Thursday, May 28, 2009

For the record, this is not what I thought I'd be writing about when I graduated from college.

The other day I met a new mommy at Ivy's art class. She was a nice, well-dressed, well-spoken woman. She seemed to be intelligent and informed about things going on in the news.

We were enjoying our conversation when her daughter came over and said she needed to go to the bathroom. And the mommy got down to her daughter's eye level, looked at her and said, "Okay, sweetie, do you need to go wee-wee or doodie?"

And it was all I could do not to crack up. Wee-wee? Doodie? Seriously? Who on Earth uses such silly terms for bathroom behavior, I thought in a fit of undeserved self-righteous judgment.

Then my daughter came over and said she needed to go poopy and pee pee.


Though I would argue that poopy and pee pee are infinitely more dignified than wee-wee and doodie (ahem), I would lose that argument. Because, truth be told, there is nothing dignified about any of those words.

And yet we use them. My husband and I are grown adults with college educations and decent vocabularies and we say poopy and pee pee on a regular basis. Which, when you think about it, is pretty funny. We also say toot, boobies, and booty-hind (don't ask). Good Lord, we are intelligent folks.

Having realized that day that I, too, engaged in potty baby talk I tried to think of alternatives that would be polite and not too silly. But I came up empty. Maybe that shows a lack of creativity on my part. Or maybe announcing exactly what biological matter is coming out of your body just can't be both polite and intelligent sounding. Either way, it made me wonder what other parents do.

I've heard the arguments for calling private parts by their actual name and not coming up with silly names (though we apparently do that, too) but what is the dominant theory when dealing with bathroom vocabulary? Does anyone actually use "urinate" in place of pee pee with their kids?

So what is it? Poop? Tinkle? #1 and #2? What words do you teach your children to use when dealing with potty matters?

(And in case you're wondering if I'm wondering how I got to the point where I blog about potty words the answer is yes. Yes I am.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Kai and Ivy found these guys in their sandbox the other day. Actually, Kai ran in screaming, "Mom I just found the most hated creatures on the Earth and they are living in my sandbox!"

I thought she was exaggerating, but the more I look at them they do look pretty darn scary...

For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Total Truth Tuesday: Places I like to keep hidden

There are certain places in my house that I am relieved guests never have cause to enter. One such place is my refrigerator.

I am the worst about keeping it organized and neat. I am fully aware (thanks, mom) that there are certain ways to organize your refrigerator. Specific items go in certain spots. One drawer for veggies. One for fruit. Or meat. Or whatever.

But, as you can tell by the packages of hot dogs resting atop the bowl of fruit, I'm not good at such organizing endeavors. Which is why I'm thankful most people don't get to see into my fridge.

I feel pretty confident that you guys can keep a secret though. So, do me a favor and let's just keep this messy fridge business between us...

(BTW, your eyes do not deceive you. We actually do have 10 dozen eggs in there. Someone PLEASE come save me from these egg laying machines in my backyard!)

What about you? Do you have a room, closet, or cabinet you like to keep hidden?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Three: A Birthday Haiku

My sweet faced baby
Just yesterday you were born
Where did the years go?

Happy 3rd birthday, Ivy! I love you with my whole heart.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Things I wish someone had told me about breastfeeding...

1. It doesn't always get better after two weeks. Sometimes it takes just a little bit longer. In my mind I only had to make it to the 2 week mark and then everything would be fine. Then I thought it would be easy. Much like everything that goes along with pregnancy, childbirth, and children it didn't happen quite the way I had imagined. It's a very individual process and for me it took about 3 and 1/2 weeks before it got easier. But, I'm so glad I waited.

2. Your breasts are capable of literally spraying your newborn in the face when they are too full. Which can make you feel a bit like a fire hose. Yeah, enough said.

3. Once you get the hang of it, it is actually super nice not to have to worry about bringing bottles with you everywhere you go. I'm one of those moms who could have 1 kid or 15 kids and still never quite get the hang of toting all the required supplies everywhere I go. At least with breastfeeding I know I won't be leaving the essentials at home!

4. Your kids might feel the need to let everyone they meet at the grocery store, church, Target, etc. know that their mommy makes milk in her BOOOOBIEEEES!! And also to specify to unsuspecting waiters and waitresses that they do not drink boobie milk thankyouverymuch.

5. Your dad probably won't be able to look you in the eye while you are breast feeding even if you are completely covered by your Hooter Hider and sitting across the room from him. Sorry, Dad.

You'd think that with three kids I would have been able to successfully breastfeed more than once, but I haven't. Trav is the first of my kids I've actually been able to get this far with. And now that it is going better I think we'll be in it for the long haul.

What about you? Is there anything you wish you'd been told about breastfeeding to make the process easier either emotionally or physically?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Enough of me being maudlin. Here's something a bit happier...

Me & my two girls...

For more Wordless Wednesday head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I've Fallen and I can't get up.

This is me being brutally honest. Not just with you, but with myself. It's all in the name of emotional accountability.

I knew this might happen. I was on the look-out. Which is why I probably noticed it sooner that I did last time.

You see, I've fallen down. Just a little.

It's nothing bad or scary. And I refuse to feel guilty. But, today I will be headed to the pharmacy with my prescription in hand to try and get a little piece of normal back.

It didn't happen like before. There was no emotional avalanche to get trapped under. But, rather, it happened slowly. Rock by rock. Until I spent every night awake watching to make sure my kids were breathing and every day trying to keep my leaden eyelids open. Or crying over my "lost youth" in anticipation of my 30th birthday. I'm just in a fog. Or a funk. Or whatever you call not being able to get dressed before noon. (Latey I call that a weekday, but whatever.)

There is simply too much. Too much hormones. Too much family drama. Too much economic turmoil. Too much of everything being piled onto my plate at one time.

And so with medicine I'll get some relief. And some perspective. And my kids and husband will get a break from my exasperated self.

So, I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Because I'm convinced it will be a better day.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It all comes down to enunciation.

On Mother's Day when you find an inch of standing water in the basement from a leaky bathtub that needs to be sealed and you have to run into Lowe's by yourself to pick up the caulk so your husband can repair it and you can't find the stinking caulk anywhere in the store and you realize you are going to have to ask someone (anyone) for help and all those people are apparently of the male persuasion you will discover that there is no good way to ask where the location of said item is.

For example (you may need to say this out loud to understand what I'm getting at here):

"Can you show me where you keep your caulk?"

"I need some caulk. Can you help me?"

"I'm looking for caulk and can't find it. Can you point me in the right direction?"

Next time I'm totally sending Thomas in to deal with it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I don't think I have a picture more representative of my girls' personalities. This is such a perfect depiction of Ivy and Kai. My hope is that they can always be this close despite their differences.

That is the hardest part of sisterhood.

For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

Total Truth Tuesday: Can you keep a secret? **updated**

If you're related to me then you already know this.

My Total Truth this week is this: I cannot keep a secret. Cannot keep one to save my life.

If you tell me a bit of deliciously juicy gossip I will promise not to tell. And I will try. Oh, how I will try. But somehow it will slip out. Somehow I will accidentally call my mom and say, "OMG, I have something I have to tell you. But I promised not to tell so please keep it a secret okay?"

And she will promise not to tell. But guess what? This whole not-able-to-keep-a-secret problem I have? It's genetic. And I promised not to disclose which parent I got it from. (I got it from my mom.) (See what I mean?)

It's like I'm the TMZ of the family.

Lest you think I'm only untrustworthy of other people's secrets let me say this. I tell my own secrets, too. All of them. When I have a "secret" about myself or something going on in my life I always call someone and tell them. Even (and often) when I don't actually want to. And sometimes to the detriment of the situation. I cannot sit on a secret. It's like trying to sit still with a fire ant colony in your pants. Painful. Frustrating. Impossible.

I'm convinced when it comes to secrets there are two types of people in this world. People who can lock a secret away in a special mental vault (my sister is this type) and people without any self-control who spill the beans despite their best efforts to the contrary. I'm obviously the latter. And not very proud of it.

What type are you?

Updated: Because I am clearly neurotic and paranoid and having a bit of Total Truth Tuesday remorse, I wanted to say that I am actually capable of keeping real secrets. You know, the kind that actually matter. If you're a friend or relative and tell me something important and confidential I can keep it locked away. It is the, "Don't tell mom, but I just got another speeding ticket." type of secrets that leak out. Mostly among sisters.

Updated yet again: I am thinking I may just delete this post because in retrospect it was not a good idea. It was too absolute to actually be true. And also, I do have things people have told me in confidence that I haven't told anyone (on my word, I really haven't) and I always forget people who know me in real life actually read this and may not realize that I'm prone to slight exaggeration in my self-deprecation. **sigh**

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Picnic with a Purpose

Saturday we had the chance to hang out at Picnic with a Purpose thanks to Dawn from My Home Sweet Home, Cooper Munroe from The Motherhood, and (of course!) the great folks at Hebrew National.

It was a great day to hang out and mix with other bloggers and their families while enjoying some delicious hot dogs and benefiting the Abba House for women in crisis.

And thanks to Secret Agent Mama for capturing these great pics of our little family at the picnic!

Beyond Mother's Day

When I think of motherhood I hold this picture in my head.

I am two-years-old, rosy cheeked and sitting nestled on my mom's lap. I am surrounded to the right by my Mimi (grandma) and to the left by my Grandma Glady (great-grandma).

It is a cocoon of motherhood with me nestled into the middle. The collective wisdom of this council of motherhood drips from the washed out photograph in my mind.

Being a mother is the hardest job I know. I mean that not as a way to disparage other jobs or to exalt mothers above all others. I simply mean, for me, being a mother is not a naturally easy thing. Most days I feel more like the unqualified babysitter for these amazing creatures who have been entrusted into my care. I feel like an imposter. A pretend mother. As if I came straight out of a booth on Canal Street and was marketed to a tourist looking for a cheap imitation to fool everyone around her.

But these women? Surely these women have never felt this way. These women parented through the Great Depression. Or persevered through disease. Or built businesses while they grew families.

And most days I am lucky to get dressed.

In my heart, my mother, my grand-mother, and my great grand-mother are perfect moms. Moms who always knew how to respond to their children. Moms who were strong enough to keep trials and obstacles from stealing their children's innocence. Moms who had the answer to every parenting question I could ever have.

But, though my heart finds them perfect my mind knows the truth. These mothers, the ones who's collective mothering shaped my being in a domino effect of parenting, were mothers just like me. Flawed. Imperfect. Uncertain. But, ultimately, mothers who poured their hearts into their children. Mothers who loved. Mothers who got up every morning and tried again to be a better mother than the day before.

And that is all their children could ask for. It is all anyone can ask for.

Today I celebrate Mother's Day as a mother and as a child. Today I will hug my mom and tell her how much I love her. Just like I did yesterday and the day before.

Because mother's day is not just about loving or being loved for the sake of one greeting card holiday a year. It is a celebration of the unsurpassed love that mothers and children have for each other. It is a celebration of our best efforts and the efforts of all those who have shaped us.

Today I celebrate my mother. And her mother. And the mother before her.

And I will remember to celebrate them every day because of who they made me and how they shaped me.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ivy-lish: No that wasn't awkward at all...

Ivy is bit freaked out by the fact that I'm nursing Traveler. Much like the business with his boy parts, she finds the whole thing gross. And disturbing.

I've tried more times than I can count to explain to her that it is natural and how God made mommy's body to work, but she's not buying it. It doesn't help that it makes cuddling on my lap crowded when he's actually nursing.

But I still didn't expect the scene that unfolded in a restaurant the other day. I'm pretty sure our waiter didn't see it coming either.

Waiter (to Ivy): "What would you like to drink, sweetie?"

Ivy: "Chocolate milk."

Waiter: "Okay, we can do that!"

Ivy (giving her best "I mean business" glare): "But not boobie milk! I drink milk from cows. NOT milk from boobies. OOOOkaaaayyy??"

The waiter looks at me. I flush purple from head to toe and he graciously agrees to make sure to bring her cow's milk.

Apparently the kitchen was all out of boobie milk anyways.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Read This Book: Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott

I've been in a book reading funk lately. I just can't seem to find anything engaging that I am crazy about reading which is a really big deal for me because reading ranks right up there with breathing and eating for me.

I'm probably a bad Christian for admitting this, but I don't usually like books about faith. I like hearing people's stories about how they "found" God, but I can't ever manage to get through a whole book about finding faith/peace/happiness because I find myself in the literary version of a diabetic coma from all the sugary sweetness. That is a gross over generalization about those types of books, I know, but I simply talk myself out of reading them before I even get a chance to pick them up.

But my friend Dewde (who I trust not to give me a sugary sweet Christian cupcake-book) gave me this book when I was in the hospital with Traveler and once my baby haze wore off and I could stay awake long enough to read I picked it up.

And wow. This book.

Traveling Mercies
is a book about a journey to faith and finding God, but Lamott's voice is so raw and honest and real that it isn't for the easily offended. In one breath, she admits to saying or doing things that "would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish" while at the same time inspiring the reader by her unconventional methods for finding God in these trials and the ways in which her faith grows throughout them.

The language is a little spicy (though we all know that doesn't exactly bother me) so it's not your typical ladies Bible study book on faith, but somehow the grit and the grime of a real, honest, imperfect life serve as a stunning mosaic against which the grace of a loving God is able to shine.

Traveling Mercies
is so good and true and real that I'm pretty much at a loss for words about why you should read it. I feel like a girl with a crush who finds herself stammering and stuttering and speechless when faced with the object of her affection. I have such a huge writer-crush on Lamott and her book and so I'll simply say this:

Read this book. You won't be sorry you did.

(And also thanks Dewde for sharing it with me. You were right about waiting until I could laugh without endangering the stitches from my C-section!)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Beach babies

Despite the fact that I was ready to have my mail forwarded and put my life on permanent vacation mode, we did come back to reality on Monday. Here are a few of the best moments from our trip...

For more Wordless Wednesday, head over to 5 Minutes for Mom!

If I did this in the real world you'd all call Dr. Phil. (And I'd deserve it.)

I have a bit of a problem. Well, it's not so much a problem for me as it is for my husband. And Blogger. And Gmail. And any other application that stores digital files.

I am a digital hoarder. I save all my files, drafts, emails, and copies of each and every photo whether they are good, bad, important, or completely useless.

Case in point:

I have 7479 emails in my Gmail inbox. Seriously. My Gmail is the digital equivalent of those apartments that people fill to the ceiling with trash and then can't find their way out of and end up having to call 911 so search and rescue can send someone in to save the hoarder from the trash maze avalanche that they can't seem to escape from. That doesn't include the 125 in my Spam folder that gets emptied every 3 days. I have 233 email drafts. So, to all of you who wonder why I never email you back just know that I probably wrote the email and left it sitting in my draft box until it was irrelevant as an email and I felt foolish not sending it but guilty for deleting it and so I decided to keep it in email draft purgatory. True story.

You may wonder why this is a problem. Well, mostly for me it isn't. I don't mind having those emails in my inbox. I don't think it's a big deal to save those drafts. But, apparently, my desktop (and my husband) think this digital hoarding is something I should seek help for.

The "Start Up Disk Full" window is nearly burned into my screen from being there so often. And my husband, saint that he is, faithfully cleans my desktop/hard drive each and every time I whine about not being able to do what I need to on my computer. And then he begs me (and I mean begs and begs and begs me) to please stop saving every single PDF, jpeg and other letter combos of files that reside on my desktop.

In fact, while on vacation Thomas managed to remove 5 Gigs of unnecessary crap off my computer. I'm not a technical person, but he says 5 Gigs is a lot. I'll take his word for it.

I guess I need to get serious about mending my hoarding ways before I end up calling rescue workers to pull out from an avalanche of my mediocre blog drafts and emails I've had since 2001...

Where do you fall on the digital pack rat scale? Do you delete when you're done or save things "just in case?"