Sunday, November 27, 2011

What's In My Head and On My Lips

Coffee tastes best when it's stolen out of the pot before it's done brewing and it makes that little sizzling sound when the liquid hits the warmer. 

Gianni, this is my bath.  You can take your own in twenty minutes after Mommy is raisin-y.  Get your toes out.  Get your fingers out.  Quit stealing my bubbles. Ok, you can take the bubbles with you.  Don't drip. 

Yes, Anna, you can have a dark chocolate ginger truffle for breakfast.  It is the season.  Dark chocolate ginger truffles; they're not just for dessert anymore.

I miss the easy friendships I had when I was in my twenties, but I wouldn't go back because they were too easy and not tried by fire yet.  I love knowing that our little band has been through everything possible that could happen to humankind (well, almost) and one by one, we've helped raised one another out of the pits of it, dusted off our big girl pants, and squeezed our entwined hands.

When Thanksgiving dinner arrives I wonder why we only eat such a fabulous, perfect, flawless meal once a year.  Then, after upteen leftovers, I remember why.  No one will want it again for 360 days.

And it all tastes a little bit better when your Mom makes it.  I can't taste 1988 in my stuffing, or 1992 in my mashed potatoes.  Mine are all 2011 and they are lacking somehow.  My mom's food tastes like memories on a plate.

Yaaah, we're finally out of that all natural, green, eco friendly dishwasher soap and we can go back to the hole-in-the-ozone-layer, harsh, plastic-y packaged, dish tabs that I so very much love.  It was like I had a collection of faux milk glass for a while there.

This is the only time of year I like cookies.

Measure your butter when making shortbread, don't just eyeball it.  

Why is the laundry never done?  I hate seeing the bottom of the hamper only to have my view obscured by someone tossing in their underpants, completely and effectively dampening my warm, fuzzy feelings.

I'm so excited to chop down my Christmas tree tomorrow I can hardly stand it.  I'm a little nervous to be living in such a tree hugging state now though.  Especially if they find out about the Cascade dish tabs.  And that I only recycle when I run out of room in my trash.

I love that my man is obsessed with lights on the house and that I can't let him go into any drugstore or department store or grocery store because he will buy more.  

Why is there a fly in my kitchen?  Shouldn't flies be dead in November? 

Gianni's skin is so soft.  Maybe I should rub almond milk, dirt, tears, mud, twigs, oatmeal, salad dressing, Windex, dog food and car oil, on my face too.  Maybe I should make a Toddler Facial Smoothie and sell it on QVC.  

No, Anna, one truffle is plenty.

Gianni, it's time for your bath now.  What do you mean you don't want one anymore?  Can I at least remove the twig from your pants and rub the oatmeal into your skin a little bit better?  Can you spare some of that mysterious grease for my T-zone?

Melyssa blogs at The Daze of Us. Be sure to drop on over and compliment her on the results of her Toddler Facial Smoothie!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beautiful Mess

courtesy of
By now you've probably seen the viral video of the two boys demolishing their living room with a 5 lbs. bag of ordinary flour.

I watched it, stunned at just how much flour is in a 5 lbs. bag (I had no idea!) and listened to the mom make small gasping noises while chanting, "Oh, my. Oh, my. Oh, my."

She held her cool amazingly, which may have been because she realized she didn't want to inadvertantly tape a video Child Protective Services could use against her later, but let me tell you... if my ruffians had done such a thing there is a price and it would be paid.

I was thinking of how quickly things go sour when you add a preschooler into the mix and trying to come up with some new strategies for keeping a lid on my temper and dealing with the kiddos with kindness.

I thought about that 5 lbs. bag of flour and its mess.

I gave thanks it wasn't me and my kids have never come up with something like that.

And then I dumped an entire 32 oz. (hello, watered down challenge!) glass of water on myself, the floor and into the Goldfish carton.

Goodness. Just can't take me anywhere.

Juggler is a daily blogger over at Stealing Faith where she writes about her three daughters, three dogs, charming husband and living life among chaos.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


agastecheg /stock.xchng

Someday…I will get to sleep through the night.
Someday…I will get to drink an entire cup of coffee in one sitting, while it is still hot.
Someday…I will get to run more than three consecutive miles, without stopping to feed/change/comfort/play with someone.
Someday…I will get to go to the bathroom in peace.
Someday…I will get to eat a meal without picking something up off the floor.
Someday…my facebook status updates will involve my own accomplishments.
Someday…I will get to lick the beaters.
Someday…I will get to make one meal, instead of turning into a short order cook at dinner time.
Someday…I will get to nap when necessary.
Someday…I will get to enjoy more than a fleeting moment of silence.
Someday…every conversation won’t involve negotiating.

Until then…I’m just ‘mom.’
Heather is the mom of two boys. She blogs over at (G)O'Donnell. Isn't this a beautiful look at motherhood?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Watered Down Challenge - Update

asifthebes / stock.xchng
Well, It's now been a fortnight + since I began the Watered Down Challenge.

(I've been looking for a place to use the word "fortnight" for approximately a score of years. Today is my lucky day.)

I don't know how it's gone at your house with the challenge, but every morning I stumble out of bed, head to the bathroom, weigh myself on that horrible self-esteem device called a scale and then choke down water.

I become water-logged in fact.

The next three hours are then filled with answering demands from my children, breakfast, and at least sixty rushed trips to the bathroom as my body processes the enormous amount of water I've consumed with abandon.

All of this was something I cold accept, keeping my eyes on the prize: the demise of the lump of fat that has been spending an inappropriate amount of quality time with my belly button lately.

Here's my experience:

Many, many trips to the bathroom.
Much less desire to consume my beverage of choice, Coca-Cola.
General sense of well-being.
Absolutely no weight loss or change of shape to the lard baby.

It's a toss up for me right now. I'm going to keep doing the challenge but I think I won't be so rigid about the rules. If I want to eat a piece a toast before drowning my woes in 32 oz. of tap water... I'm going to do so.

I think it will help with the burping.

What's your take? Have you lost weight while on the Watered Down Challenge? Felt healthier?

Juggler is a daily blogger over at Stealing Faith where she writes about her three daughters, three dogs, charming husband and living life among chaos.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pee Pee Treats

every weekend or prolonged period of time anthony is home, mason ends up with chonies on. which of course is extremely helpful to me and if he could, anthony would take over all undesirable duties i face like potty-training, childbirth, and teaching art. he loves me like that.

but come monday, mason is typically back in a diaper. i just haven't had it in me to focus on potty training while i'm busy homeschooling my other 2 children and trying to do everything i can to not get up and run to the bathroom every 25 seconds.

but let's face it. the clock is ticking. there is a newborn coming and mason will one day get a drivers license and go off to college and i can't avoid potty training forever.

so on my way home from my doctor appointment last week (the one where i was officially given the green light to not be on bedrest (unless of course there is laundry or cooking to be done) and the hopeful possibility of not facing the dreaded c-section (yay!)) i stopped to pick up gummy worms.

when i got home i pulled them out of my purse and announced with great enthusiasm "pee-pee treats!" to which everyone danced around and squealed in excitement. (really, you can trick your kids into being excited about almost anything at this age. it's a correlation between level of expressed exhilaration and amount of sugar at hand)

and here is the real trick in making sure the pee-pee treats work.

enter my brilliance: "ella and bennett, you can get one too, each time mason goes in the toilet!"

potty training on my part? done.

therapy for my older children who will one day look back and say, wow, my mom actually had me potty train my little brother... only just beginning.
(i have no idea what mason is doing here...)

so now mason will be happily playing with his cars on the floor when he'll suddenly stand up and yell, "me pee-pee!" and ella and bennett will jump up from the table, pencils and math worksheets flying and grab him by the hand and race down the hallway and he'll squeal in delight as they open the potty chair lid for him and he'll say, "yay, me pee-pee party!" because, after all, who doesn't want a party in their honor every time they have to empty their bladder?

then he'll sit for a little while and everyone will expectantly watch as pure exuberance breaks across his face and he proclaims, "ME! PEE! PEE! YAAAYYYY! YAH-HOO!" and then he'll glance up at me and ask with an adorable, expectant, proud smile, "me worm treat?" and ella and bennett will jump up and down and tell him how proud they are of him and then they all race to line up in front of the pantry door to receive their reward.

this, people, is the secret to potty training.

it has gone amazingly smooth. my sister asked me if i make them wipe him. i laughed and said of course not. then i got to thinking... maybe for 2 worm treats?

kidding, kidding...

we ran out of worm treats yesterday. i figured, hey, we have the hang of it now, should it really matter anymore? so i told mason when he was getting the last one and that now he can have stickers.

this made logical sense to me. but i, of course, don't have the mind of a 3 year old.

so an hour later he jumps up, screams "me pee-pee!" and runs to the bathroom and i'm helping him get ready but before he'll go he looks at me very serious and says, "worm treat?" and i remind him there aren't any left but he can pick out whatever sticker he wants.

he just stares at me, pulls back up his chonies and says, "me no pee-pee." and just like that he went on a pee-pee strike for the next couple of hours.

i then caved and started giving him chocolate chips. and right behind him are ella and bennett with their hands out. the family all sticks together over here. i'm just encouraging sibling unity when i keep handing out sugar.

you know, this is why we homeschool after all. while other kids are at recess or music class or conjugating spanish verbs at the public school, my kids get to watch their brother pee in a plastic chair for sugar.

but for sure, i'm gonna pick up some more this week and when i get home i'm going to announce with gusto, "laundry/mopping/cooking/sweeping treats!"

and then i'm going to show them the cleaning supplies.

hey, i'm onto something here.

Stephanie blogs at There's More To Life Than Sleep... and she's amazing, huh?! Here's to Pee Pee Treats for everyone!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Invisible Mothers

phillipp13 / stock.xchng

I feel a little guilty posting this since it’s an email forward that has circulated around the internet for several years.  BUT… no matter how many times I read it I find myself misty-eyed and I think the author nailed it right on the head.

As one author wrote about this piece of wisdom: “On a day when I was wondering why no one had nominated me for a major award because I was able to get three beds stripped and cleaned and remade, a colorful and balanced supper on the table, a toddler entertained on my own from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., an entertaining column written and submitted, and a first grader taken to school with everything he needed and brought home with nothing that he didn’t, I received this in my inbox.”
So tonight, because I’m still absolutely exhausted, I’m going to post one of the pieces of writing that has given me comfort over the years.  Enjoy!

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, ‘Can’t you see I’m on the phone?’

Obviously not; no one can see if I’m on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I’m invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock to ask, ‘What time is it?’ I’m a satellite guide to answer, ‘What number is the Disney Channel?’ I’m a car to order, ‘Right around 5:30, please.’

Some days I’m a crystal ball; ‘Where’s my other sock?, Where’s my phone?, What’s for dinner?’

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She’s going, she’s going, she’s gone!?

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself.

I was feeling pretty pathetic when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, ‘I brought you this.’ It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: ‘With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.’

In the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names.
2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, ‘Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it.’ And the workman replied, ‘Because God sees.’

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, ‘I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.’

No act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn, no cupcake you’ve baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, ‘My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.’ That would mean I’d built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he’d say, ‘You’re gonna love it there…’

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

From a sketch performed by Nicole Johnson at a Women of Faith conference.  This book is available on Amazon: The Invisible Woman, When Only God Sees: A Special Story for Mothers.  The book referenced here is Cathedrals of Europe.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Dose of Sarcasm for the Day

Study Shows Breastfeeding and Cloth Diapering Increases Self-Esteem in Mothers

Click through to Insert Eye Roll for the full story.

A study published by The Brooks Institute of Parenting and Medicine, asserts mothers who breastfeed for an extended amount of time and cloth diaper their children have a higher sense of self-worth than mothers who do not.

Dr. Leon Grant, who spearheaded the study, says of the phenomenon, “We’ve known for decades breastfeeding and cloth diapering have health benefits for the child and the environment as a whole, but now we have proof that these activities have the added benefit of making mothers feel morally superior. Simply by breast feeding for longer than anyone else they know, women have been shown to overcome deep-seated insecurities like teenage acne and being told they look chubby by their own mothers.”

Read the Full story at Insert Eye Roll

As a cloth diapering, extended breastfeeding mom, I had to laugh at this satirical take on "Natural Parenting." If you're up for a good dose of sarcasm, click on through... if not, we'll be back with another take on Mommy Sorority tomorrow!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Running In Circles

So, if any of you read my message on Twitter yesterday, you will know that I am convinced my treadmill is possessed. It tried to break my finger. I have a bruise under my fingernail now. It had nothing to do with me being impatient while trying to open it. I’ve decided to call it The Dreadmill.
In any case, today I figured I would talk a bit about my slow journey toward becoming a runner…
In the summer, after reading Mary Ostyn’s post about starting the Couch to 5K running program, I decided it was time. Time to stop making excuses. Time to stop wishing and start doing. My husband sent me to the running store for my birthday and I came home with a pair of (gasp!) $100 running shoes: the Vibram FiveFingers — by far the most expensive (and funny-looking) pair of shoes I have ever owned. Surprisingly though, they are also the most comfortable pair of shoes I own.
See what I mean? They are really funny-looking. I’ve had multiple strangers stop me to ask about them…
Four months later, I haven’t actually run a 5k yet. I tried to, which was when I discovered that I have exercise-induced asthma. Enter the jet-propelled chemical remedy! Then it got really cold here in a hurry. Enter the treadmill! (I got my hands on a used treadmill for $15 from Juggler’s ever-present stash of cool stuff. It’s great. The display works intermittently, the plastic trim is hanging off in places and — the best part! — it changes speed arbitrarily! Today the belt got so misaligned that it melted the plastic running board on the side where it was rubbing. I’m going to have to figure out how to fix that before tomorrow.)
This goal of mine (to get healthy via running) hasn’t made me slim and toned yet, but I am still determined to finish the program and make a running part of my life. (I have to justify all the money I’ve spent so far on shoes, an inhaler and The Dreadmill!) Couch to 5k really is a great program and — up until I nearly passed out — I was having great fun. For the first time in my couch-potato life, I felt strong and healthy!
So, after taking a too-long hiatus from running, I’m jumping back in at Week 4. Would any of you be interested in joining me?  I’ll be posting my progress here, so we can laugh together about how ridiculous I look in spandex.
P.S. When I find the right fabric (and time), I’ve decided to spend more money treat myself and make one of these dresses!
PlainJane is the mom of three and blogs over at Plain Jane Living about treadmills, food, parenting, and other such things.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

This is a Concert - A Symphony


“Mom, you came back!”

This is the quote my twin sons yell at me everyday as I return to the house after a full day of work.  This wasn’t always the case for my 4-year olds, but my workload and commute wasn’t always this way, either.  After a welcomed yet unexpected recruitment to one of the world’s top hospitals, my commute time quadrupled.  My primary work responsibilities went from supporting the efforts of a small office to providing assessment and educational training support for a department of about 5500 healthcare professionals.  While I love my work and have always loved working, it’s not that encouraging to have your young children remind you of how long you’ve been away from them, by yelling “You came back!” in incredulous voices… daily…

Regardless of commute time and work load, however, my assumption is that all working moms go through, what I can only describe as heart-wrenching guilt.  And yet, I also have other working moms, moms of multiples, aspiring mothers, moms of color, and young female professionals exclaim to me often, “How do you do it!?” Well… “to do ‘it’ is not an option,” I tell them.  And this is why…

I am a 34-year old Filipina-American, born to Filipino immigrants who came here in the early 70s, leaving all of their family behind to give their unborn kids the quintessential “American dream.” I am completing my PhD program in Educational Leadership.  I am the founder and CEO of a consulting and training business in diversity, cultural competency and change management.  I work fulltime at one of the top pediatric hospitals in the world.   And last but not least, I am the proud mom of 4-year old twin boys and the wife to a great husband (who also works one full-time and one part-time job).  I say all of this not to brag.  Actually, having written all of that, I feel close to nausea – but I start off by listing the nuances of my life to state with strength that ‘it is possible.”  “How?” you ask?  My simple answer is,” You don’t make ‘not possible’ an option.”

Another working mom once told me that she has a conversation with all of these so-called crystal balls that we working moms juggle.  The conversation basically goes like this: “We are going to work together.  This is a concert – a symphony – that necessitates all of us figuring this out together, daily, and consistently. Eye on the prize, people.  Not working together is not an option.  Not making this work is not an option.  We will make this work. And it will be fun.”

Directive? Yes.  Decisive? Yes.  Sadistic? No, it’s not.  And it’s not sadistic, simply because you’ve had the conversation. It would be sadistic and self-sabotage if you weren’t having this conversation with yourself and all the crystal balls that are floating precariously above your head.  This is what working moms call “control” and is something all of us strive to have and maintain.  I’m not arguing that it’s always possible, but if you have already decided what crystal balls you want to include and juggle, then go the extra step and have that conversation with them.  We do this with our kids and our colleagues at work, right?  We direct behavior, influence feeling, incept control, and bypass passivity.  This is what occurs in self-directive conversations like the one above. 

I believe fully that working moms are the ultimate symphony of control in unparalleled grace.  For me, at least, much of that symphony starts with a simple conversation with myself.  The next hurdle is making sure everyone else around you is listening to the same music…!

Eloiza is a mom balancing work, twin preschoolers and entrepreneurship.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

There Was An Old Boy Who Swallowed A Frog...

Gianni:  Mommy, I swallowed a frog.

Mommy:  Huh?  What?

He places my hand on his chest and says solemnly:  See?  Feel that ribbitting?

Mommy (feeling relieved):  Honey, that's your heart.

Gianni (looking relieved):  OHHHH!  It's just my fart?

Melyssa writes over at The Daze of Us and, we cannot tell a lie, she's awesomely funny. Go visit! Enjoy!

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Natural Planning Birth Story

When Elijah was about 6 months old, I had a long time friend tell me some disturbing information about birth control pills. I spent quite a bit of time doing my own research and came to the same conclusions she did. It was then that I knew God had opened my eyes to this realization for a reason and I could no longer take the pill. 

When you've always been on the pill, you're not really concerned with what your body is doing. You just know that your chances of getting pregnant are very slim. I was always told that you don't ovulate when you take birth control pills. One of the things I learned is that's not 100%. In the event that you do ovulate (which is very likely) and an egg does get fertilized, the pill works to make sure that the baby cannot implant in the uterus and survive. I believe life begins at conception and taking a pill that would prevent that life from living was unacceptable.

We knew we wanted to have more kids, so doing something permanent was out of the question. Out of all the options we had, we chose to become educated on Natural Family Planning. We took classes at the local hospital and met with a nurse for the first few months. We were even able to get our insurance company to pay for it (minus our copay). I was in complete amazement of my body and my fertility! This was the first time I was being educated in depth on how my fertility cycle works. This may sound strange, but I was excited about it! 

I received a lot of opposition from people when I told them we were doing Natural Family Planning. Most people laughed and joked saying, "You know what they call people who do Natural Family Planning, right? They're called parents!" Those who didn't laugh at me, yelled at me. The nurse at my obgyn was the worst. I couldn't believe how many people were against a natural form of birth control! I was determined to prove them wrong.

It was a leap of faith to give Natural Family Planning a chance. What if I messed up and didn't chart properly? That was my main concern. We weren't ready to get pregnant again yet. If you've read my first two birth stories, then you know I'm pretty fertile. But, I felt educated enough to know what I was doing and trusted that this was the path God wanted us to take.

We did Natural Family Planning successfully for 3 1/2 years to avoid pregnancy. We then used it to get pregnant with baby #3, and did so in the first month we tried. I'd say it works just fine :)

Erin is a Colorado mommy who loves her family is taking an unusual path - even with four kiddos she and her husband are living debt free! She blogs at Life with the Radcliffs.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Paint Chip Matching

Idea/Photo from
I am not a crafty person. No doubt about it. In fact, crafts have the potential to make me break out in hives.

I am a bargain hunter and homeschooling mom, however. I've been having constant problems getting outside the work pages box to make things fun for the kiddos.

Last week I saw this link on Pinterest and decided maybe, just maybe I could make this... and I did! And the kids love it!

So, here's how to make your own.

1. Go to the paint section of your local store and select a few paint chips. Get two of each color.

2. Visit the laundry supplies section and get a bag of wooden clothespins. I went to Target and bought mine for $1.50, last night I saw a bag at the Dollar Tree, so it can be pretty inexpensive wherever you go.

3. Cut one of the paint chips to fit the tip of the wooden clothespin and glue the paper to the pin.

4. Watch glue dry.

5. Throw the wooden clothespins into a gallon bag with the untouched paint chips. Let the kids match the colors together... gives them good practice with discerning different colors, manual manipulation, and you may possibly find clothespins attached to their ears and noses, which is always fun.

Cheap, easy, effective and something you can take wherever you go. That's my kind of thing!

JJ is the mom of three girls ages 1, 4, and 5. She is always on the lookout for bargains and things to keep her children from emptying the flour bucket.
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