The Leisure Time of a Mom

June 17, 2010 at 2:40 pm (Eating Out, Family, House, Marriage, Opinion, Parenting, Shopping, Sleep, Toddler, Uncategorized)

As I was catching up on my DVR last night, I came across an episode of Dr. Phil which was very interesting.   There was a study conducted by a sociologist at the University of Maryland which claims that moms have an extra 30-40 hours of leisure time a week!! HUH?  He counts things that I would not necessarily include in “leisure time”.  Things like waiting for a tow truck, going to the dentist, etc doesn’t that sound leisurely?  Normally I would think that leisure time involves a beach, a frozen drink, a cabana boy to bring me said drink, and someone trustworthy watching my daughter so that I can actually relax!!!!

I am a stay at home mom.  Relaxing right?  No need to wake up early, get dressed, schlep my daughter to school, sit in traffic, work, then do it all backwards?  My “job” is taking care of my 2 year old.  I am on call all the time.  It does not end.  The time that I can sneak away to check emails is peppered with calls of “Mommy!!!” or little hands on the keyboard.  Maybe I can check emails or facebook from my iphone right?  Well, as soon as she sees me pull that out, she wants to play with it – so out of my hands it goes.  Getting her dressed is a battle, getting myself dressed is done with one ear constantly making sure I don’t hear any crashes or screaming from the other room where she’s playing.  Driving in a car included listening to Mickey or Laurie Berkner, don’t get me wrong, I love Laurie but I really do miss driving along singing to MY music! Then there are the books strewn around the back of my car which she wants.  I go shopping!! that’s leisure right?  Pushing a stroller through a mall at warp speed.  if I’m lucky I can avert her eyes to something else while we pass the Disney Store or Build A Bear otherwise the screaming ensues and invariably we walk out with a new Mickey “thing” or a new bear.   IF I get to shop for myself it’s while entertaining her with stickers, snacks, or my iphone.  making sure she doesn’t grab things off racks, this is all if she’s in a good mood.  If she’s not is a good mood – all bets are off.  I will normally just have to hightail it out of the mall while she is screaming and trying to imitate houdini and escape from her stroller.   I also get to eat out – yay!? No leisurely lunch for me anymore.  Hurrying to order for me and for Alexis.  Keeping her entertained with crayons or whatever until the food arrives.  First getting her food ready, making sure it’s not too hot, cutting things into toddler sized pieces.  Then I scarf down my food with half my attention on her, my mommy reflexes always on edge ready to jump and prevent any spills or splashes, or if it’s a really fun lunch – anything from being launched.  Ok she’s done eating, let’s get the check, clean her off and go.  That was so relaxing!!!!

Back home.  Play time again.  This is where I can maybe jump on the computer again with the “mommy!” cries in the background or the little hands on the keyboard.  Then it’s naptime.  Ahhhhh.  Nap time.  Time for me to relax!!!! Wait – what’s that I hear?  Oh she doesn’t want to sleep.  She’s wants up.  But she’s so tired, why won’t she just fall asleep!!??!!  Ok so an hour later of tears, bribes, rocking, singing, and sometimes driving in a car she is asleep.  Ok, now I can relax.  But I’m so terrified of waking her that I need to  make sure that any TV I watch is so low that I almost need to read lips.  And I really do need to get around to the laundry and washing the dishes, and oh yeah maybe catch up on a tv show also.  No matter what I’m doing I am always listening to the monitor and therefore my “leisure time” is always tempered with the knowledge that at best she will sleep for 3 hours, but more than likely it will be 2 hours.

She’s up.  This is usually the most difficult part of the day.  From the time she wakes up from her nap until bedtime.  She still wants to play but is usually more cranky than the pre-nap hours.  I have to figure out what’s for dinner and try to cook while keeping her away from anything that could be dangerous in the kitchen.  When Marc is in town he will come home right before dinner time so then there are 2 of us.  When he’s home he will handle her bath after dinner while I clean up the kitchen and table.  If he’s not home, then it’s all me.  Then bedtime.  This is unpredictable.  She can be a great sleeper and go right to sleep, but then there are other nights where it’s a battle of wills and could take up to an hour to fall asleep.  An hour much like nap time, she doesn’t just lie there contentedly listening to music when she doesn’t want to be there.  Most of the time she falls asleep with no problem, but every few months there is a phase, it lasts anywhere from 10 days – 2 weeks where it’s every night that she cries and does not want to sleep.  Last night, I was alone with her and by the time she fell asleep it was 9:20.  Usually I don’t eat dinner with her, I wait until she’s asleep.  So last night, I found myself having a PB&J at 9:30.  Then trying to straighten up the house.  And, hey maybe a shower.  That’s leisure right?  Yeah I’m laughing too.  The shower with the monitor on the bathroom counter.  Then and only then can I relax finally.  Again, always with the monitor and always listening.  So, I stay up late because it’s the only quiet time I get just for me.

Even sleep is not the same anymore.  I’m sure that all moms can attest to this.  Once you become a mom, you just don’t sleep as soundly because part of your subconscious is always listening to the monitor, ready to spring up at any moment.  Hopefully, she sleeps fitfully and fully through the night, but hey you never know.  She could wake up in the middle of the night and go right back to sleep or she may not.  I may bring her to bed with me because I’m too tired to fight this battle and then I have little feet kicking me and sleep is definitely compromised.  So, you see, even when I can do things “of leisure” it’s not really.  It’s always in little snippets and with a million other things floating around in my brain.

What about vacations or when I go out to dinner with a friend?  Well, not the same either.  Gone are the carefree days of really getting away.  Because, I am always thinking of Alexis and what she should be doing at the time or if she’s ok.  I will get calls and texts with updates and/or questions.  So, even those times when i do get away, my mind is not completely away.  I may not have a “job”, but I definitely work.  My job is a 24 hour a day one.  One that will be like this for as long as I can imagine.  So, please clarify your 30-40 hours of leisure time a week that I week, Mr. Sociologist, I’m not sure that you fully understand the job of a mom.

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Sharing an important post

June 10, 2010 at 9:33 am (Baby, Opinion, Parenting, Politics, Toddler)

I’ve been following this blog for a while now, having been directed to it by Matt Logelin’s blog.  At first the story was captivating, then heartbreaking, and I was truly invested in the lives of this woman, this mom, who so easily could have been me.

Now, she finds herself in an impossible situation.  One that should not EVER happen in this country.  A family should not have to put themselves in debt for health care.  I could never write about it as well as she can, so please take the time to read her most recent entry and then read her story.

The Spohrs Are Multiplying

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The soundtrack of my life

May 2, 2010 at 10:14 pm (Concert, Friends, Music, Opinion, Random)

Last week, I was in my car listening to music and all of a sudden I heard it.  One of “my” songs.  One of the songs that I consider to be in an elite category.  This one happened to be Southern Cross.  I turned up the volume and listened to the words and remembered the times I had heard it before and how much I loved the song.  Music is everywhere.  You can’t escape it.  Some people listen to music as background.  I don’t.  I have always been very in tune with the music that surrounds me.  I listen to lyrics and they can at times deeply affect me.  Of course there is the fluff, the silly music that I listen to and enjoy just because.  But there is always the other stuff, the song that you haven’t heard in 15 years that can make you stop in your tracks and transport you to a moment or a time in life.  I can’t listen to music without hearing the words.

I also have an innate ability to recognize songs and artists that makes most people refuse to play any kind of music trivia game with me.  It’s just something I’ve always been able to do, I certainly don’t study or work at it.  My taste in music is wildly eclectic and includes just about every genre from the 1960’s through now.  As a kid, I listened to classic rock because it’s what I was exposed to, I knew all of Led Zeppelin IV when I was still in grade school, my love of the Doors began when I was still in single digits.  Obviously artists come and go and tastes mature and change but the fundamentals are still there.  While a lot of my friends were listening to New kids on the block, I was listening to Motley Crue, Skid Row, and Poison.  I loved it.  Whenever I turn on Hair Nation in my car on XM, I find that I can still sing along with the lyrics and I can remember listening to those songs so many years ago, and there is a kind of innocence about that.

There is, as anyone who knows me at all can attest to, a special place in my heart for U2.  I have been a fan for as long as I can remember, I have been to every concert they have played in south florida since about 1990 – except one because I was out of the country and I’m still sad about it.  Their music as a whole has more meaning to me than anything I have ever heard.  Not every song or every album has had the same effect on me.  However, there are some songs that I can listen to and be moved in a way that nothing else can do.  To name a few songs, Kite, Moment of Surrender, Where the Streets Have No Name, All I Want is You, One, Sometimes You Can’t Make it on Your Own, Electrical Storm, The Sweetest Thing.  I have heard most of those live and to hear a song that has meaning to me sung live by a band who I admire so much is truly a spiritual moment.  Moment of Surrender, off their most recent album, caught me from the moment I heard it.  I can listen to it over and over and over again and it gets to me every time.  When I went to see them in Tampa this past fall and heard them sing that live, I wish I could capture that feeling and that moment and replay it whenever I need to.  My all time favorite, All I Want is You, was featured in the movie Reality Bites.  It’s haunting and sad and beautiful.  I will post the lyrics to both of those at the end, the rest can be looked up if anyone is curious.

Aside from U2, there is a whole list of other artists who I consider superior to the masses.  Paul McCartney, The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Billy Joel, Jimmy Buffet, Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nirvana, Beastie Boys, REM, Oasis, Pearl Jam, Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, Eagles, Doors, Queen to name a few.  I’m sure I’m missing some, but those are the ones who I can recall right now.  I’m not going to list all the songs that I would put in the category of outstanding or that can really captivate me, but there are a lot.

It’s amazing how a song can bring back a memory so viscerally and truly make you feel as if you were in that place again.  Sometimes this is good.  When I hear a song that brings me back to a happy time, songs that were playing when I was out having fun with friends, or that remind me of high school dances and football games.  Those songs that have the power to bring me back to a happy place and time are priceless.  But then there are the songs that bring back bad memories of heartache, or not so fun moments.  The only one that I can think of that I still have a hard time listening to is Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, I won’t go into the reasons why here, but for a long time I couldn’t listen to it at all, and now only sometimes, but it always makes me think of the same thing and always makes me sad.  I’m sure there are others, but that one stands out.  There are songs that can make us feel empowered or emotional, can help us get through tough times, or inspire us.  There are songs that are important in a certain stage of our life, but not so much in others.

I think this is a testament to the songwriters and performers.  It’s an amazing thing to be able to write a song that is powerful enough to have such long-lasting effects on people.  As I said at the beginning, I know not everyone is as affected by music as I am, but I’m glad that I am.  And when I meet someone who has the same affinity for music and lyrics as I do, I can’t help but like them immediately.  I love when I’m blindsided by an old memory or a not often thought about moment.   I love that I can so quickly be 13 again when I hear Every Rose Has Its Thorn.

As promised, lyrics:

All I Want is You

You say you want diamonds on a ring of gold
You say you want your story to remain untold.
All the promises we make
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you.

You say you’ll give me a highway with no-one on it
Treasure, just to look upon it
All the riches in the night.

You say you’ll give me eyes in the moon of blindness
A river in a time of dryness
A harbour in the tempest.
All the promises we make, from the cradle to the grave
When all I need is you.

You say you want your love to work out right
To last with me through the night.

You say you want diamonds on a ring of gold
Your story to remain untold
Your love not to grow cold.
All the promises we break, from the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you.

Moment of Surrender

I tied myself with wire
To let the horses run free
Playing with the fire
Until the fire played with me

The stone was semi-precious
We were barely conscious
Two souls too cool to be
In the realm of certainty
Even on our wedding day

We set ourselves on fire
Oh God, do not deny her
It’s not if I believe in love
But if love believes in me
Oh, believe in me

At the moment of surrender
I folded to my knees
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

I’ve been in every black hole
At the altar of the dark star
My body’s now a begging bowl
That’s begging to get back, begging to get back
To my heart
To the rhythm of my soul
To the rhythm of my unconsciousness
To the rhythm that yearns
To be released from control

I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine
I could see in the reflection
A face staring back at me
At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

I was speeding on the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down ’til the pentecost

At the moment of surrender
Of vision of over visibility
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did not notice me

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Speaking up

May 2, 2010 at 4:17 pm (Opinion, Parenting, Random)

I’m 32.  I don’t have an issue with that, and I certainly don’t feel old, quite the opposite actually. But,  I have learned some things along my way to 32.  I’m not going to go on and on about wisdom and experience because I know that there is still a lot of that left out there for me to learn.   I am going to talk about one particular aspect of getting older that I’ve noticed.  I don’t care as much what other people think anymore.  I’ve never been a particularly shy person.  I have been known to speak my mind and I’ve never been one to back down from a confrontation.  In high school I was voted Most Outspoken and I was president of my speech and debate team. But even I would sometimes bow to peer pressure and popular opinion.  Or I would laugh at jokes that I thought were offensive or not say anything if someone was talking badly about a friend.  Not so anymore.

I am so much more secure in who I am now than I was.  This did not happen overnight, nor was there one catalyst.  It was a gradual change, but one that I have really taken notice of recently.  I know who I am.  People can like me or not.  I hope they will respect me for speaking my mind and standing up for what I believe, because I do those things passionately.  I am offended by racist jokes and comments.  And there was a time where I would just smile and nod, now I will speak up.  It may be embarrassing to the offending person, but that’s their problem not mine, I won’t tolerate it.   I will not stand for anyone hurting my friends or talking badly about them in my presence.  I can hold a grudge and I will speak my mind.  I have been a liberal even when that was a bad word,  I will continue to be liberal.  I do believe that anyone who is pro-life and pro death penalty is a huge hypocrite.  I think anyone who is a bad tipper is a bad person.  It may be a small thing, but it’s a good measure of a person’s character in my opinion.  I have no tolerance for stupidity or ignorance.

Opinionated, stubborn, argumentative are all words that have been used to describe me – no problem.   I don’t like women who back down out of habit, even when they know they’re right.  I don’t think crying is an acceptable form of expressing an opinion or reacting when angry or confronted.  Cry when you’re sad or hurt, but for god’s sake please don’t cry when arguing with someone or in a professional setting!!! Nothing makes me roll my eyes more than that.  Don’t change your opinion and position depending on the person with whom you are speaking.  No one will take you seriously.

I don’t need everyone to like me.  I know that as a teenager it was important to me that people like me and that I was doing things that were in line with the majority of my friends.  And I know that’s a very typical trait for a teenager.  I have outgrown that.  I’m ok if someone doesn’t like me because of something I may have said, clearly I don’t want them around anyway.  I don’t tell people what they want to hear, I will be honest.  It’s very obvious when someone is “fishing” they will ask a question or make a comment in a certain way in order to get a response that they feel backs up their opinion.  Well, I don’t want to play that game.  If I’m upset or angry with someone, the best way to handle it is by letting them know, not letting everyone BUT that person know.

As the mother to a daughter, I do hope that she grows up to be strong-willed and opinionated and learns to speak her mind.  I already see those things in her, even at 2.  And as much as it frustrates me to have a strong-willed toddler, I would choose that every single day over one who acquiesces because I know that as an adult, speaking one’s mind is a trait that I admire.

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A post on readiness

April 21, 2010 at 11:00 am (Family, Opinion, Parenting, Toddler, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This age seems to come with a lot of judgment.  Yes, I know I’ve said that before, but now, at 2 years old there seems to be a whole new set of “things” that need to be accomplished in a certain time frame.  I am once again wondering who makes up these rules and why people care so much.  I am referring to: potty training, big kid bed, pacifier, and school.  One more lesson to add to my book of things I’ve learned as a mom: take their lead, trying to force things or push because other people do it, will backfire.  Oh, and other people see what you’re doing and why.

Potty Training.  I got Alexis a potty chair about 6 months ago and she uses it off and on.  She sometimes sits on it by herself and I always encourage it, sometimes she goes sometimes she just unspools the toilet paper roll.  I am pretty consistent about putting her on there a couple times a day and I praise her when she goes.  But, I know she’s not ready to really potty train.  She doesn’t tell me before she has to go and doesn’t really care if she walks around with a wet diaper.  I know that I could put her on the potty every 15 or 20 minutes and keep her in panties and claim she’s potty trained, but to me, that’s cheating.  In my opinion, real potty training is when they tell you they have to go, of course with reminders from us, but not constant timed trips to the bathroom.  That’s a good way of teaching them and helping them once they show signs of being ready, but its not being potty trained.  When she’s ready (hopefully soon) I’ll know it and it’ll be easy.

Big Kid Bed. This is one thing that I actually don’t want to do.  I want to keep her in a crib as long as I possibly can.  She’s a great sleeper so why mess with a good thing?  Well, safety.  At 36″ tall, it has now become unsafe for her to remain in her crib.  She has not yet attempted to escape, but she can hang over the top rail and she jumps on the mattress like its a trampoline.  And I hold my breath.  Since I’m not too keen on waiting until she falls out and gets potentially injured, we purchased a toddler bed.  I should mention that something happened about a week before the purchase, she started fighting us to go to sleep – crying, hysterical fits about being left alone and waking once or twice at night.  I figured, she’s sleeping like crap, can’t be any worse, let’s take her crib away!  We took the crib down, put the toddler bed together, along with pretty new sheets with butterflies and ladybugs on it.  Babyproofed her room so she couldn’t injure herself if she decided to wander in the middle of the night.  She loved the bed, climbed right in, covered herself and seemed content.  Success I thought!  Wrong.  When it came time to go to sleep, I sat with her because I figured it would take a couple nights to get used to it.  It took her a long time to fall asleep.  Then she proceeded to wake up 3 or 4 times at night (can’t remember).  Around 6am, I gave up and brought her to bed with us and she slept there.  Fast forward 4 nights later, now the sleeping is turning into hysterics.  I tried letting her cry it out, which I’ve never been a fan of but has worked successfully in the recent past after one night and not a lot of crying.  This did not work.  It took an hour the first night and it included banging on the walls and door and saying “owie”.   Middle of the night was no better.  I gave up after the 3rd time around 5am she came to bed with us.  The next night was no better, actually it was worse.  I couldn’t do it.  After an hour and no improvement and me totally stressed out.  I knew she was tired, she hadn’t napped that day, I threw in the towel.  We put the crib back up and I planned to take her to the dr the following day.  She slept in her crib but still slept horribly.  The next day at the dr I found out why – 2 back molars coming in, me not giving her enough motrin for her weight, ear pain, and ringworm rash on her ankle, I’m sure these things were messing with her sleep and making her uncomfortable and not herself.  She was trying to tell me, but didn’t know how.  So, the crib is still up, she’s not sleeping great yet, but better.  Once she returns to normal, then we will give the toddler bed another shot.

Pacifier.  I know I said it would be gone by age 2, and it’s not.  See above for my reasons why.  I have prioritized.  The pacifier is not a big enough deal to me right now and I won’t do it before she moves to a toddler bed.  She mainly uses it for sleeping and the car only.  I keep one with me when we’re out for true emergencies.  I am just not willing to deal with the trauma that it will cause just yet.  It will be gone soon, but I’m not ready and I don’t think she is either.  It comforts her and helps her sleep, so what is the big deal?  Because other moms will judge me?  Oh well.  I’m sure it wouldn’t be the first time.

School.  I looked at schools.  I tried to like them.  Can’t do it, sorry.  I would LOVE to have a few hours  to myself a week, I really really would.  But I just could not see leaving her yet.  I’m a stay at home mom.  This is my job.  I am responsible for her education, entertainment, feeding, changing, etc and I don’t want to share that responsibility.  She gets one on one attention from me and would not get that at school and it really breaks my heart to think of her being upset or crying or scared and just being one of 10 kids in a class.  For the time being, she gets her socialization from the classes we go to and the playdates and the park and that will just have to be enough.  I’m thinking of starting her this fall when she’s 2.5, but I may change my mind and wait until she’s 3, we’ll see.  As for her speech which was slow at first, when I took her to the dr (not my usual one, a new one) this week for her sleep issues the dr mentioned how great her speech is.  So, even without school she has learned to speak just fine, it happened after she turned 2, it was like a faucet turned on.

For all the things she’s not ready for yet, there have been plenty that she is ready for.  She walked before her first birthday, she was jumping like a bunny way before kids are “supposed” to be able to jump.  She has excellent coordination and can walk a balance beam in gym class like kids older than her, can ride a tricycle.  She does puzzles meant for 3 year olds, counts to 20, spells her name, knows all the letters, etc.  She is also a fabulous eater, the list of foods she won’t eat is very short.  Loves fruits and veggies and is the opposite of picky.

So, for all the holier than thou moms out there, or the ones that feel the need to keep up with the Joneses, or be competitive, do what works for you.  And, especially, all the not yet parents who love to say “I would never” or “can you believe she still…”  I’m not talking about all mommies.  I know some whose kids have been ready and have done the above things already and I am so happy for them! (and a little jealous).  I think they should brag about it, but I can tell the difference between the moms who do it out of a sense of pride and those that do it to compete.  And if anyone is judging me for my choices, go right ahead.  I’m the mommy, I make the decisions.  She will only be little once and I am confident that she will not go to high school with a pacifier or a diaper and that she will be sleeping in a big bed soon enough.  So, judge away.  While you’re at it I can give you other things to be judgey about – I give my kid sweets, keep the tv on all day because I can’t stand quiet, I have no problem bribing her in a store with a toy or food so i can get some shopping done, oh yeah and she’s spoiled.  But, she’s happy and so am I and to me that’s what’s important.

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I admit it, I’m over protective

February 8, 2010 at 11:02 pm (Baby, Family, Friends, Opinion, Parenting, Toddler) (, , , )

But I would rather be over protective than under protective and regretful.  I just finished watching an episode of Oprah about child sex offenders.  These men all knew the children they molested.  Family members or close friends.  I don’t remember the exact statistic they said but I believe it was 90% of victims know their abuser.  People are sick and twisted, there is no question about that.

Being mom to a young daughter, unfortunately i think about these things.  She is innocent and does not know about evil people and cannot fathom that there are people who would want to hurt her.   Its my job to keep it that way.  No, I would not leave her with a babysitter who I did not know.  She was 18 months before I left her with anyone who was not family.  And even then it was because I had surgery and needed the help, but I was there with her most of the time.  And she was someone who came highly recommended from family.

I am mainly skeeved about diaper changes.  There are only a very very limited number of people who I feel need to be seeing her privates.  So even if it’s me changing her, I’m cautious about who is around, I don’t do it if there are people around who can look. Because, again, people are SICK.  I don’t like lap-sitting for the most part either, depends on the person, but again the number of people is very small.  It makes me uncomfortable.

I want  to raise her to be strong and have a voice and a mouth and be very familiar with the word NO (though she seems to have that one down pat).  Yes, I will teach her all about staying away from strangers, but there are a lot of non-strangers that can be worse.  I will have to find the balance between making her aware and cautious without making her fearful and nervous.

One of the most important things that I heard in the Oprah show was from one of the sex offenders he said (I’m paraphrasing) ‘if a child says they were molested, believe them, kids don’t lie about this’.  That really struck a nerve with me.  I can’t imagine ever not believing Alexis if she told me anything happened to her, but I know it happens.  People don’t want  to cause trouble in families or think the kids are looking for attention.  I know that if she ever told me anything like that, I would not be responsible for my actions towards the person.

I would rather question people and their intentions than be too trusting because you just never know.

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Is your kid perfect?

February 5, 2010 at 10:19 am (Baby, Friends, Opinion, Parenting, Toddler) (, , )

Because I know that mine is not.  Of course she is perfect in my eyes 🙂

I know she has her moments.  All kids do.  All adults do too! She is a toddler after all.  She has tantrums and meltdowns, issues sleeping, etc.  It’s normal.  When she was little, there were issues with feeding and crying and just general baby stuff.

I think its so important to have a good support system when these things arise.  People to talk to.  To vent your frustrations to.  That’s why I love being part of a message board filled with other mommies like me.  We can vent and share our frustrations and get help, or at least get sympathy.  It’s a place where I don’t feel like I should be judged because I know that I wouldn’t.

Why do I bring this up?  Because lately I’ve noticed something.  The “perfect kid” syndrome.  There are those moms (this also applies to facebook and real life) who like to pretend that everything is puppies and rainbows.  All we ever hear from them is bragging.  Bragging about how wonderful their kid is, or how he or she did such a cute thing the other day.  They will be the first ones  to jump on and offer advice from their vast experience of raising a perfect child(ren).   Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing wrong with bragging about your kids or sharing cute stories, but I really think that needs to be tempered with the reality that is parenthood.  Life, actually.   Kids are not always perfect, life is not always perfect.  It’s messy and full of potholes and surprises that come out of nowhere.  That’s why I love having people I know I can talk to and be open with and be frustrated.  The same people I can share good news with and cute pictures and funny stories.  It’s real.

So, for those who think that you will be judged or who feel like you can only share the good stuff, i encourage you to open up.  It’s cathartic to talk to others.  Who knows, someone may be able to have just  the rights words of wisdom.  Or someone may have been exactly where you are and they can say, “i understand”.  Believe me, by not venting, you’re not fooling anyone.  Because no one has that perfect  of a life, so everyone knows that you’re just trying to be someone you’re not.

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I will sound like an infomercial in this post

January 18, 2010 at 2:14 pm (Baby, Home Improvement, Opinion, Parenting) (, , )

I don’t usually post tips here, however I have stumbled upon something that is so amazing it deserves its own post.   As anyone with a young child knows, stains are a part of life.  I live with them.  I have Shout and it gets stains out most of the time, or at least makes them less noticeable.  Recently, Alexis had gotten a shirt of hers stained with watermelon.  This is one of the most difficult things to get out and i have thrown out more than one shirt because of it.   This particular shirt was still relatively new and part of an outfit, and one of my favorites so i was very upset.  I sprayed with Shout and washed.  It was still there.  I sprayed it and left it overnight to soak, then washed it – still there!! I was getting frustrated.  I wasn’t putting it in the dryer because I knew that would be the end of the shirt.  I went in search of a better spray.  While at the store i saw OxiClean stain remover, I decided to give it a try.  I get it home, spray the stain and let it sit for 10 minutes as per the directions, I wash it and voila! it’s gone! Totally clean.  The stain is gone, not just diminished.  I was shocked.  Needless to say I a,m a believer in the commercials now.  i have used it a few more times on other stains and each time, it’s worked!!

So, I highly recommend this product for anyone who has a frequent stain issue!!!

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The importance of shoes.

January 11, 2010 at 1:33 pm (fashion, Opinion, Random, Uncategorized, Weight Loss) (, , , , , , , , )

I am a shoe-holic, or is it shoe-a-holic?  Whatever.  What is it about shoes that women love so much, I’ll clue you in on the secret.  They always fit.  Of course there are exceptions to this, but I can gain 5 pounds and my jeans will be tight, but my shoes, they still fit.  No judgment from them.  I can usually be seen wearing flip flops.  I love  them and have endless pairs.  I have all kinds, casual hanging out ones, and nicer going out ones.  I have cheap Target ones and I have Coach and Stuart Weitzman ones, I love them all equally and wear them all.  They make me happy.  They’re comfortable, easy to put on and take off and I can always show off my pedicure! I am fortunate to live in South Florida so I can wear flip flops year round, except for a few cold days.

But, flip flops are not always appropriate foot wear.  For those times when they are not it’s time for fancy shoes.  And nothing makes me feel better than wearing a pair of fabulous super high heels.  I am short so I have always preferred my heels high.  Even for my wedding I went with a pair of 4″ heels.  They are not always comfortable, but always worth it.  Since I don’t own as many heels as flip flops, I do tend to buy pricey ones.  I have the usual variety of strappy heels, closed toe, black, ivory, and the one impractical fuchsia strappy heels.  I love looking at them in my closet.  I do have a particular fondness for Stuart Weitzman.  I have quite a few of those, including the afore-mentioned wedding shoes.  I just got my first pair of Manolos and I’m waiting for the perfect occasion to wear them!  My dream shoes are Mary Jane heels, I have been searching for just the right pair for a long time and haven’t found them yet.  They’re either too low, or the heel is too chunky, I know I sound like Goldilocks, but it’s true.  I will keep searching until I find ones that are just right.  When I wear these fancy shoes, I know I have them on, even if no one else does.  It makes me feel sexier, walk taller, and I’m happy 🙂

Then there are the in-betweens.  The low heels that can be worn casually with a pair of jeans or with dress pants.  These shoes are very important.  They can dress up an outfit or be dressy enough when needed without the discomfort of the heels.  I have these in lots of colors.  They are all basically the same – strappy sandal types.  They get a lot of use with me.  As I mentioned, I’m short so I do like to wear at least a small heel when I go out to make me a little taller.

I also have a million sneakers, but not because I work out a lot, it’s just a side effect of having worked for a tennis tournament for almost 10 years.   And I also have a few closed toe flats, these are my least favorite but sometimes necessary.

I know not everyone has this obsession with shoes.  Some people like purses, sunglasses, clothes, etc.  But, me?  Shoes are my vice.  The thing that I would spend a lot of money on and not feel guilty.  For me they are a necessity and they are important to my psyche.  They can cheer me up.  Even when they hurt, they make me happy!!!

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No shortcuts in my cooking

November 23, 2009 at 10:34 am (Cooking, Family, Opinion, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I’ve tried.  Really, I have.  I have tried to use the boxes and cans and the jars and it doesn’t work for me, I can’t do it.  I taste the difference and it just doesn’t feel right to me.  I love cooking.  I enjoy spending an afternoon making a homemade meat sauce for my lasagna.  I think my caesar dressing is better than any I’ve had at a restaurant.  Mac n cheese is so easy to make from scratch – why use a box – same steps, boil, add ingredients, and stir. No need for salsa from a jar when fresh ingredients are readily available.  Cooking like this takes longer, I know that, but it’s also more enjoyable to me.  I guess if i didn’t like cooking then I wouldn’t want to spend MORE time in the kitchen, but to me, it’s relaxing and enjoyable.

I did recently try to streamline my processes in the name of brevity and it did not work.  I made stuffing one night as a side dish.  I got a box of stuffing – very popular brand that is made on a stove top – figuring it must be good b/c this is what people use all the time!! Well – it was inedible.  I could not do it.  I even added some embellishments to it and still the bread was mush and had a processed taste.  Don’t get me started on Mashed Potatoes.  I love mashed potatoes, but can taste a mix from a mile away.  This, too, I can’t fathom – using re-hydrated potato flakes and calling it mashed potatoes.  This is one dish that is time consuming, and a lot of work – peeling, boiling, mashing is labor intensive but so worth it in the end!  There is no mystery meat in my pork dumplings or fried rice.  I know the grocery stores are full of things that make our life easier – the pork and chicken come already marinated, ground beef is pre-made into hamburger patties, etc.  I can appreciate how this does save time and makes it possible for people to make dinner at home every night.  For me, I want to know and choose exactly what goes into a marinade, I want to add the spices for my cheeseburger, I don’t need a packet of seasoning for meatloaf, I have everything I need in my pantry and fridge.

If you were to look in my pantry you will see my attempts – i have jars of pasta sauce, the canister of remaining stuffing mix, and more.  I may use them again one night (not the stuffing) to see how the sauces are, but more than likely they will sit there.   I don’t judge others for their time-savers in the kitchen.  I don’t turn my nose up at jar pasta sauces.  It’s just not my choice.  I cook the way I do b/c I enjoy it.  It makes me happy to have a finished product that people really like eating and I know that it was made by me, the way i wanted it t come out. I also think part of it was how I grew up.  My dad is the same way I am.  He loves cooking and making big elaborate meals, he’s a great cook.  That’s what I was used to.  That wore off on me.  i hope to pass along my love of cooking to my daughter – i would love for her to grow up as my sous chef and use cooking as a way to relax.  It’s true what so many chefs say – you can taste the difference when food is made with love and I like to think that my food is made that way!!

And I don’t mind sharing any of my tips or recipes – feel free to ask!!

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