Saturday, January 31, 2009

How awesome is THIS?!

Last night, I was tired. Just plain tired. After the kids went to bed, I laid down on the floor of the family room and stared up at the fan, which was moving at a fairly fast pace. I think I laid there for a good 15 minutes. I'm not sure why...maybe I thought if I stared at the fan long enough, I'd be sucked up into the air and float away to a magical place where I would have the energy of a marathon runner (and the body of a Playboy bunny but that's a whole 'nother fantasy which does not involve having to sleep with Hugh Hefner, because that's just....well, gross).

After I realized that no such magical place existed (and trust me, I really tried to transport myself to that place it but even stuffing my feet into my daughter's sparkly red shoes and clicking my feet together and saying "there's no place like Fantasy Island" was just not gonna work), I decided I'd check my e-mail and hope that someone had sent me something funny to read. Sometimes a really good laugh can make all the uglies go away.

Imagine my surprise when I received a Google Alert that my blog had been mentioned on another blog written by none other than Jen Singer, the author of You're A Good Mom (And You're Kids Aren't So Bad Either). I already knew of her because I had read this book after my 2nd set of twins were born and I was really struggling with living up to the Supermom standard I had set for myself. I was feeling overwhelmed...I was feeling like a total failure as a mother. While reading her book, I found myself laughing outloud at many of the things she had written about trying to be the perfect mom. That book did wonders for me and, after reading it, I changed my attitude about trying to be the perfect mom because obviously it just wasn't gonna happen. My new attitude became "when I tuck my kids into bed at night, if they are still pink in the face (and happy), then I must have done something right today".

Anyway, I quickly clicked over to read what she had written about my blog (and prayed that it was something good!!). After reading this, I think I did a little happy dance right there in my kitchen. How awesome is that?! My blog started off as a way to keep in touch with family and friends when I was pregnant with my 2nd set of twins and it has blossomed into what it is today. It touches my heart that people find it interesting, entertaining, moving...and that they want to read it. And to be noticed by an author like Jen Singer, who helped me realize through her writing that even if I don't think I'm the perfect mother, my kids certainly do....well, it doesn't get any better than that!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The top 10 white lies I have told my children....

1) One of the 10 Commandments is "Thou shall not poop or pee in the bathtub"

2) The Pacifier Fairy has a strict age cut-off of 3 years old. No exceptions.

3) The Great Pumpkin commands that all children who go trick-or-treating on Halloween must share at least half of the candy collected with their parents.

4) It is a written law that all children under the age of 8 must be in bed promptly at 7:30 pm every single night. No, God will not change the law; He doesn't roll like that.

5) Watching too much tv will give you painful and explosive gas

6) All children must eat 5 servings of fruits and veggies per day or Willie Wonka will shut down his chocolate factory

7) If you don't brush your teeth twice a day, the sugar bugs will poop all over your teeth

8) Every time you sweep the kitchen floor, you grow 1/16 of an inch taller. Just think, if you sweep the floor on a daily basis, you'll be tall enough to go on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad ride at Disneyland next time we go

9) You need to drink 3 glasses of milk a day or your bones will turn into spaghetti

10) Everytime you pick your nose, an angel cries

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Because you gotta have friends....

A friend is like a good bra: hard to find, comfortable, supportive, always lifts you up, makes you look better, never lets you down or leaves you hanging, and always close to your heart - Author unknown

This morning, I attended the bi-monthly MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group that I'm a part of. If you've never heard of MOPS, it's so worth your time to check out. Even if you've heard of MOPS but you've been hesitant to join your local group, I'm telling you that it's something you won't regret! The group is for mothers who have children between the ages of 0-5...a sisterhood of sorts! Even if you are not yet a mother, keep this group in mind for when you do have children. I wish I had joined the group when I was a new mother.

Anyway, today the discussion topic was "Relationships". Not the relationships we have with our husbands, but relationships we have with our girlfriends. The woman who lead the discussion talked about the 5 barriers to relationships: time, kids, energy, friends just like me and fear. These are all the typical reasons women give as to why they don't either initiate friendships or nurture the friendships they have already formed. As she spoke, I could identify with each of those barriers. I've often used the excuses "I don't have time to see my friends" , "My kids need me....I have nothing left to give to a friend", or "I'd love to make new friends but I'm afraid they might not be accepting of me".

The more in depth the discussion became, the more I realized that I've had the wrong attitude about my friendships. When I've hit a rough patch, I hesitate to call a friend because I feel like perhaps she, too, has a lot on her plate and I don't want to overwhelm her further with my problems. I have become an introvert of sorts since I've had my kids. Maybe it's because I lack the energy I need to put myself out there or maybe it's just because I feel my friends are all busy with their own lives. It's certainly easier to send an e-mail rather than pick up the phone and have a conversation but it makes that little bit of contact I do have with my friends so impersonal. And then I've drifted so far out of touch with them, having neglected the friendships that I truly value and appreciate, leaving it even more difficult to find my way back to them again. This only leads to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which is never an enjoyable place to be. Don't worry, I won't be quoting Yoda again, although that famous Star Wars quote totally fits right in here.

The point of today's discussion on relationships with our friends is to realize that our friends are partners who are right beside us. We need to let them know when we need them....but we tend to not reach out. We keep to ourselves, too afraid to ask for help, support, or encouragement. I'm sure many of us have had friends offer to help us in one way or another and we often turn the offer down. Why do we do this? Maybe because we don't want to seem needy or maybe because we're afraid we may not be able to be there for her in her time of need. But when has it ever been wrong to come right out and ask for support and encouragement or accept an offer of help, especially from a good friend who can sense that we're going under, even if we can't admit it to ourselves? Sometimes a good friend can see things about us that we can't see for ourselves.

I remember right after Cole and Bella were born, Tim and I were in survival mode...our marriage was in crisis mode. As much as I tried to hide this from my friends, it was pretty obvious that things were going downhill at an alarming pace. The sleep deprivation alone was enough to make us both stir crazy. Some of my friends had offered to help but I was quick to turn them down. Then one day two of my friends informed me that they were going to come over and take care of the babies, while Tim and I were expected to go out and do something fun. As much as I trusted these two friends with my own life, I was afraid to leave my babies. And I felt guilty for accepting the help. They assured me that everything would be fine and they would not take no for an answer. They had even brought adorable swaddler blankets that they had purchased because they knew the babies hadn't been sleeping well and they were hoping the blankets would help. While Tim and I were out, not only did they take wonderful care of Cole and Bella, they made dinner for us. I thanked them, obviously, but I'm not sure they'll ever truly know what they did for me that day. They saved me. I was about to crash and burn and they rescued me.

Today's discussion on friendships was encouraging and taught me that we don't have to walk through this journey we call life by ourselves. Look at the friends beside you, the ones who are going through the same exact things we are going through right at this point in time. We need to be there for one another because who better to understand what you're going through than a friend who's walking in the same shoes. Look at the friends before you who have been where you are now. Accept their advice, suggestions and insight. Learn from their mistakes. They can tell you what to expect when your children are older and they can tell you how your marriage will change for the better once your children become more independent. Or if you don't have children yet, think of the wealth of information they'll have for you when you do become a mother. Look at the friends behind you who someday will be going through what you are going through now. It may be a friend who is pregnant with her first child and is scared because she doesn't know what to expect. It could be a friend who is trying to decide if her boyfriend is Mr. Right. Offer her advice and insight. Let her learn from your mistakes. Lastly, look beyond you....think of the new friendship you could form by just saying hello to another mom at the playground or a woman you see at the gym all the time who could be your new work-out partner. And by doing all this, you may very well save a friend who needed rescuing or make a new friend who desperately needed to feel accepted.

When has a friend come through for you when you needed her? When have you reached out to a friend when she needed help? When have you made a new friend simply by just putting yourself out there?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Christmas again? Who knew?!

It was Christmas again at our house this afternoon. Christmas twice a year? The Christmas after Christmas? The Christmas Do-Over? Christmas Day, Groundhog Style?

Yet there was no Christmas tree, no Christmas decorations, no smell of gingerbread men baking in the oven, no Christmas music playing in the background. But I could hear laughter, shrieking and sounded like Christmas morning. I heard one little voice scream, "Look what I got" and another tiny voice shriek, "wow, wow, wow"! Then one of those little voices yelled, "Hey Mommy, you have to come here and see all this cool stuff".

It made me wonder if I had hidden some Christmas presents somewhere and had completely forgotten about them. No...I was pretty sure I had hidden all the Christmas presents upstairs in our closet. For a minute, I actually allowed myself to fantasize that Tim had gotten me a few Valentine's Day presents a few weeks early and maybe the kids had stumbled upon them. That thought was quickly erased from my brain as I smacked myself back into reality....we all know Tim is a last-minute type person. He's the guy you see at Walmart at midnight on Christmas eve, trying desperately to salvage something off the ransacked shelves in hopes of passing it off as a well-thought out Christmas present.

So I come out of the laundry room and what do I see???

No, it wasn't Christmas, even though it sure sounded like it might have been. Apparently, Tim had been in the kitchen with the kids and Cole had figured out how to pull out the broiler tray from under the oven. Lo and behold....there were all the toys that had been lost over a course of 4 years. The rubix cube that had gone missing suddenly one day, the yellow car that Cole had gotten for his 2nd birthday that had magically disappeared, the cute little placemat that Tim's parents had bought for one of the boys, a few plastic balls, some Hot Wheels really was like Christmas! And it made my kids SO happy to find all these lost toys...these toys that had once been prized possessions.

And here I was feeling guilty that I don't do a better job of cleaning the house?? Who knew that finding lost toys under the oven would cause such excitement?

I think tomorrow we'll go digging under the sofas in the family room and see what we come up with! Then on Wednesday, we'll hit the living room and see what treasures we can find that have been hidden for years. Next week, we'll go searching under the beds upstairs and see what we come up with. Now that may be a little scary...I'm not quite sure what we'll find under the beds but if it can bring that much excitement and happiness to my kids, bring it on! Merry Christmas to us....again!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Today is the day I Get To....

I borrowed this from Lana. I thought it was such a fabulous way to look at things. She saw this note on her sister's fridge and her sister explained to her, "I get to make my kids' lunches...I don't have to". I have to admit there are moments where I dread having to do certain things, like change yet another poopy diaper or brush all four kids' teeth two times a day. But who wants to walk around all day dreading things. Certainly, it's no fun to change 5 poopy diapers in a matter of 6 hours but if I look at this from a different vantage point, I feel blessed that I have the kids who create the poopy diapers. So along that theme, here's my list of things I Get To do:

I get to
wake each of my children up in the morning. There is nothing better than seeing your child's smiling face as they wake up to start another new day.

I got to
let Cole and Bella pick out their own clothes to wear to preschool, even though Cole's shirt didn't match his pants and Bella wouldn't wear socks with her shoes.

I got to
make each of them breakfast, even though they all wanted different things.

I got to
convince them all that brushing their teeth was a necessity.

I get to
take Garrett and Landon to a playgroup this morning which they always enjoy, even though though I haven't finished the laundry.

I get to
take Garrett and Landon to pick Cole and Bella up from preschool, which is no easy feat!

I get to
make them all lunch.
I get to rock Garrett and Landon for a few minutes, quietly singing to them, before they go down for a nap, as I can hear Cole and Bella fighting downstairs.

I get to
clean up the dishes from lunch and get some housework done while Cole and Bella rest and watch a DVD.

I get to
give them all a snack and take them to the gym, where I will drop them off at the gym daycare and then work-out for an hour to improve my health, even though sitting in a chair in the backyard reading a book while they play seems more fun.

I get to
rush home from the gym and make dinner for my family.

I get to
wash the dishes from dinner and clean up the kitchen while Tim gives the kids a bath.

I get to
brush their teeth, get them in their jammies, convince Cole and Bella to go potty one last time before bed and then get them all to agree on 3 bedtime stories.

I get to
rub their backs and sing songs to them quietly as they drift off to sleep, even though it make take 20 minutes and I may miss the beginning of a tv show I've been wanting to watch.

I get to
climb into my nice, warm bed a little earlier than I really want to because I have to get up early again tomorrow.

I get to
have some quiet time with God, thanking Him for bringing me patience, strength and courage throughout what might have been a challenging day.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The mysterious case of the disappearing earthworm....

As much as I dislike all things creepy and crawly, I put on a brave face when my kids want to explore nature. They are curious about everything life has to offer, including spiders, beetles, and lizards. And I encourage them, even if it does make me want to toss my cookies just being within 3 feet of an insect or amphibian (are lizards amphibians? or mammals? or reptiles?).

Yesterday, we had a few rain showers and I went out to get the mail when we got a little break between showers. Our whole street and driveway were covered with earthworms, big and small. I knew the kids would get excited over this so I called out to them to come outside...and added "don't forget to grab my camera" (because I know a good blogging opportunity when I see it).

After examining the poor earthworm who is the subject of the above picture (and debating over which end was the head and which end was the tail), we got him to climb on a stick and we moved him up near our front door. Bella was convinced he would get run over by a car if we left him in the street. "But what about all the other earthworms?", I asked. She shrugged her shoulders and said, "well, we can't save them ALL". Cole added, "yeah, we're just kids...but I bet Superman will come by and save them because he's nice like that".

Later in the evening, after dinner, the kids were dying to go outside and see if our poor earthworm was still there. The kids were excited that he was still laying in the same place they had placed him on our front porch and proclaimed, "we saved the earthworm!!" Cole said, "we're just like the Wonder Pets!"

But I wasn't so sure the poor earthworm was actually alive. Cole went inside and grabbed my camera for me and wanted me to do a video. Such sentimental little ones, aren't they? A video of an earthworm?! Apparently, that was the highlight of their day. Not the fact that I had lovingly made them PB&J sandwiches, in which I had not only cut the crusts off but also used a heart-shape cookie cutter to emphasize the love I put into making those sandwiches. And certainly not the fact that I had spent most of the afternoon doing a cute little art project with them...oh yes, I had actually sat there for a good 20 minutes constructing a train track out of uncooked spaghetti because that's the kinda mother I am.

Nope! The earthworm was the most exciting part of their day. I suppose they had that right and who am I to take away that excitement away from them? But it sure would've been nice to hear "Mom, the earthworm is really cool but we had a blast doing that art project with you....oh, and the PB&J sandwiches were awesome...we appreciate the time you took to cut them into heart shapes!" And it sure would've been nice if, after they said that, they would've embraced me with their little arms in a tight hug and planted angel kisses on my cheeks, while adding, "You're the best mom ever!"

Whew, I sure got off track there, didn't I? I didn't mean for this to turn into an online therapy session where I emotionally purge all my inner demons. So getting back to the story at hand, I began to video the beloved earthworm and...lo and behold, the dang thing WAS alive. I have to admit that even I got a little excited (I won't go as far as to say I got teary-eyed though). And then right before our eyes, in a matter of 35 seconds, he magically disappeared.

The case of the disappearing earthworm has since been solved. After denying that it was his foot shown in the above video, claiming that he has a twin brother with the same exact sized feet as him, the CSI unit found traces of earthworm remains in between Landon's toes. He was found guilty of 1st degree murder. His siblings felt they had no choice in their decision, based on the fact that it was pre-meditated. Landon was sentenced to house arrest for a period of 2 minutes. Thereafter, he was ordered to serve community service, going around educating other young children on the prevention of earthworm genocide.

Friday, January 23, 2009

If my kids were cows.....

I saw this commercial on tv a little while ago and I could not stop laughing hysterically. It totally reminds me of Cole and Bella when they argue. Who knew cows deal with sibling rivalry too?

If you thought that was funny, you gotta watch this next video!! It's the deleted scenes of various cows auditioning for the part. If you're drinking anything, do not take a sip while watching this video...not one little sip! I don't know about you but I don't like the feeling of liquid spraying out of my nose from laughing so hard...don't say I didn't warn you!

I have to say, personally, I love Alicia's audition the best and she will be getting my vote!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

YouBars....a nutrition bar created by YOU for YOU!

So as I was eating cardboard an energy bar one morning while rushing to get Cole and Bella ready for preschool, I caught a segment on the Today Show about the YouBar. It caught my attention when I heard "you can create your own personal nutrition bar"!!! Seriously?? Sign me up!!!

YouBar is a small California-based company founded by a mother-son team. Initially, they started making their own bars to their liking in their very own kitchen! The response from family and friends was overwhelming and YouBar came to be. Their products are so popular that they have been featured in countless magazines and newspapers.

I've tried just about every snack/energy bar and protein shake on the market and I've been less than impressed. But I like the idea of being able to grab a quick snack on the go or something that is fulfilling enough to eat as a meal if I don't have the time or desire to make a big meal. The key here, though, is I want it to be healthy, in addition to it tasting good. Some of the bars I've tried are either loaded with sugar or preservatives and some can be surprisingly high in calories. It just blows the healthy aspect out of the water. So not only are some not even healthy for you, they plain just don't taste good. What's the point of even bothering with it?

One of the owners of YouBar, Anthony, was kind enough to send me some samples of their most popular bars and shakes. Over the course of a week, I shared them with the kids and Tim. Our #1 favorite was the Best Bar, which tasted like a yummy oatmeal cookie with fruit in it. We also enjoyed the Honey Cashew bar, which also tasted like a cookie with the perfect amount of sweetness. The shakes were just as delicious, especially the Vanilla Dream and the Blended Bliss. The bars and shakes were all very satisfying and didn't leave me with that "okay, now what can I eat?" feeling an hour later, which I usually have after eating a snack/energy bar or drinking a protein shake.

Here's the great thing about can design your own snack/energy bar or shake!!! You can make it as healthy as you want...and you can pretty much guarantee you're gonna love it because it was created by YOU for YOU! If you have any special diet needs, such as being vegan, vegetarian, lactose-intolerant, or needing something gluten-free, no worries! You can still build a bar that suits your tastes and diet needs. One of the promises I made to myself for this new year was to take better care of myself, especially in terms of my health. I just got the results of my lipid panel back (yikes...yes, it was that bad!) and one of the ways I can lower my cholesterol is by adding more fiber, soy, flaxseeds and almonds to my diet. I love that with the YouBars I can incorporate those 4 items into my own nutrition bar and still enjoy a yummy, healthy snack or meal supplement, knowing I'm doing something good for my health.

It's very simple to design your own personal YouBar. Just go to the "Build-A-Bar" option and select away. You choose your own base, protein content, nuts/seeds, dried fruits/berries, sweeteners, seasonings, grains/cereals and infusions. We're talking yummy things like almond butter, organic dates, soy protein, whey protein, almonds, organic flaxseeds, sweetened blueberries, organic dried apple, organic clover honey, organic agave nectar, cinammon, chocolate chips, organic oat bran....the possibilities are endless. Most of the items are organic so you know you are getting the best of the best.

So how do you know what the nutritional value of your bar is? The people at YouBar have thought of everything!! As you're building your bar, on the right side of your screen, you'll see the nutritional value of your bar as you add various items to it. They've made it so easy to create a bar, while keeping nutritional content in mind.

Once you have completed building your YouBar, you can click on the "taste tester" and it will give you suggestions on things you might want to consider adding in order to make your bar even better tasting and/or give it a better texture. And the final step in the building process is giving your bar a name! Yes, YOU get to choose the name of your cool is that!

If you're not sure of what to put in your bar, they have a toll-free number you can call to speak with someone who can walk you through the process, helping you build a bar or a shake that is specific to your liking.

If nutrition bars aren't your thing, there's the YouShake! You can design your shake the same way as you would for a bar and the options there seem endless as well!

The people at YouBar have generously offered a 10% discount off their You-Bars and You-Shakes when you place your order! Just type in "helene1" as your coupon code in the shopping cart.

Now, excuse me please.....I'm off to go build myself a "Happy, Healthy Helene" nutrition bar!! I hope you'll do the same....and come back and tell me what you named your bar and/or shake!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Note to self: Never leave hubby alone to supervise the kids again!

On Sunday afternoon, after Garrett and Landon were down for a nap, I asked Tim if he'd be able to entertain Cole and Bella so I could go upstairs and watch a couple shows that I had tivo'd while I folded laundry. "Sure", he had said, "no problem".

One hour later, I started to come downstairs and heard nothing but silence. Normally, this is a very bad sign. And today it was as well. There I saw Cole and Bella sitting at the kitchen table, with a whole bag of fig newtons ripped open and all cut in small pieces. Where was Tim? Snoozing away on the sofa. Apparently, they had decided to seize the moment and take advantage of this rare opportunity of being completely unsupervised.

According to Cole, Bella MADE him climb up on the counter and get the scissors out of the knife block (thank God it was just the scissors and not any of the knives). Then she FORCED him to get the unopened, brand new bag of fig newtons out of the LOCKED cabinet (child-proof locks...yeah right). He stood there and watched helplessly while she proceeded to cut all the fig newtons into small pieces and put them on the plates from her tea set. He begged, he pleaded with her, saying, "Mommy is gonna be so mad at you". But then she knocked him to the ground and sat on his back and cut some hair off the back of his head. Then she stuck her tongue out at him.

According to Bella, it was Cole's idea to climb up on the counter and get the scissors out of the knife block. He then showed her how to unlock the cabinet, because she had no idea how to do it. Then he MADE her open the package of fig newtons and TOLD her to cut them up into small pieces, since she's better with the scissors than he is. She didn't want to do it but he threatened her by cutting off some of his own hair and telling her that he would tell Mommy that SHE cut his hair off if she didn't do what he said.

During all this, Tim was completely oblivious as to what they were up to. He heard absolutely NOTHING. How is that possible? He explained that he must have fallen into a deep sleep. Really?! Then he said, "well, how come you didn't hear them?".....oh, yeah, sure....turn this around on me!! I said, "I was upstairs with the TV on and I thought you were supervising them so I gave myself permission to not be on alert for a couple hours!"

So who really was guilty of this crime? I decided to go with my gut on this one. Look at the smile on Bella's face. Does this look like someone who was FORCED to do something against her will? It looks more like a "oh crap, I'm totally busted" look, if you ask me.

And as for Cole's hair, it did look like a small area of hair was much shorter than the others but fortunately since he's a boy with short hair, it's not that noticeable. Plus, I had a really hard time believing that he could reach that far back on his own head to cut his hair with scissors that big. But once again, Bella gets an A+ for creative story-telling.

As I sat there, listening to each of them blame the other, all I could think of was this adorable picture I happened to get of them after they had fallen asleep on the drive over to the gym the other day. Now I know why my friend Jen once told me, "Do you know why children look like angels when they sleep? It's so you don't kill them when they're awake!"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wellbutrin, Watermelon and Wine....what do they have in common?

Chris at What's in Sissy's Head had a fun meme (or was it a challenge?) on her blog where you're assigned a letter and then you need to list 10 things that start with that letter that you like and why. She assigned me the letter "W". Needless to say, it took me a few days to figure out some things that start with "W" that I like...and I still only came up with 9!! That's close enough to 10, don't ya think?

Okay, here goes....

1) Wellbutrin. Anyone who knows me or reads my blog knows this is my drug of choice since November 2007. Some people are addicted to caffeine. I'm addicted to an anti-depressant. I've tried to kick the habit but that usually results in me balling myself up into the fetal position and crying all the time, while Tim scratches his head and tries to figure out what the hell is wrong with me. He used to say, "Sweetie, are you due for your period?" when I would act like this. Now he says, "um, I don't know how to ask this without you flying off the handle but did you remember to take your Wellbutrin today?". I'm a Wellbutrin junkie. Nothing wrong with that.

2) Watermelon. It's seriously like the best summer fruit, I think. There's something about a huge, juicy watermelon that screams "summer....bring it on".

3) Wine. I never used to really be a big wine drinker, until I had kids. Hmmm, coincidence? I think not. Just pour me a tall glass of white zinfandel and I'm as happy as a clam. I don't need any kind of expensive wine...just the $3.99 bottle of White Zin from Safeway will do. I'm still convinced that the 2 glasses of wine that Tim urged me to drink at dinner back in July 2006 while his parents babysat Cole and Bella overnight had a lot to do with me becoming pregnant with our 2nd set of twins. Not the alcohol itself so much. But more the way the alcohol affected my ability to say "no, not tonight...I have a headache". And that's all I'll say about that.

4) Water. Yeah, this may be a little wierd (hey, there's another "W" word right there!) but I really enjoy water. Just plain water. There's just something very refreshing about it. But don't put lemon in my water....for some reason, it tastes like pee to me. Not that I know exactly what pee tastes like but I would imagine water with lemon would be what pee would taste like. Here's an interesting little tip I learned from watching a survival show....if you're ever stranded on a desert island (because we know that happens all the time, right?), drinking your own pee is actually good for you and could possibly save your life. Alrighty then....moving on....

5) Wednesdays. Hump Day. Love it. It means 2 more days until the weekend!

6) Windy days. Not super windy days where you can't where a dress, out of fear that the whole world will see your underwear when your dress flies up (or your hoo-haw if you pull a Britney Spears). Just a light breeze with some sunshine and crisp air and I'm in heaven.

7) Writing. I've always loved writing. I've been working on a book for a little while now. It probably won't be done until my kids go off to college because I maybe spend 20 minutes a week right now working on it. Let's just say it's a work in progress.....a 15-yr project.

8) Wiener dogs. Alright, not really. I mean, I think wiener dogs are cute but personally I prefer bigger dogs. But I couldn't think of any dogs I like that start with the letter "W".

9) Waikiki. Tim and I went there in 2003. It was my first time there and it was everything I dreamed it would be. I spent almost every day on the beach, just soaking up the sunshine and smelling the sweet sea air. We were in the midst of IVF #1 and I was totally freaked out about how I was going to manage to get all my needles on the plane without security thinking I was going to use them to stab someone in the neck. My RE was kind enough to write a letter to the airline explaining why I needed the needles. However, I was hoping she wouldn't be very specific in the letter about WHY I needed the needles....just something like "blah, blah, patient needs these needles to inject medicine necessary for a medical procedure....blah, blah, blah". No such luck....the word "infertility" was all over the letter and I remember crying all the way home from her office, in complete agony that I might have to show someone at the airport that letter. Tim didn't get what the big deal was but men never do. Seeing the word "infertile" next to my name was a huge, huge deal.

So there you have it....9 of my favorite things that start with "W".

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mommy Guilt is the path to the dark side....

What is it about motherhood that makes me feel so guilty all the time? A day isn't complete unless I feel guilty about at least one thing. Why do we do this to ourselves? I always feel like I should be in two places at once. I often wish I had four pairs of arms so I could hold all my children at one time. I sometimes feel guilty for feeling guilty! It doesn't necessarily have to be anything major that sets off a guilt trip. It could be something as simple as telling the kids they can't eat cookies for a snack that day. I've been pretty good about being consistent and sticking to my guns but I feel all ripped up inside as I do it.

So how does one avoid mommy guilt? And is it even possible? I also wondered how many other mothers felt this way and what did they feel most guilty about. I stumbled upon a book called Mommy Guilt written by Julie Bort, Aviva Pflock and Devra Renner. They did a survey involving both SAHM's and moms who work full-time outside the home (notice I didn't say "working moms"...that's because we're all working moms no matter what!) and I found comfort in the results!!

40% of mothers surveyed feel guilty on a weekly basis (compared to on a monthly basis)

70% of mothers said that parenting more than one child increased their guilt (a big AMEN to that)

When asked which stage these mothers felt the most guilt, 27% said the toddler years were most severe and there was a tie at 21% for the infant years and the grade school years.

So yeah, reading those statistics certainly made me feel relieved and somewhat validated for feeling the way I do. And then I wanted to know WHAT caused these moms to feel guilty. Of the mothers surveyed, here are the results:

60% said they felt guilty about yelling at their kids
59% said they felt guilty about keeping up with housework/living in a messy house
57% said finding enough time, after taking care of the child(ren) to spend time with their spouse
51% said spending too much time at work (for those mothers who work outside the home)
41% said sports-related issues (time management, not pushing their children or pushing their children to hard)
38% said working/sending child(ren) to daycare instead of staying home
35% said their kids' eating habits
35% said setting aside college degree or career in order to stay home
35% said fairly dividing time, chores and financial resources among children
31% said school-related issues
29% said neglecting their job/leaving work early to deal with childcare issues
27% said balancing a blended family
22% said their kids' sleeping habits
16% said parenting issues
6% said they never felt guilty over parenting (SERIOUSLY? NEVER FELT GUILT? I demand to know who these mothers are so I can torture them until they tell the truth)

If I'm gonna get real honest here, here's what makes me feel the most guilt:

yelling at the kids
having "me" time
not keeping up with the household chores

My mom was a yeller and so I swore I would never yell at my kids. Then I became a parent...and you know what they say, I was a good mother before I had kids. I don't start off yelling at them but it's when they constantly ignore me or I have to say the same thing over and over again until I get sick of hearing my own voice. And unfortunately yelling works. It's really the one surefire way to get my kids to listen to me. I hate that it's like that and I know I have to work on this. Looks like at least 60% of other moms do too.

I feel most guilty about taking "me" time, even though I desperately need it and deserve it. I think it's true that when moms crumble, the whole family crumbles. We can't afford to crumble. Our families depend on us to run a tight ship....our kids depend on us to feed them healthy foods, wash their clothes, read them bedtime stories, keep them safe and healthy....our husbands rely on us to remember everything. And I do mean everything. I often have to remind my husband of when his mother's birthday is. He's a true mama's boy in every sense of the word and it cuts me to the nerve when I remind him of her birthday and then she gloats about what a wonderful son he is for remembering. Who the heck does she think picked out that lovely birthday card for her?

I remember one time becoming so frustrated with Tim because I was on overload and feeling so burdened with having to remember everything. We were going somewhere and I asked him to get the diaper bag ready. He looked at me, very seriously, and said "what do I put in there?". Um, diapers would be a good start, some wipes would definitely be a wise choice, extra clothes, clean bottles, bottle of water to mix formula with, formula already measured, to hell with it, it was just easier to pack the bag myself. And I did...and I resented him even more, which only made me feel more guilty. Let's mix Yoda from Star War's words up a little bit here and say GUILT is the path to the dark side. GUILT leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. Okay, so that's probably going a little too far (and did I really just quote Yoda?!) but you get the point.

The more I read other blogs written by mothers, like myself, I can sense the guilt we're all feeling over one thing or another. Whether it's taking 10 minutes to catch up on reading our favorite blogs, or posting to our own blog, or watching a show we tivo'd last week that we're dying to watch instead of folding laundry, or dropping the kids off at the gym daycare so we can get 2 hours on our own to exercise, or feeding the kids chicken nuggets for lunch for the 3rd time this week....we always feel guilty about something it seems (well, except for that 6% who said they never feel guilty, which I think is complete BS).

So what do we do about all this guilt? Is it possible to avoid? I believe, in the end, it is. We need to give ourselves permission to be our own person, in addition to being wife and mother. It takes a strong woman to do what we do day in and day takes an even stronger, more courageous woman to realize when she's in over her head and either ask for help or take a much-needed break.

Give yourself permission to let go of the guilt. Toss it out the window and say "good riddance". Splurge a little on those sunglasses you were admiring at the mall, go get that manicure/pedicure you've been putting off, avoid household chores for a whole day so you can go with your kids to an amusement park, take an extra 10 minutes in the shower to shave your legs!!!

Tonight, as I tucked Cole and Bella into bed after reading them 3 bedtime stories and sharing hugs, kisses and I love you's, they asked me to stay in their room with them until they fell asleep. All I could think about, though, was watching a movie I had rented that has been sitting on the kitchen counter for the last 3 days. I had already spent 12 hours with my children today....good quality time which involved half of the day playing at the park. So I told Cole and Bella, "not tonight, guys. I really want to go downstairs and watch that movie I rented days ago. Sleep tight, see you in the morning". As I headed down the stairs, I could feel those familiar feelings of guilt start to creep up and I thought about going back into their room and staying with them. But then I gave myself permission to let go of the guilt and take time for myself. I had earned it. I deserved it. And you know what? My kids will still love me in the morning.

Friday, January 16, 2009

They seek and they shall destroy....

Whenever we have company over, whether it be friends or family or someone coming to our house for an appointment, I greet them at the door with, "Hi there, come on in....sorry about the condition of our home". Most people who visit us totally expect to find toys all over the place. They expect to see dishes piled up in the sink. They expect to see at least 3 baskets of unfolded clean clothes sitting on the family room floor just begging to be folded and put away. And they expect to see me with a glass of wine in my hand...okay, not really...but they have come to expect to see the worst when they come over. Most people don't mind....some have even said, "oh, come on, how bad can it be?". Then they come further into our home and just shake their heads in pity.

Sure, people tell you when you have kids that your life will change. They tell you it won't be easy. They even tell you that your marriage may suffer horribly during the first 5 years of having children. But no one ever tells you how your children will absolutely destroy everything in your home....all things sacred, like having the walls and windows free of dirty handprints and carpets the same color as the day they were put down, will never be the same again. About a couple months ago, we were considering putting our house on the market and taking advantage of the market and buying a super inexpensive home that was much larger than the one we have now. But after 1 day of trying to get our home in order for the realtor to come assess our house, I gave up and told Tim "face it....we are never gonna be able to sell this home until we put about $30,000 into it just for repairs and then why bother selling the home if it's tip-top condition". He agreed.

Here are some pictures to show all the havoc and destruction my children have caused:

They pulled down these curtains about 6 months ago. I still haven't bothered to fix them. Seriously....why bother?

I'm not sure if it can be seen in this picture but the panel covering the light on the far right side has a crack in it and the panel in the middle is completely missing. Now you may wonder how little children could possibly break light panels that high up. Trust me, it's possible....especially with my children. Let's just say that Tim has learned his lesson about letting the children throw balls in the house and leave it at that.

These are 2 drawers in my kitchen that are plastered with random stickers. Most of the drawers in the kitchen look like this. Even our fridge is adorned with stickers.

Most of the blinds in our home are broken. Usually because one of the kids is desperate to look out the window and instead of opening the blings, they just rip a little piece off. Nice.

This is a picture of one of the walls in our family room. I told Bella she could color with markers one day....ON PAPER! I remember being very firm about telling her that markers are to be used only paper and nothing else. Guess she had to test out that theory....she traced her foot on the wall. To this day, I still cannot get that damn marker off the wall. I've even tried Mr Eraser. Someone was over one day and asked me, "why do you have Africa drawn on your wall?" and I said, "why don't you ask Bella?"

These are the vertical blinds in our kitchen. Notice they've been pulled off, one by one. Tim has finally said to me, "let's just take the blinds down and put up curtains". I said to him, "Why? Then they'll just be more intrigued and try to destroy those too".

So yeah it looks like we're living with a bunch of wild animals. While I wish I could be in 4 different places at once, it's just not possible. Having 4 pair of eyes would be nice. Stuff like this usually happens when I'm busy doing something, like changing one of the little twins' diapers or cooking dinner and thinking they're all playing so nicely upstairs in their rooms. I was telling my sister one day about all this destruction and she just laughed and said, "that's so typical....don't you remember we refused to buy any furniture for our living room until the kids got older and we didn't even bother having curtains in our family room for the first few years that we lived in our house....really, what's the point?" I did find comfort in that. I can't be the only parent whose house looks like this. Right? RIGHT?!!
Little by little, I've been having Cole and Bella help me repair some of the things they've destroyed. And they no longer have free access to the stickers. They no longer have free access to crayons, pens and markers. Since the little twins have joined in on the destruction, I've showed them how to use baby wipes to clean their messes.
In the meantime, I remind myself that while our home was beautifully perfect before we had children, it was also disturbingly quiet. Now our home is falling apart little by little but it's full of the sound of children's laughter. When people say to me, "wow, you have your hands full", I've always said, "yes, better to have hands full than empty arms and a broken heart". I should probably change that to "yes, better to have hands full than empty arms, a broken heart and a perfectly clean, organized home in beautiful condition". I am most definitely blessed to have my children and whenever another parent-to-be asks me what they can expect when they have children, I will now include "you will not believe the amount of destruction your kids will cause to your home....they seek and they shall destroy"!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes....

Recent conversations with Cole and Bella, age 4....

Bella: Mommy, are you gonna get fingerpainted so you can come on a field trip with us at school?

Me: You mean, fingerprinted? Yes, I have an appointment set up for next week.

Bella: What happens when you get, I mean, fingerprinted? Does it hurt?

Me: No, it doesn't hurt. The person doing the fingerprinting has me put my fingertips on a black ink pad and then I press my fingertips onto a sheet of paper. And then they do what's called a background check to make sure I haven't done anything bad.

Bella: Oh....oh no....uh-oh...that's not good.

Me: What's not good? I haven't done anything bad so my background check will be fine.

Cole: Yeah, you have. Sometimes you yell at us and that's bad.

Bella: And sometimes you say bad words. And that's REALLY bad.


Me: Cole, I want you to always stay little.

Cole: No, I can't stay little. I have to turn 5 years old on my birthday.

Me: I know you'll be 5 but I want to slow down time so you'll always be my baby. It's a Mommy thing.

Cole: But I'm not a baby. I'm a little boy. It's a boy thing.

Me: But when you get older, I hope you'll still want me around. I hope you'll still let me hug and kiss you all the time. Sometimes when little children get older, they'd rather hang out with their friends than their parents.

Cole: Don't worry, Mommy. You can hug and kiss me all the time, even when I'm a big boy. And I'll tell my friends they have to like you because you make good chocolate milk and you bake cookies. And sometimes you sing but I'll tell them they have to like you anyway.


Me: (as I'm tucking them into bed last night) Cole, I love you.

Cole: I love you too.

Me: How much?

Cole: Too much.

Me: Bella, I love you.

Bella: I love you too....too much.

Me: Well, I love you both to the moon and back. And then 10 times around the earth and back.

Cole: I love you 2 times around the galaxy and back.

Bella: I love you to the front door and back.

Me: Only to the front door?

Bella: Well, I guess I could love you all the way to the park but you'll have to pack me a snack if you want me to come back. That's a really long walk, Mommy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Attention Mr Truck Driver with the Winnie the Pooh tied to the back of his truck...

I just want to inform you of how much you traumatized my children when we happened to be driving behind your truck the other day. My 4-yr old son noticed you had Winnie the Pooh tied to the back of your truck. Don't deny it...I have proof.

I even have your license plate noted so please just stop saying "hey lady, you're whacked...I would never do something so cruel and heinous". We both know the facts. And now you can stop cursing the day that cell phones with cameras were ever invented and pay attention to what I have to say.
Let's get back to the issue at hand, shall we? My children and I were happily cruising along after a fun time at the grocery store. A fun day at the grocery store, you might ask? Yes, for me to have a FUN experience at any store with my children is a miracle. So can you imagine the smile that must have been on my face as we left the grocery store after 20 minutes of shopping without any of them fighting, pushing, shoving, pinching, biting and slapping one another?! This was a once in a lifetime experience for me I am sure. I think I might have even been happily humming along with my children as they sang "You Are My Sunshine" to one another. But you had to go ruin it with your damn sick sense of humor.

What person in their right mind ties an innocent, adorable bear to the back of his truck?! Obviously, you don't have children. Did your mother deny you the privilege of watching Winnie the Pooh on tv when you were a child? Did your father refuse to read you any Winnie the Pooh books? Did you cry yourself to sleep at night because you were the only child in your preschool class who didn't have Winnie the Pooh bed sheets? Those are the only things I can think of that must have disturbed you enough to do something so cruel to an innocent, loving bear.

My children have forever been scarred by this event. And, thanks to you, I finally had to sit down with them and have the "there are scary, mean people in the world" speech. I was hoping to avoid that speech for another year or two but clearly it wasn't meant to happen that way.
I would finally like to leave you with a picture I took of my 4-yr old son after he saw poor Winnie tied to the back of your truck. As you can see, he is heartbroken. He is convinced, as all my children are, that Winnie the Pooh has been kidnapped against his will and they fear they may never see him again.

So, please, do me a favor. Do all the other poor children who might have seen Winnie the Pooh tied to your truck a favor. And do all us mothers who have to console our children after seeing something like this a favor.

UNTIE WINNIE THE POOH FROM THE BACK OF YOUR TRUCK NOW! We demand that you let him free. He has loved ones back in the forest who miss him. Christopher Robin is heartbroken and has developed a nasty drinking habit, poor Eeyore has resorted to downing anti-depressants because he is so down in the dumps, happy Tigger has lost his bounce and now has to attend therapy to find his way back to his joyful self, Kanga and Roo....well, let's just say that Kanga has taken her precious Roo far far away to somewhere safe where this could never happen to her baby. Ever heard of the witness protection program? She reported you to the Bear Police and now fears for her life and the life of her baby. You can see how far a mother will go to protect her child!!!!

And I also suggest YOU get some therapy. You obviously have unresolved issues from your childhood. You don't need to traumatize other innocent children because of your anger.

Thank you for reading this and I hope you can understand where I'm coming from.


Doubly Blessed Twice, who will hunt you down and make your life miserable if you do not release Winnie the Pooh at once (don't forget I have your license plate number)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Guess I should've paid more attention in 8th grade science class...

My kids are in love with those disgusting Dino nuggets that we get at Costco. It's the only chicken nuggets they'll eat. In my quest to get them to eat healthier, I had declared one day that there would be no more Dino nuggets in this house. One month later after having to make several batches of chicken nuggets myself from scratch (and I might add, the kids sulked and there was a lot of chicken being wasted), I finally said they could have their precious Dino nuggets back on the agreement that they would eat a serving of fruit and veggies with the nuggets. All was good in the world. They say that when Mama's happy, everyone's happy but in my family, clearly it's when the kids are happy, Mama's happy. Let's just say I've learned to pick my battles.

So the kids were eating their Dino nuggets for lunch the other day and I usually start each of them off with 3 nuggets and they can only have more once they've eaten their fruit and veggies. Seems fair to me. Cole ate all of his food and requested more chicken nuggets. I popped 2 more nuggets into the microwave and then put them on his plate.

This is where things go downhill. He starts sobbing....and when I say sobbing, I mean, SOBBING. As if the world is gonna stop and come to an end kinda sobbing. All the other kids are staring at him and I'm at a total loss as to what the problem is. I asked, "Cole, what is wrong?!" and he puffs his bottom lip out and between sobs says, "You....gave....sniffle, wrong....sniffle, sniffle....chicken nugg....sniffle...ets". I say, with a heart full of pride, "you mean you want my homemade chicken nuggets". He looks at me as if I have a 3rd eyeball in the middle of my forehead. He's finally catching his breath and he says, "NO...not YOUR chicken nuggets....I want the brontosaurus nuggets".

Okay, now, call me silly but I honestly never paid any attention to the fact that the Dino nuggets are in dinosaur shapes. I mean, it makes sense, yes, but parents don't really pay attention to that stuff, do they? For the sake of making me feel better about myself, let's just agree that that's true. But Cole is very into dinosaurs so obviously he had noticed.

I tell him, "Okay, okay....if you calm down, I will find a couple brontosauras' and make them for you, provided you pawn off the other ones on someone else". He manages to convince Garrett to eat the non-brontosaurus nuggets. I go grab 2 brontosaurus nuggets out of the box in the freezer, pop them in the microwave, and put them on his plate. He looks at them, looks back at me and I start to see the bottom lip puff out...."these aren't brontosaurus's".

Seriously? Really? Well, then what the hell do brontosaurus's look like? I didn't say that, trust me, but I was thinking it. I say, "Cole, I'm beginning to lose my patience with you....please go get the bag of nuggets and kindly show me which one is the brontosaurus". He gets the bag and pulls out a brontosaurus nugget.

I said, "that's the one I made you in the first place!!" and he says, "No, Mommy, it wasn' made me a T-Rex".'s all the same, right? They both have big heads. That's all I know. Is it really that important?

Apparently so. Cole proceeded to pull 5 different chicken nuggets from the bag and tell me what each of them were. In clockwise order, starting at the top, we had the terradactyl, triceratops, stegosaurus, brontosaurus (OH, so that's what it looks like!) and a T-Rex.

I said, "oh, well....the brontosaurus and the T-Rex are pretty much the same". Cole shook his head and said, "Mommy, they are very different. The T-Rex stands upright on his back legs. That's probably why you got him confused with the brontosaurus who stands on all 4 legs. The T-Rex has little arms and hands and the brontosaurus has a long neck. And they eat vegetables only and the T-Rex eats meat and people".

When I was in 8th grade science class and passing notes back and forth to my girlfriends about how cute Donald Slappey's butt looked in his jeans, I missed out on the whole who's who in the dinosaur world. You know when you were younger and doing homework and you would roll your eyes at your parents and say, "this stuff is so lame...when am I really gonna use this stuff in the real world?". My mom would always say back, "You need to know all this stuff. Trust me, there will come a day when you'll be older and so glad that you learned about it". Apparently, that day had come. Damn her for being right.....again.

My 4-yr old son knows science....he's been paying attention in preschool obviously. I actually feel kinda bad for the little guy because I'm gonna be of no help to him in the future when he has science homework. Give me English homework and I'm your go-to girl but science...nah!

Oh it gets worse....when Tim came home from his business trip, I said to him, "I didn't realize that the Dino nuggets come in 5 different dinosaur shapes....did you?" and he said "yes", as if I was the last person on earth to realize this. Then he grabbed the box of nuggets and pointed out the 5 different dinosaurs....correctly, of course. Cole, who overheard our conversation said, "See, Daddy knows the dinosaurs". The only 2 kid-friendly words I could muster to come up with in front of the kids for Tim was "SHOW OFF". Well, fine with me....if he's the science expert in the house, he can explain the birds and the bees to the kids when it's time for that.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

In the famous words of Sally Field....You like me....You really like me!

I love receiving awards or being tagged in memes. Who doesn't? Maybe it goes back to the whole elementary school thing of being 2nd to the last picked for the baseball team. I sucked at sports. So I was always one of the kids standing in the line of unwanted's waiting for one of the team leaders to settle for me. I was a good runner, though. When it came time for running track in PE, I was usually one of the first people picked. Okay, enough of need to re-live my elementary school career.

Hajar at Tales From an American Nomad tagged me for a really fun meme! Here's the jist of it:

10 random things about me....

a) first list 10 honest things about yourself - and make it interesting, even if you have to dig deep!
b) pass the award on to 7 bloggers that you feel embody the spirit of the Honest Scrap.

I'm gonna have to dig really deep because I'm not sure I have 10 interesting things to write but here goes:

1) I have an extreme fear of heights. I refuse to even climb a short ladder because I'm afraid I'll fall a whole 6 feet and break a limb.

2) Speaking of breaking limbs, I've never broken a limb or a bone or anything. Probably because I'm scared of heights and never engaged in the sport of climbing trees when I was younger.

3) I was one of those wierd women who actually preferred having a c-section than a vaginal delivery. My first reasoning was the realization that I would have to push two human beings out through my hoo-haw. Just pushing one human being out is painful...I can't imagine pushing two out. I had witnessed two good friends giving birth vaginally and that pretty much sealed the deal for me that NO human being was ever gonna get pushed out of my hoo-haw. Then tag that onto the fear I had of pushing one baby out of my hoo-haw, only to end up having a c-section for the 2nd baby, which would result in not only a sore hoo-haw but a very sore tummy from being sliced open. So with my 1st twin pregnancy, when my water broke suddenly at 32 weeks and the OB did a quick ultrasound prior to delivery, he announced, "definite c-section based on the position of the babies" and I think I might have kissed him. Or maybe it was Tim I kissed. I can't really remember.
4) The one thing I do regret about the c-sections is not having enough information going in to the surgery. I had been watching Babies: Special Delivery every day during my 1st twin pregnancy so I thought I knew everything I needed to know. But during my c-section, they tied my arms down. It totally freaked me out. They assured me it was necessary though so I didn't argue. No one told me that the medicine in the epidural would make my face itch like crazy. And with my arms tied down, I had to rely on the poor anesthesiologist to scratch my itches for me. I also envisioned them pulling each baby out and raising them above the curtain so I could see my precious babies that we had worked so hard to conceive. Not only did I NOT get to see them being lifted out of my body upon being born, I didn't get to hold them for 24 hours. However, I did get a sneak peek at their little faces for a few seconds before they were whisked off to the NICU. With my 2nd twin pregnancy, I had to be knocked out with general anesthesia and so I never even got to see Garrett and Landon in person until 24 hours later. Tim showed me pictures and I cried all night, wishing I could have seen them or at least heard their first cries upon being born. Those are my only regrets about having a wasn't quite the experience I had expected. But, for me, it was better than having to push two babies out of my hoo-haw. Okay, that is the last time I will use the word hoo-haw.

5) My hair used to be bone straight. I always wanted curly hair. After having children, my hair is suddenly curly when I let it air-dry. Very wierd. But I'm not complaining.

6) I had a breast reduction when I was 17 years old. As mentioned earlier, I was a great runner in school but lugging around two ginormous ta-tas was becoming painful so I stopped running. My mom approached me one day and asked if I wanted a reduction and I jumped at the chance, until I saw how gorgeous the surgeon was and then I refused to peel my shirt off. But I got over that quickly and went through with the surgery. I was extremely happy with the results. But now after having children, my boobs are huge again and look more like fried eggs hanging on a nail.

7) I used to be a preschool director before I earned my MA degree in psychology. See, the problem with this is that I didn't have children yet at that time so I simply couldn't relate to some of the issues and concerns some of the parents had. I used to think some of them were blowing things way out of proportion. Now that I'm a parent, I get it. I really do.

8) I used to sneak into my sister's bed at night up to the age of 12 because I was scared to sleep by myself in my own room. This is probably due to the fact that my father was one of those dads who enjoyed freaking us children out. Like the time we watched the movie Friday the 13th and then when he tucked me into bed that night and noticed I had the comforted pulled all the way over my head, he said, "what? You don't think Jason's knife could get to you through that comforter?" and he would laugh as he walked out of my room.

9) I am obsessed with checking the moles on my body on an almost daily basis. When I was in high school and college, I used to worship the sun. There was nothing better than spraying myself down with baby oil and roasting in the hot sun until my skin was the perfect shade of brown. I ended up with horrible blisters a few times from the sunburns I got. So now I've convinced myself that I will end up with skin cancer at some point in my lifetime.

10) All my loved ones have wierd nicknames that I have blessed them with. Bella asked me one day, "Mommy, are you always gonna call me Peanut?" and I said "yes, even when you have children of your own, you will always be my Peanut". That's probably not as embarrassing for her as it would be for my sons, who have really funky nicknames. I can see it now when Landon is in college, living with his frat brothers and I call his house...."Um, hi, can I talk to Chicken...I mean,, I mean Landon please". Or when Cole is playing soccer in high school and I'm in the crowd of other parents and I'm yelling "Go Doggie...kick the ball, Dude-Z". Perhaps the worst of all is Garrett, who was deemed "Evil Twin" by one of the nurses who cared for him in the NICU because he was so high maintenance compared to Landon. Yes, it was horrible but it kinda stuck with him and now he's kindly referred to as Lil E. Or when he's in trouble, it's just plain "E".

If you've gotten this far, here are the 7 people I'd like to tag for this meme (I also gave you all an award down below!)

Mama CEO at Just CarrieMeeAway

Confessions of a Semi-Slacker Mom , Petula at It's a Woman's World, and Lana at The Kids Did WHAT?! were all sweet enough to send me this award:

Thanks to those lovely ladies for thinking of me! It totally made my day to receive this award!!!

Here are the rules for the recipients:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and link to this post and to the person from whom you received your award.

Because I think all the blogs I tagged above are wonderful and show great attitude/gratitude, I'd like to forward this award to them!
And, last but certainly not least, Nancy at One Stop Boy Shop named me as "Blog of the Day" today and gave me this lovely award:
If you're looking for adorable clothing items for your little boy, you definitely need to visit her blog! Thank you, Nancy for thinking of me!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

What's so wrong about eating cake while watching Biggest Loser?

What's so wrong about not feeling guilty for eating chocolate cake while watching The Biggest Loser?

What's so wrong about serving my kids fish and telling them it's a new kind of chicken that only very special kids get to eat?

What's so wrong about sprinkling ground flaxseed on their yogurt and then saying, "oh look, there's chocolate sprinkles on your yogurt"?

What's so wrong about telling my husband on a Saturday morning, "I'm not feeling so good...I think I may need to lie in bed for a few more hours" and then curling up in my nice, warm bed while watching one of my favorite shows on Tivo?

What's so wrong about filling a cardboard box with crinkled paper and taping it shut and then announcing to the kids "wow, a package just came in the mail"....and then running to the bathroom to have some privacy while they open the package?

What's so wrong about giving my kids a glass of Berry Blast Metamucil and telling them "you gotta try this new juice I just bought for you guys", in order to get more fiber into their diet?

What's so wrong about telling the kids the DVD player in the mini-van is broken, so they'll have to listen to MY music for a change?

What's so wrong about setting the clock ahead by 20 minutes and telling the kids it's time for bed?

What's so wrong about telling my husband I need to run some errands by myself and then sitting at Borders sipping on a caramel mocha and reading a gossip magazine?

What's so wrong about conveniently timing my departure right around the same time that Garrett and Landon poop in their diapers and say "by the way, you might want to check their diapers...see ya later"?

What's so wrong about not answering my cell phone when he inevitably calls me, wanting to know how soon I'll be home?

What's so wrong about letting the kids take all the pillows off the sofa and make a fort while I talk on the phone with a friend?

What's so wrong about avoiding the laundry and the dishes while I write a blog post?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Getting to know you....2009!

I received this in an e-mail the other day and thought it would be entertaining.

1. What is your occupation right now?
Mommy, Wife, Cook, Chauffer, Personal Jungle Gym, Nose-wiper, Butt-wiper, Maid, Wrestler, and She Who Remembers Very Important Dates (such as birthdays, anniversaries, kids' day off from school, etc, etc)

2. What color are your socks right now?
I'm barefoot right now (but thankfully NOT barefoot and pregnant)

3. What are you listening to right now? silence. I can actually hear myself breathing. Imagine that? The house is so quiet that I can hear my nose inhaling and exhaling. The kids are in bed.

4. What was the last thing that you ate?, have time to eat? Okay, seriously, I think I might have wolfed something down that resembled a salad at one point. I was pretty wilted by the time I got to inhale it.

5. Can you drive a stick shift?
Nope! My ex-husband tried to teach me once. That's why we got divorced. No, I lie...that wasn't the reason but we came pretty damn close to divorcing after just 2 driving lessons.

6. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
My friend, Tori. Which is actually kinda funny, considering I wasn't intending to call her. I was trying to call our mutual friend, Bonnie, who has a very similar cell phone # and when Tori answered the phone, I said, "Bonnie?" and she said "Helene?" and I said, "wow, you sound like Tori". Rack that one up to "duh moment #23 of the week".

7. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
Of course! I like everyone....well, except, for that lady at the grocery store who took one look at me with all 4 kids and scowled and said, "enjoy them only gets worse as they get older". Hmmm, sounds like someone who is lacking maternal instincts and her children are adults now who strongly dislike her and never visit her at Christmas.

8. How old are you today?
45. Really. Do you believe me? No? Truth? I'm 39....I'll be 40 in April but I figured if I said "45" people would say "Oh.My.Gosh. you look really super for your age" and I'd blush and say "really? awwww!"

9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?
No sports....just reality tv, thank you. Oh and Nip/Tuck, which starts again tonight!

10. What is your favorite drink?
Bailey's on ice or a Mudslide or a Margarita or a glass of white zinfandel but I usually settle for Diet Snapple.

11. Have you ever dyed your hair?
Who hasn't?

12. Favorite food?
Sushi...I could live off that stuff and never get tired of it. But then again, I'd pretty much eat anything these days if it meant I got to sit down and taste it, without 8 little hands grabbing at it.

13. What is the last movie you watched?
7 Pounds with Will Smith. Not actually WITH Will Smith, as in him sitting right next to me in the theatre, holding my hand, although that does sound nice. My mom and stepdad babysat the kids and Tim and I couldn't get out of the house fast enough. We were pretty much tripping over one another as we ran out the front door.

14. Favorite day of the year?
It's a toss-up between Halloween and Christmas. My tummy says Halloween but my heart says Christmas.

15. How do you vent anger?
Yelling at Tim. Or crying. Or both.

16. What was your favorite toy as a child?
I don't remember having one specific favorite toy, although I always wanted a Baby Alive and I think I still harbor resentment towards my mom for never buying me one. And a Easy-Bake oven. Maybe she thought I'd let the doll piss all over her beautiful sofa or that I'd burn the house down with the Easy-Bake oven. She refused to buy me either of them. Bitter, party of one?

17. What is your favorite season?
Fall. I just love all the colors and the crispness in the air. Oh and yeah, it's when the kids go back to school.

18. Cherries or Blueberries?
Cherries. Blueberries stain my teeth.

19. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back?
Heck yeah, because then I may get all paranoid thinking they don't like me anymore.

20. Who is the most likely to respond?
Everyone. Because they know I'll get paranoid if they don't respond and who wants to deal with a worried, anxious, paranoid friend.

21. Who is least likely to respond?
No one. Because they know I'll get paranoid if they don't respond and who wants to deal with a worried, anxious, paranoid friend. Oooops, I already said that, didn't I?

22. Living arrangements?
In Hawaai, in a huge mansion on the beach with 7 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms and 3 maids and 1 personal chef. Oh wait, that was the dream I had last night. I live in the middle of the valley in Northern CA with my husband, 4 kids and our cat who doesn't hunt down mice.

23. When was the last time you cried?
A more appropriate question would be when was the last time that I did NOT cry. I never used to be a cryer but I cry often now, more as a way of letting off steam. And when I'm praying to God on my bathroom floor at 3:00 pm, saying "I know they say You don't give anyone more than they can handle, but COME ON...what were You thinking??!!"

24. What is on the floor of your closet?
Shoes and various clothes that I've tried on but decided I didn't want to wear them but never bothered to put them back up on hangers because I'm just lazy. Lazy with 4 isn't that one hell of an oxymoron?

25. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending to?
As I just stated, I'm lazy so I'm not sending this via e-mail to anyone. But Jen, if you're reading this, consider yourself tagged.

26. What did you do last night?
You mean, after I cooked dinner for 5 people who don't appreciate my cooking, washed the dishes, bathed the kids, read them bedtime stories and then begged and pleaded with them all to go to sleep? I sat my ass on the sofa and zoned out until 10:00 when I went to bed.

27. What are you most afraid of?
Something tragic happening to anyone in my family. And the Boogeyman who apparently lives under Cole's bed.

28. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburgers?
Cheese, especially if it's hot when I eat it. And that I actually get to taste it instead of wolfing it down or having to share it with my kids.

29. Favorite dog breed?
Probably a Norwegian Elkhound, since we had one for many years while I was growing up. She was the sweetest dog ever. Plus, she was never one of those dogs who scoots along the carpet, wiping their ass. And she never once humped anyone who visited our home. Honestly. Not a lot of people can say that about their dog.

30. Favorite day of the week?
Saturdays for sure! When Tim is home from work to help me with the kids!!

31. How many states have you lived in?
Only 3....New Hampshire, Florida and California. I'd love to add Hawaii to that list...a girl can dream. But I'd settle for anywhere in New England. I absolutely LOVE New England! No one on the west coast even knows what a lobster roll is.

32. Diamonds or pearls?
Definitely diamonds. But I wouldn't hold it against Tim if he bought me pearls. I'm no fool.

33. What is your favorite flower?
The sunflower best, but I also love irises. Are you reading this, Tim? Hint, hint. Oh and while you're at it, go back and re-read #32. My birthday IS coming up in a couple months.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My kid is channeling Fat Albert and Papa Smurf...

Landon is suddenly obsessed with wearing hats. Bella has a blue ski hat that he's become attached to. He wears it all the time. This morning he pulled the hat on and he looked at me and all I could think of was Dumb Bobby from Fat Albert!

And then of course there's his Papa Smurf look....

It totally reminded me of how much I loved Saturday mornings when I was a kid. I'd wake up at 7:00 am, run into the family room and lay down on the floor with a huge bowl of cereal and watch all my favorite shows. Smurfs, Richie Rich, Fat Albert, Flintstones, Popeye, The Superfriends Hour, Bugs Bunny and Roadrunner, Speedbuggy, Archie and Jughead....And my personal favorite, Isis.

While some girls dreamed of being Wonder Woman or the Bionic Woman, I dreamed of being Isis. I don't know why. Maybe it was the whole Egyptian look she had going on. Am I the only one who remembers this show? Tim had no clue when I mentioned it to him.

Anyway, I'd lay there all morning, glued to the tv, until my mom would shut the tv off and demand that my sister and I get dressed and go find some friends to play with....oh, and direct instructions to not come home until the street lights came on in the evening, although we were allowed to come home if we got hungry enough for lunch.

Those were the good old days and my kids have no clue how fun the cartoons were back then. I said to them, "Look at Landon...he looks like Dumb Bobby from Fat Albert....oh man, I miss Fat Albert". They just stared at me with blank looks on their faces. What I wouldn't give to go back to the days of my childhood and sit in front of the tv on a Saturday morning, watching my favorite shows and having no other worries in the world....well, other than what color Izod shirt would I wear to school the next day and what kind of hairspray does Courtney Huber use to get her hair to stay so beautifully feathered all day long.

I couldn't help but break out into the Fat Albert theme song, which sadly enough I totally remember:

Hey, hey, hey....It's Fat Albert....and I'm gonna sing a song for you! And this is gonna show you a thing or two!! You'll have some fun now with me and all the gang....learning from each other while we do our, na, na....gonna have a good, na, na....gonna have a good time.... hey, hey, hey!

My kids just can't appreciate my sense of humor. They all seemed kinda scared of me after that.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

I knew it would happen eventually, but not quite like this...

Cole figured out how to climb out of his crib at 18 months old. I fully expected that Garrett and Landon would figure it out around that age as well. But 18 months came and went...they still had no clue how to climb out of the crib. Or perhaps the best part, is that they still hadn't realized that it was a possibility. When they were ready to get up, they'd usually just wait for one of us to come get them. Or Landon would yell "ma" louder and louder until I finally came into his room.

Then 20 months came and went....still nothing. No attempts to climb out of the cribs. I used to be envious of those moms who still had their children sleeping in their cribs until the age of 3! Now I was starting to have hopes that these little guys would be in their cribs until I was ready to transition them, not when they were ready (which would inevitably be waaaayyyyy before I was ready).

This morning, Tim woke me up and said, "you have to see this". I walked into Garrett and Landon's room and saw Landon standing in Garrett's crib. I said, "yeah, so?" and Tim said, "I didn't put him in Garrett's crib". That's when I noticed that the lamp was knocked over on the changing table and everything else that had been on the table was knocked off onto the floor. All we could figure is that Landon finally figured out how to climb out of his crib but instead of jumping down from the changing table and trying to run out of his room, he crawled over to his brother's crib and probably woke him up. I can only imagine the look of fright on Garrett's face when he awoke to his brother jumping on top of him in his crib. But what kid, in his right mind, wouldn't try to spring himself free after successfully attempting to break out of his crib?! Why not come running out of the room and wander around the house aimlessly? Why not go into Mom and Dad's room and wake us up with a "hahahahaha, look at me, you suckers"? Here's a short video I got of it:

Thankfully, Landon wasn't hurt but he was pretty darn proud of himself, as you can clearly see. Instead of considering transitioning him to a toddler bed, we figured we'll just move his crib over to the other wall and move the changing table to the other side of the room so he'll have no access to anything to climb onto. Hopefully that'll work. If not, guess it's time to break out the toddler bed....I'm so not ready for that.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Would you want this guy cooking your dinner?

Hi, my name is Landon and I'll be your personal chef today. The special of the day is hotdogs and beans. Don't mind the fact that I'm naked. I can assure you that only my hands will touch your food. No worries about the rainboots either. I just wear those in case there's a sudden leak. I hope you enjoy your meal today at Chez Landon.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Now if this isn't a good way to start off the New Year, I don't know what is....

I'm a clean-as-I-go-along kinda person when I'm cooking in the kitchen. I just hate seeing a huge pile of pots, pans and dishes awaiting me after a meal. So two nights ago, as I was cooking dinner, I was washing some of the dishes and Bella came up to me and said, "Mommy, can I do the dishes?". I instantly fainted on the floor. Okay, no, that really didn't happen but I did have to ask her, "can you say that again?" and she repeated herself. Now what needs to be understood here is that it has always been a huge battle to get Cole and Bella to clean up after themselves. They have always been stubborn that way and what it pretty much comes down to is me getting a huge garbage bag and threatening, "alright, if I have to pick up your toys, they're going into this bag and we're gonna take all these toys to the Children's Shelter where they will be appreciated". That usually prompts them to clean up. One time Bella countered back with "fine, take my toys" and I did. She hasn't tested me since.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear her actually ASKING if she could help. I said, "by all means, let me get you a stepstool and I'll show you how to do the dishes". She was all smiles and very happy to help. I couldn't believe my eyes. At the young age of 4, there was my stubborn, strong-willed daughter washing the dishes, without me having to even ask. And, the best part is that she likes doing the dishes. She kept saying "Mommy, this is so much fun....I love washing the dishes", to which I replied, "I'm happy to hear can do the dishes every night if you'd like". Here are a couple pics of her doing the dishes (not sure what's up with the Donald Trump comb-over she has going on in that 2nd pic)

I was sure to give her lots of praise like "wow, look how clean you got this plate" and "even I couldn't clean that pot as well as you did". She gobbled it all up and just kept going, even asking "Mommy, I'm almost you have anything else for me to wash?" It was driving Tim nuts because she was making a bit of a mess, spilling some water on the floor, and sometimes not cleaning some of the pots and pans well enough but I told him to just let her do it and keep praising her....we could go back and clean the floor later and re-wash the dishes if we had to. At one point, he took over and she came crying over to me "Daddy said I can't do the dishes" and she was actually sobbing. I read him the riot act and I think he finally got my point.

Yesterday, all day, she kept asking "Mommy, can I do the dishes again tonight?" and I couldn't help but giggle and say, "why sure you can...are you kidding me??" and then Cole said, "I wanna do the dishes too". Of course he can't be outdone by his twin sister. Then Bella said to him, "no, I'm doing the dishes" and they actually stood there fighting over who was gonna do the dishes. I thought "is this really happening? Are my kids fighting over who's gonna do the dishes? God, are you up there? Do you see this? Are you messing around with me again?". So I got an extra stepstool and they both stood at the sink, washing dishes. I couldn't help but start to sing "what's gonna work? Teamwork! what's gonna work? Teamwork!". I sounded like a complete idiot but it's a very rare occasion that these two even get along so I had to make the most of it while it lasted.

Now I just need to find some toddler-friendly chores that I can get Garrett and Landon to do....and then I might actually be able to sit on my butt zoning out on the tv while eating bon-bons at least 1 night a week. A girl can dream.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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