Posts Tagged ‘Motherhood’

Frugal Family: Summertime Edition

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

This summer has been a quiet one for our family. Intended trips were vetoed in favor of staycations and saving fuel. Our backyard update has been just the fix we needed though to enjoy quiet afternoons and evenings in our very own space. Our sweat equity has paid off and we have felt less impacted by the rising cost of fuel because all we desire is to spend time in our fresh new space.

I plop myself into a lawn chair and I look out over our large yard. I can see two sets of feet dancing behind the sheets, as the clothes blow on our clothesline. The children are giggling uncontrollably as they play peek-a-boo and try to catch one another, flipping the sheets back and forth.

I have set up all of their outdoor toys and it is always the laundry line that is the most fascinating to them. My daughter pulls off a towel and runs over to me shouting, “Queen, Queen.” Yes, she has somehow moved up the chain of royalty and no longer considers herself a princess, but who can blame her? Given the choice, I would aim for the queen title myself.

My son has wrapped a blue piece of tape around his head and tells me that he is a Ninja. I laugh to myself as I see the Ninja and Queen are holding hands and running together. Only in my backyard would moments like these even be possible.

The kids run through the sprinklers and hold their mouths open to catch the water. Drinks rest on the picnic table, but there is nothing like a cold spray of water in your face to catch a drop of water in your mouth. They are soaked, but the sunshine keeps them warm.

I bring out the popsicles- the same exact color, design, and shape so no squabbles can form. I fear what would happen if a Ninja and Queen had to battle it out for the best popsicle in town. Thankfully, they are so excited for their treat that they forget to fight. They sit underneath our small tree for shade and laugh because it is so cold in their mouth.

My queen is getting tired though and I pull her into my lap and hold her close. Her beach towel is wrapped around her and I lean in to smell her hair. It is the smell of sunshine, of baby shampoo, of sweetness that is like nothing else. I curl my fingers around her pigtails and let them go so little wet ringlets form around my finger. In my head, just one word keeps coming to mind and I quietly chant it in my head, “Blessed. Blessed. Blessed.”

No matter what happens in the economy, no matter how high the groceries get, and no matter how much the gas prices increase… I am blessed. It is the first thing I think when I wake up and it is the last thought on my mind as my head hits the pillow.

I am one lucky girl!

A Struggle to Be Faithful

Monday, June 30th, 2008

I adore my Emily. She is her very own little person with her own sweet little personality. I prayed very hard that we would someday have a little girl of our very own and here she is in all of her glory. She is the sweetest little girl with the best personality and she makes me laugh with her sweet quirkiness.

Emily has also challenged me in ways that I never dreamed as a parent. While Ethan slept through the night at three months, my Emily still cries for me at night (she is two and a half). Since she has been born, I have had rarely a full night of sleep. I can’t figure out why this is because we have done everything for her exactly the same as Ethan, but Emily doesn’t seem to really need sleep.

Ethan was (and still is) an extremely outgoing child. I could leave him anywhere and he would have a zillion best friends by the time I got back. I remember that my feelings were a little hurt the first day I dropped him off for school and he barely acknowledged my departure. He was just that kind of kid.

Emily is not that kind of kid. She is very shy and takes time to warm up to anyone. She really hates to be left anywhere and clings to my leg if she thinks I will leave her. She wails uncontrollably if she thinks we will leave her. It has been extremely hard.

Working out is difficult because I can hear her crying when I leave her in the babysitting area for my workout. I am constantly listening and my stomach feels like a little tight ball because I am on edge if she is making it difficult for the babysitter in charge. I feel selfish when I leave her there. Working out is optional and I feel like I am inflicting trauma on my child for no reason.

Worshiping is difficult because the children go to Sunday school while we attend the service and she really hates going. When we walk into church, she starts crying and when we leave her she is uncontrollable and inconsolable. This Sunday she screamed the entire time we were in service, and her screaming was worse if anyone looked or talked to her. When we got done with worship and the tears were rolling down her face, I felt like the worst parent in the world.

I honestly don’t know what to do. She doesn’t like to be alone at night, she wants me to be by her side all day, and I feel very badly for the people who are caring for her in my absence. At the same time, I know that there are times where we need that separation so that I can be a better mom to her. Things like working out and going to worship are important to me, but I feel very badly doing these things when I know how hard it is for the people who care for her.

It is bad enough that I don’t know if my husband and I should go to worship together. Maybe we should alternate services so Emily doesn’t have to go to Sunday School? Maybe I should quit the gym in favor of working out at home? I really am struggling with what is the best way to handle this. Do I keep doing this in hopes that she will figure out that we will always come back to her or do I wait until she outgrows it on her own?

I would love to hear from parents who are dealing with this or have watched their children outgrow it! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Kentucky Derby Bunco

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Good cheap fun…that’s what Bunco is! I blogged about our fabulous wedding party and my retro housewife themed Bunco that turned out to be a blast. This month’s Bunco theme was the Kentucky Derby so we all donned our fabulous hats and our high heels for a fun time.

I had to borrow a hat from girlfriend so here are some pictures before I got my hat on. Ethan & Emily think it so cool when mommy dresses up for these events so they wanted to get some pictures with me before I left. The kids kept touching my dress and smelling me….hmm…I wonder what they are trying to tell me?

Just call me Sandra Lee, as I was running short on time with a ton of appointments and events going on that day. I found a Suddenly Salad in my pantry and used up what was left in our fridge to make my dish. This is their classic pasta salad flavor with a few of my own additions- romaine hearts, tomatoes, sliced black olives, and narrow slivers of pepperoni to dust the top. Despite it being convenience food (bought deeply discounted, of course!), I thought it turned out really good.

This was our lovely hostess, my friend Jessica. Jessica is also the one who taught me how to knit so I especially love her right now! She has been to the real Kentucky Derby so she wanted us all to have a taste of the food that we would eat there. She served us Kentucky Hot Browns, Cheesy Grits, Derby Pie, Mint Juleps & Mimosas. We all agreed that the food was great, but the Mint Juleps were extremely um…refreshing, but tasted horrible.

Here we all are with our hats on! We are all wearing our very best summer dresses and it is about fifty degrees outside. We all wished we were in Kentucky for this shot, but we were enjoying some derby fun in Indiana!

Gotta love a good Bunco theme and this one was GREAT!

Bad Week or Why I Couldn’t Be a Single Mom

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Editor’s Note- I actually posted this post and then deleted it because I was a little embarrassed about my whiny tone. I got some emails that people were looking for this entry in their feeds so it is back up here…only read this if you can handle all the whining and moaning. Seriously, WHINING and MOANING. You have been warned!

My husband has been out of town since Monday and I thought I could do this on my own. I envisioned our fun-filled days and evenings that would be spent painting my toes and catching up on my reading.

Day One- The roofing construction begins on our home. A new roof has been in the works since we moved into this house. I never thought of how this construction would impact our day. No naps for kids means a tired mommy and grumpy children.

Day Two- My son comes down with a nasty case of pink eye. He can’t go to school for the next two days until we get it cleared up.

Day Three- Rained all day, which leaves our house quiet. Emily wakes up with a snotty nose and Ethan’s eye is gooped beyond recognition. The only thing I have to look forward to is my girlfriend coming for the evening. We cook. We clean. We prepare for her visit…she has an unexpected conflict and can’t come. I think we scared her off with all of our illnesses.

Day Four- Our gutters turn up missing (after being removed from our house for the roofing job). I have to file a police report and talk to a detective. I feel ridiculous reporting a case of missing gutters and embarrassed that I am wasting their time with something so trivial. They were our gutters though so I file my little plea that they figure out who the culprit is.

Day Five- Emily is sicker by the minute and wakes up with a 102 degree fever. I get a late appointment at the doctor and he tells me she has a bad case of strep throat.

Day Six- I can only imagine how great the day will be putting drops in Ethan’s eye three times a day, distributing penicillin to Emily and medicine to keep down her fever, as I swipe her little nose. I feel so bad for them both and am feeling blue myself.

My days are filled with nursing sick children and running myself into the ground. The evenings are spent playing catch up on the household chores and laundry. Fabulous dinners at home were replaced with two trips to the fast food joint so that I could keep my sanity. No painting of nails or relaxation in the evening, in fact, I didn’t even blow dry my hair this week because there was no time.

The final nail in the coffin is calling the bed and breakfast, where we have reserved our room for our anniversary this weekend, and letting them know we can’t come. One case of pink eye and one case of strep seal the deal.

How do single moms of the world do it? I humbly bow to them because I am a blubbering mess right now. I am so ashamed that I couldn’t do it for one week. I really believed it was going to be a great week, but it seemed I have a little too much confidence.

The Naughty Stitch- The “Amy Purl”

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Requests were made to show you guys how I messed up my knitting. I am not sure if this is genuine interest or an opportunity to laugh at my ridiculousness, but I will pretend like it was to marvel at how inventive I am. Now if this is a real stitch, please tell me. If this resembles something you have seen before and don’t believe that I can get a patent on this fabulousness, please let me know. I was hoping it was unique, but perhaps it is not!

Begin by taking your needle in going up into the top of the stitch and hold ‘er steady.

Don’t panic this is exactly wrong so you are doing great. Now take your yarn (which should be on top and not behind like that old and boring knit stitch) and loop it around on the outside of that knitting needle. Does it feel wrong and inappropriate? It should, especially if you know how to purl the proper way.

Now you are going to take that loop and slip it off on the right needle. You are so wrong! Don’t you feel like you need a shower after this horrible knitting tutorial?

Now you can slip that stitch off the left needle and you have completed the naughty stitch…or the “Amy Purl.”

If you alternate this stitch with a row of this and a row of knitting, it will look like this. That’s right….completely wrong, but completely straight and right-in-your-head.

Do NOT do this stitch if you are not an experienced knitter and can understand just how wrong this is. I don’t want to deter you from the path of the straight and narrow.

Hugs and Kisses,

The Stitchery Satan

What I Got For Mother’s Day

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

Ethan brought home this beautiful picture for mommy from school. I adore it because he is giving a toothy grin and he has the sweetest smile. When he was little, he knocked one of his front teeth (tragically stunting the growth in one of his front teeth) and his one front tooth is short and his other is longer. It is one of those things you think you won’t forget as a parent, but you do…I am glad I have a picture of this precious little smile. I will hang on to it when all those perfectly perfect teeth come in. This little picture was accompanied with a potted flower that I just love. Two of my favorite gifts.

What else did I get for Mother’s Day? Oh, don’t hate me too much, this was lots of time and research and just happened to be purchased around Mother’s Day, but is really an investment for my kitchen and meal preparation… Behold, my glorious Cuisinart Multi-Clad Pro Stainless Steel Pot Set. Oh my goodness! Heaven! Total and utter heaven! I love these pots like I love my children and as much as I love my red pot, red coat, and red shoes. Yeah, that kind of love…a deep kind of affection that only one cook to another cook could understand.

My husband has been making so much fun of me as I clean these precious gems. I am all stroking them lovingly (hoping that phrase doesn’t pop up in our keyword phrase searches too often) and just cleaning them like they are the finest china dishes I have ever own. Yeah, I don’t care… say what you must, but I have waited YEARS for these pots.

They are every bit of good as I had hoped. Sturdy, heavy, easy to clean, and beautiful to look at. Yes, I can gaze at my freaky expression on the lids as I take a dishtowel to the corners of my eye and weep at their beauty. I don’t know why my husband is making fun of me? Perhaps jealousy because it is a love that I cannot explain.

Oh, and one of the strangest things that has happened to me is getting a beautiful flower sent to me…by the TiVo company. Say what? Yeah, Tivo was all like, “I hope you can pause for a moment and enjoy your Mother’s Day.” Although you can’t see it, the company stamped their logo on the corner of the flower and sent these to me one morning via Fed Ex. This was perhaps one of the most creative campaigns I have ever seen. I used to work in marketing so I can appreciate a good campaign- can’t imagine how much time and orchestration it took to send these out to mommy bloggers, but very thoughtful and I loved looking at it in my window. What did I appreciate about this campaign? The note was actually handwritten. That means a lot to me because this can be a rarity. I appreciate it when people write notes by hand- it is good form, in my humble mommy opinion!

Not to be outdone by the flower, this entire stack of books came to me from Hachette Book Group. They wanted to send me a, “Mother’s Day Package” with no strings attached. Who in the world would turn down free books? In this stack are:

1. Sundays at Tiffany’s by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
2. Your Best Life Now For Moms by Joel Osteen
3. How Not to Look Old: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10 Years Younger by Charla Krupp
4. Bobbi Brown Living Beauty by Bobbi Brown
5. Kim Cattrall Sexual Intelligence by Kim Cattrall
6. Sew U Home Stretch: The Built by Wendy Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics by Wendy Mullin & Eviana Hartman
7. Jewels: 50 Phenomenal Black Women Over 50 by Michael Cunningham & Connie Briscoe
8. On Becoming Fearless: …in Love, Work, and Life by Arianna Huffington
9. Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach
10. Days: From the Heart of the Home by Susan Branch
11. Heart of the Home: Notes from a Vineyard Kitchen by Susan Branch
12. Starting Your Day Right: Devotions for Each Morning of the Year by Joyce Meyer
13. Ending Your Day Right: Devotions for Every Evening of the Year by Joyce Meyer
14. I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris
15. Send Yourself Roses: Thoughts on My Life, Love, and Leading Roles by Gloria Feldt and Kathleen Turner

Some of these I already have so I will be giving them away as gifts and for our giveaways on here, but it was just so darn exciting to get all these nice new books. I am hoping we can work through a couple of these on the site since I have enjoyed our past book discussions so much.

Retro Housewife Bunco

Monday, April 28th, 2008

This month, I got to host our Bunco group, and I was so excited about my retro housewife theme. The best part about this theme was that I could display my apron collection and I could make all my friends wear aprons too.

The downfall with entertaining is that my home is a smaller space. It just means that I have to be a little more purposeful with clearing the home of clutter and finding more inventive ways to display and share all of our good food, but I did my best.

I cleared all of the shoes and coats from our entryway and replaced them with a handful of my favorite aprons from my collection. A couple of the girls said that they didn’t have an apron (I know, *gasp*) so I thought they could borrow one of mine from one of our hooks when they walked in. It also helped to tie in the theme!
I love to look for benches for my house because it makes great instant seating in any room. Even an old and ugly bench can be recovered and made to look more modern with a new fabric or coat of paint. I pulled my benches into a seating arrangement that I thought would make it easy for groups to sit together and would make it easier for people to chat. These are also narrow enough that they make good seating for homes with smaller spaces.

We had a delicious retro supper prepared. I made my favorite Sloppy Joe recipe and I got mini-kaiser rolls to make it easier to eat while we played. These were served with tater tots and Rice Krispie treats for dessert. I could prepare everything ahead of time and just had to throw the tater tots in the oven before everyone arrived. I planned to serve slushies, but everyone brought a beverage to share instead so this made it easier for me.

I love to serve our food on cake stands and the covered ones are great for keeping bread from drying out and they help to create a display. If you are short on space, elevating the food can make more room for lower dishes to rest. If you don’t have cake stands, you can use an inverted bowl and rest a plate on top to create a cute cake stand. Hunt at the thrift stores and you can find elegant china plates and cups or bowls to create cute little cake stands.

Coolers can get in the way when you are trying to entertain and can be difficult to hunt for just the right drink. I plugged one side of our double sink and filled it with ice. I tucked the drinks inside of there and then took a ribbon and looped a bottle opener through the ribbon and around the spout. It made it much easier to drain (just have to unplug the sink) and it also saved on space in my fridge and freezer.

What retro housewife would ever serve her guests dinner on paper plates? We kept our party green and wallet-friendly by using cloth napkins and my favorite white dishes to serve on. I had seven guests so it only equaled one fast load of dishes and everything was cleaned.

Isn’t this scorekeeper so handsome? Ethan got home from grandma and grandpa’s and was immediately intrigued by what all these crazy women were doing. He was so good to help keep score and even got to throw dice a few times with us.

Thank you to all my Bunco Babes who allowed me to live out one of my little fantasies. It was so fun to have a retro night with all of you!

Morning & Night

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

Now that it has finally warmed up, Emily & I can start taking our walks in the morning again. As soon as I drop Ethan off, we pull into the garage and get that old stroller out. I fill the little compartments with oodles of Cheerios and a cup of milk and we can set off for our morning walk together. Emily takes in the sites while I try and get my body moving again. It has been a long winter of being cooped up so it feels good to be enjoying this fresh air and sunshine.

A little rocket fuel speeds up the pace. For $2, this is a sweet little indulgence to help me go, go, go. I love McDonald’s Vanilla Iced Coffees for a morning pick-me-up. A whole heck of a lot cheaper than the Starbucks and just as yummy! A large one can last me an entire day!

What happens at night in this house? A whole lot of this! Can someone be addicted to knitting because I think I have found a new addiction? I am usually wound tight as a spring at night, thinking of all that I need to do, and this little hobby has provided some soothing relief to quiet my brain. My iPod is loaded with soft music and I am clicking away on the couch. Thank you all for your great knitting help and suggestions. I am tackling my first little project and making a scarf. My pace is slow, but my heart is proud that I am doing this.

Not Today, Please…

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

UPDATE: Bunny was found!! Only fellow moms could recognize the tragedy we would have faced without him! Thanks for all of your well wishes and I will write more on location in NJ!

Have you seen this bunny anywhere? It appears my daughter has lost, not just one, but BOTH of her bunnies are missing. I have spent the past hour trying to find them- searching the car, checking behind chairs, looking in cupboards. I am supposed to be packing, but there is no way I am going away without a bunny in her arms.

When I find him, I am going to have to figure out how to install a tracking device inside. I wonder if one of those remote finders would fit nicely on the interior of his face? Wow! Never thought I would say that!

One thing you also do not want text messaged to your phone, right before a trip, is this:

“I am starting to think I have shingles.”

Nope, my husband is allergic to penicillin. He made a trip to the doctor’s covered in a fiery rash from head to toe. He is completely miserable, but got a prescription to calm down his reaction.

Oh, and since we are talking about fun events that happened today, here is another great one! I typed up a document called, “Daddy’s Cliff Notes” with all of the things that he asked me to write up for him, all neatly typed in my favorite Georgian font. As I hit, “Save” the screen fades and says, “Microsoft Windows is not responding.” Yup, that document… yeah, it’s gone. Didn’t even save itself to be recovered to make up for being so flaky.

We will see if I actually get to go on this trip after all!

Target- How Do I Love Thee?

Friday, March 21st, 2008

It is cold and dark outside so I have to use my flash for these pictures which makes them hideous looking, but bear with me! When I went to Target, I happened upon these sweet little things. Aren’t they so cute? They are about the size of a wallet and have pretty Target trees on them with little birds. They are super compact and I can fit three of them easily in my purse.

Unzip and unfold… behold their glory! A full size grocery bag. Say what? How cool is that? Did I mention that three of these will easily fit in my purse.

And…let’s say that you went on a trip and you didn’t want to carry a purse, but you had some unmentionable items that you had to carry with you. You could tuck these inside with it all folded up and no one would be the wiser (just remember to remove the stuff before grocery shopping). Oh, and did I mention that these are $.99? Heaven!

Let’s just say that you are one of THOSE KINDS OF PEOPLE, and you like everything to be all matchy-matchy in your life. Maybe you thought to yourself that carrying these cute grocery bags would look super cute with your red shoes?

And then you thought about that amazing red coat you purchased with the amazing lining that would match perfectly with your red Target bags and you were like, “OH MY GOSH! How cute am I going to look with all my matchy-match stuff!” And your husband and family totally didn’t get it AT ALL, but you knew someone out there in the internet world thought, “Wow, won’t that look cute with her red shoes and red coat!” And you happened to pat yourself on the back because you knew you had such great girlfriends who would understand.

I also found over in the housewares section, they had these cute placemats for $.99 for TWO placemats. They wipe off and they look so cute and modern in my kitchen. I have a thing for red these days and these make me happy. I got six of them for my kitchen table (less than $3 in all!) I just love this print!

And then I thought how cute these would look with a basket of red apples with just a few green in there to bring out the green in the placement. And then I thought, “Wouldn’t it look just like a pretty portrait if I sat in a chair and ate my red apples with the hint of green that I removed from my cute red bag and sat down at that table with the cute placemat and kicked up my red shoes with my red coat draped behind me?” I think that sounds like a portrait, don’t you?

Or am I taking this too far? Maybe I need a label on my blog for dork moments? Hmm…