Category: Family & Friends

From spouses to spit-up

More TED Stuff (or, what’s wrong with me? LOL)

So after my Tony Robbins exploration I ran into another TED video I couldn’t resist watching. It was by a guy who wrote a book. I know, that doesn’t narrow it down.

Oh, it was Barry Schwartz: The Paradox of Choice

It explained a lot of my “nothing is ever good enough” feelings really well. When you expect the amazing, all the time, because society has gotten to the point where you can have so many options that you can’t (seemingly) go wrong, everything goes wrong and you’re left feeling like you could have always made a BETTER choice.

It’s good. I’m not sure how the leap of logic happens between the choices and feeling unhappy and suddenly reallocating everyone’s income and redistributing it…that’s kind of like A+B = Z … but it’s there and it’s something and take from it what you think might help you.

Even just knowing this can help you see your choices in a different way.

And I’m not planning on doing a series on TED videos. Just FYI. I’m hoping this is the last one. These are so self-absorbed it’s not even funny.

The Kiyonna Wrap Dress

I’m so confused.

I’m in love with THIS dress.

Kiyonna Clothing Rocks.

It’s a cool $98 dollars, but the beautiful jackets I bought a year ago still look brand new and are just as comfortable as the first time I put one on. The clothing fits beautifully and I’m in love with the palazzo pants. I’ve bought all the things I just mentioned. This is not a sponsored post or anything, I’m just trying to decide if this dress would:

a) Look good on me.
b) Be something work-appropriate

I’m just not sure. There’s one that is a super-cute print that I want even more than the purple one, but I’m afraid I’ll look like…totally different than the model. I mean of course I won’t look like a model, but it’s a print that could go horribly wrong. I’d either look funky and adorable and confident – or I’d look like I raided my grandmother’s cabinet.

What do you think? Here’s the other dress:

This one makes the purple look plain, right?

I won’t be buying it this week or anything so you have some time to think it over and let me know. Also, you can email me if you don’t want to leave a comment because you’re afraid to let the Internet know that my three kids gave me a freakin’ tummy the size of … um … big. I don’t have an analogy for it.

Also, I’d be wearing it with flats. Ankle owie will still be around in a couple weeks. Such a shame.

Oh, and if you’re plus-size and have never purchased from Kiyonna…consider doing so. The clothing is SUCH high-quality and I know it’s expensive but really, you are paying for what you get. Except that one time I bought a dress on clearance and when I got it I realized why the model was posed the way she was because I could NOT make the belt work with the dress and hide the weird place where the belt tucked into the dress.

So now? I don’t shop on clearance unless I’m sure it’s something without a belt. LOL

Does This Ankle Brace Make Me Look Fat?

Just kidding – it lives under my pants, how could it make me look anything, really?

But since last night when I almost fell over in the bookstore, I decided it was time to bring in reinforcements for my poor ankle that does not seem to want to heal. I mean, it does when I’m in warm areas and don’t move or put any pressure on it – then it’s fine – so much so it’s easy to forget when I stand up that there’s a problem and it leaves me yelping before I think maybe public places are not yelp-appropriate.

So J and I went to Walgreen’s and hit up the “old people” aisle. The one we all know we’re going to do a LOT of shopping in the older we get. I don’t mean it in a derogatory way at all, but you generally don’t see a bunch of teens or 20-somethings hanging out in the cane and bedpan aisle all, “What’s up, dude? Where you been? Over by the cologne? That is SO last year, this year is shower seats and heating pads, yo!” Yeah, all the rage.

The problem is I have this huge instep. My foot is rounded on top. It’s not a pile of fat, but it has made shoe shopping kind of an abomination since I was old enough to realize there was a store full of shoes and about three pairs would fit me. That is some serious frustration.

So J suggested trying on the ankle braces. I was all, “Oh hey, this isn’t a shoe store!” and she was all, “You really want to buy them all and return the ones that don’t work JUST so you can try them on at home instead of in the aisle at Walgreen’s? What? Don’t want to be judged?” Which made me realize I was just being silly and the trying-on began.

Four ankle braces later and we put the one on I’m wearing now. It’s lightweight, easy to put on, fits into my shoe, and is black. All things that will help me mask it under my black pants, in my black shoes, over my black socks. It does have a little white tag on the front and I’ve been staring at my black Sharpie all morning wondering if it would look better if I colored the tag or cut it off.

I also (finally) bought new sneakers. I have a pair of amazing running shoes, but they adjust for my very slight pronation so they KILL to wear with the owie ankle. My regular walking shoes have insoles in them because I’ve had them for three years and wore them the heck out. This was before I was informed that you’re only supposed to wear sneakers about six months or 400 miles or something because they wear out – just like anything else you use almost every single day. (That was a serious “duh” moment on my part.) While I was at the store (It’s a store I hate more than anything but they have the best shoe selection for my awesome size 11 feet) I also ran across an adorable pair of black flats so had to pick them up, too. I don’t shoe shop often and if I told you how long ago I got my current pair (yes, that’s singular, did I mention I hate shoe shopping?) of black flats you’d probably cringe.

So now I’m the proud owner of two pairs of black flats (well one has a quarter-inch heel, but isn’t that splitting hairs?) and a new pair of gym shoes to walk from the train to work. Plus an ankle brace to help me get to work without crying, which will be a big plus this week.

Next post? The vitamins I bought. Oh yeah, I’m going to heal this ankle if it kills me. Oh, and Atkins. Yeah, the new one. It’s different than the old one, I promise.

You Just Can’t Say Everything – But It’s Okay

  • It doesn’t matter if you can’t say everything on your mind because you are afraid others will read it and know you more intimately than you had intended.
  • It doesn’t matter if there just isn’t enough time in the day to get everything out of your head and on the paper.
  • It doesn’t matter if you have a beautiful thought and forget three seconds later and are left with only the memory that you had an amazing thought but it’s now out of your reach.

In all of these situations and so many others you just cannot say everything you want and you can’t cohesively string together everything that’s on your mind and in your head and that you want to tell the world or just remember for yourself for later.

When you start from a place of, “It’s okay not to remember everything.” You have given yourself permission to remember more than you were able to before you put the pressure on.

Pressure does nothing but cause anxiety. Anxiety is not the trait that winners and people you admire credit for their success. Anxiety does not support taking risks that can bring you to inspired greatness.

Forgive your anxiety, forgive your worry. Forgive yourself for not being more, because being you…it’s enough.

Three Ways to Make Your Kids Cuter

1. Plug Your Ears – It’s kind of like enjoying them when they’re sleeping but they’re awake and you can’t hear them. Not recommended if they are bleeding or hurt.

2. Feed Them – When their mouths are full, they are quiet and adorable. Enjoy the feeling of being blessed enough to have food for them. This works best if your children are hungry and it’s a mealtime. Feeding them at 2 in the afternoon “just because” won’t work as well as enjoying them over breakfast.

3. Whiskey Play With Them – If you just own your parenthood for a little bit and get down on the ground and engage with your children and give yourself permission to just be there with them, they are cuter, smarter, and way more enjoyable. Don’t think about what you have to make for dinner or going to work tomorrow. Just be. That’s how I create those Kodak moments I used to only think existed in high-budget commercials.

Good luck. I’m finding that a pair of pajamas with penguins on them is going a long way toward making my crabby and sick 15-month-old absolutely adorable where before she was just a crabby snotty mess.

Whatever works, right?

How To Make Christmas Break Work (kid edition)

Tomorrow is going to be the last day of school for the kids until 2011.

I’ve amused myself for the last week by telling people I’m so over things and won’t even bother doing them until next year. From eating sushi to saying certain phrases I’ll just be all, “I’m over it. I’m taking the rest of the year off.” It’s not really laugh-out-loud funny, but it amuses me and I’ve heard a couple of my friends start saying it so it’s catchy.

Wow. I’m dreading two weeks with my kids out of school so much I’m avoiding talking about it on my own blog. Be that as it may I have been compiling a list of things I can do with my kids to keep them (and me) amused during holiday break.

  1. Art. From painting to crayons to markers to pencils to chalk, I’m going to have time set aside every day for art. A roll of butcher or easel paper is perfect to sprawl on the kitchen table and tape underneath, leaving my table free to be drawn on, without actually getting, you know, drawn on.
  2. Crafts. This one is tougher for me because it requires a lot more supervision than your standard coloring book and crayons. I’ve found that Elmer’s Glue will come off of anything and glitter will come out of nothing. So glue is “in” when it comes to craft supplies in my house and glitter is definitely an “out” – I have better things to do than find glitter in my youngest daughter’s junk when I change her diaper after the older two have had a full day of crafting. (True story, and the one that got glitter banned from my house.) But it’s pretty easy to take some cardboard and make a stand-up animal or really big paper doll that you can make clothing for from construction paper.
  3. Dance Time. I don’t know if other parents do this, but we occasionally set aside a half-hour to an hour to put on kid radio on the television and let the girls dance. We clear away the coffee table and push furniture to the outsides of the room to give them space. We’ve also done this with CDs when we didn’t have a television provider that had channels of music.
  4. Food Time. This is another high-supervision activity to avoid ants or other things-that-like-floor-food out of your home. But letting kids make their own lunch can be a time-consuming and fun activity. Start with crackers or bread. We use Brownberry 100% Whole Grain (look for the wholegrains.org label!) and cut it into pieces. Then the kids use kid-sized spoons to spread peanut butter or nutella or jelly or whatever from these little tasting bowls – also known as pinch bowls – we have. It keeps the peanut butter out of the jelly and also helps with portion control. Not portion control so they don’t get fat, but portion control because my kids will put eight pounds of jelly on something and then not be able to eat it because it’s too much sugary-goodness for them to handle. We also had them make cookies yesterday. A spritz cookie recipe is so easy to throw together and let the kids stir (or turn on the KitchenAid) that it’s crazy not to try it at least once a year.
  5. Cleaning. With star stickers or movies or a million other rewards, we find that cleaning isn’t something that’s too difficult to get our kids to do. Your mileage may vary. My kids get bummed out when they have to clean their own bedroom and playroom, but ask them to clean something in the living room, kitchen or the bathroom and they feel like big girls and love to help. So we save the bedroom and playroom for the “before bed tire you out with your whining and your boredom and when you’re done bed will look like party central” chores and save other-parts-of-the-house cleaning for during the day when we can make it fun for them.
  6. Outside. I hate the cold and am not the mom that is going to be all, “Hey kids, want to go sledding?” But I’ll happily spend an hour watching my kids play with snow in the front yard. My husband is out there with them, of course, but if I had a place to watch them in the backyard I’d have no problem letting them go out into my fenced backyard unattended to play in the snow. Just make sure to have your kids come inside every ten to fifteen minutes to check them for blue lips and chattering teeth. Have cocoa on hand for the chilly after-party!
  7. Write A Book. If your kids are just scribbling and have given up on coloring and just seem…bored…you can have them write a book. Little ones can write a picture book and you can write in captions. Bigger kids can illustrate and write their own book. A couple bucks, a three hole punch, and some yarn or ribbon can see your book laminated and bound, ready to be put away and remembered fondly when your kids are 30.
  8. Decorating. One of the things I want to do when none of my kids are destructive toddlers (only two more years to go!!) is give the girls a special “kid tree” they can decorate with all the homemade ornaments they bring home from school and they can make at home with yarn and construction paper and maybe a piece of cardboard to keep the construction paper hanging right. My tree is a work of art that I adore, and I am not going to sacrifice it to school ornaments and have it looking like nick-nack night at the preschool. I have no problem if you love your garage-sale looking tree and I get that it makes your heart swell – that’s fine – I’m just not that person. I am a director and I have a vision…for my tree. LOL
  9. Exercise. I don’t know about your kids, but mine will do some Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds with me in a heartbeat. They’ll try to do more difficult exercises like Core Rhythms but they lose interest fast because they can’t keep up. If your kids are older set it up as a contest to see who can go longer. Who cares if you lose? You wore your kids out, and that’s always a bonus!
  10. Video or Board Games. As long as they’re part of a healthy school-vacation diet of activity, there is nothing wrong with adding in video game or board game love. It’s a tool in the toolbox and anyone who thinks they’re inherently evil probably misread the bible and thinks money is the root of all evil, too.  

I manage to interact with my kids while going to school, working from home, and sporadic blogging. I have all the faith in the world that you, too, can take a few of these suggestions and incorporate them into the next two weeks of long, long days.

p.s. If you’re a parent that cannot wait to spend two full weeks with your kids, I think you are a rock star.
p.p.s. Yeah, I totally used affiliate links for most of the products. I heart Amazon.

Why are Playards smaller than Playpens?

When you think of a pen, you think of … okay, let me be more specific… when you think of a non-writing pen you think of something an animal maybe lives in and the conditions aren’t so great. Pen is also slang for jail so there’s that, too. But when – years ago – braniacs got together and renamed the playpen…they chose to call it a playard.

Which is fine.

A yard makes you think of a big patch of land. Green grass, maybe a garden. It also refers to a measurement of three feet, but when you think playard I don’t think you think of a yardstick. The “play” part of the word tends toward the green grass, flowers, and a gentle breeze.

So, why is it that these playards are smaller than any playpen I’ve ever seen? Is it because parents demand them to be portable? Why not just call them portable cribs, then. Because I don’t know any baby that would have enough room to actually play in a playyard.

Just one of those weird things I was thinking about this morning after getting an email from Graco about playard safety. I’d also like to add, if you manage to hurt your kid on one of these – I don’t know how. One of the safety tips was to not dangle or hang cords in the playard.

Seriously?

But…but…where will I hang my laptop power cord when it’s not in use? *sigh* What are parents thinking. You put a baby in a crib (or a playard) and you put in one or two squishy, safe toys and you just let them play. Oh, and you check on them so they don’t, you know, die or choke or try to bounce themselves off the mesh on the sides. Or whatever kids do in one of these things.

Since I have never owned a playard I can’t really speak to their more positive aspects. Am I the only parent left that just lets my kid play on the floor?

Disclaimer: Not a sponsored post.

What To Do When The Baby Keeps Screaming

It seems that right around a year every one of my kids developed the ability to scream.

It’s a bone-chilling Halloween-quality scream that would make any B-Movie actress ashamed of her performance.

I can hear it anywhere in the house, and it pierces my ears, my heart, and my soul….even though I know she’s not in hurt or in pain because that’s a totally DIFFERENT scream. This is the “I want that” scream. From “I want to walk” to “I want that juice box” to “I want you to hear my voice” – everything is scream-worthy.

While the easiest way to stop the scream is to pick her up and snuggle her, making her forget she wanted anything but love from mama, I also realize that rewarding the scream and distraction will only take me so far in parenting-land and that without some boundaries, however minimal, I’ll end up with the kid that screams at the store and makes ALL the moms want to die for just a second.

So I kind of mix it up. Sometimes there’s a snuggle, sometimes I just ignore it, and sometimes I say “Stop!” in my best mommy-is-DONE-with-this-mess voice. Basically, the goal is to confuse her so she doesn’t bother with the screaming anymore. It worked with the other two.

Or they grew out of it and it had nothing to do with my technique.

Either way, it felt good to be doing something about it instead of just suffering in silence while she sounds like she’s trying to break all the wine glasses in my house at once.

It’s piercing.

Sick for Thanksgiving and Ghosts

I thought the ghosts were supposed to come around Christmas. You know, the past, present, and future reminding you to be thankful and give turkey to the poor and infirm.

Last night, I had my very own ghost in my bedroom.

The difference is, this time I didn’t see it. Oh, what, you didn’t know I have a ghost that lives in my backyard that I see every so often? Huh. It’s like my family’s very own urban legend, except other people have seen the man in my backyard. So even if I’m seeing things, at least my crazy is contagious. You’ve been warned.

Last night I was so sick, I mean I got sick sometime during Thanksgiving, and was totally crabby because of it. My poor husband. Ah well, he’s crabby when he’s sick too, so whatever. But he went to Walmart at about 10:30pm to pick up some pink stuff that I chug when I’m particularly ill and I went to bed.

I woke up to powder my nose about once an hour, except for one time, where I woke up and heard footsteps coming down the hall. They went in front of my daughter’s room and then I heard them turn back and come into my bedroom, stopping at the foot of my bed. They weren’t my husband’s footfalls and by the time they’d gotten to the foot of my bed I was in a raw panic. I whipped my head up from the pillow to see….nothing.

Absolutely nothing.

Now, if you’ve walked through my house you know it’s mostly hardwood, tile, and only the bedrooms have carpeting (I have to clean this joint, man, kids and carpet are a gross combo) and I HEARD the footsteps.

It was tres creepy. It was definitely a guy and it was apparently something totally non-existent.

The thing is, I have – feel free to laugh – crosses and holy water above every doorway in this house. I’m superstitious with a capital S my friends. I even throw a little folksy stuff in there like a cinnamon broom above the back door. I’m thorough. As such, in the 8 years we’ve lived here, nothing negative has been in the house. I mean, when you walk in my house you always feel like a weight has lifted off your shoulders. There’s no bad juju in my house.

Except for these footsteps, which were menacing as all get out.

Who knows. Maybe it was a dream. Except I know I was awake because my sick, sick tummy was rumbling letting me know it was almost nose-powdering time and about five minutes after this I got up and did just that.

I wasn’t asleep.

So, get a straitjacket ready. Either I was having fever hallucinations or something wicked this way comes.

I vote fever.

Oh What A Nightmare

No, really. I don’t mean some life situation gone horribly wrong.

I had a legit horrible nightmare.

I was trying to have a funeral for my grams but it was a couple of weeks after she’d passed and for some reason she wasn’t cremated yet so she looked, uh, awful. I had her wrapped in some weird old-lady quilt and tried to make her look good in her casket.

There were two people in the viewing room while I was trying to get her ready and they wouldn’t leave and they were heckling me. I painstakingly tried to paint her face so she’d look good for the viewing and I couldn’t stop crying because I wasn’t doing a good enough job.

Then I got an email from a family member saying that this wasn’t what she wanted and I was so angry because who does that person think they are – having never given her help when she needed it to dare to try and be a know-it-all all of a sudden. I didn’t respond to the email and knew that person couldn’t find where we were so I wasn’t afraid.

I went back to applying makeup – and woke up.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want to see where it was going because it wasn’t going anywhere good, but now it’s all stuck in my head and I don’t want it there so I’m getting it out of my system.

All triggered by taking the wrong way to my friend’s house and passing close to my grams house. Not even in front of my grams house. And there was a pole in the front yard. For what? Who knows. A flag? A satellite? Again, your guess is as good as mine and I really just wish I could erase it from my brain because I don’t want to know and I don’t want my brain to be all “Hey I’m Nancy Drew and want to solve mysteries!”

So shut-up brain. That’s an order.