When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. Isaiah 43:2

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Off the Bottle and Living Healthy

I pick out books from the library in the following manner:
1. Quickly drive double stroller along the edge of the section of books that has non-kid stuff and pick up whatever I can get my hands on before my kids get antsy and/or start pulling books off the shelves;
2. Quickly take kids to kids' books section before they know mom was doing something at the library not related to entertaining them.
That's how I happened on this little gem. I love the things Mariel has to say about allowing imperfection in your life and enjoying the energy it can bring. I have lost my joy most of the past month or so because I haven't been breathing in the energy of my life. That sounds pretty vague and new-agey, but it's true. I find myself holding my breath or my heart pounding 90% of the day...this is in part uncontrollable since my kids' ages make them prone to death-defying, anger-inducing, destruction-causing activities. What mom wouldn't hold her breath to keep from swearing, screaming, crying, in my house?

But, as I read this unintentionally chosen book, I find myself smiling more and taking moments to enjoy life's pleasantness--just the very fact that I am here on this earth living and breathing with three rambunctious energy filled children and a handsome hunk of a husband is enough...surely all I need is enough, no more. I even tried my hand at a few yoga poses after reading yesterday--when, oh when, Lord, did I become SO UN flexible???! I could do the splits every which way when I was...eight. With some practice and encouragement from the kids, I even did a back bend this morning, I'm still not sure that was wise...but it was fun. (Ellipses anyone? I love them. If you don't, you will hate my blog----oh and hyphens---ever so much fun when you would like the reader to take a bigger pause than a comma can afford...sorry grammar teachers (mom).)

Now for the "off the bottle" part of this post...

Wyatt's new pediatrician eyed his Medela bottle full of cow's milk (not mine) at our last visit--it was, after all, his two year visit. How did Wyatt get to be two? I don't remember him going from one-and-a-half to two. In fact I have called him one-and-a-half even until last week...somehow I forgot that Wyatt was aging in these past hectic months with new baby, super drama three year old, new business demands, MOPS leadership role, etc. etc.

So, the doctor politely said, "When are we going to get him off those bottles?"
My reaction..."Huh? Really?" I almost became defensive, but rationality strangely overcame me in the moment and I agreed, rather surprisingly, "Yes, Wyatt should be off bottles." And I took him off bottles as soon as we got home. When he asked for a "big bottle," and I handed him a sippy cup, he looked at me in confusion. He placed the sippy cup back on the counter as though there had been some mistake.
I explained that the doctor did not want him to get rotten teeth and that it was time for him to be a big boy and drink out of a cup. "Otay," (OK) he replied, and took the sippy. It's strange how we build things up in our mommy minds. I was certain this change would be met with greater opposition.

And low and behold, my formerly NON eater is a ravenous monster, devouring all that is set before him. He isn't whining for his bottles like I thought he would be. He is happy, energetic, and older somehow. It's as though his body needed something other than milk to kick him into little boyhood. And with that bottle hanging out of his mouth all day long, he had too many milk calories, and no desire to eat. He ate a fresh green bean today! I couldn't believe it.

Thanks Dr. Ho!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Where in the World is Jake?

Ok, so Kya went back to preschool today after being out for almost a month. I rushed around the house getting the kids ready this morning, getting dishes done, fixing lunch for Kya and filling cups, snack bags and bottles. I finished the final stitches on a diaper bag I had to deliver, and as I finally buckled Wyatt into his carseat, Jake, our beloved Border Collie, jumped into the van with us. It is not uncommon for him to do this and it doesn't bother me to have him travel with us, so I didn't think much of it.
We drove to preschool, a lovely lady's house just a mile or so up the road and around a few corners. I opened one of the van sliding doors and unbuckled Kya, all the while trying to calm Wyatt, who was beside himself, whining about getting out and going with Kya (who he calls, "Deddy"--who knows why.) "Deeeeeedddddy!!!! OOOOOOuuuuut!!! Me!!! Me!!!!" All the while he was flailing and kicking his little legs.

As I unbuckled Kya, I vaguely remember scooting Jake out of the way to get her out, but only very vaguely. After all, Wyatt's special almost-two-year-old whining symphony was blaring in my ears. Caden slept peacefully through all this thank God!

Usually I walk Kya up the long walkway to the door, but today I just stood by the front of the van and watched as my little girl marched proudly to the door and thanked her preschool teacher for the kind get well cards before being ushered in. Thoughts of time passing and children and motherhood filled my mind as I backed out of the drive.

Off we drove to deliver the diaper bag. Wyatt now wanted to get out and go to this house too! "Oooouuuut!!!! Meeee!" Oh geez, here we go again. We went home after that and Wyatt fell asleep promptly, his symphony having apparently exhausted him as much as me. I sewed and cleaned, and talked on the phone. Rossie came by and we talked about sewing. Caden slept peacefully in his carseat for two hours. Fed Ex brought a package of radial arm saw replacement parts (don't ask.)

We picked Kya up from preschool and went home around 12:30. I moved a chair into the sunshine to nurse Caden in the backyard while Kya and Wyatt played. Then the doorbell rang. It was Fed Ex again. Something wasn't right--never mind the fact that we NEVER get Fed Ex deliveries, much less two in one day, but something was amiss--no barking. THERE WAS NO BARKING! Where was Jake? My mind raced. I thought back to the morning and when I had last seen my collarless, tagless dog (before you judge me, the jingle jangle of his tags and collar had annoyed us so much at night that we removed it years ago and since he never runs away, it never seemed necessary). And then my mind jumped to the conversation I overheard from the other moms at preschool pick up time about animal control picking up "that dog."

Tears burned in my eyes. My heart raced. Had I let Jake out of the van at preschool this morning without knowing? I called the preschool teacher, no answer. Called again...no answer. Eight times later, I got a call back from the teacher's daughter assuring me her mom would be home soon and return my call. Meanwhile, I called my hubby in tears screaming, "I lost Jake!!!!!! I lost him! I have to go look for him!" He reassured me, apparently sensing my guilt, fear, and complete irrationality.
"Get in the car kids! No, I don't care if you have shoes! GET IN THE CAR--our dog is lost!" Panic registered on their little faces and they hustled to their seats in a manner to which I am not accustomed. But I did not praise them sufficiently for their obedience because I was the dog loser!!!! and could think of nothing else.
Moments later, a call came to my cell phone as I drove through the neighborhood. It was the preschool teacher. Our dog had apparently jumped into another mommy's van and refused to get out. Without tags, there was no way to identify him so they had called animal control--he sat in there for almost an hour until animal control carted him off to jail. I was assured Jake was the picture of politeness (all but his refusal to leave the van). Jake just wanted to come home I explained.
"KYA, why didn't you tell the ladies that was our dog?!" I asked. "Well mommy, it looked like our dog, but I just thought Jake was at home." I guess that's fair.

OK, so off to animal control headquarters I went with three small children, two of whom had no shoes. Oh, and this was neat--I gave my driver's license to my husband this morning to copy at school so I could send in my seller's permit application--surely I wouldn't need it TODAY!

I arrived at animal control after the deadliest U-turn experience of my life outside the surprisingly busy Bakersfield Adult School. "What's my plan?" I asked myself. I will carry Wyatt, Kya can wear her too small boots from the giveaway bag and I will carry my wallet and keys, and I will carry Caden in his seat with my other arm. Surely the people will see my plight, my mascara stained cheeks, and take pity on me. I entered through the door marked "pull" (I only note this because pulling open a door with a load of children is hard work--if you EVER see a mom in this predicament, give her a hand will ya????.)

Anyway, the lady asked me if she could help us. I sobbed in reply, "We're looking for our dog." She said nonchalantly, "Go walk through the FOUR buildings of dogs and see if you can find him...." "Uhh, I have a four month old, a one year old with no shoes...and..." She apologizes (sort of) but tells me she has no records of what dogs are out there. So, carrying my entire family minus the dog, is the only option. We trudge through the aisles of dogs. Pit bull, pit bull, mutt, pit bull mix, pit bull....small runty dogs,...JAKE! Wait, is that you Jake?
He was wet, and dirty and totally bewildered by the small frantic mutts and piles of poo at his feet. But, yes, I finally determined it was him! Glory!!!!!

Back to the office I went with children in tow. "We found him!" I declared to all who cared (or didn't care) to know. The office lady asked me for my paperwork. Paperwork? Apparently Jake had some sort of paperwork on his doggy jail cell that I neglected to acquire. Back out to the doggy jail buildings we ALL went. Jake was now barking loudly in frustration--"Just take me with you please!!!" he seemed to plead.

We paid our fines, but the office lady needed a picture I.D. After more panic, more excuses, more tears, the lady accepted my Costco card with the black and white picture of me nine months pregnant and a verbal recitation of my Driver's License number. Thank you animal control lady!!!!

While I wait, the man at the front who has brought in a stray cat says, "While I have been waiting, the cat gnawed her way out of the box and ran away. So, never mind." AND HE LEAVES! Seriously?

Now I'm worried this is gonna take a while. The lady radios to somebody that the border collie in "A as in apple" ten should be released and brought to the front. Minutes pass...she tells me to go ahead and go to the van and wait. (By this time, Wyatt has attempted to destroy the credit card machine, written on her counter, and is sprawled on his tummy (no shoes and spaghetti sauce all over his hair and shirt) doing some sort of lizard slither on her counter (I couldn't put him on the gross doggy floor with no shoes!!!). Caden was squawking his displeasure at continuous confinement, and Kya was singing her own version of Beyonce's, "Put a ring on it." "We are usually so much more....together!" I wanted to scream. But no one really seemed to care about any of the madness. Just another day at animal control headquarters I guess.

Out to the van we went...After about three minutes, out came Jake, who jumped into the van without so much as a nod to me, the dog loser. He curled up at the kids' feet looking annoyed, but glad to be back with his crazy family again; and though he smelled like feet and sewer, he was ours, and we hugged him. I'm glad car wash day is tomorrow.

The kids were promptly dumped into the tub upon arrival home and Jake's new $76 hardware is now securely attached to his jingle jangly collar.
We missed you Jake! (once we realized you were missing.) Welcome home!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sorry Mr. Obama

I am a patriotic American, and therefore, just like many of my fellow conservatives, I wanted to see Mr. Obama succeed and prosper this nation in creative, new, effective ways. Instead, so far, what I have seen is MORE spending on "wants" and less on "needs" (to quote my friend and fellow blogger Mandee.) I have seen a reluctance (failure) to face down the earmarks and pork that so often plague good legislation. And so, I have to post this, sent to me by family friend Debbie R. because it sums it up simply...


"As the CEO of this organization, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barrack Obama is our President, and that our taxes, and government fees will increase in a BIG way. To compensate for these increases, our prices would have to increase by about 10%. Since we cannot increase our prices right now due to the dismal state of the economy, we will have to lay off six of our employees instead.

This has really been bothering me, since I believe we are family here and I didn't know how to choose who would have to go. So, this is what I did. I walked through our parking lot and found six Obama bumper stickers on our employees' cars and have decided these folks will be the ones to let go. I can't think of a more fair way to approach this problem. They voted for change; I gave it to them.

I will see the rest of you at the annual company picnic."

~Author Unknown

The Left Side of The Mural

As most of you know, I began this mural over three years ago. I don't think I even touched it for one whole year. This week I finished most of the left half of the mural. It still needs a few abstract ducks in the pond, but otherwise, this may be as good as it gets. Do you think I'm crazy for painting on our living room wall? I kinda do every time I look at it.

Monday, March 16, 2009

My New Fun Favorite Kids Clothes Site

For inspiration only--I couldn't pay this much when I can sew something similar, but this site and catalogue are amazing. I could spend zillions on this stuff! SOOOOOOOO cute! The company is Chasing Fireflies. I got a catalogue from some family friends and I'm in love. And these photos are just gorgeous! Where do you like to shop or get inspired for clothing your little ones?

Highs and Lows

As we returned from my favorite (not) place in the world, WalMart, today, Kya and I were having a little minivan conversation time.

Kya: Mom, I'd like to take my buckle off. Would that be OK?

Me: No honey, we are about to get on the highway where people drive really fast and it would not be safe for you if we got in an accident.

...(long pause)...

Kya: Well, what about when we get on the low way?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Day 7

I took a little break this weekend and then because of the sink fiasco I couldn't even do step one, so now I am on to Fly Baby Day 7:

Today we are going to add a new habit to our before bed routine. Tonight before you hop in bed, pick out what clothes you are going to wear tomorrow. Lay them on a chair, on a shelf or hook in the bathroom or on a hanger on your closet door knob.

This will be tricky for me because I really really like my comfy jammies and sweats. I will try to pull together something that is both comfy and looks reasonable. We'll see how it goes. Oh and this lace up shoe thing? There are not cute shoes that lace up--other than my tennies. Tennies it is. But my sparkly silver flats are nice too. I like to wear them--but if I wear them all day, my feet get sticky and the bottom part where my foot goes starts to stick and come up from the shoe. It's annoying. But they are cute, so I guess I will deal with the sticky foot issue.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ode to a Shiny Sink

Dear sink:

It is you who I have tried to keep shiny for weeks on end
in hopes that my household order would return.

It is you who handles the dirty dishes, hands and sometimes feet
that keep our house running.

It is you we run to when bottles need rinsing, pots need soaking,
or owies need cleaning.

It is you who provides the moisture with which we clean the
children's faces after meals.

It is you over whom many a dish has been washed while mommy sheds a weary mommy tear
or while mommy giggles watching the kiddos wrestling in the living room.

You are my constant source of comfort and without you I am lost.

It has taken this mishap to make me appreciate you.

Will you please unclog yourself sweet sink
so that life may return to normal?


Friday, March 6, 2009

My Favorite Things

This week I have found three new favorite things. My life is pretty simple, but the more simplified I can get it the better. Following Fly Lady's advice, I have been getting rid of lots of junk around here lately and finding that I can finally breathe again (well, at least in some rooms). The garage has become a dumping ground though. I can only face it a few moments a day when I try to just focus on one square foot (did I mention it's BAD in there?) at a time. Sometimes just that square foot will take me fifteen minutes because there's so much crud in there. My goal is to recognize that most of this crud is just "stuff" and we really don't need that much "stuff" in our lives.

Anyway, in the midst of this, I have found three "stuffs" that make me happy and so I will keep them.

The first are my Conair jumbo hot rollers. There is something so comforting about rolling my head with hot rollers and wandering around doing morning chores knowing I will have a voluminous head of volumized curls at the end of it. They do not last long because my hair doesn't like to hold curl, but it gives a finished look even to my eventually flat hair and therefore I love them.

The second are these great jeans I got from Old Navy. I never have bought one of those advertised Old Navy items of the week because I simply detest their advertisements most of the time. I don't want to be one of those people who buys into the sensationalized marketing gimmicks. But last week, they were advertising kids jeans for $9 and women's jeans for $19. Can't beat that!
I have not bought new jeans in at least three years. But lately I am right smack in the middle between big-fat-pregnant-sized Tara and back-to-normal-medium-sized Tara so I thought, what the heck? And I loooooooooove them. I have never had a jean fit so well. And there's none of that peek-a-boo in the back either! I spent all morning worrying I was going to have to send them back. Then I finally tried them on and almost shed a tear at the perfection I beheld. I even ran out to show Scott. (I think he was not nearly as impressed as I).

The jean is "The Goddess" from Old Navy. Shop here.

And finally, I found this broccoli salad mix in a bag at Costco. It serves 10---or me. I added a can of salmon for Omega-3's and it was sooooo delicious. It has bacon bits and little crunchies and a delicious (I'm sure fattening) dressing and cranberries...oooo it is soo good. Did I mention it was good? And it has to be better for me than chocolate cake I'm thinking.

Just a few things that make me happy. What little things and "stuffs" make you happy?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day Five-Nagging Voices

I am parpaphrasing, so please check out my Fly Lady links at the right to get the exact baby step and/or mission for the day. I don't want to be a copyright infringer.

Day Five entails: Getting Dressed to lace up shoes- Keeping our sink shining--Reading 2 minutes of Reminders- Looking at our posted reminders in the kitchen and bathroom--AND

Every time a negative thought about yourself comes into your head, counterract it by telling yourself positive things instead. This will be a challenge for me since I naturally tend toward self criticism, but I'm gonna try it--and BE SUCCESSFUL DARNIT!!

Kelly's mission today is something I have needed to do for a loooong time...clean the walls in the dining room. Wyatt flings a lot of nastiness around the kitchen during mealtime, especially if I leave him in his seat while I check my email! LOL!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Keeping Sheep"

For all you stay at home moms out there, please listen to this song and read the lyrics!!

A sweet fellow blogger sent this to me and it made my whole day as a mommy soooooooo much better.

"Keeping Sheep"

Talkin' Politics with Toddlers

Each morning, with MANY exceptions, I talk to the kids about our city, our state, our nation, our world, our family, and our neighborhood. Lately, we sing God Bless America and do the Pledge of Allegiance to my makeshift "flag" in the kitchen over our breakfast table. We also talk about the president of the United States and his "helper" Joseph Biden. While Kya plays sometimes she talks about these people, commenting about what they might be doing during the day. She was talking about them while playing in the mud today. Here's what I caught.

Getting it Together~I hope

Day Three: Do the things from day one and two~Get dressed to the lace up shoes in the morning, shine your sink, read 2 minutes of daily FLY reminders each day.

Day Four: Write these things down. On a sticky note, write down those three things that we've been praticing and stick them up on your bathroom mirror and over your sink. This will be the beginning of your control journal.

I am feeling overwhelmed right now...with life, sickness, kids, obligations, so I am trying my best to stick to these things because their promise of leading to order in my life is golden right now. I am clinging to it as I wallow in my self pity.

I know that before I am ready these kids will be big and old and not need me one little bit, but right now, I feel like I am failing them all individually because they each need me soooooo much allll the time. I cannot help Kya with her need for cuddling and learning time because I am scared for the safety of Wyatt, for whom there is no safe place in the house right now. I cannot give Wyatt my undivided attention and discipline because I am nursing Caden, preparing the next meal, cleaning up from the last meal, and generally trying to keep the house in some sort of order so we can function (do not read this as me trying to keep the house "clean"--that is not going to happen and I know that.) I cannot nurse my sweet baby Caden long enough, often enough, or calmly enough because the other kiddos need something most of the time. And he is congested again with green snot, which makes me worry.

I do not DO NOT DO NOT regret having three kids so close in age. I still think it is the best decision we have ever made. I cannot imagine life without any of them. And I believe they will be closer and better for it ultimately, but right now, I am exhausted and feel like a failure a lot.

I am really hoping that getting a routine and Fly Lady/Babywise schedules down to a science will
help everyone feel better. I love my kids more than I ever thought humanly imaginable and I really just want to be completely present for them.

Oh, and then there's my husband, who gets third, fourth, sometimes fifth priority, and ALLLL the unloading at the end of the day. I love you and thank you for your patience. YOU are my hero. I couldn't go on without you.

Sunday, March 1, 2009