Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Birds and The Bees and a Three Year Old

It was just an ordinary weeknight in the Milner house. Rob cooked dinner, I nursed Sis while trying to simultaneously fold laundry, and Will took every single toy he owns out and scattered them throughout the house. Things were going like clockwork.

After I got Will's jammies on and read him a couple of books, I asked, as I always do, what story he would like for me to tell him tonight. You see, reading 2 books at bedtime just isn't enough for this kid. He expects an off the cuff story from a topic of his choosing each night. It's pretty amazing what random subjects he manages to dream up.

And then this happened.

Will: (Deep in thought) Hmmmmmm....tell me the story about......ummm....(light bulb goes off in 3 year old brain) how Sis got in your belly. (smiles, thoroughly satisfied with his choice)

Me: (Chokes on water) Really? You want to hear that story? What about the one about the DRAGON? (scary eyes and emphasis on "dragon" to promote my alternative story)

Will: No, I don't want the one about the dragon. Tell me the one about Sis in your belly.


Me: Well, one day, Mommy and Daddy talked for a really long time about what it would be like to have another baby. We wanted you to have a little brother or sister to play with and since we love each other very much, we decided that another baby would be awesome.

Will: (Puzzled) But how did she get in there?

Oh my gosh, this is not happening right now. Seriously, this story isn't suppose to come up for another few years at least, right!?

Me: Well, Daddy put her in there when she was very, very small.

Will: How?

What is this an interrogation!?!?

Me: Well, there's a special hug that mommies and daddies give to each other to make babies. (Thank you, Momversation!)

Will: Oh. (shakes his head seemingly satisfied)

Me: And Sis was just this big (holds thumb and forefinger together closely for visual) when she went in Mommy's belly. She was so little, she didn't have eyes or ears or even arms and legs yet. She lived in Mommy's belly in a little sac filled with warm water. She just floated around in there, and as time went on, she grew and grew. When Mommy ate, some of my food went to feed her and help her get bigger. She got bigger and bigger until she was ready to come out of Mommy's belly and meet us. Then Mommy went to the hospital and she came out.

Will: How did she get outta there?

AGH, not this part!

Me: Well.....she came out of Mommy's privates.

Will: YOUR PRIVATES???? (falls back on the bed laughing hysterically) How did she get out of your privates? (still in stitches)

Me: There is an area on mommies' privates where babies come out of when they are ready to be born.

Will: (still giggling) I didn't come out of your privates. I came out of Daddy's.

Me: (joining Will's laughter) Uh, no Bud, you were in Mommy's belly too, you didn't live in Daddy's belly. Daddies can't have babies in their bellies, only mommies.

Will: (now serious and in deep thought) Oh. Well, that's not fair. (long thoughtful pause)........
Now, tell me the story about the DRAGON.

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen. My first official bird and bees talk. I'm sure I have much more explaining to do in the future. Next time, I'll pour a glass of wine first.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Team Milner

I'm not going to go in to how insanely busy I have been. I'm sure my absence here speaks for itself. I could give you a play by play of how jam packed my days have become, but it's nothing you haven't heard before. I think we all have those periods in our lives when we overextend, put our heads down, and push forward as best we can. We all experience times when we seriously question why days can't be longer than 24 hours.

Single parents, especially those with more than one job, have officially become my new heroes. Simply because I don't know how I would make it through, emotionally or logistically, without the help of my husband right now. I would say that having someone by my side fighting the good fight is what is most important. But that's not true. Because having just any "someone" wouldn't do. It's having Rob there with me that makes it all worthwhile. He isn't just my husband or my best friend. He is, in every sense of the word, my partner. We work together for the good of our little family. He cooks dinner, I clean the kitchen. I teach Zumba, he hangs with the kids while I'm at class. I read books, he tells bedtime stories. I change diapers, he changes diapers. You get the point. He has never made me feel as though I'm in this marriage or parenting thing on my own. His heart is in this game just as much as mine is. Knowing that makes all the little sacrifices not seem like sacrifices at all. And looking in the faces of those little ones that we love so desperately, I know that all this "hard work" is actually a blessing and a privilege. Thank you, God for trusting us with the lives of these children. We're doing the best we can.


Sunday, August 15, 2010


I wake and watch you sleep.
The tiny glimmer of street lights outside make the night in our bed more gray than black.
I study your features as best I can in the haze.
Yours is a face that I've come to know, so my memory fills in what the darkness leaves out.
Our baby girl sleeps sweetly between us.
Her face somehow even more precious than in her wakefulness.
She stirs and nurses quietly on my breast.
Her tiny hand grips my night gown.
Her little toes press gently against my stomach.
Her eyes never open.
After a few moments, her latch loosens and releases me as she suckles the air desperately before succumbing to sleep.
I slip quietly and carefully from bed to go look at our boy.
The dim light from his fish tank gives me a view of his face.
He sleeps upside down in his bed with his pillow at the foot.
His sandy blond curls contrast bluntly against the red pillowcase.
I stare at him for longer than I can recall, losing all concept of time.
He is the ultimate culmination of the two of us,
So much you and so much me, all at the same time.
I can't fathom a more perfect boy.
I bend to tuck the covers around his skinny body.
His eyes blink sleepily as he wakens just for a moment, somewhere between dreams and reality.
"Daddy?" he asks.
"No Buddy, it's Mommy."
"I want my Daddy."
"Okay Bud. Go back to sleep, and I'll get Daddy."
I smile recalling the many times he asks for you, his best friend.
He is, of course though, dreaming again before I can leave his room.
I slide back under our covers gently, nuzzling next to our girl again.
I close my eyes and listen to the stillness of our home as we all breathe softly in unison.
I reflect again on our little family as I drift back to sleep, imagining our four hearts beating in time.
Even my best dreams don't compare to this.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

THE Weekend

I haven't blogged in over a week. There is not really a word to sufficiently describe how busy we have been since coming back from our trip. Life has been crazy hectic, and that's about the biggest understatement of the year. I feel like the moment we left for Knoxville, I was set into this alternate universe where there are only 12 hours in each day. Because suddenly no matter how much I do, or how hard I try, there's never enough time in the day to finish it all. And after arriving back in Nashville and meeting with a center that wants me to teach a couple of Zumba classes there each week, I have been working tirelessly on getting together my music and routines for the new class. I'm nervous and excited at the same time. It's much more work than I anticipated looking at it from the student's perspective. But it's a blast putting my class together, and Will is really enjoying jumping around the living room and doing somersaults with me each night. (Note to any potential class attendees: There will be no somersaults or tumbling included in my class. Will is pretty disappointed about this decision.)

Another new task that I decided to add to my list recently is coupon shopping. I'm sure you're thinking, "Okay, so what? Coupon shopping can't take up that much time." And you may be correct, normal coupon shopping where you clip coupons out of the Sunday paper and use them at your favorite store doesn't require much time and effort. But the kind of crazy, mega coupon shopping that I've gotten into where you match coupons to sales, stack coupons, use e-coupons, print online coupons, participate in rebate programs, and request rain checks and competitors price matches does take some time and effort. It's totally paying off though and I love seeing how much money I'm saving. I'll come home on a coupon shopping high, wild eyed and be all "LOOK HONEY! I BOUGHT THESE WAFFLES FOR 19 CENTS! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? 19 CENTS!! AND THIS MUSTARD, GUESS HOW MUCH IT WAS?? JUST GUESS!" And Rob is like, "I don't know, 18 cents?" and I'm like, "NO, IT WAS FREE!! FREE! CRAZY, HUH?" And then he just nods his head in agreement, and moves away from me slowly so that his shirt doesn't get all messy when I explode from excitement.

So, between putting a 13 to 14 song Zumba class together, working a full time job, trying to maintain a (somewhat) clean house, being a crazy coupon lady, nursing a 6 month old and chasing after a 3&1/2 year old (who I swear keeps a sugar stash somewhere, b/c OMG that kid has some crazy energy) I've been just a smidge preoccupied. Just the thought of writing a new blog post last week was too much for me to even entertain. My brain was like, "Oh, no you don't! There's not room in here for anything else, missy!" So, I had to wait until I was able to put together complete sentences again. And even now, I'm probably not entirely meeting that requirement.

But, I digress. I must update about our trip to Knoxville since it was our first night away since Avery was born. I was all worried about how she was going to do without me that night, and much to my surprise, she was awesome. She didn't go to sleep quite as early as normal, but once she did, she slept ALL NIGHT. I couldn't believe it. She was, for the most part, a pretty happy baby while we were away. It's a huge relief to know that I'm able to leave her and not feel guilty because she starts screaming as soon as we pull out of the driveway. (That's not an exaggeration either, that used to happen any time I'd try to go somewhere without her.)

Our hotel room was really nice and comfortable. I keep going back and forth on what my very favorite part of it was, and I just can't decide. It's a toss up between the warm chocolate chip walnut cookies they give you upon checking in (YUM!), or the king sized bed that I would rate among the nicest I've ever slept in. Both were fantastic! The bathroom wasn't too shabby either. I'm not hard to impress, however, when it comes to bathrooms, considering that I hate ours with every fiber of my being, and want to curse it straight to the recesses of hell each and every time I step foot in it. (If you can comfortably fit more than one person in your bathroom without elbowing them in the crotch, you've got me beat and I'm extremely jealous.) I stood in the shower for a good 35 minutes, and even dried my hair and got dressed in the bathroom! That's a luxury around our house.

Here are a few shots of my favorite things in the hotel.

And this was Rob's favorite part of our room. Men aren't too hard to please, and he was beyond happy to be able to crank the AC down as low as it would go and not have to foot the bill for it.

After checking out our room, we decided to venture out on the town and have some dinner. We set out with my Google Map directions, and were excited to go have a nice meal together. We got lost on the way there and I made Rob stop at a hole-in-the-wall pet store so that I could ask for directions. Here's how that conversation went.

Me: I was wondering if you could help me. I'm looking for this place. (points to map) Are you familiar with it, because we went west and didn't see this street anywhere.

22 year old pet store guy: Hmmmm....yeah. I do know where that place is. Let me see........Yeah, my dad plays there a lot. (looks back at me like this information is suppose to help)

Me: That's nice. So are we on the right street or....?

Pet store guy: Yeah, yeah. Uh, let me think.....hmmmmm.....when you go there from my house, it's just a straight shot right too it. (looks at me again like I know where he lives and can find it from his house)

Me: Okay. Hmmmm, well....So I just stay on this road, then?

Pet Store Guy: Yeah, just stay on this road until you see some warehouses. It's right after that. It's about 2 or 4 miles from here. If you see the mechanic shop, you've gone too far. The restaurant is right across from a playground.

Me: Okay, thanks a lot.
I jump back in the car, tell Rob that we need a GPS, and to just keep driving until we see a playground or pass by Pet Store Guy's house, since you know, it's right down the road from him! We go about 5 miles and realize that we're nowhere close to the place and are, in fact, headed out of town. I call the restaurant and asked for directions from them. After turning around and several more rights and lefts, we arrive at the restaurant (which is, in fact, across the street from a playground). I'm so hungry at this point, I want to chew my arm off, so I order a steak sandwich. I figured since I was going to be doing lots of physical exercise and cardio the next day, I might as well load up on protein. Apparently, I was more hungry than I even realized, because once my steak arrived, I proceed to take a bite of it and pretty much swallow it whole, thus lodging it in my throat. I tried several times to swallow it down. Nothing. I put my hand on my throat and tried to swallow really hard. Didn't budge. I took a drink of my beer in the hopes that some lubrication would slide it on down. But apparently, it hit a big ol' steak roadblock in my throat, because it came right back up out of my mouth. By this point, Rob has caught on to the fact that I'm choking. I'm not sure if it was the beer foaming out of my mouth or the crazy eyes I was giving him with the telepathic "OMG, GIVE ME THE HEMLICH!!" looks that he picked up on, but he told me to get up and come outside. Luckily, we were sitting right by the back door of the restaurant, and when I stood to rush outside so that he could help me, the steak went down. Gravity, I suppose? Either way, there I was with beer spit all over my outfit thankful to be alive. It freaked us both out pretty bad, but at least we came home with a story to tell. (I'm a glass half full kind of girl.)

The next morning, I had to get up bright and early to get ready for my Zumba training. It was a long, but fun and exciting day. I learned a ton and did so much Zumba, I thought my legs might fall off. We headed to my folk's house as soon as the class was over, and I was anxious to see my babies. Will was at the rodeo with my dad, but our girl was there to greet us with smiles.

And as soon as I saw that face, I knew I was right back where I was suppose to be. I think I'll stay put for a while.

Don't forget to chew your food.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday's Photo (Zzzzzz...Edition)

I'm really on a roll this morning. I think this is the first time that I've ever posted in the AM. (No, I didn't drink more sugar.) I've got a very busy day ahead, so I thought I should get this post in before things get crazy.

This is a rare sight.

It's not that she's sleeping that makes this photo rare, it's that she's sleeping without me. You see, my girl has always been really attached to her mom. Since she came out and pressed her tiny little feet onto my belly to work her way up to my breast, she's been hooked. So for that reason and the many other benefits of co-sleeping, she has always slept snuggled in beside me to sleep every night. It makes it SO much easier to nurse, as I pretty much sleep through her breastfeeding at night. It's wonderful bonding time for not only she and I, but for she and Rob as well. We've talked about how nice it is to wake up and see her sweet face first thing in the morning. My heart melts every time.

So, when I say that I'm nervous about tonight because this will be the very first time that she and I have slept apart from each other, maybe you'll understand. Rob and I are taking a short overnight trip to Knoxville so that I can get certified to instruct Zumba. It's something that I've been wanting to do for a long time, and I finally got the guts to quit putting it off and just do it. I'm really looking forward to attending the class and having a night for just Rob and I. I must admit, however, I am afraid of how my girl is going to handle it. I keep having these terrible visions of her screaming all night and my dad and step mom pacing the floor with her. I really hope that doesn't happen. It would be awesome to feel like I can leave her overnight every now and then should Mommy and Daddy want some Mommy and Daddy time. Cross your fingers, pray, do Hail Marys, or whatever it is that you think may help Sis (and I) get through this night with as few tears as possible.

I'll update with a full weekend report on Monday.

Happy Weekend,

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Weekly Wish List

Don't you love how I just up and changed the name of my wish list? Thing is, I can't commit to doing it on a certain day each week. You would think a person as organized and anal as I am could make it happen, but I seem to be failing miserably. On Wednesdays I work from 8 to 5 rather than 9 to 6, and I swear it feels like I have less hours in the day. Of course, in reality, that's not the case, but my crazy brain tells me that it is. So I've titled this week's wish list "Weekly" because, uh, it's not Wednesday. (I'm a real brainiac.) (I just had to spell check the word "brainiac".) Anyway, I'm doing a wish list and here it is.

P.S. Can you tell I've had a lot of sugar today and that I never drink sugar? I made punch for a party at work and drank approximately half the punch bowl by myself. One minute I feel like running around the building and the next I fear I might start snoring at my desk. I'm a hot mess right now.

Anyway, on with the wish list.

P.S.S. Today's list has no theme. It's full of random stuff. I just can't get my brain to slow down and cooperate long enough to put together a theme.
::: shakes fist at sugar :::

P.S.S.S. I'm really wearing myself out.

Remember last week when I talked about the cottage in the woods with the white decor and crumpets? Here is something else that I'll string in our "girl hut." This Shakespearean paper garland of hearts makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. It's so delicate and romantic. I love Shakespeare. I love this garland. The end.

I need this Je T'aime pillow for my bedroom. (Ahem, cough, cough, hint Rob, cough) It is the color of my sheets, and would look divine with my fluffy white down comforter. I adore everything about this pillow, and for that matter, all the other handmade goodies in HoneyPieDesign's shop. Gorgeous stuff!

Have I ever told you that I love bath bombs? I used to have a pretty serious addiction to the ones from Lush. Then I got married, had kids and had to stop spending all my money on myself. Funny how that works out. Every now and then, however, I think every woman should indulge themselves, and there's no better way than a nice hot bath with a bath bomb. (Note: Wait till after your toddler goes to bed so that you won't spend the entire time answering, "No, I'm not done yet." "Nope, don't need any help in here, Will." "Just taking a bath right now, bud." "I'll be out in a minute.") My favorites are the Big Blue and the Sex Bomb, but they are all amazing. Their bubble bars are great too!

If you read this blog much, or know me at all, you probably realize how passionate I am about breastfeeding. I'm not going to rehash the many benefits of breastfeeding now, but basically, it rocks on so many levels. I think this Peace, Love & Breastfeeding tank is super cute, and would love to have it to show my support of nursing moms.

I had a hard time deciding which bag in bayanhippo's shop was my favorite. Seriously, I would carry all of them. But I'm particularly fond of this Abanoz in apple green. It's big enough to hold all of my junk and the color is bright and lively. One of these days, I'll retire my old bag, and this shop is where I'll buy my next one.

Off to take a nap. Or maybe run laps. Decisions...

Till next time,

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Will and I went shopping this past weekend, and I told him that if he was very good while in Target, he could pick out a $5 toy. He was excellent. He didn't get out of the cart once, played quietly with his monster truck he brought along, and no whining the entire time. (Shocking, I know!)

So, just as I promised, we ventured over to the toy section for him to pick a reward. We looked at Buzz Lightyear stuff, water guns, bubbles, balls and super heroes. We spent a solid 15 minutes scanning the aisles as he looked for that perfect toy. As we rounded one of the aisles, he looked on the end cap and saw it. His mind was made up immediately. This is what he wanted.

I reminded him of the other things that we looked at, and asked if he was sure this is the toy that he wants. (Not because I wanted to change his mind. I just wanted to be sure he knew he wouldn't be getting any of the other toys that moments earlier, he was freaking out over.) "Yes, I want Cinderella. She's pretty." So, that's what we bought. Will has gotten several funny looks since then. Even the cashier in Target did a double take to make sure that he wasn't a girl, and then commented, "A Barbie? Okay, then," like it was the most bizarre thing she'd ever seen. Call me crazy, but I just don't buy into this whole, "these toys are for girls/these are for boys" idea where everything is so gender specific. I'm not going to limit my kids on what toys they can play with because of this crazy notion that there are girl-only toys or boy-only toys. I bought Will the Barbie because that is what he wanted. And if Avery asked for a GI Joe or a race car, I'd buy her one without hesitation. Believe me, she already chews on her fair share of trucks since she just so happens to live with an older brother.

Will is really proud of his Cinderella, and has been sleeping with her at night and taking her to his friends' houses. He does however also crash her into his cars and knock things over with her head. I give Cinderella about 2 weeks before she loses an extremity.

Wednesday's Wish List coming this afternoon...


Friday, July 2, 2010

Wish List and Apology

I'm a bad blogger. I've really been slacking on updating,, no excuses. I should be updating here more often. There are things happening that I need to write about, so you'll be hearing more from me next week. In the meantime, I'm going to do a wish list since I didn't post one on Wednesday. I'm also going to post Friday's Photo later this afternoon. I'm really on a roll today.

This wish list is very colorful and happy. I chose these things because it's beautiful outside, and when the day is this pretty and vibrant, I gravitate towards bold colors. You'll never catch me in a bright colored shirt on a rainy day. True story. I just can't do it. More proof that I'm a certifiable weirdo.

So here we go.

I love this magazine lampshade from 1oakfinds. When I was younger and living alone, I actually made collages from magazines and newspaper. I never showed them to anyone, but it was a sort of therapy for me clipping and arranging and pasting all my different little finds. This lamp reminds me of that time in my life.

I am drawn to this Rainbow Umbrella photo because of the sharp contrast in it. Everything around the umbrella is so dark and dreary, yet the umbrella is so bright and striking. I can't pinpoint exactly why, but I really enjoy this photo. It has a sort of mystery about it.

One day, I'm going to win the lottery and build a little cottage in the woods where I can take Avery and all the women in my life to have tea and eat crumpets. (Note: I don't know what a crumpet actually is, but doesn't it sound good??) The cottage's purpose would be solely for girl time and frilly girl things. No boys allowed. I can't have them getting my beautiful white space all messy. When I get my cottage built, I'm going to put decor like this 12 Volume Set of The Book House inside. I love this set of books from DJandPvintage so much, that I might actually just decorate everything around them.

I'm coming back down to Earth now, and going with a more practical item that I really do wish I had now. First let me preface by saying, I have an almost 6 month old who is very fascinated with everything that is going on around her. I love to watch her little eyes scan the room, and take it all in. Since she's become so curious however, she likes to look around while she's nursing. If someone walks into the room and says something, she turns her head to look for them. If she hears the TV click on, she turns her head to see where the noise is coming from. If she sees any ol' thing out of the corner of her eye, she turns her head to check it out. Did I mention that each time she turns her head, she never breaks her latch and continues to hold on to my nipple?? So, yeah, for the sake of my boobs, I need this Mommy's Rainbow Nursing Necklace to give this child something colorful to play with while she's eating. Isn't it pretty?

And last by not least, have I told you how much more fun it is to dress a girl than a boy? If not, this Rainbow Lollipop Tutu should give you an inclination as to why. Enough said.

Until this afternoon,

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday's Photo (Brothers & Sisters Edition)

At first glance, my kiddos don't look that much alike sitting side by side. Will was born with little to no hair and has always been thin as a rail. Avery, however, came out with a head full of jet black hair and is a chunky little monkey. Since Will is 3 & 1/2 now, and has that "boy"look to him instead of the "baby" look, it's hard to see them in each other.

But when you compare their baby pictures, something crazy happens. They look like the same kid! Same mouth, same round cheeks, same blue eyes and the same "What'chu talkin' bout Willis" (RIP Gary Coleman) look on their face.

See for yourself.

Will at 4 months

Avery at 4 months

So much the same on the outside, yet so different on the in. Both perfect in their own way. I adore those kids.

Happy weekend,

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday's Photo (Father's Day Edition)

Instead of one photo today, I'm going to post several in honor of my husband. Since this weekend is Father's Day, it needs to be said that I think he's the best dad around, and that I'm the luckiest girl that's ever lived to have him beside me raising our children. I loved him before he was a dad, but since he's become a father, my love for him has grown past what I even knew was possible. It's moments like the ones in these photos that make it happen.

There are thousands more "little" moments in between. More wonderful times than this blog has room to hold. Funny thing about those little moments, one day when you look back and realize how quickly it's all passing by, you discover that they're actually the big ones. That they're the ones that matter most. That quiet time, when no one else is watching and it's just us and our kids, those are the ones that make a father a dad.

I love you, honey. Then and now.

Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday Wish List

The Wednesday Wish List is back! And on time too. (Believe me, I'm as shocked as you are.) I've run into a lot of fun stuff on the net lately, so I thought we'd make that the theme for today. Because with oil spills and floods and 100 degree JUNE days, we all could use a little fun in our lives. So, here we go...

First is the cutest little change purse ever. It's called the Kisslock coin purse, and I want it. It's simple, fun, and I love the colors. Forget the fact that I never have any actual change because Will takes it all to put in his piggy bank. I'll find something else to put in there. Like Xanax! I kid. (Unless you have some and then I'm totally not kidding.) Just kidding!.... Or am I?

And check out this Recycled Picnic/Market Basket. It looks like it will hold a ton of stuff, which is right up my ally. Something happens when you have children. You go from being able to carry those cute little purses to needing full sized luggage every where you go. I could get so many uses out of this basket. You could take it shopping, to the beach, or on a nice, little picnic. That is, if you are brave enough to eat outside in the 100 degree JUNE weather. (I'm not bitter or anything.)

When I saw these Florist Measuring Cups from Anthropologie, I immediately thought about my step mom. They look like something that she would have sitting in her kitchen. They are beautiful, playful, and practical at the same time. Love them!

Everything in the Etsy shop of 3dots is fabulous, but I was especially impressed with this Peacock tail 2 necklace she has listed. Loving the wood in this piece. It's the perfect size, and is cute and whimsical. Would be so adorable to compliment a simple outfit.

Did you know that one of my most favorite flowers is the hydrangea? I adore them. I also really love the idea of wallpaper, but don't like the commitment that it demands. If you've ever stripped wallpaper, you know what a pain it is. I've always been reluctant to put it up for that reason. Well, hold onto your seats, because today I discovered....are you ready for it?... removable wallpaper! What a concept! Not only did I discover that it exists, but look at this fun Hydrangea print removable wallpaper that I came across on Real Shopping. Lu-hu-huv it! Rob would never in a million years go for it, but now that we've got a girl, I have a better excuse to slap up something like this in her room. I'm sneaky like that.

A couple more days till the weekend. I'm holding on for dear life.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday's Photo

Trying out a new section on my blog. Go with me on this one. Every Friday, I'll blog a photo that I want to share. Forgive me, but 99% of them will probably be of my children. They're just too cute, so I can't help myself.

My aunt took this photo of Will, and I just love it. It nails his personality, and also captures the essence of how I feel about a few things too.

1. The feeling I get when my alarm goes off in the morning
2. My sentiments about baby corn
3. The look on my face when Will says, "Look Mommy, I got a booger for you!"
5. The face I give crazy women who try and humiliate me for nursing in public

Hope your weekend is filled with happy faces.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Wish List

It's been a long time. Too, too long since I've posted a wish list. And since things have been so serious around here lately, I thought it was high time I got back to sharing some finds with you and lighten it up a little. Also, since it's been so long, everything that I'll be showing you today are things that I've already purchased. I know, I'm bad. But, in my defense, all but one were gifts for someone else, so there!

And, just so you know that I'm not crazy, I realize today isn't Wednesday. But next week, the official Wednesday Wish List will be back in full swing. For today, however, it's going to be Thursday's List. Because I'm a crazy, wild rebel like that. Snap!

First up is a reversible pouch sling that I bought shortly before Sis came along. I knew that with a toddler and a newborn, I would need as many free hands as I could get, so I dove into the world of babywearing. Let me tell you, I'll never go back. I love having my baby close to me, and being able to get things done at the same time. And she really enjoys it as well. She often goes to sleep in there. (Especially when her daddy starts playing guitar, because for her, it's like a baby sedative. Pretty amazing stuff, really.) But, I digress. This sling has been awesome. It's so well made, soft and easy to use. If you are a fan of the peanut sling design, I would highly recommend trying the slings from BabyinaFishBowl. She has a ton of other great products as well.

Next is the Birthday Monster Tshirt from SpeckledSunshine. I bought this for Will's birthday, and he looked adorable in it. (You'll have to take my word for that though, because he was in one of his, "No, Mommy, don't take my picture" moods. ::::huge eye roll::::) The tshirt is super soft and washes up very nicely. I expected that the colors may run or fade, but he's been wearing it for a while now and it's still going strong. Anyone who has a messy toddler knows that is saying alot.

I bought a set of these Custom Photo Coasters for my step mom for Mother's Day. It's truly one of my favorite Etsy purchases ever. So beautiful, and the seller, patricia082173 was wonderful to work with. The packing was just as gorgeous as the coasters, and she even did a custom design on the from of the box for me. I can't say enough about these, and my step mom really loved them.

Here's another of my favorite purchases. I bought one of these Custom Photos of Vintage Cash Register Keys as a wedding gift for a friend of ours. The color in the print was AH-MAZING. The quality of the print paper was gorgeous. You just message the seller with the date you would like to appear on the print, and she'll take the custom photo for you. The turnaround time was very quick for a personalized order, and the couple we gave the gift to absolutely loved it. You could also purchase this for a graduation or baby's DOB. The seller, lilacpopphotograpy, also sells this print in sepia or black and white, and has a whole shop full of other beautiful work.

And finally is the Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History Print that I bought for one of my friend's birthday. I framed it alongside a picture of all the girls on one of our ladies nights out. I love the feel of this photograph, because the message is typed out on a vintage typewriter. The seller, RighteousLens, has a lot of other great pre-made vintage typewriter prints in her shop, (my favorite being the "You're so cool" print inspired by the movie True Romance) or you can do a custom print and she'll type out and photograph whatever floats your boat.

Tomorrow is Friday. I can hear the angels singing already.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Is There a War on Breastfeeding?

My girl and I went shopping this weekend. It was a typical June day in the South, steamy, 95 degrees, and the humidity was at about 8000 percent. But we ventured out anyway, because Momma needed a new pair of shoes and Sis needed some jammies with her big ol' 4 month old self in 6 to 9 month old clothes. (Lurve my chunky babe.)

She rode happily in her stroller, taking in all the scenery, while I tried on clothes and bought some makeup. (Seriously, she already loves to shop at 4 months old. She is my child.) About an hour and a half into the shopping trip, she got a bit fussy, so we stopped so I could feed her. We found a nice little bench outside, parked her ride and sat down to nurse. (Note: The outlet mall we went to is an outdoors rather than in, so walking from one store to the next is all outside.) She was nursing quietly, as I sat and watched shoppers stroll by. I didn't pay much attention to her, but I saw a woman pass, and looked up just as she turned and started coming back towards us. She approached me, and this is how our conversation went...

Her: You know, they have restrooms here for that.
Me: (Shocked, looking for words) Um, no thanks.
Her: Well, don't you have a blanket you could cover up with?

At this point, I'm gaining my composure and realizing that this is actually happening. When she first approached, I was so shocked, I didn't really know what to say.

Me: It's 95 degrees out here. I'm not covering her. She'll burn up!
Her: Which is why you should just take her into the restroom where it's cool.
Me: (Angry now) Seriously!? You must be one of those women who think God gave us these things for men to gawk at.
Her: (Stumbles a bit) NO, I breastfed all three of my children, but I had the decency to do it in the restroom while I was out in public.
Me: Yeah, I'm not doing that. I'm not ashamed to feed her. She's going to eat right here. If you're offended, don't look!

She didn't say another word, just turned on her heel and walked off in a huff. I was stunned. I was beside myself. My hands were shaking, I was so angry. I didn't understand why this woman wanted to humiliate me and make me feel dirty for breastfeeding.

What made it more confusing to me is that this incident occurred one day after a good friend of mine told me of the struggle she is having with her company after returning to work from maternity leave. She went back to the office last week after 3 months of leave, and was promptly asked by management to write down all of her pumping times so that they could keep track of how much time she was spending doing so. At the end of the week, during her review, they also asked her not to store her breast milk in their fridge anymore because "someone complained." She told me that she was certain she knew who this complainer was because, get this, he called her AT HOME AFTER WORK HOURS and told her he was anti-breastfeeding. Come again?? He said to her, "Why can't you just give her formula?" and suggested that since her baby is sleeping through the night and she goes all night without feeding, it shouldn't be much different going all day without pumping or nursing.

So, I tell my friend to write any and everything down that happens from now on with her company where pumping is concerned. This guy is obviously an idiot, and her company seems to be doing everything in their power to discourage her or make it harder for her to continue the breastfeeding relationship with her daughter.

Imagine my surprise when I fire up the internet this morning and find that many of my favorite blogs are buzzing about this article written by Rabbi Shmuley stating that breastfeeding can drive a wedge between couples. I started reading the piece and the more I read, the more hot my face became. I thought about my friend and her co-workers rude comments to her. I had a little flashback to the disgusted look of the woman waving her finger at my nursing. Then, I got to this part of the article, "Furthermore, I said, her obsession had turned one of her most attractive body parts into a feeding station, an attractive cafeteria rather than a scintillating piece of flesh," and my head exploded. He, just like the woman at the mall and my friend's co-worker subscribe to the idea that God gave us breasts for the satisfaction of men. It's not only insulting and maddending, it's flat out wrong.

He goes on to say, " Obviously, breast-feeding is not the same as carrying on an extramarital affair. But when a mother gives her breasts to her son and takes them away from her husband, the effect on the marriage can feel the same," suggesting that a woman feeding her child can give her husband the same feelings as if she is sleeping with another man. Say what!? Okay, yeah. Wow. Loss. For. Words.

He says that if a mother is tired from waking to breastfeed the baby, that she'll be too tired to be intimate with her husband. Rabbi Shmuley never once mentions that getting up, mixing formula and washing bottles in the middle of the night also requires that you be awake and therefore would leave a mother just as exhausted.

He advises that women should cover up while breastfeeding in their own homes to save their husbands from having to see them nurse. Because, God forbid that he actually see breasts for what they are, a source in which to nourish his offspring. Obviously there aren't any men out there who would look at this act taking place, and actually have MORE love for the woman who has carried and given birth to his child and is now providing food for them. Not only is this article insulting to women, it's highly insulting to the fathers who the rabbi paints as being so shallow they can't see past breasts anything other than sexual play toys for their arousal.

The article also states that "breast-feeding is usually the best thing for a baby." Apparently the rabbi missed this article, because now more than ever, the evidence shows us that there is no nourishment for our babies that is superior to mother's milk.

I said on my blog not too long ago that we need more support when it comes to breastfeeding, and these three examples are exactly what I was talking about. My friend's co-worker, the woman at the mall, and the rabbi all attempt to shame and sabotage the breastfeeding relationship that many mothers fight so hard to establish and maintain. Whether it be from ignorance or something else all together, that is the result.

But what I love about breastfeeding mothers is that we will not let them win this battle. Nature and science is on our side in this one, ladies. Don't ever let anyone make you feel dirty or shamed for nursing. Whip those boobs out and feed your babes as you see fit. The real men out there will love you more for it, not in spite of it.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

And The Rain Came Down

It's been over two weeks now since The Rain That Changed Our City showed up on our doorsteps, and sent many of our lives into a complete tailspin. I capitalize, because it was that big and deserves those letters and emphasis. When a city gets more rain in two days than it normal receives in 3 months, that warrants big letters.

It started on Saturday. It was the first day of May, and it rained all day. Not only did it rain all day, it rained hard all day. By the time that night approached, we were watching images on television that none of us ever thought we'd see. We watched this video of a portable classroom float down an interstate-turned-river full of stranded cars. Our eyes were glued to the coverage on TV, fixed on the weather. The rain wasn't slowing down. There was more to come. This didn't look good.

Sunday, we woke up to more news. There were roads beginning to flood all over our city. Reporters urged us to "stay inside and don't leave your house unless it's absolutely necessary." So, that's what my little family did. We stayed inside and kept our eyes on the local news until our power went out around 10 that morning. Over the next 8 hours, Will and I played every game he owns, read books and put puzzles together. All the while, it continued to rain. Our friends who still had power called us throughout the day with updates and reports. The message was always the same, "This is bad. This is really bad." One friend called to tell us that they just watched their fence, kiddie pool and doghouse get washed down the creek (which was now more like a roaring river) behind their house. We couldn't fathom what was going on. We were still without power with no time line of restoration in sight. Finally around 6pm that night, we decided to drive to our friend's house (very close by), so that we could watch the news and use the internet. That's when we really started to realize the scale of this storm, and the damage that it would do. We watched as people were rescued and evacuated from their homes. We saw roads, homes and cars flooded beyond our belief. Never before had any of us witnessed anything like this. It was historic. It was heart breaking. It was scary.

The next morning, the sun came out, and all that was left was the devastation that the rain left behind. We could not reach our office. The roads leading to our business were flooded and police had the area barricaded off allowing no one entrance. We wouldn't be allowed to return to work for 4 days.

The street leading to our office

Our basement was filled with 3 feet of water, and the brand new hot water heater we had purchased a couple months prior was submerged somewhere beneath. I'm not going to go into how stressful and inconvenience it was for our basement to flood. I won't share all the details of pumping all the water out, discovering a broken pipe, buying another new hot water heater, and finally having hot water restored after 6 days of quick showers at friends' houses. It was a pain. It was a headache. But in the grand scheme of things, compared to what others in our city and community have lost, it's so insignificant, I feel ashamed for even mentioning it.

That day and in the days following, we watched television news reports that were airing without commercial interruption. I teared up as I saw images of the beautiful Opryland hotel, now a virtual swimming pool. It wasn't just that some of our most beloved landmarks were now under water, it was the memories I have tied to them that stung the most. This is where Rob and I had our first date.

The Grand Ole Opry took on water. The place where I sat in the audience and watched Willie and Waylon and many others legends, and got chills because, "Wow, I'm at the Opry having this moment."

This is the go-kart track that is among Will's favorite places in the world. Just last summer, I stood on the sideline waving to he and Rob as they sped around the track. Will smiling with the biggest grin I've ever seen, and me snapping away with my camera trying to capture the moment.

But the most gut wrenching images were these. People's homes destroyed. Families left with no where to live. You could drive around and look at their lives sitting on their front lawns. Their memories and treasures scattered around in the grass, wet and dejected. Most do not have flood insurance to cover the damages. We didn't know we needed it. Tennessee never floods, right?

So, we're rebuilding, and moving on, and pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps. We're helping our neighbors, we're donating our time, we're opening up our homes, and we're giving what we can. And when I say we, I mean, Nashville. Because that's just what we do here. I don't know what has been more incredible to witness, The Rain That Changed Our City or The People Of This City Who Cannot Be Changed By The Rain. I'm proud to be a part of it all. Proud to be a member of this community.

It is going to take time, work, money and lots more sweat and tears to get back to where we were. But we will do it. And we'll be the better for it.

My family and I have been blessed beyond belief. We still have our home. We still have our family and our friends and a job to go to every day. Some do not. And as saddened as I am by that reality, when I lay down next to my kids every night, and breathe in the sweet smell of their shampoo, I find my safe place, all is right with the world.

May you all find your safe place to land,

Opportunities to help:
Hands on Nashville
Middle TN Red Cross
Nashville Flood Relief

**Disclaimer** Many of the images above were not photographed by me. There was an incredible group on Facebook than banned together to share information and images with each other, and this is where I pulled those images. If you would like to see all of the photos, go here.