Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
Monday, April 30, 2007
From the Tales Inbox: The Boring Birthday Party
I know we have all discussed the matter of birthday parties, but since this experience for me is so recent, I'd like to re-visit the subject.
My oldest daughter (#1) turned six years old yesterday. Since it is an even birthday, she was allowed to have a friend birthday party (we do the every-other-year thing). It was exciting, because we just moved here about 7 weeks ago, and this was a great way to get to know some friends from school and church.
I'm a big fan of Birthday Express, and because there would be boys and girls at the party, #1 decided on a Sea theme; lots of fish, sea-stars, whales, dolphins, etc. Everything was delivered to our door and #1 was so excited to pass out the invitations with her dad. People were polite and everyone RSVP'd. This is how the party went:
Kids arrived and as we waited for everyone to get there they colored on these cool place mats with crossword puzzles, matching games, pictures, etc. We then played a game with fish bean bags --they had to throw them into a huge fish bowl (well, it looked like a fish bowl) from a distance and when they made three in a row, they got a bottle of bubbles. Of course, everyone made it eventually, and it was outside for bubble time. The kids seemed to really enjoy it (even though it was pretty cold and threatening rain). Then it was back inside for #1 to open presents. The kids were extremely generous (more so than I was anticipating) and even two gave her gift cards to stores. DH was late with the pizza, so I had the kids play some games and we sang some fun action songs (gotta love Primary music!) until he got there. They were laughing hysterically! I had the kids eat their pizza on the "beach" (blankets on the ground, basically). #1 blew out the candles on her fish cake (that I actually made! It was, well, shaped like a fish. Go figure.) and the kids got cake and ice-cream. Most chose the ice-cream cone route. Then parents started showing up (on time! I like that!) and when the kids left, they got a favor box with fun sea life goodies, the bubbles they chose, and one of the fish bean bags.
Sounds like a normal, simple birthday party, right?
Well, as the kids were waiting for parents (playing with #1's presents, eating cake, etc.) I asked the kids "Did you have a good time?" and about 4 or 5 of the 9 kids said "It was boring." At first I was taken aback. "Boring?" I asked. "Yeah, it
wasn't that fun." If it had been one child telling me this, I wouldn't have been concerned. But more than half the children were expressing themselves this way.
I tried to dismiss what the kids said, but the look on my daughter's face reflected what I was feeling. Boring? Not fun? Why did we go to all that trouble if you kids were just going to hate it? And why would these children say something so rude in front of their host? (okay, the answer to that is age. 5-year-olds aren't always polite).
Granted, I know they had all been to a birthday party two weeks ago at a local theme park. But still...doesn't anyone just throw simple birthday parties anymore?
So I ask you: Are our children too entertained? Do they expect too much? Are birthday parties getting out of control? Or should I have conformed and done something outrageous? And is this behavior common? I never experienced this in Utah. Simple parties were the norm; maybe it's just where I live now?
Sunday, April 29, 2007
I have been a faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (otherwise known as the Mormons), for twenty years. I have attended a variety of church buildings in a variety of places including: California, Arizona, Utah, Illinois, Alberta, Austria, Massachussets, and New York-to name a few.
The beauty of the gospel is that no matter where you attend, everything is the same: The church structure, the spirit, the hair-dos, and unfortunately the toilets. I have visited the bathrooms in most of the church buildings that I have attended services. I have observed that every time I use the facilities in one of these buildings, the flusher on the toilet is weak.
Most of the time, when I approach a toilet, if it is not plugged up, it has toilet paper in it that has been flushed into smithereens. If the toilet bowl is clean to begin with, and I flush after use, the same result occurs (as a side note, I am usually limiting my usage of the toilet to the #1 variety). I patiently stand at the toilet and try to flush again, with no productive result. I then decide to go wash my hands before trying a third time, at which point I usually just leave it the way it is, in the name of spiritual upliftment (I gotta get to class!).
Perhaps my flushing technique should be to blame. Perhaps, I am the only one of your members who has experienced this toilet-flushing frustration. If so, please return this letter with some Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints-specific toilet flushing instructions.
20 years is too long to have such issues with these toilets. Thank you for your time.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Freebies from the Crib: Spongy Feet Winner
Mo Mommy, who commented "Me!Me! Ooooooooh *strains to reach hand high in the air* Meeeeeee!". Please note that she did not get picked because her hand was high in the air while everyone else sat nicely with their hands on the keyboard. I assure you the drawing is completely random.
Please e-mail us at talesfromthecrib at gmail dot com and state whether you would prefer a boy or a girl print. And don't forget to include your shipping information!
Thanks to everyone who commented and to Chloe for the great freebie!
Thursday, April 26, 2007
This entailed taking my children to the playground A LOT. So much, in fact, that despite the wearing of my rather large-brimmed sun hat
and 30 SPF sunscreen, my freckles have started to pop out on my face, and there are flip-flop tan lines on the tops of my feet. Usually I don't have these sun symptoms until June (the month this photo was taken last year). THAT'S how great I have been. I hate the sun. I am even willing to compromise my preferral vision (by wearing this hat), to avoid it.
So yesterday was a LONG day of 2 different playgrounds and all of this good-mommy-junk. When I got home around 5, I needed to catch up on some work (ok, let's face it, it was all about the Contest that Never Ends). I told Pukey that I needed to remain uninterrupted for a few minutes. Of course, she can never follow this rule and after several attempts, and receiving several "TALK TO THE HAND"-type gestures, she gave up.
A few silent minutes past.
Then she came back in. I gestured. She sighed and left, and then this:
I do not respond
I do not respond.
"Mom, Poopy is sticking the scissors in her macaroni and cheese and then sticking the scissors in her mouth. Emergency."
I finally responded with this thought: "I meant to remove those scissors from her reach." I also thanked Poopy for always being informative when she signals EMERGENCY or ALERT (sister is on the windowsill about to fall through a screen, 3 stories to her death, sister is pooping in the tub, sister is using scissors as a fork!) What would I do without Pukey? Seriously. I will miss them. But probably not until day 5 1/2.
Tribute to NYC: from a Foodie
Melissa’s Guide to Dining in New York City
Norma's. – hands down the best brunch in the city. Located in Le Parker Meridian hotel, Norma’s has a fun, swanky atmosphere. Their menu is filled with interesting twists on your everyday breakfast items. My favorites include:
The WaZa – a waffle with tropical fruit baked inside of it and then topped with a raspberry brulee, carmelized bananas and fresh berries.
The Carmalized Napolean Waffle – this you have to see to believe – it’s got waffles, bananas, carmalized nuts, and valhrona chocolate…mmmm
Foie Gras Brioche French Toast – pretty much it’s name – very good
Normalita’s Huevos Rancheros – this is a great egg dish with chorizo
Artychoked Benedict – eggs benedict on an artichoke – wonderful combo
Now that my mouth is watering I will move on but leave you with two tips for this restaurant:
1.Norma’s is nearly impossible to get into on the weekends unless you make a reservation weeks in advance (which you can do on www.opentable.com) They serve brunch until 3pm everyday so if you can go on a weekday you can get in fairly easily.
2. Don’t get the orange juice unless you are a huge OJ fan – it’s $8 a glass and these are not bottomless…
Thalia. – another great place for brunch and less expensive than Norma’s. Thalia has a cool and relaxed atmosphere. They bring out a basket full of fresh baked muffins and breads with scrumptions jams and spreads for you to eat while you look at their menu. Nothing on their menu sticks out but I have enjoyed everything we have tried there.
Sarabeth’s. – There are two locations but I would suggest the one on CPS. Sarabeth’s also gets very busy on the weekends but is worth the wait. Their signature tomato soup is to die for and so is their hot chocolate. My other favorite dish is their pumpkin pancakes with sour cream and honey.
DelFriscos. – I have been to every single steakhouse in NYC (it’s a lot, trust me) and Del Frisco’s is the best on every level. It isn’t as “gruff” as Smith & Wollensky’s but they do their steaks right. Their Blue Cheese Lettuce Wedge Salad is great, Au Gratin potatoes are a must-have and their Filet Mignon will put you in steak heaven. This is a little pricey but no more so than any other NYC steakhouse. Be sure to make a reservation for dinner.
Peter Luger’s. – this is an NYC staple. It’s in Brooklyn and quite a trek but this place is all about the experience. You are pretty much told what to order by the very rough and tough, old skool Brooklyn waiter (usually a gentleman in his 50’s) and they cook your steak medium rare regardless of your preference. This is the real deal steakhouse and you will never experience anything like it anywhere else. Cash only…
Grimaldi’s. – also in Brooklyn. Right under the Brooklyn bridge, actually! This is the original New York pizzaria and there is a reason they have been in business so long. Fresh crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and you have never had pizza like this before. It’s a lot of fun to walk across the Brooklyn bridge and then eat at Grimaldi’s – if you go after 6.30 on a Fri or Sat you will stand in line for a little while.
Joe’s. – this is in Manhattan in the Village and there are two right next to each other (which drove my husband nuts!) When you are facing the restaurants the REAL Joe’s is the one on the left.
Mangia e Bevi. – this is the perfect restaurant for a girls group. The food is pretty good but that is not why Mangia e Bevi made it onto my list. On Thurs – Sat this place is rockin! Every 10-15 minutes the waiters put on a song, pass out tambarenes and everyone gets on their chairs to dance and sing. If you like to party this is the place for you! They make up Italian names for you and sing Happy Birthday – it’s a riot. Just keep your eyes off the crazy bachelorette parties…
Sal’s. – This restaurant in Little Italy is off the beaten path but worth the extra steps. Their Fried Calzone is delicious and the Italiano feel completes the experience.
Dos Caminos. – I don’t recommend Mexican in NYC, but if that is what you are after then Dos Caminos is the place. Their appetizers are the best. My favorites are the Asada Tacos, Hamachi Ceviche, and Mushroom Empanadas. It’s a little pricey (especially if you are used to the SoCal prices for Tacos) but like I said – if it’s Mexican you are after then Dos Caminos all the way!
Shake Shack. – in Madison Square Park. Be sure to get the Shack Burger and Congrete Jungle. Long lines but worth the wait!
Burger Joint. – hidden gem! The Burger Joint is in the lobby of Le Parker Meridian behind a curtain. There is a little neon picture of a burger down the hall, but other then that there is no signage. The joint wouldn’t sell to the hotel so they struck a deal that they had to take down their signs and cease all advertising. The hotel thought they would be out of business in weeks but years later there is still a line around the corner to eat at the Burger Joint!
Taverna Kyklades. – in Queens but if you can make it out there this food will knock your socks off. This is a family run restaurant and the minute you get there you feel as if you have stepped on to the set of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Everything is great here but my favs are their Tzatkiki, Lemon Potatoes, and all their fish (the bring it out whole and debone it at your table for you!) The owner, Adrian and his wife will make you feel like you are part of their family. Opa!
Avra. – a bit expensive but absolutely delectable! Avra has a romantic ambiance and great food. My favorite here is the Swordfish – but be sure to start with some Saganaki and Tzatziki.
Virgil’s. – This is your reward for avoiding the tourist traps in Times Square. Finger – lickin’ BBQ! The Hush Puppies and Beef Brisket are a must!
Baluchi’s. – When it comes to Indian food I am pretty boring. I love the staples – Chicken Tikka Masala and some Samosas. Baluchi’s is probably not so off the beaten path, but it’s tasty!
Pipa. – A brilliant assortment of tapas. I am an appetizer-lover so tapas are my thing. Among my favorites at Pipa are their Stuffed Endives, Sauteed Octupus, and Ham Croquettes – but be bold and try them all!
Only in NYC
Union Square Café. – pricey but worth every penny (or dollar). Every single item I have ordered here has been spectacular. Don’t skimp out on the desserts here!
Meskerem. – Ethiopian food and where else are you going to get that? Their meats are rich and flavorful – but no utensils here – yep, you eat with your hands and a piece of spongy flat bread.
Mombar. – This little Egyptian restaurant is located in Queens (another shout out to Astoria!) The owner is talented both with food and art. The décor is amazing and the menu (which changes daily) is full of pleasantly palatable creations. All of the clay pot dishes are wonderful. Mmmmm!
Kum Gang San – Korean BBQ! While you peruse their menu the staff brings out a seemingly endless assortment of complimentary appetizers while you decide what you want. Once you have picked your main course you cook it yourself on a grill right on your table. Good food, fun night!
Nino’s – this trattoria is only open for lunch on the weekdays. It’s a lively atmosphere with good down to earth food. Their tuna melts are top notch and their penne ala vodka is terrific. Very affordable food in the heart of midtown.
Café Mozart – This quaint little café is loaded with delicious desserts. There are so many to choose from but let me suggest the Sveglismisu, Mt. Vesuvius or the Apple Brown Betty – each divine in their own way!
So that's my long (ok, really long) list. I have many more but I am sure you do too. What are your favorite food finds?
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Freebies from the Crib: Spongy Feet
In a product saturated baby market, the Spongy Feet line sets itself apart with the beautiful and unique printed fabrics hand selected by Sara from top secret sources :). The are so unique in fact, that I, just like Sara, often get stopped by strangers when I have my Spongy Feet blanket in the stroller. The vintage and retro prints are backed with a coordinating super-soft chenille you just have to love. While the line started with just blankets, you can now get burp cloths and bibs in the signature Spongy Feet style which all make excellent baby shower gifts.
The April Freebie is a burp cloth set in your choice of a girl or boy print (and might I mention that her "boy" prints are awesome!!). I don't think spit-up could be more good looking than when it's done one of these. And if you don't have a baby of spit-up age. Consider yourself lucky and then think of your friend or family member who would love having one of these new, fashionable burp cloths flung over their shoulder instead of an old, stained, cloth diaper (okay, maybe that was just me).
How to win this Freebie:
-You have until Friday (4/27) midnight EST to enter.
-Make a comment (any comment) on the post
-Please don't post under Anonymous - use a Blogger login or the "other" category.
-Winner will be randomly picked and announced Saturday (4/28) morning.
-Please only enter (comment) once.
-Tales contributors are excluded from winning the freebies--sorry :(
-Freebies can only be shipped to US addresses.
What's with the Freebie?
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Rock the Vote: The Final Five
Again, it won't take more than a 10 seconds. You don't have to be a member of the Real Saavy group. Just go vote and remember you can vote once per day until April 29th. We'll add a link at the top of the sidebar to make it easy for you.
Please help our Tales Girl one more time and pass the word along!
Monday, April 23, 2007
Anticipating some alone time
Well, not exactly. There have been date nights, naptimes, girls nights out, and the occassional mani/pedi. But fourteen months ago Baby T was born, and because I breastfed him for a year let's face it, I've had no more than about 6 or so hours alone since then. Now he is successfully weaned and the list of "things I've been wanting to do" has begun. So what have I chosen to do first? This week I'm going to New York City BY MYSELF. Yep... no husband or child. DH is playing Mr. Mom for a week of daddy/son bonding and I will be off to stay in Astoria for a few days, go into Manhattan everyday, play with friends, and see a Broadway show (or two). I will be alone.
My friends in New York keep apologizing that they might have to work one of the afternoons I'm there, or have an audition to go to, but they don't realize how long it has been since I've been alone. I don't care if all I do is walk up & down 5th Avenue all day long, I will be doing it by myself, on my time, without a diaper bag in tow. No naptimes to schedule around or snacks to pack. I'm even excited to get on an airplane alone (especially after last week's flight across country with my fourteen-month old - YIKES!) I can read a magazine or SLEEP! I'm gonna miss T like crazy (and DH of course), but I'm anticipating some time to get back to myself... rejuvenate and re-energize so that I will come back an enthusiastic mommy.
I'm a little nervous, and a little surprised that I feel a bit insecure being alone after a year of always having a buddy in tow. But I'm also ready to enjoy a week of ME time, and grateful to a DH who can give me a little of that. So NYC, here I come.... maybe I'll have a new tribute to write once I return.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
As for street smarts, Asher isn't quite there yet. For example, his loud, very deliberate spelling often gets him into trouble. Even if he doesn't tell me directly, I always know exactly what he is doing, even from a room or two away:
Me: "Asher, please don't play with my cell phone!"
Me: "Sorry Bugs, no cookies until after lunch."
Me: "Asher, get out of that drawer right now!"
His usual response, "Otay, Mommy..." and we find something else to do together.
If only he would continue to spell out his activities to me loud and clear right through his teenage years....and if only playing trains or reading a book together would continue to work as a quick diversion....
I have a sneaking suspicion that things aren't going to stay this easy forever
Friday, April 20, 2007
Even though I have been Menstrooating for about 150 months, 150 times is not sufficient enough for me to know how I am, who I am or why I do the things I do during this sensitive time.
I remember growing up, my BFF's would get debilitating PMS cramps that would take them out of school for a sick day. I didn't understand that, because the only symptom I got (besides the very rare leg aches), was going a little cuckoo for a few days.
I think in high school the cuckooness was feeling down or cranky. Since married life, it has manifested itself in imaginary life crises, specifically centered around the following of gospel principles.
My DH knows that if he comes home to me in a heap on the floor, blubbering about our scripture study, temple attendance, or family home evenings, that I am probably PMSing. The truth is, that at any given time we probably do need to get better at those things, or improve the quality of our 10 minute FHE's, but in general, we are doing all right. It's just, when I am PMSing, my perception of our life is out of whack, and my ideal becomes rather farfetched: "We need to go to the temple EVERY Friday night!"
The latest PMS episode centered around a baby. I was concerned I was being haunted by a 3rd child. I stressed about the haunting feeling and talked in circles with my DH about it, quite distressed.
He did some quick thinking (and some math), and realized that many of my friends have either just had a baby or are having a baby, and that I have been watching Notes from the Underbelly (all about having babies), my own "baby" just turned 2, and it had been about 3 weeks since my last period. He convinced me that it was chemicals.
The next day I felt better and I quickly replaced my obsession with being haunted with the obsession that I am fat, and figured the only logical solution was to make homemade chocolate chip cookies. I was in such a delirium while baking that apparently I left quite a few eggshells in the batter. I of course, only realized this when several of my newly-baked cookies had these shells popping out of the top. I was grateful that shells are less dense then crap (sugar, butter, more sugar, white flour), so they floated right up to the top. Yeah Science!
Anyway, it's nice to know that my DH can see through Crazy Kage and distinguish between a real, true spiritual moment of introspection and a sincere need for change in our lives, and ugly ugly, fall-in-a-heap HORMONES. 200 Points for Jason Glass (sorry, just finished Harry Potter Book 2, so I am awarding points lately; Poopy got 10 taken away for pooping in her big girl panties this morning-stay tuned for my lame lame post on HP Book 2). I am digressing again...it's part of the PMS. Oh, gotta go have a few more cookies for breakfast. See ya.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Sell this House!
But...the time has come. I actually have to sell this house. Hmmmmm.....
I've never done this before. We rented for nearly 7 years in NYC - this has been our first crack at homeownership. I've been watching the HGTV shows on how to clean up, curb appeal and stage your house...but I'm still feeling overwhelmed and afraid I'm going to miss something.
Living in the Bay Area has lots of perks...but unforunately for us (as sellers) it's a buyers market here right now - lots of houses to choose from (fun when we actually BUY the new house) and very picky buyers. I know that many of our faithful readers and contributors are homeowners and have been down this path before. Teach me, oh wise ones. What suggestions do you all have for not only selling this house quickly for our asking price????
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
How to Throw a "Welcome to the Ward" Baby Shower
Reasons why a "Welcome to the Ward" baby shower is a great idea:
- Once you have a baby, you need a support system. It can be a lonely time for a new mom even if she has been in the same ward for years. A party helps the new mother make contact with women in the ward, enlarging her support system, before she really needs them.
- It gives the new mother's visiting teacher a pool of people to help bring in meals once the baby is born. It's nice not having to answer the question "Now who is Sara again? I don't think I have ever met her."
- Any excuse to have a party is a good one.
Like I said before, these showers can sometimes be awkward. But with proper planning they can be great fun for everyone involved.
Ways to make your "Welcome to the Ward" baby shower a success:
- If your ward is too big to just invite everyone, make sure to invite women who have the same interests and/or who are in the same situation as the new mother. Invite older women in the ward who love babies - you know the ones I am talking about-the angels that will whisk your child away from you without a word so you can peacefully enjoy a small part of church. Invite the Relief Society Presidency and the Bishopric's wives. And if you, the party thrower, are not the visiting teacher, make sure to invite them too.
- After the invites are sent out, talk to every person on your invite list to tell them a little bit more about the new mother and encourage them to attend. Otherwise, the invite might just get thrown onto the counter and forgotten since the name might be unrecognizable. And the worst thing in the world is to throw a shower for a new member of the ward and have no one show up. Make sure you have people that will commit to attending.
- If the new mother really doesn't need anything for the baby (because she's had other showers) and feels uncomfortable with people buying presents for her, consider going with a gift theme like baby books, homemade freezer meals, or just do one group gift. If it's a small group you might even consider having the gathering at a nail salon where you can all treat her to a manicure/pedicure.
- In some circles, baby shower games are "like totally out". Pish Posh. Games are a great way to bring people together and to liven up a party. For a "Welcome to the Ward" Baby Shower might I suggest the following trivia game: Conduct an "interview" with the guest of honor in which you find out all sorts of personal stuff about her. Her favorite foods and tv shows; her hobbies and talents; her background (schooling, career, and interesting facts etc). From this information, create a multiple choice quiz about the mother while framing each question around the baby (scroll to the bottom to see some sample questions). It's a great game to play at the beginning of the shower to get conversation rolling and a fun way for guests to get to know the mother without forced, awkward conversation.
- While opening gifts, have each giver tell one interesting fact about themselves to the group. This is another way for the new mother to get to know the women attending the shower (and it is great fun for all attending to hear what some women come up with!)
- Have the recorder of gifts include full names and addresses for the new mom whom might not yet have a ward directory.
A Few Sample Trivia questions:
1. If the baby were to attend Sara’s Alma Mater, what color would she be wearing:
a. Cougar blue
b. The red of a true Ute
c. Does UVSC have a color?
2. This baby will probably be born with a craving for this spicy food which Sara loves to eat:
3. If babies in the womb could have passports, this one would already have a stamp from:
4. It’s okay if the baby cries, just as long as she doesn’t do it during:
a. American Idol
b. Grey’s Anatomy
c. The Office
5. Sara’s little girl will always be well taken care of when it comes to:
a. her teeth, because Sara is a dental hygenist
b. her hair, because Sara is a hair stylist
c. her health, because Sara is a nurse.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I love the message on this billboard for a few reasons.
1. My definition of Happiness is not smiles and giggles all day every day. My definition of happiness is a life of contentment and joy and a feeling that no matter what happens to you (especially the crappy stuff), you feel ABLE to possibly cope, and maybe even cope well (eventually).
2. I also know that happiness is a choice.
3. Being miserable is also a choice, and it is a waste of time. Having down days, sad times, periods of grief is productive and the necessary opposition for the smiles and giggles portions of our lives. There are a lot of miserable people out there...steer clear.
4. Because of all the miserable people, choosing happiness is quite daring isn't it? I kind of like that it has that risk involved...because there are wild and crazy darts thrown at you to threaten your very daring choice.
In the wake of the V-Tech shooting yesterday, I have been trying to put myself in the shoes of those who were faced with those bullets, and those who are left behind, and even the poor soul who was doing the shooting. Being a vulnerable human being, raising even more vulnerable human beings in this vast vast world is daring. Thank goodness we have the tools we need to cope, comfort, grieve, grow, and eventually find happiness again. That is my prayer for all of those touched by the tragedy of yesterday, that will live on far beyond yesterday.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Love, Loss and Lessons in Mexico
I remember roaming around Old Town Puerto Vallarta with my little belly pushing out a gauzy white shirt I was wearing and thinking, "I am SO happy". It was the first pregnancy I had actually planned, executed and was excited about (our other two are miracle children who showed up when they darn well pleased - there was no real planning).
On the 4th day of our vacation at 12:10 PM I started bleeding. A lot. My husband was elsewhere in the hotel at the time - I was alone in our room. I started hypervenilating...then abruptly stopped because I decided THAT was not how I was going to deal with this crisis. I remember holding onto the doorframe of our bathroom, tears falling down my cheeks and pleading out loud with all of my might to Heavenly Father to PLEASE save my baby. Please.
I laid down on the bed, propped up my feet and continued to plead that my baby would be saved. And I heard a very quiet, still voice in my head say, "You are asking for the wrong thing". "NO. NO!" I fought that feeling for a few minutes, then relaxed my body...thought...cried...and said out loud "Alright, I understand that I am going to lose this baby and this is what is meant to be. But I need you to help me cope with this". This was my first lesson that day. Sometimes...sometimes we ask for the wrong thing and are blessed with the strength to deal with what will actually happen.
My husband returned to find me sobbing in the bed. He gave me a blessing, we went quickly to the clinic inside the hotel and 10 minutes later I was strapped to a stretcher inside a Mexican ambulance. I remember thinking "Well, this is quite the exclamation point to an already strange situation. Who'd have thunk I'd be in an ambulance in Mexico?!"
One hour and two ultrasounds later, 3 doctors and a nurse in a small dark room stared at the screen looking at my dead baby. No one was saying anything. I tearfully asked "Is there a heartbeat?" "No senora, no". I sobbed like I had never sobbed in my life. For 10 minutes I was in pieces. I remember my husband covering me in a hug, holding my face. "I don't know how to do this" I cried. "Yes you do, hon" he replied. I remember thinking that this moment was the saddest moment of my whole life.
And then...I sat up, wiped my tears and accepted it. My second lesson of the day? I'm stronger than I gave myself credit for.
I had a D&C later that night. None of the doctors really spoke English but they were kind and empathetic in a way that doesn't need words. I remember laying my hand over my belly protectively as I got up on the operating table...then removing it quickly - there was nothing to protect anymore.
When I woke up from surgery, I was speaking near fluent Spanish. My husband was quite amused that I was rattling off phone numbers for him to call in Spanish. Please note that I do NOT speak Spanish, just the stuff I have gleaned from Sesame Street and Dora. Lesson number three that day? If you go through something traumatic in another country you become temporarily fluent in that language. Seriously - it really happened.
We left the next morning and returned to our 5 star resort. I took a glorious shower, ordered an enormous room service cheeseburger and fries, drugged myself with painkillers and slept for hours in a fluffy white bed. Lesson 4? If you're going to have a miscarriage, it's pretty nice to come back to room service and a gorgeous hotel.
I miss that little tiny baby. I miss being happy about being pregnant. We were so excited, so happy to add a third child to our family. But you know what? Heavenly Father really DID answer my prayer. He blessed me that I would be able to cope with this loss, that I would find lessons in my experience, that I would be stronger for it. I am a better, stronger, more empathetic woman because I went through this. I rediscovered my own inner strength. I rediscovered faith. I fell in love with my husband all over again. The commitment I have to my marriage and my family is stronger than before. Life is precious - it can end quickly. Tragedy can strike at any time. I love my husband, my sweet and crazy children, my life. And THIS experience in Mexico made me remember ALL of that all over again.
Lesson number five? Be grateful for everything that you have and hold dear...and be willing to learn from the tragedies.
Is stroller stupidity genetic?
See, my sister wrote a couple weeks ago about stroller mishaps and we got a slew of responses from the family about a variety of stupid stroller experiences. I thought it was funny that 5 out of the 8 stroller owners in the family had something to say--that's over half! The conversation goes like this:
About a month ago I left my nice jogging stroller at a park and didn't realize it for about half a week. I was pretty frustrated because I loved that stroller. Shane and I used that thing probably twice a day for the first 3 years of his life. Yesterday I realized that my umbrella stroller was missing. I think I left it at a different park on Thursday. How stupid can I be! The problem is that these parks are huge with separate playgrounds/library/ponds/bathrooms and so sometimes I carry Jake around and sometimes I push him and I forget which one it is when it's time to pack everything into the trunk.
Anne, join the club. I feel like an idiot admitting it...in NY I had a cool stroller I had gotten for free dumpster diving (ok, picked it up on the sidewalk on garbage night). I left that one somewhere sometime and lost it. I can't even tell you where for sure. Probably left it in my front porch/stair area and someone swiped it and I didn't realize it til later--like you. Then a few weeks before we moved here left my umbrella stroller at a children's theatre in Brooklyn.Well, it just wasn't worth driving back to Brooklyn to get it. I have a new cheap stroller. So, I'm stupid too. I just don't have to deal with the emotional attachment to the lost stroller. Sorry for the grief you are experiencing. I should send flowers.
Ok, I did it too. I left Liza's (or Bill's) umbrella stroller at Dr. meadows parking lot during a dental appointment. Remember our dentist there? Anyway, I remember grabbing the tied quilt off of it and bringing it inside. I should have brought the stroller right up to the door, or inside even. So pass me the dumb and dumber button and I'll wear it until someone else fesses up to losing a stroller.
My stroller story-I used one stroller for my first 3 kids until it was so thrashed I was embarrassed to use it so I got a nice new one when Olivia was a baby. After a few months of ownership it got some serious road rash. We still drove our while mini-van and while I was chatting with a friend in her driveway, Chloe pushed the button than unlatchesthe back door of the van. I had no idea she had done that and pulled out of my friend's neighborhood and then onto Elliot, a very busy street. As I drove around the corner my back door flew open and out flew the stroller skidding down the street behind me! I had to pull over and then run out into traffic and get it. Luckily there was no one right behind me when it went flying. What would you tell your insurance, I was hit by a flying stroller? It still worked fine and I used it several more years!
I backed into my stroller last year. I totally ruined the stroller,and put a hole in the dry wall of the garage.
Wow,I never thought I would spark such a rash of stroller stories...but mine has a somewhat happy ending. I stopped by the library branch by the park this morning and guess what was sitting there in the children's section. (Yes, my stoller...I wish it was my 100$ one instead of my 19$ one, but I'll take it.) As I remember that day it is easy to see what happened. Just as story-time ended Shane took off out of the emergency exit only door and the alarm went off. So I grabbed Jake and took off (out of the front door).
So, have you lost, beat up, or otherwise been strollerly stupid? Or is it some freak genetic problem? I must know. And...is there medication for this? (It might be cheaper than buying new strollers!)
Thursday, April 12, 2007
I could not BELIEVE how many products there were out there, branded with Disney Princess. Umbrellas, jewelry boxes, socks, tea sets, raincoats, pajamas, clothes, underwear (actually the underwear helped with potty training), pens, markers, coloring books, the list goes on and on. I feel like I have perhaps posted or commented on the likes of this before, sorry if it's redundant.
Anyway, I was at this LARGE toy store in NYC called FAO Schwarz yesterday, and it got me thinking about alternatives to the DISNEY Princesses. Honestly, my daughters do not discriminate...they pretty much love ANYTHING princess. Carrie and my mother in law were the first brave souls to present the girls with Princess, but not DISNEY princess stuff, by way of books. So, I have just compiled a short list of NON-Disney Princess but AWESOME and TOTALLY WORTHY Princess stuff, all the same...here:
Princess and the Pizza
Paper Bag Princess
Do Princesses where hiking boots, kiss frogs, scrape knees?
My new favorite: The Princess and the Pea
Tale of Despereaux
I'm SURE there are more....
I am a BIG fan of the Faerie Tale Theatre series from the 80's for all things Fairy Tales.
My favorites in the series:
Princess Bride, also a book
Princess Diaries, also a book.
Princess and the Pauper (the only worth Barbie DVD)
And I have heard Anastasia is good, but I have never seen it.
Topsy Turvy Dolls. These dolls feature a different princess on each side. Cinderella/Belle, Cinderella before and after, etc.
Pamela Drake's Wooden Toys. This collection comes with fabric for your daughter to design a princess dress. Basically they just sort of fold it under the wooden cut out....
After a quick google search, I found a few other products that intrigued me:
Groovy Girls Princess
Princess Elise Magnetic Dress Up
Princess Hand Puppet
Little People Lil Kingdom
Ideas for Princess Play
Make your own Topsy Turvy doll---if you are a sewing type
Also, make your own dress up
Make up a story and either act it out, puppet it out, or draw it out. You can even laminate and bind it at kinkos.
So, there you go. De-Disney yourself, and get a few of these great items.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Rock the Vote
It won't take more than a minute. You don't have to be a member of the Real Saavy group. Just go vote and remember you can vote once per day until April 20th. We'll add a link at the top of the sidebar to make it easy for you.
Please help our Tales Girl and pass the news along. I have seen Mormon e-mail chains do amazing things. It's time to initiate one right now. Let the forwarding begin.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Modest Fashion News
A new company, Shabby Apple, has just popped up hoping to tap into this new fashion market and thank goodness they are not starting off with undershirts like everyone else! This dress company has a great line of really adorable dresses that you could very well see in the window of any store this spring season. The difference between the dresses in the stores and the ones from Shabby Apple might be hard to notice at first, but the attention to modest detail will make a huge difference to the wearer. A few more inches added to the length of the skirt means that when you sit down, you won't have to do the "pull and tug" routine throughout your Sunday meetings. A sleeve on every dress means there is never need for an undershirt or a cardigan. Losing these layers for spring and summer in favor of some fun accessories is just what the fashion police ordered (not to mention the comfort patrol). I also think their pricing is surprisingly good for a new, small, fashion company. I wish I could give you a personal account of the quality of their clothing, but I can't. Looking though their website was in fact torturous because I have vowed to refrain from purchasing any new clothing through my pledge at Wardrobe Refashion. I am able to accept gifts though. Hint, hint.
Lastly, another new business to hit the modest fashion scene is a quarterly magazine called Eliza. It was "created for women who want to be stylish, sexy and engaged in the world while retaining high standards in dress, entertainment and lifestyle." If you check out the website, it looks like this magazine will be far from cheesy or average. The pictures read very high-fashion and are quite beautiful to look at. It appears they will be covering all the top fashion lines and pulling modest inspiration from them? I can't quite tell. I have yet to see an issue, so I am intrigued at what I might find.
While I have canceled all of my fashion magazine subscriptions (another step in my battle to downsize the effects of materialism on my life), I admit that I will be subscribing to this one. I miss seeing beautiful clothes from top designers. It affects me like good art or music affects many others. I also like to support new businesses started by passionate women. And mostly I am just way too curious to see how they will pull it all off. Even within the church the words "modesty" and "high standards" mean different things to different people. And to me, it seems a hard line to walk--talking about modesty and very expensive clothing in the same sentence. I can't wait to get my first issue.
P.S. I just want to state that I am not affiliated with any of these businesses.
Monday, April 09, 2007
"Pearls Before Breakfast"
Street musicians and performers are familiar to anyone who has regularly used public transportation. I've heard Simon and Garfunkel on pan flute, watched accordianists, and of course, heard many of the all popular violin players. And my reaction to them has mostly been to notice, but to just keep on walking. The Washington Post found that the vast majority of the 1,097 commuters who passed by Joshua Bell did was exactly the same thing. Their pace didn't slow, their eyes weren't averted toward the musician. They just kept up walking, heading towards the escalator, focusing on getting somewhere. Somewhere else.
As I read this article, I was moved. I kept hoping that someone would stop, that some person would respond to the amazing music that was being played out in a lowly, grimy, smelly Metro station. And as much as I would love to believe that I would be different, that I would have instinctively known something beautiful and precious and amazing was being created, and would have stopped to listen, one description of a commuter stopped me flat.
A woman and her preschooler emerge from the escalator. The woman is walking briskly and, therefore, so is the child. She's got his hand.
"I had a time crunch," recalls Sheron Parker, an IT director for a federal agency. "I had an 8:30 training class, and first I had to rush Evvie off to his teacher, then rush back to work, then to the training facility in the basement."
Evvie is her son, Evan. Evan is 3.
You can see Evan clearly on the video. He's the cute black kid in the parka who keeps twisting around to look at Joshua Bell, as he is being propelled toward the door.
"There was a musician," Parker says, "and my son was intrigued. He wanted to pull over and listen, but I was rushed for time."
So Parker does what she has to do. She deftly moves her body between Evan's and Bell's, cutting off her son's line of sight. As they exit the arcade, Evan can still be seen craning to look.
I am almost entirely sure that this is exactly what I would have done. Firmly grasped my childrens' hands, tried to distract them with something else, and just kept on moving. And recognizing myself so clearly, I felt profound sorrow.
I wonder about how many times I myself have unknowingly passed by some event or scene of majesty and profound beauty, completely ignorant, intent on hurrying along, not taking time to stop, pause, and notice the world around me. More hauntingly, I wonder how often I have forced my children to match my pace, depriving them of experiencing firsthand the world around them.
In a more spiritual realm, too, I wonder what of God's small miracles I have missed because I was too occupied with mundane tasks and daily frustrations.
The staff of the Washington Post found one interesting thing in their observation of the passersby. All the children turned back to look at Bell, and tried to stop and watch. Every single one. To my dismay, not one single parent stopped, but hurried them on their way.
Like most children, mine do not have the false sense of urgency that I often force upon our days. They are content to stroll along, picking up rocks, playing in the water, and looking at dogs. They like to giggle and dance and chase each other and jump on the couch. Their eyes are newer, and they are more attuned to the world around them.
I admit, I have a hard time stopping and and enjoying the moment for what it is. The Post article quotes W.H.Davies
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
I do love this idea, that pausing to take in the world around us will more often give us life than hurrying from one location to another, either physically or metaphysically.
So, for discussion: tell me what you think of this article. And tell me what you do to halt the busyness of life and to heighten your sensitivity to the pearls in the world around you.
From the Tales Inbox: How Do I Help Tommy?
Then I noticed little Tommy. First his eyes, big and blue. Second...something isn't right, I'm not sure what. I tell Tommy's mom hello, introduce myself and welcome her and Tommy to class. I am new to the ward and have never met Tommy's mom or never even knew Tommy was in our class. The other children ignore Tommy and his mom at first but once they notice Tommy is wearing a diaper, drinking from a bottle and laying on the floor humming, they start to stare. I start to cry.
On our way to singing time Tommy's mom says goodbye and starts to leave with Tommy. I offer to take him to primary with the class. "It's okay, he has to be carried most of the time" his mom says.
She continues to tell me that he has never been to primary before because none of the teachers have offered. They don't understand. And it's a lot of work taking care of him. I didn't know how to respond.
"I'll be okay" I assure her, not really knowing if I will. I really have NO idea what is wrong with him, but how hard can it be? It's just 10 minutes of singing. She concedes and I carry a BIG 3 yr old to singing time where he LOVES to hear the piano. We get him a chair and sit right next to the pianist. He just stares and her fingers on the keys while she is playing. When she stops playing, he starts humming and walking around and then pounds on the piano himself.
I get nervous, is this ok? Is he bothering others with his playing?? I look around and see his mom with a worried look on her face. The pianist tells him to play, and tells me the story...Tommy is extremely autistic. He is actually 5 years old (which explains his size) and has younger twin brothers that are autistic too. His mom has only brought them to church a couple of times. Tommy has never been to primary or singing time. They don't get out much. It's too hard for her.
We sit by the piano and he plays along with her to "I am a Child of God." I look at his mom watching from the doorway and she is smiling. Tommy is relaxed. I start to cry more. It's sad to think he never been to singing time before when he LOVES music so much. And I can't imagine the heartache his mother must go through trying to care for her children never feeling like she can get a break.
I want Tommy to come back to Primary. I want him to listen to the music. Most of all I want others to understand that he is a Child of God. How do I help the other kids understand Tommy? How do I teach an autistic boy? How do I let his mother know that he is needed, wanted, and safe in Primary? How do I help??
Friday, April 06, 2007
My Lesson of the Week
Step 1: Warn parents that child is going to scream bloody murder through entire proceedure, but that he's just mad, not in any pain.
Step 2: Wrap child from neck to ankles in a blanket. Secure blanket by wrapping an ace bandage around body a couple of times.
Step 3: Lie mummified child on hospital bed on his back. Place a large pillow on his torso.
Step 4: Run tape from one side of bed, over pillow, and secure on other side of bed. Use 3 or 4 strips to make sure child is secured.
Step 5: Stand back and appreciate your work for a moment. Then have nurse hold child's head back for full chin access. Remove stitches while child screams "LET GO MY CHEEKS" repeatedly.
Step 6: When final stitch is removed, tell child he's all done. Watch him smile and laugh as you cut him free. Accept his high five, say "You're Welcome" when he thanks you, and then go take some Advil to dull the headache you are now experiencing.
So, what did you guys learn this week?
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Preparing for Easter
Reading through the post did remind me that I purchased the book "A Christ Centered Easter" last year even though I knew it wouldn't come until after Easter. I figured I would have a head start on this year. But like I said, I forgot about my purchase until today which sort of cancels out the forthought of having the book a year ahead of time. The book lays out activities for every day of Easter week and I've already missed half the week. Bummer.
We might just settle once again for keeping the Easter baskets and egg hunts for "Secular Saturday" and then tell a short rendition of the Easter Story on Sunday morning as we eat some "Empty Tomb Breakfast Rolls". That's probably what an 18 month and a four year old will respond to (and remember) anyway. Luckily I should still have a few more tries to get our Easter Celebration just right. Here's to next year!
Freebies from the Crib: Oobees Winner
lucy, who commented "so cute!"
Please e-mail us at talesfromthecrib at gmail dot com with the style name and size of your slipper choice and also don't forget to include your shipping information.
Thanks to everyone who commented and to the people over at Oobees for the great freebie! And watch our for our April Freebie (remember, this one was our March Freebie even though it happened in April-I think you're with me)!
Monday, April 02, 2007
From the Tales Inbox: New Baby Help
I am a faithful reader (Miggy) and a new mom (4 weeks, 3 days) and I could use some help. I've read most of your posts for new moms and they're great, but I could use a few more specifics. I don't know if this could be a guest post, but if so I would appreciate it, as I know these posts usually generate a lot of great advice. So here it goes. . .
First off, I don't think I have a colicky baby, but she's fussy. However last night was one of those "so this is what a colicky baby would be like" nights. She cried and cried and even though I could tell she was tired, the only thing that stopped her crying was to feed her. She would eat a little, start to doze off then wake again and start crying all over. So I caved in and fed her AGAIN and she finally went to sleep. Does this mean we're on our way to colic? Or do most babies have occasional nights of endless crying? And I know it's not good to nurse her to sleep, but at one month I feel like I'm just doing what I can--please tell me that's "normal" and that at this age you didn't worry about developing bad habits and getting her on a good schedule. (Just for the record, I have read The Baby Whisperer).
Second--I know it's not good to let a newborn "cry it out" because at this age you want them to know you'll be there for them and that you respond to their cries, etc. . . but if you do have a night (or morning) of crying is it OK to set them down for a while? How long? Or at what age is it OK to start letting them cry it out and figure out how to self soothe?
Finally, I know people say it gets better (and it has even over the past month) but I'm still waiting for those "mom" feelings to kick in. Don't get me wrong I love her, but at this point it still just seems really hard and I'm even a bit resentful at times (like after last night). I pray and read my scriptures and do all that stuff, but I don't really feel like a mom yet. When did it get better for you? Did you feel like a mom right away or did it take some time? Like I said, it has gotten better, but sometimes a little set back can make you think it's back to the beginning again.
Thanks and if you have any other constructive advice, please share. :)
Let's begin with what just happened as I am sitting here trying to type. My baby continually hit me in the face and pulled off my glasses, until finally, I hit her back. I hit her a litle harder than I meant to. She cried, and got over it very quickly and I said I was sorry, and said: "It's not nice to hit", and in my mind said: "So, then don't hit your kid".
The only other time I have hit my baby's like that is when they bite down with their teeth during breast feeding....that's more of a gut reaction to pain though, and less of a disciplining strategy.
My second mothering moment happened last week. Background: My daughter goes to a private Catholic School for Pre-K and they sponsor these field trips for the kids, that are usually around $30 dollars. The majority of the kids in her class do not go on these trips, and I have never let her go either.
A few weeks ago there was an Olympic Day form that was the same price as a field trip, only going to be held on campus. I debated on whether or not to pay the money, simply because it was on campus, and a specific school thing. Time went by and I moved etc. and forgot about it. The day before Olympic Day my daughter came home and said: "We practiced for Olympic Day today." She was really excited about it. I was mad, b/c I didn't think the school should have specifically practiced this, and as a result gotten the children excited about it, when not all children were going to participate. I felt bad, and I told my daughter that I hadn't paid the money for her to participate, and suggested that she stay home from school. She of course was fine with that. In this instance I felt like the school was in the wrong, I am not sure if I did the right thing by keeping her home, I later learned that only 3 kids from her class forked out the cash to participate.
My third mothering moment was getting robbed. I picked up my daughter from school and came back to my car with a broken window and purse stolen. I was an emotional wreck about it for the next 3 hours. I barely even spoke to my daughters. As we drove away from the scene and they were talking, I asked them to please be quiet, as I just continued sobbing. The next day my older daughter wanted to play policeman, and imitated the cop that I had dealt with while reporting the incident, and I played along with it as best I could. I just completely shut down as a mother during that situation.
My fourth mothering moment was dying Easter Eggs. We did this yesterday. The girls were really into it, and I feel that I had a lot of patience while I endured my almost-2-year-old THROWING eggs into the dye bowls, Eating the dye, spilling an entire bowl of yellow all over my brand new kitchen counter, and getting sparkly paint up and down her arms. They had a really great time, and I don't think they were thinking about any of the above moments, and actually, neither was I.
Freebies from the Crib: Oobees Slipper Shoes
Rachel Humphrey, founder and President of Oobees got the inspiration for her company simply by being a mother of a teenage girl: "The idea came when my daughter kept putting duct tape on the bottom of her slippers so she could wear them to school".
Instead of being annoyed that her daughter was wearing tattered, McGyver rigged, night footwear out of the house, she came up with a fashionable solution and a profitable business (way to go momtrepreneur!)--Oobees footwear--a comfortable yet hip, furry slipper with a rugged sole that can withstand the elements for fuzzy slipper-adoring girls age 5-105 . All the styles have an ultra cushy foam insole that molds to your foot creating a phenomenon they like to call, "pure foot pleasure." Sounds pretty good to me. Oobees also has a line of super soft overnight bags, cosmetic bags, and pillows all inspired by their slippers.
The March Freebie (I know I'm a few days late) is a pair of Oobees footwear of your choosing. Ranging in sizes from 9 ½ youth to 10 ½ ladies, you could treat your feet to something funky, comfortable and practical (how often do you find those three things in one product) or you could be the favorite aunt, sister or YW leader and pass them onto someone you know in the teen or tween crowd who I know will adore them.
It looks like the XS youth size would even fit my 4 year old daughter. I can't even begin to imagine how much she would love these fuzzy pink ones. You can check out all your options here. I'm thinking I would love the camo for myself (that is no surprise for anyone that knows me) and I bet my feet would love them too.
How to win this Freebie:
-You have until Tuesday (4/3), midnight EST to enter.
-Make a comment (any comment) on the post
-Please don't post under Anonymous - use a Blogger login or the "other" category.
-Winner will be randomly picked and announced Wednesday (4/4) morning.
-Please only enter (comment) once.
-Tales contributors are excluded from winning the freebies--sorry :(
-Freebies can only be shipped to US addresses.
What's with the Freebie?