Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Three Years Ago

Happy birthday, Thomas!  Today you turn three.

Three.  I can’t believe it.

I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday.  I remember holding you for the first time in my arms, falling deeply and instantly in love with you.  I remember it with such crystal-clear clarity that it sometimes seems impossible that three whole years have passed since that moment.

My heart grew much bigger that day.  And it just keeps on getting bigger.

My heart grows bigger with warm and fuzzy love when you are so free with your hugs and kisses and the snuggly way you rest your head on my shoulder.

My heart grows bigger with patience when you consistently and aggressively push the boundaries.

My hear grows bigger with the light and joy when you make jokes and laugh your adorable laugh.

These three years have gone by in a blink, and I’ve totally enjoyed watching you become your own little person.  You laugh loudly, and you love freely.  You have an amazing imagination as you transform into a pirate or a robot or a monster.  You have an incredible vocabulary, and you are able to articulate your feelings quite effectively.  You are rough and tumble-y yet so gentle and thoughtful. 

I am so proud of who you are becoming.  And I am grateful for all that you have taught me.

I wish nothing but happiness for you.  I hope that you always live your life with as much enthusiasm, curiosity, and gentleness as you do now.

May you always have that special twinkle in your eye.

Happy Birthday, Thomas. 

I love you forever.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Guest Post by Amy from Planting a Seed: The One Surprising Thing That My Dad’s Cancer Did For Me

 I am so excited about this guest post.  Amy is part of Planting a Seed blog that shares different ways to incorporate more fruits, vegetables, and plant-based protein into your diet.  In today’s post, she shares her story that inspired her to transition to a plan-based diet.  I think it’s incredible! 

Please be sure to show Amy some comment love!! 

Greetings, Mommy on the Spot readers!  I'm visiting from PlantingHYPERLINK "" a Seed and I'm honored to be guest blogger today.  Here’s some (plant) food for thought toward achieving a disease-proof lifestyle with my own personal story.

Have you ever felt helpless to cancer?  My guess is that you have.  Too many of us are affected by cancer.  In August of 2009, my dad was diagnosed with cancer.  I thought there was nothing I could do for him.  Then his nutritionist told him to start eating an 80% plant-based diet.  That means 80% of what he eats should be vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.  I started researching cancer diets and found data from the Cancer Project that states diet accounts for a minimum of 30% of all cancers.  In fact, some researchers estimate that only 3% of all cancers are genetically driven and the balance lifestyle driven. The idea that I could impact my chances of getting cancer, and could actually reverse cancer by changing my diet was new information for me to digest.  I decided to support my dad, and maybe even do something for myself at the same time, by adopting a plant-based diet.

It wasn’t easy and it didn’t come without some trial-and-error.  It was hard to give up cheese pizza!  In fact, I held on to that cheese pizza, and a few other splurge-worthy foods, for a few months while I was transitioning to a plant-based diet.  Then I read The China Study and discovered that the long-term cancer study described in the book was conducted with dairy products, not meat.  That was the push I needed to give up the cheese.  After all, my reason for adopting this lifestyle was because of my dad’s cancer diagnosis.  I could no longer pick and choose which animal products I would keep and which I would abandon.  I would still love to eat a cheesy slice, but I don’t.  There are plenty of animal foods that my body is wired to crave from years of dietary abuse.  I know in my mind that these foods are not what will make me strong and healthy.  By educating myself on plant-based nutrition, I can easily pass on the temptations now.

In addition to reading books like The China Study, I also joined VegMichigan, and watched documentaries like Forks Over Knives to help me learn more about plant-based nutrition.  If these sources were not convincing enough, then the results of my 2010 physical certainly were.  My cholesterol dropped from 205 to 140!  I didn’t even think I needed to lower my cholesterol because I had always been told that the ratio of HDL-to-LDL was good.  Now that I look back on that, I cannot believe that I was not alarmed at my cholesterol level.  I rested on the fact that my cholesterol level was “genetic” and thought I couldn’t do anything about it.  I’ve recently been reading Rip Esselstyn’s Engine 2 Diet and have learned the importance of a cholesterol level below 150 for the best protection against heart disease.  My cholesterol-lowering experience is not unique.  Many people are reducing their cholesterol, reversing Type 2 diabetes and halting cancer by adopting a plant-based diet.

It’s been two years and seven months since my dad’s diagnosis.  For now, chemotherapy and radiation seem to have controlled his cancer.  I am sad that my dad and family had to go through the experience of cancer.  Certainly he feels lucky that his was treatable.  I feel lucky to have improved my health and discovered a new way of living through his experience.  My goal is to lead others toward a plant-based lifestyle for improved health and disease prevention.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Guest Post by Real Mommy Chronicles: SAHM vs.WM = TIFIDWTC

I finally made it to Dallas! I wasn’t sure if I was going to go since The Babes were sick, but I took care of them, to them their heavy doses of antibiotics, and entrusted them in the care of their grandparents. (That sounds like a really simple version of the Hell I endured, but that’s a post when I am not trying to relax).

This week I am taking some time off from writing for my blog as I regroup for a bit while Harrington actually has to do work at his conference. Today’s post is from my good friend, Annie, at Real Mommy Chronicles. I totally get where she is coming from because no Mom has it easy, whether you stay home with you kids full time or work outside of the home. It comes down to the personal choice of what is right for you and your family.

On Thursday, I have an amazing writer (who I am lucky enough to be her cousin) that will write about her choice to eat a plan-based diet.

Be sure to give some comment love to these great bloggers!

That would be, "This Isn't Fair, I Don't Want To Choose." (You are reading a Mommy Blog, my friend, so I am assuming you already know the acronyms for Stay At Home Mom and Working Mom. And if you didn't before, well, now you do.)

First of all, let me say that I know I am fortunate to even be in a position where I am struggling with this issue. Lots of moms don't have a choice but to work if they want their kids to have food, clothing and shelter. Technically, our family could survive (with all belts on that last, tightest hole, if you catch my drift) on my husband's salary alone. However, it would be nice to have a little more income. PLUS, it really is hard as Hell to be home with the kids 24 hours a day. I'm not (necessarily) saying it is Hell...just that it is hard as Hell.

But honestly? Weighing the pros and cons of both sides is exhausting. Stressful. Emotional. Draining. Scary.

On the one hand, your kids are only little once and it is your only chance to watch them grow and to be the main influence on their character.

On the other hand, being around your kids all day every day is so exhausting that it can sometimes leave you acting like a grumpy old man instead of the nurturing voice of love and guidance you dreamed you would be as a mother.

The craziest part has been trying to make the decision based on financial components. Once you've subtracted your nanny or daycare's pay from your salary, you are not left with much. Unless you are a CEO. Or treating your nanny as an indentured servant and not really 'paying' her per se. Which just really isn't cool. So basically, if you are a normal person, with a normal salary and you are decent enough to pay your nanny find yourself doing a different kind of math:

So I am going to spend X amount of hours away from my kids this year in order to bring home Y?

Well, let me tell you. That equation just never sits well in your heart.

Because the truth is, no matter what you make, if you compare it to whether it is worth not being around your children I can't imagine a sum that makes it feel okay. Let alone good.

Plus, let me just add that it finally dawned on me that it is totally wrong and bizarre that we always seem to subtract the childcare expenses from my salary. Am I the only mom who finds herself doing the math that way? The truth is, if we want to do the math of having a two-salary household with childcare, we should subtract the childcare from both salaries to be fair, right? Half from each. My salary looks much more appealing with half of the childcare expenses subtracted from it. (And even better if I conveniently forget all of those lovely taxes that will be taken out..... Note to self: Get into that top, top bracket where I have a gazillion dollars and get taxed next to nothing before government comes to their senses and fixes that ridiculousness.)

The other part of the whole equation is, Little ol' me.

I went to college. I went to grad school. I got accepted into impressive programs. I worked my little tail off. (It was still relatively little back then.)

I enjoy working.

I am not sure I want to completely give that up for another 5 years or so. Certainly not for another 18.

Being a mom is my most important role. It is the one that is most vital I don't screw up. It is the one I enjoy the most.

But I totally get it when women talk about needing to also be productive in other ways in order to retain their sense of self. And I am starting to realize that perhaps I fall into that category.

I think my greatest strengths are as a mom. But maybe I need to be fulfilling other professional needs as well in order to really be the happiest and most patient mom I can be.

That, and I really need to start making time to do things like get a haircut, go on a date with my husband, get my nails done, shower daily.

I mean, I deserve to feel human, too, right?

I am pretty sure that when my mom was away from me in order to work for whatever her personal reasons were, she was hoping it would benefit me as a person. I need to honor that and make sure that I am not only a good mom and wife, but also a happy and productive person. Individual.

I need to make sure that her choices and challenges weren't wasted on raising a daughter who then never figured out how to not only be what her family needs her to be, but also be who she is supposed to be.

My kids deserve it.

I deserve it.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Reasons My Life Has Gotten in the Way of Blogging

What?!  It’s next week already?!  I missed my Tuesday post?  And my Skinny Scoop post?!  What the hell did I do all last week?

My life, that’s what I’ve been doing.  This week was a total amped up version of what I handle in a regular week.  And it’s kept me from blogging.  What’s up with that?!  Because I never feel like I do anything, I’ve decided to justify to myself my lapse in writing a list of everything else I did instead of blogging.  Instead of blogging, I have done the following:

1. Took the Babes to the ENT which concluded with the doctor taking out one of Thomas’s tubes since it was on its way out to determine there is still fluid in his ear, Marie’s tonsils and adenoids are swollen which, after two years of monitoring, we need decided to have them removed.  When I asked if he had a BOGO deal or a springtime deal with buy one surgery get ear tubes half off, he laughed.  And then said no. 

2. We have decided to finally replace our fifteen year old carpet.  I thought that this would be a simple decision, but has sucked a lot of time from last week.  Samples, high-end carpet with low- end padding, low-end carpet with high-end, incorrect estimates, weird guys coming to the house without calling and then telling me to relax after they’ve interrupted precious nap time . . . yeah, a bit more drama than I anticipated.

3. We received the dreaded pink slip that indicates a child in the classroom has lice and check your child’s head  (Well, they didn’t say forever, but it was implied).  So I have been loading the Fairy Tales products in Marie’s hair like crazy.  I even make my own lice repellant perfume courtesy of Aura Cacia’s essential oils and recipe.  (Yeah, I’m crazy like that).  I also wrote a huge email to Marie’s teachers that I don’t want her using the community ear phones for the computer.  They assured me they disinfected them, but not after every use.  Ick.  My head is itching just thinking about it.  And here’s the thing, I’ve been putting so much product in her hair that it flakes off.  Then I am in a panic: is it a nit?  Is it product buildup?  I JUST DON’T KNOW.  It’s crazy how much fear can be elicited by such a tiny bug.

4. I have been debating over the Galaxy S2 and iPhone 4s.  Researching, googling, YouTube, polls on Facebook.  I decided on the Galaxy.  Until I played with my brother’s phone as he artfully highlighted my hair.  My chest filled with dread as I knew I had made the wrong choice.  So I decided to go back to the store, return it, and get the iPhone.  If I had just gone with my gut instead of being talked out of the iPhone, I could have saved so much time.

5. Last week, we were hitting the play date circuit hardcore.  This also takes up a lot of time.

6. Hunger Games Trilogy.  Seriously, I have lost a ton of sleep, blogging time, and free space in my head to as I wonder how the hell Katniss is going to survive.  (Which I know she must and she will live happily ever after in an open marriage to both Gale and Peeta.  Please don’t tell me any different).  I love to read, and there are books that I could not put down.  But there is something inherently different about this series.  I haven’t felt this way about a series of books since The Babysitter’s Club. 

7. I suffered from a serious bout of the stomach flu.   Within hours, Harrington had it.  And then Marie.  And today, finally Nathan got it.  Thankfully, my Mom grocery shopped for us, and Harrington’s Mom helped us with The Babes.  On a related note, my neighborhood as well as those surrounding the area are suffering from the same thing (as in it was on the local news).

Seriously, number 7 was the icing on the cake.  (Which sounds disgusting.  Any food other than instant noodle soup, apple sauce, and popsicles sound disgusting).

On my sick bed, I was thinking that I was never going to be well again.  And if I was, I was never going to blog again because anything other than breathing sounded too hard.

But then I realized that I was being ridiculous.  And here I am.

Hope life is treating you better.  Please share your happy stories in the comment section.  I’d love to live vicariously through you right now.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Do You Think Thursdays with Skinny Scoop: Nostalgia

I have almost completed the first week back from a whole week off for Presidents Day.  And suffice to say, this has been The. Longest. Week. Ever.  The week of “vacation” was fun.* Play dates were fun.  We baked.  We went to the Henry Ford Museum. 

However, it takes work to be a cruise director.  Add a slew of out-town guests for a death in the family and an injured husband and it was a crazy week.

Even though it was nice to catch up with family that I haven’t seen in a while and spend some quality time with The Babes, sometimes  I long for easier times when getting a five-page term paper and figuring out what party I was going to go to were my biggest worries.  (Worries?  If I knew then what I know now –geez)!  I fondly remember the times when I would pretend my empty beer bottle was a microphone as I belted out Don’t Speak by No Doubt with my freshly pink highlighted hair.

But those days are long gone.  Long. Gone.  And I don’t want to go back because there were plenty of things I didn’t like about my 20’s.  But I like to reminisce.  I find the best way to remember those times without looking like a desperate fool (you know, getting lit up at a party while dressed in an outfit that no longer looks appropriate in my post-baby body)is to listen to the music that I rocked out during that oh-so-brief time in my life.

Without further ado, I present to you My Playlist: 1995 – 2000:

What songs remind you of that magical time known as your late teens, early twenties?

* It’s not a vacation unless I’m on a sandy beach with a rum drink in my hand with nothing but the sound of waves crashing along the shore.