Archive for September, 2012

September 27, 2012

The Blessing of Infertility – XP

I know, bizarre title, right? But stay with me…

Being an infertile mom to a houseful of kids can be a strange place to me.  When I go out and get the constant “Wow! You have your hands full!” comments from strangers, I can’t help but think…”you have no idea how empty they once felt.”

The nursery sat empty for nearly a year.  This is the spot where I often prayed.

Now that we are past actively battling the infertility, I often wonder what role it has in my life now.  Though mostly invisible these days, I know it is still with me, as it may always be.

Was it with me night after night, month after month, when my babies would.not.sleep?  Was it the reason I never could let them cry and instead shuffled into their room, wrapped them in my arms, and breathed them in until their little heartbeats matched mine and they were again fast asleep?  As much as I dreaded those late night wake up calls, I cherished them too.

Is infertility the reason I love to wear them and rub my hand over the bump their little bodies make on my stomach?

Is it the reason that if it were only for unlimited money, space, and family support, I’d welcome 1 or 2 more in an instant?  Is the reason I feel immense guilt when I’m not the mom I know I could be? Knowing from the deepest parts of my heart the number of women waiting, and praying, and longing for the chance at a sleepless night, temper tantrum, or spelling test.  Maybe its the reason that when I sat at my computer today I wrote this post instead of the one I intended to complaining of the misery that is getting my daughter off her beloved sippy cup. 

Strange, when I look back at that sentence now, all is see is this: my daughter.  It still takes my breath away.

I can’t say for sure if any of that, or any of the mom I am today, has to do with infertility, but I’m guessing it might.  I think there is a perspective that otherwise wouldn’t be there.  All that longing changes a person.

Like this morning when my exhausted 2-year-old just couldn’t pull herself together – she was whining and crying at every turn.  We were running late, so when she asked if we could cuddle for a “cuppa minutes” in her treehouse, I really should have said no.  You know I didn’t, though.  Instead, I gathered her in my lap and we sat in that spot up there…the one in which I used to pray…and I looked around the room to see dirty laundry, piles of toys and books, stuffed animals everwhere…and a fullness so different from how that room began.

I kissed her head and I prayed again.  A prayer of thanks for not only my house full of children, but also the path that brought me there.

September 21, 2012

The Best Age – XP

My friend and I were talking recently about what we would consider to be the best kid age.  Now, I have a 6, 2, and 1-year-old so I’ve been through many of the early childhood stages at least once.  And yet, I’m still at a loss for what I’d consider my favorite.

Let’s do a little recap, shall we?

Infancy – No sleep, lots of crying, no sleep, attached to me at all times, blowouts, and did I mention the no sleep?  If I didn’t, then surely Steph did.

12-18 months – This age is a big yikes for me.  Temper tantrums, hitting, and biting all make their appearance on the scene. Sleep issues often continue. Parent preference peaks.  Dressing and diaper changing is akin to wrestling a well-oiled octopus. Oh man, I break into a sweat just thinking about it. Let’s move on.

Toddlerhood – As toddlers they really start engaging with their world.  In fact, at this age they assemble a comprehensive rule book about how the world is and is not supposed to work.  To make things extra fun, they purposely don’t share the rule book with us.  Super fun, right? Like: most days it’s perfectly fine to cut the banana in half, but every other Tuesday if the wind is blowing east to west and they are wearing blue, you are CLEARLY not supposed to cut the banana in half.  And rule #185 specifically states that nothing green is ever supposed to touch the toddler’s plate – ever. How about the one where the toddler must be the first one up or down the stairs every time? Yup. SO FUN. Especially since we all know what happens when a toddler rule is broken…I’ll just say this: take cover.

3 years old – ::phew:: we’ve made it out of the “terrible twos”…yeah right, not so fast.  At three years old children are a little less self-centered.  They pay attention to the feelings of those around them.  For example: they become keenly aware of the things that make mom mad…and they are damn sure to do those things OVER AND OVER again.

4 years old – Okay, I’ll admit, 4 is not so bad.  But the thing I never realized before I became a parent is that 4 year olds still have temper tantrums.  OMG, do these things ever end??  Any age that includes temper tantrums can not be my favorite. Also, what’s with the sass? This is the age at which my son first said to me, “If you don’t let me [fill in the blank], I’m not going to be your friend any more!”  Ha! Jokes on you kid, I’m your PARENT not your FRIEND. Next!

5 years old – Begin kindergarten. Make new friends. Learn lots of new things. And never.stop.talking.  This is the age at which they develop the breathing-and-talking-at-the-same-time skill so they never even have to pause for a breath.  “Mom, mom, mom. Mom, I have to tell you something. What’s for dinner tonight? Mom, do you know what happened today at school? Mom, mom, mom. Want to hear a joke? Can I have a snack? Mom can you hear me? MOOOOOOM??”  All said in a 3 second span. Good gracious. Get me some earplugs on the double. Better yet, let’s just make it a double.

6 years old – The magical age at which they begin to read! It’s exciting and we are so incredibly proud! Except, have you ever actually sat and listened to an early reader struggle through a book? That shit is painful.  C-C-C A-A-A R-R-R. CC-AARR. [::whine::, try to change the subject, skip ahead to “reading” the pictures, ::whine::12 reminders from mom to stay focused and blend the sounds together] C-A-R. Car!  And that was just one word. 37 more to go.

So you see my dilemma with this favorite age business.

You know what age sounds great? 8. A solid not-too-young but not-too-old age.  8 is what I daydream about. 

And all you parents of 8+ year olds out there? Shhhhh. Let me have my dream.

September 20, 2012

Day 5 and 6

5. From a high angle

Toddler hugging

6. From a low angle

Toddler flying!

September 19, 2012

Day 1-4

I went with a flashback theme for this first set…

1. Self Portrait

My kind of bump pic.  That’s Daisy baby in there.

2. Something that makes you happy

Bubblebaths in far away countries definitely make me happy

3. Clouds

cross-reference: Something that makes you happy.

4. Something Green

One of my favorite places on earth.

September 14, 2012

30 Day Photo Challenge!

In order to breathe a little life into this place, I’ve decided to team up with Olive and S for a photo challenge.  Its my first (as far as I can recall, but you know how mama brain works…) so, fingers crossed!

September 7, 2012

The Free Weekend – XP

These days it feels like everyone is pinching their pennies a little tighter.  That, along with Sofia’s great financial posts, have me thinking a lot about the financial education I’m giving my children and the truth is, there is definitely some room for improvement.

So, I decided to give our family a little challenge in the form of a no-cost weekend.  Let’s face it, in the quest for fun and lasting family memories, our weekends tend to be FAR from no-cost and my kids were clueless as to the $$ these weekends’o’ fun were racking up.  They need to be aware that these activities cost money and should be done in moderation.  But more importantly, I want them to learn that you can have fun not spend any money at all.  Thus began our “free weekend”!

Day 1:

We started out by dying some rice and pasta.  [instructions here] We had all the materials on hand, but even if we didn’t, this would have been a very low-cost project.  They loved it – and this was before we even got around to playing with it!


We went for a nice long walk to the neighborhood playground and when we got back, the pasta and rice were ready for playing.  I dug out a big old box from the attic and viola! sensory table! With a few plastic containers and trucks, the kids were good to go for a solid hour while I went on facebook cleaned the house.



And that brought us to lunch time.  The kids wanted pizza, but we weren’t ordering out this weekend so I did a quick search for a yeast-free pizza dough (I didn’t have any on hand and the store was off-limits) and came up with this one.  Pretty good!  Bonus points since making the pizza was a fun activity in and of itself.

The rest of our day consisted of nap time (every mom’s favorite time of day!) and a trip to my parents’ pool with a picnic dinner.  I know, that’s cheating and not terribly helpful if you don’t know someone with a pool, but other options could have been a picnic at the beach or checking the library for free passes to local museums and attractions.

Day 2:

Our plan for the next day was to check out a fish hatchery – or, as I like to call it, the poor man’s aquarium.  The one in Burlington wasn’t too far from us and allows self-guided tours.  So, we packed a lunch and off we went. 

On our way we spotted a sign for a farmers market at Hill-Stead and decided to check it out. 

Good call! There was music and yummy samples and lots of great things to look at.

[Confession: We broke our own rule and scraped up loose change in the van for a $1 bag of “seconds” peaches.  It was so worth it…you’ll see why later…]


With that detour completed, it was off to the fish hatchery.  We had the place to ourselves and the kids had a fun time running from pool to pool as well as taking a stroll through the nature walk. 

The highlight was the large pond in the center where you could watch the trout jumping out of the water.  A perfect spot for that picnic lunch.  And, I kind of died of cuteness when the girls started mimicking the jumping fish!


The next time we are out that way, we’ll be sure to pack the bikes because, as we noticed on our way out, there is a beautiful Rails to Trails path just down the road from the fish hatchery.

Back at home we all had a hankering for some ice cream after our day in the fresh air and sun.  Well, remember those peaches?  This peach sorbet recipe proved them to be the best $1 we’ve ever spent. Mmmmm, so good!


Throw in some laundry, dishes, and snuggly book reading and that about completed our weekend.  See! Free and fun – it can be done! 

What are you best tips for saving money on the weekends? Any great free family activities you care to share?