Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Belated Memes

I have a couple memes that I was tagged with, that I have taken waaay too long to get to. Finally, here they are:

First, Kyddryn tagged me with a meme which charges the author to describe his or herself in 6 words. I've had a notebook near where I nurse, and wrote down a fair number of possibilities in the month or so since she completed her descriptions. Here are several of mine:

- Too busy to complete tagged memes. (ha)

- Mom to three rambunctious preschool boys. (sums it up, that)

- Usually appears calm in all weathers.

- Wishes she had a full-time housekeeper.

- Yes, she really uses cloth diapers.

- Is grateful for her mommy friends.

- Seriously good at tickling her boys.

- Art major, once upon a time.

- Misses sleep and frequent hot showers.

- Loves long, sun-drenched lazy afternoons.

- Loves teaching, whatever form it takes.

- Is not herself without time outside.

- Thinks her little boys are breathtaking.

* * *

Then there is the "Name Game", brought to me by Olga. (Here's her post.) Here's how it goes:

Leave your name below in the blog comments section. Then my part comes in..

1. I’ll respond with something random about you.
2. I’ll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.
3. I’ll pick a flavor of jello to wrestle you in.
4. I’ll say something that only makes sense to you and me. (if possible!)
5. I’ll tell you my first memory of you.
6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of.
7. I’ll ask you something I’ve always wondered about you.
8. If you do this you MUST post this on yours. You MUST. It is written.

(Kit's note: you may try leaving your name in a comment here, though I can't promise I will get around to doing any more of these! I'll try).

OK, Olga!
1) You sculpt a mean play doh baby! He was cute.
2) Hmm. Well, now I will always think of you when I hear Yanni. LOL!
3) Chocolate pudding, baby. (That's still jello!)
4) Yeah, that's tough. Perhaps "The center of the universe is actually found in one gummy, drooly smile." Though other parents understand, too.
5) Lordy gal, you were tall!
6) an Ocelot
7) Um. . . what art medium do you most enjoy, and why don't you pursue it more?
8) If you do this you MUST post this on yours. You MUST. It is written. Sort of. I mean, eventually. Sometime. Maybe.

* * *

Today's thumbs-up goes to this online book of alley cat portraits. Lovely.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Babyman's First "Solid" Food

So, Babyman got to try his first "solid" food: sweet potatoes! I didn't make it from scratch, and I could be all guilty about that, but by the third baby one learns to let some things slide. So what if it's sold by a monster corporation headquartered in some other corner of the world, processed into oblivion and shipped all over kingdom come? It's organic! So it's better! Right? Right? OK, never mind.

It was a new sensation for Babyman. New taste, new texture, new way of ingesting nutrients. He wasn't so sure about this whole spoon concept. And the flavor? Umm, not so sure about that either.

Sweet potatoes, rejected! "Honestly, Mommy. You guys are kidding me, right?"

He wouldn't open his mouth, after that. Billy resorted to trickery and distraction.


Friday, April 25, 2008

Tired, and some Breastfeeding Advice

Sorry for my absence! Nothing major going on here; just normal busy. I think my lack of sleep has been catching up to me, though. Wow, last night I was . . .

OK, so that was as far as I got yesterday. Now it's Saturday morning. I was going to tell you about being catatonic Thursday evening, wishing that Littleman and Sweetcheeks could brush their own teeth and put themselves to bed. They, on the other hand, were positively bouncing off the walls. Seriously. I mean, that always seemed like a typically exaggerated cliche to me, until I watched my boys springing around the living room Thursday evening. They really looked like escapees from a pinball machine. As long as they weren't endangering themselves, the lamps or the TV, it was pretty much OK- so I conserved my energy and left them to it.

Anyhow, I've been barely keeping up with the normal details, let alone finding the time to blog. I miss it! Blogging's really become a part of my days. I wish I had time to keep up with it more, and read others' blogs more. Ah, well. Perhaps in the near future.

* * *

I've been meaning to offer up a small insight for breastfeeding moms: the nursing tank top. See, with my first son I started out using a cover-up when I tried nursing in public. (Another popular brand are the Hooter Hiders- LOL!) Just a step up from throwing a blanket over baby and mom, the cover-ups are pretty self explanatory. I didn't like them. It was a bit of a hassle, I felt conspicuous and embarrassed, and Littleman kept yanking them out of place. I found I preferred to hide in the car to nurse rather than struggle with the cover-up. (Three babies later I care a lot less about being modest, but I am also more comfortable breastfeeding in general- with the first baby, I was still learning how to breastfeed successfully, and it was too much to have to worry about my appearance at the same time.)

When Sweetcheeks came along, I definitely wanted a better alternative. Next in line to try was a nursing shirt. I shopped and for some basic tops I could mix and match in my wardrobe. Score! I loved them. They were comfortable, well-made, hassle-free and no matter how squirmy Mr. Sweetcheeks was, I could easily be discreet. A long sleeved shirt and a couple T-shirts were enough to get me by for awhile. Soon however, I was running into some problems with this solution: first of all, they are quite expensive. (Not as big a deal for me, since I practice extended breastfeeding and I planned on having more children. It's less cost-effective for someone who wouldn't get that much use out of them). Second, with so few nursing shirts at hand it was hard to keep up with laundry fast enough to always have a clean one ready. And of course, there was a certain lack of variety in my wardrobe. As I became more and more comfortable breastfeeding in public, I would simply wear whatever I wanted, and find a corner that was somewhat out of the way to lift my shirt. The more comfortable and confident my demeanor, the less anyone noticed what I was doing. That worked fine- I certainly never had any disgusted looks or negative comments like some nursing moms have to endure. However, I was still a bit self conscious, especially about that leftover baby fat on my torso. Who wants to show off her pale, pale stretchmarked love handles just to be able to feed her baby?

So with Babyman, I decided to try something new: a Glamourmom nursing tank. I'd heard good things about them, but balked at the price. When I got a chance to try some secondhand, I snapped them up. Turns out, there's a reason for the buzz. On the site all the models were pictured wearing the tank top on it's own, which works OK. But it's real value is as an undershirt. Take any top in your wardrobe, put it on over a nursing tank and voila! Instant nursing shirt. Lift the top layer to nurse, while keeping your torso fully covered. It's been great for me. So my new recommendation for nursing moms is to buy a few nursing tank tops, and call your nursing wardrobe complete.

OK, OK, it's not quite as simple as that- it can still take a little experimentation to find a variety of clothing combinations you are happy with. After all, this suggestion does nothing to make your pre-pregnancy clothes fit you properly again. Nor is it ideal when it's summer here in GA, and wearing two shirts would be torture. If you want a nursing tank top to wear by itself, the Glamourmom is OK. But the BEST nursing tank I've found is the Bravado nursing bra tank. This tank top is SO flattering. It has a real bra's support, not just a "shelf" bra like the Glamourmom and other nursing tanks I've seen. Best of all, it's slightly flared shape just skims the body for a nice, slimming silhouette. Other tanks I've tried hug the body- good as an undershirt, not usually so attractive on it's own. The only two downsides to this tank (besides the price, again) are that it is too thick (IMO) to comfortably wear under other clothes, and it has no coverage at all for the breast when you unclip it to feed. Minor quibbles, since when I wear it I feel pretty!

SO. Nursing moms looking for some comfortable, discreet options for breastfeeding in public: Get a couple nursing tanks to wear under your clothes, and if you think you might want to wear a tank top by itself (or under a jacket) get a Bravado nursing bra tank. But really, the best camouflage is a relaxed, confident demeanor. You have every right to feed your baby, wherever you may be. I just like to hide my squishy tummy while I'm at it, LOL! :)

Thumbs up to the Bravado nursing bra tank!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A free mommy, and thumbs-up to Dove!

All my big boys are off on a hiking trip, so it's just Babyman and I. I am so proud of Littleman- he broke his hiking record, again! He did 5 1/2 miles, all on his own power, carrying a significant (for him) packload, on a tough trail. What a trooper! Mr. Sweetcheeks rode in the carrier, so let's not forget Billy's accomplishment, either! Hey, it's been a long while since our backpacking days. Everyone did great, I hear.

As for me, I have not been having the blissful time I'd hoped for. Mostly this is because Babyman can be extremely demanding, these days. I'm hoping this is just teething gone wild, or something. In other words, I hope he gets over it soon! But I did manage a few things I don't usually get to do:
- I actually sat down and watched a movie, beginning to end, uninterrupted, and even saw the special features too! OK so the movie was Ratatouille, but I enjoyed it! (Stop laughing, it's a good movie!) LOL.
- I made a big blender-full of fruit smoothie, and drank it all myself. Yum.
- I caught up on some e-mails and some blog reading, and even fulfilled some moderator duties on a Yahoo group I'm supposed to help out with. I also entered a contest to win Photoshop software, but alas I was not the chosen one. :(
- I emptied the dishwasher, loaded it and ran it, all in one go!
- I went to Target and completed some shopping uninterrupted, at a leisurely pace.
- I took a nice hot shower. Ahhhh.
- I finally got around to restringing the crystal that I like to hang from my car's rearview mirror, and now it swings prettily when I drive the van.
- and tonight when I suddenly had a hankering for an Arby's jamocha shake, I just hopped in the car with Babyman and went to get one. What freedom!

* * *

I have been meaning to post about a viral marketing campaign that Dove (soap company) is doing on YouTube. Basically, I love it! I think these are really well done and have a great message. Yes, Dove's parent company has other marketing campaigns that totally undermine the message in Dove's advertising (such as ads for Axe body spray) and yes, the primary driving force behind the ads is still just good old money. BUT. I think it's great that these are out there, and I think they are well done. Anyway, here are just a few:

Thumbs up, Dove!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008

LOTR and mashed potatoes

Mmmm. Mmm, mmm. Did you know that red wine (a malbec) goes nicely with rich chocolate brownies?
Hey, Billy was home for dinner tonight! I figured I could splurge.

* * *

Tonight, Billy finally finished the last Lord of the Rings movie with the boys. It took weeks of course- all three movies together make a long haul! They watched them bit by bit. Littleman has been enjoying them, and it's been fun to see his imagination fired up by the story. The other day he was using his blocks to build Helm's Deep, and he and Sweetcheeks have been using coat hangers as bows to shoot imaginary arrows like Legolas. Today they used Mega blocks to make "sentinels" which they posted on either side of the front door.

As the credits began to roll on the final movie tonight, Littleman enthusiastically asked if they could watch it all again! LOL. My little fans. I must admit, that as much of a fan as I am, it's sure cool to see my boys appreciate it too.

* * *

On a different note, I really can't stand fake mashed potatoes. Billy's parents, bless them, never make mashed potatoes from scratch. They use the flakes from a box, and a more disgusting concoction I cannot imagine. I mean, really! How hard is it to boil some potatoes? The difference is so phenomenal, I just don't understand using the fake stuff. So, if you have a hankering for some delicious mashed spuds, do me a favor: make yourself some of the real stuff:

Basic Mashed Potatoes

- potatoes (I'm not picky about what kind)
- salt, pepper and garlic
- butter
- milk

Put a nice big pot of water on to boil. Wash and trim the spuds, and/or peel them if you want. (I like the peels left on, but I'm usually in the minority). Cut them into chunks.

Tip the potatoes into the boiling water, and cook them until they are soft through. Drain them, and dump them into a nice big mixing bowl.

Drop in some butter, salt, pepper and garlic. (If you're looking for simple, just use the powdered garlic. Works fine. Incidentally if you have it, some grated fresh parmesagn is a wonderful addition here). Mash those suckers up. (You can use a potato masher, or be lazy like me and whip them up in your mixer). Add a bit of milk here and there until the consistency is how you like it.

Taste. Adjust seasoning. Give them a final mix, and serve! Yum. Yum, yum. I tell you, there is just no comparison to that abomination in the box. Save that stuff for your next papier mache project, instead.

* * *

Now, thumbs-up to this cool photo I stumbled upon whilst browsing:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

productive day

Well, I don't have much in mind for a blog post, but at least I am feeling somewhat accomplished. Today Billy had the two older boys for the day, and Babyman and I stayed home. I was able to do dishes, clean out the fridge, take out the trash, go grocery shopping, put groceries away, do a load of laundry AND take care of Babyman.

Who is crying. Impeccable timing, he has. 'Scuse me.

OK, I'm back. Anyway, there was still a lot more that needed doing, but at least I got a lot done. So, I'm feeling pleasantly accomplished. Billy had a fun day with the boys. We all went out for breakfast together, then he, Littleman and Sweetcheeks went to the studio for a recording session! What fun! I can't wait to listen to their CD. After that they went bike riding together, and had a blast. They alternated between zipping along at a good pace (Sweetcheeks was in the bike seat on Billy's bike) and getting gloriously muddy. Those thunderstorms that didn't blow us away did drop over an inch of rain here, and the greenway was a mess. The boys loved it.

I fixed dinner, and everyone cuddled and watched some of Two Towers. Which isn't exactly preschool fare- even as much as I love the Lord of the Rings films I wouldn't have chosen it for the boys- but Billy loves to share his favorite films with them, and he narrates and explains when helpful. His involvement and explanations seem to help the boys a lot, and they do seem to appreciate good movies. And, I figure the Daddy-bonding is more important than my arbitrary notions of "suitable" movies for the boys. (Sorry, I think my grammar is poor here, but I am tired and don't feel like making my point more clearly. So you will just have to follow me). ANYHOW, it was family dinner-and-a-movie night here, which was nice.

* * *

Everyone stayed up too late, and right now Billy is helping them brush their teeth and go to bed. I can hear them through the baby monitor. Whenever Littleman is feeling uncooperative about brushing his teeth, he pulls out a maddeningly long list of excuses- "But I have to yawn", "My eye hurts!", "Noooooo", "Wait, I have to go pee pee!" and my personal favorite, "My legs hurt!". Why he thinks that has anything at all to do with brushing his teeth, I am not sure. Anyway, he was just whining to Billy that his legs hurt. I'm rolling my eyes.

* * *

Well, Billy wishes to use my 'puter and I really need to fold all the clean laundry that's strewn all over our bed. So, I'm off. After I eat just one more lemon cream girl scout cookie. Really. Just one.
Thumbs up, lemon creams. Mmmmm.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Land of Happy

I was reading some Shel Silverstein poetry to Littleman the other night, and we read this one:

The Land of Happy

Have you been to The Land of Happy,
Where everyone's happy all day,
Where they joke and they sing
Of the happiest things,
And everything's jolly and gay?
There's no one unhappy in Happy,
There's laughter and smiles galore.
I have been to The Land of Happy-
What a bore!

(from Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein)

Littleman asked me, "Why is it boring?"
"Well". . . I thought, "Because it's all the same all the time. Everything is always happy, and if there's nothing different than it's not interesting anymore. Happy is great, but we need all kinds of feelings to keep things different and interesting".

This seemed to satisfy him, and we moved on (to "Pirate Captain Jim"). Later on however, I was reading an article that touched on using failures as learning opportunities. The article (I think it was in Mothering magazine?) noted that it's important to teach our children to use their failures as an opportunity to learn and grow. The importance of that notion struck me, and all of a sudden I recalled my explanation of why the "land of happy" would be boring. I realized that there was a much better way of explaining why Silverstein's image of "The Land of Happy" would be such a bore: there would be no opportunity to grow! Without failures and frustration, life would be a blissful stagnant cesspool. We NEED sadness, frustration and trouble so that we can learn from our mistakes and grow. Therefore, rather than saying it would be a bore because it's always the same and not interesting, a more direct explanation would be that it would be a bore because no one would be learning anything new about themselves.

Just something I was thinking 'bout.

* * *

Right now everyone's in breathless anticipation of these severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes heading our way. Ho, hum. I know, I know, it is serious and I (especially, because of the kids) should be prepared. And we are as prepared as we can be, I think. But I must admit to rolling my eyes a little when I keep getting concerned phone calls from relatives checking on us, and the storms are barely out of Alabama! This is normal weather for Springtime around here. And heaven knows we need the rain. So anyhow, I'll let you know if we get blown away. Or rather, I'll let you know if we didn't. You know what I mean.

* * *

Babyman is crying AGAIN. Everywhere I go, people coo over him and exclaim "What a happy baby! Is he always this good?" To which I can only say, "No, not always." If only they knew. Yes, if I could hold him and make him the center of attention 24/7, he would always be that happy. (Pretty much). Since that's not the case (can we say two other kids and a host of responsibilities?), well, let's just say he can make his displeasure known. Sigh.

So anyhow, off I go. Sorry for the lapse in posting- I crash exhausted into bed every night, whether I meant to or not. (Hence a midday post, here). Hopefully I'll get more sleep.

Thumbs-up will have to wait! Bye!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I did it!

So, I did it! I cut my hair! (Or rather, the hairstylist did). For those of you that don't know, this was a big step for me. I had never cut my hair. I had the split ends trimmed off, but that was all. For as long as I can remember, my hair has been very long. Usually down to my butt. I liked it that way. However, as I noted in a recent post, I was ready for something different.

Here you can get an idea of how long it was:

(photo by Kenny of The Frog Hollow Company)

And here you can see what I generally looked like all the time, because my hair was always pulled back in a ponytail to keep it out of my way:

(photo by Billy)

And here (drumroll please) is the new look!
(My friend took this with her phone- I don't have better pics yet):

(photo by Shelley)

So, what do you think? (Fishing, fishing. . . compliments? LOL!)

I am very pleased. People ask me if I feel a lot lighter, and oddly I don't. I don't particularly notice a difference in the weight of my hair. I DO notice the movement. My hair seems alive now, swishing and bouncing and moving around. I'm really not used to that. I rather like it- something about it makes me feel flirty, or more electric. I guess that will fade as I get used to it, but for now it's really cool. :) I like how I don't have to pull my hair back to do things- even if it falls in my face a little, it's at least not falling into whatever I am doing (like, changing a diaper for instance!) It was a good change.

I am also pleased because I was able to donate a significant ponytail to Locks of Love! Locks of Love is a charity that makes quality hairpieces for low-income kids who have medical hair loss. They take donations of (clean, dry, unbleached) ponytails that are at least 10" long. Mine was 19"! I hope it helps someone in need feel as pretty as my new hairstyle makes me feel. :)

* * *

I've been slacking with the thumbs-ups a bit, haven't I? Well today's is obviously Locks of Love. But it could also definitely go to Patti, the uber-talented hairstylist! But I don't actually know her last name, so I'm afraid this isn't a very effective shout-out. I'll do better next time.

And for another, here's a sweet little movie of sorts. Enjoy!