Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The potty horror

I'm procrastinating here, big time. There's something I should be focused on writing for a workshop we are leading in a couple of weeks, and I just don't feel like summoning the brain power to block out the kids and write it.

So let me tell you about my most recent parenting observation: Auto-flush toilets are evil devices of child torture.

Last night, we went to a parish Lenten program, and since we were in town we made a late run after the program to Department Superstore (you know which one) to grab some essentials. Olivia was tired but behaving pretty well, and we expected an easy bedtime wherein she would fall asleep in the car and be carried away to bed, the end. This plan required that we put her PJs on at the store and make sure she used the potty before getting in the car. Then, as we were heading to the car for PJs, she announced that she needed to potty. Perfect! We don't even have to fight the "I don't HAVE to potty" battle tonight.

Then we entered the stall and realized our mistake. Department Superstore has auto-flush toilets. Olivia took one look at that evil "eye" and hopped off the potty, declaring that she absolutely did NOT need to potty and would like to go to the car now, please. I tried to convince her to just sit up straight and it wouldn't flush until she was finished. She thought I was going to force her to sit on the Evil Potty of Doom and commenced shrieking as if I were pulling out her fingernails with a pair of pliers. I heard some murmurs from outside the stall and am fairly certain that the employees of Superstore were *thisclose* to calling CPS to report the crazy lady who was performing unspeakable torture on her child in the bathroom stall. Olivia was having THAT kind of crazy freak-out.

I finally convinced her that we just needed to change clothes so we could go to the car. We walked out quickly (I'm pretty sure some employees were staring daggers through me). Then we had to make a quick stop at a fast food place so she could go to the potty (which she still needed to do). After all that drama, she dropped off to sleep within five minutes. Lesson not attempt to use the potty at Department Superstore. The end.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Break

Last week was Spring Break, and we took a little 3-day vacation to get away from home. Not that there's anything wrong with home, but if we don't leave we end up doing housework and yardwork all week and ignoring Olivia's need for fun. So we went away. Olivia was excited.
Vacation! Yes!

We went to Nashville, Tennessee. The weather was beyond perfect...70s and sunny every day.

Olivia even got pretty good at riding in the car (not her strong suit). The ipod helped a lot, as did a few free magazines we picked up.

We did many things that were geared toward her. But her favorite activity? Bowling. Figures...the one thing we can find anywhere is exactly what she wants to do on vacation.

The downside was that I caught Olivia's demon-cold exactly the moment we arrived, so I spent all of vacation (and every day since) struggling to breathe through the congestion. Also, the weather here was perfect until the exact moment we came home. And then it snowed. Yes, folks. 70s on Wednesday, snowing on Friday. I was not amused.

Also last week, I took Olivia for a preschool visit to pre-register and see how she did sitting in on a class. SHE LOVED IT. She stood in line and followed instructions and participated in group activities. I think she is SOOOO ready. She'll start in the Fall, but I'm sure she'll be talking about it until then.

We are back to our babysitting routine today and getting back into the swing of things. April is going to be a busy, busy month.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My regular reminder arrived earlier this week

I write this post in my head every month when I wake up in the middle of the night to take more muscle relaxers so the cramping will subside enough for me to fall back asleep. Even more than the obvious sign of bleeding, that cramping is my regular reminder that, once again, my body has failed to do what it is biologically designed to do.

I still hold out hope. The "why me?" thoughts don't plague my mind every minute of the day. In fact, I don't think about it much at all during the other 26 days of the cycle (which is why I tend to forget what my mid-night mental post was about when I wake up). But they do get me down when the cramping starts back up again those first two days. The hormone shift probably doesn't help, either.

I'm an optimist. Once the cramping stops, I start to look forward to those magical days of fertility when the possibility of new life opens up in my mind. Then after fertility, I greet each day of that 2ww with new optimism that maybe, just maybe this is the month for success!

And then it never is.

The diet. Yes, I am sure it is helping the symptoms, at least. It may help me avoid a recurrence of endometriosis. But the reason I am motivated to continue when I crave nothing more than a piece of toast and a glass of milk is the outside chance that the diet might be the breakthrough that leads to fertility. Without that hope, I would be hard-pressed to stay on the diet. Even though I feel great, and even though I have lost weight and have more energy. I really like food. And sweets. And bread. And milk. And cheese.

We leave for a three-day vacation tomorrow. Vacation eating is going to be...challenging. I have a feeling that I'll use a whole month's worth of diet cheats on these three days.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spring Break!

I'm watching a new little boy...the son of a as a favor for her. She's also considering sending both of her kids to me next year, so it's a good test to see how her little guy does. Well, apparently we shocked the bejeebers out of him because he was asleep when he got here and woke up to a strange house and strange people and has been silently sobbing ever since. I tried to get him to play, but he just wants to sit on my lap and feel sorry for himself. So I took the "let's sit at the computer until you are bored out of your skull and want to get down and play" tactic. Thus, the blogging.

All of my babysitting kids are on Spring break next week, which means we are on Spring break! We have such plans. Tonight, we were invited to enjoy Princesses on Ice, courtesy of a friend who won tickets on the radio or something. Olivia is beyond excited. She gets to dress up like a princess AND spend time with one of her little pals. I'm excited because I get to spend time with my friend, her little pal's Mommy, so we all win!

Sunday, we are heading to Nashville for a few days, where we will hunt down child-friendly activities and (here's Olivia's favorite part) stay in a HOTEL that has a POOL. Seriously, the excitement is hard for her to contain.

Then it's back home for a preschool tour on Thursday and fun with local friends on Friday. Full week.

The wee one is starting to show interest in playing. I think we'll go sit on the floor and see what happens.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The diet, improved

Remember the diet that my doctor recommended post-surgery for improved fertility? Well, over the past couple of months I've been doing my own research and have expanded and improved upon it a little. And, thanks to Katie at Wellness Mama, I am attempting to go grain free and see how that helps. I have found some really fabulous recipes on her site, as well as A LOT of research and support to keep me going. And now, she's sponsoring a giveaway of a product that I really want to try. Go, enter the giveaway, read her articles, use some recipes and get healthy!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lent and my landscaping

Daylight savings time is here!!! When I was a kid, I used to like "Fall back" better than "Spring forward" because of the *extra* hour of sleep. Now, it's the other way around...I'd MUCH rather have that extra hour of daylight at the end of the day. So much. And I made use of every hour until dark yesterday.

This weekend was beautiful, so we spent nearly every possible moment in the landscaping. We have a rather ambitious project going on this year. We are replacing all of our mulch with rock. This requires removal of old mulch and, often, removal and replacement of weed blanket. Since a good number of our plants (irises and hostas) really needed to be split, I just took them all out before re-blanketing and then re-planted the split plants. We are about 30% finished with bed preparation (for rock) after this weekend. My muscles hurt and my head is unfortunate side effect from all the work in the dirt. But I can't tell you how much I LOVE working in the dirt and seeing the beginning promises of Spring popping up out of the ground as they do every year.

I love how this season of the Church reflects this season of nature. Lent is a time of repentance and renewal...rooting out some things in our lives that separate us from Christ in order that we might have a deeper experience of new life in Him. I like to think about that as I pull out all the dead leaves and branches to make way for the new greenery just starting to grow beneath. As I'm pruning and splitting plants, I am reminded that it is this cutting off and breaking apart that allows the plants to grow bigger, healthier and more beautiful. It's a nice image for reflection during Lent.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

This Tuesday is so Fat

Ash Wednesday is tomorrow. I feel a little bit like we forgot about Lent altogether this year. I mean, it's March. We should have started this thing by now. Late Easter really throws me off.

My husband just happened to be on business in New Orleans last week, wrapping up on the very first day of the week-long celebration of Mardi Gras. He had the privilege of being in town before the craziness, but just in time to see the first parade and get a taste of the revelry. He brought home some masks, beads and a coin. I suppose we should pose with them and take a picture today. Instead, I will probably just find some sort of recipe to use up the leftover meat in my fridge and eat a little extra tonight.

Most people try to give something up for Lent. This, I think, is problematic. I know too many people who use this season as an excuse to go on a diet, and that's really not the point. The point is to remove something that is in the way of your relationship with Christ...or, alternately, to work on some area of your life that will help you become closer to Christ. While fasting from something does often help to draw our attention back to our relationship with Christ, I have a hard time seeing a fast from chocolate or soft drinks as much of a fast. (Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that I've pretty much given up both as a part of this anti-inflammatory diet and don't have much craving for either anyway. Maybe it IS just me.)

As a family, we will likely be abstaining from meat for the duration. Except Sundays. Sundays are exempt as each Sunday is a celebration of Easter. So, meat on Sundays, fish and chick peas the rest of the week. I have a feeling we'll be making/eating a lot of meatless lentil and/or bean soup. After all, we don't want Olivia to starve. She won't eat salad, but she LOVES lentils and beans. Go figure.

On my own, I've decided to avoid the library. That sounds silly, but novels are my escape, sometimes to the neglect of other important chores. I've been reading through the entire collection of Christian novels by Kristen Heitzmann...have you read her? She's excellent. Many of her main characters are Catholic, which appeals to me, but also has a couple series of novels set in the old West. Something about historical novels really appeals to me. I enjoy them immensely.

But, again, the escapism...probably not a good thing. So, I've decided to fill my reading time/need with spiritual reading instead. We have an abundance of stuff in our own personal library...stuff we've collected but haven't necessarily read. I'll start there and see how it goes.

I'm also going to try to fast from the internet on fasting days (tomorrow and all Fridays). That may be a challenge...

I am celebrating Fat Tuesday by indulging in girl scout cookies. I haven't had a cookie in two months, and somehow they don't taste the same. Guess sugar doesn't have a hold on me anymore. Here's hoping that the same can be said for other vices at the end of Lent.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


We have had a few days of sunshine in a row here, and although it is wet and mushy, I have found a way to get the kids outside for at least an hour the past three days. I'm noticing that the flower beds where I worked clearing mulch a couple of weeks ago are suddenly springing forth with life. Green is popping up everywhere, and I feel the need to start getting into Spring landscape project mode.

This year I have a mind to rip everything out and replant. We are replacing our mulch with rock this year, so established plants will stay put. But the daylillies and irises and hostas need to be split, so I've decided to dig most of them out, replace the weed blanket and replant/reorganize the beds.

Every year at this time I face a dilemma...what to do about the daylillies. They are abundant, but I never, ever get to see them bloom. We have a serious pest problem around here called deer. And the deer think my daylilly beds are their own personal buffet.

I was inspired today by my plant hanger that holds a wind chime...perhaps if I put such hangers and chimes in high-volume-daylilly areas it might scare off the deer. I wonder if anyone has tried this. I really, REALLY don't want to have to fence the beds with chicken wire or anything because it seems to defeat the purpose of a flower bed for beautifying the lawn. But I want to see those suckers bloom, dang it! My mom has splits of all my varieties, and they bloom in abundance. That is what I want!!! How do I get that in this blasted deer sanctuary?!

I'm off to try to convince Olivia to clear out some beds with me for the duration of the boys' naptime. Quiet time outside is easier than quiet time inside on a day like today.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Post-illness re-training

The stomach-virus-from-hell finally departed our poor child on Sunday, which was the first day that she felt like playing and being off the couch. Six straight days of nausea and whining demands from her couch was exhausting for all of us. And now she's back to her normal self. The end.

The babysitting kids are all back this week, which has been good and bad. The boys are typically a delight. They have their moments, but for the most part they are instruct-able when they get out of line.

Olivia, of course, has her issues. She's a high maintenance kid and always has been, so I've always had to take a pretty hard line on discipline and make sure to remain consistent all the time. She knows what kind of behavior is tolerated and what is not, and when she misbehaves or gives me attitude, she can't go back to playing until she corrects the behavior...or the attitude. Pouting is not allowed.

We are doing a little re-training this week because of all the allowances made during sick week, where we catered to her every pitiful need. She's adjusting to re-training fairly well, if a little slowly.

And then there's the other little girl in my charge. She is only here two or three days a week, and when there's a weekend (or a sick week), sometimes she also requires a bit of re-training. Her issue is pouting or crying when she doesn't get her way. As with all pouting and crying, I demand that she has to remove herself from the group until she can give me a good attitude. For her, it is REALLY hard and usually requires at least a half hour of screaming at the top of her lungs before she settles down.

As you can imagine, such screaming is disruptive to the rest of the household and more than my nerves can take. So once she commences screaming, she is moved to the nap room where she must stay by herself until she calms down.

You'd think that, after a few such scream sessions, she'd figure out that all she has to do to return to playing is to stop screaming and apologize/play nicely/stop pouting. But it doesn't seem to be sinking in. It makes me wonder what she gets away with at home.

So. That is what we are dealing with today. Thank goodness the sun is out and we managed to get out in it for an hour. I needed the Vitamin D and mood boost.