17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Moms for Office

I have been watching the DNC most of the week, and I am still pretty enamored of the Democratic ticket. This morning, however out comes John McCain with Sarah Palin.

There she is with her 5 kids and her 44 years and her working mom self. I relate so much to this woman for all of these reasons. When I am 44, I will have teenagers too! I am guessing I won't have a 4 month old infant, but hey, I am not very good at guessing my life, so who knows.

The point is, this is the first time I am feeling an emotional pull toward the Republican ticket. It's fascinating because the election is now so polarized Far Right vs. Far Left, but now I am feeling a bit conflicted, but it will probably only last for the duration of writing this post.

I can't help thinking of my Dad today. I haven't discussed the latest with him, but he will never not vote Republican. Though I feel totally supported by him in my choice to be a working mother, he never wanted his wife to be a working mother. I don't know if my Dad is a typical conservative or not, but here now, his only choice is to vote for a woman who is the mother of 5 children. Will this affect how some conservatives view her? Will motherhood help or hurt her/McCain-Palin?

Michelle Obama is also a working mother, but she is not running for office like Sarah Palin is now. Will she be an affective candidate? She has a 4-month-old baby with downs syndrome and 3 other children still at home. Of course my point of view is that their Dad (who I presume will not continue his commercial fishing whilst in the VP mansion in DC) will do an excellent job raising the children while Sarah is out and about doing her VP duties/campaigning, but what will the Conservatives think?

Though I am still on the Obama train, I am so excited about Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate. I am so pumped up about the next few months until the election! As the networks keep saying, it's historic either way! I got down right choked up Thursday night when I saw those little Obama African-American girls waving to the crowd! And now we have a fellow-mother running too!

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Nie Nie Day Auction

For anyone who hasn't read about it, a wonderful wonderful woman and blogger named Stephanie Nielson (known as Nie Nie) and her husband were in a private plane crash a little over a week ago. You can read details on her sister's blog and here. The road to recovery will be a long and expensive one. To help ease the monetary strain, Design Mom declared today Nie Nie day -- a day of auctions to benefit the Nielson Family Recovery Fund.

A few of the Tales contributors have heeded Design Mom's call to action and have joined with our friends at Mormon Mommy Wars to host an auction of our own. Please head on over to Mormon Mommy Wars and check out the generously donated goods and bid away.

Need a new, fabulous blog header anyone? Marian is also part of an auction of her own over here.

If you have not the money to give (and even if you do) please send a hope and a prayer to the Nielson family. Those are being banked as well.

Here's a sneak peak at the goods:

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympic Roundup

(This was a conversation between my DH and I a couple of weeks before the Beijing Olympics.)

Me: Remember when we were kids and we wanted the USA to beat out the Soviet Union so badly in the Olympics.

DH: Yeah.

Me: I would get so stressed about how many medals the USA was winning and if we would win the medal count.

DH: I know....me too. How stupid was that? (Laughter.....scene out)

(Here was the conversation we had last week.)

Me: So are we winning the medal count against China? (I never bother to check the Internet on anything sports-related....I figure he gets paid to know this stuff...so why take that kind of time and energy when I can just bother him with my questions.)

DH: Well, the USA is ahead in the overall count, but China has way more gold medals.

Me: WHAT!?! How can that be.....it's just because they train their athletes from birth. At least we have a CHOICE to compete. And they try to break all the rules....like lying about the ages of their gymnasts.

DH: Uh-huh

Me: I don't care (obviously still caring....) The US doesn't need to win any stupid medal count to validate how great of country it is....not like China....or Russia.

So now that the Olympics are officially over, do you think it is still possible to enjoy the sports and the athletes....and avoid the commercialism and nationalistic pride (and to some extent cheating) synonymous with the Games? Do you think watching the Games holds more positive or negative lessons for your children?

I could never stop loving the Olympics. I remember watching the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics for hours and hours, wanting to take in every athlete and every sport. I was enraptured with the competition, the shiny uniforms, all of the medals the USA won (mostly because USSR boycotted). I remember, at age 8, putting myself on a "training regimen" so I could be ready to compete in Seoul in 1988. At age 12. Yep, that plan didn't work out too well. But it was fun to dream!

Despite my love of the Games, I do think that they are way too political and although they aspire towards goodwill, I think they mostly teach children that they need to "beat the X" (insert Chinese, Russians or whatever country is on the rise at that moment in time). I do think that line of thinking is pretty dangerous, to be honest. Americans are already egocentric enough.

Last question: What was your favorite moment of these games? My three......watching Michael Phelps compete each night during the first week of the games. I looked forward to his races all day long. I also loved the story of our fellow Mormon mama and of this Mexican American wrestler.
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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Toddler Bed Nightmare

Just wondering if any of you have ever dealt with this problem.  Maybe you can help me put a stop to it... fast.

Two and a half year old T has been in his toddler bed for two months now. Suddenly (meaning this week) he is waking up in the middle of the night, coming into our bedroom, and declaring "I'm awake". We get him a drink of water and put him back to bed explaining that it is still nighttime, we are sleeping, and he has to stay in bed. He comes out again, and again, and again, and again, and again (get the picture?) until he completely loses it, falling out, and eventually crying himself to sleep after at least an hour of hysterics. Last night this happened from 3:53am until 5:20am.

The worst is that in the middle of the night you do not have your wits about you to completely deal with this "tantrum" rationally. I feel myself getting angry, resentful, impatient, and obviously desperate for sleep. To top it off he's not even the child who is supposed to keep me sleep-deprived. His little sis is only three months old, so add a feeding or two to my night and I think I get about three or four hours of sleep a night. No sleep = Grumpy Mom in the morning. Ugh! Is it just a phase? Please say it will only last a couple more nights (if that) and be over. It's taking all the restrain I have to not throw him back in the crib (obviously not the answer though). I'm about to go surf the net for a strategy, but I'm throwing it out to this forum hoping for some answers from all the more experienced parents out there. Anyone have advice for this sleep-deprived mama?
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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Toys with Longevity

The world bombards parents and children with ads for toys that we will surely "love" and toys that we definitely "need". Toys that promise to entertain for hours. Toys that promise to make your child smarter. Toys. Toys. Toys.

What I have learned is that most of the toys out there (especially the ones with big marketing budgets) are overrated and just plain annoying. I guess they are usually super exciting for a moment, but their enjoyment always seem short-lived.

While cleaning out the kid's closet I realized there are just a handful of toys that get constant attention from the kids. These are the ones that always seem to escape the D.I. drive toy closet raid each and every time:

1. Wood Happy Birthday Cake - we celebrate birthdays nearly every day.

2. Old Computer keyboard with cord cut off. They love having their own "'puter"

3. $5 doll umbrella stroller from Kmart. We actually have two so there aren't constant battles over the one. And everytime we have a little boy visitor, he will also go straight for the stroller, so I have a feeling we will have these around for a long tim.

4. Refashioned Prom dresses - We have a trunk full of dress-up clothes, but the ones that get the most love are old 80's prom dresses that I refashioned to kid size. They seem to be much more durable than any sparkly princess dress we've acquired from a store.

5. Cameras: an old digital of ours that no longer works. Makes me realize that to my kids, imaginary pictures are just as cool as real pictures.

6. Vintage Fisher Price Cash Register - No electronic voices or credit card scanner. It's from the good old days when a red balloon cost a nickel and an ice cream cone cost a quarter.

What are your kids' go-to toys? Don't be afraid to list some of the plastic variety. I won't judge. While I love all-natural, wooden, organic cloth, Waldorf-school toys, there is no way my kids would be nearly as entertained with a spongy keyboard or a carved wooden camera or an organic cotton prom dress. Sue me.

Oh, art supplies and books don't count. We all know already how super creative and smart our kids are.
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Monday, August 18, 2008


This time of year I am like cuckoo for retail shopping. Maybe I was raised to be this way. My mom brought us kids to the Nordstrom half yearly sale every summer to get ready for school.

I can push off the whole shopping thing for most of the 12 months of the year, but for some reason, right about now is the worst time. I see all the fall clothes, school-shopping ads, fresh color palettes, and I get a little excited about shopping.

Our own fashion maven here has spent some significant time refashioning in place of shopping. I think Chloe might have taken a break from shopping too.. Girls? am I right? You are both RE-fashionistas correct?

I don't think I could do this...no, I could not. Well, if my husband or I had a loss of income, for sure we would make everything work,. We have had our fair share of very little disposable income, and it was all good. However, if things stay the way they are, I would have a hard time giving up my little shopping habits that come round here and there.

Given the state of our economy, I have considered trying to cut back my shopping needs (read wants), and placing that extra money into some safety account. I am further inspired by a friend who has begun a full-on, year-long FASHION FAST.

That's right. She is not shopping for any new fashion items for 1 year. Could you do that? Could you do it for a month? 2? 6? 12?

Not only is she fasting, but she is donating the money she would have spent on that designer purse, those designer shoes, that fabulous brooch, to a charity.

She has put the vote out today, to see which charity is worthy of receiving the donations from her pocket, as well as bloggers who will donate as well. I just saved $70- from buying my new winter coat during the Nordstrom half-yearly sale (there it is again), so I am considering donating that amount to the charity that wins the vote.
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Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Chastity "Talk" and a Five Year Old...

I have a 5 year old - The Boy. Today in sacrament our talks were on chastity. I didn't stop for one moment to consider that The Boy would be paying attention...so very intently...

We got off to a funny start. The Girl (nearly 4) proclaimed that the hymns sounded like baby music. Then The Boy announced that one of the speakers had ears like a goblin. I gently reminded him to not tell anyone else his thoughts on that one.

I was sitting with a friend (my hubby is out of town) and she and I were quietly chatting when suddenly I was hit with a barage of questions from the boy:

"Mom, what is chastity?"

"Ummm...ummmmmm...hang on....ummmmmm. Uh, don't have sex or touch a girls boobies until you get married, OK? Just listen to mom on this one, OK?" I mean come on, who has a discussion with a 5 year old about chastity....I did the best I could under fire.

The boy giggled and giggled. "OK, mom"

"MOM! What is a sin?"

"Mom, what is temptation?"

"Mom, what is marriage?"

I explained all of the above as best I could. When I finished with marriage, The Boy proclaimed that he was never going to get married.

"But what if there is a girl that you really love and want to be with forever and ever?"

"Nah, I'm not going to get marrried. I"ll just have girlfriends".

I can see that chastity is going to be a bigger problem than I originally thought.

On a positive note, that kid listened to every single word of the talks. Really took it all in. Please Lord, let him remember some of it going forward...please...
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Tuesday, August 12, 2008


My mom raised 4 children, whose ages spanned 11 years. 1 year she had a child in preschool, elementary school, middle school and high school. Imagine how much I loved my little sister tagging along during freshman-orientation in her "high shoes" (high-heeled plastic disney princess shoes).

I remember my mom telling me recently that she remembered rejoicing one day when she realized that her children were all at an age where tears did not happen every day.

I am longing for that day. Poopy's tears don't bother me so much. She is three and she gets over whatever she is sad about pretty quickly. It's Pukey that has been troubling me lately. She has been having very bad emotional breakdowns. They are usually started by her being "rushed" or when faced with having to stop watching cartoons to practice.

The crying jags turn into drama. She starts talking about all these injustices that have happened to her in the past 6 months or so: "All my friends at school are mean to me, you are hard on me during practice, I want to go on vacation, I miss my best friend in California...." My DH and I call it monologuing. She just talks herself into a full-out tirade.

Between the two of my girls, emotions and craziness seems to be running out of control. I finally picked up a few self-help-parenting books off my bookshelf yesterday. Both books I had been reading earlier, and so I just picked up where I left off.

The first one I picked up was Helping Parents Practice by Edmund Sprunger, and this was the first paragraph:

"When children respond in these kinds of ways, deep down, they're not testing limits to upset us; they're testing the limits to see if we're really reliable and dependable. They want to know if they can trust what we say. They don't necessarily want the limit to change. It's a bit like when you close your front door, then turn the knob to check to see if it's truly locked. You're not wanting to open the door. But knowing that the door is secured, you feel safer. In the same way, children don't really want their partents to give in. They want to know that they're reliable."

Then I picked up the second one, The Strong-Willed Child by Dr. James Dobson:

"When a child behaves in ways that are disrespectful or harmful to himself to others, his hidden purpose is often to verify the stability of the boundaries. This testing has much the same function as a policeman who turns doorknobs at places of business after dark. Though he tries to open doors, he hopes they are locked and secured. Likewise, a child who assaults the loving authority of his parents is greatly reassured when their leadership holds firm and confident."

So, I'm going...are my children acting out because they are searching for boundaries? Am I not giving them? I thought I was like totally a boundary-giving mom, but maybe I'm not...or is this a new SET of boundaries being established?

Help...someone who knows something. I am drowning in raising my non-babies.

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Neighborhood Swimming Pool

Our summer routine has gone something like this: I get home from work, we eat a quick dinner, and we spend the rest of the evening at the pool. DH joins us at some point in the evening, depending on his work schedule.

Yesterday, our neighborhood pool was closed, so we tried another one. This was our first time at the pool, and apparently it is not very popular because it was completely empty, save two teenaged lifeguards. They were less than pleased to see us as our presence meant they had to turn off their ipods and cell phones and actually do their jobs.

And let’s just say that my boys weren’t winning any awards for good behavior. I spent most of our pool time putting one of them in “time out” for running, or getting another out of the filtration ducts that keep them strangely fascinated. When I had finally settled down with my book, five-year-old Noe plopped down on top of me with his wet little body, completely drenching my clothes and my book. Meanwhile, three-year old Asher had to go potty, and insisted on using the urinal in the men’s bathroom. I obviously couldn’t go in there, so I shouted directions to him from outside the bathroom. He couldn’t reach it, gave up and came running out of the bathroom with his swim trunks around his ankles. I scooped him up like a wet, noisy fish and forced him to sit on a potty in the women’s bathroom before he had an accident.

I’d like to say that this was unusual behavior for them, but unfortunately it’s pretty typical for those last hours just before bedtime.

The two lifeguards looked on with horrified amusement. They whispered back and forth. I could almost hear what they were saying, “What little brats. Why can’t she control her own kids?” I could almost hear them, because those had been my own words when I was their ages.

We stayed until the pool closed, and all walked out together: teenaged lifeguards and mother with the bratty little kids. The teenagers got into their sporty SUVs and cranked up the radio. I loaded the boys into their car seats, and cranked up NPR. As the teenaged lifeguards looked at me in my nine-year-old sedan one last time, I knew their thoughts, “I never want her life.”

And as I watched the teenaged lifeguards speed out of the swimming pool parking lot, their lives so full of angst and unnecessary complication, I whispered with amusement, "I'll gladly keep my own life, thank you."
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

back to school adjustments

I think we're all in summer mode around here (and aren't exactly at our blogging best - except tftcarrie and kage, who are carrying us!). But as August arrives, I'm turning my thoughts to back-to-school prep, as we start in just a few weeks. And I've got a lot of work to do as we begin the Elementary School Adventure!

There are clothes to buy. I've at least started that process, inspired by some of the awesome creations that Carrie showcases on her blog and in her flickr pool. She's incredible! So I've purchased a few t's and button-downs that I'm planning on freezer-paper stenciling and possibly doing some iron-ons. It's my first experiment, wish me luck! I've drawn inspiration on more "boy" designs from a random catalog I just got, and of course a couple of my favorites. Now I've just got to get pants and shoes and take a break before we do all the winter outdoor gear.

There are supplies to get? Maybe? I haven't heard anything from the school or the teacher, so I don't know any specifics. I'm planning on getting a new lunchbox - again found from Carrie, really, I'm not stalking her or anything - but beyond that, I'll have to wait and see what I'm told.

There are schedules to change. This is the hardest of all. We are currently in summer mode, which means my little man is getting up at about 7:30 / 8:00, and I'm rarely getting up before 8:30 if I can help it. As the school day will be starting at 8:00am, this has got to change! I'm thinking the slow-and-steady, wake up a few minutes earlier & go to bed a few minutes earlier each day is the way to go. But this one really takes a lot of work and dedication on my part, and... well... I like to sleep. And I'm bad at going to bed on time. Sigh....

I know some of you are already back in school, or are rapidly heading in that direction. Do you have any special rituals you use to mark the end of summer? Ways you help your family adjust to the daily routine again? Would love to hear your thoughts!
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This is Me Journal - HUGE WAREHOUSE SALE

When I say "Warehouse", I mean "my garage" and when I say "HUGE" I mean "I have a box full of 'damaged' This is Me journals I would like to get out of my garage."

So if you are interested in picking up a journal at half the cost ($10 + $3 shipping) shoot me an e-mail at sales(at)thisismejournal(dot)com and let me know how many you want (limit 3) and I will respond with a paypal invoice. The "damages" include slightly bent corners, and some ink transfer on front and back covers. To quote Mary Poppins, the inside pages are "practically perfect in every way".

P.S. The beginning of the school year is a perfect time to begin this journal!

*Offer good for Tales readers and their friends and family and only while supplies last.

UPDATE 8/31: All damaged journals are sold out! Thanks for helping me clean out the garage!
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Monday, August 04, 2008

Please Advise....TV be gone?

I met a family with 3 sons age 4 to 11. They were the kindest little boys. They got along with each other so well, and had a great energy between each other and with their Dad, who they called: "Papa." Stop it....so adorable.

Not to mention the fact that they are physically beautiful, as seen here with the oldest of the three darlings.

I got to know these boys over a few days of working together and I took away a little parenting tidbit from conversing with them.

No TV allowed Monday through Friday. Only tv shows were allowed on weekends. And I've got to assume that, being boys and a tight-knit family and all, that they probably fill up their weekends with activities other than tv viewing.

I am considering adding the no tv rule to our household. Since I already do not allow tv (home videos and church videos aside) on Sunday, this will leave only Saturday for tv, and we are usually out doing something on Saturday, so that further reduces the tv situation.

I do not believe that tv is a necessity or an essential to really anyone's life, but it is a PART of our life. My children wake up and try to wake us up, and since we don't want to wake up at 5:45, we have finally installed a clock and the rule is that they cannot leave their rooms until 6. Well guess what, we really don't want to be up at 6 either. (I wake up at 6 several mornings a week to workout, but I don't want to talk to anyone or make anyone breakfast) So....our little ones have a habit that goes like this...wake up, try to wake mom and dad up, instead go and turn on the tv and watch a show over breakfast and while waiting for mom and dad to finally be awake!

TV for any other part of the day usually happens when I am trying to make dinner. This year though, my 1st grader will have homework and that will probably be the homework time, not the tv time. My younger one rarely to never asks to watch tv. She has never been as into it as my older one....so I am only worried about the older one's reaction to the new rule.

I still have the early-rising kink to work out and the question of DVD's allowed? Or...should there be an earning system....like-read for half hour and then you can watch a DVD for a half hour?

Anyway, am I totally crazy for wanting this rule? Any ideas on how I can get this to work? Will I be depriving my children of the necessary pop culture that they need to survive on the playground? Please....advise.....

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Friday, August 01, 2008

No Biking Allowed

Princess practiced all summer perfecting her 2-wheel bike riding skills. Last week we picked out the perfect pink bike lock. And today, she excitedly took her first bike ride to school while I jogged near her. She was a little nervous, but she made it and I was proud of her.

It looked like our plan to start ditching the car in favor of more biking and jogging was going to work great. Until I picked her up from school. When she told her teacher how excited she was that she rode her bike to school she was informed that she was not allowed to ride her bike to school until the fourth grade (she's in first). When I came to pick her up, I was informed of the same thing. "It's in the red parent's handbook. You probably haven't read it."

Oh, I read it. And I read the part about biking age, but I honestly assumed they meant no unaccompanied bike riding until the fourth grade. Guess I was wrong. Apparently it's a "district rule and it's for the safety of the students".

I am so bummed. So bummed that it is bordering on anger. With the national health crisis of overweight, unhealthy children and the nation dependency on foreign oil, I thought ditching the car and encouraging my family to get active was a good thing to do and now I feel like we just got slapped on the wrist.

Now, I just have to decide whether I want to let it go, buckle down and try to get the rule changed, or introduce Princess to civil disobedience.

Anyone else dealt with such rules?
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