Wednesday, May 29, 2013

4-Year-Old Cake Decorator

Here's an easy and super special cake idea I used for my husband's birthday cake over the weekend. Everyone knows you can have the bakery scan a photograph to put on a cake, but did you ever think of using artwork drawn by your child? 

I attempted to get the 4-year-old twins to work on this together, which ended in crying and fighting. After I wiped my tears away, it was clear there would be no forcing the boy to do more than scribbling, so I let the girl do it on her own. Boy didn't care. Shocker! So, girl came up with a picture of her dad and the twins playing baseball (in case you couldn't tell)--complete with the backward "R" in "Birthday." It was perfect!

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I Could Learn from Showbiz

As I was watching a sitcom the other night, I was making snarky comments about how out-of-touch with real life they were. With four kids, including twin babies, sitting at the table eating dinner in peace, while the adults carry on in the adjacent room. Or, how the three dads watch a basketball game at a bar with their three babies in kangaroo pouches and not … a … peep.


I laughed at it all—not because it was funny—because it was a farce. Or, was it?

As far as I know, these are real live children they are using in these shows, not robots, right? And, even with the magic of editing, there still has to be a certain amount of time when these children all behave at the same time, right? So, how are they doing it? How many takes until they have a keeper? I’m convinced they must know something I do not.

I’ve had … let’s see, the twins are about 1,730 days old, and at 3 meals/day, that’s 5,190 … 5,190 takes at having a meal in peace with children at the table. Apparently, I wouldn’t make a good director.

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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Barbie Clears the Pool

Not just anyone can clear an entire pool by choking on water shortly after eating a sizable fruit salad. Dang Barbie!

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Today Should be a Work Holiday

I am taking just a brief few minutes to tell you why the day after Mother’s Day should be a work holiday for fathers. My hubby was so sweet to me this weekend. He surprised me with a wonderful date for just the two of us Friday night, followed by a pedicure Saturday morning, a massage Saturday afternoon, a get together with my recently-separated friend and her kids Saturday night (complete with good wine, antipasto, and chocolate), a couple hours on a rooftop pool with friends (no kids) on Sunday, and a homemade dinner for our family and our in-laws that night. Starbucks was delivered to me every morning, AND, he changed every poopy diaper! Kudos to my thoughtful husband.

Now, before you think I am bragging about how great my husband is (I am, a little), just know this completely shames the hamburger helper dinner he made me for my very first Mother’s Day … with twins! Sorry, babe, I had to throw you under the bus for the good of blogger world. There’s nothing worse than reading about a family that can do no wrong.

Back to my point. I know most of you are saying, “Okay, where is she going with this? She isn’t actually going to imply that dads need a break after taking care of their wives and kids for a day or two, is she?” No. But, here is what happens. Today, Moms all over the country are putting aside the laundry, the dishes, the cleaning, the attention to the kids, the bill paying, the card sending, the dinner making, and the apple pie baking to pick up the slack for the duties that are normally done by their husbands on the weekends.

Because I didn’t lift a finger all weekend, my own projects piled up on me. But, instead of catching up, I’m mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, and edging while the kids are napping, because I know my husband won’t be able to get to it during the week, and waiting until the weekend might invite jungle animals to find habitat in our backyard.

I don’t mean to sound insensitive to single parents who are stuck doing ALL the tasks, ALL the time. Nor, do I mean to sound insensitive to moms who mow the lawn and men who do the laundry. I do feel fortunate to have a partner who does help with the chores, as well as who loves me, and spends quality time with our children. So, please do not attack me too harshly for sounding like a spoiled little brat right now.

It’s like those nights when you say screw the dishes after dinner and go straight to bed. Yes, it’s great to get the extra sleep, but you are working twice as hard trying to get out the door the next morning.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

I Want to Want to be Alone

The first three years I was a mom, I wanted to spend Mother’s Day with my kids and husband. I wanted to sleep in until about 8 a.m. I wanted my family to take me to breakfast. I wanted to spend a leisurely day, going to the botanical garden, then maybe the mall. My husband might buy me some new perfume that would last me until it would go bad, since I so rarely wear it. I would have a guilt-free nap in the afternoon. He would change all the diapers, clean all the messes, and break up all the fights. We’d have a nice dinner, followed by wrestling, then snuggling (with my kids, that is—the prize fight would come later … or, not, because it’s my day and I can do whatever the hell I want and not feel guilty about it).

Now, four plus years and three kids into motherhood, all I want is to be left alone. Do you know how empty golf courses are on Mother’s Day? The only thing I want is to NOT mother. I still want to BE a mother. I just don’t want to mother them on this day. But, here’s the thing … there is some magnetic force that pulls me to my family on that day. I know I will end up spending the whole day with them, because I can’t fight it. And, I know the next day I will regret the hell out of that decision. I will tell myself, “This was your one chance, dummy! And, you did something you could do any other Sunday of the year. One of these years you will learn.”

Do you notice how many dads get their golfing in on Father’s Day? Most of them are away from their children all week, but you don’t see them feeling guilty for being as far away from their kids as possible on their special day. Why do moms (especially stay-at-home-moms) feel the need—or desire—to spend their special day with the people they spend every waking moment with on the 364 other days of the year?

I just want to want to be alone this Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s Day to every mom who wants to mother her children 364 days a year. Moms—whether stay-at-home or career—are the hardest working group of human beings in this world. Next year, let’s lobby for Mother’s Week!

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Friday, May 10, 2013

And the Child Becomes the Parent

My husband has jet black hair. Let me start over. My husband HAD jet black hair. Now, he has jet black hair with a sprinkling of silver. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE it! I’ve always thought a man with salt and pepper hair was very sexy, though he doesn’t believe it. So, I’m not sure why, but whenever one of those silver hairs is poking out away from the rest, I just want to grab it and yank it out.
Hubby and 4-year-old son last weekend at Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

But, what my husband also has is a ton of hair and the thickest roots. I will most certainly lose my hair before he will. So, when I yank said hair, there is a huge bulbous root connected and it actually makes a loud popping sound when it comes out.

Tonight, one of those hairs was screaming at me, and I tried to use the “It’s Mother’s Day, won’t you let me just this one time?”

About that time, my 4-year-old daughter walks in. Hubby asks her, in the most negatively descriptive way, if he should let me pull out his rogue hair. She giggles, rolls her eyes, and turns away in an uncomfortable shyness that she gets when she is being put on the spot. Then, she turns back, points at both of us and says, “You two need to work that out on your own.”

And the child becomes the parent.

Where is this insight when she is arguing with her brother?

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Mom Knows Best

I am one of those people who pretty much trust whatever my pediatricians tell me. If they tell me my kid needs vaccinations, I do it. My theory is that I can read myself into crazy. There are opposing opinions on just about every topic you can imagine as it relates to raising children. I always ask them, “If this was your child, what would you do.” That’s good enough for me.

I’ve learned, though, what advice to take seriously and what advice can be tinkered with. One of those things is being bottle-weaned by one year. Well, my baby is almost 17-months-old, and while he occasionally uses a sippy cup, his main means of transporting milk to his mouth is a bottle. Not only does he still drink from a bottle, but most of the time I even take the chill off the milk. Not only that, but I lay him back in my arms and feed him as if he is 4-months-old. I love it. He loves it. My other kids love it (as seen in the picture).

I’m not worried about his physical or mental development as a result of this. I know eventually he’ll be switched over to a cup, just like he will eventually give up his pacifier. I won’t let it go forever—certainly not past 2-years-old. There are so many things about him that are still so “baby.” He babbles (only a handful of words), he wakes up in the middle of the night, he barely has any teeth, he has rolls of fat on top of rolls of fat, and he barely has any hair. So, as long as we are all enjoying this bottle thing, we are going to keep it going.

It’s like that with a lot of things, and I’m more open the second time around. With the twins I was very much “by-the-book.” This time, I put my emphasis on the really important things and put new importance on certain things that are not “by-the-book.” This is my baby, and right now it is important for me to treat him that way.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Blisters for Sisters

By the end of the day Sunday, I will have walked 235 miles for breast cancer and raised about $12,000. This weekend marks my 6th time participating in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in Washington, DC. This is a 2-day, 39.3 mile walk where participants are required to raise a minimum of $1,800. The first time I did the walk, I signed up to fill a philanthropic void I had since moving to DC. I had a friend who did the walk in Charlotte, NC, the year before, and she made it seem like a great experience.
My #1 Fans

Since that first walk, this effort has become so much more to me. I formed some of my closest friendships with women I met on that first walk. I’ve walked next to survivors, women in the middle of their battle, and husbands who have lost their wives. I’ve heard their stories and that was enough to keep me going. I’ve also had kids since then, and the thought of my daughter ever facing breast cancer, or the thought of me facing it while my children are still young and need me is all I need to keep going.

My first five years, I was glad to say that no one in my family or circle of friends ever battled breast cancer, and I knocked on wood every time I thought or said that. Part of me thought if I kept doing this then my inner circle will be exempt from ever getting breast cancer at all … until now. Just 24 hours after I signed up for this year’s walk, I found out a cousin in her early 40s with two children began her battle. Around the same time, a close friend’s mother, whom I absolutely adore, began her battle. Cancer does not discriminate.

Because we see so many survivors, we forget that people are still dying from this disease. Many times it is not detected early enough. I know most of my readers are moms with young children. It is hard to make time to get a mammogram. Moms with young kids don’t go to the doctor. I get it. But, if you are 35—or younger if you have a family history—getting your baseline should be a priority. I did mine practically the day after I turned 35. I had 1-year-old twins at the time, and my only help was my working husband. You make time when it is something this important.

Raising money for the cause is important, and $12,000 can do quite a bit on a local level. But, what I hope to contribute—more than the donations—is awareness. If 2,000 women and men sporting pink t-shirts, boas, hats, and other garb, march around a city to remind a handful of women to get their mammogram, then count me in. And, if writing a blog about breast cancer awareness for a few hundred followers leads just one of you to get the mammogram you have been putting off, then it was definitely worth the last 6 years.

I don’t know most of you, but I’m guessing some of you know someone right now who is battling breast cancer. If you do, please provide that person’s name in the comments on this page or leave me a message on my Facebook page and I will add him/her to my prayer list, which I will wear pinned to the back of my shirt throughout the two days. I believe in mass prayer and mass positive thoughts, and I will be walking with 2,000 people and past supporters all over the DC area. It’s worth a shot, anyway.

Pink Power!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day ... May Day!

Did you do May baskets today? I happened to call my parents this morning, and my dad asked me if we got snow? Well, I live in Virginia and he lives in Nebraska, so climatically (not sure if that’s a word), things are a little different. He told me of when he was a kid and on May 1st, he and his friends would make May baskets and give them to the girls. Then, they would run away to avoid getting kissed. The point of this story (which, with my dad, sometimes there isn’t one), was that he remembered there being snow on the ground on May Day. When I called, I was at my local mechanic getting my state inspection done, which was due in April. I didn’t even realize it was May until about 10 o’clock this morning. Needless to say, no May baskets left this house this morning! If people still do May baskets, what do you do? I love to hear about traditions. Please share!

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Encourage Other Moms

I saw a mom at pick-up time at preschool today, letting her 18-month-old throw a tantrum outside the front door of the school. She stood ... silent ... but, undoubtedly wanting to cry herself ... while the little guy screamed and hit his fists on the ground. I walked up to her and told her she is a good mom and let them be. I've been there, and I know that it would have been nice to hear those words at that time, because you certainly question yourself. So, next time you see a mom working through a "teaching moment," be sure to tell her she's doing a great job. I know it would make me feel better, and I hope--even if for one second--it made that mom feel better.

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