Generousity In Travel Size

Monday, February 28, 2011

I question my parenting style and attitude daily.... usually several times a minute. Am I to strict? To laid back? Not enough boundaries? Too many?

Then my kids do something so wonderful that my faith is renewed again, at least for a moment.

This weekend Princess wanted to give her whole dollars to charity. Her five dollars- which for a little kid is quite a bit. She thought there were other people who needed it more than she did.

Also, she saved and worked and got me a present all on her own. Her work, her reward, and she gave it to me. She was so proud of herself. So thrilled that she was able to do it by herself.

I will treasure her gifts forever. Her kind heart and generous spirit is more than I could ever ask for.

Parenting In The Moment

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I am always anxious. Always, planning three steps ahead, worrying about getting everything done. Laundry, floors, dinner, dogs.... so much to do.

This week I read a book about Radical Unschooling and the philosophy that goes along with it. Before you go rolling your eyes- there are some good points- whether of not you agree with the entire lifestyle. I would love to embrace more of it- I would also love to pick Dayna Martin's brain about how she handles some issues.

One thing specifically that made sense to me was that she (Dayna Martin) always trusts herself to get things done, when the get done, they get done- in their own time- if it takes time it takes time- what is the worst that could happen? If you are always so worried about the future there is no time to enjoy the present.

This is something that I have been working into my daily life for the past week.

Everyone was sick- we had doctors appointments and commitments and I felt like I was constantly running. Driving down the road to a doctors appointment I stopped, and thought- what is the worst that could happen? I'd have to reschedule?? That is not so bad, and certainly not worth getting myself or the kids all worked up for.

So since that moment I have made a conscious effort to be present. When Pixie was in the hospital- I was all there. When I was playing trains with stinky, I was all there... by being all there I can give them more of a gift than I possibly can any other way.

Joy in odd places

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I am writing this from the Pediatrics floor of a hospital where Pixie has been admitted for pneumonia.

My mother is at home caring for my other kids, two of whom are also sick.

There is joy and gratitude to be experienced though. I am grateful I have family to help care for my older kids. I am grateful I am able to snuggle Pixie. I am grateful that Pixie's illness is manageable. I am so grateful for the wonderful nurses, techs, and doctors who are skillfully caring for my baby.

Joy? I am snuggling my baby. Doing the best thing I can for her by being her. By being present in the moment and meeting her needs. By providing her with a sense of safety and love I am helping her the best way I can to recover.

I am finding joy in watching Pixie begin to feel better, from starting to smile and make eye contact to beginning to interact again. There is joy here.

Nothing really to say just some pictures!

Monday, February 21, 2011

They really like to play in the mud

Follow your gut.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I am learning on my parenting journey. Constantly. Learning. I am learning about patience, love, frustration, generosity.... not to mention the truly fantastic things my kids have taught me about their loves (also how to get a drawer closed in the bathroom that is trapping a baby in it- from behind a closed door).

I have read a bunch of parenting books and as I have said, I am not the type of mother that I anticipated being. I expected to be a bottle feeding, crib sleeping, mainstream working mom.

I tried it. It didn't work for me (I completely understand that what works for me and my family may be a world away from another). It seemed to be forced. If I had to look up how to respond to my kids isn't that a clue that the interaction is not genuine. Seeing as one of my primary goals in parenting, is to raise my children to embrace and love who they authentically are; how am I teaching that if my interactions from the start are fake? So I re-examined and adjusted. Things were better... but kids have this way of growing up and changing the rules and bursting on the scene with new challenges once you get the old ones down.

This is where learning comes in. Instead of applying the knowledge that I had garnered before about doing what feels right- I turned to 'experts' and again our relationships were strained, inauthentic, forced. Then the friction started.

So again I re-group find what fits. What truly fits me as a mother as a person and start from there.

I am a better mother, a better, friend- a better person when I do what feels right. When I go with my gut rather than when I force the issue. My kids are not defined by a parenting book. My kids are people. They tell me how the need me- I just need to learn to listen to them, in their language.

Now- be sure I am not saying do not seek advice from others. I am saying to seek advice from people like you- not from people who are what they are supposed to be. If I am struggling (and I do- often) I seek out advice- but the advice is rarely in the form of a, b, c... it is more often trying to figure out the reasons behind something, the need that needs to be met, the message that I am not getting.

When I do this. I get chills and goosebumps when I play with my children. Knowing that I am honoring them as people. Knowing that I am helping them to be authentic.

So my advice, when I am asked for it, is to follow your gut. If it does not feel right- it probably isn't right for you.

Mrs? Ms.? Mr.?

Friday, February 18, 2011

When I was growing up I called adults by their first names. My neighbor was Sue. Everyone, with the exception of teachers and clergy, were first names.

It did not mean that I respected them any less. They were still a person, just as much as I.

I do not believe that bestowing titles on people equals respecting someone. For the most part, I never really did and still do not understand the concept of a title. I am who I am. No need to be anything else. No need to put on false respect. No need for airs.

If someone 'above' me levels the playing field, I, if anything, respect them more because of their acceptance and respect for me.

Firmly, inherently, I believe that all people deserve respect. No more or no less than any other person.

Why? Why do people want the false respect with titles? What does it do for them? Is our cultural self esteem that low that we need to add grandeur to it?

This is not, by any means to say that I do not respect others, I do, but not because I call them a title.

Baby Got Back

During my year the "Year of the Stone", or the "Great Rocks of 2010", or my favorite "Kidney Crisis 2010", one of the things I missed most during recovering from procedures and surgeries was the ability to wear Pixie and Peas.

Baby-wearing is a huge part of my parenting. I am sorely outnumbered, so strategically placing the kids on and around me is key to any successful outing- or day- or even a shower.

However, when you have an incision on your back putting a 20 lb kid on it is not encouraged.

When that was reasonably healed I fell and trashed my wrist and was the proud owner of a hot pink cast.

Just when I was healed from that I had another surgery. This time four incisions on my abdomen. Again, an area that makes popping a kid on my front or back problematic.

It made getting around all sorts of interesting- and not the good kind of interesting.

Now however I am back in the the baby-wearing business. I am also the proud owner of a new Girasol wrap that is lovely. I even have a new favorite back carry: the Chunei Backcarry. Pixie approves too!

Gah! She is getting so big!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

So Princess has a favorite singer now. I was not prepared for the announcment that she loves Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus. Especially, because I am not all the crazy about her.

At least the only real music of hers that she loves (or has heard) is on the Hannah Montana movie, which is fairly harmless.

It is just a milestone that I was not anticipating. When I was in grade school my aunt gave me a New Kids On The Block tape for my walkman. I do not honestly think I ever listened to it. I just did not get it, that music was not my style, in fact I was not into popular music for a VERY long time. I never kept up or track, even now- I love listening to music but I am not a devoted fan of anyone.

So while, Princess loves Hannah Montana, and that is fine, it is her preference, her choice, I will get to learn a side of life I never really was into..

It snowed

Did I forget to mention Snowpocalpyse: 2011 the Groundhog's Day Blizzard? Oh well, we must have been to busy playing in it.

Well it snowed. I expect snow. We live in Chicago. Snow is part of my expectation of winter. If it did not snow, I would be bummed. There are so many AWESOME things to do in the snow. There is sledding, skiing, skating, snow angels... all sorts of fantastic things!

It was a lot of snow to be sure. But, well, it ROCKED.

I was not so much concerned with the snow accumulation as I was with as the potential for our electricity to go out with the wind. Snow I can handle. Snow with four kids and no electricity... well, that could get interesting.

Thankfully, I had help keeping up with the snow so I did not have to wake up and shovel/snowblow 23" of snow in one fell swoop. When I went out in the morning, there was only about 10" to go through. My neighbor had to shovel, then snowblow... because it was too much.

My kids LOVED it. Just LOVED it. Not to mention White Fang the snow dog. She thought she had died and gone to a winter wonderland.

Here are some photos:

Giveaway Winners

Check your emails! I contacted the winners!!!

A Perfect Place

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Some of my friends in real life and online, have agonized over preschools. The curriculum, multi-lingual etc. I confess I didn't. I really didn't think to hard about it, I was busy doing other things.

I signed Stinky up at the beginning of the year at the park district preschool- they canceled his class for low enrollment, so I scrambled for a bit to try and get him in somewhere else for the fall, I really could use a break from playing trains! But I was unsuccessful.

A friend had raved about a preschool she found in the area called "Loretto Early Childhood Center". Seeing as she is the type of mother and woman I aspire to be- I trust her judgment implicitly and signed him up. As I was getting ready for surgery in the fall we decided to just start at the new semester when I would be feeling better.

Stinky adores it. I adore it. Heck I want to go to school there. I love watching him blossom under the love and direction of his teachers. Sister Julie loves and appreciates each child for the gift they are and celebrates them as an individual whole person. I LOVE this. The kids get outside and active and learn by experiencing and touching and playing. In the winter there is sledding too, what more could you ask for?? Perfect for my little inquisitive boy.

When I pick him up he is happy to see me- not because he is glad to leave but because he cannot wait to tell me what he did that day.

This is where Peas will go to school in the fall when she is old enough. She will be cherished and loved for the big ball of personality that she is. She will be encouraged to grow into an amazing girl who can light up the world with her passion.

Saving For College

Thursday, February 10, 2011

With four kids saving for college is kind of a dream- unless something miraculous happens I will not be able to pay for my children's college education. At most- I may be able to pay for a semester of books or something.

When Princess was little I signed up for and dutifully registered my cards and hoped that I would at least save a little towards education expenses. Then I forgot about it and changed banks and lost about two years of savings (whoops.). I will re-register my cards today... but darn it is cold out!

I got an message about online deals to save money for college and was reminded and intrigued. I began to browse around and found Old Navy coupons. Yay! Old Navy has their baby can kids sale going on now and savings for college? I may rock this mom thing yet!

Stinky v. Hot Sauce.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

As a family, sometimes, when I am feeling brave, we go out for a meal. One of the more common places we go is Buffalo Wild Wings.

One time when we were there, I ordered my boneless wings "Hot" and Stinky decided that he wanted to try them.

I told him that they were very spicy and he may not like them but he was welcome to try them if he liked. He insisted.

After I handed him a fork with a small bite on it, his eyes began to water and his cheeks to flush. Quickly, he swallowed and gulped water. That would be the end of it right? No. Of course not. He wanted more. Again, I reminded him that the chicken was very spicy. Again, he insisted. This time after he swallowed it he began rubbing his tongue on the napkin in an attempt to get the 'hot' off. But he refused to admit defeat to the hot sauce.

Even now, he still likes to have a bite or two of my hot wings.

This time last year

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I was in the midst of my eye drama and learning that I had a clotting disorder that likely impacted my life in ways that I had no idea about. So much made sense after that.

As much as it sucked to have that happen. As much as does suck that my eye is messed up- it was a really good thing.

If it hadn't happened- imagine what could have happened if I had had the surgeries without that knowledge. Even with the knowledge there were issues. So I can say I am thankful for my eye issue. I am thankful for everyone who helped me through this year.

Thank you.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Peas had a speech evaluation the other day. I took her to the local preschool to interact with a speech therapist. The clinician met us in the office and immediately started to interact with Peas by getting down on her level and talking to her about Pixie.

The conversation went kind of like this (I have added the italics to interpret what I think Peas was saying)

Clinician "Hi, Peas, I am T! How are you"
Peas looks up and blinks "Hi"
Clinician "My name is T, whats your name"
Peas clearly, you know my name you just said it
Clinician "My name is T, what is your baby's name [in reference to Pixie]?"
Peas "Baby." Said with a smirk
Clinician "My name is T, what is your baby's name"
Peas "Baby" I just told you, have you paid any attention??
Clinician "My name is T, your name is Peas, what is your baby's name"
Peas "BABY" You are a lunatic. Obviously. I cannot be bothered with you, I'll go color.

Clearly, I am jaded

Just finished reading Normal Girl, by Molly Jong-Fast. I was "meh" about it.

Given my rehab experience- I get the disjointed nature of an addicts mind and the lost time that accompanies it(heck, I do not remember pretty much any of high school and I was not addicted to or using any drugs, I just was a normal eating disordered girl), but her story had a plot line that was slow to evolve.

Moreover. I do not know many addicts- especially as severe as Miranda- the protagonist who sail so well through rehab- there are stops and starts, and backslides, and full on relapses. Miranda just seems to tie up her loose ends in a bow and say: "All better now" and that is not realistic.

The part that got me most was that it was if Jong-Fast was trying to hard. She was trying to make things come across as an addict would see them. Not authentic, not genuine. As she is a recovering addict, she could have drawn from experience instead of making her work feel false and forced.

I am much more a fan of Marya Hornbacher's Wasted. Her account is searing and genuine.

My Opinion

Friday, February 4, 2011

This is going to suck. Somehow I am going to piss off a lot of people by this post and manage to not articulate what I want to say very well at all.

A local business I follow, dedicated to empowering and educating women about choices in childbirth shared a link to a blog about a new Lifetime Network Show: One Born Every Minute. The blog had a scathing reaction to the show.

I had seen the promos for this show and brushed it off, but then a hippie couple caught my eye and I DVR'd it.

Full Disclosure: I am crunchy leaning mom. I also had a medicated birth that was awful. Wholeheartedly, I wish I had found information about choices in childbirth before instead of going along with the program. What I have learned in the interim has DRASTICALLY changed my view of childbirth.

Childbirth is a normal occurrence. Shows like these do not help women feel empowered and learn to trust their bodies.

Under most circumstances, routine interventions are unnecessary and cause more harm than good.

If birth were more normalized- we as a culture would be in a lot better position. In years past women saw their mothers, cousins, sisters, etc have babies, they saw what happened and learned not to fear birth but to trust it.

In my experience I had to argue and debate and negotiate to have things 'my way'. Of course, I would have loved to have a different provider, but the sad truth is, they are not available to everyone or covered by insurance.

So in my opinion, this show does a disservice to women, babies, and their partners.

My favorite prayer.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Whatever your beliefs or religion- I think this is applicable.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

This is a bonus giveaway! has given me three trial size RelaxZen Day and RelaxZen Night packages to give away.

If you read my blog you know how much I love alternative medicine and homeopathic remedies, you'll also know that I am anxious and have a hard time sleeping. So I was pretty excited to try this. It has Chamomile and Melatonin in it to encourage restful sleep.

The RelaxZen Day formula is supposed to help you focus and stay calm in the face of daily challenges.

So here we go:

1) comment
2) post this on your Facebook page and tell me about it in another comment
3) Like 'Making It Fun' on Facebook and tell me you did
4) Tweet this giveaway and tell me you did
5) Follow me on Twitter and tell me so
6) Follow my blog and tell me!
7) Like RelaxZen on Facebook- and tell me so!

Contest will end on February 12 at 11:59 pm central time. At which time I will use to draw three comment numbers. Please have an email address associated with your profile so I can contact you- or leave it in the comment! The winner has 5 business days to respond or another winner will be drawn.