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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

This won't be a long post as I've been hyped up on sugar and can't sit still long, but we wanted to say Happy Halloween!  Just to forewarn you, I am 2 weeks from my due date (last year) and from Addie's first birthday, so you're going to see a lot of reminiscing these next few weeks instead of current news.  To hold true to that, here I am last year celebrating Halloween without Addison.

Me and my lopsided pregnant belly, Halloween 2008

And, here we are today, as a family, celebrating this holiday yet again.

From all of us, Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Can't Believe It!!

Dear readers,

The day finally came!  My daughter is no longer The Girl Who Cried Teeth.  Two days ago, the cutest little tooth you've ever seen erupted from the gums.  Now, let the fun begin.  Bring on the teething.  I can handle it if I know there will be an outcome!

Where's the picture of the cutest tooth in the world, you ask? Well, here's the problem.  My daughter seems to have more tongue than will fit in her mouth, so none of the tricks to get her to flash that pearly white for the camera seem to be doing the trick.  I believe the only way I will get a picture is to hold her down kicking and screaming, which, I just don't want to do.  There is hope, though!  Eventually I will be quick enough with the shutter to capture that elusive little tooth and show it off to the world! Patience is the key!!


Your Friendly Mommy Blogger


Sunday, October 25, 2009

No Einstein in Our Crib

Parent alert: the Walt Disney Company is now offering refunds for all those "Baby Einstein" videos that did not make children into geniuses.

This is such great news.  I mean, not for me, really, since I never bought into the hype about turning my daughter into a genius before she could talk.  Lucky for me that I also did not buy into the hype that putting my daughter in front of the television every day while I did chores checked my email was actually considered educational. 

I think it's funny, though, that despite not using educational toys and videos to teach my daughter to read or know her shapes or learn to talk, she's already begun exceeding my expectations.  For example, this is how our morning play time went today:

Me: "Addie, where is the ball?" (we had paid no attention to the ball at all today at this point)

Addie: looking around through her toys before she catches a glimpse of the ball and holds it up proudly to show me that she found it.

Me: "That's great! Bring me the ball, please."

Addie: Starts running towards me holding the ball out, hands it over, then claps and grins proudly.

Take that Baby Einstein! My daughter is excelling all on her own.  No videos.  No expensive toys.  Just a ball and her Momma.  Just a bit of quiet interactive play.  Who knew?

I think it is great that Walt Disney is finally admitting to their marketing scheme, and letting the public know that regularly showing their video to your baby does not only not make them smarter, it can actually slow down their development and cause attention problems.

Don't get me wrong or anything.  I have no issues turning on a cartoon on a few occasions where no one can focus on anything, and Addie won't eat, play, sleep, or settle down for a book.  Yo Gabba Gabba is a lifesaver in those instances!  So, no, I'm not totally against TV for children.  What I am against is being told that my child will not come out ahead if I do not buy these videos.  That I am wasting her childhood on toys and play time.

What ever happened to being a kid, for that matter?  I see commercials for kids toys these days, and no longer do I see toys that build imagination and require active play.  Instead, I see commercials for learning video games, and movies that teach your child to read and write, play computers, and toys filled with so many batteries and lights that a young child just needs to sit there and watch it go.  Children used to be able to learn through playing outside, through using their imaginations, and through testing limits.

Hopefully, this lawsuit and this reaction by Disney will spawn a new idea into parents' minds that it's okay to not be perfect.  It's okay to not send your kid to Harvard on a full academic scholarship.  It's okay to give your child the tools he needs to succeed in life without pushing him too far.  It's okay to let him be a kid for now.

Way to go, Disney! It takes a big "person" to admit their mistakes!!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Good Morning?? Ha. Yeah Right.

I know by the time I finish this post, it will no longer be morning, but this is the first time I've had a chance to sit down and focus all day!!  I apologize in advance about the utter disaster that is this post and the grammar contained in it. I still haven't even finished my coffee.

It started out like any other day.  Actually, it started better than most days, since I rolled over lazily to see the clock say 7.45 a.m.  I laid there for a minute listening for the sounds I must have missed in such a deep sleep.  Surely, my daughter is already awake and playing quietly in her crib.  Or not.  Apparently my sweet little offspring decided to give mommy a gift today and sleep in!!  I forgot what that felt like.

We had a leisurely hour of play time while she finished drinking her "milk" and I got a chance to check my email.  It was appearing to be a pretty fantastic day.  Then breakfast happened.

You wouldn't think cereal and fruit could cause a child to need a full-on bath  to get cleaned up after breakfast, but sure enough, she found a way to accomplish that.  No biggie.  She kind of had a "I peed through my diaper sometime in the middle of the night" stench to her anyway, so we'll take a bath and wash the sheets.  I got her nice and cleaned up pretty quickly so since she was having so much fun I let her play with her bath toys for a few minutes.  Oh no.  I see bubbles...

Yep.  She did it.  She pooped in the tub.  Not only did she do that, but she wanted to continue playing in said tub, and threw a royal fit when I took her out.  I had to take her out of the bathroom to make sure she wouldn't try to climb back in, completely disregarding the soiled tub for the moment.  Get her cleaned up and dressed again and put her in the living room with her toys.  I look down the hall to see the make-shift curtain we put up over the play room fluttering*.  Again, no good.  Fluttering curtains means one of them figured out how to get past it-thumb tacks and all. (I know..I'm super classy.  If you saw it you'd think it was even classier).  I run down the hall in time to see a cat dart out from under the sheet.  Crap!!  I can't deal with this right now!!  Turn around to go back down the hall and realize I don't see Addie anywhere.  But I hear water splashing.  Yep, she was trying to play in the water I forgot to drain from the tub!!! I go in there, drain the tub, pull her out of the bathroom and get her hands cleaned up.  I put her back in the living room and start trying to clean the tub out-which now has poop caked onto it, and I look over and the cat is darting back into the play room she can't go into!!!  I dart over there in time to scare her and she runs away from the curtain, then proceed to head back to the bathroom and take care of the tub situation, where Addie chooses to join me again and try to climb.  Again, I take her out of the bathroom and turn on cartoons for her, hoping that Yo Gabba Gabba is enough to distract her from the enticing bath tub.  Look down the hall...the curtain is ripped down from the doorway and there is a cat squatting in the area we are trying to get the stink out of!!  Addie is running down the hall at me, she just can't wait to get back into her play room that keeps getting taken away.

Meanwhile, Willie is asleep after working the night shift in the room right next door as I completely lose it and toss my cat out of the play room, scoop Addie up, and go yell at him that I-need-some-help-I've-got-cats-and-kids-going-in-every-direction-poop-in-the-bathtub-stinky-pee-sheets-cranky-11-month-old-ripped-curtains-and-cold-coffee!!!!!!

Thankfully, Willie got up and cleaned the bathroom while I cleaned up the mess in the play room and figured out a way to fix the curtains.  Now they actually seem to be hanging better, with no loose areas that can be squeezed through.  So, with Willie's help, we have a clean bathroom, a napping toddler, dry play room, curtains hung, and sheets washing.  Thanks to me we both have warm coffee and a few minutes of peace and quiet.

If it sounds like absolute mayhem, that's because it was.  I don't see how moms with more than one kid have enough arms.  Today really is one of those days that teach you about Surviving Motherhood.


*For those of you that don't know, we had to barricade the play room while we wait for this odor neutralizer to do it's job, thanks to a certain bladder issue from one of our cats.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Childhood Right of Passage

The birthday party.  Cake, games, snacks, and ripping paper, flashing toys, cartoons, squealing, and a melt-down after a run-in with a ride-on tractor.  I consider this a childhood right of passage.  You aren't really a kid until you've been to another child's birthday party.

Addie experienced her first birthday party this weekend.  Well, to be honest she's been to one other birthday party before this one, but there weren't a lot of kids her age, so for the purpose of this post it doesn't count.  This weekend, Addie experienced a true child's birthday party in full force.  Absolute mayhem with kids everywhere, toys everywhere, and cake and cookies galore.

While it took her awhile to liven up and get into things, by the end of the party, she had turned into a social butterfly.  She was coloring with the big kids, ate some yummy treats, and even got to bring home her very first party favor (decorated by me, don't worry, she's not that much of an artist...yet.)

She is turning more and more into a kid and less and less she is acting like a baby. No longer can I call her a bobbler, she is a full on toddler.  I must have blinked and missed the transition.  It went too fast...where is the rewind button?  More and more every day she is becoming a child.  There is a personality behind that little gummy grin (yes,="" href="http://thecruisefamily.blogspot.com/2009/10/unloading-on-you.html">still).  Yet another right of passage into childhood checked off the list.

Now, if only I could finalize the plans on her birthday party.  That's a big right of passage.  Who's in the mood for cake?


Thursday, October 15, 2009

What Cosmetics Do I Love??

This is in response to a BlogHer blog written by Mom101, "What are the cosmetics you love? I mean, really really love in a long term let's get married kind of way?"  She asked, and I'm telling her.  And yes, I realize I write a blog about motherhood.  What does that have to do with makeup, you ask?  Well, don't you like to feel pretty?  I feel that this blog fits well into my new goals that I have blogged about here before.

Let me start by saying that I am by no means a cosmetics snob.  Other than my short stint with a love for Mary Kay foundations and Ultimate mascara, I've always gotten my cosmetics at Target.  Alas, I've still got a few favorites, those that I buy time and time again.  Surprisingly, my cheap mascara that I pick up at the check-out lane didn't make the list.  Maybe I need to re-evaluate.

My favorites include:

1.  OPI "I'm Not Really A Waitress" red nail polish.  I tell ya, I've never been able to wear red on my nails.  Never.  Then one day five years ago, the nail tech at a local salon recommended I try this and I've never looked back.  They have apparently discontinued this color now, which makes me really sad.  I've got three bottles stock piled to give me time to find a new favorite.  Why do cosmetics companies make a perfect product, get you to fall in love, and then take it away?!

2.  Victoria Secret's "Strawberries and Champagne" Refreshing Body Mist.  This scent has been one of my favorites for seven years now.  Every time I buy something different to experiment, I end up disappointed and trudge back to Vickie Secrets admitting defeat.  Why fix what's not broken?

3.  Another favorite scent  of mine since high school is The Body Shops "Oceanus" which is a nice clean scent-my typical favorite and not as surprising to me as the above item.  I've always been a fan of clean smells and this perfume just works perfectly with my body chemistry and smells light all day.

4.  Mary Kay Velocity 3-1 cleanser and moisturizer.  By far my favorite face cleanser and moisturizer combo.  It's designed for teens with acne, but works wonders on my skin.  This is probably my most short-lived affair with a cosmetic. It's only been in my make-up bag for a couple of years.

I'm sorry I can't claim any actual make-up shades on my list.  If I did, I would be lying.  I change brands and shades every time the compact runs low.  Maybe one day I'll find a favorite that I can add to this list.  Until then, the only items I can give kudos to are the behind-the-scenes products, cause, you know, the nail polish only goes on my toes these days.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Back in the Day...

As I sit here, just having finished my lunch, I cannot help but think about life back in the day.  Life B.C. was quite a bit different.   I was finishing up my Top Ramen while leaning against the sink and shooing away the cats and enjoying a moment of silence when it hit me.  This sequence of events has not happened in years.  Probably since I met Willie and he made me stop buying Top Ramen. What can I say? The dehydrated highly salted noodles are just so addicting.

Anyway, as I was saying, I realized that I had not eaten a lunch of Top Ramen while leaning against the kitchen sink and shooing away my cats during a moment of peace in about three years.  I started reminiscing about the series of events that has changed my life so much in just the last three years to the point where I have forgotten what daily habits I clung to so desperately in single-hood.

Just three years ago, I was barhopping three to four nights a week, working a minimum wage job, living in a garage apartment in the ghetto of Southeast Texas for $300 a month, clinging to a relationship that was over long before it started, and living off Top Ramen and espresso.

Now? Now I don't even know where the closest bar is, my work is paid for in hugs and kisses, I'm living in a great apartment in a great part of town, married to my wonderful husband of two years, and I'm 3,000 miles from where it all began...

It has been a whirlwind ride these last few years.  I met Willie and we fell in love with a spark (if I believed in love at first sight I would say that's what we experienced) 3 and a half years ago.  It was a lovely affair for a few months before getting serious.  We met every other weekend to spend every moment with each other before Willie drove the four hours back to base.  When that was not enough, I packed up my little one-bedroom garage apartment into a U-Haul truck and left my family and friends behind to spend every free moment with him.

Our engagement was a pretty low-key affair-happening during a commercial break during the latest episode of Family Guy.  We announced the news to our friends via Myspace, and I left for a month long trip to Europe the following week.  After my trip, we set our wedding date and I started the planning.  The wedding was at a quaint little garden near my parents house on a warm fall evening.  What do you know?? That evening will be celebrated twice over next week.

I can hardly believe how much my life has changed with his help.  Parenthood (and married life itself) is pretty stressful at times.  We are at each others throats almost daily, but at the end of the day we know that what matters is that we are still in love and still make a great team.  We have recently decided that it's time to slow our lives down and just enjoy the family we have.  I think that is best.

I'm sure even without planning for another child just yet, it will still be another whirlwind year.  Don't we always have a way of making it so? 


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Right Back Where I Started

A few months ago, I made a goal for myself to lose some weight and start making an effort on my appearance.  It was going really well...until recently, that is. 

The past few weeks I have found myself slipping back into a slump.  I'm still making an effort when I go out of the house, but it's getting harder.  My clothes no longer fit.  That's right.  The pants that I bought last spring no longer fit.  They are way too big.  So big, in fact, that they are falling off.  Guys, these pants were the same size I was wearing before I had Addie.

The good news is that I did not want to stay in that size.  The bad news is, my wardrobe is again severely limited.  I have plenty of shirts and skirts and dresses to wear, but no pants.  Seeing as how the weather is getting colder every day, this will become an issue pretty quickly.  I've been hesitant to buy more pants , though, since I still have yet to go to reach my goal weight. 

So, to buy new pants to continue looking good, or wait until I reach my goal? Decisions, decisions!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Unloading on You

I really have to tell everyone that reads my words how grateful I am to have this outlet.  If I didn't have it, I might scream some days.  Today is one of those days. Consider yourselves warned, and proceed with caution.

Addie is teething.  Again.  I am so sick of her teething, and no one seems to understand our situation.  If Addie teethed like a "normal" baby, I would not be frustrated.  With "normal" babies, you have a week or so of erratic sleep, extra drool, loss of appetite, and irritability.  With Addie, we've had 8 months on and off of this pattern.  Every week is a new surprise.

For those of you that don't know, she started teething at two-and-a-half months old.  Yes, this is pediatrician verified.  She is now almost 11-months-old and still has no teeth! None!  For the past eight months, every few weeks we have had teething symptoms, getting progressively worse and worse each time.

When I was a kid, my dentist told me I had "floaters" for teeth.  In fact, I still had baby teeth at the age of 20 that had to be pulled.  My adult teeth took forever to come in.  I would have a few weeks of pressure which would loosen the baby teeth, then the tooth would recede and the pressure would go away again.  It seems that Addie has this same "issue."

The positive side of this is that she apparently has my teeth.  That is a good thing in the long run seeing as how I've never had a cavity or real dental surgery (<--FYI: getting baby teeth pulled by a dentist at 20 does not count as real dental surgery).  The negative side to this is that she has been teething for 8 months!!!

As of yesterday, we are in the throws of yet another teething spell.  She's extra clingy, fussy, waking up during the night and early in the morning, and just plain not feeling well.  I don't like it! I don't like waking up unsure of which Addie I will see that day.  I don't like not knowing even about what time I will get woken up in the morning.  I don't like having a child that is overtired from lack of a good night's rest.

If this was any other baby, I would say "Okay, things will go back to normal after her teeth come through," and that would be enough to make me chill out.  With Addie, though, it's not.  Who knows when these teeth are going to pop through?! How many more weeks can I get surprised with erratic sleep and a fussy baby.  How much longer can I go knowing we only have a few days of "normal" at a time?!  What's worse is...everyone says the first teeth are the hardest.  Everyone also says that about their child that teethed within the "normal" time frame.  How will it actually be for Addie?

I have even had people that had the nerve to ask if I was sure my child was teething.  It took everything I had not to yell "Yes, you idiot!  I know what a teething baby looks like.  Her pediatrician knows what a teething baby looks like! Do you think I just pulled this explanation for excessive drool out of my arse?!"  (<---Seriously?? Who asks a mother this?!).  If I hear one more time that she will get her teeth eventually and that she will not go off to college with dentures I'm going to lose it.  Seriously.  I'm ready for some sleep.  I'm ready to experience what it's like when my child isn't teething!

I'm ready to see some results already!!!

End rant.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Standing on Middle Ground.

Does anyone know what it's like to be nobody? To have never stood out in your life?  I do.

In high school, if we had had a category for it, I think I would have been voted "Most Likely to Stay Behind the Scenes".  I made decent grades, sure.  They were high enough to keep me out of the in crowd, but not quite high enough for me to be part of the intellectual crowd.

Ok, so, I honestly don't know where I fell in the whole grand scheme of high school.  I don't think I belonged to any crowd, per se.  I pretty much befriended anyone that wanted to be my friend.

I was standing on middle ground.  Even then.

This calling stuck with me through more than just high school.  Anyone that knew me in college  and beyond would say the same things about me.  I was good, but not good enough to stand out in a crowd. I never stood for anything.  I felt no connection to causes.  I might think a cause is worthwhile...such as causes working towards curing cancer, but I was never attached to any of them.  I was never actively participating in anything that required taking a stand.  Anything that required choosing a side.

I was still standing on middle ground.

As time went on, I got married.  I stood on middle ground, there, too.  I refused to take a side when my sister and matron-of-honor fought over which dress looked best, who should walk with who, how they should wear their hair, and what color their nails should be.  It was easier to just let them fight it out than risk one of them being angry with me over my wedding.

Not surprisingly, I have had the same convictions as it comes to my parenting style.    I read the books, but don't follow them to the T.  I have heard of various parenting styles, of which I fit into no categories.  I am not an attached parent, nor am I a detached parent. I do not practice Ferberizing, but I am not opposed to letting her protest for a few minutes when I know she is just tired.  I am part of two play groups, but I do not schedule out activities for each day. 

It seems that in this day and age, raising a child has become a huge competition.  Parents are enrolling their three-month-olds in classes, lessons, and designated play times.  Anything to keep up with the Jones's.  Everything seems to be in extremes these days.  Either every minute of every day is scheduled out with designated times for free play, reading, and musical play; or you have the parents that stick their children in front of a TV all day.  What ever happened to the middle ground?  The area in-between these two extremes where kids have time to play freely, but also have time to relax, or time for lessons?  Does it really have to be one or the other?

What ever happened to being a kid, for that matter?  I see commercials for kids toys these days, and no longer do I see toys that build imagination and require active play.  Instead, I see commercials for learning video games, and movies that teach your child to read and write, play computers, and toys filled with so many batteries and lights that a young child just needs to sit there and watch it go.  Children used to be able to learn through playing outside, through using their imaginations, and through testing limits.

Do babies really need this?  Do we need to be pushing our babies and children to excel?  Do they need classes designed to encourage active play, or music play, or quiet time?  Does your child really finish ahead if he is enrolled in preschool before his second birthday?  Is average not good enough anymore?

What ever happened to standing on middle ground??  When are kids allowed to be kids? Why does it have to be one extreme or the other?  I am finally taking a stand.  I am taking a stand to stay on middle ground.  I am taking a stand to choose neither side.  I am taking a stand to just let my kid be a kid.  Nothing more, nothing less.