Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving: Take 2

Every year, my husband and I take the kids to our parents' houses for multiple turkey dinners. But, in our own little world of insanity, we also cook a Thanksgiving meal of our own the next day.

If you know anything about me, you probably have heard me admit that I am a terrible cook. My husband, on the other hand is actually pretty talented. He's not one to create his own masterpieces, but give the man a recipe and he delivers every time.

We both like to experiment and find new recipes online. So, this year, I was really thrilled with our final products and thought maybe I'd gloat some of you guys might like to check 'em out. The sad part is, I didn't take any pictures. What can I say? I was too excited to eat.

The first thing we did was brine our turkey overnight. My ingenious friend, Seth Pollins, had a great instructional video, but the link no longer works, so we'll just go with outright instructions:

3 cups kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 gallons water

For a 12 to 20 pound turkey, you can submerge it in this solution for 4 to 12 hours.

Then, when we cooked it, my husband found this Black Pepper Pomegranate Molasses Glaze recipe.

Holy bejeezus, this was the best turkey I have ever eaten. Even days later, the turkey is still juicy. I feel like I have Rubbermaid tubs full of crack in my fridge because I can't stop consuming it.

Another recipe that my husband tackled was this basic cranberry sauce. Growing up, all I ever saw was that tin can-mold of jelly slurp out into a bowl, so I never touched the stuff. Even though I wasn't excited about the recipe, once it started cooking, the whole house smelled incredible. And so, another addiction was born. The flavors burst in your mouth, coating it first with the tart of the cranberries, but then the sweetness of the brown sugar and honey smooth it out. It was super easy to make and an excellent dish to impress.

I actually made a sweet potato-marshmallow casserole, which is something I never even ate growing up. Never once did sweet potatoes cross the threshold into our home. I don't even like them that much. So, I took the time to bake the potatoes. I mashed them with the electric mixer and love. (Yes, I said that.) For the record, I love anything with brown sugar. I can eat brown sugar right out of the bag.


But, read carefully here...DO NOT add the marshmallows until the last 5 or 10 minutes of baking. Otherwise you will have burnt marshmallows. They neglected to mention that in the recipe, but thankfully, I was leery of cooking them that long and saved them before it was my usual disastrous ending. And surprise! I loved it.

These may be some fairly basic recipes for some, but they are all flavorful and simple ways to create a meal that everyone will drool over.

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How Does This Happen??

I know a lot of people have issues with custody battles these days, but when I heard about this, it really makes my blood boil. Below is a letter from a guy I know from high school. We keep in touch on Facebook and this is what he's been going through recently:

Dear Sir,

Please allow me to express my concern with the way the Child Protective Services has been handling the case involving my 14 year old daughter Katty.

On April 8th, 2011, my daughter was taken by Texas CPS from her mother, my ex wife, for a variety of reasons. These reasons I do agree with.

Everything else from that point on I have many concerns with.

First, I was NEVER notified by the state that this had happened. After a month of not being able to reach my daughter on her cell phone that I was paying for, I finally got a hold of her mother who filled me in on what had happened.
I am not a hard man to reach. I am on numerous social networking sites, and a simple google search of my name would provide enough results to find me. I also was paying child support, so I would be easily found through them. One of the papers i recieved after i made contact with CPS which i believe was the "motion" stated clearly that " with due diligance, the natural father will be searched for and notified with in 24 hours". This clearly did not happen. I could have been on the next flight to Texas and this whole next 4-5 months could have been avoided. Granted, her mother also should have called me right away, but being she is deemed and unfit mother, I can not put all the blame on her when there is a system in place by our great goverment that should be followed to the T.

After finding out about my daughter being in protective custody, I immediately began my own google search to contact Texas CPS.
This was June 6th.

I learned of a hearing regarding my daughters placement to be held on July 7th in Houston.
I drove to Texas from SW Florida for this hearing and attended it, pleading for my daughter to be placed into my custody. I am a family man, with a new wife of 4 years and another daughter, Kattys half sister, I have a clean criminal record, I own my own business and am respected amongst my peers, professional and personal. I came to this hearing prepared with bank statements, photos of the inside and outside of my single family 3 bedroom home. letters of character from local law enforcement and professional peers, none of which the court was interested in looking at.

I was told that with in 2 months, Katty should be in my custody.

It has now been more than 3 months since this hearing, and my daughter is still in foster care.

I used to talk with my daughter on the phone a couple times a week, since she has been taken I have only been allowed to speak with her 3 times.

Since this has happened, my daughter has been admitted into a mental hospital twice for manic depression, for a week at a time. She never had any mental issues until all of this had happened.

A few weeks ago the case worker actually allowed my daughter to contact me while she was in the hospital. While speaking to my daughter, i was asking her about her feelings and explaining mine to her, as to do with her violent thoughts she was having. At this time, the case worker took the phone from Katty and began to BERATE me over the phone, telling me I was not allowed to speak the way I was speaking. We began a shouting match for more than 5 minutes, when all i wanted to do was try to understand what was wrong with my daughter. Completely unacceptable and unprofessional.

My daughter and I are being treated like we have done something wrong. All I want is whats best for my daughter, and her living with me, her biological father, is what is best for her.

I do not understand why this has been going on for so long. Her 15th birthday is the 31st of this month, and it seems like she will be spending it in foster care.

I love my daughter very much, and miss her terribly. I have spoken with supervisors and other people at CPS, writing you this letter is my last resort.

Everyone at CPS has passed the buck as to why this is taking so long. Ive been told that I had provided a bad address, or a bad phone number, yet the paperwork i recieved from the courts on July 7th had my correct address.
When i changed my phone number, I immediately called and left a voice mail for the case worker, which she claimed never happened. I changed my cell phone number in late July, but my old phone was not shut off until September 1st, and NEVER once recieved a voice mail on it from CPS, so the case workers point is moot, being she never tried to contact me on either phone about my daughters status, for over a month and a half.

I dont know if there is anything you can do about what is going on, I know you are a busy man and really am not sure if you will even get this letter.

Please, my daughter and I are at your mercy, if there is ANYTHING you can do about any of this, please, please help us.

Now, the reason this makes me so angry is that there are fathers out there that don't give a damn and don't pay child support and act like they don't even have a kid. They have no consequences to face. But here is a man trying like hell to take care of his daughter and can't get a hold of her? How is this fair?

Just this week, he finally received a call from the police regarding a home check. If any of you out there have any advice for my friend, please let me know. And I hope you'll share this post with others, please. Maybe someone out there can share some advice. Thank you!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Change is Contagious

In my efforts to improve myself, which I also posted about on my other blog, I've been working on a huge overhaul. I've been exercising every day, changing my eating habits, and taking steps to increase the happiness factor.

And? It's working.

Every little change I make is leading to new changes. I have more energy. I'm doing more. Procrastination is a dwindling issue.

This feels so good. But, what makes it feel really good is that I am so motivated to keep doing more.

And the best part?

The husband is now joining me.

I'm not really the nagging type. "Gee, Husband, I'd love for you to eat fruits and veggies with me and lower your cholesterol" and other such nonsense is not often spoken from my lips. I find pressure has the opposite effect of what is generally intended.

Besides, I know change is contagious.

And so, today, he went to the gym. He found a calorie counter app to use on his phone. He made a healthy dinner of chicken with sun-dried tomatoes. He's totally motivated. And whether it lasts as long as he intends it to, doesn't matter to me at this point. I'm just happy that in this moment, he's making a conscious effort to be a little bit healthier. I feel like my changes have given him a little more incentive to take some challenges on himself.

File today under: Win.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Today I Meet Bradley Cooper!!

Ok, no. I am not meeting Bradley Cooper today. But, I totally made you look, didn't I? I mean, who better to get you girls here than him?

WAIT! Don't go!!!

I have a point...just keep reading...

Moms. How many times have you gone grocery shopping in your pajamas? Don't lie! I know there are some of you that have. Hell, I've seen some in my grocery store.

Now, how many of you have run into someone while you were out running a quick, no-one-will-see-me errand while looking like you've just been the drop cloth for your child's Thanksgiving feast? Go ahead...I'm raising my hand, too.

Well, I'm drawing the line. I want you to do it, too.

Being a mom is hard. I get it. We can't always primp and fuss like we're going to the Oscars. We don't have the time between feeding and cleaning and working and everything else. Or do we? I think we just aren't allowing ourselves the time. Admit it.

The truth is, when you look better, you feel better and when you feel better, you are happier. When you are happier, guess what? The people around you will be happier, too. FACT.

So, here's what I want you to do. I want you to think before you leave the house. What if I run into (insert celebrity of your choosing here)? Is it possible? Yes. Probable? Who knows?! I live very near to Bradley Cooper's hometown. What if he's visiting the area? What if he happens to be at Starbucks when I stumble in with my torn concert tee and paint splattered jeans? And...*GASP*...no makeup.


Solution? If you don't like it, fix it. I'm not suggesting to go spend all your dough prettying up for something that may never happen. I'm unemployed right now. Not the best time to redo my wardrobe. But, don't be shy about spending a little cash on yourself. You DESERVE it. Did you hear that?

Moving on.

Get your hair done. Cut it. Color it. Do whatever makes you keep from yanking it back into that godawful ponytail you put it in every day.

Raid your closet. Get rid of what doesn't look right and build on what does. If it doesn't fit, get rid of it. If you have no clue what looks good, spend some time watching What Not To Wear on TLC. These people know their stuff. You don't have to be an expert. All you have to do is put a little effort in. Be smart...I can still shop the clearance racks and find good stuff. I just spend a few extra minutes. And I do NOT take the kids with me when I shop.

I'm not talking drastic changes here. One of my items to check off my list is improving my posture. I'm much more conscious of how I'm sitting and standing. No more slouching. No more rounded shoulders and looking defeated all the time. Small steps will lead to giant leaps. Tackle what you can, when you can.

So, maybe you don't have to always pretend you are going to run into a celebrity. But, it's very possible that you could run into SOMEONE. Someone you once knew. Someone you once dated. Someone that may have an impact on your life in the future..personally or professionally.

You aren't just a mom. Take care of yourself. Every day.

And for being a good sport and reading all this after I teased you with Bradley Cooper, I can at least offer you this...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How NOT to Start Your Vacation

Today was Day 1 of our annual vacation to the Outer Banks in North Carolina. Today is also the first day that I was wishing I was Kendall from "this is not that blog" so that I could illustrate our debacle of a trip with the utter hilarity I know I should see in it.
Let me preface this by noting my anxiety issues. I often joke that I have loads of OCD issues, but the past few years have pushed them to the forefront of my being. These issues go straight to my stomach.

Duly noted.

We embark on our trip at 3:30am and I remark on how awesome it is that I am so comfortable with the way we (Read: me, myself and I) packed everything this year. I have no worries in the fact that I did my best and anything that we may have forgotten can be easily bought.

YAY ME! I am making progress! Life is a highway and I want to ride it all night long!

And so, this is where I have jinxed the rest of the ride for my sanity.
If you ever want to know how long a 4 year old will talk, go on a long drive. How about 8 hours? Does that sound good to you?

Mommy, I had a dream do you want to hear my dream or should I just tell you at the beach when are we going to get there this is so fun I can't wait to see the beach remember last year when Daddy bought me cheese and crackers and I didn't eat them because I won't need them this year because you have snacks.
Cut to me doing my deep breathing only 10 minutes into the trip.

She started asking "Are we there, yet" at 5am. One and a half hours into our eight hour trip.

Cut to me with my head in my hands. (Read: MAKE IT STOP)
Let's skip ahead…to about 7am when I give the kids the wholesome snack of ripe green grapes. Good job, Mom, I say, to pack such a good snack that they love.

Cut to half an hour later when the 4 year old throws up her grapes. Somehow, she even managed to catch half of it in her hands.

Kudos to you, Emma.

My husband reacts quickly by pulling off to the side of the road and hands me an empty coffee cup for the…ahem…remains. I pull her out of the car to change her shirt and clean her up. Smart of me to pack an extra outfit and wipes close at hand, right?
Cut to Emma screaming cleanup demands. "Get this shirt OFF OF ME!!" and "It's on my hands! Get it OFF MY HANDS!!" and my favorite, "Mommy, get this stuff OUT OF MY HAIR!!"
By now I realize that we are standing directly on top of what must be the biggest ant family reunion in history as I am shaking them off the puke cup, swiping them off my shoes and swatting them from our skin.

As I am the final stages of cleanup, a near ten minutes on the side of the road, I see a man with a lovely pink shirt (read: blouse) and a homeless beard yelling something at me. Something about a "tah-er".
"I'm sorry. I can't hear you over the high-speed traffic, sir, but my, that string of pearls you are wearing is lovely." And while I am realizing that he is asking me if we have a flat "tah-er", I am also realizing that he must have forgotten to put his teeth in today.

Kudos, to you, sir, for caring enough to run across the highway to find out if we were okay.

After getting back on the road, Emma finally passes out for about ten whole heavenly minutes until she wakes up again. And makes us stop three times to go potty. Three times that she didn't even go.


So, here I am, breathing my way to a zen-like existence, hoping that maybe, just maybe, I can get some eggs and toast and some tea to calm my nerves. Which are now shot to hell.

And then. My husband. Stopped at....wait for it.......Subway.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May Mom Blog

So, when Nadia and I started out this month, we had thrown together a last minute idea hoping for the best. What we got was an overwhelming response and an indescribable group of women that have touched my heart in more ways than I can count. So overwhelming, in fact, that we actually have a few days scheduled in June to fill out the overflow!

Being a mother can be all-consuming. It can be difficult. It can be wonderful. And these women are showing us all the different facets on a daily basis. We've had a military wife, an adoptive mom, a mother of an autistic son, and so many more.

The thing that I have gained most from this experience is that we are all so different, yet so alike. We all struggle, we all rejoice. And having this community of moms to celebrate motherhood has also, I hope, created an additional support system to other moms. We can share our successes and our failures together because we know what it's like.

I am so proud to be a mother of two amazing kids. And even through the rough days when they are yelling and driving me crazy, once I tuck them in bed, I see what a true blessing they are to me. And even without a crystal ball, I know that they are going to be amazing people. My hope is that I will do right by them every step of the way.

Today was actually supposed to be a post by Debra at Write On Target, but she ran into a little snafu in her plans. But, please be sure to check out her blog. She is a writer and is actually a local friend to me.

And if you are just now checking in with the #MayMomBlog hop, please check out the chart that I have listed below to find the ones you've missed. Yesterday's hostess was Carrie at The Sweetest, so any listed after her are our future hostesses.

NadiaMusings By The Light Of The Moonhttp://musingsbylightofthemoon.blogspot.com/
Christine All About Momsensehttp://allaboutmomsense.blogspot.com/
CrystalDomestic But Not Marthahttp://www.domesticbutnotmartha.com/
DanaThe Sears Familyhttp://masonsears.blogspot.com/  
Wendy JeanKeeping Up With The Pickleshttp://the-pickles.blogspot.com/
KimberlyAll Work & No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Somethinghttp://www.makemommygosomethingsomething.com/
CorinneOde to Blogginghttp://odetoblogging.blogspot.com/
JanaThe Bees Kneeshttp://thebeeskneesbaby.blogspot.com/
DeborahThe Truth About Motherhoodhttp://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/
AniAnime's Musingshttp://animesmusings.blogspot.com/
JulieI Love Purple More Than Youhttp://www.ilovepurplemorethanyou.com/
JillYeah. Good Times.http://yeahgoodtimes.blogspot.com/
JackiWhat Did She Say?http://www.whatdidshesay.ca/
BrandiThe Adventures of a Dysfunctional Supermomhttp://dysfunctionalsupermom.com/about/ 
TheresaMy Life As Tazhttp://mylifeastaz.com/
SaraMomma Findingshttp://www.mommafindings.com/
CarrieThe Sweetesthttp://thesweetest3.com/
DebraWrite On Targethttp://debralschubert.blogspot.com/
Jen Little Miss Mochahttp://littlemissmocha.com/ 
AmyTransplanted Thoughtshttp://www.transplantedthoughts.com/
LeslieLeslie Gail's Blog - New Life Focushttp://newlifefocus.wordpress.com/
NatalieMommy of A Monsterhttp://mommyofamonster.com/contact-me
KarmenFamily Sized Funhttp://familysizedfun.blogspot.com/
JCLittle Animationhttp://www.theanimatedwoman.com/
AdrienneOn the Road Less Takenhttp://www.ontheroadlesstaken.blogspot.com/
KellyGo Go Gadget Zenhttp://gogozen.blogspot.com/
SusanMemoirs of a Writerhttp://www.susanoloier.blogspot.com/
ElizabethMother's Gilthttp://mothersgilt.blogspot.com/
Allana PrattBlog and Vlog Musingshttp://allanapratt.com/blog-and-vlog-musings/
KelleyKelley's Break Roomhttp://www.kelleysbreakroom.com/
CaroleNational Momhttp://www.nationalmom.com/blog.html
JanetTulip and Thelmahttp://www.tulipandthelma.com/
SeanAverage Supermomhttp://www.averagesupermom.com/
Kim Rubber Chicken Madnesshttp://www.rubberchickenmadness.com/

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

So, it's Mother's Day and I'm thinking I should post. I think I said everything about my kids in the last entry, but I'd like to take this in a different direction.

I was a basically well behaved child for most of my life. However, during that handful of rebellious years, my mother went through a lot of worrying and aggravation. I stayed out all night. I went out when I was supposed to be grounded. I disobeyed. I yelled. I even moved out to live with a boyfriend and his family for a while. I was just as selfish and inconsiderate as a teenager could be.

Through it all, she waited up, she argued, she demanded and she tried to make more rules for every one I broke. She also supported me, loved me and never gave up on me. And after I finally grew up, I realized all she went through while she was dealing with plenty of other issues. We don't realize what our parents deal with in their lives until we become adults with worries of our own. There are bills to be paid, friends and family to help, our health to take care of and jobs to weigh on top of it all.

It takes a long time for the tables to turn and a child to appreciate her mother. I didn't want to be smothered. I wanted to make my own mistakes and learn from them myself. She hated it. But, somehow, I think she understood. And now, after having my own kids, I think she was just grasping for a way to keep me from getting hurt. Isn't that what all mothers want? To keep their kids safe?

My mother took care of five kids. She was a second mother to all our friends. She cooked dinner every night. She helped with homework and attended school functions. Our house was always clean. We didn't have a ton of money, but we had everything we needed. We were a house where board games and outdoor play were encouraged and cherished. She did more for us than I ever realized.

Now, after two kids of my own, I appreciate her more and more every day. Her strength and love for us was boundless. No matter how much we probably drove her nuts, she was always there for us. I love her dearly and I hope she knows that there could never be another mom that compares to her.

***While many would assume I'd post a pic of my mom at this point, anyone in my family knows that is the worst thing I could do. My mom HATES pictures of her anywhere, so posted for all the interwebs to see would be mortifying in her eyes. Instead, I will post a pic of her beautiful mother who was the sweetest, cutest, giggliest (yes, giggle-i-est) lil grandma a girl could have. In our family, we called her Nanny. We lost her only a few months after I had my son 11 years ago and she is desperately missed. Happy Mothers Day and eternal love to you both!

That's me with Nanny!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Respect, Appreciation and Love

Last night, we experienced a momentous occasion. I would be remiss if I ignored this event as it relates to us today. My father was in the Army. My grandfather, my husband, my cousin, my friend…they have given their all to support our freedom in the armed forces.
And as I watched the news, I spent some time reflecting on what this means for us. Without delving into the politics and morality issues of war, our military is full of men and women to be proud of.  They deserve respect and thanks from every one of us. I try to instill this thinking in my children. It was only a week ago that I was in the grocery store with my kids when we passed a man in fatigues. As we walked by, I smiled and thanked him for his service. My son then told me that while on the school bus one day, the children all yelled and waved to a military vehicle that was next to them on the road.
As I raise my children, I try to impress small lessons that sink in quickly. I try to lead by example. Table manners? Sure. Never wander off? Absolutely. Respect? Ok…let's face it, that's a tough one. Even if I think they don't always show it properly, at least now I know they give it when it counts.
I was a fairly good kid growing up. I had my rebellious years for a bit, but like everyone else, I never thought I would be a strict parent. After having kids, it's much easier to appreciate my parents and what they did for me growing up. Being a mom is a tough job. We have to make rules and know when to draw the line between friend and parent. We have to put up with the "No!" and "I hate you!" and "It's not fair!" screams. It's not all cupcakes and sprinkles.
The good thing is, there are many more wonderful moments to remember fondly. The first giggles, first steps and first words are always exciting. But then there are the times that you get to see your child developing an individual personality. Or watch them enjoy their own achievements. One of my favorite moments with my son, now 11, is watching him get his first hit in baseball. As he ran to first base, I could see the glow of disbelief and pride on his face. He has also shown some great artistic potential. Going to the art show at his school was important to him. You could see it in his bubbly energy as we all walked in together. He nearly skipped to the exhibit to find his items. At his first guitar performance, he refused to look at me, probably knowing I was tearing like an embarrassing mother would.

My daughter is only four, and she is a whole different breed. It was obvious from the start that everything she did would be on her terms only. She can be indignant and frustrating. She can also be incredibly entertaining. Even when she misbehaves, my husband and I struggle not to laugh at her actions in order to show that being disciplined is serious. She's brazen and clever, and I think some day she is going to pursue her dreams with tenacity.

Even when they are exhausting, sometimes it's helpful to sit back and watch them for a few moments. Smile at their playfulness. Adore their quirks and expressions. The years pass quickly and each year holds new and wonderful changes. There are no words to say how I truly feel about my kids. They make me proud and joyful every day. They fill my heart and flood my soul.

It is my honor to direct you to our next blogger, Crystal. She will be posting her entry tomorrow at Domestic, But Not Martha at http://www.domesticbutnotmartha.com/ tomorrow.
Crystal has become a dear friend of mine on Twitter @DmstcBtNtMartha. She is a young mother and military wife and I find the timing poignant that she was scheduled so early in our tour to share her story. She is constantly working to help others with fundraising, volunteering and prayers. She is a kind heart and a beautiful soul and I am lucky to call her a friend.
Please be sure to continue the tour with her tomorrow!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Mom Blog Tour

During the month of May, Nadia Romanov (@NadiaR13) and I have organized a star-studded Mothers' Day blog tour. Each day a different mom will take the helm at her blog providing a mom-inspired post. We've gathered up some of our favorite women and asked them to join us in celebrating moms for the entire month.

Our first blogger will be Nadia, then I'll be hosting tomorrow. Every post will have a link to the next day's blogger, so be sure to read, enjoy and check for the next place to go. We'll also be posting reminders on Twitter and Facebook.

Our list includes the following fabulous blogs:

Musings By The Light Of The Moonhttp://musingsbylightofthemoon.blogspot.com/
All About Momsensehttp://allaboutmomsense.blogspot.com/
Domestic But Not Marthahttp://www.domesticbutnotmartha.com/
The Sears Familyhttp://masonsears.blogspot.com/  
Keeping Up With The Pickleshttp://the-pickles.blogspot.com/
All Work & No Play Makes Mommy Go Something Somethinghttp://www.makemommygosomethingsomething.com/
Ode to Blogginghttp://odetoblogging.blogspot.com/
The Bees Kneeshttp://thebeeskneesbaby.blogspot.com/
The Truth About Motherhoodhttp://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/
Anime's Musingshttp://animesmusings.blogspot.com/
I Love Purple More Than Youhttp://www.ilovepurplemorethanyou.com/
Yeah. Good Times.http://yeahgoodtimes.blogspot.com/
What Did She Say?http://www.whatdidshesay.ca/
The Adventures of a Dysfunctional Supermomhttp://dysfunctionalsupermom.com/about/ 
My Life As Tazhttp://mylifeastaz.com/
Momma Findingshttp://www.mommafindings.com/
The Sweetesthttp://thesweetest3.com/
Write On Targethttp://debralschubert.blogspot.com/
Little Miss Mochahttp://littlemissmocha.com/ 
Transplanted Thoughtshttp://www.transplantedthoughts.com/
Leslie Gail's Blog - New Life Focushttp://newlifefocus.wordpress.com/
Mommy of A Monsterhttp://mommyofamonster.com/contact-me
Family Sized Funhttp://familysizedfun.blogspot.com/
Little Animationhttp://www.theanimatedwoman.com/
On the Road Less Takenhttp://www.ontheroadlesstaken.blogspot.com/
Go Go Gadget Zenhttp://gogozen.blogspot.com/
Memoirs of a Writerhttp://www.susanoloier.blogspot.com/
Mother's Gilthttp://mothersgilt.blogspot.com/
Blog and Vlog Musingshttp://allanapratt.com/blog-and-vlog-musings/
Kelley's Break Roomhttp://www.kelleysbreakroom.com/

Enjoy!! And Happy Mothers' Day!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

SOS is for Save Our Sanity

My husband was away on business for six days. I was left with two kids for six days.

Six. Days.

Six days without adult conversation. Six days listening to whining, checking homework and breaking up fights by myself. It's surprising I have any sanity left. It doesn't matter if you have a full time job, or work from home, or you are a stay at home mom, it can be draining. And if you are a single parent, this is your regular day.

When my husband returned, I asked sweetly, "Do we have any plans tomorrow?"

"No? Good. I need to get out of here. For a few hours. Sans children."

Sometimes, the days turn into weeks, turn into months and I forget when the last time was that I had a break. Not a vacation. Not a date with my husband. Just a break. For me.

AKA....Alone time. AKA.....Me time.

It's important. It's NECESSARY.

Parents...I implore you. Make some time for yourselves. Don't forget to take care of you. We all need a break from the dependency. A moment to breathe. And think. You can go shopping, take a drive, go to a coffee shop and read your favorite book. You could take a blanket and lay out in a local park with your iPod and some sunshine for company. Spending money is not the key.

Having time to yourself to do something that you enjoy without the pressure of chores, demands or other interruptions is vital to keeping your life balanced. Make the time. Don't feel guilty about dropping the kids off with a friend or a relative. The time you give yourself is time to recharge. Without it, you may be more likely to yell at the kids more or get upset over insignificant issues.

Taking care of yourself is not neglecting your children. Taking care of yourself makes you a better parent. More tolerant, more rational. Too much stress can have a physical effect on you. Don't allow your selflessness to harm you in the long run. You are deserving. Your happiness is just as important as your children's.

A 30-day blog tour is being arranged for May, the month of Mother's Day. Let's celebrate moms!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

My Birthday Girl

I was thinking about what to write about my Emma Lily for her birthday post. The day came and went and I couldn't decide. Do I whine about the fact I had to be induced to get her here? Like get to the hospital the night before and spend the whole time strapped to machines? Nah. I'm sure plenty of women have been through the same. Maybe I'll share some of her hilarious quips. Like the time she said that her life was ruined because I gave her fresh parsley. But, then again, I've shared plenty of those on Twitter.

So, what then?

My son was an easy baby. He's a pretty easy kid still at 11 years old. Emma, on the other hand, is already her own person at the age of four. She was her own person before she was born. I was sick the whole pregnancy. She had to be forced out. The only good hospital photo taken was one where she was giving the finger...my one regret in life is not having that one printed. I should have known it was a sign of what was to come.

She was pretty easy in the way that waking up in the middle of the night was quickly resolved, but her precociousness was creeping up on me in the meantime. Once she began crawling, it was obvious she would be a troublemaker. She'd head for whatever direction we did not want her to go in. Today, she still is. She tries to fool us. She says things that we can't even begin to comprehend how she would know. I can only imagine what her teenage years will do to me.

Although, underneath all the trouble, the mouthing off, the hijinx, she's an incredible energy. She bounces like light off a mirror. Her grin is always mischievous. Her hair is always a mess. She makes demands and she throws fits when they aren't fulfilled. Then she does something helpful like getting a new box of tissues for the bathroom. I have a four year old that knows how to put a new roll of toilet paper on the holder. She has tender moments where she brushes your hair back and asks for a hug.

When I look at Emma, I see possibilities. I see a million things she could be. She's emits the drama of an actress, the creativity of an artist and the cunning of a con artist. She's beautiful and difficult and challenging. She's so full of life and my one hope for her is that she always remains that way.

Monday, April 4, 2011

My Birthday Boy

Twelve years ago, I was a carefree 21 year old. I worked at a daycare during the day and as a waitress at a local bar at night. In my free time, I bounded from pool halls to concerts to late night diners. There were hours of time spent surrounded by friends having in-depth discussions about solving world hunger or who really killed Tupac and Biggie. Our beer bottles could be heard clinking until all hours of the morning.

And then one day, I was pregnant. The collage of emotions felt overlapped and overwhelmed me. It wasn't time. I wasn't ready. How would I do this? Everything is going to change.

With each passing month, I grew closer to him. I remember the kicks. I relished the tumbles. It was an easy pregnancy; I had no difficulties or illnesses the entire term. I sometimes wrapped my arms around my growing belly, not just to support the weight, but in an attempt to embrace the child I couldn't wait to hold.

My due date came and went. I was ready. I was exhausted. The weekend came and I spent the day walking as much as I could. And at 10pm, when I felt the first twinge of a contraction, I knew he was on his way. After a few hours of waiting, I tried to get some sleep. And after a few hours sleep, I awoke, knowing it was time to get ready to leave for the hospital.

At 4:20pm, he was finally here. I cried. I swooned. I laughed at the scrunched up faces he made. Mostly, I realized that this wiggly bundle was now my life. And with every day that has passed, he has never ceased to amaze me.

In eleven years, he's crawled, walked and spoke. He's created, destroyed and discovered. He makes me angry and he makes me happier than I've ever known. I'm proud of him in more ways than I can count. And while I fear the unknown teenage years ahead, I know that he'll be amazing. Just as he always has.