institution where he died a few weeks later.

-a nurse named Emily has searched her entire life for love. Abused by her parents as a child and now as an adult tossed around from one one night stand to another, she is lonely and surrounded by people who merely use and abuse her.

-two sisters haven't talked in 30 years ever since their concurrent pregnancies ended with such different stories. One sister had a healthy boy who grew up to be stunningly brilliant, achieving a doctorate from Yale. The other sister went into premature labor, many things going horribly wrong, resulting in her son being diagnosed with cerebral palsy and struggling with basic functions his entire life.

These stories all intersect when Lila's son goes in for his surgery and the perfect Walter makes his first mistake, causing the baby to suffer from brain damage.

-Walter is unable to live with the knowledge that he caused this, and overwhelmed by grief, decides to rid the world of the imperfect being that he has created. Assisted by Emily, who is convinced that he is her last chance at love, they kidnap the baby, to "fix" the problem.

-Lila is faced with the dilemma of which is really worse- to have a dead baby or a retarded one?

The story plays out with drama, fear and heartache.

As different characters are attempting to play god and others question whether some lives are really worth more than others, and yet others wonder if loving a baby simply because it is your baby is more important than worrying about what that baby would bring to your life or deciding upfront what the life value would be and acting rashly on the decision- delicate subjects are hashed through from different perspectives, settling on a variety of conclusions as the story winds down with an entirely changed cast of characters.

The overall message? There are no guarantees in parenting, and although some parenting paths seem more difficult than others, they aren't any less rewarding and the child's life isn't worth less.

This book is incredibly difficult for me to explain because this is really just the tip of the iceburg with what goes on in this book- the questions, the conversations, the story playing out in a way that causes the reader to feel the raw emotions that accompany such an emotional struggle all the while watching in horror as wrong decisions are made from seemingly logical reasoning that a mom would use to terminate her child once given the diagnosis of a "defect".

Perfection is completely redefined as each character's world is turned upside down in an unbelievably difficult and seemingly unfair circumstantial twist..

So here's my question for you.

Based on this short description, would you read this book? I know that I have a lot of blog lurkers out there, and normally I don't complain at the lack of feedback (-;. But I am now trying to break into the incredibly competitive field of publishing, and I need to be able to prove to a publisher that this would sell if they would publish it.

So if you love me at all- or just like me a little bit- or merely endure my blog posts for something to do when you're exceptionally bored- I NEED you to comment with whether or not you would read/buy this book. (please, please, please, please, please....with a cherry on top)

To thank you for your participation and honest opinion, I am giving away a $50 Amazon gift card to one random commenter. Here's how it will work:

1. Leave one comment with your opinion of the book's plot line
2. Leave another comment if you are a follower of my blog or subscribe via email or RSS feed
3. Leave an additional comment for each time you post a link to my blog on facebook, twitter or blog about this giveaway. (you can do this once a day for additional comments)

The more comments you leave, the higher chance you have of winning the $50 Amazon gift card.

I don't ask much from you all- I freely share Chubbs' cuteness, allow you free front row seats to laugh at my really dumb new mom mistakes, and show you my struggles without flinching.

But I desperately need you to show me a little love with some comments/sharing of this post because I need to be able to prove to publishers that this is a book that not only will make a difference in the mind of the world about the worthiness of all life, regardless of medical diagnosis, but that it is also a book that would be willingly read by many (and therefore, sell).

Please help!!! (and good luck winning the gift card) This giveaway will last one week. I'll announce the winner next Monday (June 20th).

Thank you!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Chubbs Decorating/The Cake Massacre

Ok, before I share these pictures with you, I need to explain a couple of things.

1. I love to bake and decorate cakes/cupcakes. It is a hobby/passion developed in the past few years that I really enjoy and often to relax I will try a new cake recipe simply for research purposes.

2. Lately I have determined that Chubbs catches on to far more that is going on around her than she lets on. So I have been trying to give her chances to mimic whatever I'm doing to allow her a way to express what she's observing. Such as every time I brush my teeth, I put her in the other sink and hand her her toothbrush, when I brush my hair I hand her her brush etc and so forth.

I'm sure you can tell where this is going.

This afternoon was rainy, chilly and I was in the perfect mood for something sinfully chocolate. As a result, I found a cake recipe online that I've been wanting to try forever and decided to give it a try.


The only problem was, I didn't have any heavy cream, so I knew that the frosting was going to be a bit touch and go, but I wanted a new cake recipe more than I wanted the frosting recipe, so I decided to go for it.

Anyway, this explanation drags on far too long.

Chubbs woke up just in time for the frosting of the cake. My little rookie mom brain thought this was the perfect opportunity to let her help me with something that I used to dream about-my daughter and I working together, side by side in perfect harmony in the kitchen.

For the first few minutes, it was heaven. Her chubby arm led by mine, she very seriously spread the frosting (that was way too thin because of the experimenting but oh well). Her focus was that of a trained pastry chef, brow knit in earnest concentration. The cake was looking rather dreadful, but I didn't mind, letting Chubbs do most of the frosting spreading. We were having a glorious mother/daughter moment...you know, one of those moments that you read about in a good story but never actually happen in real life.

However, within a few minutes of frosting spreading, she got this look on her face (that smear is her flapping her arm...into the cake).
At first I just thought it just meant that she was having fun too. But I soon realized that she had far different goals in mind for this activity:
After one tiny taste of the frosting, it was all over except for the screaming laughter. Arms flailing into the cake as though it was her own personal hand drum and she was calling the troops to battle, Chubbs threw all of her energy into putting her own special touch on the cake. She was moving so fast, the damage was done pretty quickly, so I just laughed and pulled out my phone. I won't say anymore...just show you the pictures.

(Sorry about the horrible picture quality. They were taken on my phone, and I was laughing so hard by this point that I couldn't hold the phone still...not to mention that Chubbs was moving at lightning fast speed herself)
How many hand prints do you see in this picture?? wall...cake...thigh...
(notice the movement of the arms)
Chubbs loves her some chocolate
Is a chocolate body mask a thing?
"What? No? Me? I didn't touch the cake....."

She was more than thrilled to assist mommy in the kitchen (and eat her fair share of chocolate frosting...and a small piece of cake) I have a feeling that I'm going to get quite an eager kitchen helper in the future. Seriously, I have never had so much fun frosting a cake before. I was laughing hysterically the whole time which seemed to spur her on to even more crazed cake drumming and Chubbs laughter.

Pastry Chef in the making??????

BTW...best cake recipe I have ever tried. I don't know if it was Chubbs' special love touch or what...but it was simply AMAZING!

Looking forward to many  more hours in the kitchen with my daughter...hopefully her demolition skills will turn more helpful as she grows older, but hey, I plan to enjoy every minute of the learning process. (-: