Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bows For Maddie

If you follow the parenting blog world I am sure you have heard the heart breaking story of baby Maddie. If not you can click the link to read it the full story, have some tissues handy.

Today is Maddie's funeral, words that should never have to be said together when referring to a baby.  In her heart wrenching post yesterday Maddie's Mommy mentioned Maddie's love for wearing big bows and asked all other mama's of baby girls to put a bow in their hair today as way to remember precious little Maddie. 

Only a mom who has lost a child can truly understand the pain that Maddie's Mama is feeling right now.  As moms though, we can all look at our children and know how lost we would be without them.  So hug your babies a little tighter tonight, kiss them just a bit longer, let them linger in your lap if they want because you never know when it might be the last time.

We didn't know Maddie personally but motherhood is a journey shared by all so we are with her and her parents in spirit this day.

Our Tribute to Baby Maddie.....

the best I could get of all 3 together

a very teary eyed mama right now,

Wordless Wednesday: Sickie Ickies and a Puppy

Over the weekend the ugly flu bug and strep swept through our house.  It took Daddy down first on Friday, then Little Man and Tubs on Monday and Smunchkin and Monkey yesterday.  So far only Mommy has been untouched.  Come on immune system, hold out for me!

In the midst of all the sickie ickies we got a new puppy.  We promised Teddy he could get his own puppy when we moved into this house last summer but with the 3 girls mommy didn't have the time.  Then a friend posted about 2 little Lab pups she found and we love Labs in this house (Shady is half Lab half German Shepard).  Right now her name is Sammy or Sammy Dog, named by Little Man.  I am trying (with no luck thus far) to get him to change it to Marley as in "Marley & Me".

Little Man was so sick he didn't even notice we had the
puppy for awhile

P.S. I am really horrible at the "wordless" part of Wordless Wednesday haha.

this healthy (for now) mama,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday- Sibling Love

Valentine's Day 2008
Little Man- age 2 (1 month shy of 3)
Smunchkin- age 7 months

Valentine's Day 2011
Little Man- age 4 yrs (1 month shy of 5)
Smunchkin- age 2.5 yrs

What a difference 2 yrs can make!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Please Slow Down!

Apparently Tubs did not get my memo, possibly because she cannot read (YET!) and therefore she was unable to read for herself mommy's blog on Monday asking her to please stay my baby just a little bit longer.

Not only did she start to crawl virtually overnight but 3 days after making forward progression and truly becoming mobile she pulled herself up for the first time.

Mommy is not ready for all of this Tubs, please slow down.

where did my teeny tiny Tubs go?

Your Mama!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Rest in Peace Pablo, Caterpillar and Tails

I never knew I could become this emotionally invested in a book!

Dear Pablo, Caterpillar and Tails,

Rest in peace, you will be missed.

I have taped and glued you each back together more times than I can count.  Monkey has finally annihilated you beyond all hope of repair.  I don't know why she hated you all so, perhaps her curiosity just got the best of her and she wanted to see if their were more to your stories hidden in the pages somewhere.

Here Come The Backyardigans- 
You were one of Little Mans first books ever, and the first one he ever truly loved.  He carried you everywhere with him for months.  I can still remember him climbing into my lap, not even a year old and handing you to me saying "book, Pabo book".

We poured over your pages for hours looking at the pictures, talking and laughing about your adventures and of course looking for Pablo.  That silly penguin, where was he hiding anyways?

Smunchkin loved you just as much as Little Man, turning your large thick pages with her chubby hands and squealing with delight as she found Pablo on each page.  "Pabo! Pabo! Pabo!" she would squeal and laugh while pointing to that cunning penguin.

Sure , your pages were colored on, ripped in places and a few faces/eyes were missing but we loved you just the same, flaws and all.  It gave you character and showed how well loved you truly were.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar-
You were discovered by Little Man when he was 18 months old.  Again we loved you dearly and spent hours flipping through your fun multi-sized pages.

You taught Little Man so much, he loved to hear your journey over and over again.  Delighted at counting all the fruit you ate each day and marveled as you turned into a beautiful butterfly at the end.

You taught Smunchkin  the names for many different fruits as well as her colors and how to count.  She loved your sized pages and the holes you chewed through each food item.


We had such a short time with you, you came to us as a gift for Smunchkins first birthday. 

I can remember 3 little bodies squished onto mommy's lap as we read the marvelous wonders of the animal kingdom and their many different tails.  There were soft tails, swishy tails, slinky tails, small tails, strong tails and even stinky tails! EW! 

Everyone wanted to take a turn playing with the various tails making them swish and swat, petting them and even smelling them even though we knew every time it would be stinky.

Our time with you was short but we loved you just the same!


one choked up mama,

Where's Monkey? There She is!

Last night before I went to bed I peaked in the kids room to check on them, as I do every night.  Its a habit I have had since we moved into this house and the kids started sleeping in their own room (before that they always slept in our bedroom as our apartment was tiny).  I also do this to make sure that Monkey is actually asleep and not just being quiet.  I do not want to go to bed until I know for sure she is asleep.

So I slowly turned the knob and cracker the door open ever so slightly.  I wanted to be slow and quiet about it in case someone was still awake/  I didn't want them to see me and get upset.  I peaked in and immediately saw that Little Man had once again fallen asleep in bed with Smunchkin.  I scanned the bed but there was no little mound to indicate Monkey was also in bed with them, like she usually is.

I looked over at Little Man's bed to see if she as there but that bed was empty.  Monkey doesn't even have her own bed in there because she refuses to sleep in it and actually tore the plastic covering off her mattress in huge chunks exposing the foam inside.  She always sleeps either in Smunchkin or Little Mans bed.

Since I did not see her in either bed I scanned the floor.  She often just falls asleep on the floor playing while trying to keep herself awake.  I scanned and scanned but there was no Monkey to be found.

At this point I started to feel a little anxious.  I opened the door the rest of the way and stepped into the room.  I looked all over the floor, beside the bed and even under Smunchkin's bed but there was still no Monkey.

In a panic I flipped on the light and began searching the room, and then I saw her.  I just busted out laughing and called for my hubby.

This is where I found Monkey sleeping..........

We don't call her Monkey for nothing!!  She's like a cat I swear.  The Hubs watched her while I grabbed the camera.  After I snapped the picture I wrapped her in a blanket and laid her on Little Man's bed.  I had to change her diaper because it was REALLY wet, even though she had been wearing it only 2 hours.  Which is why I still have her sleep in disposables most nights.  Cloth just can't hold up for her overnight! She woke up for a second and cried but quickly fell back to sleep, THANKFULLY!  I was ready for bed and not for round two!

Oh Monkey, what are we going to do with you!

a mama to a crazy Monkey!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Through a Preschoolers Eyes- Little Sister

Little Man Continues to amaze me with the pictures he takes on my camera so I have decided to make this a reoccurring topic.  I am not going to give it a set schedule (like once a week or once a month) as I am horrible at remembering to post each time, my poor 365 Project Blog is proof of that.  I will just post when he takes more photos that really impress and move me (I promise no more than 1 entry per week though).
This time he captured some amazing shots of Smunchkin.  She just looks so happy and you can see how much she loves her big brother.  She takes better pictures so him than she does for me!  If I had known she would look so pretty in these pictures I would have cleaned her face off.  He asked to use my camera right after dinner 1 night and he took these while I was cleaning up the kitchen before I gave them baths.

Add caption

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mommy Lies

Mommy Lies- little white lies that moms tell about their parenting style and/or day to day life.

Last month I saw an interesting article linked on the Bummis Facebook Page from The BBC UK titled Mothers admit to parenting lies, Netmums survey says.  The article was based on an online survey of 5,000 moms.

I consider myself the queen of over sharing and TMI.  Ask anyone who knows me (or is friends with me on Facebook) and they will be able to tell you that I hang it all out there for the world.  The good, the bad and the ugly I share regularly (as is my motto above for this blog).  I am  honest and upfront about my parenting success's as well as the failures. Sometimes to a fault, sharing my mistakes and often being made to feel "less than" for them by other moms.  So as I read this article I thought to myself "Surely I am not guilty of Mommy Lies.".  If I was guilty of Mommy Lies I wouldn't end up on the receiving end of mommy bullying and judgement as often as I seem to for some of the things I do (or don't do) with my kids.

The more I pondered and discussed it with others, the more I realized I was in fact guilty of these little white lies myself.  While I am far from perfect I do like to consider myself an honest person so why the need for these lies?

I think it all comes down to judgement, or really the fear of judgement.  We are worried if we give the "wrong" answers we will be seen as a "bad" mom.  As I discussed this with other moms I realized almost all (at least 98.999876%) of my incidents of Mommy Lies occurred while in the company of someone I viewed as an "authority figure" such as my children's Pediatrician, our Parents As Teachers Educator, anyone at a Government office and Monkey's Social Worker that she had before her adoption was finalized.  The other 1% occurred while in the company of moms that I do not even know personally while at places like the park, mommy groups or even story time at the library.

I asked some other mamas to share some of their own Mommy Lies with me.  The more they shared the more I realized I was guilty of the same.

Ashley, a 28 year old SAHM to 2 (9 year old and a 10 week old. ) from Pennsylvania had this to say about Mommy Lies at the doctors office- "I always get asked where my baby sleeps. I know that if I were to tell the Doctor that Zephyr sleeps in MY bed, she'd have a fit. I breastfeed so co-sleeping is what we chose. The doctor is 100% against it and believes a baby should be in its crib, on its back. While that works for some Mommas, I want my baby where I know he is safe and sound asleep. And where his food is readily available."

I could not have said it better myself.  This is the on of the exact things I find myself lying to the doctor about as well.  With my Little Man I actually was honest for the first few visits.  The doctor would ask "baby is sleeping in his own crib right" and I would respond that actually "no baby sleeps with us".  Then I got to sit through a nice long 10 minute (at least) lecture about how unsafe co-sleeping is and how it increases the risk of SIDS.  Which I really find ironic now that they have discovered that co-sleeping, when done properly and in a safe manor, actually REDUCES the risk of SIDS! (I will save that for another blog though).  Oh how I wish I had been armed with this information to throw in the doctors face BOO-YA  style with my first. 

Instead, after sitting through the same lecture the first 3-4 baby well visits I just began to parrot the answers I knew the doctor wanted to hear.  "Yes baby sleeps in his crib", "yes baby sleeps on his back" (my kids are ALL side and tummy sleepers), "no we don't have any pillows or bedding in the baby's crib"-which "technically" was not a lie, we didn't have any bedding in the crib, we didn't even have a crib at that point.

I don't know why the doctor intimidates me so much, its not like he can take my kids away if I admit that we co-sleep.  So why do I feel the need to lie?  Maybe just to make the visit go smoother and to keep it as comfortable as possibly? Atina R . from MO had an inspirational thought:: "We do it so we can be accepted, and don't feel guilty for doing something against the grain.......... I also think that's why moms feel they have to explain why they do certain things and why topics get so heated, all because moms want to be part of the cool club"

Christy, a 35 year old SAHM of one 14 month old son from Texas admits she has lied in the past about her sons eating habits "When Jake was 4-6m old, I'd lie and tell people that I'd feed him solids when I didn't. Mostly people without kids or 'old school' moms. " 

This is another area that, after much thought, I realized I too have lied about.  Not so much about when my kids started food, but more about what they were eating and how.  I was never really one for rules and we have no history of allergies on either side of our family.  Plus, I must admit, with my first I was oblivious to the rules such as "start 1 food and feed it for 3 days before starting another" or that certain things like chocolate, strawberries and peanut butter should not be given until age 1. 

 My kids are exposed to everything we eat, I do not restrict them to bland diets.  Its a crazy sight to most I am sure when they visit our house for diner and witness our kids eating salsa by the handful or curry soup like its ice cream and asking for more.

Tanya, age 30, WAHM mama of 2 from CA admits "I lie about the amount my 5 yr old watches TV, she watches TV in the evenings or play Vtech video games, I work with the kids all day and in the evening daddy wants to relax and play video games and mom thinks she deserves a break too so ...we take turns with the baby and DD#1 is in her room playing, or watching TV but you know what she's learned a lot, she knows how to read and write simple words and knows words that even we don't know so I don't think TV is so bad.. she gets plenty of attention still though and she's not always in the mood to watch TV but there you go! I am trying to limit her but it's tough to stimulate her in the evening when I've been stimulating the kids all day and then have the nursling"

This is a 1 mommy lie I am extremely guilty of.  I have this strange obsessive compulsive need to have the TV on as background noise constantly.  One of the first things I do in the morning is turn the TV on and one of the last things I do at night is turn it off.  This is something I swore I did not want to pass down to my kids but I am obviously not doing a great job about that. 

Does this mean we watch TV that entire time? NO!  Its just on, its just there, we go about our day to day lives as usual.  We read, play, do chores, go outside if its nice enough.  With that said my kids do pay attention to it a lot more than I care to admit.  When I am asked by their doctor, PAT or even a mom I don't know very well "how much TV per day do your kids watch" I usually pick a random small number like 2 or 4 and just blurt it out.  I justify this to myself as a half-truth because I know they are not watching TV all day long, but I know the total amount is more than likely double that.

Rachel, a 26 year old SAHM to a 9 month old says "I have said my son isn't feeling well when I just don't feel like or have the energy to do stuff with friends. I would just much rather be at home with my sweet boy who needs me, some people just don't understand. "Leave him, its good for yo...u and him." Mostly heard that from friend that doesn't have kids, so clearly she doesn't get it. When I need a break I take one. I just don't have the desire to "go out" right now. I'm perfectly content hanging at club Mama & Bubba! And, I don't like that I've done that... So, now I do my best to just tell it like it is!"

I must admit I have used my kids as "excuses" more than once.  Usually with my mom as a reason why I can't go to her house or that I have to get off the phone with her "Sorry mom, Monkey is fussy and I have to lay her down for a nap." meanwhile Monkey is already sleeping. 

Brittany K from Oregon, SAHM to a 14 month old son admits "When people ask me what time my son wakes up in the mornings and I tell them 7 but I always leave out the fact that I sleep in for another couple hours while hubby gets up with him. Because everyone knows a "good" mom who is on top of things has already been up for an hour, read the paper, started laundry and made breakfast by 7am."

Beth C. says "I lie about how many vegetables my kids eat ((if they eat half of what I give them, it's a great day)), and I fudge about how often they bathe & brush their teeth. On the teeth I really do have good intentions... but honestly, if they get out of the house with fresh breath, it's a good day for us. Oh lord, and cleaning their rooms.... I tell daddy they did it, when I did 99.275% of it, just so everyone is happy. My 10 year old is supposed to read for 30 minutes a day (out loud), and I'm supposed to sign a paper for his teacher. Some days we deal- if you put the clothes away, or just take out the trash, I'll sign it. God- I'm a horrible parent"

I am sure we all like to think of ourselves as honest but if you think about it hard enough and you are honest with yourself I am sure you will be able to come up with at least 1 instance where you are also guilty of the Mommy Lies.  If you can't think of one you must be a first time mama with a young baby, give it time and they will come.

Does that mean I think the Mommy Lies are ok?  Yes and No, its complicated.  In a perfect world there is no reason to lie ever.  In reality sometimes its easier to say "yes baby sleeps in his crib" than to heat THAT lecture again for the umpteenth time. 

I do think, as moms, we should strive to be as honest with each other as possible.  If we are honest and share the struggles we are having, like I am having with Monkey right now, then we can help support each other.  I try not to hold back the crazy, silly, funny, and sometimes scary moments that happen to us because I think that by sharing them, poo paintings and all, I may just help 1 other mom feel sane.  If I can help just 1 mom feel like she's not alone then its worth risking the hassle and negative feedback I may get from many other moms.

So what Mommy Lies have you told recently?

a pretty honest (most of the time) mama,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Our Dye Free Adventure

YES!  I am now one of "THOSE" moms.  Oh hush, you know that crossed at least half the minds of those reading this.

After much thought and research I have decided to try eliminating dyes from our kids diets.  I sincerely think (hope) that this will help calm some of the hyper active and obsessive-compulsive behaviors that both Monkey and Little Man exhibit.

For the past two years or so we have been slowly but surely switching over our diets from commercially over processed foods to more wholesome nutritious homemade items.  It has been a slow process and we are not 100% complete yet.  There are still some "questionable" items in our kitchen and I think that giving up dyes will help to eliminate most of them.

To start out this process I spent over 45 minutes looking and reading every single label on everything in our kitchen from bread, spices, even frozen veggies to look for any hidden dyes. I don't exactly have blue ketchup ,  bright red sports drinks or florescent green yogurt in my kitchen but I was surprised by a few items that did contain hidden dyes.   Once I was finished I must say I was pretty pleased to find so few items, I honestly thought we would have more than we did.  I contribute this to the over all shift we have been making with our diets and views on what real food is.

Here is the complete list of what I found:
1. Blueberry Pop Tarts- DUH!   My kids love pop tarts but this one did not surprise me in the least.
Contained red 40 and blue 1

2. Fruit Snacks-  Red 40, blue 1 and yellow 5

3. Ovaltine- this is one that shocked me!! WHY?? Has red 40, yellow 6 and blue 1. I do not see the purpose of dyes in this but whatever.

4. Quaker Fruit & Cream Oatmeal-Assrt flavors- only 2 of the 4 flavors have dyes and again I am like WHY!?!? Why do they have to put stuff like that in there. The strawberry has red 40 and the blueberry has blue 2 and red 40. The peach and banana do not have any.

5. Hershey's Butterscotch Baking Chips- this one was a shocker to me! Has yellow 6, yellow 5 and blue 2

6. Jello Pumpkin Spice Pudding Mix-  nooooooooooo. Yellow 5 and yellow 6

7. Mission Jalapeno Cheddar Wraps- nooooooooooo, again WHY!!!! Has yellow 5 & 6

8. Fruit Chillers Freeze & Eat tubes- Silly me, I thought these were pretty healthy for the kids. This is what I give them as Popsicles/ice cream. Has red 40

9. Sun Chips- Garden Salsa Flavor- another shocker, also thought these were pretty healthy!  These are the only chips I eat! Yellow 5 & 6 as well has red 40.

Now my kids do not get any of these daily so I am not sure how much eliminating dyes will help. Most of these are only occasional treats/meal items. I am willing to give it a shot though to help get some normalcy back in this house!

food dye chart from the CSPI article:
Food Dyes Pose Rainbow of Risks
I am not going to lie, some will be hard to give up for my kids.  They LOVE pop tarts and fruit snacks.  Thankfully over at confessions of an earthy young mom she has an awesome home made pop tarts recipe that I plan to try out.  I will also be on the lookout for more all natural alternatives to fruit snacks.  I really want a dehydrator and I know that you can make your own fruit roll ups in them.  I could easily pass those off to my kids as "chongas" as they are called in our house. 

What are "chongas"?  Fruit snacks silly, just ask my kids.  "Chongas" is one of several words that Little Man made up around 18 months of age.  He made up words for things that he didn't have words for and some have just stuck and been passed down kid to kid.  "Peep" is another.  Peep = Vacuum.

Many have asked me why I am trying to eliminate dyes.  The answer is simple really, to help save the last shreds of sanity I have. Being food label junkie that I am I have recently discovered that some studies suggest artificial food dyes can be linked to ADD, ADHD and even Autism like symptoms in children (they are also linked to cancer and allergy risks).  Little Man is extremely hyper active.  I am not saying this in an "I'm an exhausted mom of 4 who can't keep up with my normal 4 yr olds behavior" I say this as in "he is bouncing off the wall, ultimate sugar high x 100, I am worried he will be stuck with a "label' once he enters school" hyper activity. 

Even his behavior is overshadowed by Monkey though, if you have followed my blog for any length of time then you are all too familiar with her behavior.  I swear that girl has insomnia.  Is it possible for a toddler to have insomnia?  How about a toddler that was exposed to harmful drugs by the birth mother while in utero?

I have the same bedtime routine as always.  At 8pm we warn the kids bedtime is approaching and try to calm them down.  TRY being the keyword there. They get bednight drinks and snacks-that's what Little Man dubbed them when he was 2 and again the name has just stuck ever since.  We get PJs and night night diapers on about 8:30ish.  Then there is book time, snuggles and "bednight" kisses, prayer and tuck in by 9.  Once I close the door though Monkey is right back up and the battle begins.  I spend the rest of the night fighting with her to get her to stay in bed and go to sleep.  She can't be in a crib because she climbs right out and she has not been able to sleep with us since Tubs was born, queen size bed is just not enough room.  I battle with her most night until 12-2 am.  Yet she still wakes 8-9 am and either refuses naps all together or tries to take a nap right about dinner time, which I do not allow her to do and fight with her to stay awake for hours.  The rare occasions she does fall asleep at 8-9pm she wakes a few hours later and treats it as if it was a nap.  It has been really bad for the last month or so and she has even started keeping Little Man and Smunchkin up with her on many nights. 

Its a battle I am so wary of fighting and I am hoping that by making some dietary changes her body will be able to regulate itself better.  I have read that the "sugar high" so many parents observe in their kids after candy/sweet consumption has nothing to do with the sugar itself and can be attributed to the dyes in the treats.

I will keep tabs on here on how the elimination is going and if their behavior is improving.  I will give it a few months and if there is no change I will look into eliminating gluten and/or dairy as both of those can also have the same effects on kids with unknown/undiagnosed allergies to them.

Even if the dyes are not the triggers its still a good idea to eliminate them, they provide no nutritional value what so ever and to quote one of the articles I found:

"Dyed foods should be considered adulterated under the law, because the dyes make a food "appear better or of greater value than it is"--typically by masking the absence of fruit, vegetable or other more costly ingredient."
Food Dyes Linked to Cancer, ADHD, Allergies
by Laurel Curran.  July 08, 2010

I find it so sad that many countries in Europe ban dyes in their foods but the good ole US of A still allows it.  Why this surprises me so much I am not sure, the US also loves and embraces HFCS (high fructose corn syrup); overly processed, chemically laden, barely passable as food like substance and GMO (genetically modified) food!
colors the way nature intended

Here are some links to some great articles/blogs I found while researching dyes:

CSPI Says Food Dyes Pose Rainbow of Risks

A Naturally Colorful Life » Autism is a Trip

The color of trouble | Spoonfed 

Food Dyes Linked to Cancer, ADHD, Allergies

So goodbye Blueberry Pop Tarts, so long Dora Fruit Snacks.  Sun Chips, you and I are going to have to have a talkin to and you may have to hide in my bedroom where the kids cannot see you.

Is it hard to give up convenience foods, YES!  Do I enjoy making everything from scratch all the time, not always.  I do love cooking but sometimes I really want to just open up some pop tarts and say "here you go", especially in the morning.  In the end though, I know its better for us all so its something I am willing to do.  Would I make these changes if I was not a mom?  I do not know for sure as evidenced by the fact that I continue to drink my Jones soda that's full of dyes.  I am trying to give up the soda.  Baby steps, baby steps!

a confused and overwhelmed but determined mama,

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Snowmageddon 2011

9:00 am 02/02/20111

12:00 pm 02/01/2011-poor neighbors car got stuck

12:30 pm- Hubby and another neighbor help to dig her out

3:00 pm- starting to really pile up

4:00 pm- up to the poor doggy's belly in some areas

5:00 pm-that drift is as tall as the bird bath!

6:00 pm- where did the hay bales in the field go?
that field was full of hay bales just hours earlier!

9:00 pm-Slumber party in mommy and daddy's room
after loosing power.  Thankfully it was only out 3 hrs

9:00 am- 02/02-2011 That snow drift hits me at almost my
chest.  Its taller than my 4 yr old!

11:00 am- 02/02/2011 Snow so deep neighbors use
bobcats to help dig us out.
Love living in the sticks with awesome neighbors!
P.S. That's NOT a shadow, that's the same
chest high snow drift as the picture above!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...