Monthly Archives: September 2009

Unsolicited Advice

Yesterday I was eating lunch out with Asa and Lydia. Things were a little bit crazy, but it usually is when you go to a restaurant and are outnumbered by children. Our waiter, bless his heart, was a tall man with incredibly long, beautiful dreadlocks who was completely baffled by our cloud of chaos.

When I went to order I said(while nodding really big at him), “You’re all out of fries today, riiiiight??”

Dreadhead: “Um…n…uh…yes ma’am, we are??”

Me: “Oh, well, Lydia…they’re all out of fries. You’ll have to have broccoli instead.”

When he brought me the check he said, “You know, I’m having my first child in December…and you really taught me a good trick with the broccoli thing.  Thanks.”

I aim to please.

So as I was driving home I thought about something else that someone at church recently told me: “I mean this as a complement, but it might not sound like it when I say it; you’re not at all like most young mothers today.”  By the way, when she said this I had one child running around the room aimlessly, one child playing under the table, and one child covered in cream cheese and jelly.  I knew exactly what she meant.

And so, as I was driving home from lunch, thinking about my dreadlocked waiter, and the “not like most young mothers” comment, I thought…I should come up with a list of my “anti-rules”. Things I do that probably go against the mainstream today.

  1. It’s ok to lie to your kids.  Sometimes.  Now…I know lying to your kids is probably not something most therapists would suggest, and I’m really only an advocate for it on the small, inconsequential stuff.  But we lie to them about Santa and the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy, so what’s the harm in convincing your child that english peas are power dots, or that granola bars are actually candy bars, or, oh…I don’t know…telling your vegetable-needing kid that the store is all out of fries.  We shouldn’t, however, lie to them about the fact that Aunt Susie died.  She isn’t “flying with the angels”, she’s dead.
  2. Watching TV won’t kill your kid or his/her brain cells.  But you may kill them if you don’t get a break.  If you need a break, make sure they’re somewhere secure, turn on Mickey Mouse or Lightning McQueen and go to the bathroom.  (Here comes the lying thing again:  I have “used the bathroom” a lot in the past few years.  And my “use the bathroom” I mean “hide in the bathroom with my iPod earbuds in, singing my heart out and/or crying”.
  3. Along the same lines, new parents really listen hard to this one: babies cry.  Sometimes for no reason at all.  And it’s ok.  No baby has ever died from crying too much.  (I don’t think.)  If it incessant wailing becomes more than you can handle, put the baby in her/his carseat, place it somewhere safe and go outside.  Take the monitor with you if it makes you feel better, but turn it off.  And only turn it on long enough to make sure (s)he is still breathing.  Experience has taught me that after about 15-20 minutes, they usually give up and fall asleep.
  4. God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt.  Ok, well that’s not really my anti-rule, but it is something I usually believe in.  Should you wash your hands after you go to the bathroom?  Of course.  Should you sneeze in your hand and then shake someone else’s hand?  No.  But should you use hand sanitizer every time you touch someone or something?  No.  Remember than your child needs exposure to some germs and allergens in order to build up immunity.
  5. Focus on what’s really important.  The world isn’t going to end if your child goes up the slide instead of down it.  There’s no need to go into crisis mode if little Johnny writes on his arm with markers. But somethings really do need your attention: teaching love, peacefulness, patience, self-control, gentleness, faithfulness.  Hmm…these sound familiar.

Saying all that, I’m not at all suggesting I’m a perfect mother.  Far from it, actually.  Like many mothers, I would guess, there are days when I think, “Ok…this is pretty awesome.  We’re in a groove and all is going great!”  Other days I think, “What have I done???”  But I have realized that when I let some things slide, I’m more relaxed, my kids are chilled out, and we usually end up having fun.

Joshua Bell Music Review

**This is a sponsored review.  I did not get paid to write it, but I did get a free Joshua Bell CD.  This is my honest, unbiased opinion.**

Joshua Bell At Home Cover

It’s well established that I’m a bit of a music snob.  I’m fairly picky about what I like, although when I like a sound I don’t just like it…I love it.  And I love Joshua Bell.  His latest CD, At Home With Friends, comes out today, and you should download it as soon as you finish reading this.  🙂

Joshua teamed up with a phenomenal group of musicians to make this album: Chris Botti, Sting, Josh Groban, Nathan Gunn, and one of my long-time favorites: Kristin Chenoweth. There is also an amazing Zenph re-performance by Sergei Rachmaninoff, one of my favorite composers and pianists.

On this album, Joshua shows quite a range in his sound.  On the case, it says:

At Home With Friends is inspired by Joshua Bell’s fondness for hosting informal musicales in his Manhattan home.  Join Joshua as he celebrates the many musical friendships he has made over the years – a diverse group of artists sharing their love of music in an initmate setting.

And it shows.  There are your typical violin pieces as well as a touch of Broadway, pop, and latin music.  I was going to list my favorite songs, and then realized that half of them are my favorites!  Il Postino is hauntingly beautiful, and Lydia askes to listen to it over and over.  The Beatles cover of Eleanor Rigby is crazy-awesomely improved(how was that possible?) by the violin part.  Joshua and Kristin performing My Funny Valentine nearly brought me to tears the first time I heard it.  And I am excited to be introduced to the sound of Regina Spektor, who has that cross between folksy and artsy sound that I love.

I have thouroughly enjoyed this album and plan to keep it in my “Recently Played” folder on my iPod.  I hope that you will, too.

Cheap Sheep

Yesterday was Lydia’s turn to be the sweetheart in her class.  When you’re the sweetheart, you get to be the line leader.  You get to bring snacks for the whole class.  You get to bring home Sally the snake.  (A plush classroom snake.)

So when I saw that Lydia was the sweetheart on “Mary Had a Little Lamb” day, I immediately emailed her teacher this:

So…um…on “Mary Had a Little Lamb” day, can I send lamb chops for snack?

Her response:

As long as you’re willing to pay for the therapy sessions all the kids will need once I explain what lamb chops are.

Since I wasn’t willing to shell out that kind of money, I came up with another idea.

See, I love a craft.  But do you know what’s better than a craft?  An edible craft!

Here you go:

Since I’m cheap and lazy, I bought refrigerated sugar cookie dough.

Roll it out and use a sheep-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the desired number of cookies.

LambCookie01 Bake and cool cookies.

Use a food coloring pen to draw an eye and a smile.


Put a little frosting on top of the cookie and let your kiddo spread it around.


Then add marshmellows to the top of that and…tah-dah: a cheap sheep cookie!



Forty years ago:

Renee, I met you at BlogHer and loved hearing you talk about your daughter.  A close friend of mine had adopted from China about the time that you adopted Bunny, and it was fun to compare notes.  I am so very exicted that you guys are going to have the opportunity to add another child to your family.  There’s nothing sweeter than bringing home a new child.

I hope that you have a happy, happy birthday…and forty more fabulous years!

Sentences on Sunday

Dearest Carter, Lydia and Asa,

You have all put up with a lot this week.  Late, late bedtimes.  Countless hours spent at the church.  More TV than you should ever be able to watch.  Napless days.  Snackless afternoons.   And I’m sorry about some of those things.  But I’m not sorry about being able to share with you the joy of working with others for the greater good.

Lydia, you were so cute trying to paint.

Carter, thanks for helping me wash out the brushes.

And Asa, you may think you were too little to do anything, but when I was exhausted beyond all imaginable exhaustion…your smile was the best pick-me-up evah.

I love you all!

I *almost* failed

It’s 11:46.  I have 14 minutes to get this post up if I want to not fail my self-inflicted NaBloPoMo challenge.

I knew that this week was going to be a  little more hectic than usual.  I’m currently working with the youth at my church as a temporary youth minister.  I’m also on a committee at church to plan for renovations to the youth area.  This week was a huge undertaking: we got volunteers from our church to sign up for different time slots and we scraped, fixed, sanded, and painted for hours upon hours upon hours.  And it really paid off.  It looks amazing.  (You’ll just have to trust me…I don’t have any pictures right now.)

And tonight, the night before Homecoming, as my dad and I worked to get everything finished for tomorrow…I took a moment to remember not only the memories of the past, but the new memories I formed this week.  I spent time talking with old friends.  I made new friends.  I cultivated relationships where there was previously superficiality.

Have I missed the blog-o-sphere this week?  Is my Google Reader about to explode?  Do I really have 92 unread messages even after taking out all the spam, facebook emails and forwards?  Sure.

But I enjoyed the week.  And I can’t wait for everyone to see the fruits of our labors tomorrow.

11:58.  It’s a sucky post, but I made it.

Fun Fridays

**Those of you who commented yesterday:  thanks!  Really.**

While Marshall was in medical school and residency, I worked as a nanny(btw, best job evah!).  When I first started with the J family,  I didn’t have kids of my own.  My husband was always in the anatomy lab or studying or on call.  I didn’t have any (non-med school) friends.  I had two dogs and a lot of DVDs.  And books…my, oh my with the hundreds of books I read.  (Do you know what I would give to have an hour of uninterrupted reading time these days??)

Point being:  I had a lot of free time on my hands. Time to scour my craft books and the internet for ideas for all of us to do together.  (I think I had as much fun coming up with ideas as I did actually doing them!  ‘Cause I really am that dorky!)

Anyway, I decided to come up with something called “Fun Friday”.  During the school year, I’d pick up the girls from school and the first question would be, “What are we gonna do for Fun Friday????”  We would go places, bake things, make things, paint things…we made and did so much!  It was fun.  They looked forward to it, and I looked forward to it, too!

I always thought I’d do it with my kids, too.  And I did for a while.  When I was still with the J family, it was easy to do stuff with them and let the little kids join in.  But since we moved away, I’ve moved away from Fun Friday.  Over the summer, our weekdays and weekend days kind of blended together.  I never knew what day of the week it was!  But now the kids have started back to school, and we’re beginning to settle into a pretty good routine.  I’ve never been a strict schedule person but having some stability is nice, I must admit.

But I’m hoping…really hoping that I can bring Fun Friday back!  I’m going to try to do one craft or project or something fun every Friday.  Maybe, just maybe, I’ll get pictures and ideas posted here.  I’m a crafter at heart…and I can’t wait to figure out what our first craft is going to be!!

Anybody got a great idea for tomorrow??

I am not a good socializer

Ok…so most of you who know me personally are all like “WHAT? She’s not a good socializer??  She’s always up in my bidness.”  (Well, most of you aren’t thugs and you probably don’t say it quite like that, but you get the point.)

And my dear, dear IRL friends…you’re right.  It is weird to hear myself say I’m not a good socializer.  Because once I know you, I hold nothing back.  You want my opinion?  You got it.  You want to know what I think about swine flu or Jesus Christ or abortion?  Just ask me.  Assuming we’re in the right place, I’ll tell you what I think.  No qualms about it.

BUT if we’ve just met or I don’t know you?  Unless we have a friend in common to bridge the awkwardness?  Yeah…um…I’m shy.  Almost painfully so.  And I hate it.  Because I know I’m witty.  I know I can come up with great comebacks.  I know that I can be charming and fun to be around.  But when I get in an unfamiliar place with too many unfamiliar people, my brain seems to go into sleep mode.  And I can’t, for the life of me, put together a coherent statement.  And then I feel like an idiot.  And dammit, I am many things but I am not an idiot.  I feel inferior because my feeble little brain can’t come up with anything intelligent to say.  And WTH?  I’m not inferior.  I’m not.  I don’t know why I can’t get past that middle school mentality.  I hate it.

And this carries over into the blog-o-sphere, too.

I’m not one of the popular bloggers.  I’m not, by far, one of the big names.  I don’t get tons of emails to “Dear Blogger” that so many people complain about.  (And I’m not sure I want to be one of those bloggers, really.  I’m pretty sure it’d stress me out…which is the opposite of what this blog is supposed to do for me.)

And although I had fun at BlogHer, I have to admit that I was a little overwhelmed at the enormity of it all and it stressed me out a little.  I wasn’t prepared(although I should have been, I guess) for the barrage of companies pimpin’ their stuff.  I wasn’t prepared(although I should have been) for the reaction to free stuff.  I wasn’t prepared(although…yes, I should have been) for the somewhat high school clique thing that was going on.  But I hung with my peeps.  And I had fun.  And if I had the option to do it all over again, I totally would.

(BTW, for those who are interested, I’m still planning on trying to get to Blissdom.  It seems to be more my size, and it’s in Nashville which I love love LOVE.)

But one thing about having a blog is, admit it or not, all most bloggers want comments.  (You do have  some people who turn comments off…but really?  I don’t get that.)  I like comments.  I know that my IRL blogger friends like comments.  Heck, most of you on facebook probably like it when someone comments on your status, don’t you?  It feels good to know that someone else has something to say about what you’re writing.

Herein lies my dilemma: I love to read other blogs.  Really.  It’s like reading a book of short stories, which is awesome.  There’s always a variety of things to read.
Want a good laugh? I can usually go here (or at least to her Twitter feed).
Need a pick-me-up?  Go here.
Want to see some amazingly creative photography that reminds me how much of a novice I really am?  Go here.
Want a smile or just look at the cutest kid ever? Yep, here‘s where to go for that.
Want to remind myself that I’m not crazy and there are other people like me out there that have really bad mommy days and have the balls to tell the whole interwebz? Got that covered too.

But you want to know my secret?  I rarely comment.  I want to.  I really do.  These women are amazing writers.  They inspire me.  I am always interested in what they post.  But usually I get to the end of the post and think, “Well, damn…I have nothing to say”.  I mean what’s up with that?  I usually can’t stop the words coming out of my mouth.  I tend to ramble(as is obvious on this post) on and on and on.  I can talk for a long, long time.  A really long time.  But even though I’ve met most of these women(and yes, they are as wonderful offline as online), I read a post and I get all stupid in the head.  Hello, Middle School Bridget.  Thanks for dropping by and leaving me with nothing but “great post!” or “beautifully written”.  Seriously?  Why can’t I come up with anything better than that?

I think my problem is that I read something, and I think, “That’s it!  That’s exactly what I think/feel/believe!!!”  And I’m so overwhelmed that somebody else thinks/feels/believes what I think/feel/believe that I kind of freeze up.  I know it’s silly.  I KNOW.  But I don’t know how to fix it.  But I’m going to try.  I will not comment with “beautiful post” again.  I will not say “you said it better than I ever could”.  I will think those things, and then I will comment.  A real, more-than-one-word comment.

And to those of you who regularly comment on my blog?  Thank you.  You’re awesome.  I rarely get “great post!” comments from you.  Wait…that didn’t come out quite like I meant it to.  But you know what I mean, right?

Nine Months

Today Asa is nine months old.


He doesn’t even have teeth.  Where are those damn teeth?

Slowly moving away from baby food.  Cutting up tiny pieces of carrots, beans, chicken, apples, peaches.

You know, dude?  Teeth would make things a lot easier on the both of us.

And I simply cannot believe you’re so close to crawling!  The rolling started months ago, but you were still containable.  Build a pillow fortress around you and I could keep you contained.  But no more.  You’re ready to keep up with the big kids.

Wait up, guys!!  Wait for me!  I wanna go, too.  Hang on…I’m coming!

They adore you, you know?  Your brother and sister.

And I adore you, too.  You really do light up a room.

No one can keep their hands off of those thick, chunky football player legs you have.

You love the attention.

You’re so laid-back.  Much more than the rest of us.  You remind me so much of my brother.

I hope you have his sense of humor.  That’s my favorite part about him.

My favorite part about you?  Ironically your toothless old man grin.  It’ll be gone before I know it.

And I’ll miss it.

And I’ll miss you in all your babyness.

But at the same time, I can’t wait to see what you’ll be like at 1.  At 5  At 15. At 50.

You are my sunshine.

My little sunshine.

You make me happy when skies are grey.

You’ll never know, dear, how much I love you.

Please don’t take my sunshine away.

Your Thoughts Count

I have just begun navigating the world of social media advertising.  It’s all about stats and visitors and hits and how much time the average person stays on your blog and where those readers are and all kinds of crap like that.  What’s your Page Rank?  How many subscribers do you have?  How many unique visitors do you get a month?

And frankly, I’ve dipped my toes into the stat pool, and I think the water’s a little chilly.  I’m just not ready to dive in.

I already have a few review obligations.  I started working up a disclosure statement.  I even have a shell of a review blog sitting and waiting to be developed.

And yet…I’m just not sure.

I love telling others about products that I find and love.  I love sharing about great deals and bargains.  I’ve loved getting free stuff.  And everything I’ve gotten so far has been stuff I like.  Stuff I’ll really use.  Stuff that I would have told you about anyway, even if I hadn’t gotten it free.

But it won’t always be that way.  Inevitably I’m going to get some product that I’m just going to hate.  And I refuse to write about something I don’t believe in or some product that I don’t love.  It’s just not me.

So what do you think?  Go for the review blog in addition to this one?  Do a few reviews here every now and then?  Get as far away from social media advertisers as possible?  Run run run as fast as I can?  Help me out here people….