Someone to look up to

I want to be Sarah Palin when I grow up...faithful wife, loving mother, succesful business woman who loves and serves her country...this woman makes me proud to be a woman and an American.


Fighting Momnesia

Every mother I've ever talked to has agreed: bearing children kills, at least temporarily, brain cells. Seriously. Some have called this phenomenon Momnesia. While the term really explains it all, you can read more about it here. After Charlie was born, I went back to work after just 6 weeks of maternity leave. While I did feel really clueless for awhile, being forced to use my brain and other pre-baby skills so soon fought Momnesia for me. But I did not go back after Elliot was born and have been fighting Movenesia in addition to Momnesia every since.

One fun thing I did this week was sign up for Dictionary.com Word of the Day Mailing List. Each day I receive an email with the Word of the Day, it's definition, and a couple of examples of how it would be used in a sentence, like the one below:

chthonic \THONE-ik\, adjective:Dwelling in or under the earth; also, pertaining to the underworld"Driven by dæmonic, chthonic Powers."

-- T.S. Eliot"The chthonic divinity was essentially a god of the regions under the earth; at first of the dark home of the seed, later on of the still darker home of the dead."
-- C. F. Keary"The chthonic imagery of Norine's apartment, which..was black as a coalhole and heated by the furnace of the hostess' unslaked desires

To fight Momnesia yourself or just expand your vocabulary, send a blank message to:join-wordoftheday@lists.lexico.com.

For the record, any amount of Momnesia I have sustained is totally worth it. From the article above:

It turns you into someone who serves that little infant, to keep it alive no matter what," says Brizendine, founder of the Women's and Teen Girls' Mood and Hormone Clinic at the University of California in San Francisco. "Other parts of your brain that are usually on high alert are sort of taken offline." ... Mothers' priorities often change dramatically while caring for a baby. They need to be "hyper vigilant" about their infants, who may develop symptoms of illness that are apparent only to those who have scrutinized their every coo and cry, Brizendine says. "You're on the mother beat all the time. It requires certain parts of your brain to work hyper, hyper, hyper well. But it requires other parts of your brain to play second fiddle." ... The cost of that vigilance can be a little ditziness, and that is a price many moms are willing to pay.


Down with the Diaper Bag

For the past 2 years, 5 months and twenty-something days, I've faced a dilemma: how to easily, and stylishly, transport all my gear and the gear required to manage Charlie (and now Elliot) while we are out and about.

I've gone through many, many bags these past 2+ years. And in the process, a major paradigm shift has occurred. But before I explain, here is a brief history of my experience with The Diaper Bag.

First bag: precious hand-made monogrammed deal, given to us by a dear friend of the family. Was the perfect size for Charlie's gear but not large enough for my things (mercifully - otherwise I def. would have fallen into the trap I've always wanted to avoid: using a diaper bag as a purse). Pretty sure this is a fashion DON'T. I ended up carrying around my own bag + this one. We still own it - a treasured keepsake!

Bag #2: Vera Bradley Chelsea Green Baby Bag. This bag was HUGE. Way too big for a baby, esp. one who never took a bottle. We only used this bag on a few occasions, mostly on long day or overnight trips.

Bag #3: Standard Stephen Joseph Back Pack with the monkeys. Very unoriginal but quite functional. We used this bag from Charlie's first birthday through today. We still take it to church and other places where Charlie needs supplies like crayons and extra clothes in addition to one diaper and a few wipes.

Bag #4: Tacky Thomas the Train backpack. Not WASPy at all. We only used this one a few times, mostly at Charlie's old school in Augusta.

Bag #5: Enter Elliot. In deciding what to use for Elliot, I went through three different bags:
- Petunia Picklebottom Nightfall in Madrid Shoulder Bag: waaaayyy to big. Sold on ebay.

- Vera Bradley Yellow Bird Messenger: Not diaper-bagish at all. Big enough for my stuff + the babies' gear. Sold it on ebay after receiving the next bag as a gift (just couldn't justify it after getting a bag for free).

- Monogrammed Toile Bag received as a baby gift. Very WASPy and cute. Still in circulation.
But now, I've pretty much decided that I am no longer "into" diaper bags. I haven't really carried on all summer, unless we're going out for an entire day or something. They take up too much space, too much arm room and are, let's face it, just a little too MOM for my liking. Instead, I'm a fan of the huge totes that everyone seems to be lugging around right now. Although unlike all the teenagers out there, I actually have enough stuff to fill it up. I've used this bag all summer -

purchased from Wet Seal in early May (going into Wet Seal with my massive double stroller is another post) and have used it literally ever day since. I carry everything in this bag including but not limited to:
- Extra clothes for Elliot (usually just a onesie)
- Several diapers in two different sizes
- Burp rags
- Wipes
- Small trash bags for um, emergencies
- Sippy cup
- Snacks for me and Charlie
- My water bottle
- Makeup bag
- Phone
- Wallet
- Hand sanitizer
- Paint & fabric swatches
- Measuring tape
- Tide to Go
- Vera Bradley planner
- And on Sundays: Bible, notebook, Screwtape Letters (for Sunday School)

This bag has been a trouper and sadly, the pleather is starting to rip and tear, as is the inside pocket (I lost my lipstick last week and found it inside the liner of the bag, between the lining and the pleather. Thankfully, I was able to fish it out. Whew). It's time to make a trip to the mall and scour Charlotte Russe, Wet Seal and Forever 21 for my Fall bag.
So for me, Down with the Diaper Bag. I'm much more stylish and look much less like a pack mule. It's a Win-Win situation. Try it, you'll never go back.


Menu Planning Mondays & Grocery Shopping with Young Children

We literally had *nothing* to eat in the house so I had to venture out this morning for a significant amount of food. And of course it was an adventure. We are limited to Publix and Kroger for these large trips as I haven't figured out a way to fit both kids and the groceries into any carts other than the kind that have little cars for Charlie. So Anyway, I chose my weapon (Publix) and headed out the door, bright and early. The car carts were waayyy in the back, stuck behind all the other carts. And of course the cart "dispenser" was right in the doorway. So I made quite a scene trying to wrangle Charlie, keep track of Elliot (patiently waiting in his carrier) and get the car buggy from the back row. The other customers trying to enter the store were not happy. One woman in particular GLARED at me and said in a very unkind voice, "Can you please move these carts" while acting as if she was going to literally run over Elliot with her cart. After I, in a very syrupy sweet voice told her that I was doing my best, she went into a discussion about she understands and has 6 grandkids. I ignored her as she showed no signs of being understanding or grandmotherly. Finally one older gentleman stopped, pulled out the car buggy, gave me an encouraging smile and told me have a good day. Thanks to him, I probably will.

And while I don't expect people to see me and offer to stop what they are doing and help me just because I decided to have two children so close in age, I do think that people could muster a little common courtesy in their interactions with me and other mothers with young children. In the future, I'm going to try to be more consciously polite to the strangers with whom I interact on a day-to-day basis. As becomes a Christian and a just a fellow human being who happens to be breathing the same air and occupying the same space.


This week's menu only covers up through Thursday. We are having out-of-town company this week-and I'll be doing a special menu for those days.

Tonight: Going to Todd and Marlo's for dinner; bringing Green Jacket Salad (my favorite)

Tuesday: Pecan-Crusted Tilapia with Seasoned Cheese Grits

Wednesday: Buffalo Chicken Salad

Lunches: leftovers, sandwiches and a new favorite around here, from a recent menu, Chili Corn Stack-up Salad (try it, you'll LOVE it)

Lemon Drips and Drops Smoothie
Abs Diet Ultimate Smoothie
Cheese & crackers


What do you do when a tropical storm parks itself near your town?


...Finger paint on the front porch (anything to get out of the house) and hope that it doesn't turn into finger painting THE front porch

...Unpack the rest of the boxes hanging around your dining / storage room (and stuff the contents into any available closet space; who has time to actually organize the stuff?)

...Paint the stained-white vanity in the kids bathroom pale yellow (we'll see how that turns out)

...Scrounge around for food and come up with some random combos (pancakes and shrimp anyone?)

...Use Clairol Nice N Easy Root Touch-Up to cover your grays (probably gonna wish I'd never done it but managing my ever-increasing batch of grays is another post)

...Read lots of children's books (and cry my eyes out while reading I'll Love you Forever)

...Take your 2 yr old upstairs and actually tell him to jump on the bed (gotta get the energy out somehow)

...Waste way too much time on the Internet

What do you do when the weather is too nasty to get out much? Would welcome any suggestions. Ryan is working all week-end and we are running out of options!


Home Decor: A very bold purchase

Our new house has proved challenging to decorate thus far, the great room / family room and playroom areas in particular. The family room space is a decent size but it is an awkward shape. Not having much furniture has turned out to be a good thing in that we have been able to pretty much start from scratch, using random hand-me-downs to tide us over while we pick and choose-and save-for furniture purchases. I have been doing a lot of on-line research and spending many hours thumbing through catalogs in search of our perfect "look."

This week-end we made our first big purchase - a loveseat and a sofa. In red leather. Yep, never thought we'd go with red but it was love at first sight.

And to balance the red and add some fun color, our next purchase will be an upholstered chair in some fun fabric. We'd love to add this Pottery Barn Fall Catalog cover girl to our complete the space -

but for the sake of our budget, we may have go for this Ikea chair instead. Like it? Hate it?



* In regards to the comments to my last post: happened upon this tidbit while wasting time on-line today...if the mystery of the showering divers appeals to you, check it out.

* We have Brazilian cherry hardwood floors throughout the downstairs. A messy toddler and 2 messy dogs (including one shedding Jack Russell) have caused our new floors to be in a constant state of disrepair. Until I made the best purchase of my life: an Electrolux Ergorapido sweeper vacuum. If you have hardwood floors, run-do-not-walk to Target and pick one up. The best $99 you will ever spend.

*Received a great Piece of Flair on Facebook: "I do not negotiate with Toddlers." Thanks Marlo!

* I love our new house for many reasons. But one of my favorite features is the large master closet (almost as large as our guest bedroom was in Charlottesville) because it houses my treadmill and my collection of dumbbells. The builder just gave me a new closet outlet yesterday so today was my first day to actually be able to use it - it was fabulous.

* Elliot is now 6 months old. And incredibly precious. He adores all of us (and lets us know this by flashing huge smiles whenever we even remotely acknowledge his existence), including the dogs, but Charlie is his favorite. Here are my 3 men, reading before bed last night.

* We are now about 1/3 settled in; about 80% of the boxes are unpacked but nothing is in order, we still can't fit our cars in the garage and we have not hung a single picture or decorative item. But at least our new tv is hung above the fireplace. Just in time for the Olympics (we're addicts).

Design on a Dime is on and they are talking master bedrooms. Zai jian.


Tandem Diving - Is it a sport?

Just came to know this evening that there is such a sport as tandem diving. Is this a legitimate sport? Not sure.



Menu Musings

No menu planning for this week as of yet due to our second round of illness since moving. *sigh* But several meals from last week's menu were certainly a hit.

Can't recommend the slow-Cooker Black beans enough - huge hit. And in addition to the soup, I used them in black bean chimichangas, which were amazing.

Chili Corn Stack-Up Salad (with Amy's Organic Chili) - Ryan and I both loved this meal. We'll probably have it again sometime this week-end, if I can muster the energy to go to the grocery store.