Friday, December 17, 2010

Lots a going on

Genvieve turned 1 on the 6th and is doing great! I was mean and scheduled her Dr's appointment for the day of her birthday, but it didn't seem to bother her much. She weighed 20lbs 15oz and is 31in tall. That's almost the exact same that Dianna was at 1, except she was 1/2oz heavier! She's still breastfeeding like a champ and started walking on the 11th! It's only a few steps here and there right now, but she's doing good.

Christmas is going to be busy as usual. We are going to be spending most of the day with Mike's family, and then the afternoon is time with my dad. We are supposed to have Hailyn, but we don't know how Mike's ex is going to handle it. His ex got married about 3 hours before I picked Hailyn up for the last visitation. I just hope that the holidays aren't filled with drama because of it all.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A new Post

Sorry it has been so long since I posted. Life has been busy, and I don't always have the time to add a little on here. Here is an e-mail that I got today that I wanted to share.

Twas the month before Christmas*
*When all through our land,*
*Not a Christian was praying*
*Nor taking a stand.*
*See the PC Police had taken away,*
*The reason for Christmas - no one could say.*
*The children were told by their schools not to sing,*
*About Shepherds and Wise Men and Angels and things.*
*It might hurt people's feelings, the teachers would say*
* December 25th is just a ' Holiday '.*
*Yet the shoppers were ready with
cash, checks and credit*
*Pushing folks down to the floor just to get it!*
*CDs from Madonna, an X BOX, an I-pod*
*Something was changing, something quite odd! *
*Retailers promoted Ramadan and Kwanzaa*
*In hopes to sell books by Franken & Fonda.*
*As Targets were hanging their trees upside down*
* At Lowe's the word Christmas - was no where to be found.*
*At K-Mart and Staples and Penny's and Sears*
*You won't hear the word Christmas;
it won't touch your ears.*
*Inclusive, sensitive, Di-ver-si-ty*
*Are words that were used to intimidate me.*
*Now Daschle, Now Darden, Now Sharpton,
Wolf Blitzen*
*On Boxer, on Rather, on Kerry, on Clinton !*
*At the top of the Senate, there arose such a clatter*
*To eliminate Jesus, in all public matter.*
*And we spoke not a word,
as they took away our faith*
* Forbidden to speak of salvation and grace*
*The true Gift of Christmas was exchanged
and discarded*
*The reason for the season,
stopped before it started.*
*So as you celebrate 'Winter Break'
under your 'Dream Tree'*
*Sipping your Starbucks, listen to me.*
*Choose your words carefully, choose what you say*
not Happy Holiday !*
Please, all Christians join together and
wish everyone you meet during the holidays a
Christ is The Reason for the Christ-mas Season!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mixing the good and evil

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch and washes the dirt off of you. He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate and greed. He carves you a new smiling face and puts his light inside of you to shine for all the world to see. This was passed on to me by another pumpkin. Now it's your turn to pass on to the pumpkins in your patch!

I LOVE when my friends post AWESOME little things like this on Facebook!

Impaired Logic

It makes so much sense to me. I hope those who are elected/re-elected help put something like this into effect. There are WAY more people than we think "driving impaired/distracted". Here is a link to the entire article. I HIGHLY suggest you read it.

“People sometimes focus on how many drinks they can have before they’ll go to jail,” Acevedo told The Austin-American Statesman. “It varies…. A person may be intoxicated at 0.05, and you don’t want them out driving.” What he wants is to be able to arrest people with blood-alcohol levels as low as 0.05 percent, and he may have support.

Houston Democrat John Whitmire, chair of the Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee, says Acevedo’s plan “might be one way to go.” Bill Lewis, head of the Texas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving says, “I don’t see how it would hurt.”

They are right, although probably not in the way they intended. People do react to alcohol differently. For many people, one drink may well be too many, while experienced drinkers can function relatively normally at or above the legal threshold. Impairment may also depend on such variables as the medications a person is taking or how much sleep he got the night before.

What their objection to the legal definition of intoxication highlights is the absurdity of drawing an arbitrary, Breathalyzer-based line between sobriety and criminal intoxication. The right solution is not a new artificial line. Instead, we should get rid of it entirely by repealing drunken-driving laws.

Consider the 2000 federal law that pressured states to lower blood-alcohol standards to 0.08 from 0.10. At the time, the average level in alcohol-related fatal accidents was 0.17 percent, and two-thirds of such accidents involved drivers at 0.14 or higher. In fact, drivers between 0.01 and 0.03 were involved in more fatal accidents than drivers between 0.08 and 0.10. Once the 0.08 standard took effect nationwide, a curious thing happened: Alcohol-related traffic fatalities increased, following a 20-year decline. Critics of the 0.08 standard predicted this would happen. The problem is that most motorists between 0.08 and 0.10 don’t drive erratically enough to be noticed by police. So police began setting up roadblocks to catch them. But every cop manning a roadblock was a cop not out on the highways looking for more seriously impaired drivers. By 2004, alcohol related fatalities went down again, but only because the decrease in fatalities in states that don’t use roadblocks compensated for a slight but continuing increase in the states that do.

A gadget-lover's lament

I know the article is rather long, but the whole thing is worth sharing. I totally agree with him. It was hard getting rid of U-Verse and the internet, but we have been able to get so much more done at home and spend more quality time together. We have ALL become addicted to technology, and it probably wouldn't be a bad idea for people to start cutting back some. Here is a link to the whole article.

My wife and I are half-watching the ballgame on TV, because the Texas Rangers are up by six when the commercial comes on – a shiny new car, so advanced that it parallel parks so you don’t have to. It’s the second time I’ve seen it in two days. “That’s crazy,” I say. “What happens when it goes out?” “What are you talking about?” “This!” I jab my hand at the screen and shake my head. “We’re becoming useless!” Something about the commercial fills me with an old fear. When I was growing up, my family had a car with manual transmission. When my mother and I took trips, I was often afraid that something terrible would happen to her and I’d be forced to drive us to get help. The thing was, I didn’t know how to drive a stick. More and more, people drove cars with automatic transmissions, so I’d never learned how. When I look over, I realize that my wife has missed the commercial. Her face is lit by her cell phone’s blue glow. Facebook or work e-mails or cute animals.I think that all of these “advances” – the gadgets that clutter our lives with beeps are not only dumbing us down, they’re slowly making people helpless. I am by no means a Luddite. I love all my gadgets – the cell phone, Kindle, iPod, and laptops. On my computer, I can watch any Major League Baseball game I want, anytime. With video chat, I get to see my godson Miles even though he lives in Minnesota. Daily, I receive vivid photos of everything that’s picked from my folks’ garden via e-mail. Because of bleeding in my brain, I had brain surgery in 1999; the fallout from the procedure made some of this technology almost essential. As someone with a visual disability, I’m incredibly grateful for what technology has done for me.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why Women Are Crabby

We started to 'bud' in our blouses at 9 or 10 years old, only to find that anything that came in contact with those tender and blooming buds hurt so bad it brought us to tears. So came the ridiculously uncomfortable training bra contraption that the boys in school would snap until we had calluses on our backs.

Next, we get our periods in our early to mid-teens (or sooner). Along with those budding boobs, we bloated, cramped, got the hormone crankies, and had to wear little mattresses between our legs or insert tubular, packed cotton rods in places we didn't even know we had.

Our next little rite of passage was having sex for the first time which was about as much fun as having a ramrod push your uterus through your nostrils (IF he did it right and didn't end up with his little cart before his horse), leaving us to wonder what all the fuss was about.

Then it was off to Motherhood where we learned to live on dry crackers and water for a few months so we didn't spend the entire day leaning over Brother John. Of course, amazing creatures that we are (and we are), we learned to live with the growing little angels inside us steadily kicking our innards night and day making us wonder if we were preparing to have Rosemary's Baby.

Our once flat bellies looked like we swallowed a whole watermelon and we peed our pants every time we sneezed. When the big moment arrived, the dam in our blessed nether regions invariably burst right in the middle of the mall and we had to waddle, with our big cartoon feet, moaning in pain, all the way to the ER.

Then it was huff and puff and beg to die while the OB says, 'Please stop screaming, Mrs. Hearmeroar. Calm down and push. 'Just one more good push' (more like 10), warranting a strong, well-deserved impulse to punch the %$#*@*#!* hubby and doctor square in the nose for making us cram a wiggling, mushroom-headed 10 pound bowling ball through a keyhole.

After that, it was time to raise those angels, only to find that when all that 'cute' wears off, the beautiful little darlings morphed into walking, jabbering, wet, gooey, snot-blowing, life-sucking little poop machines.

Then come their 'Teen Years'. Need I say more?

When the kids are almost grown, we women hit our voracious sexual prime in our early 40's - while hubby had his somewhere around his 18th birthday.

So we progress into the grand finale: 'The Menopause,' the Grandmother of all womanhood. It's either take HRT and chance cancer in those now seasoned 'buds' or the aforementioned Nether Regions, or sweat like a hog in July, wash your sheets and pillowcases daily and bite the head off anything that moves.

Now, you ask WHY women seem to be more spiteful than men, when men get off so easy, INCLUDING the icing on life's cake: Being able to pee in the woods without soaking their socks...

So, while I love being a woman, 'Womanhood' would make the great Gandhi a tad crabby. You think women are the 'weaker sex?' Yeah right. Bite me.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

7 Stages of My New Butt

• Stage 1 - Denial - This isn't a new butt. It's the same awesome butt you had the day you got married.
• Stage 2 - Shock - Well, it's technically the same butt, but for some reason it doesn't fit into the pants you wore last year - before you got pregnant. But there's no way your butt could be so drastically altered by having a baby. Could it? OMG!
• Stage 3 - Anger - Fine. It's not the same butt. It has curves and divots and new places that sweat. It follows you wherever you go. Stupid, annoying butt and its stupid, annoying cellulite! Is it possible to get a restraining order to prevent it from stalking you?
• Stage 4 - Depression - No dice. It turns out you can't get a restraining order against your own body. And if you inquire about it people laugh at you. And that makes you cry. As do the elastic-waist pants you just bought, even though you are 9 months postpartum. Those lying liars who said "nine months on, nine months off" must have gotten to keep their original cute butt.
• Stage 5 - Guilt - You are a grown woman. You have a degree. You know that women should be - and are - more than just hot bodies. You know objectification is cruel. You've read the magazine articles that tell you how awesome you are. You created life. And yet…this butt. IT WON'T GO AWAY.
• Stage 6 - Fear - You probably have Flesh Expanding Butt Disease. It's very rare, but it you get FEBD your butt will eventually consume your entire body, preventing you from leading a normal life. There is no cure for this horrible ailment. Best to just go buy a bunch of sweatpants.
• Stage 7 - Acceptance - Right. So it isn't that bad, really. Your new butt does come with some nice features. It's easier to close the car door now. Your kids have something nice to hang on when you're at the grocery store. And your husband likes it. A lot. In fact, your new butt is kind of growing on you...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I Pray You Enough

Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged, and the mother said, 'I love you, and I pray you enough.'

The daughter replied, 'Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I pray you enough, too, Mom.'

They kissed, and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?'

Yes, I have,' I replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?'

'Well...I'm not as young as I once was, she lives so far away &has her own busy life. I have some challenges ahead, and the reality is - her next trip back will be for my funeral,' she said.

'When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I pray you enough.' May I ask what that means?'

She began to smile. 'That's a prayer that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.' She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and she smiled even more. 'When we said, 'I pray you enough,' we wanted the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.'

Then, turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.

I pray you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.

I pray you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I pray you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I pray you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.

I pray you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I pray you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I pray you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

Then, she began to cry, and walked away.

They say, it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but an entire life to forget them.


To all my friends and loved ones,

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Poem off a clothing tag

Grow slow, my daughters.

Take your time, my sons.

The world has a lot to offer

Even a wee one like you.

Make the right steps

One at a time, not two.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Been Busy

I know I've made a few posts lately, but none with real updates on how we are doing so here ya go.

Genevieve is doing good. She has finally cut several teeth(3) and is working on a couple more. She's cruising around holding on the furniture and will be walking around in no time at all. Genevieve has already started refusing to eat jarred food and prefers to eat whatever we are. Genevieve had a DRs appointment on September 7th. She was 18lbs 12oz, 28in long, and had a 16.5in head. I think they messed up on measuring her head, because that is smaller than I remember at her 6mo appointment. Her pediatrician was concerned about her weight anymore, so we are all good in that department.

Dianna is doing really good with potty training and hasn't had an accident in several days. I guess if she makes it to Saturday, we can consider her potty trained. =)

I'm doing good too. I have an interview with UPS tomorrow morning. It'd be a hard job, but it would be a little extra money in our pocket and some time away from the girls to regain my sanity. Granted it's the presort shift(3a-9am), so it would definitely jack with our schedule. The girls and I would have to be in bed, asleep, no later than 10pm. We'll see how well I can stand getting up at 2am.

Mike is doing good as well. His back is doing better, and the PT has said that they have done all they can for him. The back DR gave him a referral to a chiropractor, so we are waiting to hear if it was approved. His 25th birthday is next Monday, so it's time to see if I can come up with a good homemade present for him before then.

We aren't really happy with the apartment complex we are living in, so we were looking for a house that we could lease/rent-to-own but it doesn't look like that is going to happen anytime soon. We are going to be in this complex until at least the car is paid off, which will probably be at tax time. I think we will probably get a minivan before we get a house, because a minivan is going to be cheaper than a house, unless it is a foreclosure. I think what we will do is save up for a minivan until 2012 or 2013, so we can just buy it straight out.

I am a dodo. I totally forgot my original reason for this post until about 3 or 4 hours after I originally posted it. We are trying to save some money and concentrate on other more important things in our lives, so we are disconnecting U-Verse and internet until after tax time. That means unless a neighbor is nice enough to let us hijack their wireless, the only time we will be able to connect is at my dad's house. I'll be over there 1x a week(at least) until my grandma leaves to go back home just before Thanksgiving. We will still be able to post status updates for Facebook from Mike's cell phone, but that is all it is good for.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


A cousin posted this as a note on Facebook, and I thought it was too good not to share. I'm not real close to my cousins because we live so far apart, but it is nice to connect with some of them here on Facebook

By Rebekah Reeves Grindstaff

I'm sitting on the couch after putting my two children to bed. I'm watching t.v. yet my mind is consumed with so much.... I needed to write it down and decided to share it because I wanted others to know there is a God, He is in control, and He's thought of Everything!

You thought of Everything
From the changes of the season to the perfect color green
The phrase "it is good" can't even contain the magnificence of a simple piece of wood

You thought of Everything
You gave us tears to cry and eyes to dry
Ears to hear and voices to clear
So simple, so unique, so amazing

You thought of Everything
The smell after the rain somewhat pleasing, but also full of pain
Why don't we just stop and listen to it rain

You thought of Everything
From the twinkle of the star to the laughter heard from afar
Your thought, care, perfection, so amazing

You truly thought of Everything!

Thank you... for making my life so full of Your Everythings
For making my laughter loud with a snort
my tears sometimes silent
my heart bursting with thirst and love not for sport

You thought of Everythings made just for me
now please help me to see each and Everything
Forgive me for sometimes not being Everything you made me to be
and teach me how to think of the Everythings that my babies will need

You truly thought of Everything!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Poem

I knelt to pray but not for long,
I had too much to do.
I had to hurry and get to work
For bills would soon be due.
So I knelt and said a hurried prayer,
And jumped up off my knees.
My Christian duty was now done
My soul could rest at ease.....
All day long I had no time
To spread a word of cheer
No time to speak of Christ to friends,
They'd laugh a at me I'd fear.
No time, no time, too much to do,
That was my constant cry,
No time to give to souls in need
But at last the time, the time to die
I went before the Lord,
I came, I stood with downcast eyes.
For in his hands God! Held a book;
It was the book of life.
God looked into his book and said
"Your name I cannot find
I once was going to write it down...
But never found the time"

Friday, September 3, 2010

Moms vs. Dads on Housekeeping: Why It Takes Moms Longer

Every mom I know wants to beat their husband's head in with their freshly washed frying pan if he dare utter the words, "What did you do all day?"

When you've got babies, especially mobile ones, chores take on all new challenges. I know I didn't fully appreciate the sleepy, predictable, totally simple newborn stage the first time around, but after getting a taste of what was to come with my first child, I valued every minute of the newborn sleepiness since any time a baby was not in my arms was invaluable cleaning time -- even if I was cleaning myself after an embarrassingly long period of time without having showered.

Now that she's bigger though, and after starting to go through toddlerhood already with Dianna, I'm reminded of why my chores -- which I despise in the first place -- take on a whole level of skill.

Not to mention why I want to smother my husband with a pillow when he says, "I don't know why you couldn't do it; it only took me about an hour."

Yes, an hour ALONE. By yourself. With no "help." Help of the baby-kind is ... special. Let's take a look at the way Mom and Dad do laundry:

Laundry Dad's Way:

* Wait until wife has all the children at the store with her
* Gather clothes from hampers into arms
* Carry to washer
* Put into washer
* Put soap into washer
* Turn washer on
* Put in proper soaps
* Go watch TV for an hour
* Come back and move things to dryer

Laundry Mom's Way:

* Carry baby with you to gather dirty clothes
* Make six trips to the washer because one arm is full
* Make a seventh to pick up the things baby pulled out of your arms and dropped
* Drop seventh armful and almost drop baby when you step on a toy in the hall
* Put clothes in washer
* Take everything out to figure out what baby just dropped in that made a "clink" sound
* Put clothes back in washer
* Try to measure detergent, have baby grab your arm and make you spill way more than you wanted
* Stare at overflow of detergent on clothes, debating whether or not that's enough soap to cause some epic overflow of suds
* Decide you're too tired to care and turn on the water
* Go change a dirty diaper
* Nurse the baby
* Play with puppets that your baby rips off your hands, then insists you put back on 20 times
* Go to start dishes and remember that you can't run hot water in the dishwasher while the washing machine is going
* Take baby for a nap and fall asleep yourself
* Go to move things from the washer to dryer
* Remove baby from dryer
* Pick up wet clothes off the floor that baby pulled out of the dryer
* Throw in a dryer sheet
* Take dryer sheet away from baby
* Close the lid and pick up crying baby
* Realize the next morning when you wake up that you forgot to run the dryer and now the clothes smell stinky, so you have to wash them all over again

So please, ask me again why it took me so much longer. I dare you.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

You Might Be a Redneck...A Different Take

We have enjoyed the redneck jokes for years. It's time to take a reflective look at the core beliefs of a culture that values home, family, country and God. If I had to stand before a dozen terrorists who threaten my life, I'd choose a half dozen or so rednecks to back me up. Tire irons, squirrel guns and grit -- that's what rednecks are made of. I hope I am one of those. If you feel the same, pass this on to your redneck friends. Ya'll know who ya'll are.

You might be a redneck if: It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase,'One nation, under God.'

You might be a redneck if: You've never protested about seeing the 10 Commandments posted in public places.

You might be a redneck if: You still say ' Christmas' instead of 'Winter Festival.'

You might be a redneck if: You bow your head when someone prays.

You might be a redneck if: You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem.

You might be a redneck if: You treat our armed forces veterans with great respect, and always have.

You might be a redneck if: You've never burned an American flag, nor intend to.

You might be a redneck if: You know what you believe and you aren't afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.

You might be a redneck if: You respect your elders and raised your kids to do the same.

You might be a redneck if: You'd give your last dollar to a friend.

If you are reading this, it is because I believe that you, like me, have just enough Red Neck in you to have the same beliefs as those talked about in this email.

God Bless the USA!

Keep the fire burning, redneck friend.


101 Things To Do Instead of Yelling or spanking.

This was posted by a FB page that I follow and after reading just a few, I think I will have to implement a few.

If you have come to a point in a challenging situation with your child where you feel that the only thing left to do is to yell at or strike your child, step away from the child.

Here are 101 things you can do instead of yelling or spanking:

1. Take a parental time-out.

2. Call for help from a friend or family member (ask them to give you an immediate break if possible).

3. Pile everyone in the car and drive to the park (or anywhere – just go for a change of scenery).

4. Sing a silly song about how angry you are.

5. Do jumping jacks.

6. Draw your feelings out.

7. Make yourself your favorite snack.

8. Write down 3 instances when you felt intense love for your child.

9. Clean out your clothes closet and set aside a bag for Goodwill (now would probably not be a good time to do this with the kids’ toys).

10. Change the subject – come back to it when you and your child are calmer.

11. Whisper.

12. Practice progressive relaxation.

13. Act like animals: stomp like an elephant, growl like a lion, etc.

14. Run around the house (or around the block if your children have alternate childcare).

15. Do a load of laundry.

16. Set out clothes for the kids for the next week (or do some other task that will pay off later).

17. Release tension: shake your shoulders, roll your neck, etc.

18. Count to 100. Out loud. In a robot voice.

19. Immerse yourself in an easy craft project.

20. Dust off the hedge clippers and trim your trees or other landscaping.

21. If your child allows it, give him a huge hug and tell him you love him.

22. Scream into a pillow.

23. Bake cookies (with help from your child), bring some to a neighbor or your local fire department.

24. Dance to your favorite song.

25. Instead of yelling at your kids to do something, act out your request in a game of charades or pictionary.

26. Pluck your eyebrows.

27. Clean out the refrigerator.

28. Bang your head – to some loud music.

29. Write down the angry words you could have said, then rip the paper up and throw it away.

30. Do some yoga.

31. Rearrange the furniture.

32. Make a list of the many reasons you love your child.

33. Wash the car by hand.

34. Laugh in as many different ways as you can think of (think Mary Poppins).

35. Take everyone and go sit in a car wash. Choose the option for colored soap.

36. Chocolate.

37. Call a friend who supports gentle discipline (think about finding a “gentle discipline partner” who you can talk to anytime you feel the urge to yell or spank).

38. Fall down theatrically on the floor. Lie there long enough to collect yourself.

39. Pay bills.

40. Keep a roll of tape handy – use it on your mouth.

41. Squeeze a stress ball.

42. Recite multiplication tables.

43. Stand as silent and still as possible.

44. Paint your nails.

45. Do 25 sit-ups.

46. Finish a task you’ve been putting off.

47. Listen to an audio book.

48. Take a bubble bath.

49. Ask a silly question. Ask another.

50. Take a walk around your neighborhood or a park and clean up the trash.

51. Run up and down the stairs.

52. Paint on different mediums (paper, rocks, your windows, etc.).

53. Write a story using only 100 words.

54. Cook a meal for the freezer.

55. Look at pictures of your child when she was a baby.

56. Play Solitaire (or whatever game strikes your fancy).

57. Brew some of your favorite tea or coffee. Have a tea party.

58. Sweep, vacuum, or mop.

59. Learn something new online.

60. Play with Playdough or clay.

61. Put a movie on for the kids; have sex with your partner.

62. Take a shower.

63. Organize meal plans for the next week. Or month. Or year.

64. Set up an obstacle course for you and your kids to do (inside or out).

65. Instead of shouting something angrily, shout “I love you!!”

66. Make up a rhyme about how much you love your child. Recite it while standing on your head.

67. Play ball (basketball, throw a tennis ball against a wall, play catch with someone, etc.).

68. Take artsy pictures.

69. Make a PostSecret postcard.

70. Pull weeds.

71. Decoupage something.

72. Blow bubbles.

73. Make a list of “things I would rather do than engage in power struggles with my child.”

74. Trade roles with your child: pretend you are the little, and she is the adult.

75. Reorganize a closet or cabinet.

76. Roll around on an exercise ball.

77. Make bread or pizza dough (the kind you have to knead).

78. Form a drum circle: everyone grab a drum or a pot, and start playing.

79. Build a tower out of books (or anything handy). Knock it down.

80. Gather the kids for a nature walk around the block.

81. Have a few funny videos saved on YouTube to watch when you need a break.

82. Take silly pictures of yourself. Invite your child to help.

83. Ask your Facebook or Twitter friends to tell you a joke.

84. Scrub the shower.

85. Write a poem (it doesn’t have to be a good one).

86. Send postcards to random people.

87. Make a silly (and unrelated) announcement. (“For the rest of the day, everyone must hop on one foot when moving about the house!”)

88. Make funny faces. Tell your child that no matter what, they must not laugh.

89. Turn on a videocamera. Turn the opportunity into one of love and connection that you can be proud of later.

90. Play an instrument.

91. Take the family to a park with sidewalk chalk: write/draw inspirational messages/pictures.

92. Learn how to say a few words in another language (ASL, Spanish, etc.).

93. Floss.

94. Jump rope.

95. Do something nice for someone else. (Involve your child if he wants to help.)

96. Write your feelings down on paper.

97. Meditate or pray.

98. Hug your child’s teddy bear or doll and talk about how much you love your child (while your child is watching, if you’d like).

99. Look into a mirror and realize what your child is seeing when you are angry.

100. Remember your child is young, and innocent, and loves you, and needs to trust you.

101. Take a minute to calm down and breastfeed your child. (It’s hard to be angry at a child who is nursing, plus the act of breastfeeding releases hormones that will help calm both of you down.)

The bottom line is to not scream at or hit your child. It’s ok to step away from the situation or to defuse a fight by using laughter or love instead of instantly turning to discipline or punishment. If you are trying to “teach” your child something, she will not learn when you are approaching her with anger – whether it is in your voice or in your hand. All she will feel is fear.

Talk about it when both you and your child are calm. Chances are, you will both feel better about the outcome.

What do you do when you need a moment to compose yourself?

Friday, August 13, 2010

101 small pleasures you can enjoy every day

1. coloring (yes, grown-ups can do it, too)
2. crisp cotton sheets
3. soft skin
4. old family recipes
5. the first daffodils of spring
6. sleeping in
7. an exercise endorphin high
8. window boxes
9. a perfect cup of coffee
10. a genuine compliment (giving or receiving)
11. the way babies smell
12. a handwritten letter
13. waking up in a good mood...for no real reason
14. singing in the shower
15. finding a couple forgotten dollars in your pocket
16. doing something nice for your neighbor
17. a home cooked meal
18. laughing
19. movie theater popcorn
20. playing hookey
21. a bubble bath
22. swimming
23. an afternoon nap
24. street musicians
25. your favorite song
26. saying thank you
27. helping someone in need
28. old fashioned photo booths
29. fresh whipped cream
30. inspiring blogs
31. a glass of wine
32. rainy afternoons
33. the funny things kids say
34. a novel you can get lost in
35. finding the perfect piece of clothing...on sale
36. clean laundry
37. the wind in your hair
38. treating the person behind you at the drive-thru
39. sharing an umbrella
40. the smell of lavender
41. a long walk that clears your head
42. a bear hug
43. The Beatles
44. smiling at a stranger
45. eating with chopsticks (Chinese food optional)
46. butterflies
47. staying in your pj's all day
48. singing along to the radio and knowing all the words
49. fresh herbs
50. ordering in pizza
51. happy endings...even if they're fictional
52. flying a kite
53. puppies
54. root beer floats
55. holding open the door...
56. ...or having someone hold the door for you
57. fountain soda
58. white, fluffy towels
59. sunshine
60. spending an afternoon at a museum
61. really great advice
62. green lights all the way home
63. the sound of rain hitting the windows
64. sitting in a booth
65. holding hands
66. a great hair day with no effort
67. building a fort with your kids
68. when someone falls asleep with their head on your shoulder
69. fireflies
70. the perfect taco
71. geraniums on a windowsill
72. slow dancing
73. the smell of fresh-baked bread
74. cheesy, uplifting musicals
75. great stories
76. the smell of gasoline
77. the cold side of the pillow
78. love letters
79. old friends...
80. friends
81. a pull-through parking space
82. a baguette -- crisp on the outside, airy on the inside
83. when a dog licks your hand
84. sitting at the counter at an old-fashioned diner
85. using your favorite dishes
86. reading your child a bedtime story
87. Girl Scout Cookies
88. flossing
89. kissing someone you love
90. the smell of onions and garlic cooking
91. hot chocolate
92. jumping in puddles
93. old photographs
94. birds hopping on the sidewalk
95. Ella Fitzgerald
96. a spoonful of peanut butter straight from the jar
97. your softest t-shirt
98. a new magazine in the mail
99. fireplaces
100. having exact change
101. bacon and pancakes cooking on Saturday morning

Dating 101: Seven Things No One Tells You About Marriage

I was cleaning out the bookmarks section of my internet, and found this gem. I should also add that it was in the "HELP" folder. I am by no means an expert when it comes to marriage. Mike and I have our problems, and they probably get shared with too many people. Some things are meant to be kept between a husband and his wife, not their parents and siblings too.

The surprising, enlightening, and sometimes hard truths married folks all face -- and how they teach us about what love really means.

By Ylonda Gault Caviness for Redbook Updated: May 22, 2009

You're smart. You know life is no storybook. But admit it: Somewhere deep in your subconscious lurk romantic visions of Cinderella, or maybe Julia Roberts. The images may be sketchy and a little outdated, but you can still make out the silhouette of the bride and Prince Charming riding off into the sunset.
In real life, sometimes your Disney fairy tale ends up feeling more like a Wes Craven horror flick -- and you're the chick who keeps falling down and screaming for her life. I've been there. Let's face it, marriage is not for the faint of heart. You want to believe your pure love for each other will pull you through. And it does. But it ain't always pretty.

That may sound grim. But here's a secret: Sometimes it's the least romantic parts of marriage that have the most to teach you about yourself, your partner, and the nature of love. Read on for some simple truths that will unlock the surprising treasures and pleasures in your imperfect, unstorybook, real-life love.

1. You will look at the person lying next to you and wonder, Is this it? Forever?
When you get married, you think that as long as you pick the right guy -- your soul mate -- you'll be happy together until death do you part. Then you wake up one day and realize that no matter how great he is, he doesn't make you happy every moment of every day. In fact, some days you might wonder why you were in such a hurry to get married in the first place. You think to yourself, "This is so not what I signed up for."
Actually, it is. You just didn't realize it the day you and your guy were cramming wedding cake into each other's faces, clinking champagne glasses, and dancing the Electric Slide. Back then you had no idea that "for better and for worse" doesn't kick in only when life hands you a tragedy. Your relationship mettle is, in fact, most tested on a daily basis, when the utter sameness of day-in/day-out togetherness can sometimes make you want to run for the hills. That's when the disappointment sneaks in, and maybe even a palpable sense of loneliness and grief. It's not him. It's just you, letting go of that sugarcoated fantasy of marriage that danced in your eyes the day you and your beloved posed in all those soft-focus wedding photos. You're learning that marriage isn't a destination; it's a journey filled with equal parts excitement and tedium.
Waking up from a good dream to face the harsh morning daylight may not seem like a reason to celebrate. But trust me, it is. Because once you let go of all the hokey stories of eternal bliss, you find that the reality of marriage is far richer and more rewarding than you ever could have guessed. Hard, yes. Frustrating, yes. But full of its own powerful, quiet enchantments just the same, and that's better than any fairy tale.

2. You'll work harder than you ever imagined.
Early on, when people say, "Marriage takes work," you assume "work" means being patient when he forgets to put down the toilet seat. In your naivete, you think that you will struggle to accommodate some annoying habit, like persistent knuckle cracking or flatulence.
If only it were that easy. Human beings, you may have noticed, are not simple creatures. Your man has mysterious, unplumbed depths -- and from where he sits, you're pretty complicated, too. You have to learn each other the same way that you once learned earth science or world geography. And getting married doesn't mean you're done -- it just means you've advanced to graduate-level studies. That's because every time you think you've mastered the material, he'll change a bit. And so will you. As two people grow and evolve, the real work of marriage is finding a way to relate to and nurture each other in the process.
"It's like losing weight," says Andrea Harden, 45, of Buffalo, NY. "You want it to be a one-time deal. You lost it, now just live. But then you learn it's a lifestyle. That's marriage. The effort is a forever thing." So don't be too hard on yourself -- or him -- on those days when you feel like you're struggling through remedial math.

3. You will sometimes go to bed mad (and maybe even wake up madder).
Whoever decided to tell newlyweds "Never go to bed angry" doesn't know what it's like inside a bedroom where tears and accusations fly as one spouse talks the other into a woozy stupor until night meets the dawn. If this scenario sounds familiar, I've got three words for you: Sleep on it.
You need to calm down. You need to gain perspective. You need to just give it a rest. I've found that an argument of any quality, like a fine wine, needs to breathe. A break in the action will help you figure out whether you're angry, hurt, or both, and then pinpoint the exact source. Maybe the fight that seemed to erupt over the overflowing garbage can is really about feeling underappreciated. Could be you're both stressed out at work and just needed to unload on someone. Taking a break will help you see that, and let go. Or maybe you really do have a legitimate disagreement to work out. Without a time-out, sometimes a perfectly good argument can turn into an endless round of silly back-and-forth, rehashing old and irrelevant transgressions as you get more and more wound up.
Even when you do manage to stay focused and on topic, there are some fights that stubbornly refuse to die by bedtime. And if you stifle your real feelings just to meet some arbitrary deadline, your marriage will surely be the worse for it. "This was a huge lesson for me," says Andrea. "As women we've been trained to make nice. But the whole kiss-and-make-up thing just to keep the peace was eating me up inside. I'd let things build up inside me until I just exploded. Now I wait a while to get hold of myself -- let the emotions settle a bit -- and state my position. Even if that means reopening the fight the next day."

4. Getting your way is usually not as important as finding a way to work together.
I can be a bit of a know-it-all. There, I said it. It's really not my intention to be hurtful or brash with people I love. It's just that a lifetime of experience has taught me that in most areas, at most times, I am right about most things. What shocked me several years into my marriage, though, was the realization that the more "right" I was, the more discontented my husband and I were as a couple. See, oddly enough, throughout his life Genoveso has been under the misguided impression that he's right most of the time (go figure!). So we'd lock horns -- often. That is, until I learned a few things.
Namely, that when it comes to certain disagreements, there is no right or wrong -- there is simply your way of looking at things and your husband's. "I used to be very black-and-white earlier in our marriage," says Lindy Vincent, 38, who lives in Minneapolis. "Now I see that I'm not all right and my husband is not all wrong. There's more gray in life than I thought, and that's taught me patience and the value of compromise."

5. A great marriage doesn't mean no conflict; it simply means a couple keeps trying to get it right.
Maybe you think that because of my newfound wisdom, Genoveso and I never fight anymore. Ha! As important as it is to strike a balance, it's also important to have a big, fat fight every now and then. Because when you fight, you don't just raise your voices; you raise real -- sometimes buried -- issues that challenge you to come to a clearer understanding of you, your man, and your relationship. I wouldn't give up our fights for anything in the world, because I know in the end they won't break us; they'll only make us stronger.

6. You'll realize that you can only change yourself.
Ever seen the '80s sci-fi cult classic "Making Mr. Right?" When the stylish heroine, played by Ann Magnuson, is hired to teach a robot how to act like a human, she seizes the chance to create a perfect guy. A hotshot commercial whiz, she uses her marketing prowess to shape John Malkovich's android character into her personal version of the ideal man -- sensitive, eager to please, and willing to listen.
There is a bit of that makeover fantasy in all of us -- something that makes us believe we can change the person we love, make him just a little bit closer to perfect. We may use support and empathy or shouts and ultimatums, but with dogged conviction we take on this huge responsibility, convinced we're doing the right thing.
Whatever our motives, the effort is exhausting. Transforming a full-grown man -- stripping him of decades-old habits, beliefs, and idiosyncrasies -- is truly an impossible task. And you will come to realize, sooner than later if you're lucky, that it is far easier to change the way you respond to him.

7. As you face your fears and insecurities, you will find out what you're really made of.
There were clues when Genoveso and I were dating, especially with the trust thing. Early on, I was supersuspicious of him. He used to say things like, "I'll call you at 8." Then, just to try to trip me up, he'd call at 8. I knew he was up to something, I just couldn't figure out what. The same kinds of experiences followed after the wedding. Except occasionally he would actually mess up. And I had no sense of scale when it came to rating his offenses; everything was a major violation. Whether he teased me about a new haircut or came home late, I seethed for days and even let thoughts of divorce creep into my head. I figured, if he loved me -- really and truly -- this stuff wouldn't happen.
I'd like to be able to say that this irrational behavior lasted only a few months and I eventually worked it out. Kind of, sort of, is closer to the truth. After years of looking deeply into my soul and talking to good friends and the best sister a girl could ever have, I've come to recognize certain things about myself. Not to get all Dr. Phil about it, but I've had to examine my history with an emotionally distant dad and a strong-willed mom and face up to all the ways, both good and bad, that those relationships have affected how I approach my marriage.
That's the strange beauty of marriage: It's full of hard times and hard lessons that no one can ever prepare you for. But in the end, those are the things that give richness to your life together -- and make your love even deeper and stronger than when it began.

Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.

Potty Traing Day 2

Day 2 went a little better. I've decided that since Genevieve is still nursing and taking lots of time, we won't try really hard to potty train Dianna right now. She's "ready" to train, but she doesn't seem to really want to go in the toilet. I'd put the little one in the living room, but with Genevieve crawling around, that is NOT a good idea.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Potty Training Day 1

After 2 days of Dianna playing in her poo, I decided that it is time to start potty training her. She was obviously very aware that she was going to poo, because there was NO POO AT ALL on the inside of her pull-up. It was all on her hands, and a little on the outside of the pull-up. I was not very happy about that. The mess I mean. When she got up this morning, we put a pair of Elmo underwear on her and got her dressed for the day. I gave her a sippy of juice about 10-15 minutes ago, and in a couple of minutes, I'm going to have her go sit on the toilet. Hopefully, she will make it and not go in the underwear. I'm just going to keep her in underwear and go sit her on the toilet every 30 minutes today. If we are really lucky, she will only have a few accidents.

Added at 10:08am:
No luck this time. Dianna sat on the toilet for 30 minutes, and didn't go at all. She finished her juice and had some cereal while she sat there. I guess we will try again at 10:30.

Added at 10:36am: She missed potty attempt #2 by 2 minutes, so we are short set #2.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Starting a Business!

Money is too tight around here, so I am going to try to earn some extra money. I've knitted some hats and scarves, and so far they are turning out good. One hat has been gifted to a friend, and another is for Genevieve. Another hat is in the works right now, and that one is going to a mommy friend. I'm hoping to wrangle the girls enough that I can start setting aside time to make a bunch more stuff, including some dresses, skirts, and tops for girls. Hopefully, I can start making more and a greater variety of items by the end of the year. I don't know if I would start a blog specifically for all this fun filled working, but I will probably join an etsy type webpage and sell stuff on there too. If you want something, I will definitely try to fill that wanting void. =)

A Helpful Article from the Attachment Parenting Blog

It has given me lots of ideas and shown me where I need to work on stuff with the girls.

Staying Patient
by Dionna on March 3, 2010

Let’s be honest: toddlers and young preschoolers can wear on even the most patient person’s nerves. From the constant questions (“why?” “wat dat?” “where mama go?”) to the wild mood swings and outbursts, life with one to three year old kids can be difficult. But screaming back at your angry two year old is not going to help him learn how to handle his difficult emotions. Telling your heartbroken three year old to stop crying and “get over it” after she spills her ice cream is not going to make her feel better about the ice cream or herself. Smacking your twenty month old’s hand for pulling the cat’s tail does not teach him how to give gentle touches.

Here are a few tips for staying patient with your child (these don’t only apply to toddlers and preschoolers, but those are the ages I am most familiar with).

1. Be Silly and Play: Play is a child’s “main way of communicating, of experimenting, and of learning.” Play is such an important part of children’s lives that there is an entire therapeutic technique based entirely on play. And not only is it important to get regular play time in with your child, but you can also avoid arguments and stress by being silly and playing with your child when you foresee a problem. I recommend reading Dr. Cohen’s book Playful Parenting for more ideas in this area.

2. Try Alternatives to “Punishment”: Rather than resorting to immediate “punishment” or “consequences,” take a few minutes to cool off before addressing your child when you are angry. Hitting your child, humiliating him with harsh words, threatening him, or calling him names all leave emotional scars. Instead of punishment, try making a connection. Your child is more likely to understand and communicate when they are not cowering in fear of a scary, angry parent. Give your child a hug, pull him aside, and talk quietly -without judgment – about what happened. You are more likely to get to the root of the problem by connecting with your child than you are while smacking him.

3. Sing Instead of Shout: Similar to the idea of being playful, try singing your requests instead of shouting them. You may get your child’s attention faster by asking “please pick up your shoes before I trip and break my neck!” in a singsong voice than by saying (for the umpteenth time) “get in here and pick these shoes up right now young lady!”

4. Try a Change of Scenery: Boredom is rarely conducive to happiness and cooperation, so if you’ve been stuck in the same house or routine, get out and do something different.

5. Remind Yourself That It’s Age Appropriate: Sometimes all it takes to calm us down is a simple reminder that your children are not trying to make you crazy, they’re just being kids. Toddlers cannot help expressing big emotions – they simply do not have the tools yet to manage them. One year olds aren’t trying to kill themselves by climbing the bookcase or sticking fingers in the light socket – they just haven’t learned what is dangerous. It is our responsibility and privilege to help children as they learn. Would we rather our child’s experiences growing up be filled with gentleness, love and respect, or fear, self-doubt and shame?

6. Identify Your Triggers: Take notice of the times you feel the most stressed out and what can calm you down. Do you need more alone time? Do you feel better after visiting with a friend? Do your batteries recharge during small playgroups? Can you chill out while volunteering? Are you getting adequate nutrition? Parents must take care of themselves too.

7. Adjust Your Expectations: Are you holding on to expectations that are no longer realistic? Our children are always growing and changing – they will drop naps, they will develop their own preferences, they will constantly challenge us. Make sure that you are not expecting too much (or too little!) of your child. And remember that parenting does not equal control. If you are always trying to control your child, you will only be disappointed and frustrated, and your relationship with your child will suffer.

8. Tell Your Child How You Feel: Are you angry? Frustrated? Tired? Share your feelings! Children need help identifying feelings in themselves and others. They also need to know that their actions affect others. Be careful, though, not to say “you are making me angry” – your child is not in control of your emotions, you are. It is not your child’s fault you are angry. Try “Mama is feeling angry that the paint spilled all over the carpet. I will have to spend time cleaning it up now, and I am disappointed because I will miss my book club meeting. I would appreciate your help getting some towels so we can start cleaning up.” A good resource for this concept is Naomi Aldort’s Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves.

9. Remember that “This Too Shall Pass”: If all else fails take a deep breath and repeat these words: “this too shall pass.” Your child won’t be two (or three or four) forever. This beautiful little one screaming in the next room will grow up too fast. These difficult days will be a fleeting (and precious) memory.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Touching Read

A friend shared this on craigslist, and I wanted to share it with you. It and other writings from Jennifer can be found at

For Jessica

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine and I were talking about a study she’d just read, which concluded that people without children were happier than people with children; or, to put it more precisely, despite what conventional wisdom holds, the study found that having children did not increase anyone’s happiness.

At which all I could do was burst out laughing. Because, well. Duh.

Only an academic would undertake a study like this, defining happiness as something along the lines of “satisfaction with life” and “feeling rewarded by your work.” If there’s an occupation more likely to make you feel incompetent and unrewarded than being a parent, I have never heard of it.

If you weren’t an academic, you might define happiness as the experience of being fully alive. To know grace, and despair, and the kind of hardness you have to learn to stand against; to watch your family fail you when you need them the most, and have your ex-husband look around, shrug his shoulders, and hold out his hand to help you up again.

Right. Your ex-husband, so that you can learn a bit of gratitude, just enough to appreciate him, which you didn’t manage the first time around.

These are things you’d never know if you hadn’t had your daughter. Things you wouldn’t have had to know, and learn the hard way, bitterly.

If the medical resident hadn’t sat down while you held your baby girl in the neonatal intensive care unit and said, “Your daughter’s brain is massively deformed.”

The daughter you loved even before she was born. When she was an abstraction, a positive sign on a pregnancy test, before she kicked you in the ribs, long before she ever drew her first breath. Love you did not know you were capable of feeling, primal and angry and powerful, you would kill ten men and Satan if you had to.

But the universe doesn’t ask that from you.

When your daughter is nine months old, a neurosurgeon will say to you, “We believe resecting the left side of her brain will help control the seizures.”

The seizures that she has all day, every day, dozens, hundreds; she was born with a massively deformed brain, what did you expect?

You think a minute, and you realize the doctor is saying they are going to take out half your daughter’s brain, and throw it away, so much trash, and you’re supposed to sign the consent form for this.

And after the surgery, when the seizures come back, you will sit across the table from the man who is now your ex-husband, the man you adored, but life can kick the ass out of any romance, even yours, and you will order a very large glass of tequila, and you will say, “What the hell are we supposed to do now?”

And you hope the answer is going to be about slaying ten men and Satan, because you’re capable of that. Yes. Heroic action? You are totally down with that. But the answer is, you are going to go home and do the best you can to make a life out of what you’ve been given.

And no one is going to give you any instructions, or any feedback, so no matter how well you’re doing, or how badly you’re screwing up, you won’t know either thing until maybe – maybe – at the end of your life, fifty years from now, you’ll be able to look back with some perspective and go, “Eh, should have done that differently.”

So you do the best you can. You raise your daughter, and she is three years old before she learns to walk, seven years old before she learns to use a toilet, and mothers all around you are blathering their worry that their babies aren’t talking by twelve months, and you don’t even know what universe they live in, because in your universe, you had surgeons take out the left side of your daughter’s brain and throw it away.

You just got back from the hospital the fourth time or maybe the sixth time your daughter’s shunt has had to be revised – that is, yanked out and a new one put in because it stopped working, which means the pressure builds inside her skull, which could kill her – and the man (the man, you weren’t picking any goddamned boys this time, this time you found yourself a man) he says he’s not ready for someone like you. It’s just too intense.

What he means is he can’t deal with your daughter. This is a story you will go through more agonizing times than you can count, with friends, with family, with work, with other men who don’t trust you when you say all you really want is to just get laid. They will all say it differently, but you know why they’ve cut and run. Hell, you would have, too. If someone had told you ahead of time what was going to happen now? Baby, you would have been on the next plane to Bolivia and fighting extradition every step of the way.

But they didn’t tell you ahead of time, and by the time you figured out that being her mother was going to make your life look like a nuclear bomb had detonated in the middle of it, it was too late, because she’s your daughter and you loved her even before she was born, so you’re a little biased and you can’t always see her clearly, and what you see is a high-spirited, ebullient girl with a stubborn streak, and other people see a slow-moving, cognitively-impaired kid who can’t be budged once she makes up her mind.

Well, screw them.

You say that a lot. Screw them.

So, no, most times you’re not thinking about how happy this is making you.

Sometimes, in fact, you’re thinking about how a long time ago, you were kind of a charming young woman who read a lot and married a nice guy, and you planned to go to Paris.

And you never got there.

And somehow, maybe during the thirteenth hospital stay, or perhaps the fifteenth, your life had narrowed down to a few good things. Your work, and your daughter. Your three old friends, who knew you way back when you were kind of charming, and your three new friends, whom you refer to as the one who calls you “hard,” the one who calls you “contentious,” and the one who calls you “inflexible.”

Because it’s funny, and while they mean it, they don’t mind it, they even seem to admire it. Your friends are warped, too. Hey, it happens.

“You need to get some Mike’s hard lemonade,” your daughter says when you’re at the grocery store, because you once told her that you had one at your friend Diane’s house, and you liked it, and in your daughter’s world, if you do anything you like once, you must do it many many times, because that is wonderful.

People look at you funny when she points to the Mike’s, like you’re an alcoholic raising one, but you think screw them, and you buy the Mike’s and it stays in the fridge for three months before you throw it out, but it makes your daughter happy.

You would do anything to make your daughter happy. To make her whole, and to promise her that she will never have to go to the hospital again, but despite all the effort and practice, you’re just not that good at lying.

When you bring her to the hospital for the eighteenth time, or maybe it’s the twentieth, and she says, “I want roses, like a princess. Red ones,” you make sure she has them, even though it destroys your budget for the month. Raising your daughter makes it impossible to also hold a steady job, so you freelance, despite the fact that you’re not really cut out for writing about things normal people are interested in.

And you find out, interestingly enough, that there are so many not-normal people in the world that you don’t ever have to write for the normal ones if you don’t want to. Which is a huge relief. It’s a club and the password requires an appreciation for dark humor, and you have to have been through gut-wrenching grief to get here, and you look at the people who don’t know, and you realize, for the first time, that you don’t want to be them: innocent, unknowing, unformed, unrealized, their lives entirely unlived.

You bring your daughter home from the hospital, and she says, “Next time I want carnations,” and you know there will be a next time, and it makes your heart hurt.

Still, you are so not ready when the next time comes. It’s a mugger, and you’re not even walking after dark.

You’re at the hospital for another MRI, routine. You know all the rules by now, and the names of the nurses, and the questions they’re going to ask. And you know the MRI is going to take one hour, ninety minutes tops, because it always has.

And you know from long experience that when something deviates from the norm, the news will not be good. In the world you don’t get to live in, people get good news all the time, but not in the universe that made your daughter.

Three hours later, the nurse comes in and makes some remark about it taking a while to get the pictures, and you know she’s lying but you don’t push, because she’s not allowed to say, and she won’t.

So even though no one tells you that you should, you wait by the phone the next day, and the neurologist calls just like you knew he would, and he says, “There’s been an unexpected finding,” and even though you knew it would happen, it catches you in the gut and you sit down, hard, and you think I can’t stand it.

The sky has fallen down many times in your daughter’s short life, the sky with all the stars in it, and you have picked up the pieces more times than you can remember, and you have climbed the ladder and put them back in place, where you think they should go, and you get things in backwards and out of sequence, but you do the best you can, and you climb down off the ladder, and you’re at peace with your work. You wish it could be better, but there’s only one of you, and the sky is so vast, it takes a while to put it back together again, and you did the best you could.

And you just went through all that work, and here is the goddamned sky scattered all over the carpet again.

The neurologist describes the new problem, like having a massively deformed brain is not enough for one child to bear. You process what he is saying: there’s a hole in your daughter’s spinal cord. He calls it a channel, and he gives the medical name for it, so you can look it up on the computer and give yourself a heart attack, and then he says he would like a neurosurgeon to consult, and you say, sure, because what are you going to say? I can’t do this anymore?

So you tell your daughter she has a hole in her spine, and she takes the news gracefully, the way she has taken everything you’ve ever told her about herself, you have a massively deformed brain, you have seizure disorder, there is no cure for your disease, and oh yes, your all-time favorite surgeons took out the left side of your brain when you were nine months old.

There is one secret thing you never tell her. You never tell her how afraid you are that this is the last time. The last birthday. The last kiss good night. The last time you will ever sing the Mockingbird Song to her, the way you have done every night for thirteen years.

You have never done anything for thirteen years before.

The neurosurgeon is a pleasant man, which is a change from the usual run of neurosurgeons, and he describes what sounds to you like a horrifyingly high-risk surgical procedure, and which he calls an intervention that he has performed before. You don’t push him with questions like, How many times? Because you don’t want to know. Because it will break your heart or terrify you, and you don’t have the stamina for that. Not today.

He turns to the computer, calling up the MRI, and you focus on his hands, and you decide that he has competent hands, artist’s hands, and it’s a good thing, too, because you are trusting your daughter to those hands.

He wants you to look at the image on the computer, but the image makes you want to throw up, you don’t want to look at it, but the doctors always make you look.

And you see the place where they took out the left side of her brain and threw it away, and he shows you the hole in her spinal cord that goes on and on and on, tracing it the length of her spine, and you can’t stand it anymore, not even to be polite, so you stare at the floor, and you notice your sandal is scuffed and you wish you wish wish wish he hadn’t made you look, and you hope you can hold it together until he leaves, and you can bolt to the nearest bathroom and be sick.

He smiles kindly and schedules surgery for August 10th, which is too soon, much too soon because you can’t even conceive of what he is going to do, and it is going to take you a long time to wrap your mind around it, and it’s also too far away, much too far away, because you would like to sleep until it’s over, and there’s just no possibility that you can get away with staying in bed that long.

You look up at your daughter, and you see her face is stark white, and you know she is scared out of her mind, she has understood everything that has taken place here and it was so much easier when she was little, and she didn’t, and she would just smile at her hands and coo.

Her father is barking questions at the surgeon, agitated and pacing, and the surgeon answers him patiently, prefacing each response with the phrase, “That’s a good question,” along with a nod and a smile, like your ex-husband is a good student, while you sit there, a lump, bovine, you couldn’t form a question if it would save you from a firing squad.

You are trying to think of what to say to your daughter, and all you can think is I don’t want to lose you, baby girl, I don’t want to lose you I don’t want to lose you lose you lose you.

Which doesn’t seem particularly helpful. So you shake hands with the doctor, and before the nurse starts asking all the questions on the H&P, you tell your daughter that the surgeon is going to try to keep the hole in her spine from getting worse, and that means some surgery, and maybe five days in the hospital. And you must do a good job of not communicating your deep dread and fear, because she says, “Okay. Will people bring me presents?”

Yes, you say. Yes. It will be required. You hug her, and she says, “You have your stars on.”

Those are your earrings, and the very first time you wore them, your daughter exclaimed with delight, “Now we can wish upon a star every day! Twice!”

And so you wish upon the stars, right there in the examining room, that you will live happily ever after, and have good work to do, the wishes you always wish, and then you’re ready to face the nurse, and to answer the questions she has, knowing how gut-wrenching it is to go over your daughter’s medical history with someone who doesn’t know her, knowing that your daughter will pepper you with as many questions as the nurse will.

At home, you try not to think about August 10th. You know it will come too soon, and not soon enough. You make a note to buy more crossword puzzles, because that is all you can do when your daughter is undergoing an intervention the surgeon has performed before, and you didn’t have the courage to ask him how many times.

At dusk, your daughter says, “Time for fireflies!”

And you know the drill, that you can’t watch the fireflies without a snack, so you ask if she would like ice cream or a cookie, and she says, “I would like ice cream and a cookie, and some Diet Coke, and I will want my princess figures, and I will get the door for you,” and you don’t even try to argue about the ice cream and the cookie, or suggest that milk would be better than Diet Coke. What if this is the last time you look at the fireflies together? You don’t want to be the jackass who screws it up.

She gets the door, and you bring the cookies and the ice cream, and go back for the Diet Coke and the princess figures, and she settles onto the patio chair with a sigh of contentment. And you look up at the stars in the sky, and you wish you knew something about astronomy, because then you could tell your daughter which one was the evening star, and you would tell her that that is the star to wish upon. But you don’t know; they all look alike to you. And maybe it’s better that the stars you wish upon are the ones you can see whenever you want to, wherever you are, even if it’s the intensive care unit on the fifth floor of the children’s hospital.

“I see a firefly!” she shouts. “The first one tonight! How many do you think there will be?” Before you can answer, she says, “Where do fireflies live during the day?”

You admit you don’t know, and she says, “We will look it up on the computer tomorrow.”

And you do, and you find out that fireflies are rapacious predators, but nothing shocks you anymore, not even that. You don’t tell your daughter this finding. And the calendar moves one day closer to August 10th, and the number of times you go into the bathroom to throw up increases by a factor of two.

A long time ago you stopped raging at the universe for doing this to your daughter, and years before she was born, you stopped believing in a benevolent god, but right now you would like to hurl some curses at a supremely powerful being, to have the satisfaction of getting an answer back. You would take on Satan and ten men, but no one asks you do to that. No one has ever asked you to do that.

They asked you to do this instead, this infinitely harder thing. And you think about that study, and you laugh out loud again, and your daughter asks why you are laughing, and you say, “Sometimes, girlfriend, I can’t believe how badly people miss the point.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means I don’t care that I’ve never seen Paris.”

She’s accustomed to your moods, so she nods, and she turns on the radio. “It’s your favorite song!” she says. “Isn’t that lucky?”

And you hug her hard, but she’s used to that, too, and she lets you, and even lets you sing along without complaining (“this time only, mom!”), and you are lucky, probably the luckiest woman living, and happier than you have ever been, but not in any way an academic would understand, or even conceive. Your joy is bigger than the universe and contains all the sorrow of a lifetime, and has nothing whatsoever to do with feeling sufficiently rewarded for your work.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Having a GREAT day!

Sorry I haven't kept this silly blog up-to-date. My priorities are a little screwy, so I am all over the place and running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Genevieve slept from 10:15pm to sometime around 5:30am last night. It was nice to sleep so well. Mike actually had to wake me up, because I didn't hear her fussing. She's doing better with her naps, so I am able to get some work and projects done around the apartment. Genevieve has also started crawling and pulling herself up, and is starting to get into EVERYTHING in reach. We are pretty sure she will be walking before Halloween.

Dianna went to bed rather easily, albeit rather late. I'm trying to get her on a better schedule, and I think a couple of early mornings are in our near future. She's doing good all around, and is picking up new words here and there.

Mike is going to physical therapy, and it seems to be really helping his back. He seems to be under less stress, so needless to say, life is good right now.

I'm working on some knitting projects that I am hoping to sell to earn a little extra money from home. Everything so far is turning out good, and I am hoping on starting a little business to sell what I make. After I finish making some ropes to lower our hanging flowers, I'm going to try to make a dress for Dianna. If it turns out good enough, I am going to make some to sell. We have decided that after Genevieve turns 1, that I am going to start looking for a job. I didn't hear back on any jobs I applied for after I had Dianna, so I think it may be difficult to find one now. I can tell you what I won't be home childcare! I can barely keep my sanity watching the girls, so adding anymore to the mix would be crazy.

Mike and I have decided that we as a family are too lazy, so at the end of this billing cycle, we are getting rid of U-verse and the DVR. We got plenty of movies from a co-worker, so we won't have to worry about being bored when we can't spend time outside. Mike still needs to loose a little weight, and it wouldn't hurt for me to loose a little either. I think this may help get Dianna on a better schedule.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Yes, I know the background is missing. It's just to hard to read with the photo I had as a background, so I am going to change it as soon as I have the chance later. I'm going to find the perfect picture to use and then jack with the color of the print.


I decided it was time to put my yarn to good use and knit a scarf the other day. It turned out rather good, and I would not be embarrassed at all to wear it during the winter time. I think I may end up giving it as a Christmas present though. Since it turned out so good, I decided to try to knit a hat. I've only gotten a couple of rows done so far, but it looks OK. Genevieve is cooperating and taking a nap, but Dianna is getting into EVERYTHING she can reach so I don't know how much of it I will get done this morning.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Vacation time

It's kind of ridiculous trying to plan a family vacation. We've talked about 8 different places, but they are either going to be too expensive or too far. I found a nice place close to Arkadelphia, Arkansas, so let's wait and see what Mike thinks of it when I show him the information when he gets home from work. He wants real beaches, but Florida is too far. Port Aransas is too expensive. Mike doesn't really want to go to a lake, he wants to spend some time in "real water".

Thursday, June 24, 2010

For All My Breastfeeding Mamas!

(Disclaimer: I have nothing against formula-feeding or supplementing moms. I was just struck by a random moment of humor where I realized that many of the reasons why a mom might choose to formula feed over breastfeeding actually apply to my decision to breastfeed.)

I can't formula feed. I have low supply. Once I empty a can, it wouldn't magically fill back up again. I'd try the whole "supply and demand" thing of going to the grocery store to stock back up. But my baby would scream if I do that. I can't stand the screaming!

Besides, my cabinets are too small and I'd prefer to keep them sexy and uncluttered with all the formula cans. I've heard that formula feeding only works for people with big cabinets, anyway. As long as they're not SO big that it's hard to stack the formula cans. So really, formula feeding only works for people with medium sized cabinets.

And I'd be nervous about wondering if my baby was getting enough or getting too much. How do formula feeding moms know that their baby is getting enough? If baby cries, how do they know if he wants a bottle or if he wants a pacifier? And how do they know if they're over-feeding baby? Every weight check would make me paranoid that my formula mixing skills were just not up to par.

I'd also be afraid to go out of my house if I was formula feeding. I'd be afraid that I forgot the bottles or the nipples or the formula or that I didn't bring enough, or that I brought too much. And besides, I feel SO awkward trying to bottle feed my baby. He always screams when I'm mixing the formula, but I can't mix it any faster because I need to make sure all the clumps are gone. There's just no way I can imagine bottle feeding a baby discreetely in public! I've tried all those hints and tips that I've seen other mothers mention, but I just can't get a hang of it.

Not to mention nighttime bottles. I like getting sleep. How do you get sleep if you have to prepare and warm a bottle? I just can't imagine how a parent could do it. Plus, there's so many worries about formula and SIDS that I'd be afraid my baby would die. (excuse commonly applied to co-sleeping)

And how would I be able to pay attention to my older child while I'm bottle feeding or washing the bottles? Not to mention the fact that it would interfere with my husband's ability to bond with our child, since he'd have to be washing bottles too. And working to pay for the formula.

Which brings me to another thing. I don't think I could do the whole formula feeding thing, because I'd be constantly worried about the source of formula drying up. I mean. It's a horrible economy. How will I know in the beginning if I can make it to a full year of formula feeding? If I were to formula feed, I'd always be worried about the supply. So I might try it in the beginning... But I have to tell ya, if the stock market drops any more than it has already.. I just wouldn't be able to deal with the anxiety and would have to give it up.

Plus, what happens when baby gets teeth and starts to chew on the nipple bottles? And I hear it's painful when you move from the ready-made formula to the cans of powdered formula, because those pull-tops can have razor-sharp edges. I don't know if I would be able to deal with the pain of cutting up my fingers on those edges! Sure, in theory I could learn new techniques that would enable me to open the can without cutting myself.. But really, the idea of a paper cut makes me cringe, so I don't even want to try. I think I'll wean my baby off of formula when I need to make the switch away from the ready-made samples.

I don't know how people do it, honestly. Maybe it's easier with practice.. But I tried a few bottles in the beginning with my older son and it just didn't work for me. So with this child I'm not even going to bother.

...Now how do I get those damned formula samples and coupons to stop showing up at my door? I tried throwing sage tea at them and wrapping them in chilled cabbage leaves. But none of the old tricks work, darnit. Maybe some benadryl?

We have a crawler!

This is fresh from this morning!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Been Busy

I've been pretty busy with the girls, and we spent 4 days last weekend at grandma Shannon's lake house. It was nice to get together with everyone, but a non-child proofed house is not a place I want to spend a boatload of time. All of Mike's sisters and their kids/families were there.

Genevieve is doing good. She had her 6 month appointment on Tuesday and is growing OK. She was 15 pounds 12 ounces and 27.5 long. Her head was 17.5 inches. Her pediatrician voiced some mild concern that she hasn't gained an average amount of weight and dropped down in percentages a bit. Genevieve did good with the 3 shots she got. Mike's mom and grandma voiced some concern last weekend about the way her head was shaped. It was something that I had already noticed and mentioned it at the appointment as well. The doctor wasn't very concerned, but we are going to take Genevieve to another DR to get a second opinion. Her head looks similar to Mike's did before his surgery, so we want to be safe and not sorry later.

Dianna is doing good too. She has picked up a couple new words, including one while we were at the lake house: "outside". We bet that by the end of next summer that she will want to be fishing with us, because the last two times we have gone fishing she has played with the bait. She's starting that stage where she is a little more picky with what she eats. Her spoiled attitude is really starting to show too.

Mike finally got the MRI done and it showed some minor abnormalities, but the "doctor" he had been seeing didn't think it was enough to be causing his pain. He got a referral to a back/spine specialist and has an appointment tomorrow morning. Hopefully, this doctor will be able to help get Mike's back back close to normal. It has been stressful at work, but he seems to be enjoying his Saturdays off with the girls.

I'm doing good. I'm still a little stressed with the way stuff is going and not being able to get all the cleaning done that I need or want to. I have a couple of craft projects that I want to get done this summer. I got a really small one done today, and have one more that can be finished quickly once I get our bedroom cleaned. I'm hoping to start getting up a little earlier so I can back into good shape. Hopefully a little better shape than I was in before I got pregnant with Dianna. I don't have a whole boatload of weight that I want to lose, only 12 pounds. It's the muscle tone that I really want to work on. Let's see how I look and feel at the end of the year.

Here are a couple of recent pictures that are favorites.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Serenity Prayer

The following is an adjusted version of one written by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971).

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

This week

I've been working on this post for almost 4 days, because I keep getting interrupted and it takes a while to get back here.

I got a bunch of cleaning and sorting done. A BUNCH of the girls' clothes have been sitting in plastic containers in the closet waiting to be sorted and hung up. I got almost all of that done, except for some clothes that need to be paired.

I found out on Saturday that our bassinet was recalled almost 2 years ago. Our crib was recalled last summer, but we hadn't replaced it and were waiting on the repair kit. So I took them both back to Wal-mart and traded them in for a new one. Genevieve has taken a couple short naps in it, so I guess she likes it. Dianna definitely likes it, because she has tried to climb into it several times. Here is a picture of the old one.

Our 1 year anniversary was yesterday, and except for Dianna being a bit of a pain in the butt several times, it was a WONDERFUL day. I went to bed with Genevieve at a reasonable hour Saturday night, but Mike stayed up a little later and put out my anniversary card so I would see it in the morning. I got up early so I could get "gussied up". I do have to say I picked the perfect dress, as it was very flattering. Mike even dressed up some to go to church, so I knew something was up especially after he told me to make sure I was in the sanctuary at the start of the sermon. He wrote and read the sweetest thank you note/testimony in front of the whole congregation! Our pastor and his wife took us out to lunch at a Mexican restaurant they frequent, and boy was it good! After lunch, we went to Wal-mart and bought some plants and flowers for our garden. It's small, but it should be manageable and will be pretty when everything starts sprouting.

We ate at Denny's for dinner, and then dropped the girls off at my dad's house for a couple of quiet child free hours. We got to spend some quality time together, and Mike loved the indoor grilling book I got him. He has SO MANY ideas now for new things to try. The girls fell asleep on the way home, so we all got to go to bed at a reasonable hour. We dug the top tier of our wedding cake out of the freezer on Saturday to defrost and both had a piece we went to bed. It still tasted good.

Mike went back to the doctor yesterday, and got a copy of his records because we aren't satisfied with the quality of treatment he is receiving there. I read a copy of the MRI information that the company sent, and it mentioned some dehydration and bulging in a couple of spots. He was referred to an orthopedic doctor, so hopefully this doctor will be able to help.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Summer Time!

Finals are over, so it's time for summer! Hopefully, this means life will slow down a little bit so I can regain my sanity before classes start back up in the fall. I still have a bunch I need to get done this week. I'm definitely going to have to make a rather large list, so I know what I need to do.

I have a bunch of seeds that need to be planted soon so they will sprout on time. I have several different things to plant, but the only packets I can find are the peas and small pumpkins. The others are hiding somewhere in our bedroom. I guess I need to get it cleaned so I can find them.

We finally got Dianna and Hailyn a bunk bed and put it together on Saturday night. It took us almost 2 hours to put the whole thing together. It's all real wood, so hopefully it will last until they are at least in middle school. The top bunk held me, so they should be able to use it a while. The ladder is a little hard on the feet, so I am going to figure out some sort of padding to put on them. The only thing I don't like about the bunk bed, is it is lower to the ground than the old bed frame was, so we can't use the tall tubs we have to store the girls toys underneath the bed. I'm going to transfer the toys to the short tubs we have underneath our bed so they will fit.

I gave Genevieve some avocado for the first time tonight, and it went over well but she ended up wearing a bunch. She didn't eat all of it, but I didn't expect her to because it was 2 whole(small) avocados. I think it's time for a bath to clean up this little mess and hopefully calm her down some.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More Food and Other Going Ons

We started adding applesauce to Genevieve's cereal a couple of days ago, and boy is she LOVING it! She also gobbled up peas last night too. Genevieve liked that she was eating food, but I guess she didn't like the flavor. I think we will probably add some Nature's Seasoning to help it taste a little better.

Mike's back is still really bothering him and workman's comp still hasn't approved an MRI yet, so it's time to start calling and harassing them about it daily.

I've only been to class two times in the last two weeks, and I can feel how much lower my stress levels are. I turned in my English final VERY early this morning, and have a final each morning Monday through Wednesday. Grades look OK for now in every class except chemistry, so let's wait and see how they look after finals.

We are starting a small garden. We are going to try not to kill the fruits, vegetables, and flowers anytime soon. Mike wanted to just plant flowers, but I don't really see the point of planting anything if we don't get anything out of it...i.e. food or flowers that will last more than a year.

The fun has started with potty training Dianna, but no real luck yet. I think when she wakes up from her nap, I am going to stick her on the potty seat with her sippy cup so a going will hopefully be guaranteed.

I've also got some cute new pictures of the girls, but I can't find the damn camera cord so they will be posted as soon as I find it.

Added 5/25: The camera cord was hidden underneath the stuffed animals in the nursery.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Drug Problem

Editor's note:

The following letter has appeared on the internet and was viewed by many readers. Many felt it would be appropriate for the readers of Avoyelles Parish.

The other day, someone at a store in our town read that a Methamphetamine lab had been found in an old farmhouse in the adjoining county and he asked me a rhetorical question, "Why didn't we have a drug problem when you and I were growing up?"

I replied, I had a drug problem when I was young: I was drug to church on Sunday morning. I was drug to church for weddings and funerals. I was drug to family reunions and community socials no matter the weather.

I was drug by my ears when I was disrespectful to adults. I was also drug to the woodshed when I disobeyed my parents, told a lie, brought home a bad report card, did not speak with respect, spoke ill of the teacher or the preacher, or if I didn't put forth my best effort in everything that was asked of me.

I was drug to the kitchen sink to have my mouth washed out with soap if I uttered a profanity. I was drug out to pull weeds in mom's garden and flower beds and cockleburs out of dad's fields. I was drug to the homes of family, friends and neighbors to help out some poor soul who had no one to mow the yard, repair the clothesline, or chop some firewood, and, if my mother had ever known that I took a single dime as a tip for this kindness, she would have drug me back to the woodshed.

Those drugs are still in my veins today and they affect my behavior in everything I do, say or think. They are stronger than cocaine, crack, or heroin; and if today's children had this kind of drug problem, America would be a better place.

God bless the parents who drugged us. Especially you, mom and dad.