Thursday, December 30, 2010

Experiences with Birth

Let me give you a little background about my first birth experiences.
When I was 16, my mom was planning a homebirth. I was horrified, and had no problem expressing my displeasure about her plans. She would only smile and say "That's okay. You're not invited to the birth anyway."
Then one October morning my dad woke me up before he left for work. He told me that my mom was having some light braxton hicks and he wanted me to check in on her every now and again.
I walked into my parents bedroom and the first words out of my mom's mouth were "Go get dad we're having this baby today!"

I ran out of the house like a possessed crazy person. My dad's car wasn't in the driveway. I ran to the street, but it was empty. I slowly made my way back to my parents room. There mom was in full mode. She was frantically scooping clean laundry into a basket. "I never got these put away. Just throw them in the closet and close the door. I don't want to look at them! Oh and I need you to make a lasagna I haven't done that either!" In a rare moment of teenage wisdom, I decided I should just go with the flow. I threw the laundry into the closet and closed the door. When I turned around my mom was kneeling on her bed, moaning softly. All of a sudden there was a baby head. My mom moaned again and said "his shoulder is stuck, I need you to look." I sat on the bed and shifted the baby's shoulder just a little, all of a sudden I was holding my baby brother.
The midwives showed up a few minutes later. They cleaned the room, did laundry and made sure baby and mama were both fine.

When I discovered that I was pregnant, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to have a homebirth. I was young, I knew very little about pregnancy and birth, so I went with what I did know. I scheduled a prenatal appointment with the midwife that my mom had used.
My midwife was WONDERFUL. She took time to answer any question that my husband or I had. Not only that, but when she found out that my mother-in-law was worried about the safety of homebirth, she not only openly discussed worst case scenarios with the three of us, but gave my mother-in-law her email address so that my mother-in-law could contact her anytime she had a concern.

Like my mom, I labored fast, and before I knew it I had a baby boy in my arms. My birth was a wonderful experience, that really set the foundation for our family. My son was premature, so we transferred to the hospital as per state law. Our hospital experience wasn't as nice. I was 18, I had a planned homebirth and I was adamant that I was going to breastfeed. The hospital staff was not pleased. They didn't believe that I had had any prenatal care. I had to call my midwife to verify for the hospital that I had care, and all of the testing done had come back normal. I had to meet with social services so they could evaluate whether I was fit to be a parent. I was cross examined multiple times about whether I was a drug user, smoker or had alcoholic tendencies. I was told breastmilk had no real benefits for preemies. The pediatrician didn't want to release my son because he wasn't formula fed. My La Leche League leader had to stop coming to the hospital because of the harassment she received from the nursery staff.
I realize that experience is not necessarily typical. Not all midwives are wonderful, and not all hospitals are terrible.

I'm not anti-doctor by any stretch of the imagination. I'm currently receiving prenatal care from an OB, and not a midwife. OB's have their place, just like hospitals.

However, I am anti- the mcdonaldization of pregnancy and birth.

Birthing options

After a lot of thought and prayer, I've decided to do a few posts on birth. For those of you who don't know, I became a certified doula after the birth of my son in 2005. While I am not currently practicing, birth and birth education is still a passion of mine.
This post was originally blogged by me on May 5, 2007 while I was in training.

Western medicine is and can be a wonderful thing. But it has also been so abused that in many cases the treatments acan become ineffective. Take for example antibiotics. Antibiotics can be a great thing! And for several years they were thought to be the treatment for everything. Have an ear infection? Swollen Lymph nodes? The Flu? Any type of viral or bacterial infection? Take an antibiotic! Antibiotics became the magic cure all. Then we found out that we should not be treating viral infections with antibiotics. We also discovered that the antibiotics were becoming less and less effective because immunities had been built up against them. This is not an isolated case. There many instances where something that was thought to be great, turned out to have consequences to worse than we could imagine. Maternal medicine is not exempt. Sadly by the time we realize what the side effects could be, it's too late.

Another wonderful aspect of western medicine is our hospitals. Think about the convenience of having one place to go whenever you have a medical emergency. You don’t have to go to independent specialty clinics, you can go straight to a place where you know you can be treated. It is a building dedicated entirely to sickness... But is every patient really sick? I realize that western medicine is fairly new, and there is obviously going to new advances and discoveries as time goes on. In our eagerness to expand our health horizons, and help people achieve a higher level of health, we’ve completely ignored nature.

Women have been birthing babies since the beginning of time. Isn’t that incredible to think about? How about when you add to it, that most of those women had their babies without a hospital, without a doctor, without umbilical cord clamps, and without medical interventions. It is amazing to think about, isn’t it? Pregnancy and childbirth is a natural part of life. It’s like breathing, your body automatically knows what to do.
I am not saying that things will not go wrong. This is not a perfect world, it’s the real world. Unfortunately cord prolapse, footling breech babies, and other complications are not unheard of. But they are also not the normal situation. I know I am grateful that when these situations occur that there is a place where we can go for help.

Why should you have your birth in a hospital? Hospitals are literally sick houses, would you want your newborn to be in a place where different diseases are on every where? Sure the staff changes their gloves between patients, but what about their clothes? What about the visitors that are coming in from everywhere? What about social workers that don’t have to wear gloves?
An Institute of Medicine Report indicated that 44,000 - 98,000 people die in U.S hospitals every year, as a result of medical errors. That is more than the number of deaths from AIDS, breast cancer, and car accidents every year!

In contrast homebirths can offer you the comfort of your home. Most of the germs you encounter there have been around your entire pregnancy and you do not have to worry about getting sick. You can hire a midwife with years of experience. If an emergency arises most midwives have a doctor at the hospital that they can transfer to. Midwives can take care of hemorrhaging, they stitch up tears. They are trained professionals! They are not going to needlessly put your life in danger. Most midwives that offer homebirths give care to both mother and newborn for 6 weeks following the birth. In contrast as soon as a baby exits the mother, the OB does not provide care for it. That is strictly for the pediatrican's responsibility.

Repeat c-sections? Did you know that your chances of having your uterus tear when attempting a vaginal birth after a cesarean are less than 1%! That number does go up if you are medicated. But the chances of having a c-section in general, go up if you are medicated. Did you know that Utah had the lowest c-section rate in the United States, and their c-section rate is 22.2%. Cesareans offer a whole extra category for risk. It is major surgery. You have a higher chance of getting an infection. It can affect your fertility, your normal body functions and your ability to have sex. Those are just a few of the side effects.

What about drugs in labor? I think they have their place, but routine usage? Every body is different. Why would we expect them all to react the same way? Some drugs used in labor have warnings on the label thay they are contraindicated. Meaning they aren't safe for pregnant women. There are alternatives to drugs while you are in labor. You can do relaxation techniques, counter-pressure, change positions, or my favorite, jump in the shower or the bathtub. Water is a natural pain reliever. When you burn yourself, you automatically run water over the burn, why? Because it helps!

Just because our generation is expected to leave the thinking to the professionals, doesn’t mean we have to. You are ultimately the one responsible for your health and wellbeing. As a consumer of the healthcare options offered, please educate yourself.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It's been quite awhile since I've even attempted to write anything. November shaped up to be a very busy month for our family. My baby sister was married the weekend before Thanksgiving.
I offered her a wedding dress from my "collection" and volunteered to do the alterations. I finished the dress at the beginning of November and prayed that it would fit right. She only had a chance to try it on once before I started the alterations. The next time she was in the same city as the dress was the day before the wedding.

No sooner had I finished the dress, than I remembered I owed my younger brother a hat. So I broke out my knitting needles and whipped out a hat... Only to have Alex inform me he needed a hat and scarf as well. I actually finished his hat during the drive to New Mexico.

We returned home the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, which gave us just enough time to unpack, brine the chickens and bake some pies for the Thanksgiving dinner we hosted at our house.

Then came December.

Alex had his first public performance with his tap dancing class. We took him to see the Nutcracker, celebrated my wonderful husband's birthday then had a BIG family gathering at our house for Christmas. We had so much fun. Of course now that everyone has gone back to their homes, our home seems sadly quiet and empty.

My mom surprised me by bringing a tub of Alex's baby clothes an dhis old cradle that I had in storage back in New Mexico. Alex and I have been slowly going through the clothing and laundering them. The cradle is tucked away in my closet. That I won't set up until after Spain arrives.

Now I'm compiling my wish to-do list for January. It involves a lot of sewing and knitting....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

DIY Maternity Pants

When my sister announced plans for her snowy outdoor mountain wedding, I went into overdrive going through closets and boxes trying to see if anything Alex had was suitable for hanging outside in the cold for hours. I thought I had hit paydirt when I stumbled upon a new pair of corduroys and a pair of homemade babylegs from before we moved to south Texas. I was still basking in my victory when I realized that my husband and I hadn't figured out what we were wearing.
Cute husband was leaning towards his suit, until I reminded him that 20 degree weather and a bonfire probably wouldn't be suit friendly. Unfortunately Alex heard him say the "S" word. Suits are Alex's addiction of choice. Jackets, ties, vests. It's almost like a PMSing woman and chocolate.
As a compromise, we settled on corduroys and suit jackets for my two main men. That just left me. The rapidly expanding pregnant woman, who could not find maternity corduroys anywhere except online. And no time to order online.
Then I had a crazy idea. What if I just converted a regular pair of corduroys into maternity cords?!

I had almost everything I needed for the project. Wide elastic, an old A-line t-shirt that needed to be thrown out, pins, sewing machine... The only thing I needed was a pair of cords. Naturally we hit up the Goodwill (I love thrifting!).
Alex hit the jackpot and found a pair of lowrise reddish brown cords that fit me everywhere except the waistband. An added bonus was they were only $1, so if my idea turned out to be a dud, I wouldn't feel like crying as much. We brought them home and got to work.

The first thing I did was remove the waistband.

The next step was the t-shirt. I cut across the top of the shirt, right underneath the arms, to make a tube. Then pinned it along the outside of the pants.

They almost look like maternity pants!

(I took the belt loops off after this picture.)

At this point I threw them through the washer and dryer. When they finished, I measured out my elastic WITHOUT stretching it. I sewed the ends together to make a circle and then placed the elastic inside my new "waistband".

I pinned the elastic to shirt, then pulled the extra fabric around the elastic to make the casing. I trimmed a LOT of the shirt off as I worked my way around.

When it was all pinned down, I stitched around the bottom of the new waistband, right underneath the elastic.

They fit perfectly! I am ridiculously excited to wear these!

**I used a pair of lowrise pants, I don't think this technique would work with regular rise pants.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Let's talk about Spain

To start with, In honor of the World Cup champions 2010, we have nicknamed our in-utero blessing Spain.

Our family is full of excitment over our newest addition. Alex and my wonderful husband take turns singing and talking to Spain. Or poking Spain when the mood strikes. Now that we've reached the halfway point, Spain has been poking back.

As a self-proclaimed birth junkie, it surprises me that I haven't done much blogging during this pregnancy. It's not that I don't want to. Everytime I sit down to write, I can't find words that express my profound joy.
This pregnancy is amazing. Even while I spent hours draped over the toilet, I couldn't stop myself from reveling in it. I'm enjoying the journey. Every kick, every bladder bounce, every wave of nausea.
I almost wish I could slow the days down, because they're speeding by too fast. I don't know what's in store for our family. I don't know if we will have more biological children. So, I want to savor every moment of this pregnancy, now.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Breakfast of champions

I love pancakes! I love they are so versatile, you can alter them to fit whatever mood you're in! But alas! Even with a "Just add water" mix I have a knack for messing pancakes up. In fact, the unofficial rule in our house is that the first two pancakes must be thrown away.

While visiting my parents in August, my mom whipped the most incredible pancakes. Her's came out somewhere between traditional pancake and crepe. Even though I was still in the throes of morning sickness, I couldn't help but at least half a dozen everytime she made them.

Before we returned home, I made sure that I had a copy of the recipe safely tucked away in the memory card of my cell phone. Camera phones do have several advantages!

Two things make these pancakes so special. The first is that you use fluffed up egg whites. I was a little concerned that this step might be too time consuming, since we have a small window for breakfast between PT and formation in the mornings, but as long as you aren't whipping your egg whites by hand, you should be fine.
The second thing is yogurt. The style of yogurt you use directly affects the thickness and texture of the pancakes. My mom used a thinner yogurt and her pancakes came out thinner and almost sponge-like on the inside. I like my yogurt thick. The thicker the yogurt the taller fluffier the pancake.

Yogurt Pancakes
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups yogurt
1/4 melted butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Beat egg whites. Mix beaten yolks, sugar, butter and yogurt. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold egg whites in the batter. Cook on a hot greased griddle.
When reverse bubbles begin appearing on the batter, it's time to flip the pancake.

These are fabulous with blueberries inside of them, or as we discovered this morning, with a homemade strawberry syrup.

Strawberry Syrup

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries

Bring to a boil in a small sauce pan. Once the strawberries are thawed, mash with a vengence.
For a thicker syrup in a small bowl combine 1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch with 1 scant teaspoon cold water. Add to the boiling syrup and stir well.

Oh and for the record, I have never had to throw out the first two pancakes, since I converted to yogurt pancakes!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I also need a small break from the kitchen.

In a progressive move of "Clearing out the freezers 2010", I pulled a roasting chicken out of the freezer and threw it in the crockpot before bed. It cooked all night on low, and then when I woke up I threw in some sweet potatoes, celery and an onion, and left it alone for a few hours.
When I pulled the bird out and deboned it. The small pieces went back into the crock for chicken soup and the main body of the bird was sectioned into 4 oz pieces to make some free-carb freezer meals for that cute husband I am so fond of.

There was a full crock of chicken soup, and since I am not eating meat, I wanted to do something with it. So Alex and I made a chicken pot pie. The very first completely from scratch pot pie I have ever made. I made a second smaller veggie pot pie for myself, and I have to admit it did put the freezer pot pies to shame.

I realized later, while I did remove a chicken from the freezer, I replaced it with single servings of:
Chicken Florentine
Chicken Marinara
Enchilada'd Chicken
Smothered Chicken

So I guess it's one step forward one step backward for "Clearing out the freezer 2010".

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chair makeover

Today is one of those magical days where you suddenly feel accomplished.
Alex and I have been recovering our dining room chairs. A task I have attempted on multiple occasions, but never completely finished. Sitting on freshly covered and recushioned chairs is niiiice.

So the backstory. We were blessed with a dining room table set as a wedding gift. Upholstery + Children = Not the prettiest after a few years. So for my birthday I got a new table. Older and wiser, we agreed on NO UPHOLSTERY for our dining room chairs. Unfortunately we couldn't find chairs that went with our new table that didn't have upholstery. So we waited.

It may be pregnancy, or antsy-ness but I've been pushing out completed DIY projects for a few weeks now, and decided to make the best of it while I could.


We cut up a foam mattress topper to use as a extra layer of cushion, before replacing the fabric.
Then as an extra step of protection for the upholstery, we chopped up a vinyl taple cloth and covered the bottoms of the chair. I know the vinyl tablecloth won't last long, but I'm hopeful it will last long enough for us to get our new chairs.

Total cost: $19 to redo six chairs.
Canvas tablecloth $5 at a thriftstore
Vinyl tablecloth $3 at
Staples About $1 at
Mattress topper to use as cushion foam $10 at walmart

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Baba Yetu

It's amazing what a good playlist can help accomplish.

I've been Fall Cleaning the main living areas of our house in an attempt to not clean my bedroom.

I know.

In my defense, part of the floor in my bedroom has to be worked on. This will involve a lot of sanding, which means sawdust. Everywhere. It's scheduled for tomorrow morning, so hopefully I'll be able to being the de-sawdusting of my room sooner rather than later. My sinuses are already tingling in anticipation.

But back to playlists. When my brother got married, he passed out cds that he and his wife had personalized with songs that were full of meaning to them. One of the tracks was Baba Yetu, the opening song from Civilization IV. Now I've never played any of the Civilization games, so I had no idea where the song came from. Even before I discovered what the song was, it struck me as an amazingly powerful song.

I am completely awed that listening to a rendition of the Lord's Prayer in Swahili can still render me speechless.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Score 1 for the Papaya

My favorite section in the grocery store, is without a doubt the produce section. Thankfully our household is full of avid produce eaters. Occasionally we still have produce turn a little faster than we can eat it.
Like the papaya. I have never aquired a taste for papaya. Every couple years I buy one to make sure I'm still not a fan, and so far my tastes haven't changed.
My husband picked up a papaya at the grocery store on Sunday, and it's been sitting on the counter taunting me. Everytime I walk into the kitchen I'm confronted by the huge oblong shape of a papaya just waiting to meet it's destiny.
Today I finally gathered my moxy, and chopped that tropical fruit into small pieces, I threw half of it into the blender with a couple pears, a banana, a peach and a handful of frozen strawberries. A little fake milk to help it blend and voila! I made a smoothie. A smoothie that I had every intention of feeding to small children so I didn't have to drink it.

Except my conscience started bothering me. Apparently I had to try some to get Jiminy Cricket of my back.

Would you believe it, I really enjoyed the smoothie!
I think I drank half it!

So apparently all I needed was a lot of other flavors to help mask the taste, and I'm good to go.

Who knew?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Household Hint

This is a entry from a old journal of mine dated September 18, 2008.

How to make your kitchen smell unappealing in creative ways.

You will need
-1 gallon size jar of bread and butter pickles
-1 large jar of salsa any brand and heat factor will do. DO NOT SUBSTITUTE hot sauce for salsa
-1 Jar of a delicious marinade
-1 Jar dill pickles any cut

All containers MUST be glass

You can throw each container on your floor and watch as the glass shatters, carefully sidestepping any broken pieces. Or you can take the shortcut [like I did] and simply place these item in the door shelving of your refrigerator. However you MUST have a loose railing.

Be careful as the ocean of pickle juices overtakes the kitchen floor as it will carry small pieces of glass, and if you have a tile kitchen floor it will making walking DANGEROUS!

This is guaranteed to make you kitchen smell funky and leave a sticky gritty feeling on your kitchen floor through at least 3 washes!

**Use at own risk. Author does not assume responsibility for any accidents that may occur. Side effects may include: dizziness, loss of blood, nausea, gagging, physical injury, mental injury and in extremely rare circumstances even death.

Monday, September 13, 2010


For the past several weeks all my energy has been devoted to a project that was 2+ years in the making.
I've actually become slightly more obsessed, and find myself doing a lot of planning in my down time. My to-do list has expanded so far beyond what I expected, that I can't even write it all down to visualize the progress I'm making.

Rather than being discouraged, I find myself excited about piling more and more projects on my list. If I'm completely honest, I have to admit that I'm a little saddened that eventually it will be finished.

So, enough of that. Now is time for The Project in Three Photos!

It's been a while since this little piece of equipement was considered a staple. Tehnology has moved forward, but this little guy's track record leaves less room for inaccuracy.

Don't be fooled. These little creations are too cute for words and worth they're weight in gold. If you aren't careful you may need a 12-step program to break the addiction!!

And just in case there was any lingering doubt. This is my current reading list.

For the record. The top book is a GREAT resolurce for all mothers. Regardless of whether or not they have a preemie.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Basic Carseat Info

It's common knowledge is that there are 3 basic types of carseats; infant, forward facing, and booster. Some companies have taken pity on parents and designed convertable carseats that can be used for all 3 basic carseat types. *insert rejoicing here*

Unfortunately there seems to be some confusion over guidelines and regulations for the use of each car seat. Here is a very basic rundown on carseats.

Infant carseats (also known as "Baby buckets") are for rear facing use only. Children need to be kept rear facing for as long as possible. Rear facing is the SAFEST position for a child in the event of a collision. It protects their spinal cords, heads and necks.

"Very young children have immature vertebrae that are still partly made of cartilage. These are soft and will deform and/or separate under tension, leaving just the spinal cord as the last link between the head and the torso. The spinal cord can stretch up to 2 inches, but ruptures when stretched more than 1/4 inch. Real-world experience has shown that a young child's skull can be literally ripped from her spine by the force of a crash."
Paraphrased from

The bare minimum for turning a child forward facing is one year AND 20 lbs. However the AAP recommends that you use your carseat rearfacing until your child meets the maximum weight set by the manufacturer.
Read more about the safety and protection extended rear facing offers at and

Forward Facing Carseats
Children who have been flipped forward facing in their carseats need to remain in a harness until they are about 4 years old and 40 pounds. If your carseat harnesses up to 65 pounds, go ahead and use it! A forward facing carseat has a harness. A booster seat does not. Look at your child objectively before you put them in a booster seat. Do they stay in their carseats without trying to escape? If you wouldn't put it past them, they're probably not ready for a booster seat.

Remember everytime your child "graduates" to the next carseat, their protection in a crash drops dramatically.

Booster seats
Booster seat come in two packages: Without backs or with backs. Booster seats with backs need to be used if the top of the child ears are higher the the back of the seat top or headrest. Booster seats CANNOT be used with just a lap belt.
Booster seats should not be used unless the child weighs at least 40 lbs and is 4 years

Like food products, carseats have expiration dates. I believe most carseats are good for 6 years, though some of the newer convertible carseats have a life of 8 years. The expiration date should be stamped on the back of the carseat shell. Carseat safety standards are constantly being changed so a carseat that was "safe" when you were a child, probably isn't safe anymore.

All carseats have height limits in addition to the weight limits, a good rule of thumb is that whenever the child's head is 1 inch below the top of the carseat shell, it's time to replace your carseat.
The weight, height and installation requirements should be found either on the side of the carseat or in the user manual. If it doubt, call the company!

Never use a carseat if you don't know it's history. A carseat needs to be replaced if it's been in an accident or has expired.

Saturday September 25 is Nation seat check day. Get a free inspection!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A hunting we will go

I have been working on a very time consuming project for a few months. It's no where near done, but I have a delightful sense of accomplishment for what is finished so far.
When I first started the project it took all my time and left me feeling exhausted. Thankfully I had some salvation! Now that the deployment is over the father-son combo in my house have been trying to make up for lost time, and they share a passion for cooking(!). So for a few weeks they took over kitchen duties. It was PURE BLISS!

Now the tables have changed. Sweet husband decided to end a 15 year relationship with his glasses. And rather quickly the staff at the Warrior Refractive Surgery Center had scheduled a hot date between him and the laser. He has orders to sleep as much as possible for the first 3 days, and to not raise his heart rate for the first week. So basically I have a husband who has to do a lot of resting, and a 5 year old who cannot understand why his Papa is at home at NOT playing with him.

After we returned home from the surgery, Alex helped me put his Papa to bed and then we headed to the kitchen to make grape jelly. That kept us occupied for most of the day.
The next day we had a post op appointment. So Alex spent the morning with a friend and then we had a friend come over for a few hours in the afternoon.
Today I've got nothing.
We could go to the pool... Or bathe the dog... I could take a nap....

Friday, August 6, 2010


Do you want to know a secret?

I love baking.

I mean, seriously truely love baking. It's like a spiritual therapy that I get to enjoy twice. Once while baking, once while eating.

I made oatmeal raisin cookies last week. They were soft and delicious. Biting into one of them made me feel like I was suspended on a peaceful quiet cloud. Mmmmm.... Bliss.

In a pure June Cleaver moment, I piled a small plate with the freshly baked cookies, poured a cold glass of almond milk and presented my efforts to the small dictator. After the fourth cookie, the small dictator announced that he was HORRIFIED the cookies did not contain chocolate chips. *GASP* And that the best oatmeal raisin cookies contain no more than one raisin per cookie.

That's what I get for sharing.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hello. My name is Needs Inspiration

I have a confession.

The domestic goddess in me is on hiatus. She took my motivation with her.

I should fire her since I didn't receive any notice.

There is build up on my faucets. Candle wax on the floor.
There is army equipement taking up more room in my living room, than my actual furniture is. I know where my mop bucket is, I just don't want to acknowledge it.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Over reacting? Never

For some reason dealing with a sleepy, cranky child who just won't go to sleep isn't not high on my list of "relaxing atmospheres".

Bubble baths with candles. Check.

Curled up in the papasan chair with a good book and a quiet house. Check.

Standing in the middle of my street at 2 am waiting for the dog to pee. No, but preferably to trying to calm squalling loaner toddler for three hours until she finally fell asleep.

Just as I began to rethink my plans to ever have sex again, my husband called. Even from the Middle East that man has the talent to talk me down from the edge.

I won't lie. My super power is being able to bottle stressful feelings inside, and then use them to majorly freak out about anything I cannot control. Big, small, it doesn't matter.
Today's freak-out featured topics such as "We're never going to finish paying off our car!", "I'm never going to finish my degree because I can't talk to a real person at UTSA" and "I know you want to homeschool, but all he talks about is his fictational teacher. And I can't compete with her!!!"
Somewhere in the midst of the education related "coversations" I realized that I wasn't frazzled anymore. In fact I would almost call the feeling abducting my body "calm".

Two hours later I went to the airport and picked up some Spring Breakers! So my house is now the refuge for not one. Not two. Yes THREE! Three young people who are of age to need a babysitter.

I love children (obviously), but I can't help wonder if I'm the only one person who manages to add people to her household while sucessfully practicing absintence.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

carnations and castles

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch.
Who watches over you?

Not to put too fine a point on it

-They Might Be Giants "Birdhouse in your soul" aka "Today's soundtrack"

Somedays I make plans that deep down in my soul, I just know they're destined for failure. Yet for some unexplainable reason, I have to test it.
Today was one of those days.

Surprisingly the part I thought was destined to result in my being banned from a certain part of town, went off smoothly. Of course the "safe playdate" was disasterous.

I took two small children with me to meet with a florist/event designer this morning. I've been helping a friend plan her wedding, and our assignment this week was to pick out a florist and someone to handle chair covers/bows for the reception. Since I am not the bride, bringing children along for professional meetings is a gray area. I can get way with bringing one, but two is questionable.
The children were fantastic.

Absolutely fantastic. It was actually quite surreal. I left the meeting floating on a cloud of maternal pride.

10 minutes after we got home, we had visitors. For anyone keeping count, we are now at 2 adults. A 4-year old (mine) a 13-month old (loaner) a 3-year old (visitor) and a 2-year old (visitor). Almost immediately, everyone not old enough to cross the road by themselves tried to end civilization as we know it. Castles were destroyed. Balloons were stolen. Vehicles were crashed. There was much crying.

But wait. That's not the end.

Instead of cleaning up the spilled milk and crushed cereal after everyone had gone home, Alex and I packed a picnic lunch, harnassed the dog and headed to the park for a picnic dinner. As I watched the sun highlight Alex's big brown eyes, I realized just how lucky I am to have friends that don't mind me bring my child plus an extra to business meetings. Or to have friends that can come visit us, but most importantly, to have the world's greatest 4 year old, and live 2 blocks from a park!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Oh an Ode to Maytag

The Trojans had a horse.

Achilles had a heel.

Superman had kyptonite.

I have laundry.

As I tried to stare down the pile of laundry homesteading on my laundry-closet floor, I had to ask myself how it could be possible for two people to generate so much laundry. I could swear that when we left the house today I only had one load of laundry sitting in the que, yet, when we returned I had three. The only logical explanation is that my laundry has been cross-bred with rabbits.

I started running the washer and dryer with a vengence. Load after load of clean laundry popped out of the washing machine, into the dryer and then onto my bed, where it waited patiently for me to fold it.

I moved it into baskets so I could sleep.

The next day I adjusted the papsan chair and converted it into my new clean-laundry-needing-to-be-folded holding center.

Instead of feeling accomplished, I felt guilty. What kind of June-Cleaver-Wannabe shuffles laundry from one place to another place, perpetually procrastinating on folding and putting it away? A tired one.

I need a laundry gnome.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Daily workouts relieve stress?

My husband and I have a contest going on, to see which one of us will have the better set of abs, by the time he returns from deployment. As I was getting dressed this morning I found myself studying my abs. I actually have nice abs. Unfortunately they are scared of cold temperatures, and are bundled underneath a nice warm layer of, what I like to think of as "The ab quilt".

So while I stare in dumbstruck wonder as my freshly cleaned living room is demolished, within mere minutes of letting the small ones loose, a little demented voice in the back of my mind chants "Tighten your abs Tighten your abs. Tighten your abs.". And, like any self-respecting mother on the verge of sobbing, I do exactly what the little voice tells me.
I tighten my abs as I remove the glass hurricane lamp from the grasp of the visiting 13-month old (while wondering how she manage to get it off the shelf 4 feet above her head).

I tighten my abs as I wrestle wooden blocks and duplos from the dog's grasp and replace it with the nylabone, that clearly isn't as much fun as legos.

I tighten my abs as I scrub peanut butter off of the walls, and search through a sea of k'nex for the right piece to the 4 year old's pirate ship.

I tighten my abs while I prepare 18 snacks for two children.

I forget to tighten my abs when the 13-month old starts eating the dog food, and table dancing.

I forget where my abs are when the 4 year old has a nervous breakdown because his stuffed dog wandered off.

I cannot comprehend the meaning of the word "tighten" unless it is in reference to the grip one child has on another child's hair.

By the end of the day, as I'm sitting down, with my feet propped up, indulging in something containing dark chocolate, I decide before we take off our shirts to compare abs, my dear husband has to drink a 6-pack.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Helpful Household Hint #1

White grape juice is not a suitable alternative for floor polish.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dear Heloise,

I can't begin to explain how much I appreciate your column in the local newspaper. As a matter of fact I subscribe to the paper just for the pleasure of reading your column and the comics. I have to be careful with how much "news" I actually read, as I have an overactive imagination, and a deployed husband. I'm sure you can understand my reasoning.

I'm getting off topic though. I'm not entirely sure if it's because of the uncanny resemblance you have to my previous preacher's wife, or just because you seem to be reaching out toward slightly-inept homemakers like myself, but I feel a certain camaraderie with you. Well you and Christopher Lowell. Maybe it's because the two of you seem to have the perfect philosophies for Flylady dropouts, again, like myself. One huge cleaning and purging extravaganza a la Christopher, and expertly paired with your household hints. It's wonderful.

Unfortunately I just can't seem to get the knack of being on top of everything. At the same time. As soon as I clean one room, two more need to be condemned. The laundry never stops, and let's not even get started on the pet hair. Forget horror films like "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", a true terrorifying movie would focus on science experiments in the refrigerator, pet hair in places you never imagined it could be, and workout clothes that were forgotten in a gym bag for much too long.

I think my one redeeming quality is that my house does NOT smell like pets.
The truth is, I'm just a May Paring aspiring to be a June Cleaver.