Thursday, December 15, 2011

The F-Word

Dedicated to the women of the world that think "the real 'F' word is formula":

Like many expectant moms, I read plenty about how to best care for my babies. And in my reading and  research, I decided that breast was best and that because of that I would be nursing my twins for at least the first year of their life (I'd play it by ear from there...).

I ordered an EZ-2-Nurse pillow, specifically designed for nursing twins, a breast pump, and 0 bottles.  We moved to a rental house less than 1 mile from my office, so I could nurse after going back to work.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 were born 35 w 2 d.  So they were a little early, but not much (36 weeks is considered full term for twins).  They weighed 5 lb 13 oz and 5 lb 7 oz.

The first thing the hospital staff did when the boys were born was put in a feeding tube through their nose.  Apparently this was standard for babies this small.  Their first feeding was formula.  I actually was kind of pissed that they didn't consult me for any of this.  But the nurses kept insisting on the importance of bringing up their body weight.

Before I ever put the babies to breast, I used a pump.  I squeezed out the most minuscule amount of colostrum.  This went straight into their feeding tubes.

The nurses literally weighed the boys with a super scale before and after each attempt to nurse, and if they didn't gain enough ounces, they would then feed them through the nose tube.  (No sucking necessary.)

A friend of mine recently had a premature baby here at the hospital where we live now and instead of a nose tube, they made the baby suck on her finger while she slowly fed through a syringe on the side...teaching the baby he had to suck to get a full belly.  I wish we'd done that with my boys.  Because I feel like the nose tube made them lazy!  They didn't need to suck hard to get a full belly, so why bother working so hard at breast time if afterwards you'd get rewarded anyway?  (By the way, the staff is coming off very unsupportive, but this isn't true.  They all cheered me on at my insistence to nurse. They wanted me to succeed, but they also had a job to make sure the boys were as well taken care of medically as possible.)

I held out not giving my boys a bottle for 11 days!!

The doctor wouldn't sent them home from the hospital until they were over 6 lbs and feeding on their own (no nose tube).  And after 11 days of traveling back and forth to the hospital every day...I finally broke down and gave them bottles, because I just wanted to bring them home!  # 1 I'd been in that hospital for 12 weeks on strict medically prescribed bedrest.  #2 the hospital was a 30 min drive from our house, so every day I was getting up and commuting (even though I wasn't supposed to drive after my c-section) to the hospital in time to be there for the 7:30 am feeding.  Then I would pump.  Then take a nap in a room with one of the boys on my chest doing Kangaroo care.  Then feed. Then pump. Then nap with the other baby.  Then feed. Then pump. Then nap. All day. When Superman got off work, he'd meet me up at the hospital for dinner.  We'd stay there until the boys' 9:30 feeding and then drive home for the night.  (I wanted to stay at the hospital and try feeding through the night too, but the nurses insisted I needed rest.  They said that the stress and exhaustion might be part of the problem with my milk supply.)  After almost two weeks of this, I broke down and said "take out the feeding tube and just give them a bottle."

When we left that day, I took one of the hospital grade pumps home with me. If I couldn't get the boys to latch, I'd at least pump and feed them my own milk.  Heck, I could do that for at least 6 months right?

We also took home a supplemental nursing system to use with it, because I was trying to get the boys to suck at the breast to encourage production...but it was not practical for me being at home all alone with twins and I just couldn't get it to work the way it was supposed to.

As I've explained before, my supply was pitiful. My milk never fully came in. I never (ever) had "let down".  I drank Mother's Milk tea. I took Fenugeek supplements. I drank liters and liters of water. I did kangaroo care. I pumped every 2 hours, on the dot. But still I barely made enough to feed one baby, let alone two.

Then, after 8 weeks of pumping and supplementing with formula (or really I should say after 8 weeks of feeding formula and supplementing with breast milk), my supply finally gave up.  And so did I.

So I'm here to say "Don't you dare compare formula to a four-letter word!"  Formula is what kept my babies from starving when my breasts didn't do as nature intended.  Would I have preferred to feed my children 100% breastmilk, sure I would have. Because as one wise mother has said: "Breast is best, but formula isn’t toxic. In fact, its pretty damn good."

Friday, December 9, 2011

Almost a year!

I just realized that it has been almost a year since I started this blog.

My first entry post was on January 4, 2011.  So, in just a few weeks, it will be one year.

To date, I have posted 62 blogs (not counting this one).  Which means over 11 months I have posted an average of 1.3 blogs a week.  That is not terrible.  Especially not for my first blog.

May 2012 bring an even more fruitful blogging experience (maybe a few more readers too).

Until then, I have a few more weeks left of 2011 to help my average. Maybe I can get it up to 1.5!

Christmas Under Attack

So, apparently GOP nominee-wannabe Rick Perry says that “our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”

I agree that political correctness can sometimes be taken ridiculously far.  But, c'mon people, do you really believe the "majority" of Americans really feeling persecuted on this one?  I was a student too long ago to give my personal experience as a student, but I was just a teacher in public schools a few years ago, and we still had Christmas in school (I loved our ugly Christmas sweater contests!)

Heck, I was visiting an elementary school earlier this week and they had a write a "letter to Santa" bulletin board. And I live in a very liberal college town with a lot of international students. If Christmas is still in OUR schools...I have a feeling it's not the epidemic Rick Perry wants you to think it is.

"No prayer in school" does not mean prayer in school is illegal (you will not get sent to jail, or even detention for praying in school), it just means no organized prayer in school.  No mandated prayer in  school. No one (teacher, principal, coach, etc) can force anyone to pray, thereby also pressing their personal religious beliefs on a child. Your child.  Think about it...I have a colleague who is Muslim and is a social studies teacher at a local middle school. What do you think most Christians would do if SHE led a prayer in her class?! They'd freak the fuck out! Freak. The. FUCK. Out. They'd be picketing. Rioting. No, burning the freaking school down.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating.  A little.

But most Christians I know would be really upset about that. To say the least.

Every school, every morning during announcements (at least every school I've ever attended or taught at or visited for any other reason) observes a moment of silence. This is a moment (about a minute or so) set aside for both the students and staff to take a moment to relax, be calm, and reflect on their coming day. An opportunity for those who feel so inclined to say a prayer. And they can start it for themselves as "Dear God" "Our Heavenly Father" "My Creator" or "Dear Lord baby Jesus", or however else they personally feel compelled to pray. Because religion is, and should always be, a personal choice. A BELIEF if you will.

I attend and am a member of a Christian church. But occasionally, we attend other churches, most commonly my in-law's church. And even though both of our churches are Christian, I get uncomfortable during parts of their service and many of their prayers, because our churches just have such different interpretations of things. I often will block out what is being prayed and say my own, different, silent prayer in my head. One that fits my beliefs.

I can almost hear it now "well, children who believe differently or don't want to pray could do the same thing." But here is a huge difference: #1 I am choosing to be sitting in that church. No one forces me to go, not even my in-laws. Children do not have a choice to go to school. #2 I am a grown adult with formed beliefs, and those people in the pulpit of my in-laws church are not my role models or mentors or authority figures.  I can easily distinguish between what they tell me and what I personally believe.  Children are typically much more easily influenced than that.  And bottom line is, if my children are praying, I want them to pray prayers that are meaningful to them and their beliefs, not their teachers, or classmates, or some government official somewhere hundreds of miles from their classroom.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dear Santa

After almost every trip home I fall into a mild depression (not the clinically diagnosed kind). Because during those few days back in my hometown, I get to spend short but valuable quality time with my best friends. These are woman who I have known for years. Before babies. Before husbands. Heck, most of them before I could drink, or vote, or drive! 17 years and more. I love them so much. And miss them every day.

Sure, thanks to cell phones, emails, and Facebook, I don’t miss them nearly as much as I would have a 100 years ago when we could have only sent written correspondence that would take a week or more to deliver. Keeping in touch now is much more convenient and economical. But still, Skyping doesn’t replace sitting next to them on the couch, sipping a glass of wine, and laughing together. Or crying together. And I can’t do that from 800 miles away.

And I miss that they know me. Really know me. Know that I’m sarcastic, opinionated, and bawdy. Now that I am passionate about important things and irrelevant things like which peanut butter is the best. That I have the best intentions despite having a propensity for putting my foot in my mouth. That I love gossip, but not in a mean spirited way. That I often need to bitch and complain, just to get things off my chest before I can get any clarity on the situation. That I’m a loyal friend, but I also believe in being honest even though I know it’d be easier to just tell you what you want to hear. They know that I can be unintentionally judgmental, and they help me work on changing that about myself.

With them, I don’t have to act smarter than I am. Or to censor myself. Act more pious. Or polite. Or wittier. Or more informed. I can be exactly who I am, and they love me and accept me just for that. I feel safe and unjudged.

As a married mother/adult living in a university town, I have found it very hard to make friends. Sure, I have some wonderful acquaintances, but that is all they are. Nice people that I exchange pleasantries with in social situations.

How are you?
I’m great. How are you?
How is the family? Good?
That’s terrific! Man this weather is beautiful/terrible/crazy/unexpected.
Yes, isn’t it? But that is Indiana for you.
True. Well, it was good to see you.
Awesome, it was good to see you, too.

But for one reason or another it never seems to go past this very superficial level into any more meaningful relationships.

Part of the problem is that because this is a university town, most people I meet seem to see their time here as temporary. Just a bookmark in their life until they move on to their real jobs, their real homes, their real lives. They don’t seem interested in putting much effort into making good friends here, since they themselves are only here on loan until they finish their degrees or find permanent positions elsewhere. And I will admit, back when I lived here as a graduate student in the early 2000s, I was the same way.

The other problem is that when you were young, it didn’t take much to establish a connection. You thought they were fun and funny and they thought the same about you.  But now, you might like her but your husband doesn’t care for him. Or your husbands get along but you and she have nothing to talk about. Or you both like the couple, but you can’t stand their kid and don’t really want them around your kids. Or worse…they don’t have kids, so they just can’t understand your schedule and why you always turn down their invitations to go meet for drinks at 9:00 pm on a school night.

Superman doesn’t seem as phased about not having friends as I am. Honestly, between having me and his parents nearby…he seems quite content with all of his acquaintances. But I want, no, I NEED some girlfriends! And not the kind I can only reach out and touch through a keyboard, but the fleshy kind. The kind that will show up at my house unannounced on a Saturday and sit and drink a cup of hot chocolate with me while we watch the kids play in the snow in the backyard. The kind that we have a monthly game night with, when you bring the kids’ pajamas, because you know the fun will go way past their bedtime.

Oh, and not to be too picky, but I want one that mothers similar to me. Someone that doesn’t feed their kids McDonald’s at every meal, but doesn’t think Ronald McDonald is the devil either. Someone who doesn’t put coke in their one year old’s sippy cup, but doesn’t feed them only organic seaweed juice. Someone who believes in discipline, but also believes that children are children and that 4 year olds shouldn’t be expected to conform to adult standards of politeness and properness. Someone who doesn't chronically read parenting advice books. Someone who I can ask parenting advise from, but isn’t offended if I don’t take it. A mother who is realistic about their love for their child, and doesn’t insist that they are god’s gift to the world and they poop skittles and rainbows. A mother who likes spending time with her children, not one who always wants to do “just girls” things because she is desperate to get away from them at every opportunity.

I know my list is not unreasonable. I know this, because I know these women. And if this were a perfect world, I’d live next door to them in Virginia Beach and still have my amazing in-laws living just 45 minutes away.

But until then, I can just say:

Dear Santa Claus,

Please, please, please bring me a friend this year.  I’ve been very good all year and I think I deserve it.


P.S. She must believe in Santa Claus.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Talking to Kids About Abuse

This is an incredibly informative blog that addresses talking to your kids about sexual abuse written by a woman who attends my church. I highly encourage every parent to read it and to consider talking to your children about this subject.  Like she says, even children as young as four can understand these basic concepts.  Your children deserve to know they have rights not to be abused.

Thank you Jenni.

Talking to Kids About Abuse

Children as young as four years old can understand the basic concepts of good touches, bad touches and confusing touches. These young children can also understand the definition of sexual abuse and are not afraid of the words that send a chill up the spines of adults. Use the words "sexual abuse" when talking with your child because if a child is victimized, they need to be able to tell you that they were "sexually abused."

Child protective services social workers will tell you that a child without the language to describe their victimization is a child whose case is weakened in the court system.  Remember, you are not putting the responsibility on the child.  Instead, you are helping the child to understand the problem and identify safe people who will support them.

Children need to hear information more than once. This way, your child will "own" this information. Repetition allows them to retain what they have learned. A one-time discussion is soon forgotten.

Also, repeating your discussions every year will reinforce what they have learned and reintroduces points they may have forgotten. Let's not rule out the possibility that, in the course of your discussion, a child may exclaim: "Hey! That's happened to me!" While a parent can never be fully prepared for such a disclosure, you may want to know how to respond to a child who discloses abuse, before you begin your talk with your child.

This synopsis is offered here to help you discuss this very difficult topic with your children so that they will have the tools they may need to stay safe from sexual abuse.
  • Teach your child that they are special and have the right to know everything they can about being safe.Discuss of all the safety rules they have learned and explain that there are some more safety rules to learn.
  • When teaching your child about sexual abuse, talk about 3 different types of touch: good touch, bad touch and sexual abuse touch. "Good touches" are those touches that make us feel happy, safe and loved. Good touches can make us feel warm inside or can make us feel like a smile. Emphasize that most of the touch we get is good touch. Good touches are so important! "Bad touches" are those touches that hurt us; they feel like an ouch. Some examples are kicking, hitting and biting. "Sexual abuse touch" is defined as "forced or tricked touch of private body parts." The key words are forced and tricked. A force is when someone makes you do something you don't want to do or don't understand. A trick is when someone lies to you, fools you, pretends or calls something a game, that really isn't a game, so they can touch your private body parts or have you touch theirs. Explain that sexual abuse is confusing because it doesn't necessarily hurt; the touch can feel good. And that is confusing to children.
  • Use the words "sexual abuse" to eliminate unnecessary confusion. The effort to call sexual abuse by another name (such as inappropriate touch) is counterproductive--leading to more confusion for children. After all, we can be assured that the sexual abuse offender of our children will not call what he/she is doing sexual abuse.By giving your child the correct language, you give your child the power.
  • Teach your child that their body is their own and that no one has the right to touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable or in a way that they don't like.
  • Teach your child that they have the right to trust their own feelings and to ask questions when they feel uncomfortable or confused by someone's behavior. Talk about times when they may have had an anxious feeling (forgetting homework, losing something, frightened by a loud noise, etc.). Discuss the importance of paying attention to our feelings in situations when we are feeling uncomfortable.
  • Teach your child that they have the right to say "NO!" to sexual abuse. Teach them that they can say "NO!" to anyone who might want to sexually abuse them; even if the offender is an adult; even if the offender is someone they know.
  • Teach your child that it is very important to tell a trusted adult if someone sexually abuses them or hurts them in any way. Teach your child that they can tell another person if they are not believed. Discuss and identify trusted adults in their life.
  • Teach your child that it is okay to break promises they might make about sexual abuse. Children do not have to keep any promise that makes them feel bad inside.
  • Teach your child that if sexual abuse happens to a child, it is NEVER the child's fault. Older children (4th grade and up) may come up with ways in which it could be the child's fault; explain that sexual abuse is against the law and children are not responsible when someone breaks the law and sexually abuses them.
  • Teach your child that a person who sexually abuses a child can be anyone. Most children, even adults, think that offenders are usually strangers. Children need to know that they have the right to say "NO!" and tell even when the offender is someone they know, like, love or even live with. (In 90% of cases the offender is someone the child knows.)
  • Let your child know that it is never too late to tell about sexual abuse.
  • Let your child know that if sexual abuse happens to them,  they are still lovable and that you will always love them no matter what.
This information was taken from

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Who is worth protecting?

Last July, I wrote a post going public with a secret I had kept for nearly 25 years, about my experiences of being sexually abused when I was a young child.

This was not something I did lightly. For a period of nearly 25 years, I told very, very few people. And often once I had told someone, I almost always regretted it. I felt marked. Like as if that person now saw me with a scarlet letter, A for Abuse. I was marked as a victim. Who wants to be thought of as a victim?

I have shared the actual physical details with even fewer people. Because really, who wants to talk about them? Certainly not most normal people. Certainly not me.

But overall, it actually felt good to blog about it last summer. Weirdly liberating to share my shameful secret with the blogosphere. Maybe it's because I didn't tell people face to face, so I didn't have to experience their looks of "what do I say to that?" but when I wrote this blog I didn't feel the same burn of the scarlet letter, even though I was opening myself up to not only close friends and confidants, but to all my friends and family. And even some people who I only knew in real life in a passing fashion. Heck, even to strangers, if anyone passed the link on.

The first few days after posting the blog, I waited with some trepidation to feel that same burning shame, but it never came. And really, I kind of just forgot about it after that. My secret was out. No big deal. What had I been so afraid of?

You see, I am actually pretty lucky, as far as sexual abuse victims go because I don't really feel my life has been too affected in the long run. I didn't turn to drugs or other forms of self abuse (cutting, etc) to punish myself. I don't have messed up relationships with the opposite sex. In fact, from what I've read about typical abuse survivors, it seems the only stereotypical way it affected my life is that I was overly curious as a child about sex, leading me to becoming sexually active at a younger age than most of my peers.

Maybe it is because my abuse was temporary, unlike many who suffer at the hands of their abusers over long periods of time. Maybe because my abuse was not violent. Maybe because my parents did not know, so I never felt the betrayal of witnessing them turn a blind eye, or worse blaming me, as some kids do. Maybe because in all other aspects of my life I felt loved, supported, safe...

But wait, there is one more way my life has been affected. As I said before in my previous blog, my childhood experience does affect my parenting. It has made me what some deem overly protective. We did not let our children go to daycare or be babysat by anyone other than their grandparents or godmother. Within the past few months we have allowed them to be watched shortly by their good friends' parents. But we are careful not to open the flood gates on this one. Going into their neighbor friends' houses whose parents we do not know is still a huge no-no, and will be for a long time!

But even though I know I'm lucky that overall my emotional scars don't run too deep, as evidence that I can type out blogs like this without retreating into hysterics or regressing on whatever progress I've made, I am not immune from getting worked up when I hear about abuse. Of course I am referring to the current headlines about Jerry Sandusky.  Obviously I think he is a monster.  Obviously I'm sickened by what he did and my heart goes out to those children.  But, here are my three main take aways.

#1 The media needs to learn the difference between molestation and rape. Many commentators and news outlets reported that Sandusky had allegedly "molested" or "inappropriately touched" children. That is wrong. He is being accused of raping children.

Molestation is touching and inappropriate behavior.

Rape is actual penetration of an orifice (anus, mouth, vagina).

To me, this is an important distinction. Not to say that molestation cannot be traumatic, because it certainly can (especially when experienced over long periods of time and by someone you are supposed to trust), but it is not the same thing as rape.  Both are sexual abuse.  Both are reprehensible, but let's call a spade a spade. He didn't just look at the boys with wanton eyes. He didn't just rub their butt over their football pants. He stuck his nasty man penis in places it should never have gone. There is a difference and it should not be glossed over because it is uncomfortable to think about.

I am a bit of a hypocrite on this one. For years and years, I referred to what happened to me as a child as being "molested" because honestly to me it sounded less vile. In my mind, it seemed like when you say the word "rape" people visually think of the physical acts. The penetration of orifices. And as I've said before, I didn't like think of people thinking of the physical acts. I didn't like feeling marked. Like a victim. So I said "sexual abuse" or "was molested" as a weird euphemism, because those could mean something as little as some creepy mall Santa once rubbed me inappropriately. But the truth was, I was raped. I need to learn to use that term, even though it isn't pretty. Even though I don't like what it denotes. And so does everyone else.

#2 TALK TO YOUR KIDS. Thing 1 and Thing 2 are only four years old, but I have already talked with them about the importance of not letting people touch their pee-pee or butt. These are called "private parts" because they are private. Mommy and Daddy can touch them only to help them clean them, but even we don't need to touch them outside of the bathroom. And NO ONE else should be touching them. And that they should tell Mommy and Daddy is someone does, or tries.

I hate having to talk to my four year olds about this. I worry about scaring them. I worry about taking away their innocence. But, I worry more that someone would touch them and they wouldn't know a. that it was wrong, b. wouldn't know how to tell us, or c. would be afraid to tell us. So, I talk to them about it, even though I wish I didn't have to. And I strongly feel all parents should.

#3 I am angry. I am so angry at the adults who knew about this and did not protect these children. Instead they chose to protect the reputation of their colleague.  Of their schools. Of their football program. When given the choice of "Who is worth protecting in this situation?" Not one of them chose the children. So yes, I believe the whole lot of them deserve to be fired, and brought up on criminal charges.

And I'm angry at the people I see defending these people. Because when presented with the facts of "Who is worth protecting?" they too are not choosing the children.

Let me give you a hint people: when the choice is "Who is worth protecting?", the correct answer is always going to be THE CHILDREN. If you have chosen anything are on the wrong side of the argument.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Almost done

Halloween is almost upon us.  Time to get together the finish pieces of the boys' costume.

We liked having the wagon with us so much last year that we decided to refashion the Thomas the tank engine into a hot dog cart.

Because I'd been using the wagon as a garden cart, and it'd been left out in the backyard all summer, and was completely waterlogged (yea, we didn't make it with very good wood), we had to rebuild the bottom and sides.

Then we spray painted it a shiny metallic silver and resprayed the wheels and handles black.

Finally we painted the sides.  And what hot dog cart is complete without an umbrella?

We are finally all ready for Halloween.  And not a moment too soon, because tomorrow there is a Trick or Treating event in town along fraternity/sorority row that we plan on hitting up!  First time with all of the costumes together!  Can't wait to take some pictures.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My Back Up Plan

My back up plan, for if/when Thing 1 and Thing 2 decide they don't want to wear their costumes for very long.

They'll also be great just-because tees, dontcha think?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cut the mustard

As a reminder, my 4 year old twin sons wanted to be ketchup and mustard for Halloween this year.

Thing 1 is my mustard eater and Thing 2 can't get enough of his ketchup. So, in my mind that is how I would dress them. But over the past week and a half, they have each been telling me that they are dressing as the other condiment. I have no idea how this will shake out on Halloween night.

But for now, I finished the Ketchup costume last weekend.

And spent this morning finishing the Mustard costume.

I used the ketchup costume as a base for size and height. Then made the slightly more bell-bottomed shape and narrow squirter top. It fits Thing 1 great so far.

Then I hot glued the labels I'd already made, and I added his weight in ounces to the bottom. Then used yellow puffy paint to make lines on the squirter to look like ridges.

Finally, I had to bribe Thing 1 to try it on for me. But once he had it on, he really had some fun with it pretending to soak Superman with mustard.

Next step: the hotdog cart!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ketchup catch-up

Thing 2's ketchup costume is finished!

One I finished making the labels (materials: felt, hot glue gun, and puffy paint), I just had to make the actual bottle shape.

I didn't have a pattern, so I literally laid my little ketchup kid down on the felt and did a police outline of his body.

Unfortunately, my ketchup kid (Thing 2) wasn't being very cooperative after the initial measurements, so luckily I had a clone happy to step in for the "fittings".

Finished product.

I plan on having Thing 2 wear a red shirt under the costume.  I'll have to have a long sleeve one on stand-by in case it gets cold.  No jacket is going on over this costume!

And, I've already finished the labels for Thing 1's mustard costume.

Seriously, I love Halloween!  When Steve Jobs tells the world to follow your passions, I think to myself "Self, why can't you find a job where you get paid to make Halloween costumes all year long?" :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Halloween is coming!

Halloween is just 26 days away! Which, seems like a lot of time, but if you saw our family's calendar for this month, you'd understand why I already feel like I'm running behind making Thing 1 and Thing 2's Halloween costumes.

As I've discussed before, I come from the school of make-your-own-costumes. And as a mother of twins, I like to dress my boys in coordinating themes. So this year, we decided to do Ketchup and Mustard. Superman actually came up with the original idea, after seeing ketchup and mustard costumes at Menards. It seemed like a perfect fit for them because we are going through a phase right now where they want "sauce" on everything. And wouldn't you know it, Thing 1 only wants mustard. Lots and lots of mustard: on hotdogs, on french fries, on chicken nuggets, on Ritz crackers. You name it. Thing 2, the same thing except he wants ketchup on everything. I even saw him dipping his apples and grapes in ketchup. And he ate them!!

Of course my boys can't wear any regular old generic ketchup and mustard costume :), so I hit the internet and searched for inspiration.  Basically, I decided to model their costumes after the old fashioned Heinz ketchup bottle and French's mustard bottle.

Last night I measured the boys and then drafted a costume based on their proportions. Then, using felt, I designed the Heinz ketchup label. I used my spring loaded snippers to cut out the intricate letters out of adhesive backed black felt.  I started cutting out the red lettering too, but it came out too fat, so I settled on using red fabric paint instead.

I replaced the original "Est" date with 2007, since that is the year Thing 1 and Thing 2 were born.  And I changed the "Net Wt" to their weight in ounces.  For the label under the cap (not shown) I used 04 instead of 57, since the boys are 4 years old.

Now, I just need to figure out how I'm going to create the bottle itself. I can't decide if I should do all one piece with a face hole cut out or break it into two parts, with the neck as a hat.

Oh, and remember the Thomas the Tank engine we made from a wagon last year? We liked having the wagon so much for practical and logistical purposes that this year we are repurposing it as a hot dog stand.

Now if only we had a dog to stick in a hot dog costume.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I love fall

School started this week, which can only mean one thing: Fall is on its way!

I love fall!

I love the light jacket weather, the falling leaves, the cool nights, wearing scarfs, drinking hot chocolate...and I LOVE Halloween.

Right about this time every year, my mind starts racing with possibilities of how to dress up Thing 1 and Thing 2 that will make them even cuter than they are everyday (if that is possible, right?!).

For their first Halloween, they were, what else...Thing 1 and Thing 2.

For their second Halloween, they were Bert & Ernie.

For their third, they were rock stars.

And last Halloween, they were train engineers (complete with their very own ride in Thomas the tank engine).

What will they be this year?  Hmmm....  the possibilities are endless!

They like firetrucks.  And dogs.  Maybe I can make them a fireman and dalmatian.

They love acting like animals.  Maybe I could make them a puppy and a kitten.

They are really in to space and astronauts.  Maybe I could make them an astronaut and an alien.

But then again... a lot can change in two months, and by then, the boys may have all new favorite things!  So unlike last year, I resolve not to begin buying costume parts off of ebay in August!  (Although, those purchases will come in handy if the boys do decide to be firemen this year!)

Patience never was my strong suit.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

40 B4 40: Build Something

For the past year, I've been wanting a craft table, but nothing I ever found was just perfect (read: big enough). Then, about a month ago, I ran across a blog that had plans for a simple saw horse table, and I knew I'd found not only my table, but an opportunity to check #37 Build Something off my 40 Things I Want to Do Before I Turn 40 list.

First, I built the saw horse "legs" for the table.  And stained them black.

Thing 1 helping Superman cut my boards

Wood filler done and sanded

Saw horses done
Then, I found an old door and stained it black.
The saw horses really work!
Then....  TA-DA!
I can't wait to have this covered with a craft project!

This is literally a huge improvement over my old craft table!
Too tiny!

I can't wait to build something else!

40 B4 40: My little garden

A few weeks back, I wrote that I had finally planted a tiny garden, which allowed me to cross off #13 and #14 on my list of 40 things I want to do before I turn 40.

Here are some updated pictures of said garden:

My little garden
Bell pepper
Mmm fresh basil!
Jalapeno peppers
More Jalapenos
Cherry tomatoes

I have another big 40 B4 40 update coming soon! I'm really excited about being almost finished with this project!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

This is an ugly post

I hate the "I was abused" defense.

I hate it.

Oh, I know what you are thinking "How can you judge someone unless you've walked in their shoes? You have no idea how that could mess a person up."

Well, I'm going to share something with you that I've only shared with very few people in my life:

I was sexually abused as a young child.

I haven't shared this with many people for all of the myriad of reasons people generally don't share things like this...

It's embarrassing.

I didn't want to make other people uncomfortable.

I don't want to hurt the people indirectly involved.

And hell, maybe tomorrow I'll regret this coming out and wish I'd just kept it pushed in the back of my mind, but right now I'm furious.

I don't know whether Casey Anthony killed her daughter or not.  Obviously the circumstantial evidence piled high against her.  But I'm furious that she and her defense team used the allegations of childhood sexual abuse as some sort of excuse for her erratic and neglectful behavior as a mother.

Sure she partied when she should have been looking for her missing daughter, but oh poor Casey was abused as a child, so you can understand....

No.  No, I can't.

My emotional scars don't make me neglect my sons...they've done the opposite.  They've made me become what some would deem overly protective about their care.

They are why I refused to put my sons in daycare.  They are why I have only let a handful of selective people (mainly their grandparents and godmother) babysit them.

I could never leave them alone in a room, even for two minutes with someone I didn't trust 100% to not hurt them, because I won't allow my child to have to endure the kind of trauma that I did.  Even if other people can't understand why I don't "just hire a sitter".

I'm not saying I don't think she was abused.   I wouldn't presume to know the answer to that.  But I do not accept said abuse as some kind of defense for her deplorable actions (and I'm counting all of them, regardless of whether she actually murdered her daughter).

I've kept quiet about this for a long time.  As most people do.  It's a dirty secret we try to bury deep inside and not think about.  Maybe I wouldn't even be coming clean now if it weren't for the perceived anonymity of the internet.

But reading these articles.  Seeing the way that the defense tried to manipulate and exploit a very real, tender, and hurtful subject as a way to excuse her actions (or non-actions)...I just have to say, as a "survivor" myself, that abuse is not an excuse!

Friday, July 1, 2011

My new favorite thing

I love pajamas.  I especially love kids in pajamas.  I especially especially love Thing 1 and Thing 2 in pajamas.  The only problem: pajamas are expensive.

I am a bargain hunter.  At the end of almost every season, my favorite shopping partner in crime (my mother-in-law) and I go and buy all the clothes the boys will need for the next year at the clearance prices.  If you go in my basement right now, you will find totes upon totes filled with 4T, 5T, and 6T boys clothes.  Shirts, shorts, sweaters, shoes, underwear, swimming trunks, you name it.  In fact, I probably already own the outfit they'll wear on their first day of kindergarten!

A shirt on sale for $10?  Ha!  Come talk to me when it's marked down 75%!  I speak red-line clearance fluently.

Now, I'm just a bargain hunter.  My mother-in-law, she is a professional compulsive shopper.  She cannot pass up a "good buy."  Combine our two personalities and you have a deadly combination leading to an overfull closet of marked down clothes.  (I won't point fingers of who won't stop buying long after they have more than plenty, but her name begins with "grand" and ends with "ma.")

But what we don't have overflowing...pajamas.  Why?  Because pajamas are expensive, and they never seem to go on clearance.  Sure, you might catch a buy 1 get 1 half off sale, but where I can routinely find name brand shirts for $2 and jeans for $3.50, I can never seem to find the same amazing deals on bedtime clothes.

This summer, we are the lowest on pajamas that we've ever been.  We literally have 3 pairs of 4T short sleeve/short combination pajamas.  I've been rotating those with a few pairs of 3T pairs I have left over from last summer.  For a while, it was working, but then...

Weird Science called.  Wyatt wants his shirt back.

The 1970s called.  The NBA wants their shorts back.
Obviously the boys needed new pajamas, but I didn't want to spend $15 a pair on outfits that never even leave the house!  And I didn't want to put Grandma-shop-aholic on the case, because I just wanted a few pair, not 20!  One look at their closet jam packed with tshirts, and you know she has no self-restraint.  Half of those shirts they've never even worn.

Wait...I have a plethora of shirts they've never worn....  EUREKA!

Instead of buying more pajamas, I headed over to Burlington and picked up a few packs of Hanes toddler boxers (did you know they made boxers for toddlers?!?!).  Two packs of 2 for $5.  Score!

Then, I match the cute plaid boxers with one of their millions of unworn tshirts and...PRESTO!  Instant pajamas!

But the best part...better than saving money....  Is they look so freaking adorable!!  Seriously, I thought seeing them march around in their little tighty whiteys was adorable...but I swear the boxer/tshirt combo is even cuter!  (That, or my boys get cuter everyday.  That is a possibility too!)

So there you go...if you have a little boy, and you want to help out your hurting wallet...skip the pajama aisle and head over to the underwear.  Pick up a few pairs of brightly colored boxers and pair them with matching tshirts that you probably already have plenty of.  I promise you won't miss the pajama cute factor!