Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My wish

With a thoughtful look, The Girls says to me, "When I grow up, I want to be a pig." When I asked her why she only said, "I like pigs!" Like I was ridiculous for even asking.

I did not have the heart to explain to her that is not how life works. That through a series of compromises and regrets we rarely end up in the job we set out to do. And that adults usually settle, content, but still not living the life they pictured as a child. I could not tell her that because I still want my kids to feel the magic. I want my kids to still believe that catching fireflies and freezing them can make good money. That one day they could grow up and fly a plane or walk on the ceiling or beat up the bad guys with laser guns. I want them to believe there is some magical tiny lady who actually wants to pay high dollar for their tiny baby teeth. I adore the fact they light up when they find a penny and imagine the outrageously priced toy they can now get with it. I don't want them to loose that childhood innocence just yet. If we can just hold on a little bit longer...because once it is gone, you can never quite get it back.

So, if my daughter wants to be a pig when she grows up, that is all right by me.

Heck, she can be the next Queen of Sheba if she wants.

Just so long as she always dares to dream and believe in the magic of childhood...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Breastfeeding is hard

*Warning* This is not for the faint at heart.

Fine, don't say I didn't warn you.

Breastfeeding is hard. I know it seems like the most natural thing--what our bodies are made to do. You make milk, you stick a baby on there, how complicated can it be? Unless you have done it , you have no idea. It sucks! Your breasts--they have a mind of their own, ok? They swell up; they ache; they get rock hard (and I mean rock hard); they have veins popping out of them like they turned into the Incredible Hulk; they freaking L.E.A.K. when you least expect it, they can shoot milk across the room even though your sweet baby is sitting in your lap, mouth agape in front of you (and more than once, milk shot right into my baby's eyes). Did I mention your nipples stretch out like an inch or more thanks to the sucking action of the baby and/or your freakish breast pump. And lest us not forget, they itch like a word that rhymes with witch.

Breastfeeding is hard.

Even if your baby takes to feeding like a champ, it is hard. But those whose babies do not have a great latch (like my first) or prefer the bottle (like my second) have extra challenges.

Breastfeeding requires nerves of steel.

I have a friend who is working night and day to breastfeed her child as I type. I have another friend who breastfed her baby until he was 3. I have yet anther friend who thought nothing of wiping her nipply out anytime, any place, without shield to feed her baby. I was never that strong.

I did have my breast pump--a double pump to speed up the process. Boy, that was interesting. And a bit painful. And freaky to see since everything was in clear plastic. But nothing I could not live with knowing about myself.

Eventually, my babies weaned. My breast pads were tossed in the trash. My pump--sold on ebay to the highest bidder. It was just a memory. But today I had a run in with a woman who reminded me how hard breastfeeding can be.

I ate Mexican for lunch. A refried bean taco salad to be exact. And by the time I was at preschool to pick up The Girl, it hit me. I took off for the potty like nobody's business. Now, our preschool has a really nice potty. It is big, it is clean and it has--get this--a couch! Right there in the bathroom! No kidding. It also has a really nice, curtained off area for nursing moms--complete with rocking chairs. That bathroom is nicer than the break room at most companies. It is set up for quiet, peaceful, reflection. And here I came.

So, I burst in and run to the potty and realize that there is a woman who has set up her breast pump and is ready to pump. But I cannot wait--I have to go. So, I do what any human being would do and I go. From my stall I can hear the pump turning on. My mind takes me back to those days. The pump is not comfortable, but is a tool. When it is on, it literally pulls your nipple and sucks out the milk out of your body. And it feels about like it sounds. The storage bags even come with a slot to hold your baby's picture so that you can "let down" your milk easier without your baby with you. I never had to use it. I always pumped at home. But here is this Mom--no baby--at work, pumping. And here I am, in the stall close by, making horrible noises and smells. (Remember, not for the faint at heart here.) I tried to hold it in people. I really did. I even thought about apologizing from the stall, but could not figure out how to say that and make us both not feel more uncomfortable than we already did. I knew she was trying to relax and get into that zone--the milk zone. And me and my poop had interfered. The farts did not help. *sigh*

Needless to say, I cleaned up asap and left as fast as I had entered, all the while silently apologizing for the scent stamp I had left behind.

Like I said, breastfeeding is hard--really hard. You have to do all sort of things you never in your life imagined you would do, like have a machine clamped to you left breast in a public restroom while strangers were relieving themselves. But you do it. Cause that is what being a parent is all about.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A wee wish for you....

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
We are celebrating by, of course, wearing green (I hate getting pinched--don't you?) The in laws went to Ireland last year and brought back Irish t-shirts, so the kids are getting to wear them today. I am desperately trying to figure out how much of their food I can die green. The preschool I used to work at always had green milk all day on St. Patty's which was super fun, but a bit gross. I am phobic about drinking bad milk. If I ever did drink bad milk, I am not sure I could ever fully recover. But the centerpiece of our festivities is the leprechaun trap. Yes, we are going to try and catch ourselves a little elfin magic!

As I type, The Girl is painting a shoe box green--the preferred color of the leprechaun.

Here she is beating the beejeebus of out the brush.
Once the paint dries, we will decorate it with these green flower stickers. We even made fool's gold. A little enticement for the wee sprite made from contact paper and gold glitter. He won't know until it is too late!

When school lets out, we will have The Boy join in by going on a clover hunt. We will stuff all of these goodies into the little leprechaun "house" which will be propped up by a stick. Then lights out. When the little man shows and goes all Stingy from Lazy Town up in here, he will bump into the stick, thus, trapping him in our secret trap. At least that is the theory. We will see how it pans out tonight. Until then.....

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We interrupt this program

To bring you funny animal pictures I have recently taken.
The Hiding Cow. AKA Incownitio
Does this make me look fat? Cause I feel like it makes me look fat.
One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just does not belong.

Oh, Hi.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled program. This has been a RHSC presentation.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Beauty is in the Details

I have decided to participate in the Beautiful Life by The Inspired Room. She has been talking about finding beauty in the details and when I was thinking about what I would post, I immediately realized, I had the perfect example. Let me explain.

This is my house.

I don't have a large house in a really fancy suburb. It is a 1974 split level cookie cutter house that we are slowly modernizing. But still, it is nothing about it that is going to command your attention and make you say "Look at that house!" My yard is full of crab grass and mud. My driveway is cracked. My roof is missing shingles. I forgot to put out mulch last year and I have weeds in my garden. But I promise you, the house is full of details.

I love the way the sun hits it in the afternoon.

I love that my kids can ride their bikes on the road.

I love the trees that surround the house--old and rugged.

I love the flowers that we plant in the spring and bloom all summer long.

And the way the snow decorates my garden in the winter.

Even if the windows are old and in need of a wash, they are lovely when I see the people that live in my house.

And that is how I try to live a beautiful life.

Monday, March 2, 2009

'ho and Tell

This is what The Girl calls show and tell. Funny, I know...

We have been a whole bunch of sick around here for about a week. So, not much to report. Last time I was sickly, I took a 7 month sabbatical from blogging. I promise not to do that this time. :) I think...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Do you have a song

That make you happy every single time you hear it?

For some reason, this song does that for me. And I do not even particularly like country music.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I have been abusing my living room curtains

Or rather "mistreating" them. While we are in a Nester frame of mind, I wanted to share my big, scary project of the week! The Nester first got my attention when the bargain board I was reading at the time was raving about her concept of mistreating curtains to save money. The basic idea is that you can make a fancy window treatment that looks like a million bucks without hemming and hawing over it. She uses a hot glue gun, trim, tacks and high heels to McGyver herself some really nice designs. I may not have the high heels, but I did manage to make this!

OK, so picture if you will green tab top curtains that have hung on my living room for about 4 years. When they first came out, I loved the look of tab top curtains, but they were starting to grow old on me. The green was perfect in our living room, but with our gigantic picture window I could not stomach paying over 100 bucks for new curtains. My solution? Turn the curtains upside down, cut about 2 feet off the top to get rid of the tabs and hot glue on some adorable plaid fabric I got for 30% off at Hobby Lobby. Then, cover up the rough edges with trim. See?

Unfortunately, my original cut was too much and the curtains were hanging shorter than the sheers. BOO. Since the whole idea was to not spend much money on these, I used a store credit at Target (from returning an ear thermometer after three attempts--whole other story) to buy some curtain rings thingy majigs. I just clipped those onto the top and hung it all on my existing rod and voila!

Instead of over a hundred bucks I spent about $40 and that was only cause I bought really nice fabric for the bottom. I wanted to splurge a little. *wink*

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

10 Minutes to a Room You Love

OK, so, yay! This is my first time participating in a linky party and I feel so…official!

So, one of my mostest favoritist blogs (yes, I make up my own words around here)—The Nesting Place—is hosting the 10 Minutes to a Room you Love Party today.

Our assignment was to show off simple techniques we used to spruce up a room in our house. On my tour of Chez Desperate, I wanted to show off my kitchen--the heart of my home…the place where I nourish my family...the place where friends gather.

Oh who am I kidding?

My kitchen is a pain in my tushy.

It is constantly messy, never warm and inviting, always full of junk food.

But what it is, with all certainty, is organized. I may not be able to put on my housewife apron and whip up a delicious pie on a whim, but I can locate the recipe, find the ingredients with ease and then ask someone else to cook it.

So, here is my quick list of organizing tips and tricks of the trade!

Keep it close.

Make your kitchen an actual work area. Cooking is work, people. You must keep your tools at hand. Anything you use on a weekly basis deserves to be at your helm. Here you can see everything I need is within easy reach and is all centered around my stove. So, on the left side I have flour, cooking oils, salt, pepper, spices, cutting board, and rolling pin. To the right (since I am right handed) I have my spoons, spatulas and other items I would need to grab as I am cooking on the stove top.

Get it up.

Magnetic strips are my friend. I use them to hold my spices. I also use them to hold my knives. And I even have an extra strip up for holding notes, recipe cards, etc.

Have it separated.

Here is my baking/cooking cabinet. On the lower shelf I keep anything related to cooking—spices, salts, measuring cups, etc. The shelf above includes all baking items—sugars, powers, soda, flavorings, etc, which are stored in nice see through containers.

Get it together.

This is my recipe book. Not only does it include my recipes in regular rotation, but it also holds recipes I want to try. You see the calendar? I plan my menus in two week sets. I have winter menus and summer menus—4 weeks worth of meals that I can just drop right onto the monthly calendar.

Have it central.

This is my family calendar. It is in a central location in our kitchen—a place both my husband and I can see. I keep the markers in little baskets hanging to the side. The hanging system was a steal on ebay, but it is originally from Ikea. I also used another magnet strip to put up a wipe off board for extra notes throughout the month.

Recycle it.

No one says your recycle bin has to look like it came right out of Whole Foods. This is just a simple $10.00 trash can from Wally World. To make it look all official, I printed out a recycle sign (thanks to Publisher) and taped it on with some packing tape. My kids know exactly where to stick things when I say put it in recycling. When it gets full, I make a trip to the backyard where the bigger bins are. And when those get full I actually make a trip to the recycling center.

Editor's note: Please excuse the tidiness. I promise my house is not like this all the time—I just had the time to clean up a bit. My apologies for the lack of keepin' it real!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Black is slimming

I think I should drive a black minivan so I look thinner as I am riding around town.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Smooth Operator

Me: How was your day?

The Boy: Good. I only have one page of homework and I made a Mario card. And Hailey finally did something I have always needed her to do.

Me: What is that?

The Boy: She asked me if I wanted to be her Valentine and I pretended to not be myself and be Venom.

Me: Venom? What did she think of that?

The Boy: She didn’t say anything. I was nervous and sometimes people just get nervous and that is ok. She put a valentine inside my folder.

Me (reading valentine): Roses red, Violets Blue, I love you xoxoxo

The Boy: What?

Me: It says I love you.

The Boy: I’m in second grade! I’m not even supposed to have a girlfriend until 3rd grade!

That’s my boy!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day Trippin'

So, after being couped up with snow and single digit temperatures for a week plus, we had to escape. It has been outstanding weather the past couple of days and we had to take advantage. Our family tends to be semi adventurous so at high noon on Sunday afternoon, we took off down the interstate.
Not so far down the road we got this:

See the idiot light?

After a quick refuel and a check on my Facebook status, we were off again.

We knew we were heading to Knoxville for a few hours and being the fan of Food Network that we are (Hi, Guy Fieri, if you are reading this!) we knew of a joint that had been featured on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives a while back called the Pizza Palace. Techno Geek used his handy dandy iphone to secure the directions and with no trouble at all, we found it.

The Pizza Palace is a drive in Italian restaurant. You have pizza, spaghetti, sandwiches, etc all delivered to your car by car hops. Apparently these car hops must all be chain smokers and go on smoke breaks every 5 minutes or so, but that is another story.

To pass the time, The Boy played on his very precious DS....

And The Girl enjoyed climbing out the sun roof. That's good stuff right there.

And before you know it our food arrived. There it is...a hot pizza perching precariously on my lap. (For the record Techno Geek laughed at me for taking these pictures, so, I had to explain to him I was doing a blog entry on our trip. To which he laughed more. )

Next, we headed towards downtown looking for this:

And as we circled the block to find a place to park we found this instead:

Knoxville Museum of Art
With a sign outside that said "Free Admission Day"
Excuse me, did they say FREE?
Yes, they did!

Notice the hands in the pockets--he was nervous about knocking something over!

I call it "Little Girl in Big Room"

This one was called "Ladies" and it was listing all of the names this man had "dated." The Boy was staring at it a little too long for my taste.

The Museum also had this sweet little corner, tucked away in the back, that held an interactive exhibit for children. The kids could draw their own art and play with a giant Lite Brite.

And later on, we ventured downstairs were they had some hella-cool kids artwork....

and a sculpture garden.

Overall, our little day trip hit the spot and gave us a much needed break from the house. We find that sometimes the best trips are the ones right in our own backyard!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A sample of our week

We needed lots of this....

For this fella here....

All week we had this...

And no school to match...

It worked out ok though... Note the weather forecast on tv.

After a looong week, we had basketball.

And a Winter Festival to attend (ironic that it was warm enough to wear shorts)

Yes, this week we had lots of sneakiness...
And a fair dose of mischief

But a whole bunch of sweet.