Saturday, August 29, 2009

My Mom

I'm not sure how to talk about this so bear with me. I'm using the blog as therapy today and all things considered I just hope I make some semblance of sense.
My dear mom ("Grammie" to the little ones) has breast cancer. She's been fighting it for about 8 years now. She first found a lump in her right breast which kept growing so she had a lumpectomy. It did not get all the cancer- they said it had already spread to her lymph nodes. Eventually the cancer ate the right breast off, leaving a mass of scar tissue in her chest where it used to be. She and my dad have not gotten along in years, plus my mom took care of my then-single sister's son during the day for the first 3.5 years of his life (he's almost 5), and running the farm so she has had soo much to worry about! It would take me hours to write all that has happened so I'm going to try to just summarize it so I can get to this weekend...
Mom tried everything. She had a friend who was also fighting breast cancer and they supported each other. The friend died. The friend's husband decided to pay for my mom's treatment as long as he could afford to in memory of his wife. Thanks to this man, my mom was going to a special clinic in Mexico that had good success with cancers. They tried a dozen different things on her. At one point they had her tested in California and her lymph nodes came back NEGATIVE! In fact, the only part of her body that tested positive for cancer cells was her right breast (what was left of it). It seemed like a miracle! Then she was unable to go back to Mexico for a while for treatments due to the money running out. After the friend's husband was able to afford it again, she started going back. Mom didn't say it felt like it was going away anymore... in fact she would just say "I don't know. I'm so tired I just don't know."
More recently the cancer has left nothing of her right breast and is eating at her chest from her armpit down almost to her bellybutton.
3 weeks ago Mom found a lump in her LEFT breast. 2 weeks ago she found a growth in her abdomen.
Yesterday and today she is at a seminar on healing. And I am praying. I am praying like I have never prayed before that my mom will be healed this weekend! She is such a strong woman and she's been fighting so long! She loves Jesus! Her 4th grandchild is due to be born TODAY - my sister's child. My dad and her are just beginning to work things out finally after all these years of being resentful strangers in the same house. She has SO MUCH to live for!

Dear God, PLEASE heal my mom from this cancer! So many are praying for her, asking for her healing! I don't know how to pray this time, You know my heart God! I don't know what to say, how to ask... just... Please heal her! In Jesus' name, AMEN!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Beginnings of Writing

This post is inspired by a post on MckMamma's blog which I had to comment on. Actually the following is for the most part excerpted from my comment. ;)

Well I heard about "blogging" some years ago and thought honestly, "Well how BORING! Who would read some stranger's online diary?!" But secretly the writer in me was intrigued.
When I was a little child, before I could write creatively, I was told constantly, "You are SO dramatic! You need to be a writer or actress. Find an outlet for all that creative energy!"
Then when I got older I began telling my little sister bedtime stories. We shared a room and the stories of princes and princesses and heroes and babies and love went on into the wee hours of the morning sometimes.
Then when my sister was too busy, tired, or just too old to care about my stories anymore, I tried to write them on paper. One day I asked my sister if she'd let me read her one and she let me, and she didn't like it. I was sooo embarrassed and took it really hard.
I decided I was a bad writer. I burned all my stories. Well actually I think I shredded some, in the interest of full disclosure. Not that that has any point whatsoever...
As a young teenager I had penpals. Over eighty of them. I wrote and wrote and wrote every night but there was something wrong. I would say the same things to different people in 100 different ways and it lost it's personal touch when I was too tired to try to think of the 82nd way to write down what I'd done today. I kept writing as long as I could, for over a year, and stopped replacing them when people stopped writing back. Finally there were none left and I was sad. Sad because they hadn't filled whatever void it was I was using them to try to fill. Sad because I must have let them down or they would have kept writing.
Here's the part in my life where I found my Knight in Shining Armor and we married when I was 19. I didn't do much writing. I knew nobody would ever read what I wrote, let alone enjoy it. I deleted or threw away everything I did write.
As a mom I have been on some message boards and occasionally in the telling of one of my latest mommy adventures I get told I should be a writer. Well I just smile with a tear in my eye when I read that because it's a sweet thought, but in practice who would really ever want to purposely search out and read anything I wrote? There is nothing special about me at all. Nothing whatsoever. I'm not a housekeeping dynamo. I'm not a supermom. I don't have the best behaved kids on the planet. I am not a chef. I am not a big executive with lots of money and ideas to make more. I've only got 2 kids so far, not half a dozen or more, and the two I do have are still just toddlers. I haven't travelled the world, adopted or fed orphans, or even gone to college. There is absolutely nothing about me that anyone would find interesting! I could name off a list of what I WANT, what I would LIKE to do and have and see. But nobody's going to read about someone who wants lots of kids adopted and biological but only has two so far, has lots of ideas but hasn't done anything, and wants to visit Australia but has never left the country. Let's face it, I'm as average plain-Jane as they come... In my own opinion at least. My kids think I have magical powers to manifest milk and cookies out of thin air, kiss away ouchies, and fix all manner of broken mangled abused toys.
About 2 months ago I stumbled upon the Raising Olives blog, and found MckMamma's through there.
That's the first I've ever had any interest in reading blogs. I didn't know they could be about anything and everything. I didn't want to know that they could shine with individual personalities and suck you in like a good novel. Because then I would be HOOKED. And once I got hooked on reading them, I knew I'd never be able to keep stuffing my inner writer down in the dark depths of past hurts and current insecurities.
And MckMamma's annoymous "Mck" nicknames inspired me to get over another of my hurdles- privacy.
So a couple months ago I started a private blog, and then about a month ago I started this public one, and I have not shut up since. And I read blogs every singe day as well and baby Stellan is on my prayer list with my mom who has cancer and baby Jonah and all my friends/family who are out of work from this recession.
Thank you to the bloggers I read for inspiring me. Although I think I've opened Pandora's Box with the whole starting a blog thing now... I seriously can't stop. I've been writing constantly, on everything, not just my blog, and the ideas don't hush up long enough to let me sleep anymore! ;) Look out cyberspace! Boring old me is about to talk your virtual ear off!

The Winner of the Babylegs is....

Happy Friday! :D Today I am announcing the winner of the Babylegs Photobucket giveaway! I will be emailing the winner in about 2 seconds... I hope you all have a terrific weekend! Now for the winner:

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Congratulations Tiffany! I guess that extra entry paid off! :) I will be contacting you today. :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Crochet Lace Pattern, Wiped-out Wednesday

Don't Forget to enter for a chance to win a pair of Babylegs!

I don't think I could possibly be any more tired today. I was up LATE (early? 2:30am) last night getting the picture of the Babylegs up for the giveaway and other such fun internet doings that are easier to do when everyone is in bed. Chicket decided to get up for the day at 3am and she sleeps in our room so she kept sitting up and poking me. "Mama! Mama! Mama, Daddy is SNORING!" No kidding. Lucky Daddy... *sigh* It's now almost 2:00 in the afternoon and she hasn't taken a nap yet. I'm hoping she will soon because I need one SO BAD! Bug however is snoozing away. He skipped morning nap so he's pooped. Poor wittle fellow! I am jealous though- wish I was snoozing away.
Okay I'll quit whining about my half hour of sleep now.

I was thinking of posting the crochet pattern for the 'lace' I used on the Babylegs. Any other crochet fanatics out there? The stand-alone basic pattern is actually super duper easy. You just need to know how to make a chain, double crochet, and single crochet. Picot is explained in the pattern.

Stand-alone Lace
Steel crochet hook size 7
A few yards of cotton crochet thread size 10 or 20 in your chice of color
(Picot- ch 3, sc in 3rd ch from hook. 1 picot made.)
Row 1: Chain a chain about 1/4 inch shorter than the length you need the finished lace to be. It will get a bit longer as you work. Turn, sc in each ch to the end. Turn.
Row 2: Ch 3 (counts as first dc), *work Picot, dc in next sc. Repeat from * to end of row. Tie off.
Finishing: Attach to project with tacky glue, or a stretchy sewing machine stitch like the zig-zag. Remember if you are applying it to a fabric that will be washed that cotton thread may shrink a bit in the wash, so you may wish to make the lace extra long and then gather it a bit as you sew it on so it won't pull the fabric if it shrinks in the wash.

Crocheted Into Knit Project
Steel crochet hook size 9 (crochet slightly loosely)
A few yards of cotton crochet thread size 10 or 20 in your chice of color

(Picot- ch 3, sc in 3rd ch from hook. 1 picot made.)
NOTE: The easiest fabric to crochet into is a knit fabric like the socks I used for the Babylegs. When crocheting into the edge of a fabric, it's best to zig-zag or hem the edges before adding the crochet so the edges to not unravel as you are working with them. Alternately, for knit fabrics, you may crochet into the loose loops to hold the edge from unravelling with your crochet work. You must make sure to catch every loop though or it will unravel. You may also go over the finished product where the lace is attached to the fabric using a decorative or zig-zag stitch to give the lace extra hold into the fabric and catch any loops you may have missed. These instructions are for crocheting into the raw edge of a knit fabric.
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Row/Rnd 1: Tie a slip knot noose at the end of your thread. This will be your starting loop. Put hook through fabric where you want the first stitch to go. This should be a little ways into the fabric in a rib with a loose loop at the edge. Pull your slipknot loop back through the fabric and chain 3. Counts as first dc. *Work Picot, dc in next rib that has a loose loop. Repeat from * to the end and tie off and hide tails, OR repeat from * around and sl st in top of first ch 3 to join, tie off and hide tails.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Babylegs (leg warmers): my first ever Giveaway!

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My first Giveaway! The prize is pair of "babylegs" - leg warmers, made by me from a cute pair of socks:
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PRIZE:
The prize will be 1 pair of babylegs (infant leg warmers) made by me. These are not official Babylegs brand, they are sewn by me, made from a pair of new socks. They are good for potty training in winter when it's too chilly to go pants-less but having pants on would cause accidents. They look cute with just a onesie, or under a dress or skirt. Good for going out or staying in. Good for protecting a crawler's knees from a hard floor. The prize pair is striped, with hand-crochet lace, as pictured. These should fit an infant up to about 2 years of age. If you need to know if they'll fit your child, please measure the child's leg where you want the leg warmer to cover and tell me the measurements and I will give you a good guess as to whether or not they will fit.

HOW TO WIN:
Winner will be chosen this Friday morning, August 28th, as soon as I wake up, by Random.org from the entries received. To qualify, you must leave an email address where I can contact you. Giveaway is open to residents of the US only (this time, for shipping reasons- I'm sorry to my Canadian and UK friends! I love you! I just can't afford the shipping that far!). I will email the winner Friday morning at the conclusion of this giveaway. If you win and do not respond within 2 days of my emailing you (If you still haven't responded by the time I go to bed Sunday night), then the Prize will be awarded to the first runner up instead. If you should so happen to be the lucky winner, you will need to provide me with a mailing address to which I can mail it. P.O. Boxes are fine, work addresses, home addresses, whatever you feel comfortable with. I wish I could just turn the prize into data and email it to you but since that only works in the move Timeline, I will have to send it the old fashioned way. If you are not comfortable providing me an address to mail it to, please do not enter.

DISCLAIMER:
I am not responsible to compensate you for the results of any errors, accidents, or oversights. I am not responsible for lost winner-notification emails or lost responses from you. I am not responsible for Post Office damages or delivery issues. If the P.O. can't deliver your prize for any reason, I am not responsible. If they lose it, I'm not responsible. If it takes 6 months to get from my P.O. to your address, I am not responsible. If a tornado snaches up the mail truck and eats your prize I am not responsible.
I will not be held responsible for anything that happens to your prize after it leaves my home.
I cannot refund (since no money is involved) or replace your prize for any reason.
I am not responsible to compensate you in any way for the results of any technological errors or glitches, any typos, any misunderstandings, any misuse/loss/damages of the prize after it has left my hands, and I am not responsible to compensate you for the prize not being what you expected. I am a mom, and I'm sure most of you know how hard it is to take toddelers to the post office, so please understand if it takes a few days to a week to get it mailed out. I will let you know when it is sent so you can be on the lookout for it.

Now that we've got all that junk outta the way, here's the good part ;) :

HOW TO ENTER:
To enter, please leave a comment on this post that includes your email address where I can contact you if you win, and in the body of your comment you should tell me about your child/children's favorite article of clothing or dress up item.
For extra entries you may post a blog entry with a link to this giveaway, or TWEET it. Please post 1 time for each type of entry (EXAMPLE:
post 1-"My baby loves to wear [insert your kiddo's cuteness story here]"
post 2-"I Tweeted this [insert link to tweet]"
post 3-"Blogged this [insert link to post where you blogged it]").
No duplicate entries allowed- i.e. only one entry of each type per person.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not Me! Monday: Sock Hankies and Playing with Food

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.





I did NOT send my husband for a drive with Chicklet yesterday evening and then put Bug in the playpen with a 1/4 full container of fruit puffs and let him eat, throw, and dump them on the floor and then play with the empty container and spilled puffs while I lay on the couch like a lump beause it's my week of the month to hate being a woman.

I did NOT blow my nose on a dirty sock because I was doing laundry and the dirty laundry hamper was closer than the nearest box of Kleenex. That would be disgusting and of course I would never do such a lazy thing.

One night when hubby got home from work, he went to use the bathroom. I was cooking supper. Chicklet did NOT try to follow him into the bathroom and then come suddenly running back to my side looking grossed out and tell me, "Daddy's DISGUSTING!" When I asked my husband what he'd done, he did NOT tell me he'd told her not to follow him because he was going to go poop and it would be 'disgusting.' Oh my. Are these people really my family? Haha!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Terrible-Twos (Project No-TV!!)

My Chicklet, who as you know by now is 2 years and 11 months old, has been going through one of those phases which most parents cringe at the mere mention of... The Terrible-Twos!! I always swore I would never be THAT mom with THAT child throwing a fit in WalMart. Well I'm sure you're sitting there snickering at that comment... Yes, I was THAT mom with my dear girl turned into a raving lunatic in the middle of a shopping expedition. And I cried too as soon as I got in the car.


My dear darling Chicklet has always been very strong willed. She can tantrum with the best of them! She has even tried beating her own head against the wall once or twice. We tried everything to stop the bad behavior. She was just getting worse and worse and nothing I was doing was helping. I remember a time when she was only like this when she was tired, but more recently it got to be a constant thing. It was horrible. I cried, where is my sweet girl who was always smiling? Always trying to help me? Always eager to learn and wanting to please me? Where did she go?! 

I started thinking back to when the behavior issues started. I mean, there were naughty episodes as young as when she was a tiny baby, but we dealt with it and moved on. When the real nastiness, the real stubborn willfullness came on, was I think when I was pregnant with Bug. I have terribly rough pregnancies. When I was pregnant with Bug I remember bawling and praying because I was unable to do anything but be miserable. I took good care of Chicklet physically, but I was so sick and in so much pain that I was not there for her in other ways. I didn't play with her. I had a hard time interacting with her if it required moving from my chair. I started having Dora DVD's on all the time so she wouldn't start crying when I would lurch out of my chair and stagger to the bathroom to empty my stomach. She learned alot of good stuff from Dora, but it wasn't a good substitute for mother-daughter time.
When Bug was born, it was a while before I felt more myself and was playing with the kids again. Actually with both kids it took until they were about 10 months old before I started being able to keep up with basic housework and do fun things with them again. Before that I was so dead on my feet exhausted I didn't do much beyond changing diapers and feeding them. I know it sounds horrible. I took good care of them physically, I just wasn't able to play with them or converse with them like they need.
As soon as I could I started playing with the kids again. Including them and narrating to them as I went on about my day. I was teaching them things and singing with them all the time. I started noticing that Chicklet's behavior problems changed. She was tantruming less. But it didn't stop. In fact after a while she started getting worse again. I was paying close attention and noticed something.
She was constantly quoting movie lines. ALL the time. She'd be playing with her toys and start going on, "Oh no Boots, we can't ride on the brown leaves! They're falling apart! We have to ride on the GREEN leaves! Say Verde!" She would be coloring and say, "This is your badness level... unlooloolee high for someone your size." She would zoom around the house yelling, "Abort! Abort! Disengage! There are children aboard! I repeat, there are children aboard!" She would be eating lunch and say, "I'm not happy, Bob. NOT HAPPY." One day in the car she was mumbling to herself and I was listening. I heard, "...mumblemumble...Nemo you get back here RIGHT now you hear me! I'm going to count...mumblemumble...ahhh! ahhh! Nemo! Nemo! No no! Has anyone seen a boat?!...mumblemumble...OOF! ...mumblemumble...A boat? I saw a boat! It passed by not too long ago. mumble...follow me!..mumblemumble...'Ello! My name's Bruce! ...mumblemumble...Doing? We're not doing anything. In fact we're not even here... mumblemumble... trust a shark...mumblemumble...a little get-together I'm having. Whaddaya say?..."

It was at this point I decided that letting her watch one thing a day was obviously too much television. When the child's mind is that good that she can see Finding Nemo all of 6 times over the coarse of 6 months and then quote half the movie off the top of her head, I need to be finding a better use for that amazing memory.

The real eye-opener came about a month ago though, when she started quoting to me when she was having a bad attitude. Instead of falling on the floor screaming and crying like before, now she would fall on the floor and viciously kick, hit, throw, and beat anything within reach. Then she would curl up and bawl, "Weemememememememememememeeeee!" It was so annoying! It was like babytalk while tantruming. And then it clicked. She was being Lilo having her tantrum and then mumbling incoherently while Nani was trying to talk to her. She was being Stitch destroying things. She was being Mr. Incredible throwing his boss through the wall. She was being Nemo doing what his dad said not to. She was being Marlin yelling and grouching. She was doing exactly what kids do; being what she saw.

I talked to my husband about my observations. We had already cut the kid tv down to 3 movies or Doras a week plus Saturday morning toons with Daddy, but it obviously wasn't enough. We decided to cut out all tv and movies.

I think the problems started when I was sooo tired from my pregnancy with Bug that I was not able to give Chicklet the quality interaction she needed. The TV became her friend to replace Mommy while Mommy was too busy hunched over the toilet throwing up. And as long as that TV-friend was still holding that place in her life, I was at war with it for her heart. So I decided a good start to winning back my place as her best friend was to get rid of the competition.

One week later it was like she was a different child. Instead of quoting Nemo, I caught her repeating things I'd told her. She asked me what does N say. I told her N says nnnnnn and the rest of the day she kept repeating in a singsong voice, "N say nnnnn!"

I continued to notice positive changes. Less tantrums. Shorter tantrums. BOTH kids were happier in general, calmer. She had been boycotting naps before but now she would take one once in a while.

Then I decided it was okay to let them watch DVDs that have no talking, like Baby Einstein. Chicklet's naps went out the window again. And worse, that little bit of give for Baby Einstein was enough to make Mama backslide. I slipped. I gave in. I let her watch a "real" movie - one with talking. And it all unravelled. Tantrums galore. Attitude in bulk. Speaking in movie quotes.

Mama messed up.

So I'm getting back on the horse as of about a week ago. Here's what I've noticed since I cut out the TV again:
Chicklet's taking naps again most of the time. Even when she does not take one she still seems more refreshed than back in TV days.
Again less and shorter tantrums from both kids.
Less movie quoting.

Ah but then today Daddy slipped up and let me sleep in while he watched a movie with the kids. Uh-oh...

Chicklet cried and screamed and acted out all day.

Tomorrow is a new day! Gotta get back off the TV wagon- again.


So there you have it. Part 1 of the no-tv project. I will keep you updated as to how it goes! :) So far I'm loving the results!

Update HERE.