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Archive for May, 2006

Okay, in reality, it was a 5:40 am minivan, but the Georgia part was right.

The plan was to get up early, while the kids were still sleepy enough to fall right back asleep in the van, and away we would go. We were on our way to my in-laws, and we had a good 12 hour drive that we decided to attempt in one day. It was never a problem without kids (of course, it was only a 10 hour drive back then), and surely wouldn’t be too bad because the little darlings would without a doubt sleep for a good 3 hours at the start.

Oh, the best laid plans…

None of them fell back asleep. Not one of them. Not EVEN the BABY!! (He is one now, I can only call him a baby for so much longer, so I’m taking every opportunity. Don’t try and correct me, buster!) Although the baby might have slept if his brother hadn’t been next to him talking his ear off. We’ll never know.

We planned on leaving at 5am. So, at 5:30 we were pulling out of the garage (which, if you know us, was amazingly good). We had precisely 2 stops to make before we could hit the highway. 1. Get gas to fill up the tank. 2. Get cash to fill up the wallet. Both stops are within 10 minutes of our house, and only 2 minutes from each other. We made it to the gas station without a hitch (which is what you’d hope when you’re in the first 10 minutes of a 12 hour trip). ON THE WAY to the ATM from the GAS STATION, the 2 year old pipes up. “Ummmm….are we almost there yet?”

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Oh my gosh, this was going to be a long trip.

It was. My 5 year old didn’t sleep the ENTIRE way. “How far are we away?” “About 2 more episodes of ZOOM.” “That’s not too long, right? 2 Zooms plus about 2 inches?” “Sure, honey.” My 2 year old slept about an hour. The baby only slept about 2 hours, which is less than he naps in a day when he sleeps a normal night. But, I must admit, they were pretty great travelers. And the picnic lunch at the rest area with a little time for soccer and tag helped a lot.

The upside? They all slept or stayed in bed until 9:30 this morning. Ahh….vacation.

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Okay, in reality, it was a 5:40 am minivan, but the Georgia part was right.

The plan was to get up early, while the kids were still sleepy enough to fall right back asleep in the van, and away we would go. We were on our way to my in-laws, and we had a good 12 hour drive that we decided to attempt in one day. It was never a problem without kids (of course, it was only a 10 hour drive back then), and surely wouldn’t be too bad because the little darlings would without a doubt sleep for a good 3 hours at the start.

Oh, the best laid plans…

None of them fell back asleep. Not one of them. Not EVEN the BABY!! (He is one now, I can only call him a baby for so much longer, so I’m taking every opportunity. Don’t try and correct me, buster!) Although the baby might have slept if his brother hadn’t been next to him talking his ear off. We’ll never know.

We planned on leaving at 5am. So, at 5:30 we were pulling out of the garage (which, if you know us, was amazingly good). We had precisely 2 stops to make before we could hit the highway. 1. Get gas to fill up the tank. 2. Get cash to fill up the wallet. Both stops are within 10 minutes of our house, and only 2 minutes from each other. We made it to the gas station without a hitch (which is what you’d hope when you’re in the first 10 minutes of a 12 hour trip). ON THE WAY to the ATM from the GAS STATION, the 2 year old pipes up. “Ummmm….are we almost there yet?”

Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Oh my gosh, this was going to be a long trip.

It was. My 5 year old didn’t sleep the ENTIRE way. “How far are we away?” “About 2 more episodes of ZOOM.” “That’s not too long, right? 2 Zooms plus about 2 inches?” “Sure, honey.” My 2 year old slept about an hour. The baby only slept about 2 hours, which is less than he naps in a day when he sleeps a normal night. But, I must admit, they were pretty great travelers. And the picnic lunch at the rest area with a little time for soccer and tag helped a lot.

The upside? They all slept or stayed in bed until 9:30 this morning. Ahh….vacation.

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My two year old is in bed right now. It is 6pm. It won’t be dark for another 2-3 hours. I don’t think I’ve EVER put a child of mine to bed this early. I know others who have, and I don’t have a problem with it. Actually, I’ve often envied them the hours of childless evening. But I’ve never done it.

Why is my two year old in bed 2 hours before his bedtime? The most practical answer is probably that he didn’t take his nap. The honest answer is that I told him about three times that if he didn’t, “…sit down and eat your dinner and stop getting up from the table and stop playing with your water and stop grabbing the baby by the neck, you’re going to bed!” I figured I eventually needed to follow through on that one.

So, to bed he went. Without dinner. I’ve never done that before, either, I don’t think. But, like I said, it was offered! He refused. And he snacked through much of the day. (Which is why this is probably all my fault and why I should feel as guilty as I do.)

But, you know, he didn’t go without an argument. In fact, his most vicious statement to me was, “NO MOMMY! IT’S YOU BEDTIME!” Oh honey, I wish.

BTW-He is sound asleep right now.

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Does it really?

I had an egg, an egg white, 2 pieces of turkey bacon and a piece of toast for breakfast. That’s the truth. That didn’t hurt (unless, I guess, you’re a vegetarian).

The truth doesn’t always hurt. Sometimes it’s just fact. The truth only hurts when it’s something that matters. When it’s hard to be honest. When it’s something one person doesn’t want to hear, and the other person doesn’t want to say. When it’s easier to omit the portion of the conversation that we really need to get out, or just change the direction of the conversation all together.

Sometimes I just want to live in omission mode.

**So, I had written all of that and decided it was done. Then I watched Oprah with Elie Wiesel at Auschwitz and I remembered why I don’t live in omission mode. Because the truth matters, and it’s worth the pain of telling it.

“…to remain silent and indifferent is the greatest sin of all…” –Elie Wiesel

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Do you ever ask yourself this question? Or, if you’re not a mom, do you ever look at someone else and ask, “What kind of mother is she?”

Maybe you’re a new mom, and you’re not mothering the way you thought you would. You haven’t accomplished the cookies baked from scratch, the jaunt to the art museum, the mulitplication table flashcards (for your 2 year old), and the 10 step craft project that you thought would be accomplished each morning. (Wow, were you nuts?)

Or maybe you’re watching someone mothering and you’re thinking, “Why is she doing that THAT way? Doesn’t she know that isn’t the best way to do that? Maybe she doesn’t know that she’s doing it wrong. Maybe I should go tell her.” Wow. Especially if you’re not a mother yourself, I would not recommend this course of action. (But if you’re going to do it anyway, even after I’ve warned you, please let me know when and where. I’ll come to see you get torn limb from limb.)

The truth is, no 2 mothers parent EXACTLY the same way. They may use the same parenting class rules, or parenting guidebooks. They may even have been mothered by the same person. The birth and life of a mother is as unique as each of the children that she mothers. (I feel like I got that last line from somewhere else, but can’t for the life of me remember where! If you know, let me know so I can give it proper credit.)

A good friend recently directed me to one of the books that I’m reading right now. (Well, not RIGHT now. I’m typing RIGHT now. Not that good of a multitasker!!! But some days, pretty close. 🙂 )

Using Personality Type to Discover Your Parenting StrengthsMotherstyles by Janet P. Penley with Diane Eble is a book that adapts the Myers Briggs Type Indicator to mothering roles. Just as the original indicator attempts to identify and explain different personality types, Motherstyles attempts to identify and explain different mothering styles. (Clever name for the book then, aye?)

While some may think that identifying types is limiting to individuals (I don’t know who, I’m just guessing), I personally find it very freeing. I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs before, and did the (unofficial) questionaire type evaluation in the book. The results were consistent (apparently, I’m the same type person whether I’m mothering or not! Who knew?). The results weren’t shocking to me, but they reminded me of the type of person that I am, and that who I am is perfect for me. I love the indicators (whether official or not) because they don’t attempt to put one personality type, or mothering type, on a pedestal above all others. They remind us that we’re all individuals (c’mon Monty Python fans, altogether now, “We’re all individuals.”). That we all bring different, but equally valid, gifts to the table, to the world, and to mothering.

A friend recently humored me and took the indicator while here one day. She is the complete opposite of me, personalitily speaking. (I love making up words.) And you know what? I love watching her as a mother. We have similar values, so we teach generally the same things. But we are different mothers, so we may not always teach the same things the same way. I love watching her, and other friends, because I learn from her. I can experience a different way of mothering just by being around her and her kids. I get ideas of ways to parent that I never would have thought of on my own. And, I finally admit, maybe I do one or two things right that others can learn from me, too. Maybe.

By the way, if you’re not a mother yet, but you’re planning to be, can I pass on a bit of advice? Don’t waste your time thinking of exactly how you would handle certain situations and exactly how your children will behave, etc. You haven’t met yourself as a mother yet, and you don’t know your children yet. Just enjoy all the free time you have taking hot baths, walks alone, watching movies, eating food while it’s still warm. Much better use of your time. You’ll have plenty of time for all of the other stuff later!

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Mommy has a moustache…

Yikes. When did this happen?

Okay, it’s not such a new thing, I know. It got worse with the last pregnancy. So, not only did I get to be awake all through the night getting kicked in the ribs dealing with all-night heartburn making ugly faces at my sleeping husband because, well, he was sleeping. I got to also have hot wax slathered on my face, followed by the painful ripping of each individual hair out of my upper lip. Just for kicks, I also had my eyebrows done.

Thankfully, the change in hormones has decreased the frequency with which I need to have this enjoyable process performed. That, or I’m just busier now with 3 kids and don’t notice as much. Ask my friends, maybe I should be keeping up better.

I just recently discovered the facial hair cream that I can do at home. Less than 6 bucks (because, remember, I’m cheap), which is all I used to pay for the waxing anyway. But that 6 bucks should last for months, now. Okay, so the 6 bucks has always lasted for months, but now I won’t be sporting a Tom Selleck facial-do for several of those weeks.

Guys like to complain about the time that we ladies spend in the bathroom, but I really think most of them would prefer it to going out with someone who resembles a Jim Henson creation. Do they realize how much time it takes to shave half your body every day (or once a week, as is the winter routine. Who’s going to care, anyway?)?

They complain about the difficulty of shaving under noses, on chinlines, near the Adam’s apple. Seriously? How ’bout behind the knee, armpits, and other such places that you CAN’T EVEN SEE!?! That’s talent. That’s dedication.

Now that I think about it, that’s crazy. Why do we do this anyway? What are we trying to prove? Who are we trying to impress? Why do we torture ourselves so? We already complain about how much time we don’t have, and yet we invest a bit of it in this inane ritual. Hmmmmm.

Maybe we should start a new trend, a revolution if you will. The hairy-gal generation. Our slogan could be, “We have hair, and we don’t care!” We could stage rallies and sit-ins at spas (and maybe get a manicure while we’re there!). Hey, that sounds like fun. A sit-in at a spa. Can my assignment be the sauna?

Sorry, got a bit off track there. Anyway, we spend a lot of time talking about being our true selves, but few actually mean it. At least not all facets of it. If we really wanted to accept people as we are, then why is the bearded lady a freak show attraction at the carnival? Why do we prefer for hairy creatures to be blue and consuming mass quantities of cookies rather than supermodels in their string bikinis? (Yes boys, they, too, are hair removing beings rather than naturally hairless below the brow line.)

I, for one, wouldn’t be bothered seeing a little more hair on the ones I love. Unless, of course, it was on the head of my baldmanblogging, because he’s great as is. 😉

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I’ve been listening to James Blunt’s album Back to Bedlam.

Back to Bedlam

If you’ve ever wondered whether anyone has ever felt as down, depressed, frustrated, and hopeless over a lost love as you have, well, you have tons of books, poems, songs and such to assure you that others have. This is one such piece of art.

I first heard James Blunt on Oprah, and was nearly heartbroken just listening to him and watching him. Also, amused by him. I like his style of humor. I decided then that this was a perfect anniversary gift. Cory and I have been together for a long time. Together, we’ve never experienced these exact emotions. Before Cory, I’d had a few crushes, heartaches and such. Nothing major. So, when I gave him the CD, it was with the message, “All the songs we never had to write b/c we never broke up.”

So, why do I like the album so much? Because it’s real. It’s raw. It’s honest. It touches emotions that everyone experiences to some degree at some point in life. And it is just really good music.

BTW-There are two versions of this CD out. One is the “Clean” lyrics version, the other is “Explicit” lyrics. There seem to be some words that we, as Americans in general, are more sensitive to than our British counterparts. Just wanted to make sure you’re aware. 🙂

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It’s Saturday, and Saturdays are getting so much more fun around here.  Why?  Because I like to sleep.  Ahhh…sleep.  And kids getting older means I don’t necessarily have to be out of bed the minute they are.  Ahhh…sleep.

I remember growing up, and Saturday morning definitely meant Saturday morning cartoons.  And Saturday morning cartoons meant Smurfs.  Why Smurfs?  Because my sister was the first one up and that’s what she was watching.  (C’mon, everybody….La-la, la-la-la-la, —la, la, la, la, la)  It seemed cartoons started reeeaallly early in the morning.

Now?  Well, when you don’t have cable, they don’t start until about 9am, I think.  At least when the kids are up at 8am, the cartoons aren’t on.  So, what do my kids watch?  The New Yankee Workshop.  Yes, folks, that’s right, The New Yankee Workshop with Norm Abram, that guy from This Old House.  Why?  Because since my daughter was wee little, she and her Daddy have been watching This Old House together.  She doesn’t know life without it.

I personally like this little arrangement.  Why?  Because I’ve watched a lot of the cartoons that are out now, and I don’t necessarily like them.  Rude, annoying kids talking back and bothering me.  Not all of the cartoons, but many of them.  Norm?  Norm I can trust.  Norm is polite, well-mannered, and very handy.  All good things.  All things I’d like my kids to emulate.  I can trust him to keep them entertained until the cartoons come on.  And by then, I should be out of bed.

Ahhh…sleep.

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I have two catalogs sitting on my coffee counter. (Okay, you got me, I have about 15 on there, but two that we’re going to talk about right now.)

The first is from a party that I went to last night. You know the kind, the in-home party/show that most of us ladies/moms love to get out to every so often. Anything combining shopping, talking with friends and enjoying good food has to be a good time, right? And it was. A gracious host, a beautiful home, and a good product. Nothing to complain about.

So, what is it about this that is nibbling at my conscience a day later? I was good, stayed near the budget (I promise, the budget was in sight! I might have tiptoed past it, but not by more than a shoe size. Good thing I have big feet.). I only got a couple of things, and they were things I’d been needing wanting for a while. No big deal.

Now, to the other catalog. It’s from a humanitarian organization that I’ve been supporting for years. I received the catalog this afternoon, though I’ve been thinking about the organization since I woke this morning. Maybe not so much the organization, but the people, individuals, children that it serves. I’ve not been able to stop thinking about them.

What do the two catalogs have to do with each other? Money. Both organizations want my money. One tells me to spend money because its products can improve my life. The other tells me to spend money because its services can improve the lives of others. One’s products will help me feed my family more efficiently. The other’s services will feed children who otherwise won’t eat.

What does this have to do with motherhood? Everything, to me. I started supporting the humanitarian group when I was an unmarried, non-parenting college student. I’d seen the commercials of the poor, sick, hungry kids too many times. I finally called. It was a good thing to do, and it made me feel good. However, it wasn’t until I became a mom that I would really feel passionate about my actions. It wasn’t until I heard the cries of my own hungry children that I could empathize with another mom of a hungry child. It wasn’t until I could hear the cries of my own sick child that I could empathize with another mom of a sick child. The difference between me and this other mom? I had food to offer my child. I had medicine and healthcare to offer my child. The other mom has only hope to offer her child, and maybe not much of that anymore. She must continue to listen to the cries of her child, and hope that I hear them. And hope that I care.

So, back to the party. And please don’t take this as a judgement of this type of party at all. I’ve hosted a few myself, and definitely attended my share. This is just observation, I think. Anway, there were a lot of us there. As I was thinking of the party this morning, guessing my cost as an average of all who were there (which is pretty conservative, b/c I’m cheap), I guessed the party to bring in $600. $600. $600 would support one child for 20 months. 20 months of food, of medicine, of education. 20 months of clean water. 20 months of no more crying. All from 20 or so ladies at a friend’s home in one night.

“Hunger knows no borders. More than 850 million people worldwide are chronically hungry. For children, malnutrition is a killer–it causes more than half of all deaths in children under age 5.”
World Vision News, Summer 2006, (emphasis mine)

Really? More than half of all deaths in children under age 5? Devastating. Utterly depressing. And absolutely preventable.

So, what is the point of this post? To challenge. To challenge me. To make me think of where I put every dollar that comes into and goes out of out our home. To think of money I can save buying clearance, generic, out of season stuff. To save a few dollars here to help a mom out “over there.” To challenge you, if you’re willing to be challenged.

Wouldn’t it be cool to have a party like the one last night? Wouldn’t it be cool to have the gracious host, the beautiful home, the friend time, the yummy food and a wonderful night? But no product. Yes, money, but no product. Instead, a joint effort, a unified committment to help a mom raise her child for 20 months. Wouldn’t that be cool? Is it something that I would do? Is it something that I would attend if invited? Is it something that we would be willing to put $600 toward if we got nothing in return? Is it something we would contribute to in order to keep one more mom from having to attend her baby’s funeral?

The answer for me is, “It had better be.”

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Wouldn’t it be nice if we could start some things at the end, instead of going through the whole stinkin’ process to get to what we already know? I can think of situations where I’d love to be able to do that. My daughter tried her version of this the other night.

We were upstairs before bedtime cuddling on the bed and she asked for a bedtime story. I had to come up with one on the spot. Now, lest I give the wrong impression, I do not do this on a nightly basis. Cory is usually night-night daddy. Why? Because he’s willing and able, and I am appreciative. Also, because he can get done in 15 minutes what would take me about 45. He can also leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Back to my story…(I warned you that I ramble)

An on-the-spot story requires some inspiration, especially if you’re like me and lack a great imagination. So, I look to her walls where several years ago we painted big daisies. “There was once a daisy who loved the sun. But only the sun. She didn’t like the rain and wanted it to be sunny every day.” Samantha politely taps my shoulder and says, “Um, mom, the daisy NEEDS the rain. She needs it to grow.” (Imagine a big “duh”-like emphasis on that last sentence). “Yes honey, I know. That part is coming.” “Oh, is that at the end of the story?” “Yes. Would you like to tell it?” “No. Because I don’t know the middle part.”

So, I finished the now very boring, anti-climactic story. (Not that it was a real nail-biter in the first place.) I came up with a middle that led to the daisy appreciating both the rainy and sunny days for all that they contribute to her life.

There are a few areas of my life where I know where I am, what I need to do, and what the end will be if I do that dreaded middle part. The biggest area right now? Weight-loss. Like the daisy, I love the sunny days, which, translated into weight-loss days, are the ones where I fit into the next pant size down, or a pound or two is lost. Where I can run around with the kids in the yard playing hula-hoop tag (wayyyy fun game we invented) without getting out of breath. Where a dress that’s been hanging in my closet for years finally fits. The sunny days are fun.

I hate the rainy days-translated as the hours I spend walking up and down the bottom stair, doing 400 crunches 3-4 times a week, couting every calorie that passes through my lips. I hate the rainy days. Hate them. I want to spit on them and kick them and turn and walk away. And then turn around and stomp on them again. Then walk away again and not care. I do not like them.

I do not like the rainy days, but I am learning to value them. I am appreciating their purpose. Like the daisy who has learned to appreciate the rain (I didn’t tell you the whole story, but I guessed you could figure it out) because without it she would not survive to enjoy the sunny days, I know that without the rainy days the sunny days would not exist.

I’ve always known the end of this story. I’ve been overweight all my life, and have hoped and wished for the ending to come. Hoping and wishing has not made it come. Walking up and down the stair, doing the crunches, counting the calories is making it come.

And the long-awaited and WORKED FOR ending? Well, let me be clear. It is not a certain weight or pant size. It is a mom who can run and play with her kids-no holds barred. It is a wife who can run around on a soccer field with her hubby. It is a woman who figures out who’s been hiding behind her weight all these years.

It is a healthy body in which to live out the rest of my days.

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