Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Ah, Hindsite.

OK, Mom and Dad, I'm about to out a little family secret, so brace yourselves: We were a family of spenders. Granted, we had very little money to spend, but when it came to spend vs. save, well, we ran with the philosophy that the former was way more fun, and we'd deal with the latter some other day. I don't ever remember my parents not having credit card debt, car payments and a mortgage. But we still took vacations and tried to live life to its fullest. There was little talk about the importance of saving for retirement, or a rainy day, or the collapse of the global financial industry.

I carried that mindset with me into adulthood. Credit card debt was just part of life, nothing to be worried about. Car payments were what you had if you wanted to drive anywhere. School loans? Well, you were investing in your future, so why not? Two homes? Ok, now we're getting out there, but hey, our first home is in a desirable neighborhood, surely it will sell soon-ish. A new business? It's in the green beauty industry, predicted to grow faster than any other segment of the beauty world, tons of market share to be had.

Worst economy since the Great Depression? Well that wasn't part of my plan at all. And now my life feels like a big ol' deck of cards and it's stressful wondering if and when someone is going to come along and yank out one of the bottom cards. I found myself looking around our Honda Pilot the other day (yet another source of debt), glad that we purchased a spacious car with a DVD player, just in case we ended up having to live in it.

I know we're still in the "lucky people" camp. The business is doing pretty well - all things considered - and we both still have our jobs - fingers crossed - and all of us are healthy - finally. But at PDI we've had to take pay cuts, and sales at the NOB have fallen flat this week, and so I can't afford to hire help, which means I'm still working 70 hours/week, not counting the hours when the kids are awake. Again, stressful. So please, buy yourself some natural soap, or shampoo, or lipstick. Do it for the children. : )

Speaking of which, for the most part, the kids are great. Assuming I remember, I really will post some new pics on here tonight. If you happen to be a Facebook friend of mine, you can see some fairly recent photos. Eliana is delightful, but I know she's still not breathing well enough at night to be rested during the day. She gets so tired by 6pm, she looks like she's been using meth or pulling all-nighters to prep for an organic chemistry exam. But she's brilliant and so compassionate. No one really predicted that last trait, but she is endlessly patient with Meron, even though Meron's behavior toward Eliana is unpredictable at best, and downright mean at worst. She still gets crushes on boys, usually older ones, but I think that's just going to be her. Her gymnastics skills have increased dramatically, which has me a little excited, given her petite frame and abs of steel (you have to see what she can do to really grasp what I mean).

Meron is much better since her surgery, but man is she still Two Years Old. Last night was the worst night we've had in a while. I think what makes it so horrible when she is having an off night is that her scream hurts. My left ear still smarts a little bit this morning, I kid you not. And when she's screaming in the car, I keep thinking we should hire her out to the CIA for use in their interrogation methods. Then I remember Obama's recent executive order, and conclude that there is no way Meron's scream falls within the rules of the Army Field Manual. It would, however, be highly effective. Had Eliana screamed like that, I would be deaf. So thank god for little miracles, I guess.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Blys made it to 2009!

Happy New Year!! Or, should I say, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, AND Happy New Year!

You may be wondering just what I have been doing while not keeping the blog up to date. In fact, I've been blogging my crazy little fingers off...just not here. So if you're ever feeling like you need a little dose of Terri prose, you can go to the Nature of Beauty blog - - and see what I've been up to with the biz. Or, you can check out, too, as I post there from time to time as well. See? I have been blogging my little fingers off!

I'm sorry I've been so bad about updating you on the family, though. There's been a ton of stuff to write about, too. When I have the other computer with all the pics, I'll upload those. In the meantime, tomorrow Meron has surgery. My poor little punkin has had a sinus infection for the past 4 months, and after 3 courses of antibiotics, it hasn't gone away. It gets better with each one, but then comes back like the hour after she has her last dose. I try not to panic, and have been doing fairly well at that. Must be the Lexapro, because it's really the kind of thing I normally panic about. Just before Christmas I thought she had a bunch of ear wax in her ear, but when I went to clean it out, I realized it was...a....big booger. Then I looked in the other ear, and sure enough, yet another booger. While it was certainly possible Meron was experimenting with a booger relocation project, behind the nasty green blobs were streams of the liquid version (a.k.a. snot, in case you weren't following me). I figured that wasn't normal, and sure enough, the sinus infection had burst through both ear drums and the stuff was flowing out her ears. Apparently her nose was not large enough to do the job.

What that means is that tomorrow morning my little nugget is having tubes put in her ears. And they're going to test the junk in her sinuses to see if the bacteria is a drug-resistant kind like, say, a staph infection. Again, should be panicking, somehow calming typing instead. They may also remove her adenoids if they are infected, too. All in all, it's going to be a lovely morning, and I expect Meron to enjoy the entire process. I have already sustained some hearing loss after the visit with the ENT doctor. If you haven't heard Meron scream her best scream, just listen very carefully tomorrow morning around 8am, and no matter where in the country you may be, you will probably hear something that sounds like an air raid siren that occasionally stops to take a breath.

I think that's probably sufficient for now. I'll do my best to keep this blog in better shape, and within days, there will be some great new pics!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Love in all its many forms

Eliana has entered a new phase in her artwork. Whereas before she was more abstract, her drawings now tend to reflect what is going with her today. Let's take a look at a recent piece:

Cute, yes? Now let's zoom in for a closer look:

If you look at the center of the photo, you'll see a little person with a line extending from her lips to another person, and a heart next to him. Yes, I said him. His name is Tommy.
I first heard of Tommy on the way from school a few weeks back. Eliana told me she had made up a song for a boy in her after-school program. It went something like this: Tommy cutie, Tommy funny, Tommy sweetie, I love Tommy. This may have been wishful thinking, but I assumed Tommy was another 5-year-old whom she was chasing in the playground, or something equally innocent and innocuous like that. So I asked her:

"Eliana, how old is Tommy?"
"Umm....I don't know."
"Is he in kindergarten?
"No. I don't know how old he is, but he's definitely not in kindergarten."

Well that had me a bit more curious, so I made a mental note to ask her to point him out next time I picked her up. Her after school teacher, Ms. Jodie, beat me to it. A couple days after the Tommy song, Ms. Jodie asked to speak with me before I gathered my child and headed out for the day. She told me that Eliana tends to follow Tommy around most days, and he tolerates it very well and is very nice to her. That particular day, however, Tommy wanted to play with friends his own age. Meaning boys who are 10 years old. Yup, Tommy's in 4th grade. An older man, if you will. Anyway, Eliana was apparently beside herself, wailing and sobbing about how she loved Tommy and he didn't love her back.

Sometimes, as a parent, you experience things you didn't really prepare yourself for. This was one of those times.

I stared back at Ms. Jodie with what I'm sure was a blank look on my face, totally unsure what the appropriate parental response was supposed to be. Ms. Jodie said that she thought it was fine, she just wanted me to know. Ok.

The next day, Ms. Jodie once again pulled me aside, this time telling me that Eliana crawled into her lap with a big smile on her face and announced that she had given Tommy a big ol' kiss. Apparently, she was pleased as punch about it.

Sometimes, as a parent, you experience things you didn't really prepare yourself for. This was one of those times.

I stared back at Ms. Jodie with what I'm sure was a blank look on my face, totally unsure what the appropriate parental response was supposed to be, and feeling a little inadequate that I was now 2 for 2 in that area. Ms. Jodie went on to explain what seemed to me to be a very complicated conversation she had with Eliana about how Eliana had to get our permission to kiss Tommy, and Tommy needed to make sure his parents were OK with it, and then Eliana had to ask Tommy if it was OK, and then I guess it was fine?

Paul handled it thusly:

"Eliana, at school there is a rule that you can't be kissing boys. So no kissing boys at school, OK?"

As far as I know, she has not made any further advances on Tommy. She did, however, tell us the other day that she kissed one of her girlfriends on the mouth, because the other girl asked her to.

Again, not ready. Just so not ready! If I thought this was her way of imitating behavior, if she was talking about having boyfriends but clearly didn't know what that meant, if emotionally she seemed to be feeling no differently toward boys than anyone else, I wouldn't care. But you can see it in her eyes when she talks about boys (she also loves a boy in her class named Anthony, or as she apparently refers to him, Sweetie Pie): she has feelings for them! She's only five!!! I was supposed to have at least 4 more years of opposite gender aversion!! Better yet, I was still holding out hope that she would prefer girls, which hasn't been ruled out given her kiss-on-the-mouth experience with that other girl, but you could tell it was different. She didn't dig this girl the way she digs Tommy Boy. I can't even believe I'm writing this. What on earth am I in for?!

Complete topic change

Speaking of preferring girls, I want to take a moment and get what may be perceived as a bit political. It breaks my heart that California's gay marriage ban passed. When there are so many horrible things happening in the world - rape, abuse, starvation, preventable diseases, unimaginable poverty - why do we expend so many of our financial and emotional resources fighting love? Millions of dollars go into these campaigns to ban gay marriage. Think of how many microloans could be made with that money that could transform third world communities by providing women with the start-up funding they need for their own business. And instead, we're spending it to say that marriage needs to be between a man and a women. Why? Because that's the way it's supposed to be because that's the way it has always been. Which is the most nonsensical reason I've ever heard. What if those in power had successfully used that rationale to prevent women from voting, or to prevent black Americans from having equal rights under the law? What if we used that rationale to justify slavery? After all, the Bible talks about slaves, and slavery in some form has existed throughout the history of civilization. Doesn't that mean it should always exist? So has spousal abuse. So has prostitution. We talk about the sanctity of marriage, so then why not ban divorce if we're so concerned about it? Oh, right, then it might affect us, the majority, and that's not the point at all.

If Jim and John who live next door to you get married, express their desire to be committed to each other until death do they part, how exactly does that affect you? How exactly does it affect anyone?

I get so sad when I think of the thousands, perhaps millions, of couples who have once again had to hear that their love for each other is not valid because it is directed at the wrong gender. It's love, people. Please think through whatever gut-level aversion you may have to the idea of a man with a man, or a woman with a woman, and remember that they are people in love. How would you feel if that were you? Go ahead and believe that it's wrong. Go ahead and attend a church that agrees with you. I don't care, quite honestly, and you have the right to believe whatever you want to. But why the need to turn that into a law?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

News and a question

So much going on!! So, so, so much going on!! I'm thrilled to say the business is growing like a big organic weed. Well, I guess right now it's still a little organic weed, but it's growing quickly and we couldn't be more excited! Or more tired! This Saturday I will be on everything green radio (, which broadcasts on an AM radio station here in the Twin Cities, but the specifics escape me at the moment. I'll try and remember to post it as we get closer to Saturday. The following Saturday I will be on ShopGirls on 107.1, a fabulous mainstream show that covers everything that is big in the fashion and beauty scene, but locally and nationally. The two hosts are way cooler than me and I am thrilled to get to hand out with them in the studio for a couple of hours!! I will be talking green beauty and am so excited I can barely stand it. Those are just two of the highlights. For more information, you can always go to the Nature of Beauty blog, which you can access through the website, or at

OK, now for a question. This has nothing to do with me or my family, but I want to put it out there, because I need to figure this out. What is the deal with people getting mad when you talk on your cell phone in a coffee shop? Is this just about people being pissy about the whole cell phone revolution in general? I don't think I talk louder when I'm on the phone than when I'm talking to a friend, although maybe that's not true. SO maybe I need to watch myself. But I'm here in a coffee shop, I'm surrounded by noisy women chatting about their lives, and a noisy toddler chatting about whatever is shiny enough to catch his attention, and yet the grumpy old man in the corny singles me out to stop talking on my cell phone. This happened last week, too, and the same hippie coffee shop I go to when I have to take our Suburu in to get repaired (which has been way too frequent as of late). Some lady told me that it was rude to talk on the phone in the coffee shop. I don't get it. This isn't the library. Is it more rude to talk when my fellow customers can't hear someone talking back to me? Does the brain register one-way conversations differently? Do people want the coffee shop to be a library with espresso? Or maybe we still tend to talk louder on the cell phone, due to those early years when a call to someone a block away had the clarity one would expect from calling Siberia.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Cell phone use in coffee shops: OK? Rude?

Monday, September 29, 2008

First day of kindergarten and more new pics!

Hello, everyone. Once again, long absence. Things continue to be insanely busy. I keep telling people that I always feel like I'm out of breath, and most of the time my touchie hasn't left the couch. Of course, said touchie's definitely confirm that I have in fact been spending most of my time sitting on the couch. The business is going very well. Very, very well. It's the hardest thing we have ever taken on - yes, including the two children - but just like with the girls, it's amazing to see the direct connection between what we put into it and what we get out of it.

Still, this post is to put new pictures of my girls on the blog. Eliana started kindergarten a few weeks ago, and LOVES it. "Totally awesome" are her words at the end of most days when asked how her day at school went. Meron's verbal skills have taken off to the point where her daycare providers doubt she can really still be less than two. I believe she must be, but it sure adds a little pain to the heart to know that we will never know for certain what her actual date of birth is. She is so sweet, and so funny, and I just dote on her to the point of ridiculousness.

Here they are, the two cutest, smartest, funniest girls in the entire universe.

First day of school:

My girls being lovey and adorable:

Compatible senses of humor:

Can you even handle those dimples?!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Introducing The Nature of Beauty

OK, I'm pretty sure no one is actually reading this anymore, but I wanted to at least post a little message here to let you know that our business is up and running. We are The Nature of Beauty, LTD, an online (so far) organic and natural beauty and personal care retailer, selling 15 lines of amazing products from around the world - seriously, from Ohio to New Zealand. We are adding a couple more lines of products next week, and hope to continue doing so regularly as things get going. Competition is not strong at this moment in time, but quite honestly we should have put this together at least 6 months ago, if not a year or two ago, because we're going to find ourselves in the midst of some crazy expansion in this area in the next year. So hopefully we can move fast enough to keep up! The site it here:

I'd love feedback, questions, comments, whatever you got. Later, I will post pictures of my honey babies, as they are amazing as always. Seriously, I am enjoying being a mom way more now than at any point in the last 5 years. I love love love having two girls. I still don't want to be a stay at home mom full-time, but I'm very motivated to work from home. We have to let our nanny go, though, because we aren't selling our other house quickly and may not for a while. We just can't afford two homes and a nanny (go figure). I kind of can't believe we're not sinking faster than we are. Anyway, the point is that life is good, the girls are wonderful and so smart. Eliana is now doing puzzles with 750 pieces that are for kids ages 12 and up. Watching her do them is almost creepy. She has a bizarre gift for this, and I'm not at all sure what that means for her future. She's not this gifted at reading or things like that, but her penmanship is quite honestly better than Paul's, and this puzzle thing is incredible. Something about her visual-motor skills and IQ. I imagine I'll bring it up again in more detail...once I know what that detail might be.

I will try and write more when I have another moment!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Update, long overdue

I want to apologize for the loooooooong delay in posting. I have a good excuse, though: Paul and I are starting a business. So between working full-time, taking care of two children, and starting a new business....well, I'm sure you can understand how updating my blog has been pushed to the backburner. But on the bright side, we're starting a business! Can you even believe how crazy we are?! Just when you think I can't possibly outdo myself in the contest for Most Insane Woman Ever, when it seems like I may have finally settled down and committed to a normal, boring life, I dream this up. But when you finally learn just how brilliant and amazing our business is going to be, you will understand why I have been up every night until 11pm putting this together. Unfortunately, it would be a poor business decision to splash our business plan all over the Internet (OK, so I get that this blog does not equal "all over the Internet," but still, you never know who's out there). However, if you happen to have my contact information, and you're dying to know what I'm up to, feel free to give me a call or shoot me an email.

In other non-kiddie-related news....well, peripherally it's totally kiddie-related....I have big, fat ADD. Yup. Apparently, I've had it my whole life. 35 years of undiagnosed, untreated ADD. And yes, I know, I've managed to do pretty well in life, considering. But now that I'm medicated, and know what I'm dealing with, I can't help but wonder how life would have been different had I known, had anybody known. You see, I also have signs of chronic anxiety (I got to do a qEEG as part of my psych testing), chronic jaw tension, and chronic over-functioning. In other words, I have probably compensated for the ADD by trying so hard I've tried myself into a neurotic ball of tension. Let me share just this little piece of data: The bizillion hours of testing they put me through found that my ability to sustain attention and focus on both visual and auditory stimuli is in the <1%,>99%. In other words, I am willing to try and try and try and try and try and try, even if I'm getting nowhere. In which case I apparently keep trying. I won't go on ad nauseum about this, but it hit me pretty hard to have the last 35 years of my life summed up in a bunch of numbers and diagnoses. I guess I can relate to my patients a little better now.

If you're wondering how this related to the kiddies - or rather, the kiddie - it would appear that Eliana has inherited some of my genes. The doctor who assessed me described what the same traits would look like in a young child, and it was as if he had spent hours on end with Eliana. Now, we're not exactly about to diagnose the kid before she's even entered kindergarten, but had you been there, hearing what the doctor said ADD coupled with anxiety coupled with a very high IQ would look like in a 4-year-old, you would see no difference between his description and our offspring. So at the very least we will need to keep that in mind as we make choices like schools and such for our bright, active, hypervigilant little person.

I hope you've enjoyed your update. Maybe not what you expected, huh?