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.