Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WTF? Wednesday

This morning, I entered Z's room to grab an outfit for her to wear after her swim lesson.

I am not sure what made me notice the bucket sitting in the corner of the room.

Not sure why it seemed odd that a bucket would be sitting there.

I looked into it and was surprised to find that it was half-filled with liquid.

I carried it into the living room.

"Z, what is this?"

She cowered and attempted to hide. A small voice answered, "Pee."

I was speechless. "Why? Why would you pee into this bucket?" Her bathroom is directly across the hall from her bathroom. The bucket was less than 6 feet from the toilet.

"I'm tired of using the potty. I want to use a bucket now."


In all of my history, all of my life, it has NEVER occurred to me to relieve myself anywhere other than the bathroom. Why, in the name of all that is holy, why, would it EVER occur to her to want to pee in (of all things) a bleeping pink bucket in the corner of her bedroom?

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Guest that I Just Can't Shake

Three weeks before the last day of 5th grade in May of 1987, our teachers sequestered all of the girls into one room and all of the boys into another. I am not sure what they told the boys (probably that they were gonna skate through the rest of life without worry or pain) but what they showed the girl was a video about puberty and reproduction. They explained cramps, PMS, moodiness, weight gain, hair growth - I was horrified by the entire process.

At the end of the class they gave us each a box of pads, a razor, a bottle of deodorant, a pink pamphlet about our upcoming changes and a jar of Noxzema. I was mortified. I didn't want either of my parents to know these embarrassing things about my life, let alone all of the boys in my class. I hid the package under my shirt and ran home from school that afternoon. I hid everything in a box beneath my bed.

Puberty represented a loss of a childhood that I could barely hang on to, a loss of innocence that I held dear. I didn't want to become a woman, I hadn't even really been able to master being a girl.

Like clockwork, she came exactly a month after the class. The pamphlet said that she might be a little crazy at first, but I was like a finely oiled machine. Every 28 days, there she was. I had no cramps, no moodiness or weight gain. She lasted about 3-4 days at a time and was on some days light enough for just a pantyliner. Other girls would complain about her, claiming cramps or zits or other such craziness - I never had any of those issues. She would leave as quietly as she came. In all of the craziness of my preteen and teen years, she was the one constant, the one thing that I didn't have to worry about or stress over.

I hid her for several months before my father finally realized what was going on. He announced it from the front porch of our house on a hot summer afternoon. My mother was across the street visiting neighbors when I heard him call out, "Hey, get over here. Your daughter just got her PERIOD." If we had not just filled in the hole that we were digging to China, I would have happily climbed into it and buried myself alive at that point.

For years we had a great relationship, she would come and go every 28 days. She never really impacted me or my life adversely. I decided to go on Depo at 21, not because I needed the birth control but because I thought it might be nice to take a break from her for a change. She was MIA for 6 years. As soon as I stopped, she reappeared, the same trustworthy friend that I had always known.

The one time that I got pregnant before getting married, I was desperate to see her again. I raced to the bathroom throughout the day longing to see the telltale signs. When she finally reappeared, I was saddened by the loss but so relieved that she had returned.

When we got married at 29, our relationship changed. Instead of being a sign of salvation each month she became the symbol of failure, the harbringer of the death of hope each month as we strived to get pregnant, to have a baby that looked like each of us, a living symbol of our love.  And on April Fool's Day 2007, imagine my surprise when she took her leave of absence.

When she finally returned 19 months later, she was different. The 28 day visitation schedule was out the door and she would show up whenever she felt like it. Suddenly, for the first time in my life there were cramps, heavy flow, moodiness, acne, PMS, emotional tears and fatigue.

I hate her now. I hate the way that she makes me feel, I hate that she steals all creativity from my body, all gumption to do anything besides sleep.

If it weren't for the fact that eventually we want more babies, I would find someone to take her away for good. I am not sure that I can deal with 20 more years of her.

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Saturday, July 23, 2011

By Any Other Name...

I have had a lot of names in my history. Good and bad.

Someone - There were a lot of kids in my household growing up, so we developed a system. If my father yelled for Someone I would answer, Somebody was my sister, Anyone was my oldest younger brother and Anybody was my youngest younger brother. It worked out, being the oldest if my father yelled for Someone is was probably something that the younger kids couldn't do.

The R-word and the B-word - He would also use these words interchangeably when referring to me in anger. I still hear them in my head from time to time when I do something especially stupid. It's always his voice in my head telling me that I am not good enough, not special enough, just plain not enough.

The B-word is also what I have been called at the majority of my jobs, having worked as an office manager and in customer service, mostly by customers, sometimes by employees. It's something I have become used to, and I no longer take it personally as it is people's response to their unhappiness with the company's policies and not a personal attack on me (although when I was very young and just starting out it was difficult to understand that, and hurtful).

There are the normal names that people are called scattered through there as well: wife, honey, babe, momma, sister, friend, etc.

There are names that are reserved just for me - the nickname that my Grandma called me when I was little, Heever, Heffer, and Heddy, and names that I wanted to be called, sultry, mysterious, maybe even a minx.

There are the names that I have called myself in the deepest part of my twisted disease - stupid, ugly, fat, disgusting, pig, awful, grotesque, and on and on.

Last night, I heard a new term used to describe me, a name I never thought would ever be used for me - Goody-Goody.

The definition according to the Apples to Apples game (which is awesome ya'll, a great ice breaker and super fun) a Goody-Goody is sweet, well-behaved and virtuous. I guess in my mind a Goody-Goody is rather flat, two dimensional, boring, safe. It's not someone that you would want to hang out with, someone you would call up to do things with, someone who can really understand the world outside of the safety of her house, church or community.

Holly Hobby - The ultimate Goody-Goody. (Love that dress though, don't be surprised if you see a tutorial on that soon!)
Goody-Goody does not describe me. It's what I have tried to be all of my life, to be the good girl, the safety net, the one that people could count on to help them up and dust them off - but I have failed at truly reaching that mecca of goodness (because the voices telling me that I am not good enough still ring through my head, because the disapproving looks from the ones that I need to impress tell me so).

I have tried to pretend so hard that people wouldn't know that I wasn't what I really longed to be - Normal.

Of all the names that I have been called, there is one that I am called least of all, the one that I rather enjoy, the one that I most like to hear.

Because no one ever calls me Heather...

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Things I Love Thursday - Summer Edition

I love ~
~the smell of summer on my child - salt, sun (yes, you can smell sun), cocoa butter and tanning lotion as she lays her tired warm body against mine.
~the cool breezes that surprise you on a hot and sunny day
~the sounds of summer at night in my backyard - the cicadas, frogs, and crickets lulling me to sleep
~that grass that seemed dead can explode into shade of green and grow several inches after a small rain
~unexpected mid morning calls to the lake or the pool from friends that I had thought were unavailable
~the dresser that the Scare Bear brought over for Z's room last night

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wondering Wednesday

JoDene has chickens. She wants them to lay eggs.

I wonder about the laying eggs part. It is molded much like the shape of a babies head when the baby is first born.

Do chickens have labor every morning? Do they remember that they did it yesterday? 

No matter how many chickens you have, you have to have at least one rooster or the chickens won't lay eggs. I think that the rooster fertilizes the eggs after they come out, the Hubs thinks this is impossible.

Wikipedia does not seem to have the answer to my chicken sex questions.

I am thinking that life as a chicken might not be as carefree as they make it seem.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

To-Do Tuesday: Bake a Cake!

Today's To-Do Tuesday is to bake a cake.

I know a lot of people stray from baking cakes from scratch, preferring instead to use a mix (which I also do from time to time) but homemade cakes are so delicious and the kids have such a good time pouring, measuring and mixing that it's definitely worth the extra effort. (Plus, you probably have everything you need already in your cabinet!)

Today we are making a Devilishly Good Devil's Food Cake with the Scare Bear's Homemade Cream Cheese Frosting.

What you need for the cake:
1/2 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, separated
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups cold water

1. Separate your eggs into two separate bowls and set whites into refrigerator to keep them cool.

2. Beat the shortening and 1 cup of the sugar in a large mixing bowl until fluffy and well mixed.

3. Add the vanilla and egg yolks only. Beat together.

4. In a smaller bowl add your cake flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt and have a child stir it together gently until all ingredients are well distributed throughout the flour.

5. Add small amounts of the flour mixture and water in increments, beating after each addition until you have added everything.

6. Set your large bowl to the side, grab a smaller bowl (or rinse out the flour bowl). (Give beaters to small children while you do the next part, unless you distrust eggs.) Add in the egg whites that you have been cooling and the last 3/4 cup of sugar. Beat on low until stiff peaks form.

7. Gently fold in the egg whites into your chocolate mixture until well incorporated. (Give spoon to small children, unless you distrust eggs.)

8. Bake in two well greased 9" round cake pans (or make as cupcakes, or a large sheet cake) at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

9. Allow to cool completely before turning out onto plates and frosting.

What you need for Scare Bear's Frosting:
1 stick of butter
1 stick of cream cheese
almost a pound of confectioners sugar
(interesting fact, homemade cakes have no calories, fat or carbs)

1. Place butter and cream cheese in sauce pan and melt ingredients on medium-high heat stirring constantly.

2. Add confectioners sugar slowly until mixture takes on the texture of frosting.

3. Spread on cake and enjoy.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, the cake was baking when I remembered that I needed pictures and we started eating it before I thought of taking pics of the after shot. I will add them the next time I make it. Maybe. 
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Monday, July 18, 2011

Even Princesses Have To Work

Today, I had the opportunity to see the first episode of Dance Moms. After reading so many outraged opinions about this show from other mommy bloggers, I wanted to see what all of the controversy was about.

This show revolves around girls in competitive dance competitions, their coach (who some have described as a dictator) and the mothers that encourage their children to follow this path.

There are some outrageous attitudes and behaviors by the adults throughout the show, often in front of children, but, to criticize the coach and the parents for enforcing a spirit of competitiveness in the children, is a wayward opinion rather than focusing on the actual issue.

In my opinion, society has become so politically correct and emotion driven that we are fooling our children into believing that they will never face adversity, that they are great at everything they do without practice, sometimes without knowledge. They are smart, perfect, incredible, extraordinary. That nothing is ever really their fault - it must be a bad teacher or a poorly raised classmate.

If every child is extraordinary, doesn't that mean that they are all just ordinary? How can you be special just like everyone else?

I do not believe in the idea that merely participating in a sport or activity should warrant a trophy or ribbon. I believe in the spirit of healthy competition among children. I believe in winners and losers. I believe that children that have goals of becoming a professional athlete or performer need to have a higher level of discipline and to those of us on the outside of those sports it may at times seem to be too harsh or extreme.

The reality is that no matter how good we are at any thing, we are never perfect, there will always be a need to practice, rehearse, hone our skills and there will always be another generation of talented newbies rising to take our place.

In my previous position, I dealt largely with college students and their parents. More often than not, the parents would phone and complain that their student was so smart, so disciplined, etc, etc and they just could not understand why their child was not succeeding at getting the scores that they needed to become a doctor, lawyer, what have you. I would check the student's account and find that the student had not done any homework, had never logged into their syllabus, had not been to class beyond the third session.

And the parents would still place the blame upon my company, the teacher or tutor, even on me, rather than doubting that their child was perfect.

If, as parents, we allow our children to believe that are infallible, perfect, great at everything they do, then we are doing them a great injustice. We are not instilling in them the basic essentials that they will need to be successful in the real world. And we are fooling ourselves into a belief that our children will never have real problems and real issues.

The fear of raising your children in this way is that when they finally emerge into the real world, they will be crushed by the overwhelming sense that for the first time in their lives it is their fault, that there are repercussions for their action or inaction to a situation. And this is what leads to 45 year old men living in their momma's house.

In my opinion, our job as parents is to instill a sense of competition, perseverance, diligence, humility, and a belief that there is a higher power.

After all, even the princesses had to work.

From what I could see on the show, these are happy and healthy girls that enjoy dancing. They enjoy getting ready for competitions and they love to win.

Why is that so wrong?

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Sunday, July 17, 2011


In my daughter's world, she never sees anyone quite like herself. Other children do not have the bronze skin, the long curly tendrils, or the hazel eyes.

Everywhere we go, people remark on how cute she is, how beautiful and precious she is. How much they wish that they had her curly hair, her good skin. We say thank you because I want her to be able to accept compliments with a sense of humility and not arrogance.

On Saturday night, Z got into my makeup. She piled on foundation and lip gloss in shocking amounts. I brought her to me and smoothed out and removed some of the excess and she began to cry. "I want to be pink like YOU, " she screamed in a typical overtired, over dramatic 3 year old meltdown fashion.

I smiled.

I walked her calmly to the bathroom and stood her in front of the mirror as I removed some more of the goop from her face.

"You have beautiful skin. Women pay lots of money to have skin that looks like yours does for free."

"I WANT NEW HAIR!", she screamed in response.

"You have beautiful hair, God gave you the most lovely hair. I prayed everyday that you would have curly hair."

"I want straight hair that does not tangle and knot. I want long straight hair that I can brush by myself."

I handed her my brush and sat us both down on my bed. "Brush my hair", I instructed. "Do you feel the tangles and knots in my hair? My hair is straight and it gets tangles and knots just like yours."

"I WANT NEW EYES", she bellows into my ears.

"Why? Wouldn't the world look just the same if your eyes were blue or green or brown? Your eyes are special because they can be all of those colors. God made you so perfectly that he chose only the best parts for you."

She gave up the fight, eventually, and busied herself brushing her doll's hair (which is straight and knotty and tangled).

I thought that I had years before she really started to notice the difference between herself and her friends. I thought I had time before this particular discussion came along.

For all of the sage advice and esteem building that I did, I have always found flaws within my own body, my own self. I am not nearly as funny as I would like to be, I am a lot heavier than I would like to be, the at-home haircut I gave myself is starting to grow out rather awkwardly, my eyes are too small and rather close together and on and on and on.

My Heavenly Father knit me together in my mother's womb to be the person that I am, I am beautiful because I am made in the image of God, why would I ever doubt my own beauty? Why would I ever allow a world that I am not even a part of decide my beauty ratio?

I pray that my child will always know her beauty inside and out and will never allow society to cast a doubt upon her. I will be here to boost her esteem when she needs it (I just hope that she does not need it).

This week's reading: Psalm 139:13-16

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Facebook Friday - What's In Your Bag?

Yesterday, I posted on Facebook the following question:

Question of the Day for Moms: When leaving the house for a day of errands, do you back a bag for your child? What's in your bag?

I received several responses and several varied depending on the age of the child or children. 
  • Ivy (mom to 2 kids ages 2 &1): "Always! Even if we're just running up to the corner to get milk; you never know, you could get stuck in a traffic jam and be there for hours (had that happen once)...I always pack full sippy cups with ice water, at least 6 diapers, a pack of wipes, a change of clothes for each kid, and a snack for each..not to mention the normal diaper cream, antibiotic cream, a few band-aids, some extra bottled water, and hand sanitizer. I'm a worry-wart, though! :-)"
  • Jessica (mom of 1, age 2): "I usually do. I like to be prepared. I bring water and crackers at the least. What if the car breaks down or something in the heat? I try to bring the basics in case I get in a bind. I usually bring to much, but my mom always warned me about being prepared for the worst so I guess that lesson stuck."
  • Tiffany (mom of 1, age 4):  "nope...sure don't. I don't pack a bag, I may bring one cup of water but that's it..."
  • Kim (mom of 3, ages 11, 5 & 3):  "Not anymore, thank the Lord!"
  • Valerie (mom of 3, ages 6, 3 &2): "Depends on which child comes with me, but always try to bring water, at a minimum."
  • Kirsten (mom of 2, ages 8 &3 (I think)): "Water and the ever-trusty bag of goldfish crackers"
  • Jaime (mom of 1, age 2): "A drink, snack, a change of clothes (just in case) and her "blankie/dolly." :)"
  • Laura (mom of 2, ages 21 & 16 - daytime mom of 1, age 2): "Yes, but it's easier to just keep a small bag in the car with baggies of snacks, that way you only have to grab a cup of water and you're out the door. Refill the baggies when they're empty. And maybe some crayons, coloring book and a notebook and pencil to keep her busy while your driving around town"
  • Stephanie (mom of 2, ages 5 &3): "Depends..Mostly just water/juice for both kids and for S still a change of clothes (but they typically just stay in a bag in the bag of the car."
  • Wendy (mom of 2, ages 8 &5): "I never left the house without a change of clothes, snacks, drinks and a towel."

Child entertainment at their fingertips.
I have never really liked carrying a bag. I have never really carried a purse. Her diaper bag was such a nuisance to me, often she would outgrow her change of clothes before she ever really ending up needing it. Mostly, we only kept diapers in there as I was her bottle. Additionally, car rides are like a sleeping pill to my child so she never really needed to be quieted or entertained as a baby. As soon as she was potty trained, we ditched the bag.

However, I also understand the need to keep a child quiet in waiting rooms, if not as much for my sanity as for others. So we bring the "Bag of Entertainment" - usually 2 or 3 books, blank paper, flashcards, crayons (not pictured the 2 small toys that she can bring with her: Polly Pockets, mini princesses, or Strawberry Shortcake and pals). I buy her smaller colorful purses and she carries them around. Less for me to have to deal with.

I don't plan for the worse, she knows that if she spills something on her clothes she is stuck. We don't have potty accidents, so that is not a concern for me. There are no band-aids, no creams, no medicine, no snacks or water. (My Mother of the Year application is still pending.)

But she will be contained and quiet in public and that is important to me.

What's in your bag?

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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things I Love Thursday

I love~~
  • when Z wraps her arms around my legs and pronounces me "The Best Momma in the Whole Wide World".
  • worship on Sunday mornings - especially when I am in a funk and God surprises me with his presence. (I personally believe that the most staunch non-believer cannot leave a good worship service without knowing His presence)
  • the Hubs (I really think he is digging this whole financial leader, hard-worker role that he has been thrust into - surprising, yes, but amazing and awesome all rolled into one)
  • being in the position, even though unemployed, to be able to give to people in need
  • Z's zest for learning anything that I put in front of her (she reminds me of me in that way)
  • finding a picture of myself from Kindergarten and having Z ask me if it was her
  • ZUMBA!
  • the Scare Bear and JoDene for putting up with my crazy ideas, plans (like cake decorating classes and my new career in Rally Car Racing) and random phone calls throughout the day
  • the idea that I could be a Rally Car driver if I wanted to, I even made a plan to be able to do it
  • my awesome readers that comment and e-mail and let me know when I have gotten completely off track
  • my almost finished new closet that I cannot wait to share with my readers
  • my pouf
  • that even with the attitude that has been spewing out of my child as of late, there are still moments of the day that she wants to cuddle with me and play with me
  • that even though Blade pretends to be so big and so tough, he still asks me to crochet him blankets and sew him pillows
****Side note: I do not love the Department of Children & Families who sent me an e-mail on 7/6, that I received at 4 PM on 7/7 informing me that I need to call their office by 7/8 at 4PM. I have now called 48 times since receiving the letter. The message that I get is "No one is available to answer your call at this time." Then it hangs up. 48 F***ing times. Guess where I will be at 8:30 in the morning with my kid? (Also, what kind of planning comes up with the idea to put their office directly next door to the GD Chuck E Cheese? I guess we also know where I will be having my lunch tomorrow. F.)

Finally, I love the blanket that Z asked me to crochet her. I let her choose all of the colors and I am proud of her ability to coordinate.

You can't tell in the photo but the pink, purple and green have sparkly threads that run through it. In her words, "My favorite colors are pink, purple and sparkly." Such a girl.
Thanks to Lindsay for giving me the idea. Check out her blog. It's pretty awesome (and teaches me new words.)

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Night People vs Morning People

Two peas in a pod.
I am a morning person. I love waking up to the sounds of the birds chirping outside of my window, the first rays of light dancing along my pillows edge. I wake up in a good mood (unless I was hit in the middle of the night, that makes me not so happy).

The people that I live with (the mini-tyrant and the Hubs) avoid the morning like the plague. They wake up when their body is ready and function as minimally as possible until noon or so. (Maybe they are vampires!)

This makes my life difficult. I need to be able to clean, run errands, do things and yet, they are grumpy, grumbling and mean if I wake them up before their allotted times.

I also need to be able to sleep myself. In my world, I should be able to go to bed around 10 PM so that I can operate at optimum performance. Unfortunately, the mini-tyrant will not allow me to go to bed until sometime after 11 (unless I take her to bed with me which we are trying to break the habit of - again) and the Hubs usually doesn't even think of sleep until sometime around midnight - or later (he also works a lot of evenings so there is no chance that he would watch her while I tried to sneak off to bed).

I know that in a few years we will need to send the tyrant off to school. (I feel for those kids, I really do.)

Perhaps by then they will begin afternoon and evening classes for the night people - without it, I am afraid that the carnage will mount quickly.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pouf -- It's Magic

Since becoming a woman of leisure stay at home mom a little over a month ago, I have been hard at work cleaning and organizing our home. Having moved in over 4 years ago, getting knocked up immediately following the move and working (sometimes more than one job) - I never really had the opportunity to "style" our home (although, truth be told, I am really not sure that I will ever completely understand the concept).

So when I got this month's Better Homes & Gardens magazine I was super excited to see the cover story: "50 Ideas for Under $50" (BHG, you are totally speaking my language!). In the article, I happened on an idea for a pouf - sort of a cross between an ottoman, floor cushion and bean bag chair.

It's exactly what I have been looking for; floor seating for children in our family room is at a minimum and Z is constantly pulling hot pink princess chairs all over the house.

So without further ado, let me present the pouf that I made and how I did it (I didn't follow the BHG instructions, I hate hand sewing, really didn't think that stitches would hold up to my mini-tyrant and wanted something circular).

It's big. 60" around and 14" tall
Step 1. Iron all of your fabric. This is a very important step that I learned the hard way. 

The colors I used were chocolate, cream and caramel - I had them on hand and they match my couches.
Step 2. Design your template. I wanted my pouf to be about 60 inches around, 24 inches wide and to stand about 14 inches high. I also knew that I was going to be doing a 1/4" seam allowance so I needed to allow for that. What I designed was sort of a triangle without a point. The top of the triangle is 1", the base of the triangle would need to be 6", and the sides of the triangle would be 12" long. I also knew that I would need to have another 7" inches in height on the bottom end of the triangle.

This is what I came up with.
Step 3. Cut your fabric. You will need 24 total pieces - 12 for the top, 12 for the bottom. (If you used a thin fabric, you should also cut 24 pieces of muslin to attach to the back - it will make it more durable.)
Pretty, pretty, pretty.
Step 4. Pin two triangles together, right sides facing.
Better ironing would have been a great idea. 
Step 5. Sew down one side of the triangles. Open up and place your next triangle on top of your work. Pin together, right sides facing and sew. Repeat until you have put all of the pieces together. 
It will look a little weird until you get it all put together. 
Step 6. When you finish, you should have two circles that look like this. 
Step 7. (Optional) Cut 2 foam rubber circles to provide some extra stability on your top and base. Use your circles as your template for cutting. 
The foam rubber should fit inside of the circle. 
Step 8. Use a 2 inch button in the center of your top circle. Use embroidery thread as it is more durable and it takes longer for kids to pull it off. Pull the button down taut so that it slightly pulls the fabric. 

Step 9. Put the circles of foam rubber to the side. Sew your two fabric circles together (right side facing and base of triangles lining up) leaving about 5 inches unsewn so that you can stuff. Insert foam rubber circles first and then fill the center with poly~fill or other stuffing material (clothes that your kid has outgrown, ripped pillows, etc). Hand sew the rest of the way and enjoy!

Let me know what you think of this week's tutorial and if you have any other ideas for upcoming tutorials!

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Growth Spurt

On Saturday morning, Z and I were scheduled to go to a birthday party. That morning we woke up and suddenly none of her shoes would fit and all of her clothes were just a wee bit shorter. I threw some many-sizes-too-large flip flops on her and dragged her through the Wal-Mart to find some shoes in her new size so we could get to the party.

Z has had another growth spurt.

My child has finally returned to me! There is less biting, hitting, whining - I am happy that it is finally over. My mother warns that there may be some additional teeth coming in soon (I hate when I get those warnings) - I suppose it is a good thing that I have built up my anti-whine arsenal to protect me when they do start peeking through.

I have been thinking though - if it is true that she will one day be taller than 6' - there will be a lot of growth spurts in her life, if this is the behavior to be expected perhaps I should teach her another way to take out her aggressions. Ultimate Fighting, perhaps? Kickboxing? Zumba does not seem to help in this arena (and, personally, when she gets in her state, I can't really do the Zumba with her pulling on me, hitting me, screaming at the top of her lungs).

I guess I will start contacting local dojos to find out what to do with a child that has a penchant for physical lashing out when she does not feel herself - and mount a punching bag in her playroom in the meantime.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011


Being a mom is hard. There is exhaustion - mental and physical, there are sacrifices of all that you hold dear - your body, your sleep, your food and your sanity.

I understood how women could forget their sleeping babies in the car, think that their children were possessed by the devil, and have the need to sleep so badly that they would give their children a little extra shot of Benadryl. All of the things that I thought I would never understand were suddenly as clear as daylight to me.

In our society, we beg for forgiveness on a daily basis- from our partners, our children, our friends - but we seldom seem able to do it ourselves. I think that the most difficult words in our language could be "I forgive". We want to have someone be to blame for all of the wrongs in the world, someone else to be accountable - Jesus never did that. He would break bread amongst the sinners, He would hang out with women that had been accused of sleeping around - He forgave every one and gave us all so much more than we ever deserved.

Oftentimes, forgiveness for others is easier than forgiveness for ourselves. We can let bygones be bygones, let the hurts become numb, ignore a situation until it becomes just another memory, but we beat ourselves up every single day about how we are lacking in our parenting, in our relationships, in our jobs and our homes.

Until we are able to forgive ourselves our faults and learn to improve upon them, we can never really learn to forgive others and teach our children forgiveness.

Here is this week's Bible verse: Matthew 18:21-22

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Floppy Foot Dilemma

Z came home last Sunday afternoon after spending the night with the Scare Bear and Blade at their family's plantation (we hang with the upper crust, don't ya know?).

For this particular story's sake, let me interject with some background characters - Gran is the Scare Bear's granny, Mimi is her aunt, Couita is her cousin's almost 2 year old daughter. 

"Momma, Gran's uncle's foot felled off and it's wubbery and bloody. I don't know what to do with it."

I nodded and she ran off to play. Throughout the day, she would return.

"Momma, Mimi's uncle's brother's foot felled off. It's very wubbery. What should we do with it?"

Each time she would return, the relatives would become more and more obscure, the details remaining mainly the same. To say the least, I was perplexed. I knew that the Scare Bear's family had some issues with illness, but she had not mentioned any major surgery, particularly not involving any recent amputations.

"Momma, Couita's father's brother's uncle's father's friend's foot felled off. It's very very wubbery. I don't know what to do with it."

Finally, the next day we attended a barbecue (sort of) at the Scare Bear's cave and I encouraged Z to ask her about it.

"Scare Bear, Gran's uncle's brother's father's foot felled off. It is bloody, wubbery and very dirty. I don't know what to do with it."

The Scare Bear began to giggle.

You know those rubber feet that people used to attach to their trunks to look as though there was a dead body in there?

Mimi had put one in the children's toy box.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Wild Horses

Way back when, I knew I would be a star one day. A singer to be more exact. The bar that I DJ'd Karaoke at encouraged my dream, paying for me to go to a studio, write and record a single. They produced it and sold copies at the front door. I was kind of a big deal back then.

But life, reality, bills - they all have a way of grabbing you and putting you in your place. I traded all of those big dreams of stardom, for this life, a life that I would never, ever trade - but a life I never thought I would have.

Like rocks in a stream, the hustle and bustle, the tiny ripples and grains of sand, smooth us down, polishing and shining us into these perfect pebbles - erasing all of the jagged edges and differences until we conform into what society tells us is right, appropriate - normal.

I wonder sometimes if my daily mantra of "Do it this way", "Put some damn clothes on", "Quit dancing and jumping off of my couch" is in someway the precursor to Z's smoothing down. That I am somehow reigning in this wild little filly and expecting her to conform to my ideas of normalcy. If somehow I am teaching her that it is not good to be quirky, eccentric, goofy, or the naked little oddball.

I have always said that I don't care if she goes to college, I don't care what she becomes when she grows up -  as long as she is happy. But what if happiness to her is being a stripper or a nudist - and I am teaching her that that is bad and wrong? What if happiness to her is jumping out of perfectly good airplanes (name that movie) or off of bridges? Here I am demanding that she stop her daredevilish pursuits in the interest of my own sanity - when really she is merely showcasing the things that make her happiest in life.

I love her uniqueness, I love the way that she sees the world and the way that she interprets the world back to me - her descriptions are so colorful so vivid and I often have to stop and think about what she is talking about to understand her point of view. It's awesome and a little scary at times when I get those little glimpses into her mind.

Those things, that jaggedness is part of what makes Z, Z and what scares me is that in a few years, she won't have that same light, that same unique window on the world, that someone - a teacher, a friend, me - will have smoothed out that part of her.

How can I protect those things I love without honing back the dangerous aspects of what she is doing (leaping off of the couch, onto the table and back again, climbing anything that she can get a grip off - especially while naked)?

I am all for strange and weird - as long as it doesn't interrupt my sense of normal.

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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Things I Never Thought I Would Say

Maybe it is the holiday, or the fun of the past weekend (what with the Hubs birthday and Independence Day all rolled into one), but I have had a bad week this week. Bad, as in, I am grateful that I have not quit the job of being Stay at Home Mom because I have been tempted to just walk up out of this bitch and not even look back.

When everything went down the way that it did and I became a stay at home mom, I thought it would be fun to be able to spend my days taking care of my child and our household. This is not fun. I feel like I spend a large part of everyday trying to find some corner of our home to hide, just for a few minutes for some alone time.

She is on me constantly. She expects me to entertain her from the time she gets out of bed to the time that I run screaming from her bedside in the evening. We have never been so attached (and out of control).

I have said a lot of things I never thought I would say in the last few days.

"We don't kick our friends in the face." (Important lesson there kiddies)

"I am NEVER taking you to church again." (Suddenly, now that we are together ALL OF THE TIME - she refuses to go anywhere without me)

"Get in your room, don't come out, I cannot look at your face right now." (And not just because she had colored her face with permanent marker)

"Your panties are not supposed to be a hat - if you cannot put them on your bottom, you will not have dinner" (We have a rule that everyone must wear panties at dinnertime, strangely this was her way of testing that theory.)

"I will shave your head if you do not stop" (in reaction to the overly dramatic squirming and screaming that hairbrushing caused)

"GET OFF OF ME" (it is 100 degrees on a daily basis around here people, in addition to that the humidity is at a barely breathable 97% - she seems to expect me to wear her like a friggin' mink coat)

"I need a day off" - I honestly thought that this job would be so much easier than the ones that I have left behind - why am I so much more exhausted?

"No one has died today"  (in response to the cashier at the grocery store that asked how my day is going)

I really hope that we are going to be able to get this worked out because something has to change or I am gonna need a raise (or a new boss).

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Changes - They Are A Comin'

It's been a month since I lost my job and inevitably our family - our lives - have gone through some major changes. In able to focus on these changes, starting next week there will be some new features on the blog.

I can hear the collective sigh of relief right now - "The blog used to be so good before she lost her job..."

Here is a taste of some of the things that I will be introducing:

Momma Monday - Mondays will be the day that I will talk about issues with my child, conversations that we have had - really anything from our day-to-day that I choose to share.
To-Do Tuesday - I will let you in on some of the crafts that have happening around the ol' homestead along with tutorials and pictures. As soon as I figure out how to also make them into printable PDFs I will add the link so that you can download to do at home as well.
Wondering Wednesday - My musings about the world, my window onto the adult things that leave me wondering - these will most likely feature a question of the day.
Thursday - Will most likely just have randomness at this point - unless someone has a suggestion for a great alliteration for Thursday - :) Or I could just borrow in on my friend Lindsay's Thursday posts.
Facebook Friday - On Thursday, I am going to throw out a question to my Facebook followers and post the responses as well as give my own response - these can be questions ranging from "How do you feel about the family bed?" to "How long did you nurse?" - Make sure that you "Like" me on Facebook so that your voice can be heard.
Crafturday Saturday - I have talked in the past about how I love to do projects with the kids on Saturday nights, and, yet have failed to share what it is that we do. Finally, you will get to see the awesome things we create and do!
Spiritual Sunday - My relationship with God is the most awesome relationship that I have, but in an effort to not come off as too "preachy" I have stayed away from talking about that - no longer friends! I am constantly learning and adjusting my relationship to God's will and I am eager to share that with my readers and receive your feedback.

All of this will begin on Sunday, July 10 so stay tuned and as our lives continue to change, stick with me while other tweeks and style changes happen to the blog.

Thank you for reading, for your comments and your votes. I have the best readers and followers on the planet and am looking forward to continue to grow and learn in the coming months.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Pushing the Buttons

When children are "in utero" I think they are getting a 9 month long tutorial on exactly how to set their momma's off.

Perhaps there is an actual, physical button that they can see in there - a bitch switch, if you will.

Z knows exactly what to do to have me ready to pull out my hair in frustration,  make me screaming-at-the-top-of-my-lungs crazy, and cry my eyes out in defeat. And, lately, she does it EVERY SINGLE DAY.

It's like she researches new ways to punch into that bitch switch and set me off.

I don't understand how this can be enjoyable for her. I don't understand what kind of joy she can possibly get from a raving, hysterical momma. And yet she continues to push it.

The whining, the hitting, the biting, the kicking, the screaming at decibels that only dogs and small vermin can hear - she does it like a pro.

They say that you reap what you sow. I get that, but was I really that bad as a preschooler that I should have to be set off like this every day?

I used to be such a calm quiet person. I watched a video of myself from when she was one the other day and did not recognize my own voice. I miss the quiet and serene.

For right now, I guess I will just reset my switch each night and steel myself for the next day.

And pray that this phase too shall pass.

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Banana Pudding Cake

This cake is very rich and SO delicious. I recommend that you try it out - I have made some changes to the original recipe found here.

(for cake)
1 box of Nilla Wafers (I use the generic, but you can do what you want)
6 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
(for filling)
Instant Banana Pudding
1 1/2 cups milk
Vanilla Frosting

1. Crush the Nilla Wafers. I put them in Ziploc bags and let the kids go to town with the meat hammer and the rolling pin. You can also use your food processor (probably easier that way). The crushed wafers will be your flour.

2. Mix all of the other ingredients with the crushed wafers (don't worry if you have some wafer chunks, everything will soften up with the liquid.)

3. Pour into cake pans (I used 2 - 9" inch pans). You can also do cupcakes - but there are some added steps for that.

4. Bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes or until your knife comes out clean.

5. While you are waiting on the cake you can make the pudding, I suggest using a half cup less milk than the package shows to make the filling thicker - more like a custard. Put in the fridge to let it set and let it stay there until the cake is done cooling.

6. Once everything is cool - you can assemble. The entire bowl of pudding should make a good middle layer between the two cakes. After you put on the top layer, frost with vanilla frosting and keep refrigerated until serving.

Have a great 4th of July everyone and enjoy this delicious, summery treat!

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Miracle Among Us

Meet Jake.

Jake is a sweet, caring, tender-hearted boy. The cuddliest of his brothers, he clung to his momma like nobody's business. He was such a momma's boy that he would not let anyone at our church daycare hold him until he was two - no one that is, but me.

His big brother Jarin was in my preschool class for two years.

Their momma, Jeannie, worked with me when I taught and we became friends.

Last year, on July 2nd tragedy struck. I was snuggling on the couch with an almost asleep Z scrolling through Facebook posts on my phone, when I saw this status from his daddy:


I immediately lifted Z off of me, I told her that we must pray for our friend Jake - that he was really sick and that he needed God RIGHT THEN.

I was in shock and fought every one of my gut reactions to drive straight to the hospital. What was I going to do in the ER in the middle of the night with a 2 year old? I knew that there were people there with them - pastors from the church, friends, family. I knew from Facebook updates that other women had gone to care for sweet Jarin, so that his dad could be with Jake.  

I knew from the stream of information that he had grabbed Jake and Jarin and had bolted straight to the hospital, I knew that he did not have a shirt or even shoes on when he arrived. I knew that Jake had stopped breathing, that they were looking at surgery. 

Above all else, I knew that this family was being cared for - so as much as I loved them all, as much I felt like I should be there, I stayed back and let them have their space to cope. To not have to answer questions, to not have to feel responsible for me, to not feel like they needed to entertain me.

Instead, I sent e-mails to all of my friends and family - believers and non-believers - asking for prayers, kind thoughts. I was glued to the newsfeed waiting to hear the latest. I volunteered to take meals to the family on Monday afternoons, I sent his momma text messages letting her know that I was there for them if they needed me - but I gave them the space that they needed.

That 4th of July was probably the most difficult holiday weekend - waiting to hear news about Jake while at the same time wanting to make sure that my family was out trying to enjoy life to its fullest. The statuses were good, then bad and then just a short while later good again.

No one was certain if he was going to make it. There was talk of brain damage, of surgeries, blood and brain pressures. Things looked very bleak for quite a few days.

Through all of this, I kept seeing a vision. A vision of his parents standing in front of a church congregation speaking of the greatness of God, the goodness of grace - I knew that He had a purpose for Jake's life and that things would be okay.

I updated friends and family as often as I could by text and e-mail. 

The first time that we went to see him at the PICU, he seemed so very small surrounded by giant machines and covered in tubes. His face was covered in bruises, his hair had been shaved off. Everything was swollen.

His mother talked to him softly and a nurse came in to change his bandages and administer his medicine. I stared at the numbers on the machine - since my father had died due to pressure on his brain, I knew how important the numbers I was looking at were. My eyes shifted over to the boy laying in the bed as I tried to keep the tears from flowing down my face. To keep those memories at bay.

The nurse went to put eyedrops into his eyes and he began to struggle against her. Thank you, God, for showing me that that boy is still in there somewhere. When they were done, I looked at Jeannie - "Our boy is gonna be alright, he's still here." She smiled, encouraged. 

We took the opportunity to talk, to get her off of the unit for a few minutes. I was so glad that I had waited to come when I would be a blessing and not a burden. She seemed relieved by my presence. 

Jake was in the PICU for a month. He had to have two brain shunts put in because the first did not work. He had a feeding tube and had to be weaned from the pain medication. 

He spent another month at a rehab hospital in Atlanta. The original estimate was that they would be there for 3-6 months but he improved so fast once he was awake that they couldn't keep him anymore. 

At less than 5 months after the accident - Jake walked into Z's birthday party. He was quiet, but enjoyed running around with the other children. Most of the people there didn't even realize that this was the boy that I had been e-mailing them about during the summer. From all outward appearances - you would never even know his story.

He turned 5 this past Mother's Day and had cake and a party. He loves SpongeBob Squarepants and playing with his big brothers. He is making huge strides, everyday.

Jake continues to go to therapy. He is working on his speech and physical strength.

I know that this little boy has great things in store for his future. I know that he will bring people to God through his story (so many have already). 

He is a miracle and every day his story works miracles in all of our lives. I am so blessed to know his family and to share his story. 

The family still needs support as insurance has been exhausted on his treatments and his mom has stopped working to take care of him. Donations can be made to 
Florida Commerce Federal Credit Union 
Warner Jake Dawson Account, #138815
P.O. Box 6416 
Tallahassee, Florida 32314. 

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