msLaura: Modern Mama Laura Hamilton + Dan Baker = Julian Hamilton Baker & Adrian Hamilton Baker "When a woman tells the truth she is creating the possibility for more truth around her."
- Adrienne Rich



These are some of the most recent photos from my photostream on Flickr. Click one of them!
the portable baby


recent posts
Don't forget to flush afterwards...

The baby loves a good fart joke, just like the rest of us.

West Valley Nile Viirus

Long in the tooth

Stoned 2 - the update

Staredown x4

Bath time with the Dynamic Duo

Me 'n my Baby

Proud of our plum harvest


Oh sweet Jesus...


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August 29, 2007

Don't forget to flush afterwards...

I took both kids to the playground late in the day yesterday, around 5:00pm. Julian was playing in the sand with shovel and bucket, and I was holding Adrian. Adrian had on training pants. I had an extra pair of TPs in
the car, but no wipes or anything like that. We just jetted out of the house really fast and didn't bring a lot of stuff along.

I was nursing Adrian and suddenly he unlatched himself, let out a fart, and looked at me. He had already pooped that day, but need to tell me twice. He obviously had to go again.

I took him in the park bathroom, wiped off the seat, and sat on it backwards on it with him in our usual manner. He had never pooped on a public toilet before.

At first he just looked wildly all around at all the fascinating stuff. The bright, shiny plumbing pipes had to be touched and investigated of course. I didn't think he was going to go, but then he settled down and let out 4-5 waves of poop. Ugh, that would have been a HUGE mess if he had done it in his diaper or training pants. But he got it all in the toilet!

What's even better is this...after he was done he leaned forward, grabbed the handle and FLUSHED THE TOILET! Just like an old pro. He wasn't even startled at the big whoosh of water, it was like he planned it all along.

Little babies are so on top of it.

The baby loves a good fart joke, just like the rest of us.

Last night at around 11:30pm I was taking Adrian potty. I sat down backwards on the toilet with him between my thighs, held him in position, and waited. The house was absolutely silent.

(Attention Dan: Stop reading here. Your wife is a heavenly angel and does not have normal human bodily functions.)

Suddenly I let loose a pretty loud fart, which in effect came out right underneath him.

Adrian paused for a second, then burst out in *hysterical* laughter that lasted for about two minutes. He was completely busting up, like I've never heard him do before. He laughs a lot, but never like this. He would have fallen off the toilet if I weren't holding him.

He finally slowed down in his laughter (and even wiped tears from his eyes afterwards!), then got down to the business of pooping. He farted a few times himself, but apparently those weren't nearly as funny as mine was.

We all have a pretty crude sense of humor in this house, but for a 7.5mo baby to find a timely fart the funniest thing yet to happen in his life....well, that's my boy I guess!

August 23, 2007

West Valley Nile Viirus

I think we've all recovered from our West Nile Virus now.

I realized recently that I had it too. I had nearly crippling joint pain for about 5-6 days, and I just assumed that it was tendonitis from Adrian being heavy. But I had really bad neck and shoulder aches, headache, and my knees felt like they were burning.

Like I said, I thought this was from carrying Adrian around, but all of a sudden it just went away. I didn't carry Adrian any less, but all my miserable joint pains went away. And then I realized how bad they had been. I finally looked up the symptoms of West Nile and saw that joint pains and headache are common. So we've all had it now. That confers some immunity, so let's hope we're all done with this West Nile business.

But wait, there's more! Julian just came down with a bad cold that is kicking his butt, poor thing. He cried half of last night, and woke up crying tonight. He's not really very good about soldiering through illness. He just bawls out loud. "I'M SiCKKKKKK!"

Having kids is just amazing as far as how many more germs you are exposed to. It's a nonstop parade of infection by one thing after another. I can't blame kidney stones or West Nile Virus on the kids, but wow.....they are cold and flu magnets, that's for sure. I guess I would be too if I were either tackling or hugging and kissing most of my peers, and half of us had runny noses and everyone's hands were sticky.

I should get the results of my pee sample tomorrow. Hopefully THAT business is all over with too. I have been trying to be extra-sweet to my kidneys. Awful to think of a sharp stone just ripping through internal organs. Yikes. I don't like to mess with kidneys, or my liver. Anything that cleans up is most definitely a critical organ that I want to keep in good working order.

On that note, off to drink a few more glasses of water and go to bed.

Long in the tooth

Today I was holding Adrian tipped over, so that I could nibble his belly. All of a sudden I saw his upper teeth. All FOUR of them. Not only the top front two teeth, but the ones on either side. The ones on either side just....appeared.
No wonder Adrian had so much trouble teething. He's practically got all his teeth coming in at once.

He's officially crawling. He is crawling forward fast enough to get into trouble, that's when it gets real. He crawls and then sits and looks around.

I put down a Bikram yoga mat in the living room for Adrian to play on. Bikram is the hot sweaty kind of yoga, so this mat is like a big spongy towel. Perfect for babies and all their drooly fluids. I have a basket of baby toys on the mat, so he can sit and examine them, one by one.

Now he's drunk on his own mobility. If I put him down on his yoga mat to play, he immediately beelines for the dining table and then gets caught in the forest of chair and table legs underneath. Usually he bonks his head once or twice and then starts bawling for me to come and rescue him. But then he goes straight for the table again the next time.

He's going for almost anything he can pull up on. This boy is DONE with being a baby. He's only seven months old, and he's trying to crawl, walk, and grow in all of his teeth, at the same time.

August 16, 2007

Stoned 2 - the update

I went in to see a urologist about my kidney thang. They did a CT scan on my abdomen and nothing turned up. A *possible* 2mm stone in the ureter just outside my bladder, but it was really just a shadowy thing that could have been an artifact of the scan.

They did find a partial hernia near my belly button, which explains my poochiness there. "There is central protrusion of the interabdominal contents in the region of the umbilicus consistent with a small partial hernia in this region." That's a fancy way of saying that my muscles are pulled apart and letting my guts poke through. Lovely. Not sure what I'm supposed to do about that. Maybe my mummy tummy exercises could repair it. If I ever did them, that is.

Ah, does a body good. NOT. Good thing these kids are cute.

Last night I took my last Levaquin (super-antibiotic). Next step is taking another urine sample to see if all the bacteria are gone, and if not, culturing them to see what they are.

Who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my pee? Begone, ye nasty beasties!

In other disease-ridden news, we have West Nile Virus in our neighborhood. Dead birds all over. Well, not all over, but we had three little dead birds in our yard, and our neighbor found a dead crow in his driveway. I think Dan has it, he has fever, chills, body aches. No runny nose or anything.

Julian had a high fever last week that just went away all of a sudden, plus an intermittent rash.

I've had headaches and joint pain, but I think that's just a result of too much computer time in an ergonomically horrible seating situation, plus wearing, lifting, and holding a giant sandbag of a baby all day long. I desperately need a massage and a chiropractic adjustment.

Anyway, things could be much worse. If we have to have an epidemic of something then West Nile is the way to go. Sixty percent of people will have zero symptoms at all. I'll take that over even the common cold or flu, although that's going around as well. The garlic oil capsules are being consumed fast and furious around here lately.

August 07, 2007

Staredown x4

Staredown x4, originally uploaded by mslaura.

Talk about mad dog...don't mess with this crew.

August 05, 2007

Bath time with the Dynamic Duo

DSC_0093, originally uploaded by mslaura.

Dan asked Julian to cover his penis before he took the photo, so he did. But now it looks like he's playing with it. just can't win.

August 04, 2007

Me 'n my Baby

DSC_0157, originally uploaded by mslaura.

Cherubic perfection! Yummy!

Proud of our plum harvest

Proud of our plum harvest, originally uploaded by mslaura.

Julian insisted on sitting on the plum jar like a horse. We had even more plums than these, but I ran out of jars and I had them in a plastic trash sack. Not so photogenic.

I made Plum Butter, and a vodka plum infusion. I took one of those glass jars and cut all the plums in half. Then i filled it up with good quality vodka. It's now a bright reddish-purple tart cocktail mixer.

Not like I can drink alcohol, with my URINARY PROBLEMS and all.

We wore our new UPF 50 sun shirts. Easier than sunscreen.


Yesterday I was out in the driveway, holding Adrian. Julian was showing me some chalk drawings that he did on the pavement. It was about noon, a hot and sunny day.

All of a sudden I had a massive urge to pee. I've had an ongoing, persistent bladder infection for the last two months almost, so that part wasn't a surprise, but what happened next was...suddenly someone stuck a hot knife in my left flank and gave it a vicious twist. Or at least that's what it felt like.

I gasped and dropped to the ground. I couldn't hold Adrian anymore, so I put him down on the driveway next to me on his hands and knees and started Lamaze breathing to try to get through the pain without passing out. I tried to pull my underwear down under my skirt, but I ended up just peeing on it.

So now I've collapsed in my driveway in the blazing sun in a puddle of my own pee, I'm writhing around, panting like I'm about to deliver a baby, and trying my hardest not to pass out. Which was my worst fear, that I was about to lose consciousness or possibly even die in my front yard, with my baby and 3.5yo looking on. I kept thinking, Adrian just started crawling, but he can't crawl on this rough cement, and Julian can't move him out of the sun without dragging him, which would scrape his legs badly. Ahhhhhh.....DON'T PASS OUT!

Nice, eh? Yeah, not exactly one of my favorite moments. I started feeling a teensy bit better, only to realize that Adrian was screaming his head off, his terrified screeching scream. Julian was asking me questions and Adrian was screaming and now the pain in my side was a bit better but the SCREAMING was really making me feel sick to my stomach...and then suddenly I had this tremendous nausea on top of everything else. Plus I was still on the verge of blacking out.

We were stuck like that for a while, out in the driveway. It seemed like forever, but it was probably only a few minutes. Then the pain finally let up enough for me to haul myself up on my feet, grab Adrian, and lurch in the direction of the front door. I put Adrian down on the rug inside and fell down next to him. He continued his terrified screeching until I could wrestle my shirt up to nurse him and calm him down. Meanwhile Julian was patting me, telling me, "It's OK Mama. It's OK. You will feel better."

What the FUCK, right? We stayed on the rug for a while longer to let the pain ease a bit more. I asked Julian to go find my cell phone. He disappeared, for too long. I called to him and he told me that he was stuck. Stuck? Oh sweet Jesus. Of all times to get stuck! He had climbed up onto my shipping desk in the garage in search of my phone and now he couldn't get down.

I rescued him from his perch, found the phone, and called my OB, who I just just seen the day before for my recurrent bladder issues. He was out to lunch, so I left a message with the answering service, then I called Dan.

Dan of course, was out of town on his biweekly business trip back East. Because things like this never happen when Dan is in town. Skylights break over the bathtub and I collapse in the front yard and all hell breaks loose ONLY when Dan is out of town. That's how it works.

I left an incoherent sobbing message on his voice mail, serving only to scare the crap out of him. That was a bad move, but I was thinking that I had to tell him what happened, in case he came home that night and found me passed out or dead with traumatized starving kids around me.

In case you are wondering, yes I HAVE been reading too many goddamn Disney stories lately where the mother ALWAYS DIES. We read Bambi just last night, because Julian insisted. I was SO not in the mood, let me tell you. What is with those Disney stories? Must one parent or the other always die? Goddamn Lion King, the father dies. Bambi, the mother is shot by a hunter. And Julian wanted to read Dumbo last night after Bambi, but I know something bad happens to the mother in that story too, so I wouldn't even go there.

Anyway, I finally felt a bit better, but we took it easy the rest of the day. I put on a video for Julian (NOT DISNEY!) and rocked Adrian in the rocking chair and read some magazines.

I'm going in for a kidney ultrasound on Tuesday. Couldn't go before, the ultrasound tech is not in until then. I am pretty sure that I have a kidney stone, it fits all the symptoms. Sudden childbirth-intense pains in the flank, can be accompanied by nausea and urge to urinate. I had bloody urine after the incident too.

Now I'm kicking myself for not drinking nearly enough water and taking too many calcium supplements. I was trying to protect my bone health as a nursing mom, but I probably overdid it. Darn chocolate chewy calcium supplements. And I know I've been on the verge of dehydration for most of the past six months. For some reason I just can't drink water at times, it makes me feel queasy. I need to make iced tea or lemonade or something else. Good Earth makes a caffeine-free tea that is outstanding as iced tea. I should just brew up a big container of that every morning.

So no more calcium supplements, no more chocolate. Easy on the dairy. I should give up tea, but I only have one cup in the morning and it's one of my main pleasures of the day. Plus, it's white tea, which is apparently not too bad.

I just read this about cranberry making kidney stones worse. Great, I have been chugging it in my efforts to kick what I thought was just a UTI. Probably just making things worse.

And even better, there's no cure. You just hope that the stone passes without causing too much pain or damage on the way out. Fucking GREAT.

I think I remember my Dad having a kidney stone at some point. Familial history. Ugh.

Oh, two weeks ago our Organic Express driver came by to drop off our box of veggies and fruits. Julian was in mid-pee out in the front yard when he pulled up, so I was cracking jokes about it. He's a cool guy, very friendly.

Anyway he said he loved Saratoga, since it was a place that you could pee in your front yard if you wanted to. He told me that he had a kidney stone and so when he had to go, HE HAD TO GO. He had been in Redwood City the week before and had to pee, so he found a discreet outdoor location to do so, but some old lady saw him and called Organic Express to complain about one of their drivers urinating publicly. Some people have nothing better to do, you know?

I told him I had been having some issues myself, and could relate. But man, now I can REALLY relate. We also just watched an episode of Deadwood where Al Swearengen has a kidney stone blocking his urethra and he almost dies of septic shock. The whole episode he writhes around in unspeakable pain, on the verge of death, before finally passing it. Fabulous.

Well, I just hope that it's small and not blocking anything. I'll find out on Tuesday, I suppose.

August 03, 2007

Oh sweet Jesus...

Tammy Faye died last week. She had inoperable cancer and appeared on the Larry King show the day before she died. Poor thing, she weighed only 65 pounds. See the second photo...yikes.

I always liked her. She was ridiculous, but it seemed like she had a good heart and was a loving person.

August 02, 2007


So much craziness on the work scene lately. Here's the very short version, as short as I can make it.

I've been selling Ergo Baby Carriers in my store since the very beginning. It was one of my original 3-4 products.

Last year I started dyeing a few carriers, because Ergo's colors are pretty boring. I made Spring Green and Brazil Nut and Pomegranate and Rose Petal, all kinds of pretty colors. They were a big hit.

All of a sudden I got a threatening phone call from Ergo telling me to take the dyed carriers off my website or else my wholesale account would be terminated. Wha? They could give no sensible reason for it, other than "that's just not the business direction we want to go in".

Geez, you'd think they would be happy about the increased sales, right? Nope. So I did take the carriers off my website, though I grumbled mightily about it.

Well, time went on and people kept emailing me asking what happened to the dyed carriers. I was tempted into making them again, but very privately. Just a few here and there. I know, bad girl...but I'm not good at following rules that don't make any sense to me. Besides, I *was* following the rule about not having them *on my website*.

All went well until I donated a Pomegranate dyed Ergo to a charity auction. Someone at Ergo saw it and they immediately terminated my wholesale account. Fuckers. Never mind that I've sold a zillion Ergos for them, or that I've had by FAR the best website of any of their retailers, or that I've given free personal instruction to my customers, or any of that. No sireee, a few dyed carriers are a big threat. WhatEVER.

So fuck Ergo. Lucky for me, there are two other good options out there in Baby Carrier Land. The Beco, which is prettier and more comfortable and made in California (instead of China) and the Patapum, which is a great toddler carrier....they are based in northern Italy near Torino.

The Patapum also comes in an eminently dyeable khaki color, so I emailed them and asked how they would feel about a dyed version. They gave me the big thumbs up and were very excited about it. What a difference in attitude from those fools over at Ergo, who desperately need this book .

I'm quite glad this happened, as now I can sell two fabulous carriers. One beautiful high-end carrier, and one more utilitarian carrier that is super-comfy yet affordable. I can continue dyeing carriers with the full approval and *support* of the manufacturer. And hey, I might even take a trip to Italy someday, visit the Patapum headquarters and write part of it off. Sweet, no?

In the meantime, my other products are flying off the shelves. I've had a very busy summer, very exciting. A little crazy trying to keep it together with two little kids, but totally worth it.

When Ergo terminated my account, they wanted me to ship back my remaining carriers in stock (several hundred!) at MY expense, PLUS pay a restocking fee. Thanks for the memories guys...been great working with you too. ASSEATERS.

Instead, I had a big sale and sold them all off. I sold something like 150 carriers in three days. I was out in the garage packing up orders every spare moment, with Adrian on my back in his Beco. As soon as the kids were in bed I was back out there with tape gun in hand.

Things have finally calmed down now and I'm taking a little breather. Just in time, as Adrian started officially crawling yesterday. He was moving around a little before, but now he can actually go forward to get an object. He's not up on hands and knees yet, he's doing a belly crawl, but it still counts. He is SO excited about this...he'll scoot forward and then turn around to give me a huge grin..."Check THIS out, Mama!"

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