Monday, March 28, 2011

Look at Me! Look at Me!

I'm thrilled to say that my blog mentor, Gigi, has featured me as one of her 500 Bloggers! She wanted to celebrate her 500th post by starting to list 500 bloggers to follow. Gigi's the reason my Facebook page even exists. :) Check it out:
Kludgy Mom

Friday, March 25, 2011


First, I just wanted to let all the Red Dress Club gals know that my reading partner had her twins yesterday! Congrats to Sara from Our Urban Village!


The red and white sprinkles rained down from fluffy, cotton candy clouds, catching in her blonde curls. Elvie lifted her face, eyes closed, tongue out to catch them. Her pink dress billowed out in undulating waves as far as she could see. She raised her arms out from her small form, palms up, praising the sugary heavens. 

Yum! she thought. If only Mama could see me now. Sprinkle donuts had been her favorite, especially pink-frosted ones. 

With a mouthful of sprinkles, Elvie dropped her head back down and looked around as she savored the sweetness. She heard music and began to walk toward it. At first she was afraid she would get tripped up in her dress, but it was as if it moved with her, never getting under her feet. Though she'd been timid in preschool, she felt a serenity here that allowed her to indulge her innate curiosity without hesitation. She came upon a large tent, bigger than any building she'd ever seen in her short life. It was filled with kind faces, many singing, most smiling, all peaceful. Everyone wore brightly-colored, loose-fitting clothes like the nurses had been wearing at her hospital. She was surprised that even though there were tons of voices, it wasn't too loud; just a melodic tinkling at a comfortable decibel level. 

A woman was watching her, patiently waiting for Elvie to see her. At first, Elvie just thought she was another of the ephemeral creatures, but when their eyes met, she instantly recognized her and felt a surge of joy. "Grandma?" she asked.

"Hi, Baby Girl!" She scooped Elvie up in her arms. 

"I didn't expect you to be here so soon," she said, brushing a stray curl from Elvie's face. "But it's wonderful to see you."

"It's wonderful to see you, too, Grandma," Elvie replied. "I was missing you."

"I know, Love." 

Grandma set Elvie down after another tight hug. 

"What's everyone doing?" Elvie asked.

"It's praise time!" Grandma said, excitedly. "That was always your favorite part of church, wasn't it?"

"Yes!" Elvie clapped and jumped up and down. She took her grandmother's hand, and they made their way through the crowd to a space that had been left just for them. Elvie sang and twirled and danced. 

After awhile, the crowd slowly quieted. A figure appeared at the doorway. He was non-descript, yet looked exactly as Elvie had pictured him. As she walked to his open arms, she he was filled with awe, wonder, peace and love, and knew she was home.

This week's prompt was to write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, inspired by this picture. Word limit was 600. I did not expect this to take me where it did, so I struggled with how to finish it. But at least I managed to avoid finishing a donut like in the picture!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I was feeling badly about my last post being so negative and had intended to write one today about how adorable the girls are and list all the cute things they are doing. But I had to put them to bed on my own tonight since DH's softball league started today (poor guys! why couldn't it have started a couple of days ago when it was 80 degrees out instead of back down to 40?). I read to Baby R with both girls on my lap in the glider, then asked S to go to her room and put a Pull-up on while I finished putting Baby R down. She went to the bookcase and got two small books out. She said they were for Baby R and started to put them in her crib. I told her no, we were done reading, I didn't want R to have them in her crib. She kept moving towards the crib, and I repeated no a few times until I almost yelled it. She looked me in the eye...and set the books in the crib. I pursed my lips and watched her walk out.

After putting Baby R down, I went to S's room. She was sitting on the bed with her clothes still on - including shoes. I asked her to take her shoes off since we don't have shoes on the bed. She complied and was happy and chatty while we got her ready for bed. Then it was time to read. "It's so sad, but I only read stories to little girls who mind me. You put the books in R's crib after I said not to. I won't be able to read to you tonight." She started having a tantrum and ripped a page out of her favorite book. "I guess I'll have to take this until you can learn to take care of your things." I put it up on a shelf in her closet. She was screaming and flailing. I told her she needed to quiet down or I wouldn't be able to stay to snuggle for a bit like we usually do. She was in a frenzy, so I left.

About 15 minutes later, she'd calmed down to an occasional sob and a cry for Mama, so I went back to check on her. She'd thrown everything off her bed. She was whining that she wanted her pillow and blankets back. I told, "I'm so sorry honey, but we've talked about how we don't throw things when we're angry, and it doesn't seem like that is sticking with you so I'm going to have to take your pillows and blankets tonight. Because it's cold, I'll leave one blanket with you. Which one would you like?" I took the rest to my bedroom. Another fit.

Another 15 minutes went by. Baby R started to fuss. I went to S and asked her to settle down. She had thrown the blanket I'd left her on the floor. I didn't say anything, just sat with her and held her. She said she wanted to tell me something. I asked her what, expecting a big announcement. She said it was the time of year that we needed to color Easter eggs. I smiled to myself. "You're right. How about we do that this weekend?" We chatted for a minute quietly, then laid down on the empty bed. I could hear Baby R's cries building. I told her I needed to go get Baby R settled down and then I'd be back.

When I came back she told me she was very sorry and she promised to behave. Wow! Where'd she learn that one already? I told her I would bring the blankets back for tonight, but from now on if she throws anything, I'll take it away.

I was very proud of myself. Even though I'm tired (Baby R is still not sleeping well. I'm taking her to the dr. tomorrow.), I stayed calm, didn't yell, and remembered to use my Love & Logic tools. And even though it took an hour and a half to get her to bed, I'm hoping she'll mind better and not throw things. At least for tomorrow anyway.

Friday, March 18, 2011


So the last week has been a figurative tsunami in my life while a literal one has been happening in Japan. Along with a nuclear leak, they are suffering so greatly right now, that my troubles can't compare in any way. But because of that, I haven't been able to post.

Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day. I left the house for my parents' just like we do every Thursday morning, but preschool is on spring break so S was there for the whole day. She's such a sweet, wonderful girl. But she's become so defiant and sassy over the last week or so. She refuses to mind me. I've tried everything - time-out, taking away privileges, giving rewards, positive reinforcement, spanking, Love & Logic. Nothing seems to work. She usually takes a blanket and pillow with her to daycare/my parents' house. Yesterday morning I asked her to bring them downstairs. She wouldn't. So I grabbed them (because not doing so would have been more punishment for my parents than for her) and we left. 

We got to my parents' house, and she said she wanted a different blanket. I told her I was sorry, but I didn't know that. If she had gotten the blankets like I'd asked, we would have brought the right one. She wanted me to go home and get it. I refused. She threw a huge fit. I had to stay an extra 15 min to try to get her calmed down before I left. Then she started up again when I was leaving. She was trying to stall me, so I just left. She had an even bigger fit and my dad called 30 min later to tell me I had to come get them because neither of them would stop screaming.

I was so frustrated. I got there and I told S to get in the car. I was short with them and then my mom told me I need to get my priorities straight because the girls need me. I know they do, but I have to work. I want nothing more than to stay home with them, but I can't. I don't know what to do. And the worst part is, I was arguing with my parents in front of the girls and we were all crying. That's the last thing I needed them to see. So we went home, and I felt like S thinks she can just be awful to my parents, and I'll come get her.

I spent most of the day yesterday crying. I am not the mom I want to be. I feel like I struggle with that enough on my own, but to know that my mom thinks I'm not doing it well was tough to take. But she's right to a certain extent. I have had to work "late" the last couple of weeks (ie, on time, since I'd been leaving early the last few months while we were slow), so when I get home at night, I feed them, bathe them and throw them in bed. It's a chore, it's not a joy, and we don't have fun.

After talking with some friends yesterday, I think it's partially a phase, and partially they are acting out because I'm not spending any "quality" time with them. I do need to slow down in the evenings and enjoy them.

All that to say that that's an even greater reason I am falling behind with blogging, and especially with my creative writing. For now.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Guest Post at "This Blogger Makes Fun of Stuff"

Makes Fun Of Stuff Button

Hey, guys! I did a review on my fave photog and submitted it to the fabulous blog This Blogger Makes Fun of Stuff. The site is so cool because it's every day people reviewing every day things and you know they are being honest because it's they aren't getting paid to review it. Anyway, if you get a "mom"ment, and you L-O-V-E my new header that incorporates her pics like I know you do, go see what I wrote about her. I think you'll enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Saturday Morning

Baby R whimpers. It turns into wailing, then whining: "Maamaaaa!" 

I sigh. Pat my hand on the bedside table covered in books, a lamp and an alarm clock until I feel my glasses. I put them on and look at the clock. Six-thirty am. 

DH is lying to my right, snoring adorably. 

I swing my legs over the side of the bed and sit for a moment, trying to shake the cobwebs from my sleep-deprived mind and do the math. Between Baby R teething, and S having nightmares, I got about 4 hours of sleep even though I went to bed 8 hours ago.

I stand up and shuffle the few feet to the pocket doors between our beige master bedroom and the green and white nursery with pink floral accents. The ambient light from our room spotlights Baby R standing in her crib. She opens her mouth in a wide, six-toothed smile and bounces, reaching for me. 

"Good morning, Sweet Pea." I lift her up, her pudgy, toddler arms wrapping around my neck, tightening, then releasing in a baby hug. I snuggle her close, breathing in her scent.

She chatters at me, a few words forming amid the sounds. 

"Shh, let's try not to wake Sissy," I say as we go out the door to the hall and down the stairs. We glance out the full-length, narrow window next to the front door. The inviting morning sun highlighting the naked tree branches is deceiving; it's below freezing even though Punxsutawney Phil said winter would be over by now. 

We turn away from the window and head down the hall to the kitchen. I let Baby R struggle to flip the light, then place her in her booster chair. I turn back to the double-door pantry and reach for the Cheerios. I sprinkle some on her blue tray, then walk to the magnetic-letter adorned refrigerator for her Jayhawk sippy cup of milk. 

Once she's occupied, I get out a skillet, start a pot of coffee for DH, and get eggs, butter and bacon out of the fridge. 

Little feet pad their way into the kitchen, and a strawberry-blonde preschooler appears, rubbing her eyes, naked except for her Pull-Up. 

"Good morning, Sunshine."

S's lithe body curls up on her chair next to her baby sister's. "Mama, I'm cold," she says as she does most mornings. 

"Well, it's no wonder since you're nakeypants," I reply, bringing her a green, microfiber throw from the couch to wrap up in.

"Can I have hot chocolate? Pleeeaaasse?"

"Yes, I'll make you some. What would you like for breakfast?"
She sees the food on the counter by the stove. "Can we make Daddy breakfast in bed?" she asks, excitedly. 

I smile, "That's the plan."

"Can I help?" 

"Sure. Bring your stool over here." I help her crack eggs into a bowl and hand her a whisk while I start the bacon.

We finish cooking, and I load up the serving tray before getting Baby R down from her chair. S races to the stairs and Baby R toddles after her. I smile as I hear S screaming, "Daddy! Daddy! Wake up! We brought you breakfast!"

Baby R reaches the top of the stairs and screeches on her way down the hall so as not to be left out. I walk in and place the tray on the queen-size bed, arranging the food and the kids to minimize the mess, and look at my beautiful family. I sit down to join them and can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be. 

Imagine you are meeting someone for the first time. You want to tell them about yourself.

Instead of reciting a laundry list of what you do or where you're from, please give us a scene from your life that best illustrates your true self.

This is an exercise in showing, not telling. You need to show us why this particular moment defines you, or why you want someone to know this truth about you. Be descriptive without bogging us down in extraneous details.

Word limit is 600. This is to help you self-edit and to make it easier for us to read you.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Giveaway Winner AND Family Update

...Ok, people are going to think this is rigged, which is why I have the screen capture showing that the random comment that won the Downy Wrinkle Releaser was #8:

Congratulations Karinya from Unlikely Origins on winning another prize from Midwest "Mom"ments!!

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Since it's been awhile since I've posted an update, I'm combining the winner post with the latest happenings from around our house. I kept saying things were going to get crazy, and I might not be able to post for awhile. They are crazy, but work was fairly slow so I was able to do my posts at lunch time. Now, not so much. We went from 0-60 in a day.

Anyway, I've noticed lately that the girls are already so melodramatic - I can't imagine what it will be like when they are teenagers!

Granted, poor Baby R is getting MORE molars. She now has 10 teeth - six of which are molars. CRAZY! So she has had an upset tummy, diarrhea, and general fussiness. And that means - you guessed it - no sleeping. She's a hoot though for the most part. Her newest trick is taking her sippy cups and stacking them on top of each other on her tray. I usually give her milk, but sometimes she also wants water or juice, so I will give her a second cup. Most of the time whether she has one cup or two she pours one out all over her tray. So. Frustrating. But lately if she has two, she stacks them. And she does a great job; they rarely fall over.

She's also been expanding her vocabulary. In addition to Clifford and Cars, she says bug, kiss, sausage, buckle, and Sis. She's starting to develop empathy. When S is sad, she will pat her back. Or if S is really upset, Baby R will cry or call out, distressed. Very sweet. And she will put her finger in front of her lips to say "Shhh."

S just cracks me up. A couple of weeks ago I drove her and a friend to a birthday party. She was talking to her friend, E, about their drive to our house. "Did your daddy take 45 to get here?" (I-435) Then last week we were listening to the traffic report on the way to daycare and she was repeating what they were saying in a shocked voice. "An accident on 71 Highway? Oh my goodness!" Lately we've been watching "Cars" a lot, and the other day she was talking about Lightning McQueen's grandpa. I told her he's not in the movie, there's just a scene where he calls Doc grandpa in a mean way because he's making fun of him for being old. Which isn't nice. She was arguing with me about it, insisting that everyone has a grandma and a grandpa. So I asked her who Lightning McQueen's grandma was and she said the blue car. Sally? Yep. I was relieved to see she didn't get the innuendos between them.

Two weekends ago, DH took S to Lowe's to make the Grow and Build Project. It was the Lowe's NASCAR car. Last Saturday he took her to Home Depot to make their car. It's been fun for him to show her the races now and she can see the cars. However, now her perception on wrecks is skewed. While I'm glad she's no longer paranoid about us getting into one (the backseat driving was getting REALLY old), she's a little too cavalier about it now.

Friday, DH and I had a date night. We went to a great Italian place near our house, and then met a couple to see the movie "Just Go With It" with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. It was cute.

The rest of this week is going to be busy. Tomorrow night, DH is going to a minor league hockey game, Wednesday I'm going to Bunco and Saturday I'm going to participate in a 5k walk. Luckily I've got my prompt done for tomorrow's memoir post for The Red Dress Club, but I may not get any others done this week. We'll see!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Project Smile: February Edition

Alicia from A Beautiful Mess has a lovely blog filled with incredible photos and uplifting notes. But even she has some down days. And so she started a meme called Project Smile. I'm a bit late joining in as last fall I was self-consumed and missed keeping up on my blog reading. But I'm excited about participating. I'm really good at finding things to be thankful for everyday, but I don't always remember to find things that make me smile or feel warm and fuzzy. I thought it would be easy if I paid attention, but some days, it was tough to come up with anything. Here are the things that made me smile in February:

Feb 1 - The snowstorm made me smile. I know most people were dreading it, though some were in awe. But it reminded me of life in Colorado and visiting my mom's family in Manitoba. Good times.

Feb 2 - The Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow. Winter will be over soon! (Uh, Phil, did you hear we had a blizzard yesterday?) Still made me happy to think that.

Feb 3 - Girls happy hour with old co-workers. Laughed hard for the first time in a long time.

Feb 4 - Watched Hot Tub Time Machine - pretty funny!

Feb 5 - Baby R at Gymboree at neighbor's bday party playing alone taking the balls in and out of the buckets.

Feb 6 - The girls were both snuggling with Daddy on the couch - willingly. So cute!

Feb 7 - Rob's comment that a girl was hotter than donut grease. ??

Feb 8 - Bunko. The hostess had put a pork roast in the oven overnight. Her husband told her never to do that again because he couldn't get any sleep, he was hungry the whole night!

Feb 9 - Our neighbor posted on FB: Just heard the weather:"17, but feels like 8" and it got me wondering... Is there a wind chill factor on age? I could say: 37, but feel like 28. :)

Feb 10 - Heard this joke on the radio: "A young man goes into the pharmacy and asks for a 1 lb box of candy, a  2 lb box of candy, and a 5 lb box of candy, all gift-wrapped. The druggist puts them together and asks him what they are for. He tells him that he has a date that night with the cutest girl in school. They're having dinner at her parents' house and then are going to sit on the porch swing to chat. If she lets him hold her hand, he'll give her the 1 lb box. If she lets him put his arm around her, he'll give her the 3 lb box. If she lets him give her a kiss goodnight, he'll give her the 5 lb box.

So he goes to dinner and the girl's dad asks him to say the blessing. He prays like he's never prayed before, asking for blessing on every missionary he's ever heard of, every person he knows, all branches of the military and government until he can't think of another person to pray for. When he gets done, the girl says, "Wow, I had no idea you were so religious." He says, "I had no idea your dad was the druggist."

Feb 11 - The weather started to warm up - FINALLY!

Feb 12 - GNO with SPC. Playing Just Dance on the Wii and one of the girls and I both thinking the Fatboy Slim song was reminiscent of the African Anteater Ritual from "Can't Buy Me Love."

Feb 13 - DH let me sleep in, made me breakfast in bed, did laundry, dishes AND dusted the office! Heaven!

Feb 14 - Valentine's Day.

Feb 15 - While writing a memoir piece for The Red Dress Club, I relived my marriage proposal.

Feb 16 - I had lunch with my old roommate. He's moving to Boston, and though there is a get together planned for Friday, I wanted a little one-on-one time for a farewell. So good to see him!

Feb 17 - I took dinner to friends who just had a baby girl. The guy is a poster child for bachelorhood, even though he and his girlfriend have lived together for awhile. And to see how his baby girl has him wrapped around her finger at only a week old, definitely made me smile.

Feb 18 - The going away gathering for my old roommate. We had a bunch of the old gang together and relived some fun times. I laughed until I cried.

Feb 19 - DH rented the movie "RED" with Bruce Willis. It was pretty good! He's a retired CIA spy and when someone comes after him, he gets the old gang back together. There were some hilarious parts.

Feb 20 - It was unseasonably warm again today (70's), so the girls got to play outside. I gave Baby R an underdog on her baby swing, and she was giggling her cute little giggle. Adorable!

Feb 21 - We had DH's cousin and his family over for dinner last night. I took leftovers for lunch today. DH's special hamburgers with lettuce, cheese and sautéed mushrooms, plus homemade sweet potato fries and baked beans. YUM!

Feb 22 - After preschool, I dropped S off at my parents house, and she was extra emotional about me leaving. She was crying and wanting one more hug and one more kiss. Then as I got in my car, she yelled, "Mama!" And with tears streaming down her face, through her sobs, she held her arms wide and choked out, "I love you this much." I had been feeling guilty, but that was so pitiful, it made me smile.

Feb 23 - "Modern Family" was on tonight. I LOVE that show. It is hilarious. This episode was about a Wedge Salad.

Feb 24 - DH and I play Words with Friends which is a Scrabble app for the iTouch. He was playing against a friend of ours, and he beat her by 5 points. Yay! Then he started a new game with her and got to use all his letters on his first word for something like 50 points which is awesome and probably his best start ever. She accidentally declined the game! It was a wry moment.

Feb 25 - When I got home from work, I asked S how her day was. She put her hands on her hips, cocked her head to the side, and said very seriously, "Wellll...."

Feb 26 - Listening to S and her friend, E, while we drove to a birthday party. So many cute things in their conversation. The one that comes to mind first, though, was S asking E, "Did your daddy take 45 to get to my house?" (She meant I-435, the highway near us.)

Feb 27 - Today was a rough day. Knowing that God loves me even when I have a major Mom-fail day and remembering that he wants me to focus on the lessons learned in church, not on hurrying to get there and worrying about being late were reason to smile.

Feb 28 - Saw the end of an episode of How I Met Your Mother, and Ted met a "dancer". Future Ted (Bob Saget) said, "And that, kids, is how I met your mother." Then it flashed to the kids on the couch saying, "WHAT?!" (which is what I was thinking), and he said, "Just kidding!"

This weeks Red Dress Club memoir assignment was to think of a room from my past.

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Though outgoing, extroverted, I was a nerdy teen. I was quiet at school; full of opinions, I didn't share them with the masses. But if you were to walk into my bedroom back then, my thoughts would have screamed at you. The walls were covered with posters and photos. Most of them were of cute boys, teen idols of the day, from small head shots to full-page color images carefully clipped or torn from the latest issue of Teen BeatSassyTeen Magazine or Jane: River Phoenix, Kirk Cameron, Corey Haim, Johnny Depp, Patrick Swayze, Matt Dillon, Tom Cruise, Christian Slater, Michael J. Fox, Chris Young, Michael Hutchence, Bono. And the coup de grace, a full poster behind my bed frame (whose canopy had long been retired) of the hottie of all hotties, the man who we said was sooo fine, Mr. Jon Bon Jovi. 

In that vein, there were also pictures of my favorite bands, Bon Jovi, Poison, Guns N Roses, U2, INXS. There were other pictures, too, pictures I had drawn, quotes from movies and books that I had emblazoned on notebook paper or construction paper and taken on as my doctrine ("Carpe Diem", the road less-traveled, etc.). Poems I had written, cards from friends. A corkboard held mementos and reminders and photos and ribbons from dance competitions. 

The ornate mirror above the vanity wore pairs of pointe shoes tossed over the frame. It and the dresser were part of my parents' first bedroom set. The walnut stain was worn off on the edges from being moved from house to house. There were cup rings bleached out of the top of the dresser, and nail polish marks on the vanity. The desk was cluttered with books, papers, homework assignments, art projects. There were four little knobs on the desk's top drawer, one in each corner, but the bottom left one had fallen off long ago. I had put a rubber band around the three remaining posts and would pluck the different lengths absent-mindedly as I wrote themes for English and solved equations for Algebra. Tear-stained journals, semi-hidden amongst S.E. Hinton, Paul Zindel, Shakespeare and Francine Pascale on my bookshelf held tales of teen angst and drama, my fears of never being kissed, my hopes of traveling the world, and memories of good times with wonderful friends. They shared the space with my softball and dance trophies, collection of horses and stuffed animals. 

My boombox sat on the floor on top of a box of cassette tapes that housed the aforementioned artists as well as Aerosmith, Bad English, Billy Idol, Cinderella, Genesis, Debbie Gibson, Janet Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Living Colour, Richard Marx, Bette Midler, Milli Vanilli, Motley Crue, Skid Row, Slaughter, Tiffany, Wham!, When in Rome, Warrant and the rest of the "W" hair bands - Winger, White Lion, Whitesnake - all in alphabetical order, natch. Not to mention mix tapes. Much of that would soon change when I discovered Pearl Jam.

A square, tie-dyed banner with a peace symbol hung above my bed. The Gulf War was imminent. In my heart, I was a transcendentalist, a peaceful protester, a fan of "Walden Pond" and Martin Luther King. In reality, I was a middle-class white girl in suburban Kansas City. I didn't even have the guts to participate in the couple of sit-ins that were organized by the hippie kids. I had an open heart, believed in the goodness of people, saw the glass as three quarters-full, and wasn't yet jaded by my experiences. 
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