Saturday, April 30, 2005
Struggles of motherhood

My friend J, the one who's in a little bit of a struggle with her own life, wants to have a baby. Although I don't think now is a great time in her life for her to be raising a child, I am not the decision maker.

I try very hard not to advise J of what to do, or even influence her decisions. I would never tell her it was a bad idea to have a baby while being so freshly out of a cult, being dependant on so many medications, and having no 'network' of people to be there if needed. I may feel that way, but I would never tell her. I do, on the other hand advise her to make sure that having a baby is what she wants, and even to talk to people about it. I'm a 'to each his own' kind of person. I know if I was in that position I would hate to hear my best friend telling me that my idea was a bad one.

Now, the very oppisite part of me wants to push her off of whatever cloud she's floating on. I want to shake her and tell her "Hey, babies cry. They scream. They don't sleep. They don't give you a minute alone." I know even that would not be enough.

Everyone knows that babies are not all giggles and smiles and little burps. Everyone knows that having a newborn is hard (for most of us anyway). Knowing something and LIVING something are such different things! I wish I could put into words the first six weeks of a baby's life. It would definately make her put a little more thought into such a big decision. In fact, I think it would make ANYONE put a little more thought into their decision to have a baby. Maybe I am the only one who had such a difficult time adjusting, but I'm pretty sure a lot of women feel this way.

How do you tell a person who was mostly raised in a home with seven other children that having a baby is a lot different when you are the one responsible for it ALL THE TIME? That babysitting and mothering are totally different? That someone with bi-polar, among other things, may not be able to adapt as well when they would have NO HELP with the baby (no husband, no parents, no boyfriend even)?

I pray that J takes some time to think this through and build up support if having a baby is the decision that she wants to make.

Thursday, April 28, 2005
Home again

What a wonderful trip.

We left Maryland Monday at 2:00 am, and got to Massachusetts at around 9:00 am. The girls were up for more of the trip than expected, but they had fun, at least. The visits were beautiful. I didn't quite realize how much I had missed everyone until I saw them again.

Monday was spent with my Grandma and uncle mostly. We also saw Hero's mom, my dad, and my brother. We took some time to do some things we had been longing to do (go to the beach, visit the old neighborhood, see what's changed). That night, we visited my children's 'aunts', which are really my good friends. That night ended with some phone-calls about my alleged behavior (it's in the archives somewhere), which I didn't let ruin my day. I slept like a baby, as did Hero and the girls.

Tuesday was spent in Scituate, MA. We relaxed with Hero's dad and his soon-to-be wife (as of Saturday). Also, Hero got to meet his new half-sister. His Grandma and sister joined the party, and we all had a wonderful time. I absolutely love his grandma. We bonded so much last summer when Hero was in Italy, and seeing her again was joy. She even un-rooted some of her violets for me to take home. Hero's sister is growing up so fast. I can't believe she'll be sixteen soon! And his half sister is eight months now. She was a newborn the last time I saw her. Hero didn't take to her well, but I leave him with his emotions, as I suppose it is his right.

Tuesday night the drama started. My dad called me with some story he (made up?) heard from his girlfriend, Hero's mom. I tried to talk to him, but he was drunk or high or whatever. He brought up a lot of shit that I worked hard to block out through the years. Actually, I have been just starting to work through some of those issues, but I didn't need it. I spent a good ten minutes crying, and about ten more talking it out with Hero. Then I put on my happy face and REFUSED to let it bother me. And it hasn't.

My girls also got to see one of their 'aunts' again, then Hero's Nana, and we said most of our goodbyes. We spent some time at the mall collecting physical memories.

Wednesday, we stopped by to say the last of our goodbyes and hit the road. The drive home went smoothly. We got in at about 5:30 pm and unpacked. Shortly after I spent some time in my garden, then gave our neighbors their souvenirs (I was looking for key-chains that would say "Park the car in Harvard yard" when you pressed a button, but as I couldn't find anything like that, I made them a jar of sea-glass with shells as a cork...kinda hard to explain what they looked like, but the neighbors liked them.)

Now, we're home, with many more days of Hero being on leave.

Sunday, April 24, 2005
In which I leave you a few thoughts

Since I am leaving tonite to visit home, and will probably not blog again until Thursday, I will leave you with a few thoughts, rants, and links.

Do you freecycle? Best way to recycle ever. Visit if you haven't, and join! It's a great way to get rid of your unwanteds!

Visit this blog yet? Entertaining, informative, and fun. I love it.

Looking for something to do with your kids on a rainy day? Here's some printable crafts for free fun coloring pages and more.

So you can be shocked at how little enlisted soldiers make, click here. Remember, enlisted=E. The officers get the big money (comparitively speaking). Oh, these are monthly by the way.

Ok, that's it. See you Thursday.

Friday, April 22, 2005
Signs from God?

There is an image of the virgin Mary on an overpass (underpass?). This is one of very many images that have appeared over time. More recently these images seem to be in the oddest of places.

As a Christian, I believe in Jesus and I believe he died for our sins. I also believe that he was the son of God and Mary. That is as far as Mary goes in my religion, though. Based on my personal beliefs, there would be no reason for her to be popping up in the most random of places. Honestly, I personally think Jesus would have no reason to, either. As I have said, these are my beliefs. Now, I want to hear yours.

Do you think these images are some kind of message? If so, what kind of message? A message to non-believers, maybe?

Do you think these images are just people seeing more than what's there? Could they be man made?

If you believe in God, and belive that God put pictures of Mary and Jesus on a door, an overpass...ect., what do you think his motives are? Or should we not question something like that?

Any other thoughts? Maybe this is the devil working through pictures to cause doubt in our minds? Anything?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

It was sad seeing J leave. We had such a fun few days. The girls were looking for her when they woke up this morning, and it was kind of sad.

The highlights of the past few days included shopping trips, lots of stops at Dunkin Donuts, church, getting our hair done, and drinks. On Sunday night J even watched the kids so Hero and I could go on a date. I tried to talk her out of it, but she insisted. It was really, really nice. We hadn't been on a date without the kids in a loooonng time.

Things are starting to settle back down in the Magnolia household. The kids have been busy playing outside and helping me pull weeds. Hero is working late tonite, making up from the morning formation he missed (maybe from too many drinks). I am cleaning the house, as a house that hasn't been touched since Friday should be cleaned. After all that is done we will all take tomorrow as a cool down day to get us ready to start packing to go to Massachusetts.

So, did you all have a good weekend?

Friday, April 15, 2005
Quick post

We are taking a short intermission from watching Fever Pitch, which we downloaded from limewire. The only real Boston accent that Hero and I have picked up (so far) has been the girl who said she lost 200 lbs. from getting her stomach stapled up, and the mother of that same girl. It's definitely a cute movie. I only really follow the Red Sox when they make it to the play-offs, but it still has me very amused.

Too much excitement tomorrow, so I probably won't be posting. Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 14, 2005
Popularity week(s)

My best-friend-forever, J, is coming to visit. We have been friends now for seven years. She has seen me through my best and worst adult times, as I have her. I'm really excited.

There's a whole story about her trying to be able to walk with God (on God's terms), and ultimately ending up in a very bad 'Christian' rehab in Michigan. She never had drug problems, but this place was the only thing she could afford that would (supposedly) strengthen her in her faith. She thought it would be a minor sacrifice if she had to go to meetings twice a week. Unfortunately, the rehab ended up being a cult, and she ran away. Tomorrow she will get on a bus that will take her on an eighteen hour ride, and Saturday morning she will be on my doorstep. I am not sure how long she will stay with us, but she's either going to end up going back to Massachusetts, or to North Carolina where she would stay with her sister until she found an apartment.

My friend K is supposed to be going on a trip to Philadelphia, and stopping to spend the day here on Sunday with her girlfriend. K is my oldest daughter's godmother. We have been friends for nine years, so she's been good and bad with me, too. I am also excited to see her, and I'm sure my girls will be as well.

As if that wasn't enough excitement, on the 25th we are taking a trip to Massachusetts. It will be my husband's birthday, and he hasn't seen any of his family for about a year and a half. We will only be staying two or three days, and have to pack tons of visits into that time. It will be stressful, but fun. It's only been five and a half months since my last visit, but I'm still very excited. When we return to Maryland, we get a whole bunch of free time until Hero signs in on May 6th.

Less boring (but still very boring) news:

--My tulips are beginning to bloom. Five out of ten have buds. Yay!

--I made friends with my neighbors (possibly because I instantly become less of a bitch once the temperatures rise over 60 degrees)

--I am still waiting for my title so I can get the settlement for my smashed car

And a question before I go. My dad and Hero's mom relationship has apparently become one of an abusive nature. There are reports that there may be drug use going on. How do I politely tell them to go to hell when they ask us to bring the kids over to their apartment? Should I allow them to meet us somewhere and visit, or just not expose my children to 'people like that'? I'm really struggling with this. Since I told my girls we will be going to Massachusetts, they have been talking about Nana and Papa constantly.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Crazy, crazy, crazy.

We are up on the new-age parenting styles. When our kids are being belligerent, we say things like:

"I can tell you are very angry.", and "I can see you are mad right now, and that's okay."

Sky is into excuses....bigtime. When it's time to sit down for dinner, she says she is too tired. When it's time to come in from outside, she says she can't because she is too dirty. When it's time to go to bed, she says she is too hungry. Get the picture? Excuses for everything she doesn't want to do.

Today while eating lunch, Sky used the 'too tired' excuse, and I told her she was going to suck it up and sit until everyone was finished. She was surprised at my harsh terms instead of a usual "I know you're tired, but when we sit down for lunch......." She immediately put on her mad face.

Feeling bad, I went back to the new-age parenting style and said "Sky, I know you are feeling angry right now, and that's ok." Before I could say another word, she looked up at me with the meanest looking face and said:

"Ma, you're crazy, crazy, crazy!"

And I laughed my ass off. I'll admit, I don't quite have it down yet.

Sunday, April 10, 2005
In which I learn that dogs scare the shit outta me

I've never liked dogs. I've never been scared of them either....until now.

Yesterday, I watched my neighbor's dog pull the owner off of his chair and down the street before the owner gained control (or the dog gave up.) Thinking it was quite amusing, I decided to introduce myself to the dog. BAD IDEA.

I've never heard a dog growl. On tv, maybe...but that's tv. It's quite scary. You can see every tooth and smell the doggy-food breath. Ofcourse, I ran away. That is, afterall, the mature thing for an adult to do when a dog on a leash growls at you. Especially after you saw the dog pull the adult-grown-man owner down the street.

As I ran away, I heard laughter, and that's okay. I'm sure I would laugh too, had I not been the one running away.

Friday, April 08, 2005
Why I like the Army

The songs (cadences) that my husband sing make me happy.

"Way up north where the wind is cold
There is no silver, there is no gold
That's where I make my living
Killing the baby seals-- Ark! Ark!"

"Dare to be fat,
Dare to be fat
Wake up in the morning you begin to sweat
You go to the cupboard but the cupboard's bare
Ice cream sundae, dexatrim
Best damn meal there's ever been
You eat so much you begin to choke
You wash it all down with a diet coke
Dare to be fat"

"When I was born my daddy left!
Later on my momma left!
I got deployed, my woman left!
Now the Army is the only thing that's left!"

"They say that in the Army the coffee's mighty fine
It looks like muddy water and tastes like turpentine
They say that in the Army the chow is mighty fine
a chicken jumped off the table and started marking time
They say that in the Army the biscuits are mighty fine
one rolled off the table and killed a friend of mine
They say that in the Army the training's mighty fine
last night there were ten of us, now there's only nine
They say that in the Army the pay is mighty fine
they give you a hundred dollars and take back ninety-nine
Oh Lord, I wanna go
But they won't let me go
Oh Lord, I wanna go home!"

" Ma'ma, Ma'ma
Can't you see,
What this Army has done to me
I went to basic and AIT,
Now I'm pushing a pen in the PSB
They gave me clothes, three hots and a cot
They said be happy, but I'm not
Can we stop, so I can rest
Or will we run until I ETS?"

"well he comes into workat a five-thirty
you think he's motivated
well he ain't foolin' me
he sing a HI-O silver
cause he's a sick-call ranger
somethin' new every day
first it was his foot
then it was his back
next thing you know
it's gonna be a heart attack
you look to your left
you look to your right
you ain't gonna find him
cause he ain't fit to fight
at the T.M.C.
you'll find him there
layin' dead asleep
in the waitin' room chair"

Thursday, April 07, 2005

My oldest daughter has to have her speech evaluated.

No big deal, right? There just going to check to see if her speech is at her age level.

It all started from the doctor asking me: "How much of what your daughter says can a stranger understand?" I answered twenty-five percent. Now, we will get her evaluated to make sure she's where she should be, and if not, she will be able to go to classes to catch her up with her peers. That way she will be able to start kindergarten with a fair chance. I think programs like that are great!

Unfortunately my family is not as happy about it. That and they get things mixed up (or blatantly lie....I'm not really sure.)

Anyway, if I haven't said it before, my family and Hero's family are connected not only through us, but through our parents. My father and Hero's mother date. Our families are both too messed up to really be a part of.

Somehow this rumor started about my daughter not being able to see a doctor. It was something along the lines of: "She can't talk because Magnolia was supposed to bring her to the doctor about this a long time ago." This rumor (from the first time I heard it) got worse, and it ended up being something like: "They were supposed to see a speech doctor years ago, but Magnolia doesn't ever bring the kids to the doctor".

So now what? Do I call and tell everyone the whole story, knowing that it will just get all screwed up again? Do I immediately get myself a therapist, knowing that things like this definitely make me lose sleep? Do I try to ignore it? What do I do?

I cry. I bitch. I blog.

Luckily my husband can laugh about these things. I wish I could take it so lightly. He consoled, bitched with me, listened, went to sleep. I can't get it out of my head, therefore, I can't sleep. Yuck. And we were just thinking about taking a trip up, too.

Sorry for yucky stories, just needed to vent.....again.

PS, my daughter CAN talk. I can understand one-hundred percent of what she says. Most other people can't, though. I think it is mostly because of her screechy voice, but it can't hurt to get her evaluated. Plus, if it was a developmental-delay thing, it would be great to know before she goes to school. That way we can help her as much as she needs now.

Saturday, April 02, 2005
The truth: Formula is poison and your children will die.

All women can breastfeed. Milk supply is never an issue. Bottle-feeding is selfish. Formula is the equivalent of poison. Women who don't breastfeed simply don't Try Hard Enough.

By now, all mothers know that 'Breast is Best'. I don't have a problem with breastfeeding, in fact I did it myself for awhile. What I do have a problem with is another issue that seems to lead to mothers attacking other mothers. Here's the facts:

Your (or my) breastfed child is/will not be smarter, happier, or healthier from breastfeeding alone.

"Breastfeeding leads to": (from Google)

--good health
--employee loyalty (ok, that was a joke)
--optimal brain development
--a reduction of bleeding after birth
--savings for the mother and family

and my personal favorite:

--breastfeeding may compensate for harmful effects of smoking during pregnancy

But are all of these things true?

We know the facts about breastfeeding reducing allergies and asthma were disproved/proved/disproved. Click here and here and here if you haven't heard about that.

Why do the studies get proved/disproved/proved etc.? I think it is because there's really no definate control group. All babies are different. All mothers are different. There are way too many variables. We live in different homes, eat different things, have genetic dispositions to some conditions. Some families are large, some small. Do any of these studies account for mold growth in the home? What about pets? Fast food intake? Even things that may be harmless like tylenol, daycare, herbal supplements, and exposure to sunlight may affect findings. There is no fool proof way to test a group of infants. Remember, babies should start solids between four and six months, and therefore a once 'exclusively breastfed' baby becomes 'breastfed with some solids'.

I personally agree that breastmilk is the ideal food for babies. I don't agree to even having studies that say breastfeeding may compensate for harmful effects of smoking during pregnancy. It's nice to know that and all, and I'm sure it encourages pregnant smokers to breastfeed after the baby comes. In the meantime doesn't it also give the impression that all you have to do is breastfeed and your smoking-related problems will be solved? Never mind the deaths smoking can cause in the womb, and the increased chances of SIDS for the babies after birth.

One other fact: Formula has no harmful effects. It may not be the best, but it is most certainly not bad for your baby.

Don't be surprised if ten years from now there is an infant formula that will be able to make your baby smarter, healthier, and possibly even happier than a breastfed baby. Technology can do a lot of surprising things these days.

I also personally think that it is a great idea to try breastfeeding your newborn. Most mothers do want what's best for their babies. But I have to clarify that wanting what is best doesn't always mean breast milk. There are many unselfish reasons that some mothers choose not to breastfeed. Some mothers have such a hard time breastfeeding that they begin to resent their babies. I personally would choose formula over resenting my kid, because resenting your child probably won't lead to that 'happy-healthy-breastfed kid' we want.

Another issue regarding breastfeeding is the idea that as long as you have __x_ (opinions seem to differ on this matter) amount of calories, you know your baby is getting enough nutrition. It is simply not true. First, it is a FACT that at least five percent of women do not produce enough milk to satisfy a newborn's needs. Next, the nutritional value of breastmilk isn't determined by caloric intake. For breastmilk to be perfect, diet while breastfeeding must be perfect (or as close to perfect as one can come).

If studies on breastfeeding suddenly showed that the slight majority (sixty-percent) of American teens who do not experience pregnancy were breastfeed, I might change my opinion. On the same note, if those studies showed breastfeed babies were least likely to be in the fifty-five percent of children who used illicit drugs by the time they left high school, I would probably be more tolerant of people who seem to think breastfeeding is the only way to a happy, healthy child.

I'm not saying you should or shouldn't breastfeed your child. If I thought it was a bad idea, I would never have done it. What I am saying is: Before you criticize a bottle-feeding mom, know the facts (or the current facts, anyway). Know that the bottle-fed baby won't be harmed any more than the breast-fed baby of a mom who eats a lot of fast food. There are bigger issues us mothers should be coming together to deal with in the country (and world) right now, and I'm sure if mothers became less critical of other mothers, the world could be a slightly better place for ALL of our children to grow up in.