Friday, April 12, 2013

The magical powers of whining

When it comes to my kids, I deplore whining. It makes me wince and want to whine back at them.

But, when it comes to myself, I have found certain magical powers in whining. This blog is often filled with my whining. Sure there's nicer words for it, like sharing my struggles or discussing my concerns but in reality I am whining to the world about poor little me.

But I'm okay with it (and I guess you are too since you still read this blog) because I have found there to be a real power in getting my grievances off my chest. That is empowering and when I combine it with the guilt I feel now that people know I struggle in a certain area it means that I actually take action to hopefully stop future whining.

Take my sons giggling problem for instance.

While we have not solved the giggling dilemma, by any stretch of the imagination, we have made great strides in their attitudes. We have made great strides because I am being more proactive, they are having a good week and I am letting them suffer consequences.

They have to wear a uniform to school every day (a school t shirt in blue or green) which means I have to buy these shirts for them and launder them regularly. I do one load of laundry everyday so theoretically they should never run out of school shirts (they each have at least 5 that are somewhat acceptable plus one or two with holes or stains that I'm too cheap to stop using) 

Except they do run out of shirts, almost every week. They take them off and then some black hole eats them (probably the same one that eats the left sock for every pair of socks we own) or they discover that they "accidentally" cut a huge hole in one, or they have some unidentifiable stain on it and don't want to tell me about the stain so they hide it from me. They have a drawer just for school shirts so it SHOULD be obvious when they are running low and they SHOULD be able to round up the dirty shirts so that they make it into the daily load of laundry. Instead, they choose to wait til we're ready to get into the car in the morning to point out that they can't find any school shirts and then they cry for the full dramatic effect that they know will send me over the edge.

In the past, I have scrambled to lend them one of their brothers shirts, let them wear the weird stained/torn shirt or grab one that looks acceptable from the dirty clothes and febreze the crap out of it so that I can pretend its okay to wear again (with boys it's rarely okay to wear anything "again")

But not this week. This week I stood my ground and when 2 of my sons announced they needed school shirts as we were heading out the door I gave them the whole long responsibility guilt trip and then announced the would have to go visit the office ladies. Visiting the office ladies is pure shame in my sons eyes (I don't know why, they are very nice) so they were horrified. They whined and begged me to come up with another solution all the way to school. I walked them to the main office to get a loaner shirt and my office lady friend innocently asked Curly what happened to his school shirts. She made my day!!!! Curly lowered his head and mumbled that he forgot to put his shirts in the laundry so they were all dirty. Moe just shrugged his shoulders and grabbed the loaner shirt. Larry didn't need to borrow one but he stood and watched the encounter and I could see him processing this uncomfortable situation.

Fast forward to last night and Larry realized he was out of school shirts ALL ON HIS OWN and Curly realized that the shorts he wanted were in the dirty clothes. They discussed the problem amongst themselves and came upstairs to find me and offer a solution. Their suggestion? They wanted to know if they could do a load of laundry so that they would have what they needed for the next day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe it?!?!?? I have taught them to to do laundry but they have never offered and they moan when I make them help with any part of it. Here's the best part, they actually went and did the load of laundry :)

Of course this meant there was giggling and they did get distracted because they decided that doing laundry was a three man job that required tossing clothing like an assembly line and needed a ladder and it was all happening 20 minutes after their bedtime so they stayed up way too late, but still, they did a load of laundry to prepare themselves for the next day. THIS IS HUGE!!!

If I hadn't whined about their behavior on this blog I don't think I would have made them get the loaner shirts at school. If they didn't have to deal with the shame of the loaner shirt I don't think they would have thought ahead. I they hadn't thought ahead I wouldn't have gotten to see they look of genuine pride and accomplishment on their faces this morning as they pulled their carefully chosen outfits out of the dryer and started their day calm, cool and collected as 2 8 year olds and a 6 year old could possibly be.

I say all this to let you know that I appreciate that this blog gives me a place to whine and the all of you that read and comment help give my whining a magical empowerment where change can actually begin to happen.

Now it's your turn. Let your whine out. What's really been bugging you this week? Maybe some of my blogs magical powers will rub off on you and your whining problem too!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Natural Beauty

I tell you sometimes it's just so hard to be naturally beautiful!

Wait, wait, wait.

Before you start hurling tomatoes at me give me a chance to explain.

I have good skin. I didn't do anything to deserve it and I don't treat it with much respect but the fact remains that my skin is pretty great. A nod goes to genetics on this one I guess. (In case you're already seething with anger at this post let me reassure you that genetics did me no favors in other areas and on top of that I'm obese so I have to savor and relish the gifts I was given. Ok?)

I have been pregnant twice before with exactly zero adverse effects to my skin. In fact, I think I probably had that pregnancy glow that just makes a lady radiant.

Or at least I like to think that I did.

This time around something has gone terribly wrong. Somehow some wires got crossed somewhere and instead of radiant glow I got a heavy dose of acne and "the mask of pregnancy."

What is "the mask of pregnancy" you might ask?

It's not a cool superhero accessory like you may have been led to believe. There are no sparkles or glitter involved whatsoever. Instead, it's a change in pigmentation on all the parts of your face that stick out. For someone with a robust face such as myself that means the area right above my eyebrows (but not my whole forehead), my nose, the apples of my cheeks, the space between my mouth and my nose (what is that called?) and a little bit of my chin.

I had heard of the mask before and assumed it was a redness or something and dismissed it. My face looks sunburned whenever I so much as walk across the room (I may be a little out of shape) so I figured if I ever got the mask no one would even notice. Easy peasy right?

Nope (insert sobs here)

A few weeks ago I went on a field trip with my youngest son at a beach. I got a little too much sun and came home thinking I had a weird sunburn and that my face was going to peel. Fast forward a couple weeks and my twins were having the same field trip and my face had still not peeled. I dutifully went along as a chaperone once again and this time I brought along a giant hat to shade my face and used SPF 70 twice during the field trip because my skin had acted a little funny the last field trip. Should have been safe right?

Oh so wrong!!!

I got back to school at the end of the day a hot, sweaty, red mess. Its really dirty at this particular beach so I thought I had a fine layer of dirt on me when I went in to freshen up in the bathroom. The ladies in the school office all commented that it looked like I had gotten a little too much sun. I went home that day and immediately poured the sand out of my shoes and hopped into the shower to scrub the grime of the day off. I came out squeaky clean.

Except for my face.

Those sticky out face areas I mentioned earlier all still looked like they had a fine layer of dirt on them. I was horrified!!! I googled, I scrubbed my skin raw and I made my husband try several different face masks with me to get rid of the problem (its not fun to do a mud mask alone!). Turns out your skin can react to the sun funny when you're pregnant and that it can be a cause of the mask. I bemoaned my situation on facebook only to discover that lots of people had it and some said it lasted years. YEARS!!!

Fast forward to the present and I have mostly been ignoring it. My face is red all the time anyways so I hoped no one would notice. I cringe every time I look in the mirror though. The other day I had to work on the playground field unexpectedly and I was unprepared for sun exposure. The mask darkened :( Then I caught my sister staring at my face with concern and discomfort the other day. She didnt know how to nicely tell me that I had 5 oclock shadow and/or dirt on my face. I explained the mask thing but her comments were the last straw.

So today I bought makeup. As previously noted, my natural beauty did not require any makeup up to this point in my life. I go bare faced all day everyday. It took 3 layers of different products and all sorts of goof ups this afternoon to get to a point I considered passable. And this is the point where I remain.

I now wear makeup and will for the foreseeable future. If you always wear makeup, more power to you. I have no problem with other people wearing it. It's just not something that I ever do. A little eyeliner and mascara occasionally sure, but that's it. I don't even know what some of the different products are, much less how to apply them etc... I'm considering getting one of those free beauty lessons at the Macys makeup counter but I know I'll give in to pressure and buy overpriced things I don't need. So for now I am braving the foundation and cover up section of the local big box store alone.

At this point I am not brave enough to post a picture of the mask or my attempts to cover it, but maybe someday.

How about you? What do you do to achieve "natural beauty"? (It is so weird to put on 3 layers of goo to attempt to look like you are wearing nothing) Did you get any weird pregnancy skin problems?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Make Believe Guilt

I love Pinterest!

In case you are unaware of it's magical properties, it's an online bulletin board where you can essentially save every good idea you ever see or read about online.

Of course I generally only look online when i need something immediately so I don't use it for that purpose at all. Instead I browse through my Pinterest friends boards, look through the popular and kids sections and let my sons use it as a safer option than google to find ideas and inspirations for their many project ideas.

It used to be that I would spend 5 minutes a day checking what friends had pinned and repinning any ideas I thought were cool. When I was in project mode I would make a board and fill it up with my ideas and refer to them as I completed the project.

Then we got pregnant and I got a little crazier than I used to be. I started spending closer to an hour a day just perusing Pinterest.. I added things to boards as "someday" ideas. I made a board for baby ideas and filled it with pictures of handmade shoes (babies don't need shoes in case you were wondering).

All of this was still innocent and fun until...the guilt waves started rolling in.

I went to show my sister some of my ideas and noticed how many things I had pinned. I then noticed that I hadn't accomplished any of them. Then the guilt waves started crashing as I began to feel a need to follow through with my ideas.

I ignored Pinterest for awhile but that didn't help. I tried to get started on a few projects to ease the stress but didn't really commit and managed to just make my house messier.

I mentioned this make believe guilt phenomenon to a friend of mine recently and she professed that she had other friends that felt this way too!! That was liberating to hear. I was not alone. Sometimes I forget that the world is jam-packed with crazies :p I am a little fish in a big pond.

With this news to boost my confidence I went through and cleaned up my boards and started sorting my ideas out. Over spring break I finally even tackled a few. Funky rocking chair? Check. Pompom curtains? Check. All natural urine smell removal? check. Lemons to remove water spots? Check.

Oh sweet release. This is how my love affair with Pinterest was supposed to work, as an inspiration not as an oppressor.

I am not in remission yet. I still have days where I look at it as a giant To Do List that I can never accomplish and the guilt waves threaten to drown me. But mostly I am back to being inspired/stealing other peoples good ideas and using them as my own.

There's no real point to this post. Just thought I'd share some of my random crazy with you so you'd feel more normal. It's my gift that I share with the world. Making you feel better about yourself by reading about how messed up I am :) You're welcome.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Giggles seriously piss me off!

We're going through a phase around our house.

It's not good.

We've reached the point where the slightest smile or giggle has me seeing red, blood pressure rising and I become unable to control the words that come out of my mouth.

This is not natural. This is not good. This is happening daily.

For whatever reason my sons have decided that they don't need to listen to me or help with anything around our house. They look me in the eye when I make a request, acknowledge me and walk off to giggle with their brothers.

I should be focused on how much my sons love each other. I should be focused on how well they play together and revel in the fact that the phrase "I'm bored" is never uttered around my house. I should marvel and bask in their love and affection for each other.

But no. I can't do that. I'm too pissed off. Can I blame the pregnancy hormones?

Every single bloody time they leave my eyesight they play and completely forget what they are supposed to do. As I get larger/more lazy I have really started to count on the fact that they can do things without me. Turns out, they cant. They can waste entire days using their gosh darn imaginations to entertain each other and nothing else gets done.

Of all the ridiculous problems to have right? I've tried bribing them, rewarding them, punishing them, ignoring them, helping them etc... and nothing seems to work. After being ground for Easter weekend and all of us being miserable i found myself in a very dark place where I was looking for them to screw up. My husband wanted to reward them every time they focused for even 5 seconds so he finally had Larry beg me for a reset. Knowing how bad I felt and how exhausted I was with the current system I caved with a lot of warnings. Approximately 1.5 days later they had done it again. We were on our Friday chores (change your sheets, vacuum the floors and straighten bedrooms) and they just wouldn't do anything but play and giggle.

I couldn't mentally handle another weekend of grounding so I took my friends suggestion and sent them to bed.

At 5:30pm.

I immediately felt better.

They were all tired and there was a good chance that some of the behavior was coming from the fact that they were overtired. They all woke up an hour or so later and some helped and some stayed tired but the giggles had stopped. However, this morning they all woke up and immediately did their morning chores and we were able to start the day on a positive note. this was a minor miracle. We had donuts at the park and got the errands for the weekend done. Not sure if I'm teaching lessons or caving in but... my blood pressure is back in normal range and those veins have stopped popping out of my forehead so I think we'll go with a modified reset/nap program for a few days and see if its successful.

For now I am just really looking forward to the day when I can enjoy the sound of giggles again. Giggles are the epitome of innocence and joy and yet I'm cringing every time I type the word.

Hope this post made you feel a little less crazy and appreciate the next giggle you hear. Please don't call CPS on me.

Is there any adorable thing your kids do that makes you nuts? Do they ever disrespect you in the sweetest way possible?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Gettin Girly

I realized recently that I never posted a blog announcing that we are having a BABY GIRL!!! After my anti-climactic 1st ultrasound I had to wait 5 weeks for the next peak. Luckily she gave us a great show that day and Project Gettin Girly began.

After 3 boys it's way too cool that we get to try out this whole girl thing. Our 3 boys are excited and adorable in the ways they've decided to help. I was sure that a girl meant I could make all the decisions because no one else in my house would have a clue or an opinion. HA!! My husband and my sons are the exact opposite. Sometimes they're a bit overinvolved and I have to veto them :P

For instance, the name. I declared that everyone in our family would receive an equal vote. My darling husband and my sweet Moe are ruining this plan. Darling husband has an intense need for names to be spelled uniquely (i.e. 15 extra letters, silent letters etc...) or for names to be funny (i.e. embarrassing and you would never want people to know your middle name). Sweet little Moe says it has to rhyme with lazy so he can write books about her and has firmly announced that he will veto all names that don't rhyme with lazy. See what I have to work with?

I have been trying to avoid name conversations because it can get really tense around our house. We have a list of names we all like but for some reason no one wants to vote on that list, they just keep adding names! The poor ladies in my office have heard me whine and moan about the situation for hours on end (they have a lot of patience!) We finally settled on a first name that we all love but we're not even close to choosing a middle name. Feel free to offer suggestions.

This is not the only that my boys want to share their expertise. We recently moved  Moe downstairs with his twin brothers to make our extra upstairs bedroom the baby room. I had planned on a palette of cute bright colors based off an adorable toy I found at a garage sale. I mistakenly put it to a vote the night before I planned to go to the fabric store. I was completely out voted. My husband voted for a bright sort of salmon pink, keeping the pale green walls we had already and Larry wanted to add in pale yellow. The furniture is all brown so that was in as well. I have grown to love this color combo but it took me completely by surprise.

I took the 3 boys to the fabric store and they went nuts. Running up and down the rows announcing they had found the baby section or that this color was close, that pattern was to boyish etc... Together they made some great choices and the room is definitely starting to come together.

It's pretty awesome that they all want to be so involved but I am so outnumbered that I feel like my voice gets lost every once in awhile. Everywhere we go they are all checking out girl everything to make sure we're prepared for her arrival in June.

So yeah, my superhero, ninja, monster boys are putting in most of the effort for Project Getting Girly. My husband puts in his two cents whenever we're voting on stuff and comes up with the best questions and comments that show me that baby girl is on his mind a lot. The other day a package came in the mail and he got giddy excited. he excitedly announced that he had bought the perfect thing for baby. He went and got a baby hanger and came out proudly displaying the cutest little Chicago Bears Cheerleading uniform that you ever saw.

Yep. We're all more than a little excited.