Friday, March 30, 2012

National Cleavage Day

Twitter teaches me lots of things. Like that Whitney Houston died, or that Japan had an earthquake on the first day of the year. This morning I learned that today is National Cleavage Day (NCD).

To start, I rolled my eyes at some drunken males lame attempt to see more booby. Then, I got curious. Maybe this is a breast cancer thing? So I turned my favorite source for useless information, Wikipedia. It turns out  that NCD was started in 2002 by the Wonderbra company and supported by Cosmopolitan magazine. It's a marketing gimmick.

It's not all bad though. I found out that the Wonderbra company does, indeed, make money on this sexist celebration of the female anatomy. However, it's for a good cause. Wonderbra donates the gross profits to an organization in South Africa called the Sunflower Fund . The Sunflower Fund is a Cape Town based non-profit that helps South Africans with leukemia and other life-threatening blood diseases. Still, I have to wonder about the ethics of a company recruiting morally challenged young women to advertise for them.  For free.

I will not officially be celebrating National Cleavage Day, but I will likely show some cleavage. Unless I wear a turtle neck.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ten Things Tuesday--That Mom

We all know her. The perfect mom who fills us with feelings of hatred, jealousy, and self-loathing. Here are ten reasons that mom makes us want to scream.

1. She had the perfect pregnancy. Nothing went wrong. She had no morning sickness, no stretch marks, no heartburn, no swollen ankles, no back pain, nothing. She was glowing and happy the whole time. My sister-in-law was one of these.

2. Six months after that mom has her baby, not only is she down to her pre-pregnancy weight, she has passed it and is smaller than she was when she conceived. These mom's are rare, and generally appear in tabloid with the help of personal trainers that we can't even dream of affording. They are also probably starving.

3. That mom has kids who wear the cutest  matching outfits. Every item is wrinkle and stain free. They do not wear purple leggings with orange dresses or other such combinations that occur when we just grab the first things our hands touch. Her kids always have clean faces and neatly coiffed hair. You know that if she dressed her kids in all white, their clothes would still be white at the end of the day.

4. Her kid's lunches look like this:

while our kids eat this:

5. That mom always wear an apron when she cooks, but we don't know why. When she puts dinner on the table her apron is still spotless. So is her kitchen, which makes me think she didn't really cook whatever she is serving.

6. When that mom's kids start kindergarten, their baby books are completely finished. Our kids don't have baby books; or they do, but they are empty and collecting dust in the back of the closet.

7. That mom's car looks brand new. There are not crayons, toys, crumbs, mud, fingerprints, or empty McDonald's bags scattered all over. Her car even smells brand new.

8. Her house is spotless, her kids are well-behaved, she cooks dinner every night, and still has time to read those books that have been on your to read list for years but will have to wait until your kids graduate high school.

9. When at the park, her clothes look like she walked off the pages of a magazine, her make up is perfect, her hair is not pulled back into a sloppy ponytail. Also, when it's time to go home, her kids say, "yes mommy" instead of throwing themselves on the ground screaming for 5 more minutes.

10.  Her carpets are lacking of mud or food stains.

Some of us can achieve one or two of these things occasionally. I do not believe I know any mothers who can achieve all of these, all the time.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Girl Scouts turned 100

Girl Scouts turned 100 on March 12 this year. This was a bag of mixed feelings for me. I am a life time member of the Girl Scouts; I never have to pay a membership fee again.  I have great memories of Girl Scouts from when I was young. However, Girl Scouts today is not what it used to be.

Scouting was founded in 1907 by Lord Robert Baden-Powell of England. In 1909, Baden-Powell held a rally and a group of girls asked to be included. Baden-Powell's wife was the first troop leader. The girls were deemed Girl Guides. In 1911, Juliet Gordon Low had a discussion with Lord Baden-Powell about scouting and in 1912 she began a troop in Savannah, Georgia and Girl Scouts was born in the United States.

To be honest most of my memories of being a scout include cookies. Really, who can blame me? I still buy 4 or 5 boxes a year. There were other amazing memories, also.

As a Brownie, I remember Brownie Stew on camping trips. The idea was that every girl brought a can of soup and we dumped them all in one pot and cooked it. I do not remember ever eating it, and perhaps that is a good thing, it sounds very gross. I don't think bean and bacon soup would mix well with cream of mushroom.  I also remember standing on a cooler while helping prepare brownie stew and the cooler tipped and my mom's (she was our leader) 9x13 pan fell onto the cement floor of the cooking shelter and broke.

When I was a Junior Girl Scout we held our meetings at our leader's house. Her daughter's name was Amber and we were both really into American Girl books. She even had two dolls. We often ate popcorn for a snack, and Amber's mom, being a health food nut, put yeast or something on the popcorn instead of butter and salt. It was actually pretty good.

I also went to horse camp one summer as a Junior. The horse I was assigned was named Donut and my camp  I had three camp counselors. One was named Scooby. This was at Camp River Ranch in Carnation, WA. There was an almost private lake, and I wet my sleeping bag at least once that week.

I became a Cadet Scout without ceremony when we moved to Idaho. Normally, when you move up there is a bridging ceremony, but I moved up in the middle of a school year because in the small town we lived in, you moved up in sixth grade, not seventh

Cadet scouting is more girl run. The adult troop leader is there more like a champrone (and they have to sign all the checks). There were 3 girls, including me in our Cadet troop. Selling cookies is much harder as an older girl. You just aren't as cute. We earned our Silver Award teaching the younger scouts survival skills and orienteering.

Between Senior and Cadet Scouts, I worked in the kitchen at Camp Four Echos. Yep, my first job was for the Girl Scouts. This was also the first summer I dyed my hair. My camp name was Piccolo.

I stayed in Girl Scouts through my senior year of high school, earning a college scholarship for my cookie sales. I never earned my Gold Award, more or less equivalent to the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout. As a gift for our graduation from high school (there were two of us left in our troop on graduation day) our troop payed for each of us to have a lifetime membership.

I am torn about putting Lily in scouts when she is old enough. Girl Scouts was founded as a place to teach girls how to be capable women. The learned camping and hiking and outdoors skills as well as first aid, cooking, sewing and homemaking. Girl Scouts today has become much more feminist.  They promote science and fields that are male dominate on the idea that we can do anything men can do. There are less and less activities based on traditional female rolls. Not that I disagree with a woman's ability to do anything she wants, but I want my daughter to do all that and still know how to be a good wife and a "traditional woman." I can do my job of homemaker and pretty much any job a man can do (although I probably can't run a 60 pound jakchammer). I want my daughter to have the memories I had, but I don't want her to become a made hating, liberal, feminist wacko.

Happy 100th Birthday Girl Scouts of the USA!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ten Things Tuesday--Popular Fiction for Parents

This week,Popular Fiction, by parents.

1. The Girl Who Brushed the Rat's Nest

2.  Harry's Potty and the Chamber Pot's Secrets

3.  The Nightlight Saga

4. Games on Phones

5. The Toy Duck Club

6. The Snack

7. The Sisterhood of the Training Pants

8. Sleep, Play, Love

9. The Time Jugglers Life

10.  A Thousand Sucking Thumbs

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Icky Icky Cough Cough

This has not been a good week. I slept almost all day everyday. Until today, I felt better today. I have the yucky sinus infection accompanied by a chest cold that makes my throat feel like it needs chapstick.

The first day was cool. I slept until two, and then couldn't fall asleep that night but I only slept till 11 the next day. I read all day that day. I've finished two books this week and may finish another one by Sunday if my kids are nice to me. Yesterday, I again read and napped off and on all day, but Larch started to complain and resent that fact that I have done nothing this week. All the while, he acknowledge the fact that I had no voice until 2 or 3 in the afternoon with the help of on can chicken noodle soup and 5 or 6 cups of hot Tang. (Yes, I drink it hot when I'm sick. It's not bad, kinda yummy.) By the end of the day I had the tell tale migraine that said I hadn't had any caffeine in 3 days. Today, was better. I was up doing stuff, though still trying to cough my lung onto the floor. I did laundry, thought about writing a grocery list, took the kids to McDonald's, claimed my free prizes from a local car dealership (cheap binoculars I have given to my kids and a freshwater pearl necklace I horded for myself. I love pearls).

Now, as I get ready to bathe the kids and convince them to go to bed even though Daddy's not home from Uncle B's house yet, I feel another migraine coming. This one tells me that  Aunt Flo is coming to visit and I am about to spend three more days sleeping until noon, much to Larch's chagrin. Also, Lily isn't sleeping and she keep rubbing her eyes, I think her sinus' hurt. Johnny has a wildly running nose, but no cough yet. I think I have just given the icky icky cough coughs to my children. And possibly Larch, but he won't admit to being sick, unless he's dying. Here's to another hell week *raises wine glass full of Diet Dr. Pepper*

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ten Things Tuesday--Classic Books by Parents

This is the First is a Series of Ten Things Lists. This week: Classic* Book Titles, if they were written by parents of Preschoolers. Next Week: Popular Fiction by the same

1.  The Lord of the Swings Trilogy

2. Time for Punishment

3.  Twenty Thousand  Diapers of Pee

4.  The Taming of Age Two

5. Murder in the Panda Express

6.  War over Peas

7. The Tattle Tale Heart

8. The Last of my Free Weekends

9.  I Know Why My Momma Screamed

10.  Cry, The Beloved Blankie

Saturday, March 10, 2012

One Exciting Saturday

I am sitting in a McDonald's Play Space eating a late lunch.  Even though I am doing it, I do not understand why anyone would sit in a room that smells like feet to eat their food. Seriously, we become brain damaged when we become mothers.

My exciting started an hour before the realization that I was eating in a foot stench. I took my kids to the park by myself for the first time this year. They have been to the park already this year with me and their dad, with their uncle, and with just their dad, but this was the years first solo trip for me. They installed swings at the ark closest to our house last week, so I braved the trip knowing I could walk to the park with the least traffic and best child viewing without whining because now there are swings.

It was going really well. Lily learned to use the climbing wall without mom's help. (It's only maybe 3 feet high and she's a 2 year old monkey in girls clothing.) Johnny was helping Lily go down the slide. And we were the only people at the park.

Then the people showed up. A family with a couple of prepubescent boys. They didn't run around knocking my kids over, they just got on the only two big kid swings and went really high, causing both my kids to want to swing. So I put Lily in one baby swing, and Johnny, my small 4 year old in the other and we giggled as I tried to push them at the same time.

Johnny wanted to go higher, so I pushed harder, and higher, and then he screamed. I figured he was scared, so I grabbed the swing to slow him down. Then, I saw it. A small bloom of red in his nose. He had smacked his nose on the swing and it was bleeding. And it was my fault. It wasn't a gusher, but it was bleeding. I told him very calmly to gently push his sister while I went to the Honeybucket for some TP.

The almost teenagers had left and were replaced by 3 little girls and their dad. I tried to put a little twist of TP up Johnny's nose, but he took one look at the girls and said "I don't want to look like a dork." I laughed a little, wiped his face and let him go. It wasn't bleeding that bad anyways. A little wipe every 15 minutes or so kept his face blood free.

When if finally got cold enough that my ears hurt, I bribed the kids to leave the park with the promise of McDonald's and that I would go inside and not through the drive-thru.  That is how I came to be eating my nuggets in a room that smells of feet.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Off The Grid

If I wasn't so addicted to the internet, I would live off the grid.

Actually, it has nothing to do with the internet. I like living in the city and being able to run to the store last minute, or go do something. The country is awesome, but a little isolated. I never leave my house much anyways, but I like only having to drive 15 minutes to get home from karaoke rather than an hour.

 My sister-in-law lives in a cabin in the country and is partially off the grid. They have a solar panel and a well and a wood stove. They only get billed for a tiny bit of their utilities.  We live in a 100 year old house with gas heat, one choice for a utility company, and poor insulation. This year, we ran up a total winter bill of $900 for heat and electricity. This is about half of what it has been in the past, but we had a mild winter this year. I hate our utility company.

I got a shut off notice in the mail and knew we couldn't pay it when they wanted it paid. So I called them. I was very nice and polite. I asked if I could pay them half next week and the rest the week after that. They said no. When I signed up for the winter moratorium, a program that allows us to not get shut off in the winter because we have children in our home, I had agreed to pay by the first of March. I forgot, but I was willing to pay next week. I was asking for a 7 day extension for the shut off notice, but no dice. I didn't ask for a supervisor, or yell and scream, I just said "I'll see what I can do" and hung up. Stupid utility company.

Then I panicked. I can't come up with six hundred some dollars in two days. Are you kidding? I could maybe scrape up half of that. But really, two days notice? Do they WANT me to take out a payday loan? Oh wait, can't do that either, unemployment doesn't count as a paycheck to those bloodsucking loan people.

We're filing our taxes today, but at a free place, not a place you can get an instant refund. And those instant refunds, they really take around 7 days and you have to pass a credit check, even though the tax return goes straight to them and they know exactly what you are getting. That's just stupid. They should credit check the government. I mean really, they bounce checks all the time and we just called in national debt instead of dinging them $35 dollars a check plus a daily fee., plus the 20 dollars the place you wrote the check to charges for returned items. It's all messed up.

Anyways,I'm off track so  I'm gonna go beg my younger, single, richer, stable sister for a loan. She's the baby in the family, but you wouldn't know it to look at us. Or to talk to us. She's my younger, big sister. And she's awesome. And she loves my kids. And yes, I am trying to kiss butt so she says yes, so I can pay my bill that I didn't pay in little bits and pieces over the last three months.  I hope she loves my kids enough to help me out. She doesn't always  like me. I 'm difficult.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Ten Things Tuesday--Cleaning

I have two preschool children. My kids love to make messes. I hate to clean but I have to. This is my list of 10 must have products for making cleaning up messes.

1.) Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar Soap.  This is better than Oxyclean, in my opinion. It's 97 cents at my local Wal-Mart. I use it to make my own laundry soap (recipe here) and to pre-treat stains. You get stained spot wet, rub with Fels-Naptha, lets sit for 1-5 minutes, launder as normal.  You cannot use this on Soda Pop stains. But, it takes everything else out. Even set in baby spit up and poop. And dry erase marker. This is my laundry hero.

2.) Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. My kids like to draw on the walls. I try to stop them, but Lily is stubborn and 2 years old. This takes everything off the wall, including permanent marker. I also use it to clean my kitchen cabinet doors; it takes off all those weird black smudgy finger prints left where the door is touched everything it's opened.

3.) Disinfecting Wipes. I go back and forth between Lysol and Clorox. I buy whatever is cheapest when I need to restock. I love that after I wipes down my counters I can just wipe to disinfect rather than spraying  and rinsing. I also use these to wipe down all light switches, door handles, sink handles, toilet flushers, and TV remotes in the house. Especially during flu season. I've also wiped down my cell phone with them.

4.) Swiffer Wet Jet. I'll be honest I'm just lazy and this is easy. But I really really love that I don't have to fill a bucket, wring a mop, or clean a bucket. Sometimes I still have to get on my hands and knees to scrub if I've got a really tough spot, but if I mop once a week, I don't normally run into that problem.

5.) Scrubbing Bubbles toilet gel. I really hate cleaning the toilet. I still have to on occasion, but these little gel things make the time between scrubbings longer.

6.) Febreze Laundry Odor Eliminator. I have cats, I have kids who are potty training. This gets all of the bad smells out of my laundry. It is a little spendy though. It's almost $9 a bottle. The linked page has a link for coupons for this product.

7.) Viva paper towels. I never thought I would be picky about paper towels. Viva seems to be the most expensive brand in the store. I splurge because I think they are the softest, strongest, most absorbent paper towels I've ever used. And I used them a lot. I know it's not ideal for the environment, but I'm lazy.

8.) Windex. Watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  I don't use it on zits, but I do use it on almost every surface in my house outside the kitchen.

9.) SHAM-WOW  they really are miracle workers. I use them for spills and drying dishes after I've washed them. It's like a supersoaker in reverse.

10.) Cascade Action Pacs.  Again, I am lazy, but these awesome little square are so much less messy than powder or gel and now that it's nearly impossible to find dishwasher detergent that is not phosphate-free I find they leave the least amount of spots and residue.

This is just my opinion, I was not paid or compensated in anyway by the makers or sellers of any of these products. These are the products I really do use in my home. I have used all of these products for at least 3 months, most of them longer than that.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Life, Interrupted

I watched Girl, Interrupted, for the first time the other day. A couple of things really struck me. One: at the beginning of the movie, I saw nothing of myself in Susanna, even though she was diagnosed BPD. Two: The more I watched, the more I saw of my past. I am not who I was 5 years ago, but 5 years ago, I was a lot like SusannaThree: I am so glad that mental health care is not what it was in 60s. We have come so far, an I am so unbelievably grateful. Four: Susanna was interrupted for 18 months, BPD is really a life long interruption. It's not like a commercial interruption, where the show continues after a period of time. BPD is more like having a baby. It stops your life plans and completely changes the course of things.
This last thing, the life long interruption, came to mind because of the Bible study I'm involved in right now; Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Prisicilla Shirer. I deal with a really big interruption. And it didn't just interrupted my life. My BPD affects my husband, my children, my parents, my siblings, even my friends. My mother never planned on having to parent her child even after I was married and had children of my own, but the reality is, sometimes I still need to be parented. My husband, I'm sure, did not plan on being married to such a complicated and confusing woman. My children will never know differently, but they will always have a mother who is different from everyone else. A mother who sometimes cannot be the mom they need her to be. My siblings and friends are carry as much of a burden because of me, but they still have to remember to step lightly, and not spring things on my last minute. I don't do well when overwhelmed.

Prisicilla prefers to refer to interruptions as "divine interventions." In week one, she reminded us that we are made with a purpose and for a purpose. God had a holy plan for me, even before I was conceived. In week two, she discusses how interruptions can be challenging. No argument there. The truth we need to hold on to is that God will give us the strength to handle whatever challenges come our way. Knowing this an believing this are two different things.

My life is interrupted. How I choose to view and use this interruption is my choice. I choose to get stronger, to get better. I choose to use this time to help others like me. I choose to view this as a divine intervention. I was given this burden for a reason, and I will be given the strength to get through it. I am interrupted. And I will thrive.