Thursday, October 27, 2011

Making Time... and Bread

I've been alone with the three kids for quite some time now. I don't even know how long its really been. Some days go really well and other days, I feel like I've crossed that line from stressed to crazy.

Right now, the baby is teething. My oldest never complained when her teeth popped in. Actually, most of the time, we didn't even know they were coming in until they were out. With our son, we were able to give him these wonderful teething tablets that worked like a charm... Then they were recalled. Luckily, he was pretty much done teething by the time that happened. Adrina though.... Man, oh man. Poor thing can't sleep, doesn't feel like eating and to top it all off, has outrageous congestion. Needless to say, she consumes much of my time right now. The house work is piling up. I've got 4 baskets of clothes that need to be folded and put away. I need to clean out the fridge. And I'm pretty sure the plants in my bathroom window would have survived better living in the desert. Its just that because the poor baby is so needy right now, the only things I have time for are feeding kids and dogs, cleaning up from feeding kids and dogs and then cleaning the kids and dogs.

In the midst of all the chaos and crying, I think the older two kids were feeling a bit left out. Plans that I'd had for park trips I had to postpone because of the baby being sick. Even playing in the back yard... I'd planned on having some fun with them out there today but about 5 minutes before were went out, the lawn care company came and put chemicals on the lawn. So that was scratched too. I decided to put aside all the cleaning and such and have some fun with the kids.

My husband found these neat books years ago with cool crafts and recipes in them for kids. I picked the bread recipe and the kids and I made some cool stuff out of really easy, kid friendly bread dough.

Ingredients

1 packet of active dry yeast
2/3 cup of warm water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup flour
raisins for decorating (I didn't use any though)

Instructions

Don't ask me how they made animals out of this stuff!
1) Dissolve yeast in the warm water.

2) Mix salt and sugar into the yeast and water.

3) Stir in the flour and butter.

4) Take "dough" and kneed it for about 5 minutes, until it is stretchy and smooth.

5) Make animals or shapes or whatever your heart desires out of the dough and place on a cookie sheet.

6) Set cookie sheet aside for 30 minute to allow the dough to rise.

7) Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until bread is golden in color.


We ate ours at dinner with our pasta. The kids had so much fun doing these. The excitement on their faces when they saw the bread on their plates at dinner was priceless. I am so very glad that we got to spend time together doing something fun. I think I needed it just as much as they did. And you know what? Having them do this with me kept them from making other messes in the house that I'd have to clean up later. Added bonus :)

We also painted pasta orange (and then my son painted himself which led to an impromptu bath in the kitchen sink). After the paint dried, we glued the noodles to a paper with a pumpkin drawn on it. Simple but they had fun. Entertaining preschoolers isn't that hard and if you put your heart in the right place, it can be a total blast.

As much as being on "house arrest" with the kids can drive me nuts sometimes, I love getting to spend time with them. There are times when I'm pretty sure I need them more than they need me. I know I have many years until this happens, but I have no idea how I'm going to survive empty nest syndrome. I hope my hunny is starting to put together some fun vacations to keep me occupied!





Time with your children is important... for them AND for you!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Welcome to the Land of "NO!"

Does any one else in the world feel like the only word they say all day long is, "NO!"? If I didn't randomly have conversations with adults, I'd swear it was the only word I knew.

I didn't even think about it until, in response to a reprimand today, my son said, "No, Mah!" to me. He's been saying the word to me for a few weeks now but for some reason, today, it hit me that he got it from me.

Any given day can go something like this:

To Chanel, our bulldog: "No! You stupid dog! No! Stop chewing on my wall!"

To Alex, my oldest daughter: "No, Alex, we are not watching Dora movies... again... No more for now."

To Anthony, my son: "OH NO!!!!!! What are you doing? Don't do that! NO!!!! Put your pants back on!"

To Adrina, the baby: "Don't cry, sweetie. It's ok. Uh. Oops. NO! Stop barfing on me!"

To Spike and Stella, our boxers: "No! Get back here! No! Don't run away AGAIN!"

To my poor, dear husband: "No darling, I didn't remember to start your car even though you've been asking me for over a week to do it."

I say it ALL the time.

"No more sippy cups. You pee too much."

"Oh No. Who colored on the wall THIS time?"

"No, I'm not interested in what ever it is that you keep calling me about trying to sell."

"No, No, No, Anthony! DON'T try to swing on the curtins!"

"No! Don't touch that! It's hot!"

"No! You can't feed that to the baby! No sharing cherios with the baby!"

"No, you dumb dog! The barbie is NOT a chew toy!"

"Oh No! I stepped in dog barf in my bare feet again."

"No, I don't remember having the conversation that you said we had 10 times in one day. My brain is fried."

"No, Alex, it is not time to get up. It is 4 am. It is still night time."

"No, Anthony, you can't climb onto the dining room table and jump off."

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO

Ugh. In all seriousness, I tried to use a different word today. I asked my daughter if she could refrain from stealing her brother's toy cars. She looked at me like I was crazy. She had no idea what I was talking about.

I tease my oldest daughter by saying that when she is doing something silly that she is "Cah-Ray-Zee". Ironicly, the only time I can remember saying the word "Yes" in the last week or so was today when she asked me, "Mommy, are you "Cah-Ray-Zee?"

I have got to figure out some other word to use that expresses my negative oppinion of something. Maybe something along the lines of, "Kid, if you try to climb out that window one more time, I'll kick your butt!" Or how about, "Babe, I didn't start your car even though you've been asking me to because I know everything and since I know everything, I know it's all good in the hood!" Maybe, "Sweetie, if you ask me for a piece of candy again, I'm going to make you eat so much that it'll make you sick and you'll never even want to THINK about candy for the rest of your life."

I don't know. Those seem a bit harsh. Well... not the one about me knowing everything but whatever.

It seems that my only options are to 1) stop talking all together. 2) Start speaking another language where the word for "no" isn't "no". I tried this with Spanish but it didn't really work. So, some other language. 3) Make some freakish noise instead of saying "no." Or 4) just accept the fact that for the rest of my life, I'll be saying the word "NO" on a regular basis.

In 15 years it'll be:

"No, Anthony, you can NOT drive my car!"

"No, Alex, I am not buying that expensive purse for you. No, I'm not getting the shoes for you instead."

"No, Adrina, I'm not goinng to let you go to the mall by yourself."

"No, Darling, I didn't put my fingers on your perfectly waxed car."

"No, we don't still have those nutty dogs. We have new ones. Their names are 'No' and 'Not a chance.'"

"Yes, I AM CAH-RAY-ZEE!!!"

Know what I'm saying? What? No? Ok. Whatever.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Getting To The Point Of It All: The Wife

I've been doing a ton of thinking and pondering and wondering lately. I've been doing some reading and some listening and some praying. I've been doing a whole lot lately. I have had a ton of stuff going on inside my head lately, a ton going on at home recently and some how, I still had writers block. I couldn't figure out what I wanted to blog about and it was driving me nuts. I began to wonder why I even started this blog.

I think I had originally wanted to do it because I love to write and I wanted to write about SOMETHING so I wrote about the only thing I know right now. Motherhood. I obviously don't know that much about it and half the stuff that happens to me or my kids or more frustrating than entertaining. I don't want to write about things that are going to bring people down. I wanted to write about something that others can relate to. Such as the pursuit of becoming a Supermom.

This led me to wonder why I was even trying to be a Supermom. What even is a Supermom? Does she really exist or is she just something that we've all built up in our minds? I look at other women and I think, "That woman has it all together. She looks amazing. Her kids are all clean and cute. They're all smart and super athletes. Every one loves them. Her husband thinks she's the greatest thing since sliced bread. Her home is spotless and there's always something delicious cooking. I want to be her." You know what though? I don't know many women who actually fit this description. Who have it all and are the best at everything. Half the ones that come close are missing something. Sure, her husband may think she's great, but she's so busy with the house and kids that she never pays him any attention. Yeah, her kids are adorable and popular but they take her for granted. Yeah her hair and make up is all done and she has an amazing body but she's torn up inside consumed with either her own vanity or an insecurity so severe that she could be sent to the loony bin if she got any closer to the edge.

I'm not perfect. I wish I was. I wish I was able to keep my house clean enough to have company over at the drop of a hat. I can't cook. Sometimes, I lock myself in the bathroom. My kids have been known to throw fits in public. My dogs attack the cranky neighbors. Most days, I forget to put deodorant on. I am so busy cleaning up messes that I didn't get to from the day before that I have a hard time teaching my children basic things like numbers and the alphabet and such. Half the time, the make up on my face is left over from the night before. And I can tell you, one way to save money on your water bill is to completely forget to shower. Works. I promise.

I keep trying to figure out who I'm competing with though. Is there some one that I feel the need to "beat" and become the best mommy? Are there really women out there who are perfect mothers? Perfect wives? Perfect everythings? What is a successful mom? The meaning of success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose (Merriam Webster Dictionary). Well, by this definition, it's attaining your end goal. What is my goal?

I want so very badly to be a good mom. I've been trying to look to what I know is Right and Sound for direction. God's word, the Bible, is the only place I've been able to turn that provides hope and wisdom and guidance.

I've been trying to pinpoint where the root of becoming a good mom begins. Obviously, God. From the start of time, His creation of woman has shown what His intention for us was. We were born into a role. That role was wife. We, as women, were created to be man's help mate. His wife. Then, our "job" or instruction from God was to "be fruitful and multiply..." (Genesis 1:28). Have babies! Become parents. Among other things. But then we raise those children to do the same thing. Its our nature. Its what we were created to do.


So, ok. I've got the hunky wonderful husband. I "was fruitful and multiplied" with him. We have three gorgeous babies. Got the fruitful thing down. No problems there. But then what? I've turned to Proverbs 31 for the sketch of the noble wife for further guidance. This woman is the ultimate Supermom. I don't know where she came from but half the time, I want to smack her for being such a stinking go-getter and setting the standard so high. The rest of the time, I want to be her with every fiber of my being. I've read Proverbs 31:10-31 countless times. Seriously, I can't tell you how many times I've read this passage. She's amazing. She works her butt off. She runs the day to day operations of the home. She takes care of the kids. She provides for her servants. She runs her own business. Her husband loves and respects her and HE is respected BECAUSE of her. Every one loves her. Including her kids. But where does she start?

Even after all the times I've read this passage, my mind and heart keep taking me back to verses 10 and 11.
"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value."

It all starts with her relationship to her husband. Her original purpose. She is a rare, beautiful gem. She has incredible value. Her husband trusts her with everything he has and is. Because of her, he doesn't need ANYTHING that matters. He is complete because of her.

It makes total sense when I stop and think about it. The family starts with him. He is the head of the family, of the household. As God intended. And the wife's duty is to her husband. She is to love him and respect him and submit to him. This doesn't mean be his puppet. If a man is fully leading with the power God gave him, the way God meant for him to lead, then submission is easy. Fulfilling. Enjoyable. If he is being a good leader, it is easy to respect him and follow his lead. But the wife's character, her personality when no one is looking is what brings it all together. What I am when I'm not being scrutinized by the mass public is what counts. How my husband sees me is important. So important that it affects the entire family dynamic. Granted, not every woman is blessed to be married to a man who will see the important things, the wonderful beautiful facets of his wife's being. I am though. I have a great husband who I feel blessed to be united with. I enjoy being his wife and am happy that I get to live this life with him. That I get to make babies and raise them with him. How he sees me as his partner, as his helpmate is crucial. If he doesn't have confidence in me, if he can't trust me with our home and children when he isn't around, then life's gonna get real hard real quick.

On my quest to become a Supermom, I have to start at the beginning. I have to make sure that I 1) attain noble character. That I become a woman of high moral qualities. 2) That I conduct myself in such a manner that my husband believes that I am capable. That he can do what he needs to do in his God designed role and not have to worry about the rest. That I'm here to help him and take care of it. 3) That my husband lacks nothing of value. That his heart and soul are content. That he has everything this life has to offer that really matters. Not material. But some one that meets his needs as a man and a husband. That I am his friend and lover and confidant and team mate. As my husband and I like to joke, his P.I.C. His partner in crime.
I have been born into a role and am determined to fulfill it. It is what God created me to do. Trying my very best to be what He wants me to be is a way to glorify Him. I get to glorify Him by trying to be a good wife to the man I love. Does it get any better than that? I can't be the best mom I can be until I am the best wife to my husband that I can be.

So here, my journey really begins. I've got a ton of work to do. I want to be, in my husband's eyes, a precious, valuable gem that adds quality to his life. If I don't try, the chances of me succeeding are zero. I can't be that woman if I don't give it an honest effort. Now that I know what I need to do, I need to figure out how to do it.

Here's to keeping on in my quest to be a Supermom.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Home Made Pretzels

I have been craving those gigantic soft pretzels that you can get at the mall or at a fair. I mean, craving them bad. So today, I decided that I'd just make them. Going to the mall with three little ones just for a pretzel is insane. Well, for that matter, trying to make them with three little ones was too but I pulled it off somehow.

Since I already wrote it all out on my other blog, Eat Your Heart Out: A Culinary Exploration, I'm just going to post the link. I highly suggest checking it out though. They turned out beautifully and the kids loved them too. I also made some cinnamon pretzel bites with a cream cheese sauce for dessert. They weren't that hard to make and we all loved them.






Friday, October 14, 2011

To Hell and Back Again

Sometime in the early afternoon on October 14, 2009, my week old son felt warm. I didn't think much of it until a few hours later, he felt even warmer. I took his temperature and the thermometer read something close to 100. I would then make a call to my pediatrician who would send me to the hospital. What happened next changed my life forever...

I never thought I would have children. Not that I wouldn't be able to. Just that having kids was something amazing and wonderful, something I didn't deserve after all the horrid things I'd done in my life. There isn't a time in my life where I can look back and say that I wasn't doing something wrong. I mean, really wrong. Not just stupid little things like wearing make up to school when my parents said no (which I actually never did) but things that would eat up my soul and hurt others in ways that were irrevocable. I believed that having children was something that God allowed to happen to people who were good. Such a silly thing of me to think though. Look at how many terrible people have children every day. But I didn't think that good things were going to happen to me since I knew what was Right and Good and turned my back.

I had my first daughter a week before my 23rd birthday. She was the center of my world. In some ways she still is but its different. Hard to explain. When she was about 7 or 8 months old, we got pregnant again. This time with a boy. I had so much pride in the fact that I was going to be able to give my husband a son. Some one who would carry his name and his legacy. Some one that he would bond with in the way that only fathers and sons can. I was ecstatic. When I actually gave birth to him, that pride was probably the most dominant emotion. As I watched my husband hold him and talk to him, I knew I was a good wife.

My poor child
Then, a week later, I was sure that it was all coming to an end. My husband had already had to go back to work (he traveled and worked several states away) and my mom had come to visit and help me with the baby for a week. If she hadn't been there, I don't know what we would have done. When I realized that my son had a fever and the pediatrician told me to take him to the ER, my mom was able to stay with my daughter and I headed out. I'm pretty sure I hadn't showered that day, I don't think I had brushed my teeth and I can promise that I hadn't put deodorant on. I was in that weird panic mode that one goes into where they have tunnel vision and can only think of the task at hand. Everything around me was a blur. As soon as we got to the ER, they took him back and began to explain to me what was going to happen.

A baby that small with a fever has to go through a series of tests. They have blood drawn, urine samples taken and a spinal tap. It turns my stomach even to this day to think of the things that my poor baby boy had to go through. And that was only the beginning. They also took him back for x rays to make sure there was nothing in or wrong with his lungs. Seeing a tiny baby on an xray table is scary in and of itself. By the time we got back from the x ray, we were being prepped to have him taken in an ambulance to Children's Hospital. I broke down here. Everything was happening so fast and I had no idea what was going on and his fever kept getting higher. I began to cry and the kind nurses gave me juice saying that it was just my pregnancy hormones getting to me. While I appreciated their kindness, I knew it was more than that. My baby had just had his toes pricked, a needles stuck in his spine and a catheter. He'd had to be stripped down to his diaper and placed on a cold table for an x ray. And now, he was going to be placed on a gurney and taken away with strangers by ambulance to another hospital. On top of it, I still had no answers as to what was going on.

I told the EMTs to just take him to the hospital and that I would get there when I got there. I immediately got in the car, called my husband and mom and let them know where I was going. The drive from the local hospital to the Children's Hospital my son was being taken to was the longest car ride of my life.

When I finally got to the hospital and up the floor that I was told he'd be at, I had a director take me aside and tell me that something had happened in the ambulance and that I needed to follow her. They had had to take him to the ICU because he went into shock in the ambulance. Don't ask me what this means though. I'm not a doctor or an EMT. And I'm sure they tried to explain it to me but I just needed to see my baby. When I was escorted into the room that he was in, he was already hooked up to all kinds of machines and a doctor was suited up to begin the next procedure. I was only able to see my baby for a moment before I was taken to the waiting room and told that my son had to be put on a breathing machine because at this point, they didn't think that he'd be able to breath on his own after going into shock. I can't tell you how long it took for them to put in the tube. It felt like an eternity. Even thinking about it now and how hard that was makes me cry. Even two years later. I can't help it. It was scary and sad and I had never felt so alone in my entire life. As I sat in the waiting room, I noticed other mothers in there with suitcases and lunch boxes and laptops. It hit me then that I would probably be here for quite a while. I sat and cried until they came back and got me.

You can tell how swollen he is by looking at his hands
Seeing a baby with a breathing tube in and hearing the terrible machines with all the wires and the annoying beeping is hard. But its even harder when its your own baby. On top of everything that was happening, I wasn't allowed to touch him. Because they didn't know what was wrong with him, we weren't allowed to touch him for fear that it may cause him to go into shock again. Not being able to touch your baby when he's hurting, when you're hurting is SO difficult. I can't express how much that alone affected me.

I called my husband again to give him an update. By this time it was after midnight and so he went back to sleep and caught one of the first flights out in the morning. I left the hospital only to pick him up from the airport. Bringing him in there to see our son was not easy. I knew how hard it would be for him to see his boy like that, when only days before he saw him healthy and happy. I wont share his reaction because that is his story, not mine. My father called later that day and asked for an update from me. He asked me if I wanted him to come down. I didn't know how to say the words, "Please come meet your grandson before he dies." So I simply said, "yes".

The days all ran together. My husband and I shared the tiny couch in the room to sleep on. We went over a week before our son even opened his eyes again. Because of whatever happened to him, he swelled up, going from 8 lbs to 12 lbs in days. My husband had asked a doctor what she thought about his survival chances. Her answer, just like the other doctors was, "We cant say because we dont know." Between the stress and not eating right, my breast milk dried up quicker than I thought it could. I think it was something like 5 days before I actually left the hospital and went home for a few hours. They were having to prick his toes so much for blood tests that they evenutally decided to put a PIC line in. No one else in the universe would notice unless I pointed it out but he still has a scar from it and it breaks my heart every time I see it.

Towards the end of his stay in the ICU. His color is good.
After about 7 days, his fever went back down and they were able to give him some medicine that helped with his swelling. They moved him to another ward where he didn't have to be on the breathing tube any more. My parents came up often with my daughter and we got to spend time with them with out leaving my son's side. The doctors never figured out what was wrong. They never discovered what had caused the original fever. We still don't have answers. The struggle didn't really change from there. He couldn't eat solids until after his first birthday. An endoscopy  showed that there was nothing phyisically wrong with him but he just couldn't swallow anything other than formula. When he was about 4 months old, he got a rash on his face which eventually spread, erupted and got infected. The poor kid had a staph infection in his face. Turns out, it was just exema but because I put all the wrong ointments on it and it spread so quickly...

I wish I could say that while he was in the hospital though, hanging on for dear life, that I was strong. That I was hopefull. I told people that I knew he'd be ok but I didn't believe it. I was angry at God. Very angry. I hated him for what He was allowing to happen to my little boy. I was angry that he would tease me with a son just to take him away. I was angry that He wasn't giving us any answers. I was angry that I had to be strong for others when all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and die. When you have no hope, you don't want to live. I didn't think my son was going to live and I didn't want to have to live through losing him. I know its selfish and pitiful but its the truth. I wanted nothing to do with God. I found Him cruel and abandoning. Harsh. When I wasn't talking to the doctors or pretending to put on a good face for the people around me, my life was dark. I really don't remember anything specific about our stay there besides my son laying on the table, not being able to touch him, to sooth and comfort him. Not being able to hear his cry. To know that he was hurting and I couldn't do anything about it. I couldn't comfort my husband's hurting soul. I couldn't do anything to ease his pain either. Darkness. Complete darkness. And I let it take me over. I went through the motions but inside I was empty.

Foolish me. Who am I to question God? Who am I to blame him for what sin has done to the world? My son getting sick was not God's fault. It wasn't something God "allowed" to happen. But it is something that God used to change my life. It is something that He used to show his power. He took my son's broken body and healed it. Not just made it better. He healed him. He carried my son away from death's door and brought him back to live a healthy and hopefully happy life.

I can't tell you how many people were praying during this time because I don't know. However, I do know that there was prayer and there was a lot of it. Prayer from all over the world. Earnest, honest, loving, genuine prayer. On behalf of my son. I know that God could have healed or not healed my son as He saw fit but I think that He waited for hearts to open and ask for Him to show His mercy and power. I'm not going to say things like "It was a miracle!" because I know that it was God being God. He took care of my baby boy because I couldn't. He worked in ways that only He can.

I look back on that time in my life and cringe. I didn't want to give God the credit then. I didn't care to talk to God or see His face since I believed that it was His fault that any of it happened anyway. The months that followed got darker for me and only because I allowed the darkness to take over. I got angrier and angrier and it affected our family greatly. Those months were miserable. I do not wish to go back to that place again.

I was raised in the church, went to a Christian school from kindergarten through high school and then to a Christian university. I have heard over and over again to "count it all joy when you fall into various trial..." (James 1:2). I never fully understood it until now though. Seriously, not until very recently. Through what my son went through, God was glorified. It was obvious that it was He who healed my son. Who loved me enough to keep my son here when it would have been better for him to be with God. Who blessed me with a wonderful, albeit crazy, little boy. Who has blessed my son with healthy and life in a abundance. It wasn't the doctors or modern science. In fact, I'm convinced that they (modern science, the monetary and prideful greed of the doctors) made it much worse than it needed to be. However, through it all, those who knew and now know about the situation know that my son is breathing and running and laughing and growing today because of God and His infinite and loving power. I can look back on those dark, lonely days now and see that God was always there, waiting for me to acknowledge Him. I am only sorry it has taken me so long. I look back on that time and I don't see so much of the pain as the saints that came together in loving, fervrent prayer pleading to God for my baby's life. I see my mothers face as she tells me about some new person that let her know they were praying. I see my daddy sitting next to me when I got to hold my baby again for the first time. I see the tears on my husband's face as he got to hold our son. I see God's presence through the whole ordeal. Not in a taunting "oh, I could make it all better at any time if I wanted to" kinda way. But in a, "Dont' worry. I have all of this under control. I will take care of your prescious child in ways that you will never understand" kinda way. I look back on that time and I am thankful for the lesson I have learned from it.

2 years ago today changed my life. I went to hell and back again before I finally learned what I was supposed to learn but I'm glad it finally happened. I am thankful that it happened so that God's grace and love can be made known it ways it may not have otherwise.

There is a song called Saint Veronika by Billy Talent that makes me think of that time in my life and my son. A small excerpt from the song goes:
"You can't leave this world behind
So be strong enough to hold onto us
We're still right here by your side

No one ever thought that she was capable
And the damage done is irreversible
Now she clings to life inside a hospital
Like she's trapped inside a frozen waterfall
Always said her life was never meant to be
Stuck here living someone else's dream
Well beyond your window there is so much more
Even every prison has a open door

Veronika, Saint Veronika
You can't leave this world behind
So be strong enough to hold onto us
It's just not your time to die

And while the angels sleep
All of the devils are awake
Waiting to steal your love
Right outside of Heaven's gate
And all the sacred hearts
Can't numb the feeling from the pain
Cause when the drugs don't work
You're gonna curse His holy name"

Its almost ironic how terribly fitting this song has been.

Feeling so hopeless will eat you alive. Dying a slow and painfilled death. Because of the greatness and love of God, my baby boy gets to live a healthy fulfilled life. Because of the mercy and forgiveness of God, so do I.






Dad sitting with me as I got to hold my son for the first time in over a week

My baby in the ICU

 
My happy little boy 2 years later

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Potty Power

Oh man, oh man! I am so excited I could scream! Like I've mentioned before, I have no stinkin idea how to potty train a boy. All the well meaning advice and tips and suggestions stress me out. Tonight, I decided to give one a try and see how it went.

As usual of late, my son let me know that he needed his diaper changed. He does this cute but totally embarrassing thing where he pats his diaper and squeaks "POOP!" whether is a #1 or a #2. He's done it out in public several times and I'm pretty easily embarrassed so mortification sets in pretty quickly when I hear his high pitched announcement.

When talking to other mothers of little boys, the advice that I hear most often is to just let him run around commando. I honestly thought this was nuts. How is this supposed to encourage him to pee in the potty? He probably likes peeing in the open better than with a diaper on. However, tonight, instead of putting a new diaper on when he came running and squeaking at me, I decided to give it a try. I made sure that I wasn't super busy so that I could stop what I was doing in case of an accident. I made sure all the books were up off the floor and that the baby was in the swing and not on her blanket having tummy time.

As soon as he realized I wasn't putting a new diaper on him, he ran around the house screaming with excitement. Enjoying the breeze, I'm sure. I tell you, that poor kid has got some seriously skinny legs and I don't really ever realize it unless he's running around bare bottomed. With him running around with out protection though, I was pretty nervous. I've got two other kids and three dogs. I don't need any more messes and I was afraid that's what I'd have on my hands.

Nearly every 5 minutes, I asked him, "Do you need to go potty?" With out fail, every time, he answered, "Dah!" which is his way of saying "yeah". So we'd both run into the bathroom and I'd sit him on the seat on the toilet. I can't tell you how many times we were in there. Too many to count. Most of the time he just sat there and talked at me. Or pointed out Boots (its his sister's Dora potty seat that he was using). When my oldest would come in the bathroom to see how we were progressing, he'd scream at her just like she does him when he tries to follow her in there. Made me laugh.

However, out of all the times that we were in the bathroom, chatting on the potty, he peed twice. I almost cried. I was so excited. I think he got a little freaked out at first when I started yelling and cheering but then I think he got excited too. Needless to say, he got a lolly pop each time. My daughter got one too just because she helped me cheer him on.

But he did it! I was so proud of him for using the potty. Its the first time ever. And I know we still have a long way to go but we're going and that's better than not. Hopefully, I will soon only have one in diapers.

This Wannabe Supermom is strutting around in her three piece suit and cape happy as a clam and so proud of her little boy. Potty Power!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby Boy

It was actually around this exact time (8:30 pm) two years ago that a final push brought my little boy into the world. I honestly remember it like it was yesterday. I remember most of my pregnancy with him like it was yesterday.

My daughter was almost 8 months old when we found out we were pregnant again. I had baby fever. I knew I wanted another baby when she was about 3 months and in all our craziness, we tried for a few months before we actually made another little stinker.

I found out I was pregnant again the day before the 2009 superbowl. I took the test and put it out in our bedroom, called my husband up and told him I was a good Steelers' wife and that I had a gift for him. I got his reaction on video. He was pretty happy.

My husband waited till the next day to make his gender prediction though. We're pretty die hard Pittsburgh Steelers fans and as weird as it is, a male is born in my husband's family every year the Steelers win the superbowl. So, when we won that night, he was even more excited than most other fans since he "knew" we were having a boy. I held my breath though.

We moved a month or so later. From Pittsburgh to Atlanta. Because my husband traveled for work, I was alone most of the time with our daughter, our two boxers and a few months in, 6 puppies. May I just say that my female boxer, Stella, handles pregnancy much better than I do. I knew she was in heat and did my best to keep her and Spike away from each other. In all seriousness, they were alone for less than 5 minutes. A couple months later, when I felt that her nipples were a little larger than normal, I was convinced she was pregnant so I took her to the vet. There, I was told that she couldn't possibly be pregnant since she was fat enough. Seriously, less than a week later, she gave birth to 6 adorable puppies. I've not seen that vet since then. I wish I looked that good when pregnant though!

Anyway...

For whatever reason, the OB (or all 8 of them) wouldn't let me find out the gender as soon as was normal. I don't remember why. So I went to one of those 3D ultrasound places and found out the gender. My husband was right. I could tell before the technician even pointed it out. I was excited. I wanted very badly to give my husband a son. Some one to carry on his name.

I have scoliosis pretty bad and toward the end of my pregnancy, my back pain was pretty unbearable. In the last week or so, when I was already dilated (and all the rest of the fun details), I tried everything to get him to come out. We went on long walks. All the time. I tried eating really spicy food, something I don't do because my stomach can't handle it. I couldn't handle it then either but it did nothing for inducement. I tried other things with some help of the hubby and I even tried drinking Castor oil. I do NOT recommend that one. It didn't work for me and it was SO nasty! And the side effects weren't pleasant. No bueno!

Finally, about 4 days before my date, we went to the doctor and they signed off on inducing me since my back pain was so bad. We'd never been more relieved. My poor husband had been home for a week or so with his Grandfather in town and he would have had to go back to work and leave me. Thankfully, I was induced before he had to go back.

That morning, we woke up bright and early since we were told that I could call at 6 am and head in at 8. I called and was told to wait a few hours and call back. So I did. And was told to wait and call back. So I did. Finally, they said it was ok to come in. This was around noon and by then, from being up so early and being so anxious, we were already pretty tired. We get in, I get hooked up to the IVs and they start to administer my antibiotic. I had a lovely allergic reaction to that. In all seriousness, if some one ever wanted to torture me, just make me itch. It drove me nuts. Really. Being itchy all over my body for just 5 to 10 minutes made me feel like I was going insane. Thankfully, they then put some benedril into the IV and I feel asleep. I think that right before I fell asleep they dosed me with some pitocin and the inducement was on its way. About an hour later, I woke up and the doctor came in to check on me. She was a bit frazzled. As it turns out, there were 13 other baby boys born that day. SO weird. She was swamped. And in her stress, she turned on us. She tried to stop the inducement and send me home. I'm so glad the nurses talked her out of it because I began to panic and I thought my husband was going to flip out on her. I opted for the epidural. I have a ton of respect for women who choose to go through the pain of labor but I had NO desire to do it. I don't regret it one bit.

After a few hours and 3 pushes later, my baby boy was born. The umbilical cord got wrapped around him and that part was a little scary but he was just fine once that got taken care of. He came out with SO much hair! My experience afterwards was so different than with my first baby. With her, I cried like a nut when they put her on my chest and then again after they got her cleaned up. I think it was a combination between the emotions and the excitement and the love. However, when my son was born, I just felt this strange sense of peace. I was nice and calm. I felt good watching my husband hold and talk to his new son. There was pride mixed with joy. No crying. Just smiling.

The few weeks that followed his birth turned into the darkest period of my life but that is all over now and he is healthy and we are happy.

He is a ball of fire. He is loud and hyper and constantly on the go. He's destructive and has no fear of that which can hurt him (which terrifies me!). He's a total adrenaline junky already. And a total ladies man. He has HUGE brown eyes with eyelashes so long that women would kill to have them. He's got a goofy little smile and the most infectious laugh. He has the most annoying high pitch scream and likes to throw heavy toys over the balcony onto unsuspecting victims. He has put cars into my vehicle's exhaust pipes and has thrown up in the middle of the mall playground. He knows when I'm sad and need a kiss. He calls me "Mah" in the cutest little voice that melts my heart. I never thought I'd be called "Mah" or that I'd even like it. Sometimes, when he is being noisy and driving me nuts, I remind myself that there once was a time, when he was very sick, that I couldn't hear his voice. Not even his cry. I'll take that outrageous eardrum shattering squeal any day of the week.

 This little boy has taught me so many valuable lessons already. I don't feel that he is any more or less special than my two daughters but there is definitely a special bond that I have with him. He and I have been through hell and back again together. I don't think he'll ever know how much I already respect him for his inner strength. He's crazy but he always keeps going. He has a perseverance that is intimidating and admirable all at the same time. All I can do is pray and guide him so that as he gets older, that trait will be used for good and not bad.

My little man is an amazing person and I am so blessed to be able to call him my son. I wouldn't trade him for anything in the universe.

Happy Birthday, Little Anthony! Mah loves you with all her heart! You will always be my baby boy!


*There's a band that my husband and I saw at Warped Tour years ago called Family Force 5. They're some crazy kids but we both really liked them. As it turns out, they're from the Atlanta area. Since my son was born on the other side of Atlanta, this song, Kountry Gentleman, makes me think of him every time I hear it. I know its silly, even downright odd, but something about it is him to a T*

Little Man, this song's for you!

Kountry Gentleman
I come from the land where the mullet attacks
Business up front
Party in the back
You gotta style in the south when your steppin' out
Put a gold tooth in your mouth
Look at you now
Tank top, your ball cap, you think your all that
But your lookin' like Scott Stapp!
Your just another redneck from back in the woods
Not a Kountry Gentleman that can bring the goods
TAY-O!

[Chorus]
My momma raised me in the durty south
A Kountry Gentleman
So you best watch your mouth
My momma raised me in the durty south
A Kountry Gentleman
That's what it's all about!

IROC-Z , Got an eagle on it
Rolling on some 12's
Don't you know I'm gonna flaunt it
Am I driving too fast for you now?
Backfire!
The muffler goes "Ka-Plow!"

Now that I got your attention
Just let me mention that I'm pinchin' pennies
To buy some 20's
I got plenties and many's of money's just to give to my friends
And that would certify me as
A Kountry Gentleman brrrrrrrt

Momma, what you got cookin' up in that kitchen?
[From: http://www.elyrics.net/read/f/family-force-5-lyrics/kountry-gentleman-lyrics.html]
Cookin' fried chicken?
You know I love that soul food
Everythang you cook is so good
For a southern man like me
Gotta cook it up clean, cook it up mean
Mama don't like it when you got leftovers
Just gimme me some of them collard greens

Got me some grub and I gotta go
Down to the grocery store
Tailgate party at the PIG WIG
Jumpin' up and down in the back of a truck bed
Look at that kid tryin' to act all big
Tried to breakdance and break his legs
He ain't got what I got
Let's make it hot up in this parking lot!

[Chorus]
My momma raised me in the durty south
A Kountry Gentleman
So you best watch your mouth
My momma raised me in the durty south
A Kountry Gentleman
That's what it's all about!


The durty, durty south [x3]

Watch what you're sayin' around my momma!
She raised me in the Durty South!
I said, "Watch what you're sayin' around my momma!!
She raised me in the Durty South!! [x2]

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Life Is What You Make Of It

When I woke up this morning, I just KNEW today was going to be a rough day.


I haven't slept well in the last few weeks but last night was really bad. I didn't fall asleep until sometime after 2 and woke up around 6. It's not that I have a lot on my mind or anything. I just miss my husband. I haven't adjusted to him being away on this project yet. I want so badly to fall asleep to the sound of his breathing or to reach over and hold his hand as we fall asleep. As gross as this may sound, I can't bring myself to wash his pj's yet because I don't want to loose his smell. He's my best friend, my lover, my PIC (partner in crime), and I don't like being with out him. I just can't seem to fall asleep with out him by my side. Call me dependant, call me needy, call it what you want. I call it being in love.




Knowing that I was entering the day with less than 4 hours of sleep made me nervous. Dealing with a 3 year old, a 2 year old and a 3month old with almost no sleep seemed like a ticking time bomb. I felt like I was crumbling even an hour into our day.

Some one must have been praying for me, and I mean that seriously, because I ended up having one of the best days I've had in weeks. I said a brief, desperate prayer but I really do feel that some one else was asking God to give me strength. There's no other explanation for the wonderful day I had.


I had told my oldest yesterday that we would go to the park so, feeling the need to keep my word, we (I) drug our way through the morning getting ready and then packed up a "picnic" and headed to the park. We ended up eating lunch there and playing for hours. I usually get bored at the park after the first hour because I'm not getting to run around and play on the playground like the kids are (when did it become "unacceptable" for adults to play on the playground?). However, I was able to chill out, relax and soak up the smiles and laughter of my children. I think that when we have our hearts and our minds in the right place, we are able to enjoy life a little more. God's grace and the wonderful fresh air put me in a frame of mind that allowed me to revel in the beauty of my childrens' happiness. I think I ended up having almost as much fun as they did.


I love the colors in these fresh veggies

Knowing I was going to need to go to bed earlier than I did last night, we skipped nap time. We went grocery shopping (and again, God must have been present because they behaved themselves the entire time!) and then headed home. We all decorated the house for Halloween and then ate a hearty dinner... something we haven't really done since the hubs had to go on his trip. Then I decided that the day was too gorgeous to waste so we went on a walk after dropping some cookies off at the neighbor's house. On our walk, we gathered some leaves for a craft project we planned on doing later. More sunshine, more fresh air, more laughter. On the way back in the house, my neighbor came out and handed us a nice big bag of fresh veggies from a local farm. We had a nice chat and I felt blessed to be living near such kind people. There's something about knowing that you're not living next to crazy people that leaves you feeling a bit relieved and relaxed.

After all our outdoor fun, we came inside, baked up some granola for our yogurt, worked on our leaf crafts and jammed out while we picked up the house.

I just can't believe how amazingly the day proceeded after the beginning it had. I had such a burden at the beginning of the day because of the lack of sleep and knowing that three kids are a handful and the yearning for my husband's company. The only way I can explain it is that some one was asking God to help me out today. And He did. I had such a great day with the kids. My soul feels peaceful right now.

Life is what you make of it though. I could have gotten in my own way, or in God's way today and had a terrible day. Making the choice to keep on keeping on can make all the difference. You have the ability to make it or break it.

This Wannabe Supermom had one of the best days in a long time. I love my babies.






The only "bad" part of the day was finding this in one of the bushes my son kept playing in. I have no idea what kind it is but thank God it didn't bite him!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Yummy "Thank You"



Growing up, my pastor's wife, used to teach etiquette classes at the school I went to. As I got older, I joined a Bible study group that she led and she was always teaching us neat little things that would help us be better women.

One of the things that she taught us was to always say "thank you" with a gift or a card. She taught us to make "gratitude boxes" which carried an array of cards (greeting cards, thank you cards, birthday, sympathy etc.), pens and address books so that we never had to search for it all and eventually come up with an excuse to not thank some one for their acts of kindness. I still have one.

Teaching my kids to be thankful is important to me, especially since I am still to this day learning how valuable it is to living a healthy life. Since some one had recently done something nice for me, I wanted to thank her with some cookies and I wanted the kids to help.

We made cran-chocolate chip cookies.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Ingredients:

1 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tablespoons hot water
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup craisins

Mix together the granulated and brown sugars with the softened butter until mixture is creamy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix the baking soda in with the hot water and salt so as to completely dissolve the baking soda. Then add that mixture to the sugar/butter mix. Slowly beat in the flour. Then add the craisins and chocolate chips until completely mixed.

Put cookie dough on a cookie sheet by the spoonful. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the cookie is fully cooked and becomes a beautiful pale golden color.

Best eaten when warm with a cup of cold milk (of course I saved some for us!).

Showing some one you appreciate their kindness is beneficial to all involved. Teaching your kids to be grateful and appreciative is something that they will take with them through their entire lives. It will enrich their lives. Isn't that one of our biggest jobs as parents? To make sure that our children have healthy, happy lives? Teach them to give thanks.

Monday, October 3, 2011

In Honor of Strong Women: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October, as I'm sure you're aware, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Not to sound insensitive, 3 or 4 years ago, this "cause" was important to me but it was more a general "let's cure all cancer" kinda thought. Today though, it is more on my mind as "let's find a cure NOW" because I know that my daughters (even my son) are more likely to get it than I realized years ago.

About 3 years ago, my husband's grandmother called me and told me that she had breast cancer and that she was having surgery to have her lump removed. The whole situation was fairly awkward for me because cancer is a huge deal, but even more so for a woman who has lost almost her entire family to cancer. I had no idea how to tell my husband. We ended up traveling to see her a few days after she had her surgery. She was pretty shaken up about the whole thing. To this day, I know that when she has a mammogram, she gets a bit nervous. I imagine that I'd be more than nervous though. Downright crazy paranoid. I am happy to say that removing that one lump took out all the cancer and it was the only treatment she needed. She has been cancer free since then. She takes care of her body pretty well and is constantly advising me how I should be taking care of my own. I used to write it off as "oh, that's just Grandma" but I think its time I start listening to her. She's incredibly healthy and active for some one her age. She volunteers at her senior center and keeps a very clean house and socializes. I hope I can be like that when I'm over 80!

Toward the end of last year, my own grandmother was informed that she had breast cancer. I went through different emotions when I found out she had it. At first I was sad for her. My grandfather had died just a few months before that and her closest child, my mom, is about 5 hours away. She has an amazing support group with her church but it was still hard to know that she didn't really have some one there with her. Then I was scared. She told us that she had to have surgery, radiation and chemo. That's a lot for some one to go through. Especially an older woman (even though she doesn't look or act like it) who lives alone. She lives on the top of a mountain, has a horse, 4 dogs (hahaha, I think... she's always adopting some poor needy puppy) and only God knows how many cats. She has farm property to take care of and a long drive way that gets snowed on more often than not. I was worried about her. Then I was proud. My grandmother has survived so many other difficult things in her life that I knew she'd handle this with the same stubbornness and perseverance as she has the rest. And she has. I believe that the doctors were able to remove the cancer almost immediately. However, there's a protein that the body produces and that protein being present in her body was going to cause the cancer to come back full force if they didn't take care of it immediately. Hence the radiation and chemo. My mom and dad took care of her while she was going through a good bit of the treatments as well as her son and one of her step daughters. Not to mention all the wonderful people from her church. She still works, she was line dancing and volunteering at her hospital. She takes care of her home and pets as well as sings in the church choir and travels by herself up to New Hampshire. She was able to laugh at her hair loss and had a blast picking out different wigs. She is an amazing woman and I am proud to call her family.

My husband's aunt works for a non profit company called Personal Care Council. They have a program called Look Good... Feel Better. It is an amazing program for women who have cancer. They offer a class that lasts around 2 hours that teaches women how to handle the different changes their bodies will go through when fighting cancer. They provide support groups, as well as free make up with make up applications tutorials and advice and skin care products. Since they work with the American Cancer Society, they are able to connect women with benefits offered by the ACS for free. The link is http://lookgoodfeelbetter.org/ If you're able to make a donation to this company, please do. Also, the program is free so if you know a woman going through breast cancer, or any kind of cancer, please pass on this information. It's an amazing opportunity. And trust me, they really do hook you up with some pretty amazing stuff.

Breast cancer has become an immediate danger for me, not because of my grandmothers or even my mom or myself. My daughters now have a history of breast cancer on both sides of the family. That means that the possibility of them getting it eventually is greater. That devastates me. If I can do something to prevent that, you can bet your butt that I will. I hope that any one that can do something or anything to help prevent our daughters, the future of this world, our loved ones from suffering from this disease. I dated a guy once who's mother had breast cancer. She eventually died of it a few years ago. I saw how much the cancer affected her body, her personality and the whole family. It was scary and heartbreaking. I'm terrified to think that that's a possibility for my daughters.

Other than support the women we know that have breast cancer in any way we can and to donate money to organizations that raise funds for research and testing, there's not a whole lot that the average person can do to cure cancer. But if we all do what we can, wont that get us just that much closer to finding a cure? And if we find a cure for one kind of cancer, wont it be easier to find a cure of other kinds of cancers? I'm just speculating. Just a thought.

In light of October being breast cancer awareness month, I just wanted to give a shout out to two amazing women that I know and love and care about who have battled breast cancer and are survivors. They are an inspiration and if I have to have women in my family that have cancer, I'm glad that they're two strong persevering women.

Several organizations that you can donate money for the research and treatments of breast cancer are:

Look Good... Feel Better http://lookgoodfeelbetter.org/
American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org/
Ink 4 Pink Atlanta http://ink4pink.org/
National Breast Cancer Foundation http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month http://www.nbcam.org/
Susan Komen http://ww5.komen.org/
Breast Cancer Awareness Store (every purchase helps fund mamograms for women in need) https://www.thebreastcancersite.com/

Help this Wannabe Supermom in the fight to cure breast cancer and save our daughters and their futures!

More Fall Fun: Pumpkin Shaped Toast and Eggs

Ok, so to continue with my obsession with this season that I love so much, I tried to make breakfast for the kids a little more fun. I've posted before on my other blog, something exactly like this, just a different cookie cutter.

Its fun and easy.

Toast a piece of bread or spray it directly, but not heavily, with cooking spray. Make sure your pan is sprayed as well.
Using a cookie cutter, I used a pumpkin this time, cut a shape in the middle of the bread.
Put the piece of toast with the hole in it into the pan.
Break an egg into the toast that is in the pan.
Cook the egg and then either flip it to cook the other side or serve as is.
I put cheese on top just because my kids love cheese.

Serve the piece of cut out toast on the side so they can dip it in the egg.

I used to LOVE it when my dad would cut shapes into our toast. It always made eating it that much more fun. My kids are the same way. Since getting them to finish their breakfast (or any meal for that matter) can be a battle, if it takes a little "effort" for me to make it fun so they'll enjoy it more, so be it.




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