Thursday, July 26, 2012

Carefree Summer. Or Not.

Carefree summer.  That sounds so delicious, doesn't it? 

Don't you instantly think of all the things summery that delight your senses?  You can literally smell the warm breeze or the hot tar after a thunderstorm.  You can see the beautiful flowers popping - from tiger lilys, to hydrangeas, and to black-eyed susans.  You can feel the sand between your fingers on a lovely beach day.  You can hear all of nature's wildlife twittering to and fro tending to their own offspring.

Snap.  Crackle.  Pop.

You are a mom.  Your "carefree" days of summer are a long ago memory from a childhood that seems many light years away!  You smell body odor and NO (!), it is not your own.  You see whiskers growing from your son's chin that you KNOW were not there yesterday.  Heck, were those hairs there an hour ago?  You feel exhausted.  You hear all of the relative grunts, groans, growls, and gooberness that comes along with 11 year old boy territory.  Wait.  Let me rephrase that - 11 year old manchild thing that is in the full throes of puberty.

I grew up with boys.  I "know" boys.  I always wanted a boy first, and honestly, I was slightly disappointed when the nurses announced, "It's a girl!"  I wanted a boy first because I was familiar with them (or so I thought).  I wanted a boy to protect his younger siblings.  I knew I would be tough as a parent and I figured a boy could handle my rules. 

So, I got my son second.  I was thrilled to death - my husband was proud; what man doesn't want a son to carry on his legacy.  My blonde baby was sweet.  My Jacob was so much easier - he was laid back and we had worked out some of our first time parent neurotics on my oldest.  My Jacob quickly demonstrated that he was quirky and funny and totally outside of the box!  He was obsessed with dinosaurs, Bob The Builder and all things alien.

I think my Jacob has been abducted by aliens.

Somewhere in the course of the past year, my sweet, little, boy child Jakie was taken from me.  Yes.  Taken.  In his place, well, there's this thing that is part-child, part-man and quite possibly fragments of alien DNA.  Yes, I tell you, it's TRUE!  Give me my Jakie back immediately so no one has to get hurt.  Do NOT make me go all Sigourney Weaver on yo' ass!

In the passing of fall and winter months, my XY child really morphed.  Parenting became an entirely NEW game.  Remember I said I'm strict?  Well, this child resisted and emotions erupted (mostly mine).  As spring dallied around, I found myself very easily frustrated with this stranger living under my roof.  I went as far as to tell this strange being, "You do not like my rules?  This is my house!" (SHHHHH, I have NOT turned into my parents).  After a family meeting (read: intervention); I gave up.  Something I NEVER do.  I told my husband and my oldest daughter if they could parent this alien better than I could, well, have at it.  I got many a pleas thereafter to please step in and help the situation.  I kindly and quietly said, "Thanks, but no thanks.  I think you've got this!" (And yes, I evilly giggled and cackled in horrible delight!).

Somehow, by summer - we have reached an amiable meeting of the minds, of the emotions, of the give and take behaviors of children and parents alike.  Now, even though this Man-Child thing is still residing in my home; the outer reptilian shell has cracked enough.....that I can see my Jakie is still underneath there!

Sweet hugs from my boy have been replaced with fake punches to the face, fully accompanied by the whooshing sound effects.  Instead of making the Mom-Face of Discipline that I'm famous for, I smile and give him a fake punch back to the chin or to the gut with my own horrific sound effect.  We laugh and share a moment.

Tales from his day are now entirely one-sided dialogs about how he conquered his latest video game or what neat things he found along his way of Skyrim (his newest video game).  I smile.  I nod as if I understand the strange alien jargon of Skryim and video-gaming.  I share with him his newfound love of scary movies and laugh as he teases me for warning him of some VERY scary movies - movies he found to be a complete joke (come on, Jakie - "The Shining"!  Dude, that movie STILL scares me to this day!).

My summer of 2012 has been nice and more carefree.  I am learning how to connect (again) with this giant Man-Child (he's 5'7" at 11, size 11 in men's shoes) who will be entering middle school in a month.  I am carefully picking through the outer layer and finding that my sweet little Jakie is still within; even if he booms at me with a deep and often times, startling, near-baritone voice.

I will go home and hug him.  And then I will "punch" him in the face to redeem myself.  :-)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Preschool Mafia

I have 2 friends I met when our children were in Pre-K together. One of them just dubbed us  the PreSchool Mafia. I can't tell you how fitting this is. It has nothing to do with Pre-K other than we met there. (Oh, and there was mafia within that pre-k. Disregard any connection to THAT family). 
It has to do with this:
Me and K: G, let's go out tonight.
G: I don't know.
Me and K: G, come on! Let's go!
G: I don't know. Hubs says that.....

(cue Beastie Boys' Sabotage in the background)

Me and K: No. We come getchoo.

Grammar flies out the window... and we put our lip gloss on. It is ON. That is it. Discussion is over. We are on our way. F what hubs says....

It would seem that the Preschool Mafia's chief job is to get one out of the house. Out of the sleepy 7pm back outs of events. We come to keep it real. To make sure humor and friendship happens. To make sure we return home burnt out on laughing and sharing that embarrassing part you thought you would never share. In short, the mob brings you back home happy and human again.

I really enjoy doing the collecting of people. I have never been quite so inventive as with the Preschool Mafia, though. I mean, I approach situations in the mob complete with a Koolaid door kick down and Little Tikes wiffle bat. Otherwise it is more of the: 
I'll come get you. 
No It is no problem. 
I will come get you. 
We can leave early. 
Not a problem. 

And then I roll in there and collect my pal and we both know with my hearty dance number upon their porch that there is no returning early.
Because we need this. We need O-U-T. We need laughter. We need understanding and disgusting and vulnerable and hilarious. We need our girlfriends. We need to swap stories and to add on to stories and to then sensationalize stories to make sure they are brought to great heights and then are dead and buried so we can go on to the next story. We need aching jaws from laughing. We need chuckles in random places while we do the mundane as we remember the crap we said. We need salty this and sugary that and drinks- alcoholic or not. And we need heads nodding and hands covering mouths and fists slamming down on tables.
I love the ladies in my life. But what I love most about the Preschool Mafia is that all we had in common was a 9am drop off and a 3:30 pick up and thank friggin the lord for that.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Guest Blogger: Katie Moore

Postpartum Nutrition Tips

During pregnancy, you watched your diet like a tiger mom because you wanted your developing baby to get the right nutrition. Now that you've had the baby, nutrition counts more than ever because you need to be healthy and have energy for the new demands of motherhood.

Before changing your diet too much from your pregnancy diet, be sure to consult your doctor. I spoke to my doctor constantly throughout my pregnancy about many options like my diet to other optional health choices like breastfeeding and cord blood banking. When I wanted to change my diet up to promote weight loss, I spoke to my doctor first to be sure I wasn’t making changes too soon.

What You Should Eat

If breastfeeding, you need 6 1/2 servings of foods with protein and 3 servings of milk products. You need 8 serving of grains, breads and cereals and 2 cups of fruit. You should eat 3 cups of vegetables a day and 3 servings of unsaturated fats.
Breastfeeding mothers will burn extra calories, but you will also need extra calories to keep up with your milk production needed.

Bottle-feeding mothers under age 25 should eat 5 servings of protein, 3 milk products and 7 grains. You should also eat 5 servings of fruit, 3 cups vegetables and 3 servings of unsaturated fats.

Bottle-feeding mothers over 25 years old need 5 protein servings, 2 milk products, 6 servings in the grain group, 5 fruits, 3 cups vegies and 3 servings of unsaturated fats.

Any way you look at it,
postpartum nutrition is good for all women. It features a balanced diet of food in all the major food groups.


One ounce of fish, beef, poultry or pork is each one serving. One hardboiled egg is one serving. One-half cup of pinto, soy or kidney beans is one serving. Three ounces of tofu, 1/4 cup of peanuts, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or 1/3 cup of any other kind of nuts equals one protein serving. With all of the food in the protein category, you should have a wide variety of food choices.

Milk Products

One serving consists of 8 ounces of milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 ounce of hard cheese (cheddar, Swiss, etc.), 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese, 1 1/2 cups of frozen yogurt or ice cream and 2 cups of cottage cheese. For dessert, you can have 1 cup of custard or pudding made from milk.


One dinner roll or slice of bread is one serving. So is 1/2 English muffin or half a bagel. One small tortilla or a whole-wheat muffin is a serving. Six saltine crackers or 12 wheat crackers is a serving, along with 3/4 cup non-sugared cereal. A waffle or pancake counts as a serving and so do 3 cups of popcorn.

Fruits and Vegetables

Any fruit or vegetable counts as a serving as long as it is between 1/2 to 1 cup. Be sure to include foods, like carrots, that are rich in Vitamin A.

Unsaturated Fats

A tablespoon of margarine or vegetable oil is a serving. So is a tablespoon of salad dressing, 10 small olives or 1/8 avocado. Try to stay away from saturated fats like butter.

You don't need to feel stressed about eating the right foods, quantities or any other aspect of good nutrition. Just work daily on eating right and staying healthy. The rest will follow.

“Katie Moore has written and submitted this article. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.”

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Sometimes, we all need that time - you know, to reconnect....with your family, with yourself - namely with your soul.

Vacations can be a wonderful thing.  Vacations can be a diastrous thing.  Vacation is simply what you make it.

For me, the first whiff of that salty, ocean air.....and my shoulders start to slide down, back into their normal position.  The weight of the world that I tend to carry up near my slowly dissipates; it vaporizes almost instantly once we cross over that man made bridge into a special land - Cape Cod.

Something about being amongst the sandy dunes allows me to reconnect with my family.  The only hustle and bustle of these few days is making sure we get to the beach with enough water and snacks in tow to last at least six hours of non-stop fun.  We dodge crabs, we splash, we sun and we sunscreen until the empty tubes make funny fart sounds.

Nearly daily trips to the Sundae School for delicious ice cream has a way of coddling your inner emotional being.  A few bloody Mary's at "happy hour" cradles you into the evening hours.  Homemade dinners chock full of veggies, from our CSA at home, help surge vitamins through your veins.

Sitting on the beach allows me to reconnect with me.  Yes, me.  As I gaze over the blessed creatures known as my spawn; I am thankful for the joy they bring to me.  I take a few glazes over the vast ocean view and plan what goals and changes I need to make in the next twelve months.  Sure, sometimes they are the same goals that have gone unchanged from the year prior; but hey, that to-do list is an on-going work in progress.  I resolve to improve the less than stellar qualities of myself.  I resolve to be kinder to myself.

Somehow, every July, I come home from a jaunt at the beach feeling more alive, more refreshed, more awakened and more reconnected within my soul. 

Now, if I can only win the lottery so I can vacation more frequently!!! 

What does vacation do for you?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lean on Myself

Ever been in a situation when no one else gets it? Has very little idea of what you are talking about or where you are coming from? And you search for someone who gets it. You mention it to a lot of people and they look perplexed, but understanding...
A frustration.
But then you take a moment to chat it all over with yourself- and YOU get it. Sometimes that is enough. A grown up moment when you don't need someone else's validation, just your own. It is rare, but important. And you are an awesome person. It is great to have you on your side, is it not? Imagine if you didn't know what you were talking about. Ahhhh, me. That would be a pisser.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Struggling and I Know It

I’m struggling.  I admit it.  Somewhere along the way, after birthing three babies, I never received the Parenting Manual.  You know – the “How To Guide”, the “Mothering 101”, the “Challenges of Raising Girls and Boys (they ARE from Mars!)”.  However, having a 14 year old daughter, an 11 year old son, and a 4 year old daughter……I have hit some bumps along the way; but I feel confident that I am raising stable, happy, and uber-well-loved children.

Let me introduce you to puberty. 


Even if we were given a freshly pressed manual on the how-to-care for the little love bundles we leave the hospital with; well, let me just set you straight (or maybe you already know) – puberty takes everything, and I mean everything, off the table…..there are no-holds-barred when the hormones take up residence in your home.

My 14 year old daughter has been a cake walk.  She hit puberty very early; yet the only challenge I have with her is a couple of days before that monthly visitor.  Within minutes of rearing her nasty, ugly, hormonal rage face on mom, she very quickly retorts with an apology that melts your heart.

H…O…W…E…V…E…R, she has been absolutely ridiculous with her body image; especially these past few weeks of summer.  At first, it saddened me so much that she has such a warped view of her body.  But now, I’m angry!  Angry at her (how can she not see what everyone else sees?); angry at me (have I done this or given her this sense of insecurity about her body image?); and angry at society (are the relentless covers of scantily-clad, inappropriately thinned bags of skin on every magazine cover sending her a subliminal message that perhaps her amazing body is not good enough?)!!

You see, this is the summer of the bikinis.  Yes.  Everyone, and I mean everyone (NOT ME – NOT A SNOWBALL’S CHANCE IN DEVIL’S LAND), is wearing a bikini this year.  My daughter decided she would love to wear one, but she hated how she looked.  Momma Bear was given a mission:  a mission to prove to this child that she is beautiful and can rock a bikini! 

This girl plays hours and hours of soccer every week.  This girl works out several hours a week.  She is STRONG - insanely strong for a 14 year old.  This girl has legs that are so muscular and so powerful….yet; she is hung up on her tummy “flub”.  I have tried to convince her that she is just beautiful; she can’t be stick thin because she will not have the power, the strength, the endurance for the sport that she loves – but I’m mom, what do I know? 

Puberty has morphed her body - from that little kid ball of love, into a young woman with curves – you know:  boobs, hourglass figure, hips and did I mention absolutely beautiful and strong legs?!  My kid has never been in better shape, but yet, her self-esteem - when it comes to how her body looks - has never been lower.  Holy Shish-Ka-Bobs.

I think back to circa 1988, when I was all of 14….and I realize, that perhaps, I was precisely the same way as my daughter.  I was strong, I was physically fit, and I was not a fan of my body.  Why?  Why are we like this?  Is it hormones?  Is it society – the expectations, the “norm”, the perception….?  I’m so confused and honestly, I do not know if I’m handling it right or wrong.  My girl seems to be improving a teeny, tiny, micro-minute-millimeter and now focuses on the Irish/Welsh skin she inherited (“How can a person be THIS white, mom?”) instead of the so called “flub” that she tries to pinch and convince me that I am indeed blind to not see it.

The good news is she’s wearing a bikini.  She has a couple of different styles; and dagnabbit, if she wants more, I will purchase more so that she continues to wear them.  Hopefully, she will see what the rest of us see….an absolutely stunning, physically fit, and confident young woman.

(And next time, I will share with you the wonders of an 11 year old boy in puberty.  If I had a spaceship, I might ship him off to Mars…where I swear he belongs). 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Good stuff floating out there.

Paying it forward is a powerful thing. I am not really into mystical stuff, nor am I religious in the least. But there is something about throwing positive stuff out there. It can be a momentary act, but it floats out there for a long time. Long past the time you would even think to peek to see how it all is going out there, because of you.

On a day last week when I decided to pay it forward in the form of furniture that had served my 3 kids, I came home to a repaired bottom of my driveway. A road crew working on a manhole decided to fill the rut that made us all bottom out for years. And they were gone! I couldn't thank them. Such a kindness. So small and yet so nice. You can't always thank those that preform the acts of kindness, but you can keep them going out of respect.

I do try and donate money when I can, or prepare a meal for a family who needs a boost, or fill a backpack in August for a child in need. But sometimes it is just a matter of bringing up a neighbor's garbage can or telling a mom how wonderful her children are behaving. My day has been made by a compliment- especially in the days of my coming last in the getting ready/out the door/ even looking in a mirror department. I have felt relieved when an extended family member has made it their mission to shower attention on one of my kids when my hands were filled with another. So many little things can be so big. And they take a moment and last a lifetime in someone's heart, even if no one knows it is there any more. 
Kindness changes people.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Peanut Noodle Salad

Seriously, what I need from you all right now is for you to make this and eat this and go about your lives.

Peanut Noodle Salad

  • 1pound spaghetti 
  • 1tablespoon salt
  • 3tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 3/4cup chunky peanut butter 
  • 6tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1tablespoon hot sauce optional (I use a dash because I am seriously Irish)
  • 1cucumber, peeled, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin
  • 1red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1/3cup chopped fresh cilantro (I use less since I am not very cilantro-y)
  • 1. COOK PASTA Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add pasta and salt to boiling water and cook until al dente. Reserve ¾ cup cooking water. Drain pasta in colander, rinse with cold water until cool, drain once more, and transfer to large bowl. Add sesame oil and toss to coat.
  • 2. DRESS AND TOSS Whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, hot sauce, and 6 tablespoons pasta cooking water in medium bowl until smooth. Add dressing, cucumber, bell pepper, and cilantro to pasta and toss to combine, adding reserved pasta water as needed to adjust consistency. Take the bowl and go hide somewhere so you can stuff your face alone in an air conditioned room.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Exceptional You.

You cannot change the world,
But you can present the world with one improved person -
You can go to work on yourself to make yourself
Into the kind of person you admire and respect.
You can become a role model and set a standard for others.
You can control and discipline yourself to resist acting
Or speaking in a negative way
Toward anyone for any reason.
You can insist upon always doing things the loving way,
Rather than the hurtful way.
By doing these things each day,
You can continue on your journey
Toward becoming an exceptional human being.