Monday, January 31, 2011

Motherhood: The good. The bad. The what the hell did i do?

Not long ago I shared with you, fair reader, my thoughts on motherhood. This post was mostly in light of my becoming a mother for the fourth time (with a fair space between babes) and the things that I wish I'd known before I ever considered having children in the first place. As a part two to that piece, and in light of my willingness to share the secrets I keep, and my desire for a world that is honest and true, I give you this post:

What it's *really* like to have four kids. Not the sunshine and rainbows and pooping butterflies motherhood but rather the gray skies, clouds and vomit on your shoes kind of motherhood.

Before you proceed, and lest I be flamed for my disrespect of the institution that is motherhood, let me say this: Being a mother is the best thing I ever did. Ever. My life would be reading a pathophysiology textbook level of boring without my kids.

Read on:

1. Baby #1, who is now a sassy, beautiful 15 year old, was a Fussy Mc Fusserton. Not like "wah wah hold me" fussy. Like screaming from 5 pm until the end of David Letterman's monologue (which is 11:45 for you non-Americans) kind of fussy. Every. Single. Day. For like 6 months. There were times during her infancy where I wasn't sure which one of us, if either, was going to survive to see her adulthood.

So far so good.

2. Also she wouldn't sleep. Ever.

She does now.

3. Baby #2 wouldn't latch on correctly to save my life. I had mastitis like a 157 times when he was a baby. I should have known...

This was only the beginning.

4. He was also a really 'high-needs' toddler. And, let's keep it real folks, by high needs I mean pain in the ass. My god I love this kid like you wouldn't believe, but I'm not going to lie to you. He threw tantrums. He screamed incessantly. He wouldn't go to sleep without me. Ever. He woke up at 5 am for chocolate milk. Every. Single. Day. I thought I was going to die. Remember when your mom said, "When you grow up I hope you have a kid JUST LIKE YOU." Well, yeah.

He's exactly like me. And he is outstanding.

5. There was a year, I think 1999, that we never managed to all be well simultaneously. I exclusively breastfed and yet... Baby #1 (a toddler by this point) had ear infection after ear infection after ear infection after... you get the point. Baby #2: Oh he had pneumonia. At 7 months of age. And every other ailment known to man. I slept sitting up in a wooden rocking chair (Wooden. No padding. At. All.) for a week straight. Everyone threw up. Except me. But instead of throwing up, I had a case of incurable non-viral pink eye that literally made me blind. I bled from my eyes for a week. I parented, while their dad worked, with my eyes closed. Literally. Closed. I was physically unable to open them. The 17 year old doctor at the after hours clinic almost lost his lunch in the trash can when I walked in. I wanted to die.

I didn't.

6. Baby #3 wasn't *exactly* conceived on purpose. I was absolutely not ready. I had a 3 year old. And a one year old. Once he arrived it was clear that I was outnumbered. I had two hands and three children age 4 and under. And a migraine. And I wanted a bottle of wine. Or beer. Or vodka. But I wasn't drinking at the time. Which is probably a good thing. It wasn't always bad but there were days I thought I was so far in over my head I was destroying everyone's life, including my own.

I wasn't.

6. Also I was depressed. Like really REALLY depressed. Not taking a shower for like 7 months can do that too a woman.

I'm not now.

7. Also I was fat. Eating children's leftover food every single meal and never leaving your house because you can't figure out how to take out 3 small children without losing one can do that to a person.

I never did lose anyone. Wait, let me check....

Yep. They're all still here.

8. Baby #3 was thankfully a good sleeper, eater, nurser and overall person. He must have known...

I was at my wits end.

9. At some point I decided I'd better get my arse back in school. So I went to nursing school while raising 3 little kids. Also I worked during that time. A lot.

I'd rather not discuss it. It was a dark dark time.

10. I forgot what it was like to have hobbies, interests or any free time. I forgot how to work my sewing machine, how to use scissors and how to spell. I felt like my brain had completely atrophied.

It comes back.

11. They got older and I got hobbies again. And interests. And I got to read some books that weren't text in nature. I gave kids chores and I stopped making everyone's bed.

Then I had another baby.

12. Now I don't sleep. I don't sew. My hamper is never empty. Going to the store is an Olympic event. Some days I don't even wear a shirt. I can't seem to find time to exercise. My breasts are huge and leaky and making it so no shirt made for a human being fits me. My nights are spent bouncing a baby to sleep. Then trying to transfer her to bed without waking her. Then laying by her to get her back to sleep after I wake her. Then sneaking out of the bed to try to see if I still have a husband. Then getting to the bottom of the stairs only to hear her crying.

I am a mother.

And I love it.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

on eleven year old boys

Thank heavens for failed birth control.

No, really.

Thanks, heaven (or you know, whoever).

My son, the littlest one, turned 11 yesterday.

I found out I was pregnant with him after about 9 weeks of feeling 'not quite right' and attributing it to the heat, the move, the exhaustion of having a 3 and 1 year old. Anything but the little person growing inside.

I had no period. I was nursing his brother. I was on the pill. I wasn't trying to have another baby.

I had no idea I was pregnant.

It was hot. We had no air conditioning. We had a swamp cooler. It doesn't count. If you've ever had one, you know what I mean. I was doing dishes one night and found myself hunched over the kitchen sink in a gut wrenching hurl.

I don't vomit. Like ever.

This is the exact moment I knew that the birth control pill had betrayed me. The next day my suspicions were confirmed. The week after that the poor poor radiologist had to be privy to my near breakdown when I saw that the presumed baby had fingers and toes.

I know what that means. You aren't a little pregnant ma'am. You are, in fact, a lot pregnant.

I wasn't ready but he was coming. And sure enough on January 29, 2000 at 8:40 pm this little guy joined us earthside.

I hope this photo conveys the awesome-ness that is this kid.

He loves bugs. Of all kinds. And animals. And mud. And blueberries. And his baby sister.

He plays sax. And drums. And the strings of my heart

He cries when he gets in trouble. And not the "please don't punish me" kind of cry but the truly sorry kind. Because he is.

He was there when his baby sister was born. And by there I mean THERE. In the room. And by in the room I mean standing right beside me the entire time. The. Entire. Time.

He blew me bubbles.

He sat on the ball (OK he had a PSP but he was sitting there for like 6 hours).

And as Ella was literally coming out of me, he stood behind me and held my shoulders telling me I could do it. Gently encouraging me and saying "you're DOING IT mom."

(I cut the bottom off. Because this is a PG site. Also, I'm literally giving birth in this photo. There is a human being coming out of my body. Please forgive my hair.)

OK he used the thermometer like a gun too. I mean, come on, he was 10.

That is my boy.

Damn am I glad that birth control pill failed.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

the secrets we keep

Disclaimer: This is a multipurpose blog.

I like to educate, entertain, inform. I like to make you laugh and sometimes make you cry. I like to make you think. I like to be funny. Sometimes I like to be a little serious.

I ran into an old friend today. Well she's not old. She's my age. (Am I old? Wait... don't answer that.) What I mean to say is we used to know each other pretty well. I really loved and admired her in those days. I still do. She's a great mother and wife and a beautiful person. We don't socialize anymore because we aren't in the same social circles. I won't go into that.

Anyway we chatted about life. About keeping up with the Joneses. About assumptions people make. About feeling like your neighbor was doing so much better than you because you didn't know their truths, their secrets.

I told my friend about the blog post I'd written where I suggested we all just confess to each other all our shortcomings our mistakes.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if we knew we weren't alone in imperfection?

I think it would.

In that light, I'll go first.

*There are things that happened to me as a child that I don't usually talk about. Because they hurt. I am embarrassed.

*Because of these things (and others) I have struggled with self-esteem. I still do sometimes. It's a process. I am mindful of it.

*I have made decisions as a salve to my self-esteem. I am aware of this.

*I have felt the hushed murmurs and judgement of my friends and family. I was hurt by it.

*I have made judgements and spoken badly about people before. I didn't like it done to me. Therefore I try hard not to do it.

* I worked hard to get into UC Davis so I could go to Vet school. Then I quit after a year. I thought I'd take a year off and go back. I didn't. Not until much later. I have always wished I finished it there.

*My sister graduated from UC Davis. It was one of my proudest moments. And yet I was very sad it wasn't me.

*I have suffered through postpartum depression. I cried a lot and felt like I was worthless a lot. I felt alone.

* I have lost my patience and yelled at my children. I don't really much anymore. But I used to. More times than I like to think about. I was young and overwhelmed and unhappy sometimes.

*I co-sleep and practice attached parenting. I believe in letting babies self-wean and holding your kids close to you as much as you can, but at one point 15 years ago I let my eldest child cry in her crib. Because I was exhausted. I still feel awful about it.

*My kids have sometimes watched too much TV and played too much nintendo/gamecube/xbox/psp/playstation and read too little. I was tired and didn't want to fight them about it.

*My husband and I don't always get along. We don't scream at each other but we do bicker, sometimes about stupid things. I don't like when we do.

*Sometimes I intend to get things done and I don't. Because I want to sit on the sofa. I am sometimes lazy.

*I have, on a couple of occasions in my lifetime, drank too much. I was probably sad.

*I have never done any drugs, of any kind. And I kind of wish I had.

*Despite the fact that I have never done drugs of any kind, I am not as square as you think.

*I curse. Sometimes I even use the f word.

*I try to be eco-aware and live green but I also drink diet soda and I buy drinks in Styrofoam cups. I feel guilty about it every single time but yet I still do it.

*I still eat fast food occasionally. It's not good for you and I know it and yet I still do it.

*I have eaten more cookies than I'd like to admit. Today I ate pie, out of the dish. I'm not proud of it.

*I have occupied myself with things to keep from being depressed to the point of being obsessed. I have stayed up all night sewing. I have eaten sadness away. I have run until my leg was broke. I'm not proud of that either.

*I need to exercise more. I know this. And yet somedays I just don't want to go through the hassle of it.

*I used to be thin. I was young and ate everything I wanted. I thought I was fat.

*I used to be fat. I was working nights and depressed. I hated my body but didn't care. I knew I was fat.

*Then I was thin again. I was working out 2 and sometimes 3 hours a day. I was obsessed with being thin. I had no idea I was that thin.

*Now I'm not thin. Again. Though my husband love me the way I am, I don't always love my body. I feel bad about it. I'm pretty sure I'm fat again. It's probably better than being obsessed with being thin.

*I'm working on loving myself despite all of this. And when I fail at that, I feel like a failure.

I am a work in progress. If any of these things remind you of you. Phew. I'm not alone. Neither are you.

What are your secrets?

new look plus shampoo free day 7/8 and I should live in my car

Not because I'm homeless. Stick around, will explain.

Let me know what you think of the blog redesign. I obviously didn't need all that header. I found something smaller.

I'm typing up the post at a time when I wouldn't normally be blogging. It's dark. I think you get what I'm saying. Today is going to be a wild ride for this mom of 4. I'll get to that later.

First things first.

Poo-free update. We are now on day 8. My head itches. This is apparently normal. Frown. I'm not enjoying this but I am sticking with it. I think I've combatted the dryness by using honey in the ends of my hair and reducing the baking soda (and still rinsing with AVC). Here's hoping. I'm not a fan of the dry hair feeling so honestly if I can't combat that, I can't not use something. Presently I'm using almond oil and the coconut was just too greasy. The Man is having no issues but agrees that people use shampoo because it's easy. So far this has not been. I'm holding out hope that once we get the kinks worked out it will be. Hoping. Now that I feel like I'm conquering the hair, I'm ready to start the oil cleansing method for face. More on that later.


This is the kind of day I'm going to have. The 3 big kids have to be at 3 different schools at 3 different times. 6:45. 7:45. 8:45. They also have to be picked up at 3 different times. One of them has a jazz band festival in a town about 35 minutes from here which begins at 9:00. Somehow I have to get kid #1 to school at 8:45 and still get to the festival by 9:00. Kid #3 has to be picked up at 12 because he has a minimum day. And kid #2, the jazz band kid? Well I don't even know when he has to be picked up. Crap. I hope I don't forget him. Thankfully Ella can't walk or go to school yet.

I'm going to just move my stuff into the car today.

I need coffee.


And a clone.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Epic Apple Pie

I'm not lying.

I know I said I was going to tell you how to make french bread.

I did lie about that.

Well not entirely. I will post that recipe and instruction soon but I made this pie again today and I thought to myself, "Self, you should share this recipe. Like now."

This pie is a nice little spin on the basic pie and the combination of a few recipes that I tweaked a little bit until it's basically so delicious that you'll want to immediately die after you eat it.

Ok not die. But probably at least have a moment of reverent silence.

No other person on the face of the earth has this recipe.

You're welcome.

Here it is:

Epic Apple Pie


4 c flour
1 3/4 c shortening
3 T sugar
2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup water


8 ish large apples (I use Granny Smith. Duh.)
2 T flour
2 T sugar
2 tsp cinnamon (Or more. Or less. You decide. I use it sparingly because frankly my mom put so much cinnamon in her pie that you could barely taste the apples. Sorry mom. Just keeping it real. I have a little bit of an aversion to cinnamon.)
Juice of half lemon

1/2 c unsalted butter
3 T. flour
1/2 sugar
1/2 light brown sugar packed
1/4 water

And instructions:

First heat up the oven to 425 F.

Gather your ingredients. Here they are:

The lemon isn't pictured. You need one. Sorry, I forgot. Also the butter and sugar aren't pictured. You need those too. Oh heck, I'm not sure why I put this picture there at all.

Moving on.

Ok, peel up them apples. However thin or thick you like. I like them thin. That's just a personal preference (also if you're making a BIG pie like me they'll get cooked through this way, if not they'll be a little firm which is also tasty).

Please use a sharp knife. And don't cut your finger. (I know you're probably not 10, but just in case you are, be careful.)

Toss in there the lemon juice, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Stir it up.

Compost the peels (or eat them, or feed them to your pig, if you have one).

Now make the crust:

I command you to not be intimidated by making homemade pie crust. It's not that hard and it makes a WORLD of pie difference. You can buy crust at the store (in the freezer or fridge section) but it is like 1/1,000,000th as good. If granny saw me using store pie pie crust she'd come back from the afterlife just to strangle me. And probably curse me out for not having my own chickens.

Here's the dry stuff (and crisco):

Mix the egg and water and set in the fridge. You know, cause it's cold in there.

This is how you do it: Mix up the dry stuff (that is flour, sugar, salt). Give it a good stir. Then cut in the shortening. You can use a pastry cutter (I got mine from Christmas) or you can use your fingers (some of the best pies I've ever had were made by my sister in law Deva and were made with the "fingers" method") or two butter knives. Make a little well in the center and pour the egg and water into it. It should look about like this.

Mix it all up with a spoon until it's well blended (I usually end up using my hands at this point).
Then divide it in about half. Note: This recipe makes probably two pies worth of crust but I always make deep dish so I just end up with some leftover bits. You can cut these into strips and put cinnamon and sugar on them and bake them up making a little treat that kids (and husbands, incidentally) love. I probably should have told you this earlier. Sorry.

Then throw some flour on some flat surface (this is my kitchen table which is basically the only place I ever roll anything out) and roll the crust out. Use enough flour to make sure it doesn't stick. It's helpful if it's kind of cold (the dough, not the table). Once you've got it rolled out big enough lift it up and put it in the pie dish. Press it all in and then cut around the edge. If you like to can make it crimped and fancy schmancy like mine:

Pile the apples in there:

This pie is not. Messing. Around.

Now time for lattice. Roll out the other half the dough and cut it into strips about 1.5 inches or so wide and at least 10-12 inches long. You can use a pizza cutter. Or a knife. Like so:

If you need help figuring out how to do the lattice (I just lay it down one strip at a time starting with the top one and the one on the left side and working my way down and over ) here is a little step by step instruction.

Now let's mix up topping. Melt the butter and add flour to make a pasty like substance then add in the water and sugar(s) and mix it all up.

Brush it over the crust using a pastry brush (or if you're cheap like me just use a paintbrush {I swear I only use this for pie}). Then slowly pour the rest over the pie (and into the pie).

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes then reduce to 350 and bake another 35-45 minutes (I go the full 45 for the deep dish). It's a good idea to set it on a cookie sheet (Unless you like the sound of your smoke detector).

You may now enjoy the best apple pie ever in the history of apple pie.

Can someone please come clean my kitchen?

Poo-free day 6/7

Well we are a week poo-free. OK it's been 7 days. I started last Tuesday. That's a week right? Thanks for joining us on this adventure in green living.

Here's the update:

Sadness has set. Please read on. While the Man's hair has taken well to the poo-free experiment mine is in full fledged protest. I will say two things. One: I expected my hair to be super duper exxon valdez oil spill oily. But in reality it is Sahara desert dry. Or at least the ends are anyway. We haven't reached horse hair status but we are coming close despite a variety of treatments. Conventional wisdom would suggest that I ought to skip a day of washing (or baking soda-ing as it were) but if I do that the hair that is closest to my head would be oily while the ends may recover. I will not be thwarted though. I will continue to tweak the recipe to less baking soda and more apple cider vinegar. I will probably do an egg, or avo-mayo treatment or some coconut oil to the ends tomorrow or later this evening. It's not that bad. It's just not that good. Also I have read to expect some scalp itching around the one week mark which has started. Two: I'm sticking to it. In the name of chem free living.

In other chem-free news: I took one of Ella's blankets from her armoire (it's a dresser really but it has a cabinet so technially an armoire) yesterday and it smelled so incredibly perfume-y I was downright nauseated. Here's the funny thing, previous to this experiment I was an absolute fabric softener fanatic. Like if the load ran and I forgot to put it in I'd RUN IT AGAIN. Like that. Now, I can't even stand it. Same with perfume, floral body lotion, plug in air fresheners and pretty much anything artificially smelly (though it's been a while since I didn't like the smell of those). Weird. Also weird, when there is no artificial smell you can just smell people. I have a theory about the smell of people though. It seems to me, though admittedly my experience only, and not a scientific experiment, the people you love smell good to you. Take away the perfume and see what you're left with. Turns out I like the smell of my sweaty husband. Hm.

What I smell right now is an apple pie baking.

As for the cleaning: I'll admit I haven't done a thorough cleaning of the house without any chemicals yet. This is mostly because I haven't done a thorough cleaning of my house ever. In any case as far as the chem-free thing goes I've scrubbed the floors and tubs and whatnot but I haven't run into anything really nasty that a little baking soda and vinegar or Dr. Bronner's can't handle.

In cooking news: I made two delicious loaves of french bread this weekend and was asked about how to make bread without a bread maker (I've never owned one so don't ask me how to make it with a bread maker because I can't). Look for a recipe and tutorial soon.

This is a lot to take in in one blog post. If you're still reading, thank you.

If you care to comment tell me what your favorite natural remedies and house cleaning tips are. :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

the eyes have it

This is a story about not getting what you want. And why that's a good thing sometimes.

1986. Legwarmers were in fashion. Hairspray was all the rage. Kids used to breakdance on cardboard. There was a thing called a "boombox".

It was a dark time.

I lost the district spelling bee. The word was exon. It's not spelled with two X's. Please see definition here. Please note: Spell check does NOT even recognize that as a word. Also if I had asked them to use it in a sentence I would have known they didn't mean the oil corporation. I'm bitter about it. But one good thing did come out of that humbling loss. The boy that would grow into a man and become my husband some 24 years later won... the bee, and my heart.

It was these that got me:

The eyes. The breathtaking eyes.

I said to my friend, "Friend, did you see that guy with the blue eyes? Who is he? He is SOOOOO cute." (This is a paraphrase. I was 11, my memory isn't that good.)

I was intrigued by the Gulf of Mexico Pacific ocean blue. Probably because I'd been looking in a mirror at these:

Brown. Or some shade of it.

(This was taken at our wedding by the way. Please note: Wrinkles. Many.)

Fast forward...

24 years later we got married.

And here we are. Blue. Brown.

There is nothing wrong with brown eyes. Not. A. Thing. I got mine from my dad.

This is him:

And me. I'm the pregnant one.

I always wanted blue though. Which is probably why I picked a blue eyed man. Genetics be damned.

Now, I don't know how much you know about Mendel. But in the event you don't have time to re-learn eight grade biology, let me just tell you the odds of me having a blue eyed baby aren't great. Given that my grandmothers both have blue eyes but both my parents have brown. Not too good at all.

I got pregnant. We went to see the midwife and she asked me, "Did you put in your order for those blue eyes?"

Yes. Yes I did thank you very much.

This wasn't the first or last time the topic would come up during the pregnancy. Though the Man never said anything but he hoped she looked just like me, the overwhelming public opinion was that she ought to get her dad's eyes. And when Ella was born the first question I'd usually get (after the person heard she was born in the kitchen and weighed 10 and a half pounds and after they had fully recovered from the cardiac arrest I'd just given them with that news) was, "Are her eyes blue like her dad's?"

The short answer. No.

They started out that way, but I had my doubts from the beginning. In fact every baby I've given birth to has STARTED that way. I've got a hazel (my eldest). A brown that is just like mine (my middle, who looks just like me too). And a color that is hard to describe. A kind of two toned blue and brown (that's little Owen, who isn't little at all anymore). And there's Ella.

They aren't brown. Yet. But they are going to be. I'm like 99.97% sure. (Also I'm pretty sure she has her dad's eyebrows.)

The day I figured this out was the day I looked at her eyes and realized that they weren't getting any more blue. And I was sad, I'll admit. I said sullenly to the Man, "Man, the baby is going to have brown eyes." And I apologized to the baby for being genetically dominant. "Baby, I'm sorry your mommy made it nearly impossible for you to get your dad's awesome eyes."

I felt bad for being sullen about it.

The Man said to me, "Don't you apologize to her for getting your beautiful brown eyes."

Oh. Yeah. I forgot. Not everyone thinks blue is better than brown.

Also he loves my ears. The ears I was endlessly tormented for those as a kid. Whaddya know? I married someone who thinks they are cute. Adorable even.


In a way I'm grateful that Ella's eyes are going to probably end up brown. When I look at her and I see my own eyes looking back at me, it makes it a little easier to love the brown. And the ears. The fact is, odds are, she's got those too.

Lucky kid.

And I hope she's lucky (and smart) enough to end up with a Man who loves her brown eyes too.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Poo free day 4 and 5, and the Man is converted

The Man has been home now for 2 days and also poo-free. As is Ella. The Big Kids, well not so much yet. They're intrigued though. Not as intrigued as they are by TV, but I'll take what I can get.

For those of you curious to know how it's going I'll be keeping you updated. I was disappointed to find that a couple of the great bloggers who preceded me in the poo-free movement didn't actually stay poo-free after the initial experiment. I'm not sure what the reason was for this was, as they don't indicate, but I'll be keeping you all honestly up to date on what I think of it. The Man asked if I'd admit failure, and assure you I will.

As for day 4. I'm still reeling from yesterday's coconut oil debacle. If you haven't been keeping up, I love coconut oil. It's my new favorite thing. Thank you Emily. I've used natural oils before on my skin, almond and olive primarily but I'm a total coconut convert. I used it in my homemade deodorant. I slather it all over my body, including my monumentally oily face (which it does not make oilier FYI). I use it for the baby's nightly massage and on her bum (in the rare case of redness). So it's follows that it would also be good on dry hair, which it is, you know, in a certain quantity that is obviously far less than how much I used yesterday. So, that being said, I'm still recovering from the "too much oil" experience. My hair was a little more weighed down that usual but it's not frizzy so I'll take it. The Man gives his honest opinion, "I feel like I didn't shower at all."

Oops. Clearly not the intended effect.

As for day 5. My hair recovered from the Coconut Oil Situation of 2011 and looks fine. I have to admit though, I miss conditioner. Hello my name is Joni and I love conditioner. I'm pushing through it though. The Man left his baking soda mixture on longer and it appears that solved his problem.

I'm happy to report that my Alabama friend Liz has boarded the poo-free train. She is my partner in chem free arms. Solidarity, people. Solidarity.

In other news: In you haven't, please read yesterday's post. More specifically, read the comments. I'm not trying to start a debate. I promise. I'm really not that controversial. But you should know I'm also not bitter. I've been itty bitty skinny (at 123 pounds, which I can tell you is WAY too small for me) and rolly poly chubby (at 183 pounds) and everywhere in between. I do not begrudge the thin or the not thin or anyone else. And I certainly don't hate Miranda Kerr (Victoria's Secret model and new momma). In fact, I praise her for her willingness to share her private moments. (As an aside, I also happen to thinks it's ironic {and downright ridiculous} that breastfeeding in public would be seen an controversial when this very woman wears far less to seel underwear than is exposed when breastfeeding. Another blog. Another day.) In any case, I like her. My beef is with photoshop and false beauty and mostly unreachable ideals of thinness. I want women to want to be healthy and fit and happy, not obsessed with size and constantly in a state of comparison (of your hips or breasts or otherwise). I want us to love ourselves and rejoice in the wonderful things our bodies do for us. Not lament and loathe every flaw. I received a couple of private emails I won't share but I will tell you this much, disordered eating is alive and well and it's happening to people we think are "normal".

And while we are talking about private emails... Please see the sidebar if you've got a question you want to ask me privately. I've received a few questions and I'm happy to answer them (privately or through the blog). Nothing is off limits because I have no shame. And no filter. Go ahead. Ask.

Question #1 Feminine hygiene:

What do I use? Well when Aunt Flo came back unexpectedly early after Ella was born, I used what was in my 15 year old daughters cupboard, tampons. However, I've used the diva cup and that's what I'll go back to. It's no more difficult that a diaphragm and it's not messy (well it can be kind of messy when you take it out) AND you can leave it in for a long time. Perfect. Because I don't have time to change a tampon every two hours. It's a little pricey and I need a new one (they come in two sizes btw). The lunapads intrigue me (for lighter flow days), I have not used them but I'd love to get some for back up. Etsy also has lots of handmade options. There are also the Sea Sponge tampons which I would be more than willing to give a shot. I've heard mixed reviews from " LOVE THEM" to "wow these are really messy".

There. Nothing off limits. Probably.

Tomorrow: Day 6 and don't it make my blue eyes brown: a statement on unfulfilled wishes.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Victoria, I don't like you

There was a Victoria's Secret catalog in the mail yesterday. Yet again.

I told the Man, "Man, I don't want to turn into an angry feminist but I have a problem with the media right now."

And the catalog went in the recycle bin. Again. I didn't even take out the "free thong" coupon. Or the $10 off coupon. Or any other coupon. I don't like Victoria's Secret.

I know her secret.

It's lighting and makeup. And photoshop. And Plastic surgery. And. And. And.

It's not just because I can't wear a Victoria's Secret bra anymore (I can't) that I don't like her (or whoever Victoria is, presumably a man in an office in a big city somewhere). And it's not just because I weigh *ahem* more than I weighed a year ago at this time ( 30 pounds if you must know. I own it. It's all mine.). It's because women are being set up to fail by being given an ideal that is unreachable, a standard of beauty that is created by media. And it's because my 10 and 12 year old sons are being told that those women are beautiful. It's because my 15 year old daughter is being told that she has to weigh 100 pounds, be 5'9" and have huge breasts to be beautiful. It's because my sweet little baby is growing up in a world where this is what women are supposed to look like?

A world where breasts are plastic and to create a waistline you have to jut your hip out (please reference photo above). Where photoshop is king. And women are supposed to be shaped like Barbie. Where beauty is made up skin deep.

When I said to the Man that I didn't like Victoria's Secret he said, "The Victoria's Secret catalog is sickening." He said some other stuff I won't say here but you get the idea. Even he doesn't like it.


I want my kids to think this is beautiful:

Happy healthy strong smart sassy loving natural looking women. Seriously. How gorgeous are those ladies?

And this is beautiful:

A healthy round stretch-marked swayed back fully pregnant mama with a 10 pound 6 ounce baby about to be born. (I was in labor when this was taken if I look like I'm in pain.)

That birth is beautiful.

That breastfeeding is beautiful.

That gray hair, wrinkles, stretch marks are beautiful.

That youth is beautiful.

That age is beautiful.

That skinny, fat and everything in between is beautiful.

And normal? Well, normal is a setting on the washing machine. It's subjective. Normal is what we all are. And normal is what you make it.

I challenge women everywhere today, throw the Victoria's Secret catalog away (well recycle it anyway), toss out the Vanity Fair and Vogue, stop thinking about what you should look like and find something beautiful about how you do look. In fact, while you're at it try to find it in something you think is a flaw. Stretchmarks? Did your body grow a baby? Wrinkles? Are they from laughing? Sagging breasts? Did they nourish a person? Wide hips? Did they carry a toddler on them? Do you have 10 pounds to lose? 30? 100? Or do you need to gain 10 pounds? 20? Or more? Can you love yourself NOW? Right now? Just the way you are made?

Beautifully and wonderfully.

Poo free day 3

OK here we are. Day 3.

So I've been doing to poo-free thing now for three days. And I'm pleasantly surprised. My hair doesn't look bad at all. It actually looks pretty good. I keep waiting for the hammer to fall but so far so good. I'm guardedly optimistic. The shocking thing today was that while I was most worried about my hair being too oily it's actually dry. So today I put a little coconut oil on the ends after my shower (and while it was still damp). This was a FAIL. But operator failure I'm sure. The coconut oil made my hair really soft but I clearly used too much and now my hair is oily. Back to the drawing board. I'll work out all the kinks so none of you have to subject yourself to my failures. It's a process.

And on the chem free front, a couple of things:

1. I ran out of baby wash (we've had the same bottle since she was born) so I used the Dr. Bronner's lavender on Ella. Like two drops on a washrag. It's what I already use on her cloth wipes anyway but I honestly didn't want to give up the baby scented smell of wash and lotion. I love that dang smell. BUT, in the interest of being chem free I ditched it AND I also ditched the lotion and did our routine post bath massage with coconut oil. She loved it. (I mean she always loves it. It's a massage. Come on. ) If you have a baby go look at the back of your Johnson and Johnson. It's scary. I can't even pronounce the things in there. That can't be good.

2. I've been exclusively using the Charlie's on the dirtyclothesbusiness now for three days too and I have no cleanliness complaints. My only complaint is that I like soft fabric and I miss that a little (mostly in socks). I've been putting vinegar in the rinse but it's not the same. I make no guarantee that I can stick with the no softener deal. I'm a soft blankie junkie. Anyway, worst case I can get something less chemical-y.

3. Also coincidentally I ran out of toothpaste. The Man would be content to use baking soda (he is serious people) but I just can't do that. That's hardcore. I like a little mint. I've used Tom's which I like ok but I don't LOVE. Walmart was out of Tom's anyway but had Burt's Bees so I got that. It's 99.2% natural. Whatever that means. And it has fluoride. They make a fluoride free version but Walmart didn't have it (Have I mentioned I hate walmart). In any case, I like it pretty well. I'd buy it again. But I'm thinking of getting some toothsoap. Warning: If you like fluoride, don't read that.

4. TP Free. Well I'm still TP free. Nothing to report without a total overshare which no one wants so I'll leave well enough alone.

5. Birth control. While we are talking about being Chem free let me answer a question from one of the moms on a natural parenting group I am a member of. What do you use? Well... We don't use any. Not technically. I don't want to knock the pill takers out there, because I know it's a good option and I know that it's good for other things like cycle regulation and PMS management, but I think the pill is awful. I took it. I hated it. The Man hated it because I hated it. So I no longer take it. Depo is worse than the pill (don't even get me started). A diaphragm is a pain in the butt (also obv doesn't work as evidenced by my 12 year old). An IUD is less bad but still foreign and does release hormones. Also it prevents fertilized eggs from implanting. I'm not going to go all pro-life on everyone and I don't want to get in an abortion debate (Like the Man says, "No one really LIKES abortion.") but I don't personally like the thought of washing out a fertilized egg. That's just me. Anyway that leaves spermicide (chemical) and condoms (ew.ick.yuck.) and... natural family planning. So that's what we are doing. I takes a little planning and some paying attention on the momma's part (knowing your cycle, watching for your ovulatory signs etc) and either a backup or some other form of intimacy during fertile times. So, it's not for everyone. But it works for us. You know, until it doesn't work.

And time for quick reflection:

My dear friend Staci starts nursing school today. This calls to mind the memories of a January not that long ago when I too was starting nursing school. The 2 years passed quickly and before I knew it I held life in my hands. Literally. It was one of the best decisions I ever made to become a Registered Nurse. And I miss it. I miss holding the hands of the dying. I miss catching new life in my hands (if you don't know, I was a L&D nurse and then a Hospice nurse). But I don't miss it as much as I love being at home with my babies. And to Staci and all my Nurse friends: Bless you for choosing a path where sometimes the pay isn't worth the foot pain and sometimes you don't get lunch and sometimes people don't respect you and sometimes you question what the heck you got yourself into. You are chosen.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

day two no poo (Chem free update)

Day two:

OK it's day two of the "poo and TP free experiment". We are well under way and moving in the chemical free direction. Yesterday was technically day one but was not my normal daily routine as I didn't get a shower until 6:30. PM. Don't ask. That's just how it went down. Anyway technically I've (not) washed my hair for two days and I've been TP free 24 hours. Plus the other things I'll get to later.

Let's do the shampoo first.

Disclaimers: I like shampoo a lot, but mostly, I'll be honest, I like conditioner. I like the silky way your hair feels after you rinse it out. I like how the brush glides through wet hair. It's magical. I'm completely convinced that my hair would look hideous without it. Sigh. I also like soft hair. I have pretty soft hair and I like to keep it that way. I like my husband to run his fingers through it and not think, "Wow, is my wife a horse?" Conversely, I do NOT like hair products. I'm an odd duck. I acknowledge. I don't like mousse or gel or hairspray or mud or pomeade. I tolerate a smoother called Moroccan oil. I use it pretty frequently (or at least when I actually DO my hair). I can't make any guarantee what's in it but it tames my frizzy ends and it smells pretty fantastic. I don't like chemicals and I don't like watching them go down the drain. I'm just like most Americans, I use them because they are convenient. Aside from that that I use nothing on my hair. I just (used to anyway) wash/condition/brush/blowdry. In fact, most of the time I only blowdry the very front of my hair and the rest ends up in a damp bun where it stays until I repeat the process the next day. All that being said, I am committed to trying to use nothing chemical on my head. On with the discussion.

This is what I did. I found two cheap water bottles ($1.47 each) at Walmart. To be frank, I don't like Walmart, but it's what I've got. They aren't ideal but they'll work in the absence of something better (and squeezier). I filled one with 2 cups of water and 2 tablespoons of baking soda and wrote a "B" on it. Not that I could get them confused. Vinegar and baking soda aren't really similar in scent. Same ratio of apple cider vinegar and water in the other and a "V".

This is my shower.

Note: there is a razor. See, I still shave my legs. I'm not THAT crunchy.

First impressions: Baking soda and water doesn't feel like it's 'washing' anything. Of course it's not 'washing' because there is no soap. I'm trying to get over the need for suds. I rubbed it in basically all over my scalp. I paid special attention to the oiliest parts ( ie the area near my face and neck) because I have pretty oily skin (monumentally oily really) and that is the thing that freaks me out most... Having a grease vat on my head. I left it on while I washed my face (with Bronner's) and then I rinsed it out. Then I just poured the vinegar all over. This time I paid more attention to the ends because aside from being worried about oil on my scalp, I'm worried about having dry ends. I let it sit while I washed the rest (again with my Dr. Bronner's). Then I rinsed it out really well and said a prayer:

Dear god of hair (no offense to any other god intended),

Please please please let this work. I am trying to care for the earth and I don't feel like I'm asking much. Let my hair not look like crap.


After I towel dried I was shocked to see that the brush went right through my hair. Like right through it. Zero tangles. Conditioner never took out all the tangles.

Outstanding. We are off to a good start. Same basic results for day 2 (it was a little more tangled after the shower but I was hurrying because the baby was being a crab).

Here's day two hair photo:

I want to say a couple of things:

A. I do not color my hair. I can't explain why my hair is multi-toned. That's just my hair.

B. I did absolutely nothing to my hair before I took this. I just let it dry. I did this, not because I like to embarrass myself, but because I really want everyone to see what it looks like when I'll I've done is the baking soda/vinegar routine. If I had added products or curled it you wouldn't be seeing the genuine result. So there it is. As god made me. No makeup. No hairspray. Not even lip balm.

C. I slept like an hour last night.

D. I'm wearing a t-shirt.

E. I'm not trying to impress anyone, obviously.

Kids reactions (they are brutally honest after all)

15 year old: Mom your hair is so SOFT (oh she is SO going to switch over)!

12 year old: Mom (frown), your hair doesn't smell like shampoo any more (that's kind of the point).

10 year old: I think it's making your hair lighter mom (no son, those are just gray hairs).

4.5 month old: She just continues to pull my hair out (meets her approval obviously).

As for the TP free movement (Haha, get it? Movement.) so far I'm the only one taking the plunge (yuk yuk). The kids just aren't ready to make that kind of ecological commitment yet. Hubs is doing his day in the bay gig for work but he'll convert once he gets home. Based on how I knew I'd feel I'll say I'm pleased with the end result (harhar). I just took some white washrags (Again, Walmart... We have a love hate relationship.) and poured two cups of water and 1/2 ish tsp (I confess I don't measure) of Dr. Bronner's (lavender scent) over the top. There are a dozen rags so should last a couple of days at least. I don't make it to the potty that often. I'm a busy lady. As for the dirty storage... I have an extra wet bag of Ella's that I hung on the bathroom door to put the used it. That's all. I'll wash them with the diapers which is typically every day or two depending.

And that's all that probably needs to be said about that.

In other news... As part of the chem free movement, I made my own deodorant. I don't actually even wear deodorant and haven't for about two years (and neither does my husband) but I do have an emergency bar of lavender Tom's in the drawer for those days I really don't want to stink (and if it's a real emergency I have some Mitchum). I became deo free after I read the study on aluminum and Alzheimers I was pretty scared to use it (since my family has a history and I don't think I need to say no one wants Alzheimers). Since then the study has been refuted (or at least argued) but I'd rather not take any chances. Anyway I made my own.

1/4 c. baking soda
1/4 c. cornstarch (in he form of same baby stuff I had, but regular ol cornstarch would work)
6 T. coconut oil (give or take)

I mixed that all up (think of it like mixing pie crust and incorporating the solid with the powder) and put it in an upcycled cream cheese container from panera. To use it you just scoop it out and rub it in. Note: need bigger container of coconut oil. It's amazing. Also it's solid at room temp but don't let that scare you, it's not like crisco and it's melts at a very low temp (in your hand). I heated mine a tad to make it easier to work with (It's pretty chilly in the house).

It smells awesome. I don't know if it works but whatever. I'll smell like a tropical sensation either way. Since I don't wear perfume I sure hope Hubs likes coconut. That or BO.

Speaking of husbands, I should note, I'm lucky to have a husband that is an eco-aware guy. If there was a green scale of 1-10 and I was a 5 he'd be a 7 at least. In that light he is absolutely on board with there being no shampoo in our shower and no TP in our potty. Also he told me if I didn't want to shave my legs he thought I shouldn't. Same thing for bra wearing. And he likes me better without makeup. And with my hair in a ponytail, because he like my big ears. Seriously? How did I find this guy? Oh yeah, 6th grade spelling bee. I'm the luckiest lady.

In other news: I cleaned out the cleaners. I wish I'd taken a photo of under my kitchen sink but the baby was crying so you know. If you saw yesterdays cleanser confessional you know what I was up against. This is what's left.
(If you're going to ask, those mugs are from Cost Plus and they are super cute and were purchased by the Man who has great taste.)

Anyway... What's in there?

*baking soda (for tubs, toilets, showers etc)
*Meyer's scrub for whatever else needs scouring (it's mostly baking soda with some smelly oils)
*spray bottle with 2 c water, 3 T vinegar, 1/2 t castille soap (Dr. Bronner's peppermint) for windows and mirrors
* 3 microfiber cloths (one for windows, one for counters, one for wood)
*Murphy's oil soap, a good old standard I've used since I knew how to mop, for mopping and such (I could use the castille for that but I like the way Murphy's smells A LOT)
*a recycled sponge (I don't know what it's recycled out of but it's brown and has something that look like stems in it, most likely strategically placed by the Scott company to make the consumer feel like they really are using something recycled when in fact it's probably a sponge dyed brown. I digress.)
*a microfiber duster (and housewife cleaning partner)
*a Mr Clean magic eraser (Do I really need to say why? It's magic. )
*Bon Ami (I just had that under the sink already, I like it in the kitchen sink. Tangerine oil makes it smell. Yum.)
*a spray bottle of Meyer's basil scent (for the kitchen tables because I already had it and my daughter likes it and if it'll get her to clean then I'll keep it, once it's gone I'll just use the water, castille soap spray, but it's non-toxic and all that good jazz)
* rubber gloves

That seems like a lot of stuff but it's less that half what I had. And nothing toxic. I wouldn't recomned drinking Murphy's oil soap, but it won't kill you.

OK that concludes today's green update. I still have a roll of paper towels.

Come on people, I'm not crazy.

Tomorrow we talk toothpaste and laundry soap.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


And no, it's not what you think it is.

I've been giving a considerable amount of thought to making a few simple, but impacting, life changes. I cannot make them simultaneously, lest my body and mind be shocked into a chemical free coma. But you know, we are overrun with chemicals in our daily lives and I don't think they can be that good for you. I've known this for some time but honestly I just wasn't ready to take to the plunge all the way. I'm getting there. Here they are, in no particular order.

1. Make my hair shampoo free. Yes you heard me. More on this later.

2. Make my face chemical free. I plan to use the oil method of face washing. It's sounds counter intuitive but really the reality is, the more we clean our faces with harsh chemicals, the harder our face works to produce oil to replace the oil we strip off. What you need isn't an oil free face, but a dirt free face. I'm going to give it a go. I already gave up makeup. It's not as awful as you think.

Please don't stop reading my blog. I swear I'm not crazy

3. Make the complete switch to an eco-safe phosphate free laundry soap. I already do this for the baby's diapers. Currently we are using Charlies. It's not offensive smelling and coconut based. I really do love it. Also I bought if from ebay and it came with a bottle of spray cleaner which I love. However, despite this love, I haven't yet been ready to take to plunge into using it for the whole family because, well frankly, because I have boys and they are dirty and I'm worried about getting clothes clean. Here's some of what I'm currently using (minus the fabric softener which I just ran out of). On the right... what I will be using. Charlies and vinegar (with the occasional bleach I confess)

4 .Begin systematically removing the chemicals from the cleaning product stash. I've got a LOT of cleaning products. Here they are:

Some of those I'm not proud to say I use. In any case, you'll see there is quite a variety there. I make green choices when I can but I've yet to give up the hardcore stuff like the comet bathroom spray which cleans a shower without you even having to touch it. It also smells like it's probably giving you cancer (or at the very least a bleeding lung) in the process. What I have been using a lot of is this:

Dr. Bronner's castille soap. It's fair trade and organic and made with coconut oil and hemp. You can use it for like a jillion things. I've used it in the bath, on my face, on my body, on my baby, on our reusable baby wipes and to mop the floor.

I'm not a hippie. I swear (but I think my friend Karen would be proud. Karen, I love you.)

It's about to get serious.

5. Use significantly less paper towels/toilet paper. Yes, I said toilet paper (more on that later). I already use towels for mostly everything and I'm practical, I'm not trying to say we shouldn't use paper towels at all but if you can use a towel, why not? I bought these on etsy.

As for the toilet paper, brace yourself for a radical suggestion.Braced?

ok good. Why not use cloth instead?

Don't get nauseated. Take a breath and get back to me in a second.


OK. I realize that you might be running for the hills right now but wait. Before you do, read this. And then consider. Did you know Americans use 4.6 million tons of TP a year. A YEAR. It takes 78 billion tress and 32 trillion tons of water to make all of that. Trillion people, TRILLION. It seems radical at first glance but it's really not. This idea came to me in a flash of ecological brilliance one day when I was changing Ella. If you read the cloth-diapering post linked above you know we use cloth wipes for Ella. This is basically a bunch of cheap walmart washrags (no they aren't fair-trade or American made of organic cotton, just $2.50 washrags. I'm cheap too.). I would have preferred flannel honestly but my sewing machine was broken and I didn't want to deal with fraying flannel all over the dern place (Yes, Jen I want to borrow yours. Please.). This was the quick and easy alternative. Anywho, I just toss them into a tall tupperware type container and pour a couple of cups of water with about a teaspoon of Dr. Bronner's in it over the top. Bingo. It takes like 15 seconds and I haven't bought wipes since Ella was born. Anyway, as I was getting her little rear so clean I was actually thinking, this seems like a better way to wash a grown up bottom. I mean how fresh and clean is that? Right?


So the next hangup we have to overcome is having wipes with grown up ickies on them around and I think that this can be solved with a simple flip lid trash can. You don't have to LOOK at the wipes. Just toss them in the can and them toss them in the wash with the whites. The good news is if you put a little Bronner's on there (say the lavender scent) they'll actually make your potty smell nice.

Next: Have a hang up about using the same wipe your husband used on his man bottom? (I don't, but I realize I'm unique in that way because I will also use my husband's toothbrush). Solution: color code the wipes. He gets brown. You get pink. Problem solved. The great thing about all of this (besides your fresh and clean backside) is it will SAVE YOU MONEY. I solemnly swear.

Also I swear, I still wear a bra. Well, most of the time.

I'm not THAT crunchy.

Come along with me on my green adventure.

Tomorrow: Poo-free update #1.

Friday, January 14, 2011

I am.

I am a wife.

A sister.

A daughter.

A nurse.

And I am a mother.

So I'll be honest with you.


Yesterday I felt suddenly like I had no identity. Maybe you know what I mean? Maybe not. I've been a mom for a long time now but the sudden realization that I'm no longer identified as "nurse" made me question what I am at all. What do I have to contribute to any conversation? Am I interesting at all? I won't go into what brought this feeling on. I'll just say it was there.

I'm not a doctor. I don't have a masters degree. I don't live in a big or interesting city. I don't play an instrument and I barely sing (it's pretty bad). The Victoria's Secret catalog came in the mail yesterday. Swimsuit edition. Ack. Two years ago I was picking bikinis out of that catalog. This year... that catalog goes straight to the recycling bin. Funny thing is I don't really want to be that size ever again. (To those of you who knew me at that size I think you know what I mean.) In any case, I WAS that size. Now I'm not. Also I'm just plain old jiggly. All over. I tried to read a book to expand my mind. Ella had other ideas. She would have no part of this indulgence. I felt like a blob. I was feeling pretty pathetic.

It's ridiculous I know.

But my sweet husband said I should talk about hard things so here you go.

I'm not always sure about everything. Despite my tough exterior I sometimes feel like I'm not sure about anything.

So I said to my friend Staci (who is one of the few real friends I have)... is it weird that I feel boring and inadequate? (You don't have to answer this question in your mind but feel free to if it applies to you as well.)

And she said, "You my friend are not boring, you are an adult. You had a baby in your kitchen. Has that lost it's power?"

Pause for reflection.

Then... "You helped people birth their children and then you helped people transition into death and then you CHOSE to stay home because YOU are the best choice for your family."

Oh. Yeah. I'll shut up now.

I am a wife.

A sister.

A daughter.

A nurse.

And I am a mother.

I have given birth 4 times, once in my kitchen.

It was pretty frickin awesome.

And that's enough.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

LLL and other things on Tuesday

Today was La Leche League. This is a meeting that happens once monthly where breastfeeding moms (and not breastfeeding moms) get together and talk about... you guessed it, breastfeeding. Well really besides that what happens is ladies can feed their babies without anyone looking at them like they are weird. It's nice. I wish the whole world was one big perpetual LLL meeting.

Also we had a nice lunch afterward. Good news. I can still speak a language other than baby.

Here are Ella and I. Please note: Wearing 15 year old daughters scarf.

She is trying to eat my face. Don't worry I fed her before she got too much of it in her mouth.

Next item of business:

Hubs asked me about my blog the other day. He doesn't usually so this was big news.

It went like this:

Hub: Have you been updating your blog?

Me: No.

Hub: Why not?

Me: Because I don't have anything interesting to say.

Hub: You're always talking about happy stuff, you should talk about some hard stuff too.

Me: Good idea. What?

Hub: I don't know. Something hard. (BTW this is my version of what he said. He sounds far more intelligent than that.)

So here I am... I used to keep a pretty busy blog about weight loss.

But then I got skinny. Who wants to read about that?

Guess what? I'm not skinny anymore.

More on this later.

Also it looks like pretty soon I'm going to start guest blogging for Attachment Parenting International. That'll be fun.

News to follow.

Also... Don't tell my husband but staying at home has me a little freaked out. (Just kidding. He already knows.) Anyway. I've been an "at home" mom before. I love to cook and clean and craft and raise kids. Seriously. I was born to be domestic. My mom told me when my first darling baby was born that my the time she was 6 weeks old I wouldn't be able to get to work fast enough. Wrong. So so wrong. I cried EVERY DAY for months taking her to the nanny. I wanted to be home. As a mom it's all I've ever wanted. Suddenly though I feel like I have nothing vital to add to any conversation. Who wants to hear about homebirth? Breastfeeding? Co-sleeping? (Someone besides you Staci. You put up with me. Lord bless ya.) Also I'm afraid to run out of money. It's gonna happen eventually. And I'm afraid I'm a lousy mother. What if my kids hate me? I'm afraid I'll forget how to be a nurse. Oh my gosh, what if can never ever start an IV again? Then I'm afraid when I do go back to work no one will want to hire me because I forgot how to be a nurse. They can TELL. Oh and I'm afraid I'll forget how to have an adult conversation. Goo. Gah. What? You don't speak baby?! (I don't speak baby either. As far as I know babies speak the same language we do, they just don't know how to make words yet.) And I'm afraid of the day I have to go back to work. NO. I don't want a stranger taking care of my baby. It's a lot of afraid in case you didn't notice. Mostly I'm thankful to be at home. And scared for the day that isn't the reality anymore.

Those are the things maybe some mommy bloggers think about but don't say. My (Former. I think I have to call her former now that her brother and I aren't married anymore) sister in law, and one of my favorite people in the history of people, used to say, "I just wish we could all wear t-shirts that said the things we don't want people to know. Things like ' I yell at my kids'. 'I eat too much fast food/chocolate/meat.' 'I don't know the last time I exercised.' 'My husband and I fight. All the time.'' 'I don't recycle."

She's a smart one that lady.

It's true though. No one wants to say they're fat, mad, miserable, broke, too in debt, grouchy, have PMS, dislike their husbands, want to yell at their children. And if you talk about these things are you interesting? Honest? A jerk? I'm not sure.

I do know one thing though. You're about as interesting as you think you are.

Reduce. Reuse. Repurpose!

Granny used to say.... use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.

I know Granny isn't the only person to say it, but she was one of the few people I've known in my life to actually DO IT.

She used the Styrofoam packages from hamburger to feed the cats on.

She used shirts to make quilts and old blankets for batting and old sheets as backing. In fact I have a quilt that has the California Raisins on the back. Not kidding.

She used the insides of the chicken for stuff I don't want to talk about here.

She ate stale cookies. She used half and half in cereal. OK that has nothing to do with this post but isn't that gross?

Once she went to a yard sale and bought me rough rider jeans that fit and were hideous and a pair of guess jeans that were too big and awesome. Then she took the Guess triangle off the back and sewed it onto the rough riders. Fail. Epic epic fail.

My rabbits drank out of an Aunt Jemima bottle. (Remember when they were glass?)

And as long as I can remember I drank milk out of a snuff glass (like this one). Granny fun fact #77: She chewed snuff.

Anyway, you get the point. Something about living during the Depression will change a person. We could probably all learn a lesson or two from living that way. For example, only flush the toilet once a day. Unless it's a #2... you can flush that right away.

It is in that spirit that I set out to find a way to repurpose my favorite sweater which has been sitting lonely in my closet for over a year. Lend me your ears and I will tell you a story...

Once upon a time there was a lambswool sweater, It was beautiful and the most expensive sweater in the closet. And then one dreadful day, the man of the house where the sweater lived decided to help with the laundry.

The end.
BTW. Just in case you like to hang out around fire. Don't.

Anyway bless my husbands heart. He was being helpful. Lesson learned: Do not put in the laundry things that should not be washed.

Here is said sweater next to normal sized sweater:

Yeah. It's small. Like infant sized.

And here are the other sweaters that met the same fate.

And here's what I did with it.

No. I didn't just lay it on the table and put scissors on top of it. That wouldn't do any good at all.

First. I cut off the sleeves and made a cut in the neck to equal the depth of the armpit holes. In the shape of a U or a V. Whatever. Like so:

Easy enough.

Then I used one of the arms to make a bottom. I just cut it the length of the bottom and left it as wide as I could . Not brain surgery. (Thank god, because I'm a nurse, not a brain surgeon.) I could have used a rotary cutter to do this but that's another story. It goes like this: My rotary cutter is missing. Oh ALSO I hand sewed this, by HAND, using a running stitch because my sewing machine is broken. That's another story. It goes like this: My sewing machine is broken. The end. Anyway, this is an optional step. I could have just sewed it straight across but I wanted the extra room. Cause I like to carry a lot of crap.

This is a pretty bad representation. I apologize. I was holding a baby when I took this.

Anyway I digress.

Then I saw a whole used sleeve and I didn't want it to feel lonely so I cut it up too.

Strips. Made with scissors.

And I made flowers. Well kind of. They're more like pinwheels but whatever I like them. Oh, and I made leaves. I used a needle and thread to sew them on. Needle. Thread. See aforementioned story.
I actually only used white thread. Because I'm lazy. And I was holding a baby.

And it looks like this.

There is really no denying what this once was since you can see the ribbing on the bottom, but that's fine. I LOVE this sweater. Love it. I would have cried if I had to throw it away.

So to make this I used: A shrunken sweater. A pair of scissors. A needle and thread.

That's all.

Thank you for joining me today on How to Make a Purse Out of Your Favorite Shrunken Sweater.
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