I'm a horrible person and deserve to be smited!

Wow, I am even afraid to look at how long ago I last posted. I have been absent for far too long and far too much has happened!!

Kids are growing bigger each day. Maggie is in Kindergarten, Iris in preschool and Alexander is just terrorizing me all day! We are living with mom because my hubby was laid off this summer. He took the opportunity to go through the corrections academy and received his certification...now he's just looking for work where budgets haven't been cut or put on hold.

My photography has really taken off and I hope to see my little business grow this next year. I am enjoying the art very much and am so happy to be taking pictures. It's really fun for me and gives me something to focus on (literally).

I will be back to blog, I just need to get into the swing of it again! Man, how time just flies!


The Disappearing Brownies

Living with my mother has been a feat but I won't delve into that here. No, this post is serious. Much more serious than even my mother. This post is about brownies. Yummy, chocolate brownies which I made the other day. I made them with all the important ingredients, especially love. Extra love. I mixed up two batches of brownies and poured them into their appropriate dishes. I poured half into a deep square baking dish and the other into a more shallow rectangular dish. I baked them up and let them cool. The shallow brownies I sprinkled with powdered sugar, a subtle yet scrumptious solution. The other batch was adorned with triple chocolate fudge frosting, it even had miniature chocolate chips in it. My mouth is watering just recalling these brownies...

The first batch went rather quickly. Between my brother and the kids, they were eaten right up. I knew my mom would enjoy the frosting smothered bunch, but I didn't know how much. Before I had even known it was cut into, almost half was gone. I was surprised to see how fast they were going, especially since I hadn't even SEEN any of them go!

Each time I re-entered the kitchen, more were gone still! What could possibly be eating my brownies so stealthily? I soon had my answer...

My mom was extra cranky and not feeling well. She let me in on a secret: Aunt Flo was in town. Oh dear lord almighty, save me!! She's a mean, evil woman, that Flo. Every time she visits she puts an evil curse on my mother. Thankfully she hates breastfeeding and so I've avoided her myself, but not my mom! No, and I swear she's gotten worse. On top of turning her into a witch, she also takes the form of a choco-holic. I am not exactly sure how my brownies managed to last as long as they did, but eventually, every last bite was eaten.

I never actually saw her in the act, but I know. I know that the only cure for that curse Aunt Flo bestowed upon her was my chocolatey brownies. At least they went to a good cause.


Me vs. 5

Anyone want to place bets on how the night will go? I am babysitting right now for my DEAR friend Toni. She has twin girls who just turned 3. I also have my 3 kiddos (ages 5, 3 and 9 months). I wonder how long it will be until I run out of here screaming and pulling my hair out...any guesses? Haha.


Life as it pertains to ME

Man, where have I been? Crazy town, I think, and I took the express!

My dear sweet husband was laid off, as were many others (12 just in his department). I know that our economy is doing poorly, and it's even harder when your only source of income is *POOF* gone. We had to move into my mother's house and I am so surprised I am still alive. This is probably the hardest thing I've done as a parent. I lived with my mom until Maggie was about 18 months, then Seth and I moved in together. Maggie is now 5.5 years old...and I'm here again.

It's weird being in the same room I was a teenager in. So many devious things happened here. Now it's a bedroom for 5. My closet is packed full of clothes and I'm so thankful I begged for a closet organizer as a teen, because it is SO useful now!

Aside from the usual burdens of living with your parents, things are going pretty well. I think I'm going to start midwifery school earlier than anticipated. Why not? We're here rent free. Seth is also pursuing his dreams of law enforcement and looking for part-time work to just "get us by" in the meantime.

Alexander and Iris caught some bizarre summer cold and they've been keeping me up the past few days, poor babes. I'm hoping we can qualify for medi-cal, since Seth lost insurance along with his job. Go figure they get sick right after we lose it.

Lately, I haven't been feeling well. It could be a number of things though the popular vote has gone to pregnancy. I won't know for a while, I have no money to test but some nice mommies have offered to send me one. I love the online community of girlfriend's that I've built. You guys rock. Hopefully soon I will know what is making me sick. I'm hoping it's just stress, and sore nipples are a bonus...

Maggie was accepted into Sacred Heart School. My heart is set on homeschooling, but with everything going on, this might be best for now. We will be purchasing her uniforms soon. I can't believe my baby girl is almost in kindergarten. I am developing heart palpitations. Holy freakin' cow.

Iris has blossomed into such a wonderful child. A hurricane still, but discovering so much for herself. Swim lessons have turned her from a aquaphobiac to an olympic diver! Ok, not really, but close! She now will go under water and blow bubbles! Yea!!

Alexander has had to sit on the sidelines during swim lessons with Dad, but he's enjoying the outdoors. He's been crawling for a couple of months now and is cruising along furniture. He's also standing unassisted for longer periods of time. I wonder if he'll be my "early walker". He's also still nursing on demand and eating few solids, his gag reflex is pretty sensitive. He weighs 24 lbs now and is just so big and healthy. Aside from this drag of a cold, he's a happy little boy.

I hope this summer is treating everybody else well. Tell me what you've done with it. Any vacations planned or taken? What's your favorite thing about summertime?


A day in the life...

Sometimes I imagine I'm something else instead of "mom". I will sit back, close my eyes and drift to a place where I can be anything, anywhere in the world. I quite enjoy these daydreams, but I think that the fantasy could never replace my reality. I'm just so darn happy, even though I find myself stressed or stretched thin many times. I can truly and honestly say I love these kids so darn much and cannot imagine myself any place better!!

Not long ago I started on a new mom adventure and entered the world of cloth diapers. I think we've been CDing for about 2 months now, not quite sure. So far, it's going really well. I need to purchase more covers, but I knew when I started I didn't have the recommended amount, so of course, that's made it a little harder on me. All in all though, it's very possible to do, even with 3 kids and off site laundry, and I feel more than ever there's no excuse to NOT cloth diaper. I wanted to make a list of the pros and cons that I personally have compiled. This is not everything, but this is most that I can think of.

  • Cost. The savings are amazing. Even when you factor in detergent and water/heating energy, you save a load (no pun intended!).
  • Ease. It is only slightly more difficult when using prefolds, and when using AIOs (all-in-ones, just like sposies but made of cloth) it is no harder. You can also find WAHM (work at home mom) businesses that make very affordable diapers and there are so many varying colors and brands to fit YOUR life.
  • Better on babe. Alexander was suffering from chronic red butt, and ever since the cloth, we've had no problems!! I'm REALLY happy that his cute little bum is protected.
  • Environmentally friendly. Anytime I feel like "Oh, it's so much easier to use disposables" I think about how great the CDs are for the environment and how they are reusable AND made of natural materials. I like that, unlike sposies, they don't take up to 500 years to decompose!
  • Require more planning. Now, I know you have to keep on top of your disposables and make sure you don't run out, but you can buy them 200 at a time. With the cloth, I have to make sure I plan to do laundry before I'm pushing it. I have only "run out" one time, and it was, of course, my fault (slacked on laundry that week) but nonetheless, I had to buy some sposies for the day because of it. I have, however, now learned to keep some on hand just in case.
  • Time. They take time not in the sense that I don't have any, or even when it comes to actually changing him, but I do have to factor in the extra 2-3 loads per week. Now, if I had a washer and dryer here, that'd be no problem...but I don't. I have to go to my mom's house, and so it does tap into my time a little more. The plus is that I (aside from that one time) can't really slack on laundry. If I'm going to go do a load of diapers, I may as well bring a load of something else, also!
  • Comments. Not that I let anyone else's opinion bother me, but I do sort of get sick of hearing "Oh, really? People still do that?" or "Why?!?!?! That's so GROSS!!" when they have absolutely NO clue what CDs are like.
That's probably it. All in all, I highly recommend trying them. Quite a few different sites offer starter packs. If someone wants to try cloth that's the most like sposies, they should try BumGenius or Gdiapers.

There really isn't much new in my life. My husband is taking vacation starting tomorrow, and we've been so excited for this!! We have quite a few things planned for the family and we just plan to enjoy every moment of it! He's been working so hard and really deserves this break. I am so anxious to just spend time with my lovely family.

A day in the life of "mom" may not be as exciting as my "dream" jobs and I don't always get to look forward to vacations, but no matter what, the good outweighs the bad. No matter what, there is just no place I'd rather be. No matter what, I am mom...and it's not that bad.




Just to let you know, car crashes are the #2 killer of children under 1 year of age, it is the #1 killer of children 1-14.

The absolute bare minimum is 1 year AND 20lbs. What is best practice? To keep your child rear facing for as long as possible. The AAP recommends keeping your child rfing until the weight limits of your seat which is either 30, 33 or 35lbs. Another thing, MOST states have LAWS in place that say your child HAS to be in a rear facing child restraint until 1 year AND 20lbs. So ANY dr telling you that it is okay to FF them before 1 year is WRONG.

I am a Child Passenger Safety Technician and I all too often see the horrific aftermaths of children who were forward facing and were involved in a car accident. Most recently, we reviewed a case study of a 26 month old, 26lbs child who was in the middle of the backseat, ffing, in a 5 pt harness seat. A car came into their lane and they were in a head on collision at 45mph. This little girl suffered a broken C2 vertebrae. She was the LUCKIEST child. She was in a HALO for 3 months. She had to into temporary state custody b/c the mother couldn't care for her (due to the mother being in the hospital). Evidence shows that if she were still rear facing, she would not have sustained this life threatening injury.

I have had a broken neck before, my C1 and C2 vertebrae's were broken. This area controls breathing, movements, etc...Christopher Reeve is a prime example of having a broken C1 and C2 vertebra in his neck. It is NOT a nice injury and I would never wish that upon anyone...especially a child. It breaks my heart when I hear of parents ffing their child too soon. Because of this kind of mind set that it is a "milestone" to ff your child at 1 year AND 20lbs, many MANY children are needlessly injured.

When a child is in a frontal, head on 35mph crash and their car seat is NOT tethered and they are using a 5 point harness, they will go forward 32". When their seat is tethered, a child will be thrown forward 28". It is imperative that families recognize the NEED to keep their children rear facing for as long as possible.

Here are several links to support keeping your child rear facing for as long as possible.


Here are a few crash test links to show you the difference in rear facing vs forward facing:


Here is a crash test of a 12 month old RFing

Then, here is the SAME 12 month old FFing

I think 15 links is enough for now, but I do have MANY MANY more showing support.

For those who say their children were uncomfortable rfing, your child knows nothing different. In fact, their legs bending the way they do RFing is actually comfortable to a child. It may not be for an adult. A child is usually more uncomfortable with their legs dangling over the edge or close to the edge of the seat than they are all "squished" up. ALL children go through the kicking, screaming, yelling phase b/c they are active, crawling, walking, etc and would much rather be doing that than harnessed in their seat. They also WANT to see mom or dad in the car. They can hear you, but can't "see" you. They are all phases and they will pass. A child is TOO tall rfing when their head is 1" below the top of the SHELL of the seat OR (check your car seat manual) if you own an older Britax, it is when the tips of the ears are even with the shell of the seat rfing. There is NO documented cases of a child's legs being broken in crashes, but there are TONS of documented cases of children with spinal injuries.
42% of accidents occur in rural settings. 25% of them occur within 5 minutes of your home.

Autopsy reports have shown that children under 2 years old are at 4 times the risk of Internal Decapitation when forward facing. What is Internal Decapitation??

Wikipedia says this:
Internal decapitation, atlantooccipital dislocation, describes the rare process by which the skull separates from the spinal column during severe head injury. This injury is nearly always fatal, since it usually involves nerve damage or severance of the spinal cord. Hanging relies on allowing the subject to break their neck under their own weight.

Here is a lady that actually survived Internal Decapitation http://youtube.com/watch?v=PWmJ1m3Jvhc&mode=related&search=

So, as you can tell, it has ZERO to do with neck STRENGTH. I was in a side impact crash where the drunk driver was going 65-70mph and it snapped my neck--I was 20 years old.

Did you know that if YOU are in a 30mph, one vehicle accident and your child weighs 20lbs, they turn into 600lbs of force. THAT is a LOT of force for a child.

Consider this: A car going 40mph would hit a tree with the same force as hitting the ground after falling off a 50 foot cliff. A person inside the car would hit the windshield (unrestrained, of course) with the same force as hitting the ground after a fall from a five-story building.

Another thing to know is that when a child is RFing, the BACK of their carseat--the part that goes behind their back and head--take the brunt of the crash force. In a FF car seat, the CHILD takes the brunt of the crash force.

This shows spine development. You can see how the spine doesn't fuse together until they are quite older.

This diagram shows you how "top heavy" children are and how disproportioned they are.

No one needs to feel bad or scared or worried. Here is the information. Some crashes are unsurvivorable no matter what safety precautions have been taken.

*reply to poster for code and repost*



With Earth Day quickly approaching, the question that may be plaguing many minds is “What can *I* do to better our earth? To help our planet?”. Many people will devote to recycling every can of soda they drink, or using earth friendly house cleaners, but there is one “green leaf” that’s turning over: cloth diapering. We think of cloth diapers as an old ratted rag held in place with a gigantic safety pin, but today’s cloth diapers leave much more to the imagination! With different work at home mom businesses making custom diapers, and even larger companies like G-diapers with biodegradable liners that are neither cloth or disposable, the possibilities on keeping baby and planet clean are endless!

But, why on earth would somebody want to deal with the mess of a cloth diaper, the hassle of extra laundry and the cost when disposables are far easier! After all, it only takes 500 years for one disposable diaper to degrade! The reasons are many, and actually, may be a lot greater than you think!

Firstly, the cost is astronomical. The money you can save from cloth diapering is enough to put a down payment on a car…or two. The average household will spend about $2000 on disposable diapers per child. Compare that with roughly 200-300 on cloth diaper accessories, and that can vary depending on the type you buy. From the more time consuming, yet economical prefolds with cover, to the fancy all in one diaper that is worn just like a disposable, but bears a larger price tag.

The second reason you may consider cloth is our beautiful earth. Not only do disposables take years and years to break down, but they are made with toxins. These leak back into the earth and are DEFINITELY not good for our planet. They are also not reusable (duh) so you spend money month after month on something you could purchase one time, wash, and reuse! Rinse, reuse, recycle, right? You can do that with cloth. With the diapers that have held up through your child’s use, you can resell to another parent interested in started the tradition themselves!

Thirdly, those same toxins that harm our earth can be dangerous to your baby! Why would you put something directly on your child’s skin that could kill them if ingested? Dioxin, a carcinogenic bleaching chemical, banned in feminine hygiene products, yet still used in making disposable diapers, is one of many reasons you may want to “think green”, and I don’t mean poop!

One thing that really swayed my decision to convert to cloth, aside from money and the benefits to my little one, was just how fun it was shopping and searching for the different diapers!! The designs out there will match any style you have, from punky diapers bearing skulls and cross bones, to pretty petite flowers dancing across your child’s perfectly wrapped bum. On top of being able to customize your diapers by look, many work at home mom businesses (like those through sites like www.etsy.com) offer a variety of materials to make your diapers from. Many are hypo-allergenic, made of hemp, fleece, and many other comfortable materials to accommodate the needs of you and your cloth booty cutie. I have so much fun shopping for new diapers, and I’m STILL saving money over disposables. As a woman, being able to shop AND save money is a godsend!

There is a list of endless reasons why one would want to use eco-friendly cloth diapers. Though disposables do have their pros, the cons far outweigh that. So, when the time comes, and you’re making some of the very important decisions while awaiting your little one, add this to the list. Cloth diapering: definitely NOT a thing of the past, but the thing for our future!

-Katie Holt


All I really want...

Out of all the things that I could achieve in life, all I really want is for my children to be happy and healthy. I want to make sure I am making the best choices possible for their growth and development, and not just in the here and now, but in the long run, for the rest of their lives. I want them to grow up to know that their mother might not have always made the best choices, but instead of burying her head in the sand and ignoring her mistakes, she learned from it. Can I take back anything that I did differently with my older child? My second child? My youngest child? No. Can I hope to enlighten them, and others by sharing what I have done over the years and also, what I've learned, through experience as well as research and maturity? Yes.

When I share advice with someone, whether it be anecdotal or factual, I don't share it because I enjoy the sound of my own voice. I don't share it because I think my way is the ONLY way. I don't share it because I think they are bad, or stupid, or failing. No, not at all. If I thought that they were a lost cause, why would I bother? Instead, I share what I've come to know because I DO care. Because, if I can help YOU avoid feeling the regret I've felt at times, then it is worth it. If I can help YOU to make a better choice for you little one, that may greatly benefit their health, THAT'S worth it.

Often times women will say that it's not my child to care about, but, when you hear a tragic story on the news, about a child abandoned, or beaten, or murdered...do you not feel bad? But, it's not your child to care about, is it? See, that's just silly. Of course you care! You, as a mother, cannot help but care about other children, because you see your own children IN them. Now, don't go on thinking that I'm comparing beating a child to different forms of parenting, what I am comparing is the compassion that one feels over different children.

How many of us have thought we were right about something before? Seriously, we've ALL thought we were right about SOMETHING!

How many of you have been WRONG at some point about what you thought you were oh so right about? ALL of us. We have ALL been there, be it an answer on a quiz in school, the judgement of a friend we thought we could trust who then betrayed us, picking the wrong man we thought was the love of our lives, and even making decisions with our children that we believed to be best. Later on, we may discover that what we thought we were SO SURE about, was in fact, poor judgement or even misinformation. This does not make us bad. This does not make us stupid. This does not mean we cannot LEARN and CHANGE.

So, you study harder or take your time on the next test. You are more careful who you become close to. You are more selective and cautious when dating. You research and learn more for your next child and perhaps even *gasp* make some changes.

We could all benefit from opening our ears and our minds, but we're not the only ones involved...our children are. Sometimes, you must swallow that pride, admit that perhaps you were wrong, and do what it takes to create a better choice for your family, for your children...for their future and yours.



Turns out I am not pregnant.

When I first thought we had "oopsied", I was a little disappointed since it wasn't the "ideal" time to have another child. I do know I want 4, and I started to accept that this might be the only time I get that, since hubby is so hot/cold on the subject. As I waited until a good time to test (no period due to ebf) I started to embrace and even get excited over the idea of having a fourth child around sooner than later, however, it's not going to be now. The test was negative. Actually, THREE tests were negative. It is what it is, and I'm not sad per se, but I'm a little bummed. What if DH really resists having another child? I am NOT done. I literally NEED a fourth (not need in the sense of life or death, or even happiness vs. unhappiness). Mostly, it's a completion. I don't feel complete yet. It's just what we're meant to have...4.

Anyway, enough rambling. My time will come, I hope.


Why SHOULD you breast-feed?

We often hear from women how hard it is/was to breast-feed. Some of these well-meaning women may have been there themselves, but many never gave it a go OR approached it with little to no knowledge or desire. You can look up the benefits of breast-feeding and any medically based site will tout it's benefits. We all KNOW that breast-feeding your child is the best thing you can do for them, but here's some reasons why you should straight from the mouth of a mother.

Why do I think you might care what I have to say? Well, I've been on BOTH sides of the fence. Actually, I've been on both sides as well as balancing ON the fence. I have only recently been able to come to terms with some of the guilt I feel over my past choices, and I would HATE for any other woman to have to struggle with the guilt I did simply because you, like I, were uninformed.

So, here are my personal reasons on why *I* think *you* should breast-feed your baby(ies).

  1. It is the biological norm- your baby's tummy is designed for consumption of breast-milk. A baby's digestive tract is sensitive and it is susceptible to bacteria. The phrase "breast is best" isn't really the best term, it should be "breast is normal", because it's the STANDARD for optimum infant health.
  2. It's FREE!- When I informed my husband that I would be breast-feeding our son come hell or high water, his reaction was simple "Cool, because formula's freakin' expensive!". It wasn't until I educated him more, during my pregnancy, on the benefits of breast-feeding, and even after watching his son thrive on my milk, that he looked at it for it's many other benefits. To him, in the beginning, it was simply enough that we would save, literally, THOUSANDS of dollars by breast-feeding.
  3. It's easy- it might not always be easy in the beginning, and yes, many mom's DO face hardships with nursing (though many can be avoided with good education on nursing and/or professional help from an LC) but once you've established your nursing relationship, NOTHING is easier than expose breast and attach baby. That's it, you're done! No lugging around powder, sterile water, clean bottles AND a baby! Boobs are attached, portable, and always ready to go!
  4. It's soothing- and not just for baby! Yes, it's true, breast-feeding will calm a fussy baby or whiney toddler like nothing else can, but it is also quite comforting and soothing for mom, both metaphorically as well as literally. When you nurse, you release oxytocin (the feel-good bonding hormone) and seratonin (the sleepy one!) which puts you (and baby) in a state of goo-goo-ga-ga lovey bliss!
  5. It HELPS PPD- Breast-feeding can help keep PPD (Post Partum Depression) away as well as help it to be less severe. In the event that you still experience PPD to the point of needing medication, there are medications you can take while nursing that will not hurt the baby.
  6. It's educational- What? How is breast-feeding educational? Well, let me tell you! When yo breast-feed, other people will inevitably see you doing it! If you have older children, they will undoubtedly be around as you feed the baby, and if they are anything like mine, they will ask questions! This is the PERFECT time to share the beauty of breast-feeding with your children. Remember, they are the future! You can also educate OTHERS by breast-feeding. If you are breast-feeding in public, there may likely come a time when someone confronts you about it (either positively or negatively) and BOTH circumstances can prove benefitial to their breast-feeding education! If it's a negative reaction (usually pertaining to whether you are in the right for breast-feeding in public) you can give them a legal education, as almost every state has a law for breast-feeding mothers, and to my knowledge, NONE have a law AGAINST it! I carry a copy of my state's legislation in my wallet. If it is a POSITIVE encounter, you can perhaps tell an inquisitive person WHY you breast-feed, encourage them to keep going (if THEY are breast-feeding) and all in all, give them exposure to breast-feeding which is helping to remind people it's NORMAL.
  7. It's fun- it really is! Especially as your child grows, breast-feeding can become acrobatic and humorous! As you gaze down at your little one suckling away at your breast, you get smiles, giggles, and even the occasional game of peek-a-boo as your baby hides in your breast. Sometimes, the world just melts away as you enter your own little world.
  8. It eases baby to sleep- Instead of resorting to possibly damaging methods like CIO (Cry It Out) or having to spend hours rocking, singing or DRIVING to get your baby to go to sleep, you can simply lay with and nurse your child into a peaceful state of slumber. Granted, all babies are different, and what works for one might not work for all, but I have yet to meet a breast-feeding mother who couldn't simply lay with and nurse her little one to sleep, even into the difficult i'llkickandscreamtogetmywayandavoidbedtime toddler years.
  9. It's bonding- You hear it all the time, and if you are or have been a formula/bottle feeder, it may jab you the wrong way, putting you on the defense to say "I'm BONDED with my baby! You can bottle-feed and bond ALSO!". Well, no one said you CAN'T bond with a baby despite bottle-feeding. The difference is HOW you bond and how WELL you bond. Breast-feeding gives you skin-to-skin contact, something very essential to newborn bonding. There is no other choice, if you breast-feed, you WILL be skin-to-skin with baby. Also, your breasts are attached to you, meaning there is NO option for NOT holding your baby when you feed them. Even when laying down, you are in contact with your baby. I know many bottle-feeding mothers that SWEAR they have never bottle propped, but truth be told, you WILL do it at some point, it's undeniable. It doesn't mean you ALWAYS bottle prop, but you will be much more inclined to do so, especially when you're trying to get things done and the darn baby just doesn't understand you can't drop everything for them right now! And let's not forget, baby's do learn how to hold bottles, and while they can also hold breasts, they can't exactly do it ALL on their own! Feeding is a very important time for baby, it is important that they are held, so even if you aren't nursing, please, hold your baby.
  10. Your child will thank you- I have actually thanked my mother for breast-feeding me. I think it is so wonderful that she made the little sacrifices in order to provide me with the best start in life. She breast-fed me EXCLUSIVELY for my first year of life. I am so happy to know that my mom held me and cuddled me and comforted me, just like I do my son, while also providing me with the most nutritious food for me! I just recently spoke with my friend who discovered she was bottle-fed and when she asked her mom why, she said she just "wasn't comfortable doing that." My friend's response was "Gee, THANKS, mom!" (obviously she was being sarcastic). If your child is still young, they will thank you each time they nurse, just by gazing at you with that intensity, rubbing your breast as they fall to sleep. If your child is a toddler nursing, they may thank you verbally, with something like "Thanks for giving me your yummy milk, mommy!". Even if you're never given a verbal thanks, the appreciation will be there, at some point. You will know, just watching your child thrive off the milk you provide for them, that they are thankful. They are thankful they have a mommy who cares, a mommy who loves them, a mommy who sacrifices to give them the norm, the standard, the best.
If you choose not to breast-feed, I hope that you (and your child) never suffer any guilt from the decision. I say that from the bottom of my heart, having been in a position of regret. If you choose to breast-feed, make sure you have a system of support. Educate yourself in pregnancy by reading books like "The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding" (put out by LLL) or "So That's What They're For", join a group like La Leche League (membership is not required to attend meetings or even borrow from the library) and make sure if birthing in the hospital you have in your birth plan that you wish to see an LC immediately following birth. Arming yourself with knowledge PRIOR to having your baby will help you feel more confident and will also help you counter any difficulties that may arise early. It is a selfless act to breast-feed, and your baby will benefit greatly from your choice to do so!

(cross posted with http://savebirth.blogspot.com)


Together, we can move mountains!

I've been meaning to blog about our little day trip up to Pinecrest, but haven't found the time. What? With three kids you mean I didn't have free time to doodle around on my blog?

My mother and I took the kids up to the mountains to experience the beauty and wonder of SNOW! The trip was destined to be interesting with my brood, but I wasn't expecting half of what we ran into.

The night before we left, I checked to see what the weather would be like up near Strawberry, and the forecast was great! Sunny and warm! We had stocked up on snow gear from places like "Once Upon a Child" and "Good Will" and were raring and daring to go!! The girls had been excited for weeks about this trip, and so was I, however, for some reason, I had a bad feeling the night before the trip and just didn't sleep well. I slept terribly that night and was dragging the next morning.

I got the kids together and headed over to Gramma's where we loaded the van and got ready to go! My mom drove so I could sit in the very back of the van and take care of the kiddos. We filled up the tank and headed to the mountains.

The trip was pretty uneventful, listening to toddler tunes all the way there, the kids were ACTUALLY behaving, and the scenery, of course, was breathtaking. I was surprised that Maggie was so appreciative of the beauty of nature. She kept saying "Whoa, look at that HUGE tree! It's SO beautiful!". Gosh, I love her.

Alex slept most of the time, but he did make faces like this before passing out:


We arrived in a small town in the Mountains after a long stretch of nothingness. I suggested a pit stop to nurse the baby and have the girls stretch their legs. We pulled into a little gas station and I nursed Alex while my mom took the girls inside. The air was crisp and clear, a perfect day! We took off after about 20 minutes and oddly enough, my car alarm starts going off, then stopping, then on again. Not knowing what was going on, my mom pulled off on a little road and walked the perimeter of the van, looking for SOMETHING that might explain the possessed alarm. She was about ready to climb back in when she did a double take on the back right tire. Was it flat? Almost. So we went to the gas station across the street (thank goodness we were in town AND that I suggested we stop!) and filled up with air. The attendant informed her of a tire place just back down the street AND they were open. We swung by there, they patched the tire, and $15 and 15 minutes later we were on our way, hardly skipping a beat!

We headed into Dodge Ridge and pulled off in an area to play. I was unaware that they had just received 3 feet of snow the weekend before, so it was NOT very well compacted. After getting all suited up and ready for the snow, we trekked maybe 10-20 feet in 30 minutes. I was carrying my almost 19 pound son and falling into snow upto my thighs. Needless to say, it was NOT easy. Also, Iris was incredibly frightened of the white wonder and did nothing but shriek and cry. We turned around and headed back to the van, where I stripped out of my winter garb and hung out with Alexander and Iris. Maggie and Gram took the sleds and decided to make the best of it.

I'm sad that I didn't get any pictures of Maggie's first time in the snow, but I do have these:



All in all it was a fun trip. We stopped at "A Pie in the Sky Pizza" and had ourselves the cheesiest, greasiest, BEST pizza of all time in Mi-Wuk Village. I must say, though the trip threw us for a loop at one point, it all went smoothly and we were still able to enjoy ourselves. The snow may have been a bust, but the girls got to see a lot of natural beauty and I got a good work out during my snow trek. I want to head to the Sequoia National Park next time, I think Mag would LOVE the redwood forest, and it'd be a little more Iris and baby friendly!


Baby Burn and Genius

Well, I was going to post about how I'm a horrible mother and didn't put sunscreen on the baby. I'm getting use to the warm weather still and since it wasn't actually hot, I guess I just didn't think about it. I also didn't plan on 2 hours at the park (that's another story). Well, needless to say he got burnt. I didn't notice it until later on in the day, but he is a red little tomato. The back of his head and neck and down his arms. :( I feel awful. He seems totally fine, so looks like I'm the one who has to suffer, thank goodness! I would feel even WORSE if this was upsetting to him. I don't want him to suffer because I was a moron. Gah, I am buying sunscreen to put in EVERYTHING: my purse, diaper bag, the van, AND here at the house.

So, the BRAGGING part. I wanted to take pics to show my wonderful cafemommies what an IDIOT mommy I was, and he SAT ALL BY HIMSELF!!! I am SHOCKED. He's only 4 1/2 months old! He's wanted to sit for a while and he will if you hold his hands, but if you let go, he always sways around and tips. Not now!!! Here's a pic of the back of his baked head WHILE sitting UNASSISTED!!

He sat like that for a few minutes before slowly teetering over. Haha. Anyway, thanks to all my BIN ladies for the support on how to cope (emotionally and medically) with his little burn.

The moral of the story: if you're a big fat, moron mommy like me, then make sure you pack the sunscreen.


I am a human toilet.

Being a mother comes with many other titles. You learn them as you go. You become a homemaker many times, a chef, a designer, a manager, a hostage negotiator, and many more things! One title I never thought I'd bear was that of "human toilet" but alas, my fate has been sealed...

I was first introduced to my new job duty with my first child. I was still breastfeeding Maggie and so she was having that seedy, mustard looking poopy as she wasn't on solids or anything yet. Well, I was a young, single mommy and we shared a room at my mother's, so I didn't have a nursery and I usually just changed her on my bed. As I carefully removed her poopy diaper and folded it ever so nicely, I figured she'd be fine diaper free for a sec (after all, it was all in the diaper, right?). Well, I wasn't prepared for what happened next! As I lifted her legs up to put her new diaper on, she projectile pooped ALL OVER ME! I was not only a new mommy, I was a young mommy, so this was not something I was AT ALL prepared for!! I was covered in seedy, liquidy poop! I changed clothes, sheets and finally her diaper and jumped into the longest, steamiest shower ever!

Now that I had experienced this, I knew you were never safe, not even for a moment, from the poop factor! I was always prepared with a fresh diaper to slip right now after the dirty one. I would even make sure to unfold it and prepare the tabs prior to removal of the soiled dipe!

I made it 5 whole years without ever experiencing a poop drench again! That is, until last night...

The baby beast was sitting on my lap, bouncing and cooing about, when I heard the puttering warning sounds of diaper doody (yes, that's a purposeful typo). As he ever so joyfully filled his drawers, my brother and I continued our conversation, that is until I felt wet...very wet. I figured he probably leaked a little and so I lifted him up and O.M.G. I was COVERED in his poopsie! I had no clue how it had made it's way from his bowels to my pants (and shirt, and chair...) because he had not a "drop" on him!!

I laid him down and went to clean up (I've learned now having 3 kids, that hot steamy shower I had the first time...was the last in a LONG time...). Once clean and changed I came back to solve this mystery. The beast was kicking around and laughing, not even phased by the mess in his drawers, but there was still no apparent leak!

Upon further examination, it was clear where the mess had seeped from. Somehow, and without leaving much of a mark, it had leaked out from between his legs, the crotch area, and nicely settled on moi. When I opened his diaper, there was barely a skidmark inside. He had, in fact, covered me in all of his wonderful poopiness.

I finally came to terms with the fact that on top of being a program organizer, a maid, a magician and a performer, I was also a human toilet.


Baby, baby, oh baby!

So...I absolutely LOATHE artificial birth control. The feeling of having artificial hormones in my body and the fact that ALL BC has a "back up" plan to keep an egg from implanting (yes, if it becomes fertilized, it prevents implantation, which to me and many others is a form of abortion) is enough to keep me off it. Not to mention the TERRIBLE symptoms (weight gain, horrid periods, etc) that I experienced when on it. So, where am I going with this?

Seth and I decided while I was still pregnant with turd #3 that I we would use NFP (natural family planning). I had mocked this idea many times before (ex: Q: What do you call a couple that practices nfp? A: PARENTS! hahaha) but the more I learned about it, the more it just made sense. And actually, the more I learned about BC, the scarier it became!!

Now, it's no secret that I'm breastfeeding, and exclusively no less. Ecological breastfeeding is a very effective way to keep fertility at bay, HOWEVER you must "follow" it to a T or else it isn't going to be as effective. We planned on utilizing the benefits of this while I took time to get some NFP books and learn my cycle etc. Well, I didn't plan on having such a good baby! He has been practically sleeping through the night since he was a newborn and even during the day can go hours without a feeding. In order to make breastfeeding an effective way to curb fertility, you MUST feed every 4-5 hours AT LEAST. Needless to say, this hasn't been the case, especially the last 2 months.

Where am I going with this? Well, the Mister and I were having our monthly intimate session (yea, we probably do it more than that, but with 3 kids and still only being 4 months pp, I'm not feeling all that "hot" right now) and basically, we weren't very careful. I haven't bought ANY NFP books (my fault, I know) and so we've been playing it safe, until Friday night. Now, it's way too early to tell anything, obviously, and I'm most likely NOT fertile, even with the breastfeeding gaps, HOWEVER, it really is a possibility that I could end up pregnant from this friendly little romp.

Am I upset? No. Ideally I would have LOVED to TTC when Alexander was around 18 months old and hubby has been pretty on the fence (but moreso on the side of the fence that says "NO MORE KIDS!") so, this would still be a very welcomed pregnancy as I KNOW I want at least one more, it just isn't how I would "plan" it.

At first I was sort of stressing, but, why? Why stress when a) I don't even KNOW if I'm pregnant and cannot test for probably 2 or 3 weeks b) I WANT a fourth child and c) I know, each time I have sex, with BC, condoms, NFP, whatever, it IS A REAL RISK that I could get pregnant, everyone knows that (right?). So, whatever will be will be! I am going to be slightly anxious/nervous for the next couple of weeks until I "know" (I swear, I hate my mind, all day I "felt" pregnant lol) but whatever the results, I'm ready!

**for the record, when used and practiced correctly, NFP is just as effective (if not moreso) than BC. If you are unhappy with the side effects of your BC or just like to life a more natural life style, purchase some books on NFP and start practicing, but do it the right way or else, like any other BC method, you affect it's effectiveness and put yourself "at risk" for getting pregnant**


The Cup of Puke

Maggie woke up sick this morning, which my husband blames on my Turkey, though I disagree! In any event, she was throwing up every 30 minutes or so for a few hours, then just stopped. She said she was good enough to have lunch with Gramma.

We picked Gramma up from work and went to Perko's, where the girls ordered smiley pancakes. Maggie ate pretty fast, we tried to slow her down, but there was no stopping her as she consumed those pancakes as if in an eating contest! After going back to work with Gramma and visiting her co-workers, the kids and I headed home. Just around the corner and Maggie said her tummy hurt. I had to think fast. She had her cup, from the restaraunt. I had her take off the lid and get it ready, just in case she couldn't hold it until home.

A few short minutes later, I hear the lovely sound of her pukefest. Thankfully, she has good aim, and I have automatic windows to clear the air!!


How to Cope

Often times I'm approached by strangers (or even friends and family) asking how I cope with having 3 kids, especially being so young. The short and simple answer is "You just do! There's not a choice NOT to cope!". But, really and truly, there are mechanics in place to make this mother-child relationship work times 3.

So, without further ado, here's how to cope:

Pick your Battles
This has got to be one of the most important pieces to making my puzzle work! If I were to scold or correct everything that one child did "wrong", I'd spend my whole day nagging. I don't wish for my kids to live in a negative environment, nor do I wish to reside in one. So, instead, I pick the parts that I feel deem worthy of discipline or lecture. These include instances that are dangerous, in which someone was hurt (emotionally or physically), when they crossed the line of inappropriate or when they blatantly disregaurd a rule. Other times, I just let it roll. 9 times out of 10 your children will do things simply for the attention they get anyway.

Don't Plan
Now, I may be alone in the mom world here, but for us, if I DON'T plan and just do things spontaneously it works so much better! If I plan on doing something, it almost always stresses me out, gets the kids riled up and ends in a negative way. If I just go on a whim, our ship runs much more smoothly! Now, I plan to a certain extent, like, I know I will need to get groceries sometime in the next 2 days. But, that's the most planning I'll do for it. Then, sometime in the next 2 days, I'll pack the kids up when they're in good moods, load them in the van and head to the store, which will most definitely end up being a hell of a trip, but less of a hassel than had I planned it! It also makes it easier to be spontaneously with a baby who I nurse on demand. Since he's not scheduled, I can nurse him when he asks and then head to the store and not have to worry about nursing, shopping and chasing 2 0ther kids all at once!

Get rid of schedules!
This doesn't work for everyone, and I know it. But for us, NOT scheduling is so nice! Firstly, I HATE being told what to do and when to do it! I'm not always hungry at noon every day, sometimes I want lunch at 11, or maybe 1. Our kids are no different. I keep a vague time frame for when I like things to be done and I DO enforce that, however, it is definitely not to a tee. Bedtime is anywhere before 10pm. Breakfast is whenever the kids ask to eat. Naps...HA, I'm lucky if anyone naps! But that's ok!! This is how we run. This is what works!

Me time!!!!
This is big and EVERY mother should have this, but every mother should remember that her number one priority is her kiddos. Sometimes, me time just DOESN'T happen, and you HAVE GOT to be ok with that. I am! Yeah, I need to walk away sometimes and I've done it! You know those commercials advocating against SBS (Shaken Baby Syndrome)? The ones that say "If you feel like shaking your baby, put it down and walk away."? Well, I utilize that philosophy. If I feel I'm going to yell or spank my kids, I walk away. I believe in gentle discipline, treating children with love and respect, like human beings. So, if I feel I'm not going to treat them that way, I leave the room. I take a breather. Sometimes, that's the only "me" time I get. Other times, I'm able to have my husband (who's usually only working or sleeping) take the kids for 15 minutes. This is usually just enough time for me to regain my strength. Ideally, I wish I could take a weekend away with my husband, but that's not a reality, and I won't let fantasy affect my parenting. Maybe some do. *shrug*

Don't Compare
I don't compare myself to other mommies. If I did, I would go crazy. Why? Because all mommies do things differently. I can't worry about Jane's finances and how they seem so much better off than me, and I can't worry about Marcy's debt because I can't imagine how she does it. It's not my problem. We have our own individual problems. And the same goes with kids. I can't worry about Donna's kids and how they are doing in school, or what milestones her baby has met (or not) or how her marriage is or isn't going. If I looked at all the things other people had, instead of focusing on what we have or need, I'd spend my whole life trying to rearrange my whole life! Ridiculous. So, I worry about us. I focus on us. I am proud of us. I make choices for us. This is how I cope with not going CRAZY!

The thing is, what works for me and mine, may not work for you and yours, but this is how I cope with life as a (practically single) mother of 3. If you're having trouble, feel free to adapt one of my methods, but remember, I am in no way responsible if it doesn't work! Seriously. :)


Typical Day...

As I'm basking in the warm sunlight of my glorious rose garden, draped in soft silk that blows in the gentle breeze, I reach over to take a sip of my ice cold long island. Just as I bring the cool glass to my hot, wet lips, it's knocked all over my beautiful white sheet...and I realize one of the kids has just jumped up onto the bed, and disturbed my peaceful sleep. Time to start the day!

I quickly and quietly shoo them away, desperately trying to avoid waking the sleeping babe next to me. I slide out from under the covers and tip-toe out the room, shutting the door ever so silently. I pour some cereal and milk for the girls and set them at the table to enjoy their breakfast.

I rush to go tinkle before the baby wakes me up, ready for his boob a la carte. Brushing my hair into a quick and neat pony tail is a must if I want to avoid the tugging and pulling the baby will put it through (not to mention the wonderful spit up I usually end up with!). When I walk back into the bedroom to adorn my oh so bodacious mommy body with clothes, the baby stirs and makes his morning cry, letting me know it's time to eat.

As I sit down to nurse him, the girls are finishing up breakfast. They begin running around the house while I calmly feed the baby. As he laps up the last of his yummy goodness, he smiles and coo's his good morning hello's.

Just when I think things are going peaceful, one of the girls begins crying, right after I hear a nice crash in the other room. As I sit the baby up he spits up his breakfast all over my clothes (Outfit number 1: lasted 5 minutes). I comfort crying baby number one while cleaning up spitty baby number 2, while lecturing bratty baby number 3, and wiping the regurgitated milk off my furniture (and self).

I can't wait for the rest of the day!!