Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dear Home Depot Dude:

I realize that this is probably not your dream job.

I understand that mixing paint on a Monday night is most likely not your idea of a fun time.

I can imagine that there are a hundred other things you'd rather be doing.

However, I do feel inclined to point out that you do get PAID to be there, mixing paint on a Monday night.

Therefore, it is usually in good form to perform the task you get paid for in a timely manner to the best of your ability.

Even if you'd rather not be there.

Please know that standing at the paint counter at Home Depot on a Monday night is not my idea of fun either.

Especially with four children in tow.

It's REALLY not their idea of fun.

I don't expect you to understand this now, but someday you will:  Where kids and home improvement are concerned, it's best to just get in and get out.  As fast as possible.

So I think it would be awesome if we could just strike up a little agreement.

The next time I come into your store with my kids (which won't be for a LONG time, I promise), I won't bother you with silly questions about whether or not I really need primer,

and in return it would be cool if you'd maybe just put your personal phone call on hold long enough to get to the counter in under 15 minutes, and pretend to show some interest in the fact that I'm standing there.

I think we'd all be much happier.

Because I could get in and get out.

And you wouldn't have to spend the rest of your night restocking the paint samples after my kids got to them.

Sorry 'bout that.

They had to do SOMETHING and that was better than the alternative.

Trust me.

So do we have a deal?

Sincerely, Frazzled Mom (AKA "I used up all my patience on my kids so it's best to not test me")

Monday, June 28, 2010

Community? Or Something Else?

I recently read an article in an old Baby Talk magazine that really made me take notice.  The author was discussing the new (at the time) phenomenon of parents (mamas specifically) becoming addicted to the internet.  Several reasons were cited for the surge in mamas seeking out the internet to pass their time, but the most glaringly obvious reason stated was isolation.  An expert in the field of addiction recovery was quoted in the article saying that after giving birth, many women feel like they've given up their identity to the all-consuming role of "mother".  It's a sense of loss in new mothers that drives them to recreate their former identity online.

I've personally seen this over and over again in the online world, and even succombed to it myself at times. When I take a step back and force myself to examine what it is that drives me to the internet again, ultimately the word that emerges at the top is always Community.  It's a catch word that is used with high frequency, particularly in the blogging world and among message boards.  It's a good word.  I believe in it, particularly for mamas who find themselves caught in the day in, day out, never ending cycle called parenthood.  It's the reason I come and write on this blog in the first place.  At the heart of it, I think community in the online world is a good thing.

But, can there too much of a good thing?  I know for myself, it was a jolt of reality when I realized a few years ago that the people I considered my closest friends were in fact women I had never met in person before.  They knew of my struggles in balancing a large family, they were the first to hear of my surprise pregnancy, they were privvy to all my fears, inadequacies, my victories and my joys.  Outside of my husband, I relied primarily on these women behind my computer screen to restore normalacy and my sense of identity.

And while I have indeed created some meaningful and lasting friendships with some of these women, the fact remained that while I was investing time in my virtual community, I was largely ignoring the community right outside my front door.  The anonymity of the internet makes it easier to create connections I suppose.  I feel braver, to speak of my inner thoughts and feelings, behind the safety of my computer screen.  There's no reason to hold anything back, as I don't interact with these online friends on a real time, in real life basis.  Maybe it's just easier to be the real me.  Often I think the fear of rejection is what keeps women from trying to connect with other women they see on a daily basis.  Because often it seems that "everyone else" has it all together, while I know I do not.  

One day in the online world will show you that, in fact, no one has it all together.  There are countless blogs alone that detail the daily failures of mamas.  The realness that the internet allows women is what keeps pulling them back.  And so I guess my question is, if we've proven through blogs and message boards and other social media that in fact we mamas all have struggles and fears, we all make mistakes and we all are clueless at times, and that common ground is what keeps us returning to create relationships with these online friends, then why can we not apply the same thoughts to our "real life" ?

I've written before about the wonders of the internet and how I believe it's given mamas an amazing outlet and connection that before didn't exist.  And I still strongly believe that in the right amounts it can mean the difference between surviving motherhood and a thriving motherhood.  I suppose reading that post and this one back to back can seem like a contradiction.  But it's just food for thought.  Something I continue to face and think about, and something that I am pretty sure other mamas face as well.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.  Do you feel you personally achieve a healthy balance between online community and "in real life" community?  What steps do you have to take to maintain that balance?  Or do you totally disagree and see no need to pursue relationships outside of the online world or not feel that internet addiction when it comes to community is a real thing?  Is it really bad to leave laundry in the dryer and dishes in the sink in favor of engaging in online relationships every once in awhile?  Is there anything wrong with your closest friends being "internet" friends?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Quick Mom Blogger Plea!

My dear friend Melissa is the author of the inspiring and amazing blog 
If you are looking for fun, healthy and waste-free lunch ideas, this is the blog for you!  Definitely go check her out.  Isn't she cute?

BUT FIRST!  She has been nominated for The Babble's 50 Best Mom Food Bloggers.

I would love you forever and like you for always if you would pop over HERE and vote for her!  All you have to do is find her blog in the listing (it's easy if you sort it alphabetically) and "Like" her.

Thank you so much friends!  And enjoy her blog!  It's one of my favorites!  Her passion for making her kids food that's healthy for them AND the environment overflows into her blog and is inspiring and motivating at the same time.

Sorry, More Tomatoes

Just look at this luciousness

I think I might be in love with my tomato plants

Or at least serious like

I'm ok with that

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Summer Puke

Le Stomach Bug has descended upon The Planet Pink once again.  Sigh.  We had a really good run of health, only to be cut off at the 3 month mark by all things nasty.  As soon as I heard the words, "honey, Princess #2 just threw up everywhere", I knew we were in for a looooooong week.  Why is it we can't get the princesses to willingly share ANYTHING except stomach bugs?

So, unless you want to be entertained with gross stories of puke and other unpleasantness, I don't have much to share.  We did have one humorous moment in which hubby and I heard from the living room Princess #2 declare to Princess #3 in a rather annoyed tone:  "Stop BREATHING on me!".  Ah, brings back memories of childhood doesn't it?

We are resting up this weekend in hopes of a healthy and productive week ahead.  In the meantime, Chelsea over at Adventures in Vandyland honored me with another blog award.  How fun!

Random moment:  is this quote from a movie?  I (quite nerdily - is that a word?) googled it but came up with nothin'.  Seems like it should be....

ANYWAY, I'd love to pass this award on to 4 brand new (to me) blogs I've discovered in the past week.  

Be sure to check these ladies out!  

And let me leave you with a bit of advice.  Mamas do not get sick days.  Ever.  If you and your hubby (or significant other) ever decide to get sick on the same day, it will ALWAYS be THEM that gets sick worse, and thus by default you will be called upon to not only care for your own sick self, but also for your gaggle of children who, by the very nature of Murphy's Law, will NOT currently be sick enough to stay in bed and sleep all day like little angels, but rather only be sick enough to whine and complain when you don't get them food quickly enough or put in the right movie.  Thus leaving you feeling like death warmed over by the time you drag your tired, sick body to bed and lay down next to hubby, who has been sleeping his sick off all day long.  Consider yourself warned.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Conflict: The Inner Turmoil

Several weeks ago, I wrote out a whole blog entry related to a situation hubby and I were dealing with, and then deleted it. It felt good to get it out, but not exactly appropriate to share with the whole world.  It led to this post which sat unfinished in my "drafts" folder for probably a month.  I ran across it yesterday and finally finished it.

What I discovered during my little "venting" session, is that I spend so much time helping my princesses learn how to navigate relationships, and yet it's so very hard to actually put those things into practice in my own life.

Adult drama doesn't seem to occur as often as child drama, but when it does it's bigger, meaner and more conniving. And I hate that. Did no one's parents teach them what to do when confronted with a conflict? Did no one carry those lessons into adulthood?

I don't have alot of experience with confrontation because I tend to avoid it. Oh I'm REAL good at running off my mouth and giving people a piece of my mind - when I'm at home alone or have hubby's ear cornered. But actually in person, in the heat of the moment? Um, no. And in some ways I hate that. I'm trying hard to help my princesses learn to walk the line between being compassionate and not being a doormat. It's tough.  Especially when I'm not even sure how to walk the line myself.

Bottom line is, we can't change other people.  We can only look at how we respond to situations and adjust accordingly in a way that is mature, fair and integrity-filled.  Sometimes that means to stand your ground.  Other times that means to turn the other cheek.  I can only hope I have the discernment and confidence to know the difference between the two.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Didn't We Fire The Tooth Fairy?

Email exchange this morning:

"Dear Tooth Fairy,
Why did you not come to my house last night?  Did you get lost?  Please come soon.
Love, Princess #2"

"Dear Princess #2,
I am so sorry for being so late.  Traffic was really bad.  Please go look under your pillow now and accept my deepest apologies.
Love, The Tooth Fairy"


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

For Vecashin

Today I emerged from the abyss of laundry folding in my bedroom to discover this little art project taking place on my living room floor:

Translation:  For Vacation - hooray!  Do not touch!!!  thank you  :)

We don't leave for vacation for another month.  This little set up lasted about 2 hours until Princess #4 got a hold of it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Want To Zumba?

Princess #1 and Princess #2 are in a ballet production this summer.  I'm not sure why we decided to do it as this now means that we have to cart the whole crew not once, but FOUR times to ballet each week from now through August.  I really need to have my head examined.

Anyway, today we were at the studio, the whole lot of us, while Princess #2 was in rehearsal.  This particular studio is quite large and busy.  Not only were there rehearsals for the production happening, but also regular summer ballet classes.  There were plenty of ballet moms milling about, along with younger siblings and the occasional dad.  As I was sitting on a very uncomfortable bench, watching the hands of the clock make their way around the face in a painfully slow fashion, I noticed a young(ish) gal, early twenties maybe, dressed in a sports bra and a spandex sport skirt (what an oxymoron), completely put together and adorable, making her way around the waiting room.

She was really working the crowd, stopping and introducing herself to all the bedraggled mamas in their yoga pants and ponytails and chatting up the younger siblings, quizzing them about their stuffed animals or books or whatever paraphernalia happened to accompany them in a manner that seemed almost a little bit too interested.  Being the shy-ish gal I am, I busied myself with Princess #4 as she made her way around the room towards my space.  I made my break for it as she spoke with the mama who sat next to me, and as I was leaving I finally heard the tail-end of her pitch, aka.  the reason she was speaking to us at all:

"My name is Michelle!!  I'm teaching a Zumba class here next hour!!  You should totally come, it's perfect since it's right after your daughter's rehearsal!!  It's alot of fun!!"  (can you hear the bouncy-ness?  I hope the exclamation points got that across.)

I had to smile to myself a little bit as I exited the building, herding my crew like cats out the door.  She made it sound so simple.  Sure!  I'll just leave my kiddos in the waiting room unattended while I "Zumba it up" for an hour.  Oh if only it were that easy!  It was almost humorous, to look around the room at the group she was recruiting - a whole bunch of women who would probably give anything to have an hour to do something for themselves, shoot, even just a few minutes to pee by themselves, and yet it was clearly obvious that it was an impossibility.  And know that I mean her no ill will, because I know at 20 I wouldn't have thought twice about what a mom is supposed to do with her 4 kids while she does something for herself.

But that's the way it so often turns out right?  Before we're in the position, we don't think of it.  Once we're living it, it's all we can think about, and then again, once the kids are grown and gone, we forget what it was like.

I recently had a friend who has kids older than mine (she's going to be a grandma soon!) ask me if I had gotten to take my girls to the library yet this summer.  Woefully, I had to tell her no, I hadn't.  And just couldn't, not all the kids (my 4 plus 1) by myself.  Two days later she called to tell me she was coming by to pick up the older princesses to take them to the library.

I so want to be that person.  The one that calls up the weary mama I know and says, "hey, let me play with your kids for awhile.  Go Zumba it up for an hour.  Or go to the mall by yourself.  Or just go sit in a bubblebath with the door locked."  I can't be her right now.  I wish I could, but I'm too overwhelmed with my own life, too busy trying to keep my own head above water.  But I hope and pray that I don't ever forget what it feels like to be the weary mama that needs a friend like that, and I hope that I'll be able to identify opportunities to be that friend.

I also hope cute little Michelle got some mamas to stay for her class.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

To My Hubby:

Thank you for being the leader of our home.

Thank you for working so hard for us.

Thank you for sacrificing your own desires in order to meet the needs of our family first.

Thank you for being a man of God.

Thank you for modeling that relationship for our children.

Thank you for loving me.

Thank you for showing our girls what a loving husband is supposed to be.

Thank you for bringing fun and laughter into our home.

Thank you for going far beyond any of my hopes and expectations and embracing the role God has called you to in our family.  It takes a very special man to lead the Planet Pink.  And you do with it confidence, strength and compassion.  I couldn't have asked for a better partner on this journey.

Happy Father's Day

Princess #1

Princess #2

Princess #3

Princess #4

Saturday, June 19, 2010

No Willpower

Remember this cereal?

"It IS cereal mommy."

... I crumbled like a... well, like a cookie.

Apparently is it still as yummy as it was 25 years ago.  Not that I would know.  Because I haven't eaten 3 bowls  one single, solitary cookie...

(and no, the irony and humor of this post immediately following my post about our lovely garden and wanting to eat as naturally and as close to the source is not lost on me.  Cookies are natural... right?  Right?)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Harvest Time

Dare I say it, we might have a green thumb?! A few months ago we planted our very first vegetable garden. We chose to make a raised bed and use the square foot gardening plans, just to make it easy on ourselves. We didn't want to do too much our first year, in case we killed everything. Ha!

As you can clearly see, our garden has grown! And grown... and grown...

I just have to sing the praises of the raised bed garden idea.   No digging up your yard, exceptional soil (since you create it yourself), no weeds to pull, less chances of throwing out the back... Our only problem is that we over planted for our space. We are "green" gardeners (as in completely clueless), and really had no idea what we were doing. Next year we'll hopefully expand by about 2-3 more 4x4 beds and we'll do a little better at spacing the plants out. Some of our smaller plants ended up totally shadowed by our monster tomato plants.

Speaking of, can't wait to get my hands on some of these!

Ultimately, I am thrilled with the outcome. Our paltry pea harvest isn't going to feed our whole family for even one meal. But our whole goal at the beginning of this was just to show the princesses where food REALLY comes from (you mean not from the grocery store??). About 2 months ago we watched the documentary Food, Inc. and it really solidified our already present tendencies to want to eat as naturally and as close to the source as possible.

So, we're taking small steps in that direction.  I'm already looking forward to next year's garden, and am excited about making meals like this entirely with home-grown veggies (with the exception of the pasta of course.  Didn't plant any pasta seeds.  Ha!)

And mostly I'm excited about the princesses learning an important lesson about food, where it comes from, and the ripple effect our actions have on that food.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Toy Story

Do you ever just "give up?" When it comes Toy Management I mean. With the princesses home full time right now, I just don't see myself ever catching up. There are toys EVERYWHERE. I think they are plotting a coup d'etat actually. Toy Story might not be too far off the mark. Maybe they really DO come alive when we're not looking. Only instead of being benevolent, they are power hungry, and procreate in an attempt to amass numbers sufficient to take over.

We've tried all sorts of things to keep control over the madness. We have bins, intended to separate and contain Littlest Pet Shops, My Little Pony, dress up clothes, toy cars, blocks, Barbies, and on and on. Of course, these bins only work if you actually put the toy in the correct bin. And only if you put the correct toy in the correct bin when you're done playing with it and before you get the next toy out. And can you guess how often that happens?

It was easy when we only had one princess, or even just two. But now with 4, it's a lost cause I fear. We've threatened to throw all the toys away. We've gathered the stray toys up in garbage bags and moved them to the attic. We talk about giving toys away to kids who don't have toys. We've sold toys at garage sales. We've donated toys. And yet, the madness remains.

3 years ago we implemented the "One Family Gift" Christmas rule. Instead of us and the grandparents inundating the princesses with tons of crap they don't need, we pool all our budgeted money together and buy one large gift they all can enjoy. The first year it was a dollhouse. Two years ago it was an outdoor playground. Last year they got Nintendo DS' (ok, that wasn't just one gift, but one each.). This has worked out so well. We've been able to bring the princesses joy without turning them into spoiled brats buying them everything in sight that they think they need. And yet, we still have too much.

We are so blessed. So, so blessed we don't even realize. I guess that's why the mess with the toys bugs me so much. The princesses can't even play with it all. They just scatter it around. They don't even realize how abundant our life is in comparison with so many. I suppose most children their age don't. So, what to do? Where is the balance? And most importantly, how do I keep the dang toys from taking over?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Birthday Present

Hubby is turning 37 today.  I was going to write a big, long, mushy post to him, but you really don't want to read that.  So instead, I'm posting the little clip the Princesses made for him all by themselves on their computer program.  Best present ever.  Enjoy!

Untitled from planet pink on Vimeo.

Look At Me Blush!

So, it's late in the evening (OK, night) and I'm sure many of you are off in dream land by now, but I wanted to pop in real quick and officially "receive" my blogging awards.  That's right folks, TWO in one day!  Aw, shucks!  Just watch my cheeks turn pink!  Teehee.

Seriously, it's nice to be recognized.  And nice to know that I'm not just talking to myself.  Because I could totally do that without my computer.  But having readers, that have experienced what I'm experiencing and can offer support or wisdom, or can completely relate to my life and can validate my thoughts - and not only do that, but also maybe find some encouragement in something I might say as well - THAT is why I sit behind my computer.  Community.  It takes a village to raise a child?  It takes a community to raise a mama.

So, very special thanks to Chelsea at Adventures in Vandyland for giving me the Beautiful Blogger Award.  It's my honor to pass the award on to the following seven blogs that are new to me but I'm so enjoying reading:

And thank you to HRH Mommy at M for Mommy for the lovely Outstanding Blogger Award.  I'd like to pass the honor on to these 5 wonderful gals whose blogs I've been following for some time and am honored to know and call them friends:

Melissa at Another Lunch
Tracy at Sellabit Mum

Now, in keeping with classic blog award rules, and to officially accept my Beautiful Blogger Award, I need to share 7 things with you about myself that you might not know.  Now aren't you glad you stayed up late to read this post?  Ha!

1.  I only wear silver jewelry, but for some strange reason when we got engaged, I was adamant that my engagement and wedding rings be yellow gold.  Why?  Why, why, why?  I love my rings, but what possessed me to think I needed yellow gold?

2.  My favorite nail polish color right now is OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark.  It's a deep, blackish purple and it's on my toes.  I hear the new Alice in Wonderland collection by OPI is pretty awesome, so I need to check it out.  I purposely buy OPI because of the names.  No one names nail polish like OPI.

3.  I am a trained classical and opera singer.  My degree in college was vocal performance and I love to sing classical music.  Ironically, I don't enjoy listening to classical vocal music all that much.

4.  I used to not be ticklish, but now in the last year I am suddenly very ticklish.  What's up with that?

5.  My girls and I bond over playing Cooking Dash and Sally's Spa on my iPhone.  The family that games together stays together... right?

6.  I delivered all 4 princesses in 4 different hospitals in 4 different cities.  I'm almost slightly bothered by the fact that we didn't quite make 4 different states, just so I could say it and sound all cool.  3 states though...

7.  My favorite movie is Notting Hill.  Not a well known film, but funny with great Brit humor plus Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant.  Hubby and I own it and have watched it dozens of times.  Great oneliners - "Not bad.  Not bad.  Well chosen briefs.  Chicks dig gray.  Nice. Firm. Buttocks."  Rent it, watch it, tell me what you think!

Whew, ok.  Enough about me.  Now go to bed.  It's late!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Pulling on my Boxing Gloves...

'cause it's gonna be one heck of a day.  Don't ya just love it when you know that before the day has even begun?  I suppose that could be a good thing.  At least I've got warning.

Princess #3 spiked a fever last night.  103.4.  Awesome.  I hate when my princesses get sick.  Of course, I don't think anyone actually enjoys their child being ill.  But I seriously loathe it.  Growing up as mostly an only child, I never got to experience the phenomenon of passing around an illness.  But with this houseful I have now, let's just say I've been witness to this more times than I'd like to count.

Keeping the princesses separate is nearly impossible.  And when the sick one is 3 years old, it's even more impossible.  With Princess #1 and even Princess #2, I can reason with them about why it's important to stay in bed or on the couch and rest.  But with a 3 year old?  No way.  The second the fever is down she's up and jumping around, wanting to play with her sisters and get all crazy like.  Trying to keep her down on the couch would be like trying to keep a wave on the sand (quick - name that song!!  Anyone?  Anyone?).

And of course, in addition to wrangling a sick 3 year old, I've got Princess #4 who is in the "excuse me, I'm the baby and expect complete and undivided attention from my mama and will complain loudly if anyone tries to get in my way" phase, and I've got the babe I babysit to care for as well.  Sigh.  I'm tired just typing it all out.  Time to get into "SUPER MOM" mode.  Coffee shall be my friend today.

In other news, I received my first blog award today!  You like me!  Haha.  Stay tuned for another post later today where I'll accept the award and pass it along.  Meanwhile, check out the sweet gal who honored me, Chelsea, over at Adventures in Vandyland.

Monday, June 14, 2010

All Is Well

The rain is coming down today and I am loving it.  The living room windows are open and the cool breeze blowing in is refreshing.  It is a rare 68 degrees.  Unheard of here in mid June.  Sitting out on my patio, the rhythmic plop plop of the raindrops as they hit puddles and lawn furniture is soothing.  Predictable.  Calm.

I'm still in my pajamas.  I don't even have my contacts in yet.  There are dishes still sitting in the sink.  And a pile of laundry waiting to be folded.  But I have a fresh pot of coffee brewing, the princesses occupied, and a few moments to myself.

Today didn't start out so peaceful.  More aptly described by the occasional rumble of thunder, rather than the gentle falling rain.  Poop in the panties.  A green snotty nose and subsequently crabby baby.  Arguments over who gets to play on mommy's iPhone first.  Lost ballet slippers 15 minutes before class.

I love how a moment can take you by surprise and completely turn your day around.  Even something as simple as sitting out on the patio during a summer shower.  I can see red tomatoes peeking out from under green leaves, waiting to be plucked.  Our grass is vibrant green, soaking up the rain with enthusiasm.  And even though this rain is going to be a pain to drive in later, that's ok.  All may not be perfect, but all is well. And that's better than perfect anyway.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Business Time

I've got a ridiculous amount of old college T-shirts.  4 years of collecting a shirt to commemorate every possible event, moment and sneeze.  10+ years later and I'm just breaking them in.  The soft, worn cotton that's just starting to feel smooth like velvet thanks to the numerous spins through the washing machine... perfection.

They are threadbare enough I no longer wear them out and about (not to mention the fact that late 90's T-shirts are just not a good look.  Maybe in about 20 more years when the boxy look comes back around.).  Gradually over time they have been delegated to my pajama drawer where a mysterious and unconscious event has occurred:  they began taking over.  At first it was subtle, a T-shirt or two here or there, stuffed among lingerie, nighties and other various "early marriage" sleepwear.  Eventually though, the T-shirts began to overflow out of the drawer, and into a second, accompanied now not by lingerie but by flannel pajama pants.  I thought the shift was gradual enough that he wouldn't notice...

Notsomuch.  The threats have been subtle and not so subtle, ranging from "Nice T-shirt" to "One day I'm just going to throw all those shirts away."  Today, I discovered something fishy.  One of my favorite T-shirts, wadded up and in the bag we keep in the garage for dirty diapers.  ??????  Suspicious, no?  I went to my pajama drawer.  I THOUGHT I had been short on shirts this past week, and had just attributed it to the pile of laundry (both dirty and clean) that was waiting to be dealt with.  But now I wonder.... Hubby is pleading the 5th.  Methinks someone is making good on a threat...

On a completely NON related note (or not?!?  ha!), if you've never seen Flight of the Conchords perform 'Business Time', you must watch it now.  Here.  Now.  Prepare to laugh.  And don't act like it's not a little bit true.  Cuz you know it is.  Sometimes.  For SOME people.  OTHER people...  *wink wink*

*not for little eyes or ears please!  This one makes me blush*

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Sleep Rule

We've all heard the famous advice, brushed off with a silly "I know!" and later, somewhere through our sleep-devprived haze it comes back to us, haunting us with that evil sort of "I told you so" mock:  SLEEP WHEN YOUR BABY SLEEPS!

It's quite possibly the 5 most uttered words at a baby shower, the sage wisdom that "seasoned" mamas are so eager to impart to the "green" ones, with swollen bellies and ideals through the roof.

So my question is, how come only mamas-to-be get this advice?  Is there some alternate universe I don't know about?  One where once a baby is sleeping through the night, then that means that mama must be getting plenty of sleep too, and no longer need to employ the Sleep When The Baby Sleeps rule?  I know for a fact that my sleeping hours did not improve upon my babes sleeping all night.  In fact, they often got worse.  Because, you know, there's a whole house to clean and laundry to do and other various keep the wheels in motion chores that must get done and often don't until after bedtime for the littles.

How marvelous it would be when dragging wandering through the grocery store with my 4 littles in tow, to have some kind soul look upon my brood and say to me with gentleness in their eyes, "now you be sure to sleep with they sleep!"  Can we not set THAT sort of expectation with mamas?  The brief hours of sleep are not reserved for the newly crowned parents.  I dare say for the next 18+ years a mama should be allowed to take a rest when she needs it, and should be reminded to often.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Broken TV + Summer = loss of last shred of sanity and the arrival of men in white coats for mama.

BUT, add in a stroke of genius by hubby and you get:

Two hours of uninterrupted peace and quiet due to the complete novelty and brilliance of a portable DVD player attached to the underside of a bunk bed.

I love that man.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Ugly Truth

I'm just a jumble of thoughts this evening, so hopefully everything will make it out ok.

I was closing out today, exhausted as usual.  Laboring over making dinner, begging the princesses to eat it, cleaning up the obscene mess in the kitchen, shooing the princesses from pj's to toothbrushing to bed.  I sat down at the end of it to catch my breath, when Princess #4 started fussing in her crib.  With the exception of last night and tonight, this is a fairly unusual occurrence.

Ignoring the harpy in my head telling me if I were to give in again her waking would become a habit I'd be chained to until I broke, I went into her room, picked her up out of her crib, wiped away her tears and settled into the rocking chair for my new favorite habit.

I love parenting a baby.  The demands are simple.  They require no negotiation.  Especially when they're tired and they just want mama.  Rocking and singing and stroking her hair, breathing in the last bit of baby that clings to her soft skin.  I sat with her for an eternity, wishing I could stop time.

As I left her (asleep) in her crib and stepped out of her room, a realization struck me with a force I wasn't expecting.  It's something I think has been nagging at my subconscious for awhile now, something that I've been pushing back as I wasn't ready to deal with it.  But tonight was the night.  And it suddenly hit me:  as much as I love being a parent, I don't really enjoy parenting "older" little kids.  School age kids.  Sitting in princess #4's room and soaking up her baby-ness made it painfully clear to me.  Being the parent to a baby I love.  Being the parent to little kids... it's not fun to me.  They are constantly whining, the negotiations are tiring beyond belief, they fight with each other, there is no break, no relief.  I don't know if I'm too uptight or what, but I find very little joy in it.  It just makes me tired.  And that's terribly sad.  They're kids.  If I'm not having fun with them, then clearly the problem lies with me.

I've been rolling this over in my head, trying to get a handle on it.  Because as ugly as the truth is, I have to face it if I'm going to change it.  Somehow, in the process of becoming the mother to four princesses, I've allowed my focus to shift.  It's changed.  Where I used to find joy I only find chores.  Where I used to find laughter I only see messes.  And I've allowed that focus to overrule everything.

We all battle a selfish nature, and I think that I've allowed mine to win.  I've put my desires for a clean house or an orderly day over the needs of my kids to be kids.  I wonder though... I wonder if I set that all aside, if I allowed myself the freedom to enjoy my kids doing what they do best, if my needs in some way would be met afterall?  Or maybe my needs would change altogether?

My biggest fear, is that I wake up one day and my princesses are suddenly grown.  And I've lost the opportunity to know them.  I don't want to look at them one day and see strangers, or oddly distant adults who look a little bit like my daughters once did.  And I know that the prevention of that fear becoming a reality starts NOW.  And it starts with me.  Not in me getting them to whine less or eat more of my food or clean their room more often.  But in me really engaging, playing, loving, living, being with them and soaking it up. 

I love being the mama to a baby.  But my baby days are coming to an end.  It's time to start loving being the mama to kids, because they deserve that.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Just Because...

there's something ridiculously cute about a babe in sunglasses:

Friday, June 4, 2010


So hubby recently ran across a flickr photo stream by J Trav, a photographer out of Atlanta. His collection, Persona, offers a wickedly enjoyable voyeuristic look at individuals' most personal of possessions: the contents of their bags.

I love this. It is amazing how much you can learn about a person, just by peering into their bag. I know without a doubt that if you were to look into my purse, you'd know first and foremost that I am a mom. But I wonder what else?

I had to find out. So, here is my own version of Persona. A photographer I am not, so you'll have to bear with me. But let's take a little looksee into my hidden world: unedited, unpadded. Just the real me.

OK, so starting at the top left, right out of the gate we've got my blazing, flashing neon sign : I AM A MOM - indicated by the wipes case, changing pad and diaper. Next to the wipes case are papers giving instructions for the princesses' ballet recital (which was a month ago). A Tide stain stick to go comes next, followed by a stack of important documents like our social security cards, which I grabbed as we ran out the door to take cover from a tornado. I probably shouldn't be carrying those around anymore!

Back to the left are my car keys, a tiny hairbow, a loose key (not sure what that goes to), a Littlest Pet Shop fish, a pair of Pedipeds shoes and a kids twirly straw (Again, there is no doubt I am a mom!).

An assortment of hand moisturizers, a compact mirror, Clinique lipstick and lip gloss from Sephora make up my pitiful personal care collection.

Directly above that is a daily planner that has never been used (oh the irony of that is rich!), and a book that I rarely get to crack open, but it's there just in case!

My wallet (the shiny silver thing) lies next to the book and next to that is just trash. For the record, when I finished taking these pictures, the trash did not go back into my purse! A church bulletin and some bracelets I had to take off because Princess #4 wouldn't leave them alone last Sunday finish off the row.

My terribly outdated sunglasses and a pair of sunglasses for a little one are above my camera, which hubby bought for me for my birthday when I complained about having to haul around our digital SLR all the time. Next to that is a Mother's Day card that I forgot to mail. Sorry about that Nana!

Some loose change ($0.36), baby shower invitations, an Incredible Pizza game card, our passports (again, the tornado) and stamps round out my little world.

Oh, I just realized my iPhone is missing from the pic. It's usually in my purse but Princess #1 had snagged it to play Cooking Dash while I wasn't paying attention.

Clearly, I am not the metropolitan that most of J Trav's subjects are. But it's fun to take a little look anyway. I'm proud of the fact that my possessions in my bag reflect what's most important to me. My kids and family.

So now, it's your turn! Wanna play along? Dump out your bag and take a pic, let us see what's in YOUR world. If you choose to do so, link back to this post and let me know! I can't wait to see!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

At A Loss

I promise I won't only post about potty training forever. But this is my hell life right now. I can't even describe in words the level of complete cluelessness I feel. I know it's silly, but I feel like a total failure. I know, I know. It's not a reflection of my parenting. But in the moment, it feels like it is.

I've done this before. #3 should be a piece of cake. At the very least, it shouldn't be stressing me out so much. I've talked alot about compartmentalizing my life and I think for the most part it does help with the day in day out trials of mommyhood. But it's not fail-proof. And I think, for a mommy especially, it's nearly impossible to totally compartmentalize. We are hard-wired to our babes, and it would be completely unrealistic to think that a mom could separate herself entirely from her child's trials and failures.

So where does that leave me? I am totally at a loss. 2.5 months we've been at this. Two steps forward, 1 GIANT step back. Rinse and repeat. And I am failing miserably at "keeping my cool". I know the first piece of advice anything you read about potty training will say, "Don't get angry. Just keep encouraging your child. Don't allow yourself to get frustrated."

Can we step into the real world please? Tell me, HOW is one to not get angry or frustrated or completely beaten down when you are cleaning poop out of panties two times a day, or wake up to find a nice pile on the floor. This morning instead of cuddling up on the couch with the princesses, hubby got to break out the upholstery cleaner and clean the couch. Not how we wanted to start the day. I have completely gone PAST frustration with this. More than our fair share of tears have been shed over this and not just by Princess #3. Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Life is funny how it happens, isn't it?

I mean, who among us hasn't had The Plan. A path we were certain our life would take.

Why do we do that? Um, has ANYONE'S life followed The Plan? (if yours has, don't tell me, you'll ruin my imagery here!)

I was sitting here this morning, with my lovely cuppa joe, listening to my princesses hoot and holler in their bedroom (yes, 3 princesses - 1 bedroom), enjoying my last sliver of "peace" before they descend upon me with breakfast demands - and my overwhelming thought was, "how did I get here?"

I'm certain if you were to sift through old posts, you'd find ones of similar musings. I guess that's normal for a 30 something mommy to four. There are many aspects of my life that are predictable, that I anticipated: go to college, meet my prince, fall in love, get married, have a baby...

I should just stop there because that "have a baby" part is what amuses me the most. I can't really tell you when "have a baby" turned into "have FOUR babies". I don't think I ever dreamed about having 4 children. Three maybe, and after princess #2 was born it was DEFINITELY just 2. And yet somehow, here I am.

I love my life. Yes, I cleaned poop up off the floor yesterday. But what mom doesn't? And I think (I hope!) that if I were allowed a peek into my future at the young age of 22(ish), I would have chosen it for myself willingly, poop and all.

Now I'm going to try to remember this today as I beg, pull, bribe and pray for my 3 year old to voluntarily use the toilet. Sigh. Need more joe. An IV maybe.

*Just as a side note, I'm doing a bit more networking these days with my blog. I'm loving the new followers and am so happy to expand this little "family". If you are active on any of the networks listed to the side, let me know! I'd love to find you there. Oh, and if you click on the Top Mommy Blogs button and vote for me I'd love you forever! (and like you for always... c'mon, you knew it was coming!)

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