5 years his story

Warning: trigger post on loss.
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I’ve never fully shared his birth story. It’s been 5 years and I’m finally feeling ready because I know his soul is being redeemed. Thank you for reading if you decide to continue. I fully understand if you don’t read more.

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5 years and 2 days ago I awoke to Xavier’s Mommy’s post in the group about Xavier’s passing at 19 weeks and my heart broke. I was in bed and just stunned, never before realizing loss like that could happen. I thought once we were past the first tri we’re good! (I know, so naive!) I prayed for her and him and started my day.

5 years and 1 day ago, I was 19 weeks and I went to the gym to rest my hips in the hot tub. After avoiding the hot tub during my whole pregnancy, due to the warnings I heard non-stop, I was in so much pain I just had to go this one time. I settled in and tried to be brief. I felt him tell me he was too hot, with a little flutter and a feeling of panic. I begged him for just a couple more minutes and hovered with most of me out of the water. (I spent months regretting that until I realized it would have just been something else later that would have evoked the same response.) I finally felt a little relief and climbed out and dried off. I met Raul in the lobby and he looked at me concerned and asked if I was ok, if I got too hot. I said no, that I felt better (with a flutter of doubt), and we went home. I slept so well and was looking forward to the first Food Truck Rodeo in Seattle the next day, Saturday.

I awoke 5 years ago and pulled out my Doppler, and feeling worried from the night before, tried to listen for his heartbeat and couldn’t find it. I called my friend, who was studying to be a mid-wife and would be my doula, and asked her. She assured me that they sometimes don’t find baby easily at this stage and to rest and try listening again later. I got up and got ready, worry heavy on my heart. We went to the ‘rodeo’ and I was freezing cold the whole day, colder than I’d been for months. I knew something was wrong. I called my doctor’s office and the best they could do was an appointment on Tuesday.

But I knew. I knew he had died.

I waited until Tuesday in complete conscious oblivion and praying that what I knew in my heart wasn’t true. We checked in, the doctor who had confirmed my pregnancy was still ok just 10 weeks earlier pulled the portable u/s machine in the room and there he was, still. Still. They sent me downstairs to the big u/s machines, where I still had an appointment the next Friday for his 20 week anatomy scan. The tech didn’t say anything but excused herself and left the room. We knew. Raul held my hand and I turned my head and started crying. They sent us back upstairs. My options were a D&C or induction. My mom was flying in to town on Friday. Surgery terrified me so I opted for induction and asked to wait until Fri. They booked me a check in for Thursday morning. I told just enough of my clients and colleagues to buy a few days.

I spent two days with my angel inside of me. He would move only in reaction to my movement. I cried. I was panicked. I was numb. He was a “threatened miscarriage” from 6 weeks but they said at his 12 week NT scan he looked great! How could this happen to me? WTF do I do with myself with a dead baby in me? Well, I googled and I cried. I tried to piece together an ‘action plan’ for my hospital stay.

I took one last bump photo. I tried not to cry while Raul took my pic. He hated me for making him take it. I have NO regrets about taking it.

I had been seeing 222 frequently in the days before his death. When I got in the car to go to the hospital, our car had a range of 222 and it was 12:22pm. In that moment, I knew what it meant and I hated it. I am right where I’m supposed to be. And it is hell on earth. On the radio came the song Sail by awolnation. That became his song, my anthem of grief. It used to make me cry instantly but now I find a strange comfort in it, a ‘hi mom, I’m thinking of you,’ instead of suicide (which I did contemplate a few times when the PPM pain was too great). 222 is now comforting, I know when I see it, for better or worse, I’m where I’m supposed to be.

We pulled in to the hospital parking garage, got checked in. They made me sit in a wheelchair and pushed me to the end of the hall. It was dark, there was a white butterfly on my door. They hooked up an IV and started fluids. They put pitocin tablets up against my cervix and we waited. Slowly the contractions started to build. The dr came to check on me. She told me rather matter of fairly but with a soft touch that I could have any pain meds I wanted. I held off for quite awhile. Once the sun came up, the contractions got stronger. I asked for something for the pain, they gave me morphine. My doula came. My mom arrived. The contractions got stronger. Cervical cheeks came and went but I was little fuzzy, a little more numb. Finally they said it was time to push. It wasn’t too hard, I remember feeling his sack slide out. They popped it, cleaned him up and helped me birth the placenta. They asked if I wanted him autopsied but I declined, the thought of cutting him open made me physically ill. I was ok with having the placenta checked out. (The only thing his placenta results revealed was that he was missing a blood vessel in his umbilical cord. I believe the bleeding I had at 5-6 weeks in, just before I met you ladies, was related to that blood vessel issue as that’s when the cord forms. But that’s another story.)

He was so tiny, he fit in my hand. He was not a typical 19 week old bc of that missing vessel. His left arm was not fully formed, his head and torso were excessively swollen. But his feet and legs were just perfect. (His right side was visible in the NT scan and was formed properly so that’s why they didn’t catch anything amiss.)

I was told I could have as much time with him as I needed. The nurse dressed him as best she could, but he was too tiny for regular hospital clothing. My doula left to tend to her life. My mom went to get some food. DCW stepped out too. I ordered food for myself, and sat with my son on the pillow next to me. I pretended he was ok. I talked to him, I held him. I WILL NEVER AGAIN JUDGE A POST-PARTUM MOM FOR ACTING “CRAZY”. I get it now. I understood what a ‘mother’s love’ meant finally and it did me no good. I didn’t know before that it could hurt this terribly. I didn’t know before that it would be so beautiful. He was so beautiful. I could see Raul in him. I could see all the hard work our bodies did, G’s and mine, to build him as he was.

I spent a good 8 hours with him by my side before the nurse came to take him away. He would be transported to a nearby funeral home. I couldn’t watch her walk away with him. I wanted to scream to bring him back. To let me take him home, please just let me take him home. (Repeat after me, I will never judge a PPM mom again.)

The grief counselor came but I was too numb and in shock for her to be any good. The u/s office downstairs called wondering why I wasn’t at my 20 week scan and that they’d have to charge me for no-showing (um, hello, you saw me three days ago, who the fuck forgot to cancel my appointment?!?). That was the first, but not last, person I had to tell that my baby died. Pretty sure I cursed those words at her on the phone. They checked on me a couple more times then said I could be released. It was dark by now. Raul helped me pack. They put me in a wheelchair again.

Coming out to the lobby and to the elevator was a LARGE, maybe 30+ family of a patient. Happy, excited, cheering, with balloons. I wanted to scream at them to shut up. Instead I looked away, trying not to burst into tears. That moment, that moment right there, has been the hardest moment of my life. To wheel past all of those happy people without my baby. To go home without my baby. I succeeded in keeping my composure until the elevator doors closed. Raul helped me into the car and drove me home.

We held a small funeral service for G a couple days later. I got to see him and say one more good bye. I didn’t want to leave. Raul had to pull me away bc it was someone else’s turn.

I don’t remember much after that. The day I checked in to the hospital was the last day of summer. The day I left it was fall and started raining. It rained for days. I couldn’t get out of bed. My milk came in, a stinging giant Fuck You from the universe. Raul made me sage butter pasta for a week straight. I wore allthebras. He forced me to go outside on walks, and pointed out the lovely bits of nature. He watched me slide down and wouldn’t let go of me. For all of my bitching about him, he saved my life.

After 2 weeks I had to go back to work, to deal with my projects and the volunteer gig I had signed up for (as Madam President of a professional organization.) I threw myself into distractions. I still bled for 6 weeks.

I joined the FB group Stories of Babies Born Still. I learned how common this is. I heard stories of heartbreak worse than mine. I didn’t have a fully put together nursery I had to dismantle. I was not due in a week or due last week.

If I had a super power, it would be perspective. I can see both sides of the coin. I can understand the other’s point of view (even when my ego doesn’t want to admit it!) and if I ever seem callous or dry or harsh, it’s because of this power. Seeing these stories of others, of still born babies, of nicu babies lost, and since then of Syrian babies killed, of women who choose abortion, and so much more, gives me a weird comfort. Comfort that I got off easy. That my experience was only this bad. And I felt guilt about that for a long time, but a special reiki session helped me make peace with this. I understand now that he chose me as his mother and he only needed that little amount of time on earth to reach perfection.

The hospital classified him a miscarriage because he perished at 19 weeks, one week shy of the ‘cut off’ to be recognized as still born. I didn’t get a death certificate. I did get a cremation bill.

My grandma, who had 3 early miscarriages of her own, has, for the last 5 years, knitted small little baby blankets for me after she first heard he was too little for the hospital clothes. I tuck a card and a blanket in a ziploc and deliver them to hospitals in his name.

It was hard to be an invisible mother. It’s much easier with a rainbow baby because at least now the world recognizes I am a mom. But it’s still hard. He’s not in pre-k. He’s not losing teeth. He’s not riding his bike next to me. All these things he will never do are thoughts I usually just try not to think.

Then I’ll be alone in my car and that song, Titanium, comes on. There’s something about it, I can’t explain. It transports my heart back to that hospital bed and I’m instantly in tears. Tears of sorrow. Tears of joy. Tears of strength. I am titanium. I remember my lesson from my first son. My purpose is to pick up the pieces of my broken heart and carry them forward, to grow them into a new love. To spread love. To be love. To calm my fears, to trust my strength. To run in the fields on these most perfect feet I have, with angels lifting me up, and Bear by my side, reminding me of all I have lost and all I have gained.

I am sitting on the floor in Bear’s room as I type this, crying of course. And just as I typed that last sentence, in his sleep he rustled and then said, “whoaaa!” and I have to giggle. Thank you my son.

 

I love you forever.

I like you for always.

Beyond when I’m living,

my baby you’ll be.

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To the Mom at the park whose son has Down Syndrome

Dear Mom at the park whose son has Down Syndrome, I’ve been to this park many times since before I can remember. I’ve played in the wading pool. I’ve run around on the grass playing with my imagination and later my younger brothers. I’ve rowed on the lake and run up and down the stadium steps. I’ve walked the lake dozens of times with my dogs. I’ve stumbled across the green grass in the dark with my BFF, both of us inebriated after her bachelorette celebration. I’ve nursed my baby on the benches around the lake, by the theater and by the basketball courts because that’s where he melted down. I’ve taken my baby swimming at the pool. I know this park well, but this was my first day at the playground with my little boy, Bear.

Greenlake Greenery

Bear and I have had such a journey to get here. I remember the NT scan and genetic testing. I opted for it mostly because it was one more opportunity to see him when all I could do was feel his little flutters. I needed that reassurance even though my odds of having a child with down syndrome were low. I needed that reassurance because the last scan I had of my first little guy missed all of his problems because abnormal nuchal translucency wasn’t one of them. I came close to that alternate universe. That universe where my first son survived and had such incredible physical challenges that life would never have been the same in so many good and bad ways. As my little rainbow literally face planted in the sandbox and started eating dirt I looked around in the hopes that no one would be judging me for letting him eat a little dirt before I reeled him in. After two younger brothers I know boys = loud dirt.

Bear loves dirt

It was then that I noticed you.

Your son caught my eye next. It might have been the way the light reflected off the fire trucks parked next to us. Or really it was the halo of loving energy he exuded that caught me, entranced me. He was laughing, having such a good time. Then I noticed something a little different. It took me a few moments of watching him to put my finger on it. Suddenly it clicked and I realized he has that magical extra chromosome. That chromosome that opens hearts and comes at everyone with love. I saw how tired you were, trying to corral him into the stroller as it was time to go. I saw his older brother patiently helping you and him. I saw his older sister resisting leaving because she too was having a ball. I saw his older brother getting behind the stroller to push him around. I saw you watching me watch you. I saw you turn away, maybe embarrassed or feeling self conscious or maybe angry because I WAS staring.

Mama, I want you to know what I was really thinking.

I was really thinking your son has such a lovely soul that shines right through his beautiful face. That crocheted blue hat he was wearing looked so soft and framed his face just right. Its color made his complexion even brighter. I was really noticing his cherry red cheeks, flushed and happy from playing in the crisp morning. I was really seeing his joyous self excited by all the people and commotion. I was really watching how lovingly his siblings interacted with him. I was really thinking to myself, “Wow. He is such a beautiful little boy.”

I want you to know what I was really thinking because I don’t want you to think for one more second that I was doing anything less than marveling at the miracles of your life. I was humbled to be in your presence. You’re a veteran mom and I don’t doubt you have had to fight a lot of battles on behalf of your children. I can only imagine how you felt after your NT scan, or if you even had one. I can only imagine the stares you’ve already faced. I can only imagine the challenges you’ve faced. I hope you know, in your heart of hearts, that you are winning and wonderful and my hero.

With RAWR, Marie

The 7 Rules of Baby Sleep

I write this as my 9 month old sleeps in his crib. Knock on wood that I don’t jinx myself by breaking the rules. What rules? Why the Rules of Baby Sleep! There are rules to baby sleep? “Yes!” said every mother ever. I thought babies slept great, you know the phrase, “sleep like a baby” had to come from somewhere… See #3 said every mother ever.

1. You do not talk about baby sleep. You do not text about how long he has been asleep. You do not brag about how long of a stretch she can go. You do not talk about baby sleep. Why? It is guaranteed to wake the baby. How? The wrath of God/the bitch Karma.

2. Never ever ever ever ever ever wake the baby. Unless you got a wee nugget and the doc EXPLICITLY says so to feed her, do not wake the baby. Dirty diapers really can wait. That spit up spot will dry. Why let him slumber? If you must know, go ahead, wake him, I dare you. 

3. If you wake said baby, “stabby” becomes a legitimate description of that child’s mother’s feelings. Thoughts like, “hmm… I feel stabby” begin to appear in her mind after spending 90 minutes with her arms extended in front of her bouncing on an exercise ball at 3am to coax the woken baby back to sleep.

4. Noise levels must be held constant from the moment the child falls into sleep until as long as you can make it last. Neighbors getting a new roof and suddenly it’s lunch time? Fire up the power tools because as soon as the decibels drop so does your book/plate/deuce. The same is true for the quiet drift off. You’ll be feeling stabby when Fido starts barking at the door.

5. Laundry is awesome. Clean your undies and keep the quiet in one swing. Pick the cycles that run as long as possible. Heavy duty? Of course! Sanitize? why not? Extra rinse? You bet! Then sit back, cross your fingers and pray it lasts! (the machines that is!) Friendly reminder to turn OFF the end-of-cycle chime!

6. Anyone who tells you babies sleep most of the day is: a) really effin mean, b) has never had children, c) has a drug problem or d) won the baby sleep lotto and got one that sleeps where- and whenever. Ignore them all. Prepare for a war of love. Your home quickly becomes a battlefield with a dozen craters (places to put baby down), shrapnel (burp cloths) littered about and the residuals of (poop) explosions hiding in corners. The weapons… Swaddling and moving. Invest in an exercise/stability/big bouncy ball. Want to know why? See #2 above. 

7. You will gain a new appreciation for sleep- yours, theirs, everyone’s. If you really love him or her, let them nap!

A Rainbow for my Minions

Oh minions, dear minions, how I have missed you so.

I am sorry for not posting lately. I can offer you a lot of excuses but it’s ok not to care. You’re busy, I know that. You’re also awesome, did you know that? I’ll tell you why in a moment.

Those of you that read this blog, thank you. I hope you get a chuckle or two, maybe a laugh, a new perspective on an old situation and inspiration to let your own inner RAWR out once in a while (I promise, your RAWR will thank you). Hard as I may try, I can’t guarantee any of that will happen.

Over the last couple years, during this unexpected sabbatical, I’ve come to appreciate even more what you mean to me. You inspire me. You give these words purpose. You push me to learn more, know more, grow more and love more.

Thank you for still coming here day in and day out whether I’ve posted or not. That makes you awesome in my book. I’m finally getting (again?) to a place in my life where I can put some time and thought into this thing called RAWR and hope I don’t disappoint you.

I also have a little bit of of good news to share. (Of course I’m saving the best for last!) In July of 2013 I found myself staring down the end of a pregnancy test that read POSITIVE! After 10 months of terror, delight and worry, in March of 2014 I brought a handsome & healthy little guy into this world! For our purposes his name is Bear. I’ve grown and learned so much in Bear’s first 9 months on this planet. I’ve also honed my sarcasm stick and bullshit meter with months of sleep deprivation. I greatly look forward to sharing my insights with you as we all RAWR together.

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Happy World Down Syndrome Day_ a tribute to eternal love

It was decades ago but I still remember snippets like it was yesterday. Sitting shotgun in Oma’s station wagon, my flute case on my lap, rain misting over the car as we barreled down the back streets. Into the waterfront community we went. We drove to where the gardens are shaped like animals and everyone’s lawn is immaculate and level. Beautiful flowers peek out of the rockery used to secure the hillside to each home.

We pull into the driveway and ascend the stairs to the front door. I look behind me at the Sound, the water glistening off in the distance, a dreary dark blue grey with just a pocket of sunshine hitting the waves and glistening back at me. Stepping inside I’m hit by the smell of them. Not in a bad way, but in the way that everyone’s home smells a little bit different. I gaze up at her cases of trophies and collectibles while Oma and her chit chat. We walk down the stairs past photos of her, of him, of their son.

I don’t remember if I was ever able to meet her son. She talked about him a lot and had photos everywhere and I always left feeling her love and grief. The love made sense to me. The grief, not so much to my small self. I could not put words to it, but I could feel it’s cloudy presence over her heart.

She would walk me to her music room, help me get set up, kindly ask about my day while Oma sat to the side, or upstairs some days.

© Yiannos1

Joy would teach me about music. She would teach me about playing the flute, about proper breathing, reading music.

© Argument

© Argument

What I didn’t realize until many years later that she was also teaching me the strength to love in the face of grief. She taught me how to have an open heart, a patient mind and how “disability” is a state of mind and environment, not a reflection on someone’s soul, their heart or them at all.

She loved to talk about Davey. She loved to share his photo and tell me about what a loving a warm heart he had. Her beautiful son, Davey, was born with Down Syndrome.

Pilot with down syndrome

*not Davey, but a close stand-in

She always wanted a child. Joy and Herb had tried for many years. Joy was a former beauty queen and dedicated musician and singer. Herb was a brass man. Keen to the trumpet, her to the winds, together they would teach children to love music, to be good at music.

Then came Davey.  He grew from a baby to a toddler to a young boy. It was as he was turning into a young man that his generous heart gave out. They loved him so much, and I’m sure they grew to love him more and more each day even after his passing.

The look in her eye would be bright and shiny at first, then as her memories moved forward in time, the twinkle would dim and a veil of grief would sneak in. He was her only son and he was perfect.

Davey was a fighter who would constantly defy the odds. Growing older against doctor’s opinions. Going to school and embracing his life, he was a lover who welcomed every person he encountered with an open heart and compassion. He is an angel and an inspiration.

Joy was a mother who loved her son unconditionally. Her love for him was so great it gave her the strength to be a mentor to and love other people’s children. She tutored many dozens of kids in her years teaching music. The photos they would send her, for years even after going to college and moving away, are a testament of her work. (Any woman who can love someone else’s child as if he or she were her own, in the face of her own loss, is superwoman to me.)

What I took away from Joy and Davey was not a tale of loss, but a tale of dogged determination, hope and love. I don’t know if Joy and Herb are still around, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking of them and thanking them for their love.

For more information on World Down Syndrome Day click HERE

Munday Munchies

Most weekends Raul and I do our major grocery shopping trip of the week. We pick a couple meals we’ll want to eat in the coming days by browsing food magazines, cook books and browsing online. This past weekend we didn’t go grocery shopping. I know! It’s a travesty!

All this talk of food and my almost empty fridge this morning has my inner rex feeling extra hungry. So I thought I’d share a little collection of yummy-looking, hopefully tasty treats for our inner Rex’s that will leave you and your little rexes saying “RAWR!”

Quick Side note: When my wiggly boxer, Sadie, gets hangry, she grunts and wiggles at me. I imagine her grunting would translate into something like this…

make me a sandwich

When your little rexes get hangry and grunt at you, you can make their dinos into a sandwich.

dinosaur sandwich

And don’t stress over the shape, this sandwich cutter makes it a snap. Find it HERE.

dinobytes

Maybe this is your first real foray into dino inspired meals, so let’s start easy. Mashed potatoes, Check! Broccoli, check! Dino toy, check!

On your way to a RAWR-ific meal, you can just dip your dino’s toes in the ‘tatoes with this yummy dinner set up. Give this to your small rex when they need a little inspiration to eat and you need a low commitment meal…

Dinosaur-trees-1

Or maybe you just need a small snack, a bit of protein to tide you over. With Easter just around the corner, this would be a great week to make some edible dinosaur eggs.

dino eggs

To learn how to make these click HERE

dino eggs2

If you’re feeling really creative, or you want to throw your little rexes a curveball this Easter, try making some GIANT dinosaur eggs! These are of the Brontosaurus or T-Rex variety.

dino eggs3

SHHHH!!! They’re really Watermelons!

dino eggs4

Once you’re done with lunch, dinner and the egg hunt, don’t forget dessert! There’s always room for dessert!

First a dirty Oreo dessert…

dirt-oreo-dinos

Or host your own archeological expedition into cupcakes….

dinomuffindough

I think that about wraps up our tour of tasty T-rex treats. Is your mouth watering yet?

In case you need some assistance fully embracing the Dino Dining methods, there is a book to help… click the image to be linked to Amazon.

dinosaur book

Do you want to know how to make the dishes above yourself?Click on the photo of any dish you want the recipe for and it will link you to the original source.

Happy Munday!

RAWR & ❤

Ode to the 80’s and the Moon

Ah, the days of Reese’s Pieces and ET phone home… Yup, those were the days, the 80’s. And eventually the wild-n-out RAWR of that decade morphed into the neon nineties. Somewhere in this mix of fashion adventure and extra terrestrials, an amazing shoe was born. It was over the top, the high top, to be exact. It was flashy. It was fahbyoulus. It was… the LA Gear Trainer.

LA-GEAR

Somehow (I can’t remember so it must be magic), I convinced my mom or my grandparents (again, I can’t remember, so maybe it was a wizard) to get me this pair of LA Gear High Tops, but in a crisp black and pink only (bottom right in image below). I will never forget the double laces and how supported my feet felt. I will always love the sassy touch of the side suede ribbing.

LA Gear Trainer

I do remember eeking out a small RAWR of excitement when I got my foot resting on the cushy sole, the double laces laced up, the velcro flap flipped over and velcroed down and the license plate flair promptly added to my key chain collection, I was ready to go. This is also when I discovered my power color. HOT PINK. And it made my wardrobe so much easier! Hot pink or Black leggings, check! Hot pink and black oversized sweatshirt, check! Hot pink or black scrunchie to complement my fountain bangs, CHECK!

So reminisce with me… In the spirit of the recent full moon, I’d like to share this handy mug. You can find it at Zazzle.com. Then, while you drink your coffee out of it, you can chuckle as you remember your early RAWRS.

moon mug

Someone tried but failed to erase the dinosaurs

While searching the far hills for some signs of creativity, my pick axe eyes landed on this fun item at Daniel Smith Art Supply. An eraser that whittles down to a dinosaur skull, a fossil eraser! Find yours here.

Fossil Eraser

Potbelly Adventure

Approaching a dangerous level of HANGRY this past week, Raul and I stopped in at a previously un-tested (by us) establishment aptly named Potbelly Sandwich Shop. I had a good feeling about this place. I’m not in Subway anymore.

Potbelly 3

Standing under the menu, trying to keep my mouth from gaping open and drooling, I carefully read through my options. Turkey is my go-to Beneficial meat so I order up.

With Mushrooms please.

Potbelly 3

The very nice lady behind the counter loads my sandwich into the oven where it ambles along the slow belt, toasting up under the heat. I’m too enthralled with my sandwich to look around. Quietly, Raul points out the T-Rex on their chalkboard cabinet.

Potbelly 1

A special lunch for someone who is REALLY HANGRY! RAAAWR!

Potbelly 2

Finally my sandwich is ready and I inhale it in three breaths. I was so HANGRY I forgot to snap a photo like my weird-self normally does, sorry! It was really good. Gooey cheese, turkey crisped at the edges, a nicely toasted bread and mushrooms.

As I’m cooling down from the HANGRY attack I finally look around the place and notice the fabulous job by the HVAC team. So clever!

Potbelly 4

Dino Friends at Freddies for Easter

While browsing the ridiculously low priced past-Valentine’s day candy to replenish my chocolate stash, I was shocked to see Easter toys already out! We’ve still got to get through St. Patty’s Day! So intrigued by the Easter toys and caught reminiscing about all my awesome Easter Egg hunts as a kid and their resulting chocolate stashes… I wandered the aisles until I stopped in my tracks at these cheerful rawrs.

Dino friends 1

They are NOT dog toys but dino buddies for your babies and big boys in cheery colors and a species for every species. A lot of kids come born with their RAWR out and unabashed and learn to tamper it down as they grow older, fitting in with society. Instead of the Rat Race, let’s stick with the Dinosaur Age and learn to RAWR a little.

Dino Friends 2

Dino Friends 3

Dino Friends 4

In my area, Fred Meyer sells Kroger, so you may find them at your local Kroger affiliate. Happy Hunting!

Dino Squishies at Target

With one big and one little Doggie-sidekick, I’m always on the look out for new “squishies”* or soft dog toys to keep their minds occupied. We have some pretty high standards too. Squishies must be well seamed, durable, and of course, enticing to gnaw on.

Dinosaur Dog Toys Target 1

Raul and I stumbled upon some new selections** at Target. They’ve got a few different color flavors to suit any dog. $7.99 for a slice of rawr, so check your local Target.

Dinosaur Dog Toy Target 2

If you’re looking for some solid dino Squishies, check out QPG’s other Dino collection. We’ve had good success with some of their toys, “Chicken” is a favorite.

Dinosaur Dog Toy Target 3

*Squishies is not in reference to any child. We do not condone doggies gnawing on kiddos. Or babies.

*We have not tested these particular dinosaur squishies yet, but will post a review when the girls have completed their evaluations.

Dino Diggs at Costco!

I happen to live pretty much equidistant between two Costco’s aaaannnddd I have a membership. So I go there. A lot. When I think about my culture, I’m pretty sure I’m a part of the Costco culture. As much as I love Costco, I am not quite one of their disciples. We usually go with a budget, which is less fun, but more practical.

If you aren’t familiar with Costco (or Sam’s Club, just Walmart’s version), I have to ask in what hole has your head been stuck for the last 10 years? So I will assume we all know how awesome Costco is. Yes, it’s hard to find anything for less than $10 and even harder to leave spending less than $100, but that is because they are so good at temptation.

“Oh yes, get your toilet paper, but we’ll make you walk to the back of the store for it, past all the goodies!!! MWAHAHAHA!”

With a little extra free time, I found myself wandering the aisles, contemplating what gadget or gizmo would actually make my life better.  Aside from the bulk quinoa and a dog bed, I didn’t find much. That is… until I found THESE! I had to restrain myself from L-I-T-E-R-A-L-L-Y  “SQUEEE”ing in the store. If I had a million dollars I’d buy these all up and distribute out RAWRS like party favors. But alas, I don’t have a million dollars, so you’ll have to settle for some photos.

Costco Dinosaurs 1 Costco Dinosaur 2 Costco Dinosaurs 2

My only two comments back to Costco would be, where are the PINK dinosaur jammies? Even girls like dinos. And find some grown up footie pajamas, please. You know those would sell like hot dogs!

Too many d*cks on the dancefloor…

A Reader: There’s the Testosterone Conundrum… Teenage boy + step father = constant conflict & disagreements so what do I do?

Father and Son

Boys boys boys. Growing up in a house full of two “little” brothers, a wrestling match or stinky hamper was never far away. Neither was a fight over our mom’s attention. Like two dueling dancers, they’d each try to out-do the other until she noticed. Even when you love the boys in your life they can be stinky, LOUD, rude, and messy all at once without realizing it themselves. Lots of testosterone can certainly strain a family relationship. It doesn’t even take a full grown boy to disrupt a family dynamic, even a Preggosaurus Rex growing a little boy can produce enough testosterone to kick the circus off-queue. So what is a mama rex to do when the going gets too RAWR?

The first step is to channel it. I like to think of testosterone as steam in a kettle. The more of it a guy has, the more forcefully he needs it to be turned into spent energy. You can’t just cap the steam and expect it to go away, it needs a healthy outlet. Finding some activity they can do together, maybe it’s race RC cars, or go to batting practice or work on a car, or whatever it may be for your boys, will go a long way in helping them bond in a healthy way. The more healthy outlets they have in common, the stronger a relationship they’ll be able to build.

There’s also some sticky family dynamics at play, underneath all the hormones and beating their chests with fists. There is a father-son dynamic that needs support. Right now, as a teenager, your son can’t see the big picture and long term because his pre-frontal cortex is just not quite there. It will take him a few years to realize your husbands’ actions aren’t putting restrictions on him or reigning him in just to be mean, but rather to give him guidance that typically comes from Dad. Finding ways to nurture this bond is tricky and often, a well-intentioned plan can backfire in your face. Some degree of Mama-Sneak is called for, but not too much. You can send them on errands together, find new activities that they both have to try (outdoor stuff is good because they burn much more energy and come home tired!), but be careful being too sneaky in setting activities up.

Something that seems to work well for the men I love in my life, but certainly is not appropriate for everyone, is being the rube for them in those crucial bonding situations. When they can be on the same ‘team’ because they’re both laughing with (and usually at) me, I don’t take it personal because I know they in the end, they’ll be more bonded, and it’s not like there’s any less love then.

The other consideration is to be an open listener for your son. This means to LISTEN and not judge or try to problem solve but just listen. He’s reaching an age where he wants to emotionally attach and if you and him have a good relationship, he’ll attach back to you. This is not attachment in some weird way but rather he’ll develop a deeper trust with you. He’ll be comfortable sharing more than the typical teenage boy shares with his mother about the happenings of his life. The goal is for you and his Step-father to be there for him as a solid support- through dumb decisions and good decisions.

And when all else fails, “RAWR” at them.

Tough guys don’t mess with dinosaurs

Many thanks to I Fucking Love Science for putting this cozy ensemble on our radar. Don’t get caught un-armed ever again!

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Give your RAWRS a a real punch of intensity with this comfy gear.

Even better, your little rexes and big rexes can find a size!

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Prefer Raptor? There’s one for you too!

Little Rex_1

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Find your hoodie at www.nothingbutdinosaurs.com!

Dinos for dessert

Several of my friends have kiddos approaching or passing their first birthday. In the spirit of birthday RAWR, I thought it fitting to share a slideshow of Dinosaur Birthday cakes to get your creative juices flowing! Many thanks to iVillage for compiling the full list of cakes, images and RECIPES. For the full article, CLICK RAWR.

Of the 21 cakes shared, my favorite is this guy…

Dinosaur Cake

Doesn’t he just look tasty? For this Rex’s recipe, click RAWR.

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