Monday, May 31

I've had it

...with diapers.
When Pooter was small, any diaper would do. We settled on Luvs because they were cheap, and he never leaked out of them.
Then along came my Ladybug, whose skin was so sensitive, she required top-shelf diapering, and we used Pampers Swaddlers and then their Cruisers exclusively. We loved them so much that when the Bunny was born, they were the only diaper we ever put on her bum.
But then.
Pampers changed their Cruisers to some god-awful new Dry-Max stuff without any warning. About two months before the big online debacle over chemical burns on booties, I told my hubs that the Cruisers were different and I did. not. want.
I, who by my third child am very slow to freak out, took the Bunny to the doctor for what I could have sworn was a UTI, but turned out to be Big Bad Diaper Rash. From the Cruisers.
So we switched. We bought Huggies Pure and Naturals and while I love that they are made with fewer dyes and chemicals, we seem to blow through so many in one day.
I have a few friends who are die-hard cloth diapering Mamas. My friend Gen has always been pro-cloth and has never pressured me into trying them, but has always been open with advice and answers for me.

Just this weekend my husband suggested we switch to cloth diapers for our littlest Bee. I suspect his suggestion was more monetary-minded (it's almost a no-brainer to see how much $$ cloth saves over disposables), but he also knows how I have been so upset about the change in our diapering routine. As odd as it sounds, I've really gotten stressed out over the poo-holders.

So today I'm doing a little research. I have a few brands in mind.















blueberry diapers




...and a few others. The lingo of the cloth diapering community is over my head right now, but with proper coaching, I think I can manage.

I may have a little review/giveaway bloggy thing up my sleeve... so stay tuned!


Do you use cloth diapers?
What brands/kinds do you prefer?


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PS, Dear FTC or FCC or ATF or FAA or whomever monitors such, I am not endorsed or sponsored by any brand, and have not recieved any products or services... yet.

Friday, May 28

Not good enough is sometimes totally good enough.

On Wednesday I sent out this tweet:


I got so many "congrats" and "you'll do great" and generally awesome and supportive replies. For those, I am so thankful.

What I should have written was, "After 5 years out of the workforce, I got myself a PAYING job."

Because I already HAVE a job. A full time, 168 hours a week, no overtime paid, no sick days, job.
And I love it.

I quit my (paying)job one week after we found out I was pregnant with B Child Number Two, and haven't worked a day since.
It has been over 4 years. I have been blessed every day of those four-plus years by my husband; he supports me as a stay-at-home mom both emotionally and financially.

The number one question we get when people find out we are a one-income, five-member family is, "But how do you do it?" We are just as flabbergasted by the question as the asker is flummoxed by the answer, "We. Just. Do."

The whole answer is, more accurately, "We. Just. Do. Without."

We don't go out to eat as often as we did before kids #2 and #3. I only get my hair did when it is about 3 months post-decent looking. I am in desperate need of new summer clothes. Jeremy needs a new pair of tennis shoes (his one and only extravagance).
Our kids live in a safe, comfortable house.
Our bills are always paid on time.
We have ample groceries each week... until the day before payday when it mysteriously disappears.
Thanks in large part to three generous grandmothers, our kids have cute clothes and new shoes as soon as they grow out of the old ones.

But we don't have a whole lot of extras. And sometimes it's hard.

Last week I had lunch plans with friend that I had to cancel because we just didn't have any disposable funds. The same weekend a sweet friend of mine I haven't seen in years came in town from out of state. She and two other women I rarely get to see invited me to dinner in Little Rock, and I had to decline because I didn't have enough gas to get there and back and last the rest of the week.

*side note* Heaven help me if Jeremy reads this ultra-transparent post. He is anti-sharing. He's just plain stingy with our life story. ***

There were so many factors involved me in applying for a waitressing gig at a small local restaurant. Namely, we need extra money. And truth be told, I could do with a little social interaction with people who don't pick their noses in public (dear Lord please don't let those people pick their noses in public).



So this is the real reason I'm so irritated today:
There is someone in my family who has never, and I mean NEVER, seen the worth in my Priority Number One Job; that of being a mommy. In fact, this person, when told we were expecting B Child Number Three said, "Well, y'all have really bad timing, huh? You didn't have enough already?"
To be fair, it didn't start with motherhood. I have never been ambitious enough, dedicated enough, or moneyhungry enough for this person's taste.

So, I've been told weekly for FOUR YEARS that I ought to get a job to help support my husband (oh yeah, I'm a wifefail too. A burden on my knight.), who should be able to come home and put his feet up and be handed a big glass of beer. Forget that he would rather come home and play with his kids in the back yard and fix us dinner later. And that he doesn't really drink beer all that often. Or ever in front of his kids.

Call me masochistic, but I was really happy to be able to tell this person that I'd finally taken their advice (because before I was ungrateful for these gems of wisdom) and had become a contributing member of society. For an entire day this family member was excited for me. "Aren't you happy to get away from those kids?" "Don't you feel so much better when you're actually doing something?" Because surely I get tired of lounging in my robe, popping bonbons, dealing with those kids and perpetuating the "stay-at-home moms are lazy and rich" fallacy.

The glow of approval dimmed more quickly than I thought possible. Just this very morning I got a phone call from this person, wherein I was told that I surely don't want to be just a waitress for my whole life and that I should apply for a Pell Grant and go back to school to become a teacher.

(Ironically, my childhood dream of being A Teacher Like My Mommy was never good enough for this person either. Because teaching is what stay-at-home moms do when they are bored, or forced to work, but it's still not a Real Job.)

(Also, I've never been able to pinpoint what a Real Job is. Sometimes it's a checker at Wal-Mart, sometimes it's a bank teller, sometimes it's a hotel manager. I could not make this stuff up.)

(And, my high school aspirations of becoming  Savannah B, Doctor of Psychology were never good enough either. Because talking about feelings doesn't fall under the Real Job umbrella.)

So, when I informed this person that no, I do not intend on being just a waitress for my entire existence, and yes I plan on going back to school in the future, but that no grant or scholarship would pay for babysitting while I go to class and besides we have made a decision that I. am. a. full. time. mother.......... it took all the luster out of my new exciting little job. It took the wind out of my serving-others sails. It knocked me down a notch on the ladder of worth. (Such an odd notion, that finally getting a job makes me less of a person because it's not the right job.)

**another side note** Last night, each of the 3 other waitresses made it known they were $42 away from making the car payment, or that they needed to make $121 to complete the rent, or that they had to pick up an extra shift to pay the light bill.
And I stayed silent. Guilty that this is just "bonus" money for our family, and wordlessly, immensely grateful for my husband's job, and for every other tangible and intangible blessing in my life.  ***


Mostly it just reaffirmed that this particular person does not know me at all. They don't know how much joy I find in my Real Job of motherhood. They don't know that we plan on me staying home until our kids leave the home. (And I've avoided telling this person that we'll be homeschooling in the fall. I'll save that reaction for another rant-tastic blog post!) They don't see how I could even entertain such outlandish dreams of writing (for pay!), or of becoming a doula (that's not even a real profession!) or of building up my photography business (it's just a hobby!).

After I got all huffy and puffy and righteously indignant and started writing, I realized how insignificant that one phone call was, and how unimportant that one person's opinion on this particular matter is.

I am surrounded by people who know me. People who are genuinely happy for me and my new, fun, three-evenings-a-week job. People who are proud of me. People who love me. People who support me (and by extension, support my husband and children). People I don't have to explain myself to, people I don't have to convince that I have worth.


I read this tweet from my friend Kyran, and it went straight to my heart:


Those are my kind of friends. Those are the people I choose in my life.
Because, what good is it if you are required to play small?






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Tuesday, May 25

I think I love you





This is my boy, Pooter.


He's a really great boy.

He's an aspiring musician.

He has a discerning palate.
He's a future singer/songwriter, perhaps.

He's a loyal friend.

He's a chef.


He's an athlete. And a dancer.


He is fearless, and he encourages his sister.


He and his cousins study the Word of the Lord.


He's a wild thing.



He makes my heart sing.






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Wednesday, May 19

watch your words

This morning I picked my niece up after I dropped The Boy off at school. The Niece is only 5 months older than The Girl (but about 10 pounds lighter) and they are both beautiful blondes. They don’t look alike, but to an (incredibly)untrained eye they could be twins. My two girls were so excited to have The Niece with us for the day.

Later, as I stood in Kroger’s line with a cart full of girl, the checkout lady gave us all the once over, looked at me and asked, “So, are you going to try again for a boy?”

I had no words. I am not normally flustered by strangers’ idiotic comments, but this one took me aback. I stumbled around on my words and said, “No!! This is my niece, these two are mine! And I have a son! We’re not trying again for anything!! We can’t have any more kids!” (And yes, every sentence ended with an exclamation point or two.)

Because that’s how I do, I tweeted it almost immediately afterward.

My friend Katie suggested I should've tried this:

And my friend Sarah, disguised as somebody named Ernie, had this to say:

And my friend Gen added this:

What Sarah said made me the angriest (not angry at her, but angry because what she said was true).

When I was pregnant, all three times, I loved having people touch my belly. People I actually knew. People in my family, people I went to church with, people who I had seen before and would likely see again. Not people in grocery stores or restaurants or Targe’. But there is no way I would let any one rub my stomach (or almost any other part of me) if I was not heavy with child. So why, when children are involved, do people feel like they have permission to grope around rudely on your body or your psyche?

It is not a new phenomenon, and I’m sure it has been blogged about ad nauseum. But people do feel like a woman’s body is public property.
A pregnant woman’s growing belly is a beacon for unsanitized hands.
A young woman’s (ok, a woman of any age) breasts just beg for comment (They’re HUGE! They’re TINY! They’re FLOPPY! They’re FAKE!).
Her hair, her face, her butt, her ankles (or, more accurately; her frizzy hair, her wrinkly face, her flat butt, her fat ankles)… there is no part of a woman’s body that is granted reprieve from scrutiny.

Like I said, I know this isn’t new. And the next thought I had probably wasn’t original either, but it struck me somewhere deep in my ever-defensive heart.

Do men endure such intrusive comments? Do they feel insecure going in public when they aren’t feeling their, uh, hottest? Do men have to have an answer prepared for why they got their wives pregnant AGAIN SO SOON? Do they have to deflect inquiries as to why their wife is NOT PREGNANT YET? Do men feel the need to explain that this is just an off day and really they are more put together than this and please don’t judge them because really that is the last thing they need right now?

The answer, it would seem, is a resounding no.
G, a working mother of a happy healthy one year old boy, even tweeted this:
(rakicy is her husband's twitter handle)

(That's a whole 'nuther post! Why no one would dare ask a man
why he's working when he has a new baby,
but women get bludgeoned to bits with this very question.)

 Yes, I know men suffer from insecurities just like women do. No one is invicible when it comes to matters of pride and feeeeeelings. But using my generally-secure, water-off-a-duck’s-back hubby as a reference, they just don’t let it get to them as much as women do. If my husband had heard that comment he would have laughed politely, quipped something about how three’s plenty, and forgotten it as soon as he left the store.

But I couldn’t forget it. For two major reasons, I couldn’t get that lady’s unintentionally rude comment out of my head.

1) It’s none of her dadgum stinkin’ business anyway. I know she thought she was just making casual conversation, but I didn’t ask her about her personal life. I wonder if she’d have been just as affronted as I was if I had said, “Hey! Thanks for ringing me up. How’s your sex life?”

2) What if we WERE trying for another baby? What if we’d been trying to get pregnant for months upon excruciating months? What if it was a dagger to my heart to hear someone say that my three (ok, my two, but I readily count my niece as my own) beautiful brilliant wonderful girls were not enough, and that I should “keep trying” until I get it right with a male heir to the throne?

What about THAT?

Every day is laced with a network of personal minefields. There is no way to know who you might accidentally offend with some trite comment. I have done way more than my share of hurting someone’s feelings because I’ve spoken without thought. And like I said, normally I would have let that sort of comment slide, but it was so incredibly insensitive it stuck in my craw (what does that even mean!?) and it itched so long I finally had to scratch it.

I’m just glad I can scratch the itch via blog, instead of yelling at that poor lady about what a creep she was.











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Monday, May 17

Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. ~Henry David Thoreau

I'm such a bad blogger. I have some things I want to say, but no time in which to say them.
So, inspired by my friend Sarabeth, I'm just going to repost what I was doing in previous years:
(all of these are taken from my much loved, now neglected xanga blog)

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May 8th, 2009
She is just a 5 month old Bunny. But already laughing at the whole world.






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Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The first appointment went great. The kids were -mostly- well behaved.
My favorite curly-blonde-haired nurse (who used to be my least favorite) said, "I can't believe it's been 2 years since you were in here. It doesn't seem that long!"
Pooter and Ladybug both held my hands and told me to be brave right before the ultrasound.

Then we saw this:



And I was shocked by the part that said " 7w 4d ± **d "

7 weeks?? Well, my timing was obviously miscalculated, and now we'll have a baby on-or-about December 26!

My sweet little strawberry has been demoted back down to a 1.3 cm blueberry!


When we got to see a heartbeat today, I hadn't known I was holding my breath until I let it out.







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May 14th, 2007
 
I'm "home" for a while, in Hot Springs, with my babies, at my Mommy's house. We came down yesterday afternoon to surprise her for Mother's Day. This morning B and B and Menga and I went strolling downtown. I didn't stroll as well as I usually do, I had a goal. But when I got to the goal-store, what I was looking for wasn't there... I did better strolling on the way back. I love our downtown. We stopped at The Historic Arlington Hotel for some Shirley Temples and a potty break. Both of the kids fell asleep in the back of the Jeep (Damon let us borrow it! We had the top on, but the doors and windows OFF! It was great!) on the way home. I wish there was a way to transfer pics from my cell to the 'puter, because those two baby heads nodding off was priceless!

This is my Ladybug, sitting on an antique dreser-turned-changing table. She reminded me of one of my favorite books, The Lonely Doll, by Dare Wright:

My sweet boy, playing at my momma's house.


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Monday, May 15, 2006
This is for all the Moms (and grandmoms, aunts, sisters, cousins, friends) in my and my child's life....

Before I was a Mom

Before I was a Mom I never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby.

I didn't worry whether or not my plants were poisonous.

I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom - I had never been puked on. Pooped on. Chewed on. Peed on.

I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.

I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom I never held down a screaming child so doctors could give shots.

I never looked into teary eyes and cried.

I never became gloriously happy over a simple grin.

I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put it down.

I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.

I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.

I never knew that I could love someone so much.

Before I was a Mom - I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.

I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.

I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.

I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom - I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being.



(It was just the three of us then, and I was pregnant with my little Ladybug.)




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It's amazing how much my life has changed in four short, long, wonderful years.
I can't wait for the next four(ty).














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Saturday, May 8

Happy Mother's Day to you

Happy Mother’s Day



To every mother.
To every grandmother who raises her grandchildren.
To every single mother who is mother and father.
To every woman who has lost her mother.
To every woman who has lost a child.
To every adoptive mother.
To every mother who has given her child a mother through adoption.
To every mother-to-be.
To every will-be-a-mother-someday.
To every woman who will not be a mother, but who mothers those around her so well.
To every aunt, to every best friend who plays aunt.
To every nurse, cook, chauffer, teacher, preacher, nurturer and snuggler.
Happy Mother’s Day to you.


Every woman has had mothers, and every woman has been a mother. What makes a mother is not going through labor. What makes a mother is not changing a record number of diapers. What makes a mother is being a person who loves another, selflessly and fully.


A mother is someone who brings you food when you are sick. A mother is someone who calls just to say, “Have a good day.” A mother will tell you when that outfit is not ok, when that haircut needs to be rethought. A mother will sneak the snacks into the movie theater. A mother will hold you when a boy (or a man) breaks your heart. A mother knows what to say, and when to say nothing. A mother has your back, but will not be afraid to give you a swift kick on your backside.


I have been mothered by so many women, and I have had the privilege of mothering many others.


For each one, I am incredibly thankful. For each one, I have been blessed.






Happy Mother’s Day to you.













 
 
 
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Wednesday, May 5

Wordless Wednesday: Award Winning



My whole heart is wrapped up in the way they are holding hands.














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Tuesday, May 4

Brewing some bubbly....

...but not the kind one might think.

Three weeks ago, I got an email from my husband at work that said "We should do this..." Knowing him as I do, I was a bit nervous to open it and see what it is he thought we should do. Turns out it was a pretty neat idea.

He sent me an email with a link to an article from the Wall Street Journal about laundry detergents. The email and accompanying article basically said this: 1) You're probably using too much detergent per load which causes harm to both the environment and your wallet, and 2) big brand laundry detergent is mostly water. It also said that you could probably get away with washing your clothes without any soap at all, but that struck me as kinda gross.

The article gave a recipe for making your own laundry detergent. It claimed the recipe worked as well as, if not better than, store bought soaps, and would be a whole heckuva lot cheaper. Like, 90% cheaper.

So, we followed the instructions and made our own home-brew:

• 4 cups of water.

• 1/3 bar of cheap soap, grated. (we grated up an entire bar of Dial Antibacterial Pomagranate Somethingorother, and it smells delish!) (also, it's easier to use a potato peeler or knife than a grater)
• 1/2 cup washing soda (not baking soda).
• 1/2 cup of 20 Mule Team Borax. (my stepmother used this for years on her well water laundry)
• 5-gallon bucket for mixing. (make sure you have a lid!)
• 3 gallons of water.






Mix the grated soap in a saucepan with 4 cups of water, and heat on mediumish until the soap is completely dissolved.
Add hot water/soap mixture to 3 gallons of water in the 5-gallon bucket, then stir in the washing soda and Borax, and continue stirring until well mixed.

The Bunny supervised her daddy's efforts

Let the whole shebang sit for 24 hours, and voila! Homemade laundry detergent.



I was a skeptic, but it turned out pretty awesomely. I would reccomend waiting 36-48 hours before using it, and stir it a few times each day. The fist day we used it, the detergent was gloppy, and it kinda grossed me out. But after several stirs, it is nearly identical to store-bought soap (with less irritating dyes, too!), it really does smell heavenly.

Oh yeah, and it cleans clothes better than I thought it would.

I use about half a cup per load, unless it's full of particulary nasty clothes, and I've yet to find something that didn't come out perfectly clean.

It was $6 total, and we formulated that we are spending about 2 cents per load... as compared to over 20 cents with Detergent That Shall Not Be Named.

We may not always stick with the home brew, and I still use store-bough softener pretty regularly, but it is a great way to save a little money and a small way to go a little green.





ps- I forgot to mention how much the kids got a kick out of this. There are no pictures of the two eldest Bees because, true to their nature, they hovered and then flew away. But, they enjoyed helping when they could, especially the stirring part. This would be a great family activity to try out!





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Guest Posting

Hey friends!

My sweet, and clearly delusional, friend Becke' thinks I have something to say (or she just knows I'm good at running my mouth), so she's asked me to be a regular guest blogger over at Moop and Saba.

I ran short on time and long on procrastination this month, so what came out was a very silly baseball-as-Christianity post.

You can find it right here, but don't blame Becke' for it! :)




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