Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Yep, I've got strep.
And I'll most definitely be finishing my antibiotic so strep doesn't come back to haunt me, as it did Lindsay.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
And it was back-breaking. I was used to having to sweep and mop only the kitchen, entry, and bathrooms in our previous home because the rest of the areas were carpeted. Now, I had to also sweep and mop the living room, office, dining room, dinette, and kitchen! First, I would run the dustmop over the flooring to pick up those new construction dust bunnies, then I'd sweep with a angled broom to get the corners and baseboards, and then I'd wet mop it all. Mmm-hmmm. Before I'd even get started on the mopping, my lower back was burning!
Then, my mother-in-law gave me this great housewarming gift: the Hoover Floormate Hard-Floor Cleaner. *Hall-le-lu-jah!* It pretty much does it all. There is a dry vacuum setting to pick up all the loose dirt and lost cheerios. Then, there is a wash cycle with scrubbing brushes to thoroughly clean the floor grime. Finally, you finish with a wet vacuum - it helps pull the dirty water back into the storage tank so your floors are dry faster! (A plus in my household, considering my oldest daughter, on more than one occasion, came flying around the corner out of her bedroom onto my freshly-mopped and slippery floors. Ouch!)
It's very easy to use. You simply remove the clean fluid tank and add water and your Floor Mate cleaning solution (measured in the handy locking cap). Pop the container back into the machine, plug in and turn on, and you're set to clean! During the wash cycle, there is a button release to allow the cleaning fluid to be dispersed onto your flooring area while the brushes scrub away so you can use more where you need it, less where you don't. Switch to the dry vacuum and watch the dirty water be pulled into the dirty tank - it also has a cleanable filter to catch the larger contents. When you're done, remove the clean and dirty tanks, rinse with clean water and allow to dry. Then, reassemble the unit, and tuck it away in your broom closet. Another plus? The handle folds down for easy storage.
Two years later, with now a 23 month old and a four year old, our floors still look fabulous (save for a mishap with a marker) and my back is no longer feeling the strain of floor upkeep. My Hoover Floormate? It's still wiping out the dust bunnies and juice spills like nobody's business! My Floormate, my love.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Oh wait, that's me.
Anyway... here's a recipe from Paula Deen that is simple and requires only four ingredients, most of which you already have at home. (And no, one of them is not a stick of butter!)
Magical Peanut Butter Cookies
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
1 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy (I do 1/2 cup of each)
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large baking sheet.
In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, 1 cup sugar replacement, the egg, and vanilla, and stir well with a spoon. Roll the dough into balls the size of walnuts. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet. With a fork, dipped in sugar replacement to prevent sticking, press a crisscross design on each cookie. Bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven, and sprinkle the cookies with some of the remaining sugar replacement. Cool slightly before removing from pan.
Yield: 18 cookies
Now go make yourself some, ya'll - but be warned... the magical thing about these cookies is how quickly they disappear!
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Two Cent Tuesday - The Great Bailout
So it's no news to everyone that there is a huge controversy in governmental proceedings as of late... the proverbial bailout of banks, the auto industry, and of American homebuyers. Each of these groups of people is facing devastating financial loss or bankruptcy without the help of ole Uncle Sam via the new economic stabilization (more like rescue) plan - the bailout.
The problem I have with bailing out these people? They made bad decisions, and now are expecting the great American taxpayer to pull them out of their pits.
Hmmmm... whenever I've made poor financial decisions, it's been up to me to deal with the consequences.
So now we have banks - a group of highly educated and highly compensated people whose job it is to handle money - our money - and rather than do so responsibly, they lent it out like it was 1 cent candy to every Tom, Dick and Harry that decided they needed or wanted it.
And the American public? They snatched up that borrowed money and used it to buy stuff, going along with the old cliche of keeping up with the Jones'. They bought vehicles for the price of a small home in the town where I was raised, and financed them over 8-9 years. They bought brand new trucks with $13000 lift packages (it's a Texas thing) for their high school student sons. They bought $500000 homes with all of the upgrades on an adjustable-rate mortgage with no money down when their annual household income wasn't enough to cover even the starting payment. (According to Dave, your mortgage payment should be no more than 25% of your take-home pay, on a 15 year mortgage.)
The auto and home industries responded to this consumer mentality and produced bigger and better autos and homes to meet the demand.
What does the American public do? Upgrade, baby. Yep. Get rid of that truck that's now a year old and get a new one. Sell that $500000 home and get a $750000 home.
And the banks? Just give out $750000 bonuses!
It's a nasty cycle.
Shame on them.
Because of these groups' poor decisions and the government's choice to give them a slap on the wrist and billions of dollars, the average American, the "Joe Six Pack", the middle-class worker - they're all going to end up paying. I'm going to end up paying.
And yet, I'll still be making the payment for the used vehicle I bought and the mortgage for the home we built within our means... without the assistance of the United States government.
Sounds like a sellout to me...
Only time will tell if we've learned our lessons.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Everywhere I go, I pick up an item in a size I should be, seeing as I haven't really changed much body-wise in the past ten years (minus a couple of pregnancies). Then, I go to try it on, and it consistently NEVER FITS! It's either too big or too small, and I never know which it'll be. I end up having to go back for a couple of sizes so I can try them all on to find the one that fits - and I am not one of those people that likes trying things on. I would much rather find something I like, pick up the size I need, buy it, and take it home.
Is it too much to ask the clothiers to come up with a consistent sizing tool so this isn't such a problem?
Of course, I know the reasoning behind it, and it's a brilliant marketing tool. Ladies, you all know we love to be able to buy a pair of pants with a smaller number on the tag, especially without having to lose any weight to earn it! I remember working at Abercrombie & Fitch in college and thinking... "woohoo! I'm a size 2 baby!"
I am not a size 2.
I don't believe I was ever a size 2.
But by golly, I'd pay $60 for a pair of jeans that looked like they'd been worn a million times already just so I could wear that size 2.
Get my drift?
Now am I saying this is a bad thing? Not necessarily. I don't care which number belongs to which size. I just want them to be the same across the board so it's not such a puzzle when I need to get clothes! I'm a busy mom... I don't want to have to try on a million sizes to find the one that fits.
So come on retailers - give the modern girl a break and standardize your sizing.
And if you need the measurements for a size 2, I'm your gal.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I can't find them on the website anymore, and seeing as they went on sale the week after I bought them at full price, they're probably not easy to find, but they're made by the Sonoma brand.
Lesson to self - save receipts even after the shoes are worn... just in case they go on sale!!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Then I added the final touch - a patchwork lining!
The fabric is all from Moda's Posh line by Chez Moi. To make it simple, I used pre-cut fabric from a charm pack. The charm pack includes 5" x 5" squares of coordinating fabric from the same collection of fabric (otherwise known as a fabric line). Charm packs include one of each of the prints, usually between 25-40 squares. There are other pre-cuts as well... and they make sewing so easy!
Fabulous designs? Check!
Coordinating fabrics? Check!
No need for cutting? Check!
So what is your crafty self waiting for? Get over there and check it our for yourself!
Monday, March 16, 2009
My oldest daughter is going through a phase, or so I hope, of being quite the sass to me, her mama: the one who gave up her taut belly for her, who stretched her vagina that far for her, who sacrificed her breasts to the stretch mark gods for her, who provides for her, who wipes her hiney for her, who makes that perfect blend of chocolate milk for her, who allows her to change outfits three times until she finds the perfect twirly skirt, who listens to the same Taylor Swift song over and over for her, who still wipes her hiney for her, who quickly takes the splinters out of her toes, who will have to spend thousands of dollars on her teeth cause she sucks her fingers... did I mention the part about hiney-wiping??
She told me she doesn't like me.
If there were ever five words that could come straight from a four year-old's mouth and pierce your heart like a dagger, it is these. "I don't like you, Mom."
Ugh. My heart sank to the bottom of my shoes when I heard it. Of course, she was just being a kid who was mad at her mama for not letting her do whatever was so important to her at the time, but man did it hurt! It made me question everything I did as a mother from the second she was born up until that point. It made me wonder... what did I do or not do? What did I say or not say? What am I doing wrong?
And in five minutes, she completely forgot she even said it, as she pranced around the backyard joyfully, yelling "Mom, watch this!"
But I haven't forgotten.
I am still sad.
And I am even more sad knowing that this is not the worst thing she'll ever say to me.
I know. I remember very well some of the things I told my mother as I was growing up and in that lovely teenage phase when I thought I knew it all.
And I wish every day I could take it all back...
One of these days, I hope my daughter feels the same.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Lindsay wrote an incredibly honest post about her renewed relationship with Christ and was attacked for it by self-professed Christians who felt they had the power to judge her and her life choices. My interpretation was that her commenters believed she simply could not be a Christian because she used profanity in her posts and sometimes wrote controversial posts about her life.
My reply to this?
Go to the Word.
The bible tells many stories of people assumed non-Christian who made enormous leaps with their faith and were brought into the family of Christ-followers.
Rahab - a prostitute whose faith saved her family from ruin
Saul - a non-believer who went on to lead the Christian movement as Paul
Who are we to decide who is and who isn't a child of God? Who are we to say that God is not moving in someone's life?
We are all sinners... and the only reason any of us are even here is because God sent his Son - Jesus Christ - to die for our sins.
We are all sisters in Christ, and as such, I encourage Lindsay and all of you on your walk with God, no matter what part of that path you are currently taking. I take comfort in knowing that no matter where I have been or where I am going, God is with me every step of the way, using me how He sees fit. I also know that on my final judgment day, there is only one judge, and His opinion of me is the only one that matters.
And for those of you that don't believe God is moving in Lindsay's life....
tell that to the 262 people who commented on her post.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
In the past four years, I have owned, um... seven diaper bags - yet I only have two kids. Dh will roll his eyes when he reads this, I have no doubt.
And I am still in search of a better bag! *Dh's jaw drops to the floor.*
Here's the deal. The diaper bags you get when you first have a baby are friggin huge, cause they're designed for the mother to be prepared for nothing less than a nuclear attack when she leaves the house with her precious cargo. They are large so they can hold a changing pad, diapers, wipes, extra outfits, bottles, water, formula, hand sanitizer, binkies, a semi-automatic weapon... just kidding. Plus there is room for your personal items as mom - wallet, keys, cell phone, your extra outfits!
As your children get older, there is less need for so much, well, stuff, so the diaper bag must evolve. (See honey, it's scientific...) ". Now most of my friends have decided to take the double-bag route. They have decided to carry a regular purse in addition to a little bag or backpack for their kiddo with all the necessities. Two bags. Not for me.
I want one bag - a mom bag. I usually have only one free shoulder or hand available to carry a bag when out with my kids as the other has to be free for street-crossing hand-holding or the 1-2-3-jump! game or for a quick smack on the rear should the situation arise. Two kids and four years later, I am still in search of the ultimate mom bag.
Here are a few likely candidates:
From Retrofied on Etsy-
I like how it's reversible so you can have a fun, cutesy print when you want it but also have a solid color when you don't. There are six pockets for all the aforementioned "stuff" you need to carry, and the size is right - neither too big nor too small.
From Treasured Totes on ebay -
I mainly like this bag because I've owned a couple very similar to it from this store, and I know that Diane makes her bags with great quality so they last. Great neutral color (I'd forego the monogram), three large pockets on the inside, and a removable base so you can wash the bag.
And from Pottery Barn Kids -
I love messenger bags in general, and the way this meets the diaper-bag needs? Perfect. Love the canvas. Love the striped strap and silver snaps. And I like the way it can be slung across the body for extra support. It's a little pricey for my taste, but otherwise great. Maybe it'll go on sale?
Alas, I will continue this quest until I finally find that ultimate mom-bag... or until my kids are in college, whichever comes first.
But one thing's for sure - they're be no double-bagging for this mama.
"Been-tee (binky), I want been-tee, waaaaahhh!"
"Mom. Hey Mom. Mom. Mom."
"My dahl-yee (dolly)!!" "MY BEEN-TEE!!!"
"Mommy. MOMMY. Daddyyyyyyyy!!!"
"Mom. Maaahhh-ooommmm! Watch me mom! Daaa-ad - watch this!"
"Waaaahhhh! My Beeeeennnn-teeee!"
As a child, whenever I asked my mom what she wanted for her birthday, or Mother's Day, or Christmas... she'd reply "All I want is a little peace and quiet."
What I wouldn't give to be able to tell her... "I soooooooooo get it."
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I've been wanting to garden since first catching glimpse of Peggy's last year, but wasn't able to plant in time. This year, however, my dh built me an awesome raised garden so I can make my first attempt at growing produce. If you know me, you'll know that I don't have a good history with plants. Somehow they always seem to end up... um. Dead. I'm hoping this year is different, cause just look at these beauties!
These are the first blooms on one of my blueberry plants.
The first sign of life from one of the plum trees.
Monday, March 9, 2009
"Through SKIRTS (which stands for Sisterhood, Knowledge, Integrity, Respect, Tenacity and Substance), Marshawn caters to a new generation of sophisticated women who are younger with more income, more education, more opportunity, and more entrepreneurial drive than ever before!"
Oh yeah... and she's friggin gorgeous, an entertainment attorney who built a powerful sports-marketing firm, a former Miss America finalist, was on The Apprentice with the Donald himself!
Just kidding Marshawn - I am so proud of you!
So what are you waiting for? Get your skirt over there and get yourself a copy!
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
That's like... halfway to adulthood already, or at least it feels that way. Somewhere along the past twelve months, you've turned into this grown-up girl all of a sudden. You've grown physically, shooting up so quickly this fall that all of your new pants became flood-worthy overnight. You're so tall (42 inches to be exact) that you could ride the rides at the fair all by yourself - a plus for me considering my history with motion sickness - and so tall that you've presented a new danger of sneezing: head trauma. Just the other day you were watching me get your morning beverage of choice (chocolate milk, of course) ready when you sneezed and BAM! Right onto the granite countertop. Ouch. I guess next year you'll be so tall you're at risk of knocking out your teeth - let's try to avoid that, okay?
You are such an extraordinary little girl. I know we say that all the time, but it is so true. You are more energetic, more enthusiastic, more fearless, more inquisitive, more everything than any other little kid we know. You find the biggest joy in the tiniest of things, and you give your all to anything that you do. Now, this isn't to say that this is always a good thing. Because you are always so excited about what you're doing, you wear yourself out and the aftermath that follows isn't pretty. And if you're in the middle of something and we tell you it's time to go... oh boy, do you let us know you're not happy. But that's okay, my little bug... because you're learning. This is all a part of you growing up into the phenomenal human being that you are!
Now, before my husband reads this and starts to sweat bullets... let me make this point clear. I want to be pregnant. I do not, however, want to have another baby. I know, I know - you're thinking, now Rhonda, honey, it just doesn't work that way. Trust me, of this I am well aware, which is why I have an IUD - in case I were tempted to go down that road again...
It's just that... I loved being pregnant. I loved it from the moment those two little lines turned pink to the moment I held each of my daughters in my arms. I loved the roundness of my belly, the fullness of my cleavage, the rosiness of my cheeks. I loved those first kicks, those ever-wonderful first "Was that the baby? Maybe it was gas. No it was the baby!" kicks. I loved seeing the ultrasounds, from the time when there was not much more than a tiny peanut to when I could see every amazing detail developing in my ever-growing womb, right down to the curvature of a profile and the way those little fingers managed to make it into the mouth. I loved hearing the soft "woosh-woosh-woosh" of the heartbeat through the doppler. I loved those moments later in pregnancy where I could just make out the semblings of a little foot through my taut skin as the glow of the lamp shone upon it at nighttime. I truly did love every single miraculous, wondrous moment.
And I miss it.
Even now I think back and try to remember just how it felt to have my little ones growing and moving inside me but it's a feeling I'm unable to reproduce.
And I miss it.
I have often said that I would be pregnant all of the time were it not for that tiny detail of having to have a child every nine months... and I am being completely honest when I say it. I can't deny that I long to experience the joy that is pregnancy again, but I am more than certain that my family is complete. My cup runneth over with love for my two girls.
For now, I'm satisfied with fondly reminiscing about that season of my life while reminding myself that every day is one step closer to diaper freedom. I'm satisfied knowing that my closet is rid of every elastic-waist pair of pants I ever owned. And I'm content with the family we've become.
That's not to say I still don't want one of those bellies, and I know I'm not alone in this sentiment. So you preggos out there, humor us. If you're at the store and you happen to see some crazy lady staring at your bump with a far-off look in her eyes, just smile, rub that belly, enjoy every moment and know that, someday, you'll be in our shoes.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Just the other day, I was walking behind a woman when it hit me. The smell of her perfume wafted through the air, into my path and into my nostrils. My olfactory centers began sending signals to my brain - flashes of memories hit me, like those scenes from movies when a person's entire lifetime plays out in their minds. Her voice. Her laugh. The way she would re-enact her high school cheerleader chants. The shape of her face and the curvature of her smile.
I knew the scent.
I know it by heart.
It was the scent of my mother.
I remember right after my mother passed away, I had to move her car into the driveway and as I sat in the driver's seat, the smell of her perfume was in the air as it lingered on the seatbelt she had worn not a few weeks earlier. Instantly it was like she was here again, joking with me, talking with me, sharing my love for Harry Connick Jr and all things important to the 23 year old I was at the time. I must have sat in that car for hours that day, breathing in her scent, sobbing hysterically, wishing she wasn't really gone and it was all a bad dream from which I was about to awaken.
A few years later, I was walking into a department store past the perfume counter and there it was: that gorgeous red bottle with the gold accents, one that I recognized in an instant as the one which sat atop the bathroom counter in my mother's home. I went over, sprayed a little on my wrist, and breathed in deeply, feeling the warmth of her arms around me and yet the aching of my own arms to be able to hold her. I put the bottle down and walked away, half in an attempt to be rid of the saleswoman behind the counter and half to be rid of the pain it caused to be reminded that my mother was gone.
I knew that scent by heart, and my heart remembered.
Coco Chanel was famous for creating her signature scent, Chanel No. 5 (adored by Marilyn Monroe) and having it sprayed wherever she went, as a symbol of her uniqueness as a woman and as an individual. Even after her death in 1971, her scent remained, forever encapsulated in a gorgeous glass bottle with the number 5 embossed on the front. Perhaps that is what is so captivating about a smell - it is the one tangible memory you can have of a person long after they are gone from this earth.
When I smell Red Door, it as if my mother is right next to me, something that neither photos or video nor even my own thoughts are able to accomplish.
I have been wearing Victoria's Secret Pear Glace for over 10 years, and even my husband notices if I decide to wear anything other than that - he says it just doesn't smell like me. I'd like to think that one day, maybe my girls will remember me by this scent as well and think of me should they happen to catch a whiff from someone else.
It is my signature scent.
The scent of their mother.
So how about you? Do you have a signature scent? One that you wear religiously, that defines you, that makes others think of you even when you're not there? I suggest you explore this option if you haven't already. It is a legacy of memories for your loved ones, in a sense.
As for me, even if I stray for a little while, I always come back to my favorite Pear Glace, as it was, and always has been, my scent. I like the idea of lingering for a while after I'm gone... and one of these days, I might just go back to that perfume counter and ask the saleswoman for a little help finding the scent of a woman.
And my guess is, it'll be in the shape of a red door.
I think you get it.
My name is Rhonda, and this is my blog about my adventure through motherhood. I have been married for 6 years to the love of my life, and we have two amazing little female offspring, Bug and Belle, who make our lives absolutely chaotic and amazingly fantastic all at the same time.
I work full-time as a registered nurse to pay the bills, but my true love is, and always has been, writing. An old teacher once asked me what a writer like me was going to do as a nurse to which I replied... "be employed, and have excellent documentation! " *sigh* The truth is, I like what I do for my J-O-B, but I can't say I love it anymore, and so here we are.
I have many days as a mother where I'm not sure what I'm doing, and lots of times, I get it all wrong. You, dear reader, will get to hear all about it here. The laughter, the tears, the fighting, the loving, and of course... the time-outs. And that's just for me.
So stick around - it's going to be fun. And when it's not... you can send me to my room.