Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This Month Has Been Brought to You by the Following:

Can you believe that February begins this week?  Can you believe that January is just about over?

Thank you, Baby Jesus!  This has been The. Longest. Month. EVER!

Remember when I started out the month by detailing by firstforty-eight hours?  And then I wrote a post for Macomb Patch that talked more about this month?

Well, for those you are keeping tabs, my Babes have been sick for over thirty days!  THIRTY DAYS!!  It’s hard not to take this personal when I try to disinfect everything.  (Save your breath if you are going to tell me that’s the problem.  Because I have already thought of that and am reconsidering my strategy for my war against germs).

Marie has had an ear infection since January 1st.  The fluid won’t drain, and because she keeps on getting cold after cold, the fluid becomes reinfected.  Thomas has the nastiest cold I have seen in a long time, and if the fluid that is remaining in his ear does not get infected, then it will be a miracle.

In other news, my Dad’s COPD landed him in the hospital.  This is not good on many levels, but the level I feel the most is that we have to be careful about what germs we bring around him since he is still recovering from bronchitis.  And to add to that, my uncle is very sick.  I am going to be traveling out West soon to help my aunt take care of him.

Did I mention that I had an ear infection as well?  Or that Harrington has a man cold and a broken wrist from playing hockey?

I feel that I should put a sticker on the minivan indicating it is a shuttle to any and all local healthcare facilities.


So I can safely say that January has been brought to you by the following products*:

Up and Up Dye-Free Children’s Allergy Relief (code for Benadryl): I don’t even want to guess how many fluid ounces of this stuff The Babes have ingested.

Antibiotics: Three rounds for Marie.  One round for Thomas and me.  Thanks, Marie Curie, for your wonderful invention. Having said that, I hope that we are done for a while.

Yogurt: I bought a case of organic yogurt to counteract all the antibiotics. (I saved a whole $1.65 by buying it in bulk).  Another plus – the dairy guy at the grocery store is totally cute.  I, however, look the opposite in my yoga pants and two-day old dirty hair under a cap.

 Humidifiers:  I am surprised that the paint is not peeling off the walls yet.  I think we are turning the bedrooms into steam saunas.  And because I spare no comfort to my Babes, they have been enjoying eucalyptus-scented steam.

Ice Cream: Because sometimes a glass of wine just doesn’t measure up to the comfort that a big bowl of ice cream offers.

Coffee: None of this would be possible without coffee.  I am back to my afternoon cup(s) because I am tired.  Not just a bit tired.  Ex.Hausted. After thirty-one days of managing illnesses, I am losing my mind. 

February, please, please be good to me and my family. 


How has your first month of 2012 been?

*I was not paid to mention any of this stuff.  Obviously.  I think we know each other well enough to know I would totally say I got paid.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What Do You Think Thursday with Skinny Scoop: Do You Think All-Day Kindergarten Should Be Mandatory?

Big new hit my local community: All-Day Kindergarten will be . . .


As of now, it’s pretty much up to the parents to decide if their child will attend all-day or half-day.  Not all schools offer Full-Day Kindergarten, some only offer Half-Day, and some school have a K+ program that students can attend in addition to their half-day class (for a price).  But as of next school year, it’s not a choice if you are planning on sending your child to public school.

This is huge decision, and many parents are not only super fired up about it, but they are also quite divided on the subject.  I wrote a post for Macomb Patch that answers this question:

Please leave a comment either here or at the MacombPatch.  I would love to hear what you have to say about it.  I would also be interested in hearing what Kindergarten is like in your community.

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

To: Peggy Orenstein – My Thoughts on Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture

Dear Peggy,

My name is Erin.  For as long as I can remember, I have always loved reading.  I love how books can transport me to different places and broaden my horizons.  It’s pretty phenomenal how words on a page can be so powerful.

 However, what I love even more is a book that makes me feel like I have found my long lost tribe; a tribe that shares the very thoughts that usually make me feel like a loner.  After I read Cinderella Ate My Daughter, I feel that this Midwesterner suburbanite may have found her unlikely match in a Berkley author.

The whole basis of the Girlie Girl Culture and how it enables girls to see beyond the social confines that emphasis looks over character resonated deeply with me.  For a mother who lives in the Midwest and is trying to raise a girl that doesn’t look up to the new Miley Cyrus of the moment, I felt that it was refreshing to read someone else who shared these same ideas.  Sometimes I look at the ridiculousness of skimpy Barbie clothes and the horrific metamorphosis of Strawberry Shortcake and Holly Hobby (my childhood favorites), and I think when the hell did this happen?  (I couldn't find the post with these pictures, but here's the one with the Trolls).  Doesn’t anyone else see this?  Or am I taking crazy pills?

I also loved the history of the princess movement from medieval times with fairy tales to Shirley Temple during WWII to the Disney Princesses franchise.  (As a child, I don’t remember all that glitz and glamor of The Princess Aisle.  I suspected some sneaky marketing move, so thanks for clearing that up).

I want my daughter to be a strong, self-confident happy person *and* have friends all while maintaining strong boundaries within this crazy Girlie-Girl Culture.  Herein lies the challenge because most Kindergarteners play princesses and Barbies.  The shopping scene that you described with your daughter crying for a Barbie as you are crying because you don’t want to buy the Barbie while your husband is exasperated really hit home with me.

For Christmas, my daughter wanted nothing by Barbie and Monster High (*shakes head and looks off in the distance as I exhaled a “where did I go wrong look” sigh).  The nice woman at Target asked if she could help me find something.  “A Civil Rights Activist/Yoga Instructor Barbie with a slightly fuller figure, please,” I sarcastically replied.  She nodded in agreement yet responded, “It’s just a toy.  She’ll be watching you for cues on body image and messages about women.”

This is true, but still. . .

I ended up settling on Art Teacher Barbie.  I cried a bit at the cash register, but when I saw how happy she was on Christmas morning, I felt all mixed up inside. To make matters worse, for her Martin Luther King, Jr. writing assignment that asked her to write her dream she wrote, “I wish Mom would like Barbie, My Little Pony, and Littlest Pet Shop.”



The Girlie Girl Culture may have changed, but the need for a mother’s approval has not.  So we had a talk today about how I am cool with Barbie as long as she realizes that although fashion and clothes are fun, it’s what on the inside that is most important.

 I may have given into Barbies (mostly because I think it would have done more harm than good if I had not), so I have drawn other lines in the sand.

My daughter has been enrolled in swim and yoga instead of dance.  I want her to focus on health and strength and meditation rather than performance and costumes. 

We try to watch Chopped on Food Network because I love how they show women sparing with men about food.  There are no mentions of looks, only skills.  Another plus?  The women judges are powerhouses in their industry, and they do not look like Barbies.  (I think Alex Guarnaschelli is awesome.  And although she's not on Chopped, I love Anne Burrell)! Win!

So although Marie is playing with Barbies, we are avoiding Barbie books like the plague.  She may have fun creating stories for her dolls, but she is not going to be reading about dates and cute boys as a five year old.

To be honest, Peggy, I wish I didn’t’ have to try so hard.  I wish you had a step-by-step action plan to raise a girl without all this media-driven pressure to be perfect.  I wish there were more options, and I wish that not liking Barbies wasn’t such a line in the Kindergarten sandbox.  I wish I could send her to dance without the fear of skimpy costumes and shaking her ass while wearing a tone of makeup.

So I try to stay strong on my decisions, keep the dialogue about what makes a good person open, and fill in the diversity and strong women role model blanks with reading and traveling.

Thanks for making me feel less alone in this struggle and inspiring me not give up fighting the good fight.

Sincerely Your Lost Tribe Member,

 Erin Rawlings

So readers, what is your opinion about the Girlie Girl Culture?  Do you think playing Barbies is harmless or detrimental? 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Do You Think Thursday with Skinny Scoop: ModCloth Edition

This week has been crazy, CRAZY I tell you!  It looks like the family is on the mend from the sickness that lasted the first two weeks of January, but now I am playing catch up with the house.

 I did manage to post at Macomb Patch about my opinion on the importance of preschool.  I would love for you to check it out and let me know what you think about preschool.  I also talked about blogging at a social media class at a local college; how cool is that?!  I felt totally under qualified since I think I am still a beginner, but I surprised myself with all that I knew.  Yea!

I decided to have some fun and create a list of my favorite ModCloth dresses.  I was littering my Facebook stream with a bunch of links to the ModCloth dresses that I covet, and Eden from Skinny Scoop suggested that I create a Skinny Scoop list – brilliant idea!

So per Eden’s suggestion, here is a list of the dresses I want most from ModCloth. 

Hope you enjoyed a bit of fancy this Thursday!  What are your favorites? 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Blog Post That Has Yet To Be

Remember when I wrote the blog post about my first 48 hoursof 2012?

I could rename it The First two weeks of 2012.

 I wrote a bit about it here at the Macomb Patch.

To sum it up, Thomas seems to be OK for now with his antibiotics and The Pink Eye.  Marie has to go back to the doctor because she ran out of antibiotics (or they didn’t give me enough), and she still can’t hear.  As for me, my antibiotics finally kicked in for my ear infection so that’s good.

But I have to say, when Mommy goes down, the whole house goes down with me.  It will take me about a week to uncover from all of this junk, let alone disinfect.

This is too bad because I had an awesome post ready to write about my thoughts on Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein.  My book club read her (per my suggestion and group vote), and it was an eye-opening look at the new girlie girl culture.  Have you read it yet?  What did you think?  I will be posting my thoughts next week.  (When I will have a break from running to the doctors’ offices and pharmacies).

So, I am sorry about this post.  Please come back next week when I return to my regularly scheduled life (which included writing regular blog posts).

Oh, and one more thing – I have tried installing Disqus and Intense Debate.  Neither one was installed successfully.  I really want threaded comments so I can easily interact with each reader.  I hear Blogger will be featuring threaded comments soon.  Do I have any other options?

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What Do You Think Thursday With Skinny Scoop: Do You Have Post-Holiday Blues or Post-Holliday Relief?

Challenging:  That would be the word to describe my first week of 2012.   And by challenging, I mean it may have been more fun getting a root canal and being forced to listen to Kenny G. music.

Without Novocain.

Here’s the low down on the first forty-eight hours.  I must say that I am ever so grateful for penicillin.  We had to make an unexpected trip to the doctor’s because Marie kept on hearing swishing in her ears, but that should clear up in a seven to ten days.  Until then, we will be repeating ourselves at high decibels.

Then, today, after I thought I had been through enough in three days, Thomas defiantly declared that he would no longer be participating in nap time.  I knew this day was coming, so I was all set and ready to sell him on Break Time: he spends time quietly playing in his room while I get some house and blog stuff done.  I thought it sounded great.

He viewed it as solitary confinement with no hope of parole.

It was a mess.

So suffice to say, this year got off to a difficult start. 

I was prepared to feel all bluesy with a touch of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) because historically I would experience Holiday Let Down: depression due to the end of the holiday season.  I would feel depressed that the holiday is over (and back when I was teaching, I would have to go back to work).  I would be disappointed because the holiday didn’t live up to my expectations.   I would be emotionally drained from family drama.

This year, I feel oddly calm, maybe even looking forward to the dreaded Michigan months of January and February.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe I have healthier boundaries therefore better able to enjoy family events without being overwhelmed.   Perhaps it’s because The Babes are older, and the packing logistics are as easy as throwing a few diapers and wipes in my purse.  Maybe it’s because of my new outlook on life that I briefly touched on in my Review of 2011.  It could also be that, thanks to The Babes, I have a deeper understanding of enjoying the moment. 

Usually the weather plays a point in all of a bad mood.  But this year, I am not going to get sucked into the bad weather talk.  I live in Michigan.  The weather is rarely ideal.  This year, I bought a good hat and even snow pants.  I am not going to get trapped inside.

Unless I want to be snowed in.  In which I will bake.  Too much baking and eating?  Let’s play Wii.

Please don’t confuse this as everything is rosy and perfect.   It’s not (just ask Thomas who had the bigger meltdown today during our attempted nap time).  This new appreciation for the moment is a practiced frame of mind.  Emphasis on “practice.”

My bottom line is I loved Christmas this year, and despite how the horrible start to 2012, I am looking forward to it.  And in the great words of Dr. Suess, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

My question to you is

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My First 48 Hours of 2012

Happy New Year!  In case you weren’t hovering over your computer on New Year’s Eve, I wrote a little review of 2011.  To be fair (as in I did do something other than blogging), we did have friends over on the earlier side since we all have kids five and under.   We thought it best to celebrate early to avoid ringing in the New Year with a meltdown.  Objective successfully reached.

I thought that was a good sign that 2012 was off to a positive start.

I thought wrong.

Follow me through this loose time line:

12 a.m. – Holy $hit!  I stayed up to watch the ball drop.  I haven’t done that in at least six years!   Thanks Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper for making it fun!

8:00 a.m.  – Holy $hit!  Everyone slept in!  (This should have been the first clue that something was not right).  Woke up and made chocolate chip pancakes.  I also drank copious amounts of coffee with Peppermint Mocha creamer.

9:00 a.m. – Find myself having to repeat everything I was saying to Marie. 

9:05 a.m. –          “Marie, could you please bring me your dish?”


“Marie, could you please bring me your dish?” 


“Marie, could you please bring me your dish?” 


9:06 a.m. -           “Marie, did you brush your teeth?”


                                “Marie, did you brush your teeth?”


                                “Marie, did you brush your teeth?


9:07a.m. -            “Marie, can you hear me?”


                                “Marie, can you hear me?”


                                “Marie, can you hear me?”


9:09a.m. -            “Marie, can you hear me?”


                                “Marie, can you hear me?”


                                “Marie, can you hear me?”


10:30 a.m. – Suspect that Marie cannot hear because she has too much ear wax.  Harrington gives her a bath and cleans her ears.  The problem is not resolved.  (See times 9:07 a.m. and 9:09 a.m.)

3:30 p.m. – We are just about to put our coats on to go to my parents’ house for dinner when I see some pus oozing from Marie’s eyes.  I try to stay calm, but on the inside I. Am. Freaking. Out.  I have always had an exaggerated fear of The Pink Eye (term coined by Marie).  I am no doctor, but I do believe that if there is something that resembles drainage that would be normal dripping from your nose actually leaking from your eye, it is a safe bet it is The Pink Eye.  I call the doctor.  He confirms that she has The Pink Eye and prescribes her eye drops.  On a related note, Marie also has a totally exaggerated fear of The Pink Eye, too, so she is hysterical.  Thank goodness my parents are cool with us coming over because she needs a distraction.

4:00 p.m. – Pick up meds from pharmacist.  He is either A) not happy to be there, B) nursing a hangover, or C) all of the above.  The shades on the walk-up window are drawn, and I can see a venti-sized Starbucks cup behind the counter.  The only word he utters to me is, “Yes,” when I ask him, after looking at the receipt, if he had charged my insurance.  (A three milliliter bottle of medicine is approximately $20, however, it originally retailed for approximately $100).

5:30 p.m. – Marie keeps getting up from dinner to examine her Pink Eye.  She says she is done eating so I could give her the medicine.  I try my best to administer the drops without grimacing too much at the sight of the puss.

8:00 p.m. – Bed time.

3:30 a.m. – Marie wakes up in a panic and tries looking at her Pink Eye, which has spread to the next eye.  Thankfully, her eyes are glued shut with goo so she cannot see what I am still trying to erase from my memory.  I try to unglue her eyes with a warm washcloth and give her more drops.

3:42 a.m. – Marie has had a bad dream about The Pink Eye, comes racing into our room, and tries to get in bed with us.  I end up yelling, “No” because she could not hear my loud whispers.  I put her back to bed and started googling The Pink Eye.

4:00a.m. – I finally fall back asleep.

7:15 a.m. – Take a shower so I can be prepared to leave for the first appointment of the day.

8:10a.m. – Secure an early doctor appointment.

9:15 a.m. – Doctor confirms that Marie has a double ear infection with pink eye, which commonly occur with each other.  Since I am in there, I ask if Thomas’s new rash could be related to this.  He says that the rash sounds like strep and that I need to make an appointment.  Gulp.

11:00 a.m. – Give Marie her amoxicillin. 

12: 00 p.m.  – Lunch.

1:00 – 2:30 p.m.  While Thomas is napping, I disinfect Eve.Ry.Thing.

2:30 – 3:00 p.m. – Pray for the best.

3:30 p.m. – Take Thomas to his doctor appointment.  Strep test: negative.  Sensitive skin: positive.  Phew.

5:00 p.m. – Costco chicken noodle soup to supplement the antibiotics.

6:15 p.m. – Start bed time routine early.  Obviously.

7:30 p.m. – Curl up in the fetal position and am grateful for antibiotics.  And that the day is over.

I am going with the belief that my year will only go up from here.  Marie’s eyes are doing much better.  We are still waiting for her hearing to return.

My digestion track was already sensitive with eating lots of salty, fatty food and no down time that facing my Pink Eye fear was just a bit too much for my stomach.  Ick.

Hope your 2012 is off to a great start!