Thursday, October 29, 2009


It was one of those days... I was jostled out of bed far too early by the 3-year-old today... and obviously hadn't had a chance to get ready before she awoke. Addie woke up on the wrong side of the crib, and felt clingy and whiny (not like her at all). I tried to get ready, a little bit here, a little bit there... From pajamas... to new underware... to bra + underware... to jeans... to shirt. Nope, not that shirt. To different shirt. To socks. Whew - I managed to fully clothe myself today! 
After forcing them to eat breakfast, I had to drag two toddlers out into the chilly, rainy, muddy day to get to the credit union so as to pay the bills on time for the month's end. Warming up the truck; Running back to a puddle to gather up Myla and 'drop' her into her car-seat - I close her door. Chasing Addie as she makes the most of the few remaining precious seconds to splash as much as possible in her puddle, I fumble hurriedly to lock the 5-point-harness in her car seat around her. Run back around to Myla's side, and connect all the dots on her 5-point-harness. All the while, I'm getting wet - - and cold. Finally - both kids are secured, and I can climb in. 
En-route to our destination, I'm nearly side-swiped off of the road (in my desperate attempt to refrain from allowing the idiot who decided to veer into the right-turning lane while I was directly beside her - already there - HELLO?!) I slammed on the brakes, started for the ditch, and laid on the horn. I couldn't free the vehicle of the gravel - but finally found the pavement so that I could catch up to said idiot in an effort to make them fully aware that mamma-bear is AAAAANGRY now. Flickering high-beams (in an already enormously-over-sized-rig where headlights conveniently glare off of rear-view mirrors), and HORN as though it is STUCK.... I high-tale it up the ass of the stupid ass. I mean, we all make mistakes on the road/ have blind spots. I get it... But I have 2 babies in my car - and you HAD to have seen me there as you almost pushed me into the ditch. NO attempted brake, no hesitation whatsoever, and no swerving back out of my way... Seriously? REALLY? THAT pushed me to my limit today. 
Candy suckers at the credit union made for an interesting additional set of circumstances. I agreed that they could each choose one, if they waited until we got home to eat them. Addie took it upon herself to figure out how to unravel the tightly-wound wrapper, and darted off down the hallway of the building with the sucker already in her mouth. Ahhhh! So - upon taking it away, she screamed - literally - and it lasted the whole ride home. Lovely. I turned up the volume on the radio. 
They agreed to sit nicely once we arrived home, so as to avoid inevitable choking. (I have a serious paranoia about this.) But by the time they were finished consuming the suckers, the suckers had also effectively consumed each of them. These stains should be easy to remove later... Yeah right. 
Finally - nap time. I eat lunch, and pay the online bills, and figure out some other business. Later on, as dinner was nearing, Joel thought that perhaps we should enjoy a glass of wine this evening. It is, after all, Thirsty-Thursday! He was chatting with a gal at work who asked if I ever "get crazy being at home with the kids all day long..." He replied honestly, "Yeeeep. She does." Ha! Today was a prime example. She said that back when she was a SAHM, she (especially in winter time) took some extra vitamin-D supplements. She claims they worked wonders! So... with no vitamin-D readily on-hand (though I WILL be browsing Trader Joe's during our next visit for said vitamin!), we agreed that wine would be good. And it was!
After about a half glass... I was already feeling a little bit less on edge. Is there vitamin-D in this wine? No. But I think it had more to do with the humor I was experiencing at that point, rather than the effects of half-a-glass of wine! The girls, were each in my face as Joel put the finishing touches on our meal... I was holding one in each arm, because they wanted a sneak-peek of dinner. While perched there, they took the opportunity to rouse some laughter from deep within my belly, by participating in a synchronized little ditty - all about none other than POOPY! Imagine two bright-eyed, silly-faced, giggly little expressions mere inches from you, dancing their heads and shoulders back and forth while chanting repeatedly an already-funny English word, "Poopy! Pooopy! Poooooopy! Poopy! hahahahahah! Pooopy!" How can one refrain from laughing in a situation like that??? 
Just when I thought they had already turned my mood for the better with their silly giddiness, I was in for another fun folly. As we were prepping them for their bath, I groaned at the realization that even more of their clothing had been contaminated with Tootsie-Pop-laden-drool-stains than I had noticed initially. Bummer. Joel asked what the heck kind of sucker it was? I said, "A chocolate Tootsie-Pop... Right Myla?" She answered assuredly, "Yep! I had a shookie toc-a-pob!" Hearing this, Addie was quick to assure daddy that she too had had a "Pop Op, Op"! I was laughing again. This is why kids are worth the trouble. The benefits outweigh the drawbacks - (usually, anyway.) And when a significant source of your stress is able to also turn that stress upside down with laughter, you kind of have a good thing going. (Thank God!) 

TIP! Vitamins & Herbal, natural remedies can be just as effective, if not more so, than prescriptions and/or OTC meds -  at battling many various human ailments - from headaches to stress to sleeplessness, to tummy aches. Trader Joe's has a really reasonably-priced variety of many different supplements. Try a google search of whatever ails you, and I bet you can find lots of ideas.

A QUOTE: "While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about."  ~Angela Schwindt''

WHIDFML: Enjoyed those great laughs! You can't pay for this kind of humor. There's nothing so effective at beating stress either. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Is That a "No", or a "Maybe"??

So! It's my 'day-off'.
While in the process of dropping the kiddies off at Grandma & Grandpa's house, Myla started to show that she was feeling a little bit possessive of her toys today. Addie took a container that Myla had been playing with already... when Myla decided that she wanted it back. So, in true Myla-style, she panicked and had herself a classic mini-melt-down. Whining, and with an extreme sense of urgency, she bellowed, "I want that!!!!" She continued while the melt-down morphed into an all-out-tantrum. At this point, I got down on her level and reminded her that she needs to be a good big sister and share and take turns with Addie. I told her she'd have to be good if she wanted to play at Grandma & Grandpa's house. I reminded her to just ask nicely - and sure enough, Addie handed her the toy with no questions asked. As she pretended I wasn't even in the room while playing now, I continued, "Okay - so can you remember that you need to share with your sissy, and take turns nicely with her??" With wide eyes and an expression that made me flash-forward to Myla-at-age-thirteen, she cut me off asking, "Can you go home?!"  Uh-huh. I think I'll take that as - a no... or a maybe?? Dang. It sure doesn't qualify as a "yes"!  So, I assured her that I would indeed be going home - but ONLY if she promised to be good and share!!! Otherwise, she might be coming home with me... (HA, so there!) ;) 

Needless to say, I got a good laugh out of it. Yep... 3 going on 13. What we have to look forward to, right? 

TIP! Sometimes the 'threat' of having to leave a particularly appealing location due to bad behavior, will prevent it. Sometimes.

A QUOTE: "Discipline is a symbol of caring to a child. He needs guidance. If there is love, there is no such thing as being too tough with a child."  ~Bette Davis

WHIDFML: Enjoying this much-needed time to myself - no one under-foot today, no screaming, crying, fighting, force-feeding, cleaning food from the entire room after each meal, fear of waking babies at nap time, kids' songs in the background.... And, just having some time to THINK! (Or not think!) I'd be insane by now if I didn't have these breaks to look forward to. [Enjoying it - 'cause I won't get this next week. Might be time to find back-up for those occasions!]

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby Puke!

Actually - it's probably not what you're thinking...
I think back to before I had kids, (and I still see it happen around me now as well), how people 'change' once they make babies. To some extent, it's required, and good. But some aspects of it used to creep me out. I mean, I've known since I was 2 years old that I wanted to be "a mother". I've looked forward to it for years, and now I'm blessed with 2 little ladies that add to my feeling of fulfillment. But that's the point I'm getting to. I mean, it wasn't meant for us to spawn and then forget completely about who we are as an individual in order to be an effective parent. 
Don't get me wrong. I do understand the primary motivation for them to eat, sleep, and breathe their children, or place a photo of their child under their names on their social-networking sites... They are happy. They are proud. They are in awe of these amazing, funny, charming little people. I get that. I also get that we are inundated with our kids day in and day out in a way in which we truly could not have expected or prepared for until we were in the thick of it! But, what I don't get, is the fact that these people often seemingly can't hold a conversation that doesn't involve their kids! There is a difference between pride, and "this is all I know/ do anymore..." It's your name - and your child's picture. Yes - you can be proud of them. But you are not your child now. Perhaps a photo of you WITH your child is appropriate? Indeed! But I don't understand when people want to identify themselves that way.

I used to see it and think, or even say out loud to Joel, "PUKE! Don't let me turn into that... I want kids, but I don't want to lose my identity over it..." That's essentially what this whole blog is 'dedicated' to. I mean - we adore our babes - but we also have to remember that by becoming parents, we don't give up everything else about who we are. There's a line between selfishness and self-care. But if you ask me, that line isn't exactly thin. And don't forget, we are setting examples!

I know that I talk about my kids often. And even if I'm in conversation with someone about something completely non-kid-related, often they will ultimately instigate the transition in that direction. The girls are my most photographed subject, and they are where I place the majority of my efforts and activity daily. But I have a strong sense of self, and the desire to really continue to BE. I am determined to incorporate all of the other things that matter to me into my life. I recognize that I'm limited for the time being - because of the young age of my little dependents. And, they will always come first for me, of course! But I still have goals that don't include them - both short-term and long-term. I don't think this makes me any less of a mother. In fact, I think it strengthens my bond with the girls when I am with them, and it keeps me alive, energized, propelled forward, and happy. That can't be a bad thing for them to be around :) 

TIP! What's important to you? What do you value? If you didn't have children, what might you be doing right now? Really think about it - and make a list. Across from each item, think about ways that you can incorporate those things, or bits of them, into your life - either currently, and/ or in the future... Continue to add to it or make adjustments as you continue to grow along with your kids. This alone can help us 'get back into our groove', if we feel we may have been drowning in a swath of "baby puke"!  
Important to me:                              (Re)Incorporating it into my life:
~Alone-time                                    ~Wednesdays off thanks to my Mom & Dad in-law :)
-Time with Joel                              -Regular Date-Nights, arranging for sitters;  wknd nites=us
~FUN family time                          ~Regulate how many photo shoots I acquire; weekends-off are family-first   
-Time with the (big) girls              -Bowling nights! (Even if I'm just cheering this year)
~Photography                               ~Actively seeking business doing weddings, etc.

-Writing                                          -Mommy-blogging! (At nap time; girls nap together; also when I 
                                                         complete house-work, etc.

~Travel                                           ~Acquired camper; paying off debt; planning trip for 5yr wedding anniversary with just Joel; family camping trips annually; in next 2 years begin incorporating family-road-trips; when girls are older = more distant trips alone as a couple, & as a family; when Joel is able = annual winter trips; when girls old enough = longer winter trips (just Joel & I and/ or with kids when school is not a factor/ or they can remain with family members.) ARIZONA annually? - ehem, winter! :)

-Bubble baths!                              -Once finances are available: make my bathroom my own/ fix add tile/ find claw-foot tub/ update counter & make fit/ add more candles! One day: HOT TUB - outside, w/ TV for J & me

~Being Active (has to be fun!)     ~now, Winter:stationary bike in front of tube! Spring, Summer, Fall= daily river-walks with girls & biking (kid-trailer!); Once girls in school: more yard-work during days & dancing
-Bonding time with the lil' ones   -Currently = bonding-overload! ;) Get 'em to myself each day (aside from Wednesdays), and nite + weekends = team-effort with daddy home. Once school-age: special outings &projects on days off & all summer! (& weekends as a fam.)

** [Sorry for the crappy outlining of this. "Blogger" doesn't really allow for tabbing over, etc... and the way it looks as you type is not quite the way it looks once published. Groan.] 
This gives you a good idea... it's the bigger overall type of things that I've listed. There are lots of little things too - that get worked-in where applicable! For motherhood to be fulfilling to me - I have to be fully fulfilled... and that means there is more to it than solely mothering. While they are always my priority, I recognize the value & importance of staying true to myself along the way. I hope you will too! ~Cheers

A QUOTE: "It's not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can't tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself."  ~Joyce Maynard  (Brilliant!) :)

WHIDFML: Accomplished all of my 'duties' so that I can just do whatever I wish on my day-off this week! Happy sigh.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ooooone, Twooooooo, Fweeeeeee, Fooooouuur...

Really, it's almost like something out of a horror film! The house, is being taken over, by BUGS! It's like - their portal - between life as they know it now, and their return to life again post-winter. They huddle, they mate, they - crawl... EVERYWHERE. I mean - we're talking PILES here... big piles. (Outside, of course, but covering the house!)  They are Boxelder Bugs - and they are kind of cool, mostly. Now, I'm in no way fearful of bugs. I even really adore a few - like the above dragonfly! I'm not even creeped-out by the zip-speed centipedes or million-legged millipedes that roam through on occasion. Bees, june-bugs... The weird things with the long tentacles and gripper-feet that try to chase you to land on you - probably laughing wildly as you try with all of your might to brush it off while those little grippers grip... None of that really bothers me. I don't necessarily enjoy having bugs on me - but I also don't mind having 'em around. (Spiders are another story - but they are also in a different category: Arachnids. So there!) ;) However - when they are constantly hovering around YOUR home... your safety zone... your sanctuary... in those kinds of numbers - it's a little bit creepy after all. Thankfully this is only occurring over our fall seasons - which happens to be short-lived this year. :)

Myla used to be terribly afraid of anything that crawled. She would even see them on TV and scream/ cry, and/ or bury her face and whimper... Addie on the other hand, showed her, by - you know - eating one alive right in front of her!  It's truly amazing. These girls come from the same loins, same genetic make-up, and aren't even 1-1/2 years apart in age... but they are like night and day pretty much. Clearly, Addie is our tom-boy. But this seemed to slowly move Myla in a new direction with bugs. She'd still prefer to "stuish" them under her foot... but she isn't overcome with fear every time one happens along any longer. (This is a good thing, as we live in the woods along the creek, a couple of blocks from the river!) So I guess one ingested bug never hurt! And, it's all put back into perspective when the 21-month-old starts trying to count them... "Ooooone, twooooo, fweeeee, fooooour, Yay!" [insert clapping & cheers and giggles here.]  I also happen to be a big-fan of the baby-butt-hover - where they squat down and their buns just barely remain high enough to be off of the floor... Too cute! Addie tends to do that for close-ups of her bugs.

TIP! Filling a spray bottle with water and some dish soap, shaken, and sprayed around the perimeter of the house (and directly on bugs doesn't hurt either) helps get rid of 'em! Yippee - no gross chemicals either! Again, nothing against bugs... but find your own dang house and prepare for dormancy there! Now, if I could only figure out a way to rid myself of my fear of spiders.... Hmmmm. Although I must say - if they are even in the same room as my babies - they are as good as dead-on-sight!  So - I've gained strength in my momma-bear need to protect my wee-ones. I guess motherhood HAS made me stronger! :) Just please, no one attempt to eat a spider. Rather than cure me, I'm fairly certain it would be one thing that might just make me pass out. 

A QUOTE: "We hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics."  ~Bill Vaughan

WHIDFML: Looking forward to a good chat with a dear friend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Taking Care of Mommy!

Myla fully understands the concept of being sick now that she's 3, and pretty much has everything all figured out. (Didn't take her long, huh?) So, as the three of us girls played together in their "chicken table" (Translation: Kitchen Table, which means their play-kitchen), she proceeded to make a variety of goodies to 'help mommy feel better'. My favorite? A very special soup... Myla carefully 'poured' said 'soup' from the pretend container, into the mug, and stirred it with the little wooden ladle. Then, into the toy version of a toaster-oven it went. The little pink timer was set, and she located her mini-oven-mitt. She then carefully removed the very hot soup from the oven with her mitt, and stirred again. "It's very hot, mama", She informed me, as she proceeded to blow on it for me. (Awwww.) Handing it to me, along with an appropriately over-sized spoon, I thanked her profusely and asked what kind it was.... (Ready?)
"BLUEBERRY-CHOCOLATE-WINE-BRACELET SOUP!" Came her very matter-of-fact reply. I held back the laughter so as not to unwittingly stifle this imagination, or her sweet little spirit. I repeated it, just to make sure - and she nodded with a proud smile. I told her that it was the best soup I had ever tasted, and that I already felt better! (It was true. After hearing something like that  - how could you not feel better, right?!) This was my soup-for-the-soul today! Times like these remind me about all the reasons why I love kids! ;) 

TIP! Try as hard as you can to hold back the laughter in situations like the above - until you can at least make it seem like something else has set you off into laugh-ville! You want to encourage that imaginative creativity... and you don't want to chance making them feel bad. There are surely more good giggles to come out of temporarily holding back. You want to keep 'em coming! It's actually good for everybody :)

A QUOTE: "If you can give your son or daughter only one gift, let it be enthusiasm."  ~Bruce Barton

WHIDFML: Trying to decide between watching some tube, or taking a nap... both of which I rarely take part in. I have a cold - I can justify this ;)

Maybe THAT'S What She Meant!

My 3-year-old pitter-pattered her way energetically into our room this morning, after she awoke to find me still lying there. (Still fighting this cold... but I think it's winning now. Should'a tried more scotch/ brandy/ whiskey/ rum??? I'm really not a lush - I promise! Or this cold would be GONE.) 
While lying there in my bed - snuggled up under the covers, heads atop one pillow together, she looked at me inquisitively while patting me kindly on the head. "Mama", she began, "WHAT is your hair color called - it's so DARK! Why is your hair so dark??!!" 
Hahahahah! How cool is THAT? Maybe it wasn't the 'silvers' that sparkle in between all of that 'dark' that had captured her attention previously? Maybe. But in any case, now she was admiring the dark warmth of my naturally brown waves. She then asked what her color is, while pulling a few long strands outward in front of her so she could have another look. I explained that her golden-yellow locks were called "blond", and that mine is the color brown. 
It's funny because people have asked on a number of occasions whether my hair color is natural. I've had others support my cause when I explain that it is - as they reassure those questioning it with a reply that usually goes something like this, "Yep. It's natural - I noticed a few greys in there..." Hm. Thanks. Hahahaha - Whatever! It actually gets darker when I'm in the sun more often... (as weird and backwards as that seems.) This summer - (if you could call it that - I think we had a few months of spring, and then we jumped right back into winter...) -  I was out in the sun 20 times as often, now that the girls are at a point where we can all enjoy being outside together. Maybe the lessened stress overall, the increased vitamin D, my creative endeavors (photography and writing), and the pure joy of relaxing in the sun is 'reversing' my aging process - including my hair! So be it. ;) 

TIP! I've noticed a real difference in the softness & manageability of my hair since I started taking a women's multivitamin (from Trader Joe's - only $6 a bottle!) titled "Hair, Skin, Nails". Not sure what is in excess in there to help promote those areas of the bod, but I have seen it working! If I'm going to take a supplement anyway - might as well boost my hair and skin. (Though I hate long nails! I keep mine super-short... I think I've had to cut them more frequently since taking the vitamins. Still worth it!)

A QUOTE: "You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older."  ~Anouk Aimee

WHIDFML: Got about 9 hours of sleep last night! Maybe that will help me shake this cold? Here's hoping! Feeling pretty good otherwise - with that amount of sleep!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Can't Decide: LOUD Music, or Quiet.... Rattle the Windows, or Quiet?

Hows abouts both?! Works for me!
This was a delish afternoon. It was my 'day off' this week. One of few where I don't have oodles of errands lined up... I am fighting a cold. It's rainy-gloomy-drizzley-chilly. I have a day ALL to myself! YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS~
First thing this morning, I had decided I was going to come back home after dropping the kiddies off, and sleep!

Well, then I went and got a cleaning-bug up my arse. I DO love to wander about as though I have no responsibilities in a CLEAN-Oh-So-CLEAN domain. So, now that it's in said condition... I'm only enjoying myself that much more! So - here's what I did. I blasted the radio throughout the house during the cleaning process... 
Now, I'm sitting and reveling in - silence. (It IS so rare around here anymore, and I think it's quite good for the soul.) Isn't it amazing what we take for granted before we start spawning?! Plus, all this quiet gave me a chance to just think a minute... (MAN, what we take for granted!!) Now, with all of this thought ruminating around in my brain - I got the ol' writing-bug up my arse! It's a healthy bacteria, however - and so I welcome it's presence within. Candles are lit... I hear a soft "Oohm" in my head... Ahhhhhh. Yum.
My dinner tonight - was gluten-free mac-n-cheese! OMG - what a comfort food on a day like this!

JUST when I thought this day couldn't be any more pleasant - I remembered we have fresh apple cider, and a microwave! AND, I have Snickers candy bars (gluten-free)!! I think this might be nearing what they refer to as a state of euphoria. On some of my Wednesdays, I get to pretend I live in the wilderness, and I'm the only one around for miles, and I can pee in the woods if I want to! ;) 

TIP! Remember to carve out that me-time. Even if it's only for a short duration, try to fit in something for you every day. If you happen upon the occasional FULL day to yourself - try to make sure that they aren't always filled with fullness. Treat yourself to some laziness now and then. Good for the mind, bod, soul... 
A QUOTE: "Life moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."  ~Ferris Bueller
WHIDFML: I think this entire post is pretty much about what I've done for me 'lately'! Let's raise our mugs-o-hot apple cider and ~Cheers!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Worth A Shot....

Of Whiskey! 

Well, my bod finally gave way to the bug the girls recently got over. Thankfully, it was rather mild, and didn't last terribly too long. I think if it hadn't been for a recent stressor affecting my sleep... I'd have gotten by without the attack! But, it's here now.
Joel felt the pangs of a sore throat a couple of weeks back, while the girls were still showing some symptoms. He took a shot of Brandy one night - and felt remarkably good the next day! 
SO. When my throat became inflamed with the pinch of cold-onset, I immediately took action. However, the VSOP brandy that he swears by contains grain/wheat. So - I opted for the 30-year-old scotch we inherited a while back. We've been saving it for "special" occasions. (We're not big hard-liquor connoisseurs anyway.) I guess this was special enough. Worth a try - or a shot that is. 
Hm! Seems to have helped... I mean, it's no longer sore. It's scratchy... but my tea intake seems to alleviate that - at least temporarily. (Could it be the tea? Perhaps the combo did the trick!)
I'm having very limited symptoms still - and this is great! I can function, which is good - seeing as motherhood doesn't typically allow for sick-days. 

TIP! Hey, I'm in no way suggesting that alcohol is 'the answer' when it comes to ailing bods. But, if a shot of the hard stuff happens to kill off a few bacteria before they get the chance to further multiply, then who am I to argue? 
*For those other gluten-intolerant souls out there, be careful about things like "Emergen-C" brand vitamin boost powders. That one contains wheat, per the package. I have, however, heard that the popular brand Airborne is gluten-free!
*I still believe in the ability of that Aveda Comforting Tea to nip it in the bud too... I guess I jinxed myself by not buying a new bottle recently after discovering that it had gone up in price. Should'a, Could'a, Would'a... Will - next time! 
A QUOTE: "A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses."  ~ Hippocrates
WHIDFML: Slept-in (until the babes woke me) to help the whiskey & tea smother this bug in its tracks ... Now, off to Cheap Date Night with the hubby while a sitter takes on the babes! :) (Wonder if the Wine will help too... If nothing else, it helps alleviate the 'stressor' part!) ;)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Poop DOES Happen!

Over the weekend, the near-2-year-old reached a significant milestone. She pooped on the potty for the first time! 
She came into the bathroom and started to move a basket of things I had begun to store on the kid-potty - figuring it wouldn't be required for it's intended purpose for a while... I stopped her saying, "No honey, don't make a mess of that stuff." She insisted, "Potty!" So I asked her, "You have to GO potty?!?" "Ummm, Hmmmmmmm," Came her reply. OK. So I quick threw the basket off to the side, proceeded to strip her down, and sat her little buns on the kiddie-sized seat. She didn't do the usual "all done" thing right away - and was content being silly and hanging out while she sat... I thought that perhaps she really did need to go this time. Every couple of minutes, I'd reassure myself by asking her, "Do you still need to go poo-poo Addie?" To which she'd reply each time, "Ummm, Hmmmmmmm..." OK! So we played, and waited, and she was a trooper. Finally, following a red face, big grunt, and the sound of a subtle 'plop'... wallah! She had succeeded! 
Sugar goes a long way - especially in cookie form. We praised and rewarded and reminded her how big she is now - in an effort to maintain some momentum with this sudden and unexpected up-swing. The following day - she went twice -- in her diaper... BUT, she initiated the makings of her milestone, she recognized the signs her little body provided, and she knows what to do now! Maybe she can teach her big sister next??? I have confidence that she can ;) I haven't thrown in the diaper towel (again) - YET.

TIP! They say pressuring them is actually more likely to backfire when attempting to potty-train. Each kiddo goes when they are good and ready. My sister didn't do much of anything with her first child, and it completely worked to her advantage. One day out of no where, he said, "Mom, I have to go potty." So she ran to find the nearest restroom at the mall, and he's been "trained" ever since! That's what we decided to do with Myla - because the very idea of sitting on there - even just for practice - brings her to a Myla-Melt-Down. I already have a regular schedule involving force-feeding, and making the child sleep... Force-potty-training isn't exactly what I'd like to see added to the calendar. Perhaps the praise, pretty panties, and cookies she'll see her sister receiving will be motivation enough?? We may be plugging our noses, but we're not going to hold our breath over here. Worth a minimum of a try, however!

A QUOTE: (This pretty much applies to Addie already!) "The person who gets the farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare. The sure-thing boat never gets far from shore."
~Dale Carnegie

WHIDFML: I was having a craving - bad. I haven't had a cookie in FAR too long (damn gluten!) The gluten-free variety I had tried wasn't even what you could call a cookie, in all fairness. I asked Joel, "WHAT could possibly compare to and substitute a cookie?! Nothing's working." Before he could answer, I reminded Myla that when she goes trick-or-treating on Halloween, that she needs to share all of her Snickers with mommy - since they do not contain gluten. LIGHT-BULB! I knew if I had a Snickers (or 2?) - I'd be feeling a whole lot better about that cookie thing. Myla kindly offered, "Mama - you need a 'hinickers' so bad, don't you?! I'll go to the store with my Dad and get you a "hinickers'!!" - - Me: "If you're sure honey." ;) What a girl, and what a hubby. They went and had a bonding moment, buying mommy her much-needed candy bar! I reveled in eating the delish treat. (Have you ever seen anyone practically make-out with a candy bar before?! Well, now you've at least heard of it!!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Seeing the Benefits...

As the title implies, I'm already seeing benefits to being a stay-at-home-mom, (or at least a regular stable entity), in the lives of my babes. 
Sometimes, near 24-7 parenting (with a few scheduled 'breaks' in there) can be demanding to say the least - especially for balance driven folks like myself. 
I've been working at maintaining balance in my life - as while I am a SAHM, I also run a small side business. The business involves something that I love, so it's wonderful to have such an opportunity. But, I was hesitant to venture into being my own boss for the sole reason that everyone else I've witnessed do this - basically sold their soul to their work. 
I once worked for/ with a gal who was most productive when "her hair was on fire", as she put it. I never could comprehend this - because for me - that feeling was not only not motivating for me, but it was rather debilitating. I found that if I kept things on an even keel, and didn't feel like I was giving up other aspects of life that were important to me, I was (and am!) much more productive. It's like those people who put every part of their very being into their work - just don't get my take on it. This explains our falling-away, and my decision to continue to pursue what I love, without the 'boss breathing down my neck'. 
Of course this comes with some set-backs initially. It takes some time to get your name out there - and smaller businesses are generally just 'less trusted', if you will. I've taken great strides to protect myself and clients with legal contract design, insurance, and a steady flow of loyal followers who refer me to loved-ones seeking an artistic wedding photojournalist. (So grateful that they feel this way about me! 'Tis the best way to gather vendors for such an important day, surely.) 
There is value not only in being able to still work doing something that I enjoy when the opportunities are there, but also - in the ability to truly have a say over my schedule. I've been able to focus on my family in these first couple of rather trying years. Now, as things become increasingly easier on the home-front, I can gradually shift my focus for an even greater sense of balance between the two. 
Here's the thing. I can never allow it to shift too far, and tip the scales too greatly. I truly enjoy what I do. But I recognize that these early years with the kids are some of the most significant in developing a bond, trust, and stability. It means that we will maintain a special connection that should translate well to understanding when mommy does have to 'go to work'. Rather than being viewed as a disappointment by my babes, they will likely identify with the passion I feel about reveling in my photographic endeavors, and see that it doesn't diminish or take away from the passion I feel for them as well - even heightening that passion for them further.

Going back to a previous colleague... I can recall how many hours daily were being spent in-studio - away from home - and her kids. I specifically remember her little boy crying and distraught as he stated things such as, "Mommy has to work again?" "I don't want mommy to go to work." All of his innocent associations with mommy were seemingly based on an emotionally charged separation anxiety - even at the thought of the imminent future (recurring) separation. Even when she was at home, she spent hours 'perfecting' one single photograph, and that took away from her mommy-time that much more.  I knew right then that I didn't want to be 'that mom'. I don't mean to judge, and perhaps when she's at home with the fam - it's much better than what I've witnessed on just those few occasions. And, I think it is very important for us to do what is meaningful to us - so that we may be fulfilled, and be the best parents we can be. But, when we are able to balance work, and other aspects of life, with our kids' needs, we really are being the best parents we can be. 
I'm so blessed and thankful that I have this ability. My dedicated husband is largely to thank for this, as he is committed to maintaining our primary source of income so that my job can remain something that I will truly thrive on and enjoy, and won't feel regret over my involvement with. We are ever grateful that his source of work offers flexibility as well.

My little honey was surprised that after a recent appointment, I arrived home before her bed-time. She was overjoyed, and expressive about it. She said to me, "I love you so much - I love you when you are here with me! You're the best, mama!" No amount of money or "fame", or satisfaction in my work could ever compare to the gratification of hearing those words from my little person! 
I don't have to fret about leaving them with other care-givers in the family. I don't have to feel guilty for it either. It's very freeing. 

So - the point is in no way suggesting that you 'give up working to be there with your kids'. Balance is essential. The point is something more like, 'when you ARE there with your kids, truly BE with your kids. Again - balance is essential. Be a stable entity - and make the time spent with them count too.
TIP! If you mix it up - and allow yourself the opp to enjoy some things outside of the home, including earning a steady source of income, you can actually strengthen the bond between you and the babes - so long as you don't obsess over the outside 'sources' when you are with the babes. Work to live, rather than live to work! Balance, balance, balance...  This may also mean balancing your spending... If you strive to budget your finances, and prioritize accordingly, you can make adjustments to your work life if you feel it would be beneficial. (Certainly our current economical struggles mean that many parents are required to both work full-time outside of the home. But again - when the work-day is done, and you are with your family - really enjoy the moments. They'll notice!)  
A QUOTE: "Some people sell their soul to make a living. Others make a living in order to feed their soul."  ~ Yours Truly :)
WHIDFML: Really stood back and reveled in the adorable little people God has blessed me with, watching contentedly while they interact lovingly with one another - mimicking many of the words and mannerisms that we employ when interacting with them. (And giggling all the while - as it's about the cutest thing you could witness!)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You Are What You Drink...

... WHINOS! 

Well... I don't drink wine every day  - YET. But I have every reason to! First, as you know, I have two toddlers. Second, Dr Oz - medical celebrity - has assured me that in moderation, say a glass a day, it is extremely good for your bod. Now, how can I argue with that??? (I happen to think it's rather great for the psyche too.) So, until we find it in our budget to indulge daily, we'll make-do by starting with Thirsty-Thursday, and making our way through the weekend ;)

Aside from that - I begin each morning with a 18-oz glass of milk to wash down my vitamin. Me loves milk. MOO. If you're not a fan, you could try subbing rice milk or soy milk instead. They are a bit sweeter, and rather delish. You can also sub with juice or the like... especially if it's real (and not sugar-laden fakey stuff.) *Anything comprised primarily of water (without caffeine or alcohol content) is acceptable to count toward your 64oz daily intake. (I learned this while pregnant - my doc confirmed!) Like Gatorade? Groovy! Like decaff? Rock on! (Coffee is very good for you as well - antioxidants are yummy! And a non-over-dose of caffeine on occasion can only help us on our path to super-hero proximity on days when we don't think we can get out of bed, let alone avenge worldly turmoil.)

Now that it's friggin winter around here again already, I enjoy a warm cup (16oz!) of tea following that milk. I try to fill in the rest of the 64oz of liquid a day with actual water. I get this all accomplished before evening hours on the weekends - so that the alcohol-laden wine (alcohol is required for those beneficial effects per Dr. Oz!) can be consumed without worry. (Are you laughing WITH me?! Hahahahahaha. No worries HERE!) 

For me, water is not just water. It's recycled, which is good - in the sense that it is a resource that we would otherwise already be fresh out of. But seriously - how much of those chemical toxins in the meds/pills flushed down toilets, cleaners, soaps, etc, etc can adequately be 'filtered' from our taps? I believe they can eliminate a lot of bacteria via boiling/ reverse-osmosis/ whatevering... But there are just some things that I can't see them achieving yet with regard to the other. I do believe that tap water is better for us than no, or too little, water. I just have a hankering for that fresh spring water. Nothing is completely void of the crap we put into our air, water, and earth. The ickies that soak in through the ground surely find their way into the pure springs as well. BUT, it's just one step above what humans can accomplish if you ask me! So, if I'm going to buy water, I'm not going to spend our money on water that is boiled after being boiled. I'm going to spend it on the cleanest water available to us on the planet, which is then further purified to eliminate any ruminating bacteria. Drink Fresh ;) 

~ Buying spring water can be fairly easy on the budget, and pretty low-hassle. I buy the big 2.5 gallon jugs (Glenwood Inglewood) with the built-in dispensers/ taps. I stick one in the fridge, and one on the counter. If I'm cooking something (especially for the kids) where the water is absorbed into the entirety of the meal (ie: oatmeal, or mashed potato flakes, or tea for me) - I use the spring water on the counter top. If I'm just prepping something via boiling (ie: brats, or pasta), I use tap water. I then fill and re-fill bottles to drink during the day from the spring water in the fridge. I carry around a 34oz. water bottle. I know that after my milk, and tea, once I finish that big bottle of H2O - I've had my 64oz-plus for the day. And it's always there to travel with me. **This is also a great way to avoid using multiple plastic containers/ bottles. Just re-fill from the big jugs, and then step on them to flatten - and recycle! 
~ For cheap thrills when it comes to wine - shop Trader Joe's. They have a really great, circulating supply of wines that you can't find elsewhere, as well as much cheaper wines than can be found at other locations for huge mark-ups. By cheaper, I mean in price for the most part. Some of the really REALLY cheap stuff (ie:$3-Buck-Chuck) is also going to taste cheap. But overall, the remainder of their wines are phenomenal - and so many of our favorites range from $5-$7 a bottle!! 
~ One word: Teavana! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Check them out online first, and see what you think you'd like to try. I really appreciate how their brochure breaks down the different types of teas and explains their benefits, caffeine content, and offers suggestions. 
**Also - if you start to feel a cold coming on - try Aveda's Comforting Tea. The price recently literally doubled ($24/ jar - but lasts a long time) because now it's also certified organic - but it's great at warding off illness, or at least helping diminish symptoms, and will hasten the healing process if you fall victim to a bug anyway. It's caffeine free - so you can drink it at night to help clear up nasal passages (peppermint & licorice root!) Joel & I like having a jar on hand for just such occasions. (We need more, but man - literally DOUBLE the price. Ouch. Probably worth it though. Especially this time of year!) 
~ Organic Milk = best deal at Target! It's the Acher Farms brand that sells for the best buy. I love the flavor, and it often goes on special for an even better price-break. Plus, Target is everywhere! 

A QUOTE: " Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used."  ~ William Shakespeare

WHIDFML: Joel and I are going to 'splurge' and purchase a few bottles of our favorite wine during a traditional Halloween outing with the kids at a nearby MN apple farm & winery very soon. :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Boo Who?

So - those spendy $$ tags on the department store Halloween costumes got you down?? I hear ya... Well... guess what! I know a pretty cool little dealy :):) Seriously - the best place to get a child's costume (especially for little kiddos - less variety beyond roughly age 6) is Once Upon A Child. They only buy gently used items - no staining or other flaws accepted, and they had a boat-load! Plus, if what you have in mind isn't at your location, you can buzz around to other nearby locales to check them out too! I think the most expensive one I found was $6 or $7 - lots of variety. They are getting in many now from last year, and people are also looking for this year... so it just keeps getting recycled.  Love that!

Another little known secret about Halloween-on-a-budget can be found at Savers. When it comes to costumes and other fun Halloween accessories (make-up, wigs, stockings, masks, etc, etc) - they do maintain pretty darn reasonable prices on all the goods (many of which are new)! 

If you get stumped, and can't find what you want... or if your kids are older - you can browse the items at Good Will. It's still cheaper there than brand-new, and they have plenty in all sizes - including adults! But you have to be more careful, as they do accept stained and torn items there.

I recommend starting at the top of my little list, and working your way down it in the order provided. Between the 3 stops, you're bound to find something you & your kiddos love! There - Halloween's not so scary anymore, now is it? ;)

TIP! Around this time of year, Once Upon A Child begins taking the fall/ winter discards. Bring in your kids' costumes from last year, and get some $$ for them (along with any other out-grown items in good condition that fit the season.) Use that $$ and check out the selection for this year. You find something wonderful, and it's basically an exchange! :):) 

A QUOTE: "Hold on, man.  We don't go anywhere with 'scary,' 'spooky,' 'haunted', or 'forbidden' in the title."   ~Shaggy, From Scooby-Doo

WHIDFML: Had fun browsing the adorable and hilarious selection of cute kids' costumes!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

If You're Happy and You Know it, Press One Button to Dial Your Phone!

Just have to share. This guy has the right idea! It's all about attitude... 

It's intentional. It's a choice. You can BE HAPPY! :) 

Copy & Paste to browser: 

Embracing Change

My initial response to the snow in early OCTOBER?? Something like this, "Geez Louisssse (new swear-word)....REALLY? SERIOUSLY? COME ON....... Sweet sassy molassy (new swear-word) - what happened to fall?!" 

My little girls' responses went something more along these lines, "YAY! Ooooooh, SNOW! It's pretty! Can we go outside? Can we go sledding? Can we throw snow?! YAY snow!" When we did go outside to find snow remaining, the above replies were followed closely by rampant running and flailing in all directions & no particular direction, coupled with persistent squeals of glee. I had to smile too.

Here's the thing. We can't change it - so why not make the most of it? I allowed my mind to drift away into fantasy-land where glowing fires provide warmth and ambiance, and certain songs incite certain other fantasies. (I couldn't help but go there - with a Christmas song... but dang-diggity (New swear word substitution! You like it?) - it should be considered a WINTER song! I love it, and if it's going to snow, then freak-a-leak, I'm going to enjoy my snowy, romantic song! Baby It's Cold Outside - Dean Martin (Paste following link to browser for a listen!)

I'm generally not only open to change, but I welcome it. I've never been one to settle for anything less than what I really desire from life... And that requires change. Of course, there are certain things that we can't change, like the weather. But attitude - that is always in our control. (Well mostly. Sometimes emotions - or hormones - do take over. That's why I don't do hormones. Been there, done that, over it. But I do understand my girlz ["girlz" with a "z" = older gal-pals - friends & fam, and will eventually apply to my babes one day] when they get charged up.) Change in general can be really fun and keeps things exciting. I don't necessarily want 6 months of winter... but I'm going to make the most of it where I can! 

TIP! Two things aided in my appreciation for the early snowfall... 1) I'm a photographer. I had a wedding. It made for some new favorite photos! 2) I have babies. Bring your kids out to play in the snow for a while, and you'll find a new-found enjoyment of it yourself.  **Put on their mittens - the ones with the waterproof outer lining... cause "Baby It's Cold Outside..." (and wet!)

A QUOTE: "The only thing constant in life is change."  ~A response from a boss I used to have when I gave him my 2 weeks notice... he's wise. This stuck with me for many years. :)

WHIDFML: Enjoyed watching my little girls get dizzy with excitement their first time playing in the snow this year.

What's That in Your Hair, Mama?

HA! I had been thinking (hoping) that my own "silver-lining" had not been so noticeably obvious... But when a 3-year-old asks why you have 'another color in your hair with your brown'... you know it's there. 
I had to laugh. I mean, she's 3. She's innocent. She's observant. She's honest. Can't blame her for being rude, and pointing out the obvious, right? ;)
I responded with honesty too. I mean, we've already acknowledged the elephant. So why try to throw a doily on it now? "Mama's gettin' old I guess... but I think it's actually more linked to stress than age darling, and you have a hand in that." HA! Sure...

So, I spin 30, and haven't felt better in my life than I have all year! It appears, of course, something's gotta mess with that, right? I started to ponder whether I should consider some fun color strategies. I did enjoy the auburn hue I had tried a couple of times just before getting married. It was mainly for fun, and the wedding... because I worried that it pretty much mangled my hair. I finally have hair I'm happy with - so I'd rather not mess with it's delicate tendencies by frying it with chemicals (chemicals that go against my green-motto, btw!)
Hmmmm. I'm brought back to a convo with a friend who assured me that he felt I'd "still be pretty with grey hair..." This is reassuring - especially coming from a (hot - and honest & insightful) guy. But, what about the in-between stages? Maybe I can just get those root-touch-up kits and add some highlights to the hightlights? HA! I tried a home kit once. That's all I have to say about that. 
SO, if hot guys think their visions of me bearing greys are "still pretty", and little girls can follow up statements about silver hair with a hug and a "you're the best mommy I've ever seen!" - then I suppose I should just grin and bear it. Okay, I accept! Bring it on!!! I'll look wiser, and actually - probably a little bit more like my age. (Maybe I won't get carded at the casino anymore!) See, there's always a silver lining - even to your silver lining. 

TIP! Think of yourself like a painting that is continually evolving... The artist (God, anyone?) keeps coming back and adding layers. You develop into an even more interesting, beautiful, and detailed piece of work as time passes. We're not aging, we're evolving works of art! A splash of grey and a laugh-line... all part of the deepening of the meaning behind the painting. 

A QUOTE: "Motherhood has given me plenty of grey hairs, but hardly noticeable compared to the smile lines."   ~ My cousin, Tracy Walker :)

WHIDFML: I bought some new mascara. I mean, it seems small, but really - it is the little things that should matter, and often do for me. I have big, round, child-like eyes when my lashes aren't given a bit of oomph. I already appear to many people to be an average of 10 years younger than I actually am... I suppose I'll appreciate that when I'm like, 60. But for now... I like to appear old enough to drive (okay - slight exaggeration there! It's getting better - with the silver hairs and all.) Maybe when I'm 60, or when my hair is completely void of color, I can give up the mascara! :)

The Conversion...

A friend was inspired (hooray!) by my Green-Machine post... ("When the Dog Bites, When the Bee Stings...")
She presented me with a very good question regarding the availability of non-toxic disinfectants. I've not come across any such phenomenon yet... but I have found a new blog in my pursuit, that you might also find interesting if you are looking to go green.    (Copy & paste into your browser, or locate the link in the right-hand column of this blog.)
Per the above link/ blog: 2 spray bottles, one each containing hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar... spray one immediately after the other. Can be used on veggies and fruits even! (Hooray again!)

TIP! Sometimes the best resources are the 'ever-day' people... (Not some hyped-up, over priced ad for a product you don't know whether or not to trust.) If you have a Q - type it into the google search - and presto! While some weeding & reading will be required, I have found that the more often I search a topic, the more efficient I become at weeding things out based on the relevance of the print shown in each option on the list... Found the above blog in about 1-2 minutes! WHAT did we DO before the WWW???

A QUOTE: "Mrs Joe was a very clean housekeeper, but had an exquisite art of making her cleanliness more uncomfortable and unacceptable than dirt itself."  ~Charles Dickens

WHIDFML: Joel and I celebrated with some drinks, tunes, & laughs on Saturday night after the completion of a successfully awe-inspiring wedding shoot. We need to just 'hang out' like that more often - without distractions - such as babies, or tv, or - or - or...................  

Friday, October 9, 2009

Damn 4-Letter-Words!

It's kind of funny, actually. Joel used to be one of those guys who incorporated swear words into his version of the English language, as part of his daily attempt at effective communication. I used to RARELY use any of this nasty language... and when I did, I was usually by myself and could blurt it out softly - knowing no one else would know! 

I had pestered him for years, reminding him that this was so unnecessary... and that his language was, well, kind of shitty. When we were expecting our first baby - I warned him vehemently about the baby's ability to hear our words early on, and how he should probably 'practice' using select words less frequently before the baby's arrival. 

Then, we had babies. And, Joel miraculously stopped using hideous language to get his points across! WOW. Even crazier than all of that - was the fact that I STARTED using the hideous language! WHAT? Yep.... I had kids, and my mouth started to become a means for eliminating pent up frustration and stress. The tables have turned, and now Joel nags me regularly - reminding me not-so-gently, "Hey, watch your mouth please." It's so ironic! I don't mean to - really I don't. I still think it's pretty gross - especially coming from a girl. (Not sure why, it just is!) 

But here's the deal. My kids made me do it! Hahahaahaha! It was subordinate-pressure! HA! If it wasn't for all of the daily chaos and crazies - I'd be that sweet-spoken lady again. I've developed a kind of appreciation for these key terms, as they really do allow opportunities to enunciate certain valid points, and render emotion. They can help represent a certain mood, and draw attention to the importance of a given situation. But more than this, IT'S WAY CHEAPER THAN THERAPY!  There is a quote sent to me by a friend recently that sums it up nicely: "Therapy helps... but screaming obscenities is faster and cheaper!" Yeah - THAT's why I took up this new hobby around the same time that I took up parenting. It all makes sense now, doesn't it? This is your brain. This is your brain on kids... Any questions?

New motivation; I really SHOULD start to be more conscientious about when and where I let it all out! Addie is really in her mimicking stage now, and repeats nearly everything that we say. I'm already receiving phone calls from future teachers in my mind... It's not pleasant conversation. I'm actually pretty good about making sure I don't do it in front of the girls - but when I get really frustrated (and that's usually the trigger anyway), look out! This bitch is bound to fuckin' piss someone off with her damn cursing shit! SO, that said, I plan to use this stage of growth in Addie, to ignite a new stage of growth in me - and kick the habit. (Unless it brings me to therapy - in which case, to hell with that bullshit!) ;)

TIP! Don't be a hypocrite! I'm usually very keen on avoiding that - but this time I must admit. Here are my new favorite words as were recently discovered on an online poll website. (The ones in white are my real faves!)

Sweet sassy molassy
Jeez Louise

 A QUOTE: "I'll leave the swearing to the Jane Fondas"  ~Irene Dunne

WHIDFML: Laughed. Hard. With vigor. 


What typically comes to mind when we think of the word 'lullaby'? 
I think that most folks probably envision a very serene, solemn moment where child is cradled lovingly in the arms of parent, eyelids heavy with fatigue (on child AND parent!), while a mellow, comforting tune is being hummed or sung softly in a dim light. 

Personally, however, I can't help but laugh as I recall what takes place in the dimly lit, cozy little room where my babies finally succumb to the powers of the sleep-monster each evening in our house! Inevitably, more chaos ensues, and "mellow" or "solemn" definitely do not fit the description of this scene whatsoever...

First, we must catch the almost-two-year-old as she tries to escape our grasp, kicking and screaming wildly in high hopes of successfully evading the evil monster of sleep. 
Second, we pry the fingers of the 3-year-old from her bed rails/ balance maintainers, as she jumps erratically, squealing defiantly, all with an energy level you would come to expect any sleep-avoiding child to demonstrate right before bed. 

Once we each have one encapsulated (captured) in our loving (and tightly gripped) arms, we begin the favored 'lullaby'.  "Twinkle twinkle little..... Stinkle!" [insert wild screams and laughter from the children here.] Daddy is required to incorporate the word 'stinkle' into this classic as many times as possible to avoid crying from the 3-year-old. Mommy, on the other hand, is not allowed to say this word, and must stick to the original script. We sway, the girls try to gouge out one another's eyes and tickle one another. In between the whimpers, whines & laughter, we try to just roll with this - because that distant light is growing nearer and brighter; SOON, the kids will be in bed. 

Seriously - that fly on the wall thinks we're all insane, and I'm pretty sure that he's at least partly right in his evaluation. But at least he understands why we are nearly exhausted by the time the kids are finally under the control of the scary sleep ogre. Now, the ogre is after US too! 
AAAAHHHHHHH! Oh what the hell - Here, take me away to sleepy-land. Lord knows I need it!

TIP! We've never been able to literally just lay our kids down to go to sleep... not without hours of strife to follow, anyway. But we found that when we created a routine involving 'cradling' them to sleep via a nice, quiet, lullaby (ehem)  - they are at least somewhat accepting of their nightly fate.  Whatever works - no - I mean, whatever HELPS!

A QUOTE: "Insanity is hereditary. You can catch it from your kids."  ~Erma Bombeck  (In honor of a compliment-too-kind!)

WHIDFML: I'm going to enjoy watching some beloved Forensic Files online during baby naps today! I've missed them. I just have a hard time conceptualizing or really truly understanding anything scientific... so it amazes me to see how they solve crimes in this way. Must be that art-brain thing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I Don't Get It...

Seriously! How do the truly-family-friendly, moral-teaching, thought-inducing, life-prep type of cartoons like Franklin wind up canceled?? Then,  they can get away with making the snotty, adult-humor-encompassing, sarcasm-training kids cartoons such as Bratz, or even Sponge Bob?? Those take off like fire fueled by gasoline, and the really cute, non-annoying, sweet ones, with decent music - drop like flies. So sad. What is this world coming to?!? I SOOO miss cartoons like Tom & Jerry, and Road-Runner - and all kinds of great Warner Bros & Disney/ Mickey & Minnie kid flicks. I heard a rumor that those were taken off the air because they were 'too violent'. Okay - has anyone ever SEEN the cartoons they make now?? Those oldies-but-goodies were centered around fictional characters (animals?!?) with silly circumstances to overcome - I never once considered it violent. And really, how is Pokemon, and others like it, NOT considered violent?? Could someone please define violence for me? 

As of right now, we don't have cable television... It's saving us lots of money every month. But now, I realize too, that it probably saves us a lot of unnecessary 'filtering' decisions. The cartoons on Qubo and TPT are always very uncorrupted, and even teach life-lessons as well as math, science, and other helpful brain-boosters. I used to think that one day when we had time to actually watch TV,  we'd decide to get cable again - so I could enjoy some of the faves found on those special, expensive little channels. But, the more I think about it, this may be worth not re-incorporating into the day-to-day again after all. Plus, I'd have to become adept at figuring out the techy way to 'block' certain stations/ shows... only to discover that it would probably leave us with about what we have now, sans-cable, anyway! More hassle, more money... not seeing a lot of value in this right now! I may change my mind again one day... because having cable also means more baseball and more Forensic Files... Definitely not the most kid-friendly show (at least not my current age of children), but by the time we decide to delve into the world of 212 channels again, they'll practically be adults! ;)

TIP! Many things can be viewed online now. Even when we don't have time to watch our favorite shows during the week - we have a 'date' - and watch the latest episode(s) on the computer on Friday nights after the girls are sleeping. SO, now we just have to figure out how to 'filter' what's seen on the computer. We have time for that yet! 

"The test of morality of a society is what it does for its children."  ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

WHIDFML: I just looked online and realized that Forensic Files is available there! Woohoo!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What We Won't Do to Get Our Kids to Sleep!

Well.... How many times do we have to be doubled-over in pain before we finally talk Myla into the fact that the baby-gate isn't going to keep those dragons away anyway?
Too many...

Picture if you will, a closet door, where while open, takes up nearly a quarter of the little bedroom shared by two toddlers ~ (2 cribs, hello!) Now picture this! No more door, and a nice curtain dangling from a rod above the frame... Sweet! Well, in the wild world of dragons who come out of closets at night, not-so-sweet. Apparently, they aren't afraid of curtains. Damn!
So Daddy comes up with a seemingly winning solution. He proceeds to extract the baby-gate from it's burial in the closet, and places it across the door frame in front of the curtain. Brilliant!

Until... we learned about just how athletic we'd need to be in order to effectively jump (stumble over) this hurdle with each closet entry (and exit!)

Daddy practically broke a toe. Mommy acquired 2 bruised knees. Daddy fell on top of the dresser on the other side of the "door" (curtain). Mommy almost fell - but thankfully the gate broke loose and torpedoed across the room instead - leaving her still fearing the worst while she agonized over the pain in her back for the rest of the night. (Luckily, it seems to be okay this morning.)

We kept moving the curtain behind the gate (so we'd remember it's existence as we entered), and then back in front of it again (so as to recall it's existence upon exiting the closet)... After I unwittingly punted it to the opposite wall while staggering to maintain balance and avoid feeling my head pouncing the opposite wall in the gate's wake, I decided - it was no longer worth it! The gate had seen its final means of utilization. No longer would we attempt to employ it for anything other than its intended purpose ~ keeping little PEOPLE out of dangerous locales. 
We thought we'd been pretty sly about it, as this final blow came to a head while babies were in the bath under daddy-supervision, and mommy attempted to prepare fresh clean jammies and the like... But no. Myla is one of the most observant individuals I've ever known. She'd notice the most minute changes to her environment, even as a tiny baby! So of course, she announced that this would not do. In her sparkly little eyes, the beloved gate had impeded not only mommy & daddy's entry & exit from this storage space, but also those hideous, kid-eating dragons that lurked in the darkest corners of the walk-in closet that ranks close in size to the room itself. Damn again!
So, we had a pep-talk, and as it turns out... dragons are fearful of space-heaters, and night-lights, and comforting music, and all the wonderful things that dangle about in the room-o-toddlers at night. Do you suppose the fact that Myla was out of bed at least half a dozen times last night before falling asleep was merely coincidental? Probably. (Yeah, sure.) I'm starting to feel like a dragon myself... at least in the way of my own fire-breathing-snarl!

TIP! Don't let your toddlers watch Care Bears Movie 2, A New Generation, unless you are 199% certain that Dark Heart the Dragon will not impede their sleep habits. Also - the fact that Monsters, Inc. is happy-ending-monsters-make-you-LAUGH-Disney-flick, doesn't stop little imaginations from fearing something scary living in there regardless. Should have waited until at least age___??? Yeah. Exactly. (Maybe age 18?!?)
A QUOTE: "One need not be a chamber to be haunted; One need not be a house; The brain has corridors surpassing Material place.  ~Emily Dickinson 
WHIDFML: I got most of my 'chores' done this week, and am looking forward to a walk and some time to relax today - while the babes are at Grandma & Grandpa's house.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Girls' Night Out!

Such a great way to break away - and come back refreshed and ready to tackle the daily do's again the rest of the week...

One night a week, a bunch of friends meet as part of a bowling league. I was afraid to commit to the full 32 weeks this year yet... 
A) I still have 2 babies at home!
B) I am prone to migraines, and hadn't bowled in so long that I wasn't sure if it'd trigger it or not....
C) Also prone to carpel tunnel in the wrist - ever since pregnancy (though much less frequent now.) 
D) We have some financial obligations to work out before I can justify spending that much money to bowl for the year. 
(Just a few things holding me back, huh?) 

But here's the deal - every team needs a couple of subs on stand-by ~ so I signed up for that! It's a one-time fee of $19 bucks, and if I can't do it, it's likely that someone else can. It's only on an as-needed basis. 
In the meantime, I get to go and hang out there with the girls each week, have a drink, cheer them on, and socialize. It's fab! If I can't make it one night for some reason, I'm not interfering with anyone else... It's the perfect way to ease into it.
I got to sub last time - and had no ill-effects! So if next year I feel it'd be cool to commit, I'll know I won't suffer headaches or wrist tenderness. (bonus)

TIP! If you commit to too much at once, you'll feel overwhelmed instead of energized by and looking forward to the outings - even if the commitments are fun-based. Choose one or two things that you'd really enjoy doing, and keep things spaced out enough that you don't become overloaded. Too often, too many of us forget how to say 'no' - or feel pressured by society or others' expectations, and wind up feeling run-down. What good are we to anyone if we are already beat?! I learned this from experience myself. Won't do it again :) Life's too short. 

A QUOTE: "Sometimes the cure for restlessness is rest."  ~Colleen Wainwright

WHIDFML: The other night, I was chilled to the bone from several days of wet, cold, rain... I mentioned how nice it'd be to have that hot-tub we hope to acquire one day... Joel said he'd put the girls down if I wanted to relax in a hot bath. I jumped all over that! Oh man, it was soooooo relaxing, and I slept great. (Got the blood flowing again!) That was one of the most thoughtful things! Simple, cost him nothing, and offered me a little break and some time to myself to do nothing but relax.  (Maybe the husbands should read these blogs too, huh?? We can hint...)