Monday, November 27, 2006

Christmas photo

Look at how beautiful my girls are!



I took a bunch of shots last night to use for the family Christmas card and this was the best one. Aren't the matching outfits adorable?

If you look closely you'll notice that Weezie's onesie is unbuttoned. I bought her one that was 6 month sized when she was about two months old and it fit her ONE time, then I washed it. It now comes no where near buttoning over her cloth booty! I tried to buy a bigger one, but alas, they were all sold out.

"Home" sick

I've lived in the pacific northwest for six years now. I've graduated from college, met Matt, had two beautiful children and made tons of amazing friends over this time. I do consider this my home, but often times I find myself homesick for WI, where most of my family is. Last night it snowed here. It rarely snows here, maybe once or twice a year. Most of it is already melted and it's a beautiful sunny day out now. Iris and I went out to play in it last night and I thought about how much I loved playing in the snow as a child and how magical snowfalls seem to be. I still find them magical, maybe now more than ever because I don't see very many. I was secretly hoping to wake up to a blizzard this morning, but alas, there was none.

Now that it's Christmas time, as well, I get really, really homesick. I see my family about every other year and even then I'm not always home on Christmas day. Now that we have two kids we've decided to start traditions of staying home for the holidays-- just the four of us. It will be nice to not get caught up in the hectic travelling, but it won't feel the same. I miss seeing my parent's house all decorated, my mom really goes all out. I miss seeing my extended family and all of the cousins and their children.

I've been arm-twisting most of the time I've lived out here to get my family to re-locate with me, but so far no dice. I think they will stay stuck in WI their whole lives, unfortunately.

I imagine what it would be like to move back there. How we would make friends, where we would live, how Matt could persue his music interests like he can here and, most importantly, would it actually be as wonderful to live close to my family as again as I imagine it would be? We could also get ahead faster if we lived somewhere with a lower cost of living (which is pretty much anywhere in the midwest!), especially if Matt was able to find a job making the same pay. Sigh. The eternal dilemma. I have thought that if we did move, we could always come back, but how big of a pain would THAT be?

I know some of my readers live in the midwest. Do you love it there?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

New name is official!

I've decided that my blog's new name "Weezie Doo and Icey, too!" is going to stay. Please take a moment to update your links (although if people clicked on the old name they would still come to the same address, as I haven't changed that at all).

Thanks!

Soooo out of shape

I tagged along with my good friends to a yoga class yesterday morning. I was too nervous to go to one on my own and needed some enouragement, so it worked out really well. It was a tough, tough class for me! I knew most of the poses because of prenatal yoga, but in this class we moved alot faster and worked much harder. Immediately afterwards I felt really good, but a couple of hours later I felt really yucky, like I was getting the flu or something. The rest of the afternoon was about the same and I didn't start feeling good again until early evening. I think it was probably from yoga. I just worked too hard and my body was probably rebeling! This morning I am just sore. My stomach muscles, arms and shoulders are all hurting. This probably an obvious sign that I need to go back more often and whip my butt in to shape. I think a few more classes and I would be at least back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving, part two

If you read my post below you know that we weren't planning on having a real Thanksgiving dinner. I went to visit Melissa's family in the hospital yesterday morning and they said "we can still have Thanksgiving!" and I said "oh, that's a funny one!" and they said they were serious, so back home I went to prepare the food I had planned on bringing in the first place. I made vegan gravy (I'm not vegan, or even vegetarian, but I LOVE this gravy and make it every year), cranberry relish and sausage/artichoke stuffing. We went over to their house mid-afternoon and had a really, really lovely dinner with them while the toddlers half played, half beat up on each other. Next year there will be enough kids for a kids table! Hooray! Thanksgiving is a whole new ball of wax when there are tiny children involved. No more leisurely stuffing your face until you can't even see straight. I don't even think I ate enough food last night to get full let alone be totally stuffed. Off I was running to tend to children. Hey, at least that's good for my waist line!

The baby is so cute! And tiny! Seeing my chunky babe next to him really made me realized just how far past the newborn stage she is. Sigh. He just swims in all of his clothes and is all curled up and squeaky.

I'm so excited that her baby is here and we can now share the misery, errr, I mean joy of being mamas of two. I don't have close friends with two children, especially not any who are similar in age to mine, so it's going to be so wonderful to have a close friend to go through all of this with.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Well, that's one way to get out of hosting Thanksgiving dinner . . .

I am writing from my dear friend Melissa's house where I am watching her toddler. She is 37 weeks pregnant and this morning she was having some pre-labor symptoms and tonight things picked up and they called to ask if I would come over. I packed up Eloise and came as fast as I could, thinking that she would probably go to the hospital and be sent home as she was scheduled for a c-section exactly two weeks from today. We've all been patiently awaiting that day and hadn't even thought twice about the baby coming any earlier. So I get here and an hour later I get a call saying that their baby was born, less than 30 minutes after they arrived at the hospital. Bless her heart, the girl was adamant through her whole pregnancy about having another c-section and watching my homebirth actually solidified that decision for her. Well, the universe had other plans, as she delivered vaginally, completely drug-free. I can't help but chuckle a little at the irony :)

We were supposed to come here for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Melissa was actually saying on the phone earlier that she really didn't want to host, but her husband said the only way they were getting out of it was if their son was born, so there ya go! I called Matt and we were joking that we'd have to eat frozen pizza for the big day now, although neither of us could be any happier for their family so we couldn't care less about missing a Thanksgiving dinner-- it couldn't be for a better reason!

I can't wait to see the baby! Newborns are just the best, they smell so delicious and are all tiny and squirmy. Eloise and I are going to hold down the fort for them tonight, hopefully she sleeps! I took her to the doctor's again today because she is still coughing and it keeps her (and me) up for almost two hours in the middle of the night. It's so frustrating! I just want the cough to be gone already. Grrrr.

Well, off to lay on the couch and watch some trashy girly tv!

Welcome to the world, baby!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Crafty mamas

I have been thinking for a while about how I want to get more crafty with Iris. Even though I consider myself a creative person (well, at least I used to be before children!), I have such a mental block when it comes to figuring out arts and crafts for us to do. I have the usual Play-Doh, paints, crayons and markers, but that's about where the artistry ends at our home. A couple of weeks ago Iris and I (with a tiny bit of help from friends) made a neat Thanksgiving wreath, but I even had to go purchase some glue to put it together. Yeah, my crafting supplies are dismal. I don't even really know where to buy crafting supplies. I just got paint at the local toy store, but I'm thinking that's not the cheapest place in the world to buy supplies. Sigh.

So I recently discovered a couple of blogs about mamas who are also crafty. I don't need to overwhelm myself with crafting blogs or websites (at least not right at this point!) but I love knowing that other mamas have time and energy to be crafty and to see what is really going on in their world. The Rowdy Pea and The Weekend Warrior are both inspiring to me. Wander around both of their blogs a little bit and see what they have been working on. It's especially nice that they both have LOTS of photos on their blogs (something I should really work on, as well!).

I also have had this crazy idea lately, another business idea (Melissa, my partner in crime, you reading this?!?!) is to start a small child's crafting/art studio. A place for mamas like me to bring their wee ones to work on art projects and not have it have to take over their whole home or worry about the mess. It would be specifically geared towards little ones, like under five maybe? Those who aren't in school yet and might not have access to these things in a school environment. I bet there are alot of mamas out there who, like me, want to get in to stuff but A) don't have the room, B) don't like huge messes (and what fun is doing art without the mess?!?!) and C) are daunted by the cost of buying/storing art supplies and not really knowing what to do with them. If there was a special art studio that parents could just drop in whenever (so not like a structured class) and work on an art project and have everything provided so the child gets the experience and they can have a ton of fun then go home with a finished project! I wish I lived in a big enough home to have people over to do something like this.

I just need to get off my butt and get some supplies built up here at home for the girls. What are those of you who are crafty doing with your kids? Where do you get supplies? Where in your home do you have room for it all?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Donated breastmilk

In the newsletter I receive from the birth center where I had prenatal care for both of my pregnancies there was an amazing update. One of my former midwives adopted a baby who just turned one year old. Many mamas (44 to be exact) donated breastmilk to this family so that their baby could be 100% breastmilk fed for ONE WHOLE YEAR. Isn't that incredible? She writes that he hasn't ever had formula. I just think it's so amazing. I think there are probably many, many mamas out there who would donate milk to babies who can't be breastfed and that many more babies than actually are could be fed breastmilk. Oh, I've got warm fuzzies just thinking about it!

My new favorite thing

Apparently I have been living in the stone age because I have never had my groceries delivered . . . that is, until today! I think it's officially my most favorite thing ever in the world. Groceries that appear on your doorstep? Genius!

I'm not sure what delivery services are available in other parts of the country, but out here I use Safeway.com. They don't carry every single thing I buy, but since I also get organic produce delivered from Pioneer Organics (again, genius!) I can get almost everything I need right at my doorstep.

Just had to share. I missed out on wrangling a toddler and screaming baby at the store today, so that, my friends, makes this a VERY good day!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Yay!

So I wrote last weekend about the new cell phone I was going to get. Well, we decided against the phone and instead applied family Christmas money to a brand spankin' new HP Pavillion laptop. WOOOO HOOOO!!!!!!! I have been wanting a new laptop for quite a while, as mine is a piece of shit and hardly works for checking email let alone anything else. It should be here the first week in December, since they have to build the one I customized. I'm so excited I could pee my pants, seriously.

Last night Weezie Doo was up in the middle of the night, again, coughing for over an hour so I got some tinkering done on my blog. I'm soooo proud of myself for being able to make even minor changes in html considering I have zero knowledge of it and I'm kind of an idiot when it comes to that kind of stuff.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I'll try this out for a bit

So I really liked the suggestions I was given and then Matt came home and said he liked them, as well, so I thought I would alter it just a bit and came up with the new name. Voila! It flows well, I think, and since we actually call Eloise "Weezie Doo" more than we call her "Weezie Deezie Doo" (man, that's a mouthful!) I went with the shortened version of the nickname. For those who are wondering, Icey is what Iris started calling herself, and it's stuck. I actually call her Icey more than I call her Iris. I only call her Iris when she's sassy, as in "IRIS! Stop pulling the cat's tail!" LOL. I always thought it was funny when parents called their children by their full names when the kid was in trouble!

I'll leave it for a bit. I think I like it, but it is still "in progress", so don't go changing your blogrolls on me, yet! Of course, if you're super anal and just want to keep updating, then by all means . . . I'll let everyone know when it's set and then you can update as you see fit.

I want to come up with something cute to put as a sub-title, but alas, my brain is dead this evening. I also wanted to find a new lay-out, but man, I really don't like any of them! I wish I knew even a tiny, eensy bit about how to write code so I could make up something cool all on my own. Alas, I'm stuck with what blogger wants to give me! I only really dislike that my title is all caps. For some reason that drives me absolutely crazy when things are written in all caps. Anyone know how to change just that????? Anyone?

Friday, November 17, 2006

3 months old!

Eloise is three months old today! Man, time is flying by. She is getting soooo big. At the ER last weekend she weighed 15 lbs 6 oz. That is over SEVEN pounds more than her birth weight! At this rate she will be the world's biggest human by her third birthday. As I write this she is napping in my arm wearing a 6-12 month Old Navy one piece outfit.

She is smiling a ton now, as well. It's so fun to see her face light up when she wakes up in the morning as you lift her out of bed! She had her very first ER visit and her first pretty yucky cold. Not much else to report for now!

Finally getting it right for a change!

Woo Hoo! So, Matt was out of town for the past couple of days. I absolutely hate being home alone with the girls now that we don't have a dog. I feel so vulnerable and freaked out. This is actually one of the many reasons I want to get another dog, because I just feel so much safer with one. Anyways, he got back last night. I expected the time when he was gone to be a complete nightmare, but we actually did pretty good! It feels like it's a cycle that feeds off of itself-- the better I do, the better the girls do, so I do better, and they do better . . . you get the idea. Nothing major has happened the past few days, save for one dual melt-down on Wednesday afternoon. Today I took the girls to an indoor play area that is super, super fun. They have those big bouncy houses set up, Little Tikes stuff, trikes, balls, you name it, they have it. Iris had a blast and we were there for almost two hours. It's only $2 to get in, so you can't find a cheaper place to play! It was total mayhem, tons of kids and mamas (a couple of dads, too) and I was pretty nervous when we walked in, I didn't want to have to be breaking up fights the whole time or keep Iris from getting killed. Amazingly, I hardly had to intervene at all, and when I did it was over really little stuff, like asking her to wait her turn for something. I spent a little bit sitting on the floor nursing Eloise and Iris was off doing her own thing and she did just fine. It was actually a really, really relaxing morning for me and quite fun for her. I think I'm on to something with this whole phenomenon called "getting out of the house".

So, I'm getting my confidence back up. I knew I wasn't necessarily the worst mama of all time, but I sure felt like I was heading down that path. Now that we've had several good days in a row I'm feeling alllllriiiiiight.

In case you didn't see my previous post , I am looking for suggestions to change the name of this blog. Any and all input is welcome!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Is it time for a new name?

Ahhhh . . . lots of mama breaks today! Woo Hoo! Iris was at school this morning and is now at a friend's house for a playdate. It is so nice to have a break, although shuttling her around has not been fun due to screaming baby sister. Oh, well. I've just eaten half a pizza and am now hurting, but Eloise is sleeping and I'm blogging and it's actually nice enough outside to walk to our friend's house to pick up Iris!

I have been thinking about changing the name of my blog. When I first started parenting I felt like I really liked labels and that labelling myself as AP helped me identify my parenting ideals and helped me figure out the other mamas I could relate to. I hung out on the AP message boards and read AP books and basically decided I was going to be little Miss Perfect AP Mama. Well, as you all know, life gets in the way of perfection. I am not a perfect AP mama, not by a looonnnggg shot. I have started to think about this label, and ALL labels, and whether or not they are necessary or even that helpful. I think calling myself an AP mama helps others get a general idea of how I might parent my daughters, but saying that's what I am and not always living up to the ideal makes me feel guilt-ridden. I also don't want to be judged, one way or the other, for the fact that I've labelled my parenting style, which is silly, because when you label yourself, you're going to get judged.

I think I've just gotten to a place where I just don't feel like labels are very necessary anymore. I'm a mama who definitely subscribes to alot of the AP ideals, but I'm not a slave to them. I don't need to make myself feel bad for not living up to a list of things I feel commited to and every time I stray from it I'm a horrible mama. No one but me puts these pressures on me, but that's maybe the point. I don't need any more pressure, certainly not from within!

So, I think in an effort to go forth with my willy-nilly parenting style, I might give this blog a fresh new name and drop the whole 'AP' bit. But "Adventures of a mama" is just boring (okay "Adventures of an AP mama" is boring too, just a weensy bit less so) so I want to come up with something neat.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cloth diapers

I keep forgetting to share my excitement about cloth diapering. Eloise hasn't been in a paper diaper in days. Not at night, not when out and about, not at the ER the other night-- it's so exciting!

She seems to keep getting rashes from paper dipes and booty wipes, we actually only use cloth wipes, as well. I originally only used cloth during the day while we were at home, but with the rash I decided to start using cloth more often to see what would happen. Well, so far so good! No leaks, no more rashes, I find them just as easy as paper dipes, now. I use a mix of Fuzzi Bunz and prefolds. I hear many mamas say they prefer the Fuzzi Bunz for night, but I actually like those best for the day and pack on a couple prefolds for the night.

Ironically, her big sister uses paper dipes and booty wipes. I tried cloth for a while but I just never got the hang of it and I hated washing them. I am not sure what is so different this time, but I find it much easier. I think I'm more relaxed about it, as well. Using easy dipes like Fuzzi Bunz during the day helps, too, I think. Plus, they are so cute!

Boring updates

I decided that it was imperative to get out of the house this morning and play, so I brought the girls to a play room. A friend I haven't seen in months met us there and so she got to meet Eloise and we got to catch up. She was going through some intense stuff with her husband during the time Matt and I were broken up so it was really nice to catch up on where we all are now and how much better everyone is doing. It was really nice to get out of the house! Iris played for two hours and I didn't have TOO many scuffles to break up. I need to keep doing things like this.

When I got home I had a very disappointing email in my inbox. A very elaborate plan of child care had been set up for Iris tomorrow so that I could go to postnatal yoga class with my very favorite instructor for the first time since Eloise was born. Now one of the mamas who was going to help out can't do it. I can be a bit of a pessimist, so in the back of my mind I figured it might fall apart, but wow, I'm so completely bummed. I'm dying to go to yoga and see my old friends and old instructor. I wish I had the time or energy to do yoga at home, but it's just so hard. I miss the classes sooooo much.

Eloise is doing a little better. I think her cold is on it's way out. The only upside of this cold is that it has caused her voice to be so hoarse that her cries aren't nearly as ear piercing, so that's a bonus, right? She freaked out as we left the play room and screamed the whole way home and it took close to an hour to calm her down. Of course, then her big sister needed to get ready for her nap and I can't exactly do that without a free hand, so more screaming ensued while Iris went down for her nap. I feel so terrible for each of them because they both desperately need my undivided attention, so someone always gets the shaft. I tend to just set Eloise down and while she cries I get Iris ready as quickly as possible and in to bed. It's what I call a no-win situation. Everbody's pissed by the end of this time.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Weekend wrap-up

What an exhausting weekend! Eloise is still sick and now sounds so pathetic. When she cries her voice is so hoarse she sounds like, as Matt described, a 50 year old womam who has smoked her whole life. I will take her to the doctor in the morning to be sure she's okay.

We had Melissa's babyshower this morning and it was alot of fun! I think Melissa and her family enjoyed it and liked having a party in their honor they had to do no work for. I was sooooo mad because I tried to bake a pumpkin bread recipe I love. I tried to make the recipe last month, as well, but it seriously failed both times. For some reason it bakes and bakes and stays basically raw in the middle but develops a tough crust on the outside. I have made this bread before, last year, and it turned out beautifully, so I don't have a clue what happened. I am a serious baking failure. I'll be the mama sending my girls to the school bake sale with store bought Chips Ahoys. Sigh.

My newest excitement is that my cell phone, a regular ol' Razr, died. Wait, that's not the exciting part. The exciting part is that my Christmas gift is going to be the Razr that Ami James from the show Miami Ink designed. It's called Cherry Blossom Tattoo. Isn't it beautiful? I can't wait for it to come! It's perfect for me since it is pink and designed by a tattoo artist. Okay, I'm sure you don't care, but this is my excitement!

I'm glad the weekend is over and we can get to the doctor tomorrow. Having Eloise be so sick has, oddly, made me feel more connected to her. Not that I wasn't before, but as I get to know her and bond with her I find that I truly do deepen my connection with her. I have felt more protective of her in her sick and fragile state.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Another trip to the ER

I'll start the ER post this time by saying everyone is okay!

Two nights ago Eloise, who is on her, what, eight millionth cold?, started coughing. I didn't think too much of it, but it was concerning me a bit because she would cough up some phlegm and then sort of gag on it. I looked up coughing in infants online and found out that the recommendation is that if your child is under three months old that you should tell your doctor about the cough. Well, it was Friday night by this point, at about 9:00. I call the nurse at Children's Hospital and after talking to her for a bit she tells me that I should bring Eloise to the nearest emergency room. Okay, I'm a bit panicky. I thought it was just a cold, no big deal, right? So we get there and the first person I get to talk to is the intake girl whose very first question was "what hospital was she born in?" I said "she was born at home". Confused look. She then asks "well, then what hospital did you take her to?" and I say "she's never been in the hospital" and I'm starting to get annoyed by the questioning. She says "she's never been to the hospital?" "No." More confused looks. Finally the guy sitting by her says to her that if babies are born at home they don't need to go to the hospital. She still looks confused. Grrr. Annoying. So we get checked in and then they weigh her and take her temperature, which we discover is slightly elevated.

They put us in a room and a male nurse without the best bedside manner comes in and hands me a syringe of pink stuff. I forget what he says it is because I was nursing Eloise and he just handed it to me and mumbled and walked out. When he comes back I ask him what it is and he tells me it's Tylenol. Oh. Oops. I should have known. Then the doctor comes in to examine her and he was really nice. He checked her out and couldn't find an obvious source for the fever, like an ear infection. Because of her age and the fever, he tells me the standard protocol is to run some tests to make sure it isn't something more serious. Tests?! Yikers, okay. We will get a urine sample, blood test and chest x-rays, he tells me. Hmmm.

So the male nurse and a female nurse come in to insert a catheter. It was awful. We have to hold Eloise still on her back while they insert the catheter. She screams and screams and I just rubbed her hands and talked to her. Luckily they got a sample and it was over. We wait a bit and two lab folks come in to draw the blood. They keep tying up her arms with the rubberband thing to find a vein. Back and forth looking on each arm and leg. She is screaming and screaming. Finally they conclude they can't find a vein and bless their hearts they didn't just start poking her all over the place. They talk to the doctor and decide to do a heel prick and from what I remember from the PKU, heel pricks aren't that bad. Of course, this time they need to get a vial of blood from it, so he is just "milking" the blood from her foot, and it seems like an eternity. She's just red-faced and wailing and I thought my heart was going to break. After the heel prick we get taken to x-ray and luckily that part was quick. Eloise didn't like lying on the cold hard table, but at least it didn't last very long. After the x-ray we go back to our room and Eloise falls asleep on my chest. A really nice elderly man who volunteers at the hospital came in to the room to chat with me for a while. We talked about birth and breastfeeding and it was really nice. He insisted on bringing me some filtered water (he made a point of telling me it was filtered, so cute!) because the diet soda I brought along "wasn't healthy". Finally the doctor comes in and says there is nothing on the tests that shows anything abnormal is going on. We are free to go home after one more temperature reading.

It was such a stressful experience. I just wanted to be able to comfort her while they were doing all of these tests and there was nothing I could do. I knew it was important to run tests, but it really, really sucked. I kept thinking about what would happen if something really was wrong with her. And I thought about all the parents who go to the emergency room with babies who have very serious problems. I felt so grateful that my baby was just fine, just annoyed we had to go through all of that.

Today she is doing fine. No fever at all, pretty sleepy and not as crabby. I've been running around getting last minute things for the party I am hosting in the morning for Melissa's family to welcome their new baby (who is due in three weeks!). It's been a lot of work but it's worth it to do something nice for those guys. After everything they've done for me it's high time I give something back! Plus, we like parties, so it will be alot of fun when the work is over.

Friday, November 10, 2006

What the heck am I doing?

Last night after Iris went to bed I just thought, you know, tomorrow is another day. We'll all try again tomorrow. I think that alot, actually. "Well, today sucked, but tomorrow we try again!" It's like my little mental pep-rally as I go to sleep at night.

Eloise has a cold. Last night she started coughing. I was incredibly thankful that even though her coughing kept me up hald the night, it didn't seem to phase her TOO much. Even though Iris got up really early I somehow managed to talk her in to just lying down in bed with Eloise and I and she fell back asleep. As Iris and I got up to start the day I had some energy and decided we could go check out a very cool indoor playroom. Oh yeah, it's Veterans Day. None of the community centers are open. Thankfully I learned my lesson long ago to always check websites/call before making trips places. Okay, plan B. I call Julia. She is watching another little friend of her daughters. Oooo, that sounds good! I fully intend to get us all together to go over there. Then I realize that Eloise is still coughing and Iris's nose is running like crazy. Hmmmm, yay. We should probably stay home.

I've recently decided that Iris does, indeed, watch way, way, WAY too much television. I can't help it. I don't know what else to do during the day in order to take care of the baby and the house and keep us all sane. I decided to let her watch one show this morning, then we had breakfast together and then I let her play dishes in the sink. So far, so good. Then Eloise wakes up. She is in a pretty good mood for being sick. Iris then decides to dump her whole basket of markers and crayons on the floor. She is fond of this and it drives me insane. I always step on them and feel like I'm going to drop the baby and break my neck all that same time. I ask Iris to pick up the crayons. No dice. I ask her again. No dice. She says she wants to watch a show. I tell her she can if she picks up her crayons. No dice. Crying starts ensuing. I realize I haven't had a shower in a couple of days and am suddenly terribly aware of my need for one. I tell her that if she picks up her crayons she can take a shower with me. Crying continues. We go round and round on this, I decide to shower without her, crying escalates. After the shower I let her know that if she doesn't pick up her crayons I will have to throw them in the garbage. She picks up a few, cries more. Trying to follow through with my consequences, I throw some of the crayons that are left on the floor in the garbage. She thinks this is funny and follows me with more to throw in the garbage. I finally conclude that there will be no tv until after nap because crayons weren't picked up. You can imagine the crying on this one. I keep thinking about natural consequences but I don't think I'm even getting the practice even a little right.

I keep feeling like I should know how to do this a whole lot better than I do. I keep thinking that by setting these boundaries with her it will be better and we'll all be happy, but it just explodes in to a huge messy battle. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. On top of the screaming and crying she's throwing things, hitting me, hitting her sister, hitting the cat . . . I know she can be a great, amazing kid. I see that in her all of the time. I'm sure today, if I had picked up all the crayons myself, given her a snack and plopped her in front of the tv, all would have been reasonably well.

In the midst of all of the turmoil, Eloise didn't stay happy for very long. Apprently she only likes one of my slings now, which is the one that hurts my back the worst. Awesome. So I can either wear her in the sling and kill my back in the process or have her cry her sweet little head off in the one that I like to wear more, but apparently has hidden tacks in it that poke her in the back every time she's in it. She's been crying half the morning, as well. I am pretty sure the neighbors downstairs are going to start making elaborate plots to get us kicked out of the building. I mean, I would, if I was them.

It just feels like I'm not getting it right hardly ever. I keep thinking "What's the right thing to do? What's the gentle thing to do? What does Iris need from me?" and I just keep getting it wrong. It's so incredibly frustrating when the only way your day was a success is that no one was killed getting through it. "Well, we survived!" I like to say.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ah, the joys. Who the hell talked me in to this?!

The day started out inocuously enough, one adult, one toddler and one infant made it out the door by five to nine. No screaming, no threats, no nothin'. I should have known. Today was my first day helping out in the nursery at school. There are four children to two adults and we watch the babies while their older siblings attend class. Eloise, depsite being woken up quite early to make it to school on time, didn't nap while we were at the nursery. As we all piled back into the station wagon to come home from school, the screaming commenced. It hasn't stopped since.

As we drove through the hordes of high school kids who had been released for lunch I looked at them and thought about my red faced baby wailing in the back seat of the car. We are a essentially a birth control show on wheels. "Hey, you want this life? I didn't THINK so! Stop having sex already!" We get home and I foolishly start believing that because my sweet little poopsy doopsy woke up early, didn't nap all morning and then bawled her eyes out the drive home, she would be good and ready for a loooonngggg nap. Ohhhhhh, no. After rocking and rocking and rocking, I finally get her to stay asleep after being laid down. I decide to take a moment of peace and sit down to check my email. Iris then starts screaming that she wants to "play dishes" which is toddler speak for "I want to splash water all over the entire kitchen and mess up every single clean dish in the dish rack!" I tell her I need her to wait until the show Miffy is over and that mama needs a few minutes to relax before taking on another project. The crying, the tantrums, the snot and tears, exploding all over the living room. I should have just let her play with the damn dishes. It surely took WAY more energy to "take a moment to myself" than to just start letting her wreck the kitchen. Of course, I told her we needed to wait until Miffy was over before playing dishes, so I was sticking to it, damn it! Miffy ends. Dish playing begins. Oooo, here is a moment I can use to make dinner! Ah, right. Three minutes in to dinner making, the baby wakes up, screaming. I take her out of bed and get her to stay reasonably happy for the next five minutes so I can throw stuff in a crock pot. I then get the ridiculous idea we can run to the grocery store to pick up some items I still needed for dinner. Oh, silly mama. Silly, silly, silly mama. Well, we never made it to the grocery store. The baby started screaming, again (are you keeping score?) and then Iris starts screaming. Something about Play-Doh. I couldn't really tell. I was trying to hard not let the steam building up inside of me blow my head right off my shoulders. The dual screaming lasts for a bit, not really knowing who to comfort first, I sort of flail around half-comforting, half mumbling explitives under my breath, no one is any happier. I decide to let Eloise continue to cry because in order to calm her down I will need to bounce her. Furiously. Simply holding her on my lap will not do, and Iris needs to have her diaper changed and in to her jammies (don't ask why she insists on jammies for nap time) and then nursed so she can go down for her nap. Toddler settled, in to bed. Baby bounced. Furiously. She has just dozed off. I am blogging in order to feel somewhat connected to a world outside of the house of wailing.

I need to start a mama's support group at the local pub. Seriously. How do mothers get through their children's early years without drinking?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Money, money, money . . .

I have been completely obsessed with family finances, which is a very good thing! It started by spending my weekend reading The Total Money Makeover, and now, well, I'm making over our money! I had written down all of our debts in order to do Dave Ramsey's suggestion of "debt snowballing" and then just last night I discovered a different way to do a debt snowball that will save us over $30,000. Isn't that insane? I couldn't believe there would be THAT big of a difference.

I've also gotten a bee in my bonnet about not only saving as much money as we can, so that it can be applied towards debt, but I have tried to get creative about making extra money, as well. I haven't hardly pulled in a penny for this family since I quit my job at the end of May, so I'm feeling like a dead weight. Even though I am now the financial whiz, I still think I can contribute a little more. Matt works and then makes extra money off of booking bands at local clubs, so he does a great job maximizing his earning potential. So, my ideas about making money have been selling stuff on EBay (I have four auctions going right now!), trying to find a part time job for the holiday season, and looking in to getting a paper route (just temporarily). I have never known anyone who had a paper route, yet I keep hearing they are a good way to make extra money. We'll see. Last night my midwife asked me if I could come this morning and speak to a group of student midwives about my experience with a hospital transfer with my first birth. I thought, heck yeah! Of course I'll talk to a captive group of women about my birth experience! It took a bit of work to get out of the house and drive over there, but it was fun. I found out that I'm actually going to get paid for it, too! Woo Hoo! Getting paid to tell your birth stories, hmmmm, now that's a good gig, right there.

I'm just so sick of being so far in debt we can't even see the light of day. It's easy to ignore, pretend like it's no big deal, but the reality is, even agressively paying off our debts every single month and it will still take ten years. Yeah, that's a bit sobering, no? And we're not even homeowners. We hope to be, as soon as the debt is gone. Or at least the major stuff. I think the student loans will be the last debts to be paid off, and they have a very low interest rate, so we may be able to buy a home before those are 100% paid off. Who knows. At this point, it's pretty far in the future. At least there is a plan!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Friday, November 03, 2006

How are YOU helping this holiday season?

I recently discovered on MotheringDotCommune (MDC) that some mamas have organized a way to help needy families this holiday season. This made me really excited because the MDC community gives me warm fuzzies and although I feel good about helping any family in need, there is a special place in my heart for MDC families. Although there are certainly days where I feel like we should be on the receiving end of help, the truth is that we really do have alot to give. Every time I feel down in the dumps about our financial situation I just need to remember that we have a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, good food always on the table and are not in need in any of life's necessities or most of it's frivolities.

I know that many mamas from MDC are reading my blog (hi, mamas!) but if you don't know about Holiday Helpers, please feel free to go to this link which will tell you how to give to a family in need. They are looking for just about everything, from gift cards to gently used items to new items to bills paid to help out the families. I really like this idea because it doesn't necessarily have to cost you money if you don't have money to give. Have an extra gift card? Gently used items? Send them along to a family who needs it!

In case you were curious about Target's breastfeeding policy . . .

So I emailed Target yesterday and suggested they put in lounges for breastfeeding AND bottlefeeding mamas to use (and yes, I did say both!) and that I thought it would be great for their business to offer this. Here is their response:

Dear _____________,

Target has a long-standing practice that supports breastfeeding in our stores. As a family-oriented retailer, we want all of our guests to feel comfortable shopping at Target.

For guests in our stores, we support the use of fitting rooms for women who wish to breastfeed their babies, even if others are waiting to use the fitting rooms. Additionally, guests who choose to breastfeed discreetly in more public areas of the store are welcome to do so without being made to feel uncomfortable.

Thanks for taking the time to share your questions, thoughts and comments about this issue. We hope to see you again soon at Target.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Hanson
Target Executive Offices
[THREAD ID:1-2JHD53]


Pretty cool, huh? Sigh. I really love Target. Even without lounges :) I have to add it took Target less than 24 hours to respond, as well. Yay!

I was so excited about my outing to Target yesterday I decided to try one to IKEA today with both of the girls. My friend Melissa met me there with her son, but shopping with her sure isn't as easy as it used to be. I think once her new son is born it will be downright impossible for us all to go anywhere together! Iris is a little sick (um, for the fourth time since Eloise was born! Grrr!) and she was having a rough time listening to me. Eloise woke up near the end of the shopping so I took her and Iris to the little cafe place to nurse. Of course, I didn't notice that IKEA actually has a lounge for mamas to use (or daddys, you know, whoever!) so I nursed in the cafe while Iris tried her hardest to not listen to a single thing I had to say to her. It is so hard to wrangle a toddler while exposing a breast, let me tell ya. So, after nursing we walked over to the bathroom, where I then noticed there was a baby lounge complete with a changing table and a comfy chair for nursing and a train table. Um, yeah, I wish I would have looked for that sooner! Iris then proceeded to dump a half cup of lemonade all over the floor of the cafe, but I will take credit for that, since I really shouldn't have given her a spill-able cup because I know it's hard for her to not dump the things out. I was a frazzled mess by the time we left, but at least I got some cool (and much needed, I might add) stuff! I love IKEA!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Target

Oh my goodness, is Target the mecca for stay-at-home mamas or what? I think probably three out of every four people at Target this morning was a mama who had a baby or toddler in tow. I actually thought it was really cute! I had a good laugh over thinking about all the fathers hard at work all day so the mamas could go to Target and spend all the money!

In noticing all the mamas there with small babies I also thought about how strange it was that they don't have a special lounge for mamas to use to nurse, bottle feed or just relax with baby in. I saw a mama with a very, very tiny baby and the baby was not so happy about the shopping experience, because all she was doing was screaming her head off. I saw the mama sit down at the blood pressure station to give her babe a bottle. I thought, well, that's silly! Why isn't there a more comfortable place for her to go? Especially at a store like Target where there are an insane amount of mamas shopping every day. I am going to write them a letter. I suggest you all do the same, as well!

So I also discovered perhaps the most wonderful thing about being a mama of two young girls-- I can dress them in matching outfits! My goodness, why didn't anyone tell me how much fun that would be?!?! I was trying to find matching outfits for them to wear for a holiday photo (which I didn't find because Target has terrible dressy clothes for toddlers right now!) but instead I bought them adorable t-shirts, cardigans and pants to wear. I am trying to decide if I want to save the outfits for Christmas gifts or just stick them both in them right now so the cuteness can commence. I think the cuteness of sisters in matching outfits is exponentially greater than sisters in cute, but un-matching outfits. My favorite thing for Iris to wear are the toddler version of yoga pants. Just stretchy, elastic waisted solid color pants. I saw so many cute pairs of jeans there, but I figured she has the rest of her life to wear uncomfortable, non-stretchy pants.

Ah, Target. It had been a while since I had been there and I truly missed it. Iris went to school this morning and so Eloise and I made the trip. I should add that she didn't cry either way in the car or in the store. Hurray! It was a successful trip.