September 30, 2011

Y3W: What a Week


{I've NEVER been so glad to see a Friday.}

Monday I had a sick babe.

Tuesday I was sick and the A/C went out.

Wednesday I spent three hours at the doctor's office (hopefully it is worth it and this "aggressive treatment" will knock out the crap that I've had for three months now) and felt like I was dying all day.

Wednesday A/C fixed! Praise Jesus!

Thursday our female boxer attacked our oldest female schnauzer Maggie. Blood, mud and mess everywhere. Thank God I have lots of Vet stuff on hand and one of my best friends is a vet and I can call her panicking, so I got Maggie all cleaned up and soothed. (I should also mention there was nary a drop to drink in the house -- and after that I felt like I needed a shot of firewhiskey to sooth my nerves.)

Friday morning boxer attacks Maggie again. I don't know what we are going to do with her. Literally.

Oh, and this whole time -- Evie has felt crappy, I've felt crappy and Hubby? Oh he's been out of town.

He'll be back today!!! Bring on 5pm Friday!!!

****UPDATED**** Hubby's flight delayed 1 then 2 hours, then CANCELLED for complete mechanical breakdown of the plane. $@#!&^%%%%$@&!^#%#&@&@%^@#&@*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So yeah -- bring on the tequila.

September 29, 2011

Sacrifice, formula-feeding and lactivism. Oh Puh-Lease!

You know, lately, I've gotten a lot of comments to me personally on our decision to feed our daughter formula.

And I'm, quite honestly, freaking fed up with it.

It makes me seriously almost hate these "lactivists" or whatever the hell they call themselves these days.

Two have really gotten under my skin recently:

"Oh, I know, breastfeeding isn't for everyone. It requires a huge sacrifice."

And an email, sent to my account here:

"I don't mean to be rude, why would you put that you are a formula feeding family on your "about me" page. That's not something to be proud of."




I'll address the second one first. First off, you are a presumptuous bitc&, not nice person, and that's not something of which to be proud. Second, you ended a sentence in a preposition. Third, would you rather that I said something along the lines of, "Well the lactivists got to me and because "BREAST IS BEST!!!!!!!!!! OR DIE!!!!!!!!!!! RAWR!!!!!! FORMULA IS POISON! FORMULA FEEDERS ARE CHILD ABUSERS!!!!!!" I decided to starve my child." I bet that'd go over real well with CPS.

You know what, my husband and I are doing a damn fine job of raising our little girl, and I AM damn proud of it, and that includes our decision to feed Evie formula. That child wants for nothing (emotionally or physically) and never will because WE are an amazing family. Furthermore, she has an amazing extended family standing guard, like so many German Shepherds, ready to leap into action should she ever show a sign of distress. I put that on my About Me section because it's true, my child is thriving and I'm proud of it. And you, you judgemental wench, can just back hell off.

You, my dear, are an idiot of immeasurable proportions. I award you no points. Do not pass go; do not collect $200, and may God have mercy on your soul.

And there, is your answer.

Now. Let's address the first one. The one that not only got under my skin, but also sat there, festered, prickled and made me kind of sad.

Statements like that are what made the inability to breast feed and HUGE factor in my post-partum depression.

Saying things like that, and all the media hype surrounding breastfeeding that tells new mothers that they are doing something INHERENTLY bad by feeding their children formula creates a super negative environment for people that are UNABLE to breastfeed, or God forbid, just don't want to.

Do you understand, can you fathom what it is like, to be told you are a bad mother and feeding your child something horrible that will equal diabetes and obesity later in life? Do you know how it feels to be told this while you already feel like the worst failure of mother because sometimes you look at your baby and feel nothing, and other times you feel confused, like this baby doesn't belong to you. Can you begin to comprehend how much worse that makes a person feel?

So don't talk to me about sacrifice. Don't you tell me how much you've given up. You have no idea how much of me it took to get to the point where I am now with my child.

I couldn't breastfeed -- loss of blood, exhaustion, my abdomen trying to re-knit itself back together and a mental block, just had my body and brain go into survival mode. To refuse to believe this is a possibility is mind boggling, but people do.

The people who say, "Anyone can breast feed -- you just have to be willing to to give, and sacrifice and be so selfless for your child" need to wise up, get a clue and stop beating down mothers who couldn't and realize that your time and efforts would be better spent feeding starving children and ministering to mothers who are addicted to drugs.

I respect your voice and your decision, but I also expect you to respect me and mine. I don't sneer when I see you nursing in public, with or without cover, so I'd ask for you to employ a little bit of tact and courtesy, because you have not walked in my shoes and you do not know my journey. Also, don't imply you are a better mother than me because of your sacrifice. I am the best mother for my child. No one else can do that job better than I. Her father and I know what's best for her, and until she is no longer living under our roof, we are the only two people who decide that.

Rant Over Now.

PS - Sorry I used some not so nice words in this post. I usually try not to.

PPS - Donor milk was never an option for us.

September 28, 2011

Oh, How Pinteresting

Because I am STILL freaking sick (STILL for the love of God -- since June) and I just got some major mondo shots at the doctor, and I need a little pick me up, I'm going to skip Wordless Wednesday (justhisonce -- don't worry the chunky baby will be back next week) and link up with The Vintage Apple and do an Oh, How Pinteresting Wednesday post. (PS I can't source that last one underneath for some reason so here you go: PolyVore via Courtney)

Enjoy...









Fall/Winter Grey/Red

September 27, 2011

Clingy

When we picked up Evie on Sunday morning after my aunt's memorial service and rockin party* on Saturday, she had the worst cough and RIVERS of snot running out of her nose.

We took her to Ped's East that afternoon (drove straight from the lake house to the pediatricians) only to be told it was a runny nose and a cough from post nasal drip. BUT she did have an ear infection.

Whaaaaa? I never got ear infections as a child. This is a totally foreign concept to me (despite the fact that I, actually, just had one) kids get ear infections? Common I guess.

Then she ran high fever and cried.

Then I decided to stay home with her on Monday due to said high fever and the fact that she obviously felt like crap.

L.O.N.G day. Seriously. If I put that baby down she lost her EVER.LOVING.MIND y'all.

I thought the whole loss of bathroom privacy thing didn't start until the toddler age. Nope. Not in my family.

Evie expects to be taken in there with you and to sit on your lap while you pee. Fun.

Seriously though, she just wanted to lay on me all day long. And while, it was hot and sweaty, and yes, I got spit up on a few times, I enjoyed my extra snuggles, because extra baby snuggles are pretty good, any way you can get them.



*My Aunt proved once again this weekend that she's a pretty amazing woman. After a very touching, moving and heart felt service, the family led the rest of the guests to an awesome party to celebrate the wonderful woman that my Aunt was and the amazing life she led. While I know my Uncle Bo and cousins pulled off some major mechanics, at the same time deeply grieving nonetheless, I could see touches of my Aunt everywhere I looked. There were some tears at the party (guilty, duh) but mostly the atmosphere was light, convivial and full of laughter. Just like my aunt.

September 23, 2011

Y3W: Cloth Diapering Redux

EEEEEPS!!!

They are here! So cute!





I'm so confused already.

Also, with my Aunt's funeral this weekend I haven't had time to get a proper type of detergent for them, so it'll probably be next week before we actually start using them!

I'm also confused by the inserts -- I'm going to have to have Libba show me how they work! They seem pretty thin! I hope they don't leak overnight. We had a massive one last night and I hate when I pick baby girl up and she smells like urine in the morning. I just think how yucky I would feel if I woke up urine soaked! Poor babe!

I'm trying to decide what detergent to use... I think I will start with the ALL small and mighty. I have to make sure it's not enzymatic though. Then I will switch to the Rockin Green.

{What is your favorite detergent to use on your diapers? Any suggestions?}


September 22, 2011

Letter to my BIG GIRL at 6 months old

Six months have passed now since darkness of the early morning hours of March 22 when a team of doctors and nurses pulled you from my body and whisked you away to NICU.



Six months have passed since I looked at you in your tiny isolette with tubes sticking out of your nose, contraptions strapped to your little chest and IVs taped into your tiny veins. Six months since I brushed my finger oh so carefully across the skin on your chest, since I sniffed that sweet newborn smell that I'll never forget, yet can't quite remember at the same time.

So tiny. So fragile. So reliant on mommy and daddy for everything you needed. So loud, cranky and red in the face.

Now, I hold you upside down. Daddy pratically dangles you upside down. I spin you in circles. I let you stand clutching precariously to only my index fingers, trying out your wobbly legs in this world. We dance insane dances around the living room to songs that Mommy sings, to the music in our heads.

You are light, laughter and love.

You have acheived so many physical and emotional milestones since March. I say this every month but you amaze me with your ability to learn something new every single day. I could go on for hours about the nuances of your smiles, the sounds that you make.

The way you scrunch your face when you try a new taste of food, as if you could orally deduce the very chemical makeup of what you are eating. The way you smile when your Daddy walks into a room. The way you are almost reaching for mommy. They way you rest your cheek on my chest sometimes when you get tired and I think I could sit like that for hours.

Yesterday you were sitting on my lap and you looked up at me and patted my cheek and laid your head on my chest, over my heart. For all the sadness and heaviness in my heart, I healed a little bit right then. I think you knew Mommy was sad, and in your way offered comfort.

I love you so much Evelyn Grace.

love,

Your Mommy





September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Rubber Ducky You're the One!

Evie loves her new big girl ducky tub. A bright spot on a icky day.









September 20, 2011

Heavy Hearted

I knew.

I knew before I saw the missed call from my father and the text message, "Call me as soon as you can."

I knew.

My cousin posted the 23rd Psalm on Facebook. I saw it this morning and I knew.

The LORD is my Shepherd. I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside still waters.
He restoreth my soul and leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His names sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil
For thou art with me. Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

I knew then. My Aunt Diana had passed away. She had gone to be with the Lord, at peace and no longer in pain.

I cried. I cried each time as a co-worker came in at a different time and I had to say the words, "My aunt passed away last night."

Hard words to say. It made it real. Concrete.

Finally I gave up, took my boss's advice and came home.

I did what any sane and normal person would do. I cleaned. I scrubbed my house from top to bottom. I did laundry. I made a big pot of homemade beef stew and a loaf of bread.

I did what people do in times of grief and loss; I proved that life goes on. Food. Care. Normal.

Then I went and picked my baby up from day care. I fed her. I rocked her. I watched her beautiful smile. 

We watched the last episode of GLEE from last season and I sang to her, "Because I knew you, I have been changed for good."

As I sang I cried and murmured the same words my father spoke to me only hours earlier as I cried on the phone, "She loved you so much."

This earth lost an amazing woman today.

Heaven gained a beautiful angel. 

I'll show Evie pictures of her Great Aunt Diana, the daughter of her namesake, and I'll tell her still, "she loved you so much."

Be at peace Aunt Diana. Hug my grandpa Dickens for me. Tell him I love him. Tell Grandma Dickens I can't wait to meet her. Tell them both about Evie. Tell them about the grandchild of their child. Tell them how amazing she is.

Watch over us all.

I love you.









        

September 16, 2011

Pulling the Trigger on Cloth Diapers

We've been talking about it for two years now.

Evie is almost 6 months old.

{We've decided to make the change to cloth diapers.}

AND -- Today we are taking the plunge.

At first we are going to try part time cloth diapering. I am a full time working mommy so I want to see how I do at it before we ask the daycare to get on board. I know people who do it and work full time, so I know it can be done. The question is if I can do it without getting overwhelmed and having a panic attack. So for now we will cloth diaper at night and on the weekends.




I did the math and these diapers will pay for themselves in about four month's time including the extra cost of running the washing machine.

We are going to be using the BumGenius 4.0 One Size diapers.


We found this deal at The Green Nursery and that is just about $1 off of the cost of singletons, so we will start with 12. Libba and Stephen use these diapers on their boys. So does our friend Jess. I started to research other brands of diapers (FuziBunz, Kissaluvs and Thirsties) but I seriously became OV-ER-WHELMED!!! So, I just decided to go with what two women who I trust and respect recommend.

I have to tell you I am completely terrified a little nervous about this. There is so much to remember.

Here are the major things I have learned so far:

  • Drying your diapers in the sun is for some reason better. I don't know why.
  • Even though it sounds counter intuitive, using less soap on cloth diapers is the way to go. This is because using too much soap causes a layer of oil and grime to acumulate on the diaper. This layer grows bacteria causing that horrible barn yard smell AND it repels the urine sometimes causing leaks.
  • Always wash poo diapers in a cold rinse first to get leftover poo off and not set the stain.
  • Stay away from enzymatic cleaners. Those cause diaper rash. Not sure why.
There is a ton of information out there. I am research FIEND so I'll be doing my reading.

I'll be sure to update!

If there are any tips you have I'd love them! Anyone else out there make the transition to cloth from disposables a little later?

September 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday!

Today I am linking up with Jordan at Holding on to the Little Things to talk about some things we are grateful for!

Today, I need this. This will be a good excercise for me. Evie is experiencing MAJOR six month sleep regression issues. I. AM. EXHAUSTED. I am still sick. And when I get tired or sick I get grumpy, and when I get grumpy I tend to lose sight of how good I've got it.

So here are my Thursday Thankfuls!

1) Health. Evie's health, mine and my husbands of course. However, as my cousins face the reality that they may soon lose their mother, I am increasingly thankful for the health of my parents and Christopher's parents.

2) My husband. He is hardworking and puts in a lot of extra time to help provide for Evie and me.

3) My job. I work for a great boss, (who is very understanding about all the demands of being a mommy) and a great company. I couldn't be prouder to work where I do.

4) Moments like this:


5) As I read more and more stories of people struggling with conception, I am grateful that we had it easy. I thank God every night that I didn't have to fight for this child.

What are you thankful for this Thursday?



holding on to the little things

September 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Big Girl

Look how big my baby girl has gotten!






Not too big for this yet... Thank goodness!!!








Growing Up Gardner



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September 12, 2011

More Than Enough

I want to be a good mother. No strike that. I want to be an amazing, perfect and wonderful mother.

I was not what I wanted to be from the beginning.

I should never have ignored the voice in my head for the weeks that I did. Something clicked in my head when I first saw Evie. In a way that should've warned me. She was so beautiful, so soft, so pink and perfect. Even with heart rate monitors and IV's sticking out of feet and hands, she was beautiful. And all I could think was "I'll never be able to do this. What have I done?"

This isn't right. You'll never be able to be enough for her. You'll never be able to be enough for your husband.

My brain was sly. It preyed on my weakness, on my desire to be perfect and to do everything perfectly.

I felt constantly guilty. Guilty that I couldn't quiet her screams. Guilty that I resented getting out of bed in the middle of the night. Guilty that I couldn't put my daughter's needs over the emotional and physical pain I was experiencing.

Guilty that my biggest fear was being left alone with my own child.

I could never be enough for her. I thought I should leave. Go. Get out. Get away. Go back to Colorado. Leave. Let someone else who would be enough take care of her.

I was wrong. With the help of my husband and and some pharmacologicals, I grew to see that. I grew to know that I could be enough for the miracle that is my little girl. That together her father and I make up the team that will be her strongest and loudest champions.

I regret every second I spent concerned over being enough intead of kissing her face, blowing raspberries on her belly and listening to her quiet breath as she slept.

I may spend the rest of my life trying to make that up to her, even though I KNOW I was sick and I don't have to. I will sneak in extra kisses, raspberries on her tummy and even secret mid-night visits to listen to her quiet breathing.

I may not be the perfect mother. I may not be the perfect wife.

But now I KNOW I'm a good mother, and a good wife. And that, is more than enough.

September 9, 2011

Y3W: I Heart NY

September 11th, 2001

I was a Freshman at the University of Colorado. I had Advanced Spanish 2 at 8 am. My next "dorm door" neighbor Coral and I had class together. We walked into class laughing but immediately fell silent as ssshh's echoed the room and we noticed the entire class huddled around a small TV up front.

It only took seconds for the rest of the class to fill us in. Words like hijacked, Twin Towers, fire, airplanes and mass casualties clanged around my head like so many pennies in a tin can, a cacophany that I couldn't put into harmony. I vaguely remember becoming dizzy, reaching for Coral's hand and the two of us swaying together as the horror unfolded on the screen.

Less than five minutes after we walked in the classroom we watched in utter shock and disbelief as the South Tower collapsed.

I'd like to think that there were screams in the classroom; it seems so fitting. Instead, there were muffled gasps, quiet sobbing and the sound of someone anxiously gulping of water.

Almost thirty minutes later, we quietly watched, with tears streaming down many cheeks, as the North Tower began its collapse.



Shortly after, we were dimissed early from class.

I darted out of the building to call my father who at that time worked in the tallest building in downtown Denver. The last words our professor spoke to us were, "they could be targeting other major cities. If you have family who work in Denver call them and tell them to get out.". I was utterly terrified for my father. It took me countless attmepts to get through to him and the rush of relief I felt at his voice made me lightheaded. MY father was ok. His building and downtown Denver had been evacuated, but don't you worry, he was heading for the capitol building. Stubborn man that one.

Eventually, Coral and I reconvened with each other and with one of the football players who lived in our dorm, Sean. Even Sean, a perpetual joker, was solem that morning.

I remember looking up at the sky with it's white puffy clouds; it was the kind of perfect blue that only Boulder, Colorado can create. The Flatirons were particularly striking; the air was the perfect temperature. I thought, "this can't be right. This can't be happening on a day like today." We should have spent the rest of that day laying out on Sewall Lawn or Norlin Quad, laughing with our roomates and dorm-mates while we made dates and plans for the upcoming weekend. Instead we spent the entire day camped in one dorm room or the other prefering to huddle under blankets and hug pillows rather than sit in the uncomfortable couches in the common room. We may or may not have eaten lunch and dinner. We watched the news all day long. We listened as President Bush addressed the nation. Our RAs hopped about from room to room offering comfort and concern, seeing if we needed anything. In fact, our RA even brought us cookies. I remember that now. Eventually, the reality of what had happened began to seep in as the day's events came more clearly into focus.

Thinking about living that day almost 1,800 miles from where the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and Flight 93 took place, my stomach turns and winds its way into greasy knots of nausea.


It's ten years later now. Tower One is nearly complete near Ground Zero; it is a welcome presence in the New York City skyline. The National September 11 Memorial Museum is set to open. I've seen documentaries on it, and they bring me to tears. So much was lost that day. So many people, families, lives and souls were destroyed. My heart ached and aches still for their losses, for the wounds that still sting, for the scars not yet healed.


Yet, I can't hate.

I've always been raised under the mantra "kill 'em with kindness". My mother beat that into my head when I was growing up. Sometimes I fell short of its aim, but most of the time I tried.

I always thought that the more productive thing to do to really stick it to Osama Bin Laden and his cronies was to faithfully mourn our losses, hold each other as we grieved and to go on living and loving each other. I have too sensitive a soul to let hatred live inside me for that long. To live in terror is to allow him and people like him to win. In the end, even during that day that was dark as night, babies were still born, wedding vows were said and people passed peacefully away surrounded by their loved ones. Even as a black sea of grief threatened to swamp our great nation strangers reached out to hold one another, bonds of love were forged and eloquent acts of service were performed.  The greatest act of love is to lay down one's life for his brother. Even if all we could feel was sickened anger that bubbled towards something closer to hate, love was present in the world that day.

When Seal Team Six assasinated Osama bin Laden, I didn't know how or what to feel. My heart stayed in a state of confusion for days. I was proud of our military for pulling off such a feat. I hoped for some closure for the families of the victims of September 11th.

There was a part of me that wanted to join in with the crowds, chanting USA USA USA, crowing about our prowess, and sing out ding dong the witch is dead! That is the part of me that is always proud to be an American, who would never live somewhere else and if called to would bear arms in her defense. Then there was a part of me who wanted to bury my head under the covers until the onslaught of curse words, racial slurs and hatred faded from the internet, from Facebook and world news.

It wasn't because I wasn't glad of his death, or because I supported his aims, but because Christ calls us to love. I could not tolerate the level of hatred emanating from every outlet. I leaned heavily on my faith taking comfort that this man who commited unspeakable and atrocious acts of evil would be judged accordingly.

There were some funny jokes, emails and videos and I got a kick out of some of them. I mostly prayed though. I prayed for my family, for the families of the victims of the September 11 Attacks. I prayed for my child, that she would never witness acts such as the September 11th attacks, that the innocence of her life would never be sullied by hatred this deep. I prayed for peace and for understanding. I prayed for this to be unifying instead of more devisive for our country. I prayed for President Obama and everyone in his staff -- that they would handle this diplomatically enough to continue to keep us all safe.



Love begets love. The same way the love my husband and I have for each other generously multiplied when Evie was born, if you love another only more love can be the result. The world has enough hate and I wanted to show love.

I have newspaper articles, email forwards, pictures from the internet, newspapers and magazines from the days immediately following September 11, 2001. They are all tucked away in a box. I remember thinking as I cut them out that I was living through history right now. It was tragic and terrible, but I was in the middle of it and this would be an important day in the history of America. I thought one day my child, or maybe even the child of my child, might like to take these things to her history classes. When I was in 7th or 8th grade someone brought in newspaper clippings their grandparents (great grandparents maybe) saved from when Nazi Germany fell. I remember looking at them, holding them and thinking that I was connecting with someone who lived this day in history. Evie wasn't even a twinkle in her Daddy's eye yet and I was already thinking of her.

I also have a picture of what I wrote on the banner that the students of CU sent to Ground Zero. It is a poem by Mother Theresa. I'm sure you've heard it or read it. It is entitled "Anyway" it is beautiful and one of my favorites.



I always thought that was the best lesson, to LOVE anyway. To shove it right up the arse of Osama bin Laden and hate mongers like him, love each other. Pay it forward. Practice random acts of kindness. Get married. Hold hands in the park. Have babies. Paint. Laugh until it hurts. Find some joy every day. Reach out. Otherwise, we've let them win far more than we thought.

I plan to spend Sunday with my family, listening to my daughter laugh, loving my husband and wrestling with the world's worst puppy dogs and  thanking God for every typical joy filled day I am granted here on this earth.
I'll be remembering all of the heroes of September 11, 2001. The families who lost loved ones. The children who have grown up with out their mommy or daddy. The souls that perished in the crashes, the collapse and the ensuing rescue missions and all of our military who have lost their lives since in the war on terror. I'll be praying for all of them.

What are your memories of September 11, 2001?








September 7, 2011

Work Widow

Sigh.

It's that time of year again. Fall. It is a time I've been dreading.

Don't get me wrong, as far as seasons go, Fall currently holds the coveted spot as favorite. I seriously L.O.V.E. football. It's like crack to me. I love Fall foods, all things pumpkin related and flavored are some of my favorites. I love chili and grilled cheese, and soups and stews and getting up early on a Saturday to make my mom's red beans and rice that take ALL DAY LONG to cook properly. The days get a little shorter, the leaves turn beautiful colors, and because I live in the south, the temperature is perfect for strolling outside, sitting outside or doing anything outside. It is a welcome relief from the misery that is a Southern summer.

It is also the time that Chris goes back to school.



He is an adjunct faculty member for Southwest Community College and two nights a week he teaches business classes until 8pm.

He has done this for as long as I have known him, and I have always been supportive.

I used to do my grocery shopping on Tuesday nights, come home do some light cleaning, hang out with the dogs, maybe have a glass of wine, cook dinner and wait for Chris to come home so we could eat. Thursday went much the same, minus the grocery shopping and adding in some heavier cleaning.

Now the dynamic has changed. We have a five month old, who is very demanding and God help us all, thisclose to crawling.

After picking up the bug from daycare, I rushed home to begin a two hour whirlwind of single parenting before Chris got home.

She naps from 6-7 so during this time, I wash bottles, and her food containers, do some cleaning, switch the laundry, try to give some attention to my dogs, possibly think about what to make for dinner, make bottles for that night and the following day, make up her food for the next day and maybe change out of my work clothes (if I have time).

At seven she eats her bottle then some solids. After, I can put her in her pack-n-play or her bouncer but this tends to be her fussy time of day and she's pretty used to having parental attention.

Last night was a challenge. After she ate I had to put her in her bouncer so I could feed the dogs and cats, get her nighttime bottle out to heat up, prepare her nursery for her nighttime routine, fill her humidifier with clean water, get her bath all ready (has to be juuuuuust the right temperature and bubble to water ratio) and get her towel and pj's all laid out. This all takes about 25 minutes. Last night she fussed the entire time she was in her bouncer. She didn't cry, but she was doing that whiny eh eh eh, aaaah, eh cry that she does. The one that says, "Hey mom, I'm not seriously pissed, but I'm annoyed enough to let you know about it and if you don't rectify this situation soon, I'm going to get seriously pissed!"

I snatched her out of her bouncer just as she hit the pissed stage. Shew. Headed that one off. I got her undressed, we did the naked baby dance and played in the bath for an extra long time.

Her Daddy got home just in time to read her a story before I rocked her to sleep.

Then, she slept. And I was exhausted. I have bronchitis (yes, again) so I'm sure that didn't help, but still...

It was one night. ONE. NIGHT. y'all.



Dinner never got made, hubby stopped and got Zaxby's on his way home (yeah, because that's healthy).

I'm dreading Thursday already.

I can't complain too much though because although I'll shoulder most of the parenting burden two nights a week I know Chris is doing this to give Evie and me everything he thinks we deserve (which is in his mind, the world), to help build up our savings so we can have good downpayments on a new car/house and more money for our Evie Savings Fund (car, college etc). He is also giving up a lot too. He is missing time with his kid and wife and I know that is hard on him.

So from now until Christmas break, two nights a week, I'll be a work widow.

I don't know how single parents do it. You have my highest respect. When do you eat?

Maybe Thursday I'll figure out the dinner thing.

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September 6, 2011

Backwards Baseball Caps and Glass Slippers

I struggle on a daily basis to find balance in parenting my five month old daughter. I am in a constant state of worry. Every place I look there is someone telling me that telling my daughter that she is pretty is stunting her future, then on the other hand people shout that we need to build up our little girls' self-esteem.

I want to tell her she is beautiful every single time I lay eyes on her. Every time. Without fail. Even when she is covered in the worlds hugest poo and stinks like rotted skunk mixed with distemper diarrhea (a particular smell only one who has worked in the world of veterinary medicine can understand) she is still the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

How do I balance that though, with making sure that she understands the most truly valuable assets she has are her heart, soul and a good solid head on her shoulders?

I want her to KNOW in her heart that the stupid boy who will inevitably call her ugly is in fact the dumbest creature to walk the face of this planet and obviously blind. I also want her to have enough courage to raise her hand in class, and not just in reading and grammar, but in math and science too. I don't want her to believe her third grade teacher if she happens to call her D.A.D. (dumb as dirt -- true story, happened to me) one day because fractions are confusing.

I used to think that the way to find balance was to shun all things girly and focus only on learning activities.

This leads me of course to the princess issue.

When I was pregnant, and after I found out we were having a baby girl, I would get so upset anytime some referred to Evie as a "princess". I put the keibash on all things princess related. I only budged so far as to let her Daddy register for and buy her a very few items that said "Daddy's Princess".



It seriously irritated me.

I wanted her to to be too busy digging in the dirt to play princess, too busy having adventures to wear a fancy ball gown and for her to scoff at shirts like this one.

But now I think what if she wants to play princess and dress up? Why is that such a big deal to people? Why is it such a big deal to me?

My thinking is changing on the princess front. As long as she is using her imagination and we talk about all the other important things that princesses do I think *FOR US* it's ok.

After all,

 Belle took on The Beast


Ariel actually rescued her prince (TWICE, I might add).



And, come to think of it, Snow White, Cinderella and Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) all got pretty banged up and still came out of it on top.

I think we are looking for the wrong message, because in most princess stories I remember the heroine has to go through some pretty awful stuff; she has to be determined and perservere before she comes out on top. Her heart's desires are not dropped in her lap as rewards for her beauty; many times they are hard fought and won.

SO maybe it's not the time to ban all princess stuff from our little girls. Maybe it's time to redefine what Princess really means.

Yes, princesses wear crowns.

Princesses are also well respected and they have to have poise and confidence. They need to be well spoken. They need to be athletic and spend time outdoors.

Sometimes they might play in the mud and even dig for worms.

Other days they might have tea parties.

Most importantly though, princesses don't settle for less than what they deserve. I mean that in terms of the Prince of course. The prince must always be respectful of the princess, love her unconditionally, treat her well and being willing to live their life as a partnership.

There is always a middle ground, a balance, between two extremes. So while, I don't see my little girl trotting around with Princess emblazoned all over, I'll be happy to let her dress up, and use her imagination a little. I will tell her she is beautiful when ever  I want to and when she imagines some grand adventure for the princess I'll tell her how smart she is.

I think it is most important for Evie to see a balance, to learn that all things are not mutually exclusive and in the end, truthfully, I think glass slippers look great with a backwards baseball cap.


If you are a mom of a little girl, or even a little boy, how do you feel about the "Princess Issue"?

September 1, 2011

Unprepared

No one told me what it would be like to have a child.

I got plenty of the typical advice and I took some of it to heart and the rest of it, just pretty much made my 9 months preggo self want to punch someone in the face, so I ignored it.

The truth is there is no way to be completely prepared for what your life with a baby will be like. It doesn't matter if you are a first, second, third, fourth or fifth time mom (or however many -iths it takes until you just reach Michelle Duggar) your entire family dynamic is about to change. There is no way to prepare for that shift entirely, because you don't know what that baby will be like and you don't know what your family will look like with that new little personality in it.

All of that is pretty pratical and understandable, at least. You can't prepare for it, but you CAN understand that it is going to happen.

What I was so unprepared for was the way I love my child. Even in the middle of post-partum depression when things hadn't really clicked yet on the maternal instinct, I was ready to go the mat for this red-faced screaming, pooping and rarely sleeping tiny human.



After that though, when things finally clicked, I was stunned by the love, the swelling of the heart, the hot tears that stream down my face some nights when I watch my child sleep in my arms.

I get butterflies in my stomach thinking about Evie's smile, the way she looks like a guppie when she tries to eat my nose, how she's already mastered the art of batting her eyelashes at her Daddy.

No one told me I'd get butterflies. I thought those were reserved for cute boys named Christopher.

There are no words to prepare you for that.

You can drown in this kind of love.