How to be a Mother

Last night as my best friend and I were brainstorming ways to make her one month old baby sleep more and eat less often, she admitted to feeling like a failure.  A failure because she couldn’t fix whatever was wrong, because the things she’d tried just weren’t working, because she’s a total control freak (I know the feeling) and she feels out of control.  I told her the following:

Sometimes we are given opportunities to turn our greatest weaknesses into our greatest attributes. Motherhood is the single biggest opportunity to do that. And if you don’t kill the baby, you’ve succeeded.

After I said that I have thought and thought about it and I realized that I need to listen to myself more often.

My biggest weakness is my lack of patience.  I need things to happen and I need them to happen IMMEDIATELY.  And if they don’t my next biggest weakness kicks in.  Procrastination.

People tell me all the time they cannot believe the amount of patience I have with my girls.  And I do.  90% of the time I am so patient it’s ridiculous.  But there’s the other 10% when I’m trying my hardest to get them to do what I need them to do and it’s a fight.  It’s a war.  I get ganged up on because they are ALWAYS a team.

We started potty training in March.  I thought at the time “I can totally do this.  I have smart kids.  They know what to do.  No big deal.”

When that first weekend of potty training boot camp was over, and they were not trained, I somewhat gave up and let procrastination kick in.  Little C was having stomach issues (basically she didn’t want to poo in the potty so she was holding it, therefore making herself sick).  Little G simply didn’t want to do it.  I gave up.

We wore pullups for awhile trying to “teach” them to potty but let’s be honest.  A pullup is a diaper.  It’s not a thick diaper but it’s a diaper.  And they KNOW that.

A little over a week ago I decided it was time.  No more excuses.  No more procrastination.  No more waiting.  They WILL be trained.  They will be trained by Christmas because I am a control freak and that is my cut off date.  I’ve told them that if they are trained, we will go to the beach for a week after Christmas.

Little C is ALL OVER this.  That kid is 90% trained already.

Little G keeps saying we will take her anyway.  It will break my heart if we have to leave her here with my mom.  I’m not being mean, I’m not expecting too much. She CAN do it.  She HAS done it, for a day here and there.  She just won’t do it consistently.  And that, my friends, will try your patience more than anything.

I’m trying very hard to turn my greatest weaknesses into attributes.  I’m trying to be more patient.  I’m trying not to procrastinate.  I’m trying to be the mother they deserve.

That’s all any mother tries to do.  Do right by their kid.  Take the things that don’t work and turn them into things that do work.  Listen to advice and weed out the bad.  Be firm, but kind.  It’s not about making the best craft or reading the most books to your kid or making the best costumes.  It’s about doing your best and making sure your kid(s) have fun while you do all those things.

And most importantly, it’s about love.

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Balancing Lives

It’s been awhile.  I’m not going to lie.  I simply have discovered time is at a premium and there is a lack of it to go around.

To quote Jessie Spano: “There’s no time!  There’s never any time!”

Work is demanding.  It’s always demanding.  Home life is also demanding.  I won’t go into the daily schedule, because I did that recently when I talked about Dinner with Twins.

Last week work was super demanding.  There was a lot going on.  First off, I was in depositions that had the potential to last for 12 hours a day for the entire week.  My mom and sister agreed to pick up the slack and help with the kids by keeping them while I was travelling daily.  On Sunday evening, my mom picked up the twins.

And they were happy to leave me.  Which was good.  We talked about how mommy has to work and how much I would miss them but I would be home before they knew it.

Monday’s depositions came and went.  That day did last almost 12 hours, but we finished more depositions than we thought we would.  It started to look like I would be home by Thursday afternoon.

On Tuesday we finished a lot more and it started to look even better – we would finish on Wednesday.  Tuesday was also a big day.  The Princess went into labor early that morning and by early evening she had a baby.   I spent time with her, her husband and baby G that night before heading home to get ready for a Wednesday full of depositions.

I got home Wednesday and asked my mom to bring the girls home.  And she did.

They were so happy to see me.  We laughed, we played, we ate dinner together and they went to bed.

The next morning we did our daily routine.  The girls said little about my absence.

On Friday, as I was getting them ready, Little G looked at me and with sad eyes said to me:

“Mommy, I wish you didn’t have to work so much.  Why do you work so much? I still love you though.”

My heart broke.

I knew she realized I wasn’t there.  I knew she knew I was gone.

I tell myself it’s good that I work.  I tell myself it’s good for the girls to see their strong, independent mother going to work, wearing her “power suits” and making a difference.  I tell myself I am setting them up to be strong, independent women.  I tell myself that they will forget that I wasn’t home all the time and will appreciate the time we spend together, when we get it.

But telling myself that does not help when my three year old looks at me with those eyes.  It doesn’t help when I realize their daycare/preschool teachers know more about their daily lives than I do.  It doesn’t help when I realize those same women spend more waking hours per week with my beautiful daughters than I do.

But, for me, there’s no other option.  I can’t quit work and stay home because we need my income.  We need me to go to work every day.  And after investing 10 years into this career, I can’t imagine walking away even if we could afford it.

So, for us, there will simply never be any time.  I’ll balance things the best I can and I will love my daughters with all the love in the world.  I’ll make our days together fun.  And one day, maybe not for many many years, my daughters will learn that I didn’t work because I didn’t love them, I work because I do love them.

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A Disney Survival Story

Interesting enough, when I first told some friends (with twins) that I was taking my girls to Disney before their third birthday, I was told more than a few times that I was insane.  Not crazy.  Certifiably insane.

“TWO TWO year olds at Disney World?  No.  It’s a bad idea.”
“You realize you will carry them 99% of the time and they WON’T remember a damn thing about the trip, right?”

“Just because they get in free this year does not make it worth it.”

“You will need WAY more help than your husband, mom and MIL.  It’s not going to work.”

HA.  HA I tell you.

We survived.

We not only survived but EVERY single one of us had a blast.  Even my husband who complained about the trip beforehand because he would lose 4 potential hunting days.

My kids loved it.  They are talking about it every day.  When they are 8, I don’t think they will truly remember any details but they will know we went.  They will have the pictures.  And, more importantly, I will have the memories.

There is nothing sweeter than seeing your daughter the first time she lays eyes on her favorite princess.  Or the first time she gets to hold Mickey’s hands.  There’s nothing like hearing your two year old say in a super timid voice “Mommy, I want Ariel to sing for us.”

And there is NOTHING like seeing your daughters kiss Donald Duck and then, 20 minutes later, while meeting Daisy Duck, tell her “We kissed Donald!”

That’s not to say there aren’t some things I wouldn’t have done differently.  Here’s my different list:

1) Although I did like our hotel well enough, I doubt I will stay there again.  Art of Animation is ok.  The suites are suitable for a family with a mom and dad and a few kids.  But adding my mom and MIL to the mix made the suite seem SUPER small.  Even though Disney claims 6 adults can stay in these suites, I would not have more than 2 adults and, at max, 4 kids.  It’s a value hotel, which is fine, you get a room and such for a cheaper price than some of the other hotels but it’s not a really nice hotel.  You walk into what looks a lot like a college dorm when you get to the building where your room is.  Sure, there’s paintings on the walls but it’s not anything to write home about.  The lobby was nice.  The food was pretty good.  But next time I think we will stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge suites or the suites in the Bay Tower at the Contemporary.

2) Fast Passes.  Although it worked out just fine, I think I could have scheduled them better.  You generally needed more time to get from attraction to attraction.  Especially in Hollywood Studios.  We had a 10 am fast pass and an 11 am fast pass.  What I neglected to consider was the timing of the actual show for which we had the fast pass.  The 10 am fast pass show ended at 5 or 10 til 11 which meant we had only 5 minutes to get from one end of the park to the next (For reference, our shows were the 10 am Frozen Sing Along and the 11 am Disney Junior show).  We made it.  But it was stressful.

3) Time in the parks.  Everyone…and I mean EVERYONE told me that Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios were really half day parks.  No need to spend a full day.  Which is probably true for certain age groups.  However, I have 2 year olds.  2 year olds LOVE Dino Land.  They want to meet Donald and Daisy and Pluto and Goofy.  And they would also love safari animals.  Basically, we ended up spending only 3 hours at AK and and HS when we could have done a full day at each because of their ages.  At AK, we only were able to go to Dino Land and do the character meets.  Then we had to leave because we had something planned at MK at 2 (The girls’ lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table).  At HS we were only able to do the two shows and meet Sofia.  There was so much more I think we all would have liked to have done.

4) Meals.  You have to schedule character meals 6 months in advance.  And sometimes, even at 6 months out, you can’t get your preferred times.  We had to go to Cinderella’s at 2:20 on Sunday.  I would have preferred a more normal lunch time like noon so it wasn’t during our normal nap time.  But it is what it is.  We had a reservation at Be Our Guest on Tuesday at 1.  That wasn’t horrible but we did have to leave HS early to get there.  Next time I think I will plan park days around meal plans.  It’ll be a lot easier.

 

As for things you shouldn’t miss….if you have kids the ages of mine make sure you do these things:

1) Chef Mickey’s.  If you can only do one character meal, do this one.

2) The carousel.  I know I know.  It’s not a ride that you would think would be that amazing but my kids love horses and going in circles.  We rode it no less than 5 times.  I think it was probably closer to 7.

3) Enchanted Tales with Belle.  You just have to go to it to understand why it’s so great.  But go.

4) The Memory maker.  It’s expensive.  $150 for unlimited downloads of every picture the photo pass photographers take of your group.  But it is WORTH it.  Photo pass photogs took over 300 pictures of my group.  If you download them individually they would be $10 each.  There were definitely more than 15 that I wanted.  Plus it saved me from having to pull out my camera constantly.

5) A fast pass for your kid’s favorite princess(es).  For us it was Anna and Elsa.  And I would have paid money for that fast pass so I could see the looks on my kids faces.  I don’t know that I would have waited in a 2+hour line though.

6) The Finding Nemo ride at Epcot.  Epcot is not a “kid” park – at least not a preschooler park.  But that ride and the aquarium that you can visit near it is perfect for kids.  My girls LOVED it.

Dinner with Twins

Being a working mom and trying to juggle life is hard.  No, this isn’t a “Working moms have it harder post.”  This is a Life is Hard Post and here is why MY life is hard.

Here’s my day:

3:30 am: wake up as Twin B crawls into my bed.

4:45 am: Wake up when the husband’s alarm goes off so he can go to the gym (sometimes I’m awakened more than 10 times in a row as he hits snooze until 6:30 am).

5:30 am: Wake up when Twin A comes downstairs and wakes me up to say “I’m going to sleep in the floor until morning.”

6:30 am: Wake up for the day.  Take a 3 minute shower while the girls yell for me because the second I got out of bed, they both bounced up ready for the day.

6:40 am: Make breakfast – eggs or pancakes most mornings.  Cereal bars on my lazy mornings.

6:50 am: Run back and forth between straightening my hair and stopping the fights between the girls over who gets to sit on which end of the couch or carry a specific babydoll around.

7:00 am: Put on my makeup with two little girls watching while they also put on their makeup (translucent powder on a makeup brush – Sometimes we do things we think we won’t, like let our toddlers wear makeup, just to get through the morning).

7:10 am: Do the hotdog dance while making lunches.

7:15 am: Search for clothes for the girls to wear to school.

7:20 am: search for more clothes because they don’t like what I picked.

7:30 am: Get girls dressed while chasing them through the house, refilling cups, and rocking the babydoll.

7:40 am: Get myself dressed for the day (I NEVER do this before dressing the girls or I end up having to change because of various….things ending up on me).

7:50 am: Load kids, lunch boxes, and all their goodies that are going to school with them into the car.

8:00 am: daycare drop off.

8:10 am until 5:oo pm: work.

5:10 pm: Pick up kids.

5:20 pm: start dinner (this is the important part).

5:45ish pm: Eat dinner.

6:15 pm: Play with the kids.  Bathe the kids.  Do whatever until bedtime.

7:45 pm: Kids go to bed.

After that I work some more or work out and clean the kitchen, fold laundry, do whatever task needs done.

 

So dinner.  Dinner is always a struggle so I’ve started implementing meal planning.  Sunday and Monday I plan something.  Wednesday and Thursday I plan something.  Fridays and Saturdays we play it by ear (sometimes we aren’t home so it’s easier – the freezer stays stocked full of random meals I can make in a pinch).

Tuesdays is Twin night.  I let the girls decide what’s for dinner.  Most nights they request Pizza or Hamburgers.  I throw in a healthy side and off we go.  Last night, however, was cheese night.

“What’s for dinner?” I asked them.

“Mac and Cheese!” Charlee yelled (they do love their mac and cheese).

“Grill cheese!” Gabi yelled (it’s not just mac and cheese they love…it’s cheese).

Ok, so I could make the executive decision to make soup with grilled cheese.  Or something else with mac and cheese but I’ve found that giving my girls control of this ONE thing, this ONE dinner each week, has made them so happy.  They love Twin Tuesdays.  And I want them to always feel confident in their decisions, even if that decision is to eat three times their body weight in cheese.  So we had grilled cheese and mac and cheese.

And they ate every bite.

When you have two kids that struggle at gaining weight, anytime they will eat an entire meal it’s a win.  Even if the meal doesn’t include green beans or chicken.

They get enough of that the other days of the week.

A Book A Week: 50, 51, 52…I’m Done.

So I finished 52 books this year already.  It’s just the second week of September but I’m done.  Of course I’ll still be reading some and maybe if the books are good I’ll write about them

Book 50: Jane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan.

Not much to say about this one.  It wasn’t great but it was free so there’s that.  I don’t even know why I finished it other than I have that need to finish reading things.  It’s about a girl, Jane, who randomly shows up in a town claiming to be Jane – who lived in that town over a hundred years prior.  Eh.  It was what it was.  I wouldn’t read it again and I doubt I will read anything by Sarah Kernochan again.  It just wasn’t enjoyable.

 

Book 51: Don’t Try To Find Me by Holly Brown.

Holly Brown is a therapist so she was able to write about things that would be very real and very heartbreaking to families – mothers especially. This book was basically my worst nightmare.  It’s the story of a girl, Marley, who leaves a cryptic message on the family white board – “Don’t try to find me.”  The story is told by the mother, Rachel and the daughter, Marley.  It’s not a suspense novel in the normal sense.  But it is suspenseful.  Why did this 14 year old run away?  Who did she run to?  How many secrets does this family HAVE exactly?

Marley’s dad starts a media campaign to find his daughter.  Facebook, Twitter, etc.  FindMarley.com.  What he doesn’t know is that Marley doesn’t really have great access to the internet.  She wasn’t kidnapped.  She was seduced.  Through Facebook by a guy who knew a guy she knows – or so he says.  He’s 20 (he says).  They’ll get her a new identity (he says).  Things will be better (he says).

But things aren’t what they seem.  We all know what it means to be catfished at this point.  As Marley finds out who her new boyfriend, B, really is, she can’t decide what to do.  She doesn’t believe she can go home but she knows she can’t stay where she is.  She moved all the way across the country for him and now she’s alone.  Writing in her journal.  As the secrets of Marley’s family come out, her mother is a suspect in the disappearance.  It’s a web of lies.

It’s a good read.  But if you’re a mom, it’s so damn scary.

 

Book 52: Haunted by Kay Hooperhaunted_cover.

I love Kay Hooper and her Bishop/SCU novels.  This is book 15 and although you CAN read them out of order, I don’t recommend it.  Go back to Book 1 (Stealing Shadows) and read them in order.  The entire series will make more sense.  This book will ESPECIALLY make more sense if you read them all – there are many story lines that come together in this one book.  Honestly, I want to reread the entire series.  That’s how much I love these books.

So this is the story of Trinity, a small town sheriff, who lives in a town that is completely safe.  Until the first murder.  Then the second.  Someone is killing her friends one by one.  She calls Bishop for help – she already knew him and his unit of psychics.  I know, I know.  Psychics.  I don’t know how much I believe in psychics but I like reading books about them.

This book has my two favorite Bishop psychics – Reese and Hollis.

There are some parts that were weird – some things that are said and then simply not followed up on (or that are completely misleading for the book).  Regardless Kay Hooper is a great story teller.  Read her books so she will write more.  ;)

A Book a Week: Books 46 through 49

Ok, I have four books to talk about.  Three are part of a series and a standalone.

The Standalone was called Dead Again by Tracy Cooper-Posey.  It was ok.  not worth talking about.  It was predictable and somewhat silly.  Not on a must read list.

The other three.  Wow.  These are must reads – or better yet, use audible and listen to them.  Because I think listening to these is totally worth it and you’ll be like me, walking around carrying your phone so you can just listen for a few more minutes.  The best news?  These books are being made into a tv series by Fox.  Fox says it’s a ten episode “event.”

I was looking, quite frankly, for a cheap audio book because I had used my credits and would be on the road a lot.  so I settled on Blake Crouch‘s novel Pines.

pines

This is the story of Ethan Burke.  A Secret Service agent sent to Wayward Pines, Idaho to find his missing ex-partner and ex-lover, Kate.  He wakes up confused.  He’s somewhere weird, not sure where he is, all he knows is he doesn’t remember things.  As the story progresses he discovers he is in the town where he was looking for Kate.  But not only can he not find her, or anyone who knows anything about her or her partner who are missing, he also can’t leave.

There are two books after this one.  Wayward and The Last Town.

I wanted the Last Town to continue.  It ended and I was sad, which let’s face it, THAT is the sign of a good story.  The sequels were as good as the original in this, which is hard to do.  Read them all (or listen to them all).  In order.  Don’t miss a word.

And then let’s all watch the tv series.

 

 

Isagenix is not for me

Ok, maybe that’s a strong statement.  It MAY not be for me.

You see, I hear all the success stories – including my own sister – people who have lost 10-20-40 pounds doing the 30 day Isagenix system.  I wanted to lose 10 to 15 pounds so I thought I would try it.  With two two year olds it’s hard to find time to go to the gym and at night I just haven’t felt up to exercising in awhile.  It’s not that I’m heavy.  I just want to get back down to 120, maybe 125 (which is what I weighed two weeks after the twins were born).

Ok, a year.  It’s been a YEAR since I’ve really exercised.

The truth is, there is no “easy” way to lose weight.  Scratch that.  There is no easy way to lose weight and NOT GAIN IT BACK.  It takes hard work, dedication and a lifestyle change.  It does not take two shakes a day.

Here’s how it works.  You buy Isagenix (which, btw, is a MLM strategy to begin with).  They have a 30 day system which includes:

2 shakes a day (for breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner)

Natural accelerator pills (twice a day)

IsaFlush (1-2 pills at bedtime)

Ionix Supreme (In the morning)

and then a cleanse which you should do one or two days a week.  On cleanse days, ALL you do is drink the cleanse (and some Ionix supreme…and you are allowed the Isagenix “snacks” in moderation).

The theory is if you do exactly as they say, and do not change your daily routine beyond that, you will lose weight.  Which sounded good to me because of my severe inability to find time to exercise (I know, I know, it sounds like an excuse but I work a full time job, usually more than 60 hours a week, I’m raising twins, I have a house to take care of, a husband, dogs, life….I have life).

Ok, so on normal days, you have your Ionix Supreme, your morning shake and accelerator pill, your afternoon shake, an afternoon accelerator pill, a healthy dinner (between 400 and 600 calories) and your IsaFlush.  And you drink a ton of water.

Quite honestly, it’s easy.  I haven’t had trouble sticking with this system on the regular days.

Day 1: I lost 1.5 pounds.  Sweet.

Day 2: I was down another .3 pounds.  Eh, not bad.

Day 3: I was down another .2 pounds.  I had lost 2 pounds total.  Not bad for three days.  I did discover on day 3 that I felt dehydrated.  My lips were dry I was so dehydrated.  Which made no sense because I was drinking around 100 ounces of water a day in addition to the shakes.

Day 4: I decided I wouldn’t weigh myself again until Day 11.  Which is a weigh and measure day.

Day 5: I tried the cleanse.  That day was fine until around 5:30 PM when I got violently ill.  I was dizzy, nauseated, I could barely stand.  So I made myself a salad.  Just a salad.  And I took a couple bites of my daughter’s dinner.  Nothing more.  I had no more than 100 extra calories in what I ate.

Day 6-10: I kept going on the regular shake days.  On day 7 I cheated a little.  My niece had her birthday party so I had some chips and dip.  On Day 10 I did weigh myself.

Day 11 is today.

When I weighed in I discovered that I had GAINED half a pound from where I started.

Yes, you read that right.  I went UP in weight after losing 2 pounds.  So after day 3, I gained 2.5 pounds.

You cannot tell me that a handful of chips with sour cream dip on them caused me to gain 2.5 pounds.

I did measure myself and according to the tape measure I have lost some inches.  But I don’t know if I am measuring in the exact same spot as I measured on day 1 – basically, if you go down a little on your leg or waist or whatever, you might get a different measurement just because you aren’t exactly where you were the first time.  According to the tape measure I have lost an inch off my waist, 1.5 inches off my hips/butt and .5 inches off each thigh.  My pants disagree though.  They feel the same as they did 11 days ago.

So here I am with 19 days of product left.  I think I’m going to keep trying it just to see what happens but I also decided to add T25 back into my life.  This is the THIRD time I’ve started the program (I’ve never finished it though).  this time it’s hard.  SO hard to do.  Last time I started T25 after doing Insanity and it was easy.  This time I think I will do T25 and then maybe try Insanity again.

Also, another weird thing about Isagenix.  I have a Diet Mountain Dew habit – one a day.  I quit last year for about 5 months and in the first 3 days after I quit, I lost 6 pounds.  I quit on day one of Isagenix and, well, you know what’s happened.

I’ll update again after Day 30.  We’ll see how it goes with the added exercise.