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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

The leaves are swirling above, the warm Summer air has been replaced with the crisp, cool winds of Fall. The pumpkins and gourds are ripe, the decorations are out and everything is in its place waiting for the little ghosts and goblins who will be crowding the streets tonight playing their tricks in search of treats.

Wishing Everyone a Safe and Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Are You Annoyed?

This scene plays out at our home so often that I just had to find out if anyone else is wondering why there are some habits that you just can't change in your partner.

It usually happens between 8:00 am and 8:15 am.  I'm downstairs getting things ready for my daughter who usually gets up around 8:30.  I'm puttering around in the kitchen getting her breakfast ready and at some point notice that there are a few crumbs on the counter where my husband prepared his breakfast earlier.  I glance over at the divider between my double sinks to locate the dish cloth and it isn't there where I left it.

That's when you will hear that moan of dread from me.  Over to the sink I will go and there in the bottom, usually poking out from under a dirty bowl or plate is my dish cloth.  It's always rolled up in a ball and soaking wet.  Ewwwwww!!! Just touching this cold, sopping wet cloth will make my stomach turn and most days when this happens, I haven't even had the chance to drink my morning coffee.

It doesn't matter how many times I ask or plead with my husband not to throw that dish cloth across the room and into the sink, I can count on finding it there at least twice a week.  What's even more scary is wondering what he has used it for.  Maybe the floor or his shoes (why don't SOME men know that there is a BIG difference between the cloth that washes the dishes we eat off of and the rag that should be used to wipe up the floor we walk on?!).  I guess I should be thankful knowing that when I find it in the sink, it's obvious he's used it to wipe something (you can use your imagination here) and it's time to dig out a clean one.

The good news?  He is slowly learning that he has to put his dirty clothes in the hamper if he wants them to reappear freshly cleaned and folded, he doesn't leave the cap off of the toothpaste and he doesn't leave the toilet seats up.  Truth is, around here I'm the one who leaves the toilet seats up on a regular basis, after all, I'm the only one who cleans them!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Blogging for Dummies!

First, let me say how impressed I am by some of your blog pages.  The custom icons, the bright colors, the fancy patterns, the snazzy buttons in the margins, the cool clip art, the flashing lights and some of you have even added music.

Half of this stuff I didn't even know was possible. I just signed into Blogger, set up an account, selected a template and let loose whatever was on my mind.  I nearly had a stroke trying to get a counter downloaded and to this day, my analytic reports are totally screwed up.  It was only recently that I was able to take down my post-it note with the copy/cut/past directions for my computer.

Fancy clip art? I haven't a clue, I just look around the house for something that relates to my post, take a photo and download it, otherwise no pretty pictures to look at here. (I think that's pretty obvious today!)  If it hadn't been for the kindness of Kimi at So Many Kids So Little Time  (BTW, she has a great blog and I'll fall over if this link I just added actually works!), I would not be able to proudly display the two awards in my blog margin.

Just so you know, I admire your personalized icons, I see your links to this and that, sharing info and just shake my head wondering how you guys have figured all this stuff out.

Please don't think I'm a snob if I don't hook up to your links or download your clever icons in my margin.  It's not that I don't want to or that I'm ignoring you, dislike you or can't stand you, I just don't know what I'm doing half the time.  If it wasn't for the "Follow" button I wouldn't even be able to do that!

Just wanted to put that out there so now with that being said, I guess I should jump into our truck and head to the nearest bookstore to see if they have the latest edition of "Blogging for Dummies" on Apple!

Monday, October 26, 2009

I've Got Me a Girly Girl!

While I was pregnant, I really, really, really wanted a girl. Being 44 at the time, I knew that my chances of having another baby were pretty slim so I had better get my girl the first time.  As it turned out, I was right, less than two years later and I was in full-blown menopause.

Getting back to the pregnancy,  the minute I saw that plus sign on the stick, I started picking out girl's names, buying pretty pink sleepers and outfits, dreaming about baking cookies together, taking her shopping, painting her nails and styling her hair.  Lucky for me, she was born right on time (actually a week early) and was all girl, just what I'd hoped for.

As much as I had been daydreaming about the things we would be doing together, it had never crossed my mind that I would have to figure out how to get her a bra when she was only 3 1/2.

For the last month, she has become obsessed with my bra. She can't wait to look under my shirt to see which one I'm wearing and sometimes has complete meltdowns if I don't put one of mine on her over her shirt. I found that by crossing the shoulder straps in the back before putting her arms through worked fairly well. Of course, I was always worried someone would show up at the door unannounced and wonder what was going on once they saw her playing quietly while sporting my 36B.

I thought this would be a short phase and she would lose interest but two weeks into it, I had to figure out a solution before she started screaming to wear it outside.  Great timing since it was the beginning of Fall and all the clearance racks were full of bathing suits left over from Summer. Figured I had better buy her a couple of two-piece ones and she loves them!  So now when she insists on wearing a bra, I put one of these bathing suit tops under her shirt and that keeps her quiet.

In the meantime, every now and then she still pulls up my shirt or pulls down the zipper on my top to see which bra I'm wearing.  Only thing to worry about now is where we are when she does it!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Potty Training, Puddles and Pampers

What am I doing wrong? My daughter is 3 1/2 years old and I can't get her potty trained. Oh sure, she will at least tell me when she has to do #2 so we have that conquered but wetting her pants? I'm ready to scream!

I suppose I should take some of the blame considering I jump and change her the minute I notice she's wet. I probably should just let her slosh around for a while and risk the leaks on the carpet, but I don't.

I had a friend suggest that I put her into panties. Her own daughter was horrified the first time she wet herself while wearing panties and never missed a trip to the bathroom again.  So I put cotton panties on her, within 5 minutes she had wet them and didn't even notice. So I  take her to the toilet, make her sit there, clean her up and then put on a fresh pair. Within half an hour, they were soaked. Two hours later, I was putting on the sixth and last pair of panties and gave up.

I watched a segment on Dr. Phil about dragging them to the bathroom 9 times every time they wet their pants. Well by time number six, my daughter is freaking out and I'm so exhausted, I need to lay down.

So I bought her the pull-ups with the "Cool Alert".  No Luck! She didn't even notice the icy-cold crotch and actually prefers this brand now, go figure.

At this rate, I guess I will just keep her in the size 4T pull-ups and hope they continue to make them right up to adult sizes.

In the meantime, if any of you have figured out a way to convince your kids that peeing in the toilet is a lot more fun than wetting their pants, I'm all ears!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Getting the Kinks Out in High Heels!

What a relief to be over my cold and back to yoga class.  I have already signed up for the next 8-week term even though I'm only half way through my first 8-week session.

So now with that out of the way,  it's time to fess up and talk about my weight.

Yes, the yoga is great for flexibility and posture but I don't know anyone who has been able to lose their motor gut by practicing yoga. If I was serious about getting rid of a few pounds, I would be out running marathons trying to stay one step ahead of my butt.

But I don't own any sneakers or flat shoes for that matter. One thing you learn when you are a few pounds overweight is that the more height you can gain from heels, the more balanced YOU think you look. Truth be known, people are probably wondering why a stay-at-home mom is wearing high heels around the house and out in the yard.

So now with the cooler weather here, I just might go out and do a bit of walking, maybe even a power walk. If it gets cold enough, I just might work my way up to a slow trot.

Time to jump back up on the healthy lifestyle bandwagon, heels and all!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Who Needed That Break?

Hurray!  After weeks of sick days, field trips and an Inservice, I finally had my 2 1/2 hour break today from my 3 1/2 year old.  Waited patiently all morning watching the clock slowly tic down to 12:30 so I could bundle her up and drop her off at her Early Learning School.  I had time to run a few errands, just hang around the house by myself, read some great blogs and even made time for a little shopping. Love having a couple of hours to myself!

Funny thing is, when I dropped her off and turned to leave, I could feel her little hands on my behind as she struggled to push me out the door.  All I could hear was "Bye Bye Mommy".  Guess I wasn't the only one looking forward to a break!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Early Learning School and Free Time?

If you've been following along, you know that for the past 3 years, I have been a stay-at-home mom who has hardly left my daughter's side. From those first 7 months of being on call to breast feed at the drop of a hat to the end of last August, I can count on one hand the number of times I have been away from her for more than an hour.

So last month, she started an Early Learning Program that gets her out of the house for 2 1/2 hours each Tuesday and Thursday. Bliss! I can finally get some time to myself, uninterrupted, no one under my feet or demanding my attention.

Unfortunately, by the end of her third week in school, both of us had come down with a cold. Not wanting to spread it to others, I decided that she had to miss school for both days during the first week of October. Oh well, I'm too sick to enjoy the time off anyway although it would be so nice to just curl up for a couple of hours and take a nap.

Finally, this past Tuesday she was feeling better and so was I. I waited patiently for the clock to tick down so I could drop her off and run the errands that had piled up from the week before.

We arrive at the school a little early where we are greeted by one of her teachers. As I turn to run out the door, she asks "Did you forget that today we are taking the children for a hike in the park, you will be coming with us won't you?" As much as I wanted to shake her by the shoulders and plead with her to please take my daughter off my hands for just a couple of hours, I hear myself saying "Oh, that will be fun, does anyone need a drive?"

As my daughter and I are leaving the park after the hike, one of the teacher's calls out to me, "Don't forget, there is no school this Thursday, we have an Inservice". I want to scream out "What?? Are you kidding?? What about my chores, errands and FREE TIME!!!" But instead, I paste a fake smile on my face and wave good bye as I realize that Thursday is now out too. Back at our truck I stop and talk to one of the other mothers. But as I get ready to climb into the driver's seat, she says "I'll see you next Thursday, the kids are scheduled to go to the library, we can hang out there together while we wait for them". "What?? I only get one day next week!!!????"

Two weeks late but I finally have my wicker furniture stored away and my frost-bitten Summer flowers are in the compost bin. After working in the dark for the last two nights, my Fall decorations are finlly set up on the front porch. Last night I took that 15 minutes to run up to the attic and find my Autumn wreath. With it finally hanging in place over the window above the pumpkins and gourds, I breath a sigh of relief. Done!

And that's when it hits me.

"When am I going to find the time to put up the Halloween decorations???!!!!"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Debating the Power of "NO"

Anyone who has raised a child has heard the word "No" what seems like a million times. It's the first word that many of our children learn, some without actually making the connection to its meaning until they get a negative reaction from their parent or caregiver.

My own daughter's first word was "Dog" not "Mommy" like I had hoped with "No" a close second or third. One benefit of being an older mom though is the maturity and patience that comes along with age. When she started to say "No" and mean it, I was able to stand back and observe this little creature exerting her will. "How cute" I thought, "She is developing a personality!" It wasn't long though before she started to use the "No" word every time I tried to do anything with her. Getting her dressed became a chore, getting her coat on, putting on her shoes or boots, combing her hair, getting her into the bath, all day long was a symphony of me asking a question and her replying "No". I didn't lose my cool with her, I didn't force my will upon her, I started to use "timeouts".

We have a bench in our kitchen where I would make her sit and then set the microwave timer for 2 or 3 minutes. I had heard somewhere, probably on Dr. Phil, that a timeout period should include 1 minute for every year of age. So that's what I did. To my amazement she would sit there quietly while I went on with my day tidying up near by. During the timeout, I would not have eye contact with her but once that timer rang, I would run over, make a big deal out of what a good girl she had been to sit there and overly praise her for 15 or 20 seconds. She loved this and it worked! Whatever challenge had lead to the timeout was easily accomplished and we got on with our day.

I hadn't given much thought to this until my brother-in-law came to visit. Of course, like all opinionated family members who think they know it all, he had not raised any children of his own.

He was sitting at our kitchen table having his morning coffee when my daughter went into one of her "No" fits and wouldn't cooperate while I tied to get her dressed. As much as I hate to discipline her in front of others, I scooped her up and placed her on the timeout bench, told her not to move and then set the timer for 3 minutes. I then went about my business as usual. It wasn't long before I noticed my brother-in-law's face. We've all seen those disapproving looks, maybe some of us have even given them to others. In an effort to clear the air, I ask him what's on his mind. "Nothing" he lies so I tell him "Just get it off your chest, say your piece and be done with it, I've probably heard it before anyway."

As I expect, he tells me that he doesn't like how often she tells me "No" and wants to know why I put up with it. This entire time, my daughter is sitting quietly in her timeout waiting for that timer to ring and for the over-the-top praise she knows she will receive. On cue, the timer rings and I spring into action. I pick her up, tell her how good she was, we twirl around in the kitchen, laughing, hugging, I kiss her and praise her. When I look over at my brother-in-law, I can see from his expression that he doesn't approve. From the kitchen, my daughter and I move into the family room where I easily dress her, comb her hair and have her properly groomed for the day ahead. This has taken less than the three minute timeout with her full and enthusiastic cooperation.

With her playing quietly nearby, I walk back over to the kitchen. My brother-in-law gives me that disapproving look again. "Well?" I ask. "I don't understand why you let her tell you no, why don't you just make her get dressed?" he asks again. To this I respond "Look over at her playing, she is completely dressed, her hair is combed and neatly tied back, there have been no tears, no tantrums, no fighting, no hitting and she is content. What result do you think your method would have produced?" After pondering my point for a minute he says "Okay, but why do you allow her to say "no" to you so often?"

My response to him is still just a theory given that she is only 3 1/2. I haven't read any books on the subject, I haven't had the time! My belief is that as long as I don't react to her use of the word "No", neither she nor that word holds any power. Once I allow it to push my buttons, she has a weapon she can use and will continue to use time and time again. For now, I go about my day, ignoring the "No" word and using timeouts when she becomes uncooperative about doing the things that need to get done. So far, this has worked and I find I am hearing the "No" word less and less often, somedays not at all.

My brother-in-law sips his coffee, shakes his head and reluctantly agrees with my theory but then again, what else can he do? My house, my rules, my daughter Lol!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Messes, Mayhem and The Best Advice!

As anyone would expect, being a first-time mom later in life has its rewards but also its challenges. Years of living in a neat and tidy controlled environment give way to diapers, spills, spit up, messes and constant mayhem.

When my little one was born, I remember stressing myself out trying to keep our home in the same perfectly neat state it had always been in while taking on the full-time job of caring for a new baby around the clock. All the chaos that erupts from the minute you bring a baby home from the hospital until they finally fall into bed asleep filled our home. I was running around in circles but I just couldn't keep up. The dishes would pile up in the sink, dust would accumulate on the furniture in the rooms that we didn't use and the beds would go unmade for days.

One day a couple of months after my daughter was born, I was talking to my good friend, Karen on the telephone. I had worked with Karen for years in a well-organized office environment but she had been the first to give that up to stay at home and raise her three little ones. We had remained close so I knew she would be able to relate to the upheaval and chaos that now controlled my life.

I was complaining to her about how stressed I felt with all the housework that was no longer getting done. Instead of giving me the answer I thought I was looking for she laughed out loud and told me that she had felt exactly the same way, at first. Then she passed on to me her "light-bulb moment" and it literally changed my life.

"I gave up trying to keep a perfect house long ago. When my children grow up, I want them to remember all of the fun we had and the things we did together, not how clean I kept the house."

Her words hit me like a ton of bricks. Of course! How ridiculous of me to be so focused on my kitchen floor, my unmade bed or any other chore that was lagging behind. Why wasn't I taking the time to relax and enjoy these precious moments with my new baby, feeding her and just holding her? That day I vowed to make my daughter my priority and relax about my house. Karen's words had taken a huge weight off my shoulders and helped me to focus on what was important and what could wait.

Nothing drove that point home more than a year later when my husband's daughter had her second baby. We booked our flights and traveled the 5 hours to visit with her and meet our new granddaughter. At that time, our own daughter was only one and at that age of constant spills and messes.

We stayed at my step-daughter's home and I will never forget how uncomfortable I felt being chased around by her vacuum every time I made a meal or snack for my daughter. I didn't feel that I could sit down to feed her until I had wiped up every last crumb that fell during the food preparation, had stored away any utensils and dishes used into the dishwasher and had polished the granite counter where the food preparation had taken place. Only then could I feed my daughter as long as I kept a cloth close by to wipe up any crumbs that fell while she ate. Otherwise, my stepdaughter would jump in before the place I had been standing in had cooled off tidying up everything not allowing me the freedom to do it once my baby had been fed and taken care of. It drove me crazy and I left there vowing that I would never stay at her home again until our daughter was at an age where I didn't have to carry her in one arm while working feverishly with the other trying to clean up after her. Karen's advice would have served my stepdaughter well.

To this day, Karen's words echo through my mind and I can't thank her enough for giving me the best advice any new mom can receive. Our daughter is happy, her crayons are spread all over the living room, her toys are scattered, her puzzle pieces are on the floor, on the furniture and on her little table and I don't care. At the end of the day, once she goes to bed, I tidy it up and smile to myself happy in the knowledge that she had a wonderful, stress-free and fun-filled day and you know what?? So did I! Climbing into our own unmade bed once in a while isn't that bad after all!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What's for Dinner Tonight?

Here it is just a little over two weeks and I think I'm finally over the cold/flu that my daughter brought home from her Early Learning classmates. My husband is nearly over it and my daughter who is only 3 1/2 tolerated it much better than either of us. Oh sure, I wiped her nose on a pretty regular basis, listened to her cough during the day and all night but overall, this little bug didn't slow her down at all. She spent her days running through the house, laughing, jumping, climbing on the furniture and drawing. All the regular activities 3 1/2 year olds get up to when they have a mom who is either too sick or too tired to keep them under control.

It hasn't been all bad though. If I had to pick the best part of being stuffed up and sick with a cold/flu, it would be the freedom from having to decide what to cook for dinner each night. During the past two weeks, our evening meals were either soup or chowder right out of the can so there was almost no prep work and very little clean up. On the few evenings we felt like having something a little more substantial, my husband cooked or we ordered take out. Oh yes, how spoiled I have been while playing up this cold/flu for all it's been worth.

So now with the color back in my cheeks, my coughing under control and the wads of kleenex no longer bulging out of each pocket, it's back to reality. My husband came home for lunch today and just before leaving to go back to finish the afternoon, I hear those words I have not heard for two weeks "What's for dinner tonight?".

It's now back to standing in the kitchen with my head stuck in the freezer (and not for the hot flashes this time Lol!) rooting around and wondering "What am I going to make for dinner tonight?" That age old question that has plagued women since the Stone Age. As I glance through my pantry to see what groceries I still have on hand since before catching my cold, I decide on curry shrimp, steamed rice and chicken pad thai without the bean sprouts. Don't be impressed though, the curry sauce comes out of a jar, the shrimp are bagged in the freezer and so is the lone boneless, skinless chicken breast and the pad thai sauce is in a jar. All I have to do is cook the rice for the side dish, boil the rice noodles for the pad thai and open a couple of jars, heat everything up, throw in the shrimp and chicken and voila "Dinner".

So now I'm off to the kitchen to work my magic but before I do, I have just one question for you, "What are you making for dinner tonight?"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Special K, Ice Cream and Popsicles!

Sounds like a recipe for disaster, right? Well, this cold or flu or whatever it is has completely taken over the house. We are all coughing, sneezing and blowing! Right now, my focus has changed to getting rid of this cold rather than getting rid of my big butt! Funny thing is, I've still managed to lose a bit this past week even though my new diet consists of Special K and fruit for breakfast and then soup for both lunch and dinner with plenty of ice cream and popsicles in between to sooth my sore throat. I bet if I took the time or energy to do an accurate calorie count, I'm still well below 1800 per day so at least I'm maintaining what was lost last week plus adding a bit more to my total weight loss. Still haven't been able to go back to yoga although I'm aiming for this Wednesday if I can get my coughing under control.

Oh the joys of getting my daughter out of the house for a couple of hours per week and into the company of 12 other toddlers along with their germs! If this is any indication of what our Winters are going to be like for the next 15 years, I'm going to need to get back into shape more than ever. Wait till those stomach bugs go around. Can't wait to clean up the mess they will bring not to mention, catch it myself. I don't remember the last time my stomach was so upset it caused me to vomit, not even during my pregnancy. I was one of those women the other pregnant ladies would secretly hate because I had no morning sickness at all. During my pregnancy, I would occasionally get the very slightest touch of nausea that would start around 10:00 at night so I just went to bed and then would wake up the next morning feeling great. Yes, those were the days when I could actually get a full, uninterrupted 8 or 9 hours of sleep. Yes, those were the days!

Once the baby was born, I was up every three hours to breast feed in addition to waking up every time she moved in her bed. That waking every time she moves is still going on to this day. Doesn't matter that she's across the hall, I still hear everything. In the old days, I used to be able to sleep through a thunder storm without waking up, now all she has to do is turn her head on her pillow and I'm wide awake. I wonder if this will ever wear off??

So back to the challenges at hand, yes, I'm still on the path of trying to lose some weight before our trip, I'm also trying to get myself, our daughter and my husband over this flu and yes, I'm still trying to deal with menopause. As I try to get over this cold, all I can say is "I can't tell if I've got a fever or having one long hot flash!!"