Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Atlas Shrugged

"My Philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." -Ayn Rand

I put off reading Atlas Shrugged for years. This was due in small part to medical school, but in large part because I felt it would be a let down as compared to The Fountainhead. In all my reading, I had never encountered a hero quite as perfect as Henry Roark. He personified every trait I respect, admire and aspire to carry myself, most notably, 100% confidence. Then came Hank Reardon, every bit as perfect, every bit as confident.

I appreciate Ayn Rand for the strength and quality of her characters. She gets very wordy with her philosophy bits, and as it is a fiction novel, the settings and plot can get a bit exaggerated, but if you take everything with a grain of salt, it inspires you to think. I find myself constantly agreeing with the points she is trying to demonstrate.  As her quote states above, happiness should be the moral purpose of ones life. It's in the Declaration; "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." For most sane people, happiness is accomplished by productive achievement. Which, in turn, is accomplished by reason.

I have found that when I mention how in line Ayn Rand is with my thoughts and philosophies, it deeply disturbs some people, irritates others, makes some happy, and so on. I am implying nothing by saying this. I am not suddenly some huge Republican conservative who thinks that government should have it's hand in nothing and that the rich should just keep getting richer while the poor waste away. I merely enjoy a super hero. For as long as I've had conscious thought, I have wanted to be the best. At anything. At everything. I love to be right. I aspire to be respected and admired. I struggle to be humble. As far as I'm concerned, I will never stop improving myself and attempting to improve those around me. Though, realistically, I know I can not walk around self-absorbed and arrogant, I fantasize at the idea. Ayn Rand's protagonists' are able to do all these things. They build empires and do not allow anyone to stop them. They are so confident, they need approval from no one, and ultimately it works out for them. As one of my favorite quotes from a random Pinterester says, "A tiger doesn't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep", so does Ayn Rand in both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. This review is over-simplified, being completed 2 years after finishing the novel and only partially how I feel about it, but I needed to finish this post for completion sake.  Sorry if it radically changes your opinion of me, but I am a ruthless businessman at heart. I just found such a great man, and birthed such amazing children, that I have chosen a different path. But, by god, I will be THE BEST mom there is. My newest passion. And for the record, I am happy as happy can be with my productive achievements and ability to reason and stand by my own logic.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Did you know that the closer you stand to the person in front of you, the faster the line will progress!?  It works even better if you are sure to breath heavily down the neck of the person ahead of you.  And if you huff and sigh a little.  Maybe pace back and forth, frequently switching the weight from one hip to the other, then it will really pick up the pace of the line.  Make sure you take a tiny step forward with every tiny step of your predecessor.  Because there is NO WAY that person is inching forward and becoming uncomfortably close to the person in front of them in order to get away from you.  No, no, no.  They have just caught on to your genius plan.  They've realized that the person at the register's ability to take care of the customer, is, in fact, completely related to the space between each line waiter.  They have discovered your secret. They see that, oh my gosh! The line is suddenly progressing faster than ever, just because they have violated the natural limit most humans have regarding their personal space.

Yup, I said it.  People have an area surrounding them, called: PERSONAL SPACE.  There seems to be an unspoken rule as to the proper amount of personal space one requires.  This memo seems to have reached the world, far, and wide.  But YOU missed it. You and few other inattentive, unobservant, self-serving a-holes, have managed to completely disregard what is so natural and comfortable for EVERYONE else.  In case, like to most things, you were totally oblivious to the paragraph above, I will spell it out for you; I was being sarcastic. Not facetious, as that would imply that I was being silly, whimsical, joking.  But sarcastic, as in, you are an idiot.  Thanks for making my Panera experience, unnecessarily awful. Oh, and if you didn't pick up on that either; I'm not really thanking you.  I'm pissed.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Spring has Sprung. Finally.

I would venture to bet, there are few people that get more irritated than I at weather commentary.  Generally, I love my many social media avenues, but not when it's cold, or hot, or raining, or snowing, or cloudy, or sunny, or "just perfect".  Even before I could see people's thoughts in writing, it bothered me that it ever came up as a topic of discussion.  We live in the Midwest!  We ALWAYS have four seasons.  Each season has it extremes.  We know this.  For as long as people have lived, we've known this. If you really want to enrage me with this topic, just say something to the effect of, "It's Kansas City, if you don't like the weather, just wait 15 minutes."  This can be said for Indianapolis, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Des Moines, Omaha, Oklahoma City, Denver, Topeka, Wichita, Chicago, etc.  We are not unique. It's not funny.  Nor clever.  Nor true.
That being said.  I hate the snow.  I love Summer.  And I am about to complete this post based mostly around the topic of Spring weather.  In particular, this Spring's weather.  Because it has been somewhat unique this year.  And assuming the copious amounts of snow throughout March and into April was just a fluke sort of thing, I kind of want to remember "The Spring of 2013". Despite my previous rant, I do love to hear my parents speak of particularly memorable seasons.  Like the Summer of 1980.  My mother had just given birth to her first born, late that May.  She talks of remembering that they had to drag their mattress down from the upstairs bedroom, into the living room, because the 2nd floor could not stay cool.  She remembers keeping her first born dressed in nothing but a diaper, with the occasional onesie.  I love envisioning my mother and father as new, young, inexperienced parents.  Battling through the horrid Summer, with their newborn.  I respect them for it.  When discussed properly, in specifics, weather can be a truly interesting, and memorable topic.

I don't realize, until the Spring, how truly lazy I have gotten over the Winter months.  How much more I watch TV.  How little I organize in the house.  How rarely I take the kids on outings.  Then, as the sun rises earlier, and sets later, productivity begins to increase.  The boys are outside daily. We are taking walks.  Going to the park.  Enjoying outdoor, Kansas City offerings, such as a kite festival, or dog day event at the Nelson. I am inspired to take my boys to a baseball game.  Sign Brock up for soccer. Our weekend walks to Starbucks have returned.  Little by little, my days become filled with completing projects around the house.  Playing more. Cooking more. Cleaning more.  Hours that didn't exist in the Winter months are appearing out of thin air.  Out of beautiful, sun-filled, breezy air.
These past two weekends have been perfect.  I have squeezed into them, every fun, educational, entertaining, relaxing, productive moment possible.  The kite festival, where Curtis and Brock made their own, stupid little paper kites, but ran around with them smiling and laughing, as if they were as lovely and functional as the real deal. Where the three boys chowed down on Kettle Corn, and Curtis nearly got blown away while running with a big kite.  George had never seen a kite, perhaps Curtis hadn't either.  This weekend, Curtis and Brock helped me purchase flowers for our yard.  We then had a nice lunch at Salty Iguana, just me and my two oldest.  Brock picked out his own orange Gerbera daisy and carried it throughout the rest of out trip to the gardening store, and held onto it until he personally placed it in the pot on the front porch.  Setting it down after instructing me to not allow anyone to touch it, only to run inside to fill his own watering can, that he picked out weeks ago from the $1 item isle at Target.  Brock stayed outside with me for the entire day. Curtis missed most of the actual gardening, as he took his usual 3+ hour afternoon siesta. George thought he was being helpful by playing in the dirt. 

This Sunday, we had dinner at my sister Leah's, the boys running themselves ragged as Url chased them through the yard.  My brother, Timothy, in town from school.  Last Sunday, we had dinner at the O'Laughlin's.  Where, upon Michael's entering the kitchen, Brock exclaimed with a gasp. "Michael, you look nice today."  Mimi scrambling to get dinner on the table in time for me to eat before leaving for work that evening.  On a walk, that same day, we ran into my old Blazer team mate, Lauren.  She too, was out enjoying the day, walking her little pup, Theo.  She continued on with us to the park.  On the way, the ever inquisitive and observant Brock asked her, "Where do you live?"  She replied, "On the street directly behind you.  Well, 2 streets behind."  A few moments pass.  And Brock simply asks, "But why do you live ON the street?"  Haha, yes Lauren, do tell.
While Matt was doing yardwork last weekend, he found a worm.  He gave this worm to Brock, who promptly placed "Wormie" in his bug home.  Since that day, Brock has been preoccupied with discovering worms.  He and his brothers are tirelessly, outside, in the dirt, wearing their galoshes, searching for worms. He named his 2nd worm, "Four".  Then kindly suggested he name the baby in my belly "Four" as it is "a good name".  Fitting.  But not a good name.  Lastly, and by lastly, I mean, it's the last adventure I am going to mention from the last couple weeks, but not the only one left...as the moments are endless with the O'Laughlin Boys Three, we ventured down to the creek after the rain.  We live steps away from a good sized creek, that we so rarely visit.  Mostly because it's a bit slippery, slimy, and requires warm weather as there is no stopping young boys from playing in it. So we saddled up in rain gear, I wore rubber boots as well, and walked along the creek. As per usual, despite constant reminders to avoid the green areas, Brock walked right into a patch and wiped out.  Adventure over.  But not before Curtis got to "jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, jump, jump" in the stream.   We will return, no fear about that.
All these moments are why the warmer months are best.  Why Spring and Summer are truly and undeniably, the best seasons.  Perhaps, that is why I have all Fall and Winter babies...gives me something to do in those horrid, bleak, tiresome months.  We have only had 2 decent weeks of Spring weather, and April is almost over, but I could write a book on all the has happened and all that I feel. All this, during a call month, with only 4 days off in the past 4 weeks.  Imagine what is to come!  I am already dreaming about it.  Those boys best try to keep up.  Momma is on a roll.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ripping my hair out?

A colleague of mine says to me the other day, "Just tell me, O'Laughlin, you have days you want to rip your hair out, and wonder why the hell it is you decided to have kids. You have to."  I know he really wanted me to admit that my laid back, non stressed demeanor was all a facade.  That, the amusing little anecdotes which I incessantly force upon my co-workers are actually a rarity, and more often, the little guys annoy the $*%t out of me.  And having always been told it's not proper to be arrogant, I tried as I might to just nod, and say, "Sure, I have those days." Kind of.  But not really "days", so much as transient moments.  I have always been plagued with this mentality, where, unless I am actually in the moment of frustration, I forget it ever existed.

I clearly remember, way back in high school, when one of my Blazer teammates got incredibly pissed at me for saying, "I have never been burnt out or wanted to quit."  She absolutely did not believe that it could be possible for one to put them self through hell on a daily basis: working out 3-6 hours a day, waking up at 4:10am, missing out on social events ever-so-important to a teenager, without wanting to quit at some point.  But, I'm just not that extreme.  I have a bad practice, and that's it, a bad practice.  Tomorrow's a new day.  It will be better.  Perhaps, despite my cynicism, I am the eternal optimist.  I often find myself in similar situations with my girlfriend's. When they might be venting about their significant others annoying habits, I can rarely contribute.  Only if Matt literally just did something that got me a bit fired up, can I even come up with something to say.  I forget those moments of irritation, because I don't care for them.  They don't make me happy, nor my life richer.  I take from them what I need, and move on, so that I am truly happy on a daily basis.  It's not a facade.

So, in response to his question, I agreed.  Yes, I believe, there are moments that I want to rip my hair out. There are moments that I want a break, to relax, to not have someone beside me requiring my constant attention, help, nurturing.  But if these moments are truly intense, I find a way to get a break. Usually, the culprit is "hanger" (hunger + anger, get it!?) I just need to eat, or sleep and voila, the frustration is forgotten.  Another way I avoid getting too upset, is by viewing the situation as comical.  More often than wanting to rip my hair out, I am just laughing at  my little drama kings, or trouble-makers, or tantrum throwers.  I mean, how can you not laugh at 3 boys, 4 and under all crying at the same time.  About nothing.
When I glance over at the tub filled with all three children to find George red-faced and grunting, how can I get mad that he's pooped in the tub and quadrupled my work?  There's no time to be upset.  I have to quickly evacuate 3 children from a tub.  Scoop some poop with a cup out of the tub and put it in the toilet.  Carry all three wet children, one by one, upstairs to the other tub, to clean them off.  Go back down to the feces contaminated tub and rinse it out, then dump some bleach in it to soak.  Then run back up stairs to dry and dress the boys.  The bottom two both crying in a panic.  George because he is cold, and I rinsed him with a spray hose, instead of gently washed him in the tub.  Curtis, holding his penis and crying, "poop coming out" because he traumatized and convinced that it was HIS poop, and he had no control over it.  In fact, now weeks later, he still freaks out a bit on every diaper change and says "poop coming out" while his bottom is exposed.  All of this, after working overnight and getting only a few hours of sleep.  For a fleeting moment, I thought to myself, "and I am going to have four of these soon!?"  I also thought, "When is Matt going to get home? I need to sit down."  But at no point did I think this was too much.  And the only reason I will remember this day, is because I am commemorating it in writing.  And I am smiling as I envision Curtis freaking out, and George pooping.
All in all, it's extremely comical. Life that is.  Life is extremely comical. And fun.  If you let it.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Forgotten Holidays.

The Holidays are so routine. They happen every year. In a similar way. With the same people.  Plus or minus a few out of towners. Or freshly borned kids.  Or new spouses. But I ALWAYS LOVE THEM!  Time spent with the focus being family, never becomes dull.  Not in this family, anyway. My boys continue to be thrilled by holiday traditions, such as dying and hunting for Easter eggs.  Curtis began saying, "Oh my gosh!" Emphasis on the "gosh". Brock got the 'mote control car he's been begging for since, well, sometime after Christmas.  In fact, weeks after the holiday, claiming he had a horrible Christmas because he didn't receive one then.  George, well, he just thought eggs were a game called, "let's see if this entire thing fits in your mouth." 

The boys participated in 4 hunts.  The BIG one, on the Harris side (Matt's mother's family.)  Then our own mini hunt in the living and dining room on Easter morning.  Then my father's hunt, a nice private affair with only immediate family.  Then the second biggest hunt, on the Giblin side (my mother's family).  To say they are spoiled rotten, would be completely accurate.  They won toys, to Brock's delight.  Candy, to Curtis' gluttony.  And cash, to...well, someday they'll appreciate that prize most of all. 

By the end of the long weekend, they were exhausted.  I was exhausted.  But not exhausted enough to let anyone of them get out of a photo op!!  I don't shop for the perfect little GQ Easter outfits for nothing!  It's really sad, but the three of them seem to know they will not get out of the photo sessions, so they just do it.  And the front stoop of the house seems to be the easiest gathering spot. Whoever said that toddlers weren't trainable, just lacked perseverance.  One perk to having an OCD, A-type personality, (or stubborness, however you want to call it, I prefer the previous description) is the ability to outlast almost any child's tantrum, breakdown, ADHD, non-compliance, until my objective is obtained. Perhaps, I should have trained and broken horses for a living...

Easter this year was grand. And beautiful. Kansas City graced us with a rare moment of perfect weather in this hellish Spring.  It should always be sunny on Easter...to add to the holiday routine. Or Traditions.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

15 and growing.

The five week bump pictures have begun! Consistently, fifteen weeks is the point in my pregnancies that I suddenly get excited, impatient, obsessed. Don't get me wrong, there is no moment more exciting nor happier than the moment I see that positive test. But that new excitement quickly gets replaced with survival mode as those first trimester symptoms creep in and peak. Now, I am no longer paralyzed by exhaustion and 24/7 nausea. I can feel a baby bump and some baby flutters. Though I have experienced all this thrice before, it does not cease to amaze. The anticipation stays strong. The nerves remain. As healthy and wonderful as my previous boys were/are, with their relatively smooth pregnancy courses and deliveries, I do not take this process for-granted. I never will.

Pregnancy is dangerous. Dangerous to 2 lives. It doesn't come easy to everyone, people go great lengths to get pregnant. Stay pregnant. Deliver their infant safely. I know I have been lucky. I really do. I know it's a true blessing and gift. I will always feel this way and remember what a treasure every pregnancy, birth and child truly is. So, when I complain about the indigestion, sleepless nights, restless legs, I am not forgetting what a special process I am privileged to be experiencing. In fact, I take these as little, constant reminders that I am lucky enough to be creating a new, cute, happy member of my family, of society.

I cannot wait to meet him (or her, ha!! Fat chance.) I can't wait to feel the kicks from the outside not just from within. I think this one will have brown hair and eyes, at the very least. We cannot continue to defy ALL statistical odds. I wonder what name we will choose. Brock cant wait for baby 4.O's arrival either. Every time we drive by Shawnee Mission hospital, he asks if we can "stop and get our baby?" Childbirth must be a very confusing thing to a 2-4 year old. All he knows is that I walk around for a while with a baby in my belly, then one day he is brought to that hospital and TA DA! He has a new baby brother. When he was two, he checked my mouth, as if Curtis might have come out of there. And I am predicting September 29th for the birthday...if I chicken out of being induced, like I always do, otherwise, it's the 26th. The reason for induction being, I'd rather not have a 12 pounder (seeing as all my children have been a pound bigger than the one previous, and George was 10lbs 7ozs, SIX DAYS early, and babies grow a half a pound a week, you do the math.) Especially, if by some bizarre chance it's a girl, I feel she shouldn't be ginormous. Though, I don't foresee Matt and I producing dainty spawn, female or not.
Lastly, in this photo, I am wearing the same outfit as my fifteen week shots for Brock and Curtis and George kind of, it's the wrong shirt. It still fits! I'd be lying if I said it wasn't snug. I am probably 10 pounds up from this same point in those pregnancies (but still down 2 pounds from the start of this pregnancy.) Goal: to gain zero weight by 20 weeks. And a total of 12lbs for the entire pregnancy (thus making my final weight less, than any of the previous 3!) Don't worry, I won't starve myself, I plan to do this by eating healthier.  And let's face it, the kiddos obviously don't hurt for calories themselves.  The most I have ever gained in any pregnancy is 26lbs, so my goal is only cutting it in half.  Now, if I could just get through this FINAL call month as a second year, I'd say we're all good.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It's a Girl

It's funny. With all this social media, I can post nearly anything pregnancy related and someone invariably comments that this fourth child must be a girl. Apparently, acne means girl. Ice cream and pickles (eaten separately but in the same night, which I did last pregnancy) means girl. Normal first trimester symptoms means girl. But what it boils down to is, Matt his still him, I am still me, therefore, previous patterns most suggest, boy.

I just assume boy. I would not be disappointed with a fourth boy, and often feel that might be my preference. We did not get pregnant with this child in hopes it would be a girl. We did it because this child belongs in our family. When I really think about what even matters when it comes to gender, and why I cannot completely shut out the idea of a girl someday, are three things.

First, girls clothes are cuter, more fun, with more variety and, well, just better. Two, I wonder who will cook with me and bake and help me host an event or help me clean the kitchen after big family dinners. Lastly, I want a daughter to attend St. Teresa's high school. Where my mother and aunts went. And my grandmother. A fourth generation. My boys will be fourth generation O'Laughlin's at Rockhurst, but my father did not go there, nor his father before him, nor me. Legacy is huge to me. It's part of who I am, how I came to be, and I would love to share all this with a daughter. Even a blue-eyed, blonde haired one that does not resemble me in the least...as none of my children seem to. That's it. Those are the only reasons why I'd be happy to add a girl to the brood. Otherwise, bring on the chaps!!

Oh, and I'm really tired of trying to come up with boy names.