Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Giftmas

I the spirit of the season, winter that is, I'd like to wish you all a happy and wonderful whatever thing you celebrate.

I say whatever thing because because I know a lot of my readers (and friends) and Christians who are celebrating Christmas. Merry Christmas ya'll. Also I know some of my Jewish friends will be celebrating Hanukkah. (And by the way isn't it ironic that if Jesus were alive he'd actually celebrate Hanukkah too? GO ahead, ponder that. Weird.) Well Mazel Tov folks. If you celebrate Kwanza, then happy that. Hopi? Neopaganistic? Druid? Enjoy. Yule? Alrighty then. Festivus? Super. Solstice? Hey, how about that full moon people? Bodhi day for you Buddhists? Ok. I'm sorry that already passed. My apologies form missing it. Saturnalia? Well, if you celebrate that that you're from ancient Rome. As far a I know, none of my readers are from ancient Rome. And some of my readers don't believe in the Christian God or any other god for that matter. Well enjoy the day off anyway people. It's all good. Atheists get to celebrate too. Who doesn't like a celebration?

I think you get what I'm saying.

Even if a lot of my readers are celebrating Christmas in it's traditional sense, they're still only making up 33% of the world. In the traditional definition of "Christian" 75% of Americans identify themselves as such. OK so twice the world population. And most of my readers are American, except for a couple of Russians and one great lady from Iceland (you know who you are) and some Germans. In any case, by the American "born again" definition of Christian only 25% of Americans are such. As for the rest of you, I can't say.

I'm calling it giftmas. Because, let's get real, in most celebrations that's what is happening. We are giving each other stuff. And sometimes lots of it.

This is our tree:

It has gifts under it. Not as many as in years past, but gifts none the less. And you know what I'm not trying to hide behind the fact that Christmas is a lot about that. And family. And cookies. And occasionally someone getting intoxicated and making a real jerk of themselves. Hey, it happens.

So whatever you believe or don't believe, merry happy that thing (or not).

It's one world folks. We all live in it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Shamu discipline and the American Teen

Recently someone asked me about dealing with 15 year old behaviors. Brace yourself.

I have a teenager. I actually almost have two teenagers. Hard to believe. And true.

When my oldest daughter was born 15 years ago I held her in my arms. The world was full of possibility for her and I knew the coming years would bring excitement and joy and some confusion. I had no frame of reference for age 15. But I do now.

My daughter reads my blog so before I go on I want to say this to her: Kelsey, you made me a mother. I dreamt and hoped for you and you came. A fulfillment of my hearts desire. I haven't always made the best choices for you but I have always made the best choices I could at the time. As Maya Angelou says, when I knew better I did better. My heart aches with love for you. You are beautiful and smart. You are funny and kind. You are the best parts of me and your father. Also you're a bit of a slob, but that's ok, I love you just the same. Now please pick up your room.

Now, let me say this, having a teenager is not all that different from what I expected. My daughter has her fair share of drama and bad days. She gets frustrated with her hair and can't decide what shoes to wear (even though often times they are my shoes). She wants to know what purse to carry, what belt to wear, what to do about boys. She's still figuring it all out. When I get frustrated with her I try to remember that at her age I was a holy terror. I'm not making that up. Ask my mom. Moody. Dramatic. Emotionally labile. And I hated my mother (sorry mom). I'm pretty sure Kelsey loves me so I consider that a victory.

The one thing I knew I wanted for my daughter and I was that I wanted to be someone she could come to. Someone she could ask things of. Someone she could love that would love her without condition. I wanted her to always know that I was available for her, no matter the need. I didn't want to try to be her friend like my mother did because I knew the resentment that created. I hope when she has the distance to look back at being a teen she can say I've done those things.

Anyway, love can build a bridge as they say but love doesn't always get the clothes off the floor, even with all that love, teenagers still need boundaries and discipline.

How do you get a 15 year old to clean their room? Do the dishes? Help with the laundry?

I'm about to reveal something revolutionary.

A 15 year old is a lot like a baby.

Not in the drooling, breastfeeding, co-sleeping sense (though my 15 year old still hops in bed with me periodically, which I love) but more like this... when I smile at Ella, she smiles back. If I frown, she frowns. Cause and effect. Fifteen year olds are a lot like this. Happy and helpful makes happy and helpful. And this is where the Shamu discipline comes is (Shamu is a whale by the way, in case you live in a cave). Whale training is a lot like kid training. Read about whale training here. If you read that, they you're prepared to answer this, how are kids like whales? Well, everyone likes a reward. Everyone. I don't know one person that would say, "Oh you know what, I'd rather you didn't praise me for my good behavior. In fact, just ignore my good behavior and while you're at it why don't you yell at me when I get a C in geometry." No one doesn't like a pat on the back. The best thing about a good pat on the back? You want to get another pat on the back. It's very simple. And very effective.

Practical example anyone? Kelsey wanted to give the baby a bath. She didn't know how so I told her and showed her and helped her learn and then I gave her the reigns and of course she didn't do it perfect. She made some mistakes. Nothing dangerous or detrimental, but not perfect. I ignored them and said, "Wow, thanks a lot for giving the baby a bath Kelsey. I really appreciated getting the dishes done without wearing the baby (I do it but it gets messy)."

Guess what? The next night she wanted to bathe the baby again. And I got to do dishes again (maybe some day I'll use that time for something like a quick jog). I haven't perfected this art because sometimes I get frustrated and "GIVE ME YOUR CELL PHONE RIGHT NOW" is effective too. But I'm a work in progress. I'm working on making sure my kids have positive praise for the good things they do and hopefully nothing at all for the bad things (unless someone if getting hit by someone else, that I can't ignore).

I think you get what I'm saying here. Shamu likes fishy treats. Kids like praise. Done.

Monday, December 20, 2010

What's for dinner?

If you're like me (that is a 36 year old woman who just quit her well paying job to stay at home and raise kids again... AKA the "mom") you hate this question.

Why do moms hate this question so much?

*If you're a mom and you don't hate this question, please send me a message. ASAP. I need to know your secret.

I didn't use to mind it so much I guess. But over the years I began to dread it. Around 3 pm I'd know it was coming and I'd just wait for it....

"MOM. What's for dinner? I'm STARVING."

Why are kids always starving?

Anyway. I don't know why it became such an annoying question but at some point I started to hate hearing it and began to contemplate alternate answers to the truth. For example: Purina Puppy Chow. Or, liver and onions (which I've never cooked. Ever.). Or, fried frogs. Dream something up. I guarantee you I've said we're having it for dinner. Even if it was a lie. Once I said sauteed poop. That made them quiet in a hurry.

So the question already came today. It was 9 am and it came from the 12 year old. "Mom, what are we having for dinner?"

Here's the answer:

Grab a spoon son. Dig in.

Yep. That's lard. Or manteca as they call it. Lard. It's not pretty but there it is.

We aren't just eating lard. For the record.

Breathe. It's ok. My granny cooked with lard and she lived to be 90. She probably would have lived to be 100 if she hadn't drank so much moonshine. She weren't afraid of no dern lard. Or bacon. Or fried just about anything. Or earthquakes for that matter. But that's another story for another day. In any case, for this reason, I stand firm in the belief, it's less what you eat and more what you do. For example, she ate fried chicken but she also worked her arse off chasing down and killing said chicken. And other stuff. Like picking cotton. Etc. Since I'm not chasing down chickens or picking cotton or anything equally strenuous I don't eat lard. Often. Today I make an exception.

Also, every time I mention Granny I get a little teary eyed.

So I'm taking that lard and I'm making tortillas with it.

Yup. You heard me. About 17 years ago I set out to make some homemade tortillas. The year was 1993 and I was a young determined bride.

I failed.


Girls as German as me aren't meant to make tortillas I don't thing. But I was smart enough though to seek out the assistance of someone older and wiser, and more Hispanic, than me. She taught me how to make tortillas.

And real refried beans.

There they are in their youth. Just waiting for smooshing. Over the years I modified the refried bean recipe to include, well, less frying. I'm not completely out of my mind people.

Anyway. What's for dinner?

That's what.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday. Baking Sunday.

Better than bloody Sunday.

We still aren't done with the baking. But we are dangerously close.

I swear I had the best intentions yesterday to be done. I really did. But it just did not happen. We made a lot of goodies. Translation: I made a lot of goodies. The Hub did dishes. The Big Kids helped some, but mostly sat around basking in the glory of the first day of winter break and the Wii. Ella ate. And napped some. That's what she does best. She's a professional eater.

This is what we ended up with (thus far anyway):

Peanut Brittle:

I slaved for HOURS on this. I mean it's CANDY, people. Do you now how hard it is to make candy correctly? It's HARD.

(It took 15 minutes. Including clean up.)

Peppermint Bark:

Three layers of it.

This has ganache. In the middle. Ganache is one of the best things. Ever. It's ridiculous.


Um... Yum. That is all.


This is what is in buckeyes.

Butter and peanut butter.

Powdered sugar.


(By the way, that is my ghetto double broiler. Dutch oven + glass bowl. That's how I roll. Don't judge me. )

Don't ask me what the recipe is. I can't tell you. It's secret. What I can tell you though is that mixed in the right proportions those 4 things make a candy so good you might want to just go ahead and die after you eat it.

(It's not really secret.)

This is what they look like when they are done:

That one doesn't look like that anymore. It slightly more *ahem* pureed? In my stomach.

They look like an actual buckeye. Get it?

Only mine are delicious.

I confess: I was born in Ohio. Even though I moved when I was 10 days old I still like to say I'm from Ohio. I don't know why. Who really wants to be from Ohio anyway? My dad is from Ohio. He moved to California as soon as he could. He says the people who live in Ohio only do so because they haven't figured out how to get out of Ohio yet. No offense to those of you who live in Ohio. (Family: I love you all. Despite you living in Ohio.)

I digress.

Just as an aside... You should always have a wearable helper when baking. She doesn't look very happy but I promise she is. I look like I've been in the kitchen all day because I have and additionally like I don't own a hairbrush. My apologies. I do own a hairbrush. I'm like 98.7% sure.

Note: Don't worry I'm not going to set the Baby on fire. The stove isn't even on. The water was preheated to a boil, then shut off for safety. I haven't caught the sling on fire yet.

Back to business: We are putting the finishing touches on the sugar cookies and g'bread peeps. They aren't done because I am the Mother and I insist that all the children be present for the decorating. Non-negotiable. One of said children just left for a sleepover. Inside I'm secretly glad because I don't feel like making frosting right now. I do eventually run out of energy. Tomorrow is a new day my friends.

My couch and my behind are about to get reacquainted.

Like now.

But only for 15 minutes... then I have to go back into the kitchen and make dinner. I wonder if any mother has ever just put her bed in the kitchen?

Happy Holidays ya'll.


the lady covered in various powdered ingredients

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Handmade Christmas...Part 2

The follow up to the previous post. I meant to get this up Sunday but as it was, we barely got the tree up Sunday.

Where does the time go?

Target and Walmart mostly.

I hate that place. Really. It's like a vortex of pajama pants and grouchy people.

In addition to the bunting making we also strung some cranberries:

That's a lousy photo.

Sorry. I was too lazy to get the real camera. And my finger hurt from all the cranberry stringing.

This requires a bag of cranberries, a needle and thread (or fishing line) and a person patient enough to do it. We took turns. Turns out no one around her has enough patience to string 15 feet of cranberries alone.

We also dried some oranges (at 175 for a million hours... ok it was more like 4. And they still aren't completely dry ):

And hung them on ribbon:

Don't forget to compost the ends. Cause I'm crunchy like that.

Then there were the snowflakes:

No one wanted to cut them out... Why am I not surprised? They got on board quick enough.

I only had to threaten them a little bit.

And every one likes glitter. Especially me. And the floor. That's where most of it ended up.

Oh then there were the snowmen. I painstakingly picked out the perfect wool yarn. (not the black and grey ones. Those are Vanna Whites yarns. Yes, Vanna White now has yarn. What doesn't that woman do?) Used the cute little pom-pom makers to make a bunch of different sized pom-poms. Sewed them together. Cut out orange felt for carrot noses.

They look a little melted.

Oh well. Martha Stewart I am not.

There were also the beaded initial ornaments which I did not take a picture of. Oops. Please forgive me for losing my brain in the middle of making ornaments. If you look at the picture at the top of this post you'll see Ella's 'e'. It looks more like a loop, but you get the idea. This is the stuff we used to make them. It's 20 gauge wire, glass beads and ribbon. Oh and you need some needle nose pliers unless you want bloodied fingers.

Our tree has been up like forever and I'm just posting this.

Where does the time go?

Oh yeah, Walmart.

Also, I'm posting this from my husbands MacBook Pro cause he got a brand spankin' new one for work and if I'm well behaved and lucky I might get to periodically use this computer which is pretty fancy compared to my plain ol MacBook. How lucky am I?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Handmade Christmas...Part 1


Here it is. I'd like to say it's much anticipated but I know it's not.

That's ok.

Here it is anyway.

Watch us turn this pile of stuff from Michael's....

into decorations:

Note: I took these photos with my iPhone 4. They aren't as good as photos takes with the Nikon D90 but they'll suffice. As an aside: the iPhone 4G is A-MAZ-ING. If you don't have one, I'm sorry.


Part one: Making bunting (for dummies):

This is easy. Like too easy. I would prefer to use fabric and sew bunting but, as I have previously mentioned, my sewing machice is tragically broken. Moving on.

1. Take some paper. Whatever kind you like. I bought this at Michael's for $11 and change. It was on sale from $19.99. I would have still bought it if it weren't on sale, cause, well, I liked it, and I'm a glutton like that. We used less than half the paper by the way. The rest of it will go into "that" place. You know the place. Where craft supplies go to die. Then: Add to your paper, some ribbon (or twill tape like we used), scissors (or papercutter) and a stick of glue. Oh don't forget a beat up ol' ruler that your husband has had for like a billion years. You should always have some beat up thing of your husbands for crafts.

2. Now, disclaimer: There are several ways to do this. Hubs has a degree in mathematics. Therefore, you know the process of determining the most efficient way to cut a diamond was fun. Because I wanted to let the Big Kids be helpful and we only have one paper cutter, we opted to do it this way... Using the papercutter, cut your paper into strips of whatever width you'd like your bunting to be. Ours is 3 inches wide. Then cut it to double whatever length you'd like it to be. Ours will be 4 finished inches so the cut is 8. Like so:

3. Then mark the center of your paper on the 3 inch side (at 1.5 inches. Cause that's half). Like this:

4. Then either take your paper cutter and cut from the top corner to the mark like this:

OOOOOR use some scissors and eyeball it and cut it. Whether or not your scissors have been chewed up by your jerk of a dog because your kids left them outside is up to you.

Those are my hands. I need a manicure. Please forgive me for the abysmal state of my nails.

4. Once you've cut out what will surely feel like a zillion little flags, fold them over onto themselves. I'm not including a photo of that because, well, it's just folding. I had the kids do this part. They didn't like it.

At all.

I am including a photo of the aftermath though. Don't forget to recycle so you aren't consumed with guilt because all the paper you just wasted.

It's a lot. I'm thinking about inventing a craft just for this paper.

Nah. I'll just recycle it.

Ok. I feel better.

5. After that you just glue them over a ribbon or piece of twill tape. We used twill tape by Martha Stewart cause I'm a snob that way. Somehow something costing twice the price because it has her name on it just makes it feel special. (Not really, I just liked the cloudy blue color.) Also, be sure to put glue all the way to the bottom. This seems logical and kind of a given but it's worth mentioning because if you don't, all your work will be for naught as your flags pop open.

And this is what you end up with.

Bam. Bunting. Kindergarten style.

Good luck.

Tomorrow we will be putting this, and the rest of the ornaments we are crafting today, on our tree. Not today. I'm tired. Tomorrow.

Up next Part 2, 3 and 4: Beaded initials, dried oranges, cranberry garland and Pom Pom snowmen.

AKA fighting over who got the most beads, he got more beads than me, why did he get more beads than me; UGH why does it take 4 hours to dry oranges in the oven, this is taking forEVER; how come I have to string all the cranberries, these don't even taste good. GROSS; and MOOOOOOOMMMMMM, I want to use the Pom Pom maker first.

Stay tuned.


the lady with the wool pom pom fuzz all over her pants.

Christmas tree... old fashioned style

Watch as we turn this.....

Into a tree full of ornaments.

AKA... we don't have any Christmas decorations.

It's a long story. I'd rather not go into it.

Suffice it to say, it's better to be happy than to have a house that looks magazine worthy.

In that light, and in light of the fact that I'm now unemployed (*See below) and trying to be frugal, we are making all of our Christmas tree ornaments. Or most of them anyway. I think. As long as we all survive the crafting process.

Here's what's messed up, I could have bought cheap ornaments for less.

But whatever.

Beautiful bunting, wooly snowmen, shiny beaded initials, dried oranges and cranberry strands forthcoming.

Stay tuned...

*Yes. For those who haven't previously heard (or read) I did actually quit my Job Thursday. My boss looked a little like I hit her in the face with a 2x4, but it's done.

No going back.

I am again among the ranks of the At Home Mothers.

YAY! :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

This just in.

Brace yourselves for a big announcement. Forthcoming.

It's coming.

Wait for it.

No, really.

I'm quitting my Job. The nursey one.

No, really. I am. I haven't yet, but I'm going to. I only haven't because I have to drive to Visalia to do it and I don't have the spare hour and a half today. Really.

So that's today's headline. Not big news for you but the biggest of news for us over here. I could write a nice long post about quitting my Job but I'm not ready for that yet. Maybe later. I'm still feeling a little bit fairytaleoverjoyeddazedandconfuzzled about this decision. Oh, don't get me wrong, there's not a single thing I'd rather do than stay at home and raise this Sweet Pea of a Baby. It's just that even though I've been At Home before, it's been a while. I'm a little nervous about it and all the things that go with not being an Out of Home worker. You know what I'm talking about. Maybe not. Anyway. Next item of business.

Because I am about to quit my Job (just the one where I'm a nurse, not the one where I'm nursing) I'm feeling very suddenly domestically motivated. There is a slight problem with this. Well a couple:

a. My sewing machine is broken. It's tragic. Truly.

b. Also despite the fact that we have a fair sized house, I have no place for "crafty" things. They are in a box in storage (mostly).

c. In light of all of this and in despite of it I am still plotting and planning several crafty ventures. Probably too many. It's a disease I have.

And they are:

1. I'm knitting a scarf for my sisters trip to Philly. My sister is Fan-tas-tic. Truly. She deserves a scarf of epic proportions. This may not be big news to everyone but it is to me because I am literally the worst. Knitter. Ever.

No, really. I'm bad.

This is a similar pattern. Only mine is two-color striped. My sister does not like pink. Or anything in the pink family. So I'm using blue and green. I like it. If it doesn't come out crooked maybe I'll whip up another one.

Here it is in progress:
See how I accidentally made one row that has 3 greens in it. I'm not afraid to admit my error. I lost count. I was nursing the baby. I told you. I'm that bad.

2. I'm crocheting snowflakes for our Christmas tree. Granny used to make these. I'm doing it. Like right now. They're fun, if you know how to crochet. If not, they're miserably difficult. Also, working on other handmade ornaments. Because, well frankly we have none.

In other news: I miss Granny. Like a ton.

3. I'm crocheting hats for the children. I prefer knitted hats (ala my mother in law who is a fantastic knitter) but alas, as previously mentioned, I am the worst. Knitter. Ever. Anyway, per their requests hats are underway. Maybe if the scarf isn't an abysmal failure I'll knit them. They should be done by 2012.

4. I'm cooking.

Cauliflower soup.
Don't tell the Hubs. It's what's for dinner tonight. Surprise.

I just met the Pioneer Woman less than a month ago. She's my hero.

Also: Coffee Cake. I feel like I need to make that right. Now.

Did I mention she's my hero. I can't believe I never heard of her before like 3 weeks ago. Where was she all my life?

5. Attempting to make something of our front room.

This isn't really something I'm doing as much as something I need to do.

It's a little bit confused. It's not sure if it's a living room or a music room or a room where people drop their crap. There are drums in there. And guitars. And a huge bean bag. And crap.

That's all.

Here's the drums though. They're really lovely.

Hubs is a drummer. How lucky am I? Drummers are sexy. That is all. Thank you for listening.

(That photo was taken by Myron Yeung. Our wedding photographer. He's amazing.)

6. Working on my etsy store. It's not done yet. Who am I kidding. It's not even started. I'm totally doing it though. I'm not selling anything knitted though. Unless someone is looking for a crooked scarf.

Whilst my mind is preoccupied with the aforementioned items of interest I'm also entertaining the following hobbies:

~gazing at the miracle of Sweetness we've been given. (That's the Baby. In case you didn't know.)

This is her:
I know, right. She's ridiculous.

~ Running after the Big Kids. This takes significantly more time than one would think.

This is them:
I mean look at these kids. If babymaking was a business, I'd go into it. They're that awesome. (In all fairness, I can't take credit for the one holding the Baby. She's my sister. But I'm claiming her anyway. She looks enough like the rest. No one will know.)

~Cooking. Cleaning. Laundry. Shopping. Keeping house in general. Kind of.

~Doing my derndest to support the Hubs in his career and Other Financial Ventures. (This bascially means, trying to keep the kids from talking to him every 10 seconds when he's trying to write code, which is a whole other thing I don't understand.)

That's what I'm up to. Stayed tuned for more news as it develops.

Warmest Regards,


SAHM turned RN turned SAHMRN. Recovering craft addict. Abysmal knitter. Lover of cake.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dinner and a show

I'm an advocate of family time. You know, time spent as a family. However your family is defined, I for one, think it's important you all sit together and connect. Whenever. Dinner seems a logical time. Right?


Our family has six people in it. If you don't count the dog and cat and bird and the tortoise and the three spiders the 10 year old keeps in his room. Coincidentally our table also seats six. (This is going to be a problem if we have another baby. Someone will have to sit on the floor. I hope it's not me.) We eat dinner together every time we are together. (Which is to say Big Kids are not with their dad). This is four nights a week. The other three nights the Hubs and Ella and myself just stare at each other trying to figure out why it's so quiet. Oh and we have a conversation about something relevant, usually. Anyway, those four nights we sit at the table together for food and conversation. Kind of.

We had a game we used to play all the time when Big Kids were still Little Kids called Hi-Lo. Each person in the family would have the floor to discuss the high and low points of their day. Presumably uninterrupted. Presumably. We went in order of youngest to oldest. This worked. For a while. Then, somewhere along the way, this game become passe' and the chaos that we now recognize as dinner ensued.

Now, I hate to have to admit that I can't keep my children under control, but I can't keep my children until control. They're just too big to be sat on.

Typically it goes something like this:

Me: Dinner is on kids. Let's go.
Boys: (stampede) Where? Where? We're STARVING.
Me: Ok good. I'm glad I cooked then. Let's eat.
15 yo: Hang on MOM I'm talking to Marissa.
Me: No. You're not talking to Marissa. Get off the phone it's time to eat. (while trying to move out the way of the starving boys who think they are going to die)
15 yo: Ugh. fine
Hubs: Ok everyone let's get at the table. (He likes to play Good Cop)

Then... We all get to the table.

15 yo: (hiding phone on lap under table, text messaging, I'm just going to guess it's Marissa)
Me: Put your phone away please.
Boys: Where are the forks? Pass the _____? Pass the _____? PASS THE _______?
Hubs: Boys, don't yell at the table please.
Ella: (sleeping in the sling on me)
Me: OK let's try to have a civilized conversation. 15 yo (of course I would be using her name here), how was your day?
15 yo: (completely unaware I exist, still looking at phone in lap)
Me: I'M GOING TO TAKE YOUR PHONE AWAY. Please put it down.
15 yo: GE-AWD MOM. OK.
Me: Don't talk to me like that please.
Ella: (stirring in the sling on me)
Me to 12 yo: That's not true. And stop yelling.
Hubs: (silently eating)
10 yo to 12 yo: STOP BEING A BABY. OH MY GOD.
Ella: (now awake and looking scared)
Me to table: Alright that's enough. Can we PUH-LEASE just eat dinner and have a conversation without anyone yelling. Let's play hi-lo (please God can't we just go back to the days of playing Hi-Lo).
10 yo: OK. My high was.... when I had recess today and I was playing tether ball and...
12 yo: (cutting off 10 yo to recite line of movie/tv show or talking in one of his comedy voices)
Hubs: (laughing at 12 yo)
Me: (giving 12 yo dirty look)
15 yo: (rolling eyes) Can I look at my phone now?
Me: (head in hands) I give up.

And no one has even eaten yet. At this point I usually have some kind of mini-mental breakdown which scares the children just enough that they are willing to stop yelling and have a conversation. I've resorted to tears a couple of times. I'm not proud of it. Don't you judge me.

Does this sound familiar at all? Please say yes.

Dear. God. Please. Say. Yes.

I'm going to keep sitting sitting at that table though. At 6 pm on any given night that's where you'll find me. Even if I have to drag them all there kicking and screaming. It's happening.

We're eating dinner. As a family.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Breastfeeding is Bestfeeding

In 100o words or less... talk about breastfeeding. Go.

This blog isn't particularly amusing or out of the ordinary. It's just something I wrote as part of my quest to not return to work (cause I really really reeeeeaaallllly don't want to). Also I should credit my Hubs who acted as Editor in Chief of this post (a new designation for him, in addition to his usual duties of being awesome).

Here goes:

As a new or expectant mother, you are filled with the best of intentions for your child. Your head is swimming with the possibilities this new life holds. And you are no doubt being bombarded with advice from friends, family and literature on how to provide your child with the best foundation for success.

What if I, a mother of four as well as a Registered Nurse specializing in maternal-child health, knew a secret that could assure you a closer, more intimate bond with your little one? What if that same secret would assure your infant an IQ of 5 or more points above average? What if the secret held myriad health benefits for both you and your child? If you are an open-minded mother in search of the best for your child, I will assume I have your attention.

The secret will save you money and keep your child from visiting the doctors office so frequently, as children often do. It will prevent a host of chronic illnesses and diseases including diabetes, leukemia, intestinal disorders, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, many childhood cancers, meningitis, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, salmonella, diarrhea and even more. It could significantly reduce your infant’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?

The secret will help you lose weight and tone your uterus after childbirth, and significantly reduce your risk of cancers of the breast and reproductive organs. It requires no special equipment or products, and doesn’t require you to go anywhere or do anything special or out of the ordinary. And as the icing on the cake of benefits, the secret is ecologically aware and environmentally sound, reducing your carbon footprint and leaving the world a little cleaner than you found it. Did I happen to mention it’s also free?

Perhaps I should have said secrete instead of secret, because this simple thing you can do as a mother, that will achieve all the aforementioned benefits, is to feed your baby the milk that you yourself produce.

There is enough evidence to support that breastfeeding is, by leaps and bounds, the best way to feed your baby. In fact, breastfeeding might be more aptly named bestfeeding. And these things I mention are only the tip of the breastfeeding benefit iceberg. There are so many astounding benefits to feeding your baby in this way and not surprisingly, more are being discovered every day. This is, in part anyway, why I chose to exclusively breastfeed all four of my children from the moment of their birth until they self-weaned somewhere between 14 and 18 months.

When pregnant with my first child I made the commitment to breastfeed. I had no support from family, no friends who had breastfeeding experience that could be shared, no words of wisdom, no advice to be offered, no where to turn for help. I myself wasn’t even breastfed, nor did I know anyone who was. Bottle feeding had become the normal and accepted way to feed a baby. I questioned the notion of portion control and a one-size-fits-all scientific “formula” (pun intended) for what babies should eat. My intuition told me breastfeeding was better. I set out with my conviction, my desire to be successful, a newborn baby and two functioning breasts.

It seemed with everything in place anatomically - a healthy milk supply and a baby who needed to be fed - I’d undoubtedly be successful, presumably with little effort. I soon found this was not necessarily the case. I had a fussy newborn child with a latch issue, engorged breasts full of milk and an excruciating case of mastitis. As I quickly learned, even with all the necessary parts in place there is no guarantee breastfeeding will come easily. The natural thing doesn’t always come naturally. Like other skills in life, sometimes it must be learned. With a shelf of books, the phone number of a lactation consultant and determination for success I set about learning it. I became a sponge for knowledge and soon saw the fruits of my labor, my happy, healthy, thriving infant daughter. With relative speed breastfeeding became second nature. I found myself easily and comfortably nursing in the mall or grocery store. My determination to be successful and desire to give my child the best was indeed bearing fruit.

I subsequently took this passion and determination into my profession as a Registered Nurse caring for mothers and their newborn children and then to my community to spread the good news: It can be done! Not always effortlessly, and not without some support. But it can indeed be accomplished. And the extra effort pays off in all the ways mentioned above and more. As a community of parents we can support each other in this effort with encouragement and information, stories of successes and lessons from failures. We, as mothers, and as a culture, have the power and solemn responsibility to make choices that will positively effect the lives of our children and thus the future of our society. Feeding your baby in this natural way is the first simple step.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I have two. Surprise.

They work really good. At feeding babies and other things, like making my shirts not fit.

Recently there has been somewhat of a controversy brewing over on facebook regarding photos depicting babies/children breastfeeding. Several women who have profile and/or album pictures of themselves nursing their children have had their photos and/or entire accounts deleted because of "objectionable content". This has led to a kind of online protest. Apparently "objectionable content" includes a half exposed breast being used for the purposes of feeding.

For example this:
Would be deleted.

And this:
Would also be deleted.

That is my baby. And yes, those are my breasts. (Well one of my breasts. The one on the other side looks just about identical.) Those photos of my infant child enjoying her booby time are considered objectionable by facebook standards.

This one though, is just fine.

By the way this is Heidi Montag (in case you live in a cave). I did not actually get this picture from facebook but I have a good fb friend who has a photo of herself far more scantily clad than this so Heidi pales in comparison. I didn't ask my friend if I could use her photo otherwise I would have just to make a point. Anyway. There you go. Appropriate. By facebook standards.

(Those aren't real. Just in case you were confused and thought we had evolved into milking cows.)

Here's the law: Cal. Civil Code § 43.3 (1997) allows a mother to breastfeed her child in any location, public or private, EXCEPT the private home or residence of another, where the mother and the child are otherwise authorized to be present. (AB 157) (emphasis mine). Ok so facebook is a private site and therefore can apparently self govern so I guess laws about breastfeeding don't specifically apply to them because technically facebook is considered a "home". Go ahead read that again, see if it makes sense. It doesn't.

Now, I'm not one to get my panties in a bunch over much but there are a few things at the top of my list and guess what, breastfeeding is one of them.

There are a few reasons for this:

a. Because of my education and health care background I happen to know scientifically (not that that means much) of the health benefits of breastfeeding. In case you didn't know they include things like improved health of mother and baby, reduced cancer risks and protection against asthma, diabetes, leukemia and a host of other things. If you need more than that, read the link above. I'd hope not.

b. Because I've seen firsthand (four times now) what breastfeeding (and especially exclusive and prolonged breastfeeding) can do for a mother and her baby.

c. Because we are one of the most educated and advanced countries in the world (or so I'm told) and yet we still breastfeed our babies less and for a shorter duration than many other countries (see here for data).

d. Because I think (this is just me thinking btw) that a whole load of the problems in our country are directly related to a few things. One of those things is parent-child bonding and attachment. If you aren't attached to your breastfeeding baby you're a monster, or you have a detachable breast, which last I checked isn't possible.

There you go. Reasons a through d. (Also on the list of "thing to get your panties in a bunch about": racism, sexism, homophobia and fear mongering. Just so you're aware of my hot points.)

So like I said this one chaps my hide just a little bit. Besides being utterly ridiculous it only further perpetuates the image of breastfeeding being somehow sexual in nature (right, because milk is so sexy) when we need to be normalizing it as part of our culture.

I nurse in public. Yep. I'm one of those women. I just take my breast right out at the dinner table of a restaurant or in a store or at the mall or wherever I happen to be when Ella is hungry. You know, cause she's HUNGRY. I'm certainly not going to make her wait to eat while I go find some filthy empty bathroom stall. No. Thank. You. Also, I don't generally cover her head because, well, that's silly. I'm not hanging my nipple out for goodness sake. I realize I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said a hundred million times by breastfeeding advocates all over the world, I'm just saying it again. Because *some* people appear to not be getting the picture.

Like this one:

The picture of a happy, healthy, exclusively breastfed baby.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Alprazolam. And Thanksgiving.

To the non-medical types that word might mean nothing. But to those who have used it, that word might mean the difference between panic and sanity. You know what I'm talking about.


I've never taken it.

But, with the holidays approaching... well, I'm still not taking it.

We should talk about my family. I don't think it would be completely out of line to perhaps have a candy dish of said alprazolam on hand for such stress-laden holiday events as Thanksgiving. I can't talk about the crazy parts of my family because that would be rude. Not that they read my blog. But anyway. It's rude to say your family is crazy. I'm pretty sure.

Thanksgiving is approaching. I'm cooking for the Hubs, the big kids, Sister (if she can make it after eating in 2 other places) and my perpetually single father. (He's funny, attractive and 60 [but acts 45] years old and available, ladies.) I should say "We" are cooking because the Hubs will be in the kitchen too. He's that guy. Anyway we are not going to the Big Family Dinner. That's another blog post. Xanax not necessary. I hope.

Once I had a patient who kept a candy dish of vicodin on the table next to his easy chair. (Privacy disclaimer: Because all patients are protected by HIPPA, as they should be, I will not reveal details about patients or their families. I will not reveal details about specific illnesses nor will I reveal names or locations. Specific situations will be slightly altered to protect privacy. Because most of my readers know where I live there is no point in me trying to pretend I live somewhere else or not reveal where I live at all. My patients privacy is of utmost importance to me so I will not compromise it. If something I say resembles you or someone you know, I promise you, it is only coincidence. OK. That is all.) Anywho, candy dish of vicodin... I thought that was funny at the time but now I see it's just a matter of convienence. I mean you keep the remote next to your chair right? Right. Save yourself the trip to the cupboard. (I don't advocate the use of so much of any medication that you ought to have it in a candy dish. By the way.) This is purely anectodal and has no real bearing on this blog post except that it's funny that someone would keep vicodin in a candy dish. Thankfully no one actually expected to find candy in his house.

All you're likely to find in the candy dish here is actual candy.

And probably some turkey. Probably.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Slacky Mc Slackerton

That's me.

I have a good reason.

No, really.

I was sick.

Well, first my eldest daughter was sick. Then I was sick. Then the other big kids were sick. Then of course Ella was sick. The, after he thought he was going to escape it, the Hubs got sick too. I think we've sufficiently covered our bases now. Thank you. Oh wait, did the dog get sick? OK she's next. Then we're done.

Amidst all the business of being sick my Sister came. Yep, Sister. Capital S. Even though she's my little sister (by 14 years no less), she's HUGE to me. I haven't blogged much about my sister but you'll hear about her. A. Because she's like one of my children (for a variety of reasons I won't go into now) and B. She's A-mazing. Like really. Anyway she's in grad school right now which means she has time to study and occasionally pee and get food, so I haven't seen her since two weeks before Ella's arrival, which might be close to the longest we've ever been apart. So she met Ella and it went as suspected... Smashingly. (As an aside: Why don't more people use the term smashingly? Fantastic. I'm using it.) There is little that pleases me more than having all my lovelies in one place together. If she had come with godiva I might have fallen over dead. On the spot.

Since she arrived two important things have happened.

1. Ella slept on her for like a hundred hours. This gave me the opportunity to bake cookies, bake rolls, make fried chicken, fold laundry. Wow. I should have gotten a massage.

2. She figured out how to get Ella's stroller open. I confess. I went to school for several years to learn how to care for the afflicted but I haven't the first idea how to open Ella's stroller (nor do I care since I carry her everywhere). Raegan figured it out.

She only smashed her hand once.

As a result of her arrival I haven't even been thinking about blogging or anything else other than talking to her like we do (and blowing my nose).

My apologies.

Not really.

I mean could I miss this?
Or this?

No. Way.

And while I'm talking about having my loves together and how happy it makes me, let me take a turn to serious town. I have lots of photographs of myself over the years. Well not lots exactly, but enough to document my presence. I typically don't like the way I look in photos. Do any women? I'll find something wrong. For example: I look fat. My skin looks bad. My right eye is smaller than my left eye (it's totally true). I look fat. Or.. I look too skinny (Yes. I had that phase too. We'll talk about that another day). Or whatever. I'm my worst critic as they say. It's pathetic. No really. Stop criticizing yourselves ladies. Monumental waster of time. Anyway, I digress.

But recently something strange has happened. Suddenly, and by suddenly I mean like WHAMMO, I see someone different looking back at me. Oh sure I can still find flaw (I'll spare you that detail). But all of sudden my wrinkles look sweet to me because they mean I laugh. My face appears eased because my stresses pale compared to my joys. My smile genuine because I have so much to smile about. My body relaxed because it is. I might be imagining it but I've heard it from other people too. So, probably not.

"You look so happy."

Why yes. Yes, I do.

There has been a change in me in the last year and a half and even in the last 2 months that I recognize and that others can see. I'm still the same Joni under those wrinkles. I'm just a better version of myself. It's being a happy and loving wife and mother and a thoughtful and intelligent nurse. It's being at peace. I like what I see when I look at me.

That is all.

Sister is visiting the other family that's not me. (What? We have other family? Hmph.) Big kids are with their dad from this evening through Wednesday. And finally after a weekend of sneezes and coughs I've got time to re-tidy the house, scrub toilets, wash all the clothes and spend some time being otherwise crafty and housewife-ly. But what I'd really like is for everyone to just come back home.

So we can laugh. And cry. And destroy the house. And I can make some more wrinkles.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

out of the mouths of 15 year olds (daughters in this case)

Disclaimer: These are just things MY 15 year old says (or has said at some point over the last year or so, give or take). I make no guarantee that every 15 year old will say all (or any) of these things. There is a pretty good chance you're going to hear some of them though. Repeatedly.

a. Mom, I can't wear the black Uggs with the brown belt. Ohmigawd (yes, it's one word). You just don't KNOW.

{No, clearly I do not.}

b. Mom, you are NEVER going to believe what (insert any girls name here) said today. She said she couldn't believe (insert any other girls name here) even LIKED (insert any boys name here). He's such a JERK. He was totally flirting with (insert yet another girls name here). He doesn't even deserve (insert 2nd girls name again).

{Things used to be so simple.}

c. Mom, I'm hungry.

{Why am I not surprised?}

d. Mom, we don't have ANYTHING to eat.

{Except that cabinet full of food.}

e. Oh. Em. Gee. Mom. Your boob is totally bigger than the babies HEAD.

{Gee. Thanks.}

f. Mom, don't worry, it's ok for you to get big when you're pregnant.

{And. Again.}

g. Mom, are stretch marks inherited?

{Yeah. In reverse. I got mine from you.}

h. Mom, I have the BEST idea. Let's go SHOPPING!

{Wow. That sounds super fun. Let me ask my huge human head sized boob if it wants to go too.}

i. Mom, my room IS clean. No, it's clean. I swear.

{By the standards of? A homeless guy? Oh, ok. As long as we're clear.}

j. Mom, WTH, why can't I have a facebook. Come ON. PUH-LEASE.

{Ask your father.}

k. Mom, how do you know when you're in love?

{If you have to ask, you aren't}

l. Mom, what if you like a boy but he doesn't like you? Ooooor what if he doesn't even KNOW you?

{Introduce yourself. If he still doesn't like you, he's a idiot. At least temporarily. Move on. Wait 20 years. Call him up. See what happens. Maybe you'll get married. :)}

m. Mom, why is your hair like so awesome and stays curly and mine won't stay curled at all. It's LAME.

{Genetics. Learn to love the hair you've got. There is a no exchange policy on hair.}

n. Mom, does this purse look ok with this outfit? (always say yes. Always. You're going to be wrong anyway) . NO, it does NOT. You just don't KNOW.

{No. Obviously not. Oh see h. We should go get another one. :-|}

o. Mom, when did you lose your virginity? Were you like married? Or what.

{How about we talk about my stretch marks again?.}

p. Mom, what is sex like?

{Fun. Or it should be. Next topic. }

q. Mom, you are like (btw, insert the word 'like' randomly in any sentence for 15 yo effect) SO good at being a mom. No mom, really. You're like (there it is again) GOOD. How did you get so good?

{Years of practice. Mostly on you. Sorry about that.}

r. Mom, Ella is the luckiest baby ever to have you for a mommy.

{Thanks honey. I love you too.}

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why becoming a mother AGAIN at 36 was the best thing I've ever done

I read somewhere recently some rules for blogging (yeah yeah you caught me referencing The Pioneer Woman again. Whatcha gonna do about it?). You can read that post, it's enlightening. Or not. Whatever. In any case, here I sit. I don't have any sort of case of writer's block or anything, just a case of what do I need to blog about today... Here's what's on my mind:

When I told my dad we were expecting a baby (my 4th, hubs 1st) his words to me were actually, "Are you SURE you want to do that AGAIN?" Of course this isn't saying much for my dad (he doesn't read the blog though so he'll never know). When I was pregnant with my 2nd child he warmly declared, "Wow. You really want me to not be able to deny that I'm a grandfather." Geez. Thanks dad. No, seriously. I love my dad. He's fantastic. He played guitar and sang me down the aisle when Matt and I got married in July. He cried at our wedding. Like cried. A lot. He's a genuinely genuine guy. And I'm a genuine daddy's girl. He might have some trouble seeing the value in having children though. I'm just guessing.

It's my sweet husband's birthday today. He's 36 years old. He's younger than me by 78 days (but who's counting). He just became a father for the first time (though for all intents and purposes he's got 4 kids. A real parenting crash course.). Anyway, thanks to Ella, my well functioning uterus and a night back in December, he now has a biological child as well. This occurred 8 weeks ago today. And this is "why becoming a mother AGAIN at age 36 was the best thing I ever did" reason #1 (I'm in a list making sort of mood this week, for what's it's worth). Also, these are in no particular order. For what it's worth.

1. I made my husband a daddy. And he's super good at it too. Seeing him hold our little baby girl just makes my heart feel like it's going to explode.

(This isn't really physiologically possible btw. Maye a valve or two would bust, but the heart actually exploding... Not likely.)

2. Renewed (or expanded) faith in my body and myself. In case you haven't read this blog, I had Ella at home. Strange and/or controversial as this may seem to some, it was literally the best decision we have made to date (aside from making her, which was obviously a precursor). Having a baby at home is fun (no, I'm not using drugs of any kind). I'd do it again (I said I wasn't using drugs.). Like tomorrow (no, really, I'm not). Also, as the post I mention above declares, while any birth I believe helps make a woman what she is, this one was paramount for me. I believe that what a woman gains from her empowered birth makes her stronger, wiser and generally more capable. This may sound braggart to some, but I'm proud of myself for having a nearly 10 and a half pound baby. In. The. Kitchen.

We have a secret in our culture, and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.
-Laura Stavoe Harm

That pretty much sums that up.

3. Becoming a mother again has made me appreciate the kids I already have that much more. Corny. True. It might sound like I'm saying I didn't already appreciate them. Not the case. Moms (and dads, to be fair), remember when you had your first baby and you loved it so much you thought your heart would burst? (See #1. It won't.) Then you were going to have #2 and were scared you wouldn't be able to love it as much/give it enough attention/etc. (See #8) Then you had the new little baby and bam, love multiplied, not divided. The human brain has an amazing capacity for love. Thank you oxytocin.

4. I have more patience now. That's not saying too much. I'll admit I wasn't the most patient mother at age 20. I still have my moments (you know like when two adolescent boys are trying to kill each other over a PSP or I open the 15 yo's closet to find a hidden pile of clothes that reaches my knees) but my 3 big kids and Ella all benefit from the mellowing that occurs with age. I'm like a fine wine. I think.

5. I have a better grasp on what's important in life. Priorities. For example:

Important: breastfeeding a hungry baby on demand. Not important: scrubbing toilets.
Important: talking with my children. Not important: talking on the phone to my mother (sorry mom. You're moving down the list.)
Important: Hearing my kids laugh. Not important: Hearing people on TV laugh.
Important: Feeling good about your body and your health. Not important: Obsessing over the size of your backside.

I think you get what I'm saying. Life is short. Enjoy.

6. I'm no longer terrified of being a mother. At the risk of having a calamity of some kind, I'll admit, there is little (in the realm of normal, and some not so normal) that I haven't seen or done. This includes, but is not limited to: Wounds of all shapes and sizes, depths and widths. Colic. Various surgeries. Snotty noses and attitudes. Vomit and/or poop all over everything, including your clothes and/or furniture (sometimes simultaneously). Pneumonia. Asthma. Boy trouble. Girl trouble. Heartbreak. Bad grades. Trouble with teachers/students/yard duty people. (Once my son actually almost got expelled for drawing a cartoon strip depicting the school being blown up by a bomb. Active imagination that kid.) Anyway. I've seen a lot of stuff. I no longer feel the need to sterilize everything the baby touches. Spit will do. I now know that if a 4 year old doesn't want to wear shoes, probably the world will continue to rotate on it's axis if he goes barefoot. Also, mascara is not poisonous. X14 will clean your shower AND ruin your sofa. Boys bikes should really be designed to protect their penises if they fall (see various surgeries, above). A child can take until they are 3 to fully potty train. They won't poop their pants forever. Even if your mom insists they will. Mud washes off of most things and is also not toxic. Eighteen month old boys are very clever at finding ways to reach cookies. It's not the end of the world if your 7 year old knows the f word. If he says it at gramma's house, you might have a problem. There is little that scares me for I have seen a lot of it. I'm ready. Except for the really bad crap. No one is ever ready for that. I've seen that too. That crap terrifies me. Next topic.

7. It's this feeling you get about your kids. I'll admit one (actually two) of my children were not intentionally conceived. At the time this seemed like kind of a..... well, problem. A crisis even. Of epic proportions. With one of them I actually didn't have room in the house OR the car. But along he came anyway. By the power of failed birth control. It was a pretty big deal at the time. Like... Oh. My. God. How am I going to feed and clothe another WHOLE PERSON? But you know what, there is no way I'd ever live my life without that kid. He is my baby boy. The sweetest kid. He cried when his pet spider died. When Ella was born he sat behind me and cheered me on telling me I could do it. And like every child we've got, I can't imagine if that birth control pill had worked. Can't even fathom. It's magic. Kids just wrap themselves all up in your heart. It what keeps you from giving them away when they're so terribly two, wildly eight, know-it-all 12 and snotty 15. It's natures way of keeping them safe. Anyway... Our house would be so boring without Ella.

8. Cute (and functional) baby things. When I had my first daughter 15 years ago swings still had to be hand wound. I am dead serious. You'd wind them up, put the baby in, they'd run out of go and whammo, awake baby. OR you'd actually remember to re-wind it BEFORE it ran out and the stupid winding mechanism itself would wake the kid up anyway. Now... batteries. Brilliant. Also there were no bumbo's or chairs that vibrated and played womb noises, nightgowns still had stings on the bottom (cause no one had choked on them yet I guess), carseats didn't have detachable bases you could leave strapped in the car (crazy) and if you wanted a double electric breastpump you would have had to sell your soul to buy one. (Yep, I nursed for 16 months hand expressing and using a single sided hand pump. Good times.)

9. Life experience. This is not to say that 20 year old people don't make good parents. (I was a parent at 20 and that kid is doing alright. As far as I can tell anyway.) But this is to say that 36 year old people have seen and done some more stuff. Most of them anyway. I couldn't share what the stress of college and working full time was like with my child when I was 20 because I hadn't done it yet. I didn't know much about politics. (Though I was liberal back then too. Yes, I voted for Clinton.) I didn't know how to carve a turkey much less raise a child. I'd been exposed only to a handful of religious beliefs and ethnicity's. I grew up in a town of less than 50,000 people. But by the time I was 25 I'd know 2 people who were brutally murdered. I'd see one kid shoot a hole right though his hand. I'd lose my own unborn baby, both of my dad's parents, my mother's father, one aunt to suicide and my great grandmother who was like a mother to me. I would have had my house broken in to twice and my car stolen 3 times (You might be getting the picture that I wasn't living in the small town anymore). Also, incidentally, I've seen more in my career as a RN than most people will see in their lives. You get the idea. Experience. I hope Ella can benefit from it.

10.Did I mention patience?

11. It was an incredible experience for my other kids to see their sister born. Not only did they see the beauty of new life, they saw the power of women. My boys got to see, through their stepdad, how a woman should be treated. I hope this teaches them how to treat their wives. My daughter got to see what she deserves as a woman. Birth was normalized for them as safe and beautiful, not something mysterious and frightening. And all of them now have to to learn how to share time and space with a whole other person (see #7). They're better for it too.

There are more reasons than this but I'm going to stop now because I know what's important and I've got a baby that's ready to nurse on demand. :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Pioneer Woman

Disclaimer: This is me whining about having to go back to work. Because this blog is for me and my own therapy. And I need some.

In case you don't know The Pioneer Woman, here she is. I'd never heard of her before yesterday. I swear. Because I blog, you'd think I would have read her blog. But no. I have not. Or at least not before this morning (well yesterday afternoon). Apparently she's like SUPER FAMOUS (making my little baby blog seem pretty silly). My friend Staci pointed me in her direction (as she was encouraging me, in the way only my sweet Staci does, to start a professional blog) and I admit I was drawn right in. Her blog is fantastic. I mean really. She's got photos and contests and recipes and crafts. She's like the wonder woman of blogging. However, as far as my own personal blogging is concerned, I feel like the internet is pretty saturated with blogs and people trying to make money that way. It's all been done, as they say. I have nothing unique or new or fresh to offer the world. Not when there are Pioneer Women out there that are the epitome of amazing.

However, that said, if I could quit working in the sense that I put on clothes and my badge and stethoscope and go out into the world every day to care for the sick and dying, then I would. I'd miss being able to give to society in the way I feel I do in my job as a nurse. I'd miss my patients and their families fiercely. I'd miss the nurses I work with. But... you really wouldn't have to ask me twice. In fact you would even have to ask me one half of once. If I could make a living at home blogging/cooking/crocheting/ knitting (ok I probably couldn't make a living knitting cause I suck at it)/watching TV professionally/babysitting other women's children/baking cookies/, I totally would. I went to school for like EVER to become a RN (ok it was only a few years but still, nursing school is stressful) but I'd still put all that on hold to see my little baby grow.

I'm pained by the thought of leaving Ella.

Like pained pained. It's the elephant in the room for me right now (which is why it deserved it's own line). Oh sure I can conceptualize the thought of getting dressed and driving to my office and going to meetings and going to patient's homes every day. But when I REALLY think about it, dropping Ella off at someone else's door, pumping during the day, not carrying her around in the sling, not seeing her smiles and giggles, my heart wants to break into a hundred million tiny pieces. I just don't wanna do it. Like throw a temper tantrum on the floor kicking and screaming and make an absurd scene don't wanna do it.

Since I've started looking for childcare options my desire to throw a tantrum is growing stronger. Must. Kick. And. Scream. I know I'm not alone. I think statistically something like 58% percent of women would rather work outside the home. Yeah. No thank you. Not this momma. I'm perfectly content to cook and clean and care for children. I'd darn socks and make dresses and bake my own bread. I'd get spit up on ad pooped on all day. I'd scrub floors and toilets (when I wasn't gazing at my sweet baby). I'd do it. I swear. And I'd never ever ever complain (well maybe a little bit when I missed adult conversation). I was born to be domestic.

When I had my first sweet screaming baby girl my mom gave me this sage advice, she said, "Oh honey by the time that baby is 6 weeks old you'll be DYING to get back to work." She lied. She totally lied (it's not the first time either, sorry if you're reading this mom, you're a really good cook, just so you know). Liar. I took Kelsey to the sitter (who was my friend ever) and then I cried. And when I say cried I don't mean blotted my eyes with a tissue and silently sniffled, I mean ugly sobbing snarfy cry. You know the one I'm talking about. I did it every day for months and months. It was torture. But I had to work. And I have to work now.

There was a point where I didn't work. It didn't make sense to put 2 kids in daycare (and then 3 kids in daycare) on the salary I made then but you know living is like expensive man. Expensive. And we've got 4 kids. And the two in the middle eat enough that I have to work just to feed them (Ella only drinks boobie which I can make for free, thank goodness). Also my 12 and 10 year old boys have both already grown out of the pants I bought them when school started (which was, in case you aren't keeping track, like 2 months ago). And. And. And. Kids are expensive too.

Anyway, the point being, I need to work, and I'm working on getting ok with it. My sweet husband is working his hiney off trying to find a way for me not to work. Bless his talented pea picking heart. But alas, I am skilled. I have a degree and I should probably use it, even if I'm totally not in the 58% mentioned above. Frown.

Suggestions are welcomed and encouraged from all you working mommas.

Pumpkin head :)
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