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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hosting Thanksgiving: Budget Friendly Tips

Here are some tips on what I have done this year to plan for tomorrow's big meal! I'll post a full update after Thanksgiving, but I wanted to share some tips in case some of you knee deep in last minute preparations:


For the best deal, scope your grocery flyers. I scanned mine a few weeks in advance, and sorted out our menu based on the best deals at our local Hannaford.

* for a possibly less budget friendly, but more earth friendly way you plan your meal: check with your local farm and use in season veggies and pre order your free range turkey :)

Our menu for tomorrow will be as follows:

Our Daily Red Organic Wine
mashed red potatoes
mashed sweet potatoes
rutabaga and carrot casserole
dinner rolls
egg nog and coffee brandy dessert beverages

I purchased all of the above goods at our local Hannaford for less than $100. We are serving 6 people, and baby A :)


No need to spend a ton of money at department stores to have a pretty table this holiday. I spent a day or two scoping out our local Goodwill and Dollar Store. At Goodwill I found two tall, glass hurricane vases for 99 cents each. (You may even have some empty vases under your kitchen sink that you could use).  I also scored 9 cloth napkins for $2.99- a simple wash and iron and they are good to go!

I filled the vases with cranberries and a white tealight, and the cloth napkins have been secured with napkin rings (but you can also tie them with raffia, which is available at any craft store). 

I was able to get some flatware at the Dollar Store for $1.50, regularly $3.50. Cheaper than buying plastic silverware, I might add, and less waste.

General Preparation

Key Points for a successful, budget friendly, and more earth friendly holiday;

* Don't buy an excessive amount of food. Not every one of your guests needs 3 helpings! This will help your budget, and limit the amount of waste.

* Many times, disposable plates/napkins/flatware can be more costly than using the real thing and cloth options.

* Have your guests bring something! For example, we are doing the turkey and all the fixin's! but we have one of our guests bringing wine and two bringing dessert.

* I also purchased an inexpensive package of holiday tupperware (3 for $1.00) to use as leftover containers for my guests. Again, less waste if you send some home with guests!

* Last tip, compost your food waste. If you DO choose to use disposable items (cups/plates/flatware/etc) you can find biodegradable options at and you can add them right to your compost!

Happy Thanksgiving!! How do YOU save money during the holidays??

Friday, November 4, 2011

Eversave DEALS for today! Friday Nov 4th SOLD OUT

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Use your Target gift card toward any of their products in-store and online. Hungry for more savings? Use your $50 gift card on and receive discounts on thousands of restaurants nationwide.

Save Rewards are not valid on this deal - but new members get $3 when they sign up and $2 after they buy and share the deal, giving them $5 towards their next Eversave purchase!

Click HERE to buy this SAVE. 

* Be sure to check out Eversave on Facebook and Twitter and let them know NNM sent you! 

Buying vs Renting in the Current Economy

Is it worth buying a home in this economy??


I know many people have an emotional tie to the feeling of "owning" their own home. But with 72% of America living paycheck to paycheck (courtesy of the Nate Berkus show lol), is it worth the extra expenses that come with home ownership?

I've owned a home. It was foreclosed at the very beginning of the recession.

We now rent, and while I know my husband has an emotional motivation to someday buy a home- I am extremely happy 'merely' renting. There are plenty of months where we can barely pay rent- so WHY would we want the added expenses of a broken furnace, or an old roof, or peeling paint?? I just call my landlord.

Yes we pay oil. We pay electricity. But everything else is 'all inclusive' when it comes to rent. No surprise expenses. And now that we are finally getting to the point where we are catching up with bills and rent; we have the 'extra' money to (again finally) be able to furnish the apartment the way we want, eat better, decorate, improve the children's bedrooms, etc.

Cash Diet

My husband and I also live on a cash diet. We have no credit cards (not totally by choice, because ideally it would be great if we had one for emergencies), but this limits our extraneous spending. Once the cash is gone, it's gone.

For bills, we use the prehistoric envelope method :) One envelope for rent, one for electric, one for cell phones, etc. and then every few months, admittedly, we scramble to come up with enough cash for the minimum oil delivery. But regardless, we are not accumulating any additional debt.


We have been living in our little apartment haven for almost 2 years now. We have not saved anything. We are just now, I would say, breaking even. But this has allowed us to get back on our feet. My husband is working extremely hard, and I am now home again doing my best to keep up the house and get the kids where they need to go, etc. without using too much gas :)

Today I am creating a budget. A much needed budget.

We have been loosely following a budget of: "we need this much for rent each week, and we'll put this much towards phone and electric each week", etc. But now that we have a better revenue stream coming IN, we should have (in theory) WAY more money left over every week than we do!

How do you create a budget for your family? When you live paycheck to paycheck, do you still leave FUN money aside? How much?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Eversave DEALS for today! Friday Oct 21st

Pay just $15 for $30 worth of premium coffee and say "Aloha" to whatever weather winter sends your way. Choose from a variety of flavorful roasts and blends available as whole beans, ground, espresso ground and more. We all have that friend who savors her daily Starbucks more than most- send her on a Hawaiian tour with a Three Island gift tin.

New members can get this deal for $12 when they use their $3 credit.

* Be sure to check out Eversave on Facebook and Twitter and let them know NNM sent you! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Eversave DEALS for today! Mon Oct 17th

 Pay only $20 for a year subscription to both Martha Stewart Living and Whole Living Magazines ($34 value) 

NEW Members will get this save for only $17.00 when you use your $3.00 credit

Click HERE to purchase this save today!

Be sure to follow Eversave on Facebook and Twitter and let them know NurturingtheNaturalMama sent you!

Monday Surf.... yea yea- I'm a day late :)

Some amazing posts I came across this last week or so! Enjoy, and feel free to share yours below!

The Benefits of Co Sleeping by

I love that this article fully addresses all the aspects and myths regarding co sleeping. So many, especially new moms, are so worried about developing bad habits, raising needy children, suffocating the baby, and/or increased sleep deprivation.

And clearly, co sleeping is not for everyone, but there are plenty of ways to safely co sleep. And co sleeping, in my experience, significantly DECREASES parental sleep deprivation. It is far easier to nurse overnight and keep the baby calm in your arms versus getting up and going into the other room, etc.

Additionally, I always felt safer having my babies next to me (I co sleep using a bassinet/Arms Reach co sleeper) versus in a different room. Then I was able to keep an eye on them better- hear all the little noises and feel their breathing pattern without having to listen to a static-y monitor. (I do have a severe aversion to baby monitors- I think they're useless, but that's a whole different story!)

If you've ever read my blog before, you are aware at how much I disagree with the Cry It Out (CIO) method. This is also addressed in this article.

Crying It Out Causes Brain Damage by Peaceful Parenting

As mentioned above, and multiple times prior, I feel very strongly against the CIO method. This re print from Peaceful Parenting just solidifies my feelings. Crying it out causes extreme distress. Extreme distress causes the body to produce increased levels of cortisol, which is harmful to the baby. Additionally, extreme distress inhibits proper growth of certain areas of the brain.

And lastly, you can read some my previous posts on attachment theory, and you'll see that those early responses to your baby's cries- whether you co sleep or not- are what causes your baby to attach to you- physically and mentally. Children who are unattached, or have what used to be termed 'attachment adjustment disorder' not only have trouble forming healthy adult relationships, but can also develop other mental illness and/or social disorders.

A Poem for the Children this Earth Never Had by Peaceful Parenting
Another great post by Peaceful Parenting this week especially in light of October 15th- Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day

I cried for joy when I saw the pink lines
We’d waited and waited for such a long time.
People gave gifts to show their delight,
I could barely get any sleep at night.
I was so excited to experience this life
I felt like I finally had something right.
The family I’d dreamed of for so many years
Was worth the wait, and was finally here.
Then in an instant, the joy was gone
I went to the doctor because something was wrong.
He said not to worry, it would all be ok
But he was wrong, and my baby left me that day.
My heart aches for the child I never knew
He was once in my womb, then with angels he flew.
I’m sure he’s in heaven having a ball
With Jesus, the greatest Daddy of all.
I can’t wait for the day that I see my child
He’ll run to me quick with his arms open wide.
I love him as much as I love my new son
But he’ll forever be my very first one.
He holds a very special place in my heart
He made me a Mommy, though his time was cut short.
My dream has come true and my family is great
I have three kids in heaven, my arrival they await.
Someday we’ll be together and they’ll sit on my lap
And I’ll mother the children that this Earth never had.

~ Tricia Pyatt

And then just a quick shout out to another great website I just discovered- if you're anything like me, and have experience post partum depression, you should check out

Post your faves from this week below! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

NOW Offering EVERSAVE Deals for YOU

Going forward, I am happy to announce that NurturingtheNaturalMama will be offering weekly deals from Eversave.

I have 2 deals for you today:

The first, which you mamas will LOVE, is $30 toward Classic Shapewear for ONLY $15  w FREE shipping!

* Classic Shapewear offers an enormous selection of full body shapers, shaping tanks, maternity shapewear and more in a variety of sizes
* Eversave Extras alert! Spend $70 when redeeming your voucher to earn $10 in Save Rewards

The second, is 2 AMC Silver Experience Movie Tickets ($24 value) for ONLY $13 

* Save Rewards are not valid on this deal - but new members get $3 when they sign up and $2 after they buy and share the deal, giving them $5 towards their next Eversave purchase!

* Act fast, limited quantity available!
Check out the deal to learn more about the details.


Be sure to follow Eversave on Facebook and Twitter and let them know NurturingtheNaturalMama sent you!

Family/ Work Life Balance- Does it Exist?

Individualism vs. Commitment to Family. 

So in this day and age, following the brunt of the feminism movement and a huge thrust in civil rights (while it's all certainly still not perfect); we, as a society, constantly promote self fulfillment and individuality. And as more and more moms enter the workforce, and more and more young parents are forced to have both parents working because of the economy- there is no reason to wonder why 50% of marriages end in divorce, and why more and more children are growing up unattached.

As an intermittent stay at home myself, I can say I have spent a lot of time struggling with my role and maintaining my sanity while staying at home with the kids. Now I am well aware that many moms relish the opportunity to be at home and thoroughly enjoy their time there- I am just not one of them. While I enjoy spending time with my kids, I feel I am legitimately a better mom when I am working and have some time by myself and with other adults.

I have also struggled with the resentment towards my husband after being home with the kids all day,  while he is working, and then we have the perpetual "who does more around here?" argument. He just wants to sit down after a hard day at work... I get mad/resentful that he is just sitting there while I am changing yet another diaper or feeding the kids.... etc. When really- we're all working for the same thing, right??

I am in the process of reading this great book called Towards Commitment , for which the point is clear and precise: commit to your family above all else.

Just to add in another disclaimer: there are clear exceptions- no one is saying to stay in an abusive relationship, etc.

But the authors, married for 47 years, discuss topics like finances, work-life balance, child rearing, school, sex, emotional needs, etc. It's crazy when you think about how really we don't discuss in depth our expectations with our spouse/partner. If you're anything like us, we have surface conversations about how we think things are going to go ; "yea, you'll work this hour to this hour, then the kids go to bed, i'll make dinner" etc. But the nitty gritty about emotional and physical expectations, and problems/issues when the expectations in your mind don't match your reality. In the authors experience, she had to just whole heartedly commit. Commit to her husband, despite their differences, without considering it as "sacrificing her own self fulfillment". I am not going to be able to describe it as she does in the book and do the theory justice- but it is worth a read!

It is more about a family/work fit versus balance, because these days- I'm not sure a true balance actually exists. Would you agree or disagree? and how do you achieve your family/work "fit"?

SAVE America. Start TODAY.

So I saw a poster in a cafe yesterday that had this statement on it:

"We challenge you to change just 10% of your purchases from big box stores to local merchants"

the poster indicated that this small change would create something like 50,000 jobs (and if I remember correctly, that was just considering the state I was in- New Hampshire) and would immediately increase the revenue of the state, and hence America, to help improve our economy.

I believe the group that had sponsored the poster was Seacoast Eat Local. But your 10% shift doesn't just have to be food- it can be anything! But if we take food as an example, it can be your least expensive option. Last weekend, I went over to our local farm Brookford Farm and purchased some fresh veggies (a bag of arugula $3, some leeks $1, and some onions $3), I also purchased some yogurt, cheese, and raw milk. Now, I spent about $20.00.  You need to keep in mind that the yogurt and milk come in LARGE Mason jars.

Additionally, when I am ready for more yogurt and milk, I bring the jars back and get a deposit towards my next purchase. Let's look at the milk. I switch between soy milk and raw milk for my kiddos. Soy milk costs about $4.59/ carton. The raw milk cost $4.50. When I bring back the rinsed Mason jar- I get a $2.50 deposit. My milk ends up costing me almost HALF of if I kept purchasing soy milk from our local Hannaford.

Now this comes right after I heard on Late Night with Diane Sawyer about their Made In America initiative, where they are challenging building contractors to change just 5% of their purchases for building homes to American made supplies. Doing this is predicted to create 220,000 jobs in America!

You can also help this cause by purchasing your very own Made In America T- shirts  which are made of 100% cotton and made, of course, right here in America.

So here at NurturingtheNaturalMama, I am extending this challenge- and I want to hear your stories of how you achieved it! I challenge you to change 10% of your purchases- food or otherwise to American made in the next 30 days. Share the results!!

Was it more expensive? Was it worth it? How did it make you feel? Do you feel you got better or worse product for your money? What type of products did you try?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Belated Confession

Several days ago via Facebook, I promised you a confession. Then I got busy, which is totally unfair as I am sure so many of you were glued to your computers anxiously awaiting my confession. :)

Anyways, I do have something I need to share.

I am an Etsy-aholic.

I love that you are supporting individual people, mostly WAHMs, and all recycling/upcycling for the pre-loved items! I LOVE IT.

So, if you haven't yet discovered Etsy, take a LOOK today! Here are some of my faves;

Guavas and Bananas

Adorn Nursing Necklaces

Rock a Bye Booty

Check it out and SHOP today, supporting WAHMs! <3

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Is there such a thing as Thursday Surf? :) Because I have some GREAT new reads for you!

Most recent post by Sparkle Mama is an incredible post about her and her families journey to financial freedom and inherent inability to feel stable in the moment. Following a financial program, they have ceased paying their mortgage and are paying off all their other debt. They are awaiting a short sale or foreclosure, and are now feeling like temporary guests in their own home, until they have a more concrete plan.

I can relate to that in-between feeling having experienced a foreclosure, as well as my 8 moves in 5 years! Ugh! , I hate it. The stress it causes makes me anxious, and NOT a happy person to be around. So what has Sparkle Mama done in order to feel more like she has a plan? She's pregnant!! :) Yayyyy!

Congratulations Sparkle Mama! 

Natural Parents Network just posted an ironic post (given my recent discussion on my preschooler), on Parenting the Spirited Preschooler. I LOVE LOVE LOVE, did I say LOVE?, the suggestions of checking diet, keeping to a schedule, toddler-wearing, and relating to your preschooler as ways to help with the 'spirited' behavior of a crazy toddler!

I, too, struggle with the discipline and "control" of my preschooler at home and in public when his energy takes over :) I am lucky in that my toddler is typically respectful and overall a good listener, but I was SO glad (and relieved that I wasn't the only one) to read this article!

What were your favorite reads this week?

Who has the time?! ... and other realities of Working Motherhood

It has clearly been far too long since I've been able to work AND get my kids where they need to go AND take care of said kids AND blog AND go to school. Just like any other mama, I struggle with the day to day responsibilities of family, work, home, activities, and maintaining my own sanity!

I am now the mama of an official preschooler. My little boy is too quickly becoming a little man! But wow, with the age of 4 comes a whole new set of issues; the 'why' finally dwindles, the tantrums get fewer and further between, and the ability to 'wait' increases by about 1 second. Now, I have found, comes the corrections, the specifications, and the absolute inability to focus for more than a half a second! o.m.g!

What I already find myself regretting, is my inability to properly function as a 'working mother' (who ISN'T a working mother, right?). My days off are spent catching up on cleaning, laundry, and attempting to spend time with kids. Baby A, inevitably, takes the majority of my time. My little koala.

My little Spiderman is a bit more self sufficient, but nonetheless wants to constantly barrade me with questions, watch an endless array of movies, play with action figures (which of course requires my presence lol), color, and create various 'projects' that do little except make a mess of my house.

On top of all of this of course, my husband and I share the responsibility of getting our teenager where she needs to go (usually in her original home town, which is about 40 minutes from where we currently live), and make minimal attempts at making sure our dog is still alive at the end of the day lol! And lastly, I am back in school- so there is homework. Ahhh, how I have missed homework (yes, I am a total dork).  Albeit it's certainly not as easy as it used to be- 3 kids, husband working typically 7 days a week, so no sitter, trying to read/write between naps, while trying to clean house, and spend quality time with the kids. Wowww...

So how do YOU make sure the potentially little time you spend with your kids is full of quality? And do you really think quality is better than quantity when it comes to spending time with your kids?

I am not so sure.

I had a little over six months as a SAHM after Baby A was born. Near the end of that, I was SO happy to go back to work. I wanted a life again. I wanted to be ME again, and not just 'baby A's mommy' or 'spidermans mommy'.  So now I've been ME again for about  nine months- and I'm not sure my kids are benefiting.

It's stressful trying to get everyone where they need to be, being on time (which to be honest, I never am), still not benefiting financially, and then feeling like I have NO time to actually spend with my kids- as in, spend WITH them... in the moment.  The quantity of in the moment parenting time can be what kids need most.

What are your thoughts?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Guest Post: September to Remember

Check out my guest post today over at Little Hearts (Gentle Parenting Resources) for her trip down memory lane in her September to Remember Series. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

NNM Update

Given the recent break, I wanted to remind you of a couple features of our blog here at NNM;

-Be sure to check out the NurtureMe Store, which features products mentioned here on the blog.

-Check out some of our new 'buttons' down the sides of the blog- I only place ones I feel very strongly about and encourage you to check them out. Be sure to tell them NNM sent ya!

-If you haven't already, check out my latest guest post over at Spiritual Momma.

and, of course, find NNM on Twitter and Facebook


Happy Summer!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Summer FUN! A Glimpse into my Month Off....

What have YOU been doing this summer? My little ones have been having a blast! Many a beach day here in Maine, and some fabulous birthday parties;
Spiderman and mama on his 4th Birthday

poolside fun with their BFFs

the Birthday BOY!

the birthday GIRLZZZ! Both 1 year old!

Sissy :)

She loved her new doggy!

cupcake coma at my niece's 4th birthday party!

in the pool with his new, what else, Spiderman toy! :)

I love living on the Seacoast!

No Baby A, napping face down in the sand is NOT a good idea :)

Spiderman, decked out for the sun on his friends boogie board!

too much salty sea air for Baby A :)

friends <3

why yes, when staying at a hotel, lollipops are apparently a perfectly acceptable breakfast option :P

Baby A and her new Baltic Amber Teething Necklace, compliments of Stork Organic Baby Boutique

Even the dog got in on the summer fun action!

and hubby too! <3

Tell me about YOUR favorite parts of summer.

Did you miss me??

What I expected to be a brief hiatus to catch my breath, turned into an overall blissful summer month with my kiddos! So while I apologize for the absolute LACK of blogging, what kind of mommy-blogger could I really claim to be if I didn't enjoy some much needed, much enjoyed, time with my kids.

So WHERE the heck was I??!

Well, our family dynamics have changed once again... in a GREAT way! While the circumstances surrounding the change were at first scary, and overall emotionally trying- we are SO happy and glad to announce that my beautiful stepdaughter, who we will call Sissy (as she is the big sister), has joined our home on a permanent basis! I know I speak for all of us when I say we could not be happier that she is with us all the time!

My Spiderman just ADORES her, and little baby A is thrilled to have some female support in the house! :)

But what on earth do I do with a teenager??! Lol

I will take any and all suggestions! As we quickly approach the coming school year, her Freshman year of high school, I am planning a Family Calendar and a chore board so that everyone feels equally useful and accountable in the house. We are saving up for school shopping ( a teenage girl can cost some serious bucks! lol Plus, little Spiderman starts Pre K, and Sissy is involved in many sports- cha ching!), and I am eagerly awaiting (like a total DORK) shopping for school supplies- my absolute FAVORITE (yes, I am a total dork) activity of all time!

Stepmoms are supposed to be scary, right?

Eek. I have never liked the term "stepmom". My thoughts immediately turn to Disney's Cinderella, Julia Roberts in the movie Stepmom, and every other cinematic evil portrayal of the "s-t-e-p-m-o-t-h-e-r". (shudder).

But luckily, my stepdaughter has a very involved and active mom, and I have fallen nicely into the essential role of "big sister"/ "mom when needed" lol. I am here for whatever she needs, but tend to side with her on a lot of issues (as her father and I's parenting styles are totally opposite), so she likes that- as you can imagine. :)

So now that she is a more permanent member of the home, does my role change? Am I giving enough attention to each child?  Does our routine change? 

I have found thus far, that no. Nothing changes. We just roll with the punches, and when you sit back, and watch/observe/welcome the little changes... everything will naturally fall into place. Everyone finds their place. Everyone feels important. Everyone feels loved.

How do you handle step parenting? Or any change in the family dynamic?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mama, Are Ghosts Real? Welllll.....

I'm assuming my kid is like everyone else's, in that the questions keep coming. Some of which are normal, some bizarre, and some you wonder HOW they ever even thought of such things! But what about the questions where you feel like there is answer you should say, based on your own parenting experiences/books/advice from others, etc. but you find yourself saying something totally different.... and how do you make such responses age appropriate?

Several such experiences have happened recently, let me explain;

1. History: One of my little Spiderman's dogs passed away at his dad's house.
   Question: Mama, Nina lives in the sky now and I will never see her again.

So how do you respond??

Here's how our conversation ensued;

Mama; Well, that's not true exactly. When you die you go to Heaven, and you will see her again when you go to Heaven.

Spiderman: When will I go to Heaven?

Mama: Hopefully not for a long, long time.

Spiderman: If I went to Heaven, you would never see me again.

Mama: Well, I would see you when I went to Heaven. But hopefully you won't go to Heaven for a long, long time. Most people that go to Heaven are old.

Spiderman: Old like what?

Mama: Old like..... umm... dinosaurs.

Spiderman: Dinosaurs aren't people.

Mama: Ok, good point. Ummmm, old like.....

Spiderman: Old like Grampa (referring to my 60 year old father LOL) ??  :)

Ahhhh, gotta love 4 year olds!

Ok, next topic. Similar, although on a totally separate day.

2. History: Spiderman watches some cartoons that involve superheroes and other "bad guys" and other crazy, imaginary figures.
   Question: Mama, are ghosts real?

What would you say?

The voice inside me said "just say no. Simple. Conversation done. This is what you have been told a million times. "

Here is how the conversation ensued;

Mama: Well, some ghosts are real.

Spiderman: Why?

Mama: Because sometimes, before people go to Heaven, they still live on Earth for a while, but only some people can see them.

Spiderman: Are they good guys or bad guys?

Mama: Every ghost is different, you need to ask them if they're nice or not- just like you would when you met a new friend.

Spiderman: So it's ok that some of my friends are ghosts?

Mama: (hmmm, truth or imagination? Not sure, but just gonna go with it...) Yes.

Spiderman: Ok, cool. Thanks mom.

LOL! Again, out of the mouth of babes!

How do YOU handle the tricky questions?? And what are some of the tricky questions you've encountered?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Almost like a Sunday Surf, but on Wednesday!

So given my pure LACK of blogging lately, I have had more time to keep up with other blogs, and have discovered some fabulous posts by Backwoods Mom that I wanted to share! My teenage stepdaughter is now living with us full time, and so the teen posts have been keeping me busy!

my gorgeous stepdaughter <3
 20 Words of Wisdom to my Teens

1.        Yes, your freshman year counts towards your GPA for college entrance.  Screw it up and you’ll work for crap wages your whole life.

2.        No means NO.  In every possible circumstance. 

3.        Join every sport, every club, every after school activity no matter what the cost.  It's cheaper than bail.

4.        Repeat after me: I am never in that much of a hurry…I am never in that much of a hurry.   Now say that every time you get behind the wheel. It will save your life and that of your best friend in the seat next to you.

5.        Don’t smoke pot.  It ruins your
short term memory. (Did I already say that?)

6.        Don’t ever get a credit card.  Ever.  You earn it or you live without it.

7.        If I yell at you, it’s because I love you.  And also, because you pissed me off.    To avoid the latter, stop being an idiot.

8.        Make a vivid picture inside your head of every great moment of your childhood.   You’ll need those to get through adulthood.

9.        Make snow angels as often as possible.

10.      Stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves.

11.      Be always benevolent.  Yes, that’s a word.  Look it up.

12.      Call me for a ride even if you are so drunk you barely know my number.  I’ll probably be mad for a while but I’ll respect you for calling and I won’t kill you.  Riding with someone who is drinking will.

13.      Be a leader, not a follower. Unless you are doing stupid things, then follow the kid with the highest GPA.

14.      Love your siblings, even when you don’t like them.  Some day you will be trying to get them to take care of me in my old age.  If they are mad at you, you are stuck with me.

15.      I’ve been there, done that on more things than you can imagine.  I’m not stupid and I know what you are doing.  I was once you (times ten).

16.      Work hard at everything you do.  Anything worth doing is worth being the best   at.

17.      Cover it.  (Enough said.)

18.      When I tell you to clean your room, do not point at my messy room and raise    your eyebrows.  I’m trying to raise you to be better than me.

19.      Learn to type; to budget; and to pray.  All are equally important.

20.      Never be sedentary.  Some day soon you will no longer be able to move like that.  Enjoy it.

Children Will Remember
As parents, we spend our lives trying to be good enough.  Trying to keep up.  We worry that we’ve failed.  We worry that we’ve screwed up our kids to the point of no return because somehow we’ve not been good enough…as parents.  But let me explain something.

Our children will not remember their childhood the way we think they will.

They won’t remember if your hair was doing that ‘woohoo’ thing at their Christmas concert.  They will remember that when they entered the gym, their eyes scanned the bleachers and locked with yours.

They won’t notice if they found their cereal bowl in the cupboard or in the dishwasher or even if they had to wash it themselves once in a while.  They will remember that on Sundays, you made happy face pancakes.

They won’t have a clue that one Christmas you were flat broke and they got fewer toys.  They will remember that you made them a quilt out of old t-shirts and they will use it to swaddle their own children.

They will not remember that you cleaned and scrubbed while they were playing outside.  They will remember that once you knelt in the dirt pile and vroomed Hotwheels with them all afternoon.

They will not see the holes in their jeans, care about mismatched socks, or remember what brand of purse you carried.  They will remember the smell of daddy’s t-shirt he let them wear to bed...long after he's gone.

They won’t remember going to the theater with friends.  They will remember being pressed against your thigh on the couch, watching a movie, one hand in the popcorn bowl.

They won't remember that you didn't hike as fast as they did.  They will remember that you climbed to the top of the steepest mountain, just to show them the view. 

They will never recall the smell of the fancy dinners you prepared on the holidays.  They will remember  every single hotdog they cooked over an open fire and the way you knew they didn’t like mustard.

They won’t care if their bed was never made or that the blanket didn’t match their curtains.  They will remember the way it felt when you tucked the blankets around them and called them a burrito baby.

They will not care what you looked like in a swim suit.  They will remember that you went on the field trip to the pool anyway and were the one parent who didn’t sit to the side and watch.

They will not have lifelong damage from mud overdose.  They will remember the way the ooze felt between their toes and the look on your face when you found them…and joined in.

SO step away from the dishes.  Leave that pile of laundry on the couch, forget about homework once in a while.  Unclench your jaw and relax.  That’s what I’m going to try to do.

Because when I am old and I am gray, and I cannot do the things that I can do today…my children will not remember that my dishes were foul.  My children will remember that I could run…I could whoop…and I could howl.
* Be sure to check out Backwoods Mom  on her blog, and also on Facebook

Monday, July 18, 2011

It seems like Forever....

So wow, it has been FAR too long since I have hit these keys for anything besides a quick Facebook surf! There has been a lot of family "stuff" going on as of late and I want to first, apologize for my absolute absence on the mommy-blog-scene. I have, however, been very busy on the mama-scene with my three kids!

Having said that, I hope to get back to blogging sooooon! Everything is starting to normalize so I should have my in between nap time and night times back to type away!! :)

Baby A during a cupcake hangover at her cousin's birthday party <3

baby A & hubby opening some of HER presents during her 1st Birthday party!

My Little Spiderman at his 4th Birthday Party!  Theme? Spiderman, obvi :)

Big sister and her friend at the little kid party! Clearly enjoying themselves! :)

Here are some other great reads to keep you occupied in the meantime, and if you haven't yet, be sure to check out the amazing contributions from our RealMama Week a few weeks back! Hope you're all doing well!

Need to reuse your recalled crib? Check out these great ideas;
Repurposing the Recalled Crib by Consignment Mommies

This is a great, religious twist on attachment parenting; what I like about the blog is that she makes realistic connections, it's a great read!
Attachment Parenting- A Christian Perspective by Hippie Housewife

My husband & I are a great couple. We actually communicate quite well, and although we undoubtedly participate in an argument or two, we love each other and our little family. We do NOT, however, agree on parenting....

We agree on the grand scheme, which is what makes this all work. We both want the best for all of our kids, we want them to grow up to be happy, social, confident, well adjusted, confident, and emotionally expressive teens/adults. Getting there can be difficult since our styles are sooo different! I read this next post almost daily now, to remind myself that there are inherent strengths in each of our differences :)

Just not on the Same Page, by Becoming Crunchy

Fill me in on your favorite reads, online or otherwise, so I can catch up on what I've missed during my little hiatus. Thank you!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

4 years of my little Spiderman :)

Wow, I know it is soooo cliche, but time really does fly. Has it really been 4 years since my little Spiderman entered this world?! Really??

Baby Spiderman's Birth Story 

Due to a previous surgery, I was due to have a scheduled C section on June 28th, 2007. My due date was July 4th :)

Having no previous pregnancy or birthing experience, I was quite at ease with the thought of having a scheduled birth, with no labor, and what I had thought was going to be an "easy" birth and recovery.

I started Spiderman's pregnancy at a lean 125 pounds. During his pregnancy, I gained 65 pounds. Yes, you read that right... 65 pounds! I suffered from gestational diabetes, hypertension, and several torn ligaments thanks to my large baby, and extra large weight gain on such a small frame! Needless to say, as the date for my section drew nearer, I had appointments with my ever changing midwives every 2 - 3 days so they could check me, and perform a non stress test (NST) on the baby.

I had my regular appointment on June 26th. I had been experiencing what I assumed were Braxton Hicks contractions for several days, and the NST showed no "real" contractions, so I was sent home. Throughout the night, my "fake" contractions seemed to be getting more intense, and by the following morning, I was so uncomfortable that I called the office and paged the doctor to request the first available appointment. Despite the discomfort, I drove myself to my appointment at 8am. The midwife performed an excruciatingly painful vaginal exam- so painful I might add, that I was crying- and told me I was not dilated, so I should go home. They would see me the following afternoon for my C section.

My naivete got the better of me, and after I composed myself from the tears streaming my face, I hobbled to my car. The distance from the office door to my car was maybe 20 feet. By the time I reached my car, I could not move. The pain in my abdomen was so severe, that I could barely breathe. I literally could NOT move from the position I had now assumed in my driver's seat. There was no way I could drive home.

My then-boyfriend picked me up, after what seemed like an eternity! We headed for home, and having been told I would just have to stick it out until tomorrow, I tried to force down some food- I couldn't even catch my breath enough to sip water.

I had been examined at 8:30am. I got home somewhere around 10/10:30am, and called the doctor again around 11am. She tried convincing me to wait until the following day, saying I should just "rest" and "try to relax"; but after not being able to speak for several minutes on the phone, she relented that "if I really wanted to be checked again, I could go to the hospital". We were at the hospital by 12pm, and I had to be brought in on a wheelchair.

My little Spiderman was born at 12:37pm via C section. As we entered the OR, just 4 hours after my initial exam, I was almost 8 centimeters dilated.

My little Spiderman, who was not so little, weighed in at 8 pounds, 9 ounces and was 20 inches long.

The pediatrician who examined him came over and told me he looked great, congratulations! We got the oohs and aaahs from the OR nurses, and the emotional "pat on the back" from the doctor who performed our section.

Things start getting fuzzy for me after this. Time blurs together, and events just float in my mind like pages of a book clipped and strewn about in a thick fog. I remember looking at my baby for just a minute. Trying to decompress from the hormonal volcano that just erupted in my body, and also the stress and anxiety that had ensued that morning. As the nurse tinkered around the room, I could feel myself trying to pull my mind into the present moment. This is supposed to be some big epiphany, right? Some shining light of instant bonding is supposed to shoot from the sky and it will be the happiest moment of my life, right? As I tried desperately to shake off the cobwebs and really SEE my baby, the nurse interrupted my subconscious thoughts;

" he looks like he's breathing a little funny, I'm just going to take him to the nursery- I'll be right back"

I didn't see my little Spiderman again for almost 48 hours. 

being transported to the NICU

my little Spiderman at the NICU

Everything is a blur after that. Any thought of shaking the cobwebs in my mind were exchanged for more drugs, in hopes that they might help medicate the sobbing woman who was trying to recover from major abdominal surgery.

Murmurs from nurses, doctors, family, friends, all were like eavesdropping through a door even though I was in the same room. Now, they are choppy, faded memories;

"your son has suffered a spontaneous bilateral pneumothorax"
"he needs to be transported to another hospital"
"I'm sorry, you can't go with him"
"Is he still alive?"
(crying, tears)
my boyfriends family calls in a preacher 
really? last rites? what is going on?! why am I so tired?
"he will go and you will stay here"
"do you plan to breastfeed or bottle feed?"
"do you want them to feed him?"

My loving sister stayed with me that horrible night. As other family and friends called to see how the new baby was, I was left to explain time and time again that the baby was not there, and I had no idea if I would ever see him again.

The NICU to which he was transferred called almost every hour, wondering when I was coming- he was hungry...

"I don't know!" I would scream, "I can't get there! I'm in a hospital bed!" Finally, after what seemed like several HUNDRED phone calls, the two hospitals coordinated to get me up there in an ambulance. I was to leave at 10am.

They finally came to get me at 6pm. Yes, 6pm!

I continued to receive calls from the NICU describing my baby's desperate feeding situation, "I'm so sorry, we had to give him a syringe of formula, he was just so hungry!"

What does that even mean? Am I killing my baby because this hospital can't get me there?! Are they waiting for me to tell them to just feed him a formula bottle? But what about breastfeeding?! The questions did not stop circling.

I finally arrived, almost 2 days post op, still in tremendous pain and still suffering a huge hospital-drug-hangover. My swelling was unbearable. The NICU would allow me to stay, but obviously I was not their patient. I had to walk everywhere, despite my post op status and tremendous amount of swelling, and bleeding. I had to figure out how to pump myself, get up to shower, TRY to get some rest, AND answer the NICU call every hour on the hour to go feed my baby.

And I use the term "feed" loosely, breastfeeding became a HUGE undertaking due to the gag reflex my little Spiderman suffered from having been intubated.

But he did seem much more relaxed once he had his mommy with him :) And I was just relieved that my son was alive, and for all intents and purposes, doing well. He was the biggest baby in the NICU, as you can imagine, at almost 10 pounds! <3

We brought him home from the NICU after 8 days. His chest tube had been removed, and he was "eating" on his own. A visiting nurse would come check on him daily for a week, then one week after that, and then we were on our own.

My little Spiderman did great! He continued to gain weight, although breastfeeding remained a constant chore and struggle for both of us. We lasted until he was 6 months!

Since his traumatic start, my little Spiderman has become that light that I had been waiting for. It may not have had the time to appear as the "epiphany" at childbirth so many describe, but he continues to remind me everyday how wonderful being his mom is.

He is by no means a perfect child, and I am by no means a perfect mom- which is why, we are a perfect match! I do my best to nurture him, and he does his best to guide me as to what comes naturally to him. We pick our "battles" :), and I do my best to let things fall into place "naturally". He certainly has rules, and he seems to know and understand his boundaries.

He has adjusted to his dual-life, with two separate homes and two separate sets of rules. He knows he is Lucky. He has all the more people who love him! He has a mommy and a daddy, and a step daddy, a step mommy, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents up the wazoo!

He has a countless family and friends who love him. His mama, of course, is his biggest fan of all :) 

He is my baby. My boy. My superhero. My love. My son. My little Spiderman...

Happy 4th Birthday Baby! Mama loves you! <3