Thursday, May 29, 2008
Because before I had kids, I was a parenting expert.
It didn't matter that I only have a sister, and didn't grow up seeing boys "in action." I had plenty of ideas on how I would raise my boy, if I indeed ended up having one. No guns. No violence. He would sit attentively through an entire Kindermusik class instead of running laps around the room.
God does indeed have a sense of humor. He sent me Josh.
For the last six months, I've been up to my ears in superhero costumes, foam swords and Power Ranger games (despite the fact that he has never seen an episode of Power Rangers).
Which brings me to our playdate at the park.
The kids are happily playing with their friends, while I watch from a nearby bench with Grace (11 months) and the other mothers. Eventually, Josh finds his way back over to me for a drink. I hand him his juice box. After a long swig, he hands the box back to me, keeping the straw for himself.
I know where he's going with this. I know what he wants to do, and I know what he wants to pretend.
"No, Josh. Not on the playground. It's dangerous to run around with that," I say, hoping to diffuse the situation without a scene.
No such luck.
Josh puts his hands on his hips. I steel myself for what's about to come.
"But I need a gun!" he declares.
The other moms stop talking and shoot curious glances in my direction.
Josh continues, "How am I going to shoot people if I don't have a gun! I need a gun!"
Here would probably be an appropriate time to mention that Josh is three.
I desperately wanted to tell the other mothers, "I DID NOT teach him that." We don't have play guns at home. We don't practice shooting people. Violence is not encouraged. As luck would have it, I'm seated between the mother of a well-behaved girl and another mother who has one of the most laid back, unaggressive boys I've ever seen. I doubt either have had this particular parenting conundrum come up.
"You'll just have to find something else to play with," I say, purposely avoiding any further discussion about shooting people and hoping he'll drop it.
"But that won't work," he whines. I realize he's going to keep pressing me for a solution. "I need a gun!"
By now, everyone's stopped glancing and is just watching, waiting to see what I'll do. I'm at a loss. I don't know what to do with this. I have no idea how to channel the testosterone. Jillian never wanted to play with guns and shoot people on the playground. I rack my brain.
And do you want to know what I manage to come up with? Take a moment to brace yourself for the parental "wisdom" I put into action.
"Well, just use your fingers," I say feebly, with my pointer sticking out the the thumb pointing up.
Josh thinks about this potential solution and shapes his small fingers into a pretend gun. He happily runs off with pointed fingers, shouting, "Bam! Bam! Bam!"
Yeah. Thanks. I'll accept my Mother of the Year crown now.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
In the past five and half years, I think I 've done enough research on eczema and skin to write a thesis. I've gone the standard medical route. I've used Eucerin and Aquaphor. I've applied steroid cream. I've given her Zyrtec religiously from 15 months old. Nothing changed.
So, I looked into other options. We saw the chief of pediatric allergy at a local children's hospital. I kept food diaries. She was allergy tested three times. Nothing ever came back positive except for one slight allergy to dog. The allergist told me that the Zyrtec and cortisone would be a long-term treatment. In the meantime, I could take comfort in the fact that she might grow out of it and her case was really not as severe as I thought it was.
I went back home. Did more research. I joined discussion boards. I prayed. I looked into nutritional supplementation. I dumped the petroleum based creams and switched to olive oil based creams. I began using evening primrose oil to treat the itching. I gave her cod liver oil and flax seed oil daily in effort to provide her body with the "essential fatty acids" her skin needs.
I would see improvement, and then for no reason at all, the eczema would flare up again. That's where we are now. Five and a half years later and I have no more answers than when I first started.
One of the things that surprised me most about motherhood is how horrible it feels to not be able to help your hurting child. I am desperate for an answer. Which brings me to the latest and greatest that I've been looking into: NAET treatments.
NAET stands for Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Techniques. Here's what the website says:
Monday, May 26, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Due to popular demand, Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer is hosting a messy car carnival, where we reveal what's lurking in the deep recesses of our vehicles. Are you scared yet? You should be.
We upgraded to a minivan in August of last year. With the birth of our third, plus carpooling to my daughter's school, it was a necessary investment.
Driving off the lot, I remember looking around at the sparkling interior, inhaling the heady scent of new leather and thinking, "Finally, I'll be able to comfortably shuttle around the kids and keep all of our 'stuff' in place."
But in the months that followed, I discovered something about vehicles -- they are a lot like purses. The bigger the purse, the more junk you can fit into it. And, if you're anything like me, it doesn't matter how many pockets or compartments there are, inevitably everything ends up lumped together at the bottom of the bag. The same principle holds true for my minivan.
Are you ready to take a peek? I'm warning you, it ain't pretty:
Here's the "main cabin." We removed one of the seats to better facilitate my strapping three preschoolers into the back row. This minor alteration has provided additional space, which you see I've filled with a case of bottled water.
Because I take hydration very seriously.
The blue box with all the
Obviously, if my kids are flinging socks, that implies that they first flung their shoes. My son has come to view the back of the minivan as his own personal closet. At any given time, one can find several pairs of shoes strewn around, which I feel keeps us prepared for just about any social occassion. Naturally, we also have an assortment of various toys that accompany us on errands around town.
Moving on to the passenger seat, you'll notice two containers of sidewalk chalk and the remnants of two "end of year" party bags. You'll also see a life vest. You never know when you'll encounter a water emergency, and I am all about the personal floatation device. Underneath the life vest are a few of my daughter's school papers and a scrapbooking magazine, for those moments when I find I have nothing to do (which is like hardly ever). Today's mail is on the floor in the lower right.
And finally, the piece de resistance -- I present the trunk. I realize from the picture, that it probably looks quite tame. A package of paper towels for my daughter's school party, a lightweight stroller and a beach bag. But, what's really impressive is all the
crap necessary items I've managed to crush neatly store underneath. What you can't see are the pool toys, the sand toys, the picnic blanket, the boogie boards, three separate ziplocs with a change of clothes for each child, and the restaurant activity bags I've packed for each child. Always prepared, that's my motto.
I don't know about you, but I'm heading over to Shannon's place to
make myself feel better check out all the other messy car posts. I'm hoping I'll find myself in good company. And then, I'm going to go clean out the van.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Parties to plan.
Sick child to nurse to health.
Appointments to reschedule.
Birthday gift to mail.
Toys strewn everywhere.
A son who wants to play rescue heroes.
A baby who would like to eat.
Carpool to run.
Kitchen to clean.
And you don't even want to see my laundry room.
My family would probably appreciate my undivided attention today.
See ya tomorrow.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Invest in a good sunscreen this summer. Apply it liberally and often. (And be sure to protect your neck and chest, as well as the back of your hands as part of your daily routine, whether you're at the pool or not.) When it comes to sunscreen, the old adage holds true: an ounce of prevention truly is worth a pound of cure.
The recipe below is for a new pasta salad that I've made a handful of times already -- it's a great option for picnics and super tasty.
Summertime Tortellini (courtesy of Publix Familystyle Magazine)
1 9 oz. package refrigerated cheese tortellini
1/2 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1 to 1 1/2 Tbs. finely shredded lemon peel
1 tsp. Dijon-style mustard
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large yellow sweet pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 cup cubed mozzarella cheese (2 ounces)
4 green onions, sliced
1/4 cup pine nuts or chopped almonds, toasted (toasting them does make a difference)
1) In a large saucepan, cook tortellini according to package directions, adding green beans for the last five minutes of cooking. Drain. Rinise tortellini and green beans with cold water; drain again.
2) Meanwhile, in a screw-top jar, combine lemon peel, lemon juice, mustard, sugar, salt and garlic. Cover; shake well. Chill until needed.
3) In a large bowl, toss tortellini, green beans and yellow pepper with olive oil. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours. Just before serving, stir cheese, green onions and nuts into tortellini mixture. Shake dressing; pour over all, tossing lightly to coat. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 4 main dish servings.
19 g total fat (5 g sat fat)
39 mg chol
503 mg sodium
41 g carbs
3 g dietary fiber
17 g protein
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Favorite person (outside family)? Wow, that's a tough first question! It's impossible for me to narrow it down to just one person. I have a handful of great friends (y'all know who you are) and they mean the world to me.
Favorite food? I love Thai food. Pad Thai and Panang Chicken Curry are my favorite.
Quirks about you? I check for bugs hiding under the sheets every night prior to getting in bed. Then I scan the ceiling for spiders (they have a habit of descending on me, which totally grosses me out). I trap bugs under water glasses for my sweet husband to dispose of when he gets home (noticing a trend here?). Oh, and I absolutely cannot go to sleep at night if the kitchen is not cleaned up.
How would the person who loves you most describe you in ten words or less? I asked my mom on this one: warm, caring, loving, compassionate, generous, honest, trustworthy, beautiful, talented, tenacious, accepting. Okay, I'm so blushing right now.
Any regrets in life? Adding "fine china" to the wedding registry. All that money for something we never use. (It would have been helpful had I known then, what I know now: dishes with gold banding cannot go in the dishwasher.)
Favorite Charity/ Cause? There are a lot of good ones. We support the Salvation Army's work in the UK and Samaritan's Purse is also a favorite. Locally, I volunteer for a group dedicated to improving childhood literacy.
Favorite Blog recently? I have a bit of an internet shopping addiction -- the lovely Mir over at wantnot.net helps to fuel it. Also, Gourmet Momma is one of my new favorite sources for recipes. Every recipe that I have made from Nikki's site has been a winner.
Something you can’t get enough of? Chocolate.
Worst job you’ve ever had? My very first after-school job was as a clerk at an eye doctor's office. My primary responsiblity was refiling patient charts. There are a lot of patient charts at a doctor's office. It was was a never-ending alphabetical nightmare.
What job would you pay NOT to have? Easy. Bug exterminator. See question #3 if you need elaboration.
If you could be a fly on the wall, where? My son's preschool. It's a great school and I get reports from his teacher, but I'd love to see him in action without me around. My daughter always gives me a blow-by-blow account of her day at school, but my son just isn't programmed that way.
Favorite Bible verse right now? I've always loved Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." (NIV)
Guilty Pleasure? People Magazine.
If you HAD to spend $1,000 on YOURSELF, how would you spend it? Clothes. I'm a hopeless clothes horse. What Not to Wear is one of my favorite shows.
Favorite thing about your house? The natural light. We live in a ranch that was designed so you would never have to turn a light on during the day. Lots of windows, lots of skylights. Lots of light.
Least favorite thing about your house? Because our house was designed the way it was, it is very long (140 feet). So, walking the clean clothes from the laundry room to the bedrooms is quite a workout.
One thing you are bad at? Definitely math. The mere mention of numbers has me breaking out in a cold sweat and searching for the nearest calculator.
One thing you’re good at? Word scrambles. I can unscramble words with amazing speed. If only it had a more practical application in my daily life. ;-)
If you could change something about your circumstances, what? I wish I could find a cure for my daughter's eczema.
Who would you like to meet someday? Kelly Ripa. I just think she's great and she cracks me up.
What makes you feel sexy? My new bathing suit! Sister Honey Bunch helped me find the perfect one! Just the right amount of coverage for someone who has birthed three children. (It's option three.)
Who is your real life hero? Jesus
What is the hardest part of your job? Trying to fit it all in -- how do I do all the chores and necessary things like cook dinner and keep the house from collapsing, while also taking time to play and have fun with each of my kids.
When are you most relaxed? After a glass of wine.
What stresses you out? Screaming children is pretty high on the list. Especially if they're mine.
What can you not live without? My faith.
Do you agree or disagree with the recent article that reported that blogs are authored by narcissists? I disagree. In the case of mom blogs, I think the majority are authored by women who are just looking to build a sense of community around a job that can be very isolating at times.
Why do you blog? I blog because I'm a writer. It was my job in the "real world" and it's just part of who I am. Blogging is a great creative outlet for me, but also allows me to document and remember this time of my life.
Who are you tagging?
New/Newer bloggers - Finding Me in the Madness and A Superhero, Princess & Monkey
Bloggy friends - Domestic Spaz and Raising A&C
Bloggers you’d like to get to know better - Fried Okra and Ni Hao Y'all
Bloggers who you don't think will respond, but you hope will -
Toddled Dredge and This Ain't New York
Phew! That was a workout!
Okay - rules:1. Answer the questions (Did I really have to include this as a rule? Duh!)
2. Link back to whoever tagged you
3. Tag eight bloggers to do the same, 2 from each category.
New/ newer bloggers (since we want to share the love and send them traffic)
Bloggers you’d like to get to know better
Bloggers you don’t think will respond, but you hope will
Good luck and have fun!
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Because there is a story to tell.
Each year, we celebrate Mother's Day with brunch at the local golf club. It's a somewhat fancy affair. Last year I was about to give birth and my wardrobe options were severely limited. So, I was excited that this year I would have a chance to look presentable. I dove deep into my closet and emerged wearing a dress. This wardrobe choice made quite an impression on my oldest, Jillian (5).
Maybe it was the novelty of the dress.
Maybe she liked the feel of the fabric.
Whatever the reason, once I had the dress on, she wouldn't leave it alone. She kept tugging on it. Running the fabric through her fingers. Messing around with the hem.
So there we are. I'm standing in the buffet line fixing Jillian a plate. She is at my side, looking around the room, dancing in place, people watching.
"Do you want a waffle?"
"Do you want syrup?"
At this point, we head over to the fruit table.
"Do you want pineapple or strawberries?"
Jillian leans up against my leg and says, "Strawberries." So, I start picking out a few berries from the tray. That's when I noticed things felt a little "breezy" from behind. It took a few seconds for it to register, but as I turned to look down at Jilly, I realized she had pulled my dress up and was holding it there. My derriere on full display.
Did I mention I was holding plates in my hands?
"Jilly, what are you doing!?! Put my dress down!"
The sense of urgency at this age. Really impressive.
I manage a little half-turn so the dress falls out of her hands and quickly scan the room to see if anyone realizes they were just flashed. I think I'm in the clear.
Jilly and I quickly walk back to the table. As I sit down, I tell my sister, "You are not going to believe what just happened."
Her eyes wide, she asks, "You are wearing underwear, right?"
Uh, yeah. I'm no Britney Spears. But that's small comfort at this point.
"Did anyone see?"
That's when my dad piped up. "I think I was the only one."
That's comforting and mortifying all at the same time.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
All of those things need to be done. All of that is good.
But it's not everything.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
This year, they were both very eager and insisted on filling their own buckets. They picked a gallon each -- that's a lot of berries. But, one of the best parts of strawberry picking is coming home and making strawberry pie. So, this year, instead of one pie, we made an extra to share with a friend.
I think that's why the mere mention of Summer Vacation never ceases to send me into a cold sweat.
Don't get me wrong -- I can handle a couple days of spontaneity every weekend. But day after day of an open schedule stretching through the summer months -- I have a hard time coping. I've learned the hard way that I inevitably run out of fun things to do with the kids. Or, even worse, I stumble across some really great activities, but I'm too late to sign up or have missed them entirely. It makes for a very long 10 weeks.
What doesn't work for me is not having a plan in place.
That's where the Summer Planning Session comes into play. For the past three years, I've gotten together with four of my closest girlfriends for a "Girls Night Out/What are We Going to Do with the Kids This Summer" dinner. This is where we all pool our collective resources. Julie brings information on Vacation Bible School and music classes. Christine has a son on the swim team, so she's our go-to person for water sports/lessons. Abby, Bridget and I are always about town, so we bring fliers for things we've seen -- storytimes at the library, special community-wide events and the like.
After ordering dinner and drinks, we set it all out on the table and talk about it. We bring calendars so we can check our availability. We might even pick a few special dates for pizza night at the local pool or plan a field trip day to a museum. The goal isn't to create a jam-packed schedule, (it is vacation, after all), but we want to schedule some fun activities to keep the kids busy and to make the most of their time off.
We don't usually do everything we plan. Some ideas are never executed. Some classes are never attended. But in the end, we have a framework. In other words, some semblance of a clue of what we'll be doing for the next 10 weeks.
It's just enough structure for me to relax and enjoy the time I have with my kids. It helps me to make the most of our summer together, and allows us to make some great memories in the process.
To find out other things people have learned the hard way, head over to Shannon's place for What Doesn't Work for Me Wednesday!
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
My son began talking at 9 1/2 months old.
In both cases, their first word was, "Mama."
My third born? Well, she's Daddy's girl. All the way.
Grace started babbling early on. We first heard strings of "Dadadadadadada" when she was around 6 months old. In the weeks that followed, she refined it to sound like, "Dadada Dadee, Dadada Dadee, Hi Dadee." When Daddy walks in the room, the rest of us might as well disappear. In Grace's eyes, he hangs the sun, the stars and the moon.
I've got to admit, initially, my ego was slightly bruised. I mean, I was the one doing the majority of the diaper changes, waking up at night, feeding her and walking her around until she fell asleep. Hearing that first word is the reward for all your hard work. And when that first word is "Mama" well, life just doesn't get any better. You're A #1 tops.
Grace is 11 months old now, and I have a hunch she's been saying "Mama" for about a month, only every time she says it, my back is turned and I just can't be sure. I'll be feeding her lunch, turn around to get something and I hear what sounds like, "Mama." I'll swoop around, my eyes wide and exclaim at the top of my voice, "Mama? Did you say Mama? Say Mama!"
At this point, Grace just stares at me blankly. My overzealous reaction obviously stuns her into silence.
Then, "Dadada, Dadee."
I'll turn back around, set to work on something and hear it again. Something murmured. Can't be sure. Sounded just like... I'll turn around to look at her.
Well, last week I finally got the confirmation I've been waiting for. When I picked Grace up from her afternoon nap, she looked right at me, stroked my cheek and said, "Mamamamama."
Ah. It. Was. Heaven.
There is nothing like the first time your child calls you by name. I don't care if it's your first child or your 15th. It thrills your heart. And while I may not currently be Grace's #1 most favorite person in the whole world, I'll happily settle for being #2.
Because I've found the snuggles are just as tender and the kisses are just as sweet.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Sunday, May 4, 2008
If you're looking for an easy, downloadable menu planner, you'll find a great one here.
For more great menu planning ideas, go and visit Laura!
Saturday, May 3, 2008
If you don't know what you're making for dinner tonight, go to the store and get what you need for this Mexican Pizza right now! It is soooooo easy to put together and tastes awesome. To give you an idea, my 5-year-old daughter actually opted to eat a slice of this over the regular cheese pizza I made. That is no small feat. Believe me. (BTW, if you haven't checked out Gourmet Momma, you are so missing out. Nikki's recipes are always easy, delicious and figure friendly.)
Switching gears a little -- ever had a run in with lice? We had a lice scare last summer and it flipped me out, to put it lightly. That's why this post on conquering lice by Slacker Mom is so great. Tons of helpful information -- and even better, she gives ideas for preventing the little buggers from setting up residence in the first place. Mint shampoo, anyone?
I know. After that discussion, you're probably not hungry anymore.
Thursday, May 1, 2008