Catching up

>> Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hubby has been super busy this week so I have hardly seen him the past few days. I am feeling kinda lonely on my third night alone but the upside to temporary-single-motherhood is that I get to catch up on all my Bravo TV that hubby would never watch with me. Due to my HD Tivo woes, I have to watch Bravo live and thus have to catch re-runs when I can in order to feed my BravoTV obsession. Monday night was "Make me a Supermodel" which is my true obsession, last night I watched "Millionaire Matchmaker" which is just ok, and then tonight I caught up on "Project Runway." For my fellow BravoTV addicts, I am in love with Perry from "Supermodel" and I was truthfully glad to see Victorya go on "PR." You may think I sound pretty sad, pathetic even. But truthfully it was really relaxing, just what the doctor ordered. It is how I wind down when real life seems overwhelming.
Speaking of catching up, I feel weird saying this in a blog post because it is such an intense issue for me right now, I am about 11+weeks pregnant and it is kicking my butt so far. The nausea is constant and only slightly less overwhelming then the internal fear that I can't shake. My friends and maybe even some of my regular readers may understand why pregnancy for me is complicated. You can read here for more background, but suffice it to say we have about a 50% chance of having to walk again down a path that nearly killed me the first time. I want to write more about what is going on with me since writing here had proven to be unexpectedly therapeutic for me. But I had to spill the beans first. Sorry to those of you that may find out here. Please understand that we have been holding this very close, mostly because it is taking me time to adjust to either potential future reality.

So now we both are caught up.


New Bloggy Giveaways

>> Monday, January 28, 2008

Today in Chicagoland, it was 50degrees and the snow was melting. Is spring around the corner? Not really... the wind was still very cold and we are back to single digits tomorrow. Oh, well. At least we had a little break. Plus, there is nothing like a little giveaway-goodness to ease the winter-blues.

Rocks in My Dryer is hosting another amazing Bloggy Giveaway carnival. For hundreds of giveaways, go here.

My giveaway this time around is a sling for your little one to wear. I am a huge believer in the value of babywearing, for both mama and baby. Giving your little one a sling of their own teaches them to nurture others in the same way that they have been nurtured. My 2-yr. old son loves to carry his treasures in his own little sling. He carries his puppy doll, his dumptruck, whatever he loves and wants to keep close.

Nurture your little nurturer with a child-size sling just for them. To win any of the doll slings offered on my website, please just visit my site and choose your favorite fabric. Then leave a comment on this post telling me your pick and make sure I have a way to contact you if you win. I will close comments on Friday, Feb. 1st and will pick a winner at random on Saturday morning. I will notify the winner via e-mail so again, be sure I have your address.

As a bonus for all my bloggy giveaway visitors, use coupon code "giveaway" for 15% off any sling orders. Ease your own winter-blues with a new sling for spring!!


Feeling kinda Green

>> Thursday, January 24, 2008

I've written in the past about how I feel I should be doing more to protect our earth, to make it a better place for Lucas both now and in the future. I fall FAR short most days of being environmentally-conscious but today I am patting myself on the back for at least some good effort. Some steps in the right direction perhaps...

Lucas wore cloth diapers all day today, even when we went out to a friend's house. That is a rarity for me. But when he gets colds he tends to get horrible diaper rash so I did it as a precaution.

I was inspired by my friend April to start making my own juice, so I have been. We started simple and then today we made apple-carrot-pineapple juice. It is super yummy and a good cold-weather-amuse-your-toddler activity. Lucas is OBSESSED with cooking so he thought it was very cool that we were making our own juice. "Loud noise, mommy! Cooking juice!" He gulps it right up and mommy feels good that he is getting his veges. :) This may not be a particularly "green" thing to do, but it is more natural so I counted it.

My friend Cath and I just joined a local CSA which will start this spring. I am excited about all the fresh, yummy, organic produce and learning some new recipes when I have a bushel of artichokes. Cath did get a cookbook similar to this one to get us started.

The gas company guy came by today to see if we qualified for a rate freeze so Nicor can't raise our rates. He asked me if I wanted to make a portion of my natural gas come from "green" sources. Why not? It is a little extra each month but seems like the right thing to do. Renewable resources, right?

So, small steps that may not be much. But it makes me feel like I am on the right path anyway. At least today.


Popular for a day

>> Sunday, January 20, 2008

The website is featuring my slings today.... Hooray!! Check it out if you have a second. I'm kinda excited about it and pretty honored that they chose me. There is a discount code there too if anyone is in need of some sling lovin'. Feel free to leave a comment so they think I'm cool. It will be someone else's turn tomorrow. I'm only popular for a day. But I am grateful for that day. Thanks everyone. :)


The Bethlehem Express

>> Friday, January 18, 2008

As I began to put away the Christmas decorations today (finally!!), Lucas decided to send Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus off in style. No donkey for them this time. All aboard!!


Is there really green grass on the other side?

>> Thursday, January 17, 2008

The weather here in Chicagoland is dreary today. It started out just cold and gray and now there is snow falling and giving the ground a light dusting of white. It is pretty to watch from the warmth of my couch. Here I sit, thinking about a million things and letting my mind get lost in the falling flakes.

So many things about life feel up in the air right now. I could list them but I wouldn't want to bore you or even let my mind go down that path. I may not get back.

Do you ever look at the people around you and wonder, "Do they live a care-free life?" I see celebrities who are pregnant and I wonder if they have the same worries and fears and struggles. They seem to live such charmed lives, most of them. Sometimes you hear of their struggles. Courtney Cox had trouble conceiving, Jenny McCarthy's son has autism, Britney and her drama, etc... But most of the time, you hear of J.Lo's twins and their expensive nurseries or how so-and-so lost 50lbs in 6wks. after having her baby or other pregnant celebs and their dreamy lives. Are they really as dreamy as they are portrayed to be?

I live in a city of comfort and security. Most people around me at the local grocery store probably live in a huge house and have a huge savings account and kids in private school and perfect teeth. But is their life as dreamy as it looks?

Is the grass ever really greener on the other side or does it just look that way?

While shopping at that same grocery store with the comfortable people with perfect teeth, I am only a few miles from an area of housing that is home to many World Relief refugees and others who cannot afford much more. Do they look at me in my Gap khakis and Ann Taylor sweater (both Christmas presents) and wonder if I live a care-free life?
I am certainly not trying to put myself in any position of superiority or inferiority to anyone. I am just struck lately at how often I wish certain things were different, how much time I waste watching other people in the stores or on TV and wondering what my life would be like if I had some of the things that they have.

If I was a celebrity, I wouldn't have to worry about paying bills and how much I could spend on groceries today. If my journey had been different, I wouldn't be so afraid of history repeating. But would there just be something else, something that I can't even fathom because that thing is currently in the category of care-free to me?

I have always been a worrier, a planner...o.k. controlling. I get anxious when things are uncertain and there's not much I can do about it. Presently, I find myself in several situations where the outcome is uncertain. One particular situation in which, when most people are here, they feel joy and anticipation and a desire to tell the world. I am not feeling that joy. Other people are on my behalf, and for that I am mostly grateful. I can't help but wish I were any number of people I know or I see that can be pregnant and care-free. I remember having a small taste of that brand of care-free once, a long time ago, before so many things.

The snow has stopped and I should too. There is a dreamy white covering over the ground. I can't even see the grass to tell you if it is green. But hopefully come Spring, I won't have to look on the other side to find green grass. It's probably the same color over there anyway.


My newest obsession

>> Saturday, January 12, 2008

Over Christmas, my sister got me hooked on the show "Project Runway" on Bravo. So now, my latest obsession is "Make me a Supermodel," also on Bravo. I think I like it for some of the same reasons that I am a "Sex in the City" fan.... fashion, drama, living vicariously through total strangers... These beautiful people are competing for a contract with a top NY model agency. I love the challenges and the clothes. I am officially hooked. "Project Runway" feeds that same obsession. I wouldn't call myself a fashionable dresser but I fantasize that I am and maybe will be someday. I so wish I could design cool clothes or at least wear them. I love the unique styles, the classic and the crazy. I love picking my favorite and then cheering them on. My favorite super-model-wanna-bes are Perry and Jacki. My one problem, our Tivo isn't connected to our HD Cable so I can't record these shows. I will have to try to catch them live or one of the many re-runs throughout the week. It is like an hour vacation for my brain. I need that now and then.

Speaking of reality TV obsessions, three more days until Idol....



I am SO frustrated right now!!!

Kids are unaware of weekends. Lucas woke up at 6:15, like clockwork. Now, it is after 10am and hubby is still in bed. Not only that but he woke up at 9:30 to kick the dog out of the bed and then went back to sleep. He should get up and be with Lucas and help me out, right?

Here is the background that complicates things. Hubby had a really tough week at work. He works in talk radio and the morning show that he developed and produces has been traveling and dealing with sick calls this week so he has been getting to work at like 3 or 4 am and not really coming home all that early. So he is very tired. I had a fun night of Thai food and hanging out with the girls last night (Thanks
Cath, Heather, April, Cat, and Elizabeth!!!) and when I got home at 11:30 hubby was asleep. I assume he went to bed early after his long week. So he has been sleeping for probably over 12 hours at this point. He has always been one to love his sleep. We have dealt in the past with him not getting up to help me unless I specifically ask him. It had gotten some better for awhile but has kinda slipped again.

I really did want him to get extra rest this morning. But at what point does he need to just get up?!?! I will not go wake him. I feel guilty about it. He needs his sleep. It is his only day to sleep in. I can nap with Lucas later. It is my job as mommy to get up. Etc... But his long work week was not just hard on him. And don't I deserve to have a sleep-in day now and then too?

I don't want to wake him up. He really does deserve some extra sleep. But I also don't want the rest of our Saturday to be tainted by my passive-aggresive frustration at the events of this morning. And I know myself and that I often let my frustration build and not express it in healthy ways until it explodes and it gets ugly.

Lucas and I are having a pretty good morning. Cooking, puzzles, books, trucks.... the standards around here. I need to just let it go. Or should he get up? I really don't know.

Update: It is now a little after 11 and hubby got up shortly after I posted the above. I felt a little frustrated but really was able to just let it go. Venting it all here really helped, thinking maybe someone would hear me. :) Now, he has told me I can come upstairs and rest for awhile and he'll take Lucas and do lunch and whatever. Thanks hubby. Sorry for getting frustrated before.


A Daily Dose of Appreciation (AKA Birthdays, who needs em?)

>> Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I turned 31 yesterday and birthdays tend to bring out my introspective side. I have always been one that likes to be celebrated on my birthday. In years past (aka pre-kids), I could never decide what restaurant to choose for my birthday dinner so we would have 2 or 3. Last year though, just one. This year, my parents took me out while we were in Florida and hubby is taking me out tomorrow. But my actual birthday came and went with very little fanfare. And I am ok with that. I didn't think I would be, but I am. I did go to The Gap and use some Christmas gift cards which was a fun treat. I did get beautiful roses delivered from hubby. But other than that, relatively low key. And it was fine.

Last year (my 30th) I had this grandiose idea of how my 30th birthday should be celebrated. I wanted a big fat gift or a big fat party or a big fat trip to somewhere, anywhere. I got none of that. In fact, I actually didn't even get a card from hubby. I got a birthday dinner to my traditional birthday restaurant of choice and probably some flowers. I was very hurt, mostly because I had been telling hubby for no less than a year before that I wanted to celebrate 30 in a big way. We have worked through this and I forgive him and we have moved on. But, I say all that as a contrast to how I feel this year. Man, I guess it is possible to mature. :) This year, I don't feel the need to celebrate in a grand way. I am content with my low key day and delayed dinner out.

I know that part of my birthday contentment stems from an overall increase in my feeling of being appreciated and valued. Hubby and I have been going to counseling since last July and it has seriously made a world of difference. Counseling sometimes has this stigma, like you must have serious problems if you have to take that step. But for me, for us, it was about getting healthy and learning how to stay there. We had gotten to a point last summer where we basically co-existed. More roommates than spouses. I know that lots of couples find themselves in a similar position post-baby, but I was miserable. I felt that I would rather not be married than for marriage to look and feel that way. So, although there was no huge marital crisis, we started going to counseling to help us learn how to re-connect on a deeper plane and give us some tools to better communicate and weather conflict. Through this process of counseling, I have started to find my voice and have begun to say the things I am feeling and needing instead of bottling them up. This has freed hubby to be able to respond to my true feelings and needs instead of my defensive anger and hurt. What a difference! We have learned some very deep truth about each other and how we see the world so differently. And also how we can better come along side each other and meet each other's true needs. I don't mean to say that we have this down now and we never fight. We just had a spat tonight where hubby wasn't using the carpet cleaner as I thought he should and he totally snapped at me. I, of course, responded sarcastically and with a rude comment. But, those episodes are getting less frequent and more recoverable. Hubby is working hard to meet my needs. And me, I am feeling more appreciated and valued because he is acknowledging my hard work and trying to be what I need him to be.

So, this year, I don't feel the need to over do it on my birthday. That is partly because of the age. 31. Officially in my 30's. Time to grow up, I guess. But also because I am getting more of the validating I need on all the other days. Learning how to communicate my true needs and my true self has not been easy, but the rewards seem to be starting to pay off.

There is one more reason this birthday feels less monumental. I have a bit of a heavy heart these days.... but that is for another day, another post.


Discipline part 2

>> Wednesday, January 2, 2008

I have gotten so many responses both through comments and e-mails about my discipline challenges with Lucas. Thank you to everyone that offered kind words of encouragement and advice. I have been thinking a ton about this today. It is -10degrees with wind chill here today so we have been stuck inside trying to stay sane and warm. I have a few things to add after reading y'all's responses and pondering all this in my head today.
I hope I did not make it sound like I have a tyrant on my hands. He is a handful, no doubt, and I am not back-peddling on what I said before. It is all true. I do feel we are at a crucial point for discipline where I need to be consistent and firm. But, he mostly very sweet and loving and is even playing independently and quietly with some new dinos as I write this (which RARELY happens). I think because he is so smart that I often hold him to very high standards of comprehension. I expect that he is fully understanding what I am asking him and that he is choosing his own behaviors over obedience. I don't think this is always true. I think he is testing the boundaries, testing what he will be able to get away with. I think my friend Rachael was so right when she said it is not that he is willfuly disobeying (which I think maybe he is sometimes) but rather learning the limits of his own will versus my requests of him. I often assume that he has learned things that he is still in the process of learning. He still kicks even though I have told him no because he is still disciphering that line between playful cuteness and disobediance. He is after all only 21 months old.

The other thing that occured to me today... yesterday was rough for us (thus the blog post). I was tired, we were all recouping from the holidays and travel. And, I was tense and upset because the Gators were playing so poorly. I was distracted and not giving him my full attention. I think most of his "poor behavior" was probably his attempts to get my attention and his response to my own erratic behaviors. Here I am blaming Lucas for being so disobedient when I probably didn't help the situation at all. Today, he has been so much better. He has my attention, we are playing with his firetruck and puzzles and he is getting stimulated and affirmed. Huge lesson for mommy here.
I still need a consistent clear plan for discipline. A way to set good boundaries and help establish good patterns of behavior. For Lucas and for me. At least no more football for awhile might help.


Disappointment and Discipline

>> Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Lucas playing on the beach over Christmas.

The two topics on my mind today.

First disappointment. Stupid Gators. Any sports fan knows that few things have the power to make you totally bummed as when your team is projected to win, should win, and then they play poorly and lose. It was close most of the game and the Gators couldn't pull it out. It was not Timmy's fault at all. He played great. Our defense just gave it away. O.K., enough football. But it really did TOTALLY bum me out. Utter disappointment.

Now discipline. Lucas is getting to that age where we need to decide how we are going to discipline him and be ultra-consistent with it. I ask him something simple like "please stop kicking" during a diaper change. He looks at me and continues kicking with that knowing half-smile like he understood what I asked and has chosen not to comply. That isn't just a toddler not knowing how to behave. That is my almost two-year-old chosing not to do what I have asked him to do. How do I deal with that?

I have been doing time-outs. Sometimes I can tell he gets why he is sitting in the chair. After one minute, I kneel next to him and tell him gently that he needs to obey mommy and he needs to tell me he is sorry for disobeying. He sweetly says "sorry mommy" then gives me a hug. Other times, he smiles and laughs in the chair and thinks it is a game.
He is such a smart kid whose vocabulary astounds me. He remembers and recounts stories and events and puts together 5-6 word sentences. He can do puzzles by himself that are meant for kids 4and up. But sometimes I get the feeling that I am being played. I can't tell sometimes if he understands my commands and is blatantly disobeying or if I need to try different ways of teaching him proper behavior. There are times when the distinction is obvious but other times it is much more grey.

I am not opposed to the idea of spanking but if we do chose to spank him, I want it to be controlled and consistent and not in the moment out of frustration. At this point, I am not sure he would understand anything but discipline in the moment of the behavior needing disciplining. I don't want to just lash-out and spank. I want our discipline to be... well, I am not sure how to finish that sentence but spanking in the heat of the moment feels rash. I have done it, but didn't feel good about it. I want whatever we do to be intentional and loving and effective.
The other problem, he whines WAY too much. If things aren't exactly as he wants them to be, the whining starts. I tell him so often to stop the whining that now he says it to himself. But he still doesn't listen. He keeps whining.
I need some help. How do you discipline a 21month old who is very smart, very stubborn, but also very sweet and tender-hearted? How can I help him stop the whining and learn to consistently use his large vocabulary?

Lucas is a very loving, active, and imaginative child. I don't want to break his little spirit. But he can't continue down this whining, stubborn, pitch-a-fit path. How do I mother him with firm boundaries but also let him be a free-spirit? Both are so important. Loving discipline that allows him to fully be himself.... that is what I am looking for. Any ideas?


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