Dearest Daughters (and other readers),
You may have noticed a couple of changes around here. Mainly over to the right in the sidebar area, where I added a "Let's Hold Hands" category for the blogger networks I'm a part of.
I like to think of myself as a writer. I write for you, my dearest daughters. And for you, my dearest readers. And, mostly, for me.
The more you write, like the more you do anything, the better writer or anything-er you become. I suppose I could sit around with a journal or my laptop and write, write, write. And that would certainly improve my writing.
But, I'll remind you, I have two kids. They ruin everything. And I find that writing a blog gives me the framework and subsequent discipline to write. And there's something about sending my words into cyberspace for public consumption that, strangely, makes me feel less self-conscious than scribbling in a notepad. No idea what that's about.
One day I'll be a real writer. Maybe, if I can find the time. For now, this is one thing I do. For you, for me.
I care not how big or how fast this blog grows. I don't plan on being an Internet celebrity mommyblogger. I just like to write. Come what may.
But, this blog has grown. And a couple of opportunities to get paid for my writing have recently come across my proverbial desk.
Gone are the days of debates amongst the mommybloggers of the world about whether TO or NOT TO include advertising on their blogs. Most do. And most readers have learned how to block out advertising. So companies are getting smarter, encouraging bloggers to create original, but sponsored content. Some bloggers are HORRIBLE at this. They have little integrity and their blogs turn into virtual infomericals. Other bloggers are like tricky little bakers, and you've finished eating your chocolate cookie before you realize that it was made out of vegetables, bulgar and fish rich in fatty acids.
I'm not trying to drive anyone away or even artfully trick anyone.
Dude, I'm just trying to get PAID for something I like to do. Go figure!
Who knows? Perhaps nothing will come of these "opportunities."
I just wanted to warn you. And to let you know that I will do so with integrity and with authenticity. If the product or project or company doesn't fit with the theme of this blog or my values. If I don't have a worthwhile story to tell. Or anything interesting that adds, instead of detracting from, your reading experience. Then, I won't do it.
Let me know if I'm annoying you.
Or just zip it and keep reading the letters I write to Babybel and Danjo, resting assured that I'll one day take you for a ride in the convertible I bought with the MILLIONS of dollars I'll make from the ad content you so graciously tolerate.
There's this story that I go back and forth about telling you. Should I? Shouldn't I?
How much do you REALLY need to know about your mother? Will telling this story embarrass me or shame my family in front of the WHOLE World Wide Web?
Then again, it's humorous and there is, indeed, a lesson to be learned. And it's really not THAT dramatic, it was just one night I made a bad choice. And you know how I am about the whole "make good choices" thing.
Also, this site, at it's core, is about vulnerability. About saying the things other people don't or won't say. About not hiding things from you. Most importantly, about being honest with myself.
If you're my parent-in-law or future employer, my apologies. Pretend you didn't read this. Or all those things I write about poop and vomit.
I spent the night on a park bench. In a foreign country. THERE! I said it.
It was February in Rio de Janeiro, which is in the Southern hemisphere, so it was a nice night. I wasn't cold at all! And it was in Urca, a really nice, secluded neighborhood of Rio. And it was right outside of the building that I was locked out of, so I was TOTALLY safe.
(original image source)
Nevertheless, not the smartest idea.
These chickens will be the death of me.
But, like I do for you, I love them and continue to care for them despite the toll they take on my body.
First, a digestive system parasite. Okay, not confirmed that it was from the chickens. But, I'm highly suspicious, given the correspondence of their introduction into our home and my introduction into the bathroom. (Note: beadle was out of town that week, my parents also left for a couple of days during that time, stranding me with my parasitic fever and two daughters).
Now, mites. That have been biting me the past month. That tricked me into thinking they were bedbugs, prohibiting me from sleeping for the better part of a week. (Note: beadle was ALSO gone during this traumatic week and my mom was sick and home bound, again leaving me stranded with yet more (real or imagined) parasites and two daughters. I detect a theme.)
And another thing, I had to make myself susceptible to not only further bites for these chickens, but also to pesticides, as Lolopop and I cleaned out the coop and spread Sevin dust around. (You were far far away in Lola's House Land.)
But, it's for their own good.
Well, at least there's the eggs. Except, not for the next few weeks. That's about 105 (or more) eggs, NINE DOZEN eggs, by my calculations, into the compost. Adios, huevos.
Those darn chickens.
It's not REALLY their fault though. It's the mites. No, it's the wild birds who brought the mites.
FINE. Shut up. It's my fault. If I wasn't such a noob chicken farmer, I might have known that I should be doing things to prevent mites. Like using Diatomaceous Earth (DE). I call it "Dinosaur Earth" because 1) it's basically old dirt and 2) that's easier to pronounce and 3) it annoys Lolopop. Like when I call a "ship" a "boat".
Which reminds me of a story.
The other day we were driving past the Port of San Francisco. I saw a HUGE ship. Like, SO HUGE. You couldn't miss it. Unless you're two years old and easily miss things like that. So, when I pointed out the "ship" to Babybel, what she saw was a "crane." I corrected her at the time and explained that "the tall things that look like ladders" are called "cranes" and not "ships." But, she didn't care. And every time we pass "the tall things that look like ladders" she says, "Look, Mommy! A ship!" Imagine that! A ship on the corner of 2nd and King! And another one in Downtown San Leandro helping to build the new parking garage!
Probably, you do this, to annoy me.
The moral of today's story: parasites suck (sometimes, literally), focus on preventative care, and flagrantly misuse the English language if you want to annoy Lolopop or your mother.
YOUR Lola alerted me to the video below a couple of weeks ago. I've seen it since on a few AA blogs, Twitter streams, etc.
I read the book ("Go the F**k to Sleep") on-line a few months ago when it was self-published and being passed around the Interwebs. I gave it a hearty guffaw. It's a humorous book meant for parents or soon-to-be parents. But, I wasn't too impressed, mostly because it perpetuates the idea that CHILDREN NEVER SLEEP. I'm no fun. And I also have a pet peeve about books that look like children's picture books, but aren't. Or board books that are made from books that weren't meant to be board books. Those are stupid too.
But, children DO sleep. If you make them. And teach them.
That is one my sagest pieces of advice for new parents, stolen from all those who gave it to me:
TEACH YOUR CHILD TO SLEEP.
I'll give you the first few months of sleep deprivation and frustration about your perpetually hungry newborn. But, if your child isn't sleeping through the night by four or five months, that's on YOU. Talk to some other parents. Your doctor. Or read this extremely helpful book, which doesn't so much give you tips on getting your child to sleep (it does) so much as gives you permission to let your child sleep. (Thanks to Auntie Tammie for that one! And to Auntie Christine B. for the above advice verbatim that she wrote in Babybel's baby shower book way back when, before Sleepless Danjo entered the scene. And Auntie Peggy who says to "let sleeping dogs lie." And to the Lola School of Crying It Out.)
And now, back to the book at hand. Meh, book. But when Lola (not yours) reads this to her granddaughter Carrington, BEST BOOK EVER.
Dem crazy Lolas!
I think the thing that needs to be said the most right now is that I love you.
No matter what.
The other day, I was recounting our recent run-ins to an acquaintance. He remarked, "And she doesn't call you Mean Mommy!?"
It seems some people think it is "mean" to make you walk outside barefoot and with a wet bottom, when THAT was the choice you made. But, that's beside the point.
I responded, "No, she doesn't. And I wouldn't care if she did."
Firstly, it's not my job to be your friend. You don't have to like me. You can call me whatever names you want under your breath and to your high school friends.
It's my job to help you become a good person, who makes good choices. Who doesn't grow up into an ego maniac. Unkinan told me once that all humans are born sociopaths and it is our job as parents, as adults, as a community, as society to teach them otherwise.
Now, being a wilful child does not in and of itself result in a horrible adult. Getting older and having seen a few children blossom into teens and young adults, I see that, perhaps, some of the most "difficult" children have turned into some of the most awesome individuals I know. I won't name names, EBP, you know who you are.
Nevertheless, it is my job to not only set boundaries and limits, but also expectations. You are "only two" and some people may percieve my parenting as strict or, even, harsh. Ripping my child from the dinner table by her arm at the slightest infraction. Or perpetually glaring at you. "She's JUST two! We're only at McDonald's not The French Laundry." But, I know better. I know YOU better. And you know better.
And I know you will rise to my expectations ONE DAY, despite our daily struggles.
Despite this last week that felt like your behavior got EVEN WORSE. And that it would be best if Armageddon came, because then I wouldn't have to clean poop out of your underwear or say "Bel, are you listening to me?!" even ONE MORE TIME.
I have high expectations of you because I respect you.
I am a Jack of All Trades.
I like to take on new hobbies, try new methods of doing something, experiment and use my logic to figure things out.
But, only if it takes less than an hour or two.
If it takes longer, then whatever hobby, project or task I started falls by the wayside. I have baskets full of unfinished craft and sewing projects. Lists of DIY, home repair To Dos.
Half of my problem is the time element. Or, lack thereof. The other half relates to the perfectionist aspect of my personality. I like to be good at a great many things, but I don't like to take the time, effort or risk involved in becoming GREAT at something.
I can read music and play simple songs, mostly in the key of C major. I can bake a loaf of bread. Or paint a wall. But the fear of failing is what keeps me from even attempting a more difficult piece, baking a pie or sitting before a blank canvas.
So, I continue to take on manageable projects--time and risk wise.
One of these recent projects/obsessions is freezer paper stenciling. I learned about it from one of the amazing crafty Mormon SAHM DIY decorator homemaker entrepreneur blogs I (obsessively) read: I Am Momma Hear Me Roar. I've made a few shirts for our family members and as gifts. You can see them here.
The other day, right before your dad got off work, he got a call from the father of these twin boys who had a viral You Tube video of them dancing to one of the video games Daddy does PR for. So, beadle had been in contact with the father about putting the boys on TV this week and the call came in at the last minute.
Daddy, stressed about booking last minute travel and making the arrangements for the boys to appear on The Insider.
"I wish I had shirts for them to wear," he said.
"I can do that!" I said.
A trip to Target, Michael's, $20 and two hours later:
So, I'm not a graphic designer, I'm not a famous artist, BUT I can wield an eXacto knife, iron, paint and replicate almost anything if you give me a couple of hours!
If you want to see the live version of the shirts (and cute boys who happen to be Filipino and from the Bay Area too!) watch The Insider tonight at 7PST; the spot will air towards the end, I hear tell.
I have THOUSANDS of photos of our past few years together. I also have every intention of compiling them into some sort of album. They say that "the road to hell is paved with good intentions," which is why I've left them by the wayside.
I don't have the time to edit photos, though it is something I love to do. iPhone apps and some Internet doo-dads make some of that easier and less time-consuming, lending our photo memories a pseudo-professional gloss. And yet, I still have photos from May that are waiting in line for their Extreme Makeover, Mommy Edition. I mean, do you know how much back fat needs to be eliminated from our Hawaii bathing suit pictures?
There is a trend now of super professional videos: for weddings and other special events, but also just to capture moments and normal family activities the way a simple snap shot used to. I burn, I pine, I perish. Over some of these videos that appear to have a production value equalling the next Summer blockbuster.
My sister clued me in to a free iPhone app that I've been using to capture different moments of our day. Really. My sister recommended it. No one is paying me to say this. Just had to note that.
It's called Videolicious. And it edits together photos and videos you provide, cutting in and laying over a video they MAKE you record as you're "processing" the video within the app. That's the strange part. I might have a ton of great photos or videos I want to stitch together, but I can't do it unless I add a video/voiceover. I've found at least one way around this with the girls, which you'll see in the video below. Instead of providing a narration of the photos, as is expected, I just recorded Babybel singing a song. It'll make sense when you see it. I think it is this way because the app is sponsored by a few businesses that encourage people to make little testimonials to upload to their sites. So, function follows form. There are different categories, such as Restaurant Reviews, News Reports or Video Thank You Note (which gives you an idea of how the app is meant to be used), but all videos are pieced together the same way regardless of how you swing it. A few seconds of video/voiceover, your provided media with continued voiceover, snippet of end of your video/voiceover.
Nevertheless, the simple (and did I mention free?) app can make a day of playing with paper dolls, shredding a napkin, and singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" while picking a wedgie seem slightly less mundane and slightly more, dare I say, inspired? And I can produce these moments in about two minutes. If Babybel is cooperating, that is.
Click on the image below to see Babybel in her panties and take a peek into our afternoon.
|August 22, 2011|
Since I began writing to you over two years ago, doing so more frequently as of late, people tell me from time to time that I should write a book.
But, every day feels like one of those days.
As in, how could I possibly write a book?
How can I possibly even think of ANYTHING worthwhile to say for more than 1000 words?
More importantly, how can I even GET THROUGH this day?
Last Friday started out all fuzzy bunnies and wonderful. A trip to the zoo, simultaneous naps, time to work on a sewing project, this blog and make a dent on my Summer's Almost Done reading. Then, out of nowhere: the MOST defiant, willful, oppositional behavior I've ever experienced from Babybel.
If I've ever talked about how difficult Babybel is, if I've ever recounted a story of her willfulness, if I've ever complained about oppositional behavior, I'll tell you now--from the other end of Friday--those stories were mere drops in the bucket.
And no, this was not some build up of MY frustrations throughout the day coupled with Two Year Olds Will Be Two Year Olds behavior. This was clear and concise, fully aware, she knows better, I expect more from her, oppositional behavior. We're not even talking ignoring. We're talking unwavering eye contact and refusal to speak, move, or acknowledge my simple request. And THEN, an eye roll. Followed by peeing in her panties right in front of me.
It can not be said that you live without conviction.
What that conviction is changes from day to day.
Yesterday, you refused to put on a non-Disney, non-itchy Cinderella dress that I made with my OWN TWO HANDS. It's not that I was hurt by your refusal to wear something I made or your clear preference for all things Disney. It's that I wish I had taken a nap or watched Parks and Recreation instead of sewing a dress.
Today, you wanted to wear the dress and nothing else. Literally. (Might have had something to do with sewing Disney Cinderella cameo from your old dress onto the one I made.) When I showed you the tank top and shorts to wear underneath and told you, "Trust me. I have a plan," you responded, "No. I'm have a plan!" I got the training undies, shorts and dress on you and sent you off to school for Dress Up Day. You came back covered in sand, mud, paint and food. I asked you to take the dress off so we could wash it during nap time. And again with the REFUSAL.
One day, you'll be four, like your cousin Avacado, and you'll just do what I say. Right?
Anyway, now I can't get the darn thing off.
(Dress details: Since you were napping, I took no measurements and I made it too big, not on purpose, but it works out. The skirt is super long and instead of cutting it, I just tucked and tacked it down underneath so we can let it out as you grow. The basic pattern is from a Belle dress tutorial on Crafterhours, but I also took inspiration from a Cinderella specific tutorial on Make It and Love It.)