Monday, April 29, 2013

Terrible Mommy

I have been quite sure for some time, that I, in no way, want more kids. I absolutely love my boys, but I'm sure that they will be more than enough for me. The last week has made me even more certain that I couldn't handle another child. Although I don't remember it, I'm sure that the first few months of Liam's life were difficult and stressful, but this time, I've noticed, taken note, and seared it into my brain.

The past few weeks have been extremely taxing on my parenting abilities and my perception of my parenting success. I will just come right out and say it, I'M A HORRIBLE PARENT! I have lost almost all ability to multi-task, Liam watches way too much tv, I have VERY limited patience, I don't have the natural ability to sit and play, and I just can't seem to get the hang of two. By the time Joe walks through the door, I am either crying, already dressed and headed on my run, or in a horrible mood. I'm exhausted!

From what memories I can piece together of Liam's early months, he was pretty easy going. At least, I could hand him to someone else, he took good naps, and he slept just about every time we took him anywhere. Nolan is not like his brother! He prefers that I be the only one who touches him, he wants to nurse every two to three hours (yes, still!), and he rarely takes naps during the day. On the plus side, he does sleep very well at night. Liam's behavior has also taken a turn for the worse. He has decided that this is the best time to begin throwing temper tantrums, and always "needs" something when his brother is attached.

It seems as though every time I get myself into a parenting groove, one (or both) of my boys throws me a curve ball. Some examples of this, as soon as we realized Nolan had acid reflux and got his meds/dosage figured out, he began teething, and as soon as I got Liam on nap-taking-track again, Nolan started refusing naps. In the time that it has taken to type to this point, I have slumped my way upstairs to replace a binky at least a dozen times.

Nolan crying, yet again.
It drives me crazy when people pretend that parenting is easy, that their children never cry, or that they never feel like taking an impromptu, kid-free (maybe even husband-free) vacation. I'm not afraid to admit that I have dealt with each of these things in just the past 24 hours. Parenting is not easy, in fact, it's the hardest thing I've ever done. My boys cry; my youngest cries a lot. I have even perused the "getaways" section of Groupon twice this week, and I sent a plea for an emergency drinking buddy on Facebook a few days ago.

It's quite clear that I'm just not cut out for multiple children, and I'm not afraid to admit it!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent and Multi-Purpose Cleaner

My husband and I have been working our hardest to pay off the mountain of student loan debt that we accrued. This is one reason why I went on a search for ways to cut costs and lower our monthly bills. One thing that I have started doing to help slash our grocery store bill, is to make my own household cleaners. So far, I've tried two of the many. many on my list. Here are the recipes for creating your own green, inexpensive, and healthy products.

Laundry Detergent:

- 4 Cups of Hot Water
- 1 Dial Basics Hypo-Allergenic Soap Bar (Dollar Tree 3-Pack)
- 1 Cup Arm and Hammer Super Washing Soda (Bi-Mart)
- 1/2 Cup Borax (Bi-Mart)

1. Grate the bar of soap into the hot water. Put on medium heat until soap is melted. Stir constantly.
*This takes quite a while, even with a small bar of soap, so plan accordingly.

2. Fill a 5 gallon bucket halfway with hot tap water. Add soap mixture, washing soda, and borax. Stir until everything has dissolved. Then fill the remainder of the bucket with more hot tap water and stir again.

3. Fill an empty laundry soap container halfway, then fill with more hot tap water.

4. Each time you use the soap, shake up well (it will get clumpy, if you don't). You only need about 1/4 cup for each load.

This one batch will last forever, and is much cheaper than even one jug of store bought laundry detergent. This soap works on front and top load machines, as well as high efficiency. I was a bit skeptical about the ability of this soap to get my clothes clean, but it does it amazingly! The laundry smells fresh and clean when it comes out of the dryer, and there is no need for fabric softener (at least we don't think so).
It has gotten stains out of my son's shirts that our regular detergent would not have gotten out without a stain remover. You can still use stain removing products with this detergent, if you need to. We are very happy with this recipe!

Original recipe from the Duggar Family website, but I changed the bar soap to fit our family's hyper-sensitive skin. Here is the link to their website:

Multi-Purpose Cleaner:

- Orange Peels
- Vinegar
- Air-Tight Jar

This is the easiest recipe ever, and you can use it for so many things! All you do, is fill a jar with orange peels, then fill with vinegar, and let it sit for two weeks. After two weeks, take out the orange peels and put the liquid into a spray bottle. Your done! This cleaner smells wonderful, and does a great job cleaning all sorts of things. I love it because I can use it on our kid's toys and in our kitchen, without worrying about chemicals. This cleaner is cheap, easy, and green.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

DIY No Sew Kids Tent

A long time ago, I saw this wonderful idea on Pinterest. It was a circus-like tent for kids. As I pursued the pins, I found several "How to Make a Tent" options. Some of them looked amazing, but when I looked into how to make them, they were either extremely complicated for a beginning-level sewer, or they ended up being ones that were for sale. I wanted to make one for my son for his third birthday.....the key word in that sentence is "make", but I also couldn't spend a fortune on supplies and with a 3 month old and a toddler at home, time was a consideration as well.

Since none of the pins on Pinterest were helpful to me and my situation, I decided to walk through Target with some ideas in mind, to see what I could find. I hit the jackpot! I found just what I needed, and all of it was on clearance. I went to JoAnn's Fabrics for the fleece. Then we headed to Dollar Tree for the remaining supplies. I was so lucky that I was able to find such wonderful items, at an inexpensive price, that helped to create a wonderful surprise for my little man.

Here are the supplies I used:

- One Hula Hoop (Dollar Tree)
- One Cloth Shower Curtain (Target)
- One Set of Shower Rings (Target, but I'm sure could be found at Dollar Tree)
- 2 Yards of Black Fleece (JoAnn's Fabrics)
- Twine
- Super Glue
- Tape Measure
- Scissors

Steps to Creating Your Own Inexpensive Tent for Kids:

1. Measure the Hula Hoop and check the measurements of the shower curtain and make any needed adjustments to the Hula Hoop. I needed to make mine smaller so that the shower curtain would go all the way around.
- If you need to do this too, find the seem that already exists on the Hula Hoop, pull it apart, then cut using the seem as one end. Once you have cut to your desired size, super glue the stopper back into the Hula Hoop and hold for a minute or two to make sure that it sets.

2.Measure the height of the ceiling you plan to hang the tent from, check the length of the curtain, then measure and cut three pieces of twine (for the hanger) to the desired length. Tie the twine to the Hula Hoop, and then together on the opposite end to create a loop for the hook.

3. Place the Hula Hoop on the fleece and trace it. Cut a small hole in the middle of the fleece circle. Drape over the Hula Hoop (this works best if it is hanging up straight, so that you can be sure to cut accurately). Then cut the fabric to cover the top of the Hula Hoop.
* I ended up layering two pieces to give the tent more of the pirate-feel that I was looking for.

4. Attach the shower curtain to the Hula Hoop using the shower rings. Make sure to space them out evenly between the twine, this way the Hula Hoop will hang level easily.

5. Hang the tent from a hook that has been secured into the ceiling.

6. Enjoy!

It may not be as fancy as some of the pictures I have found on Pinterest, but Liam loves his new tent! He plays pirates, reads, and asks to take his naps in it everyday. I love it, because it took me two hours to make (it would go a lot faster now that I know what I'm doing), and it only cost $17.84 for the supplies! I do plan to make/buy a round pillow to put inside, which I think this will help to give it the true tent shape, but for now, we're happy with Liam's new hang out!

The finished Product!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Second Amendment

 Normally I refuse to discuss politics on my blogs, but I just couldn't get this picture, which is circulating Facebook, out of my head. My first thought, "Their right. Why do some people do this?" Then I thought about it long and hard, I realized that there are several good reasons why some of us blame guns when tragedies happen.
Reason number one, bombs are illegal, guns are not. The U.S. and it's people have done everything in their power to prevent deaths caused by bombs. There are even things put in place to make it easier to notice and stop bomb makers before they are able to hurt people. Guns are not only legal, but require far less education than driving a car, even though they are specifically made to cause harm (animals when hunting, protection, and sometimes crimes).
As apparent in the two tragedies illustrated in the picture, guns can be far more deadly, yet many believe that everyone should have to right to possess them, without restriction or education. I am a firm believer in our Constitution and the Rights that it gives all Americans, but the Second Amendment was written at a time where protection of life and property was on the individual. There was no phone number for the police, and even if there were, many people lived miles away from anyone else. Guns were a must. Also, at that time, war was a way of life, and it was fought on our soil. Another reason guns were needed, hunting for food. There were no grocery stores, just blocks away. If you were hungry, you had to get it for yourself.
I believe that times have changed since the Second Amendment was written, and so should the Amendment. Notice that I say "change", not eliminate! I do think that it should be every American's right to bear arms, but there should be some safeguards put in place. Our world is changing, and we need to change too. No one who has a criminal record should have the right to bear arms anymore, education and training should be mandatory, and there should be laws about how guns are stored/cleaned in homes.
Within the last week, a child in our area, lost her life in an accidental shooting that happened while her step father cleaned his gun. This was a horrible accident, and there is no blame in the situation, but this should never have happened, and we need to figure out how we can prevent it in the future.
When the constitution was written, guns were such a part of life, that children were taught by their parents to use them correctly. Now, most children's education about guns come from movies and video games. This is why I think education and training is so important. Children are the ones who are getting hurt because they just don't get that guns are dangerous, and no one has taught them to be safe w/them. I know that I say this as a bit of a generalization. I know that there are parents out there that are responsible and teach their children well. I just think that we as a country, need to require that responsibility, not assume that it is being used.
I keep thinking about this from a teacher's perspective. If a handful of my students were misusing the supplies in class, I would implement more rules to make sure that they stop. I would also require that those students, specifically involved, would lose their right to use the supplies (at least for a while). I wouldn't completely eliminate them from the classroom. That would be unfair to those using them correctly.
My rights only go as far as yours. My freedom of speech is just that, the right to state my opinion and offer my suggestions. It is, by no means, my right to take your rights away. The Second Amendment is not mine to  take away, and that is in no way, what I want. But we have to do something to stop the violence. Lets use these tragedies to come together and find a solution, not to divide us more.
Please, feel free to leave your comments. We all have the right to be heard.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Be Thankful and Give

Since having children, my whole outlook on life has changed. I try to savor every day and remind myself often that this is my one and only life. I need to make the best of it, and make each day count! In the past month or so, I have really realized how lucky I am to have my boys in my life, and that they are healthy.

I have been reminded constantly that there are parents who have worried about whether or not their babies would be able to stay in their lives. I can't imagine what kind of pain and fear they must have felt, or just how strong and courageous they had to be to make it through the scary times. I have a couple of friends and family members who dealt with these situations firsthand, which has put this issue front and center for me.

A very close family friend had her son months early and he had not had the chance to fully develop. He spent months in the hospital and his brave mommy had to live in a trailer in the hospital parking lot just to be near him. Another friend whose daughter was born with many unforeseen health conditions, and was told at one point that her daughter may not make it. And another whose two year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, and had to have brain surgery and radiation. My niece who was born with only one kidney, and nephew who had to have surgery for digestive issues. These are just some of the struggles that the people near and dear to me have had to deal with.

I know that these situations are in no way comparable to the horrific ones I described above, but I have felt powerless to help both of my boys in recent weeks, and on a much smaller scale. First with Nolan's acid reflux. Once we figured out what it was, and got him on a medication that helped, the stress and worry was over. But before that, to have your newborn baby cry in pain all day, not know why, or how to help them, is a horrible thing to go through. I felt so powerless and vulnerable. We are so lucky that we were able to help him, some parents are not so lucky.

When Liam was less than three months old, we had to spend 3 days in the hospital for a respiratory infection. There were several times when he had a difficult time breathing and the doctors discussed putting in a breathing tube. Then yesterday morning, while eating breakfast, Liam started to choke. This has only happened once before, but this time I couldn't get the piece of food out of his throat. I tried to stay calm as the seconds where my son couldn't breath flew by. Inside I was panicking! It was taking too long, and I knew it. My efforts to scoop out what was blocking his airway were seeming pointless, and I was about to start the Heimlich maneuver.

Finally, the blockage broke up and went down his throat. By this time, he was foaming at the mouth a bit, and he was coughing uncontrollably. I didn't even notice until this point, that we were both sobbing. We were both scared and shaking. I picked him up, and we cuddled on the couch for almost an hour. Neither of us wanted to be apart. Unfortunately, chocking tends to be something all parents deal with once or twice, but the fear and panic I felt in those minutes, showed me just how much mommies and daddies of sick babies go through, but I still don't completely understand how they do it. I hope that I never have to find out.

But as the commercial says, "Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not." I have learned how important that quote is. I don't know how I would ever get through a devastating diagnosis for my boys, but I know that having the support of those around me would be helpful. That is why I want to take this opportunity to share some ways that you can help. All of the families that I discussed above are still in need of caring and support. Having a sick child, even if they fight their way through it, is a lifelong struggle for the children and the parents. Here are a couple of ways that you can support the children from these stories:
One day, all babies will be born healthy. We need to walk to get there.
1. Donate to or walk in the March for Babies for the March of Dimes: Here is the personal page of one of the stories I told above.

2. Shop at or donate to a garage sale to benefit the Langton family (also one of the stories from above) on May 3rd and 4th. Donations will be taken until May 1st. Contact Stacie at if you have item(s) you would like to donate. The garage sale will take place at 11475 SW Springwood Drive in Tigard. 

3. Spread the word! Even if you can't donate to either of these causes, tell others. The more people who see this information, the more help these families, and many others will receive. Once again, be thankful for your healthy babies by giving to those who are not so lucky.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

10 Baby/Kid Things I Wish Would Disappear (Make That 11)

Having babies is an amazing experience. Being a mommy is the best job in the world! The coos, smiles, hugs, kisses, and laughs of your young children are priceless. But there are some items that are required for little ones that I can't wait to be done with. Here is my top ten list of baby/kid things that I won't miss:

1. Strollers: As the proud owner of 4 strollers, I can't wait to go on a walk, peruse the mall, or pack the car without a clunky, heavy, difficult to steer, baby vehicle. Don't get me wrong, at this point in my life, strollers have been a lifesaver! Packing my two boys into something they can't get out of has been the only way that I can leave the house without extra adult supervision. But I longingly look forward to the day that this will not be the case.

2. Swing/Bouncer: Once again, I could not function without these devices, but I loath them as well. Putting Nolan in one of these is just about the only way that I get anything done, but it would sure be nice to not have to maneuver around them every time I walk through my living room and have them cluttering the house. And don't get me started on the batteries!

3. Changing Table (diapers too!): Liam/Nolan's changing table is a necessity since newborn diapers are messy and I'm not willing to risk my couches or rug. However, it is huge and has become a great place to store random things that really should have found their own home. Also, Liam thinks that it makes a wonderful ladder and jumping platform, which adds a certain referee aspect to my life that I could do without. Diapers are not cheap, and since I spent 9 months not having to deal with them, I find it a bit revolting. Cloth diapers are even worse! I love that they save money, but ick!

4. Baby Laundry Detergent: As with most of this list, cost is a big reason I'm looking forward to leaving this behind. But there is also the inconvenience of having to do separate loads of laundry and purchasing two different kinds of soap. I'm in the process of trying out a homemade laundry soap, so hopefully this issue will be solved soon.

5. Baby Books: I'm a reading teacher; I love to read and want to foster that love for my boys. But if I have to read a ten page book with the same ten words repeated over and over, one more time, I'm going to scream! There are some amazing children's books, but anything that you read several times a day can turn into an annoyance very quickly. It will be lovely to read a chapter book, where every day there is something new (we're reading chapter books with Liam now, but then Nolan came along!).

6. Baby Toys: They are walking hazards, get disgusting quickly, my dog tries to steal them constantly, and they spread! 

7. Onsies: I hate the snaps and my boys are not the type to hold still. It is a long process to get off when a blow out occurs. I much prefer a t-shirt and pants.

8. Kid Shows (I know I have a good long while before these are out of my life): So far, most kid shows are extremely annoying. They repeat themselves over and over (which I know is for the purpose of learning), the songs get stuck in your head constantly, and the characters always seem to have the most high-pitched, horrendous voices. They sure are a good babysitter once in awhile though.

9. Plates, Bowls, Cups, Bottles, Pumping Supplies, and Silverware: They are never a good stacking shape, they take up all the room on the top rack of the dishwasher, my kids need shelves and drawers of the kitchen just for their supplies, and I never pick the "right one". It will be nice when we can all use the same eating supplies.

10. Car Seats: They take up a lot of space in the car, are heavy, difficult to install and remove, are a needed to travel so you need several or have to install/uninstall constantly. All car seats are a pain, but the newborn carrier kind are the worst! Their heavy, bulky, require two hands (at least for me), take up the whole shopping cart, and get dingy quickly.

I'm sure if I were to sit and dwell on it longer, I would be able to come up with many more things that I can't wait to pass on to an unsuspecting mommy-to-be, but I think this list will suffice for now.

After getting my boys ready for an outing this morning, I feel the need to add one more:

11. Diaper Bag: It's just one more thing to carry, it is always in need of replenishing (or you deal w/a disaster), and I feel the need to have everything short of the crib packed inside!