Thursday, March 29, 2007

What Babies Eat

Hmm. My good friend just asked me about how my children ate when they were babies. This, because her day-care provider, an in-home 24/7 hero and miracle worker of the real world had a state mandated visit . . . and she needs a written eating plan for her 8 month old daughter.

Here is what I remember:
I was an absolute milk machine, breast feeding Bessie. I think Big started spitting cereal back at me around 9 months. Late, I know . . . but she was fat as a butterball and sleeping, so I figured it wasn't worth the high chair struggle to spoon in, spit out, repeat. I remember buying baby food. I remember that I really liked Blueberry Buckle and so did she. I remember reading the book, thinking, oh, I'm getting a late start at this . . . and figuring I'd take the path of least resistance . . she'd eat when she was hungry.

Middle. She has always eaten whatever I put in front of her. I have fond memories of her in the excersaucer . . . at about, what 6-7 months gnawing and slobbering up a bagel with cream cheese. Not advisable, I know. She also liked pizza crust. And boobage. She nursed all the time and for a long time.

Little. Heck . . . not that I was losing my steam when he was ready, but he was seeing the Big and Middle eat pizza. He weaned earlier than they did and went right to spaghetti and meatballs, and fudgesicles. He loves fudgesicles.

I bought baby food in jars or chopped it up small . . I never had a baby food grinder, but I do remember liking that pampered chef chopper. The only thing I was super cautious about were:
a. Doritos, chips and other things with sharp edges - (which still frighten me today . . . Big choked on one when she was little); and that episode quickly escalated into a blue-not-breathing baby that required back blows and the whole works. It's one of the only times in my whole life I've been TRULY thankful to be a nurse.
b. Seafood -- because of allergies - really nobody likes anaphalactic shock.
c. Common allergy foods, like eggs, strawberries, pineapple, nuts . . . .

All in all, I think I'm no help. I certainly didn't write the book (or follow it) when it came to babies advancing to real food. But, it's been fun to think back!!

"We Go-ed to the Zoo."

I, fellow parents, have had a turn-of-events, major landmark day.

I took the children to the zoo. My trio and two extras. Five children and me. Ages: 10, 7, 6, 5 and 3.

Listen, folks, no stroller. This may be my virgin outing without a stroller and all the baby-type necessities that you can safely tote. No diapers. No wipes. No sippy cups. No snacks. I took a wallet on a string with chap stick and hand sanitizer, a portable soft sided cooler with their lunches and a small wad of cash.

And, we fed the giraffes (thank the Lord for hand sanitizer!), pointed at meerkats. We rode the train, rode the carousel, watched the leopard walk in circles and watched the tiger walk in lines. We watched the lions ly-in' around . . . . we oohed and aahed the new baby gorilla. We got quite a show from the orangutans and monkeys. We contemplated a pony ride, but opted for a repeat visit to the giraffes.

Point: No stroller . . . . no problemo with parking, leaving valuables in it, or near it . . . never had to set a brake and/or watch it roll down a hill. Never had a battle about who go to ride . . . Didn't have to deal with parking it outside some exhibits where strollers aren't allowed. And, that, fellow parents, was kind of nice.

See how I said "kind of nice" . . . . because it was kind of nice. Kind of nice. Not wonderful. Not great. Easier, yes . . . . . but easier and kind of nice don't go with children, do they? So, I'm left feeling . . victorious that I've raised three children who are all diaper-less, zoo-trekking, self-buckling, I-can-wipe-it-by-myself kids . . . and, truly, awfully nostalgic about the baby days and the little kid times.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Purses

So, I'm reading email from this group of gals on a KIT list . . . Keep in touch, you see. I love it . . But I never respond, becasue I have this lovely blog as my sounding board. Some of the kit-listers visit the blog to get my input or read about my angry butterflies, trials and turmoils.

So, this week, the KIT kicked off with discussion on purses. Here is the synopsis: BAW bought 4 purses to bring home and try out . . . to make sure all the purse stuff would fit in the new purchase . . . Intending to keep one and return 3. In the process of purse-purchasing, she heard 2 women talking about "changing purses as she changes outfits" vs. her personal style -- which is buying one purse, and using it until it wears out.

Since that, so many hilarious emails with personal weigh-ins on purse-personalities.

Now I know . . that someone has a built-in cabinet full of purses and an obsession with them . . . she loves to match purses with shoes, changes them with season and can't resist a good purse sale. I know that someone else has a purse fascination, too. She prefers purses on clearance, and won't pay more than $15 (even if she just can't live without them). She loves straw or crocheted ones in the summer and leather ones with shiny buckes and zippers in the winter and fall. Oh, she has fancy outfit only purses, too. Someone else has learned that a pricy purse will carry you longer (no pun!!) . . . and she uses her husband's pockets for fancy events. I love the vision of someone else slathering lanolin on her black leather backpack at least 3 times a year. She's keeping that bag looking 3 years young! I can't wait for more responses . . .

I, personally, am a non-purse-switcher. I have a fossil purse that I bought on my last trip to Montana, 2 years ago this summer. I saw it on the shoulder of a lady in Target, and I stopped and said, "hey, that looks like the perfect purse . . where did you get it?" She sent me next door to . . . . . what was the name of that store with the RED letters, Homestead?? And I bought it. It's showing age. It has white out stuck to the bottom, granola bar gunge permanently affixed, a sticker from the doctors office stuck to the inside. But, it's perfect. It's neutral colors, which means I don't have to switch by the season. It's tough and the strap is the perfect length. It has divided pockets for my stuff, and little pockets for my little people. The inner pocket is just big enough for one diaper and a ziploc of wipes (although now, one spare pare of underroos fit with lots of room!) It carries coupons and lip ick, little slots for my ONE credit card and my ONE driver's license and my ONE Sam's club card.

Bags . . . I love bags and that is anohter story . . . . Let's talk bags. . . . .
And, I couldn't leave this blog without saying, "what's in your wallet?"

Sunday, March 25, 2007

This week's goals and to do list

* School for Little and Middle
* Eye appointments for Big and Me
* Dentist appointments for the lot of us
* Complete licensure on those last two gals
* Complete verification on those last two gals
* Find airline tickets
* Reserve a rental car
* Get missing documents to Mr. Tax Man
* Send out chart reviews for the System Administrators
* Revise powerpoint for orientation
* Rent aerator from Home Depot
* Use it and return it, all within 4 hours
* Zoo trip planned with friends. That takes up a whole day.
* Kids choice day planned -- There's another whole day. We're going hiking!! And a picnic!! I love kid's choice days! That's what I would have picked anyway!!
* Clean out the middle and top flower beds on the hill.
* Internet shopping for rubber mulch.
* File audits -- I must do 5 this week (one every day, folks).
* Photos and posts for Craig's List.
* Find a copy of Simple Abundance. Need it for a gift. STAT.
* Prep the ground where the raspberries used to be.
* Move the hollyhock.
* Cart those rocks to the front.
* Investigate a Catalpa tree.
* Find a container or bin, or something like it to hold wood, outdoors, not in large quantaties. Any ideas?
* Soccer practice.
* Repeat for the other one.
* Soccer game. Oh, which means I must go over to the soccer offices to pick up uniforms . . when will I do that?

We are supposed to be on break . . and guess what open time I have . . . . um . . . looks like Friday from 1 until 3:30.

Choices

I like choices. Usually, I like choices alot. I like to give choices. I like to limit the kind of choices I give. Example: At home, I don't usually, "what do you want to drink?" . . . I say "do you want milk or water?" That way, I don't have to explain why we don't have ginger ale when it wasn't on the menu from the start.

And, I like choices in the market. I like to be able to buy 100 calorie packs that are still cheetos.
I like choices in all areas of the market. I like choosing wintergreen over peppermint. I like choosing Gala apples over Pink Ladies. I sometimes choose carrots that are cross cut, just for fun. I like choosing between honey ham or brown sugar ham.

I'm contemplating choices right in this moment because of oral hygiene (which, I admit, I'm a little over-the-top with) . . but . . . . Stand in the oral hygiene row. MY-LAND!!

I just wanted a water pik. And I ended up with a water pik, and new toothbruses for the gang. Big's sings "hey now, you're an all star, get your game on . . . ". I'm not joking. It sings for 2 minutes. Seriously, can anyone out there think of a better way to get a kid to brush for 2 minutes? And, the volume automatically adjusts based on how hard they push -- so at the perfect pressure, it sounds best. Hell0? WHO IS THE GENIUS OUT THERE THAT CAME UP WITH THAT???? Middle's . . . flashes for 2 minutes . . . . and again, I say, this is brilliant. This is a great idea. Just brush till it stops flashing. The downside of this toothbrush is that there have been multiple battles this week over brushing in the dark. Little's has the batmobile on it. It doesn't sing or flash, but he LOVES it . . and it's that what matters?

A true testamonial: Buy the Colgate 360. You won't be sorry. It feels good. It's a mouth-moan in the making. This Cogate 360 in combination with water pik-ing, braided floss and a tongue scraper. Mmm, mmm.

Are you shaking your heads? Some women spend gobs of money on make-up or hair products. What can I say? I'm really IN to oral hygiene!!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Trudging through the week.

It's Saturday and I'm still trudging through this week. The cycle of sickness has come full circle now and we are starting at the top with a new bug. Middle missed two days of activities this week for fever and generalized crud. Big made it through school and activites, but started the new bug (the vomiting bug) late last night. The good news: she has great aim and anticipates "its' coming" VERY well. I'm so proud. Little started with the crud last week, got better, and hit a downward spiral only a few hours ago. Fever . . . . nothing sucks to a kid like fever, huh?

And I'm still trudging in more ways that mopping up vomit, wiping bottoms and dealing with the hacking-coughing-I-can-hear-my-husband-wheezing-from-across-the-rooms.

Work. Hiring, firing, reference checking, partner out of town, holding down the fort, four open shifts this weekend . . . I really don't want to work but have to because I owe this thing . . blues. And, I'm eternally in this dilemma (anyone else?) . . HOW CAN I MAKE MORE MONEY AND WORK LESS?

So . . . enough of the pity party . . . geez, I haven't even touched on some things . . . .

Hope springs eternal. We had several days of lovely weather this week. Lovely enough for me to slip on my gardening gloves and clean up flower beds. Ran the hose, swept a few things up. Low and behold, I have tulips popping up. And, my iceland poppies are emerging. Sedum is peeking through. There is yarrow cropping up all over. Iris, oh, I can't wait for iris to bloom. I planted some tubers last fall -- the re-blooming iris hybrid . . . . I'm practically giddy with excitement. Now 2 years ago, I planted a tree for each kid, and a "family" tree. Little's tree grew 4 feet last year, and it has hundreds of promising buds. All of my liliac transplants and root-tone starters look like they have made it. Like I said, I'm practically giddy with excitement. And plans. I'm designing a shade screen that will shelter the patio we built a full October ago (remember helping pour concrete in the rain, Homestead?) and hoping to add vines to the south fence. I saw an advertisement for a lilly tree. Not really a tree, but definately of bush stature. I'm wanting to investigate that . . and of, course, continue my quest for good perennial ground cover.

This week: the last week before spring break. I'd like to get everyone to their activities. I'd like to finalize Middle's soccer schedule. I'd like to survive Science Matters and Girl Scouts. I'd like to catch up payroll. I'd like to hire another system administrator for work, in hopes, of course of working less (I reckon the making more money will come later . . . and quite honestly, I'm fine with that.) I would also like to find a square vase for my bamboo that is less than the one at Pottery Barn. Good golly -- I'm not spending $40 on a vase. Also this week, another eye appointment, a board meeting for the PTA, helping mom move, and helping our family friend in his post-surgical status . . . . manuver to a doctor's visit and keep from going stark raving mad as he recovers from cervical fusion. And that, my friends, is enough. EE-EE-NUFF!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Blu-yuck.

The saddest big brown eyes with the longest, droopiest cheeks ever. Glassy eyes and red hot cheeks. What a bummer. Her hair is all torn up. I asked her this morning if the tornado touched down nearby, or just blew past . . . and she didn't even get it.

But somehow, napping in MY bed and cuddling up with Animal Planet makes it better . . . So guess what I've been doing today? Well, that and watching Little House.

And, not entirely true . . . I managed to shuffle quite a bit of paperwork around and even crossed some major events off of my list. So, not a complete day lost to daytime TV and over the counter children's medication.

I still could do a few things, too . . . I think I'll try now.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Powerful Parenting

My mother. My mother is a strong woman. A woman with eloquent speech and well-developed thoughts. She's a good writer, a good gardener, a woman with strong work-ethic and an overall, great person to have in your corner. She has founded beliefs and she seldom deviates or is ever forced to compromise her integrity.

She is okay with herself and with how other poeple think of her . . . . I know that's easy to type . . . but it's hard to do. We are all constantly being judged by someone. From other women at the grocery store, parents in the pick-up line at school, co-workers and spouses to relatives, butchers and bakers. My mom is okay with her body. She's okay with not having tons of money. She's okay with wrinkles and big feet. She finds comfort in small things, like knitting and preparing a supper for only one. She's okay living alone, jumping into selling a house, buying a new one, installing flooring and painting walls . . . by herself.

I'm proud of my mom for lots and lots of reasons. She's a great mom. She would lay down her life for me. She holds me in high esteem. She doesn't always agree with the choices I have made. Still, she's the pillar of support that I fall back on.

But, the one thing . . the single thing that I am most proud of my mother for doing . . . is breaking a chain of abuse. This single event, her having the emotional fortitude and the internal strength to defend ME and defend MY BROTHER with every cell in her body, has now forever shaped my life and the lives of my children.

That's powerful parenting. That's a committment to change a lifetime of imbedded knowingness . . in the names and for the sake of tiny people who are in your charge. Tiny people whose lives are moldable, whose outlooks are changeable, whose entire personality and lifestyle are shaped by what YOU and what YOU choose to expose them to.

And that's courage. And that's strength. And that is a mother's love. What, in the next day, week, year . . will I have the strength, the courage, the fortitude to stand up to? In the names and for the sakes of my children?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

From the Side of a Starbucks Cup

"The Way I See It #217"

(This REALLY is from the side of a Starbucks cup . . . And I like it so much, I'm giving credit to it here.)

"The day my son was born, I simultaneously died and was reborn. Every day before that day, my life had been about me and what I wanted the world to give me. Every day since, my life necessarrily has been about what I can give to someone else. And that, I think, is why the world needs more children - and more parents."

-- Kevin Streit, Attorney from Richmond, Virginia

Monday, March 05, 2007

Those Phrases that Echo in Your Mind.

Quotes from my home . . that wake me in the morning and echo in my mind all day long.

Little: "Shake your jug of milk, and go out on patrol."
Little: "I'm Larry Boy. I have super suction ears."
Big: "This is ridiculous."
Little (as he is sitting in the refrigerator, pushing the button to turn the light off): "It's night time in the jungle."
Middle (as she jumps off the 6th step): "Banzai . . . look out below."
Middle (asking for an under-dog, aka under-duck on the swing at the park): "Gimme a backwards duct tape."

Dealing with My Stick.

Homestead's pick this week. I'm dealing with my stick. My chapstick. She's given me the mission to locate, evaluate and terminate. Visit her blog to see her type-A list of chapstick locations. I'm simple.

I like my lip lube.

I have lube in the junk drawer in the kitchen. I have everything in there . . .
I have a cherry chapstick in my office.
I have a mint-glossy thing from Bath and Body Works in my purse. (HIGHLY recommend!)
I have a blistix roller ball, can't-melt and get gooey in the car thingie . . in the car console.
I have a cherry chapstick on the tray by my sink for bedtime lip-ick.
I have a cherry chapstick in the bedside table for noctural lip emergencies.

Extras, I have stashed in the bottom center drawer in that cute drawer thing . . where I have stashed everything that isn't in the junk drawer in the kitchen . . .

I've dealt with my stick. Yee Haw . . and it's only Tuesday.