Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Baby meme

I can't believe it's been a week since I blogged! I've thought about it, but I just haven't taken the time to sit down and write anything. Here's to getting over the writing hump!

Today, I'm using a fun little meme I found here - the "Oh Baby!" meme.

1. When your kids were babies, did you ever use cloth diapers? No. I wanted to for Sophie, and if I could have been at home with her I probably would have used them. But since she goes to an in-home daycare, I just couldn't ask someone else to take that on.

2. Are you guilty of spoiling your children or grandchildren?Maybe. But not badly.

3. If you could give one piece of advice to your own children about how to raise their children, what would you say?Trust yourself. Whether you think something is wrong and the doctor doesn't, or well-meaning people are undermining your confidence offering advice, listen to your heart. You know more than you think you do, and you definitely know your child better than anyone else does.

4. Do you believe in spanking?
At times, if needed. I don't do a lot of it, but I'm not opposed to it.

5. Babies need pacifiers! They cry and carry on sometimes. Can you think of one adult person in your life who could also use a pacifier?Oh yes, without a doubt. I'm sure not going to name names here, though.

6. Have you ever been present for the birth of a child other than your own pregnancy and delivery?I have not.

7. Why are boy things blue and girl things pink?
Ancient, brilliant marketing that is further perpetuated today.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Learning as I go

This week, I feel like a failure at parenting. Between toddler defiance and teenage attitude I just want to hide. Em and I argue regularly because I feel like she doesn't help out enough and she feels like Sophie gets away with everything.

Yesterday I picked her up from school for a doctor appointment. We were having a great time, she was being chatty and talking to me all about the previous day (and I totally let it go when in her chatting she revealed I was right in our big blowup the night before). After her appointment we had a little retail therapy before picking up Sophie, and in our chatting in the store she said something about becoming the favorite child again. I honestly have never felt like that. But she wouldn't believe me. That breaks my heart, because for almost twelve years, she was my only child. We did everything together. I cried with her when she was hurt. It killed me when we had to punish her. We are so much alike that I know her as well as I know myself. I still see the little girl who came running to hug me when I look at her. But, she's not. She's getting ready for high school, sharing secrets with her best friend, and acting like a normal teenage girl. She'd rather be in her room texting or on her tablet, or in our room watching tv, than spend time with us. I know it's part of growing up and becoming independent.

Then we have Sophie. She is very "two" right now. She is still pretty laid back, but she is still learning how to act. Of course we don't have the same expectations of her as we do Emma. We do put her in time-out chair when she does something like hit one of us, or kick the dog, things like that. She doesn't really get away with everything.

I'm still learning, also. I am learning about parenting a teenager, and at the same time learning how to parent two children. I don't have a clue what I'm doing most of the time. I'm just trying my best to teach them what is important and hope they won't need therapy when they are adults.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, February 17, 2012

One million dollars

I found this prompt on Plinky, a site I discovered through Pinterest.
How would you give away one million dollars?

Believe it or not, I've actually thought about this. Whenever I dream of a lottery win (why do I do that when I don't even play?) I have a "give" category. The amounts will differ, since one million is much less than 200 million or whatever billboard proclaimation sparks flights of fancy, but the list would be the same.

Equal amounts to my parents and my husband's mother
Some to my husband's sister
College funds in the girls' names
My church
My college alma mater
My husband's alma mater if he desires
Local women's shelter

It's easy to say how we'd spend that much money. But what about you? How would YOU give it away?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

It's never okay

There has been a lot of uproar about Chris Brown performing at the Grammy's this weekend and winning an award. I didn't watch them, and I really have no comment on whether or not he should have performed or won. That is not the subject of this post.

The tweets below from Grammy night are (images from buzzfeed.com).
The average age of the girls who made the tweets is sixteen. Many people are excusing the tweets, saying it's okay because he's famous/rich/an entertainer/whatever and will never be in a relationship with everyday girls. But you know who will? That cute guy in math class who may have a bit of a temper, but he always says he's sorry. He doesn't mean it. Or the friendly upperclassman who shows them around campus when they begin college - isn't it sweet how he wants to spend so much time with her? I'm sure her family will understand why she can't come home over the holiday break. Excusing this kind of behavior is telling the girls that domestic violence is okay. It's teaching them that they should put up with it when their boyfriends hit them.

In case you've forgotten what exactly Brown did that is being brushed off as no big deal, here are transcripts from the police report that night. Read all of it. I dare you.

If he had shown any remorse for that night, or had given any indication that he has been working on change, or had even stayed out of the spotlight for violent behavior, it might be easier to forgive and get past it. But he hasn't. In fact, he has shown further violence when questioned about that night. Even this weekend, he posted the following tweet in response to the outcry against him:
Humility? No. Remorse? No. Instead, his message is more along the lines of 'I beat the crap out of my girlfriend and put her in the hospital, but it's okay. I won a Grammy so it's all good."

Please, learn from this situation. Learn the signs of domestic violence and abuse. Educate yourselves, so that if you notice the signs in a friend's relationship (or your own) you will not excuse the behavior but get help. There are always ways to get out, even if it seems hopeless.

Domestic violence is never okay.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love letter to my husband

Since it's Valentine's Day, I thought I'd do something I don't usually - get all romantical and mushy. I feel it, but I don't like to talk about it publicly. It was awkward enough for me repeating the standard wedding vows in front of other people, I would have fainted if we had tried writing our own vows.

If I had to describe my feelings of our marriage in one word, it would be happy. I am always thankful that we are married. I have no doubt that many of our friends (and probably family if we're honest) thought we wouldn't last long, since we barely knew each other. But like my favorite song from the soundtrack from my favorite movie says, "Who's got the last laugh now?" It took me all of a week to know I didn't want to be without you. Then four months after our first meeting, I didn't have to. I have never wished for anything different.

I love how we are together. I love that we still find thinsg to talk about. I love that we can still make each other laugh. I love that we know each other so well. I love how you understand me when I have a totally random, out of nowhere thought - and that many times you're having the same random thought. I love how we're a team. I love that our daughters love you so much. I love your hugs. I love it when you kiss me on the forehead for no reason other than you wanted to. I love that you love when my heels make me taller than you. I love falling asleep with your arm around me. I love when you make breakfast. I especially love when you make dinner. I love that we enjoy many of the same things, but are fine with having our own seperate interests as well.

Most of all, I love you. I'm grateful every day that we are together. The past 14 years have seemed like no time at all.

Happy Valentine's day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Ten confessions

Nothing at all like Usher's, but this song always gets stuck in my head when I think of the word confessions.

1. I have never been drunk. In fact, I've never had more than two drinks, and that's rare. Usually it's only one. I'm terrified to ever get even tipsy. The loss of control scares the crap out of me.
2. Movies I don't like: Dirty Dancing, Steel Magnolias, Grease. I am pretty sure someone is going to demand a recall of my girl card.
3. I haven't written anything other than blog posts in months. I can't even say it's writer's block- I haven't even thought about it!
4. There is one house in our town that I am completely in love with. I've decided that if my husband ever wins the lottery (I never buy tickets myself) I'm going to offer the owners an obscene amount of money for it. I know how much it sold for, since I daydreamed over the listing for weeks, so I am pretty sure I can make them a great offer. They can even keep the horse farm part of it! All I want is the house and surrounding yard. If only...
5. I like Adele, but that's it. Like. Not love, not tearing up with her songs, not buying them... but I do like her voice.
6. I may live in Tennessee, but I do not "bleed orange." In fact, I think the UT orange color is hideous. I also don't care about sports at all.
7. If the temperature is below freezing, good luck getting me out of the house unless it's absolutely necessary. I hate the cold!
8. I don't really identify with either political party. There are positions I agree with on each side, but I feel strongly about each issue and can't compromise. Makes election time more difficult, but instead of voting "party line" I'm checking out each candidate and seeing where they stand on the issues that are important to me.
9. I'm forgetful.
10. For some reason, I feel guilty when I win at games. I'll even change how I play to let the other person win more. Why can't I just embrace it? I have no idea.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The end is near

I have a confession.

Sophie still nurses.

The fact that I feel the need to word that as a "confession" bothers me a little, but it is what it is. America hasn't caught up with the rest of the world in many ways, breastfeeding is yet another. Anyway...

Now that Babygirl is two, I've noticed she doesn't want to nurse as much. For a long time she had a three-times-a-day routine: first thing in the morning, after work, and at bedtime. Then the after work session went away. Then mornings got a little busier, and less often. Now she doens't even ask in the mornings. She is down to a very few minutes at night.

It's a strange feeling. It's easier this way than the sudden, cold-turkey method I used with Emma. Neither one of us was ready yet, and I'll always regret giving in to the pressure I was feeling from everyone I knew. Every part of me knew it was wrong, but I was young and uneducated in all things baby (I was definitely learning as I went), and lacked the confidence to stand up for myself. I caved, and lots of tears were invovled from both myself and Emma, who just did not understand at all. It was physically painful, too, as a sudden weaning usually is. The gradual process is much nicer. No pain, physically or emotionally. She lets go as she's ready, and she's getting more and more ready every day.

Luckily, she's still a snuggler right now. I love how she cuddles up when she nurses. She plays with my face, with my shirt, with her feet. She'll pat me, or rub her hands on me. Sometimes she'll pull my face down to hers. It's our quiet time. That part, I'm sad about losing.

I've been lucky so far to have supportive (or at least quiet if not supportive) readers, but just in case anyone feels the need to disparage breastfeeding past the first year, read this first. It's a link to the World Health Organization's breastfeeding page. Then read this post. Only then may you argue with me.

Monday, February 6, 2012

A fragment of a story

My desk space at work is literally in a closet. It's a large closet, but still a closet. Donated clothing for homeless patients, or patients whose clothing is destroyed, is kept here. This morning when I came in, I saw that someone had thrown away a lot of items into my garbage can, without a bag. Annoying, right? As I was putting the stuff in a bag to take to the trash room, I found a journal among the toiletries and empty wallet. It is inscribed "To Brian from Mom" and has entries faithfully covering a two month period last summer.

It is the story of an addict trying to stay clean. He wrote every day, telling of his struggles to stay off drugs, remorse for mistakes he had made, sadness for relationships ruined because of his drug use, and the strong desire to get clean and stay clean. He spoke of friends and family members, new friends at the treatment facility where he was staying, and his faith in God. He had two relapses, and went back to the treatment facility for a few days. His last week's entries are all about a plan he had. The handwriting was jerkier that week, and he wrote on staying focused on his plan. Then, nothing. The entries just stopped.

I am haunted by his brief story, and curious as to what happened to him. How did his journal, and what I would assume are his other possessions - a wallet, toothpaste, deodorant, vitamins, shampoo, a toothbrush - end up in a garbage can in an emergency room closet? Were they found in some donated bags? Did something happen to him?

The back of the journal contains three full pages of names and phone numbers. Treatment houses, government programs, AA hotlines, AA friends, an entry for "mom," other family members, job leads. I could call someone, I suppose, and see if they want the journal returned to them. But I'm afraid of what I might learn. At this point, in my head, he stayed clean, found a job, and is still exorcising his demons. He wrote of wanting simply a normal life: to be drug-free, find a job and a home, and a wife to love. I can imagine he is on is way there. Even though I have no idea who he is, I think it would break my heart if I called and found out he relapsed, is back in prison, or dead. His entries are so full of hope and determination.

I returned the journal to the garbage can at last. Here's hoping Brian, whoever he may be, is still collecting his sobriety chips and living his dreamed-of normal life.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Project Birthday Party is complete

Today was Sophie's birthday party! I had been planning the party using Pinterest for a while now. That is where I found the theme and many of the ideas. Some turned out better than expected, some... not so much and I had to improvise.
Here are the results! Idea source links will follow.
The cake

Elmo Oreos

Gift table

Favor bag table

Blowing out the candles

Cake ready for cutting, and ice cream cups

Birthday girl!

Closeup of cake
Closeup of tissue paper pompoms and favor bags

The menu:
Funfetti vanilla cake with colored vanilla icing
Chocolate chip ice cream
Goldfish (Elmo loves his goldfish!)
Fruit platter
Elmo Oreos
Strawberry lemonade
Soda for grown-ups

Ice cream idea
Tissue poms
Elmo printables - used for cup stickers, banner clouds, lettering, and decorations
Original inspiration behind the cake. I improvised.
Cookies - The sticks kept making the Oreos come apart so I improvised again.
Favor bags and tablewear from Party City

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


On the day I found out I was pregnant with Sophie, even though we had been trying for a baby I had a definite "Oh crap!" moment. It had been almost twelve years since I'd had a baby! Thinking we were done, I didn't retain all that baby stuff in my head. It was like the first time all over again. So, with the help of Google, I found a site called BabyCenter. There was a due date estimator, and all kinds of information. Then I found the birth clubs - entire groups of women all due at the same time.

I joined the February 2010 club, but when Sophie came  a week early I was moved somehow into the January 2010 group. I floated between both for a few months, but finally just settled on the January group and then two smaller spinoffs to smaller groups. We now communicate mostly by Facebook, but this small group of women have become good friends and remain amazing resources.

This morning, I saw a link to a post on the BabyCenter page, joking about the title. It was originally a generic, site-generated avatar, with "F***" (spelled out) as the title of the post. Normally, that alone will get a post deleted within minutes. After our friend posted the link, the creator changed the avatar to a graphic child pornography image. That person also added several photos of children engaged in sexual acts with adults to the message itself. Each birth club has a "photo club" associated with it, and the offender also uploaded pictures to that one, also. The photo club photos are usually shown on the main page, scrolling below the posts in "recent activity."

Can you imagine how disturbing this was to find this morning? What's even worse is that even after literally hundreds of reports and flagging for abuse, the BabyCenter administrators did NOTHING to remove the post or the photos. NOTHING. Once the post was flagged for abuse enough times, it automatically can't be opened, but the avatar was still graphically visible. The photo club pictures still showed up under "recent activity." Hundreds more unsuspecting users still saw these images.

Since the most insignificant of disagreements are deleted within minutes from the birth clubs on a regular basis, you'd imagine that graphic child pornography would be taken care of, right?


It took the administrators nearly TWELVE HOURS to fully remove the images from the board. That is absolutely unacceptable. I had a nice, happy post planned for today, but I can't let this go unheard. I have tweeted my disappointment with BabyCenter, posted on their Facebook page, and emailed the site administrators asking them to delete my account (since the users ourselves don't have that ability). Someone needs to be held accountable for this failure. I realize that it's a big site, and each post can't be monitored closely, but when literally hundreds of users are reporting an issue, and it's very clearly illegal, nothing ambiguous about those photos at all, something should be done in a timely manner. I know they have the technology. It's been done before. I know of one instance (still searching for the news story link, will update when I find it) that a user posted that she had found inappropriate photos of her child on her boyfriend's computer, and asked if it was a bad sign. Within a matter of days he was arrested by their local police department, solely because she asked the question in an "anonymous" online forum. If that can happen, why can the photos not be removed quickly?

As I'm writing this, I was sent a link to a post from one of the site's paid moderators saying they are reviewing their policies and practices to prevent this from further happening. Which is good, but is years too late. In the technologically advanced world we live in, a site so large and so public should have had a policy in place for dealing with this before going live.

Update: Thanks to my friend Angela, here is the news story about the older incident I mentioned, and this is the original post of the arrested man's wife (I remembered wrong, it was her husband not her boyfriend).