Friday, August 31, 2012

Maybe I should just homeschool (ha!)

I’ve been crying at every back-to-school post this year, especially the kindergarten ones. I don’t understand why you all insist on rudely reminding me kids grow up. Just the thought of Meg going to kindergarten is making me cry again right now. She’s so little! (You: well, duh, she’s only three and has two full years to go. Me: But yesterday she was a baby! Which means kindergarten will feel like tomorrow!) (This also may have been slightly brought on by the fact she now signs drawings with her initials. She can WRITE. Or, you know, make two M’s.)

It’s not just time moving so fast, though. What I’m most scared of is the gradual separating from my control. I want to know she’s 100% safe all the time. Obviously that’s impossible, but right now we’re as close to it as we’re ever going to be. With each year, I’ll have to give her more independence and going to school feels like the biggest jump (aside from learning to drive, but thankfully I haven’t started worrying about that quite yet. In a couple years, maybe.)

At least Meg is a social butterfly, adapts quickly to new situations, and enjoys learning. It does make me feel a little better to think about how much she’s going to love school. After her, I get to worry about my shy boy who sobs his heart out every time we leave him.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Come meet me! (and 58 other people)

The Blathering
In case you haven't heard (or noticed the badge on my sidebar!) the Blathering is coming up. There might still be a ticket just for you! (It's almost sold out so hurry!) This will be my third year and I could not be more excited. It's the most amazing weekend. Here is my recap of 2010 (apparently I still referred to Thomas by his fake name back then!) and 2011 (I did bring the whole family! And they kind of took over the recap post, so sorry about that.)

Each attendee fills out a survey to help the rest of us get to know them and this is mine. I wrote it back in February, so some of it is a little outdated. Just nod and pretend you know what I'm talking about. It will be good practice for November. 

Where do you blog? Are you on Twitter or Facebook or Pinterest or any other corner of the internet you’d care to share with us?
Blog: here, obviously!
Twitter: @JesabesBlog
Pinterest: (Are you sensing a theme?)

Tell us about your family. Are you married, have kids, high-maintenance pets, etc.?
I’ve been married to Thomas for 5 years. We have two kids – Meg is 3 and Paul is 1. We also have a very low maintenance cat. The poor thing gets ignored a lot.

Where do you live? How about one interesting thing about it.
I live in Des Moines, Iowa. I’m not really sure what you’re looking for as far as interesting goes, but we do have Baconfest here. Tickets are hard to get, but if you manage to score some, you can stay at my house!

How old will you be at the Blathering? (Also, when is your birthday? The Blathering wants to have cupcakes on hand for any during-the-Blathering birthdays, of course!)
I’ll be 28. My birthday is September 4th.

What was the last book you read? The last movie you watched? The last great song you heard?
I’m going to go with the last GREAT book I read, which was State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.

The last movie I watched was Midnight in Paris. Normally I hate Woody Allen movies, but I really liked this one.

Last great song…hmm.

(August Jessica says "Call Me Maybe," because I don't care how you define a great song; I LOVE IT.)

What about your favorite vacation to date?
The cruise my family took last February.

What made you sign up for the Blathering?
The Blathering 2010 was within driving distance for me, so I decided to go for it. Worst case scenario I could drive home, right? I loved it so much, I planned a family trip to Texas for the Blathering 2011 (since I’d have a tiny baby I didn’t want to leave). My husband and kids hung out with Texas relatives while I went to Blathering events.

Have you ever been to New Orleans? What is the one thing you are most excited to see or do there?
I’ve never been to New Orleans and am very excited. I know almost nothing about it. I guess I’m most excited about my first Blathering at which I’m neither pregnant or breastfeeding! (Knock on wood.)

If you’ve been to the Blathering in past years, what’s the best memory you’re hoping to top this year?
Hmm. The Blathering Hooker, maybe?

What is the first blog you read when you open your feed reader?

Share the best thing that’s ever happened to you because of the internet.
Predictable/lame answer, but it’s the Blathering. When I started reading blogs, then started my own, I never imagined I’d actually get to MEET so many of the people I know in the computer.

What is your favorite blog post of your own?
This question stumps me every year. I filled out the rest of this survey in February (hence the reference above to the changes I made to it today) and never submitted it because of THIS QUESTION. I got nothing.

Finally, is there anything else you want the rest of the attendees to know about you, before we bond over hurricanes and beignets in Nola? (Weird tattoos, strange vacation rituals, you are a champion snorer?)
I’m saving my Birchbox lip tattoos and eyeliner stickers for the Blathering so watch out, NOLA!*

(Kidding. I didn’t even get the lip tattoos. Anyone want to share some? You can totally have an eyeliner sticker. Just one, though. It’s cooler that way.)

*Yeah, the lip tattoos and eyeliner stickers were in the February Birchbox. I'm sure you're impressed with my up-to-the-minute references.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Outdoor Messiness

Way back in June, The Iowa Farmer's Wife had a post about an Outdoor Messy Playdate and I thought it would be the perfect thing to eat up a morning at home with nothing to do. If we stay inside, the kids tend to destroy everything we've ever owned. Or at least everything they can reach.

Since it was just us, I picked two of the activities: the cloud dough bin and (super-easy!) shaving cream table. (Well, three activities if you count the baby pool.)

We started with lunch outside. If we were going to get messy, anyway, might as well have spaghetti, right?
Messy? I think I can handle that.
For the cloud dough, you mix up 24 cups flour with 3 cups clear oil (baby or mineral). Google told me a 5lb bag of flour contains 20 cups. (It really didn't want to translate weight to cups for me, though, and made it abundantly clear this varies.) I figured I'd adjust the recipe down to just use 1 bag, no measuring needed.

The oil was a problem, though. I pulled this together the evening before and didn't want to go to Wal-Mart, but couldn't find any at several stores. I finally found some overpriced baby oil when I went to the grocery store for flour. Luckily the one bottle they had happened to be 20 ounces, the exact amount needed to adjust the recipe to 20 cups flour. Still no measuring!

I told Meg to try and keep all the dough in the bin.
You can see that went well.
The kids were so enamored with the cloud dough, I had to talk Meg into playing with the shaving cream long enough for a picture.

Is this good enough, mom?
Of course, once I decided it was time to clean off in the baby pool in preparation for going inside they were all suddenly dying to play with shaving cream all afternoon. (I let them use it up.)

The whole process actually only took two hours, which seemed like kind of a rip off after I spent all that time and effort (not to mention buying a $4 bottle of baby oil), but they took great naps and it was better than sitting around the living room wondering how much longer the hellish temperatures were going to last.*

I imagine they were saying "Isn't she the best mommy ever?"

*This was in July. I'm obviously super on top of the blogging.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Who else hates the word mompetition?

Have you ever personally experienced another mom judging you for your choices?  (Knock on wood) I never have.  Am I just lucky (or clueless) or do you think the amount of mommy-competition is overestimated?  Is it just because I live in the Midwest, where people are almost always nice?

Part of it is my definition.  I know there’s a lot of rudeness/meanness on the internet and I’m sure most of you have had trolls post a nasty comment on your website, but I’m not talking about that.  I’m talking about a face-to-face snub.  Like when you say you use formula and someone makes a face or when someone says “how can you send your child to a daycare center?”

When I never had a mean comment about breastfeeding/formula I just assumed it was because I was on the so-called “right” side of the debate, being a breastfeeder.  I haven’t heard of many formula-feeding moms publicly telling other moms breastfeeding is stupid.  But even after I had to start supplementing when Meg was 9 months old, no one ever told me I hadn’t tried hard enough.  No one (but ME) said if I’d just pumped longer or took more milk-boosting supplements or quit my job so I wouldn’t have to pump, I’d have been able to “save” Meg from the evil that is formula.  In fact, many moms encouraged me.  They said the amount of effort I was putting into pumping wasn’t worth it.  They told me a couple bottles of formula a day wouldn’t hurt her and some breastmilk is better than none.  These were mostly stay-at-home moms (at MOPS) who breastfed their children for a year or more, and they encouraged me.

I thought stay-at-home vs. working moms is the area where I’d really be left out, since I work part-time.  I figured stay-at-home moms would label me as a “working mom” and pity my daycare-going baby.  I thought working moms would say snarky things like “it must be nice to only have to work three days a week” in a tone of voice that implies I spend two days a week sitting around eating bonbons.  I thought if I attempted to commiserate with either group, they’d act like I shouldn’t complain since I have it so easy.  That if I said some days being home with the baby is really hard, the SAHers would say “try doing it ALL THE TIME” or if I complained about a long day at work, the WOHers would say “at least you don’t have to work tomorrow.”  Hasn’t happened yet.

And those are only an example of two things moms “compete” over.  I’ve never had a conversation with another mom about vaccines.  Or cloth diapers.  No one has ever come up to me and said “I can’t believe you have disposable diapers in your diaper bag.”  Have you ever experienced anything like this?  Either a stranger (maybe someone gave you a dirty look while you fed your child a bottle) or someone you know judging a choice you made as a mother?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Apropos of nothing

I’ve always thought I’d like to get a tattoo someday. Except I mean that literally. I’d like to GET a tattoo and walk around with it awhile, but not have it for the rest of my life. So then I say I’d like to have a tattoo temporarily. Which sounds like temporary tattoo, but those things are ugly. Also, I want it to last longer than “until I shower.” I suppose what I’m looking for is a henna tattoo, but I don’t like henna tattoos. I want color. Or at least richness instead of a washed-out look.

What I would like is something that lasts for quite a while – a year or two –then goes away. I don’t want it to fade over years, though, because the fading is one of my big problems with tattoos. If it were a real tattoo, you could get it re-inked, but the whole point here is for it to go away. Why has science not figured this out?

Do you have a tattoo? Of what? Where? I haven't thought that far, because I'm worried if I picked out something and where I wanted it to go I'd get it. And I really am opposed to the idea of it being permanent.