Spook-tacular Pops!

It’s been awhile…I’m back to work and the baby only wakes up once per night. The blog suffers. But my dreams of stay-at-home “momdom” continue! If not an expert blogger, then maybe through sugar: cake pops. Who knew dipping balls of cake in chocolate and putting them on a stick could be profitable? At this point it’s really not… 😦 Yet, I enjoy it and the quality time spent with my 3 year-old is priceless. If there is anyone out there still reading this, I’d like to share with you:

Happy Halloween!!!

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I Want to Take Olympics

Our recently turned three year-old is a very active child. With the new baby, I have been thinking it might be a good idea to sign Miss 3 up for some special big kid class, so tonight, I gave her three options.

Me: “If you could take one class, would you choose gymnastics, dance, or swimming?”

Miss 3: “Dance”

Me: (Let’s do another trial to be sure.) “If you could take one class, would you choose gymnastics, dance, or swimming?”

Miss 3: “Swimming”

My husband interjects, “Do you know what gymnastics is? Remember the Olympics where the girls jumped and flipped and walked on a balance beam?”

Me: (Maybe this will be the tie breaker.) “If you could take one class, would you choose gymnastics, dance, or swimming?”

Miss 3: “Mommy, I want to take Olympics!!!”
Way to go for the gold, honey…

Tonight, as I think about this, yet another humorous conversation with a three year-old, I find the humor is fading, and reality is handing me a cold, hard dose of truth. Isn’t taking Olympics what we all want? How adult of me to offer her choices of classes, and laugh at her cutting to the chase and telling me her dreams. When did I stop dreaming so big?

Her answer reflects my impatience, too. Perhaps this is what bothers me more. I tried explaining to her that learning gymnastics or swimming could get her to the Olympiics, someday, eventually, maybe… In the midst of my “hardwork pays off” teachable moment, I saw I had already lost her to a pile of feathers at her art table. Who really wants to hear about the hard work it takes to get somewhere, let’s just dream about what it will be like when we arrive. The story of my life…
I wanted to play the piano, not PRACTICE my Etudes.
I wanted to be a country music star (a long, looonnnggg time ago-okay?!), not TRAIN my voice.
I want to run a marathon, not INVEST hours upon hours in long runs.
I want to be debt free, not SACRIFICE vacations, nice things, and my iPhone.
I want to be a famous children’s author, not write a HOPELESS blog that is lucky to get 10 views in a day.
How easy it is to daydream about how nice my reality could be, if only I could find the time, the willpower, the resources, the gut-wrenching commitment to accomplish even just one of these big dreams, my “Olympics,” if you will.

We enter this world, hungry for greatness, filled with passion. And then, reality chips away at our golden standard, bit by bit. Jobs, bills, groceries, cleaning, laundry, RESPONSIBILITY, my friends, push our pies further into the skies.

Even still, we do not stop dreaming. And, while we may not get to everything on our list, every so often, we taste it. We reap the benefits of dedication and determination-the scale drops, we cross the finish line, an opportunity greets us one morning, we get our gold medal. As grown ups, we look back and realize that the end result is only as good as the journey getting there.

So, the Olympics are quickly approaching, choose your event!image

Did my 8th grade science teacher fail at teaching evolution?

Warning: this post goes much deeper than the previous, “pork n beans”

What is evolution? I’m not looking for an over the top, science definition, but rather, what are its implications for my life? For our world? You see, I was scolded yesterday for saying to my husband that evolution meant things are constantly adapting and changing to become better. *if you are a real scientist, please forgive my layman’s terms, but you may want to keep reading to understand how this theory has been misrepresented to the rest of us who are not active members in the scientific community.

My husband, a teacher of 8th grade science, informed me that evolution means change, not necessarily for the better or worse. But what about those finches?! And the beaks?! Apparently the beaks did change/evolve to accommodate the birds’ diet, and the birds who had the better beaks suited to eat the food were the ones who survived and reproduced-survival of the fittest. Oooohhhh… Okay…

Now, why care about evolution at all? It really doesn’t affect me daily like, say, gravity, but in a way…it does.

I am a Christian-a follower of Christ whose teachings are found on the bible and oh…now you get it. The long seated debate, no, war, between creationists and evolutionists (or whatever you would like to be called) is a major issue for both parties. I’m sure your skin is crawling right now with conviction. If you took an 8th grade science class like mine, this feud was taught to you more than the theory of evolution itself. You were most likely asked to pick a side and debate/attack the other until blood flowed.

Now, in my adult life, married to a Christian in the scientific community, I am beginning to see this heated struggle as unnecessary and irrelevant.
To me it is like debating my favorite restaurant and what my eye color is-it does not match up. The two are from separate life compartments: one is a faith, one is a theory. One dictates life choices, and the other is a study, a piece of scientific knowledge.

So, why then do we insist on battling each other with contempt, dare I say, hatred? Thank you science teachers who taught us to pick a side, rather than learn the facts.

Many people, like my husband, feel trapped in a no-man’s-land where this subject cannot even be politely offered up for discussion. Just the word “evolution” sparks a fire, for both Christians and scientists alike, both misinformed and strongly opinionated. When did an honest discussion become taboo in two communities where honest discussions are said to be valued so much? Oh sure, we might say, “that’s not me. I wouldn’t attack someone before listening to where they are coming from,” but, really? Check your blood pressure right now and tell me the truth. I can say this because I am just like you. It has bothered me for years that my husband “believes” in evolution – he explained to me it is really not something one “believes” or not. And, I would like to tell you we have patiently resolved this issue, but I won’t lie-it has been a very heated debate.

But, back to the birds’ beaks, you cannot argue that things change/adapt/evolve. And, you cannot scientifically prove a miracle. So, I have arrived at my own theory:
if you are a scientist (or not!), you can agree with the theory of evolution and believe in God and Christ Jesus.

Yes, I said it…

Pork n beans

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To date this single, non-threatening can of pork n beans has contained the most power to keep this insomnamomma up all night. It started out innocently enough-an easy side to go with that night’s dinner. Then, after the 8 o’ clock feeding, the true power of the beans was unleashed.

Crying, no no no, screaming broke out 9 PM. A scream unlike any other. A scream to end all screams. And it went on…and on…and on… After two hours of this, it was decided: my precious baby boy has colic! This assumption seemed completely natural because why would I have any reason to suspect the masked culprit-3 bites of pork n beans from dinner?

This led to the never-ending night. There would be no sleep…for anyone (including our 3 year old daughter).

4 AM: Sweet daughter pokes me in the eye (we don’t know why she does this, but eye poking is kind of her thing), waking me from the only 5 minutes of glorious REM I had that night, and asks, “mommy, what’s wrong with my brother?” Her voice carries the tone of a teenager, and I laugh to myself thinking this is the first of many times I will hear this question.

After 10 hours of fighting the invisible powers of fiber, the crying subsided, I took a nap, and as I throw away the morning’s fifth k cup, I see the villain staring up at me from the trash can and it all makes horrific sense.

Placing my hand over my heart, I, insomnamom, do solemnly swear to never, under any circumstances, eat pork n beans again, as long as I nurse (and maybe longer due to the emotional scarring).

The worst part is: they’re not even that good!

I-am-a-runner? I-AM-a-runner!

Running and I have a love-hate relationship, but never more so than since the days of childbirth. As I prepare to return to the sport I love, yet again, I find the pain strangely familiar and comforting like my favorite running shoes. Just seeing them carelessly kicked off beside the door lets me know there is hope…maybe I can still uncover the runner that once was. image
My body hates me right now. Don’t squeeze me into those Under Armor tights taunts my post-baby belly. Don’t move that way shriek every last remnant of abdominal muscle fibers. Don’t hit the pavement so hard screams the post-baby bladder (that we all love so much). You are slow. You look ridiculous. This is not even worth it. How dare you call yourself a runner-at best you are a *gasp* jogger!
But, I-do-it-anyways.
I accept the pudge above my once form-fitting tights. I embrace the pain and say, “bring it on!” as I add even more abdominal exercises to my daily routine. And, yes, I pee my pants-just a little (I just had to include that part for the surprising number of people who apparently search the web for stories about people peeing their pants! Who would have thought? So this is for you, weirdos!) *see my previous blog, “My teacher peed her pants”
No deposit. No return.

Parents Must Read

Proud to be “kinda ridiculous”:
During one of our many play time adventures-when there is a fine line between mommy and Captain Hook-my daughter (Tinkerbell) was in a battle of words with me.
“Codfish!”
“Stinky fish!”
“Underwear fish!”
“Flying fish!”
Long pause…”Mom, you’re being kinda ridiculous.”
At this point I burst out laughing, my three year-old daughter just called me ridiculous in an exactly appropriate context. Where on earth did she learn that word? So I ask her-
“Chicken Big, mommy.”

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Then, I recall that in her new favorite story, Chicken Big, the big chicken does call the smaller chickens ridiculous one time in the text.
This situation happens almost daily at our house. Causing me to only further believe in the power of story time. Our daughter takes new vocabulary from repeated readings of children’s texts and applies it to her daily conversation. Recently, words like, “apparently”, “compare”, “horrible”, and “unkind” have frequented her speech.

The one thing you can do to make a difference:
As a preschool teacher, when askedd, “How can I help my child _______?” (fill in the blank-write her name, make friends, use the potty, etc.) my best advice is always-READ. Reading with your child is the one thing a parent can do to make the biggest impact in that child’s life. Turn off the screens, curl up in bed beside your child and get lost in a story together. This sacred time can build brain power, strengthen social skills, teach life lessons, and create a strong bond between parent and child. I believe many of us parents know this and some of you may have already stopped reading this, but knowing and doing are two very different things. Spending 30 minutes a night reading with your child is a commitment; it is not to be taken lightly or easily brushed off. Your child will look forward to this time together more than they look forward to Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

The Third Grade Guarantee:
Some states have adopted a policy where every third grade child who cannot pass the reaading portion of a standardized test will be retained-will flunk, as a third grader would say. This is cruel and inhumane to subject our nation’s youth to such “ridiculousness.”
This guarantee says, “You can’t read, so here-practice reading some more.” You must not have done enough phonics flashcards, you must not have read the assigned readings that we now know you could not read, you must not have tried hard enough…eight year-old.

Why do you excel at something?
Because I practiced it..a lot.
But, why did you practice it?
Because I enjoyed doing it.
So, why did you enjoy doing it?

Someone encouraged you-told you it was a special skill you had, told you you were good at it, someone mentored you, someone showed you how great you could be; they led by example.
PARENTS: You have an opportunity-do not waste it! Be that catalyst in your child’s life. Show them the wonderful world of reading-make it fun, make it exciting, make it…ridiculous!

Due Date

If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans.

I am a planner. Yep, I was that 8 year-old kid with the day planner in fourth grade. No Lisa Frank for this girl, I went straight for the working woman’s official black cover with contact list in the back. So, flash forward and the pregnant me has an official Word document with a list of Labor Plan A, B, and C eight weeks before the baby is due.

My husband and I like to consider ourselves responsible parents, and I was pregnant with our second child, so we felt like we knew what to expect. We had almost five weeks to go and had planned a special date night (dinner and a movie) for what we thought might be our last date for some time.

Then, things started to fall apart. The movie we planned on seeing was not being shown anymore, so now what? I felt the hormones starting to rage-how could our last date night be ruined? I’m too pregnant to do anything BUT sit and watch a movie. What now? Being true to my womanly instincts, I decided we would just go shopping for the baby. My poor husband had no choice but to say, ‘yes.’

We walked up and down every baby aisle in Target and bought what we still needed. We even went to Sam’s club and bought diapers! On the way home, we picked up a pizza to complete our romantic night out. Only God knew our baby was coming in four days.

Three days later: our daughter jumps off the couch and hurts her ankle. Not bad enough to drive to the hospital, but bad enough to be concerned. My husband and I debated whether or not he should even stay home with her. I was leaning towards, “No, she needs to tough it out-she’ll be fine.” But, he stayed home. Six hours later, he gets the phone call my water broke. Any other Wednesday he would have been an hour away at his job; only God knew he needed to stay home to be five minutes away from me that day.

Five weeks early-nothing prepares you for this.

It’s starting to sink in. My baby is not coming home with me. Our son is having trouble with his suck/swallow/breathe reflex-which is typical for premies. I hate hearing him be called that. Until this moment in time, a premie to me was just an adorably small size in children’s clothing. Our daughter is stuck at home with kind relatives because it is flu season, and she is not permitted entrance into the hospital. 11:00 PM the last night of our hospital stay, we whisper, “I love you’s,” through the plastic box and leave our two day-old son. Nothing prepares you for this.

Thirty miles later, we are greeted by our happy, but worried little girl who wants us to take off our hospital bracelets, so we don’t leave her again. She wakes up crying, saying, “I miss my brother!” I didn’t know it was possible for a three year-old to miss someone she’s never met. The next morning, we kiss her good-bye and tell her, ” I love you.” Nothing prepares you for this.

The back and forth days begin, and my heart breaks with each good-bye. How can I be two places at once? Only God could sustain an impatient, control-freak through 10 days torn between her son in the NICU and her daughter, at home.

Only God brought us home together after 10 days of heartache. Now, I appreciate and savor every sleepless night, every beautiful, strong, healthy cry, yes–even every dirty diaper. When you are stripped of all motherly duties the day your child is born, you treasure each moment you lost. God’s plan was much bigger than my plan, and only God can create such beauty from a mess.

Check out this book for more on Only God moments:
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Only God, by: Dwight Mason

Psalm 94:11 The Lord knows all human plans; He knows that they are futile.

My teacher peed her pants

Every mother has a labor story (or two, or three). We proudly wear them around like Girl Scout badges and jump at the opportunity to swap them with one another. In some mommy circles it is a full-out battle to see whose story is the best. Don’t worry; I’m not that mom. In fact, I think every story is deserving of honor-you gave birth to another human being, that alone is worthy of something! So, today is the actual due date of my five week early son, and i would like to seize this opportunity to share my, no, HIS labor story. Feel free to share yours, too.

Five weeks ago, preschool snack time (side note: I’m a preschool teacher), my water breaks all over the rainbow rug. With my first child, my water had to be broken after the epidural, so this flood-like sensation was brand new to me. I muttered to myself, “I’m peeing my pants…” wait, no, in a much more audible voice, I say to my classroom assistant, “I think my water just broke!” And, that it had.

I quickly scan the class-a room of 16, 3-5 year olds were munching Teddy Grahams and sucking down juice boxes, not a clue as to what was happening right in front of them. None seem too concerned by the sudden leak, none but one boy whose eyes met mine with a look of horror. This little boy speaks not one word of English, and because of this has become one of the most observant students i have ever taught. He relies totally on visual cues and routine, and he was certainly not going to miss this one visual cue that was about to drastically alter his snack time routine. His mouth hung open, straw frozen in time, his little mind probably racing with the thought, ‘my teacher peed her pants.’

In a matter of seconds, the children were escorted out of the room, and I was lying on the floor on the phone with the hospital. It is every teacher’s worst nightmare to have her water break at school, and I was living it. Thank goodness I teach preschool, and they were all very sympathetic to the fact that their teacher had just peed her pants.

Soon, a herd of black teacher shoes-you know the kind, department store special, comfort, not style-were gathered around nervously chattering about what should be done next. Someone hands me a penguin stuffed animal to use as a pillow…I am fighting shock and still pinching myself, “Is this really happening?”

12 hours later, I am holding my newborn son and a small penguin stuffed animal-a gift from his sister and a memento of his grand entrance.

The Biggest Loser: Post-Partum

It just so happens that the timing of both of my children’s births fell immediately before seasons of The Biggest Loser aired. This created my favorite guilty pleasure, watching two hours of The BL every week. What’s so guilty about that, you may wonder. Well, if I’m being completely honest, watching the show is only half of it. I cannot watch the show without eating. Not carrot sticks and Jennie-O turkey, I eat JUNK. Carmel apple cheesecake, double-stuffed Oreo’s dipped in chocolate, ice cream brownie sundaes-yep, junk food at its finest. I don’t know what possesses me to do this. Maybe it’s a way of supporting the contestants through sympathy eating. Maybe it’s secretly my plan to make it onto the show I love so much. Whatever the reason, it’s delicious entertainment. So…

Hey, NBC, listen up! I’ve got a pitch for you, a surefire way to make ratings skyrocket: The Biggest Loser: Post-Partum. It would be inspiring, it would be life-changing, it would be…hormonal! (which we all know leads to great television). How many times have you heard it? How many times have you said it? “I’m still trying to lose my baby weight!” Let’s stop blaming our babies and take control of our health (with the help of Bob, Jillian, and Dolvett).
Every mom is holding onto at least one pair of pre-baby jeans and maybe perhaps an entire pre-baby closet (guilty) that she hopes to someday fit back into. While waiting for someday to arrive, there are a few options:

1-keep wearing maternity clothes and hope no one notices the elastic band around your jeans
2-squeeze yourself back into pre-baby clothes, ignoring the pain and ignoring the unsightly bulges and gaping fabric
3-go shopping for new clothes in a size you do not want to be, with money you do not have, with an infant who does not want to be shopping with you

Pick your poison.

While waiting for Bob Harper to call, I have been googling post-partum workouts. They really don’t exist. Either the workout is so easy my grandma could do it or so intense I give up before starting. Yet, in all of my searching, I finally found a workout that is working for me. If you’re interested, check it out:

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/health/lose-baby-weight/workouts/post-pregnancy-exercises/?page=10

For added fun I complete the exercises in an upstairs/downstairs circuit, alternating doing one exercise upstairs, the next downstairs to burn a few more calories.

On a final note, I would like to wrap up this post with my first,
“You might be an insomnamomma if…”
While watching the Biggest Loser you admire Bob Harper’s leather burp cloths and fail to notice they are not burp cloths at all, but rather a hip/modern style of patchwork. You also fail to notice why thinking they are burp cloths might seem strange…

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*Try googling Bob Harper’s weird leather shirt and see for yourself!
**Image courtesy of fiercefatties.com