Saturday, December 22, 2012

Disgruntled Christmas

Merry Christmas! Joy to the world and all that cheer. Instead of feeling full of good will to men, I feel stressed and burdened. So much to do, so many kids, so little time.

I go to work angry because I have so many other things to do and it's just another obstacle in the way to my ultimate happiness. Ironically I can't be very productive at work due to constant interruptions, meetings and distractions. I want to request to work from home but I don't like to seem like I want special privileges. I'd like to cut down on my commute and gas money and childcare. Not to mention frustration.

The other day I felt so anxious about all I had to do, I felt like I was going to pass out. Then I was so happy to see my five year old sing in her school's Christmas performance and that cheered me up. It helped remind me the true reason for the season and God's love for us. I love all the songs about baby Jesus in the manger and the gifts He brings.

On the other hand, I dislike feeling pressured to shop. I hate what happened to the children of Sandy Hook and my heart breaks for those families. I hate watching the news and I especially dislike L.A. news programs. I despise the newscasters' skanky fashions and obsession with celebrity news and crimes. There'ss no end to the bad news shit storm. Put away your cleavage, short skirts and stripper shoes chicks and get to some real news.

This next week, my family and I are on the road Griswold style. Pray that we survive it! We hit the road this morning and just barely made it out of L.A. Soon we will be in rain and then snow. Hooray for winter weather! I can't wait to be back in the Great Northwest!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Funky Alternatives to the Gym

Sporting the Shape Up fit flops, toned leg & 1 bunion.
Photo credit: Elle, SMW
Camera 360 App on Motorola Droid
Here are my Shape Up fit flops that I got a few years ago (product website appears to now be defunct.) But now I've pulled them out again since I have very limited time to get to the gym. Today I wore them to clean the house and walk the dog around the neighborhood. I'm sure I am quite the sight walking around the 'hood with my double stroller, wild kids, a large breed dog and these crazy shoes with a semi-wobbly walk, but who cares? I'm getting in shape. Aren't I?

Stamina InStride Cycle
My other exercise alternatives are my new under the desk 'l'il peddler' for work, pull up/push up/sit up bar and I just ordered a new trampoline with a handle on Amazon so I can get more cardio in at home.

Marcy Cardio Trampoline Trainer

I also want to try to make more time for small Pilates and yoga videos and try to sign up for a Pilates reformer class at the Y. I also wish I could get a treadmill desk, but I suspect that would be a waste of money and space. I also have my other standbys: jump rope, mountain bike, beach cruiser, baby in the Kelty backpack walkabout and I suppose I could try jogging like the other Southern Californians around here (equipped with a Poise pad of course.) I haven't been keeping up with the kegel exercises, but I'd better if I'm going to be bouncing on a trampoline.
Sevylor Samoa standup paddleboard

I bought Daddy-O (but really me) an inflatable stand up paddleboard on an cyber-Monday sale and I'm psyched about that. We could take it to Lake Mission Viejo or Dana Point harbor to paddle about. Maybe even Big Bear Lake in the summer. Woo hoo! It even collapses/deflates and fit into a small backpack so we could take it anywhere!

The active presents I got for the chickadees this Christmas, I ordered them a pogo stick and a portable, freestanding tetherball set (for my make-believe sport court at home). When I was a girl, I loved bouncing on my pogo stick and was convinced I could get the world record for most bounces. I did not really play organized sports but I loved exercising/playing actively. I think it's way more fun than being locked into a regimented sports routine.

Lifetime Portable Tetherball System 
Flybar Foam Maverick Pogo Stick
I will keep you up to speed on my alternative workouts. I haven't been very disciplined in my eating of raw foods and juicing, but I'm sort of avoiding carbs...sometimes. I'm so stressed out that I almost can't help myself to dive into the Halloween candy every night. And no I'm not going to just throw out all away - that would be ludicrous!

My goal: healthy and fit and attractive. I'm aiming for 118 pounds. I'm about 124 right now and a size 4, as I typically am. I just don't like my office physique and tired, depressed, angry, out-of-sorts moods. Maybe I should try having more sex.

How do you like to stay in shape?

Disclaimer: images in this post link to its product page. As I'm an Amazon affiliate. I may receive some pittance for your eyeballs and hypothetical purchase. All products shown have legitimately been purchased.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

L'il Chicken Hawk's Year Two Recap

Our almost two year old was not in the spirit for Santa or sisters.
Photo Credit: Elle,
My L'il Chicken Hawk is on the brink of turning two and Daddy-O has scheduled his vasectomy. Both events make me a little melancholy and wistful. I have recently started to stare longingly at newborns again and contemplate another baby in our family. But that's crazy talk. We are not equipped to deal with four kids and we struggle to manage the three we do have.

So I'll be saying good bye to my baby boy and my man's fully-functioning plumbing, and hello to potty training a two year old again and hopefully having plenty of unprotected sex (with my husband of course).

Here are some of the highlights from my son's second year of life, in no particular order of significance.
  • Cloth Diapering - I exclusively cloth diapered another year, while only using disposables at bedtime and while traveling. I've kept up with the laundering myself, about once every 2-3 days. I know it's saved us a ton of money and a lot of skin irritation for him. I'm very happy that I've stuck with it and will continue to stick with it until he's potty trained (hopefully by the age of 3). I like the system and routine I've established with it and extremely happy that our Mrs. Nanny-Sitter has adapted it without problem. She puts them in the vanilla-scented garbage bags I supply her with, I take them home and put them in a plastic garbage can until I have it full. Then I hose them down in the toilet with the shower nozzle and then throw them in the wash. One cycle in cold, one cycle in hot, then hang the covers to dry and put the cloth inserts in the dryer on extra hot.
  • Working and Childcare - I went back to work last February when he was a little past one year old and have been working full time ever since. It was a little difficult for me to lose that special bonding time with him and I miss him during the day. But I'm happy that he has flourished under the care of Mrs. Nanny-Sitter and the few other children that she watches. He loves her husband and kids too so when they come home at the end of the day, they play and dunk cookies in milk and hang out on the couch watching Cars. It's never perfect when someone else watches your children, but I'm mainly happy with our arrangement. I will likely put him into a group daycare/pre-pre-school when he is two and a half and after I'm done paying tuition for my junior kindergartner. I am happy that he is in a nurturing, safe, loving environment with lots of attention.
  • Sisterly Relationships - He is having so much fun playing with his sisters (7 and 5). They are starting to chase each other around the house and wrestle on the floor. His laughter is irrestible. It's fun to see the girls interested in 'boy' activities and learning new things through him too. He also enjoys playing with their toys and making them more manly; like the shopping cart, purses, dolls, etc.
  • Snacks and More Snacks - He is always hungry and wanting snacks. This was one of his first words, and it's not easy to say. He knows how to open the pantry, fridge and freezer and you have to keep an eye on him or he'll take everything out and dump it on the floor. He also likes to feed the dog, so our gentle giant always keeps close by for morsels. His favorites are cookies and crackers and ice.
  • His Loves - Dogs, trains, firetrucks, garbage trucks, cars, motorcycles and bikes. He spots them from miles away and tells me all about it. "Ruff ruff", "vroom, vroom", "choo choo" and he uses hand signs to tell me too.
  • Finding His Voice - He is extremely communicative, even if he can't speak in full sentences. He uses hand signs, grunts, single syllable words, facial expressions and physically takes you to what he wants by tugging on your clothes and pointing. The other night he had a stuffy nose and he pointed at it and said "achoo"; it was so darn cute! He can understand practically everything we tell him. The other day I told him we were going to church and wagged his finger at me and said, "No church, no church." 
  • Speed, Agility and Feats of Strength - He is getting very agile and fast. I have to really keep my eye on him or it can be deadly. The other day he drew on the wall, squirted himself in the eye with Goof Off and knocked over the Christmas tree; all within a few hours. It can be exasperating to say the least. He got his first spanking from Daddy-O after the tree incident, since some of the ornaments that broke were special, irreplaceable ones from his deceased mother. He also has excellent aim when throwing. He can throw food with perfect aim and force. I have found rice and other food particles in my hair at work before.
  • Adorable Haircuts - He has had at least three haircuts already and I love his hair. It is so blond and straight and fluffy. It's often sticking up in the back like Dennis the Menace. I love a nice, tidy boy haircut, trimmed around the ears and neck. I don't like shaggy hair on boys. I like putting a little gel in it and making it a little spikey in the front. I love doing all my kids' hair and making it fun, actually.
  • Cute Clothes - I'm digging the little boy clothes and rugged style he's rocking. He loves his cowboy boots and choo-choo train Robeez. I love his Skidders (sock/shoe combo). He loves his Buzz Lightyear t-shirt. I love his corduroy pants and hip jeans. And the way his bright, colorful cloth diapers peek out at the top.
  • Big Heart and Crocodile Tears - He doesn't like to be scolded. When I get angry with him and yell about something he's done, he cries with big crocodile tears and acts very sad. Then he comes over and gives me a big hug. It melts my heart. This is how a mama's boy is created, folks. I used to scoff at coddling mommies, but now I'm turning into one. "Oh you want another piece of candy for breakfast, honey? Sure!" When we went to visit Santa this past weekend, he was paralyzed with fear and tears streamed down his cheeks with the horror of sitting on Santa's lap. But it was nothing a little candy cane couldn't fix.
  • Too Much TV. Too Much Sweets. I'm not happy at how much TV he's watching at Mrs. Nanny-Sitter's. We don't like the kids, especially before the age of two, to watch too much TV. With two older sisters, it's hard not to have TV sometimes and the L'il Chicken Hawk seems completely entranced by it. He also has too much sweets in my opinion, but at least he doesn't turn into a crazy kid after eating it like my oldest chickadee does (even to this day).
  • Fun Play Style - I love how he gets down on his belly to play with his toys on the floor and to see how they work close up. He can spend great lengths of time opening and closing doors and moving people in and out. It's so fun to watch.
  • Full of Joy - He has a big smile and adorable laugh. He loves to be tickled. He loves when I play games with his toes, fingers and blowing bubbles on his belly. He says, "Tickle, mama". He remembers landmarks we drive by all the time and will say "Eat" when we pass restaurants we've ate at before. He loves making animal noise imitations. He is a sponge soaking up love and learning.
  • Healthy - I'm happy that he's healthy and developing well. I know there are many heartbroken moms and dads out there dealing with health issues with their children. We know of a family with an 11 month old who is facing the heart-wrenching decision to take their child off of life support today. They had no clue their child was born with a lung defect, and suddenly when he was having a temper tantrum one day, the boy passed out. Ever since they discovered something was wrong, the child has had many procedures done trying to keep his lungs from collapsing. They were told by the doctors that he is not eligible for a lung transplant so there is nothing that can be done. I can't fathom the depth of fear, sadness and helplessness those parents are feeling. I'm thankful for my L'il Chicken Hawk and the immense joy I have from being his mom. Every day with him is a gift from God.
This past two years with our L'il Chicken Hawk have been very fun and rewarding. We are so thankful he is a part of our family. We couldn't imagine life without him. I'm a little sad that he's turning two. I keep telling him, "You're turning TWO!" holding up my fingers at him and he wags his finger at me and says, "No two!" We are going to celebrate his birthday this coming weekend at Irvine Regional Park Railroad with a train ride, the enclosed zoo, a bike ride and of course birthday cake and balloons. Just us. It's too close to Christmas to have a real party as most people we know are crazy busy like us.

And in ten more days, Daddy-O will be neutered! He says he's not afraid, but I would be a little. What a trooper. He hasn't even asked me to drive him to his appointment. Apparently it's no big deal of a procedure. Our baby making days are over! Sniff sniff. 

Boot Barn

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Guest Post: Sukey Molloy - Movement and Music Play for Busy Families

Movement & Music Play
Photo Credit: Sukey Molloy

Ladies and gentlemen, mommies and daddies, please allow me to introduce you to our guest blogger du jour; the one, the only, SUKEY MOLLOY! Sukey is a children's music performer who knows all about work life balance. My family and I enjoy her fun, cheerful music immensely!

I've asked her to discuss how she finds time for quality time for music and movement in her family and her suggestions for fostering balance and fun in our own families. Without further ado, here are Sukey's words of wisdom.

Movement & Music Play Together at Home!
I Like to Move My Body and My Head Goes ‘Round!
Ages 2-5 years

During my sons’ growing years, I was a working mom, part time, and along with the many wonderful joys, I discovered there are many challenges working moms face. One of those challenges being how difficult it is to schedule special one on one time - just to relax with our children and have fun. It’s somehow the thing that always gets lost in the shuffle, and is the thing we really want most.

When Elle spoke with me about a guest blog, she mentioned an interest in music activities, and fine and gross motor activities, that working moms could share with their children at home, that would reduce stress and bring families together.

Sharing music and movement together is not only fun, but also important because so much of our lifestyle causes us to be physically inactive, even when we’re so busy. Movement and music play offer opportunities to be together, while at the same time developing physical skills,  having physical fun, and sharing moments of joy.

I’d like to share a song, and a video that I think you’ll enjoy, and I hope you and your children will get up and move along!

I Like to Move My Body (video), invites your participation in exploring different movement postures. Did you know that the postures we learn by age ten are likely the ones we will carry through life? For this activity, you’ll need a chair for each person, and a warm floor to sit down and roll on.

My Head Goes ‘Round (song) offers rhythmic movement with lyrics that invite you to move specific parts of your body. I hope you’ll try both of these activities at home together and let me know how it goes! The activities are appropriate for ages 2-5 years, and adults.
“Few things make children happier than learning something new, feeling a new physical sensation, and finding out what their bodies can do.” Garland O’Quinn Jr., PH.D., Teaching Developmental Gymnastics, University of Texas Press, copyright 1990, Pg. 8.

 SONG: My Head Goes Round by Sukey Molloy (from "I Am Happy")

Lyrics: My Head Goes Round
Try the movements while you sing the song!

My head goes ‘round and ‘round,
Then it goes up and down,
My head goes ‘round and ‘round,
‘Round and up and down, Oh!

My shoulders go up and down,
Then they go ‘round and ‘round,
‘Round and ‘round and up and down,
And then I touch the ground, oh!

My arms go ‘round and ‘round,
Then they go up and down,
My arms go ‘round and ‘round,
‘Round and up and down, oh!

My hands go up and down,
Then they go ‘round and ‘round,
‘Round and ‘round and up and down,
And then I turn around, oh!

My body goes ‘round and ‘round,
Then it goes up and down,
My body goes ‘round and ‘round,
‘Round and up and down, oh!

My knees go up and down,
Then they go ‘round and ‘round,
‘Round and ‘round and up and down,
And then I lie right down, oh!

My fingers go ‘round and ‘round,
Then they go up and down,
My fingers go ’round and ‘round,
‘Round and up and down, oh!

My feet go up and down,
Then they go ‘round and ‘round,
‘Round and ‘round and up and down,
And then I roll around!

About Sukey Molloy

Sukey Molloy is a children’s music performer, award winning recording and video artist, and former professional modern dancer. Based in Nyack, NY, Sukey has studied Developmental Movement, Kidnastics, and Infant Development, and has designed and taught music and movement programs in nursery schools, after-school programs, and elementary schools.  In 2005 Sukey launched her own program of "Mommy & Me" classes and teacher training workshops, creating PlayMove&Sing Inc.  Sukey Molloy’s April CD release, “I Am Happy!” is available at, along with her DVDs and other CDs.