Thursday, April 28, 2011

What Would She Say?

I went out last weekend to celebrate 3 of my girlfriend's birthdays.  Nothing nuts.  We went out to dinner and then hit up a Dave and Busters and it was a really good time.  But it got me thinking...doesn't everything?...what would my younger self think if she could see me today?

What would the carefree, free-spirited, party girl think if she saw me in all my suburban living, frumpy clothes wearing, home by midnight glory?  Would she be proud of me for sewing so many wild oats before becoming a mom or would she think I was lame with a side of lamesauce?

I don't know, but sometimes I think of her and what she wanted.  She wanted to do big things, to make her mark, to live free and passionately.  Then I think of where I am...stable, family oriented, mortgage, coupons .  I've carved out a respectable life for myself and I've worked hard to get where I am, but there's a bit of nostalgia there, a bit of a feeling of selling out and becoming part of the herd.  Of being mediocre.  Not special, like I thought I would be, just average.

I mean everything about me is pretty much average:  I'm not short, but I'm not tall.  You'd never call me fat, but you'd never call me thin either.  My blog isn't a fledgling anymore, but it's no Dooce or Blair.  I'm not in the poor house, but I'm no Housewife of Beverly Hills.  I'm just kind of in the middle.  I'd love to write a book or maybe steal Dr. Oz away from his wife...I don't know something a bit more.

I think my old me would love me for the life I have, but push me to dream a bit bigger.  And maybe put some make up on once in a while.
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

In a Panic

I was kind of wishy washy about having another baby after Isabella was born, but eventually Andy and I decided that we eventually wanted one more.  We were thinking about starting to try next Spring-ish.  But then my cousin Nicole came over with her two girls who are 3 and 1 and I'm not gonna lie...it looked like a lot of work.

We're in such a routine now and it's so easy to take care of Isabella as she gets older.  Do I really want to mess with that?  It has to be so difficult to go back to that newborn stage where you're in a constant flux of feeding, cleaning up poop, and getting no sleep.  Then you have an energetic toddler on top of that.  How do you manage day trips out when you're juggling two completely different schedules?  I mean I know the baby stage eventually passes, but it takes a while.

Also, I'm alone a lot so could I do it by myself?  Could I go back to working all day on 3 hours of sleep?  I know tons of people do it and I really do want another child, I'm just in a bit of a panic when I think about the reality of it, because, oh boy do I know what's coming.

But I want Isabella to have a sibling.  Someone to play with and stay up late giggling with.  Someone who she can talk to when I'm too lame.  But I don't want to have a child just so she can have that.  It seems mean to baby #2.  And I also don't want to wait and then realize when Isabella is 10 that maybe I shouldn't have waited.

How did you decide on your family plans?  Any moms (or dads) out there who are happy with their singletons?  If you have two kids, how was the transition?
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Monday, April 25, 2011

A Reflection (HP)

So I've been working on my happiness project for about a month now and I have to say that I really enjoyed it.  This month's focus was organization and getting my shit together and boy is my house organized.  It's amazing that a clean, a deep down clean house, will make you so happy.  I'm almost completely done with my Spring Cleaning list and the only room I have left to do is the laundry room, but I can definitely bang that out before April is over.

My living room still looks cluttered because of all the toys, but that's what a house is supposed to look like when you're raising a family.  As long as I stick with my evening tidy up every night it's really not so bad.  It's unrealistic for me to think that my house will stay in this perpetual state of clean, but I'm really going to try to keep up with it.

I worked on my closet this week and it was so cathartic.  Anything that didn't fit got tossed into the good will pile.  Anything with a tear or a stain got tossed.  Anything that I haven't worn in a year got tossed.  Having all those clothes that fit me once upon a time when I was two sizes smaller was just a painful reminder to me every time I tried to find something to wear.  Time to face facts and start embracing the body I have while I work towards the body I want.  I got rid of all the wire hangers and any empty hangers went to a basket with a lid on the floor.  I don't really need 5 different black scarves so I got rid of a bunch of them.  Then I organized what was left....sweat jackets together, dresses together, pants together, and shirts together.  It's so easy to find things now because they're all categorized together.  I'm even thinking of going super anal and getting color coded hangers, but we'll see.  Any gross granny panties got the boot as well.  I only want to surround myself with things that make me happy as I said last week in my Secrets of Adulthood and Personal Commandments post.

So do I feel happier?  Yes absolutely.  I check off the boxes on my resolution chart and I can see that I'm doing the work.  Even today as I sit in my post-Easter celebration home that needs to be wiped down and picked up, but I'm happy where as I would usually just be stressed out.  It might be because the house is organized and neat or it might just be because I'm putting my own happiness at the forefront of my life.  I'm getting excited about thinking about next month....Physical.

Some Tips
1.  It's amazing what a little hot water and a sponge will do to help you clean.  No chemicals.  It's free and it really gets off that stuck molasses.

2.  Zip lock bags are awesomesauce.  All those extra usb cables and manuals now all go together in a gallon size ziplock bag and are labeled this way everything is together if I ever need it and I can neatly stack them in a cabinet.  So the cord, manual, and warranty information for the video camera are together etc.

3.  Baskets do a lot to help organize and keep things looking nice.  I put a small basket at the foot of the stairs as a catch all for keys or bobby pins or ipods, basically anything that winds up scattered around the house, now you can just throw it in the basket and be done with it.

4.  Function beats form.  It may look nicer to keep an item somewhere, but put it where it's easier to use.

5.  The One Minute Rule, where I don't put off any task that takes less than a minute, is the bomb.  It's amazing how little things can build up, like hanging up your coat, putting your shoes away, putting the dish in the dishwasher, or vacuuming up a spill.  Now instead of a one minute little task there's 15 minutes of work.
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Hope yours was as wonderful and blessed as ours.  

Coloring eggs it was "So cool...wow!"



Where are the rest of the eggs?



Easter Baby





Love <3  Even though she does not appreciate her picture being taken...just like mama.  
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Living Things

Anything that's ever come into my house that's been alive, save for Isabella, has died a tragic and neglectful death.  Newts, fish, and plants, even those little bamboo ones that you only need to water like once a week...dead.  I just don't have that nurturing ability or the ability to remember what needs to be cared for.  It's a good thing that babies can cry or Isabella might not be in such great shape.

Not only do I not have the inclination to take care of plants or animals, I don't really like them.  I tell Andy every Valentines Day not to buy me flowers because the petals fall off and I have to clean them up and they kind of make my house smell like a funeral home.  I also don't like animals.  It's not like I hate them and am mean to them, I was actually vegan for years because of the cruelty animals face in slaughterhouses, but I never really liked them.

We bought Isabella two beta fish and I nearly had a panic attack at Pet Co because it felt like such a huge commitment, even though the 18 year old ding bat who sold them to me promised that they would only need to be fed twice a week and their water changed once a month.  But honestly, they freak me out.  They're just in my house and all alive and swimming.  Isabella is over them so I suggested that we just flush them down the toilet.  Andy told me I was crazier than he thought and that he would be in charge of all future fish care.  I also worried that they're hungry which causes me to overfeed them, which makes their water cloudy, which causes Andy to remind me, yet again, that I am to have nothing to do with any fish care.

He also brought up the subject of getting a puppy.  Isabella would be happy in life if all she had was a puppy.  She loves them.  She loves to pet them and have them kiss her and jump all over her.  I think getting a puppy would put me right over the edge.  I like puppies, but I like them when they belong to other people.  I do not want one more thing in this house whose poop I need to shovel.  I don't care if the puppy is the size of a cell phone, I don't want it.  So Andy is currently trying to convince my mother to get a tiny little dog (the worst kind IMO) and we'll "timeshare" it.

I'm going on record as saying I think it's a terrible idea and if it comes to fruition there's a good chance I'll need some sort of anxiety medication.
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Interview With The Home School Mom

When the opportunity arose to interview Becki who home schools her autistic son, and next year her daughter as well, my curiosity got the better of me.  I've been a public school teacher for 6, going on 7, years and I don't really know all that much about home schooling.  This interview was very insightful and I'm glad that I was able to be a part of it.  

1.  How many children do you have that you are home schooling?

I have two kids and "officially" I am only homeschooling one of them (my son), but my daughter will be home schooled for kindergarten starting this fall.

2.  Can you give a brief description of home schooling and what a typical day might entail?

Homeschooling is exactly what the name implies, schooling your children at home.  There are multiple ways in which one can homeschool.  You can use an online public school.  You can choose a traditional homeschooling curriculum and be your own teacher.  Or you can even choose to "un-school" and let your child guide his own learning experience.  There is no right or wrong way to homeschool a child.  The way I see it, whatever works best for the child is what is good.

In my family, we choose a more traditional approach in that we bought a curriculum, I use daily lesson plans, and I choose to cover all the basic subjects that would be covered if my kids were in a regular school.  A typical day is hard to describe in our case because my son has Autism and nothing is ever typical, but we do follow a routine and on most days that routine is kept in tact.  We get up like every other family and have breakfast together.  We get dressed and ready for the day - in my house homeschooling does not begin until everyone is cleaned up and ready to go.  There are many more laid back families out there, but in order for the routine to work for us we have to have our "school clothes" on and our teeth brushed and be ready to go just like if we were heading out the door for public school, only we don't head out - we stay in.  Once everyone is ready we assemble in the school room.  Yep, we have a room dedicated to school.  I know many homeschooling families just go to the kitchen table and that is fine, but routine rules our lives because without structure my son falls apart (that is Autism).  We do our lessons in the same order everyday.  We start with handwriting practice, move on to math, then go to language arts and reading.  We follow that up with spelling and journal time.  Then we move on to other units (throughout the year we have units - we did social studies and health, and now we are on science).  In between there are breaks and there is lunch.  It's hard to say exactly how long the day takes - some days it goes by quickly and smoothly, other days there are issues to deal with.  Autism is unpredictable. I never know how my son will be and what his needs will require until the day begins.

3.  What was your decision making process when you decided to home school?

The decision to homeschool has been one full of emotion.  We started out in a public school early childhood program for special needs children.  When it was time to move to kindergarten I was being told by one educational "professional" after another that my son would be mainstreamed and more than likely forgotten as there was no budget for training and he wasn't severely disabled enough to get into special programs.  After hearing all of that, we (my Husband and I) decided to homeschool.  For kindergarten we went full throttle - we worked on all the core subjects and on life skills.  We were rolling just fine, but then I got worried - what if something was missing?  So for first grade we decided to try public school.  In our case, it was a major fail.  My son did not handle it well at all.  Along with Autism he also has severe anxiety and school was sending him down the road of regression, it wasn't pretty.  I was not happy with how things were being handled and I wanted peace back in my family, so I pulled him out and we resumed homeschooling.  This has been the very BEST decision for us.  My son excels at home.  As for my daughter, I know homeschooling works and I am choosing to homeschool her because I believe it is the best move I can make for her education.

4.  Have you encountered any judgment or adverse reactions from friends, family members, or other mothers when you decided to home school?

Yes!  Oh yes!  I have had some friends who make comments basically to the point of saying that I have thrown my life away - as if I shouldn't be a mom, I should be a party girl.  It really irritates me.  But the worst opposition I have received by far has been by people in the public school system.  I was told that "you can not homeschool" in the context of my educational abilities being insulted.  I have been questioned as if on trial by some public educators.  It really has been hard to deal with at times.  I have also run into multiple people who tell me that I am wrong for homeschooling because my kids won't be "socialized" - the funny thing is, most of those people have no clue what true socialization is.  Society is against homeschooling, period.  Our culture wants us to follow the herd - homeschooling challenges public educators by saying that we, moms and dads, are actually good enough for our kids.  We aren't stupid and we can do this.  Sadly, most educational "professionals" seem to believe that unless you hold a teaching certificate you can't teach - a great lie.  Actually, one of the biggest lies, in my opinion.  I've worked in public schools, I've seen what they call teaching.

5.  What is the greatest benefit to home schooling?

The greatest benefit I see to homeschooling is watching my kids grow and not having to wait for it to happen.  I can keep my son challenged and keep him working.  He doesn't have to wait for the rest of the class to catch up before he moves on.  If he is doing 3rd grade math in first grade then that is ok - and in some things he is!  If he wants to spend half a day talking about butterflies and their life cycle then we do - and we have!  The benefit of really being able to give the time to let your kids develop and achieve at their pace - be it fast or slow - is a HUGE benefit of homeschooling.

6.  What is the greatest challenge?  

For me the greatest challenge is that my son has special needs.  There is no cure for Autism - no magic pill to make it go away.  Some days are just rough and dealing with that can be hard.  But we persevere because we believe it is the best we can do for him.

7.  Do you plan on home schooling straight through until college?  

I plan on homeschooling for as long as it works.  These days you can educate yourself at home straight through to your Doctorate degree - and if that is what my kid does then that is what he does.  I'm all about doing what is best.  Five years from now if we see something else that will benefit him more then we will travel that road, but for now homeschooling works and it works well.

8.  How do your kid(s) feel about home schooling?  

When my son began regressing and not handling public school well, he BEGGED me to homeschool him again.  Homeschooling has been the only thing that my son has ever 100% declared without a doubt that he wanted.  As for my daughter, I guess only time will tell.

Homeschooling certainly isn't the choice for everyone, but for many families it works.  I have serious issues with public schools, I think it may show in some of what I wrote, but the bottom line is that as a parent you have to do what is best for you and for your kids.  And as mothers, we should be supportive of one another and not judge what one may or may not decide to do.

I blog my homeschooling journey at: http://educatingmychildren.blogspot.com/

You can also find my commentary on life here: http://www.mommastime.com/
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Read some of my other interviews:


If you're awesome and have a unique perspective and don't mind me prying into your life e-mail me.  

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Secrets of Adulthood, Personal Commandments, and Bumps in the Road (HP)

I've dedicated Mondays as a day to update you all on my happiness project, if you give a flying hoot.  If you want to learn more about why I decided to start a happiness project and make the most out of my life you can read the first post HERE.

Secrets of Adulthood

There are some things that you learn as an adult  that just ring true.  They are undeniable truth's for you and these have helped guide me along so far in the first month of my happiness project.  Some of them are from the Happiness Project Book and some are my own.

1.  Doing something you know will make you happy in the long run, won't always make you happy in the moment.  This is so true and I'm seeing it in this month of Organization especially because, let me tell you scrubbing the toilet and reorganizing my tupperware is not fun and it doesn't make me happy when I'm doing it. However, when I go to pee or I want to store my leftovers and everything is neat and organized...it makes me really happy.

2.  Finish one thing before you start another, otherwise you'll have 5 half done chores and nothing crossed off the to-do list.  I used to always fall into this trap.  I'd start one thing then get side tracked with another.  Nothing got finished.  It would make me so frustrated.  I find though that if I stick to this and kind of repeat it when the temptation to switch activities mid-task, it keeps me focused on what I'm doing.

3.  It feels good to be acknowledged.  It shouldn't, but it does.  I'm all about the gold stars and the checks on my resolution chart on The Happiness Project Toolbox .  It motivates me.

I'm still trying to discover more.

Personal Commandments 


1.  Act the way I want to feel.  This is not always easy.  In fact sometimes it's downright difficult.  For example, this past weekend Andy and I went away for a few days just the two of us.  On the road trip back home, we stopped for coffee, I am a miserable testicle crusher when I'm without my morning Joe.  Andy went into Dunkin Donuts to grab our coffee, except when I tasted mine it tasted like pure sugar.  I was not happy.  It sent me into a funk that was disproportionate to the situation.  So I acted the way I wanted to feel.  I wanted to feel awake and energetic so I put on a good CD and we started singing and I held his hand and believe it or not, my coffee withdrawal angry fog lifted long enough for us to make it to the next rest stop.

2.  Be Light.  Sometimes I feel so heavy, like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders.  But I'm realizing more and more that I do that to myself.  Yes it's difficult to have a full time job and a baby.  Yes it's difficult to find time to work out.  Yes there's not enough time in the day for all of it to get done.  Yes it's hard to finish my 30 and above classes.  It's hard, but it's also wonderful and I don't want to trudge through these years, I want to enjoy them.  So sometimes, when Isabella insists on sitting on the counter I won't try a million things to get her off, I'll just let her sit on the counter and play for as long as she wants. I also don't want to be so snippy and snappy all the time.

3.  Be Melissa 

4.  Surround Myself with Happy Things.  It's a lot easier to be happy if I'm surrounded by things that already make me happy.  It's little things that make me happy.  I'm happiest when Andy and Isabella are with me.  Slippers make me insanely happy.  Hot coffee and a good book make me happy.  The smell of fresh laundry makes me happy.  A to-do list that is mostly crossed off by Thursday makes me happy.  A full DVR, a glass of wine, and a night to myself makes me happy.  The smell of the slow cooker makes me happy.  Scented candles, open windows, and lots of sunshine make me happy.  Whenever I can I will fill my life with these small things.

5.  Find the positive.  It's easy to be negative, to believe all the bad things you think about yourself and the world around you.  It is work to search out and seek the positive.  But positive thoughts attract positivity and it's a wonderful circle if you can jump on.

Bumps in the Road


This month hasn't been a honkey dory smile fest, and I've hit some bumps in the road.  I said that I wouldn't get upset with Andy for not helping because this was my thing and as long as he didn't make it worse I would be ok.  But sometimes I found myself being resentful as I spent 2 hours after Isabella went to bed cleaning the kitchen until it sparkled and the next day I found 3 dishes on the counter...not in the sink or the dishwasher where they belong, but just sitting on the counter 2 inches away from the sink.  Cue blood boiling.  Or when I asked him if he would just fold the hand towel after he used it and instead I find it splayed across the bathroom counter.  But I held strong and I would, lightly, remind him if he would just try his best to keep things as I had them.  I mean it's not like putting a dish in the sink is back breaking work.  And I found the less I nagged, the more he was willing to help.  Like when I came home the other day to the dishwasher completely emptied and my favorite wine on the counter.

I've also not had one perfect day.  Not one where I hit all my resolutions.  Some days are better than others and all I can do is do my best.

If anyone is interested in starting there own happiness project, e-mail me at eclipsed823@aol.com and maybe we can help each other out.  I was going to add a linky, but I didn't want to be presumptuous.
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fear

I'm scared of a lot of things...birds, ketchup getting anywhere near me (I skeeve it and it makes me vom), and having to drive through a round-about.  But those are kind of silly, I'm talking about the fear that keeps you up at night.

You think you hear a noise in your kitchen and instead of drawing the logical conclusion that it's just the wind, I convince myself that there's a crazy, psycho lunatic in my kitchen who is going to rape and kill me. It will keep my wired up in bed before I'm able to relax myself and fall asleep.

I have an alarm system that I set every night, but then I think that maybe there's some techno whiz who moonlights as a serial killer and he can bust through my alarm and kill me.

Maybe I watch too much Law and Order: SVU and Criminal Minds, because some of the scenarios I play out in my head are borderline insane.  But hey, there are insane people out there.  Please tell me I'm not some crazy lune and some of you guys feel this way too...maybe it's just because I'm alone at night sometimes.
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Deadbeat Dad

Let me just start off by saying that Andy is a very hands on father who probably spends more time with Isabella than I do just because of the way his schedule works BUT that doesn't mean he never pisses me off and forces me to give him the stink eye over and over.  Here's my issue:

Andy is a "relaxer".  Even before Isabella bounded into our world, Andy always liked to take it easy.  On vacation he would be content to lie on the beach in the morning, take a mid afternoon nap, and then play pool volleyball until it was time to for dinner.  Meanwhile, I'd be planning excursions, scoping the shopping scene, and checking out all the different places to eat.  So it naturally fits his personality to like to do more low key things with us as a family: go for walks, go to the park, go to the gym, and just lounge around the house.  It also naturally fits my personality to prefer to do bigger things: Liberty Science Center, Children's Museum, Kid Junction (indoor play area), swim class, Zoo etc.  I calm down a bit in the summer but I love to give Isabella a lot of different experiences.

The nature of Andy's job, State Trooper, is that he works half the month midnights, half the month days, and rotating days off.  I work full time so we only get 2 weeks of evenings together (and no one is doing anything at 5pm) and then 2 weekends a month together.  So when we do get time together, I'll try to plan a fun day out, he'll agree, then the day of he says he doesn't want to go and why don't we just lay low.  It was mildly annoying at first but now it's really getting to me.  I understand that his job is taxing and he needs his down time, but between my commute and my own work I'm not picking daisies all day either.

I think a part of it is that I get so overwhelmed sometimes of going to things by myself: birthday parties, engagement parties, family play dates which is difficult but I understand if he's working.  I think that's just why when he's off I really look forward to doing things as a family.  I know I can't get my way all the time, which is an unfortunate part of being an adult, but I shouldn't never get my way either.

Honestly, I'm tired of letting Andy make the decisions on how we spend our time.  From now on I'm just going to decide what I want to do, within limits, and just do it by myself.  I'm not nervous to drive far with her alone or to go places when I'm by myself, so I'll just go and if he wants to come that's great and if he doesn't he can sit home and watch sports center.  He'll probably choose sports center which will make me want to claw his eyes our but this is my stance and I'm sticking with it.  I figure if I plan it fair maybe he'll come around...Saturday at the children's museum and Sunday at the park.  That's all I got.
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can Someone Sleep Train Me?

I don't know if I need to be rocked or if I should just cry it out but I am one sleep deprived lady.  I'm tired at night, but instead of doing the rational thing I make excuses to stay awake later.  Oh it's so early, I can't go to bed now.  Just one more episode of Teen Mom 2 and I'll be all caught up.  Maybe I'll just pop on facebook for a quick second.  This adds hours of awake time when my body is screaming for sleep.

Sometimes it's even worse than that....sometimes I'm too tired to get ready for bed.  So my lazy ass lounges on the couch because I'm too tired to lug it upstairs so I can brush my teeth and collapse into bed.  I mean, it's not like I'm running a marathon, all I need to do is walk up like 15 steps and lie down.  You don't need to tell me I'm ridiculous...I know it.

And the thing of it is...I'm exhausted.  Like crazy tired.  In the morning, once my eyes stop burning and I down my coffee, I'm ok, however at around 1:30 I crash into a wall and feel like a zombie until I get home from work when I get a second wind.

I'm really going to make an effort this week to go to sleep earlier because I just feel run down.  So who wants to come here and sleep train me?
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Monday, April 11, 2011

Cutting the Fat and Cleaning it Up (HP)

I figured I'd use Mondays as a general Happiness Project update day.  April is my first month and I've dedicated it to organization.  I wrote last week about my resolutions for the month: Clean Up my E-Life, Deep Spring Clean, and Organize a Party.  Since then I've also added the One Minute Rule in which you don't put off any task that will take less than a minute.  For example, as I'm rifling through my closet, one of my cardigans slips off a hanger, instead of sighing in exasperation and saying, "Oh, I'll get it later." I just pick it up and put it back.  It takes 30 seconds but it's just one less thing to think about, ya know?  This rule also applies to hanging up my coat, putting my book back on the shelf, and putting my plate in the dishwasher and...well, anything else that takes less then a minute.  I also do a quick evening tidy up, but I've always done that.  

This week I really focused on cleaning up my e-life and my first task was to unsubscribe to all of those annoying promotional e-mails that incessantly flood my inbox, yeah that's right J Crew I'm talking to you!  50% off this, free shipping on that, 100% UNSUBSCRIBED.  This was relatively quick, I just needed to make sure I did it right away as soon as the e-mail came in, no procrastinating (see 1 minute rule above).  I've cut down on my e-mail in-flow considerable and I can actually get excited when I get an e-mail notification on my black berry because I know it's not Zulilly telling my I'm getting 70% off a $400 onesie, it's a FB message or a blog comment or an invite for a party.  It's something I can get excited about.  

Next on my list was to start whittling down my Facebook friends.  I can't tell you how many times I see a status update on my feed and I'm like, "Who the fuck is this?"  DELETED.  If I had to think about who you were for more than a minute...DELETED.  If all of your status updates were about how miserable you are, how you can't catch a break, or how you should be up for the "I Have the Worst Life" award...DELETED.  This was actually a lot more difficult for me than the e-mail thing because what if Mary Sue Miserable saw that I was no longer in her friends list and she got all pissy at me?  What if I needed to get in touch with Tony No Nose, who I haven't spoken too in 10 years, right away and now I had no way to do it?  All nonsense, but still it was a little harder than I thought.  I actually might go in and take another look to see if I kept anyone that should have been cut.  
  
Now I'm ready to tackle my 4 page long list of spring cleaning.  It's not pretty.  And it's not easy because trying to clean a house with a toddler is like trying to empty a beach one grain of sand at a time.  It's nearly impossible.  So every night after she goes to bed, or during nap time on the weekend, I try to do 2-3 things on my list room by room.  This weekend my mom actually took Isabella for two hours so I could do some heavy cleaning of my kitchen.  I have barely made a dent in my list, but one day over my break, Isabella is going to day care so Andy and I will have a full day to finish.  It's a good thing April is a long month!  Here are some before and after pics of my mess.  
After

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After

I'm also planning on organizing a party for my sister later this month.  Oh and does anyone know why the formatting of pictures is so wack on blogger?  It's so annoying to try and drag them all over and I can't get them next to each other the way I want!
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Friday, April 8, 2011

Up and Down

I've stated before that I'm moody.  Sometimes I'm so down that all I like to do is watch Gray's Anatomy and Private Practice, drink wine, and cry into my cabernet.  But sometimes I'm up.  I'm so up that all I want to do is drive with the windows down, pump up the music, and make plans to do things either with friends or setting up play dates for Isabella.

It's safe to say I'm a bit manic right now.  Mother Nature is beginning to show a slight inclination to turn from a raging hormonal bitch (I get it) to a docile pussy cat and I'm going with it.  I have a vacation coming up and so help me I believe I will have plans everyday, which will probably be annoying when the day comes, but I can't see that far ahead.

I'm just a bit extra moody.  Not enough to require prozac or anything, but I've known myself long enough to know to ride out the good times before I come crashing down.  Although, when I do come down I almost enjoy the pain.  It sounds weird but it's true.  My writing is better and I just *feel* more, I guess.
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Interview With a Stay At Home Mom

I always enjoy getting a new perspective.  I also love to collect snipets of people's lives via interviews.  Kristin at Our Growing Garden has very graciously allowed me to interview her about her experience as a stay at home mom.  As a working mom, I find it difficult to imagine myself at home all day long just as sure as many sahm's have a difficult time imagining leaving their children all day to work.  This is just a quick peek into Kristin's life with her young son, James.  

1. What helped you make your decision to be a sahm?

    I never really had to decide. From the time I was a little girl, I have always wanted to stay at home and raise babies. Sure, there are days where I would love to be putting my degree to use or have a conversation with an adult but for now, my husband and I strongly agree that a mom should be at home with her babies. 

    2. What does a typical day look like for you?

    James wakes anywhere from 7:00-8:30 am. If he wakes before 8:00 am, I nurse him and put him back to sleep. After he wakes up, we nurse and get him changed and head into the living room for playtime. He plays happily for about 90 minutes before he needs his first morning nap. He naps in the swing and I nap in the guest bedroom for about an hour. He wakes at about 11:00 am and we play until Daddy comes home for lunch. James eats puffs and cut up fruits in the high chair while hubs and I eat lunch together and then James gets to play with Daddy for a bit before he heads back to work. James and I play, read, walk outside for about another hour before he needs his nap at about 1:00 pm. He naps for about 60-90 minutes and this is when I get housework, blogging, reading, “me time” done. After James wakes from his nap we play or I put him in the exersaucer and continue housework. At about 4:00 pm, he starts getting cranky and needs another nap. Daddy comes home at 4:30 pm and after James wakes, it’s “Daddy time” while I start supper. We eat and get James ready for bed starting at 6:30 pm. Bath, nurse, and in the crib at 7:30 pm. Then hubs and I have our time. We usually have a beer and watch one of our shows for awhile on Netflix and talk about our days and just bask in each others company. At about 10:00 pm, I head back to the bedroom and read until James wakes to nurse at about 11:30 pm. He also nurses around 5:00 am. Rinse and repeat. It’s really pretty awesome most days. On the weekends, his schedule is looser and he gets more playtime with Daddy and I get to do things I can’t necessarily do during the day like work in the flowerbed. 
    3.  What is the most challenging thing about staying at home?

      Lack of adult interaction and never getting a break. Things have gotten a lot easier once James hit 7 months with him actually taking naps and being able to entertain himself, but when he was a colicky newborn, I thought the day would never end. Those first few months he just cried all day long and we don’t live near family so I had no help. But as a sahm, I have to always be “on.” 
      4.  What is the best thing about being home?

      I never miss a thing. I get to witness all his new milestones and tricks. It’s hard not to call hubs at work and say “James just rolled over, sat up, etc!” He also gets the comfort of mommy 24/7. I love knowing that we are both secure in that I can always be there for him. 

      5.  How do friends and family view your decision to stay home?

      Very supportive. My mom and mother in law were both stay at home moms. My closest girlfriend is a stay at home mom. I have a group of e-buddies that a lot of are sahm’s and we check in with each other during the day whenever we have a baby question or need to vent. I have never encountered any judgement about my decision to stay at home with James. 
      6. Have you needed to find ways to help make up the difference of a lost salary?

      We really never lost a salary. Right after we got married, we moved to a small town where my husband has a great job as an engineer but unfortunately there weren’t any opportunities for college grads with a degree in biological sciences. So I did things like teach summer camps at a zoo and substitute teach but we never counted on that income to pay the bills. It was just extra. Before we got pregnant, we made sure that we would be able to live comfortably on my husband’s salary alone. Sure, sometimes, I feel inadequate that I don’t contribute to our income, but the benefits of being a stay at home mom far outweigh the money. I do some little things online that help cut back on expenses like earn http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/lonesomedove>Swagbucks and put it towards dog food that we buy on Amazon (sidenote: our dog’s food = $51…he his huge and has allergies) and I blog with SocialSpark and earn some money blogging about products. 
      All in all, being a stay at home mom definitely challenging but totally worth the rewards. Most days are awesome- I get to play with and teach my little boy all day long. Some days are bad and I feel like I am teetering on the brink of insanity. But this is the life I chose and I would not trade it for the world. 
      Kristin writes about her life as a first time stay at home mom at www.ourgrowinggarden.com 
      Image and video hosting by TinyPic


      Read some of my other interviews:





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      Monday, April 4, 2011

      Happiness Project: Organization

      Last week I talked about starting my happiness project.  You can read about it HERE.  So this month's theme is organization and some of my resolutions were to, Do a Deep Spring Clean, De-Clutter My E-Life,  Organize a Party.

      So I took a notebook and I went room by room to see what needed to be done for my Deep Spring Clean.  I won't write down here everything that needs to be done because you'll probably cry for me, but I will give you a few tidbits.

      Clean out my closets and dressers
      Clean out Isabella's closets and dressers
      Organize my coat closet
      Organize my kitchen cabinets and refridgerator
      Vacuum under the couch cushions
      Store away old toys
      Organize laundry room
      Figure out a better toy storage system
      Figure out a better cook book storage system
      Clean the windows and windex the mirrors
      Steam clean the area rug
      Sort through the mugs
      Sort through all the bathroom goop that's supposed to make me beautiful
      Get rid of anything I haven't used, worn, or looked at in a year

      There's a ton more, but this is one of the things I'm looking at this month.  It's a good thing I have a nice long break from work because I'm going to need it.  
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      Friday, April 1, 2011

      Isabella Funnies

      Sometimes my kid just cracks me up and I don't want to forget those funny moments that have me laughing my ass off.

      Isabella has become very aware of farts.  Her own and any one else around her.  Once I farted in front of her and now all she'll say is "mommy farts".  No one else.  Even if Andy farts and it's clearly him, she'll still proudly proclaim, "mommy farts".  God willing, she doesn't go to school and tell her teacher's that.

      She loves super fast nursery rhymes.  She loves when we sing Ring-Around-the-Rosie, Patty Cake, and The Itsy Bitsy Spider, as fast as we can.  She often ends one of these singing sessions by throwing herself on the floor in a fit of laughter.

      I think it's hysterical when she tells me "hurry up mommy" or "wait" or "Hey stop that right now!"  I can see this eventually becoming tiresome so I want to enjoy it right now while it's still pretty funny.

      She has this fake laugh that she does when she's trying to be funny.  She puts her hand over her mouth, bends over at the waist, and cackles at the top of her lungs.

      When she wants to go outside she goes and gets my sneakers and carries them to me and tries to put them on me.

      The other day we were watching Alladin and every time Jafar came on the screen she would yell, "Oh, no! Oh no!  Run...run so fast".  I literally almost peed my pants because she was so earnest in her warning.

      She's all about the boo-boos lately.  She had a dot of peanut butter on her arm and she insisted that it was a boo boo and I had to kiss it.  Every little mark or flaw on my body gets deemed a boo boo and she gives it a sweet kiss...melt.
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