Showing posts with label Supermom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Supermom. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Body After Babies

We're having the important discussion at Burlington Vermont Moms Blog about body image after having babies. Please read along! Body After Babies: Redefining Beauty

And here's my post:

Worth the Stretch

Monday, March 4, 2013

Overcoming Anxiety

I wrote about overcoming anxiety at Burlington VT Moms Blog today. Check it out:

Monday, January 28, 2013

What I Wanted To Do...

What I wanted to do today was post pictures of our Living Room before and after. What I'm actually doing is nursing a sick kid. He moans. It's the man cold in boy form. And it ain't pretty.

What I wanted to do today was show you how pretty my Living Room is. What I'm actually doing is hoping this set up...

Thaws the pipes to our upstairs radiators that are frozen. No heat in Vermont in January is fun.

What I wanted to do today was show you this rug:

But I can't because last night entailed an epic pillow fight and some certain children didn't clean up after themselves. What I'm actually doing is reading Duct Tape Parenting and realizing my kids need more training. I realize this because I am constantly cleaning up after them and quite frankly, I'm sick of it.

I'm the mom, not the maid.

I've let things slip, taken over too much control. Not expected everyone to do their share around here. So I'm leaving the messes they create. I spent my weekend ignoring scenes like this:

Biting my tongue so hard I may puncture it. I've asked once. And that's all I'm asking. Which is why my dining room looks like this:

And why my evening last night looked like this:

That's me hiding in my bedroom drinking a glass of wine while the children destroy the house.

So far the messes don't last long. It takes them a day to realize I'm no longer coming behind them to clean up. Now it's Monday and I can't touch any of this. Nope. Not even this delightful collection at the bottom of the stairs:

If you need me, I'll be rocking in the corner, thinking about all the things I wanted to do today.

PS: this book I'm reading is so great! It's like taking Love and Logic parenting up a notch and adding some great twists. I'll be telling you more about it soon! Just, obviously, not today.

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Surrogacy Story

Did you know that I was once a Gestational Surrogate? It's true! It's not something many people know about me but it's a very important part of my life. The pregnancy didn't end the way we all hoped, but the experience changed my life. To read more, check out my post at Burlington Vermont Moms Blog...

Journey To Motherhood: The Less Traveled Road of Surrogacy

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's All Relative

When I wrote a post about my husband's upcoming deployment I had quite a few responses. The ones that stood out to me the most were the ones from fellow moms who spoke out of guilt. It sounded something like this:

"I complain about my husband being gone one night or one weekend. I can't imagine what six months would look like," said with an apologetic tone.

So it got me thinking about this subject of guilt and judgement. I've talked about this before and obviously it's something I am supposed to be learning right now. So since you are reading my blog, you are forced to as well. You're welcome!

Here's the thing I am learning, our struggles are all relative to where we are at in our lives.

Whether it's about your weight, parenting, your's all relative.

I am battling with what I will do when my husband is gone for six months. But that does not in any way make your battle with your husband being gone a weekend any smaller. It's all relative to our situation.

This is my journey. These are my stories. You have different ones. And that's ok.

It's ok that I am a size 8 and struggling with my weight and you are a size 12 and struggling with yours. Because it's all relative to where we are at in our lives. I wrote "Stop Telling Me I'm Not Fat" out of this same mind set. I almost didn't because, what if people with really bad weight problems get their feelings hurt?! (And they did, sorry!) But I let that go. Just because we vary in sizes doesn't mean that one struggle is worse than the other. A struggle is a struggle. Right? (Serious health issues, aside, obviously! I'm talking about "I don't like my butt" weight issues, here.)

It's ok that I am parenting the way I do and you are parenting the way you do. We are not the same people. My struggles and yours in our parenting are all relative to the kinds of kids we have and our family dynamics. I am not right. You are not wrong.

We react based out of that fear.

 "Oh, she deals with her husband deploying for months at a time, I better not complain about my husband working late."

"Oh well she has 30 pounds to lose and I only have 10 so I better not mention my weight issues."

"Oh she has perfect angel children, if I tell her the truth about my wild maniacs she will think I am a terrible parent." (This is usually what I am thinking.)

Stop that! If it's hard on you, then that's ok! Talk about it! Don't hold it in in fear of judgement from someone going through something harder or different. We all go through different things at different times. Why do we allow ourselves to feel badly for where we are at in our lives?

Sure, some people have it worse off than us. And it is good to stop and be grateful. I am not suggesting that we be rude and say, "Oh yeah, look at what I am going through!" I am simply suggesting that when someone presents their struggle to you, you respond with the understanding that they are in a different place than you. They live a different life. Don't compare them to yourself. Don't compare yourself to them. We all handle things differently.

Let's work on this, ok? Let's support each other with what we are struggling with without harsh judgement. Let's agree to disagree on various subjects and realize that we are all in this together. Let's support one another and realize that it's all relative. I'm not right. You are not wrong. And vice-versa. I am struggling with something that seems so, so big to me...and so are you!

I hope my rambled thoughts make sense to you.

 The bottom line, I don't want anyone to feel like their problems and feelings are insignificant.

No matter how big or how small. It counts. It matters. Give yourself a break. Because I sure am!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

You Think I'm Strong But I'm Not So Sure

We are a military family. It is fairly new to us. Even though many of our family members have been in the military, Matt just joined about three (or four? is it bad I can't remember?) years ago. So it's new to us on the level where it affects our every day life.

The longest Matt has been away is for six weeks for Officer Training School. I was so relieved that he could skip the eight week basic training and go straight into Officer School. Those two weeks seemed to make it so much shorter, although, it's just two weeks, right? Here's the thing...I cried every single day of those six weeks. Every. Single. Day. I missed him. I was never so aware of how much I needed him. I hated it. He has left for many small trainings and trips since then. A week here and there. And I cry every time he leaves.

Now here we are staring down the face of a six month deployment. While I realize that a six month tour is super short by military terms, it is our first deployment and it sounds like six years to my heart.

And I have already been told that I should not complain about six months because it's nothing and other husbands are gone way longer but I find that to be totally rude and I can be upset if I want to, so there. 


I am heading up the Family Readiness Group for Matt's squadron so I had a meeting with the commanders the other day. One of them says, "We still have __ (amount of months removed for privacy purposes) months until the deployment so the families are not really thinking about it yet." And I just about started crying right there. (But I didn't because I had my super professional no crying hat on.) No one was thinking about it yet? I am thinking about it every day and totally freaking out. Why are other people not?! Am I that much of a disaster/failure of a military wife? Now, to be fair, this is a man talking and generally speaking they don't get how our minds work. So he could have been totally thinking like a man. Maybe the other wives are thinking about it. I'm sure I'll find out soon.

When I discuss these OMG feelings with others, I am told things like:

"You are stronger than you think you are."

"You have been through so much, you can handle this!"

And so on.

But I don't always believe those statements about myself. You didn't see me curled up crying every day of those six weeks. You didn't see me cry on the side of the road on the way to getting the car fixed last week because what will I do when the car needs work and I don't know if the mechanics are telling me the truth and I can't just pick up on the phone and call him next time. You didn't see me cry at the end of the driveway yesterday because the garbage can was super heavy and what will I do when he is gone and things are heavy?

I know what I will do when those things happen while he is gone. I will call the male friends we have that know about cars. I will summon my supermom powers and lift the heavy things. Or buy a crane. I know I will just do it. Because I won't have a choice.

My husband reminds me that our sacrifices matter. It's bigger than us. And I totally agree. I do not regret that we decided to be a military family. I take a deep breath and remind myself of that in those OMG moments. I remind myself that women do this every day. They do it well. They do it for many, many more months than I will have to. And I can do it too. I just need to trust in myself and the people around me who will be my support. I need to remember that I am not alone. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I will not be alone.

But without him by my my side. My heart doesn't believe you when you tell me that I am strong. My heart screams, "NO I AM NOT! SHUT UP AND LET ME CRY LILE THE BIG WHINEY BABY THAT I AM." (Yes, my heart talks in all caps.)

So I am left thinking. Am I really strong? Is the me you see in regular life, smiling and carrying on as if nothing is wrong, the strong me? Or is the me crying by the side of the road, admitting that I am weak, the strong me? Is it both? Is it that I can admit all of this to the internet, is that the strong me? What makes you think that I am so strong? What makes me think that I am not?

You think I'm strong but I'm not so sure. I suppose we are all about to find out. I hope I prove you right. For my sake. For my kids' sake. I sure hope you are right about me. For once in my life, I sure hope I am wrong.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

We Finally Arrived

Almost fourteen years ago, when Matt and I started our lives together, he worked at the mall. It was a good position in a sports store. Sometimes we think back to those days and wonder how we made it though.

Once we had our first son, things changed. Matt decided it was time to go back to college and start a career. We wanted more for our growing family.

It took a move from New York to Indiana to start us off. Matt worked nights at UPS and maintained a full school work load during the day. There were times in the summer when he also worked construction with my brother. I worked part time while my Mom babysat Chandler.

It was a crazy time for us. There was much debt accumulation. We paid for diapers with our credit cards. We lived in my Mom's basement for a couple of years. But we kept going. Matt worked his butt off trying to make a better life for us.

Eventually, we were able to buy a house and start a somewhat more normal life for ourselves. We had two more babies. We continued to struggle financially. Matt worked the night shift for several years. We always made it though. We lived very simply for many, many years. I worked part time on and off but then finally stopped once I had all three boys on my hands. At that point, we lived even more simply. How? I have no idea. But we did it.

A few years later, Matt graduated from the University of Louisville with a degree in mechanical engineering. From the time he started there until he graduated, he climbed up at UPS from night time box handler to a position in the engineering department. The money was better but we still struggled. There were debts to be paid and school loans looming overhead. But we kept going.

We moved here to Vermont about ten years later. Matt accepted a some-what temporary contract position on the base in the engineering department. He's been there a couple of years. Thankfully, his contract had continued to be renewed throughout those two years.

Yesterday, Matt accepted a promotion for a permanent position as Deputy Engineer over the Civil Engineering Department on the base. This is the job he has been hoping and praying for. This is the kind of position that he dreamed of twelve years ago when we started this journey of bettering our lives. This is a huge promotion. A huge step forward in his career. This, for us, is HUGE.

We have struggled and scrimped and scraped by for all of these years. Having babies and living the best life we can all the while. As the years have gone on, things slowly got better for us. It took time and patience to get to where we are.

I wanted to share this part of our story to encourage those of you who are still in the very beginning stages of your journey. Maybe you just registered for college courses and are wondering how you will raise a family and earn your degree. Maybe you have graduated but now stare down the long road of paying off loans and finding that perfect job. Maybe you are still working at the mall and haven't even taken the first step yet. Here's what I want you to know:


Keep going. Keep pushing. Keep your expectations for yourself and your family high. Don't give up! Find every program and scholarship you can. ASK FOR HELP. If we didn't live with my Mom and Step-Dad for those couple of years, I don't know what we would have done. Granted, not everyone has the luxury of that kind of situation, but make the best of your situation. Sacrifice. We gave up so much in those years. And now?

I'm sitting in my amazing kitchen staring at appliances that I have only dreamed of having.

I just talked to my husband on my iPhone. (Yes, this is a luxury to me!)

We have cable! Yes, this is the first time we have had cable in...well, I don't even know how many years.

Our debts have dwindled.

We gave up so much to get to where we are. But hear me:


We are not rich now or anything. Don't get me wrong. Maybe my title is a little misleading. There will still be struggle ahead of us. We didn't win the lottery. But, boy, I sure feel like we did.

Young families, keep hoping, keep dreaming, keep going. I promise you, one day it will all be worth it!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Will I Really Miss This?

I have heard mothers of babies and young children ask this question before. I have asked it myself so. many. times.

Will I really miss this?

When you are smack dab in the middle of the hardest mothering moments you wonder.

Women who's children have grown up tell us this. We will miss this. They swear on it. And we wonder.


How will I miss the sleepless nights and the spit up stained wardrobe and the endless poopy diapers.


How will I miss spending hours pretending to enjoy playing race cars (AGAIN) and singing the Barney song (AGAIN) and asking if anyone needs to go potty (AGAIN).


Well, I'm here to tell you how. They grow up. And you face a whole new era of parenting.

One full of teaching your grown child about bullying, about strangers, about not trusting everyone who smiles at you. You teach them about consequences and disappointment and they learn that there are bad people out there. Really bad people.

You spend your days sheltering them from the harshness of this world while trying ever so hard to not be overprotective while they learn life's injustices. You sit back and let them feel the pain of it. Because you have to. In just a few years, you won't be there to protect them anymore. So you let the world start creeping in. Slowly. Because soon, so soon, someone other than you will hold their hand and whisper in their ear.

And you hope and pray those people will love them as much as you do. That the world will love them and value them as much as you do. Which is hard. Because you know it just might not.

One day I will miss even these days. These days of soccer practice and game night and Star Wars marathon weekends.

One day soon I will wonder if they are safe. Hope they come home by curfew. Pray to God they are in the "good crowd". I will...gulp...give them the keys to the car.

One day I will miss this. I know it's true. Even when there isn't enough coffee in the world for that 8 am Saturday morning soccer game in the rain.

I will miss this.  And you will too.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Contentment and Gratitude: The Lesson That Never Ends

The past year we have been living in an 850 square foot, 2 bedroom apartment. Yes, you heard that right. My husband and I and our three BOYS have been squished into this box we call home. To make it better, we are on the second floor. We have to pay $3 a load to do laundry (that's about $80 a month if we're keeping track). And it's just overall SMALL.

Last summer we moved to Vermont. We never did sell our house. So we are renting it out. Which means we are renting here. I should explain that renting here is difficult to say the least. We don't want to make the kids switch schools again so staying in this particular town is making it even more difficult. After six months of searching and looking at rentals and countless emails and phone calls, still...nothing. Nothing has worked out.

So I sit here, in my tiny box, trying to make sense of it all.

What lesson is this? Being grateful for what I have? My (ever so lovely but say it one more time and I'll slap you) husband says, "At least we don't live in a hut in Africa."  OK. So yes, that is true. And I remind myself several times a day when I am feeling aggravated that "OMG Why does stuff fall on my head every time I open the closet door?!" And when I get sad and upset that we do not have a backyard for the boys to play in.

At least we have a roof over our head. At least we have food to eat and clothes to wear. Even if they are falling on my head.

Is this lesson on being content? We have all definitely learned a huge lesson on being happy with what we have. I have learned that what I need and what I want are not the same. I have learned that stuff doesn't make me happy. We have gotten rid of so. much. stuff. We just don't need it all. When I buy something, I stop and think. When my boys made their Christmas lists this week, they only asked for roller blades and skateboards. "And maybe a video game if you want, Mom." I mean, how awesome is that?!

Now I kind of feel like, OK! All done! Lessons learned! But I don't think it's that easy, is it? I don't think gratitude and contentment are learned and then you move on. I think they are ongoing lessons. Ones you need to remember and re-evaluate daily.

We have decided to pursue buying a house this Spring. We were thinking we needed to wait but things are looking like they will work out for us to buy soon. This is good. This is good news. It means our planned trip to Disney before Matt's deployment is canceled. It means a weekend trip to NYC is canceled. It means a 13 year anniversary trip is canceled. But it also means that we are buying a house. So it's good.

It has been a long, long year. I have complained and cried and complained some more. But I really have learned so much through the complaining and the tears. And I'm sure that I haven't cried my last tear or whined my last complaint. Especially since the person in the apartment above us is letting her 300 pound, is that a dog or a horse, run laps right now. And tomorrow while I am yelling PLEASE STOP JUMPING SO WE DON'T GET KICKED OUT for the millionth time, I shall complain some more. And when my boys cry because I yell at them for jumping like only normal boys do, I will cry again.

But then, one day soon, we will jump and laugh and dance and sing as LOUD as we can. We will be in OUR home. Ours. We will be happy to breathe in as many square feet as God blesses us with. We will fill every corner with the things we have decided to keep, to call our favorites. I will complain about how long it takes to clean big houses. I will cry that everyone has suddenly decided to start singing opera. And then I will sing just as loud while I clean my big house.

Contentment and gratitude, I got your number. And I won't stop looking you straight in the eye from now on.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mommy Guilt: Lowering My Expectations of Myself

This week I bought some items from the grocery store that I normally wouldn't buy.

Not a ton of junk food or anything, just some boxed and convenience foods that I normally steer clear of.

I have a lot on my mind right now. A lot to work through. So I'm giving myself a little break from the high expectations I have of myself.

A break from my from scratch life, so to say.

Sometimes you have to step back and evaluate what is more important. Peace of mind of bread from scratch.

I'm gong with my mind on this one.

And I won't feel guilty about it. This is a stage in my life where I need to focus on other things. I will still be cooking, of course, we gots to eat. I will still post from scratch recipes for you my lovely friends.

But I won't expect myself to spend my afternoons preparing homemade this and homemade that.

I bought me some boxed granola bars and frozen waffles.

Which to most people is completely normal. But for me it's not, so.

Knowing my limits makes me just as good of a Mom and Wife as baking muffins does.

Here I am. Admitting that I can't do it all and not expecting myself to.

And quite happy about it, really.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My First Vlog: Traveling With Kids

My first vlog! 

I made it six days ago. It took me two days to make the drive, two days to recover, one day to forget that I was doing it and one day to post it. I'm good at this!  

Spoiler alert: I survived the trip.

Disclaimer: Ask your doctor before giving your kids benadryl. Obviously.  At least now you can't sue me.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Parenting: Nurturing vs Spoiling

I was having an online conversation with some fellow moms on Twitter about the idea of where does the line of nurturing our children and spoiling them become blurred.  We were talking mainly on the idea of moms making lunches for their high school children. At first I was appalled at the idea of it. Even my 5 and 6 year olds help with packing their lunches! But as they explained their reasons, my judgy side had to take a seat.  Some working moms said it was one last "motherly " type thing they could do for their kids. Some stay at home moms said their children's schedules between school, sports and jobs were so busy that they felt it important to take care of that little detail for them, less stress on their busy child.  I get both of those reasons, they make sense to me and I can see their points.

I think it comes down to the attitude of the child, especially an older child.  If they have the attitude of expecting us to take care of their every need, I feel we are failing them.  As their parents, we absolutely want our children to feel safe and secure and taken care of of.  But I think we can do that without tending to their every need in unnecessary ways...spoiling them.

The one thing on my parenting list of DO NOT DO THIS is raise a child with a sense of entitlement.  There is nothing worse than a spoiled brat child who expects everyone to bow to them and give them their every desire. Except maybe a spoiled brat adult who acts that way.

Am I right?

So how do we care for our children, nurture them, provide their needs without spoiling them?

I'm sure there are entire books and psychological  studies done on the subject but here is what I think...

It's about the expectations we have of others.  I don't expect anyone to do anything above and beyond for me. So when they do, I am sincerely grateful.  And that it what I work hard at teaching, by modeling, to my boys.

I'm a stay at home.  I take care of most of the cooking and cleaning around here. And I don't mind, because, it's my job.  BUT, I have a very strong motto that my children know well, and that is:

"I'm the MOM not the MAID."

So, I expect my children to make their beds in the morning. Sure I could do it, I have time.  But it's a skill I want them to learn. And they are not going to learn it by coming home to a clean room and freshly made bed every day.

I have them help me pack their lunches.  They see what's going into it and why. We talk about eating our veggies before our cookie.  We talk about not throwing away things that could be eaten later, because food costs money and we need to be frugal and not wasteful.

They help with dishes and laundry and dusting.  I could do it all, and on especially busy weeks, I might.  But how will my children learn those life skills if I don't teach them?  How will they learn that just because we are tired or busy or just plain don't want to, things still need to be done.

The laundry fairy is not real.

Oh how I wish she were.

I want them to know that I will always help them take care of themselves, but I don't want them to automatically expect that I will do everything for them.

When they are grown up, I want my boys to be equipped with all sorts of life skills.  I want them to be able to take care of themselves.

Don't get me wrong, I spoil my kids.  Plenty.  But it has always been very important to me that while I spoil, I also teach gratitude.  I'm proud of the fact that my boys are appreciative of the things that are given to them and done for them. I have worked hard at that!


I point out opportunities to be grateful. Child psychologists who have graduated from the top psychology schools would agree that modeling is one of the best ways to teach children.

I say things like, "Wasn't that nice of so-and-so to do for us? I sure am grateful for that, I think I'll send them a little thank you card!"  I'm demonstrating kindness and gratitude through my own actions.  And THAT is how we teach our children.  That is how they become grateful.

They see it in us.

I model grateful behavior by telling my husband thank you for working so hard to provide our needs.  By letting others go before me in line. By leaving the last muffin for someone else because I've already had two. It's about modeling unselfish behavior.  "Wow, she was really nice to bring muffins for everyone. I'm grateful that I even got one muffin, much less two, I think I'll leave that last one for someone else rather than taking it for myself."

Our children learn by watching us. See a behavior in your child that you don't like? Stop and take a look in the mirror. Ouch.  I know. We might not be demonstrating that particular behavior, but maybe we are overlooking it and not expecting more from our child?

No matter what we do for our kids or how much, when they respond with a "thank you", not an "it's about time", we have nurtured, not spoiled.

If my child says, "HEY, where's my drink?" Instead of "Mom, could you please get me a drink?" I have spoiled, not nurtured.

You can obviously see the difference.  There is a thin line, but a big difference in outcome.

I still have a lot to learn about this subject, and so do my kids.  But we are trying, and that is the most important thing!

What do you think about nurturing vs spoiling?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Boobies Are For Babies

I'm not a very controversial type of person.  I'm a peace keeper.  I don't like to blog about stuff just to create drama or get attention.  But when my sister-in-law told me about an experience she had this weekend, I just had to say something about it.  If you follow me on Twitter, you've already heard me say a few things about it and I just want to say thank you to everyone who retweeted on my behalf and encouraged me to speak up about it.

My step-brother and his family attended King's Island in Ohio on Saturday.  He and his lovely wife are parents to two little boys and one adorable baby girl (no, I'm not jealous...much).  While at the park, baby girl got hungry.  The poor little thing was hot, hungry and tired.  So, naturally, my sister-in-law did what any good Mom would do and found a place to sit down and feed her baby.  She discreetly nursed her hungry baby in an outdoor pavilion where they hold shows and such.  The place was empty and there was no show going on at the time.

A woman who works for the park came up to my SIL and said, "I'm sorry, you are going to have to find somewhere else to do that. WE DO NOT ALLOW THAT HERE."

*deep breath*

My SIL is like me. Quiet. Keeps to herself. Doesn't like to rock the boat.  So she asked the woman, "Excuse me? What did you say?"  Thinking surely she misunderstood.

Nope. She didn't.  The woman asked her to stop nursing the baby and leave the area.

So she did.  My SIL now says that she regrets leaving and not dealing with it immediately, but she was so angry and upset that she just walked away instead of causing a scene.



I can bet money that there were boobs hanging out all over the place at the theme park that day.  I will also bet not one of them was asked to cover up or leave the area because of it.

Since when is letting it all hang out ok but discreetly feeding a baby is not?!

Did you hear about Kim Kardashian tweeting about being appalled at a woman breastfeeding her baby in public?  (Which I read about at Her Bad Mother, by the way, another great article about this subject!)

UM HELLO?!  Pot calling the kettle black much?  That woman has her stuff out for there everyone to see!

Now, let me just say, I don't think breastfeeding women should be whipping their breasts out for all mankind to see all in the name of breastfeeding.  I think modesty and discretion are important.

But when it comes to my boys being flashed with a booby so a woman can feed her hungry baby or the baby left for hungry so as to not "offend" anyone, I choose to feed the hungry baby.


I'm not calling for a boycott of King's Island or anything dramatic like that (though I do believe they need to make this right with my SIL).  From what I understand, others have had no problem nursing their babies there and King's Island even boasts a Baby Care Center where Moms can tend to their little ones.

What I am doing here is taking advantage of an opportunity to EDUCATE.


 It is not always convenient for a Mother to "go find a different spot."  Do you think we like to nurse our babies in the glaring sun in 100 degree heat with a blanket wrapped around us?  Don't you think we would rather sit in an air conditioned room with privacy?


When a baby is hungry, YOU FEED IT.

You have the right to a vending machine around every corner.  So breastfeeding babies should be allowed to eat whenever they like as well.

Does it make you uncomfortable to be around a breastfeeding woman?



P.S. - I didn't even mention the fact that it is ILLEGAL to ask a breastfeeding woman to stop and leave.  You can read all about that HERE.


I rest my case.

Many thanks to my dear sweet sister in law for letting me rant about her injustices. :)

Friday, May 28, 2010

You Have Reached My Homemade Happiness

Hi there!

This is Tasha's blog. Sorry she is unavailable to share her latest recipes and parenting tips with you this week.

She is busy volunteering to do crazy things like bake 100 homemade biscuits, make enough sausage gravy for an army and boil 3 lbs of elbow noodles in an attempt to recreate Grandma Fletcher's famous Macaroni Salad (no pressure) for a family camping trip.

She will return to her normally scheduled life next week after washing 4 thousand loads of laundry that smell like camp fire and sweaty boy.

In the meantime, please feel free to browse me.  If you would like to laugh, read this.  If you want a recipe that will make you want to slap yo momma, read this.  If you would like to think deep thoughts, find another blog.

Thank you!
My Homemade Happiness

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mommy Guilt: Homeschooling Edition

So I have been working really hard on overcoming my Mommy Guilt.  Then I came across a blog post from MckMama about why they decided to homeschool.  And it all came flooding back.

I have thought about homeschooling before, and I certainly agree with many of the reasons why so many people do.  I mean, I get it.  But we have decided that it is not for us.  And then I read MckMama's reasons and I feel all...OMG I AM THE WORST MOM EVER.


But I know that's not true. I know that.  But you know that feeling of why I can't I be that kind of Mom that haunts you?

The Mom who just loves her children oh so very much that she can't stand to be away from them for one single minute.

The kind of Mom that doesn't want other people to teach her children lest they do it wrong.

The kind of Mom who wants to be involved with every single learning moment that their child has.

The kind of Mom that thinks her children poop rainbows and sunshine.

I know, not every homeschooling/unschooling parent is like that last one.  Just like every homeschooling mom doesn't wear a denim jumper with an apple crochet on the front.  It's just my self conscious "I'm not good enough" self pity attitude speaking.

So I remind myself of the things that I do do for my children that makes me a great Mom.  Like laugh really hard at typing do do and thinking doo-doo and then not fixing it.


We do teach our children at home.  As often as possible, in many situations.

We engage with our children regarding their school work.  We certainly don't expect the school system to do all of the teaching.  And we don't leave all the work to the teachers.

We teach our children responsibility with real world consequences.

Our children see first hand the differences in families, cultures, religions, value systems...and we teach them about those differences, about how to value them, about how to stand up for what they believe amongst it all and and about loving, not judging.

We encourage creativity and my boys are some of the most imaginative children I know.  Right now, after playing a rousing game of guitar hero, they are imagining they are on a Rock Band World Tour.  They are using a map to decide which part of the world they will tour next and what songs will work best for those cultures.  I may have just heard the phrase "that's not appropriate for that culture" used. (SO PROUD)  Followed by "what's culture mean?"  Followed by an inspiring explanation of culture by a 9 year old to a 5 year old.  Also, "WOW, this stage really needs to be more organized, let's sort it all out."  And, my favorite, "God music is appropriate for ALL cultures.  So let's just do an all God concert."  (I might die from the cute.)

See? Homeschooling.

I realize that people who homeschool can also teach their children these lessons in different ways.   And I think that's awesome.  FOR THEM.  Not every idea, every way of doing something, is right for every person or family.  Variety is the spice of life, right?

I do enjoy the time while my boys are at school.  And I'm not going to feel guilty for that.  I refuse to.  I also miss them and when they return home, we have a long oh-how-I missed-you hug before the chaos ensues and I wonder how long before they get to go back.  (I tease, I tease...or not...depends on the day.)

That doesn't make me a bad Mom, it makes me a REAL Mom.

We didn't rush our boys out the door for school.  I have not put my boys in preschool.  Chandler, our oldest, did go for one year before kindergarten for three days a week.  He loved it.  It worked for that time in our lives.  But our other boys have not and I've kept them all in half day kindergarten as well.  I know they will be gone all too quickly, all grown up, away from me for too many hours in the day.  And that really does make me sad.  It equally makes me happy in a way though, too.

They are learning, making friends, enjoying school (my kids love school, so far, I'm really lucky about that).  I am home, with a bit more time to try new recipes, get the house for real clean instead of fake clean, and maybe one of these days actually learn how to sew.  (Like for real sew, not having to call my Mommy for help, kind of sew.)

Yes, I'll have time for ME.  I might even take a nap.  Maybe that makes me selfish.   But that's ok.  I can deal with that.  I spent a whole lot of years forgetting what the word ME even meant as I breastfed, changed diapers, learned how to make everything from scratch, taught my boys the alphabet and how to write their names and then promptly wiping the crayon off the many years...wonderful as they were, I am excited to get a break. 

So sue me.

I am not the mom who can do all of those things and have my children at home.  I mean, I can, I just don't want to.  I'd rather be playing Just Dance with my favorite five year old than wiping the toilet.  Having the boys home distracts me.  The weekends are spent playing and lounging and loving.  When everyone is home, that is all I want to do!  So having them gone for a few hours during the day certainly increases my productivity! 

To the moms who do all of those things and homeschool?  I hate you.  I admire you.  Good for you!  Go for it!  You are a TRUE supermom!  I think homeschooling is awesome for those of you who can make it work.

I guess I just need to accept that I am just not that kind of Mom.  And I'm slowly coming to accept myself for the Mom I am.

I love this post called "Choosing Public School in a Faith Filled Home" and I wanted to share it with you.  I agree with many of her insights about why they choose to send their children to public school.  I think the biggest one I relate to is the idea that I will not be able to always meet my children's academic needs.  I feel so very ill-equipped for teaching my children.  I mean, I can do the easy stuff, but I think Chandler who is 9 years old and a very advanced learner is already smarter than me. (Totally wish I was joking.)  

I will teach my children everything I can at home and let the learning they do at school supplement what I miss.  

That feels good to me.

I still have one little guy at home.  A few more months until all of my kids are in school.  And I'll be honest, (I can be super-duper no one is going to judge me honest, right?)

I dread the day he goes to Kindergarten.

And also?

I am so looking forward to the day he goes to Kindergarten.


Please say it's ok.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

You Know You're A Mom of Boys When

Happy Mother's Day! 

I wrote this a while back over at and thought it was worth sharing again!

You Know You're A Mom of Boys When:

There is pee…everywhere…forget toilet seats, it’s everywhere people!

There are numerous daily conversations about underwear, snot and butts…in a completely serious manner.

There are numerous daily conversations about underwear, snot and butts…in a completely ridiculous and silly manner.

There are underwear strewn about the house in very strange places for no particular reason whatsoever. (case in point)

We use the word underwear a lot.

I am ALWAYS out of food. They are like little garbage disposals.

There is no pink to be found, except for the clothes on my back. And I barely get away with that. (”Mom, that’s a girl color!” HELLO! I’M A GIRL!!)

I have more hot wheels in my purse than I do cosmetics.

I break up at least 2-3 wrestling matches a day. Some with tears, most with screaming.

I can quote Star Wars…this is not something I am proud of, it’s just a fact.

I can make shooting noises, differing between pistols and bombs and such…again, not a super proud moment.

It only takes two dressers completely emptied to cover a small bedroom floor with clothes. This fact has been proven numerous times and you will come to find out all kinds of things that can cover the floor when you have boys.

Body parts…don’t get me started on that one.

Lego pieces can not be easily found in vacuum bags…or dog poop. Just sayin’.

Bath time is about the same as the “Will It Float” segments on the Late Show with David Letterman.

Photo shoots look like this:

And before it's all over with, like this:

I can’t complain though. I really DO love being a mom of boys. Dirty underwear and all.

Because being a Mom of boys also means that I get to play Monopoly Jr on a Friday night and have my Momma's boy say, "Mom, I made our cars kiss!"

AND...Two Words: Coach Mom

Being a Mom of boys is something special, that's for sure.  So bring on the legos up the nose and the "you're the best mom ever" Mother's Day cards with pictures of us shooting guns together.  I'm ready for it all.

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Secret to a Clean House

My house is clean and I'm not afraid to admit it!

I get a lot of rolled eyes when people come to my house and see how clean it is amongst four males in the house. But the joke is on them.  Because my house isn't really that clean.  It just looks like it is.  You want to know how?  OK, I'll tell you my secrets, but you may never look at my clean house the same way again!

When the boys were young, I had to find a way to make things work.  I had a newborn, a 15 month old toddler and a five year old...not to mention a husband.  A clean house was on the way bottom of my priority list.  I remember after Charlie was born, my Mom stopped by and I saw her face as she looked around.  Toys everywhere, dishes stacked high, dust bunnies waving at you.  It was not pretty.  I had to change the way I did things.  I couldn't let the housework suffer. My Momma didn't raise a slob.  So I learned very quickly how to clean the house quickly and efficiently as possible.

OK, now for the secrets, you ready?

Clean as you go.


Everything has a home.

I know, not very mind blowing.  Kind of a let down, isn't it?

But it's just that simple.  If you are a working Mom, you don't have time to spend three days a week cleaning.  And if you are like me, a stay at home Mom who is hardly ever home due to baseball and volunteering at the school or tending to little ones, you don't have the luxury of spending your precious free moments cleaning.

I clean the house one day a week.  I do the laundry one day a week.  That is it.  Yet I still have a clean house and clean clothes consistently.

When I say clean as you go, here is what I mean: Don't leave for tomorrow what you can do right now.

If I walk past the garbage can and notice a that someone spilled something down the side of it, I stop right then and there, grab the wash cloth and wipe it up.  You might think, "I'll get to that later when I clean the kitchen after dinner."  No! Do it now!  When you go to clean the kitchen later, that is just one less thing you have to do.  Before you know it, that 15 minute clean up after dinner has turned into an hour because you have to wipe down the garbage can, clean that spill you ignored in the fridge earlier, wipe down the juice splattered down the cabinet from this morning, sweep up the crumbs still there from get the picture.

If you clean as you go, you will save yourself so much time!

In the morning, I wipe the bathroom sink and toilet down after I get ready for the day.  It takes me 30 seconds and the bathroom looks clean every single day.  Then on my one cleaning day for the week, I go a bit deeper, clean the floors, clean the tub, etc.

I save vacuuming, dusting, sweeping and mopping for my one cleaning day.  But throughout the week, I wipe down the dusty tv as I walk past it, I take the dust-buster to the kitchen floor after the boys eat (just under the table not the whole floor).  When cleaning day comes, the messes are minimal compared to what it would be like if I would have ignored it the rest of the week.

Now hear me...Don't deep clean as you go, quick clean as you go.  That's why my house looks clean but it might not actually be clean.

And it will serve you well to teach your kids this also.  The rule is that we clean one mess before making another in the play room.  My boys have been taught since they were very little to wipe off the toothpaste from the sink when they are done, wipe off the toilet seat if they sprinkle, put their dirty dishes in the sink or dishwasher.

The little quick clean ups add up very quickly to a clean house.  Then spend your one day cleaning a bit more deeply.  You don't have to focus on the little stuff because it's done already.  You don't have to spend half an hour sorting through the mail to clean the kitchen counter because every day when the mail came you took a minute to open it, sort it and put it in it's home.  So your counter is already clean and you can focus on mopping the floors instead.  You don't have to spend half your day cleaning toys off the playroom floor to vacuum because every day you (or if they are old enough, your kids) took 5 minutes to pick up the toys.

Oh yes, one more thing, put those kids to work!  Especially if you are a working Mom and your one cleaning day is on the weekend.  You don't want to spend your entire day off cleaning!  So take a Saturday morning and work together to get it all done.  You will have a clean house and the rest of your day to do something fun!  If you work and have little have my sympathy.  Hang in there and just do the best you can!

If you can spend just a little bit of time making sure everything has a home, clean up time is much more efficient.  I will write more about that and other organizing tips in time.

So does this make sense? I don't want to ramble, but it may be too late for that. LOL  You can have a clean house and eat your cake too...or something like that.

I'd love to hear your cleaning tips in the comments section!  We can all use a new trick or two up our sleeves!