Monday, December 31, 2007

Life With Newborn

Because of my anxious tendencies, the first few months of my toddler's life were almost not enjoyable because of all the worrying that i did. Luckily, this time around, i have been able to really enjoy baby-ness. She has given me all the reasons to not enjoy it: She wakes every 1.5-2 hours through the night, she seems only content to be held and will scream if you dare put her down, she will even cry out when she passes gas instead of the cute smiles other babies do. Especially since this is most likely the last time we'll have a 3 week, 1 day-old baby, i am trying to enjoy my time with her at this stage.

I am still finding it frustrating and stressful getting both girls out by myself. This morning, doing the day care drop i had both girls half dressed for the day and both screaming bloody murder. By the time we actually loaded up in the car, all three of us were in tears and i was ready to give away the toddler to anyone with two arms.

My body is slowly taking back it's shape. Although my old jeans do fit, i find the non-elastic waistband uncomfortable and i'd rather continue to wear my maternity jeans even though they require me to hike them back up around my waist every 5 minutes. I'm almost tempted to adjust them--tighten up the elastic, but then i'd be one of those women who say, "After my second child i never wore regular jeans again."

Xmas Hangover

It always seems like the week after xmas is one long hangover. This year, the hangover was more hangy-overy due to the sleep deprivation created by my little newborn. Santa was good to everyone. This year, it was fun to talk up santa and see the excitement in toddler's eyes when she saw that santa did indeed come and ate the cookies and drank the beer that was left out for him.
The next day, the toddler looked at me and whined. "I want my stocking to have presents and treats in it again." How honest.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Toddler Tells A Story

"...grandma and grandpa were here and i said, 'grandma and grandpa, i need to go potty,' and they ?? and go there and ?? is good and after that eryn go'ed and then i didn't fall in so now, now we wash our hands then then we, and i, and then..."

"And then what happened?"

"...and then grandma said ????? and eat drink a little bit of coffee."

"Is that what--"

"And then we go go ??? jump in the car and drive to my house and then and then i drove to eryn's house and then we go *burb* to arizona, arizona again."

"That is a really good story."

Stepford Wife

Birth a second child, take me out of work and i turn into martha freakin' stewart. The toddler "helped" me make some xmas cookies, since it has been fairly consistant that when asked, santa would like cookies and milk for snack when he stops by. I had never made gingerbread cookies before, and thought men would be exciting to decorate, but shopping for a cookie cutter shaped like a man 3 days before xmas was a wash, and the best i could do was find a tree. The toddler didn't seem to mind, as you can see.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Enjoying the Second

My dad reminded me of how anxious i was with my first daughter in her early months of life by asking me, "Are you charting the new baby?" For the first 4 months (yes, four) of my toddler's life, my husband and i charted every single poop, pee, sleep, wake cycle that she experienced. Seriously. We had a chart. And codes. We'd try to find patterns in her behavior or consistancy. Being a baby, there was rarely any predictability. Before the toddler even came to be, my husband and i studied every book published about sleep as if we were preparing for boards. We made notes and decisions of how we'd handle any possible "problem" (or normal baby behavior) before we had even met her.

Luckily, our first child turned out to be extremely easy-going. Because we had studied so vigerously, it was rare that my husband and i would come across a situation that we didn't immediately know how the leading experts and authors would advise us to do.

All of the studying didn't calm my anxieties. While my husband spend hours losing sleep thinking of how to keep the baby from dying (he has become the safety expert), i was consumed with questions like "If she's swaddled all the time, how is she to establish range of motion of her arms?" and, "If the most interesting and developmentally appropriate thing for newborns to look at is a face, how can my face the there every time she opens her eyes?" and, " Will she become addicted to TV is i'm watching tv while i'm nursing her?"

Although i get small waves of anxiety with numero dos, i'm mostly calm. I am surprising myself by enjoying her babyness instead of worrying about it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Kidding, Right?

Waking up at 2 am is no biggie these days, since our little new addition has decided she likes to wake every 1-2 hours through the night. It is a big deal for our toddler--who woke up in a pool of her own vomit this particular morning at 2am. The vomiting continued through the early morning hours. My husband and i had a few bad flashbacks to last year when our toddler brought a particularly nasty gastroenteritis bug that caused us all to fall (complete with a trip to the ER for me). From what i've heard from my friends with kids, this particular bug is short-lasting and is rarely accompanied with diarrhea. She was done vomiting by 9am, but was feeling tired and energy-less for the rest of the day.

Of course, all my years of education and nurse practitioner knowledge promptly went out the window as soon as she started vomiting. I had no clue how to protect my newborn or if the toddler should eat or not eat or drink or rest or what. All i knew is that i didn't want the toddler to touch me or the baby, which lead to some mommy-guilt. She would come to me wanting a snuggle, and i'd give her the awkward hug you give your great uncle--you know, at arms reach, with lots of patting and no actual body contact.

I'm hoping she's done vomiting and that no one else in the clan will fall. Here's to hoping!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Life Goes On

To my shock and surprise, xmas is still coming--even though we had a baby. We did the yearly LissyJo family visit to Jackson Street Roundhouse to see santa last weekend. The toddler got hopped up on popcorn and candy canes and had a great time. Here we are waiting to get on the train. The train pulled up with santa and mrs. clause on it--they have just walked by and the toddler is adjusting to the idea that santa is not scary. You can't really see in this picture, but she has strapped around her neck my old cabbage patch purse that she has claimed as her own. Inside it has a too-small bathing suit that she insisted she wanted to show santa.

After the train ride, we got to have a visit with santa and mrs. clause. The toddler asked him what he wanted for snack and decided against showing him her bathing suit. After the picture was taken, i was taking the baby back and mrs. claus asked me how old the baby was. I told her six days. She said, "OOoooohh, Santa! The baby is 6 days old! Be careful, give her back!"

Breastfeeding Culture

I am glad i have prepared my toddler for all the breastfeeding that happens with a newborn. I do a fair amount of breastfeeding promotion and education in my job, and was able to provide the toddler with pictures, art, books and breastfeeding friends to prepare her for what to expect. Every time the baby cries, the toddler pronounces, "MOM: The baby needs to breastfeed!" She told the baby yesterday to not bite me and she insists that her nipples need to be moisturized by lanolin as well (yesterday she needed lanolin on her nipples AND belly button).

When the toddler came to visit me at the hospital, i was feeding the baby. She insisted she feed her "baby" as well. There is a very cute picture of both of us breastfeeding our babies. It will not be posted here.

Speaking of public acts of breastfeeding, now that i am feeling a little more comfortable getting the baby latched i have been reminded of how uncommon it is to see breastfeeding women in public. Because i was immersed in breastfeeding education and promotion prior to having the toddler, i was aware of this issue in our culture when it came time to breastfeed my own child. I always felt it important to not hide in the bathroom or the corner of the room to feed my baby. I also felt like it was my duty as a breastfeeding mother to show people that it is ok to breastfeed in public and there should be no shame. I almost snapped at the man sitting next to me on a flight when i was feeding my first. She was kicking him as she was nursing and i apologized, but he couldn't even look in my direction less acknowledge my apology.

It is strange how our culture can be so tolerant of all-but-nipple-breastage everywhere--on TV, movies, tween idols--but to see a woman breastfeeding her child is somehow crude and perverted.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Finally Here!

After getting my cervix checked on Wed and learning it was at 4, i decided to stop working, thinking the baby would come at any moment. I walked, ate spicy food and squatted trying to get the kid to come out, but had nothing. On fri, i decided to let my friend/midwife strip my membranes. She did, and told me i had 'progressed' to 5 cm dilated. We went home, made the final additions to my bag and waited. I had mild contractions every 5 minutes, but much to my disappointment, nothing more. On sat, we went to a friend's bday party and i started feeling my contractions were stronger. We alerted the troops--my toddler went to a friend's house and we hunkered down at home, waiting for labor to progress. But it didn't. I continued to contract every 5 minutes and my bag of waters continued to be intact. Since we had a "babysitter," we decided to go to our favorite bar and eat and went for a late, winter walk--but still nothing.

By the time i went to bed, i had decided we should just continue with life. Get the toddler back on sunday. Go to my nephew's bday party. Have an ob visit on monday (my actual due date) and continue on. After all, my first daughter was 8 days late. Who is to say this one wouldn't be late too? My inner hippie would not allow an induction and stripping my membranes was as far as a medical intervention i wanted to go. Sunday night my contractions were just strong enough to keep me up all night long. I called my midwife on sunday and she convinced me to go in and get some monitoring and....break my waters. As i said before, my inner-hippie didn't want to do much medical intervention. After being admited (and still dilating at a lazy 5 minute interval), my husband asked the midwife if this is what they'd do in the tribe. You know, the tribe with the midwife and the red tent. My friend assured us that this is what they'd do in that tribe, so that convinced my inner hippie that it was the way to go.

After my bag was broken and i leaked one quatrillion liters of water, my contractions came one on top of another and hard. I was overcome by pain and fear. In one hour, i decided i couldn't take any more and wanted intrathecal fentanyl which covers uterine contraction pain, but not perineal pain (for those really interested). I was dilated to 8 at this point and thought about that self contract i had with myself that if i was dilated to 8 or more, i'd try to go with nothing--but forgot about that contract with the next contraction. The ITF (pain med) took the edge off, but still had to work through the contractions. In one hour, it was time to push. After 29 minutes of that, the baby was placed on my chest and it was all over. I had to look three times before i would believe it was truly a girl. I was convinced i was having a boy.

The stats: 7 pounds 12 oz (one pound bigger than my first!), 10 toes 10 fingers. If you're clever, you'll find her name out there. Postpartum recovery went smoothly. It helps that i used to work where i delivered, so i have many friends to take care of me. She is a master breastfeeder and i'm feeling just fine. I might even feel really good. It's nice to be able to bend over and walk and move without the 40 week aches and pains.

My toddler approves of her little sister and appears to be adjusting well. I have spent some time worrying about how she'll do and how to give her attention and love with the new addition. The first 24 hours home have been smooth although i'm sure all days won't go this way. It helps having my husband home to entertain the toddler. I'm being spoiled--When he's not entertaining the toddler, he's making my lunch and making sure i've had a chance to take a nap.

Everyone is up from their nap--time to go!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I'm Still Standing

I am finally crawling out of rough 2 weeks. I caught a nasty bug of some sort (croup? bronchitis?) and have been s-l-o-w-l-y recovering. I'm not all the way there yet, but getting there. I have been fairly firm about not giving out antibiotics before 10-14 days of being sick and as i approach 14 days of being sick myself, i have new appreciation of what that feels like. It has only proven the fact that most get better (or *start* getting better) in 2 weeks with or without antibiotics.

In the middle of this illness, my toddler decided to go nuts. She started waking in the night with what i now believe to be night terrors. She also decided to have huge toddler meltdowns at the most inopportune times. Granted, my fuse has been short considering my illness and the last few weeks of pregnancy. I reached a new parenting low point last week and just as quickly as the toddler storm flew in, my daughter turned on a dime into the most lovely, charming, interesting little girl i have met. The best advice that i received was from my husband asking me to not take it personally. I realize this is my problem. I find it difficult to not get emotionally involved with toddler craziness and i'm sure the prego hormones don't help.

And now we await the baby's arrival any day now. Because i have been in bed when not at work for the past 2 weeks, i am finding a list a mile long of things i wanted to get done before s/he comes. I realize that all i really need before the baby comes is boobs and those come attached and that time and life will go on if i have the baby without doing the list of things, but i'm feeling the need. Perhaps it's my way of 'nesting' or whatever the craziness that proceeds the baby is called.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Pregnant Thanksgiving Cold

I haven't had a cold this bad in a while and it's just a little bit cruel that it's happening at 38 weeks pregnant. I blame my petri dish daughter, although she never seems to fall as hard as the adults in her life. I was just starting my slippery slope downwards at thanksgiving, which was spent with friends at a table that continues to collect random people who don't have family in town (or who choose to not spend it with their crazy relatives....or crazy relatives of relatives). My 2.75 year old ate an entire turkey leg by herself, which is the size of all her limbs put together.

By friday, my cold was growing hourly, but i was able to keep it together to go to work, but by the time i was home, my voice was shot and my throat felt like it was molting from inside.

On saturday, The LissyJo clan bucked up and pulled it together to drove to the cabin via little falls to pick up my favorite recliner from my youth--actually a recliner of my mothers. Have you noticed that you can't really find a small rocking chair that is upolstered, rocks *and* reclines? OH, and is not a glider? Picky, i know, but after exhausting myself finding one just like what i grew up with, my parents consented to me borrowing The one i grew up with. Why little falls? To spice up the drive. My husband and i enjoy exploring little minnesotan towns that manage to conserve their historic downtown...which little falls has done.

By today i was sure to regain my voice, but my throat had other ideas. It decided to turn bright red and prove that there are worse things to complain about than being 38 weeks pregnant. My lovely husband did a late night drive to walgreens for ice cream and cough drops to shut me up, but quickly realized that even without a voice, i can still complain.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sense of Identity

The other day, i was having a conversation about color with my daughter. We were discussing the color of trees, grass, squirrels, etc. She looked at me and said, "I'm white color. And you're white color too!" *sigh* Perhaps a conversation for another day.

Are You Kidding Me?

Our tivo list has been short, so we were exposed to some commercials on tv last night and came across this commercial with Harry Connick, Jr. for a phat Lincoln SUV gas-guzzling, overpriced pimp mobile. The commercial sets harry up to be a hometown boy from new orleans getting a glimpse at the damage done by hurricaine katrina--As if he was personally damaged by the hurricane. As you can probably tell, it bothered me. Am i honestly supposed to believe harry suffered at all due to the hurricaine? If he even had a home in new orleans, i'm sure he had the resources to not be in it when the hurricaine hit. It takes balls to take on the suffering of a new orleans resident when you're a white kid born born to a lawyer and a state supreme court justice....oh, and rich. And now you're "helping" your brothers and sisters in the hometown by driving around in a rediculous (in a bad way) vehicle providing crawfish and love.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Last night, i was awoken with the baby using my heart as a punching least, that's what it felt like. Or maybe it was using the inside part of my ribs as a xylophone. Nonetheless, it's decided to no longer grow outwards, but upwards. Maybe it will come out of my mouth. Science tells me my mouth isn't as stretchy as the primary route, but i'm always up for a challenge.

Monday, November 5, 2007

What's a NP?

I went to a party last weekend and was introduced as a Nurse Practitioner. Someone asked, "What is the difference between you and a doctor?" Another person answered on my behalf, "She actually cares if and when you're not actually sick yet!" What a perfect description. It made me feel proud that the word on the street is that NPs are more about health promotion than physicians. I know this is changing and a physician could argue about this.

I know not everyone knows what a NP is. The other day, when someone heard i was a nurse practitioner, they responded, "My sister is a nursing assistant." Hmpf. And my cats breath smells like cat food.

My Brother, the Asian-American

Ok, my brother is not asian-american, but he sends me email alerts to local events about being asian-american...including Walleye Kid: The musical and Asiamnesia, both by Mu performing arts. He also sent me a link to a youtube clip of Heidi Adelsman, a s. mpls korean adoptee (also a longfellow resident who is a mother...sound like anyone?) who wrote a piece in Oustiders Within. Ok, i didn't write a piece in Oustiders Within and i don't have an african american adopted brother, but she sounds like someone i'd really like to know.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Breast is Best

I just finished a week long, 46 hour conference on breastfeeding. What can you learn in 46 hours about breastfeeding? I didn't learn a whole lot, to be honest. What i did learn could have fit nicely in 8 hours. But, the conference wasn't necessarily aimed at someone who has had the experience i have had and the education i have had. It is a requirement for me to do these hours to sit for IBCLC (board certified lactation consultant), although after taking the course, i believe i'm a "lactation educator," which means little to you or i.

It did re-fuel my excitement about breastfeeding and starting a breastfeeding support educational group for postpartum women at my clinic. It also got me excited about having a baby. Not only about the breastfeeding--afterall, i just about quit breastfeeding on day 4 with my daughter and i was well into the breastfeeding education as an OB nurse at this point (i didn't give up and am very glad i didn't). I'm excited about having a little baby. I'm excited about enjoying the experience instead of being anxious and on edge over every "decision" that had to be made about having a little one. Little did i know at the time, there is very little decision making with a newborn and i think i might have enjoyed the experience a little more if i would have gone with the flow.

I also learned that sitting on my ass for 46 hours in an uncomfortable chair is bad for a pelvis carrying a 35 week old pregnancy. I think it did crack in half and my "muscles" are doing little to prevent it from falling apart. Ugh. 5 (probably 6) weeks to go!!

Guess How Much I'm Better Than You

The toddler has found interest in a book she has hidden in her book box: Guess How Much I Love You. She got it as a gift from a relative but we never really read it much to her because it bugs me. Now my daughter has decided she loves the book a lot. And i'm forced to read it. A lot. Does this "classic" book bug anyone else? It reminds me of certain people i know who always tries to out-do you whatever you say. You tell them you had a bad day. They tell you they had the worst day. You tell them how cool it was. They tell you they experienced way cooler. The same thing happens in this book. Instead of embracing the poor little bunny's love, he has to out-do every single thing he says. IT'S ANNOYING! Even when the poor kid falls asleep, probably thinking they can do nothing to love the big hare enough, the big hare is out-doing his last sleepy statement. What a jerk. If i were little nutbrown hare, i'd scram. Nothing says big nutbrown hare is his primary caregiver.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

In a Mood

With two more days of single motherhood ahead of me, i have realized this way of life has put me in a mood. I have little patience with the toddler and haven't been as "fun" as usual. As a matter of fact, my sense of humor has been little to none. My pelvis feels like it could crack in two, right in the crotch every time my legs move. I think the baby has decided it wants out and it will kick like hell right at my ribs or bladder to get there (um, no longer cute). And as i deteriorate and drown in this pity potty, i try to imagine how the hell am i to keep up with a newborn.

Coping mechanisms? Bought way too much candy for halloween and have been consuming it. Bought a movie just for the hell of it (who rents movies anymore?). Going to bed at 9:30. Will start napping again when the toddler naps.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Adoption Debate

I decided to renew my favorite magazine, Mother Jones and was curious to see an article called Did I Steal My Daughter. I knew immediately it would be about international adoption. The author tells her story about adopting a daughter from guatamala and the ethical concerns she has along the way. She gives a shout-out to CHSM and also mentions Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption. She describes the book as, "an anthology that is stirring and stern rebuke to the standard heartwarming adoption narrative." Her husband's immediate reaction is wanting to give their daughter back. As a parent, i sympathize with the gut feeling of just wanting to do the best for your child, even if that means causing you pain.

It is refreshing to hear this adoptive mother bring up issues surrounding the "decision" to "give children up" for adoption (or foster care, etc). They are situations that intertwine with cultural practice and are difficult for our western brains to fully understand. An adoptive parent has the responsibility to be prepared for the questions that may come, and be respectful of the individuality of each child's story, even though it may be easy to throw up the hands and say, "All i had was love in my heart." Although this may be true, it is irresponsible to not acknowledge the complications surrounding their adopted daughter's (or son's) existance.

I love my niece, but....

My daughter's new obsession is watching this youtube clip of her cousin. She has the "song" memorized and consequently, so do i. I didn't know you could watch a short youtube clip so many times over and over and over and over and over and over and over again without getting bored, but you can't manage getting dressed without being distracted.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Zoo Boo and Apple Orchard

When you are a single parent (boo hoo for me for 2 weeks outta my life), and you get no relief AND your toddler has decided to be exceptionally.....toddlery, it's all about finding distraction. I went to Zoo Boo at our favorite local zoo with some friends on opening day yesterday. This is the line we saw upon driving up to the zoo.

We decided to stay and i'm not exactly sure this was the best decision i made that day. My toddler was all dressed up and excited to trick-or-treat, and some things just aren't going to be as much fun for me as they are for my daughter. It was everything that irritates me at once: One billion people, a short-tempered toddler, having to wear pregnant pants, and both my daughter and i hungry and thirsty.

It was sort of strange and random with cut-outs of various children's stories and folktales with hundreds of volunteers dressed as animals (not many real animals on display) and a scattered variety of treats for the kiddies. Here is my daughter before leaving the house:

I vowed to sew her halloween costumes before she even came out of me, much like my mother did, but this year she insisted on being a mummy which required no sewing on my part. We might switch from real gauze to toilet paper the next time we do this so the idea is more apparent. Her head dressing didn't last much longer than the walk to the car, and i don't think people understood the costume. Here's another picture to prove she was having fun:
Needless to say, we're never doing that again.

Today, we had a much calmer experience going with other friends to Fischer's Croix Farm Orchard. We had a lovely time picking apples from the trees, feeding goats and rabbits and going on tractor rides.

Considering my daughters latest pooping issues, i was content to let her eat as many apples as she could. I believe she ate 5 bites out of ten apples, so that's gotta count for something.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Merlin's Rest....A Review

A new pub in my neighborhood is now serving breakfast and this morning, we decided to check it out. I'll be honest, my expectations were low. I heard one of the owners of this new pub is related to (same?) the owner of an old (now closed) pub that had very bad breakfast and and service in its last few dying days. To complete the bad taste in my mouth, they blamed their inability to stay open on the smoking ban.

But at Merlin's Rest, it appears the slate is clean. As my brother and family came in at 9am sharp, they were printing off the new breakfast menus. The menus offered a good selection with reasonable prices. My hashbrowns, eggs and toast were above average and the bangers looked good, but my daughter scarfed them down before i could have a taste. They serve authentic irish bacon that my australian husband would approve of (basically, it is a side of meat, not a crisp fried fatty strip), and my brother was able to wash his breakfast down with a guiness.

We'll definitely go back--It's nice to have an alternative breakfast place in the neighborhood that isn't Longfellow Grill.

Mommy Guilt

For two weeks, i am experiencing single motherhood as my hubs is traveling for work; my first few days have not been much fun. The toddler has not only decided to not poop, she's come down with what i call the "daycare dribbles" complete with fever and irritability. Because i also carry new-nurse-practitioner-guilt and am not exactly sure what happens if i call in sick, i filled my daughter up with ibuprofen (please stay afebrile for the day) and did the daycare drop-n'-run for two days. She was irritable and crabby and i felt awful. On her second day in a row at daycare being a trooper, i did what any guilty parent does....I took her for some ice cream. She seems to be over her illness, but now we're back at square one with the pooping issue. *sigh*

Mommy guilt is a strange one. I quickly oscillate between red-hot anger and frustration at her whining and neediness to a blubbering, teary guilty, empathetic mess. It is yet another reminder of why i chose to not do this alone and my hats-off to the single parents out there.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Reverting (WARNING: parenting post)

Perhaps we brag too much about our daughter. Both my husband and i agree she is exceptional and above average (really, we do!). She always seemed to hit milestones early. She talks very well for her age. Her comprehension doubles on a daily basis. All this lead my husband and i to admit she was born with most of this and we did very little to direct her astounding progress, although it'd be hard to convince us we've done much wrong. Perhaps it's this little after thought that has lead to her latest reverting behavior.

She's 2.75 and has been"potty trained" for some time now. That, seriously, was hers and only hers to take credit for. She started asking to use the potty and eventually, her day care teacher asked us to put her in underpants. So we did. She hasn't been completely pooping in the potty (she does that in her diaper overnight usually), but we haven't been pushing it. We are content that she wears underware the majority of the time--especially because we do cloth diapers.

But lately, she has decided that she will not poop in the potty ever. This has lead to an almost week-long cessation in the poops. Being a nurse practitioner, i dread the downward toddler spiral of control of pooping, telling mommy about the control, indeed not pooping, becoming constipated, building an impaction in the bowels that requires intervention. It's a common thing that happens to toddlers as a part of establishing their individual control. I've seen my niece do it, and hoped my daughter wouldn't follow in her footsteps.

I really hope this is a phase and she'll "snap" out of it and poop freely (on the potty would be nice, but i'm not going to push). Anyone else have experience with a poop-off with a toddler?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Thing About Fall

I was bemoaning the fact that fall appeared to come hard and strong and, seemingly, overnight. That was almost a month ago. Then, summer made one more attempt. It was lovely--it extended fall and made a beautiful backdrop to the changing colors and contrary to years past, fall lasted longer than 2 days in minnesota. But, i admit: I was wishing for cooler weather. I was trying to squeeze my large body into my summer dress one last time and didn't get much sleep without drenching the bed in sweat. Now fall has come and i forgot one minor detail: Pants for people 7.5 months pregnant suck. They slip down my butt, they push on my belly and they pull down my underwear. It's much easier to wear a one-piece dress (as i did in summer). Gawd. I've got 2 more months of this...time to go moo-moo shopping!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Busy Not Blogging

I have managed to keep busy and not had much time to blog lately. I'm still "enjoying" work at the new job (challenging and mind-bending), mothering a toddler, angry and raging over current events (as always) and the last week, hosting my FIL and his sig other after their backpacking trip through italy.

Last night, we took them to the guthrie to see Pillowman. I have linked a review of the play rather than the official site because it is a review i very much agree with. At first glance Pillowman is supposed to be a "dark comedy/thriller." Unfortunately, it was a depressing, causterphobic tale of child torcher, murder and unfair interrogation. The artistic director states in the director's notes that "I hope it raises questions for you about censorship, freedom of expression and artistic responsibility," and we are invited to come back on sunday for a discussion group after the matinee show. Perhaps the artists are asking us to compare these interrogation techniques to what's happening in guantanamo bay. Or maybe they would like to compare the US's own unfair and bias police tactics nationally with that of the investegators portrayed in they play. Or perhaps question our own freedom of expression and how that is being challenged today. I had the feeling i was supposed to leave this play angry and frustrated about these things and talk about these current events. Unfortunately, the peculiar backstories of each of the characters and the writer's stories themselves were too distracting.

After a night of strange dreams and nightmares, this morning, we had an artistic cleansing of the palate by attending the Heart of the Beast for the children's puppet show. What a great show! My toddler was a little hessitant of the puppets at first, but quickly warmed up to the loveable characters and the occasional song. We will definately be doing more of this on saturday mornings and highly recommend it.

We took the visitors to the cabin for a night and duluth for a night. Above is a pic of my daughter enjoying a chocolate ice cream on the shores of lake superior. We caught the height of fall colors and had surprisingly warm temperatures. One of the highlights of this little trip was Hells Kitchen just opened their 2nd restaurant right across the street from our hotel in canal park! Gawd..i'm not a big breakfast person, but OMG: They make it a damn good meal.
Finally, my toddler had her very first art show. I don't think she made any money, but you know what they say about your first art show....It's all about getting the word out about her art, not making money.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Another Green Argument

Recently at work, i listened in on a conversation about bisphenyl-A (BPA) leeching out of plastics. Specifically, baby bottles. This chemical is similar to estrogen and it may (or may not) have estrogen-like effects on people who ingest large amounts. You can ingest large amounts by ingesting food or drink from plastics that have BPA, for example avent bottles (that are made in england, by the way!).

I have heard of this debate before and thought, "I can't be worried about everything, there is a limit. The bottles are made in freakin' england, afterall. Europe is way more cautious with safety standards than the USA." Then i started reading. Basically, what i learned is some studies have found concerning health effects of BPA, but government-lead investigators have found problems with the studies done and aren't able to repeat the studies (in lab mice), but they're 'investigating the issue.'

Should that be enough to change the type of bottles we will use with the new baby? I'm not sure yet. My brief readings about plastics in general has already changed the way we heat things in the microwave (we do glass now, not plastic). And i changed my nalgene water bottle for a metal one. Should we throw the avent bottles out (to sit in a landfill) and buy glass as a result of inconclusive research??


But Where Is It Made?

For many years, my husband has been fairly anal about buying products made in the USA (or other western society that regulates factory working standards). It was a little annoying to try to shop for clothes or gifts for him. Our friends would chalk it up to his crazy engineering ways and shake their heads...and so would i. In the past year or two, i have come to realize the importance of this. For our daughter, we have tried to buy toys made in the USA (or europe) for safety reasons (this has come in handy, especially with the recent recalls). If traveling, we try to buy gifts and mementos made in the country in which we're visiting. It's almost a challenge. Recently, i wanted to buy some wooden kitchen spoons, a cutting board and a spatula. It took a while, but i found spoons made in france, a cutting board made of recycled materials in the USA and a spatula made in germany. I'll admit: We can afford to make these decisions when buying certain products. It's an option not everyone can do. But it's an important gesture that more people (who can afford it) should think about and try to do.

It's a bit mind-boggling to think of all the factories in china making the zipper on your clothes, the plastic cup for your chilled coffee, your underwear, and that toy that came with the happy meal. The people working in these factories get paid pennies a day, have dangerous working conditions and they are responsible for a lot of pollution in our world.

I am not a purist. The majority of my clothes are made in china. It's been on my mind a lot lately and as i flip things over and see 'made in china' on the bottom, i wonder what the future holds for american manufacturing. Isn't it patriotic to buy things american made? I think about these things too much and want to live in a commune and sew all my clothes and raise barns.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NPing My Pants Off

I am gradually getting used to the new job. It's extremely challenging, but fun. I have a constant feeling that i've done something wrong or that something that i diagnosed or prescribed will backfire...Sort of like that dream you keep having in school where you show up and you didn't prepare for the big exam. I'm guessing this feeling will come and go with the career. For now it's a constant and i often go to bed with thoughts of the patients i saw that day floating in my head.

I have found the transition of working 3 days a week and being a mom very smooth. Although i'm not working too much more that i did as a RN, i thought working during the work week (versus weekends) would be more difficult. With 2 1/2 year old toddler-hood in full swing, i find it much more frustrating on my days home with the toddler than the days i'm at work. Learning how to be an efficient NP and learning how to be an efficient mother works two very different parts of my brain and i have less patience with the latter. Then again, none of my patients have responded to a request with, "NO! ROAAR" and and an occasional smack--This being her current way of telling me she doesn't want to do something.

I need it

Make your custom magnet at

I was looking on the internet for a ribbon magnet i saw on a car once that said, "Support our ribbons," and found this one. I think i need it.

Make your custom magnet at
Custom Ribbon Magnet: Support USA Buy a chineese made ribbon!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fall is Here

It seems like in years past, i have blamed fall's quick invasion on starting a new school year. This is the first fall in many many years (the first fall without school...ever?!) that i haven't started school in september, yet fall came just as quickly and suddenly. For some minnesotans, the cooler temperatures are a welcome change. Although the last streak of 90 degree weather wasn't exactly comfortable (i *am* pregnant), i try to grit my teeth and enjoy it because i know that winter is long. Unfortunately, winter is not as long as it used to be. For the most part, it's dreary, dark and 32 degrees, leading to slushy snow (if we even have snow) and greenless dirty lawns and streets. Thank you, global warming.
The random pic above is of my FIL with the lissyjo fam at one of his favorite places in mpls: the sculpture garden. He is backpacking in italy and will return in oct to a different season. Hopefully he won't miss the changing leaves and beauty that mn fall has to offer (for about a day).

Speaking of things that make her happy...

She consistantly reminds me that eryn is sharing and it's not her bike. She absolutely LOVES it. I have a feeling that in our house, fall will be observed from a little red tricycle.

"...She'd be boring!"

My mother knows that my husband nor i would ever buy our daughter certain things. Fluffy purple dress up clothes, "play" high heels and earrings are among the list of these things. My mother also knows that my daughter is of an age that she understands that boxes with yellow duck stickers are for her and that we, as her parents are losing our abilities to filter gifts to her without a big toddler fit.

When i called my mother for an explanation, she said, "If your daughter only got stuff you and her father bought her, she'd be boring!"

Sunday, September 2, 2007

MN Get-together

My father-in-law and partner arrived from australia to mpls a full 24 hours late after a layover in hawaii due to mechanical problems. We picked them up from the airport at 7am and took them to the state fair. I manage to go to the fair every year, and my fair-going experience has changed through the years. When i was a kid, i went to the fair several days in a row with my mother who was "man-ning" the 3rd District Nurses Association booth (which was always fun because it was right next to the MN AIDS project booth where they gave out free condoms!). As a childless adult, going to the fair meant going through several buildings, eating lots and seeing all the animals. With child, we are lucky if we find Martha's Cookies. I realize now that everything at the fair is aimed at children. Even the roofing and siding booth has a spinning wheel with prizes for children (DAMN you whistle prize!!).
Here is the aforementioned child working on a lowe's toolbox.

Here's mommy finishing the lowe's toolbox while the toddler looks longingly at the birdfeeder next seat over.
Ah, but she found her love again for the toolbox...Here is several hours after the fair with beloved toolbox and gear.

Other highlights of the fair included the carosel, the kids farming exhibit and the SCSU 'tattoo' (My husband: "Like hell she's going to scsu...").
The australian visitors managed to muster up some excitement for the fair through a jet-lagged haze. They also managed to avoid anything on a stick (despite your video, scooter), and actually found real, frozen, fresh grapes. Not fried. Or stick-ed. Or fried. At the fair.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Korean Adoption

Even though i have NPR on all day, i somehow missed the story about the recent IKAA gathering in Seoul (Thanks, JR). I would agree with my fellow blogger that the report misdirects the attention away from the fact that korea has a poor system of "relenquishment" of their children. It is far too simplistic (and sensational) to put attention to these crazy adoptees who are "against" international adoption. The media simply missed a step. We are against a society that allows for such a laxity in child welfare to lead to so many adoptions. Of course there is a cultural influence in these situations. Cultural stigma as a single mother, or intra-country adoption. But raising these points and spreading the word in korea where it's needed is how the change is going to start.

Studying? Again?

Well, i have started the new job as a nurse practitioner and haven't died, farted, or cried. Ok, i cried once, but in the privacy of my own home. I was hoping to ease into the new job with only a handful of patients, but my schedule has been booked up every day i've been there. Unfortunately, i couldn't be eased into seeing all routine physical exams, but some more complicated chronic patients. I should have expected as much in a clinic that has all internal medicine/pediatric physicians. The challenge has been.....challenging. It has lead to me cracking the ole text books and studying these diagnoses in detail. What's scary is that i'm studying for the health (or illness) of patients, not for a test or grade. But i have been giving myself an "A" every day for my efforts.

Coming from nursing, i have fully expected the staff to haze me. Maybe not in the you-must-binge-drink-a-six-pack-of-beer-without-vomiting sort of way, but maybe accept me with some hessitation. Have a little doubt in what i'm doing. Keep an eagle's eye on me until i have proven myself. I have had none of that. People fully expect me to know what i'm doing, and perhaps this is scarier than being hazed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Superbad Supergood

Last weekend, we dropped the child off with friends and went to Superbad. I have an affection to teen movies that feature a group of guys trying to get "virginity" crossed off their list before college, and usually in a drunken stupor. I also was drawn to this movie for the kid from Arrested Development (one of the funniest shows ever). Although he played the same character in this movie, it was very effective and very very funny. Yes, it was crude at times, but plausible and contributed to the plot.

I give it a 9/10 stars.

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Other Car is

As i drove to my very first day of work as a NP (that really didn't count, because it was all about computer orientation), i realized that i am now one of those who drive to work. A commuter. A gas-guzzler. An earth-waster. I am going to mourn my days as a bicycle commuter. It felt really really good to know that i wasn't contributing to our fossil fuel dilemma. It was nice to brag about how the LissyJo household was a one-car household where the car spent the majority of the time in the garage (my husband bicycle commutes).

I would be open to taking public transit, but my only option involves a bus, then light rail, then another bus, and a whopping 81 minute commute one way. Yes, for this inconvenience, i will choose my car.

I will take our fuel-efficient car for my commute, but i would like to try to think of other ways i can adjust my life to negate the damage done to our earth that i am doing by commuting. We already recycle, re-use plastic bags, and are frugal with gas (ie, heating or cooling our home) and electricity. I would like to think of something one step further. Any suggestions?

Things I'll Never Do With My New Cell Phone

1. Talk in the car....HANG UP AND DRIVE!!!! It is so dangerous! At the least, use a hands-free device! They come free with the freakin' phone! Laws have been passed in other western countries; It's time they pass one here. Don't even get me started with texting and driving. But OHhh no, we wouldn't want to impinge on peoples' freedom to be retarded.

2. Answer in the movie theater. 'Nuff said?

3. Talk at the dinner table in a restaurant.

4. Interrupt a real, live, face-to-face discussion with a real live person to answer the cell phone with, "Hello? Oh, hi! ......Nothing, you?"

5. Forget to turn off the phone during work, meetings, and other public gatherings. I am really going to try hard at this one. I find it extremely annoying and rude.

Any you'd like to add?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Cellular Phone

I have finally joined the 21st century and bought a cell phone. I figured with the commute i will have starting next week, it's a smart idea (although, riding to work on my bicycle might have been a smarter time in my life to have a cell phone).

It took me no less than TWO hours to investigate how phones work, the difference between plans, which phones go with which plans, where to get the cheapest plan, etc, etc. By the time i found a plan i liked and the phone i liked, it was difficult to find the cheapest price. I decided i'd call directly to the cell phone plan people in attempt to play "stupid old woman wants cell phone" in an attempt to get a one year contract versus the two year contracts offered online.

The 16 year old boy i got on the phone was in training (i could hear his trainer blow his training whistle every now and then), and our conversation started off badly. He tried to upsell my plan and phone, and i declined. He started getting my personal information and didn't know the abbreviation for minnesota and had to ask me how to spell 'minneapolis.' He said, "I should know how to spell that." I responded, "Yes. You should." By this point, i was irritated and crabby. I gave him my credit card number and i swear to gawd after every number i told him, he said a different number.

Our conversation was coming to an end, and he re-iterated my name and credit card number wrong. I said with irritation in my voice, "No. That information is wrong." He said, "Oh. Sorry, mom. OOPS! I mean, ma'am. I really didn't mean to call you mom. You're not my mom. Sorry. ....... Could you repeat your information?" I couldn't help but laugh.

I received my new phone in the mail addressed to the right person and we will await to see if my bill is correct.

Inner 12 Year Old Girl

My inner 12 year old girl is giddy that SABRA won So You Think You Can Dance last night. I had my money on her for the last few weeks and she is my fav so i'm happy she won. I was tempted to buy tickets to the SYTYCD tour that's coming to the target center in oct, but the tickets are more expensive than i thought for seats that might have a view of a bouncing shiny dot that supposedly is a dancer from the show. Also, i'd be surrounded by a bunch of screaming 'tweeners; It might make me feel old.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Thorn in Korea's Conscious

Many of my 'blogger friends' were in seoul last week for the IKAA gathering. An article about it can be seen here. I have been hitting their sites frequently, hoping they are home and have posted pictures and stories about their adventures. It would've been nice to join my fellow KAD-ers in seoul to show my solidarity, but there is something selfishly satisfying about visiting korea 'on my own,' perhaps easier to blend into the background. That's one of the nice things about going to korea (all two times i've been): Being part of the majority.

I am impressed that the gathering attracted so many KADs. The article linked describes the KADs as "a thorn piercing korean's conscious." I couldn't help but think the mass presence of the KADs was noticeable. I wondered how many mothers looked into the faces of the groups of KADs walking around wondering if they were theirs. Did it inspire them to search for their own birth child or was it confirming that the child they had was cared for and healthy? After all, these KADs returned to korea to find answers about identity. This was far less important that eating and having shelter or being ostracized by family.

I wonder how the KADs are being recieved by the natives. Do they percieve this mass influx as a thorn or are they thankful their exported children want to come back for some answers? I can remember my first trip to seoul when i was 11. It was definately not the norm for an adoptee to return to korea at that time. When taxi drivers, hotel staff, waitresses, etc, realized what, i mean, who i was, they'd pinch my cheeks and look into my eyes with disbelief that i was not only fit and healthy, but i had come back in an attempt to understand the country from which i came. The most overwhelming response was from the staff at the orphanage from which i came. No child had ever come back; It was as if i had come from their very own womb. They hugged me and were so proud that i had grown up into a healthy girl.

I hope the gathering has sparked discussions in korea about international adoption. I love the thoughts and comments observed by those who attended the gathering--Thank you all for sharing your experiences!!

TV Not For Kids

I was listening to Wait Wait on NPR last weekend and they mentioned a new study examining the effects of the Einstein video series. Basically, they state that children (infants?) that watched the einstein videos on a regular basis were slower in development than children that didn't. They continued to state that watching American Idol would be more beneficial.

I took a class about media and child development in college a few years ago that was very influential to me. The teacher spoke specifically about the einstein series and how they look like a great thing for infants to adults, but, like all TV, does not (and should not) replace face to face interaction with infants. We all know that the amount of tv watched by children and adults is appallingly high, but what's frightening is the amount of tv 'watched' by (or just on in the same room as) infants. How quickly and early children learn that the tv is the most important thing in the room.

I'm not a purist by any means. I probably watch too much tv myself and our laptop is on our kitchen counter, but i try to be aware of it, especially when it's around my toddler. I am surprised at how unaware people are about it. Much like politics, many people aren't making conscious decisions. They don't realize that their tv is on 8 hours a day (even if it's not being watched).

Big Girl Undies

As the start date approaches for my new job as a nurse practitioner, i can feel my feet get cold and my stomach turn somersaults. I had a 'photo shoot' last friday and felt like i was playing pretend. The impostor feeling haunts me as my start day approaches and i have decided i should step up to this role instead of belittling myself, saying i'm only a nurse practitioner or i only came from bedside nursing as medical experience. I have always been a believer that nurses are an independent medical professional, but there is a small part of me that wears all white and a funny hat and only says, "Yes, doctor" and i'm not sure where she came from.

Because i have been in a novice role for quite some time (because i've been in school up until this point, believe it or not), you would think i'd be used to the situation of being a novice. But i have realized that as a nursing student or a new nurse, i was more graceful at embracing and utilizing this role because i was a 'non-traditional' student. Afterall, i was in the graduate school. I was not 19 years old. I was entering the profession with some other experiences under my belt. But as a nurse practitioner, i feel somewhat suspicious that perfect strangers will believe the advice and diagnoses i will propose.

I also can't help but feel like the day i felt before i started high school. I have a new peer group that i'd like to get to know, but i'd like them to believe i'm competent. This is a difficult thing to convince strangers of when i question my own competence. It doesn't help that i'm meeting them while being visibly pregnant. Although i didn't have to start high school visibly pregnant, i have the same teenage worries: Will they like me? What's the culture like? OMG, What should i wear?

One of my old co-workers told me, "It's time for LissyJo to wear big girl undies!" I responded, "...To which i will promptly soil." Just like my first day of high school, my first day as a NP, i will jump in with both feet, a big smile on my face and clean pear of underpants and hope i make it through the day without crying or farting.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Korean Restaurant Review

On a not so much a recommendation, but a shout-out of it's existence by a fellow blogger, the LissyJo clan headed to Kum Gang San korean restaurant housed in the ole Shilla digs last weekend. I was craving korean food partly because i have been thinking of so many of my blogging buddies at The Gathering in seoul last week. More on that later.

I know, i know. The best korean food in town, by far is King's, but it's a bit of a drive for us. I have enjoyed Shilla's for a very long time, and it's not too far away. My husband was never impressed by their environs...terrible lighting, random and strange room on the side, wood paneling, etc. But the food was always good.

The new restaurant doesn't quite reach expectations, but it filled a pregnancy craving for me. They are in the middle of redecorating and have painted the inside black, but still sustained the light blonde wooden furniture (circa 1988) and the 70s wall hanging that has a picture of a sparkling water fall when plugged in. Other ghosts of shilla haunted the menu and strangely, the servers didn't even try to hide the SHILLA embossed on their aprons. Surprisingly, it was fairly busy and the service had a difficult time keeping up. The anju servings were very small (call me american), but the main dishes were filling and flavorful. The prices went up; It appears they are trying to match a more sleek ambiance that hasn't been attained quite yet.

Overall? I give it a 7/10 stars on LissyJo's restaurant review.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Bilingual Toddler

As mentioned before, the little one has changed daycares to one that is teaching her spanish. It is pretty amazing how quickly she is picking it up. The teachers are all bilingual and speak to the kids in both languages. She is much more interested in the spanish books we have at home and seems to understand them in a creepy way. Creepy because how the hell did she do that?? She will also ask me, "How do you say that in spanish?" Freakin' brilliant.

Here she is singing a song in spanish.

I-35W Bridge

Yesterday, the LissyJo household decided to get on the bikes and have a ride. We went up by downtown near the river to get a gawk at what is left of the bridge. I definately have pregnancy hormones on board...I started to cry when we passed over 35W via 4th street (right before it goes over the river); You could see it end at a very awkward angle. I didn't get a pic of that because we were among tons of traffic. Also noted is the road just up from my brother's old apartment is jam-packed with national media trailors. The following is the view from the st. anthony main side of stone arch. Stone arch was still closed when we were there, but we heard on MPR that is is going to be open today.

Here is a picture of some of the network news media whores near stone arch. The park was pretty full of them. I have been fairly successful at not listening to or watching the news about this story (difficult to do in my neighborhood; Easier to do with tivo, baby). The little bit of news that i did see had a fox (of course) news whore interviewing a woman whose car was on a faulty part of bridge, but escaped. She asked, "And you have a little three month old baby at home...What do you think would've happened if you would've been a little further out on the bridge?" You whore with no soul.

And here is a pic of the view of the bridge from the other side of the river...along with a view of the back of my pregnant head. You probably can't see much in this picture unless you're familiar with this area. You can see green "support" metal sticking up at an angle if you squint.

Friday, August 3, 2007


I know i'm in dangerous ground when i name a post this. It is the suggested title of the awaiting-FDA-approval nasal spray that induces erection; Suggested by my brother. You can listen to it here. I hope my brother is enjoying the onslaught of fame from his guest appearance.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Everyone Ok

My last shift at the hospital almost turned into a double. As i was 30 minutes into helping a new mother breastfeed, i heard her guests whispering, "Should we tell her? Probably not now. I think we should tell her..." Finally, she asked a little irritated, "What's going on?" They turned on her television on and we saw the bridge in the mississippi.
Within an hour, our hospital was in 'code orange.' At first, i misunderstood this to mean "look out for know...anyone that looks different than you." After some confusion, we all realized code orange was "brace yourself for an influx of patients." My hospital is one of the closest. We were in lockdown for some time--nobody allowed in the hospital. Rumors started to fly about what exactly happened and what the injuries were. There was prediction that there wouldn't be enough staff for night shift (which would lead to the aformentioned double shift), but everyone came in early for night shift and things seemed to be well within control.
Everyone here in the city is checking in with one another...making sure everyone is safe. It's a bridge that fortunately, people i know don't routinely take due to the general crappiness of that freeway (35W) and the construction. I hope everyone you know and love are safe and sound.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

From Expert to Novice

This evening will be my last shift as an OB RN at the bedside. I had my last weekend of working twelve hour shifts last weekend and my lovely fellow weekend staff had a party for day shift AND evening shift. It's all coming to an end and it's somewhat surreal.

I can't say that i'm too sad about this transition. I have had my eyes set on the goal of being a NP, i never really fully adjusted to the identity of being an OB nurse. Even though the acuity of patient care i give is somewhat low, i now see the benefit of having experience as a bedside nurse prior to becoming a NP...which is something i thought i'd never admit to. I was somewhat belligerent about having to be a RN for any amount of time before being admitted to the NP program. But i now see how much skill and experience i have learned at the bedside that i can take with me.

And so with this experience tucked under my belt, and my fingers crossed, i jump into the next phase of my career. Oh gawd. Holy sh*t. What have i done?


As i mentioned before, my brother and dad did ragbrai last week. My brother posted a day-by-day synopsis of his adventures and it has almost made me want to tackle this long distance bicycling challenge. I enjoy challenging my body. I came thisclose to running grandma's with a very good friend of mine, but my foot disagreed with this goal. I did a triathalon once and almost drowned. Perhaps bicycling is the next thing.

I tried to convince my daddy to do this ride again, but with me sometime, but i don't think he had as much "fun" as my brother did.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In the news

Wow, i'm not sure if it's because my head isn't deep in a study hole anymore, but there seems to be a lot going on in the news lately that i wanted to comment on.

Parents deemed innocent for "spanking" their THIRTEEN year old kid with a stick. Are you kidding me? The kid pulled a knife on himself and threatened suicide in the middle of the beating which lead the response of....MORE BEATING! This is not ok. Several things have gone wrong in the parenting of this child before this. I think the beating with the stick is a huge canary that some intervention is needed. I do come from the camp that it's never ok to hit (spank, paddle, slap, etc.) your kids. There seems to be enough violence in our society. Don't get me wrong: I have already had moments where i feel like swating my child swiftly in the butt to "get her attention," and realize it's difficult sometimes. But when i feel like doing this, i realize the action would be somewhat out of my control and out of anger and that just isn't ok for the adult to do.

Yet another strike to the Tour de France. As you may have noticed in the sidebar, the LissyJo household has been watching the Tour daily. I was so disappointed and sad to hear about one of my favorite riders, alexandre vinokourov and his last minute blood transfusion (not ok). He was sort of the underdog because of his major fall early in the tour. Sixty stitches later, he was riding strong until he was caught and immediately dropped out. Now there's a new scandal--yet another positive drug screen for an unnamed rider. These atheletes are so amazing and the tour is a great way to spread the excitement of cycling, but i am afraid people associate druggies with cyclists and that makes me sad.

The taliban killed s. korean hostage. What the hell is going on in afganistan? Seems like a lot of violence and action is going on there with not much attention. Good thing we have a war on terror going on. Seems to be rather effective.

My brother and father make it through day three of RAGBRAI. Unfortunately i erased the picture my sister-in-law nabbed from their "live cam" of ragbrai that had a picture of my dad...maybe. It's difficult to tell, and it would be hugely surprising that she spotted my dad out of the 10,000 riders on this years race. Riding across iowa sounds hard. I'm proud of them for stepping up for the challenge.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Yesterday, i managed to survive taking the test and passing it. It was unexpected finding out the results right afterwards and i am so glad i did. Not only does passing this exam mark the beginning of my career as a certified nurse practitioner, it marks the end of my time as an OB nurse. After begrudging the weekend shifts for so long, this is a welcome change, but i am starting to realize that i will miss my times at my current workplace.

I am so thrilled, i can't even verbalize it.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The "C" in "CNP" and Other Emotional Items

My certification exam is monday. Passing this exam is the requirement for prescriptive drug authority, my new job that starts in august, and the label, "CNP," certified nurse practitioner. I have had my nose in the book preparing and have moved from "absolutely mortified" to "ready." I had the realization today that this is the last time i'll have to do all day (and sometimes well into the night) studying....ever. The back to school section is up at target and i don't have to go back to school this fall: Wow. This is the end of spending a complete day at the coffee shop or library. I know my future job requires continual learning, but probably not all day on my free time when i'm not being paid.

My daughter is in the middle of a transtion as well; She is moving daycare to a place that is closer to our house (now that i'll have to actually drive to work vs. riding my bike) and has a mission that more closely matches our family values. She had her last day at her old daycare last week and she was quite content with the change, but i ended up in tears. My daughter always proves to be better with transitions and changes than i give her credit for. I get upset even thinking that she'll have difficulties or have a hard time adjusting or even be slightly uncomfortable. Of course, i know these challenges in life are good for toddlers--Perhaps it's first child syndrome.

Finally, i am half way through this pregnancy and the baby has begun to really move around. I find this extremely comforting. My husband felt it for the first time this morning and it clearly wasn't as ground-breaking and emotional as i have found it to be. He sort of nods his head and responds, "To be expected," while i'm moist with tears thinking, "I AM WITH CHILD!"

Perhaps after monday when the exam is finished, i'll come down a few notches on the ole emotional rollercoaster.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Breastfeeding Toddler

Breastfeeding education is a large part of my job and i really enjoy it. I hope to one day be a certified lactation consultant (early next year, looks like?) and i think it will help my career as a nurse practitioner. Although my toddler is not currently breastfeeding, I talk about breastfeeding with my toddler whenever we talk about babies. She's exposed to friends who are breastfeeding, my screensaver is the above pic, and when she got a dolly that came with a bottle, i would always remind her that the baby could breastfeed too. I know, i know...She's only 2 and i doubted any of it she really understood. But with the new baby on its way, i have been emphasizing it more than usual because i have heard from other mothers of two that it can be difficult for the toddler to be patient with all the breastfeeding.

Just yesterday, she was playing with her dolly, giving it a bottle as usual, then she stopped and looked at me and said, "I'm gonna feed the baby with my nipples!" And that's what she did. I felt so proud.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Speaking of identity...

I had a korean patient yesterday. As with all the korean patients, i was treating them with a little extra tlc. The husband brought in korean food for his wife and i remarked how yummy it looked. As i was describing the wonderful constipating effects of a rice-rich diet, they asked, "Where are you from?" I responded, "I'm korean-adopted." They said, "Oh, and you eat rice?" I said, "Yes, it's in my blood!" They asked, "Do you know korean food?" I said, "I know it and love it." They looked at each other doubtfully and i felt a little left out.

I continued with my list of postpartum instructions and the new mother asked me if she should do anything special now that her bones were weak. I asked her to clarify and she insisted that her bones were now weaker than they were prior to having the baby. I fished a little more, trying to figure out if she had some chronic disease i hadn't caught in her chart and her husband rolled his eyes as he explained that his mother and her mother insisted that she would be very very weak after the baby was born because the bones decrease in density. He topped the explanation off with, "It's a korean thing."

Truth is, my biological parents did not die in a fire. I never knew them--like many others that look like me and live in minnesota, i was "abandoned at the steps of the police station." Sometimes, i wish i experienced pregnancy with a doting korean mother telling me what to expect. Things based on generations of tradition and culture. Although i feel i have found a satisfying birthing culture (albiet, a dying culture) of birth, i feel a loss at not having these beliefs and expectations that were told to me since i was a girl. Something that i could roll my eyes at.

Pregnancy brings out these feelings of loss, i remember it from last time. As i try to imagine what this child i am pregnant with will become, i can't help think of my own time as a fetus and the thoughts my birth mother had about me.

So, surrogate cyber-korean mothers out there...What are other korean traditions around birth that you have heard?

Friday, July 13, 2007


Last minute, i decided to go to Jae Ran's reading at Patrick's Cabaret last night. It would be my first opportunity to meet a real live blogger (besides my brother and sister-in-law...they don't count). I'm glad i went. Her reading was interesting and thoughtful. And it was odd to meet her. She looked so.....Korean, and didn't have an accent (ok, i know...this still strikes me as odd sometimes). It did give me a chance to finally purchase Outsiders Within, an important book about transracial adoption.

I was nervous to meet her and almost left without a trace, but she was gracious enough to talk to me and ask to hang out sometime. Which we will.

As i was telling my sister-in-law about it, i must have sounded like a 12 year old girl, because she said, "Did the popular girl like you?" Shut up.


Now that my nose is to the grindstone, studying my ass off for the exam, i've been thinking about the prospect of being a nurse practitioner. I had a thought that perhaps this is all a fraud. Perhaps i have somehow tricked the U of M into letting me into the NP program, and i somehow fooled them into thinking that i was smart and used lies to graduate. Perhaps i'm not what the fancy degree i just attained tells me i am. Afterall, i have just adjusted to the identity of "nurse;" Now i have a new identity to adjust to, and wonder if it's all been a lie.

Afterall, i'm pretty good at lying. When i was a kid, i used to make up answers to the question "Do you remember your parents?" I told my very best friend growing up that i did remember them...until they died in a house fire. I would squint my eyes and look up, as if searching my memory and say, "I sort of remember the village i came from." I'd explain it in detail (which looked stunningly like the village in a children's korean folktale book i had), and convincingly. My lies made me a legitimate korean, because i certainly was not a white minnesotan.

And now i have this new identity to embrace, and because it doesn't feel like a fit (yet), i wonder if i have lied my way into it. Someone (or some exam) is going to bust me.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

This, That, the Other

1. Just came home from the ultrasound and good news: No 3rd arms or legs!! Everything looked great and the child moved around like a spastic seizing monkey and we managed to not buckle to the temptation of finding out the sex. Another interesting dodad is that my placenta is indeed positioned anteriorly, which explains why i haven't felt the movement like i did with my previous (placenta placed posteriorly).

2. I scheduled my big BIG test to give me the "certified" in "certified nurse practitioner." It's for monday the 23rd and i'm scared sh*tless. I'm hitting the books hard and hope i pass. I'm not terribly good at these standardized tests, and i am not feeling very confident. But the time has come, and i need to be a big girl and do it.

3. Mama Nabi's post of her little girl's hair cut made me want to flaunt my own daughter's disaster atop her head. When i was a kid, my hair was so stick straight, i didn't bother to brush my hair. It fell limp and straight and without a tangle. I'd imagine it did cause challenging bang cutting by my mother. This hair my child has sprouted is difficult to manage. It's curly in some parts, straight in others. It doesn't calm down after brushing. Her receding hairline is growing in, but makes it difficult to find where her bangs end. It looks semi-decent if she lets me "put it up," but my fashion-conscious toddler is getting much more picky about having this done. Alas: The Mop:

South Dakota: The New Bible Belt

I was sad to hear that s. dakota went through with it's first execution in 60 years yesterday. What the hell is going on with s. dakota? They outlawed abortion statewide last year, and by a landslide. The majority of school districts have instilled stiff regulations on sex education, emphasizing the criminal penalties associated with 'unlawful sexual acts,' and encouraging 'self control' and waiting until marriage as STI/pregnancy prevention. Last year, a bill was introduced in s. dakota to increase 'intellectual diversity' on college campuses after a senator proclaimed that these college campuses have an overabundance of social sciences, and "newer programs such as feminist studies," and not enough engineering and chemistry. And let's not forget Bill Janklow and his reckless driving that killed a man.

I'd expect it from the bible belt, but s. dakota is a little too close to home...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Feels Like Butterflies

I'm 18 weeks now, and am fairly certain we have detected fetal movement. With my last, i felt a very strong kick at 16 weeks and felt her unmistakable strong movements from then on, but with this one, i was a little unsure. At 16 weeks, i started to feel the flutter so many mothers-to-be talk about but got nervous because i couldn't feel the hard kick.

I had an ob visit today and heard the heartbeat, and the little one moved for us while listening which confirmed my fluttery feelings as movement and not gas. Tomorrow i have the ultrasound to ensure there are no extra limbs and will will avoid finding out the sex just like last time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tour de England...Belgium...France

So we've started watching the tour de france. Watching the tour is sort of like exercising: I never really like the idea of doing it beforehand, but i like it after i've done it. I like knowing what has happened on the tour. I respect the cyclists for their talent (i know, i know...drug induced or not) and their amazing stamina. Makes anyone training for the ragbai look like pussies.

Monday, July 9, 2007

So his name is Bear...

We've started tivo-ing Man vs. Wild on discovery after a recommendation from a friend. Oh. My. Gawd. He is a nut. The premise of the show is they drop this guy off in desolate areas and he has to "find" his way to rescue. Ok, so his name is Bear, which one can shrug off as soon as you watch his show. First of all, nobody else is there to actually say, "Bear," which helps. Secondly, you see how, um, talented (?) he is and realize his name could be Sunshine, but you can respect that. He's half way between the half-brained, craziness seen in Irwin or Grizzly Man and someone you'd respect and trust enough to actually want him to survive in the wilderness.

Some of the crazy things he's done has been eating a fish straight out of the stream (i think it's heart was still beating as he bit into was definitely moving) and really enjoying it, drinking his own urine in the outback to fend off dehydration (not enjoying it), trying to wrangle a wild horse to ride. Some of the respectable, amazing things: starting a fire with his bare hands, building shelters that are sturdier than some i've seen in s. st. paul for one night's rest, and scaling cliffs without any climbing gear.

I'm almost certain his filming crew will watch him die one of these episodes...I wonder how his wife can sleep at night.