Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your day be filled with many blessings...and GREAT food :)

May you find yourself with MANY reasons to be thankful this year.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Do I look tired to you?

I really would never post a picture of myself after being up all night; so, you'll just have to imagine that I do look tired. You see, I was up all night with a cough. Of course, not my cough; the kid's cough. As a Mom, there is nothing more excruciating as listening to your child suffer with that dry, raspy, sometimes wet cough all night long.

Their little lungs are so tired, they're putting forth so much effort, and even though I've given them every safe remedy possible, the cough persists. Amazing, really, how they can sleep through the cough, but they do. Yet, I don't.

The musings of one tired Mom in the Midwest.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Permission to Heal

A year ago today, I had surgery. I won't link to it, because this website has standards and the physical location of my surgery pretty much dictates that I can't tell you too much about it. Let's just sum it up as "repairing injuries sustained in childbirth," k?


Though my "down time" with the surgery was only supposed to be two to three weeks, the actual procedure ended up being more extensive than my doctor expected. I was out of work for a full month. Even once I returned, I was unable to work a full day for another two or three weeks.

I don't think I need to tell you what that meant to my ability to mother my two children.

In the beginning, right after the surgery, I was on strong pain medicine much of the time. When I was awake, which wasn't often, I was often in enough pain that I needed to be alone so that I wouldn't scare the kids. I couldn't walk any farther than 5 or 10 feet by myself. I came home with my catheter still in. I rarely ate and couldn't bathe. I had an alarm to tell me which meds it was time to take. My husband visited the pharmacy to pick up scripts for me every few days.

I was completely helpless.

And for the first two weeks, the time I had expected to be out of commission, I didn't feel a single pang of guilt about that. But once I was "well enough" to take only insane amounts of ibuprofen for my pain, I lost the guilt-free recuperation time that narcotics had given me.

I began to over-do it. I felt so badly that I could not provide the day-to-day services that my kids were used to, that I did whatever I could do. The consequences for exceeding my state of health were usually immediate, and sometimes devastatingly painful. If, in a rush of guilt over how abandoned Funk felt, I swept in and picked her up, I would be unable to stand for the rest of the day.

One night I decided to bathe the kids, a task that has been predominantly mine their whole lives. I almost passed out from the pain, yelling to my husband from the bathroom floor to relieve me. What could have happened if I had actually passed out? With my three year old and one and a 1/2 year old beside me in a tub full of water?

I learned quickly that I could only do what I could do, and that the slower I took it, the better off everyone would be.

It wasn't easy to do-- I am a "doer" and my kids see me as their nurse, cook, personal bather, laundress, and book-reader.

It was probably February before I was anywhere near 100%, and during those two and a half months I had to ask for, or be willing to receive , a lot of help. Accepting help doesn't come naturally to me, and asking for help is even more difficult. But when your options are a) accept help, or b) pay for your stubborn "independence" in pain and bleeding, you gain perspective quickly.

I had to ask myself for permission to feel crummy, and tell someone about it. I had to give myself permission not to pick up my children, because I needed to heal. I had to tell myself that the wages of overdoing it were not worth it-- for me or for the person I thought I was "helping." When I overdid it, I was in pain, crabby, and impatient. So instead of helping, I was hurting those I loved (even if the task was getting done.)

Before my surgery, I used to think to myself, "man, I wish I could just break an arm or something, something non-major, so that I could just have a break." It was the worst kind of extravagance, the way I wished my health away just for the break I could have anytime, if I just asked. I never thought twice about it, until I didn't have my health anymore.

These days, the lessons I learned in those recuperating months are all but forgotten-- I caught myself wishing for a minor injury today as I climbed the stairs to work. "I just need a break!" I thought to myself. Like most moms, I do too much, I rarely say no, and I am loathe to ask for help, even when I need it. It's unfortunate, because as I learned after my surgery, I have lots of people in my life who are ready and willing to step in and help me and my family. I shouldn't need to have major surgery to give myself permission to take the mental and emotional time I need to be healthy, but it's difficult to do.

Are you overdoing it? What can you give yourself permission to say no to today? Are you waiting to be forced to take the time you need?

Monday, November 17, 2008

No I Can't!

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be some sort of crazy political diatribe. It’s not an article about wanting Obama to win, or not wanting Obama to win, or any such election-related thing. It is however, about Obama and the thing he has to give up very, very soon. Nope, not the fancy house in Chicago. Nope, not life without a dog. When he takes office on January 20, he will be asked to give up one of his prized possessions: his Blackberry.

You may know from this post that I don’t own a Blackberry. But I understand those people, those Crackberry addicts, because I am one gutter over, swimming among the masses who can’t bear to part with their iPhones. Hello, my name is Kirsetin and I am an iPhone addict. For too many reasons to enumerate here, I love that device. I’m not even a device-loving kind of person. In fact, I am one step above techno-idiot, but that’s one of the many things I love about my lovely little iPhone. Without it, I am just another wandering, hungry soul. With it, I can almost always find what I need, wherever I am, even if it’s just the name and number of a nearby Chinese restaurant. (I love you Urban Spoon!)

And I am not alone. As thousand of us have embraced this new technology (whichever brand you favor), it’s become the method of quick communication. Running late? Text “almost there” and you’re done. Can’t remember if you have plans tonight? Access your calendar from your phone and plan away. Forgot your camera? No problem, snap some pics with your handy little friend.

So, to President-elect Obama, for whom this separation will last a minimum of four long YEARS, I offer my sincere sympathy. My heart goes out to you. Regardless of how it goes in office, rest assured that you will make a mint one day, when you write the book that tells the rest of us how on earth you lived without it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

six weeks

Just six short weeks until CHRISTMAS!

I can hardly believe it, yet am very excited at the same time. I've read that many people have already started making home made gifts, and while that is not exactly true for me - I have started doing a few little crafty things. My MOPS group is planning a make and take gift night in early December. I helped in making some of the sample crafts. I decided to share a few here too that way you can get a few cute ideas & hopefully get inspired to get started (if you have not already)on making some gifts yourself this year.

One of the easiest things we made was called "Snowman Soup". I just placed a pack of hot chocolate, a candy can, some mini marshmallow & a piece of chocolate (or more - I used small Hershey bars, but kisses work too) all in a cellophane bag. I tied it with cute ribbon and added a tag, as well as the poem. You can add the mug, or just give it as is in the bag - either way is very cute!

Snowman soup:
When it's so cold that
you holler and whoop,
It's time to bring out
the Snowman Soup!

Pour the packet in a fun winter mug,
add some yummy snowballs
and find a place to get snug.

Now add some hot water,
stir with the cane a time or two,
take a nibble of chocloate -
snowman soup is ready for you!

Another project we are doing is a small box made from scrapbook paper/ribbon. We filled it with different cappuccino mixes & added some sprinkles just for fun. We all thought that a good cup of anything hot would taste better with some whipped cream and topped off with some sprinkles :) I am posting a picture of the box, and would more than happy to give you measurements, etc if you are interested. Just leave a comment here and I'll get the info to you.

Here are a couple of easy recipes, all of which look very cute in cellophane bags (or icing/pastry bags) as well, just make sure to add instructions on making them.

Mocha Cappuccino
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup instant coffee
1/4 cup cocoa powder
(place all ingredients in a blender or food processor - blend into a fine powder)
instructions: add 3 TBSP of mix to 1 cup boiling water

White Hot Chocolate
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
(mix two together & place in bag)
instructions: heat 1 1/2 cups milk until hot. Add 1/4 cup mix and 1/2 tsp vanilla & whisk until the chocolate is melted and mixture is hot.

Here are a couple of examples of tags I made to tie onto the mix, once again if you are interested, I can send you these in jpeg form so that you can print them at home to use.

Just one more quick & fun gift...snowman poop! We mixed marshmallows with a little hot chocolate and placed it into a snack sized Ziploc bag, then added this poem:

I hear you've been naughty,
So listen, here's the scoop...
I'm running short on coal this year,
So you get "Snowman Poop"

Add a fun little tag or a bag topper for a fun little stocking stuffer or gag gift :)

Now gather some craft supplies & go have FUN :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Getting Kids to Eat Soup

In the book, French Women Don't Get Fat, Mireille Guiliano, suggests that soup is the perfect way to ingest lots of different vitamins, because there are so many varieties of vegetables in one pot. In my last post here, I posted a soup recipe, because as the weather turns colder, the warmth of soup is what we crave.

But what about the kids? They are the very little beings we want to pour luscious soup into; but of course, they don't like soup. Experts say, if you present a new food often enough, kids will eventually try it and like it. I'm still waiting.

So, when I serve soup, I also, like most of us have figured out, have bread on hand; so the kids can fill up on the bread; because I remember doing that as a kid too. I also give them two options:

  • Drink the broth in a tea cup. I strain the soup in a hand-held screen. This option is usually the one preferred. The vitamins are in the broth; at least they're exposed to the taste and may eventually like the soup. (Although, I do think they like the broth, but won't admit it.)
  • The second option they have is this: I always put a pasta in my soups now that I have kids. If they don't want the broth, I offer them the noddles, carefully lifted out of the pot, which cooked in the broth.

Someday, I hope the two options shall meet.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

what are you reading?

I decided to check my calendar today to see when my next MWP blog post was...and there I saw it - Thursday October 30th!

I think I missed that one, don't you? That was trick or treat day here and we had a great time with our kids, but now I just wish the candy would GO AWAY. Anyone else tired of hearing "Can I have a piece of candy?" I know I am!

So, to get myself back on track here, I was wondering - what are you reading? Now that fall is here and winter is right around the corner, I am looking for some ideas on what to read. I have read 2 of the Twilight series so far, and I always love anything by Jodi Picoult. What about you? Do you have any recommendations?

I am also thinking about reading some of my favorite children's chapter/series books with my kids. Yes, I know I should have started this already with Kaden, but I was a girly girl and loved books that I do think he would have much of an interest in. I want to get Ellie part (or all) of the Little House series. I grew up both watching the show and reading about Laura Ingalls & her family and would love to share it with my girls.

So share with me - what are you reading (either alone or with your kids)?