This is a follow up to my previous post

Thursday, December 31, 2009

I used to have a kindle. I loved it. Loved it more than I love most people. Thousands of books at my finger tips. Never worrying about what to read next. But it is broken (thanks Charlie) I cried when it broke. Seriously. Cried. Real tears. Lots.

To this day I cannot bring myself to throw it away- even though it is broken- and not fixable. I just can't toss it.

However- as much as I loved it there is something unique and special about a brick and mortar book store about the atmosphere and the environment.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

For the first time in WAY to long I hired a babysitter and went to a book store. It was refreshing.

I forgot how much I adore books. There were so many books out that I wanted to read. Sadly, I could not buy them all because a) there is no way I could afford it b)there is no way I could carry them to the care c)there is no way I could ever find a place to put them all. It was so nice to be able to talk to other people about books and hear their opinions.

One of the things I love most is the smell of books. Opening them, hearing the spines, as they open the first time, breathing in the aroma of paper and ink. Then being able to read the thoughts of the authors- learning about their perspectives. Growing to care about the characters; becoming involved in the stories.

One of the most amazing things to me being able to see from a distance how an author's life and culture impacted their stories. I have also been fortunate enough to be able to read and learn from words of true genius words by brilliant people who were pioneers socially, scientifically, religiously and that is a blessing.

Sweet Little Man

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Stinky has been a stinker lately. Pushing limits and buttons. It is completely expected for a three and a half year old though- so on the bright side at least he is normal (yay). What compounds this is that he was sick for a bit. The not feeling good, little sleep, and limit pushing have all come together to make me want to hide from my little boy.

He can redeem himself though. He will at the oddest times come out and say 'you my best Mama!' or 'I love you Mama' even better he'll say thank you for the most random things 'Thank you Mama for....' it is so sweet it just melts me and immediately I remember how lucky and blessed I am to have such an incredible little guy.

Princess and Grammy

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Princess was my first child. One that I was not anticipating having, one that I was far from ready for- I quite admittedly was in no way ready or in a good place to have a baby. However- G-d had other plans for me. Thankfully.

Princess and Grammy have been close from the start. She came and sat with her in the NICU as much as she could she took care of her while I worked. Grammy has always had a special bond with Princess from the very start.

Even now Princess has a special relationship with Grammy. It is so great to see Princess be so close to my mom. Princess thinks Grammy is the best person to walk the Earth. Quite frequently I am informed 'but Grammy does it like this' she can do no wrong and has great ideas to play with her. She does not mind going to the part and playing for hours or digging in the sand. Grammy can cook special treats. She will place dress up and pretend without getting tired of it (or at least seeming like it). Princess appreciates it all. Grammy also has a beach- which is fantastic. Hours of entertainment- it does not hurt that Grammy is an expert sand castle builder.

Princess also enjoys special snuggles with Grammy. Whenever we are visiting Grammy or when Grammy visits up Princess claims sleeping with Grammy rights. It makes me so happy to see them together and know that they have such an amazing relationship

Why did I not blog yesterday?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Why you ask? Maybe the pneumonia brewing in my lungs. Maybe the havoc that my children were kind enough to bless me with. One should be sufficient reason for my absence.

So everyone has been sick for a bit. The kids are on the mend- I am not. After a month of being sick from a kidney infection to a cold now some nasty thing that settled in my chest I gave in and called the doctor for the second time in a month to beg for help. She was wonderful. I have pneumonia. I am supposed to rest (obviously she missed the memo about the kids). I have antibiotics. Fantastic.

But that still does not answer the question why I did not write. Well my mistake was wondering for a split second what I was going to write about as my house had been pretty mellow for the past few weeks. Never.Again.

The kids dug deep and found all of the mischief that they had failed to make when they were not feeling so good and made up for lost time.

My FIVE year old- the one who has been potty trained for the past three and a half years went to the bathroom on the bathroom floor- not pee. After that got cleaned up I heard Stinky calling from the other bathroom. He waddled up to me with his pants around his ankles with toilet paper stuck between his bum cheeks- tears streaming down his cheeks. The paper was stuck. We got that taken care of I went to the bathroom and there was poop in the toilet (yay) on the toilet (not so yay) on the floor and on the toilet paper roll (decidedly not yay). That was fun. But that was just for warm ups.

Glass decorations that it took a bit of effort to get to were tossed on the floor and shattered sending slivers of glass all over. While I was cleaning that up Stinky was gearing up for the next round. He opened a box of wine (yes we are all sorts of KLASSY) that we had purchased for a family party and a good half of it went all over the dining room floor which had just been mopped. Four bath towels were needed to soak up the mess. FOUR regular sized bath towels. As that was getting wiped up Stinky slammed Princesses fingers in a door.

At the end of this I was SHAKING mad and shaking because I was sick. I called my girlfriend to vent and talk me out of locking myself in the bedroom. So that is why I did not blog the other day.

Stepping stones

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Why do my children step and stand on EVERYTHING? If a book is on the floor they stand on it. A toy, A puzzle, EVERYTHING needs to be stood upon?? B used to be that way I hear- so I guess that proclivity is somewhat genetic.

To be honest when it something that standing on will not hurt it still bugs me. No- I do not why- it just gets on my nerves. Maybe because if they stand on things that it will not hurt they may stand on things that it will hurt and the distinction may be hard for them to make- but I think that it is a little to cerebral for this- it just makes me nuts.

Like when they stand on a book and it tears- then I have more work- not a lot but piled on top of the mountain that I am already responsible for it can be enough to push me to my mama limits.

Lest anyone think

Monday, December 21, 2009

that we have crossed into normal family territory we have adopted a 7 week old puppy- a Siberian Husky named Aurora (yes as in the northern lights). We like having a full house I guess.

Seriously- the kids were missing Ali so much and I was to. Charlie was also having an awful time being an only dog. He needs the playmate of a four legged variety.

Trying to figure out....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

How I went five years of motherhood without knowing there is a children's NyQuil. Seriously, my sick kids prayers may have just been answered.
Something that helps them sleep when they are in sheer misery and so generously sharing that misery? Fantastic. Even better: it is cherry flavored. Maybe Stinky will not spit it all over the kitchen.

I really do not like knowing that the relief that I can offer is minimal. So hopefully this well help everyone get some rest!

Pictures of Nose Piercing

Saturday, December 19, 2009

at long last and many requests: TA DA!!!!

Remind me of this later

Friday, December 18, 2009

But my children are pretty great. There are moments that reassure me that I am making good decisions by them. Today I was reassured of it yet again. They are sick and miserable. I had a chance today to spend some time one on one with Stinky- which is not as frequent as I would like- but it was nice. We played trains and on Sprout Online. Which is a a new thing for the kids- the computer...but that is a whole 'nother post. He chose to paint pictures online. As he was coloring he was talking about the colors he was choosing. He chose the shade of green that was closest to the one that I love and he remembered that- and told me that was why he was choosing that color 'because you love it mama'.

If that was not sweet enough he wanted to email the picture to Grammy because he loves her so much. So we did. He dictated a short note that I typed for him and sent it off into cyberspace.

He was that sweet and sensitive even when he was feeling under the weather. Which made my day.

When Appliances Attack.

Details at 10. This is a graphic account of what happens when good appliances turn bad. The names and brands have been changed to protect the guilty.

Remember that movie from the late '70s early 80's called the "Parenthood" or something similar that had a vacuum that was pretty much its own character?

My dishwasher is like that- it does not move across the floor sucking up kids lovies but it attacked today. It has been suffering for a while. The door needs to be hip checked to latch and it apparently was offended with the repeated assault; today it retaliated. I firmly believe it was premeditated too.

There I was a cold December morning unloading the dishes. No sooner had I finished and started to reload than I heard a noise a deep guttural growling. Thinking a cat was harassing a dog, I brushed it off. It was nothing so innocent. It was water flowing. Before I knew it there was water spurting into the air and all over the kitchen. I was leaning over the bottom rack loading plates so I caught a face full as there was nothing in there to block the flow save for a plate or two. I stood up, jumped back, and was indignant. I slipped across the slate floor and attempted to close the door. Immediately, the shock turned to rage, at an appliance. I stalked off to my room to change clothes. I'll get that dishwasher back though- somehow.

Mama Confessions

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I have been a naughty mama.

My children received Advent calenders at the beginning of the season this year. As we do not typically celebrate Advent or give chocolate- my kids on sugar is not pretty. I have neglected to give them the candy instead opting for an advent activity and story. I have saved the chocolate for my emergency chocolate stash. For the times when mama has two options let her head explode or self medicate with cocoa.

As an aside- I am so very very thankful for them. I am so very grateful that I was blessed with them. Despite the minor annoyances- they are amazing. Looking at the world though their eyes is amazing.

Mamas Musings

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It is December. It is very cold out. I have a house full of sick kids and I am not feeling so hot these days either.

Go with me on this. I have been up for almost 48 consecutive hours and I am getting a little loopy- but overnight when I was sitting in a steam filled bathroom holding my 22 month old daughter attempting to encourage her to keep coughing up the glue like crap in her lungs I sat and wondered how on earth Michelle Duggar manages to keep 18 kids healthy and clean. I am not a devoted watcher far from it but in the few episodes I have seen- the kids are clean- and healthy! My kids are currently walking snot balls. For that matter the Gosselin kids seem to have super immune systems too... what gives?

One other middle of the night desperation induced mother invention. When it is 4:30 am and you cannot find a nasal aspirator to suck out mucous- a breast pump will work in a pinch. I was quite impressed with my exhausted ingenuity (no I will not use that piece of tubing for milk expression ever again).

Family Celebrations

Last week we celebrated my aunt and uncle's fiftieth wedding anniversary. First what a huge accomplishment. Fifty years. Amazing. It was a great time to see so many of their friends from high school on and the family there to celebrate their love and live together.

It was held at a local pub casual restaurant place that we have been frequenting since before I was born. It is a place with Irish flair which is fitting given the family heritage.

At first my kids were less than thrilled. A party with lots of grown ups and no one their age? No games? No toys? Where's the fun in that?? Soon enough they found their cousins who they do not see very often and soon they were having a ball. Their older cousins had a good time being the 'big kids' and taking care of the little ones.

The night got even better when a bag piper in full regalia walked in an proceeded to play a few songs. My kids had never seen a bag piper except for the parades- which they have actually only seen one- as the other parades they have been walking in. So this was new. My kids were enthralled. Soon my musical one, Peas, could not resist the rhythm of the Irish music and began dancing her own dance. Before long Princess and Stinky were also dancing to the music. For me at least it added to the experience. If it were up to them I think the bag pipes would be decidedly more mainstream.

The evening kept getting better. The cousins danced with the little ones and when it was time to go- lo and behold- the kids who did not want to go to the party- now did not want to leave!

Weird food opinions.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Everyone has strange food opinions. I am no exception. I am a pretty open eater. I'll eat a lot of things but there are some things that I cannot stomach at all. One such thing is spaghetti. I hate spaghetti. Other pasta are fine, linguine, fettuccine, penne- all of those I like- but spaghetti can't deal with it. Won't eat it.

Yes I realize that they are the SAME THING just a different shape. This is purely psychological in nature but I have an aversion to the long round noodles.

Bad Library Mojo.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Princess has some bad library luck.. A few years ago she picked books from the childrens section at the public library that were graphic and disturbing in the way they discussed poaching. While I then and now appreciate the need to instill in children a love for the environment and for animals I was shocked at the graphic nature of the approach.

This week was another interesting choice. This time from the school library. Molly Bannaky is a great historical book that covers a very intense period in world history. It also covers a range of topics that blindsided me when I was reading my children this book as a bed time story- it is by no means five year old bedtime story material.

With in the first to pages a woman- a dairy maid was being brought to trial in 17th century England for theft relating to a cow knocking over a milk pail. I did learn that the penalty for theft during this period was death in the gallows (good to know right??- also great information for my kids to know right at bedtime.) I also learned that if an individual could read from the Bible he or she could not be put to death- also an interesting topic of discussion.

She was instead sentenced to seven years as indentured servant in the New World; incidentally Molly had no family to say good-bye too. She was taken by ship to the Colony of Maryland where she worked on a tobacco plantation- also an interesting way to introduce the concept of capitalism farming society.

Upon completion of her sentence Molly was given an ox, hoes, seeds, and a gun. Thankfully during her time as indentured servant she had become strong enough to manage a team of oxen so managing a farm on her own was with in the realm of possible. However, people had never heard of a woman staking her own claim to land before without a husband (shocking) but luckily her neighbors were kind and helped her.

Here is where the story again turns more than mildly inappropriate for a five year old. Molly read (again great skill to have)of a ship landing from Africa- a slave ship. Lovely. When reading this on my sofa at 8pm at night my heart sank- saddened that I would have to explain a very dark period and belief to my innocent daughter.

The illustrations on these pages are graphic. They show an African American man dressed in a loin cloth on an auction block wearing a neck shackle. It also depicts several men waiting in chains to be sold. How do you begin to explain this to a five year old?

Molly purchases a man, Bannaky- and takes him to her home where she treats him well (this is supposed to be a credit to her instead of just the way that a person treats another person). They eventually develop respect and understanding and that grows into love she freed him and they were married by a traveling pastor. This also was a teaching moment as a white woman could be forced into slavery for marrying a slave. Fortunately, Molly did not meet such a fate. They did have children- but sadly Bannaky died during their childhood (the illustration accompanying this page was a lovely image of a fresh grave). The children grew up and one girl married a slave who upon conversion to Christianity was freed. They and their children were all taught to read from the Bible.

These children (Molly's grandchildren) went on to make several lasting impacts on society. One helped plan Washington, D.C. and corresponded with then Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson about the unconscionable concept of slavery- Thomas Jefferson agreed with him. All of her grandchildren were educated in mathematics, sciences- especially Astronomy, and literature.

While the ending is 'happy' the story line is intense. By no means do I advocate censorship- especially regarding such an important and influential story and history- but I would like a little forewarning so that these books are not bedtime material.


Friday, December 11, 2009

When I was a kid I was outside constantly- especially in the snow. Sledding, fort building- heck I do not know what I did for those hours outside- my mother practically had to drag me in when she was concerned I would get frost-bite.

I was so anxious to share this love of winter activities with my kids. Princess's first winter was not so exciting- she couldn't walk yet- but with great excitement when the second winter rolled around I was thrilled. With great gusto, I bought her snow pants, mittens, gloves, hats, and all the accouterments necessary for arctic (or Chicago) winter outdoor fun.

She- being the ever fashion conscious toddler that she was grew quite upset when her pretty pink boots got snow on them (imagine that- snow on boots! the nerve!)She would stop what she was doing and bend down and brush the snow off of her boots. For a while she would do this ever few steps- until the magic of the snow won out. Soon Princess was sledding down the hill behind out apartment. I was pulling the sled around our apartment complex. Once inside she would get her sled out and sit on it in the middle of the hall and look at us- like- 'well um- I am ready!!! Let's GO!'

This is Peas second winter and it is like taking a time machine back. Peas has the same frustration with her boots but the same fascination with the snow. Together my kids are outside in the winter weather enjoying the snow. We have had one 'big' snow that amounted to a few inches- but they made the most of it! Snow angels, catching snow flakes shoveling the drive. Just like my mother I am practically dragging them into the house to defrost. And me? I am darn happy I have snow pants.

Nose Drama

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

So I got the piercing. All is well right? You obviously do not know me or the way my life works. Crisis to Crisis. That is how we operate in the H house. So what did I do? I petted my cat whom I love- but whom I am allergic too- then of course I sneezed. Out flew the nose ring piercing thingy- I guess what they say is true that you sneeze kind of hard. So I go to the bathroom to asses the damage and attempt to reinsert the stinker. No luck- mucous membranes- like the inside of your nose close REALLY fast.

Mind you I am a wimp and all of this fussing with my nose had begun to make me feel a little woozy. My hands were shaking I was pale- felt really icky. Since my blood sugar plummets when this happens I did what I knew would make me feel better I had a Coke. A real Coke- not Diet Coke- which for those of you who know me know what a big deal this is. It did help- I was able to hold things with out my hands shaking violently and I maintained consciousness! Unfortunately my nose thingy was not in still. On examination of the ring I noticed that the curved part was causing me issues as well as the clipped end that was a bit rough. So after letting the inflammation die down a bit I used one of my girls piercing studs to hold the hole open until I could figure out what to do.

During this time I was updating my friends and they were getting a good laugh from my predicament. One suggested using sand paper to smooth out the end of the ring that was a bit pokey and causing issues. 'Genius' I thought- then realized I had no idea where I would FIND sand paper- so I settled for a nail file. I smoothed it out cleaned it again- and still could not get it in- I needed another Coke- to continue.

I found the email address for the piercing guy and emailed him in despair. No answer. The following day I went back to the studio and he quickly fixed me right up-as well as had a good laugh at my expense I am sure!!

Different personalities.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Today is Princess's first Daisy scout meeting after school. She was excited but now she is nervous. She does not want to be away from me for that long. I know she'll be fine- just like she is at school after the day gets started.

I am still struggling with the attitudes that I have been getting lately. As a consequence Princess has lost the privilege of picking out her clothes for the day as that task as resulted in an debate and complaining everyday. If it were up to her she would wear her party dress everyday- which I could be ok with if it did not require dry cleaning or was appropriate for wear in Chicago winters. She wants to be 'pretty' and her five year old definition of pretty is wearing a fancy dress all the time. If she is not 'pretty' she will whine and complain and argue. I have- for the record let her choose her clothes and when she was cold it was melt down city- which when we are going to Target is not the biggest deal- but when we have time constraints like going to school- there just is not time.

So today it is snowy, wet, and cold- Chicago in the winter- typical. So I pulled out sweats and a long sleeve tee shirt. Which she put on by herself as soon as she was asked (a moderate victory) without complaining (I was ready to do somersaults) but she was saving up the whining for a later time. She started in, 'Daisy's are supposed to be pretty and I am not pretty today.' I told her the whining was hurting my ears- she persisted- she was then told if she wanted to whine she could do so in her room as much as she liked but it was not something I wanted to hear now. She choose to stop (damn near a miracle).

Then Stinky and Peas start. The draw of objects that is not for them is irresistible. After being reminded of such Stinky bonked his head into mine and Peas attempted a head-butt hug.

They went upstairs to 'play' shortly thereafter I hear a blood curdling shriek. Princess was moving her little table around in her room 'because Peas convinced her too' (bearing in mind Peas does not really 'talk' per-say) and she stubbed her toe. Requiring the antics that would make someone think I was pulling out her fingernails.

Well this post got side tracked. I wanted to talk about how I am very unfashion informed and Princess has her own fashion sense that is every bit as unique as she is. Peas could wear a smock all day and not care but the second she hears music she is all about dancing. Stinky is my mechanical engineer. He takes EVERYTHING apart- which is a feat as he does not have 'tools' to do so. He improvises.

Me? I try and keep up. The kids out number me and they have more energy. It may be a lost cause.

the kind of mom I do not want to be

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I say this with trepidation. Because I know where this mom is coming from; I have been there. I think most moms have. But I do not want to act like she did today.

I had to go to the grocer. On a Saturday. Hellish right?

So as I was trying to make it though the store as fast as possible I heard a mom berating her child. The child was not small- I'd guess 7 or 8 years old- old enough to know decent polite behavior. I am sure that the mother felt stressed and frustrated and annoyed but how she was upbraiding the kid made me sad. No child deserves to be called stupid or awful. Even less so in public.

Again I totally admit to saying things I should not to my children- especially when I am frustrated an annoyed. I do not want them to feel bad about themselves. I do not want them to question their worth. They are so loved and valued it is a little nuts! But the look on the child's face just looked crushed. It made me think about the times when I do 'lose it' and again resolve to try and be the kind of mom that my children deserve.

Appearences can be deceiving

Friday, December 4, 2009

I did something tonight that I really did not anticipate having the guts to do. I a mom of young children- living in a conservative suburb- driving a Honda minivan got a nose ring. A small stud. But I did it. I'll call it a quarter-ish life crisis.

I went with a friend to a shop that looked totally scary. First, I had to Google a place to get this done- as I am not up on the places to get pierced in the area then we set off to trek off there to get the job done.

Outside appearances were deceiving. It looked like a place I would not typically willingly go- well- it isn't but either or. I was there. Taking the plunge. In India women get a nose piercing as another place to wear gold. While I have no cultural proclivity such as that- I wanted to do something decidedly anti- mom. Being that I am a chicken and a wimp and I really did not really want to go too far out there- something that was just this side of momville.

There was an eclectic group there. Teenage-ish looking girls there getting a lower back tattoo; a man that I seriously was afraid of on appearances- he had piercings that I did not know could be done and wearing more eye make-up than I have worn cumulatively in my life; another girl with dyed black hair; all in skinny pants and a style that was very decided. They however were delightful. Knowing I was scared they were very reassuring and genuinely nice. They were reassuring and gentle. And the piercer seemed like a totally sweet man- very kind- when we were done I almost wanted to hug him.

So the piercing did not hurt that much. It just pinched a bit- I got all worked up for what actually felt like a nasty zit popping. He then informed my that my nose on the inside is very small. He wanted to clip the inside a bit- he then pulled out a giant pair of bolt cutter looking things and the blood drained from my head and heart- the roaring in my ears started- everyone laughed and reassured me that it was just for the metal. It was.

I cannot believe I did it. But I did- me and my mamahood self.

mommy burn out.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How do you cope? What do you do? How do you recharge your mama self?

Yesterday felt like I was running a marathon. From Stinky going potty next to the toilet and then pooping in his hand (I was in the bathroom and you know he could not have used the bathroom downstairs!); to attitudes and whining I was at the end of a quickly fraying rope.

Today seems like a second marathon. Lots of attitude and back talk. Again- I understand that it is totally normal and expected but goodness, it is tiresome. I have no idea how to stem the flow either. Whatever discipline techniques I use do not seem effective. I can't take anything away from princess that seems to mean enough to her to get good behavior. Stinky is being very disrespectful when I take anything away from him it results in a cataclysmic meltdown that is counter-productive.

Stinky is very good at going potty. One problem we are having is that he refuses to go with out a light on- even during the day- when it is sunny and the bathroom is bright. Nor will he get on the potty by himself or pull up pants that are not sweat pants. Thereby demanding my attendance at every potty performance which with the herd- makes accomplishing anything difficult.

The other problem I am encountering in parenting world is kindergarten. Princess hates it- well she hates going there- apparently she is fine once the day gets going but getting in the door is not easy. It is tear-filled and so sad. She is nervous and just wants to go home. Which I understand. It makes me sad though that she is so nervous about it though. Any ideas for any of the above??

Satudays are a hot day!

My Saturdays are booked from now until the New Year. I really wish they were not. I want a weekend alone- to rest and recover from the week- and maybe just maybe accomplish something around the house. But I do not know if I will ever be able to do that as the kids get older they have increasing social commitments and I have increased chauffeur responsibilities.

The thing is my kids are NOT over scheduled. They do not *do* anything like sports or classes or anything. I would not know where to put in the day! What happened to lazy weekends staying in pjs? Kids getting up leaving Mama alone for a few hours.

check this out

Monday, November 30, 2009


(totally work and child appropriate)

If you are a single lady and you are ready to mingle

Sunday, November 29, 2009

the place to be on Sunday morning is not church but your local Ultra Foods or the like. A word of warning- wear make up- and actual clothes- maybe even brush your hair.

at the risk of starving my herd I set off for the local ultra foods- despite the near epic journey to get there (the bridge was out) I arrived complete in - get this- hot pink pajama pants and a sky blue fleece. I did brush my teeth but my hair was pony tailed- oh yeah and I had a massive pimple on my chin and one that was seriously throbbing under my nose- no I am not in high school as much as my skin may like to think so.

As I am wandering the aisles trying to remember what we actually eat and mentally plan meals I notice not one, not two, but THREE groups of firemen also doing their shopping. Of course I look nary a ring in sight. All of the times I wanted to meet a guy and lamented the apparent lack of them in the world I could have just gone to the grocery store and met men who at the minimum were gainfully employed and hand managed to pass a backround check as well as a psych exam- very important qualifications for any guy who I would have dated (after a disastrous first attempt at marriage my standards included sanity......)

So a note to anyone girl who is looking- find out what time shift change is at your local fire department- then hit the cheap grocery store in the area about an hour and half later, and remember lip gloss never killed anyone.

I need a night to 'skank it up'

borrowing the phrase from one of my friends.

I am in DIRE need of a ladies night- preferably one that involves dancing and tushie shaking with my girlfriends.

The last time I went out with ladies was last YEAR. So I think one is due. Time to wear clothes that my husband would not approve of set my make up gun to 'whore' and drive my oh soooo hot honda MINIVAN to a bar/clubby place and laugh and play like I am not a mom with a house and kids and dogs and yes, the sexy mini van.

Girls need these times as a form of female bonding. It is important to us to know we are still attractive despite being in the kitchen at 6 pm working on dinner, being fussed at by children, wearing sheep pajama pants, without a speck of make up we can still clean up well enough to make a guy look twice.

so if any of my friends are interested please feel free to email me and we'll plan out night out- no kids- none.. with make up- and no pajama pants.

What is the minimum age for the lampshade award??

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Is 22 months too young?? In our house last night we had a bit of a dance party and it got a bit wild. Babies gone wild- or a preschool house party term it what you will my children actually had a lampshade on their heads. I even have photographic evidence.

For as much attitude as they can dish out they can let loose and have a good time. Which I guess does not bode well for their high school and college days.

Another rather ominous sign is my Peas loves Janis Joplin and The Who. Maybe I should change her college fund to a 'rehab fund'.

Pile of puppies aka why I need a king size bed

The kids have their own beds. Really they do- even though they never sleep in them- they are there- at least it is easy to make them as they never get unmade. They do not sleep in their beds because they sleep in my bed- with me. Pretty much every night.

They love to cuddle. And despite the lack of sleep that the pile of puppies that my children seem to like to impersonate- they are really sweet and really cute. Princess will comfort Peas in her sleep- hold her and pat her- while she is still sleeping. Peas will snuggle up to her big sister and hold her hand.

Stinky curls up in a little ball next to me and hugs me. They sleep so much better in their puppy dog pile. As much as I dislike always being touched- they are so sweet together (most of the time).

A king size bed would be nice though.

Odd Education on Emotion

Friday, November 27, 2009

I have spent a fair amount of time in hospitals. I have been able to learn a few things. I can work an IV pump pretty well. I can silence alarms on monitors. In the past few years the majority of my time has been spent in NICUs cuddling my babies who for some reason or another have decided to make their grand entrance early.

NICUs are a very interesting place in the hospital. It takes a very special type of person to work there. Things are tense. Babies are sick, parents are stressed and scared, sometimes things are joyful, other times things are tragic. The emotional stamina to handle the intense emotions and the stress of the job is crazy- I do not know if I would be able to handle it.

But from where I have sat cuddling my babies I have had an opportunity to learn somethings about people and the people who work in NICUs as well as hospitals in general.

Compassion. The doctors and nurses who work with the teeny babies in the NICU are some of the most compassionate individuals I have ever met. They treat their babies with love and respect- often being the caring hands and arms when their parents can't be there.

When B and I have had babies in the NICU we were fairly confident when caring for our little ones. We were not intimidated by monitors or tubes- we were just there to snuggle our little ones. The nurses and docs though have to have the skills to inspire confidence in a pretty scary situation.

I can hear the different types of alarms and know what they mean- low SpO2, apnea, Brady's. I can talk the talk about human milk fortifier (HMF), the caloric intake of the preterm infant- about the TTN so common in the NICU all of that stuff.

but the sad stuff is taboo- no one talks of the stuff that is tragic. But please know- that those of us NICU parents who have been there have seen it. Maybe even done it. Please know that you are in our thoughts. Please know that we are praying for you.

Ok thats it

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

She looks sweet doesn't she? But under that sweet exterior lies an attitude that makes me what to have my head spin around and correct her in all sorts of ways not gentle or kind. Thankfully, I usually can filter and edit what I want to say into something that is much more appropriate.

Today though she is on my nerves- it is the holidays- stressful in the best of times- I am sick- also stressful- add the lack of sleep and I am fit to be tied. This is not to make excuses- this is more to look at my my first reaction under stress is to snap at people. So why?

Why when stressed to I revert to being snarky?

Got the message- thanks

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Do you ever feel like G-d is trying to get a point across to you? Much like any parent- I would imagine he gets rather frustrated when his children are resistant to his point- much like I get irritated when the kids do not seem to understand my repeated requests for no running in the house.

So, obviously, I am at that point again where I feel like G-d is beating me on the head with a message that he has apparently been trying to gently get across subtly without much success. The funny part is now that I get it- I will forget it- much like my kids 'forget' my requests... over and over and over. Maybe I should have more patience- maybe this is a message in and of itself?

G-d- I appreciate your involvement and attention in my life.... got the point... remind me when necessary

In light of the upcoming holidays and the family drama that has already begun.....

Monday, November 23, 2009

one of my best friends and I have decided to start a new blog: Strange (crazy) in-law stories

Of course in my tenure in the H family my in-laws have provided me with a lot of laughable and frustrating moments- but I'd like to have lots of contributions from people.

email me ( stories of crazy in law antics. You can remain anonymous if your like or you can give me an address and I'll link back to you.

Share the in law holiday joy (and frustration/irritation) with everyone!

Le Beaujolais Est Arrivé

Saturday, November 21, 2009

who could not love a day dedicated to wine?

The third Thursday in November is the traditional release date for the first wine of the harvest- Beaujolais Nouveau. In France there are races and parties to celebrate it- how could you not? It is light, fruity and not to tannic.

Anyway- the first time I tried this wine was on my honeymoon. Since then I look forward to the day that reminds me of our honeymoon and how much we enjoyed it.

So last Thursday was Beaujolais day- and of course I got to remember our honeymoon- since then so much has changed- but I have fallen more and more in love.

Not worth the trouble

Friday, November 20, 2009

My kids LOVE fruit. They adore them. Rare is a fruit that they do not like. Last week we were at the store and they saw pomegranates. They have had pomegranate juice and liked it. Princess started lobbying hard for me to buy a pomegranate so they could try them.

These are fairly labor intensive fruits. For someone like me who routinely debates with myself about buying the pre-sliced apples- the effort required to get a pomegranate in an edible state is a bit excessive. Come on- the store posted INSTRUCTIONS (illustrated- step by step, no less) on how to get them ready to eat- this would be interesting.

Eventually- as my mom was there- and she would be probably more patient with the subsequent mess than I would- I allowed the pomegranate.

It was with great joy that the fruit was placed in the cart, then brought into the house, and proudly ensconced on the counter.

My mom (G-d bless her), agreed to be the supervisor of the pomegranate dissection. They are squirty- labor intensive fruits- that stain. The juice made it everywhere- counters, cabinets, kids....all of it. But they loved them. The little jewel looking seeds that are hard to get out made my kids day. They loved them.

But I think I'll stick with the juice.

these are the days

Thursday, November 19, 2009

that I'll miss? really? sure about that?

I think not. I will not miss the back talk. I will not miss the hysterics. I will not miss the biting. I will not miss so much of the crap that goes on with little kids and is making me so frustrated that I am literally shaking right now.

My Stinky is having a very very hard time right now. I am having a very hard time with him. He has started this 'shooting' noise when he is pointing and he does it in response when I tell him something he does not like. It makes me nuts. I really really do not like it. He is also being unkind to his sisters. Biting, hitting, etc- but I am at a loss as to how to stop any of it.

Peas is well being a very needy 22 month old. She loves to put her feet on me and kick when she is nursing- not enough to hurt but enough to be bothersome. When she does it I make her stop nursing- then she has a tantrum.

Princess- oh my- she needs a gold statue for most dramatic performance. Anything happens and it is tears and hyperventilating and wailing. Mostly these outbursts are caused by her siblings retaliating to her bossy behavior. Also- shoes- she cannot keep track of them to save her life- or my sanity.

So what exactly am I going to miss about these days?

Super Mom

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No not me. My mom.

it has come to my attention, again, how fantastic she is. I was a very 'difficult' teen (difficult meaning unmanageable- long since on the other side of normal teen attitude). My mom found help- got it- and stood by me (as did my dad but this post is about my mom so let me brag about her first).

So now more than ten years later she is still saving the day. A wonderful person to talk to when I need to vent- which admittedly is fairly frequently. She is helpful and thoughtful etc. All of that is great right? but when we REALLY need her. She is there. Right now she is helping my sister through some complications with her pregnancy. She has come and helped me after each child or any crisis when I needed her. She has always been there to take care of us when we just want to throw our hands up and be confused.

She helped me find a way out of my marriage when it was awful- she helped me learn to do this myself.

I guess that is the biggest thing. She helped me- but did not do things for me. She was like training wheels. I hope I can do that for my children. Not do things for them but get them pointed in the right direction and 'spot' them. Then watch them.

For all of the families who say 'they stick together' mine does. When it counts they are there. When I need any of them. They are there. I will be there for them too. Always.

That means more than saying you 'stick together'.

You haved arrived

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

in motherhood.

It is a 24/7 job. You do not get paid, you do not get any acknowledgment, or thanks, and a lunch break is usually taken 'tasting' food from the kids plates, and you get puked on or peed on- and it is not a big deal.

6 years ago if I got peed on or puked on it would have been a big issue. Now I can get pee'd on and I am thankful that it was a) not the carpet or couch- both are harder to clean than clothes b) thankful that I am not wearing anything that needs dry cleaning.

Tonight was a perfect example. The kids have colds. Not even bad colds but they are phelgmy- anyway- sitting at dinner Stinky started to cough- suddenly his cough changed from a 'cough' cough to a going to be sick cough- before I had time to react- he was. My reaction was calm more matter of fact than anything- because his sisters were now all 'eww'-ing and being rather dramatic. So after getting him down stripping him to his underwear- he proceeded to start coughing again. My first reaction was to move him from the carpet to the wood floor (cleaning is easier) he of course was sick again.

Before kids I would have been all kinds of grossed out too now it is just a part of life

I say a little prayer

Monday, November 16, 2009

Everytime I hear or see a police car, fire truck, ambulance. I think it is by virtue of B's career. Because I know what it is like to hear your husband is injured- because I know their job can be dangerous- because I know what it is like to worry about your spouse.

So every time I see one I say a little prayer for the men and women responding that they are protected and blessed. Nothing fancy- just a 'Please G-d look after them- protect them- guide them'. It makes me feel better.

I hope I am not the only one who says a little prayer for them. What they do is vital. Yet so often taken for granted or ignored. With every call they put themselves out there at the mercy of the public and the other drivers as well whatever the are facing on the call.

So please- say a little prayer.

Its over? Really?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Last night was a great I got to clean the kitchen without small people help. Then I got to fold laundry without help. Even better- the floors got wiped up again without help. When did a Friday night turn into that? Whats more- when did I start thinking sleeping in was until 7 am?

A funny note though- when I went to bed I heard Princess talking- confused I stopped in the hallway to listen- she was making letter sounds and 'sounding out' words in her sleep. Very odd. But cute.

Somehow the nights go so fast. I know I am a very light sleeper. Which is a good thing and a bad thing- I wake up when I am needed- but I wake up a lot when I am not needed as well too. My nights are usually dotted with waking looking at the clock and then listening to determine what needs to happen. Last night was no exception. The end result being that I maybe got 2 hours of sleep in 15 minute increments. One day I will sleep for a week- maybe.

Holding my babies

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I'll admit it. My kids are great. They do whatever they are going to do with their whole mind, body, and spirit. Which makes for some really fun (and really frustrating) times. But today as I watch them play and interact I have to stop and take notice of what a miracle they really are and secondly what a miracle their relationships with each other are.

All of them were preemies. They did not 'act' like their gestational ages- but they were all petite. Looking at them now you would never know that the NICU was their first home away from home. Several years ago it would have been a much harder/much bigger deal that they even survived. Now sometimes I take it for granted that my preemies were born in a time when medicine and love were able to help them so much- by helping maintain my pregnancies and then by giving them a helping hand when they needed it after birth.

They bug each other as brothers and sisters do. It is part of the fun after all right? But on a deeper level they love each other very much. When one is hurt or sick or sad- they are quick to comfort and quick to hug and kiss. They empathize with each other and others which is something that society is loosing all too fast.

So I can look back at their baby books and remember how impossibly tiny they were. Then look at them now growing almost visibly. Exploring, learning, challenging...

I can hold them reading stories- mindful that in a few years they will not want me to read to them or snuggle before bed.

Period of adjustment

Friday, November 13, 2009

With the changes that our home has weathered in the past 16 months it is amazing that all of the people have made it.

Things will not 'get back to normal'. First- normal is a misnomer- second- we have to find a new 'routine' a new typical. All of us have to learn all of us have to grow. The issue is during this period of growth we have some growing pains. We have to learn our new way... forge a new path.

Growing pains are hard on all of us. I get frustrated- the kids are confused and looking for their home base and not finding it.....

To me finding our center as a family becomes even more important during this period than normal.

Finding time to do normal routine things-reading stories- eating meals together- become more important to us.

Mama v. Mommy

I prefer Mama. No idea why. but I have a preference when it comes to my motherhood name.

Mama seems more nurturing and more the type of mother I strive to be rather than 'Mommy' which can take a decidedly whiny note when pronounced "MOMMMMYYYYYYYYYY"

What do you prefer? Do you have a preference? I am hopelessly weird in that?

Monday, November 9, 2009

As a kid I never called anyone except for teachers Mr. or Mrs. So and So. The concept makes very little sense to me.

Now that I have children I find people (like my child's teacher) calling me Mrs. MarriedLastName as well as other children referring to me as such.

With the teacher and people I see regularly I always or most of the time say "oh no please call me....." which works great. But with kids- some parents look at me funny if I say the same. I understand that some people believe that titles and such are a sign of respect- that is great- but to me you should respect people based on the fact that they are people not on the idea that they are older. Respect greater than that is earned- and not by having a birthday- but by a thousand other things.

My children call their teachers Miss LastName but other adults are usually referred to on a first name basis. It does not mean they respect anyone any less just that titles are a bit superfluous.

What do you think?

A is for Apple-

Friday, November 6, 2009

Or Airway. according to my kids. Even though B is not there now he taught Princess the beginning of the ABC's using a mnemonic from school. "A is for Airway, B is for Breathing, C is for circulation, D is for disability...." so she has taught Stinky the beginning of the alphabet using the same device. Princess got some interesting looks when she was in preschool and would come up with 'Airway' for the classic what does "a" stand for and draw a picture. How do you draw a picture of an airway that is appropriate for preschool??

Thankfully she does not know the 'OPQRST" mnemonic for pain that would be interesting to explain.

I can't look at my own blog!!!

Seriously. I can't. I love the picture of Ali- but the moment I see it I start to weep. Can't believe she is gone.

She was beautiful

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Originally uploaded by somewhatsinglemama
I miss you


today I had to stop in and pay for her 'disposal' I hate that word. like she is garbage. She is not garbage. She is nothing like garbage. She is loved. and I miss her so much. I miss her sleeping next to me. Petting her soft head and rubbing her ears. Listening to her 'talk' to me.
Charlie misses his sister. He waits for her to come to the yard and play with him.
the kids miss playing with her they loved her.

I miss her amazing eyes. They were ice blue. She was stunning.
I don't know if she hurt. I don't know if she suffered. I am so so sorry that it happened like that- that she was alone. She should not have been alone- I hope she wasn't scared. seeing her on the side of the road was the saddest thing that i have seen.

Going to the office to pay made it so final. It made it real. It made it the end of her.. the end of Ali. The end of the dog that I fell in love with. So I felt like an idiot crying signing the paperwork for her. Nearly vomiting.

Sure we can get another husky. but not another Ali. Not another dainty- prissy girl who took no crap. She is irreplaceable.

So Ali- if you can somehow know what is in my heart- know that I miss you. Know that I love you. I am so sorry that this happened. You are missed. You are loved. Thank you so much for the great memories. You were a wonderful dog. I can't believe that this is the end. I can't believe that I will not see your face- that I will not hear your voice. I miss you. I love you.

Come on people- have a heart

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

We experienced tragedy today in the H household. Our beloved Siberian Husky escaped from our yard and was hit by a car- to our devastation she died.

The people who hit her did not stop and help her or call 911 or anything. They left. They broke my children's hearts and wounded me.

This dog was and is a member of our family. She will be cherished in our hearts and remembered forever.

If you are reading this-heartless beast who hit my dog and did not stop-please know how deeply you hurt my children; how dare you. Princess was wailing for nearly an hour over the loss of her dog. She of course said some profound things such as: "This is the saddest thing that has happened in my whole life" "it was not time for her to die yet"

Of course the kids want to replace her right away- maybe in a few months we will get to that point.

It took five years......

No I am not dead yet- just busy. (sorry)

We go to story time at our local library once a week. We were blessed this time in that all three kids have story time that coincide with each other.

Taking three kids anywhere can be hard though. And for the first time I lost one. One minute he was playing nicely with the puzzles. I bent my head to look at books and when I popped it back up he had disappeared. I started calmly figuring he had wandered into the stacks of books- I rounded up the other kids and we walked through the aisles calling him.

I could not find him. My heart started to beat a little faster. A thin sheen of perspiration appeared on me- and of course I started imagining all of the terrible things that could befall my sweet Stinky. I started walking faster- eyes darting a little more frantically. Then as I was beginning to tell the librarian what had happened. I saw his little blond head. My knees got weak- I bent down and hugged that little man. He was fine. Tears were streaming down his face and I was trying not to cry. He had wanted to look at videos- so he went over there- then he could not find me. He was scared. I was scared. But we were so happy to be back together.

The event may have been five minutes. But five minutes can seem like hell.

Children's TV

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Since we have all been under the weather TV has been a bit more of a crutch of late than I would care to typically admit. But I have noticed somethings- or maybe it is my illness addled brain playing tricks on me.

There is a lot of relationship tension in some PBS shows. One such example is Bob The Builder. Wendy- Bob's assistant and Bob certainly have some underlying tensions that may not be suited for children's programing. Seriously! The way she says 'OH, Bob!' and sighs with a note of longing in her tone.... I suppose though it would be very odd if they were to get together. I mean neither of them seem to have had any relationships and first time relationships rarely work out- so then what? Wendy quits in a huff of a woman scorned?? A bit heavy for PBS.

Also Professor Wiseman and the Man With the Yellow Hat on George...what is going on there? He has her for her favorite birthday dinner and buys her gifts that he knows are what she likes (which come to think of it is more than I typically got from my husband). So what- The Man With the Yellow Hat has no career to speak of seemingly- aside from helping out here and there and aiding in scientific research and taking care of his monkey (wait, aside from the research story line this is beginning to sound and awful lot like a "Friends" plot) maybe if he got a job she would be more amenable to a relationship with him. Again subtext--- sometimes is where the story really is. Or maybe I need more romance in my life and I am over analyzing children's cartoons.

Which is more challenging?

Monday, October 26, 2009

From a parenting point of view: two's or three's?

Everyone has heard about the 'terrible twos' and the challenges that parenting them present. I however argue that three's are harder. At least for me. With the understanding that of course every child and every parent are different- so their particular interactions and strengths and weaknesses as well as interaction dynamics will be vastly different.

In my parenting experience limited as it may be I have a hard time with three's more than two's. Temper tantrums sure- but a two year old is more easily distracted; whereas a three year old is much more stubborn, verbal, willful, tenacious and well in general just MORE. Limit pushing may be developmentally appropriate but it does not mean I have to like it. Arguing and back talk as well. The stubbornness is especially challenging as once an idea takes hold it will NOT leave. They are also more intellectually complex than a two year old in that they try and manipulate you in more ingenious ways.

My three year old is the picture of this. And heavens is it challenging. He will go after not just me but his older sister too- just to push her buttons- while I am more able (sometimes) to remain calm- explaining to a five year old that her brother is being a snot because he is learning his limits is decidedly harder- she is quite likely in fact to haul off and wack him. Which then I have to address even though I had been tempted to do the same.

So this mama spends a lot of time deep breathing- refocusing- praying before responding to any number of situations. Which has been helpful. If I can remain calm it helps him to get himself together.

The challenge that I am currently learning to embrace is that I have said three year old and another child rapidly approaching two but already a pro at tantrums.

It is all worth it though (you can't think I'd ever think that it wasn't, right?). Stinky can charm like no other. And for all of the times he is a handful and half there are easily just as many times when he is the sweetest little guy you could ever imagine.

Nurturing Touch

Sunday, October 25, 2009

It is pretty easy as a mama to nurture your least for me. It come almost as naturally as breathing. Hugging, cuddling, snuggles are a part of out lives. As my children were preemies I learned some very basic infant massage techniques that have carried over into their childhoods. They are tactile beings- they love the contact the connection it brings. I by nature am also tactile- but selectively so- I like to be touched on MY terms- and only by people I want to.

I have no problem nurturing my children using touch. But sometimes us mama's need to be touched too- and not by husbands or boyfriends who want something else from it- by someone who uses touch to heal, to restore, to give some back to you so you do not run out of emotional energy. For me this is where massages come in. They are great for relieving stored tension- I store all of mine in my neck/shoulders/and upper back- and it sure does feel great to have that released. However there is more too it than that. Feeling someone take care of you and nurture you is wonderful and restorative.

Recently, I had a massage with one of my good friends, Heather Maynard with Massage Therapy for Women and Families (admittedly I was nervous because well she is my friend and exposing myself to her I was afraid would be awkward- this anxiety was COMPLETELY unfounded). And it was fantastic. She is gifted with a calm and spirit and the ability to convey caring and healing through her hands. Her space is peaceful and calming- the table is really really comfy too! If my bed was so comfy I may never get out! When my time was up I wanted more- but I felt refreshed- relaxed and oddly energized. I had more to give to my family as a result of taking time for myself.
Which I suppose is the overall lesson I garnered from this: if I take care of my needs- I can take care of my children's needs that much more effectively.

No One Said It Was Easy!!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

With the start of a new school year- the first 'real' school year in this house- kindergarten came the onslaught of germs. Which last week led to colds for my family. Parenting is a marathon in and of itself. Most defiantly not a sprint by any stretch of the imagination. Add in cold virus, three kids, and a mama and shake until disoriented and you pretty much have the week here.

The TV becomes much more of a staple- meals simpler- house chores get stuck on the cycle of 'when I have enough energy to cough I'll think about mopping the floor'- which in essence means my floors are in desperate need of attention..and they may actually get it tomorrow.

As I have talked about before getting medicine in my kids is not worth the fight so the MOST I do is honey for throats- unless there are issues that mandate the use of medicine- like breathing issues.

Anyway. Colds. and icky wet, cold fall weather made this week seem interminable. I found myself rejoicing for Wednesday- because I was half way done- by Friday I had thrown in the towel and just ordered food.

One way or another parenting when your kids are sick and more whiny/clingy/needy and when you are sick is hard. Because like the kids you are tired, uncomfortable, and crabby. The way I managed to keep most of my sanity this week is to try (key word TRY) and remember that they were looking to me, as mama, the one person who had the potential to make things not suck so much. 90% of the time I did okay... that other 10%??? Well therapy is covered by insurance right?? Seriously- I yelled and am not proud if it.

So since I am down to a cough that will likely linger until Spring- tomorrow I will start to excavate our house from the mess that we are currently buried under.

Because I Love You

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You know how parents (moms) say "because I said so" a lot? Especially when we cannot think of something else to say that essentially means 'no, and I cannot think of a better reason at the moment."

Well, enter one of my mama friends and a very wise woman. She has come up with a perfect response that is not quite so cliche: "Because I love you".


Kid "why do I have to eat my carrots?"
Mama- could either say "because I said so" which has no real meaning.... or explain the benefits of a well balanced diet or she could say "because I love you" I vote "because I love you". Honestly that is the reason. I want my kids to eat their vegetables etc because I want them to be healthy and grow strong bodies....why?? Because I love them.

Kid: "Why can I not run across the street?"
Mama: again "because I love you" is an appropriate answer- I do not want them to run across the street because I do not want them to get hit by a car or get hurt. Because-I love them.

So instead of using a cliche that means so little I should opt for a choice that makes a lot of sense and actually means something.


My house is loud. Always loud. My husband used to stop me when there was silence and encourage me to listen to the quiet. It was delightful.

As the kids have gotten older the noise has gotten louder. From chatterbox kids, to shrieking to just loud toys, and play... Sometimes I can tune it out. Sometimes it is like nails on a chalk board- most of the time it is like that. But if it is too quiet I get nervous.

The chatter gets me a lot. Stinky often starts: 'mama! mama! MAMA!' said then, yelled, then shrieked.... 'what dear...?' 'I see a leaf!' said with amazement. If I per chance do not respond fast enough he admonishes me: 'mama I need you to talk to me!' I like to talk- but sometimes I just want quiet.

Princess is a little different. She does not always require a response- but she is always singing, telling stories, talking- something. Admittedly I have asked her to quiet down- just because my head feels like it might fall off if I keep hearing chatter.

A big weekend!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I have been absent here for a few days! We have been SUPER busy!

Saturday Princess had her first sleep over. Yes you heard that right her first sleep over. She had her friend and her friends little sister spend the night. Which made a total of FIVE children in my house. Five is a lot of kids. And I was apprehensive (terrified). In the end it was super though. The girls were fantastic. Dress ups abound and they had such a fun time together. I very rarely had to do anything- aside from making sure they ate- and changing little sister's pants. So it worked really well.

On Saturday afternoon my nephew was playing a hockey game close by and we were invited to watch him play. Which was a super treat because the kids had not been to a sporting event like that before- and this actually was hockey- with less violence. My nephew can skate really well! I was proud of him and really impressed. Add that to the shock that I experienced when I learned there were girls on the team- including the goalie. They were great. The best part? My nephew's team won! Their first win of the year and we got to be there!

They went to sleep really well too- on the pull out down stairs. It was so nice to see them play and sleep so peacefully together.

In the morning everyone was up bright and bushy tailed- and I admit I cheated we had Dunkin Donuts for breakfast- not healthy but it was a hit!

The day followed up by going to the firehouse for open house and the kids being awed by the firefighters 'rescuing' and putting out a fire. They had a great time.

blah blah blah

Monday, October 19, 2009

Totally not in a great mood today. But well what can you do right? Can't be perky everyday- and unlike morning news anchors this mama's contract does not include a 'perky clause'

So anyway.

A week ago (seriously a whole week? Where was I?)- some mama friends and I along with our broods went to a local fall festival place. A place that has been there actually since I was a kid- and is STILL doing a great autumn fest business. There are carnival rides, pony rides, pumpkins, hay rides all sorts of fun for the kids.

Also on this particular day they had a radio show going by Disney Radio- admittedly- my kids do not watch Disney- nor do they listen to Disney Radio- but they sure loved the live broadcast! They danced and had contests and all sorts of fun. They had no idea who the people were but they knew they were supposed to be excited- and good heavens were they!

Peas went on a Pony ride- her first one- as did Stinky and Princess.

The problem with this kind of place is that with one child it is mildly expensive with three it is darn expensive! I need a group discount people!!!

I'll write a post later- promise- but am stressed now...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

No it is not 'just a vacuum'

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It is a DYSON. A purple animal DYSON that I love more than I love my children somedays (totally kidding) but if the kids could clean up on command like that they would certainly endear themselves to me.

Whatever. Yes the darn thing cost more than 2 car payments- but wow can it suck stuff up. It is more than a vacuum it is family- that may be a weee bit extreme..However you mess with Dyson you mess with me.

Which is what some poor soul did. Foolish person. He came over to help because he knows I can get overwhelmed single parenting my small herd of children and animals and sadly one of the first things to hit the priority chopping block is housework...(Mom if you are reading this- I am sorry- you raised me better but I apparently do not have the superwoman clean gene that you do).
So he attempted to help. By coming thisclose to breaking my love- my Dyson- by attempting to suck up cat poop that they had shoved out of their litter box. a) ewww b) no c)who DOES that? seriously- a vacuum is not designed to suck up crap- the literal kind.

I was livid- more angry than when the dog broke my Kindle. The dog has an excuse- he is after all a dog- a person I expect better from. Thankfully, the Dyson was resurrected from the dead. It was severely clogged with poop and had started to overheat and in an effort at self preservation turned itself off (not only is it useful- it is smart too!). After a thorough unclogging and letting it rest and reset itself- the Dyson was back in action. Lucky for the friend that it was able to be saved. Because I may have confiscated whatever of his I could until I replaced my vacuum.

It is more than a vacuum people.

Another Year Another Candle

Today is October 15- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It is a day that kind of sneaks up on me every year- a day that I look at on the calender for a few weeks before- somewhat dreading- somewhat relieved.

It is a day that I can remember my almost babies without feeling like wallowing- without looking to outsiders like I have not yet moved on. It is a day that I can honor my feelings of loss and grief without looking like a depressing mama not grateful enough for the blessings I have.

It is a day that tears can flow unabated- that I can feel the fullness of love that comes from being a mama to my wonderful kids here as well as those with G-d.

It is a strange thing becoming a mother. It starts the day you find out you are pregnant and your body starts being bathed in all sorts of hormones as far as I can tell the journey to motherhood is an on-going one... it has not ended yet. As a mother I have loved all of the babies I have carried.

Miscarriages are wretched things. I have felt betrayed by my body. Sure, one can intellectualize that probably there was something wrong- that something wasn't right--blah blah- but the emotional connection is still there. My body failed me. As a woman it could not do what it is designed to do. To have such a betrayal such a failure at such a base level is hard to swallow in and of itself.

It is tragic to go through a loss- it is also tragic to watch someone go through one- and know that she has to see her way through to the other side. That you can support her and help her but her journey has to be her own. My heart breaks for the women I know who have had losses. As much as I can say I know what she is going through- I don't. I know what loss was like for me, not for her. I can say I know that she loves her babies all of them with the kind of love that mothers feel- the kind that stretches out from you and wants to hug and protect.

So today I am remembering my losses- my families losses. Today I am remembering my friends losses. Today I am remembering that even if the babies are not in my arms or on this Earth. They are in my heart- and loved- and missed.

In pre kid days

Wow- I had a lot of opinions about people. I still have opinions but I like to think I am a bit more open minded about at least some of them.

For example Drive-Thrus. How much energy/time could it take to park the car and walk the 15 feet into the store to get food/meds/well anything? If you are on your own as a reasonable functional adult with no impediments-I still hold this opinion when you add kids however something that an adult could do in 5 minutes may take upwards of 45 minutes. Especially if the children are not in the mood to be strapped into carseats- then to buckle, unbuckle, exit the car, accomplish errand, then re buckle is enough to send me running for Xanax. Then you add more than one child- then mobility- and a parking lot- and the actual store- and you have a frazzled mama waiting to lose her patience.

So I have learned through necessity about the various establishments that have available drive thru's in my area. If there is no drive thru or no other adult to look after kids while I go in solo- I usually try and delay- delay- delay.... so because of that some of my favorite establishments are not receiving my business. Subway for one- how I love the Sweet Onion Chicken Teryaki- but no drive thru and alas- my craving is not that strong to make me face the trials of three kids on the loose for a sandwich. Or my beloved Panera Bread. Yum. Again no drive thru. This is a tragedy.

Now if Trader Joe's would have a drive thru to pick up one or two things (so I do not have to spend an hour looking for the heaven forsaken monkey- or getting my feet rammed into) I would be thrilled.

If you are looking to open a business and market toward harried moms..... offer a)childcare or b) a drive thru.

and with the flip of a switch

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My wonderful three children turn into over-tired intractable monsters.

Dramatic?? Yep- but you did not see the events of today first hand. It was like Invasion of the Body Snatchers- I can only assume as I have never seen the movie.

The thing is I KNEW it would happen like this so I fed them EARLY because if I waited for normal dinner time I would be cleaning food of the ceiling fan now.

Thankfully they ate- so tomorrow they may not wake up in a hypoglycemic rage.

In seconds they went from coloring nicely together to Stinky squishing Peas hand in a wicker basket, Princess having a fit over a broken crayon.....etc....

I am not sure what set off the chain of events but once it had started all one could do was hold on for the ride because it was going to be a bit bumpy- you know like the Rockies.

When my kids at least get overtired they go into this strange hyper sleep deprived irrational manic state during which they quite literally run in circles. While it can be at least somewhat entertaining to watch it can also be exceptionally frustrating if you, as an adult, want them to do something, like maybe say brush their teeth.

Oh the teeth and the drama. My heavens. The shrill cries from our bathroom must have scared half the dogs in the area- my two were downstairs hiding...seriously for brushing teeth. Stinky has an issue going pee alone.... not a clue why but he is convinced he needs help and he needs it now because itisanemergencyandthepeeiscomingtoofast. Even if all I do is stand there. He needs moral support I guess. Then came tears. Why? no idea. but something induced a throw his little boy body on the ground an cry melt down. After that was resolved- hugs and snuggles are magic- and the two older kids were put to bed he decided that the shadows in his room were scary- ok- but he KNOWS and admits they are shadows.... oh well. I left the light on.

Next Peas was up at bat for bed. She too had reached def con overtired toddler. Which to her means she will attempt any means necessary to not go to sleep. She will pull my hair, her hair, kick her feet, babble, anything because who wants to sleep? (aside from me). Finally get her to doze and enter cat from the depths of some place really bad. You know the one who hates closed doors...she opens the door and wakes Peas... I was so frustrated I thought my head would spin around.

Now they are all asleep and I can mellow until the first round of potty's, drinks requests, and bad dreams occur.....

I am awake darn it!!!

Why do cats get hair balls at three am? Is there some kind of alarm that goes off that tells them to start gagging- typically on your bed at that point? What is it about that noise that makes it shoot up my body and force me into action- usually getting up and moving her off the bed on to the floor.

I would not mind so much but once I am awake I have an awful time falling back asleep- so after I hear the wretching noise and remove the cat from the bed I am stuck laying in bed reminding myself to turn on the lamp before getting out of bed.

A somewhat logical solution would be to keep the cat out of the bedroom at night. She however does not like closed doors. She will scratch at them and make these throaty meows that sound like someone is pretending she is a squeaky toy who's squeaker is malfunctioning. Either way she will make darn sure I am up at least once at night.

Weird Things

Monday, October 12, 2009

I am a pretty girly girl. I do not mind getting muddy though- or sweaty- or well most kinds of dirty. But a strange thing struck me today. For all of the tolerance I have with that kind of stuff there are somethings- well a lot that I cannot stand touching or being near me.

One thing dirty plates and food left overs. Especially the icky stuff in the sink. I cannot stand it. It totally disgusts me. Like shudders and everything.

Am I the only one who has weird things like that? Seriously how odd is that? I can change diapers, clean up crap but ask me to clean a plate or the sink and I am grossed out.....

you know...

I have no idea what to do today. Not a clue. I made the first cups of hot chocolate today for the season- it just seemed like that kind of morning. The kind of morning that a few years ago B and I would have snuggled down in bed and curled up together- then considered getting up a few hours later. These days? Stinky comes in bright (or cloudy) and early and announces it is 'Morning time'. Which means 'get out of bed mama!!!!'.

I stagger downstairs half blind, half asleep, very uncoordinated and discuss breakfast, let the dogs out, unload then re load the dishwasher. All of the trappings of typical suburban life. Less than exhilarating, but comforting in the routine.

Today- as again Chicago seems to be a little manic depressive in the weather department- it was freezing cold I started the day making hot chocolate. Which has a really comforting feeling about it. There is something unique about sitting on the sofa with your legs curled up holding a mug of hot chocolate feeling the steam on your face, smelling the aroma, and letting the thick hot liquid coat your mouth and throat.

There are a few notes to this- calling "Hot Chocolate" 'hot' intimidates the kids- so it must be referred to as 'warm chocolate'. And they very rarely sit still long enough to enjoy the multisensory experience of drinking hot chocolate.

So now that I have indulged in the sweet warm cocoa- I am back to the start- what should we do on this chilly day??

Where exactly is that gene located??

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I seem to be missing a gene that comes naturally to a lot of women and girls. The decorator- designer part- a long with the sense of style gene- they must be closely related- and I have neither.

My house is a great house. But I would like to make it a home. I would like to have it decorated with pretty colors and textures as well as just well look nice. But I have no idea where to even begin. How to chose colors? Accessories any and all of it.

I know no names of any 'styles' of decorating- but I know what I like when I see it. Example: I can go to Ikea or something and see a room layout and know I like it but have no idea how to get from the walls to the product. Even worse- stores like Bed, Bath, and Beyond- where I can see something and like it but not have a clue how to work it into a room or use it effectively. Then to add more of a challenge- seasonal decor- makes me want to bury my head.

Where can I start? Would any of you volunteer to help a desperate person struggling? Please.

Fall Fun

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My family like so many others has been tested during this troubled economic time. Our trials have not been as dramatic or as crushing as others and for that I am very grateful- though I recognize it could turn that way in a heartbeat.

But it has challenged me to become more frugal about entertainment and such especially as the Great Lakes winter makes itself known. I am not an obscenely frivolous spender generally but I have had to cut back- which has not always been easy.

Today was a prime example- it was the first 'cool' day in Chicago- it actually snowed in the area. So what did we do? We went to the park. Which granted is new and right around the corner but we played there for an hour or so until we got chilly and came home to re-warm. This is not to say that we do not typically go to parks or anything but more to re-acquaint ourselves with the community in which we live. Our community does have pretty great parks too- which certainly helps matters. Anyway- the point is-

We did not need to spend a dime to play and laugh and get all tired. We played tag and played the swings and in general just well played. Sometimes it is all too easy to get things lost in the chaos of life. Sometimes it is far to easy to forget the squeals of laughter from 'underdogs' on the swings or the zip of a fast slide. Today I was reminded and today I will cherish.

end of my rope.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sometimes making it through is a struggle.

I am at the end of a rapidly fraying rope. When there are too many feelings that are filling you up and there is no pressure relief valve and crying-screaming- hitting- throwing things all seem appropriate ways to cope with it but deciding an action seems paralyzing. When the fear and everything else are overwhelming what do you do? What do you do when you feel so trapped and so stuck that you literally see no way out from this dark?

When the rope you have been hanging on too for the past few months seems to be fraying faster than I can climb.

When needs of the kids from nursing to snuggling to all of it...overwhelm the ability that I have. Someone always needs to cuddle- I however do not have that much to give at this point.

Sleep Glorious Sleep!

Night before last I had the pleasure of spending the night in a hospital tethered to IVs and such.
Sounds awful right? Well you have never parented my children overnight.

Someone else made dinner and brought it/cleaned it up. Then I was jumpy so the nurse brought me a medication to help me relax and sleep. It worked so fast- 10 minutes and my friend who was keeping me company was giggling about my 'drunken' state. Honestly I have no recollection of this interval. Also I have never taken anything to help me sleep- so this was entirely new- then I feel into a deep glorious sleep. That was not interrupted by crying, diapers, accidents, bad dreams, falling out of bed- any of it. It was miraculous.


Now Who Is The Looney Toon???

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This is delayed by about a week- but I have not written it...

Remember when I took five kids blueberry picking in the rain?? Well I got a few emails about the sense of adventure that I apparently have. haha I am in the minor leauges compared to one of my friends.

She decided to take one of her children on an impromptu road trip to Traverse City Michigan from Chicago- so a significant drive. Oh yeah- she did this alone (which coming from me who hesitates to go outside of my 'box' alone is intimidating). She left at 1 am with her girl in tow. A) at one am I am not coherent- at all- let alone safe to operate a car. B) wow.

So off she went. She had a GPS so in theory she should be good right? That is the interesting about theories- sometimes they are wrong. The highway turned into a four lane road- which turned into a smaller road...all well right?? Well a highway has to end somewhere.... and the GPS was indicating she was on the right track. Well it was wrong. The smaller road turned into a gravel road- which turned into a dirt (mud) road all the while the GPS encouraging her-until she got stuck- in the mud- before dawn- with a four year old- alone. FANTASTIC!

She decided to call for help on her cell- which at best had spotty service- after being told that the cell tower that picked up her distress call was in a different county from her location based on her latitude and longitude and they could not help her- and her laying the mama smack down- she was transferred the appropriate county. Who then helped her find a tow service. She being the ingenious woman she is decided to try and put branches under the car tires for traction- and ended up cutting herself (seriously I never would have thought to do that- the branches not the slicing and dicing). Then she described in detail how she got were she was and attempted to give her approximate location. She gave him her coordinates so he could find her- great- if he had a GPS. So he attempted to follow her direction to rescue her. While searching he also found five others who had gotten lost in the convolution of Michigan roadways (which says something about the navigability of them). Eventually, he had her honking her horn to see if he could hear her and zero in on her that way. Oh so high tech- but he found her and rescued her- my friend the damsel in distress. The part that amazes me is she kept her cool and then continued on her journey and had a great time- to me it would have been unsalvageable at that point.

So now who is the one with the sense of adventure??

This is so totally not a big deal

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

and I know it but it is bugging me.

Yesterday, American Girl sent out an email that they were going to discontinue Kirsten Larson. She happens to by my first American Girl doll. That made me really sad- like they were taking part of my childhood away.

For those of you who are unfamiliar- American Girl used to be about educating girls about life (for tween girls especially) in various historical time periods- often at least touching on the social and political topics of the time. They had historical items as well as clothes and stories about their lives and experiences that girls of today could relate too- such as birthdays, first days of school, holidays etc. Which was an awesome jumping off point to interest girls in history and allow for a lot of discussion.

Enter Mattel. Mattel bought out this company and it no longer seemed focused on the historical element- but on commercialization and the self instituted dichotomy between the have and have nots of society (lets face it- these dolls are NOT cheap)- there of course have been a few scandals now that a global brand is in the mix- but have marketed well. The company has achieved a status of "Tiffany for Tweens".

So why the upset?

I personally have really great memories of reading Kirsten's books in bed with my mom and then being so intrigued that I independently researched immigration in the 1850s. Of course I also have pretty awesome memories of playing the girls adventures with my friends and spending HOURS dressing, undressing, and narrating stories.

The holiday when I received Kirsten stands out in my memory as one of the best in my life. This of course was in the pre-status symbol days of American Girl (then Pleasant Company). I loved that doll and brushed her hair over the years until she was darn near bald- thankfully you could send them in to a hospital to get a new head.....

Of course I am tempted to run out and buy the darn doll for my 5 year old Princess- who may or may not already have 2 American Girl Dolls- maybe I would not give it to her- but save it until she can understand it a bit better. The biggest part I am struggling with is- it would not be about the historical stuff for her- she may never appreciate that- as the focus has totally shifted and I wish I could share that with her.


Monday, October 5, 2009

There are a lot of differing opinions on getting kids to sleep- it can be venomous- like staying at home vs. Working or Bottle feeding vs. Nursing.

I do not intend this to be divisive or angst inducing. Just my opinion and experience as a mom of three children who have very different personalities and sleep needs.

Princess has always been independent. But she has liked to snuggle when she slept. The first hundred or so pictures I have of her and B they were sleeping together- there are even a few of us snuggled up cozy. But she then decided she wanted to sleep on her own- how did we know? She put herself to bed in her own bed. Really I swear. She had a crib that she learned how to get out of at a very very early age- so we took that apart and put up her toddler bed-which she loved. Granted she would also get out of it and line up her shoes or take out her entire wardrobe. She liked her sleep- she still does- and she needs a lot of it. We were lulled into a sense of security that comes with an 'easy' baby. Now she is back to wanting to sleep with a companion. She and Stinky end up sharing a bed more often than not.

Stinky was and is vastly different. From birth he has loved to be warm and cozy. Ideally snuggled right up next to me. He and the crib did not fair well together. He also does not need nearly the amount of sleep Princess does. He is a bit more difficult to get to sleep- stay asleep etc.

And Peas....'le sigh'... wow. She has always had her own opinion and known it- and expressed it loudly. She does not sleep without snuggles. She does not willingly sleep alone. She did not like a bassinet, a crib, any of it. Mama is a body pillow- and hers.

Here is where things get hairy- I would really like a full nights sleep. Ideally without being a body pillow. But *I* (and this applies only to me) do not do "cry it out" well. I feel that I am mama and when they need me I should oblige- that when they go to sleep part of them 'gives up' and believes that no one is coming- and that makes me sad. But it seems that the only way to get some good sleep is to at least consider 'cry it out'.

My end belief is that parents should do what works for their family. My approach may not work for anyone else and that is fine. Someone else's approach may not work for me and that is fine.

Beyond the Barricade!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

"It is the music of the people who will not be slaves again..."

My children and their friends anthem.

In addition to lobbing mud balls into the road one of their other favorite games is "Barricade" well to be honest I do not know if it has a name. The game involves building a makeshift barricade from all of the outside toys that live in the garage. Today it even included a few umbrellas that were left because of the recent rain.

My friend- and neighbor- and mama to my children's playmates- and I have commented how much it resembles the 'Barricade' featured in "Les Miserables" and it really does!!! Maybe we'll dress them up and arm them with marshmellows or something.

I'll admit that age five may be a bit to young to understand the Paris Uprising of 1832 and the several plots and sub-plots of the novel. I mean are antimonachism or familial vs. romantic love or justice topics that are really ripe for discussion with a kindergartner?? For now I'll play the music and she can sing and dance to it- maybe she'll grow to love it. Then maybe when she grows up I'll foist a copy of the story on her.

It is really funny though especially with Stinky has his face covered with dirt to imagine him as a small Gavroche...hopefully his plot line does not end the same way.

But they can build their barricade and I'll watch thinking of so many things that they are so blissfully unaware of- thankfully. And let them enjoy the simple part of being a kid.