Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Marriage IEP

Wouldn't marriage be easier if we all had an IEP that your spouse HAD to follow? For anyone who isn't aware... an IEP is an Individualized Education Plan for any student that needs special accommodations to be successful in school. So my speech students often have IEPS. It identifies areas of weakness and gives accommodations for the classroom that teachers have to follow to make the student more successful. Things like "sitting near the teacher", "longer time for processing", etc. Wouldn't marriage be so much easier if we had one of these? The Individualized Marriage Plan will be referred to as the IMP from here on out. Just think... at the first sign of trouble, a team of professionals comes in and does a thorough analysis of where the problems are and lays out a plan to address them. They set goals for the individual but also lay out what accommodations and supports are necessary for the marriage to be successful. The spouse has to honor what is in the IMP. So for example... I have a horrible habit of saying "What?" after most things my husband says. My ADHD makes it hard for me to process right away, and before he can usually repeat himself, I answer the question. It just takes my brain longer to figure it all out. It drives him CRAZY! The worst part is that there are times that I actually didn't hear him, but he doesn't want to repeat it because he figures I just wasn't paying attention. If I had an IMP my accommodations would be "wait time" and "repetition when needed" as well as the possible "break things down into smaller steps" and "Speak at a clear reasonable volume" My goal would read... "By November 2013, Given a statement from spouse, Ann will use wait time to process what was said, reducing the use of the phrase "What?" with 80% accuracy." And my spouse would have to accommodate my IMP. For my husband I would write "By November 2013, When given a compliment by his wife, Erik will respond with 1 thing he likes about her on 8/10 trials." Goals would be monitored every 3 months and a report of progress would be sent to all parties involved. How nice would it be if your partners needs were clearly written out so that there was no question how to meet them? What goal would your spouse write for you? Try to write one and see if you can monitor it and see the impact it has on your marriage. *Disclaimer- My marriage is not in any trouble right now. In fact we are better than we've ever been but this thought kept popping into my head because I feel like I'm an adult who has been dealing with ADHD forever and functioning so it shouldn't impact my life, but it does and wouldn't it be nice if there were accommodations to make people more accepting?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Trust your instincts

I am so mad at myself! I might have permanently traumatized my child. My oldest is a very high anxiety child. Even something she enjoys doing can reduce her to tears. So when I started talking about taking her to the dentist I knew it wasn't going to go well. I'm a terrible mom but I've put it off this long because I knew it wasn't going to go well. A few nights ago this conversation happened: Bear-"Mom I'm going to be a dentist when I grow up!" Me-"Really thats such a coincidence because I just made you an appointment to go visit the dentist!" Bear-"No Mom! I'm going to be a dentist so I can take care of my OWN teeth!" Me-"Nice try kiddo!" I purposefully made her baby sister's appointment first. This is actually the only reason the dentist has come up at all. She is 13 months and just got her first tooth so I wanted to make sure everything is OK. I knew it would be easy breeze for Bees and she would come out all smiles with a new toothbrush and a toy from the treasure chest. I wanted Bear to see this and then we were going to watch Calliou, Barney, and every other possible cartoon character go to the dentist and read every book we could find about going to the dentist and then I hoped it would be less painful when it was her turn. I know it would have been less painful because thats how she is. She needs alot of prep work for anything new. So when we got there the hygenist said "Why don't we just do both and save you a trip?" I ignored the red flags in my head and allowed Bear to come to the back with us. She got to see the cool ceiling TVs and I thought maybe she'd be ok. She started to freak out. We did Bees first and Bear watched nicely with Grandma. Then it was her turn. She screamed and kicked and hollered and all the dentist was doing was talking to her. I should have stopped right there... Nope I held her down and let the dentist count her teeth. She sat up coughing and gagging and I said jokingly "OK honey don't throw up on Mommy, I have to run back to work for a meeting." Yep I tried to tackle this on my lunch break... And Bear proceeded to ignore my advice and puked all over both of us. And then she did it again... and one more time... The dentist was great about it, telling me that thats why they have tile floors but I could tell this does not happen all the time. He continued to talk to me about how their teeth look (fabulous of course so there was NO REASON to come in the first place!) while I am COVERED in Bear's breakfast. We got as cleaned up as possible and she starts freaking out about her clothes. I had mom run to the car to get the Tinkerbell costume that was in the car for her to put on. I go to check out and find out hubby did not transfer money into my account... so here I am getting my cards declined, covered in puke, and he's not answering the phone. Yep I had to pay to get puked on. Bear starts screaming that there are no girl toys in the treasure chest and I am trying to reassure the receptionist that really she is not the child from the exorcist even though all signs point to the fact that she could be worse! Somehow I held my cool as they kept trying to offer her toys and she kept refusing. I got everyone out of the building and got home and changed clothes. I know that if I had done it the way I planned it would have gone better. I know it still would have been stressful but the way it went down I don't know that she will ever go back to the dentist again. Let's hope she takes after her daddy and has great teeth with no cavities. The dentist even told us not to worry about bringing her back anytime soon. The $160 dollars for a visit was not even worth it to him :o)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

21 answers from my pookie Bear

I read about these fun questions to ask your kids on Hey, ho, KellyGO here and thought I would ask my 3 1/2 year old.  Interesting...So here are her answers...
1. What is something Mommy always says to you?
Bear: "I love you"

2. What makes Mommy happy?
Bear: Gives me a big cheesy smile (she's right it did make me happy)

3. What makes Mommy sad?
Bear: "When I'm sad" (I wanted to tell her... When kids leave you out on the playground, when you are too scared to try something you love... when you won't eat after I slave away fixing the meal you requested...)

4. How does Mommy make you laugh?
Bear: "When Mommy laughs"

5. What was Mommy like as a child?
Bear: "Silly Mommy!" (I tried re-wording it to kid, little, etc... she thought those were just as silly)

6. How old is Mommy?
Bear: "BIG"

7. How tall is Mommy?
Bear: "SO BIG!"

8. What is Mommy's favorite thing to do?
Bear: "Put away garbage" (Now I know why she refuses to put away toys! She clearly thinks its my favorite thing to do!"

9. What does Mommy do when you're not around?
Bear: "Run in circles" (Quite the opposite my dear)

10. If Mommy becomes famous, what will it be for?
Bear: "Being an elephant" (Um...?)

11. What is Mommy really good at?
Bear: "Everysing" (aww thanks pookie!)

12. What is Mommy not very good at?
Bear: "ummmm" (Good Answer!)

13. What does Mommy do for her job?
Bear: "Work stuff"

14. What is Mommy's favorite food?
Bear: "I don't know.. cake?"

15. What makes you proud of Mommy?
Bear: "I don't know"

16. If Mommy were a cartoon character, who would she be?
Bear: "Dora's Mommy, but I no want to be Dora."

17. What do you and Mommy do together?
Bear: "Dance Dance Dance!"

18. How are you and Mommy the same?
Bear: "We both have hair"

19. How are you and Mommy different?
Bear: "Your hair is brown and mine is yellow"

20. How do you know Mommy loves you?
Bear: "You say I love you all the time"

21. Where is Mommy's favorite place to go?
Bear: "Maybe Targie?" (Target)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Daddy knows best

Man I owe my husband one huge apology. Friday night I fell asleep on the couch. I woke up at 11 to Bees screaming bloody murder. Nothing new... she does this every night at 11. I realized that hubby must be sleeping in our room. This is new... My poor husband sleeps on the couch either upstairs or in the basement nearly every night. Both of our children are terrible sleepers and it is just easier for us to divide and conquer at night. By sleeping in the living room he isn't kept awake AS much by the baby. So at 11ish every night she drinks her 1st 4 oz bottle and again at 3:30 she drinks another one... I know I know she is almost 1 year old and doesn't need 2 bottles at night but it puts her back to sleep and frankly I am sleep deprived and working full time and it was just EASIER. You give her the bottle and she quiets immediately and goes back to sleep shortly after. Except Friday night she didn't go back to sleep... She screamed and screamed and screamed... I went to check and make sure he was in fact there. He was and he was just holding her but not giving her a bottle. I wanted to tell him to just give her a bottle but thought maybe he's trying to get rid of that bottle but I didn't want to undermine him and knew he could handle it. She wasn't going to die without her 11 pm bottle. I of course didn't go back to sleep until she quieted down 2 hours later (OK according to him it was 30 min... but to me it felt like 2 hours). She started up screaming again around 3:30. When it didn't stop I got furious. I stood by the door for a while and then went to the bathroom at which point he got furious and said "She knows your out there!" She is a mama's girl so she wouldn't quiet down until I came in. She was so furious that I wouldn't give her a bottle but again I didn't want to undermine him. I couldn't handle it and handed her to him and left. I went to the living room and sat there fuming for another 2 hours.... or at least it felt that way. I'm pretty sleep deprived so it could have been a few minutes before I passed out but it definitely wasn't until after she stopped screaming. Bear woke me up at 7 am. At 7:30 I started getting worried... by 8 I was convinced that she died of hunger. At 8:20 the two of them came out smiling and happy. She was in a GREAT mood. I however was in one of the worst moods ever. As soon as he started to get smug about how she was so happy I SNAPPED. I had been fuming long enough that I couldn't hold it back any longer and said some very mean things. I was more angry than I have ever been at him in 10 years. Mama Bear had erupted and it was directed straight at Papa. Eventually I cooled down and we went about our day. At some point I was able to talk rationally with him and agreed if we made sure she ate really well Saturday and I was convinced she was as full as possible we could try to get rid of ONE of the bottles. So I took over duty Saturday night. She cried again at the usual times and it was horrible but I stood my ground knowing she couldn't be hungry. One of my friends told me... If you woke up every night and there was someone handing you a piece of pizza you would eat it. If you woke up and it wasn't there you would say "Oh well" and go back to sleep. I kept telling myself that. My husband was so proud the next morning that I didn't give in. He told me over and over which made me feel great (Words of Affirmation Love Language right there!) The next night she cried less... it wasn't a blood curdling scream. Last night (Night 4) she just whimpered like she couldn't get comfortable and passed back out! She really didn't need those two night time bottles! Who knew?!? I guess my husband. Was I really creating my own sleep deprivation? So I owe my husband a HUGE thank-you. Thank-you for ripping off the bottle band-aid. Thank-you for turning the other cheek when I was very angry and mean. And especially thank-you for acknowledging how hard this was for me and praising and supporting me. You really are my rock!

Friday, July 6, 2012

My wish for you...

I was looking back at the girls baby books. There was a question in them... What is your wish for your child? I answered the standard answer... that they be happy and fulfilled, and while I still hope that they be both of those things my ultimate wish that I think will help them be most successful and happy has changed. I want both of you to be nice. I want you to know the difference between being well-liked and being popular. There is a definite difference. Being popular infers that you are somehow superior to someone else. I spent way too much time trying to be popular when I should have spent more time just being nice. Not that I wasn't a nice person but to be popular you often have to go along with the crowd and make some decisions you might not have made if you really looked at the impact on everyone else besides yourself. Being universally well-liked because you are truly a nice person will serve you much better in life. Will you still get dealt lemons... yeah of course... but your ability to spin a positive outlook on it will be better. Will you have people take advantage of you? Yes you most likely will... but you will have many more people that look up to you, love you, and want to help you because you have been a positive light in their life. As I type I am thinking back to my own high school years. There are two girls in particular that stand out because they were TRULY nice people. They still are incredibly nice good people. I am so blessed that through all of my shenanigans in high school I was able to get to know them because of my dance team. I believe they both read my blog and I hope they know how much I appreciate them and look up to them. When you think back on your high school years... was your Prom Queen the most popular girl in school or the most well-liked? Often it would be the first but my senior year it was so amazing to see the nicest girl in school get it. She is such an inspiration to so many. Along with her best friend I have never heard either of these women, even when they were girls, say something bad about someone. They are the first to celebrate your happy moments and the first to send a prayer in your times of need. When I think about what I want for my girls... It's not for them simply to be happy but for them to be nice... for everyone around them to feel better about their world because they were in it... because that is how they make me feel every moment I spend with them!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

How things change...

I have a good friend and loyal blog reader that says he loves my "How life has changed" Facebook posts. I didn't realize how many I have written until he pointed it out but it's so true. The latest basically mentioned how Fourth of July went from my favorite holiday ever to that terrible WEEK that people keep my kids up all night long because they are setting off fireworks. I have always loved the 4th. All you have to do is drink beer, eat hotdogs,be with friends and family, and listen to country music. I know other people change a few of those ingredients around but for me all 4 of those are a necessity. But its definitely harder with kids. You have to work around naptimes, keep applying sunscreen, keep a constant eye (did you know the number 1 day of the year for fatal accidents in children is the 4th?), and then to top it off you are doing all of this sleep deprived because the neighbors have been shooting fireworks off all night long waking the kids up repeatedly since the 1st. So the Fourth of July has changed a bit. I still did manage to drink a beer, eat a hotdog, listen to country music, and spend time with friends and family. I also discovered that from the front yard of our new house you can see the fireworks PERFECTLY! It was awesome. There is nothing more amazing that watching the wonder in your children's eyes as they watch the fireworks! Here is a new "How things change"... What is attractive... what is sexy... how that has changed. About 10 years ago I was attracted to this hot guy on the dance floor of a country bar. He looked great in his jeans and he had awesome dance moves. He was so confident out there I had to find out more about him. Although I am still attracted to his moves, confidence, and the way he looks in a good pair of jeans... that is not the number 1 reason I am attracted to him anymore... Is there anything sexier than seeing a hot guy confidently carrying a Vera Bradley diaper bag? What about watching him rock his baby to sleep? Tonight we went down the street for some ice cream. Although it was close to the baby's bedtime and it was hot and I knew she'd be getting cranky... I totally forgot to grab a pacifier. Right as I was getting frustrated my husband reaches in his pocket and pulls out not 1 but several pacifiers. I absolutely love this about him. No matter where we are going he always remembers to stuff his pockets with pacifiers. To give a shout out to my mom here she is super good at finding and collecting pacifiers too... I am not... at all. I imagine that the days that I am at home searching the house and unable to find a single one they are all sitting in my husbands pockets while he's at work. I am so blessed to have a husband that puts his family first and takes such good care of all the little details in our lives. There is nothing more attractive than a good daddy!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My husband is...

almost always right... Darn him! For example on our 2nd Valentine's Day I was so frustrated because he didn't make reservations until the day of and then even more frustrated that he was taking me to a restaurant where we had to sit with OTHER PEOPLE! How romantic is that? I moaned and complained having never been out for Hibachi before. We had a blast! That Hibachi restaurant to this day is one of my favorite restaurants. He was totally right... So yesterday was our 5th wedding anniversary. One of his co-workers who I've never met was getting married and we were invited. I was incredibly irritated that we were going to be spending our anniversary at a wedding that I didn't know either of the people getting married! My husband said what better way to celebrate your anniversary than at a wedding. He insisted we were going. And guess what? He was totally right. You know what made the night even better... That I didn't know the bride and groom. Weird right? But I LOVE weddings. I love all the details of weddings. I spend most of the night running around trying to capture pictures of the first dance, the cake cutting, the toasts... but for this wedding I didn't need to be part of those moments... In fact it would have been kind of weird for this strange girl to be right up in the center of the action taking pictures. I don't even have a picture of the bride and groom. I got to sit back and enjoy the day. During the ceremony I fully absorbed all of the things the minister was teaching them about marriage. I loved that 5 years later I could honestly say we were following the road map to a good marriage that he was providing them. We are best friends, we try to listen, we always say I love you, etc... A super cool moment was that many of the songs they picked for various events were the same ones from our wedding 5 years ago. To top off the night was a moment I will never forget. I was dancing with hubby to a slow song, we were almost the only ones on the floor. He said "hold on" and went up to the DJ. From where I was standing I could see him saying "It's MY five year anniversary could you play our song Wonderful Tonight?" The way his eyes lit up when he was asking... the way he took ownership of it... Something about that moment made me fall in love with him all over. The DJ played it right away. We danced to our song like we did the first night we met, like we did at our wedding, like we have various other times in the past 10 years. But this one was a little bit different. He sang to me the same, the words were the same, I still felt like we were the only two people in the room... but as our little girl ran up to dance "two-chothers" for a few lines and I looked into his eyes something about this dance said... "we've made it!" We have two beautiful little girls, a home we are proud of, and a love more powerful than anything in the world! The night ended with him telling me what a wonderful night he had and that these have been a GREAT five years. They definitely have and I will cherish this night forever. Thank you for always knowing me better than I know myself. I love you! Our 1st dance 5 years ago Last night... 5 years and going strong!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Cheerful Nest

Ok so this has nothing to do with parenting... But I had to give a plug to an AMAZING interior designer. Sarah at Cheerful Nest is amazing. She was able to take all my ideas and fully execute my vision for our bedroom in this fantastic mood board. I love that I can send her a picture of something I saw and she can not only tell me where to find it but what it's made out of and how I could find it or make it cheaper! She really is fantastic. The craziest part? She's never even seen my house or existing furniture except in pictures I took and she totally nailed it!!! I can't wait to commission her to do other rooms in our new house! If you are redecorating she is amazing and will really help you achieve your vision! Visit her blog to see our mood board and to check out some of her great decorating ideas. I just love how she uses color!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Thoughts on Marriage

My goal for this summer is to focus more on being a good wife and a good mother. I thought I was going to get the house in order, catch up on scrapping, visit with friends, etc... and I still hope I can do these things but they will come after the needs of my family have been met. My husband has been practically begging me to "disconnect" for a LONG time. I always complained that he watches so many sports and this is my thing. But now that I've stepped back and taken some time away I can see that it was a slippery slope for me. I check Facebook while he watches a game which turns into checking Pinterest, checking my scrapbooking sites, writing blogs, scrapping pages, playing smurf village and before I know it his game is over. I justify it because I say that I am scrapping the kids memories but I never stop at just that.
Have you read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman? I SWEAR by this book.  When hubby and I had been dating a few years and hit a rough patch I read it and it was mind altering for me.  The basic premise is that there are 5 "languages" of love and everyone needs to be spoken to in their love language to feel valued.  Unfortunately many of us are not in relationships with people who speak the same language as we do.  This leads to conflict and misunderstanding when all your partner is trying to do is show you love.  If you haven't read the book I suggest you do, even if you are in a wonderfully happy relationship.  If you have read it I suggest you read it again if it's been a while. Here's why.  7 years ago I was a "Words of Affirmation" love language. I need to be told things. Why I'm appreciated, that you find me attractive, what you appreciate... etc... it needs to be spelled out in words.  Hubby was an "Acts of Service" love language.  He would do things like clean out my car, get my oil changed, cook dinner, and all I would think was he is doing his share.  But these were not things he enjoyed doing. These were things he was going out of his way to do to show me he loved me. Because he was not saying "You are the most beautiful girl in the world" or "I love you because you always take such good care of me," I was frustrated and fed up and feeling like I wasn't appreciated.  In turn when I would tell him things like "You are the best boyfriend in the world" and "Wow you look hot tonight" they were just words to him.  After I read the book, took the quizzes, and shared with him it made a HUGE difference in our relationship.  I credit it with why we have now been together for 10 years and married for 5. 
Zoom forward to now... This is going to go off on a tangent... I'm sorry.  Why is it that when we are at the peak of togetherness, right before we get married, our culture says the right thing to do is go out and party as hard as possible... go to strip clubs, get wasted, and in some cases do things that would break our significant others hearts if they knew about.  (Disclaimer here... if you are the bride  of the wedding my husband was just the best man in... I do not know any details of the bachelor party which is part of my own anxiety)  Everyone acts like a fool and then returns to their normal lives...
So my husband was just best man in his best friend's wedding. He spent MONTHS planning the bachelor party.  He didn't write his speech until 5 min. before he had to give it but he started planning the night of debauchery the moment the ring went on her finger! Now I trust my husband more than I think most women do or should.  He truly is an amazing man and is very dedicated to our family.  That being said I had a hard time with the whole weekend.  I was feeling insecure already... I had a baby 7 mo. ago and know I have let myself go... I have been stressed by work and lack of sleep, and if I cook 2 nights in a two week time span it's a miracle... I just really haven't been the fun loving wife he married.  When I got down to the wedding, he was very busy with all his responsibilities.  I hardly had a chance to speak to him.  I spent a lot of the wedding speaking to friends who are having some problems in their marriages.  Add that onto the fact that he didn't say how much he missed me or that I looked good that night and I started to worry about my own marriage.  Then when I heard about him being hit on before I got there I was a total mess.  After some soul searching and a deep talk I realized I could let all this eat at me but what would that accomplish? I love my husband... I love my marriage and I wouldn't let any of this get in the way of it... Instead of thinking of what he is not doing for me... I switched my mindset to what might I not be doing for him? I retook the Love Language Quiz here and as I knew I was still "Words of Affirmation" but I also asked him to retake it...7 years later he is no longer "Acts of Service" but "Quality Time".  So all this time I have been spending on the computer, on my phone, etc... really were hurting him. 
This week I have been going out of my way to spend time with him... to "disconnect"  I left my phone at home when we went out Friday, I leave it plugged in in a different room in the evening.  I didn't scrap any pages the entire week.  I sent him messages at work.  Even when he wasn't at home I spent the time I would normally be on the computer straightening the house so that I wouldn't have to when he got home.  Not only did I find my worries and fears disappearing on their own I found a greater appreciation for my husband... me giving him what he needed in turn has made him start giving me what I need.  He texts me when he isn't home to say how happy I make him, he let me sleep in on Saturday and while I was sleeping ran out and bought me coffee and breakfast, he picked up special things at the grocery store he's never bought before just because he knew I loved it.  We are both smiling more and surprisingly he is talking more.  It's crazy to me to think that just these small changes can make such a difference in our lives.  My mom even noticed the difference.  It's only been a week but I vow to keep it up.  I married this man for a reason... I love him and our family more than anything in the world... he deserves to feel love from me every single day because he is 100% worth it. 

If you are having problems or want to love your partner/spouse more... I really suggest you go take the quiz... read the book too it really helps you see how it all works.  As for me if you don't see me blogging much (not that I have been anyhow) this is why...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My funny little girl...

I am Irish and love St. Patrick's Day. As soon as we realized that it fell on a Saturday this year we made plans to head to Chicago to see the river dyed green. Despite living in the area for 2 years we had yet to go see it. I told Bear all about how the leprechaun's were being tricky and dyed the river. She thought it was so neat and kept looking on the bridges for leprechauns. Here is a picture of my little family at the river... Ignore Bear's cranky face... she hates pictures being taken (and it was 80 degrees) but she was actually having a good time.
So fast forward to Monday. We were out to eat and she needed to go potty. We got in there and the water was blue. She had never seen this before and was fascinated. She said "Mommy it like the river but blue! Was it leprechauns?" I said "Hmm maybe it was smurfs!" She said "Yeah I think its smurfs! I pee in it and make it yellow!" Nice right? So after she hopped down to see if it was yellow and was shocked it was green! A lesson in color mixing right there in Firehouse Subs! Then she looks at me and said astounded "Mommy leprechauns no dyed the water! Smurfs and people PEED in it!!!" LOL I tried to stifle my laughter the best I could! How their little brains work! I almost died! Any hilarious revelations from your children?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Owls, Owls, and more Owls

I have a friend, one of my closest friends, who has just gotten her design blog up and running. You have to check her out here... It's AWESOME! Not just because the first few blogs are about ME... but because she is awesome! Her baby girl Penelope is exactly one month younger than Bees so we are going through a lot of the same things right now. She is my best friend from high school and although we live in different states I love that we have this new bond to share! Her blog today is about projects you are proud of and also happens to be an adorable sock owl mobile for Penelope. Bear decided Bees' "nursery" should be owls too so I thought I would show off a few projects I took on to decorate. Now all of a sudden there are owls EVERYWHERE but when I decided to do owls I couldn't find ANY! I searched high and low and eventually made my own art and stuffed animals. My mom made her cribsheet. Here are a few pictures!
In this one you can see the few owls I did find but I really wanted to show off the crib sheet mom made! So cute!

The little owl in the front is one mom and I made! We made her a couple. I'm very proud of them!

I couldn't find any artwork I loved so I made this one... I'm not super happy with it but I was 9 months pregnant and nesting and needed it DONE! The owls are pretty cute though!

So do you have any projects your proud of?

We all need a little support...

As moms I think it is soooooooo very important to have a community that you can rely on... Whether that is your church, friends from childhood, friends from a mommy group... it doesn't matter who it is as long as you have a group of people you can turn to who value you and you don't feel judged. There is enough judging going on in the mommy world... we need a safe haven.
I have joined several meetup mom groups in my area and met a couple of nice moms who I call friends. I have a TON of friends with babies that I connect with over facebook but the group I am most grateful for right now are my friends from the digi scrap world. If you know me you know how important pictures are to me. And you know how much I love to scrap them. After a year and a half I am still a relative newcomer to the digital scrap world but I LOVE it. I have really found a scrap "home" in although there are several other communities I frequent since alot of them overlap in designers and members.
We meet through message boards. We know each other through the pictures of our children. There are several scrappers I know its their layout purely from the pictures of their children. Others I know its one of their layouts just from the way they scrap. We share our lives through digital scrap book pages. We encourage each other. I'm not sure if it's something about women that scrapbook but I feel like kindred spirits. We also gather in chat rooms with the excuse of "speed scrapping" but really we are just chatting... or at least I am. In these chats we may discuss scrapbooking techniques and share kit ideas but more than likely we are discussing things like how everyone's kids sleep, how old everyone's kids are, how the weather is where everyone lives, the health of ailing parents, the health of our children. I love that it is a safe environment for us to share. I am now friends with several of the ladies on facebook and really looking forward to meeting quite a few in April at a scrapbooking retreat! I hope you have a safe place you can be a mom!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Appearances are everything...

aren't they? I received a call from a friend who wanted to pay me a compliment. She said they were talking about mothers and trying to come up with what a "good" Mother would look like. Her husband said... "You know Ann... She always throws great birthday parties for her girls, she has a can do attitude, and .... " basically he saw me as the ideal mother figure... Um wow! Me? It's funny to me to think about this image that family has of me. I see them at church, and for the awesome birthday parties, softball games in the summer, and various other events. I personally think his wife is one of the best wives and mothers I know. She is so patient, sweet, and thoughtful. I feel bad because I feel like she doesn't see this and I know she doesn't see me at my low points. She doesn't know that my dishes pile up in the sink for days at a time, laundry doesn't get done until people are completely out of socks and underwear, and that for those birthday parties to come together I am a NIGHTMARE to be around the week before! Family photo shoots stress me out so badly that the entire family DREADS them and I have a feeling a few of them self-medicate before showing up. My oldest loves to sleep in her clothes and go to school in them the next day (often her Monday morning clothes were her Sunday clothes). Yet they see me as the ideal mother figure?
I think the lesson to be learned here (besides the fact that I need a maid) is that we are much harder on ourselves than we need to be. We are always striving to look perfect to others when really we already do... there is no need to compare ourselves to the next family because we are all doing what is best for our families at that point in time. So kick up your feet, grab a glass of mommy juice, and relax... the dishes can wait :o)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A 3 year olds take on skin color

I promise this conversation actually took place on the day celebrating the great Dr. Martin Luther King jr. I would like to take credit for it and say we we're having a thought provoking conversation about skin color but I can't. It was completely spontaneous and completed came from Bear's 3 year old brain.
Bear: "Mommy what color you skin?"
Me: "Um, I don't know... Maybe peach?"
Bear: "OK Mommy, then mine be pineapple!".
Wouldn't it be nice if everyone thought of skin color as no more complicated than fruits belonging in the same food group. They are all delicious in their own way, everything contributes equally to an awesome fruit salad, but they are all simply yummy fruits. Is this truly any different than people? We are all delicious in our own way. We all contribute equally wonderful things to the world. And most importantly we are all PEOPLE! I absolutely loved this conversation. It really made me stop for a moment and think. I love the innocence of her young brain. I love her questioning nature. Right now is our chance to mold the youth and their views. If we allow them to think skin color is no different than different kinds of fruit and let them know it is important to challenge anyone who thinks differently wouldn't it be a better place? It's not realistic to think they won't encounter prejudice and ugliness but if we put love and equality into their hearts we give them a fighting chance to make this a better place.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cause and Effect in the Preschool Child

This is usually the relationship between my girls. Bear is very into baby dolls and loves to help with her sister. She tells us throughout the day "Be careful Mommy, her a baby." The other morning I came out from brushing my teeth to see this picture. Bear said, "Mommy, her was crying so I give her a bottle!" She is such a big helper!
I am going to blame the next story on the full moon. Bear was never a biter. On a few occasions she tested the waters but it was 2 years ago and lasted a week tops. Imagine my surprise when baby Bees started screaming bloody murder and Bear ran to hide, only to find out she bit the baby's toe!!! She didn't break the skin but you would have thought she did the way the baby screamed. All I can figure is that her new love of the movie "Lilo and Stitch" influenced her since she ran around all weekend pretending to be Stitch.
Later that day we caught her feeding a goldfish cracker to her 12 week old sister. She knows Bees can't have food yet and tells us over and over but I think she is now at the stage that she wants to question our authority and find out WHY we say things can't happen. I love her inquisitive nature but I wish we could find another way to explore the laws of cause and effect without practicing on our baby sister! That was definitely a wine and bubble bath kind of night! Anyone have any suggestions to help with this situation???

Sunday, January 8, 2012

More thoughts from me...

- I love losing weight with my husband. We totally motivate each other and it's easier to stay on track because neither one of us wants pizza or something the other can't have... Ok I REALLY want pizza... But since he isn't eating it neither am I. Pizza is totally a gateway drug for me so I have to avoid it entirely... And I didn't mean gateway food it really is like a drug to me... It's intoxicating, addictive, and life altering... And it leads to things like coke (coca-cola of course) and from there it's all downhill... Many a diet has been ruined by a single slice of pizza!
The problem with dieting with my husband is that he has lost 6 lbs in the time I've lost .2... It's truly not fair how easily men lose weight. I guess I can look at the bright side and know in 2 weeks I will have an in shape, sexy hubby to motivate me to lose another .2 lbs.

-Baby Bear never watched cartoons... At least not this young. She loved to watch sports with daddy but that was just coincidental...
Everyone has told me baby 2 will do things faster because they want to be like the older child. It has already started! Our morning routine consists of breakfast while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Baby Bees loves it! She will lay on her blanket and stared mesmerized at Mickey. I know I should move her somewhere else and read books to her or do some flashcards while listening to classical music but it actually gives me a few minutes to brush my teeth or make a cup of coffee! So they watch together. I love how I come back from the bathroom and Bear is telling her baby sister all about the show, narrating it for her. It really is sweet.

-It's funny it's only been 3 years since Bear was this age but I find myself forgetting what to do to keep Bees entertained. I was looking through old pics on MySpace today (that's where most of Bear's baby pics are... Can you believe it, it really hasn't been a century since we were all active MySpace users) and I saw a pic of me reading her a book at 2 mo. I remembered that it was her favorite book and if I recited it she would quiet and smile... I realized I haven't picked up a single book to read to Bees and at this point I had several memorized for baby Bear! So of course I ran straight into their room and grabbed all the board books I could find to make up for lost time. And wouldn't you know it... Bees smiled and laughed through them all. I went to make another cup of coffee (don't judge) and came back to Bear reading the books to her sister! How sweet is that? Which brings me to my next point...
-The good thing about a second baby is that the first child takes some of the entertainment responsibilities off your shoulders. Big sister is much better at dancing silly, singing songs, and overall entertainment of the infant crowd. Baby Bees already looks up at her sister with big open eyes in awe of everything she does...

- The downside of this adoration of her sister is that she recognizes even the slightest whisper of her sisters voice. When the baby is sleeping if Bear says one thing baby is wide awake. If anyone has suggestions for preventing a 3 year old from talking for 2 hours I would greatly appreciate them!

- Lastly, What is colic? Everyone tells you it will pass but when you are already thinking of how to make a sling that will support a 25 year old because clearly this child will still be screaming it's head off in 25 years... You might already be looking up mental institutions because it's pretty much guaranteed you will be committing yourself in the near future... If nothing else just to get a good nights sleep... And then you realize... It's been a week since you've had to take out any of your 3 slings (yes I have 2 Sleepy Wraps and a Moby Wrap)... Is my baby still cranky in the evening? Yep. Does she prefer me to be the one to put her to sleep? Of course. But does she smile, coo, and laugh as she wakes up now? Can I see the light at the end of the tunnel? Did we survive colic??? Yes, Yes, and Yes! And you will too my dear friends that have been suffering with us!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Going back to work...

makes me want to be sick. I love what I do. I truly do. I miss every one of my students. I love my co-workers and the school I work at. I have always said I would make a terrible stay at home mom. My husband told me tonight how he knows I will be much happier when I am back at work. How come none of these things make me feel any better?
First of all I know how incredibly blessed I am that I have my mom to watch my sweet baby (and my sweet preschoolers in the afternoons). I can't think of a better person to watch her. Bees loves my mom to death. Her first smile was at my mom. When I couldn't get her to stop crying in the height of colic she would quiet immediately for my mom. I worry that she won't tell me if it gets to be too much for her. I worry she will resent how much time she spends helping us out.
I have to stop myself from feeling that it isn't fair that I spent 2 1/2 months at home with a colicky baby and now that she is smiling and interacting I have to hand her over for someone else to enjoy all day. I have to remind myself that the reason I was able to stay home with her then is that that is when she needed me the very most and only now is she at a place I can hand her care over to someone else (not that I was alone that whole time, my mom has been by my side almost every day).
I worry about work... Not about being an SLP. I know I can handle that. But being an SLP or any specialist in a school really starts to suck about January. This is when all the new referrals come in, caseloads grow, evaluations and meetings peak, and morale plummets. It doesn't help that today was the coldest day of the winter so far (5 degrees with the wind chill for my Florida friends). Instead of being prepared for this and knowing what I'm going into tomorrow... I have no idea where any of my students are... No lesson plans ready (kinds hard to do lesson plans when I don't know where the kids are at) and about 5 IEP meetings that I need to do paperwork for by Thursday.
The last reason I'm bummed is I didn't accomplish nearly half of the things I wanted while on break. I am more behind than ever on my scrapbooks, my maternity clothes are still in my closet and my pre-baby clothes are still in boxes (not hat thy would fit), I never attended any meet ups with the moms group, my house is a disaster, and my car is a mess. I will miss lazy mornings snuggling with my baby... I will miss fun afternoons with Bear, playing dolls and watching her shows.
I'm just not ready... But I don't know if I will ever be! The one good thing is that unlike the last time I was at work... After a long stressful day I can enjoy a nice big glass of wine... If anyone chats with my husband and would like to help a girl out... Suggest he bring a bottle home with him after work tomorrow. I would greatly appreciate it!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Baby weight...

I have never been one to REALLY be concerned about my weight... I have dieted and attempted to work out but most of my life I never really had to do anything. When I met hubby until I got pregnant with my first child I gained 5 lbs every year. That adds up to a lot of pounds. Still I wasn't very motivated. After Bear was born I and I lost the initial baby weight I was still up about 15 lbs, 5 of which I lost just in time to find out I was pregnant with Bees. Now after baby #2 I am up 30 lbs from before I started to have kids. I know this is normal and it should take as long to take it off as it did to put it on... but all of a sudden I am concerned with my weight. First of all I go back to work in 2 days (eek that just squeezed my heart), and I do not have 1 pair of pants that really fits except maternity... yuck!
We were out running around yesterday... I was wearing a pair of maternity pants that have survived the duration of 2 pregnancies... 18 months of clumsy pregnancy eating... and they are slightly stained in a few places. I also had on a maternity sweater because I couldn't find anything else. My daughter had chocolate milk spilled on her pants and between the two of us we were a hot mess. My husband nicely pointed out that maybe since we were going to the mall we could each buy some new pants...
So I went into a store I used to love... so excited that I no longer had to shop at a maternity store and could get back into clothes I liked! I grabbed the size I thought I would wear and a few the next size up just in case.... I tried on about 4 pairs of pants before I was no longer smiling... by the next 2 I had a horrible stomach ache... after the next 2 I sat on the floor and cried... I really cried... I couldn't believe that the largest size in this store did not fit me... I got it together and went to another store. I don't typically shop at this store because it's a little pricy.. I finally found a pair of jeans that fit around the waist. However I guess if you are as big as I am around the waist you are supposed to be 6 feet tall. Does anyone know what I should do with the extra foot of fabric? I was so glad to find something that fit my waist I didnt even care about the extra length. I guess I need to go buy some boots too now! At this point I was so depressed it didn't even occur to me that I DON'T need jeans. I cant wear jeans to work! Now I need to go out shopping AGAIN to find work pants before I go back to work in 2 days (eek!)
I checked out... spending a small fortune on an outfit for myself and Bear. I thought I had it together enough... Went to the bathroom and changed and met up with Erik and the girls. Before he could even get out that I looked great I was crying again. I couldn't believe I was crying in the middle of the Lego Store...
Conveniently this happened on New Year's Eve so I am making the stereotypical resolution to diet and work out and do anything short of running marathons...So friends I could use some encouragement... Tell me stories of how you have struggled, triumphed, or accepted your own situation... Tell me I can do it... and if nothing else... lie to me and tell me I look great in my tattered old maternity clothes when you see me because I honestly don't know if I can bear shopping again until I am down at least 1 size.