mURPHY’S lAW mONDAY

9 May

Things happen in my life on a near-daily basis that prove Murphy’s Law as truth. Each Monday is dedicated to showcasing my life’s crazy moments.

If it can happen, it will happen.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.  OH, glorious Mother’s Day.  A day that looks like any other in my house.  My kids were great and after writing the tear-jerking post about their presents to me, I turned on one of my favorite movies (Title to remain nameless so as to avoid any and all teasing comments).  About 45 minutes into “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” (whoops), Styles began really pestering me to go to the pool.  It sounded fabulously refreshing but I knew that juggling my overactive 20 month old and my newborn just wasn’t going to make for a refreshing or relaxing anything.  I did the non-committal “maybe later” thing and continued drooling over Matthew Mcconaughey and his pre-pot smoking, nude on the beach, drum banging hotness.  About the time a small pool of saliva collected in my lap, my friend texted (thank God for technology) to tell me that she was at the pool.  A moment of insanity led me to believe that with an extra set of hands, we’d have  a great time splashing around in the water.  I lathered the kids up, minus baby, with SPF 30 and off we went.

Madilyn wasn’t interested in the water at first and I had no trouble wooing her to stay near me with cheeze ballz.  As time wore on, she grew more and more enthralled by the sparkling goodness of the pool so I commissioned my dear friend, Pat to hold Grady so I could take a dip in the pool with Madilyn.  She.  Was.  In.  HEAVEN.  Our community pool has what they call a “Kiddie Area” with a mushroom-shaped fountain and very shallow water.  What it doesn’t have is any sort of barrier to keep kids from falling into 4ft. deep water.  Needless to say, I was a bit of a wreck while Madilyn walked around the so-called kiddie area.  After about 5 minutes I realized that she was perfectly content to stay close to the wall and not venture towards the abyss.  Another friend of mine showed up and Pat left, leaving me with Grady, Madilyn, and Styles.

By this time, Madilyn had proven herself worthy of a longer leash so I felt perfectly comfortable whipping one out and nursing Grady on the edge of the pool.  No sooner had I done that, Madilyn high-tailed it to the edge of the kiddie area and fell off into the pool.  I nearly threw Grady onto the concrete, just before friend #2 dove into the pool (beer in hand), to rescue her.  When Madilyn surfaced, all she had to say for herself was “whoops” before attempting to kamikaze off the edge again and again.

Lesson learned:  When your overactive toddler makes you comfortable enough to extend a little bit more responsibility, shorten the leash, tighten your grip, lock-in your sights.  Because it is then that they will test Murphy’s Law.

If it can happen, it will happen.

My Mother’s Day Presents

8 May

Mother’s Day doesn’t look the same for all of us. As a Stay at Home Mom, I am with my kids all day, every day. My ideal Mother’s Day would be me, alone, sitting in a comfortable chair on a beach somewhere with a good book in my hand and a jug of water with lime slices in it. Alone. It would then be followed up with a pedicure. Alone. I would then go home to my family, completely refreshed and thankful for the “mommy time” and we would eat their favorite meal to avoid any dinner-time complications. Together.

But that’s not what Mother’s Day looks like for me. Mother’s Day, for me, looks like any other day. My dear, hardworking husband is a restaurant manager in a swanky restaurant in a posh hotel, and is therefore required to work all of the big, busy holiday-days. So for me, Mother’s Day looks a little like any other day. Yet still, I have already received three very different gifts from my three very different children.

Styles.

1. Styles: He woke up around 8:30, came into my room and asked if he could watch TV. I happily obliged so that I could have a few more uninterrupted minutes of sleep. He came back in at 9:15 and told me that he wanted waffles for breakfast. I laid in bed a few more minutes, finally drug myself out of the warm covers, and made him some waffles and a glass of orange juice. While he ate we talked and when he was done, he gave me a hug and told me “Happy Mother’s Day”. His gift to me was speech. And a hug. He is old enough to know that the day is significant and celebrates his mom who loves him unconditionally. His age makes him sensitive to the fact that today is my day but it is because of HIM that I am even able to celebrate this day. His gift of speech drives me nuts sometimes but it enables my job as a mother to be a little bit easier because I rarely have to guess at what he wants. Except for when he mumbles. Which is kind of a lot. I wish he’d stop doing that….

Grady.

2. Grady: He woke up at 5:30 this morning and nursed for a phenomenally long time then went back to sleep after a few burps and farts. He then slept until 9:45 which enabled me to spend time with Styles. Once he woke up, he was all smiles and coos. His gifts to me were time and talks. Last night was the first time that Grady had ever cooed at me. Well, it wasn’t really at me, it was at the writing on my t-shirt but nonetheless, I was wearing the t-shirt so by default, he was talking to me. But this morning. THIS morning was different. He looked into my eyes and smiled FIRST. He spoke FIRST. Without any prompting or making ridiculous faces at him first. I have been told that the first 6 months of having 2 under 2 is really difficult and sleep-deprived. I am so blessed that Grady is the easiest baby I could have possibly asked for. He has very distinct whines (not even cries, just whines) for his needs. He is easier to read than a picture book and the past two months have been some of the most fulfilling, wonderful, and easy months for me. Although if you were to ask my husband he’d tell you that these two months have been horrible because he comes home to a tornado of toys, laundry, pots, and pans all over the house. I digress….

Madilyn.

Madilyn: Slept until 11:40 this morning. NO. LIE. Her gifts to me today were time and laughs. Before she woke, I was able to take a shower. A good, quality shower where my hair got washed and my legs were shaved. It was absolutely glorious. When she woke up, Styles was on his computer and Grady was taking a nap. So Madilyn and I sat outside while she ate breakfast/lunch and I drank my coffee. She is becoming so animated and I love how excited she gets over the simplest of things. She is now on my phone having a very intense conversation with the person on the other end.

So though my husband may be at work, and I am literally stuck at home (his car got a flat so he had to take my van to work today), I am thankful for my three kids. I am grateful that despite being told that I’d never have any more kids on my own after Styles, that I had two more children. I am blessed to be able to be home with them every day, even on Mother’s Day. The littlest two might not know what today is about, but I do so today I am going to relish them a little more than I normally do.

What did you get for Mother’s Day? What did you do for Mother’s Day? Tell me about you, your family, and what Mother’s Day looks like for you.

C.A.B.D.

5 May

Today on a trip to the happiest place on Earth (WalMart), Madilyn found a Creepy Ass Baby Doll that she really, really wanted.  You know the kind of doll I’m talking about.  It’s airbrushed to look real, has wrist-rolls, fat piggie toes, and those eyes that close when you lay it down?  The kind of baby doll that likely spends the night perusing your home looking for the sharpest object to stab your eyes out with.  Yeah.  That kind of Creepy Ass Baby Doll.

I hate baby dolls.  As a matter of fact, I always have.  I was a My Little Pony and books type of girl and I prayed every day that I was pregnant that Madilyn would find baby dolls boring and weird too.

Um.  That didn’t happen.  She loves them.  And naturally as she gets older, she’s beginning to like the super-creepy ones.  So I’m going to have to start locking my door when I sleep.

Tell me what you think:

Geez, I’m sorry… I didn’t realize Madilyn was so violent.

That baby’s creepy, right?


							

Wordless Wednesday – Before & After

4 May

We have lived in our house for just over a year and are FINALLY getting around to sodding the back yard.  Thanks, Dad!

peaceful parenting: 10 Reasons to Sleep by Your Child

3 May

peaceful parenting: 10 Reasons to Sleep by Your Child.

mURPHY’S lAW mONDAY

2 May

Things happen in my life on a near-daily basis that prove Murphy’s Law as truth. Each Monday is now dedicated to showcasing my life’s crazy moments.

If it can happen, it will happen.

My third, wonderful child was born exactly 8 weeks ago today.  That Monday, Murphy’s Law was tested.

I was admitted into the hospital the morning of March 7, 2011 to get 2 bags of Penicillin due to a positive Group B Strep culture administered before my induction would begin.  The induction began at 11:30 after two full rounds of Penicillin and as a third round was administered.  Fast forward to 5:30PM and I still wasn’t in labor, despite the fact that the Pitocin was turned up to a 24 out of 30.  My doctor came in to check me and decided that we should break my water (like I said I’d never have done again) because the baby was still at a -5.  My water was broken at 5:45PM and my wonderful doctor stayed to monitor the baby and me until 6PM.  At 6PM I still had not had a contraction so my doctor decided to leave the hospital to check on another patient of hers that was at the other hospital just down the road.  This particular patient was a first time mom and had been progressing slowly all day so she thought she’d just hop over there, show her face, and come back to deliver my baby since I have a history of rapid labors.  I felt my first contraction around 6:15PM.  As history dictates, my contractions were pretty well one right after another but not super painful.  I had to pee at 6:55PM.  I had one contraction on the way to the restroom and one on the way back from the restroom.  I decided to jump up into the bed and lie on my side.  My next contraction caused a huge, strong reaction in my uterus and the nurse noticed the look on my face.  She checked my cervix and I was 8cm.  But in the next contraction I could feel the baby moving down into the birth canal.  My baby was born at 7:10PM into the hands of two nurses.

If your doctor leaves your hospital to check on a patient at another hospital because you’re not even in labor yet, you WILL have your baby in the one hour that she is gone.

If it can happen, it will happen.

How Does Racial Sensitivity Affect Equality?

1 May

This blog post from The Stir has me REALLY stirred up.  It is entitled “Racial Sensitivity Courses Should be Mandatory for Adoptive Parents”.  Um…WHA?  The article asserts that adoptive parents should have to learn about the culture and community that corresponds with whatever race of child they choose to adopt.  The writer says that by the parents not knowing about the culture from which these adopted children come from, makes them less “who they are” and that they won’t know their “personal history”.   The author also goes on to say that no matter how badly we all want an “ethically ambiguous utopia where we are all raceless faces appreciating one another for the people we are inside”, that it’s not going to happen.

Courtesy Dreamstime.com

This makes me incredibly hot because in this country we are bombarded by people screaming for equality.  I personally don’t see color.  A person’s skin tone means less to me than the color of their hair.  Saying that White America (let’s be honest; that’s who this article was written about), will never not see race is like saying that blondes and brunettes in Germany would never live in harmony after the Holocaust, which certainly isn’t the case.

Furthermore, the children being adopted from other countries by parents of different races are being given a new “personal history”.  When a child moves here with an American family, no matter what their race is, they are now AMERICAN.  Their personal history, despite the color of their skin, involves the landing of The Mayflower, the pillaging of Indians, the purchase of slaves from Africa, the use of indentured servants from Europe, the Civil War, Prohibition, the industrial age, the segregation and then desegregation of schools, the KKK, the landing on the moon, and everything else that involves US History.  These children’s new personal histories include Baseball games, Basketball, American Football, 4th of July Celebrations, Memorial Day, Labor Day and all of the other US holidays in between.  Their personal history means that they are now American, no matter the shape of their eyes, the color of their skin, or the coarseness of their hair.  These children do not have to live in bondage to their original places of birth, their original financial situation, or their original demographic.  These children are given new beginnings to their lives and I don’t see what a racial sensitivity course would do for these children and their parents but help to divide the races even further.

Why can’t we live in a world where skin color is just as insignificant as the color of someone’s eyes or hair?  Why does the fact that my great-great grandparents owned black slaves or the fact that my great-great-great-great grandparents were indentured servants have to mold who I am today?  Why does the fact that my mom went to a segregated school have to have ANYTHING to do with me?

I’m not at all saying that we should ignore history.  Many horrible things have happened in this world that are noteworthy, but we are where we are today because of the strength of a few people including but not limited to: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Booker T. Nelson, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  These people suffered, pressed on, and stood up for their personal beliefs bringing forth the life of a new country, the death of slavery, the beginning of desegregation, the birth of racial equality, and the commencement of women’s rights.  These people endured hateful oppression and stood up to their oppressors so that we wouldn’t have to have ‘Racial Sensitivity Courses’ when we adopted children from different countries or ethnicities.  Correct me if I’m wrong but Martin Luther King Junior’s dream was that his “four children would be able to live in a nation where they would not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  And that one day “on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners would be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”  How does requiring a white adoptive parent to take “Racial Sensitivity Courses” do anything to further this dream?  Are we supposed to teach Japanese American adoptees that their Grandparents bombed Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 and that they will be looked at differently than white or black people whose grandparents helped to initiate revenge?  Do we need to teach American Indian adoptees to hate white people because they raped their grandparents’ way of life and pillaged their land?

Courtesy of DoSomething.org

It is my experience as a white woman who was raised in southeastern Alaska that my history involves American Indians as much as it involves European settlers as much as it involves African American slaves.  The color of my skin should not dictate the way that I speak, dress, or eat.  It should not affect the way I view my place in society, my education, or the success of my career.  As a northern-raised woman who went to college in the South, I can also attest to my experiences with racism.  I’ve been called horrible names by African-American women because I was hanging out with “their men”.  I’ve heard Caucasian men kick a beautiful half African-American woman out of a party because of the pigment of her skin.  Racism is not unilateral.  Where does it end and how can it end if you, yourself, aren’t willing to part with the past? (And by you, I mean YOU reading this, whatever your heritage may be).

I believe that until we, as individuals view ourselves as equal, our world will continue to be a place filled with bigotry and ignorance.  You are no different than me due to the amount of melanin in your skin, the shape of your eyes, or the language spoken by your birth parents.  We are equal in my eyes and it saddens me to think that you, whomever you may be, may feel differently.

I have a dream that my three little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin or the shape of their eyes, but by the content of character.  And it is my job as their mother, to help mold their characters to be worthy of judgement.

-Written while my eldest “little child” plays outside with two little Asian boys, one African American boy, and one Caucasian boy in complete harmony, no one aware of the fact that they all have very different skin tones.

Friday Fun Facts

29 Apr

Fact:  I talk to myself a LOT.

Fact:  If I did not talk to myself a LOT, I might forget how to use the English language.

Fact:  I use a lot of words that end in -ck or -cked such as locked, stuck, truck, duck.

Fact:  Madilyn pronounces each of those words “fock” or “cock”.  She also manages to make “hotdog” sound like an adult toy (cockog), and “color” sound like a night-time activity (cocker).

That is all.

It’s Been a Long Time Since I Rock & Rolled

27 Apr

“It’s been a long time since I rock-and-rolled
It’s been a long time since I did the Stroll
Oooooooh, let me get it back, let me get it back, let me get it back
mm-baby, where I come from
It’s been a long time, been a long time
Been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely time
Yes, it has”

-Led Zeppelin

It’s been over 7 weeks since I wrote and I am deeply sorry.  I’ve been enjoying snuggling my new bambino and playing nurse to an entire sick household, including myself.  We’ve battled double ear infections, mastitis, endometritis, skin fungus, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, and strep.  FUN!

My poor husband has been working his rear-end off (and there wasn’t much there to begin with), then coming home and cleaning up MY mess as well as spending quality time with Madilyn and helping Styles with his ridiculous science fair project (I’ve never been so close to homeschooling in my parental life).

Needless to say, finding time to write has been slightly more than difficult.  But I’m hoping that as Grady turns 2 months old and Madilyn settles into another new nap routine, I’ll find time to write during the day so that my evenings are free to love on my hubby and iron his laundry.

I feel like I have so much to report on, cloth diapers to review, birth stories to write, induction apologies to hammer out, and parenting woes to spill.  But for now, I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the tiny creature that has kept me so busily enamored.

My Letter to Mamom

6 Mar

I wrote this tonight for my grandmother’s memorial service which will take place on Tuesday while I am in the hospital.  I intended to write tonight about why my husband and I made the VERY difficult decision to be induced tomorrow morning.  A decision that we did not take lightly, as I am vastly opposed to induction for anything other than serious medical reasons.  But instead, I wrote for the woman who insisted that I had a talent.  A talent with words.  A talent that I didn’t believe existed until recently.  And a talent that I am now more determined to not let go to waste.

Please enjoy this.  It was written with a lot of love, over many tears, and with a very runny nose.  I’ll get back to my own life after my baby is born.

***************

I am devastated I cannot be with you all to remember the life and mourn the death of Martha Northcutt today.  Instead, I am sitting in a hospital, 4 hours away holding her just-born 6th Great-Grandchild, a  child whose due date was originally her birthday: March 18th.

Martha was different things to each of us; friend, wife, mother.  But to me, she was Mamom, and that’s how I will address her today.

“In one of the stars, I shall be living.
In one of them, I shall be laughing.
And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night.”
– An excerpt from “The Little Prince”, a book that Mamom shared with me many, many years ago.  Many fond memories that I have of my time with her revolve around either reading or writing.  I was always a bookworm and she seemed to understand my love of literature, fostering it from a very young age.  I have a collection of vintage books that she gave me a few years ago; they are some of my most treasured possessions and they mean even more to me today than they did a week ago.  I would not be the woman I am today if it weren’t for her influences in my life.  We did not have the good fortune to spend lots of time together as I was growing up but I did cherish every moment that we spent together and I have many fond memories of those times.  I’d like to share a few of those with you today.

When I was young, Mamom taught me which utensil to use while eating, the proper way to use a spoon, where (and where not) to place my hands while dining, and to chew with my mouth closed.  I may not use those skills on a daily basis but I’ve certainly wowed a couple of dates at fancy restaurants and some prospective in-laws.  Because of her taking the time to teach me these things, I feel comfortable in good company, swanky restaurants, and with the upper echelon.   She taught me the true meaning of poise and because of her; I learned to walk with good posture, something that aided in my years as a dancer and something that I am complimented on often.  I never fail to think of Mamom’s constant reminders to stand up straight and hold my head up high when I was a young girl when people notice my stance.  It makes me proud that she took the time to help me learn to carry myself like a young woman should.  Thank you, Mamom for teaching me poise.

Every Christmas I think about how when I was old enough, she took me to the theater see “The Nutcracker”.  We always dressed in fancy dresses with pretty jewelry.  I felt like a high-society belle each time we went and my love of theater blossomed.  She shared “The Phantom of the Opera” with me and I was drawn in.  I don’t believe I would have ever danced had it not been for my early days enjoying the theater with her.  When we moved to Alaska when I was young, our trips to the theater were one of the things that I missed every single year, and still do.  Thank you, Mamom for introducing me to art.

We shared a love of all things avian.  It might have been boring to some, but sitting at the window waiting patiently for birds to descend upon her feeders excited us.  It was something that we shared every time we were together.  The last time I saw a Cardinal was at her kitchen feeder, until this past weekend when I saw one in my neighborhood.  I don’t think it was a coincidence.  Thank you, Mamom for teaching me to love nature, and to be patient for its presence.

We spent lots of time at a marble-topped table with yellow chairs playing “Parcheesi” where I was taught good sportsmanship, how to win graciously, and how to lose gracefully, rarely without a good case of the boo-hoo-hee-hee’s.  Thank you, Mamom for teaching me grace and perseverance in life.

Over the course of my adult life, we have forged a friendship.  I looked forward to our phone calls a couple of times a month, and we emailed on a regular basis.  She has always applauded what she thought was my talent; writing.  Until recently, I doubted the existence of any talents but she was always there offering to help me become published, or telling me to finish my degree in writing, reminding me what I am good at.  I recently began writing again, mostly due to her encouragement.  I also doubted that I was ready to welcome a third child into my very hectic life.  Being a Stay-at-home-mom is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.  I asked her recently how she did it with 3 children so close in age.  Her advice to me was not taken lightly.  And she shared that like me, she had lots of help from a very patient husband who “shuffled a path through the toys” when he got home.  It has changed my life for the better and has emboldened me, just in the past couple of months.  She told me that I was ready and that my feelings were normal.  I can doubt myself no longer.  Thank you, Mamom for believing in me and helping me see that I can be good at the things I love.

I’m certain each of Mamom’s grandchildren can share the following sentiment:  She made THE.  BEST.  Scrambled eggs and Oatmeal.  I’ve tried my entire adult life to duplicate each, even after her instructions were emailed to me, and I’ve failed miserably.  It saddens me that those are now mere memories.  It pains me that I couldn’t be closer in distance, but over the years and through the miles we have been close at heart and I have tried to keep both Mamom and Papa abreast of my life, and the lives of my children.

I could go on for pages but instead I’ll keep the rest and leave you with this:

“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.”  Thank you, Mamom for your love.

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