Glee-fully Confused

Saturday, December 31, 2011

I'll admit I am behind on the few shows that I do dedicate the time to watch.

I just managed to catch up on Glee and I am a little confused.

What is with the Judy Garland Christmas thing? It was like watching an old Nick at Nite Special. Did not love.

Another thing- aside from Rachel's greedy gift grabby behavior- I thought she was Jewish? Why is she hounding Finn for Christmas present? Why not have her teach Finn about Hanukkah traditions? This year Christmas fell on the 6th night of Hanukkah so why not take advantage of dual holiday celebrations?

why will they not sleep?

Friday, December 30, 2011

I officially would like to take back every single time I was a kid and did not want to take a nap or go to bed.

Now- as an adult- I am exhausted. I wake up tired. Go to bed tired. Just exist in a general state of tiredness.

The kids are obviously tired. Eye rubs, yawns, stretches, fussy moods, they are obviously in need of rest. Yet they resist.

I am not really big into strict schedules, but more into listening to a body's signals. Teaching them to listen to their bodies is challenging though.

What do they have against sleep anyway? What is so bad about it? There is nothing remarkable happening that they will miss, why the resistance?

Alone in a crowd

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Very rarely am I alone. There are usually 4 children orbiting around me closely. Chattering, needing something, asking something.

But in that, I get very lonely. Often, I spend a significant portion of my time feeling very alone. I think this kind of loneliness is worse than actually being alone because I am limited to what I can do. I can't read a book and expect to get very far with four kids, I can't go to the library and just be, I can't really do much that are some of the good parts about being alone.

Kids are kids, they are concerned with what they need at any given moment. This is typical kid behavior. Sometimes though, it would be nice to have an actual grown up conversation. It would be nice to actually, be heard, be listened too. Not have to repeat myself 50 times to get a child to do some request.

There has to be humor in here somewhere. There has to be. I will find it. Or will lose what remains of my mind. I may turn into the type of parent I do not want to be the crabby, snippy, mean, mama who yells and has no patience and see little joy.

Perspective, is 9/10 of reality right? Help me change mine.

Ammending the Christmas Dinner that wasn't....

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

I have received new information today- that I need to share regarding my previous post of "The Christmas Dinner That Wasn't"

Apparently, the invitation that was extended indicated that the gathering would only be dessert and coffee. This bit of information was lost in the message passing (remember the game "Telephone" from childhood?)

This information never reached my little branch of the family so we were entirely unprepared and the children unfed, and hungry. Had we been aware of the plans our preparation for the day would have been different.

I am very sorry for any offense I caused, it was unintentional. My post was a commentary on what happened from the information that we had been given. To my in-laws- I know that you adore the kids and take wonderful care of them- often times better than I do.

Hopefully, new ideas of how to spread information to family members regarding get-togethers will minimize or eliminate something like this from happening again.

The Christmas Dinner that wasn't

Monday, December 26, 2011

Admittedly, I am not up on Christmas traditions, but I thought that a Christmas meal- usually dinner was fairly standard. It usually including, turkey, ham, or a roast and then a variety of sides. I was wrong.

We were invited (read: expected) to attend Christmas celebrations at B's aunts home, about an hour away from our home, at 3pm.

We arrived, and visited, the kids played and were adorable in general. Soon Grandpa announced it was time to open presents. The kids raced into the living room, waited, ready to bound up to the tree to retrieve a gift when their name was called.

Gifts were passed and opened. The wrapping cleaned up. The family scattered. By this time it was nearly 6 pm. My kids were coming up to expressing their hunger, I asked one of the aunts, and the kids were given pretzels. Shortly, they made coffee and pulled out some cookies. My kids were still hungry so we held on as long as we could before making an exit. At 8pm we could wait no more, and we left.

We then proceeded to scavenge for food, as we were an hour away from home with overtired and hungry kids.

A few things I learned: ask, always ask- even if it seems obvious- ask. If I ever host Christmas- have a lot of food- even if it is at an off time.

****I have been given new information that I need to share- it clarifies what happened- there was a communication breakdown****

Gifts

Friday, December 23, 2011

... and not those under the tree.

One of the best things my awesome group of friends has taught me and shared with me is to bring meals to people when they are recovering from something, or just having a hard time.

This was shared with me many times and I am deeply indebted to the wonderful people who shared with me. Now I am enjoying the ability to do it for others.

It is a fantastic thing to do for another family, and really if you are cooking for your own family it is not that much harder to double the recipe.

I am so so thankful to my amazing friends for sharing this gift with me. I am so thankful I can now share it with others.

Just reminding you......

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The other day I woke up really crampy. I am pregnant so aches etc are kind of normal.

As the day went on the crampy became Braxton Hicks contractions. Which I can do all day and not think anything of as long as they are not getting closer together, more intense, I will just ignore them.

These contractions got into a definite pattern. For long enough that it got my attention.

So I had a big bottle of water and used it as an excuse to sit down and relax. They kept coming. So I called the doctor. Explained that I was having contractions and I had four previous preemie births..etc. She said to go to L/D. Fab. I said as soon as I got child care arranged I would.

So I went home and had a few more glasses of water. The contractions slowed down considerably and became more sporadic. I called the OB again and gave him an update, and asked if he really wanted me to come in. That the contractions were more like little reminders every so often that I was still, in fact, pregnant. As if I would forget being 7 months pregnant with baby #45945800222.

Muppet angst

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I must confess, I do not like the Muppets. In fact, I actively avoid them. They kind of freak me out.

A lot of people have really really grand memories of them- but I don't. I remember being really scared by them. I must have just seen them at the perfect developmental time to leave a lasting negative impression. I have no specific reason that I can recall that cemented that perception in my head.

Really I have tried to give them a chance, I have tried to watch them. But I cannot get past the mental block. I just get really uncomfortable.


Fraggle Rock is the same- lots of people my age love it- I avoid it. Something about the giant monsters living on the other side of the cave thingy- just freaks me out.

Are there any children's shows that just don't sit well with you?

Don't Cry (it out) please.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I may get a lot of flack for this- and that is okay. I guess. What is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular....

Anyway. I do not like Cry It Out (CIO) or sleep training for babies. It just seems so mean.

I am a mother. My job does not come with 'off' time. My job does not end when the sun goes down. My job is a 24/7 deal. Sure, I get breaks, that is what family and sitters are for. Sure, I get tired. Sure, I get crabby. But I cannot get behind purposefully neglecting my child's needs- physical or emotional.

Inevitably, I will mess up what I am trying to say so please bear with me. But when there is nothing left of me to give- then what? Being an attached and connected mother is about learning to recognize and respect my child's needs as an individual. It also involves teaching them to recognize and respect other people's needs- including mine.

Believe me I know what it is like to look at your child and want to scream, cry, and or beg for him or her to just for the love of all that is holy go to sleep. I know the fatigue that causes dizziness and forgetfulness. I live it. I understand, the motivation behind parents who think that letting their child CIO is better because then they can sleep and be better parents. I honestly believe that almost no parent looks at their child and thinks, "ok cool- this can really mess with your developing brain, I wonder how else I can screw my baby up?". I do not agree with the method of CIO though.

Two awesome bloggers who talk about it better than I can are MamaEve and Alternative Mama

The key has to be- that my kids are going to struggle with some things, that is okay. I can let them struggle and support them through that and remain attached and connected. Letting them suffer- that is an entirely different beast. Who would let their child suffer with a broken bone? Who would let a child suffer with a broken heart? Suffering is suffering, physical or emotional.

It is really hard to listen to a baby cry- there is a reason for this, it is an instinctive response. How often are we told to trust our instincts? Trust this one.

The babies learn to self-regulate from parents. They learn and grow through being held. Having their needs met. I would rather my babies learn that adults are there to take care of children and meet their needs than that the world is a cold and isolating place.

There is no evidence to support CIO as a good thing, and lots of evidence to support its negative impact:
We know now that leaving babies to cry is a good way to make a less intelligent, less healthy but more anxious, uncooperative and alienated person who can pass the same or worse traits on to the next generation.

~Darcia Narvaez Psychology Today

I think part of the key is to recognize that it is a relationship between a mother and child. No one is 'in control' of a relationship. It is a mutual thing.

Meet your child's needs. Physical and emotional.

challenging kids

Friday, December 16, 2011

Parenting my kids, alone most of the time, can be really challenging.

Each of the kids has his or her own personality.

Peas, has enough personality to go around for several people, and she can be very challenging. She is so intense, so passionate, so so much.

This is adorable and sweet when she is happy, but undeniably frustrating when she is upset or you are trying to get her to do something she is not so inclined to do.

For example, she is a snuggler. She loves to snuggle and cuddle. Literally, I think her body just needs that much stimulation and contact, it is very tiring for an adult though.

Last night, as she nestled in, I realized something. For some reason, that clearly, I do not understand, she picked me for her mother. For some reason, she was given to me. I do not know why, but that isn't my job. My job is to love and nurture her. To foster her growth and development so she can be the best that she can be.

This is a job that I have to take seriously. I may never understand why G-d chose me for her mother. But I do know she is special. She is sweet. She is energetic. She is who she is and that is pretty great.

SIT(s) down and enjoy yourself

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hi! Welcome to my little corner of the Blogosphere! I meant to write this post the yesterday but thanks to a migraine not much got done.

A little about me:

I have 4 kids. I am expecting the 5th (!!) in the Spring.
My marriage is not my first marriage- not totally unusual but still something that influences me.
I am very short- like barely (not quite) 5'.
I am very active. I have to be busy or I go nuts!

Again welcome! I hope you like what you read- and forgive any errors- I rarely have uninterrupted time!

If you are so inclined follow me on twitter @almostsinglemom

Thanks for coming by! I will visit you in return- promise!

Why I WIll Never Be A Helicopter Parent

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

First- logistics. There are four children (soon to be five) and one of me. I simply cannot be hovering over every move.

Second- how are my kids going to learn independence and self-reliance if I am constantly hovering? Problem solving skills and creative thinking are learned skills and practice, makes perfect.

Of course I am not going to tell Peas to walk to school on her own, but I do encourage her to get her own water, etc. Small steps lead to larger ones.

This means, I let my kids make mistakes. I let them make messes. I let them skin their knees.

I help clean up, help them learn, comfort them, and move forward, but how can they learn if they don't make a few mistakes along the way? Obviously, if the learning curve for a particular mistake is to steep- I'll step in- like not letting kids play in a road or something, but for little things, they can learn by doing.

If and when they ever need me, I will be there. Because I love them I want them to be independent.

Holiday Treats

Friday, December 9, 2011

The holidays are almost synonymous with special treats and wonderful food. There are some food items that just make the holiday. Would Thanksgiving be the same without a turkey? No. Would Hanukkah be the same without Latkes? No.

As a child my mom would bake holiday cookies, and thankfully she always let me help- even though I am sure I was more of a hindrance. However, I remember making cookie cutter cookies at my little table with my mom and mixing up icing to decorate them with. I remember rolling crescents in powdered sugar and making thimble cookies.

This morning Peas and I made cookie cutter cookies. Well rolled them out and cut them out at least, we made the dough a few days ago. We will decorate them tonight, but for a few minutes I could remember my mother and making cookies. I hope that my kids will look back on it as fondly as I do.

Where is the snow?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It is December 8th. I live in the Chicago area. There should be snow. Thus far, there have been flurries. Flurries don't count. I want actual stick to the ground, winter wonderland snow.

I hope it will happen soon.

There are snow withdrawls here! I love the season changes, I need them, but I actually need the weather featured in the season. Like this summer when we had 100 degree days, it was awesome. The blizzard last winter: awesome.

Now, SNOW please!

What is most important

Monday, December 5, 2011

Someone asked me recently what is the most important thing I teach my kids. Mentally, I started running through my list: reading? counting? speaking? potty learning?

None of them are the most important, sure they are important, but none of them jumped out at me as the absolute most important thing I teach them.

It hit me like Newton's Proverbial Apple, love. I teach them love. Teaching them love and compassion is the most important thing I teach my kids. At the end of they day, they know they are loved and cherished.

This knowledge shows in how they treat others. Princess is 7 but is more empathetic and compassionate than most adults, I am much more proud of this than her reading ability. Stinky, is sensitive and sweet, he wears his heart on his sleeve. Peas is passionate and loving, when I am upset or sick, no one can give hugs like she can. Even at 2 Pixie is understanding compassion. She sees when her siblings are sad and tries to make them feel better. She may grab stinky his trains if he is sad, or bring Princess her blankie, or hug Peas.

The Help

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Late to the party as per usual. But I read the book.

It is easily one of the best books I have ever read.

I was stunned that this happened so recently in history. I mean, I know about Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King etc, and I am cerebrally aware of the dates related to such, but reading about characters and lives made it much more personal to me.

Additionally, given the time period, if we had lived in the south my family easily could have been one of the families employing a maid. My sister and brother could have been raised one one. It is purely an accident of latitude that we were not such a family.

It is shocking that people could be so mean and cruel to another person, and that the very person-hood of African American people was called into question. It really showed me how little I understand of it. How little I know. It is easy for a white person like me to sit there and say that racism is no longer such an issue. It is easy for me to say "It was so long ago" but its not. It was the 1960's way too recent. It showed me a glimpse of 'white privilege'.

I understand that many critics took issue with the stories told in the book, that it glosses over some of the truly horrendous things that these people endured. Maybe so. Probably so. But it is a first step to opening a dialog and reminding people that this is still a huge issue. That it is not 'so long ago'.

In my opinion the heroine in the story isn't mainly, or only, Skeeter. Aibileen and Minny, the women who called attention to the circumstances, who literally risked their lives to tell their stories.

I would love to learn more about the topic. Most of all I am so proud to look at how far our country has come since the 1960s, yet there is still more work to be done.

Past halfway

Friday, December 2, 2011

I am now past the halfway part of my pregnancy (if one goes by a traditional 40 week time table- given my pregnancy history, I am within 3 months of delivering.)

This is my LAST pregnancy, so I am trying to enjoy it- lest it slip through my fingers.

I can feel my boy wiggling in my belly, flipping, and flopping.

Somehow there is some nagging feeling in me, that will not go away. The ultrasounds I have had so far look fantastic, but that anxiety is still there. I guess I feel like I have been so blessed with the other kids, it is my turn for something to go terribly wrong.

Too Cute!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Peas is excited about having a new brother, but she is a little confused by it.

Initially, when I first told the kids about the baby, she was very upset. Peas thought that having a new baby meant that we were getting rid of Pixie.

It was really sad to see her so upset but it was so sweet to see her care so much about her sister. She hugged Pixie, and said, "No! Keep Pixie! She stays!" Of course, I reassured her that Pixie was not going anywhere, we were just adding another member to our family.

I thought this was past and resolved but today again, she brought it up, and again was angry that I would consider getting rid of Pixie. She was relieved though when I told her Pixie would be staying.

Random Acts of Kindness

Saturday, November 26, 2011

One of my internet friends is pretty awesome.

I woke up this morning having to massage my jaw to get it to unclench and feeling like I hadn't really slept.

However, reading her Facebook status update made me smile. She paid for a strangers order at the drive thru this morning.

This got me thinking. How awesome would it be to start your day like that? Maybe to have a crap morning and go to the drive thru and find that the person in front of you has paid for your order? What a way to turn around the day! The person who was working had to be touched also- how could they not be? Maybe they will be inspired to be a little kinder today. What a great way to start out the day, to know that maybe you turned someones day around (or made a good day awesome) or maybe inspired others to be kinder to others.

To my friend, you totally impacted my day. Because of reading your update, I will strive to be kinder today. To be more understanding. To be appreciative. Thank you, this is what the holiday season is all about.

Thanksgivings

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My family was big into getting together when I was a kid.

One of the best was Thanksgiving. This is one of the few holidays that moved around a little, meaning we did not have a set in stone routine of where to go at what time... this was a little more fluid, over the course of my entire childhood five people hosted.

There were some set in stone traditions though, one of which was the local Turkey Trot. My mom, her friend, our neighbors, and my friends would run in the annual 5k, from the time I was 9 or so.

Then we would go back to my parents home and the adults would begin the days drinking with Bloody Mary's and the kids would hang out. We would have some basic appetizers, the best of which was my moms taco dip, this would begin at around 10 am, and it was fantastic.

Over the years the family has grown and shrunk, with people getting married/divorced, having kids, moving away etc. So there has not been a massive family thing in a while, that is really sad, but I will always always treasure the ones we had.

Pole Dancing as a Feminist Statement

Monday, November 21, 2011

When I first began pole dancing lessons I was concerned about betraying my feminist inclinations by doing something that seemingly objectifies women so blatantly. Honestly, this was one of my biggest concerns about the classes, how it would impact me ethically. How could I claim to be a feminist if I was actively participating in subjugation of women?

Or not.

One of the biggest surprises for me was how empowering it was to pole dancing. Yes, there is a large part of it based on sensuality and sexuality, but that is secondary to the confidence and strength that comes from twirling around the pole.

Embracing my femininity and sexuality does not mean that I am surrendering my identity as a feminist. To the contrary. I think that embracing all of the aspects including the sexual and sensual of my gender is more empowering. Additionally, how many men do you know who can climb a pole upside down wearing booty shorts and a sports bra?

So my initial impression and concern could not have been more unfounded. I am more aware of my body, my sensual side, my sexual side, I am a heck of a lot stronger, and a hell of a lot more confident.

Special Ed or not?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Peas has a speech issue and a sensory processing issue. She qualifies for services through the school district, we have decided to decline them at this time.

From February to May she received services after she aged out of Early Intervention, and honestly I did not see a large improvement. It was just a hassle to drop her off, pick her up, and work her schedule into running the big kids around.

This year we decided to send her to a private preschool where Stinky attended and flourished. It is not special ed by any means. It is play based and child led. We can not be more thrilled with her progress. She is talking in sentences. She has a best friend. She RUNS from the car to school. She laughs. She plays. She has grown so much in three months. I credit her school with most of this.

She loves it. I love it. The teachers genuinely love her. Most days I just want to hug her teacher I am so thrilled.

When Peas left school one day and said she wanted to invite A over for a playdate, in a full sentence, I darn near cried with joy. Seeing her grow into this wonderful little girl is just such a gift.

I can not express my gratitude to LECC or Sister Julie enough. I cannot thank H my neighbor enough for telling me about this school. It is just wonderful.

Small Businesses

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

With the beginning of the holiday season. Advertisers are working extra hard to win my business.

Most of them will not get it this year.

This year I am trying complete as much holiday shopping at small businesses as possible.

It is my personal protest to stores opening on Thanksgiving (irony here? Thankful for your blessings-- but must get MORE!). Sure, I may pay a little more, but I will feel better about myself knowing that I have supported actual people, not corporations.

The huge pressure to have the latest and greatest, or the most, the biggest, the best and to get it with the best deal possible is pervasive. I have fallen into the trap of refusing to buy things without it being a 'deal'. This year, I am trying to shift my focus.

This has to happen to others, right?!?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Grocery shopping is kind of stressful. I must remember to get everything I need on the first go, I must remain patient, I must, I must, I must.

So when I finally make it through the store and to the check out lane, get everything unloaded, and checked only to look in my bag an realize my wallet is not there.

-this has to happen to other people- It makes me want to scream.

After all of that, I have to go back home get my wallet and try again.

Honestly, it isn't the biggest deal in the world. I can pay for my groceries- so that is a huge blessing. I have a minivan to get me to and from the store- another big blessing. I have some great kids (who make me nuts), also another blessing.

does anything so typically "mom" happen to you?

What depression looks like

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Depression does not always look like a pathetic pile of a person in bed, paralyzed.

Depression looks like my house, messy.

Laundry, unfolded.

Dinner, unmade.

Me, crabby.

Depression doesn't limit itself by appearing the same way all of the time either, it as a whole wardrobe of of get ups to try on.

Depression, wants me to curl up with it in bed under the cover and sleep. Depression is not a good bedfellow. No matter what it says.

Depression makes me cold. Cold to my bones. So cold that nothing can warm me. So cold.

Depression makes my head ache.

Depression is a sneaky cheating bastard. It makes me think that it has eyes for only me, but really is off visiting others, not that I would wish this visitor on anyone.

Good dinners

Monday, November 7, 2011

With four kids we have a host of different palates and dietary needs. It can be hard to find meals to please all of them. Sometimes a child is left with cereal or a sandwich.

Except "Make Your Own Taco Night" I announced it this morning and was met with cheers.

This is one of those meals that the members of our family who are gluten free, dairy free, or vegetarian (or just not in the mood for meat) can find something to meet their needs.

Spanish rice, meat, beans, sauteed onions and peppers, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, salsa, sour cream, and tortillas are all on the table. It becomes a free for all of kids hands scooping up their desired foods piling them on to their plates and then joyful chatter.

Peas Parties

Peas is a party animal. She always has been especially at around 3 am- she parties like no other.

Since she has been in school she has made friends with another little girl. They have bonded intensely. To the point that Peas refers to her friend as my 'A'. They are two peas in a pod. Previously, I did not think that it was possible for a child to match Peas intensity. A does, and it is amazing. They entertain each other and absorb the others energy.

Peas was invited to her first big girl birthday part for A. No other topic was discussed by Peas for a week.

Finally, it was time for the party. Peas practically was bursting with glee.

She got to the party and was greeted by A with a hug and giggles like they had not seen each other for years (it had been 2 days).

The party was at a gymnastic place which was perfect for the energetic 3 year old set. I asked Peas if she wanted me to stay and she looked at me, baffled, and said, "Mama, you go. My friend's party. You go." Some of the other kids were not as eager insisting that their mothers stayed with them. Peas care, she was just happy to be with her A.

I pity the person to get in the way of her and A.

Will I still have a place?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I have been out of my pole dancing group for a while now, since August 23 (but who is counting)

I miss it so damn much. It is awful.

A thought hit me this morning that scared me. What if my class has moved on with out me? What if the dynamic is gone? What if? What if there is not room for me in the class, or I can never catch back up?

Don't get me wrong, this baby is a blessing. But leaving something I loved and women I love stings a little.

I don't 'do' Halloween

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween. Yuck. I don't like it.

Religious and cultural differences aside, I just do not really get it.

What fun is there in being scared? What fun is there in pumpkins- they are messy and they smell bad.

The good part, I suppose, is the candy, but freezing your butt off to get a sack of candy seems like an awfully skewed effort/reward ratio.

I do not like scary movies, scary books, or scary anything. I do not like gore, I do not like surprises, I do not like one bit (Sam, I am).


I really just don't understand it. I'll pass on the pumpkins and take some turkey.

If you haven't heard

Monday, October 31, 2011

The new baby is a BOY!

He was not shy at all. NewBaby is looking great and seems to be enjoying his cozy home.

I had a high-risk OB appointment and the doctor took a really long look at the baby. He kept saying that I am 'thin' so seeing the baby was really easy. Um- did you see the scale? I am not thin. But I am glad seeing the baby was easy.

The other kids loved getting a peek at the new baby, and we have begun discussing names for him (it is so fun to know what is coming!

So far Stinky wants to name the baby Gordon- after one of the engines on Thomas. Peas votes for 'newbaby'. Pixie thinks "Cookie" is the best choice. Princess has yet to weigh in.

warm blankets

Saturday, October 29, 2011

My mom taught me how to crochet when I was 5 or 6- even though she is lefty and I am righty- she still taught me. When I was 8 or 9 I remember my aunt teaching me how to knit late one Saturday night on the patio, in the summer. My grandma and great grandma made me blankets before I was born. My mom and grandma also taught me embroidery and cross-stitching. I have some talented family members. Learning from them gives me a connection to them. When I sit down and crochet I think of my mom and grandma. I think of their strength their brilliance. When I cross stitch I think of my mother, my aunt, my grandma, and my sister, all of this gives me a connection to them that I may not have otherwise. A thing which we share. Despite any differences. This bit unites us. This bit can never be taken away.

These are a few of my treasures. I know that I can pick up a skein of yarn and in a few(several) hours create something. I am not a skilled crochet-er or knitter by any means, but I am learning (thanks library!).

As I sat tonight on the couch working on a blanket for the new baby, my oldest kids came and sat by me asking for me to teach them how to crochet. Tomorrow, we have a crochet date.

Before each of my children have arrived I have made them a blanket. So they can be wrapped in love as I was. The blankets that were made for me will always be part of my treasured history.

Worry about what matters

Friday, October 28, 2011

Seeing as this is far from my first pregnancy, I have gotten a lot of questions about what it feels like at various stages of pregnancy, labor, delivery. One of the most common questions I am asked is about water breaking.

Apparently, this is what a lot of new moms are really concerned about. My answer, by that point in pregnancy you'll be so relieved to be getting it over with who cares? (not that I have ever been that pregnant) This is followed up with the advice that it is far more likely that your water will not be a giant gush on the grocery store floor, and if it happens like that and someone gets upset with you, then clearly they have issues.

Regardless, this is not something to worry about. What should be worried about is the accidental pee-ing that comes along with pregnancy. Maybe it is because this is not the first baby for me, but I cannot run, jump, cough, or sneeze without pee-ing. I am a young poster child for poise pants. For now it is just a dribble, but later it can become a lot more and a lot more annoying.

Pee issues are far more likely in pregnancy that water breaking issues. Pee issues are not usually followed up with the arrival of a cute baby. Pee issues are also a lot more frequent. Water breaking is usually a one time shot, peeing? Many many many more times.

So my advice to expectant moms? Don't worry about the water. Worry about the pee.

Identity theft stinks

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Back when B and I had just started dating, somehow his debit card info was stolen and there were a lot of purchases made in Alabama. It was pretty frustrating for him, as it was his only checking account and it had essentially been emptied.

A few years later, my wallet was stolen at a splash park (of all places). It was annoying to get all new cards, and even to remember what was in my wallet, let alone make sure everything got cancelled and alerts were posted with the credit bureaus.

After the incidents we decided to enroll in a credit watch service through one of our credit cards, thinking that this would at least alert us if someone attempted to open an account in our names. Well, we applied for and got a mortgage and the credit watch did not catch it- so clearly- it was not worth the monthly fee we were paying.

We were also concerned again, as we had gone for years and just assumed all was well. What if it wasn't? Identity theft protection seems like an extraneous protection, but with so much of our lives being spent online and revolving around credit scores, you can't look out enough for it.

Identity theft is a pain. It can prevent someone from obtaining a job, a mortgage, a car, so much. Protect yourself.

Self-Care is not selfish

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

(photo credit lulumon athleta)
Moms and women as a whole are typically very quick to jump to help others but not so fast to take time for themselves.

There is a prevailing belief that taking care of ones-self is selfish and not to be done.

Well that is a pile of crap. Especially when women then whine and complain about burnout. I get it though. This has been me, so so many times.

I have had to learn, painfully, and slowly, that self care is not selfish. Self care is necessary. If I do not take the time to care for myself everyone suffers.

When I get burned out I get crabby and snappy and generally just mean.

Until recently my time was pole dancing. As that is not possible now, I had to go through a meltdown to again realize that I needed to take a time to invest in myself.

So for the past three weeks I have been 'investing' in my personal needs by participating in The Daily Method Classes.

Yes, I have to take time away from my kids. I even leave the kids in the care of a non-family member (gasp) but I need to (this is one of the best things about The Daily Method- the childcare room onsite). I am refreshed. Stress is released from my muscles via the work out. I get to see other adults! I get to talk in sentences! Yay!

Personally, I know so many women who fall into this trap- the women/mother/martyr. If a class is unattainable ask someone for a babysitting swap, I would be all over that, and I often am!

As women though, we have got to stop it. We have got to stop putting everyone before ourselves. We have got to start investing in ourselves. We have got to care about ourselves and take care of ourselves, if for no other reason, than we will then be able to care for others better.

Holiday Cards

Saturday, October 22, 2011

This year I am going to buck my holiday tradition and attempt to join the responsible grown-up world and send out , ideally before the holidays.

In years past, I have started with the best intentions and purchased cards, even signed them, but actually mailing them? Not something that happened. Apparently the walk to the mailbox is a lot farther than it appears.

This year, Shutterfly is spurring me on a bit. They invited me to take a look at their cards and tell my readers about them, and then give me 3 codes to give to readers for 25 free cards. YAY!

...and I have not had photos taken of the kids in a year....(I will schedule this, I swear)...

Ok, so I started looking. There are a lot of ! One big issue for me is that I have friends and family who are not religious and sending a religious-y card to them is weird to me, so that eliminated a lot of the cards. Then I needed a card that either has 5 photos on it or one photo- though this may vary depending on how pictures turn out- but I started with that.

I really liked this one:

I also liked:


Maybe I'll even feel really ambitious and make a photobook for the grandparents or something, I made one once- a few years ago- for my grandmother and she loved it!

So.... first three commenters who have an email associated with their profile, or leave it for me will each get a code for 25 free cards... ready set.... go.

Are you a blogger? Want a chance to win 25 free cards? Register here

What a happy messy baby!




Beware: Breasfeeding post below

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I am a devoted breastfeeding mom (I dislike the word breastfeeding though. Intensely dislike).

In my mothering adventures I have run into a quite a few people who have indicated that they were not intending to breastfeed. Some said they were uncomfortable with the idea, some had no interest, etc. I am genuinely curious why? What makes you uncomfortable about it? Why does it not interest you?

In a culture that is so head over heels in love with doing what is best for babies all of the time, shouldn't breastfeeding be kind of a no-brainer? This is the only normal food for a baby to eat, anything else is substandard. No parent would consider giving their child a substandard start by any means, so why is substandard food okay? This is not to say that women who truly do have an issue should feel guilty about not breastfeeding, but why willingly opt to feed your baby something less than standard?

Before you jump all over me about guilt. I get it. And you know what? I can't make anyone feel guilty. If someone feels guilty, that is on them, not me. Maybe it says that they should be doing something else if they feel guilty.

Yes, some people cannot nurse for one reason or another, but statistically that number is what 5%? Either I know the most unlucky 5% in the world or people are giving up too easily.

Full disclosure. I started nursing my first in the NICU. I had absolutely no intention of breastfeeding her until the NICU experience. I was completely uneducated about breastfeeding, and after learning I was sold. No nursing was not easy for me. I had a baby in the NICU and I had to learn to feed her, at the same time she had to learn to eat, breath, maintain temperature, and grow. It was hard. We did it. Until my milk dried up. Then I tried every darn herb, pumping, and trick I could before switching to formula. If I had been aware of it, I would have looked for donor milk, but at that point, I did the best I could with what I had.

Pregnancy Smell Aversion Strikes Again

Monday, October 17, 2011

The smells of truly innocent things have been making me vomit. Spaghetti and Meatballs? Banned. Anything involving garlic, banned.

That is okay.

The pregnancy super sense of scent has now forced me to abandon cloth diapers. I just can handle the smell. Hopefully soon, I will be able to get back to cloth dipes, but for now we are back to disposables and even those end up with me gagging most of the time.

Seeing as I am in the 2nd trimester, I should be past this soon right? Right? Give me some hope here.

All joking aside, I feel guilty. Cloth is so much better for my baby and the Earth. It isn't even that much work- I have to do laundry anyway, what is a couple more loads (especially loads that I do not have to invest massive time in folding!?)

Hopefully. Hopefully. Soon we will be back to cloth.

My first Daily Method

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Since I can't take my normal and awesome pole dancing classes, I decided I would try a Dailey Method class. A few friends rave about them and figured that I did need to do something

On the whole- I enjoyed it. I even signed up for more classes.

However, it is not the same as pole dancing. There was not the emotional aspect that I have with pole.

Pole is like therapy for me. The Dailey Method- while not therapeutic was fun and I loved the workout. I appreciated the empowering and nurturing atmosphere, the helpful people, the great class, but I lacked the sensual release.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss

Saturday, October 15, 2011


Today is a beautiful day in the Chicago suburbs. The sun is shinning, the sky is absurdly blue, the air is crisp. As beautiful as it is, it is a sad day. Today is dedicated to remembering the lives of babies that were taken to soon.

I remember my almost babies, knowing that though they were never born, they will always be loved.

I remember my friends losses, miscarriages, stillbirths, and the loss of an infant. All heartbreaking. All tragic.

Nothing can change the losses, all that can be done is to remember the families and the babies. To remind everyone that love is surrounding.

To my friends who have lost, I am deeply sorry. Losing a baby is not something a parent should ever know. You are loved. Your babies are loved.
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I am aware of the losses. I do not need a special day to remind me. The losses don't just go away on October 16th.

No tears here

Friday, October 14, 2011

I can't cry. I feel things- but I can't cry.

In fact, I am jealous of people who can just let it all out in a good cry. I can't. My eyes may get wet, but that step into actual tears I just can't make. I wish I could.

People have told me that I must have a heart of stone for not being able to cry (gee thanks). After discussing it with a lot of people, I have come to the con conclusion that it has to be some sort of defense mechanism. I will not let people see me like that. I will not let people see me vulnerable. I will not let people hurt me.

Honestly, I do not let anyone get close to me. I have been hurt too much and just cannot seem to let down my guard for anyone.

I do not want my children to feel like this. I want them to cry and feel joy freely. But (a big but) I am afraid to change my own way of dealing with things to let myself be vulnerable.

Why I made my choice

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I have gotten a few questions (heck- some people even advised me to terminate) this time through my pregnancy asking why I did not chose to terminate it, especially after beginning bad morning sickness.

It was not a secret that our family, though full of love and joy, is full. It was not a secret that pregnancy is hard for me physically and emotionally. Or that pregnancy is rife with risks for me- so given all of that, why am I choosing to stay pregnant?

Disclaimer- these are my thoughts and opinions as they pertain to me, my body, and my children. I do not intend to judge anyone- that's not how I roll.

Our family may be big. and loud. But we are full of love. I can not imagine my life without my any one of the kids. Simply put- there is always room for one more.

Each of my children have given me some amazing gifts. With out those- I would not be who I am. I may not even be alive.

The risks for me can be and are being medically managed. I have utmost confidence in my medical team.

While the life inside me- can't survive without me, he or she is special and loved. As he or she grows I love feeling he or she wriggle and move. To me- this life- is sacred.

An aside to Bean's mom- I am not referencing you above- you provided me with love and courage to look completely at all options available- thank you for that.

Hyperemisis

Saturday, October 8, 2011

I have not been writing a lot because I have been too busy feeling like crap.

This pregnancy has been particularly demanding and very difficult. I have been diagnosed with Hyperemisis Gravidarum which is morning sickness on steroids.

It is awful. Constant nausea. Frequent vomiting. Fatigue. Dehydration.

Some people have compared dealing with HG as similar to how a chemo patient feels, without the hair loss.

It sucks because I am not the mom that I should be. I can't take my kids outside as much. Running and playing with them is out.

My family has had to make do with whatever food I can stand the thought of or smell of. It is very hard because there is no way to describe the feeling. So many people do not understand the relentless nausea and sickness. Some even say it is in my head.

My doctor has prescribed a few medications. Sometimes they can take the edge off. Often they do not. Often I can't keep the medication down. Frustrating.

Hyperemisis typically improves as a pregnancy progresses but it does generally last longer than typical morning sickness.

This is my last my pregnancy. I am trying desperately to enjoy it, but good heavens, I am struggling.

New mom tattoo

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New moms are likely to get their baby's name or foot print tattooed on them. I think though that they should get the poison control number tattooed on them instead.

I had to call poison control today for only the second time in 7.5 years, which is not that bad of an average, in my opinion.

As the poison control number is not a simple three digit ditty like 911, it should be tattooed on every parent, or have the walls wall-papered with it. Something noticeable.

Because someone took my magnet off the fridge with the number on it, I was momentarily frozen. This is where my memory for numbers came in handy. I remembered it. (The number in case you should need it is 800-222-1222)

Thankfully, the incident was minor. Everyone will be fine. But I am writing the number all over my darn house.

I love my special dog

Our golden doodle is a sweet boy, smart he is not.

Aside from the fact he has been skunked three times in his short life, he gets lost. In our house. Which would not be so bad, but the house is small.

White Fang- the husky, is clever, where Doodle is... well a doodle.

He get so excited to see who ever is walking in the door he literally quivers with excitement. However, he barks ferociously whenever people he knows come over.

The other night a pillow fell on the floor, and he got up, walked over to it and squeezed his 80lb body on one small pillow. It was a feat of canine contortion.

Doodle does not seem to be aware of the rest of his body and thinks he is a floating head. He is surprised when his back half falls down the stairs, or runs into something.

Oh well. We love him anyway.

Style me please!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I cannot decorate a room or a cake to save my life, putting together an outfit with accessories is as foreign to me as Latin.

Moms with style are a particular group that I am envious of. There is a mom in my neighborhood who walks her son to school every morning and she looks fantastic- totally put together. And here I am excited that my shoes match!

Trendy mommy clothes are apparently sold in stores that I do not shop in. I admit, I am not the easiest person to dress, I am short, and petite, but now I am pregnant. At that awful stage when I just look chubby, not pregnant.

But, I am going to approach this now like I approach almost everything. Research research, and a little more research. Maybe, if I think of it like a skill that I need to hone I will be more successful than if I just concede that it is not a natural talent

some photos from fall fest

Friday, September 30, 2011







We had a great time at Peas' school's fall fest. It was the best time the kids and I had in a long time.

Skunked.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Thank you captain obvious, right?

Well it stinks even more when combined with morning sickness. It just is gross. It is cruel you know, at the time when my sense of smell is already heightened beyond belief to add skunk to it.

The other night the dogs were out in the yard while I was putting the kids to bed. All of a sudden there was a little yelp followed by the unmistakable odor of skunk. The pungent close range skunk, that you can even taste.

Charlie- the golden doodle- took a direct hit in the face. This is not his first time being skunked. I would have expected even him to learn that skunks do not equal a good time.

However, he has not.

The dogs stayed in the mudroom overnight, because, well they just smelled awful. Everything smelled (and still does smell) awful.

Thankfully, Charlie was not injured in the attack.

We used hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and soap to try and combat the stench, and it worked reasonably well.

Hopefully, soon, the rest of the smell that permeates the house will dissipate. So fat I have made bread, cookies, and oatmeal bars to try and counteract the smell to minimal avail.

An Eating Disorder Rant

Saturday, September 24, 2011

It drives me nuts when people simplify it so much: eating disorders are about (insert, control, body image, self esteem) whichever.

Its not that simple. It is not. It is like saying a cold is about a runny nose. Great that may be a part of it, a superficial part of it, but at most a part of it- a symptom of the issue.

As someone who has spend countless hours in therapy dealing with an eating disorder- it is not about that. It goes much deeper than that- in most cases.

My eating disorder was a way of protecting myself a way of guarding myself from being hurt, from being vulnerable, from needing anyone, from trusting anyone lest I get hurt. It was about me being perfect. It became about feeling fat and overweight- but it did not start that way (in several studies men were given limited amounts of calories and they began to start obsessing about their weight and food, which suggests the response to starvation of that sort is more biological and not necessarily related to the eating disorder itself).

It irritates me to to end when people go on and on about the horrors of advertisements on girls self image or how awful Barbies are. I played with Barbies, I never wanted to look like one, it is a doll. Ads, certainly do not help, but it is kind of ridiculous to blame eating disorders and poor self esteem on ads. Poor self esteem comes from much more than advertisement exposure.

parenting rocks

Friday, September 23, 2011

To quote one of my parenting idols, Dayna Martin, "Life Rocks" and it does and so does parenting (most of the time).

Of course, my kids make me absolutely insane at times, but they bring me so much joy and laughter too, I love seeing them be who they are. Living in happiness. Experiencing life.

It is so hard sometimes to be sure you are doing the right things by your kids. One thing that I have slowly come to realize is, if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.

Peas is- a lot. Her personality is intense, her passion like fire and sometimes that exhausts me. To give me a break and her some time to be Peas. She is enrolled at a local school 2 mornings a week.

She loves it. Sprints from the car to the building running in the orchard on the way. They learn by playing and doing. Each of the children is expected just to be himself or herself and their passions and interests are fostered. It is thrilling to watch Peas flourish in this environment. To see her eyes light up.

There is something special about this school. Something that makes it so amazing that I cannot express how grateful I am for it.

The kids get to play outside, fly kites, go sledding, play in water, do all sorts of wonderful things soaking up their teachers love for them, being who they are. That rocks.

Liberally, speaking

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Capital punishment is the most premeditated of murders." -Albert Camus
If you know me, you know I am pretty darn liberal in voting stance.

I usually don't blog political stuff- because I do not feel well versed enough to have a meaningful debate, and instead of educating myself, I fully admit I am lazy.

This needs to be discussed though.

The execution of Troy Davis. I have been anti-death penalty since forever. But this case really bothered me. More than most. It made me angry and it smacks of so many flaws in the system.

I do not believe one person or the state has the right to kill someone- it goes back to my numerous discussions with the kids- that two wrongs to not make a right- well killing someone else certainly does not bring back the original victim (aside from the fact that death row inmates cost taxpayers millions in appeals and the fact that the death penalty clearly does not function as a deterrent) it makes us no better than the original person who took a life.

While I do not know the specifics of Troy Davis case- and I certainly cannot say conclusively whether he was guilty or innocent, but there was doubt. When the majority of witnesses recant their testimony- more investigation deserves to be done. It wasn't. We failed. That is a tragedy.

Our system, while it is the best we have, is inherently flawed because it is a human system. There is always a chance that an innocent person will be imprisoned or executed, and that is not a chance I am okay with.

To quote a wise woman- despite this tragedy there seems to be more outrage over the new Facebook layout.

A caveat- I understand that if my child were killed. I can pretty much guarantee that I would want to personal kill the person responsible, but that does not mean it is right. It does not mean it is my right. It does not mean that it should happen.

What's in a name?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

With the unexpected pregnancy, I have had the fun and stress of thinking about naming this baby.

Naming a baby stresses me out. It is one of the first chances I have to really mess up the baby.

I have been stalking baby name generators, baby name meanings, baby girl names, and baby boy names hoping for inspiration. I have come up woefully short. There are very few names that I can honestly see naming a baby, and given the other kids names I need to make sure that it at least 'goes' a little.

Given Princess's first name can be a boys name or a girls name I would feel weird naming a boy (if this is a boy) a name that is even remotely unisex. I also can not see naming a girl an overly frilly name given the names of the girls.

To make it more interesting, I also care about the baby name meaning. Like Anne of Green Gables, I can't see a rose smelling as sweet if it were called a skunk cabbage.

So any ideas for brilliant baby names?

Where did I go?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I have not been able to dance in a while.

For the past year I have been a pole dancing soccer mom. Pole dancing is how I express myself. This is how I exercise. This is how I get out. This is me.

I have prided myself on being active. On playing. But now, I can't. My arm is in a cast which is making things hard. Then my breathing is obnoxious. And I am pregnant. My identity is missing.

Some witty title about asthma I guess

Monday, September 19, 2011

I had a mini vacation, not the good kind, the really over expensive medical kind- the hospital.

Colds come and go right? For me they go and live in my chest for a while and make all sorts of insanity. For a few days my breathing had been tight, I stepped up my meds, and paid attention, but it kept getting worse. I started steroids and breathing treatments, I just could not get ahead of it. Finally, on Saturday it was clear I was losing the battle and went to the hospital.

They got me in and hooked up to oxygen and a breathing treatment super fast. I looked and sounded like crap.

Sweet relief that is IV steroids, dual breathing treatments, mag, and epinephrine. Oxygen is good. Breathing is good. I was no longer sweating to breathe.

The doctor did not want to send me home much to my disappointment (however this turned out to be very wise). I was sent upstairs. The hospital has a new bed tower. It is nicer than most hotels I have stayed in. Really.

Either this hospital just has amazing nurses, or I have really gotten lucky every time I have been there.

My breathing turned for crap again way too soon and the ICU was mentioned- this one I stood firm on. NO ICU. I got to stay in my room, but my meds were bumped up.

Asthma and pregnancy can be tricky. No mom wants to expose her child to unnecessary medication, but the potential risks to the baby from lack of oxygen are more severe and more real than risks from meds.

I have been asthmatic as long as I can remember. Despite that, sometimes it takes me by surprise and catches me off guard.

This morning my doctor was concerned with my pulse being to fast and given my history of clotting, pregnancy, and other risks, he elected to up my heprin and test me for pulmonary emboli- which thankfully were absent, and I was allowed to go home.

Oh the smells...(morning sickness lament)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The first few months of a pregnancy are the worst for me- I have never made it full term so I cannot comment on what the last 2 are like- full disclosure.

The first few are just awful. Everything smells. Badly. I can't think of a single thing that smells good to me. Everything makes me retch and heave. I hold my breath when opening the refrigerator. I make non-smelly things for food- such as cereal (who says you can't eat it three times a day).

But unless I have told people there is no way that anyone would know I am pregnant. I am not showing, I just am a bit more chunky, so I can't play up the pregnant person sympathy.

Grocery shopping is an exercise in control over my gag reflex. Just walking in to the store I am bombarded by a hundred different odors each more nauseating than the last, so shopping is done at a full out sprint most of the time.

This is actually an improvement. I required IV re-hydration last week as for several days I could not keep even fluids down. Now that I am staying ahead of the nausea with lots of medication hopefully I can expand my diet to include more than lemon ice soon.

Men Plan G-d Has A Big Laugh

Monday, September 12, 2011

then sends a kick in the pants to remind me that He is in charge of my life, not me.

So husband and I are expecting a baby. In March. I had thought I was done adding more members to the family. After Pixie's unexpected arrival, I thought I had moved on. In fact, I gave away a lot of maternity clothes, a high chair, an exersaucer, and countless other baby accessories.

That will teach me!

on the morning of surgery, they ran a pregnancy test as is normal procedure. It was positive. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

The world tilted.

I was able to have my surgery, but I was only able to get a nerve block for it- no sedation. Not something I would recommend.

The past couple of weeks have been spent getting used to the idea, I am still having a hard time with it, as well as dealing with butt kicking nausea and vomiting.

In short: men (or women plan) G-d thinks it is pretty darn hysterical and throws you for a loop.

10 years. Nearly

Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11 has been on my mind a lot lately. This week especially, this year more than ever.

I can't believe it is already 10 years. I can't believe it is only 10 years. A lifetime? Maybe.

My kids know about it, well the oldest two do. I have fielded a lot of questions about it. About the firemen. About their families. About Daddy.

I'll never forget. I'll never forget the utter disbelief. The desperation. Not knowing. The fear.

What I focus on, or try to focus on, though is the love and support and community. Everyone had to lean on each other to process what was happening. Firemen rushed from all over the country to help the FDNY. Blood donation lines stretched longer than ever.

New York's Skyline will never be the same. We will never be the same. I will be more understanding, kinder, more grateful.

Bloggy Boot Camp

Monday, September 5, 2011

So what this was three weeks ago......LOTS has happened, which will have to wait for another post...but I am finally getting to it!

I was so nervous. I was seriously a ball of anxiety, more so than usual. One of my biggest worries was getting to the location as I am directionally impaired. Victory was mine when I arrived, in one piece.

Then more terror. What the heck are you supposed to do? I knew no one! (Thank heaven for assigned seating)

I learned a few things in terms of items to bring:
Business cards, while I had Pixis's diapers, I forgot my cards... oh well.
My camera- I cannot take photos for crap on my phone.

Anyhow.

When we started I felt like the presenters were speaking a different language. I need a dumbed down tech version- for people like me who are tech delayed. I did learn I need to re-do my blog design and I should migrate to WordPress. I need a good designers name and some tech smart people to help me get things over (also I would like to work on my Twitter Page and my Facebook Page).

I did learn a ton about blog layout and design, turns out I was(am) doing it all wrong, this will be remedied in a new layout. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif

The biggest thing I took a way was that I have been operating on a policy akihttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifn to bloggy isolationism- which is not so useful. I need to break out of my comfort zone and start making more relationships (I have a few bloggy friends who I adore though).

An aside: The hotel where this was held was phenomenal. I have diet restrictions that force me to eat Gluten Free and this hotel was so accommodating. I will gladly give them my business anytime. They went out of the wan and prepared a GF grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables for me. I was floored. The even better for dessert- they got me a fruit plate. Color me stunned. Thank you Renaissance North Shore! It was incredible!

I had the great fortune to sit with some amazing women like Momnivore's Dilemma. She rocks my socks off! And Terra Talking who is all kinds of awesome.

Must discuss options

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Last week, Princess and I were discussing what she wanted to be when she grew up.
She said she wanted to be a mother. Okay...well.. I resisted the urge to say, "is that it??" as I know full well being a mother can be a damn hard job.

However, I do not her to feel like she is limited. She can be whatever she darn well pleases.

For a moment it felt like I had failed her as a mom and feminist. After re-framing my thoughts and seeing them in the light that feminism- to me- is about choice- that a person can chose to do what they want- not be hemmed in. So she has the freedom to choose and the ability to do whatever she wants. That is key. Heck she is only 7, she could easily change her mind many many times.

casts are annoying

Friday, September 2, 2011

I am in a cast on my arm after surgery.

This time Stinky got to pick the color. He wanted black- I convinced him that purple was a better choice. However, his reasoning for black was solid: I was wearing a black skirt and black and white striped shirt and he said that black would match.

This cast is very obnoxious. It goes up onto my elbow to make it so I cannot rotate my arm which makes doing almost everything more complicated and more difficult.

Something that I have learned though- chopsticks are the best for scratching down my cast (yes I know it is a big no-no but that thing itches!)

Fashion Mags and I have different definitions

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I am not fashionable.

My look is mostly Gap. Maybe some REI thrown in there. On a rare occasion maybe even some Express. Usually with and eau du baby.

I still love magazines though. I love flipping through the pages and seeing photos of glamorous women looking like I never ever will. Wearing outfits that cost more than my car.

It is really funny because a few really popular magazines have features that discuss getting designer looks for an affordable price. Keyword: affordable.

Instead of a $975 shoe buy the pair that is only $400. While $500 is a great amount of money, I cannot fathom spending $400 on a pair of heels that maybe, I'd wear twice. Let alone $975. I just can't imagine.

Maybe I am old. Maybe I have spend too much time shopping at Target. Maybe I am just unaware, out of touch, or just dim. But I cannot see spending 3x my car payment on shoes.

The same goes for strollers. I have my double stroller that I nearly choked buying at a cost of $250. I see people with strollers well over $1000. Really. A mortgage payment, in a stroller.

I walk, a lot. My stroller has a ton of miles on it. But $1000? If I suggested that, B would sign me in to get my head examined. If the stroller came with an au pair- then sure, but a device for pushing a child around? Not going to spend that kind of money on that- I just can't!

My mom rocks

Saturday, August 27, 2011

In my drugged stupor I am singing it to the Drew Carey Show theme "Cleveland Rocks" clearly pain pills affect my sanity.

annnyway...

she does.

when we got home from the hospital I kind of waved and went to bed. My arm was numb and floppy.

I attempted eating, and puked, I attempted water, and puked.

As miserable as that was, and believe me it was, I did not have to worry about the kids. I did not have to worry about getting them fed, or dressed, or watching out for them I could focus on my aim at the toilet.

To be honest, I have no idea how she does it. She is amazing. She comes in and in some sort of flurry she leaves behind her a trail or organization and cleanliness. It is kind of scary. I have watched her and I am really not sure how she does it. It is like a miracle of some sort.

Tonight, she reorganized my refrigerator, after taking all of the shelves out and cleaning the darn thing out. She is just amazing.

When I was a teenager and a kid she did not seem nearly as awesome, how wrong I was.

Now the crappy parts. I feel like I will never be the great mother she is. I will never be able to go into a room and get it put in order in a heartbeat. I can't organize or clean like that. She is so much nicer than me. I feel like I can never measure up. But, I want to. I wish I could.

Post Surgery Owies

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Surgery is not supposed to be fun, I don't think.

Mama's the world over spend years cautioning their kids to not cut themselves, and to sign informed consents for someone to knock you out and cut you open is counter-intuitive.

But again, I did. And again it hurts. I had my wrist put back together yesterday. And am now doing everything one-handed. Typing only with my right hand is slower and bothersome.... but there are a lot more obnoxious things. For example, I can't open my pain pill bottle. Putting a diaper on an uncooperative baby with one hand is like wrestling an angry octopus...I could go on and on. It is not pleasant, hopefully, this will be short lived.

Giveaway Winner!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In other news, I suck. I totally forgot about posting the winner my apologies,

Congratulations to Karen!

I will be emailing her shortly to get her information.

Annoying day to day life

Expedition v. Excursion

ex·pe·di·tion/ˌekspəˈdiSHən/Noun
1. A journey or voyage undertaken by a group of people with a particular purpose, esp. that of exploration, research, or war.

ex·cur·sion/ikˈskərZHən/Noun
1. A short journey or trip, esp. one engaged in as a leisure activity.

This gets me, it really really gets me. Expedition means a bigger trip, excursion means like a day trip- a smaller trip. So then logically, an Excursion should be the smaller car. Expedition means a bigger undertaking, and should therefore be the larger vehicle. But no. They are reversed and it makes me freaking insane. Really, I see one of these cars on the road and I want to yell at Ford.

Early Reading= late blooming??

Sunday, August 14, 2011

First and foremost: The fundamental task of early childhood isn't learning to read, or to "get ahead" for school, or to impress the neighbors, or to give the folks something to brag about. Encouraging children to surge ahead beyond their real developmental needs leaves them with some really sludgy clean-up to grapple with later on.


- Marsha Lucus, Phd.

This is key. As a child I was intellectually advanced. I got concepts quickly and became bored to tears.

While I can balance a chemical equation or find the area under a curve with ease I am socially inept.

I have no idea how to relate to people most of the time. When in a group, I like watching people interact and often am struck with an, "ah ha!" moment. As in "ah ha! that is how they do it!"

My book smarts are great, but they only get me so far. I would rather have a kid who is empathetic than able to read Dostoyevsky at age 12.

It is easy to get caught up the the mompetition of life. Moms bragging that their kids are in 5 activities and school or has mastered their third language without accent by age 8 is a hard act to follow. Even harder is realizing an internalizing that your child is a person, not a trophy, that he or she has wants and needs that are every bit as important as an adults.

To be sure, I am not saying that kids activities are bad- just that kids should be kids first and foremost.

So my three year old can't read, but if she sees someone hurt, she'll offer a hug or ice- and I think that is a pretty great skill to have.

A chicken with a neck

Friday, August 12, 2011


As a mother of 4 I do a lot of laundry. I cook a lot of food. I clean more than is reasonable. It is pretty much all the same.

Today, I pulled a chicken out and was getting it ready to stick in the oven. The bag of innards was being stubborn so I turned the chicken around to see if I could push it through any easier than pulling. When I turned it over I saw what I thought was a really floppy wing in the wrong place- like a mutant chicken.

It was the neck. The chicken still its neck.. Its head was gone but the neck and bones and skin were still there. Chickens have a longer neck than I would have expected.

You know that roaring in your ears and the watery mouth that you get before you vomit? Yeah, I got that. I had to sit. The next dilemma: what to do with my headless (but not neckless chicken)?

Further butchering seemed to be unnecessary. So I plopped the bird neck tucked under it, into the pan, seasoned it, and roasted it.

That was not before I called about 10 people to tell them about the chicken with a neck. This was the most exciting thing to happen in my life in a few weeks. Yep- a chicken. With a neck. I took a picture. I emailed it to my mom (wow, my life is really dull- huh) I emailed my mother a photo of a chicken with its neck. Whats next an apple with leaves?

As I stood at the stove making gravy I realized something- that my suburban housewife bliss- is really really fucking boring and clearly, I need to get out more.


Vegetarians Beware- photo below (a crappy camera phone photo)

bite your tongue- or lip

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It is so annoying to bite your tongue or lip. It hurts, brings tears to my eyes and generally just frustrates me.

What is worse is then that area is just swollen enough to stick out more and get bit even more, making the swelling worse thus perpetuating the cycle, more and more and more. Leading to more and more frustration.

It seems like it will never heal.

Mrs. Cellophane

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It is hard. It is hard to be the person that makes sure everything gets done. But is not noticed. If I do not do something, it is obvious. Pile of dishes in the sink? No clean clothes? Out of toilet paper?

When I do my job properly, no one sees, I am to be the worker bee running around making life livable doing the things that no one else thinks of.

There are a lot of things that I do everyday that go unnoticed.

Sometimes (all the time) it bothers me that I am essentially invisible. No one will give me a raise or recognition for ironing clothes.

A lot of my friends say that I should look for joy in my role. Joy is hard to find matching socks. Joy is hard to find picking up the 100th dirty shirt (that really wasn't dirty but someone tossed on the floor after trying and is now covered with cat hair).

It makes me think of my mom. Our house was spotless, and she made it seem effortless. Its not. It is a crap load of work. My mom may have been Mrs. Cellophane when I was a kid, but now I would like to thank her for all of the work she did behind the scenes to make the house run. So thank you Mom. I have no idea how you did it so well.

Things fall into place

Monday, August 8, 2011

I do not like most breakfast food. I just don't.

That is not to say that I do not eat breakfast. Recently, I found out why I may avoid breakfast foods.

It has come to our attention that when Stinky eats gluten he gets a plaque on his scalp, Peas has issues when she eats gluten too.

We took a gluten free diet for a spin and had interesting results. Peas screamed a lot less and Stinky's head cleared up among other things.

Then I ate gluteny goodness at the kids birthday party. My tummy hurt so so bad for a few days.

At the next appointment at the doc we were chatting and it came up that I did not like breakfast foods...she had a revelation. I was self limiting foods that my body had a hard time digesting. I don't like milk either and I have a hard time handling that.

This led to an important change in thinking for me. When my kids "don't like" something I try and convince them to eat it, instead of respecting their bodies. Maybe they are self limiting also? Something to consider.

Mosquito Bites and Skinned Knees

Friday, August 5, 2011

My kids are covered in mosquito bites and skinned knees.

It is summer- bruises, scabs and mosquito bites are par for the course here.

When I had Pixie at the doctor he laughed at her knees both with scabs and bruises dotting her legs. He said clearly she was an active girl. She is. She thinks the TV is a climbing wall.

We have been through a box of band-aids this summer. Some of them were even necessary (my children have some sort of weird fascination with them)

All of the kids have hair three shades lighter than normal and tan lines marking where their bathing suits sit.

They are always a little dirty as most of the time is spent outside playing something building a fort or a fairy bower.

Summer can be so much fun!

baby snuggles

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Pixie is not so much a baby anymore- she is a toddler. Independent explorer. But in the morning she still will climb on my lap for snuggles.

I will never get tired of her snuggles.

Her eyes are an amazing gray blue that sparkle with love and life.

She has lost the new baby smell but has her own scent that I love to just drink in as I kiss her forehead.

A Summer Giveway For Chicago Area Readers

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Yeah I know it has been a long time since I have hosted a giveaway. I am so sorry- darn life getting busy!

Anyway- I am thrilled to announce a that Dealavue is sponsoring this giveaway.

Dealavue is similar to Groupon in that they offer deals- but they feature a ton of deals daily so you are sure to find something you like. Heck in this economy EVERYONE is trying to do more with less.

From family activities to date nights and beauty treatments- there is something for everyone.

So I am thrilled to offer a reader a $25 dollar voucher to use towards a purchase on this site.

And- any reader who just can't wait to see if they'll win use the code "FUN" to get $5 off!

To enter:

1- Comment
2- Like Making If Fun on Facebook
3- Tweet this
4- Mention it on Facebook
5- Follow me- Almostsinglemom on twitter.

Please leave a separate comment for each action.


You have 1 week. The contest will end at 11:59 pm central time on 8/10/2011. I will pick a winner randomly on 8/11/2011. I will announce the winner via my blog, twitter and email. So make sure you have an email associated with your profile - or leave it for me in a comment/email it to me @ almostsinglemom@makingitfun.net

Good Luck!

Things they should teach in school

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I am a reasonably intelligent person. I can read. I can write. My knowledge of multi-variable calculus is impressive. I can balance chemical equations with the best of them, but I cannot jump my car.

I have no idea why this is but my kids love to turn on the lights by their seats in my sexy minivan. I do not always notice this- I only notice it when it is night-time.

Anyhow.

It happened. Then the next day I did not drive. Which meant my car sat with a light on for about 48 hours. Of course, the battery died. When I needed to start my car there was not even the clicking noise of the engine trying to turn over. It was just that dead.

My knowledge of cars is limited. I can drive manual. I can put gas in it and that is about it. However, I had a battery pack to jump the car. B bought it for me years ago, and I teased him horribly for it (sorry).

I figured I would be able to figure it out- how hard could it be?

Hard.

The trunk release is not like the hood release- it does not just open. There is another step. A lever to push or pull or twist to get the hood to open all of the way. Two problems: there are no instructions for it, and it is positioned far back so people with freakishly small hands cannot reach it without getting stuck. I actually considered calling 911 to get me unstuck- until I was able to wiggle my hand out skinning my knuckles.

Eventually, I got it. Putting the clippy thingys (technical term) on the battery was easy. Even I can match colors.

But it didn't work. The horn on the car sure did work though! Somehow the alarm got tripped and good heavens it is loud. I called all of my male friends assuming they would have some idea. No go luck- one of them J's husband did suggest calling a Honda dealer- Genius.

They told me how to disable the alarm but the battery pack was just not powerful enough to start the car. I had to wait to be rescued.

Soon enough my car was started (thank goodness for big SUV alternators).

But really- a 10 minute lesson could have saved my hand and a lot of frustration.

Maybe instead if learning how to take derivatives of crazy functions a few minutes of my time would have been better spent learning how to jump a car.

oh come on, THAT was funny.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I like 90% of the world love The Bloggess. Her wine slushie idea is enough to make me want to ask her out.. it is shear genius.

She is freaking hysterical. I wish I could be that funny. I wish I could think of 1/10 of the things to say she does. When I do try humor it falls flat and heavy- like my big mixmaster on my foot (incidentally- how one of my children learned the word that rhymes with duck)

But I can't, you see. I am just not that funny. Even when drunk- and everyone is funny when drunk. Much like the "decorator" gene or the "able to put together outfit gene" mine appears to be missing. I do however have the "loves diet coke gene".

But here we are. Unfunny me feeling depressed because- I am not funny. But I have got to say, that maybe if I worked on developing her perspective on things some of the truly insane things that happen around here would not make me so overwhelmed so often.

They were not thinking.

Friday, July 29, 2011

I am anti fabric softener. It leaves a funky residue and is all chemically- and it gives me rashes (TMI)

Anyway. We got the Bounce Dryer Bar as one of my children cannot seem to stand to wear clothes if they have not been drenched in fabric softener. The slightest roughness or less than silken softness sends her into a stripping fiend.

The bar is supposed to last 2 months or so- as it wears down the word "replace' would show up and indicate it is time to change the bar. It lasted a week. Really. A week. That is it.

I know we do a lot of laundry. Four kids, 2 dogs means laundry day is every day. However, I did expect the bar to last longer than a week.

So Bounce- not impressed.

Joy and Eggs

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Odd combo. You bet. But well.

I had the pleasure of being in a pole class on Monday night. It was fantastic. I got a new trick (with help) then managed to do it again at home (yes I rock that much).

We were doing stretches at the beginning of class and the instructor told us to think of an 'o' word. The obvious of course is orgasm. Yeah. That did not occur to me. I drew a blank for several moments and came up with the word "oocyte". Which is the sciency name for the female gamete: the egg cell.

That is all kinds of sexy. Or not.

I need to get out more.

At the end of class we were asked to think of a word that describes how we were feeling.. I came up with joyful- again, not a typical answer for a sexy pole class but a hell of a lot better than oocyte.

Crap! I forgot about the best part (I have already blocked it from my mind apparently)! I flashed everyone. Time to take that top out of the rotation. You'd think, in a pole dancing class, it would be no big deal to fall out of your top. I wished the damn floor would swallow me up. Seriously, I considered leaving. But D- was so kind an loving, I stayed, and was so glad I did.

Communication

Friday, July 22, 2011

com·mu·ni·ca·tion/kəˌmyo͞oniˈkāSHən/Noun
1. The imparting or exchanging of information or news.
2. A letter or message containing such information or new


~Google Dictionary (it really does know everything, huh)

There are a lot of ways to communicate, verbal and non-verbal.

In expanding the definition of communication to be quite broad, parents can appreciate a wide variety of their children's efforts.

Sounds great right? Totally.

Except when...

Stinky hits his sister. It drives me nuts. I was given some great advice about this the other day, that I have been pondering.

Stinky hitting is his way of communicating something because he has not had the chance to learn skills or impulse control to communicate his needs or feelings in another way. Again sounds really too simple right?

Well maybe this time it is that simple. His sisters irritate him when they take apart his things (that would make me crazy too). At some point he reaches his limit and hits. Talking to him after the fact is great but it is reactive. What I need to do is watch more closely for signs that he is getting frustrated, tired, hungry, or whatever. Help him learn to recognize his feelings and needs and then communicate them in a more appropriate manner. This is labor intensive parenting. But it gets much better results. y

It is important to address this as it happens not after in term of the "next time" approach. When you are all worked up and upset, the last thing you are going to think about is, "hmmm, maybe I should try a different approach", kids are the same way. Once they are involved and upset it is much harder to calm things down again than it is to head it off.

Why better? It respects kids needs. It prevents conflict and teaches kids skills to manage it on their own. Everyone wins. I can go to bed at night knowing that I did the best I could for my kids. The kids don't hit each other (yay!). And they learn new skills that will help them in their lives. Parenting success.

I am not perfect at this. Heck, I am still a beginner. But I am trying. I am learning. I am talking to my kids about my journey as a parent- and listening to their journeys as kids. We have to respect each other and listen.

A lot can happen in five years

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Like my little baby boy can grow into this big kid!

Sometimes I look at him and I just wonder, where did my tiny pudgy adorable baby go? In his place is a smart, sensitive, active, boy.

Five years. Five years from a little baby to a boy who is creative and wonderful.

He can work the iPad better than I can. He can fuss with computers better than I can.

He loves trains. Bordering on obsession. But he knows so much about trains. He is like a sponge with them.

Stinky can be cautious. He can be sensitive. He is loving. He is affectionate.

I love my boy.

in which I complain about my wrist

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why does everything medical take about a year? It took almost a year to deal with my kidney stones, and I am still dealing with them- yep thats right therrree baaack! (oh yay).

Almost a year ago I injured my wrist when I fell on a broken sidewalk in front of a neighbors home. I spent some time in a hot pink cast, remember?

Despite casting, physical therapy, and cortisone shots my wrist was still painful. After an MRI I have surgery scheduled August 23rd to repair my wrist. Almost a year later. A year.

It has been a long year and it has impacted every part of my life. From my ability catch my children when they jump or my ability to do anything really, maybe now I can get my life back with out pain in my wrist.

But right now. It hurts. It aches even when I am not actively doing anything with it. It needs to stop.

This should not be a surprise

Friday, July 15, 2011

Everyday my kids have ample opportunity to run around like the kids they are. Play. Climb. Fall. Jump. whatever floats their boat. It is a sanity saver for them and me.

Inevitably, it will happen that for some reason or another I am unmotivated and we will be couch potatoes for a day. Then I will pay. Oh heavens will I pay dearly.

They will fight and squabble and be obnoxious to each other and just not being themselves.

This is where the silly cycle starts. It is good for no one, not for them, not for me.

-I threaten, "the way you are acting shows me that you do not want to go to the (insert fun place)"

-they whine

-I get more annoyed

-We skip whatever activity

-Our home feels like it is going to explode

-We go outside and run around

-Everyone is much happier

About 10 minutes into the outing I realize (again) that the kids are being themselves again. I am calmer, and I wonder why we stayed inside so long.

Rinse.Repeat

It is no surprise that my kids need time to be free range kids. To keep them cooped up is cruel to everyone involved. But as a parent, I am conditioned to use a reward/punishment system. What I need to do is re-learn the pattern to head it off.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that I am an introvert. I like socializing but only with a few people. Crowds overwhelm me. Most of my kids are extroverts. Crowds excite them. So we are constantly learning and growing, figuring out how to balance all of our needs.

Fun times in the summer!

Friday, July 8, 2011




It will be a good day

I may have to drag it kicking and screaming- to be a good day but damn it, it will be a good one.

Lately, I have sucked as a mom. TV has been on way too much, I have been in my own world way too much.

Today, though, I will make it a good day.

a baby tubing?!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Why yes of course.

It is no secret that we are very active as a family. I believe that if the energizer bunny himself saw my kids even he would give up- my kids have extra tanks of energy (now all I need to do is bottle it).

This last weekend we went to the lake house, which, to the kids is the epitome of summer fun. There is a lake, a beach, a boat (with tubes and skies), a wave-runner, and tons of family to play with (not to mention the games and the food...). In kid world there is no downside.

I have never been tubing. But all of my kids have- even Pixie- at 19 mos.

We were on the boat trying to decide who's turn it was to go- Peas wanted to go and she had been so patient letting the other kids go first on the wave-runner so she went first. Pixie tried to climb out of the boat (which is really hard given the giant life jacket she had on). She was going to go as well, there was no two was about it.

When Peas came back on the boat. Pixie again resumed her pointing and yelling that it was her turn. We obliged. No she did not alone. We got her on the tube with her uncle and he proceeded to fall off the tube almost dropping her in the water. In the end we get her on the tube and she tubed. Holding on the the handles, grinning.

A 19 month old tubing? Why not? She will grow up just like B's cousins. Lots of water fun at a young age. Soon enough she will be skiing. I don't remember when B learned to water ski, but I know they will all learn before they are 10.