Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Thank You for Reading

Well, I just reviewed my analytics for this silly little blog, and it looks like I actually have a reader base, and y'all are reading from all over, including from outside the U.S.! Analytics is so cool - it shows me where my readers are from (e.g., my loyal readers, mom and dad, obviously read the post about grandparents because I see two readers from their town who viewed the site today). My post about what to do in boring meetings had no clicks, so must not have been too interesting, but my post about women lying to one another was quite popular.

Since I know you are out there, anything in particular you want to hear about? Some days I just can't think of anything to say, but want to keep it interesting and reader-friendly if possible. Fire away.

In the meantime, a funny little off-topic story to keep things interesting. I think I'm going to have to buy a shirt from cute little Jimmy Winkelmann, an inventive teenager who had a brilliant idea for a clothing line called South Butt. Apparently big mean North Face has a problem with his new company.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ode to Grandparents

We spent a lovely weekend with my parents, who are the most amazing grandparents ever.  They never complain about giving up their time to be with the grandkids, they don't judge - they simply love.  It is such a blessing to have their influence and presence in the lives of my children, and I am so grateful to experience such unconditional love.  No matter what, we know that we have that love, which is just the most amazing gift a person can receive.  Thanks to mom and dad, as well as all the other grandparents out there who provide love and support.  You are much needed in this world, and much appreciated! 

 I found a sweet, short poem about grandparents this morning on the fundootimes website.  They credit T.S. Eliot for the writing, but I'm not so sure that it is a T.S. Eliot poem - it just doesn't sound like him nor can I find any reference to this poem in his bibliography.  If any one knows, please educate me.  

From the fundootimes site:

The short poem 'Silent Love' from Nobel laureate poet TS Eliot (Thomas Stearns Eliot) tells us that the love showered by the elders in a family, on children, cannot be described in words. This kind of love is invisible and silent. It is often unnoticed and people don't pay too much attention at it. Eliot says that all other sorts of love do get their nomenclature, but family love does not have any description. According to him, there are no words that can express the exact feeling or expression of family love.

Silent Love

There's no vocabulary

For love within a family, love that's lived in
But not looked at, love within the light of which
All else is seen, the love within which
All other love finds speech.
This love is silent.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Initial Jewelry for Moms That Isn't Cheesy - Gifts for Moms

Note: I recently migrated shopping finds to a new blog, and you can find other initial jewelry recommendations there in a recent post.

We had a successful weekend selling about $300 worth of stuff on craigslist.  If we can close the sale on one more item, our grand total will be $1000!  So....I'm itching to spend money, and of course I want to spend it on something fun and impractical instead of using it for a household budget item.  That just doesn't sound fun.

As  mom, it seems I've been unable to resist a few of the cheesy mom things, like jewelry with my children's initials or birthstones.  I haven't bought anything yet because most things are, well, cheesy.  Or they are just plain ugly.  I ran across a couple of items that are really cute, stylish, and cheap!

Here is a necklace with one initial, but I would buy several of them (with different initials) and layer them.

Or you could go with this necklace, which has several initials on the same chain. 

This one has room for a little more information about the children.

This one would make a pretty cute gift for a new mom.

Speaking of gifts, I've been racking my brain trying to think of a good gift to send one of husband's friends.  She has sent us boxes and boxes of hand-me-down clothes for our daughter.  I know it is a hassle to box those up and get to the post office to send them, especially since she has two kids and a full-time job herself.  I have only met her once, and my husband isn't much help knowing what she would like.  Any ideas?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mom's Night Out

Well guess what?  After all my talk about women lying to each other about parenting, I had a lovely night of open, honest communication with a group of moms.  The teachers at the school arranged a happy hour/dinner last night and about 20 moms came.  We had a great time comparing stories about meltdowns, stubbornness, how we've lost our patience, etc.  Plus everyone (except me) enjoyed a few cocktails and got some much needed downtime.  I highly recommend it.

Speaking of my daughter's teachers, I must say they have to be among the best.  I don't tell them enough how  much they are appreciated.  I recently ran across an article written by a preschool teacher with tips for what to do/not do as mom of a preschooler.  I confess, I am guilty of a number of these, but I vow to reform. 

For starters:
  • I have been on my cell phone a few times when I've picked her up.  Oops.
  • I sent her to school in her stupid puppy flip flops because it was easier than arguing with her.
  • I often linger too long when saying goodbye.  Mother's guilt.
  • I sent her to school once with this chicken toy that dances and sings the chicken dance.  It is very annoying.
  • Thi Thu helped me make their Christmas candy.  And I told them that.  In fairness, I washed her hands before we baked.
  • There are many times when I've picked her up in workout clothes.  Give me a break on this one.  I should shower, redo my makeup, and put nice clothes back on just to look good when I pick her up?  Sorry, don't agree with that one.
  • I've chatted with other moms at pick up.  Yes, I expect the teacher to still help me watch her.  My childcare bills are nearly as much as a house payment, so I have no remorse about that expectation.  Don't agree with that one either.
How about you all?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Selfishness Abounds

I am feeling much better since the end of my red days (kind of like Picasso's blue period).  Wow, was that a bout of grouchiness and self-pity!  However, the one thing I can't shake is the white-knuckle fear I have about having another baby.  For the most part, having an almost three-year-old is really easy, comparatively.  She dresses herself, bathes herself, feeds herself, uses the restroom independently, sleeps until 7 a.m., etc.  It took three very tumultuous years to reach this point, and I am just trying to gear myself up to do it all over again.

Thinking about this at 2 a.m. last night, I realized that selfishness has crept back in.

Now, I was never the mom who felt selfish about time to myself to shower, watch t.v., go to the movies, spend time alone, etc.  The two things I am most selfish about are sleep and food.  I don't like to give up sleep.  It is such a joyous thing.  The other is food.  I'll be honest, I am resentful that I have to share my drink, my fries, the last bite of my apple slathered in yummy peanut butter.  This is the hardest thing for me.

I'm curious, for you other parents or future parents-to-be, what are the things you are still selfish about or think you will be selfish about?

Now, I'm off to gorge myself with whatever food I can find since I have some peace and quiet and no little hands to steal from me.  After that, I might take a nap.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thank You, I Know I'm Huge

Okay, with six weeks left to go in this pregnancy, I think it is a good time to remind people that:

  • Yes, I realize how big I am.  Every morning is a battle to find a pair of MATERNITY pants that fit.  Maternity.  Doesn't that imply that they should fit during pregnancy?
  • Yes, I'm as uncomfortable as I look and I am in pain.  I'm trying to stay quiet about it, but if you insist on mentioning how miserable I look, you are going to get a miserable response.
  • No, I don't know any more than you do if the baby is coming soon. 
  • No, I no longer care what I look like.  This includes my hair, my makeup, my clothing, and my flat shoes that barely fit my swollen feet.
  • No, I am not bigger than last time, nor am I that much bigger than I should be at this point.  But thank you for asking.
  • Yup, I am incredibly grouchy.  Get over it.
I would like to start my own list of things to never say to a pregnant woman.  I'll get to that as soon as I'm done feeling grumpy (probably in about 1 1/2 years).  Here are a couple that are recommended reading for any of you who are in contact with an expectant mother:

This article is a little wordy, but content is good, in my opinion.

This one boils it down to a top ten, a la David Letterman.


There really is nothing worse than a long, drawn out meeting when you've missed breakfast and your little one decided this was a good morning to start the day with a meltdown.
Luckily I have apple, will travel.

I'm going to do a little research on things to do during meetings, but, in the meantime, I am interested in your funny and/or helpful ideas. 

A haircut that is helpful when you want to be incognito during your meeting naptime:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Poll Results for "Are You Brutally Honest?"

I love useless statistics.  Here you go:
Yup, I always call 'em like I see 'em. - 42% (3)
Eh...sort of. - 57% (4)
Heck no, honesty only gets you black eyes and bruises. I just say what people want to hear. Life is easier that way. - 0% (0)

Crazy Street Vendors

If you've traveled internationally, you know some of the best food in the world is from street vendors.  You also know it is eat at your own risk.  Now, I've had some interesting albeit unidentifiable food from street vendors, but I have never had an experience quite like the one I read about today on parent dish.  Apparently some [supposedly] unaware preschool teacher bought brownies from a street vendor in L.A. and took them to work to share with her colleagues.  They soon began to complain of "giddiness, dizziness, dry-mouth -- and the munchies."

Now, I don't want to judge because we have all done stupid things in our lives, but how could you not be just a tad suspicious of brownies from a street vendor in L.A.?

Too funny.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Don't Get Me Started

...on nutrition!  Ah, one of my favorite topics, and one of the least favorite topics of those who know me.  I admit, I can be a tad (no need to be brutal with me here people, I know what you will say) preachy about the need to have a healthy diet.  It has not helped that I recently caught the tragic story, Half-Ton Mom, on TLC and the disgustingly graphic special Science of Obesity on the National Geographic channel.  I almost had to turn off the Science of Obesity during the part when they showed an MRI of an obese woman with 60 lbs of rotted food in her intestines.  The Dairy Queen hot fudge sundae suddenly felt very heavy in my stomach (I admit, pregnancy has robbed me of my normally fastidious diet - count me in as one of the guilty, gluttonous Americans).

Thank you to my colleague at work for giving me more fodder with which to torture friends and family.  New York Times author Michael Pollan wrote an article in which he makes the case for taking a more pointed look at eating habits in America as part of health care reform.   Here, here!

Which reminds me of another favorite I need to add to my list.  Although I am not a big fan of juice (try to push water or milk on my poor child whenever possible), I do like the concept behind this product, The Switch, which is apparently being advocated as a soda replacement in some schools.  Still as many calories and nearly as much sugar as soda, but at least it is natural and has some redeeming qualities.

Now where did I put that Aspartame infused, Venezuela-declared "health threat" Coke Zero of mine?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Few of my Favorite Things

This post is a little off-topic, but might be a nice intermission piece after a series of more contemplative posts.

I have stumbled across a few new things lately that have made my list of favorites, and wanted to share:

As someone who tries my best to watch the nutritional content of our food, I've been on a quest to find natural peanut butter that doesn't have that disgustingly dry taste and texture or nasty separation.  I stumbled across a natural peanut butter (no hydrogenated oils, gluten free, no high fructose corn syrup) that doesn't require refrigeration, doesn't separate, and tastes better than regular peanut butter!  My favorite is The Bee's Knees.  The company is called Peanut Butter & Co and I was able to find it in our local grocery store.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Honestly Grateful

I awoke this morning after a night of restless sleep due to the six-point turns I have to make to turn over in bed.  It is like backing a semi-trailer into a "Compact Only" parking space in New York City.  Feeling big, grumbly, and just generally uncomfortable, I had the sense that this could be a miserable day.

Just as I was at the peak of feeling sorry for myself, an angelic little face holding a well-worn puppy dog greeted me with a matter-of-fact "I need to go potty."  I proceeded to execute (rather skillfully) my six-point turn and hoisted myself out of my comfortable bed.  Just a few moments later, as I listened to her laugh and watched her welcome the morning with joy and openness, I realized just how much attitude influences the day.

The discomfort and pain of my state is just a reminder that a healthy baby girl is growing inside of me, relying on me to keep her safe and healthy.  I am reminded of dear friends who would love to feel that discomfort, if it meant everything would be okay.  Dear friends who are so filled with love and gratitude despite their own loss and their own pain.  Out of love and respect for them, I am honestly grateful this morning.

If you are in the market for a charity to support, here are a couple that have been top of mind for me lately:

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

March of Dimes

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Honest Feedback

One of the reasons I fell in love with my husband was because of his direct, candid, yet somehow funny and loving manner of communicating.  He can tell you that you look atrocious in something, yet make you laugh as he tells you.  Thai is one of those people everyone loves, despite the fact that he holds no punches and makes no apologies.  He is that person we all want to be - so cool and so whatever.  He is the perfect example of  brutal honesty that is well deserved, well delivered, and [usually] well received.

Brutally honest feedback I have received from him includes:

"No, you cannot wear that to work.  It just doesn't work on you."

I should mention that part of what makes him effective at giving brutally honest feedback is that he is short, to-the-point, and leaves no question as to his meaning or intent.

"You've got to stop whining about that.  Get over it."

Now, you see how in print these little nuggets of feedback seem so harsh?  It is amazing how suave he is with delivery, because when I received these messages, I just complied and moved on.  Also, I found him even more endearing after receiving such blunt honesty.

Who gives you brutally honest feedback and what is the best piece of feedback you have received?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Take a poll!

Brutal Honesty Poll

Doing for Myself

Well, I've waited hopefully for some sign of life out there, but it appears I am writing this sad little blog for me and me alone. Instead of throwing in the towel (which I seriously considered) I have decided to plug ahead. At the very least, I can work on my writing skills and may have something that I can print and give to my dear children, who will likely file it away in the "useless stuff mom gave me that I can't throw away" drawer.

Speaking of doing things for me and me alone, have I mentioned how much I love the heightened level of aggression I've taken on during this pregnancy? What a great feeling, demanding what I want. On top of that, I don't care whether it ticks other people off *evil laugh*. So lovely.

After recently reading a series of blogs about the horror of adjusting to a second child, I think I am going to spend the remaining few weeks of my pregnancy relaxing and enjoying life as much as I can. I am treasuring this time by rocking my little girl in the morning as long as she wants me to, going to bed early and sleeping late, lazing around with my husband, and looking for ants with my daughter.