Archive for the ‘Life’ Category
Fall is here!!!
As much as fall creeps into Florida. Unfortunately we are deprived of the nicer aspects of fall… but still Starbucks is selling Pumpkin spice so it must be fall. Plus the grocery stores are selling those yummy cinnamon brooms so it smells like fall. If it sells and smells like fall I’ll call fall! Generally my favorite time of year.
I also know it is fall because I now need to go on my annual television boycott/remote control vigil. Not my favorite time of year.
Every year between mid September and the end of October I will be safely watching a warm fuzzy child appropriate (but adult program) or some innocuous day time television program and suddenly (and without warning) there are disturbing and scary images on my television.
I’m not sure if the rest of the country is inundated with commercials for Busch Gardens Hallowscream and Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights but we sure are. At least one commercial out of every break seems to have a blood dripping clown, zombies, people with shattered faces grabbing unsuspecting victims and people running in terror. Oh and screaming… a lot of screaming. They frighten me so I sure as heck don’t want my two year old to watch them.
They would have terrified me up until the age of 8, at least. Yeah sure, I may have been a sheltered child but I was a CHILD and I shouldn’t have to be exposed to that sort of thing.
These commercials used to irritate me during the fall season. I don’t like them. I don’t want to see them. But because they are commercials there seems to be no avoiding them. I also hate the giant billboards that are in the same vein and the signs everywhere… but that’s another issue.
However, now that I have a child they make me angry. Very angry.
It’s not fair that I have no control over them. This isn’t like “Well if you don’t like it change the channel”…. they pop up usually BEFORE you can change the channel. And besides the kids channels they are EVERYWHERE.
I try to limit her television viewing period and when she does watch TV it is usually a DVD, something from the DVR or on a kids channel so she is safe. But God forbid I want to watch something while she is playing in the room. Yesterday my grandmother was over and wanted to watch The Chew and The Doctors…. there was a scary commercial nearly every single break. Thank goodness LA was sleeping. But what if she hadn’t been?
And how do I avoid all those billboards….? Don’t drive down the road?
Ok, so I can avoid the billboards or hope/assume my child won’t see them as we zoom past… it is the commercials I really object to.
Don’t these things have ratings? Shouldn’t they be confined to evening television? After 8 at the very latest?
There are ratings for television programs but it seems any terrifying 60 second ad is allowed on at any time of the day. It’s not fair and it is something I dread every year. I think it’s very irresponsible of Busch Gardens and Universal to put them out to be shown during the day time at all. I think it’s more irresponsible for stations to air them at all times of the day. If they were on in the evening I personally would still hate them but I’m a grown up I can deal. Children don’t have the same abilities to deal with scariness.
We are always talking in this country about loss of innocence and children growing up too fast. About desensitization and violence. Um, hello? We are showing commercials that some adults find disturbing when any child could see it on accident. And there is no way (short of not watching any channel other than Disney/Sprout/etc) to avoid them. If there is please tell me how?!
Right now LA is dealing with night terrors. I can’t help wondering in the back of my mind if it has started because of something she has seen on these commercials, signs, posters or statues that are put out in the fall. I know that they would have given me night mares when I was a child.
I don’t know what to do. Contact the stations? The parks themselves? Up until recently I thought I was the only one who dreaded this time of the year for any television watching… but apparently I’m not.
Look I get that Halloween is a fun time for a lot of people. And I may even be in the minority because while I love the imaginative dress up aspect of Halloween I hate the open grave, rotting faces, jump out and say “boo” aspect of the holiday. People love it… great. But I don’t want it forced on me and I really don’t want it thrust on my child. I think the commercials are disturbing enough as is but if you are safely watching “Dancing with the Starts” to suddenly see people being chased by zombies or pulled into open graves is not the program I signed on to watch. It’s not fair to us adults who are forced/tricked into seeing it but it’s absolutely irresponsible to have it on when children could see it. There should be a time limit or certain station so that parents can do what we can to shelter our children from it.
I’m honestly shocked that they haven’t been sued yet for causing nightmares or distress etc. This is such a litigious society and this actually seems like something that could cause children trauma or at least some unnecessary fear.
Usually I’m a shrug “Well just avoid it if you don’t like it” sort of person”… but I have no idea how to successfully avoid all of this. Every year it is absolutely everywhere. I truly hate it.
Every year I’m disappointed in both Busch Gardens and Universal Studios…. these are supposed to be family friendly places. I think it’s great/fine that they do this. Awesome… if it’s fun for you then have a great time. I object to how they advertise it.
So anyway… that is my fall pet peeve.
It takes so little to restore my faith in humanity.
I’m usually fairly optimistic… or I put a lot of effort into being positive. But all of this with Baxter and Cera has me a bit overwhelmed and down.
There are people in our life who owe us the money that would pay for a good chunk of Cera’s surgery and we are doing everything we can to get it……. but I cannot hold out hope because it just fills me with anxiety and anger to know it’s right there. But that is a seperate thing. It has caused me to feel overwhelmed and a bit negative this week.
I think it’s understandable, not acceptable though, for me to feel negative.
However, last night Steve checked our donation site for Cera and found that someone we don’t even know donated $100. Just the fact that someone, who doesn’t know us or owe us anything, would give so much put hope in Steve’s eyes. Which made me feel so much better about the situation. We are still a long way off but I’m so grateful.
The quantity was wonderful but it was truly that a total stranger would reach out to help us.
So with that in mind I will be renewing my efforts for small acts of kindness. Smiles, opening doors for people, a kind word, listening more…. all go a long way.
So the week before last I took LA to a paint your own pottery location to create a mug for Steve for Father’s Day. Conveniently this also counted as my “something cool and unusual” for her because of my resolution (in case you were keeping track).
I figure he will get lots of crafts and probably lots of mugs but this will be his first.
When we first walked in I immediately panicked a bit inside because there were SO many breakable things in the ceramics store… go figure!
Of course, she immediately wanted to run around and play. This was SO not happening.
She helped me pick out a mug and the lady brought us our paint and we went to town. I had an idea in my head of what I wanted it to look like… good thing I’m flexible because it ended up looking totally different.
LA was happy to paint and switched from color to color. She saw me painting the bottom inside of the mug (which I was trying to do as prep for her to have a base to color on… this did not work) so she tried to do the same. The inside of his mug may even be more decorated than the outside.
She concentrated really hard on her artwork.
At one point though she saw some ceramic painted pumpkins. The child is obsessed with apples so naturally she assumed they were apples and had a mini meltdown because I am mean and would not let her have them.
(oh yeah, we aren’t perfect… we have tantrums because mama won’t let us eat ceramic pumpkins disguised as apples)
Thankfully a nice lady who works there saved the day by providing a cookie… crisis averted.
Her favorite part of the project was when I painted her hands and she got to do hand prints on the mug.
A very successful project for Daddy. He liked it.
By the way, I really wanted to post this earlier because I think it’s such a great idea for something to do with really little ones for gifts. But since my husband reads my blog I couldn’t risk it 😉
Also, for this past week I did keep my resolution for us both. Steve had a conference in Miami and we tagged along. For me I got to take a nap by the pool when LA did and enjoy room service. LA and I got to have nearly two days of just us, no distractions, no cleaning and no work. She also got to be the center of attention every time a hotel worker came around… seriously she was the belle of the ball so to speak and she loved it. I think she got totally used to the pampering even though we were only there two nights!
I got used to it… I’ve officially decided that we should be rich. I like room service and pool boys who bring me cool drinks and amazing views.
AND we made French Bread today from scratch… so this counts for LA because she got to make a bit of a mess (although she cried when she couldn’t get dough off her hands) and it counts for me because I am a bread a holic (although I cried a bit when she got dough in her hair and I couldn’t get it out!).
PS I am not seeking help for my addiction, it is too delicious.
This past Monday I blithely walked into a new vets office with my boy Baxter. I expected to be told that he needed to have his teeth cleaned or even maybe one or two pulled. Worst case scenario in my mind was that he had an abscess or something affecting his jaw.
- Baxter Barker
This is the picture that won him cutest rescue dog 😉
However I left in tears with the news that we would not have Baxter much longer.
I feel like I should tell you all about Baxter but that will have to wait for another time as I’m already nearly in tears just writing about what is going on. He deserves his story to be told.
We knew he had bad teeth so when he started doing a weird tremble with his jaw we were concerned. When we adopted him the vet told us the best guess on his age was between 5 and 7, we gave him the benefit of the doubt and said he was 5, but we just don’t know. On top of that he was not properly cared for before us (BU). When he came to us he was dying of heartworm and had to go through painful arsenic treatment to get a clean bill of health. His teeth were the icing on the neglected cake… they were broken, worn down and grey.
When we first adopted him we did what we could and tried to buy him teeth cleaning toys (which he had no idea how to play with) and to brush his teeth which he hated.
Just before LA was born we had both Baxter and his “sister”, Cera, at the vet for full check ups. We asked about a swelling behind his right eye and a bulge there. They told us it could be anything from an eye tumor to an infection, if it was an infection it would go away. They advised us to take him to his regular vet.
A month or two later Steve took him in. Our vet said his eye had been scratched and gotten infected. She gave us an ointment and an oral antibiotic and that was it. It cleared up but the swelling behind the eye itself was still there.
6 months ago I took him to the vet again because his eye seemed to be having problems controlling the “inner lid” and the swelling behind the eye was still there. Again they gave me ointments. I asked about the swelling and they just shrugged it off as part of his age.
But the jaw thing was new. Unique to the past month or so I would say. Besides his lower jaw tremble he was occasionally yelping when he yawned and his appetite was lower. We weren’t sure if that was part of the problem as he has always been a notoriously picky eater.
In short, I suspected teeth problems. Our regular vet gave me an estimate over the phone of 450 dollars, more if there was more involved. So I called another local vet I had heard good things about. The woman spent a lot of time on the phone with me and gave me an estimate of 199 dollars. So I made him an appointment for Monday.
Baxter was afraid in the office. He always seems certain I’m going to leave him behind and stays glued to me.
The vet took us back and began his exam. It took him 30 second to inspect his teeth and look down his throat. He immediately said, “There’s a tumor.”
He showed me. It was huge… the far back right roof of his mouth. It extends nearly past the halfway point of his throat. He then inspected his head and showed me the swelling that I have been concerned about the past few years behind his eye…. it is the tumor that has grown out from there.
The tremor in his jaw is the tumor either making it uncomfortable to close his mouth or the tumor effecting his jaw closing.
My brain really struggled as to what this would mean. I asked the obvious, “Can it be removed?” And saw the answer in his eyes even as my brain told me it couldn’t. Because it is on the rof of his mouth and through his skull they would have to remove most of his mouth, eye, eye socket. The vet didn’t say it was impossible, just very invasive. I can’t even imagine how he would ever eat or what would be left of his jaw if we tried to do that.
He explained gently that we would have to start with a biopsy, which because of location would have to be done while he was under anesthetic (which is increasingly dangerous for dogs as they age). Then they could decide how to proceed. Chemotherapy would be the only other real option.
I knew I did not want to put him through pain, sickness and endless vet visits for just a few weeks or months. I knew that if his time was limited I did not want it to involve all of that. The vet agreed and said that there was only a slim chance that it would cure him, mostly just buy very limited time. He agreed that if he was his dog he would take him home, buy his favorite foods, pamper him and wait until the pain was bad.
- Took this as we were leaving the vet
By this time I was struggling to speak. I asked a few more questions I’m sure. He explained that it appeared to be a slow growing tumor. I could tell that behind my grief there was anger at the two vets who never looked in his throat. Three visits in two years! Why was this not noticed if it was slow growing?
I struggled to ask him if it had been caught earlier could we have done more? He said it was hard to tell but most likely not. This made me feel a bit better (although now I’ve done internet research and there are several sites that say the opposite. I wonder if he was just trying to save my previous vet from an angry phone call or visit. Which still may happen, but first I have to get to the place where I could talk about it without crying.)
He said he would prescribe pain medicine and we would take it from there. I asked when he’d need it. He said when he was rubbing his mouth, eating less or yelping when yawning. I said that he was already doing that on occasion. The vets eyes told me this was not good news.
I asked if this was hurting him… he answered that it was hard to say. It probably would eventually but at this point it may just be making his jaw uncomfortable.
Then he sent me home.
I called Steve and could barely get out the words. My mother told me not to pick up LA until I’d pulled myself together. I really tried but as soon as Steve got home I dissolved into tears.
My wonderful husband had stopped at the store and gotten the ingredients to make natural dog food. We used to make homemade but when LA was about 6 months we tried other things because it was too much for me to feed two 65 pound dogs twice a day and keep up. He said that he’d help take over it but both dogs seemed healthier on it and maybe the natural food would help slow the growth of the tumor (there are lots of studies that regular kibble is contributing to cancer in dogs). And at the very least he loved it, so that made it worth it.
Steve and I both struggled with our emotions all evening. We didn’t want to frighten LA. It is both a blessing and a curse that she doesn’t understand this yet. A blessing because she doesn’t understand the concept of death and a curse because one day her best friend will just be gone.
And that is something I am struggling with… besides being my baby boy he is LA’s best friend. They cuddle watching TV. She feeds him her food. She lounges all over him and showers him with kisses. He sleeps by her crib. She feels she must say good night to both dogs every night but Baxter is her best friend.
While I’m relieved I don’t have to have that talk about death yet with her really. One day he just won’t be here for her and she won’t really understand why. I thought we would have him to an age where she could remember him… at least a bit.
And my other girl, Cera. To her he is her best friend, brother, partner, everything. They are a set. On dark nights she doesn’t want to go outside without him. I do not know how she will react to his “disappearance.”
We tried to have conversations (mostly over IM because it was a little less emotional) about how we want to proceed. We decided that we are willing to pay whatever fee to a vet to come to the house when the time comes, because he is so afraid of the office we don’t want his last moments there. We agreed that we should try to process this as quickly as we can and then focus on the fact that we do still have him and we can make his last time as lovely and comfortable as we can. We are having pictures taken of Baxter with LA and we hope to get a family picture as well with us all. We will up walks to his favorite bush/tree so he can mark it. More car rides. But when we got to the point of discussing burial we couldn’t get any further.
Steve is afraid of me having false hope because two friends have told me of tumors that mysteriously disappeared. One friend was giving her dog an anti cancer natural diet that is very close to what we were already planning on feeding him. So we are tweaking his food to match the cancer diet. I’ve read of herbs that slow the growth and sometimes even help shrink. I’m trying not to have false hope, but I can try.
Steve feels he can already see him getting worse… I think it’s just because we are more aware of the problem. Last night I tried to give him a pupperoni stick he was asking for. His jaw was too weak to bite down and take it. I hate to hold it for him as he gnawed off pieces using his back teeth. I cannot even tell you how this broke my heart.
We are a sad set of parents trying to pull it together for the kids, the human one and the fuzzy ones too.
I just pray we have months and months rather than weeks and weeks. We are hoping he makes it to the fall because Baxter truly loves to go camping in the fall and we are planning a trip to Ft. DeSoto just for him as the weather cools. I just hope he will be there.
This was a rough week for our family. My mother got some bad news and we got some bad news… all around just rough. The nearly constant rain didn’t help alleviate the pervasive sense of doom and gloom.
I’ll be ready to talk about my bad news more, I probably need to but not yet.
What I did for me this week is to put aside the time to work on my Etsy shop and Facebook shop pages more! It’s been on my to do list forever!
So, without further ado I give you my Facebook Page for Mama Loves. I have the basic set up looking good. I have a few things listed in the wine category and the toddler clothing section. I’ve started asking people to “Like” me… it’s a start!
I also have my Etsy shop up for Mama Loves set up, but just for the wine glasses. Since my sizing, cloth selection and pricing is still being finalized I didn’t want to list those items just yet. But they are coming!
While writing this I just realize I never did a post about my new sewing hobby. I just wanted to at least try to make a dress or two for LA. But I had lots of success and really enjoyed the process. I also enjoyed the control of choosing the fabric and the exact style I wanted. Not to mention the fact that a few people asked me to make things for them. One friend even paid me to make a replica of a tutu skirt that I gave to LA. Another friend requested something I had made as a gift for her son…. and it was fun!
I really enjoyed making the wine glasses so I was thinking I’d just open up a shop selling those. Since they are custom made I wouldn’t have to have inventory on hand. But so many people encouraged me to at least put a few toddler outfits or accessories together so I figured “why not?”
The only problem I had was that the shop name MamaLoves was already taken. But it wasn’t taken by someone using it, they have changed their name. However, Etsy sets it up so any original shop name is marked as “taken” so no one can steal former clients. It looks like the original user has not used the name in a long, looooooong time so I wrote Etsy. They said no.
So I can still be Mama Loves but my web address right now reads http://www.etsy.com/shop/etainbutterfly. I cannot make it say MamaLoves there. I can make it say “AllMamaLoves, ” “MamaLovesBoutique” or “AngelicArt.” The last was originally going to be the name of the shop when I was planning on doing only glassware, no clothing.
Which one do you all like?
I am also really hopeful that I’ll get the time this weekend to try a new project of something I’d like to sell in the shops! I am excited about it. I’m also excited about the fact that I did a search on Etsy and there are not really any wine glasses quite like the ones I make. So, fingers crossed, it will go well!
Let me know of anything that you think I should offer in the shop that aren’t there yet. I have a plan to have little boy ties with matching shirt and hair bow for girls, or maybe a skirt and hair bow. I think the tutu I made is going to make the cut and up cycled shirts from Daddy’s old work shirts 🙂 I also thought I could do a matching toddler dress/top and Mama skirt like I did for us below.
Below I’ll post some pictures of things I have made for LA and you can let me know if anything strikes you as uniquely sell-able.
Princess Dress… First thing that I made for LA
Old Fashioned Dress- My second project
Up Cycled Dress
Up cycled dress progress
Tutu skirt and matching top
Matching toddler dress and Mama skirt
Little boy and baby ties
Oh! And even though it was a sad week I did not forget LA’s project. I just can’t show you what we did until after Father’s Day 😉
When I was pregnant I signed up for nearly every pregnancy email update I could find. Every week I’d get like 7 “You are ____ weeks!” emails with fun facts about LA’s development and my personal countdown to motherhood.
I would forward the good ones on to Steve and my mom… it was fun. A little overboard in quantity but it made me smile.
I had no idea they would never end…. LA will be 18 years old and I have a feeling What to Expect When You’re Expecting will send me an email saying “Congratulations your baby is now 864 weeks old. This month they should be graduating and hopefully making plans for their future. You may have noticed a slight attitude change. Be prepared for some rebellion and possibly tears.”
I did try to unsubscribe myself to some but there are some persistent ones… luckily they are the good ones and they seem to have some good tips and games for toddlers. So I don’t mind them coming every week lol
Baby center is one that still appears but they reduced themselves down to monthly rather than weekly. When they come they also link to cool games or activities that are developmentally appropriate. Some have been cool and some have been lame.
When the one for gloop came back at her 19 month “birthday” I was super excited. It seemed like something we just HAD to try. We kept making plans to do it one evening but something always came up. So I figured it was a good place to start in my new resolution.
So I figured that since it was Saturday I better get hopping. Steve thought it sounded fun too so we had been holding off on doing it until we could be together as a family. Which works for you all because now you have pictures, would not have happened otherwise.
Let me just say first of all that you all (Even if your children are teeny babies, even if they are still “on the inside”, even if they exist only in your imagination) YOU MUST TRY THIS! It is awesome!
Also cheap… all you need is cornstarch, water, a big bowl and spoons. If you want to get all fancy like I did some food coloring is good.
Before we could even get started LA was quite happy playing with the giant spoon and water.
So all you do is mix a cup or two of cornstarch with water. There are no real measurements so you can’t mess up. LA enjoyed helping me mix.
This can get really messy (although it’s super easy to clean up) so I’d either head outside or put down newspapers for inside play.
The directions say that gloop is neither a solid nor a liquid, it has the properties of both and will “mesmerize your toddler- and probably you, too!”
So I stirred and added a bit more corn starch and then water. Just a tip, start with less water than you think you need… it will look like it’s not enough and then suddenly look like it’s more than you need.
At one point I thought, it’s kinda hard to mix I’ll just use my hands. That is when I discovered what gloop is… it is difficult to describe.
If you try to press down on it or grab it you will find it’s nearly solid and you can drum on it, tap it, or mold it. But as soon as you stop applying any pressure it reverts to liquid.
I was fascinated as you can see here…. LA was still interested in stirring.
If you lift it up high it will dribble out like liquid but you can see in this picture (sorta) how some of it is hanging more like a stalagmite from hands as it is still partially solid from my touch.
LA still stirring.
Steve was laughing at me by this point because I just found it so fascinating. The texture is nearly beyond description because it’s so unlike anything I’ve ever felt. And LA poked it with her spoon.
You can see texture here a bit more. LA started to be interested in this stuff finally.
Stuck her hand in a bit… you can see on her face she’s not quite sure. And then….
We got this reaction….lol
And she started trying to clean her hands. I probably should have guessed… if she had her way she’d wash her hands 15 times in a row. She generally doesn’t mind dirt (and trust me she gets dirty) but sticky things don’t seem to excite her.
And we moved back to the spoon.
So since she was uninterested I started experimenting more.
You can roll it into a solid, hard ball…
and when I let go…
I didn’t want to be selfish and hog the gloop so I let Steve have a go. You can see how interested LA is at this point…
You can really see the texture here…
You can kinda see how when he runs his hands over it then it becomes hard…..
LA still more interested in spoon and water.
Even though it certainly wasn’t fascinating to LA (yet) she had fun mixing it and playing in the water. We all played with it as a family and had a good time. She was close to naptime so maybe it was just too much… or she wasn’t in the mood. Who knows but it was well worth it. And as craft/activity goes it was super cheap. We didn’t even use up our whole container of cornstarch and they are only a couple bucks.
PLUS… mom bonus… it was SO easy to clean up. We just dumped water in and it reverted to water. Our hands rinsed clean without even soap.
I would definitely recommend you try this… even if your kids don’t love it (and honestly I think most kids would… especially older ones) you will love it. And it’s cheap and easy to clean up… win win win
So yup… here she has totally abandoned any pretense of playing with gloop. She asked her Daddy to turn on the bubbles and has headed to the sand box. I’m still playing with it… don’t judge me until you’ve tried it. It is amazing!
Btw… it says it’s good for 19 months but older and younger kids would enjoy too. LA is 21 months old now. Also says that it’s good for fine motor skills and language.
For my first “me” resolution week I decided to tackle my hair. For most of my life I’ve had really long hair. Two or three years ago (I can’t remember lol) I cut it shorter, about shoulder length and last spring I cut it even shorter just for a change. Sometimes I think I’d like to do a messy bob but I’m not there yet.
Right now my hair is back to about the bottom of my shoulder blades. I like that with the shorter hair it’s quicker and easy to do some styling….
Side note… before having LA my hair was wavy and I could “scrunch” it into a pretty good curl/wave. I had just come to peace with my hair and decided I liked the versatility of having curly hair, wavy hair or straight. Then LA was born and it lost the ability… now it’s just minor-ly wavy. Sigh, you never appreciate something until it’s gone. Anyway….
I like I have more options with ponytails etc for the longer. However, I don’t know how to do some of the cool things I’d love to do. So again on Pinterest I have a board of tutorials for some cool things to do with hair. I found this neat tutorial for a loose, romantic French Twist. I figured this was a good easy thing to start with since I do already know how to do a regular French Twist.
I had some extra time before my friend was picking LA and me up for the mall and I figured I’d give it a go. I followed the directions, even busting out the dusty mouse and hairspray from under my cabinet.
It took a couple tries but I got it up and starting sticking bobby pins in there. I was even feeling all snazzy when I realized I had some pretty ones with sparkly stones on top. Then sprayed the heck out of my hair.
It wasn’t perfect, but that was the point, right? All whimsical and messy…. tried to take some pictures of it.
This was taken right afterwards….I need to learn how to take better picture of the back of my head.
I was relatively happy with it. But then as time went on I could feel it falling…. it felt heavy and in weird shapes. I knew messy (aka whimsical) was the thing so I was trying to go with it. I went and got more bobby pins and pinned away. I know my hair is heavy… really heavy, whenever I had it done for prom or what not they always used a ton of bobby pins because it’s baby fine and heavy (did I mention heavy?)
So about an hour later it seriously felt like it was falling and looked like this….
From one angle not so bad, the other looks like it’s falling out.
btw… when I was doing all this LA was doing this….
About twenty minutes after that my friend arrived to pick us up for mall and it looked like this (she is much better at taking pictures lol)
In her words it looked kinda cool and a bit Victorian… but definitely like it was falling out.
So I put my hair in a pony tail and did a normal french twist with my cool bobby pins. I can’t fault the tutorial, the lady says it’s hard to master and I know my hair slips out of things and falls, it’s wily escaping hair apparently.
I’ll try again… but I enjoyed the attempt! lol If it worked it would look cool!