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Just A Junk Drawer Dream

Boy or Girl and 9 After 9

We find out Tuesday if we're adding a boy or a girl to this wild bunch. Before we do I want to try out all the old wives tales type tests that allegedly predict the sex of your baby. Dangle ring above belly, pee on Baking Soda, that kind of thing. Anybody know any good gender prediction tests? Something your grandma taught you? Leave it in the comments below and I'll test 'em all out and then we'll find out which ones worked on Tuesday.

Also, we just celebrated our nine year anniversary and figured we'd impart some of our hard-earned wisdom with you. 9 Things We've Learned After 9 Years of Marriage. First up, you should TOTALLY go to bed angry. Click onward for more tips, plus photos from each year of our marriage.


36 Hours Later

I decided not to take Benadryl and just iced this bad boy. The swelling went down overnight and is all but gone this afternoon. Turns out, we got attacked by Yellowjackets. They're a type of wasp and are more aggressive than bees, particularly in the fall. They can bite as well as sting and since they don't lose their stinger they can sting you several times and will do so unprovoked. Yellowjacket colonies are largest in late summer/early fall. If someone happens by a nest, which are usually built underground, they will swarm attack.

Uh, yeah. Good to know.

Wherein Serge Gets To Slap Me

We like to take what we call a "nature walk" on the weekends. It makes us feel like good parents and it gives the kids and dogs a chance to run around and get tired so they stop talking to us for three seconds so we can just watch one more episode of Breaking Bad on DVD.

Henry: Can we talk about animals again?
Serge: That should be the title of your autobiography, kid."

These "nature walks" consist of loading everyone in the SUV and heading to a hiking trail in a nearby canyon. We go to the same trail every time. It's a storybook forest with a small creek meandering nearby for the dogs to splash in and gulp from when they get hot and thirsty. We walk up the trail until the ratio of minutes spent listening to kids complain surpass the minutes spent enjoying nature and then we turn around and go home.

Yesterday, like always, we loaded up and drove to our trail. This time a strange woman was sitting in her car parked at the base of the trail. Usually we're alone but it's not uncommon to find someone engaged in their own bit of nature lovin'. One time we came upon a couple enjoying nature together while bent over the hood of their car. Much to my disappointment, they immediately got in their car and drove away when we pulled up.

Serge and I weren't surprised by them wanting to enjoy nature together in such a manner so much as by what she was holding while enjoying nature. We spent the entire hike discussing the fact that she was gripping one of those big 'Double Gulp' fountain drinks while they were 'enjoying nature' together. I thought it was a fantastic idea because couldn't we all use a sip of Diet Coke every now and again while 'enjoying nature?' In fact, I might demand a Double Gulp next time Serge wants to 'enjoy nature' but Serge feels like a barrel of soda would detract from his nature enjoyment.

We let the dogs out of the car, unbuckle the kids and begin to head up the trail, Serge in the lead with the dogs, Henry, Violet and I trailing behind him. Not ten steps up the trail Serge yells.


I'm about ten feet behind Serge, calling to the kids who are climbing the rocks that mark the entrance to the trail. I look toward him and he's doing an odd sort of arm-waving, head bobbing jig. I roll my eyes, figuring this another of Serge's "hilarious" jokes.

"I just got stung by a bee! There's another one! Shit!"

At first I think he's kidding but now, as I watch him drop the dog leashes, begin frantically batting the air around him with his arms, and then jig toward me while flailing around, I realize there are a cloud of bees swarming his body. "Another one! I just got stung again!"

At about the same time it dawns on me that this is no joke I realize bees are coming at me. They land on my head, my arms, my chest. The buzzing is so close to my ears it sounds like an airplane roaring overhead. I start swatting around and then one is walking on my eyebrow. I try to swat it away with my hand but it's stuck there, buzzing angrily.

I turn to see Serge slapping around at his own body and I'm screaming at him "Help me! Help me! They're all over me! It's on my eye!"

I remember him kind of flapping at my face and then grabbing my head and wildly shaking it and I'm thinking, How is this going to help? and, of course, it doesn't. The bee is still crawling on my eye and Serge is getting frantic so he hauls off and slaps it a good one, which entails slapping me a good one, and I don't even feel it because I'm so terrified. The bee falls off and he grabs my arm and we're running to the kids and slapping and flailing and I feel two more bees sting me. I lift up my shirt and bees fly out and Serge is fumbling with the keys while I'm swatting bees away from the kids and he opens the doors and I'm throwing kids in the car but bees are flying into the car.

"Out! Out! Everybody out of the car!"

I'm chucking kids back out of the car and trying to swoop all the bees out of the car but there are more bees outside than inside and I just want to drive away but I don't want my kids in the car with bees but Oh My God they are everywhere outside so I toss them back into the car and we're each attempting to buckle them in their seats while swatting at bees and Serge gets stung again in the process, then he and I are jumping in the front seat but there are at least five bees swarming around the windshield so we jump back out and flap around trying to get the bees out of the car and off of us and I get stung again and the kids are laughing because we look like some kind of Abbott & Costello vaudeville routine, flapping and dancing and screaming and the woman in the other car is staring at us from her car as if we're insane WHICH WE ARE.

Finally, we're in the car and driving away and another goddamned bee is swarming around the backseat and lands on Violet's window so I flop between the seats and roll down the window and the bee flies out and Serge is still driving and I notice a bunch more bees buzzing around in the cargo area above the dogs.

"Pull over! Pull over! There are more in the car!"

Serge pulls over and rolls down all the windows so I can flap around pushing bees out until I can't see or hear any more in the car. My eye is pulsing, my boob is throbbing - a bee stung my boob - and Serge has at least three welts that I can see but not a single bee stung my kids.

We drive home in post-adrenaline exhaustion, constantly feeling phantom bees crawling in our hair and under our clothes. We both begin to laugh at the comedy routine we must've made for the woman parked near us, watching as Serge grabs my head in both hands and gives it a good shake before slapping the bee off my eye. He got the little bastard off but not before it stung me something good. My boob is probably swollen too but I can't tell because it's already the size of Kanye's ego.

We are giggling in amazement that neither our kids or dogs got stung when a bee rises up from the dashboard area. Without hesitating I smash the motherfucker into the windshield with my shoe, turn to Serge and say, "Admit it. You kind of enjoyed the opportunity to slap me a good one, didn't you?"

What I Wrote When I Wasn't Here

A parent disowning her child is what goes “against nature.” The only intelligent thing I heard you saying in all this was that “you didn’t raise your son to be gay.” Of course you didn’t. He was born this way and didn’t choose it any more than he being left-handed. You however, have made a choice of being hurtful, narrow-minded and backward. So, while we are in the business of disowning our children, I think I’ll take this moment to say goodbye to you.

Go on wid yo bad self, Gramps! Dad Writes Epic Letter Disowning His Daughter For Disowning Her Gay Son.

Have you seen this video? Terrifying. I'd hit the gas every time, God help anyone in my way.

Postpartum depression and the Capitol Shooting.

I write my opinion on guns in my house while supporting your right to have one in your house and I immediately get bombarded with "Stay the hell out of my house." Why so angry, gun owners? Do you have guns in your house? Why or why not?

The 4th Trimester Bodies Project: "Because mothers everywhere have had a hard time being themselves." I’ll never be able to look at my body without a slightly critical eye toward my weight, it’s too deeply ingrained in my psyche. But at least I can also feel proud that my body housed my babies for nine months. That right now my body is creating a human being. Some stretch marks and even a couple belly rolls are a small price to pay for that.


An Open Letter To An Open Letter

Dear Open Letter,

I wasn't going to write this letter but then I observed just how much publicity open letters tend to get and so I figured it was my time to shine by trying to steal some of your recent spotlight. Open letters seem to always make the news lately and, as you know, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one, including me, and I want to share my opinion about you with you by addressing the world.

What I'm saying is, I'm here to publicly shame you in as passive-aggressive a way as possible. That's how open letters work. Don't take it personally, my intentions are pure, or I'm going to pretend they are, anyway. I don't actually give a shit about you, if I did I wouldn't be writing you an open letter but if I don't write it as an open letter only you will read it and what's the point of that? So. Here we are.

I am extremely concerned for you, Open Letter, that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way 'cool' to smugly and publicly shame someone under the guise of caring for them. Nothing but harm will come in the long run from allowing yourself to pimp out public messages to strangers about whom you really know nothing.

Yes, I'm suggesting you don't care for yourself, Open Letter. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious letter by anyone you let write you. I repeat, you have enough talent that you don't need to let someone make a prostitute of you by writing horrible things on you and then posting you on the Internet in a desperate bid for attention. You shouldn't let them make a fool of you either. Don't think for a moment that anyone writing an open letter gives a flying fuck about the person to whom they're addressed. They're there for the spotlight that penning an open letter shines. This is a dangerous world.

I don't mean to be smug here but, honestly, I mean to be smug because I want everyone to know that I know that you're doing it wrong, Open Letter. That's why I chose to send you an open letter instead of just contacting you directly. I realize no recipient of an open letter anywhere ever took anything in the letter to heart, that, in fact, those who receive open letters are more likely to be offended than not, but fuck it. This isn't really about you. It's about my need to let as many people as possible know that I know you're doing it wrong.

Please know this open letter to you that I wanted the world to read (fingers crossed it goes viral!) came straight from my heart and I wrote this with the best of intentions. Maybe next time someone tries to use you, Open Letter, to send someone a shitty message under the guise of concern you'll think twice about being whored out, you whore, you. God bless!

Monica Bielanko
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