Thursday, March 31, 2011

Her Mother's Daughter

My girl is so like her daddy. If you know him then the answer to the question of why I call him my AngryBear is obvious. She can furrow her brow with the best of them and as far as squirrelyness goes she has him matched. They are peas in a pod, those two.

But the beautiful thing about parenthood is finding all the little things that are

New shoes make any day sunny
Gold shoes; a must for my shoe lover

Madeleine's for my Madeleine

We both love the same man!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How I Keep My House Clean.....this week

Being a mother means constantly finding balance. We juggle children, chores, work, personal sanity, and don't forget our relationship with our husbands/boyfriends/significant others, friends, & family! My life, especially in these dim days of miserable gray skies and freezing temperatures, revolves around sleep, food, and chores. I get lost in the mess of things, often.

What a consistent thought process keeping my home, and life, clean and organized can be for me! It isn't always easy for me to spend every hour cleaning. I like to live at a more leisurely pace, getting a thing done here and a thing done there, just wishing everything into place while I drink coffee before it goes cold and shower before 2 in the afternoon. So, my goal is to make the reality a little easier to face.

I've tried several methods to confront the madness; doing all the laundry on one day, never going to bed with a messy kitchen, deep cleaning on weekends, cleaning as I go....they all turned into this all consuming never ending mess.

I realized something the other day when I started my Spring cleaning tasks. If things are DEEP DOWN clean they are easier to pick up. The deep down clean is what I have a hard time getting around to. It's what makes us grumpy on the weekends when we want to be taking naps and going for walks. They are the tasks that can be totally overwhelming when you only do them once a month. I'm not talking about wiping the counter tops, but elbow grease scrubbing them, and sanitizing them, and putting all the little things that accumulate in random drawers into a place they actually belong. And the laundry? Right now I'm ok with doing laundry every day if it means I do it from start to finish and always have clean clothes to choose from. The picking up of all the toys? No matter how many times you clean them in a day they WILL get pulled back out again. So, let them get played with, and enjoy the playing. If I'm not constantly picking them up the second she walks away I might actually enjoy the toys with her and she might actually learn some stuff in the process (imagine that!).

This brings me to my current method, one that I'm really liking, a daily checklist. I am NOT a list person. I don't make grocery lists, to do lists, cleaning lists, they just annoy me. Or, they used to. I don't think I'll go list crazy any time soon but having a few things every day that I can accomplish, without forgetting or changing my mind, and then eliminate from the list is really an easy method. Another benefit? The more often a bathroom gets cleaned, floors get steamed, blinds get dusted, the less time it takes to do the next week. And picking up a mountain of toys at the end of the day is the simplest of my tasks.  If something on the list doesn't get done? I roll it over to the next day.

To make this work I don't put simple chores on the list (laundry DOES go on the list because I need to have a goal of what loads I need to get done or I do NO loads). Dishes? Bed making? Pillow fluffing? Sweeping up from lunch? I do all of those jobs in reverse order. When I have a few minutes in the morning I make my bed because that is the very last thing that will get messy again. The toys I generally ignore unless I have guests coming over, time to burn during naps, or they have to be cleaned up to do a list job (like floors).

My question for you today is, what is your method to keep life under control? Are you a clean freak that actually enjoys constant cleaning and will never be ok with toys underfoot until after the baby is in bed? Are you happy with clean laundry residing in baskets until you need something (like the internet famous Kelly Hampton who you really should read if you like pictures and adorable babies)? A couple other random blog posts about cleaning that I and here .

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Let's Talk About Boobs

Mad has been extremely clingy and possessive of our nursing relationship lately, asking to nurse every moment I have her in my arms or whenever she is sad or angry, and it's a little bit exhausting some days. When I try to count the number of times she has patted my chest in her "gentle" toddler way and requested 'sies on any particular day and I can't even remember exactly, but recognize that it was upwards of 8 times, it makes me a little tired. That's ok to admit right?
I can't decide which I like more. Sleepy Mad......or
But on the other hand it's a beautiful thing, this relationship, and frankly I consider it a blessing that I have a tantrum stopper, sleep inducer, vitamin giver, and tummy filler all in one. Oh, and the snuggles. If you have, or have had, a toddler you know those can be few and far between and they are oh so welcome in my house.
Nursing eye lock Mads.
Thanks to the beauty that is Facebook I recently stumbled upon a comment by a friend about a woman breastfeeding in a front facing carrier at the airport "FULLY EXPOSED!". I've never been successful at sling nursing, probably because I never tried, but I can imagine that if I did the only way for my shirt to go would be......down. You can't exactly lift a shirt for discreet nursing when your child is tied tightly against your stomach.

Ok, so, the logical answer is a blanket or cover. Imagine for a minute a busy airport, standing in the security line, a crying baby (or soon to be), carrying bags, getting your shoes off, the annoyances of travel go on and on. So, a blanket over your kids head or a fancy little nursing cover is probably the last damn thing on your list at that very moment. How very inconsiderate! I know when I feed Mad the first thing I think about is everyone other than myself and my daughter. I don't want to put anyone out, turn some unsuspecting 6 year old boy on, offend another woman who see's her own breasts every single day, cause a man to have a spontaneous affair with a stranger, or force a parent to explain to her children how some mama's feed babies with breast milk and don't hide in a closet every hour to do so.

The thing that makes this so very sensitive for me (can you tell?) is that I remember being a new mama in an airport, alone, with my 6 week old baby who could not nurse well to save her life. Really. Because of our awkward positioning blankets and covers didn't work for me. I was lucky to get her latched on and fed without both of us breaking down into tears. Then bring all of my luggage, stroller, & diaper bags into play; I was just waiting for a melt down of epic proportions. I remember begging the universe to be kind to me. To allow offended strangers to divert their eyes from any wandering flesh, for other mama's to be kind and understanding when they saw my public struggle. Luckily when you are in the business of nourishing an infant the rest of the world ceases to exist and even though it wasn't easy we did it, several times, and life as we knew it did not end.

Her post was met with comments such as, "disgusting," "something must be wrong with her," "maybe she was a foreigner," (which I assume was in defense of her in a sad sort of way) "inconsiderate of others," "I don't want to see a woman breastfeeding," (made by another woman), "flashing a boob in public is still flashing a boob". My heart sank when I saw what people had to say. My stomach dropped.Other women, with children of their own, finding a breastfeeding woman "disgusting". Not even ashamed to tell the entire Facebook world.

WHEN can women unite and support each other? When can we collectively say, "HOWEVER you feed your child is ok with me! I'm a mama too and I know how hard it is to grow, birth, and care for a child (don't forget the difficulty and heart wrenching trials of adopting a baby) so if you "whip it out in the airport" I'll tell my gawking husband to get over it. I'll explain to my 6 year old son that the sweet baby he see's is so hungry and isn't big enough, like him, to wait until they get to McDonalds and, in fact, cannot even EAT chicken nuggets so he has to nurse from his mama. I'll elbow the stranger behind me making snide comments.Because we all have to make the hard choices when it come to our children, and I support every other woman and their choice!"

I want to live in a world where breastfeeding a child publicly isn't taboo. Where nourishment isn't compared to other bodily fluids or a lifted shirt to pornography. Likewise I want bottle feeding mama's to feel happy and comfortable feeding their sweet baby without fear of dirty looks from the lifted shirt mama sitting next to her. Isn't it time we stop forcing every woman to defend her way? Isn't it time that it is more "normal" to see a baby eating than a celebrity flashing her goods while getting out of a car? Isn't it time we realize kids are having sex at 14 and it's not because they saw some stranger nursing a baby? Isn't it time we see that we are all in this together?

I think so. I'm not even going to apologize for this tirade because this is really important to me. For my daughter, and your daughter, and their daughter's.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Scrub A Dub Dub

So, Spring is officially here and that means I have to get my butt in gear and get things prepared to be cleaned again so my house is nice and organized, and deep down clean, for the warm months when we will be spending our time and attention in the disaster we call a backyard.

This week my goal is to finish the kitchen, and keep in mind I am spending next to nothing so my costly organizing ideas are just going to have to wait. Yesterday I cleared counters, rearranged a little bit, and scrubbed them clean (all those edges and corners that tend to get a little less attention), as well as de-cluttered a few drawers, tossing things that I don't need (like all those hand mixer accessories when I don't even have, use, or need a hand mixer) and storing them where they will be the most useful. It looked pretty good if I do say so myself, even though when I clean like this I think of all the things I wish I could change about my kitchen. Why yes, I did leave my garbage in the middle of the floor, thank you very much.
Like the cupboards. They are pretty, but I want a bright kitchen with white cupboards. So, I decorate as if it were the kitchen of my dreams and I have to shrug it off when I feel like it doesn't look all that put together. The lack of color is one of the few complaints I have in this house. I'll probably change my mind on my kitchen desires in a few years anyway. Such is the life of a mother who spends too much time in one room.....
I've been inspired to try and find some more design friendly items to store my frequently used sink items in. Hand soap, dish soap, and lotion to be specific. Previously they were in a little metal holder and I hated it. I didn't love the metal look, it felt dirty and scratchy on the counter (I felt like it was going to rust), there was no color, & not really any design whatsoever. So, Mad and I popped over to Pier 1 to check out what we could find. A serving dish, a colorful coaster, and a pretty plate came home with me. This is what I ended up with. Can I just say that I love Pier 1 for stuff like this?
Isn't it so cute? I couldn't believe how perfectly the little dip dish worked for this project! I want to get a cute lotion and soap dispenser but for now this is perfect! $6 total for both of these, plus another $8 for the plate and an additional coaster that aren't being used here but will definitely be put to use.

Now that Mad is napping peacefully (and hopefully for a couple of hours) I'm going to grab a much needed shower, brush my teeth, help myself to another cup of coffee, and get to work on reorganizing the cupboards. Sad that it takes me until 2 PM to brush my teeth. I really need to make that a priority....on days when I'm not in a rush to get all my Spring cleaning done.
The only way to deal with tantrums these days.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sunny Days

This week we played in the sun. What glorious moments they were. Today Mad has an outrageous ear infection that gives cause to scream every time I lay her down for a diaper change (currently trying to figure out how to change a diaper with her standing up) and, oh, just about any other moment that things don't go exactly her way. She scrunches up her little nose, pokes her lips out, puffs her cheeks, furrows her brow and lets out several head splitting screams. This cannot be good for her ears but she continues to do so at every available moment.

Whenever I walk into my house I can smell sour water. Kind of like laundry gone bad except I don't have any of that. It's probably the sink, it was leaking in the base and instead of fixing the leak we just stopped using that side of the sink, but it's driving me nuts trying to figure out how to get it to go away. When there is a smell I dislike I break out the Scentsy and then bleach all the surfaces I can get my hands on. I guess this means I have to find the energy to do this today. If you recall my paragraph from above you understand that this might be difficult. I haven't had my bed to myself all week and my little darling isn't exactly a middle of the bed sleeper. No, she prefers to sleep on my head. Gives new meaning to a headache.

I've learned this week that if I only have a few dollars in my pocket and I'm out to grab lunch.....I'd rather feed the baby and get coffee for myself. Coffee is so much more productive than food in my belly. Mad has learned that she likes screaming at me, sitting in baskets, pushing her stroller outside, and just being outside in general. When we are mid diaper change slash scream fest I just ask her if she wants to go play outside or walk to the park. That shuts her up (sound harsh, but boy is it true!). Girl loves her some sunshine. Who can blame her?

The bleach is calling my name. Also, my daughter has filled up every container with every item she could round up so I guess nap time and clutter clean up is also on my morning itinerary.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


It's been a busy week already for my little Baby Bear and I what with rainy day dance parties, endless snack times, refusing naps and all of that. Tonight, just a short while after I put my tuckered out little one to bed, she woke crying and needing her mama. I rocked her and rocked her in our big wood rocking chair, stroking her soft (perhaps just a little tuna and cheese dinner scented) hair and feeling her sweet baby fingers play with my necklace. Each time I shifted my weight she buried herself deeper into my body, pressing herself closer to me, and we became one as we rocked and rocked. Her long legs wrapped around me, each breath tickled my skin, her fingers doing a sleep dance across my chest and arms. I am grateful in this moment for my soft spacious body to serve as her temporary resting place.

Motherhood? It is heaven. Absolute in every way. The hard minutes of the day just slip away while we rock and all I can remember is that very moment. Did I complain earlier about toys filling every inch of my home? No possible because right now there is an angel in my arms who spreads light and love with her every step.
When the time came for that baby of mine to get back into her own warm and cozy bed she cried to hear my voice whispering to her that I was there and would always protect her. "Mama's here, Mama's here," I sing to her and she curls up, long skinny legs tucked underneath her body, arms cradling her fuzzy pillow, blankie tucked into the soft skin of her neck. I sneak out quietly, off to do this and that around the house, but my mind keeps wandering back to my warm sleeping baby.
{This little finger? It's her binky finger. She flicks it even in her sleep.}
I want to crawl in that little bed with her, whisper in her ear while she sleeps, tell her that I love her more than even seemed possible those years before she was mine. I want to promise her that I don't mind when she wakes every night and I think she is perfect just the way she is. I want to promise her I will always be by her side when she needs me, no matter the reason, no matter the time. I want to kiss her round, pink, cheeks over and over so the feel of them is forever on my lips. I want to remember this feeling all the time so I never take for granted our moments together.
*All sleeping images are from the weeks we spent sick as sick can be in Mama's bed. The last picture? Well, that is just the face I get to see every day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pitter Patter

There is something comforting about listening to the dishwasher, with my slippers on, hair pulled back, and rain falling quietly outside. There is no wind whipping around the windows, which is unusual for our house this time of year, no television bleeping away, no sounds of my toddler dumping baskets of toys out. It's thoroughly enjoyable for the moment. Soon Spring will be here. We will have gardening to do, Spring cleaning that, much like Winter cleaning, never seems to end, new toys to play with, walks to go on, pools to visit, & parks to play at. But, today, it is just a quiet rainy day....and right now it is asking for a cup of hot coffee. I think I will indulge, thank you very much.

Mad and I on Mother's Day last year. Spring at it's finest.


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