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Changes

Yes, things have been quiet on here lately partly because I've spent every spare minute unpacking and working on meeting my deadline but there's also been something else going on.

I've had to make an extremely difficult decision about the direction of this blog, its content and the impact it could have on the safety of my children. I'll write more about it when I'm not feeling quite as emotional about it but what I can tell you for sure is that I won't be posting any pictures on here of my rad little dudes and stories that include them will have to be more vague than they have been. I still have a few to take down but I've spent the evening deleting much of the kid-related content. For those who want some of the stories, let me know and I'll send them to you.

This might be good news for those of you who weren't into that part of the blog but for me it's sad. It's sad that we live in a world, that I'm trying to raise optimistic children in an environment where people can use outlets like this to prey on them. I still think writing about mothering is important and plan to continue that as soon as I figure out how to do it without compromising their safety. I appreciate your understanding. The small bright spot, I suppose, is that when I started writing this for my family and friends, and myself, I never dreamed it would grow to where I'd have to think about something like this.

I am considering password-protecting the site but I think this way is better. Your thoughts?



Muffin Meals & Spa Water

Muffin Meal (3) 
Muffin tins somehow make meals taste better ... I suppose fun is always better! Note the special eating "utensil" - mini (play) tongs. As long as it's safe and can go in the dishwasher, I don't care if Sam eats with it as long as he's really eating and not just playing. So here he has a relatively balanced meal, macaroni, peas, tofu and some applesauce. Random. Whatever. His dirty chin is proof that he actually prefers the tofu. Gross, I know. Just a small thing to share in case it helps mealtime at your house. I can't offer help for parents of picky eaters because I've been lucky there so far, but Sam has gone through plenty of food phases and mixing things up is helpful. When he's going through a particularly difficult eating phase I offer him the muffin meal and tell him he has to eat something out of each cup and that has worked so far.

So spa water is just good tasting water. I happen to not mind drinking water but it's nice to have a variety. When the mint starts growing like crazy ... pick it, wash it and put it in a pitcher (ideally the kind with a strainer spout) and add sliced cucumbers and chunks of cantaloupe. I described it to Mel and she said, "Sounds like something you'd have at a spa." So there you have it ... serenity in a glass.


The house that built me ...

First House  House Painting-14 IMG_3201

Goodbye old house. 

As we wrap up the finishing touches on our house, getting it ready for another family to live and love there, I couldn't help but wander down memory lane a bit ... a day later I'm still walking that path. This is our first house. The house we became parents in. The house my babies came home to. The old farmhouse we bought with hope in our hearts and worked our butts off to make it home.   And now it's time to let someone else love it with all its charm and quirks. It's time to build new memories in our new house, but this one will always have a special place in my heart and we still have the scars to remember some of our projects by!

I took a few notes to share some of the stories with you later but for now ... it was a challenge and a joy to live there ... we learned a lot (a lot!) living there, about ourselves and each other, about home remodeling and the limits of our patience ... and we're leaving it better than we found it, and any good scout will tell you, that is as it should be.

I was reminded of this song by Miranda Lambert:

I know they say you can’t go home again
I just had to come back one last time
Ma’am I know you don’t know me from Adam
But these handprints on the front steps are mine

Up those stairs in that little back bedroom
Is where I did my homework and I learned to play guitar
I bet you didn’t know under that live oak
My favorite dog is buried in the yard

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

Mama cut out pictures of houses for years
From Better Homes and Gardens magazine
Plans were drawn and concrete poured
Nail by nail and board by board
Daddy gave life to mama’s dream

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

You leave home and you move on and you do the best you can
I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I walk around I swear I’ll leave
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me

 


Getting closer to home

Hi, Friends {as Sam would say} ... thanks for bearing with me as I get through what has somehow turned into one of the most overwhelming times of my life - this includes both pregnancies and various personal dramas -- but it's all for a good cause, there is light at the end of the tunnel and I am freaked out but hopeful and happy. We are blessed with wonderful, helpful and loving friends and I am so thankful to you guys. Meanwhile, my hat goes off, and heart goes out, to those of you with partners, parents and children serving in the military ... it is hard enough explaining to Sam that his dad really does live here and that things will be back to "normal" soon. He wants to keep going back to the old house to be with his dad and his soccer ball. I found the soccer ball yesterday but his dad will be gone till Friday ... but then ... home sweet home!

This quote if from an article about Rachael Ray ...

"She claims that she hasn't stepped on a scale in years. 'I don't want to be a size zero that badly,' she has said. 'I got the fat pants, the skinny jeans. Everything I own has stretch in it, because all good things must give.'"


Skinny jeans, psyche/sike!

Sorry to get all Bridget Jones on you guys but ... it came time to pull out that blasted food journal ... my bulimia brain reared it's persistent little head again after an enjoyable hiatus during my pregnancy and the first couple months after childbirth. Then ... game back on. Thanks to a little therapy, and perspective, I trust I won't be found puking up my Reeses Nugget bars but rather, that I'll find the will to stop stress eating and start working out again.

It wasn't too long after I had Jake that I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight. This had very little to do with anything I did, or didn't, do and more to do with God's little liposuction machine. Also I had a huge baby so I lost close to half of what I'd gained when I had him.

So, of course, I posted the good news on my Facebook page and received lots of "likes." However, the one little thing I didn't mention was that, you know, I was clinically obese prior to getting pregnant so there's that. I wince to write that as much as you might cringe to read it. Such a nasty little word. But true nonetheless.

Skinny jeans, it turns out, are a matter of big, fat perspective. The day I was all excited about dropping the last of my pregnancy pounds, I was thrilled to be wearing a pair of jeans I hadn't worn in about 10 months. I felt so thin in them. Until I realized that those were the very jeans I was wearing when I took the "before" picture to start document what I had hoped to be my last battle with weight loss. I might, however, be a lifer in this ring ... I couldn't understand why I wasn't shedding any weight with increased workouts (read that: actually working out), eating healthier, and yes, the damn food journal. Well, it turns out I was pregnant! But, I'm not anymore and I have two busy little boys to keep up with and a husband who sheds weight by thinking about it ... it's time ... Goodbye Nutella, Goodbye Reeses Nugget bars, Goodbye Tillamook Mudslide Ice Cream, Ben & Jerry's Phish Food ... hello, food journal.

 

Missing: 500 square feet and other things

My angel babies are napping at the same time (thank you God -- because they were ridiculous between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am) and I'm wandering around the house looking for the other "McQueen papuces" (slipper), the Doc Hudson car, the rice maker, the Furminator, the card I bought for my mom, the book "with Diesel 10, Splatter and Dodge in it" and also, my sanity.

If you're my Facebook friend you know the big joke from move-in day is that if I'm looking for anything I should check Sam's room first. Every other box, it seems, was marked "Sam's room." It dawned on me last night as I was wandering around the new house looking for the missing 500 square feet and an extra bathroom that in all this moving business I forgot to share the link to my June column with you, so here's that:

http://www.newsregister.com/article/44479-baby%20board%20playing%20good%20mom%20bad%20mom%20game

I'm not sure if I shared that the News-Register agreed to pick up another column of mine: Confessions of a Green Wannabe so I'm super excited about that, too. Okay ... back to my hunting.



IMG_3035 IMG_3032

We're officially moved!

 I keep looking around in amazement that we made it happen - with a little lot of help from our family and friends. Also, I'm looking around wondering where all this stuff is supposed to go. I love, love, love this house and visualized us living here every day since the first time I saw it-- but it's just now really sinking in that to move here I gave up: the best neighbors, a sweet little town where the utility clerk is nice, an extremely quiet neighborhood, a pantry, a laundry room and a huge master closet. Oh, and two extra bathrooms.

That list isn't to say I'm not ecstatic to be here, but rather to admit there are some things I'm missing and there are a few challenges ahead of me in terms of how to settle into this new space. I think Matt senses that poaching part, a small, small part of his shop is on our list of things to chat about ... in addition to answering the question: how many wine glasses do we really need?

For now, I'm trying to remember to set smaller goals for myself - so instead of "unpack" it's more like unpack these three boxes before Sam finishes picking up all the packing peanuts with his tongs - his idea.

"Uh-oh, Mama. I make big mess."

"Okay, buddy. Just clean it up."

"I need tongs." I think this is still from when I was pregnant with Jake. This entry explains it.

As far as how everyone is adjusting goes ... let's just say there are super moments, and other less super ones. Finding fennel in the garden - super. Car alarm going off at 3 a.m. - not super. Realizing that probably I should start locking my car doors all the time ... not at all super.

The boys are both doing great with sleeping at night and naps - and by great I mean the usual antics for Sam and nursing-on-demand for Jake, but still - all things considered I'm thankful for that. Lucy Brown on the other hand, seems to be having the hardest time of all. There are a lot more windows for her to see out of, lots more people and cars to see and bark at and nothing is where it is supposed to be. I know just how she feels!

I do need to find the vacuum cleaner before my little guys wake up because those tongs didn't quite get all of the mess picked up.


 


Playing the good mom, bad mom game

JUN 2, 2010 | COMMUNITY


I had a little Facebook fiasco recently.

My husband said I could've avoided the drama if I hadn't cared so much what people think. But it would have arisen eventually, because any mom who puts herself out there, whether by posting a status update on her children or by simply taking her kids out in public, risks being on the receiving end of stinging criticism.

Of course, I increase my odds by writing about parenting, both in print here and on my blog. So, I suppose it was just a matter of time.

Did you know moms are reported to be among the meanest people on the Internet?

It just so happens that my little Facebook fight occurred within a day of ABC's airing of a Good Morning America segment titled, "Mean Moms." And it's so true that the isolation of the Internet fosters hyper-hostility. 

Even though I always put my real name on anything I write, online or otherwise, I still find myself reacting more harshly to online attitude than I might to some of the smug, judgmental attitudes prevalent on playgrounds and other places where mothers meet in person.

When I'm lucky enough to beat the boys awake, I catch a quick shower and hop online while mainlining some caffeine. The morning of the aforementioned incident, I found a chiropractor friend had posted a link to an article highlighting the safety concerns of some commonly used baby gear, three elements of which I had within few feet of my computer.

I respect her personally, as a mother with a baby the same age as mine, as well as professionally. But her parenting path is paved with, shall we say, more organic materials than mine. Frankly, my road has been littered with good intentions, but also with plastic, chemicals and sometimes processed food.

I spent the better part of the morning eyeing my baby in his various "containers," wondering if I really was sacrificing his development in the name of entertainment (his) and convenience (mine). I wouldn't call myself a lazy mom, but rather your average two-handed one. 

The nagging feeling that I was somehow harming my children stayed with me. After the boys went down for an afternoon nap, I re-read the article for alternatives to the ExerSaucer, and I noticed some people had weighed in on this surprisingly controversial subject.

In the few seconds it took to scan the comments, I felt personally attacked. Even though the Internet evokes a sense of anonymity, real people read your words and their reactions have an impact. 

One mom explained why she shunned the use of ExerSaucers. "It's a commitment, because you have to put in the extra time to actually watch your kid. But hey, I think that's what they call parenting."

That's when I got a little insane.

Here my friend had posted something that was interesting to her, and instead of being able to have a real conversation with her about differing opinions and parenting methods, I got this overwhelming sense those of us who did things differently were under attack as "uneducated" and "neglectful." I’m not putting words in people’s mouths, or keyboards, by the way. Those are quotes.

I responded by posting a comment of my own. It wouldn't be helpful to rehash it here, but suffice it to say that 30 comments later, I wish I had simply said:

"You can feed your baby exclusively organic food, make sure their little hands never touch a piece of plastic and ensure their eyes don't take in a second of television, but if you're not raising them to be kind, considerate and thoughtful of others by your very example, I don't much care to know what you think about anything else. But, if you do happen to mess up, and you're mom enough to call yourself on it, I've got your back."

Nathalie Hardy is a local freelance writer who writes in the margins of her life with two busy little boys, a husband who understands deadlines come before dusting and a sweet, semi-trained Labrador. She invites your feedback at nathalie@nathaliesnotes.com or at her website www.nathaliesnotes.com.