Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mommy's Last Baby

My first 2 baby girls pretty much potty trained themselves. Removing their diaper and climbing on the toilet before we even introduced a potty seat into the house. Ariana started that at 1 year and 10 months... Annika before she was 2 as well.

Acadia turned 2 in August. And Colby remarked, "Soooo, are you gonna start working Acadia towards the potty?"

"No!" Those diapers are pretty much my last baby-last. I mean, who really likes dealing with human excrement? But the whole experience we share every time I change her diaper I do enjoy. I get a few minutes of chatter with her: "Mommy, you so nice. Mommy, dat my diaper? Mommy, dat my tinky butt. Mommy, look at my knee. Mommy, you so soft." She amuses herself endlessly with her new found words as I go about my business. And then I take a break and blow tickle kisses on her soft belly, or tickle her little thighs... and she giggles. Or I lean in and kiss her silky hair and cherub cheeks and button nose. And then, when the diaper is back on, I scoop her up and give her one big cuddle as I inhale that fresh baby scent of a clean diaper and powdery wipes.

So, no, I am in no need to rush her onto the potty. She, however, has a different idea. Unfortunately we still have a potty left over from Annika. It has kicked around our house for the past 3 years since it doubles as a stool, you might find it by the zip line or in front of the pantry. We also have the Dora potty seat still hanging out in the downstairs bath.

And I think someone in the house is trying to sabotage me, because this week I keep finding Acadia on the potties! I walked in to the downstairs bath the other day and she was sitting on the big toilet, with no potty seat, peeing! I watched in awe as she climbed down off the toilet, wiped and flushed. She then looked up at me, "I pee Mommy."

"Yes, I know. And that will be enough of that young lady!."

Later in the day I heard her sneak upstairs to the master bath. As I went to check on her, she was just dumping her potty into the toilet. "Mommy, I pee."

"Listen to me. There will be no big girl undies, no stickers, no candy treats! You need to stop with this whole potty thing immediately. I still have 3 cases of diapers and you are going to use them, damn it."

What part of staying my little baby don't you understand? You are not taking away my last last until you are at least 8!

*DISCLAIMER* My husband swears that nobody can read the sarcasm or humor in my blog. So either he thinks my writing is that bad, or that my readership is that moronic... either way someone should be insulted here. But, regardless, please know that I do not try to dissuade Acadia from using the potty... all the time.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater Recipes

Well, the autumn equinox has come and gone, which gives me full right to eat copious amounts of pumpkin! I am a lazy cook and typically just used canned puree, but this year I have made grand efforts to reduce any canned goods, so I found this recipe for pumpkin puree that works really well.

Or... use the canned pumpkin because, let's face it, it is so yummy with all the pumpkin pie spices they add!

Anyhow, here are a few more of my favorite pumpkin recipes to carry you through the next few months:

1. Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread
from Girl of the Grove:Oh.My.God. Creamy, dreamy deliciousness.

2. Pumpkin Pancakes from Martha
and, really, I just add a few tablespoons of pumpkin puree and a tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice to boxed pancake mix if I am in a hurry and it works great!

3. Look at these Pumpkin Pie Bites from Bakerella... I will most likely eat a dozen in a sitting.

4. Bon Appetite has a Pumpkin Whoopie Pie recipe. If you live, or have ever lived, in New England, you know whoopie pies are our favorite treats. I even went to a great wedding where whoopie pies were the wedding cake! Whoopie pies? Delectable. Pumpkin whoopie pies? Amazing!

5. Pumpkin Hummus from Slash food. Have not tried it, but pumpkin and hummus? Where could you go wrong?

6. You can't forget a nice hot beverage for those cool mornings... Pumpkin Spice Latte? Yes please.

7. Pumpkin Tortilla Soup that is super easy and super delicious!

8. If you have a sweet tooth like I do... look away now, this next recipe is very dangerous... Pumpkin Cookies with Butterscotch Chips from Joy The Baker! Holy-mother-of-all-that-is-decadent!

9. Joy The Baker also offers up her Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies as well!

10. And, what is any pumpkin recipe roundup without pumpkin bread??? This recipe from Allrecipes is pretty much fail proof. This is easily the most eaten autumn pumpkin recipe in our house. Easy. Delicious. Pumpkin heaven.

Please do tell me if you have any new pumpkin recipes that I can try.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Muffin Tin Lunch Ideas

Today is rainy and dreary and blah. I feel the end is near... the end of countless hours playing outside, the end of afternoons in the park, the end of picnics at the end of the railroad trestles and walks along the river.

It is now time to plan more indoor activities to keep these little Energizer bunnies amused. Especially around lunch as they both get so bored with my standard offerings. I have tried some crafty lunch ideas before... but today I thought I would try something new... a Muffin Tin Lunch. It is a very simple idea that works perfect for toddlers and small children at lunch.

Grab your favorite muffin tin, add some bite sized foods, and voila. Today I used cantaloupe balls, grapes, ham and cheese and cream cheese rolls, peanut butter and honey sandwich cut into bite sized pieces, celery and a bit of peanut butter. I also had some apples and baby pickles on standby, but ran out of room in my tin.

There are a ton of resources out there if you need some ideas. My favorite is Muffin Tin Mom who hosts Muffin Tin Monday. She's fun because she offers a new theme each week and you wouldn't even believe how creative some people can be with a muffin tin full of food. Also, if you are more the visual type, there is a great Flickr group so that you can just skim through the great photos.

I think this might even me the catalyst I need to go buy one of those silicone muffin 'tins' that I have been coveting for months- it will certainly look prettier for the girls to snack from.

Have you tried the muffin tin lunch? Success? Failure???

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Citar: Notice the bumble bee.

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”
-Ashley Smith

Saturday, September 25, 2010

5 documentaries that are worth watching.

I love real life stories. No, not Toddler and Tiaras... interesting real life stories. Documentaries. The ones that leave me wanting to learn more about the topic. (Ala This American Life. Watch it. Listen to it. Good stuff.) As I was trying to find a new one to watch today, I thought I might share a few of my favorites in case any of you are as enthralled with them as I am.

If you have never been, check out It is just as the name of the site implies: some of the greatest documentaries online for you to watch at will, for free. If not there, you will find plenty on Hulu or even on the instant watch if you have Netflix. I guess if you are inclined by your twentieth century technology, you could *gasp* rent them.(If that is even possible anymore??)

1. One of my all time favorites is Tarnation, a movie made by Jonathan Caouette. It compiles 20 years of hundreds of hours of old Super 8 footage, VHS videotape, photographs, and answering machine messages to tell the story of his life and his relationship with his mentally ill mother Renee. The saddest part is to see Renee's unnecessary transformation over 30 years due to the fact that she was treated with electroshock in her youth. She did not need this electroshock therapy, which resulted in her lifelong insanity. It is the type of film that is so powerful, it is uncomfortable to watch. As a matter of fact, I had to shut it off the first night I watched it because it creeped me out that much. It is simply a well made movie that I would recommend to anyone.

2. Speaking of mental illness, I also loved Grey Gardens. It is the story of the lunacy of a mother and daughter, or perhaps that pure happiness can be found in this lunacy.

3. One of those films that will change your mindset and personal habits is Food, Inc.

It is one of my personal favorites especially since Gary Hirshberg is involved. Gary is a local hero to me as the chairman, president and CEO of Stonyfield Farm, an organic yogurt producer, based in Londonderry, New Hampshire. (Stonyfield has even contributed to building my local parks- reason #343 why I love them.) Watch this film with your children as they start to learn about healthy eating (but not so young that it might scare them!)

4. The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia- This movie will not be released until October 26, so I had to watch it in 10 parts on YouTube. It is the story of a gas-huffing , drug dealing, pill popping, murdering family in West Virginia. I loved it so much because the tragic family reminded me of my extended family back home in Maine. Although, you know what they have that my family doesn't? A fantastic tap dancing lineage.

If only we had a Jesco White to sauce up our family gatherings!

5. 'The Most Hated Family in America' is the story of the We$stboro Baptist Church as told by a BBC documentary. The 'church' became famous since the Iraq war by protesting at veterans funerals and other equally vile tactics to 'promote' God. I despise what these people stand for and, if you watch the film, you will understand why.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Alone is not only ok, but fantastic.

I saw this video on Girls Gone Child and had been rewatching and assimilating for days when my wonderful friends, Danielle reposted it, which signaled me that I needed to absorb it. Within the same time frame, I had a conversation with C about the exact topic discussed in the poem: the ability of humans to be alone. To be alone and be ok with it. To be alone and be ok with it and enjoy it.

I also was involved in a quick Twitter conversation where a few moms were going back and forth regarding your children being out of the house for a few days and how it makes us feel/react. I am on the side of the fence where, when my girls are gone, I am content, serene, calm, happy. And, no, that is not to say I do not love and adore them to the core... it's just that, considering the over 8000 hours per year I spend with at least one child, 12 hours to myself every few months is not only savored, but deserved.

I just believe that humans need time for themselves to grow. I find that people who can not be alone lose themselves. They become who they need to be for those around them, and neglect their own being. How (and when) can you possibly reconcile your thoughts, actions, aspirations, etc... with a baby screaming at you or a boss or a significant other?

Do you need time to breathe, sigh, dance, eat peanut butter with your finger from the jar, smile for no reason... just be... alone?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mommy and Me Monday: Leave it to the pros.

These are images from our family photos taken this spring.

When I told my husband we were going to get professional photos taken, his reply was, "But you take great photos." Why, yes, yes I do... however, I am never in them. Photos I take in the mirror of myself with the kids are not necessarily the best ones.

And that is why I wanted to invest on someone else being behind the lens... and it was absolutely worth it. She caught some great candid images of me with all 3 girls (these with my baby are some of my favorite.)

And so, my little lesson for the day is... save, splurge, invest... do what you gotta do to have some professional photos taken once in awhile so that all members of the family can be in front of the camera at once.

"A good snapshot stops a moment from running away." ~Eudora Welty

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Sunday Citar: A New Beginning

“Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” -Maria Robinson

This week marks a new beginning for me. With the Harvest Moon upon us, a new season, a fresh cool season, I am ready for clean slate. I finished my Simplify and Purge project and now have a clean slate in my home.

I have set some simple goals for myself and I am committed to reaching these goals.

• I am using journal pages from Grace is Overrated to set my daily goals for each aspect of my life. I am keeping them simple and achievable, while also tracking that days activities (dance class, soccer, piano lessons, etc.) so that I do not overwhelm myself with too many goals on a day filled with other activities.

• With the help of the Well Grounded Life, I am going to go through a nutritional cleansing process and start to cut back on some fats, coffee and excessive alcohol.

• With the help of Fly Lady, I am gaining control of organizing and cleaning my house. With my purging complete, this has become much easier.

• With the help of my Wii Fit, I am getting back into a regular exercise routine. With the fantastic weather this summer, I spent a lot of time lying on the beach instead of working out. (But I am not complaining about that AT ALL!)

• With the help of Once A Month Mom, I am simplifying our daily routine by cooking ahead and freezing meals. Lat night, my wonderful friend, Kelly, came over and we made shepherds pie, meatloaf muffins, chicken pot pie and chicken rollups. My freezer is now stocked for the week. I also made a batch of chicken salad and boiled eggs for lunches. I can not tell you what a relief it is to have our dinners and lunches under control for the whole week already!

I am really looking forward to autumn and the opportunity to live. life. simply. To afford my self more me time, more destressed time with the girls, more time to breathe.

Go visit Tabitha for more Sunday Citar and beautiful imagery.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Preparing for Autumn in New England

Just a reminder for autumn:

Little do you lucky people in the rest of the country know what a pain in the ass it is to get a New England home ready for winter. Here is a list to clue you in... let me know if I have forgotten anything.

• Replace pillows. (With 15 pillows in our house, I usually grab a new one about once a month while I am shopping at Target, this way it is not a huge expense all at once.) It is recommended to replace pillows every 1-3 years... or when they have been drooled on so much they look like a Pollack painting.
Wash all windows while it is not too cold to have the windows open.
Clean the walls.
Clean light fixtures and ceiling fans.
Steam clean carpets now while you can still open the windows to speed the drying process.
• Complete any painting project you have as well. You will want windows open to aid ventilation and you don't want to do that in the icy winter.
Wipe down the kitchen cupboards. Empty them and reorganize them.
• Use your vacuum’s brush attachment and gently vacuum refrigerator condenser coil.
Straighten the closets. Declutter and reorganize.
• Pack up the kids summer clothes. Either box and label them for the younger kids to inherit or pass them along to Goodwill.
• Pull out the gloves, mittens, hats, scarves and snow pants. Clean them and take inventory to see what you need to buy before the snow flies.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries (usually recommended done for daylight savings)
Replace the furnace filter. If you haven’t changed your furnace filter within the past three months, do so now. Call and schedule yearly preventative maintenance for the furnace.
• Remove your air conditioners and store them.
Check weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows. Repair or replace as needed.
Check and clean the gutters. Do the downspouts, too.
Clean the patio furniture. Then store away.
Drain and store garden hoses.
Drain the pool, if applicable. Close it up for the year.
• Clean and store summer lawn ornaments.
• Thoroughly clean and disinfect trash cans/ recycle bins.
• Autumn is a great time to clear brush after the leaves have fallen and you have a clear view of what you want to get rid of.
• Take inventory of shovels, rock salt and windshield scrapers. Make sure you have them on hand before the snow flies!
• Clean out the remnants of the veggie garden and weeds now to save yourself time in the spring.
• Winterize the lawn mower and get it stored. Pull out the snow blower and prepare it, you'll want it up and running BEFORE it snows.
• Get winter mats and boot racks in place for the impending mess.
• Inspect and replace any fire extinguishers- especially if you run a wood stove.

Here is a printable checklist.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

In remembrance of 9/11 and those who lost their lives.

(Today's post is a rerun of last years 9/11 post, so we do not forget those who gave their lives on 9/11)

My post today is part of an endeavor called Project 2,996, which is an effort by bloggers around the country to remember the victims of 9/11.

Today I am proud to honor the life of Thomas E. Pedicini.

Thomas was 30 years old and he was from Hicksville, NY. Thomas worked in the institutional equities department at Cantor Fitzgerald. Thomas is survived by his parents Nancy and Albert Pedicini of Hicksville; and sisters June Coaio, Pam Morace and Anne Pedicini of Hicksville.

Thomas Pedicini never strayed too far from a guitar. His brother-in- law Raymond Morace's earliest recollection of him is as "a skinny 13- year-old kid jumping around his room playing air guitar" to Van Halen. In his mother's last memory of him, he is teaching his 11-year-old cousin how to play, a few days before his death.

In between, Mr. Pedicini, 30, an easygoing sort and seemingly effortless golfer, studied business and had been working as a trader at Cantor Fitzgerald since 1998, a job he got through another brother-in-law, Mark Colaio, who died with him.

After Sept. 11, in Mr. Pedicini's apartment in Woodside, Queens, one of his roommates found a tape of him strumming and singing his way through some of his favorite tunes. "He was too shy even to show it to me, but I could hear him in there singing and playing so I knew he was up to doing something," said the roommate, Jordan Zed. He gave the tape to Mr. Pedicini's parents. More musical memories.

But Mr. Zed remembers Mr. Pedicini mostly as a decent human being whose life was going somewhere. "You'd sit around and talk about where you see yourself in five years," he said. "He had dreams and goals. He wanted to eventually find the right girl and settle down and have a family and work his way up in the firm. It seems so sad."
-Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on February 3, 2002.

In reading many of the memorials dedicated to Thomas- you can see a picture of what a kind, fun, talented man he was...

I knew Tom back in 94-97. He was so full of life! He was always active: golf, tennis, singing. He was the kind of person who made his own way. I am glad that we crossed paths for a brief time. His energy and passion for living are what I will remember and miss most about him.
-Scott Rustad,Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

To The Pedicini Family, I was his soccer coach 29 yrs ago in Hicksville, he will always be in mine and my families hearts forever. His smile was something I will never forget.
-Anthony Luongo

My thoughts and prayers have been with all of you over the years. I always remember Tommy as the cousin that will sing with us! Keep singing, Tommy!
-Martina Lee

Hey Cuz!! I too think of you often...Not a day goes by that I dont wish you were not taken away from us. You were soo talented and a lot of fun!! I will miss you forever Tommy!! "The sun will come out tomorrow"!
-Michele Abut

It's amazing how one forgets, yet only to remember you with a smile.
-Allyssa Schmitt

Just thinking of you on this were a kind man, quiet neighbor, with a lovely singing thoughts are with your family....
-Layla Dowlatshahi

I will always cherish the sweet memory of teaching Tommy to sing "Tomorrow" and "You Light Up My Life" when I was his 2nd grade teacher at Old Country Road School, Hicksville, NY. Nobody knew, at the time, that Tommy had a Broadway quality voice at age 7, so we practiced everyday, to surprise his family at the school talent show. When he belted out his beautiful rendition of "Tomorrow", it brought tears to everyone's eyes.
I am proud to have touched Tommy's life in such a meaningful way, as he continued singing into adulthood and our duet, from years before, was included in his memorial cd. I feel blessed to have had such an endearing child in my class and to know that he grew up to be the responsible, respectful and talented adult I had envisioned.
Tommy was brought to heaven in God's loving arms. He is our guardian angel!
-Adele Damian

And from his mother...

Dear Tommy,

Your family, (Mom,Dad,Pam, Ray, June and Anne) are coping as best we can during this difficult time and find the following poem very comforting. We want to share it with others who visit this website
as it truly reflects our feelings for you and our deep loss.
We miss you so, so much. We try not to think that we will never see you again on this earth as it breaks our hearts. We do find comfort, however, that you were greeted by Gammie, Nana, MomMom, Father Verrall and Grandpa Joe at Heaven's door and are with them now. God Bless you sweetheart. We love you, Mom and Dad

Here is the poem:
We little knew that morning, God was going to call your name; In life we loved you dearly, In death we do the same.

It broke our hearts to lose you, You did not go alone; For part of us went with you, The day God called you home.

You left us beautiful memories. Your love is still our guide; And though we cannot see you, You are always by our side.

Our family chain is broken, And nothing seems the same; But as God calls us one by one, The chain will link again.
-Nancy Pedicini

Please take a moment to think of Thomas and every other innocent human life lost on 9/11. Visit the Project 2,996 website and see some of the other tributes. It is very important that we never forget.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Operation Simplify and Purge: Day 7, the Grand Finale

When you can't do something truly useful, you tend to vent the pent up energy in something useless but available, like snappy dressing. ~Lois McMaster Bujold


I saved my worst enemy for last... my clothing. I think that is most women's Achilles heels as far purging goes. We have some gene that drives us to have more clothing, nicer clothing, the same clothing except in multiple colors. We derive some sense of accomplishment in wearing prettier clothes than the next girl. I must say I am not too much of a clothes whore. In truth, I can not be, as my storage options are these:
I know a few women who just died a little inside knowing I only have a 3 foot converted armoir and a teeny 3 drawer dresser to house all of my clothing. But, that's all I need. Having said that, they had both become so over stuffed that I could not even put all of my laundry away any longer. Why? case in point: I fall into the trap of owning a lot of items that are essentially the exact same thing. 3 white spaghetti strap tanks? Check. 2 tan corduroy skirts? Check. 7 pair of tan pants (3 dress pants and 4 corduroy)? Check. Who the hell needs 7 pair of tan pants when I only ever wear jeans? These are held over from 4 years ago, the last time I held a full time job.

And so the purge began. I saw The 333 Project on Be More With Less and thought, "What a great idea!" Wear only 33 items for 3 months. Well, it is a great idea, just not for me. As I started weeding through my clothes, I quickly realized I am not quite ready to be a bare minimalist with my wardrobe. I did follow the advice of my favorite simple living blog, zen habits, on editing my closet. I mean, I get ready for work at 4 in the morning. I literally grab clothes in the dark. How much do I really need? 3 or 4 pair of jeans and 3 or 4 tees has me covered for that. And I only go out about once every week or 2, it's not like I need a large variety 'about town' clothes. 2 nicer outfits would probably keep me covered for that.

Anyhow, I pulled EVERYTHING out of every drawer, closet, shelf, cubby hole, etc... Yup, that's everything I own. Not too daunting considering I live in New England and that is a wardrobe for 4 seasons. But, I still wanted way less. I am tired of looking through the same 50 things that I never wear just to find the 20 that I do.

becoming minimalist, another of my favorite blogs, offered a list of 10 tips to help you learn to own fewer clothes:

1. Admit that you own too much clothing. Check.
2. Wear fewer colors. I really only wear very neutral colors. Check.
3. Embrace the idea of one. I did do away with 2 white tanks, 3 pair of tan corduroys and i tan corduroy skirt (among other duplicates.) Check.
4. Donate, sell, recycle, discard. 2 bags for Goodwill. Check.
5. Donate, sell, discard some more.
6. Impose an arbitrary moratorium on shopping. Check. Now that I have uncovered many clothes that I love and will not have any trouble finding them, I don't feel the need to buy any more clothes.
7. Set a monthly spending limit.
8. Purchase quality over quantity. I have always adhered to this theory. Why spend $10 on cheap pants that will fall apart after 2 washings?
9. Avoid the sale racks. Will try really hard!
10. Impress with your character, not your clothes. Lee Mildon once said, “People seldom notice old clothes if you wear a big smile.”

And what did I get rid of? 59 items for Goodwill and 75 items in the trash (that wasn't all clothing, I has some random crap in my drawers and bottom of my closet!) 2 items that need to be altered in the next week (or donate if I don't) and 2 items to Ariana (ahhh, she is wearing my clothes... this is VERY bad!)

This left me with 6 pair of jeans, a couple of pair of pants, my 6 favorite tees, and enough cute skirts, tops, sweaters and hoodies to fill that 3 feet of closet space back up, but not at all crammed in.

I was smart last year and bought 4 different neutral long sleeve tees so that I can layer them under me warmer weather tops and not have to alter my summer wardrobe too much as autumn arrives. This can be quite cumbersome to us New Englanders. I know people who literally have 2 separate wardrobes taking up space in their home. Not me! I put exactly 9 things under my bed from my summer wardrobe. I will wear my long sleeve tees under the rest of the tops and some cute tights and boots with the skirts and... voila... cold weather attire.

And, now, I can breathe deeply, stress less, look better in the nicer selection of clothes I kept, and live simply.

Today's total: 134
Grand Total purge: 581

See day 1 here.
See day 2 here.
See day 3 here.
See day 4 here.
See day 5 here.
See Day 6 here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mommy and Me Monday

A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart. ~Author Unknown

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Operation Simplify & Purge Day 6

Today I tackled many areas: playroom, junk drawers, kitchen utensil drawer and shed (!). My friend, Isolde, commented on one of my posts about how her husband would get rid of a spatula because they "didn't need two." Which brought me to think of my kitchen utensils... I have TWO drawers and a countertop canister! That is insane. So, I went through the drawers, narrowed them to one. Basically I just got rid of completely useless things (a bread warmer that I have never once used.)

I also attacked the playroom. That was basically cleaning out the trash, we have used it really as a dumping ground. I then took everything out of our kitchen junk drawer, put it in a basket and either put the item in its own home, donated or tossed. I then moved the 'junk drawer' to a smaller drawer so that we could only re-add so much stuff to it again.

The last area was the shed. Oh my! A big bonus was giving our toddler bed to my sister-in-law as we are done with it. This freed up great space to be able to see everything in the shed and PURGE! We have stuff in there that we moved here with 5 years ago and have not touched since. I was able to pull everything from books to boxes to a huge mess of wires and cables that we never use (or have no idea what they go to) I took this stuff and threw it at the end of the driveway with a "Free" sign. It was gone within the day.

Colby came home today and said, "I am getting a little concerned about all the stuff you are getting rid of." But, even with all of the stuff I have purged, I have not touched one item of his yet... YET! I have not needed to, we have so much other junk taking up space that he is safe for now.

Today's total: 123
Total purge: 447

See day 1 here.
See day 2 here.
See day 3 here.
See day 4 here.
See day 5 here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Summers Last Adventure in Northern New Hampshire

We ended up having an unexpected (albeit much adored) camp getaway over the Labor Day weekend. We had originally headed to Northern New Hampshire for a birthday party for my twin niece and nephew. They turned one: What? That is not enough chubby-cheek-cutie-face-baby goodness for you? Oh, don't you worry, I have plenty more where that came from...

The birthday babies were fantastic. We had such a great time with the family. Annika got to spend time with her favorite cousin, Leilah (the twins' sister): The 2 Mrs. Hornes played with babies. (Myself and my sis-in-law, Kelly): Ariana got in some good Papa time:
And it just isn't camp until you're riding a John Deere shirtless drinking a beer eating a cupcake:
After we were so caught up in the trappings of peace, quiet and family, we decided to stay on an extra day. How could we resist with a view like this: It is so nice to step away from civilization. No cell coverage, no phones at all, no internet... just us, some hillbilly wagon rides with Nana: Some fishing: (Yes, Annika caught a real live fish on that pole!) Ariana caught some also, but I did not get a picture of her with her catch- just her and her pole: And, yes, I was there too. Although not actually fishing... just taking interesting pictures of the deck texture with my cute feet as I held the pole: Daddy and Acadia enjoyed the view: And we got some quiet moments in the camp: It was the perfect end to the perfect summer.

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses. ~Joyce Brothers

Friday, September 3, 2010

Operation Beautiful... my journey.

If you are a regular reader, you know that I rarely accept products to review... booorrrring! However, I actually asked the publisher of this book if I might have a copy to review. It is a topic so close to my heart and my family, that I thought any insight I may gain would be much appreciated. The book is called Operation Beautiful (as is the website.) The goal of Operation Beautiful is to "end negative self-talk to help readers realize how truly toxic negative self-talk is — it hurts you emotionally, spiritually, and physically."

Why is this so important me? Well, I have 3 ladies that I am trying to raise as confident, dynamic, kind little works of art. And, if you have a daughter, you know what a daunting task this is. To try to make a little girl see past hundreds (thousands??) of social cues she sees every day and love herself for all that she is? It feels nearly impossible at times. As women, we just seem somehow pre-programmed to constantly berate and negative self-talk ourselves to death.

As I was reading the book, my husband asked, "What are you reading?"

"A book about transforming the way you see yourself."

"Why? You're hot."

"Umm, I don't always see myself that way with my body after birthing 3 babies."

"But, you're hot."

I just sighed and went back to my reading. As a man, he just doesn't get it. A woman's self image has very, VERY little to do with her weight. And I certainly do not fault him for being slightly clueless around these issues... but it does scare me as the girls get older that he will have no idea how to handle their inevitable breakdowns over self-image and self esteem. Our girls all have my physique, so he (and,actually, many people) will assume that they should simply be in love with themselves. But, really, a 120 pound woman can look in the mirror and see just as many flaws as a 250 pound woman. What the hell is wrong with the female psyche that causes this constant self- hatred.

As a small framed woman, I rarely talk about this subject in public without fear of being kicked in the shin. Women that have weight issues do not always sympathize with smaller women that we all share in this vicious cycle. That is one thing that I loved about this book, it reached out to all women. Sharing that the negative talk affects all of us. (Citing passive aggressive comments where we might say to someone, "I would get so fat if I ate as much as you.")

Operation Beautiful is an endeavor for all of us to recognize and inspire the inner beauty in us all, one post-it note at a time. Each woman has a long journey ahead of her to retrain her thought process and begin to love herself. Every woman and every young girl.

I consider myself an intelligent woman. I can look at this photo with the head cut off and think, not too shabby for a mommy of 3. She looks healthy and fit. But, stick my head back on and put me in front of the mirror and my mind races... look at that poochy belly, look at that jiggly bum and cellulite thighs... aghhhh!

But I can not do this to myself nor can I pass that legacy on to my 3 beautiful daughters. I need to set a tone wherein we love ourselves because we are healthy, happy, fit, brilliant, talented. As women who can fully understand the struggle we are all experiencing, we need to help eachother. If it means leaving an operation Beautiful post-it on a random mirror, than that is a small treasure we can give each other.

If you have a daughter, or (most likely) struggle with your own body issues, I highly recommend Operation Beautiful. Consider it a weapon added to your arsenal to raise healthy, happy little girls. I also think it would be a great tool for those daddies who just can't wrap their head around their daughters' self loathing and constant fat-talk. I think author, Caitlin Boyle, has come up with such a simple gift that we can give eachother by simply passing on some positive words whenever the mood strikes you... I was so inspired, I stared immediately, posting a post-it on a public mirror:

and more importantly, on the inside of a college academic planner at Staples. I knew some young lady would pick this up as she headed off to one of the most emotionally trying times in a girls life:
I also placed one on our own bathroom mirror in hopes of beginning a conversation with Ariana... she has yet to ask about it. I do plan on taking her on an Operational Beautiful mission to plaster some post-its and begin a conversation with her.

One more weapon in my arsenal.

Operation Simplify and Purge: Day 5

We have no health issues in this household that require us to know what our weight is. We can look in one of the mirrors and see if we look healthy... we can walk around the block and see if we feel fit. We do not need an electronic gadget to make us feel bad about ourselves.

...which leads me to this...

Today's total: 1
Total purge: 324

See day 1 here.
See day 2 here.
See day 3 here.
See day 4 here.