Monday, June 27, 2011

Ladybugs and Buzz Lightyear

The only things my daughter requested for her 4th birthday.  I love her unorthodox choices.  On the one hand we wanted a ladybug dress and ladybug tiara.  Then she reminded me that she still wanted "Bud-Lightyear".  It cracks me up!  The real story is in the blood, sweat, and tears that were shed in making this 4th birthday possible...
I'm human, and yes, I make mistakes.  Lots of them to be exact.  What sounds like an excellent idea at the time, turns into a Mommy Melt-down of EPIC proportions.  I love to set myself up for small failures.  They are never deal breakers or earth shatter-ers.  They do however break my heart and make me feel dumb. 
This year I decided that a small family get away would be perfect for us in the week leading up to Caitlin's 4th birthday.  In addition I felt that I should MAKE Caitlin a ladybug dress. 
The dress!! It got a little stretched out.

The matching flip-flops
Yes, you read that correctly MAKE A DRESS... You can clearly see where this is going.  I also planned on making a ladybug cake and ladybug cupcakes, which I researched extensively online.  The party for 4 year olds and under would be fantastic, with a LIVE ladybug hunt, coloring, and pizza, the birthday girl's request.  This was the plan as we headed to Monterey, CA.
Upon our return and Father's Day, I was set for my week of PARTY PLANNING.  This included shopping for party supplies; starting and finishing a dress; playroom reorganization; and cake decorating.  You will notice that the list does not include SHOPPING FOR A BIRTHDAY GIFT.  More on that story later...
The ladybug dress was created in pieces.  With the help of my grandma, we did the bulk of the work on Monday, and finished the dress on Friday.  My mom came over and thank the Lord, both kids were good while we reorganized Caitlin's room and the playroom.  It looked great.  I cheated on Friday and had my Mom's cleaning lady come over.  We were looking good.  I was getting a little stressed on Friday afternoon, as my thread kept breaking as I was trying to finish said dress.  A little more stressed as the clock said 5:00pm, and I still hadn't started the cakes or SHOPPED FOR A GIFT.  Are you beginning to see the theme???
By 6:00 on Friday evening I was ready to rock and roll.  I got my second wind and was ready to tackle Toys R Us and the 3 boxes of cake mix with frosting.  I wasn't even worried about the decorating.  I was focused on SHOPPING.  Buzz Lightyear here I come!!!
Let me say that if you ever see a woman, without make-up, covered in her kids dinner and quite possibly lunch and breakfast, standing in an aisle in Toys R Us CRYING, please have sympathy on her.  She is most likely having a nervous breakdown, because the store is OUT of the only thing her child requested for her birthday .  A child who has had to spend the last year in 2nd place to her new little sister.  A child who sweetly asks you to play my little ponies in the middle of a diaper blow out.  Who begs for coloring time while you make 3 different breakfasts.  Who always, without fail, is hungry while her sister is napping. 
So, here I was, crying my eyes out in Toys R Us.  I was so optimistic!  I was going to be home by 6:30 at the latest, the cupcakes and the cake would be cooling just as it was time to put both kiddos in the bath... BEST LAID PLANS... Seriously I think God was laughing at this one.  It was like an episode of the Middle!!
Here I was in the middle of TrUs.  Crying, because while I did the ladybug thing.  There was the possibility that I was not going to deliver Buzz.  I called my sister in law, who responded "Who is Buzz Lightyear?".  I said a prayer and ran, YES, ran to my car and hit it to Target.
If I was ever in doubt about the power of Target, I am now a believer!  There on the bottom shelf was not one, but 3 BUZZs.  Now for the tears of Joy.
I got home at almost 7.  So the kids didn't get a bath until 8, while one cake was still baking.  No big deal.  This is Mamma Megs at her finest!  I never did get the live ladybugs to hunt.  We had a play-doh bugs instead.  The kids played and ate and laughed.  The adults had fun watching and catching up.  I was complimented on both the cake and the dress.  My friend Eric commented that I was turning into Holly Hobby.  How crafty!


The Cake!

The cupcakes... It's no cake boss!  But they ate them.

Was it perfect?  No.  Did Caitlin love it?  YES.  At the end of the day this is the real reason why I pushed so hard.  Why I tried in vain to go the extra mile.  It's also because anyone who  is near me can smell the GUILT wafting off of me like cheap perfume. 
Year 3 was not the best for Caitlin and I.  It was full of fights and tears, time outs and make ups, anger and frustration.  Poor Caitlin!  All she has heard in the last year is "In a minute" and "After I (feed, change, burp, rock, deal with) your sister.  Talk about the back burner.  I swear I wasn't home 5 minutes and I was already swimming in guilt.  I cried numerous times when I had to tell her No.  No I can't play ponies, watch Max and Ruby, draw and color, just about anything.  She could feel the difference and see the difference.  There were days that I longed to be able to give her the one on one attention she deserved.  As always, she is a survivor.  For this birthday, I felt such survival deserved the very best of everything. 
I'm still suffering a birthday celebration hangover, and not the kind of my college years.  I'm still finding play-doh bits.  I still have some dishes to be washed.  Whatever.  Did I decorate the best ladybug cake?  Not even close.  Is the home made ladybug dress going to last one wash?  Probably not.  Like I said before, Caitlin is happy.  I did my Momma thing and she did her birthday girl thing. 
As for Mr. "Bud-Lightyear".  He was a hit!  Not only did she thank me twice at the party.  She thanked me again with my good night kiss.  In her little whisper as she hugged my neck, in that crazy insane way that only your child can master, "Thank you for my Bud-Lightyear Mommy.  It's all I ever wanted". 
Worth every ounce of blood, sweat and tears!
Happy Blogging,
Megan

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby!

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!  Today my baby is 4!  It doesn't seem possible! 
It doesn't seem real!
This was the first year she made her own birthday plans.  She had her own ideas about what she wanted.  This is the first year HER opinion was the only OPINION!
This was also the year I tried so hard to honor EVERY birthday wish.  I was so utterly overrun with guilt... Year 3 wasn't the best year for us.  We had to learn how to share Mommy with Baby Sister over the last year.  I thought I at least owed her some spotlight, since Baby Sister is usually stealing it...


This is Caitlin's 3rd birthday.  She doesn't really like the attention and the Happy Birthday song.  She wanted to hide out in our bedroom and watch Max and Ruby.  I wanted to shower her with the attention she was no longer getting.  This was the beginning of having to share her mommy.  Little sister was now taking over.  I think that is why she has this sour look on her face... And I really tried with that giant cupcake!  She loved it and that's all that mattered!


This is Caitlin on her 2nd Birthday!  This is when I started to hit my stride!  When Mommy learned that breakfast cupcakes are the BUSINESS!  I tried so hard to get her to look at the camera.  Unfortunately Caitlin was born loving chocolate and cake.  When you put the two together...  This was our quite contentment before the chaos. 


This was taken after Caitlin's first birthday party.  She crashed!  In this picture I'm just as exhausted.  Not just physically, but emotionally too.  I had made it.  Through the first year.  A year I didn't think I would survive... This blissful peaceful moment was what we both needed.



This was taken just moments after Caitlin was born.  I don't think she is even a minute old.  This is my favorite picture.  Everyone always comments on how happy I look.  I am, don't doubt it for a minute, but I'm also scared out of my mind!  I treasure this picture because it wasn't just the moment Caitlin was born, it's the exact moment I was reborn.  Into a role I never knew I ALWAYS wanted.  Reborn to do the most important job I would ever do. 
A birthday worth celebrating BIG time!  Every year.

Happy Blogging,
Megan

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day John!!


This is how it started.  John as a dad.  It looks good on him right?  That's Caitlin less than an hour old!


This is typical Daddy style!  Having fun and wrestling!



This is what I find after bath time.  And yes most nights he is giving them their bath.  According to Caitlin Daddy washes hair the best.  Mommy doesn't do it right!

Here are the other things that Dad does BETTER!

Dad makes chocolate chip pancakes... Always

Dad can lift you and throw you and catch you too.

Daddy is taller so Caitlin says she sees better.

Daddy is patient, and yells less, smiles more.

Daddy can read Fox in Sox with no problems.

Daddy reads bedtime stories with variations and voices.

Daddy is HILARIOUS... Always!

Daddy can wash and comb and dry hair with the hairdryer.

Daddy uses the vacuum cleaner... Always!

Daddy plays tea party and My Little Ponies.

Daddy knows the theme songs to most of the cartoons.

Daddy loves his girls with all his heart and doesn't like to admit they already have his number.


Could he really say NO to this face?

And the number one thing about Daddy?

He still loves Mommy, no matter her faults, failures, tantrums, demands, or bitchy days.... Always!

I love you John with all my heart and WOULD NOT, COULD NOT DO THIS WITH ANYONE ELSE AT MY SIDE... ALWAYS!




Happy Blogging!
Megan

Sunday, June 12, 2011

No Sense...

Alas, I confess.  I have lost my sense of style.  I am guilty of looking like and dressing like a MOM.  I'm totally serious.  I'm in a serious funk.  As I type I'm wearing one of three sundresses that is made exactly the same, but today I'm in the purple print.  It was also bought at Kohl's, and not in the JRs department. 
I can look back and identify the exact moment that I lost my style sense.  It was on Tuesday June 26th, 2007 at 4:17 pm.  How can I be so specific?  It was the day Caitlin was born.  Is it possible that my sense of style was pushed out with my newborn?  Is it crazy to think my style sense was thrown out with the placenta?  My What to Expect book did not warn me of this!!
I'm not sure why it has taken this long for this issue to bug me.  Maybe in my sleepless haze, as I looked into the mirror bleary eyed, I just didn't notice.  Then as I began to sleep better, I began to care a little.  Taking the chance to wear a nice cami and capris on my Target trips.  Less worried that I'd be spit up on, spilled on, or somehow exposed by my baby.  I feel like I was just getting my groove back when, BAM!  I found myself knocked up again.  Seriously?  I had to do "fat and pregnant" all over again?  UGH!
I find it hilarious that after Mackenzie was born, I mean literally days after Mackenzie was born I was longing for my pre-baby body.  No, not my pre-Caitlin body, but my pre-Mac body.  I had grown comfortable in the fact that I was no longer the size of my pre-Caitlin jeans and dresses.  I had begun to build a new wardrobe around a new body that was a little more relaxed, a little less self centered.  I liked the new Mommy Me.  So after Mac I was ready to fit in those jeans.  I was ok with my no style self.  Then all of sudden I wasn't. 
Am I just too lazy?  Is it the idea that I have to dress a 4 year old with opinions on what to wear, and a one year old who likes to run.  Am I so focused on making sure they are clean and cute that I take the backseat?  Absolutely!  Sometimes just the idea of getting us all ready to leave the house on time makes my eye twitch.  I have to give myself and Caitlin a pep talk and set a schedule.  Some days it's an absolute miracle that we even leave the house. 
I've also found that being a stay at home mom, in some ways, forces me into a style/no style rut.  Why should I dress up to grocery shop, go to Target, do laundry, or wash dishes?  Why dirty perfectly good clothes for something important?  I'd just have to do more laundry.  It's funny but I feel like I should warn my friends, "Hey when we go to lunch on Friday, don't be surprised if I'm wearing the same tank and capris I always wear".  Another SAHM friend and I laugh at ourselves.  It seems that in every picture of us doing something fun or important on our Facebook pages, we are always dressed in the same thing.  It's like we don't own anything else.  Correction, we don't own anything else that is nice and presentable.  That's what we look like when we dress up.  Am I laughing or crying about this fact?  I can't tell.
It's doubly sad that Caitlin absolutely freaks out when I'm wearing my eyebrows.  I only do my eyebrows when I'm going to dinner, a wedding, baby shower, etc.  She knows that eyebrows usually mean she is staying with Grandma.  As soon as the eyebrow filler comes out the tears start.  Don't go Mommy, she cries!  Stay with me!  I've even asked her, why do you think I'm going somewhere?  Her answer "Because you have eyes".  So sad!
I don't want to look like a celebrity.  I don't want to be Botoxed and bottle blonde like the Real Housewives.  I just want to look like I actually give a crap.  How sad is it that I actually love when the tabloids publish pictures of young Hollywood moms and their kids, while they are not their movie star selves?  I love it!  I love that most photos of Jennifer Gardner show her in jeans, a tee, and running shoes.  She's living the MOMSTYLE!  I love pictures of Jessica Alba and Amy Adams playing in the park or pushing a stroller with bed head and no make-up!  MOMSTYLE!  Even Katie Holmes, Mrs. Tom Cruise, has been photographed with wet hair and big sunglasses, while little Suri is in a tutu and high heels.  Momstyle?  Yes, and as an added bonus, another mother who couldn't talk her toddler daughter into something sensible, like jeans and a t-shirt.
I've decided I'm taking it back!  I'm going to find my new MomStyle, and in turn feel much, better about myself.  Why shouldn't I look like I'm enjoying motherhood?  Why shouldn't look and feel like a hot mamma?  I deserve it right???
Don't worry.  I do clean up well.  I do have presentable items and sometimes even look like I'm keeping up with the current trends.  I've had to kiss my InStyle Magazine reading, up to the minute trend shopping, keeping up the Kardashians part of my life good bye.  I miss that Megan sometimes.  I imagine she is wearing skinny jeans and a striped tunic, teetering on wedge heels, topped with a fabulous fedora, sipping Cosmos with her equally stylish girlfriends.  She has not a care in the world.  So naive to what she is missing...
This Megan is here, in her Kohl's sundress, laughing at Miss Mac who currently has Cheeto face.  She wants a kiss.  Hmmm...  sounds like a fair trade for style any day.
Happy Blogging,
Megan

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Let me eat cake

If you know me, then you know this is no simple statement.  Since 2002 I have been gluten free.  Not a diagnosis that came easily.  I had gone my entire life up to this point in pain, sick, or somewhere in between.   Even in my most pain, at my sickest, I would have never imagined that my diagnosis or prognosis could be as simple as eating gluten free.
The gluten free life isn't easy.  If you or someone you know is gluten free you perhaps can sympathize with the limitations.  Gluten is an ingredient in most foods.  It's what makes bread rise, it's what makes cookies expand, it's what makes bagels so damn good.  It's also what makes gluten free bread horrible, because without gluten, you get a hard rock solid loaf of dough.
What makes this journey in my life interesting is that I had no problem doing it.  I didn't put up a fight or sneak gluten laden food.  I was so sick and in so much pain I was willing to try anything.  At this point I had nothing to lose.  The  blessing here is everything I gained.  A new outlook on food.
You may laugh, but I really don't like food.  My entire life, food has been hit or miss.  I can remember delicious pizzas, my mom's famous chocolate cake, and buttery sugar cookies.  I can also remember being in pain after eating eggs for breakfast.  Somewhere around 7 years old, food became a chore for me. 
After having a stomach bug that decided to stick around for months rather than days, my mother was given a list of foods to feed me.  Don't deviate from this list, the doctor said, she has a sensitive stomach the doctor said.  This started my modified BRAT diet.  I ate the same meals at the same times for weeks.  I had become so paranoid and neurotic about being sick and being in pain that even these simple meals pained my mother, who bless her soul, sat with me and coached me through every bite.  Lying through her teeth that this meal wouldn't make me sick.  It wouldn't give me a stomach ache.  That I'd be ok.  Lying because she didn't know, but she was hopeful.
As I got older and my stomach was less sensitive I integrated other foods, but every couple of years I would get sick or the flu and the cycle would start again.  I have gained and lost more weight in my 33 years than Oprah.  Seriously!  My freshman year of high school was spent with an aching stomach begging for food, because the worst thing that could happen to a freshman in high school is being caught in the bathroom with her pants down.  No joke, half of that year was spent starving, and making excuses.  By the end of that year my appetite returned and so did the weight.  What's the second worst thing to happen to a high school freshman?  Being fat after being near anorexic.
So after years of pain and sickness, with nothing to lose, I went on what is called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  It's very detailed and has many rules.  Google it for more info, but the basics are NONE OF THE FOLLOWING:  SUGAR, DAIRY, PROCESSED FOODS, SODA, BREAD, WHEAT, OR PRODUCTS FROM GRAINS.  You get the idea that it was in the extreme.  From here I discovered Celiac disease, and thought when I was feeling better, and not living my life in the bathroom, I'd try gluten free living.  I've never looked back.
Most people grimace when I tell them I'm gluten free.  Like they feel sorry for me.  I just grin, because they shouldn't .  Being GF has opened doors for me food wise.  Avocados, cream cheese, M&Ms.  All things I eat now that I didn't eat before.  The freedom to go out and eat at restaurants and not feel like I'm playing Russian Roulette.  It's been amazing.  Being gluten free has also forced me to learn to cook and bake.  Yes, that's right, I can actually do those things.  I had too.  Where was I going to find GF brownies, or pancakes, or turkey burgers?  I wanted chocolate chip cookies, so I baked them.
Being GF isn't always easy.  I usually take my own food to dinner parties.  I have to take my own bread to Panera.  I'm famous for eating before going out with friends to avoid mishaps.  It's tough for me to just grab something on my way out.  Almost everything has to be made before.  After Mackenzie was born I lived off Tostitos.  Now when I see a bag it's like a bad hangover.  And since I'm the only GF person in my house there are nights that I make 2 dinners.  One GF and one regular.  On those nights I'm usually eating eggs.
Now, here are great things about being GF.  I bought a GF cookbook and actually used it.  Even better John loved the GF Turkey meatloaf I made.  Which is amazing in itself.  I've become an excellent label reader!  I can spot GF ingredients a mile away.  Many times I get to pick the restaurant when dining with friends to ensure I can eat.  SCORE! 
So today I was rejoicing in the fact that Vons now sell GF bread, and that I had some in the freezer.  I was also thankful that it actually tastes good.  I was also planning my next go at chocolate chip cookies.  I need to order the flour (www.julesglutenfree.com) and then remember that they cook best when you use 1 stick of butter and 1 stick of margarine.  You think GF living is hit or miss?  GF baking will reduce you to tears!  My new goal, a GF yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  Some people dream in color, these days I'm dreaming in cake...
Happy Blogging,
Megan


Thursday, June 2, 2011

What's my motivation?

Scratch that.  Where is my motivation?  My lovely Caitlin is turning 4 at the end of the month, and it's party planning time.  I've got nothing.  Is it brain fatigue?  Physical fatigue?  Party fatigue?  Who knows.  I'm just not that into it.  I've lost my party planning mojo...
Ok, so it's not that bad, yet.  We do have a theme.  Ladybugs.  Cute, red and black, sweet little ladybugs.  So I Googled ladybugs, and was slapped in the face by a crafters palace of bugs.  Love bugs, snuggle bugs, boy bugs, lady bugs, every kind of bug.  All bugs created out of love, paper bags, Styrofoam balls, or cake.  A mother's worse nightmare, unless crafting is your forte.  Is it my forte?
It could be.  It should be.  I'm somewhat creative.  I've been known to sew a Foofa costume.  I've made a Ho-Ho the monkey costume.  I've made a few hair bows that were wearable.  I even performed emergency surgery on a stuffed bear that had its face ripped off by a dog.  Why should I be intimidated by some lady bug cake pops, cup cakes, and bug jars?  Why am I more afraid of having zero handmade ladybug items at the party?  When did kid parties become art exhibits?
Well it's only a competition if you compete.  So here I go not competing and feeling completely guilty.  I don't want Caitlin to look at pictures and say, why the store bought cake mom?  Why did you just buy lady bug tiaras and not slave away until the dawn hours to make one?  I guess I'll just tell her the truth.  That while Mommy loves and adores Michaels, she curses it's actual existence.
I swear that I buy more craft supplies for more projects that never get started.  I've made a few bows, tried to make a few jewelry items, bedazzled a few shirts.  I have glue gun, still in the package.  Beautiful ribbon to make Easter bows ( next year?).  Awesome ideas in my mind, but that is where they stay.  In my mind.
I've also lost the ability to be motivated.  The list of ladybug awesomeness that I've found on Google will require time.  Time I'm pretty sure I'm not going to have.  Sure, you always have time, but to actually make time?  I know myself.  If I have time to do anything, I'm sure as *S* gonna be sitting on my behind reading Tina Fey's new book.  Go ahead laugh, but I know myself.  Just yesterday as the dishes were overflowing on the counter from the sink, I was sitting on the couch with Caitlin watching DVR'd episodes of Glee.  For the record we watched the "Born this Way"  performance twice.  Caitlin likes Tina and Rachel, and I'm still super obsessed with Kurt.
So what does that say for poor little Caity's fourth birthday?  Store bought invitations, pizza (her request), ladybug cupcakes (yes I'll do it), and some fun games.  What's my motivation?  My daughter.  Her love of ladybugs and chocolate cake.  The sheer fact that store bought tiaras, pre printed invitations, and commercial decorations will not matter to her.  All she's going to care about is the cake. 
Does Costco even make ladybug cakes?
Happy Blogging,
Megan