Friday, December 20, 2013

Just had to get it out

At first I thought, why I am writing this?  I don't have all the facts or any direct quotes to back up my argument.  Then I remembered that I can write whatever the hell I want and you can read it, run it through your own personal opinion filter and take away what you will.

I have never been a big fan of the whole Hollywood/Celebrity scene.  I honestly think it is, as a whole, ridiculous.  As a culture we give a few select people far too much credit, far too much money and far too much control just for being famous.  Adults and children idolize completely made up ideas about who these people actually are and are quick to hand over hard earned money for so and so's new perfume or shoes just because it has their name on it.  We allow celebrities to "get away" with so much more than we would ever deem appropriate from our friends, relatives or neighbors.  In fact, we actually give them more money to be complete assholes!

Now I'm not saying that all famous people are douche bags who do nothing but exploit the general public and think they hung the moon, but some are.  And the one I want to address for a moment is Mr. Kanye West.  Let me start off by saying that I know nothing about him other than newsworthy tidbits I have heard over the years.  How he took the mic away from a young woman accepting a well deserved award, how he has a hard time fitting through doorways with his hugely inflated head and the most recent gem, and the reason for my post today, that he thinks that his relationship with Kim Kardashian and the Kardasian women as a whole have helped pave the way for mixed race couples.

Are you absolutely fucking kidding me!?

Yeah, you paved the way for mixed race couples just as I'm sure you invented rap music, were an integral part of the equal rights movement and are the reason that the sun comes up each morning.  Get over yourself, Mr. West.  What an ignorant, disrespectful, bull shit thing to say.  Mr. West, people far less "special" than yourself spent years upon painful years enduring violence, hate and discrimination just so that you and a reality star girlfriend could even been seen in public together.  Mixed race couples were spit on, beaten, verbally abused and run out of town all for being in love and you have the audacity to think that just because a few reality TV stars dated African American men and you so happened to impregnate one of them that you had something to do with the freedom of interracial relationships?

You, Mr. West are a big part of what I dislike about celebrity.  You feel far too entitled for someone who hasn't done much aside from making a few mediocre rap records and cashing in on your "love" life.  And the thing that really pissed me off ?  Just like millions of other Americans, I know your name, I know your face,  but I don't know the names or faces of the brave souls who actually fought long and hard for their rights, for your rights!

And they did it out of love, true love.  I don't know your heart, Mr. West, but I have a feeling that if you and Kim Kardasian were being spit at in public, harassed in your homes and verbally assaulted each time you stepped out that you wouldn't have made it past the first date.  I have a feeling you wouldn't have stood up for your love.  I have a feeling that you wouldn't have stood up for your rights.  It's really easy to say that you are making a difference when millions of people and the law are on your side, but I can't help but wonder where you would have stood on the issue 50 years ago as an ordinary man who loved a woman.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Smash everything!

*I wrote this when I was about 6/7 weeks along and drowning in a sea of hormones.

Some women get morning sickness, others hemorrhoids, and other still suffer from a variety of pregnancy related symptoms.  I for one came down with a strange but serious symptom called hatred, yes, hatred.  For the first two months of my pregnancy, and every so often still, I hated everything!  Yep, I hate that too.  I was so filled with hate that I wanted to act out like a tantruming toddler, to stomp my foot, to scream and yell, to throw ALL THE BOOKS.  I wanted to hit people with my car, seriously.  I often wanted to physically hurt Ryan for no good reason other than he wasn't infected with the hate I had pulsing through me.  I was possessed!  I had no filter!

The smallest thing would set me off and suddenly all I could think about was bashing every single appliance in my house Office Space style with a giant wooden bat.  Oh my god it would have felt amazing to just beat the shit out of something on those days.  Even just imagining it now feels good.  And imagine it is pretty much all I did then too.  Even with hormone hate ripping through my veins I am a fairly peaceful sort.  I spent a lot of time taking deep breaths, separating myself from human contact to regain logical thought, and looking in the mirror to make sure my head hadn't actually started spinning or sprouting horns.

We made it through the worst of it relatively unscathed and for the most part the hate has left my body.   Because I never really had any pregnancy symptoms with Caches, this one in particular took me by surprise.  But after sharing my experience with others, I have discovered that other women come down the a similar case.  I blame hormones, I blame them for everything.  I am still moody at times, but let's be real here, pregnant or not I tend to be moody; It is part of my charm.

Monday, December 9, 2013

A letter

Dear mothers of small children,

I want to tell you something.  Something important that not many other people would tell you.  Something that I myself wish another young mother told me.  It is something that a lot of us moms lie about every. single. day.  Listen up...

Having small children is hard, sometimes really, really hard.  Especially if it is your first child and you don't know what you are doing.  There is a learning curve.  It is an emotional roller coaster.  You will cry.  You will want to run away.  You might even follow through.  You will be tired.  You will be frustrated.  There will be days when you won't even recognize yourself in the mirror.  That is if you even get a moment to check.

You will struggle.  You will fail.  You will yell.  You will crack.  You will say things you wish you hadn't said.   Not because you are a bad mother, and not because you are doing it wrong.  Not even because there is something wrong with you, your child, your husband or your certifiably insane French Bulldog.  You will struggle because it is hard.  It is REALLY FUCKING HARD!

You will try to tell yourself that simply being a mother should leave you feeling fulfilled and joyous.  That your heart should be overflowing each and every day from the love of your child.  You will feel guilty because it's not.  You will feel guilty because you will feel bored, resentful and exhausted.  You will feel guilty because you aren't enjoying every single moment like the lady at the grocery store told you to.  You will feel lonely while also desperately yearning for time alone.  You will feel guilty.  Oh yes, mother of a small child, I promise you will feel guilt.

Some days you will find humor in the numerous spills, stepping on tiny toys, the endless needs, the laundry, and the array of bodily fluids that you encounter.  Other days you will in fact cry over spilt milk.  And because you stepped on a marble.  And because you got poop on your hand.   Some days you and your small child/children will work together beautifully.  There will be no tears and plenty of tender moments.  You will feel like a world famous surfer riding the waves.  Other days you and your child/children will butt heads over everything from what's for breakfast to how hot or not hot their soup should be.  You will feel as if you are drowning, gasping for air in between the waves pounding your head under water. These days will, quite frankly, SUCK.

And just so you know, I'm not telling you all of this because being a mother actually sucks, it doesn't!  It is amazing and beautiful and humbling and warm.  I'm telling you this because sometimes it does suck and that is okay too!

So much time is spent reminding mothers to enjoy their small children; It goes by so fast, don't blink!  Oh my gosh, how could you have missed that?  There are plenty of people out there willing to lie to you and tell you that it is easy.  There are also plenty of mothers who make it look easy.  Anything can look easy when you are only seeing a snapshot in time.  There are the always going to be people who are quick to remind you how lucky you are, how blessed you, how beautiful your children are and how to go about doing things the right way their way, but few and far between are people, mothers, who are willing to be vulnerable and honest about life with small children.

Perhaps they don't want to feel like they are discouraging other mothers, but more likely they themselves don't want to admit to ever having struggled.  Maybe they have older children and have forgotten how difficult it was when they were small.  It could be that they are embarrassed by things they have said or done.  Or it could simply be that they don't know what to say.

So I'm asking you, mothers of small children, to speak up.  Be honest with your friends, you don't have to be so brave.  Let them know that you have struggled too.  Let them know that they aren't alone.  I can't tell you how good it feels just to know you aren't alone!  Be a safe place for your fellow mothers to open up.  Hug them.  Offer support on days when you are surfing and empathy on days you feel like you are drowning.  Sometimes it can feel as if you are the only mother in the world who has ever had such a bad day.  Like you are the only one who can't get it right.  This simply is not true. Mothers, we all struggle.

Guilt, tears, frustration, anger, exhaustion, joy, love, laughter and warmth.  All of these things are happening because you are becoming a different person.  A person who is rarely left alone.  A person who is simultaneously overwhelmed with feelings of love and annoyance.  A person who's heart is now living and breathing outside of the protection of her own body.  A person who so badly wants control but is learning to let go.  A person who is learning to give more of herself away than she ever even knew she had.  A person who is still learning.  A person, a woman, who is becoming a mother.

And I'm willing to bet you are a damn good one too.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

It's a...

With Caches we decided to wait and be surprised with a boy or girl when baby was born.  I am glad we did, but this time we thought it would be fun to find out before.  And by "fun" I mean I don't have time for shopping or organizing once the baby is born this time around!  I don't even have time now and the baby is still fairly agreeable and completely contained.  Basically, I am a control freak and I want to know, dammit!

We were scheduled to have our anatomy scan last week, but due to the Thanksgiving holiday they pushed it to yesterday.  Everything looks good and baby is healthy and growing as it should.  Obviously that is far more important than gender, but I was just as anxious to find that part out.  I knew the time was coming up, the doctor said he was going to look for gender.  My heart began to race as I looked at the blurred jumble that sometimes looks like a baby and other times looks like a black and white static horror film that a zombie is going to craw out of but, oh yeah, I can totally see that kidney, doctor.  He pointed tot he screen, it's a...


At least that is what Caches thinks is in mommy's belly.  Oh, and we will name it Horsey Giraffe Nessier but sometimes we will let it be an alligator.  Thanks kid.

It's a...

We are so thrilled that Caches will have a baby sister, Ryan will have a daughter and I will have a whole other set of gender specific issues to possibly fuck up sort out.  It is said that when you have a boy you only have to worry about one penis, but when you have a girl you have to worry about all the penis'.  So basically I have to worry about all the penis' and then another one still!  

Seriously though, we both dreamed of having a baby girl and couldn't be happier.  Oh, and if any of you have girl hand me down clothes, accessories or advice I would be more than happy to accept all three.  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Officially old...

Remember being a kid and spending hours planning, organizing and executing the perfect Christmas wish list?  Okay, maybe I was the only kid who was this OCD about the whole thing, but I totally remember carefully thumbing through catalogs, no such thing as the internet folks, and marking items I wanted.  We would peruse the toy store and I'd take metal notes of things to write down, I'd play with something at a friends house and add it to my list.  The whole things was a big deal and in the end I'd have a list complete with item, location, cost and order or how badly I wanted it.

Slowly though, years passed and it became less and less of a project and more like scrambling to come up with a few things that I actually wanted at the last minute.  Honestly, and also tacky as hell, I just wanted money so I could buy things I wanted as I came across them during the year.

I am now at a point where the whole wish list seems almost wrong.  I don't "need" anything, and I honestly don't even want anything.  Well, nothing that a person would actually consider a Christmas gift.  My list would look like someones shopping list for a hippy grocery store or a flea market.  A few kitchen appliances, some vintage decor and a margarita strong enough to get me buzzed just smelling it sounds good to me.

I do look forward to Caches making a list and really, truly wanting something for a good long time only to find it under the tree.  The magic and excitement of Christmas gift giving will forever live on with our children.  His little face, I can't wait to see his little face.

*not this year though.  He is still more interested in unwrapping and playing with boxes than he is with actual gifts.  Which is why Ryan and I bought him nothing, yep, nothing.  Oh call CPS on me, the kid has grandparents and I just bought him new underwear yesterday.

Ho, Ho, Ho

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Coulda, shoulda, woulda

It is 3:17 am.  I am sitting in a rocking chair cradling a child who is rapidly outgrowing my lap.  My knees are freezing and my arm tingles under the weight of a finally sleeping head.  I breath deeply and walk back to the warmth of our bed...again.  Maybe this time we will sleep, I think.

This is the fourth time tonight that I have replayed this scene.  Something is bothering my child and I haven't the the foggiest idea what it could be.  He is not feverish or sick.  He does not need to use the bathroom or have a drink of water.  He doesn't want to play, he is simply wakeful.  I am not.

I am exhausted.  The kind of exhausted that aches deep in your bones.  I want to cry, to yell, to beg, but mostly I just want to sleep.  It has been a long week and this it the third night in a row with an unsettled boy and no sleep for his mother.  My patience is wearing thin as I rock back and forth in the cold wooden chair.  I want to tell him that it's not fair.  I don't care if he wants to be awake, I want to be asleep!  I just want him to close his damn eyes and relax.  Why won't he just relax?  Why is he awake again!?  Why is he doing this to me?  I feel my own body tense.

I take a slow, deep breath.  My mind wanders.  I should have stopped rocking him to sleep months ago.  I should have told him no, I won't rock you, just to go back to sleep.  I should brush his teeth more thoroughly.  I should wash his hair more often.  I should prepare better meals.  I should use a different cloth to wipe his face than I used to wipe the table.  I should tell him that I love him more frequently.

I should have taught him how to sleep independently a long time ago.  I should have made him figure it out.  I shouldn't cater to his nighttime demands.  I should make more time for myself.  I should shave my legs.  I should file my rough heels.  I should be more patient, more kind.  I should remember to give him his vitamins.  I should clean the bathroom more often.  I should drink less coffee.  I should vacuum my car.  I should, I should...

I stop myself, I need to stop.  I look down to see big eyes fluttering, fighting to stay open.  "Close your eyes baby, relax."  His arm stretches up to touch my face.  "Hi mommy."  "Hi son."  "I'm having a hard time."  My heart sinks like a stone.  Of course he isn't doing this "to me."  "I know you are buddy.  It's okay, we all have a hard time sleeping sometimes.  Mommy will hold you while you fall asleep.  Close your eyes, baby."  "Okay."  Tears well up in my tired, burning eyes and fall to my cheeks as I continue to rock in the dark.

It is 3:17 am and I am sitting in a rocking chair.  I many not want to bu, but right now I need to be in this chair.  Right now my freezing knees and perceived inadequacies can wait.  Right now my child needs me.  I breathe.

I should this and I should that, but you know what, he doesn't care.  Being the definition of perfection won't change the way he feels about me.  He doesn't want the mommy who always uses a clean cloth to rock him at night.  He doesn't want to perfect tooth brushing, always freshly showered mommy to calm his wakeful mind.  He just wants me, me.  All my imperfections and my hairy legs.  My impatience, my boring dinners and my rough heels.  Me.

And whether it be 7:00 am, 3:00 pm or exactly 3:17 am, that is exactly what he is going to get.  Because I know that he will sleep independently some day, he will learn to settle himself without me.  He will brush is own teeth and wash his own hair.  He will pour is own glass of water and take himself to the bathroom.  He will read a book or think quietly by himself when he cannot sleep.  Someday he won't need me to sleep, someday he won't need me at all, but not today.  Today we rock.  We rock in the cold wooden rocking chair with freezing knees and the warmest of hearts.

Monday, November 18, 2013


I wrote this around 7 weeks pregnant when I was so tired that my brain completely shut off to store enough energy to breathe...Still waiting for it to turn back on, but that's a whole other story.

You guys, I haven't vacuumed in 5 days.  There is a small dog made from my dogs fallen hair in the corner.  You could eat a meal off of my kitchen floor and NOT in a good way.  If you stepped out of the shower you would develop a little furry boot of long brown hair stuck to your damp foot.  And to make matters worse, I don't even care.  The thought of vacuuming right now seems an impossible feet.  The vacuum alone must weight fifty pounds and my body feels as if it weighs a thousand.  Even just standing up from the ground after playing with Cache is exhausting.  You like the ring of dog hair on my ass?  Yeah, me too.

I have been so tired with this pregnancy that it is almost laughable.  By noon I find myself looking up and being like, really??  This isn't a joke?? I'm already THIS tired??  What am I creating, some kind of superhuman??  By 6:00pm I am keeping my eyelids open with toothpicks, and by 8/8:30, depending on when I get Caches down, I am crawling to bed.  And I'm not just in there to relax, I'm fucking sleeping!  My bed has never in my whole life felt so amazing.  Even when Caches was waking up every single 30 minutes all night long I wasn't this tired.

Perhaps because I was in a heightened state of arousal from the screaming, who knows, all I know is that I don't even feel like I have the physical energy to speak at the end of the day.  Actually, scratch that, make it all day.  Ryan asks me about my day and he might as well have asked me to recite Shakespeare.  I look at him and want to cry.  I can't talk, my mouth wants to sleep, shhhhh.  It is seriously ridiculous and I wouldn't even believe it if it wasn't happening to me.  I have actually considered slapping my own face just to wake up!!

Again, why couldn't I have had this symptom when I didn't also have a two year old who is always ready to party?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Why not...

When I was pregnant with Caches I decided to document with pictures starting at 18 weeks and then every two weeks until I delivered.  I hummed and hawed about doing it again but decided to go ahead and let it all hang out, kind of.

I feel way bigger this time, but after comparing pictures I am actually about the same size as last time.  I think I feel bigger because my stomach is way, and I mean WAY softer and squishier this time around.

Anyway, today marks 18 weeks.

Groan, moan, whine...

I wrote this around 9/10 weeks at the height of my feeling grossness and added the last few bits just now.

My pregnancy with Caches couldn't have been easier.  I suffered from none of the typical pregnancy related complaints.  No morning sickness, no nausea, no food aversions, no constipation, no aches and pains, no acid reflux, no exhaustion, no swelling, no nothing!  Other than a stuffy nose and gaining 30 pounds I pretty much didn't even notice I was pregnant.  Even nearly a week past my due date I was relatively comfortable, physically that is, mentally I was a fucking nightmare.

This pregnancy on the other hand, I surrender, I give up, I'm a mess.  It all started out okay, but it went downhill fast around week 7.  I started out feeling just a little bit off, not really able to eat anything past 5pm and feeling extra tired, and morphed into a miserable, grumpy lump on the sofa whining because not even ice cream sounded good.  I wanted to vomit all day but never actually had the urge to do it.  I woke up every single morning feeling like I had binged on Jagermeister and jello shots the night before.  My hips and back began to ache around week 8 and have only gotten more uncomfortable since.  

My boobs are so sore that even looking at them the wrong way can cause me to wince in pain let alone a gymnastic toddler trying to nurse.  My brain might as well not even exist with how forgetful I am, my joints already feel stiff and achy, my face is a connect the dot poster of pimples, my stomach and nipples have decided to sprout random black hairs overnight, and I haven't taken a decent shit in weeks!  I have never in my entire life been constipated until now and it is seriously the lamest thing ever.  An evil waiting game that likes to fuck with you and waste a lot of your time.  

In short, the first part of this pregnancy sucked.  And I think my uncertainty about everything turning out okay and constant worry about another miscarriage only added fuel to the fire.  I am happy to report that I am mostly feeling back to myself again at 18 weeks along.  That is if myself includes the circulation being cut off by my jeans and envying Caches' bowel movements.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Because one cat, two dogs, two adults and a toddler don't quite fill the up the king size bed...

We thought it a good idea to add one more baby to the mix.

Now, if you are reading this and thinking, "What the hell, Anne?  You couldn't even call or tell me in person!?  I had to find out on the internet that you are pregnant?!"  You are not alone.  The only people who knew were my parents, Ryan's parents and our siblings.  Oh, and one friend that caught me in a lie.  See, it's true, I really can not lie so luckily nobody asked.

If you are offended or sad that I didn't call you personally, I am sincerely sorry.  I am not a good phone person and chances are good that even if we are close friends I haven't spoken to you on the phone in months.  Talking to people on the phone with a toddler in the room is one of the most annoying experiences in the world for the person on the other end of the line.  "Are you talking to me now or Caches?"  Caches! I would not ask a grown woman if she needs to pee or if she is just holding her penis!  Plus if Cache sees me on the phone he suddenly needs water poured, elaborate meals prepared, and help going poop.  Plus, we all know that kids wake up from a nap the second mom makes a phone call.  No fun for anyone.

Add to this the fact that I have been extremely guarded with my emotions and experiencing a lot of anxiety about a repeat miscarriage and you get a situation where 50 plus phone calls was just not going to happen.  I have been doing a little bit of writing about the pregnancy thus far and will post them with little notes as to how far along I was when I wrote them, but so far I have been very quiet about this pregnancy.

I am still feeling a little bit uncertain and having a hard time letting myself get too excited or attached, but I think as the weeks pass I will feel more and more confident and the realness will sink in.  For now I'm just anticipating the transition from looking chubby to actually looking pregnant.

If you are the type that likes a countdown, I am 4.5 months along and due mid April.  Oh, and we are going to find out the gender right after Thanksgiving!

Thanks for understanding and I hope you are ready for some super duper pooper fun around here, I know I am.  Or maybe I'm just trying to convince myself that I am.

Okay, I'm totally not!!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Someone alert PETA

I am no longer a vegetarian

Go ahead and gasp, tell me I am a hypocrite, be excited, or shake your head in shame.  All done?  Good, then let's carry on.  First, a little back story.  I first tried out vegetarianism at around 14 years of age.  I don't honestly remember the exact time, so let's just say 14, shall we.  I didn't really do any research, I kind of remember just deciding that meat was gross and that I wasn't going to eat dead animals.

Fast forward a few years and my world expanded causing me to do a lot and I mean A LOT of research.  I delved into the horror of factory farms, animal abuse, and all of the horrible things that eating a diet rich in mainstream animal products does to your body.  I love animals and could not imagine them suffering their entire lives just so I could eat some meat that I didn't "need" anyway!  I was so convinced that I became a strict vegan cutting out all animal products and even many things made from animals products.

I was vegan for a number of years and out of pure laziness, really, I went back to being vegetarian.  I'd switch it up and become vegan for a while and then back to vegetarian, but there was absolutely no meat passing these lips.

I stopped doing extra research years ago, already convicted of my strong feelings toward the industry, and went about life as a vegetarian.  When I fell pregnant, I even decided to raise my child vegetarian long before he was born, and have been doing so for the past two years.  I considered raising him vegan, but it was clear that the very young, developing brain needed more than what a vegan diet could supply.  Of course I am not saying that if your kid is vegan that you are depriving them, it just takes a whole hell of a lot of work to make sure they are getting all the nutrients they need from a vegan diet and I didn't want to do it, see laziness comment above...

Anyway, I decided that once solids were introduced, we would include whole, raw milk diary and pastured eggs.  Well, as you know I don't like to leave well enough alone so I began to do more and more research about the brain of a child and how food is directly related to its formation and function.  Holy shit is there a lot of information about this.  I was completely in awe of how much I didn't know about the human body, the brain, and its connection with food.

I decided to put both Caches and myself on a few supplements that would help us stay healthy while remaining vegetarian, though one of them was fish oil.  I decided it was worth it and we began taking fish oil and an essential amino acid that helps vegetarians metabolize vitamins A and D.  Then we started taking extra vitamin D and glycine, another amino acid that is not present with a vegetarian diet.  I felt good about how we were eating and the supplements we were taking...until I didn't

When I was pregnant with the baby that we lost, I began to crave meat.  Something that hadn't happened before.  I was seriously craving it so intensely that I would fantasize about stealing it from other peoples plates at restaurants.  Iron I thought, I just need some iron.  So one more supplement down the hatch.  At the time I was talking nearly 10 different supplements every single day and it wasn't until Ryan questioned my need for them that I stopped and really looked at what my diet had become.

I wasn't healthy, a healthy person doesn't need 10 some odd supplements, and I wasn't listening to my body either, I was forcing perceived health upon myself and possibly even upon my child.  This new line of questioning hit me hard, but I wasn't ready to do anything drastic until I learned more.

I wandered around my brain for a long time as I often do when I am questioning myself, and I kept coming back to the horrible images from factory farms and the disgusting additives in mainstream meat.  I thought about all the people over the past decade who reminded me that humans were designed to eat meat.  I thought about the standard american diet and how drastically it has changed over the past few decades.  I imagined hunter gatherer tribes and the design of the human body.  I thought about the diet of traditional cultures, all which include animal products and robust health.  I thought long and hard until my wandering finally led to sleep.

It was a lot to think about, I was questioning the way I had been living for more than half of my life.  There had to be a better way, I thought.  There had to be an in between where a person can eat a traditional, real food diet that includes nutrient dense meat while not contributing to factory farms.  A place where I didn't need to down 20 supplements to be "healthy."  A balance.  Well, turns out there is, and it is kind of amazing.

It is the often forgotten world of real/traditional food.  Or as our ancestors called it, food!  In this world there are no factory farms, no crowded wire cages, no GMO feed, or antibiotics.  There is not flagrant animal abuse, waste or disrespect.  There are just animals being animals until they are humanely slaughtered for food.  My feelings about factory farmed meat and dairy have not changed, not even a little bit, what has happened is that I finally realized I can have it all.

I can give my son a hot dog that is made from pastured cows rather than an array of soy products constructed in some kind of lab.  I can cook his rice in nutrient dense, gut healing bone broth that I make myself, using the whole animal that gave it's life so we could eat.  I feel way better about him eating french fries cooked in pastured beef tallow than I ever did about man made vegetable oil.  I have found that many of my struggles to eliminate heavily processed food have disappeared because I am no longer looking for a substitute.  

Now I know that passionate vegetarians and vegans are not agreeing with me and believe that killing any animal for any reason is completely unnecessary and cruel.  That's okay.  I also know that those who do eat factory farmed meat and dairy as a main source of their diet are feeling like I'm being judgmental, and that's okay too.  Because if I have learned anything over the past 31 years it is this, you will never, ever make everyone happy, EVER!  So might as well worry about me and let everyone else figure out what makes them happy for themselves.

**I chose not to go into detail about why I have the feelings I do about factory farmed meat and diary because I figure if you want to know you will research it yourself and if you don't want to know then you probably don't want to hear it from me.  I do encourage you to do some research though.  Our food supply is becoming pretty scary if you ask me.  But you didn't.  Thanks for reading

Monday, October 28, 2013

A rant of sorts

If you are not in the mood to hear me rant and rave and perhaps go off on random tangents that don't make much sense, then stop reading.  If you stick around, open a window, I'm going to vent.

It all started about a month ago when I broke a glass jar of almond butter.  Shards of glass went flying everywhere and of course, the toddler and the dogs were like awesome, let's go get bloody!!  Dogs outside and toddler quarantined, my mom and I began to clean up the mess.  As we were cleaning she casually mentioned how broken glass is so rare these days, when she was a kid someone was always breaking and/or cleaning up glass.

For some reason this really struck me and my ever musing brain went on a journey through the past 100+ years and then to modern life.  I thought about how different society is today, and how much it will continue to change, I had good thoughts about advances in technology, education, and medicine, but my brain just kept coming back to how much of what is toxic about our world is new.  Even just two generations ago, when my mother was a kid, so much of what I worry about for my own child didn't even exist.

There was no such thing as high fructose corn syrup, no GMO's or pink slime chicken nuggets.  Fast food restaurants didn't even exist, and neither did hand sanitizer, "heart healthy" vegetable oils, factory farms, video games or even television for that matter.  Kids used to play outside, in the dirt, and they weren't dosed in toxic antibacterial goop when they came inside!  You guys, food allergies and other inflammatory diseases of the body DID NOT EXIST 100 years ago.  Okay, that is a stretch, they existed but they were very rare. 100 years ago immune systems were not destroyed by "food" and "medicine" from birth causing them to attack their own bodies.

Families cooked food, yes, real food, and they didn't waste any either.  Sure the variety of produce and other foods wasn't available like it is today, but none the less, there was cooking happening AT HOME.  Adults were cooking real food and children were learning to cook real food.  A precious life skill that is rapidly disappearing was being passed down to the next generation.  People don't even know how to cook anymore!  And while this may sound like a minor thing, cooking at home, from scratch is SO IMPORTANT!  I don't care if you can buy the same thing pre-made at the store, it is not and will never be the same.

Everything from baby bottles to bleach came in glass jars.  Sure there was broken glass, but there weren't toxins from plastics leaching into their foods and there wasn't a huge strain of fossil fuels to make a ton of throw away plastic shit that we don't even need! Oh, and there probably wasn't a giant vortex of plastic bags and water bottles swirling around the ocean.  I know it is shocking, but even as little as 25 years ago people survived withOUT plastic water bottles!  Crazy, right?  And people saved things!!  They reused their glass bottles over and over again, they bought things once and actually took care of them.

It used to be that you purchased a big ticket item one time and it lasted you for a life time, or at least a very long time.  You saved your hard earned money and didn't buy a big ticket item until you could actually afford to pay for it.  Yeah, no credit cards, and guess what, if it broke, you fixed it because repair shops existed, people knew how to fix things, and you wanted to fix this expensive item because it was likely that you couldn't afford a new one.  Now you can put that 80" television that you can't afford on your credit card that you may or may not pay off some day, maybe, in 20 years...and show if off to all your friends; you have arrived.  That is of course until the new television that you can fucking TALK TO comes out six months later, then you just throw that "old" one away and buy a new one, right?  And modern people have the audacity to complain that our ancestors were wasteful and didn't recycle!?

And who needs to interact with real people when you have the internet, text messages and video games.  You guys, we are losing the ability to converse with one another.  People are losing the ability to speak proper English!!  I'm not even trying to be funny, I'm very serious.  I am terrified of technology and the impact it has on children.  YOUR children, MY children, the future leaders and workers of our world, the fabric of our society.  They are losing the ability to empathize, the feeling of community, the feeling of human touch and interaction.  Young children are wasting hours of their lives playing violent video games where nobody actually gets hurt.  You get to brutally murder people, beat up women, rob gas stations, and then just turn it off!  You can not tell me that this isn't negatively affecting our children!

Fifty years ago, heck, even 20 years ago, 328903 baby gadgets didn't exist.  There wasn't a stuffed animal to keep a pacifier in the babies mouth so mom wouldn't have to get up and put it back in through the night.  There weren't removable car seats allowing multiple errands to be run all without touching the baby.  There was no such thing as "educational television" for a kid to camp out watching while mom cooked or took a shower.  People held their babies and KIDS WERE ALLOWED TO BE BORED!  Actually an amazing gift to children!  Yes, let your children be bored!  You will be amazed at what they might come up with to entertain themselves!  Many amazing inventions have been born from boredom!

Another thing, never has the medical field been more advanced than it is today, yet people are sicker than they have ever been before!  We are prescribed a slough of medications that are deemed safe by the FDA so they must be okay, right?  That is until the FDA recalls them and pays people millions of dollars because they were never safe to begin with!!  People are walking around with perceived health!  They think that because they take a pill they are okay, not true!  Everyone wants a quick fix for their problems, why would we want to work at something.  Give me a pill to lose weight, a pill so I won't die today, a pill so my skin isn't inflamed, a pill so I can have an erection.  But nobody wants to know WHY they have these problems!  We are spending to much time on the cure and not nearly enough time researching the CAUSE!

And let's stop blaming doctors.  I know there are a lot of bad ones out there who dismiss their patients with a pill and a smile, but I also think there are a lot of really sad doctors out there who genuinely want to help their patients.  An impossible feat when they don't first want to help themselves!


As I am writing this my non-stop brain is scanning my house and taking inventory of my modern day luxuries, things that I really like quite frankly.  I love my washer and dryer, my high speed blender, my central heater, my computer/internet, television and iPhone.  I like to fantasize about living like my great great grandmother and the simplicity of it all, but I also know that it wasn't a life that I could just go back to now and be all smiles.  I don't want to kill and pluck my own chicken, make my own clothes and wash them by hand, or die from now easily curable infections, but I also don't like living in a world where big corporations think it is okay to add poison to our food and water, treat animals like garbage, and use human beings as science experiments.

I have read and re-read this like 20 times over the past few days trying to edit it for posting, but I just can't get it right.  I feel like it doesn't flow, like I don't make very strong points and like I don't really know what I am talking about.  Do I have a lot of research about some of the claims I have made, yes, but I don't want this to turn into a lecture.  This is honestly just my brains processing things about our world and the way I see it.  I don't claim to fully understand life generations before my own, but I also can't say that I really understand it now, and I'm right here living it.

Basically this blog post could go on and on and I could bring up much more of what bothers me out our disconnected society.  I could, but I won't.  I won't because I feel deep down that we are moving toward change.  I think many people have had enough and want to go back to basics as it were.  I think people are realizing that the fast paced, blow through life and make money mentality isn't healthy for anyone.  I think, or at least I hope this is true.  And until it is, I will continue to do my part to reconnect with the earth, my food, my child and my fellow man.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Beautiful, elusive, sleep

I haven't slept in over two years, seriously.  I know you must be thinking, Anne, it is impossible that you haven't slept, you would have died or become insane by now.  Oh, you mean I forgot to mention that I have evolved into a non sleep needing human who survives solely on on caffeine, sarcasm and lack of functioning brain cells?  Well I did.  It took about 15 months for my body to complete the transformation, but I am now a real live non sleep needing human.

Now, I didn't say I am a non sleep wanting human!

I do want to sleep.  I want to sleep so bad that I think about it all the time.  I think about sleeping all day and then at night when I should be sleeping I think about it still.  I count the minutes I am awake, the precious moments that everyone else is asleep and I actually could be too!!!  I curse my dogs for sleeping all day long, so peaceful and care free as they rotate from the sunny porch to the shady side of the house.  Sometimes I purposefully wake them up just because I am a feeling spiteful, yep I do.  Oh to be a dog...

I want to sleep so badly, that over two years later I still want to punch people in the face when they tell me they are tired because they had to wake up once in the night to tend to their child or a half hour early for work.  I get it, I used to be that person too.  And I'm not even mad at you, I'd be tired too if I was used to getting 8 hours and I only got 7, or if I was woken up during the night and wasn't accustomed to such waking.  I'd also be sleeping any chance I had if my life permitted.  So you go on sleeping good sleepers of the world, just know that I want to punch you when you tell me about your glorious nap or you complain to me about being tired.

I really do, but I really won't.

Which brings me to my husband.  My sweet, loving, supportive, sleeping husband.  He has been the target of at least a thousand fantasy face punches over the past few years and although we have discussed the whole, "I'm tired" thing, it persists.  I don't doubt that he is tired, not even a little bit.  He has a work schedule that is completely fucked up and works his ass off both at home and on the job.  He busts out projects on the weekends like he is a guest star on HGTV, and he helps as much as Caches allows as often as he can.  He is amazing, he also sleeps: The bastard!

He sleeps so well that he snores, in my ear, with hot, shit breath in my face.  Before we had a baby this wasn't my favorite thing in the world, but it didn't really bother me either.  I'd just roll over into a new position, put in an ear plug, or shake him until he shut up.  Now I can do none of those things.  I can't roll over because there is a toddler with all four limps splayed across my body insuring that I can not move for fear of waking him.  I can't put in an ear plug because said toddler likes to whisper to me in the night and check in with little gems like, I need to pee, hold me, and can I throw my leg over your throat?  Sure kid, why not.  I do try to shake him, but again, my arm isn't usually at a position to reach him most of the time so the snoring persists.

And even if it stops, he is still sleeping.  He is sleeping AT ME!  And I am pretty sure he is doing it ON PURPOSE too!!  He is just a sleeper.  He can sleep through Caches screaming, the cat jumping on his head, the dog scratching at the door to pee, the dog licking her foot, the bulldog jumping into bed 20 times in hopes that I won't kick him out, the kid kicking him in the face, and ME, SHAKING THE SHIT OUT OF HIM BECAUSE HE IS SNORING!

Anyone who has ever had trouble sleeping knows that there is nothing, NOTHING worse than watching a person take great joy in their sleep while you lay there awake.  They might as well be breathing full, deep breaths of air while watching you drown.  Or smacking their lips as they indulge in a giant hamburger, their food breath wafting in your sunken, starving face.  They might as well just sucker punch you right in the gut.

Here's the thing, I don't like to discount other peoples feelings.  Everyone has a different threshold for pain, loss of sleep, illness, etc, and I would never tell someone that they aren't tired.  If you tell me you are tired, I believe that you are.  But I will say this.  Don't go up to a person with a gaping flesh wound and complain about your paper cut, okay!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Thinking about that fresh baby smell

It is October now, and if things had panned out differently I would be holding a newborn baby as I type.  Inhaling the sweet aroma of baby as my fingers clicked the keys, and pausing to kiss the impossibly soft head of my child.  I have healed and accepted the loss of that baby, but I will never forget all of the could have beens that make me sigh deeply.  Mostly I am at peace and do not question the universe, but there have been times over the past seven months when I find myself wishing things were different.  I'd see a radiant pregnant woman with a belly full of life and for a moment I'd think, "that should be me."  But it shouldn't, and it isn't.  If it were meant to be it would have been.  I truly believe that.

This past month has been kind of a rough transition time for Caches.  He is growing and changing exponentially and all of the newness is taking it's toll on my sensitive blue eyed boy.  He is wakeful and restless, skipping much needed naps and feeling frustrated when his body will not settle in the night.  He is speaking and understanding so much now that his brain is literally overflowing with imagination and a desire for more.  More learning, more exploring, more talking, more reading, more discovery, more challenges and unfortunately less calm.  Not an ideal situation for a newborn and a healing mama.

Had things worked out differently and our baby survived, this thought would have never even crossed my mind, we would simply make it work because it would have to work.  But since I have hindsight in this painful situation I can see that this would not have been a good time to add a new family member.  The universe knows what it is is doing and I trust it.  My body too knows what it is doing and I trust it still.

Thanks again for all the love poured over me after losing the baby.  All of you who read this sporadic hodgepodge of crazy truly do help keep me sane.  And I love every single one of you for it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Two loaded little words

There are a few phrases that I make a conscious effort not to say to Cache.  Okay, I lied, there are actually a TON of them, but most of them are totally inappropriate anyway, so I just let those fly on the trapeze in my circus of a head.  One of the phrases though, that seems to want to roll of my tongue about 3829 times a day, is "hurry up!" Or, "come on!"

Anyone who has ever hung out with a toddler knows one thing for sure, they are on their own time schedule.  No, they are in their own universe!  They don't just stop to smell the roses, they stop to admire the cigarette butts in the gutter, the bark on the trees, the flies on the grass, the bees on the lavender, the trucks driving by, the sound of a distant train, the kitty in the window, the open garbage can lid, the dirt in the sidewalk crack, the rollie pollies, the garbage, and the list goes on.  Seriously, we aren't even at the end of the block yet!

Toddlers take forever to eat, examining and exploring their food with great interest until in my sons case, deciding that they don't want it after all.  What, did you like spend time preparing that?  They take forever to brush their teeth, making faces in the mirror and talking about sugar bugs which leads to talking about real bugs which leads us to the backyard looking under a rock when we should be sleeping.  Add to the equation that toddlers are also notorious for wanting to do things themselves, which we all knows means v e r y  s l o w l y and often mixed in with some frustration and tears, and it's no wonder I/we just want them to hurry up!

There have been times when I am literally vibrating with the desire to help, aka hurry him along, or to do it myself because, holy shit you take forever and I could do this in 5 seconds!!!  And I could, we all could.  Adults are bigger, smarter, and far more skilled than toddlers.  And they should be, they have an entire life of experience behind them and have forgotten how difficult it is to learn new things.  Many adults, I being one of them, aren't too keen on learning new things or changing up our comfortable routines because guess what, it slows you down and it is HARD!  Kids, toddlers, they just don't care.  They are resilient, determined, entering each day with a deep drive to learn more about their world, their bodies and how things work.

This is likely the only time of their lives that they will be as motivated to learn.  Because holy shit, everything is AMAZING!!  If they were bigger and didn't spend half the day trying to kill themselves they would be pretty fucking handy too!

Here, move that giant pile of rocks from the driveway to the yard.  Really!?!? I can do it all my myself?!?!   Okay!?!?!  You would NEVER hear that form a teenager or adult.  You see, as adults we have a little thing called responsibility.  We know that we have a doctors appointment in 10 minutes or that we need to prepare dinner or that we actually really DO need to use the bathroom right now and not read 348209 books.  Adults are jaded, spirits are squelched, routines are in place and the burning passion to learn had dwindled.  Wow, thanks Anne, it's kind of depressing when you put it that way, but it is true.

When was the last time you painstakingly studied an object of which you had no idea how to use?  When is the last time you delved into a new field of study head first and ready to learn?  Can you even remember the last time you stopped and looked up at the clouds or the moon?  I can, but that is only because I have a very determined two year old reminding me all day every day to slow down, just SLOW DOWN!!

Sure, life happens and there are actually a lot of things that do need to get done as adults, but when you take the time to slow down and examine what is really important and what can wait, you make room for bunnies in the clouds and airplanes flying by.  You actually watch the interesting garbage truck lift your can.  You slow down and explain how food is cooked and how you mix ingredients to make muffins.  In short, you LIVE!  Toddler are the most epic lovers of life out there; it's us adults that really don't get it.

P.S. I have already told Cache to hurry up in one form or another like 3289 times today, BUT I have resisted at least twice as many times.  Baby steps friends, baby steps.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Not a food blogger, but a food blog none the less

I am not a food blogger, a Pinterest recipe maker, a meal planner, or even a very good cook for that matter, but sometimes I have a stroke of brilliance that impresses even the two year olds taste buds.

Here are a few recent recipes that would be cruel not to share with fellow toddler housers.    

Just like your kid, my kid would eat a granola bar for all three meals a day.  I have found a few pre-made ones that are okay ingredient wise, but nothing that I'm in love with.  I have also experimented with countless recipes for homemade, but most of them seem to fall apart, be overly sticky or not taste quite yummy enough .  We love homemade Lara style bars, but I was in search of a, "looks like a classic Quaker granola bar, bar!"

I finally mastered one, even better, it is no bake!

I adapted this recipe from a different blog that I read a long time ago and I can't remember her name so I can't give her credit.  Sorry lady who is far smarter in the kitchen that I, I am giving you all the credit; just not in writing!  Her recipe used mainstream ingredients, I used fucking expensive better quality, but other than that I pretty much stole her recipe.  Is my posting this even legal?  Oh, right, like three people read this, I think I'm safe.  Nobody call the internet recipe police on me, okay?

No bake granola bars

2 cups of oats (I use Bob's Red Mill gluten free oats) Pulse them up a bit in the food processor first if you want
1 cup crisp brown rice cereal (I use Euewhon brand)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup grass fed butter
1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 cup coconut sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Optional: 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (I use Enjoy life brand)

Mix the oats, cereal and coconut together in a large bowl, set aside.  In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Once fully melted add the honey, coconut sugar and salt.  Bring to a rapid boil and allow to boil for just under three minutes.  You can turn the head down if it is going to boil over and make a huge sticky mess of your stove.  You will surely curse me if you have a huge sticky mess.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Pour the gooey mixture over the dry mixture and fully incorporate with a silicone spatula.
If you want to add chocolate chips, wait a few minutes for the granola to cool first or you will have a melted chocolate goo mess.
Now pour the granola mix into a greased (I always just use butter) 8x8 dish and press is down firmly.  Seriously, put some weight behind it and smash it good, this is what will hold them together later.
Now pop them in the fridge for around 30 minutes to cool.
Once fully cool you can use an offset spatula to get the granola brick out and cut it into bars.  Another reason I like homemade is that I can make the bars as big as I want, and that means pretty small.  Cut them in shapes, cut them in bars, eat the whole damn brick if you want, enjoy!

P.S During the Summer I keep them in an airtight glass container in the fridge separated by parchment paper.  In the Winter they can live in the cabinet.

The Brown Cow:  Kind of like a chocolate milkshake, but actually not at all like a chocolate milkshake.  The brilliance of this "milkshake" is that you can hide all kinds of healthy mix ins and your kid, or you, will have no idea.  Yes, even cod liver oil in case you were curious.

1 cup chocolate milk (you can use chocolate almond milk, regular milk with 1tbs.of a good quality cocoa powder, or homemade almond milk with 1tbs. cocoa)

1tbs. raw honey (if you are using store bought chocolate milk of choice you won't need the honey because it will already be sweetened)

2 tbs. almond butter (or peanut butter or cashew butter or sun butter)

1 large frozen banana cut into pieces (you can use a regular banana, but it won't be nearly as cold/creamy delicious)

This alone is delicious, but I add a ton of other shit to it just because I can!

*Lessen the amount of milk if you want a thicker, more ice cream texture.  This is my preference, but Cache can't get it up a straw, so I add more milk for him. 

*Left overs can be poured into popsicle molds and eaten like a fudgesicle.  Yeah, yum!

Mix ins
1tbs. wheat germ

A few squirts of flax seed oil

1tsp. probiotic powder

1tbs. cod liver oil

1tsp. brewers yeast

A giant handful of spinach

Sometimes I add all of it and other times just a few.  Cache and I usually share this milkshake but occasionally he hogs it all.

Thanks for reading.  I have a bunch of random recipes that I have made up over the past few years that I would share if anyone is interested.  They aren't that exciting, but the toddler palate is a mysterious thing

Oh, and if you are the lady who made up the original granola bar recipe, call me, I'll credit you I swear!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Coyote Ugly

Ever been trapped under a sleeping child? Maybe it was just your arm, or perhaps your entire body was being used as a human hot rock for your lizard baby.  I myself have been trapped in every way possible, including my leg at mid thigh.   In that moment it is kind of like Coyote Ugly, where you would rather chew off your own arm than wake up said sleeping child.  Even have to pee.

Having been trapped numerous times, like every night for two years, I have become quite skilled at wriggling my way out of these situations.  It takes some pillow propping, some knee popping, some flexibility and some patience, but most of the time I can free myself to pee, get a glass of water or regain feeling in my limbs.  Most of the time.

Of course there are the times when I wait forEVER the perfect moment.  I wait for his breathing to become heavy, for his arm to lay limp and his fingers to open and relax.  I even do the kiss test, as Caches has been known to wake up at the slightest shift in movement including a kiss on the forehead.  Done, done and done.  I free my arm, shove a pillow against his side where my body was supporting his weight.  I free my leg and situate a blanket in its place.  I sit up and stretch, ahhhh sweet relief.  Now to creep out of the bed.  Almost there, one foot on the floor...MAMA!!!!!! MOMMY!!!! MAMA!!!

I try to shhhhh him and soothe him back to sleep.  I have no idea why because the success rate of that working is once in two years, but I try anyway.  I beg him, please just relax while mommy pees.  "NO MAMA, RIGHT THERE, MAMA, NOOOOOO!!!!"  There have been times when I have told him to suck it up and that I had to pee and he was just going to have to cry for 2 minutes.  There have been times, many in fact, where I didn't even bother with the half hour process of freeing myself and just carried him on my shoulder to the bathroom with me, and there have been times when I have accepted defeat and held my pee all. night. long.

Yes, over the past two years I have developed a bladder muscle like Heman.  It's fairly useful.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fight night

Ryan and I rarely argue and when we do it is usually over stupid shit.  Like what coffee ice cream tastes like.  This gem was the topic of our heated discussion last night.  We'd had it before, and I am sure we will have it again; we can not and will not agree to disagree.  On this important topic neither one of us is willing to budge.

One of us, the right one, thinks that coffee ice cream tastes like coffee with cream and sugar.  The other one of us, the wrong one, thinks that it tastes like black coffee.  Black coffee that has a sweetness and a creamy texture.  You know, because it is ice cream.

I am not kidding, that is a direct quote from the man I married...willingly.

He continued with a long, elaborate explanation of how the two tastes were different while I remained firm that coffee with cream and sugar is the same thing as black coffee with a sweetness and a creamy texture.  At least once it is melted in your mouth it is.  I was even willing to bend my description to iced coffee with cream and sugar but he was unrelenting.

I pointed out that the very ingredients of coffee ice cream are, cream, sugar and coffee!  Okay, and egg yolk, but this isn't about the eggs!  He didn't care.  He never cares about silly things like logic or reality.  He is far too creative in his arguments, and quite frankly, insane.

I thought the conversation was over, it was for me, but he wasn't done.  Oh no, he had to go on and on about the base of all ice cream being vanilla, but without vanilla flavoring if it isn't vanilla.  Yeah.  And how I wouldn't say that mocha ice cream tasted like coffee with cream and sugar and chocolate, only I would, because it DOES!  It turned ugly when artificial flavors joined the conversation, and I totally checked out when he started trying to convince me that I actually agreed with him.

The bottom line, in my humble correct opinion, is that Ryan is having a little bit of cognitive dissonance about the whole thing.  You see, Ryan does not like coffee with cream and sugar, but he does like coffee ice cream.  So admitting that coffee ice cream tastes like coffee with cream and sugar would be like admitting that he actually does like mayonnaise.

Oh wait a moment, he does.  When it is mixed into chicken broccoli casserole.  Which it is.  Like a lot of it.  And he eats the shit out of it.  Game.  Set.  Match.  I rest my case.  I win.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Are you still doing that?

Last year in honor of World Breastfeeding Week I wrote about breastfeeding my then one year old son.  This year I decided to write about breastfeeding my now two year old son.

Some may think it strange to be nursing a walking, talking, three feet tall toddler who, "asks for it," but it didn't start out that way.  We started our breastfeeding journey just like everyone else, scared shitless, wondering if it was actually going to work, and curling my toes in agony every time he latched on.  I remember wondering how it was even humanly possible for a baby so tiny to suck so hard, it is crazy, right?!

We nursed through uncertainties about supply, rivers of tears, food allergies, painful reflux, engorgement, growth spurts, and exhausted glossy eyes.  Our confidence grew.  We nursed through hurt feelings and scraped knees, painful teething and unsettled nights.  It was coming easily now.  We nursed in the hot car, the dressing room, the bathroom stall, under a blanket, and in the far back bedroom of loved ones houses.  We decided that was bullshit.  So we nursed while walking around Target, at the Aquarium, at the beach, in restaurants, and on the comfortable couches of loved ones homes.  We had arrived.

I understand that nursing a two year old isn't for everyone, in fact I wasn't sure it was for me until I woke up one day and realized that I was already doing it.  I remember thinking that it might be weird,  or creepy even to nurse a toddler.  I couldn't even imagine my child walking up to me and asking to nurse! I just wanted to make it through the first year.  Well, that first year few by and before I knew it I was nursing a two year old who most definitely asks for it.   Though let's be real here, a baby who is one hour old asks for it!  Days pass, the seasons blend, and nursing has just become part of our lives.  I honestly can't imagine not doing it, though some days I do dream about being done.

You see, when we are nursing, I am not thinking about the fact that Caches has 16 teeth and is fully capable of eating a variety of solid foods. I am not thinking about the length of his limbs that now rest awkwardly across my body and sometimes touch the floor or wave above my head.  I am not thinking about his ability to form sentences, request food by name, or ask to nurse.  I don't question his need for this loving connection, to be close to his first and greatest form of comfort.  I know that this is a normal, beautiful thing for a two year old to still be doing.  I also know that soon enough we won't be doing it anymore.

Just as he no longer needs me to hold his hand as he walks, he will outgrow his need for nursing.  It might require a gentle nudge from mama, or he could just one day decide to stop.  This is something I have no way of knowing, and just as I said last year, I am not going to let some arbitrary date on the calendar determine when our nursing relationship will come to a close.  There will come a sign, a movement toward stopping, so until that sign revels itself to me, we will persevere.

We will continue to curl up at the end of the day when the world is still and quiet.  I will continue to revel at the deep connection I feel to my child while nursing.  I will look deeply into his sleepy eyes as his lashes slowly fall to rest upon his warm, pink cheeks.  I will continue to be amazed at the length of his legs as they move from kicking my shoulder to lying limp and stretched out; they were once so tiny and weak.  I will fight through the days that I am feeling touched out, and I will enjoy the days when it all comes easily.

I don't know if I will be nursing a two and a half year old, a three year old, or even a four year old.  I can not predict the future.  All I know is that whenever our journey comes to an end, I will be proud of myself, and of my body for nourishing my child.  And I will be forever thankful to my son for teaching me patience, persistence, resilience, confidence, and how to do just about anything one handed while cradling a nursing child.

Friday, August 2, 2013

25 Months

Caches, I think this past month has been our best yet.  Your vocabulary has exploded and you are becoming a regular mocking bird.  Just this morning, as your dad was leaving for work, he looked back and said, "See ya dude."  Your eyes lit up and with a huge grin you repeated back, "See ya duuuude!"  I love hearing all your new words and your ability to string them together into sentences.  You still struggle with telling me what you want or need, but it is getting so much easier.  Baby, I can't wait to hear your thoughts!

You still absolutely love music, and you are now requesting songs by name. If you want to hear a specific song in the car you have no problem telling me about it, and are equally enthusiastic if you don't want to hear a song I have chosen.  And baby, you have started to sing!  It is magical and beautiful and I can't wait to hear more.  Last week I was dusting the bedside table in the guest room when you discovered a little candle.  You gasped, looked it over, and after you blew out the faux flame, you began to sing "Happy Birthday" to yourself.  And I died.

You have truly embraced the all mighty and powerful, right of passage as a two year old word, "NO!"   I know you are simply demonstrating your ever growing independence and that you don't mean no every time you say it.  I know this because you recently told me, NO! You didn't want any of my ice cream. Haha, yeah right!  And so your assertive "no" is often ignored.  Sorry dude, but I have your number on that one.

This month you have also begun imaginative play.  You always enjoyed manipulating toys and games, but now you are really playing.  You love to line up your horses and feed them bites of your apple while you neigh for them in delight.  After they are fed you put them night night in the barn and offer them marbles or pieces of paper for comfort.  Caches, you love horses!  You have also taken a liking to holding, kissing, hugging and wrapping up your baby doll, your stuffed animals and Abner.  Guess who likes it the least?  But your Abner holds still as you cover him with blankets, kiss his face and squeal with glee when his whiskers tickle your face.  You are so lucky to have these dogs.

And just in case I had forgotten that you are now two, you have decided that NO food shall be cut, NO shoe shall be put on, NO body part shall be touched, NO help may be offered, NO cracker may be broken and NO water will touch your head unless explicitly requested by your highness!!!  NO, NADA, NONE!  The other day you nearly melted into the ground a la wicked witch of the west when I cut the pancake that you asked me to cut!  Now I make sure to ask if you understand what cutting means and if you are suuuure you want it cut.

You usually don't

Caches, you are discovering so much about your ever expanding world.  I understand that it can be exciting and fun, but I also know that it can be scary, overwhelming and incredibly frustrating.   And though you seem so much older these past few months, you are still very much a baby who needs a soft place to fall.  So run, jump, play, and explore.  You are learning.  Fall down, get angry, feel sad, and cry.  Beam with pride and struggle with frustration.  You are growing.  Do everything your heart desires knowing that when you need me, I will be here.  I will be here with outstretched arms anticipating the increasing weight of your head on my shoulder and the smell of eternal sunshine wafting from your hair.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cry baby

Something is bothering me.  Assumptions have been made that my child is manipulating me.  I disagree.  Let me explain.

It's no mystery that babies, toddlers, older children, and even adults cry and throw fits.  It is also no mystery that some of these toddlers, older children and adults are crying to manipulate their parents, boy/girlfriend, boss, police officer, etc.  But only the ones who have learned that crying changes the outcome of a situation will do this.  Others are just crying because, well, life sucks sometimes and humans cry.

Many parents think their children are crying to manipulate them, and in reality, some are.  But to think that infants are manipulative is outrageous in my opinion.  I cringe every time I hear someone telling a mother that their tiny baby is trying to manipulate them!  Manipulate them to do what!?  Feed them?  Comfort them in a time of stress?  They know nothing of the world other than their need for food, comfort, and a secure attachment/trust from their caregivers.  They are simply trying to meet their primal needs for survival and bond with their family!  For an infant there is NO difference between a want and a need.

Toddlers are another story.  Their brains are growing and developing at a rapid rate.  They are learning all about social interactions, emotions, and how they fit into their ever growing world.  Their brains are extremely immature, yet they have a strong desire to explore their world and establish autonomy.  Toddlers cry for a lot of reasons,  A LOT.  They cry when they are hurt, they cry when they are sad, they cry when the pancake that they themselves bit into has a bite taken out of it!  They also tend to cry when they don't get their way, when they are overstimulated or when their imagination is greater than their ability.  Again, the toddler is NOT trying to manipulate you!  They haven't read the book, they don't even know what manipulation is!

What they are trying to do is figure out how to act/react in in this big, overwhelming, and sometimes scary world of theirs.  They are also watching how you will react.  They are a l w a y s watching!  They are looking for you to set reasonable boundaries, to keep them safe, and to be there as a source of comfort when things get tough.  Toddler have huge and very real emotions.   Here is where the idea of manipulation can get tricky.  Toddler-hood is the time when you as a parent can either teach your toddler to manipulate you with tears, or you can teach them that tears do not change the outcome of the situation, but they are always allowed to cry and fully feel their emotions.

Teaching your child how not to manipulate with tears will look something like this.  Your two year old wants ice cream at 8:30 in the morning.  Okay fine, my two year old wants ice cream 8:30 in the morning. You tell them no and they proceed to throw a fit.  They are screaming and crying and possibly thrashing and kicking.  Remember, they are genuinely upset, not trying to manipulate you.  You offer empathy, "You are upset, you really wanted some ice cream.  But we can not have ice cream right now.  Would you like some oatmeal?"  They will probably scream, "NOOOO" as if their life depended on it and continue to cry.  Fine, still not trying to manipulate.  You will then let them feel their feelings without squelching them or becoming upset with them.   You will allow your toddler to cry and get out all of the upset they are feeling about not getting what they want.  And then, when they are done, you will be a safe place for a hug and a quick chat about what happened.  Then you and your toddler will move on to bigger and better crying when their oatmeal isn't the right color.  Did I mention toddlers cry a lot?

Now, if you do want to teach your toddler how to manipulate you with tears then you will give them the ice cream right when they start to cry, or even more effective, after then have been crying for a while.  You could also bribe them to stop crying with something else you know they really really like.

See how it works?  They initially cry because they are genuinely upset, not to manipulate.  But if you give in when tears fall, children learn very quickly to cry in order to get what they want and before you know it, yes, your child is manipulating you with tears.  This is not to say that once you set these boundaries your child will stop crying when they don't get what they want.  Trust me, they still will.   It's just that you will know that they aren't trying to change your mind, they already know that you won't.  But remember, that doesn't change the fact that they are upset and need to feel their feeling.   Parents, please allow your children to feel their feelings!  *Yes, all of them!

So what can potentially change things?  Words.  Calm, thoughtful words that can totally manipulate the shit out of you are not manipulation.  Okay, I know that words can also be a form of manipulation, but when both parties are calmly discussing a situation and potentially compromising and problem solving, this so called manipulation can be a good thing.

And yes, I am already dreading the day that my kid can outsmart me.  It's coming...

*I'm working on a post about the emotional needs of children and how incredibly important they are to meet.  This post is turning out to be very difficult to write.  It might be a while.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The human parrot

Recently, Caches' language has exploded.  He is speaking new words and phrases every single day, and loves to mock us!  It is really fun to see it click for him, and to hear his precious thoughts and ideas.

This evening on our family walk I shared with Ryan how earlier in the day Caches was copying everything I said like a little parrot.  We passed a car with two people sitting inside rolling a joint.  Yep, just sitting there, windows down for the world to see.  Ryan turned to me and said, "Just smoking some weed, huh?"  "Smokin weed." Repeated my parrot.

Ryan and I started to laugh as Polly repeated the phrase a few more times.  "We really need to watch our mouths now, Ryan." I said.  Still a bit skeptical, he whined about all the things we can no longer say.  "I guess we are officially in grandma mode, huh?"  "Grama mode!!"  Squawked the little bird.

Yeah, we are in that!

So I'm sure you will be as surprised as I was, when not even five minutes later we walked up to our house and Ryan took a look at his lawn and said, "my lawn is looking fucking fantastic."  Uhhh... Thankfully the parrot was bringing up the rear.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dirt swept under the rug

We all have our little secrets.  The things we do when nobody is watching, things that don't otherwise fit with our personality.  You know, things that I probably shouldn't share on a public blog.

But I'm going to.

I am a tidy individual; a place for everything and everything in its, place.  But that doesn't apply to the junk drawer in the kitchen, my underwear drawer or Caches' kitchen supplies drawer.  Each one of these drawers is a complete and total disaster!

Caches' drawer doesn't really need any explanation.  It is full of his utensils, dishes and cups, he has access to it, and he is two.  I tried.  It is fucked. The end

My underwear drawer is pretty much exactly that, only I don't fold, or color coordinate, or use cute dividers, or even give a flying fig about that drawer.  I tried for years to fold my underwear, to separate the thongs from the grannies; to give that drawer some respect.  Now I crumple up all my underwear from the wash and shove it in.  The tongs are making fun of the grannies, the purples are canoodling with the pinks and I'm pretty sure my long lost, most comfortable nursing bra is tangled up in there but I haven't dared to dig.

And I don't even care.  Like I really don't.

The junk drawer in the kitchen is another story.  I organize it once every few months, usually when I can no longer physically close it, even while pinching my finger in it while trying to smash all the junk down as I close it inch by inch.  This drawer is my guilty pleasure, my dirty secret; it is my rebellious side.  This drawer is me flipping off all of the people who need flipping off!

When I come across a pen that Ryan has left out from work I think, put the pen away in the top drawer in the office with all of its pen friends.  But I shove it in the drawer.  When I use a screwdriver from Ryan's toolbox in the garage I think, I should go put this back where I found it.  But I shove it in the drawer.  When I find a random tool that I let Caches play with, a thumbtack left over from Christmas decorations, when I find a dried pinto bean, an almond, a candy wrapper, a plastic bread tie that would require minimal effort to put back on the bread.  All that shit goes in the drawer.

I have even put beer bottle caps and other assorted trash that I didn't feel like escorting to the bin five feet away, in the junk drawer.  I see it fill up, I get annoyed when I can't find the things that I actually want to find in there because of the mess, but I continue to add to the chaos.  Bit by bit, tiny act of rebellion after tiny act of rebellion, and you know what, a small part of me is liberated each time I do it.

I know that my house seems tidy.  I know that I myself am kind of boring at the moment.  I know that other people think my house is tidy. I know that other people think I am rather boring that the moment.  But when I open that junk drawer and see that glorious mess going against everything neat and tidy inside of me, I get in touch with my rock and roll, fuck the world side and it feels really good.  It reminds me that maybe I'm not so boring after all, I'm just taking a break.

P.S. You absolutely can NOT see this drawer if you are at my house, so don't ask.  Well, maybe if I'm in the right mood.  Go ahead and ask, but I make no guarantees.  Even Ryan cringes to open it, and we have legally binding papers and diamond rings between us.

P.S.S  I also eat peanut butter out of the jar.  With my finger!  Don't judge me!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

And then the light bulb clicked so hard that it burst above my head

I recently wrote about the ugly red monster, anger, and how it was affecting me on my parenting journey.  Inspired by how powerful, yet secondary an emotion anger is, I decided to dig deeper.  I encountered some articles justifying my anger, not helpful, and a few articles about other mothers and their feelings of anger, insightful, but still not quite what I was looking for.  About to give up,  I stumbled upon an article that has literally changed my life. 

It was an article about children's anger, mainly toddlers, and how they learn to cope with the powerful emotion.  It also touched on how we as parents can facilitate a healthy response to anger in our children.  It was interesting, but nothing that I hadn't heard before; and then I read it.  It was so simple, SO simple that I had to read it three times to make sure I was actually understanding.  Each time the little light bulb in my head got brighter and brighter until it burst with enlightenment.  "You are not responsible for your child's anger."  Holy shit! You mean it's not MY fault.!?  And, "It is not your responsibility to 'fix' your child's feelings, he must learn to do that for himself."

All this time I have been deeply, personally affected by Caches' intense emotions.  From birth, every cry was an emergency, every single emotional outburst needed to be fixed immediately, every unsettled moment held fault, mine.  Why is he crying?  How can I fix it?  What can I do?  What did I do to cause it?  How can I prevent it from happening again?   My god, I"ll do anything!!!  And now this woman was giving me permission to do nothing!?  Wha?

Well, not exactly.

What she was giving me permission to do, is to let go of ownership of HIS emotions.   They are his, not mine, and he can deal with them how he sees fit.  He is a complete person in and of himself, I am not, nor will I ever be in control of his feelings!  It is my job to validate him and his feelings, and to support him as he figures out for himself how to cope with, heal and "fix" his own problems, but it is not my cross to bare.

You guys have no idea how freeing this has been for me.  I cried, no I sobbed, as all of the pieces came together and I finally accepted for the first time in two years that it is not my fault.  And you know what, when you choose to let go of responsibility for everyone else's emotions, you feel about 473289 pounds lighter.  You feel liberated, calm, and centered. 

And it doesn't only apply to Cache.  I am not responsible for Ryan's emotions, or my mother's, or my dog's!  I am not even responsible for the hurt teenager on a television show!!  I know, crazy, right?  But I am telling you this in all honesty, a made up television show character, and his deeply hurt feelings has the ability to ruin my day, or I should say, had.  

Now, you may be the kind of person who figured this shit out years ago!  Good for you.  Or you may be the kind of person who never even had this problem, you only worry about you.  You realize that you can't control the world and single-handedly abolish hate, sadness, or upset of any kind.  Awesome.  But if you are like me, and you carry the hurt of many, the fears and frustrations of all of your loved ones, their anger, sadness and struggle, then you understand.  I understand.

If this is you, I urge you to let go Let go in baby steps, or all at once.  Let go piece by piece, or person by person, but do it, do it now!  You will be completely changed.  You will breathe deeper.  You will feel as if you can fly again. I don't know why it took a complete strangers internet article for me to allow myself to let go, but I'm glad it did.  I don't give myself permission for many pleasantries, I am an anxious person, I am by nature a fixer, but I am giving myself permission, no, I am demanding myself to do this, to let go.

So simple.  So, so simple, yet utterly fucking brilliant. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

To. Too. Two

Caches Michael,

Today you are two years old.  I can't help but feel as though I blinked and an entire year has past.  How did this happen?  How are you already two?  Whomever coined the phrase, "The days are long, but the years are short." must have lived with a toddler, and you are one hell of a toddler, son.

I suppose I have to accept that my baby isn't so much of a baby anymore, sniff, and so to celebrate we got you some new balls, your current obsession.  No, not those, though you do find stretching them to the point of making your father wince entertaining.  The bouncy kind that are super fun to throw at dogs, roll into the street and leave around for mama to trip over in the dark of night while she paces the hall with you cradled in her arms.  Yeah, still doing that, but we will talk about that later.

As I sit to type this, I am saddened that I did not continue with monthly updates.  Far too much has changed in a year to consolidate into one letter, but I will try.  

Caches, you are a joy, an utter delight, and I find myself completely in awe of you every single day.  So much so that just catching a glimpse of your face in my rear view mirror can bring tears to my eyes.  When I am with you, I feel like I am in the presence of greatness.  You have always had the ability to change the energy of a room simply with your presence, only now it is usually for the better.  Your energy, your light, it's contagious.

You continue to be the worlds smallest and most powerful dictator, accepting nothing short of perfection from your staff.  You have very specific ideas about how things should be done and they had better be done just so.  Even if it means eating your eggs directly out of the frying pan with the spatula as a utensil one day and losing your shit when I offer to do the same the next day.  Didn't I get the memo!?  We only eat eggs from the frying pan on Tuesday, April 3ed at 7:24AM!  Sure, this can be mind numbing, but just like your perfect downy blonde curls, I know it will not last for long.

Caches, you are the kind of kid that people dream about when they imagine what it would be like to have children.  Well, during normal waking hours you are.  At night you are the kind of kid that people have nightmares and take birth control when they think about.  You have an utterly ridiculous, insanely cute laugh that you burst into at random points of the day for no reason at all other than that fact that it is amazing to be you!   You are joyful, passionate, inspiring.

I want to put in writing some of the adorable things you do right now, because baby, some day you won't do them anymore.  You will grow and change, and years will pass, and I'll catch the sent of nearly two year old you, and I will lose my breath as beautiful memories of who you used to be flood my soul.  I know it is only natural to grow up, but I find myself wanting you to stay.  So innocent, so pure, not yet jaded by the harsh realities of life.  Wouldn't it be nice to stay 2 forever...

When you want to nurse you catch my attention and you say, "Nurt?"  "You want to nurse?" I ask. "I need a nurt." you respond.  "Oh you need to?"  And with the biggest smile that could melt even the coldest heart you say,  "I neeeeed to, mama," your eyes squinting and your silly crooked teeth beaming in a smile.  Oh Cache, your nose scrunch and eye squint smile is perfection!  Never stop smiling.

You have the memory of an elephant.  You listen, you listen carefully, and you don't forget.  "No baby, we will open that when daddy gets home."  5 hours later, "Caches, daddy is home!" and you run and grab the box to open.  "Cookies are too hot now, we can eat one when you wake up from your nap."  Your eyes not even half way open and you are grinning, "Cookie?"  We don't get away with much around you, baby. Continue to listen earnestly.

You are fiercely independent, scoffing if I even so much as lay a finger on you while you climb the play structure or try to ride your bike.  You are ever becoming more your own person; but you come back to me.  You come back with your gangly, bruised limbs wrapped so tight around me that I almost feel as if we are one again.  Fly, explore, get hurt, make mistakes, but keep coming back sweet boy, I will be here always.

You like to name your family and keep track of their whereabouts.  Often during the day you will ask where Yily is, and then Abby, followed by the meow, the fish and your da-do.  You like to reassure yourself where loved ones are, like while pushing a truck, you pause, "Da-do, work." and go back to playing.  "Yily, nap. Shhhhh." and on with eating lunch. You are such a thoughtful boy, so gentle and kind.  Stay kind.

You are perpetual motion.  I don't think there are more than a few seconds each day that your entire body is still.  You kick your little legs in the car seat, you kick them in the swing.  You even kick them while I'm holding you if something excites you, like a big truck driving by, or a bird hoping on the grass.  You rub your hands against my chest or back while you sit with me, and as you fall asleep, continuing to twitch your tiny, dimpled fingers until you finally surrender to sleep.  Keep moving, son.

Baby, watching you fall asleep at the end of a long day is one of my favorite things to do.  To watch a healthy, inquisitive, rambunctious boy go from wide awake, to drowsy, to trying desperately to keep his eyes open and finally to still, peaceful sleep is nothing short of a miracle.  An every day miracle that I am fortunate to be a part of.  Watching you sleep feels like a dream.  It did when you were only hours old and it still does today.  When you are old like mama, and find yourself troubled with the world, look for peace in the face of a sleeping child, I find it in you.

These past two years have been the most intense, exhausting, challenging years of my life.  They have also been the most awe inspiring, exquisitely imperfect, and magical.  I get to see the world through your eyes, and baby, it feel as if I have been born again.  Everything, even the formally mundane tasks now have to ability to be fascinating.  Doing dishes sparks imagination about fish and boats.  Watering the lawn can turn into an impromptu water fight, and vacuuming can turn into a gleeful game of cat and mouse. 

I am grown, I am no stranger to heartache, grief, and the unfair cruelty of this world; I find solace in you, baby.  In you I see a world of hope, peace, and brilliance.  When I get caught up in the uglier parts of life, I find the beauty of this world again in your embrace.

Only two years in, and already I feel like I have learned a lifetime of lessons.  I promise I'll continue to listen, I'll continue to learn; we are in this together sweet boy.