Friday, April 30, 2010

I love this girl!

All day long I notice little toddler things that NHV does ... and it breaks my heart to know that these toddler days are fleeting.

the way she picks up her Little People.  I am fairly certain she is trying to set a world record for number of Little People in her hands-under-her-arm-tucked-under-her-chin-clumped-against-her-belly.  Guessing her motto is "Leave no Little People behind."

the way she has asked about a bazillion times, "Mommy, what's your favorite part of that dinosaur movie?"  Since watching Ice Age 3 with our friends Missy and Emmett, Natalie cannot stop talking about it ... and quizzing each of us (daddy, mommy, baby sister, and Louie) about our favorite parts.

the way she requests (ever-so-politely) to "be nakey for one minute" whenever she gets the chance

the way a sink full of water and soap bubbles can keep her busy for at least 20 minutes!  (She's standing at the kitchen sink right now helping me clean the play food.)

the way she asks so many darn questions, "What's she dooo-ing?"  What's that guy say-ing?"

the way she requests, "a saaa-nack, a geenk, and some TV," when she wakes up from her nap, and is thrilled when I suggest having a picnic

the way she sits with her legs forming a W beneath her ...

I love this little girl!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

WW: Read My Tulips

From our recent 4th Annual Trip to see the Tulips ...
this time as a family of four!

 Stopping to smell the ... tulips!

Tulip on one hand, rocks in the other - the best of both worlds?!
The back of her hair is perpetually a mess!

 She was looking at someone else's camera,
but refused to look at mine!

 On the tractor ride ... CJV is in the Ergo, you can almost see her.

 Our family of four :)

 Beautiful flowers as far as the eye can see ...
and one cute two year old!

 The dangers of muddy conditions and galoshes one size too large!

Check out her shadow in the puddle ...
and the long rows of flowers ..
this is my favorite!

Had enough tulips yet? 
If not, here's a link to last year's Tulip Festival photos.

You can see more great photos and Word-less-ful Wednesday
posts here and here.

Meal Plan Week 23

Well, it's birthday week here ... the man of the house is officially another year older on Thursday! As part of that celebration, I am doing my best to gear the meals toward his favorites.  I am also sharing a cherry cheese cake recipe that is really simple and yummy - and looks just delightful with candles on top ;)


Monday -  Baked Mac-n-Cheese Casserole 

Tuesday - Harvarti Burgers & Baked French Fries 

Wednesday - Brinner 

Thursday - Enchiladas

Friday - Leftovers

Chad's Favorite Cherry Cheesecake Recipe
1 - 8 ounce package of cream cheese
1 can of cherry pie filling
1 graham cracker crust (I buy the pre-made, extra two slices variety)
1 small container of Cool Whip
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract

Soften cream cheese.  Beat together sugar, cheese, and vanilla.
Fold in Cool Whip. Pour mixture into the graham cracker crust.
Add almond extract to cherries and pour over the top.

Place in refrigerator for 4 hours before serving.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Top 10 Tuesday

I've written almost 100 posts this year!  How is that possible?  I had a baby in December, for goodness sakes!  Where do I find the time?  I mean, really? :)  

Here's the thing, there are some really good "old" posts floating around this little blog of mine, so I plan to dust them off, shine them up a bit - just for you - and share a favorite each Tuesday.  I even made a button ... because I am procrastinating and really should go to bed!


If you'd like to "play" along next week, let me know in the comments and I'll get us a Linky all set-up ;)

Don't Fail to Try - originally posted just about one year ago on May 13, 2009
This morning Natalie was playing in her closet and found her first pair of Stride Rite shoes. The ones Grammy bought for her. The size five pair of shoes that my now size-seven-wearing toddler insisted that she wanted to wear. She plopped down on the floor with a shoe in one hand and a very determined look on her face and proceeded to shove her foot into the cute hot pink shoe. All while chanting, "Shoes. Shoes. Na-Na's shoes." I sat down beside her and explained that the shoes were now too small for her feet. That her feet had grown bigger since she last wore them.

She persisted, and I said, "Natalie, honey, those shoes won't fit your feet anymore." To which she replied, with the sweetest look on her face, "Twy." Oh, how many times have I attempted to motivate my baby girl with that simple imperative sentence? And now she wanted me to do the same. Just try.

And "twy" we did until she was satisfied that her feet are, indeed, too big to fit in the now tiny shoes.

But I left that moment with a gentle and very poignant reminder that it never hurts to try, which reminds me of a quote that we should all live by, "Try and fail, but don't fail to try."

Of course, this little scenario also reminds me of the many times post-baby that I tried to fit into my jeans ... but failed miserably ... until just after her first birthday. Yes, baby girl, I can related to just how hard it is to let go of things that no longer fit :)
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Today's Thoughts: Well, let's see, here I am post-baby - again - and not able to fit into my jeans - again.  CJV is almost 5 months old, based on what I wrote up there, I have another 7 months before I should fit into them ... that's good to know. 


My baby girl has outgrown several more pairs of shoes since I wrote this.  She also became a big sister, and I know that some days she experiences growing pains ... wishing she could be a baby again.  Oh, how I wish that, too!


I try to give each of my girls lots of attention each day.  
I try to make sure I get precious one-on-one time with each of them.  
I try to hold onto the memories of the days we are so lucky to spend together.  

Sunday, April 25, 2010

All About ME: Jealous Much?











Jealousy is not a pretty emotion.  
But I think it's fair to say that we all succumb 
to its power every now-and-then.  
We're only human, right?

Are you ... jealous much?
What makes you green with envy?
What makes your green-eyed monster break free 
and bare its teeth for all to see?

-----------------------------------------

What better way to start a post about jealousy
than with a little PCD's Don't Cha?


Don't cha wish your baby was bald like mine?
Don't cha wish your butt was flat like mine?
Don't cha?  Don't cha?
Don't cha wish your family lived in another state?
Don't cha wish your cooking skills were not-so-great?
Don't cha?  Don't cha?

I was bald as a baby. My babies are bald.  I simple adore babies with a big head of hair.  I go absolutely ga-ga over a baby 'fro, sweet blond curls, or a wild and spiky dark 'do.  If you're under one and have enough hair to style, I am jealous of you and your lucky mama, too!  If you ever see me standing near a baby with tons of hair, check my hands.  I have to clasp them together to keep from running my fingers through those  luscious locks - an action most new mamas are not real keen on, btw ;)

My butt is darn near non-existent.  Again, this is genetic.  My mom's rear end IS non-existent (love you, Mom!).  The only time I've come close to having a little junk in my trunk ... I took ice skating lessons ... as an adult ... for like three years.  Even now - with a little meat on my post-baby bones - the booty still lacks shape.  There's just no ooooomph!  I dream of the day I can fill out a pair of AppleBottom Jeans ... either that or I need to convince my boy Nelly to start a new line called BottomsFlattened.  To those of you who are booty-licious, I hate you ... just a little.

I live more than 2,000 miles from my parents and family.  If you have parents living within driving distance, you better count your lucky stars, feel blessed, not take them for granted.  I miss my family just about every single day.  I haven't been "home" since December 2008 - mainly because of my complicated pregnancy.  My dad doesn't fly, but he's driven 4,400 miles round-trip twice since we moved here.  My mom overcame her fear of traveling alone and visits a few times each year.  CPV and I haven't had a date night - in a very long time - but if I knew a grandparent could come watch the girls, that would be much different.  When I hear friends talk about holiday plans and birthday celebrations with family, I might as well be the witched witch of the West ... that's how green I feel!

Cooking is really not my thing.  I can follow a recipe, but it rarely looks like the photo.  I find it to be a waste of time ... prep, cook, serve, devour, clean, ... it's such an inefficient process.  Those of you who enjoy cooking and make it look easy, I envy you ... A LOT.  Not enough to learn how to be a better cook.  But enough to befriend you and make sure I get invited to all your delightful dinner parties ;)

And I'll leave you with this ... just look at all that hair!


What makes you green with envy?
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My apologies for the late link-up, especially for those of you on the east coast. CJV had other plans for me tonight ... those of you with babies who fell right to sleep tonight, yeah, I am jealous!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

No Laughing Matter

Something very unexpected happened this evening.
It wasn't a good unexpected.  
It was the kind of thing that reminds you how quickly life can change.

Little ones were in bed.  Chad and I settled in for an evening like most others; watching a little TV, checking email, enjoying each others company.
I said something funny.
Chad replied with something even funnier.

At the same time, I was swallowing the handful of popcorn I had just put in my mouth and taking a drink of water.  I sputtered.  I stood up.  Thought I could regain myself.  Then realized that I was choking.  I couldn't breath. 

Just typing those words makes me start to cry again.  What an absolutely terrifying and odd sensation.  Breathing is so automatic, so taken for granted.  I've never choked before, and I hope it never happens again.

At first he thought I was just laughing hysterically, but it didn't take long for Chad to realize that something was wrong.  He was off the couch.  The laptop was on the floor. All of which I don't really remember.  His arms were around my middle.  I was being lifted off the floor.  Things in my field of vision were such a blur.  After what seemed like too many tries, I felt some relief.  Some air was finally filling my lungs.

I spent the next several minutes at the kitchen sink coughing, semi-vomiting.  Trying to further dislodge what was stuck in my throat.  I was able to breath, but my throat hurt and the coughing just wouldn't stop.  

Chad suggested that we go to the ER to make sure my airway was clear.  More for peace of mind than anything.  I could breath, but I was worried that something was still in my airway.  It was really painful to take a deep breath.

We called our neighbor to come sit with the girls. [J is so wonderful to us; she has helped us in situations like this one more times than I can count. I hope everyone has a neighbor like her!]  The nurses checked my vitals - everything looked good and my oxygen saturation levels were high.  The doctor examined me and determined that most likely the airway was clear but the lining of my throat had been badly inflamed by the obstruction and consequent coughing.  I was relieved to hear that news and glad no medical intervention was needed.

On the drive home, I tried to wrap my brain around what had happened.  How lucky I was.  Other possible scenarios ran through my head ... what if I had been home alone?  What if Chad had already gone to bed?  Of course, in either of those cases, I probably wouldn't have been laughing hard enough to suck popcorn down my throat.  But still.  Choking is a very real hazard, but one that I very rarely think about.  More than anything, it just reminded me that life is not permanent.  Tomorrow is never guaranteed.  Life can change in an instant.

Chad and I talked some about what could've happened.  What that would mean for him and the girls.  I cannot take those thoughts from my head and heart right now.  Cannot see those thoughts in words on my computer screen.  It's too overwhelming.  Too heart-wrenching.

Makes me want to hold my babies even tighter. 
Tell the people in my life words that have gone unspoken.
See the good in my life and forget the trivial stuff.  
I am so thankful.  I am so blessed.

Lately I've been struggling with day-to-day life.  Wanting more.  Feeling discontent.  It took something potentially fatal to put things in perspective.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Over the shoulder ...

... milk jug holder

Prior to yesterday - and since giving birth for the second time - I have been wearing the cheapest, flimsiest, non-supportive nursing bras.  There are three in my collection: 
  • the cotton ultra-cheapy from Target with the non-existent band around the rib-cage so it slides up constantly
  • the pretty pink one from some department store where I was "fitted" by a woman who didn't know what she was doing - purchased when nursing number one.
  • the nude colored (my personal bra color preference) underwire from a maternity store; they didn't have my size, so I bought the next closest size - again, purchased with my first.
All of that changed when I walked into the woman's clinic here in town.  I had heard from plenty of mommy friends about their great nursing bra fitting service - how it was so worth the extra dollars, etc.  But I just couldn't manage to get there - by myself.  Baring my breasts and trying on a dozen bras while entertaining a two year old and hoping the 4 month old doesn't get any ideas ... that is not my idea of a good time.  Yesterday I took advantage of a little daddy daycare time ...

The very nice, soft-spoken lady started out by measuring me ... while commenting on how well I've done to regain my figure after having a baby.  It's always nice to be lied to by the bra-fitter in your life, huh?  I am so out-of-shape and still struggling with a wardrobe that does not fit me.  But she was being nice, so I won't begrudge her that.  

Brace yourself for this.  According to her measurements, I needed a 32 G.  Wish she had told me to sit down first; I was stunned.  I am NOT that big.  I mean, the girls are in their full glory, all milk-jugged and what-not.  But G?  Isn't that porno star size?  The bra I wore into her little boutique is a 34 D.  And then, suddenly, I remember an Oprah show about women and their ill-fitting bras.  I knew I would have to trust this "professional bra fitter" who was telling me G.

In the end, and after trying on five different bras, I ended up with a 32 F that makes the girls feel lifted, supported, and always-at-the-ready.

Yes, I am finally a believer, and I distinctly regret not checking it out sooner!  A new, well-fitting bra changes everything.  Slight exaggeration, but seriously, it does make a huge difference.  If you are currently wearing a bra that doesn't quite fit you right, I encourage you to seek professional help, spend a little extra money, and give the girls the support they deserve.  You'll be glad you did.  They'll be glad you did.

This has been a MommyBrain public service announcement on behalf of all the unsupported boobies out there!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

All About MEme: Wine Me, Dine Me, ...

Oh, goodness, that title has me *blushing* ...
and it really has only a little to do with my story ...
but hopefully it grabbed your attention and has you ...
scrollin' for more ... oh, yeah, baby, you know you want it!

with MommyBrain and SupahMommy

 

GUESS who's coming to dinner????
We are!
SORT OF  ... kind of... 

We want to sit down, have some wine ... or several bottles 
and listen to you whine or gloat about your :

WORST DINNER EXPERIENCE
or 
YOUR BEST DINNER EXPERIENCE
or  maybe even
WHAT you would make us for dinner if we came to your house? 

We don't care.  Just feed us while you talk. 
I know, how about this?

For all of you creative souls out there: Write us a story!  
We get to be the main characters of course:  did you not notice our big heads?    
 Supah and MB came to visit:  and this is how it went down. 

 You pick the dinner prompt that works for you ! 

----------------------------------------------------

Imagine a quaint little Italian restaurant.  Dim lighting.  The smell of garlic wafting through the air. Red-and-white checkered tablecloth covering the table.  The table for two.  I'm meeting a friend.  A seriously funny, ridiculously kind friend.  A friend I met - while teaching elementary school - something like 10 years ago.  That's right, Supah - I know her as Debby (yes, with a y) - invited me to a little sit-down.  I could tell from her tweet that something was up (just like Supah to extend an invitation over Twitter, huh?).  I wasn't about to pass up the chance to share a meal with her.  Who am I kidding, she doesn't really like to share, but I needed a night out like a fish needs water.  

Giddy with anticipation, I waved off the annoying hostess and made my way to the table where Supah was already waiting for me.  Her face lit up when she saw me, but the smile didn't quite reach her eyes.  I could tell something was weighing heavily on her mind.  There was an awkwardness to our conversation that I had not expected.  I sipped my wine (it was probably more like a guzzle) and wondered why Supah had invited me to such a fancy dinner.  As I reached for a piece of bread from the basket sitting between us (oh, how I love my carbs), Debby's eyes met mine ... the look said everything.  The news would be bad.  

Supah broke the silence and said, "Dana dear, I'm breaking up with you I'm going to be handing over Monday MEme to you."  She said more, but devastation was ringing in my ears.  I heard only bits and pieces, "streamlining, making moolah, sending my peeps."  None of it made sense.  None of it mattered. 

In my head, thoughts were swirling ... Supah was my first.  We lost our meme-hosting virginity together.  I thought that meant something.

I needed to clear my head.  To regain my composure.  What better way to do that than finishing off this glass of wine.  And then I played back all the good times ... our first meme, the dingo references, the stories we've told, how we made each other LOL with our silly PhotoShopping skillz, all the fantastic bloggers we've met on Mondays, ...

I was crushed, no doubt about it.  But I also realized that  big-hearted Supah  didn't make this decision lightly.  She is one of the hardest working mamas I know, and if she's lightening her load, it's with good reason. I also figured no sense ruin the evening , I told her not to worry about it, ordered another glass of wine, and looked for the most expensive entree on the menu.  I made sure I was in the restroom when the bill came and left Supah to pay for our meal. (Who's laughin' now, sucka?)

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Certain details of the above story are pure fiction.  Like the part about Supah and I sitting down in the same restaurant - how I wish that were true, but we live on opposite coasts.  And me drinking multiple glasses of wine - I'd be fall down drunk and I loathe pumping and dumping.  But the overall message is quite true.  

All About MEme Monday is now a MommyBrain exclusive (which is a really positive spin on the fact that Supah dumped us).  But that's okay; a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.  All About MEme Mondays will continue ... as long as YOU want it.
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

View from a Park Bench

Weather was gorgeous here today.  After dinner we loaded up both girls in the Mac Daddy Sit-n-Stand stroller and headed to the park.  On most trips to the park, I am the one chasing after NHV, pushing the swing, issuing warnings, "Be careful.  No pushing.  Watch the swings."

Tonight, I was able to sit on the sidelines.  Charlotte and I found a spot on the bench ... and just took it all in.



Here are a few random observations:
  • Of the five families, we were each originally from a different country.  How amazing is that?!
  • One father ran around with complete kid-like abandon.  He chased kids.  He made up games.  He was having more fun than anyone else at the park!  I am also guessing that was quite a workout!  When was the last time I ran around like a child ... arms waving, screaming, laughing?  Need to do that soon :)
  • Another father arrived with his two daughters ... one of them (old enough to be potty trained) was wearing footsie pajamas and tennis shoes.  Couldn't help it; I chuckled out loud!  Moms and dads have very different ideas when it comes to appropriate wardrobe choices. And then I thought perhaps she is one of those preschoolers who become obsessed with an article of clothing.  It happens.  I wore the same Mickey Mouse sweatshirt for an entire school year.  And, really, does it matter?!
  • Cell phones should be left at home or at least turned off when playing at the park with your kids.  Heard a kid pleading with his mom to pay attention to him, to play with him, to watch what he was doing.  All while she chatted on the phone.  Perhaps there was a really good reason for that conversation. But I wonder if she saw that scene playing out before her, if she'd make a different decision.
I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed my view from the bench.

Bumbo Comparison

At CJV's recent check-up, the pediatrician reminded me 
that I should not be comparing my two girls.

But it's really hard not to ... 
They're both girls.
The youngest one is wearing hand-me-downs.
The toys are the same.
I have tons of photos.

See for yourself ... 

Based on these side-by-side photos, I would say 
NHV and CJV don't really look that much alike.
What do YOU think?

Lightweight Champion ...

... no more!

Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but ...

CJV finally hit 10 pounds!
(Well, the scale says 9 pounds 15.5 ounces, but I am calling that close enough!)

Yep, 4 and a half months old, and she's topping the scales at 10 pounds!

It seems like we have been waiting forever to get out of the single digits!

After about 5 days of eating more often than usual - including an extra feeding at night, it seems my little peanut had quite a growth spurt!

All About MEme Prompt - Dinner Time!

with MommyBrain and SupahMommy

 

GUESS who's coming to dinner????
We are!
SORT OF  ... kind of... 

We want to sit down, have some wine ... or several bottles 
and listen to you whine or gloat about your :

WORST DINNER EXPERIENCE
or 
YOUR BEST DINNER EXPERIENCE
or  maybe even
WHAT you would make us for dinner if we came to your house? 

We don't care.  Just feed us while you talk. 
I know, how about this?

For all of you creative souls out there: Write us a story!  
We get to be the main characters of course:  did you not notice our big heads?    
 Supah and MB came to visit:  and this is how it went down. 

 You pick the dinner prompt that works for you ! 

You know how this works? Write a post. 

Come back on Monday and Link up with us!



Sunday, April 11, 2010

All About MEme: WORD!

with MommyBrain and SupahMommy

 

inspired by our friend Shell

and a funny story that MommyBrain can't wait to tell :)

What is YOUR WORD?

a WORD or CATCH PHRASE that you made up 

or stole borrowed 

or adapted or whatever

a WORD or CATCH PHRASE that you say all the time, 

use in an unusual way, 

makes you laugh  or feel clever.

a WORD or CATCH PHRASE that you've redefined

or that has come to mean something different 

because of your kids or your job

--------------------------------------------------------

You've arrived at the "C" section of the MommyBrain New Word Dictionary ...

Chottie - [cha-tee] - noun - origin: dorm room, the college years
1. female body part; area covered by your danties
2. roommate, friend

My chotties took me out to a local bar for my first PCCC (Post Chottie Check Celebration).  *Chottie Check refers to an exam in which a doctor (or nurse practitioner) takes a peek under the hood.

La-tee-da-tee, we likes to party.  Leave a message for your favorite chottie. *True story --> We recorded that as our answering machine message!

After giving birth, my chottie was all yottie-yottie. *If you gave birth naturally, you know what I'm saying!


I have no idea how this got started.  Nor do I know why it can be used in such a varied way.  But I do know that my college friends (my chotties) and I still use it today.

Crack-ccess - [krak-ses′] - noun - origin: bathroom while bathing toddler
1. the privilege of gaining access to a butt crack for cleaning purposes

While changing a poopy diaper, momma needs a little crack-ccess to make sure there aren't any stinky remnants.

During bath time, I have to ask my daughter for crack-ccess, and use the wash cloth to clean those stinky creases!

CUD - [kud] - abbr. Clean Up Duty - origin: early married life
1. responsibility for cleaning up the kitchen after dinner has been prepared and eaten.


If I make dinner, my husband does CUD.  *That's how we roll up in har!


This has been a sampling of words I've made up or used for a new purpose.  Making up words is a habit of mine, and I am so looking forward to gaining a few new ones during this week's MEme!

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Friday, April 9, 2010

Dontcha just love a GIVEAWAY?

top image


I am a Publishing Mom for Macaroni Kid Broomfield.  I love my job.  I am having tons of fun.  I need your support and your subscription to my free newsletter - and there's something in it for you, too.  Because I like you, and I know you like free stuff.  Who doesn't?

Here's the article I wrote for this week's Macaroni Kid newsletter ... all the GIVEAWAY details are here ...

For our first set of giveaways, we've scoured Etsy and found a wealth of talented, generous sellers living right in our community.  These are women (many of them moms), who manage to find time in their busy day to create, sew, and knit beautiful, one-of-a-kind items.

And we are thrilled to introduce you to a knitter-extraordinaire with a flair for the adorable, a sense of humor, and a pinch of practicality  ... knitschmidt!


This stay-at-home mom to three "wild kids," knits - the most adorable stuff - when she's not chasing the two big ones around or tending to the little one.  She credits her Grandma with teaching her to knit at a young age. After a long hiatus, her MIL re-introduced her to the world of yarn. Her kids inspire her to keep knitting ... and share it with all of us!

If it's carefully crafted unique knits made of soft yarns in a multitude of colors you're looking for, then you've found your match made in heaven!  As if all that isn't fabulous enough, she also does custom orders.

It gets better ...

You have the chance to win a $25 gift certificate to shop at knitschmidt on Etsy.

I know what you're wondering.  HOW DO I WIN?  How do I get a slice of that knitted delightfulness?  Basically, subscribe and convince people you know to subscribe, too!
  • If you are already subscribing (thank you!), earn entries by spreading the word about MK Broomfield.  For every person who signs up and puts your first and last name in the "How did you hear about us?" box, we'll give you three entries in this week's drawing.
  • Send out an email, post it on Facebook, Tweet it, blog about it, ... each new subscriber that credits you with bringing them to MK Broomfield, earns you three more chance to win!
Here's the fine print: To qualify for this giveaway, new subscribers must sign up between April 8th (today) and Wednesday, April 14th.  Winner will be chosen by random.org, contacted via email, and have 72 hours to claim the prize.

Thanks for spreading the word about Macaroni Kid Broomfield.  And good luck!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

That Excites Me Just Fine!

Teaching was my thing. For 10+ years I was a teacher, and I was good at it. I was good at it because I loved what I was doing. I had a passion for it. I also worked more hours than was expected or necessary. It was a job I couldn't leave in the classroom. It - including a stack of papers to grade - came home with me each and every day and on the weekends. I thought about lesson plans and behavior problems and how to reach that one kid and ... in a lot of ways, it consumed me.

Now, being a mom is my thing. I am so, so fortunate to be able to stay-at-home with my two girls. Honestly, I don't think I am capable of teaching and being a mom to little ones. It's just more than I can handle. I would feel pulled in two directions, and there would certainly not be enough hours in the day. I tried having a foot in both worlds. I taught part-time after NHV turned a year old. I only worked two days a week, and I had the ideal daycare situation. But I wasn't happy. Work still followed me home. And I wasn't the awesome teacher that I knew I could be. My heart just wasn't in it.

Being a mom suits me. We go to the library and playdates and run errands. I even occasionally manage some meal planning and a few household chores. I adore watching the girls grow and learn and change right before my eyes. The thought of missing a moment doesn't sit well with me.  However, there are days when complacency settles in ... and I just get by.

On those days, I have this sneaking suspicion that something was missing. I needed to feel passionately about something. I needed an outlet for my energies and my writing. I added a second blog with plans for a third, and that helped some. I was still looking for a challenge. And that's when Macaroni Kid came into my life ... well, actually, I was first introduced about a year ago, but I wasn't ready then.

I've been a Publishing Mom for 4 weeks.  Working with my best friend.  Writing for a national brand / website.  Building a community resource for moms like us and their families.  Four weeks ago, we planted a seed and now we are watching it grow.  Our fourth Broomfield Macaroni Kid newsletter publishes today.   I am so proud of what we are doing.  This is the something I was looking for.  I feel energized - despite acute lack of sleep ;)  I feel purposeful - like a piece of a bigger picture.  I feel like I can have a little bit of "it all."  I am still a stay-at-home mom, first and foremost, but I am also a Publishing Mom, and that is a title that suits  excites me just fine!

Inspiration for this post: My good friend from college is here visiting for the next few days.  After the kiddos were in bed, I started talking to her about Macaroni Kid and it just hit me ... I am loving it!  I want other moms to know that this opportunity exists.  That it is manageable - even with little kids.  You can work during naptimes and a few nights a week and produce a quality newsletter / website.  You can network with other moms.  You can make connections in your community.  You can reap the benefits of promoting events and businesses.  Anyway, I tired to fall asleep - at a decent hour tonight - but these thoughts kept swirling around and banging up against my brain ... and this is where I go when that happens.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

All About MEme - Love Language

with MommyBrain and SupahMommy

 

What's your LOVE LANGUAGE? 
suggested by our friend ...




Messy Mommy
THANK YOU

"What if you could say or do just the right thing guaranteed to make that special someone feel loved? The secret is learning the right love language! Millions of couples have learned the simple way to express their feelings and bring joy back into marriage: The Five Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman’s New York Times bestseller! Words of Affirmation—Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten."  from 5lovelanguages.com
Make a guess.  Which do you think is your Love Language?
Words of Affirmation
Quality Time
Receiving Gifts
Acts of Service
Physical Touch

Find out if your guess is right. 
Take this assessment quiz and tell us the results!
http://www.5lovelanguages.com/assessments/
There are two to choose from.
One takes 30 seconds,  one takes about 3 minutes.

See what they tell you about yourself! Then TELL US!
Was it different than you expected?
Did you test your mate? Let us know!

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Prepare to be a tiny bit envious ...

I've been in love for half my life.  With the same man.

A man who vacuums once a week,
cleans the toilets when I ask,
empties the (ridiculously foul) litter box,
folds laundry on occasion (but doesn't hang up my shirts),
never leaves his dirty clothes on the floor,
cleans the kitchen - we have an "I cook, You clean" policy,
changes poopy diapers (he's good at weaseling out of this one),
gives baths and read bedtime stories,
let's me sleep in on the weekends,
spends five hours detailing my car as a Mother's Day gift,
makes breakfast for dinner (his speciality), ...

Now, that's my kind of man!  
I know that I am lucky.  I also know that I am loved.


That list proves that my husband best communicates his love through
Acts of Service, which happens to be my primary love language, too.

From The 5 Love Languages website: Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
I guess I am in the mindset that actions definitely speak louder than words.  Considering the fact that CPV is a man of very few words, it seems that's a very good thing.  I love being taken care of and I love taking care of him, in return.  We both need tidiness and organization in our lives in order to function. Chores - done well  - make me feel loved.  He takes the time to do what needs to be done, and he does it right. More than anything, I love knowing that we're a team.  I know I can count on him to help when I need it - and to offer even when I don't.  

Now, does this translate to passion in other arenas of our relationship (*wink*wink*)?  Not so much.  Are chores sexy?  Not likely.  But that's where other languages, Words of Affirmation and Personal Touch, come into play.  I love being pulled into a hug or having his arms wrapped around from behind as I am cooking at the stove or holding his hand while riding in the car or on a walk or curling up next to him (with my cold feet) in bed at night.  

We also have hundreds of letters that we've written through the course of our courtship (love that old fashioned word) and marriage.  We aren't as good about writing them anymore, but we have gone back and read them. The written word (from a man who tends to be pretty quiet) is quite affirming :)  Both of us are much better at giving compliments than receiving them.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, CPV took the quiz, too, and found that his love language preference ranks pretty much the same as mine!

So, what's your Love Language?  What did you learn about your relationship?

Sidenote:  The book is worth reading.  I've read it a few times and each time I learn something new and gain an appreciation for the way love is communicated.

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Saturday, April 3, 2010

March - In Review

Highlights:
  • Got voted off Supah's Survivor Island ... actually felt bummed about it for awhile but I'm over it now.
  • Enjoyed a great visit with Grammy - she cooked for us and spoiled us with gifts
  • Hosted Missy and Emmett here in the NW and had a blast - played at the park, went to the zoo, stayed up late every night chatting, laughing, looking at old photos, ...
  • Resigned as an Organizer for my moms group; it was a tough decision but I am trying to prioritize and stay focused on my "job" as a wife and mom as well as my new job ... 
  • Became a Publisher Mom for Macaroni Kid; best decision I've made for me in a long time, writing with a purpose, learning new things everyday, networking with awesome moms around the country, and having fun doing it all with my bestie :)  I am loving this experience.  Love challenging myself.  Love the satisfaction of publishing with a national website! 
  • Had a really rotten day ... when being a mommy felt very unrewarding ... and thankfully lots of good days, too ... when being a mommy seems like the best job in the world :)
By the numbers:
  • appointments: 3
  • play dates attended: 4
  • play dates hosted: 2
    • photos taken: ~350
    • blog posts written: 32

    Books Read:
    Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian
    Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah - 500 pages but worth it


    Photo:


    Random Bits:
    • Got a new (much shorter) haircut, and I think I like it.  Had lots of compliments :)
    • Still haven't gotten serious about the 30-Day Shred.  I need to get back into shape, but I just can't seem to get motivated ... ugh!
    • Booked tickets to fly home - with both girls by myself - in May ... excited and terrified!
    • Started watching Glee, the first 13 episodes in reverse order.  Now I can't wait for the show to return in April - I'm hooked!  Thanks, BJ_Mama ;)
    • Hubby has been selling all kinds of "goodies" on craigslist ... decluttering feels good!
    Deep Thought:
    "A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often - just to save it from drying out completely."

    I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately.  Somehow in the midst of figuring out how to be a mom times two ... and trying to find a balance of family and responsibilities and writing pursuits ... I've been feeling forgotten.  I've been feeling isolated.  Like I am on the out-skirts of my friendships.  And I know I am to blame for those feelings. Mainly because I know that I am not attending to my friendships with the energy that I once did.  I am not nourishing my relationship with the important women in my life.  I need to make time for the "mulch" - the emails, the phone calls, the conversations, ...

    Those things really are important to me, but somehow they've slipped much too low on the priority list.  Here's hoping I can change that in the coming month.

    "Time goes by so fast, people go in and out of your life. You must never miss the opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you." ~ Cheers

    Friday, April 2, 2010

    Eggs & a Birthday

    Colored eggs this evening.  Realized it was the first time hubby and I have done that little tradition ... in 12 years of marriage!  How is that possible?  Well, we've never really had reason to hard boil a bunch of eggs and dunk them in liquid dye.  (How did this tradition get started anyway?)  Last year Natalie was just young enough that we squeaked by without having to make a big ta-doo about The Bunny.  We did a modest little plastic egg hunt at a neighbor's house and called it a day.  This year, she seems so much more aware.  And so, yesterday, while at the market for a last-minute dinner ingredient, I happened upon the quinnessential product of all things Easter ...
    ... and I thought to myself, "Oh, yeah, we should probably color eggs this year."  How totally lame is that?  No forethought.  No anticipation.  Just dumb, random luck.  Regardless, I grabbed my box-o-PAAS and a dozen eggs and headed home.

    Tonight after dinner, we broke out the vinegar and all the rest of the necessary .supplies ...  made a whole big production ... and Natalie stayed interested long enough to watch the tablets dissolve (ooooh! aaaah!),  nearly knock over a cup - three different times, break an egg, and see one egg "magically" change from white to pink.

    In the meantime, CJV woke up from her evening snooze and needed to be held.  I tried my best to help CPV figure out how to color eggs - something that he apparently didn't do as a child and I haven't done in many years.  

    To lighten the mood, I told the story of the Easter I was 12 - yes, people, I said 12 - as in almost a teenager - when I realized (or finally accepted) that the Easter Bunny (spoiler alert here) isn't actually responsible for hiding all those eggs and leaving candy in the waiting baskets.  While my family colored eggs, I hid out in the living room and cried these sad littler tears for the deceipt and loss of innocence - I am so dramatic, huh?  This was also the year that Christmas changed for me, too.

    Chad's response to my little confession - appropriate as always, "Seriously, you were 12?  Babe, you were pretty lame."  (at least he used past tense)

    I was the oldest in my family.  I didn't have older, more worldly siblings to ruin it for me. Besides, I really wanted to believe ... and my parents were so good about making a big deal of the whole thing.

    While tonight's egg coloring experience was not much to write about (well, I am writing about it but you know what I mean), I do have some really fond memories of this tradition with my parents and brothers and sister.  I also have high hopes that as our girls get older, they will be able to better appreciate these all-important holiday preparations.

    ----------------------------------------------

    On a separate but related note, my most treasured Easter memory happened when I was 8 years old.  Easter that year fell on April 3rd.   I remember my mom talking about her contractions - long before I had any idea what that meant. I can still remember the "frantic" preparations to get my brother and I dropped off at Grandma's house, so my mom and dad could get to the hospital.  My Grandma was hosting our annual Easter Brunch, and I was surrounded by aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Yet I could not focus or even enjoy the festivities going on around me.  I just wanted the phone to ring.  I wanted to know that my mom was alright.  I couldn't wait to hear if I had a new baby brother or sister.  

    That Easter my baby sister was born.  Tomorrow my baby sister will be 27 years old!

    Happy Birthday, Laura Helen!

    If I could bake you a cake, it would definitely be Funfetti!  Love you, little sister!
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