Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I saw Baby Mama!

With some amazing tattooed mamas and their adorable offspring today.

We had a great time aside from the cranky old lady, there on baby day inexplicably without a baby and seemingly pissed that there were babies even there. Also aside from the snarly, possibly hungover waitress that kept kicking one mom's car seat as she walked by.

We hit some traffic on the way home, but the boys napped and now we're hanging out at home and I'm putting off some minor housewifery that needs to be done.

Mother's Day Madness

What is Mother's day and what does it mean, really at this point? I am a mother and I have a mother, and a mother-in-law.

I love honoring people and giving gifts but now that I am on the receiving end of it, I don't really want that big of a deal made of it.

My boys give me plenty of gifts in the form of hugs and kisses and snuggles and flowers from our backyard every day.

All I want this year is for my husband to make me waffles and for us to reminisce about our boys' earlier days.

I want another 8 yoga classes added to my pass.

I want to talk to my mom on the phone and ask her if she got my card. The one where hopefully I am able to articulate how much I appreciate her.

The very next day she will have a very scary surgery and I want to let her know that I will be thinking of her.

I want to also do something nice for my mother-in-law. Maybe I will make her some cookies.

I want to call my mama friends and tell them what amazing mothers they are.

I am all about handmade gifts now, I'm not going to rush out and buy more stuff that I can't afford and no one has room for. I can make something more meaningful with my own two hands.

It's not supposed to be about
mindless shopping anyway.

Living in Gratitude

This post by one of my favorite bloggers reinforces something I've felt quite strongly for some time now.

I notice in my own life, it's feeling grateful and appreciating not only all I have materially but also my husband and other people in my life that really helps me feel fulfilled.

I have lived in a state of constant desire before, in fact that was how I was living at my unhappiest, the black time at the end of last year.

When you live like that, forever wanting more, it's never enough. It is a giant pit that can never be filled enough to make you feel really happy.

I try to think about all I have to be grateful for every day. It really keeps me humble and on track and makes me realize that I have everything I have ever wanted.

I learned something new!

Thanks to Google I finally figured out how to do that nifty strikethrough thing that all the cool kids use.

I have a feeling this will help me be even MORE sarcastic in my blog!! Yippee!

Goal: Stop Biting My Nails Already!

I have had a nail biting habit off and on for as long as I can remember.

Now I only really chew my nails when I am extremely stressed out. Well, at first, then it becomes an unconscious thing. A nervous habit.

I chewed them all off a few months ago after a nasty fight with the mister (the only reason I ever do it anymore) and they are still tiny nubs. I am publicly committing to growing them back out starting tomorrow. I have a fool-proof method that I will then employ.

If this blog is any indication, it seems that I have to grow my nails out around this time every year after a fight with S. I'll keep that in mind so I can avoid it next year.

One plus to the nail-chewing, though, it makes typing a breeze!

What I've Been Reading

I've checked out lots of books at the library lately, here's a few that I just took back/am still reading.

1. A Killer Stitch by: Maggie Sefton
Apparently this is the third book in a series of "Knitting Mysteries." I scoffed when I saw it but grabbed it anyway, because well...it was free. I love knitting and I love noir/crime stuff so I thought it would be fun. It was a very, very quick read but it was pretty much what I expected. Fluffy, with weak characters and flimsy writing. It reminded me of all the formulaic Sweet Valley High books I read when I was 11. But, I would still read the first two books if they were at the library.

2. Why Beautiful People Have More Daughters: From Dating, Shopping, and Praying to Going to War and Becoming a Billionaire-- Two Evolutionary Psychologists Explain Why We Do What We Do by: Alan S. Miller and Satoshi Kanazawa
I was interested in this book at first because, well I have boys and so the title both irritated and intrigued me. It also was a quick read, though a bit more dense. It was still entertaining and although it dealt in sweeping generalizations I thought it made some excellent points.

3. The Yiddish Policemen's Union by: Michael Chabon
I loved Kavalier and Clay so much that I will read anything else he ever writes. I am just starting this book and it has the same Michael Chabon flavor so far, but is not K & C, not by a long shot. Still, I am enjoying it.

I took out a whole slew of other books, one on why women get plastic surgery, one on schools today, one on felted jewelry, and a cookbook. I skipped the temptation of another fluffy, dumb book, foregoing one about shopping and marriage ( popular chick-lit themes)
I'll talk more about the ones I brought home once I start to read them.

The Angry Liver vs. The Free & Easy Wanderer

I've talked a little bit about my recent anger issues and my lack of patience with the boys.

I just noticed that every time I was faced with a stressful situation I immediately felt a quick, hot flash of anger.

I don't think of myself as an angry person and I certainly don't want to be foul-tempered and cranky all the time. I like to think of myself as a cuddly, gentle Earth Mama and that really is what I strive to be.

I want to be peaceful and loving and happy. I want to be patient with myself, my husband, my children and random strangers.

But for a few months now I noticed that I was completely unable to deal with life's little rough spots with grace or humor. I would just silently explode and have to really bite back a harsh response. It felt terrible.

I'd feel much better after strenuous yoga but I noticed even that wasn't helping as much as it had been.

The other day when I was working at WFM I spoke with a former co-worker who is studying Chinese medicine. I mentioned that I haven't been able to get acupuncture in over a year and how I feel like I'm having liver issues.

She asked me several questions and agreed that it sounded like a liver problem. She recommended these and I have now taken them four times.

Today I felt great. I still had all the usual irritations in my day, the boys doing naughty stuff, trying to manage the house and still take care of myself, trying to get dinner ready while they were running around making a mess and hurting each other...but I didn't have the same negative energy rush that I have had. I felt unhappy at the way they were acting but I didn't feel angry. I actually felt quite harmonious, even as I was dealing with stressful situations. I felt more "present" and less "cloudy."

When they spilled their drinks instead of huffing with exasperation I just grabbed a towel and asked them to help me clean it up. That's a normal response that I just hadn't been having.

I know that the pills are probably not doing much yet, that it is just a placebo effect, my mind tricking my body into the desired response.

But I also think it's the fact that I recognized a problem and was proactive about trying to find a solution. I can tell when my body and spirit just doesn't feel right and it hadn't been right for a few months.

Once I looked at the symptoms these particular herbs treat, I realized I had over half of them. I was amazed. I have/had the ones in bold:

Headaches [Tension, Stress, Top of Head or Temple Area]
Neck and Shoulder Tension
Jaw Tension or Clenched Teeth
Bloating, Nausea and Distension
Anger, Anxiety and Emotional Outburst or Depression
PMS Disorders
Irregular Menstrual Patterns
Cold Hands and Feet [Regulate Circulation]
Sharp, Stabbing Pain [Especially the Rib or Back Area]
Stiff or Inflamed Joints and Muscles
Low Energy
Liver Spots on Skin
Sugar Cravings
Red Facial Features [Especially Nose and Cheeks]
Acute Ringing of Ears

I'm hoping I'll be able to get in for acupuncture very soon. I'm also eating better and trying to be more focused and less sluggish/foggy.

I'll keep you posted, so far so good!

Home Office!

Before I worked up the energy to organize all my work crap.

After!! (shown in pictures)

Now I can actually get some work done in there! I have so much stuff in there, maybe you can't tell the difference, but believe me I can and I feel so much better going in there.

Note: I only occupy a very small space of that room. It's actually S's man-sanctuary, or Manctuary as he calls it. I have a little work space that I had to beg for three or so years to obtain.

My work station ends there to the right at the printer. Then it's his crazy man-stuff that, to my mind, is in no way organized or even accessible.

But, that's for me to worry about. He seems perfectly happy in there and that's all that matters. He's in there right now as a matter of fact.

I'm on my laptop in the kitchen. You can see it from the top picture. Hello!

Can you tell it's really late? It's 2am and clearly I'm getting loopy but I'm so happy to be free to blog and mess around while the boys sleep. I don't really want to go to bed.

I think I've figured out my mini-obsession with cleaning and organization.

S and I have lived here for 4 years (in June!) and have owned the house for coming up on a year (also in June) and it's just now that I have the energy and ability to organize our stuff.

The boys were born right after we had been here about a year. I was pregnant that whole time so I never really got the chance to sort through everything we had brought from Berkeley (and believe me it was A LOT of stuff, S made two trips here and back to get everything)

Our house was a disaster-area for the longest time. Seriously, it felt like a health-code violation right up until we got a dishwasher and finally figured out how to tame all those pesky Texas insects that were ruining our lives. I would just look around the house and feel utter despair.

Being a new mom really waylaid me. I felt absolute panic and exhaustion for at least two years straight. I didn't have confidence in my mothering abilities and I wasn't able to create a real support network for myself either. And work...well, that fell by the wayside pretty quickly.

Now I'm in a good space, I have friends and S and I are solid in our marriage and happy with our little family and I am in a pretty good space work-wise and getting better all the time.

By the time the boys are in school I should have a solid facial practice and be at least on my way to being successful as a product representative and skincare educator.

It's nice to have the time now to be able to spend on the house and with the boys and really create a space that we all feel safe and comfortable in.

I am so proud of S and I for surviving these past three years of parenthood, having twins sure has been quite an adventure.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Multi-Craft Post!

*These pics are not at all in the order I would like them to be in, sorry! I don't have the mental capacity to figure out how to fix it.

My felted "turd" before I cut it into separate beads

My first finished beads

A bead swims in a cold water bath

A bead gets "roughed up" by my 'sugar' apron

All of my finished beads!

Cut up trash bag rings ready to be slip-knotted into yarn

Two rings knotted together to begin my ball of plastic bag yarn

Finished ball of trash bag yarn

My supplies all set up and ready to make felted beads

Beautiful orange and pink fiber that I bought at Stitches West in Oakland before I moved to Texas.

My LeeLee paints a picture, then later ruins it

The boys before stripping down and hopping in the freezing soapy water. Like LeeLee's Danzig shirt? He put that on so he wouldn't mess up his signature plaid button-down.

My Moomers paints a picture

The beginning step to making plastic yarn, cut off the top and bottom then roll it up horizontally and cut it into 2" rings.

Last Friday the boys and I did several crafty projects, which made my heart glow with happiness.

The boys did some painting in the backyard with their easel that their Nana gave them when they were much too small to use it. It's nice to see it get some use finally this year!

They also finally used these great sponge rollers I bought for their second birthday from the Eric Carle Museum. (I was in Mass. for business)

It was hard for me at first to keep from "managing" their art, to try and keep them from messing up their projects instead of just letting them have fun.

I was aiming towards having a finished product out of the experience. Now I just let them have at it and know that I probably won't have a masterpiece to hang on my fridge. They will wad it up or soak it with water or tear it or whatever and it's fine because they are learning and experimenting.

This time they painted for a while then stripped down nudies and sat in the water table, taking their egg carton full of paint with them.

While the boys napped I made a few wet felted beads. They turned out great and were easy to make. I can't wait to make more and use them for a necklace or a pair of earrings or a ring. I have a lot of fiber to practice with, and a lot of green roving that I can't wait to try out.

I followed the directions but realized a few tricks to make things go easier and quicker. (I'm such a slacker crafter!)

The beads were ridiculously easy to make, but here's how I changed things to make it even easier:

* My first bead was the biggest and turned out the best, but after I finished it I had trouble pulling off the right amount of fiber to form the next bead.

My second bead just wouldn't form a ball properly so instead I rolled it into a...well, kind of a turd shape and semi-felted it following the directions. After that I cut it into pieces and by following the directions made them into beads.

I saved time by dropping all of the beads into hot water, then when it was their turn I dipped them alternately between the soapy water, hot water and ice water until they were dense and smooth.

In order to agitate them further I "roughed them up" against my apron as I rolled them into a ball the smoothed them out between my cupped palm and the heel of my other hand.

I'll post more pics when I make more and/or when I make something with them! *

I also finally made some plastic "yarn" from the reclaimed trash bag from the grocery store. I was a bit disappointed, I was hoping it would make more than it did, but it was quick to make and will hopefully be enough for a small project.

Best Mom Ever

Today the boys and I went to the library. I had accrued some fines because I spaced the due date on the dvds I rented for the boys. That sucked, but I digress.

We had our usual time there, I gave them a Z Bar (my homemade imitations do not take their place in the boys' hearts, despite my best attempts at replicating them) even though you aren't really allowed food in the library. There is NO WAY I can go anywhere without some sort of snack item on hand.

I browsed the music section, realized I have already uploaded most of their better cds then moved on to fiction. Nothing too interesting there so I went to the new releases where I grabbed a few books for myself including a timely book on felted jewelry.

The boys began to get restless so we moved on to our ultimate destination: the kid's section. We've been the only people there during all of our visits but this time there were two mamas and their little ones, each had a daughter, and then a third mom showed up with a stroller and a quiet son.

I didn't mind having company although the boys didn't take kindly to one little girl who tried to take their favorite library toys away.

One mom left soon after we got there and another was very quiet and sat off to one side but the remaining mom smiled a lot at me and made eye contact several times.

It was then that I noticed something strange. We BOTH began to talk to our children with the kindness and patience of a pre-school teacher, AND slightly louder than what was necessary. I tried to stop as soon as I realized what I was doing but I continued to observe her.

"Sweetie, do you want me to read this book to you? What color is that? YELL-OW! Great job!"

It was some kind of great mom-a-thon. I let her win. ;)

Have any of you mamas ever noticed this phenomenon?

Baby Mama!!!

Amy Poehler is pregnant and due in the Fall! Her husband looks like he needs a tanning intervention but she's cute as can be and will make a beautiful preggie lady!!!

Weekend Wrap Up: Flash Flood Warnings!

Our weekend was nice, pretty mellow.

I realized that I didn't blog much after Thursday because our Friday was hectic and then we had a busy weekend.

On Friday afternoon I took the boys on some errands then to a nearby farm to feed the goats. I had promised them the zoo but realized I just couldn't do it alone so I should wait until S could go with us.

I was afraid the boys were going to be disappointed but they really like goats so it was ok. A nearby Montessori school came by and my little LeeLee inserted himself in the big middle of the group.

After that we went and had lunch with papa at his work. The boys raced around and acted silly, they were so happy to see their dad.

As I was leaving I spied TWO separate lost pieces of fake hair in my parking spot. Classy!!

While the boys nap I actually got some crafting done (will be in a separate post) which was fun.

That night after S got home my Moomers and I went on a date. The week before LeeLee and I went out alone and I promised my sweet little M that I'd take him out on Friday.

I had a bit of a strange feeling as I was leaving, it just wasn't flowing well. It seemed like I should stay home and have family time but I didn't want to break my promise so we left.

S and Lee went to his brother's restaurant and said hi and me and M went to the thrift store to look for new swim trunks for the boys.

I found some really cute swim trunks plus four new short-sleeved button-downs to replace the long-sleeved shirts I put in storage. Lee doesn't really wear t-shirts so he was having a hard time choosing his clothes each day.

We had a nice time, it was nice to reconnect with my little son. I find I spend more time with LeeLee so it's nice to have some one-on-one time with my sweet little Moomers. S spends more time with M so it was nice for him to be with LeeLee.

As we were getting in the car after dinner it started thundering ominously so we hurried home. I had to run into the house to avoid getting completely soaked. S got home soon after and ran outside to make sure everything was covered that needed to be. He moved the cars under the trees to avoid hail damage and we dried off and snuggled up on the couch to watch a movie.

On Saturday it cleared up and after a hectic morning we loaded up and went for a long walk around the lake. It was nice to get some fresh air and exercise and since the boys were in their stroller S and I actually got to have a conversation! We were so busy I didn't even take photos! I wasn't even assembling a mental blog as our day progressed, as I normally do.

We got home and S mowed the lawn while I dozed on the couch reading my library book. The boys woke up and I made dinner.

We all felt happy and in love with our little family.

I worked on Sunday for a few hours and had a nice time being an esthetician instead of a mama for a while. It's always nice to get home to my boys after being away, though.

I met S and the boys at his mom's house and we hung out for an hour or so there and then headed home to avoid getting caught in another storm.

In the evening after dinner I was able to spend some time organizing my work stuff in the garage (I've been 'meaning to get to it' forever...it's nice to finally get it done!) while the boys played.

They have gotten really good at building with their legos and, much to my chagrin they have already discovered skateboards. No!!!!