20 September 2012

I, too, am a Crappy Mom!

I'm jumping on the wagon, too, because I am SO SICK AND TIRED of all these mommy wars. So in following with Life with Levi I am going to share why I, too, am a crappy mom.

I tell my daughter she is beautiful. I also tell her she's smart, funny, and totally nuts. Which is obviously setting her up for lifelong failure.

I let her watch Disney movies and pretend she's a princess.

I cloth diapered, "extended" breastfed w no formula, made her baby food from scratch, and tried to use organic products.

I also vaccinate, sometimes let her eat McD's french fries, am pretty sure she OD'ed on mum mums, and have NO idea how I feel about circumcision on boys.

I bought a LOT of carriers for baby wearing. And used them all about once - couldn't stand the screaming and moaning (and O wasn't much better! ;)). Instead, I bought 4 awesome strollers we all love. Well, my husband might just love 1.

Sometimes I realize we've spent too much time watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, but I don't want to stop the cuddles. Other days I can't possibly spend another minute at the park.

I simply can't be a hover mom, totally not my style and kind of annoys me. That being said, O probably has had more injuries that she should - I choose to call them "learning experiences."

I got embarrassed when she screeches like the bird from Little Mermaid while on a small plane, but I found myself laughing still. I also yelled at the old hag in front of me who told me O shouldn't be allowed in public and SHE had "perfect children" who "at least knew how to sit quietly when they should."

I wanted to keep her rear-facing until at least 2. When we rented a car in California the seat was more dangerous rear-facing than forward facing (seriously - it would pop wheelies around turns) and there was no going back, so at 18 months I lost that battle.

I am still bitter about that and still make my husband watch the videos to prove why I'm always right.

My kid is hysterical, totally crazy, and gets super excited about EVERYTHING. She's smart, she's gorgeous, and totally lovable. She brings joy wherever she goes and people genuinely enjoy her.

I'd say I'm doing alright. And if being a "good" mom requires stressing out and obsessively googling EVERYTHING (more than I already do) then I would simply rather "fail" while enjoying her childhood.

17 July 2012

Pregnancy PetPeeve

Ok I get that I am hypersensitive, but I just read a bunch of comments on a facebok post that said "what is/was your biggest pregnancy pet peeve" and this woman said this: "In 2012, with 4328542 types of BC it's amazing that people still have "accidents", but no we weren't one of them! But thanks for assuming we're irresponsible and total idiots!" <------ Um I didn't realize I was irresponsible AND an idiot. Maybe HER comment would be my biggest pet peeve, does it count 3 years later?

Why can't people think about what they say, especially on social media? How self righteous can you be? I'd love to give her a piece of my mind, but, alas, she probably wouldn't understand me. ;)

C'est la vie. I have to say God had a plan in my child, because if he hadn't forced it upon me I never EVER would have given birth and gotten my Miss O.

My husband said the BEST thing the other day. I asked him why God didn't give me patience when giving me a child and his reply was:

"Babe, even God knew He couldn't give you patience - it was too much to do. Instead, He gave you me."

I cried, of course, because it's the most true statement I've ever heard. I love my husband and am SO THANKFUL this has all happened to US and no one else.

08 June 2012

Fluff Friday: Because Brains Don't Think on Fridays!

Here are some interesting (or at least I think so) facts about me:

(1) The hyena is my favorite African animal (followed closely by the Warthog). DH bought DD a stuffed hyena before she was even born.
(2) I have the best husband on Earth, and legitimately feel just a little bit bad that others aren't married to him. :)
(3) I seriously love being a Mary Kay Consultant. I find it rewarding, satisfying, challenging, and interesting, while also being accommodating to my lifestyle. I've grown abundantly in both my faith, self confidence, and self worth in just 1 year.
(4) I cannot eat things that are white, creamy, and go "squish" (yea).
(5) My fear of sharks is not only irrational but often debilitating.
(6) I make a LOT of lists. I spend more time than necessary making lists. I make lists for the lists I want to make. Wait... this is a list, too, isn't it?
(7) The thing that holds me back most in life is my intense desire to hang out with my family ALL THE TIME. (yet, see #3).
(8) I wish I could justify being 5 shades tanner all the time.
(9) I was alone with our fish tank for 5 days and 3 fish died. The fish were entirely on their own for 3 days and 0 died. #JustSayin'
(10) My dream life is living near an African beach being just a little sweaty and just a little dusty every day for the rest of my life.

What are some interesting facts about you?

20 May 2012

Breaking the Silence: Part 1

The Zoo in Maryland has this photo of a nursing bear posted in PLAIN VIEW for ALL THE WORLD to see - INCLUDING my TWO YEAR OLD CHILD! How am I supposed to explain this barbaric act to HER?? I am disgusted and offended by how crude and repulsive this image is to me. A MAMMAL nursing her babies! *Vomit* It is SO GROSS I can hardly stand it. For one, those babies obviously have TEETH and they can WALK - I'm sure they can even "ask" for food in their own bear language. Hence, they are WAY too old to be nursing!!! Doesn't that mother polar bear know when to STOP??? Obviously she is just doing this for her own sick, perverted, sexual or otherwise selfish needs. What about the male polar bears? They should be FURIOUS they aren't getting any action due to her constantly being at the beck and call of her babies.* Why doesn't she cover up? Why would the zoo post this photo?? And don't get me started on the caption (not pictured) that said "Polar Bear Picnic" *vomit, puke, gag*. This image of the so-called "wild" is SO unnatural, and SO unnerving. I honestly don't know how express my anger at the Maryland Zoo. I might start a petition to have it removed. I am definitely blogging about it. Maybe I should start a protest movement! PEOPLE AGAINST NURSING MAMMALS!!!!!!!!!!

Oh wait. I think that group already exists. It's called society.

*I understand that male animals often kill babies that are not their own in order to get the mothers to start breeding again - trust me, worked with lions, know the deal - but I think we can all agree Daddies shouldn't kill Babies.

19 April 2012


Miss O loves fish. All day long we talk about "Pish" and ESPECIALLY "Bookow Pish" or Mickey Fish.

Me? Not so much. Not a fish fan. While I love my father, my only memories of the fish tanks he had for us as kids are dead, floating, pale fish carcasses. Well and the few fish we did have that survived that my brother flushed down the toilet while still alive. It was rather traumatic for me, and even more so when he decided about 6 months later that he was back to being "into" fish and wanted another tank.

That being said, is it too much to ask that Miss O be able to enjoy nice, healthy fish at the aquarium and the zoo? Why do we have to bring the fish INTO the house?

Hubby and I even had "the talk" regarding a fish tank and I explicitly asked that we NOT get one. I really can't do dead fish. I don't know what it is about dead fish tank fish but they make my stomach lurch and my whole body clench. The only dead fish I deal with are over rice with wasabi and soy sauce. No joke.

Anyway, do you see where I'm going with this? Now I must be careful to refrain from husband bashing (well besides over his head when he gets home from his business trip), but my husband had this brilliant surprise for us when we got home from Disney. A fish tank! Completely stocked with .. MICKEY FISH! And, if those weren't great enough, AFRICAN FROGS! "See, honey, I bought what I knew you two would love.."

You see? He made HIS fish tank all about Miss O and me. Don't be fooled. This was not a NICE thing to do. This. Was. War.

Rules: I don't do fish tanks. I don't clean the tank. I don't feed the fish. I DON'T remove dead fish under ANY CIRCUMSTANCE. Nay, I don't want to SEE dead fish.

Anyway, do you see where I'm going with this?

Two weeks in: Mickey Fish #1 doesn't look so hot. I'll spare you the details but safe to say the end was near. Ray offered to flush him while he was still alive but, well, see posting above. Finally, after days of suffering, Mickey Fish #1 goes.

One week later: Ray is gone for business. Do you SEE where this is going? Not only am I to FEED the fish (see rules), BUT I come in to find one fish dead. Not floating, of course, where it would be "easy" to reach, but rather wrapped around the filter thing-a-ma-jig. So I spend all night last night freaking out, trying to figure out how to get the fish. Gagging over the fish. Creating quite a scene for the neighbors (should they be peering in my windows).

Anyway, do you see where I'm going with this this?

Upon further inspection there isn't a dead fish. Whew. No. There are TWO DEAD FISH. I am telling you! I can't take it.

So I went to bed.

Apparently, however, I have inherited the inability to deal with dead fish. In fact, I'm going to do some research later because I actually think it might be a disease passed through nurturing. You see, my mom also did not deal with dead fish. She would wait until my father would come home from his business trips and announce (ever so sweetly, as that is my mom's way) "Dear, I do believe there is a dead fish in the tank" and at this point probably batted her eyes (or not, as that is not really her way).

Wait.. Maybe that's why all I remember about tanks are dead fish. Thanks, MOM.

And I'm only half joking when I say if any of you would like to come remove said fish, I will pay you one hundred dollars. (I'd say one million, but I might have too many offers and I simply don't have enough room for you all to show up at my house..) :)

13 April 2012

Fun Friday: The Great Cloth Diaper Change!

First off, we need to address my obsession with creating alliterate themed titles for all my blog posts. You know you love it. I know I spend my dreaming time coming up with it. Let us all embrace it.

Now, The Great Cloth Diaper Change! Say Huh? If you are not in the cloth diapering community (and why not? why AREN'T you?) then you probably have no idea to what in the world I am referring. The Great Cloth Diaper Change is this incredible event created by the Cloth Diaper gods... ok, well I think actually The Real Diaper Association had something to do with it, in order to bring more awareness to the world of cloth diapering. According to the website, as of April 9th, there are 305 officially registered hosts in 16 countries! Talk about powerful!

Miss O and I participated in the FIRST change last year. The timing was all wrong for us, as we were in the middle of moving and life was crazy, but the one tried and true fact of life is that the BEST THINGS always happen at the most inconvenient times. Am I right? Sure enough, on that Saturday morning in April last year I pulled my mom (who thought, eerr *thinks*, I was just a little bit nuts) and Miss O to a local cloth diapering place in Madison (I wanted to go to my favorite place in Racine but didn't have time to drive all the way there - but that's neither here nor there). In my overzealousness we were the first ones there. We *might* have arrived before the store opened, but I'm not telling.

Talk about being a part of something bigger than all of us. You know by now how much I thrive on life changing, earth shattering, above all powerful moments - and this was one of those moments. I mean, sure, all I did was change a diaper - goodness how many did I change before that and how many after! - but in doing so, I made a statement. I made a difference. I joined a community. No other diaper I have changed has meant more than that Hot Pink Charlie Banana. Tears come to my eyes every time I think about how I came together with these amazing cloth diapering mamas I knew mostly from online and we stood up for something in which we truly believe. The actual act of changing that diaper, of course, was rather mundane. And in true "Kari-style" (of which you will learn plenty) I completely forgot wipes or a changing pad of any sort, so poor Miss O had to lay half naked on the dirty floor. BUT STILL. Her grump face will NOT diminish how amazing I felt! The fact that I'm quite sure my 11 month old became the youngest child ever to roll her eyes at her mama will never take away how much fun I had.

Even if you do not yet cloth diaper (sorry, have you seen my post? What is Love?) you can still participate - just find a local cloth diapering store on the Great Cloth Diaper Change website and purchase some for the day! What a great excuse to try cloth diapering and if you don't like them, you can definitely sell them to some addicts on the street.. I mean cloth diapering mamas. Come on.. aren't you curious?

I don't have the photo of us at the store online, BUT here's a photo of Miss O playing with the free rattle she got!

12 April 2012

Thoughtful Thursday: My Husband, My Blessing

I am always amazed at the comments women will write about their husbands online. Don't get me wrong - my husband drives me nuts, too, but I do hope I refrain from complaining/nagging in public forum and focus on the incredible things he does for his family every day.

At the risk of producing proficient gagging from my readers, let me go into some of the top things my husband does:

He brings me flowers. Not just on holidays or Mother's Day, but random Mondays, Tuesdays, Just Because Days. Our table always has flowers.

He paid a ridiculous amount of money to ship an entire box of Disney shampoos/conditioners to my door step because he knew I needed a pick me up and a reminder of Disney at home.

He cleans up Miss O after dinner. This might seem minor, but messes give me heart attacks and after cleaning up for two meals already, dinner time is usually my breaking point.

He laughs. You know those genuinely deep, really enjoying life, so happy to be alive laughs? Those are his laughs.

He gives Miss O her bath. Similar to cleaning up at dinner, usually by bath time I need a few minutes of peace to get stuff done, usually folding laundry. So it's nice that they have father/daughter time. I know this won't last long as soon she won't want Daddy giving her a bath, but we all enjoy it now.

He cleans while I'm away. Countless times I've left to visit family, take O on a trip, do a vendor event and have come home to a totally scrubbed house - floors vacuumed, shelves dusted, everything put away. 'Nough. Said.

I could go on and on, but I really just want to give you a little insight into our lives and who we are. I also want to encourage you to remember all the great aspects about your significant other! What is something your SO does that makes you proud or makes you want to brag about him/her? Go ahead! Brag away!

02 April 2012

Spiders Beware!

This afternoon I walked out of my house to discover a HUGE spider lying next to the step. At first I was so shocked I ran inside. Then I decided I was going to risk capturing a picture. When I worked up the courage to get a closer look I realized that it had been smooshed by some kind of giant!! Oh my goodness!!! This spider was SO big - bigger than anything I'd seen in Africa and yet something big enough to smoosh it came close enough to my HOUSE to do so! WHERE DO I LIVE!?!?! (I believe I actually muttered those words aloud.)

I quickly text the picture to my husband (who was, yes, just upstairs) who then replied he had killed it this morning on his way home from work and left it there as a warning to all other spiders to stay away from his family.

My Hero! ... or Utterly Lazy? :)

*note: I have a picture of said spider on my phone, however, it was being eaten and carried away in pieces by ants and, well.. that's not very "family friendly" now is it?*

24 March 2012

Booty Buns #Clothdiapers #Giveaway!

Booty Buns Giveaway Event

Welcome to the Go Green ♥ Give Charity Cloth Diaper Giveaway Event sponsored by Booty Buns Cloth Diapers! Over 175 blogs have teamed up to present this amazing cloth diaper giveaway hosted by Daily Mothering.

Here's your chance to win an entire stash of one-size cloth diapers!


This amazing cloth diaper prize pack includes:

20 Booty Buns One-Size Cloth Diapers

(these true one-size cloth diapers fit 3-45 lbs!)

20 matching flannel/terry cloth wipes

40 microfiber inserts

20 cotton flannel liners

Booty Buns Cloth Diaper Giveaway

(picture does not show inserts or liners also included)

First, a little about Booty Buns...

Booty Buns One-Size Cloth Diapers

In case you haven't heard about them, Booty Buns Cloth Diapers are incredible one-size cloth diapers that truly fit from birth to potty training! They feature a snap-down rise with 5 different snap settings (most one-size diapers only have 3!) and a waist with 10 regular snap settings plus 2 crossover snap settings. The diapers have hip snaps to prevent wing droop on smaller sizes. The incredible size range of this diaper fits from 3-45 lbs!

Booty Buns One-Size Cloth Diapers

Booty Buns Cloth Diapers are pocket diapers and each diaper includes 2 snap-on microfiber inserts that can be stuffed into the diaper or laid on top with the included cotton flannel liner against your child's skin. The diapers have a waterproof PUL outer and a soft suedecloth inner with dual gussets on the inner lining to ensure everything stays IN the diaper! Booty Buns One-Size Cloth Diapers come in an assortment of bright colors and each diaper includes a matching handmade flannel/terry wipe. You can find out more about the diapers at Booty Buns, or check out the detailed Booty Buns One-Size Cloth Diaper Review at Daily Mothering!

Booty Buns Cloth Diapers

Booty Buns is dedicated to encouraging others to "go green" and "give charity." Shannon, the owner of Booty Buns Cloth Diapers, leads by example. For every diaper that Booty Buns sells, she donates one Booty Buns Cloth Diaper to a child in need in the US and third-world countries. Booty Buns is the exclusive cloth diapers donator for Operation Showers Of Appreciation, and they are also donating diapers to babies that have severe medical issues here in the US. Shannon hopes to donate a lifetime supply of cloth diapers {20 diapers} to every baby in need around the globe. You can join in this effort by purchasing your own set of Booty Buns Cloth Diapers and telling your friends about Booty Buns!

Make sure to stop by and follow Booty Buns via Facebook, Twitter and Blog for news and giveaways!

And now for the giveaway!!

Booty Buns Cloth Diaper Giveaway

ONE WINNER will receive this gigantic cloth diaper prize pack valued at $546!

And, the winner will get to select their choice of diaper colors!

This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada.

Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

22 March 2012

Now, Enjoy Now

"Instead of relishing each moment, each year, each opportunity, each step on the journey, I'm constantly overeager to get to the next thing...I'm rarely satisfied in full with my present station...I was present for all those years of my life...and yet there was so little I could really remember, few emotions I could recall...Why? Because I'd been there, but I hadn't really been there." (Shirer, Priscilla. The Resolution for Women. Kendrick Bros., LLC 2011, pp 13, 14.)

For years I can tell you a statement like that made no sense to me. While I, of course, had down times, set backs, and frustrations, I can honestly say I lived in the moment. I woke up happy, met goals, dreamed in color, and all that jazz.

For 25 years exactly.

My how one little line can rock your world (or is it two? I can't remember - it was all DUTCH to me.. hehe ok, more on that at a later time...). From that moment on I kept setting deadlines for myself, as I tend to work best in a crunch. I was allowed to be angry while I pregnant, then I needed to move on. Then I gave myself one year to snap out of it. Well, now Olivia is almost two and I am starting to panic at the amount of time I am wasting. I really cannot picture what has happened in the lat two years. What have I done? Where have I been?


Now is part of this to blame on PPD? Sure. But part of it is simply my refusal to grow up. I had PLANS, darn it! Kids were penciled in somewhere around retirement - although definitely not firm, nothing written in stone. I guess I assumed I would get that "maternal feeling" and "just know" when the time was right. But she happened.

Babies. Happen. I can stand before this...computer...and tell you confidently there is no good time to have a baby - but it is always the right time.

I spent my pregnancy angry at the world. So angry I did not have time to think about anything going wrong. Man, a LOT can go wrong. I do not need to elaborate here but whoa. Blessing much? I had a textbook pregnancy. We soared through labor and delivery.

Now I have spent two years torn and conflicted about this stunning bundle of joy who thinks I am better than toast! How did I let my own self get in the way of enjoying every minute? Instead I willed away the pregnancy, prayed to survive until her first birthday, counted down to 18 months so I could wean. And I have utterly forgotten how many birthdays I have had. (Seriously, Ray corrects me multiple times a day - I really have no idea how old I am. And seeing as my birthday lasts for all 30 days of June, it really makes that celebration awkward...). I find myself dreaming of kindergarten and college (for Miss O, not me!).

But every once in a while my heart does ache for losing all this time I have to cuddle with this little girl who thinks I am definitely just as good as toast probably. Sometimes the clouds clear and those rays of sun feel so good on my face. I am so stubborn I know if I put half the energy into loving my current life as I put into mourning my old one, I would be unstoppable.

Don't get me wrong - I am a GREAT mom. If I have to do something - even something I never asked for or planned on - I am still going to be great at it. So please don't call child services on me! :) O is thriving. I just think it is time to move to the "acceptance phase" so I can enjoy every moment. I want to soak in every kiss (although I'd prefer a less literal interpretation on O's part), absorb every hug, and delight in every laugh. O deserves it. I deserve it.

I guess I should check my birth certificate so we can clear up that mess. I swear it seems like just last week I.. well, anyway. I need to get back to that little sprite who puts me on the list right under toast! And bananas, and Mickey Mouse, and.. Oh, who am I kidding? It is an honor just to be nominated! ;)

01 March 2012


A lion in the zoo wants for nothing. Within the confines of a plush enclosure, food, shelter, cleanliness, and plenty of love and attention are all lavished upon him at no cost to him. He expends his energy neither for hunting nor defending; rather it is reserved for the occasional tussle during play and mating. His life is spent lounging in the sun, eating what is fed to him. His life is safe. His life is controlled. His life is....

BUT, what if the lion can only focus on the bars that hold him back?

16 February 2012

Versatile Blogger Award!

HUGE thank you to the following blogs for Awarding Me! Especially since I'm so new to the scene!

Eight Days a Week

Mommy to a Little Lady[bug]

Diapers, Dogs, and Deployment

When you receive this award there are 3 things that you are asked to do:
1. Thank the person who nominated you with a back link to their blog.
2. List 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 15 newly discovered or fondly followed blogs

7 things about me

1. I have watched a lion team hunt and kill in real life (something most people who visit Africa never see).
2. I have studied three languages and was best at Swedish.
3. I used to live for horses, riding horses, and everything horses, but at this point I doubt I'll ever get back on one again - it just seems too... remindful...
4. I love all things banana scented, banana flavored or with bananas in it but don't actually like eating bananas.
5. When I was pregnant I was so sick (and so unprepared) I threw up on the side of the road in three countries.
6. I've always considered myself a real "Islander" even though I've never lived on an Island.
7. I've always had a fear of sharks and my mom said that was ok since I wouldn't have to encounter any during my normal, daily activities... except you actually encounter shark stuff a lot and my fear is getting much, much worse.. it has officially become irrational.

I award the following 15 blogs the Versatile Blogger award! There are SO many great blogs out there, it was hard to choose!

1. http://www.babygiveawaysgalore.com
2. http://journeyoflifeandluv.blogspot.com/
3. http://green-baby-goods.com/
4. http://alifeofpeaceloveanddiapers.blogspot.com/
5. http://parentingpatch.com/
6. http://spoiledbutnotrotten.com
7. http://www.heatherandavery.blogspot.com/
8. http://www.simplecitylifeblog.com/
9. http://zephyrhill.wordpress.com/
10. http://www.adventures-in-fluff.blogspot.com
11. http://mommyadventures-leasha.blogspot.com/
12. http://burpclothsandsaddlepads.blogspot.com/
13. http://unravelingmotherhood.blogspot.com/
14. http://thecrunchywife.com/
15. http://adventuresincraziness.wordpress.com/

14 February 2012

What is LOVE?... Well It's #ClothDiapers

Well it’s certainly no secret I am a HUGE fan of cloth diapering. I can’t hide it, I won’t deny it, and I’m telling you I LOVE that fluffy bum! While I hope to make this blog one of interest that connects to people of all walks of life, please understand that my personal walk includes the Fluff! Really, it’s part of the reason for starting this blog. I’ve gotten so involved in the fluff community and love the camaraderie, and well, it’s SO not a “me” thing to do! I had never once changed a diaper in my 25 years of life until Miss O came along. Now, not only do I change them, I dunk them, swish them, spray them, and actually love them. I mean it. I love my stash in a personal way.

So before I go all “Barry Manilow” on my fluff stash, I think now is a great time to give a shout out to the diaper that started it all: Charlie Banana!

I remember a time in the not-so-distant past that I viewed anyone who cloth diapered as extremely archaic and, well, rather weird. Then, Zulily (my personal favorite discount site – here’s my referral link, I’m not ashamed! - http://www.zulily.com/invite/kmeeker876 ) featured Charlie Banana diapers and, curious by their bright colors and smooth, sleek design, I found myself uttering the words: “well, maybe with the NEXT baby, what do you think, Honey?” At that moment, my husband pointed out that our CURRENT baby was only four months old and buying two diapers “just to try them” certainly couldn’t hurt… (well more on just how “WRONG” he was at a later time! ;))


How gorgeous is that? The cross over tabs, the smooth material, the well stitch seams, the super soft liner… If lovin’ Charlie Banana is wrong – I do NOT want to be right!

Miss O is very tall and skinny so we had trouble with a few brands fitting around her waist (the term “duct tape” comes to mind) so the fact that Charlie Banana has cross over snaps on the tabs sealed the deal. And, while the inside elastic adjustment may deter a few folks, I promise it is simple to figure out and so much easier to deal with than snaps coming undone as you try to put the diaper on (my husband’s personal diaper peeve).

Best of all, if you need disposables for grandma or traveling, or if you’re truly so concerned about starting cloth diapering (although, after one night of Miss O sleeping in a Charlie Banana and waking up with a bone dry bum was enough to convert me for LIFE) Charlie Bananas offer a “2-in-1” system – not only can you use their provided microfiber inserts (yes, plural, how awesome), you can combine the cover with their disposable inserts. Honestly, I have not been a disposable insert person so I have no idea how these fair (just being honest) but if they are anything like the Charlie Banana diapers they will be of the highest quality!

Should that not be enough to excite you: Charlie Banana also donates 1% of worldwide profits to Operation Smile., which is an organization whose mission of helping children with cleft lips and cleft palates hits very close to home for me.

If you haven’t tried cloth diapering and are even just a teeny bit curious, please feel free to contact me with any questions – but don’t be afraid when I answer back! If you’re ready to take my word for it (and why wouldn’t you?) Zulily might have a *few* Charlie Bananas left from their current sale, otherwise I recommend checking out their fabulous retailers online!!

I just realized this will be posting on Valentine’s Day, how appropriate!

*Disclaimer: I was provided absolutely nothing for this review. I cannot say Charlie Banana does not know I exist because I often tweet or facebook with them about how fabulous their products are and I did win a giveaway once (but you can’t have them! They’re mine!!! ☺), but they definitely did not know I was writing this review and I can only hope they are happy with my words!*

07 February 2012

#FoodForThought: The Lost Cheese

Gorgonzola is, by far, the most under-used of all the cheeses. (*disclaimer: I have done NO research and have no bases for this conclusion other than my extreme love of the cheese and a casual recognition that it is not as popular as it should be.)

Never being a big fan of cheese, I had not tried the Great Gorgonzola until I became pregnant with Miss O. While I will get into the pregnancy details at some point, I'm sure, for now I will simply say I happened to be traveling at the time. My big dreams of enjoying the exotic foods of The Netherlands and Indonesia quickly came to a crashing halt as I resolved myself to living off various forms of cheese pizza (and banana pancakes - but that is for another day!). Soon I discovered that the Dutch (well, ok, Italians who had immigrated to The Netherlands) were sheer geniuses in using Gorgonzola on their cheese pizzas and my love affair was born! (Indonesians, on the other hand, make killer mocktails..) This, surprisingly, led me to discover that it wasn't cheese with which I had a problem - it was those gross cheese platters the grocery stores make up to serve a dozen or more people! In fact, when you buy the expensive cheese, I LOVE IT! I am a bonafide CHEESE SNOB!!!! (*disclaimer: I have no certificate or degree granting me this title, I bequeathed it upon myself..)

When I started this blog I knew I wanted to do a #FoodForThought segment that broke the traditional mold (here mold - cheese, get it?) of recipe posts. I truly LOVE food. I truly DON'T want copyright infringement lawsuits - and we all know I don't cook, let alone make up my own recipes. So I decided when I write about food I am going to incorporate the meaning and emotion behind my introduction to the particular ingredient highlighted in the post rather than review a specific recipe.

With that being said, I would like to share a few of my favorite ways to enjoy Gorgonzola (feel free to google specific recipes, but don't tell anyone I sent you...)

(1) Gorgonzola, Bacon, BBQ Burgers
(2) Gorgonzola Polenta
(3) Gorgonzola and Honey on toasted flatbread (do not feed to children under 2 no matter how much they beg and scream and cry and give kisses!)
(4) Gorgonzola and Cream Sauce on Filet Mignon

Feel free to judge that we have had Gorgonzola at dinner two times this week and it's Tuesday...thankfully Miss O finds Gorgonzola just as delightful as her parents do!

What is one food you never knew you loved? Was there a food you specifically fell in (or out) of love with during pregnancy? What is a good that takes you back to a specific memory in life?

06 February 2012

Just Another Magic Monday

Did you ever notice that when you light a candle from one already illuminated, the original candle does not lose any of its brilliance! And in doing so, the light from the original candle can light up the entire room, magnifying itself over and over again by lighting other candles. ...you can illuminate the lives of others. 
-- Mary Kay Ash

Personally, I LOVE that Monday comes directly after Sunday. Perhaps, this is because I LOVE church AND my job. But mostly, it's because I love that church gets me excited about work and work gets me excited about my relationship with God. How powerful is THAT?

As I sit in the pews (eerr chairs) at church, I love the feeling that comes as I recognize the awesome power the Lord has blessed me with - the power to CHANGE LIVES. Your life is NOT something to be taken lightly. We have this incredible power to influence others, to build up esteem, to encourage strength. This power comes from our hearts through our words. We owe it to others to be a blessing to them every single day. We owe it to ourselves to be a blessing to others. What an impact we can make on the world simply by channeling our energies into spreading positive energy.

Mondays are Mary Kay Success Days! We start each week (optional) with a powerful Success Meeting where we celebrate our accomplishments and receive encouragement and training for pursuing the future! Because of these meetings, I truly feel every company’s meetings should start by dancing to a fantastic song and clapping for every single person in the room!!! If you think I’m lying, you should check out a meeting ;) We Mary Kay Women LOVE to celebrate life!

Through my “job” I have an incredible opportunity to spread my faith, my support, my confidence to other women. I have an opportunity to impact women’s lives and give them financial stability, self-worth, and the ability to dream! What an enormous responsibility. What a shame it would be to waste that chance.

When I was in law school I knew I wanted to help women and children. My dreams involved social corporate responsibility, sex-trafficking and domestic violence abolition, and third world country development. I worked really hard. I was really smart. I was really motivated. I LOVED studying these issues.

Needless to say my life took a different direction. At first I felt frustrated and hurt that I had let my life slip away, but my dad (always my voice of reason) carefully explained to me he never thought I would have a typical 9-5 job – especially if that job involved an office and suit. My personality simply requires that I have a job where I am on the go, can express my individuality, and, honestly, do things my own way. Suddenly, I began looking at my current “job” through new eyes. I can STILL help women and their children. I can STILL offer the world something powerful. I can do it with more pizazz and more individuality than I ever could while working in a corporate or government setting. My “job” is LIFE CHANGING. Not just for me, but for the women with whose lives I cross paths.

I know I can speak for myself when I say I do not want to be at those pearly gates and feel I wasted all my God-given talent. Sure, I am a talking cliché, but how many people actually follow through?

If I could wish anything for myself, I would wish my life to illuminate others, to light the path for them to follow, but only for as long as needed for them to get started on their way. May my ego never grow to forget that being a blessing to others does not equal bringing others to rely on me. Rather, being a blessing requires that my light fade in order to allow another’s to shine for herself. If I could wish anything for others, I would wish they would experience life as it was meant to be lived! That they could truly enjoy themselves and everything they have to offer the world.

This week I want you to challenge yourself, step outside the box, and really start to tap into your full potential. What is one goal you have for yourself today, this week, this year, or in life? What is something that would take you out of your comfort zone, but would help you reach that goal faster?

03 February 2012

Miss O's Mama

Miss O’s current favorite book is “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” by Carol McCloud. She could read that book one hundred times in a day and still want to take it to bed with her. The premise of the book is teaching children to fill the invisible “good feelings” buckets of everyone around them.

Miss O is definitely a bucket filler. She has never met a stranger, never suffered insecurity, never ignored the lonely. DH and I half-heartedly joke that we know more about living the life of a celebrity than most, as we can never go anywhere without being stopped by a half dozen strangers so they can chat with O. For example, when we lived in Wisconsin (for 10 minutes) I received a text from Ray saying "Why was I filling up the car at the gas station and someone yelled hey! it's Olivia's dad!"

I would give almost anything to make others feel the way Miss O makes them feel (but I would not give up O!). People really take to heart how much she loves them. I once heard an elderly woman tell her husband “did you see how she smiled at me! Oh she really liked me!” I refuse to admit how choked up I got – it would be bad for my image – but I think it is safe to say her bucket was filled that day.

At one of my doctor’s appointments when I transferred to the military hospital at Andrews, the doctor read a note on my file that a nurse had written saying that this baby was one of the liveliest she had seen. I’m sure this had some medical purpose such as “watch out if the baby only kicks one bajillion times instead of two bajillion times” or “danger! danger! baby let mama sleep without dancing all night!” – but the doctor smiled as she told me and said “wow, this baby is making people laugh and he or she isn’t even here yet!”

Yep. There you have it: Miss O in a nut shell.

I know people will think “sure, every mom thinks her kid is great” or “sure, kids say the darndest things.” Well I don’t. Sorry. I’m not a mushy gushy, baby loving, cheek pinching, head smelling (c’mon you know what I’m talking about..), default kid lover. I think there are really cool kids out there, but not all. There is just something about being in O’s presence that is so humbling, so engrossing…I am starting to wonder if the great purpose God was prepping me for this whole life was simply to bring her into the world so she could work HER magic.

Sometime, in another life, I sparkled the way she does. I know it’s in me: I just have to find it again. Well, unless through giving birth I somehow transferred my powers to her. That may very well have happened. I have this theory that moms are so tired all the time because children suck all the energy out of them during the birthing process and that is why a child can run around the couch one million times and not get winded and moms cannot do the laundry without stopping to rest (or is that just me?).

Alright, I digress - I warned you I talked too much and often without point. But, really, when do we lose that childlike wonder? When do we lose that ability to love without fear of rejection? Better yet, when did we stop realizing that people aren’t all bad? Rest assured, that if you smile at someone in the grocery store, you will make their day and will mostly likely get a smile in return – how great would that feel?! Smiles and warm greetings should be handed out like free candy! And you know what? If you do not make someone’s day when you smile at them, they are the ones who needed your smile the most. So do not take their rejection to heart and, instead, recognize that their heart is hurting more.

I challenge you in the next few days to try to fill at least one bucket a day. A smile, a “hello,” a phone call or note – anything that raises the self worth of another.

When is the last time you filled a bucket? What is your favorite or most creative way to encourage others?

29 January 2012

Why I Was Blessed to be Hit by a Semi

So, as most of you know, my car was rear ended by a semi truck a week ago (hence my long absence! sorry!). While I did receive an external head injury (stitches and 16 staples across the back of my head!) and did a number on my hands, I basically walked away from what could have (or should have) been a far more tragic accident.

For whatever reason, I was not nearly as upset as everyone else was, or, perhaps, as much as I should have been. Truthfully, I felt it was an awesome accident to have, if one is going to get in an accident.

Not too long ago I asked you all where your joy lies. In keeping with the mentality that joy can be found in anything, I want to share why it was a blessing to be hit by a semi truck.

- My daughter was not in the car. She was SUPPOSED to be in the car, but my husband found a last minute baby sitter (his boss). I don't think I even need to go into that one, do I? That blessing is pretty self explanatory - even if she had been fine, she would have had to listen to my screams, watch the semi hit (she's still rear facing) and deal with her mama bleeding from the head and being taken to the ER in an ambulance (while my husband was stuck out of town so he couldn't come get her and we have NO family/friends here so no one to call but my husband's boss!). What would I have done with her? Obviously she couldn't have stayed on the side of the road, or come with, or.. well... she wasn't in the car.

- I am a D*** good driver. I mean that. Even after this accident I am completely confident in my skills. I steered the car after I was hit and managed to aim for the small (car sized) opening between the trees rather than amplify the situation with a head on collision. I also didn't flip the car - according to both the tow truck drivers the car SHOULD (not could) have flipped and rolled. They were amazed at my driving skills. I promise you, God had the wheel and guided my hands.

- The semi truck and driver were FINE. This might seem like a weird blessing, but think what could have happened if it had been a car with a family of four. What if they had a 6 week old who couldn't have withstood the impact? My heart clenches to imagine the sorrow if the accident had involved another family or individual whose car might have flipped/rolled/been more totaled than mine, causing massive injury. I am truly, truly grateful that I was hit by a semi truck which sustained minimum damage and the driver was ok.

- I learned I need to slow down. Not just in driving (actually I was going 10-15 under the speed limit due to the weather... and I've driven in worse conditions, it really was a freak accident) but in life. I was so unreasonably upset that my husband was stranded in Chicago O'Hare that I became this monster who felt victimized by the situation. All I could see were my dreams and my plans fading into the background yet again. Now, unfortunately, this might be a bit of a theme in this blog as one of my reasons for starting this is to come to grips with my current reality, but I promise I will share my growth as an adult just as much, hopefully more, than my disappointments as a child. When I called my clients to tell them I would have to cancel I was SO EMBARRASSED. ASHAMED. At that moment I realized that calling them asking to reschedule due to weather and my husband's predicament was far less intimidating than calling them to say I'd been in a car accident. They would have been perfectly delightful and happy to accommodate. Instead I got so bull headed and so stubborn that I refused to cancel. I hate asking people for help and it came back to bite me. Thank goodness I was not so stubborn I refused to take Miss O to DH's boss's house to babysit!

I have often said that I struggle to hear God's whispers so he often has to shout his advice loud and clear. Ok, I also told my husband God tends to talk to me like we're in Mission Impossible, too. ;) Hey - we all have our own relationship with our beliefs/creators/ect..and I like adventure! I think this was God telling me I need to work on my marriage, my motherhood, my business, my friendships, and my self esteem rather than run them all over in my haste to prove my point. I don't even think I have a point. I talk WAY too much. I should probably work on that, too..

I would love to hear about a time when you felt like you were missing the point or not hearing what someone was saying until it was LOUD and CLEAR (and perhaps a bit over the top!). Or are you some one who catches the small details?

10 January 2012

Why SAHMs Never Have Enough Time

The other day a snippet of an “Ask Annie” type column was floating around Facebook in regards to why mothers never seem to have enough time. You can see the article here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=162617177088360&set=a.162617007088377.43688.150180158332062&type=1&theater

This got me thinking: Why, exactly, am I more stressed now than I ever have been in my entire life, INCLUDING Law School???

The comment in the article that particularly bugs me is the one about what do SAHMs actually DO everyday? “Please no lists of library, grocery store, ect… I do all those things, too”…

Ok, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Let’s start there.

Childless Woman Goes To the Store Scenario One:
Childless woman opens her fridge. “Oh bummer, out of milk.” She grabs her keys, perhaps a coat, gets in the car and drives. She grabs the milk, maybe some cheese, pays, gets back in her car, drives home. Total Time: 10-30 minutes depending on distance to store.

Childless Woman Goes To Store Scenario Two (aah my former life):
Childless woman opens her fridge. “Oh bummer, out of milk.” She grabs her keys, perhaps a coat, gets in the car and drives. While at the store she gets a text message from friends “Going out for dinner and drinks at 8!” so she adds a bottle of wine or vodka or whatever to her cart (along with the milk) to pregame as she gets ready. At home she showers quickly, or at least redoes her hair and makeup, gets dressed and heads out. After a fabulous time at dinner with her friends she comes home, checks her email, goes to bed. Time: Well, ok all night, but at least she had dinner and drinks with friends!

Mom goes to the Store:
Mom opens her fridge. “CRRAAAAAAAAAAAAP NO MILK! I told DH to buy milk! Didn’t I? Did I put milk on the list?? Oh crap crap crap.” Turns around, views the hurricane damage done to her living room by her kid(s) and announces, “Ok we’re going to the store!” This is met by various “Nos” and possible fleeing from said kid(s). She proceeds to fill her purse with snacks, toys, diapers, wipes, spare clothes, a life raft ect… Puts on her coat, grabs coats for kid(s) (remember kids can’t wear coats in the carseats!), rallies everyone together and, while juggling a baby in one arm, her bag in another, heads out the door. While closing the door she realizes she has left her keys and wallet on the table. Back in she goes, still juggling baby and bag. Now, keys in hand, she locks the door (don’t laugh – this is no simple feat!), takes the kid(s) to the car and gets everyone strapped into their seats. During this time she’s probably whacked someone’s head on the car (or am I the only bad mom?), pinched someone in the car seat with the buckle, been yelled at, lectured to, or has answered any ten of one thousand questions about the store and why they are going and where milk comes from (and no, the answer is not just “cows…”). At this point she’s probably broken into a bit of a sweat, regardless of the weather. She then drives to the store. During the drive she probably hears screaming, crying, laughing, singing, arguing, and a million more pressing questions. If the kid(s) happens to fall asleep, it will be right as she pulls into the parking lot, prompting the tricky game of “should we stay or should we go?” (in other words, stay in the car and let them sleep or head into the store?). If they fall asleep on the way TO the store (score!) she hangs in that delicate balance of changing the radio station to “her music,” which will, inevitably, wake someone up OR *heaven forbid* turn on the radio if it was off in the first place and threaten the sweet, sweet silence…Either way, once the group heads inside the store there will be someone who doesn’t want to sit in the cart or someone who DOES but can’t or someone who needs a snack or someone who hates the store or someone who loves the store and wants to TOUCH EVERYTHING!!!!! At this point mom spends the entire timing diverting attentions, chasing toddlers, picking things up, putting things back, saying “follow me,” “come back here,” “no don’t touch,” “we don’t eat plastic!” or other various mom-like phrases that are structured only with the intention of ruining a kid’s good time. Turns out the checkout line is a mile long, and we all know going through the self-checkout is just a disaster waiting to happen. But that’s ok, at this point Mom doesn’t even know why they’re at the store! So she leaves, group in hand, goes out to the car, buckles everyone in, same story as on the way to the store, gets everyone inside the house, shoes off, coats put away, bag unpacked and goes to open the fridge to start lunch. “Crap, we’re out of milk.”
Total Time: eh, who has time to keep track of that, I have to go to the store!

Basically it boils down to this: anything one person can do on their own in 10 minutes takes at least an hour when you’re doing it kid-in-tow. No, kids aren’t a burden – they’re a real joy! – but they don’t make things easy. I don’t even check my email without getting a headache (no, Miss O, you can’t hit the keyboard, touch the screen, carrying the mouse pad around, take all the papers off my desk, or call a stranger from my phone… and yes, I know this is a great injustice). The other day I was trying to put the dishes in the dishwasher, looked away for a milli-second, and Miss O had put all the (still dirty) dishes away where the clean ones go and put all her (made from recycled milk jug) play dishes in the dishwasher. I appreciate that she helps put dishes away, but you see the dilemma. Moms don’t just “do” things… they explain, they repeat, they slow down, they interpret.

Being a SAHM is like living on a planet where NO ONE speaks your language. You survive merely through loose interpretations, sign language, creative charades, and the occasional foot stomping (hey, I admit, sometimes it’s too much for me ;)). I can’t go into the break room and whine with the other employees about my clients. I get NO break. I promise I’m not complaining, I’m just stating the facts. Imagine sleeping in your office and needing to wake up throughout the night to answer the phone and deal with those same clients at their beck and call. That’s the best way I can describe it.

The biggest difference is: my client gives the deepest hugs and the sweetest kisses and hearing “I lul yoo” is better than any Billboard Greatest Hit.

Ok, apparently O is “stuck”….again….. gotta run! To all the people who made it through – you’re obviously not moms… a mom would have fallen asleep, been needed to divert a crisis in the other room, or would have gotten a pounding headache part way through.. ;) Alright, I jest. ☺

But, yes, person who wrote in asking what SAHMs do all day, kids are definitely an excuse to relax all the time …

I'd love to hear your stories about a funny mothering moment, your life as a Working or SAH Mom, or, ok, even from my childless friends about how glamorous your life is! :)