Friday, July 30, 2010
Also something I feel like screaming to the world these days.
I'm eyeing that lonely little cave again. The cave I want to crawl into. Where I can sleep for 6 days. I can get up when I want to. I can do what I want to. I can move how I want to.
I'm coming to terms with a realization about myself.
I am fake.
I'm as real as can be on my blog (that's why I love it so much). But in real life, in day-to-day work my butt off life, I do what I "should" do. I do what looks the best.
I clean the house like a mad woman when people are coming over - even though in real life, I don't really care if there are a few crumbs on the floor. I fly through a work project until I make myself nauseous just so I can be finished FAST. I check my hair and face before playing outside in gazillion-degree temperatures, just in case I see someone. God forbid I ever look like a frazzled mom of a 2-year-old diva.
When do I do something just because I want to? When Amelia is around, she tells me where to sit, what to play, when to play, how to come down the stairs, what to fetch her for snack. I can't do anything MY way. I can't even pee without her close supervision. Maybe it's my fault for letting her dictate so many things. But I'm too tired to fight more tantrums when I really can wait to take my turn on the stairs. Or hold it on the potty until Amelia is settled on her stepstool to observe. These are little things, and I can do them. Just like I can do that extra favor for a friend. And take on that extra project at work. And drag myself to another play place because it makes Amelia happy.
But I'm ready for 2 minutes of ME. Me, me, me, me, me. I'm ready to take the "perfect mom" role and throw it out of a 10-story window. Why can't I just be flawed? Does anyone out there really care? No - I know they don't. I do this to myself.
Maybe tomorrow I'll keep my PJs on all day. Maybe I'll take a shower at noon. Maybe I'll take time for me.
Serenity now!!!!!! Serenity. Now.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Out of the blue, we have been challenged with night fears. Amelia woke at 1:30 a.m. the other night yelling, "Mommy, Daddy, I'm scared!". Her little body was shaking all over and her eyes were dilated huge & black. It took quite a while to calm her. But even then, she would not stay in her room alone. I tried sleeping on her bedroom floor, but I was too uncomfortable to remain there. The floor let out a small squeak upon my attempt to sneak out, and Amelia woke again, screaming for me not to leave her.
That night she slept in a pack-n-play in our room. She fell asleep right away and we all got some rest until morning.
Yesterday, she cried for a few minutes when I left her for naptime. But her exhaustion took over quickly and she was able to get a luxurious 2-hour nap. Night was a different story - the panic set in again. She cries like we've never heard her cry before. She clings to us like her life depends on a physical connection between us. Steve sat in the chair in her room until she fell asleep. Luckily, he was much more successful upon sneaking out than I had been previously.
Last night she stayed in her room. She cried out again at 1:45 a.m. "Mommy, Daddy, help me!". Once again, Steve went in to calm her (he is WAY better at getting her calmed down than I am. I tend to freak out with her... not ideal.), and managed to get back to bed in about 30 minutes.
This morning, Amelia was proud of herself for making it through the night in her room. Wish us luck for tonight! It breaks my heart that she has fears. Her world is supposed to be comfortable. And fun. And full of toys. Scary things do not belong!
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
I want to do all I can for my husband's family and especially his sister, who was involved in an accident on July 8th. She is getting fantastic care at a phenomenal rehab center in Atlanta, but will be learning to live life all over again - from a wheelchair. She is a sweet, gentle, caring person. She is lucky to have survived the accident, and came out of it with the use of her arms, no brain damage, and breathing on her own. Those were miracles out of her tragedy.
We created a blog documenting my SIL's progress. It's also a place where friends and family can send their supportive messages. And now we've added a fundraiser. We want to make sure my SIL gets the best equipment for her home, a proper retrofit for her car, and a wheelchair that fits her needs. Insurance covers some of this, short-term disability holds some of her income, and her husband's employer has been so kind to keep him paid while he is in Atlanta with his wife. But we know the bills will add up. And if we can help to take the financial stress away, then a little more focus can be given to healing and overcoming.
Parents, school is starting soon. If you want a simple gesture for your kids' teachers as you begin a new school year, consider our apple charm pin fundraiser. My SIL is a teacher, and her fellow disctrict teachers/friends will be wearing these until she returns to school.
If you are interested, click the envelope icon on the right sidebar to email me (julie@3MomsInOne.com). I'll get your address for shipping and send instructions for how to pay.
Thank you! Have a safe and happy day.
Monday, July 26, 2010
I started blogging to have a place where I could babble on about my day, my kid, my feelings, my fears. Now, only six months later, I am thrilled to be "talking" to 90+ unique visitors each week (Google Analytics), and very humbled to be an official nominee on Nickelodeon's Parents Connect Parents' Choice Awards. It's fun to spend my oh-so-precious free time doing something I love and actually touching a few people along the way.
So with my newest bloggy award, I'm supposed to post 10 things you don't know about me. Hmm... okay. Here goes:
1) I am addicted to the bottled Starbucks Frappucinos. I get really excited when my Costco coupons arrive and they have one for my yummy caffeine drink.
2) I wanted to be a writer all through elementary school. At age 5, I wrote a story titled "Hammy the Hamster". I hard-bound my story in cardboard and did the illustrations myself. I still wish I could write for a living.
3) In middle and high school, I wanted to be an actress. I performed in a few community children's theater plays. I still secretly wish that I could do that for a living also.
4) I used to work at The Weather Channel. Yet I never had a clue what the weather was outside. I was the one who would open the door upon leaving for the day and say, "Oh man, it's raining!?!?"
5) I was a band kid. Played the flute. But after two years of marching band in high school, I realized I wanted to be HEARD. So I switched to percussion/cymbals. Now that was my kind of volume!
6) I don't run. Ever. I see my neighbors with amazing bodies running along the sidewalk with their dogs or kids everyday. I wish I could look like them... but with a lot less effort. Have they invented calorie-burning ice cream yet?
7) I love the beach. Nothing helps me de-stress and chill out better than the sound of the ocean. I believe it is one of the most healing sounds on earth.
8) I have never owned a dog. I can't stand the big ones who jump and lick. Nor the little ones who smell kinda funky and yap all day. If I ever got a dog, I'd go with something medium-sized and well-behaved. I love Welsh Corgis. The Queen of England owns some; surely they are proper little creatures? Maybe they have tea parties?
9) I am a terrible sleeper. I wake at least 3-4 times each night. And lately I've been having nightmares. Not helping with my exhaustion issues.
10) I am terrified to have another kid... oh wait, you probably knew that.
So, there you are. Me me me. You are now an expert on me. Wasn't that fun?
I'm going to pass on the bloggy love.
Behold, the recipients of the "Balancing Mama Finds Time to Read Me!" Award.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Amelia brought her toy doctor kit so she could make sure the nursing staff was taking good care of her sweet aunt. She held her aunt's arm and helped guide the wheelchair through the halls. She told us all to "shhhh" when her aunt closed her eyes for a brief rest.
It was so heartwarming to see such a small child take such a loving, gentle approach. She seemed to understand that things were different, but she embraced that difference and projected her love and attention onto her beloved aunt.
Sometimes my girl can be really sweet. I am so proud of her.
And of my sister-in-law for fighting so hard and keeping a smile on her face.
Friday, July 23, 2010
The price was pretty hard to ignore. Formula costs a fortune! And this little baby could easily consume 4 ounces in one feeding - at 9 days old. A friend told us to join Costco. Not only did Costco sell Similac in larger cans, they also accepted the $5 Similac coupons we received periodically. In the initial year, we easily regained our $50 membership fee in formula purchases alone.
Once we switched to regular milk, however, I began to wonder if there was any real savings. And if so, how much. Costco's sizes are larger than what you'd find at the other stores, so a simple comparison doesn't work. Last year, I embarked on a mini research project to figure out if Costco was, in fact, worth the $50 membership fee:
- I looked only at household non-consumable goods. I didn't look at food, since Costco brands are often unique and hard to find elsewhere.
- I documented the size and price of 25 common purchases at both Costco and Target (trash bags, toothpaste, shampoo, shaving cream, ibuprofen, Jet Dry, fabric softener, Ziploc bags, etc.)
- I converted each product to a "price per" (price per toothpaste tube, price per ounce, etc.)
- I estimated the # of purchases I would generally have for each product in one year.
- Then I calculated the annual cost difference per product, purchased at Costco and Target.
It turns out, on general consumer goods alone, we save almost $200 per year by purchasing from Costco. In addition, the gasoline savings is always $0.10 - $0.12 per gallon, compared to any other station in the immediate area. If between our two cars, my husband and I fill up 50 times per year, we save an additional $80. And again, this doesn't take into account any food/drink purchases, which definitely add up the savings further. As does the Costco American Express card that recoups 1%-3% of our purchases in cold, hard cash each March. A $200 check right around tax time is a always fun surprise.
It was a lengthy project, and totally nerdy (I know!), but now I can keep my $50 membership card without remorse.
(Disclaimer: Costco had nothing to do with this post. I'm just a research dork sometimes. Maybe someone out there in blog land will find it useful.)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Moms, have a laugh at this one:
Single Ladies by a Pregnant Redhead.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Since the entire in-law clan lives in Florida, our home is going to be a hotel for the next 2-3 months. I will do everything I can for this family and for my sister-in-law's amazing friends. So many people have come together to pray for her and support her. The least I can do is open my doors, fix up some beds, fold out the convertible couch, and welcome them into our house. As long as they don't mind frozen pizzas, pasta, and hamburgers, I can even feed them.
Maybe once everyone gets settled, I can convince someone to watch my spunky little girl for a while. A break would do me some good.
But none of this is about me. So most of all, I wish for a miraculous journey for my sweet sister-in-law. May her pain and worry disappear. May she find peace and happiness for an incredible life to come.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
But I don't want to paint my girl to be a monster. She has a sweet heart and a truly entertaining sense of humor. And never fail, she tells me about her "no-nos" later. She confesses anything she did wrong at school. When Steve comes home, she tells him about any bodily harm she caused me that day. So somewhere in that little head she has regret. She knows what she did was wrong, but she just can't control it in the moment of frustration.
As we stepped out of the mall last night, post-incident, after practically dragging her (while crying) all the way through JC Penney, she sniffles a few times and says,
Frustrated and angry, I manage to spit out, "What is it, Amelia?"
"Mommy? Mommy... I had a great time."
I was too angry, embarrassed, and exhausted to appreciate that comment at the time. Now I think it's pretty funny.
Ugh... what I am going to do with this girl? Too feisty for her own good. But too clever and cute to lose me for very long.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
The agency that protects the economic and social well-being of families. And protects children and adults from violence - from other adults.
Which department protects the mom & dad from their child's violence?
I could worry myself sick over Amelia's behavior. Yes, she's two years old. Yes, I know tantrums are normal. I know she has difficulty handling emotions. And a serious dislike for the word "no". But Steve and I have more scratches and bruises on us than we care to count. It is unacceptable.
Today, Amelia and I were at the mall. She didn't want to leave the play area, but it was time to go. She had 5 minutes of ample warning to get psyched up to depart. Did it help? Oh NO...it did not. She threw herself on the ground and screamed. I gave her a minute, but when she didn't calm down, I picked her up and carried her out. Her response? She slapped me across the face so hard it made three people near us gasp in horror.
Two days ago, Amelia ran towards the street. Instead of stopping when we yelled to her, she laughed and kept on going. Steve picked her up and brought her inside. What did he get? A bleeding eyelid! (Yes, apparently your eyelid can bleed. And it's not pretty.)
About a week ago, Amelia pulled my hair so furiously that I was screaming in pain. Steve had to come to my rescue and pry her nasty little fingers apart.
What breaks my heart is that these are not the only examples. Amelia hits, pulls hair, and pinches on a daily basis. This behavior seems to be directed entirely at her parents (lucky us). Thank goodness she doesn't do it to kids... but I REALLY don't want to suffer anymore.
Timeout doesn't work unless we bring her to her room where she can be closed in by the gate. But to get her to timeout, we have to carry her - and suffer the wrath of those flailing arms and fingernails. And if we're in public, there is nowhere to secure her. The car, maybe - but again, flailing arms and vicious fingernails. We've begun to spank her (and explain afterwards why we had to do so, and how it's different than hitting from anger). I don't think she understands that, either. We've tried ignoring the behavior, but when 1/3 of my hair is about to be ripped from the follicles, I definitely can not ignore it.
To be fair, Amelia has her share of adorable, sweet moments. For the most part, she is a funny and energetic kid. She takes care of her stuffed animals with a gentle touch and soft voice. She does the same for me sometimes. But those moments of anger can take an otherwise wonderful day of togetherness and erase it from my mind.
I know I won't be getting any mommy-of-the-year awards. I have a lot to learn. But I try to show love and respect to Amelia at all times. I try to be consistent with my rules. Have I done something so wrong to cause this violent behavior? Or did I just manage to give birth to a bloodthirsty little monster? I'm seriously terrified that she's messed up. And even more terrified that I did something to cause it.
Is there a boarding school for 2-year olds?
Friday, July 16, 2010
Remember that preschool game, Cootie? I had this when I was a kid. Never actually knew how to play it as a game, but I snapped those eyes, lips, and legs on the plastic bugs over & over again. So Amelia is now the proud owner of a $6 Cootie game. Just like I did 25 years ago, Amelia enjoyed putting the little plastic Cootie bugs together.
The big score for Amelia today was this:
Her new sand & water table! Not sure why I picked an outdoor toy when it's 99 degrees outside... but it makes my girl happy. Even if it causes me to change clothes 3 times a day from sweat.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
It's the question you are not supposed to ask. It's the word that sticks in your brain and pains your heart. And it seems it's the hardest thing to push away in times of trouble.
The rest of the world moves on. We're expected to go back home. Go back to work. But when someone we love is in pain and facing a tremendous emotional challenge, it's almost too hard.
It is not easy to spend countless moments in a hospital, searching for progress wherever it may be found. But it's definitely not easy to be back home, either. The world keeps moving on. They move on with a smile. But we have heavy hearts. And only the big picture matters anymore.
I want to know WHY.
Being a perfect mom? Now only means being there for your child, no matter how old. Just like my mother-in-law, standing by her eldest daughter.
Being a working mom? I don't even care anymore. I will put forth the effort I can, but I can't bring myself to think it matters. At all.
A happy mom? I can rejoice in the funny things my daughter does, but my heart hurts. Even when I'm feeling OK, I see the pain in my husband's eyes as he worries about his sister. And then I hurt again.
I want to know WHY.
Monday, July 12, 2010
My dad always said, "It doesn't matter how old you get. If you're 40 years old, you are still my little girl."
I'm seeing this in action as we feel our way through this family tragedy. You can see the care and concern in every inch of my mother-in-law's face. Her little girl is hurting. Her little girl is scared. She is feeling these emotions as well, but those are put aside. Only her daughter matters.I hope none of us have to endure the pain of our children. But it's inspiring to see just how strong a mama can be when put to the test.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
My gentle, caring, lovely sister-in-law is facing quite a test in her life right now. She is blessed with an amazing family who will go the extra mile (or 500 miles) for her. A husband who is caring and hard-working. And some lifelong friends who will help hold her up when she feels like it's too hard to go on.
It is said that when God closes a door, he opens a window.
It's hard to see that open window right now, but I know we'll find it.
And by the way, nothing brings so many smiles in times of stress than a 2-year-old (adorable) girl yelling "smooches!" in the hospital.
Maybe she should visit there more often. It's inspiring to see a little extra light flicker in the eyes of families who are worrying about the ones they love.
If only we could bottle the joy of a child. We'd make millions.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Please send prayers.
So do not fear for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my hand.
Baby girls are dramatic!
They have such raw emotion and willpower. They will let you know if something just isn't going their way.
Amelia tricked us. She did nothing but sleep and eat in the hospital after she was born. She was relatively quiet and really laid back. We couldn't help but be pleased with how easy this baby was going to be. Ha - fools. Once Amelia got home and worked up those lung muscles, she let us know what kind of girl she really was.
A pushover? Definitely not.
A drama queen? Absolutely.
Another blogger (Amber Page Writes) wrote this week about the surprises she has faced with a toddler. Read it HERE.
This post is perfect for us. Although a few of our battles have subsided (diaper changes and car seats are not so bad since I've learned the fine art of bribery), we can certainly relate to these.
Would I change Amelia if I could? Maybe... just the tantrums. But all in all, she is too unique to change. She has the ability to rule the world if she so chooses. If she sets her mind to a positive goal, she will get there. Of that I have no doubt.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Yesterday was a pretty rough day. I allowed several stresses to get the best of me. I lost all my patience and nearly all my hope. I spent the evening stuck in what felt like an out-of-body experience. I was just too worn out to really "be" there.
But I live with an incredible friend whom I can always talk to. My husband. Even when I could not muster up the strength to talk about it, he simply ran his fingers through my hair until I was able to give up my stress and fall asleep.
And sleep I did!
Nine hours of coma-like sleep. My body and mind were exhausted even more than I realized. Oh, how I needed that.
So today is another day. And it's been a great one! Amelia began her "big girl" school schedule. I went to the office and managed several moments of serious productivity. The time flew by. I swear this was the shortest day I've experienced since Amelia was born.
Steve was also thinking of his little girl today. He decided to leave work EARLY and join me to pick her up from school. He got to share in the joy of seeing that round little face light up. Amelia and I got to have some extra (and wonderful!) company for the afternoon. And to top it all off, he grilled a wonderful dinner for us! Pork chops with a semi-homemade honey BBQ sauce and grilled peppers & onions. With cupcakes for dessert (I picked them up to celebrate Amelia's first big girl school day).
Now we have full bellies, contented minds, and happy hearts.
Things always turn around, don't they?
Today is Amelia's first day of extended stay school. She's going Tuesdays & Thursdays from 9:00 to 4:00. This is our very first experience with a longer school/daycare day. And it will be my longest period of time in the office in about 2-1/2 years.
4 straight hours in the office - that can't be so bad. I can probably bet that I won't have to pick any screaming people off the floor and put them in timeout. I do not expect anyone to push, hit, scratch, or pull my hair. I'm pretty sure all my coworkers can get their own lunch and clean up after themselves. And I think they all know how to use the big kid potty.
This should be easy. If my brain is ready.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Visiting family this weekend.
A big picnic celebration by the lake on Sunday.
More family that evening.
And a day off from work on Monday!
Sounds good to me.
Friday, July 2, 2010
My blog has it's own Facebook page. And I'm on Twitter. And I finally got everything situated within my BlogFrog community. I really enjoy reading and learning from my BFF (Blog Frog Friend) blogs. And when time doesn't permit to visit all the blogs, I can keep an eye on them via Twitter.
Am I going too far? Am I straying from my initial intent of this blog? Perhaps. But geez... the mommy blogger peer pressure! It can be pretty intense. I am but a teeny tiny fish in the enormous mom blog pond. My readers are awesome and loyal (especially my Mom. Hi Mom!), but I do not have the hundreds, even thousands, that other blogs have. Maybe one day.
I do add some stress to my life with this blog. More things to do. More sites to visit and update. But I still enjoy writing it. And, though comments I get may be few & far between, I really enjoy interacting with others all across the country.
So that introduction was entirely too lengthy... sorry. It's been a challenging week. I'm tired. And yeah... I guess I'm rambling.
My point is, I am much more involved with BlogFrog and Twitter these days. And this week especially, I have noticed many mom blogs taking part in Mama Kat's Writing Workshop. One of her writing prompts suggests,
"Write a list of 10 things that are sure to put a smile on your face when you are not happy."
This sounds like just the medicine I need this week. So without further adieu, here is my list.
10 things that can turn my frown upside-down
1. Yummy, yummy junk food. Not the salty/greasy kind. This lady is all about sugar. And especially chocolate. Give me a giant, warm, gooey, dark chocolate cookie and my happy tummy takes over. For a few minutes, anyway.
2. A funny song. I like the cheesy one-hit-wonders. The 90s were full of them. How can you not crack a little grin for the Macarena? Tubthumper? I'm Too Sexy? Baby Got Back? Even Mmm Bop makes me chuckle.
3. When my husband comes home early. Granted, this is rare. Maybe one in 150 work days. If even. But my heart still does a little flip when I'm startled by the sound of his garage door opening. I smile, knowing for sure that on this day, his girls came first.
4. The photo of Amelia on our mantel. This photo is like no school photo I've ever seen. The photographer caught a genuine, non-posed laugh. And managed to capture the twinkle in Amelia's amazing blue eyes.
5. The Sienna "Swagger Wagon" Video. If you haven't seen it, you need to check it out. Maybe it'll get old eventually, but I've watched this a gazillion times and it still makes me laugh.
6. Hearing from my real-life friends. I have lots of acquaintance friends. On Facebook, and now those I've met via blogging. Everyone is important and appreciated. But no one can take the place of those true friends who really care. Social media is awesome, and we're all more popular than ever. But I think it also helps to highlight the relationships that are so important outside the computer.
7. Babysitters. Time away from my job as mom. Time to do whatever I want. Time to relax at a restaurant without worrying about when my kid is going to throw her food. Or throw a tantrum. Granted, it takes me about 10 minutes to not feel sad about leaving Amelia at home. But once I'm over it, my smile can take over and I can have some quality "us" time with Steve. Time away allows us to finally put aside the talk about play-doh, school, and potty and pay attention to the one we married.
8. Pajamas. I'm not a fashionista. I'll pass on those to-die-for heels for some cozy fuzzy socks any day. And I love soft, silky pajamas. I've been known to work in said pajamas. It's a good thing I work from home.
9. Llamas. I would also say manatees, but I don't see those very often in my land-locked part of Georgia. Normally I wouldn't see llamas either, but there is a nearby home that houses some cute & furry farm creatures. Amelia and I try to drive by there a couple times a week and play "spot the animal." Just thinking about those llamas makes me happy. So cute!
10. When I get to play the baby. Sometimes, when I need to lay down for a minute and chill out, my daughter comes over to me, covers me with a blanket, pats me, and says "Shh, Mommy. It's okay Mommy. Have a nice rest." Sometimes she can be a terror. A hurricane in a 31-pound package. But one moment later, she can pour on the tenderness. It melts my worries away and makes me smile. How can a mommy resist?
Thursday, July 1, 2010
But to my surprise, Amelia did really well! I shouldn't be surprised after experiencing the miraculous effect of the car DVD player while on vacation. There's nothing like a really BIG screen with moving pictures and colors. Amelia sat in her seat and barely moved for over an hour.
She enjoyed her experience - I think. But did you ever stop to think about the movie Polar Express from a 2-year-old's point of view? The entire first half of that movie can be scary! She gripped my arm from about 10 minutes in, until the train reached the North Pole.
There's the obvious scary scene with the broken toys:
Amelia is always concerned about boo-boos. On other people as well as herself. So when the train hit the patch of ice and went out of control, she nearly freaked out yelling, "Oh no kids! Watch out kids! Stop choo-choo, STOP!"
Amelia loved the colorful ending to the movie with all the elves and gifts. And she waved her little heart out when Santa departed on his sleigh. All ended well for the kids, and all ended well for our very first movie theater adventure.
I'm not sure we'll attempt a paid movie just yet. While she sat still and behaved well, she also acted as a narrator throughout the entire movie. I didn't worry so much knowing that everyone watching got in for free, but if a family spends $40+ to see a movie, they may not want Amelia's view of every scene for two solid hours.
"A choo-choo train!" "Where is your ticket, kid?" "Uh oh - hold on!"
"It's snowing outside." "Fix it! He fixed it!" "I don't like that."
"Watch out moose! (to the caribou in the movie) Oh no moose!"
"Elf! Another elf! Another elf! Look Mommy, presents!"
"Bye-bye Ho Ho. See you soon Ho Ho! Bye! I waved! I waved!"
(Warner Brothers movie, The Polar Express, as narrated by Amelia)
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