Friday, May 29, 2009

Daisy Beach- A Hidden Gem

From my Google Analytics, I see that a few people have found my site from looking for Daisy Beach. Unfortunately, my first post that mentioned the beach did not have much for helpful info, so I thought I might expound on it for those of you who were interested.

You can only get to the beach in 2 ways... by canoeing to it on the Contoocook River or by hiking in. If you don't own a canoe, but would like to rent one, we used Contoocook River Canoe Co. and they were really great.

To hike in and access to the trails: (Trail Map PDF)
From Penacook, take Washington Street and River Road. Cross the Horse Hill Bridge over the
Contoocook River. The Horse Hill Grange is uphill from here. Take the next left onto Runnells Road. Just before the end of Runnells Road is a field on your right. There is a small clearing to park your car.
The second access is off Horse Hill Road. From Runnells Road, continue on Horse Hill Road for
about a mile. At the top of a small hill is a sharp turn. The Lehtinen monument is on the left. Park in the small area near the monument.

The trails are easy and I have hiked them multiple times with a 2 year old and a 7 year old. I have also taken Ariana and 4 of her friends there for a birthday party. Be aware that bears have been seen on the trails. Also be on the lookout for poison ivy and LOTS of mosquitoes. It can get really thick with bugs as you hike in, but once on the beach, they are not so bad.

If you have never been, this is a small beach... I mean small. So be aware that when a couple of kayakers and canoeists stop by, it can get pretty crowded. But my kids don't mind since they love the rope swing so much... they just patiently wait their turn and swim around in the meantime.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Pay it Forward.

This is a photo that I posted on my other blog Oh, The Suburbanity. I was very excited after I posted it to have my mom contact me and tell me that this simple photo prompted her to do a random act of kindness that day. Which got me thinking, I have 28 followers... what if they all saw this photo and performed one small kind feat? That would be fantastic! So, here is the photo, the rest is up to you. I am hoping to see 28 comments that tell me you did it, you loved it, you felt good. Anything... pay for the toll for the person behind you, let someone cut in the grocery line, leave some fresh flowers on a random door... any small act that will bring a smile to another and possibly cause them to pay that smile forward. I actually try to do some small acts every day and to urge my kids to do the same. That's why we carry these cards in my car, so that we can have them on hand whenever we need them.

Don't let me down....

Wordless Wednesday: Summer, Summer, Summertime

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Kids Say the Darndest Things (and we love 'em for it.)

Annika: Mommy, these pants grew smaller.
Me: Are you sure you didn't grow bigger?
Annika: No. I am still small, it's the pants.
Me: It's ok, sweetie, daddy has the same problem with his pants.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Proud Mommy

9 months old and she is already arguing with me!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cheap Family Thrills in New England This Summer

I was having a discussion with another mom about activities for our kids over the summer. We will both be stay at home moms with limited incomes, so we need inexpensive ideas. So, I set out on search of some cheap thrills that might keep us entertained for a few months.

Drum roll please...

#1 Regal Cinemas provides 9 weeks of free movies throughout the summer. The movies play at 10am Tuesday and Wednesday at select Regal movie theaters (in NH, it's Hooksett and Newington) Check out the site for theaters near you.

#2 Kids Bowl Free offers kids 2 free games of bowling every day during the summer. (Participating centers in NH are Keene and Manchester) This can be a great deal when you have a minivan full of kids like I do. Check out their website for centers near you.

#3 Probably my most favorite summer free event in New England is L.L.Bean’s 11th Annual Summer Concert Series in Freeport, Maine. There’s music for everyone–from jazz to folk and country to zydeco. Best of all, concerts are FREE FREE FREE. I have taken my girls to see Dan Zanes here in the past and I can tell you nothing beats watching your kids shake their bootie while the sun is shining in a nice park. This year you can catch Dar Williams, Dan Zanes, The Wallflowers, Blues Traveler and many more. I would advise to arrive early since Freeport is notorious for horrendous parking accommodations and the park is fairly small. Their website has a full concert listing.

#4 If you have a Bank of America ATM, credit or check card, you can get into hundreds of museums around the country absolutely free! (It includes The Currier Museum in Manchester and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston) If you have a Bank of America card, you really should check out their website to find a museum near you.

#4 Prescott Park Arts Festival offers lots of activities from June through October. Although it is all free, there is a $5-$8 suggested donation. They have everything from Kids Fests to Food Festivals to concerts to art shows. Here's the website for more info.

#5 If you plan on going to the seacoast beaches a lot over the summer, you might want to check out the state parks website that offers discounted parking passes for the summer.

#6 Did you know that local libraries offer passes for free admission to local attractions? You check out the passes just like you would a book and return it within 3 days. Our Concord Library has passes to Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, Currier Museum of Art, Canterbury Shaker Village, Aviation History Museum of NH, The Fells and more. The library usually only has a couple of sets of passes for each venue so you want to call first thing in the morning to see if they are available and reserve them.

#7 The Currier Museum in Manchester offers 'Family Saturdays' every second Saturday of the month, 11 am – 2 pm Spend some quality family time at the Currier, participate in hands-on art activities, go on a guided family gallery walk (11:30 am), visit the new Discovery Gallery, or use a family gallery guide. Each Family Saturday will focus on a different theme. Museum admission is free from 10 am to 12 pm.

#8 The Children's Museum & Theater in Portland, Maine has a program on the first Friday night of each month from 5-8pm. Admission on First Friday night is $1 per person (members and children under age one are free). I have not visited this museum yet, but we do plan on it this summer when we make a trip to Maine to visit Acadia's namesake. If you have older children, you can participate in Portland's First Friday Art Walk, which had free admission to dozens of art establishments throughout the city from 5-8pm.

#9 I know I am a complete dork, but Apple Camp sound like a blast to me. If you have 8-12 year olds, they can spend 3 hours learning to make a movie, a slideshow or a song at a local Apple store. It's free and you can have 3 hours to do with what you'd like. Here's the website.

Target is sponsoring some free museum admissions- although in New England they only have museums in Boston, Massachusetts: The Institute of Contemporary Art- Target Free Thursday Nights Free every Thursday, 5–9 p.m. Boston Children's Museum- Target $1 Friday Nights, $1 Admission every Friday, 5–9 p.m. More info here.

You will see in my comments that my friend, Kelly, suggested Strawbery Banke in Porstmouth. So I checked out their site and they have 2 great deals: July 4th 12pm-5pm An American Celebration.
Tickets are $15 for adults. Kids 17 and under are FREE. Active military and their families are FREE. Enjoy all the festivities, parades, crafts, garden tour, food and much more. Also, on Saturday, August 1st they have Community Day at Strawbery Banke Museum. Enjoy all the museum has to offer and help fight hunger. FREE admission to the museum with the donation of a nonperishable food item, per person, to be donated to a local food bank.
FREE NATIONAL PARK DAYS: For 3 weekends over the summer, 100's of national parks are waiving entrance fees. This includes Acadia NP in Maine and many others. That could be anywhere from a $20- $40 savings!

Hopefully this will help some families get out and have some fun... and not break the bank doing it. If you have any suggestions, please let me know so I can add to this list. I will do a post later about some great adventures in nature that are cheap or free, so check back.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

More Summer Eats

As summer approaches again, I want to share more recipes that I love during the hot days of summer. Check out last years recipes here.

Another favorite for me is my broccoli sunflower seed salad, which I love to bring to pot luck bbq's.

16oz broccoli florets
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 medium red onion, chopped (I cut this back drastically since that's a LOT of onion)
1/2 cup bacon bits
1/2 cup raisins

1 cup mayo or Miracle Whip
1 tbsp vinegar
1/4 cup sugar

Mix dressing ingredients and then add to the rest of the ingredients. Refrigerate for 4 hours for the flavors to mingle.

I just tried this corn salad from my Real Simple magazine the other night and I love it...

1 cup walnuts
3 cups corn
jalapenos, chopped
2 tbsp lime
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup feta
Heat the
oven to 400 degrees and roast the walnuts for 6-8 minutes. Let cool and then chop. Then combine all the ingredients except the feta. Don't sprinkle the feat on until just before you serve. Don't skip on the lime juice... it really adds an unexpected zip.

Probably my most favorite summer salad is my Greek Pasta Salad. I make this for lunch at least once a week...

4oz. bow tie pasta
3oz. feta
1/2 cup red onion
1/4 balsamic
vinaigrette dressing (make sure it is a good quality dressing)
Greek kalamata olives pitted and halved
pepperoncini peppers sliced
1 med. tomato coarsely
1/2 med. cucumber sliced in 1/4 inch and then quartered

Cook your pasta
al dente, rinse and drain. Combine it with all remaining ingredients, and enjoy!

Let me know if you try any of these and what you thought.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Family Art Affair

I saw a contest for family art on Reclaiming the Woman Within... unfortunately I missed the deadline, but it had got me thinking about the art within our household. Fortunately this is one area where we agree in our parenting, we both really believe in fostering our children's artistic talents. Whether it be visual arts, music or anything in between. These 4 pieces of art here are all displayed in out house as I sincerely love to cover our walls with our work. The first piece is a photograph by me. Although I could not draw a smiley face if I had a stencil, I do try to excel in seeing beauty though my lens. This photo is the first 'good' photo that I ever took and it actually won an art contest that had 500 entrants.

The second piece is one that Colby sketched for me depicting myself and Ariana (when I was only a mother of one.) Colby is also the talented musician of the family and is able to help the girls with singing, playing the piano or guitar (I am completely and utterly tone deaf... as Ariana always reminds me when I try to sing along, "Mom, PLEASE!")

The third piece was done by Ariana at age 5 with chalk. I really love it (although my photography skills do not represent her artwork to it's full extent here.)

The last piece is Annika's at age 3. I love how it shows people in all different colors... corny, I know. (Again, my flash ruins it, but you get the point.)

Acadia's talent is yet to be revealed, but we will get into the finger paints soon enough!

With the lack of art in school these days, it is even more important that we get our kids into the arts at home. We have a chalkboard wall in out living room, a piano, guitars, bongos, paints, markers, crayons, craft supplies, dirt piles, white boards, cameras and countless other supplies to aid in their artistic endeavors.

All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness. -Eckhart Tolle

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I am Awesome

My friend, Shawn, from Swanee Singer has deemed my Queen of All Things Awesome! Why? Ummm, because I am awesome. And here are 7 of the many reasons...

(1) I have quite a prodigious vocabulary. Although it has waned slightly in the last 10 years, I still study my word of the day and read quite a bit so that I can continually grow my lexicon. I have been known to have people ask me why I use words that are unfamiliar. My answer? We have a huge sea of words to choose from, why can't I use as many as possible and make every day discussions slightly more interesting?

(2) I have been known to take a wonderful photograph (or two.) Although I have little formal training, I have an outstanding Nikon DSLR that really helps me to capture the beauty that surrounds me every day. I actually purchased my cell phone based solely on the merits of it's camera so that I never miss a photo opportunity.

(3) I am an amazing handyman. I am well versed at everything from hanging drywall to using the miter saw to install molding. Sadly, it is not uncommon for me to stop my husband mid-project, only to say "Never mind, I'll do it myself." Much to his relief, I'm sure.

(4) I created 3 brilliant, artistic, funny, kind, empathetic, outgoing, independent, gorgeous girls. (Ok, Colb gets a small amount of credit... but not for their looks.)

(5) I try very hard to do what I can to save the Earth and to give back, much to the chagrin of my husband (How many times have I told you- do NOT rinse the dishes before they go in the dishwasher!) Since the birth of my children, I am even more dedicated to living sustainably so that my children and their children will have a place to live.

(6) I am pretty hilarious. I mean, I make myself laugh all the time. Unfortunately, my husband does not appreciate it because my brand of humor does not involve zooming down a zip line into the front seat of a car Dukes of Hazzard style, but, still, I am one funny chick.

(7) I can bake a mean chocolate chip cookie. I use the recipe that my mother gave me and, to this day, when Colby takes that first bite, he gets that wide-eyed food orgasm look on his face. I rarely make them since 40 cookies can disappear in this house before they even come off the cooling rack. But, when I do make them... heavenly!

Ok, that's a few of my awesome attributes. Now here are a few ladies that I think are awesome as well. Hopefully they will take a moment and share some of their own reasons why they rock...

Danielle at peek into my noggin', definitely the sweetest and most sincere person I have ever met.

Kelly at Take a Minute to Enjoy Life... and All It's Beauty. She feels my pain.

Lora at Jakezilla, hilarious and sometimes inappropriate.

Shelle at BlokThoughts-I love her blog and her photography is phenomenal, especially her candid work.

Mandy at Our Life With 2 Crazy Kids. She seems to go through the exact Mommy drama as me, so she makes me feel normal.

Carrin at Carrin's Comments. She is very real and always makes me laugh.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Over 50 Children's Birthday Party Ideas for Mom and Dad!

Last year, after Acadia's birth, we decided to have one big summer family party instead of expecting our family and friends to come from hours away 3 times per summer for each girls birthday. In having one party, I thought we could make it more grand and special for the girls, so I started researching ideas on the internet (of course). I quickly realized that was no one source for New Hampshire birthday party ideas, so I spent hours picking over different sites to find entertainers that would come to our home or places we could go have a birthday party. We ended up with a face painter and a caricature artist at our house and the party was a huge hit. We will be having another one this year which means I need to start planning now; a lot of the places/ artists book really early for the summer. And as a favor to my friends, I thought I would post my list of ideas here to save someone else the trouble of researching like I had to.

This is a pretty comprehensive list broken into 3 categories: In-home entertainers, chain locations and local NH locations. If we have any experience with the entertainer/ facility, I have included a note after the name. Otherwise, do not hold me accountable if you try a place and hate it since I am making no specific recommendations here, got it?

Enjoy, and if you have kids in New Hampshire, you should seriously bookmark this page since it will absolutely save you hours of time and headache. Also, please let me know if I have missed something that you recommend.

Invite an entertainer to your party:
A Party Palace- This is a fantastic party planner that will bring a princess to your little princess. They offer Cinderella, Belle and more. They also offer tea party, spa parties or diva parties. Sit back and let them do the work for you so you can relish the joy of the day. (Full review here.)
Liane Leblanc: a caricature artist (She is fantastic- we used her at our party last year and it was a huge hit. See one of our caricatures here.)
Jujubee the clown
Trading Faces Face Painting (We have used her and she is great!)
Make A Face 4 U Face Painting
Anderson Magic
Steve Thomas Magic
Amy Conley, Family Musician
Princess Parties
Noah's Arc Work Shop: Children can stuff their own stuffed animals.
Ultimate Treasure Hunts
Mad Science
Steve Blunt, Family Entertainer
Kids Party Productions: Balloon twisting, magicians, face painting and more.
Remarkable Blackbird: Henna Artist
Musing Henna
Rhythm & Ribbons, Concord - offers 45 minutes of music and movement- dancing, singing, musical instruments, and musical craft. Unique, fun experience for boys and girls!!

Birthday parties at remote locations (NH locations):
Cowabungas Indoor Play Center- A great facility with a large selection of bouncys along with games like hover baseball and air hockey. A hit with my 3 and 6 year olds.
Coppal House- A Corn Maze and gorgeous scenery. Each child takes home a pumpkin.
Krazy Kids- A great indoor play center in Pembroke and they even offer overnights!
The Children's Museum of New Hampshire
Nothin' But Good Times: A great climbing facility that keeps my kids entertained for hours! LOVE it!
Chuckster's: (Awesome outdoor fun with mini golf, a climbing wall, jumpsters, batting cages and more!)
Charmingfare Farm
Whales Tale Water Slides, Lincoln
The Currier Museum of Art, Mnchester
Fun World, Nasua
Fisher Cats: Baseball
NH Monarchs: Hockey
Cranmore Fitness: Rock climbing wall, pool, bouncy houses and more
Party Playland, Hampstead
Flipz Gymnastics: Concord
Concord Sports Center: baseball, softball, wiffleball, kickball, flag football or soccer
Chunky's Cinema, Nashua, Pelham
See Science Center, Manchester
Christa McAuliffe Planetarium, Concord
For Kids Who Cook: Derry NH
Vertical Dreams: Rock climbing wall, Manchester.
Rumble Tumble Gym: Portsmouth
The Discovery Stop, Londonderry, NH. (Indoor play facility, great for ages 5 and under)
Space Center, Hooksett, NH (Homepage says now serving beer and wine... what more could you ask for?)
FunSpot- Laconia
Kindermusik: Locations throughout the state and many offer birthday party options.

Bring the animal adventures to your home:
Reptiles on the Move
Curious Creatures
Critters and Creatures

Birthday parties at remote locations (chain locations):
You're Fired: Pottery
Smitty's Cinema (Ariana attended a birthday party here and loved it.)
Build A Bear
Bounce U: Bouncy houses
Michaels: Craft store

Some more ideas that can be found all over the state:
Glamour shots party
Karate studios often offer birthday parties.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

I want to wish my wonderful mother a happy Mother's Day! She is the best mother and most wonderful grandmother a woman could ask for. I hate missing her and being so far away, but she is always near my heart.

I'd also like to wish my mother-in-law a great day. Some people are cursed with evil mothers-in-law... so I feel quite blessed to have such a sweet lady to be in my life and to be my daughters' Nana. Thank you.

I love you both.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Just for a smile.

I saw this photo on this website. I have no idea what the website is, but the photo made me laugh. The internet is a wild, wild thing!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Mom's Random Thoughts and Stuff

A. If you'd like a day off on Mother's Day, send your husband and kids to a a concert to benefit the Friendly Kitchen in Concord, NH. Dan Zanes will be playing in Bow, New Hampshire and if you have not had the pleasure of taking your children to one of his concerts, please do, he is awesome!

B. Love the name and think these are freakin' adorable:

C. I did not get this book yet, but it looks great. It is a book about easy, inexpensive things you can do to save the Earth and I think it is a great way to get kids involved. Check out: Change the World for Ten Bucks: small actions x lots of people = big change

D. Check out this Photoshop tutorial an how to make a 'wee planet' out of your panoramic picture. This is a sample of one I did of a river & trees scenery. It comes out really cool if you have a city skyline.

E. Last but not least, Saturday, May 9th is Stamp Out Hunger Day. Just leave some canned goods out by your mailbox and your carrier will pick them up and deliver to the local food pantry. Even if you have just one can. Seriously, who doesn't have that one can of peas that you bought on sale although nobody in your house even likes peas. Do you know how much food would be gathered if we all just gave up that one can of peas and how happy many little bellies would be???

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bad Mother

There has been a lot of talk about Ayelet Waldman in the media the past few days. Ayelet became widely known when her essay was published in the New York Times admitting that she loved her husband more than her children. She experienced a huge backlash from mothers everywhere and in every media for being a bad mother.

She has now written a book called Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace. Although I have not read past the first chapter, essentially it is about how mothers sabotage eachother in our judgements of one another.

And I am guilty as charged. I absolutely judge others as bad mothers. Just this morning, as we dropped Ariana off at school, we pulled up next to a car where there was a lady in it with 2 small children. The windows were up and she was smoking a cigarette! That drives me insane. We now know that second hand smoke is very toxic. I also have personal experience with living in a household of smokers. I grew up in a very small house with 2 chain smoking parents. The smoke was smothering, it left a nicotine goo all over our belongings, our furniture, our walls. I walked around my whole childhood smelling like a pack of cigarettes. It was so disgusting. And from a young age, I always found myself getting winded far earlier than my classmates, my lung capacity just was not what it should have been for a healthy young girl.

So, yes, I am judging. I think those parents that smoke in a car with their children are completely selfish and thoughtless. I think that mothers need to hold eachother accountable for our actions to some extent. I mean, would you watch a drunk mother get into a car to drive her children? I would have to step up and say 'You are being an idiot and clearly a bad mother making even worse choices.' Am I going to attack a parent for what they feed their kids or for their choice in the music they listen to? Absolutely not. But we need to recognize that there are bad parents out there and it is our responsibilty, as a village, to watch out for the innocent children.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wordless Wednesday (Not Really)

She'll be nine months old tomorrow. She is now reaching milestones at a very rapid rate: every day is something new. This weekend she started crawling, the last couple of weeks I have been feeding her all sorts of finger foods like green beans, bananas, pastas, etc. I have also been giving her a sippy cup at the table so she can get acquainted. For the last couple of months she has slept through the night with no issues. Just new adventures every day!

And with every milestone, I am saddened. She is my last baby. I am very lucky to have her. Colby wanted to stop at 2 children, but through a fortunate series of events, we ended up with Acadia. And now we are done. It really hit me at my 6 weeks postpartum checkup with my gyno. As I walked out that door for the last time it struck me that, after dozens of times in and out of this door at various stages of little babies growing in me, I would never experience it again. I went to my car and breathed through the tears and then moved on.

But since then little things strike me unexpectedly: as I found an unopened package of breast pads that I needed to throw away after the completion of nursing; as I removed my mattress cover to take off the towels I had placed there (my water broke while in bed with the first two babies... ewww!); as I packed away her teeny tiniest baby socks in her treasure box of memories... It's the finality of it all, just the knowledge that I will never be able to do it again.

Thank you, Colb, for being the voice of reason. Otherwise, we might just be Colb & Michele Plus Twelve!

Monday, May 4, 2009

World's Meanest Mom

That's it. I officially will get the award for the World's Meanest Mom. Just ask Annika.

We have lived here 5 years and every single summer we hear the ice cream truck's sweet music as it goes around the next block. It has never once come down our road... until today. Today, of all days. The day Annika chose to throw a bucket of dirt on her 9 month old sister. The day she decided to pull out every item she could carry from the shed and leave it in the middle of the lawn. The day she took all the clothes out of her sisters dresser and threw them on the floor and then followed suit with her own dresser. The day she got into lipstick, milk, bubble bath, baby powder and a laundry list of other items. The day I found her out front with the scissors just as she had destroyed my flower garden. On this day I sent her to her room just as we heard the ice cream truck's happy tune in the distance.

Ariana came running in, "Mommy, can I have a dollar? He is actually coming this way!!!" Not today. I gave Ariana the money and, like the sweet sister she is, she squealed, "Come on, Annika, let's get an ice cream."

"Nope, she is in trouble. She has been very bad today."

So I brought her to the front door so she could watch her sister stand at that glorious treasure chest of dessert on wheels. Ariana got her ice cream and came bounding back with a smile as Annika ran in horror back to her bedroom. I am sure there is some sad crayon picture in her future of a weeping little girl peering out the window as the ice cream man sits in front of her house and her mother stands over her with an evil grin.

And you know what? She will do the exact same things tomorrow, perhaps in a different order.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Photo by Ariana.

I am exhausted today. Well, for awhile now. Getting up at 3 am for work, doing the spring yard recomposition ritual (digging fence holes, raking dozens of bags of leaves, hand tilling the veggie garden, etc.) and keeping up with 3 kids all day has taken it's toll. So I told Colby today was a lazy day. I will not be doing any chores, inside or out. I just need a day of recovery and rest... and I choose today. So, with that, I am running a rerun post photo out of pure laziness.

(Ok, in the time I just spent explaining my lack of new post due to a day of rest, I could have actually posted a new one... whatever, leave me alone, I am resting.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

What is Mom's Perfect Body?

I have been struggling with an issue for months now. Something I can not seem to come to terms with. It is one of those things that I go round and round with in my own head for hours on end with no final resolution or conclusion. It came to a head this past weekend as I decided to purge my enormous collection of clothing. I have clothes dating back 10 years. I have clothes pre-any babies (a taunting size 2!) I have clothes in between babies 1 & 2 (size 6-8ish) Clothes between babies 2 and 3 (size 4, not bad) I have my maternity clothes (I never gave in to actual maternity clothes, so I instead have a collection of size 10 clothing) and a random mix of all sizes/seasons in between.

I decided it was time to get rid of things I no longer needed/wanted/could pull off. I broke it to Colby as we drove in the car one day, "I am a mother of three."
"I need to come to terms with the fact I can no longer wear mini-skirts or other teeny-weeny clothes."
"What??? But... you're still hot."
"Well, I'll have to be hot in clothes that don't embarrass my three daughters."
"Grumble, grumble."

I proceeded to pull the stashed clothes out of every nook and cranny of my bedroom and made a big (BIG) pile on my bed. And then (horror) tried them all on. The size 10's were an easy donate as they literally fall off me. The size 2's just don't fit... but should I keep them... 'just in case'??? Nope, time to move on and recognize that my baby bearing hips will never again be (nor need to be) a size 2. Ok, some really cute shirts, but show just a touch of belly with low cut pants. Hmmm... not bad, BUT, seriously, Michele, you are a mother of three... donate. Cute skirts... just too short... donate.
Ok, wardrobe, more manageable and age appropriate. Now, on to the body image ordeal. I have always been small... small framed, small chested, small bum... But I now have an extra 10 pounds which still puts me below average but above MY ideal weight. So what do I do? I vacillate throughout the day (depending on what naughty snack I am craving) Do I settle with my new shape? Can I settle? Could I ever look in the mirror and think 'Hey, not bad." Or would I always be making that gagging face when I see my nakedness. Can you truly ever be content with your body if it's not exactly what it used to be? I really don't know. And what really complicates the issue is my 3 daughters. I really don't want them obsessing over their figures. They pick up on every little thing I do or say. I want them to think I am happy in my skin, but I feel as though they'll know I am not being honest with them or myself.
Ironically I happened across my never-politically correct, always-hilarious friend Lora's blog. She lamented:
"After a few tears and long hours of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance I have given all of my post-partum pants away. I'm 32 1/2 years old. Normal, healthy 32 1/2 year olds aren't supposed to weigh under 120 pounds when they stand at 5'7". I'm not meant to be a size 4 ever again."

Whew, it's not just me, other moms struggle with this. Maybe it is an age/stage that happens to every woman. Lora seems to be satisfied with not being under 120 pounds. She has come to terms, why can't I???
And then, I saw Valerie Bertinelli on the cover of People. What the hell? She's a mother and she's 48! She is as gorgeous (& small) as she's ever been.
So, do I try to acquiesce and follow the age-old societal mantra of loving my self just the way I am (am I even able to?) Or do I do what will truly make me the most comfortable and work my butt off and starve myself to get back to my 'topless in Mexico" physique???

Any women out there care to weigh in and give me an honest opinion? Does any one else struggle with this or am I just a complete nutcase with body dysmorphia?

With a husband like mine, I need to be the sane one, so help me out here!