July 21, 2014

I usually blog when I have something on my mind (or some super cute pictures to share). I get it all out and then it's not bouncing all around my head. Free therapy! Most of the time it's related to my kids because, let's face it, they consume most of my life. I rarely think twice about writing it all down and sharing.

Lately something more personal has been invading my mind. My body. I've put on a few pounds and it's not sitting well with me. That combined with the worst haircut since my mom gave me a mullet in 6th grade and some dermatitis on my face, I'm feeling a little bad about myself. The worse I feel, the more I want to eat. Then that nagging voice says, "You really shouldn't be eating that." To which the only answer is to eat 3 servings. It's a losing cycle that I need to break myself out of.

Why can't I appreciate all that my body has done and continues to do? I birthed 3 children with no complications. I am strong and flexible. I can scoop a tantruming 50 pound kid off the floor in the blink of an eye. I can dance. I can run. I can hug 3 children at the same time.

I never say anything about my body in front of the kids. I want my girls to have a positive body image. I've spent so many years hating my perfectly healthy body - the last thing I want to do is pass that onto the girls.

I am hoping that I am not alone out here. Maybe you negative self talk too. I think the only way to stop the insanity in my head is to respect myself. Feed my body with healthy food and my soul with positive loving self talk. Kindness is so easy for me to spread to others. Maybe we can help each other save some kindness for ourselves.

I think maybe I need a mantra. Like a good ol' fashioned "I am woman hear me roar." Only more appropriate. Any good ideas? How about - My body is just a vessel for my awesomeness. Or maybe I should just start Ohmmmm-ing to drown out the bad stuff. I am what I am, and what I am is OK. (I said that so many times in my head that now it just sounds plain ridiculous and a lot like Popeye.)

So I may be lacking some eloquent words to fully express how I am feeling. Heck, I can't even think of a title for this post. I'm not entirely sure I want to hit that little publish button. I tried to take some lovely photos of myself. I'd push a swing, hit the timer button, pose myself in 10 seconds then run back to push a swing again. When I looked through the photos in the end, I saw that my feet were crossed over each other in this super shy self conscious dance in picture after picture. I'm sure this speaks volumes to anyone who knows about body language.

I would love to wrap this post up with a pretty little bow, but I've already gone on longer than I intended. So please, share something that has helped you love yourself more. How do you respect your body?

July 17, 2014

potty training

I swore to myself that I wouldn't go there. That I would leave my kids with a shred of dignity. But it's all I think about. It consumes most of my day. I can't keep it in anymore. Potty training sucks. I've assembled a few tips and bits of helpful information so you can succeed when it's your turn to enter this black hole.

1. It takes a LONG time for them to give a rats ass if they poop in their pants - even if you followed that expert's fantastic idea of putting on undies UNDER the pullups so they get the sensation of being wet or dirty. 3 pairs of unsalvageable undies later and we've scraped that idea.

2.  All pottying must be done at least 50% naked - preferably 100% naked. (which is OK because some boys will use their shirt to wipe dribbles of pee off their little boy parts)

3.  Toilets must be flushed even if it was just the tiniest dribble of pee. Also toilet paper usage will be exponentially increased while the number of diapers may not decrease for a while.

4.  Setting a timer to go off when it's time to sit on the potty again helps - especially if it sounds like an elephant. You must remember to reset the timer after every attempt or it will do you no good. It's easier to convince little boys to walk to the bathroom than to convince them to pull down their pants themselves and hop on the potty.

5.  It is a guarantee that if you have more than 1 child, the other one will be up to no good while you sit and watch for pee, cheer and help wipe, wash and dress.

I have managed to refrain from taking any pictures of them on the potty so you will have to enjoy these fully clothed pictures instead.

Looking for the horses on our early morning walk.

Racing baby toys on the back deck  and the look of victory when he finally wins,

I let her stay up late if she would pose for me in the garden. I loved capturing her dancing on a rock.

I let big sis use my camera and she took this great one just after rara woke from a nap.

Keeping the humming bird feeder full and clean is time consuming, but worth it.

July 13, 2014

never easy

Pretty much every day I am reminded of how far my buddy has come by way of a really cool app called 'Timehop.' It compiles posts from 1 year ago today, 2 years ago, etc. For example, 4 years ago today I wrote: My buddy is not satisfied with just climbing on the couch. He now tries to climb up the back of the couch and from the couch to the side table. I may have to put all my furniture into storage.

I appreciate how I don't have to watch him like a hawk every singe second. He's allowed in the kitchen now. He sometimes will play with his sisters without tackling them down like a line backer. If he's in the right frame of mind he'll even put on his own shoes. All huge things that make my life easier.

That's not to say that life with him is easy. It's rarely easy. Unless he's sitting on his favorite chair playing the iPad (current obsession - old school Transformers cartoons) or somewhere in the house with a bucket of trucks and some cool terrain, I pretty much have to be on guard. And outings. Well, outings are almost always a challenge.

Things start off great. We are having so much fun. Then maybe my buddy is hungry and getting irritable. Perhaps he decides that the splash pad and playground just weren't fun enough and he wants to take his shoes off and jump into the gross lake where the geese are. When the answer to that is no and he is restrained from stepping into the water, he might throw himself down on a pile of goose poop. We switch off who chases my buddy trying to prolong the outing a little longer because the girls are having a lot of fun. Things progress down hill quickly and we head to the car dejectedly.

I did manage to get some photos of the fun times (even though my taking pictures drives my husband insane). Now I can look back and say - Oh that was a fun day. We love the splash pad. For me, the joy on his face - living in that moment - is so worth the rest of the nonsense.

This little one still has to discover the joy of water. As soon as her swim shirt got a little wet she wanted it off. She says, "arms up." Cracks me up every time. Rara only liked the sprinklers when they weren't on.

No fears. We salvaged the outing by stopping for ice cream on the way home.

July 10, 2014


When the husband travels, I dread the nights. I am used to being alone during the days as he works tirelessly and usually doesn't make it home before bedtime. But those nights are so long. When we had a third child, we made a deal that he had to get up with my buddy until the baby slept through the night. Here we are 2 years later and the baby is still not sleeping through the night.

I often complain about being tired. But tired doesn't really come close to how I actually feel. I used to go to bed early because I couldn't possibly function on less than 8 hours of sleep. Now I go to bed early because keeping my eyes open another minute is physically impossible. Here's how a typical night goes when the kids are healthy.

9:30pm   Head to bed with hopes of a few solid hours before getting woken up

10:45      Hear my buddy wrestling around in his bed - check on him. His head is pressed into the bed rail and his body is tangled in his CPAP tubing. Drag 50 pounds of dead weight back to center of bed while untwining tubing and limbs.

10:55    Head back to bed. Lay awake for a while wondering if my buddy will settle down or if I will have to go back in there.

12:15am Stumble out of bed responding to rara calling and crying. Lay down next to her on her futon mattress on the floor. Get alternately snuggled and shoved until she finally falls into a deep sleep.

12:50   Roll out of rara's bed trying to stand straight. Slip into bed marveling at how comfortable it is. Beg the sleep gods for just 2 hours in a row.

2:00    Spend 5 minutes trying to find glasses while my buddy moans. Find him, once again, tangled in tubing and sprawled upside down in the bed with his head as far as it can go and still have his mask on.  Reposition him and straighten out tubing.

2:10   Back into my bed. Offer to sacrifice a child, any child, if only they would all just sleep until 6am.

3:30  Rara scares the crap out of me as she shuffles into my room, half awake and cries, "Mama." Carry her back to her bed. Lay on that god awful mattress while she moans and tosses and turns. Pass out.

4:15   Wake with a start and realize I can't move my arm and my back is on fire. Try and not wake rara as I drag myself up off the floor. Back into my glorious bed.

5:20  Rara is up again. She's too noisy to stay in her room (she and big sis share). Lay her in our bed because the thought of standing up is more than I can handle. Beg her to stay asleep as she dozes then complains off and on. She is too tired to be awake yet too awake to really sleep.

5:55  Give up on sleep and start the day.

At least they are sweet when they do sleep.

July 8, 2014

visitors, libraries and the potty

We had another lovely visit with Nana and Grampa. This time around, rara wasn't afraid at all and didn't hesitate for a moment to let Nana and Grampa scoop her up. The kids love having them here. There are more trips outside, more pushes on the swing, more hands to catch and throw balls and more love to go around. We just started some Therapeutic Horse riding lessons and were thrilled to have them come and watch.

We had lots of busy days with Nana, Grampa and Daddy. Now we are back to the quiet of just us. I love having the help and seeing my parents but I also love my alone time. We took an afternoon to head to the library.

We have been going to different libraries since the kids were babies and we've finally hit a point where I don't spend the entire time chasing and redirecting. It's still a bit hectic but I am able to flip through books and find just the right ones that each child will love. I have a system in place to get the kids out of the library happily too. But my favorite part of going to the library is when we come home. I dump the bag of books on the floor and the kids dive in.

What follows is silence. Beautiful silence. I swear you can hear their brains growing as well.

My buddy is back in school - just 3 days a week for 2.5 hours. Enough time to drive Grampa to the airport and fold some laundry or run an errand. Today after school and some chores were done inside, we headed out to play in water. Nothing brings a smile like water on a hot day.

My buddy spent the whole time pouring buckets of water on his own head and then laughing like a fool. They got all wet then stomped around in the grass making themselves so muddy, the only logical choice was to head straight to the bath tub. Summer at its finest. It was grand fun that almost makes up for the fact that I am knee deep in potty training both rara and my buddy. Potty training takes an extreme amount of determination, patience and persistence. Nothing about it is fun. I look forward to coming out the other side.

Until then, we will focus on the fun.

I assure you, this is NOT the face she gives me when I tell her it's time to sit on the potty ... again.

July 1, 2014


Seven years ago I became a mom. I feel like I've been a mom for so much longer than that yet at the same time it seems like just yesterday when she was born. Big sis is an extraordinary person. She is kind, thoughtful, mature, smart and has an old soul. She loves deeply.

At every stage in her life, people have asked me, "How did you teach her to _____?" My answer has always been, "It is just who she is. She does it all on her own." As a toddler, you told her not to go in a cabinet and she didn't. She taught herself how to read. Compassion comes naturally. She would never dream of running off in the store. Parenting her is easy.

She may look just like her Daddy but she is my shadow. Everywhere I am is just where she wants to be. The only time she acts out is when she hasn't had enough 'Mommy Time', as she calls it. Big sis is naturally cautious and shy. She went through 2 years of PreK never once speaking to a child in her class. Yet she knew everything about them (and exactly what outfit they were wearing).  Having her brother or sister with her makes her feel safer and she is more likely to try new things. The love and patience she has for them is never ending.

Big sis is a one of a kind kid and I am so lucky that she is mine. She makes my heart soar.