Recharge Challenge

Remember how I talked about having nice nails a while back? Or rather, not having nice nails? Well, after talking to Hubby about it, I decided to find a style and salon that worked for me, and keep fake nails.
Let me be clear, I view well-kept-up false nails as an extravagance, and we do not live extravagantly. That said, though, I’m learning that if I completely ignore my own needs I end up frustrated, irritable, and absolutely no fun to be around. On the flip side, just a simple thing like nice nails that don’t break or chip has made such a big difference in the way I feel about myself, I’m more relaxed, which makes me a better mom and wife.
It’s so easy to get burnt out in what we do, especially if we do the same thing over and over again, both individually and as a couple. Finding something to treat ourselves to can be the best way to break up the monotony of the daily grind. For me, I take an hour and a half every few weeks and get pretty nails. That break from the kids, and boost to my appearance is exactly what I need to recharge and reenter the fray with renewed endurance.

So here’s the challenge I have for you:

Find something that you can do for yourself that will help you be more refreshed and ready to fulfill the job God has you in right this minute. And I know some of you are saying, “Well you won’t catch me wasting money on vanity like false nails!” Awesome! If you don’t think there’s merit in it, find something that does have merit. Take a class, get a hobby, commit to reading one book a month, whatever it is that recharges you, do it! Take into account your budget, your childcare needs, and your spouse and their feelings. Perhaps you can ask your spouse for ideas, maybe there’s something you could do together, like joining a gym. I’m an introvert and I spend 90% of my time doing things for and/or with my family (not a complaint, just a statement of fact) so I needed something that I can do by myself. Maybe you need something you can do with your family. Whatever it is, find it and commit to it! Trust me, you won’t be sorry. image

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For the Dogs

I’ve never been a dog person. I’ve had cats since I was big enough to ask for one, and ever since I was bitten by a dog as a child, I’ve just not wanted much to do with them. So when my son turned three and started asking for a dog, I groaned inwardly. Then we had a very scary incident where Hubby was gone for the week and some crazy tweaker came to our house in the dead of night, screaming that someone had been shot and banging on the door and trying to get in. Now, mind you, we live in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by Christmas tree farms and grass seed fields. Our neighbors never heard a thing, even once the police showed up with sirens blazing. So we decided we needed a guard dog, like, yesterday.

When I saw an ad on craigslist for a “Purebred Boxer Puppy”, I was thrilled. Hubby wanted a doberman, and I just wasn’t sold on the idea. I showed him image after image on google, finally convincing him that boxers are just as intimidating as dobies, and arranged to meet the pup. What I saw was a half-starved, boxer-shaped bundle of bones and wagging tail, and there was no other option than to bring him home with us. It didn’t even occur to me to question his lineage. We named him Kuma (Japanese for Bear) in anticipation of his hulking size and protective demeanor. 

Then he got wider, but not taller. 

On his first trip to the vet, the doc took one look at him and asked, 

“What kind of a dog is that?”

Lovely. 

After some discussion and inspection, she announced that he may have some boxer in him, but if he did, the other half was probably daschound. 

Seriously?

So, despite his questionable heritage (hey, we’re a mixed-race family, who are we to judge?) and jokes about his parentage (he’s typically referred to as a “boxund” or “Boxer-weenie”) Kuma settled in as a permanent, if not particularly useful, member of the family. 

Until last night.

Last night around 11 he was pacing up and down the hallway like mad, whining, and driving me nuts, and he kept opening the door to the kids’ room. I was about to kick him outside. Then, as I was laying in bed, trying to ignore him, it hit me that I had forgotten to check Big Brother’s blood sugar before I went to bed. 

“Oh well, I guess maybe the dog is good for something.” I grumbled as I stumbled through the darkened house.

My son’s blood sugar was so low that if I had just fallen asleep and left him til morning, we most likely would have had to take him to the ER. 

I’m telling you, THE DOG KNEW! As soon as I got some food in Big Brother and his blood sugar started to go back up, Kuma settled down and went to sleep… right outside the bedroom door. 

Twenty Signs you may have Toddlers!

Most people who have Toddlers have been diagnosed by a physician or a stick that you pee on, but some don’t know they have this seriously draining, but highly curable condition. So here are the top signs you may have Toddlers:

1. You find yourself humming the theme song from Winnie-The-Pooh as you clean the kitchen.
2. You’re talking to your friends and announce that you “have to go potty.” 
3. You know that Bob the Builder and his assistant, Wendy, were meant to be together. 
4. You say “put your pants back on” more than 5 times a day. 
5. You have stopped caring whether the clothes match, no matter who is wearing them. 
6. Naptime is the best time of day, second only to bedtime, because you actually get to sit down. 
7. You wait until they’re sleeping to go to the bathroom. 
8. Bodily fluids don’t even faze you anymore.
9. Silence makes your cheek twitch. 
10. You don’t drink, even though you really, really want to, until you’re sure they’re asleep. 
11. The only place to hide things is on top of the refrigerator, and even that is questionable.
12. Coffee is your main source of nutrients.
13. You regularly stop and take stock of your day, because you can’t remember when your last meal was. 
14. Finding a repeat babysitter is nigh on impossible. 
15. You know that Cheerios are a perfectly acceptable meal at any time of day. 
16. You have very strong feelings about Caillou. Like, “That kid needs a serious spanking.”
17. You have heard “Had it FIRST!” more than 10 times in the last 12 hours. 
18. You know it is totally worth all the effort you put in to raise these little humans. 
19. Going to the grocery store by yourself is like a vacation.
20. No matter how long you’ve been away, you’re always happy to come back to them and hear them squeal with delight that you’re home. 

If you think you may have toddlers, talk to your spouse, chances are he or she has them, too. Necessary treatment includes Time, Love, and lots of animal crackers. Condition generally runs its course in 3-8 years. 

*This blog is not meant to diagnose or treat anything except a frown. 

The Great Nursing Debate

I was reading today about a woman who wrote in to an online advice column. She said that her brother’s new wife, when meeting the family for the first time, breastfed her 5-year-old son from a previous relationship at the dinner table, explaining that he had “food allergies”.

Now, I know I’ll probably be put on La Leche League’s watch list for this blog. I might get booted from the Facebook group “The Leaky Boob”, disowned by EBF-ers everywhere, (That’s Exclusive Breast Feeders, for those of you not up on insta-speak) and maybe blacklisted by KellyMom. But I feel that we often hear about extremes on this issue, and someone needs to speak for moderation and middle ground.

I say, kudos to the columnist, who suggested that Sis talk to her brother about the issue. Then if nothing changes, head for the hills when Wifey Dearest whips one out. However, in the comments I was reading, people not only criticized Sis for butting in, but also the columnist for being unsupportive of breastfeeding!

Now please, please don’t misunderstand my annoyance. I breastfed Baby #1 for 9 months and hope to go even longer with Baby #2, despite the insistence of certain family members that rice cereal and formula is all a 5-month-old infant needs. I love breastfeeding, I love knowing that it’s good for my baby, and I love the bonding time it gives us. I am completely pro-breastfeeding.

That being said, breastfeeding a 5-year-old and breastfeeding at the dinner table with people you just met would each be inappropriate in and of itself. At five years old, there is no nutritional value in breast milk that a child cannot get from Soy, Almond, Goat, or Cow’s milk. Furthermore, a child that is nursed at the lunch table in Kindergarten is likely to have social problems and/or attachment disorders. In addition to all that, it’s weird.

Enough said.

Now about breastfeeding in public, ladies, I have three words for you: Cover, cover, COVER! That’s why they make those cute little wrap things! Yes, breastfeeding is natural and good. Yes, it’s sometimes necessary to find a bench and pop it out… NOW. No, breastfeeding is not something to be ashamed of. But do you really want that creepy old guy walking past to turn around and come back for another look? Or to sit down on the other end of the bench? Breasts are breasts no matter what they’re being used for, and there are many easy and stylish ways to cover. I wore a wide, cotton scarf almost anytime baby and I were going out. He didn’t get too hot, he didn’t get distracted, and I didn’t feel exposed. There is also a drape that baby snuggles right into that fastens over mom’s shoulder so your energetic nurser can’t pull it off. And of course, many department stores and other public places have lounges in the ladies’ room, complete with comfy couches and changing tables.

One more thing about nursing in public. If you must nurse at a restaurant, at Granny’s dinner table, or at the family reunion, do it tastefully. Uncle Joe may not be done eating, yet, and Auntie Jane may not want to field all those questions from her 10-year-old son. If you can, go in the family room or bedroom and find a quiet corner. Not out of shame, because breastfeeding is a beautiful and normal thing, but out of respect and modesty.

Breastfeeding can be a wonderful growing and bonding experience for the whole family, and is indisputably best for baby. But shocked in-laws are likely to become less supportive, not more. And support for moms is what we’re driving at here, right?

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