Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My handsome stallion of a husband

My husband was one of the five new followers during my promotion last month, so I asked him a couple weeks ago if he would mind me writing a post about him.

"...Why...?" he asked apprehensively, taking a pause from his nightly cereal. I explained the whole deal,  then he asked, "What would you say?"

I shrugged. "I'm not sure yet. Something nice." He sort of smiled, trying not to look too pleased, but I know that face.

Before this exchange, he always said he had read my blog, but it was after this I actually saw him read every single post. He even referenced some of them. ("Porkloaf?" he asked me the other day. Hahaha.) When I'm typing away, and he's reading one of his books on the couch behind me, he'll ask, "New blog?" I'll confirm. He says, "What's this one about?" Ahh, very interested, are we?

So darling, your waiting has paid off! Here's the post about you.

Simply put, I really love my husband. He is just the greatest guy in the world. My first memories of him are perfect: smiling, singing, laughing. Eight years ago, we worked together at a movie theater. He was always one of the nicest people around. Whenever we talked, I was always very touched by his sincerity and how he listened to what I was saying. One day he named me Muñeca. I said he looked like Mr. Tumnus. About three years into working together, we started to like each other. That spring he asked me out.

You know how people say, "You'll just know" when you find the right person? Well, it's so true...you do just know. We knew that summer we would get married someday. Sure, we had a lot to learn about each other and a lot to figure out before that, but it wasn't a matter of "Will we get to that point?" - instead it was when.

God absolutely, positively, withoutadoubt knew what He was doing when He clicked on both of our brains and said, "Hey, look over there...right about...now!"

Why hello, handsome. Where did you come from? Oh, the box office. :) 


Even though he always wanted to marry an Asian girl with a Scottish accent (the total truth), we're soulmates. I mean, he took me to Italy to propose, for goodness' sake. He's a pretty great guy. Not your typical "I'm going to obsess about hockey and football and nothing else because I'm a guy". He likes his video games but he doesn't zone out for hours. He is a total student at heart. He's always learning, always reading, always thinking. 1 out of 10 conversations begin like this, "So today when I was listening to NPR, I heard..." He stays up to date on the world news or the national issues. He calls out every answer for Jeopardy. He even figures out the answers for Wheel of Fortune before anyone else. He's listening to an audio book about Albert Einstein while he drives to and from work. He's also reading a 700-page book about American history - both just for fun. When he buckles down, he writes his thesis for his master's degree. He enjoys making things, like cedar chests and handy contraptions to make the warm air from the heater vent flow into our living room instead of behind the couch.

Little Olive has one amazing Daddy. He warned me a few months into our relationship that he was going to be extremely involved and affectionate with our kids...and the dude wasn't lying. From day one, he has been completely involved in everything. He was 100% supportive before, during, and after the home birth. He's so good with her. He always listens to music and dances with her...when she was tiny-tiny, there was one Capoeira song that he'd sing to calm her down within moments. (I think it was Tindolele...don't quote me yet.) He reads all the books she brings to him - even if he does skip half the pages in "Green Eggs and Ham". He talks to her in Gaelic and sometimes Portuguese, and he's a big help in teaching her sign language. 

He's really just a great person inside and out. We have different political and religious points of view, but we've both learned how to talk about them with respect, with an open ear, and with a quiet mouth if needed. We've learned a lot about each other and life simply by not agreeing about everything, and we've taught each other how to be okay with different ideas. We know our backgrounds made us who we are today, and we can talk and just learn without it turning into a problem. 

I know people get pretty annoyed when I go on (or post tons of pictures) about how great he is. You know who you are...you miserable-ites. So I'll keep it down to one picture and close with this:

Ireland 2007
It is really my hope that everyone who is meant to get married finds their soulmate. You shouldn't have to settle or convince yourself to stay with someone. There's no sense weighing pros and cons of a person or the relationship. If it's right, you'll know. If you're googling "How do I know if I've found the right person?" looking for some destined  answer, then maybe you should take a step back. Life is never the same once the right person enters your life - trust me. It's not a fairytale or perfect without problems; every day isn't a blissful honeymoon. But every day is meant to be, and once the puzzle pieces fall into place, life will be complete. So wait for that person and don't give up.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The babe is growing up

Well, I shouldn't be surprised. This isn't the first time it has happened. Just when I start worrying about something, it works out just fine. Not everything, of course. But mostly. Little Olive moved into her stage two/convertible car seat back when she turned a year old. It was super exciting, and she loved facing forward. I had bought her car seat at our neighbor's garage sale last summer - for $3! It was the best deal ever. It was a good one too, no fancy stuff to it but still very safe and secure. It was afterwards I realized that car seats have an expiration date! I thought it was a scam made up by the companies to make us upgrade every six years. But the more I read about it, the more I didn't want to take the chance. Apparently, the plastics become weak and brittle over the years, and they might not be strong enough to take the impact of a car accident. No way am I going to take the chance with my daughter! 

Does that mean I'm going to buy brand new car seats every few years? No way, Jose. Not only is such an expense out of our budget, but we also try not to buy new products every time we need something. Take a look around our living room, and you'll quickly understand. A blue couch, a plush red recliner, mismatched end tables and desks. Some red lamps, some white ones. Even our dining room table and chairs do not match. We don't mind though...we like our house and the eclectic style it has. 

After our daughter was using the car seat, I looked at the date, and saw it will expire in a few months. I could easily find another at a garage sale this summer, but we're taking a 10 hour car ride to the midwest this spring, and unfortunately the car seat we have isn't very cushiony. I felt bad my baby might be uncomfortable after the first few hours. So, being specific and a bit snobby, I asked my FB friends if any of them had a used one - and if it was comfortable.

My husband's cousin came to the rescue with a beautiful car seat they weren't using anymore. It is so nice and fancy; better than anything we could have picked out. It's now secure in our car with another four years to it. Such a relief. Things always get taken care of!

And now that it's spring, and the sun is actually out, I've been thinking of getting Little Olive some toddler rain boots. Do you think this is a waste of money? Sometimes I do. First of all, is she even going to play in the rain - the only time she would really even need rain boots? Secondly, my ideal price for them is around $5 considering how short of a season they would wear them, and I doubt even on this great website I could find some that low. On the other hand, they are so cute and adorable...and a part of me still wants my daughter looking all stylish. 

That might explain why yesterday she wore a black and white star/stripe shirt with green pants, and purple socks? Oh dear. Maybe we'll save the rain boot shopping till next year. ;)

Friday, March 25, 2011

This is why we can't have nice things

Would you believe there was a time in my life when I wanted to be an automechanic? It was a very brief time, naturally, but it happened. I think it came during my first semester in college. While I loved the new environment of school, I also felt very drained after a full day of sitting in classes. How did people do this for 18 years before even getting to college?? I needed to do something hands-on! I needed to not be sitting all day. It was also the year I bought my first car, a black chevrolet cavalier. Never before that had I taken much interest in cars, and I took such pride in my own. I had saved up for a few years and bought it in cash for $2,200. "It is what it is," the guy selling it told us...over and over. ;) It had 68k, and the only thing wrong was the AC didn't work. Not a big deal to me, though...I loved having the windows down anyway. Besides, he had showered it in "Fee-breeze" so it smelled great.

Owning a car is expensive, but as my Dad told me, if you take good care of it you prevent a lot of costly problems. Every 3,000 miles on the dot, I took it in for an oil change. I actually thought I was going to get in trouble by the mechanic if it was past that. I kept my fluids up and my tires filled. I didn't slam on my breaks or floor the gas. To baby the transmission, I made sure the car was completely stopped before switching gears. I did hit someone once...it was a couple days before Christmas Eve, and I was too busy singing/dancing to Lonestar's "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" (omg Lonestar lied to me!) to notice the traffic slowing in front of me. (Apparently the bright, flood of red lights wasn't enough to catch my attention.) Thankfully, the damage wasn't bad and the car I hit was already a rust bucket, so the cop went easy on us.

When I was rear-ended on the thru-way a couple years later, I had a hard time believing the gum-chewing blonde that she had "sneezed" at the very moment she hit me. I probably would have been more understanding if she gave me a REAL phone number when we exchanged information at the scene. The damage was pretty bad and I had to get it repaired. I'll never forget her name...McKenna. (Don't worry there's 800 searches on facebook, we'll never find her.)

If you ever get into a pickle and don't know how much repairs are going to cost, you go to websites and type in all your car information to get an estimate on the cost.  I'd suggest starting with this website to get an idea, but then go to a trusted mechanic.

Thankfully, it won't be me. Instead, I'll be here at home doing what I love: writing, and watching my 16 month old bring me an empty M&M bag from the garbage saying, "Peese? Peese?"

Life is good. :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Attachment Parenting and being flexible

I had heard of the term "attachment parenting" here and there while growing up, but I wouldn't have been able to give you a definition if you asked. It was after my daughter was born that I googled it and found this great website, which also happened to be the first hit. I read it and felt happily reassured that I was already doing most of it without even realizing, or trying. The first six just seemed instinctual to me, and very easy to do. But the seventh stood out to me the most; it's something I'm still applying to our family.

It seems that every day there's a new decision we have to make, or a new viewpoint of an issue to consider when we thought we already knew everything. Each family, each parent, and each child is so unique and different, and it's hard to just clump everyone together and expect the same thing to work. Everything about life isn't a "one size fits all" kind of deal. The same thing goes with attachment parenting - it's a style that has a lot of wiggle room in regards to specific issues. Notice it doesn't say anything about cloth/disposable diapers, pacifiers, vaccinations, circumcision, potty training, or schooling.

It does, however, say everything about responding and being sensitive to your baby's cues and creating a bond of trust. With this foundation, decisions for what I mentioned above then fall right into place. The key is to cultivate that bond so you make the best decisions.

"Attachment parenting helps you develop your own personal parenting style."

So with that being said, I challenge you to be open-minded when it comes to witnessing other parents. That doesn't mean you have to approve and say "Good job!" when you see a mom give her six-month-old Diet Coke in a bottle. But it does mean if they're doing something differently than you, or if what they're trying isn't going as smoothly as it did for you, just relax. If that mom loves her child as much as you love yours, you know she's doing her best. 

And if she's doing something questionable for the wrong reasons, trust me, she will find out for herself sooner or later. We all have trial and error times in our lives. But we all find our way. And our lives have enough stress in them to get ourselves worked up over what other people are doing.


Happy Thursday!
weheartit.com

Monday, March 21, 2011

Whose dish is on the chopping block?

You may be blurry, but I can still see you,
Aaron, Alex, bald guy, and Ted.
My family is a little obsessed with the Food Network, and one of our favorite shows is Chopped. It always amazes me how creative those chefs are. And sure, even though we all sit there critiquing their choices with the mystery ingredient like we know what we're talking about ("Why did that guy use arugula? Totally clashes with the sheep brain."), we all secretly wish we could cook half as well as the first person chopped.

What I like is when they introduce their dishes to the judges, and proudly title them with the fancy descriptions they've come up with. The peach infused mango relish, the julienne salad with a watermelon reduction dressing, panbroiled panko crusted tuna with a tangerine zest...

It'd be fun to be a good cook and make fancy little dishes. And it might actually be easy with an entire fridge and pantry at your service, with every spice and ingredient you could think of. When I go to cook dinner, it usually goes like this: I'd love to make meatloaf tonight. What do I need... Bread crumbs. Don't have those, but I could make some quick toast. Eggs, have those. Mustard seed. No, but I have the condiment - it'll work. Spices, sure salt and pepper are great. Wait, do I even have ground beef? No...but I have pork chops. Porkloaf it is!

Don't worry, I've never actually made porkloaf before...but it probably wouldn't taste half bad. Just add some bbq sauce and you're good to go.

Tonight no such fanciness will be attempted. On the stove are potatoes, which in an hour will be creamy smashed potatoes with butter and cheese and maybe a dash of seasoning - if one of them smells appropriate when I open the lids. Next I'll reheat some left-over pork from the other night, add some ketchup on the side (or as they would say prefer me to say, "With a tomato and honey glaze"). Then I'll take some frozen veggies out of the freezer, steam them, and add some butter and salt. Doesn't matter what the veggie is - butter and salt work just great. If we're lucky, I'll wash some lettuce greens, add some parmesan cheese and a homemade Italian dressing, and voila - salad! ("A fresh green salad prepared with a vinegar and olive oil drizzling.")

Come on, you know you want to just pack up and head over to share in this amazing meal. And people wonder why I never host dinner.

P.S.
Just an fyi: prune pancakes don't really work.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In case you ever drop your iPod in water

This past week, our sweet daughter threw my iPod touch into the toilet. I froze. Then took it out. Then because it was already soaking, I quickly cleaned it. Then I washed my hands.

...And then I panicked.

I tried turning it on, but nothing happened. I was super bummed, because my husband gave this to me as a gift. I couldn't believe it was broken! I googled what to do and found a few different suggestions, so I did them all:

1) Don't try to turn your device on. If there is water, this could cause a shortage inside. Of course, I read this after trying to turn it on, but I'm including it for you guys.
2) Fill a container with rice.
3) Place the iPod face down in the rice, surrounded almost entirely, with some of the back exposed.
4) Find a spot in direct, warm sunlight, and put the container there. (If it's not sunny, put it under a lamp. But don't get it super hot either. Just warm.)
5) They didn't tell me to do this, but I slightly angled the iPod in the container so that any water could drip down and out.

They said to wait 24 hours, but I did this for almost two full days. And guess what? It worked! After charging it completely, it turned on after a few tries and works great!

I read a lot of reviews that iPods are extremely sensitive, cheaply made, and way overpriced. I also read Apple doesn't fix water damage. So if your iPod gets wet, don't throw it out right away. Give it a solid two days in rice...in the sunlight...and I hope it works for you too.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Frittatas and friends

It's time for another shout-out post! Technically, this will be about two people - even though only one of them became a follower during my awesome promotion. I hope she doesn't mind sharing the spotlight...but we've already clarified amongst us that you can't have one without the other. Two peas in a pod.

So back in December, I met two girls...the one is my husband's friend's older sister, Jill. And the second is the older sister's best friend, Kara. We were introduced by the friend. (If you're lost, that's okay...now you can't stalk us.) Jill invited me over to her house since we have kids the same age, and because we were told we should hang out (by my husband's friend...okay I'll stop). This is something I have never done in my life - go to someone's house without ever meeting them with the expectation of becoming friends. I was shaking in my boots nervous...armed with none other than the best - Wegman's cinnamon rolls - I ventured out. And as it turns out, I had a great time.

It was a definite breath of fresh air. Don't get me wrong, I have a solid handful of wonderful, awesome girlfriends. But I just have to boast about these girls for a minute. There was something immediately comfortable about being around K and J. They showed their true colors right off the bat and started asking me blunt, interesting questions while casually placing a delicious mango mimosa in my hand.

Before I left that afternoon, we talked about meeting up again the next week, as Jill offered to rearrange my front room without ever setting foot in my house.

Now, skip ahead two months. I hang my head while admitting it was that long before any of us spoke again. The holidays and January took over my life until Jill publicly addressed the issue in her blog. Realizing that they did like me and that they wanted to hang out again made me realize 1) I stink at staying in touch with people and 2) it's okay to take chances...but I have to stop being insecure long enough to do that. It lit a fire under my booty to set up another play date. And it was the best Tuesday morning I had had in two months.

What I like about them is that they're real, down to earth, and outgoing. I've also never met anyone who was blown away by the fact that my handwriting is bad, or that I keep track of my life using a calendar. It's super cool meeting other young moms who enjoy what they do, and who don't feel like our lives are pitiful because we have children. There's a little comradery (<-- why is that saying it's spelled wrong? Is it?) amongst us. I'd like to walk out on a limb and say it's the start of a cool friendship...but you never know, they might be possessed. Or worse.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Pat's Day


Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Just passing along this hilarious video a few of my friends have shared. 


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Puppy Person...Or not.

There's a reason for the signs on various rooms around our house: Keep the door closed at all times. When we first got our puppy, I didn't want there to be any accidents in the bedroom and the bathroom. It worked most of the time, but we forget and the animals can't read...hence, an accident or two. I personally think our puppy should know better by now because she's not winning any brownie points behaving the way she does. She's such a high energy little spitfire. It's not the chewing of the couch that gets me mad. It's not the shredding of various stuffed animals. And it's not even the occasional accident. Those are expected puppy things. Instead, it's the cold nose on the back of your neck when you're sitting on the couch; the nipping and sniffing at your toes when you step out of the shower ("Omg, omg, water!? Must lick, must lick!"); it's the constant terrorizing of our cat; the endless fight for domination while she jumps, humps, and attacks the poor thing. My family never had a dog growing up, so I was nervous about bringing one into our home. How do you train it? How much exercise does it need? How much is too much food? Are you supposed to be nice or strict? Why do they smell? Why do they bark all the time? Is it really okay to let them sleep in your bed? Give me 10 minutes and I could tell you how to manage a room of 8 babies - no problem. But dogs? They are so out of my league. Regardless, I was determined to be a dog person.

As it turns out, I fell in love with her the moment my husband brought her home. She was definitely adorable. And she's really good with our daughter. (So okay, maybe she gains a brownie few points for that...) I watched how other people behave with her and tried to imitate. Kila is a little obnoxious whenever she greets someone, and it doesn't work trying to tell her to be calm. But my Mom is seriously the best with her. She gets down on the floor and lets Kila jump into her arms, lick her face, spazz out for a few minutes, all while she revs the dog up with cute, excited puppy talk. Not even 30 seconds later, Kila is calm and off to chew on her bone. "Thank you for loving me!" she seems to say. My dad's a little different; I'm not sure if he even knows her name, to be honest. He has called her "Skippy" from day one. But she listens to him.

So I tried to be like other people...be all excited to see the puppy and act really fun. I did, seriously, try. One thing we agreed on when we decided to bring a dog into our family, was that the dog would be everyone's. Not my husband's, not my daughter's, not mine - but everyone's. And it's good that the training/discipline/cuddles are spread out...because she's a challenge. Don't get me wrong...she can be really cute sometimes. But...she drives us crazy.

Here, I captured the craziness of her game: get the ping pong ball IN the couch,
and then make a fool of yourself trying to get it OUT.

So there it is. I'll admit it - she drives me crazy! Some people openly admit they don't like kids and would never want one. Honestly, give me another child any day. I love and want to take care of Little Olive - it's just natural for me. Whatever she does, I can forgive her. Like today...she followed me into the bathroom and, without any warning, happily tossed my iPod into the toilet. Had it been the puppy, I would have chased her around the house with a clothes basket and made her sit under it for a little while and think about what she'd just done. (No, I have never done that...)

But in my shocked state, I just stood there. And before I could say anything, Little Olive beat me to it by pointing and saying, "No, no!" She's got that down. She knows what she did. But now she needs to learn how to read. Those signs on the door are there for a reason!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Facebook, Mom Fights, and Vaccines

For Lent, I decided to both give up and add things to my life. The giving up part, I thought, was going to be the hardest. It turns out adding things and making yourself do something extra takes a lot of motivation and discipline that suddenly I'm aware I don't have. Humbling, for sure. The giving up - well, it's turning out to be pretty easy. Here's what it is: I'm ridiculously addicted to facebook. I spend way too much time just poking around (not really poking...I only do that with my one friend), looking at people's stuff, waiting for someone to say something interesting. But there is no excuse to spend so much time on it...

So for Lent, I decided to give myself a limit: only go on facebook once a day. You might laugh, "I have friends who gave it up completely." Good for them. Now shut up. lol. Ash Wednesday was hard...I automatically clicked our bookmark several times that day without thinking. Oops! But then, even the next day, it wasn't a big deal. Maybe a lot of my friends gave up fb for Lent because it suddenly got very boring to me. 

I'm the kind of person that breaks their "fast" on the Sundays in Lent, so today my husband played his PS3 a lot, and I caught up on fb, visiting my favorite pages and reading some discussions I simply didn't have time for during the week. And that's when I encountered my first "Mommy War". My friend, Heather, wrote about this in her blog a little while ago, and I happily thought to myself, But I've never seen a mommy war. Well, ladies and gentlemen, let me give you an idea of one.

It started on a page meant for breastfeeding support (a great page, mind you) when a woman made a comment about vaccines. Ooh yes. And as you can imagine, the flood gates were opened. Parents commented back and forth forever about their decisions to vax or not-vax, and to be honest, I couldn't even read them all - there were so many. People got so passionate about the topic! There were links thrown back and forth with research and evidence backing up their decisions. There were rude comments, disrespectful name-calling, and sarcastic laughing at the points people were trying to make. The same people who were "bashing" others were the ones throwing up their hands complaining of being the ones "victimized." A few thoughts came to me as I was reading...

The first was: don't you have kids to take care of?

The second was: no, seriously, don't you have kids to take care of? Get off the freaking computer. Both sides of the argument were using examples of their 3, 4, 5 or more kids who were/weren't vaccinated and were perfectly healthy as examples of why everyone else should do what they did. If you have that many kids, or even if you only have 1, seriously, stop fighting with people you don't even know, with people whose minds you will never change, and go read your angel(s) a book. (For the record, my daughter is in bed, the house is tidy, dishes are washed, laundry is a-okay, dinner is in the crockpot...there. I think all my bases are covered. Phew. ::wipes brow::)

The third thought was: wow, these parents are extremely passionate - and it's because they love their kids (even if they're ignoring them at the moment... hehe). Which led me to some observations of both sides...and these are what I'd like to jot down. I know everyone will have different reasons, but here's just what I've seen recently. 

For the record - parents who decide to vaccinate or not vaccinate are not evil, crazy, or stupid. But they do it for very different reasons.

When I tell people I don't vaccinate, different people all say the same things, But aren't you afraid your child will catch something deadly? We can't fight off every illness that comes around. People die from these diseases. I don't want to take that risk with my child. I don't know anyone who had a bad reaction. Diseases were eliminated because of vaccines.

Their main reason for vaccinating is the diseases. Disease prevention. The fear of a disease. They want to do everything in their parenting power to protect their children from these diseases. They love their children. They trust their doctors. That's who they take their kids who when they're sick. The doctor makes them better. Modern medicine is advanced and useful. They are doing this because it is the best decision.

When I first gave birth, I was clueless about vaccines. I was worried and scared about making a wrong decision. The first thing I read was, The Vaccine Book, by Dr. Sears. I had heard rave reviews about it, but honestly I was disappointed in it. His main emphasis was on the diseases - and coming from a doctor, I'm not surprised or upset. He spent very little time on anything else. That's what led me to dig deeper into the learning the actual vaccine - the actual substance that would be injected into my child.

And that's when I was able to make up my mind. I can't speak for everyone, but I know a lot of us base our decisions around this topic. It's not that we think our kids are powerful and immune to all illnesses - or that we think the diseases are not a big deal. But we also know that it's counter-productive to try to prevent one disease by possibly (and I do mean possibly) causing another. What I mean by this is that there are carcinogenic and brain damaging ingredients in every single shot. Diseases are real, and they are scary. But in my opinion, vaccines are scary too! There are alternatives to the vaccines...shots are not the "be all, end all". We know people who have had very negative reactions and side-effects, and some of them have advised us to take a different approach. 

So I'd like to say a few things to the people who vaccinate:

First of all, I honestly respect your decision. The same reasons you do, are the same reasons I'm scared not to. I'm scared that my kid will get Polio someday (a rare chance as it looks right now, but still a possibility as it does exist in the world). I'm scared that my child will come down with one of the strains of meningitis that could have been prevented in the vaccine. I'm scared that my child will get sick from anything that a vaccine could have prevented. 

At the same time, I'd like you to respect my decision. I have made it with only the best interest of my child in mind. As her mother and father, it is our first responsibility to protect her. And from what we've read, watched, compared, and evaluated, this is the best decision right now. 

If it turns out that down the road, we discover differently, our kids will receive all their shots. Until then, please be open-minded about what we've chosen. And don't worry - don't be afraid that my un-vaccinated child is putting yours at risk. If yours received the shots that you want mine to get, then you already know they are effective, and that your child is safe.  

Sincerely, 
Me


To parents who don't vaccinate:

Stop with the arrogant statements that you've done more research, are more educated, and that your kids are healthier. Seriously. Just stop. You might think (and don't we all?) that your kid is cuter, smarter, and healthier, but telling people that only makes them dislike you - not respect you. And besides, my child is the most advanced of the bunch...y'all got nothing on us!

Sincerely,
The Exceptional Parent

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

If you need a laugh

Today was one of those days...

Freezing cold, windy, snowy, rainy, moody, teething baby, wouldn't sleep, hungry, nothing sounded good...mad about things I have no control over...not sure how to fix the things I can...

So if you, like me, needed a little pick-me-up on this gloomy day, enjoy the video below.



I'm convinced my 16 month old has a little crush on this boy...the smile that comes to her face every time we play it is true love...I need to travel to Sweden someday and find him. :)

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

"Our children will never believe in Santa Claus"

I recently saw a message board online where a mother asked how other families keep the magic of the Tooth Fairy alive in their homes. Apparently, her daughter had just lost her first tooth and it was an exciting moment. I'm guessing she was expecting lots of cute replies with stories and traditions from all over the world.

Well. That was not the case by any means. Responses poured in from passionate parents saying they do not promote any make-believe characters in their homes. "To do so would be unfair to our children, who trust us so much." "How can we teach them to be logical, realistic human beings if we invent fairy tales for them?" "Raising your kids to believe in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or the Tooth Fairy is nothing more than glorified lying, if you ask me."

Santa Claus is an evil story made up by parents to deceive their children!
(Photo credit: Aunt Maggie)
I had never really heard of people being so adamantly against make-believe! I hadn't considered it lying either. After all, Santa Claus is a story of St. Nicholas, who was quite real and did bring people gifts. It's just carrying on that tradition. And while a small part of me can understand where these folks are coming from, I kind of felt like telling them, "Chill out..."

Children have imaginations, and there's really nothing you can do about that (except try to squash them, perhaps by saying, "Only the things you see are real! You will never believe in Santa Claus!"). I personally don't see anything wrong with encouraging them. Eventually kids figure it all out, but I don't remember being traumatized when I found out Santa, the TF, or the EB weren't real. (Or maybe I was and I've repressed it. Gosh, thanks, Mom and Dad!)

We already started a little tradition, called the "Elf on the Shelf", where a few weeks before Christmas, you set out the Elf to watch the children in the house and report back to Santa every night. The family is supposed to think of a name for the Elf (my husband sweetly named him "Creeper" until Little Olive can name it herself) so he becomes a part of the family. I think it's a really cute idea.

Of course, you can take it too far. (Everything in moderation, right?) It should be about the kids, about adding a little something extra to their childhood. I don't think it's okay to use fear/monsters to keep your children in bed at night, or something like that. But positive, happy, cute additions are harmless, to me.

What do you think?

Sunday, March 06, 2011

My Agreement to New Followers

In my "follow" box, I agreed to personally mention the next 5 new followers in my blog. Three of the five spots have been filled! Unfortunately, I don't know who one of them is! I know several girls by that name, so I can't make it personal without guessing the wrong one. So all I can say to you is, "Hello!" :) Feel free to leave a comment and give me a clue (if you'd like, of course), and then I can say more.

Person number two couldn't have had better timing. I'm currently addicted to her blog. She is one of the most talented people I am lucky to know. She's fluent in many languages, raises her toddler in three of them, and she also sews, paints, crafts, draws, and has quite the eye for photography.

Her blog, No Clever Craft, is as beautiful as it is inspiring. The other day I caught up on all her previous posts, in awe of the time and attention she places on her artwork. Definitely check it out sometime. :)

Saturday, March 05, 2011

A Very Advanced Child

I was shopping at our local grocery store the other day, and a Mom/Daughter combo stopped me to gush over Little Olive. Well, sort of. They focussed on her pacifier. "Oh my gosh," they went on, "that's the cutest thing I've ever seen." I agree - it is a cute thing. It was a baby shower gift from a cousin who knew more about this topic than I did. You know how against pacifiers I was in the beginning, but this has been a staple in my daughter's life, and I'm very grateful for it. She calls it her "Beeeen" (because we say "binky") and pretty soon we're going to have to start a weaning process. But until then, it's a huge conversation starter, just like it was a few days ago.

Anyways, these nice ladies went on about the pink horse and how adorable it was, and then launched into a timeline of the Daughter's son's childhood. I barely got a word in edgewise as she listed the months and milestones of his life. "At one month, he took out his pacifier and refused it after that. He never drank from a bottle. By two months, he held his own sippy cup. At 4 months he was crawling, by 6 he was walking. By SEVEN months he was climbing and running! Oh yeah," she said as my eyes got wider and wider in polite enthusiasm, "he was crazy. He started eating with a fork and spoon as soon as he could sit up. He clapped his hands when he was three months. He had ALL HIS TEETH by the time he turned 8 months." At this point I felt like saying, "By 9 months, did he hit his midlife crisis?"

They had never really stopped walking, and by this point they were practically turning out of the aisle. I smiled and called, "Wow, he sounds like a very advanced child." They nodded in agreement, and said goodbye. I actually chuckled to myself over the incident.

Oh, to be an advanced child...what an exciting life.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Ramblings of the first trimester

...Yay! I'm pregnant...and month one is practically finished already. I'm loving this.

...Life is great! Names, due dates, exciting reminiscing, everything's awesome.

...Month two. Wait, are my pants snug already?

...Hello, prego sickness. Not thrilled, but you're bearable. Thanks for being not as bad as Little Olive!

...Never mind, you stink. I can't eat anything.

Our lovey
...Ugh. Tired all the time. How is it only 2pm? It feels like 5am.

...Moody moody.

...8.5 week sonogram - beautiful!

...Hey, here comes the sun...both mentally and weather-ly.

...Is that a baby belly or a food belly? Or a "I gave up on working out" belly? Oh well, at this point...whatever. :)

...Sigh, things are getting better. Can eat almost anything. :)

...We tell our 15 month old, "Where's the baby? Mommy's tummy." And we rub the belly. She smiles and rubs my boobs instead. Close enough.

...Birthday's in 3 days. I already have the best three presents in the world...my husband, and our two loves. (Not to say that other gifts wouldn't be welcomed, he he.)

...Two more weeks to go in this phase. Feeling great. :)